This Sunday I am going to a one day Western Dressage workshop at HollyOaks Farm with Elaine Ward. It should be a fun day and is something new for me and a new group of people to meet. Elaine Ward is a very well respected clinician and offers clinics regularly at her own farm just west of Hamilton Ontario.
I participated in the Cowboy Dressage clinic earlier this summer but this is Western dressage which is different. Although I didn't get a rider spot I certainly expect to learn lots as I feel in auditing you can sometimes learn more than you might have if you were participating with a horse. I am hoping to show in August at a couple of small shows so this will be great for me to learn more about the dressage arena and what is expected. Hope tomorrow won't be extremely hot again.
Today was one of those day when everything just went right. Got to the barn ahead of the rain, waited inside until it finished raining then it was beautiful, dust free and nice and cool. Walked Riva and turned her out in a small paddock then went out to see if Arwen was going to be good and come to me. She was and we walked inside brushed and played online for awhile. She did some really nice sideways and canter online maintain gait then stood nicely for me to get on. We were using the hackamore. I have been riding her bitless a few times to see how she feels about it. She is okay with it and is learning to respond to the rein on her neck and my body more. Today we played with circles and sideways and backing around an object. She was a bit stressed about that but we will work on it more another day. Happy Canada Day to all.
Several weeks ago now Arwen and I went to a Parelli Freestyle clinic at the Horseman's Word Ranch in Uxbridge. Todd and Maureen Owens are Parelli Professionals and have been offering 2 day clinics in each of the savvy's this year.. It was a great learning experience for both of us. Arwen has never been to a straight Parelli clinic and I have not been to one for a couple of years. So we spent the time filling in the gaps and learning new skills and being gently reminded of how to do things properly. One does tend to get into bad habits when you don't get coaching regularly. We had fun and have a whole list of things we can improve and work on this summer and fall.
Arwen and Tenley relaxing in their private paddock with their own shelter.
Last weekend Arwen and I went to the Cowboy Dressage Clinic at the Horseman's Word Ranch in Uxbridge. Don Halladay was the instructor and he helped us understand what is involved and the correct way to ride the test. We practiced Saturday and Sunday we rode 2 tests. It was really helpful and certainly gave me a better idea of what is expected and how you take movements and then put them all together for a test. Lots to learn and the point of Cowboy Dressage is that the horse is always to be considered first. It is not about winning or losing. It is about communicating with your horse and doing your best and riding with a soft feel.
If you have horses injuries are bound to happen at some point. No matter how careful or how safe you think your horses are one day they are going to get hurt.
Riva got a large scrape on the back of her right hind leg in March when we had all that nasty mud. It was infected before I even saw it. So she was on antibiotics for 7 days then trying to keep injury clean and get it to heal. That was easier said than done and eventually she had to be bandaged and after trying several different things we finally got the original injury healing. BUT......at the time of the injury she had also damaged her tendon. Not good at all. She was very lame and now on stall rest. Time passed and we did an ultra sound about 6 weeks ago. There was still unhealed tendon and some heat. More stall rest walking and grazing. Finally we think the heat is gone although a ump still remains from the cut but not heat.
I don't believe it is May 1st already. Time has passed by so quickly. We have not had a good month. Arwen had mud fever from all the horrible mud we had so she had to stay inside until the mud dried up some. Then Riva got hurt and she had to go inside. Arwen is back outside 24/7 and happy to be out there. For awhile she was coming in at night and going out in the daytime. Unfortunately staff were having a hard time catching her. She has been a bit more challenging to catch and now they are out on the grass so I am doing some undemanding time and scratching, brushing and catch release in the hopes that helps her feel more confident allowing me to catch her.
Riva is still indoors with her injury. Hopefully she will be better shortly. Clinics are approaching and if I want to enter the virtual Cowboy dressage show we have to have our entries in by May 31. So we have lots to play with this month. Hope the weather improves.
Well we made it. Finished our 30 rides and 40 hours of horsemanship in the 12 week Northwood Farms Challenge. We got in just in time with our last ride on the Saturday before the midnight deadline. I had thought I would have till the end of the month but no it was 12 weeks...not 3 months. We did run into some difficulties with a week of lameness and lack of time upon occasions.
It is interesting to actually keep a log of how much time you really spend with your horse and actually riding your horse. It might be an eye opener to log the time. When you think of it , 40 hours is the same amount of time I spend at work in one week and this 40 hours is divided over 12 weeks. So our horse time is really limited and what do our horse do during the rest of the time we are not there to interact with them? Well of course they hang out with their friends and eat and sleep and hang out with their friends more. . Then we show up and ask for all sorts of things. We expect an awful lot from our horses in the small amount of time we invest in their lives. It is no wonder that people have difficulties with their horse relationships.
Hopefully with retirement coming up within the next few months I will be able to spend more time with the horses and be able to expect more partnership. Looking forward to that. :)
Well it is almost at the end of the time period for the Northwood Farms Horsemanship Challenge. You have to accumulate 30 rides and 40 hours of horsemanship to complete the Challenge. This has to be done in 12 weeks. Arwen and I have done 25 rides so far and if we ride tomorrow it will be 26. That leaves us 4 more rides. We have 42 hours of horsemanship so we are good there. Although I do ride most days when I go to the barn sometimes when the weather is not as comfortable or the arenas are busy with lessons I tend to play. The challenge has prompted me to make sure that I rode even if we could only walk outside on the frozen ground, Today we had a canter and she listened to me and cantered when I asked and didn't speed off as she sometimes does so I think the extra rides and horsemanship has improved our relationship. So lets hope that next Saturday night I will be writing that I have completed the challenge!
March 1st! It was probably in the month of March or April that I began riding many years ago. I know it was colder and muddy. I fell off into the mud and on ice but that didn't deter me and I am still at it. :) I didn't stay small to ride ponies for to many years. Prince, the pony in the picture was one of my favorites. He was such a good boy. We learned to ride bareback and had to graduate to a saddle as we improved. Although I wonder if it was a lack of pony saddles that prompted that. It did teach me to have an independent seat though and to stick with most things.
We always had to wear helmets. I grew up wearing a helmet and never felt right without one on a horse. Today helmets are much better made and protect your head more than they ever did. Have fun this summer and never forget your helmet..
Well I am at 15 rides for the Northwood Farms Horsemanship Challenge and have 32 hours and 24 minutes logged of time I have spent exclusively with Arwen. It is interesting that we just don't notice actually how much time we really do spend with our horses. I think that I don't spend enough time and expect to much for to little input in my horses life. Once I began playing with and riding Arwen my time with Riva went down . I see that lack of time reflected in her behavior and co-operation with things I ask her to do. She likes to come in for food and grooming and does not mind the weekly ride or two I try and get on her but she is not nearly as partner like as she was previously. Hope I can find more time to spend with her once the Challenge is over.
We have been doing some fun things all together. Riva and Arwen are learning to do the circle game together, walk with me together and stop and back up all at the same time. I'll post a video when we progress more in that area. :)
I am also helping another horse and human to gain confidence. That is very enjoyable to see progress and confidence building.