Thursday, December 30, 2010

Riding in Late December

Windy and 60 for my Thursday ride on Sister after the 35 degree (35 is almost 40....) sun and no wind Sunday ride - Okahoma weather always lives up to its reputation.

Wild Orbans enjoyed the Christmas weekend and it was VERY COLD.  Finally, on Sunday it warmed up to 35 so I went to Che' Cheval to ride a bit with Mallory after cleaning stalls.  Mallory rode Trouper and had some lovely trot and canter work in the arena.  I lounged and then mounted sister and we worked on walk/trot transitions and left bend.  Sister gets very resistant when I push to hard for collection on the bit so I tried to keep bit acceptance with a little longer rein.  Sister was pretty good but I was not quite up for a canter fight, so we finished arena work and then did a little ride around the edge of the pasture.  Sister was quiet and willing to ride serpentine down the hill while Trouper was very anxious to go back to the barn so Mallory worked circles down the hill.

Monday afternoon, the girls, Kale and I rode a little at the Wild O Ranch - Kale back on Sunny after a long hiatus.  Pico spooked Ivy off within the first 5 minutes of warmup but she got right back on, Alaina reminded Diez that horses can carry people, and I worked on posting/sitting trot with Splash.  Then, Brandon arrived and took the reins on Sunny, Kale took Splash and we finished with a mini trail ride around the WOR.

Thursday's work with Sister started with lunging in the round pen.  Sister was very fresh and not listening so, lots of change in direction and canter until - finally - whoa when asked.  Sister was sweating and blowing.  So, mounted, we headed up the hill to the arena to join Mallory and Trouper.  Christian has moved a lot of sand from the east end to the west half so the footing is pretty good.  After a walk/trot warm up, I asked for right lead canter and got a slow, but no kick-out, transition - and good canter work a couple of times around the arena half.  So, good downward transition and then another right lead canter request - no kick, but left lead canter.  So, counter canter then good downward transition.  Another request for right lead canter and again, left lead with no kick-out.  So, next try, we reversed and asked for left lead canter.  Got it without a fuss and had a good left lead around the arena half.  YEAH! 

While cantering, I tried to work on sitting deep, keeping my hands out of Sister's face, keeping heals down and shoulders level.  I wasn't as steady left lead but I am slowly improving - I think?  Sister was blowing hard and I decided to cool down and finish the ride at a walk while Mallory did some canter work.  She and Trouper worked on figure-8 canter/counter canter circles and made it look pretty easy on the left lead - it was harder on right lead but they kept a few strides of counter-canter before the downward transition.  We walked zig-zagged down the hill as the sun went down.  Lovely.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Struggles with Sister

I had a trip to Kansas last week but made a quick trip to VerdigrisTuesday afternoon to work Sister before I left town.  We started with the usual lounging warm-up and Sister was rather fresh - blasting around at the end of the line with head up and nostrils flaring.  Cross firing, stumbling and even went down at one point.  I was a little worried about the riding to follow.  After she settled down, we mounted and went through the walk/trot warm up.  Sister was pretty good.  With proper set-up (haunches in and shoulder up), we got canter departs with no kickouts and all correct right lead, and 3 out of 5 correct left.  Yeah!

So, Friday I was hopeful for a good ride.  Lounging was perfect.  Sister listened and was calm and obedient.  Then we started riding and things were not as good.  The walk/trot warm-up was OK and then we tried for left lead canter.  Kick-out and resistance but correct lead.  Next try we got wrong lead without kick and we changed direction at the canter to correct the lead.  We continued to work for left lead and got right without kick-out and left with kick-out and FINALLY, left without a fuss.  I was ready to quit while we were ahead (if you don't count the backward steps first), so we did.

The weekend included birthday visits, birthtday movie party, holiday baking, and no time to ride.  But, I managed a little training session Tuesday afternoon.  Sister was pretty fresh on the lounge line, but no bucking or kicking.  Resistance started the minute I mounted up.  Falling left, falling right, swinging the hanches everywhichway.  FUSSY in the bridle.  We WORKED hard on straight and forward with a some give to the bit.  We got a little improvement.  We worked some more and got some nice moments going right, improved moments going left.  We quit while we were ahead without even asking for canter.  10 steps back I guess.  Perhaps our next session will be better.  YaYa.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Left Lead Canter and YaYa Xmas

Things can get crazy in December and this year is no exception. We are on the birthday/Christmas countdown, the temperatures are dropping, and riding is hard to fit in.
But, I managed a quick ride on Sister on Friday afternoon. We tacked up and lounged in the outdoor arena and Sister was more settled than last week. Some walk into trot to warm up with a little leg yield and posting/sitting trots left and right. Sister is getting better bend to the left and is more steady in the bridle (mostly). C suggested less trot work and more canter - perhaps LEFT LEAD! So, we started with right lead, tried to set-up with haunches in, so, with a minimum of fuss, we got right lead when asked. A couple of laps around the arena and downward transition into posting trot. Sister gets a bit fast after canter, so we do figure-8's for calming and then ask for right lead canter again. Good canter work. Time to quit while I am ahead? C said no..... So, reverse and set up for left lead canter depart. Advice from C: put haunches in (or shoulder out); give half halt with inside rein; ask for canter early as we come down the long side (so that if we get the wrong lead, we can just do a figure 8 and circle on the correct lead rather than immediately correcting when she does get a canter). So, haunches-in and ask for left lead canter. The depart was to long, so the haunches drifted straight and we got rt-lead. So, went with it for half the arena and then asked for trot. Tried again with same result. The biggest problem was the 6-stride transition during which we lost inside bend and got the wrong lead. So, one more try and WE GOT THE LEAD! It wasn't pretty - felt rushed and heavy. But we cantered the entire arena before we dropped to trot. And then asked for left lead again and got it but also got the dreaded kick-out. Decided to accept the correct lead and overlook the little kick. But, we did get 2 left lead canter departs. Yeah!

