Thursday, December 22, 2011

Riding Diary: 3

Horse: Trouble
          - boarder's horse

Bit: Eggbut snaffle w/ Copper Inlay

Time: 1.5 hr

Ride: Trouble was all sorts of fire-y when I first got on her to warm her up, then of course my trainer came in and it was "her head is going everywhere", "more contact", "watch your hands", "get her to focus". Thus, today was another day of lots of work at a trot.

Exercise 1: Collection, Collection & More Collection
- I am still really struggling with my contact, I can count numerous times in my life with horses where someone has prided me in having loose reins, little contact with a horses mouth, etc. etc. Ya, well, now we're in a snaffle bit, and we're in an arena and shit is getting real (contact-wise)! haha I just need to remember that having "contact" does not mean "cruelty". So poor Trouble and I, we learnt together today, me with my contact, her with her collection. It's hard with her because she doesn't really understand it yet, she isn't one of those horses that has to be checked every once and awhile, with her, she needs to be constantly aided in her collection, or else her head is swinging one way and her rib cage the other and my body is seemingly mimicking this, and her and I probably end up looking like one big shit-show.

Exercise 2: Barrels
- We started off with 2 barrels, trot up to one, turn (with proper contact, leg and hand placement - easier said than done), release, trot to second barrel making sure she is collected, turn barrel, exit. Then, once I kind of sort of figured out what I was doing with my legs my trainer up'd it to a turn, counter bend while trotting to second barrel, turn, counter bend past 1st barrel. Trouble drifts through her turns and then I tend to lose full control/contact with her after the second barrel thus not being able to effectively counter-bend so we worked a lot on that.

Exercise 3: Counter-Bending
- want to know something super fun? Trouble doesn't know how to disengage her body, and I apparently have one very weak leg (my left) and one dominant leg that can actually do what I want it to (my right). Here we go! In the end, after I was sweating buckets and having "LOUISA, QUIT GOING OVER THE MIDLINE" screamed at me over and over, we got it together and she was moving pretty nicely.

Then my trainer jumped on her and attempted to work on rollbacks with her, but again, she's just one of those horses that was never properly or professionally trained, she was quiet enough to be given to a kid who did 4-H and in the end she ended up too much for the kid and injured. So she just needs a lot of work, and a lot of time I suppose. She was having a hard time moving off her front end, and my trainer commented that he thinks she has issues with her left hock and that she will probably end up needing Cortisone shots because of it. Which is really sad.

Exercise 4: Barrel Pattern
- Issues we have: drifting, my hands/legs, her rib cage/collection... these issues culminate into ... a bit of a gross barrel pattern, baby steps, baby steps, baby steps..

For Next Time: Same as always, hand and leg placement.

Honestly, this Riding Diary may seem negative but I'm really happy with how the lesson went, I have clear issues that as a rider I obviously need to work through, but atleast I know what those issues are now, you know? Before I had no one telling me how to work through my issues, now I have someone, standing in the middle of the arena, screaming "YOUR HANDS. YOUR GODDAMN HANDS" and as scary as that sounds, I totally need it.

Also, my trainer commented on how much I kiss to horses, and it's true, it's just one of those things that is so ingrained in my behaviour. He pointed out that I kiss to put on halters, to talk to them, to get them to speed up, to get them to turn. So that's another little thing - NO MORE KISSING. :) (Unless you have a hot cowboy for me hahaha)

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Riding Diary: 2

Horse: Betty & Freckles
           - Owned by the barn I work at

Bit: Snaffle
- one was a weaver D Ring with copper roller, the other I'm not sure

