Monday, November 27, 2017

Lazy, Leg Off

In continuation of my last post, my lesson this week followed the same theme. I was having a rough day so I opted to only ride Roscoe. Comrade got the day off and Mom got a private. Mom and Rosemary went first. Lauren and I got to try out our new viewing deck. Also we felt very high tech since Lauren brought headsets so that we could hear her easily.

 Mom and Rosemary worked transitions to get Rosemary engaged and listening. Then they moved onto shoulder fore. Rosemary is funny in that she will do the movement until a certain point before saying "I'm done, move on." They continued to blow her mind by pushing for shoulder in. Then her head really exploded when Lauren asked for half pass. Rosemary said it was hard. Lauren had Mom come about it slightly differently. On the long side she asked for haunches in. Then going across the diagonal, she again asked for haunches in. Making sure that the shoulders stayed on the diagonal. And voila, half pass! Mom said she heard the method years ago when she audited Robert Dover. Rosemary got to settle into some easier work after that.

First you want forward, now you want me to stand still...

Then Roscoe and I were up. Lauren wanted me to get Roscoe to react when I asked him to move on. My poor little kicks were laughed at by Roscoe and my audience. Soon I did figure out a big kick that actually woke my pony up. Lauren did have me carry the whip because she wanted me to be able to immediately have back up if Roscoe ignored me. She said that with a lazy horse you want them to move off when you take your leg off. Translated, they learn to figure out that when the leg comes off a big kick will follow if they don't move forward :) All my thumps and bumps started to pay off as I could literally feel improvement in his trot. Plus I was not working that hard. And even better, my position improved because of it. As we continued, Roscoe's body lengthened and he did this rhythmic huff. His canter was the best yet. He lifted and pushed, then actually kept cantering without me bugging him.

Hopefully I will have a pony who knows what leg means in no time. He has improved every ride since and he takes less 2x4's to get the point across.

Up next is a dressage show in December. It will be at the same place where his inspection was held, so we will see if he remembers. Then I start the hell of inventory at work and will hand the reins to Lauren for the January show. I am excited to see what test she decides to ride. I have only seen her doing training rides, so I can't even guess. Now I am off to work on my Blogger gift!

Thursday, November 9, 2017

No Whip November

During our lesson Roscoe enlightened me as to his thoughts about my leg asking him to do anything when a whip is not also present:

No Whip, No Go

I seriously thought we were past this point, but obviously leg does not mean go. So since this is a non show month, I am doing No Whip November. Roscoe needs to know that my leg means as much as the whip. This will help our sluggish canter departs too.

I won't lie, our rides start out ugly. Roscoe gets his butt kicked when he is dull to my aids. At times I have to reach back and smack him with my hand. So far, I have not had to pick up the whip I leave on the fence. After the initial battle, he seems to believe my requests are not optional. We are no where near where I want to be, but I know we both can get there. Plus I need to remember not to wear rain boots during these sessions since I nearly lose them.

Meanwhile, we play with the ball as I catch my breath from kicking his butt. Roscoe rolls it around with my encouragement.

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Windy Elimination

Well we learned a valuable lesson this weekend, don't have the trainer ride Comrade before a show. We had our lesson on Wednesday. I started riding him and actually  had a pretty good ride, but I have been fatigued due to some health issue, so I handed the reins to Lauren. Comrade put up an epic fight against her leg, forward is not his thing. I had no idea her ride would turn into a long, painful session. She ended up staying on him while I rode Roscoe.

