Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Rain Rain Go Away!

Well, I think NJ is going to be having 48 hours straight of rain.  The rain is supposed to stop sometime tomorrow afternoon.

Nothing really interesting to report.  I had a great flat school Monday working on transitions.  Yesterday, I was able to flat outside between rain storms, and worked on lengthening and collecting at the trot and canter.  Liam overall was really good both days.

Although, he has a mysterious scrape across his neck.

I always wonder how he gets these scrapes... Reaching over the fence, bite or kick from another horse???  One will never know.

As long as all goes as planned, I will be flatting tonight and having a jump school tomorrow.  Might need a canoe to get to the jump school tomorrow!!! I am not going to horse show this weekend, but instead go on a fun trail ride with some friends.  I am just not feeling horse showing.  I think it is because the show is far away and my weekends have be really packed for the last 4 weeks and I am just plain old tired.  And the next horse show I have planned is literally 20 minutes from the farm in 2 weeks.

Well, that is it for now. 

Monday, April 28, 2014

Not much of a horsey weekend for me - boo...

I didn't do anything horsey this past weekend really.  I did get to see Liam for 10 minutes for a quick groom, hoof paint, and to give allergy meds late Sunday night.

Otherwise I worked Saturday morning and went to supercross Saturday night where I got to meet Ryan Villopoto (4 time supercross champ).

Well, I got to meet his cardboard cut out anyway.  The line to actually meet him was ridiculous!

Sunday I went to watch my husband practice for an upcoming race in a few weeks.  It was fun seeing all of our race friends we have met over the years and catching up even though it was freezing out AGAIN!  Grrr

Sunday's practice line up

Busy weekend for the DIY rider, therefore Liam had off both Saturday and Sunday.  Planning on hacking today, tomorrow, & Wednesday.  Jump School planned for Thursday.  Considering skipping the horse show I had planned for Sunday and doing another jump school instead.  I am just very tired and need a weekend to catch up on things and throwing in a horse show would just deprive me of more sleep and prevent me from catching up on anything...  Decisions, decisions, decisions...

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Our week...

Liam has been pretty good all week... 

Tuesday we had a nice stretching ride.  He is really learning how to hack nicely.  He will now stretch and engage his back.  Worked on bending and just coming forward nicely.  It was really a great hack.

Wednesday I had a great flat school in preparation for the jump school that was planned for Thursday.  I probably got the best lateral work out of Liam to date.  We did spiral in/out circles, figure eights with leg yielding into the new direction, and shoulder-ins all at the trot.  We worked on collection and extension at the trot.  Then, worked on transitions.  Trot to halt is getting better, still no where near perfect, but better.  Canter/trot transition are dynamite.  Rode Liam for about 40 minutes and called it quits.  Cleaned all my tack and packed the trailer for the jump school on Thursday.

At work Thursday, crap hit the fan, and I ended up not making it for a jump school.  Grrrr... I was very disappointed, but I need my job to do all these horsey things.  I didn't even get out to the barn Thursday.  By the time I left work I was so fried that I couldn't even think.  I went home indulged myself on carbs, carbs always make me happy!!!

Friday, it was so beautiful out, I ditched date night with the hubby for Liam time.  I justified this to myself since I missed seeing Liam on Thursday...right?  Tacked Liam up and was heading out to the ring and the hay field was calling my name.  Liam and I both looked at the ring then back at the big open hay field and we kept walking right past the ring to the hay field.  We walked the entire hay field twice.  It was a lovely 35 minute walk.

Don't mind the mane, we are a jumper and go soooo fast nobody notices the mohawk!!!

I never even picked up the reins or touched his mouth.  Liam took a few big deep breaths and walked alert, but very relaxed.  I guess we both needed this non-working mentally relaxing ride...

Not able to ride Saturday, I have to work, then heading with some friends to a supercross race later that night.  Sunday I want to squeeze in a ride, going to support the hubby's hobby during the day and celebrating my mom's birthday for a BBQ at night...  So not sure where I am going to fit in that ride...  But I have good intentions...