Time: 1.5 each horse

Ride: So this was my actual, real life, first lesson at my barn! Exciting! Both Freckles & Betty are 6, both are pretty well broke, and both were started on the flag a couple days ago, so it's interesting to see how each one progresses/changes since they are so similar in age/how much they know. They both have really different backgrounds though, Betty was trained at/by Olds College, and her owner thinks that is the reason she's really good with all her cues, like lead changes and what not. Freckles was a roping horse that was pretty much given up on by her previous owner. She had a tendency to pull back, due to pain in her poll, and because of it she was pretty much given to my trainer for free because her previous owner hated her so much. Pretty sad story, especially because she is the nicest little mare, she's so forgiving and in your pocket cute. Today I stood with her and we just straight up cuddled for about 20 minutes. She's really captured my heart, plus, she's gorgeous, she has a bit of a short neck/big head going on, but otherwise she has a dark chestnut coat and a flaxen mane and tail, both really long, and then a big white blaze with chestnut freckles.. hence the name. Betty sort of looks like a buffalo haha, she's this short stocky fuzzy sorrel, but what she lacks in flash she's a really nice ride.

I started out on Betty, she used to have issues with her stop but apparently she's over that. My trainer commented that I have a really good seat/hands with my stop, so that's good. Then we worked her on the flag, I've only ever worked a horse on a flag twice, and it was a finished cutting horse so obviously he knew what he was doing and where he needed to be. Betty kept drifting away from the flag on me and I struggled to keep her square and at that perfect distance. Then my trainer jumped on when some english riding clients came and showed them how the flag worked, they seemed pretty amazed by the whole thing. It's funny because my barn is so english and western but you often forget about how different the two worlds really are sometimes.

Then I rode Freckles, my trainer commented that I really need to work on leg and hand placement, especially around turns and recommended I do a lot of saddle time at a trot working on figure 8's and turns. I really struggle with hand contact, I've always ridden horses, on trails, in curb bits, and so I'm use to neck reining and really loose, long reins. So the minute I'm "on" a horses face I feel like i'm ruining their mouths, so then I drop my reins and it goes to shit. I just need to remember to keep a small amount of contact and to not lose focus on the rest of my body while I do it. He's right, lots of time in the saddle, working at the slow stuff and one day i'll be a pro at the fast stuff.

I'm also finding that the horses just don't seem as responsive to my leg as they do to his, obviously he's a way higher level rider than I am but I also have to wonder about his spurs. Clearly I'm not ready for spurs, but obviously spurs are going to slightly desensitize a horses side, it's not like he rakes or anything, he's very gentle with them, but all the horses at my barn are ridden with spurs and it just seems that my leg, no matter how hard I'm pressing, doesn't seem to get the message across. Is that my issue? or are they just not as sensitive to my heel? Hm.. things to think about.

For Next Time: Lots of slow walk and trot stuff, collection, and working on my hand and leg placement in turns and circles. :)

Monday, December 12, 2011

Want: Jak Wonderly Prints

I reaaaally want to order these prints for my room, if I had to choose it would be the first, and the fourth. I think they are so beautiful. I'm re-decorating my room over the holidays (if I find the time - how is it the holidays can be busy?! Is that a contradiction.. I think so.. ugh) so perhaps these can fit into the budget come January :) I have theee perfect place for them - I'll post photos if it happens!

What's in the Colour? Overo Paints

So I was over at Western Horse Review and saw the Paint Horse World Championship Results. What struck me was how often Overo Paint's end up in the lead. Now, I'm not saying judges are giving extra points for colour, (although in some classes they are certainly adding flashy colour as a factor), but clearly paint horse breeders and showers are looking towards the flashy Overo's over Tobiano's and Tovero's.

Just to clarify the different colour variations, these descriptions were taken from the APHA website...

G Its Showtime defending his championship in Tobiano 3 year old & older geldings
Tobiano - the dark colour usually covers one or both flanks. Generally, all four legs are white, at least below the hocks and knees. Generally, the spots are regular and distinct as ovals or round patterns that extend down over the neck and chest, giving the appearance of a shield. Head markings are like those of a solid colored horse - solid, or with a blaze, strip, star or snip. A tobiano may be either predominantly dark or white and the tail is often two colors.

