Sunday, February 21, 2010
Worked on trot transitions, got from leg on = toss head, swish tail, generall fussyness to leg on = walk faster/trot
I found out that our left lead is most certainly our preffered lead but the right is no where near impossible (takes about 3 tries on average) and that my horse is much more manageable when she's been out to do something at least 2 days consecutively prior. We started with barely being sane enough to listen for downward cues on the lunge, to being reluctant (but still capable) of trotting off in a timely manner when given the upward cue.
We had some serious bridling issues combined with serious tying issues. We were tied up at the trailer, which we've been tying to for as long as she's been with me, and I took out the saddle pad after grooming her and she decided that it was NOT allowed to touch her. She didn't even want to SMELL the thing. Got to the point where when I forced the issue and tried to approach her with the blanket she pulled back and ripped my lead rope. She ended up pulling back several times with different lead ropes and wouldn't stop unless I told her to. Then, I untied her and chased her around with the saddle pad. The second it actually came in contact with her it no longer was a terrifying monster. wtf? I could flop it all over her within seconds of her realization, over her head, ears, swing it under her belly, back legs, all without so much as a blink. I've not seen this kind of fear->no fear reaction so quickly before. There wasn't even a wuffing at it or anything...
Then we moved on to bridling. Putting the reins over the head was a big deal. I'm pretty sure that this has a lot to do with the headshy-ness she's developed since she got the hole in her head which by the way is almost almost almost totally healed. I tried to swing the reins over her head which triggered another blow up/pull back which we worked on. Then un-bridling that day we had another moment which I already talked about. All this has been worked out, bridling issues are a thing of the past! I love her cus she's just so darn smart! The saddle pad thing is still a small issue but I just plan ahead for it now by untying her until I can fully desensitize her. I curry her, go through the saddle pad freakout, brush her, go through the saddle pad freakout, and pick her feat, repeat and usually by the third time she just gives it an eye as it comes out from it's lair again... maybe she's not that smart?
Another issue has come to my attention. She's still not gaining the weight I'd like to see her gain. She's on as much feed as the other horses of the same size (but heavier) out in her pasture, but she may have lost some weight. I fed her two bales worth of extras as a lunch time deal over about a 1.25 month period along with two baggies of rice bran + flax + vitamins + MSM a day and she gained something, but it wasn't enough. I guess all I can do is wait til we move to our 24/7 grassy pasture supplemented with hay in the winter and she how she does on that. I was going to get her corn oil, then read about it and found out that it has lots of Omega-3's but almost no Omea-6's and if the balance is off it can cause inflammation to flare up. So that's a no. I don't know what other ways I can feasably get more calories into her. I've wormed her with ivermectin twice since she's been mine and I know that ivermectin doesn't do it all, but I don't know which ones of the other wormers should be the first to try. She's got plenty of appetite, and her teeth are good so I don't know what else it could be.
But I almost forgot! We jumped our first jump! Here's how it went:
Bijou: "uhhh, mom, there's something in the way"
Me: "its ok, right?"
Bijou: "ya, fine by me, just wanted to make sure you were ok with it, ok here goes *jump* wheeee that was FUN!!"
and we went around the other way, and then we walked over a ground pole covered in fluffy flowers from the flower boxes which wasn't really that scary, just enough to look at a little bit.
I'm so proud of my little trinket :D
Monday, February 15, 2010
We did have major issues bridling. She flipped out when I tried to put the reins over her head, ended up pulling back on the trailer a few times, yay for a good halter and a quick release knot. I let her pull it til she gave up, then untied her and made her stand next to the trailer while I worked with her. She really had a hard time with it going over the off ear unless I petted her with my hand first. Then unbridling she flipped as I was pulling the headstall (my brand new 'eventing' headstall!!) off and swung it around by the reins still around her neck as she careened around. All I could see was it catching on her front legs and snapping in a million pieces. Thankfully she kept shying away from it and I caught her. She thumped her teeth with the bit pretty bad and I just didn't have time to get the bridle back on her and take it off a bunch of times. I don't really even know how to accomplish this without the danger that she'll knock her teeth again either. I'll have to work more on desensitizing her face since the whole hole in her head thing's made her headshy, obviously.
Lots more to work on, but definitely some progress. I was expecting a nutso horse and I got a very rideable and under control mare... nice surprises are nice sometimes!
Goals: Ride every possible moment! More work on the anti-headshy front, maybe plastic baggies?
