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Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Happy horse = happy life

Overall we had a nice and relaxing weekend. My Mom came to town to ride on Saturday morning, and after about 20 minutes of arena work (for Zion and her- Gram and I only worked for a total of 5 and just walked watching them the rest o the time!) We took to the outside, to ride around a bit. It was a real treat for me and Gram because I am always the only person riding, and I am not yet brave enough to go outside on her alone... that is when the scary horse eating monsters strike! The last time I tried I ended up on the ground, and Gram ran around the farm for about 5 minutes.

Sunday we got to work a bit. Last week Zion decided it might be fun to take off half of his front foot, so he hasn't really been himself- he is a little short. I rode him on Sunday and he was ok so long as I stayed off the track where it tends to get a little hard. Gram was very willing so she had a short ride of mostly stretching.

Last night Ryan rode Zion and Gram and I had a lesson. Ryan said Zion was still a bit ouchie but better than he was last week- now I just cross my fingers that the foot grows out enough for lamplight next week! Yikes! My Gram lesson was great again. She has a new found pride about her lately. She is getting braver every day and trusting me more each day. I think she now realizes that I am not trying to hurt her with all the exercises. Don't get me wrong, she still does something crazy from time to time, but when I think of last year, it is like I have a whole new horse. She started off very relaxed last night. Our stretch was great. She still has moments where she wants to brace to the left, but that has also come a long way in a months time. We did some leg yields from the track to the quarter line to solidify the contact and engage the hing end. Then we worked again on the dreaded short trot to medium trot and back to short trot. Ryan really got after me about my diagonal lines... again. Gram tends to drift behind, especially when crossing from right to left. I have to make a better effort at not letting her hind end drift to the right. I let her drift to the right= Ryan yelling at me. As if it wasn't bad enough that her hind end is in Iowa, then instead of MXK I do an M-V and Ryan has a hissy fit :)

Our canter work was better, she is getting stronger and developing more of a jump to the right to where it is starting to feel closer to the left lead in terms of collection and activity. One thing we really like is Medium canter! Yahoooo! Once thing we don't like is coming back from said medium canter... We like the wind in our hair and that feeling of *almost* being completely out of control! Willy was the same way, so it make me smile every time. She sits down better than Willy did at her age... I need to take Gram home out on the trail and just let her gallop like Willy used to. I think in August we will head home to Michigan and bring her along so we can get a good gallop in the fields in before winter starts to set it and we are trapped inside.

Overall, Gram makes me happy. She is a pain sometimes, and lord knows the crazy amounts of money that my wonderful husband lets me throw her way. But she keeps me in shape, keeps me smiling and gives me the love that you can only get from a monster mare. She is loyal, holds grudges, gives her all and sometimes bites- she reminds me of... well.... me! :) How could you not love a vain mare annoyed by ugly wet pictures of her beautiful self:

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Good day for the mare

Gram was ready to work tonight... Because she is a mare, those night don't happen very often, but when they do, they make my night! Tonight, she just wanted to work. She didn't brace, she didn't clench the bit and she felt pretty darn good. The best thing for her is when we go into canter early in the warm up. For some reason every horse I have had goes that way; so I am thinking it might be me not them. For me as I rider, I feel like I can ride the canter better than I can the trot. The trot is a lot of work for me. So maybe it loosens me up and allows the horse to trot more freely. I didn't really walk away from the lesson with one thing that stood out. The whole thing was exactly what was needed when it was needed, if that makes any sense. The canter to the right we worked on more activity as she tends to get a bit lazy behind in that direction. We got some decent jump and them brought her back to trot. Again the focus is on the engagement of the right hind. I have to remember to ride in what is a little counter intuitive for me: slight haunches-in when traveling to the left. I feel like I have drilled so much for the slight shoulder-fore I have exacerbated the problem. This is exactly why there is nothing better than a good eye on the ground. The process is so gradual, I don't realize when I have over done it. I work so hard at one piece I forget about the complex system that resides underneath.

We also worked on a nice exercise for the medium trots. Shorter on the spot trot out of the corner across the diagonal until the quarter-line, then medium trot to the next quarter-line, and back tot the shorter on the spot trot. I still need to remember to go for less bend in the leg yields, because for some reason the second I put my body into position she bends her neck- I did it I am again just not always aware! Overall the lesson was a success!

So I will end with some videos of Gramarye from when I first started working with her- you can be the judge of the progress: October 2008!

Monday, July 5, 2010

Never again will I leave a mare for multiple days...

This last week has been quite the whirlwind! As per my previous post, my job did not really allow me the time to go to the barn this week. So instead I went into my Ryan lesson on Sunday completely unprepared, and just hoping for the best. What did I get? A ticking time bomb of a mare. One thing Gram never lets me forget: mares are high maintenance!!! My lesson started, walk was fine, trot was actually pretty good, just a little fast and then seconds later there was a ticking time bomb underneath me. I asked for canter, the head went down, she gave a little toss, and I knew I was in for some mare attitude. I couldn't blame her though- I was MIA for a few days, and I had the audacity to let someone else ride her... albeit it was Ryan, but she wasn't any less displeased with me. So just my luck another lady was in the arena. I had to warn her that the next few minutes, might be frightening because Gram needed to gallop! So we galloped around a bit, digging in and kicking up some dirt, which in turn scared the big mare even more, causing her to run faster and through another head toss buck. Then we were fine and ready to get to work. We worked on straightness in our leg yields in hopes that the hind leg would stay engaged. We also worked haunches in on the circle. Our main focus was to keep her right hind from coming out behind, which meant a whole ton of work on my part. Near what I thought was the end of our lesson, Ryan then wanted to end with better canter and when I thought that would mean we were done we went to those painful, shorter stride to medium trots... I thought my abs were going to fall off. I warned him that we were both losing steam, but I think he ignored me on purpose. Payback for the birthday party I guess :)It was a great lesson, but I was sore today.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

When the job gets in the way of my riding

So tonight I am missing my lesson because my job has gotten in the way of my riding lesson! I am angry, but it is a good opportunity for Ryan to ride Gram :) More to come this weekend... Of couse I have some days off monday and tuesday and guess what? It is supposed to thunderstorm the whole time!