Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Splash got the Weekend OFF

The girls were on "spring break" last week but it rained Monday - Thursday... Hard...  But we did need the rain.  So, no horsey activities until Friday when we visited Don T's race training barn.  We learned about feeding, race tack, breeding (the farm stands two studs) and saw brood mares, stallions, and horses on the exercise

Clinton Anderson was in Tulsa last weekend on one of his Walkabout Tours demonstrating his Down Under Horsemanship "method." CA says DUH is not the only horse training method or even the best horse training method but its the method that works for him. Mallory and I went with the three girls, Nancy E, Damon, Mallory's mom, dad, and sister as well as 2000 other horsey people to spend the weekend learning about the method. I think half the horse people I know were in the audience.

So, 2 days at the Tulsa Expo watching DUH = no party lesson for us.  No worries, we did eat lunch.  Splash feels neglected - not.

Saturday started with a riding demonstration by CA on his current demo horse Diez and ended with another (Ian Francis on Monty and CA/Diez).  In between, we learned about the method and philosophy for sensitizing/desensitizing, saw the basic round pen exercises followed by the lunging for respect with a young horse not yet under saddle and another demonstration with an older horse (Daisy) that had been professionally trained for months but was still to much for the owner.  Sunday started with Q&A and desensitizing the spooky horse.  After lunch, CA brought the Daisy back for a mounted demo.  One reign stops and flexing were the focus.  The last demonstration was a trailer loading session which featured a very difficult horse. 

Some of the things I learned:
  • Survive First - Train Second.  Keep your horse out of your personal "hula hoop" space.
  • Que as easy as possible but as much as necessary.
  • Two eyes are better than two heels.
  • Three steps to trained horse:  1) take long rides, 2) bring back wet saddle pads, and 3) perform concentrated training (bending, suppleing, collecting, etc.)
Signs of relaxation:  1) licking lips, 2) cock leg, 3) lower head/neck, 4) big breath, 5) blinking eyes - continue until a sign is shown or 15 seconds then remove pressure / retreat.

Free lunging - establish direction (drive line is at girth) - 1) point, 2) cluck, 3) spank.  Change direction to inside.  Establish consistent change to inside.  Continue until horse follows you.

Lunging for Respect Stage 1) Point, 2) "stab," 3) 2-eyes.

LfRS2 - 1) palm up, 2) hold stick with lead, 3) slide hand down lead, 4) step in front of drive line, 5) point high, 6) stick on shoulder/neck (if needed).

Backing - 4 exercises
  • Tap the air
  • Wiggle-wave-walk-whack (wave stick back and forth)
  • Marching  (wave stick up/down)
  • Steady pressure - walk beside with pressure on snap
Base of all training steps
  • move butt
  • move forequarters
  • backup
Side pass - move forequarters and hindquarters alternately

So far, Splash isn't interested in DUH or work of any kind....  With Mallory as my coach, he will get to learn  some.  YaYa.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

The Clinton and The Triplets

Left to Right - CA, Ivy, Roxy, and Alaina
No Worries Mate!  Clinton Anderson visited Tulsa last weekend and, in lieu of the Saturday Party Lesson and any outdoor horsey activities on Sunday, 'we' spent both days at the Tulsa Ford Arena watching Clinton work his magic. 

Ivy took NOTES.

We all went wild in a vain attempt to win prizes.

I ran into many of my horsey friends who were not riding in the beautiful weather either.
Fun, now I better make Splash respect me in the morning. 
And any other time of the day or night. 

Monday, March 19, 2012

Shackelford Bank Ponies and JUMPING

So you can see that I got behind in my blogging. Sorry 'bout that. We have been busy with spring and things. The jumping clinic at the Rocking C two weeks ago was a big success. Alaina and Sunny rode in the first group each morning and they really made jumping progress. Ivy and Pico rode in the second group and Pico was definitely on his game - Ivy needs to keep that Pico for her jumping classes.  Roxy and Trouper were in Ivy's group and they had some lovely jumps too.  The girls got to ride with several kids from the dressage camp and made some new friends too.  Pie L is a fun trainer and really knows how to help the kids improve their form over jumps.  Interestingly, she was my first really riding instructor years ago when Cindy, Mary and I rode at Pie's barn in Sperry - Jaime had her first riding lesson with her too.

