Thursday, September 27, 2012

Things I Don't Understand

  • Why do we bully a child's posted ride video or pictures?  What good does it do to insult the child's riding equipment or skill?  Does that really honestly encourage them to want to be better?

Here's a challenge ..

If you're going to critique a kid's ride video or picture, DEMONSTRATE.  Go make a picture of yourself riding, or a video, and show us what your skills are.

That goes for grown-ups, too.  If you have the time to snarl at a beginner/novice rider, make the time to "show us underlings how it's done".

We're waiting ..

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Romeo.. Romeo...

Monday evening, I cold hosed his leg again.  It looked terrific, so I left the wraps and the nitrofurazone off overnight.

Last night, he came up for supper, and it was all puffed and swollen again.  After he ate, I took him back up to the wash rack, and got back to hosing.  The swelling looked like this ..
 Leg closer to the camera, the one you can't see hoof on.  That's his front left, from his perspective.
 Look at that tendon closer to the camera - EWWW.
Previously, the ankle was swollen.  Now, it's that gnarly tendon.  I cold hosed again for 20 minutes, rubbed the excess water off, both of which reduced swelling in the tendon. 
By the time I got to nitrofurazone and polo wrapping both legs, the front right ankle was a bit swollen as well.  Nasty!

Calling Dr. Sam again this morning, and we will probably get to visit with him this afternoon or evening. 

Mo, you've taken good care of me.  Now, 'tis time I take care of you.  But seriously, son.. You can QUIT trying to be a wild man like your baby brother... Relax more!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

9-23-12 AHHf #5 Training 1 Remarks & Score

9-23-12 All Heart Horse Farm
Leslie Cummings, Judge
Score 62.917%

1 A Enter working trot
X Halt, Salute Proceed working trot
7.0 quite straight

2 C Track left
E Circle left 20m
6.5 needs more bend @C

3 A Circle left 20m, developing left lead canter second half of circle
AFB Working canter
6.0 prompt depart then hollow with nose right

4 B-E Half circle left 20m
6.0 falls to forehand, hollow

5 Between E & K Working trot
6.5 maintain energy

6 A Circle left 20m rising trot, allowing the horse to stretch forward and downward
Before A, shorten the reins
A Working trot
6.5 want more consistent stretch

7 Between A & F Medium walk
6.0 add activity

8 FXH Free walk
H-C Medium walk
6.5 relaxed but needs more swing

9 C Working trot
6.5 bend through corner

10 B Circle right 20m
6.0 no straight sides on circle

11 A Circle right 20m, developing right lead canter second half of circle
AKE Working canter
4.0 sticky to canter, broke

12 E-B Half circle right 20m
6.0 falls to forehand
13 Between B & F Working trot
6.0 heavy to trot

14 A Down centerline
X Halt, Salute
8.0 quite straight

GAITS (freedom and regularity) 7.0
IMPULSION (desire to move forward, elasticity of the steps, suppleness of the back, engagement of the hindquarters) 6.0
SUBMISSION (attention and confidence, lightness and ease of movements, acceptance of the bridle, lightness of the forehand) 6.0
RIDER'S position and seat 6.5
RIDER'S correct and effective use of the aids 6.5
HARMONY between rider and horse 6.5

So good-looking!  Energy seemed to fade as test progressed.  Need to maintain enthusiasm and ground cover to develop balance off forehand and out of hands (bit).

9-23-12 AHHf #4 Intro C Remarks & Score

9-23-12 All Heart Horse Farm
Leslie Cummings, Judge
Intro C
Score 61.75%

1. A to X Enter working trot rising. Halt through medium walk. Salute - Proceed working trot rising.
6.0 Resists into halt @X

2. C Track right working trot rising.
6.0 steady but reins loose at times

3. B Circle right 20 meters.
6.0 show more bend in circle

4. A Circle right 20 meters developing working canter in first quarter of the circle, right lead.
Before A working trot rising
5.5 nose twisted left

