Monday, March 31, 2014

Sunday Jump School - VIDEO (although not great)

Decided that Liam's lip was not bothering him at all and trailered down the mountain for another jump school.

I started flatting and he felt ok, just a little blah.  We started out with a line set at 66ft with very small cross rails and were doing 6, 7, or 8 strides.  The 6 or 7 was really easy for Liam, the 8 was a little tougher.  He would invert and fling his head up and break to a trot instead of really sitting down.  We did eventually get the 8 one time.  I haven't really practice the super collected canter with him because I found that he wants to be backed up, so I always encouraged forward.  But I think we are at the point in time that we need to practice this adjustability more.  I am going to set the line at home and practice.  I might have to set it up shorter, like doing a 5, 6, or 7, but I will figure it out.

Then we started doing a course.  The ring started to get really crowded at this point.  At one time there was 7 horses besides myself in the indoor.  The weather was rainy and everyone had to ride inside.  Liam was great compared to how he was a year ago. If that many people came into the ring he would turn into a fire breathing dragon and tune me out completely. He wasn't as ridable in between the jumps as he was last week and I didn't try to get any lead changes, just did simple changes, but I'll take it anyway.  He listened to the jumps with all the activity and we even did a 1 stride in and out!!! 

Our course was the following:

All in all, Liam was a good boy.  Both lines we did the adds in 6 strides.  We kept everything low, like 2ft and I was happy with our performance with all the activity.  We had to circle a couple of times during the course to wait for people to move out of the way, that was a little frustrating, but I need to get better at calling out where I am going, something I am not used to.

My husband came and got some cell video, not the best (he is horrible at videoing, but I guess I should just close my mouth and be thankful - ha), but gives you an idea of what we look like below:

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Fat Lip = Abscess!

Arrived at the barn today to a bloody pus mess coming out of the fat lip.


Lip had a hard ball and hanging low!

Today it has a good size hole and yellow pus was coming out of the hole.  It looked awful until I cleaned it up.  Here is a picture after I cleaned it up.  He wasn't really staying still for the picture as he was pretty upset that I was just squeezing and whipping his ouchy area.


I am hoping this is the reason that he was a little off his food for the past couple of weeks.  Horses!!!

I rode him despite his pus lip and he was fine.  It is like it isn't even there, so still planning on jump school tomorrow!

Friday, March 28, 2014

Outdoor Riding!!! FINALLY!!! Other Critter is ill!!!

Liam had his spring vaccines last Friday, so I decided to give him Friday and Saturday off. He gets really sore after shots and I had some personal errands to run anyway.

Went to the barn on Sunday and was greeted by an outdoor ring that was rideable!!! I did the happy dance all the way back to the barn to pulled out my stuff and headed to the field to grab Liam. I was expecting him to be wild. He was perfect. I hacked him around Sunday with some bending circles to just get the body moving with a big smile on my face as I was riding OUTSIDE!

Headed out to the barn on Monday and was able to ride outside again, I can get used to this!! Worked a little harder and asked him to do mini lateral work with spiraling circles and leg yields. I worked on trot/canter transitions too.. Liam was very good, I can get used to this too.

I wasn't able to ride Tuesday and Wednesday, that good old work got in the way (darn it, I actually have to pay grown up bills) and my poor other critter (dog) was sick and had to go to the vet on an emergency visit. My dog, Diesel, an eight year old jack russell terror (punt intended on the misspelling), was diagnose with Lyme Disease last Tuesday. 

Meet Diesel:

Not the best picture, but I think he is awfully cute!

Diesel went from running around outside all weekend, we live on 4 acres, to barely being able to lift his head on Tuesday morning let alone being able to walk.  It was heart breaking.  I said to my husband for a while now that I think Diesel has lyme disease.  He would go on and off lame for about 6 months.  Well, wouldn't you know it, I was right.  I am going to bring this up everytime from now on when arguing with my husband about something, "remember that time I was right about Diesel having lymes!"  Man do I love being right!!!

Diesel is on the mend now and doing much better!

Headed out to the barn yesterday and was greeted by a new cut by Liam's eye and a fat lip. 

