Wednesday, October 1, 2014

What Happened to September?

Well, its been 2 plus weeks since my last confession.... I mean blog post.  Since that time, we had a Party Lesson at Patty's, the girls rode with Sherry G, the girls rode in and I walked at (34,9587 steps) at the Tulsa State Fair FFA/4-H/Open horse show, tried to recover from the TSF by wasting a Sunday, traveled to both Wyoming and Kansas for work 2 weeks in a row, and... oh, yes, went to work in my cube some days.  Whew.  I need a vacation.  And signs of fall (or perhaps no rain) are showing in the color of leaves and light.  It is still warm to hot depending on your heat tolerance.  And, we have a new crop of baby chicks - 15 Rhode Island Reds pullets and 1 "straight-run exotic chick" who could be roster or hen.  They are pretty cute and are currently living in the big aquarium in the greenhouse with "chick cam" on 24/7 to provide entertainment and serenity (NOW).

Our party lessons have been small with Kathy B in the middle of campaigning with Ron for county commissioner and Mallory working day and night on their mobile so they can start remodeling the house and Mary off a Grand Lake and school back in session with volley ball games and x-country meets.  Small but fun and I sure do enjoy the equine therapy we share.

The girls each had a lesson with Sherry G down in Porter - her covered arena has footing made of ground tires and Nike shoes - the ground up tennis shoes hold more moisture and have no dust.  Really nice to ride and walk on - not deep or to squishy but really nice.  Alaina will be riding Sammy at dressage camp so we stopped at Gena's to pick him up for the lesson.  Sherry thinks that Sammy might already know some dressage.  The pair worked on Bow-ties using inside leg and rein to turn, rail leg yields, and walking turns on the 4-H using big toes on Sammy's sides with gentle inside reins and half-halts on the outside rein.  Alaina needs to remember that there are NO BARCA loungers, to keep her heels back/away, to carry hands like she is balancing a tray, and to ride with bloody stumps (walking on knees).  When Alaina was riding with all those things at once, Sammy looks like a million bucks. 
Ivy and Kismet made good progress too.  Sherry had Ivy balance a whip on her wrists to help steady her hands and she worked to cue with her toes, seat, and core to push Kizzy into the bridle.  Kismet will be a dressage horse yet.  Sherry has a lovely way with junior riders and gave both girls a note sheet with homework to do before junior dressage camp.  They can't wait.

Bandit AKA the Tiny Turd AKA the Land Shark gets an hour of grazing per day.  Gena has designed this red-neck tie out using a lead rope and dumb-bell weight.  TT did not waste time pulling his nose out of the grass for his close-up.  He is so darn cute!

The girls have been busy with school, volleyball (Alaina), and cross country (Ivy) so riding practices have been slim.  The Tulsa State Fair FFA/4-H/Open horse show was the last 4-H show of the year.  The format was different, a 2-day show on the first weekend of the fair.  Halter/showmanship/English/trail on Sat; Western/speed on Sunday.  Trail for the first time at the TSF but still no jumping.  The girls decided to show only Saturday (yay!); Ivy took Splash and Alaina showed Sunny.  With the inclusion of "open" classes, the girls had the option of twice as many classes.  Confusing because the age groups were different; 4-H is 15 to 18 for seniors while the open classes were 14 to 19.  Alaina and Sunny were 7th place in 4-H HSE and 4-H Trail.  Ivy and Splash received 8th in Halter Geldings, 10 in HSE as well as 8th/6th in Open/4-H Trail.  The girls lived on snacks with a little fair food.  Not enough to help my poor feet.  We were stalled on the very east side of the fair ground and showing in the main arena.  We were on-site for 14 hours.  I didn't have a horse to ride back and forth.  I vote to go watch not show next year.