5. (Transition in & out of canter)
6.0 could be more balanced

6. K-X-M Change rein, working trot rising.
5.5 looks to outside, needs inside bend

7. E Circle left 20 meters.
7 better bend this way

8. A Circle left 20 meters developing working canter in first quarter of the circle, left lead.
Before A Working trot rising.
5.5 resists contact

9. (Transition in & out of canter)
5.5 needs balance in transition

10. Between F & B Medium walk.
6.5 add activity

11. B-H Free walk.
H Medium walk.
8.0 clear difference & willing transition

12. Between C & M Working trot rising to A.
6.0 argues with contact

13. A – G Working trot rising; Down centerline. Halt through medium walk. Salute.
6.5 drifts right after X

Collective Marks
Gaits (freedom and regularity). 7.0
Impulsion (desire to move forward with suppleness of the back and steady tempo). 6.0
Submission (acceptance of steady contact attention and confidence). 5.5
Rider’s position (keeping in balance with horse). 6.5
Rider’s effectiveness of aids (correct bend and preparation of transitions). 6.0
Geometry and accuracy (correct size and shape of circles and turns). 7.0

Adorable Horse!  Must develop a willing acceptance of contact to bit so rider can begin to have influence (more) in balance & transitions.

9-23-12 AHHf #3 My Thoughts

I am working through the judge's comments, and posting the test movements and her remarks.  Here's what I thought overall...

Intro C - he felt quiet in his body, but super tense in the neck and face.  I didn't warm him up in the neck stretcher, and I paid for that choice.  Had I been at home, at that point, middle of the test, we would've done some tight circles, and some serious flexion both ways.  I also probably would've grumbled at him a bit, and told him to "knock it off".  He was almost constantly fighting my hands, and arguing with the contact.  I remember lengthening my reins, hoping that might help.  Watching the video, it didn't.  All that did was make inconsistent rein contact, and me almost whacking him in the mouth instead of staying in contact.  This probably made the test worse, too. 
Overall - his FIRST canter in a competition setting.  No wild bucks, no train wrecks, and in fact, nice transitions for a green baby. 

Training 1 - Still stiff.  We left Intro C huffing and puffing.  The warm up ring was pretty stuffed with critters, and in the baking sun.  I was hesitant to run him out there in the chaos.  Looking back, I could've accomplished some things at the walk, and at the least, I should've been flexing him left & right MUCH more while I was standing around.  Instead, I was talking and yapping with a few other folks that stay at AHHf, joking around and goofing off.  Is this all bad?  No, as I'm usually tense, focused, and pretty unsociable in a competition environment.  Is that because I'm competitive?  No.. it's because I'm insecure, and don't want anybody else knowing just how terrified I am that I'm embarassing myself and my horse. 
We entered Training 1, and he felt lazy.  The longer the test went, the harder I was kicking, and the more tired I was getting.  The stretchie circle?  Poo, just as I expected.  He's just not that good at it yet, and it was a risk competing the test knowing the stretch just isn't consistent yet.  However, I'm not loving the Intro C Canter, where Training 1 canter is BIG and LONG.  It gives him plenty of space to move out, and I think better experience at it. 

The judge was glowing smiles the entire time.  Every time I rode by her, she was beaming smiles at Harley and I, and I found that comforting.   She was NOT a Ransom fan, and usually gave him a lot of low marks.  To earn >60% from her with Ransom?  A small miracle.  I don't remember this judge ever marking him above a 65%.  There were also folks around the arena in a few places watching, all grins and cheers.  Also comforting, and made me feel a little better about how the day went.  After I cleaned Harley up, I went to retrieve my tests.  I found out we're not only halfway qualified now for Schooling Show championships in the Dressage club I'm in... We're also halfway qualified for the AHHf Championships in December.  One more set of tests there, similar or better scores, and we're in, at both events.  Wow!  Not bad AT ALL for our first canter tests, and our first competition of the year. 

Delightful for a horse/rider pair that haven't been riding intense all year, due to his problems and mine.  I'm anxious to get back to it.  With some of my neck problems sorted out (and the rest of the solutions to come this week, I think), we should be back to jumping soon too.  I haven't popped over more than a crossrail at trot since these awful headaches started, and I miss it.  I know Harley does, too.

