From the start.
When I was born 17 years ago, my mom had a black mini, Beauty, and a black Quarter Horse, Molly. Beauty died when I was four or five, but Molly went on to live until I was nine or ten.
I hated the barn when I was younger. Hated. In protest to the fact that I had to go, I wore shorts and saddles one time.
The first time I ever got on a horse was Molly, and I don't even remember it.
Before Molly died, we bought a Standardbred racehorse named Fonda Samati [I think that's how we spelled it], we did pretty well on the track.
After we sold and sent Fonda to a well-deserved retirement, we bought a Standardbred filly...who I can't even remember the name of... We didn't have her long...she didn't do too well.
The summer after we sold the Filly, I was eleven, and I decided I wanted to go to horse camp. So, I went.
And from there, it all develops.
I stated lessons after the camp at a barn that was only English. I did a partial lease on a TB gelding named Ashli. Things at that barn went way downhill through the lease, so after spending seven months there, we left at the very end of the lease.
By chance, we found a new person who new exactly what he was doing. I started English lessons there-in a primarily Western barn-and was one of the only lesson girls to stick it out through that winter-it was really, really cold.
After better than two years of lessons with them, on Christmas Day when I was 14, we were going to my grandmother's, and we made a detour by the barn.
I walked in, wondering if I was getting the lesson I was going to miss because of Christmas, and in the barn was a stall with a huge red bow and a letter on it.
I daresay I was and have never been since then.
Twende Haraka is my OTTB, six-year-old baby.
He's come back from injury and is now my hunter/jumper [still training, though].
It's been a long road, but it's all been worth it.
And here's my place to tell you all about it.
[WHOA. Much longer than I thought it would be...sorry.]
It was sleeting/snowing/raining, and we had to ride in the indoor, which Twende tends to...not like. This was the first day in a while that he hadn't shied at the banging door or the wind blowing in from the other side. He did really, really well.
I started him over on jumping... Somehow or another, he lost his confidence while going over the jumps... Got scared, or something. So I decided to take it back down to ground poles and get his confidence up over those... He has a hard time deciding where to put his feet sometimes, and I think that's a juge part of it.
I've also been working on collection a lot. We had it, but somehow we lost it again. So now he's much, MUCH better at bending at the pole and all.
He didn't refuse the ground poles at all today...which seems small, but usually we have at least one refusal the first time around, or so.
He had a bump on his back as a result of my not riding him collected enough, and it's almost completely gone. Yay. (: My mom has stopped going out with me so much since I got my car in the early summer, so Twende and I sometimes slack off when she isn't there... Actaully, it's just easier when someone's there to yell at me about how he looks. (:
But anyway... I won't get out again until Friday becasue of the holiday...
OH! And there was a horse in the arena when we went out-turned loose-and my mom brought him in while Twende and I waited... He hadn't been out for four days, and he stood COMPLETELY still. Didn't move and inch. That was exciting, too. Just sat back and watched that horse.
I went out with the intention of riding outside-it was sunny and around 40, and to ride one of my trainer's Western pleasure or cutting horses along with my own. Well, none of this happened except riding my own horse.
When I got out there, my trainer was taking advantage of the sunshine as well by putting the mares in the big field and the geldings in the stud lots. When I walked in, he had put all of the horses except mine and another boarder's out, so I just rode Twende today.
He was really quiet in the stall, except for the squirming around while brushing [he's so thin skinned]. I checked the ourdoor to make sure the cows weren't in it and that the gate that would let them in was closed, and that was when I remembered that it had been wet the last couple of weeks and the ground was uber-muddy, so I rode inside. Anyway, I free lunged him because he hadn't been out since Tuesday, but he wasn't really interested in running, so I put out the ground poles-because we're backtracking with jumping, remember, and he actually went over them...without my having to ask him at all! That was great.
When I got on him, I worked on collection for a while, bent him around, did transitions, made him two-track-all of which he seems to have gotten better at in the past few months. He felt amazingly smooth and awesome. : D
When we went over the ground poles, he didn't hesitate AT ALL, either direction. Can you say score? I sure can. That means we'll do ground poles one more day, then we can start setting up smaller jumps again. This is great. (:
After I rode, I untacked him, gave him a couple carrots, and decided to turn him out. Twende used to have a habit of taking off when you tried to turn him out, and even though he so wanted to today, he stood for me, even if his front feet were pretty much walking in place, haha. I got that trained out of him, if nothing else at least. Anyway, Julius was out with him, and the dogs decided to chase them around...which I got on camera.
