Monday, August 31, 2009

Good News and Bad News

The good news is that I'm very, very close to closing the deal on the new saddle. We're just figuring out payment methods now.

The bad news is that with the added expense of a new saddle (and probably girth, etc), I probably won't have the money to board Izzy elsewhere this winter. There go my dreams of the indoor.

The other good news is that my trainer owns land further out that she's planning on moving to sometime in the indefinite future. She said today that she's hoping to be out there by the end of November, which means that we might have an indoor arena after all. At least, I'm told there's a small indoor there. I haven't actually been out to that property.

There's not really other bad news. My world is mostly good and happy.


Friday, August 28, 2009

Treed vs Treeless

Lest you all think I've gone over to the crazy side, let me reassure you: I still love treed saddles. I love how they look, love how they ride, love them. I am not one of those who's into treeless saddle, natural horsemanship, barefoot shoeing, and holistic healing. Frankly, I think if you're in to all those things and keeping the horse as naturally as possible, your best option is to move to the mountains, buy a couple thousand acres, and turn the ponies loose. Obviously, that's the most natural choice for them. Riding is inherently unnatural for a horse. I didn't say unpleasant or unfortunate, just unnatural. So. I love trees.

Izzy, however, goes better in a treeless saddle than I have ever seen her go before. I have been told, and I suppose I believe, that a horse will go just as well in a well-fitting treed saddle. I think that's wonderful. It must be amazing for people who have saddle fitters in their area to have this option.

I do not. In Idaho, we kinda do things the cowboy way. There is a small (and growing) english contingent, but that hasn't expanded to saddle issues yet. There is one tack store in Boise that even sells english stuff. There is no one who does saddle fittings or reflockings or anything of the sort. As such, the most economical way for me to take care of Miss Izzy is to go treeless. As I said, I've ridden that way before and I do enjoy it, but that enjoyment is with the appreciation of a tree as well. It's not one without the other. It's one because the other isn't feasible for us right now. I can ill afford a nice treeless saddle, but my other option, to continually cycle through quasi-fitting treed saddles until Izzy's size stabilizes, is even more expensive.

All that said, I'm super excited for a new saddle.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Meet the Critters

Azuzu, named for the gargoyle on Futurama, is our kitty. He's big boned, fat, sweet, and friends with all the neighbors. We don't really know anything about him. He used to be a house cat, got dumped off in the middle of nowhere, showed up at my inlaws house, and has been ours ever since. He's very cuddly and talkative. We think he's middle aged for a cat, but we're not sure. He's a pretty spry guy, though.

This is Clive Stubby Lewis, our Pembroke Welsh Corgi. In this picture, he's on the ranch (my in law's) and he's just killed a mouse. He's a very active and intelligent little guy, so we can't leave him alone for long or he gets into trouble. Especially since we don't have mice around the house to kill. His ears have gone back and forth between flopping over and sticking up. They're flopped here, but they prick up pretty well at home. We've had Lewis since March, and he's now 8 months old. He's probably 6 months in this picture.

I love horses. Brent loves rabbits. Here's Brent with Pope Buniface I, a Champagne d'Argent rabbit. We actually have three Champagnes and a Dutch rabbit... hm, I should put up a picture of her.

This is Heloise, the dutch rabbit. I got her for Brent when Waverly, his first rabbit, died. She's bigger now and lives in a rabbit cage instead of a cat carrier, but I don't have a picture handy. She's the only bunny I've ever held, and I do like her. She's a funny girl.

This is the boys, just hanging out.

Chaucer is my beloved Beagle puppy. Brent got him for me last winter, secretly hoping that Chaucer would be his hunting dog extraordinaire. Unfortunately for him, I was laid off and out of school for Christmas, so Chaucer and I spent hours and hours together. He's now a definite momma's boy with nice manners and a pretty face. He does hunt a little, but mostly when I'm not around. If I try to go, he's too distracted with getting attention to focus.

