Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Lead Problems

So I rode Pony today.

I'm going on vacation on thursday for a week and a half, and I haven't had time to get out as much as usual the past week or so.

So I rode her English and stirrupless.  Which is something I've never done before.  She is obviously kinda hot, because, thats just her.  But I couldn't get a good trot out of her, but since sitting her trot in an english saddle is kinda hard in the first place, I figured I wouldn't stress out about it.

I noticed my problem with riding her without stirrups english, is that I kept sticking my legs straight down instead of keeping them more bent, like how you ride with a jump saddle.

So, I asked for her right lead canter, and it was beautiful, as always.  I was able to canter all the way around the entire arena without it scaring me due to her gaining speed.  I was so happy with myself! And so happy of how far we've come! I never used to be able to take her all the way around the arena in a western saddle, let alone stirrupless english! She's come so far with slowing down and such.

I should have left it there.  But, instead, I asked for her left lead lope.  God was it terrible.  To the point where I was almost on her neck.  I am telling you it felt so rough it was almost unridable.

I've been noticing this problem progressing for a while.

My trainer has a natural tendency towards the left, so all of her horses have better left sides than right.  As well as horses always have one side thats better for them naturally.  Ponies was always her left lead. It was better, smoother, easier to pick up.  However, I have noticed slowly overtime, her right lead is WAY better.

Clearly, it's gotten to the point where it was hard to ride her left lead.   It is way faster, it is much rougher, she drops her shoulder a little, and it's off balanced.

I got off of her, grabber her halter, and I lunged her, to see what was going on.  Her transition into her canter was ugly.  She picked up a cross canter at first, and then broke down and picked up the correct canter.

That's one thing about Pony, she does not like to be on the wrong lead.  She can't do a flying lead change to save her life, but if she is on the wrong lead, she will do a simple lead change by herself.

She had trouble holding her canter on that left lead.

My first thought was that this means there is something going on with her left hind, since thats what she was having most trouble with, was holding that rear lead correctly.

The first thing I thought of was the mysterious swelling she had in her left hind a few months ago, and honestly, that may have been when this downhill over her left lead started to be a little worse.

The other thing I thought, was that she could be developing either arthritis in that left hind joints, or get sore from an old injury.

However, I am starting to believe it is a third theory.

After I lunged her, I got back on her and rode her through that left lead lope.  I got about a circle out of it, when I figured that was enough.  I rode the right lead again, and while it was slightly faster than it was before, it was still calm and comfortable.  After that, I took her saddle off to let her roll.

She rolled a few times, and got up at a full speed gallop.  I thought this was odd, since I turned her out a few days ago and she sniffed around and looked at me.  She definitely didn't seem like she had a lot of energy.

I mentioned this to a friend when I was telling him about my cruddy ride on her.  He said that maybe she had something slightly out of whack, and rolling pushed it back in whack, and when she stood up, she felt GOOD!

Therefor, I am thinking that she could need a chiro appointment.  Her and Pebbles play hard, (read : turn into mega mare bitches and kick the shit out of eachother, and then proceed to share the same hay piles once their legs are kicked and bitten and bloody) So I am thinking that she could have that left hip out of whack and need an adjustment.

This makes a lot more sense to me than some arthritis, and I would have thought that the arthritis would be worse in the cold than in the warm, but its clearly been getting worse while the weathers been getting warmer.

This also makes more sense to me than the idea of an injury that flares up or gets sore, since she never looks off whatsoever.  Not even 'if i'm looking for it I might be able to see it' in that left hind.  Nothing more than stiffness.

Do you guys have good results from equine chiropractors?

Any suggestions in what to look for when I am looking for someone?

Monday, May 27, 2013

A bad pony makes us a good rider!

Oh my gosh.

Have any of you guys heard of this new website called Bad Pony?

I recently found it, and it is SO CUTE! It's hilarious, because we have all been there.


These are the designs you can get on t-shirts and sweatshirts.  I love the over jumping one, and the grazing one, and the look on the face of the whoa bad pony one!

They also have a shirt that simply says 'a bad pony makes me a good rider' hahaha.

I wish they didn't have the picture showing their new design over the cross country and the cowboy, I want to see those!

