Sunday, December 10, 2017

Backwards is Forwards


Seems counter intuitive right? But going backwards means going forward many times with horses. So that is what we have done. I have taken steps back, stopped any riding, and gone back to groundwork. He knows it, and knows it well, but our videos showed a lack of respect and challenging of me not only in the saddle, but also on the ground. I just didn't push to fix it that day, because I had 'other things' I needed to accomplish in my mind. Lesson learned, don't blow by what you might think is small stuff at that moment!

And so with a new flag stick and 12' white tree line lead in hand, we did our first session and corrected his challenging attitude on the line. The next session was nearly two weeks later due to traveling for Thanksgiving, and boy was he a typical Arab that day!  On the line he quickly came around, and then when I turned him loose to play in the round pen I saw this "Arab" like he has never been before. Unlike Tesla did, Prophecy does not typically run around and "snort and blow" when he plays.  But that day he did... and dang he looked pretty! I let him blow off some steam, gave a few directions at liberty, and then had a pretty sweaty horse of his own doings...  I missed some of the really floaty trot he has, but the video is still fun to watch!



The following sessions have all gone well (I'm usually out 3x week). I use my flag less and less to enforce my requests, and in one of our liberty sessions did not need to at all unless asking for a canter to the right/clockwise.  I notice that is definitely his "weaker side" for cantering and he struggles to keep it going vs. going left/counter-clockwise.

He cracks me up when he knows he's done good ; when I've stopped to walk up and praise him he nickers at me. He loves being told he's a good boy and got it right 🐴  And of course, he is always trying to help with taking things out of my tack bag while I'm grooming him (at liberty), and even playing with the flag for giggles when I leave it on the ground.



I am slowly adding things back in... The first item was his scoot boots on the fronts which he hadn't worn in ages. I could occasionally hear the over-reach steps, more in one direction of movement than the other. Next we did the same work with this snap on bridle, and once all the parts are in hand, I'll add back on the full saddle set up all the way to including the crupper (which he had little problem with before thankfully). The 'new to me' Synergist arrived just before Thanksgiving ; we also have a new mohair girth on hand and new sheepskin pad that is due to arrive this week (back-ordered) - Scored during black-Friday online deals 👍


When he's moving, he doesn't look as tubby! 

Strike a Pose!

I have been talking to several trainers for his tune-up/restart coming up, somelocal and not ; jotting down notes and attempting to decipher who the best fit is for us...It is going to happen regardless of where we are at when the time comes! (riding without bucks or still stuck on groundwork)

In other news, I have also now measured and cut all the pieces to finish insulating the trailer LQ area and install the foam floor I've had over a year now... Just have to find the time to spend out there putting it in! (probably will happen over vacation)

Just waiting on insulation and flooring to be put in
I also snagged a used SnugPax cantle pack, but I will need to make a few mods to get it working.  The original designer is retiring, but Bobby Marley at Mai Packs has taken over continuing on the product line (which I like their durability and feel way more than Stowaway packs).  Bobby custom designed a cantle pack for the Ghost (which I sold with the saddle) that I loved and I contacted her for help on making this used one work.  I just have a to give a shout out for supremely helpful folks -  She agreed with my thought on how to modify and gave me some ideas for future pack designs. If you are looking for new a saddle pack, check her stuff out! Mai Packs

Lastly, I have to admit, there are times I'm insanely jealous of my friends out riding, or just that they have a horse they can hop on and not worry about anything, but I am learning a lot from the ground as I am approaching it all in a totally different mindset than I did a year ago.  I credit the SET method for that - helping me to work on thinking more like a horse rather than human; how to be a leader to him and give clear and concise directions; to be in the moment, like a horse is. Not wrapped up in my past, his past, our past.  He is a very willing partner when we are out there and wants to work. I can even see some physical changes in he how uses his body now - nose nearly to the ground in a trot on and off the line, and trying to keep his head down when cantering (rather than a more flighty canter). Things I now also see he needs to be able to do comfortably and confidently with the tack on as well before adding a rider. 