I don't live with my girls--I'm sadly stuck in the city with a 5 minute commute (walking) and close access to everything. Just because my horses can't be at home, though, doesn't mean our house is animal free.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Opinionated Ponies

Izzy is a horse who definitely knows her own mind. She's a little lazy, but she has plenty of spunk. She definitely let me know when she didn't like our last saddle, and she told me in no uncertain terms that treeless is how she wants to be.* Monday I tried riding her in an eggbutt french link snaffle because most all my dressage friends swear by them. Most of them actually prefer the loose ring version, but I learned my lesson with those. I put a loose ring on my fussy OTTB mare, and she learned a whole new and more annoying bad habit. Lesson: if the horse goes well in a fixed-cheek, DO NOT TAKE THE FIXED CHEEK AWAY.

So. Eggbutt. Maybe it was just that it was different and she doesn't like change, but she flipped her nose almost constantly. Ok, well, a lot more than usual. She doesn't usually flip it at all unless she's really mad. This wasn't mad flip, though, just playing flip. Needless to say, I changed back to our full cheek snaffle the next day. The more I think about it, though, the more I think that she just really likes things to be as quiet and still as possible. I use keepers on her full cheek bit, so there is virtually no movement in her mouth. It's thinner than the eggbutt I tried, but it's quieter. I know thin bits are supposed to be more severe, but I think that Izzy prefers the slightly stronger action to the change offered by her other option. If I was intent on getting the mildest bit possible, I guess I could go seek out a thicker full-cheek snaffle, but Miss Pony is already getting a super expensive saddle. All other gadgets have to wait until my budget has recovered.

I've been told on many occasions that I'm a quiet rider (meaning that I'm very still), and because of that, I know I get along with the hotter horses well. Izzy's not hot. She's pretty lukewarm, as far as that goes, but she doesn't like being fussed with. There's just enough of her very hot and strong willed mother in her to keep her interesting. That's good, because I cannot stand even the idea of riding a push-button horse like I used to compete against in 4-H. I love the constant challenge and engagement of riding. Just sitting still and pushing buttons bores me to death. Evidence: here I am at work, writing a horse blog. I cannot think about contract right now. So, with the good mind of a warmblood and the fire of a thoroughbred, I think I'm doing well.

Really, I think I'm training my dream horse.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Getting Serious

After a lovely ride this morning, I took a bunch of stuff out of my locker and hauled it to the car. I'm going to take it home this afternoon, clean it, and try to sell it to offset the cost of an expensive new saddle. I've never done this before, and it feels kind of weird. Almost everything I have has some memories attached to it, so it's a little sad to get rid of it. Still, I'm keeping that stuff that I use a lot and the stuff that I'm really attached to. I'm just selling things I don't use, haven't used, and see no reason to use. Maybe tomorrow I'll post some of it here, just in case anyone is interested.

That's my plan, anyways. To afford $$$ saddle on $ budget means that I will sell what I can and buy only necessities for the upcoming semester, as well as trying to work as much as possible. I can afford it, but my bank account looks somewhat dismal afterwards. Still, with a few months of highly disciplined spending, I think I'll be back on track and done buying saddles.

Also, once I get my new saddle, I will try my very hardest to talk someone in to taking pictures of Miss Izzy. This blog really does need more pictures.

Monday, August 24, 2009

A Glimmer of Hope

It's been an exciting day for me. Izzy and I had a lesson this morning, which went really, really well. The only part that wasn't great was my own fault. I changed her bit from a full cheek snaffle (single jointed) to an eggbutt french link, and she fussed with it. It wasn't bad, but she seems to like the other bit much better.

In the lesson, we worked on keeping her marching in her walk. She does tend to dawdle, and I need to stop letting her. To fix this, Cathy had me swing her with one leg, then the other, using the whole leg from the hip to the ankle, if that makes sense. It's pretty weird to have Izzy far enough along that we can finally start working on equitation again. I know that I adopted a very defensive position to ride her initially, and I need to counteract that now. We also worked on keeping her downward transitions forward and moving her off my leg in small increments. I'm going to start doing spiral in/spiral out circles to get her thinking about that and continue working on our turns on the forehand. Cathy did admire our canter departs, as I haven't let Izzy run through them.

What a good pony. We were out of treats, and she was very sad about that.

The other exciting news is that I probably have a saddle lined up to buy. Cathy has been very gracious about letting me ride in hers, but she does, you know, like to ride in her own saddle as well. She has several horses that will pretty much only go in her treeless, so I can't use it a whole lot. I hate to say much before everything's certain, but I may have a saddle on the way here by the end of the week. Cross your fingers for me. This is wonderful news.

