Thursday, January 19, 2012

Week Night Ride!

Yes my friends, its Thursday night and I worked a full day and still managed to ride after work (without the help of lights or an indoor). So it was only a 20 minute ride, but it was a ride! Best of all, the big guy was so good. I think I was just so happy to end my work day on this sweet boy's back that he knew it had to be a good ride.

In other news, I shocked the sh** out of myself when I hit the cow fence on the back side of the pasture trying to pet a REALLY CUTE donkey that lives with the cows to the back of our barn's property. I wonder if my barn owner would charge me the same amount for board if I got a donkey?? Jussst kidding....

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Monday, January 9, 2012

Versatile Ponies, the Best Kind!

It was great! The lesson that is! 

Heather, our new trainer, doesn't take herself too seriously, which I totally love. She loves the Redskins (like has a tattoo with the Redskins' "R"). So that right there made me like her. She inspected Granite pretty good, noting his neatly kept mane, his cow-hocks, and correcting his saddle placement a little to adjust for his massive shoulders. She noted his impending growth spurt (he suddenly dropped weight and both she and my farrier identified the same signs of a growth spurt coming on). 

We did a brief re-cap of my experience and Granite's.  I haven't shown since 2004. From 2000-2004 I basically showed Quarter Horse Circuit/Stuff. Previously I rode youth hunters and low level dressage. G had a little over a month of ground training and then about 45 days of professional training when he turned 3. Its been just me (with some guidance from Jen) for the last two years. We would love to grow up to be Hunters but are totally open to changing our plans to suit horse and rider.

She was impressed with G. She's worked with some of his "Graf Genius" line and enjoys them although she says they have reputations for their tempers. I think this is where I thank Granite's Appendix father for giving him the most laid-back personality ever. 

Heather gave us some exercises to do (lots of them are very similar to things Jen had us doing-- so that makes me believe in Heather's philosophy). She got on him, and OMG he looked AMAZING! She thinks he can certainly be a A/O Hunter! I always doubt he and I until someone like Jen or Heather tells me otherwise. All in All, I am looking forward to working with her and she seems excited to work with us! Right now, I'll only do one lesson a month (I'm only riding on weekends, so I need time to improve between lessons anyway). 

As if a great lesson weren't enough to make it a great weekend. I spent the night at Eva's Saturday night and Sunday we went riding at her barn. We went on Reno's first trail and he was SO FREAKIN GOOD. I got to ride the gelding she has had since we first met when we were 11 years old and she has just recently reclaimed from her family. I haven't ridden him since the late 90s I think and It was so much fun!

Vez and Ren getting ready for the trail 
(I had to ride Vez sans sturrips, but at least we found a spare saddle)

After that, I headed back to my (new) town and went to ride my pony. My tall boots fit again (did I mention that in July they refused to zip-- I was training for that 1/2 marathon and the muscle had gotten too big!) and didn't hurt me much at all (apparently when i stop running my calves slim back down despite my weight gain), so I wore them to ride! My barn owner and I went on a trail for about an hour! G crossed a creek. We had done this once before but he was quivering and I had to lead him across. I didn't have to lead him across this time, good thing too, since I was in my tall boots! And there was a current in the creek to boot. He spooked a couple times through the trail, but always conquered it. Such a good man! I LOVED that G went from being well behaved and trying his heart out in his lesson to listening and trusting me on a legit trail ride (over logs, under limbs, by old broken down barns, across streams). 

This weekend was really a success! Hopefully more progress to be made during this long weekend (during which I hope to get 3 whole rides in).

Friday, January 6, 2012

It's like the first day of middle school

I have butterflies about tomorrow! Tomorrow is really the first time that someone outside of the family (read: a stranger) has ever coached/evaluated Granite under saddle. I'd say its like the first day of kindergarten jitters, but I think it's worse. It's like Granite is going to middle school after being home schooled all of his life. Not only will this woman tell me what she thinks about my horse, but she can also tell me that all the work I have done with him hurt him and didn't help him.

Also, I have so many questions. We haven't had any pre-lesson chat. Does she like her students to ride in breeches or jeans? Should I carry a crop or use my spurs, or nothing? If a crop, does she like a bat or a dressage whip like Jen preferred us to use. Should I use the flash bridle I've been riding in, or switch out to a plain noseband? Bah. I know I am overthinking it, but I want to make a good impression. I don't want her to think that I've never had any formal instruction, but I also want her to know that I am open to guidance (assuming I like her and agree with her philosophy).

Anyhoo, I guess all I can do is go out there and be honest about Granite and myself and hope that she will end up making a good addition to our team! Plus, I think the pre-show jitters are part of what I used to love about competing. This is sort of the same, just cheaper, so I'll take it!

I went to visit the boy tonight after work. It was just getting dark but the moon was high and almost full and they sky was clear, so I ran a brush over the filthy thing and picked his hooves then threw my helmet and his bridle on and hurried out to the arena for a little bareback ride. It was nice. It hurt my back like no tomorrow. But he was cooperative and we even cantered some (have you seen his canter? phew. I may be sore tomorrow). It was a nice way to unwind at the end of the week.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Let there be photos... 1st ride of 2012

Well, good news. TK got a camera for Christmas. Considering the Mr. Gran Man has personally broken 2 cameras and my purse did Tyler's previous one in, it was much needed. I even dragged his butt out to the barn on Monday to take a few photos!

Nothing too impressive, but here are some photos!

I've found that lunging with sidereins for about 15 minutes before my ride helps 
Granite to warm up and work the kinks out before I get on and we just get in an argument.

It's mildly depressing to see how quiet he goes in the sidereins verses reins in my hands. 
I guess my hands are not nearly as quiet as I would like to believe. 

 Lazy, sweet boy. 

It was a less than mediocre ride, but I can't blame poor Granite. Between the holidays, traveling, 
and the lack of sunlight, lights, or an indoor, he was only ridden about 4 times in December. 

 Barn Owner's husband did give me a Christmas present... JUMPS! He had a bunch stashed in the barn loft and a few weeks ago he asked if I would like some... uh, YEAH!

Lesson is Saturday... nervous and so excited! Because the trainer is at our barn at least twice a week and has barn-sat for our Barn Owner a few time, she knows Granite and rumor has it that she can't wait to see him go and to get on him. I just hope she isn't sorely disappointed. 

Really Granite?

Oh boy oh boy. They keep telling me he won't be grown until he's 7... but I'm starting to wonder when "silly baby horse" translates into "mildly mentally handicapped" grown horse!

He lost a belly strap on his Wug, so I dropped it off with a friend to repair. And then we had the coldest night of the year. Our Saintly barn owner volunteered an ancient wool blanket that is too big for any of her horses (and consequently STILL too small for the big grey guy). And on night 1 of borrowing it.... well, you see what happened. SIGH. I should buy stock in blankets (and leg wraps) as many as this horse manages to destroy.

In other news. We have our FIRST lesson with a new trainer, Heather, on Saturday. We STILL love Jen the best, but now that Granite and I have moved, we are just too far away! So Jen is our go-to on speed-dial person to call for advice, and I will try to take at least 1 lesson a month this year with Heather (see my updated goals tab above). Heather is our Barn Owner (and other 2 boarders') trainer. I know very little about her except that they love her and she has a couple good reviews floating around on Google. She seems to be excited about working with Granite and I. And I am excited to get some perspective on his potential and aptitude now that hes a bit older. You never know, she may tell me that he will NEVER be able to jump his way out of a wet paper bag and that we should really invest in a dressage saddle. I'm open to anything actually.

Hope everyone had a wonderful holiday and are geared up for an exceptional 2012.