blueeowyn: (Echo head shot)
Well, Ms. Echo is definitely lame.

Update )
blueeowyn: (Default)
I went to the barn tonight, planning to ride Echo (and use the saddle that fits both of us really well). I found the saddle (and it had stirrups on it ... the stirrups I used last week so I think Peter had a hand in that), got Echo ready and went in the ring to warm her up and got the bad news. Babycakes is lame.

details )
Had a nice visit with Echo, Rooh, Callie, and Jacob and a good visit with Mom so the evening wasn't a waste (not that any evening around the four-feets is a waste). I did, however, forget to condition my belt which is NOT happy about being soaked on Saturday. I do have some leather care stuff here at home so it will get some attention tomorrow night (assuming I remember).
blueeowyn: (Echo head shot)
Yes, more Lesson Geeking
continued )
blueeowyn: (Echo head shot)
Well, it has been way to long since I have updated, so, here goes.

riding lesson geeking )
blueeowyn: (Default)
So on Wednesday I head out to the farm to have another lesson. My wonderful saddle does not agree with Echo very well so Peter warned me that he wanted me to try a different saddle. So, I get there early and Mom leaves to pick up my new half-chaps (which have been altered) while I hang out, visit Rooh, and start getting Echo ready. Peter gives me a saddle to use and a pad. It is an endurance saddle and thus should be rather comfortable.

Echo is finally ready and we go in the ring to start the warm-up on the line. P is in there with Tuck but they are talking to Peter so I try to work Echo in the middle and she (of course) finds the one damp spot, slides slightly and gets all worked up, we try again and she is still looking for trouble (not that I blame her). *sigh* So, I take her for a walk and get her calmed down and bring her down to the end near Peter (P and Tuck have since left) and he tells me to fasten the line slightly differently and off we go and she is really good. Some speeding up but she is learning that when I tell her to slow down, I actually mean it (shock). We swap directions and things seem pretty good so we go to Peter to find out the next step. The next step is a different girth since Ms Puffer Fish WannaBe has the girth all the way up but is still loose.

We apply the new girth and up I go. The saddle feels really short (front to back) and the top of the cantle is hitting me in the back (not a fun feeling). So we go walking around and I feel completely and totally weird. The twist (narrow section of the saddle) seems to be OK but I am having a terrible time with my posture and leg position and my right ankle is not happy. So we go to trot and I am all over the place. As it turns out, the right stirrup was at least one hole shorter than the left (and they both may be a little short for me). On my saddle, if you don't tuck the extra stirrup leather in the keeper you get rubbed, on this one if you do tuck it you get rubbed. We eventually finish and my sister and her husband are there to watch (great, just what I need, an audience when I am barely in control at times).

Things I need to remember to avoid being in this kind of pain again:
1) check the stirrups when I am up
2) make sure I am wearing a brace on the right ankle (if not both)
3) be very careful about balance
4) work on strengthening my right leg (I apparently goosed her with my left and that is why we ended up across the ring)
5) get out of the zone and really listen to Peter and ask if I think I am not understanding (he told me to change the post so I tried to change tempos)
6) release on the reins even if she is being fast, if I have to get her attention, do so, then release while she thinks about it
7) sit up (still)
8) look up (still)
9) slow the posting
10) slow her down as soon as she starts to change rhythm
11) windows can be interesting effects
12) stay to the side when doing her hinds, talk to Peter about how to keep the foot waving down

After I slithered off (not at all sure my ankle would hold me); Mom tried to walk Echo but couldn't keep up so we turned her over to my brother who quickly figured out that she is real sweet and likes being talked to and scratched. He ended up giving her most of her goodies (poor neglected baby).

Right now (2 days later), my back is stiff, my abs are stiff, my shoulders are stiff, my bad shoulder is slightly sore, my right ankle is rather annoyed, I have an interesting bruise on my right leg (I think she clipped me when I did her feet), tender thighs (where things rubbed) and tender seat.

I get to try the saddle again next week. Hopefuly straightening out the stirrup problem will help a lot.
blueeowyn: (Echo head shot)
Well, it has been a rather busy few days. The short version is that we went to see Grease at Toby's Dinner Theatre on Thursday night, I spent Friday at PKD with some friends, on Sat. we slept in (sleep! what a wonderful concept), visited with a friend, picked up Java at Fest rehearsal, saw a movie, then today I got to work Echo, then we did some housework and reaffirmed that our cats are weird.

more details )

All in all a busy weekend. I still need to do some gardening tonight or tomorrow.
blueeowyn: (Echo head shot)
A little over 9 years ago, a chestnut filly with a star was born, the daughter of my beloved mare Dancer to be named "Dancer's Echo" since she looked so much like her dam. In the intervening years Echo has grown to be a beautiful mare with a wonderful temperament. She seems to want to work with people, she isn't mean, she isn't ornery, if she says "no!" there is always a good reason. She is very laid back about just about everything and doesn't get all fuzzed up without a really good reason.

