Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Winter is back!

Well the big freeze has hit us too! Over the weekend temperatures dropped to 14 degrees during the day and Sunday night was down to 4 degrees! Over at Perisher it snowed! We are in summer people, normally we are sweltering in shorts and singlet tops at Christmas time, lying around until the evenings because it is too hot to even breath! They say things will be warming up soon - hope so I had to pull out winter rugs again!

Saturday I had to work and Christmas shop. I was exhausted when I got home so Sam got the day off. Sunday was horrid weather - thunderstorms rolled on through at hourly intervals and the wind was horrible. I tried to brave the conditions in the afternoon racing out between storms but Sam would not have a bar of it. He was up on his toes and monsters lurked in the long grass, behind trees and who knows where else! I thought I would stay in the arena area, just at a walk do some suppeling exercises but this just made matters worse. I ended up getting off and taking him back to his paddock. Walking over there the rain started again and he was trying to hide his face out of it - Sam really is the biggest princess ever!

Monday was still cold and windy and I was just too tired to play with the horses so they got an early dinner and I went to bed early.

This afternoon we rode. I changed things today. I know I have said it before in the past. WARM UP is soooooo important. Especially with a horse who takes a good 20min to warm up and start being able to work. Today we spent 10min in the walk, suppeling, moving off the leg, stretching down. Halt, walk, walk, halt. We moved up to the trot. The walk, trot transition is usually horrible, a huge jump in the air instead of using his hind end. Today the first transition to trot wasn't too bad. I didn't correct him because I could feel that he did try and use his hind end. In the trot I just asked once again for bend around the inside leg, changing the rein a lot, small circles, big circles. After a while he started to really focus and start to show some rhythm.

Back to walk and he really stretched down and stepped out. I would be very happy with that walk in a dressage test. After a bit I picked up the contact and we worked on some walk, trot, walk transitions. These were quite good, especially the walk, trot.

We moved up to canter and after a warm up with going forward in the canter I thought I would have a go at these trot, canter transitions. Quite a few were a disaster but I really concentrated each time so I could change the way I asked each time until I figured it out. We got two really good ones so I stopped there. Back to a walk. Once again it was big and forward with stretching down.

I thought I would have a go at the trot, canter transitions the other directions. Walk, trot transition perfect. Trot was lovely. So lovely I ended there instead.

I went to get Poppy to take her for her 20min trot exercising off Sam. We started in the back paddock and trotted around for 10min. Poppy started lag so i thought we would have a go at going across the road into the reserve. We just got there when Megan my neighbour came up the lane way on Gundy, leading her new horse Cooper. Well she is trialing Copper. He is a little Quarter Horse Gruella in colour. About 14.2hh, 5yo. He really hasn't done much and injured his knee about 2 years ago. It is huge but seems sound. Vets have checked him out and say he is good to go. His hind quarters aren't very nice but he has a lovely face.

After having a chat (as we girls like to do) I showed Megan the tracks hubby and I had mowed into the side of the hill in the reserve. The grass is so high in there - over Poppy's head! With the fear of snakes and goannas the grass was just too long to ride through. I was so impressed with how both Sam and Poppy dealt with this. They both walked along happily with Megan and her two behind us. At the end we stopped and chatted some more and all the horses stood quietly, swishing their tails a the mozzies. All good ponies!!!!!!

So another go at riding everyday with the good weather!!!!!!

Saturday, December 18, 2010


OK guys I have just noticed poor little Poppy's muzzle is starting to be covered in warts! I know sometimes babies go through this stage but she is meant to be about 3.5 years old. WHAT SHOULD I DO!!!!!!! They are growing so fast.

I heard smothering them in Vegimite works.

Thursday, December 16, 2010


I hope all my American friends are surviving the big chill you seem to be having at the moment. Does it help if I tell you, we have had a few very warm days but it starting to cool down a bit again, but still t-shirt weather during the day! Sorry had to rub it in! We have had a lot of rain, flooding so mozzies are out in full force. Sam and Poppy are sprayed with aeroguard every morning and night to give them a little peace.

Sam has started his fitness program. I am starting now, getting him ready for his first dressage comp in March. He is working ok. I am finding that he is starting out quite stiff and it is taking a good 15-20min for him to loosen up. His walk trot transitions are improving. He only jumps into them about the first 4 times then figures out to use his back end first. Then you can really feel the power.

Poppy is doing well but OMG she is fat. I have started to work her more to try and get her to loose a few pounds. How do people keep weight off little ponies? She is allowed out on native pasture for 1hr in the early morning (when the sugars are low) then she is locked up in a dirt paddock about the size of a dressage arenafor the day. During the day she gets 350grams of wheaten chaff, 1kg of oaten hay and the scraps of hay Sam has left from the night before. In the afternoon she is led off Sam at a trot for about 15-20min or lunged for 15-20min. For dinner 350grams of wheaten chaff, founderguard, 1kg of soaked and dried lucerne hay. She gets to have a pick of grass while I work Sam. She has pockets of fat in places where she shouldn't! Her crest is still loose but I really don't want her to founder - I worry.

Spoke to a fellow about an arena so fingers crossed that will happen in the new year. I had the gentleman out to look at the area for the wash bay so he will pour the concrete in the new year. Hubby and I will get the posts in over the Christmas period for the wash bay area and another yard. By the end of January I should have a wash bay!

