Friday, September 28, 2012

day 76,77

Yesterday had a good day again with the horses. I rode Robbie first and had him moving out real good in the arena. He is still a little sticky on the left side, but he is making improvements as I am teaching him to follow his nose, and then to be soft laterally, vertically. His right side is ok, he seems to gravitate to that side most of the time if I leave him alone. I work on these things for a few minutes then let him on the loose rein walk or trot, sometimes canter. He responds real good. But not yet to my liking to get him on the outdoor arena. Star did good too inside. I did my usual gw and then rode him walk trot and canter. He was doing good so I took him outside and worked him on the ground. He was excited as usual so I worked him through several exercises around the arena til I noticed him being relaxed then got on him. Now he didn't want to be mounted, he kept moving around so I just made him move yh and yf and moving sideways on a circle until he stopped. I practiced getting on and off a few times til I knew he would stand relaxed then got on him. Now he doesn't do this in the indoor arena at all, but this is a different environment. Then I had him move off. It took about 10 -15 minutes of trotting and loping for him to relax enough to begin teaching him the bending I have been doing inside. Anyway I worked him at a walk and then got off and walked him and backed him around the arena to cool him off. Today, day 78, I rode Star first. He was nice and relaxed inside. I walk trot and cantered alot inside working on our usual exercises. The last ten minutes I took him outside and worked him only on the ground. He was real relaxed most of the time. I ended up sidepassing him around the arena and then the other way. I backed him in various ways the length of the arena. By the time I was done with him he was real relaxed. I thought I should have rode him then. But I stuck to my plan. Robbie did fine. I lunged him at liberty and then saddled him and worked him a short time. I got on him and we went to work on getting that lateral and vertical softness at the walk. Then I had him trot about ten minutes on a loose rein in both directions. Then I started working on lateral softness at the trot. He knows what to do. The last few mintues I took him outside to see how he would react and he was real relaxed the entire time. I backed him and sidepassed him all around the arena too. He did real good.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Day 75

Well, I had one of the moments today. When I was right. I got Star out first and saddled him, worked on the ground with him. Ok. Then got in the saddle and things were fine, normal, you might say. I rode about ten minutes and because things were going pretty good I decided to take him to the outdoor arena. Now this is where I was right. I have been told and come to believe that the response I get in the indoor arena, round pen, etc might be 100% right response to what I ask of the horse once they learn it. However, that drops exponentially when you put them in another environment that they have not been in during the training process, like an outdoor arena or trail, or outside the round pen into an arena. I have been told if I get 80% indoors I will only get about 50% or so in the outdoor arena. That was true of Star. When I took him outside he started to get really nervous. I did some c pattern exercises with him and he was freaking out. Slipped and almost fell on the way to the arena. The grass was wet from dew. When we got in the arena I moved him all around it lunging him and changing directions alot etc. When he seemed to me to be somewhat calm I got on him. I flexed him once and he started to move so, knowing that he was scared, I let him move his feet. Well twenty minutes later he was still moving his feet. I was glad I had such a good start on flexing and collection cause he responded to that. I kept him bent the entire time. I let him straighten out a few times. It wasn't long though, cause I had started right in on the bending. He was doing so well indoors. Outdoors he basically had a meltdown and if I hadn't put a pretty good handle on him indoors it could have been disastrous. Anyway, after he calmed down some and wanted to stop I didn't let him. I kept him going and started doing figure 8's and even had him cantering some. He did offer an attempt at a buck or two, but that was all. He just kept moving around and we did lots of circles. Finally, he started to respond to the rein and started giving and so when we got to the end we walked a little bit and I had him bending laterally and vertically then I asked for a stop and he did. I flexed him a few times and got off. I suspect, as he did indoors, he will get better with each time. Robbie, didn't go outside at all today. I want to make sure I have him as close to 100% responding with softness to the rein before I take him out. But he is not as flighty as Star so maybe he would have been fine. Anyway, I did a little ground work with him, got him saddled, more gw and then I got on him. I flexed him and YH YF and off we went. I immediately started where we left off yesterday with bending at the walk and when he was giving me several steps with that then ask him for vertical. Then we moved up to trot. I think we trotted for a good 15 minutes maybe more just working on bending and collection at the trot. We interspersed that with trotting around the arena on a loose rein and doing figure 8's. He got real good at almost needing no direction from the rein, just my seat and legs as he could feel me switch my posting pattern to the other lead and so on. I almost got him neck reining. Now when I go outside with him I don't expect it will be that good. After that good long trot I let him rest a couple minutes and then we went back to work. I want him following his nose with no resistance before I take him outside. Because I know that I will lose some of that control. He did well all in all. We finished up with walking and bending and vertical, stopping and backup etc. Tomorrows another day.

