Sunday, May 31, 2009

Another lovely day

Sarah and I loaded up the ponies and headed out to Blue Water this morning. Sam was good at loading, after one baulk he walked straight on. It was Benny that decided he didn't really want to go on. Didn't take him long and we had him loaded. Sarah followed me because she has never ridden out there before. With a lot of whining we drove out the driveway! It was an uneventful 45min drive and when we arrived it was a wonderful sight. They had just mowed the grounds and it was a little overcast so it wasn't too hot. We unloaded, tacked up, mounted up and did about 20min of flat work. The horses were working well, round and forward. We couldn't help it but we wanted to explore. Blue Water I think is probably 100 acres and there are trails marked out everywhere.

Sam and Benny were eager too I think, they had a spring in their steps, ears pricked and a sparkle in their eyes!!! We followed the black arrows and it ended up being a short track because even after getting lost (chatting too much we missed a turn!) we were back at the floats within 45min. We rode over to another riding area and had a look and then untacked and let the boys have a pick for about 45min. Even though they didn't get a big work out I think it helped their mind set. The still had to work in a new setting but then got to get out and see new sites.

Nobody spooked, bolted, refused to go forward so it really was a very pleasant outing. Sam decided that he didn't want to go home and refused to get on the float but after about 2 min he walked on and stood quietly. Benny was the same but followed Sarah without too much hassle. When we got home we hosed them off and Sam got to go in one of the grass paddocks for the afternoon. I gave him a small lunch and watched him have a roll, shake, drink and then started to munch away happily.

When I got back to the paddock later this afternoon to feed Sam I noticed Benny and Sam hanging out over the fence playing. This was lovely to see because for so long Benny would roar at Sam. I think they are now friends. We have a shared lesson on Tuesday arvo so tomorrow I might do halter riding again. Tuesday I think will be a pretty full on lesson.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Interesting Ride

Sam had Wednesday off after our lesson on Tuesday. I thought we deserved that! On Thursday we only rode in a halter. We hadn't done that for a long time and Sam gets sick of his flat work very quickly. I think he enjoyed the change and I did a lot of ground work to start with. I worked on him going sideways but not forward and sideways! Does this make sense? I put a trot pole on the ground and it took a while but in the end he got it. We couldn't do the whole length of the trot pole but we got about half way.

Friday we had off so I rode this afternoon. I warmed him up on a very loose rein in walk, trot and canter. He wanted to reach down in the trot and canter which was nice. Then I started to collect him up and he was very light. I am finding now that he is very light in your hand but still hates moving off the right leg. He got that upset this afternoon he broke into a canter. I know that doesn't sound like much but for Sam that requires a lot of effort so I backed off a bit and did some leg yielding on the long side. I really have trouble getting him to move off it without speeding up or going to outside bend. I have noticed that he has trouble picking up that canter lead as well. He does it but it is obviously difficult for him. I know horses are one sided but I wonder if Bowen Therapy, Chiropractic work, physio, massage would help this? If I was in Sydney then I would get my osteopath to have a look at him. Bit difficult from Townsville!!!! (Sydney is about 2500km from Townsville!)

Interesting ride because when I backed off a bit and asked for a little bit longer and lower work and did this on a lot of serpentine's, it was easier for him. I have to also try all this so when we go out for our comp I know what to do and how to settle him in our warm up.

I find walk, trot transitions help him a lot to start to focus on me and listen to what I am asking. Then changes of pace in trot really gets him listening, he is tense but listening, then I can start incorporating long and low work. Sarah and I are taking the horses out to Blue Water tomorrow morning. This is a huge riding area about 20km North of Townsville. We are going to work them first and them take them for a long walk through the hills and little tracks. This should help me figure out what I can do to get Sam to concentrate on me and relax.

Sam really is a character. On Thursday after my ride I left him out to have a pick while I went and cleaned his paddock. It takes him about 10min to realise he is by himself and he couldn't see any of the other horses. I hear him galloping around and whining so I call out and head back over to get him. He was in the far corner when I got to the gate saw me and galloped over whining! He got to the gate reared and bucked! Now I have no problems with him galloping over and I understand the rear and buck is out of excitement and joy but he isn't allowed to do that near me. After a stern "Sam" he quickly dropped his head to my shoulder and followed me over to his halter. I held out the nose part and he put his head down and through and was more than happy to follow me out. I though I would put him back in his paddock while I continued to clean it but there is a little pick outside his paddock so I left him out there while I continued. He was happily munching away when one of the other horses took off in their paddock. Sam's head went up, I stern "Sam" from me and his head went down again. I was so chuffed. I don;t expect this to happen ever again but I hope it was because I said something that he didn't trot off to investigate!