The rest of the weekend was a blur. The Annual 4-H Awards Banquet most of the day Saturday.  Then, Nutcracker and a party with the Wyoming Hot Flash Girls and the annual YaYa Party Sunday night. Nancy hosted the YAYA shindig in her beautiful home and since I was late, Sherry took my food and dirty Santa gift - but Inquiring Minds want to KNOW! Who got the Dirty Santas?

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Christmas is Coming

My first present?  Cantering on Sister in the BIG arena on the Hill at Che' Cheval.  The sun was out and cold weather predicted for the weekend so I escaped work a little early to get a ride on Sister Friday afternoon.  My knee was feeling recovered so we headed up the hill to the wide open spaces in the arena.  I told C that I didn't plan to canter and he told me Sister would be ready when I was.

We started our session with lounge line work and a little ground tie time.  Then, mounted, we did trot circles and straight lines staying off the rail.  Sister gave me good bend both directions and was fairly willing in transitions.  So, as we come clockwise around the west end, I decided to ask for canter before I thought to much and scared myself out of it.  The transition took most of the way down the long side but finally, CANTER without kick-out.  We cantered all the way around and then dropped to a trot.  Posting trot, transitioned to sitting trot - zig-zagging until Sister seemed calm and steady.  Before the next try, C reminded me to move haunches-in just before asking for canter - Sister picked it up within 2 or 3 strides - no kick-up either.  We went about half way around and then transitioned to trot.  Yeah!  The light was almost gone, so with a little more sitting trot and stop/back, we walked down the hill and dismounted near the barn. Sister is really making progress and canter in the BIG ARENA is a big step for me.  Still haven't cantered left lead canter - but.....

Saturday morning dawned windy and warmish (40's) but the temp dropped into the 30's by 9am.  Kathy B and I had a lesson at 10.  Since we were in the covered arena, the wind wasn't a problem and both horses were sweaty by the end of the lesson.  Call is really looking good these days and Kathy had some lovely trots and nice canter departs.  Splash was pretty good without the German Neck Stretcher (managed some moments of work on the bit).  Patty noticed that Splash needed to slow down several times - mark the date since usually Splash is way to slow.  After work on walk/trot transitions, we worked canter both ways changing rein through X for simple changes.  Kathy and Call had great transitions, Splah and me? not so much.  But we did get correct lead every time, just had sluggish/early (dropped gait) changes.  We moved on to cavaletti and then to shoulder in at the walk and then trot.  Kathy and Call tried to show us how its done, but Splash really has a hard time - particularly going to the right.  We finished with leg yields right and then left.  I think the lateral work was to hard on Splash's right hind, so we quit.  Splash was done - hope we didn't over do it.

The 4-H horse club is planning a GPS Horse Trail mapping project at Heyburn Lake in January, so we had a training session Saturday afternoon (including a practice walk at the RSU reserve).  Then, the Horse Club participated in the Claremore Christmas Parade.  The kids dressed in Santa Hats and LED lights and walked with Peanut the pony dressed as Rudolf - Very CUTE!  The kids took turns riding in the cart and they all had a great time.

Seems like I have been sneaking off to ride every spare moment the last couple of months so today we did some baking and went to Lowe's for a Christmas Tree.  No riding or horse related activity.  Hmmm, I was really enjoying horse - horse - horse all the time.

We are clearly overdue for a YaYa ride but I am looking forward to next weekend's YaYa Christmas Party.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Horses make the Thanksgiving Weekend

We are all thankful for our partners in equine therapy but sometimes I would be more thankful for plain obedience.

The girls were on a riding roll last week and rode every chance they got.

Ivy has been jumping Pico so much lately that Alaina wanted to give it a try (cross bars only).  So, we had some horse exchanges but Ivy didn't jump Sunny.

Thanksgiving day promised to be FRIGID so the girls and I joined Mallory and Roxanne in Inola for a lesson at noon on Wednesday. We loaded Pico and Sunny and headed to Cheval Ranch to pick up Sister for the outing. It was humid and unseasonalbly warm (70's) so Sister was a bit sweaty before we started our lounging session. 

I am still not getting complete obedience during lounging although I try to keep her moving out and away from the center of the circle. Even so, Sister was calm and mostly good on the lounge line. So, when the gang was ready to ride, I mounted up to join the lesson.  Sister went over cavalletti fairly well but tripped over the elevated poles.  She did some decent leg yeilds but I did not canter.  Roxie and Ivy practiced a little jumping. 
Thanksgiving day and the horses were thankful to have the day off and that the cold came in after the rain.  We went to Nowata for the annual eating festival.  I looked forward to riding my brains out for the rest of the weekend but disaster!  My knee gave out on me and I was gimping around in a bad way.

