Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Owch... That Hurt!

Tacked up dressage, side reins, halter, lunge line...

Walked Chewie out to the pasture, asked him to go to the left. "NO", he answered, spinning on his hocks to go right. I lifted my hands to try & reverse him, and off he went, bucking, kicking, galloping around. I managed to hold on to the lunge line at the end loop, but not after it ripped through my hands, taking some skin with it. He did this twice, the second time intentionally going to the right, when I asked for canter from trot. Two tempered fits, and then he was great.

Worked solely on the lunge line, side reins 5 & 7, mostly at trot.

Little twit hurt my hand!

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Monday Night In the Wind

Pasture is still too soft, round pen is under water (therefore, no lights). So we worked briefly in the front yard.

No Lunge warm up, Lots of walk, circle in, circle out, leg yield, halt on breath, moderate amount of trot focusing on soft eyes. I found it difficult to focus on deep breathing at the trot ... It was just good to remember to breathe, no matter where it comes from.

Tried a few deep breathing exercises after dinner. It's easy to breathe from my center if I think about it... but with everything else to focus on during a ride (heels, shoulders, bend elbows, look up, soft eyes, "feel his mouth", keep forward motion, knees off the saddle, etc) how on earth am I going to focus on where my breathing comes from?!?!

Monday, January 28, 2008

Back on Track

Back to work, I told Chewie, Back to work. No more standing around the pasture, well, galloping around the pasture like a goober.

Total, probably 45 minutes
Free lunge to "get the monsters out" - No issues
Walk under saddle

I tried to use Soft Eyes, and noticed right after I started riding, he was following my eyes. Okay, okay.. I know that's how it's supposed to work, but when I've tried it before it never seemed to go right. I think it was mostly because I was looking with my eyes, but not with my brain. Yesterday, I was looking with all of me, trying to look out ahead at the trees, and he'd head right towards it.

Did some leg yield, a few pivots, and splashed through a few puddles. Had an issue at one time when I was terrified to go through a muddy puddle with him... Got him scared of it, too. We've struggled since to get through puddles, and I've had him lunge through them without me with success. Last night, I pointed him towards one he'd have to go through to get to the "other side", looked way up ahead, and let him trot through the first time. After that, he would walk calmly through them, no hesitation. What a neat feeling!!!

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Saturday Relaxation

Chewie got new feet this morning. Good news - no more Equilox, just shoes. Glad to hear that, as it made his day. Both boys finally blanket-free & enjoying the warmer temperatures.

Went for a shopping adventure trip. Went to Houston, to Charlotte's Saddlery, Barnes & Nobles, and Quizno's for a late lunch. At Charlotte's, picked up new dressage leathers, saddle pad, a light green stable sheet for Chewie, and more hoof conditioner.

At Barnes & Nobles, I grabbed a copy of Centered Riding, Sally Swift. I began reading it while enjoying lunch. The first few pages are all about Swift's life & how she had to learn balance through a few different instructors (including balance to walk & perform normal activities).

The first real chapter on riding covers Four Elements. I've read up on two - Soft Eyes, and Deep Breathing. Spent some time trying out the two. The book says my deep breathing should cause my belly button to move - If I focus on that, it seems like I'm only moving the muscles & not breathing normally. If I breathe normally, I feel like I lift up... Hmmm.... Soft eyes was much easier.

Came home to a house full of critters more than happy to see me.

And it's Sunday - time for church & reflection. Also, hopefully, for the first time in a week, it should be dry enough to ride. Hoping to work on some of the CR stuff I read about yesterday.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

It's What I Do

I got word of three ill friends yesterday. There's an ugly flu bug going around the region, and two of the three were impacted pretty severely. There is not much else I can do but pray, and pray some more, and again a little more. I was thanked for being considerate & supportive... It's what I do. I worry, I ask the questions, and always help if at all possible.

Still, it rains. It's cold, windy, and rainy. These are the wintery days I miss home, where it's cold, and it snows. Snow... you know, that wet stuff you can brush off your jacket... Not the rain that soaks in and leaves the freezing feeling. That same snow that comes with cold temperatures wintery enough that your breath comes out like a fog. We don't get that kind of winter here, but instead this nasty rain & 20mph wind gusts...

I feel a reflective day coming on ... Lots of sitting & thinking ...

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

What Weather We call Winter

I see all these adorable wintery photos around this time of year. I'm jealous. You Yankees have snow covered pines, white pastures, horses with blankets with a white frost to them.

I have rain, and mud. Plenty of it to go around, too. I have horses that are dry & warm under their turnouts, with wet legs, wet hooves, and sploshing about the pasture in the mud. In these rainy cold days, Chewie behaves with much protest. He just gets grouchy, and I can't blame him.

Too wet to do much of anything. When it's raining, I'm not motivated to walk the dogs, so I end up inside, staring at the television, falling asleep too early.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

The "Eww" Yuckie Face

This face will never get old. He was just exposed to some mouthwash spray, but just about any odor will do. Mints, cologne, perfume, deoderant, soda pop flavors he doesn't like, you name it. All yield a huge "EWWW" upper lip, and a big laugh from me.

Peaceful & Silly

One moment, he's the most peaceful horse on the South Texas coast...
Then, after a ride, he's just a silly goofball...

I'm learning

Learning how to blog

Learning how to ride

Learning how to quit sitting around the house wondering where everybody is

Bear with me while I climb up the steep learning curve

Here's a cute Chewie picture while I go to work for a while

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Light Light Work

15 minute lunge no side reins. Just looked for quiet & relaxed.

15 minutes work under saddle @ walk.. Slobber city! It was "play with the bit" day. Chomp chomp chomp. We worked on spiral in & out, leg yield, turn on forehand, turn on haunches, side pass, halts. Quite a bit of lateral flexion at halt, just to get him bending his neck & brain. I was amazed at the amount of slobber that came with work today...

