Rode Dimka tonight, only did walk and trot, no canter as the ground was wet (partially smooshy to touch - checked the footing before getting him out, after getting his feed and tack ready) and he was a bit flighty when I tied him up - there were two horses, next to the yard I had tied him outside of on the tie-up pole, in the jumps arena (mare and gelding) mucking around running and bucking. Dimka reared and was startled, and spinning, and broke the bailing twine which I had him tied to, but luckily I had grabbed him once he got loose as I was grooming him at the time and was able to try and calm him down. He was still wound up and was not in shape to be ridden (hot horse + lots of puddles over the property = slippery and potentially dangerous or fatally if he were to become hot and take off) so I turned him in a paddock with two three year old crosses to burn some steam off - where he promptly claimed the round bale as his, keeping the other horses away. Boy did he make us laugh - he sat in the haybale after mucking around, then had a gallop with the other horses - always retreating back to 'his' haybale. The filly imitated his move of sitting and sat down in the haybale also as Dimka ate some hay after settling down.
Wasn't going to ride him after he had been rearing and startled, but after he had had a couple laps of galloping/mucking around with the horses I had put him in, he had settled down, so I groomed him once again (I had almost finished grooming him when he had become wound up before, but since he didn't have his rugs on anymore, he needed to be groomed once again - lots of mud!!). Got him tacked up and he was pretty calm, a bit looky and snorty but pretty well behaved.
What we worked on in our ride:
- Walk/trot on the bit at a good pace (he kept wanting to slow dow, so I would increase my leg and seat to keep him moving forward).
-Worked on corners as he hasn't been too flash on bending around my leg as he turns around corners. Also worked on keeping him on the bit around corners as he likes to lift his head whilst going around.
Dimka tried to take off twice whilst I was riding him tonight, so I circled him tightly before he could go full flight. A few of the horses in the paddocks next door a few properties over were galloping around in their paddock (which I could hardly see as there were many trees). After circling he was still wound up and wanted to run, so I had him walk a few 20 x 40m circles to make sure he was calming down and listening to me before we went back up to a trot. I didnt want to canter him today as the ground was not suitable for cantering, and also due to him not being in the right frame of mind, I just wanted to play it safe. And worked on working on the bit, corners, and trying to engage his back (I have watched a few videos, after his owner told me that is what she wants to work on with him - she directed me to one of the videos)
His owner's dad came down as I was riding and chatted with mum whilst watching me ride and said hello to Dimka and I when I rode him over to him and mum.
No pictures tonight as mum was helping me (she put two hay biscuts in his haynet and carried over for me, when I did the rest of his feed and put aside two biscuts for his morning feed in a white chaff bag as per the request of his owner) and didnt have her phone on her to take pictures when I started riding.
Tonight's ride was good, he tried to take off a few times but not as much as other times - Bella another OTTB was literally bolting around her paddock (the one on the same fence line as the arena I have been riding in) because two other horses were out in a paddock next to her in (the paddock Brooke's ASH x TB homebred gelding was in - he is now on lease) having a run as a change from being in their yards whilst they were being cleaned, so they were having fun together and Bella was having a bit of a rear here and there - gee she is a nice mover! I kept talking to Dimka to keep him listening to me and to keep calm as well as having a heavy seat and half halting on the reins to keep him in check.
He went on the bit the maority of tonight- though I did have a bit of a talk with him (mum thought I was talking to her lol because I had been but I was talking to Dimka and she was like??? Lol because I told him to give it back - he took the bit and was trying to take control of my reins by chomping and stretching against me).
I cantered him tonight (both ways of course) and he was good (Di said we looked really good together, and that he is going really well for me, which was huge compliment) but a bit annoying on the corners - he trys to cut them, and doesnt keep on the track with my leg, but I also havent cantered much lately due to weather/him/other horses so that doesnt help the situation, but we will get there. My leg is slowly building back up so hoping to get him working off my leg a bit more in canter, like he is with walk/trot. I finished out ride off with a nice walk both ways to let him stretch himself out.
