I'm going completely soft on my horse. She hasn't had a serious work day in half of forever. One of the students had to borrow my saddle, so I was stuck bareback again. We walked and (attempted to) gait around the arena for an hour. I jumped her once, and though it was more of a trot over (the crossrail was tiny), she went over. I'm was happy with that. Afterwards she got lots of cookies and went back to pasture. Spoiled mare.
Bareback again today, just because. I checked her back and she wasn't sore from the past two days without a saddle, so I figured another day would hurt as long as I stayed balanced. I've never had trouble with over riding bareback, but I'm paranoid.
It was a simple little training day. We walked probably 12 miles over various terrains, from Georgia pines to thick hardwood forest to grassy terraces and opened fields. The sky was a clear, pale blue and it was warm for the first time in an eternity -- almost 70 degrees. After so many hours of riding, we were both tired as could be by the end of the day.
Tomorrow, the head trainer, my former trainer, and I are going to Atlanta to check out a POA. We're in need of new lesson horses. This little guy is suppose to be a good flatwork pony and jump a little. Just what we need. I can't wait to ride him.
Wow... I can't believe I've had my horse for a month! Time has flown in a way -- the days have run together into one long trail ride--, but yet I feel as if I'm know Baby Girl forever. I can't imagine life without her anymore.
This month has been one of laying a foundation for advancing our training together. I wrote a series of goals on a scrap of notebook paper at the beginning of this year. There we a total of twelve 2011 goals. So far, we have accomplished:
-- Standing to mount and ground tying.
-- Beginning lateral movements. We can leg yield! In the beginning, Baby Girl didn't even know what leg meant, aside from "Yee-yaw! Let's run!" She can side pass on the ground as well and ALMOST under saddle.
-- Bareback the trails. I use to afraid she would pitch a hissy fit, as she did at random times, and I would come off. No more hissy fits now, so she's bareback approved.
Three out of twelve, in the first month of the year! Doing good.
This month of February, we hope to accomplish these two goals:
-- Compete in a small show. On the 19th, we'll hopefully be going to a trail obstacle challenge. And possible even compete in a gaited pleasure class at my friend's show in April.
-- Collect her canter.
-- Neck rein at a walk.
My on going goal is to get her to stop pacing. I want this done by at least the end of 2011.
The first ride of the new month will hopefully occur tomorrow, if it doesn't rain. Fingers crossed!
We got a break in the rain today, but only today. The rain is suppose to continue tomorrow and into Saturday. Since this will be my only ride this week, I did a lot of stuff.
We leaped right into this month's goals. I changed her bit from an argentine to a D-ring snaffle... Or actually, I changed her whole bridle, being that I was borrowing the bit and didn't want to unsew stuff. It was her baby brother's, but he isn't ridden much and doesn't use the bridle often.
We went out onto the trails, walking and flat walking to get use to the bit. We hit a running walk a few times for a few strides unhill. After a good warm up, we galloped. I attempted to collect her, and we almost ended up with a three beat canter. Mostly, we went along at a hand gallop, which is an improvement over the bat-outa-hell gallops she usually does.
Afterwards, she was extremely excitable and wanted to jig back to the barn. To be expected. After a few minutes of this, I got very frustrated. I don't remember my thought process, but I decided to back her up very slowly and calmly. It was a MIRACLE. After a few steps back, she started relaxing. We proceeded home the rest of the way at a quiet walk.
However, we didn't stop our lesson at home. We cantered a single lap around the round pen (we previously couldn't do this; she refused to canter in the round pen) and even jumped a small cross rail (after several refusals).
We proceeded to the big paddock next to work on obstacles (which she does best when tired). She refused to step on the pedestal mounted (she would do it on the ground), so I sat while my friend tried to pull her up there. After many refusals, we got two feet. She stood quietly. I allowed her to back off and do it again. The third time she put her feet on the pedestal without my friend's ground assistance. Victory!
I also met the head trainer's horses. Being that I mention her a lot, I might as well name her. She is known as Ashley, and she is rapidly becoming a great friend of mine.
She has two at her house: Smokey and Star. Star is a appendix and a Western pleasure showstopper. The horse can trot so slow it's like walking. I rode her bareback and in a halter for a few minutes and really, really liked her.
