February 22, 2013

Pretty Girl

Not much new to report. I had another great ride on Rose last night, and we did some more awesome groundwork. By the end of it she was standing nice and quiet with her head down and relaxed. Since I don't have much to say, here are some pics I snapped after our ride when we were working on ground tying or "standing".

Pretty girl.

Standing nice an relaxed while I walk around taking pictures.

Happy trails and swooshing tails!

February 20, 2013

Polishing up our ground work...

Although it's been a scheduling headache challenge, riding regularly again has been wonderful for both Rose and I. She is just such a delight! I had another wonderful ride on her tonight. This is especially nice since she's had the last three days off. You would have thought I rode her yesterday given how awesome she was tonight. She was just a complete pleasure to ride and work with. She tries so hard to do what I ask that I could not be happier with her at the moment. I have to admit, lately I've been second guessing my decision to sell her I've been having so much fun with her. However, that doesn't fix the lack of time to ride problem. Although I'm making it work right now to ride her regularly, I can't keep it up. Once she is sold I'm looking forward to having a bit of a break and less stress in regard to balancing family, work, and my currently non-existent non-horse life.

At the horse show last Saturday, I decided that I would start focusing on Rose's ground work again. She has good ground manners for a five year old warmblood, but due to being pregnant and having a giant belly her ground work training kind of took a back seat and plateaued. After all, it is "good enough", just not as good as my high standard would like. After hanging out around a bunch of quarter horses all day Saturday, it occurred to me that we hadn't focused on improving ground work for a while and I decided now that she is older and more focused it is time to ramp up my ground work expectations for her. I am striving for something that resembles the ground work of a twenty year old quarter horse. Yes, I realize I have high expectations. But I think completely dead quiet ground work is an important and handy thing to have in a horse. Given how easy she is to train it really shouldn't take long to see some significant improvement. All I need is a little direction on how exactly to do it. With a little help from youtube I came across this video by HorseCity.

Rose does have a habit of "creeping" when I'm holding her, so this video is rather applicable to our needs. Also, it seemed like a pretty simple, straight forward, logical, and humane method so I decided to try it out tonight. First we did a little bit of the routine outside the barn in the driveway right after I pulled Rose from her pasture. She figured out what I was asking right away, which I was pleased about. I can't say that I've ever asked her to move her hip away from me with the rein/lead rope as he showed in the video, so it was nice to see that she knew what I was asking for. Once we were in the arena we did more ground work before I rode her. She got the idea very quickly and was licking her lips, quite pleased with herself for figuring out what she was supposed to do...or rather not do (move). After our ride we worked on it some more. I decided to see if this also helped with her ground tying, and sure enough she stood as still as a statue for quite some time while I walked all around her, fiddled with her tack, and picked up her feet, etc. One thing I noticed is that she backs slowly when asked. I need to work with her on this. Although she does back, I'd like her to back quickly without resistance at all. So, I think we will add backing from light pressure to our list of ground work fine tuning to-do list.

She is just so smart and easy to train, I love that about her. I'm looking forward to keeping working on ground work with her, as I think she definitely has it in her to be completely dead quite like a twenty year old quarter horse. It's all just a matter of consistency and repetition on my part.

Happy trails and swooshing tails!

February 17, 2013

Schooling show & 300th post!

First off, I cannot believe this is my 300th post! Thank you to everyone that checks in an reads my blog, because without you all I might not have become so diligent and committed to blogging. So thank you all for keeping me going with it.

The schooling show went well yesterday. There were lots of "new" things for both Rose and I to experience. She definitely took it all in stride. Here is a video of EB riding her in the English Pleasure Green Horse class for those who just want to see pretty things go round in circles.

 For those literary types among you that would like to read my long winded re-cap of the day, read on.

It was a beautiful morning with a glorious forecast of sunshine and forty degree weather. Unfortunately, I started out the afternoon arriving at my barn a half-hour late from my original time. I hate being off schedule, it gets me flustered, but I managed to over come it. I got to the barn at 11:30am. Since I'm still a novice at hooking up my trailer and really all things trailer related on my lonesome, I decided that hitching up would be my first priority. After that then I'd load the tack room and then Rose. It was a good thing that I decided to start with my trailer, because it was still partially buried in a couple feet of snow. Once I figured out how to put my truck in 4wd I proceeded to use a five gallon bucket to scoop any offending snow out of the path of the trailer, I then hitched her up. Hitching went fairly easily. That probably only took me ten minutes in total. Then I had to get it out of the snow bank. This took a tiny bit of rocking back and forth, and then we were out! I pulled around to the front of the barn when it donned on me that there was easily 18" of snow stacked on top of the trailer, which would invariably fall off en route. At this point EB arrived at the barn, so while she caught Rose and groomed her up, I decided to drive the trailer around a bit and try and knock off the snow, and within about ten minutes I had it all off. After that we loaded up Rose, who walked on just fine, as if she'd last loaded yesterday rather than over a year ago. I was very proud of her for that!

