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.