Well I will let you know how tomorrow goes (good float practice for him and me) and I hope to get some photos! Happy riding!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

A few rides

OK Where to start? I'll start with Sundays ride -

I got to the paddock late so it was sort of jump on and go! Sam was very upset, Sarah was riding and so was the pony owner so it was a little crowded but we haven't worked with the pony before so he was very distracted. I tried a few different exercises, pushing him out and bring him back at the trot, leg yielding on the long side and on a circle, cantering (very bad idea) nothing really seemed to work and I was growing very impatient so I got off. This was probably a bad idea but it is no good training when you are getting really angry so I figured this was the next best thing.

Mondays ride - better, we were by ourselves and he was listening well. I was able to leg yield on the long sides and on a circle. I also tried walk trot transitions at the markers. I really found this helped with him listening to me and becoming a lot sharper on the aids. Sam is very sluggish with the aids. I didn't ride for long probably about 30min. I hosed him off and took him for a walk down the road to help dry him off.

Tuesdays ride - MY LESSON! I will give Jenny another go. I had to go to her place which is only 500m down the road anyway. Basically Sam scared the Sh#t out of me! He was very worked up at Jenny's. So much was going on, school ponies doing a lesson, a horse being lunged in the round yard that was bucking and carrying on, a horse who was very tense in the arena we had to work in. I lead Sam around the outside of the arena so he could have a look at everything (there were jump wings on the outside that he was spooking at) I took him into the arena and Jenny came over which was handy. We had a chat about Sam and all his illnesses and then on I got. Sam was very tense and looky. When I pushed him into a trot I think it all became too much and he did a rear, pigroot, buck sort of thing. Scared me to death but it didn't unseat me and we just kept going like nothing happened. Jenny was really good we just kept asking for more bend, tried for a regularity of the pace, we even started shoulder fore at the walk. Finally Sam started to settle because he really had to start to concentrate on what we were asking. I saw and felt some improvement even though we had tension, he showed us moments of really nice work. That sort of lateral work I have never done before so that was interesting. I could really feel it when he gave me a few steps and I think the smile on my face surprised Jenny. I will go back and have another lesson with Jenny. I think it did Sam the world of good having to work with all that going on. I have the comp in 3 weeks so he needs as much exposure as possible.

I think Sam may have diabetes insipidus. I am trying to find out more about it. I'll keep you posted!

Sam is going to have tomorrow off and we will try again on Thursday with some work. I am thinking of taking up the road a bit where there is a vacant block. Sam gets tense around there so maybe I can work him through it. Poor little Sam!

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Quick update

Sam and I went for a lovely road ride with Sarah on Thursday afternoon. I was a little apprehensive for two reasons, 1) I was wearing my bad luck jeans (I was wearing them when I fell off Sam last year) 2) last time I went out on the road with Sarah Sam got such a fright I ended up having to jump off!

Sarah was riding Benny this time and we were going a different way so I thought why not! Sam is starting to spook a little too much on our road rides so I really should try and take him out more. We have also done two weeks in the arena and I prefer getting him out on the road at least once a week.

I had nothing to worry about. Sam was very well behaved - so was Benny. It was a lovely walk. Sam only spooked once and was happy to walk out most of the time. Sometimes there was a lot of pushing involved but what I noticed the most was as soon a I slowed my seat Sam shortened his walk, no reins involved. Yes we had a light contact but I really didn't need this. The main reason I have a light contact is because out on the trails I find Sam seems to find comfort in it. He doesn't fight it and if i let the reins out loose he seems to stretch to find the contact.

