Sunday, October 31, 2010

success :)


More to come :)

Friday, October 29, 2010

trial run with the dress!





The photoshoot is tomorrow and after preparing Lucy all week, I decided I'd be doing myself a favour by at least introducing her to the dress.

She was awesome!! I hope she's as good tomorow!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

videos from my lesson yesterday

SO. MUCH. TROTTING.

I am actually a bit sore today! Wahoo!!

Video #1

Video #2

Video #3

I feel like in some ways we have regressed, but on a positive note, she was "under" me much more than she was in front of my leg yesterday, which is a huge improvement. She does love to chug along around the ring and it is getting more and more easy to bring her back. She was also only marginally fresh yesterday, yay!!

I like how my instructor encourages me to be a little bit demanding of her. She knows what I am asking but blatantly chooses to ignore me, especially when going from the trot to the walk. You'll see I am not exactly pretty in asking her for the walk at times, but that's because she is taking half the ring to stop jigging. That's really annoying! I also like that my instructor makes me sit up and open my hip angle. Those two adjustments by themselves make so much of a difference.

Our wedding dress photoshoot is coming up on Saturday so the rest of the week will be spent bathing her if we get a nice day, making sure she's as tired as possible (which is laughable...this horse does not get tired!) and then I'll braid her on Saturday morning.

Monday, October 25, 2010

back in business (maybe)

I actually had a half decent ride yesterday, and in the indoor to boot. I knew Lucy was feeling better when I got there because she greeted me with soft eyes and pricked ears, not crazy dragon eyes and pinned ears. She was still kind of a maniac under saddle but it wasn't homicidal, more "I feel GREAT and I just want to bop around and PLAY!" I got nice work from her both directions and then let her go over the teeniest of tiny crossrails, maybe 6" off the ground. We even walked over it in both directions first. Upon our first trot-in approach, she did what I like to call a "lock and load" about three strides out and tucked her butt under herself and RAN at the jump. I was like, good lord, someone put this horse in jumpers, but preferably not me!!! haha.

Of course that meant that we had to go back and learn how to not jump a 6" crossrail at mach 3. She just gets so excited, it's ridiculous, and then once she's on the other side it's instant softness, arched neck, and she's so proud of herself. The last time I jumped her was ages ago and we ended on a really nice soft and rhythmic approach to another tiny crossrail but evidently she has forgotten all about softness and rhythm. We jumped it five times and on the last try she actually waited, so we ended on that. I cooled her out and untacked her in the indoor and immediately she took off bucking and playing around the ring, which continued for about ten minutes as I was putting everything away in the barn. I would be walking to the tack room to put something away and all of a sudden a freight train, aka Lucy , would thunder past in the indoor, and then there would be a second of silence as she flew through the air doing some wild and crazy maneuver, and then thunder again as she landed. She is NUTS but I do appreciate that she held all of that nonsense back while I was riding her...

And then it took me close to an hour to cool her out from that little extravaganza (I am really thinking about clipping her this winter, at least a trace clip, because spending an hour cooling her out every time I ride is getting old fast). We did some carrot stretches and called it a night.

Friday, October 22, 2010

why did I get a mare?

Lucy has been AWFUL this week. I was supposed to have a lesson on Wednesday and after warming her up, we decided to try again next week. She bucked, she reared, and she cavorted. She has never reared undersaddle until that ride...she was clearly saying GET OFF OF ME!

I have never had a mare before and this was one aspect of mare ownership I hoped I'd luck out with, but it appears that she is very uncomfortable when in heat. I feel kind of bad for her, actually. My barn owner said she's been hollering in her paddock all day long, and the lovely gelding in the next stall over whom she usually shares her hay with almost got his head bitten off last night.

I hope she is feeling better by the weekend because I'd really like to ride!

So now I am researching supplements for mares. So far I've gotten mixed reviews on Mare Magic (raspberry leaves). Smart Calm Ultra seems to be getting the best reviews but it's about $45/month and that is pretty pricey. Any thoughts?

Sunday, October 17, 2010

take the good with the bad.

My good friend C came to ride Lucy today. I warmed Lucy up so she could see what we've been working on since she last came to ride, and then C got on. C is much more diligent than I am and she is a really nice rider.

Lucy started out very tight and bitchy, then relaxed and gave C some nice work, then had a moment of rebellion and was a giant PITA, and then resigned herself to actually do some work and C got some REALLY nice trot and canter from her. It was a crazy ride.





Saturday, October 16, 2010

Friday, October 15, 2010

a little something to take the edge off(?)

The wedding dress photo shoot starring Lucy is scheduled for October 30th and now that I have a target date, I am trying to figure out how best to prepare my lovely mare for her stint as a model.

She has no problems wearing a tarp on her back or even her head, so I am hoping she'll accept carrying me around in a wedding dress just as easily :) To me a tarp is more scary than a wedding dress because it's crinkly, but a wedding dress is fuller and it's bright white. I just hope she can keep the aerobatics to a minimum!!

Speaking of that, another boarder said "well maybe you can give her a bit of sedative to take the edge off". I have never ridden a horse after it had been given a sedative but in theory this would be nice. I have a tube of Ace (paste) but have no idea how much of it I would give to just tone her down a bit, but obviously I don't want her to be stumbling around and she needs to look somewhat alert for the pictures. Is this a terrible idea?

sad Cairo

Cairo was spayed this week and though she was a model patient for the first two days, she is really having a tough time with the "no running and jumping" rules of her recovery.

