Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Cas is GOOD at getting time off!

I don't know what he did.
 Maybe had the fairies come and sprinkle magic dust around that has been making things happen which have prevented me from riding. Maybe it's just MURPHY making my life miserable? Who knows. What I do know is, I AM RIDING IN THE MORNING. Yes, I am putting my foot down and riding dang it! 

Now that I've gotten in the habit of riding, I honestly do miss it. Will we ever be seriously riding, working on things for competitions? I doubt it. I am about ready to head over to the BRC and take in some trails though. I think Cas will enjoy that too.

I should be home a bit after 6am. The weather should be 'cool' and Cas hasn't worked in FOREVER! SO, he needs to. I should also be able to ride both Friday and Saturday morning. Sunday is questionable, as I'm covering for a co-worker Saturday night shift.

Cas hasn't worked since the 14th, so I'm sure I'll get the EVIL EYE when I hoist the saddle up on his back. It'll be ok. He will get over it!

Friday, June 14, 2013

6/14 - day 17 - ride 4

Wow, 17 days? That is pretty good, don't you think? I mean, he hasn't worked every one of those days, but we are chugging along.

After a less than stellar performance the day before, I was a bit apprehensive about how things would go today.
I got up at 5:30 am and went out to get Cas ready. I wanted to be working him as early as possible, as the weather has been ghastly. The AM's had been about 15-20 degrees cooler, but these past two days the heat index when I went out was already almost 90. Not good for 6am!

So, out on the line he went. Less antics today. I had to really push him to keep him in the lope/canter. He wasn't feeling like it today. When I stopped working him on the line, it was 6:30, and DH wasn't home yet. Dang it! Wanted him to be home, just in case Cas did act a fool and something happened, I'd have someone there to help out. OH well....not wanting to wait any longer (I'd already done some flexes on the ground,  both sides) I sent a text to JenJ and let her know I was about to get on and ride, and that I'd txt her by 7 when I got off. :) You can never be too careful!

At the "log" (aka mounting block) Cas didn't even move. No moving his hindquarters to the right when I put my foot in the stirrup. So, that's progress, right?

After getting on, I again did some flexing both sides. OH, I did take the curb strap off the bit. When I tried flexing yesterday (which I forgot to note) the left side kept getting hung up/stuck. I had to reach down and fix it several times. So, I figured we'd give it a try sans curb strap. This one attaches with little metal clips that, no matter how you attach them, are very capable of poking the horse in the face. I'd like to add a simple leather piece under there, to keep the bit in place better.

With the flexing out of the way, and the "you don't move off right after I get on" lesson refreshed, it was time to move forward. I was a bit apprehensive, I'm sure. I asked the beast to walk forward, and I got 2 steps backward. Not what I was going for. A thunk to his right side, and I got a pinned ear and a head toss. Oh no you don't! I pulled him around, forcing him off balance and making him step to the side. A couple of those moves and a couple more thunks into his barrel and we were in the arena.

 He balked a bit more over the next 25 minutes. All I asked for today was a walk. We changed directions, A LOT. This way, that way, 1/2 circle, full circle, diagonal, serpentine. Stop, flex, walk off again. I sent JenJ a txt about 6:57 and let her know we were done.  It was much more humid when we ended, and the beast was indeed sweaty when we finished.

His sweat marks under his saddle however, didn't look even to me. SO, I snapped some photos on my phone and sent them to JenJ. She's had some saddle fit issues with her critters and is a PRO at saddle fitting and issues and what sweat patterns should look like and what they shouldn't and what to do about them :) Yay!  As I feared, they didn't look right! I did tell her that I felt my saddle was a little further forward today then in past rides. SO, I'm going to pay better attention to saddle placement when I ride Monday or Tuesday am (I know, this will be the longest time between rides, but I have a busy weekend ahead) and take more photos and send back for further analysis!

So, bottom line....Cas "acted" up, but I was able to push him through it and end on a good note. Hope he retains this lesson for the next ride!

6/13 - Attitude

I really could have just sat in the chair, and waited for DH to get home. I could have waited, and made him feed......or I could have just gone to bed. But a little 'bird' chirped a text to me, telling me to have a good ride. Now, how could I be lazy and stay inside after that?

