Wednesday, October 18, 2017

AND THEN WHAT HAPPENED


I've probably mentioned this, but in case you do something with your life other than obsess over my Zoebird, here's the background:

She's four. She spent six months last year being a driving horse, which is fantastic in terms of being low-impact while engaging her brain and showing her the world. However, as a baby driving horse, she was asked not to canter. And as a baby draft horse, cantering on her own wasn't a high priority. 

When she came home in July, we had lots and lots to tackle and one of those things was learning to canter. We started in the round pen. She could only do a few strides at a time. It was not coordinated. 

awwww babeh zozo

When she got more coordinated, we moved to the big arena! 
sunset lunging picture. yup. 
First I was just thrilled if she got a canter. Didn't matter if it was crossfiring, wrong lead, whatever. 

Then over the course of a few weeks, I upped my expectations to a WHOLE HALF CIRCLE and she had to do it EACH DIRECTION. 

As she got more comfortable, I upped the distance until she was doing 2-3 upward canter transitions each direction for a total 2.5 circles each way at the canter. 

All that was on the lunge line. 

And like.
safety first, kids!

Lunging a Zoebird is a real stupid thing. This is the horse I get on bareback with no prep to toodle and I don't want her to think running is a prerequisite to riding. 

Hence, we've been backing off the lunging but I want her to keep cantering and improving and building strength and muscle memory. 

Which means.

Prolly it's time to try that shit under saddle. 
good thing i don't have a shit ton of canter baggage.
HO SNAP
Soooooo. I seriously considered farming out the cantering process. 

But I have to do it eventually, and after several months of watching a Zoebird canter on a lunge line, I knew she wasn't going to be naughty. 

Last week, I was trotting around. I thought canter might be a good idea, so I asked Zoe to go. She went OH HAI BIG TROT and I was like HO SHIT DEATH NOPE. Plus we didn't have a media person, so even success would have been undocumented, which is clearly the most important issue. 
and then we went on the ditch bank and she was real wild
or like
not
But earlier this week, I was having a real nice ride. We'd done transitions and figure eights and Zoe was being a super lady.

And I thought.

What the hell.
plus media person obv
We got big trot, but instead of panicking, I giggled. 

And then I thought about farming out the process again. 

And then I thought let's do this thing.



If you're a video hater, here's the relevant still:
wheeee!
You can't really see it from this angle, but I have a stupid grin on my face because Zoe is so fun. You can see in the video that she sort of four beats and then is like SMOOSH GOES WOOSH (credit to AA with RA for my new slogan).

It's cute. It's fun. It's SUPER to ride.
AND BRAKES EVEN
I should probably have a cooler wrap-up than, "it was real fun and I can't wait to do it some more", but that's where it's at.

Ms. Zoebird.

The wonder baby. 

64 comments:

  1. SMOOSH GOES WHOOSH!!! I love it! She's just so stinkin' cute and that canter looks lovely to ride!

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    1. I couldn't believe how balanced she was!! Maybe all the lunging really did pay off.

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  2. OMG I have a stupid grin on my face. HOW awesome is that. she just went into it like NBD. She already beats Remus in departure time :) HA and he is 14!! Great job and she is just lovely if i havent said that a zillion times already. It looks like a lovely canter to sit too. Jealous :) Congrats on the Smoosh awesomeness You earned it!

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    1. Her T/C depart is definitely smoother than her W/T. Logic? I cannot explain.

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  3. She is just so darn cute! Love that she has such a fantastic mind and work ethic(and a pretty nice long trot too!). You did really well finding her and snapping her up.

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  4. Yay ZB!! Once she got going it looked excellently fun to ride 😁

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    1. Alas for the lack of Cinna-level fail photos.

      Wait. I actually think I like this better.

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    2. Those didn't come immediately, those came once she figured out the whole cantering game was exciting 😂 but for your sake I hope you skip that step altogether 😉

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  5. Good Zoebird! Looks like it's going to be fun!

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    1. I didn't mean that it wasn't already. Bad wording. Looks like it's going to be MORE fun. ;)

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  6. Congratulations on your 1st under saddle canter. She has a lovely canter! And you got a super nice transition - BONUS!

