Friday, September 30, 2011

Dressage Practice and Chrissy rides!!

OK, my first show is coming up fast! I realized today that I REALLY need to get these tests memorized! I finished work and tacked up my pretty gelding for some time in the arena. We tried to ride in the indoor but he needs some more time to get used to it. I didn't want to waste daylight, so we headed to the outdoor. I worked on teaching him to stretch down in the trot, left lead canter (oh no! where'd our left lead canter go?!), and trot/canter transitions. Transitioning down is not so smooth, he wants to slam on the brakes (not a dressage move at all!). OK, Tia... breathe...

Chrissy came out with Cowboy, too. She played a little on the ground and then hopped on him. So happy to see her get on! She seemed less nervous and I believe she took some trot strides. She's mounted up only a few times this year. Hopefully, she'll find more time to get out and hang with Cowboy, maybe work through some of the riding troubles. Great to see her hop on!

Nice evening. Got to go review those tests now.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Dome Rock!!

Had a fantastic day with friends, my beautiful daughter, Gemini and Rain riding Dome Rock today. Dome Rock is one of my favorite spots in Colorado. The aspens are starting to turn and the yellows and reds were magnificent! Kendall had a rough spot about 1 hour in, but she did a great job of holding it together and then ended up having a great time. We trotted and cantered a lot and the horses got an excellent work out. Rain did it barefoot w/o a single issue. Gem wore boots on the front. Gem had a minor bucking episode (of course!) when we were cantering down a hill with a sharp turn at the bottom in sandy footing. I wanted him to slow so we could make the turn easily but he was concerned about the mares getting too far ahead. I could feel him having an opinion about my ask to slow down and he humped up for 4-5 decent bucks. Silly boy! I wonder if that will simply always be there, that response to buck when things aren't going the way he wants. It's ok, he can't get me off and he doesn't scare me anymore. Besides the occasional buck, he's become a fantastic trail horse!!

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Gemini and Rain at Dawson Butte

Kendall is back on the trail!! I'm so happy. I've missed trail riding with my daughter. She's been riding Rain over the past few months but just at home. I asked her to go and she said YES. We went to Dawson Butte and I let her lead on Rain. She really liked being able to set the pace and lead us down the trail. Gem was fine behind, so I was happy to let KK lead. She took us into a trot a lot of the time and she wanted to canter a lot, so we did some. I tried to keep Kendall from doing too much cantering since I wanted her first time back on the trail to be positive. Rain did give a hefty spook at the end of our ride and Kendall not only stayed seated beautiful, she wasn't afraid at all. She's a natural.

Gem was an awesome trail horse and I practiced asking for a soft feel while we went. I want to use that in dressage so I'm trying to work on getting that soft feel without having to move his body a certain way to get it. I want to teach him to round w/a very subtle cue. We'll get there because he's so smart and willing. I just have to put in the time with him.

A fun, fun day with beautiful weather, my amazing daughter and 2 of our fantastic horses.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Rain and Starlet work up a sweat!

Rode Starlet after a few minutes of falling leaf and circle game. We rode in the front pasture and I kept it to walk/trot as I haven't ridden her in quite some time. We worked on lateral flexion, backing and maintain gait. She was nice and soft and easy-going. Next session, I'll up the ante and ask for more speed and some maneuvers to stretch her. She did quite well though.

Then, I pulled Rain out and decided to pony Starlet off of Rain and move on out. We left the property and headed down the trail. Rain left the property so easily which is impressive as I haven't ridden her off the property in months. She was full of life, too. We cantered some, which got Starlet excited - but it was fun! Starlet is so much faster than Rain, so we did more trot than canter just to keep things manageable. Coming back, the herd was anxious for their missing mares and a couple geldings called, but Rain and Starlet stayed on task - not at all concerned.

