Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Rain, Rain Go Away!

The past few days have been a bore. Nothing but rain! That didn't stop us Sunday. We started out, as usual, with a trail ride. There was a Richard Winters clinic at the barn so the arena was out of the question. We headed towards the trails, when I saw a few friends that attended the clinic. Detour-arena.
I stopped to talk to my most favorite personality, Dena. That woman care handle anything or anyone for that fact. Seemed like the day went well. As I was walking to the back of the field to take the "short" trail, I happened to notice one of the ladies that had Olly before me. She informed me that his mom is still on the ranch that she works at, Kawailoa Ranch. I was dying to know more. She told me that Olly's mom was part draft?! Seriously? This I would have to see for myself. Anyway...
Off to the trail. By the time we finished the "short" trail, the clouds were settling in. Should we go back to the barn or just tough it out? I decided to tough it out, by the time we would make it to the barn I am sure we would be soaked, so let's just have fun. Riding in the rain, anyone? Olly had it differently in his head. Most everything in his mind could eat him. He was on guard, but how can you be on guard when all you hear is rain saturating the entire area? Oh, he found a way. He was the most tense I have ever felt. It was a good experience for him. What happens when we are at an event and we HAVE to ride in the rain? Well we have that coverd now.
As we walked up the road to the barn, all soggy, we saw quite a few people walking around. It almost suprised Olly to see them. I think he knew what we were doing was crazy. Gotta love Hawaii, right?
Since we were all wet and no sign that we would be drying soon, I decided that I would just give him a bath. Why waste the good rain water? WE had fun standing in the rain soaking wet with soap everywhere. We were both sloshing by the time we were done.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009


Crazy boy, he chews on EVERYTHING!

Since my husband is on leave for 10 days, I have been able to ride a bit more. I have been going out in the mornings since it has been hot and in turn that allows me to be home for dinner. It is the best of both worlds, as Hannah Montana would say.
Today I headed out at 0915. Bright and early. I think even Olly was surprised to see me. It was already warm out, but we had a good wind. I set up 4 ground poles 5 feet apart. It gives a more "extended" trot and I set 4 ground poles that were raised 6 inches at 4 feet apart, more of a "collected" trot. Since we jumped a whole line yesterday, today we took it easy.
As we enter the arena I think to myself, "is what I do today going to actually teach him anything?" Lately I have been feeling I have been going in circles. Like I haven't seen enough progress. I know it will be a long road, but there has to be something to show for, right? Today was the day. We started out walking circles and using the techniques I learned at the Mark Conley Clinic in March. "Supple A" I keep hearing in my mind. Use the inside rein to move the horse off your hands and back into balance on the bit. It seems like a funny technique since everything I have ever learned is outside rein, but it actually does work. And with Olly, it works great! As we move on to a trot, we move into transitions and the ground poles I set up earlier. We only went over the poles a few times, he tends to get bored easily. As we continue on with the transitions, I try something I have never tried. I was watching Julie Goodnight on tv the other day and she was working with this horse that was hot in the canter. JUST LIKE OLLY! Good thing I watched....she proceeded to instruct the boy that was riding at the trot to slowly push his hips to move like he was cantering (at the trot) and the horse would pick up a nice gentle CONTROLLED canter. Son-of-a-monkey it worked. So, today it was mine and Olly's day. I tried it and it totally didnot So back to the trot we go. I find that if I really get the transitions going and make sure he is actually listening to me things move better. We work at the walk and I start posting, confusing at first, but then, HEY he gets it....pick up a trot! Now he was listening, after 4 or 5 tries. Since I had him in tune to me, I tried a nice 10m circle to the right. We are on a ROLL! Perfect! I think this was the one and only perfect (or perfect for us) circle we have ever done, and at a trot at that. Feeling pretty darn confident, we try the canter thing again. Check and check. he picked up the canter in only 2 strides, the day is great. After practicing the trot/canter transition 4 or 5 times we called it a day and ended with a free walk.
It is days like today that I have confidence in my own knowledge and confidence in my wonderful big red horse that he will one day be the eventer (lower level, of course) I thought he might be.
Still on my high at the barn I brush and love on my Olly, telling him how great he was today and every other day. I am not sure if he totally understands the the whole, somedays are good, somedays are bad saying but today he seemed to get the somedays are good. As I end the grooming process, I get a buzzkill....a crack in his right front hoof? I get the ferrier on the horn and she tells me to document and email. She will handle the rest. I set off to the tack store to get hoof moisturizer. Something I shouldn't have put off for this long. I probably could have prevented it, damn it!
Can you see the paint? Good eye Stacy.

