Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Award Night!

Wow!!!! A huge Thank you to Kate from A Year with Horses and Marissa from Tucker the Wunderkind. They bestowed upon me the honor of the Honest Scrap award! This award is for blogs that are honest and from the heart. Thank you!!!!!

I opened up my comments and read - You have an award on my blog - I was so excited!!!!! I quickly looked at their blogs and there it was!!!!! Then it was how do I accept this award? Luckily Marrisa is a very clever girl and explained this in her blog (the whole cutting, pasting and copying the picture!) I am really sorry but I have been playing around and looking at the help section and I still haven't figured it out - how to link my text to a website!!!!!!

When you recieve this award you are to bestow it upon 10 blogs (remember to tell them!) and tell your readers 10 things about yourself that they don't know. Well here it goes, 10 things you may not know about me -

  1. I am getting braver on the back of my husbands motorbike.
  2. I harrass Jack my beloved dog all the time - talk to him, wake him, kiss him, lie down next to him to look at him, lift his lips to look at his teeth, look closely at his paws, just generally gaze upon him all the time.
  3. I dream about the day my husband and I live on a hundred acres that we get to set up and we rescue horses and help wayward teenagers.
  4. I loved boarding school.
  5. I have a phobia of needles. I can give them to my horse (I don't enjoy it) but my husband has to come with me if I need a blood test!
  6. I can't touch raw meat. I eat meat - not a lot.
  7. I have a thing about food. Certain food can't touch (otherwise they contaminate eachother!), my weekend salad bread rolls must be made in a certain order, I hate trying new food, I hate any food with seeds ie tomatoes, cucumber, passionfruit, most fruit.
  8. I used to play the piano and flute - sometimes I miss it.
  9. The idea of traveling outside of Australia terrifies me but there are places I would love to go - Montanna, England, Germany, Canada.
  10. My Dad is slowly recovering from Lung Caner. Still having Chemo but it is shrinking!
Wow that was a lot harder than I thought!!!!! OK now I would like to bestow this award onto 10 blogs.
  1. Buckskin and Bay
  2. Diary of the Overanxious Horse Owner
  3. Elie and Werther
  4. From Heaven to Hell: Saving Argus
  5. The Eventing Percheron
  6. The Pioneer Woman
  7. Mugwump Chronicles
  8. Bakerella
  9. A year with Horses
  10. Tucker the Wunderkind
I am really sorry that I can't link these but you will find them on the list of Blogs I Follow! Well goodnight everyone, I am going to dream about my pony and my award!!!!!!

Sunday, June 28, 2009

6 Break Throughs!

Sorry about the two posts today but I have just got back from the paddock and I am very excited!!!! I had 4 break through's this afternoon.

I decided to work Sam in his halter and do some ground work because of the issues we had yesterday. You can read about that in the post below. I started with the YOYO game. He wasn't very interested but soon gave up and would come back to me. I wanted to be able to move his hindquarters away while tapping them with the carrot stick. I have tried this in the past have end up tapping every hard. To the point that I didn't like using that amount of force. Today I decided that I just had to keep going until he gave me what I was after. Surprisingly it didn't take a lot of time or force today. I really don't like using that word - force - but at the moment I can't think of a better word.

I started with rubbing the rump with the carrot stick.
I then started stage one, very softly tapping - I noticed nothing in his demeanor except a tightening through his entire body. Stage one lasted three seconds.
I increased to stage two, the tapping became a little harder - his head went up. Stage two lasted 5 seconds.
I increased to stage three, the tapping increased a little more - he shifted his weight in his body away from the tapping. I immediately stopped tapping but rubbed the area with the carrot stick.

If I needed to go to stage four I probably would have increased the tapping again and used my voice as well and possibly have stepped into the area as well.

I gave him a break of about a minute. During this time licked his lips, came over to me and nudged me with his nose. I gave him a rub and talked softly too him. I then did the whole process again. I only had to get to stage two before he actually took a step!!!!!!!! This was huge! I stopped, rubbed the area and praised him! Lots of good boys and pats. I moved onto the other side and it went the same way.

We would go for a walk and try again. We got to the point where I only had to go to stage one.

