dancing_crow: (Default)
Three horses today. I will improve fast  faster more better a good deal if I can keep this up.

Penny pulls like a freight train, enough that I want to bit her up so she can't just rest her freaking humongous head on the resins and make me carry it. I try to yield when she does, and she just drops her nose deeper into the ground and pulls harder. Suggestions welcome.

How to use the correct part of your leg? forget to remove spurs before riding the baby horse who doesn't need them. We only had one or two flying moments...

Kaboose is doing well. I really wish Janice could come see us, but she's busy with her broken sister and dad and pup, and keeping the rest of her life together. Maybe after the Oct.show I can get Kaboose down there for a lesson. Another borrow of everything - horse, tack, truck, trailer. I work for the nicest people, that they let me do these things.
dancing_crow: (penny)
I realized I have significantly modified a horse.

For the better - thank you. Penny is now much more forward, more interested, lighter to the aids. She was an entry level Training level dressage horse, and now she is a solid Training level test 2 and 3 dressage horse, and she is reliably jumping (with Bob too, not just me)

And I did this. And Bob and his other instructor have noticed the difference.

I can be quietly pleased with myself over this, right?
dancing_crow: (Default)
multi-horse day - yay!!

Took Rachel to the Canadians, she tried riding Kaboose for a lesson. Bob had a lesson on Penny, and we realized that he Never Let Go with his legs. So he spent a very interesting hour practicing taking his leg OFF the horse, so she could feel it again when he put it on very quietly, and he was illuminated and very pleased with himself and the horse. Rachel spent an interesting half hour trying to balance between soothing Keboose and actually asking her to do something. She found a nice balance, and they got some very peaceful walk-trot-walk transitions, followed by some organization to produce a walk-canter transition. I could see Rachel reaching for the correct form, it was verra interesting.

then Rachel got Ruby, and I hopped on Kaboose and we went into the woods while the brilliant sun was still out. The big girls got their shoes pulled, so they were footy over the rocks, and Ruby is always footy over the rocks because we haven't gotten her a pair of sneakers yet. So we mostly walked. But it was gorgeous.

And when we got home, Rachel tried to put some of what she'd gotten from Kaboose to work on Ruby which was more or less successful. Rachel was getting a feel for what kind of trot she could get a canter from, not too slow, not too fast and rushy, paying attention.

And then we went to see Bully, who looks soooo slender and elegant and sleek after the Canadians.

He was good too. A little full of himself having had a day off, but I got some very nice canters, and some better transitions. I am still working on  the same things Rachel is, which she found illuminating, and (I think) funny. So she could tell me to keep my shoulders BACK when I asked for the canter, just the way I was telling her earlier.

the rest of the afternoon devolved into someone else's kid's birthday, which was fine, but I am so toasted I need to sleep.

dancing_crow: (kaboose face)
three horse day!

Kaboose was high, grumpy and tight - we walked and trotted in tons of circles, and I gradually got her looser and lower and quieter. The goal was 3 really lovely walk-trot transitions, and three really lovely trot-walk transitions, which we hit nicely right at the very end

Penny was great, she had taken Bob in a jumping lesson on Sunday and he was SO pleased with her. Funny thing - the work we've been doing All Summer has paid off in a horse that is lighter and more responsive to the aids, and lots more fun to ride. She's growing up! I keep forgetting how young she really was last year, four then, five now, and really maturing well.

After staring at Bully for a week, the Canadians look really fat heavy duty solid built sturdy, and their legs are short, and they are SO FUZZY (eeeeeeee, cute and fuzzy)

Bully was turned out in his fleece, which is good. His owner came and checked him out, said he looked great (huge relief) and dropped off two winter blankets. One seems to be too small, although it is the one with his name embroidered on it, the other seems fine but probably needs another can of waterproofing. I added the rest of the can of waterproofing to his rain coat, and it looks like it should work better now. With luck, if I apply an entire can of waterproofing to his old Rambo it should work well and not need to be traded in.

Bully was full of himself, and scooting off in different directions hoping I wasn't paying attention. He settled down a little, and we had some very ncie walk-canter departs. Springy. Fun.

circus still to come. I think food should help me feel less wilty...

dancing_crow: (Kaboose)
Finally reached the owner of Molly, now trying to arrange a visit so I can ride her, pat her, stare into her eyes and see if she might work

I've had a series of  fabulous rides on Kaboose, particularly today, and think I should just accept Bob and Leonor's offer to take her for year

I rode an AMAZING and extreeemely ancient TB on Tuesday (he's 23, I love him), schooled to 2nd, and totally capable of 1st.  I could probably read the test to him and he'd do it from understanding the words rather than any aids I was applying. I felt like such a GOOD RIDER - like all the thrashing I do is paying off somehow. His situation is complex but workable.