My wonderful hubby also put shelving in my tack room. I think it looks great, all I need now is to find some saddle racks. It is all coming together slowly!

Friday, December 3, 2010

We are alive!

Yes we are alive! Life gets in the way!

Sam is working well, we have had another lesson and it was in a new place. Scary place. The arena was surrounded by trees and shrubs but Sam worked well, of course. I had a small panic attack during the first canter but Sam looked after me and carried me around like a pro. My instructor was happy with our progress which is always fantastic. She did tell me suck it up and just ride. Sam is quiet and isn't going to do anything bad. I also have to be a bit tougher, not let him get away with so much. Because he is a lazy horse by nature when I let him get away with things - be sloppy through transitions - it is harder for me to get him to work when I want him too.

Poppy is improving as well. She is really starting to trust now and allows me to put her flyveil on without much fuss. She is doing well with her ground work and lunging. She is even jumping a small jump while on the lunge. She seems to enjoy this, kicks up her heels afterwards and squeals sometimes! I gave Poppy her first bath and plaited her mane the other weekend - she loved the attention! I love ponies!

I was able to head down to Melbourne for Equitana. My neighbour came with me and we shopped for ten hours straight the first day and about 5hours the second. I purchased two saddlecloths, some Eco2000 shampoo and Show off spray, a horse dressage head belt buckle, a polar fleece jacket, wormers and some white dressage boots (the fleece ones) for Sam. I was very controlled. Found some great info about fencing, working horses, generally looking after them. Next time it is on (in two years time) I am going to be organised and get tickets to some of the performances and clinics. My head was spinning for days afterwards with all the information - it was a bit of an overload! It really was awesome.

I got to pencil at the Wagga Wagga dressage Championships the other weekend. I have never done it before and had to pencil for the Grand Prix, and Intermediate tests but the judge was lovely, helped me out and we got through it. My friend Katie was competing and did quite well. I got a photo of Wilson. Wilson is smaller than Poppy and just beautiful. He has a huge character and does his job very well. He was bought to baby sit one of her big horses. He used to panic and scream and just be a ball of nerves at competitions when she took the other big horse away. With Wilson he stays calm, is happy to stand tied to the float and munch his hay! Happy horse, better competition results!

We are having terrible weather at the moment, a lot of unusual rain which is putting a dampener on our riding. I will be taking Sam to the indoor on Saturday and Sunday so we can do some solid work.

I have been reading all your blogs - keeping up to date with everyone. Sounds like you are all having fun even if it is starting to get chilly for you guys!

I promise to blog more often! I will try and get some up to date photos of Sam for you. He is looking good at the moment.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Sam is a 'Work Horse'!

This afternoon my neighbour came to collect the sheep so Sam and I had a go at rounding them up! Keep in mind when we bought the sheep down Sam went crazy in the adjacent paddock, bucking, rearing, racing around, snorting.

I rode him out around the sheep and started to push them up towards the gate. The sheep were really very good and moved out the gate and up the lane with little amount of pushing from Sam and I. My neighbour and I followed slowly behind as the sheep were running and we wanted them to slow down. At one point the sheep were out of view so we stepped it up to a trot. Sam was tense but listening and settling into a rhythm. When we were close to where we had to turn them into the gate my neighbour went to canter off to get in front of them - Sam was having none of that. He started to prance and I was very concerned that he would explode so I jumped off and followed on foot.

Once the sheep were in I mounted up and walked Sam in and around the sheep. I also asked him stand while we chatted. This also was difficult for him today, he fiddled with his bit, tried to engage my neighbours horse into a game, moving his feet but in all fairness he hasn't really been worked for close to 3 weeks. We were doing something different and exciting, we were in a new environment, so I didn't punish him just asked him to stand.

He walked home happily and on a loose rein. So I was very proud of him and myself. We both stepped outside of our comfort zones and I think we dealt with it all very well!

Go Sam the working horse!

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Two Sleeping Ponies

I looked out my kitchen window this morning and this is what I saw! Too cute!

Saturday, October 30, 2010


I was finally able to get a few photos of the little sheep. Aren't they cute!!!! I just love them! Yesterday morning I was calling Poppy and Sam to come and and get their breakfast and I heard the sheep starting to bleat. Concerned that something was upsetting them I went to investigate - nope they had all come down for their breakfast as well!

Raining here again this weekend so no riding for Sam and I. Weekend inside to catch up on paperwork, internet, DVD's! Have a good horsey weekend!

PS - Kate I hope Pie arrives safely!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

New job, non horsey people and sheep!

I started a new job last week, hence the long absence once again. I have to figure out a new routine for the mornings and the afternoons, feeding, turn out times, riding - you know what it is like.

My farrier rang me yesterday to tell me he was going away for 10 days (how nice is that! He actually rang me to tell me I thought that was very nice.) My neighbour would like to try him as well and Sams front shoe nails are starting to raise and I don't think they would last another two weeks so we organised to take our horses into him for the day as he doesn't have the time to come out to us.

Nobody is horsey at my new employment place which is a little difficult but I'm used to it. I told my new boss today that I may be a little late in the morning. I am not planning on it but if things don't go to plan then I my be, the conversation went like this.......

