Thursday, July 31, 2014

Photo Shoot and Cross Country!

So Sunday we had our professional Photo Shoot! Be Prepared for Pictures!

He's always aware of others around him

Brand new Nunn Finer Bridle (Just got it the day before!)

Warm up

At least he looks good!

Wee Cross Country! (Yes bad me for no vest)

Look a log!

That gorgeous uphill canter!

We're Flying!!

I had a tremendous time and thanks to Rough Coat Photography for the amazing photos! We have some things we need to work on but I'm really happy!!

Monday, July 21, 2014

More Stubborn than an Appaloosa

Ashe and I had a knock down drag out fight today while riding.

I think he did everything he could short of bucking/rearing...

Today was supposed to be an easy day. W/T warm up in the arena and then a trail ride as I was exhausted from work.

Ashe decided that was his invitation to protest that we were riding through dinner.

We refused to stand properly at the mounting block, we dropped our shoulder and ducked, we popped our shoulder and attempted to side pass out of the arena doors, we changed directions suddenly, we had a GORGEOUS canter departure which wasn't asked for and then refused to stop, every canter after that of course was mach 5 weight all in the front OH GOD WE AREN'T STOPPING/STEERING...

I rode him through all of it. I brought out the dressage whip (inside bend) and the crop (outside shoulder). Touched him with each twice to remind him that we behave.

In the end he relented, and I dropped the whip and crop. We trotted like a normal sane horse citizen and had a decent canter... after an hour and a half of fighting.

Then we had two meltdowns at the hose. One because I switched sides. One because the towel I was using to wipe off his muzzle suddenly wasn't in his view and became a terrifying monster. He also stepped on my foot.

Again I made him work through it. THEN I made him stand and wait for his grass. Which he, after a short lived protest, stood like a gentleman until I released him.

I have to wonder what it says about me that I'm more stubborn than he is.... And I'm sure he thinks that his mother is a monster now.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

HAPPY ONE YEAR / All Good Plans...

I have had Ashe for one year. WOOO! It's hard to believe, but looking back he has come a long way in this time :) And so have I.

Celebration Time!

Today we had an awesome, but tiring, riding lesson today. While our jumping is solid, getting him to the fences, especially the turns, has been extremely shaky.

So for the next month we will be continuing our trot sets, and working on dressage.

Needless to say Ashe is not happy about this...

Today we worked on connection through the bit and lightening his front... which meant he had to WORK. And so did I. My legs are wobbly from all the inside leg to outside rein as he's trying to be Gumby and counter bend against me.

I won, mostly. (It's the little victories right?)

Ashe has this thing down at a walk. At the trot he refuses and resists. So we did a lot of trotting.

And I mean a lot of trotting.

However we had a few moments where we connected, and near the end he was starting to look for that connection (at this point my whole body was exhausted so I couldn't meet him some of the time) while in the trot as well.

The canter departures were messy but we had two PERFECT departures that were light and easy and soft. Which obviously was promptly lost as he pealed out of the circle counter bending.

Hopefully my plans will stay put, I won't get sick and he won't get hurt so we can continue to improve.

My reward? We get to go cross country schooling in August if we can finally have a connected trot and controllable canter. WOO!

Thursday, July 10, 2014

De-scaring the Terrifying Dressage Whip

Ashe has a problem with dressage whips (and lunge whips, crops, chains jingling, anything near his face, clippers (they don't have to be touching him), hoses (we're at 60/40 for freak outs), cloth measuring tapes...)...

Unfortunately he just isn't quite making the connection with some lateral movements, where a whip would be in handy to add pressure in what I want him to move. Also in aiding him becoming much more immediate off my leg at the canter cue.

So I pulled out my trusty dressage whip, wiped the dust off, and... proceeded to walk to my horse for half the ring because he was backing up because he KNEW I was holding it. When we were finally progressing forward again, we mounted and he shot off like a rocket. I didn't even touch him, just wiggled it as I was adjusting a stirrup and it was within his view.

Now I can be on the ground and rub it all over him. He flinches a little around his torso but relaxes his back leg and chews so I know he isn't THAT scared of it.

Finally we manage a decent walk and trot without explosions of forward movement from me just wiggling the thing. We attempt to canter, he just trots faster. I tap, and I mean just brush it backwards... and we're off at Mach 5 running laps around the arena. I let him work it out since I do want it to mean forward and we finally come back under control and I walk him out until he stops breathing like a dragon and we try again.

Less explosion but still running full forward with little steering and all half halts, seated or bit, are out the window.

I quit for the day as we're both sweaty and tired.

Let him rest for  a day and come back out.

Well what do you know but we actually managed to walk up to, mount, w/t/AND canter like a normal sane horse with dressage whip in hand. We even had nice couple of turns on the forehand, and I was able to use it in his leg yields. Huzzah!

However, as always with Ashe... 50/50 he'll explode the next time I ride.

Bonus is that he did not have to be sedated for the dentist and had only two minor escape attempts. YAY!

And the next lesson my trainer is helping me groom him and we start working on the... Dreaded Clippers!!

Bonus: Video of us jumping 2'9!!