Lest anyone think I have no discrimination, I have:
  • ridden a narrow Welsh/QH cross, just under 14.2, that is kind and forward, but not quite right
  • realized that although the NY city block horse, Goose, is up for lease, his trot gives me cramps, and I feel like a spaz when I ride him
  • passed up a barn full of hunters because the woman in charge didn't know what a dressage test was (?!?)
  • looked at but passed on two horses that were offered, because they are  young and unschooled - I am looking for educating me this year, not educating another young horse
I have a dressage show this Sunday at Xenophon. I'll be riding Penny in T2 and T3, and Kaboose in T3, and taking Penny over the 2' fences.

I would like not to be a complete catastrophe over fences.

Apparently the jumping nerves have completely over-run the test nerves, 'cause I can't find them (the test nerves) anywhere. woot?
dancing_crow: (penny)
very effective today - cooler is better, to a point (although that point for me is a couple degrees below freezing)
  • exercise, which encountered epic fail all summer, has recommenced
  • accomplished all the school accessories for both girls, woot
  • did NOT forget the bassoon lesson
  • retrieved Miss Roo for riding company
  • delivered miss Alice for pool party (Kind friend invited her to reconnect with buds from public school)
  • rode Penny, Miss Roo rode Ruby. discovered the way to get enough transitions and circles is to offer a point per each, and anything over 100 earns ice cream
  • helped Bob load 1/2 the hay wagon into the barn
  • retrieved Aerin and Alice and administered ice cream to all
Bob said I could borrow Kaboose for a year. Which is really nice to hear.

That gives me a great fall-back plan, but I still want to see what the paint mare is like first. Is that being greedy?
dancing_crow: (Kaboose)
trail ride before everything got quite so awfully hot and then thundered and lightninged and poured - rode Penny, Bob on Kaboose, Rachel-Roo on Ruby-Roo (they are SO CUTE together it is kind of stunning)

(she is my other daughter - I recognize so many more of her impulses than Aerin's... )


So I have been treating the whole horse thing as more like window shopping, and I want one of each please:

DreamHorse.com Horse ID: 1422649 - Molly
Holsteiner/ Appendix cross for sale or lease | Buy this Horse at Equine.com
Personable and Fun PC and H/J Mare for Sale | Buy this Horse at Equine.com
Gorgeous Dapple Grey Welsh TB X 3' Eventing Lg. Pony | Buy this Horse at Equine.com
2nd Level Gelding - MUST SELL | Buy this Horse at Equine.com
talented dapple gray | Buy this Horse at Equine.com

in rough order of geographical proximity

yeah, there are too many grays in there.

I fell hard for a pair of Welsh Sect D (Big, cob sized) mares imported from Wales, but they were more broodmare candidates than dressage schoolmaster candidates

dancing_crow: (Kaboose)
I am guessing that the spiders with webs across the trail were not expecting anything quite the size of me or Kaboose, and I am certain that the ones I dusted off my helmet once I got off were startled by the ride

although with all those eyes, how can you read surprise?
dancing_crow: (ruby)
Rode the Rubster today. We tried to go out but it was too hot and too buggy to be much fun, plus insanely muddy and generally blicky. That is a technical term, meaning nasty.

So I need to label the bridles and girths. Mostly the girths. We have three horses, three saddles in current use, and each saddle has two or three girths for use with different horses. I was thinking of dog tags until I priced them. I was assuming 3 or 4 or 5$, instead they are each $8 and that adds up fast. Then I looked at engraving my own, but they are ugly and too big. BUT - I have a punch that can put holes in pennies. So I think I am going to punch a handful of (Canadian!!) pennies for Penny, and drill holes in a handful of red rhinestones for Ruby, but I am stymied for Kaboose.

We have no small coin with a train on it, much less a caboose. I don't want to try to find jewelry train parts because, well, expense again. Plus they are not smooth and relatively discreet. I kind of like the special nickels with a buffalo on the flip side from Jefferson. Al suggested a different Canadian coin. Although the dime is a particular favorite of mine (Schooner Bluenose! under full sail!) it doesn't actually relate to the horse. There are US State quarters with horses, or that are pretty in other ways, but they are a little bigger than I was hoping for. plus, no caboose.