Me: Mary, I may be a little late in the morning as I have to bring a horse into town.

Mary: What do you mean?

Me: I am bringing my horse in for day care.

Mary: There is a horse day care?

Me: Yep I bring him in once a week :) , no I am taking him to my farrier's place.

Mary: Farrier?

Me: He is getting new shoes.

Mary: Your horse gets shoes?!

Me: Yep he is going shoe shopping!

Mary: That's fine if your a little late. (With a very bewildered look on her face!)

I love non horsey people sometimes. They just don't get it. With rain and starting the new job Sam has been getting a bit of a holiday but now that I am getting a feel for my new times we should be able to start work again. I think he has been missing it. He has been looking a little depressed lately and is enjoying getting out when I have had the time.

We also got a herd of sheep today. Our neigbour has leant them to us to help eat out some of the weeds in the back paddock. Boy did Sam put on a show for us when we were trying to get them through the gate, prancing and rearing and kicking up his heels. Wish I had a chance to get a few photos for you. When he rears he goes straight up and stands there for a bit before coming back down - it is impressive but I am glad he doesn't do it when I am on board! When the sheep settle in I will get some photos for you. They are Dorset's - the white ones with black faces and legs - sooooo cute!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

My US Friends!

OK guys I have a huge favour to ask you all. The Aussie dollar is very good at the moment with the American dollar and I shouldn't pass up the opportunity to buy of course much needed saddlery, rugs, anything else that Sam can't live without. So if you don't mind, could please let me know your favorite on line saddlery's so I can go shopping!!!!!!!

I know Dover saddlery Jeffers Equine and that is about it.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Sam's Birthday and an encounter with native wildlife

Yesterday was Sam's birthday - He is now 11 years old! I was a horrible mother and didn't do anything for his birthday! I took him to Pony Club instead! I was asked to instruct so I took the opportunity to take Sam out in company of others. He dealt with the atmosphere quite well. He waited in the yard while I instructed and then I saddled him up and decided to take him a little away from the others to lunge him first. He certainly gave us a lovely display of what a bronc should look like. I finally got him to calm down and concentrate on what he was doing.

I jumped aboard and we walked around taking it all in. I took him into the dressage arena and asked him to trot. He relaxed into it quickly so I felt comfortable enough to ask him for a canter. He happily canter around so i ended it there. We went for another walk around and called it quits. We loaded back up and headed for home.

Today I wanted to get him out of an arena and took him over into the reserve to do some fitness work. He really worked well, rounded nicely in the trot and pushed himself from behind. We did some big circles and figures of 8 on the side of the hill. Up into a canter and I got up off his back and he bowled along, really got his breathing in a regular rhythm. We were having a lovely canter, up to the top of the hill and there it was in front of us.......... a goanna! Thank goodness we have been working on our halts. Sam did a lovely halt from the canter. Back on his haunches and a little slide to it as well. We both stared at this huge creature as it turned and ran up the closest tree. I could feel Sam's heart pounding and I think mine was pounding just as hard! I was so proud of Sam not to panic or turn and bolt away.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

How to clean a tail?

I have been washing Sam's tail lately but just can't seem to get the grime and dirt out from the middle or on the dock. Anybody got any great tips or what they use? I use Amino Gloss and find it works well over his body. Easy to use, gets him clean, leaves him soft and smelling yummy and easy to wash out as it doesn't sud up too much.

Also something to really get into the base of his mane - so when I plait it, it doesn't look dirty.

My mum has moved closer to me so on the weekend we went over to see her new house. (Instead of being about 15hrs away she is now 3.5hrs away) She is living in a beautiful part of the world - the Southern Highlands. Very horsey, very English countryside, beautiful boutiques, I am very jealous! We found a new horse shop and I will defiantly be going back every time I visit mum! They import Rambo, Amigo horse rugs, Kentucky clothing - Most of our horse stores in Australia do not carry these brands, so this lady has decided to open a shop called Horsewerks and imports these wonderful clothes! I did buy Sam a German polar fleece rug. We will use it for travelling! (He had to have it as it was reduced by about 65%)

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Just some photos

Wilbur hiding.

Poppy having a snooze

Little Laura who used to be with us

Friends huge dogs!

My beloved Jacki whom I still miss!

The boys checking out the morning view


Good Ol' Strides. We still miss you and love you!

I finally found him!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010


My absence has been intentional, I am struggling to decide what to write. I have not been in a good head space this month which has been reflecting in my riding. Poor Sam he has been trying so hard but I am giving mixed signals so he acting out - fair enough too.

I would like to go on a quiet trail ride with a quiet calm horse but I can't even achieve that at the moment. Things will work themselves out and I don't blame Sam - even though he is up on his toes, he is patient with me and I thank him for that.

One problem I am finding with our new addition - Poppy is the separation anxiety Sam now has. When they are in the same paddock he is horrible to her but when she is on the other side of the fence heaven forbid if she goes out of sight! I take her for walks in the afternoon and Sam goes crazy. Works himself into a lather of sweat, screaming for her. I am hoping he will soon get used to it but it seems to be getting worse!

Things will sort themselves out and life will become easier in time.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Back on board!

