Thursday, July 7, 2011


I'm going to change the...mood? this blog. I'm not totally sure where I want to go with it yet, but I'm going to try to be more specific and scientific with my riding. I'm going to post how long I do things for, when I do them, how they went step by step, etc. instead of just telling it like a babbling story.

But first I'm going to wrap up Saturday with a brief babbling story and a few pictures since I didn't make this decision until a couple of days ago.

Hubby and I finished off the gate jump we'd made and brought it down to the barn.

step one: left over boards we had and a piece of luan.

step two: unpainted, but put together

step three: white coat on.

step four: lattice we found in the house we spray painted black.

Red isn't getting ridden for awhile (more on that later), but Hubby was nice enough to agree to take some pictures and video of me riding Bobby and testing out the new jump. Bobby had to give the black monster in the middle of it a long look while we were walking around before warming up, but since it didn't jump out and eat him, he moved on pretty quickly.

He had a good warm up at the walk and trot. We went over four ground poles at both gaits and worked on flexing both on and off the rail, on circles, and doing leg yields in both directions. He's actually getting pretty solid at his leg yields. We then moved on to the canter. I warmed up with my stirrups in dressage length, so I did the canter sitting for only the third or fourth time since I've had him. While still kind of disorganized, it was his best one yet. He broke a couple of times doing circles (just over 20 meters--maybe 30-35 meters?) from being strung out and unbalanced on the smaller size, but he picked it right back up when he we got back on the rail. He also--in both directions--took two times to pick up the canter from the walk (which is how I was always taught and told to ask for it). He'd rush into a really fast walk or a really fast canter, but I corrected him quickly, brought him back to a walk, and asked again. I think I should do walk to trot transitions before asking for it just to get his attention back and bring him back on my aids; I usually let him walk and stretch out for five minutes after our w/t warm up before moving on to the canter. I'm also going to work on asking him to canter from the trot since that's the transition for the BN Test A dressage test (which we'll hopefully be doing for Bucks).

walking the ground poles.

changing direction.

he still needs to break at the poll. and i still need a bigger saddle.
I let him walk for another five minutes after cantering before starting jumping. I used the same three stride line as two days before with a ground pole as the first jump and the gate set at 2'6 as the second jump. He was pretty sure he was going to jump it the first time, then decided either the height or the black monster (or both) were too worrying and ran out. He did the same thing the second time, even with much stronger leg from me, and ran directly into the standard. I had Hubby put wings up on either side and tried again. Tah-dah! He jumped it great!

We went over one more time with just the ground rail, then added a 2' vertical. He jumped it the first time great, the next time pretty good except I got fussy with my hands and brought him in too close to the second jump. He got the three strides and he jumped clear, but it was awkward. The next two times he jumped to the right at the last second, still going over, but smashing my toe on the standard and barely missing me knee the second time. Apparently that black monster was thinking about making a move.

eyes on the prize.

me jumping the center of the jump, bobby jumping the right side so as not to get eaten.

A quick Red run-down. I can't find anything wrong with him. There are a few things I suspect, but I really can't find outright pain/inflammation. His legs are clean. He has no temperature (100.7). The farrier hoof tested him and found nothing. I've poked and prodded all along his back, neck, and haunches and got no response. But when I tried lunging him with no tack on, he didn't want to trot, especially to the right. Again, he didn't look off, but he really didn't want to go either. And when he was getting his feet done yesterday, he was moderately pissy about pulling his left hind forward to put on the stand. To me, that says muscle soreness somewhere behind. I'm going to do flexion tests this weekend when I have someone there to jog him for me. Unfortunately, I just don't have $150+ to have the vet come out unless it's something really serious. And at this point, I can't even tell them what I think is wrong.

I ponied him off of Bobby yesterday and today. We walked around all four of the huge hay fields by the barn with some trotting. He was incredibly willing to go (he had had a week off at this point) and was even goofing off a little. We were out for exactly half an hour. He does enjoy having a job to do. He loves being with people and he loves being paid attention to, so even if all that's wrong with him is a riding overload/mental breakdown, until I can find something physical with him, I'm going to just pony him for awhile. It's a good warm up for Bobby too, without the boringness off ring warm up. And Bobby takes his ponying job very seriously. If Red tries to get ahead of him, he pins his ears back, and if that doesn't work, he nips at him until Red goes back to Bobby's shoulder.

Today, after the ponying, I took Bobby into the ring to run through the Intro B dressage test. We did five minutes each way at the trot, working on flexing in each direction. The test was pretty good for only doing it for the second time. Obviously it's a very easy test, but he wasn't bending quite as well on the 20m circle to the left than he was to the right (which is normal), he's not great at the free walk, and he broke into the trot for a step when I picked up the reins from the free walk to the medium walk across the diagnol. But overall his transitions are pretty sharp and his circles are getting better.

The farrier came yesterday. No more Bill the Farrier though. I tried a girl (literally. She's 19.) who just started shoeing by herself in March. She apprenticed under a show farrier in NJ, but when she first walked in I was like, Uh-oh. She's 5'6 max and tiny. But she did an amazingly awesome job and I'm definitely going to stay with her. She made sure to tell me what she was doing and why (different shoes for Bobby that were a little wider on the bottom) and what she thought about both boys' feet (great feet on Bobby, Red flares really easily and way too much) and what her plan was going to be for them (try to fix the weird shape on Bobby's LF and work on getting Red's flare-induced cracks back to lovely looking feet). She did spend two hours to put front shoes on Bobby which was a little frustrating, but another farrier was there and she (the other farrier) helped my farrier work through it and showed her what to do. Apparently Bobby's toe was wider than his heel in a weird way, so every time she tried to widen the toe on the shoe, the heel would widen too. Or something. Bobby was getting a little ansy by the end of it and as soon as I put him away, he peed. Sorry, Robert.

bobby hinds before

bobby fronts before

bobby after.
red rh before.

red rh before

red rh after

red rh after
There's a two year old colt at the barn that's some sort of Quarter Pony who's owner hasn't paid board in several months (like six or seven) and who's feet haven't been done in as long. He only gets handled when he gets tied to the wall when BO does stalls in the morning and that's it. Hubby really likes him and I feel bad for him. He's a total sweetie, not mouthy at all, and not as nutty as you would imagine for never getting out of his stall. Today I gave him a hard core grooming. I curried out a ton of hair that was just laying on his coat, picked his feet (which he was really good about picking up), and sprayed show sheen in his mane and tail (ooh, spooky) to brush it out. The flash on the camera was a little scary, and the spray bottle had to be chewed on a little after I sprayed him to make sure it was dead, but he was a really good boy for it. I wish we had the money to take him, but sadly not. Tomorrow I'm going to give him a bridle path and try to tackle his ears and maybe whiskers.


conformation wrecked by his horrible feet, but he is cute.

hind feet.


CL's daughter is taking Bobby (under my and their trainer's supervision of course) to a local Hunter show this Saturday. The next Sunday, he's doing his Intro B test at a dressage schooling show, then two weeks later is his first HT!

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