Tuesday, September 21, 2010

SCA weekend with the horses. Doing it midevil style!

On friday I got the horse trailer all ready and hooked up to pick up my friend's horses so we could take them to an SCA event. SCA stands for Society for Creative Anachronisms. "The SCA is an international organization dedicated to researching and re-creating the arts and skills of pre-17th-century Europe. Our "Known World" consists of 19 kingdoms, with over 30,000 members residing in countries around the world. Members, dressed in clothing of the Middle Ages and Renaissance, attend events which feature tournaments, royal courts, feasts, dancing, various classes & workshops, and more.”

After a rocky start, the truck kept stalling out at every light and stop sign, we got the horses and made it to camp.

All of Friday was spent wondering what Saturday's events would be and if the horses would be able to do what was asked of them. Though, I must admit, some drinking was involved, as you can see by the bottle of raspberry beer in Shannon's hand.

Saturday morning we woke up early, a little too early, and got the horses ready so we could authorize to ride. Authorizing was much easier then I expected. It was all about how well you could ride and control you horse, being able to ride and steer you horse one handed, and how well you handle the weapons, yes, I said weapons.
There were staffs and wooden swords that the horses needed to get used to. Shannon did a great job on her horse!
The games were knock the head off the pole, hit the quintain, throw a spear at hay bales or a fake deer, and use a lance to get the rings off an overhead pole.

Our horses did really well. I borrowed a horse just because I didn't want to overwhelm Doodles with everything and Gypsy hasn't been ridden in so long, plus I wasn't sure if she'd be sound enough for the day's activities.

I rode Ari, the painted Icelandic, and despite his worry, he did very well for me. Though he was a little hard headed at times, we did ok, I think, for a horse I've only ridden a handful of times. I can't wait to do this again next year but with one of my horses. I'm already thinking of ways to make the equipment they had there so I can start training my girls to do this.

I think some of the other riders were much nicer turned out then I was, but it was still fun watching them.

It was such a fun weekend! I can't wait to do something like it again but with my own horses!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Doodles is being a bug.

Doodles was a total shit today during our ride. She wouldn't give to pressure, she kept stopping and turning into the fence, she wouldn't keep trotting, she was sure the monsters at the corner of the ring were going to kill her. I was getting frustrated and that was making her frustrated and even more cranky. I took some time to relax and got her settled into some yielding exercises and then just called it quits. I wanted to end on a good note, which we did. I did get her to canter almost all the way around the ring today! That means she turned while cantering, which is something she hasn't felt comfortable doing until today. I normally ride in the afternoons and these past two days I have ridden her in the morning so I wonder if that has anything to do with it. I won't be able to ride until the afternoon tomorrow so I guess I will see if that's it. Maybe she's not a morning mare?

I've also noticed that with the new English girth I got her, she is now trying to bite me when tighten it. I don't think she likes mohair. I'll need to find something that is more to princess's liking. I should have just bought the leather one like I wanted.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Getting to canter. Kinda like getting to yes, but different.

The girls had their hoof trim on Friday. The farrier thinks Gypsy's hooves look ok and the white line is growing out. We're still not sure what has been making her so lame. It's a mystery. Luckily she's still walking soundly, but tender footed and the hoof boots do help with that tenderness. I haven't had to have the boots on her for a while and she's still doing alright. I wish I could ride her, but I just don't want to push her too much right now, so I'll have to keep up with our ground work and trick training. There is a really neat event this weekend at the fair grounds and it's all mid evil riding. I'd love to be able to take one of my own horses, but Doodles is just too jumpy for something like that right now and Gypsy is just not up to it. Luckily, a friend of mine is taking her horses, two Icelandics, (I'm actually trailering them there) and she agreed to let me ride one of them. I'm excited to go but sad I can't be on one of my girls. Next year, I guess.

I've got Doodles cantering! She's still very unbalanced and unsure. She'll go for a few strides and then break back into a trot. Though I was able to get her to canter the whole length of the ring with no stops, so that was good. She's learning and trying so that makes me happy. Also, she is getting better with the stiffness issues to that one side she was having. She's still not perfect, but better. Today when I rode her however, she was a total pill. She kept spooking at everything and didn't want to move forward as nice as I know she can. She did settle into working over some ground poles but that was the most I could keep her focused. She was convinced that there was something in the back corner of the ring that was going to eat her. The Crows and chickens were going nuts so maybe there was something over there, but I couldn't see it. I'm guessing a fox or a deer if anything but the woods are so thick on that side, I couldn't see what all the fuss was about. I'm hoping tomorrow will make for a better ride.

She seems to be coming along very well in the bitless bridle. I think she's getting the idea of how the cues work now and is giving me all the right answers when I ask the questions. I really like it a lot and am happy with it. In fact, I'm thinking of buying one in leather. I have the beta one but I would like a leather one someday. I'm hopeing I'll be able to show bitless. I don't think there are any rules against it, but I'll have to look into it. There have got to be other people who show their horses in bitless bridles. Somewhere anyways.

There is a open show happening in October that I would love to go to. I'm thinking I'm going to try with Doodles and only enter in a class or two and use it as a training experience. I've got to expose her to events and shows and how else am I going to do that unless I take her to some. I'm doing my homework to get ready for this show and hopefully by the time it rolls around we will be semi-ready. I don't have much in the way of show gear. I'll need riding pants, boots, a shirt and jacket. As far as tack goes, I might be able to muddle through with what I have. I think I can make a nice turn out for not too much money if I put my mind to it. I really want to do this and I think that we can. I'm thinking that since it's a open show at the end of the season that it won't be too crazy and it should be kinda laid back. I'm also thinking I won't need to be turned out in top of the line show gear to do it. I just want to get our feet wet, not jump in the deep end. I'll only need water wings and not an inner tube. Maybe?

