Monday, July 7, 2008

What do you mean, we have to go back to work?

It's been a busy week with a lot of extracurricular activities going on (a work party, a couple trips back and forth trying to get some horses sold, etc.) and just a couple of nights where, after I got done with chores, I was too damn tired to ride.

I did brush all the old mares out one of those nights!

Anyway, last night it had officially been five days since I had ridden, which really isn't acceptable, so I finally had to kick myself in the butt and get going again. I decided to start with the boys and leave Honey for tonight. She just looked so happy out there eating her hay with her friends...and she gets extra credit as I dewormed everybody last night and she was one of the best ones. The VLC was also excellent as was the BGY. The COB, of course, that was a twenty minute fight while she tried desperately to bite me. COB, I am not asleep at the switch and I do know where and how to hold you so that you cannot bite me!

I rode the VLC while Josie did groundwork with the SSBG. I decided to put reins on the bit (the D-ring copper snaffle) and reins on the halter and ride with both and see how that went. He really doesn't object as much to the D-ring, though I still do want to try the french link happy mouth when I can borrow that. It actually went really well with very few silly faces or annoyed behaviors. He had some stubborn moments when he hit the end of the reins and balked, but we rode through them and all in all, it was pretty good. I rode with the bit reins longer, so the only time he had to feel the bit was when he bulged off the wall and had to be corrected. The SSBG was tied in the middle of the ring and he really would like to go in and visit with his friend. Sorry, VLC. No go.

I have to say that the VLC probably has one of the top 5 canters I have ever ridden, lifetime. He is so comfortable! Really, he doesn't have any of the green horse all-over-the-place canter thing going on. He doesn't like his right lead but will take it. He's very balanced around the corners even though the ring is narrow for a big horse like himself. I am dying for a larger, better ring to work in and will probably move him elsewhere in a few months to do that. It's just so hard to find a place that takes stallions, and will turn him out more than 15 minutes in a round pen. He's used to being out at least 12 hours a day. He'd go nuts if he were stall bound.

The SSBG started off pretty well and then got very, very stubborn about simple leading. As I pointed out to Josie, since the last time I just had her lead me on him, he is now going to refuse to lead in an attempt to get out of any further riding. He lost the battle, of course with some ground support from me after I got off the VLC. We found that one of Josie's surcingles fits him, so his ground driving training is going to begin shortly. I really am hoping my dressage rider friend will get her butt up here and give us some expert ground driving instruction...hint hint Princess Jess. :-)

My goal for tonight is another ride on Honey and then I am going to try to follow up Thursday night by riding her in the arena and not just the round pen. She's always very good but she's been soooo squirrely in the indoor in general (just when turned out or longed in there) that I'm a little leery about it. She seems to be one of those horses who prefers the outdoors, where she can see everything and there are no surprises - as opposed to the indoor where all of a sudden you see things come from behind doors, and there are skeeery pinpoints of sunlight coming through holes in the wall.

How was your weekend? I know a lot of you went to shows, so how did that go? My first show for the VLC, if all goes according to plan, is less than 2 months off now. He's going to have to learn to deal with the bit because I'm pretty sure he can't show in a halter!

24 comments:

Lisa said...

Glad I'm not the only one who slacked off on riding over the holiday, hehe. That's so awesome that VLC is going well. I hope your friend can come out for ground driving lessons soon-- I swear by ground driving anymore.

My filly got the all clear and we started back to work last week. I rode her 3 times-- just doing some 20-30 minute trail rides at the walk. She was a saint. We'll probably start trotting again the end of this week, then finally introduce the c-a-n-t-e-r next week if all is well. Unfortunately, I don't think I'll get to show her under saddle in August, but she'll still be going to show in-hand.

This minor injury has actually been a blessing in disguise. I'll admit I had been secretly phobic to wander more than 100 yards away from the barn on her without a dead quiet companion horse along for the ride. I probably would have just kept riding in a circle near the barn indefinitely if I could have.

verylargecolt said...

And I admit I chickened out of riding on the 4th - even though the horses seemed fine. I just don't want to be on a horse to see if one of the neighbors WILL blow off some illegal firework that sounds like the bombing of Iraq.

