Saturday, December 18, 2010

Dressage School Dissection

What a looooong day today, but good. I got up at 6am to feed the horses today, after that ate breakfast real quick then went to work from 8am to 330pm. Straight from work Brandon and I went to the barn to feed again and clean stalls and whatnot. He's such a helper!

I thought it'd be fun to teach Brandon how to free lunge Yankee so that in the future if I need him to work Yankee he could and it was....interesting, haha. Poor Yanks was SO confused with what Brandon was asking. Yanks is so used to my body language and my cues that he kept stopping or turning around or looking over to was pretty funny. Brandon got the hang of the cues and how to hold his body but by that time Yankee learned he could take pretty good advantage of him. Better next time!

A very unflattering picture of me and my tall striped winter socks.

Today Yankee was a very good pony with one MIIIINOR issue which I think might actually need chiropractor work rather than more schooling. He is wicked stiff to the left especially at the canter. Its almost like when I ask him to bend he just CAN'T. I hope I can figure this out since I hate to think of my fantastical ponyface in pain.

But anyways...time for a dissection of today's ride.

In this picture you can't really see his back legs but from the front you can see he is actively moving forward with a good pep in his step. He is ok on the bit, but from the look on his face (either he is listening to me or a little upset) and the slight hollow in his back (look right behind the saddle pad-instead of being round, its dipped slightly down. Not good) you can tell it's not a true connection throughout. His poll is the highest point though which is good. My position is good too, since sometimes I have a tendency to tip forward (lack of riding and my hunter days coming back to haunt me). My knee and heel are up, but thats because I was asking him to move sideways here. Other wise I'm sitting up straight, but not looking ahead, shame shame.

I like this picture here of his trot. He is a little low in the head but I'm not too concerned about that. Unlike the last picture he is using his back more here (there is no dip behind the saddle pad if you look close, however it looks as if he is hollow simply because of his conformation. Yanks has a little hunters bump which I consider mostly aesthetic value..
It may give him problems later but it hasnt yet.) and looks very relaxed over his topline. He is swinging forward stellar too. I also look pretty good, straight for me. NIIIICE.

A Hunters bump.

I can pretty much say the same for this picture too with the exception that he is even MORE round over his back and swinging even more with his haunches. But FOR SHAME on me for looking down, again.

Here's a pretty good example of my problem....EEEK! And Yanks also is hollow and lagging, fail for both of us.

And here is what happens EVERYTIME I ask for the right lead canter. UGH. For about a two years he has done this now. Lately I've discovered he hollows less if I 2-point and use more inside as well as outside leg and half release inside rein when I ask, which is what I am doing here (pretty good one at that). This helps him balance a bit more and not rush into it, even though he throws his head straight in the air. He usually settles immediately into the canter though

This is a nice picture of his left lead canter. He is showing self carriage which is cool :) My only complaint is my position, I am a little forward.

Here is my wonderful horsey boyfriend walking my horse out :) Yankee loves him!

Friday, December 17, 2010

End of Exams Ride :)

Exams are FINALLLLLLLYYY over with!!! I feel like my brain is sufficiently fried and thoroughly raped. Poor Yankee didnt get much attention over the past 2 weeks due to my sickness and exam studying...but thankfully I have about a week and a half till I got home to Ohio for a holidays for a week, then after I come back I plan on working him everyday if I get the chance.

Today I warmed him up again inside free lunging with sidereins and thought I would post some pictures to show how very good this is working out for him. I used his jumping tack today since after the warm up we went for a good canter out in the field and walk around the property.

Yes this is him doing his usual freak out for a moment....

Then he settles right down into this AMAZING trot. Look how he is really pushing from behind, his front feet are off the ground before his back feet which show great use of the hindquarters. I love how you can see the muscling on his boot-tay :) He is accepting the bit and listening to me, and his poll is the highest point. He looks great :)

Pretty good active canter too, still reaching forward nicely and active behind as well as really relaxed in the neck....