A really nice time and I was out with them until the sun went down and the sky was dark.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Practicing Dressage and Playing with Starlet

I was able to leave work early enough to play with some dressage techniques with Gem today! Love it. We played with cantering (just maintain the canter) simple lead changes (trot change on the diagonal) and left lead canter departs. He actually started to hurry, which is just amazing! I'm playing with my own way of getting him round by slightly lifting one rein. I'm hoping to refine this gesture enough that he can feel for me, get round and a judge will never see that I've lifted my rein slightly. He has become so willing and softer all the time. I am so impressed by this horse. I also look forward to our first show in a couple weeks!!

After Gem, I pulled Starlet out to play online for a bit. I asked her for some circles, some squeeze over jumps and some falling leaf, all on the 22'. She surprised me by being appreciate of the leadership and came trotting in every chance she could. She is such a nice mare. Someone is coming to look at her and may find her to be a good match, but when I play with her I feel sad at the thought of not keeping her. I know I don't need 4 horses. Three horses is really too many, but I will always have my 3 as long as they live.

The days are getting so short!! I need my arena lights in quickly.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Dressage Lesson #7

Simple lead changes on the diagonal! Harder than it should be. I focused on having more contact and trying to ask for more feel on the outside rein. This is a good thing for he and I to practice. He really started to power into the diagonal which was a cool feeling.

Left turning - leg yields to get him responsible for his balance. Going left is hard for him.

Cantering for longer - he finally started to take responsibility for cantering! I've GOT to work on this. I'm driving him forward too much. I've got to get more effective with my ask and use my phases. I should have that fixed up for lesson time.

Hard lesson and a good reminder that Gem and I need time to practice and improve.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Riding with my Kendall Girl

Gem and Rain with Kendall and me.

Some in the arena - cantering wtih Gem and Kendall playing wtih figure 8's and (of course) jumping. Kendall used the bit today, which was good.

We then went to the front and I helped Kendall get Rain to maintain her gait better. Kendall got to canter and gallop, so she was happy. That girl has the need for speed. She keeps asking about riding Z. I get nervous just considering it!

Gem felt great, responsive and willing. I'd like to get him lighter off my leg so I need to build on that.

Trimmed his hinds so he's caught up.

Friday, September 16, 2011

I have an Indoor Arena!!

And it's here. Installed. Ready for go time.

Need lights and footing next. It's going to be a great winter!

Saturday, September 10, 2011

50 Miles with Z

50 mile endurance ride at Turkey Creek in Colorado Springs.
Barefoot the whole ride!!!
25 and 25, only 1 vet hold. All A's though and good heart rate recovery.
stopped at mile 19 to fill her gut. Just felt like I needed to.
she didn't want to keep leaving camp, that was tough. Good to know for future rides.
the 2nd half, rode with a small group. I really like riding alone. I think I prefer it.
Used my Barefoot with the new wool seat. It worked great!
Z was so strong and really happy to go. She is such an awesome endurance horse. I look forward to campaigning her next season. Starting early and racing often.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Practicing Dressage Tests Training L1 and L2

Level 2 test is pretty good, straightforward
Level 1 test is a little weird, but we'll get it down.
Gem just turns on when I go into test mode.
Freewalk is both hands on reins. Both hands always on the reins.
Used the Ansur - instructor noticed freer movement from Gem w/o knowing about my saddle change! This was a great sign.
Trimmed the 2nd front hoof. Need to do hinds.
Need to develop stretch into the bit.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

A little riding with Gem

Tried my new Ansur saddle. It felt great!! It's a keeper for sure. I think I'm going to keep it.
Trimmed Gemini's front left, but felt ill from dragging the round pen and going in a circle at a fast pace. lol I couldn't get the trimming done, but I guess there's 1 left hoof to do.

Monday, September 5, 2011


Kris got Cowboy and Starlet caught up. I was planning to get Gem trimmed, but epic fail.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Parelli time with Deb

Played with Gem and Rain today. Deb came over in the afternoon and we played with sideways over obstacles, change of direction, and then trailer loading. Gem and I need to build the draw on the circle before we can get good changes as he wants to stop and turn to go the other way. I need him to maintain gait in the change. He had no trouble going sideways over the barrel both away from and towards me. We also worked on trailer loading from the fender. That was a breeze. I asked him to trot in and then canter into the trailer. Again, a breeze for Gem. Good! One more step closer to filming our L4 Online audition.