"I can do Halt"

Motorcycle impression

So when show day dawned, we hoped he would be ready to work. I told him I would not kick his butt that hard. Both boys self loaded, super ponies, and we headed off. My farrier's wife warned us the wind was picking up and had already caused the judge's tent to fall over. Comrade was straight up sore and tight. He felt the worst he has felt in a long time. I hoped he would relax as he warmed up, but as time ticked away it was not happening. In addition to his soreness, I was tight and my outside aids were shot. I knew the test would not be our best.
Tight, both of us

We started into the ring, had a spook just before turning into A and carried on. Comrade's normally good trot work was missing. Then we picked up the left lead going right, bless him though, we corrected it on the circle. As we went left, he was slightly better. We picked up canter and I was happy about getting the shape, when we started an outward drift. Remember my awol outside aids, yep I totally failed. Next thing I knew Comrade hopped over the fence. I leaned to far inside and pushed him right out. I kept going and reentered at A, figuring to finish my test. The judge signalled I could and we ended fairly well. I was kicking myself. I wish I had pulled Comrade and just done both tests on Roscoe.
Just before our exit

Sadly Comrade missed out on the series end awards with the windy elimination since he needed that score to qualify. Ah well, I had to refocus and get Roscoe ready.
The end is near

Shell shocked

The wind had him a bit up. He felt the need to look around more than he normally does at a show. Roscoe decided he was still on vacation and he could not remember what it meant to move in front of my leg. We worked on getting him moving. I felt better on Roscoe than I did on Comrade which says how bad Comrade was feeling. It also gave me a confidence boost. Roscoe decided to spook around the arena as we got ready to enter. Thank you wind.

But we did at least have a better halt than last time.

"Forward... what?"

"How about step under..."

He was tight in his trot, but he delivered a canter with "lovely energy." I actually felt like I was able to get the right shape on the circle. He tensed on the downward from canter and to walk.
Yay we can canter

Okay Roscoe, now we have to trot
"Fine we can trot"
Then he our free walk was more of a coughing session. Roscoe did actively walk as he coughed. The judge wanted more stretch.

 Coughing put tension in Roscoe, which was reflected in his upward transition. Things improved as his trot continued and we got a 7 on our canter circle and I finally managed to sit up and straighten him to get a 7.5 on our canter straight.
My favorite shot

 Since I put him together, my transition earned us an 8. Icing on the finish was a 9 on the final center line. Roscoe took care of me and I can't wait to be able to actually be better for him. The judge was pleased with him and scored him well, but I know we both have more to give.

"Are we done yet????"

That said, Roscoe delivered this season. He improved every show and became so workman like. Though he only did three intro tests at this show, he managed to nab 3rd overall in Intro against people who have ridden the tests much more.

He ended the season with a 68.47% at Training 1. Mom took video, but I have not had a chance to transfer it off her phone yet. Comrade would have beat Roscoe since his scores were higher. Instead he got bute for a few days and next week he will get adjusted. Hopefully he will feel better soon. Everyone gets a break in November, then we show in December. Since the end of December begins my month of inventory, I may even have Lauren show him in January. For now we will stick to the schooling shows until I can get him sharper and in front of my aids.

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Brain Surgery

I got Ember a Ball...
Today was the day, despite all the rain dances he did while we were in Florida. Ember underwent brain surgery today, aka he was gelded. We planned this date to be during our vacation, after the worst of the flies, not during the full moon and before the muddy winter hit.
This was a first experience for us and we had a front row seat. Poor Ember had to have no food after midnight. Peggy was nice and pulled his hay net at 1158. He was STARVING by time we came in this morning. He could not understand why he could not have breakfast. We told all the other horses they had to wait too.

In exchange for 2
The vets, yeah we got two for this procedure, showed up at 900. They decided the 20x20 run in shed would work well for the surgery. First they had to prep him. Surprisingly, they got the first sedation needle into him okay. Then things got tricky when they went to put the IV in. Ember said hell no to the big needle. The spot developed a hematoma, so they had to go to the other side of the neck. Eventually with a struggle they got it in. Now we had to move him to the shed. On the way they were going to flush his mouth to make sure his esophagi stayed clear, but Ember was not having it. Mom slipped food to everyone else.
"Feed Me!!!"

