Wednesday, July 28, 2010

07/26 What Pony Do I Have?

Is he a dressage superstar winning high score ribbons?
Is he a dressage wannabe, with weenie horrid scores, and Momma who doesn't prep enough?

Nah, he's a hunter! Just ask him! Ransom and I enjoyed a really relaxing 30 minutes under saddle Monday night, and, about 20 minutes in, I heard thunder.

So I lightened the work. I quickly got some canter in both leads, but shortly slowed to trot/walk transitions.

He was sweet. We got some nice work in, but managed to stay quiet despite the weather. Yup, weather. Thunder loomed to the north of us, and the clouds spooked the sky. Quickly, the thunder was atop of us on three sides of the pasture. I called it good, and done.

After I unsaddled,
hosed him off,
put his crib collar back on,
and got him to his pasture,
the skies opened up,
and for about fifteen minutes,
it POURED rain.

Thank goodness I got my ride in before the weather hit. It rained some Monday, Tuesday, and today, while it wasn't raining, the arena is too slippery to chance it. We'll try again if the ground allows tomorrow.

07/25/10 On the Lunge

I grabbed Ransom, hosed off the sweat, grabbed his lunge line, and got to the arena.

In the rope halter, lunge line, whip in hand, I sent him out. If he were still wheezy and allergy, I wanted to find out on Sunday. Should there still be a problem, a vet call was on tap for Monday morning.

He walked, trotted, cantered, for 20 minutes, with only his two normal "coughs" to get the dust out in the start of the work. Otherwise, 100% perfect. No stumbling, no coughing, and definitely no wheezing. Anytime he'd start breathing hard, I'd push him a teensie bit more, and then let him walk to catch his breath. We were back in action, and I was anxious to get back in the saddle.

06 26 10 HearthStone

I guess the June 26th show wasn't so bad after all. Check this out!!

After a little investigation, I discovered I was HDS Adult Amateur High Point for the Hearthstone show. Howdy Doody Good deal! I quickly notified the HDS Staff, and got my ribbon sash mailed to us. Ransom and I will enjoy it together when the weather clears up a little bit.

Monday, July 26, 2010

07/23/10 Ransom Wheezy

Mr.Dale to the rescue! He arrived early Friday morning, reattaching shoes & fixing loose nails. The weather has not been shoe-supportive, and I can't blame Dale for that. It's either super dry, or super muddy. Yuck! Ransom was sent back to pasture with strict orders to "keep it easy on that set until he can get back to trim again."

Later in the evening, I gathered up Ransom in dressage gear, decided that it would be best to keep four hooves on the ground.

He not only agreed, he decided this wasn't a good day to work. About ten minutes into work, he started breathing a little harder, which is normal for the weather & workload. Then, pretty quickly, he gave me some long, wheezy, stretching-his-nose out coughs. To get an idea what I was trying to work with, cough long & hard, and expel all of the air out of your lungs. Take a note of what your back does - now imagine being aboard the equine that tries this little trick. It tossed me forward, pulled the reins all the way to the buckle, repeatedly. As a result of the long wheezies, he was also stumbling.

I gave it about fifteen minutes, and discovered he'd only wheezy cough if he was asked to work solid-hard, like a collected trot or canter. Little jog? Okay. Steady marching walk? Okay, too.

I gave it up for the day , and chose Saturday off as well.

more on Sunday tomorrow, and hopefully, a great update from tonight.

Romeo has a whole series of stories to tell. *cute little monster*

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

7/20/10 Ransom Bareback over Poles

It was hot, I wasn't feeling so hot, and while I wanted to ride, I didn't want to "work". I grabbed Ransom, stuck the bareback pad on him, used the loose ring twisted wire bit, and stuck my helmet on. Off to the arena we go.

I warmed him up on a long, loose rein. Ransom quickly realized the best break he could get was to stay long & low. If he stayed soft, forward, but loose, he could remain at a sweeping walk. When he raised his head, and strung his back out, I added rein contact.

With a ten minute warmup complete, I picked up trot. His trot felt nice, collected, and forward! No ittie bittie steppie here! "Ah, what the heck?! He's been great today, it's still pretty warm out. I better get to business quick, so we can get done in short order."

