Monday, July 30, 2012

A Hoss and Scout day

Mike and Hoss with storm coming
The storms came in early today, but Mike and I had Hoss out in the field before they arrived. We have been trading off riding him, as Scout has been out of commission for quite awhile. I finally have my own set of reins so I don't have to shorten Mike's by tying knots in them!

After riding about the field as a warm up we dodged the storm and headed to the outdoor arena to join in some fun with cones. Hoss seemed to enjoy it as much as we did!

Sheree and Amazonia placing their cone

Megan and Kaya picking up their cone

Lindsay and Bri both riding Smoke

Smoke doing double duty!

Katie and Hoss placing their cone

Hoss appears to be enjoying himself!

Later I took Scout to the barn and tacked him up in a surcingle, blanket and side pull. We did some long lining and ground driving in the outdoor arena. It rained a bit, but not hard enough to make us stop. Once the ground got damp Scout was really bent on getting down to roll, so I had my work cut out for me to keep him going. He did well.

Upon asking for him to back in the lines at the end, he started swishing his tail and stomping his right hind leg. I'm noting this because it may mean the left hock is bothering him again. He definitely liked getting out and getting attention!

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Mezza Saturday

It was warm, but Mezza was happy to come out. I stalked her, then asked for some small circles on a long lead rope at the walk and at the trot. We practiced walking, stopping, and a few turns.

We left the round pen and went into the barn to groom and tack up. The flies are awful this time of year, and I am so proud of her the way she stands for the fly spray!

Once groomed and tacked up we headed back up to the round pen and longed at the walk and trot on the longer line using the side pull. I then added the second line, and practiced flipping each line over her back; she stands really well for that.

We practiced in the long lines and worked a little on turns along the rail. We finished the lines by having me ground drive her a short distance, whoa, and then back. I removed the lines and side pull, put her halter back on, and out we went for a walk to the east end of the property. We practiced the trot at side and the turn on the hinds briefly in the outdoor arena and then headed for the trailer.

At the trailer I tied her, gave her a little hay, and unsaddled and took off her sport boots. We walked back to her pen, and I took off her halter and rubbed her and said 'good by'.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

An eventful day with Hoss and Scout

My husband, Mike, and I loaded up Hoss this morning and headed out for the Equestrian Center!  Hoss was not thrilled with riding alone in the trailer--took me a few minutes to convince him to stand alone quietly in the trailer so I could tie, and he whinnied as we left the farm, but was well mannered and stood well for tacking up as he was tied to the trailer.


Mike and I (and I think Hoss) had a great time exploring the trail around the canal. It was hot, so we quit after a little more than an hour. Hoss actually drank from the tank while we were there, and we all relaxed together before loading him. He did not want to stand alone in the trailer (again), so we got in and out several times, and he had to circle if he didn't willingly get in. We need to trailer him a lot more in general, and a lot more on his own! The big plus was that he wasn't an anxious sweaty wreak after trailering, and he was polite and quiet!

Later I trailered Scout over for his chiropractor appointment. His back is a lot better, only minor soreness in the sacral area, and a little in the withers. Dr. Deb Schlutz has showed me a couple of stretches, one of which I knew from Kim Cavanah. Stretching the rear leg forward and holding it for up to 30  seconds, then increasing the stretch (gently) as the leg permits has helped to release the over tight right hamstring at the same time as Dr. Schlutz has worked to free the lower back where it was caught down from the extreme bucking.

Scout should be able to be ridden again this next month!  I will need to keep up on the stretches and watch the arthritis in his left hock closely. We still have a lot of ground driving over poles etc. to work in to the schedule, but I'm elated!!  : - )

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Mezza Practice... Wednesday, July 23

Today Mezza got a variety of practice: We started in the round pen where she bounced a bit, then trimmed all the plant life within easy reach.

We longed at the walk and trot in both directions, did  several turns on the fores, and just enough turns on the hinds to stop at a really nice place!

Then I ground tied her in the center of the pen, practiced squaring her up, and groomed her. She is so easy to groom right now, and her tail is still really well conditioned and combs out easily.

We left the round pen and walked over to the gooseneck trailer. She eyed the Alpacas suspiciously for a few minutes. Then I opened up the back, and loaded her up twice, nice and easy. Didn't hurt that there was a little left over hay toward far end of the trailer!  I turned her to take her out and she hopped right out both times after waiting for me.