I then moved onto riding him. I stayed in the halter because I felt like it really. I also wanted to see if I could move his hindquarters in the same way while on him. We walked trotted and cantered. Transitions up and down from halt up to canter and back down again. I then asked for halt and using the carrot stick while mounted I rubbed the area and started to tap. Sam was confused. A lot of head nodding, walking forward (this I asked his to stop by bumping the lead rope), moving the shoulders, moving the neck then I had one step sideways with the hind quarters!!!!!!! I rubbed the area and praised him! We had a break and Sam turned around and looked at me - I lent forward and gave his head a rub still praising him. We did it again, went through similar process but it all took less time. We kept going until I could tap and Sam would move. Then started on the other side. Sam had a bit more trouble on this side. I was tapping the near side. This is side that he brings on top of me when we load. I jumped off and went through the process on the ground. He was moving away at the rubbing only. I jumped back on and tried again on the near side. This time after head nodding, walking forward, walking in a circle, moving his shoulders he finally took a step!

We moved out at a strong walk after doing that exercise a few times. Up to a trot and I noticed Sam listening to my inside leg. I was on the right rein which is his good side. I put him on a 20m circle and used my inside leg to push him out a bit - he moved off it! I did it again just to make sure I wasn't feeling things and again he moved off it and he actually had bend through his entire body! He wasn't 'on the bit' but head carriage was level with his withers maybe a tad higher but defiantly not in the air and it was soft not tense. I took my leg off - bend gone, put leg on - bend back! Remember when I ride in a halter it is with one rein. THIS IS HUGE!

I changed the rein at trot and down the long side Sam moved off my inside leg. This time we are talking about his bad side - the left rein. Usually if i go down the long side on the quarter line and ask him too move off my leg he braces through his entire body and speeds up. I had tension but he didn't speed up and he moved off the leg and kept going until we reached the side! I tried on the other long side to make sure I wasn't dreaming and he did it again! THIS IS MORE THAN HUGE!

I changed the rein again and pushed him into a canter, around the riding area and few times then using my seat and voice I asked for trot, walk, halt. Nothing new to this except that he did it all on a straight line with no fence to keep him straight!

The last breakthrough we had today was - if Sam steps on his lead he usually freaks out, throws his head in the air and rushes backwards. I didn't notice but I was standing on the lead, HE GAVE TO THE PRESSURE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I kept my boot on the lead and continued to move his hindquarters. He kept moving his hindquarters and giving to the pressure of his lead rope. I then slung the lead rope up over the saddle and Sam happily followed me back to the stable area. I also played the YOYO game just one more time and he was a lot happier to come to me.

Just to recap, our breakthroughs
  1. Moving the hindquarters using the carrot stick on the ground
  2. Moving the hindquarters using the carrot stick while riding
  3. Bending around the inside leg on the right rein in trot
  4. Moving off the left leg in trot without speeding up
  5. Transitions down from canter to halt on a straight line with no corrections required
  6. Not panicking when stepping on the lead rope
What a huge afternoon! Sorry about the long post but I am just so excited!!!!!!!

HELP!!!!!!!!

Yesterday was a terrible day. I had it all planned - I would take Sam out to Bluewater for a lovely trail ride for something other than flatwork.

I back the car up to the float first go! This is big for me! I packed the car caught Sam and then the fun and games started. Sam is always a pain to load but usually I have him on within 5min. Nope we had a lot of arguments. Generally I just stay on the ramp. looking where I want him to go, asking with the lead rope - not tightly just gentle pressure forward, I might use the end of the lead rope behind me for extra umph to go forward. I got him on after a while but then he wouldn't stay in there long even for me to put the back bar across. This I wasn't overly concerned about I want him loading with no problem. After I had him on and off a few times we had a break, I let him have a pick.

I then asked again and that is when the rearing started. I used even less pressure on his halter thinking maybe I have been using too much but I have a 'u' in the lead rope and just ask by putting my hand with the lead rope in it towards the float and saying 'walk on'. He would rear again, big ones, occasionally pulling me side ways.

I don't think he is afraid on the float. I can get him with both front feet on the ramp and he will go to sleep. When he is in the float he doesn't seem tense to stand in there. He snuffles me and is happy for me to rub him all over. I was able to walk out the front door around the float and back in up the ramp. He backs out quietly - sometimes too slow - he is one leg at a time man. I really do believe he is trying to evade getting on the float.

When he is on I am able to back him up a step or too and then ask him to walk forward again. If I think he is about to back off and not stop I really try to get in first so it seems like it is what I asked for.

I finally had him off and on 3 times quickly and then I put him back in the paddock. This was after working with him for an hour and a half. I was exhausted and starting to feel angry so that is why I put him away and left.

