Sunday, November 30, 2014

A day off plus recurve fun and Endomondo.

I gave Chrome the day off even though the weather was gorgeous again (and won't be again for a long time) because his stifles were sticky.  We probably did too many circles yesterday.  I think we will only do arena workouts one or two times a week until his stifles get stronger.  Circles are hard on them.  I'll also go large in the arena and not focus too much on 20 meter circles.  Other than that he's doing great and neighs at me every single time I go outside hehe.

I was bored and started looking up mileage trackers like MapMyRun and in the process I read something interesting.  As long as you have internet/signal at the start of the ride on Endomondo it doesn't matter if you lose internet/signal during the ride because GPS continues to track it....... how did I not know that???  I don't have internet on my phone (not a smart phone) so I thought there was no way I could ever use it.  What I never thought of is my Android tablet!!!  I can start Endomondo while at home right before mounting up and then I'm good to go!  Now I can track my distance, time and average speed when we go on trail rides or when we ride at home in the arena!  So cool!!!  A tablet is a lot more bulky to carry around than a cell phone, but that's okay.  I'll just get some small saddlebags or something lol.  I'm so excited to have a better way of tracking our rides, because I would really love to track my total mileage for 2015.  :D  Now I can!  It's so exciting!

Also I completely forgot to mention on Ride 81 where Chrome kissed a bull that hubby was looping his bike around behind us when Chrome stopped suddenly and hubby ran into his haunches and got his handlebars tangled in Chrome's tail.  It was hilarious!!  Chrome didn't care lol.  Hubby was fine.  I edited the post and added it in, but I thought I would mention it here too for everyone who has already read it.  :)

Okay last bit of news.  My hubby gave me my Christmas present early.  An awesome recurve bow!!!!!  I've always wanted to learn archery so I'm super excited.  Of course I'm already dreaming of riding Chrome in the SCA and shooting my bow hehe.  This was Chrome's first time really getting to see my bow.  I LOVE these pictures!

Can we just say OMG that neck!!!

 Zep was curious too!  Love the sun in this picture.

 He looks so Arabian when he's showing off.  :)

 He loved the fur silencers hehe.

 Sniffing the other fur silencer. 



I hope you enjoyed the pictures.  Our weather is about to turn to crap, but I'll try to sneak out between rains to try out the Endomondo.  :)

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Ride 85 - I have an arena!! Pictures and video!

I finally have an arena!!  Okay it's just rock filled buckets out in my pasture, but still it's really exciting.  We measured out a 20x40 meter arena (getting it square is a pain!) and we used five gallon buckets full of rocks to mark the corners and midway points down the long side.

The buckets were the only thing I could think of that would withstand the shenanigans of Chrome and Zep.  They destroy anything left in the pasture.  We will see how long this lasts.  I hope if they do knock one over that they don't move it too far.  It really was a pain to measure this thing out.  Eventually we're going to use cinder blocks and poles to build the corners, but our cinder blocks are being used for something else right now so it will do.

Chrome did fantastic for our first workout in the arena!  I only rode thirty minutes because he did such a good job.  He did step "outside" the arena a few times and he obviously is still learning about corners and circles, but I'm really impressed with the progress we made.  The weird thing is that being in an "arena" brought all of my lessons back to my mind.  I sat up, looked up (when I remembered) and used my head and shoulders to lead him where I wanted to go.  He was following my body cues way better than I ever realized he did.  Now he just needs to learn to follow the legs too.  There were points where he had a decent tempo and I was actually able to think about my own position (look up, shoulders back, hands up and together, elbows bent and legs... well they are hopeless).  I realized watching the video that I'm either gripping with my knee or posting off my stirrups and that's on reason my leg is swinging so bad.  I think once his tempo improves and my strength improves that it will get better.  :)

Here is the video.  It's kind of long and probably boring, but I really enjoyed watching it.  I wish my riding were better, but it will improve now that we have a way to practice.

Hubby even pointed out that Chrome has a relaxed, swishy tail most of the time.  He only flicked it around a couple of times.  I did notice that the halter slides over into his eye though!  Oops!  I can't wait for my new bit to get here next week.  I think the halter in the eye and the wind blowing is why he had his ears back so much.  That wind was insane!!  It finally knocked the cell phone over, but I only rode for about three more minutes and then called it quits because he was such a good boy.  He was sweaty too.  Can you believe it's almost December and I'm riding in a tank top??  Gotta love our bipolar weather.  Actually I do love it when it's like this, but I'm not ready for it to go back to being cold again.

