Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Saddle Pad Cleaning

Last weekend we rode on Saturday evening out to the usual haunts. It was a warm but pleasant ride to end the day. We didn't do an awful lot of work. It was more of a "kick back" ride. We did one long trot of about a mile or so, then just had some fun.

Sunday, we tried some video taping. We used the middle of the day to avoid the shadows. It was hot. We rode out to the new "working" area and Ranae drove out to meet us. Jessie did great riding out alone. She walked past one of our "trouble" spots without hesitation.

When we got back I decided to clean the saddle pads and cinches. This, as it turns out, came out better than some of the riding videos we took. It's tough watching yourself. Don't get me wrong, I think it's good for me to see myself riding so I can improve, but sometimes it doesn't look as pretty as it feels. We'll work on it some more.

Here's our method of saddle pad cleaning in one minute forty-one seconds:

Friday, July 23, 2010

Sunset Ride in the Moonlight

The moon is in a good position for us to ride in the evening. It's also starting to cool off around sunset. Last night we had a cool breeze blowing which made it even more comfortable.

We had planned this night ride a little differently. I picked up some takeout food on the way home. Ranae had gotten home about 15 minutes before me and fed the horses. We had dinner and then saddled up. It was nice for a couple of reasons. One, we weren't hungry and two, we didn't have to worry about rushing home to have dinner.

We set out on a nice leisurely ride. First it was off to the alfalfa field for a little warm-up. The have scraped this field and the dirt is soft but it is uneven. Ranae likes loping in it more than I do, but it is a good place to warm-up.

Sunset Ride

From there it was down the far side of the canal bank. We trotted most of the way out. It's about a mile to Panama Lane.


After crossing Panama we rode around the canal and worked near these irrigation pipes that were stored there. If the horses clunked them they made quite a loud noise. We did some rollbacks, walkovers, and side-passing.



Ranae suggested we try a side-by-side lope and I thought it might be fun to try and get a video of it. Our first attempt was not very good. We were too close together. The second attempt was much better. I left the sound up and the wind noise is a bit annoying, but I love the sound of hooves pounding the ground. Jessie did very well with me riding with one arm stuck straight out trying to hold the camera steady. You can see the very nice style Ranae has at the lope.

From there it was a nice slow walk home as the moon rose high behind us.


It's amazing. The summer has just flown by. The days are starting to get shorter. We have to squeeze these rides in when we have an opportunity.

Monday, July 19, 2010

In the Summertime

It's hot. BUT, we didn't let that stop us from riding. Saturday morning I had scheduled a second stack of alfalfa to be delivered. It was a good price and, while I may have an excess now, I won't have to worry about making time to go pick it up.

Hay stack

Most of the rest of the day was dedicated to doing chores. About 4:30 we convinced ourselves it had cooled down (it hadn't) and there was a breeze blowing (there wasn't), so we saddled up and headed out swimming in our own delusions. We went out to the development. You may hear me call this a development, but since the housing bust, the area has gone to the weeds. In one housing track that was about half built it looked like they may have just recently graded an area about 200' x 400'. Viola! Our new arena. The footing was good and the ground was mostly level. We practiced loping squares and doing some of the exercises on RWC II, which I hope to video tape soon. I tucked my 3" x 5" index card in my saddle and tried to remember how to do all the exercises. Geesh, my memory is terrible. Jessie did well.

Sunday was equally hot and we didn't get a chance to go out in the morning, so that just meant more yard work. We have a lot of wasps this year. I passed some of the time trying to take a picture of them.


Max was nearby keeping an eye on me.

Max on a Summer afternoon

And Dusty was giving me the "Are you nuts?" look.


Sunday's ride was are usual route in reverse. We did some trotting along the canal, found some irrigation pipes to work on rollbacks next too, then loped for a bit at the new arena. The breeze was hardly a zephyr and it was still warm, so we kept it easy and headed back.

On a fly note:
We've been using fly predators for about three years now. They have helped reduce the population, but with our neighbor not using them it seems a bit futile at times. I had been picking up manure twice a week and I recently changed to picking it up once a day. It's sometimes hard to find the time, but it has really paid off in lowering the number of flys around our horses.

