Friday, February 26, 2010


I went out this morning because I clean Fridays. I also feed most of the time, partly because it's easier to clean when the happy horses are eating, but mostly because it makes me feel like some sort of hero. The horses whinny at whoever has the food and are just soooo happy when they finally get their share. I love feeding horses.

However, by the time I finished feeding and cleaning up after all 20 or so of them in deep mud and freezing wind, I decided that it was a good time to feed Izzy treats, then go home and get some stuff done for this weekend. I'm sure she won't mind... too much... :-/

Oh well. In other news, I sold my saddle I was talking about and bought a new one. Izzy now has a complete jumping outfit and a fancy new Ansur Classic Dressage saddle. Ok, it's not new, but it's pretty and new to us. Now we just need a girth and leathers... and a black bridle... and maybe cool flexible irons, too. Haha. One thing at a time.

Funny (non horse) story. I bought the saddle without telling my husband. It's not as big of a deal as it maybe sounds like, because we have separate accounts and jobs, and I paid for it, but still. Money's been tight lately and I could easily see how he might resent something extravagant like a new saddle. I felt guilty, so my house has been completely spotless and laundry is more caught up then ever. I told him yesterday (so within 24 hours of buying it...), and he just kinda laughed. "I guess you should buy more saddles," he said. He really likes the clean house. I really like the idea. ;-)

Thursday, February 25, 2010

On the Edge

The arena is back to being 3 inches deep in mud, so I took Izzy over to the bubble again this afternoon. I thought it would be great; the sun was shining, another horse was going with us, she seemed pretty happy... Ha. HAHAHA. Nope, on the way over some horses in a neighbor's pasture decided to gallop around and snort at Izzy. I swear she grew a foot as she pranced and snorted back at them.

I finally got her off the road and through the gate. As we walked down the aisle next to the Bubble, we could intermittently hear a horse blowing off steam on the lunge line inside. Apparently that was also terrifying. Izzy pranced and snorted her way to the claustrophobic box, then absolutely refused to go inside. It took five minutes to get her in, thirty minutes of lunging once she was in to get her brain sort of back, and about five minutes of riding for me to realize that I was not going to accomplish anything today.

No worries. We'll be back at it tomorrow.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Another Lesson!

We were scheduled for a lesson this morning, so a storm blew in last night. It's one of those awful days where it never gets light and rains and snows constantly. Sigh. Still, whether or not I rode, I knew I needed to get Izzy out (so she won't be nuts from boredom) and I'm taking my last lovely treed saddle home to clean and hopefully sell.

Anyone want a 17.5 Prix de Saute jumping saddle by BT Crump? It's lovely. I've only kept it this long because I like looking at it. (Seriously, if you or someone you know wants it, leave a comment or email me. I'll make you a deal.)

Anyways, I talked to Cathy when I got out and she said the lesson was still on; we'd just ride in (drum roll) THE BUBBLE OF DOOOOOOM!!! We haven't been over there in at least a month. I got Izzy ready and since we couldn't jump indoors anyways (owned by dressage riders), I borrowed Cathy's dressage saddle. Off we went. Izzy had to go by herself, because no one else is crazy enough to ride in this kind of weather.

It was fine. Seriously. She didn't spook on the road, walked right into the claustrophobic box, walked calmly into the main arena, and warmed up nicely on the lunge. She only had one spook the whole time. At the end of the lesson, Cathy had us ride training test 2, which was the second time we've ever ridden any test. Izzy did really well. Cathy said that it was probably a 60%ish score. Other things to work on included riding in a little counterbend when going left because Izzy isn't quite tracking straight and loosening up my body to help Izzy loosen hers.

Ok, enough rambling. Here are some pictures from yesterday, before all the miserable rain.

Nice, uphill trot.
Cantering around.
Ok, now she's tired.
This is Izzy's "FEED ME TREATS" face.
And lunging. What a cute girl, eh?

