I thought I'd go ahead and start a journal for all my *OMG! HORSEY!* sharing needs with Jayne rather than cluttering up anywhere else.
First off, cantering down the beach! Awesome fun, though I haven't cantered in ... maybe a year and a half, and sat it poorly enough that I am sore in the back. I was also gripping the saddle horn of the borrowed western saddle, which certainly did not help me relax since the seat is too wide and rather uncomfortable for me. Jayne was perfect though, kept his brain down between his ears, and went faster, slower, transitions and stopped nicely on cue despite being a) in the wide open and b) all by his lonesome with no horse buddies to support him. He was great, and so long as I kept him working and focused on me, there was no crying for the other horses or worrying about any potential horse eating monsters.
Secondly, I was told today that he's gotten much 'steadier' now that I've been working him regularly. This pleases me. He has also been much better in the 'not trying to spook' way lately after attempting to spook at all sorts of things last week and getting shut down by me. I aim to keep this 'listening to me and not trying to make (bad) horsey decision on his own' trend in force. He was a little worried about a charging dog and a bonfire today, but didn't do anything beyond a little head tossing and a side-step.
Last, I hope to move him to his new stable this weekend. It's all set up and ready to go, just waiting on my friend to have time to trailer him for me. Then there will be the settling in and adjusting to life there period which will, I hope, be mercifully short. He's pretty easy going and low in the herd order, so I don't anticipate any serious problems.
I am hoping it's normal to go from feeling like a reasonably competent rider to a complete unbalanced know-nothing from time to time. It's a regular thing for me. Last week when Jayne caught me completely off-guard and bolted and I didn't come off and got him stopped quickly, I felt pretty awesome. I felt even more awesome when I stopped him from bolting in the first place since. Now, I realize that I am responsible for making sure he stays up on all his training and doesn't develop bad habits and I worry that I'm going to completely mess his training up. I'm used to riding other people's horses! This one is mine.
Would have just edited the earlier message, but apparently that function has timed out. Today's picture. After 1 hour of riding and before another 1.5 hours of riding.
Our leg aids for turning went much smoother than I anticipated- no confusion at all on his part. There was, however, a large triple kite being flown on the beach that he was pretty sure was going to swoop down and eat him.
Busy day in Jayne's life. I vaccinated him for... everything ever, which he hardly even noticed. Which is nice, but I wouldn't have faulted him for objecting to me stabbing 18g needles into his neck or a syringe up his nose either. He did get prissy with me when I was picking out his last foot as he finished his grain and tried a half-hearted cow kick which got him told off immediately. He was eager to back away from me (and the feed) and give the 'please don't hurt me' baby face once he realized that trying that on me was a mistake. We went for a nice little ride after and he gets tomorrow off so he can recover a bit. Hopefully he's not too sore from his shots. Next week it's dewormer and sheath cleaning time.
My girth is weird though. I bought a brand new wintec contoured girth, and could barely get it on the billets the first time. Then I changed the gullet out for the next wider and rode it a week and now it's up three holes (of 6 or 7) on both sides and I could still fit a fist under it, though I didn't realize it was THAT loose until the end of our ride, luckily enough. He does blow up a little when I first girth him up, but even blown up, it's easy to get it halfway up to start now. I hope it stops stretching soon, or I'll need to buy another, shorter, one.
Easy refresher work today- bridled but bareback for the second time in his life, near as anyone can tell. He's doing well with it, though still a little goosey. I'm sure the fact that the fly population has exploded around here didn't help that any. We worked on giving/bending to either side, one-rein stop style. He started with lots of tiny circles that were making me dizzy, but he's a smart boy and we got to just giving and bending his neck to either side in a handful of tries (thank goodness).
We also got in a few good turns on the fore, but definitely need to work on turning on the hind. Side passes were nearly a bust, got a COUPLE steps in one direction, but will go back and work on it more from the ground and try again later. The whole idea of moving the front feet without going forward seems to be the sticking point on the side passes and turn on the hind. He was happy to move the hind end over and offered that a lot, but moving the fronts laterally is either a new concept, one he doesn't like, or one that is tough for him to do physically. No matter which, I think some patient practice should solve it, along with sticking a fence in front of him to block forward! He wasn't very keen on trusting me to walk straight up the fence though, kept trying to duck out one way or another rather than wait for my directions. Again, more practice and between us should fix that.
I don't really get why, but thinking 'heels down' helps me even bareback. Maybe it's sort of a by proxy thing? Where doing all the 'right things' always happens with heels down, so getting that done triggers everything else to fall into place too?
