Saturday, March 29, 2014

Show got cancelled... Boo hiss. Damned March showers!

So, remember how I mentioned that Sher ran out after a couple fences because Nicole was carrying a whip? Well, those are the only videos that came out of that day. So... when I went to the tack swap Tuesday night...

Long story short, one of the people I know from around town made a comment to me- you know, those snotty little, "I saw that video- ooohh.." with that face that just screams, "Ohh, that was so unfortunate!" Yah. So, fighting back the instant urge to either snarl at her (Um... 2nd time over fences EVER??) or come back with some snarky comment ("I'm sorry, when you decide to train your own 4yo OTTB instead of buying a dead broke 17 yo, get back to me."), instead I just blamed the whip.
Which was the problem.
And which she obviously didn't believe because she's a friend of Renee's, who blames me for "ruining" her horse by training him to be forward, fit, supple, and a lover of cross-country jumping.

Sucks when you tell someone you'll sell them your horse and back out after they've been training it for 9 months like it will be theirs... And can't ride. ;)

I guess long story long, huh?

In any case, back to Sherwood. She's coming along so nicely! I took her to the park today, taking advantage of the glorious wind-blown rainstorm weather (hah! Take that, Mother Nature! You can't stop me!!!) to get her on the trailer, to a new place, and work in relative peace. Honest to God, she was a dream. Took about 15 minute to settle, but then we W/T/C around that place like we owned it. Switched rings halfway through without a hitch, got soaking wet, did some patterns, and worked on long and low through all three gaits successfully. A beautiful day in the neighborhood. Will you be mine? Will you be mine? Now- what TV show is that from??

Sunday, March 23, 2014

There will be pictures, I just have to make them.

At some point.

In any case, there was a full crew at the barn yesterday! I got done with chores and breakfast in time to work with Fred a bit in anticipation of his "trial" with a girl who responded to Dennis's free lease ad. Call me skeptical at the time, but I figured I better get in some groundwork so she stood a better chance of not getting killed. So... we did that, it went well, and Fred thinks I'm the Blonde Beotch from Hell, who only shows up to make him work. Eh, it is what it is.

Then I had some spare time, so I worked Jovi on the lunge bc his mom works a lot and asked me to ride him. Mind you, this horse hasn't been ridden in over a year, so I'm still not sure where his tack is.. and I felt bad working him under saddle when he has such poor muscle tone. Poor boy. So... we worked on the lunge for 20 minutes at a walk and trot. I found out he doesn't have a walk, so we worked on W/T transitions- even better for building muscle than just trotting around and less strain on his joints! He's such a good boy!

THEN Fred's rider (Kelly) showed up, and Jeannie, and Nicole and Corey! Full house! While Dennis told Kelly all about the Muley One, Nicole and I tacked him up, and she did some more groundwork with him. (She's the Brunette Beotch from Hell. LoL), then hopped on and she warmed him up W/T, while I threw down some cavaletti for Sherwood's future workout. Mind you, Nicole and I together are kind of... a bad idea. We just egg each other on to do more and more stuff. Watch the progression.

Nicole: "Oh, I'll just trot him around a bit and make sure his steering is still there from when we last worked him (last summer)."
Me: "Okay!"
Me after watching her trot him around for a bit: "So... cavaletti?"
Nicole (pondering): "Yeah, okay!"
Me: "I'll just put 2 down."
They go over it a couple times, he gets the hang of it, and...
Me: "Three?"
Nicole: "Sure! why not??"
And there we had Fred going over three cavaletti for the first time ever, on his first ride of the year. Lovely!


Me: "Hey Nicole, while Fred's busy with Kelly- she's doing great with him!- wanna hop on Sher?"
N: "Hells yes! I wanna see what you're bringing to the show grounds next weekend!"
A(me) after tacking up, Nicole warming her up, and watching them trot around: " So... we've been working on crossrails... Wanna try?"
N: "Sure!"
Long story short, because I'm sick of typing Ns and As and quotation marks!

I gave Nicole a whip because Sher was just being so.. Sherwood, which did the trick on the ground but prompted her to run out after her fences- Gah!! So Nicole got off and I hopped on with the whip, and immediately felt the difference in the Marish One- jet fuel!- so promptly dropped the whip and tried the fence (loose term for a 12-18" crossrail). No more running out, but still plenty forward on the flat. Yay!

Then we raised it to a 18" vertical, which was actually 2' bc whatever idiot made the fences (*whistles, looks away*) made the 18" mark at 22". Now, who can't use a ruler these days?? Honestly. We need to hire better help.
And... lo and behold, Sher likes her fences bigger! There's a bascule hiding in there! Who'd a thunk?

And onto today- we started with a crossrail, then put up one in a line, then raised one of them to a vertical for the last 2 jumps. Probably a total of 10 cross rails and 2 verticals. And you want to know who was an ANGEL through all of it? That's right. That'd be MY Sherwoodigans. I may have to stop calling her that... Hah. Let's not jump the gun!

Who we then promptly asked to step her front feet onto our makeshift mounting block (4'x4'x16" tall) and leapt on top of it, then fell/stumbled off sideways. (I made her do it again the right way after that. Damn these groundwork people making me think my horse is a mountain goat! See what happens?!)

Yes. I want to take this mare cross country.

I think.

Wish us luck in our Cross Rail Hunter classes next weekend!!

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

I've been sooo sick!! I took off the weekend after that last post, and then was horribly sick all last week- to the point that my mom picked me and Loki up at the ferry to take care of me. Ugh. In any case, I feel much better this week, and have a nice shiny schedule for my new rotation that worked out pretty well with daylight savings time today!