Once in the shed, he got the first of his cocktail. When he was under enough, they gave the one to drop him. Ember did not sit like they wanted. He did his normal thing of going forward and landed in an awkward spot. Luckily, they could shift him on the pea gravel. Then we put him on his back. I ended up riding his chest for the whole procedure, holding him up and watching his front feet. One vet managed the anaesthesia and the other did the gelding. The tech was a bit green, so the scrub took a little long. They had to top off his drugs after the first crunch. Baby boy started to sweat. The vet got the second one while the other was doing it's five minutes clamped. He got topped off again as the second one was clamped. The first side clotted well and did not need additional attention. Ember felt the hole being stretched and shot up his left legs. And yep, he got more drugs. The second had oozing which required a ligature. That unfortunately was not easy with the tension Ember had on the muscle. More drugs. Ember was sweating up a storm, I was roasting and my legs were shaking. I was thrilled when they finished. Ember decided to sleep awhile.
Searching for food
But boy when he woke somewhat up, he was ready to go. The vet made him stay down for a bit longer. Ember still had his tongue sticking out. Even with his tongue wagging, he was determined to sit up. He did not linger long on his chest. Up he went and then he promptly peed. He could barely stand, but he was ready to run. Or wobble his way back to the barn.  Once they removed the IV and jabbed him with a tetanus, he was free. Poor bugger went right to looking for food. He looked like a foal trying to stand for the first time. Plus he peed like four more times.
We had to wait for him to wake up a bit more before feeding him. Then he ate like he had not seen food in years. We had a moment of panic when a stream of blood came. That was way more than a drop a second. I watched and thankfully it slowed. He had relaxed his arched back and probably had a pocket release. He is on stall rest today and separated from the boys for a week. We will have to work him twice a day for 15min as he heals. Bute and cold hosing are on the schedule too. He and I are both walking stiff legged. Ember will take a couple of weeks to heal completely.
The deed is done and after 7yrs we finally have our Cob gelding. It cost as much as Roscoe's phantom training, but long term it will be cheaper. Overall the experience was tough and I am glad they only go through it once. Our vets did great with the details and Ember seemed to forgive us when dinner arrived. Gotta love Cobs :)

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

"Make My Pony Appreciate Me"

In all the craziness that is life right now, I have not really been able to talk about the new trainer. Lauren (not Sprieser, can't afford her) has come out for a few lessons. She uses similar techniques to what Natasha did, so the transition has been pretty smooth.
Lauren on Comrade

Natasha had said that we needed to start asking Roscoe to pick himself up. Roscoe says that is too much work and please keep carrying him. So when Lauren came, she brought a quiet firmness that pushed his buttons. During her part of the ride, he threw a fit. Stomping feet, head throwing, biting and rearing included. Roscoe will definitely test the boundaries. 2nd ride

Her second ride, Roscoe was less combative. He still thinks picking up his back and stepping into canter is overrated, but at least his work ethic was improved. Lauren said she felt a difference from the previous month. The best part for me is being able to get on after her and reap the benefits. The biggest being my pony appreciates me. Before the show I had her ride and "make my pony appreciate me." Considering the show, my evil plan worked.
3rd ride
Lauren has her ways to reach the people to. Prepping for the show, she told me to ride my straight lines in a shoulder fore. Which basically straightens my crooked little man. Then she told me to use "Beyonce Hips" during my free walk. Roscoe has almost too much forward in his walk, so I had to activate using a side to side hip swing vs a forward hip roll. With help from her, I am starting to feel my green bean sprout some leaves.

Now if only he and the others would magically appear with clips by time I get back from Florida. This heat and humidity is horrible. The last show of the summer series is the 28th. And crazy me, I am already looking at the winter series. I could not resist when I found out the shows would be at the same farm where the inspection took place only 30 minutes away.

Monday, October 2, 2017

VA MidAtlantic Welsh Show

I am still playing catch up, but here are some photos from the Welsh show 9/7/17. The boys were the only Cobs, so no big surprise wins. People remembered Roscoe when he was little at this show years ago. They have watched him grow up. Now they get to see Ember.

Ember's Opinion of this show stuff

Tail monster always makes an appearance