Friday, December 4, 2009

An Icy Training day (yesterday!)

So it was about 28-30 degrees today and WINDY! Since I dont have a barn winter coat I had on 2 t-shirts and 3 hoodies. I was still cold. Goodness.

Today started off well, I got great sleep and felt fabulous! I got ready and Zoey and I hopped in the car for out 45 min drive to Diane’s barn. Christmas music :)

I was going to start China and Tempting in English tack today, but my girth was too small! And its a 42! Fatties. Diane didn’t have any girth extenders so sans English saddle for China…she did go in a D-ring french link snaffle though…

China's bit today

As usual, I started out by lunging to warm her up. I’m a big fan of lunging for 5-10 min just to get a horse loose. A lot of trainers think too much lunging is bad for a horse, which it can be, but 5-10 min before every ride is not going to do any damage.

SIDENOTE- the reason many trainers dislike lunging or lunging with sidereins is because they think prolonged periods going round and round and round is degenerative to a young horses’ (or older) joints. Granted yes if one lunged a horse for 45 min everyday, that would do great damage, but just 10 min before every ride at walk, trot and canter can really loosen a stiff horse up, especially in the winter! The key is to lunge on a larger circle and start off at the walk and trot and only let them canter after about 7 min of walking in trotting. I sometimes like to add sidereins for 5 min of the warmup, but only if the horse understands what they are for-stretching and loosening of the back and neck. I think it is vital to let a horse warm up before the rider ads his/her weight.

But anyways, I started off lunging her, and she seemed to enjoy the lighter English bridle and bit in her mouth. But God was it cold! Anyways after doing our neck stretches I mounted up and let her walk about for a few min. Then I started right back where I left off tues with leg yielding at the halt. Unlike tues, China was not very compliant. She kicked at the girth today when I cinched her up so I deduced that her sides were sore. Sure enough, after experimenting with leg pressure I learned that she would only tolerate light light light pressure today. That was a challenge, esp when practicing leg yields! However she soon settled and after some fussing with the bit like usual, into a workmanlike trot. I intermittently would stop and ask for yieldsand back-ups in which she complied!

After her I worked Freddy; I wish I could change him to English tack as well, but he is simple to wide for my saddle. I did though switch his bit to a happy-mouth, french link, 2 ring elevator bit

Freddy's bit

This is the exact bit I used today on him. I LOVE elevators and use a 3 ring on Yankee whenever we jump. However, it is only for experienced hands! When used wrongly this bit can be quite severe. Anyways, I started him off the same way I start China. He was one step behind her though as he didnt know leg yielding well. I put on baby spurs today and really took my time with him. He finally got it!!! I was so happy. He really is one of the smartest I have ever dealt with before. After that, we worked on cantering right when I ask. Seems the baby spurs really helped today as he FINALLY picked up the correct leads. He seems to really be coming into better balance with himself. I was very happy with him today as well!

After him I worked Tempting. I’m pretty sure she was possessed by the devil today, because she was an absolute hellion. She started off in the barn terribly (I was able to jerry-rig the saddle in place….not sure how to explain how, but it was very secure-enough for lunging, no rider could have sat in it), spooky and nervous the whole time I was grooming. Diane thought it was because she’s only worn the saddle 5 times now, and hardly was ever groomed before I started orking with her. I blame it on the wind. Pleh. I don’t know why I thought she would improve…

She pretty much looked like this all day, literally.

Well she didn’t. Tempting normally is very mindful and well behaved, taking voice cues well and all that jazz. But she was turning a deaf ear today, along with flipping of the tail and running madly around like a hooligan. I couldnt help but get frustrated…and I started to doubt myself for not being able to get ehr attention… I really didnt know what to do! I asked her to HALT adn I stood there a bit and regained my composure. Giving up on working her in the icy wind, I resulted to working with her on giving to the bit on the ground. Epic Fail. I just coudldnt work with her today. Back to the barn.

After lunch, I got on Curly. We went for a lovely trail ride, and I’m very glad I left him for last. He was an ANGEL! I used the same bit on him as freddy and he really responded well to it. I trotted and cantered a bunch on him today and really worked he hills. Maybe he’ll lose some chuz :P

I was pooped after that but I still had another 45 min drive to go work with Jasmine, the mustang. As usual she didnt want to come down out of the pasture ( I bribed her with oats!), but once she did, all was well. I first practiced picking up her feet and brushing her. She is really learning fast! I tacked her up and sent her out on the line-which she is unafraid now! Also practice halting and turning with hand signals. Later, about 20 min, I put my feet in the stirrup and hopped up and down. She was un-fazed by the whole deal. I hope I’m not too heavy to ride her when the time comes!

But I have been working out :)

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