Ugh. I mustered up what little energy I had left, and went out to get Cas ready. With my lateness in getting out the door, I didn't start to lunge him until 6:40am. Much later than the usual 6:10-6:15. He ran around a bit on the end of the line once asked to canter, but slowed down after he realized that was just TOO much work!

DH jumped on the tractor when he got home and made a few passes around the arena with the drag, and hung around to watch the ride. Since it was a bit warmer than it had been, I only planned on walking Cas in the arena. I also planned on lots of direction changes, circles, serpentines, etc to keep it interesting.

The plan was fine and good, until Cas got a case of the "I don't want tos". After I mounted, I did some neck stretches each direction. He's a good boy about NOT taking off the minute I get on, and I want to keep it that way. The neck flexes/stretches give me something productive to do with him while we are standing there waiting a while. After about 10-12 each way, I asked him to walk off. He balked, and started to back up. At one point, it felt like he kicked out. I took into consideration that Hannah (our neighbors JRT) was standing near his backside, and he's fairly anti dog. I chalked it up to her being there, and DH grabbed him and pushed him forward to the arena. No big deal.

Once in the arena, however, he decided he wasn't going to walk. Then he wasn't going to turn. Then he wasn't going to trot. Butt head! So, he got lots of direction changes, lots of stop and go, and some trotting. He also got some pretty good thumps on his side with he calves/heels. Silly horse! He's testing me, I know this.

After the issues, he worked for about an hour. He was pretty sweaty and gross when we were done. DH even helped me hose him off, which was nice.

I was a little anxious about our next ride, hoping the attitude of today's ride didn't carry over........

Routine....out the window

6/11 & 6/12 - no riding. I'm not 100% sure I remember why at this point......

6/11 - I think I got home late this am from work, and it would have been super late to ride by the time I did get home

6/12 - this may have been a case of the lazies, but I don't remember......

note to self, make notes about why you don't know, so I don't forget!

Monday, June 10, 2013

6/10 - i see a routine here

Yes, yes I do. I think it's safe to say we are on the every other day plan. Why? I'm not sure, it just seems to work out this way.
Keeping in mind that I'm on my 6 days off out of a 7 day week, I think this is good. We will see what happens on Saturday AM when I've started my working 6 days out of a 7 day week. I'm not sure I'll be able to keep up the every other day thing, but we will see.

On a side note.....I've started a new hobby/business. Things have to stay hush hush for now, but I will unveil my designs soon. I hope to have some items completed by July 1st, and a blog page and Facebook page up and running by then. I'm working on getting a logo designed as well. Anyone out there design logos? I'd love to talk to you about my ideas and price. Thanks!

Sunday, June 9, 2013

6/9 - day 12 - Ride 2

I headed outside before daybreak. I wanted to get Cas worked and ridden before it got too hot.

He didn't seem like a big fan of the tom thumb bit I had ridden him in Friday, so I broke out his new headstall and reins (both  were 2012 bday gifts from JenJ) and attached his "new" Myler bit to it.  I hoped this would make him happier.

Warm up was the same as usual. Bed and flex on the ground before lunge, lunge, and mount up and ride! His lunge contained a bit more cantering than last time. After his first few minutes of walk right he decided he knew when and where to change direction. He got a quick turn around and with a pop of the lunge stick he took off at a canter around the arena. NO problem big boy, you wanna go? We can go! So, canter he did until I thought he got the point. I had a much more obedient Cas after that.

Still had a couple issues mounting. He skedaddled to the right a few times as I put my foot in the stirrup, but understood that the point was to stand still quicker than Friday morning. Once aboard, he felt a little sticky walking back to the arena. Almost like he was planning a little " I don't think you are confident enough to make me do this" fit. He soon learned that momma WAS going to make him walk and trot around the arena.

We worked on some bend/give saddled and mounted. First attempt found him spinning in a circle. He quickly realized this was just like me being on the ground, stood still and gave very well to both sides. Some directional changes at the walk, and also at the trot. He wasn't sure he had to continue trotting through the changes, but I insisted and he complied.