So... happy Aimee, happy pony.

School started today, but I only have a couple classes I actually have to attend. The rest are online. That means hopefully more riding time than I usually have during the semester.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Izzy Has Spoken -- The great saddle search con't

Let me preface this by saying that I am very familiar with treeless saddles. My instructor has owned the same one for at least ten years. Thus, I know they hold up well even when used hard, because she rides multiple horses a day, pretty much every day in that saddle. I've done quite a few hours in that saddle. It's the only saddle that Cassie, my old mare, will go in. Ellie, a red Hanoverian mare I used to ride, was also partial to it.

All that said, though, I really wanted a treed saddle. I like the extra side-to-side stability. I like to look conventional. There are some truly beautiful treed saddles out there. The thing with treed saddles is that you have to fit them to a particular horse. The the horse changes. Then you need a new saddle.

Anyways, I ran across a treeless saddle that was the same brand as Cathy's, but made for jumping instead of dressage. I've never ridden Izzy in a treeless saddle, so before placing a bid, I tried her in Cathy's saddle this morning.


Yeah... I'm inclined to say something more along the lines of "Omg, the pony trained itself." She was incredible. She was reaching down to the bit, stretching through her topline, and pushing off her hind end. It was like riding a dressage horse, albeit with no lateral flexion just yet. I'm still in somewhat of a state of awe.

So that's that. We're getting a treeless. At this point, I'd be a fool to settle for anything else. I don't want the dressage model, but I also don't exactly have the budget for this:

Anyone want to donate to the "Make Izzy a Happy Pony" fund? Really, tell me if you do. ;-) Also, tell me if you find one used.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Comments on Trial #1

I'm sorry for the crappy quality. This is a cell phone picture because my beagle ate the power cord for my computer, making it difficult to upload pictures. You could argue that this happened in March and I ought have replaced it by now, but really, I had horse stuff to buy, people. ;-) I may actually have to replace it this semester.

The picture is of trial saddle #1, from the local tack shop. It's an older Beval close contact with a wide tree. It's only a 17" though, so it's a little small for me. As you can see, it's very light colored, so it matches absolutely none of my other tack. There are some minor tears in the leather, but they're only really noticeable up close.

I put it on Izzy this morning, and I have mixed feelings about it. It's not an amazing fit. I did notice a slight improvement in her movement on the lunge line, but part of that is always that I just love to watch my horses, so when I watch closely, I appreciate them more. I did notice a slight but marked improvement under saddle, though. With the last saddle we used, Izzy never relaxed her neck, and I don't blame her. She's balanced enough now that if (a big if) her saddle isn't bugging her, her natural head carriage should be fairly long and low. Today, when we trotted long enough to settle, her neck finally began to relax.

That's good. All it says though is that this saddle is better than the two last. It doesn't really make this the be-all and end-all. The sweat patterns were better than the previous two, but still nothing to be excited about. This is a saddle that I guess is my absolute fall back if-nothing-else-I-can-find-fits idea. It's cheap, which is nice, but I have other priorities, too. When I'm spending this much on something, I want it to be something that fits well, looks good, and preferably will hold it's value. This is why I'm looking at used mid-range saddles instead of new low range saddles.

Now, I just need to find a way to get saddle #2 here.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

First Adventure

I made it to our local tack shop, such as it is, to look at consignment saddles. To my very great surprise, they had one that might actually fit in a price range that I might actually be able to afford. This is good. I hate trying things over the internet. They also have a pretty nice trial policy, so I brought it home with me, and we'll try it tomorrow.

I'm not actually sure that I want it to fit. It's a fairly nice brand, but it's very, very old and not terribly well taken care of. I'm emailing with a lady who has a nicer (and more expensive) saddle a few hours away, and I really want that one.

Except I also don't know if that one will fit. I figure that in the meantime, I will see what's around here. I'm also getting set up to do wither tracings and try to work with to see what they have to say. Thankfully, their advice is free. Their saddles are not.

All this, and I start school next week. I have mostly scholarships, but not all. And I just bought my books. I don't know if I can even afford a saddle for a couple months at least. Bareback, anyone?