There were some bad times when she developed OCD (a bone generation problem where the cartilage in 3 joints wasn't properly forming to bone) and had surgery as a yearling (with close to a year of stall rest). She was briefly worked by a man who had very little clue about some things. She was then worked by a friend of mine under the supervision of 2 different people. She was entered in a show and got a 9 on her free-walk (which is VERY good). I got to ride her briefly as cool-down a few times during this period. Then she had lameness issues, her feet had some abscesses (which are agony to a horse until they blow), and tore her suspensory ligament (which laid her off for about a year). Finally she was back in work, being her normal willing self and I was scheduled to ride her again and she came up just barely 'off' and discretion being the better part of valor, had a break and got checked out. It turns out that there is scar tissue and she will basically have to work through it. Her right hoof also grows unevenly and if she isn't trimmed more often than most horses, the having one side of the hoof higher than the other causes problems (5-6 weeks instead of 7-8).

Last night, for the first time in her life, I rode her without someone riding her first. We didn't even lunge her first.

Echo geeking )

I have a wonderful mare who does exhibit the best of her sire and dam. She is gorgeous, talented, willing, good natured, and affectionate. I have fabulous trainers who can work with her when I can't and who can (eventually) bring the best out of me. I am very lucky.
blueeowyn: (Default)
Friday
Went to see Robots with Java. I think it was a fun movie. I loved the degree of completeness of the world. I also really liked a lot of the twists on common phrasees and the entire 'marble house meets Rube Goldberg' scene.

Saturday
Did some house stuff and watched some DVDs with Java.

WentBarn with Mom and got to see Ms. Echo be a pain for Peter. I had been in her stall earlier working on her mane a little and something hit the side of the barn and really spooked the poor thing. Finally, Peter was ready for her so I did her up as quickly as I could and got her into the ring for walkies waiting for him. She was OK at first but a bit quick so the side-reins went on. She was still going quick enough that she was getting into her own way and that was making her mad. When he swapped directions (to her slightly stiffer side) she didn't want to do it (as in backing away when he asked her to go). She did go (and was not lame, just stiff-legged landing due to rushing and thus sliding a bit). He (of course) won the discussion but she was rather put out and wasn't in any frame of mind to work with me so when she did something really well, we called it a day. She also managed to step on the medial bar of the shoe on her right fore. Fortunately, the farrier was there and was able to nail it back on. Meant getting home later than I planned but it was good to have her done.

Played some WoW with Java and went to bed.

Sunday
Planted some more seeds (4 o'clocks and some more snaps ... not that I need more snaps ... I will need to thin the ones I have) and put them in the computer room, watered them and opened the shade. Played a little on the upstairs computer (better graphics than the downstairs one). Then off we went to the Hoff to see "Meet the Fockers" which is just as cringingly funny in many ways as the original. Poor Java was squirming at some of the foreshadowing (not the most SUBtle movie out there). Giggle. However, 2 matinee tickets, 2 popcorns, 2 sodas and the parking (we were running late so used the garage) for less than the 2 tickets for the movie on Friday. I love working here (even for evening shows, it is a deal for us due to my job and his alum status).

We went to the grocery on the way home and stocked up on some stuff (mostly on sale), played WoW for about 2 hours, then off to bed with me. I finished one of the books I was reading. Need to get my hands on the rest. GRIN Need to start 2 others on the docket (including one out of the library) but with break coming soon, I will get a lot of reading in.

The previews for movies that looked at least interesting to me. "Good Company" "War of the Worlds" "Love Bug Loaded" (yes, I am silly) "Episode III" "Miss Congeniality II"

I know there are others out there as well that are opening soon (or have already opened). Just need to find the time (preferably at matinee prices ... $9.50 for a ticket at the theater closest to home is rediculous).
blueeowyn: (Default)
WentBarn last night. Mom was out of town (doing gardening stuff), so I figured I would be going alone (and try to leave early to avoid the worst of the rush).

Java is an absolutely wonderful person. He called me at work and asked if he could GoBarn with me. This meant leaving work early for him but he wanted me to have company and be able to do the HOV thing. So, we met and off we went. Traffic was fairly light and we made good time. Peter was surprised to see me there so early (I had warned him I might be running late). He got Mr. Andrew ready to work while Java and I worked on Echo. She seemed to enjoy having 2 people brush her at the same time. Got her tacked up in my saddle (this may be the first time she ever wore my saddle, I think Xpioti used her own saddle on her when she worked with her and I know Peter uses his). Put on the boots I have for her (they seem small, must talk to Peter about whether or not I should get larger and if so, how much ... for some reason I though I had another set but have no idea where it is ... must get organized).