Meanwhile, I am ready for a party lesson this weekend and was hoping to celebrate Kathy B's birthday (today) at the lunch after lesson.  Alas, Kathy and Ron will be campaigning so birthday cake will have to wait.  If the weekend is nice we can always go back and see a little more TSF.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

It's a Sad Story

But there is a happy ending:  YaYaRiders II

Blogging this past summer has been a challenge.  I know you won't believe it, but I have posted a few photos.  And, although there is supposed to be unlimited photo storage on Blogger (so long as you don't use Picassa), I can't seem to solve the dreaded problem of limited photo storage.  I don't use Picassa on purpose, have tried to remove the program from my old computer (I think I was successful), deleted duplicate photos, struggled with the limit every post.  No good.  So when the issue turned up again (like a bad penny) on my new computer.  I gave up.

Ya-Ya Riders is moving to a new blog:  YaYaRiders II

Visit soon and Happy Trails - YaYa!

Monday, September 3, 2012

Operator Error!

After years of English riding lessons and aspirations of moving up the levels with my horse of the hour (TC, Pico, Splash, Sister, and Splash again), I had a mad moment and decided that I wanted to ride Splash in the "trail" class at the Rogers County Fair this year.  So, Splash got to spend a few weeks with Dawn D to learn how to neck rein (he is to old for western direct reining) and I had a few western lessons myself.  I needed to learn how to hold the split reins (harder than I thought), hold my non-rein hand properly and steady (a work in progress), how to tack up (need weightlifting practice to haul the heavy saddle), how to walk in spurs (never squat), and how to hold those pesky spit reins (did I mention that?).

Well, 2 lessons on Missy were not pretty at the canter.  But I didn't fall off.  Two lessons with Dawn and we made some real progress AND I didn't fall off.  Our canter departs were all in the correct lead and we were able to canter over 4 poles!  The back through is VERY rough - my cues are to strong so Splash slings his rump back and forth bashing and rearranging poles along the way.  At the Saturday Party Lesson, we had nice trots and decent leg yields.  Canter was way to fast but leads were correct.  Then, gate practice.  I managed to drop the left rein twice.  Oops!  Then, the back-through.  A little better with my cues but I dropped the left rein AGAIN.  This is a problem I can not blame on Splash.  Super Glue?

Sunny and Pico are still in recovery so Alaina has been concentrating on Sister.  Cynthia is generously sharing Ahab with Ivy, so she is getting to ride too.  In preparation for the Fun Show to Benefit Fire Victims, Alaina needed to ride Sister bareback for Ride-a-Buck.  She gave bareback a try on Saturday and was successful although the dollar will be lost very quickly.  Ivy is working on a Horse Beard, and tried it on Sister.  Ahab will be sound on his peg-leg but I don't think the Blue Whale of Catoosa will be in danger.

Patty and Larry hosted a benefit fun show on Sunday afternoon starting with a pot luck lunch.  Then, Ride-a-Buck, Water Glass, TP Pairs, Egg-n-Spoon, and Boot Race as well as Best Groomed, costume, etc.   Splash and I won the egg and spoon!  Who knew?  I had a blast riding in the fun classes with the other Over-the-Hill gang (41 and up age group).  The temperature was over 100 but the covered arena made all the difference.  The show had a great turnout and over 8,000 dollars was raised for Oklahoma Fire Victims. 

Now - if only we can get a little cooler and ride the range again with my YaYa Sisters..... a girl can dream.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Splash Makes Western Progress

Another work trip last week and I needed equine therapy.  So, Friday evening we were off to Inola for drill practice.  Sunny and Pico were resting so Ivy rode Ahab and Alaina worked with Sister.  The drill team worked with the required elements and timed the drill - all eight kids were there so practice went well.  I think. 
Mallory and I were playing with Mario.  Mario was wearing Mallory's beautiful Dale C show saddle.  Mallory warmed him up with some Clinton Anderson exercises.  Then, I got to test out the saddle.  It works for me, so my wonderful friend Mallory is letting me borrow her saddle so Splash and I can ride western in the County Fair.

