Thursday, July 28, 2016

Roscoe's Lifting And Lightness Tell

I think you guys can tell I am pretty happy with Roscoe's behavior at the show. So here is a deeper look and how my Faith post points worked out.

1. Roscoe is a five year old. I will expect a distracted, baby. I will also pack the in hand tools to work with him.

Roscoe was distracted and he did cause us to pull out the in hand tools. BUT, surprisingly being tacked up centered him and he relaxed quickly. He was still a tourist, definitely, but a working one.

2. Roscoe is a Stallion!!! I do know this fact. I expect him to call and I expect the chance he will charge other horses. So I will not sit like  a sack of potatoes on him.

Roscoe announced all day that he was a stallion and he was alone. We had one instance during the long Champion of Champion Class that he leaped forward toward the mare in front of us. My fault, we had creeped closer than I thought. Under saddle, he called twice and he was intent on watching the horses walk by. When I asked for trot, he listened. He gave the right answers. I did not trot long enough, too hot, to get his best trot, but it was a good trot. He halted when I asked and I hopped off. Then he turned into puffed up Stallion again. He is like Rosemary in that way. She will be so well behaved while your on her back or in the cart, and then turn into drama mama once you are on the ground. Both stay within manageable limits even with the change.

3. The temperature will be in the high 90's. I think that will slow down my Cob who tends to be on the lazy side.

Well the heat did not have quite the effect I expected. Roscoe got really sweaty, but still had high energy. The heat killed me more, hence the cancelled class. I did like the fact that I had an active walk and willing pony despite the heat.

4. Roscoe will have all day to chill out, I will have all day to worry. I am a nervous shower. That said he is not my first 5 yr old  project pony. I have a history of riding rotten ponies.

Ha, chill out did not happen until we tacked him up. He had moments when he cocked a leg and snoozed, but he was hyper aware of all the horses. That said, he did load easily every time we asked him to. This show was too expensive to bring Comrade along, but he does seem to help during the wait periods. Misery loves company you know :) My worries mounted with the increasing heat and activity of the facility. But they all disappeared the moment I sat on Roscoe's back.

5. I would never leave the barn if I worried about the "could be's" or "maybe's."

I have only one thing to say, Have trust in your training, or don't sign up for the show.

6. My pony is not a robot and has a mind of his own. I will think positive and deal with any issues.

Roscoe made sure his opinion of the line classes was clearly known as he piaffed and puffed while tracking the activity outside the arena. Though I would prefer he stand still, I let him be as long as he stayed out of my space. When his leap happened, I just swung him around and apologized to the mare handler. He did not push the issue, just went back to his dancing. Under saddle, if he got quick we circled. Circles are such a great tool.

7. This show is a schooling opportunity, no more, no less.

After getting the prize money, my show fees were reduced to $35. In this area that is what you would pay for one dressage test or schooling fees at near by facilities. I signed up for the ridden portion so that Roscoe could experience the show environment under saddle. He did and he proved he can handle it. I lost nothing because he gained no Welsh points from the classes since they were open and he was alone in the class. We rode for about the amount of time the classes would have taken in the show ring, so we definitely gained more than we lost. All in all it was a successful outing.

Now I will say I gave into some of the pressure put on me before the show, mostly because I was not 100% healthy and the opportunity was available. But I did it my way, not the way it was "suggested" to me. Some felt Roscoe should have a field trip accompanied by Comrade to some other facility to make sure he would behave. With only a few days until the show, I refused to put my horse on a trailer in this hot weather and pay more money to go to another facility. So I asked Peggy to see if a lady in the neighborhood would let Roscoe use her arena on Thursday. She said we could at 2pm. I refused to let another horse come with us, but Mom and Peggy drove the green machine next to us. We walked the road for a couple miles to get to her arena. Roscoe did really well. Again similar to his mother looked at shadowed spots, but not really anything else. He dealt with the FedEx truck driving by and kids playing.
He did have a tell though when he was going to trot or get excited, he lifted and got really light in the front end. I let him be if he was just inverted, acting the tourist. If he started to feel like a plane lifting off in the front, I circled him back to the ground. I have never felt a horse get so light in the front before. Roscoe is naturally uphill so it was amazing to feel him get even more so.
Once at the arena, the 5yr old stallion came out. We got quick and he called to the cute ponies right next to the arena. Circles and more circles. Plus breathing, always a good thing. The arena was large and I could easily work him on the far side, so I did. Figure 8's, shallow serpentines, turn on the forehand, walking and trotting. He settled some, but still had the high energy. I was persistent with what I wanted and gradually worked closer to the side with the ponies. Each time I felt that super lightness and lift, I knew to circle or redirect his attention. We had an awesome trot when he relaxed and stretched into the bit. It was great to ride somewhere with that much room. I was really pleased that he gained forward, rather than losing it to distraction. About a half hour later, he was able to walk down the side of the arena with the ponies, some of them mares, without rushing. He could look, but he could not get quick.  I hopped off, a proud pony owner.