Sorry about the long absence. Sam is well - happy and feeling a very big spring in his step. With all the rain we have had the clover is really coming up in the paddock. It is still hard to work him due to the ground but we are slowly getting into some more consistant work. I have discovered the Pony Club grounds aren't too bad to ride on and only a 2.5km ride. We have used the grounds a couples of times.

Sam has a new friend, Little Poppy Poppin'. She is about 9hh, 3yo. Mini x Welsh A. She is very cute and is learning the ropes here quickly. She is getting better at having her halter put on, things over her back and picking up her hooves. She has also put on a bit of weight since arriving so is already on a diet! Sam loves her. He is a little mean at times but if she is out of sight when in the paddock there is a lot of calling and cantering around until she either answers or he finds her. He is good with leaving her when we go riding which is good. I won't make you read any more just indulge yourselves in the cuteness!

The photo that melted my heart.
She had just stepped off to the truck and we were leading her to the paddock.
Her first day with us - a little unsure of it all but willing to give it a go.
Sam more than happy to share his dinner with this little ball of fluff - this does not happen any more!
She comes riding with us!!!!!!

Monday, August 16, 2010

The indoor where I have been riding

Just thought I would show you where I have been riding. This is the indoor arena at the Riding for Disabled Association. It has great footing not too deep at all.

A new instructor, new thoughts

I had a really good lesson yesterday. I am trying not to get too excited just yet but old Sam was poking through. The weather a terrible so we were at the indoor I have been taking Sam to.

We worked on getting a contact while asking Sam to be forward. We soon got it and Sam was working in a nice round frame. Not all the time but it was quite steady and soft. When he was getting tired he was really leaning on my hands but he worked well and when asked would come up off them even though it was hard for him - and ME!!!!!!

What I liked about this lady is that she did not expect things instantly. At one point she asking for Sam to be more forward so I gave him a bump which of course made him put his head in the air, hollow his back and go tense. She does not want that - keep him calm and relaxed and squeeze, if it takes half a circle that is no problem - he is learning and we want it to be a happy place not a scary really uncomfortable place. We also worked on transitions and it was interesting because Sam has a lot of difficulty with walk, trot transitions - with his locking stifles it makes it hard for him. He sort of hops/rears into it. Sometimes we can get a lovely transition but only about 50% of the time. We did three transitions and then I was asked to keep trotting she believes to try 3 times and if it still isn't working to move on. Tomorrow is another day. I am still thinking about this one.

Scott came and videoed the lesson for me and watching it I think it was the best, most consistent Sam and I have ever worked. I will having another few lessons with her just to make sure it wasn't a one off but so far so good!!!!!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Not finding relaxation

Yesterday I took Sam to the indoor again. The amount of rain we have had this week is unbelievable. Sam loaded the best he has ever done. Straight on. Stood there while I put the ramp up and everything. Looks like the training and perseverance has finally paid off. Sam was tense while riding. We started with walk, trot and canter on a loose rein. The moment I took up a contact we had tension issues. So I concentrated on myself that I was weighted evenly through my ankles, relaxed in my seat and legs, let my shoulders drop. We did figures of eights with 15m circles to help bend and soften. I did get 1/4 circles of nice work. Rest, long rein walk. Once Sam warmed up and I think he realised that I wasn't going to bump him hard he seemed to relax a bit more. What I am noticing is that he doesn't really want to take a contact, he seems to be bracing so there is nothing in my hands if that makes sense. So I pushed him out in trot and then using my seat bought him back, I tried that for a bit - no difference. So I did serpintines and tried to get him to stretch down - this helped a little.

With our canter work I worked on our transitions a little more. On the right rein he would quicken his trot and fall into the canter so I took him right back. After a few goes we certainly had improvement. His canter was forward and not sluggish. He felt reasonably light and off the forehand. Change the rein and his left lead he picks up better but with a bigger hop. I wonder if this has to do with not having the strength yet in his hindquarters. Also his stifles.

Poor Sam was exhausted by the end, really falling on the forehand, heavy in my hands. We ended with a lovely swinging walk.

I have a lesson this afternoon with a new person so hopefully she will be able to help me with relaxation while asking Sam to be forward.

PS Sam loaded first go again for the trip home!!!!!!!!

Sunday, August 8, 2010

A better ride

Today's ride was a lot nicer. I made sure Sam was really relaxed at the walk before anything else. I did a few relaxation exercises for myself, breath in taking the shoulders up, breath out dropping the shoulders right down. Just moving the head around from side to side and back to front. Taking the reins in one hand and letting that arm drop down from the shoulders.

I asked Sam up into the trot and let him poke around. No pressure just trot and up into the canter. He carried himself around at the canter in a very strung out way but was calm and relaxed.

After another walk I gathered up the reins for a light contact and asked Sam up into the trot. It took a bit of pressure to get him into the trot but I didn't want to bump him because this is where he gets upset. At first he was rushing, throwing his head and showing general signs of tension and being upset. I kept asking him to stretch down, change of rein through figures of eight and serpentines. Soon I could feel him relaxing, slowing down within himself and starting to just trot. Back to walk and we walked on a loose rein for a few minutes. We practiced walking straight and halting.

