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All About Indie -- Progress Journal

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        10-09-2012, 07:59 PM
    October 9, 2012

    Another group lesson tonight! I've come to the conclusion that she does have something against Romeo, because she still pins her ears whenever he comes near. She doesn't do this to any other horses that have been in the arena with her. She's a little crab towards him so I have to work a bit harder to keep her focus off of the little bugger.

    After I had her all cleaned up and her legs rubbed down, I managed to get all her legs wrapped in under five minutes! New personal record! I'll be happy once our new SMBs are finally here though.. so much more convenient and quick. We headed down to the arena and hopped on. She seems to have developed a habit of letting me get on, standing still for a second and then backing up. I'll walk her forward a step and we'll stand still for a bit longer before I let her walk on.

    Also, I swear she thought it was opposite day! During our warm up, which consisted of effortless lateral flexions and really nice sidepasses.. she decided to back up instead of go forward when I applied leg. Not just walk backward, but run backwards. Just when I was so proud of her sidepasses and how responsive she was... she does the exact opposite of what I asked. Anyways, I finally got her going forward and after some more bending, we moved onto trot work.

    My instructor had some trot poles set up, so we went over those a few times and did lots of transitions and circling. After five minutes, we added in some canter work. The arena was crowded to say the least.. usually we all just go large to make it easier for each other but today, they each took one end... leaving me with the center which was filled with trot poles. Needless to say, I got in one or two transitions each way and called it good. Still having difficulty with the correct lead, but that'll come with time.

    As far as individual work, my instructor put us in a section of the arena. I had the middle, and she first set up some trot/canter poles. We trotted over them until Indie had perfect striding, I could really feel her picking herself up over the course of the exercise. After a few minutes, we added (or attempted) some canter transitions. There were two canters that were quite nice, one of which.. she had perfect striding! About the fourth time over, she started getting worked up and giving attitude, so we went back to walking and when she calmly walked over, we trotted.

    Over the course of the lesson, my instructor changed up the distances and amounts just to vary it for Indie. She was definitely not going her best but it was something new to her, and she tried.. which is key. We gave all three horses a walk break and my instructor called Indie and I to one end and told the other two to just cool down at the free end.

    We went on a 20m circle at a trot and she started rounding up, snorting with her head down and her hind-end coming nicely under her. Today I read that it takes one year to build a topline, and two years to develop the muscles to truly collect... so we have a long way to go! Once she was going well and rounded, we did a canter. She picked up the lead after two attempts and it went quite well. She fell in a few times but the next times around, I put on more inside leg and opened my outside rein a little bit.

    After she was rounding up at the canter, we switched directions and repeated. She took a bit longer to round up, and her canter transition wasn't so quick and effortless. Eventually, we got it and she cantered much better in this direction compared to going left lead.

    Finally, I walked her out and after five or so minutes (I had to give my saddle to someone else) then brought her up. I walked her around by hand for a bit once I was up near the barn and then brought her in. I wasn't too thrilled when I discovered that the hose wasn't hooked up. So, I ended up cooling her legs down with a cold cloth.. after a good twenty minutes of that, I finally brushed her off and put her rain sheet on.

    I definitely took my dear sweet time though, even Manny's owner finished after me and she usually has plenty of things to do before putting him away. Indie was pretty happy to finally be outside again, so I unhooked the lead and told her I'd see her tomorrow night! Hopefully our lesson will go better.
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        10-10-2012, 09:17 PM
    October 10, 2012

    Tried out the saddle that my instructor has in her shop, it's a new HDR All-Purpose saddle... not sure of specifics but it fit Indie well and although I'm not too fond of the colour, I think it'll do for now.

    Indie was already in her stall when I got there, although she had finished her supper so I gave her a bit of hay while I rolled up the polos. After I was done, I brought her out and took off her rain sheet. I went into the tackroom and grabbed a few things out of my supply box (I keep two big containers.. one for general horse care and one for extra blankets, cloths, tack cleaning supplies, etc) before I came back out and starting getting her ready.

    She wasn't overly muddy, but she definitely looked better once I gave her a nice quality grooming. I ran baby wipes over her just to get off the extra dust before I cleaned out her feet and rubbed her legs. I actually think I got my polos on perfectly! My instructor said we could try out the saddle, so after a good fifteen minutes of trying to get the stirrup leathers in (which even she had trouble getting pulled through haha), we finally headed down to the arena! The saddle is still a bit wide but with a half-pad, it fits quite well so it's likely that it'll be a perfect fit once she gets a better topline.

    As soon as I got on, I noticed the huge difference that the saddle made. Indie was much more willing to round up and lengthen her stride which made for a much more pleasant ride. Her side-passes were great today too! Although when I try them at the end of our ride, she has a more of a "really..? do I really have to do more work?" attitude so I'll ask for only a couple steps before rewarding. Did I mention that she also backed up and was rounded? First time ever that she hasn't show resistance, so my instructor and I were both very pleased.