I think Sam really appreciated the different scenery and not having to work in the arena. He had Friday off and today I only had the time to give him a light lunge. I didn't put a saddle on just asked for walk, trot and canter both reins. We focused on him listening and doing a lot of transitions. He was really listening and only had a good buck a few times but would come back once I asked him too. I will ride tomorrow and Monday and we have our lesson on Tuesday!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

A Lovely Soft Ride

I got up at the crack of dawn this morning, 5am (That is early for me!!!!!) Washed my face, pulled on my jeans, shirt and a light jumper. Dragged my hair back into a low pony tail and sat in the dark on the back steps and pulled on my old, holey trust worthy boots, thinking to myself - do you really want to ride at this ungodly hour of the morning? I dragged myself to my car which thankfully I had packed the night before with horse feed and rugs that I needed and started my trek out to see Sam. Do you know it is amazing the amount of traffic on the road at 5.30am. IT IS STILL DARK!

I reached the paddock and jumped out of my car - the cool fresh morning air hit me and it was wonderful! I pushed the wheel barrow over to Sams paddock so I could clean it before our ride. Sam was standing at the gate half asleep but still ready with kisses - warm breaths from his nostrils on my neck. I gave him a scratch and rub on ears which were cold so we stood there a little while longer while I warmed them up! I think appreciated it : ) He continued to doze while I cleaned the paddock. He had a big stretch like a dog and was then ready to wander on down to the stables to be tacked up.

It was still dark but you could see the warm glow of the sun starting to break through on the horizon. After Sam had his obligatory cookies before a ride we mounted up and started our warm up. The air was fresh, the glow was starting the lighten the sky and Sam had a spring in his step.

We tried for some long and low at the walk - Sam was like sure I can do that. We went on to trot and he was happy to reach down and round his back for a few strides at a time. He was stepping out and really trying. We came back to a walk and practiced leg yielding. On the right rein Sam moved off my leg like a pro - the left rein we still need to practice more but he tried and that is the main thing. We finished up a lovely slow three beat canter with a low head carriage.

I jumped off and walked him in hand until he cooled down and then took him back to the stables to untack and brush down. I just wish I was a better writer so I could share with you all what a beautiful morning it was. Beautiful weather, a wonderful soft ride - what more could you ask for?! Next time I promise to take my camera!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

You Smell so GOOD!!!!!!


After work today I rushed to the feed store to buy more hay for Sam. I buy in bulk so I don't have to go every week. 10 bales lasts him a month. This made me very late in getting out to the paddock so I didn't have time to ride but wanted to do something with Sam so I decided to put him on the lunge. Sam isn't too bad at lunging - he listens reasonably well but we can't use side reins or anything like that because he really plays up with that - sometimes he likes to walk on his hind legs and wave hello at me! :) I am wondering though because we are working on him accepting a contact while being ridden if that will help the lunging - HMMMMM I will keep thinking about that one.

He worked really well. Had a wonderful stretch in the trot - was happy to trot around at times with his head nearly on the ground and really lifting his back. Gotta love that!

I am going to go out early tomorrow morning and try and ride before work. I won't be able to go out tomorrow afternoon and I like to take him out of his paddock everyday.

Sarah gave me the flyer for the next competition. It is in 3 weeks and they have a Prep test. She was good today and really pushed me to enter and you know what I think I will. Even if it is just to get Sam out and working around other horses. I am trying to organise to have next Tuesday off so I will try the lady down the road for a lesson.

This is a link to the test I will be doing.

I realised I didn't post about Sundays ride. I was very unmotivated so I wasn't planning on doing much but Sam was really trying and giving me some lovely trot work. He was listening to my leg and moving off it a little better at the trot. At walk moving off my leg he is quite good. I still didn't push for anything major but it was a good ride. I love it when he tries!!!!

We also did a bit of float training and he walked on quickly without really playing up but now we have to work on him standing there while I walk out to close it all up. He will stand happily while I get my OH to close up the back but I am trying to get it to the point where I can just load him up and go without anybodies help. I even practiced reversing the float. It scares me (I have no idea why) so i try to practice at any chance I get.

I am feeling a bit pumped tonight and maybe even excited about the comp. Even though it is only 3 weeks away I think Sam and I should be able to achieve it if we really work at it!

I just realised I haven't told you the reason for the title!!!!! When I fed Sam tonight he didn't want a bar of his hay - I JUST BOUGHT 10 BALES OF IT!!!!!! Hopefully he will eat it and not waste it. I really don't want to have to return the hay and try and source some more!

Monday, May 18, 2009

Horses and Electric Fences!

I had plans to take Sam out for a lovely walk this afternoon for a green pick but when I got to the paddock Sam's internal electric fencing was down and through his paddock. Not sure what happened but Sam is ok which is the main thing. Sarah helped me put it all back up and I have turned it on tonight so when he touches it watch out!

