Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Great day with friends

Christy came down with her friend and her friends daughter. We rode the trail. Kendall lost her confidence so I brought her home.

Rain was not working with KK, KK wasn't being a good leader for Rain. I'm sorry to see them struggle and I'm committed to spending more time on Rain to help her soften back up. Kids are pretty good at making horses bracey and stiff. When Rain doesn't listen, KK feels out of control and that's scary. We'll rebuild from here.

Z was marvelous and we ponied Rain and KK home together. I was proud of Z - she doesn't like to pony horses.

We then went back out after Kendall was safely home and did some racing on the trail! Z is so darn fast at a full gallop. I loved it!

Monday, June 28, 2010

Our first CTC

Day 1 - Phew, Z did the Piaffe for about 10 miles. :-) Rain and KK didn't have a great day either. We ended up pulling out. First KK, then me as I was just not feeling right about leaving KK.

Day 2 - OK, this is more like it. We finished and had a great time! KK got a blue ribbon (made her weekend) and Z and I took a 2nd place for our group. The ride had very few participants, but it was nice to see one all the way through. I still had to hold Z back most of the time and I had to scratch my head and ask myself... is this fair to Z? Should I just go back to endurance and ride this horse like she wants to be ridden and compete with her like she was bred to compete?

Thursday, June 24, 2010

All about Tina

Today was about trotting work. Turning, figure 8's, transitions from walk/trot transitions, riding the rail with softness. She was so calm and so easy today! She's developing so nicely now. Next we move to bigger spaces and build the trot into the canter. Wonderful and so proud of her.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Tina and Rain

Nice work with Tina! She was much softer in her body for the turns today and had a much nice forward response. We worked on follow-the-rail and figure 8's seeking suppleness (is that a word?). A nice ride on a cool, breezy and sunny day.

Hopped on Rain with plans to soften her up. She's been ridden mainly by Kendall for a while and she's become quite bracey from Kendall's young hands. She had no response to lateral flexion at first and truly felt like she swallowed a 2x4 and it was stuck in her neck! Ackk! She was much better by the end of the ride. We also worked on the bridge obstacle as that's been causing her some challenges. She's been fearful of the footing on the bridge. KK rides her this weekend at our first CTC, so hopefully this riding session helped Rain be easier for KK. I'll do it again tomorrow.

Chrissy hopped on Cowboy and rode the front with me. They were doing very well! Cowboy has a bad habit of snatching grass and as Chrissy's leadership develops, that will improve. For now, she's getting through her fears and doing a bang-up job of it. Proud of her.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Hidden Mesa with friends

I planned to ride with a few friends on the trail, but first Tina. I did our normal routine, tack up, warm up and get ready to mount. Only today, for whatever reason, I sensed an edginess to her. She was more tense than usual. The wind was howling and I suspect that's why. As I asked her to come to the mounting post, I decided not to throw a leg over. I'm sensitive to her when she feels on edge and I don't trust enough yet to ride her through that. Since I'm getting nearly every day of the week with her, I decided today would just be groundwork. I don't want to push hard at this point. I'm respecting both of our thresholds.

Then I loaded up Z for the 20 min drive to Hidden Mesa. Z was a dream trail horse. Wow, we have come so far. I rode bridleless as much as possible (she was in a rope hack, but I did not use the reins 90% of the ride). Her sensitivity and responsiveness to my seat and leg are better than ever. One of the other riders was having a lot of trouble with her horse and I tried to coach a little, but I enjoyed just hanging back and working with Z. She seemed calm and happy, too. It was wonderful.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Late start and coaching

I worked a long day at the day job, so got a late start to my evening training routine. I also had a coaching session set up, so I didn't do much of my own horse development time. However, had a fantastic time bringing a student along with her horse. She's got a traditional background and this horse is forcing her to try a new approach - natural horsemanship. It feels foreign to her at times, but she's really getting it. Her horse is responding beautiful, so I'm excited to see how this progresses.