    After a bit of a warm up, my instructor got us going large and agreed that there was an even bigger difference at the trot. I could feel her lengthening her stride and she was coming under herself much more consistently! Very thrilled with the difference that the saddle is making, needless to say. I'll have to try and get a video next time I ride.

    We also took the time to work on canter transitions. Our main focus is to get her transition more round and quiet, compared to her usual shotgun transition. She definitely favors her left lead, although by the end of ten minutes, her transitions were a bit more relaxed and she didn't drift to the inside and completely lose her mind. My instructor said that once we get her transitions a bit more quiet and round, that's when we'll worry about how quick she picks them up... although that's really the least of her problems at the moment.

    Our lesson didn't have too much variety tonight but next ride on her, I'll have plenty of ideas on what to work on and we'll each get a huge work-out! I'm really pleased with how she's progressing.. she's a little super star!

    Once she was all cooled down, I threw the cooler on her and headed back up to the barn. Just as we walked through the entry, it started pouring! Luckily, by the time Indie was ready to go outside (a surprising forty five minutes later!), it somewhat slowed down. I still put on her rain sheet before taking her out to the pasture, where we were greeted by all the mares. I shoo'd them away and luckily, they behaved and let Indie walk in before they all trotted off.

    On a funnier note, I have come to the conclusion that Indie has a phobia of pumpkins. At first, I thought it might've been the pig.. but then the pig idea was eliminated when she did the same thing a couple times without Bacon even in sight. I'm assuming the culprit is the pumpkin because it's only recently been sitting there and I literally have to drag her past it... silly Indie.
        10-13-2012, 01:47 PM
    October 13, 2012

    First time down to the barn since Wednesday, I think Indie was happy to see me! She was pretty darn dirty, so I brushed her off really good before I went onto rub her legs down and wrap them with the polos. (those SMBs cannot come soon enough!) Her "twin", Annie, was in the stall near the cross-ties so I took a picture of the two together prior to getting Indie tacked up.

    After we got down to the arena, I hopped on and we did a good ten minutes of just walking and bending. It was pretty chilly this morning so I decided it would be beneficial to extend her warm up time. We did lots of trot transitions on a circle for an additional ten minutes before moving onto anything else. I might be completely biased, but after seeing pictures and a video, Indie is doing fabulously!

    We tried out some canter transitions.. it took awhile, so once I got her on the correct lead, we cantered a couple circles and we went down to a trot and she got a huge pat. We did some side-passes, three loop serpentines at the trot, figure eights, etc.. lots of bending and lots of variety! She was going pretty dang well at the end of the lesson.

    I walked her out by-hand for ten or so minutes before I brought her back up. I hosed down her legs (although they weren't too warm), and hooked her back to the cross-ties after letting her graze on a patch of grass for a couple minutes.

    I brushed her off, treated her hooves and then I put her in her stall with a load of hay while I cleaned the saddle.. since I'm going to try to keep it insanely clean at all times!

    A good half hour later, I brought her back out and put some ointment on her cuts (which are healing quite nicely!) before I put her blanket back on. She's turning into a little teddy bear, her winter coat is coming in so she's starting to look fluffy!

    After she was out to pasture, she drank a bit of water from the trough and happily walked off to graze. I'll be heading back tomorrow so hopefully we have another awesome day together!
        10-13-2012, 02:34 PM

    Video from today!
        10-14-2012, 03:49 PM
    October 14, 2012

    I had a limited time frame today, so I called my dad and asked if he could take me down tomorrow so that I'd have an excuse to just pamper Indie today and give her the day off. He said yes, so I spent a good hour and a half just giving her a spa treatment, so to speak!

    Funny story of the day: I was getting Indie out from the pasture and for some reason, I couldn't hook the fence to the metal attachment. I had the lead rope in one hand so I couldn't really use both hands to try and pull it over.. so, I got the bright idea to grab the metal piece and move it so it'd be a bit easier to reach. At first, I was worried that I'd get shocked.. but I didn't, so I grabbed farther down. About three seconds later, a massive shock felt like it went into my feet and up my torso. I screamed, which echoed amongst the trees, and promptly shoved the lead rope under my arm so I could just yank it over. Luckily, Indie remained relaxed throughout the whole ordeal so she didn't mind. Either way, I had a funny feeling in my hand for a good half hour.

    Once we got to the cross-ties, I gave her a nice quality grooming. I decided I'd put her in her stall to eat some hay so that I could give the mud a chance to dry so it'd be easier to get off, so I used the time to roll up the polos. After I had that done, I brought her back out and finished grooming her. I decided to put the CopperSet on her hooves so that they'd have a chance to dry before she went back out. Her frogs are growing back pretty well and they're starting to harden, as up until a couple days ago, there were still some soft parts.

