Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Success

After attending the welsh show, and learning that there were a couple of things I could/should have clipped/trimmed on Emi, I figured it was time to come back to our clipper issue. I pulled them out Monday night and messed around with them. She's really not scared. She will let me rub them on her neck and back on her body but doesn't like them near her face. Obviously that's not going to work out so well. I'd basically get her to accept them for a moment then remove them and give her a cookie, then repeat.

Tuesday night I put my hand that was holding the clippers on the side of her muzzle and just held it there until she quit tossing her head. She caught on quickly and soon was standing quietly for me to place my hand on her. I felt like that was a good breakthrough and we quit there.

Tonight we built on that and I was able to clip her muzzle fairly easily. Miss Emi is learning that her mother will get her own way. I'm going to give her a few days off from that form of pony torture before I attempt a bridle (halter) path. I know that will have it's own challenges but I'm sure we can do it. I'm definitely thinking I've got one smart little girl.
A clean muzzle

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Blog Hop: Do Over

"There will always be times you wish you could go back and maybe ride straighter or better (or not circling in your class because you would have placed better..) sometimes they are brain dead mistakes, sometimes well intentioned mistakes.  If you could have 1 do-over in your horse life, what would it be?"

Although I've definitely made mistakes in my horse life, for the most part those mistakes led me to where I am at now so I have very few real regrets. I believe that things happen for a reason.  If some things hadn't gone wrong I wouldn't have ever been pushed in the direction that I was, nor would I be where I'm at now. That being said, hindsight is definitely 20/20 and there are things that cross my mind when this comes up. 


The fist thing I would love a "do-over" for would be the time spent working with horses that were not going to do the job I wanted them to do. I would have taken the hint much more quickly and I definitely wouldn't have felt so bad about "giving up" on them. 
The second thing would be that I'd love to have the 11 year old Roz back. I often think of all of the awesome things Roz and I could have done together "if I knew then what I know now."  We could have definitely made it much further in both dressage and eventing. He's got great gaits and a good brain. Even still, he came in to my life at a time when my confidence really needed him and he's been an awesome horse for me. 


The younger version of Roz and I. 










Sunday, April 27, 2014

Show Report

We did it. The baby attended her first horse show and we had a good experience. This was my first breed show so we definitely learned a few things for next time! I have so much to say I'm not sure where to start! This was a welsh/open show so Tarra brought Mystic along.

Telling the baby girl that she's okay
We left the barn at 5:15am in order to be at the show grounds by 6:30. Emi loaded well, needing very little prodding by Tarra. Mystic hopped right in and off we went. When we got to the show, April headed to the office to get us checked in and Tarra and I walked the ponies around. Emi was super good and although interested in her surroundings she was pretty darn chill. That was cool.

We picked a couple of stalls for them and started bringing in their hay and water buckets. The big reason we got to the show so early was because Emi needed to be measured. I asked around to find out where the measuring was being done. One of the people who was doing the measuring was stabled right across the isle from us. They asked how old my horse was and I told them 10 months. At that point they told me I actually only had to have her measured if I was showing in riding classes. That was slightly annoying since I had specifically emailed the show secretary to ask about the need to have her measured, and they said she did need to be measured. Umm....we definitely could have slept for at least another hour! I did recheck the rules and the show info to see if I missed a line about measuring being for riding horses only....but I didn't!

At that point we went in to the main arena and sat around for a while, waiting for the show to start at 8am. It was closing in on 8 with out a lot of activity going on in the arena when they announced that the show was delayed and would actually not start until 8:30. 8:30 turned in to probably 8:45 before the first horse went in the ring. We watched a few classes and then ran in to Emi's breeder. We chatted with her before going to get Emi ready. I got my show clothes on while Tarra and April got Emi cleaned up.


She was wound up coming out of her stall so we got to work walking. She was being pushy but not doing anything crazy. Finally it was our turn to go in the ring. We trotted right in and around the big indoor arena and she was awesome! She trotted right with me, didn't spook at anything and was a super good girl (video evidence here). It was really the best trotting in hand we have ever had, with her ears up and no funny business. We had some trouble with standing nicely, and that's something we need to start working on. Emi got first in that class (Welsh C/D colts & fillies 2 and under). In the interest of full disclosure, she was also the only horse in her class. We got to go back in for the championship class but didn't place against the other 3 full grown horses.

