Friday, August 31, 2012

How Do You Eat an Elephant?

One bite at a time. Boy do I have a big one to eat. Today, I found out I have breast cancer. I found a lump less than 2 weeks ago, and since then things have been a whirlwind. I got in with a doctor right away. Next I had an ultrasound, followed by a call that I needed to have a mammogram and biopsy done "this week." I was given that information on Tuesday, had a mammogram Wednesday, a biopsy on Thursday, and was called with the biopsy results today. I don't have very much information yet but should know more on Tuesday. Your prayers and good thoughts are greatly appreciated. I trust that God will take care of me and help me through this difficult time.

Joshua 1:9 "Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go."

As far as what will happen with Chevy, Tarra has agreed to ride him some for me. Since I don't have a lot of information right now it's hard to say how much I will be up for riding. For sure I want to be spending time at the barn and getting in some horses therapy. I am really hoping that I will actually be able to ride but who knows. We were supposed to have a cross country lesson on Monday but Tarra is going to take it on her own this time.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Video of the Super Star

Video of our 2 tests from today for anyone who is interested.

Super Star

Mr. Chevy and I headed out to Two Pennies Ranch today, to take part in a dressage schooling show. My alarm didn't go off at the right time so I ended up getting up an hour and ten minutes late. Oops! I rushed around all morning to get ready. Thankfully his braids stayed in well overnight so it didn't take too long to put them up and get on the road. He unloaded quietly and we waited around a little bit before I actually got on him. I knew I didn't want to warm up that long as he is already on the lazy side. I didn't need to wear him down. He warmed up easily and was totally relaxed. When we went into the dressage court he was a little looky but other than shying away from the rail a little bit he was good. Our test was nice and consistent. I tapped him with my whip for his first canter transition and he kicked out a little bit but it was hardly noticeable. I also lost him on my left rein towards the end of my test and we almost fell in to the rail. I was able to get him straightened up before we had a real problem.

Our second test was about the same. He was tired out, making him a little bit harder to get going. He was again very consistent and our ride was very pleasant. We ended up scoring a 67.7% on our first test and a 67.3% on the second one. The main theme of our score sheets were that he needs to be more forward thinking and more through. 

Training level test 1, collective marks:
Gaits: 7
Impulsion 6.5
Submission: 7
Rider's position & seat: 7
Rider's correct & effective use of the aids: 6.5
Harmony between rider and horse: 7
"Steady and obedient- work for more energy & swing through back- throughness."

Training level test 2, collective marks:
Gaits: 7
Impulsion 6.5
Submission: 7
Rider's position & seat: 7
Rider's correct & effective use of the aids: 7.5
Harmony between rider and horse: 8
"Accurate test & organized rider- work for more energy and present the look of a 'desire' to go forward. Good riding! Willing and obedient horse!

I was very pleased with the scores and comments. We are going to continue to work over the next month and will hopefully come out even better at a league show at the same farm. 

Pretty boy
Loving this sweet pony

Pretty neck
Waiting for our turn
Waiting for Tarra
"Can I please have some?"
Second place in class 1
Back on the ranch, we got 3rd place in class 2
A big thank you to Tarra for helping me today and being the picture lady!  

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Polishing

We now have 2 more rides before our horse show on Saturday. Chevy was excellent tonight. He is becoming much more responsive to my leg and our transitions and steering are really improving. At this point I am just trying to get everything polished up to ride training level test 1 & 2 this weekend. We practiced our first test all the way through once and then I practiced several elements as we schooled. His turn on to the center line from either direction has improved a lot. Have to be really careful to not rely too much on my inside rein. He takes advantage of that any chance he gets! That's a great reminder and makes me be that much better at keeping him on my outside rein. After our crooked halt (those need lots of work) I asked him to walk on and then trot. When asked to trot he threw his head up in the air and was totally resistant. I gave a him a few sharp whacks with my whip and after kicking out, he popped in to the trot. We came down the center line and tried again. Wouldn't you know he trotted right off when asked! We schooled several more trot, walk, halt, walk, trot transitions and he was quite prompt with the up transitions. His canter transitions are also becoming much more reliable and he isn't breaking gait nearly as often as when I first got him. We worked on our medium walk, to free walk, and back to medium walk. I think we will lose a few points there.. We also practiced our stretchy trot circles. We should for sure get some stretch but I'm not sure if we will be able to keep it for the whole circle. We'll see. I was quite pleased with how good he was tonight. Hopefully we can keep it up!

I got my very own tipperary vest today! I bought it online from someone last week and it came in the mail today. It fits great and is in very good condition. I can't wait to wear it at my next lesson!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Sweet

This sweet face met me at the gate tonight. His cross country adventure didn't seem to bother him a bit.

April rode him tonight and he was quite good. He warmed up pretty nicely for me, and didn't give me any trouble when I asked him to trot. That has definitely gotten way better in the past month. I rode him around for 15-20 minutes before turning him over to April. She was impressed with how nicely he went and thought he was a very good boy.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Success

We had our first lesson today! It was far from perfect but we learned a lot and it was a good experience. Chevy was thrilled about going on a trip but I can't say I blame him since his last trailer experience was a 5 hour ride. Our lesson was with Tarra and Mystic. Both boys came off the trailer happy and ready to go. We were early so we got tacked up and walked around for a while. We told Kelsey a little bit about our horses and what we have been doing with them and then we were off. Chevy and I stuck with the little stuff which was just perfect for us. I'm still having trouble with him being squirmy after the fences. It's one of those dreadful cycles because I'm riding defensively because I expect him to be naughty, which makes me not ride him the way I need to, to make sure that he is good. Oh well. We will just keep working on it. I need to be sure to keep my leg on and ride him purposefully away from each fence so that he doesn't have a chance to kick up his heels. She was impressed with how quiet he was, commented on his lofty trot, and said that he seems very willing. We are hoping to get in 2 jumping lessons a month over the winter so that we will be ready to event! Now it's on to preparing for our show this weekend. 
Stylin' in his "fancy" halter
 
Tired out after all that work!