I came back in the afternoon and hooked up the float, bought it out and set it up. Caught Sam and I could tell he was tense. From his paddock he can see me drive in and hooking up the float. I gave him a good scratch and rub all over then started to lead him over to the float. About 20m away he started the rearing again. I made him walk straight past the float and around it a few times. Then I asked him to load, rearing, backing up and just general head shaking, pawing, grinding of teeth. Between 4.46pm and 5.04pm (I kept an eye on my watch) I had him on and off 3 times. So this is a major improvement put I don't want to go through this all the time!

OK so here is what I am thinking. His ground work is not good enough - He isn't yielding/giving to pressure enough. This is showing in his flatwork with moving off the leg. Sometimes in my parelli work when I send him back it can take a bit of asking to come back to me - the YO YO game.

What can I do?!!!!!

He really is calm and happy next to the float, for me to be in float or on the ramp. Is he testing me or is he generally afraid?

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Update

I rode Sam on Tuesday afternoon and he was full of beans. I tried a few different exercises to settle him down a bit and concentrate on me. At the walk figures of 8 on a 6-8m circle with a lot of bend. Up to trot and same thing but on 10 - 12m circles. Out onto a 20m circle and really pushed him out and bought him back over and over. Back to walk then walk - trot transitions. A bit of a canter and back to walk. He was very forward for Sam and really didn't settle and listen until Sarah had finished riding Benny and left the riding area. Then I was able to get some nice, softer work out of him.

What I realised about myself is that not once did I get angry or upset. I just kept going and ignored the behaviour that I didn't like. I used to be one of those people who would yell, pull, jab on the reins if the horse didn't do what I am wanted him to do. I have noticed that especially since I got Sam that I have calmed down a lot. I now have what people call 'patience' I try very hard not to react angrily when things don't go my way. I keep my cool and just keep asking. Maybe change the way I am asking but I ignore the bad behaviour. Don't get me wrong, I have gotten angry with Sam but nothing compared to what I used to and mainly more on the ground when he walks through me!

So what did a I figure out from that ride:
  1. I need to learn more exercises to get Sam to listen to me
  2. I need to work Sam around other horses a lot more often to get him used to it
  3. Sam can go forward and his movement feels like it really improves when he is really forward
  4. I am improving!
Wednesday I unfortunately had to go to the solicitors so I only got to see Sam for half and hour. Feed, rug, clean the paddock and of course lots of kisses and scratches and cuddles!

This afternoon I wasn't feeling very motivated so I thought I would lunge him and work on him listening to me with transitions. He was really good. A bit slow at walk to halt but by the end of the work out (20min) he was really on cue with all his upward transitions and on his canter - trot transition. He even gave me a walk - canter transition!!!! I didn't ask for it but he gave it and continued on in a sensible canter!

I don't really like Sam playing up a lot on the lunge and try to stop it where I can. He only bucked three times and that was in the beginning going into canter. He also was really starting to stretch down in the trot and for a bit in the canter. Nose nearly on the ground. I noticed his inside ear was fixed on me. I don't use side reins. I personally don't really agree with them and I am not confident enough to use them correctly.

Even with all out natural horsemanship work and when you ask them to halt they are to turn towards you - Sam picked up to halt out on the circle and in the way we were going on the fourth try! He then kept halting out there nicely. I was really chuffed at that.

I have been doing a lot of walking in hand and using my hand just behind the girth to ask him to move off the pressure. That is coming along really well. It is also coming a lot better in the saddle with him moving away from my leg. Things are working!

Sunday, June 21, 2009

The Boys!

Sam, my wonderful supporting husband Scott and our beautiful dog Jack!

Videos of Sam

videoThis is Sam today. This first part is from when I first hop on. Through the clip you will see different ways of riding - I was experimenting to see which way works the best with him. I can feel things but I like to see them as well. It was raining slightly as well so Scott had to stop and start a bit to wipe the lense. You will also hear a lot of whineing and panting in the back ground - That is our beautiful dog Jack!






video

In this one you will see at the end in the last canter Sam do his flying change. You have to watch closely because it happens so quickly and smoothly.
I also run through a prep test.

Huge week

We have had a huge week so sorry for the lack of posts. I haven't even ridden much this week. Selling our house certainly stressed me out a whole lot more than I planned! But WE SOLD IT!!!!! A huge weight has been lifted from our shoulders as of Friday afternoon at 4.10pm.