Trotting like such a good girl

Standing for the judges
Checking out her blue ribbon
By the end of the championship class Emi was pretty done and I was ready to get her put away. She settled into her stall and I left her alone for a bit before pulling her back out for her open halter class. The structure of the open halter class had a lot less trotting. Again she got first, and was the only horse in her class. This time the judge told me that she was going to grow up to be a real cutie.


Tarra did her halter class right after Emi and I and then we put the horses away and headed out for lunch. When we got back Emi was standing along the back wall of her stall napping. She had eaten quite a bit of hay and seemed pretty happy. It turns out the show was taking 45 minute break, then they had about another hour of showing before taking a 25 minute lunch break. Then...at the end of the 25 minute lunch break they drug the arena. By the middle of the afternoon we were definitely missing our normal dressage/eventing shows which actually give you ride times! The show itself didn't have very many entries so I'm surprised that it took as long as it did.

Wimpy ribbons but Emi's first and definitely the right color. :) 
Finally showing together again! 
Lucky for me I had good company and we had fun anyway. There were some seriously cute ponies and I enjoyed watching the driving classes. The welsh riding classes were also pretty entertaining and were a cross between welsh pony races and a welsh pony rodeo. Lol. Mystic was awesome (as usual) and won both of his classes. Once he finished we got to work cleaning up so we could go. We had just taken our hay/buckets back to the trailer and were grabbing horses when someone came over to tell us that they needed Tarra back at the arena for a ride off for high point. We tacked Mystic back up, she got re-dressed and off they went to win!

What's up mom?!
Once we were done (for real) we loaded the ponies up and headed for home. Emi loaded pretty easily again, with just a couple of taps from April. Both horses hauled super well both on the way up and on the way home and Emi traveled like a big girl tied in to the front spot in the trailer. A huge thank you to Tarra for bringing Mystic along, and for all of the help she and April gave me.
So cute!
Quite honestly I was a bit underwhelmed by my first welsh show experience. As you can tell, the show was fairly disorganized. Also, as someone who is new to the welsh show world I feel like their rules are super vague and it's hard to know what it really expected of you. I'd much rather have stuff spelled out than be left guessing! I also didn't think the people were all that friendly or welcoming. Although I had mixed feelings about the show itself, I've already printed my entry for the next one in June. It's supposed to be bigger than this one and I assume it will be run a bit differently.

As far as Emi goes I was seriously thrilled with what a good girl she was. I learned some things about her turn out for next time and I also know we need to work on standing for the judge. For people who have shown at breed shows/halter classes, how do you train them to arch their neck and put their ears up?

Friday, April 25, 2014

Ready, Set, Show

Emi's first horse show is tomorrow! I can't believe it's already here. I took her up to NDF this evening for her bath. Of course, today was the first time I've ever had trouble loading her. I walked her up to the trailer and stepped in like normal. She usually takes a minute or so to hop in. Since she does end up getting in I haven't made an issue out of it. Well a minuted passed and you could tell she wasn't even considering getting in. What kind of poor timing is that!? Since I was by myself I had to get a little bit creative to get her in. I ended up grabbing my lunge line so I could wrap that around one of the bars at the front of the trailer and be able to keep her head pointing in the right direction. Some tapping with the dressage whip and finally a couple of good pops and the pony jumped in.

She got lots of praise and seemed pretty unconcerned once in. I closed the divider and tied her up like a big girl. She stood quietly and hauled nicely up to the barn. I was pleased that she handled the pressure well and didn't melt down. I imagine we will have to discuss the issue a couple more times, but she might surprise me.

Once we got to the barn she unloaded nicely and we went into the arena with Tarra and Mystic. I walked her around a bit and then handed her over to Tarra for some trotting. She ponied her around for a few minutes before passing her back to me. I messed around with getting her set up to be judged and I did a tiny bit of trotting in hand.