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

The New Fitness Challenge

As I may have mentioned before, Izzy did lack a bit of "spunk", as Cathy put it, in our lesson. I credited it to having worked pretty hard for six days that week. I was in a hurry when I was out on Sunday, so I didn't have time to get Izzy out to do anything. Apparently, while I was gone, the mares got turned out in sets (first time this year!!), but Miss Izzy did not. The reason? She's a psycho alpha who tends to go after other horses and Cathy can't trust her with anyone. Trust me. We tried this last year. Sigh...

As a result, Izzy had a conniption yesterday when I went to get her out. She pranced and nearly reared when I was just leading her over to take off her blanket. Usually, I turn her out in the arena to run and she just meanders around unless I chase her. Not so today. She took off bucking immediately. I went to get my old mare (Izzy's mother and the only horse more dominant than she is), and Izzy freaked out. When I brought Cassie back, Izzy was so excited to have a friend to play with that I couldn't get her away from the gate to actually let Cassie in without unsettling Cassie. Ugh. Mares.

Eventually, I got both girls out together and they ran like idiots for quite a long time. Remember, Izzy has been worked 5-6 days a week all winter long. I think Cassie has worked 3 times, none of them hard. When I went to put the girls away, Cassie hadn't even broken a sweat and her amazing recovery time meant that she was barely breathing hard. Izzy, on the other hand, was almost completely drenched with sweat. Her shoulders and neck were dripping and she was sweating around her eyes. And puffing. I walked her, groomed her, and tacked her up, and she was still puffing.

It's ridiculous. I know Cassie has a ridiculously fast recovery time, but she hasn't even worked. That's probably why she always did so well on cross country, despite our lack of schooling and conditioning opportunities. She has incredible endurance and recovers faster than most people can blink, especially when fit. Izzy looks like a different sort of challenge. I'm not going to be able to take any shortcuts with her, fitness wise. Yes, part of it was a warm sunny day and Izzy's winter coat, but Cassie has a thicker coat than Izzy does.

So now we know.

In other news, it was fascinating to see my girls together. Cassie is very compact for a thoroughbred. She has some nice hock action, but very little overstep, tends to be high-headed, and is wicked fast. (Did I mention she ran 58 races and is sound to this day?) Izzy is like Cassie on steroids. Izzy has a natural overstep, gorgeous suspension, but is longer and leaner than Cassie. I really should have taken pictures. Sorry... maybe this afternoon. Izzy looks really fast, but I still think mommy would beat her in a footrace.

I did ride them both yesterday. I figure it's time to take advantage of having little-to-no job. Ride! Izzy was tired and fine. Cassie was wired. It's weird to me that with 1 year of training, Izzy is probably farther along in dressage than Cassie will ever be. It's about what comes naturally to them, I guess. Cassie loves speed, endurance, and jumping. Izzy hasn't quite figured those out yet.

Monday, February 22, 2010


Since we planned my lesson, I've been saying "please don't rain. Please don't rain", over and over and over.

It didn't rain. It did, however, snow. I hadn't thought to ask for that. Fortunately, the snow started Saturday morning, so the arena was still just fine. Izzy lunged and warmed up just fine, and then we had our lesson.

We're finally to the point where Cathy can actually pick on my position because I'm the problem instead of Izzy. Really, this is a good thing. Izzy is finally trained enough to ride properly. So, Cathy had me work on several things.
1) I need to remember to keep my lower legs back. I tend to swing them forward.
2) I need to keep my feet straight forward. Since our goal is eventing (dressage) and not H/J, then I need to adopt a more dressage-y leg. To do this, I need to turn my leg in from the hips. Turning in at the knew just causes unnecessary and painful torque.
3) Shoulders back...
4) Izzy tends to curl up instead of go forward on to the bit. This allows her to get behind my leg and mosey along. Oh, and also rear periodically (but not in the lesson). To correct this, I need to raise the inside rein and give her a gentle bump while applying leg and riding forward. The purpose of raising the rein is to let the bit act on the corner of her mouth instead of the bars.
5) Izzy also tends to lean down on the bit when she loses her balance forward. She is pretty sensitive about her face, so Cathy recommended letting her lean for now and rebalancing her her from my body. Because of Izzy's sensitivity, she doesn't think it's likely that Izzy will become a leaner and it's more important to get her going forward.