I turned Sam out into the stable area so he could graze there while I helped Sarah lunge Babe. Babe did really well one way but I don't think she had ever been lunged the other way. I walked around the outside with her and after a while I was able to stop and she kept going. In trot she kept stopping and turning in but she will get the hang of it. For a 10yo TB mare who has done nothing but sit in a paddock for the last 5years she is coping with everything quite well. Sarah has been riding her in the arena lately just slowly getting her used to being worked again.

I have to go and pick up hay tomorrow afternoon but hopefully it won't take too long and I will have a chance to lunge Sam!

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Our Lesson

Well we had our lesson this morning. It was interesting and I won't be going back. I'll make a list for you -
  • I have seen Sam put under a lot of pressure and he doesn't buck, pigroot or rear he only tries to rush on or can go side ways gracefully!
  • I finally got to see Sam move under saddle when ridden by someone else
  • He isn't as lame as I thought - I think he bungs it on a bit :)
  • Found out that Sam can handle being ridden with a whip


  • Everything she picked me on she did her self ie: don't cross your inside over the wither - she did,
  • I found she jammed Sam up and wouldn't let him go forward
  • Not very good at explaining
  • Didn't listen to my concerns
  • Over worked Sam after asking her not too
The pro's were good so I am not too upset. I still have two other people to try. I can't wait until we move down south and I can get some decent instruction. I really don't think it hurt Sam to be worked that hard. Yes he was hot and sweaty but it was warming up during the day anyway. When I went out to feed Sam this arvo he seemed fine.

I think I will try some float training tomorrow - fun and joys!

Friday, May 15, 2009

Sam's Snozzel!

Flying Change

I forgot to add the other day I was riding Sam and we were cantering around the outside of the arena. We were on the lead but I wasn't to concerned it was open enough not to really worry about it. Anyway we came around the short side and I could feel Sam bunching up and I thought here we go he is going to pigroot or the back end is about to a little jumpy - nope HE DID A FLYING CHANGE! He has done them before but this was without a contact and not on a tight area. I was very impressed with him!

I went out really early this morning and had a quick ride before work. We only rode for 20min and we did it all in halter. He was pretty good. More interested in looking at everybody else (it was breakfast time) we walked, trotted and cantered. He was good and I think relieved that it wasn't a long session.

Our lesson is tomorrow and I have to clean my bridle and wash my joddies! I am getting a little nervous which is silly really. I'll let you know how we go!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Good/Bad make up your mind!!!!!

Sometimes I just don't understand horses. Sam has been a pain all week. Naughty and uptight when we ride. This afternoon I wanted to take him out on the road but when I caught him I could tell he was in a bad mood so I gave him a brush, oiled his hooves and we went out and picked grass for about 40min. He wasn't happy about coming back in but I figure at least he got out and was able to have a pick. I pulled grass and fed the pony over the fence while Sam ate. I think the pony appreciated it!

We have our lesson with Bridget on Saturday so I will try and ride Sam tomorrow morning before work - even if it just a walk around.

I spoke to the herbal lady about his degenerative bone disease and she has recommend some more herbs I can give him. I have just purchased them so hopefully they will work. Poor little pony!

I will let you know how the lesson goes on the weekend!!!!!

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Sam is the wonderful Sam

I was able to ride Sam this arvo. He was back to his old self - forward but not tense. Canter was terrible but the trot work is starting to come along nicely I think. There are certain parts on the circle where the bend and reaching down is starting to happen. Lets hope this continues. I have found a lady who will come to my place and give me lessons with Sam. She will also ride him as well. Fingers crossed it all works out!

I took Sam for a walk out along the road yesterday - he grows ten hands some times! At least he doesn't run over the top of me.

Friday, May 8, 2009

The things we do for our horses!

I visited Sam at 3am this morning! A little background first. We are coming into winter and even though our winters are very mild - at the moment it is getting to 17 - 18 degrees at night and back up to 28 degrees during the day. We have been having light showers of rain for the past 3 days. Sam was born, bred and has lived his entire life in Townsville so he already has a long winter coat! His agistment place is about a 25min drive from my house.