He did seem happier with his new bit. He was more realized through his neck, and more accepting/giving of contact by bending at the poll.
All in all, Cas had about a 50 minute work out. I'm planning on making his lungs shorter so his ride time can be longer. That's the plan anyway. We will see how things go! Another few weeks of riding at home, and maybe we will be ready to tackle a trail at BRC with JenJ and her Trusty Steed MO!

Saturday, June 8, 2013

6/8 day 11

After being up most of the night with an upset tummy, I figured it was probably best to give the beast another day off. It wasn't going to hurt him. He had already proven that he was not going to give me much trouble. Not like I'm riding a green broke 3 year old or anything!

Who's nervous?? 6/7 - day 10

I got out of work a little late, which didnt make me happy!!! I wanted to be home early, I had a pony to torture!!
DH had a rough day Thursday, and was exhausted. He passed out after he got home and fed the critters Thursday evening. So, in addition to working Cas I was on am feed duty ! Threw food at the dogs, let them out and went to get Cas ready.
He was a good boy on the lunge line. His only hang up was his changing directions. I know that this is a problem of his, and we will keep working on it. I let him/made him lope a bit longer than usual.... I had my helmet on, and had dressed Cas in a headstall with a tomb thumb, the reins were draped around my neck in anticipation of the ride that was waiting at the end of Caspers lunge.
He stopped like a gentleman at the end of the line, turning slightly inward and waiting as I gathered the line and made my way to stand next to his handsome head. I grabbed the reins from my neck and clipped them onto the end of the shanks of the Tom Thumb. As we walked together, to the tree stump that would be my mounting block, I tossed the lunge line off to the side so he wouldn't get tangled up in it as we rode. I positioned him at the stump so that I coul get in his back, his left side closest to the stump. To say I wasn't slightly nervous would be a lie. I was. I hadn't ridden in a long time, and Casper hadn't been ridden in a long time. I mean, really ridden. Sure, he's the horse that gets every child and adult who comes over that has an inkling that they want to ride tossed onto his back, but that is without saddle and bridle. They ride bareback and have me leading them around. This is different.
I click the connector on my helmet together as I stand In front of the stump. I grab the reins that are resting on his neck in my left hand, and step up onto the stump. My heart begins pounding a little harder as he turns his big blue eye  my way to see what in doing. I scratch his neck for a second and tell him he's a good boy. Leaning forward I put some weight onto his back, to make sure he isn't going to freak out. You never know, he is a horse after all. After a few minutes I'm pretty confident he won't panic. Still a bit scared, but I am sure this too shall pass. I lift my left foot up and into the stirrup with a deep breath and put weight into it. He doesn't move. I take my foot out, wait a few seconds and try again. The second my foot hits the stirrup he moves way right, making it impossible to keep my foot in. I hop down, move him over and try again. Same result, he spins to the right. I get down, move his hind end in some right circles to the left and try again. We repeat this a few times before he is standing still again when my foot is in the stirrup. Any confidence in him that I had was gone by this time. I had pretty much convinced myself that I wasn't going to ride today. We'd made progress with him standing still, and I thought that was good. I'd talked myself out of riding until tomorrow. Then I remembered that a really great friend had told me " you can dooooo eeeeet", and I couldn't let either of us down. I summoned all my courage and with one smooth motion I put my left foot in the stirrup, put my weight in it and stood up. I swung my right leg over and grabbed the right stirrup. I was on. I was sitting on Casper's back! Score!!!!!!
With some calf pressure and a gentle cluck he moved on and we circled around and headed into the arena. I think we were both nervous, but we made many many laps around at the walk, and 1-2 around at the jog each way. We change direction some and did some figure 8's and serpentines. He stopped immediately when I said whoa and put my hand on his neck. I dismounted, and as I did my phone, the one I had used to take a short video clip while I was riding (I needed proof ya know) fell on the ground, 2 steps in front of Cas's left front hoof. He took one step forward as I stopped in front if him, hurrying my phone in sand and dirt. Thank goodness for my Otter Box!! It was dirty but undamaged.
I walked Cas to the tree and un-tacked him. Hosed him down and let him cool out before breakfast.
It was a good day. A productive and successful day! I had ridden for the first time in forever and Casper was a good day!! I plan on riding again Saturday, although I'm sure my back will object. Chiro appointment on the 18th, so I need to baby it until then.