day 74

Yesterday was a good day with these guys. I got Star out first and groomed and saddled him then worked him a few minutes on the ground to make sure he was with me and relaxed. Then the last 40 minutes we rode. I worked immediately on bending for lateral and vertical softness when he was doing that good we moved up to trotting. For the first time he was carrying his head lower at the trot even giving me softness for a stride or two. I let him trot around doing the cruising exercise on a loose rein for several minutes as well. Robbie was much the same. I saddled him and moved him around through the ground exercises then got on him and worked on bending at the walk and trot. Towards the end he was real stiff lateral so I had to stop and work on lateral softness then move back to the walk and get it and then get the vertical. Then we moved back to the trot. I didn't get as much softness as I would like, but we made progress. I let him trot around even canter on a loose rein for a little while then back to walking. Both guys did well. Next is to move over to the outdoor arena and do the same thing.

Friday, September 21, 2012

day 73

Yesterday I had the opportunity to attend a Ken McNabb clinic. It was well worth the drive to Sparta, not only to say hi to Ken, but to learn what I could from the day there. I did pick up on somethings that I could use and did put into practice with good success with the guys today. What were they? Well, I was reminded to stick with an exercise until they get it. Sometimes I have a tendency to quite too early or to accept too little too soon. Secondly, just working on the bend on a circle and then once they are soft laterally, pick up the outside rein and hold til they are soft vertically. That can often take quite a few circles. I found that out today with DarkStar. He picked things up right away going to the left, but to the right he was alot more resistant. There could be many reasons for that, but once he got it it went better. I even started him at the trot and he picked up on that and was moving with softness, head down at the trot. Now this is a high headed guy normally, but he was soon carrying his head lower. When I got on star today he usually would want to take right off in a trot, but today when we started he wanted to go, not at a trot, but a fast walk, so I put him right to work on this circling exercise. Almost 30 minutes later he is carrying his head lower and softer and responding to my seat and legs. A third thing I learned or was refreshed on was the stop. We didn't have a lot of time to work on this, but he did get his stop better, now we just have to get his walk to stop to backup better so that it is a walking backup. Robbie, did real good too. I went through my normal gw routine, a shortened version, saddled him up and then got on him and started working on those same things. We progressed to getting some good trotting with softness and even some good cantering around with him. I had a great time an both of them. We made good progress. I only wish I would have had more time with them today. I can't ride again until Tuesday so they are getting some time off. But next week we will pick up where we left off.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Day 71, 72

Well, we got to down to it yesterday and today. Yesterday both horses went through their paces as though they were bored. I did the same things with them went through all the exercises. Star I walk, trot and canter. He started out a bit hyper, but that was scare in him. I bent him to slow. Each day that has even been getting better. Robbie I just walked and trotted. Did alot of work with both of them on giving me vertical softness at the walk and started the trot. Then I took the pen down. Today, was in the big arena. Robbie was real good we did alot of figure 8's at the trot, about 15 minutes worth. I have noticed with both of them that they really don't follow their noses well if they are interested in going another direction. So I gotta get this 100% before I am done with them. I didn't canter him as he still overreaches and the boots don't stay on well. Star was started and he did get antsy at first, but I bent him to a walk and then kept changing directions and pretty soon his head was dropping. THen I started to trot him around. I did alot of serpentines and figure 8's with him trying to work on getting him to follow his nose too. But he did a great job. Was nice and calm pretty much throughout the ride. So we will pick up on Friday at this spot.