Friday, April 25, 2014

Daily Grooming

I am a true believer that daily grooming is the most important grooming that a horse owner does.  I want to share with you my daily grooming protocol (can you tell I am scientist?).  It is fairly simple, but it keeps Liam's coat super shiny and looking healthy.

1.) Curry the entire body.  Head, legs, and body.  I use a curry mitt.  I like it the best compared to other curries.  I find that I can easily bend it around the legs, get into small crevasses, and it is soft enough that most horses, even sensitive Liam, tolerate it well.


2.) Brush off all the loose dirt, hair, and dander with a dandy brush.  I use short quick swipes with this brush.  I brush the entire body and legs, excluding the head.

3.) Brush the entire body and head with a soft brush.  I do this with long sweeping strokes.  This usually brings out the shine.


4.) Pick all feet.  I just use a regular hoof pick with brush.  I really like the ultimate hoof picks, but not enough to sacrifice that little brush that comes on a regular hoof pick.

This is all I do before I ride.  Then after I ride I repeat the entire 4 step process above adding in Keratex Hoof Hardener every other day. 

In the warmer weather I will skip the the 4 step protocol above after I ride and hose Liam off.  I do curry him wet and hose him off again.  This really gets out the underneath dirt without drying out the skin.  I only give a bath before shows or once in the spring after a long winter. 

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Blog Hop: Appreciate What You Have

Let's take a moment to appreciate the Pros of our current ponies, whether you own them or just ride them in lessons.

This blog hop comes at a perfect time for me.  I was really down over this past weekend.  I feel like every second of my life is scheduled and yet I don't have anytime to do anything.  Liam is a ton of work to get to the show ring.  He has to be ridden at least 5 times a week or he turns into a spook monster and because I am a DIY'er it all falls on me, which is good and bad at times.  I miss many social and family events because I am riding or taking care of Liam and that bums me out sometimes.  But then, I had a beautiful Easter morning trail ride with Liam and I couldn't have been happier that day.  Would I have loved to go to Easter brunch with the family, yes I would have, but Liam needed to be ridden and I had to work in the afternoon.  These are the hard decisions I make on a daily basis and I always put Liam first.  I figure if I am spending all this money to have a horse, I might as well make it worth it!

Now lets get to the blog hop part and appreciate the pros of Liam for a moment:

Liam absolutely adores attention and makes me feel like the most special horse owner in the world.  He whinnies at me when I go to the field to get him.  Cuddles with me while I groom him.  He is generally a very happy horse to be around.

Liam is a trier.  I have to be very careful of this because he tries super hard and gets really frustrated when I tell him he is wrong.

Liam has the most comfortable canter I have ever sat on.  Literally I can canter him all day.  He is so balanced that he makes it easy.

He is an athlete with a scopy jump.  More scope then I will ever need.

Liam generally has good feet for a thoroughbred and saves me money every month because I only have shoes on his front feet.

He lets me clip his ears, pull his mane, clean his sheath, etc without any fuss. Great ground manners.

Liam has taught me a ton in the 3 years I have owned him.  He is the first horse that taught me to really ride the back to the front.  He has a very sensitive mouth and if you take a feel of his mouth without enough leg to back it up you better be ready to kiss his ears.  As soon as he flips his head I know I need more leg and that has really taught me the balance between leg and hand.

Liam is pretty uncomplicated othewise to ride, consistency is key with him.

Liam is that special horse to me and he has a forever home with me.  He is the first horse I purchased and cared for completely finacially on my own and that means a ton to me too!  I just love him.  We are a good match and really understand each other.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Easter Morning Trail Ride

(I forgot my phone and couldn't take any photos, but I grabbed these off the internet.) 


A friend and I trailered over to Christie Hoffman Farm yesterday morning for a trail ride.  I am completely spoiled for boarding less than 5 miles from this beautiful park.  Christie Hoffman Farm is a public park for hiking and horseback riding and it has over 170 acres to ride on of hilly groomed trails.
The park has a ton of jumps including logs, coops, tables, ditches, and even a water complex.  It really is perfect for an eventer to come and practice!!!

