Friday, April 23, 2010

Drifter turned 9

Drifter turned nine the day of her "field trip". I was excited to be allowed to bring her to my work for a group "mock lesson". It's a place that I feel confident and would be able to pass that along to her. She wore "big girl" shipping boots and a sheet for the 1hr drive. She was a little nervous in the trailer, evidenced by the runny poops when we got there. She loaded nicely and snacked on her breakfast before we took off. On arrival she waited for me to back her out of the trailer and was alert, but well behaved at the farm. I walked her into the barn and around the indoor before undressing her and putting her in an empty stall for a little while. She was happily eating hay and the rest of her breakfast within 20 minutes. After a few hours we tacked up for our "lesson". I walked her (on the ground) up to the outdoor ring because it was along a field and tree line following two new horses. She was really good on the way out and that helped my confidence before mounting. She didn't stand so well for mounting, but was calm once I was aboard. She was very distracted by the horses turned out in the field by the outdoor arena, but was able to be redirected to focus on leg yields and bending. It probably took her 20 minutes to begin to really focus on me. We even cantered!

She was great for untacking and then went back into the stall for the afternoon while I worked. She was less happy about that and managed to nick her fetlock and cause some minor bleeding. She whinnied each time she saw me, as if asking "can we go home now?" Finally, I put her on the cross ties, dressed her up again and cleaned out her stall. While cleaning her stall she managed to pull the velcro cross ties loose and started to walk away, but was brought back and made to stand while I finished cleaning the stall. She loaded nicely back into the trailer and rode quietly back to her farm. She was a very good girl for her birthday.

The trip must have tired her out because the barn staff said she has spent most of the day laying down and sleeping. She was still sleeping when I arrived at the barn this afternoon.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

She clips

Drifter allowed me to clip her today. I just did a little bit on her face, bridle path and feet. She stood very quietly for all of it and just moved her head a little bit during the bridle path clipping.

Riding went really well. Walk, trot and canter in the outdoor ring. I got stung in the eye while beginning my ride and remembered how important teaching voice commands are. She was a very good girl today.

Thursday she goes on her first fieldtrip....

Friday, April 16, 2010


Drifter now JUMPS. She really JUMPS, like all feet up and over the jump. She felt much more coordinated tonight. We started trotting through 3-4 trot poles. She was straight and forward. Then added a cross rail, which she took beautifully. After a few times through it was bumped up to a vertical. She hesitated, but stayed straight and went right over with a jump. Then a few more times though we added a second vertical about 4-5 strides out. She was also cantering away from the fence for several strides and then just relaxing into the trot. We ended trotting several fences in a course type experience. She was really great and only sucked back once. She took a few jumps where she was taking me to the jump and a few where I had to ride with leg on. We had a few rough turns AFTER the jump, but she really jumped so nicely tonight.

I gave her a really good rub down, curry, a little mane pulling and a good brushing. She really enjoyed the curry and massage and I hope she is ready to go tomorrow again. Also, going to pick up my trailer this weekend!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Still getting better

It's been almost a year since Drifter had her foal. She has come so far. We worked in the dressage ring (no fence) and focused on being straight. She still bulges a little towards the barn, but I am able to rider her through the twists and turns and keep her straight. We took a short jaunt over to the jump ring (fence) to work on our canter. She departs so nicely to the left now with a great canter. She still gets a little deep, but she is balanced and responsive. To the right, she is now getting the right lead 75% of the time and I can actually feel her bending and working to pick up the right lead. It's awesome. She will do a few flying lead changes from right to left, but actually changed back from left to right today. What a good girl.

Lastly, we are working on pre-trail riding skills. I walk her to the back of the property alone after our rides. I am working on walking on a loose rein. She stops a few times and looks and I wait for her to feel confident to walk forward with minimal leg aids. I don't want her to feel pressured, but rather to feel interested about exploring new areas.

I am so impressed at how well she is doing and just a bit proud of the fact that I have helped her learn it all.