I then pulled Rain out. We did about 10 minutes of interesting ground work (interesting because I haven't done this with Rain in probably over a year), and then we tacked up and rode around the front pasture. I'd really like to get Rain in better shape and also build flexion in her neck. She's quite bracey and I want to minimize that. She was quite extroverted! I wanted her to be more responsive to me and not simply extroverted. She had her own ideas about where she wanted to go and at which speed. We have some work to do.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

1st Place in Middleweight Division 30 miler at Rushcreek

Wow, what a day. My Z-mare is amazing. We've done a few 15 mile events over the years and I've always wanted to do more. However, between Parelli, riding with less endurance-minded friends, and life in general have gotten in the way. I decided to drive to the Rushmore Reunion ride with no horse friends - only my family... and my dog Deuce. We arrived late, around 9:30pm and I know Z was stressed from the drive and the strange environment. The ride start was 6:15am with vet checking at 5:30. Yikes, that's early.

I got her settled and Steve and the kids left for their hotel. After a rough and short night's sleep, we checked in, tacked up and got ready to leave. At 6:15-ish, we were off. I decided to hang back with a nervous rider and enjoy a slow start. I figured I'd save Z and make sure we had enough to get us through the 30 miles. After the first mile or so, things were settled and I decided to let her open up and move out. Boy, she really moved out!! We passed people 1 after another and by around mile 8, we were with the lead group. I couldn't believe her. She had no interest in hanging with the horses we passed, she just wanted to move those legs in that amazing extended trot of hers. She was amazing and that ride was a thrill!!

We came in at the vet hold in the front of the pack. We did our short hold (only 40 minutes!) and we headed out again. She had the same power stride and desire to cover ground. She'd eaten well at the hold, so I felt pretty good about letting her go. We led the whole 2nd loop and came in to the finish first. I wish my family had been there to get a picture of us coming in. It was an amazing feeling to finish before everyone else!!

She didn't pulse down quickly enough and the 3 other riders that finished close behind us timed in before us. I wasn't sorry a bit, though. She wanted to be the first in. She really wanted it. She's not as conditioned as I'd like her to be, but she's got what it takes to excel in endurance. We ended up with 1st place
in our division (MW), 4th place overall and a top ten award. We were done at 9:51, which makes our 30 mile ride time 3:36 minutes which includes the 40 minute hold. I just can't believe how fast we were going. I couldn't believe how easily she passed every other rider. What's even cooler is that she was barefoot!

What a great ride! What a great horse I have! And so thankful my family came to support my horse and me.

Friday, September 2, 2011

A new boarder!

Sky moved in this week. He's a nice, quiet Paint gelding - around 13 years old. Haven't had a new boarder in the herd for a year or two, so it's neat to have things shake up a little. He'll be a nice horse to have around and his owner and I have very similar thoughts on horse care.

Dressage lesson #6 (or 7?)

Ran through the tests. Discovered a way to rhythmically maintain the canter with Gem. Felt a little sluggish today and didn't ride very well. However, the tests helped me feel more comfortable with my first show coming soon. The training tests are quite simple, just need to be sure I'm getting the best I can from Gem. He's doing his part for sure - I'm the one that needs to be clear and prepared for each transition. Really enjoying dressage!

Z and Rio back to Dr Wagner

Great follow-up visit with Dr Wagner. Z has gained some balance and her frogs are much closer to being symmetrical. I was so glad to see a positive change! She did more acupuncture and said that after a day off, she'd be ready for the 30 mile endurance ride. The trailer rides are very good for helping the adjustments hold. Z really seems to enjoy the adjustments! So interesting.

Rio still has hock lameness, unfortunately. We talked about hock fusing and now I know how to perform the Churchill test on a hock. Very educational visit with Dr. Wagner.