Thursday, June 7, 2007
Last night after work, I took my first lesson to learn reining with Dez (my 2002 APHA stallion). I really enjoyed it. It was a very basic lesson for reining, but I can see it carrying over into any discipline. We did bridle work from the ground and then did just a bit at the walk. Tonight, Dez and I are supposed to practice the same bridle work, but also at the trot. Our next lesson is Monday.
We are going to a show this weekend where we will do western riding (not reining yet). Hopefully we will get to practice using some of our newly learned skills and discuss it at the lesson Monday. :)
I never realized that going way back to the basics would be such a fabulous refresher. It really was not boring - I often avoid some basic activities just because that was so long ago in our training, but I found that refining these basics is the key to many disciplines (including reining) I can't believe it took me so long to figure such a simple thing out - I make things to complicated sometimes. I even found a couple of things that I have been doing wrong with my cues for him (bad habits :) ) This will be good for both of us.
We hauled from our property to the arena where the instructor lives in the pooring rain, thunder, and lightning. Luckily, the training arena was indoor! I was afraid about getting back up our driveway (which was becoming a muddy hill, and is still under construction), but all went well. :)
This will be a fun way to record our progress with our reining instruction.
Tuesday, June 12, 2007
We had our second lesson last night. I am really enjoying these lessons. I had been practicing the side to side suppling since our lesson last week, which Dez has been doing really well with. Last night, we added on stops with back, and backing from a walk with enthusiasm. We are also working on enthusiam in general, because Dez can be a bit lazy, and I have apparently been supporting that laziness :)
Overall, Dez and I are coming along - making progress in areas where I had hit a wall. Maybe if we keep working at it, we will be able to enter a reining class in one of the last shows of the season! If not, there is always next year :)
We had a show this weekend, where Dez did really well with his new skills in warm up, and of course relapsed to leaning right on the bit during my classes. He is just still way too social! I am sure he will relax as the season goes on. This was the first show of the season. I will post pictures in a bit :)
Here are some photos from the show last weekend :)
Tuesday, June 26, 2007
I had another lesson last night. Dez and I are now working on pivoting with a direct rein and an indirect rein. We have been learning all of the little peices to make up the larger maneuvers for reining. His laziness is frustrating, but it seems to improve as he learns the maneuvers.
One frustrating thing that has also cropped up has been that Dez has been learning a wide variety of new "escapes"/bad habits as he learns all of the new skills. i.e. - if he is about to be corrected for something, he drifts towards people, objects, or other horses so that I cannot really correct him without getting into a mess. Also, he has started rearing when I correct him to move his front feet and plant his hinds - he is doing just that, but in a rear. He is very smart and knows just what he is doing - the litte brat :) I am hoping I can just work through all of his new "methods" to train me.
I took Dez on a trail ride to Homer last weekend, and he spent the entire ride calling to all of the other horses. It was so annoying. He was basically well behaved otherwise, but it really took away from the enjoyment of the ride. I always feel like his calling makes people nervous. I wanted to correct him, but I also felt that correcting him around the group of other horses would make others nervous as well. When we separated, I spent some time correcting him, but he was so worked up that no matter how hard he had to work, how hard he was breathing, sweating, he still kept calling to anyone who would listen. I hope this improves with experience!
Training has been going really well. I am seeing improvements in my shows and huge improvements at home in practice. Dez is pushing on the bit much less and listening better to my legs. I have also improved on being more picky and specific about what I am asking him to do.
He really seems to be trying much harder to please.
The best feeling of what we have accomplished happened last night. I had been practicing in the yard, and my dad came over and unclipped my reins to be funny (we share a property with my parents). Dez likes to stand around and move very little anyway, so I wasn't worried, but then I decided to ask him to trot. I let him trot a few strides and then sat back in my seat and he halted! I then stayed sitting back and started kissing to him, and he started backing for me. That was even more awesome. We stopped and backed all over without reins for like five minutes - it was fun - now I just have to get lateral movement without reins :)
Saturday, February 2, 2008
I never was really good at keeping a journal!
Dez did his first reining competition at the fair show in August. He did pretty well, but needs work on spins, roll-backs, sliding stops, collection, and headset consistency (basically everything :) )
Dez got cut open on a trail ride and had to have stitches in september, so he ended up with 4 weeks off instead of my planned 2 after the fair show.
I have been riding 2-3 times a week since the weather got colder, pretty much just messing around and working on reining skills independently.
On May 11, I plan on doing a routine in the stallion parade 300 miles south of here, I wrote up my routine, and will spend the next 3 months practicing for it.
For the last two weeks, it has been 10 below or colder, so I have not done much practice except for a little ground work practice for my routine.