But I liked Smokey even more. Ashley hates Smokey; she thinks he's ugly and annoying and looks too much like a racking horse. I happen to like racking horses, so I'm okay with that. He is an appy cross, and is some kind of heavily grayed out strawberry roan/varnish appy. We has a heck of a sway back and an awkward head. He's more than twenty years old. For some reason, I felt a strange pull towards him. She says I can ride him whenever I want. I have faraway dreams of making him into an English walk/trot/canter horse... Very faraway dreams.
Today we officially submitted our entry forms to the Equine Communication Challenge. The competition will take place on February 19th. The challenge is a series of obstacles one must take their horse through. The horse must show no fear, be willing, and the handler must not use excessive force or encouragement to get their horse over, around, and through the various obstacles. The horse has to go quietly with the handler and act like it's no big deal. The horse also has to do basic stuff like sidepass, turn on hauches and forehand, etc.
Baby Girl and I will be doing two classes: in hand and novice undersaddle. I'm sure we'll rock the in hand. I'm a little worried about the undersaddle. We practice on our obstacles at home and she did incredible, as usual. She's very good at that kind of stuff.
I'm very excited. This will be Baby Girl and I's second competition, and our first as an official horse-and-owner pair. I hope all goes well.
Today was a not a good day. I had to work a pony party and was awoken an hour early to hear that the horses had gotten out of their stalls and I had to come and sweep the barn before the guest arrived. It had been raining for three days straight -- raining torrents. It was miserably cold and wet out there.
Baby Girl was, for lack of a more appropriate term, a total bitch today. She refused to work with her. She acted up, pushed me around, and didn't do what I asked. She refused to stand still, walk quietly, or generally behave. I put her on the pedestal to show the kids and she leaped off and landed almost on top of me. There went my bad ankle! She was a pushy, disrespectful, hyper brat.
Tomorrow, this will change. It may have been my attitude that she fed off of at first, so I will return to the barn as calm and cool as a cucumber. If she tries anything than, total pony smack down coming her way. That obstacle challenge is in less than two weeks, and as my barn owner said, "We need to bring guns to this knife fight."
It started off sourly. I took Baby Girl out to the obstical course in-hand and tried to work on sidepassing. She would do it, but we made no progress past our good days in the past. Undersaddle, she was still in a mood and refused to walk around quietly as I asked her to.
Attached to the lesson paddock is an opened air, two stall barn. I put her in one of the two stalls for a mental break and I sat in the window. Baby Girl came over and rested her head on my leg, as if to say, "Mama, I'm trying. It's just too much for me."
Later that day, Ashley, the BO, and I went for a trail ride. I think this was what Baby Girl needed: a break from the arena. It did wonders for her attitude. No more obstacles for the next two days. I know her well enough to know she won't improve on something she's sour with. And if she doesn't get that sidepass down by the end of the week, so be it. You can't have it all. She tries hard for me, which is compromise enough.
First off, it turns out I've gotten the dates wrong in my journal for the past little bit. Yesterday was actually the 6th, before the 5th, etc.
Today was bad. Very, very bad. So bad that even setting up a new jumping course couldn't make it better. It wasn't a hitch in Baby Girl's training that made it bad, but other horse related and non-horse related things.
First, I woke up and realized it was Monday.
Next, I went to school and got sent home for a dress code violation because "my sleeves weren't fitted well enough around my arm". A period after that, we ran our butts off in PE.
My day got better at the farm. We set up a new jumping course. I didn't ride because it was too wet and Baby Girl needed a break day.
Instead of going with my friends to see an Arabian lesson horse prospect, I was forced to eat dinner with my dysfunctional and mind numbingly unpleasant family, minus my mom, who I haven't heard from in a week. Sadly, I'm not surprised, because she's abandon me before.
I than started an argument with my granddad over whether I was responsible enough to keep Baby Girl's papers at my house. Apparently, I'm 10-years-old and completely irresponsible. He automatically assumes I'm an idiot and can't care for anything and will lose my horse's papers, yet gives me no chance to prove that I'm not. He also doesn't even let me touch my horse without adult supervision, despite the fact I'm going to drive soon. So I spent 20 minutes crying while I got yelled at.
In summery, I made a graph, because graphing makes me feel better. 100 is best day ever, while 0 is the suckiest of the sucky.