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

The Great Saddle Search

Now we're back to the beginning.

I'm emailing with a lady who might have what I need, but then again, might not. It's pretty hard for two amateurs to fit a saddle by phone and email. We both live in Idaho, albeit on opposite sides of the state. There are no saddle fitters in Idaho. It's not just a phone call away. Our best bet is the chiropractor who comes in from Montana every month or two.

So, what I think I'm looking for is this: 17.5" close contact with a wide tree. I think. I would just borrow lots of saddles and try them on, but there aren't that many people with quality saddles who just loan them out. It's hard to find stuff like that in a cowboy state. I'm also checking ebay, craigslist, etc, but it's hard to know what to look for. Different saddles fit different horses differently, and I haven't found a magical way to fix that yet.

So if you have anything that sounds right, let me know. Izzy will (maybe) thank you.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Happy Day

We are having lovely weather right now. It's about 60 f in the mornings, with clear skies and a slight breeze. It warms up to mid eighties during the afternoon.

This is absolutely unheard of here. This is October weather, not August weather.

Whatever. It just makes a good ride better.

I think that Izzy is finally "greenbroke" in my opinion. I realize that this is a highly subjective term and not really all that important since I'm doing all my training myself, but it's a nice way to say that she's finally able to walk, trot, and canter both ways, goes over trot poles, lunges with no trouble, moves off my leg a tiny bit and is starting to learn to give to the bit. Her ground manners are good in a plain halter (not rope), and she stands to be groomed, clipped, or have her feet trimmed.

We have a long ways to go. She still doesn't think the whole "bath" thing is a good idea and I haven't pushed her much in that area. I just sponge her off on hot days and she fusses less about that than she used to. She needs to learn to reach for contact with the bit. She needs to move off my leg more effectively. She needs to learn to back calmly. We haven't really tried that in favor of just getting her to go forward. We need to work towards the ideals of the training scale. And of course, I want to jump.

That said, I'm ok with where we are. She's finally fun to ride, in my opinion. She's smart, brave, and usually willing. She has oodles of personality. She's not terribly spooky. She has almost no white, so she's easy to keep clean.

What more could a girl want?

(Ok, so I really, really want to go to the upcoming H/J show, but we're not ready, so I'll just go watch. Next year.)

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Show Results

Unlike our neck ribbon show, we didn't win an award. I didn't mind at all, though. We were just there for the experience.

Due to a dumb gelding (um, I prefer mares. A lot.) running through a fence and putting himself out, Michelle and I got started about a half hour later than we wanted to. We ended up missing the warm up, and as we drove up, we found out that we would be competing inside.

Izzy has never been inside. Or in a show arena by herself.

All things considered, it went really well. She was nervous, but that just adds animation to her already pretty movement. I think we refused one trot pole because she was looking at the sunbeams coming through the window. I was thrilled, needless to say. She didn't offer any major disobediences. She even stood quietly outside the arena for a while, something her mother can't do to this day.

My only complaint was that the pony club kids in our division (admittedly the least advanced) had absolutely no sense about being around horses. They'd just ride their little ponies straight up to my mare, who would pin her ears and try to lunge at them. Like her mother, she doesn't want to be crowded. I'm contemplating sending the show secretary a letter, thanking her for the nice, well run show and recommending that they teach kids in pony club to not ride up behind strange horses. I don't know. Maybe that's a bad idea.

I gave Miss Izzy today off. She may get tomorrow off too, since Cathy will be home and I could have my first day off in like 8 days.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

I Hate the Internet

Specifically, I hate it when the tech guys come work on my computer and all of sudden things that worked perfectly don't anymore. Especially when that's coupled with nothing else working any better. Seriously. If I pretended to be a horse trainer, took your horse in the middle of summer (aka the most annoying time of day when you're trying to get stuff done), and brought it back to you with new vices and everything else the same, you'd be pretty annoyed.

So again, I'm sorry I'm not commenting. I really try. I type everything out, hit post, and it asks me what profile I have. I select google, and yeah. Nothing. Doesn't say I need to log in, just eats my post and does nothing.


