Friday, April 17, 2009

I swear, I thought I saw a lion!

Thursday April 16

So everyone knows how horses get when the wind is blowing, right? I mean, that wind could be allowing huge-*** mountain lions to sneak up in the waving grass! The horses' eyes bug out at any sneaking suspicion the grass moved untowardly in their direction. So keep that in mind as I mention in passing that the wind was blowing today.

I had the brilliant idea today of utilizing a specific little yellow horse with four perfectly good legs to carry me across the Human-Eating Bog...HEB. As usual, my brilliant idea did not encompass much prior thought on my part. I trotted up to the little yellow mare, haltered her up, tossed the lead rope over her back, and fashioned a set of reins. I siddled her up next to the large tire she'd just finished eating out of and took a flying leap any flying squirrel would be proud of off of that tire and onto spooky little yellow mare's back. The grass was waving wildly and suddenly some predator had leapt out of said grass and onto her back. Well, that's how she saw it, anyways. I had only just landed and had not yet established neither rein nor mane grip, nor was I settled into a balanced seat yet, when she spun and humped her back. As I was sliding off from her albeit small but sudden get-this-predator-off-my-back-before-she-sinks-her-fangs-into-me buck, I couldn't help but find it ironic that I had gotten on that back of hers with the intention of avoiding the mud, and here she was going to dump me straight into the HEB itself. But I was determined. Left hand on my makeshift reins, I slid off of her and landed on my feet in a crouch, right hand reached out and spreading across her hind style. Or cat style. Whichever you prefer. Personally I just prefer being on my feet. After talking spooky horse down a moment, patting her back, and generally instructing her that she should aim for a drier spot next time, I again lined her up with the tire. This time she stood quietly as I performed another flying-squirrel-worthy leap. She was a little tense the first few steps but quickly relaxed as we made our way to the gate - what a great little girl!

We played a bit with ropes today - bum ropes, ropes being swung off of her, ropes landing on her, and ropes swinging all around her. She was generally a bit reactive but was also pretty calm throughout our session, particularly as we progressed. Her calls to her girlfriends soon stopped as she became focused on her and I. Figure-8, 7 games - all were fantastic. Her circling game we worked a bit on her picking up the correct lead at the canter and not cross-firing - we did end with some great canter in either direction. As usual, she was great to saddle up. We did our 3-part maneuver, small circles on the rail (walk and trot), point-to-point (trot and canter), and figure-8 (walk and trot) under-saddle. We also got some nice relaxed jog in either direction - she was a little tense however her jog was relaxed enough to sit with the odd correction here or there. For her being a little reactive to begin with, I thought we got some fantastic jog. We also did some canter in either direction, finishing up with correct leads minus cross-firing. Lastly, we did a little cloverleaf and some sidepass. A great session! Tomorrow we'll add in some tarps, trailer-loading, bitting (just a little here), and trails!!

Silver and Koolaid

Silver did great working with my friend on the ground (7 games, figure-8, weave) and then toting my friend around and accompanying Koolaid and I out on a trail ride :)

Koolaid was definitely distracted during our arena work by the appearance of a little shetland a good half a kilometer away...but otherwise did great haha. We tore through our 7 games and even did the weave (at the walk) and the figure-8 (trot). The patterns were really his first time ever doing them so we had to start small so he could figure them out. I then had the brilliant idea (yea - oh no, another one!) to ride him at liberty. Take note I hadn't ridden Koolaid really since last fall sometime and the only odd time between then and now was bareback and at liberty out in the pasture (but when he was more relaxed and not shetland-pony-scouting). He was great initially but his sheep and shetland pony scouting caused some loss of focus for a bit. Some panels nearly nipped his heels (I must have somehow been looking elsewhere at the time though when they so viciously attacked because I didn't see it *roll eyes* lol) so we ended up playing some touch-it (at liberty) with those panels afterwards too so that we could travel that end of the arena minus ducking out with snorting and blowing. He was great once we got started, we even got a little sidepass in! We did walk/trot (including figure-8's)/canter (sooo smooth this horse!!), all at liberty and despite distractions (ie. wind. Cows. Sheep. Nippy and retarded dogs.). A great start to the year! We took off for a trail ride afterwards - he was great in the new C3 Parelli Cradle bit but seemed a little standoffish at times under-saddle (english) and even rebellious, which included some head-flipping. I know his teeth are about ready to be done though so perhaps that is part of the problem? The saddle fits well and it certainly wasn't me in this case (ie. hands or such), so we'll try with the teeth, maybe a chiro, then focus on our partnership to see if we can get him working better. The only other thing I could think of was that perhaps the way the new cradle bridle works could be ticking him off - it has a rope over his nose he wouldn't be used to and applies a little more bar pressure with the tongue relief. Something just seemed to be bugging him, so we'll try to figure it out and solve it for him!! Otherwise he was great, the new bit is amazing - he just works in it so well otherwise!

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