Thursday, April 24, 2014

Rope Halters

Rope halters can be great tools in the right hands for natural horsemanship, remedial horses, or pretty much anything.  They are unbreakable, washable, and provide the right amount of give plus bite just when you need it.  

I have a plain ol one at home, and there are a couple attached to Parelli style leadropes in the barn, but I wanted one that was a little bit special.  Some sort of extra detail that set it apart from other halters.  

I found this great Ebayer.  Her prices were very reasonable, she had lots of options, and she has this unique way of adding accent cord on the ends to make the halters special and pretty.

She's even willing to do some custom work in special colors for you, has great communication, and loves to make people what they want.  I was very pleased with how my halter turned out.  I ordered one with riding rings so I could attach reins to it and use it more as a sidepull instead of using the fiador knot on the bottom.  I also had a chin strap added as using it as a sidepull sometimes causes the halters to swing around on their heads.  The chin strap is removable and adjustable.  I also like the accent on the nose which takes away some of the bite since I don't have control problems with Annie.

Here's Annie modeling her new halter.  

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Heartland Wrap Up

First show of the season is over and out of the way!

First up we had dressage.  Annie was braided and looking semi spiffy, her winter coat went all curly when I gave her a bath on Friday.  I have no idea where my chestnut thread went so I had to use black, but at least it stayed in.  I'm not taking a picture of her forelock until she gets over her refusal to have it braided so I had to do it while it was dry and her head was moving.

It was difficult to get Annie's concentration in warm up so I decided to take charge and be a rider and not a passenger.  I did lots of serpentines at the trot, did some leg yielding, worked on 4 strides of trot, then halt, then walk, then trot off again.  I wore my spurs to help her be more obedient to my leg.  I asked her to trot straight down the middle of the arena, halt, TOH to reverse, then trot off in the other direction.  I trotted figure 8s.  I had to work hard on getting an obedient canter depart when I asked for it, and to work to make her engage at the trot instead of sucking back and picking up a crappy canter to avoid the bit.

Annie went tense as soon as we set foot in the dressage arena and I worked hard at keeping her forward.  She did much better then I thought, the HHP  is a big and scary place.  I liked her trot work, I felt like she hid behind the contact and wasn't as forward as she could have been but I sensed tension under the surface and know if I kicked her in a confidence lacking moment she'd explode.

She picked up her left lead willingly and was nicely on the bit but I let her break when I got her too deep into a corner and didn't keep my leg on.

She had a very nice freewalk and a nice right trot circle but she was not feeling having to pick up her right lead in the scary arena so she let me know how she felt about that

She was also resistant to our downward transitions, which is something I knew coming in as I've only started trying to polish those up within the last week or two.  I went back over to the dressage warm up after I was done on the advice of my friend and I was glad I did.  It helped teach Annie that she wasn't done after dressage so no reason to hurry through it and I got a phenomenal trot lengthening.  On the bit, driving of the hocks, toe flipping, honest to God lengthen.

I got a score I figured I'd get but it's hard to be so far behind everyone else.  I feel like, as an arab, she gets double penalized for her head being above the bit, where a non arab gets "green horse" points.  When she's more on the bridle she gets penalized for having a "stiff neck" Even her freewalk where she reaches for the bridle all the way down and really swings forward with a huge overstride gets fewer points.

Show jumping warm up was CRAZY, I'm always nervous warming up for stadium and 90 people barreling around makes me woozy so I jumped 4 warm up fences and headed over.

I had to whack Annie into the stadium ring and then whack her several more times along our tour around the arena toward the start flags.  She's a cautious horse and would much rather stop and look at the spooky thing than barrel past it, which is great for staying on top, but not so great for forward motion.

She neatly jumped all her fences clean but powered back to the trot after almost every fence without my asking her.  I had to work hard to keep her moving in between the fences and to keep all four legs under me, I made lots of adjustments to keep her attention focused,  I did have a much better trot than I've gotten before, and a better trot even then when we have jumping lessons, but the canter was horrible.  I felt like I could have forced her into the canter but the rhythm would have suffered so I made the choice to let her pick her gait as long as she jumped clean.  Once she was lined up with a jump she was "ohhh I understand why I'm out here."   In my lessons she has this bold "let's get down to business" canter that's easy to ride and I know she's on a mission and I have nothing to worry about.  She's never as confident at the HHP as she is at LAZ's barn and I feel like I should help support her and not chase her.

Still I couldn't help feeling like I was letting people down by not cantering around the course.  The fences were no problem, they were ridiculously tiny.  So why can't I get it together?  I saw plenty of people who had no business in the division they were in barreling around or riders stronger than I am shoving their green horses around the course so why can't I?  Here I am wanting to move up to BN and I'm trotting around the course.  In the end it didn't matter as I was dead last after dressage anyway and stadium wasn't timed.

After I was done I went and walked the BN showjumping course and all the fences looked doable except one airy oxer, in fact I've been jumping bigger in my last couple lessons.  It wasn't a max course but it felt doable.

Monday, April 14, 2014

First show of the season

After a winter that just WILL NOT DIE (it was 75 yesterday and it's going to snow tonight!) I'm more than ready to go horse show.  Or am I?

Where are my boots?  Do they fit?

What do I wear, did I bother to clean my show coat from last year?

New Dressage tests?  What new dressage tests!  Many thanks to Cobjockey for mentioning it because I would not have bothered looking.  I've been doing BN A for the last 15 thousand years and I had it memorized.  I think Annie had it memorized too.

OMG, my horse is mostly dirt and hair.  She looks like a clydesdale her legs are so hairy, her mane is filthy, her ears have sprouted tufts, and there is a layer of hay in between the hairs of her mane.  I have part of her mane braided in an attempt to train it over to one side but all the loose bits just stick straight up in the air.  Plus she keeps rolling in the mud.

Will it be warm enough to give her a bath?  Is there enough hot water for a 3 hour bath?

I've had two really great jumping lessons that are going to set me up for a good round at Starter and a move up to BN.  My instructor has taken it upon herself to push me, which sounds like a great idea until she starts making the fences bigger.  So I just try  not to look at the fences.

Sunday was a gymnastic day.  We built off one big gymnastic then added several other jumps that had canter placing poles in front of them.  A challenge for me, I hate lots of poles.  If you hit a bad distance to one then you cathunka down the rest of the line.  What started off as a sea of poles eventually turned into:  pole, pole, jump, pole, pole, jump, bunch o poles, jump. A one stride to a two stride ending in a sizable oxer.  Then around the corner over a couple more poles, a jump, bending line over two more poles and a jump, jump a single, jump the bicycle fence, then a long gallop to the scary wave fence (LEG LEG LEG LEG).

It was a challenging day, I want to override in gymnastics and my instructor wanted me to keep my hands on Annie's neck and make adjustments with my legs.  Eeeepppp.

Cantering down to the wave fence was a challenge. Annie had popped over it deconstructed two weeks ago, but here it was fully assembled and we barreled down to it.  I debated trotting then decided to just wing it and canter down to it.  Keep your leg on!  Don't look at the fence!

 She took a peek and jumped it a bit big (for her) but didn't think about stopping.

It was a good confidence building lesson before our show.  Now, to worry about that bath.


 Hello all,  Life has been busy and I have not felt I've had anything worth blogging about.  Or that my blog is particularly interestin...