Monday, October 27, 2008

Pictures from the Costume Class

We didn't really get any pictures of each other, but we did get some pictures of the costume class.

Showing at a Play Day

Our local ETI Corral had a Play Day last Saturday. Ranae and I were up early, spruced up the horses and trailered out to the same place we ride along the river. They have two very large arenas, so after registering I took Jessie into one and did some groundwork. She was more than distracted and we did some LFR II and backing and side-passing. I didn't want to get her too worked up because we were in a halter class right off the bat.

We got cleaned up for that and the class had at least 15 horses in it. We took fifth, not bad. The rest of the classes for the next hour were either bareback (she was too distracted for that) or English so we worked in the free arena. I thought a good exercise would be the stop-at-Whoa.. she wasn't really paying attention and she got turned into the rail quite a bit. Then she started getting pissy and she actually bucked some. I had put my spurs on because I thought it would help me get her attention. When she bucked I stuck her pretty good with both spurs by accident and she jumped again. It surprised us both. I worked on walking her around, and trotting, then did some serpentine exercises. I tried to lope her and she kept speeding up, so I would break her down and start again. She didn't much care for that and she gave another little buck.

It was pretty warm here, in the 80's, and I walked her around the arena quite a bit. Then we went over to the other horses by the gate to watch some of the English classes, and then I tied her to the trailer for about 30 minutes.

There was the Western Pleasure classes. We did the walk/trot and Ranae and Dusty got 3rd, and then she got a 2nd in the equitation, and she got one other that I'm not sure of. We pretty much just had fun going around the arena with the other horses. Jessie's trot was pretty fast. Her walk was probably too fast as well.

We did the ribbon pairs. I turned the wrong way and we were out. And, we did the Trot race, and got passed by a girl doing the prettiest extended trot.

It was about 2:30 and we were getting a bit worn out. Ranae had survived a Dusty kick up during her warm-up. It was pretty big. She managed to stay on thankfully. she was riding two-handed and it took forever for her to get a one-rein stop. I was about 50yds away and helpless. She thinks it was the lack of groundwork before leaving for the show. They hadn't done anything all week and both of them were pretty full of themselves.

Sunday's ride was to our usual neighborhood haunts. We did do a long trot and Jessie and I did some loping. They both seemed pretty tired from the show and were very compliant.

This morning I was up early and did about a 30 min GW session with Jessie. It was just getting light. She did pretty good. There are some barrels where we are forced to work now and I had her jumping those. She is getting much better at it.

Probably won't be much until the weekend and the weatherman is predicting rain....

Monday, October 20, 2008

More on the Clover

Tennis is another of my hobbies and I played in a tournament over the weekend. Not having played singles competitively (if I ever did) for quite some time, this wasn't the smartest move on my part. I had to play Friday night and squeaked out a win which only meant I had to play Saturday at noon. Ranae was on a girl's weekend and would be home on Sunday morning. There was a horse show at the fairgrounds I was hoping to at least stop by, and, to start my Saturday morning our TiVo took a dump, so I had to figure out what I was going to do about that.

The tennis match was at noon. I lost this one, thankfully, because most of my body parts were hurting and it was hot. It had to be in the high eighties. Anyway, I showered and headed to the fairgrounds. They were doing a trail class, which I watched for about 40 minutes. Boy, those horses move slow. Then, back across town to get the TiVo replacement.

By the time I got home it was 4:30. I gave the horses some hay and went in to get me something to eat. Got Jessie's GW done and tacked up. Instead of going out alone, I was still sore and tired from my earlier exertions, we went out back to do some exercises. After a little warm-up, I set the cone up in the middle and trotted the four-leaf clover exercise. We've done this exercise pretty good at the trot. We've done ONE revolution at the lope in each direction, but that's had to be two months ago (I'd know for sure if I tagged my blog entries). So Jessie has "done" it, but she didn't really have it completely down. With all the loping we've done in the past few weeks I was anxious to see how she would react. She did pretty darn good. We went around three times in each direction. A couple of times her circles got a bit out of whack, but for the most part she turned when I asked her (that had been the biggest problem) and she kept her speed relaxed.

Sunday's ride was nicely quiet. We went out to the big square we erected last weekend and trotted a square and then loped, only this time we did a circle around each corner. By now the few remaining body parts that had not been sore decided to speak up so we headed home. We had ridden a couple of hours and once again it was fairly warm out, so when we got home they got a a bath and we sat in the garden sipping adult beverages.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

My Dog Max

Max is my 7 year old Australian Shepard. We spend just about everyday together. We made a video showing a "Day in the Life".


