Friday, March 27, 2009

Circles

I got to ride this morning. It was cold, so the ground was hard enough to support us without getting too torn up.

I decided to work on our circles again... they need a lot of work, especially now that Rem has decided he enjoys running around like crazy...

Last fall I learned a neat exercise at one of my lessons that really improves your horse's circles.

It is like a 4 leaf clover pattern, or a quartered circle pattern. When most people think of a clover leaf pattern they think of barrel racing, but this is not like a barrel pattern. There are no lead changes involved and also no tight turns.

You start off in the middle of the pattern you're about to make and lope off in a straight line, as soon as you reach the outside edge of your circle you take a left (or a right depending on which direction/lead you'd like to pursue). Lope a quarter of the way around your circle and take another left and go straight through the center to the other outer edge of the circle. Continue until you've made a complete clover pattern. I'll attach a diagram for clarification.


(This is not a good example of my photoshop skills... but it gets the message across I hope)

Because you are only loping a quarter circle before you change directions to the inside, your horse will learn not to drift out when doing full circles. An important thing to remember when doing this pattern and circles in general is to look ahead at where you're going. One of my biggest problems is looking down at my horse instead of where we are going, and I find if someone is there to yell at me to look ahead, my patterns/circles improve so much just by doing that simple thing!

I started loping Rem today on just a regular circle, but it was more like an oval bowing towards the gate, followed by who knows what kind of shape when he decided he should run straight to the fence with his head bent left *sigh* So, I decided to practice this pattern, and sure enough after doing a full clover, his circles were 10 times better. No more bowing out! I should mention that when doing this pattern and circles you should stay away from the rail. You don't want your horse to rely on the rail for exercises like this.

This pattern can also be done at the trot, which I would recommend first if you've never done it before, just to learn it. Either way, your horse will be doing perfect circles in no time!!

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Something to Hang on Rem's Stall


I made this to hang on Remington's stall at the Midwest Horse Fair. I thought I would share :-)





I've been working on my photoshop skills... in case I find myself unemployed... because the way things are these days, you never know what will happen.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Sunday Stuff

Sunday was another gorgeous day. I think it got close to sixty degrees out.

Mustang Pride practice was at 11 a.m. I left early to pick up a few horses and got to Tracy's at about ten to 11. We needed a big space to practice so we went out to one of the back pastures and marked off the size of the coliseum arena. We are working on a drill for the first part of our demo, and it's a lot of work. I came up with a lot of it, but I am not a drill expert, so some areas are a little hard to get and we needed to revise them to make things easier. We spent a lot of time on that, but I think once we have it figured out it will look nice.

After we finished with the practice, Jess and I decided to continue riding. We switched horses for a little bit, and that was fun. I rode Nash around and she took Rem. They were both good for us, but it sure is different to ride someone else's horse when you are used to your own.

We switched back and decided to ride around the pasture... it is HUGE! Once we got down the big hill we let the mustangs stretch their legs and run. It was so much fun! I was calling out the race between Seabiscuit (Remington) and War Admiral (Nash). I think Nash would have beat Remington if he hadn't started bucking at the end of our "race" heh heh. He was just having a good time though!

It was so nice that we didn't want to quit riding, so Tracy, Jess, her mom, Shannon and I all went across the road to a pond to let the horses have fun in the water. I had to stop, get off and take Rem's polos off, and he took that as an invitation to lay down!!! GRRRR.... I made him get up right away. After I took his wraps off we followed everyone into the pond and had fun walking through it. It was almost up to Rem's belly in some spots. I didn't let him put his head down and I kept him moving... there was no way I was going to let him lay down in the WATER!! He didn't try so I was happy.

It was quite a day, and I am so glad that the rainy weather held off until today! Too bad my arena is going to be soggy all week now :-( So much for riding 3 times during the week. Oh well... it was worth a shot, maybe next week things will stay dry.

Here is a picture Aubrey took a few weeks ago of me and my sleepy mare, Riskie, with Chocolate standing guard.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

What a Great Day!


Happy Aussies!


Sweaty Rem after a good ride.


