Sunday, February 28, 2010

2010's First Trail Ride and A Great Schooling Sessions For Trot

Friday before last we loaded up Sparkles and Dazzle and Ted and headed to Bennington Lake. Ted rode Dazzle and Melissa rode Sparkles and I walked and video-ed parts of the expedition. Sparkles was a bit of a pill, but Melissa was trying to push her buttons so she could work through any attitude issues. Dazzle was awesome! The only time she got nervous was when Sparkles was being silly. She happily walked out away from Sparkles and didn't try to look back. Ted doesn't know how to ride and Dazzle took good care of him. They walked through several big scary puddles, up and down steep muddy trails and even got yelled at by pretty girls in the parking, lol. I was very pleased. If that was her "hot" and fresh she is going to be a trail-dead-head this year. Which is GOOD. Trail horses need to be relaxed and enjoying the scenery.

Yesterday, Melissa rode lunged and rode Dazzle and I video-ed. The ground was dry-ish from a horrible wind storm the last couple days and it was beautiful out! She rode her at the trot and got some of the most amazing trot she's ever gotten from Dazzle. And for the whole ride after warming up, not just a few strides. She was pushing form behind, reaching with her hind-end, extending in the front, she was on the bit almost 100% of the time. She would get super scores on a trot like that into or training, I think it could even be a 1st level trot. When we have that at the canter she'll be able to get awesome scores training and be ready to move on to the shortening and lengthening of stride for 1st level. If the weather stays nice that will be soon. Melissa will work her several days a week and they'll be able to make fast progress. It's hard when you have a snag a ride here and there when it's not a windstorm or pouring rain. Yey for spring weather, lol.

The 3 videos are on!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Nice Spotless Session

On Tuesday I lunged Spotless because it was sunny, even though it was muddy. He was awesome! He was listening, we actually got to focus on transitions, and he looked great! After a lunge session we went for a walk and he was very good, didn't try to climb on me for safety at all. We encountered a scary puddle and it took me about 10 or 15 minutes to convince him it wasn't going to drown him and then he walked back and forth over it with me several times. We went down the lane and saw the scary neighbors and he watched them, but still listened when I stopped and started and back, etc. He was paying attention to me.

Melissa came and rode Dazzle after I worked Spotless. It was muddy so she was being careful, but she behaved nicely, just no swinging movement like we've been able to get on dryer days. I got some video of her lunging. I haven't put it up yet though.

The big news that day was I talked to the trainer that Spotless (and Mister and Britches are supposed to go to) is going to and he is all set up to go. He is going as soon as the weather permits, hopefully the beginning of March. Then Melissa will continue him Dressage and his first show will be the 17th of April if he's done at the trainer by then. Yey! I'm excited!

Tomorrow, Melissa and I are going to haul Dazzle and Sparkles to Bennington Lake and Ted is going to ride the 2nd horse and I'm going to walk and video tape. Should be fun. I'm looking forward to getting out in nature. Hopefully it's dry and sunny for us and not freezing!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Selling Horses, Buying Horses

Getting horses sold can be a pain. First, getting the horse fit, groomed, presentable, etc is a job in itself; time consuming and requiring skill. Then you have to get nice photos and video, crop and resize the photos for the internet and tastefully edit the video and post it online. At least we don't have to bother with mailing VHS or DVD's anymore! THEN you have to spend the horse and cash to get ads on the top classifieds sites, possibly your breed's journal, maybe the local papers, craigslist, flyers at local barns, etc. It's a job! Next if you get interested parties you have to either ride or hire someone else to ride each horse for the prospective buyers. It is work.

Buying horses is perhaps more emotionally draining and still a lot of work. First you have to decide exactly what you want. Then you have to determine your budget; don't forget gas to view horses far away, vet checks, registration transfers, paying for a trainer's opinion or possibly to have them ride the horse for you. It's always a good idea to take along a horsey friend to help you make sure you don't get barn blind and buy something not suited to your needs. It might take over a year to find the right horse. It's a long journey and can be very frustrating. It's hard to remember not to give up and just buy something quickly to get it over with.

I am not horse-shopping YET, but I have been browsing to determine how much I need in my budget to buy what I want and whether I am going to have any luck finding what I need nearby. Just that has been tiresome and I haven't left home.

For my horse-selling, I have spent hours posting ads, updating them, taking and editing pictures, taking and editing video and posting it online. I am helping Trudy sell her 3 horses also, so that's FIVE horses I am advertising. It is work, for sure.

Yesterday I took video of Mister and a few stills, and lunged Spotless for video lunging and running free. I did that all by myself. If you've never taken video and lunged at the same time then you won't appreciate the juggling that requires. It came out surprisingly well.

Spotless, Dazzle, and Mister will be getting the most attention this coming week as an interested party from Idaho is going to come see them next weekend. She is looking for an Eventing prospect. I will be interested to see what she thinks of them, both as Event prospects and in general. I don't know much about Eventing, so I'm not sure how to evaluate them as prospects. I hope it will be a learning experience for me, even if she doesn't find her next competition horse here.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Awesome Ride For Sparkles!

Melissa had Wednesday to ride since this is a long weekend and she's gone home for it. So, of course it rains! Before the rain she got a ride in on Sparkles and I handled Spotless and had time to lunge him all of 5 minutes before it starting raining.