I trotted over the one ground pole on the dressage-circle, and then approached for the line of pre-set "halfacavaletti" trot poles. Bounce Bounce Bounce Bounce. Good boy! Ransom didn't change stride over the poles. I felt myself squeeze my knees into his ribs, looking for a way to "hang on" over the poles. We repeated this four times heading trot-left, until I was able to stay relaxed over the poles & maintain the rein-release. Changed direction, and rode them trot-right in a similar manner.

I gave Ransom a ride-break, moved the pole out of the way of the circle, and rode canter both directions. The canter felt sweet, easy in and easy out transitions. Very relaxing to focus on loose seat & hips, and heels-down. Ransom seemed to appreciate the less-than-perfect collection request.

If I hadn't been alone, and had gotten a teensie bit of motivation, I might have set up a crossrail, and rode over it. I was feeling particularly silly & brave last night. Maybe for the best I didn't carry out that courage.

Total ride - another 45 minutes. Happy to be aboard my horse, focusing a little less on him, and a little more on me. :)

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

A Rasp Enema Where it Belongs

Mrs.Mom has been very judicious in her delivery of the Rasp Enema. Here's a recent example. I'm sure she can come along, comment, and add a few other examples. She and I have been emailing this week, and, while we have a few personal and private targets in mind for the blessed Rasp, I have one I'd like to publically call out.

You little thing on Facebook, who can't connect first names, last names, profiles, and links. My first name, Jennifer, is ridiculously common in my generation. Following someone else's comments, to my profile, then to my blog, where you copy, paste, and steal my words. If reading my blog about the last horse show "blows your dress up", and gives you what you believe to be good entertainment, I'm happy for you. Since you're of the mind to follow me, keep on reading. We all tell plenty of horse stories around here, and occasionally, a conservatively-minded post hits the page. However, at least do me the favor of connecting my comments to my profile. Mixing someone else's comments up with my blog, will just land you a little more than embarassment. (You wanted attention, right? Well here it is!)

I love me a good hearty political debate. Hearing other points of view is intriguing, and sometimes, educational. What I don't learn from, however, is the cursing, name-calling, and general "I'm gonna tell on you" immaturity. In my few years of political persuasion, I've learned one solid thing - when Conservatives disagree with an opinion, we just disagree with the beliefs. When a Liberal disagrees with an opinion, they resort to name-calling, cursing, and general attack of the person. They can't defend their opinion, so they attack the opinion-holder.

Long life a good debate, but the Rasp will be delivered as appropriate.

7/19/10 Romeo Routine

Gathered up Mo, stuck Ransom in the paddock with my apologies. Last time I left Ransom out to play while Mo worked in the arena, Ransom found a way in the arena anyways "to help".

Romeo, in all his western gear, and I warmed up at a walk on loose rein. Romeo reacquainted himself with the arena, the pond, and the tall grass around it. One good walk lap around with a little "lookies", and he settled nicely.

I worked him at all three gaits to warmup, with big sweeping canter circles. His trot was very irregular, but since he's badly out of shape, I couldn't do much to argue about it. There were deer and a fawn wandering in the pasture just outside the arena, but everyone seemed comfortable with the company. Ransom eventually stopped pacing the paddock gate, which was appreciated.

Nicely after our warmup, we were ready to get to business. Settled into a loose rein, I did a boatload of transitions walk/halt and trot/walk. Some were pretty, some were ugly. I trotted him over the trot poles a few times, and in plenty of circles, diagonals, and direction changes. Most of this work was done on a loose rein neck reining, while some of it was on direct rein for gentler transitions. To give him a walk break, and get his mind off "go go go", I did some turns on forehand, turns on haunches, and a couple light rollbacks to trot. All went well, in fact, better than I expected. A benefit of the hours bareback in the side yard reinforcing the little things like those turns.

Finally, I finished up the work with short canter sets. Staying on the big "dressage circle", we rode the canter for no more than 9 strides, before trotting a little while, and right back into the canter. I'm trying to build up his toosh, and improve that canter transition. I got nice canter sets in each direction once he got the idea what game we were playing.

With that accomplished, I let him walk out on a loose rein. We were both sweaty, hot, and generally miserable. It was a warm evening, and I certainly didn't want to overdo it. Total work 45 minutes.