Just great, can one critter get hurt without the other one getting hurt too???  I guess not.  I decided Liam's fat lip didn't bother him too much and had a lovely hack anyway.

Going to head back this weekend down the moutain for another jump school!!!  Shows are approching fast, now only if the weather would warm up!!!

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Meet Sampson

I briefly touched on Sampson a few posts ago letting you know that I helped out with physical therapy on a friend's horse that is boarded with Liam.

Meet Sampson:

Sampson's story is really a sad one.  He is a six year old OTTB gelding that my friend took on last October 2013 to restart as her next horse to jump/hunter pace.  He was coming along very nicely in his training and looked to be a promising riding horse.  A mere two months later, December 2013, Sampson over extended his leg in turnout and broke the back of his right knee.  His prognosis is not good according to many vets and specialists.  He has about a 30% chance of being a riding horse again.  My friend was absolutely devastated and really was left with a horrible decision to make about trying to rehab Sampson, that she has only had for two months, or to put him to rest peacefully.  After many sleepless nights, I sure of, she decided to give him every shot he has to recover.

He is currently on month 3 of stall rest.  With the help of Rest Easy Gold he has managed to stay pretty relaxed in the stall.  He is off all pain medication now and only on an anti-inflammatory supplement, which the name of is escaping me right now, to help with the inflammation.  What we are fighting now is arthritis and scar tissue.  He had his knee injected twice now and is getting physical therapy 3x a day.  Physical therapy involves bending his knee and holding it for 20 seconds then letting him put it back down.  At first we could only bend his knee a little bit, but now we are up to a 90 degree angle.  Like any physical therapy, this is painful for him and he really limps after the therapy, but he is being a good boy about it.  He really is a sweet horse and I am hoping he will make this recovery, but he has a long way still to go.

My friend is not able to live at the barn 24/7 to provide therapy 3x a day so many people have pitched into his recovery.  It is me and Sampson in physical therapy 3x a week at 4pm.  I am really getting attached to the boy and praying that it all works out.  He gets another check by the vet in 3 weeks (16 weeks from injury) and I am hoping we get better news then the 8 week check.

Please keep Sampson in your prayers!!!

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Spring Physical Done

The vet was out last Friday for Liam's first round of vaccines and spring physical.  Every spring and fall I always have the vet go over Liam to look at his general health, diet, lameness, etc... In normal Liam behavior he was being a difficult patient to say the least, but we managed to get though the exam with minimal rearing and fighting.  He got a clean bill of health!!!  I discussed with my vet the upcoming plans for Liam this year and keeping Liam sound.  The vet suggested that I start Liam on pentosan injections to help his joints. 

My last horse, Kal, was prescribed pentosan and I found that it really did help.  Before I started pentosan with Kal I would have to inject his lower back every six months, but after starting pentosan I was able to inject his back once a year.  Kal's regiment was, after the loading dose, a pentosan shot biweekly.  My vet doesn't feel that Liam will need pentosan that often.  After the loading dose (once a week for four weeks), Liam will get pentosan once a month.  Kal needed it more often because he had a preexisting condition, but with Liam we are just using pentosan as a precaution and to prevent joint damage. 

After discussing the pros and cons with my vet and making a few calls to figure out price it really is a no brainer.  After the loading dose it will cost me $28/month.  $28/month to help keep Liam sound, sounds good to me!

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Second Jump School of 2014 in the Books

Thursday night I had my second jump school of 2014.  I have to say I am really pleased and Liam and I pretty much picked up right where we left off the beginning of last December.  He was adjustable, listening, and relaxed.  I hope this continues, but if I know horses, hope for the best, but be ready for the worse!

I switched him to a full cheek french link snaffle last November and I am still loving jumping him in this bit.  It just gives me that little bit more of control.  I used to jump him in a loose ring french link, but now I only use that to flat.  The full check is perfect for jumping right now, but it is too much to flat, huh...


Fun with Paint!!!

