Tuesday, May 31, 2011

5/27 - 5/30 Mo

5-27 Mo No Go * My HVAC chose a fine time to quit working properly. Tech came out, gave me the run around, and generally acted rude. It's a bad sign when my first impression is "freak, I'm wearing riding pants. keep looking at me that way and I'll beat you with a broom handle." Second impression is "Don't ask me where I work to gauge my income, jerk. Just fix it." It's a patch job, not even a true repair. Not a good Romeo-ride alternative.

5-28 Mo Stiffer
Romeo was stiff, and refusing to bend. I did lots of trotting bending circles, sort of a Clinton Anderson "Bending exercise". I got dizzy, and I suspect Mo did too... *giggle* He finally started getting the idea.

5-29 Mo Better
Romeo moved out at all three gaits, though at one point we moved from trot to walk on a loose rein. I gathered my reins, preparing for working walk, when Romeo took off at the canter. Figuring he wanted a gallop day, in the hot hot sun we galloped. I ran him like a nut around the arena, and when he relaxed, back to collection work and bending. Shorten the reins, off zippity doo dah he went again. Soon Romeo realized that collection is easier than running on contact. :) Momma wins!

5-30 Mo Road
Romeo and I adventured off the property, met the new horsie neighbors at Mafia Man's property, made googy booger faces at CrazyMare, and progressed a little closer to Third Corner. He got wide eyed and anxious near the third corner, so I can't wait for that. After Third Corner is the split in the highway. I'd love to get that far...

I have plans in the works to take both boys on a ranch/trail adventure this fall. An acquaintance has offered up stabling for the boys, lodging for me, and lots of trail riding adventures. They've even got an arena we can work the bugs out in. I'm delighted, and hope it works out.

5-31 Mo Mo
Tonight will be more Romeo, we'll scamper off to the arena for a quick session. Maybe save time with a bareback pad and good boots. Just focus on bending and stopping clean. Harley will be available for supervising. :)

5/26,27,28,29 Harley

5/26 - Harley Longed. Nothing spectacular to report

5/27 - Rode. Dressage. Focused on walk/trot, but he was a little lazy. Not quite a giraffe head, but ugly in the walk/halt transitions. Got a few nice ones and called it quits. He was stumbling some, and a bit lazy. Called Jen and her DH for a quick eval and trim Saturday.

5/28 - Harley got new feet. They look different than they have before. At first, H seemed happy with them. He was moving nicely, and seemed happy.
Took him to the arena, and he wasn't so happy. Didn't want to move, and when he did, strides were short and choppy. Called it quits pretty early, when even a walk out on a loose rein got mixed results, the first step of each effort feeling wobbly and irratic.

5/29 - Started out dressage, but quickly realized he wasn't getting it. Still wobbly and lethargic. Thinking it was a saddle fit issue, I took him back to the trailer and switched to the western saddle. I was able to ride, I did get walk and trot, but strides were short, choppy, and barely flowing enough to post. Even without collection, I was kind of sitting the trot. He generally felt stiff and uncomfortable.

5/30 to 6/1, Harley off. I'm hoping the break will help him adjust to his new feets, and by Thursday he'll be as right as rain and ready to make a good effort again.

Thoughts and Prayers

Here I am, sitting and resting, reflecting on my weekend. The good, the bad, the stinky. Literally. More on that later. Meanwhile, I found this news article. My thoughts and prayers are with the owners, the healing horses, and the staff.


West Grove, PA - May 31, 2011 -At 12:30am this morning, a barn fire of unknown cause tragically destroyed Boyd Martin's barn at True Prospect Farm. Eleven horses were in the barn at the time. Lillian Heard, Caitlin Silliman, and Ryan Wood were able to evacuate five horses. Four horses are currently in treatment at The University of Pennsylvania-New Bolten Center; they are: Neville Bardos, Otis Barbotiere, Catch a Star, and Ambassador's Rose. Lillian, Caitlin, and Ryan were treated and released from Jennersville Hospital. Tragically six horses perished in the fire.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

5/21,22,23,24 Harley Update

5/21 Dressage. Asked for canter left, I got a zippy trot. Okay, lazy.. so I squeezed harder and kissed strong. Crap! Right lead heading left. ZZZZZT. I had to struggle and argue to slow him back to a trot. Second ask, no better. Harumph! He finally got it on the third try, and I forced him to stay in it a while. The outcome? A very fast canter around the arena. Wheee.. Good thing I had a lot of water and a strong meal beforehand. :)

5/22 Dressage. Knowing how terrible the canter was the day before, I watched him on the longe line more carefully. He blew his lead heading left there, too that day. argh..... We stuck to walk and trot under saddle, with some amazing results. He's learning how to round himself and stay there in the trot. WahOOO! I got a few steps of free walk heading right on the rail. Really? That'd be nice if it repeats!!

5/23 Dressage. Much more intense than the day before. We arrived in the arena, and Harley's eyes darted to the neighbor's tree line. Suddenly, about a dozen HUGE cows burst out of the trees and brush (not from the clearning, but right outta the brush). Harley's head popped up, but he didn't move. Not towards them, not away from them. Just watched. I started longing him, and while he glanced at them scrambling through the brush, and listened as they ran down the treed fenceline, he didn't panic or spook. His canter on the line was pretty good, leads right all but once. Riding, pretty good again. The trot wasn't as fantastic as the 22nd, but I didn't stay in it forever either. Spent good time at the canter. One wrong lead, but he quickly came to trot and fixed it. I seriously need to work on asking for it sitting back and heels down. Maybe my dressage stirrups are too long.. maybe the length on Ransom isn't working for Harley's different body shape.

5/24 Western. Talk about a blow-off day. Well, sort of. I didn't longe first, heck I didn't hand walk him to the pasture first. Right outside the trailer, after hand walking just long enough to tighten the cinch, I hopped on. We walked to the pond, through the pond, watched the cows running amuk again, and I headed down the cow-fenceline. Trees on one side, cow-fence on the other (yeah, it's barbed wire - because cows just don't respect hot fence, sorry anti-fence folks). Harley brushed into the trees and hedge a couple times. I saw it coming, the brush would make a funny noise, feel funny, and he was going to squirt forward. Little Man didn't disappoint me, and shoo'd forward the first two times he brushed up against something. By the third time, he was not only watching his feet and his body to stay as far away as possible, but he wasn't freaking out when he hit them, either. We disrupted some birds munching and sunning, and he stopped to watch while they all shot up into the trees, squawking up a fit. With our trail-going warmup complete, I sent him through the pond a couple more times, then went into the arena. With all the fences down, and him feeling stiff, I rode circles, serpentines, stops, bends, all at walk. His muscles loosened some, and we rode a little trot, loose rein. Harley reached down in the bridle, looking for the bit. ! What an accomplishment !! After some more walk, I rode just a touch of collected trot, and again he surprised me reaching down and into the contact. YahOOO! Walking? Ehh. not so much. He's not there yet, but that trot rooting for the bit? Incredible feeling!