Yesterday I went out to see Sam and I put him out the back to have a pick while went to get changed. I was nearly back in view when the heavens opened and the rain pelted down! Sam cantered over to the gate whinnying and carrying on. I yelled out to him that I was coming and he just kept whinnying until I got to him and then he followed me under the shelter. Silly pony! We stayed under there until the rain past and then he was happy to go back to munching! Problem was his PJ's were left out in the rain so I had to come up with other rugs for the night. I don't have a light waterproof combo so I came up with a polar fleece rug and a light unlined canvas that is shower proof. On they went, I fed him and went home.

1.30am I woke up. I was very hot so threw off the covers and immediately thought of Sam. He couldn't just throw off a rug if he got warm! The conversation in my head went something like this:
Don't be silly he is fine.
It is getting to the coolest part of the night he will be fine!
What if he is rolling and gets caught in the electric fence?
No he isn't rolling like mad and getting caught in the electric fence, but...........

I went and stood outside for a while to see if I would get cold - I didn't.
I tried to go back to sleep but sleep wouldn't come. At 2.30am I got changed and jumped in the car. 25min later I am standing on the road (one of his fences is on the road) and in a loud whisper I call 'SAM, SAM!!!!!' I can see him clearly due to the full moon. He is lying down asleep. Finally he wakes up, looks at me, gets up, has a pee then ambles over tho the fence blinking at me with a look of 'Oh Hi! What are you doing here?" I check him over and nothing - no sign of sweating what so ever!!!!!! I was so happy. We had a chat and a cuddle and I jumped back in the car and drove home again. By 3.30am I was back in my bed and fast asleep knowing that Sam was fine!!!!

I still can't believe I did that but I just wouldn't have lived with myself if something had happened!!!!

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Over coming some fears

I had a wasted long weekend! Sam's shoes were loose so I didn't really want to work him too hard incase we ripped a shoe off and did even more damage. Saturday I worked him in the arena and he was very naughty. He didn't want to settle or do any work. I tried to change the pace in trot - pushing him out and bringing him back over and over again. He popped into canter so I thought fine you can canter - we cantered and cantered and cantered! Finally he slowed down and I gave him a break and then asked for some work with a contact again but no he just didn't want to do it! I gave up - cooled him down, hosed him off and put him away.

Sunday I went to clip him. I washed him and while he was drying I thought I had better have a good look at the clippers. I have never clipped a horse before and I really don't know how to use clippers so I sat down to get to know them. I found them clogged with hair and rusty. I couldn't even undo the blades so I figured that I should get them serviced before I started clipping Sam. I didn't want to start and then half way through they give up! I didn't ride him on Sunday just left him out to have a good pick.

Monday I rode again but this time I hoped on and we headed straight out into the road. I took my mobile with me because I had a bad feeling. We walked out down the road at a good strong walk. I made him halt while a cyclist went past and every time a car went past. He did this really well. He was happy to wait until I asked him to continue. I was very happy with this. After we crossed the bridge Sam started to get tense. Last time we went this way Sam got a huge fright and really carried on so I thought maybe he remembered this. I crossed the road and found a vacant lot so I walked him around there until he calmed down a little. Then I pushed him into a trot it took a while put he finally started to relax. We even cantered which I was very happy about. No rushing and was happy to allow me to push it out and then bring it back. We headed back for home and he saw a little shetland. This really spooked him - I don't know why becasue he used to live with one and loved him but these little guys had him up on his toes. We stood watched them for a bit then he was happy to turn for home and walk quietly. He walked over the bridge again and was happy to slow the walk down when asked. He was also happy to halt when I wanted and continue when I wanted to as well. So in the end I was very proud of him and myself. I conquered my fears a little. I wanted to go for a long walk out on the roads but when I felt him become tense I was so tempted to hop off and lead him home. So I was very proud of myself for working through it.

I rode again this arvo but just in the arena. Lew came out and shod him this afternoon and he is always a little tender after so we did some trot pole work and a lot of bending in walk and trot. He was back to his old self this arvo so that was lovely.

He will have tomorrow arvo off and I will ride again on Thursday. I am tossing up whether I take him to a competition on Saturday. Not to compete but to get used to being out with other horses and possibly having a lesson with Pamela who is competing. I don't think she will have time to come to the paddock so maybe I could have one there. We will see what happens! One of the ladies at work - her friend also gives lessons so I have asked for her number and see if she will give me some lessons. I would love to start having fortnightly lessons - I think that would help us a lot.