Tuesday, June 10, 2008

And the race is on...

So the VLC had two days off in a row, which does happen sometimes due to my schedule, general uncontrollable exhaustion on my part or - in the case of last night - high winds that made the loose piece of sheet metal whack repeatedly into the barn. We decided those were not optimum conditions for riding three year olds and gave them the night off.

Every time I give him two days off in a row, I regret it. It's not that he's bad. He's never been bad. But two days off and we're back to quick, quick, quick. Any trace of a soft, balanced trot is gone again and he wants to race. What he really wants to do is lope, I suppose, but I was all alone in the barn and I'm just not going to start doing that without witnesses, especially after reading all the stories from those of you who didn't get fireworks until you tried to move past the walk-trot stage!

As I've mentioned before, he really hates having his face pulled on, and I don't want to pull on his face since his naturally low headset is exactly what's desirable, so when he's quick I just open my inside rein and we do circles until he starts to slow down. So that's what we did. It's not that he didn't slow down, it just took a long time, LOL! He is getting fit and it is STILL cold here (well, mid 50s but heck, it's June, what kind of crap is that?). If only it would shoot back to 75, we really do have a nice trot in there somewhere.

I do know better than to complain about "too forward." Beats the alternative!

Someone tell me about the 100 degree heat you have to work horses in so that I'll appreciate the cold and wet PNW!

54 comments:

cdncowgirl said...

Or you could live in Moscow Idaho, where on June 10th (yesterday?) they got snow. Yup, the s-work.
Found out when I read Julie Thorson's blog. She had the pics to prove it.

Josie said...

So I guess you didn't pull the SSG in from the pasture and ride him before Cecil? I was SO hoping you would, LOL. Poor SSG, I was out at a work dinner and (since I was downtown all day) couldn't make him available. Also not sure he's quite ready to go without me there. I won't be home too early tomorrow night either. Work sucks! The week each month I have to be in Seattle sucks even more. Sigh.

bluedude5 said...

i know what you mean about the quick quick quick!
my mare is exactly the same, except it happens at the beginning of every ride
she will only go properly if you have your legs on almost constantly (english style) but is already a naturally forward horse so for the first 10mins of every ride i have to sit there and 'desensitise' her to the leg before she will walk properly... :S

bluedude5 said...

oh and at the moment im in New Zealand in a city called palmerston north and our low here tonight is -1 degree celcius so its bloody freezing!!!! i have to scrap the ice off my windscreen every morning

which_chick said...

95 on Saturday. Did ride, was v. hot. Walked the whole time on trail ride.

95 on Sunday. Rode in heat of day, walked only, got sunburned to illustrate difference between t-shirt and tank top. Bathed sweat off horse afterwards. Horse appeared to enjoy hose, first time she'd ever seen it.

95 on Monday, did not ride b/c mowed grass all day at work in the heat/humidity. Came home, drank quarts of water, went to bed.

95 on Tuesday, did not ride b/c too hot. Home, water, watched thunderstorms of immense and frightening nature, went to bed.

Supposed to be cooler today.

Jackie said...

Ha! My mare has had over a week off...it's still sloppy here but I have to ride her...she gets really wacky with two days off, and quite a handful with this many! Wish me luck! This is when her breeding (sire is a track QH) really shows!

4Horses&Holding said...

We've only had the heat index be over 100 so far. The highest we actually have gotten was 99.

The horses stand in the shade and are covered in sweat.

The air grabs your breath when you walk outside. It's like a giant sauna or oven.

Motivation to ride is very hard to find in weather like this.... if you go in the evening, there are horse and deer flies that will swarm you. Even with fly spray, there is the occasional one who will land anyway - and they ALL like to buzz around your head (which drives me insane).

Hope that helps you enjoy your 50 degree weather!!!

:D

ellen said...

Will be happy to send you some hot and sticky weather from Southern Illinois, as long as I can keep the dry so I can get my hay made.

Not much riding here, am trying to put the farm back together -- still cleaning up after all the ice and wind this winter, and the mowing has exploded, so bush hog time and chain saw time and fence reconstruction time, and ripping and dragging the arena time now that the flood waters in there have receded.