Steve found a brace for me so Friday afternoon the girls and I went to Cheval Valley so I could lounge Sister.  We did some good round pen work and C was helping me upgrade my lounging technique.  I wasn't up for riding so C got on and had good work until canter.  Then, Miss Attitude regressed to a bit of Kick-out.... C worked her through it.

Ivy has been missing TC so we dropped by the Urban Ranch to visit.  TC has a new pasture pet named Jack but seemed happy to see us.  Ivy rode a little walk/trot and then we got to feed before we headed back to Claremore.

Kale joined us in Inola on Saturday for the Party Lesson with dreams of lunching at Graham's.  He rode Splash for me since my knee was still in recovery - I rode a little in the western saddle with my knee brace in place.  Splash does not admit any neck reining knowledge.

Graham's was CLOSED for the holiday so we lunched at La Masion in Catoosa.  Kale headed back to Stillwater a little late to go to Bedlam - sadly, OSU lost after a good game.

Sunday was extremely windy but my knee was feeling some better, so brace in place, I headed off to Cheval Meadows to lounge and maybe ride Sister.  After a good lounging session, I decided to mount and ride a little walking and trotting.  Sister was very good and we worked on left bend / right bend as well as sitting and posting trot.

Hope all my YaYa Sista's had a wonderful holiday weekend.

PS - Dirty Santa is coming soon.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Ride as much as you can!

After spending a few days in Kansas last week, I escaped from work early and went to Cheval Acres to work with Sister and ride with Mallory and Flame.  The temp was cool and the afternoon a bit windy but we rode in the big arena until Mallory had to dash to Tulsa to pick up children from school.  Both mares were good as we worked circles, straight lines, and leg yields.  Mallory and Flame even opened the gate so we could ride back to the barn. 

Sat. morning we headed to Inola for the Party Lesson!  Mallory/Mario, Roxanne/Trouper, Ivy/Pico, Alaina/Sunny, Mattie/Zoe, and me/Splash had a good lesson.  Mallory and I were in dressage gear, Ivy and Roxie in hunt seat, Mattie and Alaina in Western.  The lesson was fun for all.  Mallory had some fabulous canter departs and Splash was sound for walk/trot/canter.  He took correct leads although he dropped gait from left lead canter - we didn't canter small circles or very long.  Yeah!

We were planning lunch at La Masion in Catoosa when Ivy and Alaina ditched Patty and me to go see Harry Potter with Roxanne and crew.  They spent several hours in the movie theater but didn't actually see HP because of a fire alarm hoax.  Patty and I had a yummy lunch.

Then back to Lake Cheval to canter Sister!  Needless to say, we stayed in the round pen.  After a bit of lounging, we warmed up with walk/trot transitions.  Sister was clearly expressing reluctance to work, irritation with my requests, and a serious aversion to one side of the round pen when working to the LEFT!  It was a struggle for me, but we worked though it.  Then, we went to the right and asked for canter.  The depart was SLOW and FINALLY, with a Kick-out, we got canter.  Several circles around the pen and we dropped back to posting trot then sitting trot.  Then asked for canter again, Repeat.  Success a couple of times, then more Kick-out.  Yikes, can't stop yet, so more canter departs.  None prompt.  But, I survived some kick-outs.  Still not ready for prime time, but......  More canter work is in our future.

Sunday afternoon, after the girls and I volunteered at the Williams Water Stop at the Rt 66 Marathon, we played with the horses when Andrea and Nick dropped by for a ride.  Andrea got Sunny and he was a star, Alaina played with Diez, Ivy jumped Pico, and poor Nick got to WORK Splash.  Splash was not cooperative in the arena, but Nick persevered.  Then, off on a trail ride around the Wild O Ranch and Splash was better.  Pico the wonder trail horse was pretty good.  Diez and Sunny were very good. 

No one fell off although Alaina staged a dismount to try to scare us.  I think they had fun, I took lots of pictures.

So, even though I was horseing around all weekend, I didn't join my YaYa Sisters on the big Hunter Pace at Flint Ridge.  Maybe next year.... but I want to hear all the details ASAP. 

Monday, November 15, 2010

the DARK (left) Side

The rain on Friday left arenas to wet on Saturday and since Patty and Ashley went to Stillwater for the equine Special Olympics, we didn't get to Party. But first thing Sunday morning, the TEXT came in - C was free until 11, so I dashed to Springs Cheval to ride Sister in the wet SANDY arena.

Mallory's place holds up to rain pretty well and although wet, both round pen and arena were ride-able by Sunday. So, we started some lounging work on a walk circle. Sister was sniffing as she went so I asked for trot. One and a half circles trot circles and she dropped like a rock to roll - not even breaking the trot until she hit the ground. Dressed in my trusty Isabelle! I yelled and she scrambled into a canter. We worked canter both directions before we tried trot again. Whew.. after a bit of ground tie, I mounted and we moved on.