We started up the center line gymnastic alternating directions.  I am loving gymnastics.  Liam really hasn't done much gymnastic work due to the fact that I am just too lazy to get on and off a bajillion times to adjust while riding.   I know, I know, lazy is not an excuse, but it really is a pain.

Anyway, back to the course. The gymnastic was set with a pole on the ground 9 ft to crossrail, 18ft 1 stride to 2'3" vertical, 3 strides to 2'6" vertical.  We started out with the 2'3" vertical set as a cross rail and maybe an 18 inch vertical after the 3 strides.  One aspect I love about Liam is that he is very careful, we don't hit rails, but this can bite me in the behind too.  First time though he did the 1 stride in 2 and the 3 stride in 4 strides giving both jumps hard looks.  Man he can really compress his stride, felt totally natural. This proves why I am going to stay in the 2'3" starting out showing this year, he likes to give hard looks at the jumps the first time.  He has yet to stop, but I want him confidently jumping around before moving up.  Came back around and he floated through the 1 stride and the 3 strides the second time through.  Raised the first vertical after the one stride to a high crossrail and the last vertical to about 2'3" after the 3 strides.  The high cross rail was good because it really made him stay straight.  Went though a couple of times, then raised the first vertical to 2'3" and second to 2'6".  He was just floating down the gymnastic and I just went along for the ride, it was lovely.

Next after the gymnastic we alternated directions and jumped the verticals out of the short corner set on the diagonal, back to the trot, back to the gymnastic changing directions. 

Finally we did a course starting with the gymnastic turning left out of the short corner vertical on diagonal. Around the end to 5 stride line (we added up in 6 first time) to the vertical out of the short corner on the diagonal going to the other outside 5 stride (added in 6 first time).  We raised everything to 2'6" and did the entire course again.  He was great!  Lead changes were getting a little sloppy towards the end, but I think he got tired from all the gymnastic work. 

Liam was a good boy and I can't be anymore thrilled with him!  I untacked in the barn and loaded up and went home.  

Liam waiting to go home home patiently!
If I would have written this blog a year ago you would have known that Liam was not patient about going home a year ago!!!

Friday, March 21, 2014

Blog Hop: What's in your bucket/smartpak?

Thanks to Viva Carlos for starting another great Blog Hop!!

I really do stress about what Liam is eating.  Liam is such a picky eater, wish I was more like him, maybe then I can lose the dreaded last 10lbs I really want to lose!!!

He eats the following/day:

8lbs Triple Crown Senior (Summer w/ good pasture 6lbs/day)
Smart Calm Ultra
Free Choice timothy hay (winter only)
Fresh water

I would love to get some alfalfa hay in there, but he lives on pasture with others and I can't feed one without feeding them all...  The horses do get put in small pens for 30 minutes twice a day to eat breakfast and dinner, not enough time to feed alfalfa though...

I have tried to add rice bran and omega plus supplement and it causes him to just go off his feed, so simple is best for my dearest Liam...

We look like this:

Best shot I have of him!

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Rides and possibly some shopping in the future!

Liam had Monday off because the temperatures dropped low again.  I went out to the barn on Tuesday and it was almost a spring day!  It was sunny and warm (low 50s, but that is warm to me after this winter).   I warmed Liam up in the indoor, he is very affected by the weather, and he was kick quiet.  I decided to venture outside and see if the outdoor was even close to ride-able. 

That is a big fat nope. Still partially snow covered. Dreaming of spring and riding outside!!!

Headed back to the indoor and worked on lengthening and collecting.  I discovered that Liam will rise above the contact transitioning to the collected trot, he will also rise above the contact when I go to balance in a line.  We really worked on this.  I am hoping if I fix the transition from working trot to collected trot this will help us balance better in the lines.  Canter work was good.  It is much easier for him to extend and collect at the canter, although he was being a bit lazy about extending and wanted to get long and flat instead of a balanced extended canter, lazy boy!!!

Yesterday, Wednesday, I arrived at the barn to a rainy cold afternoon.  Got Liam and discovered a new scrape on his leg.


What do you think, kick from another horse or self-inflicted?

