May is Here

The start of the show season, the end of the snow, the beginnings of a new summer of possibilities!20170428_230511

I love May!

I’m taking Joy to her very first show May 6th. This is a local, open show. Not a dressage show.

This will be “the test”. She did well with hauling to the neighbors house. How will she do in a completely new environment? I have no idea.

 

Side note: I haven’t taken a horse to a show since 2014. Three years! Guess how many of my show breeches fit?

That’s right, NONE!!

Tubby rider definitely needs to lose weight.

giphy

 

Then, on May 13th, I have my VERY FIRST LESSON in three (3) years!!

Count them… THREE YEARS!!

WOO HOO!

I’m so excited.

giphy1

 

 

 

I am such a massive chicken

The plan was to haul Joy to the neighbors house,  ride around,  and haul home.  

I hadn’t even gotten Joy to the trailer and I was a nervous wreck.  Rapid heart beat,  sweaty palms,  can’t catch my breath…

Joy walks right in the trailer,  but then won’t stay in the trailer.  I work with her for a while and finally she’s at least stopping instead of bolting out the back. 

Hubby walks by to ask what’s the hang up.  

I tell him maybe we should call it off.  Forget the whole thing…. 

He calls me a wuss and tells me to get the pony in there and go.  

I clip Joy in. 

No one dies. 

Pony is secured, and doors are shut. 

We headed off around the block and then to the neighbors house.  Joy was riding calmly in the trailer.  

We parked in the neighbors driveway while her horses screamed and ran around right next to the trailer.  Joy hollered back.  She seemed very tense. I was very tense. 

Actually, I was a nervous wreck.  

I unloaded Joy (she was very good).  

I tied her to the trailer (she was excellent). 

No problems tacking up.  No issues bridling her.  She was fantastic.  

I rode her out to the back field by herself. Did some trot work.  We even cantered a short bit.  

Joy was awesome! 

 Got back to the trailer and tied Joy up for a bit.  She stood calmly while we talked to the neighbor. 

And then we loaded Joy up again,  drove around the block,  and went home. 

Whew! 

That went so much better than i had hoped.  

So,  next goal..  local open show in two weeks.  We’ll take Joy and see how she handles that.  

Progress!  Woot! 

Owner needs to get a grip. 😂 😂 

Our First Haul

I have 2 versions of this story for you. 

My version: 

I was determined to get Joy in a moving trailer this weekend.  Here’s the post for our only other hauling experience together. 

I wasn’t sure what to expect from Joy. We’ve worked really hard to make Joy as comfortable and relaxed as possible in the trailer,  but…  I was nervous how she would react  

She loaded up easily,  as usual.   I clipped her in and closed the divider.  Normally I dont do this, but no problems. Joy stood patiently.  I shut the rear door,  which I’ve only done once before. Joy was a touch nervous,  but no major issues. A few half hearted, nervous,  paws and that was all. 

We jump in the truck and head out… 

The last haul with Joy,  the one where we brought her home and my only time hauling Joy… by the time we were half a mile down the road,  Joy was climbing the walls and attacking the window with her front feet.  

This haul,  I must’ve held my breath for at least 5 minutes just waiting for the explosion.  We drove…  Joy stood there curiously looking out the window.  We drove some more…  Joy looked almost comfortable.  Some shifting around and she was very alertly looking out the window, but absolutely no hysteonics.  All four feet on the ground.  No flinging herself against walls.  She rode almost like a seasoned veteran.  

Who’s horse is this?! 

I think I started breathing again at this point. 

We only went around the block with her.  A short ride.  Two large pick up trucks passed us,  and I could hear a bit of scramble behind but nothing major. 

When we pulled back into the yard,  Ava and Jessie were screaming their fool heads off and racing up and down the pasture.  I could hear Joy answering them,  but still no major freak outs.  Just yelling back to her friends.  

I opened the trailer up and unlatched Joy,  but asked her to stand in the trailer for a moment while I fed her carrots and made a fuss over her.  She complied.  Then I unloaded her,  which she did calmly,  and let her graze a moment. 

Then I asked her to load again..  I honestly didn’t expect she would,  but she hopped right back in.  

Woo Hoo!!! 

The pony trailers!!!!! 

We’re going for another haul tomorrow,  slightly longer,  to hopefully get another positive experience under her belt.  

Then i can start planning out where her first outing will be.  

I’m so relieved.  This went so much better than I feared it would go (I’m a worry-wort,  worst case scenario dreader.  She probably would’ve been fine long, long before this). 

*******

Grainy pic of our trailer cam. I circled Joy in red. Taking this picture broke the feed,  so we went sans video for half the trip. 


Hubby’s version:

Joy was so thankful to finally be leaving the evil “She Beast”,  Ava, that she didn’t care where she was going. Joy was just happy to be leaving. Joy knew anywhere the evil mare wasn’t at was a good place. 

When Joy realized that her trip had taken her right back to the pit of hell she thought she’d escaped,  she screamed “Nooooo!!”  over and over.  

Eventually her owner came and pulled her off the trailer.  Only to lead her back into the jaws of the evil black mare.  

The End

Intermittent Riding

Had a fun ride on Ava the other day. It’s always an eye opener to ride your own horse after riding someone else’s.  I think I become more aware of the things I’ve let slide,  the defects,  the little things I’d grown accustomed to that shouldn’t be there. 

I’ve been having issues convincing Ava to go forward in the tiny arena. She has plenty of forward if I take her to the field behind the house. However, I want to work on bending and suppling exercises and everything in the field is straight lines (path is straight). I can work bending and suppling in the arena, but she sucks back and becomes ornery in the arena. She only wants to offer the slowest of jog trots.