Then, Cathy commented that she thinks Izzy is ready to jump. Hurray!! We started with a set of trot poles, which Izzy went through like it was nothing. I expected that; she did tons of trot poles last fall. Then we had one trot pole and a tiny crossrail. Izzy just stepped over it. (It's ok; I didn't squeal in glee, despite beings strongly tempted). Then a slightly bigger crossrail. I did my best to act completely professional and just let her figure it out.

Then, Cathy set up a little 2' vertical with a line out in front of it. Izzy tried stepping over it, crashed through it, and apparently realized that she'd need a new strategy next time. We trotted around again and Izzy stepped over the ground pole, then snapped up her knees and jumped the tiny vertical like she'd been doing it all her life. YAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I'm super excited. We jumped it once more, then I let her be done. She was pretty tired from working 6 days last week. It felt so amazing to jump her. Plus, she was totally fine about it. She even seemed interested. After the we finished, I asked Cathy about what I should be done, since obviously I don't want to push her too hard. She put on on the regular lesson schedule*, so now we will have lessons every Wednesday for the next few weeks at least!!!! I'm very happy and excited.

*Note: like most of my peers, I really don't have money for lessons right now. (Oh, and did I mention I'm getting laid off at work soon?) However, I've worked for Cathy for like a decade (not exaggerating), so she lets me do extra work to pay for lessons, which is fabulous.

Yep, this pony can jump. <3

Friday, February 19, 2010

Lesson Tomorrow!

Yesterday, Izzy was much improved. I turned her loose in the arena for a while, then lunged her, then got on and rode. While she was loose, I'd put some trot poles out at random, so I put her over them pretty regularly just to keep her little brain engaged. After we were done, I turned her out in the front pasture for a while so I could get some stuff done and she could be a horse.

I think that made her happy.

Today, I only had a few minutes to ride and I was trying a friend's saddle to see if it fit me. Accordingly, we didn't do much, but she had several lovely trot/canter/trot transitions. Also, the arena got worked this morning, so it's all soft and fluffy instead of the hard sand/mud mix we had before. Izzy seemed to really like it and she moved a bit better. I don't think she liked the pad I used though, because she was very reluctant to go forward at first. She's a princess; if the saddle isn't perfect, she doesn't want to work.

Anyways, our lesson is set for tomorrow morning. Cathy agreed that if it doesn't rain and Izzy is behaving, we can maybe do a couple teeny tiny little jumps!! So exciting.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

It's a Long Road Ahead

I've been so excited this past month about Izzy and what we can do this summer. I mean, she was great at the shows we went to hang out at, and the jumper show where we did trot poles, I literally got her off the trailer, tacked up, and went in (to her first ever indoor arena) with no warmup, and she was great.

Then we have days like yesterday. There must have been something wrong, because both Izzy and the horse Cathy was riding were really uptight. Cathy's horse was looking for something to spook at. Izzy wasn't waiting. She had a massive bucking explosion on the lunge line. I was barely on before she had her first under saddle spook. I kept working on the things we've done before; if I lost her focus, I pushed her sideways or changed direction, or something(!).

And then... I didn't see at first that the neighbor girl was bringing her horse over to ride, but Izzy did. She freaked out, slammed on the brakes, bolted forward, etc. I kept spinning her around and smacking her to get her to go forward, but she tuned me out because she was more interested in something else.

Here is our biggest problem right now: I needed to just ride her through it. I needed to keep after her and left her know that while I acknowledged something unusual was going on, it was my job to worry about that and her job to do what I told her.

