Sunday, December 13, 2015

Putting my foot down.

Here's a summarized recap of the week!

Monday: Worked on transitions then did some drill work with another rider there. We did a simon says thing for a while, then worked on side-by-side trot work, and then canter circles. It really helped Max stay focused!

Tuesday: Didn't do too much - Max felt a little sluggish and would pin his ears during canter transitions. I decided to keep things easy and give him the next two days off.

Friday: Max felt much better and ready to work! We rode alone in the indoor and he stayed focused. Still some pinning at the canter depart but after some warming up he seemed more comfortable.

Saturday: Went out on a long ride with someone I've never ridden with before. Her horse was pretty skittish, and is not too fond of other horses so we kept our distance. We explored some new trails, crossed over a bridge and traveled about 5 miles! Insane! At the end of the ride though, Max took off with me up a hill bucking!! I grabbed on to the strap and held on and he calmed down quickly.  I took him  into the indoor for a little bit more schooling. No naughty stuff!! When I had his brain back we ended the ride and he got lots and lots of treats!

Sunday: Another beautiful day so I did some short warm up in the indoor and decided to head up the hills. Well Max wasn't going to have it! I decided to put my foot down and have him trot, or even run up the hill...just no backing up and turning and all that nonsense. Well after a few refusals we trotted all the way up and we kept going till we go to the upper hills! Did some galloping around, then crossed a bridge (some more of that pushing with the forward as he had a few refusals), then back down to the barn, across yet Another bridge (a longer refusal this time- but we made it across!!)  - up the road, then back down and across a stream where he just plopped right through and walked up the steep hill very calmly!

He was sooo sweaty after the ride so I gave him a hose-down while he steamed it all off. Then some hand-grazing in the sun while he dried before putting him back in his field where he rolled twice!  Here's a video!


Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Feet update.

For the one...or two..of you who have followed my blog from the start, you would know that Max had some problems with his feet earlier on.

It's been about a year plus since then and I thought I'd do a quick update on how they are doing.

First things first, a lot has changed since then. We changed his turn-out situation from a mud-filled paddock to a dry-er sandier one. I change farriers to a much nicer, more competent one. He was put on Smarthoof Ultra, and had Durasole and Keratex gel applied alternately through the week.

From This....

And This...




The farrier (who I've kept and brought to the new barn) just re-did his fronts and said his feet had really good healthy growth to them and are in very good shape!

It meant so much to hear that, and to see the results side by side is so satisfying. At this point I am continuing with our maintenance of his feet. So long as we keep it up he will be just fine. Prevention is always better than cure!

Our rides this week have been mainly transitions and patterns. We did a short quadrille session with another rider Monday night which was super fun. I tried out an Antares saddle and to my surprise didn't love it. Max has been pinning his ears at the canter transition to the left, so I'm concerned he may have some soreness somewhere. I'm giving him two days off and will see how he does on Friday.

Another warm weekend ahead (in December to boot!) So looking forward to it!

Christmas lights up at the barn!

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Overcoming an obstacle.

I decided to take a trail lesson with a lady at the barn on Saturday to help Max overcome some of his fears.

We started out with a nice slow walk up a steep hill, and a loop into the forest. She gave me some good tips on how to keep his focus on me - walking the fine line of letting him look and process, but moving forward at the same time.

She also talked about the fine line between giving him his head so he can look where he's going (especially down hill) but also keeping enough contact in his mouth so he knows I haven't abandoned him. She also mentioned to keep my leg on him, not really giving an aid, but as a reminder that I am there for him if he needs me.

We decided to tackle a few problem areas that day. First we started by walking through a really muddy area, over a stream. Then we crossed 'The Ditch' - a steep decline down into a rocky stream, and then a steep incline consisting of mud and more mud.

I tried to find a good spot for his head, kept my contact as soft as possible, and wrapped my legs around him like a blanket. I also made sure to keep his nose right on her horses butt - at least the first time. To prevent any leaping.

Well, he trudged through the first stream fine. And at The Ditch, he made his way slowly down and at the very bottom did a small jump over to the muddy bank.

Not exactly what I was hoping he would do, but since he did it very nicely and very controlled, without any stress about him, I was thrilled! He received lots of pats and hugs and kisses, and when we got back to the barn, an armful of carrots!

Today I met up with a boarder and we went for a nice long trail ride. We explored a few new areas but it got really rocky so we exited quickly. It was tons of fun trotting up the big hills, taking in the beautiful weather and scenery, then trudging down to the cross-country field to do more water training with Max. He's getting braver and braver every time!!

Here's to more adventures!

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Getting into position.

All this time I thought I could jump in my dressage saddle...and true enough I could, and still can. However, after tonight I am seriously doubting I can do it correctly..

I decided to squeeze in a lesson with S after work today. Max was fantastic during warm-up and we soon moved on to canter poles in a circle. We struggled a bit there, especially going right. S pointed out I was sometimes too busy looking at the current obstacle, when I should be looking to the next!

After the canter circles she set up a small course for us. She had us trot across the diagonal over a skinny cross-rail, transition into a canter, canter over the three poles and then transition to trot before going over a bigger cross rail.

She noticed that I got left behind during Max's jumps and when she corrected my position I found I moved with him much better, and not only that, I felt more secure!!

I also noticed that my dressage saddle was making it quite challenging for me to get into that position!

One of the other riders was so sweet and offered me her saddle to try the next time I have a lesson. Since her horse is shaped similarly to Max I happily and gratefully accepted.

Can't wait for the next session!!