Jewil said...

Same here, I didn't do any riding this weekend. I have a newly aquired Shire that is 17.3 and I will admit I do not want to be on her if she ever spooks! Course I think you could light fireworks underneath her and she wouldn't care...

Karen V said...

VLC - You could have ridden Honey...she's used to the crash-boom-bang of fireworks!

In fact, ALL the horses were watching the show. When the new neighbors behind us lit off their illegal fireworks (50 feet from my barn), the horses didn't even flinch!

robyn said...

I had an amazing ride on the Icepony on Sunday! It was his 5th birthday and his first real mountain trail ride, and he did really well! No real spooking, he did get a bit snotty and did a couple of those little half-rears, but other than that...
There were mud, water, and bridges to cross, other groups of horses to pass, lots of backpackers on their way out. He was so forward and goey that I had to work pretty hard to slow him down on the downhill and rough parts. He just wanted to speed thru everything, but you can't do a fast walk/tolt thru big nasty mountain rocks, going down a hill--not good! So I'll have to do some work connecting the reins to his feet so I have more brakes. I'm glad to have some energy to work with, tho. Steering was perfect--my trainer will be thrilled to hear that, as we've been working hard on that concept w/ him.
And I WAS going to buy some boots for him, but he had no problems on the rocks, his feet looked great afterwards, and he's not sore today. My farrier said "don't bother with the boots then!"

CutNJump said...

If ya want any help with the ground driving/long lining just give us a call. You have the numbers...

Ground driving is where you are more behind the horse- long lines you are in the center and the horse goes around in circles like longing.

I wish I could get back into the swing of riding... It might be a while though, but not without good reason. :-)

cdncowgirl said...

I had two barrel racing jackpots this weekend. I ended up not entering the one on Saturday though. I had only about 2 1/2 hours sleep and the beginning of a migraine. Thought there was no sense in setting my horse up for a bad experience due to ME not being up to par.
Sunday we hauled to a double header. I entered and it was NOT good. ApplejackASS showed up instead of Applejack (that horse has a split personality) We ended up making 6 runs (2 practice during warm up and then 2 in each jackpot). Little bugger bucked on every single run.
Went for a trail ride through the forest to cool out and he was fine.
We have GOT to get this figured out.

Maryann said...

I would bet you sleep REALLY soundly at night with all the work you do, before work, at work, and afterwards, with the horses. Hats off to your perseverance! I'm exhausted just reading the blog! :-)

rhinestone said...

Ooh! I can't wait to hear about the VLC's show prep! Keep us posted! ;)

CutNJump said...

cdncowgirl-

Some days they just wake up on the wrong side of the stall.

I swear!

verylargecolt said...

I sleep like a log. And I can sleep anywhere. :-)

>>If ya want any help with the ground driving/long lining just give us a call.<<

I need someone physically here to show me so that's only gonna help if you want to hop on a plane! :-)

Jackie said...

Starlette was so good with the fireworks...on Sat they set some off unexpectedly while I was riding, and she stopped, did the T'bred head in the air, quivered, and when I asked her to move on, did...though very much ready to take off ;) I quit after that and let her know how good she was!

Mads said...

I didn't ride my bunch for nine days recently. They were longed by a friend but I was interstate for a family funeral. I just about went gaga and so did the horses!

Well, in Australia I'm not going NEAR a show for a good few months. My mare of 6 weeks is doing really well. We still haven't ridden outside the arena but we're fine both in the indoor and the outdoor even with distractions (including the thoroughbred-eating-birds and fire-breathing-bushes.)

She was turned out with two older geldings she was enjoying bossing around yesterday. The arab gelding decided to herd her and the three of them led a 20 minute chase up and down and up and down their paddock. The arab gelding was removed from that paddock very quickly. The dumb paint gelding and my mare were like 'Well, no point playing if HE isn't!'

