Countdown to APHA World Show...
So Everyone needs a goal, and Kellie (my 18 year old daughter) and I decided we are heading down to compete in the APHA World Show with Scooby and Whiskey this November.
That gives roughly six months to prepare.
Scooby is a 4 year old black/white gelding by A Tru Rolex.
Whiskey is a 3 year old solid sorrel mare by The Big Gun.
We are going to ride in all the speed classes for fun. And to get our pictures taken under the world show sign.
Scooby was started by me last August and then sent to Shay-Lee Hadley of Canon City from January to April to be patterned on the barrels. He lopes them now, but still wants to head toss and generally anticipate or be bratty at times. When he gets it - he looks great. Personality wise, he's a hot head. Gets worked up fairly easily. But on the plus side he is very athletic with tons of raw talent so lots of hopes for him. He's a Ferrari.
Whiskey is being started by me now, I have had her under saddle for two weeks. She w/t/lopes circles and went out on a trail ride no problem. A really easy, mellow mare. Will probably not make a speed horse, and I'm not really sure I want her to be. Would rather she be my steady dependable one.
So this should be fun to document our training, our clinics, Kellie's shows and fair - then onto the world!
Here's Whiskey on the trail ride we took 5/22/11.
And here is Scooby:
That's a fantastic goal, good luck!
Scooby pulled off a shoe yesterday and took a piece of hoof with it, farrier coming out Friday morning. So I have to take Friday off (aww...bummer). For now Scooby is out of business, and gets to take a few days off - not a bad thing, I think.
Kellie rode Whiskey today while I was at work. She set up cones 70 feet apart in a triangle and then spent 45 minutes moving from cone to cone at walk/trot/canters, working on precision at transitions - moving from one gait to the next as she passed and circled between the cones, working on complete and square stops. Of course Whiskey has no smooth transition to a canter yet, still trots into the canter. I will start working on sidepassing next week so we can set her up correctly for lope departures later. She then started working the gate and the box and walking through the "L" in preparation for trail classes.
I was pleased Whiskey did well, and happy Kellie took her out.
On a not so pleasing note, I brought out my 5 year old daughter's pony and let Wren brush her down, which she is good with. I keep Wren (my daughter) on a leadline when she rides Princess (who is an auction pony I picked up a few months ago).
Princess has been a leadline pony all her life (she's 12) and has never been ridden solo by a kid, but has good ground manners with kids. She's only 11 hands, max and maybe smaller - anyways, the neighbor breeds Weimeraners, and she turned 15 of them loose in her pasture that borders my arena area :shock:. So Princess got pretty excited at that. She didn't do anything stupid, but then again, I was standing at her head holding her... I am sure if I hadn't of been she would have been gone. Did a pretty solid spook in place and was very, very tense.
I took Wren off her and sent her in the house for a potty break, then lunged Princess around for awhile, and she was a mess, jumping away from me with wide eyes, snorty, trying to run off, etc. I moved away from the arena and reassured her, then Wren came back and wanted to ride some more- not having witnessed the meltdown - and I swear that pony's eyes softened and she visibly relaxed when Wren went to her side and put her leg back for me to give her a lift up. It was like "Oh, yes, I know this". I put Wren back on her and we walked around the barn for awhile before I took her back in the barn and let Wren brush her back down. She is much more comfortable with kids then adults. I then clipped her face. She wasn't happy.
I think I made a mistake buying her. I want to start teaching Wren to ride, not just sit on her back, and I won't trust Princess off the lead. Of course Wren is in love with her, so now I'm in a pickle. I think I should move Princess out of here and start looking for that bombproof twenty year old that has been RIDDEN by children... or do I wait until I get the pony and then move Princess out. Or do I even get another pony? Right now Wren doesn't ask to go ride, but really enjoys going out when I ask her if she wants to... she's only five, she has plenty of time... I just saw that little pony go through the auction and saw the kids on her and, well, couldn't help myself :oops: I kind of threw it out to Wren that maybe she needed a smaller pony so she could ride by herself and that met with tears and proclamations of undying love for HER pony, Princess... :cry:
Kellie is of the opinion that we just keep Princess for the limited riding that Wren currently does. We willl never put Wren in a position that she can get hurt, and she is always closely supervised -like on the lead. We know Princess' strengths and weaknesses. If the opportunity arises where we can get that one perfect pony then we should and just switch em out. So that's the current plan since Wren only goes out maybe once a week anyway... if the perfect pony doesn't show up eventually Wren will get big enough that she'll want more herself... and maybe Whiskey will be ready for her in a couple years...