Monday, July 19, 2010

7/18/10 Ransom Gallop & Pole Day

Ransom and I wandered towards the arena, thankful for the overcast skies, and slightly cooler air. The temperatures had dropped about ten degrees - not a lot, but it certainly made a more difficult ride a bit more feasible.

As we approached the arena, his ears and head perked. What's that we see?! Are those poles on the ground? Do I see cavaletti rail razors, Mom? Really?!?!?

I tried letting him lunge on the line just a little, but between all the poles in the arena, the cooler weather, and the cows waaaay off in the distance, I couldn't easily contain all of his energy. So I turned him loose. Whee ha! Ransom ran like a 7yr old, for a solid ten minutes at gallop & canter. He bucked, reared, kicked out, farted, and ran out like a silly colt. It was beyond entertaining. Sweet old guy still has plenty of pizazz left in him.

Finally wore out, he walked right by me, then to the arena gate & halted. Realizing the silly was over, he knew it was time to work. I got my lunge line gathered up, moved some canter poles to trot poles on the 20m circle, and got in the saddle.

I walked him over the circle poles a few times, then picked up a trot. How my balance point missed my HDR event saddle. ahh.. the relief of reaching up and still feeling centered over my horse. Ransom picked up some speed, lifted his head, and pranced happily over the circle trot poles. We completed this a few times each way, with some walk breaks. It was beyond cute as I realized that's why he was so wound up as we entered the arena - he was happy to see anything in the arena other than dirt & grass.

I had some poles elevated on the rail razors every other side, four poles, set up for trot down the rail. I approached those the first time hesitant, not sure if he'd choose his hooves carefully. Ransom hesitated, and very delicately picked through, not a hoof misstep. *snicker* He knocked on rail razor end over one time but otherwise, each way, absolutely fantastic.

I then went back to the circle, and had one pole on the ground at canter. We were at least going to ride canter on the flat heading left. Well, one circle canter left away from the pole, and Ransom was super soft. So I approached the pole, and whoopieweeha over it once. The second time, he broke to trot just before, and the third, he delicately put it in between front hooves in the canter.

I realized that'd been nearly 45 minutes total, and, given the still warm weather, and his galloping mayhem in the warmup, it was time to call it a day. What a fun time we had! Can't wait to do it again.. :)

The Weekend I Should Have..

Should have ridden more...
Friday, R and I went out to dinner with friends. =) A restful time, and a relaxing evening.
Saturday, I should have ridden. But it got hot, I got whiney, and the newly installed thermal-backed curtains talked me into staying inside. R and I went out to see "Despicable Me". And Oh my gosh it's funny! Funniest part? As Gru walks into the "Bank of Evil - Formerly Lehman Brothers" ... *snort funny*

Sunday, the weather finally broke just a little. So I got my tail feathers back in action.
Romeo worked in his hunt seat, in the side yard. I am happy to report his walk/halt/walk is back to picture perfect for him. Head low, light contact. The trot is coming back, with the occasional head-tossing lack of muscle development.

He really didn't believe me that he could canter for 7-9 strides in the side yard, but he did. They were ridiculously ugly, I supposed because he was more worried about the small space than the actual gait he was travelling in. Fair enough, it'll get better as his muscles improve again.

Total work, while a thunderstorm loomed a few miles off, and harsh winds whacked us about, around 30 minutes.


Wait for the disclaimer at the end - it's my favorite part!

Friday, July 16, 2010

7/15/10 Nyah Nyah Nyah

That was Ransom last night, laughing at me in his perfect forward trot, his gawgeous 10-walk.. I could hear him muttering, "This is how good I work when I'm back in my routine! ha ha silly Momma!"

I was surprised after my work day... The "Arena Fairy" came to the house, and mowed the arena and the path to it from the barn. Hooray! However, same AF also ran over my purple lunge whip, and it will be sorely missed. It's blue replacement will work well (thank you), but it's just not as purple. *giggle*

I kept it very short. About 10 minutes or less on the side reins lunge, and another 20 or less under saddle. The work was nice, and light. We lost some collection at times, but he had the forward a whole lot better than at the last show. Towards the end, he got a little crabby about walk/halt, but they got better, so I quit.

I suspect this weekend I'm going to take a dressage break, dig out the cavaletti again, and my hunt saddle. Put some miles over poles. Break up the monotony for both of us.