I had a lesson with my trainer directly after that and although the mare was sweating from her little running-away-from-poor-mommy-who-only-has-two-legsHAHA!
adventure I figured that she wouldn't be as hot in the arena and hey, not as much warming up.
She was fabulous in her lesson. Her second time ever in the bitless bridle and first in her new saddle. I decided to put her in the bitless after noticing that although she has a super soft mouth and is responsive, she was tossing her head when I halted her and the moment I released pressure she would try and go forward. Bitless has changed it all.

She is VERY responsive, actually, everything with this mare screams to me POLO PONY. She's fast, turns well, very responsive and gutsy. So we might have to see about that. I have no idea about training polo ponies at all. She's newly 7 and 15.2hh (would that make her too large) see this is something I'm going to have to look into.

I want to try her on a cross country course soon. She LOVES to jump and loves water. My only problem is her breaks although they have improved SO much. I'm so glad I've been very calm with training this one. We've worked mainly at the walk and trot and making qucik clear transitions and introducing voice commands. I can't believe how well she's learned! The power walk is gone, the head set is much lower, there is no arguing or not wanting to stop, she doesn't cut corners anymore. I still need to do more work on the canter but I really feel that this little mare has been a find.

She's also getting better on the ground. She no longer tries to bite at you when you girth up, she picks up her back feet with out pretending to strike out, she doesn't try to pull you around on the lead rope but follows at my shoulder. I think with this horse is that she does need a confident handler/rider because she really seems to get her own confidence from me- but she's a clever, talented young mare with a bright future ... unless she kills me tomorrow.

Snoopsincharge said...

It's funny how they all are different about these wormers!
I have one mare that thinks it's a treat and you don't even have to put a halter on or hold her head. She will even go so far as trying to steal the other horses' wormers...lol
The other mare is ok, she might pop up a few inches, but she's only 14.3h, so not a big deal to hang on to and getting her back down. My stallion doesn't like them, but you can talk him into finally taking it with disgust.
His son on the other hand will do anything, including trying to rub you off on a wall, to evade taking it. So with him it always takes at least ten minutes and two people to get it done.
I am always glad when it's over and nobody got hurt.
I wish they'd finally make a wormer tasting like alfalfa hay or something...

fuglyhorseoftheday said...

Mads - 15.2 is a great size for polo. A good first step is teaching her to neck rein. Have you done that with a horse before? I'm working on it with Honey right now.

Nancy (aka Tony's person) said...

Tony & I have had such an exciting couple of weeks, including this weekend. We had a lesson about two weeks ago, our first at the place we are at now. I'd been nervous to trot (a long, long story!) & didn't know how to ask him for a really collected trot. Now, two weeks and about 5.5 hours in the saddle, we are both doing fantastic! It's so wonderful. We hit our nine month anniversary on Sunday, and I feel like we've come years worth in a short time. We are also working on trail class obstacles...hopefully a FUN show is in our future soon. We have managed the collected trot more often than not, which is amazing. Sunday was backing through a 'L' of poles. We'd been working on it with out the poles for a while, and he was okay at it. We also worked on opening a gate, which went okay for a first time. Show ring, here we come!

VT Horse Lady said...

This Sunday we took Misty, the small claustrophobic pony to her 1st show where she was ridden. After one month of daily quietex and a nice tube of it in the morning. The show was just a gymkhanna, but my daughter has been 'training' this silly pony for 4 years, and she is finally sort of safe enough to ride in public :) At 11.3 hands I really can't get on her. They did amazingly well, not a lot of competition only 2 of them 13 and under with ponys. Both my daughter and the other girl are friends so it was very fun for both of them. Both ponys were little shits at times. The girls were scheming with each other to tie for day end champion, but they didn't need to as the ponys had apparently already talked about who would be naughty when. Misty decided the white circle on the ground was a pony eating death trap and went her normal 6 feet sideways at a full gallop. My daughter said the sand in the ring was really soft :) It was funny, she got up and looked at the judges and said.."Do over?!" They laughed and said ok. And this time she was ready for the silly pony antics. The other girls pony decided that the tennis ball on a string hanging from a pole was EVIL and finally a ring crew guy came over and MADE the pony get close enough. I just love fun shows where the kids get breaks from the adults. So the 2 of them did tie and had to run speed barrels to break it. They were .04 seconds apart in times, my daughter got reserve but they were both happy for each other. A very fun day. Well if you don't count the 2 times the pony managed to get loose.

ellen said...

