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.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Movin a Mack Truck

Like trying to move mack truck! Couldn't even get lateral flexion. I did it approximately 30 times all using phases with the carrot stick. He would even lick, but never give his head to me without going through the phases. Whats a girl to do?

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Carrot Stick Riding

Played with Gizmo a little before riding and he got straddling the pole almost instantly. We did it on a small pole first because I haven't done it in a while, then we progressed to the telephone pole size log. Got it, we moved on to figure eight. Online first, then I took off the lead rope to see what I had. He have me 3 revolutions at the trot at liberty. Not bad, huh? Very proud of that. Our liberty really doesn't exist because I have no round pen. Sometimes I play with it in the pasture. His sideways with speed along a fence would have probably made Pat Parelli fuss me. We rode with carrot stick today because I don't do enough of it. I'm always doing the pattern follow the rail and million transitions. It seems to me that I do that an awful lot and we still don't have it, ha! Gizmo was introverted today. It is funny to me how he changes. We did indirect turns that led to direct turns. He did very nice but very slow. He went into the canter from the trot, but I asked for it while we were walking. More practice on that! Lately I've been asking him to lope for longer periods, like one full lap around the arena, today we went one and a half and I cut through the middle and kept him in the smaller circle. He didn't have any problems with it. He didn't turn with my body today like I thought. I had to go to the phase 4 of the carrot stick almost everytime. I'm figuring he was so introverted today because I saw him and Can Do in the pasture for about 30 min playing dominance games. They were doing a lot of cutting up and running. He was probably whooped from that. Who knows!

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Gizmo's Week

We played online and Gizmo was sooo introverted, however, I did get the trot on the figure eight. It was such a beautiful, cool day and the sun was so warm. I was actually feeling kind of lazy myself. His change of direction going from the right to the left needs a little improvement. I really like how he is letting me halter him and bridle him. He is seeking the bit with his lips. Guess I'd do it too if I liked molasses. This was all in preparation to ride. I cannot do too much ground work as far as circling game when I want to ride because he fizzles out. I have to save that energy for the saddle. After saddling, I took it very slow. I wanted to do a follow up from yesterdays ride.We did phases at the walk and trot seeing how little I could do to get him to turn when I wanted. At first, he was not so great, so I picked up the carrot stick. This seemed to bring him more life just knowing that I had it. Soon after, his life came back down. Not sure what that was about! It was just a small bit of life anyway. After making some turns around the cones, he started to turn with just my body. I only did a couple and got my happy butt off of him. Didn't want to drill him. I'm hoping that this will make my ride better for tomorrow, right Linda! Forgot completely to do backup, but did some indirect turns leading into a direct turn and he did it, very slowly I might add! Oh, I forgot to mention that we worked on fig. 8 at liberty. He did it! I need to incorporate more liberty into my program.

Friday, March 2, 2012


We reviewed what it means to respect me. He remembered farely quickly, ha! Rode freestyle and patterns and when he was responding I quit. He is picking up the lope from the trot very well. He has trouble maintaining gait though. Both of my Parelli horses have no stamina. Whats up with that? I will start building distance of the lope gradually with both of them starting with a half of a lap. They should be able to do that. His backing got more responsive with the mecate going back and forth on his shoulders. Wake up, I say! Gizmo is just like my youngest son. After riding Can Do lately, Gizmo's lope is very comfortable


My week riding Can Do has turned into about 3 weeks, not riding everyday though. Since I've decided to bring her to my next clinic, I've been trying to get her in shape. She really is looking nice right now and not like Ms. Piggy! I brought her to a friends barn yesterday and we worked on cantering. At first it wasn't pretty. Maintain direction and fast trotting were the result. My friend, who is an experienced rider, was in the middle of the arena coaching me the entire time. She was hard on me and I needed it. In the end, Can Do was picking up the canter from a walk. I am trilled and couldn't sleep last night because of this accomplishment. I have it in me to be really good, I just need private coaching, lol! Maintaining the canter is my next mountain. Can Do hasn't been ridden much in ten years and doesn't have much stamina. I am going to get her in shape and we are going to be great together. I am going to start cantering in my millions of transitions program and start to ask for longer distances slowly. I can also do this online! Yesterday I had a BFO about how much our horses dominate us in the minute things that they do that I never really paid much mind to. For example, moving one more step after you ask for the halt, or getting in my personnal space when on the ground. If I am ever to be the leader, I need to start paying attention to these little things, the little things that I never even noticed before yesterday. Do not get me wrong, my horses are not running me over or anything, I'm talking about the little step backs that I do on a regular basis and things like that. You don't know what you don't know, but now I'm starting to have conscience competience. Yeah me! I also learned to keep Can Do out in the circle. While we were loping (cantering) she would try and turn into the middle of the circle where all of my friends were. They were all mounted on their horses and watching the 'big show'. She would also break down into the trot. My coach, Lucy, fussed me and told me to lift my inside rein and use my inside leg to push her back out. DO NOT LET HER TROT! Yes ma'm! What I was doing, which wasn't effective, was using a direct rein, the outside one, to pull her out. Hello, doesn't Pat say not to pull your horses? He says to push them, so that is what I did. And it worked!