Saturday, January 28, 2012

Beautiful Day

 I started out this beautiful January day riding Roz, as is my normal Saturday routine. I walked him up into the forest trails near his house as a nice long 15 minute walk warm up. He was trucking right along up the trail but as soon as I turned him around he slowed to a snails pace. I think he was enjoying the time outside. Once we got to the arena I was able to put him right to work. He is becoming more responsive and has been working pretty well for me. I jumped him today as well. It was just a cross rail but I like to keep it in the back of his mind that he can jump, and I also know he enjoys the change. For how little he has been jumping he was quite good. He is always very forward to the fences but normally when he has had some time off of jumping he's wild when we start back up. Not today! I think he is finally growing up, at 19 years old.  

 After riding Roz, I headed up to NDF to ride Rhythm. We had a good ride, and enjoyed the January sunshine we saw today. Since his hock injury we haven't been doing a lot of cantering, but have gradually been adding it back in. We did the most canter work we have done in a while and he felt great. Our traver is really getting better to the right but the left is so much harder. I think it's mostly me since I tend to sit right. I try really hard to sit to the left but I feel like no matter what I do I get thrown back to the right. Hmm...good thing we have a lesson on Thursday! 
Pants was "my child" today as he is eating is pasturemates' tail! Anytime he is naughty he is mine. :) 
 We had our first lamb of the season on the farm.  Of course I had to take my new camera outside to capture the day. We should have more lambs in the next week.

Isn't he cute?

My kitty, Patience

Annie May

Paddi, staring the cat down

My old 4-H ewe Princess. She will be eleven this fall and has earned a life of retirement on the farm.  The horses aren't the only ones who think of me as the treat lady. :) 

Monday, January 23, 2012

Sunday Photos

I'm a day late with these photos but I took them yesterday at the barn. The various faces of Rhythm....
Ummm....What are you looking at?

Why am I supposed to look enthused?


Oh, I can put my ears up! :)

Mystic wasn't much better 

All he wanted to do was put his ears up away from the camera

And I was a nerd at the barn wearing 2 different boots. My right boot of my field boots wore a hole in my ankle during my last lesson....and the left boot of dress boots is out of commission with a broken zipper. Sad, I know.  

Mr Pants wanted to say hi 

And cute Mystic

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Quality Time

I got to spend some quality time with Mr. Rozzy Ridge today. I pulled his mane and took him to the arena next door to roll and play. He rolled three times and ran around a little bit. He looked super sound trotting around and I was happy to see that. Once he got his sillies out I loaded him up for a trip to NDF. We had a riding date set with April. Roz was better for her this time around and I could see that the work I have been doing with him is starting to pay off. It's amazing how much better he goes since I have learned to ride him better. :) 

Pants following the big ponies, Rhythm and Roz, up the driveway

Racing around in the sun. We have had major flooding around here so the horses were in for the past few days. 

Rozzy Ridge and April

Fancy Pants


I love this pony

Thursday, January 19, 2012

It's getting easier....

Rhythm and I had our second lesson tonight, since his injury, in November. He felt great and is definitely getting stronger. Between Rhythm and Rheiny's rehab I have been spending a lot of time in the saddle walking on a loose rein. Since I've had so much time on my hands I have been working on cementing my position especially working on my leg position so that I am not riding with such a loose knee and my toes pointing out. It's getting a lot better!!! I can feel that it is easier to keep my leg in a correct position and I'm really glad that I have been able to improve something even with the "down" time.

One of the biggest things we worked on tonight was not allowing Rhythm to slam his body around to get out of work and to get him to start bending around my leg through his ribcage. Since he is such a large horse his evasion technique tends to be to out-muscle his rider. It has been really eye opening to me to see how strong I really have to be in order to shut those ideas down. One of the main places I normally feel him throw his body around is when I pick him up from a loose rein walk to a working walk. I need to be more aggressive and insistent, shutting down his escape routes.

