Saturday, April 28, 2018

Ponying the Big Boy

I wanted to ride Roscoe, but he was already out in his night turn out. So I thought about riding him out there, but Ember was around and I had visions of him jumping on us. Well I solved the issue by deciding to pony Ember.

My mom was there and worked Ember on the line while I warmed up Roscoe. Roscoe decided that working in his turn out meant he could be lazy. I walked up to a tree and broke a branch off to be my whip. That was enough visual to get him working. Then the fun part came when mom brought Ember over.
"I am thinking evil thoughts"

Ember wanted to suck back so he could bite or jump on Roscoe. Roscoe wanted to stop and put Ember in his place. I had to keep Ember up by my leg and tell Roscoe to let me do the managing. Roscoe still was sticky especially when Ember bumped against us. Eventually, they worked out the walk.
Pardon his mud

Trot was another learning curve. Roscoe would not trot, but Ember would. Then Roscoe would and Ember would not. I had to pick up another stick to encourage Roscoe. Finally, they both trotted. We had to walk for downhills since Ember could not balance. Ember is so big that he would outpace Roscoe at times. Our baby is bigger than dad now.
Roscoe says "if I have to..."

The big boy

Hiding dad

No to downhill

Afterward, I let Roscoe move around without Ember. I think he was not happy his time was shared. Plus this was the first time he was on the other side of ponying. The last time he was ponied by DaVinci who he tried to jump on. Like father, like son.
They shared a haybag later, so I guess it was not to terrible to work together. Ember did enact all the evil thoughts I blocked during the ride on Roscoe when they were free. Luckily Roscoe is totally used to it by now.

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Learning to Sit

I finally got to have a lesson with Lisa yesterday, but sadly it still contained no jumps. She broke her back coming off a young horse, so she is limited right now. We trailered to a near by farm with an indoor, which Roscoe thought had lots of interesting things to look at. It took a bit before he settled into actual work. This was the first Lisa has seen him, except for cavaletti in October, since the camp he attended last February. He certainly has come so far in that time.

She wanted him to work on bending his body and moving into the rein without his flashy movement and in a longer frame. The fact that he can shorten will come in handy later in his career. To the left his kink in his neck was out in full force. Lisa believes it is how he balances himself. Once he is actually stepping under with his hind end and moving off my inside leg, the kink goes away. He made me work hard for it though.

We moved into canter work which surprisingly started out without me carrying a whip. Roscoe picked up right lead at large. That was okay with him. Then she had me put him on a smaller circle and have him sit, slow and push. I had to let him break rather than run him forward. Then set him up again. The left was tougher for both of us. We both ran out of steam, but we did get some canter work completed. I have to get tough and raise the bar on my expectations. Bad transitions are not allowed. That's one thing I like about Lisa, she pushes me. She believes he has the potential to go far in dressage. She even mentioned FEI Pony classes.

This is an abbreviated write up, but if you have time you can watch the lesson. Sometimes I have to pinch myself that he belongs to me. I have never ridden higher than 1-1, but he may push me higher. I still owe him some jumps though...
And check out Pony Express for a Roeckl glove give away :)

Friday, April 13, 2018

Left or Right at A?

Roscoe started one week jumping and the next going down center line. This show was where my canceled March test rolled over to. I had decided to ride Training 2, so I was surprised when the times came out and showed me riding 1. I emailed to ask the organizer to change the test, but I did not hear back from her. We had some crazy flurries come on Saturday which meant Roscoe had to go with winter whites. I definitely knew I was not putting a white pad on his back that would highlight his not so white socks. Luckily, I managed to find a pad and an outfit so that we looked somewhat put together.
I was actually nervous for the first time in awhile. Mom is in Florida, but Peggy stepped up to help. I think the biggest issue was that I did not know which test I was riding. Would I be going left or right at A? A little thing, but it caused me big problems. My ride time was 1240 and we headed out at 1115. Bless Roscoe, he stayed calm for me tabling his normal pre trailering drama.
Little stud, next to big horses

Funny boy

 As I walked to get my number I could tell they were running ahead. I asked the organizer which test I was riding and she said 2. Whew, now I could focus on turning left at A. We tacked Roscoe and I mounted. That is the moment that the nerves disperse. Sitting on him is comforting.