Tacked up and headed to the ring.  Liam was wide awake, darn weather.  Got on and we were wild to start out.  I put him to work right away by getting him to bend and counter bend both directions and really loosen up.  He settled a little and we worked on the collection and extension from the day before and he remembered and was really good.  Went into the canter and cantered circles over a pole on the ground each direction.  I noticed when I went to balance before the pole, he would drop behind my leg.  I had to really concentrate on almost lifting my hand and closing my leg to the pole and it came up lovely every time.  Liam got really tired and I said, no way buddy, you need to work a little longer to be quiet for your jump school tomorrow, so we worked on long and low and called it quits.

Heading down the mountain today for another jump school, hopefully we won’t be as fresh as we were last time!!!

On a side note, my mattes half pad is finally deteriorating.  The fluffy wool parts are just falling out a little more each day.  I purchased this pad in 2005.  It is almost 9 years old!!!  I can say they wear really well.  I am going to have to get a new half pad soon.  Any suggestions on what I should look at?


Monday, March 17, 2014

Good Jump School Except for Almost Falling Off

Yesterday I brought Liam down to my friends and had a successful first jump school of 2014, only exception was after the jump where I almost fell off!!!  I am really pleased with how Liam listened though.  I knew Liam was going to be fresh.  The weather dropped 15 degrees from the day before and when we arrived at my friend’s barn his eyes were really wide and he was looking around.

I tacked up quickly and headed to the indoor arena.  Hand walked Liam around for about 5 minutes and hopped on to walk around until my friend’s lesson ended before me.  From the second I got on, Liam went into giraffe mood.  Head was straight up looking around and spooking.  Once he started to jig I knew it was time to start trotting.  When he is like this I have learned that you need to send him forward into the bridle.  Well, we were spooking at everything, little sparrow birds flying around, the other horse jumping in the ring, the people in the viewing room, such fun!!!  I did the best I could to stay out of the way of the others riding.

We warmed up walk, trotting, cantering (a lot of cantering), circles, bending, and counter bending.  He finally started to relax a little, but I could still feel the tightness in his back and he wasn’t really accepting the bridle.

Diagram below of exercise/jumps:
Trot in to 3 trot poles 4 ½ft apart, 16ft to a cross rail, to 2 bounce poles set 10ft away from the cross rail 10ft apart, then later adding 18ft to a vertical.
Outside lines were 6 strides.
We started out with the gymnastic exercise set on the centerline.

The gymnastic was set with 3 trot poles to a very small cross rail (think raised cavaletti size) to the 2 bounce poles  at first.  I was approching the gymnastic alternating both directions.  Liam was being surprisingly soft and relaxed going through and easily coming back to the trot down the long sides.  I was even lengthening and collecting my trot down the long side to make sure I had him listening going back to the gymnastic.  We raised the cross rail from a raised caveletti height to a real cross rail (18 inch – so BIG, lol) height and went through again both directions.  Liam was being great and I was really pleased.

Then we had the crazy idea to add the last element in.  What were we thinking according to Liam!!!  We set it as a raised cavaletti height cross rail.  Heading back through the exercise, Liam went quietly through until the last element.  He was like, “this wasn’t here before, I better catapult off the ground to make sure I clear it and because I did that I better buck to show my mom my excitement.”  Well, silly me for expecting him to jump it like a normal horse, that I know he is not.  He totally jumped me out of the tack from a teeny tiny raised caveletti!!!  Then Liam landed, before I could get myself organized and leaped back into the air a couple of times to the point where I was completely unseated (memories from fall of 2012 flashed in my eyes, this was common practice back then after every jump).  If he would have leaped one more time I would have been off, thank goodness he stopped and just cantered away.  Now I am pissed at myself for trusting him, silly me.

We continued back through and I just was not giving him the opportunity to leap after the gymnastic and he stopped.  We raised the last jump to about 2’3” and he was actually being really good through.  We worked on staying straight.  Liam likes to swing his hips left and shoulders go right and gets all sorts of crooked.  I would normal correct the shoulders to move them in front of the hips, but my friend suggested correcting the hips and make a wall for the shoulders to not move right anymore.  Once a started doing this Liam got really lovely and all I would have to do is concentrate on a straight chute from my leg to my hands.     

