Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Mini Foal Pool, Enter Now

It's almost baby time!!! Roscoe's spur of the moment breeding last June will soon bring his sixth foal. It was so much fun last year, that I decided to do another Foal Pool.

So here is the match:

Roscoe, the little stud who could




Coblynau Cwm Tawe, bred June 21st
19 years old
Black
She had a bay filly by a chestnut stallion with chrome in 2015
photos by her owner




























Basic Guess
Gender
Date

Bonus points for
Chrome (legs, face, belly)
Color

Prize:
$20 RW Gift Card
AND
Special from Two Horse Tack
"choose either a Western or English Bridle, reins, crupper,  or leathers in color of choice or overlay" 


Enter by May 15th, email  guess to equinpilot@yahoo.com or share guess on your blog with a link in the comments below. Leave a comment about which Two Horse Tack item you would like. Bring on the guesses!

Friday, April 21, 2017

Starting to Put Winter Away

I am really trying to get a jump on blankets this year. Normally I wash them through out the summer and then end up rushing to waterproof and repair before winter. This year I have already washed all the mid weights, most of the light weights and a couple of the heavy weights. I am making a concerted effort to repair and waterproof as I go along. Fortunately most are snags that I can glue with Storm Sure.
Hopefully this year I will manage to get all the "extra" blankets that are at home brought to the barn. It is tough when you need one of the spares and it is 45 minutes away. Part of that process includes the wonderful Ziploc Space Bags. Specifically the cube design. It is pretty amazing how may you can fit in their XL and Jumbo sizes.
Here are the mid weights in a jumbo. This has four 69", one 72", one 81" and Ember's Foal blanket.


50 gal tote before

Once it was minimized, I could fit a new mid weight and a spare next to the bag. Of course it makes the box heavy so I will need help getting it up in the attic.
After

I have two more jumbo size cubes and will hopefully only need one for the heavy weights. Of course the rain needs to stop so I can be more productive. There is not enough hang space in the house for drying blankets. I have at least started to put winter away.


Maybe by the end of the rainbow?





Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Can You Believe...

After the lesson I managed one ride on Roscoe before calling uncle. I had to give in to the fact I was sick. Mom told me to stay home on Saturday and I slept the day away. Even so, on Sunday I was still muddled when I went to the barn.
I thought it was odd that Comrade and Rosemary were out in the big field. Larry normally only lets the older horses out in the mornings. When he came out to let the dogs go in the house, he explained. It seems that when he did his first sweep through the barn, all was good. He fed the chickens and went in for breakfast. Then when he came out after, what did he see?

Comrade...at the front of the barn??????

It gets better. Comrade is a known master clip undoer, so he expected to see the gate unlatched. He was very surprised to see the gate closed and clipped.

Gates closed on the side Ember and Roscoe share


Gates open create a big area for Roscoe and Ember
So now the mystery begins. How did Comrade get out? If he had gone through any other gate, he would have let out some of the other horses. Ember and Roscoe share the pen next to them











That only left one option... the people gate.

Can you believe Comrade fit through the people gate? I did not until I looked closely at the boards inner surfaces and found red hair. I stared in disbelief.

Roscoe has tried everyday to go through there, but no luck. I soon found that Comrade gave himself some wiggle room. The inside post was wobbly. Comrade had loosened it by rubbing on it.












When the new fencing was done, we put a chain across the people gates so that Ember could not come through. He has shown no interest at all in them. So after Roscoe busted the decorative chain one too many times, we took it down. Little did we know it was keeping Comrade inside.

The chain is back in place.
















I will say that Comrade's quick thinking is showing in his ridden work too. I managed a ride on him with my lack of energy. Comrade gave me immediate canter transitions both directions. No stutter, no quick trotting, no bucks, just a step into canter.

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Salt Lick Art: Easter Edition

Comrade has been working diligently on his new block of salt for months now. I did not see any shape for awhile, but recently he seems to have found his direction.
Comrade made an egg holder in time for Easter.
March 2017

Easter Day

Ah Comrade my sensitive artist :) Happy Easter everyone!