He was full of it, the cool weather and the wind making his tourist side come out. It also brought out that dang popping shoulder. Warm up was rough, but not the same as over the winter. He was not a pogo stick powered by dynamite. He was manageable, but bending was not 100%. Plus he was a bit of a giraffe.

He did eventually give me a nice trot with breathy, rhythmic huffs. Just in time to head into the arena. Roscoe is always a bit up as we circle the arena. He had to look at the letters and flowers, but he settled. We got our highest entry score ever, a 9. Which is a miracle since they put A right in the entrance so you had to wiggle to get straight. He continued to do well with his trot circle and diagonal. We got a slightly lower score for canter because Roscoe has been popping up in the transition. I was not surprised that our stretchy circle was not as good as at home. He did give me more than I thought he would. Then it was a medium walk into a free walk. Roscoe jigged a bit as I opened up for the free walk. I guess I need to rein it in next time. Left trot was tougher because he was not in the outside rein. This has been an issue as long as I have ridden him. It is definitely worse when he is distracted. As we changed rein to Roscoe popped up at H anticipating the coming canter depart. The depart was better, but his circle was bad. He was popping his shoulder and dragging us outward. We finished well and I was so happy.

It was by no means our best test, but it was certainly better than I expected for the first test of the year. The judge said to work on his abs. I laughed inside thinking about the pony who jumped the previous week.  Peggy went to get my score sheet and ribbon while I finished packing up.

I was surprised to see a  red ribbon. She asked me what I thought my percentage was. I said 63 based on how I felt the ride went. She laughed and showed me my 73.85 score. Our collective scores were higher, showing that our winter work paid off. The judge saw the things I felt, but she was nicer scoring than I was. When I watched the video, it looked better than it felt. I was happy that my position did not fail as bad as it has in the past under show stress. Now I just need to work on that dang outside rein.
Checking in after the show

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Small World, Big Jumps

Not long ago someone shared an event happening close by. It was a Free Jump Clinic. I decided to sign Roscoe up since he enjoyed the chute. His time was at 230 and we had an hour drive. Mom, Peggy and I loaded up Roscoe earlier so we could watch at least one session before his.
We knew this would be a pretty high end barn since we got a gate code with his time. The last few roads before arriving, Peggy kept saying she had been on this road before. She could not remember when though. The barn was European inspired and so new it still smelled like cut wood. We went to find the people running the event. Eventually we found them in the upper viewing area. As we talked, we heard the name of the barn manager and Peggy finally remembered.

A few years ago Peggy and Roscoe's breeder went to see a Cob mare for sale in our area. Peggy emailed back and forth with her owner for a bit before Larry said "no way." The mare ended up going to PA. Her new owner asked me about breeding to Roscoe, but went with her Lusitano. This year she won the bid during one of the auctions and will breed to Roscoe. And small world that the equine community is, the barn manager at the event was the mare's owner in VA.

Needless to say, we did not watch much of the clinic because we were talking to her about Cobs. Luckily there were not too many going through the chute during our chat. Roscoe ended up going at 2pm since that person had not arrived yet. This place is so fancy, they pick your horse's feet before entering the indoor. We handed him off to the clinician to begin the in hand portion. I swear my pony stands and poses better for other people. He behaved well while trotting over the poles. It helps that the clinician had long legs.

When they released him, he knew the routine. He did decide to mix it up by changing direction. Have you ever wondered why everything in done off the left?

Then the jumps began to go up. This clinician was different from the USEA one because he adjusted the distances for Roscoe. He did say Roscoe is a show off, which is not surprising to anyone who knows him. We did not get much feedback as the session went on. I was okay with it. You could see Roscoe was having fun and that was what this was about.