Pie moved her operation to Colorado but I hope she will come present another clinic in OK soon - there are several instructional videos on her website.  Splash and Mario got to ride in the trailer, stand and eat hay, wait a while, and then...... Mallory and I worked them a bit to help ease our pain of missing the Party Lesson.

Next adventure, a girls trip to New Bern, NC to celebrate Dawn's 50th.  Steff O joined Tricia J and me for the fun.  We toured historic houses, forts, and palaces, hiked though pine forests, rode ferries, ate great seafood, collected shells along the beach, watched dolphins in the ocean, got close and personal with the wild ponies on Shakleford Banks, and drank a little wine.  Very fun. 

Remember - Women with Whips are 82% likely to get what they want.  I want 2 whips....  YaYa.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

It's raining - so we vaccinate!

Mallory and I gave West Nile vaccines to all the horses today and it was raining.  It seems to always rain when we vaccinate, but I think we are to busy riding if its not raining.  That's my story.

The girls rode in the 3rd 4-H point show of the year on Saturday and we got lucky with the weather.  It was cool but sunny and breezes were light.  Ivy got off to a rough start with Hunter Under Saddle - she was disqualified for having a flash on her bridle and Alaina/Sunny won the class. 

Ivy and Pico placed 2nd in Hunt Seat Eq and Hunter Hack, 3rd in Western Horsemanship, 5th in Trail and 6 in Western Pleasure. 

Alaina and Sunny came 1st in Hunter Under Saddle and Western Horsemanship, 2nd in Trail, 3rd in Hunter Hack and 4th in Hunt Seat Eq; they had a near perfect ride in Western Pleasure but didn't place - perhaps the judge just missed them cruising the rail since there were 3 other palomino pairs.

I am feeling deprived since I didn't get on a horse this weekend and next weekend isn't looking to promising for me either.  Patty is hosting a 2-day jumping clinic that the girls will be riding in.  The good news?  Spring is springing even if I don't really feel like that pesky "spring forward."  YaYa.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Dressage Season!

Splash and I went over to Mallory's on Friday for a quick lunch and some equine activities.  Splash was in serious need of attitude readjustment after his rotten behavior at the Will Rogers Classic.  Mallory worked both Trooper in and out of the saddle and Sister on the ground.  Trooper is one smooth ride and Sister is ... Sister.

SOOOOO.  Splash got to try Sunny's Western twisted wire snaffle with the German Neck Stretcher.  He says:  "Yes Mam'am!"   Evil laugh.  Mallory's arena was lots firmer with a truck-load of sand removed so Splash had a much easier time working.  I rode with no rein pressure letting the GNS maintain the attention I wanted.  We did a lot of long trot cruising all over the arena and some good canter work both ways including correct leads every time.  I have started alternating posting diagonal every 2, 4, or 6 strides during trot work practice and it seems to help maintain Splash's attention.  He was responsive to seat and leg during our work.  It was fun to feel a bit of progress.

So, the girls and I rode in the March Madness Dressage Show I with Roberta Clark judging on Saturday.  Since Alaina and I start with Intro C and Ivy rides First Level, we are there ALL day.  We all got a few hours of volunteer hours in too.  Alaina and Sunny received 64.25 for Intro C including an 8 for the final halt.  Sunny needs more energy (especially at the walk) and more bend in the canter work but showed bend in some corners.  Then, in their first Western Dressage Class, they received 58.620.  Sunny needs more ground cover in walk and more energy overall but a lovely first effort including the BLING.  Naomi dropped by to help with the tack change and to watch.
Ivy and Pico concentrated on First Level and had a good first show of the year.  Pico had to contend with a Jupiter jump party just across the street with screaming children.  Very Scary for him.  The pair received 61.551 in FL-1 (7s for both halts) and 62.258 in FL-3 (8 for one 15 m canter circle).  Roberta says that lengthenings need work and to think "uphill" for better balance.  Splash and I rode in Intro-C and TL-1 and scored 60.00 and 63.333 respectively.  Roberta says to maintain Splash's shoulders up to help balance and to think "straight."  Both halts were slightly haunches right so we need to work on that.  We received a 7 for the stretchy circle which is wonderful but we need more march in the free walk.  Overall, a fun show and nice rides to start the year off. 
We have another 4-H Point show on Saturday so no Party Lesson for me this week.  If I could just fit a ride with my YaYa sisters in, everything would be good.