Since it was our first time out this year, my friend and I decided to just walk all the trails.  I really underestimated how much walking up and down hills is a work out for the horses.  Liam was exhausted!  We rode for about 1 1/2 hours just walking.  Liam started out a little nervous, but by the end we were walking on a long rein and he was very relaxed.

I can't wait to go back! 

Friday, April 18, 2014

Is this really my horse???

Headed down the mountain for another jump school yesterday. 

I was tired yesterday from a long week and my legs felt like jello from the gym, but I am determined to keep this horse going!!!

I didn't really have much time to flat.  When I arrived at the ring another person was having a lesson and jumping courses and even though the ring is big I hate to get in any ones way while they are jumping a course.  I know how frustrating that can be.  I just parked myself out of the way and watched. 

Once she was done jumping I had about five minutes to warm up.  Liam was being really good and quiet so we started jumping.  This would have gone disastrous a year ago without a proper flat, but I think my boy is growing up.  We were able to have a five minute warm up and a productive jump school!!!

The course:

We started warming up over the natural (brown) vertical on the diagonal circling each direction.  Liam started off really quiet and I had to really use my leg. 

Then we put together a short course:

First time one came up great rolling back to two was good, but I made a move with my shoulders too much, three was a bit weak.  Heading to four liam dived right with his shoulders and five to six was perfect in five strides.  All in all, the entire course was good, but I am a perfectionist...

Second Course:

We decided to keep the start of the second course the same one through four and then jump the in to the five stride line for jump five with a roll back to an oxer for jump six then up the diagonal line for seven and eight in five strides.  Jump one was awesome again.  Totally fixed my shoulders to jump two and it came up perfect, three was much better.  I rode better to four, but Liam pulled me past the distance a little and I gave a big (way to much) release and we had a hard rub at jump four.  Five came up great, I actually settled to five which made the roll back set up perfect.  Liam took a hard peak at six (walls in front of oxer) and jumped the moon over it, but landed and just cantered softly away.  Liam took another peak at seven (pink flowers with white gate) and jumped hard and I just kind of sat there shocked and didn't do a thing.  Like hello, you have another jump coming in five strides - WAKE UP!  I just left it up to Liam to figure it out out of the line and he really showed his education here.  He just softly cantered down and the distance to eight was either a little long in five (correct) or chuck one in for add in six.  I just kind of sat there like a rag doll and Liam made the decision to make a big effort and jump out in five.  I just kind of went along with it.  Good boy.  He really is turning into an ameture horse.

Next we deicided to skip one and two and start with three through eight.  I completely fixed the turn from three to four.  I cut the corner too short to five and it made that jump really tight.  Roll back to six was great.  Liam was pulling down to seven and I felt like he never looked up, but it worked out in five strides.  My friend suggested when he is pulling down like that to counter bend for a few strides to lighten him back up. 

Did five through eight again and all was good!  Still a little pulling down, but good...  Maybe he was getting tired...

I was supposed to horse show this weekend on Sunday, but the horse show moved all the jumper classes to Saturday and is going to run a two ring show instead of a one ring show on Saturday and Sunday.  Unfortunatly, I have other plans on Saturday and can't attend the show.  Missing my first show of the season already...  I am a bit disappointed, but it is still early in the year and there are plenty of other shows to go to.   Next one on the list is May 4th. 

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Blog Hop: Immediate Inspiration


Why do you train with your trainer?

I met my current trainer through her younger sister over 18 years ago.  My trainer's younger sister and I rode together as kids at the same barn and we are good friends to this day.  My trainer was actually riding at the barn with us as an independent amateur at the time.  I always looked up to her as a kid.

A few years later when my trainer became a professional I started riding with her full time.  She really took my riding to the next level.  I have been riding with her off and on for over 10 years with three different horses.   We have really become great friends through the years.  We just click together and are always on the same page.

Right now she is helping me with jump schools.  With her help, Liam and I have really improved over the last 6 months and are getting our confidence together.

She is an incredible horse person too.  She treats every horse like an individual and can see the good in every horse.  Also, she is a great rider!!!