No pictures, and she was a BEAST to start off with. My sand-skiing techniques are getting really impressive. I'm pretty sure I could get a date just by showing up at Jones Beach and letting everyone see my skillz. I mean.. How many people can ski without any water, right??

So we lunged, then we worked on that damnable drain cover, then some more lunging, some bending- basically, we just kept going over the basics until she was giving in nicely- then... back to the drain cover! And back and forth it went! Until we finally were doing half-moon lunging and making the distance between a tire and the drain cover smaller and smaller until she actually was trotting over it. Still not touching it, but... I called it success and quit for the day.

Funny story? I walked into the barn to find my horse in another horse's stall, in yet a 3rd horse's blanket- which, to show how well-trained I am, I didn't even think twice about it. Oh, okay... That's interesting, but not even close to alarming... Where is her blanket? Then I saw that the horse in her stall was wearing it. So that was that. Then Dennis walked in and asked me why I was taking Jovi out for a ride. I just blinked at him for a moment, before chuckling as I realized he was joking (obvi!), "Dennis, I haven't been -that- sick! Quit fucking around... The blankets were a good effort!" And then realized he hadn't been joking.

Yup, we sat there for a good couple minutes arguing about which horse was mine- and i will take pictures of Sher and Jovi so you can see the ridiculousness of this conversation- until finally, I told him to check beneath the hood. WHich one has a package?! Yah. It wasn't the one in the aisle. LoL I'm thinking quitting carbs may have affected his brain.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

So, I've worked Sherwood Tuesday and yesterday, and I have pictures I'd love to show off. See??
How gorgeous is she??
I can't seem to get anyone to take picture of us riding, and I barely managed to get these (because I was also holding a lunge line!), but after a good warmup, we lunged over some cavaletti, then added a 12" vertical after a couple times. The first time, she powered through it like a green horse, so I made her do it 2 more times (total of 3-4 in each direction), until she relaxed and started looking at them and not just flying through them haphazardly. Then we added the 12" bump, and she looked at it the first time, but was quiet and cool throughout. Good girl, right?

So... yesterday, we did the 4 trot poles, then 2 trot poles to a 12" cross rail under saddle. Again, she didn't even blink at it. Today, we're going to try doing the 2 poles to a 18"cross rail, then switch it to an 18" vertical.

Also, we've been cantering every day- no issues, no complaints. Just working on getting her to relax and focus in the canter, go around with her head nice and low on a loose rein.

I think we may have hit a breakthrough in attitude, too. Although initially she turns tail and heads away from me when I go out to get her, it's more like a- "Do you -really- want me? Really really?? Oh, okay then!" Because after about 5 steps, she turns and looks at me and if I stop coming towards her, she turns around and walks over and follows me into the barn without a leadrope or halter. No carrots involved. Swear! Yup. I think Sherwood and I have turned a corner for the better, and I couldn't be happier.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

As promised, we headed to Parkview for our 2nd lesson. This time, Girly showed the trainer what I'd meant by- "she's usually really good". Laura gave me some nice new shiny tools to get her focusing and relaxed, and a cool new steering technique- "with my stirrups". As soon as she explained it- put your weight into the stirrup you want her to head toward, and even push her over if she's not getting the message, a light clicked on in my head. You know those moments where you want to take your leg off and kick yourself with it? Yeah, this was one of them. Sounds kind of like teaching lateral direction, huh? Just way more blunt.

PS. We learned all these things because parkview is crazy. Let me paint you a picture. 10 acres- maybe more?- with 50+ horses stacked here there and everywhere, tractors, workers, riders w/ and without horses who may or may not be working/acting up/washing/etc., cars, SUVs, trailers, mounds of manure/shavings, feed silos... Needless to say, it's more similar to a racetrack than the backyard barn Sherwood lives at. And she react accordingly- out comes the high headed stomping-pawing-spinning horse everyone loves to meet. BUT. This time, although she started that way, we worked outside, lunged, she came back to me a bit more focused, and laura and I decided to work outside. Picture all of that, but at least we're not trapped in an indoor with little kids on ponies. Literally.

And this mare was... golden. Once Laura showed me my new refocusing techniques- change the bend right left right left- Sherwood relaxed and floated. By the end, we had worked both directions W/T/C and Laura was telling me how impressed she was with me and my mare. "It's not everyone who can make a green horse look good, and this girl looks like a million bucks when she's with you. Great job."

Overall, an actually useful lesson, and one I can't wait to apply later this week!

Saturday, March 1, 2014

It has been a busy week! Got to hop on She-Beast a couple times, so took her to the reining barn indoor today. I was fully expecting a crazy girl when she got off the trailer after her 15 minute ride to the place in a dripping sweat- literally, sweated through her medium blanket and was dripping on the ground. But... I walked her out in the arena, let her calm down a bit, then took her back out to the trailer, tacked her up, and lunged her in the arena. It gave her a chance to look around a little, get out some of her energy, and re-focus back on me. Until she found the lounge window- and THEN she decided she'd rather check herself out. Too funny. LoL

She was a really good girl- the first time a horse spun near us, I thought she was going to act up, but we stopped and watched for a moment, walked around them in both direction, and... Nothing. So anticlimactic. Same with the taking off at a gallop from behind us and skidding to a halt in front/beside us. Notta. The only issue she had was when she thought she was done and I asked her to walk past the arena gate. Then she tried some of her tricks, but a quick spin headed her off and got her back on track. What a good girl!

Although she's been trying to fake her way out of the trailer on the way to places, she got right back in without any issues on the way back.. I couldn't ask for a better experience for her at a strange new place. So- what do we do now? Scare the shit out of her at Parkview tomorrow!!