A grey mare got out when I was getting Dimka out, she galloped past me (even though I was telling her to whoa, and trying to shut the gate quickly but wasnt able to due to Dimka going spazz and not moving but rather prancing around. No one told me there was a loose horse in there (she was in her yard standing in her yard eating as I got Dimka out) so I ust left the main gate open for me to close when I had dimka out of his yard so I didnt have to open close 2 gates. Luckily Di ran to help me as I yelled loose horse, because the mare (who they thought couldnt run due to arthritis) was charging around the yard (in the area we had the cars parked/washbay/outside the umping arena), and she galloped up to the gate (the one that seperates the drive from the road, near the house) which was open.
Dimka ripped some skin from my hand from the rope burning me as he was flipping out from excitement/nerves when I was trying to talk to the mare soothingly to grab her rug but luckily Di ran up to the side of the house, over the fence and was able to quickly go over and grab her before she ran out to the road... I felt horrible, but I didnt know she was loose in the yards area, but luckily we managed to catch her.. I was very tired and sweaty at the end of our ride, because I had to work hard to keep him moving and not letting him stop/slow when he wanted, so I ust kept encouraging him with my leg, seat and voice and praising him for doing the right thing. Dimka was sweaty under his saddle pad and a bit on his browband/neck but not exsessivly - a good working amount.
We had a good night tonight and he listened really well to me (especially when the other horses were playing) and Di was really impressed with how well he was listening to me and thinks he is a really good horse (and I agree! He is a really sensible boy, and although he may want a run, he does listen which is good and makes me feel safer knowing that he will listen to me in situations like that).
No pictures tonight, as mum did not have her camera on her, but she helped by carrying his hay over for me and getting the gate as I walked in/out/with Dimka which I appreciated, especially since the Grey mare was back in that area and was right at the gate as I approached (also didnt let Dimka graze today during tack-up/grooming/leading as the fencelines had been sprayed).
Before riding, I watered down and mixed Dimka's hard feed and put two flakes of hay in his haynet, which I then left beside his hard feed on the wash bay (where it was soaking - it has MaxiSoy in it so it expands - I just leave it whilst I ride because then I don't have to wait for it to soak when I am feeding him). I usually put two flakes of hay in a white chaff bag for his owner to grab and give to him in the morning, but I didnt need to this time because there was already a lot of loose hay in a chaff bag beside her hay bales which I assume she had gathered - there were no other chaff bags empty to use either, so I left it as it was.
My riding friend, Cat, came and watched me ride today. She had tried Drummer (a Gypsy Cob gelding) the same day I had tried Dimka out, and was told he was being taken on by a family memeber - she told me she would still be interested and love to ride Drummer if the owner changes their mind. She went over and said hello to Drummer as I was riding - she has a soft spot for him, I think he reminds her a bit of Yoshi with his quirky nature and his canter.
During our ride Dimka and I:
- Worked on using my seat and rising to extend his trot (he got the hang of it down the long sides, not a huge stride, but still a extension of his trot). Would like keep working on this with him.
- Walk/Trot on the bit, holding the reins by the buckle - he really seeks the bit and stretches out, so I am encouraging him to seek the bit, as when I ask him to go on the bit he will usually do it fairly quickly after a bit of reminding, but I would like to get him to work on the bit without any niggling, so decided to practise this excercise with him (which is something I was taught as a way of getting a horse to want to go on the bit, by first seeking the bit, and then collecting the horse).
- Canter on the left leading leg on a 20x20m circle, mananged to get him on the bit at a canter - something I have not practised with him before. He did keep wanting to trot so I kept encouraging and driving him forward using leg and my seat, pushing him into the bridle.
Brooke (Property owner's daughter) said he may need a crop if he keeps being lazy (she has noticed he is now more lazy than he used to be, now I am riding him and giving him more work than he used to - the also owner hasnt ridden in a while due to being ill), which I agree, but would like to work with him a bit more with more leg and encouragement before using the crop - something I don't want to use if I do not have to.
After our ride, I brushed Dimka down, and mum helped, he was irritated by the mosquitos so was stamping and nipping in frustration. Brushed the sweat from his poll/browband with a bit of water splashed through the soft brush. Put his winter rug on (he ripped his summer rug, on Wednesday according to Brooke, which has now been removed - she told me he was standing and putting his legs though in and out the ripped bum section of his rug).