Anyway, got her all done up (including her tail, I do learn) and Peter was done with Andrew. Took Echo in and went walkies while waiting for Peter. Java told Peter where I was (I am not yet ready to take her from the get-go). Peter said she doesn't really need the line over her head since she doesn't pull (I suspect that since it was my nylon one was one reason). Off she went and was a little stiff. After a bit, he put the side reins on her and she got more up and balanced but was still crossing with her inside hind (and nodding slightly on the inside hind regardless of direction of travel). He had her canter on the line and she was just loping around to the left. To the right she got a little stupid and wiped out (there is very little as frightening to an owner of a horse than to see their horse collapse in a heap on the ground, lunge to stand up and NOT make it on the first try). Fortunately, she did get to her feet and seemed OK.

She apparently thought that Peter threw her down for ignoring him when he told her to slow down because she was all but saluting him. So, he turned her over to me after a little more work. I was tending to ask her to go too slow ... I need to develop my eye to see push vs. impulsion more. I also need to remember to turn off/down the radio so that I can hear what Peter is saying to her better and what he is saying to me.

One of the other horses came into the ring and Echo couldn't care less ... she wasn't even impressed when he had a BrainFart First Class and listened as I asked her to walk and stop. She was a little sweaty (in all the right places) and puffing a bit. So, it was walkies time again. Fortunately (for me) I was wearing my sneakers and it is MUCH easier to walk in them than in the boots. Java came and walked with us and commented that we were moving right along.

Peter said that she will soon be able to walk faster than she is currently trotting. Her overstride when she is just loafing along on the line is impressive ... the back of the print from her rear hoof is 2-3 inches in front of the front of the print of the front hoof.

We took her out and I (meanie that I am) insisted she was NOT going to get head-scritchies until her halter was on ... she finally believed me. Boy did she get scritchies then (and LOVED it). We did hide-and-seek for goodies in her hay, visited Jacob (donkey) and Alvin (older horse) in the other barn, said howdy to Cash.

Peter got after me for not pulling her mane (I really don't want to ... I like the long mane and don't see a reason to pull it. Banging the tail (cutting it off by a few inches at the bottom) makes sense so she doesn't step on it. Clipping some of the face whiskers (to avoid getting caught in tack) and the bridle path (same) makes sense. IF she ever shows, it can be french braided and should look OK.

Went out to dinner and talked (us? talk?), drove home ... slapped hand on forehead, drove back to pick up the car, did some shopping, went home, said howdy to the cats, showered and passed out.
blueeowyn: (Default)
Peter has been working with Echo for a month or so and arrangements were made for me to GoBarn on Sunday at noon.

I got Echo from the field (A took Pooh in) and got her mostly cleaned up and tacked up. I didn't get all the (wet) mud off her hooves and pasterns ... I also didn't get the shavings out of her tail. I was roundly scolded for this so next time, the ShowSheen will be applied as soon as I get the beastie.

She is being quite good about getting her feet done ... now we need to work on 'down' so that I can put the boots on ... it is MUCH easier to get them on correctly when the leg is down and still.

Once I thought she was ready, Peter checked my work and adjusted 2 things (noseband was still a little too lose and he didn't want the reins through the throatlatch but through the stirrups). The reason the reins go through one or the other is so that they can stay on the bridle but not fall where the horse can step on or through them.

Off we went to the ring and he started having her work at the trot. After she was warmed up, on went the sidereins and I could see how much better she moved with them on. I was paying a lot of attention to the commands he was using and he pointed out what he was looking for from her. When she is moving too fast, she pulls herself along with her forelegs instead of pushing from her hind legs, she also will move her rump out or sometimes have her inside hind land outside the inside fore. When she is moving correctly and using her body properly, the hinds will be on the same track as the fores and will be landing close to the print (or overlap or full overstep), the weight carrying phase will be when the leg is under the body (not behind it) and the withers will come slightly higher than her rump. This is WORK.

After working her some both ways, he swapped her around to her 'good' side, looked at me and said "Here the keys". So, I went and got the line and the whip and sent her out to do her work. He stressed to me that I must NEVER let her run on the line (even running at the trot) because that is how she could really hurt herself and doesn't do a thing for her training. Slowing her down will help her balance herself and give her time to stay out of her own way.