Monday, September 17, 2012

day 70

Well this was a good day for riding. These guys were just fine. Robbie had his spunk back. But he did just fine. I was going to remove the round pen today, but didn't have time to do it. So it is set for wednesday, unless I have time tomorrow to do it. They are both pretty calm about everything it seems. I didn't canter Robbie today for the same reason as before. He did pretty good in everything I asked him to do. Darkstar was just fine today as well. He picked up a canter right away when I asked him to. He wanted to start out going fast in the beginning, but I just bent him down to a walk then redirected his feet until I was ready for a trot and canter. He settled down in short order. More of the same tomorrow with them.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Day 69

When I worked with the horses today I put a obstacle in the way. I left the door to the arena open so they could see other horses out in the paddock. When I worked with Darkstar He was a little distracted by it. I put him through his paces then saddled him and went through my usual exercises. Then I got on him and he was really distracted in fact he decided he wanted to just go at a trot. So at first I let him because I don't want to squelch the forward. But when he wanted to stop I didn't let him. Then I had him work on keeping gait whatever it was. Finally, he started settling down especially when I started redirecting his feet every time he broked gait. I had him doing alot of YH and Yf then move off. One rein stops and YF and move off. I started asking for lateral softness with forward and when he was giving me that I started to ask for vertical softness. It took a few times but he started to give me that too. So we worked on that the last 5 mintues or so of our lesson. My plan for Robbie was a little different because the vet thinks he might have an infection. I decided to take it a little easy on him. I did the walk trot canter at liberty with him and then saddled him. Did several sending and circling exercises. He didn't throw up any slime at all. Then I got on him and went through my check list and had him move off. I mainly wanted to work on vertical flexion at the walk. However, I did have him trot some. No cantering. I thought, if he has an infection somewhere in his head I don't want to pull on him much. Anyway he was real good for me and calm. There were a few times he was starting to get focused on the other horses that came into sight, but I just kept his feet moving with YH and YF. So it was a good lesson for him as well.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

DAY 68

Had a really good day with both horses today. I found some boots for Robbie to wear so that he will be more apt to canter for me. I started by having him at liberty walk trot and canter and back down to walk for me. He did good in both directions. Then I saddled him and went through all the exercises I know he knows, even sidepassing on the rail and not on the rail. Then I got on him and flexed him. He is super soft. I then did a YF and walked off. Then did some serpentines with him and asked him to trot no problem. Did some more YH and YF and walk off in both directions. I asked him to canter and he didn't really like it til I put the boots on him, he was overreaching and clipping his heel. Then I wasn't really a problem. I then had him working on YH and YF in 360 degrees. Had him walk trot canter a few times and he was just fine. Darkstar did just as well. I went through the same things on the ground as with Robbie. Then I saddled him and did some more. I got on him and flexed and did YF and walked off too. We brushed up against the rail and it scared him and we started trotting so I kept him trotting even after he wanted to stop. We did the other direction and some YH YF and stopped. Then I had him trot and move to canter and he did with a little coaxing. I think he is so out of balance it is hard for him to canter with me on his back. So I was working on getting lateral softness at the walk and then to vertical. He is catching on and is real willing. We ended with the walk trot canter and some flexing at the walk. Both horses are real calm through it all. That is good.

day 66, 67

I better catch up with my report. Tuesday I worked with both and had a good ride on each of them. Robbie, after working on the ground with him I got in the saddle and flexed and walked off. I did several serpetines and YH. Then I asked for trot, no problem. When I asked for canter there was a bit of a hiccup, but nothing after that when I would ask him. I noticed when I was cleaning his hooves that he had overreached and nicked his front right heel on the outside. So that is why he didn't really want to go into a canter and when he did it was always in the wrong lead. Thus, yesterday I didn't ask for a canter from him. I worked mainly on getting him to follow his nose which he does too well at this point so much that he just thinks I want him to YH or go in a circle. But I also worked on vertical flexion and YF. He is doing real good and is nice and relaxed at the end. Darkstar on tuesday started really following me hurried up. When I got on him I don't have a problem with the go button. He moved right into a trot. So I let him go. I started cantering him as well. He still his high headed, but at least the forward is there. Now it will be just keeping the forward with getting him in balance. Yesterday, I worked with him on transitions from walk trot and canter, lateral flexion and starting to get vertical at least at a standstill. THe problem now it trying to get him to go straight and stay on the rail. I might do better with that once I take the rd pen down and ride in the arena. I probably will get a better canter and trot too. We will soon be doing that.