Store in Town Robbed
And, for the record, no, it's not funny he robbed the store.
Funny, however, are the follow up comments at the bottom of the page..

He'll be fried when get's the chair...

He winged this one...

He probably left a trail of breadcrumbs...

Breast of luck to VPD in their search for the soon to be jailbird...

It was very clucky nobody got hurt this time....

His birds will come home to roost soon...

May light meat him and make him a batter man...

Thigh bet they'll catch the criminal soon...

I heard he had escaped to Kentucky....

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

7/13/10 Hooves Made for Walking

First up, thanks for the "boosts" about the behavior encountered last Sunday. I appreciate knowing it wasn't just me thinking it was rude, and that's completely acceptable behavior in the horse show world.

Last night, I surveyed the ground, the grass, and the mosquito population before grabbing my saddle. I tacked Ransom up Western, with his twisted wire bit, and headed into the pasture. We walked and walked, and jogged, and pranced, and giggled through the pasture.

He was silly. In the arena, in his dressage "circle" he's been practicing in, he was slow, and behaving like a worker-bee. In the rest of the arena, and the majority of the pasture, he was nearly giddy. Ears flinging all about, a walk so vigorous he was serious ground-covering. (muttermumble. It'd be a 10-free walk, but OF course I can't get that in the show ring) When we wandered into some higher grass, either due to tickly high grass, or mosquitoes, Ransom was insistent he be in trot. I collected him, considering if I made it "work", he'd rather walk. Instead, he arched his neck, rounded his back, and pranced in this little jiggy trot. *giggle*

Ransom seemed to seriously enjoy the "work". I did put him through all three gaits long enough to remind him that work is still work on his dressage "circle". With the exception of some arguing, he did have a few nice transitions, and some nice work at trot. Into canter was a little beyond yuckie, but I wasn't expecting much.

Total "ride work" about 10 minutes. Total walking nutty around the pasture? About 25 minutes. Fun overall. Once I get the arena mowed back short, and find fairies to shred the pasture, we'll be way back in business as normal. And I think it's about time to get those ground poles and cavaletti back in-service.

Monday, July 12, 2010

FreeStyle Farms 7/11/10 Outside the Ring

As I came up centerline on Test #2 (which I mistakenly thought was #1), I saw about four ladies standing outside the arena, between C and H. No big deal, I have an audience. Won't nerve me - my horse being a dork is enough distraction for the both of us.

I heard the error bell, got corrected, saw Jen and R and the show manager all talking, discussing if I needed help or not. Then, entirely frustrated with my stupid self, I got back to the correct letter to start over. I came down the diagonal, changed direction, forced a smile to the judge, who was cheerfully smiling back.

I heard to my right, from the women at the corner, "Wow. Should she even be riding today?" As I rode my first canter circle, I glanced at them. They were all watching me, one in particular frowning and making this "ohmygosh" face.

Every time I came facing them, I saw them. I heard the sneering whispers about our mistakes, I saw the facial expressions. And I won't lie - it hurt, and it was ridiculously distracting. I came busting out of the arena after my ride, glaring at them from across the short side. I was furious, why would they stand there and critique?

I told Jen and R about it. "There's only one judge here, and she's smiling at you. Just ignore it." That's like telling a firefighter to ignore a housefire, or a cop to ignore a speeding sportscoupe.

As I rode TL#1, I came up centerline, halt, salute. I decided *right* at X, I was blowing my second mark - I was glaring long and hard at that woman, and make sure she knew I could hear her. I nearly rode over to her just to say, "We can hear you in here, so shut your pie hole!"

That "5" for my trot heading left? I gave that up - for what felt to me like a good cause. As I rode where they could see my face, I glared, long, and hard. I rode up centerline at the end, halt, salute, and walked about five steps forward, glaring more... In my mind, though the scores don't say, TL#1 rode easier for me than TL#2.

After hosing the sweat off of Ransom, Jen found the ShowManager, and explained that the "criticism from outside the arena can be heard from inside, is distracting, and less than constructive." ShowManager said she knew them, and would address it. I don't know what ended up happening. What I do know, is I am scheduled in my mind to go back on Sept 19. Same barn, different judge.