I was sick with the flu whilst riding today, so we only worked on walk with a bit of trot on the bit. I had started us out as usual, working with a warm up of walk both directions of the arena twice, then into trot. Only did a couple laps of trot before coming back down to a walk again - due to being sick I was cramping in my right side of my ribcage and couldn't breath properly and was sweating before even having tacked him up. Had some nice helmet hair after that ride! Was a bit humid too, so Dimka was also sweating on his neck as we started our ride. I was annoyed with myself not being able to trot, so attempted it again, doing a lap with one hand on my hip (western style.. haha) which helped strech me out on my right side but still didnt help the pain, so we just came back to a walk and worked on riding on the bit on contact and loose rein.
After riding, I put some hoof salve on Dimka's hooves (I think it was Effol but not sure - black salve).
Made his hard feed when I got there - his owner messaged me the instructions to make his hard feed, and I also put aside 2 hay flakes in a chaff bag for her to feed him in the morning. He was unrugged when I got there, like the other horses, so I grabbed his rug, which was in the shed on one of his feed bins, when I finished making his feed which I left to soak after adding water to his hardfeed and putting his 2 flakes of hay in a haynet to feed him after I rode.
Started off riding in the arena, working on walk and trot both ways on bit with light contact - he is getting better with the corners and not trying to cut them off as much now. He is also getting softer with contact when I am asking him to go on the bit. Went in the jumps arena and jumped two jumps (a milk-crate jump and a small oxer no bigger than a milk crate in the middle) a few times at a trot for something different - I didn't want to canter him today as I have not been feeling 100% lately and didnt feel I had the energy to get him cantering and push him forward (he has a 'up' canter rather than a 'forward' canter). He is no longer 'jumping' into the canter now, like he did when I tried him out and for the ride after trialling him. Brooke noticed he has pulled a shoe (no nails or shoe on his front left hoof), and said he would be fine to ride like that as he has done it a few times before and always been fine to ride - he wasn't acting any different either. I put him in the last yard tonight (the one next to the floats and his normal yard) as he and Milo (the pony yarded next to him) had knocked down a post which was one of the horizontal beams for seperating the two yards (apparently Dimka and Milo had knocked it down earlier this arvo due to both of them rearing and striking it). Dimka was rather laid back tonight - has been a bit on the lazy side for the last few rides, and was clumsy over the two small jumps we were jumping (trot in, and a few canter srtides out before coming back to trot) and knocked down one of the jumps which Di put back up for me (she was going through the jumps arena to get her pony and her daughters foal at the time). He was a bit grumpy in the jumps arena when I had finished warming him down with a few laps of walk, I think he just wanted the grass which I was letting him have, so he was pulling on the bridle which I fixed by making him move on and asking for the bit/reins, when he relaxed and listened/settled I relased the pressure and he was fine - I wanted to finish on a good note, not a 'greedy' note - you'd think he was starving the silly boy!! Haha. Will work on cantering the jumps next ride hopefully if the weather doesnt go horrible again and make the footing bad (the back half of the jumps arena was a bit spongey so we didnt use it, only for a bit of trotting and our inital walk around which I let him get a look before starting our jumping). Dimka had left over hay from this morning which was in a blue bucket, so brooke put that in the yard I put him in - he also got his usual 2 flakes of hay and his hard feed which I brought over to him after we had ridden/cooled/untacked/rugged/yarded. Mum had my car at the main horse gate to light up the yards so I could see whilst feeding and yarding Dimka.
Two short videos from the same jump tonight (I relaise he landed and took the wrong canter lead - something I need to work on when jumping).
Before riding today, I cut Dimka a bridle path (I asked the owner if this would be alright, because he had masses of hair and with the bridle path it would mean haltering and bridling quicker - she said that was fine, she had been thinking about doing for a while but had not gotten around to it) 3 fingers width (enough to put on a bridle/halter with some room to spare).
I rode him in the jumps arena tonight for the second time.
He was lazy tonight, so required a lot of leg, however he required half halting on the other side of the arena (near Drummer's paddock). He was in a stubbron mood so we worked on the small oxer and the green/blue crate one - I was going to canter him over a slightly larger straightbar (the one with the crates underneath) however he wasn't listening properly so I decided against it, after cantering him in preperation - he really strode out in the canter and took a fair bit of half halting to bring him back to a trot.
I decided if his mind wasn't on the task, then he wasn't going to get to go over the straight bar, so we sticked to the smaller ones. Worked on his halting alo, as he likes to take 5 or so steps before coming to a stand still... got him down to 3 steps.. then no steps - finished it on a good note. We all have our days.