So I got after her right off the bat about forward, and after an initial “I don’t wanna”,  we finally got some forward! Yay!

Even had a few moments of decent engagement this ride.

Ava Canter LeftAva Canter RightAva Trot

Now if only the rain would stay away.  Seems like 6 out of the 7 days of every week have been rain.  We are water logged. 

Ironically,  I would rather ride in snow.  Ava HATES rain. Hates it!  If one drop touches her nose,  she pulls her chin to her chest and will refuse to budge. Doesn’t matter if in the field,  being ridden,  or being led.  She is not kidding around about her intense dislike of rain. 

Joy doesn’t care though.  Best pony ever. 

We were supposed to do our first test haul tonight (around the block) with Joy.  It’s postponed until the rain lets up.  The end of the drive is too soggy at the moment.  

However,  I’m feeling more optimistic about how it’ll go.  I can load Joy in the trailer and jump up and down to rock it,  and Joy doesn’t care.  I bang things,  no response.  Today there was a flappy tarp right behind the trailer (and behind Joy),  and after a 5 second “What the heck is that?!?”  scare,  Joy was fine with it.  Stood in the trailer eating hay while the tarp flapped right behind her. 

(not sure if the vid will work) 

So,  if the hauling goes well, then i want to test taking her somewhere and then getting her back in the trailer to go home again.   I think I’m going to ask my neighbor if I can do a trial run at her house. 

If all goes well,  lessons are in my immediate future! Yay!! 

New Experiences

Recently, I was offered the opportunity to ride a really nice Irish Sport Horse cross that a friend of mine owns.  He’s five years old, approximately 16.2-ish hands, and has that dumb-blood personality, but man can he move!  His canter is to die for. Most amazing canter I’ve ever ridden.denali

I “lucked” out on the ride because he dislodged his owner and she’s not quite healed up enough to get back to riding him again. He’s actually a sweetheart. His owner has done a fabulous job with him. She’s exposed him to just about everything a baby horse should be exposed to, and done it in a way that has created a confident and curious horse. His problem is he’s big and athletic, and normally nothing phases him… so a hard spook/bolt can catch the rider off guard and leave them with a loooong fall to the ground.

 

I was really impressed with the training he has on him. You know that feeling when you get on a new horse and the everything is just there.. the buttons, the aids, etc. That’s how he felt. I had an issue with figuring out how much contact he likes (very little).  And, once I convinced him that the short midget legs were really leg cues then everything went swimmingly.

He is so much fun to ride. And frankly, I was really impressed to feel how good the training was. It’s wonderful to see a young horse so well trained by an Adult Ammy. She’s done all the work herself, from the ground up. It was impressive. I wish they were all this nicely handled and trained by 5 years old.  I swear, if I had the money, I’d buy young horses and pay her to train them. She’s that good. And she totally doesn’t realize it.

When I went out to ride the 5 year old for the first time, the owner of the barn offered to let me ride another horse they have. The mare was described as a Dutch Warmblood with dressage training, but is too hot for the lesson kids. I was assured she was safe enough for the average rider (as I don’t wish to die quite yet).

I cannot pass up an opportunity to ride a sane horse, so I said yes.

That’s when they explained she hadn’t been ridden in quite a while.

AAaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!

And that she was very, very hot. Hot. Capital H type of Hot.

Aaaaahhhh!! Scary!

Did I mention I’m a chicken?

I let the owner lunge and then ride her first. I was nervous watching the owner ride her. You could tell the mare was almost charging through the contact.

My order of “Most scary horses to ride” goes Rearers, then bolters, and then those darn bronc buckers that leap all 4 feet up in the air with head between their knees.  My worst, and frankly only, serious injuries have been from bolters.  ** knock on wood **

So.. I was a tad nervous about riding the mare who appeared to be charging through a rather strong bit.

I got on after barn owner didn’t die. I was sweating bullets.

She’s a nice horse. Difficult ride. She really wants to lean on the bit and then rush through it. I felt like she could bolt off with you in a wide open setting.

A lot of half-halt/release. More of a soft “no, here” and then let her be while you controlled the rhythm with your posting. Then she was fine.

She has a hard time bending through her body. It was really easy for her to find ways to evade bending through her body. She had several tricks all planned out and ready in waiting. It was actually kind of fun to see if I had more tricks then she had evasions for.

And, nope. Not that day. I couldn’t get her to respond to the left leg correctly without a whip and I didn’t want to carry a whip unless I felt I had more brakes. Catch twenty two. Probably would’ve been fine, but new horse.. new rider. I’ll tackle it next time.

I was assured she becomes more level headed the more consistently she’s worked.  I bet she’s a blast in consistent work. She’s actually a really cute mover. I think she’s flat because she’s stiff. I bet that trot becomes quite stunning when she’s relaxed and supple (pictures don’t do it justices. moves better in person)

 

They had a slow twist snaffle on her. I’m always really nervous with stronger bits. I’m a decent rider, but I do have a tendency to snatch at the bit when I get scared. And since I get nervous on new horses, I really prefer the softer flat snaffles to limit the damage done if I get startled and snatch. I did snatch this mare once. She kicked a rock up into the metal gate  and it startled her. I snatched. She immediately came to a dead halt and did a little mini-rear to voice her displeasure. I felt bad.  Poor mare.

Anyway, I got done riding both horses and on the drive home I was thinking to myself “Why would anyone let me ride their horse? I suck!”

And then I get a text from my friend with the 5 year old asking me if I can ride her young gelding again and saying that the barn owner really liked how I handled her mare. It was so nice to hear!