Sunday, May 23, 2010

May 23

Jaime's birthday is today.  Kale turned 21 on Thursday.  Two nephews graduated HS last week.  Two nieces are expecting late summer.  Good things still happen.  Sure miss my girl.

Only a little horsey news this week - lots of graduation and choir concert and birthday stuff but we did squeeze in a lesson Sat. morning.  Denise and Dee, Josey and Packer and the girls on Sunny and Pico got to ride.  They all had some good work.  Denise should pattent that saddle glue that she used when Dee spooks and whirls because all the horses were running wildy.  I saddled up to join but Splash is still off on the right hind end.  Fooey.  Guess I will have to vet him when we get a moment.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

WET Weekend

Mayfest was in town so the weather stirred up some excitement - the weather guys thought it would rain through the weekend but it was so wet by Friday night, only intermittant rain was needed to keep everything muddy all weekend long.  Tornadic winds were very close to the Wild O Ranch in the wee hours on Thursday but no wind to speak of Sat. or Sun.

The girls and I joined Josey and her new horse Packer for the Party Lesson Sat. morning.  Alas, Splash was off on the right front (we think) so I tied him to the trailer.  Maybe the stumble into the bottomess hole at Prairie Lane last week caused real injury?  Splash has been many things - slow, frustrating, lazy, stubborn, irritating, resistant, etc., but has never been off before. 

Alaina and Ivy worked their mounts while Tami and I saddled Digger for me to try.  Either my saddle didn't suit him or he didn't like my bit or he thinks I am to heavy... or all of the above.  Digger did not like bend either direction.  We did get some nice leg yields along with switching tail and baby bucks throughout.  So, I quit working Digger too and just watched the end of the lesson. 

The Big News is that Mallory purchased horse property in Verdigris and has big plans for building a covered or indoor arena to have boarding, training, and trail riding in the near future.  The place has a spring-fed pond, the barn has inside art and there is access to riding along the river.  I can hardly wait for the new neighbors - its just 7 miles from my door to the new farm - Green River Ranch is one possible name.  It is a spectacular place.  Welcome to the neighborhood.

YaYa'a plan to celebrate May birthdays this week but I will be in Kansas so can not join in.  Hopefully, I will get to ride or eat or both with my friends soon so eat some cake for me....

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

No Cones were Harmed in the Course of the Weekend

This post is late because the weekend wore me out. We started NorthEast District 4-H Horse Show activities Friday afternoon and finished with the Laurie After Show Clinic at Prairie Lane Sunday afternoon. Fun horsey stuff but way too much dust inhalation.
We headed to Claremore Expo as soon as the girls got out of school on Friday with Pico and Sunny to have a practice ride before bathing/trimming/banding/braiding. But, the first thing that happened, after coggins check/check-in but before the horses were unloaded, was rider injury! Ivy was getting something out of the trailer and when she got flattened by the trailer door when the wind slammed it into her head and hand. Huge goose egg (but no blood), bruised fingers, crying/shaking/ice/Advil later, we went to a quick school function and then back to the show grounds to pick up the pace. Luckily, Nurse Charlotte determined that no stitches or hospital visit were needed. The Rogers County Horse Club has multiple medical personnel in the parent ranks, so we were covered.

Bathing/trimming/banding/braiding done, we were home by 10 and then up early to get back to Expo for the SHOW! The girls qualified to go to the 4-H State Horse show in Shawnee in June and placings were:

Alaina and Sunny – 8th showmanship, 4th hunter under saddle, 5th hunt seat equitation, 6th west pleasure, 4th trail, and qualified in western horsemanship (she will do it all at State)

Ivy and Pico – 8th hunter under saddle, 4th hunt seat equitation, 3rd hunter hack, 4th western horsemanship, and qualified in trail (she will skip trail at State since obstacles include flowers etc and Pico is Freako Pico).

The SHOW was SLOW – we were still jumping at 3:00pm; trail results for juniors were final at 8:30 pm. So we got home around 9 and they still had Western Riding and Reining to go….

Early Sunday morning we were off to Prairie Lane for our lessons with Laurie – I took Splash, Ivy took Pico and Alaina got to take the Dezzie Doo. Poor Pico never gets a break because Ruthie came to ride him too – he may be more wiped out than I am.

Diez is still shedding big-time so there was a tribble sized ball of horse hair when Alaina was done grooming. We got mounted, into the 8:30 lesson a bit late and just as we started the lesson, Splash sank his hind quarters into a sink-hole by C. Yikkes, he was “funky” behind (Laurie’s technical term) for a couple of laps until we changed rein and he worked it out. We shortened the arena away from C.

Then we got going on the lesson. Objective? Canter Depart Cleanup. Standing still, Laurie explained that for nice canter depart, you wrap your inside leg at the girth to suggest bend and “squeak” the outside leg back 4 inches or so before applying pressure and asking for the depart. Gives the horse a heads up to sharpen the response.