We're on the way! Today's a day off for him and Mo both. Friday through Monday both horses will work. Long weekend, and while I've got lots to do around the house and in the gardens, I'll be taking advantage of the weather.

5-20-22 Mo Update

Short. Sweet. To the point. What's happened, is I get behind blogging, then I'm so behind, I don't want to write anything. Realizing I still want good records of what each horse is doing, here's the quick summary per horse to date, with hopefully better blogging to come..

5/20 Mo and I took off down the road bareback in his little bb pad. Love that thing! It makes riding a snap, without a lot of effort. Groom up quick, toss that on, and we're off. He was a little quick to start out, and I kept insisting on that speedy walk. We got quite a ways in both directions, and bumbled through the roadways a little.

5/21 We got down & dirty, well, down and stretchie. I put him on the neck stretcher to start out the ride. These down transitions where he is forehand heavy, ugh! Making riding nicely difficult. He got much better walk/halt and trot/walk as we went on. When I rode, I found them much better. That canter/trot still needs LOTS of work.

5/22 Saddled Mo and took him down the roads again. We got up into the old 4wheeler path a little bit, he also tried spooking at a realtor sign (booger). Not a long ride, but a productive one, as he tried balking a few times, and I insisted he keep on a-movin'. I'm alpha mare, I think... He just hasn't gotten that memo yet. In the electricity right of way, Mo thought he'd be cute, and try to show me he can get home the back way. I walked him over there, and saw some thick rose hedge and brush. "Mo, you really think you can get us through there without tapping me on the hot fence?" I must've leaned towards it or something, because off he went. Trudging right through the hedge brush as tall as his tummy. He stayed just between the tall trees and the fence line. Somehow, I didn't get electricuted, and neither did he. Odd ride, and a brave,err..stupid, critter. =)

5-20-11 Harley

On the 19th, I was sick.. Um, as a dog. No, wait, the dogs acted like they felt better than I did. A co-worker earlier in the week commented his father had a stomach flu. Yup, he brought it to work. At least I think so.. That all being said, Nobody got exercise on the 19th. Only exercise I got was washing one load of clothes, and holding the couch down.

On the 20th, I longed Harley, and didn’t do much more. I took his reins and bareback pad, as well as my helmet. He longed nicely, without any baby temper tantrums or wild vacation hissy fits. I eventually traded the surcingle and bulky pad for his bareback pad, and hopped on.

Riding, we only focused on the walk. Walk/halt/flex. Nothing more. He found that bulky surcingle (*shh western*) pad laying beside the mounting steps to be particularly scary. I laughed at him, um, hard. Silly Baby, spook at the silliest things.

He relaxed into some nice working walk and contact walk after realizing the big green pad wasn’t going to eat him. Added some good flair to the spook training when the wind knocked it over though.

5-18-11 Mo’s Day

Romeo and I had a little time before my evening of band and church choir rehearsal, so I saddled him and got down to business.

Rode all three gaits, with focus on decent down transitions walk/halt and trot/walk. Nothing was life-changing, and there’s plenty more to do be done there.

About a 40 minute quick ride. Nothing too fantastic, but time wasn’t on our side.

5-17-11 Harley tests the Canter

Caught him up, and got down to business. He longed in his warm up delightfully. It was one of those “end of the long work set, day 5” kind of warmups. You know, the short ones, where you get it done quickly, and feel the horse being good?

I hopped on, and headed to the back 2/3. We still need more rain, and I didn’t feel like eating dust. Walk on the bit, good enough. I trotted him a little, and got that feeling again. Heading left, I figured, “Now or never”. Sit, legs, squeeze, kiss.

Up Up UP to the canter-heading left. I glanced down, got his lead. *whew* He broke gait pretty quick. Prolly my fault. So I sat, legs, squeeze, kiss again. This time, I kept inside leg on gently, and kissed occasionally. I was pretty focused on keeping him in the canter, and tried to keep my sternum up and heels down. Can’t say that was a total success.

Heavy sigh settled him back to the trot. I got a lot of “on contact” forward trot. Can’t say I had more than a stride or two of collected trot. Heh.. we’ll take what we can get.

Changed direction, and asked for canter-right. Even higher level of success, as it was an easier transition for him. He loves going right. Broke gait again, but quickly went back in with a little push & kiss. Stayed in it that time, inside leg resting on his side, an occasional kiss to him. Transition was not my best equitation, which showed when I lost one stirrup. Eh, heck with ‘em, I kicked the other one loose, and focused on chest up, heels down. Stirrups whacking him in the side with every stride.

Heavy sigh, and we’re back to trot. Heading right, he’s coming along SOO nicely. I had the urge to count strides with that pretty head down.. Up to 30 foot steps in a row. Sweet!!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

05/16/11 Harley Dressage

I fed everybody early, including me, and rode late. Harley eagerly set his head in the halter when I went to the pasture for him. How delightful.

Off to the arena, dressed dressage. Longing went well, except for that brief moment when the deer rustled in the pasture and startled him. Can't hardly get mad when he was frightened. Neck stretcher work was good, and I left him there a little bit longer than average on purpose. I was curious if it would help.

I don't know if it was the different saddle/seat contact, if it was the extra leg pressure I could easily add, the reinforcement of four days in a row, cooler temperatures, or what.. But Harley was forward without a lot of effort, and gave to the bit, holding it three or four strides at a time. It felt great to ride his trot, bouncing in a sweet posting trot that was actually pleasant to ride.

We had four doe deer running around the arena, obviously irritated we interrupted their evening. The feeling was mutual. One doe, we'll call her "Dinner" for short, came within 5' of the arena fence. Harley was uncomfortable with her closeness, so I slowed him to a walk, and started making all kinds of annoying noises at her. Dinner didn't move, not at all. This is the same DinnerDeer from last season, stealing Ransom's supper and interrupting his work. Finally, I started pushing Harley towards her. He snorted at Dinner at the same time I was making silly noises, walking up to her. Finally, Dinner got the hint and retreated. Her partners got the hint, making a very wide detour around the arena and our very large space we'd set.