Next we added in a circle at the end of the ring after the gymnastic spiraling in then out and headed down the outside lines alternating directions.  We wanted the add in 7 strides eventually doing the lines the last time through both directions in 6 strides.  We kept them as small cross rails to get the ride-ability that we wanted. 

All in all I am really happy with our first jump school in months.  We kept things simple and small and worked on connection.  Liam did have fresh moments, but for the most part was listening.  I have a lighter schedule this week at work, so I am going to head back down this Thursday to squeeze in another jump school.

Liam will have today off, ugh, low 20s today temperature wise, then back in the 40s all week!!!



Sunday, March 16, 2014

Afternoon Siesta

Arrived at the barn yesterday after work and unfortunately interrupted Liam's afternoon siesta.

As I was tacking up a huge wind storm started to pick up.  Trees were banging against the barn and the dumpster opened up and blow garbage down the driveway.  I was a little concerned to start riding, but I had limited time and needed to fit in a ride to prep for my jump school later this afternoon.  I got on and to my surprise Liam was very well behaved.  A piece of plywood actually blow over when we were walking about 5ft from us and all Liam did was take a side step and two canter steps forward.  Good boy!

He was pretty good to ride.  We went back to our trot/canter transitions from the day before and he was nice a relaxed and behaved.  Wish me luck at our first jump school of 2014.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Long Fridays!

First, I would like to thank my first follower, Amy.  Welcome and I hope I keep you entertained!!!

Yesterday was a crazy long day for me.  Thursday I didn’t ride because the weather dropped 20 degrees overnight and I knew Friday would get back into the mid to high 40s.  Figured Liam could have the day off and I headed over to the gym instead early and attended I different exercise class then I normally do.  It was called Total Body Impact.  Well, let me tell you, it was a very high impact class with tons of jumping squats.

So my Friday morning started out by icing my knees at my desk at work because literally the joints felt like they were going to explode!


Please don't mind the messy office, you don't notice the mess until you see it in a picture. 
Check, I need to clean my office!

I will not be attending that class again, silly me for going to the gym early to get home earlier then I normally do and cook dinner at a reasonable hour like a normal wife. 

Later, I took my hurting knees to the barn to ride.  Liam is shedding like a beast.

Really not the best picture to show how much he is shedding, but I tried!

I discovered two more cuts on his face.
I think the horses are over winter and are getting bored out in the field and playing with each other leaving battle scrapes.  It seems like every day my boy has a new cut on his face, come on spring and grass to entertain these horses!!

Rode Liam, he was pretty good.  He really lost a lot of fitness over his January and February “winter break.” I need to remember this and not get frustrated that he can only hold a balanced trot and canter for a little.  When it gets hard, he will root (which is my most hated habit in horses, but of course, I own a rooter) his head.

Our conversation goes something like this:

Liam: “Mom, this is really hard” (insert head root)

Me: “Liam, you just have to try a little harder”

Liam: “but, it’s TOO hard” (insert bigger head root)

Me: “just try please”

Liam: “Okay, but I will only try for a few more strides”

And that conversation will start over about 5-8 strides later again.  But those 5-8 strides were beautiful. 

Then, just about the time I was about to finish up the ride, two other boarders had the audacity to come into the ring as we were just finishing up canter/trot transitions to the left.  Liam decided that he no longer wanted to pay attention to me and balanced transitions and wanted to just get amped up and blow me off.  Unfortunately for Liam he has a very stubborn mom and we did canter/trot transitions until he relaxed.  At one point I said to Liam, “We will be here all night until you take a breath and pay attention me.”  Finally he did, but was really unhappy about it!

I didn’t realize how late it had gotten while riding.  So I quickly untacked Liam and turned him back out.  Ran over to Sampson and did his therapy (I will write up a post on this lovely boy and his injury, making a mental note on this now). 

I had plans to meet my friend down the road to watch her Lesson.  She has had some setbacks with her horse over the past couple of months and they are working through them going back to basics.  It reminded me that basics are really important! 