Monday, September 10, 2012

day 65

Had a good day with the horses today. Star was first in the lessons today and there was plenty to work on. I decided to rd pen him to build on the hooking on to me. The rd pen has worked much better for this. Today I had him walk, then stop. then trot and walk and stop. Then walk, trot and canter and stop. each stop was in the middle with him walking to me. I did this three times and by the third time when I let him stop (and he wasn't doing a lot of sweating or heaving at all) he walked quickly to me. It was then that I saddled him and moved him through YH YF, sending and circling around the pen. Then I flexed him and got on and flexed some more. My goal was to get more trotting out of him. I got it. I can get a trot in the right lead no problem it is going in the left lead that I have trouble. So for every lap in trot to the right I worked twice in the left. He was doing much better and getting much softer. Also he was not jumping as much. I had what I might call a 'light bulb' moment today too. I think in the future, a horse with his extreme trust issue, I won't do as much sacking out/desensitizing until he trusts me. I will do so but not as much as I did with him. This may have caused him to not trust me as quickly. Anyway when we were finished and he was put up I gave him the core of an apple and after a about a minute he took it from my hand after smelling it adn ate it. That was huge, because a horse that doesn't trust you will not usually eat from your hand. This was the first time he did this though it has been offered several times before. Robbie was really good today too. I rd penned him but not as much as he already hooks on to me and follows me. Today I wanted to get a nice walk to a stop, then a walk to trot to walk and a stop, then a walk to trot to canter to trot to walk and a stop. All without kicking up a lot of dust, but all nice and calm. He willingly moved through the transitions with no much compulsion or cue, but just enough to get him going. Then I saddled him and moved him through YH YF, sending and circling around the arena at a walk and trot and canter. He did well so I got on him. We walked on a loose rein and got several really soft YH one rein stops. Then we moved up to trotting several circles. My goal here was to get him to stay in a trot on a bigger circle and then get some soft one rein stops in both directions. I also wanted to work on getting him to follow his nose and stay more on the rail. We did several figure 8's and trotting through those. Then we started working on keeping the forward motion but trying to get collection. It wasn't long and I was getting vertical softness/collection at the walk for a step. Tomorrow we will build on this. So it was a good session with him too.

Friday, September 7, 2012

day 64

Had a good ride on the horses today. Had Darkstar really calm. I did a bit of rd penning and he immediately started to walk pretty fast up to me in the middle when I gave him a chance. Then I saddled him and went through the exercises. Then I got on him and had him move out. My goal today was to get alot more trotting out of him for a longer time. He goes good to the right but not to the left so we worked on that more. I also wanted to keep him closer to the rail then he has been. Both went well. Robbie was real calm all the way through. My goal with him was to get more trotting out of him and to start using the rein more. I wanted to keep him on the rail too. I think he had an upset stomach though so I didn't work him as hard as I would have liked. However, he did well, stayed calm throughout and did what I asked of him.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

day 63

Had a good day with the horses today. I got Robbie out and rd penned him for a few minutes. Then put halter on and went through the exercises around the arena. Saddling was great cause he wanted to stand. I moved him around a few more times then I got on him and flexed him. Today the goal was to move him on a loose rein and only pick it up if I needed it. It worked. I had him walking around and letting him basically choose the direction and then after a while I started picking up lightly on the rein and move in another direction. When he was doing this well, I started to ask for a trot. That was great. We were trotting on a loose rein and doing YH one rein stops real light. I kept that up doing figure eights and circles at a walk, then a trot then back to a walk. I finished the ride with walking and starting to put more directions with rein. Star I got in the pen and decided to rd pen him and see if I could get some better follow from him. It worked a little bit. If had the time I would have done it longer to see if it could improve more. I saddled him and moved him around doing all the exercises then I got on him. Flexed him and asked him to move off. He did so readily. I too wanted to ride on a loose rein and just get him to move good. I also finally got him to trot out for me going to the right, but could hardly get it going to the left. I worked on that more until I got a good circle at a trot going to the left. He offered a canter at one point, but soon backed down. He has carried himself so out of balance that with me on his back it is just hard for him to carry it up to a trot with his head high and hollowed out in the back. But it is too soon to try to collection and roundness when he won't even move forward real good. The reason is that trying to get collection will make him think I want to stop at this point. My goal for both of these guys is to get a walk, trot, canter and back down with as much softness as possible while in the round pen. Anything else is icing on the cake.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