I find this to be the most rewarding part about horses; taking what I know and helping others find their own success with their horses. I enjoy training the horses but when I mix the owners in, it's nirvana for me.

We walked around the outside of the arena and played with weaving through trees. Also, turning on the fore and hind.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Eye Opening Feedback!!

Jen, my torso (stuck to the left), Z bridleless, question box, assessment practice. Great gate opening.

Riding Tina w/o no support in the round pen. Figure 8's, practicing forward and turns.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

More assessment practice

A great, positive response to the question box! Loved it. Great jumping over the 2' jump. Nearly ready to film.

Tina making more progress - no support from Chrissy and working on figure 8's, turning and forward.

Chrissy rode Cowboy to the gate and around the front 10 acres. Z was so relaxed and easy. Enjoyed it thoroughly.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Prepping for filming

Tonight, I focused on Zarah and our assessment into L4. We finished L3 ground over a year ago. We worked last summer on the L3 riding (bridleless) but didn't get the filming done. I lost focus, paying more attention to the young horses in my pasture for training. This Spring, I decided to get my act back together and finish L3 officially. I've been talking about it, but I never manage to find the time to film it. My sister yesterday told me we should do it tomorrow. YES!

So today was the day. I put my list together - I have 10 mins to show the assessors that we have what it takes. There's a good list of things I must show. I set up the arena with all the things we'll need - jump, tarp to drag, cones marking patterns, barrels... Then, I started to warm Z up. Her canter was fast at first and she was pulling to the herd (they were hanging around the arena). But then, she got with the program and we were doing well. I decided to go ahead with taking off the bridle while in the saddle to see what we'd get bridleless. I was using too much of my body and it was causing her to cave in to the markers too much. We dragged the tarp effortlessly, jumped the 2ft jump w/o issue, really all of the tasks were good to go. The canter circle fell apart without the reins, though. We practiced that for a while and when it seemed like she was getting it, we quit. We need to practice the gate bridleless too - she was pulling forward when I needed her to go sideways. My gate doesn't open easily, makes this one an extra challenge.

Anyway, I'm excited to get that far in the filming! I know what I need to focus on and in a few sessions, we'll be ready. Then we can film and be official L4. I think we could film L4 online quickly and probably even Liberty. L4 riding will be our challenge. I love a challenge!

We left the arena and I took her for a short ride and we stopped for her to eat grass. I wanted to reward the hard work with grazing, but away from the herd. She quietly and gently walked around with me, searching for the best morstles. I stayed bridleless - my first time bridleless off the property. That was just great!

Now, hitting the road for a few days. I'll have a great weekend ahead of more catch-up and progression, though.

Monday, June 14, 2010

A gorgeous night!

Tonight, I hopped on Z and supported Chrissy on her journey. She was ready to ride her boy and I hung close by to give guidance and help her feel safe. We started in the arena and the next thing you know, Chrissy wanted to hit the property and the trail. Wow! Now THAT's a leap!

We went down the driveway and down the dirt road. The grass is tall so the horse's munched a lot and we took it slow. Z was happy for a slow, grass eating ride. Chrissy did so great! Her horse is really helping her along too. It's wonderful to watch the progression.

Then, I tacked up Miss Tina for some riding. We did more turning, halt, back, forward off my leg. I mounted off the block and she sidled up to it beautifully. It was a wonderful session with comfort and calmness. We had lots of puddles and the footing wasn't great so I kept her at the walk.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

The weather...

We had thunderstorms and rain all weekend long. Bah!! A friend and I had taken our mares to Westcliffe to compete in our first ACTHA ride - competitive trail. We were both so excited and made the 3 hour journey the night before the ride. Unfortunately, we woke up the next morning after sleeping in the trailer to rain, thunder, clouds... hardcore weather. They ended up canceling the ride, but we decided to stick around and ride a bit in between rain showers. We probably rode about 1.5 hours, maybe 2. The property was gorgeous and it was so nice to get a chance to see it from horseback. We practiced water crossings, got a few cows to move, cantered up a hill, and just had a nice little ride.