A half hour later, shortly at 1pm, we arrived at the arena. When we pulled in we immediately ran into TR, who came out to join us for the day to see how Rose would handle herself. TR turned out to be a great extra hand and I very much enjoyed spending the day hanging out with her. After I found a suitable parking spot where I wouldn't be required to back the trailer at all it was time to unload. Rose backed nice and quiet off the trailer and looked around a bit, but behaved herself well. I decided to tie her up to my trailer for the first time. It's something that I should have done a long time ago, and had I not been pregnant, would have. At any rate, I attached a blocker tie ring to my trailers tie loop, and let her stand there. She tested it once, pulling back, but did not get loose. I re-adjusted it, shortening the lead back up, and let her stand there for a long while. Eventually she got the idea and relaxed and cocked a foot. Good girl! For the rest of the day we either had her in hand or tied to the trailer. It was officially the first time I've paid for a stall/pen and never used it. Hopefully, if there is a next time, the weather will once again be sunny and beautiful and I'll just skip reserving a pen all together.

At this point the show was running VERY late. All the morning classes were western, and they had a huge turnout and a lot of pattern work. We were told that it would be an couple hours before our halter class. I'm not sure what time it was, but eventually they finished up with the lead line class and then took a break before halter. We used that opportunity to take Rose down to the arena and walk her around, since she'd never been to this facility before. She was a little overwhelmed by all the horses, especially one big quarter horse gelding that was prancing around and snorting his behind off like he was a stallion. Maybe he was a stallion. I didn't look. I just kept walking Rose around the rail of the arena. After a couple laps she settled down and was following me like a puppy dog with her head down and relaxed. Once she was relaxed they announced that it would be another fifteen minutes or so before they started the halter classes, so I took Rose outside for a little break from the 40-ish horses now crowding inside the arena. During that time they started the halter class, but the outside speaker wasn't working so we never heard! So big bummer, after all my YouTube and last minute halter practice we missed our class. Maybe next time.

After the halter class there were many many showmanship classes. This turned into HOURS of waiting. By the time EB's first English Pleasure class went I was 6pm. Egads. Luckily all three of those classes went quickly. Once Rose was in the arena she was all business as usual. She had a little spookiness at the end of the arena with the bleachers and some boys playing video games but got over it quickly. Much to all of our delight EB and Rose took 2nd place in their first class English Pleasure Green Horses, and 3rd place in the second one English Pleasure Maiden Horses. I decided to hop on for the third one, English Pleasure 19 and over. Rose and I took third place in that class. Since the English Equitation class was the very last of the day, and everyone at this point was tired and didn't want to hang around for it I scratch out of it so as to have help loading Rose in the dark. She was a good girl and loaded up on the trailer fairly easily, only pulling back once, but then walking right on.

After that Rose and I headed home all on our lonesome. Although I managed to drive the (sometimes fast) speed limit on the way to the show during the day, I was not so bold heading home. I'm glad to took it a little slow too, because the deer were everywhere! Once I got to the barn, I unloaded Rose in the dark. She was a perfectly behaved girl about it, waiting nice and patiently in the trailer for me to back her out. She was definitely relieved to be home, and as soon as I put her in a stall with her grain, she proceeded to pee for a very long time. Poor thing, it donned on me at that moment that she hadn't peed all day! Once she was done with her grain, I tossed her turnout blanket on her and returned her to her very grateful pasture mate. Then I finally headed home around 8:30pm.

It was a long day, but a fun one. And overall, given that Rose hadn't been off the property in over a year, or to a show in two years, and never to a chaotic one like this, she was a trooper and did a very good job of trying to take it all in stride. With a little more experience hauling to shows like this I think she'd easily get to the point where none of it phased her at all.

Happy trails and swooshing tails!

February 15, 2013

They might just be a match

It is an odd experience selling a horse that has been your living, breathing, excuse for living project every day for three years. Rose was a very good girl during her trial this afternoon. I couldn't have asked for her to be more well behaved. In fact she was an outright ham at times and adorably cute. Not that she isn't like that in general, but she seemed to really like the gal (TR) that tried her out. They were completely adorable together. It made me get a little choked up toward the end, but in a good way, because I'm just so proud of the horse Rose has become. TR even stayed with me to help untack Rose and put all my tack away and turn her out. This was great, because I think those are some of the important things to do with a horse that people often overlook during the purchase process. After seeing her not only ride Rose but interact with her afterward, I know that if she does purchase Rose that she'll be going to a very good home. Now I wait to hear more from TR, but she is definitely interested.

