4/2/14

"No one can teach riding so well as a horse."

Oh my goodness, it was 80 degrees and sunny yesterday. Originally, I had been planning to ride for a solid week but then we ended up having to schedule a foster care meeting right in the middle of the day, starting when I would be able to get a ride to the barn to when it would be getting too dark to even go, but it ended up being canceled, yay! Mom and I left for the barn as soon as Jeff got home to babysit the kids and the farrier we used to use was there. The more I think about our new farrier, the more I feel iffy. I think she was amazing with the horses but I don't know if she's a good farrier. She trimmed the mini's and was pretty messy, I don't know if it's just because her back was hurting and the mini's are harder to do, but I don't know if I want to chance it with my big horses because they get lamer easier and etc. Red is looking a bit long and will need trimmed within a week or two, and she didn't seem to think he was long at all, so I don't know... Spirit still looks good but his hooves don't grow nearly as quickly.

They were waiting at the gate of the barn, so we got them inside and groomed for awhile. Red is officially shedding like crazy and was sweaty from running around and playing, so I was nasty before I even got on. I noticed some balding spots on his ears and a little bite mark, probably from one of the babies, that I needed to put MTG on later, but so far he looks good. The bugs are officially out. :/ Ugh, hoping he does good this year!!

Tacked up, led them to the 4 acres and hopped on. Red was being silly and barn sour but I got on easily enough and we went on the trail around the 4 acres, I could feel him start to want to bolt again the second I rolled my spurs on him and I told mom that as soon as we were in the 4 acres, I was taking them off. I wanted to give them a minute since this was our first real ride with them as opposed to the slightly pokier ones, maybe he just thought they were the evil pointy spurs. ;) He ended up not getting better so we went ahead to the pasture and I took them off. He kept looking back at me as I was taking them off, and I could just see him ease up and get more comfortable. Definitely the main issue in the bolting problem. He's still barn sour but riding in the pasture was SO much easier and even mom said she saw a huge difference in his body language in the pasture. He was so much happier. He used to do fine with the slip on bumpers, but they were also just little balls on the end while these were thin and had a bit of a wide rowel. No poke to them, but they definitely had a bit more of a bump. He started being spookier and bolty as soon as I starting using the second pair. They looked almost the same and were bigger and shinier, I'm thinking he either thought the newer bumpers were just as scary as the pointy ones, he's just NOT a fan of spurs in general, or he's remembering the pointy ones and is scared to even ride, which would actually kind of explain him giving me trouble when I mount. I have a fairly quiet leg and I made sure I didn't jab him, I had mom watch me for awhile in the round pen with them walk/trot/canter and she said I wasn't hitting him at all, but I'm sure I've probably poked him on accident a time or two and just one time is enough. Red is a sensitive horse when it comes to metal and etc (spurs, bits) so it doesn't surprise me that he had issues.

Once I took them off, we had an awesome ride in the pasture. Spirit does better every single time mom gets on him and he's just getting better on the ground after that farrier visit with the noveal headstall. He respects us more, and even the old farrier commented on how good he was acting compared to a few weeks ago when he was out. Spirit still has an occasional "Ugh I'm a brat!" moment but he is only 8 years old and he's an Appaloosa and he's an ex barrel horse who has come a long way since last May. (Which reminds me, we've almost had him for a year!)

We made a few slow laps around the pasture, zig-zagged around then followed the fence-line. Red got his low headset back within minutes of the spurs being off and he was fine with walking, finally. We let them race back to the end of the pasture, away from the barn, and then trotted down the sides of the pasture. I love how competitive Red gets when we let them race, haha!!

True love right there.

I managed to get mom to take some videos of Red and I trotting around the pasture, they aren't the best but I can see how he looks and how I look, so I know what to improve on. I probably need to fix my stirrups a little because my legs are weird and uneven and it's messing with my heels, and I need to stop grabbing the back of my saddle when he trots. He's bumpy, but it's gotten a lot better (either that or I've gotten a better seat, lol) and I need to stop doing that, haha! I also need to keep my reins looser when he gets into a faster gait, it's hard but what I need to do again is start using the cantle to hold onto like I did before so I maintain a looser rein.
Stills from a video so not the best pictures, but....I'm actually proud of how I look here other than my heels.


I do think his trot is starting to look a little more fluid and he's collecting himself more now. He's still a little on the chubby side but I can definitely see his muscles start to come out more when he actually uses himself. ;)

My reins are too high but at least they are a bit looser... UGH my heels.