Total ride, about an hour. Had Dinner and her buddies not interrupted, I would've cantered. He felt that good. Hoping tonight is even better. I'm ready to quit riding him western in the arena. It's time to get to business. We've been at this tiptoe'ing nonsense too long now. I feel good enough, my balance is back, and my energy is nearly 100%. No reason why we can't get out of my "security blanket saddle", at least in the arena.

Monday, May 16, 2011

05/15/11 Harley Shows Off

As scheduled, R came to help. He came to watch, observe, and give me some ideas on what he saw from what I was feeling.

Harley warmed up like, well, like it was the third day in a row of hard work. Quiet, calm, settled, obedient. Of course he did.. He had an audience. pfft.

I hopped on, and we got down to business. A lot of riding on light contact, and any time I shortened the reins more than that, I had a battle. Harley tried everything he could think of before lowering his head and bringing his little nose in. He twisted his head, twisted his nose, flipped his head up & down. All of it. It took a solid ten minutes of trotting before he gave, and I bet it was an accident. The relaxes didn't last more than a stride or two a piece to start.

With his mind on the bit and on me, I squeezed him up to canter left. He held it two strides, broke to trot. I squeezed again. R said, "He almost got it wrong the second time you asked, but quickly went back to trot, like he was thinking about it. Then he got it right." Held canter for four strides. I sat again, relaxed his trot, asked one more time. Success. On a light contact, we cantered about a circle and a half (maybe more) before easing to trot.

A good walk break, with a little more work on free walk to working walk. I need to figure out how to not only get the stretch down, but to keep up the forward motion. As soon as I loosen the reins, he eases into this ploddy little pokey walk.

Change direction via turn on the haunches - Good Boy! Fantastic! Two serious front leg cross over steps. WOW!

Apparently understanding what I wanted on trot-shorter reins, Harley held the collected rounded frame for three to four strides a handful of times. Lots of praise, and then a squeeze up to canter. Again, he didn't hold it the first time. Momma error. My position is still going to poo the first few canter strides. I sat, settled, relaxed, asked again. That time, he stayed in it, and accepted light bit contact. Fantastic.

Back to trot work. By now, all the bouncy bouncy was getting to me physically. When he's relaxed and round, he's a dream to sit the trot, and light to post. When he's strung out and head up, it's like riding a ping pong ball. Bouncy and hard. I stayed with him long enough to get some relaxation, and then quit.

Tonight, it's no canter ... Me, Harley, Dressage. I miss my dressage saddle. Riding in the western seat is good for my mind, but not so good for me physically. I'm more comfortable in my dressage saddle. My legs go right to position, and I don't feel like I'm reaching for my horse's sides. Much much easier...

05/15/11 Romeo Goes Adventuring

Romeo and I saddled up Western. I grabbed my HM Troxel helmet, sunglasses, cell phone, and off we went. I gave him a good trot down the dirt road, past CRNG's house, and a few more, solid trot. Met up with some vehicle traffic, which bothered the motorists more than it did Mo. He kept up in his trot, and with a little work, finally relaxed some. On the way back past the house, I saw the trailer door was open. Stopped at the house long enough to lock the trailer door. Off we go again!

Romeo and I rode to the mailboxes, turned left, rode first corner, halted. Here, we flushed out a doe, who was seriously startled. On our way to first corner, he went right by the stinky roadkill and didn't even blow at it. At first corner, we flexed and backed a little. From first corner to second corner, he hesitated hard at a culvert pipe across the road. I didn't let him look away from it, but didn't force him to it, either. From about 6ft away, he looked at it hard, realized it wasn't going to do anything, then lowered his head sighing. Ah! I pushed him on, and he walked right by. He was then startled by another neighbor I call "Mafia Man". (There's a story I ought to share.. anybody interested?) Mafia Man and I exchanged our hello's. Romeo, however, gave that "Momma he's scary" heavy blowing spooked sigh. I laughed, and quietly told Romeo, "I know dude. I hear you."

We got to second corner, and paused again. More flexing, a little backing. Off we went, up the hill. Passed a second culvert pipe, with less wait time before we could walk by. At culvert pipe #3, I rode on the asphalt. I wasn't sure what the ditch by the pipe was like, and didn't feel like battling pipe and mud.

Got past pipe #3, and rode at a brisk trot up the hillside. Got 2/3 of the way to corner four. That is my next goal - to get up the hill to corner four. Next after corner four, is a road "Y" split. Between Four and the split, we'll encounter a donkey, cows, calves, and who knows what else. The fellows that own that stretch of property always seem to be up to something.

*truth be told, there's all kinds of pasture all around the back road to home. I'm hoping to run into a cowboy or two, find me a key or a lock combination and a few phone numbers. I'd love to use the road as the warmup, and go on long rides down their turn rows.*

When I measured it in my truck this morning, it was a mile one way. GO Romeo! When we got back home, he wasn't even sweaty, just damp under his saddle pad. About an hour's ride, and we went farther than we ever have. FuN!!

05/14/11 Romeo Gives an Effort

Romeo must've again watched Harley, and realized that nothing would get him out of work, but the right answer. I untied him from his patience tree, and saddled up.

Off to the arena we went. After a little free longe, I put him on the neck stretcher. If I were truly looking for a show horse performance here, he'd need hours and hours of that thing. Instead, he got the idea, and quit fighting it, so I quit and got on.

Walk/Trot work? Better. Canter to start? UGLY! No roundness, no give, and horrendous transitions a dressage grand prix rider couldn't sit nicely. I did lots of trot/halt/back transitions, and then finally I got two great canter/trot in a row. I felt him round, relax, and then slow his gait. Finally! Serious progress!!!

Took me 45 minutes of riding and changing it up, but I did get what I was looking for. Proves to me that what I did with Mo worked, so it will work with Harley. I just must be a little more patient.

05/14/11 Harley Tries Again

Better. Not life-changing, but better. I saddled Harley up and off to the arena we went. Cool late morning temperatures, with the slightest hint of north breeze.

His warm up was much better, except for that "steppin' in the ant pile" kickin fit he had. Can't say I blame him, he wasn't really bucking, but lifting his butt and kicking both back feet out forcefully and quickly. Three or four of those (all the way at the end of the longe line, so nobody thinks I was standing downwind of that), and he relaxed. Neck stretcher, good as well.

I hopped on. We argued about what "give to the bit" meant, for, oh about 35 minutes. I got a few great steps of working walk, and even started on what "free walk" means. He's getting it. Nothing quickly, but he's getting it. He can lower his head, but as soon as bit pressure comes off, he slows down, dramatically.

Trot work was better. A bit more forward. As to giving to bit pressure? I settled for nose still out. Not entirely sure if I was feeling what he was really doing, I asked R to participate in Sunday's ride. I couldn't completely tell if Harley was giving to the bit pressure and holding it for a stride or two, or if he was arguing, and just flipping his nose in briefly.