This picture is fantastic and you can see the awesome spring he has in his step, I mean this is exceptional for yankee. He is very active and working over his back pretty good, maybe a little hollow but still nice. You can even see his stomach muscle. Relaxed in his poll and neck...just an overall good picture of a relaxed pony!

this looks really nice too for Yanks. His canter is naturally uphill but working free in the arena without a rider seems to help him gain more balance and use that muscley butt of his. I can say the same for this picture as the rest of proud!

So as you can see, this really seems to be benificial to him and I will most definetly continue to use this before every only if showsgrounds had an area where I could do this before every test....ugh.

After warm up we did a few laps around the field at a good lung blowing canter in the snow! we both had fun and he was listening like a good boy. His new bridle and bit are working like I hoped!

Speaking of the new bridle here is a pretty good picture of it. This is a $200 jumping bridle i got off ebay for $40! I LOVE LOVE LOVE it and so does Yankee. He has a weird shaped head where his ear base is wider than the rest of his head so I looked for a while for one that would fit and this bridle is beautiful and functional! YEAH ebay!

Monday, December 13, 2010


Today I dragged this filthy thing out of his pasture to re-clip him. This was after currying and brushing for 15 min! GEEZ. I clipped him in October and his hair regrew pretty fast so I decided to re-do it today.

His tail is bagged up, no worries-it's still there!

After only 30 min I had re-clipped AND clipped up higher since he will be in heavier work now than he was earlier this winter. I LOVE the way this clip turned out :)

After his clipping, I had some time left before I needed to get back to studying so I thought a nice hack would be good for both of us. Yanks is still a little stiff so I wanted to get him outside

Yankee in his nice new 'shiny' half pad. State Line Tack $17! Fits awesomely.

The finishing touch of his weatherbeeta half sheet. Can't live without this!

Weeeellll, he was AWFUL in the beginning...the feeding lady showed up right as we went out to the field so of course all he could think about was dinner (it was only 3pm!). Great.

It was also 2 degrees out.

He pulled a Gogo (sorry andrea :P) and reared and spun like a retard. NOTHING I was doing settled him. So I took a big breath, calmed down, and just asked for little half halts while doing a biiiiig zig zag pattern to keep him from directly facing the barn. It actually worked and he settled right down, good boy!

I thought it would be bad training to dismount at the barn, rewarding his bad behavior, so I took him in the arena for a hot second. A compete opposite of earlier, he trotted out very nicely and cantered like a dream. I was satisfied.

Double blanketed tonight since its supposed to be a high of 2 degrees...high of 17 tomorrow during the day too....

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Snow Day

Not really actually, I'm not in High school anymore and I had exams to study for all day. Here's a look from last nights WICKED snow storm. Blew in 2 days early out of nowhere...Can't say i'm in Missouri changes so often it retarded. Like 2 nights ago it was 60 deg. and thunderstorming, last night, 12 deg and blizzarding.

We were taking our dog, Zoey out to go pee and were surprised to see this happening outside! We had gotten a pizza and a movie an lo-and-behold an hr and a half later there were 2 in. of snow on the ground and 50mph winds blowing it all around! WTF

Zoey says "I dont care though, Ilovesnow mom and dad!"

I thought nothing of it really as we went to bed last night but....alomg with being sick and hearing the winds gusting all night I didnt get much sleep so when the alarm went off at 7am to get up and go feed the new Spring Farm horses, well, one can say we were surprised!

Thats our driveway, up a hill....covered in ice and snow...we had a MAJOR problem. I had 12 hungry horses waiting 10 miles away and we were uber stuck! Brandon also had to be at work at noon. We sat there and scratched our heads along with the taxi driver (he came down our drive and got stuck in the parking lot). there was nothing we could do so I had to call Raquel and wake her up to tell her to text Kyle to feed the horses. Kyle lives on the farm but he is off on weekends. I felt really bad since I had 'covered' Raquels feed shift for her. Gosh.

Oh and that ice on the window? Yeah thats on the INSIDE. Our windows suck. You can literally feel the cold wind come in from underneath. Talk about a waste of $$$$$ on heating bills.