day 62

Today I moved some fence and transferred to it the arena where I am working the two arabs. I put it up so that I now have a makeshift round pen. Boy did it make a difference. I no longer have to be concerned about them running 100'trying to get away from me. So after I got it up I put Darkstar in it and let him around. Well he doesn't wander much. The curiosity bug hasn't bit him. So I moved him at liberty as if I was rd penning him. He jumped at a few things, my saddle hanging on the fence, the bag of shavings in front of the hydrant. But he soon settled down. Then I moved him around with the halter and then put the saddle on him. I moved him around some more with all the exercises he knows. Then I got on and flexed him and Yh. Then we got some good forward movement. I only had a little time so I wanted more than a walk. I got him to trot real good around a couple times in both directions. He didn't like it, but did it. Then I got Robbie out and he was all over. I worked him at liberty to get him to know the boundaries then put hte halter on him and worked him sending him around the saddle as well as at the hydrant. I had him trotting and cantering. Then I put the saddle on him and went through the same things. Then when he was relaxed I got on him and went through the exercises. Then moved forward into a walk. He was tossing his head some, but that was because I had a little pressure on the halter from both sides. It might be confusing him or it might be just that he doesn't like the pressure. Anyway, we did several circles in both directions and I was getting him to move out more on the rail and we started doing alot figure 8's across the center constantly changing directions. Then we started going straight again and he offered to trot so I let him and just got in rythm with him then relaxed. The we went the other direction he wasn't so ready to trot, but I got him up into it and we trotted a couple circles then I eased him back to a walk and stop. I ended with YH several times both sides and YF and then quit. HOpefully tomorrow will be even better.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

A new month

I got started on Day 61 today with these guys.
Darkstar started. I worked him on the ground and saddled him then moved him around some more. He was real relaxed though he would jump every now and then. He reminds me of my horse Jake who was seven when I got him and he was headshy, shoulder shy, it seemed I could hardly touch him anywhere without him getting a little edgy. Well Star is somewhat like that. Today I got good movement out of him. He faltered at first but when he knew I meant business he went for me. We circled and YH several times. We got so we could go almost around the entire arena. There were spots that he didn't like to get close to so I didn't push him yet. He is still getting used to carrying me around, though this is the 11th day of riding. I even got some trotting out of him, but it spooked him and he would stop. So I backed off and excepted speeding up and holding a faster walk for a few strides. The trotting makes me bounce a little on his back even in a post so he has to get used to that first. I rode him for 30 good minutes and he was ready to stop when we did. Of course he had lots of mini rests during that time.
Robbie was wanting to move so I moved him around really making him work so that I could get him to stand to groom him. Then I worked him more with lots of direction changes and YH YF movements. I would let him rest in the middle. Then I would take him over to the door he likes to stand at and make him really move and then take him to the middle to rest. Then I saddled him and he was a bit full of himself and I could sense him wanting to buck so I shut it down before he could with a direction change and hurrying up his feet. I did this til he was good and relaxed then I got on him in the middle. He never once wanted to go over to the door or the hydrant where the excitement was at last week. I had taken him over to the hydrant on the ground and made him get real close and bump the saddle against it and he jumped a bit, but then did it again and it didn't bother him. I rode him for 30 minutes too, but he was moving out pretty good and doing a nice circle for me. His YH are real good and soft and then we would go forward. He would toss his head when I added the outside rein to get him to move straight, but I would bend him and then he would be ok. He just doesn't like the pressure at that point. I really want to start working on bending and flexing at the walk with both of these guys but they really have to get better at moving with me on their back. I need to be able to ride with a loose rein. We are not there yet. But we will get there.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

my horses

I finally got to ride my own horses today. I decided to work them in the same pattern as they needed to be brushed up on being soft and vertical when I pick up the reins. So what I did was work them from the ground for about 5 minutes. Then I got on and flexed them. I had them move their shoulders over and then stepped forward into a walk. We walked 5 mintues, then trotted 5 minutes, then cantered 5 minutes. You wouldn't believe how long 5 minutes seems when you are trotting or cantering. These horses haven't been worked much lately so I wanted to work on getting them warmed up some. Then I let them rest for a couple minutes. I flexed them again and then at a walk started to ask for lateral softness and then when I was getting that I asked for vertical. They both took to it rather quickly. Then I practiced switching shape in terms of vertical, left or right shape. Then I asked for leg yields away from the bend then into the bend. They both did pretty good. I plan on working them all three days of this labor day weekend, so by the end of these three days they ought to be where they need to be. Jake was much rougher at the trot and canter. I rode both on a loose rein, but Jake is so bouncy at a trot and even worse at a canter. I think it is because he is not in balance. But when I can pick him up and get him into balance then he gets smoother. But that is for another day of riding. Had a good time on both of them.