Wednesday, November 30, 2016

The Right Direction


Progress has less to do with speed and more to do with direction.

Emi and I have been struggling recently. A few hard rides and a tough lesson left me a little down. Then we went to the trail course and had a wonderful time. Since then we have had two good rides. One of those was tonight, when we completed ride #60. I think we are back on track and ready for clinic with JW next weekend!


Besides a change of scenery on Saturday, I started her back on a calming supplement. Between the weather change and the shorter days she just seemed to be on edge. It may be just a coincidence that she's been way more settled since starting the supplement...but either way I'm taking it!


I was reflecting tonight on the progress we have made. Sometimes it feels like we aren't moving very fast, but when I look back I can see how fast it has really gone. She's gone from a brand new foal to knowing how to halter, lead, groom, load, tie, stand for the farrier, bath, clip, pony, lunge, and now ride. Speaking of clipping, I clipped her bridle path a few nights ago and she was the best she has ever been. I did still twitch her but I think we are almost to the point where I can do it with out the twitch. I'd say we are heading in the right direction! 

Saturday, November 26, 2016

We Needed It


Emi and I got to go the Oregon Horse Center mountain trail course today. We did the same thing last year...with one major difference. I got to ride her this year! 
What a difference a year can make!
I led her through the course for about 15 minutes before putting her bridle on and mounting. She walked around quietly and navigated the obstacles with out a problem.

Love that beautiful, curious expression. 

Once bridled she stood still to be mounted and off we went. I wasn't sure how confident she would be once I was on her back.  I was able to successfully navigate almost the whole thing with out any assistance. We called upon Scotty for a lead through the water and also around the teepee village area. We also spent some time following Scotty around as a mental break for Emi.

Our first riding obstacle! 

Taking in the sights
The bridge was no problem for this girl!
A lead from Scotty made the water a little more approachable. 
I love the moment this one captures. Emi was unsure of traveling up this trail with me riding her. Cindy caught a great moment where I was petting her for going forward like I had asked. 
Another bridge over a corner of the water

Scotty showing her around the "village"
Taking a mental break while following Scotty around
There was a lot of activity but Emi was really calm and focused (not to mention willing). She did seriously consider taking me swimming (again) but I managed to get her out of the water before that happened. At the end of our ride I took her back up on the big box. She hadn't wanted to come down from it very well the first time I rode her on it. It was connected to a bridge sort of thing and she had ended up stepping down on the bridge and then stepping down to the ground. The second time I rode her up on it and sat quietly at the top. I waited to see if she would try to turn to step back on to the bridge but she instead took a good look at the drop in front of her and hopped down with out a problem. I promptly stopped her and got off, making a big fuss over what a smart girl she is.


We haven't been having the best of rides at home so a successful outing was just what we needed. 

Friday, November 25, 2016

Christmas Wish List

In no particular order - this is my current horse wish list. 

1) A cool Deco Pony stall sign like Amber got for Jetta. Can you say "Winterlake Emerald" in navy, purple and/or teal? 

 2) A neck rope - I hope to start riding Emi bridle-less by the summer. 


3) A navy fly bonnet with lots of bling. A girl from our barn has this in black and I love it!

4) A rolling hay bag to take to shows next year. 
5) A new tail brush

With a tail like that you can never have too many! 
6) Slow feed hay bag to try in place of my current hay nets. 



7) The new Majyk Equip dressage boots. Cob Jockey sings their praises so I guess it's time I figure out what all of the hype is about.

What's on your list? 

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Happy Thanksgiving

There's always so much to be thankful for and these two are high on my list.  I hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving and that you get plenty of horse time this weekend. Emi and I are making our annual trip to the mountain trail course on Saturday and I'm really looking forward to getting out with her. 



Also, if you want more shopping money, head over to Equinpilot to enter her contest!

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Wordless Wednesday - Rozzy Ridge

Finally getting around to posting some photos taken on Veteran's Day.






Tuesday, November 15, 2016

4th Annual Equestrian Blogger Gift Exchange

My "Preparing for Christmas" post was timely with the announcement of the 4th Annual Equestrian Blogger Gift Exchange, hosted by Tracy at Fly on Over. Check it out! Last year was my first year participating and I had a blast. I'm looking forward to it again this year.


My awesome gift from last year...

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Preparing for Christmas

I was at the craft store this afternoon and came across an awesome string of jingle bells. Of course I had to have them. Not only are they perfect for pony torture but also for our annual Christmas photos. In fact, I purchased three things at the store and all three were for Emi. A sheet of iron on paper to put an E on her stocking, plastic sewing needles (for braiding) and the jingle bells. 

Christmas 2015
After I finished my errands I headed out to the barn to see what she would think. I took her over to the arena and wore them around my neck for a couple of laps. She followed along and didn't seem too disturbed...

Next I put them over her back and we walked along like that. She was pretty good about that as well although you could tell she was a little unsure. 


Finally I tied them around her neck, walked and trotted with her before I put her out on the lunge line. She trotted a few laps before getting a bit worried and cantering off. She did one good buck, kicking out like she was trying to get them off. I stopped her right away and she settled right back down. After leading her around a bit more I put her back out on the lunge line and got the below video. 


I'd say we are ready for Christmas! 

