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Adventure time with Snickers

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        09-26-2013, 07:16 PM
      #21
    Super Moderator
         
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        09-26-2013, 08:21 PM
      #22
    Green Broke
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Saranda    
    Instead of posting tidbits of our live over various discussions, I decided to move into a separate thread to tell our story.

    Where to start! I guess I will just split this into several parts, so that the novel doesn't get TOO big.

    Here I am - This is me!

    About me first - I'm 26 years old, living in Latvia (that's in Eastern Europe), riding since 2010 and dividing all my free time among my three cats and my horse. I'm also an aspie, for all you fellow aspies out there to know. Horsemanship is my passion and I strive to live my dream ever since it started. I used to dream about horses as a little girl, but was never allowed to take up riding as my mother was extremely afraid of them. Later in life, I tried out different hobbies, but none really caught my attention for long, and everything seemed to be too expensive, too far from home, too demanding. One day, I was chatting with a friend who mentioned that she had been riding for a while and it all came back to me. I found a local lesson barn where I started my lessons and, although it realistically was more expensive, farther from home and demanding than anything else, I was happy at last.

    Now for my brave steed - as some of you may know, Snickers is a carriage type Latvian Warmblood gelding, now a 7yo and spunky as ever. He's an extroverted, very dominant and joyful character, who values fun and games over anything else. However, beneath the carefree surface, he's extremely intelligent and demands lots of respect to even consider turning his attention to a person. Gets bored easily, can be very food motivated, enjoys galloping, jumping, playing, destroying stuff and exploring new trails. He's always up to an adventure and, as he's an imaginative one, he'll make an adventure himself, if I fail to provide him with one!

    And what would be a journal introduction without at least one picture.

    Yay!! So good to see Snickers again! This thread is going to be awesome, I just know it, Saranda! :)
         
        09-26-2013, 08:24 PM
      #23
    Super Moderator
    So, Snickers colicked today. I had planned to ride him and found him sound asleep in the pastures, but somehow something seemed off, so I hanged around to observe. Suddenly he started breathing very heavily, as if he had just cantered a lot, got very tense and woke up, being noticeably grumpy and apathetic. Checked for gut sounds and heard none. After consulting with a vet on the phone, I started walking him and, after an hour, he peed a great deal, after which gut sounds suddenly returned to his left side and his breathing became less labored. After one more hour he peed again, again - a great deal, after which his breathing settled completely and his gut sounds returned to both sides, although his stomach was still bloated and he hadn't passed a pile. That happened after one more half an hour of walking. After that he returned to his completely normal, joyful self and I hanged around the barn until night, just to be sure everything is okay. Not sure, what caused that, as everything in his eating and moving habits hadn't been changed. It might had been the suddenly cold night, or an aftermath of stress after the recent moving. Who knows... Just glad he's fine right now.
    Northernstar likes this.
         
        09-26-2013, 08:27 PM
      #24
    Green Broke
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Saranda    
    Thanks, TL! You seem to be much more confident in my riding than I am.

    This, I hope, will be the last part of our introduction.

    What we do.

    Snickers was backed as a fresh four year old. Quite soon after that he was put into 2h daily work as the trail guides' horse for guided trail rides and, as a 5yo, he started working as a lesson horse. His dominant character proved to be a challenge, as he soon learned that, if he persists in not doing anything, the human on his back will soon cease - that applied to the riding students. If the rider was persistent enough or if the saddle fit badly, he'd try out bucking. I was told that in trails he first was very eager to go first and fast, and, if the way home was what we wanted, try spinning, but it was taught out of him, in process losing lots of his natural forwards movement, in my opinion.

    When I bought him, he could:

    * Do WTC, basic steering, stopping in a rope halter - that was all he was ever ridden in -, stand to a mounting block.
    * Go in trails as a fearless leading horse or anywhere in the line - first preferred, though.
    * Jump small obstacles. He also went through a beginner jumping course once.
    * Do all the 7 basic Parelli games in a basic level.

    I had been riding for 2 years at that point and my equation was not that good, to be honest. My seat was clumsy, I tended to lean forwards a lot, I held my hands mostly straight, my feet were always up and I seemed to make horses crazy in canter. When I bought Snickers, I was mostly lazy and didn't want to address my problems, until it was pointed out to me and until I understood it myself, how my riding affects our partnership. Since then, I've been taking every lesson I can (though not as often I'd like to) from several instructors, a Dressage trainer and now - a jumping instructor. From just steering lazily around the arena or, more often, out in the trails, we, in our almost 2 years of partnership, now:

    * Working seriously on our rhythm, impulsion and balance - I believe, I've regained much of his forwards movement at last.
    * Working on my seat and overall position as well. Slowly improving, but lots of space for further improvement!
    * Riding bitless and sometimes tackless, or with a cordeo.
    * Jumping grids, bounces and, since two weeks, simple courses.
    * Working on the basics of lateral movements.