Then it was over to the barn for her first big girl bath. We gave her a sponge bath at a month or two but beyond that she hasn't ever had a real bath. My friend (the owner of NDF) was super nice to let me bring Emi up to use their warm water wash rack. We only have the cold hose at home and it is definitely not warm enough for the cold hose. Emi was quite good. She was a bit surprised right at first but didn't really seem to mind it. I did a quick job but she definitely looks a lot better.




Finally she got to have a sleepover at the barn and wear a blanket. She wasn't super thrilled with her accommodations at first but she settled in and was doing well when I left. Little does she realize that tonight is just the beginning of her new experiences this weekend!


I came home and finished up taking care of Roz. He seems totally fine home alone, although I'm sure he will be happy to see her tomorrow afternoon. Anyway, I've got to get to bed as my wake up call is going to come way too early!

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Lesson #4

Due to horse soundness issues I missed my lesson last week but I was able to pick back up tonight. I rode Millie again and did a better job with her this time around. I got on top of her more quickly and got her in front of my leg, resulting in nicer work throughout the whole lesson. We worked on doing turn on the haunch, leg yields, sitting trot, serpentines, lengthenings, and simple changes. We had a couple of beautiful simple changes. The first one I used too much hand and she almost stopped completely. The next few I just thought trot and used a little half halt for the transition. I feel like I'm having an easier time getting my position in the right spot. I'm still being reminded about my seat, to make sure I'm not tipping my pelvis forward and using a driving seat. It's a subtle change but I can definitely feel the difference. I am also doing a better job of riding more accurately and exactly. It's amazing what a little bit of instruction will do for you!

Towards the end of my lesson the barn owner/other instructor was watching me ride and commented that I was a beautiful rider. It's always nice to get positive feed back! She was somewhat astonished that I had a pony at home who is expected to be 14.3hh. She is a hunter/jumper person and thought that with my beautiful long legs I should be on a horse that was 16.2hh at least. It was pretty funny chat with her and you could tell she just didn't understand why I would want to own a baby welsh cob. I told her I know we wouldn't make a good hunter pair but that she was going to be a great dressage and eventing horse.

When I got home Emi was all sorts of wound up. I think it's just from our stormy weather, and maybe because I was late for dinner. She did settle down but it was strange to see her amped up like that. It's probably good show prep since I have a feeling she might be a bit of a handful. Friday night she gets to go to NDF for a bath and a sleepover prior to loading up at 5am for the show. It's going to be one big learning experience for the baby. I bet she will sleep well Saturday night.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Blog Hop: Appreciating What You Have

Let's take a moment to appreciate the Pros of our current ponies, whether you own them or just ride them in lessons. 


I think this is a timely Blog Hop. It's always good to think of what you do have rather than what you don't have. 

Pro's of Roz:

  • He's adorable
  • He's fun to ride and I'm blessed to still be riding him at 22
  • He's trustworthy
  • He's been my buddy for almost 8 years and I know him well
  • He's becoming a great baby sitter



Pro's of Emi
  • She's oh so sweet
  • She's one smart cookie
  • She's a lovely mover
  • She has so much potential for what I plan to do
  • She's young
  • She's by my favorite stallion, North Forks Cardi






Thursday, April 17, 2014

TBT

I'd say she's grown a bit in the past 9 months! 

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Review: Micklem Bridle

Like so many others, I have been intrigued by the Micklem bridle for a long time. I like the idea behind the design and that someone actually put some thought in to what we are using on our horse. Roz tends to be difficult in the bridle and I felt it was worth a try. I finally bit the bullet and decided to purchase one for him. I started out with a cob sized bridle since he has a pretty refined thorougbred head. It did not fit him at all. The length was good but none of the straps would buckle(under his chin and jaw). I resold that one and moved to a horse size.

My first impression of the new horse sized one (the cob was used), was that the leather was not very nice. It came out stiff and despite continued work the leather is still not breaking in that well. It was also a little bit difficult to fit. I did a lot of adjusting with it. I tried using the bit clips that came with it but I never did find a way to adjust them where I liked them.  Now that I finally have it adjusted it's very easy to put on.