In the mean time, I am off to a local schooling show with Rose tomorrow. EB is coming with me and will ride her in a couple classes as well. We are doing english pleasure and english equitation. I'm guessing the judge will favor the local pleasure quarter horse crowd over the big fancy warmblood. But what the heck, it's just for a bit of fun and to get Rose out of the barn for the day. Since it's all in the name of fun, I decided to throw caution to the wind and enter Rose in the mare halter class too. I'm sure I'll be the only fool there in hunt clothes and a bridle, but hey, that's how I roll. Look out SW Montana, we are bringing a little velvet head love to your halter classes! Now, I guess I should youtube some halter classes to see what we have to do, as I haven't a clue...
Happy trails and swooshing tails!

Guest Post: “Wild Hearts” A Ricky Schroder Family Affair

I haven't heard or seen much from Ricky Schroder in many years, until recently I was contacted about featuring a blurb about his new Hallmark movie on my blog. It's nice to see him back on the big screen, and I'm delighted to see that he's a horse person...at least to the extent that the movie involves horses anyway. Without much adieu I present you with "Wild Hearts".


“Wild Hearts” A Ricky Schroder Family Affair

Hallmark Western made for families by the whole Schroder Family

Los Angeles, CA, January 16, 2013--Veteran actor Ricky Schroder (NYPD:Blue) has a lot to smile about these days. With a longstanding and successful acting and directing career since being crowned the youngest actor ever to win a Golden Globe, Schroder has created his dream project, the family Western “Wild Hearts” starring and involving his whole family.

The film was co-written and produced by Ricky and his wife Andrea, an architectural designer and one-time contestant on Bravo’s hit show “Top Design,” who just recently picked up a regular segment on Hallmark’s show “Home & Family.”

The story was based on an idea their oldest daughter Cambrie came up with after begging them for years to be allowed to find her first acting job.  “Andrea and I realized that once she’d have her driver’s license, she would do this acting thing with or without us” said the experienced actor and father of four, “So Andrea and I decided to create this film and produce it, this way, she could be surrounded by protective and loving people who encourage her during her first acting experience rather than being surrounded by strangers.”

Hallmark picked up the film that tells the charming story of a teenage Malibu girl on a quest to meet the father she never knew while falling in love with a wild Mustang in the Sierra Nevada Mountains.

“Wild Hearts” will air on the Hallmark Movie Channel on March 9th, 2013, and seems to be the perfect match for the family oriented channel. The film not only features Ricky and Cambrie in a starring role, but when the story called for two rival brothers trying to mess with the stallion, Cambrie’s brother’s Luke and Holden were an easy pick.  Youngest daughter Faith and even family dog Ziggy received an appearance as well.

The family fun was almost spoiled due to a legal dispute over the film in early 2012, which was resolved last fall. The parties involved, Ricky Schroder, Joseph Nasser, Jack Nasser, the Nasser Group Inc. and NGN Productions, Inc. announced that they have resolved all of their disputes concerning the ownership of “Wild Hearts,” have withdrawn and dismissed all of their claims against each other, and wish each other continued success.

To find out more about the Schroder Family project “Wild Hearts” check in for updates at https://www.facebook.com/hallmarkmoviechannel or follow @RickySchroder or @CambrieSchroder on Twitter

February 14, 2013

A Most Excellent Ride

Last night I stuffed the baby full of food and handed him off to Hubby when he walked in the door, and like a little kid at the county fair I skipped out the door and headed out to the barn.

Of course I arrived at the barn at dusk, so the majority of our time was spent ice skating across the barn driveway in the pitch black darkness by the light of my head lamp. For this, Rose is a saint. Honestly, she's couldn't be better about the fact that it is pitch black (although I suspect her night vision is better than mine) or the silly bright light bobbing around on my head and shining in her eyes.

Since she's being tried out on Friday by a potential buyer, we played beauty parlor and I cleaned up any stray goat hairs, fluffed up her tail and all around polished her up to shine. I even took a moment to stand back an appreciate my work and what a beautiful mare she is. Sigh. She is so lovely. Then we headed to the arena, again in the pitch black, and went for a ride. She was amazing. Really, I should of had CR put some time on her ages ago. However, I never would have had the time to ride her frequently like I am right now, so all in all it's best I waited until I did. At any rate, I had a terrific ride on her and I'm looking forward to tonight as well.

Now that the reality is setting in that she might actually sell some time soon I'm starting to get a bit sad about it. It is for the best though. She needs to find her forever home and person. Until then though, I plan on continuing to enjoy every moment that I can with her and appreciate her for all of her wonderful talents and sweet personality.

