Friday, September 26, 2008


I rode Drifter on Tuesday again. I had a few moments to lunge her first and then worked on teaching her forward. I used a light vibrating leg aid each time she stopped and sat very quietly as she walked. I used my seat and leg aids to help guide her. She continue to have some difficulty with maintaining her balance around the turns. She has been very willing.

Today I rode her WITHOUT LUNGING first. I just walked her around the ring a time or two, adjusted the girth and mounted from the ground. I continued at the walk, but also asking her to extend the walk. I was hoping that she would offer the trot, but she did not. She was a very good girl even though it was a windy and brisk day.

The best thing is that I will now be able to work her in the indoor when other people are riding. This will decrease the limits placed on me and with the colder and wet weather of fall that is a good thing. SHe has been a very good girl under saddle so far. I am sure we will have our challenges in the future, but it's so great knowing how far she has come in the last four months.

Sunday, September 21, 2008


I rode Drifter yesterday (a little) and today (a little more). Yesterday she was mostly confused about walking with someone on her. I did not have any help, so we tried to work it out on our own. This was frustrating for her and she did some pawing and head tossing and lots of standing around. It was hard to get her to walk. We did one circle with one little startle. I dismoutned and re-mounted and walked another 10feet or so before calling it a day on a good note.

Today, I had some help giving me a lead around for the first few minutes and things went much more smoothly with her having someone to follow. We walked several circles in both directions and practiced halting. I even have pics to prove it!

I am wondering if the bit I have is working for her because she is still fussing with it alot and holding her tongue up high and occasionally getting it over the bit.

Friday, September 19, 2008

We did it!

I got on Drifter today. I sat on my horse!

I lunged her with the bridle, walk, trot, canter, in both directions. Then I worked more on bellying-up on her. I did a ground mount from the left and right and bellied-up and she stood real nice. So, I just swung my leg over and slowly sat up. I looked down at her neck and ears and saw that I was actually sitting on TOP of her. I took a deep breath and slowly swung down. I was really excited, so I did not do it a second time because I knew she would pick up on me being excited. I just quit while ahead.

She was very good.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Bridle work updates

Drifter's first bridling was last Tuesday. I bridled her in a stall and lunged her with the cavesson over the bridle. She demonstrated a lot of tongue thrusting and mouthing of the bit. She quieted down with her mouth during lunging, with only an occasional attempt to remove the metal from her mouth. I almost wished I had taken more time to do mouth TTouches with her. I then worked on walking around with my hands on the reins in riding postion from beside her. This was a totally foreign concept to her and "driving" her around the farm this way was a challenge. I was able to bump her with my hip at the right spot for my leg to cue her to walk and worked on steering from beside her. She eventually got the hang of it from both the left and right sides.

I find that I am fairly regimented with her work at this point. I have been "very busy" and always have an agenda when I am there- I may modify it to suit her temperament and the ring availability that day, but it's mostly been about work. I feel like I have to keep working to meet some of our goals and therefore have neglected some of the more spiritual and connective work- this is fairly typical, considering that my paying job is "working" with horses and that mindset it the easiest for me to access. Having been very busy and very broke has not encouraged me to make "frivolous" trips to the barn or just given me the grace to spend 20 minutes "playing" with her. I usually have about two hours to "get it done", which means to work her and ride Fritz and put away all my stuff and to get in the car and drive home or to work. Maybe I should take Saturday and spend more time playing with her again.

On this Tuesday, a whole week from the last bridling, I went to get Drifter and she wasn't wearing a halter or sun/fly mask. I had to trek around the whole field (wasting time) to find the now broken halter. She must have snagged it on something good because she broke the leather crown piece. Poor girl. I was expecting that maybe she would be lame or sore or something, because pulling back hard enough to break a halter should have pulled some muscle or something, but she seemed okay. I groomed her quickly and put on her surcingle. I bridled her in the indoor ring and she was really horrible for this. She quickly threw up her head and bulldozed right through me. It took a couple of tries before I got it over one ear- the other ear got squished under the crown piece. I think I should drop it a few holes loose before putting it on again. I have the bit up high and tight because she got her tongue over the bit that first night. Occasionally, she is throwing up her head and turning away from the direct rein pressure. This time my focus was to long line her off the bit. I want to be very light with my hands on her newly minted mouth, but I also want her to learn to accept contact and to yield to contact. She did the same initial rubber neck, ewe neck, resistance, but learned that softening was a better solution. When I asked her to do more then she felt capable of she would just stop. Stop and stand and refuse to go! No amount of clucking, shaking the lines or saying "walk" was helping. I need to carry a whip to reinforce go. Although having a horse stop is sometimes not a bad thing when they are confused. She isn't threatening to go up stopping, she is just calmly stopping and waiting. This happened twice when I used an outside supporting rein contact with an inside bending rein. I think there was just too much pressure for her to figure out the correct response or I was too slow in responding to the correct response. She was also reluctant to trot and this was probably because we were uncoordinated together. She is wobbly and not straight steering from the bit and I have some delays in asking for the right thing, so I would over ask or not ask soon enough and she would feel unsure and come back to the walk. I am hoping this safety conscious part carries over into our mounted work the first time I get on her.

I am hoping to get on her soon. I am looking for someone at my barn who will hold her for me for the first time. I have the "question" out to someone, so hopefully they are willing and we can schedule a time that works for us. I plan on doing more bridle work on Friday and hopefully I can pull back on the work schedule for Saturday and enjoy spending time and fussing with her.

I also think that I saw the baby move during work time this week.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Dentist completed

Tuesday I worked Drifter in the long lines. She really struggled with the right lead canter. She worked very hard, but hard trouble. She was pretty good with the left lead on the long lines.

Today she had her first dental appointment. She took two doses of sedative (apparently typical for some QH's). She had a variety of minor issues and the dentists commended me on waiting for her dental appointment before bitting her. He made some good recommendations regarding bit fit for her mouth conformation.

I plan on bridling her this coming week, after we get drowned in rain tomorrow.

Monday, September 1, 2008


I worked with Drifter on Friday and again today. Friday was all about being a good girl and getting over the whole long lining freak out about the lines again. I worked a lot on changes of direction where I was direction behind her and she was tense when she couldn't see me. However, with practice she was much improved. This was also the first time she cantered on the long lines. She was a good girl. Afterwards I hosed her off to work on standing in the wash stall and did great on the right side and okay hosing the left side. This was an improvement.

Today the barn was very busy. I began with focusing on standing by the mounting block while I leaned on her. She was good with this and overall we stood by three mounting blocks. I also began to "pretend" mount from the ground by putting weighting in the stirrup and pulling up. This made her a little nervous, but overall she was okay with it. She did the mounting block and stirrups from both left and right sides. I lunged her in the outdoor with good manners and attention and added asking her to lunge in the dressage ring today. She was good with this until a HUGE bomber landed on her- then she was a little more quick and distracted. We finished again in the wash stall and she was much better.

I had to go back to the fly sheet as she is getting some dry skin and scratchy parts. She is really getting a belly now. The dentist is coming on Friday. Then next week she will begin work in the bridle and hopefully I will be getting on her in two weeks. There isn't much more work I can do from the ground- improving her lunge and long lining work is always room for improvement, but I think she is really ready for mounted work.

I would like to incorporate some "extra curricular" work with her. I would like to add more interesting techniques and incorporate TTouch again. I guess time is always a factor.