Friday, March 31, 2017

Riding Spooky Horses


A little gem from Laura Graves!

https://www.usef.org/learning-center/videos/riding-spooky-horses



I think this gal knows a thing or two about spooky horses *cough, cough, Diddy*

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Half-halt





What a lovely mare in this video...and I can see lots of half-halts for Tesla and I!


Tuesday, March 28, 2017

The folks have good taste!



My folks surprised me with an art gallery poster they found at a second-hand shoppe:

My Mum said she thought it was "artsy" and I would like it :)



Turns out the artist, Guillaume Azoulay is pretty awesome (and famous), and does a lot of these horse contour drawings:








Gotta say, I love it on my wall :)




Dressage Rider Training



I've been following these blog posts online, and am finding the stretches very helpful! I also like to do some pilates to help with core strength, and use the standing function on my desk/bench at work as much as possible.


What do you do off-horse that helps on-horse?

Saturday, March 25, 2017

I Feel it All



After longing, if Tesla is in a good head space and the ring is fairly quiet, I hop on and do some walk/trot/canter work to help me get my riding muscles back to mostly operational :P


I've been toodling in the little western saddle, and even with a 1in. pad and all that leather - she handles like the Trail Boss' old Jeep (legit you could steer that thing with fingertips). The slightest weight on my seat bones and we were turning!


I feel it all! 

Yup, pretty much her theme song:

https://youtu.be/l-iAS18rv68



Friday, March 24, 2017

The view from where we are



While I can see room for improvement: this is Tesla's weaker side and I'd like to see her tracking up and with a bit more go, LOL - never thought I'd say that!



 there are several things I love about this clip:



1. Canter departs are NBD

2. She is quiet and happy to work

3. Those Listening ears <3

4. That halt is killing me LOL



Saturday, March 18, 2017

Guided Mastery



At work, we had a workshop on Design Thinking that got me thinking :)

The speaker began by relating that most analytical people do not see themselves as creative, and how one famous Psychologist, Albert Bandura, uses a method to help people overcome their fears/phobias/assumptions. He began to describe this method:

For example, if someone had a snake phobia he would tell them there was a snake in the other room and that in 4 hours they were going to touch it. (most people left at this point). Then he went through incremental baby steps to gradually get closer to the goal: looking through a window at the snake, standing in the doorway, standing near the snake, etc. until the person was actually holding the snake with big leather gloves.

This was called "Guided Mastery".

*lightbulb*

This is exactly what I've been doing with a certain 6yr old:












Wednesday, March 15, 2017

This must be the place...


As I was bringing Tess up to the barn, one of the horses on stall rest & limited turnout caught sight of horses in the dressage arena and started to panic - which in turn started Tesla panicking...

I was close to an empty paddock, to I brought her into a confined area to hopefully talk her down...but she quickly got herself super worked up:

there was passage in circles around me (with a lovely moment of suspension: this counts as GP training, right?), she was blowing and snorting, and I worked her in a small circle around me....one of the new trainers called out if I needed help, but by that point she wasn't calming down, so I unclipped the lead rope and stood outside the pen to let her get all her silliness out.  After putting on he best Black Stallion impression (tail curled over her back & everything) she finally realized everyone had freaked out for no reason, and I went in to collect her. I walked her by that dressage ring several times to desensitize, and then walked her all over the property, practicing our groundwork. The new trainer said I had handled it well, and sometimes horses just lose their minds...lol.

I tacked Tess up, and she gave me some lovely soft relaxed work:



Monday, March 13, 2017

One step forward, two steps back....



I read a great article on handling spooky horses last week (which of course I cannot find now, LOL)

The bit that stuck in my mind was about going slow, setting your horse up for success, and not allowing them to be over-faced (all of which I have tried to do with Tesla in building up her confidence). Which is why I could just kick myself tonight for allowing a scary situation to escalate because I didn't be more assertive.

I got to the barn early today, and got Tess ready and into the ring, ready to longe. There was someone finishing up a dressage lesson, and the trainer told me she had a jump lesson at 730, so I could plan around that (read: leave). I thanked her for informing me. Another trainer came in with two riders for a total of 3 newbies and Tess. I kept longing her even tho' the ring was getting chaotic (two trainers yelling and three beginners whizzing around - we can't leave every time there is traffic) I had her just walk in circles, and she was handling everything very well, even with riders cantering around her, circling next to her, and working over a bounce grid.

I brought Tess in to the middle of the ring to pick up our gear to head out, and the girls started jumping. Tess was nervous, but calmed down, and then people started jumping both directions around her at the same time and Tess lost her cool.  She tried to bolt, but saw me and stopped...In all reality I could've easily gotten trampled, and thank God we are both OK.

I am so disappointed that neither trainer could put a pause on the lesson and allow me to safely exit the arena, or even ask if things were ok (Isn't this also an important part of horsemanship? being aware of your surroundings??). When there was finally a break in the jumping, and I made my way towards the door, I yelled the required "Gate" and still one of the riders cantered directly towards me, spooking Tesla yet again.  I hollered "GATE, SLOW DOWN!!" but I guess she didn't hear me, so I held a dancing Tess as she trotted by in oblivion in front of us.

Tess calmed right down once we got to the barn, but I know it will be weeks for me to undo what happened tonight in the arena.


Sigh. Sorry Tess - I'll have your back from now on, I promise.








Friday, March 10, 2017

Coordination II


Next up, this stunning ensemble:



Cause who doesn't need a horse pantomime ala Belle & Sebastian!



Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Coordination I



With regular lessons again on the table in the not-so-distant-future, I decided that I needed to add in a few semi-coordinated pieces of riding attire: 


Cause Pea green fleece, yellow tee, and Horze orange/navy pants are a fashion statement I may not want to make except at 9pm at the barn...



First find was this gem with just a pop of orange:





Cause who doesn't want to be reminded of Killer Bunnies?








Friday, March 3, 2017

To Longe, or Not to Longe....


That is the Question.

Yesterday, as I was working Tesla  on the longe line,  one of the Barn gals was having a potential buyer try her horse. As I called Tesla in to give her a treat & switch her the right, they remarked to each other (in a tone I was obviously meant to over-hear), that neither of them ever longed their horses as it was the worst-thing-ever for their legs.


So, what are your feelings on longing?



I see longing as a tool, and like any other tool, when applied correctly, can be beneficial, and when applied incorrectly, can do more harm than good.  Do I think every horse needs it? No. Can it be damaging at high speeds and in tiny circles? No doubt. 


I longe because it allows Tess and I to work things out in a "safe" space, and builds her trust in me. 
I longe to help her get out the "bug juice" and to get her soft and focused on me (there is always plenty of gas left in the tank, trust me!). 
I longe to help her build the correct muscles and balance without having to worry about balancing me too. 
I longe to expose her to new things (like ring traffic and contact).  
I longe as Trainer J, whom I respect as a rider, prescribed it.


Do you longe? 
Why or why not?

Thursday, March 2, 2017

The New Surcingle



The new surcingle makes me laugh.

 Every time I use it, it feels like we are gonna run away and join the circus!








Wednesday, March 1, 2017