Sitting trot and circles left and right on a fairly loose rein - things were pretty good. We were getting left bend! Mostly. I tried to focus on body position (shoulders LEVEL?), even weight in both stirrups, deeper seat, even seat-bones, quiet hands, elbows in, etc ... ... HARD work for me!

So, we worked leg yields left and right and then haunches in left and right. Legs yields were not bad. Haunches in? Not for more than a stride or two. Then a bit of "extension" along straight lines (extension is relative here since it wasn't much). We finished on a good note after just an hour of work since the footing was heavy.

The bad news is that this work has clearly identified my weak side (left you think?). Well, we have something (things) to work on. YaYa!

PS - my brave YaYa sista's are headed to Flint Creek next weekend for a hunter pace - I will stay home and work Sister and/or Splash.

PPS - sand art by Roxanne, Ivy, and Alaina.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Shoulder Issues

Rain was in the forcast today and I had an appointment with the eye doctor at 10 AM.  Dr T's operation is a well oiled machine and I was out by 10:30.   No rain yet - so I headed to Mallory's Paradise to get a ride in on Sister before the rain came in.  Amazingly, I had all  my riding gear in my Honda Farm Truck.

After a brief lounging session, we started working on trot and bend in the round pen.  Since left bend is difficult, that is what we focused on.  When going to the left, I really struggled to keep my weight even.  Sister seems to be right sided and so do I.  So, I tried to keep my left leg on at the girth and I was inconsistant - so Sister was too.  Leg-yield right was the correction I could get after not getting bend.  So C suggested we work on my seat.

First, we worked to the right so that I could focus on my position without worrying about left bend.  Within 2 minutes, we had uncovered a real issue.  My left shoulder moves up and forward - so, my left seatbone lightens and my right side gets heavy.  Not just a little.  Yikkes!  So, I practiced sitting deeper, rotating my shoulders back and level, and NOT leaning back.  I made some progress and Sister was pretty consistant, keeping trot regular on a fairly loose rein.  Next we reversed direction.

Going left was so awful I started laughing - that didn't help.  My seat was non-existant.  Sister and I both lost our left shoulders, mine went up and she dropped hers.  We slopped around cutting in and loosing my balance.  I could not sit the trot going left.  It was not pretty.  Using my left hand on the back of the saddle, I held on and tried to keep my shoulders even.  We worked until I got a couple of better left bends and I practiced keeping left leg on and right leg light.  It was hard.  It looks like Sister and I have some serious work cut out for us to resolve our Shoulder Issues.

A few rain drops fell while I was loading up and the rain really came down shortly thereafter.  But some sun came through too making a beautiful rainbow.  I take that as a sign the we can overcome all our issues.  Yaya!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Sister Does Dressage

After Sister met Christian, I made a plan to ride her in the last schooling show of the season - the Thanksgiving show at the Rocking C.  To that end, Sister and I made three trips to Inola to ride with Patty and practice in the arena before the show.  Mallory with Raffles and I shared a couple of lessons on Friday last week and this past Wed.  On Wednesday, we practiced leg yeilds in and out of the circle and trotted over cavalletti poles in the outdoor before trying a practice test in the covered arena.  During the practice test I noticed that Sister was very resistant to the left since before that, I wasn't really thinking about geometry. 

Friday, Pico came along in the trailer for Ruthie but Sister and I had a private lesson with Patty.  We concentrated on figure eights to alternate bend work and made some progress.  I tried to think about weight distribution and tried to lighten my right leg to encourage bend around my left leg and we seemed to do better.  So, crossing fingers, I hoped for a good show day.

Saturday started out fairly cold but the sun was out and the day was beautiful.  Ivy had the first ride time with Pico around noon. 

Ruthie followed with a Freestyle on Pico in memory of Jaime which got me all teary but was lovely. 
Ruthie rode Pico again in a training level test before Ivy rode him again in her T4.  Next, Alaina and Sunny rode their two Intro tests before I took Pico and tried a F4.  I didn't ride the test well.  Right off the bat I went straight down the long side rather than across the diagonal - this was not the fault of my reader.  Then Pico did a huge spook at C in our first canter.  But we finished the test - the score?  A 57.875, could have been worse.  THEN....

Sister and I rode our first dressage test!  Intro B, not very long or very hard but I was pretty happy with our ride.  We scored 59 - mostly 6's with 5 for development of medium walk, 7 for free walk and 5 for the final halt (not square and haunches right).  Sister did not fuss with the bit to much and gave me a little bend left.  Yeah!

Sat. was a fun day with lots of friends to show - Patty and Jurgen had lovely rides and Christiana on Arde dominated Intro.  Shannean had Silka moving out and Ivy had high point Jr Training level.  Charlene rode Lil in a Cowboy Dressage class.  Zoe rode Bullseye in Intro B and Alaina rode Sunny in Intro very well and had him moving very forward for a western show pony.  Marsha and Lakota worked the intro classes, Mallory and Raffles rode a couple of training level classes and Roxanne got a 9 and Jr. High Point for Jr - Intro. 

