Monday, February 28, 2011
Not much to report on the riding front, as it has been rainy and cold. But late this afternoon, the sun came out and Jay had some shedding going on when I groomed him. The forecast this week looks good, let's hope it stays that way! Planning to ride before class tomorrow, let's hope the pony remembers his stuff!
Tuesday, February 22, 2011
I recently found out that I will be moving to Birmingham in June for my externship, which will be my last year of grad school. I never would have thought that I would go from Long Island to Louisville to Birmingham, but am extremely excited for this new adventure. Fortunately, this postion is paid, which means I will be able to keep Jay-R at a nice facility and start lessons again!! I truly love my little barn that I'm at now but am looking forward to not doing partial self care for a while. It's not the work I mind, it's the time it takes away from riding and "regular" life. There are also many little things that bug the heck out of me there.. if not for B it would be very hard some days. But oh well! Jay is safe and happy and healthy.. and we only have a few more months until we are back in a more training centered atmosphere.
In the meantime, I'll be working to get the pony back in shape and ready to start up the serious stuff again! I'd love to look at doing some small shows this summer/fall at First Level. Totally doable I think. Jay is going to be looking the part as well! He will get a body clip soon, has his mane pulled and got his back shoes put back on. Although tonight he's a muddy mess. Look out Bham! ; )
Tuesday, February 1, 2011
Our friend B has an OTTB (Salty) who she has had for about a year. She has done a ton of groundwork with him and has recently started riding him herself consistently (up until now he has been ridden by her trainer, Ry and P but not super consistent recently). B and Salty have no problem with actually getting across to SP, but she was more worried with the actual riding once we got there part. So we decided to do horsey stuff together when we can to help each other out.
Thanks to B, I have had a big mental breakthrough with the whole getting Jay across the street alone thing. We decided to take our boys across the street to graze in the field. Jay was grazing quietly even with loud scary trucks going by. B says lets go past "checkpoint 1". As I ask Jay to walk on, he throws a mini fit. For no reason other than not wanting to move. This is what made me realize how much of our "problem" is Jay's behavior, not him being "scared" or nervous or whatever. He is just being an ass. This is nothing new, Jay needs to be kept in line or he can get pushy and be kind of a jerk. He keeps me on my toes whenever I get too comfortable. As long as I stand my ground and make him behave with little things, he is a pleasure. Even though it's nothing new, we have never had to deal with something like a mile walk in an open field, so I think it just got out of hand.
From then on "checkpoints" didn't exist anymore. Jay has to be tuned in and listening and I have to chill out and stop worrying about spooking and "checkpoints". The next day we hand walked them, and made them MARCH, to the SP driveway and back (about halfway to the arenas). Good behavior for both boys. B wasn't able to be there with us the next day, so I hand walked Jay to the SP driveway again, alone this time, and he was very good again. No spooks. Then B and I decide to just bring them over and ride. They were both perfectly behaved. That was on Saturday. The most surprising part for me was that we went first thing in the morning. Jay hadn't been turned out yet and with him having been on pasture board for so long I thought he'd be a little up. Not the case, I lunged him quickly to check before we went and he was calm as can be.
So on Sunday we are on our own again. I tacked him up and threw on his halter over his bridle. I like having a longer than my reins lead so that if he acts up I have more room without worrying about him getting away from me. Off we went. It was warmish out but a bit windy. Jay was very well behaved on the way over and he was made to march the whole way.. no ambling (amazing how this translated once I got on! duh!). While I was riding him he tried to pull 2 "bolt and bucks" that were so half-assed that I don't know why he bothered (first time he got about 4 strides in slo mo, second time didn't even really count). Otherwise he was nicely forward and relaxed into my contact. On the way back, he had some tense moments. Whenever he felt tense I realized that I was also tense, and relaxing my own arm immediately relaxed him. He did not have one spook and didn't try to run home.
The one time I thought for sure we were going to have a spook was as we were heading home and approaching the "scary trees". There were 2 big ole geese about 15 feet in front of us on the path. Not really anyway to go around them. At first they weren't moving but suddenly they spread their big ugly wings and flew off. How on earth this did not scare my horse, I have no idea... but it made for a very proud mom!!
So our plan for now is to get over to SP whenever the weather and daylight allows. Mondays are our hack days and yesterday we just walked up and down our driveway keeping him responsive to my leg (and not his herd). Today was pouring so all we did was a blanket change.
Jay really seems to be happy to finally be doing something again. Even though every time I bring him in from the pasture, he gets worked and then put in his stall, he usually comes right up to me when he sees me walking to the gate. If I happen to get there later than usual, he trots to me and does that deep voice nicker. If that doesn't make me feel good, I don't know what can!! Must be doing something right!
So my goal for February is just to get into a consistent work schedule. Once we get that down, more specific goals will come. Maybe if I blog more often, they won't end up so long. Hopefully that will be easier now that we are finally working again.