Saturday, November 30, 2013

Days like these

It was almost 55 degrees this afternoon, with plenty of sunshine and no wind at all.  I showed up this afternoon to find Soonie happy and naked out in the field with his buds, soaking in the sun and munching on his roundbale.  :)

We went for a nice hack down the road to take advantage of the nice weather (we can dressage inside when it's yucky!), and we had a lovely ride.  Soon was totally quiet after five days off (his itty bitty scrape lost its scab and bled again earlier in the week, so I gave him some extra time), had some awesome stretchy trot, nice forward swinging walk, and overall was happy to go along on the buckle.  Happy guy!  :)

Sunday, November 24, 2013


Winter finally arrived with lows in the single digits and highs in the 20's the last couple of days.  Soonie got his midweight blanket and turnout sheet combo finally switched for his new heavyweight blanket.  It belonged to my first heart horse (Triple), and she only wore it one winter, so it's still pretty new.  I was thrilled to see it fit Soon like a glove too.  It was a neat, somewhat nostalgic moment for me when I got him all tucked in...kind of like a passing of the torch, but in blanket form.  :)

So Bubba had the last 10 days off from riding because of a small scrape on the top of his wither that bothered him when I rode - he was very tense and inverted to the right one night as a result.  It looked like it was healing over well, so I hopped on today to see how he'd do.  Of course he was perfect!  Very soft, round, dead quiet as usual, and no tension whatsoever.  He had lovely moments at the walk, trot, and canter in both directions, despite being in a busy ring.  His flat work is such a joy - I can't help but smile because not only that, but he's a joy to ride no matter what we're doing, and I missed being on him!

He did bleed again slightly from that nickle-sized scrape on his wither, so I'm thinking about giving him another week and going from there.  He is very steady undersaddle whether he gets ridden or not, so the extra time off isn't a bad thing.  I just don't want him tense and uncomfortable like he was 10 days ago, poor guy.  He was a very happy worker today though, so that was great to see. :)

It's also great to report that he's very well settled into the big herd!  Yesterday he was out there hanging around with a buddy, and today he was in the lower part of the field with a couple of mares, working on one of the round bales.  It's awesome to see him doing well out there in a big social situation.  Being a horse is just another thing that he's getting great at. :)

Cha-Cha came over to say hi, Soonie's back there cribbing like a champ

Fuzzy pony!!

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Thursday, November 14, 2013

Back to ground work

Soonie has a small scrape on the top of his wither that has been bothering him undersaddle, so I'm going to give him a week or so off from riding to let that fully heal and stick to ground work instead.  It's a good excuse to refresh some of those principles and further improve our connection.  I forgot how snuggly he gets with this stuff!

He is so cute it hurts.  :)

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Love him

And your eyes look like coming home
All I know is a simple name
Everything has changed

Extra energy can be a good thing

That's right, I used the phrase "extra energy" in regards to Soon.  Hold on to your butts! 

Ok not really.  I took him out in the outdoor warm up ring because the weekend weather is fantastic (we had a lovely 5 mi hack down the road yesterday in equally amazing November weather).  But the warm up ring is in his "scary" corner of the farm, and now that the tree line lacks leaf cover and he can see into the adjacent field, it's a whole new kind of "holy shit."  He started off fine and we worked on walking serpentines and the connection with the outside rein, but he invented things to be worried about and actually felt hot-blooded for a few minutes, LOL!   We came down out of the trot and worked on walking around quietly and softly, before I called that a win and moved him into the indoor to finish the flat school.

Naturally he was very good and quiet in the indoor, but the extra push in his step from being slightly wound up from outside actually made his trot work that much better.  Not that I want him spun up during his workouts, but it was nice to feel a little extra energy in his stride, versus his normal old school horse routine.  He worked through the energy fine and quietly as we focused on lots of 10, 15 and 20 meter trot circles, changes of direction/bend, etc.  He came forward much more easily and was well in the bridle - felt great!  He's like a fun little sports car.  He seemed pretty pleased with himself when he was done, and I agree - he felt amazing and it's nice when we can work through a rough moment together and get to a great spot to end on.  :)

Wednesday, November 6, 2013


So much time, so much sleep to catch up on.

Rough life!!   ;)

Oh, and we rediscovered the outside rein tonight.  It's basically the key to life.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

You know it's Lateral Work Night if...

...Mommy breaks out the dressage whip and all we do is walk around for 40 minutes.  :)

Soonie worked pretty hard last night (it was Cavaletti Night!  Isn't it cute/lame that I have theme nights?), so tonight was our easier school. He's done some introductory leg yields, but tonight I wanted to really start laying the framework for a more solid understanding of lateral work.  We started off in hand, worked on turn on the forehand cues, and more leg yields in hand.  Was really trying to reinforce keeping his shoulders and hips straight while encouraging that crossing over of the inside hind (yielding toward the outside rail).  The in hand stuff went very well (it was a refresher, he had done some of that as well awhile ago), so on to the mounted stuff.

That also went well, and after he was warmed up he was really stepping under himself with his hinds and was soft in the bridle.  Leg yields felt much more balanced, straighter, and soft, and he had that "lightbulb" moment with turn on the forehand.  I only need one good step off that lateral cue, and I got it!  I let that sink in and let him think about it a second, then did the other direction.  Good step.  Rinse/repeat a few times, and I think he has a much clearer idea of what I'm looking for there.  Haven't introduced turn on the haunches yet, that will come with time, though he's already starting to move his shoulders in some of the walking warm up exercises we do.

So all we did was walk around tonight, but it was actually probably more productive than last night's school in terms of progress and understanding.  Last night was more conditioning work, tonight was clarifying a whole new skill set.  As usual, he was super smart and so good! :)

Napping before the start of the ride (WHOA HORSEY)

It is not fair how unbelievably adorable he is