Tonight was beautiful, no wind (very unusual here in Co. Springs) and warm. I got Whiskey tacked up and I have stopped lunging her before riding - she is a low key mare so doesn't need to get the fresh off...
I got on her today in the area we use for riding, and started working on moving her hindquarters over in response to leg cues, and moving her shoulders over as well. She understands the hinds pretty well as I showed her those cues from the ground, she's a little less sure of shoulder work. So I just tap-tap-tapped until she moved her leg just the littlest bit - then a lot of praise.
We also worked on the beginning of a sidepass, which is very difficult without a fence to put her up against. I think I will work on that tomorrow in the roundpen so I can use the fence to block her forward motion. By the end of the ride I had her moving over a step or two, and I decided that was enough.
We also worked on circles walk trot canter - she is lazy and has no desire to canter - its really an uncollected lope at this point as I haven't asked her to frame up yet. I use enough rein to guide her, but other than that I am keeping those reins loose and soft. I am working on longer periods at the gaits, trying not to mess with her until she actually breaks.
Its a bad habit of mine to keep clucking or bumping or urging my horses while they are in a gait. If I am trotting, I'll keep clucking or urging instead of letting the horse break, then correct that break. My trainer told me that is the equivalent of nag, nag, nag and it can ruin a horse. So now I put her in a trot, then LEAVE HER ALONE until she breaks - then put her back in it. Same with walk and canter.
She always has an ear cocked like "can we stop now?". As soon as I sit my butt down with a 'WHOA' she stops with very little rein. Must be that reining breeding she's got. She wants to drop her butt in the ground. Kinda nice.
So that's about it - I haven't seen her get tense or fussy yet, and her eye is always soft and easy. Brushed her down after, gave her grain/complete feed mix and let her eat in her stall while Scooby fussed in the paddock - he knew she was getting the goodies! Then swept the barn and let her out and threw some more timothy/grass hay for the kiddos.
Nice ride, I felt like we accomplished some important baby steps.
Had to wait til the sun went down to ride as the wind has been blowing like crazy for the last couple days... finally couldn't wait any longer.
Scooby was quite temperamental today (most likely due to not being ridden for a week). Kellie rode him first but when he fought her every step I finally had her get off and I got on. Had him canter circles, then do arcs and counterarcs at the walk and trot on 60 foot diameter circles. Trotted the pattern a few times getting him listening, then asked for the lope. He wanted to run through the snaffle a little, so I set him back, asking him to back up - he did a little rear :shock: and I smacked his butt hard and pushed him forward to spin a few circles, then right back to the lesson... that's a nasty habit I dont want him to pick up. I really don't want to use a stronger bit, but may have to as he picks up speed. For now, I am just really reinforcing the rate, making sure he is responsive to my seat. I am exagerating the two point position heading to barrels, sitting up when I hit the pocket, and sitting deep as we go around them -
He then decided he wouldn't give speed when I asked, so I got the over/under out and gave him a pop with it - he went to business after that. Got a couple real smooth lope patterns from him, then put Kellie back on and she did really well. Scooby is young and opinionated, so you have to let him know that he really does need to listen - or else he's gonna get it. After that, no problems at all.
A good lesson for Kellie - she came away understanding she needs to know the difference between picking a fight and expecting obedience. Her first run around the barrel I asked her why she didn't trot the pocket and she said, "Well I tried but Scooby didn't want to" :? Wrong answer. If Scooby was in charge, fine - but he's not. Things like that lead to really bad manners in a horse. She said she saw he was hot today and didn't want to pick a fight. I told her when she senses he is a little up, to go ahead and lunge him first, getting him to listen to transition cues - let him get the steam off while reinforcing basic obedience. She liked that idea.
While all this was going on Whiskey was the other horse, so we both rode her while the other was on Scooby. Since he was working the barrels she didn't do much but walk in circles, although I did lunge her for about 10 minutes before getting on.
I just hope the wind starts dying down - if not we will have to get used to riding after dark. For some reason as soon as the sun sets the wind eases up. Ward (hubby) put up a big light on the back of the barn, it's a parking lot light so lights up a good area - what a sweetie!