Mum and I took some pictures and two short videos which I will add to this post . I still need to work on getting him on the right canter lead after he lands, as it is something I want him to learn and use - I googled it before riding him on Friday but found alot of varying answers so will need to look into asking one of my old instructors for some help.
His owner is taking him to Pony Club this weekend so hopefully they do well and have some fun (she hasnt ridden him due to being sick/busy).
Made Dimka's hard feed (there wasn't one made - his owner usually makes it for him in the morning, for me too feed him after I ride in the afternoons I am there - so luckily I had the 'recipe' for his hard feed in my car (I have made it once before, hence why I had the 'recipe) and just had to find all the 'ingredients' as they had been shuffled around in the shed to the back wall area of where they were. His owner must have bought him a new summer rug (he ripped his last one near the tail - I didnt see it but was told about it by the property owner's daughter). Noticed whilst picking his hooves out that his front left is not the best shape - he usually has shoes on but they have been taken off (noticed when picking his hooves) and must be corrective shoeing as the shape is different. (must be my eyes - just saw in one of the pics that he has a shoe - will have to check when I go ride him next - I could have sworn he had no shoe - thought I saw nail holes - hmm she might have had the front two taken off - will have to check that one out!!. He is back in his normal paddock now (the middle rail/post divider has been fixed).
He was good to ride compared to Friday - he was listening alot more and working better, but he does seem to 'time out' after about 20mins or so. We warmed up by walking around the jumps arena in both directions and through - I let him look at the smaller of the jumps (the one which I need to apply a strong outside leg as he likes to try and evade it) so that he was fine with it and knew it wasnt going to leap out at him like he seems to think it does.. haha its only this small plain jump too! He can walk over it - it is that small.... I reckon if he coughed he and I would land over the other side..
We worked on the small cross rail jump and the crate jump as well as using the trot poles at a trot and walk - they were evenly spaced out (they weren't on Friday) so I decided to take him over them at a trot rather than only a walk like I had been doing. He is starting to lift his feet up better too. He would pick up the canter after the crate jump (I have asked my previous instructor about getting the right leg of canter after landing from a jump (Dimka is generally pretty good at this, but I want to know how to get it right if I was to ride another horse, or if he didn't pick up the right canter lead after a jump how to fix it) and he went really well tonight, picking up the right canter lead every jump. He does like to canter for a few strides around the 'corner' before coming back to a trot, so I have been urging him on with my seat and and using my inside leg to keep him 'wrapped' around my leg and not cutting 'corners'. He spooked at a blue feed bucket which blew into the jump arena, so after reassuring him with my voice that it was alright I let him slow to a walk and brought him round so he could have a look at the bucket - which he was convinced was going to eat him, until he realised it smelled like the food which had been inside it previously - before we went back to our trot/jump/canter.
I changed up the routine a bit during the ride - something I try to do so that he has to continue thinking and doesnt become lazy with the same predicatable routine - so sometimes I would trot him past the jump instead of going over it etc, and change directions/jumps to keep him focused and listening.
I always finish my rides on a good note, so I made him jump the crate jump (crates with an added pole on top - wasnt a pole on top on friday) until he did it properly, as he had rushed up to it so I made sure to bring him to a steady trot with some half halting and slowing of my seat as well as talking to him and asking him to 'steady'.
I had been worried that I may have cut his bridlepath too big (I did a 3 finger width) but when I went to halter him I had trouble finding it..haha (his forelock had flicked back behind his ears) and when I went to bridle him later it didnt look to big/silly as I had worried it might have - would hate to cut too much off and have him looking silly (he looked fine when I had done it but I thought to myself when I got home maybe I had chopped too much?? Thinking that threee finger width is quite a bit- but it looks fine and not too horrible for my second bridlepath with sissors - the first was one I did on Pepe my old riding horse).
The poperty owner's daugther had asked me to let her mare (Possum) out of her yard (which has a gate that opens up into the jumps arena) once I had finished riding as she apparently runs umuck if she is closed in, so mum offered to let her out whilst I led Dimka out the main jumps arena gate to untack him.
Dimka - the dissapearing horse! Because jumping the crate jump visably is too mainstream haha.