Mario - my Mario!  Wow, what a horse.  I was a little nervous getting to try Mario.  I wasn't really going to ride, just test the saddle to see if the fit was good for me.  So, I was in shorts.  The trot was so smooth and Mario so responsive, I got brave. We trotted!  Smooth as silk!  We trotted some more.  What a HORSE!  Mallory suggested canter.  I got braver and asked for canter.  It was WONDERFUL!  Mario is Magnificent!

Mary, Kathy, Nancy, and I had our fun party lesson.  Kathy brought Missy for me and we made some western progress.  Then LAL at Graham's.  And, then!  Another lesson on Splash with Dawn D.  I dug out my old Dan Post boots, Splash got to wear the Dale C, I used Splash's 'new' western bridle (rawhide brow band with your basic Tom Thumb), and I used Kale's old "star" spurs with mild rowel.  The right spur fell off while I was walking to the arena so I tightened them up.  Mounted, and I was only half way around the arena when the spur fell off again.  Dawn punched some holes and we continued.  We worked on pivots, turns on forehand, side pass and turns in the box.  Splash is figuring things out.   Me? Not so much.  My timing is rough.  Then, we cantered.  Transitions were pretty good, steering?  Not so much.  We tried again and got better.  Both directions, several canter transitions, correct leads.  Yippee!  Then, we tried to stop in the box.  HAHAHA.  We tried again and got a little better. 
I didn't fall off!  Yaya.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Two Lame Horses

English is on top in Laramie, WY
 Yes, sad but true.  Pico has been just slightly off, on and off, for a couple of weeks so we started him on glucosamine supplement (Sunny has been on that for months).  He seemed ok at the show last weekend.  Sunny was fine until the show last week when he hobbled for a few steps doing showmanship but them seemed to be fine when Alaina was riding.  Although he did try to do a jump like a trail pattern - stepping on the jump and breaking a jump standard.

Alaina's first lesson on Sister
I spent a few days in WY for work inspecting the pipeline and gave the horses a few days rest. Off to drill practice on Friday evening and Sunny was off. So, Alaina rode Sister for practice and Ivy worked Pico - he was a little off. We left Sunny home on Sat. and took Sister for Alaina and Ivy planned to work with Pico, but alas, he was worse so he got to eat hay at the trailer. Ivy got the chance to ride Ahab. Both girls worked on jumping and Ivy enjoyed riding a willing jumping horse (her smile was so big she made her cheeks sore). Alaina worked on canter using the little jumps as the transitions from trot to canter - Sister makes those very smoothly but wrings her tail and resists canter departs from cues. They made progress and Alaina really did a nice job.

Ivy riding Ahab - He LIKES to JUMP

In Splash news.... He has been learning about neck reining and western leverage bits. The first contact with the chin strap several weeks ago made him rear up but he is accepting the mild Tom Thumb. Dawn D gave me a western lesson in Alaina's western saddle on Friday morning. I had to wear HUGE western spurs and hold split reins in my left hand - and let go of my contact (read death grip). We worked on walk/trot, figure 8's, side passing and pivot/turns on forehand. Splash was doing better than I was.  But I didn't fall off.  I did get a blister on the inside of my knuckle from the split rein - very sad.

Call and Missy have NICE....
Thank goodness we got to have the Saturday Party Lesson at Patty's. Kathy B brought Missy for me to ride and get some western training. I used Alaina's saddle and Ivy's bridle with Rommel reins. Missy was very good for me and I even got to experience the the feel of a reining spin. I gathered all my courage and grabbed the saddle horn for our canter left lead.  Then I remembered you are supposed to neck rein to steer!  Ooops.  We tried again and stayed on the rail.  And let go of the horn.  Then we tried right lead.  Not Missy's good side, but we stayed on the rail and I didn't fall off.  We finished the lesson and went to lunch.  Yum.  The Party Lesson is an all day affair.


