Saturday, January 30, 2016

Teenagers!


I was a bit snowed in during our storm!

50s & sunny today, with snow slowly melting away :)  And I finally got out to Tesla, almost 2 weeks since the last time...

I spent about an hour between brushing, hooves and wind-knots. He was very good for doing his feet (untied), and his playful self decided to grab my jacket hood and pull it around while I was doing the last hoof on front.  He is cute sometimes.  He got a little wide eyed when I tied him up and started to tack him up, but not too bad.

So he was a total teenager/toddler today.  I couldn't do as much lunging before hand as the arena was still well covered in hoof+ deep snow. But we walked and did some figure eights, one instance of "let me try and jump forward, throw my head down and think about bucking" move.  Then we just kept walking and walking...Once I felt he was 'ears on me' enough I went to take him out for a driveway walk.  He did really well standing at the block when I remounted after opening the gate.  Didn't move a muscle till I asked.  He actually was crowding the block too, making it a little difficult to get on but that is better than being too far away!

And off we went, spooking at everything! shadows? yep.  trees moving in the wind? yep. a pile of snow?  yep and that one was a stop with almost a roll back...but the next two snow piles just got a sideways glance.  We walked around and up the driveway, then down some of the ATV tracks to the other side, back past the snow piles with no reaction, so I decided to change directions. Everything is so much scarier coming from the other direction right?! Actually it wasn't but we had 10min discussion about the fact I wanted to go straight and not back up the driveway after he drank from some water from melted tire tracks (got lots of good boys for the drinking).  He pulled a "pop the head way up and hope to smack you in the head" move, but I am now riding with a running martingale so that was a 1 time "damn!"... next let me "bend my nose and sidepass the way I want to go". So I backed him the direction I wanted to go until we could turn and move past the stuck point & forward.  Then when I finally decided we could head back to the barn we fought to stay at a walk and did a few circles in the yard to regain composure.  More "bend my nose and sidepass" moves and eventually walked back through the gate into the arena.  I asked him to do a few walking lunge circles around me again to focus and then we called it a day.... 45min or so...Probably only a 0.5 mile in distance, although those walks around the arena add up quicker than one might think, but I didn't turn on my tracker so I can only guess.

He is darn cute tho... We just need more consistent riding time and get through this winter!



Time to roll!





Saturday, January 16, 2016

walkabouts


Not a whole lot to report... Been working on groundwork as of late.  Today we went on a hike :)



We went down to the creek, which he was ready to go across but it was too deep for me walk it, so I let him play.





And I'm really horrible at Selfies with Tesla, but I'll put them out here anyway!



I had every intention of going to a training ride tomorrow, but life has other plans of course. Between the weather not deciding on what to be (50s today, snow tomorrow) and my trailer not done because of all the rain, I am not off to the mountains.  Hopefully, today was dry enough that he finished the welding work and I can pick it up soon!

Once I pick it up I can work with a trainer and getting his loading issues nailed down.  Then hopefully we'll be free to roam again.


Sunday, January 3, 2016

Welcome 2016

Happy New Year!
I hope all my friends had a great holiday season and safe and happy new year.
2015 as a whole was great, can't complain as I know it could always be worse.  Now it is a new year with new goals to set.

I'm on a Green Bean Endurance Team again this year - with 2 gals I know and 2 guys I don't!  I love the sport being an "individual sport" and in this fashion we get to form teams if we like to encourage each other and grow in the sport, possibly get to ride together too.  We are the Rockin' Mountain Monstas.  We all live/ride in mountainy terrain in the NE and plan to rock it this year :)

The rides are totally what we make of them - To Finish is to Win.  Dead last even has a "Turtle" award. My only goal is to complete, healthy and sound, with a happy horse.  Tesla has now gotten 130 LD miles under his belt (80 with me).  My goal and hope for 2016 is start into our Decade Team goal (at least one 50mi completion a year for 10 years).  I had a lot of ride goals for myself in 2015, but realized late in the year they just need to be "Hopes".  Life always throws a curve-ball - family, bad weather, injury to the horse and/or myself, tack issues... in order to stop disappointing myself and getting frustrated, I am going to look at the bigger picture.

So my HOPE for 2016 is 5 competition rides, preferably all 50s.  I have a list of about 10 that are within a do-able distance for me, which gives us the flexibility to change plans based on the above list of curve-balls getting thrown at us!

I did not start out 2016 on horseback this year - we took a little family trip up to DC. Hour and a half drive to the train station and short train ride in.  Took the kids to a few of the Smithsonian museums and we will go back when the weather is nicer!  Can't wait to see the zoo and spend more time at the Washington Monument and getting closer to the White House- it was just a bit too chilly Friday.

So Saturday I went out a bit early for barn chores to be able to hop on in the arena and test out the woolback saddle pad I grabbed from Amanda.  The Mattes may still work, just needs something under it to get the coverage down by the fenders where I've looped the leather back under - I think that was poking him last weekend causing some issue.
Last weekend's try with the Mattes pad.

So now I have a few saddle pads to use for this season! Which is good if I need to switch them out during a vet check for any reason.  Still need to see if my girth is the best choice (currently neoprene); need more miles on it as we condition to assess that better. Might try Mohair next, or just put my English converter on it and use the coolback girth.  The next big tackle for rides will be be boots vs shoes (steel or easy shoes NG).

I have recently started watching some of Carson James training videos.  I am becoming more aware of some of the ways that Tesla tries to take advantage of me and be more alpha, so we are going to get this pecking order straight. Hoping it will help with our trailer issues too.

This picture is at the end of Tesla's "Tying Time" after this afternoon's shenanigans.  He was doing well focusing on me and moving his feet as I asked nicely on the ground.  Amanda and Stryder were just finishing up out there and we stood around talking for a bit.  I worked on keeping him out of my bubble while she & I had a conversation. At one point when he was bored he nipped at my jacket, not acceptable!  He does not like just standing, but he is going to have to get over that.  Amanda and Stryder left, and I resumed some ground work as I knew he was going to have a fit about that.  He
kept responding well to my cues, so I hopped on.  He was more than willing to trot this time (unlike last weekend's saddle time), but that is about where it ended. He decided he didn't want to work and be like his buddy in the barn and tried every trick in the book short of actually bucking (but I knew he was thinking about it)... so the riding part only lasted about 10 min, then we went back to ground work!  After many snorts and blows and temper tantrums, once we had regained our focus and respect, I took him in and tied him up to think about the lesson while I did my chores.  He definitely pouted a bit, but no pawing, no pulling, no calling out.  Just waited... even caught a lick and chew moment as I came to relieve him and put him out for the night.  Next ride I hope to be better and more productive under saddle!

The plans for the pasture and barn are coming along. Lots of ideas and wish lists. Some things need to wait until the land is done being cleared so I can see how the driveway needs to go for getting my trailer in and out, we think a few more trees will need to be taken down so that I can make the turn. The trailer is currently off getting some work done - fixing the brackets that hold my corral panels during transport and fixing some fender damage. Once it gets back I'll be working to finish insulating and hopefully decide on wall covering so I can hang some cabinets too.