Lots of left right flexing, and lots of both reins as well. He's getting back to smooth, and that's a good thing.

No canter again. I didn't see a reason for it, since we argued so much at the trot. No reason to start up another argument.

Eyes focused on Romeo, I hosed Harley down and tied him to the paddock.

May Thought - My Opinion

I'll take the first, thank you very much. Now, why would I want a timid, nervous, scared young horse as my training baby?

Simple. Once I gain the trust of the timid baby, he/she will trust me with everything. I will obtain the respect instantly of "alpha mare who protects us from the monsters". Each thing I ask may get a scared response, but eventually, I'll get a try.

And the opposite? Brave Courage Horse will test me long before they'll trust me. I'll always have to be on my toes, as they'll be testing gates, trying to run me over in-hand, and always looking to be stronger/badder/bigger than me.

A timid horse is going to be too afraid of you to crowd your space. A brave horse will run you flat over, as if you're an obstacle in the path of what he's trying to get away from.

My proof? Harley. When he got scared at the show, he'd take two or three steps towards me, then look and blow at the scary object. He didn't try to run away from me, he carefully tip toed up to me. When Mo has been afraid of something, he'll try to run me over to get away from it. Mo fights learning new things, Harley will try now that he trusts me. I never thought I'd be "alpha mare the great protector", but judging how Harley has carefully buddied up to me when he's scared of something, proves he trusts me. He didn't trust me to start. Remember when he first came here? Couldn't catch him, even with a cookie in my hands. Now, he walks up to me in the pasture, no matter how hard the wind is howling. He *trusts* me to keep him out of danger.

05/13/11 Romeo Runnin'

Romeo must've been watching Harley, and thought it'd be funny. He caught me completely off guard when he jumped and ran off with the line.

*one of those days I shouldn't have been riding, or something*

After he got the silly off, I hopped on, obviously unmoved by his little childish moment. We walked, we trotted, we halted, we cantered. We trot--- HEY! Wait A darn fritterin' minute! I did NOT say Canter! WHoa! Okay, ignoring me, hmm?

I turned Romeo in a tight little circle to get him stopped. What'd he do? Tried to trot out of it, until he quickly realized I wasn't playing, and I wasn't in the mood to be ran off with. He wasn't going to keep cantering, and he wasn't going to go without me, either.

Then, rather than canter nicely, he wanted to give a big ugly racey trot before canter. Um, no sir. That's not going to work, either.

After about ten transitions ugly, he relaxed, and gave me a nice solid trot to canter. Rode about a circle, asked for trot, and got it again nice. Yup. That's what I'm talkin' about.

*I had this nice little idea that we would go to a local park and trail ride Saturday.

I cancelled that plan.*

05/13/11 Harley Ants

Caught Harley up, and saddled him to ride.

*I shoulda oughta known better, ya know? Two full days off, a weather change, and cooler less humid air* ... anyways...

Put him out on the longe line, in the back 2/3rd arena.

*again, dense as a river rock. I shoulda known better*

He had a nice free longe, so I kept it rather short before moving into the neck stretcher.

*now would be a good time to swallow whatever you're eating or drinking, and sit down*

*You ready for this? Are you sure? 'Cause I sure wasn't!*

With no warning, absolutely zero sign it was coming, Harley bucked HARD, lept up in the air, and took off. Pulled the line from me, tangled his legs in it. Right, like I can grab it now, I need to wait until he settles down. So I watched him go to the back corner of the arena. Figured that was a good place to settle him and retrieve the line. Nope! At a full out gallop as fast as Ransom's gallop days, Harley zipped off to the other end of the arena. Fighting the neck stretcher with every stride, longe line whizzing behind him. I flinched as he got near the fence.

*oh gosh. If he does jump the fence line, I'm screwed. I left the little gate open by the barn. This could be really really REALLY bad*

He hesitated in the opposite corner from where he took off. I was able to retrieve the monster, slowly pulling the line out from his legs. He stood, eyes wide, like he'd swallowed a ghost.

Back to the back 2/3 out of the water. Here we go again. Only two circles later, Harley bucked rather forcefully, and ran off again, this time not getting quite as far before I retrieved him. "What is up your butt, monster?" Then I saw them.

Fire Ants.


And Mounds

Of Fire Ants.

For the rest of the longe, and the ride, I stayed away from the piles I saw. Harley was accomodating. Peaceful. Stiff as a board, but peaceful. He fought most of the bit contact work, but I just didn't think this was the best day to give him a buckle-long rein. Never know when you'll find another fire ant, Monster H.

05/12/11 And Then the Rains Came

It rained hard at my house, as I found when I got home from work. Thankful for it, as the pond now is half full again, and there were good ground soaking puddles all around. In the yard, by the wash rack, in the arena, in the pasture. Yup, all the low spots I saw had water standing in them.

I enjoyed it, left things as they were. Took a few minutes to look the boys over while they ate. Found some mud, lots of dirt, but no signs of scrapes or cuts or injuries darting out of the weather. Good news!

Good day to wash polo wraps, clean house, and get started on what was going to be a loaded full weekend.

May Thought

My "over analysis" of the week. If you had unlimited training abilties, and could teach the horse you wanted, for personality, would you prefer as a starter young horse ...

*untrusting, nervous, timid
*courageous, brave, will explore anything

My answer in a while, complete with a full explanation...

Thursday, May 12, 2011

05/11/11 Mo

I brushed him off, longed him in the halter for a few minutes, then hopped on. Bareback, french link bit, not even a pad between us. It'd been one of those days. Such a stressful day that I couldn't bring my emotions down enough to risk rubbing them off on Harley. Mo is a little more patient with these things, and doesn't react poorly to a little crabby lady aboard.

Walked on pretty good, flexed a bunch, backed a little, stood halted some. His walk is fairly collected with some effort. The trot stayed nice as well. Then, I started imagining myself riding an Intro test bareback, using a loose rein, and as little rein as possible. We rode an imaginary outline of what Intro A used to be (don't know for sure if it still is or not), and he was pretty cool. Transitions off a heavy sigh or a little seat, turning off my eyes and upper body. That could be fun if I were courageous enough to try it. "Yeah ring steward, I know my saddle and pads are missing. I thought it'd be fun to try it without. It's a schooling show, how serious could it be?"

A good solid half hour, of being utterly useless on the back of a horse. Mo was quiet and obedient for the most part. Comparing Mo and Harley's personalities to other horses I know and have seen, leads me to the next entry, up for discussion soon.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

05/10/11 It's Going to be a Habit

All those hours on the longeline are starting to pay off.. Read on and see why..