Down time 6/6

Knowing I am planning on riding Casper this weekend, I though it would be best to give handsome the day off. I think 3 days in a row is good, and since I plan on working him Fri, Sat and Sun.....he's got today off. :)

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

interuptions! DAY 8 - 6/5

I left work and raced home to get Cas ready for his second lunge saddled. I know, not a big deal for some, but it was for me. I'm going to ride him in a couple days. Again, not a big deal for some, but it is for me. I haven't ridden in....well...I can't tell you when! and this also fits into my get healthier plans too. Outside, being active, doing good for us all! So, it's important to me that I stay on 'schedule' and continue heading in the right direction as far as Cas and I are concerned.

DH was running late this am, so I threw the dogs out to potty and got stuff ready to lunge Cas. Thinking he'd be home before I was done dressing the beast, I left the dogs out. Right after I started to lunge Cas, one of the dogs took to barking and digging by the gate like a fool!! ugh. Didn't want her to keep barking, or dig out, or hurt herself, or I stopped Cas, tied him back to the tree and ran inside to let them in. I also threw them some food while I was in there and grabbed the little dogs and put them outside. I felt bad making Cas stop when he had already gotten going, but I figured it was for the best.

He has an uneventful lunge after that. Walk, trot, canter, both directions. Ever a creature of habit, he decided he knew when to change direction. Wrong answer buddy, back the way you came! The temps were apparently milder this am, I'm guessing lower humidity maybe? because Cas wasn't even sweaty when we got done. Un-tacked and brushed him off, and let him stand at the tree while I put his goodies away and tended to the fountain and the garden. Let the other horses finish eating, and the untied Cas and let him have his well deserved breakfast too!! :) He was happy after that.

After a long sleep I got up and went to work on the "arena". Cas has drug up some more sticks and logs and such, so I wanted to clean it up. Being it is much hotter at 4:30 pm than at 6am, I only lasted an hour and had to take a break. Went inside and enjoyed some pink lemonade and a popsicle, and went back outside to work some more.  When I got back outside, I found DH, in the arena on the tractor with the box blade attempting to level out the high spots. He did a pretty good job! We then hooked up our makeshift drag (a roll of chain-link fence) to the tractor and evened out some of the hills he'd made. That worked pretty well too! I have a short video clip I'll try to post in a couple of days.

I wasn't able to work outside as long as I wanted. I had to stop before I got to pick up sticks/logs/twigs/metal pieces? from the arena post drag so I could get ready for work. Gotta pay the bills to keep these critters fed and healthy, ya know? 

Happy Horsin'!

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

dun, dun, dun!!! Day 7 - 6/4

And, as promised, I saddled Cas today!!!  The weather this am was MUCH,  I mean MUCHO cooler. Amazing how different AM and PM are here. Sheesh!

I snagged Cas, and got him ready as usual. Except instead of heading right to the 'arena' after he got his polos on, I threw a saddle pad on his back. If looks could kill, I'd be dead because the go to he*l look that horse gave me was pure EVIL I tell ya! He knew something was up. It wasn't going to be like the other days!  I swung my Tucker saddle up onto his back, and  I SWEAR he grew 10 hands instantaneously! It was the darndest thing. I couldn't believe it. I'm thinking of trading him in for a shorter model now. Something just as stocky, but oh, maybe 14.2 hands? Shorter even? Just kidding, I love him dearly, I just apparently forgot how freaking tall he is!

Saddled and ready to go, we mosey on to the arena. I mean, slugs move faster than we did. Cas was obviously not impressed with his new attire.
However, impressed or not, he impressed me with his amazing behavior. I was expecting at least a little kick up, something! Not a peep. He didn't step a foot wrong. He didn't want to stay in the canter going right, but that's ok! It'll be a while before we canter anyway!
The lunge went similar to yesterday/last night. Pretty much the same. Same length, same switching directions a lot, just added the saddle.
When I hosed him off, I had to throw a cooler on his back because the steam was just rolling off him! Poor boy! Again, amazing the difference from 7pm to 6am, just amazing. I think I'll try to keep his workouts in the AM, even if it means a little less sleep for me.