Spotless was himself again, no bouncy baby or being stupid at the trailer. I brushed him, left him tied a while, then lunged him on side-reins. He was darling again. He just has to remind me he's a baby sometimes, lol. I'm working on getting his appt. with the trainer scheduled. I really look forward to seeing him under-saddle. He looks great on the lunge with side-reins and the dressage saddle on.

Sparkles had a great ride with Melissa. I had her out and tacked up when Melissa got here from class. She trotted, CANTERED, and trotted, CANTERED the other way, then walked her out. She was way tired even though it wasn't really a long ride. She is just that out of shape. They all are, haha.

She This was the first ride where Melissa cantered Sparkles and I expected it to be a disaster. Formerly, she has been known to take the wrong lead and ignore the transition. But, with Melissa aboard she took the correct lead every time, right when she asked, and stayed it in till she asked for trot. It's not finished for sure, but it was a great start! She will definitely be training level ready soon. Very promising ride. It was quite encouraging. She is actually stretching down after being on the bit, starting to engage her top-line instead of giving a false head-set, etc.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

We Saw The Sun!

I pulled out Spotless who was COATED in mud. He acted all spooky which is totally unlike him. I did some moving his shoulder and making him back up and then tied up him and started brushing him. The dirt came off in clouds. So nasty. Melissa arrived and took Dazzle to the arena (I had already tacked her up for her) and Spotless spazzed. I had him half brushed, but being I'm pregnant I wasn't going to stick close if he was being stupid. He pulled on his rope a bit, but I had it tied to twine so he couldn't break the lead-rope (try this trick, it's awesome!). I told him he got to be alone if he was going to act like that and I went to the arena to watch Melissa ride. He whinnied a little and pulled his rope more and tried to be a drama king. After a few minutes he settled down and stood quite until I was done photographing Melissa and Dazzle. I finished brushing him, took his tail out the bag (and forgot to put it back in when I put him away), AND I tackled his mane! He had that long gorgeous mane but he had ripped a lot of it and it was FULL of mud. I brushed it best I could, cut about 6 inches off, then sprayed it with water (which he stood tied for like nothing), and then brushed it to the wrong side. I cut it to it's about 5 inches long, then brushed it back onto the right side. He looks all grown up now! I saddled him up, but on a bridle, side-reins, and lunge line and took him to the arena. I asked him to move out and he...took off down the arena. He ran the length twice before letting Ashley catch him (I wasn't gonna chase a bratty baby pregnant). He didn't try it again, but he fought the bit and look atrocious. Once he settled down and trotted nice and stopped fighting the bit he looked adorable! He looks like a TB. He looks like a horse now! Unfortunately, the camera didn't want to take a picture by then, so the ones I have to post are adjusted from very dark and don't look good. We'll try again another day. This was his worst work session in probably a year. I hope he's got it out of his system! I'm hoping for nice weather like today for awhile so I can get him worked everyday and then he'll be himself again. I want him an angel for AJ to get under-saddle.

Melissa worked Sparkles after Dazzle and she was like a different horse from the last session! She was forward! Melissa didn't have to spend the whole session driving her forward like last time so she could concentrate more on her roundness. Sparkles looked relaxed, she had floppy ears, a soft eye; it was amazing! A very promising ride for sure. It was dark by then, so no pictures, but next ride I will try to get some.

Dazzle had an AMAZING day! She was stiff at first, going like a horse with peg-legs, but after about 2 minutes she relaxed, started using her back and rear and looked SO good. She was reaching from behind, tracking up at the walk, etc. She did canter both directions and Dazzle was forward enough without rushing that Melissa could ask her to go on the bit. It was probably the prettiest canter I've seen from Dazzle. Melissa said there is a show in March we could hit if I wanted. That's how good she did. Instead of waiting till the April show, hit one in March because, basically, Dazzle is ahead of schedule in her progress.

So, it sounds like the plan is to hit the March show doing 2 Training tests, not sure if she's going to try a 1st level yet. Probably not yet. A couple Training tests would be a nice start to the season. Maybe she will sell at the show, you never know. I can't imagine how awesome she'll look in another month. If the weather holds and Melissa is able to ride her several times a week, she'll be pretty much solid Training level by then and they'll be able to start seriously preparing for showing First!

Finally Some Dry Ground!

Melissa has been waiting for footing to ride here. It's been a rainy foggy week. Feb. 8th finally allowed for riding! Of course as soon as we headed out to pull out a horse, the guy that rents the hay field next to the arena came out to plow with a tractor. It was really loud. Then, the neighbor's big hairy white dogs came over and were wandering back and forth by the arena. Daz didn't seem to upset by the tractor; she sees them all the time every year, but the white dogs were really distracting and she really wanted to stare at them.

Trudy had taken a lesson on Dazzle on Friday and Melissa had done an intense lunging session beforehand, but she had enough of a break not to be sore last night. She was not a happy camper though. She didn't want to bend, didn't want to flex, and generally looked unhappy and stiff.

She did a little canter, but Dazzle preferred to look like a llama, so she focused on getting bend in the trot.

Last, she worked on Halt, on the bit. She was being really stubborn about that. A few sessions ago they had to work on halt, no backing up. She didn't pull that at all, but she sure didn't want to halt on the bit.

It wasn't a great ride, but I just remember how far she has come. And, a bad session means progress is around the corner.