Any suggestions? Will you send me coins from away?
dancing_crow: (Kaboose)
The red mare, while being bitchy and surly, has moments of real appeal

She was tight in the back and very unhappy with me this morning, and it got worse before it got better. She hated sitting trot, but nailed walk/canter transitions, and got many of the trot/canter transitions so long as I was posting up until she struck off. After we got some of those ironed out I worked on the beginnings of counter-canter, and stopped at a good point.

She is being tested for Lyme this afternoon so we will know whether that is a factor or if she is just bitchy.

After work, I hosed her off, and then let her play with the dribbly hose. She chewed it, and let water dribble out of her mouth.Then I let water pool in my hand and she drank from my hand. I don't know if she's done that before, or if we just figured it out, but it was incredibly cool.

I went back and rode Penny after lunch. She was doing pretty well, considering the heat, and we got some nice forward work. She hangs on my left hand which I tend to set-and-forget, so we reinforce eachother in a bad way. I have been working on softening that hand particularly, and not letting her (or me) hang on it.

While I am fond of Penny, and Ruby cracks me up, I really want Kaboose. I want her to be mine. i want to keep her outside at a nice barn, and be her friend and rider, and trust her and have her trust me.

le sigh.

dancing_crow: (ruby)
exercise: ran 5 5min sets at 5 miles an hour, plus put the treadmill up to 1 for an incline, thought i was gonna die
horses: penny and ruby about 35 mins each
fabric: YAY!! finally what I was envisioning, all those days and strips of red and black ago

I worry that if I take some time off from miss a ride with the girls that Leonor will hire another, more official rider to take over. That happened last summer, legitimately because I was gone for a chunk of the summer, but then we got kind of cross threaded in the fall. But I think I will be riding more this summer.

dancing_crow: (Kaboose)
So the red mare is going to the eastern part of the state tomorrow, getting ridden 5 or 6 times a week and jumped at least once a week. That will be great for her, and I think the woman riding her will have a good time.

I will miss her like crazy, but I will also be riding her daughter Penny, and Penny's half sister Ruby (shared sire), who are, respectively, almost 5 and almost 4. I think of them as the girls. They are fun, and I will have a good time.

The woman's extremely green TB mare will be coming to hang with the girls until the trainer can take her. I am invited to ride her as I choose, but the idea of matching wits with an extremely green TB mare is kind of daunting.

in other news, I realized I had last had a real hair cut during the Clinton administration, so I changed that. Results here. That is about a foot shorter than this morning.

dancing_crow: (Kaboose)
Today we are forcibly reminded:

Other people's horses are Other People's Horses. They are not my horses.

And that is the end of this lesson.
dancing_crow: (Kaboose)
When I took the red mare out on Thursday we had a series of Gigantic battles around whether she was or was not capable of putting her feet into the running water that made the centers of some parts of the trail into small streams. Eventually we went forward, in extremely erratic leaps and bounds punctuated with stops to quiver with a combination of terror and indignation. Where the streams were not present we did very well, but I was wondering what her take-away message had been from the episode. Apparently I won Thursday. Going out yesterday we went along under the power lines and she was confident and forward the whole way, even through the horror that was rivulets of running water.

I love this mare. She is a good match for my neuroses and strengths, she is funny, and we can have great fun together. Leonor was talking of trying to find a summer lease for her, meaning someone else, and my heart sank. I think Bob will talk her out of it, and in the meantime I am scheming about whether or not it is something I might take on. I have the list of schooling shows for Xenophon Farm, and I have started learning tests T1 to First 1. I have no idea what we might be capable of this spring until we can address ourselves to the ring, and it has not been visible for months. Bob thought he might like to take Penny, the daughter, so a couple of dressage tests as well, which would be hysterical and fun.

Hannah - where do I find out what test to learn for combined tests? All I could find on USEA was for CCI* competitions, and we are SO not there!! I think the mare would have fun jumping, but again - the snow has to dissipate before I know anything much about how much we lost over the winter.
dancing_crow: (Kaboose)
well crap. The red mare is lame, and I don't know why. I am torn between thinking is probably happened in the last day or two, and wondering of the tripping she has been doing has anything to do with it. She was walking pretty solidly, but once we picked up a trot she was nodding her head every time her right front foot was bearing weight. There was no visible swelling or heat, but she is so fuzzy in the legs it is difficult to tell with cold hands. I'll check in on her tomorrow. I told the owners. I told the barn manager. I don't know what else to do.

I did get another barn looked after - eight horses, seven stalls, untold water buckets... It is about three hours of steady effort to accomplish it all. Electric water buckets man, I am grateful for them every single day I find them steaming gently instead of having to kick the ice out.