Ah the great wormer battle -- I have a gelding who will grab it out of my hand and slurp it right out of the tube. Another young mare made an elaborate display of spitting the paste out all over me, then licked it out of my hand...sigh. She and her sister were grubbing in my "goodie box" trying to worm themselves. I weigh everyone at worming time just to be obsessive, and had to rescue my weight tape from a couple of them who were trying to help.

Most of mine are not bad, I use the "rub the tube on the face until they relax then down the hatch" technique. Some of the old broodies are a pain -- they are wise to all the lies and know how to evade/avoid. Sometimes I have better luck working from the right with the smarty britches who know it all.

But I have one mare who is just ridiculous about it -- rearing and leaping all over the place. You'd think I was trying to feed her lye. Five weeks and six days between wormings of T-team mouth work, desensitization, you name it and she still goes ballistic. Worming her usually takes 45 minutes to an hour, the patience of Job, and some ground work skills to keep from getting flattened.

Have you thought about a bosal for the VLC? That would get him to the show while you were working on bit acceptance.

icepony said...

Well, I've been up on the SOG a few times here and there, along with a ton of ground work, and everything has gone very well so far. We even ventured (about 100 feet) out of the yard the other day; those of us who are arenaweenies know how big a deal that can be, lol!

So, in light of that, y'all better sit down...yesterday I did a 3 HOUR trail ride! In the mountains. Through deadfall. Up and down BIG hills. Over rocks. Through knee-deep mud and belly deep water (that was the scariest). And it was GREAT!!

Okay, so this was obviously not with the SOG (although I'm threatening to send him there for a month of "boot camp"), it was at a trail ride lodge. The owner took the two of us out, knowing both of us could ride, and gave us the trail ride of a lifetime. The only reason I didn't puke or cry was that you could tell these horses knew exactly what they were doing, and enjoyed it. I don't think I've ever ridden an uglier horse, or had more trust in one within 5 minutes. And the owner won my heart when we walked out of the yard, I realized something was off (he'd thrown a brand new shoe), and with NO hesitation we went back and switched horses. Kudos to him - the horses were so well cared for and happy, it was a joy to be there.

I know this is all somewhat garbled, but I'm still so thrilled! I'll have to go post some pix from the ride over on the board - you guys won't believe how beautiful it was up there!

Karen V said...

I heard of a trick regarding worming. Take an empty wormer plunger thingy, rinse it out, and load it with apple sauce. Give once a day for the first week. Then four times a week. Then three times a week. Then once or twice a week for each week thereafter. They'll look forward to it and you can "sneak" the real stuff into them. Then follow with the treat.

I haven't tried it because I can get away with worming mine using baling twine as a "halter". Once the goop is in their mouth, I hold their lips closed. They all cuss me, but at least it get in them!

I 2nd the bosal on VLC.

verylargecolt said...

Ellen - they're not going to think the bosal is okay hunt seat, unfortunately! And now that he's fit, he loves to long trot. He may do both eventually, but for now, I'm sticking to english.

ellen said...

True that! I have really good luck with French link snaffles on my greenie beans -- no "nutcracker" effect, and a lot of my Morgans have low palates so they appreciate the French link..

Good luck - I am so enjoying the VLC's progress, he is a really neat guy.

Snoopsincharge said...

Karen V said...
I heard of a trick regarding worming. Take an empty wormer plunger thingy, rinse it out, and load it with apple sauce..."

Hahaha, good idea.
Though, it would only work with a horse that doesn't hate apple sauce, which my problem boy unfurtunately does. It would take me the same amount of time forcing apple sauce on him.

Shadow Rider said...

Slackers! LOL! I rode on the 4th, schooling my 17 h Perch greenie, on the 5th rode him again, then the 6th took my wonderful 21 yr old TWH on a 5 hour trail ride with my hubby and daughter. Great fun!
Of course I can't move today...