Sunday, March 28, 2010

Sister learns to leg yield - sometimes

Spring flowers are coming up everywhere but it still feels a bit chilly today.  We have 6 or 8 kinds of daffodils as well as grape hyacinths, lily-of-the-valley, forsythia and a plum tree in bloom.  A week ago we were under snow.

Sat. morning the girls and I took Pico, Sunny, and Splash to Patty's for the party lesson (me/Splash, Kathy/Call, and Christina/Jetter), lunch, and the girls' lesson.  The wind was howling with 40ish mph gusts so the covered arena was rather musical.  Splash and Jetter handled the noise fairly well as did Call after a pretty energetic lounging session.  After the usual warm-up exercises, we worked on leg yields to weave the cones.  Believe it or not, Splash was moving out fairly well (perhaps all the wind noise bothered him a little).  During canter work, we focused on changing the bend from outside to inside without loosing the canter.   Not to bad and we had fun without falling off.
After lunch, the girls started their lesson in the outdoor arena (Pico is not good with arena/wind noise).  Alaina and Sunny were fairly successful with "slow" but not so much with give to the bit. Ivy and Pico had some lovely movement and transitions but, also, not so much give to the bit.  Hmmmmm.

While the girls were riding, I brushed and saddled Sister, then, lounged her with the German neck stretcher and a stretchy lounge line attached through the bit to the girth. This configuration really helped Sister work on inside bend while lounging and she worked fairly well in both directions.

Sister thinks that her sides are a no-touch zone.  So, Patty has been working on leg yield, leg yield, let yield.  Sister is getting the picture.  And, Patty says she has not followed through with her threats to cow-kick or buck.  So...

Gathering courage in both hands, I decided to try and ride Sister a bit.  I used my dressage saddle and a western snaffle bit.  I was worrying about to much leg (with the dressage saddle rather than a western saddle) and about bit pressure. 

After removing the lounging gear, I mounted uneventfully.  Then moved off at a walk.  We walked around without any problem and then I tried a little trot.  Sister MOVED OUT!  I panicked and stopped.  Patty and I discussed the seat/leg pressure needed when riding a horse that MOVES versus a horse who's mission to STAND STILL.  We tried again, and little by little, I relaxed and Sister responded better.  We joined Ivy and Alaina and did a little arena work.  I leg yeilded into corners and circled when we went to fast.  We finished with a bit of backing.

I didn't FALL OFF.  YAYA!

The St. Jude Trail ride schedule for Sunday afternoon was postponed because trailer parking was to muddy.  But, it was cold and cloudy most of the day and the wind was out of the north.  Late afternoon the sun came out and the girls played in the arena with Pico and Diez.  Poor Pico has a little rain-rot on his front pastern and he broke it open on a little jump - we will keep an eye and medicine on it and try to keep him de-mudded enough to clear it up.

Rumor has it that the YaYa's will ride again at Rita's on Thursday afternoon.  I will try to escape work and join in.  I can hardly wait!

YaYa!  Yeah!

Sunday, March 21, 2010

How to Ride During the Late Winter Storm

Well, Oklahoma Weather is at it again.  The girls were off for spring break this past week and we had several horsey activities before winter returned. 

On Monday, I got off a bit early and we loaded Sister, Pico and Splash and went to Patty's.  I lounged Sister and she was so responsive that I ALMOST got the nerve to ride.  But Patty wasn't there to help if I needed it so, since... Retreat is the better part of valor, I saddled Splash and worked him instead.  Ivy rode Pico bareback (she had an ankle injury and didn't want to put on boots) and Alaina took a spin on Jetter.  Alaina loves Jetter since he reminds her of Dezzie-Doo.  We left Sister in Patty's capable hands.

Tuesday, Alaina and I visited Dream Maker to pick up Sunny and get another ride in.  It was a beautiful aftenoon and several other riders were enjoying the day and the DRY outdoor arena.  Splash and I worked a bit and Alaina got a brief lesson from Dawn D before we headed home.  Shannean F was working her baby Dakota and Sandy T was looking fabulous on Sissy.

Ruthie wanted a chance to ride Pico before the Lily Pond show so she and Jean came out Friday morning.  I worked Splash and walked around on Pico, Alaina rode Sunny and Diez, Ivy worked Pico and had a quick ride on Splash, and Ruthie rode Pico and played around on Diez.  Very fun. 

Then the Lily Pond dressage and FFA shows were cancelled.