If you're one of those critiques, and you're reading, stay off the arena rail during my tests if you can't keep your crap to yourself. I didn't see any of you riding, and at least one of ya weren't even dressed to ride. If you're there again, at the rail, I will tell the ShowManager again, in advance, that behavior like the last show won't be tolerated. I don't train as hard as I do, and work as hard as I do, nor drive that far and pay those fees, to be taunted & teased by grown adults at the rail. I shutter at the thought you did the same thing to some little kid who was at his/her first schooling show ever. Kids have better hearing than I do, and I know the remarks I heard.

I feel entirely better just getting that out of my head, and into print..

FreeStyle Farms 7/11/10 Training Test #2

Training Level #2, L. Cummings, Judge

1. Enter working trot, halt at X, salute, proceed working trot
6 = could be straighter after X

2. Track right, circle 20m
6 = slightly braced in neck, nose left

3. Change rein working trot KXM
5 = trot rhythm not always clear

4. Working canter left lead between C & H
7 = fairly balanced

5. E Circle Left 20m
6 = braced in neck, nose right

6. Between E and K working trot
6 = needs energy

7. A medium walk
6 = needs fluidity

8. FXM Long free walk down the diagonal
7 = good stretch; add longer strides

9. M-C Medium Walk
6 = slightly tentative

10. C Working Trot
6 = tense through back / neck

11. Circle Left 20m
5 = short strides w/ nose wagging

12. Change Rein working trot, down the diagonal
5 = same uneven steps

13. Between C and M working canter right lead
7 = prompt

14. B circle right 20m
6 = braced w/ nose left

15. Between "B" and "F" working trot
7 = could be straighter

16. Down "A" centerline, halt, salute.
8 = no comments

Rider comments
Gaits = 5
Impulsion = 5
Submission = 5
Rider = 5

Pleasing team. Horse must show willing, elastic connection thru-out. Add ground-cover, energy.

FreeStyle Farms 7/11/10 Training Test #1

Ransom had a longer warmup than the last show. I very quickly realized this was NOT going to be OUR day. He was stiff, and had a huge case of the “I don’t wanna work”-it is. I tried a nice long rein, and he was compliant. As soon as I’d ask for a transition, or any sort of rein shortening, he’d hollow his back, shorten the stride, and pop that noggin up. Argh.. muttermutter.

Called for the first Test, off I went. Huge Error – I didn’t look carefully at the test orders. I rode in centerline, all pleased & happy with myself. Why not? I’d done well at the last test, and, while Ransom wasn’t perfect, he sure was quiet. Halt, Salute, proceed working trot. Headed right, circle 20m, canter in the corner, canter 20m circle. *ding ding* What’d I do?

Oops.. Training #2 before Training #1. The judge pointed out my screw up, told me how to fix it, asked that I go back to the last letter, ride my diagonal at trot, and proceed.
“Do I know test #2? Do I need it called?”
“No, ma’am. I thought I was up for #1 before #2. My fault entirely. I’m sorry.”

So, these will be out of order ridden, but they’re here. The scores are rather yuckie. More 6s and there’s even a 4 in TL1 for free walk –I hope I can get the video posted. He didn’t really get “irregular” – he blew his nose, and kept on going. *giggle* Now, it’s rather funny.

After the test details, I’ll comment a little on things that occurred outside the arena. Things that annoy me, and if by accident those “watchers” find my blog, I’d like them to know how it felt.

Training Level #1, L. Cummings, Judge
1. Enter working trot, halt at X, salute, proceed working trot
5 = wiggly on centerline, reluctant to halt

2. Track left, circle 20m
5 = getting quick; same uneven steps

3. Working canter left lead between K & A
6 = twisting, slightly haunches in

4. B Circle Left 20m
6 = falls over outside shoulder

5. Between centerline and B working trot
5 = not always regular

6. C medium walk
6 = braced into walk

7. Long free walk down the diagonal
4 = some loss of rhythm; not really at free walk

8. "A" working trot
7 = better rhythm

9. Circle Right 20m
7 = encourage longer strides

10. Working canter right lead in the corner
6 = against hand to canter

11. "B" circle right 20m
6 = balanced to forehand

12. Between centerline and "B" working trot
6 = slightly braced

13. Down "A" centerline, halt, salute.
6 = some resistance to halt

Rider comments
Gaits = 5
Impulsion = 5
Submission = 5
Rider = 5

Attractive team. Horse not always regular today. Need to see willing, useful, elastic connection so you can balance horse with half halts.