Arena is beautiful and very inviting and has been used by lesson people only since I did all that work, so today for sure.

Finally got the farrier out on a non-rainy day and got feet sorted, with an object lesson for two of the old broodies who thought the VLC's foot-snatching tactics were a good idea. Not.

CLG is doing well -- soloing. So far not a peep of resistance out of him, some predictable green bean confusion, but he seems to relish having a job.

SammieRockes said...

Jeeze, its been so hot in VA beach, We ar excited the high is only in the 80s today! But yeah it so hot I havent been able to ride, and then yester day(about 110 w/ the heat index) I went out, was gonna hose off Rebel, he's black so of course when I got there he was all sweaty, but the hose wouldnt work so I changed clothes, thru o nmthe bareback pad, and walked him out to the little knee deep pond. Rebel has never layed down in water before, nor has he tried it, but I wanted him to get cooled off and put som nice cold mud on him, so I was so happy when after a fwew minutes he plopped right down! Then I walked him back to the barn, put him in his stall and turned on his fan.

barrelracer20x said...

The last few days have been pretty warm here, in the 90's. Our humidity is pretty brutal here! My friend and I went to one of the local indoor arena's around here last night to work our horses, we've had over 5 inches or rain in the last few days so anything outside is a muddy mess. It was cool when we first started riding, then the storm clouds started to roll in and it got sweltery! (SP?)
My girlfriend and I are on a women's ranch rodeo team, and our first rodeo as a team is this Saturday. The arena that it's going to be held in is a big, big, outdoor arena that is covered in water right now...Anyone have some skis I can borrow??

Janelle said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
MsFoxy said...

(ignore the other one, whoops!)

It's a million degrees and extremely humid out here. I think it was in the upper 90's the other day with an "almost raining" level of humidity. Foxy is in a constant state of "full body sweat". I had to hike out to the front pasture (okay it wasn't THAT far) the other day and that was about all the exercise I could pull off that day. It is perfect riding weather except for how it is SO GROSS that I cannot even expend the energy to saddle up like this. I think Foxy would keel over. She hates this heat!

icepony said...

Okay, we've got heat and snow covered, so I'll bitch about the WIND, lol! Mornings have been beautifully calm, but by the time I get off work in the early afternoon, the wind has been positively HOWLING everyday. The weekend, of course, was non-stop wind. Around here, we consider 15mph winds calm, but it's supposed to ease up in the summer. When the hell does summer start?!

SOSHorses said...

Here in Kentucky we have been having unseasonly hot weather for june. It has been 98 degrees up until yesterday. The heat is not so bad alone, but when combined with the humidity you will start dripping sweat just walking to the mail box.

sidetracked said...

I live here in Maine, one of the frozen tundra states and it was 96 degrees and full hunidt the other day. I had to ride to prepare for a show and my face was sweating so much my sunglasses wouldn;'t sta on my nose. When I dismounted I had a nice sweaty wedgie, how attractive. Then came the hosing. Had to drag the hose out, get the sponge, and the scraper. Then roll the hose up, spray the horses with bug spray and then put on fly masks and fly sheets. Personally I much prefer temps in the 60's for riding and doing things outside. Althouth please note that I am not outwardly complaining due to the horrible snow filled winter we have had.

4Horses&Holding said...

sidetracked said..."Personally I much prefer temps in the 60's for riding and doing things outside."

Me, too! If it could be in the high 60's (low 70's would be okay, too) year round, with rain only at night and no biting, flying bugs - life would be great!
:)

Susan said...

I was at the Upperville Horse Show this weekend. The Grand Prix was Sunday and it was 109!!!! I am sure those riders would have welcomed your temps. You are doing fine with him, he is on his way to being a good horse citizen.

June Evers said...

Hay - here's something I learned to slow the trot without grabbing the mouth/reins.