Thursday, May 23, 2013

So Frustrated

So me and my friend were planning on trailering out and going on a trail ride on sunday.

I was super excited....

Until I hit a glitch in my plan...

The saddle that I use (western) is my trainers.  It's the only saddle that fits pony (turns out she's kinda high maintenence to fit) and it is a super expensive saddle. It was also the saddle that my trainer got proposed to with (engagement saddle instead of a ring....teehee how cute)

So, basically, my trainer said that while she doesn't mind me using it around the ranch and while I'm with her if we go trail riding or whatnot, she would kinda prefer if I found a different saddle to take off the ranch.  Which I understand, because it's a really irreplaceable saddle because of the sentimental value, and she doesn't want to put me in the position where something possibly happens and it's my fault.

Regardless, that leaves me with an english saddle that is uncomfortable and slips over ponies withers if I ride her a long time, and also slips back and I have no breast collar for it.  Or, bareback.

At this time, I'm not working very much and hours won't pick back up until august.  The money that I had previously saved has slowly dwindled away to nothing, and I can't really afford to buy a new saddle right now.

I would totally go bareback, but my friend said that she wouldn't feel comfortable if something happened to me....

I know that everyone has their own reasons and such....but I am SO FRUSTRATED!

Anyone have a spare saddle sitting around they want to send me...... I'll trade you a Crosby with a wide tree! Haha!

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

I am out of creative post titles!

Today I went out to the barn after work, after being super lazy and not having been out since saturday.  When I made it to the barn, I opened my car door and it was almost blown off the hinges from the massive gusts of wind.  Whoa! I immediately regretting coming to the barn at all!

Pony had also JUST been fed, so I grabbed her away from her food (after her spooking at her own halter, didn't you guys know that wind turns everything into horse eating monsters?)

I groomed her quickly, since I wanted to get her home before the other fat mares took all her food.  The herd dynamics in that pen are SO funny.  They are all frenemies.  Pony and Pebbles are the leaders, and will share food and rarely bat an ear at eachother, but every once in a while they will go seriously ass to ass, and neither of them ever backs down.  Every once in a while I find her with massive wrinkly spots where she's been kicked or bitten.  But, they immediately are best friends again, and even share food.  What silly mares. (Pebbles is monstrous.  She's a OTTB and probably around 16 HH and has hooves like the size of all of Pony's put together.  But Pony stands her ground!

I jumped on her bareback, and we walked around a little in the indoor arena.  With the wind howling, and her being a mustang, I figured I wouldn't get a whole heck of a lot done.  So we walked around, and then I asked for a trot.  She gave me a great trot! I've been working a lot on sitting a more extended trot, and I think I've been getting a lot better at it.  I've been really trying to engage my core as much as possible.

After a while of sitting and talking to a boarder that came over to talk, I asked her for a lope.  I don't know what our problem is, but I cannot lope her bareback in the arena.  I get nervous and grabby and clutchy.  I think that I am going to have to go bareback and brideless in the arena and just let her lope.  Because the gait that I get is great, but when I try to get it from her in the arena when I am holding onto reins, it is SO difficult.  Its off balance, and my body gets all out of whack.  We did a few half circles where she would pick up the gait for a few strides, break down, try to pick it up, and by that time I was off balance and on her neck.  So I would of course grab at the reins until she stopped, since I was about to slide off her side.

The great thing about Pony, is that if you get off balance majorly, she will stop.  It will be a really ugly transition downwards, and a lot of people will lose their balance and fall if they aren't prepared for it, but she is so small, that she doesn't like to carry people when they're off balance!

So finally I succeeded in getting a good circle of a rough but in gait lope.  Then I asked her to stop, and I walked a small lap and got off.  I don't know why I have such a bad time with it, but I really think I'm going to have to just man up and do it brideless, and I'm hoping that will teach me!

Afterwards I took this picture.  I absolutely adore it.  I think it's so beautiful!



