Friday, August 31, 2012

Great ride!

We had two breakthroughs:

1.  I got on him without walking him around the ring to look at everything first.

2.  I carried and used a whip!

After about 5 minutes, I got sick of not being able to get him to move off my leg well enough, so I got off, put him on crossties, ran out to my car, got a whip, and got back on.  I wasn't sure how he'd react to the whip--my last fresh OTTB reacted strongly to the sound of a whip being used on another horse--but he was fine.

Contact is tricky, as is not going around with his head up and his neck stiff, but he's surprisingly good about other things.  We did a little leg yielding, which was actually pretty decent.  Did a few turns on the forehand, which were good.  We trotted circles and figure eights, and we were able to change nicely!  Without totally falling in and being gross!!  Even changing to the right!  It was kind of funny, actually, because we'd change to the right, he'd do it nicely, and then he'd be like "omg, we're going right, I'm bad to the right" and promptly counterbend himself and fall in through the corner.  Silly boy!

He really seems to be coming along well.  A fabulous dressage trainer is coming up from Florida in about a week for a clinic, and I'm hoping he can come to my barn so I can ride Riv with him.  Or just have *him* ride Riv!

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Great ride!

I rode Princess tonight.  On the whole, we had a very nice, productive ride!  We did some walking and bending and changing direction.  Some trotting, trying to circle without being totally drunken or giraffe-like.  He had moments here and there where he did things right, or at least was closer to being right.

I know, looking at the video, you're thinking "that's good?!"  But really, it is.  He was trying to do what I wanted.  He's spent the last 9 or 10 years running fast in counterclockwise circles.  It's going to take time to get him to bend his body and relax.

However, I really need to carry a whip.  My poor legs get so tired very very quickly on him.  He makes me appreciate my old guy.

I ended the ride with a couple of turns on the forehand, which were shockingly good considering I think I've only tried it on him once before.  Then I asked him to back.  Attempt #1 involved opening his mouth. shaking his head, and eventually putting his nose on the ground and stretching forward while backing up.  Which is every bit as uncomfortable as it sounds.  Attempt #2 was much much better.  He still fussed with his head a little, but I can deal with that for now.

River is a butthead.

Just thought you ought to know.

The indoor was being used by the BO, a few kids, and a wee pony for a showmanship lesson yesterday, so I worked Riv in the outdoor for the first time.  He was a butthead.  It's not *that* interesting, dude.  I pretty much ended up arguing with him the entire time about going forward in a circle.  Not going straight, not getting stuck by the gate, not turning around, not backing up.  He knows how this whole thing works, he's either too stupid to remember or too easily distracted to care.  I was annoyed with him and ended by having him trot a circle on 5 feet of line because it was the only way I could get him going.  But at least we ended on a moderately correct note...

For punishment, he got 2 peppermints while the mare got 3.  That'll teach him!

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

We had another successful long lining session!  This one was better than last time, which I guess should be expected... we ought to improve!

I don't really have anything to say other than that our work session was productive.  Here's some video and stills:

Little hyperflexed, but not bad.

Such a pathetic tail.  But he's stepping up under himself nicely.

Nicely forward!

I should probably not click/cluck/kiss at him quite so much..

Very pleased with how he's doing! 

Monday, August 27, 2012

Riv got long lined on Friday.  We had good and bad moments, but on the whole it was a success.  He just seems to get confused randomly and does everything wrong when that happens.  He tries to go straight or he bulges out really badly or he stops and refuses to move forward.  So the last 10 minutes or so consisted almost entirely of me trying to get him to trot a very small circle around me without doing anything hugely wrong.  It was exhausting.

But prior to that... after a couple minutes he figured out what he was supposed to do, and he was going soooooo well.  He was actually trotting round!  He got hyperflexed here and there, so we need to work on not doing that... but the fact that he was able to trot forward without looking like a giraffe on crack was quite encouraging.

Unfortunately, it was not as encouraging as I took it to be.  Turns out he isn't ready to try cantering on long lines.  Which I discovered when he bucked, took off straight, and pulled the outside line out of my hands.  So then we spent a couple minutes trying to get him to slow down and move closer so I could pick the other line back up.  The long lining session was unable to return to its previous levels of glory.  (See paragraph 1.)

Princess got untacked and put on cross ties...

And then he was forced to endure a spa session.

Poor baby!

