Thursday, January 30, 2014

Practice Ground Driving

So after my visit with my friend last week, she let me take home her saddle for Moose so I could practice driving with it. I was able to take some time today to work with Moose who was great! I wanted to utilize two things: the enclosure of the "arena" (Milo's pen), and using the area Moose likes to be in (Milo's pen). So I tied Milo to some twine attached to a fencepost to keep him out of the way and allowed me to work with Moose in the closure of the fence without taking Milo away and stressing both of them.

Moose was wonderful! I added in Gee and Haw to start introducing directional cues. Moose was so good in fact, I wonder if he has had prior work in driving, at least ground driving. He responds already fairly well to both verbal commands and although I would like to attribute it to his good brain and my training, I suspect he may have been taught basics before. Just like he had so issues with tightening up the saddle.

This is all very exciting! Im having so much fun learning with Moose!

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Clinics, Lessons, and Good Times

OMG Im so happy I was able to write this post! Lately my computer wont let me access the post page, so Im thrilled I can actually type this right now!

In other news, I have a LOT to update on. Lets start from two weeks ago:

Group Lesson: The trainer whose Western Dressage clinic I attended came to the area for a group lesson myself and two others (the two I carpooled with to the clinic) others. It was so exciting to have a lesson again! And I absolutely love the trainer! Although her barn is nearly two hours away from home, she was more then willing to come halfway to my friend's ranch for our group lesson. She is a reining trainer transplanted from Colorado to Washington two months ago. What a fabulous trainer! It was wonderful to ride with two others who are very close to the same level as Milo and I so we all learned from each other. Sabrina (trainer) helped us with our lope and trying to get it back to the level of fitness we once were. We also got some really great advice for our spin work with additional drills to work on to help.  Sabrina said that I need to really get Milo to respect the neck rein in the turnaround as he leans on it too much. This also helps with my tendency to overbend Milo with the inside rein.

Photos from the Group Lesson:

From the Western Dressage Clinic:

Moose Meets a Friend: I was invited by a friend who has a 40" mini/pony to haul Moose over and help me with Moose's driving progress. Her mini, Beau, has pulled a cart before thanks to the work from my friend. I would be able to drive her Beau too and see how it is supposed to feel. So I naturally brought Milo with us to utilize the haul in fee and big covered arena. I had a good ride on Milo with Moose tied to the wall (additional great training) then swapped them. Moose was great and I got some great advice from my friend; one being that Moose's "heaviness" on the halter isnt actually a bad thing (or really heavy). My friend advised that cart horses require some feel in the reins and must have some "pull" into the cart and bridle to get going. It totally made sense and I got to feel it with Beau. That alone was worth the haul over because the last few weeks I was trying to get Moose to lighten up, as per normal riding horses, but in actuality the contact is a good thing. My friend sent me home with her starter "saddle" for Moose which is only a tad (like one hole) large for Moose but a great way to start ground driving with more confidence that the reins wont fall down. She also advised used some single loop reins (not the longing lines) as to not get as lost in the lines like I have been.
I got some adorable video of Moose and Beau frolicking together in the arena, but I cant get them to upload properly. But take my word for it, it was so cute! And the boys were pretty happy to romp with another their own size (Moose is only one inch taller then  Beau).

Third Reining Clinic: This last Sunday I attended my third local reining clinic with the same clinician I rode with in October and November. This time it was broken between Beginner and Advanced segments, so we hauled in for just a three hour clinic in the advanced portion. We reviewed the Five Easy Pieces to start, and I got some great feedback on our progress: first I was complimented on how well Milo has learned the pieces, but second I was critiqued on Milo mostly learning the sequence (like a pattern) rather then each part individually now. She recommended working on each part longer, and to really work on my timing of the cue with his footfalls, and also to work more on "less is more". I really need to get the both of us working on more subtle cuing as we are both falling to the spur too quickly. By the end of our practice time with the clinician Milo was moving off by just the tightening of my calf. She also recommended turning my spurs out (they have a natural bend inward) to practice using my leg more as turning the spur out makes it a bit harder to go directly to it. This is great because at home I forgo spurs a lot because I know they are used too much. But she commented that I still should ride with them so its there when I need it, but to relearn how to use them properly. Its humbling, but she nailed a problem I havent been able to fix on my own or even want to own up to.

We also worked on rapid transitions to help get our horses ready over the hind end, and backing with more leg. In both of these Milo did exceptionally well and was pointed out by her as an example of the finished product, which was really awesome to hear. It was great practice for us and another thing to remember to continue to work on. Finally we worked on rollbacks by using the wall as I have learned before in a previous clinic, but to cue it differently. Its hard to explain but coincides really well with general turnaround work as well as the neck reining we learned at the group lesson.

Well, I'm tired from typing now, but hopefully you all feel a little more up to speed. Even though its been quiet in my blogging world I still have a lot of horse activities going on. I hope to be able to update more often! Ill do what I can.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

My schedule

I'm so sorry about lack of recent posts lately not only has my schedule been very busy but I'm also not able to make new post from my laptop anymore it seems it has a virus or something so post are done through my phone now which makes it's time consuming and difficult.

In recent news I got a apprenticeship from my work in temporary service Electrical which entails two weeks in school in 2 weeks in my shop. The apprenticeship lasts 4 years with three years in school and the final year work experience. At the end I will have a second associates degree, two certifications from the college and a certification from the department of labor. It's a really good program and I was only 1 of 6 chosen for my shop from hundreds of applicants. However this new schedule makes my horse time a little tight.

Last Thursday I took both moose and Milo down the road to the covered arena for a weekly ride. I had a great ride on Milo working on basic Western dressage concepts. Two weekends ago I carpooled with a friend to a trainer an hour and a half away who was hosting a western dressage clinic. The trainer is also a reining trainer so I was very excited to go. Western dressage has got me very excited in fact I am attending a local schooling show in early February which I am nervous but eager about as well.

Moose was great as well we continue to work on voice commands on the lunge line and made great progress in ground driving I even got a video but I'm not sure I can share it on blogger from my phone. The next step seems to be attaching some sort of PVC pipe to start desensitizing him to something behind him. I have another friend that trained her large mini to pull a cart and she invited me to come to her barn on Friday where she will help me with learning our next steps too. I was very proud of moose and his incredible strides in only nearly four months I have had him.

Just to add to my interest and schedule, long time readers might remember my interest in mounted shooting. This last weekend I audited a clinic for a new mounted shooting club to the area. Myself and the friend that I went with agreed to come to one of their upcoming practices to see how the horses react and if its another avenue we want to partake in. Although I have shot off of Milo a few times and he seems receptive I want to practice a few times before making the decision to invest in the necessary gear and commitment in order to compete. But I'm really excited about it!

To add to even more interest this year, I plan to attend a few reining shows which also offer ranch pleasure classes. Now, back in November I brought milo to a local show that offered a working rancher class however it was changed to a ranch pleasure class which we did compete in. Out of about 10 pleasure horses Milo and I took a solid 2nd which I was extremely excited about. I love the ranch pleasure class because it represents what a real pleasure class should still be like and I'm very excited to support it in some of my local shows this summer.

Well there are some quick updates for you, not sure when I'll post again unless I can get my laptop figured out but in the meantime I have still been reading and I hope everyone else is having a great and productive winter!