I warmed Harley up, took about 20 minutes, which is standard these days. He isn't tumbling over trot poles, sailing through them at a steady clip. His neck stretcher work was good as well. As soon as I clip the hooks to the girth, he settles in, and gets down to business. We worked through a bunch of transitions, and other than one left-lead canter blip, he was correct and obedient.

I put on the reins and my helmet, and we wandered to the back 2/3 of the arena. The sort of grassy part. Right now it looks more like dried weeds, but there's something there and it keeps the dust down. Straight to business, I flexed him a dozen times each way plus in the middle. Asked for a few backups with moderate success.

Up to the trot, things were improving slowly. He isn't holding that collected trot long, but he'll accept bit pressure without a lot of fuss, bending his nose in every so often for a stride or two. I sat the trot a bit, heading left, and figured, "Well, let's get this done early, so he doesn't learn it means end of the ride, and if there's a problem, I'm not out here for two hours fixing it."

Sit back, squeeze, kiss. Canter! Directly into his left lead, right out of a circle, heading down a long side. I was quickly able to center myself in the saddle, butt glued in, inside leg on. Lifting my sternum up, I felt him move upwards a bit in his canter stride. We got quite a ways around, probably a circle and a half in the back 2/3 before I let out a heavy sigh and he settled to trot. No rein pressure needed. You gotta be kidding me... I guess he is listening on the longe line to my transition cue. I reached forward with both arms as Harley trotted around, rubbing his neck praising him. He plodded along, reins flapping around, totally calm.

Worked on some more trot left, with the same occasional light-bulbish moments of collection. Back to a walk, followed by halts and more flexing. He is getting back to feather-lite on his flexes, which is good. Changed direction through a few steps of turn on forehand and haunches, with decent success. Nothing earth shattering perfect, but he's improving a little.

Up to trot right, good work. Sit, squeeze, kiss. Canter right, about two strides, and broke to trot. We were on the long side, and I repeated the request. Glanced down, wrong lead. ER.. uh oh.. settled a "SHhh" verbal, which he ignored. The corner was fast approaching, and I worried he'd stumble if he counter cantered the corners with me aboard. I had to tug on the reins a little more than I wanted to, but he did break to trot, anxious and tense. I posted the trot until he settled, talked to him a little, then asked again when he relaxed. Success. This time, however, I sat with determination, and kept my inside leg on steady, an occasional kiss here & there. Again, a good set of circle plus some at canter-right, and he eased into a trot with a gentle sigh.

I rubbed his neck in the trot. "Hey baby doll. This is going to start being a habit, ya know? Good canter work today!" We trotted, walked, and halted. He was breathing rather hard, and as soon as I flexed him left, right, and both, he eased his face all the way to the dirt. Suddenly, he started shaking his head and neck, yawning big, shaking some more. Obviously the shorter rein work was with effort, because that full stretch released something in his head or neck. That's the kind of shake I've seen when a chiropractor does a good job adjusting something. Never ridden that much a "shake" release before. It was funny.

We walked around, totally on a loose rein, anywhere he wanted to take his hooves as long as he kept going. After about five minutes, he had his steady breathing back, and was relaxed.

Up to the washrack, with plenty of cookies and praise. It's going to be a habit, this cantering thing!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

05/07/11 Gotta Start Somewhere

It was a "wish we'd had the video camera" day. Jen was over to offer up her eyes and wisdom. Harley and I dressed up western, and he warmed up very nicely. Neck stretcher work was a little longer than Friday, since I wanted to make a little more sure he was stretched up and ready to work.

I hopped on, and we had a nice set of trot work. Jen pointed out, "Time to improve your posture. Sit up, lift your chest up." I then realized since the accident, I've been caving my whole upper body in. A habit I must certainly break. I felt the burn in my chest muscles as I stretched out. Yeowch. With my chest up and heels down, our trot was particularly nice. Harley responded with a few strides at a time of a long&low collected trot. Fantastic!!

I told Jen, "Well, we have to start somewhere." I squeezed with both legs, and kissed to him. Harley pushed into the canter, as if it wasn't even an issue. He didn't hesitate, he didn't speedy trot first, he just cantered. more, he didn't reach up into it, and he didn't leap into it. He just changed his happy little legs into a canter movement. Wow... I cantered, um, 7 or 8 strides heading to the right. I reversed direction, and did about the same to the left, maybe a stride or two more (he broke gait, totally my fault, but went right back into it). It wasn't a full circle, and my posture stunk. I was leaning forward, I couldn't get my body settled into the canter. Harley will require participation on my part at the canter, but probably only in the form of leg contact. I don't believe he's going to need the driving seat that Ransom did. Once we add collection or "on the bit" canter, this may change.

What I noticed about his canter, is how steady it is. He isn't driving forward, he isn't leaping up with each stride, he's very flat. It's smoooth. Fantastic!

Rode for about 30 minutes total. Asked for a few left-right flexes, and he was super stickie going into them. Light as a feather once he started turning his neck, but very hesitant to begin the neck bend. Something to work on.

Homework - More Canter, and Flex him at the halt until he's light as a feather again. Chest up and out, heels d-o-w-n.

Monday, May 9, 2011

05/06/11 It Can't Always be Perfect, right?

Simply puy, Harley and I had a bad day Friday. Work was a little hectic Friday, and a bit frustrating, but not any worse than any day last year. I suspect, though, that it carried into my mood heading in the saddle, and Harley picked up on it.

He longed out just fine. Giraffe-head on the loose line, but he settled into his neck stretcher nicely. No problem, I thought. A little problem picking up left lead canter, but he easily came back to trot, and corrected himself. After twenty minutes or so longing, I figured he was ready to ride. Helmet, reins, phone on the mounting steps, and off we go.

It was downhill from there.
Halts were atrocious.. I had to settle for stopping on light rein, because it started out with a pull...
Walk was Mister Giraffe-Head... I had to settle for a choppy walk with a lowered neck.
Trot? ew. Again, I settled for forward, head and neck lowered ... NOT collected, just lowered.

He didn't want to walk nice. He didn't want to trot nice. He also didn't want to back up without tossing his nose around. Turn on forehand (i.e. disengage hindquarters)?! He moved INTO leg pressure at least three times before I dismounted, showed him on the ground what was expected. Then he got wiggly when I got back on.

After an hour total work, he settled a little, and I called it quits. He wasn't bucking/rearing/kicking. He did however, have a huge case of the head flipping, tail swishing fits. Nothing made him happy, until I was leading him back to the pasture after our ride. My bad mood transferred right into the saddle, and right into Harley's brain. MUST find a way to either stay off him on those days, or hide it in that back pocket of my mind I used to hide fear in.