Back up into trot and this time the transition was better. Not so much head throwing and he responded quicker to my squeeze. Once we were settled again in the trot I asked for a canter. He rushed in the trot, went stiff as a board and stuck his little nose out. I asked him to come back and soften and tried again. Once again went stiff as a board, stuck his nose out and rushed. I bought him back again and softened again. This time I used a stronger half halt and used my voice. Much better. He was tense but not any where near as much. I let him canter around and concentrated on my position. The transition from canter to trot was awful but we can't fix everything at once. My focus today was to try and keep Sam relaxed.

Changed the rein and our canter transition was a lot better. For our cool down I took Sam over to the reserve and we had a lovely long walk on a loose rein up and down the hills and through the trees. I think he really enjoyed it.

So what I believe is that Sam is a horse that you can not bully. He likes things to be taken slowly and softly. Most horses are probably this way but he is just 'vocal' about it. I hope to fit in a ride again tomorrow afternoon and see what we can achieve then!

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Bad lesson, new instructor?

I had another lesson today at the RDA. I think I will try a new instructor. I got there early today so I took Sam to the indoor to warm up. He was relaxed and happy at walk, trot and canter. I didn't ask for anything and he was happy to cruise along. Jane turned up and he went tense straight away. Jane likes a horse to be very responsive. So when we are at halt and want to walk on if I squeeze with my seat and get nothing or Sam is slow to start walking I have to bump with my legs. When I bump with my legs I still have to get a 'big' reaction. I don't like this. My confidence isn't really up to that yet. Sam also gets upset with this.

We worked on my position alot which was good - I like that because I believe that will really help Sam and able me to ride more effectively.

Sam was rushing and tense during our trot work. We have a new exercise of doing figure of eights with 10m circles. This does make him slow down, think and we really asking him to bend and step under himself. After a while he is able to change direction without lifting his head and getting tense through the change of rein. We he becomes soft and flowing we take him out onto a bigger circle.

Then we did walk canter transitions. Poor Sam found this a little too much and started to grind his teeth. Once in canter he really rushed, fell in on the circle and generally just ploughed around. We also did a few trot canter transitions and I thought they were terrible but she didn't give instruction while I was trying to do them. She helped me work on his canter because he is very strung out and on the fore hand but at no time helped with those transitions.

By the end Sam was extremely wound up - leaping during our canter work and the grinding was getting really bad. I ended up saying that was enough for today and walked him out just to let him cool down and relax. When Jane left I could feel Sam start to relax.

I understand you want your horse to be responsive but I thought it would be better to start off with a relaxed horse who is willing to make transitions in a quiet manner. Once we have that established then work on them being more responsive. She keeps telling me for collective work we need our horse to be forward and I agree but at the moment I want a quiet steady soft frame and then start working on finer details.

I think I will have to talk to her and tell her that I am not really liking what Sam is becoming. I like my position and how that is improving but I don't like how upset Sam is getting now. He used to be such a laid back cruisy horse and now there seems to be a lot of tension. I am not just blaming Jane I am the one riding so I am doing a lot to upset him but I am following her direction.

There is another instructor coming to town next weekend. I have heard reports about her so I think I will try and organise a lesson and see how we get along.

A great thing today though. I loaded Sam, towed him to the lesson, unloaded and then reloaded and towed home and unloaded all by myself today. He unloaded so well. We have been working on waiting in the float until asked to back out and to back out slowly. Seems like that training is really paying off. Loading he still bawks once and then loads fine. He does need encouragement with the dressage whip though to keep going up the ramp. I was very proud of myself and of course Sam!!!!!!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Sam had a bath!

I took advantage today of the warm weather we had. We reached 15 degrees with no wind so it was nice and warm in the sun, SAM GOT A BATH! First shampoo since we moved here! I don't think Sam enjoyed it too much but I sure did feel better. Clean boy, clean rugs, knot free tail. Of course it hasn't lasted long. He rolled after I put him back in the paddock but at least his body is clean!

I am really good at getting distracted when I'm at home so I didn't get a chance to ride but I am planning to ride tomorrow afternoon as I am finishing work early. The farrier is coming in the morning which is good, Sam get a pedicure to go with his clean body!!!!!

Sunday, August 1, 2010

A lesson in an indoor! and Sam's here to stay!

The weather has been terrible here all week so my instructor organised for us to use an indoor arena near her. The RDA - Riding for Disabled Association - has a great indoor arena and we were able to use it for $20 an hour. With the rain and wind I was a little worried about how Sam would cope in a new environment with all the noise but of course he proved himself to be a gem!

I packed the car and loaded Sam. He only had one bawk at loading and then we were up and in. Impressive as we were loading in the rain and wind - very cold. My OH drove us there and he dealt with the awful conditions very well. Sam unloaded well. I lead him down to the arena, he had a good look around on the way but was happy to keep going without walking on top of me. We saddled up and had a walk around the indoor to check everything out. He snorted at a few things but on the whole wasn't too concerned.

The lesson was good. Jane (my instructor) had a ride and gave him a tune up for me. She really pushed him and put him under pressure. He coped ok. He did push the limit a little but he was trying to figure out exactly what was being asked and once he figured out the 'comfort' area he was happy to work in that area. His head carriage is not still as he really doesn't have the strength to carry himself properly yet but we will get there. After Jane had ridden I jumped on board and I love it when you can really feel the difference the moment you sit in the saddle.