Sunday was cool and windy but sunny and YaYa Sisters visited Julie for a cowboy afternoon.  After a wonderful beef stew on mashed potatoes cooked in dutch ovens over an open fire, we cruised the ranch in a wagon pulled by a team of Belgians.  We finished our afternoon with more cowboy fare - dutch oven peach cobbler with wiskey sauce and vanilla icecream.  YUMMMMY  Julie and Dude live in a beautiful wood cabin furnished with antiques, wood burning stove, a real ice box, and native stone floor.  What a wonderful way to spend a beautiful fall day.  YaYa! 

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

The Last of the Fast – The NEW me

OK, I am hooked. I am the newest TWH convert. Since my last post about my first CANTER on Sister, I have discovered a need for speed. But not on my trusty Appy mount (who takes the Slow Mantra into STOP mode), or my latest AQHA project (with the reflexes of a large cat), but on one of Rita’s stellar examples of the famous Tennessee Walking Horse. Now we all know why she, Nancy, and Sherry all have more than ONE.

Sister and I followed up on our canter work last Wed. afternoon with a lesson at Patty’s on Friday. After a good warm up on the lounge line (Sister was very sensible and responsive to voice), I mounted and rode with Mallory and Raffles. We worked leg-yields in and out of the circle, followed by cavalletti and finished with leg-yields left and right from quarter line to the rail. Mallory worked on canter while I continued with walk/trot transitions. Sister was not the vision of harmony we strive for in dressage. But, she was really very good. A bit fussy with her head, and inconsistent in the bridle. I was thrilled with our progress and have signed up for Intro B at the show next weekend at Patty’s.

The girls had a 4-H Halloween Party on Saturday so we missed the ATRC schooling show. But, a YaYa ride/feast was planned for Sunday afternoon. Sherry and I trailered to Rita’s and I rode Splash in the arena to check his soundness. W/T/C was great to the left and almost good to the right. Rita had Winston tacked up and ready to go when his rider cancelled. So, I left Splash in the stall eating hay (his idea of heaven since there no movement except for the jaw) and I got acquainted with Winston in the arena. Boy can you FEEL that walk! But, the running walk is HEAVEN. I skipped the canter trial until next time and 10 of us headed down the trail.

I had a great ride. Sherry on Jazz, Rita on Reese, and Alyson on Comet lead the way down the trail and we were right behind them – the last of the Fast Women. Judy and Navaho didn’t lag too far behind, but Kathy and Cisco were the trail block for the rest of the field (Marsha and Lakota, Charlene and Lil, Amanda and Lady, and Nancy on Wisdom).

That Walker gait is so smooth, I didn’t even need leg. And, Winston goes across the dips and around corners like a dream. I wonder if Steve would mind building me a new barn for my future herd of TWH? YaYa!

PS - Congrats to Kathy and Call for their exceptional scores at their last schooling show of the season!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Sister News!

We CANTERED!  I stopped by Verdigris Springs after work today (i.e., Mallory's beautiful place is not yet officially named - so I will try out a few possibilities).  After bushing, saddling and cleaning hooves, we headed up the hill to the big arena to lounge and do some walk and trot and transitions work.  And a bit of ground tie - not perfect out in the much bigger area.  The footing is deeper than in the round pen so we didn't over do.

THEN!  We rode down the hill to the round pen and with brief preliminary trotting, I asked for canter / right lead, her good side.  Sister picked up a canter and I DIDN'T FALL OFF.  She didn't kick out.  We went around the pen about 3 times and then I asked for trot and got it.  I don't think she was thrilled, but I am.

We cantered 2 more times and our departs were not prompt (the last took most of the way around).  Polished?  Not.  But, no kick outs and no BAD behavior.  She was fussy with her head and expressive with her ears.  But, the progress since Oct. 1 is amazing. 

So, we will go to Patty's on Friday and make a plan for the Nov. 6 show.  YaYa!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Sister's Canter Progress

No, not with me. Christian has been cantering Sister for a couple of weeks working on that pesky kick-out. She seems to be better on the right lead and has made progress on the lounge line. Not to worry - she does express herself.

I was in Kansas last week but took Friday off for the girls' fall break. I started my morning at Mallory's to work Sister. After lounging and some round pen work, we moved up to the arena. We trotted straight lines (but not along the rail) to work on staightness w/o the help of a solid boundary on one side. Then we finished with very slight bend to the inside for a suggestion of shoulder in. Sister was a good girl and we dismounted before going back to the barn.

Saturday was the Honey-Do Dressage Schooling show. We were looking forward to a costume class and planned to take Diez along for the Indian pony part. But, the costume class was cancelled - saving me lots of work. Also, it was cold and rainy most of the day so there were several storm delays but the barns are large and the covered arena provided covered warm-up for most of the tests. Alaina and Sunny rode Intro A (57.5/3rd) and B (63.5/1st) earning highpoint jr Intro; Sunny was moving out more at the trot and sometimes at the working walk but the judge found his free walk toooooo slow. Ivy and Pico did Training 2 (64.286/1st) and Training (59.60/2nd) receiving an 8 for one of her trot circles but needs to work on immobilizing the halt and the "chewy circle." Pico found the runner in the bright yellow slicker VERY SCARY! Ivy and I had about 15 minutes between our rides to after change of saddles, I warmed Pico up with slow sitting trot and walking around while the crew extended the arena - my mission was to keep him calm. Then we rode First 1 and scored 56.000/1st receiving 7s for medium walk and walk transition as well as extended trot. We need more stretch at free walk and the "chewy circle."

