Friday, October 14, 2011

Horse show insanity...

About noon I was SUPER excited about the lesson and show this weekend. After looking at ride times and creating my schedule I'm horrified to see that I need to be leaving at 4:15 with horse in-tow in order to make this crazy plan work! Why do I do this to my weekends???

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Outing number two!

We had a second scary outing this week, and, aside from some bug-eyed giraffe impressons, we survived!

I hauled Bear out to ride with a friend where she boards her horse. They have lights in their covered arena, so we could manage this after work even with the short days. It was just dusk when we got there, and the place is a bit chaotic for a greenie. The train tracks go right behind the property, and since the communter train passes by it is a pretty regular distraction. So it is dark, there is a loud train, its a new place, add to it pigeons flitting around in the fairly low rafters, a man with a bike and trailer zipping around in the dark past the arena, a very unruly teenage girl/mare combo out of control or out right defiant in the arena, and a donkey braying in the dark pasture on the other side, and you can imagine Bear's alarm with the situation. Luckily he gets over anything with time.

We just walked around the arena, or stood in the middle for quite a while. I basically decided to wait out the dangerous horse. With a total of four riders in an arena only slightly larger than a dressage court, I didn't want to get in a bad situation if I found myself next to the pissed off mare. So by the time we started riding, he was calm and focused. We took it easy and worked on some walk-trot transitions, walk to free walk transistions, and plenty of bending to ask for more contact on the bit. He was a good boy, and we finished the evening by standing in the middle of the arena while my friend practiced the dressage tests for the show Sunday.

It felt so good to be on him. He is built and moves so differently than Lola, it is a weird feeling! He is narrow, where Lola was round, so my leg hangs differently. He's so easy and pokey most of the time that's it hard to create the energy at first, but he's got bigger and more relaxed strides. With Lola I was working to turn her energized strides into slower longer swinging steps, with Bear I'm trying to energize his lazy jog into his long swinging stride! He's also so ignorant! He is an easy horse to ride, so its hard not to treat him like a dead broke lesson horse. But he is just getting the idea of accepting the contact and from there we'll be working on stretching to reach for it. A work in progress. He did start to get the idea of stretching his nose down at the free walk. Getting it, but not quite there yet!

I have a dressage lesson on Saturday and I think we'll make some good progress towards tidying things up before Sunday's show. Can't wait!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

And then there was one...

Yes, that is right, down to one horse! It is quite bitter sweet. Lola and Bear acted like such a sweet old married couple, that it was heart breaking to split them up. Lola is off on a lease with a junior rider who will be taking her to more competitions this coming year than I would have had the time or money to do in five years! It is a fantastic situation, but I will miss her. do you get over missing your horse? Ride your OTHER horse! Bear doesn't even know what hit him!

Immediatley after sending Lola on her way, I loaded Bear up and took him off to a local western schooling show. Their trail classes were marked english or western, but I'm sure I was the only one in an english saddle! I squeezed in two walk-trot trail classes and then went and worked in the warm up arena for a little bit. It was good to get him out and exposed to the world again. He hasn't been anywhere without Lola for about a year, and he hasn't been to show grounds for probably two years. He was not exactly his lazy and laid back self, but he wasn't a complete wreck either. Good start!

We even took a fourth in one trail class! (I was disqualified in the other for being off course.)

Just look at that silly sweet face!

I've got big plans to keep him busy and me distracted from missing Lola. We will be hauling out to a friends this week after work to ride. I have our first dressage lesson in probably 2 1/2 years on Saturday. AND we will be going to a dressage schooling show Sunday! We're off with a bang! I'm looking forward to it!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Working equitation

I've been riding my entire life... well almost... a pony at the age of 4 should count for "all my life". As a horse obsessed, kid, teen, college student, and now adult, I have made a life of reading about horses, horse products, horse disciplines of all types and around the world. I've participated in western horsemanship, trail, barrel racing, trail trials, endurance rides, hunter/jumper, IHSA, dressage, and eventing. So when I come across something that I've never heard of, working equitation, I was surprised. But when I looked into it an thought it sounded right up my alley, like it could be the coolest thing that I'd ever not hear of, I was amazed! Its a crazy combination of trail obstacles, jumping, livestock, with lances and all. Seriously, it sounds really fun!

Not sure how I find a place to compete in this obscure discipline, but it would be fun to try to find a way!