Here is my trainer and her Oldenburg mare that is retired now being a broodmare.  She showed her up through the local grandprix level (1.40m):

Here is my trainer on a client's thoroughbred gelding:
Here she is on her thoroughbred gelding at his second horse show ever, he was six here I think.  This is the horse that actually got me back into riding after taking a few years off.  I was helping my trainer start him from the track.  He is a ton of fun to ride and what and athlete!

I hope it is ok that I posted these pictures, I stole them all off her website :)!

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Jump school 4/10 and catch up post...

Headed down the mountain for a jump school last week. 

Liam was patiently waiting getting tacked up, but I couldn't get both of his ears up at the same time for a picture.

Left Ear

Right Ear

Oh well...

It was warm, which was awesome, and we were able to ride outside in the big outdoor for the first time this year.

I warmed up and Liam was being very good.  I had a little extra time before my friend was available to help set jumps, so I really flatted Liam.  Was working on adjustability in the trot and canter.  He was being a really good boy, very relaxed.

Here is a picture of the course:

Started out over the dark grey vertical.  It was set as a cross rail and trotted it both directions.  I despise trot jumps, but they really are improving.  Shall I say almost enjoyable...?  Then we worked over the gymnastic.  Trotting in 1 stride to a 2 stride (red, yellow, and green).  I am loving all the gymnastics we have been doing lately.  Liam and I really needed it.  We worked on landing straight from the gymnastic.  Liam wanted to throw his right shoulder in and dive through the corner to blow off the change.  I almost have to think that I am turning left after the gymnastic until I turn right.  Was able to correct the right dive and the left to right change came perfect a couple of times.  I need to remember to keep Liam straight and connected and the change works out.  Then we cantered the blue vertical on a circle both directions. At this point Liam was getting a little flustered with the flying change, but he was listening, just making a big move for the change and I decided it is best to do a few simples instead of flyings.

Next we started with our first little course see below:
The course was right lead up the quarter line over the dark vertical, down the diagonal over the white one stride (light grey, figured I couldn't make a white line in paint...), left around the gymnastic over the blue vertical bending 90 degrees to the grey vertical again.  First time Liam rushed after fence one, the grey vertical, because he was worried about the change and we got in a little tight to the one stride and he had to make a big effort out.  He wouldn't listen to my half halts.  But he landed from the one stride and just cantered down the hill around the gymnastic to the blue bending to the grey lovely.  Did the entire course again and was able to fix the rush after fence one and the rest of the course was beautiful. 

 Second course:

We started out by cantering into the gymnastic making it like a triple combination.  Then right 180 degree turn back to the dark grey quarter line vertical with a 90 degree bending line to the blue.  Right around the gymnastic up the one stride.  First time, I went to the gymnastic/combination a little to slow and we had to move up out.  Then Liam wanted to race for the change, but I made him wait patiently and we got to fence two beautiful.  He dived left and we got close to fence three in the bending line.  Again, Liam was blowing off my halt halts and throwing his head.  Around the gymnastic with a lead change up over the one stride which worked out.  Did the entire course again fixing the combination with more impulsion in.  Liam dived left again from the grey to the blue 90 degree bending, cantered up the hill over the one stride which was good.  I went straight left lead from the one stride to the dark grey vertical left bending 90 degrees to blue and Liam dived left again making the blue tight. UGH!!!  Walked a minute.  Decided to come off the right lead doing the same 180 degree turn from the course to the grey vertical bending left to blue.  Really concentrated on staying straight after the grey and Liam did a lovely bending line to the blue. 

All in all he was a good boy.  We started out quiet and actually got hotter as the jump school went on, but all in all he listened and as long as I rode well he behaved himself.  I need to remember to keep Liam straight between my legs and hands and all typically works out.

I had to rush home after the jump school and pack the camper for the weekend in New York at my husbands race. 

Diesel was helping me pack:

Then Diesel decided that packing was tiring and just slept on the couch in the camper and watched me pack:

I had a lovely weekend with the hubby at the motocross race.  The weather couldn't have been more beautiful:

Rode yesterday, Monday, and Liam was a little ball of fire.  Not sure if it was because I was away all weekend or because the spring grass is coming up.  Hoping to ride today, but I am not sure I will make it out to the barn.  Jump school again on Thursday and maybe horse show on Saturday.  We will see...