Anyways, today I borrowed a friend's old saddle. She used to show in it when she was younger, but it doesn't really fit her horses, as she's kinda gotten in to the draft horse thing. At least it's very wide. It sort of fits Izzy. It's too wide for her, so I put a thicker pad on, but of course that's only a temporary fix. It does clear her spine all the way through and it's definitely wide enough. I lunged her for 20 minutes and probably rode another 20, mostly at the walk. It didn't move around and it's comfortable to sit in, so we're borrowing it for a little while. She has no interest in selling, which is great, because it definitely doesn't fit well enough for me to want to buy it.

I'm still waiting for Friday to see the other saddle and wondering what to do. Maybe Miss Izzy will have an introduction to bareback, as that seems less painful than a non-fitting saddle. Or we can do lots of lunging. Or borrow a treeless saddle. I don't know.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Houston, We Have a Problem


The chiropractor came out yesterday and I had him look at Izzy's saddle in relation to her back. The good news is that we have a problem which can be fixed. The bad news is that school is about to start ($$$) and I have a saddle that "doesn't really fit well"($$$).


At least I decided to go through with having him look at her, rather than leave her uncomfortable.

Anyways. I've checked the saddle numerous times, and it seems to fit. It clears her spine with a perfect three fingers all the way through. The panels make steady, even contact with her back. The only trouble was that after I got done riding, there was a slightly odd sweatmark kind of under the stirrup bar. Nothing to unusual, just not quite kosher. Cathy commented on it as well.

According to the chiro, the problem occurs because the saddle's tree goes like this: | | while her withers go kinda like this: ) ( . Because of that, her saddle bridges a little bit and puts pressure theoretically on her withers and back, though I've just noticed it on her withers. Either way, the saddle is too narrow for her shoulders. I'm inclined to think that this is the result of working her. When we started (and when I got this saddle), she had never really been worked. Now that her muscles are developing, things don't fit how they used to.

It's sad, really. I love my saddle.

I have already tried every non-dressage saddle in the tackroom on her. They don't fit. Wintecs, particularly, I don't like. (Which sucks, because that's what my other saddle is.) The wintec profile is just too curved for her, so the saddle is effectually a rocking chair. That's no good. I posted an ad on craigslist to see if anyone had a 17.5" close contact saddle with a wide tree to sell me, and I've had one response from a lady who has just the thing: a Barnsby Skleton. After looking it up online, I've come to two conclusions: 1) It looks like a fabulous saddle 2) Used ones are well beyond my budget.

Here's hoping the lady has no idea what her saddles are worth.

Speaking of budget, I'm thinking that if this (or another saddle) works, I could sell my current two saddles to make money/room for it. Izzy's not going to get narrower, so the close contact one is done and I never really liked the wintec. It was a nice first saddle, but now that I've had leather, I don't want to go back.

So if you were selling a saddle, would you do consignment through a tack store, craigslist, or another online listing? Or what?

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Brave Pony

***Added later: I'm really sorry if my comments are not showing up on your blogs. The idiot tech guy did something to my work computer so google thinks I'm a bot and blogger keeps randomly signing me out. So frustrating.****

I'm feeding in the mornings all week because Cathy's out of town. How fun! She's very glad I could help, and said she owes me several lessons to make up for it. Hooray! Usually, we just skimp along on one or two lessons a month, but Izzy's getting to the point where she can do more.

That said, she was a very brave girl this morning. One end of the arena is right next two about a half acre or so of dense cottonwood trees that most of the horses find terrifying. That's what Izzy spooked at when she hit me in the head last week. While I was lunging her today (not by the trees), there was something back there. I know the horses usually pretend there are monsters there, but this time I think there really were. Lots of crashing and heavy breathing, and then just silence. It rattled me a little, what with my hyperactive imagination.

Izzy just stopped and looked very alertly at the trees for about 30 seconds. Then we proceeded with our workout.

As for the workout itself, I'm trying to get her ready for the show. Sunday we started working over multiple trot poles in a row. Tomorrow I'll set a mini course of trot poles and we'll work on going from one to the next. I'm easing her in to it, though. First I lead her through the poles, then I lunge her through at the walk, then I ask her to trot through. She actually seems to enjoy it.

