Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Life Around the Farm

Harley has had some good solid rides since our lesson.  I am mixing up the hard-work dressage rides with some over-poles and trail walking rides.  Every other day of hard work.  Some rain has smattered in the mix, making for mud and sloppy non-riding days.   A few interesting points:
He spooked hard at a deer last week, but only moved off about a foot, from the trot to a complete halt, facing the treeline.  He looked hard at the trees a few times past after that, but was easy to get back to work. He tripped over his feet at canter-left, and ducked about a foot to the outside of the circle.  I was not only able to stay aboard, but within a half circle had him back at canter.  Success!  He's adjusting to the shorter reins, holding his head higher and relaxing.  My right turns have improved, and he's not bent to the outside going right down the long sides.  Improvement, for sure.  Harley's work over poles is still great as always.  We rode a day of flat poles, and then a day of every other side elevated.  Next pole day, I'll lift both ends 4" off the ground.  Not paying attention on pole-day last week, after the line of 4 trot poles, Harley turned sharp and headed himself straight for the one-side up cross rail.  I didn't want to punish him for his desire, so I stayed the course.  Step Hop, as he trotted over it all animated and happy. 

Harley's hooves have grown exponentially, probably due to the rainfall, work activity, and the supplement.  He had a check-up with Dr. Sam for a few shots and a dental exam.  Some bits of baby teeth still haven't all fallen out, but with no eating or performance problems, we decided to wait it out a while longer rather than sedate and go digging around for the bits.  One fragment Dr Sam was able to wiggle right out of his gums, so that's good progress.  We've got two fragments left to go, I think.

Romeo is just plain happy Mo.  Last week, neighbor Tim stopped for a visit when I was preparing Mo to ride.  They exchanged sniffs and scritches, and then nTim offered him a piece of pizza crust.  Mo mouthed it a while before spitting it out, searching for peppermint cookies and sunflower seeds.  Mo does not like Pizza, that is all. :) 
We've had a few wild arena rides of running, and a mosquito-bathed walk down the road.  The skeeters will keep us on-property for a while longer, probably at least this coming week.  His tummy was covered and my legs (through repellant) have about 25 bites right now.. itchie itchie! 
Sunday afternoon I took the .22revolver and a box of blanks to the arena with Mo, longeline, and gloves.  He did great with me firing away and at a 90degree angle to him.  Great, for the first 30 minutes or so.  Since it's a 6-shot revolver, and has to be loaded one bullet at a time, reload is slow, Mo watching my every move.  By about the 5th "magazine", he was tired of the annoying noise, and had a nice line gallop. :) 

The hay fairies greeted me yesterday with half a barn of square bales.  Got lucky and found a craigslist ad on the day of baling.  Hoping to snatch up the other half of a barn full today.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Harley's Field Trip

Back to full work, I spent all of last week getting Harley as best I could in his general riding.  I didn't push for anything new all week, but focused on light transitions, correct canter leads, and relaxed..

Saturday, we headed up early and went to see Barb at Blue Ribbon Meadows.  Minimal traffic on our journey, and we were only a few minutes late.  I tacked Harley up, and headed out to longe him for a warmup.

He got lots of looks and compliments in the warmup.  Harley, while cute like normal, was quite "lookie loo", and a bit nervous.  LOTS going on, horses all around, lessons on going in other arenas.. :)  Complete chaos, good practice for baby.

The lesson was pretty neat.  Here's the highlights..
* Shorten the reins, realize he's going to fight it a while, but on the circles, ask for bend with my leg and inside hand back to my thigh.  To the right, my head might be turning, but my body sure isn't.  Focus on bending my hips with the turns.  Certainly explains the days going right that he felt bent to the outside on the long sides.. Oops.. Rider, not the horse.

* Head-Up is better right now than head-down.  By bending his neck upwards and nose in, I am "lifting his withers and elevating the front end."  Otherwise, he's going to be heavy on the forehand, and hanging on my hands.  He's starting to do this, and it's better I focus on heads-up than heads-down.  What I noticed so far, is when I allowed a free walk, Harley immediately took all I gave him.  Very nice, and I'm anxious to start this on the stretchy trot circle, too;

* Snowman circles.  One big circle, and figure-8 to a little circle.  Body and head of the snowman. 

*  Add spurs.  I borrowed a paid of hard plastic roller spurs.  They roll, and don't poke.  With some hesitation, I put them to use on Harley's sides.  He reacted quietly, much to my surprise.  This will be a nice addition.  Barb joked with me, "This doesn't need to be a Jane Fonda aerobic workout, you know.."  haa .. okay okay

The lesson lasted 45 minutes, and when he was wore out, Harley let us both know.  He started fighting us hard, obviously saying, "Okay girls.  This was fun to start out with, but I can't hold my tummy up anymore, and my neck is sore!" 

Much fun, and Much to work on.  I love getting homework!  Can't wait to get back at our drills.  Two days off (yesterday & today), and we'll try some more.