Friday, June 29, 2012

Feeling Some Improvement - Finally!

Gizmo has been improving slowly. I can feel more try with him and I'm really excited about it. At the Equi-Trek competition this weekend, I was complemented by a few people that didn't know us how he tries really hard for me. I needed to hear this, because he is so arguementative some times. It made me look at him with different eyes. At home, he does so well with transitiions from my body. When I go to clinics or different places this poses problems sometimes. I'm realizing that it is me causing this. I probably ride differenty due to anxiety or nerves. Big BFO! This morning we practiced transitions, of course, figure of 8, follow the rail, moving front end, moving back end, and indirect turns. We started the question box for the first time. I was always hesitant about question box because Gizmo doesn't like circles. Well, it's time. He did better than I thought he would! We stopped almost everytime we were in the box. The times we didn't, I made sure I kept my body in the "we are moving through this time" mode. He did what he was supposed to do. It made me smile! He is really starting to put the brakes on when I ask for the whoa. For some reason his indirect turns are broken. He gets stuck in the middle. We did some of those and I quit when I had a flowing turn. I feel that he knows what to do, but is arguing with me. We will keep at it! Sometimes I have more movement from front and back end turns, and today, he was very sticky. Not sure what I'm doing wrong. We should have this by now. I'll be using the crop next time I ride for a thunk, Thunk, THUNK! Wake up America!!!!!!!!

Monday, June 18, 2012

Trail Clinic

I will need to do a better job of keeping up with Gizmo's wall! This weekend, he and I attended a local trail clinic. It wasn't a Parelli clinic, but I knew the instructor and he is very kind to his horses. We had a blast and I think the instructor did too! One of the things we worked on that was challenging for me was to lope out in a big field alone away from the others. Gizmo likes to race and it is funny how he has much less go when he is alone. I felt the others pulling us back in, but I kept him out there. Another challenge was to go swimming in a lake. The other horses had to actually swim, but Gizmo was so tall that we just walked around. I loved that challenge and have been wanting to do that for a long time. He had no problem at all with going in the water. The puddle at the beginning of the day was much more challenging. The instructor had the same thing to say about Gizmo and I as my Parelli instructor - Gizmo does not see me as leader in the saddle and argues with me a lot (and that I am not assertive enough). I do see us improving, but it is a snails pace. I'm taking it all in and working on getting my good, better, best! This weekend I will be attending a trail challenge similar to ACTHA. We will be putting our skills to the test, but just for fun. If I think of it as a competition, I will get really nervous and choke up. I will be enjoying myself riding with friends and improving my horsemanship at the same time.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Improvement Needed!

Rode Gizmo after a week off because of weather and Easter holidays. He seemed exactly where we left off with no improvement like usual. Can't seem to move forward on him. I'm attending a clinic at the end of April and those always help. If it wouldn't be for those I'd probably be still riding in hackamore! Backing is slow but happening, direct turns are still going to to a soft phase four of using rein and sometimes he turns on a phase two, indirect turns are good some days and not so good on others, transitions are pretty good in arena, not as good on trail, figure 8 sucks! My next session I will do passenger lesson for a bit to remind him of how harmony feels then we will do figure 8's. I'm feeling the need for improvement right about now! Haven't done much online lately because I cannot ask for circles online and then expect him to move very much in arena. I've got to keep the edge on him or I'll tire him out. When I do online though, he is very responsive to me. We just haven't made too much progress getting to a higher level. One thing to add is that his saddling at home is sooooo good. When I take him to places, because he goes a little right brained, he seems to be a different horse. I need to really pay attention to this at new places and get him with me more before I saddle him. I need to take the time it takes so that it takes less time. He'll probably see me more as a leader also. Oh, forgot to mention that we are improving on follow the rail. He will try and come off sometimes, but I definately see progress on that pattern. Yipeeeee!

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Equi-Trek Competition

Gizmo and I have been a very busy team. I competed in an Equi-Trek competition with Gizmo this weekend and we placed 9th out of 20 riders. Not bad! I hate competition, but my friends convinced me to take a go at it so I did. It was very rewarding and I'm glad we did it. We rode 7 miles on Friday and 7 miles on Saturday. We went through ravines, bogs, over logs, and through creeks. We were airborne for all of the ravines, so I know I need to get that fixed. All of the other obstacles I just need to practice. The last obstacle was backing around a tree, and accomplishing that one made my whole day. We also need to work on his impulsion on the trail. He has way too much go and not enough whoa. Very different in the arena! He wants to race every horse and also be up their butts. If a horse in front of him gets out of sight, he goes nuts. I have a lot of work ahead of me. By the way, I just recieved my scorecard from the judges and they gave me a plus score for my backing around the tree. What a surprise. I am very proud to have accomplished that obstacle. I remembered a video of Pat helping a girl on Parelli Puzzles and it all came back to me. I needed to look to the outside instead of the inside like most people do. You need to look where you need the hips to go! I used the outside leg and viola, he did it. I had to overcompensate twice because he turned a little too much, but I did it and that is all that matters. I loved the trail competition. I've always wanted to do it but would have never done it if it weren't for Lucy. Thank You Lucy. I hope to be as good as her one day!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Gizmo's First Beach Trip

