Friday, August 29, 2008

A Little Groungwork...A Little Liberty

Our store closes at 5:30, so no matter how quickly I get home, time with Jessie in the evenings is quite limited. The last two nights I've gone out and done groundwork. It's still ubber-hot (104 today), but I think it helps because she is really looking for the rest.

I have this "Caution Wet Paint" yellow tape (it looks like crime scene tape)that I use to close off one of the corners and make our area just a bit more manageable for liberty. Jessie does pretty well with it, but the gate is on the other side of the tape. Last night I had neighbors on both sides wanting to talk. Sorry folks, I've got maybe 40 minutes of light left, I don't want to be rude, but can I hear about your vacation some other time I really need to focus here? Of course I didn't say any of that, I just kept working Jessie. We were doing circles and yielding and she left me and really leaned on the tape, I applied some pressure and she broke through (it's only like 2 mil thick). She headed for the gate and this really tickled both neighbors judging by their very clever observations. I managed to keep my cool and walked over to Jessie (where she was nibbling on hay leftover from the pen's occupant), yielded her hindquarters, gave her the signal to lead beside and she followed me back to our work area. The neighbor with the horses dropped his jaw when he saw her walking calmly beside me while I reset the tape and then continued working. I was smiling on the inside.

We did a few more exercises and then I want to try and jump some barrels. Clinton has a video on YouTube that is 3:24 and, hey, I've got ten minutes of light left, what the hell. She found it much easier to kick the barrels out of the way, but after about ten minutes she made a couple of good jumps and we had to call it quits.

We are ready for the 3-day weekend. Hope to get in a river ride on Saturday, family on Sunday. Hope y'all have a good weekend.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Life Keeps Getting in the Way of My Riding

I was shaving Thursday last and I felt a wetness by my feet. The bathroom sink valve had sprung a leak. We decided to change the whole faucet and vanity, so over the weekend I got to finish installing the waterer (which came out very nice, I might add) and struggle with the 60 year old bathroom plumbing.

We did get a short ride in on Saturday. It was one of those nice, relaxing, don't-do-too-much-I'm-hot-and-tired rides. Jessie was kind enough to oblige. Sunday we went out back when the girls took off and we loped some circles and picked up leads. She is getting so much better. We did some bending and side-passing which, for some reason isn't quite as sharp as I think it should be. She moves off my left leg with some real quickness though. I had my spurs on for the first time in a long time and I think that helped.

It is supposed to be hot all week again. The weatherman actually said this on the radio this morning, "Look for a heat wave the next four days and here's the good news: our air quality will be in the "poor" range instead of "unhealthful"." Yeah, right, good news...

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Ignorance is bliss

Here's the pre-moved stack of hay. Notice the smile on my face. I had no idea what I was in for.

Concrete mixes well at 104 degrees

It was hella hot over the weekend (note use of the word hella to demonstrate hip, cool, and knowledge of today's youth culture), so I thought it would be a good time to install our new Ritchie waterer. We had had a couple of cheap stall waterers and Jessie would crib on them or their supply line and I'm hoping this will permanently solve the problem.

The Ritchie folks recommend installing their product on a cement slab and bringing the supply line from underneath. Saturday morning was a perfect time to get started and I moved the PVC lines, set up the concrete forms just in time to start mixing concrete about 2 PM - the hottest part of the day) (note the lack of good judgment and common sense demonstrating senility and dementia generally associated with geriatric culture).

Oh, and Jessie was a BIG help. I moved some panels to keep her out of the way, but every time I left a shovel too close or a 2 x 4 in reach she was right there to "hold it for me".

I finished around 6 and took a quick shower and we went for a short ride. We are mostly working on transitions right now. She walked out with her head on swivel again and that just annoys the hell out of me. After an afternoon in the sun I wasn't interested in getting into a fight, so every time she would look anywhere except forward I would trot her and when she looked straight I would let her walk.

Sunday, Ranae was back from vaykay and we did some afternoon gw and went for another short ride. This was the first ride on Dusty since she got dumped back in July. She did very well - loped him a couple of times.

This morning Jessie and I went out early. We did some trotting and loping. The morning was cool and the sun was just coming up as what's left of the moon was still high in the sky. It was a very nice morning.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Playing with my new video editor

It's back in the 100's hot here. We rode Wednesday morning from 6am to 7am. She's getting much better about getting out, getting our stuff done, and getting back. We did a lot of trotting and tried to do quite a few transitions.

