Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Mighty Drill Preparations and the Rocking C Show

Ivy and Mario - NINJAs
Heartland's Green Country Ride Equestrian Drill Team Competition
is November 3 at the Claremore Expo - that's THIS WEEKEND!  So, the drill team practiced on Thursday night and then performed all 4 drills at the Rocking C Dressage Schooling Show on Saturday.  The drills were spread out over the day and, after a rough start, improved with each demonstration.  Sunday, we practiced again.  One more practice on Friday evening, and then.... It's show time!  Come and see the girls ride - Beth Bassett made all the Gypsy outfits and they look beautiful.
Since the girls rode 4 different drills, they didn't ride any tests at the show.  But Splash and I rode T-1 (61.250%) and T-3 (59.800%).  Judge Carolyn H says to work to steady connection (shorten reins) to help balance between leg and rein.  Splash was very good and, although the scores don't really show it, these two tests were the best we have ever ridden.  I did ride on "to loose" a rein but I wanted to have more impulsion - contact is a work in progress.  Even so, Splash and I won our first high point ever!

Alaina and Sister -
Indian War Pony

The 4-H Horse Club gathered Saturday evening for a Halloween party including a hay ride, s'mores, costumes and pot luck.  Then had a Halloween Ride Night last night and came in costume with their horses, played Egg-N-Spoon, Ghost Rider, and Red-Light/Green-Light.  Alaina decorated Splash as her Indian pony and won the Egg-N-Spoon; they cantered bareback balancing that pesky plastic egg on a plastic spoon.  Splash is a smooth operator when he feels like it although Alaina did have the advantage since Splash and I won Egg-N-Spoon at the Sept Benefit Fun Show in Sept.  Ivy was the horseless-horseman/Ninja and had got a chance to ride Heather's show horse for fun.  She misses Pico but is getting a lot of experience on different horses.

Calling all YaYa's!  Come by Expo on Saturday and watch the drill team (see Claremore Expo Website for more info).  After this last competition of the year, the calendars should clear for some YaYa rides soon.  I hope.

Friday, October 26, 2012

ODS/GCC Junior Dressage Camp

The Green Country Chapter of ODS presented the 3rd annual Junior Dressage Camp last weekend at Lily Pond Estates in Kellyville, OK.  Lily Pond is a "Three-Day Eventing" training and boarding facility with 13 indoor stalls and 10 turnout paddocks, outdoor dressage arena, stadium jumping arena, and a cross country course for intro through training levels - FABULOUS!  Enjoying free range of this beautiful facility are several feline and canine creatures as well as a yard pony and resident swan.  Angle, the Great Pyrenees, patrols the property vigilantly preventing intruders from making entry.

After picking up Mario and Trooper, we checked in and settled the horses into their stalls before gathering in the apartment for pizza and socializing.  The clinicians had dinner with us and quizzed the girls about their mounts and goals for the weekend.  Claudia Misner and Stacey Morrison gave each camper a lesson each day in groups of 2 or 3.  Electives were: Patty Couch/Drill Team and Nicole Wilkinson/PriCaprilli.
The girls were in charge of horse care and they were good horsemen, feeding/watering their animals before feeding themselves.  Between the lessons and horse care, there was a lot of giggling and pop music.  Lessons and electives filled the day Saturday with a vaulting demonstration by Nel Lobdell's Owasso Vaulting Team and a guest speaker on tap with dinner.  Trista Milliman gave an interesting presentation on  horse nutrition and the girls were attentive asking good questions.  Sunday morning came very early and the girls had their lessons in the morning.  The plan was to have a "Do-Over" type show in the afternoon.  Since the girls had double lessons as well as their electives, the horses and kids were very tired.  A vote was taken and the kids chose to have intense Q&A with their clinicians.  Each had a question for each teacher and all listened to answers and interesting discussion.  Interesting and educational.  Lisa Jewell joined us Sunday and took beautiful, professional portraits of the girls with their horses as well as the following group photo.  Lisa has gifted the girls with their choice of photo so check them out on her website. 
                              2012 ODS/GCC Jr Camp - Back (L-R) Hunter, Emma, Alaina, Roxy, Audry, Sami                            Front (L-R) Miranda, Ivy, Zoe, Megan
Finally, the wonderful organizers and chaperones did a great job with the camp.  Richal and Melissa did the heavy lifting getting the camp on track with help from Christiana.  I joined in as a chaperon, Mallory picked up the slack with Sam's Runs and Soda Emergency Rations and Nancy delivered veggie burgers and other snacks to fill in some holes.