At the walk I felt that I just pushed forward with my seat and instantly we had a powerful forward walk. WOW. Jane wanted me straight up into a trot as he was still figuring everything out and being that we are always trying to get Sam to go forward we didn't want to stop that forward thinking. I still found it difficult to achieve what Jane does but we did a few different exercises and I felt glimpses of what she feels and achieves so I have something to work towards.

Near the end of the lesson Jane ran through a dressage test with me. The rain really started to pelt down, a truck turned up and unloaded 3 horses, we had to work at the end of the arena that had things stored there. All these things distracted Sam and I really struggled with getting his focus back. There were parts where I had to canter and we hadn't done any work on the canter yet so I found this especially difficult. What I did find though was there were areas where we really had some nice work. I had to trot across the diagonal and it was really nice bar about 5m. Another was we had to let the rein out and let the horse stretch down on a 20m circle and then take up a contact again - that was really nice.

So while we had some terrible work we also had some really lovely work. The best thing was that my OH came along and videoed some of it. I can see that my position has improved. I sit up a lot straighter but Jane is always telling me to turn my toes in at my knee. I finally saw today what she was talking about. WOW I never realised how badly I turn my toes out so I can really work on that too. Also - SHORTEN MY REINS!!!!!

I would like to go back to the indoor at least once a week if I can manage it. Once we are able to down load the video I will post some of it for you to see.

When I say Sam is back it was the oaten hay I am sure of it. He hasn't been worked since Monday and he was like he used to be after no work. So I am glad I figured out what I problem was. I think this will also help my confidence with him after no work.

Friday, July 23, 2010

The Old Sam

The old Sam was with me this afternoon. Sam has been grumpy for a while now but this afternoon he was happy to be with me and work with me. I didn't have long but I wanted to lunge him for a bit and try a new piece of equipment I got. It is the kincade lunging system. The jury is still out but I think it was ok.

Sam was just really soft, looking for me, happy to be with me. I hope he stays around for bit!!!!!!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Hay feeder and SAM has a break through!

My hay feeder is now finished!!!!! I got the idea from 'the hay saver grazing box' Last night was the first night they got to eat from it with the mesh over the top and it certainly helped with the wastage. When I put the hay on the ground they would walk all through it, put it in the hay feeder without the mesh they nose it out so I was happy to see some hay left in the feeder but hardly any on the ground! I like this because their head is in a more natural feeding position. With hay nets and bags I found when they pulled the hay out it helped develop the wrong muscles - under their neck. It also slows them down a lot, keeps them occupied longer both good points I think.
These are some photos from yesterday when I let them out into the lane way.

I forgot to tell you about the big achievement Sam made yesterday!

A bit of back ground first - If he ever stepped on his lead rope he used to freak out, rush backwards and panic. I have been working with this problem a little. I didn't really want to leave a halter on him with a lead rope attached and hope he figured it out - I was concerned he would really hurt or bruise his poll area. When I did any groundwork with him I would pass the lead rope in between his front legs and have it around the pastern area and hold onto the end. If Sam lifted his head then the lead rope would move along his pastern area and put some pressure on his poll. In the beginning he couldn't even cope with this - he would still freak out and rush backwards. Soon he realised to give to the pressure and keep his head down and not fight. I did this with all four legs.

Yesterday when I was over in the reserve after I had finished riding I let the lead rope fall to the ground while he was munching and I was walking around collecting kindling for the fire. I turned around to get him and there he was, head lowered because he was standing in his lead rope!!!!! No panic just standing there watching me, I guess waiting for me to help him! I laughed, asked him to back up and gave him a huge scratch!!!!! I was so proud of him! I really didn't do that training often - probably about 3 times over a 6 week period and for only about 5 - 10min each time. I was really impressed that it had worked, I wasn't sure if I was on the right track or not.

I also found out to hire the indoor arena at the Uni is only $15 an hour!!!!! Now I just have to figure out when I can fit it in!

Monday, July 19, 2010

Double Post Today

This afternoon the sun came out around 3pm. I raced outside, brushed Sam and did some float loading practice. I did this yesterday and was able to get him to load and to stand there while I did the back of the float up. Today I took Sam up to the float, tied him too the float while I put the ramp down and opened it all up. I untied Sam and up he went. Stood still while I closed up the back and walked away. I was so proud!!!!!! That was it I wasn't going to do it again.

There is something that I would like to teach Sam but I am having trouble with teaching him. If I am standing on a mounting block and I would like him to move closer I would like to be able to tap him on the 'off side' to get him to step into me so he is closer. I tried standing at his shoulder and tapping the off side hip. He moved forward, backward, into the whip anyway but towards me. I put the lead rope on the off side and held it up at his wither and turned his head slightly away from me. My reason - so he couldn't go through that off side shoulder. He still moved forward, backward, into the pressure with his hindquarter. At one point I felt a slight shift in his weight toward me so I stopped tapping immediately and praised him. I tried again but got no where. I understand why he won't step into me because he has never been allowed too but now I actually want him too. I guess I will just keep trying.