Tuesday I didn't get to ride. Wednesday I was too worked up to ride. Thursday I rode. I saddled Sam up and went to put his bridle on. Sam pinched his nostrils and turned his head away. This is very unlike Sam so I figured he was telling me that he was not a happy camper. No problem we will ride with just a halter. I think this really surprised him because when I led him to the arena it was with a little more energy than normal. We had a lovely ride and I focused on our transitions. Making them happen where and when I wanted them. I also find riding in the halter tells me how much I have been using the reins instead of my legs. I tried to so some leg yielding. To the left no problem but to the right just was not going to happen. I jumped off asked him to walk out and I used my hand on his side and asked that way. It took him a bit but he finally figured out what I was asking.

Friday we found out about the house so no riding. Saturday I worked him and I think the leg yielding on the ground helped. I did it before getting on this time and I think that helped. It still isn't sharp but in the walk it is a lot better and in trot we are getting a few steps.

Sunday, I asked my husband to video us. I find this a useful tool with training. I haven't had a chance to watch it yet but my husband can't believe how much better we look. It has probably been about 2 months since he has watched us ride. I noticed something today. I don't give Sam a good enough chance to warm up. I demand too much too early. After one of our walks he really came round, moved off my legs, head was a lot quieter. He was over bent so I think I am a little too tough in the warm up and I am finding it hard to push him up out of this. I had a look at my watch and this was about 15min into the ride. I will really watch this from now on. I will try and do a lot more suppling in the warm up.

We also did a flying change today!!!!!!!!!!! I was cantering down the long side and he just wasn't going anywhere. He wasn't listening to any of my aids so I lifted both legs off to give him a good wake up and he did a flying change! Surprised me! I nearly fell off because I was laughing too much! I am hoping we caught it on the camera! I had to get up into a two point position today to get him to go forward in the canter. I think I will need to do this a little more often. We really haven't worked on the canter yet though so our transitions are terrible but I don't mind. He picks up the correct lead 9 out of 10 times. I also have to become braver when I ask. I am always scared he is going to buck or pigroot going into canter. He has never done this but several other horses have with me so I am a little hesitant and use my voice a lot more.

Once warmed up and moving well I really noticed his inside ear focused on me. I gave him quick wash, clean rugs, clean paddock, clean water trough and a special lunch. I love those days!

When I have the video I will try and post it!

Monday, June 15, 2009

WE HAVE TWO GOOD HOOVES!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I am soooooooooooo excited! I had the farrier out this afternoon to shoe Sam and the amount of hoof he was able to take off was amazing! Even the Lew (the farrier) couldn't believe it! His soles fell off on Saturday. It was amazing you could see the abscess he had back in February - it has finally grown out. On the other hoof the bruise he had back in March has also just about grown out! He also made it 5 weeks and 6 days - THE LONGEST HE HAS EVER KEPT SHOES ON FOR!!!!!!!!!

I have been trying to think what it is and I think it is a few things.

I have made sure he has eaten his herbs everyday
I have been oiling his hooves every second day
I have been soaking his hooves with ever moist at least once a week
His paddock is clean and flat - it is harder to get the shoe caught on anything

Sorry but this is huge news for us! Even Lew was happy!

Sunday, June 14, 2009

No Show For Us! :(

DON'T TRY AND SELL YOUR HOUSE AND TRY AND GET YOUR HORSE READY FOR HIS FIRST COMPETITION!!!!

Talk about a stressful week! The people who are under contract with our house are being very annoying. To the point where I found I didn't focus on Sam all the much. I didn't ride everyday because I found I was so worked up about the house there was no point riding. I ended up having Friday off due to stress. I went out and rode Sam at lunch time and he was wonderful. Saturday I worked him and we worked on walk - trot, trot - walk transitions. Walk - trot he is getting a lot better but the first few steps of trot are very slow but round and soft. Trot - walk is terrible - he is leaning, stiffening more than ever. Just another thing for us to work on. I noticed one of his front shoes were getting quite loose. He lost both front soles on Saturday which is awesome for his hooves but it means his shoes then get very loose. I plaited him up anyway and taped up his hooves hoping that would help. This morning when I went out to get him ready the shoe was very loose. My husband and I decided his hooves are more important than his first show. There will always be another show!
This is Sam this morning half ready anyway! At least I know he is happy to stand still while I plait even when it takes me ages! Also next time I will do smaller plaits - I think there ones were a little big on his scrawny neck! We also didn't have Aunty Jodi to help with our forelock, tail and makeup! She also helps keep me calm and does my hair - WE LOVE AUNTY JODI!!!!!!!!