I'll post some videos after I get home tonight.
All in all, it was a great ride. And the plus side? I KNOW I can make it out three, maybe four days next week because my boss didn't work me another day. (:
Finally got out again. Saturday, I cleaned my room and rearranged things all day and hung out with my friend who had been out of town for the last week... Sunday, I had to work 8-4, so I didn't get out. Monday, I had theatre practice, so I couldn't go out.
But today, I went out.
When I got there, I was walking into the long barn and there was a horse tied in the aisle way... When he turned and looked at me, I saw the star and thought, "What did he do?" The barn owner doesn't put horses in the aisle way while cleaning stalls... Twende is lovable and likes to rub and hug the people who clean his stall, but he's only been moved by one person who came to clean the stalls... ANYWAY. Apparently we have someone who is cleaning the stalls to pay off some of her board.
Thank God Twende ties better than I'd originally thought he did.
So, I rode, and he decided it would be fun to buck and then sky out really hard to the side almost as soon as I got on. Well, we're done with that kind of behavior, so I just made him trot long, low, and fast for a good ten minutes, and after that, he did all right.
The flat was nice, but when it came time for the ground poles, he didn't want to go over it going to the right. He was GOING to, then the wimp kicked up a bunch of dirt and rocks against it, stopped, and backed up like it was the scariest thing in the world. Got him over it, though.
When I was moving ground poles so I had three in a row, he followed behind me a little too close and ran his nose into the ground pole! He gave me this highly offended look and stalked away, haha. He was fine, just a bit peeved.
Anyway... he wasn't amazingly good today, but he's getting used to cantering in the smaller, indoor arena again, which is good, because he used to get all bowed up and want to buck. Which is not good.
Here're some pictures from the last time I rode, because I didn't give the promised videos the other day...
Blurry because it's zoomed in and taken from a video I took of us riding.
It was around 40 and sunny, so I let him go out in one of the stud lots [the mares took the big pasture] with Julius.
Going over ground poles.
And here's a video of Twende being "chased" by the dogs in the stud lot.
So, he was really quiet in the stall... really, really good on the flat. I mean, excellent on the flat. His head is SO much better. He was completely collected, even if his head wasn't exactly where it should have been the whole time.
And then came the ground poles.
And I remember WHY Twende and I get along so well... We have very similar personalities, one of those being that we're both stubborn. He decided he didn't want to go over the ground pole, and I said, "You're going over the ground pole." He wasn't afraid of it. He went over three or four times before he refused to go over it. I worked for a half hour to get him over it. I tried everything. Backing hard, circling hard, etc. You know why ended up working? Annoying him. I just learned that he HATES it when I constantly bump him in the side with the spurs. Not hard, but quick taps. He FINALLY went over.
My God, that was so FRUSTERATING. Ugh.
But he did well on the flat, and when I got him going, he looked great over the ground poles.
On the plus side, he didn't spook at all inside today. Not once. He did a little crow hop once or twice, but it was because of the footing on one side of the arena. He didn't spook when I opened the arena door, and...yeah. Except for that refusal of the ground pole, he actually did very well.
I'm going out again tomorrow. We'll see how he does. He'd better go over that ground pole. >.< I'd honestly thought we were done with the big fights and such.
At least he looks good on the flat...as I've said... [looking on the bright side of things]
He stood well for being brushed after riding too, so that was good... Anyway.
SO much better today! Geeze, it was almost like I was on a different horse!
My mom went out with me today, and as we started to head out, I suddenly started to get really bad, doubling-over stomach pains. I haven't had a stomach ache in ages, and it had to choose TODAY to happen? Because I wasn't feeling well, all I did was walk and trot today, and even then I thought I was going to keel over... I'm better now, though. I HAD to go out today though because of the huge fight-thing we had yesterday. I had to get out there and MAKE SURE he went over those stupid ground poles.
ONE refusal the entire time. Even then, all it took was backing and a walking circle and he went over it.
Just great, today. PLUS-his head...oh my. So much better. He's so much better at collection... I don't even have to really ask him for it anymore, just remind.