After the blustery rain on Saturday, the weather was lovely on Sunday so the girls and I headed to Mallory's to work Sister and to Play. Lounge work and ground tie practice complete, we worked on walk and trot (sitting and posting), transitions, and finished up with haunches in exercises to prepare for canter. C is very good explaining the why as well as the how for the exercises to help build my confidence. Ivy lurked nearby and wanted a chance to canter. So, we shortened the stirrups and Ivy mounted. After a few minutes of trot to the right, C explained preparation and cue for canter and they did it - without the pesky kick-out. After a couple of laps, they transitioned to trot. Then repeated 2 more times - the third canter was lovely and Ivy was grinning when they finished. She is especially pleased that she cantered before me. But, I am ok with it.

I need to canter so that my fear of being out of control will be tempered with knowledge that I can handle the canter. I am making good progress at trot, walk, and ground work but to be really confident in a large area I need to feel in control at all gaits. So, work continues! Yaya!

PS - Happy Birthday Marsha! Hope you had a wonderful BirthDAY.

Sunday, October 17, 2010


Still works.  I checked and hit the dirt (e.g., sand). 

I started my weekend Friday morning with a sunrise ride on Sister with C supervising.  After very good lounging, I mounted and worked walk/trot/stand/back in the roundpen before C had to go.  Sister is making some progress and Mallory's pasture looked so inviting with dew on the grasses in the beautiful early morning light that I decided to try a pasture walk alone.  We managed to open the gate and walk through and slowly made our way up the hill to the higher grass.  Sister was very good.  No trail salad allowed but we walked big circles in the dew and then serpentined our way back down the hill.  No spooking and we even crossed a dry creekbed.  Back in the round pen, I dismounted and let sister have some hand grazing time while I brushed.

The girls started their weekend with a lesson at Patty's on Friday night.  Patty and her drill team had a competition Sat., so no Party Lesson.  We started in the DUSTY outdoor arena at sundown and the dust made beautiful lighting effects in the covered arena.  Splash was just slightly off but we worked caveletti collected and then extended before we moved to the covered arena for the rest of the lesson in hopes of less dust.  At the walk, we worked on shoulder-in.  Splash has a really hard time with shoulder-in right and was some better when working for left shoulder in.  Maybe because he has a hard time with right hind work?  We moved on to trot and leg yields.  Alaina got some good shoulder in and leg yield and Ivy had some lovely canter transitions.  Splash had correct left lead canter and got right lead about 50 percent of the time.  He also wanted to drop to trot during right lead.  I am hoping that riding lightly will strengthen him and help him get totally sound.

Saturday morning the girls and I took Diez and Pico to Mallory's.  I worked Sister while the girls rode a little pasture/trail ride with Roxanne and Mallory.  After the girls got finished, Mallory and Trouper and Sister and I headed up to the arena.  Roy was mowing up on the hill, but Sister seemed fine each way around the arena at a walk so we worked trot along the long sides and walk in the corners/short side.  After a couple of loops both directions, Sister did a major spook to the left and I didn't move with her.  Darn!  I hate when that happens.

The good news is that Sister didn't run away out of the arena and into the wild west.  Also, she stood quiet while I re-mounted.  We trotted a bit more and walked around briefly and then we serpentened down the hill to the round pen.  I am stiff and sore but will probably live. 

Later that afternoon, I dropped in at the Expo where the Rocking C Drill Team was competing at a Drill Competition.  They placed first in Youth Freestyle and 4th in Youth Theme with their fabulous Pirates of the Caribean routine.  Congratulations girls - you were wonderful.  I think the YaYa Sisters should consider doing some drill team work - it looked really fun.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

ODS/GCC Jr. Dressage Camp & Sunny's Little Sister

First, the camp!  We checked in Friday evening and, after meeting the other campers, settling the horses and sharing Pizza, we had a presentation by a local equine chiropractor (Matt P). Bullseye got adjusted and then Pico got evaluated. Dr. P discovered that Pico was out of alignment at the Pole and Jaw. Pico cooperated by licking his lips after each adjustment -perhaps his long standing bitting problems are related to jaw or pole pain. Sargent Cheryl was serious about lights out at 10:10, so it was an early night.

Saturday morning, everyone was up before 7am and horses fed/watered/hayed before the kids got breakfast. Then at 9, 10, and 11, the kids rotated through Riding by Feel with Cheryl W (the kids learned their natural posting side), dressage with Denise L, and Prix Caprilli with Nicole W. Ivy and Alaina were in a group with Zoe and Jaden; Alaina and Sunny did their very first cross bars! After lunch of delicious HOME MADE soup and HOME MADE stew and HOME MADE BROWNIES, the kids got a scribbing lesson and got to practice on a "slow" horse (Shannean on Jurgen) and "fast" horse (Emily on Shadow). Scribbing is harder than it looks!