Never mind hopefully the farrier will be able to come out tomorrow morning and hopefully the shoe will stay on until then!

Hard to see but Sam with a wavy mane after I unplaited him!!!!!!!! I love it when they look like this! :)

Monday, June 8, 2009

Just some photos


Sams Paddock

This is Sams paddock.

SAM IS BALD!!!!!!


This is Sam bald!
He looks awesome! It actually hard to tell that he is even clipped when you stand back. Sorry he isn't standing square with his head up but it is hard to get him to pose when it is just me! He handled the whole situation like a pro! Ricky (the gentleman who I got to clip him) was great, so patient, so quick, so professional. I am so glad he was recommended to me. Sam stood still most of the time. I had plans to give him a blanket clip but Ricky had never done one and because his coat wasn't really really long he thought it would look funny so we decided to take the whole lot off! He coped really well having his legs and belly done. We did have to twitch him to do his head. I really didn't want to do this but Ricky assured me it would all be fine and he was done in about 5 min. Sam forgave us afterwards by letting us rub his nose. I kept patting it and touching for the rest of the day to make sure he would let me touch it again!

He feels really cool! I have never dealt with a clipped horse before so it is all new to me. I tried to give him a brush this afternoon because he had rolled in some mud and the brush must have been too hard for him. I will stop in the saddlery tomorrow at lunch time to pick up a softer brush. I will also have a look at sheepskin saddle cloths. I think mine might be a little rough.

I wasn't motivated to ride today so we went for a stroll down the road. I made Sam stride out in front of me so I was in line where the saddle would sit. If I was walking on the near side he was happy to stride out but when I walked on the off side he was a little more hesitant. There is a vacant lot down the road a bit I like to work him in. There are things still going on but it is grassy and big enough for us to work in. I took him down there and tried to back him up and then send him around. He reared up and pulled me with him - this was not going to happen so I asked him to walk forward and we practiced turning, away from me, with me, and backing up if I walked backwards. This seemed to help get him concentrating on me and not what was going on everywhere else. We did this on both sides and then I tried sending him back and around again. This time he was happy to go both ways without getting worked up. I left it at that. I still made him walk home in front of me and what impressed me most was that he didn't try to stop and eat. Generally he stops all the time but today nothing. I could tell that he really wanted to but he restrained himself!

I have been trying to be more observant with Sam lately and I have noticed a few things. On Sunday the pony went to a gymkhana. The pony is Sam's best friend he lives in the paddock next to him. Sam was very upset and would whinny in between mouthfuls of hay. He calmed down once I arrived. He was fine being clipped and when i let him out to have a pick in the riding area he followed me around I noticed. It was subtle - he would just graze after me if that makes sense. I sat down and he came and nuzzled me and then grazed only 5m away. He made sure I was always in his sight. I left him there and went to clean up after the clipping. He followed me through the gate and went back to grazing when he saw me go into the stables. I took him with me so I could clean his paddock - there is no point leaving him out to have a pick around the stables because I can only go for about 2min now before he starts calling out. I cleaned his paddock and he didn't call out for the pony. I went to empty the wheel barrow (this takes me out of sight) and he cried out. I yelled out to him that I was coming back and this seemed to be enough. I sat out of sight for a while just to make sure he was alright with being by himself. Alley was only in a paddock near him and he could see the others but this doesn't seem to be enough. He was coping well with no crying out just munching on his hay so I decided to leave. He saw me go to my car and trotted over to the corner and whinnied. This was a different whinny - normally when I am out of sight and he is worried it is loud and forceful - this was softer, questioning. Does this make sense. I told him that I would be back later and he watched me drive down the driveway and then he trotted down with me.

I worry now. Sam obviously sees me as part of the herd which is great but I don't want to create problems - do horses get separation anxiety with humans? Am I over thinking this - probably.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

He can be an angel!

I took a friends daughter out to see Sam today. Emily is 9 years old (I think) and last year she was having riding lessons with the local riding school. Due to their price rise her mum hasn't been able to afford for her to continue with lessons.