The ride back was uneventful and I look forward to our next ride together. Hopefully, next time the weather cooperates!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

All about Tina

Tacked her up tonight, played a little and hopped on. She's moving to the mounting block by default now (very nice!). We worked on soft turns, forward ask, backwards ask. Crunched for time so probably only spent about 30 mins on her back. It was nice though - her head is low, she's licking and chewing, total relaxation. Next, we'll build moving the fore and hind in isolation and trotting transitions.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010


Tonight, I had KK ride her bike around us while I helped Tina get comfortable with someone riding on a bike. She was pretty sure the bike would kill her at first, but she quickly understood it wasn't going to get her and we followed Kendall around while she pedaled. That was pretty neat - seeing Tina come around so quickly compared to the time it used to take her to feel brave about new things.

I had her tacked up and planned to ride. Kendall was the only one home and I had a moment of concern that if something were to happen to me, she'd have to deal with it. I decided I didn't need to ride Tina that badly tonight and just did ground work instead. I need to move her to the 22' line and start doing more from a distance. She's rocking the teeter-totter nicely and she's mastered all the toys in the playground. I need to add some more challenges and get on the longer line.

Very proud of her.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Coaching and Tina

Chrissy and cowboy - took him to the arena today! went back to the round pen for more confidence building.

Kris and Rio - disengaging from the saddle

Tina on the ground in the saddle. No riding for a day.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Tina Progresses

Another great day with Tina! We worked on turning, stopping and backing. I walked out planning to ride her without Chrissy on the line, but I changed my mind as I was mounting. I'm working very hard to not let my confidence get blown by something happening. We circled Chrissy and did several changes of direction, stopping, bending on the circle, keeping her on the circle with outside rein. She was calm and gentle and it went beautifully. Very progressive day.

Chrissy then warmed up and tacked up Cowboy. She didn't need me today at all. I put some cones in the pen so that she could work on figure 8 with Cowboy vs riding the boring rail. She just did so well and her seat was solid and deep. Cowboy is giving her just what she needs by being lazy and slow. She's practicing passive persistence and keeping him forward whenever he stops.

Wish I could do more today but maybe tomorrow. Feeling great about the progress for both Chrissy and me.

Friday, June 4, 2010


Tina - lots of mounted time, just at the walk. Time to build the trot. Great groundwork! She's more confident everyday and trying new things bravely.

Cowboy - Chrissy got on Cowboy and worked on her fear some more. She took him trotting around which was great - first time she's done that in a while (6 months?)

Z - she and I hit the trail for 5 miles with Deuce. We cantered and galloped in spots! It was wonderful. A great ride with my lovely mare all alone.

Gem - pulled him out for some riding but didn't get to him. Tomorrow...

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Coaching, Colt starting and Undemanding time

Z asleep at car window - so cute. I stopped in the driveway in the car, she came over and stood next to the window while I was on my conference call. She feel asleep and her nose was resting on the door frame. Her head got heavier and heavier and rested on her upper lip until her teeth were showing as her upper lip got all scrunched up from the pressure. Her lower lip was hanging down. I wish I had a picture!

Rio and Kris - great session helping her learn the basics of disengaging and backing from the ground. A little riding - helping Kris be more relaxed.

Soaked Z's right hind - seems a little scratches was developing from the wet spring and I can't seem to get ahead of it with topical ointments.

Chrissy and Cowboy - they are doing great! More progression- she's riding on her own and finding a very deep and relaxed seat. So great.

Tina, slightly swollen leg from a kick or something. A small cut too. I cold hosed her and treated her and and we did some slow mounted walking in the round pen. I stayed on for only 15-20 mins so not to aggravate her small leg wound. She was calm and relaxed - a nice short session.

Cloverleaf and Transitions

Rio groundwork in treeless, great on the ground!

Z and I in arena, opening gait, cloverleaf transitions wtcb, leave the property with no issue whatsoever, eating grass as reward.

KK and friend on Rain, Rain afraid of bridge - gotta fix that. Sidling over for mounting going very well! KK can do it.