9-23-12 AHHf #2

Before I list the test and the scores, here's some video.  By some odd miracle, I was able to load them both last night.  Intro C was up first.

Training was next.  Notice near the end - He *had* the correct lead.  I was stunned when I first watched it, and in fact, backed it up twice more to make sure.  The "4" I earned for the transition was entirely my fault, as he had the correct right lead, and I transitioned him out of it.. *sigh*  Oh well.  Lesson learned, gotta start somewhere.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Romeo, not to be Outdone

 Wednesday evening, Harley and Mo went to fooling about in the pasture.  Romeo spooked and ran, and that turned into a wild game of "watch me do my best Arab impersonation".  He ran, bucked, kicked up.. Yeah, quite the sight.

 Thursday morning, he made sure to get my attention, with a swollen left leg. Looked like a baseball bat instead of a hoof. And so I cold hosed it, poulticed, wrapped, and stuffed 1g of bute in him.

We went that way all of Thursday, and Friday am. Three hose/wraps Thursday. Friday late morning, I called Dr. Sam. On the way home from work, I picked up some nitrofurazone, cling wrap, and gloves. (You KNOW that looked like a prank at the grocery store, gloves and cling wrap.. I digress...)

I cold hosed , added topical and medicine, all weekend. Sunday I skipped the bute, but kept up with the rest. Tonight, his leg looks like a leg again. Fortunately that means (I think) nothing serious. Much more energetic, and almost back to being ornery again. I think he's just jealous, and wants to play too.

9-23-12 AHHf #1

Harley and I competed at All Heart Horse Farm yesterday.  Weather was nice (for late September.. translation: no hurricanes, and it was less than 95F. See that look on my face? That says, "I'm staring at Harley's ears, and had absolutely no idea you were including ME in the pictures." I share this because Harley was insistent when we got back home that everybody see his bling browband I got for MY birthday. I got HIS bling. :) He likes it.. I am not loving that caveson, it looks thick on his little muzzle. It'll grow on me, I think.

OH!  You ARE including me and the ribbons in the picture!  Sweet!  Guess I'll smile now.
Intro C - First Place.  62%
Training Level 1 - Second place.  61%

I will post test details, scores per movement, and judge's remarks.  For his first canter show (and only a year into competing), he did great.  No wild spooks, no goofy moments.  In fact, I was convinced yesterday he struck off into canter-right on the wrong lead.  I asked for a trot, and picked up canter again (in my mind, delightfully happy he got the right lead as asked).  Eh, no.  I broke gait for no good reason.  He was in canter-right the whole time.  Earned me a "4" for that brilliant moment.

Regardless, we had a good set of rides, and a fun time.  All Heart is a very relaxed atmosphere, and filled with kind people. 

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

9-10 to 9-13

I had to travel for work last week, fairly close to the Houston area.  Rather than leave my habit hobby at home, I made some awesome plans.

I took Harley with me!  All Heart Horse Farm was fairly close to the hotel I was staying at, so I contacted them and made arrangements.  They were fantastic hosts, and gave H some pretty awesome care. 

Monday, after we arrived, I took him for a quick longe and a nice ride in the covered (show) arena.  He was fantastic, and perhaps remembered his show there last year.  Very well behaved, and very calm.  We had a nice long look at the pony in the mirror, something that wasn't as easy for him to see at the show.  Total ride and longe about 45 minutes.

Tuesday night, we worked in an open field bordering some grazing paddocks.  I chose this over the arena mostly for the "open space", and the distractions.  There was a lot going on in the paddocks all around, and it was easier to work off the fence than right at the rail.  This meant I had to control H's feet, and he also had to concentrate pretty hard on what I wanted done.  He had one good hard spook, I suspect from a neighboring filly watching us.  Not totally sure, I was focused on him, and managed to ride the spook out, immediately putting him back to work.  Total 40 minutes.