My plan was to ride Sam, let Emily have a ride, wash Sam, clean his paddock and water trough etc. I picked Emily up and we headed out to the paddock. Emily and I haven't really met before so it was a big thing for Emily to come with me. I also don't have children, never really had a lot to do with children so sometimes find it hard to interact with them. Emily just chatted away which was fine by me! We got out to the paddock and took our gear over to the stables and off we went to catch Sam. I pointed him out and poor Emily her eyes nearly popped out of her head - 'He is so big!" Sam came over to the gate to greet us and I put his halter on. She gave him some cookies and just patted him while he munched away. I handed her the lead rope and started walking back to the stables. Emily did really well following and I was proud of Sam as well, he put his head down and walked quietly next to her - he didn't even try to stop and grab a bite while walking!

I showed Emily how to tie a quick release knot for Sam, how to unrug a horse, how to pick up their hooves. She did really well, a little timid but I think she was in awe of Sam's size. He kept sniffing her and putting his nose in the way when she tried to brush him! I though it was cute. Sam seems to like kids - Piper - the little girl where he came from - Sam loved her, he would rest his nose on her head and just breath.

I saddled Sam up and took him out to the riding area. I wanted to ride him first because I hadn't ridden in two days and yesterday Sam seemed quite fresh when I took him out for a pick. Of course I had nothing to worry about, Sam was lethargic (it was midday) and really didn't feel like working. After warming him up I asked Emily to read out my dressage test - I knew the test but I thought this would be good for her, watch, read, learn what I was doing. I read through the test with her first and explained some things and she did really well.

It was Emily's turn to hop on Sam. I was really nervous. I didn't know how Sam would cope with a beginner rider. The balance, the unintentional bump on the mouth, the clumsy aids. Sam was a champion. He walked to slowly and was really listening to my voice and verbal commands. Emily practiced halting and walking and changing the rein. Then we tried to trot. Sam decided that he had done enough work today and that walking would be enough. I ended up having to jog in front of him so he would follow me. We did this and then Emily was able to take him out onto the circle. She did well. Sam wouldn't stay on the circle so she had to steer as well as keeping him going. She changed the rein through the walk and trotted on the other rein. This was Sam's bad side and she did really well. We then practiced at a walk, walking over trot poles and through them, keeping Sam really straight. I found this helped with Emily figuring out how little pressure she needed to use to get Sam to go where she wanted him to go.

We then tried to trot again and this time I wanted her to change the rein at trot outside the circle. I realise now that this was a little too much for Emily and possibly even Sam. It meant Emily turning Sam towards the gate and Sam had had enough so he didn't really listen. Poor Emily got a little confused on how to turn him and they ended up trotting down the paddock at a zig zag with Sams trot getting bigger. Emily coped really well she just pulled Sam around in a smaller circle and I was using my voice to get him to walk. He walked and then halted on his own. Emily wanted to hop off, she said she was alright and not scared but I was still worried.

I jumped back on and practiced the test one more time. If he stays calm on the day I am happy with him poking his nose out slightly and being a little strung out.

We then untacked Sam and let him have a good roll in the sand. Emily thought this was hilarious because Sam would turn around and around before dropping, just like a dog!

We washed him and had to do it twice to get all the sand out of his coat. He is getting clipped in the morning so I had to make sure he was squeaky clean. While Sam dried we sat under the tree watching him and eating out lunch. We left him out in the riding area to have a pick while we went and cleaned his paddock and water trough. Of course half way through I hear Sam screaming out! I had left him with the other horses but for some reason Sam doesn't like being out there on his own. I went to catch him and bring him around to the paddock and he trots up to me and then just follows me over to his halter. I guess I can't leave him out there to have a pick - Strange horse!

I rugged Sam to try and keep him clean and took Emily home. Her mum tells me she didn't stop talking all afternoon. She got a second by second description of what we did. I am so glad that Emily enjoyed herself. I think I will do it again.

I went back out in the early evening to feed Sam his dinner and he was very good and hadn't rolled! I have the camera ready to take photos of him before and after his clip! I am a little anxious!

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Another quiet ride

I rode Sam this afternoon and he was soft, a little lazy, but happy to move off my leg even on his bad side. He is always much better at home anyway. Today I practiced riding some of the moves in the dressage test. Figure of 8 at x. I practiced making them right then I moved onto the serpentine. I didn't focus too much on where Sam had is head more if we were doing the moves right. I really focused on not letting him fall out through the outside shoulder which he likes to do. I think we went well and I would be happy with the way he went this arvo for him to do that at the comp. I am expecting him to be tense but hopefully not as bad as he is at out lessons.