I do need tips on how to keep my heels down and planted in my stirrups on a rough gaited horse, so any ideas are totally appreciated. I don't want to look like a bafoon, haha!
Urgh I look stupid but......Red looks pretty awesome.


All in all, the horses did amazing yesterday. Red wanted to trot back home once we turned back, so I went back in the pasture, trotted him in circles, dismounted, loosened the cinch and made him walk slow. He always wants to trot down that hill, no matter if I'm riding or if I'm walking him, so he needs some lessons in manners. I've let him do it, so it's mostly my fault, just like the majority of his flaws, haha! Yesterday I kind of noticed a lot of my own flaws and how they are affecting him. I know I've done pretty good for the past year and a half with him, but I have made him get into some bad habits and I need to fix it.

It wasn't the longest ride ever but we ended on a good note. Since he tried running home, I took him in the round pen and walked with him, worked on his "woah" cue and free-lunged him for a few minutes. We didn't do much but he got a little workout in there too and was exhausted and ready to be good by the time we were done. He joined up as soon as I let him and followed me around everywhere, he walked back the barn next to me without me leading him, didn't try to speed up, just walked at my pace next to me. I love this horse.
Redman says he is very red right now.

Our  new tack set ;) All I need now is green splints!




Went into the barn, untacked, got him cooled off and took some selfies.
How can you be mad at that face, come on!


And one more for kicks...




Is there anything cuter than a huge horse yawning?

Video will be up later!

7 comments:

  1. I love reading your posts about riding because you find so much joy in it and know how lucky we are to just be able to ride. You're the type of person I would have loved to teach back in the day just because of your positive and willing attitude. I can see a few things that will help you with your heels (hope you don't mind) 1) Your feet are a little too deep in the stirrups. Make sure to have them on the balls of your feet and then really pay attention to keeping them there. You will have to focus on keeping your heels down to keep them in place. I know you have probably seen some barrel racers and ropers ride with their feet that deep in the stirrups, but they have probably been riding for years and have an independent seat (usually). To learn, it's not necessarily the best way to go. 2) In the picture it looks like you may be gripping with your knees. This will bring your heels up. Try openin your knees a little and just letting them lay lightly against the saddle. Really focus on dropping your weight down into your heels. Any time you start feeling off balance, focus only on dropping your heels down. Think of them being down as your anchor. 3) It looks like the stirrups of your saddle haven't been turned. A tack shop will usually do this or you can do it at home (how-to online). This will help you keep your feet point forward. When your toes are being turned in by the saddle, it pulls your heels up. 4) Have your mom point out whenever she sees your heals come up. Having someone point it out every time you do it will help break the habit. 5) It would be good to dedicate your next few rides to practicing these things in the round pen where you don't have to think about your horse and can just focus on yourself. I know riding in the round pen is boring, but even if you only dedicate twenty minutes of your ride to this, it will help you immensely and you will progress much faster in the long run.

    Once you are able to keep your heels consistently down, your balance will be better and you won't need to rely on the reins, cantle, or horn for balance (I would highly recommend staying away from these practices as they become habits that you will have to break down the road).

    You seem like you have a great attitude and I'm sure you'll conquer this in no time! If you have any questions, please feel free to ask on here or email me. Good luck to you!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks SO much Jodi, I appreciate all of those tips!! I don't mind at all, I desperately need some help haha! I definitely grip with my knees a lot when he gets into a trot. I do so much better when he's walking or gets into a quicker trot because I can post a bit easier, but it's so hard to remember, lol!! I do a lot of round pen rides anyways so I'm used to the boredom, that's a good idea! Soon I'll have a nicer arena to work on that stuff in as well. :) I've gotten my mom to yell at me every time she see's me grip the horn and etc! :)) As for the comment on the stirrups, I've tried dropping them but it always hurts my knees for some reason. :/ I've thought about purchasing some different stirrups to see if it would help, my legs are uneven so it causes some weird stuff with stirrup length, haha!

      Thanks again!

      Delete
  2. Also, maybe drop your stirrups a whole or two :)

    ReplyDelete
  3. No problem at all :) Turning your stirrups should help with the knee problems. Also when your posting really think about the rhythm. The trot is two beats so count in your head and try to keep your body in that rhythm. One..two..one..two..up..down..up..down. Whichever works for you. A steady rhythm will help you from falling forward or back and so keeping your heals from coming up. I tried to watch your video, but my computer needs fixed and I have to do everything on my phone that won't play it.

    Anyway, you'll totally get everything nailed down soon. Have fun in the process and remember to be patient with yourself. Everything will come together in time :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'll definitely look up some stuff on turning the stirrups!! :) :) Thank you!

      Delete