I didn't. I mean, I stayed on, but I'm not confident enough in my skills yet to really push her when she starts ignoring me because I'm not comfortable with her rearing... A part of me tells me it's normal and natural to not be comfortable with that. Rearing is a dangerous habit, and she has proved that she's willing to go there if she thinks she can get away with it. The other side of me argues that if I'm too chicken to confront her about this, then she has my number and I might as well sell her now because there's always going to be something interesting to look at.

I think that (as usual) the answer is in between the two. I'm just having trouble finding exactly where it is.

And there's another side to this; Izzy has been in from her beloved pasture for over a month now because of the weather. She has a 14'x14' shelter with a small run, but she really does much, much better mentally when she's out all day. I need the rain to go away so I can turn her out and get her brain back. I think that would help our other issues immensely.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

A Fun Dilemma

I have a lesson scheduled for this coming Saturday. It will be my second lesson in three weeks, which is probably some sort of record for me since graduating from highschool years ago. Life is so much more expensive when I'm paying for it...

Anyways, the point is that Cathy gave me the option of riding three different horses, and I'm not sure which to choose.

1) Izzy. She my girl (obviously) and we both need lots of work. This is a good option.

2) Dart. He's Cathy's old horse and now he's quite the schoolmaster. He has competed through 4th level and he pulls like a train. It's an intense workout to ride him, but the skills don't necessarily translate well to Izzy because she's obviously not at his level. Still, It's good for me to have to work that hard.

3) Sasha. She's Cathy's current horse. She's second level schooling third, and I haven't ridden her since she was a baby learning how to steer. I think the where she's at might be more applicable to Izzy, but I'm just speculating.

Any thoughts?

In other news, I finally replaced my gloves and ordered a fleece girth through our local tack shop. I'm curious to see how Izzy likes the fleece.

Friday, February 12, 2010


Izzy was marvelous this morning. She was quiet and relaxed on the ground, fine on the lunge line, and excellent under saddle. I didn't ask for too much because I was running a little late, but we had such a nice ride.

This isn't a very interesting post. It's hardly fun to read about when everything goes well...

So, let's talk about horse boots. I love boots. I like buying them. I like putting them on. I like how they look. I like the protection that afford. I do not, however, actually believe that they provide any support. That said, I'm lucky to have a horse that doesn't really need any support anyways. My current leg protection options include:

-royal blue polos (set of 4)
-white polos (set of 4)
-leather open fronts (pair)
-neoprene galloping boots (set of 4)
-white fleece-lined dressage boots (pair, with the hind ones in the mail)
-no-turn black bell boots (pair)
-white velcro closure bell boots (pair)

I like to put boots on Izzy because I figure that a set of boots is vastly cheaper than a vet bill. I also like how cute she looks in them. In addition, I think it's easier to see evenness in her stride when her legs are all the same color... Maybe that's reaching a little far.

I can't be alone in my weird boot fixation. Does anyone else use boots? Why or why not?

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Where I'm Thankful for a Naughty Pony

I had a lovely ride this morning. I got Izzy forward, and she stayed soft and balanced almost the whole time. She's still absolutely not allowed to focus both ears on something outside the arena for more than a split second before I change the subject and get her back, and I'm thinking this is something I need to keep. She's a very smart horse and the more engaged she is in what she's doing, the more we both enjoy it. I need to challenge her enough to hold her interest.

It boils down to this: the end result of Izzy rearing the other day is an increased connection between us. Twisted, but true. It's a very aggressive reminder that Izzy is not a horse I can just play around on. She is an athlete, mentally and physically, and I need to respect that by giving her something to do.

Also, while riding today, I realized that my lower right leg is way too loose. I let it slide forward when I post, and then it slaps the saddle... My Ansur is telling on me again. When I focused on keeping my legs underneath me and giving Izzy a little squeeze every time I sat, the problem went away.

Other things:

I cleaned all my tack yesterday and it's gorgeous. I love riding in clean tack. If I had a little more time, I'd probably clean it every day.

Read this post. I stumbled across this blog the other day, and I love what she has to say.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

The Vice Queen. Sigh.