    We also spend lots of time by just taking walks in-hand in the trails, doing NH based groundwork and learning some tricks for the sake of fun. Snickers knows how to do Spanish walk, bow, lie down, sit, stretch, climb on different objects, carry an object in his mouth, self-load a trailer and rear.

    This Sunday, we're participating in our first showjumping competition together - we'll be jumping the small jumps along with kids, but hey, it should be fun! :)

    Here's a small video of some things we've done this summer:

    A Midsummer Dream - YouTube
    Of course you would show this wonderful video to the music of Enya - (One of my fave songs) "Long, long journey".... :)
         
        09-26-2013, 08:45 PM
      #25
    Green Broke
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Saranda    
    So, Snickers colicked today. I had planned to ride him and found him sound asleep in the pastures, but somehow something seemed off, so I hanged around to observe. Suddenly he started breathing very heavily, as if he had just cantered a lot, got very tense and woke up, being noticeably grumpy and apathetic. Checked for gut sounds and heard none. After consulting with a vet on the phone, I started walking him and, after an hour, he peed a great deal, after which gut sounds suddenly returned to his left side and his breathing became less labored. After one more hour he peed again, again - a great deal, after which his breathing settled completely and his gut sounds returned to both sides, although his stomach was still bloated and he hadn't passed a pile. That happened after one more half an hour of walking. After that he returned to his completely normal, joyful self and I hanged around the barn until night, just to be sure everything is okay. Not sure, what caused that, as everything in his eating and moving habits hadn't been changed. It might had been the suddenly cold night, or an aftermath of stress after the recent moving. Who knows... Just glad he's fine right now.
    So glad he's o.k., Saranda - many prayers sent for Snickers.... On a side note, I wanted to mention how impressed and pleased I am that you choose to ride bit less - I'm the only one that I know of in my area who rides 100% bit less, (not that there are many people in my region anyway!), and I find it very pleasing and natural for myself and my horses :)
         
        09-26-2013, 08:51 PM
      #26
    Super Moderator
    Thank you, Northenstar. :) By the way, Snickers was being very smart and showing how horse natural instincts work, when, during the colic episode and being walked he really pushed to be allowed to eat witchhazel and willows - both of which naturally relieve pain, tension and help with good blood supply to gut.

    And, although I have occasionally ridden Snickers in a bit for the sake of education and overcoming his traumatic experience during first-time bitting, I feel that riding bitless gives us all that and more which can be achieved with a bit. I don't doubt it can be a great learning tool in the right hands, but bitless feels so much better to me individually, and there's a definite difference in Snicks' attitude, too. :)
    Northernstar likes this.
         
        09-26-2013, 09:34 PM
      #27
    Green Broke
    Riding bitless is something I stumbled on and was doing myself, long before seeing or knowing about any instruction/YouTube videos, etc... I trust my mares, and they trust me. I am so intimate with them in our quiet wilderness setting, that it's just simply right. :)
         
        09-26-2013, 09:49 PM
      #28
    Super Moderator
    When I was looking for my first lesson barn, I had went through huge amounts of information and understood that bitted riding just isn't for me. Felt wrong. So I found a strictly bitless barn. Although my first learning experience, as I learned later, wasn't the most educating one, and I've ditched some of the most irrational ideas since then and don't think that bits are automatically evil, bitless is still the number one choice for me. After all, if I can communicate with my horse without it, why should I put a piece of iron in one of the most vulnerable parts of his body? That's the feeling that comes naturally and automatically to me. But I'm not one of those religiously bitless persons who preach maniacally their beliefs among those who ride bitted - to each his own, after all. I'm just glad if I manage to inspire someone into believing that there are other choices, too. :)
    Northernstar likes this.
         
        09-26-2013, 10:08 PM
      #29
    Weanling
    Sorry to hijack the thread but do you ride in a bitless bridle or a rope halter or what? Bitless riding is nice, on my non training days I ride bb and bridleless and its nice :)
         
        09-26-2013, 10:13 PM
      #30
    Super Moderator
    Not hijacking at all. :) When riding bitless, I have four options. When driving, schooling and jumping, and going on fast trail rides, I use an S hackamore, as my boy responds best to poll pressure and the hack ist best for maintaining a classical contact, imo. When having leisure rides on trails, I ride in a rope halter, and I often love to ride bridleless - in a cordeo or nothing at all. I feel these styles of riding really help to build a good, independent seat and a good relationship between the horse and his handler. I've even gone on some trail rides with only a cordeo, at walk, trot and canter, and it is a truly fantastic feeling to canter down the trail with no reins or no bridle, and feel how tuned into your cues is the horse. Surely, it is not something to just experiment with with not enough experience and practice in an enclosed area, but I am very thankful to have had the opportunity to explore this part of the equestrian world.
         

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