Thursday, September 9, 2010

How to teach your horse to ground tie.

I found this over at http://halt-near-x.com/blog and I thought is was super cute so I decided to steal it and bring it over here. Enjoy!

1.Make sure your horse’s ground manners are generally good. She should halt immediately when you say “Whoa! WHOA! Good gir—no, don’t move! Don’t mov—good girl. Stand there. Just stand. No, WHOA!”

2.Pick a strategic location to start her training. Avoid the barn aisle outside her buddy’s stall or a place in sight of the feed room/hay shed.

3.Place your brushes, saddle, bridle, and everything else you need to tack up nearby.

4.Lead her to the location where you want her to ground tie. Halt her and tell her she’s a good girl and feed her a treat.

5.Move away a step or two to grab a brush. Remove horse from back pocket and return her to the location where you want her to ground tie.

6.Repeat Step 5.

7.Repeat Step 5.

8.Move away a step or two to grab your saddle. Fetch horse from the far end of the barn aisle and return her to the location where you want her to ground tie.

9.Repeat Step 8, this time fetching horse from the hay shed.

10.Give up, tie horse, and finish tacking up. Go ride.

11.Repeat above process after your ride, in reverse.

12.Turn horse out. Watch her immediately bury her head in the grass/hay and not move for the next half hour. Success

Monday, September 6, 2010

Hurricane? What hurricane?

We didn't get much of anything from Hurricane Earl. Earl must have given up by the time it got to Maine. Hey, it is vacation land. We did get a little wind, enough to crack a board on one of the new barn doors, not really sure how that happened, but whatever. And it did rain, a lot, but off and on a lot. It wasn't bad. I did ride Doodles today. She's getting more used to the bitless bridle. I need to get back to riding everyday or almost everyday. I've been slacking. I'm trying to teach Gypsy some tricks. I figure it's a good way to work with her but not ride her. I want to teach her to bow. That's first, since I think it will be the easiest to teach her. So far so good. Treats work well but I need to find a low sugar treat that she'll still like and be willing to work for. I hate giving to many treats to her since she is over weight and shouldn't be getting many treats or much sugar. I need to get Gypsy moving more but it's so hard with her being lame all the time. She's actually much better and walking almost soundly but I don't want to puch her by riding her yet. Hand walking only for Gypsy right now. It is what it is and it needs to be done. She is out all day in the pasture, but she's a pasture puff and doesn't do much of anything when left to her own devices.

Here's a couple of videos of me riding Doodles today. Please ignore my fat bum and bad riding. I have a bunch of other videos from today but they all are pretty much the same so, yeah, this is what you get. I think she looks pretty good for a horse that was just started this spring and doesn't have that many rides on her yet. I'm really excited to keep working her, I think she's going to turn into a really nice horse. The best $250.00 slaughter house special ever!

Friday, September 3, 2010

Batten down the hatches! Thar be a hurricane?

And what have I done to prepare? Nothing. They don't think we are going to get hit with much of anything so I'm not too worried. Not that I could do much now anyhow, I'm dj'ing tonight and won't be home untill late.

I will rock you like a weak hurricane. I hope, anyways.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Bitless bridle tryout and September goals

Gypsy is still improving. She is no longer lame but has been tender footed. I haven't used her boots on her in a while and she still is ok. I'd like to get some weight off of her but with not being able to ride her, it's going to be tricky. I guess hand walking is in order then. I could use the walking too, I guess, grumbles.

I tried Doodles in the bitless bridle today. She did ok, but she needs to get used to it. She's not flexing to the left very well. I'm wondering if this is a new thing or something I just never noticed before. To the left, she bends and flexes very nicely. To the right, it's not as nice. It's like pulling teeth to get her to keep her head where it should be. I never noticed her that rigid on that side before. A little tense, yes, but not out and out stiff as a board. I kept working with her and finally got a nice response. I'm not sure if it's just the new bridle or what, but it's something we will be working on. I could have pushed the issue a bit more and gotten more out of her, but it's been soooooo hot and I didn't think it was fair to her to keep asking for more when she really was trying. The heat has been awful, it's been in the upper 90's and it has sucked. I am not a hot sun kind of person. I like the heat but even this has been too much for me. I hope it cools down a little.

I did end up dusting off my dressage saddle and using that today. She did well with it. I like the way she looks in english tack. I need to take a pic or a million to show her off! I do, however, need a new girth since all of my english girths are crap and are too big for small little Doodles. I also need new reins for the new bridle. It's an english bitless bridle but for some reason, it came with western reins on it. They are nice reins but they just feel a little odd in my hands. They will have to do for now since I can't afford much until Friday. I did find a really nice pair of reins at the local tack store that I'm looking forward to picking up soon.

I hit a yard sale the other day and the lady was selling some horse stuff. She had a small horse and it looked like most of his stuff would fit Doodles. Mega score! I got some bell boots, a horse first aid kit, a fly sheet AND a winter blanket all for twenty bucks! I needed a winter blanket for Doodles. I have some that fit Gypsy well but nothing seems to fit Doodles because she is so small. I swear she looks more like a Thoroughbred or an Arabian then a Paint. I have her papers though, so I know she's a Paint, but she really does not look like one.

So, my goals for August were a fail. I wanted to take Doodles to a clinic but that did not happen since I had to work that weekend.

Goals for September:

1) Take Doodles to a clinic!
2) Start some canter work.
3) Get that right side stiffness smoothed out.
4) Buy new reins for the bitless bridle.
5) Buy a new english girth.

We are moving forward! Yay!

Sorry no Pictures from today. It was too hot and my head was melting so I didn't think to bring the camera out.