I have a now 9-year-old PMU I trained from when he was 18 months. I'm also an old dressage rider who has reformed her ways. One thing I do that is a hold over is to slow my posting. The horse can go as quick or as slow as he wants but I post at the speed that I want him to go. The horse doesn't like all that bumping around up there and tries to match your post. It takes a bit but the horse will learn when you're posting in a different rhythm, he'll slow (or speed up) to match.

My horse is the same. Quick, quick, quick. I can get a nice smooth even trot by just posting slower and posting to match his rhythm when he's at the speed I want.

You probably know this but what I do to slow the posting is when you post and you come down you sorta slide down the pommel back to the seat. Well, I slide slower and I know it's wrong but if you pinch slightly with your knees you can get an even slower post. Then when you're at the good speed, release the pinch in the knees and resume normal posting. Horse speeds up, do this all over again.

There are a bunch of threads in dressage on COTH about this. But it's a great way to regulate speed without touching their mouths.

in2paints said...

In the Raleigh area of North Carolina, we had over 100 degrees for about 4 days in a row. Sunday topped out at 104! With the heat index, it was even higher. My poor mare does just awful in the heat... I feel so bad for her. It's times like these that I wish she had a stall to stand in with a fan or two. She's pasture boarded, which is great most of the time, but not when it is 104 and she refuses to stand in the shed or in the trees.

That same mare is VERY forward... she would probably run until she keeled over dead if I let her. So I've been looking very hard for a technique that works with her. I find not riding her on the rail of the ring works the best. Something about the rail makes her want to go fast, but if I work serpentines and circles inside the arena, she does pretty well. I guess it keeps her mind busy enough that she's not thinking fast, fast, fast! Once she gets the hang of it there, I'll try going back to the rail. Of course, that makes showing pretty tough, but I do what I can!

Athena said...

We are having a cold snap today. It's supposed to be 101. Yesterday it hit 107 (day before was 104). I started to get a bit miserable right around the 9th hour of my work day. Please bitch about 50 some more?! lol ;)

BuckdOff said...

We hit 100 yesterday, after a couple of 90 degree days, I'm not riding until Friday. It's supposed to be cooler then. It's so humid here that my bug eyes(sunglasses) keep fogging up. This is too much heat and humidity for us, way too soon. I know, I'm a whiner.....But, I have to work in this and look somewhat professional..

BuckdOff said...

Holy Crap, Athena what state are you in?

BuckdOff said...

Our Mosquitos are really awful this year and early too, I've had to spray just to use the indoor...

crazyhorse said...

I learned to slow a fast trot down is to get them bending; Doofus bends and we work around those big sad traffic cones that followed us home...when he has slowed down a hair, we go back on the straight-away...when he forgets that I want comfy cadence, we go back into some nice busy bending. Strech that neck, work that shoulder and ribcage...He is actually slower at the lope than the trot some days.

Athena said...

buckdoff... AZ. It's ok, they say it's a dry heat *rollseyes* lol

I just checked the weather, guess they decided it'd be 102 today instead. At least I have today off! Weeeeeeee! (If we didn't have at least 4 months of summer I suppose that would have been a little less sarcastic.) MAN, I can't wait to move move move! :)

Athena said...

Ugh... mosquitoes *blech* Fine, I guess I like it here. ;P

bigredhorse said...

We've had close to 100 degrees for almost a week now (charlotte nc area), so riding has been very minimal. I rode a little on Sunday morning and Slide and I were completely soaked after! He's never been a fan of water spraying his face, but he hardly complained at all once he realized it actually felt good!
It's not even SUMMER yet! WTF!?! And...the bugs lately are KILLER!
At least we have a lot of trees and a creek if he gets desperate.

I hosed him off this morning before work to get the white sweat/salt off (to the dismay of my barn owner who thinks I was wasting water...tuff!! Just because you don't bathe doesn't mean my horse should go without too!)

Hopefully it will cool down this weekend and we can do some trail work in the woods.

fuglyhorseoftheday said...

>>This is when her breeding (sire is a track QH) really shows!<<

That is what I told the VLC last night. I told him he needs to stop channeling the Triple Chick genes!