Week of 7/05/10

Monday - Lessons at BRM
Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday - rain rain rain

Tuesday evening, Romeo and I worked in a little ride. Nothing real intense or serious - hunter saddle, walk, trot in the side yard. He was good. I'm trying to work on a very loose rein, keeping him relaxed & paying attention to me.

Another one of 'em, again, I think.. I caught a quick work on Ransom. Found him decently light in my hands, and reinforced the forward. Yeah.. That was Wednesday. He was a pretty good boy. Nothing spectacular, but nothing horrific, either.

Thursday late afternoon, R and I departed for vacation. Got to hang out with friends and family. We got home on Saturday, and I immediately transitioned from 'vacationing' to show prep.

Jen had prepared nearly everything for us. Trailer was packed, tack was clean. All remained for me was loading my own things in the truck, and resting. Mosquitoes had taken up shelter in each and every damp spot in the yard, and were running the activities. I darted from truck to house, sprinted from back door to barn & back. I swell up & itch for weeks if I even get one mosquito bite. Let's not even talk about how miserable it is if I get bit multiple times & scratch them because I forget I was nibbled. Oi Vey

Sunday, we arrived at Freestyle Farm nice & early. Jen gave Ransom a quick scrubby bath while I checked in and got ready.

The Show.. The Show... Details to follow... If you follow me on Facebook, you already know the ribbons, and a bit about the scores. There's sooo much more than dear Facebook tells.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

7/5/2010 BRM Lesson Romeo

I gathered up Romeo, his hunt saddle, french link bit, and made sure my helmet still fit. *giggle* You know that feeling of, "never ridden this horse in this place, there's a lot going on, and while he's a saint 99.9% of the time, the one time I need him to be an angel, please don't be a dorkus freakus"? I had it irking through every darn nerve of my body.

I walked Romeo into the covered arena, tossed the reins over his neck, walked around him to tighten the girth, hopped aboard, and got to riding. Barb says to me, "Ride him like you normally do, I just want to watch him go a little bit."

So I did. We walked on a loose rein, we jogged out on a loose rein, I pushed him up to a rising trot with a little bit of contact. I asked for some canter both ways. Much to my dismay, the little fart blew his right lead three times before snagging it up correctly. Doofus. He didn't blink, he didn't spook, he didn't even look hard at the arena or the surroundings.

Barb says, "I love him. He's super quiet! I like that little jog. Keep his nose out there, it's cute! Don't tighten the reins... Yup, he's out of balance. Just needs some muscle." Then, the news I was sort of hoping to hear. "You should sell him. You'd get quite a bit for him, and that can go towards a new dressage horse."

She'll be posting the ad for him soon, and I'll link it back here. As a lady in the barn asked, "Why are you selling him?" I explained.. "Romeo has served his job VERY well in my life. I was terrified to ride, and there's got to be some other little kid or small adult out there terrified like I was. It's time for him to move on, and me to upgrade to a nice dressage horse. I can't do that and keep all three at home. Somebody's got to move on, and it's Romeo's time to go."

In the meanwhile, Romeo will enjoy 4 days a week or so, alternating every other day with Ransom. Mo will get work on all three gaits, as loose a rein as possible. The whole purpose will be to refresh his mind, and get his muscles back in shape. Now, my LittleMan has a job, at least for the time being. We'll still have goof off rides down the road, and maybe go push a cow or two. I might even pop him back over a few fences, and see if the old saddle fit issues are cleared from his memory.

7/5/2010 BRM Lesson Ransom

Ransom had enjoyed a week off, due to his show performance, the weather, and then the subsequently soaked mushy arena. Wasn't a chance I was risking an injury riding in the mud, and the heat was unbearable last week anyways.

Hopped on "cold", and spent some time at walk, bending, flexing. Trotted a bit on a long rein before gathering him up. Did a large quantity of walk/halts, but Barb mixed it up for us. They were barely halt before moving on again. Less than a second stopped. When he started staying quiet & collected, then a one-second halt. Then a two-second halt. These improved the longer we did them. Need to lather, rinse, repeat over and over back at home.

