Monday, June 27, 2016

An Outing

Emi went on her first real trail ride on Sunday. We went out with our friends, Melissa and Scotty. I led Emi until we reached the forest where we ride. The way out to the actual forest has several spooky spots; a half dug up arena, a large metal chicken and cows. Emi was undisturbed by all of these things although I'm sure it didn't hurt that she's been led out there several times now.

Once in the forest I was looking for a good place to get on...I wanted to put her in a ditch so I didn't have to pull on her back so much. However, I didn't find a good place and just decide to hop on. Of course, I keep forgetting how short she is so she's quite easy to mount from the ground. Once I was on I asked to walk and off we went. She was really lazy. I think the combination of the heat, carrying me and hill work had her less than enthused.

She meandered quietly along for the entire ride. No spooking or undesirable behavior other than no real desire to go forward. I nagged her a bit and then realized that's going to become a bad habit. I made her trot a couple of times to get her motor going. Once out of the forest and on the flat ground she perked up a bit and rode nicely home past all of the "scary" things. Miss Em is on her way to being a great trail horse and I was quite pleased to have such a great ride #13! We have plans to haul out on the 4th and then that following Saturday for a poker ride. It should be great fun and perfect miles for a young horse.

Sunday, June 26, 2016

First Driving Practice

Emi and I had a special visitor on Saturday, Cindy, Emi's breeder came for a visit. She has driving experience and offered to assist me with Emi's driving training. True to form, Emi was a rock star. Cindy ground drove her for a bit before having me walk beside her with a PVC shaft. I started out a ways away from her to make sure she wasn't going to be bothered with it dragging along beside her. She gave it the hairy eye ball but kept working. I slowly moved closer to her and in no time I was walking with PVC pipe up against her. Since that was pretty much a non-issue Cindy said we were ready to add the dummy shafts.

Since there was another horse working in the arena we opted to go outside. At this point I led Emi and Cindy pulled the dummy shafts along behind us, moved in front of us and finally walked beside us. Emi was a little unsure of having the shafts pushed up against her and tried to step away from them. A few minutes into this she began walking normally. We called it quits at that point in the lesson. Cindy was impressed that Emi wasn't bothered by the shafts dragging, or really anything else and she thinks Emi will make a great driving horse.  She gave us some homework to do and will come back to help us some other time. 

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Saddle Fitting

Miss Emi got a visit with the saddle fitter last weekend. I had tried every saddle in the barn on her and wasn't really happy with the fit. In the mean time I have been riding her in a close contact pessoa while looking forward to finding a dressage saddle. 

The evaluation started with tracings along with palpating her back to see if there was any soreness. She wasn't sore and the fitter remarked on her nice length of back and the fact that we shouldn't have trouble finding something to fit her.   

We took her over to the arena to start trying on saddles. The first saddle was the cheapest one and was an 18in seat. I wasn't sure how that would be but I didn't feel like it was too big. I ended up dropping my stirrups a hole because of how my leg fit on the knee roll. I mentioned to the saddle fitter that in the past I've gotten saddles in a larger seat size to accommodate my long legs. She agreed that I have a long femur and could see how I would have trouble with that. This saddle could have worked but the fact that I was already struggling with the knee roll did not instill a lot of confidence in me. 

The second saddle was (of course) more expensive but still used. We tried it on next and it also seems to fit well. I hopped on and immediately liked the feel. The seat is a 17in but it has a short external block. The saddle fitter said that it's a popular set up for those of us with long legs as it allows somewhere for your knee to go.  I ended up with the second saddle, a Custom Icon Flight, on trial and I'm looking forward to riding it a bit more before committing. 

Monday, June 20, 2016

Three Years

Miss Em is three years old today! In some ways it feels like just yesterday that we met...and in other ways it seems like I've had her forever.

It's so fun to compare her baby photos to what she looks like currently. She's really looking like a big girl these days. I think three is going to be my favorite age yet!

Friday, June 17, 2016


Miss Emi had a lesson in forward tonight. At this point (ride #9) she's now comfortable with me being on her so we want to get the go button firmly installed. It was a fun lesson, pushing her forward into a nice big trot and eventually an accidental (or not so accidental) break into the canter (if you follow me on Instagram I've posted a short video there).  Our first canter was super fun! We did three pretty nice circles before bringing her back to the trot. We have a lot of work to do but I'm pleased with our progress so far.  It's easy to forget what a long process horse training is. Our current typical work schedule is 3-4 days per week with a mix of lunging in side reins, long lining, ground driving and short (10-15 minute) rides.

After our lesson tonight she got her mane and tail washed. While the conditioner was sitting on her tail I braided her mane over. She snoozed in the cross ties while I fussed over her. She really loves the attention.

Tomorrow we have a visit with the saddle fitter so I'm excited to see what we figure out. Following that we are tentatively planning for a follow up lesson early next week and then our next lesson is going to be a long lining/ground work session with KB handling her.

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Pony Love

Yesterday I visited Emi's breeder, her mom and her yearling brother, Georgio. How cute is he!? He's like a Barbie horse with that beautiful blond mane. He actually looks a lot like their mom while Emi took more after Cardi. 

Emi continues to do well with her training. Since I last wrote we've completed rides 6 and 7. She continues to be a good girl. Intermixed with the riding we've continued to lunge, long line and ground drive. We've also added an event to our calendar...a poker ride in about a month.  It should be a fun outing with her. 

Today I lunged her for about 10 minutes before our ride and I was struck by how grown up she's lunging these days. I took her down to lunge in the "spooky" end of the arena. I don't normally lunge her down there and realized that it would be smart of me to do so. We long lined at that end on Friday and then today she went down there and worked with out issue. She's a smart girl! 

After our ride today I took her hand walking around the hay fields. She hadn't been out there before but true to form she was totally chill about the adventure. She was just happy that I let her stop and eat for a couple of minutes. 

Sunday, June 5, 2016

Plan B

We've had some beautiful weather the past week and with that came hay season. At our barn the hay fields back right up to the arena so when I arrived at the barn and saw that hay was being picked up I decided to come up with another plan. 

Practicing her wind-blown model look in front of the fan.
I chose to tack Emi up and ground drive her down the barn driveway. Our ground driving is on the rough side so I wasn't sure how it would go but figured I could always abandon that plan if I needed to. There was no need to worry. We started off looking like drunk sailors but got straightened out pretty quickly. I kept turning and crossing the road, from the grass on one side of the road to the grass on the other side, then a half circle and back up towards the barn. We even trotted with out any issues. I was seriously impressed! She's such a good kid. 

Always nice to be hosed off after a hot day