We will need to revisit the stall for backing out a little longer, and then we can work on backing out of the trailer. A good day!

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Mezza's first show!

It's July 15, I'm up at 5 a.m. getting ready (read coffee in hand) and then heading out to the barn to have Mezza ready when Dawn arrives with the trailer.

We'd spent the previous day giving Mezza her first official bath (one that wasn't just water). Yesterday she was wonderful about standing for the bath, although you could tell she thought the conditioner after the shampoo was taking too long!

So this morning I stalked her, and practiced a few in-hand moves (turns and backing) for show prep. Then I took her to the tie rail and undid all the bands from her mane and unbraided and fluffed her tail.

I'd dug out the hand razor we always use on Hoss and Scout--and shaved off her whiskers. She'd been great about the clippers around her fetlocks, but we'd only practiced near her ears and face, so I cleaned those up with no problem.

I only cleaned her hooves and brushed her until we got to the Equestrian Center, since dust would stick to the show shine once it was applied to her hooves.

She loaded up on the trailer this time like a pro, and had her first ride alone. Once there we let her eat while Dawn registered and I finished beautifying her. Dawn's daughter, Jen arrived just in time, and we changed out Mezza's halter for the pretty show version.

I think both Mezza and I were in a trance for the halter show--it was a wonderful learning experience--she was well mannered around us and the other horses before going in, but we both froze a bit--she didn't want to trot, and I forgot to set her up for the judge!  Ouch!!

Before I took her in for Showmanship, we did a "review". I asked for something, and I wanted a "try". So we went through each turn, the back, and the trot separately.

Mezza did a good job with me in Showmanship. There is still tons to improve on. There were about 13 of us, Mezza and I didn't place, but that was not the point. We figured out we both can have stage fright, and that we just need to refresh. I thought she did great, and we ended with her loading up beautifully again to go home!

The point I take home is we're not working for the show, we're preparing for life, and this is one part of it. Thank you Dawn and Jen for taking the time to make this possible!

There's plenty to practice on always.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Scout in the long lines

Today I spent time with Scout. He got some good grooming in which he enjoyed, and then I tacked him up in the surcingle and side pull and we worked at ground driving, and a little long lining in the indoor arena for about 20 minutes around the arena and over poles.

He saw the chiropractor last week, and had his 7th cervical and his first thoracic vertibrae put back in place. She worked on his LS joint area too. The first two adjustments seem to have held, but the lower back has not. She does not want him ridden or worked in small circles until that one stays in place. He did a great job for me, and was very willing. He really likes the attention. We will have to see what happens with the lower back. I stretched out his hind legs afterwards, and he happily walked back to his pen with me.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Mezza revisits the obstacle course

Today was hot, but that did not stop us!  Mezza watched me like a hawk yesteday, neighing every time I walked by, so she was happy to come out today. As both round pens were in use, we headed down to the indoor arena, and started our session with a longe at the walk and trot over ground poles. Then I had her do the turns (bends) on the longe line, where I toss the rope across her back just behind her shoulder, as I stand to one side of her neck, then walk to the side I tossed it to, pick it up, walk kind of towards her rear, flip it over her butt, and ask her to turn around. She is doing those really well!

It was good practice for her to start in the arena when there was someone riding in there--she has to be used to that for shows. Once the rider left, we worked on some in-hand turns (fores and hinds), backing and walking and trotting at side. The trotting at side started out with her getting ahead, so we went back to walking at side, and then "whoaing". Once she paid attention, we added the trot back in, but only for several paces before asking for a walk again. If she started to scoot ahead, I held the rope or end of the dressage whip in front of her face.  Once we did well, I stopped, and then turned her loose for a break. She was relaxed, and just ambled about for a bit.

So I clicked the lead line on and we went out and groomed and put her sport boots on and headed out to the small field with the obstacle course. We were all alone, and started by walking past all the jumps. One of the ones with telephone poles we both hopped over and proceeded through all of the obstacles:  the 'boxes' made of poles, walked around all of the tires, through the 'W' made of raised poles, over the tarp that is held down between 2 telephone poles, over the 4 or so ground poles, and finally, over the 'bridge'. This time she followed me over the bridge with no problem, but didn't really want to walk over it while I walked beside her. That we will have to practice more. I am really proud of her!

We finished up by walking out to the trailer, where I took off her boots and put fly spray on her, then gave her a few timothy pellets before walking and trotting her back to her pen. The walk and trot back were 'right on', she was in fine form!!