Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Lots of riding and no working!

Yay!  I love vacations!  So far my only complaint is that the temps have hovered in the 40's and the sun has been non-existent.  But, I have been riding and not going to work!  Yay!  That almost makes up for it...though I am willing to bet $$$ that next Monday it will be sunny and 60+ degrees out there.  SIGH


So this is week six of conditioning and Dreamy is finally starting to come together.  Her work is much stronger and I am feeling more confident in the idea of trying First level.  :-)  We have had five good rides in a row, April 15 to today, all walk/trot/canter for 40-50 minutes each.  Today we had a lovely canter in both directions.  It was great!  Started with half a circle, then a full circle, and then 2 full 20 m. circles!  Yay!  And finally her trot work after the canter is decent as well.  She loses so much strengthen in her hind end over the winter.  I hate it!  :-(  I am waiting patiently for my instructor to let me know her ring is ready for a lesson...I really had hoped to take one this week but I am not sure if that will happen.  Dreamy will get tomorrow (supposed to rain) and Friday (we are headed to the aquarium!) off.

I have finally put a few rides on Reva this week, too.  I started riding her a few times back in March but she had some serious baby teeth issues (I ought to write a post about that...) and I waited for the vet to come out to float her during our spring shot appointment (April 11).  Now she is 100% better.  On Saturday she was naughty in her baby way, spooking from the wind and being all wiggly and unable to concentrate.  Today she was so much better, soft at the walk, bending again (Oh, I remember how to bend my ribcage, she says!  LOL!), and calm at the trot.  She wants to do her racehorse trot, but is starting to remember that a quiet working trot is just fine with me!  LOL!  Though I have to say, her big trot might be perfect for saddleseat......more on that later!  HA HA HA  :-)

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Beach Ride!

On Sunday, April 10, Dreamy and I went to the beach together for the first time!  Yay!  My friend Tania and her horse Otis came along for the fun as well.  Tania and I seem to be horse adventure buddies, as she is my fabulous groom/photographer who accompanied me to WEG this past fall!  We had SUCH a FUN time!  The beach is in Scarborough and is open to horses until May 1.  We hope to go back one more time!


Here is Dreamy when we arrived.  I swear, she thought she was at a horse show.  There were other horses already there in the parking lot and you could not see the ocean.  LOL!
Dreamy was sooooo good!  She is not a fan of water and mushy sand, but she walked right into the ocean.  The first time the waves came at her, she did back up pretty quickly and look down at the waves, wondering why in the WORLD the water was moving like that!  LOL!  I was laughing because she is so expressive.  But then I brought her parallel to the ebb of the waves and she was fine.  Granted, she seemed rather resigned, as if to say, "Oh Mom, you OWE me BIG time for being this perfectly good for you..."  HA HA HA
Otis and Dreamy's hoof prints!  :-D
Dreamy thought Otis was OK...she was happy to walk along next to him but made her mare face at him every so often.  Here she is with her "I'm-not-too-sure-I-actually-like-you" ears.  LOL!
The weather was absolutely gorgeous.  It was sunny with a bit of an ocean breeze, but we were comfortable in fleece and windbreakers.  To my knowledge, Dreamy has never been to the beach, so I did not know what to expect.  But she was so good and willing.  It was the perfect beach ride!!  I think she would have preferred to walk in the dry sand, as for some reason she has always been very self-preserving about her footing.  But she marched along at the walk and trot down at the water's edge, and we even tried a bit of canter, and she was excellent!  Though the first time we trotted in the soft wet sand, she did a little hoppy thing with her front end like she sometimes does in the snow (I think it was a halfhearted canter stride, as she prefers to canter in the snow rather than trot)....I imagine it felt funny to have the mud sucking her hooves in.  LOL!


Growing up right on the ocean, my favorite smell besides horses has always been the sea.  I now live over 30 miles from the ocean and I HATE it!!!!  :-(  So I also loved being at the beach and the feeling of salt on my face and in my hair.  The best part was driving home....and realizing the smell of the ocean AND horse mixed together on my coat was heavenly!  LOL!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Spring Conditioning!

So apparently posting for 30 days straight made me avoid my blog for almost two weeks!  LOL!  Not only was I tired of writing so much, life has been super busy.  Thankfully I have been able to stick with Dreamy's seven week conditioning schedule fairly well despite so many things going on.  She is coming along well and I am pleased with her progress so far.  If only the rest of the snow would melt and the rain would stop long enough for everything to dry up.  My riding "field" is still not quite ready for riding so I have been making use of the driveway and road...not the best situation, but it works!

It always bothers me when owners pull their horses out of that pasture in the spring after a winter off and don't bother to spend time legging up the horse.  Especially as horses age, they need active work to get back into riding/showing shape.  I try to be very diligent and realistic with my horses.  I write everything down and make a plan ahead of time. 

Week 1:  March 13 – 19
We spent the week walking for 20 minutes each day.  It was thrilling!  LOL!  I rode her six times, with one day off.


Week 2: March 20-26
We worked up to 30 minutes of walking.  She had one day off (it snowed!).  I added in hill work twice and a little bit of lateral work.  We really established some good contact practice...medium walk, working walk, free walk, etc.

Week 3: March 27 – April 2
We had three days off because of my responsibilities at work, but began trotting.  All were 30 minute rides walk/trot, one day of hills, and a little bit of canter (2-3 strides at a time).

Week 4: April 3 - 9
We had two days off, once from the rain and once because she got shoes!  All rides were 30-35 minutes walk/trot, small bits of canter (hard to do in a straight line in the driveway),

Week 5: April 10- 16
The plan is to ride five times, since I have had two nights of responsibilities at school.   We went to the beach on Sunday (YAY! Will post about that later...) and rode for an hour, mostly walking with some trot and one canter.  Monday was a good 45 minute walk/trot/lateral work ride.  The last two nights were too busy for riding, but I plan to ride Thursday through Saturday...adding in the canter as much as I can!  Hopefully the field footing will dry out so I can canter for real, not just in straight lines for a few strides in the driveway.  Oh what I would give to have a real ring and/or an indoor!  

Weeks 6 and 7 will be building up to an hour of walk/trot/canter.  My instructor's ring is almost ready to ride in, so I hope to have a lesson before the end of the month.  Next week is school vacation (YAY!!!!) so I hope to ride 6 days.

I started riding Reva a few weeks ago, but she had something going on with her teeth.  The vet was out this past Monday morning for spring shots and also floated Reva's teeth.  She should be all set to start riding now!  I hope to get much more consistent training with her and maybe show her this year.

So far, so good!  Shows are just around the corner......  :-D