We started off with trot and worked to get more forward. I had warmed up with the German Neck Stretcher, but admitting dependency, removed it for the lesson. We worked circles around the “4 points of the circle” and finally got a bit of good trot. The idea was to “touch” the rail at the side cones and keep the circle round at the inside cones. Splash tried to kill the cones. Then we asked for canter departs and kept the circle. Splash tried to kill more cones and then just cut them off completely if I didn’t manhandle him around. Fun. He got better.
Then, we moved on to the rail and worked leg yield down quarter line to B (and E the other way) and asked for canter as we touched the rail (ideally at the letter) to canter a 20 meter circle. At B again, put 2 pounds pressure in the outside stirrup and close the outside hand to get a nice downward transition. Cool! It works when I can remember to do it. Ivy and Pico were riding with me and we alternated with the exercise. They got real JUMP into the canter departs. REALLY good. Cool! PS – they killed a cone or two too.

Then, after a quick tack change for Pico, Ruthie and Alaina took over the arena. Alaina and Diez worked on bend and transitions. Diez has a long standing mission of counter bending whenever possible. She also aspires to look like the Mongolian war horse of old with head high and mane flying (no nostril flaring since she is the old grey mare). And, although she used to be the energizer bunny, impulsion is no longer a given.

Laurie selected a serpentine type of exercise for the two so that both could work on changing bend while maintaining impulsion. Two sets of cones were set for each change of bend location with the objective of a stride or two of “straight” as they passed through the cones. Alaina really improved Diez in the bend and impulsion department and all were amazed that Diez is 30 and foundered badly last summer. Overall, wonderful lessons so thank you Laurie! We stayed to watch other lessons but my brain did not retain any more information. The girls took a gazillion photographs of other participants but major editing is needed.

YaYa’s were planning to have an outing this week to Oolagah to clean up the trail – looks like weather will require rescheduling. Hopefully, the rain chances predicted for the week will bring the needed rain without any rough weather. Cross fingers for the right mix and for another ride at Rita’s or Oolagah soon.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Mother's Day Message

Happy Mother's Day to all you YaYa Mothers!  Hope your families made much of you and that you had a lovely day.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

A Good Ride and Other Events

It was Carol on Jetter and Splash and I for the Party lesson on Saturday morning. Alaina and Ivy rode at 10 since bad weather was expected in the afternoon. Light rain came and went early and then the sun came out around lunch. By the time we got back from Subway, a big storm was blowing up just to the south. We scurried around loading horses and headed to the house. Pounding rain started before we got to 88. Then – HAIL on Flint Road. Pea to marble sized pellets covered the road and riled the horses in the trailer. For about 5 minutes, we waited for the hail to stop and by the time it did, the road was white. Whew, enough excitement for me. Now, back to my horse story.
Carol and I had a great lesson, her back has been bothering her, but she did a good job with Jetter. Splash was a good boy too with only a few head tug objections toward the end of the lesson. We started off with stretching and warm up - arm circles, leg stretches, bicycle legs, and (ooowW) side leg lifts. Then trot work on a large circle at the “c” end of the arena. Splash was moving out nicely and we were fairly consistent. Then we worked on trot/walk transitions with a little leg yielding into corners. Not bad. On to canter, we worked on the large circle and Splash got correct leads both directions with only one break of gait during left lead canter. After years of trying to move both hands with canter movement, I tried to steady the inside hand and let the outside hand go with the movement – helped along by placing my hand on my thigh. We finished the lesson with leg yields at walk and then trot from quarter line and center line – using ‘steps’ so that Slash wouldn’t ‘fall’ out to the rail, i.e., a controlled leg yield. Good place to stop and it was time for lunch any way. Do I have to tell if I was using the German Neck Stretcher? OK, yes. But…. You may need to have an intervention – the neck stretcher is my FAVORITE! Now, about Friday….
I had Friday off and had scheduled Sister, Splash, and Pico for a 10am visit to Dr. S. for teeth floating, sheath cleaning (Splash/Pico), exam (Sister), and skin evaluation (Splash). All three had sharp hooks but none had any wolf teeth to remove. So, after loading Splash and Pico, we went off to Inola to retrieve Sister and I left all three at the vet barn for the appointments. No wolf teeth but Splash has sarcoids so we will try the XXTerra treatment – kind of pricy, but less than surgical removal.
Alaina had a Friday evening lesson with Dawn D and Sunny was very good – Alaina is working to slow him down by stopping and backing every time he speeds up. She and he are getting better. We will do an extra lesson with Patty next Thursday in prep for the District horse show next week.
Sunday was a lovely day and the girls and I cleaned out the trailer (an all day job when you take breaks to go to Attwood’s and wash winter blankets and dressage pads). The arena should be dry enough to ride tomorrow, so the girls can get some more practice in this week.
On the yaya front, Rita had an exciting week with the birth o Silka’s baby (Gallant Prince) and taking Jurgen to the show in Guthrie – we will want updates on both fronts.