This morning Joe and I went out for breakfast at Cracker Barrel. The french toast there is the best! It was a little chilly in the morning, but it really warmed up after 11. Joe went up to Madison, so I was on my own for the afternoon and decided to head out to the barn of course. The dogs were happy to come along too. They will sleep good tonight.

First, I decided to ride Remington. Gone was the lazy mustang I've come to know so well. Remington was full of it. He must be feeling good now that the weather is nice! I wanted to work on his turn around but I wasn't getting very far so I decided to work on his circles. That was interesting. He was very strong, never out of control, but there were times I had to check my brakes. He just wanted to tear around, and I guess I can't blame him. So after several circles at the hand gallop he finally relaxed and did a few nice circles at a slower canter. I was happy with that. I went back to working on his turn around and it went okay to the left, but he still has all kinds of trouble to the right. He just needs to learn how to cross over in front consistently and I think he'll have it.


He was soaked by the time we were done so I walked him until he quit breathing hard and then took him to the barn to unsaddle. After that I gave him a good grooming and clipped his feet for Midwest. I am sick of those silly feathers... He's a Mustang, not a draft horse!!


I had thought about riding Luna, but after seeing Rem turn into a fire breathing dragon on such a nice day, I decided to just take a relaxing ride on Risk. I gave her a good brushing, cinched up the bareback pad, and we were off. The dogs got to tag along too. It was a really good ride, one that makes you think how lucky you are to have a horse of your own!


Here are a few photos I took of Choke and TJ last week. You can see all the things they've been up to!







Friday, March 20, 2009

Lessons and a Choke Update

So, I've been meaning to get this post up all week, but I've just been too lazy, to be quite honest. But, it's the end of the week and I'm feeling good, so I thought I should get it up before I forget completely what I was even going to blog about!

First I'll tell you about Choke. She's coming along nicely, and TJ told me the most exciting news! Ready for it?? Choke has an adopter, already lined up!!! I was so happy to hear that. Choke's adopter plans to be the highest bidder after the Challenge and then keep her in training with TJ for another year. She'll have one heck of a horse when TJ's through with her! I hope this wasn't a secret or anything... But I thought it was great news!

Anyway, I have a short video from last Sunday of Choke and TJ outside, I just have to get it uploaded to YouTube. Watch for it here within the next couple of days. The weather was really nice and Choke was feeling pretty good. TJ showed me the things they've been working on. She is getting started on flying changes and I didn't have the video going when TJ showed me what she could do. She is getting there, but I didn't catch a clean one on video. I am sure she'll have it down by the Horse Fair. She moves off of leg really well and seems like a really nice ride. Very responsive and soft. TJ hasn't talked too much about what he'd do if he made it into the top ten, but I know that is his goal ( I'm sure it's every trainer's goal!). As long as Choke can handle the crowds, I think he's got a pretty good chance.

Last Sunday I also had a reining lesson. We've been working on stops for the past 3 lessons so that is what we started out with that day. Rem was a little bit wiggly to start with, but after a few times down and back he remembered what we were doing. Since Rem has never fenced before, we were only working on going long, from one end of the arena to the other. Well last lesson he was finally ready to stop short, in the middle of the arena. In order to get a good, powerful stop, your horse has to be moving forward freely, and straight, so taking them all the way from one end to the other gets them thinking about that. When they are doing that comfortably you can ask them for a stop before you get to the wall. The first time I did that, Rem wasn't expecting it so he kind of ran through it, but that was to be expected. So I asked him to move forward and stopped him short again and one more time before we reached the wall. The next time we went short it was much better.

The second half of the lesson we worked on rollbacks. Our riding instructor has had us back our horses up after every stop so that they are thinking back before they even come to a stop. In order to do our rollbacks we are supposed to have our horses backing off of our leg on a loose rein. I wasn't sure if Rem would understand this concept right away, but he did really well... after I was shown how to use my spurs correctly.

His rollbacks were good once I figured out how to ask properly. I almost got left behind on one of them and my butt slammed into the cantle of my saddle. It was pretty cool to feel how powerful a correct rollback is!