He did nothing I could not handle and nothing I would deem misbehaving or embarrassing. Thank you Roscoe for confirming that your big brain can overrule the little one.
The walk home was when the heat hit me hard. Roscoe was still full of energy and his big walk is hard to keep up with. So we tried something to make it easier for me. I sat on the back of the green machine and Roscoe walked next to it. I was in a position I could easily jump off if I needed to, but I never did. We played with the speed to find a comfortable one for him and set off. He never pulled too much even when he called to the horses along the way. Seriously, he was a good boy. He actually cooled off nicely on the walk back. All together round trip and ride time, it was an hour and a half.
I could tell at the show, Roscoe learned from that session that being super inverted is not comfortable so he kept his more normal uphill tourist position rather than go to the extreme. I'll take it.
Progress whether made in strides or in miles, is still progress.

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Knowing When Enough is Enough

Bright and early we headed to Frying Pan Park in Herndon VA for the Welsh Show. Lovely GPS sent us the wrong way and we had to call for help. We made it in time though. Roscoe had to tell everyone he was there and that he was all alone.


Mom worked on getting him ready for the Section D Stallion class while I suited up. Peggy was the swing between us both helping as needed. I have to say Roscoe and I both looked snazzy. That class went smooth and the Judge sympathized with us being the only Cob at the show. It is a fact that Roscoe deals with at nearly all his breed shows. Lucky for me since he was the only Cob, he won all the prize money. That money covered the majority of his show fees, yay!
Then we waited while the other two sections were judged before the Supreme Class. Roscoe was the big chestnut amidst the little greys. He was not in a standing mood at all. Everything outside the arena was much more exciting. I tried to just manage him, but overall he was not being horrible. Of course we added a bonus class which just about did me in.

 The Champion of Champion class was open to any purebred pony who won Grand or Reserve Grand Champion at any show. 16 ponies made for a nightmare of a class as we all cooked during the judging. Roscoe used the time to practice his piaffe. Or at least that is what he looked like. He really hated the fact that he had sweat dripping down his legs and belly. Roscoe decided to spot other horses and watch the kids and oh yeah, watch the carousel.
I was sooo happy to be excused from the class to leave the finalists behind. The show personnel gave us all water as we stood in the arena, but I was reaching my limit of sun. Now we had to wait for the ridden portion.

As we ate lunch, I listened to Roscoe circle in the trailer. He still had not settled. As the heat increased, I was losing steam. The show grounds did not have a warm up arena and we were surrounded by gravel parking lots. The grass area was small before turning into a steep hill. I worried about where I could safely ride him. If his energy continued to be high, I was not sure I could handle him since my energy was waning. With a heavy heart, I opted not to ride my classes. Seriously, I cried. I hate not being 100%. Even though I was not doing the classes, we still wanted Roscoe to work. This way he would know there is more to do at shows.

Mom tacked him up and then put the rope halter over his bridle to work him in hand. Guys, the pony that backed off the trailer this was not the ADHD pony I had dealt with all day. This pony was ready to work. He settled right into what Mom asked. So Peggy grabbed my helmet and I got on. Mom left the halter on just in case, but the need never arose. I swear Roscoe was the happiest he had been all day. He gave me a solid, flat footed walk. Oh yeah I should mention that while I was riding, right next to me a tractor was picking up manure and loading it into a truck and a bobcat machine was scraping stuff up too. Roscoe could care less about all that.
This was pony I knew was in there! I love that he confirmed my faith in him. We went down to the arena once the show finished and did a couple laps. Just that short time in the arena was so hot. Roscoe was sweaty in no time. I called it enough and hopped off. My pony wants to be a performance horse. I can work with that.
Thank you everyone for your positive thoughts, they certainly helped.

Friday, July 22, 2016

Brass Shined and Chrome Scrubbed

The pony and tack are ready! Thanks everyone for your support after my last post. I think Roscoe is more ready than I am. I can't seem to kick whatever bug I caught last week causing me to be nauseous and shaky in the morning. Luckily I have a great team helping me. Hopefully the heat won't come until after I run Roscoe around. We did an afternoon ride and though we were sweaty, Roscoe and I survived.
So much BRASS to shine

The funny thing is that there are no other Cobs coming, so Roscoe is the solo Cob. Then Roscoe is the only horse signed up for any performance classes on Saturday. He will be all by himself in the two classes. I am thinking of it as an infant CT. The flat class is first and then we do poles :)
Someone walked just as I took the picture, clean but akward :)

Now I have to get to bed. We have to leave sooo early.

Monday, July 18, 2016

Have a Little Faith, Please

"Trouble, Who me?"

I swear since Roscoe was born, we have dealt with people asking if we were doing the right thing with him. From keeping him a stallion to riding him in a show. Those of you who have read this blog know that we put a lot of work into Roscoe and he continues to surprise us. Yes, in a perfect world I would have lessons and be able to bring him to lots of places. Sorry, my world is not perfect. My pony is stuck creeping along with me.
Anyway I did not sign up for this show thinking it would be a cakewalk. These are the facts:

Positive Thinking!!!
1. Roscoe is a five year old. I will expect a distracted, baby. I will also pack the in hand tools to work with him.

