Monday, August 27, 2012

Splash Makes Western Progress

Another work trip last week and I needed equine therapy.  So, Friday evening we were off to Inola for drill practice.  Sunny and Pico were resting so Ivy rode Ahab and Alaina worked with Sister.  The drill team worked with the required elements and timed the drill - all eight kids were there so practice went well.  I think. 
Mallory and I were playing with Mario.  Mario was wearing Mallory's beautiful Dale C show saddle.  Mallory warmed him up with some Clinton Anderson exercises.  Then, I got to test out the saddle.  It works for me, so my wonderful friend Mallory is letting me borrow her saddle so Splash and I can ride western in the County Fair.

Mario - my Mario!  Wow, what a horse.  I was a little nervous getting to try Mario.  I wasn't really going to ride, just test the saddle to see if the fit was good for me.  So, I was in shorts.  The trot was so smooth and Mario so responsive, I got brave. We trotted!  Smooth as silk!  We trotted some more.  What a HORSE!  Mallory suggested canter.  I got braver and asked for canter.  It was WONDERFUL!  Mario is Magnificent!

Mary, Kathy, Nancy, and I had our fun party lesson.  Kathy brought Missy for me and we made some western progress.  Then LAL at Graham's.  And, then!  Another lesson on Splash with Dawn D.  I dug out my old Dan Post boots, Splash got to wear the Dale C, I used Splash's 'new' western bridle (rawhide brow band with your basic Tom Thumb), and I used Kale's old "star" spurs with mild rowel.  The right spur fell off while I was walking to the arena so I tightened them up.  Mounted, and I was only half way around the arena when the spur fell off again.  Dawn punched some holes and we continued.  We worked on pivots, turns on forehand, side pass and turns in the box.  Splash is figuring things out.   Me? Not so much.  My timing is rough.  Then, we cantered.  Transitions were pretty good, steering?  Not so much.  We tried again and got better.  Both directions, several canter transitions, correct leads.  Yippee!  Then, we tried to stop in the box.  HAHAHA.  We tried again and got a little better. 
I didn't fall off!  Yaya.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Two Lame Horses

English is on top in Laramie, WY
 Yes, sad but true.  Pico has been just slightly off, on and off, for a couple of weeks so we started him on glucosamine supplement (Sunny has been on that for months).  He seemed ok at the show last weekend.  Sunny was fine until the show last week when he hobbled for a few steps doing showmanship but them seemed to be fine when Alaina was riding.  Although he did try to do a jump like a trail pattern - stepping on the jump and breaking a jump standard.

Alaina's first lesson on Sister
I spent a few days in WY for work inspecting the pipeline and gave the horses a few days rest. Off to drill practice on Friday evening and Sunny was off. So, Alaina rode Sister for practice and Ivy worked Pico - he was a little off. We left Sunny home on Sat. and took Sister for Alaina and Ivy planned to work with Pico, but alas, he was worse so he got to eat hay at the trailer. Ivy got the chance to ride Ahab. Both girls worked on jumping and Ivy enjoyed riding a willing jumping horse (her smile was so big she made her cheeks sore). Alaina worked on canter using the little jumps as the transitions from trot to canter - Sister makes those very smoothly but wrings her tail and resists canter departs from cues. They made progress and Alaina really did a nice job.

Ivy riding Ahab - He LIKES to JUMP

In Splash news.... He has been learning about neck reining and western leverage bits. The first contact with the chin strap several weeks ago made him rear up but he is accepting the mild Tom Thumb. Dawn D gave me a western lesson in Alaina's western saddle on Friday morning. I had to wear HUGE western spurs and hold split reins in my left hand - and let go of my contact (read death grip). We worked on walk/trot, figure 8's, side passing and pivot/turns on forehand. Splash was doing better than I was.  But I didn't fall off.  I did get a blister on the inside of my knuckle from the split rein - very sad.