The best part of the morning, though, was when I was tacking her up. She was acting like a twit, so I turned her out in the arena. She galloped and bucked and ran like a maniac. She ever put herself through the chute that Cathy built to take videos of the sale babies. Good news: She's a nice jumper. Bad news: she's not the most careful. I'll see if I can't get some pictures or video this week while the chute is still up.

Monday, August 10, 2009

It's away!

My entry form for our first ever show together is in the mail. Izzy's show name is officially (in my mind) Wishful Thinking.

We're going to a local pony club jumper show to do the trot poles classes. Mostly, we're just going to get her out in an arena to see other stuff. Every once in a while, I tell myself we could actualyl win a ribbon, but the truth is, there will probably be scads of little pony clubbers there riding trained horses who will actually go around the course and thereby leave us out of the ribbons.

How exciting! I dunno, I'm excited. Izzy doesn't seem too worried, but she has no idea.

In other news, I made my first ever sales video today. I only did it because my instructor was running out of time and she leaves town tomorrow morning, so I messed with it for a while. Check it out and let me know what you think. I don't know if I'll ever need to make another, but I like feedback.

Also, the horse in the video is Izzy's half brother. Same mommy, different daddies.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Rainy Day!?

It's August. I live in Southwest Idaho. It is very hot here in the summer, and not very cold in the winter.

Today, it dumped rain. Not a little Idaho rain, which most people from states with water refer to as "mist" or "non-existent". No, it was a real, hard, respectable rain.

It didn't start that way. It was dripping a little bit when I started tacking Izzy up, but there was light on the horizon, meaning that it would clear up in 20 minutes or so. I monkeyed around with the martingale, making sure everything was fitted right. I got it for $10 on craigslist, so I'm actually thrilled that it fit. It's actually a hunting breastplate with a standing martingale attachment, so there were lots of straps to play with. I made sure the breastplate was properly adjusted, then put the martingale on the loosest setting. Again, all I want it to do is keep her head away from my head. She's not at a point in her training where I even care how she carries her head.

Anyways. She lunged pretty well in it, and we started our lesson. Cathy had me work on getting a true forward walk out of her, rather than letting her mosey along. When she's more forward, she'll have to work harder to get behind my leg. She barely got stuck at all, even in the sticky spot. After trotting both ways, we took a walk break before we tried canter. Then it thundered, loudly, directly overhead. We decided to call it a day.

I took Izzy back to the hitching post and started untacking her. Bear in mind, it was my first time trying to take a hunting breastplate off of a horse. I left her bridle on as I unhooked everything carefully. As soon as the last strap was done (the martingale from the noseband), rain started pouring down hard on the tin roof above us.

Let me just take a moment to say that while Izzy used to live in a covered run, she has lived out in the pasture with her friend for months now.

She panicked. She almost reared, ran back wards, shot forwards, almost reared again, and ran forward. Pretty much immediately, I reconciled myself to the fact that my saddle was going to take a hard fall into the mud and I began to plan to get her away from it when it did so she couldn't step on it and break the tree.

Fortunately, that went as planned. After the saddle came off, I managed to steer her into the arena and close the gate, then get the bridle and martingale off before she panicked again.

That went pretty well, all things considered. Neither she nor I was hurt. The tack was dirty, but not damaged. I left her in the arena to run around and be silly while I picked up my muddy tack. After it was all put away, I got my halter and caught my now-sheepish and soaked pony.

Silly girl.

PS TACK SALE TOMORROW! I don't know if I need anything, but I'm going because I'm a nerd and I love tack... seriously. I can't touch leather products at stores, or I want them.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Going the Right Direction

I lunged Izzy in the "sticky" end of the arena today and she went by with no problems. We mounted without rearing, and then I did lots of walking with her. She tends to shorten up and slow down and slow down and just barely move along, so I worked on getting her to move forward. She does have lovely gaits when she chooses to use them. I also worked on articulating my aids--I've noticed that my body saying whoa and me getting behind the motion to close the back door are eerily similar. Obviously, this was confusing to Izzy.

We still had to deal with the sticky spot while mounted, but it was small today, only about 15 feet instead of the 30 from yesterday. She only got really stuck a few times, and we worked through it, just like yesterday. She got over it admirably well, and we even cantered a few strides on her easy side.