I then took him out onto the road and we went for a little jog. It took a bit for him to relax next to me but soon he started to stretch down and relax. I then took him into the reserve. I decided to hope on board so I lead him up to a stump, tied the lead rope to his halter and jumped on board! He was quite happy to take me around. After we had wandered around for a bit we headed for home. When we reached a flat section I did some working on halting and turning. I concentrated on my position, what were my legs doing?, what was my back and shoulders doing? He was soon halting straight, moving off straight and bending around my inside leg - why because I concentrated on myself!

When we got back home I thought I would have one more go at loading Sam - why do we do things again when we should just leave them alone? Not that it took long but he did bawk a few times. The best thing was that he backed out one step at a time!!!!!

Still Wet

We had some lovely weather on the weekend - sun was out and the ground had a chance to dry a little. The paddocks were still way to wet to sow and I think it will be a few weeks now before we can have chance to do it.

I was able to ride Sam on Sunday. We could only go out along the road - he was silly as he is full of beans. Poor bugger has been locked up most of the week. At least I know he will walk for me. I had a lot of trouble getting him to settle in the trot so I bought him back to a walk - just to be on the safe side. I think some of it was also that he wanted to turn for home. Today the drizzle rain is back so no riding.

Last night hubby and I put the electric fence up in the lane way so this morning I put them out there. Sam was happy to put his head down and eat, Gull had to check it all out, snort, gallop out, cautiously go back in and check it out again. Due to the grass being to green I only let the stay out there for about an hour. Gave them a hour and a half break then let them back out again for another hour and a half. I have bought them back in and will leave them in for about two and half hours and then put them out for about another hour.

I think I will look into hiring the Uni's indoor arena once or twice a week. I would really like to enter Sam in the dressage comp at the end of August but if I can't work him then there really isn't any point.

I have been a follower and active in Quests forum for a while now and last week they asked me to join their team rescuing horses/educating the community. We are an Australia wide group and help horses in need where we can. I might be getting my first rescue case soon. A Quarter horse mare who has been left in a paddock with a 2yo colt so we are presuming she is pregnant. She has gone through a few fences and is meant to have some nasty wounds. Problem is she is located 5 hours away. Someone is checking her today to see if she will cope with the trip and if so she will come here for treatment. If she is pregnant once I have her healed to an extent she will then go to another team member who has the facilities to deal with a pregnant mare and then a foal. I am excited but also very nervous. I will keep you posted with what will happen!

I hope your having wonderful pony time!!!!! Don't forget to give them kisses and carrots!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Rain, rain go away.......

We have had so much rain in the last two days I think the horses are going to grow webbed hooves. Last night OH and I even opened up the shelter so the horses could get out of the biting wind and rain. I figured how much damage can they do? It is already so muddy in there. They love it! It was certainly a lot warmer for them being able to get out of the wind at least.

So they have been locked up since Tuesday afternoon. This afternoon I let them out into the paddock for an hour - help stretch their legs, have a pick, hopefully raise their spirits a little. I think it worked because they were still more than happy to come back in for dinner. Tomorrow I will let them out for about two hours and Saturday a few more. It is just that wet in the paddock as well.

We were going to seed the paddocks this weekend but that won't be happening now. I will take Sam out for a walk on the road to help keep him a little sane but that is about all we will achieve riding wise. It will probably be a ground working weekend - that really isn't a bad thing!

Have fun with your ponies!

Just some pictures for your viewing pleasure

Monday, July 12, 2010

Bad days and Good days

I haven't been able to do much at all lately due to work and the weather. This winter in the Riverina area is the wettest we have had in 10 years. This is great news for farmers and I am happy too but I would like the rain to go away even if it is just for 2 - 3 weeks. Just let the ground dry out, let my shelter dry out so I can put a base down so the ponies can actually use it!!!!! Saturday after work I was able lunge Sam before the rain started. He let off a bit of steam with some bucking and carrying on but he still listened enough to change gaits.

A Bad Day

Sunday I was able to have a ride but not until late - I didn't mount until about 4.45pm. Due to the amount of rain we have had even the reserve was going to be slippery so I decided to head down the road. Sam was forward and eager to do something. He walked out with a big swinging stride even though we went down a road he has never been down before. At the bottom of the hill I asked him to trot. No problem he tells me. He was happy to let me set the pace, I could really feel him pushing from behind. Ears pricked, eyes I am sure where bright and a spring in his step. Our road is quiet but people drive along at a high speed so I only went as far as a blind corner then I asked him to turn back the way we had come. Poor Sam was not happy with this decision. He walked so slowly and kept trying to turn around - didn't I feel terrible so on the way home we had gone past a lane. I took him up there about 200m but I could see sheep ahead and Sam just does not do sheep. It was getting late and the sun sets around 5.45pm at the moment so I decided to turn around again and head for home. Once again Sam was not happy with this decision. I arrived home and he walked straight past the front gate. I thought how lucky am I to have a horse that is willing to get out there and explore!

You are probably wondering why on earth have I classed this as a bad day? You know when you have those days when nothing is easy? I had had one of those days. When I went to unsaddle Sam he kept moving into me. Poor Sam then felt the bad mood in me come out. We did some ground work on personal space, giving to pressure and keeping the head down when rugging. I should have walked away as I was asking for things strongly but still rewarding quickly but I did feel for him. It certainly tuned him up though he was moving off pressure quickly and lightly and kept out of my personal space. I did give him a few handful of pellets when we were done because I felt bad.