I see all these girls as future YaYa Sisters and I can't wait to see them grow as horsewomen.

   arena, stadium jumping arena, and a cross country course for intro through training levels.f

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Working on the Claw

Some Ponies are really Cute.

Finally, some much needed rain in our neck of the woods came through on Friday morning - about 1.6 inches at the Rocking C in Inola.  Thank goodness that Patty has a magic arena - it was ridable on the west end by Friday evening.

Splash is getting to work on both Western and English skills these days.  On Friday night while the girls drilled, we schooled Western.  Then English for the Party lesson on Saturday and Western again on Sunday while the girls drilled.  He would rather eat grass.

The drill team is working on 4 different drills in preparation for the competition on Nov. 3rd.  They are really improving their skills.  Alaina is working Sister and, believe it or not, is getting a little submission to the bit along with the evil mare attitude.  Ivy hasn't been able to ride Pico since early August and was working with Ahab until last week when we discovered that Ahab and his family are moving to NM.  So, last weekend, Ivy gave Mario a try and they really looked good.  Meanwhile, Sister was lame at ride night Tuesday evening - so, bute and round pen rest for a few days and we will check her out on Friday when I am back from Wyoming.  Cross fingers and toes for a miraculous recovery. Ivy also rode Willy twice for Marilyn.

During the party lesson we concentrated on lateral work after our warm up.  We walked/trotted shoulder in and leg yields as well as practice turns on the forehand and pivots.  Splash is slowly improving  but is still very sticky when moving off right leg.  We finished our work with roll backs which really helped Splash with his canter transitions.  During our western practice Fri and Sun, we side passed and backed through logs with some improvements.  Sunday we did those rollback practices again.  Really fun if you don't fall off.

So, while working on trail obstacles with my neck reins in my left hand, my ride hand develops into a claw in mid-air.  What to do?  I think I should hold on to my pants.  I probably stick my tongue out to the side as well.

My YAYA sisters are socializing tomorrow evening without me - i will be thinking of them all while I am in Wyoming for work.  Very sad face.

Alaina/Sister, Ivy/Willy, Molly/Jeter, Roxy/Trooper

Monday, October 8, 2012

Five Horses You Meet in Life

Liz L sent out the descriptions of the five horses we meet in life a while back - these are mine of the moment.  You never know when a new horse will come into your life.

The Intro Horse - I was born with equine obsession and read/re-read every horse book I could get my hands on during my formative years. My first equine love was the Golden Stallion - one of my favorite horse books.  And, I still have a thing for Palominos.  But I loved all of M. Henry's horses - especially horses from the Misty books. And books about the Lipizzaner stallions.  And all the "Young Reader" Horse Books in the Belfast, ME library (I read every one at least twice).

The Experimental Horse - The transition from imaginary to real. My family rented a pony Stallion named Jethro for one summer up in Maine. He threw me and stepped on me. It didn't cure me. Then my grandfather bought an abuse case from the humane society (yes, just what you imagine). Chocolate (AKA Shenandoah or Little Bit but I called him Chocolate) was the horse I always wanted. I didn't even know that I didn't know how to ride him or notice any faults in him. He was the first Bay Horse in my life. Years (really decades) later, Captain was the second; thank you Patty.

The Connected Horse - TC. Too Cute and his registered name is Mr. Weekend. And he licked my hand so I bought him. But we did bond and, although a little spooky, TC would follow me around the arena when little kids were having their pony ride.  TC tolerated a lot of learning from me. Then tolerated learning from Jaime, then Kale and finally Ivy. With TC, I discovered dressage and really learned about horses - scratches, ticks and horse flies, how to back a trailer, easy boots, saddle fit, farriers, sand cracks, chestnuts and ergots, trail riding and horse shows. The most recent lesson is about paralysis of the left larynx and other old horse things. He connected me with other horse women who are my second family - my yaya sisters.

