Wednesday, July 27, 2016

July with Mezza...

We can now ride with the log. Around and around we go....

 One of the plus' of ground driving!

Here is the video link--there is a big void of action at the beginning, so scroll at least a third of the way. My appologies!

This month has sped by so quickly. I have been riding Mezza in the heifer pen, and out at the equestrian center. We have gotten somewhere with the log (OK, it is really a branch--check out our video). We have also been spending time hand walking on the trail in the open space--near the traffic, crossing the road, and up along the canal. She handles that beautifully.

She is not upset by all the goings-on at the local shows, but we did spend quite a bit of time on focusing and refocusing on our latest ride there. Not skittish, just plenty curious about everything going on and was plenty happy to leave the trail group to go check (other) things out. Well, we are not ready for Golden Gate Canyon yet (check out that butterfly and you'll be at the bottom of a gorge)!

Checking out the logs on the trail

Monday, July 4, 2016

Saying Goodbye to Scout...

On Friday, July 1st, I took Scout up to the trailer, where I groomed him, and as it threatened rain, handed him off to my friend, Janice (who along with her husband, Mark, owns the property where I board Scout), and she took him up to graze him while I quickly brushed down Mezza and gave her a short graze time before putting them both back, as it started raining on all of us.
I headed on an errand, then home. An hour after I'd left, Janice called me--Scout was down, colicking. The vet arrived to give him an exam and tube him--he also gave him IV fluids. His rectal exam concerned Dr. Finley, who warned me that surgery might be his only avenue of recovery, as his intestines seemed displaced. Even though he had been up and perky (and farting) after the initial visit, later that evening he had bloated up tight with gas. On the 2nd emergency vet visit I had Scout put down, as surgery was not an option for us.
Below is my FaceBook post to Scout, I owe him so much, and miss him greatly. It has been very helpful working with Mezza during this time.

In loving memory of Scout, March 1995-July1, 2016. 
Scout was put down due to colic. He has been a wonderful teacher to me for the past 11 years. A BLM Mustang, originally bound for CSU's NFL joint program, he became my equine partner in April, 2005. Because of him, I continued my education in equine studies at Front Range Community College, and learned a great deal about insulin resistance, laminitis, and arthritis. Along the way I've met many wonderful horsemen, and have gotten to know many wonderful vets, farriers and equine industry care givers. For all of you, thank you. For Scout, I will never forget you.
Photos (next 2 below) by Jill Hinderberger

Scout before his last ride, June 26, 2016

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Sunday, back at the Equestrian Center

Scout, Mezza and I met my friend, Vanessa, and her gelding, Whiskey for a ride. It was hot, but we all had a good time.
Mezza was in heat, and decided that focus was not her thing, every horse she saw was intensely appealing. : (  So, we spent time working through that. We started in the round pen. She was that distracted!
She and I finished in the big arena. While Whisky worked on his canter and various manuvers, we worked on basics. Much better than where we'd started, if not exactly what I'd hoped for. After a lot of lateral flexion before she was ready to wait for me to ask for something, such as a disengage, and many walk/trot transitions, as we wove left, right, left.... we finally were able to lope the length of the big arena each way nicely. A good note to finish on.

During this time, Scout was tending to the weeds in a small pen, patiently waiting. I traded out Mezza for Scout. She got to relax and weed eat while Scout joined Whiskey on the trail around the center.

It was a nice day. I am in debt to Vanessa and Whiskey for being so patient!

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Saturday's time at the Equestrian Center....

It is Murphy's law that the one spot of time you pick to ride or to trailer out will be the time it decides to storm!  It wasn't a bad storm, and we got some good time in before the thunder and rain started. Mezza also got a little graze time before we headed back.
She was amazed by the Clydesdale that showed up, and then the wagon, Here's her watching the wagon being hitched (the Clydesdale is backing into the traces while she's watching). I should have taken the photo from inside the trailer!

Friday, June 24, 2016

Friday... Saying Goodbye at Brighton

Mezza got the day off today while I journeyed out with a friend to Brighton Saddlery. We spoke to Roger and his wife, Verna, and wished them well in their retirement. Their store will close in a few months, and this is their last annual saddle sale. Kinda sad, since they've been there for so long!
And, of course we checked out all the merchandise in the store!  : )

The saddle I currently use on Mezza is one Roger fit to her.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Ground Work....

Well, today was a ground work day. Now that Mezza is feeling like zooming so much, I thought we'd go through some basic ground work, practice some transitions including trot/canter and then play with our log (ok, more like a branch). The heifer pen area is fine for walk/trot, but not great riding at erratic, higher speeds. Too many speed bumps and obstacles!

OK, I'm waiting, what do you want now?

I took my camera, but didn't take video. She is coming along on the slowing--she starts nicely at the walk, the trot is still a little fast, and initially she zooms at the canter and I may need to change directions a bit. Then she slows and we can start transitions. Not the order I'd prefer, but going ok.

We also need to practice some bending separately on a shorter line, although I'm starting to see more of it. We played with the log afterward, and had a couple of times where the rope ran across her hocks when we turned. She was unflustered. We will keep on this. : )

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Tuesday on the Ground...

Had to take care of things in the morning, and got a late start. By 10am it was already quite warm (read hot). I'm thankful that I'm not in Arizona!

Warm Up...

Mezza and I started off with the usual groundwork--no round pen unless I trailer out, so I do some short line work--ask for walk and then trotting circles, with yielding the front as she leaves the starting position, and after some circles, I ask for a disengage of the hinds. This is usually followed by disengage from a standstill, and moving the fronts from a standstill. Then we check out desensitizing with the rope, then either a whip or the stick and string, and then the flag. We are at the point where there is rarely a reaction during the desensitizing, which is great. At some point we can go on without all of this, but for now it's my safety check.

Working on Canter...

Now that we've been doing the walk/trot transitions under saddle, and with turnout in the pasture, she is cantering better. Before she was having some issues with stifles catching. I did not want to canter her on a line until that was not an issue. Now, after she's warmed up at walk and trot,  I can add trot/canter transitions to help her strengthen her rear end, and especially her left side, since she prefers her right.

The log, first time...

Then, on to the log. Since she knows how to ground drive, and doesn't mind the ropes on her back legs, I'm introducing a log. I'd like to get so she doesn't mind it, and can accept pulling it. This is the first time she's watched it move on the ground.

Here is a link to the log movie:

She did quite well with this. Afterward we untacked, and took a walk in open space along the canal. We are getting farther. : )