Later on in the day I happend to be online with my friend Stacy, Klein's mama, and I emailed her the pics. Isn't it great, the internet. Some one to talk horsey stuff too, no matter where they are. She is all the way in Korea and can see what took place. She said "hey is that paint on his hoof, did he hit a rail?" OMG!! That was it he hit a ground rail and what a possibility, it could have caused the crack. A stress facture maybe? Sounded just about right, seeing that it wasn't there yesterday....and I didn't see it before the ride when I picked his hooves. Stacy what would I do with out you??!!
I finished up the day going out to feed this evening and slathering his hooves with RainMaker moisturizer, which smells kinda funky. I love my good boy!

Look at those shiney feet-sies!

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Harder and Harder

It seems like it is getting harder and harder to ride, and now with the weather getting warmer midday rides are out. Olly and I are getting used to each other more and more every day. He is really starting to trust me. A few weeks ago we went on a trail ride. I noticed he is more willing to take a chance just based on me telling him it is ok. He is looking around less and is more relaxed. Even though his "relaxed" on a trail is trotting.

My husband, Larry, bought me a GPS with a heart rate monitor. My friend Stacy (she has Klein, Olly's girlfriend) recommended the style. It works great! We took the ridge trail up to the flats, this was the test. We walked down to the end of the grass, look around and get used to the area. No bomb testing today. Perfect for a nice canter. I can feel that he wants to turn and go back, he knows what the deal is. So I turn him toward the trail home and we start off at a trot. As soon as he settles in i give him the ok to canter. We get a good pace and I give him his head. He speeds up but nothing to rave about. I glance down at my wrist to look at my little bundle of gold and it says 21.4 mph. I have been wondering how fast my sweet Olly is. I didn't even put my legs on him! Could you imangine how fast he would go if I pushed him? And that was after riding 2.5 miles!! It seemed like he could hold this pace for quite some time. We finish our trail ride, at a slower pace.

After going home and downloading my information off the GPS, I find out he maxed out the canter at 22mph! I can't wait to do more training and see how much we can inprove. I know that it isn't about speed, but it kinda feels good.

This week we have been working more on transitions than anything. I have been using crossrails and ground poles to really get him stretching and collecting. I think this will build up the confidence more too. Good riding and confidence equals kick ass team. And to beef up the "kick ass" team we are going to be attending the Mark Conley Clinic in June. I attended his clinic this past March and learned so much. Now I can't wait to have Olly there. It is exciting.

Even though I haven't been able to ride but a handful of times in the past few weeks, Olly and I have been spending alot of time together. Everyday I go out and brush him and give him lots of love. It puts a smile on my face just to see him. Oh, and just so you know, every Friday is bath night. Gotta keep my man lookin' good! Mark my words, we will be on TV one day. One day....

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Time to Show

Show day was finally here. Upon arriving to the barn I got Olly out and asessed the situation. One standing wrap missing. Not bad. It could have been worse. The bands stayed in and he was fairly clean, thanks to the ninja suit.

Beautifully banded mane

We head off to the round pen to lunge the stupid out. He is ready to go, but is listening well. After 20 minutes of some walk-trot transitions we head back to the barn to finish getting prettied up.

As we are on our way to the arena we see a few friends and they don't even recognize us! I am not sure if that is bad or good. It took us forever to get to the arena. He was walking like a western pleasure horse. I didn't want to really push him on because he NEVER is mopey and I didn't want to ruin a good thing. So we sign up for our classes and check things out. He has to pass by things 10-15 times before he is reassured it won't eat him. There were signs and noise EVERYWHERE! Suprisingly he handled it fine. No spooking and he even took 2 jumps, white ones. We went into two flat classes, Hunt seat Equitation and Hunter under saddle, placed 3rd out of five or six people. At least we didn't get a ribbon and were last in the class. He did just fine, but they were only walk-trot. Our next class...duh-duh-duh!!! Crossrails, Red, white and blue ones. WE had jumped them before so it was a 50-50 chance. Well, we were on the not good 50. Didn't even go over the first crossrail. I don't get it. We practiced over these jumps/ground poles for a week. I think that it was mostly me being nervous. We were both tense. We ended the day with two classes. The same as above but they were walk-trot-canter. We placed 2nd out of three...again not last. That was the goal.

That was the end of my classes, but Colton was just getting started. He was so ready to ride.

He even had his own jods! He looked like a jockey up on big ole Olly. We walked half way around the arena and reversed. He sat so proud on that horse. We lined up in the center and waited for the results. A tie for first! He was so excited! A blue ribbon to hang on the wall. He wore it all day long and I had to take it before bed. I am such a proud mama!

That ended the day. A blue ribbon for my Ocie! It couldn't have been better.

Be forgiving about the pics, my blog screwed up!