Hoped for a longer more peaceful ride to close, but just as soon as I went outside to ride, the clouds rolled in, and wind picked up. BRRR cold pretty quick, outta nowhere.

Raining outside today...

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Lunge Line & Side reins

40 minutes.

Side reins on 5 out, 7 in.

How amazing. Chewie gets 4 days off, due to the rain, and he was phenominal. No temper fits on the line, in fact, I was pretty pleased to see in both directions, loose inside side rein.

Hope to repeat today with a little under saddle work at walk. too wet for the round pen, so I'll lunge him in side reins in the "natural lunge ring", and then wander up to the front yard to work on his walk. I'll try to add in leg yield, plenty of halts with breath, and maybe a little shoulder-in. I'm not good at asing for it, but he sure tries.

COLD last night.... 26F when I woke up at 515am, and 24F at 710am when I left for church. Came home to two babies lying down, blankets & all. Will add pictures from work tomorrow... too dern slow on dial up.

BTW.. No lesson "because Robin had a headcold." It was dry enough to ride, which I don't know if she believed me or not. Sandy soil dries fast... Oh well... I ride in a head cold, and certainly don't miss work for one. Unless I've been throwing up for an entire night, I'm at work... never called in sick, and don't intend on it.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Schooling Session

FanTabuLous! Good grief that's what a good ride feels like...

Solid warm up - a little attitude hissy fit on the free warm-up, but he quickly learned that wears out energy, and isn't worth the calories.

Warmup on the side reins was wonderful! I saw lots of good collection, beautiful movement. He was certainly picking up all four feet & pushing out a wonderful trot. Canter to the right was fast & a bit disorganized, but to the left he was actually starting that "up & down" with his head I've seen in dressage & never saw him do before. Transitions into canter were better - little kiss, no fuss... not incredibly uphill, but at least no taking off at 90mph leaning up & out on the bit.

Our work together was beautiful! His walk was free-moving, but also collected, something I haven't enjoyed very often. Also noticed it was a little easier to "tip my hip" forwards & back with his outside front. Work at trot was much improved from Sunday - He had impulsion! Not as many steps collected with me as he did on his own, so I'm sure I contributed some hindrance. But, I was able to sit the trot, and he didn't slow down incredibly, which ought to mean I'm improving. I was trying to do a little teenie tiny post, to see if that would improve or decrease his impulsion - it decreases it. Worked on asking for trot from seat only, as well as slowing post to slow to a walk. It's improving.

No canter work with me. Weather today is a bit rainy, so we may be out of riding conditions for a few days.

Cut on the neck is healing nicely. Feet are showing signs of needing trimmed; we're at 4 weeks Thursday, scheduled for next trim 24th.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Clinic Update

I've got guts... but also determined to get over my fear if I kill myself or drive my horse crazy...

I've signed up for a Friday to Sunday private clinic from that website linked previously. Last weekend in February. Just me & my horse, with instructor's lesson horses as appropriate.

I deliberated on this for nearly two weeks.. Just couldn't work up the courage to admit that a boot-camp style weekend may be the only way to conquer the fear. This nit-picking around isn't going to get it done.

I've used up work gift awards in exchange for hotel gift certificates. That should just about cover the two nights. All that'll be left is to commit to eat well while I'm there...

Tomorrow morning I'll put up a summary of tonight's ride.

Schooling Session

Warmed up free in the round pen - 10 minutes

Side reins (5 on outside, 7 inside) - 15 minutes

Worked on walk-frogs, trot with reins & stirrups - 25 minutes

Chewie was incredibly slow. I believe this is from his temper tantrums Friday (refusing to be easily caught, galloping around the pasture) and Saturday (refusing to be caught a second time for yellow-spray on his neck-cut after the long bath & dry time). Needed Lots of leg to keep him in a forward trot.

Considering a Private Clinic .....

Friday, January 11, 2008

Chewie Lesson - Robin

After the 01/05/08 train wreck lesson with Sam, I called Robin, explained what happened. Robin thinks Sam was intense because Sam is at a riding school now as an instructor. Sam was training me like she does the students.. I'm not a student at a riding school. I'm a hobbiest at best... with underlying terror-driven fear of the horse.

So, on the lunge line we went. Robin warmed him up free lunge, then on side reins. She asked aggressive for one trot-to-canter transition, Chewie threw a little mini fit, but otherwise, their warmup on side reins was good.

I climbed on, and we worked on walk with no stirrups & "no reins". I had them in case of a train wreck, but I was on the buckle. While I was on the lunge, Chewie still had side reins - Robin said to keep him balanced. Never been on a lunge with the horse in side reins, so that was nice. Chewie didn't have the option of throwing his head up & tensing his back.

Worked on "frog stretches". I was apparently okay at the walk, with room for improvement. At the trot, I'm told I bend at the knees instead of at the hip. Bending at the hip pulls the top of my thighs .... owwwwwwwwie. Muscle soreness to the max. My muscles were actually getting that cold-tingly feeling, which I haven't had in a while.

Did a TON of walk-frogs. A little bit of trot, but mostly walk. We're working on "tipping my hip", which still doesn't make sense. I'm sure it will when I get it right, but it's awful hard to feel, and even harder to see.

Robin got on him at the end of the lesson, and showed me the right way to do the frog. Cleared up some confusion for me - It's okay to grab the pommel, it's okay to lean back... Just as long as my legs come up in front of me, thighs at a 90deg angle to back, knees bent 90deg to the thighs. That should be easier than when I was trying to bend at the hip & keep the rest of my body "lined up perfect".

Next Lesson - Scheduled for 01/19/08, 2:30pm