Roses And Chocolate, sorrel overo, who took home All-around open horse, Super Gelding & High-Point English Horse at the World show this year.
Overo - the white usually will not cross the back of the horse between its withers and its tail. Generally, at least one and often all four legs are dark. Generally, the white is irregular and is rather scattered or splashy. Head markings are distinctive, often bald-faced, apron-faced or bonnet-faced. An overo may be either predominantly dark or white. The tail is usually one colour.

Tovero - Dark pigmentation around the ears, which may expand to cover the forehead and/or eyes. One or both blue eyes. Dark pigmentation around the mouth, which may extend up the sides of the face and form spots. Chest spot(s) in varying sizes which may also extend up the neck. Flank spot(s) ranging in size. These are often accompanied by smaller spots that extend forward across the barrel, and up over the loin. Spots, varying in size, at the base of the tail.

This whole blog post got started when I realized that Overo's completely dominated World's this year. At the World Championships I counted 4 Sorrel Overo, 3 Chestnut Overo, 1 Bay Overo, 1 Brown Overo and One Red Roan Overo that were all champions. There was a measly 1 Tobiano and 1 Tovero to round out the winners in all the different classes. Clearly you can tell where the trend in paint horse breeding is at the moment.
It's not like this is a new thing in the horse world, if you're buying a buckskin you can tack on probably around $500-$1000 more for the colour alone, possibly more depending on what discipline you are going into. However, I'm always amused at how many "plain-as-jane" sorrel's and chestnut's end up being championship cutting horses. There isn't any shame in loving certain colours either, I personally adore Tobiano's that are predominantly dark in colour, and as for Quarter Horses, of course I think palomino's and buckskin's are just "sooooooo prettyyyyy". It's just interesting to me the different colour trends that come and go in breeding throughout the years, and in what disciplines colour is an important factor, and which it doesn't matter much at all.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Be Relentless.

This video is amazing,
the quote is definitely some words to live by.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Riding Diary: 1

I am the worst poster ever, Finals are here, out of nowhere, and I feel very, very behind... but yet, all I do is lurk around the internet? duuur, worst student of the year award.

Anyways, I've been meaning to do a sort of riding-diary in here, so here goes, first one!

Horse: Trouble
         - Boarders Horse

Bit: Snaffle

Time: 1 Hr

Ride: Went well, I rode her last week after she'd already been worked on the treadmill earlier in the day and she seemed very tired, and worked up a sweat really quickly. She's a fun little horse that I quite enjoy. We worked on a lot of slow stuff in the walk and trot because she's always so eager to lope and I wanted to  just work from a slow to fast trot for a lot of things.

I wasn't aiming for much because I worked all day and was pretty lethargic at this point and I had to turn her out after in freezing weather so I didn't want her soaked, so I just played around with some stuff. She has a great stop and I fooled around a bit with spins, she turns well but slowly, and I'm wondering if anyone else that rides her rides with spurs, because she didn't seem very alert to me bumping her without spurs on. She's younger, 4-5 and carries her head really nicely and will drop it, but needs to be reminded to keep herself in a frame. Other than the slow stuff we loped a bit, I find her lope a little rocky and hard to sit, and she kept drifting inwards so I just worked on big, large circles in the arena and she finally slowed down into a nice slow lope so that was good.

Finally I cooled her down and just to see what she'd do I dropped the reins and attempted to get her to back without rein, she seemed a bit confused but by the 4th time was backing 4 or 5 steps really nicely. I'm wondering if in a past life she had some reining training, or at least was trained by someone who was a reiner, she seems to know all those basic cues. I know that she was a 4-H horse but was a little hot for the kid riding her.

For Next Time: I'd like to work a bit more with controlled speed and see how she does. :)

Anyways - that's all for today, hope you all are staying warm! From a maniac wind storm last week and driving in blizzards for what seems like two weeks straight, i'd like to curl up and hide under my covers.