Saturday, October 31, 2015

small steps

It appears last Sunday's session with Tesla, and follow up practice Monday, did some good.
I figured I'd really test it out today and moved the trailer up to the barn where I would normally load up if we were actually going somewhere.  I fully expected Mr. Smarty Pants to put on the brakes but he ran right up there with me twice straight out of the field.  Score!

Then I took him in to get groomed and tacked up for some more arena work with a training martingale.  I used my own saddle and bridle, so a little different than last week's set up and he did pretty well.  We walked a lot and he keeps his head in a nice position there.  Trotting he seems to think the head instantly comes up, but it got better as we worked. Small steps forward :)  He gave no thought to ever bucking either.

Then we went and cleaned up, and back up onto the trailer. No the plan going forward will be to load up at least 1x a week for a while and make sure we are not going to revert again.

Post lunging, ready to get on

I put him back out in the field and got some extra time to get the trailer ready for Gobble in a few weeks, re-organizing and figuring out what needed to stay or go. Finally, took care of the gang for dinner and field rotation and then went home to get ready for Halloween!

We took the kids to the local firehouse, and then off to one of the large neighborhoods near work to do some door to door.  They had fun :)

Sunday, October 25, 2015

lesson day

Today was a good day :)

To top off a great weekend!  Actually, even a pretty good week.... Started out with really good horse news - Monday Tesla had a follow up after his 8weeks off with Sarah for a massage and she said "he is almost a different horse".  She found no re-activity, no sore back - he just had spots he liked and was enjoying it overall.  She also commented how much his personality has changed to be more sure of himself and comfortable in his own skin.  I was truly relieved to hear we are on the right path again and now it is back to getting us in sync.

Long week at work, but Friday was Doug & my 10yr wedding anniversary.  We had a hurricane on our wedding day in 2005, and we've endured a lot of changes over the last 10 years, but our relationship has only changed for the better, stronger.  He is a wonderful husband and father and I'm lucky he's mine <3.

Doug found set of bands made in Hawaii using wood native to Hawaii on Etsy. We ordered them to remember our 10th with a flashback to the honeymoon spot, and then the traditional gift is tin/aluminum.  We both managed to get each other somewhat of the same thing and have cool key-chains to show for it lol.  One more gift of mine to him hasn't made it here yet though. Hopefully this week!
Friday night we enjoyed the Stony Point Carnival - I had to work a bit of it as the PTO treasurer, but still had a chance to enjoy some bounce house and face painting with the kids :)

Saturday was pumpkin picking and dinner out with the kids. Then we stopped for an ice-cream cake to eat after they were in bed!

Today I got to spend my afternoon with Tesla and doing horse stuff. Nice end to the weekend!
Amanda and I finally were able to spend time working on a few things, so we put Tesla through the ringer.
Started off with trailer loading.  She finally saw first hand the issue I was dealing with with him fighting me to go on.  I was leading him in, but also using the bar upfront for some leverage for when he pulled back with my lunge line. First "fight" he lost and then stood at the door licking and chewing.  Second time he pulled back my line broke! (flat nylon line that is at least 10yr old) ok, slight win there for Tesla....  We fixed that and went for a 3rd try.  He pulled back again but darted to the other side (toward the tack door) and I was between the rope and the wall so I learned you CAN get rope burn through your clothes before having to let him "win" - at which point Amanda was pushing him back toward the trailer with my whip.  4th try, up and on.  We stayed in a moment...backed off and repeated 3 or so more times without Amanda's help and no tension on the line.
Then decided we'll take a lesson too!  Telsa got to learn about a training martingale and not tossing his head constantly.  Definitely full of himself to start with, but a quick learner.  Let me just say, I've never seen so much 'action' in his step!  I got to watch him move on the line and when he is showy boy is he fancy! He also is Mr. Attitude with several of his Arab "blows" to express his feelings at the moment.  It is always nice to have a set of hands and brains right there with more training experience that can tell me what I need to change and help Tesla to understand what is being asked of him. Makes me feel a bit less lost in my working with him which keeps both our frustration levels down.  He did really well, got good and sweaty and then we untacked cleaned up and loaded on the trailer one last time!  Minimal balk on walking up, but he quickly realized it was better to come with, stayed on a moment for some praise and backed off nicely. Then we called it a day :)
Amanda had him on the lunge line to get used to her tack and get him thinking

I've also working on getting my trailer insulation completed and am now done with the roof other than the bends to walls and the nose point where I have a too many bends to easily get foam board into....  Not sure if I will be done for the Gobble ride, but I am getting an electric site to help with the cold nights anyway! The rest will take a bit more figuring and concentration to work on!