Next, the whole crew, including Cynthia on Ahab minus Ivy, went on a trail ride while Marsha, Nancy, and I relaxed and watched Ivy jump the jumps without a horse (she doesn't try Pico on the trail). After a yummy spagetti dinner made by Catherine and equine care duties complete, we had a saddle fitting presentation by Marty H. The girls learned about re-stuffing, leather making, and got to sit in a Sommer Saddle. Kathy B brought crafting supplies and the kids made their thank-you notes for the sponsors.  Lights out by 9:30, but giggling continued for some time.

Sunday morning and the horse care drill before breakfast complete, the kids got to play mounted horse games.  Games on Horseback for groups of six riders was pretty entertaining.  Then the campers learned about pilaties for riders presented by Cynthia after a intro video.  They all practiced pilaties on the floor before lunch.  After lunch, everyone rode the dressage test of their choice for scores from Denise, discussion and then a do-over to apply the comments.  The "dressage show" started at 1:30 with Alaina and Sunny riding Training Level Test 1 followed by Ivy with T-2 and then the rest of the gang.  Shannean rode Jugen in First Level Test 4 as did Marilyn and Willie.  The kids rotated in and out of the box to practiced their scribbing.  Tests and ribbons were presented at 5pm - all the kids did well.  Ivy and Pico were high point dressage score. 

Loaded and headed to the house by 6pm.  Woo Hoo, what a great event.  Many thanks to Cynthia, Cheryl, Denise, Nicole, and John and Judy Dix and all the GCC board members.  Prairie Lane was a wonderful venue for the kids and horses.  Cynthia went above and beyond staying in the apartment with giggling girls 2 nights in a row - one on an air mattress.  Wonderful weekend - Thanks to everyone.

Now the Sister Update - After a couple of weeks off since bringing her home from Dawn D's, I took her to Mallory's place on Oct. 1.  After settling her in a stall for a quarter hour or so, we groomed, saddled, and headed to the round pen.  Christian B worked her on the lounge line in the round pen - she was good.  So, he mounted and worked walk/trot/canter - she was good.  So I mounted and rode a walk and a little trot - she was good.  But I wasn't pretty - no way for my tense body to sit the trot.  But she was good. 

After the Jr Camp weekend, I took Splash and Pico to Patty's on Monday so didn't get back to Mallory's until Tuesday.  We groomed, tacked, and headed back to the round pen.  Christian lounged and worked walk/trot/canter and she was VERY GOOD.  Then I rode walk/trot and we were better.  I sat the trot some and had a couple of discussions with the very expressive mare.  But she was good.

Wednesday, back a Mallory's and I did the lounging this time and Christian rode a bit of walk and trot before I mounted and did the same.  Our trot was better.  I posted some and Sister was GOOD. 

Thursday afternoon and I groomed/tacked/lounged/rode walk/trot with Christian watching over.  Sister was good.  So, I rode at a walk out of the round pen, across the pasture to the arena on the hill.  We walked turned, stopped, backed, walked....and then walked back to the round pen.  Sister was so good we let Ivy and Alaina ride her in the round pen at walk and trot.  Sister was VERY GOOD.  Thanks to Christian and Mallory, we are making progress.

New goal - ride Sister in a walk-trot test at the Nov. 6 dressage schooling show.  YaYA!

We headed to Patty's on Friday afternoon for a lesson and I rode Splash for part of the lesson - he has been sound but still resistant to canter departs on right lead. So, we will continue light riding and see if we can build up his strength.

Saturday, the girls and I went early to the schooling show at Aberdeen Stables.  The girls had very good rides and Alaina rode Intro-B and T-1 - her first training level test with Sunny - the camp gave her confidence and she was pretty forward (for Sunny). Ivy and Pico had a couple of really good scores at TL-2 and TL4. Ruthie rode Pico in T-4 for a Jr. HiPoint score.  I rode Pico for a couple of First level tests - I didn't fall off but they were not my best rides.  I was stiff and didn't sit the trot well but I guess we will just keep working on that. 

Later that day we worked as balloon setters for the Cowboy Mounted Shooting at the Tulsa State Fair from 4 to 10:30pm.  Hard work but we did get to see the Texas Thunder again and the kids got a ride in the wagon after the presentation.  And!  I got to see Rita and Winston on duty - they looked GREAT!.

Today I took the girls and Diez and Pico over to Mallory's and the girls rode with Roxanne around the field and edge of the woods while I worked Sister.  I saddled Sister with my dressage saddle and used a dressage bridle - Sister looks good in black leather!  We worked walk and trot in the round pen.  Sister was good.  Now that my week off work is over, I will need to rider as often as possible to continue with progress.  Cross all fingers and toes. 

October means we have several more yaya birthdays.  We already missed Kathy B (Oct. 1) and Sherry B (October 9) - Marsha's is coming on October 24th.  So, we need to have a yaya gathering soon.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Seven Years

Seven years without Jaime is a long time.  The beautiful fall weather and the yellow color on the green leaves bring back memories.  I am glad that I can continue to ride horses with my daughters and remember other rides.

The girls were part of the first ODS/GCC Jr. Young Rider Camp and I went along as chaperone/nerotic mother.  It was a good distraction and Jaime would have loved to go to such an event.  Ivy and Alaina loved every minute - Pico and Sunny would have preferred a quiet weekend at the Wild O Ranch.