    I conditioned and braided her tail and did a little braid at the start of her mane. I think her coat is starting to get pretty shiny and it looks to be getting a more copper-tint whereas it used to be a dull, dark brown. I wonder though if the farrier will suggest hind shoes when he does her feet next weekend, as the edges are getting a bit chipped.. we'll see though!

    I wiped her down with a baby wipe just to collect the extra dust/hair that didn't get picked up by the brush. She's getting pretty used to being handled, as I usually wipe her face and ears a few times every visit.

    After she was cleaned up, I put her rain sheet on her and brushed off some dirt before feeding her another apple slice and putting her outside. I felt bad at first because Belle wasn't letting her near the hay.. but she slowly was creeping towards it while I pulled out of the driveway.
        10-16-2012, 09:09 PM
    Doing all my summaries tomorrow night.. so much homework to do. I've done a good twenty hours at least of homework in the past few days. I'll be so happy when the week is done.
        10-17-2012, 09:35 PM
    October 15 and 16, 2012

    Both nights of riding went quite well! On the 15th, I only rode for about a half hour just so that I could hopefully just give her a brief refresher before our lesson the following night so that we wouldn't be trotting around like wild men. Lots of circles, lots of trotting, transitions, etc. No canters because I figured we'd be practicing at my lesson. Overall, it went pretty well!

    On the 16th, I got there a bit early because I had a driving lesson... so my driving teacher let me drive through Subway and then let me drive to the barn since she only lives ten minutes away! I got to save Indie from the rain and I took my time grooming her so that was fun. I re-did some braiding and made sure she was shining! Her coat is almost metallic now.

    As for the ride, she was a bit rushy at first, but eventually, she slowed down. It wasn't as great as the night prior, but it was decent. We got one correct lead canter, but the rest was wrong lead. It'll come eventually!

    October 17, 2012

    Had my private lesson tonight! I got there around 6 so she was already in her stall, as she was fed supper around 5.

    I groomed her all up, rubbed down her legs (slight swelling in hind pastern, I'll have to ask Laura.. although it was likely from spending the majority of her day in the stall since she had spent the night before inside due to rain) and tacked her up! I can't wait to order her new saddle pad/half pad, she'll look so spiffy! I'm ordering a black A/P pad with white trimming, then a nice, black sheepskin half pad with black fleece on the withers and at the back! Her turquoise SMBs should be here at one point too.

    We spent the ride on trying to keep her rounded up when she transitions from a trot to walk. She was rounding up quite nicely and consistently at the trot, but she likes to short step into her walk transitions. So, we spent the lesson practicing. I just asked more with my body, kept a bit of leg and kept my hands consistent! By the end, we had a couple nice transitions each way so I just walked her out and had a discussion with my instructor about dressage and then some off-topic things.

    Compliments from my instructor this past week: (music to my ears!! )
    - (after I made a sarcastic remark about her not so smooth trot) "You're just not used to riding a horse with that much cadence"
    - "She went pretty good tonight!"
    - "She has moments where she looks lovely, we just need to get it consistent!"

    Short summaries for the last three rides, but I'm still loaded up on homework. I'll be dancing for joy once this week is over!
        10-19-2012, 06:36 PM
    Finally got in the shipment from Chick's! Quality of the grooming kit is less than I expected, so I'll likely pick up a couple nicer brushes and a curry comb. I'm going to the barn tomorrow, finally!
        10-20-2012, 02:11 PM
    October 20, 2012

    This last month has gone by so fast.. I've only had Indie for about six weeks. It seems like I've known her forever! The farrier stopped by to do Manny's feet so he'll be coming down next weekend to do Indie's, although one of his kids might come visit so in that case, it'll be during the week that he does them.

    I got down to the barn, and it was raining (still is), plus Indie was in having her breakfast.. so I took off her rain sheet and hung it up in the tack room so it could hopefully dry a bit. I took her leather halter and replaced it with her new turquoise zebra print halter so that I could clean the leather one while she munched on some hay.

    Before I cleaned the halter, I cleaned/conditioned my new saddle as well! I'll be glad when my stirrup leathers finally come in, because borrowing stirrup leathers from my coach is tedious! I'll have a nice set of arm muscles by the time my own get here.

    Once I had everything cleaned off, I got Indie all ready to ride! I gave her a nice brushing off, picked out her feet and then rubbed down her legs. Erica was down to ride Manny as well, so she was getting him ready near the back of the barn. (away from the alpacas.. because they scare the crap right out of him.. which is amusing because Manny is probably the most well-trained horse at the barn)

    I put the polos on, and saddled her up. I put the saddle cover over the saddle, because it was still raining, and then I bridled her. I'll have to clean her bit and bridle tomorrow because her bit gets all foamy and gross pretty quickly.