THEN, while we were working the Ranch Rodeo Consessions Friday evening, the weather turned.  Rain pounded all night and turned to snow on Saterday morning.  We tried to change the plans from Sat. party lesson into a lunch date, but the snow came down so hard, the roads deteriorated mid-day.  I had an adventure after a run to Walmart, when on my way home, I watched a little SUV go into the ditch near the RR tracks on King Rd.  Cars aread of me couldn't make the hill and backed out, more cars turned around in the church parking lot but I wasn't sure going the long way would help me out (the walk home would be a lot longer if needed).  Then, just when I thought I would give the hill a try, a big truck with mega tires, came over the hill and immediately hit the ditch.  I guess he was trying to get out of the ditch, but he plowed along flinging mud and snow util he almost hit the SUV.  Once he stopped, I tried the hill.  Didn't make it the first time but stayed out of the ditch.  It took me 3 more tries to get up the hill and then I crept home.  Very dumb to go out, but who knew.  The roads were so warm that the slush that caused me so much trouble was gone in a couple of hours.  Kale was visiting and got snowed in with his boring family (last time he visited at Xmas, he got snowed in too). 

But it is STILL snowing and blowing hard.  Maybe a Honda is not a 4-wheel drive vehicle?

So, here is what we all need to maintain our own riding fitness.  The Riding Simulator  This won't help our horses learn anything new but would look good in our living room.  YaYa

Sunday, March 14, 2010

New Friends

TC reports that life is cushy at the Urban spread - way more grass in the pasture than at our place and Moe is nice too.  Ivy pestered me all week to visit TC - we finally made a trip Sunday afternoon and managed to time our visit for the 2 hour break in the Urban's Sunday plans of church and soccer.  Ivy and I arrived just as Lisele was ready to ride Moe so we saddled TC and the girls did a turn or two around the pond.  Lisele's cousin from San Antonio took a little lead line ride as well.  TC got his West Nile vacine while we were there too.  The only problem was when the cow pushed Ava's stroller over and narrowly missed stepping on the baby.  BAD COW!

After traveling to Kansas again last week for the dreaded EPA inspection, I made it home Thursday evening with a very sore throat.  So bad that I visited the doc on Friday and he diagnosed strep and a possible absess.  Antibiotics to the rescue but I was still under the weather for the party lesson and let Ivy and Kathy B ride without me.  Alaina rode Diez bareback and I took a brief spin on Splash near the end of the lesson.  Ivy and Pico look VERY good 25 percent of the time.  They are making progress.  Splash behaved pretty well and took correct leads both directions - and since we only rode about 10 minutes, he didn't get much of a chance to misbehave.

Alaina had a lesson on Sunny with Dawn D on Friday afternoon and they are really looking good too.  I plan to pick Sunny up from Dawn's on Tuesday afternoon so Alaina will have to maintain Sunny's progress at the Wild O Ranch.  After a week and antibiotics, Sister is better so I will take her to Patty's tomorrow afternoon for a little of Patty's magic medicine.   The girls are on Spring Break so should have a little time to work their horses while they are off.  We plan on the party lesson at Patty's on Sat. to get ready for the Lily Pond dressage show on Sunday.  Luckily, we sprang forward this weekend, so afternoon riding season is coming soon.  Yaya!

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Orban's to Urban's

The weather was lovely this weekend and we had several horsey adventures.  On Friday, Kathy B and I fought our way through construction traffic at every turn to get to Stillwater to retrieve Sister.  Sister has been hanging with Krystal and is making progress toward becoming a saddle horse.  After we arrived at the barn, Krystal ran Sister through her paces and then I tried a quick ride.  Krystal can canter and roll back and is even making progress in backing.  I just walked and trotted and, although the arena was rough, was pretty pleased.  Next stop for Sister is Patty's for some more work where I can ride regularly.  Unfortunately, Sister picked up a cough so we started her on some Tucaprine to clear that up before she goes to Inola.

Saturday, Ivy, Alaina and I took TC to south Owasso to try out the Urban ranch for TC and visa versa.  John and Charessa have 2 non-horsey boys and 3 girls.  The oldest girl is 9 - Lisle has a paint horse called Moe (Mow).  Hope (7?) loves TC and wants to ride-ride-ride.  The youngest, Ava, is 6 with downs syndrome and may enjoy TC in future.  You may remember that TC has a partial paralysis of the left larynx and can no longer do canter work or much trot (depending on allergies).  As of yesterday, TC and Mow were getting along great.  Ivy is heartbroken about TC living somewhere else but she knows that the Urban's will be good to him.  And she is planning many trips to the Urban ranch to visit.

Horse Haiku
Roan horse kind'a goosey
TC was Ivy's first love
Beautiful blaze face.

Laurie Hedlund presented Dressage 101 at the Horse of Course on Sunday afternoon.  Yummy snacks and very interesting review of rules (recent changes) for recognized shows.  Although I do not plan to show more than schooling shows, learning about the rules is helpful for a show volunteer.  Interesting tidbits:  the allowable whip length has been increased, all riders may wear safety helmets at all levels with out penalty, and if unintentionally dismounted during a test, you may continue to ride if you remount immediately and if your horse has not left the arena.

Inspired, I went home and worked Splash a little in our - finally dry - arena.  YaYa!