Took Gizmo to the beach today not knowing what to expect. In the past, it has taken me a liitle while to get him off of adrenaline at new places, but then seems to settle down. It wasn't like that today. When I hand walked him over the levee to the beach he did his little snorts every time he took a breath. I was wondering what in the heck he was thinking. We stopped and let him take it all in on the way to the surf, and at the surf, took our time checking it out. It only took about 5 minutes for him to walk in. His curiosity is almost in the extreme catagory even if he is scared. When the white wave would roll in, he'd back up, then go in again. We never went deeper than his mid shin. I ended up taking off my boots, but my jeans, which were rolled up, got wet way up to my mid thigh. Everything went great with that so we saddled up. That was a different ball game. I couldn't get him in the water after that until we came across Gary Boquet, a trainer in my area, and I asked him to go in the surf before me to see if Gizmo would follow in. He did! I have never felt quickness in Giz like i did when he tried to get away from the waves coming in. But, he was right back in there waiting for the next wave to move away from that one. It was awesome. Felt like I was on a cutting horse! After the trainer left, it was back to being a chicken. I never pushed the issue. I'll just bring him back and build on what we accomplished.
As far as the rest of the ride, he was very extroverted. If I would have let him, he would have galloped off into the sunset. Never went there. I used partial disengagement to keep him at a walk or trot. Also tried steady rein, but that was ineffective today. After a while, his head came down and we were our old selves again. Every now and then, he would feel like speeding up, but it wasn't bad. He cracks me up in the way he has such a short attention span. After settling down and being the good little horse, he seemed to all of a sudden say, 'this is boring now, think i'll cut up a bit and make this ride more interesting'. He would pick on the other two horses on the ride. Then speed up, and slow down. I'd take him in circles trotting around everyone to occupy him and when things were going good for me, he'd start acting like a 3 year old child again. He is so funny! Every new thing we would come across, like a beach umbrella, a lounge chair, a beach tent, etc. he would have to go check it out. It was like the item had a magnet on his nose. I'm chalking that up as a good quality to have, especially a trail horse, which is what I do most of. I just let him smell, then we were off again. Had a really fun day, and I hope to go back soon. We probably logged in 7 or 8 miles.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Back to Gizmo Already!

Back to Gizmo even if it isn't his week, Can Do was limping. I'm starting to put two and two together and figured the only reason she is mine is because she probably has some old injury that keeps popping up. Everytime I get going with her this happens. I'm not even pushing her. I'm talking a couple of laps around the arena trotting and loping. Anyway, Gizmo and I worked on sideways with me in z 2, but us doing sideways together, kind of like a stick to me. I think he caught on, but it was just the first day. We also played with straddling the pole which he had no problem with. Then I moved on to the larger pole and it took a little time. After he got it, we moved on. His cod to the left is still a bit sticky. Practiced it just a little today after I saddled him. We rode with the carrot stick to start out. Lateral flexion, stopping on the rail at a walkk, stopping on the rail at a trot. He does good with stopping from my seat so that wasn't an issue. Then I started the indirect turn to the rail without using my reins. He became a little confused but I hung in there. I also was applied pressure with my leg before I used the stick. He gave me some nice turns and some not so nice. I do find him turning with my seat more than he ever has, so we are improving. He is definately my sacrificial lamb!!!!

Monday, March 12, 2012

Back on Can Do This Week!

Started off on Can Do's week today! She picked up where we left off. We left off with a trip to Lucy's where we had a private clinic on loping, lol! Lucy, Nancy, and Mary parked their horses in the middle of a large circle and had me lope or try to lope Can Do around the cones. At first it was like a joke. Can Do had my number and knew exactly what she could get away with. Not for long though, because I had Coach Lucy on my side. She made me Can Do's leader. It was awesome! After that, I had a new concept to work with at home. I really felt like I walked away with some leadership that day. In the end, Can Do was loping from a walk. I felt proud. The session today went pretty good although couldn't get the left lead. The longest we loped was one lap of arena. I will start from there and try and extend her cardio workout. Million transitions went pretty well. I'm not sure why, but I do a lot of this pattern. I like the fact that my horses go or whoa with my seat. It works in the arena anyway! She backed better than Gizmo, but her head was elevated somewhat. We will practice that this week. Supposed to be going to the beach on Wednesday, yeah! Can Do didn't seem to have issues with going to the other end of the arena today. Also, She straddled the pole fairly quickly online before we started. We had been having a little problem with moving the hind end over the pole the last couple of times.