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Official

Chevy must be here to stay...because he got a cool new nameplate for his stall at the barn!

We had another good ride this morning. He again trotted when asked the first time! He is making a lot of progress tracking right and I am having a much better time controlling his left shoulder. I think it's a combination of me figuring out how to ride it better, and him figuring out what I am actually looking for. We worked on our 3 loop serpentine some more, adding in circles as needed to get him bending and working nicely both directions. Our canter is still one of our most rough areas, with the transitions being sloppy and him trying to break gate way too often! I think he just doesn't want to work that hard. He gave me his best forehand turns yet this morning and I think he is finally understanding what I want. 


Wednesday, August 15, 2012

HOT

We have been having some fairly hot weather for us recently. Compared to a lot of places it's really not that bad, but it's been in the 90's and I'm too much of a wimp to ride after work. Instead, I decided to get up before work to ride today. I was at the barn just a few minutes after 5am and went to grab Chevy. He wasn't sure what I was up to but was his sweet normal self. The arena was freshly manicured and we enjoyed a nice ride as the sun rose. We walked around for 5 minutes before I asked him to trot. For the FIRST time he trotted the first time I asked, and he didn't have to smack him. Yah! I think he's getting it. We again trotted around, establishing forward while riding on the quarter lines. He has made a lot of improvements over the last couple weeks. When I first got him, riding off the rail was very difficult. Now he is mostly responsive to me asking him to come off the rail and I am getting much better control of his left shoulder. We had a couple of poor canter transitions but I got after him and we had some of our nicer ones too. We practiced a few three loop serpentines and also practiced trotting down the center line. He was reasonably straight and our turn to the left was significantly better than it was last time I tried. I was off of him and heading towards home a little after 6am. I plan to ride before work the next two days. This weekend is the Willamette Country Music Festival so I will be busy with that, but I do plan to ride before heading out there in the afternoons. It should be a blast! We have our first cross country lesson on Monday and then our first horse show Saturday. He's going to be a busy pony!

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Our Best Ride Yet

I had a fantastic ride on Chevy tonight. He has had the last 2 days off as I have had plans. It was still quite warm when I got out to ride him around 5:30 tonight. I wasn't feeling super motivated but knew I needed to ride. We have a horse show only 2 weeks away and I would like to be as prepared as possible. I started our ride but riding him on the quarter line and establishing forward at the trot. He tends to be lazy and has to test the waters to see if I am really serious that he needs to go forward. When I picked up my reins to ask him to trot the first time he got asked a couple times to pick up the trot before he got a sharp smack with my whip. He hopped to it and we trotted down the rail before I brought him back to the walk and tried again. He went promptly into the trot the second time around. I focused on keeping my leg long and active, and also turning my body with him. Once I got him really moving forward I asked him to soften to the bit and he easily became round and soft. We did lots of changes of direction and some transitions.

 We got our best canter transitions ever tonight. Previously he has been super lazy about them, running in to the canter or just barely responding when I ask him to go. I have been reinforcing my request with both the whip and my voice. We only had one or two bad transitions up to the canter and three or four very prompt good ones. I was glad to see some improvement with those. He was also the most forward he has ever been with me. Totally ready to go and listening to what I want. I'm still having trouble with him falling through my aids on his left side. I think we will definitely need to turn on to the center line from the left for this first show. Otherwise we may totally miss the center line. Oops! I've also been throwing in a few forehand turns every ride which seem to be getting a little bit. We added a very small amount of leg yielding at the walk tonight. He's very bendy through his neck so I am really going to have to work at keeping him straight while we practice it. We also started playing with a trot lengthening and some stretchy trot. I was really pleased with how engaged he was in our work tonight. Auntie Tarra may take him for a spin tomorrow.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Round 2

We had round 2 of jumping Chevy tonight. Last week was interesting to say the least and definitely left me feeling like we had work to do. Tonight was SO much better. I think he was just feeling revved up after several weeks with out jumping. I warmed him up a little harder tonight and had brought out Roz's cross country bit just in case I needed it. We warmed up over the same cross rail as last time but we had made it part of a line. The first couple times over the cross rail I could feel him pulling towards the second fence in the line. The third time through I decided to give it a go. He jumped it with out any problems.We also jumped the same grid as last week with a couple fences slightly bigger and no ground rails. He didn't offer to buck after any of the fences tonight and was actually quite lazy. Yah!





Thursday, August 2, 2012

Yee Haw

Chevy and I started jumping today! He and I have both jumped previously but not together, and neither of us that recently. I last jumped Roz sometime in early this year, before he went lame. Chevy has had at least a month since he was last jumped. He was quite enthusiastic. Today was my first day really riding him outside. He warmed up pretty well and in some ways was almost easier outside. In the arena he really drifts to the rail but outside with out a rail to drift to he wasn't as squirmy. We jumped one fence and he took it with out issue. After a walk break we started back up. Taking our cross rail in the direction of the barn we jumped the fence and off Chevy went. He threw in a buck, and crow hopped away from the fence. Once I got him stopped we jumped back and forth, stopping on each side. He settled down and we headed off to jump through our little gymnastics. He tried a little more funny business but overall he was better. I think he was just excited about it, although that doesn't excuse him from behaving. We are planning to jump 2-3 times per week for the next couple of months. Here's a short video from today. 

Giving him a pat for being a good boy
This cutie pie meets me at the gate every night