My routine will be:
a ground pattern (possibly at liberty if I can get him there)
-put saddle and bridle on
a reining pattern
-take bridle off
a bridle-less stop
I think that routine will be pretty adaptable if he ends up not quite ready for one part or another. There will be a lot of stallions, mares, and foals participating.
I am going to try to keep weekly notes as to how our training for the routine is going. Other than a short trail ride once or twice a week, my riding will be focused on training for the stallion parade routine. That gives me about three months to get prepared. I am trying to work on the routine in some way every day (some days with just ground work for a break) - right now, my everyday plan is being interrupted by the weather, but I think the weather will reach a tolerable level pretty soon, and just keep getting warmer from there.
Tuesday, February 19
It has been much warmer, so I have been riding again.
I have used the side reins once, done some hills, and really worked on form in long trot warm ups. Dez really got tired out during the form holding warm-ups. I definitely want to keep adding to that to improve his muscling and endurance.
We worked on bridle-less stops, sliding stops, and spins. Bridle-less is coming along, but the slides and spins clearly need work.
I would like to do an at liberty ground routine at the Stallion parade in May, but I am more concerned with having his riding ready. I have also been working on ground work too though.
Tuesday, March 18
I had a really good ride on Sunday. Dez seems to be really starting to get it on the slides, flying lead changes, and spins. I think it is just a matter of practice now before he has it all together nicely. He is also really starting to develop a much better western pace and carriage.
On sunday, I started giving him a treat every time he did a stop well (with a slide and no popping). It was really cute, because when we paused after the stop, he would sort of look around with his eye wondering if he was going to get a cookie. :)
I ordered the josh lyons training series on dvd also, so am excited for learning additional tools for finishing him out this spring.
I still hope to have him all ready for the stallion parade on May 11, but am really starting to feel the time crunch now, and am thinking of pruning down my ground routine, and really fousing much more on the reining pattern, bridle-less stop. I may just do some fun/cute stuff for just a couple of minutes from the ground before starting the ridden part. :) we will see....as it gets closer.
I still have not practiced the routine all together (as I am not exactly sure what I will do yet), but have been practicing all of the pieces that I know will be part of it.
It is pretty chilly right now, but I am planning on getting back to it tonight.
Saturday, April 26
Okay, my 2 a day practices have not worked out so well, as we have had the most horrible spring! It is so discouraging. It is 20 degrees right now and snowing! My ground is bad for riding! :(
I have been doing my evening rides still.
I have gone up to the neighboring indoor arena the last few days, and will continue to do so several days over the next two weeks before the stallion parade. It is only about a 20 minute ride away...good warm up and cool down. :) It is also only $5 to ride over there....well worth it in my opinion.
anyhoo....Dez gets his sliders put on next saturday...hopefully the weather will be better!
I have been working on his sliding stops and spins. His stops are making some improvement, although he still chunks the front pretty badly. I have been working on backing him immediately after stopping for the last couple of days, and it has improved things dramatically.
His spins are still pretty weak...If I do them slowly he does them nicely and clean...if I add any speed, he falls apart! I will probably just have to do them slower at the stallion parade...he is just not there quite yet :( Oh well...
He is doing awesome with his leads, lead changes, and overall collection. when working in the arena, he has gotten very soft in the bridle, drops his head with a little drive, and is just looking much prettier than last year... that is encouraging :) I cantered up the 90' straight away in the indoor and switched two or three times left lead, right lead, left lead... he did great! He had just one or two trot steps to change leads... almost flying changes, just not quite there yet. On Wednesday night, he did do a flying change when I was doing figure eights, but I think it will be just a bit more practice before he has it consistent.
I have been finishing my rides by taking my reins off and riding with them as a neck strap. He is at the point where he will canter circles, figures eights, whatever for me, do sliding stops, and spin with just the neck strap. He still does well with lead changes on that too. I did it with three other horses in the arena the other night...I am definitely planning on doing that bareback as part of my stallion parade routine.
Dez has made huge improvements since last year! I guess he is just maturing, and he has one more year of training. His energy level and effort is also much better this year. I am really proud of him :) :) I just hope that he and I can hold it together for the stallion parade, and put on a nice performance... fingers crossed... two weeks away!!
Also...dreamer was due to foal last weekend, and is really not showing much sign of foaling yet...I hope she foals before I go 300 miles away for the stallion parade for a weekend! (she will be looked after either way, but i really don't want to miss it) :)
i just have to post on here. Angela, i'm so glad Dex is doing so well! From what you wrote earlier to now, he seems like he's making huge strides!
I hope Dreamer either has the foal before you leave, or holds onto the baby until you get back.
Congrats on making such wonderful progress with your boy! :D
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