I am beat. And I still have to make my fabric things and stay awake during Aerin's winter concert. She is at school all afternoon helping the sound guy. My girl, techie in training. The people teaching her about the sound board were enchanted that she is a second generation techie. I am amused that they even thought of it that way. I think, counting my dad, she may be third generation. If we want to get technical.
dancing_crow: (Default)
I keep killing this and having to type it again.

I hate shifting from mac to pc and back because it is always the tiny reflexes that kill me, not the big procedural questions.

I get to return to barn pixieing today; water buckets and turnout and stall cleaning. My instructor is in Mexico where I hope the weather is correct for the season. Last winter it snowed on her, in Mexico. She was only a little bummed.

I am relieved the cold has moderated. I don't mind winter, and I am even mostly equipped to cope with it in terms of long underwear and endurance. For extreme cold I like HWB's attitude: survival is a sport, and venturing out without freezing off any crucial parts? Major Win!! But when water buckets are involved the extreme cold becomes a kind of grim fascination with exactly how fast the buckets become solid. And then have to be kicked out and refilled. Forming huge glaciers to slip on until spring arrives. Maybe I am not as inured to this as I thought.



dancing_crow: (Kaboose)
I've been humming that line in my head for two days and only now realized it isn't right. The Who - Magic Bus; "hope I die before I get old" but really I don't, I'd prefer to live to be very old and active and then die fast and relatively painless. I do however hope the rings dries out before it gets cold or there will be ice bumps in it and I won't be able to ride til it thaws again.

I got completely sidetracked onto clicker training research because I want to make teach little Ruby some tricks. So I have ordered some books from Karen Pryor (whose book Lads Before the Wind I read looong long ago when it first came out and also read her father's book written when he was visiting her: Philip Wylie's The Spy Who Spoke Porpoise) that were written by Alexandra Kurland. I mentioned it to Leonor and she left me a copy of the book and a clicker to play with today, until my stuff comes in.

So I rode Kaboose and she seemed tight and cold for most of it. We did best when I stopped trying to practice sitting the trot and focused on getting her forward but not fast. I have decided to adopt Hannah's criteria for any particular ride; is the horse better at the end than she was at the beginning? If yes, then it has to be a net win. So we trotted a lot, and worked on longer and stretchier and bendier while trotting.

I rode Ruby for about 15 minutes bareback, trying to just whisper the things I wanted to do. I was struck by something Casa Corona said about her young horse, that was echoed in the comments. She said if she tried to Ride him for a circle or a serpentine, he couldn't seem to hear it, but if she just thought about it, and laid out the track in her mind very clearly, it worked very well. She says he is sensitive, and he over reacts to light aids. Two commenters agreed that their young horses had had similar issues, although one noted that as her horse aged he got more used to the aids and understood better the degrees of delicacy for more advanced school figures. It seems counterintuitive to use less aids for a young horse. It seems like they'd need big simple (and maybe loud) aids to begin with and then they should get refined. But I tried using much quieter aids with Ruby instead of noisier ones, and it seems to be helping a good deal. So I'll go with what works, and philosophize at leisure.

I concluded with 5 minutes of clicker training for everyone. Kaboose seemed to get it instantly, although she may have been just curious about the vetwrapped soda bottle on a stick. Penny dimly remembered something like this in her past, back when she was little (she reminds me of a 14 or 15 year old kid - very much working on adulthood). Ruby wanted to do her best trick ("Bow") and get more carrot parts for it. The soda bottle was just between her and the carrot giver.

this should be fun

dancing_crow: (Default)
I'm having a good moment.

I've been having several lately, and I'm lucky and grateful.

It is summer. I am not waking anyone up. I am not making anyone go to bed. I have two other-people's-horses to ride, both in the same place, both fabulous (mother and daughter Canadians; big, cheerful, kind, horses, owned by lovely lovely people. I am really lucky on that score) and there is a mini pony there that Alice likes and is working with me on training. Up til now, the mini's been a lawn ornament. Up til now, Alice gets worried by big horses. Or even big ponies.

At this very moment, my girls are outside playing Manhunt (that game of 4000 names with hiding and seeking and shrieking and running and all done best in the dark) with a friend who is spending part of the week. We went up to my favorite pond, sailed the little dinghy, swam, stopped for candy on the way home. I had six kids in my car. Three neighbors, one extra friend, two of my own. We grilled things for supper. I walked to town to get the next video (the 3rd Indiana. Nevar the 2nd) and it was soft and warm and lovely, and there were fireflies all over the hedges and the field next door where the kids are.

Still lucky.

Still grateful.

More about the Canadians sometime.

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