He always knew when it was time to stop while they changed the jumps. We had to fend off someone who wanted us to leave Roscoe with her.

Roscoe's waiting spot

The clinician asked if we wanted to go higher. As long as it was safe and Roscoe was willing, sure. His last jump was 3'3" and the clinician said he was amazing. He thought he could be a great show jumper.

My awesome Stud

We asked him about when to start Ember in the chute. He said that if we are not selling to take our time. Longevity is key. That made me feel so much better about the fact we took so long with Roscoe. I have always said I want them to last.

As we watched a couple more sessions, we chatted with a lady who turned out to be the barn owner. She thought Roscoe needed white boots, so that his socks are not interrupted. I may be looking for some.

Overall it was a great day and I can't wait to bring Ember to one in the future. Roscoe will start some jumping lessons, so that I can catch up to him, next week. And for those keeping track Roscoe has been called great by an Irishman, a German and now a Frenchman. We joke that Roscoe is an American, Welsh Cob, German Riding pony. Good thing he is pretty dang secure in himself :)

Sunday, April 1, 2018

Resisting Using My Anvil On Rosemary's Head

St Patricks Day
I finally was able to do Rosemary's shoes the day my insurance adjuster came to look at the trailer. My anvil still needs a base to support it, but I made it work. I attempted to preshape the shoes somewhat before bringing Rosemary inside. I sorely underestimated the roundness of her feet. When I pulled her left shoe, it laughed at the new shoe.

It took me a bit to get my muscle memory back and remember how to use the anvil. That first shoe seemed like it would never widen.  Shaping steel is no joke. Persistence paid off and it began to take shape. Once I tweaked the heels it was ready to nail.
Same shoe type: left worn 16 weeks (two resets), right new

I took a deep breath because getting the toe nails in is key and freaking hard on a moving horse. Rosemary surprised me by standing still and letting me get the shoe nailed on with little leg pulling.

Half way
Half way done and I did not realize the real battle was just beginning. The right shoe ended up being too wide.  Hand to head... sigh. I had to remember how to close a shoe. While I was working, Rosemary decided to jig about the aisle. Her patience was done. She pooped in the aisle, so I put her in the stall.

She knows she is on the shit list
A million tweaks later, and at my wits end, the shoe finally shrunk and fit. I thought the hard part was done, but Rosemary decided to up her rotten pony act. The toe nails were a nightmare as she yanked her leg and pulled back in the cross ties. I was with in a half inch of getting the second toe nail in when she stomped her foot down. I cursed a blue streak and told Rosemary I would murder her. My patience was at an end too.

I took a breath and picked up her foot. I was able to save the nail despite its crunched look. Rosemary refused to cooperate for the other nails. That is a dangerous point in the process with nail points sticking out. No way to I want to be impaled by some nails. I was at the point of deciding between using my hammer or my anvil on Rosemary's head. I resisted barely.

Done, whew
She got a reprieve when Roscoe's breeder messaged me. The break was not enough. She was a pain, continuing to yank her foot while pulling back on the cross ties. Finally I broke. I made her back up, move her haunches and then back up again. I backed her butt all the way out of the barn and down to the arena. I have to say with all the drama, the shoe stayed on with only two nails.

This never ending shoeing was at the "get it done" point. The remaining four nails went in faster than I thought they would. Rosemary was more settled. I guess our discussion worked. Both of us were thrilled when I finished setting, clinching and filing. I did not even attempt to trim her back feet. We both needed to be done.
That weekend my farrier came and looked at her after shoeing the older horses. He gave me a thumbs up and said she was landing flat. I swear I felt like I passed a final exam. Now that I have a set of her shoes, I can preshape the new ones and hopefully keep her happier during the process. I save about $80, but boy do I work for it.

I am way behind with posts, so I will jump ahead and say that Roscoe is going to a jump chute clinic on Monday. Because you know that is the best way to get ready for a dressage show...