Things that I need to do/remember:
1) I don't need to preceed the command with her name, it will only confuse her ... this will be the hardest thing for me to remember. I'm used to thinking that you use the animal's name to get their attention and tell them that you are talking to them and not someone else. Peter says that she will need to listen to whomever is on the line and only that person. She does listen to me on the line but if he says a command, she follows it.
2) "Slower" is the slow down command. Slow sounds too much like Whoa
3) She knows walk and trot. However, telling her to walk tells her what she will be doing next but does not tell her to execute the command. Walk, ho will get her to do it.
4) If she runs, tell her slower, if she ignores me, a slight wiggle on the line will probably be enough. If I get too harsh with the line, she isn't going to react well.
5) Raising the hand closest to the head means speed up ... this is going to be the 2nd hardest thing for me because with Dancer, I taught her that the hand near the head up meant slow down and the hand near the rump up meant speed up.
6) Tails must be clean
7) Riding boots are NOT good for walking Echo out after a work.

The problem with riding boots (even the short ones) is that they are designed for having your foot level or better yet with the heel lower than the ball of the foot. When you are walking at full extension, your calves get an impressive amount of stretch if you can't pick your heel up before picking up the ball of your foot.

Peter said I did good. Dede said I did good. They both said (and I agree) that Echo went splendidly for me.

WOOT

Echo Update

Feb. 8th, 2005 06:41 pm
blueeowyn: (Default)
While waiting for the [highly annoying] query to process on the other computer (and since this is after hours anyway), I figure it is time to update y'all on Echo. I got to GoBarn on Sunday (last week was snowed out) and get to see Peter work with Echo.

Echo is doing WONDERFULLY. Her trot in just a few weeks has gotten more powerful. She is metronome steady (woot!), stepping under herself and really pushing off. I only get to see her every week or so (schedule and timing at the barn ... she isn't ready to be in the ring with a lesson going on yet) so I can really see the improvement.

Brag alert
Babycakes walks like no one's business. I have long legs and a fairly long natural stride (I shorten it a LOT to dance). I was at full extension and Very glad that I was on the inside of the corners to give me a fighting chance to keep up with her.

She is very willing to work with Peter, stays fairly focused on her job (though, like her dam, she does like to sightsee as well). She calms down amazingly fast when something goes 'wrong' as long as Peter says she is cool, she knows she is cool. She is very focused on vocal commands of her handler so when I was walking her, I just had to quietly say 'ho' and she would stop. No having to yell at her or snap her face like so many horses I have known in the past.

She is starting to sometimes lift her withers a bit (not for long but she is starting to do it) which is wonderful to see. I admit that I am not as good at detecting back swing but she seemed very relaxed about her job. She is also starting to visibly put on some nice muscling (more in front than in back at the moment but that will change with time and work).

In short she is a wonderfully tempered, beautiful, friendly, SOUND mare who is likely to actually be ready for under saddle work by mid-March if everything goes according to plan.

End brag

Dede says that I will be lunged for about a month when I start then about a month off-lunge before I am ready to start working with Ms. Echo.
blueeowyn: (Default)
Well, I had some use/lose leave to burn so I left work early yesterday to go visit Echo.

Dede had made me an offer that will really help Echo and me. I will be getting lessons as we can fit them in (1-2/week on average), Echo will be worked 5 days a week whether or not I can be there to work with her. At first Peter will be working with her. Later the new student will work with her under supervision. I will also learn to work with her under Peter's supervision.

Baby is going back to work and looks WONDERFUL. Bounce! Bounce! Bounce! Dede thinks that she was having lameness issues from the suspensory for quite awhile before we took her out of work so she has been more or less off for 2-3 YEARS.

Peter had worked with her on Tuesday and she was apparently pretty good (a little wanting to buck but OK when he said NO). Yesterday she had a saddle on for the first time in more or less forever. She was a little humpy about it but she didn't freak, she didn't buck, she didn't do anything bad (well, aside from thinking about nipping Peter and he 'splained that it wasn't an option).

She is a little nervous on the line (big surprise there since her most recent experiences on the line have been painful ... and she has not had real consistent handling (4 different trainers) and probably one of them was abusive [GRRRRRR ... I want that man HURT]). She is VERY forward ... so much so that Peter dropped the whip early on and just had her going.

The goals (short term) are to get her relaxed and used to working again. Also train her to work on the line. Never again will she be allowed to think that it is OK to buck/play on the line. There is too much risk of her getting hurt if she does that (and it is possible that is how she got hurt but we will never know for sure). We want her to learn to be focused on the handler (who will need to be focused on her), obedient, willing, forward, relaxed, balanced, etc.). Yes, they did check with New Bolton and given her time off in the paddock, she can safely do some lunging but it will have to be very gradually worked up to ... esp. any cantering

She was a little tight but she settled down for several trips around at a time. She was really moving nicely, balanced and powerfully forward. She was listening (mostly) to Peter and when she didn't listen, it didn't take too much to get her refocused.

Dede was VERY impressed with her attitude and movement and is very happy with where she is and what she is doing.

WOOT!

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