Friday, May 6, 2011

05/05/11 Harley Here!

Hi ever'body! Mom, through the power of pony-magic, is letting ME tell you all about my day yesterday. We had soooo much fun, and I got to see new stuffs! Okay Okay, Mom says time to focus, baby... I HATE to focus...

You know, last Sunday, Momma and Auntie JenJen took me to a diff'rnt place. She said, "It's a show, baby. Focus!" Me? I thots it was a sandblasting wind tunnel er somethin'. We walked, and we trotted, and we stopped a lot. I got skeerd of some stuffs, but they weren't gonna eats me, so I quit bein' skeerd. Momma said I did reeaaaal good, I dunno. Felt like a day at home, like a day of workin'. bleh! Last night, tho', didn't feel like workin', it was neat!

Last night, Momma put the big saddle on. I dunno how else to d'scribe it, other than big! She made me trot and canter in a circle off that stoopid rope, but not for too long. I gots in twouble cantering goin' left, Mom said somethin' 'bout leads, I dunno. Thank GOODNESS, the rope didn't last vewy long, and Momma got on. The arena was open and everythin'! How Neat! But Momma, where'r we goin'?

Right outta that arena, I tell you! I was supprised! She didn't stop, or nuffin', just went right out! She looked atta the barn, so I figgrd we were goin' to the barn. I decided to walk her thru the big weeds. You know, 'round the hedges, over some branches, but I got us there! Then, she supprised me MORE! We went right outta that ittiebitte gate thingie, right out! We were OUTSIDE! No fences, no nuffin'! I was FREEEEEEEEE!!!

We got to the washie thing, where she ties me up to spray me with the bubbly water?! She said somefin', I dunno what it was, but it sounded calmin'. Next, she dropped some stuffs beside me, and gave me a "atta boy baby" pat. Eh? Whatt'd I do, Mom?! Oh, okay, stuffs on the ground. Let's go Mom Let's Go!

Then we went! We went right on down that dirt, rocky thing, Momma calls it a road. Owch! What was THAT?! ooh, Momma calls 'em rocks, yuck! I walked over to the grassy parts. yIpes! ooh, No spookies there, nuffin' gonna eats me, Just anudder house. Grassy road, Grassy road. Oop. What's dat?! ooh, Sorry Mom, you askin' me to STOP. I stop now.. You want me to flex?! Out here?! How 'bout I turn around in a ittie bittie circle instead? No? Darn it. Okay, I'll flex now, Momma.

We stoppin' again. Flex, Flex, give.. oi.. Momma you do that a LOTS! Hey! We turning 'round, already? Why, Momma. Okay, I go back home, but I gonna go home s-l-o-w, 'cuz I havin' fun! Hey! What that car lookin' thingie stoppin' for? There's a voice in the car! Ahh, it's a lady in the car thingie. Got'cha! Momma talked to the lady in the car thingie a minute. I think I heard her say somefin' about dogs.

Cool! Momma took me back away from the house again. We go other way from home. Grassy road, Grassy road. uhh,, Momma, I skeerd. Momma? This part of the grassy road reawwy narrow! Eep! Okay, Hey Look! Open fieldy place again. Can I lower my head, grab a grass bit? Owch! Okay, nope can't do that. Momma tugged on my mouth, told me, "No sir!" I had to try ... it looks yummy.

Then, we went all over this new grassy field. I saw a big bird, Momma called it a RoadRunner. Neat ! I heard a horse call out, and it startled me. Turns out, it's just Romeo, big brother. Wait a second! That's cool! We're just outside my pasture where I live! We walked around a bit more, and then Momma made us go back home.

At home, Momma took the big saddle off, then rubbed me all over with that brush. Best yet? I got cookies! And a lotsa "good boy baby pats". Momma said she was proud of me. I dunno what she proud of, but I had F-U-N!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

First Week of May so far - Catch Up

Not lazy, just multi tasking. The longer I put these off, the farther behind I'm going to get. The farther behind I get, the more I'm going to regret not catching up sooner. So, here's the first three days after the show, in hi-speed.. Go!

5/2/11 - Romeo and I rode the Julie Goodnight Lesson #2 audio. I listened, gave commands, he obeyed. Well, mostly. All but the whole "canter on command", which became the 5/3 homework.

5/3/11 - Romeo. See above. Enter Speed Racer. I gave him a proper warmup, and his walk work was good. His trot work was good. Transition into canter? First time, squeeze. No response. Second time, kick hard and kiss. Suddenly, he was ready to obey me. We didn't canter far before I slowed to trot, and asked again. Only a squeeze and a kiss. Nice... Much better... Unfortunately, he then thought canter meant near gallop. Romeo stayed in the gait as long as I let him, but was speedily zipping around the arena. Go Speed Racer, Go!

Harley - Tacked him up dressage. He rode nicely in the tack. Very nicely. No rushing, no avoiding my seat contact, steady trot. I stayed mostly loose rein, just to encourage forward, and a nice, relaxing "uber seat contact" ride experience for him.

5/4/11 - Harley. Pretty good. Rode dressage, and asked for a little flex give to bit. Harley didn't want any part of that for the first good while, and then he suddenly remembered what he was supposed to do, and eased his neck down, poll in. Good Job!

Romeo - Less Speedy, More Responsive. He was stopping with his head in the sky, so we backed up a lot. Turn on forehand, turn on haunches, side pass. Backed circles in both direction. Back to trot, back to canter. Heading into canter was much easier, heading out he was easily slowed to a pleasure jog. Good deal.

Tonight is Harley only. Much more of the same. Perhaps very soon I'll slide my rear into my western saddle again, and get him up into cantering. I'm not in a super big hurry, but as long as he will fully trot out on a loose rein, no reason I can't start playing with his canter. Trot collected is going to take a long time, and I don't want to wait on canter until his trot is perfect.

We'll take care of our own, thanks


Texans have been asking for Federal Emergency Monies with all of the grassfires we've been fighting. Obama is too busy pushing increased spending from ObamaCare, and all his other pet projects.

So let's take care of our own. I've donated, and I'll encourage you do to the same. If we Conservatives are going to scream and shout "We don't want any more spending", we need to close that outreached hand begging for "our fair share".

Help out your fellow victims of the fires. Step up and show Washington "We mean it when we say cut the spending!"