Sunday, November 12, 2017

Mistakes

You must be willing to take criticism and learn from your mistakes... A hard lesson on any person as it dings the ego, even if you aren't an ego-monster.

This blog is out there to share my journey, and this is part of it - as hard as it is to say out loud.
I've made mistakes; Prophecy needs a better and more confident leader. I'm committed to stepping up my game, and getting help where needed.

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Amanda came out last weekend to help me video 3 different configurations of us using the Balance and 1 in her Synergist to have Dee review...
While Prophecy does have reminiscent saddle issues, my recent trials of the LL Enduro Wide, the Balance 8XC GPD, and the Wide Synergist all worked for him and were not causing pain.
{I also now have in my possession an Thorowgood Cob and Franco-C derby saddle to evaluate thanks to Lynne and Kate - we shall see how those work as well!}

                           

During all his antics (above just a few of the naughty moments in the Balance) I did not get tossed off, but I did dismount when things went far enough that I did not feel I could stick it out further ... and so now he has this wonderful habit <said with sarcasm>.  My concern for him being in pain from a saddle led to me prematurely give up, thus making him think he can refuse forward movement with a buck (and some mighty ones at that too, I believe Amanda's words were: "If it is any consolation you are doing really good!").  The interesting thing I noted about myself though, is if I felt more secure in the saddle, I could push him past much of it, but he still would continue to challenge.  So far I have felt the best in the Enduro and Synergist, and it shows because I could continue to keep him moving and even trotting.


Synergist Lunge
Playing with the poles
                        
So my solution to this is two fold... #1 I am getting a Synergist. Amanda located one used in a much easier price point for me, as well as it has a more secure seat compared to the Balance ; because of #2 - he is going to be put into training for a restart in my equipment (as to not chance a reversion of pain).  I would love to get the LL Enduro, but right now I have to do the financially smart thing too, and those aren't around used.  As it turns out, the Synergist's specs that we found are darn near perfect to what I would order as a semi-custom for myself...so maybe it is meant to be?!

Currently I'm in the research phase...I have had a list of trainers for a while in my back pocket; now we just need to figure out who the best fit is for us and our goals.

As to when... well, that might not be until February or March so that when he returns I can maintain a consistent riding schedule under improved weather and daylight vs. sending him in December. Until then, I will be doing a lot more ground work with him, and maybe some other ideas that Amanda and I have talked about.

On a more positive note, I have finally found someone who is willing to come out that is an experienced farrier using Easy Shoes. We will see how this all fits in over the next few months! Hard to put shoes on when I know he isn't going to be hard at work, but definitely the plan for him later.

Things might be quiet for a bit, but I'll be sure to update on occasion!

Hope everyone has a Happy Thanksgiving!



Thursday, November 2, 2017

Entranced

Hope everyone had a Happy Halloween!


So the first two rides in the Balance GPD have not gone as hoped.  I have enlisted help this weekend to obtain videos to send Dee to review.  We have 4 different combinations of padding using the Balance saddle, plus 1 of a Wide Synergist to see if that is an option (first we'll see if static fit looks decent and give it try if so) to record. Going to be an interesting time! I only wish I still had the Leon Liversage to re-record us working in it.

In the meantime, on Wednesday when I went to see him we did nothing with saddles.  I got a chance to use Janie's 'knock off Sure Foot Pads'.  Prophecy really enjoys them on the front ; I had to walk him off each time rather than him moving off himself (and he had no restraints to stay there).  The trance is pretty cool to watch 😪



Back feet he is more hesitant to put down all the way on the pad, so I didn't push it.

 

cute mustache muzzle

I'd love to buy a real Sure Foot Pad set, but considering all my money is going toward saving up for a saddle purchase, it just isn't in the cards yet!  Obviously Prophecy gives his stamp of approval when I can.

When I put him out, he wouldn't leave me...Someone enjoys pampering 🐴  I did have to draw the line at playing with my ear though!