Trot work was magical again. He started out stiff, bent to the outside, and short strides. After some rein work and body position reminders for me, he had the most amazing working trot. Things I need to focus on...
Soft lower back
Pulse the reins, then soften - don't release the reins to loose, just soften my hands & my arms
Shoulders still - but go back to soft lower back, not hunter-arched-stiff back

Canter wasn't even an issue - nothing really needed "fixing". More of the rein-pulse to keep him bent inside the circles. Really though, my rear end was glued in the saddle, the canter was *very* forward, but he had some amazing collection work in the gait. sweeet!

Barb proclaimed,"It's time to move on. You're ready for something new. Lateral work!" We tried to start out with leg yields at trot. Heading from quarter line right to the rail, he nearly immediately picked up the yields, with a few brief moments of straightening to get his head aiming forward. Then we tried the opposite direction - yuck. Ransom's old bones and legs said, "No go Momma". He was choppy, ugly, and while I won't say ignoring the aids, he didn't seem able to complete the work.

After about an hour total lesson ride, we unsaddled, and hosed him down. Ransom is going to continue his work in Training Level, but will progress no higher. Barb suggested I consider starting to look for a more advanced horse. A bigger, badder, better dressage trained horse. I love my Ransom, though. Nevertheless, we're a team at least until the end of the year. He and I will continue our Training Level goals for the season.

July 4th 2010 Holiday Weekend

Saturday, I should have...
*measured windows, bought curtains, hung curtains, mowed the grass, cleaned house, delivered my shirt & breeches to the cleaners, started planning for vacation
Instead, I
*took a day trip to Aquarena Springs, in San Marcos Texas
*travelled from there to Austin, for a late lunch at Threadgill's

Sunday, I participated in church praise band (after an "11th hour" phone call asking to fill in Saturday night)
Then I found curtains, ordered 'em to be delivered to home later this week
Mowed the grass
Packed the truck again, reloaded the trailer again
Hosed off ponies

Monday, R and I hauled Ransom, and Romeo, to BRM for a great lesson session. Really neat news on both horses, which will be shared up in the next entry.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Hurricane Alex

The hurricane didn't make landfall here, and for that I'm thankful.

It did, however, make a mell of a hess =) of the property. I got home last night to puddles in all the normal heavy rain spots. In an effort to keep Ransom calm, and reduce the hoofprint damage to the arena & pastures, I stayed in last night. Tonight will be more of the same. This means I'll be travelling to BRM for lessons tomorrow with two horses that have had over a week off each.

Normally, that might mean goofy/spazzy/crazy. In the case of Romeo, it'll most likely mean quiet, somber, responsive, willing to please. For Ransom, it'll mean stiff to start, then very eager to please. I'm looking forward to the trip tomorrow.

As preparation, I get to bathe both boys tonight, in the puddles. Yuck!! I do need to think up a plan to keep 'em mostly clean. Otherwise, I'll be spraying off caked mud tomorrow morning before departure. Double Yuck!

The long 4th weekend doesn't bring anymore exciting plans than that. Hah! It just now occurred to me, I'm off on Monday. I get a 3-day weekend after all. Extra time to catch up on all the chores that will be put off tomorrow. *sigh* That's relieving! Better, and I bait the crew with partial news... I'm going out of town on Thursday thru Saturday...

wait,, wait.. If you read FFI's, you'll see there's a show coming on the 11th. So why o' why, would I schedule being out of town three days before a show?! Am I n-v-t-s? Nah, I just trust Ransom that much. But will I tell ya where I'm going? Not a snowball's chance in.. oop! Blog's rated G, I'll behave..

Who wants to guess where I'm headed? C'mon!! It'll be fun! Maybe if I can think up something nifty, I'll even toss in a prize for the closest guess. Miss Jennifer, you can't play, sorry sweetie. You're part of the big plan, so you can't give away the surprise!! shhhhh....

Friday Fill Ins

1. When it's quiet my mind wanders, most of it not good.

2. I've got another dressage show in what seems like a month. (psst. it's about two weeks away!)

3. My heart is tired, and ready for change.

4. On The 4th of July by James Taylor was playing this morning.

5. In the town where I was born two people were charged earlier this week in a suspected arson attempt.

6. The way they've all been understanding lately is something I really love about my significant other / friend.

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to bathing the boys, tomorrow my plans include lesson on Ransom and future for Romeo at BRM and Sunday, I want to find joy in the second service!