Friday, November 27, 2015

Still Thankful

I wrote the clinic post right after, but forgot to post it.  I re-read it before I posted it and refrained from editing. It was such a hopeful, happy post that I wanted to record that feeling. Since the clinic, though, we have stalled quite a bit.

As is any life with horses, there are ups and downs, plateaus and mountains.  So I know this is all normal and NBD.

Since the high of the clinic, I opened a big ol'dance concert with around 70 costumes, which meant I had to take about two weeks with only one ride/week.  So I am not surprised that the good work of the clinic, culminating in that first-try lead change has gone out the window.  I have not been able to get a lead change since that day.  Ugh.  I know it's all me, it's all how I'm riding, not a fault of my horse.

Dinner time?

We have a lot of work ahead of us.  Thank heaven our show season does not start until May.

In addition to the riding issues, we have scratches.  I've never had scratches before so the spot got to be a decent size before I realized it was a thing.  On Tuesday I soaked the foot in warm water and removed all the crusty stuff, then gently scrubbed with Betadine and dried thoroughly.  I then clipped the whole area very close and coated it in Wonder Dust.

Today after our ride, I removed where the crust was thickening, cleaned and dried it and applied more Wonder Dust.  I THINK it is looking better, but since this is my first experience I am only guessing.  The farrier comes on Monday and I'm sure he's seen it plenty of times.  I'll get his opinion and then call the vet if needed.  
November 8th.
November 24th, after cleaning.  :( 
Today, after a ride, a little sandy from the arena.

BUT.  I am still thankful for my stout little red horse. I am thankful for the beautiful farm we call home.  I am thankful I have a job that lets me (most of the time, anyway) have time to ride and a salary that makes horse ownership possible. I am thankful for my fun, supportive horse friends, and I am thankful for my readers that keep me thinking harder about what I do, what I say, and how I say it.

I hope you had a safe and comfortable Thanksgiving.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Clinic Success!

First off, if you get a chance to work with James Cooler of Cooler Horsemanship... DO IT.  Seriously.  I don't care if you are a trail rider or grand prix dressage, he can help you understand how to move your horse.  He was entertaining and effective and he answered all my questions and was a superb teacher and mentor.  Plus I met some cool new people.  It was such a great weekend!
James horse taking roll in what James called "the best footing" he'd been in for a while.

Kate working with her horse at liberty.

We began the clinic Friday night with a demo by James, his QH Deuce, and his half-arab Indigo.  We sat and sipped wine while James gave us a rundown of the types of skills we were going to learn over the weekend.  He showed us some VERY cool at liberty work with his two horses, including having them practice cutting with each other.  James' wife, Kate, also did some cool liberty work with her arab/friesian cross.

The work began Saturday morning.  It was cold and I was nervous.  I haven't asked much of Huck in the 2.5 months I've had him.  He's smoother and softer than he was at first and he seems to have zero intention of disobeying me. But what would happen when we were being pushed in a clinic? For TWO WHOLE DAYS?

Well... I think I fell in love with my horse.

We had a little "moment" on Saturday morning.  I was late getting tacked up and I didn't really understand the first exercise... so we were one of 8 horses (a much busier arena than I'd had him in yet) going along the rail moving a 1/2 circle on the forehand, then a 1/2 circle on the haunches.  I don't really know what happened but he had a moment of tantrum and then we went back to working.  I think I was confusing him and then I overcorrected his confusion. He didn't buck but he sort of did a twisty jump forwards.  It was done in a moment and we kept on working.

By the end of the first day we were working on moving the hip to the inside while loping and I could NOT get him to move his hip.  He was tired, I was tired, and I had taken my spurs off earlier when we were working on spins.  I ended Saturday cold, exhausted, and a little down about not getting the last exercise.

Sunday began back with the same exercise and with my humane ball-end spurs he was right with me, moving the hip as I asked.  Then we did an exercise to help prep for lead changes, something I haven't really dared to attempt yet.  I know he is trained for them, but I wanted to wait until I had "professional help" before trying.

Tired pony. Good pony.

The exercise was to take the rail but then come down the center of the arena, pushing the hip in.  Then stop and side-pass towards the new direction and ask for a lope-off.  We did that a few times and then James told us to go ahead and try a lead change.  I was so nervous I didn't even hear his instructions, but luckily Kate got it on video so I could watch it after.  It's at the end of the post. We did it!  There was a little hesitation, but considering that was his first flying change in over 2 years I'm just thrilled! I think the bobble was anticipating the stop/side pass since that's what we'd been doing.

By the end of Sunday we were very very tired, but he continued to give me so much try and zero attitude.

I really feel like I have some great tools to work with this winter, as well as some confidence in my riding and my horse.  We've come so far in such a short period of time, I cannot wait to see how far we can go.

We're having James back in February or March and I am already excited!

Happy Riding!

Here we are with James, at the end of the weekend.

Rebecca and Huck's first flying lead change during the Focus in Reining Clinic last weekend at Black Swan Farm.
Posted by Cooler Horsemanship on Thursday, November 12, 2015

Friday, November 6, 2015

Huck's New Halter

A new halter, just for my Huckleberry.

I just love it and I think Huckleberry's rather handsome in teal.  
I wanted to have a personalized  halter in our wardrobe.  I had this cute brown/pink one made for Junior a while back...

I didn't want to do the embroidery again. I didn't want to do leather with a metal plate...too English  ;) but I also don't care for the bronc style (too barrel racer), so I started looking for inspiration.    I found The Lazy H Studios LLC on Etsy.  I also found her facebook page and found a leather noseband style that I just fell in love with.  I love that I could get both his show name and his barn name on a 1" leather noseband!  It came with different conchos but I purchased copper conchos to match the halter hardware. I wanted the paint color to match the teal halter so she let me mail her the noseband piece to use for reference.

You simply cut the nylon noseband off of the halter and replace with the leather one.  I took the time to rip out the stitches "just in case" I want to have the old one stitched back on... but I do not recommend that; it took forever and I have no desire to try to sew it back on.

Lazy H was great to work with and the noseband was very reasonably priced at only $25 with free shipping.

Oh, and guess who's graduated to standing like a big boy, tied, ALONE withOUT bucking, rearing, or kicking the wall?  He even stayed quiet while I left him alone and cleaned all the stalls out of his sight!!

This weekend we have two full days of a reining clinic.  Time to figure out if I'm pressing the buttons correctly!