It warmed up nicely yesterday, so I made it out for a ride. I free-lunged Izzy in the arena because she hadn't gotten out Sunday, thinking she would enjoy a little free time. She mostly ignored and trotted around visiting other horses. Keep this in mind. It's important later on.

She was fine to tack up, but when I put her on the lunge line, she lacked impulsion and seemed more focused on what was going on outside the arena than in. Oddly, there was really nothing going on. I was the only person at the barn. We'll call this clue #2. I just wrote off the laziness to the somewhat-slick footing.

She stood completely quietly at the mounting block. I'm hoping this isn't related to clue #3, which was that she hesitated to walk off when I asked her to, which meant she was ignoring my aids.

We made it about a hundred feet before we heard a funny noise. Not scary, just odd. It sounded like a wheelbarrow or something, but there was no one around to push it. Izzy completely ignored my aids and spun around to face the noise. I figured that she won't get to do that sort of thing at shows, so I spun her back around to face the way I wanted to go. This might have been clue #4.

Izzy went straight up. Yes. In the air. As in rearing with me again. Sigh. I managed not to pull on her face, but I had missed all four clues leading up to this, so I didn't have time to think and pull her in a circle while sending her forward. Instead, as soon as her front feet hit the ground, I leaped off. I ignored my shaking legs as she reared again and pranced in a circle. I marched her to the fence, grabbed my lunge line and a whip, and IMMEDIATELY, I sent her forward. Fast.

She galloped for a good five minutes one way, then the other. Rearing, especially in this instance, is the ultimate refusal to go forward. It wasn't a reaction to pain, like it was last time. It was her alpha mare side saying, "I will do this and you won't stop me." I realize that I've been lenient with her lately, and not as dominant on the ground as a horse of her makeup requires. After lunging, I got back on her.

Let me clarify something here for any new readers: Izzy's vice is her refusal to go forward. Rearing is an exaggeration of that vice. I'll probably never entirely get the rearing out of her completely, but I can see the warning signs and more than likely prevent her from doing it on all but the rarest occasions. If you have a horse that rears, please, please, please seek professional help. It is an extremely dangerous issue, especially if it is allowed to fester. Oh, and don't ride alone. ;-)

So. I got back on Izzy with one thing in mind: she needs to go forward off my aids. I let her get behind my leg and I put up with her antics instead of applying the proper discipline. At this point, she knew I was PISSED. I had recovered my self possession to the point that I was steady again. I wish someone was there, just in case, but this was an important point to make with Izzy, and I needed to make it now.

She did stand nicely for mounting again, and I rode her forward from there. As in almost rushing forward. Forward from the seat, leg, and whip. We didn't walk, because walk isn't our strongest gait right now and she would have a lot harder time going from a faster gait to rearing than from the walk. I rode for probably 20-30 minutes, doing trot/canter transitions each way. I didn't let her use the footing as an excuse. Anytime she even thought about looking around, I changed the subject. If we were going forward and she looked around, I'd make her go sideways (and forward).

By the time we were done, she was doing quite well. I took her tack off, since it had been a hard day for her, and turned her loose in the arena. She was nice and quiet and followed me around. When I led her back to the hitching post, she just ran into me. Not hard, but she was challenging my status again by getting in my space. Obviously, after her performance under saddle, I couldn't let this happen. I whipped out a rope halter, and we did about five minutes of ground work to enforce the "go when I go, stop when I stop, go backwards when I walk in to you" mentality.

Then I put her away.

This morning, I rode again. It was a short ride, since I bet her rear end is sore from rearing and I don't want to aggravate it and cause a pain issue. Still, we worked on the same thing. Ironically, when I asked for our first canter departure of the day, she bucked. Grrr. This mare has not bucked under saddle before.

If it's not one thing, it's another.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Where Izzy Learns a New Trick

It hasn't rained in like 4 days... I think that's a record for 2010 so far here. Saturday, my friends came out to ride. We only had two treeless saddles for the three of us, so we all went bareback. It was quite fun, until the neighbors started flying around a remote-control plane. Even that was ok, until the neighborhood dogs went nuts barking at it. Miss Izzy has a thing about dogs, so she cantered sideways all the way across the arena.