    I walked her large for a couple laps before adding in circles, back ups, sidepasses, etc. Then, we did lots of trot transitions and tried staying round and keeping forward through the downward transition. She got a couple really nice ones!

    After she was warmed up, we worked on getting round and engaged at the trot. Erica and Manny had one half of the arena and we had the other.. so we mostly did circles although sometimes I went large and we did leg yields. Whenever she was doing good, I'd give her a break and we'd do lateral flexions and smaller circles.

    My goal for today was getting in a correct lead at the canter, both ways. It takes longer going right rein so we did that first. She got a nice walk break after a few laps of cantering on the correct lead. Her lips were a bit foamy during our work out today, so she must've been thinking and playing with the bit.. resulting in a soft mouth.

    We worked on more trotting before we walked out. I admit that I didn't do as much bending that I usually do, but we had a more limited space so I decided we'd do a more trot-focused workout. She didn't work up a sweat but since it was raining anyways, I decided I'd just hose her all off! Surprisingly, she stood completely still and let me spray every inch of her. I was able to simply hold onto the lead and go all the way to her butt without her budging. My strict "hosing guidelines" must've paid off and taught her that standing still is a must unless I hint otherwise. (ie: walk her over to the grass and give her excess lead rope)

    I threw her cooler on her and let her munch some hay in her stall while I gave her a chance to dry and tidy up everything.

    After a bit, I brought her back out and brushed her off, did her feet and then put some cream on her bite mark that she got a couple weeks ago. It's healing pretty well and the fur seems to be growing back in chestnut (fingers crossed it continues) but I'm going to keep applying it until it's completely healed up.

    Since I had a good hour and a half left until my mom got back from shopping, I decided I'd braid Indie's mane! So for a good hour and fifteen minutes, Indie dozed off on the cross ties while I braided her mane. I'm horribly slow, because I only got about halfway done. I had braided her tail beforehand (three braids braided together) so she was pretty snazzied up. I'm going back to the barn tomorrow so I figured I'd just finish her mane then when I had time.

    I finally got her rain sheet on and gave her an apple slice before she went back out into the pasture. At first, she just stood in the mud waiting around.. so I went in there and she got the hint to go eat grass. Although when I drove out, she was by the empty hay feeder (there's a round bale out to the side though... it got super muddy around the feeder so they put it out on the grass instead). Silly horse.

    All in all, a lovely ride and a lovely little visit!
        10-21-2012, 12:53 PM
    October 21, 2012

    Ordered Indie a bunch of stuff last night. We got her stirrup leathers and a girth that will match the saddle perfectly! Also ordered a black saddle pad and a black fleece-lined half pad to match. She's going to look so spiffy once all her new tack gets here! Hopefully the SMBs are coming soon as well. We ordered her a stable blanket, a tail bag and a pair of ice boots as well.

    I got to the barn around 10, so low and behold, Indie was way out on the other side of the pasture. I can't whistle too well, so I just ran over. Luckily, she let me put the lead rope on and she followed me out with no issues.

    We got to the barn, and I did a quick grooming. Her legs were pretty swollen, as she had been in all night since 4:30 the previous day.. so I hosed them down. I rode without polo wraps since I planned on only doing minimal work. After about fifteen minutes of suppling, walking around, bending.. we did a few laps of trot transitions so that she could practice staying round and not short-striding after the down transition. After a few successful attempts each way, I got off and we did some groundwork.

    I decided to practice getting her to stay still while I walked around her and went to put my helmet on the bleachers. She actually stayed there until something caught her eye so I had to walk back over and get her. I also tried getting her to just follow me without a lead rope.. which worked until she looked out the window again. Oh well, we'll just keep practicing!

    I got her up to the barn and hosed her completely off. Surprisingly, it was really warm with no wind.. it almost felt like summer. I took the opportunity to give Indie her first bath since she's gotten here. She was getting a bit impatient so I decided not to push my luck and just did her neck and torso on each side.

    After I gave her fifteen minutes to dry off a little bit in her stall, I snuck some anti-histamine in a small portion of feed since she seems to have a bit of hives. At first, she didn't want to eat it, but eventually she did. So yay!

    Once she was done, I brought her back out and brushed her off and picked out her feet before putting the CopperSet on them. They're looking so much better! The farrier is going to show me how to put DMSO on her splints next week as well, so he told me to pick up some gloves, toothbrushes and a mug.

    I decided to finally finish up her mane so I braided it all up before I went to see if her rain sheet was dry. It was pretty muddy so I had hosed it off some. Luckily, it was dry and quite warm so I put it on her. I'd have left it off, but she was a bit wet and the wind was starting to pick up.

    I might go back down tomorrow but I'm not sure. We'll see!

    Also, a woman down at the barn was telling me how nice she is and how easy she is to work with. So I must be doing something right! But then again, Indie is just sweet by nature.

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