After I first mounted up, on the way to the back pasture Chrome was being VERY balky, so hubby got me a stick to use as a riding crop.  When he reached out to give it to me, Chrome took it instead.

I took his word for it and let him drop it on the ground.  I didn't need it for the ride, so Chrome was right.  Such a good boy.

See his cute little relaxed tail flip?

Here are some riding pictures my hubby took (he set up his cell phone for the video and used my point and shoot camera for pictures, he's awesome!) for those of you who don't want to watch the video since watching other people ride can be boring.  :)

 You can kind of see the slope of the land in these two pictures. 

Still can't trot a straight line hehe.

I changed a lot to black and white because it was a bad time of day for pictures.

I'm so excited about my arena.  I think we are going to make a lot of progress as long as it stays dry.  It gets really slick back there so come January we might be back on the roads again until summer.  :)

Here are some more pictures from the day.

 I normally hate selfies, but this was too cute not to share.

 So handsome!

 Also handsome.. and blendy!

 Messed around with some photo editing... kind of weird but cool.

 My whole herd!

 Chrome playing with the neighbor cow.

 Zep was braying in this picture.  Wish I'd had a video!!

 LOVE this face!!!!

 Some goating... er horsing around.  :)

 I love spending gorgeous days out with my herd and my Jackal pup.  :D

P.S.  I almost forgot.  Here is a video of me trotting Chrome (he felt like he was short striding, but he wasn't) and we accidentally cantered.  It was the best canter ever and our first canter out in the back of the pasture ever.  Good boy!!

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Help!!! Need opinion on Wintec dressage saddle!!

I found someone with an old 18" Wintec saddle for sale.  It is synthetic, no CAIR panels, adjustable gullet, has the medium wide in and she has the wide, but the rest are missing (I have a full set, so not that big a deal).  She's not sure how old it is.  It's just stamped Wintec so she's not sure which model it is.  She wants $285 for it.  Is it worth that much?  If it didn't work for us would I be able to resell it and get my money back?  It's seems like such a good deal, but I am so leery of buying saddle sight unseen from people I don't know!  Also any other questions I should ask her?  Please help!  

Ride 84 - Video baseline for our trot work.

This post may seem long, rambling and boring, but please stick with it because there is a hilarious video you have to see.  :)

That bulge in my jacket is from having my hands in my pockets, not my fat Thanksgiving belly... okay maybe it's a little bit of both hehe.

Okay, one of the things on my list (see this post) is to take a video of your ride and then do another one a month later to show your progress.  I would like to get in the habit of doing that every month anyway just to track our progress, but I haven't because all we've been doing is trail riding.  Now that it's getting dark so early I will probably be riding in the pasture a lot more, so now is the time to work on some things like tempo because his irregular trot is so hard to post!!!

I'm really shy about posting videos of my riding because frankly I ride like crap.  I haven't taken lessons in eleven years and I haven't ridden a trained horse (other than western trail horses) in eight years or more.  I went several years without riding (horseless two years and three years waiting on Chrome to grow up) and then even when I started riding Chrome it wasn't much because I wanted to let him grow (hence why we are only on ride 83 even though I started riding him May 2012).  I have several bad habits like hunched shoulders, collapsed wrists, etc.  The saddle, his lack of tempo and my lack of practice means my leg and posting are horrible too.  In a dressage saddle I have a fairly good leg, but in the Aussie saddle it tends to swing.  I've gotten a bit better, but still nowhere near like it used to be.

People keep telling me to set up an arena in my pasture and start working him, but I have hesitated because honestly he's a pain in the butt to ride in the pasture.  He gets bored riding in his own turn out, so he constantly wants to go to the gate.  He likes riding in the front yard or out on the road.  He needs to get over it though because one day he will probably have the same opinion of arenas.  Tough cookies pony because we ARE taking lessons in the spring if I have to ride you across town to get there!!!