Happy trails and swooshing tails!

February 13, 2013

Fox Hunting..

Unfortunately, due to a series of events leading up to Saturday (including a snowed in trailer) I ended up not taking Rose on the fox hunt. However, they fox hunt in our are regularly, so if she's still my horse this spring I plan on taking her. I've had quite a few inquiries about her lately and someone is coming to try her on Friday, so fingers crossed they like each other. It's pretty hard not to like Rose, so I'm kinda having a bitter sweet week thinking that she might be sold soon. At the same time though, I'm not counting my chickens before they hatch, so I'm currently making plans to take her to a local schooling show in March. Should be fun!

Happy trails and swooshing tails!

February 8, 2013

Back in the saddle, lesson recap

Rose's month of full training officially ended yesterday, so today was my first time back in the saddle while having a lesson with CR. I doubt that I will ever be able to have any horse I own consistently in full training, but after getting back on her today I can see how addictive it can be and why so many adult amateurs end up with their horses in training programs.

Wow! Rose feels amazing!

Now she's always been a comfy ride, but holy cow she's just friggin' amazing now. I can see why CR likes her so much and is certain that she'll sell sooner than I think. It's old news to me that she's easy to train and talented, but now that someone has actually given me a taste of her potential talent I'm gob-stopped! My goal is now to ride four days a week, with EB riding her the other two, and really just try and enjoy our time together until she finds a new home. If we keep having kick arse wonderful days like today, I am going to greatly miss her a lot when she does sell. However, I still think it's the right decision to find her a new home and for me to continue my search for my forever horse.

Screen shot from our informative yet long and boring lesson
video that I won't bore you with.

For those interested, here is my long winded lesson re-cap:

1. Balance: Rose is weak in her hind end (18 months of being out of shape) and as such tends to canter with her haunches in a bit, more so to the right. To fix this will require time and strengthening her muscles. I need to strengthen her muscles on the right side of her body and haunches. To do this, we need to work on haunches in, shoulder in, and renvers on the left rein specifically. At the canter I need to ask her to move her haunches back to the rail and not allowing her to throw her shoulder out when she gets tired. Another thing to keep working on is spiral-in circles (20m into 15m) and changing bends through the use of serpentine patterns. Other than that, I shouldn't do too much pattern work with her until she's more balanced as it is asking a bit too much and she'll get tired and overwhelmed too quickly. I must remember to give her lots of breaks when she gets tired. I will know she's tired when she starts falling on her forehand and leaning on the bit. This starts happening around 35-40 minutes into the ride.

2. Consistent tempo & rhythm: Once she starts getting tired she loses her rhythm and tempo. She starts speeding up and slowing down on her own accord. Again, I must remember to give her lots of little breaks when she's tired and also make sure to use my aids to keep her as consistent as possible.

3. Contact & suppleness: She's doing amazing at staying nice and consistently rounded and on the bit, relaxing into the contact, lifting her back and being supple. I just need to continue to always ask her to go this way from now on. No letting her toss her nose up if she protests or is being lazy about a transition.

4. Jumping: We did not jump today, but I had CR hop her over some fences this past Wednesday. CR agrees with me that during her time off Rose has lost her confidence over course work and that I need to just start her over fences again from the beginning. So that's what I'll do. Starting with ground poles, on every single ride. Flat day or "jump" day, we will be trotting and cantering over ground poles.

So that's about it. Using Gingham's P's GPA method to score our barn time today, I'd have to give Rose a 3.75. She was an all around good girl, aside from some minor mare related sensitivity while being groomed in the cross ties, and I had a great ride on her. She tried really hard and was a superstar.

Happy trails and swooshing tails!

February 3, 2013

Do we dare? I say yes!

For the first time in a LONG time it seems the stars have aligned just right for Rose and I to have a little fun together. My mother in law (MIL) is coming to town this week to visit, which means I have help and free babysitting. Yea! Love MIL! This is also Rose's last week of full training. CR will work her Monday - Thursday. Friday morning, thanks to MIL, I will have a lesson with CR on Rose. Then on Saturday, Rose gets to get out of the arena and blow off some steam.

We are going on our first hunt!

The Treasure State Hunt crew, with whom we will be riding!

I have never been on a hunt before, so I am very very excited. We will be riding the second flight, and I know the Master of the second flight as well, so that will certainly help calm any of my newbie nerves and answer silly questions. I just hope that Rose enjoys it and takes to it. I have always wanted to hunt, and if she does enjoy it, we will start going regularly! If there ever was a time to own a helmet cam, now is the time. Sadly though, I do not own one.

Happy trails and swooshing tails!


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