He was ignored Saturday and Sunday because I was busy.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Plan succeeded.

Wednesday's plan actually happened!  Truly a miracle.

I learned a few things...
1.  River responds better to calf than heel.
2.  River gets confused/annoyed when using reins and legs to ask him to bend.
3.  River stops when confused/annoyed and refuses to move.
4.  River does not get snotty when given a firm boot to make him move.
5.  River cannot trot and check out the scenery at the same time.
6.  River can focus and trot if you kickkickkick before and during the scenic places in the ring.
7.  River is rather tiring to ride.

I didn't have time to do anything yesterday.  Today I'm hoping to long line him, provided I get out of work, get to the dealership, pick up my car from its oil change, and take care of my pony <3 in a timely fashion.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012


I rode Princess yesterday!

There had been a few kids doing a Western showmanship lesson (I think that's what it was, I'm not a Western person at all) before I rode and they were still in the barn, so I was a wee bit nervous they might run by and spook him, but thankfully the kids were very well behaved and I did not die.  Nor did I even come close.

I wasn't even sure I'd be able to ride him... the only mounting block is a two-step.  Riv is 16.1, I have short legs (seriously, I have abnormally short legs.. finding tall boots is pretty much impossible), and I'm somewhat crippled.  Thankfully, River was a very good boy and stood quietly for me to mount and didn't put a foot wrong.  Well, he put his feet, shoulder, head, and hindquarters wrong (often all at the same time), but not in a naughty way.  We have lots and lots of work to do. 

I must admit, I am LOVING having my horses at a barn with an indoor 8 minutes from my house.  I forgot something at home yesterday, so I went home, got it, sat around for a few minutes, then went out to ride.

And as much as I love having my horses out 24/7, it is awfully convenient to go out in the evening to find my horse in a stall, tack up, and walk the 40 feet down the aisle to the indoor.  No more using bad weather as an excuse to not ride!

Oh, and I am now in possession of a pink longe whip!  Ha-HA!  Take that, River Mountain Rd!

Tonight's tentative plan:  tack up, put on surcingle over saddle, longe with new pink longe whip for a few minutes, take off surcingle, and ride.  Will this happen, in full or in part?  Your guess is as good as mine.  But hopefully.....

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

In which we discover that River is quite vain

River is all moved in to his new home.  He and The Red Mare trailered over Sunday afternoon.

He's settled in quite well:

Yesterday I decided to longe him in the indoor.  I have no idea if he's ever been in an indoor before, and I had no particular desire to discover that he's afraid of them while riding him.  So longeing seemed to be a rather sensible decision.

We, ah, didn't get much accomplished.

This happened every single time he passed by the mirror.  He was absolutely fascinated by the good-lookin' horse in the mirror.

On the bright side, he was too intrigued by the mysterious horse to spook or act up.  It was a lot of work to get him to move, though.  Tomorrow morning I'll have to stop by the feed store to see if they have a pink longe whip.

Irish and River in their paddock this morning:

I think they're quite content.... although Irish was not at all patient waiting to go out this morning.  Oh well, she'll just have to deal with it.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012


I need to move.  Or rather, River and my mare need to move.  Kinda sucks.  My BO is closing up shop and moving back to her hometown for personal reasons.  She's planning on being gone in two weeks, tops, if she can get everything taken care of.  I have another barn lined up, so I'm all set.. in some ways it will be good.  It's stall board, which I think Riv probably needs.  My mare could use a grain program, too.  And they have an indoor.  So I guess really it's a good thing... but it's a change.  I don't like change.  Also, it's more money, which I reallllly don't like.  Hopefully I'll be able to work off at least some of my board.  Gah, this is going to be a pretty crappy month.  My BO is leaving, two of my closest friends are moving halfway across the country for vet school, and there are going to be some major (unpleasant) changes at work.

But on the bright side, I rode and jumped my old guy yesterday!  He was shockingly good.

 We cantered it!  Mostly because he wouldn't stop....

 Ignore my crappy equitation.  I haven't jumped much in about 3 years.

I love how he's pushing off his hocks.  Not bad for a 25 year old!

Awww, such cute knees!

Twinkie face!!

So everything is changing, I'm going to have to sell my soul and/or body to pay my board, my friends are leaving, and work is going to suck.  But I love my pony more than anything else in the world <3.  Sorry, Riv, I know this is your blog, but you just can't compete with Striker.