I'm still leery of asking her for much because I still have the most awful headache. I got a standing martingale yesterday off of craigslist. It's the complete breast collar with an attachment. Unfortunately, the attachment was broken and I didn't notice it until I got home. Fortunately, she was good today and I stopped at the tack store on the way home. I got a consignment standing martingale attachment for $5 and figured out how to put it on myself.

Now we're all set for our lesson tomorrow.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Teenage Day

Izzy's at that stage where she's starting to figure out what to do, but she isn't sure she really wants to do it. I know that pretty much all horses go through this, so I'm not worried, but it is kind of frustrating. Ten days ago, we could walk, trot, and canter both directions. We were starting baby leg yields, and had turn on the forehand down pretty well. She got a little stuck once in a while, but nothing to be concerned about.

Then came the rearing incident, the ensuing rest and saddle checks, and then the major head-throwing /spook incident.

So now with all that behind us, I went out today. I knew that we wouldn't get much canter work in, because I'm still building up confidence again. I did a lot of work with Izzy on the lunge, doing transitions up and down. She's getting pretty responsive, and only picked up the incorrect lead once. I don't get after her for that. Right now it's more important that she canters when I ask her to than that she always has the lead I want. When I felt that she was relaxed and listening to me, we stopped. I adjusted her saddle a little bit to make sure it didn't slide forward. Then, as usual, we walked all around the arena to look at scary stuff. She wasn't particularly worried about anything, which was nice.

She stood quietly to be mounted. I've been careful to give her a loose rein when I mount; I'd rather she walk forward and make me circle her back than that she feels trapped and thinks rearing is a way out. Not that she was trapped last time she tried that. I don't know. Anyways, we did quite well doing our walk/halt/walk transitions, then walk/trot/walk. She was still fairly responsive and listening. Rather than having her ears locked on outside stimuli, she held them with one forward, one back. I was thrilled.

Then I took her down to the non-scary end of the arena to see if we could do one canter before we quit. Here's where the problem cropped up. She decided not to go forward. Her biggest evasion is to get behind my leg and back out of things. I'm not as quick at catching this as I should be and she's determined enough in doing it that we have to do a lot of work in this area. So, instead of cantering, we worked on walking. I tried to be mindful of why she was backing out. It wasn't related to bending a certain way (which could be related to saddle problems) or going at a certain gait. There was just one 30 foot stretch that she decided not to walk forward in.

Because the problem was locational, I did the same thing we did with trot poles a few days ago. I let it be ok for her to walk through that area. I didn't try to force her to trot. We just walked and walked and walked. When she tried to stop, I would squeeze with my legs, keep my weight behind the motion, and not let her back out. If we stood, that was ok, but we couldn't go backwards. After about five minutes of this, she could walk through there. Then I would trot her up to the point where she seemed to get sticky, walk through that, and trot again. When she seemed comfortable, we tried trotting through. It worked the first time, and I got off and took her saddle off once we where out of the sticky spot.

She's just one of those horses that doesn't respond well to being pushed. She needs to figure it out on her own.

In other news, I still hurt a lot from Sunday, but it's mostly muscle soreness from rafting, I think. I've self-diagnosed the head hit as a concussion of a minor degree. I read the Mayo clinic website about it, and I don't need to see a doctor unless something gets worse. That's reassuring, because I really loathe going to the doctor.

Monday, August 3, 2009


This is my final round-up of show pictures. Here's Izzy trotting past her friends on the rail. Please ignore my form...
And here we are, walking up to a halt.

I rode Izzy Sunday morning. She did very well til she spooked at something and threw her head up in the air, making contact with my chest and face.

I hurt a lot right now. Also, I kinda saw stars. That wasn't fun.

We just had a nice, low stress ride this morning. I'm pretty nervous; between the rearing and the face-whack, it really wasn't that fun of a week. I could put a standing martingale on her to curtail another head toss, but that could potentially unbalance her in a dangerous way if she tried to rear again. A running martingale might be safer, but I really don't like that the action is on the bit... I'm trying not to fuss with her mouth too much.

Any ideas?

I'll try to take a lesson this week. That usually does good things for my confidence and focus.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...