Roz seems to really like this bridle. Since using it, he is much less resistant and is lighter in the bridle.   This is really the easiest he has ever been. Tarra has also noticed that he's looking better. One other interesting thing is that I haven't noticed him scratching his face nearly as much at the end of a ride. I'd say he is definitely happier in this bridle.

As far as how it looks on him, I think it's fine. His cutest look (imo) is his figure eight. But really, when you have a face as cute as his, it doesn't matter what his bridle looks like!

Monday, April 14, 2014

Did It

Emi went on her first tied, divider closed trailer ride...and we survived! Tarra came over to help and I loaded her up with out assistance. I didn't want any help since I'm going to have to be able to load her on my own most of the time. I tied her up and closed the divider. She whinnied and was dancing around in the space. Tarra had Roz and loaded him right up. As soon as he was settled we got in the truck and off we went. I took us on a 15 minute trailer ride around the neighborhood before returning home. They hauled quietly and I never felt them banging around.

Emi whinnied at me as soon as I stopped at home and started talking to her. Tarra grabbed Roz and I went in to get Emi. She was ready to get out but wasn't too anxious. In fact, she pooped for the first time when I was getting her out. Once I untied her I asked her to take a couple steps forward since she had been trying to get out. She stepped up nicely and I gave her a cookie before turning her around to unload. She hopped right out and no one seemed any worse for the wear. I'd consider that a great practice run, and feel more comfortable about her traveling tied to the horse show in a couple of weeks.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Fun!

I don't have anything too exciting to report. The weather has been amazing! Sunny and in the low 70's. I think the rain is supposed to return this week. Roz and Emi have been loving their time on the pasture and I'm looking forward to them being back out 24x7. The photos of them were taken on Friday night. I think Emi is starting to look so much more grown up in the picture below. She's almost 10 months old!


 Saturday I headed up to Devonwood to watch Tarra show. I'll let her tell you all about it but I thought I'd post a few pretty pictures I took. Our next show is 2 weekends from now with Emi and Mystic. I'm looking forward to it.




Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Discipline & Details

It was finally a lesson night! I missed my lesson two weeks ago due to having Mystic to ride, and then the next week my lesson horse was lame. She's improving but was not ready to go tonight, so I rode a different horse. The horse I rode tonight, Millie, was pretty similar to Fauna but had a much nicer canter. I also rode in my first CWD tonight....I think Emi and I might need one. Talk about comfortable! 

Both Millie and Fauna are quite lazy and you really have to require they carry you around, rather than you doing all of the work to keep them going. I was too tentative at first with using the whip as strongly as I needed to. Part way through the lesson I got after her more aggressively and felt her change gears. Since I finally had her in front of my leg, things really started to flow. I've been impressed with how responsive these horses have been in their lateral work. We did some leg yields and Millie was very quick to move off of my leg. They were super easy. 

We discussed and practiced turn on the haunches. What I was envisioning and what she meant were two different things. This is definitely something Roz and I will start playing with. We did some sitting trot work that definitely left my core burning. You don't realize how many muscles it takes to sit well! I also got to do a couple of flying changes. They were both pretty accurate and it was fun. There's always more to work on but I felt good about where we ended up. My main take away from all of this is really that I need to raise my standards and expect/require quality work all of the time. This really just takes me riding a more proactively and staying on top of the details. I've spent too much time riding green horses who I was just happy to get going around with out bucking me off. Haha. Now I've got to work on being more disciplined and start focusing on the details. They make all the difference!

My horses were out in the pasture when I got home and it was almost dark. I headed out to the barn to get them their grain. They grazed while I got it ready and poured it in their buckets. I went out to the pasture to roust them out. I got part way to them and Emi picked her head up and followed me back to her grain. Once I had her contained I went back out to the pasture for Roz. I got with in about 10 feet of him and he stopped eating and started walking towards me. He stopped once to grab another mouthful but kept following me. I was so impressed that they both willingly left the green grass with out me even having to touch them. You've got to love two sweet "puppy dog" ponies. 
Seriously...what's not to love about that face!?