The last thing is sharpening up his whoa. He just kind of drifts to a stop, then might take a step, then stand, or step again. I need to get him to STOP on whoa and stay there. Whoa does not equal "kinda slow down, but do what you want" in my world, and now his either.
Busy couple of days here- moved him to his new barn. He followed me into the trailer like he does it every day, rode over, unloaded and walked into his new stall like it's all part of a day's work and went to town on his hay. He's making friends with the gelding on one side of him, a dark bay. I caught them being buddy buddy over the water cooler when I went out to feed this morning, and then when I had him in a run adjacent to the field everyone was turned out into, his new buddy wouldn't let the (somewhat pushy) lead gelding anywhere near him for quite a while. Eventually he got to sniff nose over the fence with most of the herd, and everyone was pretty relaxed. The lead gelding got a bit squealy, but nothing too exciting, and they hung out together at the fenceline nicely after the initial introductions. Might turn him and his new buddy out together sometime this week so they have head start on being friends before turning him out with the herd later.
I rode him in the area and he was an angel. Almost didn't even need the reins for turning and his attention was all on me. Being in a strange place does wonders for his powers of paying attention. He was bending wonderfully and his stops were better than they have been. Still haven't had a lightbulb moment on the sidepass though. We did get a lightbulb on WAITING for direction when coming up on an obstacle rather than deciding on his own what to do about it, which was rewarding.
I have GOT to get someone to lunge line me on him though, I can't ride his trot to save my life. Either that or just lose the stirrups for a couple weeks. I feel like I'm going to get my teeth rattled out and his back is going to get sore if I can't get it together and figure out where on earth my skills went. I used to be good at sitting the trot (on TBs and arabians), and now it's all gone apparently, when QH are supposed to be easier. He doesn't 'jog' though, not unless I am really working him and asking for it specifically at least, and he doesn't maintain it for more than a handful of strides yet.
I'm fairly convinced that I have the best horse in the world. Cleaned his sheath today with no more reaction than a slightly lifted leg a couple of times. It needed to be done, but he wasn't too nasty and there wasn't a big bean to bother him. He got a little more hanging out over the fence line time with the other horses and then I rode him a bit with no stirrups. Just walking and working on bending his whole body nicely, stopping properly and walking over some ground poles. I tried to open and close the gate off of him, but the 'not having lateral gear' made that a bit impossible, so I settled for getting him to at least go up to the gate and stop and stand properly rather than dancing about like a over-caffeinated grasshopper.
I made his stall sign today too. It's like it's official now or something.
Well, he got tuned out with the herd early yesterday. Luckily enough everything seemed to go well... I came out to feed and panicked mildly at the sight of his empty stall, then spotted him halfway down the field, a sad looking outcast pony. He was pretty tired, presumably from getting the run around, but I couldn't find any injuries and just a couple slobber marks, so what's done is done, apparently without any harm.
Today no one got turned out at all and he was pretty full of it when I went to ride. No slow, easy jogging or comfortable trotting for us today! I guess that's fate's way of telling me to be careful what I'm asking for when I take the stirrups off my saddle. We did do some ground exercises and I got a few really nice steps crossing over in the front today when I was asking him to turn on the hind from the ground. No where near a spin yet, but better than utter confusion.
Tried to get Jayne to canter on a lunge today- not very successfully as he showed that he needs much more muscle and balance before he can do it well by himself, let alone under saddle. Okay on the trot, but started leaning on the line after a few minutes. Looks like we *both* need to get into shape. Did some trotting circles today... painful for us both in the bouncy, unbalanced way, though there was a blessed moment between turning left and right that was nice and comfy. Too bad that turns into a 'go faster' jostle if allowed to continue on.
Therefore, there is a plan, first, for me, some more lessons, and then for him/us, a To Do List:
Yields: yield the fore, yield the hind, lateral away, bending L/R
Exercises: W/T transitions and Figure 8s, Serpentines, Circles, and Poles at W and T
Yogas: Lateral stretch to stifles, Toe point and Cross, Tail Traction, Butt Tucks, Back Raises
Goals: Decent side pass. Improved strength and balance so we can trot 20m circles with some semblance of control and ease.
Got a comment that he really does have a 'nice english trot' today while working him. Much appreciated, though my rear and thighs don't agree yet. With time and work, we will get there.
Firefly fan? I approve.
Sounds like Jayne keeps you mighty busy! I know how the unbalanced circles feel- I'm working on balancing canter circles! Lots and lots of work will get you there. Good luck with Jayne!