Tonight we got our best traver work yet. It's certainly not great at this point but it's a lot better than what we got in my last lesson. We were actually able to do a shoulder in down the wall, with a 10 meter (or slightly larger) circle in the middle of the arena, before continuing down the wall in traver. I was actually surprised that we got a sort of decent traver from it. One of the biggest reasons we have been struggling with it is because Rhythm does not want to bend through his ribcage and is falling against my inside leg when trying to execute the traver. We are definitely making progress and will continue to chip away at it. We did a little bit of canter work tonight as well and had some really nice lengthenings. On another note, I have been walking/running on the treadmill a few days a week and I noticed tonight that my fitness plan is paying off. I didn't get nearly as tired during my lesson and could have kept going.

Monday, January 16, 2012

A Day at the Races

We enjoyed a fun day at Portland Meadows. Thankfully the weather cooperated enough and we were able to go. They had just finished the Quarter Horse races when we got there, which was perfect timing in our minds. One of the QH races was 350 yards!

 The first race we watched number 2 was my favorite horse while being saddled. His name is Oh Wilson and he won! :) Yah!

#4 is a Seattle Slew Grandson (like Roz) named Inspector Shamus
#2 with the win!
Other horses getting ready to race. This one was a little excited
Then, while Tarra was down watching horses be saddled, one of the security guards told her that she and her friend could come stand right by the track for the next race. He let us come up by the winners circle and explained various things about the track before the race started. He shared with us that a security guard has to be present for every horse that is euthanized. He was with one a couple of months ago and he told the owner he was sorry about the loss of the horse. The owner responded that it was property and not a pet, before walking away. I was surprised that he would share that with us since it definitely casts a poor light on race horse owners, although I know they don't all share that view.

This photo was taken right down on the rail (while it was pouring down rain). We moved back inside for the next race. :) 
This is a 13 year old gelding who has raced 108 times and won 160k+ How amazing is that?
His name is Seattle Sailor Boy
I think this was our favorite horse of the day, an 8 year old gelding named Platinum Katillac. Isn't he handsome?!
The birthday girl waiting for the race to start
Our 2 favorites at the end of the race- Seattle Sailor Boy didn't place very well.
Platinum Katillac got 2nd!
A couple of things that struck me about the whole experience, are 1: these horses have really bad ground manners. Most of them just haul their handler along. I can definitely relate to being on the end of a few of my track horses (most recently Pretty) with them having no real respect for what you are doing. Secondly, I can't believe that all but one or two horses are run on bute and lasix. I'm not really sure why they need to be run with those things on board...

On a sad note, I found Miss Pretty up for sale on dreamhorse. If anyone is looking for an athletic prospect and missed out on her the first time around I'd be happy to talk to you about her.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Shopping & Snow

And of course riding too! I have been staying busy this past week with horses to ride and things to do, and it has been cold. I just about froze at the barn Friday evening as I had not brought enough clothes with me for riding after work. Saturday morning I was slightly overdressed but at least I wasn't freezing. I rode Roz and then took Miss Rhein for a walk. They are both a pleasure to work with and it was a nice morning. 

Saturday afternoon Tarra, April and I went to a new tack store that opened near us. We had fun looking around but none of us found anything. At one point we all had something in our hand but in the end decided against our purchases. I found a pair of breeches to show in but they were pretty thin material, and they were not as long as I would have liked them to be even though they were marked long. I tried on another pair (photo below) and although the waist size was correct the rest of them were super baggy. What's up with that!? So I struck out, expect that I found a helmet that I liked the fit and look. I figured out the size and plan to order it. 

Today we woke up to snow! You can't really tell from this picture since I didn't venture too far out in it but the dogs enjoyed the fun. We hardly ever get snow, and we only got about an inch but it's still fun. 

I rode Roz again this afternoon and he was super good! He's finally submitting to my plans a little bit better and his leg yields are improving a lot. 