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Stay Tuned

What a week!

Had a great jump school outside Thursday night. I will write a full post on Monday to update.

Away being a good supporting wife to my husband and his hobby this weekend. He rides motorcross.

Go hubby go!

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

NQR Maybe?

Of course, the day I post my horse show schedule Liam doesn't feel right to me.  I elected to ride outside even though the ring was a little sloppy.  I just can't bear riding in the indoor another moment.  We had rain that started Monday afternoon and rained throughout the night into Tuesday early morning.  I avoided the really sloppy sections in the ring, but some just couldn't be avoided.

The weather was warm, upper 50s, but very windy yesterday.  I was expecting Liam to be a little up, but he was actually quiet.  Left he felt ok, just a little stuck, right he just didn't feel right and very stuck.  I couldn't pin point a lameness.  I started asking him to move off each of my legs at the walk and trot, and the trot felt a little better.  Cantered a little to the right and the trot felt even better after that.  Cantered left and called it quits.

Maybe he just didn't feel comfortable in the sloppy footing??? I am hoping that is what it was...  He was laying down in the field sunning himself when I arrived yesterday fast asleep, maybe he is just tired...  Seemed fine in the barn and perky too...

Farrier was out to shoe Liam and said his feet look great and don't seem sore at all.  I tried to get a picture of Liam's feet, but he kept trying to cuddle with me and it was so cute that I couldn't resist leaving his head.  This is the best picture I could get yesterday while he was being shod.

His left foot looks great and I can't believe how much his right foot has come around.  When I first got him his right foot inside heel was very under run, but outside heel grows out and makes his foot very crooked.  It has taken 3 years, but we finally have a straight hoof!!!

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Blog Hop: What are you buying next?


Thanks to L @ Viva Carlos for starting another great blog hop.  I didn't get to participate in the last one because, well, I just never got organized enough, but figured I would jump in on this one.

What am I buying next?

First on the list is a new show coat.  I went to the tack store yesterday to try on a bunch of coats and have decided on the Grand Prix Techlite Quinn Show Coat at a whooping $349.00.  I just don't spend that kind of money lightly and just couldn't pull the trigger and buy it yesterday.  It fit me well and it is very comfortable.  I decided to go with a more classic looking coat then I originally wanted.  It is really a beautiful coat.

Sorry for the bad pic, but the coat actually on me!

Second thing is a new show shirt.  I want the Essex Talent Yarn Competition Shirt.  Tried it on yesterday and it fits perfect (pictured on me above under jacket).  Again, just couldn't pull the trigger yesterday...

Third on the list is a new half pad.  My mattes pad is just falling apart.  It is over 9 years old.  I keep checking out the Ogilvy jumper foam half pad online, but I really want to see/feel it in person before I just order one.  As soon as I do I will either order the Ogilvy pad or another mattes.

Fourth on my list is the SunShield Longsleeve Shirt by Smartpak.  This isn't really a must, but I want a nice looking long sleeve shirt to wear in the non-formal jumper classes at schooling shows and a friend has this shirt (she actually wears it under her show coats) and it just looks sharp.

Since I was at the tack store just yesterday I picked up all the small items I needed like cookies, fly spray, new gloves, and keratex hoof hardener.  So I am all good on that front... 

So there you have it.  The items that will all be purchased probably in the next month or so in preparation for this show season!!! My credit card is shaking in my wallet...

Horse Show Schedule 2014

I finally put a tentative horse show schedule together for 2014.  Previously when I have done this, one thing or another happened and I wasn't able to stick to it and that is why I was avoiding putting a schedule to paper this year...  But the planner in me couldn't resist a schedule any longer and this year I am just going to roll with the punches and try to get to as many shows that I can that are on my list.