I also braided her mane.  It was so dang windy, and her hair literally becomes dreadlocks.  I don't know why she has the WORST hair, but its so fine and cruddy.  But she's so cute!  I've been working on teaching her to hug....basically I go up with a treat in my hand, stand on her side and put my arms around her neck and say 'hugs' and hold out a treat behind my back.  She reaches around to grab it, and hugs me back.  Such a lame pony trick, but still cute! Especially since she knew I had a treat in my hand today, so when I went to hug her today, her head flew around to hug me back, knowing there was a treat waiting! 

She says 'you can't hide treatz from me'


'Are you gonna whip out more treats, or can I eat? Cause I'm not going to put my head down for this hay and miss out on carrotz'
Me and Pony had the biggest disagreement the other day.  I went to take her in the round pen, and had already unhaltered her.  The wind was blowing and it was a funny day, and someone else had left poop in the round pen.  So I scooped it, and opened the door to dump it.  She was being good, and stayed when I said ho.  Then, I got to a position where I couldn't stop her if she ran.  She literally looked at me, looked at the door, and took off at a full speed gallop.  Two people were loading up a trailer right in front of Pony's paddock, and when she stood in front of her paddock screaming and prancing, they let her in.  I had to turn around and grab her halter before I followed her, so I showed up a few seconds later, and she was already in with her friends.  I walked into the pen, and she looked at me, considered coming towards me, and then turned around and ran off.  So then, I spent about 15 minutes driving her around her pen until she stopped and looked at me and let me approach her. 

I usually try to do a lot of 'joining up' stuff with her (I expect her to stand while I groom/saddle/ go into the tack room etc without being tied....I usually throw her lead rope over her neck while we walk around and expect her to follow me etc) and usually she's great.  I had noticed that lately she has been getting a little bit 'far away' so I thought I needed to check her up.  Obviously, since she took off, I was correct.  So, after driving her around her pen until she wanted to be caught, we walked the long way around the barn, and went back into the round pen.  The second I dropped the halter, she was gone again.  So, I drove her around the round pen until she stopped, looked at me and walked towards me.  Then we walked around a bunch and she followed me everywhere.  So, since then, I've really been focusing on her doing stuff with the littlest amount of reinforcement possible.  For example, I've been walking her to and from her stall without a halter on.  No rope around the neck, nothing.

Luckily, my barn has a fence surrounding it completely, if she did decide to run off at any point, I have no concern of her getting out to the busy road leading up to the barn. 

This was a picture of me walking her back today.  I just love her facial expression!  On the other hand, please ignore mine!


Monday, May 20, 2013

Awesome half feral pony beast


Me and Pony have seriously turned a page in our riding.  It's a combination of the weather getting hot, my seat suddenly exploding with awesomeness, her getting used to me, and the biggest thing? Loping.  A lot.

She is no longer a crazy Pony.  She is now the Pony that will slowly (slow for a pony anyways) lope all the way around the arena.  She used to be great in a circle and would speed up around the long sides of the arena.  Not any more! She's gotten to the point where I am actually able to ask for speed! 

I walked her through cows the other day, and she didn't even break gait from a walk! Usually she'll try to take a few trot steps but come back down by herself.  

She's turning into such a good little pony!

The biggest difference I think is that I spend a lot more time loping.  Before, I would lope a circle or two each direction, and if she did good, we would stop.  Lately, I've been taking that good and asking for a little more! So much fun!

When I got to the barn a few days ago, she was laying down! I've seen her roll, but never lay down before.  Pebbles (aka demon mare) was watching over her.  How cute! The picture is tough to see, since I couldn't get close to her.  The wind was howling and by the time I got to her paddock, she didn't even know I was there but she was already getting up.  Also, ignore how disgusting the paddock in front of hers is, the guys that clean were making the rounds and were almost getting there, and like 5 horses share that space... I don't want you guys thinking our barn isn't clean!


Saturday was the local rodeo.  It's actually a pretty big thing, its a PRCA rodeo and I knew a few girls riding in the Grand Entry.  It's so beautiful, they have a huge hill, and the girls come trotting down it carrying flags, and then, once they have all done their rodeo run, you look back up to the hill and this beautiful horse comes galloping down it and does a rodeo run.  It's a tradition, and so beautiful!