Call and Missy have NICE....
Thank goodness we got to have the Saturday Party Lesson at Patty's. Kathy B brought Missy for me to ride and get some western training. I used Alaina's saddle and Ivy's bridle with Rommel reins. Missy was very good for me and I even got to experience the the feel of a reining spin. I gathered all my courage and grabbed the saddle horn for our canter left lead.  Then I remembered you are supposed to neck rein to steer!  Ooops.  We tried again and stayed on the rail.  And let go of the horn.  Then we tried right lead.  Not Missy's good side, but we stayed on the rail and I didn't fall off.  We finished the lesson and went to lunch.  Yum.  The Party Lesson is an all day affair.


Sunday, August 12, 2012

Summer Show

The Rogers County 4-H Horse Club held their Hot Horse Show on August 11 expecting the triple digit heat that has baked the state for the last few weeks.  So, no stifling show cloths required - casual dress (Tee-shirts and jeans) and a more relaxed atmosphere made for a fun and relaxing show.  Good news, a COLD FRONT meant that the temps were in the 90's - comparatively cool.

Class Ivy Alaina
Halter 6 NA
Showmanship 6 5
Hunter Under Saddle 2 3
Hunt Seat Eq 5 1
Hunter Hack 1 3
Trail 4 3
Western Pleasure 6 5
Western Horsemanship 5 6
Barrels NA 5
Poles NA 5

Both Pico and Sunny had some hitches in their get-alongs.  First thing in the morning, Sunny stood waiting for showmanship a LONG time and then had to go from stand to trot.  It wasn't smooth but he smoothed out once they started riding.  Pico has a chunk out of his front right hoof which could be why he has an occasional hop in his trot on the left diagonal.  Both girls rode Hunter Under Saddle well.  Hunt Seat Eq had a turn on the forehand to the right.  The judge tried to explain but the kids got confused - half went left (including Ivy) and half went right (including Alaina).  Ivy and Pico had a really good Hunter Hack - very forward to the jumps and correct leads.  Alaina and Sunny - not so much.  Sunny stepped on the rail and broke a jump cup - he thought he was riding in trail.

Western competition was tough so the girls are looking toward the final show of the year (county fair) to get a few more points.

So, no party lesson and, since I spent the week in Kansas, no Friday Play-Day.  But the hint of cooling makes me look forward to fall and riding with my YaYa Sisters.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Drill Team Report

Excessive heat warnings were issued so we cancelled Ride Night on Thursday evening; temperatures ranged from 108 to 112.  To beat the heat, we worked Sister Friday morning in the WOR Arena.  I switched bits too since the loose ring snaffle we have been using is a little thick and I hope she will like a thinner D-ring.  Maybe she does, but who can say.

After cancelling drill 2 weeks in a row because it was to hot, we went ahead in spite of the high of 112 degrees.  In the shade of the Rocking C arena, with low humidity and a brisk breeze, the practice went well - walk/trot only to be safe.  Pico was a little off; perhaps its a little arthritis?  We will start him on some joint supplement ASAP.  Since he is 17, perhaps we should have started him on joint supplement earlier?  Alaina and Sunny did a little flag practice too (their first attempt).

Sister and I went to the Party Lesson alone.  We did warm-up with Clinton Anderson exercises including backing and desensitizing with stick and string.  We concentrated on correct bend and support to prevent falling in or falling out.  Sister really drops her shoulder to the left rather than bending left so I worked to provide enough outside rein and inside leg.  We worked spiral-in/out both directions and then leg-yields before........   asking for CANTER.  We started right lead and the transitions were prompt if a little rushed and we stayed on the 20 m circle.  Then.... the dreaded LEFT LEAD.  Sister did NOT want to take the canter and our first transition was tough.  We were 3/4 of the way around the circle before we got the canter depart.  Sister felt rushed and I tried to sit deep and give half-halts to help with balance.  Our second canter depart was better so we stopped before I ran out of steam.   I claim success since I didn't fall OFF.  Yippee.

On a somber note, several large wild fires ravaged areas west of Tulsa on Saturday made more dangerous by the stiff breeze and the extra dry conditions.  Donna and Billy lost their detached garage (holding all their sentimental keepsakes as well as furnishings in storage while they remodel the house).  Saturday evening, a front came through with cooler temps and a change of wind-directions helped firefighters gain some control.  But, several towns were decimated and many have lost homes.  The front brought a little rain in our neck of the woods as well as some serious wind so we lost power for a few hours.  Perhaps the moisture will help lower the fire danger.