Friday, 21 March 2014

March Break 2014 - Part 2


Went out to the barn in the morning to do Mexi's 30 mins on the lunge in side reins. Surprisingly, she got worse at halting as the week went on... I figured she would improve but I guess she had other ideas, haha.

After turning her out and doing her stall, I headed back to the farm to meet K. We had lunch and then took Olivia and Czar out in the field for a hack. We opted to go out back instead of in the front field this time and we had a BLAST! Olivia was a bit "up" but nothing more than just happy and forward, and most of the snow was pretty deep so she didn't really have anywhere to go, haha. The third field had great footing - better than the ring - and we ended up going for some trots and a few canters. Every time I get to go for a nice open canter/gallop in a field, I'm reminded how it's one of my favourite all time feelings - that, and jumping a really fun/challenging course successfully.

When evening chores were done, I headed back to the barn and Kev met me there for ride #2 with Mexi. She was really good again, nice and quiet so we didn't do much. Ended with more practice getting on and off... as Kev would say, if you can get on and off fine, you're laughing.


Despite it being incredibly close to spring, Thursday brought a massive ice storm (and later a few inches of snow, bleh). The barn helper had the day off, so I took my time doing the morning chores and then went inside for a bit to thaw out before heading over the to the barn.

The horses there stayed in because of the awful weather too, and with the weather and the chores at the farm, I didn't bother going over to lunge in the morning. Went over after lunch and had another quick ride with Kev, same old. It probably sounds boring but I'm actually quite happy at how quiet she was; she had been ridden before, but not a lot, and it was ~2 years ago, so we treated it like a fresh backing. Now I just have to keep my butt in the saddle so we can progress!

Part way through our ride, a boarder came into the viewing lounge and caught Mexi's attention. She didn't do anything other than focus on the person for a bit, so while I was initially a bit perplexed, it was realistically a good thing to happen and Mex handled it well.

When we were nearly done, Kevin went into the barn to talk to someone and I finished my ride. Mexi was pretty fixated on the door after he left and the last thing I wanted was for her to startle at someone coming back in since she was obviously already very focused on it (I'm basically a Weeble right now... except I certainly will fall down). Since we were nearly done anyway, I just spent another ~5 minutes doing some circles and bending and getting her attention off the door and onto me. When I was finished, I practiced getting off and on a few times, this time without a person around as a life line, and surprise surprise, she was a peach. Put her away, did her stall, and headed back to the farm to do evening chores with Kevin. 

Mexi also showed me her displeasure at being at a new place, in a stall, and tortured 24/7 ridden 30 minutes a day. She retreated to the back of her stall when I went to get her and repeated the same behaviour on Friday... she better quit it or I'll get a complex. My horse doesn't hate me. Right? ...right??


Last day, sad. Went to the barn in the morning to turn Mex out and do her stall but didn't bother lunging. She'd been a good girl all week and she was already tired so I didn't see the point in doing more.

Back at the farm, I pulled the manes of two babies, and they were both good. I love when that happens! Both were a bit wiggly but it was the first time for one and only the second time for the other, so I was very happy with them.

Went back to the barn and had one final ride on Mex. Did the usual little "lunge" with Kevin first to get a reading on her and she actually pulled a couple hops at one point - naughty mare. It lasted all of like 15 seconds and was nothing big, basically a "I don't want to do this". Kevin said you can't blame her for trying and I had to laugh.

I ventured off the lunge shortly after and worked on getting her to move over from my leg, bending and moving a bit laterally. I would ask her to move away from my leg pressure with lots of praise when she move over a step or two. I did that a few times and then moved on to simpler things for a break. Repeated a few times, and was very pleased that she still remembers some of it/seems to be picking up on it well. Random: I find it easier to get her to move off my leg when we're trotting - has anyone else experienced this with babies?

Mex had a little look at something, I don't remember what, and Kevin reminded me that if a horse is spooking, your best bet is always to go forward. Bad things can happen when they slow down. I'm a bit rusty (okay, a lot rusty) so reminders like this are pertinent, haha. He also said that if nothing else, Mexi will teach me to keep my eyes up - yup, #1 bad habit is resurfacing never really went away. Call me crazy but I find it especially hard to keep my eyes up when I feel like I don't have much in front of me (small horse + wiggly baby).

Kevin left towards the end when it was clear we were fine, and I kept riding for another 15 minutes or so. Funny thing, after Kevin left Mexi called about half a dozen times over the next few minutes. Guess she likes him or something.

The barn owner came in towards the end of our ride and I was pleased to see that Mexi didn't mind being in the ring with another horse. Some of you may remember that she wasn't very happy being in the ring with other horses as a 3yo, but I am starting to believe my theory that that was partially caused by the fact that she was getting picked on by a lot of them at that boarding facility.

Got on and off a couple times to end our session and she stood like a rock. She was SUPER sweaty though, presumably mainly nerves as we really didn't work hard. I knew she'd want to roll so I let her loose in the ring after the owner went back in the barn... all of 45 seconds later she was down and came to say hello afterwards with a face full of dirt.

When she was cleaned up, it was time to head home, and I was really hoping that there wouldn't be another episode. I was banking on her being a lot better than she was on the trip there as she seemed to be stalling out of uncertainty than anything else. Sure enough, she loaded easy peasy; wanted to smell the ramp a bit but she walked on up with a little encouragement and the whole process took less than 2 minutes.

She trailered well again and got to spend an extra night inside at the farm because she was still wet from our ride. All in all, I think it was a very successful March Break!

(Phew. Sorry for the novel!)


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