Good Day
Monday - today was a beautiful day. Warm, sun shining but still didn't go as planned!!!! The didn't stop ringing and people wanted to talk for ages! I wanted to ride around midday but didn't get out there until 2.45. Even though it was beautiful weather the ground was still very soft and slippery so I planned that we would 'go around the block' I guess it is about 3-4km. Out our front gate turn left, down the road and turn left onto the lane. About 400m up the lane are a mob of sheep. Now Sam has never really liked sheep. He stopped and really had a good look. I could feel his little heart pounding through my seat. At one point he even tried to turn back around. I dismounted to walk him past. I find he seems to be able to cope with scary things a little better if I am beside him. Sometimes he likes to be touching me and other times he is happy to just have me beside him. He watched to the sheep as we passed. We walked up past a house and past some yards. I noticed something up ahead so decided to stay unmounted and all of a sudden there was a loud honking behind us, poor Sam whirled around (but stayed out of my personal space so maybe yesterdays training did do some good) and we watched this massive goose walk away honking. That was interesting. Sam would not walk away until the goose was out of sight. I little further up the lane we met a mum and her two children. The kids had a pat of Sam and I decided to remount.

Up around the corner we came across another mob of sheep behind some trees. Sam stood and watched. I waited not wanting to push him on before he was ready. The sheep ran off after a bit and Sam happily watched them and then was happy to keep going. The lane way became a little dense with trees and I could feel Sam getting a little worried but he kept going. We had a lot of stopping but he is happy to keep going once you give him a moment. Further along we came across another house with a lot of ponies running around. Sam was good with the ponies running around but then there was a large shed and a lot of noise coming from it. He was having trouble with this one as well so I dismounted and walked him past. A dog was barking at us as well but we couldn't see it, I was concerned it would race around the side of the shed but we were in luck. The end of the lane way was just there.

Turn left onto Collingullie Road. Bitumen road that quite a few large semi trailers use. I mounted and we walked up the middle of the road. You can see a fair distance in front and behind so I felt safe that I would have more than enough time to move to the side if needs be. I pushed Sam into a trot and he happily trotted up the road, active behind a little heavy in my hands but lightened when asked. He also came back to a lovely pace when asked. We travelled around a km up the road and our last turn left down the 'alpaca lane' On this corner a friend lives so we dropped in and had a chat. Sam happily munched the green grass, sniffed her dog and generally relaxed. Mounted up again and down the lane way - nearly home!!!!! We also had a lovely trot until we spotted a huge stump. This was scary so we had to stop, look, sniff, walk on.

It was a lovely ride and I really believe Sam enjoyed getting out, seeing new sights. We were gone for an hour and a half. Rain is predicted again tomorrow and Wednesday so hopefully it will then stop and dry in time for the weekend!!!!

Happy trails!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

All Finished!

All finished!!!!I just have to put some footing in the shelter and it is all ready to use!!!!! I have taped it off from the horses for now. I am very excited to start using it!!!
I was saddling up Sam on Monday for a ride but he and Gull decided that a spot of grooming was in order first.
When I finally got Sam back we headed off down a new track - at the end there are alpacas, a huge pig, barking dogs that race up and down the fence line. I just rode Sam in a halter, I am feeling that I have just as much control with a halter as a bridle these days. I was ready for fireworks but once again Sam handled everything with such grace. I hoped off to lead him past all of this but he was too concerned with the two horses that raced up to the fence for a chat! Alpacas no problem. Happy to munch on the green grass while we have a look at them. Dogs no problem, the pig wasn't anywhere to be seen. I was so proud on him!
This is starting out looking down the lane way. This runs alongside our house.

I let Wilbur out in the mornings on his harness to have a bit of out door time before I go to work. The other morning I found him basking in the sun.....

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Catch up!

5th Day of Shelter
6th Day of Shelter
So the shelter fingers crossed will be finished tomorrow - it is huge!!!! I think I did over kill! The stable will end up being 4mx4m or 13.12feet x 13.12feet. I won't be getting it divided into stables just yet so I think there will be enough room in there to feed the two horses in there without fights - very handy!

I worked Sam on Saturday but he seemed tense and distracted so I started with ground work. We worked for about 30min and I was able to ride him in a halter only over in the reserve. Just at a walk but he was in an exploring mood so I sort of let him decide where we went. So it ended up a good ride.

Today we stayed in the arena to begin with. I concentrated on myself - I started with my relaxation exercises and let Sam just walk and trot around freely. After our warm up I took up a light contact and without really asking Sam started to round. He wasn't holding a frame for the entire circle but certainly was giving me some nice work. I really started to focus on my position - the better I rode the better Sam went! Amazing isn't it - not really just goes to show, you ride properly and your horse can then work as they are not being hindered by the rider. To cool down I took him over to the reserve. We went for a canter and then back to a walk and took a long track home to cool down.

My OH played farmer today. We borrowed our neighbours little tractor and rotary hoe. He had a great time and did a wonderful job. I even got him to use it to create a few garden bed for me where we could get it in - no point digging when I get a machine to do it!

It was freezing today and the fog didn't left until 2.30 this afternoon. Hopefully next weekend it will be sown with pasture where the big tractor can get in - the rest I will sow by hand. It is getting pretty exciting around here!