It was pretty hilarious and not that hard to ride. I wonder if I can replicate that move at a show... I'm thinking not.

I'm gambling that despite the current outside temperature of 20f, the clear skies mean that it will be warm enough to ride outside in the afternoon today. Cross your fingers for me.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Fun Day

Thanks for your comments yesterday everyone; I'm glad I'm not the only one is ok with setting boundaries with trainers.

It rained all night and I cleaned this morning, so by the time I was done, I didn't really feel like trekking over to the Doom Bubble to ride. Instead, I turned some of the girls out in the arena. Cassie, my old TB mare, and Ellie, her Hanoverian friend, are probably going to be ridden by a couple of my friends tomorrow, so I figured it was best just to let them get the willies out. They had a ball galloping around in the mud. When they were done, I groomed them and put them away.

I turned Izzy out by herself because I don't really trust her loose with someone else's horse. I'm always afraid she'll hurt them and I'll be responsible. So instead, Izzy and I did a couple of leading exercises. She did a great job just responding to my body positioning; I didn't even have to apply any pressure. Then she ran around like a maniac and I let her go back to breakfast. I figure the day off will do her good. It's too easy to get excited about the progress we're making and forget to just let her be a horse. She's still not back out in the pasture because of all the rain and mud, so she does need to get out every day and do something or she gets really bored and nutty.

This summer, I'm hoping to be able to trail ride her at least once a week to give her a mental break. Plus, when in heavy work and out in the pasture, I usually only get her out 6 days a week, so she can relax.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Cranky Day

I rode Izzy yesterday, and it was wonderful. She didn't spook, despite the dumb kids playing baseball by the arena. She was forward and soft, and our biggest problem was that she'd prefer to do a nice canter transition instead of a lengthen trot. Not exactly horrible. (Oh, and the jeans are fine.)

Today was not so good. She was cranky and uncooperative. She spooked at stupid things (or nothing). She didn't want to be forward much at all, but I think that's partly because it did rain a bit overnight, and the footing wasn't what it could be. We had a few nice moments, but she was in a mood, and then I got to be in a mood, and then someone else came in to ride, and I decided it was a good time to be done.

I made a decision that it is not a good time to talk about other borders, because I really wouldn't do them a service. When my horse is being irritating is not a good time for me to make personal observations. We did manage to end on a good-ish note. It might be a good time to talk about trainers, though.

In a comment on my last post, Jean made a comment about letting a trainer go too far with her horse. I'm not naming names, but there are several trainers in this area that I might go to for a lesson, but I would absolutely never let them on my horse. Our philosophies on horses are just too divorced for me to ever be comfortable with that, regardless of how good of a "rider" they are. I'm an adult (sort of) and I'm comfortable telling people no. I don't just mindlessly do what I'm told anymore (not that I was ever good at that).

I wonder about kids and less confrontational adults, or even just horse people who aren't as confident in their skills and knowledge. It's easy to second-guess oneself and say, "Well, I wouldn't do that, but s/he knows more than I do". That may be true. It's possible that we our oversensitive about Precious, and she really just needs a good smack once in a while to tell her it's not ok to run all over people, HOWEVER, if you know that, odds are you need to set boundaries, with both the horse and the trainer.

My solution is that even though I'm not currently in a situation in which I need firm boundaries with trainers (since I'm doing the training), I'm already setting them in my head. I know certain people that I will never let on my horse, and I will (and do) advise friends the same way. I watch people work before I take a lesson from them or let them ride my horse. I am willing to step in and take my horse away if I don't like how they're handling it.

Has anyone else set and/or used boundaries with trainers and instructors?

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

I Love My Pants

I'm not actually sure that I do. The title is just the name of a song my brother made up and sang a lot when we were kids.

