Thursday, September 22, 2011

Belated post - Labor Day ride

This post is very belated, but I've been busy! I just now decided I needed to take a break from studying and do something "horsey" even though I'm stuck down in Madison right now. So, I found some pictures I haven't posted yet!

These pics are from a ride that my husband and I took with our neighbor's, B and J, over labor day weekend. We trailered to a nearby dirt road where we could ride someplace new and not have to hit pavement at all. My horses stood patiently at the trailer...I love that...a calm sleepy horse tied to the trailer waiting for their ride.

The road meanders through a lot of county land and is primarily wooded with a few logged areas. It is also home to a lot of wildlife. We saw wolf tracks several times along the road (I'm pretty sure they are wolf, as they are known to be in the area).

Todd rode "his" horse again.  He and Cody got along pretty well, except that at one point when we were cantering, he said she planted her front feet and gave a hop...I didn't see it happen.  But I wouldn't put it past her.  Todd isn't the most polished rider, so she could have easily been irritated by something he was doing, especially by over-cueing her to canter (which he admitted he did).  But they got along just fine...that doesn't worry him at all, which I'm pleased about.  He can handle it!

This is my favorite picture from our ride.  B and J rode ahead a bit side by side on their walkers.  They looked so cute together as they crested the hill among the trees.

My baby girl turns 1 year old this Saturday!!!!  I can't believe how fast this last year went!  I've enjoyed every minute of it and am looking forward to her ever changing future!  She is so fun right now...saying some words, super mobile, giggly, good-natured, interactive, loves being outside and her animals (which is one of the hardest things about being in Madison during the week for school - she is just so outdoorsy so she feels cooped up in the apartment pretty quick).  But she is doing super well and adjusted to the change really well too.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

More Griffin time

I worked with Griffin again this weekend. He was awesome once again. This time we added the blanket under the surcingle. He is completely non-reactive to it, even when I push him really hard. We began learning voice cues today for "trot" and "canter". I don't like to drill it into him...I just use the works as I ask him to canter with the stick and string. I don't expect it will take him long to connect it, since today I noticed that he knows the word "back". Imagine my surprise when he took a step back when I was just talking to him and my sentence happened to include the work "back". I have never tried to enforce just the word cue since I usually give a leadrope cue as well, but it seems he has figured it out!

We took a walk to the pond and he drank from the pond, and then followed me in.

But the duck that my dogs scared out of the cattails gave him a bit of a start.

The apple tree we came across was heavenly!

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Back to school

Today, Griffin learned some new things in the round pen.  First, we lunged, did desensitizing, yielding the hind quarters, yielding the forequarters, lateral flexing and backing.  He's done all that before, although it has been a long time since I've consistently asked him to do any of it.  But we worked on perfecting his response to all those cues. We also learned to back up with a wiggle of the rope today rather than just the lead signal.   Then, I used a small lightweight saddle blanket to desensitize him and get him used to wearing it on his back.  He did great with this.  I expected that since I've put a fleece cooler on him before without any problems.  Then I got out the surcingle.  I wasn't quite sure what he'd do with it, since the rings on it were very jingly, and there were strings hanging off it, but after the blanket, apparently the surcingle was absolutely no big deal.  I practiced pulling it tight without buckling it first (no reaction, he got a treat reward for standing), then buckled it up snugly, but not tight.  He paid no attention to it, even through flexing and lunging.  And he's now becoming more comfortable with lunging.  He's finally starting to understand that I'm not just chasing him around (he responds by snorting at first, whenever I begin asking him to lunge).

Griffin says "What do we do now?".

Friday was my first day of classes.  Silly, I know, since then we got a 3 day weekend.  But both Wren and I made it through, although not without tears on my end!  I'm really dreading the next 3 years.  It's going to be so hard to sacrifice my time with Wren to school.  But I'm focusing on the end.  We'll make it...I hope.

In the meantime, I really love blogging (posting what I'm doing and reading other's posts), but it takes a lot of time.  Now my schedule is even more packed and to keep up with all the things I want to do, I think I'm going to have to let the blogging slide.  I will still check in once in a while (probably once or twice a week), and I think I'll still post, when I actually get to do things with my horses (which I plan to try to do every weekend), but my posts might be more brief...and I might let the photos do the talking more than me.  We'll see.  I am just letting you know that I'm not going to dissappear forever, just become a lot less present. 

In the meantime, you can see more of my horses in the pasture, since that is the view that I will miss the most while I'm down in Madison during the week in school.  Well, that view and my daughter's beautiful face, but at least she is coming with me to Madison so I get to see her every evening and we'll be together all night long.  Daddy is the one who will be missing out the most.  He only gets to see us on weekends now.  And now, I must go and enjoy my long weekend home.

The herd heads back toward the barn...probably for water.

Griffin lags behind.

But the herd is lolly-gagging so he easily catches up.  He shows Kachina he's her boss by pushing her forward in front of him.