Wednesday during the day, it poured rain.  Rather than a hard work day, I tacked him up and walked him down the farm dirt road to their cross country jump course.  We walked all over the course, around the small pond, and over one log.  Nothing large there to spook him (thank goodness), and as he was snorting at a small A-frame jump, I thought, oh crap,  I hope there isn't a bunny or a mouse under that A.. .  Fortunately, nothing jumped out from under the "A", so it was a good experience for him.  I was highly pleased with how quiet he was in a strange, brand-new area.  He was a little tense, but not an explosion waiting to happen.  Very curious, and brave.  Total ride 40 minutes.

Thursday, we loaded up and came on back home.  A very nice break from training class every evening, to scurry from the hotel after class, dressed to ride, hit the highway and quietly relax at the farm with lots to experience for Harley.  A great trip.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Labor Day, Swimming #2

Harley was backing away from me, his distance from the edge of the river increasing with every hop.  I held the rope as long as I could...

Then I had no choice but to let go.  Off he went, turned tail and went across the river.

My show horse.
In the public city park.
Me, splashing through the river on foot, trying to catch him.
Screaming at R to help, at the absolute top of my lungs.
which, on reflection, pisses me off nobody else came to see what the ruckus was about

Harley crossed water as deep as his belly.
And I walked.
And walked.
And I .. Splash!
I lost my footing. 
I had to SWIM after him.
Harley at this point is still in the river, opposite bank from where we started.

He got to the bank, and started to walk back UP stream.
whew,, now I might actually stand a chance to catch the snarly monster.
I'm still hollering "whoa Harley" at this point, in case anybody thought I was just trying to use facial expressions.
I caught the tip of the rope.
And he went BACK in the water.
I held on just long enough to get pulled off my feet again, and nearly face-plant in the river.

There was R, standing at the other bank.
And there went Harley, straight across the river.
Almost straight to R.  In fact, a few feet away.
Harley turned to go back down the bank, only to find he was cut off by the brush.
R walked up to him, grabbed the lead rope right up by the halter.
By now, I'm about 20' away from them.
R starts walking H away from the water's edge.
I hollered, "Oh NO YOU DON'T.  I did all that chasing, he's darn sure going to pay for it.  Don't Move!" 

I walked up to Harley, backed him up off the rope a little.

Then I walked him right back over to the river, and we started over.  A few walk throughs, and I brought him back up to the gravel edge.

R says to me, "You wanna saddle him and make him carry you after all that work he had you do chasing him?"
I replied, "Oh h&ll no.  I can't even breathe still.  We're loading up and going home.  That's enough chaos for one river trip."
R smiled. "Well, there's at least one bright spot here..
wait for it, folks... wait for it ...
At least he isn't scared of moving water!"

No horses, or humans, were injured during the making of this event, or the retelling of it.  I'm almost laughing about what happened.  Did I think he'd get caught eventually?  Yes.  Did I think it'd take me that long?  No.  Was I terrified I'd be calling my equine insurance provider with a claim?  You bet'cha.  Are we going back to the river next weekend?  No way in H&ll. 

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Labor Day, Swimming

I owe some pretty darn fantastic ride updates from Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, as well as Mo's Labor day.  However, Harley wins the award for the most exciting equine moment of the long weekend.

I loaded him up in the trailer, and promised something fun.  We unloaded at the city park, which has a nice, usually shallow, nice-moving river.  Back home in PA, we'd call it a creek, but they call it a river here.  *cough*  Anyways, I walked Harley down to the river.  It involved a few good steep hillsides he had to negotiate.  We don't have steep (or even weenie) hills at my house, so this was nice.  He had to think about his footfalls, which was a nice change of pace. 

We arrived at the river bank.  He snorted at the water, then sniffed it.  Splashing himself in the face, he realized it was just water.

Harley proudly pawed at the water, then walked right in. 
Huh.. Moving water, check! 

I "longed" him at the walk in and out of the water, both directions.  He was startled by some leaves floating down river, but quickly got over it.  Then, something caused him to lift his foot extra high.  Front leg now OVER the lead rope. 

Harley started to back away from me swiftly, INTO the river.

to be continued, because this is just too darn entertaining to tell y'all in one post...