We still miss Jaime every day.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Finally Fall

The first cool front of Fall 2010 came through early Sunday morning and the day was windy and, compared with the 95 degrees on Sat., felt pretty chilly.  My niece Amanda woke up and decided that she wanted to RIDE a HORSE for her birthday - so, she came to the Wild Orban Ranch and we had a horsey play birthday play day.  We saddled Splash, Pico, Diez, and Sunny in western saddles and loaded up.  In between, there was plenty of chicken chase'n.  I think there is a better than good chance that a future yaya was born. 

The Tulsa State Fair starts later this week, but the TSF 4-H/FFA show was held yesterday at the Tulsa Expo in the Mustang Arena.  Ivy and Alaina were excited and we did the standard show prep.  

Alaina came down with a cold and was not her usual perky self for the show - Sunny was pretty good and they placed in the ribbons in Showmanship (8th), Hunt Seat Eq(4th), Wst. Pleasure(7th), and Western Horsemanship(6th) - Sunny slid a wrong lead in for Hunter Under Saddle. 

Ivy and Pico had a pretty good day too.  They skipped Showmanship but placed in all their classes - 6th in Hunter Under Saddle and Hunt Seat Eq, 9th in Western Pleasure, and 5th in Western Horsemanship.  Trail and Jumping are not held at the TSF show.  Nancy E stopped by the show grounds to watch a little and treated the girls to sugar and caffeine - that helped Alaina and made Ivy a bit wild. 

We have a ride night this Thursday and food bank work night on Tuesday.  Then Friday night the girls get to go to the ODS/GCC kids camp.  Should be really fun and I get to help. 

Now that fall is here, I can dream of yaya rides together with my friends.  Ahhhh.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Rogers County Fair 2010

It was a fun if frenzied weekend.  I was hoping to ride Sister in the fair this year but after a month with Dawn D, but she is still not ready for me.  So, I picked her up on Tuesday and then took Splash to the adult ride night to check his soundness - he seemed fine if a bit rotten.  But I love my German Neck Stretcher!  I felt like I was tiptoeing in the old white truck since my main truck had some sort of problem going the Rocking C last week.  Steve had treated the fuel with Lucus and then Kissee Ford checked it out on their road test machine and found nothing.  So, the red truck is hooked up and I guess we are back in business.

The girls entered muffins and cookies for the fair on Wed, then we helped with the Speed horse show on Thursday when my wonderful YaYa's had an evening ride without me.  I heard it was a lovely ride. Darn... sure do miss my horsey friends!  Then on Friday evening I took Splash out for another fair ride check and he seemed sound again.  We washed etc., worked the Steak Dinner, and then headed to Expo for the long show day Sat. 

The girls showed halter in the am - Alaina and Sunny took Reserve Palomino.  Ivy and Splash were 2nd Appy Geldings "3 and over" but placed 3rd in the Grand/Reserve.  Ivy showed Pico in Stock Type (hehe) and both girls showed 4H Halter.

Kathy B with Call, Amanda on Casper, and Julie with Stormy joined me in the English classes.  Splash was better than could have been expected after all this time off and seemed sound for the show.  He was really bad in Showmanship but didn't run over the Judge - so its all good.  The Hunter Under Saddle wasn't to bad, just a bit inconsistent with occasional head tossing.  Amanda won the class fair and square.  Call gave Kathy a hard time so she went and worked her in the warm-up until Call straightened-up. Equitation wasn't great, but I didn't fall off.  The pattern was: start with a 360 left on haunches, sitting trot/left posting trot/right posting trot stop; then 90 turn on forhand right, counter canter 1/2 circle, canter 1/2 circle (backwards S), sitting trot, stop and back.  Not precise but ... then no counter canter and a trot early... but... could have been worse.  He still felt sound so we quit for the day.  Even so - it was great to be riding my horse in a show again.  Splash spent the rest of the day eating hay while Sunny and Pico had to do western.

Ivy and Pico won Hunter Under Saddle with a lovely ride and then won jumping as well (2 riders) - Pico was a really good boy all day.  Alaina and Sunny had some good rides although he was a bit high headed and gave her a little trouble in the warmup before Trail.  Marsha C stopped by to watch and spoil the girls with limeaid.  Then, home late to eat/shower/bed... ahhh.

After sleeping in until 9am, the girls washed Diez and we hauled back to Expo for the Fun Show and Cloverbud show.  Pico got to go 2 days in a row but Splash and Sunny got the day off.  21 kids did Keyhole race, egg and spoon, tennis ball balance, cracker/snack/singing, goat decorating, and ride-a-buck.  Both Ivy and Alaina won their heats in the tennis ball balance and Ivy was a finalist in ride a buck (with Pico's high withers - I don't want to imagine).  Christiana had 6 Cloverbuds and Kathy brought Missy and Cisco for a couple of kids.  They had a great time and Ivy, Alaina, Emily, and Abby helped out.  Ruthie came out to watch and gave Pico one more ride before we headed home.

I guess I will go to sleep right now - no wonder I am tired...  Ahh, horse shows......  Next week, Tulsa State Fair 4-H and FFA at the Tulsa Fairgrounds.