Here she is looking very sad about not being able to play like every other seven month old puppy!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Praise

When your horse is extra good and just makes you glow with appreciation for his/her tremendous effort, how do you praise him?

Do you give a release (which is the most basic praise/reward for any horse)?

Do you give him a pat?

Do you say "good boy!!"?

I ask because when Lucy is a good girl, I make a huge deal out of it, and she responds so sweetly, arching her neck and getting a bit prance-y and in general clearly appreciating the reward. I usually do all three of the above but really say "good horse! good girl!" in a sing-song voice. I also use my voice to let her know when she's been bad, and trust me, she knows the difference.

I have gotten some strange looks from fellow boarders when I make a big deal out of her good behaviour, like "good grief, shut up already!" but at the same time I've noticed that the most praise that they give their horses is a brief pat on the shoulder.

I also take a moment after I get off after every ride to give Lucy a bit of love before I take her in the barn, and say "hey, thanks for carting my butt around for 45 minutes".

Of course at the end of the day, all she wants are treats, and lots of them. No matter how I show her I love her and am happy with her, she's like, well that's nice, but do I get a peppermint?!

Lucy the un-trail horse

Lucy was not feeling the trail horse vibe yesterday but unfortunately I wasn't sure of this until we were already 45 minutes into the ride. We went to a nearby farm with a huge trail system and she was a hot tamale as soon as we stepped on the property. She actually got set off by a huge landscaping truck pulling a huuuuge trailer with trees on it (and yeah, I'll admit that was pretty scary looking) but then it got worse when on the property we encountered a huge greenhouse with a flapping door and a random Jamaican guy on a bike.

Said Jamaican guy also came up behind us when we were on the trail. First we were walking fairly calmly down the trail, alone in our thoughts, and then we were flying forward, hind end tucked up under front, head way up in the air and ears pinned back. It was kind of a "well, CRAP!" moment and I glanced back as we were flying forward to see what the hell had spooked her. There was this Jamaican guy with his red bike peddling madly along the trail, and he continued to come up behind us as Lucy is channeling her inner Lipizzaner:



I called out to him to stop (PLEASE!) while I got the horse under control, and I spun her around so that she could see him pass us. She was happy once she saw it was just a bike and not a horse eating monster with an odd hat. The guy works at the farm, as I later found out on our way home when we saw him again and stopped to chat, and his last thing to do each day is ride his bike down the trails and check on all the crops that are in fields interspersed around the property.

We also saw about 30 turkeys, all crossing the path together in a giant gobbling herd, and she had no issue with those at all, which I of course find hilarious.

But after that, she was actually really good.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

cleaning day

I didn't ride yesterday because I spent a long time cleaning all my tack. I have been terrible about keeping everything clean this summer and we had some serious mold issues in the tack room, so I'm sure that took its toll on all my leather. I went all out, taking my bridle completely apart. It was GROSS, especially around the figure 8 piece. There was all sorts of grime caked on there that I had to get off with my fingernail, yuk! It's a really nice Pessoa bridle, too. I shouldn't have let it go that long. At least it's done now, as is my saddle, which was seriously in terrible shape too. I cleaned it really well and even went over it with a super soft brush to buff it out a bit. It looks beautiful.

Since I was in the cleaning mode I pulled Lucy out of her stall and went to town on her, too. She got her mane evened up (not pulled all the way down, but it was growing out a bit unevenly from the last time I pulled it, so I just made everything the same length), and I also clipped her bridle path. I brushed her really well and by the time I was done she was absolutely gleaming. I want to practice braiding her one day this week as I will be doing the wedding dress shoot with her in the near future and I want to braid her for that. This is why I didn't pull her mane again; I need a bit of length to braid it.

And as usual, I think every speck of dirt that was on my tack and my horse ended up on me and I went home feeling very grimy!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

stretch!


Lucy has settled right back into work and we have been having some great rides this week. I have noticed she's more "up" with the cooler weather, but she settles down nicely and seems more comfortable after five minutes or so. Kenny came to video/photograph my ride today and here's what he got:



AHH! The slouching kills me, I can't believe it was this bad. I've been really trying to work on my leg position but it's clear that my next goal needs to be to sit up!


Click to see the video.

Monday, October 4, 2010

back from Hawaii (and freezing my butt off)


Kenny and I are back from Hawaii and it was a rude awakening stepping off into the cold New England air after enjoying temperatures in the 80's all week on Kauai. We had a blast and took full advantage of the different activities offered on the island. We went deep-sea fishing, touring around the island by boat, zip lining, and to a luau. I opted not to go horseback riding. Normally I'd go but at over $100 for a two hour ride, I just couldn't justify the expense now that I have my own horse whom I can ride whenever I want!

I enjoyed what we were able to do very much and I can't believe I have to go back to work tomorrow (BOO!).

I went and saw Lucy today and she actually seemed happy to see me! She nickered to me, anyway. She looked fat, furry, and was very fresh, so I let her play in the outdoor while I got things in order and then I (quite bravely) tacked up and rode. She was pretty good but has gotten into the habit of bouncing around a bit going into the canter. It's not like she's trying to buck me off (because let me tell you, having watched her buck while playing in the outdoor, I know she could really send me flying if she wanted to!) but I still didn't appreciate it. There is a time to buck and that's not when I'm riding! The ride was more successful than I had expected, though, so I was happy with her and she got lots of cookies.

Here are some more honeymoon photos: