Sunday, February 24, 2013

Taking A Leap

All winter I have been looking at clinics listed in our area. Jumping, flat, lateral, you name it there have been clinics. Work and weather have made going to any impossible...before.

Yes, that's right next month Comrade and I will be going to a flat/jumping clinic.

The clinician, Yvonne Lucas, is an unknown for me so we shall see how I like her. I have been fortunate to have awesome instructors in the past which raises the bar for new ones. When I contacted her about setting up the lesson I mentioned I would be riding a Welsh Cob. She answered that one of her boarders has a Cob who she loves. Small world, huh. Anyway she sent the necessary forms and waivers for me to fill out. As I was filling out my info about my experience it was very sad. Over ten years have passed since I last competed in eventing. Where has the time gone? I don't feel like I have been away that long.  Ah well, hopefully between Comrade and Roscoe I will get back there.

For this clinic:
It will be Comrade's first time in an indoor. Fun times.

Hopefully we get to do some fun gymnastic work.

We will get feedback about flat work from experienced eyes.

I told her about our bucking problem at canter, so the door is open.

Good time to work away from home with out the pressure of a show.

My leap ought to be interesting and hopefully will work out better than my last leap with a well known dressage rider. Mom and I loved the rider's books, but were sorely disappointed in her actual teaching.
Forms are in the mail, let the countdown begin. 13 days to go. Now if only Comrade could stay clean...

Thursday, February 21, 2013

So Not Important

The same day I abused my sick mother, though she let me, I got on Roscoe again. This time we took him outside the barn, which brought a new batch of distractions. Dogs running through bushes, cats creeping around cars and a touch of wind. Plus he figured it was time to eat since there is more grass by the barn than in his field.
With all the distractions he still let me do my sack of potatoes impression on both sides. Then I just leaned over and swung my leg over to sit on him. Roscoe was like "yeah, yeah your on me big deal. What is that cat doing?"
The biggest issue I had was that since I was not important he was not keeping me in mind when he turned, causing me to slip on his slick fur. It has been years since I have sat on such a narrow horse, probably Comrade as a 3yr old was the last. I tried so hard not to grab at him with my legs. Not that he really cared one way or the other. At one point I sat there wiggling my seat, swinging my legs and flapping the reins we put on his halter. He just stood there trying to get cookies from mom.
We walked around a few steps. No problem. Then I did some lateral bending using the reins. This is something we have done on the ground, so it is a familiar exercise. Ask for a bend to the left, when he relaxed I released. Then repeat to the right. For the most part he only bent his neck, but a few times his body followed. Such a smart pony.
Overall it was about 10 min of time on his back. It was really nice to see that I was not one of his distractions and that even with the others he listened when we asked. I am really starting to see the benefits of having a horse from day 1 of their life. No baggage or past bad training/experience to rework, only a pony with a sponge for a mind ready to grow. Oh the fun we will have :)

My view from above, wild mane and all

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

New Bit, Mother Approved

Yay for holiday weekends. For once Mom had the holiday Monday off, so I had her get on Comrade to see what she thinks about the bit.
One thing I noticed right off, Comrade was walking better. Trimmed toes made it easier for him to swing and follow through.
Another thing I noticed, Comrade did not seem to have that right side resistance.
Finally I noticed, Comrade was taking a softer, longer contact.

Mom took advantage of his softness, to get him reaching down. She would hold the inside rein until he chewed and stretched, then she would release as a reward. Eventually, Comrade carried himself with out leaning. Hello start of the funky circle in Training level.

She also worked him latterally. I only wish I could get him moving like she does. Comrade started grunting, these Cobs, but kept trying. His back lifted and he stepped under so nicely. Out of a shoulder in, she aked him to open his stride. At first he tried getting fast. Nope not happening. Next straight, he did it right lifting his shoulders and smoothing extending his stride. Such a difference.

Since she had him moving so well, I asked her to canter him. Now let me preface what happened with one statement: Mom was battling a horrible cold and was as she put it "only 70%." So saying, Comrade decided that even though he was perfectly set up to canter, he was not going to. Part of it was she wanted him to do it correctly and not run into the transition and he thought it was too hard. The other part is he did not feel she was ready for canter. I have seen him do this with Peggy before. No big deal, Mom just went back to some great trot work.

I asked what she thought of the bit. She said it was good. Comrade is at a point where the bit is not going to cause magic, but the bit does not do any damage either. So the bit stays.

We ended with me getting on and working him at the canter. Yep that boy cantered right on cue for me. He was primed and gave me the BEST transitions. That quality followed through into the actual gait which allowed me to ask for more, contact wise. What a thrill!

By the end he had foamy butt cheeks, sweaty flanks and shoulders and even a sweaty face. Comrade survived three days of tough work ending on a high point.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

New Bit for Comrade

Peggy picked up a new bit for Comrade to try. It is an eggbut, three piece with a revolver peanut.
He who must always rest a leg while standing in the cross ties

Our first ride was Saturday. I was still dealing with the right side resistance that I had last week, but numerous circles and bendy lines helped soften his neck. He had a foamy mouth after working, but I still am not completely won over.
Today I braved the cold and wind to ride with music. Comrade always keeps me warm. I set up my IPOD on one jump standard and put my camera on another. I worked through some goofy pony in the wind antics before I started the video. This ride was not as good as yesterday, but he did have some good points. He cantered when I asked and not 5 strides later. He did some  great simple changes. No cross cantering or bucking. The music served to focus me and in turn focused him.
I used the music to do intervals, trot during stanzas, canter during chorus and repeat. Comrade's responsiveness improved by the end of a few songs. Some Native American instrumental music served for great walk/ lateral work and into cooling out.
As for the bit, I will keep it for now. It needs more usage in better circumstances. Comrade gets trimmed tomorrow so I am hoping that will help a lot since he is really long.

And I will warn you I did not edit the video.
I hope everyone is staying warm.

Friday, February 15, 2013


So has everyone heard about the new USDA requirements for interstate travel with livestock, including horses? A new program to track horses in case of disease outbreaks.

Not good :(

An Interstate Certificate of Veterinary Inspection (ICVI) is now needed before traveling to another state unless you fit in the exclusions. The vet who issues the certificate has to forward a copy to the state so they know ahead of time. Sounds like a scheduling nightmare.

Normally this would not effect me at all, but there are a number of Welsh shows that take place in Maryland. We attended one last year and though we enjoyed the facility there was the added cost of tolls and extra gas. The added necessity of getting a certificate could make those shows too cost prohibitive.

 I tried looking on our vet's website to see if they listed what was needed, but the site does not reflect the new changes. An email may be needed.

Will anyone be changing show/ travel plans due to the new rules?

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Hang Time with a Twist

Back in December I started laying across Roscoe's back. He handled the situation really well and had no worries at all. Today Mom held him so I could again lay across his back. What a difference from the first time. Instead of moving away from the more weighted side like he did last time, he adjusted beneath me to carry the weight better. With a mounting block bigger than the muck bucket I used last time, I was able to lay more evenly too. We worked both sides with Mom doing a little ground work in between.
Then Mom mentioned that Clinton Anderson moves to laying parallel with the body. I was not quite up to trying to have my feet hang over his butt though. So instead I just hooked one leg over his butt with my foot resting above his tail. Do you think he worried at my weird position? Nope, he just kept begging for cookies. From that position, I swung my leg over and sat on my boy for the first time. You would think we had been on his back a bunch of times as he just stood there as Mom pulled out her phone to have my sister take a picture. I shifted my seat forward a bit, no problem. He walked forward a few steps, no problem. I have to say he did not feel as narrow as I expected, but he is a Cob. I had to try hard to contain my excitement. Our boy is growing up.
To get off I just reversed my movements and went slow, hanging on him a bit. Roscoe was thrilled by our praise, but I don't think he understands how great he really was.
Who Me?
Mom immediately called Peggy to share the news. What can I say this is exciting stuff for us. Not great pictures as my sister is not so good with a camera, but it marks the moment.

Hm, I do not look as big on him as I would have thought

Roscoe, so not worried

Monday, February 11, 2013


One of my co workers and I got to talking, ok with some griping about work, and we discovered we both had learned to ride at the same Base stables in NC. My memories were fonder than hers as she had a naughty pony. After that she has carried a nervousness about horses. I told her about Dottie, who though big is the sweetest horse. She decided to come out to the barn and get a ride.
The weather was only a little chilly this weekend. Which allowed me to hop on Dottie the day before she came. With Dottie's lameness issues and the weather, the last person to ride her was Lily. Well it turned out I had nothing to worry about. Dottie was ready to work. She walked out well, a major achievement for her, and picked up her front end with only my hands carried. As she can feel like a yacht when turning, I used lateral movements to get her bending and stepping under herself. She surprises me how easily she does shoulder in and leg yields. I would love to know more about her training history. Anyway I kept the ride short, which was really hard to stop, so she would not be sore for my co worker.
The next day my co worker and her boyfriend came bearing goodies. The horses got carrots, apples, bananas and can you believe broccoli. Once Dottie was convinced they were her new best feeders...oh wait, friends, I put her in the cross ties so they could brush on her. There is something about grooming a horse that settles the mind. Plus I wanted them to see that she is a gentle giant. Dottie was perfect and stood still.
I tacked her up and went to get helmets for both of them. We all laughed when we realized the only helmet that fit my co worker was Lily's purple with a pony picture. Her boyfriend just barely fit into my dad's western helmet. Oh well better safe than fashionable. Up first was my co worker. She was a little tense at first, but soon settled and enjoyed the ride. I led her around the field and we laughed as Dottie constantly drifted towards her boyfriend. She was convinced he must have more treats. Then we did the same for her boyfriend. Dottie was great. She used to do therapy rides with a previous owner, so she knows when to click in therapy mode.
When both rides were complete, my co worker looked at me and said "For as nervous as I was getting on, I am so relaxed now and ready for the next crazy week of work." Score one for pony therapy. My co worker even talked about a return visit.
And now for the best comment from her boyfriend, who has had to do bike patrol " Do you have to wear padded garments? I can see this (points to saddle) getting hard." I had to laugh. Of all the questions to be asked. All I could say was that I did not ride long enough at a time to need extra padding, but I knew that it was available in catalogs.
Worth her weight in gold :)
Overall it was a relaxing, fun day.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

New Addition

Of the human variety.
My niece was born yesterday and joins her sister as part of my brother's herd, ha ha. Anyway meet Annabeth Irelynne

I made people at work laugh when I said Roscoe was cuter when he was born than Anna. What can I say? He was.

Ah, well maybe they tie.

And in 3 more month's my other brother should be welcoming my next niece. It has been a girl year :)

Monday, February 4, 2013

No Pain No Gain

Or in this case Loss.

I finally was able to do my horse's hoof trims on Sunday. And I did Jenna too. Which means in all, I trimmed 22 hooves (Dottie has front shoes).
Today I was reminded why I normally spilt the group into two when I could barely walk. It is amazing the muscle soreness I am feeling. Farrier work addresses different muscles then riding does. But with multiple horses, doing the work myself saves us a lot of money. So I gained pain and my horses lost excess hoof.

I am going to hobble off to bed, but I leave you with some pictures.

Roscoe playing with my hoof stand

Roscoe sticking his tongue out

Roscoe looking cute with freshly trimmed hooves

Rosemary and picture crasher Jenna

Fuzzy girl head

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Cold Cob Day

Our temps with wind chill were about 30 degrees. I went to Peggy's house first since Gretchen was doing Rosemary's morning dose. Unfortunately, Kayla decided to throw up her breakfast in my car and Peggy was getting sawdust delivered making my ride a bit later than expected. At least Comrade was not covered in mud. I was riding bareback to stay warm and I put on toasty toes. Nothing worse than cold feet.
Comrade was full of it. He tried to run through my aids when I asked for lateral movements. I increased the weight of my half halt and maintained my insistence. Soon I was able to get him listening to the left, but he was inverting when I went right. To loosen him up, I did some figure 8's at the canter. He did both leads, no bucking, really well. Then I went back to the lateral. Shoulder in, straight, haunches in, straight, leg yield, straight. Comrade grunted, but listened. A couple times I went over the low jumps to get his attention. Finally, he relaxed going to the right. His crest got that nice floppy motion. Good time to finish. Peggy and I warmed up with hot chocolate while watching a video of a Sec. C mare that is for sale.
The video put in the mood to ride Rosemary. I bundled up and dressed Rosemary in a quarter sheet and the bareback pad. Then we went to brave the cold. I was pleasantly surprised by her work, since it has been a long time. She was stretching and reaching into the bridle nicely at the walk. At the trot, she tried to stretch though she could not maintain the contact. All considering she was a star. Rosemary felt happy to be back to work. I played with corners asking her to "come about" a term we use when asking her to turn in harness. It seemed to help her figure out what I was asking her to do. These Cobs are so smart.
Snow was starting to fall while I rode, which meant I needed to be done. My cold cob rides were both worth braving the weather.
My girl all ready to work :)