I am going to make an honest effort to blog more than once a week now that it's getting nicer out. I only rode one morning this week, but I'm hoping to start riding at least 3 times during the week and then both days on the weekends. We'll see what happens :-) That's all I've got for now.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Sorry to Disappoint

So, I thought I would have an update with video and photos, but alas, I do not. You see, it was cold and rainy on Sunday, and I was tired. We did get our demo somewhat figured out for Midwest Horse Fair, but we've still got a few things to work out. Rem was quite lazy, but he did not lay down! Yay! Aubrey came along too, but she had to fill in for someone who couldn't be at practice, so she was participating, no time to take pics or videos...

TJ did bring Choke out at the end of practice. The first thing he showed everyone was how easy she lays down for him. I was surprised at how calm she was around so many new horses. She didn't bat an eye. She's such a good girl. Her coat is amazing, too! I wish I had started blanketing Rem in January, maybe he'd have a nice coat by now... but no, I'll be stuck riding a Yak for the horse fair. Oh well, he's my Yak and I wouldn't trade him for the world.

The good news is that this weekend is shaping up to be a little nicer than last, at least there's no rain in the forecast. I'm hoping it stays that way! I am headed down to Chicago, bright and early on Saturday morning to pick up Joe from the airport. He's in Texas this week for a family reunion. I'm hoping to ride in the afternoon, but I'll probably need a nap first! Then, I have a group reining lesson at 8a.m. on Sunday, followed by practice at 11. Rem, once again, will not be happy with me. It's good for him, right? I'll just tell myself that, and then I won't feel so bad. I wish I could ride him during the week, but the ground hasn't been good enough, and the small arena just isn't enough room to make riding worthwhile. It's good for starting colts, but beyond that there isn't much you can do in a 36 by 36 area. So I'm limited to hauling to indoor arenas... *sigh*

Lots of rambling in this post... I don't normally do that! Oh! And! I was tagged by Tracey of Mustang Diaries a while back... Here are the rules!

The game is this: Find the 6th folder and then the 6th photo from that folder in your files and post it.



Surprise! Or not.... A picture of Remington! Looking very un-yak-like. How nice.

Now, since Tracey has tagged several of the victims I would have chosen I'm just going to tag one person... And that is Jennifer from How Did This Happen?, she likes to tag me, so it's only fair!

I also found this photo, which I took to show the size of the UNFINISHED painting that I started for Pattie.



I AM going to have it finished by Horse Fair so I can give it to her then. I was also thinking about doing a pastel drawing to see which one I like better, painting has never been my favorite, and I'm noticing some things on this one that are starting to bug me. I'm thinking it's the angle that this photo was taken at, but his head is looking rather small... we all know mustangs have HUGE heads :-) I really do prefer chalk pastels, great time to change my mind, huh?

Friday, March 6, 2009

Photo Update for the Choke Fans!

Tracy sent along a few photos of Choke. Hope you enjoy!
Come back Sunday for the full report!






Monday, March 2, 2009

BAD pony!

So, remember what I said in my last post? About REALLY getting after Remington if he decided to lay down again?... I couldn't do it. Haha, he was sooo tired. I subjected him to a practice for the Midwest Horse Fair breed demo, followed by a group reining lesson. All in one day! So... when he went down, I just let him take a nap. Is that bad?? I think it is... Jelaine had her camera handy so she snapped a picture.



When he woke up from his nap he was ready to get back to work. We are continuing on with going forward, straight and stopping. He is really getting good, and all this work on straight lines is great for tent pegging! He is pretty awesome at that too! We've got it good at the trot and we're just starting to canter. He goes straight for me the whole way through with a good stop at the end.

Next week Aubrey will be home from vet school for Spring break. Hopefully she'll agree to take some video of Remington's mad skills as a tent pegging horse :-)

Choke is doing VERY well I hear. I don't have a lesson after the Mustang demo practice next week so I should be able to get some photos and video of TJ and Choke. She is doing a few tricks I hear, and even laying down... of course I'm sure she's laying down on command, unlike a certain mustang I know...

I got another award from Jennifer that I need to do a post on, but right now I am having a hard time thinking of 10 interesting things about me... I will have to ponder a while longer before I fully accept the award.