The Challenger Into each horse person's life, a little challenge must fall. That would be Splash. Pico, although he has spooky tendencies, was fun to train because he likes to be learning (except for jumps of course).  When I was working with him, he could have moved up the levels with a better rider and competitor.  But Ivy needed Pico and I wanted a calmer horse to ride the trail with. Splash is not spooky, but he can be immobile. Beautiful, but the most stubborn animal I have ever encountered. Resistance can be sluggishness, head shaking, dropping the shoulder, bending the neck, above the bit - below the bit, inconsistency, more sluggishness and even lateral moves when working for straightness. The potential of getting to a place with a non-spooky horse who is a nice mover and most important, doesn't really scare me keeps me trying. And Splash is REALLY Trying. 

Sister is the Challenger want-to-be.  She has spent way to much time being green and I worked with her diligently for the year plus that Splash was recovering from an injury (with help from Christian, Mallory, Patty, Dawn, and Krystal).  But, the I never got completely past the fear of falling off because she is quick and athletic.  And I am not.  So, as Splash recovered, I moved back to him for my main project and Sister was the part-time girl.  And Splash is my challenger.  And we are making SLOW progress and might try some Western Dressage in 2013.

Your Deepest Heart - The horse to partner with. That could be Diez, that old gray mare. She was never my main mount. But she was Jaime's and Alaina's first learning horse as well as Kale's second mount. An Arabian mare 14 years old when we bought her from a Paint farm in the middle of Quarter Horse country.  Diez spent years packing kids to dressage shows and 4-H events.   Now at 31, she is recovered from founder, and Alaina is riding her lightly, a little. She will not have to get back into serious work. But she is still building confidence and teaching as the lead line pony when small kids visit the Wild O Ranch or when we visit elementary schools to introduce horses to city kids.

TC was my first horse, taught Jaime, Kale, and Ivy about dressage, and holds a special place in my heart.

Its true that Sunny is Steve's favorite.  He was Jaime's 2-Year Old project.  Kale finished his 4-H career with Sunny after moving to Diez from TC.  Alaina has really blossomed with Sunny and, although she is working Sister for drill and jumping, Sunny is her main man.

And Pico.  While riding him toward First Level, I had visions of being a DRESSAGE RIDER.  And then, Ivy took over and developed his jumping and Trail abilities as well as her training knowledge.  She loves him even when he spooks.

My Deepest Heart?  I hope it is Splash.  Although a challenger, he has redeeming qualities.  Perhaps he will develop into my perfect partner. A girl can dream.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Fresh Horses

Mallory, Patty, Cynthia, Cathy, Nancy, Kathy, Margaret and
Ivy, Alaina and Roxy celebrate Kathy's B-day MONTH!
It's official, Cynthia and her guys are leaving the Rocking C and headed WEST.... to Albuquerque, NM.  With lightning speed, Cynthia has a new home and barn already selected and will be moving very soon.  We will miss Cindy as well as Ahab and Shadow.  In particular, Ivy will miss riding Ahab who has been her main mount since Pico's "two-end" problem started in early August.  I hope Cindy's new barn is almost as much fun as the Rocking C so that she gets her Equine Therapy but will miss us too.

Ivy and Mario

Pico had another visit to Doc P on Monday and Doc says Pico has problems in front and rear.  Apparently, something in the left foot is causing the main lameness but a problem with the left rear suspensory is aggravating the issue.  So, a month of stall rest with 2 10-min walks per day and a bute/no bute regimen - we will re-check and go from there.

Drill is in high gear getting ready for the competition on November 3rd at the Claremore Expo (mark your calendars).  Friday evening and the girls learned a new maneuver - the box.  Oh and the temperature DROPPED.  Mallory and I huddled in our jackets and didn't work our ponies.  We were saving ourselves for the party lesson.

And the horses were very fresh.  We spent extra time warming up and all the horses were really moving out.  Kathy brought Missy for Nancy, Mallory was riding Mario, and after the warm-up we all worked on shoulder-in and leg yields.  Kathy and Call added some counter-canter loops while Splash and I worked on canter circles and maintaining forward during leg yields.  Left leg yield is very hard for Splash - a lingering effect of his injury a couple of years ago.  These things take a long time to heal.

The girls drilled again on Sunday afternoon and I dusted off the western gear and reminded Splash about neck reining.  We worked on some canter on a long rein as well back-thoughs and pivots - he was a very good boy.  After drill, Ivy took a test ride on Mario and he showed off his smooth side.  The only thing missing from my week was a ride with my YaYa sisters.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012