I've ridden BG on a couple little trails recently with my students. She's been very good. Nice slow walking.
Today, I decided it was time to do a little touch up trim. My trimmer has showed me how to do it, but I've never attempted it myself. I didn't rasp off much. When in doubt, I left it alone. The only parts that needed to be leveled out were heel buttress and the back portion of the quarter. Her toe was a bit long, so I rasped it an acceptable length and attempted a little mustang roll.
I only did front feet, and it took me around 30 minutes. I don't have a hoof stand, so BG stretched her leg out in front of her and placed her hoof on an overturned bucket. Also, my rasp doesn't have a handle. That's some ghetto trimming right there.
Side (Left in front)
I'm going to try to ride tomorrow, if the weather holds up!
In other news...
BG won the National High Point Spotted Saddle Horse award. :'DDDD We're going to have our own article in the magazine! With pictures and words and stuff!
Elizabeth wanted to experience the "standardbred trot", so I let her. Poor thing. That trot is so awkward. It's pretty smooth, but not smooth enough to be able to sit effortlessly. But it's still smooth enough that you don't get any help posting. I usually let kids who aren't great at posting sit it, with varying degrees of success.
BG has gone through phases of kid safeness. When I first got her, she was dull and spoiled, but a good "tug and kick" trail horse. She progressed until she was too sensitive for kids to ride and thought every movement they made meant something. She's since learned intent and realizes what the kids "mean" and what they don't. So now she's great in the arena and gives the kids everything they know how to properly ask for.
Yesterday, BG and I went on an 10 mile jog. We averaged around 8 mph. It was very pleasant. I haven't been doing much speed on the trail recently due to BG's jigging habit, but she hasn't jigged in several walking rides. She handled a faster ride brilliantly without any fuss.
Today was gorgeous. Sunny, still, and a little nippy. Just the way I like it. My friends and I decided to spend the afternoon hanging around the barn. Grace is horsey; she rides a little and works as a barn hand. Her boyfriend Mycal is not horsey, but the vote was two-to-three for the barn.
We got up BG, groomed her, and Grace rode her in the round pen.
Grace and Mycal
I also had witnesses in case I died trying to ride completely tackless with only two dressage whips to reinforce cues to change directions.
I've ridden tackless before, but not in the big arena. And not using the two sticks method. When using the two sticks, you keep them by your side as "neutral", or hold them out parallel to the neck to block movement to the sides. To turn, you use your leg cues, drop your stick to neutral on the inside ("opening the door") cue with your stick next to the outside shoulder (just like you would cue a turn on the haunches on the ground.)
It was pretty cool. I expected some kind of learning curb, since I had never ridden like that before. But BG was perfectly perfect. I had total control directional control (I could even direct her to walk over poles and jumps) and speed control/brakes. I had a little bit of a back up, but not great. I had no sidepass, turn on the haunches, fancy stuff, etc. But heck. I felt so cool just being able to steer with such accuracy.
I've started e-mailing the SSHBEA about BG's highpoint thing... They want to know "interesting things" about my horse and I for the article. I don't do interesting things. There isn't anything interesting about us. I have no idea what to tell them. "Maybe tell the readers why you ride a spotted saddle horse, do you only compete in NATRC, did you raise her, how long have you had her that sort of thing." Oh boy...
I haven't updated in about a week, so here's what's been going on:
I got feet trimmed on Monday. Trimmer said thrush was gone and her giant sulcus crack is healing up. The crack isn't nearly as deep. Her frog just generally looks better.
Left front foot (the worst one):
And a side shot of that same left front:
Wednesday, I went on a short trail. It was fresh, windy, bright sort of day.
Everything is so dry and yellow.
Mushroom tagging along and carrying her back pack:
I had a great day of groundwork today. I practiced moving every part of BG's body individually, and BG practiced standing still and waiting for my commands. We did a short undersaddle portion. We practiced sidepassing, turns on the forehand, and turns on the haunches. Her haunch turns are looking great. She can do a full 360 spin both ways without moving the pivot foot.
Also, we can back around trees now with one hand touching the trunk. Yessss.
Yesterday I did about 12 miles at a 6 mph pace. I got permission to ride on some new land across the highway and got pretty zealous about exploring it. Some of the connecting trails weren't "trails" in the strictest sense. They were deer paths with orange flagging every hundred feet. I had to jump old fences, pick through brambles, and use NATRC skills in real!life.
It makes me greatful I have an excellent trail horse.
I also have a sour arena horse. BG was grumpy today. I started off lunging her, and all she wanted to do was run around. She trotted and cantered for several minutes in the lunge line, giving me all sorts of sass. The sass turned to annoyance when I finally got on her. I was going to do some schooling in a snaffle bit, since she's been ridden bitless for months and I want my horse to know her Ps and Qs in both setups. She tensed her body, locked her jaw, and braced.
We trotted poles, practiced transitions, and did roll backs. I was getting frustrated (I sometimes think she gets frustrated first and I feed off of her), so I quit for the day, put her hackamore back on, and went trail riding for an hour.
As if I send a message, she behaved wonderfully on the trail. She laterally sidepassed a large log, opened gates, walked slowly, and overall listened intently.
I feel like I'm being trained. She either gets more opinionated as time goes on, or I get better at listening.
I leave you with the knowlege that V-day is drawing near.
It rained today. It's suppose to rain till Thursday. So I've been doing indoor lessons with the kids. They like to draw on the horses with washable markers. BG has a lot of white on her, making her an acceptable target. Result:
Signed up to go to an ACTHA ride in Twin City Saturday. It'll be a fun little day trip to work on obstacles on strange trails. I like ACTHA as a training opportunity. I want to see if all the work I've done with BG over the winter had paid off and she is at least getting better with her buddy sourness issues.