Amazing. : D
Oh, and I think I'll update on something... Apparently we had three standardbred race horses, not two... my dad said, "You wouldn't...he wasn't very memerable." We didn't have him long and it was while we had Fonda...
And there's a filly next door to my horse, and she is Twende's half-sister. Apparently she'll ignore everyone else, but she'll stick her nose out to me every time I come. I pay a lot of attention to her, haha. The barn owner/my trainer was shocked.
This is going to be for yesterday's ride, because I forgot to post one because of a crap-tascular day.
So, I went out.. it had been since Friday I had ridden him [had to work Saturday and get the tree, had to go see some friends I never see on Sunday, and had to work Monday]. He was fresh, I could see that in the stall, but he stood well for grooming and all, and when we went out to free lunge, he stood with me and didn't move until I let him go and stepped away. SCORE. He used to take off running when we went anywhere that was open space. That was a year or so ago, but then for a long time he would sort of dance around me until I made him stand still. Now he doesn't move, no matter how excited he is. : D
He did okay...He was definitely fresh still, but we worked through it and he did fairly well on the flat... The ground poles...he went over without much refusal with just on in a row... then two in a row... Then we put standards on either side of the poles... You'd have thought I was asking him to jump a hurtle! It was just a ground pole, still! Anyway, he's not as hard to get to go over when he refuses, which is good.
I'm about to go out, now. Just waiting for my mom to get home because she wants to go out with me again.
Will post again later to say how today's ride went.
I did a lot of variation while riding today-a lot more than I usually do... Trot a figure eight, trot a circle, canter a circle, stop, back, turn on the haunches, trot half a figure eight, canter half a figure eight, trot a side pass, walk, two-tracking at the trot. He just did so well!
He didn't even spook at the door when it opened!
Or the ladder at the end of the arena!
He placed his feet perfectly when I cantered him over ground poles, something he doesn't usually do every time.
We're going to move back into jumping small, half jumps next time I ride. I have a paper due on Friday, so I don't think I can go out tomorrow... which means I won't get back out until Monday. Erg.
Anyway, he did great. I've got video and pictures that I'll post when I put them on my computer.
Wow. So, I have been out since my last update, but for some reason, I haven't been keeping up.
I went out yesterday and today, and my friend who had to sell her horse at the end of the summer because she was heading to school, came to ride with me. Twende did pretty well, even though a lot of the time Rachel and I only talked. He went over the ground poles well, dah dah dah.
Today, Rachel and I mostly talked again. I hopped on Twende bareback for the last part of my ride, and he was good. (: I love riding him bareback, and he didn't even spook at the snow that kept blowing noisily across the roof or the sleet/rain that kept falling! My little boy is growing up. It's exciting.
Anyway... I'm going to start up jumping lessons with him soon, going to take them every other week, and then things will be getting more interesting. I have to pay for them, and they won't be consistent because I don't know my work schedule until the Friday before, but I'm kind of excited. It's been a while sine I've had an actual lesson.
Here're some pictures of Twende...
In his stall.
Doesn't he look like a pony in this one?
He looks tiny to me...and look at that mane!
Wow. My keeping up with this is turning into how well I keep a diary...which I haven't written in in two years...
Anyway... Last time I went out was Thursday. There must have been something really, really scary outside, because Twende wouldn't let his guard down the whole ride. I couldn't ride long because there was an ice storm moving in, and I wanted to be long gone by the time it hit.
I'm going to go see my friend's horse on Tuesday, and she's coming out to see Twende, which means I won't get much riding done... Which is okay, I guess, considering it's a holiday week.
I'm only going to get out once in two weeks! I can only go on Tuesday this week, then the next week I'll be out of town the entire time! My trainer is going to let him out with Julius while I'm gone, thank God. And I'm going to start up jumping lessons again after the new year [which I think I said in my last update]...
And it all depends on if it warms up if I go out on Tuseday. It's -14 with he windchill, 7 without it. Too cold for me, personally.
I can't wait to start up lessons again, actually. It's been a while since I've had one, and I have a lot to brush up on with my equitation, and I need to start going more forward with Twende.
Have a good Christmas. (:
And here's Twende's sister, Mia...
Don't they look alike? It's so cute, because she'll stick her nose out to me whenever I come, and apparently no one else likes her but me. O.0 She's a bit crazy-ish, but I'd sort of love to work with her because I think she's a sweetie.