Sunday, August 12, 2012

Summer Show

The Rogers County 4-H Horse Club held their Hot Horse Show on August 11 expecting the triple digit heat that has baked the state for the last few weeks.  So, no stifling show cloths required - casual dress (Tee-shirts and jeans) and a more relaxed atmosphere made for a fun and relaxing show.  Good news, a COLD FRONT meant that the temps were in the 90's - comparatively cool.

Class Ivy Alaina
Halter 6 NA
Showmanship 6 5
Hunter Under Saddle 2 3
Hunt Seat Eq 5 1
Hunter Hack 1 3
Trail 4 3
Western Pleasure 6 5
Western Horsemanship 5 6
Barrels NA 5
Poles NA 5

Both Pico and Sunny had some hitches in their get-alongs.  First thing in the morning, Sunny stood waiting for showmanship a LONG time and then had to go from stand to trot.  It wasn't smooth but he smoothed out once they started riding.  Pico has a chunk out of his front right hoof which could be why he has an occasional hop in his trot on the left diagonal.  Both girls rode Hunter Under Saddle well.  Hunt Seat Eq had a turn on the forehand to the right.  The judge tried to explain but the kids got confused - half went left (including Ivy) and half went right (including Alaina).  Ivy and Pico had a really good Hunter Hack - very forward to the jumps and correct leads.  Alaina and Sunny - not so much.  Sunny stepped on the rail and broke a jump cup - he thought he was riding in trail.

Western competition was tough so the girls are looking toward the final show of the year (county fair) to get a few more points.

So, no party lesson and, since I spent the week in Kansas, no Friday Play-Day.  But the hint of cooling makes me look forward to fall and riding with my YaYa Sisters.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Drill Team Report

Excessive heat warnings were issued so we cancelled Ride Night on Thursday evening; temperatures ranged from 108 to 112.  To beat the heat, we worked Sister Friday morning in the WOR Arena.  I switched bits too since the loose ring snaffle we have been using is a little thick and I hope she will like a thinner D-ring.  Maybe she does, but who can say.

After cancelling drill 2 weeks in a row because it was to hot, we went ahead in spite of the high of 112 degrees.  In the shade of the Rocking C arena, with low humidity and a brisk breeze, the practice went well - walk/trot only to be safe.  Pico was a little off; perhaps its a little arthritis?  We will start him on some joint supplement ASAP.  Since he is 17, perhaps we should have started him on joint supplement earlier?  Alaina and Sunny did a little flag practice too (their first attempt).

Sister and I went to the Party Lesson alone.  We did warm-up with Clinton Anderson exercises including backing and desensitizing with stick and string.  We concentrated on correct bend and support to prevent falling in or falling out.  Sister really drops her shoulder to the left rather than bending left so I worked to provide enough outside rein and inside leg.  We worked spiral-in/out both directions and then leg-yields before........   asking for CANTER.  We started right lead and the transitions were prompt if a little rushed and we stayed on the 20 m circle.  Then.... the dreaded LEFT LEAD.  Sister did NOT want to take the canter and our first transition was tough.  We were 3/4 of the way around the circle before we got the canter depart.  Sister felt rushed and I tried to sit deep and give half-halts to help with balance.  Our second canter depart was better so we stopped before I ran out of steam.   I claim success since I didn't fall OFF.  Yippee.

On a somber note, several large wild fires ravaged areas west of Tulsa on Saturday made more dangerous by the stiff breeze and the extra dry conditions.  Donna and Billy lost their detached garage (holding all their sentimental keepsakes as well as furnishings in storage while they remodel the house).  Saturday evening, a front came through with cooler temps and a change of wind-directions helped firefighters gain some control.  But, several towns were decimated and many have lost homes.  The front brought a little rain in our neck of the woods as well as some serious wind so we lost power for a few hours.  Perhaps the moisture will help lower the fire danger.