Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Two projects, spring here we come!

I've ridden the yellow pony twice since I've been back, and also lunged her a few times.  She has had what is now close to two months off, and since she didn't end up going home for the winter she has just been sitting in Grayson's field.  Each day to catch her I have to trick her into coming over to me, because if I'm over eager she will simply run the other direction - literally!  She wants to think that being caught is her idea, and the field is big enough that she is usually right.  She is fuzzy and shaggy and more white than yellow, but hopefully when she starts shedding she will be a palomino girl again.
She is figuring out just how okay it is for her to be interested in life, and although she still threatens to rear on the cross ties and under saddle, thus far her front feet have stayed on the ground.  Sarah is going to help me by teaching me some Parelli stuff to do with her, and I think that once she is in a consistent program (c'mon weather - dry up!) she will be fit and happy.  I can't wait to start getting her going over fences!  The free-jumping session was such a tease!  Remember this?

Molly, a freshman who rode on the dressage team with Sarah and me in the fall, recently began boarding with Grayson as well, and today she had a jumping session with her adorable mare Savannah.  I miss jumping around too!  

Today we just walked and trotted, and I'm trying to remind Pony that she doesn't have to GO GO GO all the time.  She does eventually settle down at the trot, but she has a tendency to lose her mind at the walk.  She can't really seem to fathom moving that slowly!  She doesn't really understand the point.  At the end of our ride though we watched Molly and Savannah jump around the course Molly set up and I think it was really good for Pony's brain to just stand while another horse was galloping around the ring.  Go Pony!

On another note, the little PonyFace Zena has been SO successful!  In her first jumper show with Nikki she won her 3' power and speed class, and got second in the jump off of the other 3' class she did. She also competed in her first two events, and she was one mistake away from winning the first one!  She stopped at the water fence, but jumped right in on the second try, and otherwise was set up to win the division!  That's funny, do you remember when she was terrified of even walking through a puddle?  Nikki sure has some potential in her hands! 

Recently I started talking to Janene about Ritter, and because of the economy and some recent harder times of her half leaser, she has decided that she may eventually need to sell Ritter if she can't find another half leaser for him.  I offered to take him on as a "project" so to speak (get him fit), and so this spring I will ride him most days when I have time, and the weather is good so that when Janene decides what she is going to do with him, he will be fit, healthy and ready to go.  

I rode him today for the first time since the fall, and he is the same old guy!  His birthday was actually on Valentines Day (Happy 8th Ritter!) so he is a new man looking at his eighth year.  He is AQHA, and was started western, and also in dressage.  For those who were reading this in the fall, they might remember that I jumped him around a few times.  He may just turn out to be a nice little hunter!  I'm going to take it slow with him, Janene says that when he is coming back into fitness he has a tendency to get sore in his back right leg, and so I'll be careful to monitor it and build him up slowly.  

Today we just walked and trotted and I got a feel for where we are starting.  I rode him in my own saddle with a riser pad and the french link loose ring.  He has two different bridles for two different riders, but I prefer to see what I have in my hands before I bit up too much.  Its nice to get on a horse that is always quiet whether it has been a day or a month since he has last been ridden.  While Ritter has been ridden recently, I know the weather prevents its consistency.  He has a tendency to lean on the bit for support and hyperflex as he looks for contact in the rider's hand.  I didn't give him that support because I hate horses that lean, but I'd be glad to get him going long and low and carrying himself rather than looking for constant support.  There was little to no engagement through his hind end which is to be expected, and as he builds muscle that will come.  For now we will simply focus on fitness, and the rest will come with time. 

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