Monday, April 7, 2014

April Goals

March Goals Review

1) We definitely have plans for another field trip. Mainly we need to practice for showing in hand. 

Since I last wrote Emi has been on two field trips and our in hand work is getting much better!


2) Put her halter on more frequently, particularly when she's running around.  I watched a video done by Jessica Wisdom, regarding showing in hand. She talked about making sure your horse, especially if you have a filly, was used to whatever show equipment you planned to use. Otherwise you may have a horse that was shaking it's head and pinning its ears. We had lots of head shaking and angry ears while trotting in hand last week. She really hasn't worn her halter that much, so I think it could be good to give her more time to get used to ignoring it moving around on her head. 

I was much more diligent with this at the beginning of the month. The last week or two I have been a bit more lazy. With the show coming up at the end of the month I definitely need to get back at it. 

April Goals

Things are heating up! Our first show is 3 weeks from today. 

1) I've got to practice hauling her tied. It's not something I've done yet, but I really do need to. For the show Emi will be loaded first and then we will head up the road to NDF to get Mystic. Tarra is going to help me with this on Monday. 

2) The show! My goal is to have a positive first horse show with the little lady. I'm sure she's going to be a little bit freaked out but I think she will do well. Hopefully the judge will be able to tell we have been practicing! 

Pictures of the kids playing in the pasture tonight. 






Sunday, April 6, 2014

Sound!

I took Rozzy Ridge up to NDF this afternoon and he is sound. I worked him in the arena for 15 minutes or so before putting his boots on and taking him for a walk around the neighborhood. I'm so glad whatever his lameness was seems to be resolved. Yah for sounds ponies! 

                          

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Ho Hum

There's not much to report about around here. Just when I was back in the riding groove Roz went lame and so did my lesson horse. I have spent most of this week ignoring Roz. I was super busy anyway, house sitting and taking care of two extra horses. I turned Emi and Roz out this afternoon and I think he's fine. I will take him up to NDF tomorrow afternoon for a ride and have a real answer. Hopefully he is fine because we have sunshine and warm weather coming our way...perfect for riding!
A very happy Roz
My darling Emi. Her daddy scored 70% in his Grand Prix freestyle today.
Wait for me!
Yee haw!

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Rodeo

I saw some lame steps from my old friend last night, so I didn't plan to take him up to NDF tonight. I'm feeling a bit down that something is wrong with him anyway, and was texting Tarra on my lunch. She suggested I bring Emi out tonight and that she would help pony her. I figured that was a good idea since our show is now only a month away. I hustled home from work and loaded her up. Tarra was just getting there so we hung out while she got Mystic ready and then we headed over to the arena.



Pretty much as soon as we go in to the arena Emi was ready to go. I know she wanted to run, and she decided to do some bucking too. After a couple small rodeos she settled down and was being decent. She still wasn't as easy as she can be, but I don't blame her for wanting to play. That being said, baby girl does need to learn some restraint when she is working. I got after her for the naughty stuff (bucking) and redirected the exuberance. We did a little bit of trotting her in hand before handing her off to Tarra and Mystic.

She started out either dragging behind or rushing ahead. 

I don't like this....

Still not thrilled, but going with the flow. 

Time to change directions

Settling in.

So cute!

Now she was getting it!

Final trot through and she had it figured out.

Although this wasn't her first time being ponied it was the first time we really practiced trotting. Tarra thought it would be good for her to have the lead rope swinging and really be able to keep her on task with Mystic rather than it being easier for her to pull me around on the ground. I definitely saw improvement and I know it was good for her. When they finished I took her trotting one lap around the arena and it was our best yet.

While we were walking the horses out, Tarra and I were talking about finding a good balance when raising a baby. I feel like you need to have similar expectations to what you want from an adult horse, but I also think you need to be easier in your correction of them. As nice as it would be, they don't come knowing all the things we want them to. I really do try to be very aware of the things I let Emi do. It's easier to let her get away with stuff since she's still so small and cute, but I know she won't be like that forever. Overall I thought today was really great practice for the show since I'm sure she's going to be wound up.