Boyfriend came with me to the rodeo, and we had a nice day.  Afterwards, we went out to the barn and saw Pony for a few minutes since it was on the way home.  Since I had a camera man, which I never have, I took her in the round pen and Stacey Westfalled it. It was honestly SO MUCH FUN.  She's so responsive.  I don't know what it is though, I get nervous loping her bareback when I have reins, but on her naked, it's so easy and fun! I actually talked to Boyfriend while I was loping and said 'this feels sooo good!'.  Considering I started riding this crazy half feral mustang pony 7 months ago and would literally sit on my Pony almost crying over my anxiety about loping bareback, I'm gonna say we're doing pretty good!


I call this picture 'whoa damnit'.  Hahahha, we were loping, and when I asked her to stop, she did, but then she walked straight over to Boyfriend for Pets.  It was pretty cute actually.


Also, I got some new boots! Like them? I do!

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Pictures!



Alright, I have a few pictures to share with you guys today, and tomorrow I will try and fill you in on how me and Pony have been this week. (Spoiler....we loped bareback and bridless in the roundpen.  I'm talking, stacy westfall chunk of mane naked loping..woohoo!)

This is one of the pictures that the professional took at Spring Stampede Gymkhana of me and Kadin.  I love it! and I am thinking I might buy it.  Theres a few more events that I'm waiting for him to upload the pictures from, so I want to see all of them before I decide which ones I want to buy. 


This is Promise.  Promise is boarded at my boyfriends property. She's 24, and hasn't been ridden in years (though I've been on her a few times...her owner is crazy and thats a whole other story) and she is literally the sweetest horse.  I caught her rolling and of course I went down and sat down with her.


If only I could get Pony to lay down around me!!


Have you ever seen a watermelon with this little rind? Crazy! I saved the rinds to give to Pony though, and she literally couldn't get enough! 


Watermelon stained lip! Pony lipstick :)


What a pig! 

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Dakota's Story

Hey purrrdy ladies, I'm Dakota and I am here to tell you a story.

For some reason my dad hasn't been riding me much lately, but he keeps coming out and petting me and feeding me.  Everytime he comes out, he's got some weird hard thing on his arm, they keep calling it a kast.  Maybe that's why he isn't riding me.


So, I thought I would get lots of treatz and cookiez and no work because dad stayed on the ground.  However theres a nice lady named G that rides me every week, she is nice but makes me sweat a lot.

And today, blondie rode me for the second time.  The first time she rode me, it was a lot of fun. 

Blondie has the nicest hands, and they never seem to touch my mouth.  I figured out I can string my body out instead of having to hold it all nice and purdy like dad makes me.  It was a lot of fun.  I started going faster and faster and faster, but it didn't seem to scare blondie.  

Today, she rode me again.  Since me going faster and faster didn't scare her, I figured I might as well be a good boy today and make sure to really listen to what she was saying.

We walked around a little, and then she squeezed my sides.  I figured I might as well make sure she knew what she was asking, so I kept walking.  I felt her on my sides again, and I figured maybe she wasn't being serious, because we were having so much fun walking.  Once she started kicking me, I figured maybe it would be easier to just go ahead and trot.  It was definitely much more effort to trot, so I decided to walk again.

Blondie squeezed my sides again, but I figured she still didn't seem sure about it, and I really like to walk.  Finally, I decided to make it easy on her and trot some.  It was really funny when she asked for my lope.  I saw someone laughing at blondie because she was nearly out of the saddle from kicking me so hard.  Finally, even though it was funny to see her having a tough time, she got a little irritating up there, so finally I gave in.

After that, I decided maybe our ride would be over faster if I was a good boy.  Plus, maybe then dad would get back on me and all these girls would go away.  So I was really nice to blondie soft hands up there, and did my pretty slow gaits and held my head nicely even though she wasn't pulling on me to do so.  Finally, she got off and groomed me and told me I'm pretty.

Which, lets be honest, I am pretty.

As much as dad says he doesn't like it when the girls braid my mane and put sparkly pink on me, he doesn't seem all that mad.  Actually, I think he thinks I look cute.

Secretly, I just want to be a rodeo queen horse.  I want to gallop around in pretty tack with flags and glitter and win ribbons.

All dad ever wants to do is play with cows, which I get really into and excited about, so I guess thats an okay life too.