Also hoping the quarantines start getting lifted so we can go back to barrel night practices. I don't think there are any confirmed cases in our county, but better safe than sorry... just hope the virus gets under control before the bulk of show season gets going.
Good night All...
Nice quiet ride for Scooby today. Whiskey had a good solid lesson. Kellie was hanging out with her sister Katie, so I rode both.
20 minutes of some trail work - we worked on back throughs - the box, sidepassing both ways, walk/whoa - trot/whoa, and lope/whoa. Since he was running through the bit yesterday, I wanted to reinforce WHOA and rate. Did a lot of circle work at the trot, keeping reins loose and using leg to keep him on the circle as much as possible. Walked the flags and practiced getting the flag in and out of the buckets on the tops of the barrels. Finished it off by ponying Whiskey around the pasture a few times. Kept him relaxed and responsive, so a good ride.
Noticed he is getting ribby. He is only on timothy/grass hay and a scoop of complete feed after riding - but since he was off last week and didn't get his complete feed I really notice a drop in weight. Gonna go get some alfalfa tomorrow and give him his evening feed in his stall so I can monitor what he is actually eating. He is just so busy (paces in the pasture, even with Whiskey and Princess in the paddock with him) I don't think there are enough calories in his grass hay to keep the weight on. I upped his complete feed to two scoops tonight and keep him on the two scoops in addition to two flakes of alfalfa at night. He just had his teeth and shots done, so am sure it is a feed issue that we just need to get right.
Whiskey had a solid lesson today. Worked for a hour on circles, giving, bending - moving off leg pressure, sidepassing. Put a cone in the middle and concentrated on keeping my circles even - 10 feet out, then 20, 30, then 40 and then back in. Used spurs for the first time and was very careful to use them appropriately - collected her up in frame for a few minutes at at time - her muscles aren't near developed enough to hold for long, but got a few nice collected trot moments in there. She can drive her back up under herself and give to the bit for short periods, then I let her relax back down. She is getting braver at the canter, picking up speed and we had some nice canter circles - a little fussier about it too, as she gains confidence, shaking her head a bit as she picks it up... didn't correct her and she soon settled into some nice circles. Finished off her ride by ponying Scooby around the pasture (who was learning patience tied to the trailer during her ride). Her weight is excellent as she spends the day sleeping in the pasture, sprawled out on the ground.
Got them both some complete feed, hay and water in their stalls. Scooby has a 24 by 12 stall (removed the divider between the stalls and gave him a double stall) now and he seems to be happier with the room. Left them in for an hour while they ate and then let them both back out.
I'm tired now so off to bed.
Quarantine in our area for the EH-1 virus is lifted, so anxious to get the horses back out to the local arenas. There is a team sorting event on sunday we may go to, should be interesting as Whiskey hasn't seen the cattle up close and personal yet.
Scooby is doing good, Whiskey got the last couple days off -I didn't want to work her in the crazy wind we've had the last couple days, and too tired to start riding at 9 at night (which is when the wind dies down).
I bought a new truck ... 2011 F150 4x4 Super Crew ecoboost. Very fancy. Should pull the two horse gooseneck no problem. I still have the 2000 F250 for all my local hauling, but wanted a nice ride for my longer hauls and a very fancy daily driver - that still gets better gas mileage than my Chevy Blazer. I get the gooseneck hitch put in next thursday afternoon and then need to switch out the wiring in my F250 so it's compatible. Very excited about that.
Starting to put money away now for the entry and stall fees. Premium book should come out next month and I want to be able to write the check and be done with it.
I will try to ride tonight, and then both days this weekend early before the wind starts blowing. Hopefully pics tomorrow.
Here;s new pics... Whiskey doing trail work - her sidepasses are getting much better - you can see I am really exagerating the cues, but she is understanding and moving freely - also starting to step into a lope on the correct lead consistently. Still not framed up yet, we'll get there. Just under 30 days riding and I am tickled with her... here's some pics:
...And here is Scooby and Kellie loping the barrels - he is wanting to get his head down a little too much, as seen here - but he is tight to the barrels and rating well. We are just using a snaffle and encouraging him to get that head up - Kellie has him a little to tight here... working on our position as well...
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