One more picture. At work, our neighbor has a cat. When she goes out on delivery he'll sneak out, then, because he can't get back in and it's 105 out back he yells to come into our store. I let him and the the guy tries to take up two chairs! What gratitude. Here's Tony the Tiger:

Tony the Tiger

Thursday, July 15, 2010

A Change of Pace

Temperatures are supposed to reach 107 by Sunday....I was up at 6 for a little work with Jessie. I thought it would be good to change it up a bit, so after a few exercises, we (or was it just me) just played around on the ground. I tried to teach her to side-pass along the fence toward me. That was easier than I thought. She picked up on it quickly.

I hopped on her bareback and with just the lead rope on one side, we rode around for a bit. Then I took everything off and she got to play at liberty. She was sticking close to me and we were hooked up really well, then she headed for the gate. She ran up and down the dry lot at full speed. Good golly, she is fast. Then she realized how hot it was and she was at risk to lose a pound or two. I got her trotting in a circle around me before letting her rest. I had laid a couple of barrels on their side and she jumped those in both directions. Then we did some leading beside off lead and she stayed right at my shoulder even through several direction changes. After that it was a little sensitizing before heading off to the wash rack and breakfast.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Me Thinks the Dogs Days Have Arrived

We had company visiting us over the weekend, on top of the fact I had to work on Saturday morning. Add to this that is was well over 100 degrees and extremely humid (for Calif), there was little riding time available. Saturday afternoon we even broke from tradition to escape to a movie theater for an afternoon of cool.

I knew if I was going to get a ride in it would have to be early Sunday morning. I got up around 5:45 and got ready. It was still hot. Jessie gave me the "You gotta be kidding me" look which entails her retreating to the farthest corner of her pen and "hiding" from me. Despite that, she still met me in the center of her pen and I took her out and got her ready to ride.

We mostly trotted. We also did many transitions from the walk to the trot and back to walk. The farmers were setting up a new field for irrigation and they have these portable pumps that make a lot of noise and leaked water out of a couple of different connections. Jessie stayed focused on me as we rode by. Once out on the development we loped and did a few rollbacks. We found a couple of obstacles to circle and then headed for home, trotting most of the way back. As we rode down the canal I would pick up on a rein and tip her nose as I pushed her shoulder in the other direction. And so we rode in diagonals back and forth across the canal road most of the way home. A ninety minute ride where we got a lot in.

She got a nice cool shower and a big breakfast when we got home...and so did I.

Monday, July 5, 2010

It's Hot

Saturday I had to arrange getting our stack of hay. I had them stack it behind the horse trailer which meant I had to pull the trailer out. Since I had it hooked up, I gave Jessie practice session on loading and unloading. She has improved quite a bit.

After the lesson I tied her up for half an hour, then gave her a bath. Later that afternoon we went out by ourselves. It was hot but there was a nice little breeze blowing and we were able to stay cool. A couple of mini-bikes passed us on the canal bank. These kids had a bit more energy about them and didn't really care there was a horse 3 feet from where they buzzed by. Jessie did great.

We did some loping out and around some open areas where the footing was good. We practiced some rollbacks. Man, she hates doing those. I gotta figure out a way to make that a better deal for her. I try to limit myself to two in each direction so she doesn't get resentful about having to do them. It was exactly a two hour ride.

I had left the truck and trailer hooked up and on Sunday we had another trailer loading session. I think it was good for her to go in it easily and then be returned to her pen. She's loading well, I also wanted to work on my cues.

Ranae got home in the afternoon and we went out to the development. There was less of a breeze blowing and it was hot. Being the 4th there was quite a bit more noise. Our neighborhood has a lot of illegal fireworks going off. Anyway, we still did some loping. We even did a little side-by-side loping which is always a lot of fun. Dusty will sometimes get a knot in his tail over having to lope next to Jessie, but this time he behaved himself.

Ranae was off today. I had to work. She'll have the horses ready to ride when I get home.

Side note: We got some free publicity in the local paper today. They have a feature they call "Conversations with..." and they featured...ME! Here's the link if you're interested.