Reading the blog A year with Horses - Kate really makes me think which I like. The other she talked about high energy and low energy get a horse to day something -

Sam this afternoon did not want to stand and wait for his rug to be put on before his dinner. I shook his lead rope side to side until he stopped moving forward and then I left slack in the lead rope and continued to put the rug on. He took a step forward and I only had to put one swing in the lead rope before he stopped and took a step backward. I continued on, he stepped forward and I picked up some slack in the lead rope and he stopped and stood still for the whole time it took me to put his rug on. I am sure we will need more lessons with this but I got the desired outcome with not a lot of yelling, frustration, anger etc. Tomorrow I will make him stand just outside his paddock again to be rugged and I bet it will only take one swing then a pick up the slack a bit. This is the sort of training I like.

Tomorrow Sarah and I are going to practice our tests and call them out for each other. I'll let you know how we go!

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Horrible Lesson

I had a shared lesson this afternoon and it was horrible!!!!! I should have warmed Sam up at home but I didn't have time so I jumped on and started to walk down to the riding school. I could feel that I was going to be in for a fun ride. You know when you can feel them dancing under your seat? People probably can't see it but you sure can feel it! When we got there I asked if I could borrow a lunge lead and I took him into the round yard and started him on the lunge. He wasn't too bad and I made him do a lot of transitions up and down. He had a wonderful time bucking and I reprimanded him each time. He started to focus more on me though you could tell he was having a lot of trouble with this. I jumped on him in the round yard to make sure I was happy to ride him. He seemed ok so I took him into the arena where Sarah had already started the lesson.

He was working ok until we went into trot and had to follow Sarah. Benny is a lot more forward than we are and I am not sure what happened, I was asking for more bend, Benny was going away from us and we were on the part of the circle that he always tenses up on. He just went up! Came down and went up again! Scared me too pieces. When he came down he just stood there while I composed myself. I think he scared himself a little. It took a bit to get him to walk forward but he did and was quiet while I hyperventilated!!!! I picked up the contact and kept going. He was still so tense but I did got some nice work out of him as well. About 50min into the lesson I was really over it all and ready to call it a day but Jenny (the instructor) wanted us to do some cantering. I said no and worked Sam on a small circle in the middle of the arena. He coped well with Benny cantering around but I could just tell he was really over it. I asked him to collect up again and he got really antzy again. He probably felt that I was over it so figured why do we have to do this! Jenny thought he was better today than last week though.

Unfortunately my confidence has plummeted and now I am having second thoughts about the competition. I will still take him but I will decide on the day if it is worth it or not. I know I need to take him out more so he gets used to it but maybe I am not the person for that. You know what I think Sam would really like - I am not sure what it is called but it is like orienteering on a horse and at each stop you have to do something, jump a log, open and shut a gate without getting off, things like that. I think Sam an I would both really enjoy that. I find he relaxes on a slightly looser rein but I keep getting told to shorten my reins, shorten my reins, shorten my reins! I told Jenny that I have never ridden with this sort of a contact before and I just have to keep shortening those reins!

Tomorrow I think I will just ride Sam in his halter again and relax! Or take him up the road and ride in the vacant lot. We will get there I am just having a bad night!

Thanks for listening!!!!!!!

I booked Sam in to get clipped Sunday morning!!!!! I'll take photos!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Monday, June 1, 2009

I HAVE NEWS!!!!!!!

We are moving to WAGGA WAGGA!!!!!!! Just so you can imagine where Wagga is compared to Townsville - 2200km south! It is cold in winter and hot in summer and just delightful!!!!! We are moving in September and I can't wait! It doesn't snow but pretty close to it! The summer are a dry heat so much more bearable! We are hoping to find acreage to rent so I can keep Sam at our back door! This means we will have to get Sam a friend!

Poor Sam he really is going to freeze. He has never been south of Townsville and the coat on him already is like a yak! We are going to get a transport company to take him down so it is a lot less stressful for all of us. I think he will travel a lot better on a truck and the company I use - Rudds is awesome. They will keep him over night if they think he needs a break.

So much to do and organise - sell our house, find somewhere to live, finding agistment until we find a house on acreage. Finding a job. At least if we sell the house I will have time on my side to find a job so I can be there to settle Sam in and Jack - our dog!

I didn't get to work Sam today due to the real estate agent so hopefully he will be well behaved for our lesson tomorrow!!!!

Did I mention that I was EXCITED!!!!!!!