After my friends lesson, I headed out to dinner with another friend and the trainer and talked horses for hours!  Horse people and their horse talk never ends.  Finally got home and rolled into bed after midnight.  I was exhausted waking up this morning for work, but sleep is over rated in my life!     

Thursday, March 13, 2014

DIY Horse Blanket Repair

I arrived at the barn yesterday and discovered that Liam had a small tear in his blanket liner. 

I know that if you don’t fix this hole fast it will get bigger and the other horses will pull the fill out and play with it like confetti, unfortunately I know this from experience. I quickly wiped out the old handy sewing kit. 

My sewing kit includes a heavy duty needle (my needle says it is for leather but I find it works great on blankets), heavy duty sewing thread, and basic scissors.  This completes my sewing kit, if any other tool is needed the project is over my head.  Have to know my limitations.

I sewed up the tear and Liam’s blanket is back in good working shape.

Liam was good riding wise yesterday.  Did some shoulder-ins on a circle.  I need to work on lateral work more.  He will fling his head and grind his teeth and basically throw a tantrum when first asked for lateral work, I feel like he is whining “I don’t wanna,” but eventually he gives in.  Consistency is key with this horse.  Liam will have the day off today, as the temps went to brutally cold again today.  I will ride Friday and Saturday to prepare for my, dare I say, jump school on Sunday!!!  Hoping my husband will come in order to get video, but I am not making any promises…

Blog Hop: What's In Your Name?

I am very excited to be apart of my first Blog Hop started by Viva Carlos (I hope I linked correctly, thanks Viva Carlos for sending me that video, very helpful).

Why did a name my blog DIY Rider?  Since I am brand new to blogging and just started this blog last week naming my blog is fresh in my mind.  I honestly didn't know what to name my blog.  I have always kept a "horse" journal, as I called it, and jotted down exercises that I worked on that day, injuries, feeding adjustments I made, supplement adjustments, and basically everything that had to do with my everyday riding and horse care.  I decided it might be fun to go public with it.  Only now I have to actually form complete sentences and check my grammar...

This year is hopefully going to be a special year in my riding with Liam and I wanted to share it.  I have parted ways with the traditional hunter/jumper training program, and I am mostly going to be DIY'ing it this year with training and horse showing. Hence the name DIY rider.  I do have a good friend that I have been riding with for 16 years (wow, I never actually counted the years I have known her) that is going to help me along the way this year, but basically I will be on my own being a DIY Rider.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

DIY Horse Care

I had two happy greetings today when I arrived at the barn.  The first one is Liam and his friend Finch came right over to me when I called looking for carrots and mints.

Finch is on the left, Liam is on the right.
The second happy greeting was to find Liam's empty food dish!!! I know, not exciting for all, but it had me jumping up and down today.
Licked clean food dish!
Not only am I a DIY rider, but I do DIY horse care too.  That means I am on my own making my own decisions on horse care for Liam.  I don't have an in-house trainer to turn to, but I do have some great friends that give great advise, and I constantly refer to the COTH forum for wisdom, but ultimately it is up to me. I guess this is true for all horse owners, but I feel particularly on my own.
At this point you are probably wondering, why is this crazy person happy about an empty food dish?  Well, Liam decided over the weekend that he no longer wants to eat all of his feed.  He was leaving about 1/2 to 1 pound of food at the bottom of his dish and refusing to eat it.  As the nervous horse owner that I am, I am thinking about every possibility.  Is he sick, does he have ulcers, is there something wrong with his teeth, is it a bad bag of feed, and so on???  I decided to wait it out a couple of days and see if he starts eating again.  Yesterday, I found the same, about 1/2 to 1 pound of food remaining in his dish.  I started frantically looking up new feed options today on my lunch break at work and decided if I go to the barn today and find feed remaining in his dish I am going to the feed store tomorrow and getting him different feed.  Behold, empty food dish when I arrived at the barn and a crazy girl jumping up and down in the mud yelling out "woohoo"!!!
On the riding front Liam has been good the last 2 rides.  I think we are back to normal Liam behavior.  Yesterday we worked on long and low and today we worked on collection and extension.  Tomorrow is Liam's favorite, not, lateral work.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Finally Some Consistency and Jump School Hopes for Next Weekend