Doesn't he look thrilled!? lol 
If the weather is decent tomorrow, Tarra, her mom, and I are heading up to Portland Meadows to watch some races. I have never been to the track before so I am looking forward to it!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Plugging along

There is nothing new to report around here. Rhythm is improving daily, and we are getting right back to work. We are working hard, and may debut at second level! We have a lot of things to solidify before then. I'm excited for the opportunity, and even if we aren't ready to go by the first show of the season I would expect we will be ready by the summer. Some of the main areas we still need to work are on traver, counter canter, and simple changes. Rhythm has never been shown before and I have never shown past training level, so it will definitely be a challenge. I was thinking tonight, as I rode, that I really enjoy the stamina of a thoroughbred. They seem to have such an unlimited amount of go, and I love the feeling!

This weekend should be a lot of fun. I'm heading to a new tack store, with a couple of friends on Saturday. I am looking for some show clothes since I really haven't shown over the last 2 years. I really need to get a black show helmet and a pair of white breeches. On Monday, Tarra, her mom, and I are heading up to Portland Meadows to watch some horse racing. None of us have ever been and it's always been on our list of fun things to go do sometime. I'm looking forward to it!

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Looking back

I was looking through some old photos last night and came across these pictures of Roz from 2003. He was 11 and I was 15....
This was the sale picture we used for him when we sold him (before I bought him back). Tarra doesn't think it even looks like the same horse...but I think he does. He's always been such a chunky thoroughbred. 

He's always been cute

Getting under saddle photos

This is my friend Sarah, who was also a business partner on him. :) 

I had a fantastic ride on him today! He is really starting to "get" what I am looking for from him and is becoming a more compliant about it. He is exactly what I want in my next horse. I love that he is willing and accepts most things with out a lot of fuss. I also love a nice forward horse, even if they feel a bit like a freight train some times. I am working a lot on getting him to be softer in the bridle and to improve his down transitions. He likes to dump down on his forehand through his transitions so I have been really riding him forward and up through them, keeping his hind end active. I also played around with him on counter canter today. He's actually pretty easy to do it on since he has a very manageable canter and does not know (or care to know) flying changes. I was really pleased that I was able to do counter canter both ways with out him breaking and changing his lead. I focused on really riding him through the counter canter and he stayed with me. His leg yields are coming along too. I had him quite hot today and he even spooked at some people walking along the road, which he never does. I think he really enjoyed the work, and I plan to ride him again tomorrow morning. 

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Always learning

Rhythm and I had a lesson tonight. It was our first one in 2 months! For as much time as we have had off, and the fact that we are still in rehab mode it was super good. We are really beginning to demand a soft connection from him, all the time. I get easily sucked in to having a longer, softer rein and letting him go around like that. He is perfectly happy there and it's the spot where I feel less resistance. I have noticed before that Roz is the same way. When you challenge them to take more contact and to be put together tighter they don't like it, and in Rhythm's case, at least at the walk he just tries to stop on you. This is something I need to continue working on with both horses. I need to not let them suck me in, and not settle for mediocre work. We also worked on finding a really consistent rhythm to our work and slowing everything down. We have played around with travers a few times before and got the most we have ever gotten tonight. For some reason it's really hard for me to get in the right position for this one, and I wasn't asking for enough bend through his neck. Once we worked on that a little bit it got better. Also, once we finished working on that and were just doing sitting trot he had gotten a lot lighter and easier to ride.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Saucy Sassy

In the time that Roz has been ridden by his "kid" he has really decided he likes the level of work she asks for. As my riding has improved, specifically in the last 6 months or so, he has been so mad with my demands that he be straight, forward and on the bit. He has never had a soft mouth and also hasn't had the best training. Unfortunately, when I was riding him 6 days a week I didn't have a clue how to really make him work the way I needed him to, and accepted as much as he gave me, but didn't demand anything more.  It has actually been really fun to work with him and see him improve. He is capable but definitely set in his ways. Why work harder than you have to? Lucky for me his "mad" and "naughty" is normally a shake of his head and a couple funny hops before he settles back down to work. I hope to ride him more consistently this year and to bring his training further along.