There is a big difference. My friend's got a Sonny Dee Bar bred stallion and I don't think we could get a fast trot out of him if a bomb went off. OTOH, one of the main selling points on the VLC is that his dam is a full sibling to a horse with over 2000 AQHA points. I finally ran that horse (Favor Mr. Sabre)'s record and now I see that along with all the WP and HUS points, there are a ton of barrel racing and pole bending points, not to mention breakaway roping! So I guess the VLC comes by it naturally...

Jan said...

New name for the Pacific NorthWest . . . is Pacific NorthWET! unreal amount of rain this year.

My friend just moved to the OlyPen and it rained the whole time she was shopping for real estate last fall, so I think she's holding the rain on pattern in the PNW.

Karen V said...

Ok..you want to stay off his face. Can you move body parts with your legs, or is this too advance for him? I haven't started colts so I don't know if your leg pressure at this point is directional or more advanced.

ANYWAY... (sorry for rambling) the trainer I used to ride with (when I could afford lessons) said rather than working the reins to slow the bugger down, you tip the hip in for a stride, release, tip, release until you get the speed you want...

ellen said...

Good for you for staying out of his mouth. He needs to learn to work off your seat and legs - when he's tired and listening, practice halting him off your seat from a walk. He's ready to learn to step his hips away from your leg as well, and that's another tool. He needs to, and will, learn to accept contact, but I like to ride my greenies "back to front" -- lots of serpentines at trot, trying to change the bend by changing seat and leg, etc...

You did mention you had a "hole" in terms of suppling his neck -- I hope you continue to work on that from the ground with the bridle, so he doesnt' become one of those monsters that stiffens his jaw and poll and shoves the bit into the ground when you try to ask for a bend or take up contact.

One step at a time and you'll get there -- he's a neat colt, and of all the problems to have, yours are not so bad.

dp said...

I defected from the PNW (or the PSW for us Canucks, I guess) for Toronto. It is 25 degrees and sunny here -- I fell like I'm on a Caribbean vacation after our CRAP weather for the past few weeks. However, there are no horses here. Unless you count all of the My Little Ponies still lingering in boxes in my mother's basement.

foodforfounder.blogspot.com

mulerider said...

Regarding the weather...

I hate to complain about the weather in Florida. Really I do, because in so many ways it is wonderful. But for me, in one really big way, it sucks.

In the winter, it is perfect riding weather. Except it gets dark too early and on workdays I don't get home in time to do much before it gets dark, so serious riding is limited to weekends only. In the summer it is so &%$!@$* hot that the only decent time to ride is the hour or two right after sunrise. And I am not a happy morning person.

When I retire (yeah, like I'm ever going to be able to afford to retire), living here will be great because I will be able to ride during the day any day of the week fall-winter-spring. But right now. it isn't so great.

fuglyhorseoftheday said...

>>You did mention you had a "hole" in terms of suppling his neck -- I hope you continue to work on that from the ground with the bridle, so he doesnt' become one of those monsters that stiffens his jaw and poll and shoves the bit into the ground when you try to ask for a bend or take up contact.<<

That is exactly what I went - went back and fixed it on the ground and now continue to work with it under saddle. I think he's fine now. I really had just overlooked it/not addressed it the way I should have.

I have a line on a close contact saddle that should fit him so I hope to have that soon. It is really hard to use my seat and legs properly in the purple western saddle! A friend of a friend has an adjustable gullet Wintec close contact she's willing to let me have for $100 so I think we have a deal.

fuglyhorseoftheday said...

what I DID...

why can't I type lately?

More coffee...more coffee...

amarygma said...

Sorry to be OT: I'm going to start a blog myself (got it set up but need to fill it!) as a sort of diary of what it's like to be a beginner rider in your mid twenties (when everyone else your age has crazy guts and everyone chicken like you is over 40).

What's it take to get on your little listy on the sidebar there? :)

Chezza said...

I can tell you that we rode with a clinician all weekend. Friday it was Ninety five and humid as....., Saturday we flooded during the day and we were sort of happy b/c we hoped that would mean cooler....nope by the time we rode again 90 and HUUUUUUUUUUUMID. Sunday we had to go to KY b/c OUR horse park was UNDER water, so it was again 95 and HOT HOT HOT, HUMID HUMID and no shade over the XC course. I would LOVE some 65 degrees..and so would my mare! LOL

Char said...