I was not able to ride on Saturday and had a friend, who is a very good rider, ride Liam for me to keep him going.  It was a gorgeous day, 50+ degrees, and sunny.  The report I got on Liam’s behavior on Saturday wasn’t good.  My Friend told me he was really fresh and wanted to canter, canter, canter.  When she tried to make him trot he kept flipping his head and spooked hard a couple of times at random things, like a girl sweeping, so scary.  So my high hopes for a good Sunday ride went out the window. 
Liam is funny when going back to work after having a while off.  The first few rides he will be really fresh, to the point where if you don’t lunge before you get on you better get ready to hit the dirt.  After the first couple of rides he will settle down for a few rides.   Next, it is almost like he gets his fitness back and is fresh again.  After that we will become normal Liam.  I was assuming that he hit the second fresh phase and the next couple rides were not going to be pleasant.
I arrived Sunday, tacked up, and put rails on the ground in the ring.  I have learned to keep Liam’s attention with rails on the ground to trot and canter over.  This gets him paying attention and not looking for something to spook at, he spooks when he is fresh.  I got on ready for fresh Liam and to my surprise he was great.  Not perfect by any means, but not as bad as I thought he was going to be.  I started trotting and was pleasantly happy that he was listening and just happily trotting along.  Did some walk/trot transitions, and thought to myself, wow he is listening.  Cantered both directions and started to incorporate the poles.

I set up 2 poles 9 feet apart. 


Trotted them both directions, and then cantered both directions over them.  I finished with cantering over the pole landing and asking for a change of direction and cantered right back over them. 
He was really being good.  Might have been a little rough a couple of times, but he was listening and trying hard.  At this point, that is all I want.  Liam was getting really tired and I quit on that.
Scheduled jump school for next weekend.  Hope the weather stays good all week!

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Rough Winter

This 2013/2014 winter to say the least has been rough.  In New Jersey it has been either brutally cold or snowing.  Because of the weather my winter plans with Liam have gone out the window.

First snow storm of 2013/2014 season, when snow was still exciting!

My original plan this winter was to get solid in the itty bitty (2’3”) jumpers at shows, showing 1x per month.  I found out last season that Liam can be a little peaky at the jumps at the shows and I wanted him to be confident before moving up to the level 0’s.  Where do we come up with these names, “Itty bitty” jumper or “level 0” jumper?  Those division names really make you feel good about yourself, oh well!!!
Because of Old Man Winter the plans above just didn’t happen, but that is life.  Time to make adjustments.  Since I didn’t make it to any shows all winter, and basically rode 5x all of January and February I will not be moving up to the all mighty level 0 jumpers come spring.  We are going to stick to the smaller division to start and make sure Liam and I are confident together.
To say this winter has been interesting is an understatement.  Our indoor had to shut down for a week a few weeks ago because of the fear of it collapsing from the weight of the snow and ice on the roof.  The barn owners hired about 20 guys to shovel off the roof and when that didn’t work because of the amount of ice frozen on top they created fires inside the indoor to melt the snow.  Wouldn’t you know it, it worked, and the indoor riding ring was saved.  It was very touch and go there for a minute and the barn owners were very scared.

Fires in the indoor!

This week has been the most consistent week all winter and I was able to get 4 rides in and next week weather wise is looking good too.  Just maybe, I am not sure I even want to say it, I can get down to my friends next weekend for a jump school.  

Friday, March 7, 2014

Why I Started Blogging

I am starting this blog to document my horse’s progress with training and horse showing mostly on my own as a DIY’er.  Maybe I lied, I won’t be totally DIY, but I do not board with or in a typical training program with a trainer.  I do trailer out to a friend/trainer a few times a month and will have her coach me here and there when we are at the same show, but I am mostly on my own.  Not because I choose to be like this, but financially and my horse’s preferred way of living is not conducive to training barns around me.  I have great friends for support and training advice and now I hope I can get some advice from my blog readers.
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