Monday, November 23, 2009

It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like...

...well...spring actually. The MSN forecast says it may be 80 on Thanksgiving Day.

It was cloudy and looked like rain on Saturday. Ranae wants to apply for the Ride with the Best program at Equine Affair in February. She wants to do the Matt Sheridan clinic on Trail Classes. We had to shoot some video for the audition. I'm not real crazy about her doing this. Her horse has a reputation for dumping her when he gets in a tight spot and with costumes, carriages, and strange looking horses, the place is rife with tight spots. Nevertheless a husband's role is to support his spouse and, after airing my concerns, we went out and shot some footage.

We set up the gate, cones, a tarp, a tire pull, and a backup "L" and worked shooting each obstacle. After we finished, it was too late to go for a ride so, I took Jessie back there and we worked on our exercises. We are accumulating the loping miles. She is so much easier now to control. I worked on our nemesis the bending at the walk and back-up exercises trying to use as little pressure as possible. That's tough. We also worked on the side-pass at the fence.

Sunday we waited until it warmed up a bit before heading out. We did a basic ride out to the alfalfa field to work on some exercises and then to the big square for some loping fun. We set out some 13" pipes from a construction zone and played with "jumping" over those.

Ranae is on vacation this week. Not sure if I'll get to ride too much with family in town. If not, I'm sure Jessie could use the time off ;>)

Monday, November 16, 2009

More Loping

The weekend weather held up nicely. It was clear and in the high 60's. We went out Saturday afternoon and after working our exercises in the alfalfa field we headed off down the canal. Jessie is improving a little every time. Her lope is getting slower and more easy to control. She's learning to bend more as well.

We also did some loping at the big square (the area we have marked out at a housing development that hasn't been started on yet) Her left lead was pretty ugly and we had to do it twice, but the right lead was very good. We rode for two plus hours getting home just before sunset and the temperature was dropping fast.

Sunday we stayed out back and played with the big ball, rope, cones, and a little jump. When Ranae and I first started riding together we had seen a Craig Cameron exercise where you trot a circle side-by-side and toss a baton back and forth. Ranae and I hadn't yet done that on Dusty and Jessie so I got a two foot piece of PVC and we gave it a try. It's the kind of exercise that forces you to focus on something else (tossing the baton) instead of your riding. It was fun. We were even able to do it at the canter which was quite the thing to get those two to lope side-by-side. We probably were out there for a couple of hours just messing around and having fun. Jessie was getting better at kicking the ball and she even had a pretty good jump over a low rail.

Monday, November 2, 2009

It's November, Right?

It's was in the eighties here over the weekend and we were able to have two really fun rides over the weekend. We just stayed in the neighborhood, but we got to work on some loping and steering. Jessie is getting better at bending and her loping is becoming much more controlled.

Sunday we practiced loping side-by-side which has always ended up turning into a race, but the horses stayed relatively calm during the lope and almost even. The night before we had watched Tom Dorrance on Larry Mahan's show on RFD. Larry was riding and Tom instructed Larry to give the release by dropping the reins and folding his arms over his chest. Well, I had to try this. Only I dropped my mecates and folded my arms and then I asked Jessie to trot. I kept my hands off the reins as we trotted down the canal bank. She got a little close to the edge and I was tempted to pick up and then decided to trust her. I sat and with my arms folded she broke to a walk (which is what I wanted), then a few steps later I sat deeper and said "Whoa" and she stopped and backup up a step.

We did it again and I asked for a lope. It was even scarier asking for a lope without holding on to anything and I could feel her ask, "Are you sure?" I gave her a cue and off we went. She was nice and calm. Again she got close to the edge (it's about a 5 foot drop off). We loped about 20 yards and I sat to bring her to a walk and then we did it on the other lead. We tried it a little later out in the middle of an open field and I tried to steer with my legs but she pointed herself for home and my leg cues fell on deaf ears. I picked up the reins to turn her and dropped them again and she stayed in that direction which I thought was pretty cool.

It was a very nice ride. We were out there in short sleeves and it was almost warm. It is November, right?