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

05/01/11 Show #3

They called for the class. There were to be four of us in the arena. One rider looked confident and happy. Another two looked terrified in their own hesitant ways.... One I think because she was a novice rider, and another because, based on tack, she regularly rode in speed classes (hard to tell). Finally, there was us. Cheerful, happy, and smiling at the gate crowd, and the ring steward and judge as we wandered into our class. For lack of a better description, we'll call "speed class rider", SC. I don't know the lady, and if she finds the blog, I'm sorry, but I need to explain the class, and without you, I can't do that.

SC rode in my "left side blind spot" for nearly the whole first direction in the arena. We entered at a walk. No problem, until I realized SC was riding with her horse's head just a foot or so inside of Harley's left hip. You what?! Okay.. so I can't slow down and halt to let her go by, I can't turn to the inside to circle away from her.. I'm pinned, at the wall. Harley was unmoved by this, and I am still grateful for his peace. As we picked up the trot, Harley eased up into a quiet jog. SC's horse got cautiously closer, then she must've eased up on him, as he slowed again, right into Harley's "blind spot". Oi vey...

Back to the walk, change directions. SC took a good solid turn around 180, so I took my time changing directions. Finally, I had some space to work with Harley, while paying attention to the judge and what he was looking at. As I'm later told, the judge watched us, a lot. Why? I haven't the slightest idea.

In for the line up. I took my time, and when Harley realized he was headed into a bunch of halted horses, he insisted on breaking to the walk, and would NOT pick up trot back to the crowd. Oi... As soon as we halted, he started to flex to the right. uuuuh.. drat! *laugh* I lightly tapped the left rein, and he came back to center. I tugged on both reins, and he lowered his head and neck for a nice stretch. I scratched, patted, and quietly praised him. The class was successful, as far as I was concerned at this point. No major wrecks, no accidents, no spooks, no wild eyed Harley, just a quiet walk/trot ride under pressure.

Judge walked up to me, looked at Harley again, and asked if I'd like him to cut off the loose curb strap under his chin. I smiled, "No, but thanks."

He placed the class. It was weird. I got third of four. Arab horse/rider #1, terrified #2, me #3, SC #4. I walked out, and Jen almost immediately told me, "He should've been #2. The #2 rider broke gait, but I guess the judge didn't see it, or wasn't paying attention."

So Harley placed #3, "but shoulda been #2." As for my thoughts? I was delighted he was so quiet, peaceful, and attentive to me in the ride, utterly unmoved by all the action.

05/01/11 Show #2

In his riding warm up, I did all the things there I would do at home. A few differences .. There were other people in the riding area, one lady longing, another girl riding. Another difference... wide open space, no fences... Difference #3, fire hydrant in the middle of the warm up area. You what?! Not paying attention, I nearly pointed Harley right at it trotting along. Oops! Heads Up, Momma!

He was quiet. He was relaxed. Okay, shoot. Let me call it what it was. He. Was. Lazy! Lazy!!! I was adding LOTS of leg to get a good forward walk, and even more for a forward trot. I played with it a little, saw that I could get a decent western pleasure jog, and while he wasn't "nose to the dirt", he was relaxed..

R alerted us, "Hey! They're calling for walk/trot riders in the arena." I stayed aboard, and we walked him over to the warmup area. They were only taking a head count at that point. The arena opened up yet again for riders. Little Pee Wee costume riders and their ornamented horses came out of the arena, into the warm up area. Harley took a look, but hardly noticed how silly they were all dressed. I walked him up into the big open arena, and figured I would stay just at a walk, do lots of halts, and mostly let him look around. When I realized how quiet he was being, how easy and nonchalant, I picked up the trot, and worked on as loose a rein as I could, just letting him take in the sights.

What a warm up ride in all the traffic. We had horses bucking, rearing up, hopping up their hineys, and general LACK of arena courtesy. Parents! Heads Up! If you don't know arena etiquette, go read a book. Teach your kids. Adult riders - Little Fluffy's Equine head isn't going to fall off his neck, so stop looking at it! LOOK UP! We were nearly clobbered in the chaos a few times. Nevertheless, I found it fun. Harley was completely unphased by it, and only suddenly startled once, when a lady rode beside us less than 5" from her stirrup to mine. "Sorry", she said as she got too close. "Yeah, you are", I replied. This same lady was hanging on her horse's curb bitted face, and spurring him, all at the same time. The horse was understandably angry with her, and responded appropriately.

We departed the arena while folks participated in a paid called warm-up class. Harley nearly fell asleep, but was woke up by a random lady complimenting "how cute he is". Right about then I realized, he was the only grey horse at the show.

Knowing Harley was so quiet and relaxed in his walk and trot work

5/1/11 STAR Arabian Show, Sinton, TX

R, Jen, Harley and I arrived around 9:30am. The wind HOWLED all day. We were located at the trailer, in a parking lot. There was so much sand in the parking lot that, with each 50mph gust, we were all treated to a dermabrasion facial. It was a sandblasting trip.

I walked Harley in his knotted halter to the warmup area of the show arena. There were horses being ridden, some standing patiently in their sparkly halters, and a lot of people around. More importantly, there was a ghostly voice coming from the sky. *yup* Harley was initially NOT amused with the loudspeaker voice. He was very "up" as we entered the warm up area. Head up high, ears and eyes on wide alert, and after about four minutes, his feet started to wriggle about, absolutely certain he didn't know how to take it all in. We stood a few minutes, and we walked a few minutes. In his fear, Harley was definitely "in my hula hoop personal space". At first, I ignored it. After a few minutes walking, I tugged on the halter, and backed him up. Without letting my emotions show, I mildly disciplined Harley for his over-reaction. After a little while, they were going to have a scheduled open arena break. We waited that out, then walked into the arena while many others were riding.

Harley was pretty quiet on his first walk through the big arena. He sniffed the dirt, snorted at the fake grass/plastic chairs/flowers at the center of the arena, but quickly realized they were harmless. I walked him over to the cattle chutes, and the wind made an awful whistling noise in the baffles at the top of the arena edge. Harley didn't even flinch, and touched nose to pipework around the arena. We stayed for a while before carefully dodging the crowd and leaving the arena. Back to the trailer for another long wait.

There was a second riding break, and again, we hand walked around the arena a while. I showed Harley the two banners that were flapping in the wind on an arena wall. No problem, even when it flapped at him - he just stood there. I let him have a long look at the metal bleachers, and the space between the sections. He glanced over, saw people all about, and quieted quickly. The magic voice over the loudspeaker shared information with us for a bit, and he quieted to that as well.

Before the next break, we saddled Harley in his purple goodness, I got dressed, and Jen took him to the longing area for his standard warmup. About fifteen minutes into his warm up (now well after noon; okay, closer to 1:30), Harley was showing us he was tired. Tired from the drive down, tired standing in the parking lot, tired muching hay and playing with their water (which at this point he was NOT interested in drinking), and really tired from being sandblasted for so many hours. He warmed up quietly, neck stretcher work at walk and trot only.