Ok, I know this is OT, but I haven't heard much instruction on this subject and was wondring if any of you would be willing to share OR, Fugs, if you could please use this subject for one of your blogs?

How do other people make time, schedule for, accomplish riding/training when working full-time, raising kids, etc.?

I'm really struggling with exactly how to juggle everything and would really like to hear from others who would like to share thier strategies/ideas on time management.

crazyhorse said...

>>How do other people make time, schedule for, accomplish riding/training when working full-time, raising kids, etc.?<<<

It ain't easy! Today for example, Doofus was HORRIBLE and I have a deadline for an art piece...so while I couldnt just turn him out, and getting pissy with him is destructive and I cannot get hurt, I had to do some side-stepping and cancel the gym, do sandwiches for dinner, skip the relax time, and beg my daughter to do barn chores...
I will ride every day even if for only 20 minutes, saddle in the evening to 'condition' their backs, and do some in-the-stall ground work, and make use of my every waking momnet...no such thing as carefree trips to the mall (what's a mall?) and every spare second figures in for getting things done...

js said...

It is a hundred and five where I live. My Arabian is only green broke, young, and normally pretty forward, but with the weather change he acts like he is sleepwalking.

Char said...

crazyhorse:

OMG. I think I picked a really bad time to quite smoking. I don't have my horses at home, and I sometimes think that the 15 min. drive to where they are makes it that much harder to convince myself to go when it's already 5:00, my six-year-old hasn't eaten yet and I have to take him with me (of course), he needs to be in the bath tub by 7:00 so he can be to bed by 8:00...so on and so on.

I just seem to keep coming up with exscuse after exscuse and feel guilty about staying out until 7:00.

Ggrrrr. If only I knew back then what I know now...I woulda married an old rich guy.

HAHA!

Char said...

quite = quit. sorry 'bout that.

Whoa Mare! said...

Upper 90's here (with something like 90% humidity). I haven't worked with any horses in about a month. I can't handle the heat. I think I overestimated what my body can take when I said "As soon as it warms up..." Well, truthfully- it never just "warmed up". It just went from icicles to a sauna! We did get a cool down the other day with some storms so I got soaking wet playing with the horses then, but the next day it shot back up into the 90's. I'm thinking of installing a flood light so I can work at night when it isn't so miserable...

a beautiful disaster said...

it has been so hot here, i would die for 50s again!

93 saturday, and no riding for me (last SATs ever)

95 sunday, rode lightly for 25 minutes and got drenched in sweat

100 monday, hosed 16 horses and no riding

98 tuesday, bo said no riding

t-storms last night and the high was supposed to be 88 today, which seems about right. had a lovely ride, especially on 3 days rest :). my friend rode the SLM (for the 3rd time i think? and she had ridden her last summer too). we switched her to a happy mouth loose-ring mullen mouth bit (from a rubber d-ring snaffle) and she seemed to like it alright. she was much more balanced though she did occasionally flip her head, which must have been from the rings pinching, so bit guards on for tomorrow! she is such a great SLM :)

Heat Stroke in FL said...

The heat??? OMG, let me tell you.

I cannot be outside for more than 5 minutes without starting to pour sweat. After 10 minutes, I am soaked in sweat. The humidity makes it feel like I am in a boiler room.

You are lucky to be in cooler conditions. Come here to Florida for a week and you will never, ever move from where you are now, LMAO!!

verylargecolt said...

>>What's it take to get on your little listy on the sidebar there? :)<<

Start it and post it to the comments here. I've been trying to add everybody - may have missed some!

Whoa Mare! said...

Oh! I wanna be in the sidebar too! ME ME ME!!!!

http://whoamare.blogspot.com/

barngal said...

We have had a week of thunderstorms and tornados in the area and as soon as that passed it went into the 90's. The bugs and humidity have been awful and to top it off we have the invasion of the cicadas!