Monday, October 13, 2008

A Different Perspective

Opps. I just hit post, so it's going to show up empty until I post this....

Saturday afternoon's ride was a couple of hours. It has cooled down considerably and there was actually a little bit of frost on the ground early in the morning. The horses were fresh and we did some trotting. We went the reverse direction we usually go to change things up. They both behaved quite well even thought the wind was blowing and there were many "scary" things.

We were trying to decide what we wanted to work on. Sometimes it's just nice to go out and do nothing, but we have a commitment to at least TRY something to keep it interesting for the horses. We worked our way to one of our regular stomping grounds and found a nice open area. I got off and grabbed a couple of plastic pipe ends that were laying around and we made a big rectangle. It was at least 30 yards on the long side and probably 15 yards on the short. Ranae and I started on diagonal corners and the goal was to lope the rectangle which meant picking up the correct lead, trying to keep our horse loping around the corners, and then traveling straight. Both horses did a very good job. Jessie was good at picking up the correct lead. She took some pretty wide turns, and going straight down the long sides was a bit of a challenge. However, on the second lap I could see a light bulb come on and she seemed to have realized the goal. The third lap was pretty good. Going the other direction was a breeze. As soon as we made the first turn she made the connection and the three laps in that direction were very easy. I could work on my seat and leg position without worrying too much which direction she was going.

Sunday morning was pretty chilly so we worked around the house and waited until the afternoon. We headed down the canal that runs next to the feedlot and asked the horses to go by the cows. It's pretty scary seeing all those black and whites running around. We got by and did a long loop and on the way back there were a couple of men out there with a stick and plastic bag moving the calves. This was very scary looking and took a bit more coercing to get them by. After we passed them we did a little approach and retreat to the cows until both of them were relaxed.

On the way home Dusty that I find it a bit annoying. In the wind (it was still breezy) you really can't hear unless you're right next to each other. I told Ranae that I thought Dusty walked faster for me when we went out alone a month ago. She said it probably just seemed that way, so I suggested we switch horses and see. She said ok, which kinda surprised me. It's very interesting to see someone else on my horse. It's actually very good to get a new perspective. Dusty is pretty easy to ride, but I couldn't really get him to go much faster. I also had to deal with her split reins instead of my mecate. We did some trotting side-by-side and she even loped Jessie a little bit. She was pretty amazed at the size of Jessie's trot (it's pretty much all I know). We had fun all the way home driving each others' ride.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

I'm a Volunteer Junky

But it does pay off occasionally. Clinton's DVD's were decent pay for two days work. For the last three years I've volunteered for Equine Affaire, Pomona. I use it as kind of a vacation. Ranae is after me to take time off, so I take a few days, go down to Pomona (about 2 hours away) and rub shoulders with some horse people. It's pretty easy work. After gas, hotel, and food it's still ends up being a pretty inexpensive weekend getaway. Well, this year they are actually going to hire me to work the event. Not sure of all the details yet as far as money and lodging goes but, since I was getting nothing before it has to be an improvement. The big difference is I'll be there most of the week from Tuesday - Sunday and the hours are brutal 8am - 9 pm. The people who work for EA are great. Everyone is professional, patient, polite and easy to get along with (which is saying something for the long hours they put in). The 2009 show is going to have Chris Cox, Craig Cameron's Extreme Cowboy Race, Mark Rashid, and Julie Goodnight. I'm hopeful I'll still get to peek in on many of the demonstrations.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Darkness Comes Early

We managed to squeeze a few rides in over the weekend. Saturday it was blustery and sprinkled on and off in the morning before it cleared enough to get a few hours riding in the afternoon. The horses were "spunky" to say the least. I put a tom thumb bit in Jessie and rode her around out back. I was trying to be very gentle with her, really I was, but she was a bit pissy about the whole ordeal. I switched to the snaffle for the ride.

We did some of our trotting exercises and did a lope around about a 75 yard track made by some dirt bikes. I think this is fun because there are a few "S" turns and I can try and change leads and, again, the one supplying all the power was less than fully committed and we had to do it a couple of times to get it right.

Sunday was overcast and we went out to try some long trotting. I had my GPS on and we tried to go for a mile at a trot. The city farm we were riding on has bees set up in a few areas and we happened to run into both of them. The longest trot ended up being about .8 mile.

My body position is getting better at the lope. I can feel myself worrying less about Jessie and more about where my hands, feet and shoulders are. She's getting better with her lope too. I probably asked for it about 10-15 times during a two hour ride. Some of the lopes are only twenty yards or so, some are longer. There are times she picks up the correct lead (the one I ask for) almost every time.

The days are getting short and it's hard to fit in all the stuff I want to do...