Some of the things he has done in the past include balking going toward the back of the pasture, speeding up going toward the gate, turns sharp going toward the gate, can't make gradual turns or circles, has no tempo or rhythm (which is why I can't post very well) and he isn't straight at all.  On circles he is counter bent and throws his shoulders inside or outside depending on where we are.  It's all green horse stuff that we just haven't worked on yet.  I hope I'm up to teaching him some of it!  When I was riding him tonight I could close my eyes and remember what it felt like to ride a dressage trained horse, so I'm hopeful muscle memory will help me out.

Oh and I'm riding him in the halter because I still haven't found a bit.  I'm thinking he needs a 6" bit....

So anyway I read this article and realized that one of the first things I needed to work on was his bracing.  I've done lateral flexion with him in the past, but it's been a LONG time and I haven't done it much in the saddle.  Since I mostly ride him on a loose rein I really haven't worked on teaching him to give to rein aids.  I also realized the one rein stop might help us with some of our other problems like speeding up, ducking, etc.  So I worked on it while standing still and then in the walk.  When I moved into the trot is when we started recording the video, which I left completely unedited.  Sorry it's long and boring, but it's mostly for my reference anyway.  Obviously if anyone has any tips I accept all advice, but please no criticizing because I'm aware of how bad we are right now.  :)

Anyway sorry for babbling.  Here is the video.

You can see one point where he curled his neck up and I thought he was going to take off or start crow hopping (at the time, watching it I don't think he was), so I did a one rein stop then I flexed him back and forth a few times.  It's hard to see what is going on sometimes, but I did the one rein stop when he would speed up (kind of like the cruise control lesson that some trainers do), try to duck out or was bracing really hard and refusing to go the direction I wanted.  I did a really bad job of alternating sides... oops.  I need to pay more attention to that.  I saw a HUGE difference in just these two laps, one in each direction.  Hubby's phone was dying, but after the video I did one more lap and then worked on circles and he did it!!  He's never been able to do circles back there!!  Since I don't have cones or an arena, they were all over the place and not totally circle shaped, but he wasn't trying to duck out or go to the front of the pasture.  :)  He was still really counter bent and his shoulders were all over the place but we can work on that.  During our next ride I'm going to work on teaching him to move off my leg at a stand still.  He needs to learn to listen to my leg.  That's been my fault and totally because of laziness.  I could have taught him from the very beginning to move off my leg and I didn't because it was boring.  Bad me!

I think that covers it all, so now to be less boring check out this hilarious video.

I love my herd!  They are so much fun.  :D  I'm so glad the goats are fitting in so well.  That video also shows a couple of others things from the list.  Me laughing out loud and me taking a video from Chrome's back hehe.  That's why it was kind of shaky and I kept saying whoa.  :)  Here are some pictures I took.

 The goats love chasing Jackal.  :D

 I let hubby carry my saddle hehe.

 Riding this boy makes Thanksgiving so perfect!!

 All of my hoofed boys in one picture!

I lost a stirrup!!  Luckily I was standing still.  I forgot to make sure they were secure after throwing them over the saddle while tacking up.

 Hubby knows how to entertain himself.  

He's also crazy because it was forty degrees and look at what he's wearing!!

Our shadow!

The ride was an hour long (there was a lot of work standing still, so the trotting part was probably only fifteen or twenty minutes).  Also I almost forgot to mention.  I've added something to my bucket list!  Ride my horse on all the major holidays!!  So far I've ridden him on Christmas in 2012 (in the snow!!), Valentine's Day and Memorial Day in 2013, New Year's Day, Fourth of July and Thanksgiving this year.  :D  So all I have left are Easter, St. Patrick's Day, Mother's Day, Father's Day, Labor Day and Veterens Day.  Did I miss any??

So I had a perfect Thanksgiving and I have a lot to be thankful for.  I'm mostly thankful for all of my boys (hubby, Chrome, Zep, goats, Jackal), but I listed other things on my other blog if you're interested.  :D  I hope you all had a fabulous day.  Happy Thanksgiving!!!!!

P.S.  Stormy (my Siberian Husky that died in February) was on my mind a lot today, but I tried to remember to be thankful for the time I had with her instead of being sad that she's no longer here. I miss having her support for when all the boys gang up on me.  :)