Just yesterday we had a break in the heat and had a gorgeous day just in time for my lesson. This time I took BCG. Everyone made over him and he loved it. He was so good but somewhat of a deadhead. Wow what a lesson. There were three of us oldsters and we were huffing and puffing and a little girl on her pony was just bebopping around loving it. BCG did trot poles and even did a few cross rails, one of whick he gave a halfhearted jump and I have a picture. It is a hoot.

I'm trying to find the fine line of how tired I want him to be when I ride. I don't want to get dumped with the bucks we sometimes get but I hate having to use a crop so much. I don't want to use spurs because I wouldn't have anything left after that. I think the days of lunging a bit before I ride are over for the summer.

I think I'd like your weather more than this heat and humidity. BCG doesn't like his face pulled up either. Each time I was told move my hands he would slow down. Really I think you're so right about you'd rather have being too forward vs being too slow. This is the first horse I've had the problem with being almost too slow.

amarygma said...

LOL- I may have opened a big can of worms, and for that I'm almost sorry!

http://horsenoob.blogspot.com/

even further OT, I went to my first big kill-buyer kinda auction yesterday. I only wish I had the cash to save a cute 25 year old sound, sane TBorQH (had papers, forgot which) that was ridden through, all gaits looked good, correct etc. There were many cuties that haunted me last night. I'm glad I had to get to evening job before the "loose horses" were sold.

ellen said...

Well, Char, there has been more time for horses since I rehomed the husband and the kids grew up and went away, although there was a lot to be said for having a swarm of teenagers who owed me money on the place (much much fence building).

4:30 AM is your friend..... I used to creep out and ride very very early and be back in the house by 6 or 6:30 when everyone else was beginning to stir. Depends on your horse situation -- if you pasture board and don't have an indoor it's harder, but it can be done.

My indoor has an open side, and you can see it from the highway at night with the lights on, and people all shake their heads about the crazy lady riding horses around in circles at midnight -- or 3 AM full moon trail rides in the winter. Magnificent fun!

If you can't live on no sleep (and increasingly I can't, though I did for years), schedule it just as you do everyone ELSE'S activities -- Tuesday is scouts and dance lessons, Friday is guys' night out, Wednesday night is church and Monday and Thursday are Mom's evenings at the barn. The crock pot is a wonderful invention -- you can get up a little early on barn days and make a nice tasty supper with a salad in the fridge and bread to warm up to go with, that will be ready at suppertime while YOU are at the barn, and no one is grousing about McDonald's or baloney again...

Ride early on Saturday and Sunday before everyone else's stuff and church kick in, and let your family know that THEY can accommodate YOUR activities a day or two a week, just as you accommodate theirs. It's a group effort. and you have to not feel guilty about having your priorities count, too.

Good luck -- I did the 4 AM thing all through high school as I had an after school job -- it was the only time there was, but I made it work. I still do my own riding at weird hours since I have a full time job and when my luck is running have lessons in the after school/early evening times.

The hardest part is gettin past feeling like you don't deserve it, but honestly your family deserves a mama who's happy because she's had her horsey fix instead of one who's resentful because she hasn't.

Char said...

Ellen,

YOU...ARE...MY...HERO.

You somehow managed to say exactly what I've been thinking and feeling. Especially the "deserving it" part.

You have no idea how valiated I feel right now - thank you so much.

Caught Caring said...

Come to the DC area if you want heat to work in! 103 Monday and Tuesday, dropped to 97 yesterday. Rode Monday for about half an hour in the indoor arena (and actually accomplished something, which I admit I wasn't expecting) and on Wednesday.

Only thing is it's so damn hot that we've started having to do most of our work bareback. It's not the end of the world, I had to back a youngster bareback because asshat owner wouldn't buy him a saddle, but it just does make some things harder. Ah well, might as well get used to it.

4Horses&Holding said...

Ellen, will you please come and talk to my family? Pretty please? (specifically my husband)

One is Enough said...

I'm jealous of your cool weather. I've been out in the heat volunteering at an equine day camp. You can read about it on my blog. http://survivingcamp.blogspot.com/