I have the jeans. I tried them on with half chaps, and they fit fine. They look like well, jeans with half chaps. I'm almost wishing I had fuller legs, so that the jeans looked more breech-like. I mean, I don't wish I was flabbier, but I do wish I looked more suave, I guess. Sigh. I'm not really a looks-oriented person, but I do love traditional turnout, which jeans are not. That said, they are comfy, and if I decide I hate riding in them, they'll be fine for hunting and hiking and whatever else.

I'm currently coveting some full seat breeches to see if they ride and wear better, but it's definitely not in my budget for a while now. In the mean time, check out this movie preview that a friend sent me: If Horses Could Speak . I have not watched it with sound on, so you're on your own if you're a work. It's subtitled, so it's ok.

I don't ride at a level (or barn) where hyperflexion is common or practiced or even really seen. I've withheld any judgment on the topic because I simply haven't been able to the the research, and I've mentioned before that I don't think "No way vs Yeah huh" is really an argument worth listening to. Still, this has promise. I hope to see the full length movie.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Things to Think About

I'm taking the plunge and buying something for myself today. I go through breeches at an incredible pace. I always have. I have a friend who patches them up for me, but even that's getting expensive. I asked Cathy about the durability of the more expensive breeches, and she gave me a great little cheat secret: jeans. I know this sounds obvious, but I almost never wear jeans to the barn, except my nasty old pair that I muck in. I don't like how they feel in the saddle and they don't really bend well. She said that Fred Meyers carries a type that is pretty elastic and pretty cheap, and they last her quite a while. So, much as I hate shopping, off to Freddy's I go when I'm done at work.

Do you remember the bit experiment? (Sorry Shannon, I know it's not scientific at all.) I put Izzy in a loose ring KK to see if she liked it. Well, Sunday it was precipitating a lot, so we used my old bridle and the eggbutt french link. Guess what? She hated it. She has become a loose ring kinda girl. Oh well. Thankfully, Cathy still doesn't need the bit we're using, so I'm ok for now.

Our ride today was pretty darn good. The canter transitions are coming along. I feel like the more I clarify my aids and understand what I want, the easier it is to respond. We also did a lot of lengthen/shorten work in the trot. Have I mentioned that her lengthen is amazing? It's like flying. Ahhh... So good. We did a little bit of leg yielding. I like to keep her listening though, so we rarely just go down center line and leg yield to the rail. I prefer to start at the rail, leg yield to the middle, and then leg yield back to the rail. That way, Izzy is responding to my aids rather than just falling over.

So, do you think jeans and half chaps will look cool, since denim breeches are ridiculously expensive, or tacky, because they aren't real breeches?

Monday, February 1, 2010


It's Izzy's one year-anniversary of being with me. We kind of celebrated yesterday; the weather was super crappy (snowing and mud, yay!) so we tried out some new stuff. I introduced her to side reins on the lunge line. We just did a little walk/trot stuff with the reins as loose as they would go. I don't plan to use them regularly, but I figured she might as well know what they are. She was completely unphased by them, which was nice.

Then we switched it up a bit. That's right folks: we tried ground driving together. It was very interesting. I knew it would be challenging, but I had an almost-impossible time keeping the lines more or less the same length. Thankfully, Izzy was quiet and responsive, even if I couldn't really get her to talk a straight line. She wasn't even slightly bothered when the lines rubbed her rump or anything. What a good girl! I figure this is something we can keep working on when it's too messy to ride.

I wish I had something sweet and wonderful to say, but I don't really. I love my pony, and I think she's great. I love her temperament and her cute face and her silly personality. She gorgeous and athletic, and I can't wait to show her off this summer. She's come a really long ways in a year; one year ago we were working on things like leading that had been overlooked in her elementary years.

Today, I was able to take her to the Doom Bubble by herself, lunging quietly, work her through her spooks under saddle, and walk, trot, and canter both ways with minimal resistance. Lovely girl.

I do have some pictures from yesterday. Look for them later this week.
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