Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Where Does the Time Go?

I don't even remember day-to-day, but here's a good attempt...

Tuesday night, Chewie, Round pen, walk, trot, no problems.
Wednesday night, Chewie, Round pen, side reins, lunge only
Thursday, Romeo, knocking down some rails, acting bored. Quarterlines straight, serpentines bent, flat work great, leg yields improved.
Friday, Romeo, repeat Thursday.

Saturday, Romeo lesson, and the boredom was confirmed. Robin said mid-lesson, "I'll fix his goose", as she raised the rails back to 2ft vertical. Hop! Canter Canter Canter! Big ears, big jump, happy horse. He sailed over the fences both ways, Robin rode him over fences twice, and we called him done. Introduced leg yields at the trot. To the left, his rear trails, but to the right, he's very slow, very straight, and very deliberate. It's nice...

After the lesson, traded tack & horse. Chewie, round pen. Side reins warm up, he was an angel. Took him to the arena, did a lot of walk work, leg yields, spiral in & out, turns on haunches & forehand. Did a little Western Pleasure jog, and some really sweet Working Trot. Almost cantered, but, as he was behaving like an angel, I just didn't want to punish him with a ride ending in my jumbled nerves.

Sunday, Chewie in the am. Angel again. All round pen work, and he was still very well behaved. No problems.

Sunday afternoon, rode friend's cowhorse in a local arena. Chased cows, tracked cows, loped around cows, turned cows back, split them out of the herds, sorted a bit. Had a blast!!! At one point, I was tracked up under a cow down the arena long side. Friend's back in the distance yelling, "Kick him up! Get after that steer! Get him!!!" I felt like one of those goofy barrel racers - reins in one hand, saddle horn in the other, kicking like a nut with both legs. Steer's rump was under horse's chest, horse lowered his head, tickled the steer's back, and the steer found another gear. Took off like a bandit, horse didn't. :) The horse was running out of steam, and I didn't have spurs on to nudge him faster. Anyways, he was an older horse, a well behaved quarter horse gelding, and a fantastic babysitter. He did his job, which was teach me how to have enough courage to chase a steer, get after him, turn him back, and not worry about how fast we were going. I was so busy concentrating on the steer, I didn't look at leads, I didn't worry about my balance, I just worried about catching up. A lot of "schoolgirl squealing screams", tons of laughter, and three tired horses. :) One tired horse was under me, the other two were wore out from chasing back steers that we didn't catch.

Came home, caught Romeo, and Hunter pony over fences. Got my balance & equitation back, and I was thankful for a solid horse. Warmed up on the flat, leg yields at trot, quarterlines, centerlines, and serpentines. Began jumping, and he forgot the rails were back to 18" cross, as he jumped, jumped, and jumped some more. It was wickedly hot, the warmest of the season so far, so I kept the work to 40 minutes, and let him walk me back to the trailer.

Monday night, Chewie, round pen. After some serious thought coming home, I considered " If I can canter a friend's horse all over an arena, in a place slightly unfamiliar to me, doing a cow-chasing task I've never done, on a horse I mostly trust, why on earth can't I canter my own trained dressage horse on both leads in my silly little round pen?" So I did. He gave quite a fit during the warmup on side reins (I think added pressure from another human-to-human conversation going on stirred him up, as he probably thought the tone of voice was directed at hime, when it wasn't). When I got on, he was a complete saint, cantered both directions no issues. I asked left first to boost confidence. Up to two-point, touched his mane, & asked. Cantered two circles, back to trot one circle, down to walk. Reverse, repeat. Finished up with comings & goings at trot, and he was more than cooperative. Total work about an hour. The weather was hot yet again, so he was most appreciative of the hose-shower afterwards.

Tuesday night plans - Chewie one last night. Repeat Monday's ride.
Wednesday - choir, no riding
Thursday - Romeo, repeat of lesson
Friday - Romeo, repeat; Chewie, back to work at trot, maybe arena
Saturday - Friday repeat with a Romeo Lesson
Sunday & Monday - both horses, arena. Aim to canter Chewie at least once in the arena left lead.

I've got great plans for both horses, and, with only minor glitches, things have gone very well. There hasn't been any major setback for quite a while, and I'm happy about that. I like happy trained horses, and knowing I can train Romeo, and learn from Chewie.

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