Thursday, November 10, 2016

A Game

I came out with my A game this evening and so did Emi. I rode well, with a clear plan of what I wanted to accomplish and JW echoing in my head. Pick a project, win your project, change the subject. I raised my expectations a bit regarding some of the looking she has been doing and that was a good thing. I stayed very aware of my body position and how it was impacting some of our steering. It's amazing how much better that works when I use my body and not just my reins. Who would have thought!? 


I started introducing a baby version of the diamond canter exercise we did with Benny. It worked pretty well to the left but was hard to the right. She was a little slow when cantering to the right and did one hop that could have turned in to her little bucking business from the other night. This time I was ready and turned her nose in while giving her a kick, and that was the end of that. 

From start to finish our ride was under 25 minutes, which was perfect. When we got to a great spot I trotted her straight down to the "scary" corner, halted, dismounted and gave her a lump of sugar and lots of scratches. I'm trying to be very black and white with her, rewarding her often when she's doing the right thing. She's learning the spoken word "whoa" quite well and is totally happy to put on the brakes and stand for a 30 seconds (or more) as a reward. 

Taking a break
I think it's fine line between not pushing hard enough but also not being greedy (especially when she's being good). Sometimes I have to remind myself that she's still only a three year old, and she's usually quite a good three year old...I've had older horses who were much harder than she is, so I think I'll cut us some slack when things are going quite as well as I would like. It was awesome to have a fun ride tonight and now she will have the next couple of days to hang out before we go back to work. In the mean time I plan to re-watch my lessons from our boot camp with JW and see what things I've forgotten since then. There is always so much to learn and so much to work on and I'm enjoying the journey. 

This girl puts a smile on my face

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Worth a Shot

I've mentioned that Emi has been a stinker lately...tonight she tried out some bronco moves! Thankfully I was not unseated and I kicked her on as soon as she stopped. If I had been thinking a little more quickly I would have kicked her forward while she was broncing. As it was she came to a halt and then I kicked her back into gear. I put her back into the canter and we cantered both ways before calling it a night. I think she surprised herself (and me too)! It was definitely worth a shot, I'm just hopeful it was a one time experiment. Haha. The adventures in colt starting continue.


Sunday, November 6, 2016

Information

Miss Emi has been a wild child this past week. She was squirrely in my lesson on Tuesday, was nervous on Thursday (resulting in a fabulous lunging session) and was then unsettled yesterday as well. 

Recently Aimee spoke about author Mark Rashid which prompted me to look him up. I've since read two of his books and really enjoyed them. The second one I read was titled Whole Heart, Whole Horse. In his words, "If we understand that horses can't separate the way they feel from the way they act, then we can start to see that unwanted behavior isn't bad behavior at all. More times than not, it's just the horse expressing the way he feels at that particular moment in time. . . .How we perceive that information dictates how we respond to it."


Yesterday I was tempted to be a little frustrated that she was so worried about everything outside of the arena. She has decided that one corner in particular is quite scary even though I can lead and lunge her down there with out an issue. As soon as I get on her back it's a totally different story. When I felt myself getting irritated I switched my thought process from "she's being bad" to "she's providing me with information." 

I gave her projects to work on and continued to tell her what a good girl she was as we worked our way around the arena. When it was time for a break I let her stand rather than walking. This is something JW recommended as a good way to offer a break when walking on a loose rein may not be the best plan. Emi does like to whoa so she was pretty happy to stand for a couple minutes. She started with her head high but slowly relaxed, dropping her head while I scratched her neck and talked to her. What could have turned in to a bad ride didn't, because of a change in thought process. 

Realistically this spunky, forward and slightly spooky pony is going to make a better dressage horse than the lazy pony I started this summer....it's just going to take a little getting used to. It's also a little bit harder with where we are at in our training because I don't have a lot of extra tools to get her working with me, she's just too green. That being said, the connection is getting better almost every time I ride her. I was excited to notice that I had moments of really nice outside rein contact since she was happily moving forward. Slowly but surely we are making progress and I know that this too shall pass. 
Let's face it, it's hard to be too irritated when you are looking at a face like that. 

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Young at Heart

Roz may be 24 but he doesn't know he's "old." My dad turned him out for a while today and reported that "Roz put on a show for me." Later on I heard there was a lot of bucking, rearing, running and rolling that commenced after he was put out on the pasture. I'm so glad he still loves to play and run. You can see that thoroughbred heart come out in him as he gallops around the field...just like I'm sure he did back when he was a kid. Pure joy in my young at heart boy.

Clearly dirty from all of that rolling but he's still so handsome
My other Roz story relates to a party I was at recently. An acquaintance asked if I still had that bay gelding. She's a veterinary technician at the hospital that diagnosed Roz's navicular and he hasn't been in there for at least 4 years. She told me what a wonderful horse he was to work on and that she loved him. I was impressed that she remembered him and knew he was mine. It's always nice to have a horse be remembered because of how good they are!

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Fifty

Tonight marked ride #50 on Emi. I'm not sure why that seems like a bigger milestone than any other ride...but it does. Her first ride was on May 17th so that puts us averaging about 10 rides per month. My goal has been about 3 days a week so I think we are doing pretty well on that. I'm pleased with her current progress. She's a fairly straightforward to ride walk, trot & canter. Her steering has improved immensely and her connection is just beginning to develop. It will be fun to see where we are at after the next 50 rides! Hopefully things continue to go smoothly.

Ride #1