Sunday, February 14, 2010
I had an interesting idea last night. I hope you all remember my amazing good deals from my tack shop goes out of business sale, including specifically my fluffy merino sheepskin pad! I've yet to find a baby pad to fit underneath it so it doesn't ruin it's spiffy whiteness. I was pondering this dilemma as the beginning of March gets nearer and in my ever resourcefull do-it-yourself attitude I started wondering if I could make my own. I have a sewing machine, and know how to use it, I could find the cloth and batting to make it work, but I always have this vision of baby pads binding awkwardly under the saddle.
This plus one other tid-bit got me thinking. When I was shopping for my fluffy sheepskin pad there was another version (much more expensive so I didn't get it) that had elastic inserts along the spine to allow for stretching as the horse moved. I thought that this was very interesting. It's the first time I've ever seen a pad with elastic in it, but it made total sense.
I knit, I've made mittens and beanies, and random video game characters out of yarn. Knitting provides a very stretchy and possibly thick cushy product that seems like it would make a pretty neat baby pad. And it's got the added do-it-yourself bonus!
I just don't know if it would work. I'd appreciate any input on your ideas of pads and comments on stretchiness.
Goals: Build a time machine to get to March faster. Lunge whenever possible, maybe introduce side reins if we chill out. Desensitize face and ears after last weeks stitch removal.
Tuesday, February 9, 2010
But until then, unless some miraculous dry spell shows up or another tack shop goes out of business (I hope not, I spent a LOT of money already), this blog may go a tiny bit stale. My camera is completely dead (strangely enough, another thing the rain ruined) so I'm trying to figure out how to get pictures off my phone but until then I might not even get pics of the Disgusting in it's wet and sloppy glory.
Saturday, February 6, 2010
I kinda bought:
an entire lifetime supply of breeches, in my most favoritest style of the TuffRider brand. I bought a crop as a threatening device so that when Bijou learns to jump, she'll never have the option of learning that it doesn't suck to not jump (and probably causing me to gain a better seat by practice riding bucks), a big huge bottle of iodine scrub so I can scrub Bijou's face in the healing process, a nice stiff plastic bristle brush to use while bathing (and getting the clay like mud off of her), some hair nets, a pair of cheapy gloves to use while teaching Bijou to lunge, a saddle cover, and my two big purchase items were:
A Padded Event Bridle:
and a fluffy merino sheepskin half pad:
Which normally I would think is totally unnecessary, but it was just such a good deal and I have a feeling it will come in handy when I need to look the part more than I feel the part of being an eventer.
I've now accumulated a bunch more stuff I need to get out there and USE but can't because it's been raining so darn much. Just gives me motivation that once it does start drying up I'm going to be out there in a heartbeat.
On another note, I was talking with this girl as I was working at Starbucks last week (she came in twice) and I noticed she was wearing a Ram Tap sweatshirt. I oggled her chest awkwardly and asked "did you compete at Ram Tap?" to which she replied "yah!" I told her about my one and only event (walk trot and crossrails combined with an ~ 10 effort x-country course of no more than 18") but that I was so excited to get into it. She was so encouraging about everything and asked about Bijou and told me about her horse. It got me thinking about the whole thing. I've been trained as a H/J my whole life, I love the H/J world but I'd way rather have an all around horse, I've been interested in dressage for a while and cross country in Ireland got me hooked. I don't try to pretend that I'm good at this yet (especially in dressage) but I'm always looking for more information. Please let me know about any tips for an eventing beginner!
Monday, February 1, 2010
On a good note, I was finally able to do something mildly constructive today! Hooray! The very center of the arena finally dried up enough to work in. I took little Ms. High-as-a-Kite out and had a good lunging lesson. She slipped up a few times on the worst patches, but only when she started taking off bucking. I was very proud that she retained a LOT of what we'd worked on before the rain when we were practicing being a well mannered horse while lunging. She didn't try to wheel around on me even once, although she did all of a sudden turn to face me without being asked to. Instead of getting all confused when I tugged to one side and stepped to the other (trying to push her in whichever direction) she only had to take a second to process, and then realized she knew what I was talking about and started off in the suggested direction.
Talk about being greatful for the small things. I know I'm practically gushing about the fact that my horse understands one very small facet of one very small part of being a well mannered horse, but with the recent lack of ANY PROGRESS AT ALL due to the weather, I feel like any step forward is a huge leap for horsewoman-kind.
Hopefully this lack of progress will be remedied since we found a new affordable barn! Huge grassy pastures, a sand arena with a full complement of jumps, lighted arenas for night time riding in the winter, dog friendly, hotwalker equipped, and a group of people with whom I'm already familiar with, all for an affordable rate! I just hope I don't wake up tomorrow and realize it was all too good to be true.
Goals: lunge more if possible, still working on the anti-rain dance since that's what the forecast says to expect... :(