Sunday, 18 December 2011

Let's dance the two-step

Got to love training horses, or any animal for that matter!  There's that lovely dance we have, one step forward, one step back.  Since I currently don't have the means to haul into the indoor arena right now I am doing a lot of lunging and ground work with Celtic at the barn.  I have learned that she is not happy with a lunge whip (for a later post) and takes a while to really focus on me when we're working.  Of course it doesn't help when the rest of the horses are still in their field in plain view of where we work.

Today was a bit of a step sideways in our work on the lunge.  We started as usual with some high-stepping trot immediately when she gets out on the circle, with me using line and lunge whip.  As we go, I remove lunge whip and get a little more demanding in my halts and walks.  By the end of our session (~25 mins) we get the video below which is about where we ended last time.  Right now our main goal is going relaxed on the line at the walk and trot, halting, and reversing consistently.  We have trot consistent (not quite relaxed all the time) and halting is good.  When we get a walk, it is good... when we get it.  She is better to the left than to the right for walking, and when I get her walk, she is easy to reverse right to left, yet sometimes sticky left to right.  Of course this all points to, along with our last ride, her weaker side is the right. 

Here is a video of the last bit of our lunging session where she is coming down and listening to my cues, instead of prancing around like an arabian princess...

Please note:  I have her inside ear!  YES!

I am looking into picking up a surcingle, and possibly a set of draw or vienna reins to help our lunging sessions move into more of a schooling/strengthening exercise along with being an obedience exercise.    

Saturday, 17 December 2011

A New Adventure

After a tragedy that happened with my gelding (pictured as my header), I have purchased a new horse.  A coming 6 year old Dutchwarmblood/Arabian cross mare.  She has done a few dressage clinics and competed in one dressage show which is a plus for me since I like my horses having a solid base in dressage before doing any work over fences.  I have taken her on trial and it has been interesting.  Because of where I live, I have only really been able to ride her once, but have been able to do plenty of ground work with her.  So far, she seems lovely, willing to work, and will try her heart out.  Whenever anything new is introduced, she'll take a little time to think about it, then move on.  It's a really interesting thing to see a horse think about her situation before reacting first.  Compared to my first guy, she is much more personable, always meeting you at the gate instead of the round bale. 

Here are some photos and video of my new girl, Celtic!

Tuesday, 13 December 2011

Where it all began...

I have loved horses for as long as I can possibly remember.  Whenever we were within reach of a horse farm, tack store, pony ride (at fairs, etc.) I would beg my parents to take me, just to look, just to browse, just to soak up that horse world that I craved.  As a young girl I was fortunate enough to live in a city that was very close to a large horse racing breeding farm that was open to the public at certain hours.  Whenever I could wrangle it, one of my parents would take me to walk through the barns, pass through the pastures, and just be around these wonderful creatures.  I had stars in my eyes!  I was lucky enough to start riding, albeit just for a week at a time, when I went to summer camp. 
After doing this for a few years, my parents finally let me take actual lessons with a friend of mine.  Every Tuesday night from then on, I was at the barn, trying my best to keep up with the other girls who had been riding at this barn for ages it seemed.  It came out that I was rather adept at riding and moved up the 'levels' quickly at this barn.  Now, when I say levels, I don't actually mean specific riding levels, but more riding more difficult horses.  My equestrian education was brought to me by riding a plethora of different horses that increased in riding difficulty as I progressed.  I've found that this education has suited me well, even though it is not as refined as some others out there.  I'm happy to be able to say that I've ridden a lot of different rides, from the schoolmasters to the trail ponies who've never stepped foot in an indoor to the cantankerous ponies. 

From here I went on to work at the camp I first started riding at as an instructor than a director.  During those years I learned a lot about the 'backside' of horsemanship, how to appreciate the sound of contented munching after a long day's work, reveling in the hard labour, and always being open to new experiences no matter where they came from.  After working as a director at the camp for a few years, my situation changed and could no longer continue there as I was tied up staying at my university for summer work as a research assistant. 

I think I will leave it at that for now, and continue the story on the next post where the real meat and potatoes begin!

Sunday, 11 December 2011

It's an interesting time...

... when you decide to start writing about your life on the internet for any and all to see.  I've decided to start this blog to see what will happen with it and have a little fun.  I might as well start from the beginning as most of these things do, along with a short introduction of myself.  I am a young adult finding her feet in the world in general, and the world of horses.  I've been riding since I was 7 years old with a slight hiatus while in university.  I'm now currently looking at where I want to go and what I want to do in every aspect of life!  Oh, decisions, decisions!  At least I know that horses will always be (and most have always been) a part of my life.

Next time, the beginning of it all...