I got a new video editor and so I made a movie with all the exercises from GR&CG series I. It's amazing how many mistakes I still see in my techniques.

Here's the video:

And, yes, I should be working instead of playing with the new video software, but this is more fun.

I got a Ritchie Waterer for Jessie which I hope to install over the weekend. They suggest you build a concrete foundation. Oh boy, cement mixing, my favorite. Maybe I'll make a video!

Monday, August 11, 2008

Wait, Was That a Bolt?

Ranae left Saturday for her annual girls trip. This year they are in Jackson Hole, Wy. We have a friend who knows a farmer and we talked about getting a harrow bed of hay. He delivered it on Saturday afternoon. The truck couldn't fit into my yard and they had to drop it on the driveway, so I got to spend my first day alone moving 88, 125 lb bales in 5 pickup loads to the back of my yard. Having no strong friends, I had to rely on my ipod to get me by. It's pretty good alfalfa and with hay prices what they are, I think we got a good price. Who knows, maybe my neighbors will want some and I can make a small profit.

Sunday, after crawling out of bed sore from head to toe, I had breakfast and decided to go for a ride. We headed to our usual area and totted most of the way. I worked on some transitions from trot to walk and walk to canter. Once out in our practice field, we worked on picking up the correct lead and holding the canter. It was pretty hot and we got a few good ones in and headed for home.

We were walking between two fields the road was twenty five feet or so. The corn on one side was six feet high, on the other it was six inches. We got to a place where an irrigation pipe had broken and the had dug a big hole to patch it. We've been through this before and had done our rollback into it. Jessie looked worried so I decided we needed to do it again. The side between the high corn and the pile of dirt left us about a 10 feet wide narrow path. There were some farm workers on a tractor with a tank about 30 yards away. We had gone around the spooky hole in both directions and making just one last past through the narrow part. Jessie's butt was to the tractor when, all of a sudden, it was like a semi release the air brakes - Whoosh!

What happened next probably took less than five seconds. First, it scared the crap out of both of us and I know my legs clamped. The first stride was about 15 feet, I took my legs off and while she usually slows down, I could feel her speeding up. I thought (and this seems strange to me), "Well, if I come off at least it's in some soft dirt", as she headed for the short-corn field. Then, I felt my hand slide down, pull on one rein and say "Whoa". As she stopped and her nose touched my boot I remembered every single dollar I've spent at DUH and thought, "This is paying off better than a hundred shares of IBM." I flexed her a couple of times. We went around the spooky hole a couple more times and then headed for the farm tractor. I knew it could probably make that noise again at any time and it did. We were about fifty yards away and somewhat shielded by the sound and Jessie didn't even flinch.

It's real close to the two year anniversary of Tex tossing my off. I remember that time I didn't say "whoa", and I didn't use the ORS. So, if nothing else, I'm making some progress too.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

A Little Heinz 57

Time for some catchup...

We rode out alone on Saturday evening for a short one. There was a lot of stuff going on around the neighborhood (it was Saturday night after all) and Jessie was trying to check everything out. We worked our way through it and when we got out a bit and I still didn't have her attention, I started the serpentine exercise. I like to use this when she's not paying attention and it usually brings her around. She really doesn't like it and actually kicked up a bit for the first time that I can remember. We did it a bit longer and she finally came around. I think she might have been in season because she was pissy the whole ride. Oddly, we did the FTC exercise better than we ever have. Go figure.

Sunday we did some energetic GW. The neighbor invited me over to his arena with the promise he wouldn't try to tell how to do things. I went and we got to work on the clover pattern at the lope to the left before he started talking to me about his saddle and all sorts of other stuff. I find it incredibly difficult to talk (yell) while riding (he's at one of the arena on the ground). The guy is just a talker, what can I say? Jessie and I had some problems doing the clover to the right at the lope. I would have like to do more, I just didn't know how to politely fit it in. We were over there more than an hour and I doubt I got 30 minutes riding in.

Tuesday morning the farrier came at 6:30am. I got up to feed them at 5am and then cleaned up for work. I then took them both out back for 15 minutes of intensive ground work. Dusty did pretty good. The work Ranae has been doing is starting to show. He still was an ass for the farrier. He really leans on him. He was okay for the first two feet then I think he got really bored. Jessie was only mildly annoying and, because she was just getting a trim we didn't have to put up with it for too long. She's doing good going shoeless and, with all the riding we've got in, she's kept her feet short. I just wish they didn't have such a strong commitment to make me look bad in the eyes of the farrier.