Dimka had a few seed-like things on his face and legs today - I noticed a few of them on his face when I went to put his halter on so I pulled them off and looked at them - they looked like some sort of parasite but they werent, they were some kind of seed that had gotten stuck. I had mum look at them too, and she informed me that they were not parasites, but seeds from some kind of weed. They scared me a bit, being in clusters with a few here and there, and to be sure, I went all over his legs and body/head and pulled them all off. Better to be safe than sorry, and they would be quite annoying being stuck to your fur. I'm glad they are not a parasite, but they sure did make me look twice!
Had a bit of a grooming session with Dimka before riding (spent a bit of extra time grooming today as Bella, Brooke's mare, was having some fun stretching her -fast- legs in the jumps arena).
Got all those knots out his tail and mane/forelock with a little help from no-knots, the mane comb and some elbow grease!
He then got his hooves done with his Effol hoof ointment - which he gets once or twice a week to help keep his hooves in good nick.
We brought a few apples down for him (one before riding and one after) but he didnt seem keen on them - only nuzzling them and ate 1/3 of an apple before dropping it in Possum's (mare) yard - we asked Brooke (her owner) if she could have the apple and she said that would be fine. He didn't want the other apple after riding either - fussy boy!
He was pretty good to start off with when I rode him, and kept a good pace, however he does seem to have a 'time-out' which I find very annoying because he just shuts off and doesnt want to do anything which makes riding him harder, but I kept him going (as always) until I decided we were finished - not him. We finished on a good note tonight (I look him over a white straight bar jump which he either was lazy jumping or rushed into it a few strides before the jump) by having him jumping the white straight bar jump at a good pace and laning on the right canter lead, before bringing him back to a trot and telling him what a good boy he was for listening.
I set up a few jumps tonight - three straight bars (as well as using the crate jump a few times), however we only went over two of them (he hates the one with the silver barrel lying next to it, which I think might be half the problem, so I always let him go up and see that it is not infact going to eat him - this will be the next jump we do once I am happy with the way he is jumping, because at the moment he is either lazy and knocks the pole (though he has only knocked a pole down once or twice) or tries to rush the last few strides into the jump/out of the jump. I am working with him on getting a steady and consistent pace, which is alot more controlled and planned. He has an annoying habbit of stumbling every now and then, he will be trotting along and boom he has tripped on something - I think it is due to laziness as he seems fine to me and his owner has mentioned before when we are talking that he sometimes is lazy like that, dragging his feet. He does not seem to be in any pain, and he is a bit lazy to ride (epescially when he 'clicks off') so I think its more of a lazy thing than pain.
I made a point of cantering him for 20/30 metres after a jump as he likes to come back down to a trot a few strides of canter after the jump, so I have been urging him on to canter at a nice pace, and resisting him coming back down to a trot. I have not yet cantered him around a 'course' but have done a few jumps with a couple strides in of canter with him. The jumps we did were in hole 5 of the standards (though I think the one we didnt jump was a hole 6?? I had to use a stick for one of the pegs for that jump as it was missing, and I didnt want to just use the 'clip' which I had balance to hold the jump cup incase it fell at some point and scared him).
He was really patient whilst I put the jumps up (I had him with me eating grass whilst I put up the first jump, the one with the silver barrel beside it, and mum held him whilst I put up the last two jumps.
Carrots and Milo's owner told me if her horses were out in the jumps arena/outside their yards, I could put them away if they were distracting/in the way of Dimka and I, which was nice of her since we don't really know each other apart from a few quick hellos here and there. Really like those two horses, both very friendly - though they were making some hilarous noises with Bella when they were talking to her over the jump arena fence (she was in there whilst I was grooming Dimka - the pally pony and Brooke's foal were also in their with her but were put away by Di's partner before he attempted to catch Bella who was running and generally making it a hard time for him but he got her in her yard after a bit of running - I decided I would use the time to 'pamper' Dimka with the thorough grooming session whilst she was in the arena because I didnt want to ride whilst she was out playing/running as it makes him want to 'go'.)
Some pictures from tonight - mum had a bit of fun taking pics so there were a few which I really liked (along with 23 vids haha, I'll also add a few short few second clips from riding tonight). I also took a few of these pictures (before riding) whilst we were waiting for Bella to be caught/grooming Dimka.