2. Roscoe is a Stallion!!! I do know this fact. I expect him to call and I expect the chance he will charge other horses. So I will not sit like  a sack of potatoes on him.

3. The temperature will be in the high 90's. I think that will slow down my Cob who tends to be on the lazy side.

4. Roscoe will have all day to chill out, I will have all day to worry. I am a nervous shower. That said he is not my first 5 yr old  project pony. I have a history of riding rotten ponies.

5. I would never leave the barn if I worried about the "could be's" or "maybe's."

6. My pony is not a robot and has a mind of his own. I will think positive and deal with any issues.

7. This show is a schooling opportunity, no more, no less.

So please have a little faith in Roscoe! He is a good boy. I am not one to hide the growing pains of training and I won't start now. What happens, will happen. We trailered him to Peggy's as a 2yr old for his first long ride and he did great. I am holding onto the positive moments and the fact that I know him. If I never took chances, I would not have him or Rosemary.

Friday, July 15, 2016

Scaled Back

After the visit from my family, I got sick. Nothing crazy, but enough to put me off for the week. I had to mail out the show entry by today and sat down last night to decide what to do. I nearly said we just would not go, but Mom already got the time off. So instead I scaled back to one horse and one day. I went with Roscoe because Rosemary has had some hind end issues we need to work out. Roscoe will do the breeding class and then we will sit for hours and then he will do a couple W/T classes. I want to use this show to see how he handles being ridden away from home so I can decide whether to pursue a dressage show in August.

Fingers crossed this lingering tiredness goes away and I can actually crawl on my pony beforehand. At least I will have three days off of work to get ready. This show is somewhat closer at Frying Pan in Herndon, VA which will be nice. I have fond memories of the park because Barry and I played around the cross country course with a good friend.

I wish Ember were here to go to the show. Roscoe learned a lot when he showed as a foal. Next year...
Pictures from Lisa
Ember's "Colt Gun" emblem

"Ready to show" Next year buddy

The Cute Posse after the cat

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Good News!!!

Life has been a series of hot, humid days with a lack of riding. I'm still deciding what classes to do at the show next weekend if it is not raining :(, but the horses shined during a family visit. Rosemary, Dottie and DaVinci pulled pony ride duty, plus Rosemary gave carriage rides. My niece was much braver and decided to ride by herself on Rosemary. Dad walked her around the trails and the arena. We tried a little trot, but she was nearly bounced off. Rosemary gave me a look like "I told you she was not ready" since pony girl hesitated to trot. Meanwhile my nephew rode Dottie. Mom lead him out on trail, but we cut him loose in the arena. Dottie is a super babysitter and will just follow someone on the ground or Rosemary. We did give him tips on how to steer her and get her to walk on. Surprisingly, he picked it up and got her moving where he wanted. It was so cute to see his little feet kicking at Dottie. If you ride with clear intent, Dottie will listen and answer. He had a blast riding the big girl.
DaVinci says "I'm retired, you know that right?"

When he got on DaVinci, he said he walked too fast and he wanted Dottie back. I think part of it was he could not be cut loose with DaVinci. Rosemary was a star dealing with my fur nephew running in front of her and my niece flapping her "reins." We are so lucky to have such adaptable horses. Here is a video of them riding the girls.

 After, my nephew was thrilled to become a member of Manure Pickers of America by helping with the evening clean up.
"He is my favorite"

My niece was more interested in when she could get a horse. The question of little girl's throughout time. She laid claim to both Rosemary and DaVinci.

I have also started working on Alanna's Foal Pool prize. I should say I have started again. The colors were not right when I worked on it during the trip to Indiana, so my sister reworked the pattern. Now I am making progress. It will be the biggest one so far and uses the most colors too.

And finally I received good news over the weekend about Roscoe. Remember the collection at the end of last month? Well it seems the breeding took and there is a possible 2017 foal coming! Roscoe kept to his pattern of first cycle successful breeding and now his first by AI. I think it was meant to be considering how smoothly everything went that collection day.

Friday, July 1, 2016

Tackling the Goal Post

I am considering showing Rosemary at a show this month. The welsh show offers driving classes pleasure and working. I am not sure I can get her to back, but it would be a good experience. They also offer a cones course which I would really like to do.
So Mom and I set up an exercise that Andy Marcoux had at the driving clinic. The exercise puts the cones in the shape of a goal post. It allows the horse/driver to work on open stretches and tighter areas.
This shape made with 5 cone gates

Rosemary was really good. We put a straight bar driving bit in her mouth and kept the curb loose. She seemed to be okay with the bit, but she did pop up occasionally. Part of that could be the fact I was making her go up and down a hill. She like Roscoe tried to just walk downhill when she figured out it was a lot of work to control herself and the cart at trot. She was really maneuverable with that bit though. I think I nearly ran us into a tree a few times. When I did steer her right we did circles and curved lines. So much fun!

I just may be brave enough to try a course at the show. Mom took her turn before taking a drive down the road. Deliah called dibs on the passenger seat. I let her have it since it was her 3rd birthday and she loves riding in the carriage.

Mom with her little passenger