Tomorrow is another Monday... I might get a chance to take him out into the arena again, not sure.  Tuesday is a chiro appointment and see how his back is holding up from his adjustments in Sept. Hopefully we won't need them again for a few months after this!  Farrier this week too.  Busy one for Tesla!

Sunday, October 18, 2015

fear and success

So I realized something this week driving home one night.  For some reason, when it comes to Tesla I am terrified.  Terrified of him or me getting hurt.  When I stop and think, I know it stems from my accident with Traveler.  He was a horse I knew to the nth degree; I knew when to push him or when to back off. How to get through to him when he has those "TB" moments of absolute flight above all. Yet we had this freak accident, and I lost him.  I have no idea how I didn't get hurt myself, but he kept me on.  Now here I am with Tesla, really any other horse, and all I see are potential hazards and the possible scary outcomes (Kind of like I do with my kids).  I'm afraid of pushing him too far, hurting him or myself.  Something I know will take time to get through...just not sure how or how long.

On the success side, after a refresher with Amanda Friday, I had minimal issues loading him alone Saturday morning!  So we actually managed to get to trail ride. First time back at Pleasant Grove since Aug 8!
He actually did pretty well out there all alone - he had his hay and happily munched among the many trailers as it was a beautiful day!
Where are all the horses?

I adjusted the saddle and switched to the Matrix without inserts and we went rolling out on the trails with 3 of my wonderful friends who came back to the trail-head to pick us up as I couldn't get out early as I wanted to be at Asher's soccer game.
Checking it out
Almost ready to head out

He was significantly better than Tuesday night; a few tries at bucking at the trot which he listened to the verbal reprimands about - which seemed more about temper tantrums than pain.  Some nice cantering & extended trotting. We moved at a fast pace for 5miles or so, and he wasn't huffing. So he is in better shape than I gave him credit for after all that time off and weight put on!

Some sweat post ride - looks a good fit!
Got a little sweaty, and then gave me issues with loading again :P  Fortunately another rider came to my aid before pulling out and as she got remotely close to us he jumped right up.  I hate needing a second set of hands!!!

apparently this is what he thought of the day

Friday night I talked with a trainer about an hour away I may set up a day with him. Same charge whether it takes 1 or 10 hours, but he will get Tesla loading on command.  I've seen videos of other horses he has worked with at the farm and when they've gone home.  Don't really have time to do it till after Gobble till You Wobble in Nov, and MAYBE between now and then we'll have it worked out ourselves, but this is in my back pocket.

I finally remembered to give him his stall toy too. He is quite the playful thing, so I thought he might enjoy it. He kept dodging my attempts to get a picture, but finally got a good one of him playing!

And we've had a cold snap here.  Saturday night was the first frost...Gypsy now says the wood floors are too cold, but her pillow in our room is too far from the she commandeered the older bean bag chair and Skyler joined her.
Rough life huh?!

Wednesday, October 14, 2015


After all the trouble I've had with our Santa Fe this year, we decided to trade it in. Been looking for a few weeks, and over the weekend I went and test drove a Ford Edge.  Decided it was a good option and sought out the best deal (learned well from my Dad).
Tuesday I went and bought one :)  Got a good deal on a low mileage 2013, PLUS it is "certified pre-owned" and with a warranty for another 100K miles and a pre-paid maintenance program I can take to any Ford or Lincoln for service.

So, since it took more than 1/2 the day to do (dealer was an hour away), I took the rest of it continuing as a personal day and was able to meet Amanda for a short trail ride before working at the barn.

8 weeks Tesla has been off of serious work, two short rides around the farm since the layup, and then today...Finally, some riding squeezed in!

The past few weeks all I've been doing is grooming, hiking, etc with Tesla.  He is happily at a good weight so now it is time to get fit again for a ride on Nov 21.  We have a saddle that was given a green light by the fitter, but after today I'm still not sure...He wasn't horrible, but things still aren't right.  Will try changing to another saddle padding option (Matrix, no inserts) and there is one more pad to look into beyond that...just more expensive as I already own option #2!

Tacked up, munching on Hay.

I am definitely feeling set back.  Tesla and I had clicked and had a great time in April, but since June we have just been battling and losing our rhythm. I hope with our pick back up into training and working more together we find it again.  We are both trying to get used a new saddle, and being out of competition shape.  I didn't push him hard today, but he ended a little sweaty so I got to see good patterns for the saddle! I think we did about 3 miles?  mostly walking, some trotting

Despite the battles, he is such a sweet boy.  He always watches me leave and I managed to grab a few photos of him doing so as it wasn't dark yet  :)

So what's next?  Hoping to get out for a longer slow ride this weekend, trying the matrix.  I'll be sending photos to the saddle fitter and saddle maker to get some feedback on what to adjust as well.