Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Preparing for the Trails...

Yesterday I loaded up both Mezza and Scout, my Mustang, and headed to the local equestrian center. There I met up with a friend and fellow horsewoman, Vanessa, who has two wonderful trail wise Appys. Her youngest is a 4-year old who she started and regularly takes out on the trails. I've only had Mezza out of the arena twice before, (last summer), but she has been doing so well in the heifer pen that I think we can take another step forward.

Vanessa and Lady

I warmed Mezza up from the ground--going through her gaits in the round pen, before tacking her up. Scout took his post in a pen, where he did some weed wacking.  Vanessa and I then proceeded to the arena. Mezza and I worked on some in-hand circles, disengaging and desensitizing and then I mounted up and went through lateral flexion and disengaging before heading off.

We worked on walking and trotting on a loose rein, making sure there were no places we were getting preoccupied with. Her head carriage was a little high, and her stops need some review. Both had improved enough by the time we were ready to leave the arena that I felt good about going out.

We ended with a loop around the interior of the equestrian center. All went well!

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

The Third Week with Mezza...

Lots of good things are happening, little by little. I have been taking advantage of the heifer pen as much as possible, since today the heifers left for the high country : (

When not muddy, Mezza and I have been hand walking in the heifer pen; doing ground work in there, and then doing mounted work. She has been learning she can move the 3 heifers, who are quite gentle.

In hand...

Waiting for action...

Ah ha...let's watch it!

Riding around and past the 'girls'

Hanging out and watching

We also reviewed the trailer a few days ago, since she had been somewhat uptight about it the day she arrived. We literally spent an hour practicing loading and unloading, with short walks and breaks in between. At the end, she simply relaxed, sighed and stood, let me back her out, came back in, and finally backed out for me a last time in a nice, relaxed state. 

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Preparing to Ride in the Heifer Pen

Here is a video showing me leading Mezza through the heifers before getting on her. Every chance I got I took her in the pen, we did some groundwork and walked through and around the heifers. Then she was relaxed when I got on and rode around them.

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Day 8 with Mezza...

Well most of the rain has passed on, leaving MUD. Yesterday everything was slick as snot, but, today the mud is drying, and it was nice enough to get out and lead around and graze. Here, Miss Mezza is sporting some extra paint colors. Not touching this till the pen is a little dryer!  : )

Happily grazing

I think your nose needs to grow into this halter....

Friday, May 6, 2016

Day 6 with Mezza

Yesterday (Day 5) Mezza saw the farrier, and we continued with grooming and grazing. She will go barefoot for awhile as we work on soft ground and then probably need to be reshod later on.

Today, however, Mezza and I spent time reviewing both sensitizing (asking to move), and desensitizing (relaxation while everything else is moving). We moved on through nearly all of it with only a few spots that seem to need more attending to.

Once that was addressed, I tacked her up, and we took a walk in the heifer pen, where she was initially a bit wary. We started with me leading her. She relaxed pretty quickly as she learned the heifers would back off when we approached. The pen is fairly large, and when she lost focus I'd ask for something--a circle, a disengage, a turn. We desensitized again, and when that seemed good,  I got on and worked on lateral flexion and disengaging. She was awesome!  Then it started to thunder so we finished up there for the day. Sorry not to have pictures in the pen, I put the camera away when I thought we might get rained on. I'll try for pics again next time!

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Day 4 with Mezza

The weather has been our friend, and the mud has dried up nicely. I had Mezza out for a walk, heading up the driveway to check out things, grazing on the way. She got about 20 minutes of grazing and some grooming. We finished off by washing most of the mud off of her lower legs and feet.
Now that it's not slick we can venture into new areas, like the cow pen....

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Settling In

Yesterday's weather gave us a break, and except for the mud everything else was welcome!  It was mild, sunny, no bugs.
Mezza is adjusting to her neighbors, a gaited pony and an Appy. I had pulled her blanket in the morning, and she'd taken full advantage of the mud and sun. So, we did some grooming. The below pics are before, but I must say I didn't get all of it!

Mezza has decided the hay belongs on the ground, not in the feeder...

Today, when I arrived in the afternoon, Mezza was happy to see me, and waited while I groomed Scout, my Mustang, and handgrazed him. I introduced them across the fence. No squealing or antics, Mezza was more interested in him than he in her, as he was all about grazing. When I finished with him, she politely waited for me to groom her, and then we went for a short graze and short walk, followed by grain/supplement and ending with putting fly repellant in her ears and a fly mask on. 

Mezza (center) with Kirk, left, and Sugar, right.

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Leasing Mezza for the Summer!

Mezza and I get the summer together!

Dawn trailered Mezza down today. Mezza just had her 6th birthday on April 20th--so hard to believe!
I am so excited to be able to ride Mezza this spring and summer! Our big goal is to get out on the trails.
from left to right: Mezza, Megan Steele, Lindsay Steele, Dawn Dooley

We started on this goal (among several) last fall at a clinic, and then at the equestrian center.
Last August I had the opportunity to take Mezza to a clinic in Platteville, CO that Kristi Plutt hosted for Joe Wolter. We worked on several things--not being attached/spooky at any part of the arena (this included getting rid of wanting to be near the gate, being happy to hang out down near the banner attached at the far end of the arena with the cattle on the other side) and loping and trotting in a relaxed manner all over the arena.
The next step was an introduction to grouping the cattle together and holding the herd, then moving through the herd, then finally separating out a heifer and moving it. Mezza decided she likes that quite well! At the end of all that we rode out of the arena, and Mezza and I were stationed so that when the cattle were moved back to their home corral they would turn at the correct place. It all went well. : )
Since that clinic, I've only ridden Mezza 2 or 3 times, one of which included around the perimeter of the equestrian center. For the past few months Megan has been riding her in an arena to keep her fit. (Thank you Megan!) Now we get the chance to again work on getting out of the arena.