I'm going to attempt to upload some video. Not sure how it's going to work. I will at least get 2 photos up. Sorry for the quality, they are from my ancient iPhone3.

 Casper says - GET IT OFF ME! 



Monday, June 3, 2013

H - O - T - !!! Day 6 - 6/3

I had every intention of saddling Cas this evening. I really did! But when it was 93 degrees at 7pm, I just couldn't bring myself to torture my Pony. So, he got a nice lunge sans saddle! It is supposed to be 70 at 6 am, so I think I'll get his lunge in for tomorrow in the morning, and saddle him as well.

Tried to mix things up tonight instead of just the same boring around and around in a circle.
Started Cas off right, and walked for bout 3.5 mins. Direction change and go left. This was the first change and it was very sticky. He wasn't paying attention to me at all. 3.5 mins of walking this was and I asked for a direction change. Cas couldn't have given me a nicer, more smooth and fluid change if he tried. It was perfect!  3.5 mins more walk right, and then I asked for the trot. He looked really good this way. Nice and relaxed, and he only broke to the walk once. 5 mins of trotting and I asked or a change again. Not as stellar as the earlier one, but it was fine and he was headed left. 3.5 mins walking this way, and then I asked for the trot. His trot was fine this way. For some reason I feel he looks a tad stiff behind going left, but it is probably my imagination.  5 mins of trot left and then I asked for a walk. Direction change again, and he is headed right. I let him walk a few laps, an then asked for a trot followed by a canter. He got in about 3 good circles and broke just before I was about to ask for him to trot, so back to the canter he went for another 3 circles and then down to the trot for about a circle and a half and then the walk. Direction change and he is headed left. Same as the other side, a few walk circles, then trot and up into the canter. He isn't as balanced this way it seems. He rushes into it and seems to really get heavy on the forehand. He gave 3 or 4 circles before I asked for the trot, 2 circles there and then down to the walk. I have him about 5 mins of walk this was, and then another direction change. Headed right I gave him about another 5 mins of walk to cool down and asked him to stop. Whoa is something he is very good at! He stops on a dime, turns slightly into the circle and stands there. I love that!!

I do need to add that before the starts on the line, I do about 2-3 mins flexing from side to side, loosening up his neck and getting him to give. I have noticed that this has made him light when I ask him to back up! I am interested to see how this helps him under saddle.

Can't wait to ride later this weekend!!

You'll have to excuse any typos, I'm mostly posting from my phone and the screen is tiny! I check it when I get to a computer,  for errors, so hang in there with me!

Sunday, June 2, 2013

day 5 - 6/2

Casper has the day off. I'm sure he will enjoy that!! As for me, I'll be going home and making 'breakfast' for DH and me while DH feeds the crew. Then off to bed so I can sleep and come back to work tonight! :) The fun never ends I tell ya!

Saturday, June 1, 2013

80/20 - Day 4 - 6/1

No horse is perfect, this we know! So, do I expect 100/0 every day? No way!!
Cas was good today. His first directional transition was yuck, but he quickly pulled his head out of his rumpus and made up for it with the rest of them.
He first walked 7.5 mins to the right, and then changed direction. Then 7.5 minutes to the left, and ask for the trot. He was good! Right into it, no problem. A little short strided an stiff, but he worked out of it. Then he walked, and cantered 2 circles, walked, and cantered
One circle. Change directions.....
And it was off to the races!! Yeeeehawwwww buddy!! Multiple attempts to slow his gait lead to 0 success so he worked harder and until mom said so. Pushed him about 2 circles after he wanted to break gait and then he trotted and walked. Asked him to pick up the canter again and Gentleman Cas was back!! Cantered another circle, then trot two and then walk. Total work from start to this point, about 30 mins. About 10 mins longer than I wanted, but it is what it is.
Walked him out for another 10, tied him up and pulled his wraps. Rinsed him off and he is standing tied to the tree as I type this drying and cooling and learning patience. About 10 more mins as he can have breakfast.
Cas has the day off tomorrow, then back at it Moday with the saddle on.