Friday, April 14, 2017

Lesson Time!!!

When your sick and moving slowly, getting ready for a lesson takes longer. So we were still getting ready when Natasha showed up. But despite the slow start the lessons went well. Fair warning, not really any media, just lots of words.

Rosemary with my 6yr Nephew on Sunday
 

Comrade and Rosemary were up first. Comrade was so lazy in the heat, but was still working well. I had to focus on lifting his middle and moving him forward without holding his head for him. He is all for me carrying the weight. Occasionally she would have me relax the inside rein to check him. Most of the time he would invert when I asked him to move on. It's hard work you know. I had to wiggle my ring fingers as I asked to help counter his reaction. We smoothed out as the ride went along, but still had our bobbles. Working a three loop serpentine, with walk across the centerline, Comrade was not convinced he should have to pick up trot again. Natasha laughed at him. When we moved into canter work, she had me do ten meter circles before asking for the lead. Comrade gave a hiccup before picking up the lead, but it was the correct one, then pooped out into trot. Natasha had me repeat and keep my leg long despite my need to move him forward. The depart and canter improved over a few transitions. Comrade had that cool belly line going on from lifting. He still tries to get me to hold him up and it is tough not to. Our last canter was the best since he stepped right into the lead and carried the canter until I told him to trot. Natasha did say he looked fitter than when we were at camp. Not to bad for about three weeks of work.
Mom and Rosemary worked on putting Rosemary in a box. Rosemary likes to spread out and go fast. Just working at the walk, she was grunting up a storm. Mom needed to hold the outside rein and give the inside while pushing hip hips out with the inside leg. Straight is a big issue for Rosemary. Natasha said she could tell when Mom was doing things right because Rosemary would flip her head and swish her tail. They had some nice moments and some smooth transitions. Lots of transitions will be in Rosemary's future. Mom is working the rust off, so she will figure it out. Rosemary did well spiraling in  on a circle because Mom had the right amount of outside rein. Pushing back out was not as good, but they both gave it a try. I will be glad to see Mom get consistent instruction and regain her confidence.
A quick saddle swap and it was Roscoe's turn. At first I was going to ride first and then have Natasha get on, but Mom recommended the reverse. And that was definitely the way to go. I was able to cool down from Comrade while watching someone with skills ride my horse. Roscoe objected to her big spurs and decided to stand still. Then he proceeded to back up. Then he figured out she was going to win and moved on. Natasha was tickled to be on a little pony. And yes he looked little with her.
The tail monster shot


Her reactions are quicker and aids stronger which helped move him past his initial resistance. It was great to see her have some sticky moments similar to what I experience. It was also great to see him move like he might actually know what he is doing.
Super short blip of her riding.





She cantered him and he showed her all the places he pulls me to in the arena. At one point she said he was causing her to lean forward. I told her that her leaning forward was like my straight. Hopefully one day I will have that kind of problem.


Rise of the tail monster and Green Pony



Then it was my turn. I was excited to see how he felt after her ride. Immediately I could feel a change. He was steadier in the bridle and he was moving forward. Plus when I traveled left, he was actually into the right rein. I am totally okay with someone helping when Roscoe maintains the change. Since she engaged his "go" button and helped with his left bend, I could actually work on myself and finessing transitions. She wants us to work off the rail to get him less dependent and truly working into the outside rein.
Natasha explained that instead of thinking we are working him back to front, think front - back -front. Her thought is that you have to place the bit where they can find it, before asking them to move into it. I get it and tend to think of it like a circle of energy maintained within limits of the horse. With out the hands and elbows creating a front boundary, any energy pushed forward is lost. Too much hand and the energy pushed forward is blocked. The balance is needed. The best part was that she said he is nearly to the point of being "too round" and soon I will be able to raise my hands. That was unexpected considering he has not been working this way for very long.
When we moved to canter, she had me do the ten meter circles before asking.  While we did not get a crisp transition, the canter itself was much better. I have never thought of him as all over the place, but Natasha did and this canter was more together so I could see why she thought that way. We discovered Roscoe likes the outside leg moving back to ask for canter. The transitions have been so chaotic before, I could not actually say how I asked. I do know on DaVinci and my passed ponies, we used to ask with inside leg. A former instructor taught us that way. So now I have to remember to swing that leg back a bit to ask him. He picked up his correct leads and we kept going until I asked for the downward. I really have to remember to give the inside rein to allow him to move. And let me say his downward transitions were pretty darn good. One was exceptional. Mom of course forgot to take any pictures despite me handing her my phone. Sigh...
But the bonus is that I did a short ride on him the day after and he maintained the same "go" and he tried to pick up the canter as well as the lesson. Both of us were tired. I am officially sick, that horrible kind where you function, but not well.


After the lesson we got another surprise when we paid. My private was $65, just $10 more than at Sprieser and the semi was $75. Now Mom and Peggy were both ready to write checks, but Natasha said it was $75 only. As in "x 1". Seriously that is a good deal. I plan on having Natasha ride Roscoe again since the work transfers. Roscoe likes her and I get more out of my part of the lesson because she smoothes the way. Natasha made sure to send a picture of herself on him to the others at Sprieser. I think he is the smallest horse she had ridden in a long time.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Middle Management

Years ago working at home
There has been a big change in Comrade since the camp. He makes me work for it though. We still are not as put together as we were at Sprieser, but he is much more active then before.

It is a bit frustrating not to be able to recreate the same awesome feeling we achieved at camp. I keep trying to see what is missing. Comrade is getting the push from behind and the neck carriage, but we are missing the lightness. I want that big, floaty trot.
I know part of it is him learning that yes he does have to work this way at home even though he never has before. I tried putting boots on him with some change. It has been too wet for wraps. So what to do?


Well the other day I was getting my half chaps and my eyes landed on the spurs hanging next to them.


 I figured what the heck, it was worth a try. I did use spurs during the camp. After warming up, Comrade felt a bit lighter than normal. As I put him together, I was pleased to feel a bigger, better, more connected trot. It seems while the whip reminds the butt and the hands create boundaries, the spurs are middle management. They tell his middle to lift and bend. That seems to be a critical part in getting Comrade to connect correctly.
Working at camp
The trot was still not quite the one we had at camp. It will come. I have to remember that the floaty trot came from three focused lessons in two days with an experienced eye fixing us both. Hopefully the lesson will bring out the trot at home.
All the Cobs have been working well and it will be interesting to see how the lessons go. I may even ride part of my lesson on Roscoe and then have her get on him. Except for the rare occasions my Mom has ridden him, I have not had anyone experienced ride him. The feedback would be fun. Plus since Peggy has been sick and I am getting sick, talk about timing, I will ride Comrade and may not have much left for Roscoe. In any case I will be happy to get tips for moving forward with them all.
Pretty views during cool down


Wednesday, April 5, 2017

The Daring Devil, AKA Ember

While Comrade and Roscoe are adjusting to the fact that I expect more from them in the arena after the camp revelations, Ember is starting to show his devilish side.
Working brain engaged

Trouble in very sweet packaging
 
 

A part of me is glad because he is such a sweetheart, but he seemed too quite. I think that bug he had really knocked him off his baby feet. Now the colt is coming out to play in force. We have some nipping going on and he is watching the girls more. Sorry buddy that is not your path.
Poking at daddy
He is normally the one to start running and gets Roscoe to go along with him. Ember does not worry much about the older horses. He thinks his baby mouthing will save him from them. The daring devil will go to them saying "I'm a baby," but moving forward even as they bite him. I swear the older horses get tired of him and back away before he does.
I can't help but wonder what is hiding under that cute fur ball for future work. I think if I can work past his initial flee instinct his training will not be too hard. The confidence he shows in the herd seems to shorten his reactive periods working in the arena.
Hand me down, ear transplanted fly mask
It certainly is an interesting difference from what we had with Roscoe as a baby. Roscoe was in your face, wild, jump on you kind of baby. Ember is pretty amenable unless you are giving him shots (OMG he is a sh*#) or touching him in certain places.
I started working with him and the hose yesterday and he did not melt down. There is hope for a bath before the show next month. Clipping and hoof trimming are a work in progress. Those are the areas that Roscoe has no issue with since we started from week two. Ah well the downside to not getting a baby till weaning.
Overall we could not be more pleased with Ember. He fits us and the herd. But you know what they say about the quite ones...

Friday, March 31, 2017

A Great Compliment

Some of you may remember that I took Roscoe to camp to see if I wanted to take lessons at Sprieser. Well after the experience with him, I was definitely willing to go there for lessons. I planned to take him to one while I was on vacation and try for at least one a month. You know what happens to plans sometimes. After Winston (vet cost and burial cost), I could not swing it. That is why Comrade went to camp, though now I am really glad he did.
 


The first day during the her lesson, Natasha actually asked about us taking lessons. Not sure what Mom and Peggy responded, but Peggy pursued the idea. Later she told me she was working on getting Natasha to come to the farm. Just before the second lesson, Peggy said for three horses she would come. We did not have a chance to catch up with her that day since she had other lessons to teach.
The next day during my lesson with Lisa, she again approached Mom and Peggy about setting up a schedule. So at the end of my lesson, she asked what start time would be good for a lesson on April 12th. I have to get back to her since it is a work day, but seriously how great is that? To me the fact she is pursuing the lessons is a great compliment. I don't think they lack for clients. Plus this can get my Mom and Peggy back into riding. If Mom or Peggy cannot finish a lesson either I can ride or Natasha said she could get on. She is willing to do a semi for both of them and a private for me. I am excited. The two camps have tweaked my riding enough, I feel more effective. And after riding green ponies, that is a good feeling.
I wonder if I should warn the horses...

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Day two: Adult Camp Comrade

Sunday brought cooler temperatures by like twenty degrees. Much cooler than we expected, but better than the freezing temperatures we dealt with Roscoe. Mom and Peggy set to work on Comrade. They massaged and stretched him, working those sore muscles. Peggy put in his running braid and Mom wrapped his legs. He seemed happier wrapped in the first lesson than just front boots in the second. That will be something to explore at home since I have never wrapped him before camp.
For this ride, Mom had me bring my little spurs to see if they got more reaction from Comrade. As I walked him to warm up, he felt tired. I felt crooked. Which made the first trot, blah. I decided to just stroll around more until our lesson.




Fortunately when I gathered him up, the awkwardness disappeared. The best part about this camp is getting two perspectives from trainers who compliment each other. Lisa built on the work we did with Natasha. Now that he was moving, we worked on straight. I have battled with his crookedness to the left for ages. She had me open my inside rein to invite him to bend, but catch him with the inside leg before he fell in. The change was noticeable. I had even contact in both reins and his hind end was following his front. Similar to the cavaletti work, she had me occasionally activate his hind end with the whip. When Comrade connects his parts, magic happens and he grows. I swear he moves like a 16h horse.




We took our newfound  straight and did leg yields on the long sides. He inverted a little, but overall they were nice and steady. The whip helped remind him to keep his butt moving in the right direction.




Timing the use of the whip is key at points with him. Especially when we moved to canter. She wanted working trot to canter with no running in between. Comrade actually did a super right lead transition the first time. Then the subsequent times were rough. My timing was off or he did not connect right. He did have moments where I could feel the transition was correct, but he could not follow through. With consistency and a smaller circle we did manage another good right lead transition. He needs the strength and confidence to pick it up and carry. His left lead was much better and even had some great sit and push in the transition.




The photo that says it all about this weekend :)


If I can keep my shoulders back and leg long, we might actually get somewhere this year. Overall, I could not be happier. Comrade unlocked a part of himself and reached a new level.