Thursday, May 2, 2013

Updates

I had a great ride today!

Me and Pony have been doing really good, which is obviously why I haven't been blogging about her much lately.  No news is good news, right?

Funnily enough, I really enjoy riding her english more than anything.  She really seems to enjoy it.  I just wish I had a saddle that fit her really well.

I rode western today, and it was a mustang day.  There were monsters in every corner (and a new mule that is unlike any species Pony knows) that kept staring her down from the outside of the arena.  So she was a little strung out, but I got a sittable trot from her, and that was good enough for me.  It wasn't quite her usual nice shuffle, but it was slow and sittable.

Then we moved on to some lope work.  She does really well in big circles, but once you point her all the way around the arena she picks up speed SO QUICKLY.  And of course, once your horse is doing a nice little in hand gallop, its really hard to seat check her, without getting behind the movement.  So obviously, I have realized that I don't lope the entire arena nearly as much as I should.

Actually, honestly, I don't lope nearly as much as I should at all! Usually its because Pony will be awesome at first, and then get a little crazy, so a lot of times I take the awesome and don't push it.  

So today we loped quite a bit, and funnily enough, going the entire arena is slower on her right lead, which is her worse lead.  Who knows, right?

For next ride, I need to work on her lope transitions.  They were really awesome, and then I didn't focus on them, and obviously they got less awesome.

Also, I was riding her with a longer stirrup, which is something I've been needing to do for a while.  In the old saddle (the one that didn't fit her, and also the one I rode in at spring stampede) the options for stirrup settings are far between, so the one I ride in is too short, but the next one longer is unreachable.  Since it's not my saddle, I'm not going to go punching holes in it, so I just ride with a shorter stirrup.

I really want to make sure I'm not relying too much on my stirrups, so I decided to lower them some, and it felt a lot better.  The toughest part was a posting trot with the longer stirrup.  My heel has a tendency to creep up on me when I post, and obivously this means that I wasn't posting efficiently if its tougher with a longer stirrup! So, that's that.

Being the doofus I am, I left the GPS app on in my pocket once I got back down and had to go run to catch a mule that broke its halter, and ended up walking all over the ranch.  I was on her up in pasture (top right) and then back down and to the 1, and then looped around (to the left) and to the other solid blue dot, which is when I noticed Mr. Muley running away and tied pony up to go get him. I made a few more laps after that just walking back and forth and running errands.  Which included doctoring a fiesty arab in pasture that has a massive chest wound.  It was healing well, until the flies came out and starting attacking it.  Some vetricyn and Swat and he looked much happier.
AVG speed of 1.7? Yup, that would be all the walking and standing around  I did! Also, I'm pretty sure I went up hills more than 108 ft.

After we rode in the arena, we went out in pasture and rode around a bit.  It's the first time I've been out in pasture with a saddle, probably since about a month after I started leasing her. (Psh, who needs tack?!) So, it was fun to go up and down some of the steeper hills I don't like going on bareback.  I have no problem with the up, but it is SO hard to not end up on her neck going down a steep hill bareback.  To stay off her neck, I end up digging my knees into her shoulders, which obviously doesn't help her any haha. What a good pony for putting up with me!

Big Beast Pony!


In other news, this is Piper.  Piper went home today! My trainer had him in training for 3 months.  Hes a MASSIVE warmblood (Hanoverian) and he was really cool.  It took 6 weeks of groundwork before my trainer got on him.  Not because he's young, or mean, or scared or anything.  He was an in your pocket puppy dog from the day he got there.  He was simply the most sensitive horse I have ever seen! Literally, brush him with the stiff brush and he would get upset.  It took 6 weeks of saddling him, and ground driving, and putting weight on him, before you could get on and have him be like 'oh, okay, your on my back, cool'.

He's going to be an eventer, and I bet he's going to be AWESOME at it! He's a REALLY cool horse, and I'm definitely sad to see him go.

But seriously, Holy Crap, do you see the difference in him and Pony? He is MASSIVE.

P.S. Check out Pony's butt muscle! Like, the line underneath her butt, where her leg starts.  I love that haha, chunky Pony! Also, she's standing with one leg cocked, which is why her butt looks all deformed lol.