We tightened the saddle, and I hopped on...

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

05/01/11 More Pictures

Riding in one or the other class, I think the first... Look at those hooves!
A very relaxed baby Harley...

Standing in the line up, after talking with the judge.

05/01/11 Pictures

In the warmup... See the relaxed eyes, and the gorgeous trot..

In the main ring warmup, watching the crowd, letting Harley take it all in...

What's a ride day, without some flexion? =)

Monday, May 2, 2011

4/30 Harley Gets Ready

After his warmup (which was nice as always), I hopped on Harley, not real sure what I’d have. Would he be lazy and slow, barely responding to leg? Or would he be big floaty forward, moving out at the lightest cue?

I started out simple. Forward walk, loose rein. I didn’t allow for anything less than a forward walk. No pokey dragging, no stumbling or tripping. Square quiet halts, and a gentle nudge to get back to walk. Mission Accomplished.

Next out was a trot loose rein. Again, only using my reins to cue direction if he ignored legs. He was light, and very forward. This leads me to think he was confused by the rein cues from the day before.

So I very lightly started adding rein. As soon as he gave, I released the reins 100%. He stayed pretty light and forward.

The ride was very good after that until we were done. I called it quits after about an hour’s work. Brought him back to the wash rack, unsaddled, and gave him a bath. Coated him in Laser Sheen, evened up his mane a little more, and kept him mentally occupied with my boring conversation while he air dried.

Why would I go to so much trouble to get him sparkly clean, clipped, trimmed, shiny, and laser sheen? What on earth could be going on?

A show of course! =) But, because I can, and I need to get pictures off the camera, I’m going to leave everybody hanging for the day. *grin* It’s fun to add some suspense to the show, especially since it was Harley’s first outing with me, and his first big-show scene.

4/30 Mo Learns His own Lesson

Saddled Mo up, gave him a brief longe to check for boogers. He was insisting on throwing his head and twisting at the neck heading into canter. I tugged back on the lead rope, forced more hard canter, released to trot, and asked again. Romeo, thinking he knew better than I, whipped up into the canter, throwing his whole neck and head in a twisted weirdness. In a flash, he was stumbling, tripping, and nearly put his tummy on the dirt. I am not sure if his legs got tangled up under him, if he tripped throwing his head, or just threw himself off balance being a twit. No better trainer than the horse himself. I forced him back into canter for a few circles, released to trot, then asked for canter again. Here, Romeo learned his lesson, lightly lifting up into the canter, without tossing his head.

Satisfied he was ready to pay attention, I hopped on. We rode all three gaits, and found his trot/canter/trot transitions entirely horrendous. Heading into canter, he lifts his head up and reaches rather than pushes from behind. In the down transition, he’s so heavy on his front end that it jolts me out of the tack. Yuck! I really need to lighten his transitions in and out of walk and trot first. Hours on the neck stretcher are in order, I do declare.

4/29/11 Mo Finds a New Enemy

Romeo was NOT happy with me Friday. He saddled up quiet in the x-ties, as R was able to groom him and put support boots on. We switched saddle from Harley to Mo quickly, and R went on about hosing Harley down and rewarding his decent efforts.

Me, in no mood to debate hard work with a second horse, I stuck Romeo out on the longe line, then added the neck stretcher. Talk about an argument. Romeo fought the pressure, ignored the bit, and only a few brief moments did he give to the pressure completely. If he can learn to give and relax, he’ll have the most amazing trot and canter. Without this give and collection, it’s not as comfortable as it could be.

I hopped on, and we rode walk, halt, trot, for about another twenty minutes. Mo was light to go off my leg, and easy enough to halt. He wasn’t demonstrating any learning from the neck stretcher, so more work needs done there.

As to our homework, he was flexing lighter and without as much wiggle. He had a solid halt, but it was with his head up. I had forgotten to work on mount and stand still a while, but that will come.

4/29 Harley Gets Stickie & Slow

Harley longed out nicely, neck stretcher with equivalent success. A bit of slobber, a lot of relaxed forward trot. When I hopped on, it was another story.

Stickie lazy stickie. I couldn’t add enough leg, it seemed. If I relaxed for even a second, he’d pop back to a walk. Grr.. So I started a gentle squeeze, followed by a whapuva kick and a verbal cluck. My gosh. Lazy britches!

In no way whatsoever did Harley want to trot forward and free, nor did he want to lower his head or poll. Yuck!

We argued for probably twenty minutes. Frustrated, I sent him out on a completely loose rein, lots of leg, lots of cluck. Harley gave in, and provided some forward trot. Decent enough. It wasn’t the full work, but it was better.

His backup was equally yucky, with plenty of head tossing, plenty of stiff resistance. I could almost hear him scoffing at me, “I’m not working today, so don’t bother asking. I’m stronger than you. See, I’ll prove it!”

Babies Babies Babies.. Not every day can be a good day…

4/28 New Feet, Bareback Test

Harley and Romeo received a healthy trim Thursday. Both had very long hooves, though Harley had been chipping up and self-trimming, though very unevenly. With their new feet, I wasn’t sure how Harley would feel. Would he move out freely, be awkward as he adjusted to the trim, or be on tip-toes and thin soles?

So I tossed him out on the longe line, and found while a little awkward, he was forward, and light. Nice… No sensitivity in the grass, or on the sand. Nice…

I had stuck the bareback pad on him, so after some free longe all three gaits, I hopped on from the mounting block. Note.. From The Mounting Block. Not hopping from the ground, but I was able to walk him over to the steps, push his hindquarters to the block, and easily slide onto his back. He stood statue-still, and didn’t move on until I squeezed him with my legs. Nice!

We wandered the arena, with some halts and flexes, all with pretty decent results. I walked him quite a while, and found he moved pretty freely. In fact, I was using my standard amount of leg pressure, and he tried to pick up trot a few times. Well, alrighty then. If I’m adding leg, and Harley wants to trot, then let’s trot.

At first, he wasn’t real sure he wanted to trot, but realizing that it was okay to move forward, and I wasn’t going anywhere, he continued on. It wasn’t show-pretty, but I was out trotting mostly sitting, on a loose rein, and he was pretty steady moving forward. It wasn’t the biggest trot he has, but it was steady and consistent. Easy to ride..

A total of about 25 minutes including the longe. When I got back to the wash rack, R said to me, “Holy cow! I saw you bouncing around back there, but I had no idea you didn’t have a saddle on him! Good Boy, Harley!”