    I can totally commiserate on the canter baggage - I had that for a long, long time. Thankfully I am here to report, it does go away.

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    1. I remember a time when I didn't have canter baggage, so fingers crossed.

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  7. I'm also a member of "lifetime riders with canter baggage" maybe we need some sort of unofficial official club that somehow involves shopping therapy and alcohol to cure us? Or we should all get/have our own ZBs. Or both. Shopping and ZB having

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    1. I'm currently off shopping, so it's all ZB from here. I'll keep you posted.

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  8. what that was so coordinated???? my canters involve a lot more leg flailing. she's so precious and solid.

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    1. Ha it's like omg what if my training theory actually worked?

      OR WAS IT A FLUKE

      stay posted!

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  9. Zoe's canter looks so fun. Are there more of her? I need one.

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    1. Well I mean there's only one Zoe, but I stalk the hell out of Perch crosses on sale sites for sure.

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  10. <3 this! i just love all these milestones with new ponies, and still remember the excitement and joy of my first canter on charlie :D

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    1. The nice thing with babies (aside from all the other things) is that the milestones are really obvious like, "omfg first canter!" vs the more layered "2% improvement" sort of increments that come on more finished horses. I'm riding the wave.

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  11. Replies
    1. Kinda want to make a new logo, not gonna lie.

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  12. She looks so comfortable!! Way to go baggageless cantering!

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    Replies
    1. Well it's still baggage-y cantering, but it's better than it was.

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  13. When I first read that Zoe was unbroke, I was like OMG, she's crazy, I would never do that. But Zoe is just so GOOD! I love watching you progress with her :)

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    1. Hahahaha I was willing to take on a baby under a very specific set of circumstances only and they played out very fortuitously. Not all babies are Zoes, that's for sure.

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  14. Smoosh goes woosh. Best hashtag evar!

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    1. Yeah I'm definitely going to be busting that out.

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  15. Amazing baby canter! Great job 🙌🏼

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  16. That's awesome! It looked like a total non-event.

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  17. I can remember teaching Steele to canter under saddle. He was exactly the same as Zoebird. I still remember the day when he finally realized that 'oh you want me to keep cantering? Well okay then'. Zoe reminds me so much of him. If you weren't so far away I would be plotting to steal her....

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    Replies
    1. Now my geographic location is totally strategic. Getting here is impossible!

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  18. Ok that was SUCH an undramatic first canter! I will say that Hampton's first canter was far worse. FAR WORSE. Like I thought "oh shit what did I buy." ... Watching Zoe made me grin! She is going to be a good one!

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  19. Such a smooth transition! Such a good girl! Go Zoebird!!!

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    1. Can't wait for you and June to join us!!

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  20. Zoe's all "you want catnterz? I give canterz. You give smooshy nose cookies, yes?"

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  21. Woohoo!! So happy for you guys. As someone else who had TONS of canter baggage I agree that those first few canters on my baby horse were about the scariest thing ever. She has now completely cured my canter fears and I no longer feel like I'm going to pass out if I know we're going to canter in a lesson. So yeah, there's hope :)

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    1. I love that riding now is all about "take a deep breath and enjoy the ride" vs like "wow cowgirl that's impressive riding". Love.

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  22. Zoebird is my favorite internet horse ever.

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  23. How could anyone be a video hater when yours are so crazy good? What program do you use to make them??? And of course she was totally perfect, she's Zoebird!

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    1. Ha my videos are good because I hate videos so I don't bog them down with boring stuff. ;-)

      I use the app Splice on my phone. It's super easy and was probably free.

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  24. Being a baby horse- I can tell you that sometimes we aren't sure about moving up the gaits. Or even moving at all. My person had canter baggage too but I never would have known. Now we work on our canter transitions and they are coming along nicely

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  25. What a fun little girl she is!!! She must smell like a rainbow

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    1. If a rainbow smells like a smooshy baby horse, then yes!

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  26. I'm just catching up and OMG THIS IS SO EXCITING!!!

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  27. Congratulations on the canter! Hooray!

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