April 20: Palermo Schooling Show

May 4: Monmouth County Show
May 18: The Ridge Schooling Show

June 15: Palermo Schooling Show
June 25 - 29: Princeton Show Jumping

July 2 - 6: Princeton Show Jumping
July 9 - 13: Princeton Show Jumping

August 10: Palermo Schooling Show
August 17: The Ridge Schooling Show
August 20 - 24: Princeton Show Jumping (??? huge question mark here with finances)

September 7: Palermo Schooling Show
September 20: The Ridge

Most of the shows are less then hour from home, except one, and that one is only just over an hour.  I am really looking forward to the Princeton Shows.  I think 3 weeks back to back will help us out tremendously with some consistency.  I decided that Liam will get a stall at Princeton Show Jumping because literally the show grounds are 10 minutes from my house.  By the time I truck Liam back and forth to the barn daily I am probably only saving maybe $100.  Well for $100 I will get a stall and sleep in an extra hour each day.  I will bring Liam home in between the shows for a few days to give him a little turnout, etc...  

I do hope I can get to all of them and make it work finance wise, but we will find out soon enough!  Very excited for this show season!!!

Monday, April 7, 2014

Spring Cough Again

Last spring Liam developed a cough.  He only coughed when he was ridden and I treated him for 2 months with Cough Free and MSM.  The combination seemed to keep the cough at bay.  The cough then went away mid June and he has been fine ever since. 

Well the annoying cough has returned.  Same time new year.  I am thinking it might be allergies.  Of course the vet was here just last Friday giving Liam his second round of shots, but Liam waits to develop the cough on Sunday so I can't easily ask the vet about it and have her listen to his lungs, grrr...  There is no nasal discharge or temperature.  Just a dry cough when exercising. 

Heading to the tack store today to pick up the supplements.  Liam will now be syringed every day with apple sauce the supplements.  Prince Liam will not eat the supplements in his food...  If this doesn't work again this year I will be making a phone call to the vet.

Not much to report on the riding front.  Had three good hacks last week.   I didn't get down the mountain for a jump school, it was a crazy week.  Will hopefully get a jump school in Thursday before I go away for the weekend. 

Liam is finally down to just a light turnout sheet.  Spring is a coming!!!

Liam (left) and Tuck (right) - Picture taken last fall, but same sheet.

Friday, April 4, 2014

I need to go shopping!!!

I haven't shown with any regularity since 2009, so my show wardrobe is a little dated and not very comfortable. I kept an old school, non-soft shell, pinstriped (yuk) navy show coat, unknown brand, and probably an original white coolmax shirt from Essex. I took all my other show clothes to a consignment shop to be sold last December. I am hoping they all have been sold by now, I did price them to sell, but they are old and who knows if anyone will buy them. If they did all sell, this will bring me an extra $300 to spend on show clothes, woohoo!

I am drooling over the new softshell show coats, well they aren't that new, but new to me, and the tech fabic show shirts! I need to update my show wardrobe badly. Now trying to pick out the show coat I want is a little challenging since I don't know my budget yet because I don't know what sold from the consignment shop (***mental note - call the shop TODAY***), but I have in my brain to set aside tops $400 for new show clothes out of my pocket plus whatever money I get from the consignment clothes. My mom has always taught me to buy quality and to take care of my things and I will have them for years...

I want a black or navy 4 button, double back vent softshell show coat (so many options). I pretty much know I want the Essex Classic Talent Yarn Competition Shirt.

Photo taken from Dover website

In my opinion the farreri of show coats is the Animo Competition Jacket, my shop-aholic side knows I can very conveniently order one from Dover Saddlery, my Amax is shaking in my wallet, but my realistic side says I DO NOT NEED a $800+ show coat.

But they are very pretty:

Photo taken from Dover website

Stepping down a few hundred of dollars, but in my opinion not stepping down in quality, is the Grand Prix Rylie Show Coat priced around $450. Grand Prix has always fit me nicely. I really like this coat and if I get a good return on the consignment shop items (if all items sell it will be around $300 after the shop takes their cut) this is the coat I will probably go for.

Photo taken from Dover website

Another coat that I want to try on before making any purchase is the RJ Classic Xtreme Soft Shell. I have not had much exposure to RJ Classic coats before, but reading reviews, this coat is a definite try on and the local tack shop carries RJ Classic coats. They go for around $430. I also have a $100 gift certificate from Christmas to this tack shop!!!


Photo taken from Smartpak website

The Ariat Triumph Coat looks like I must try on too.  The reviews are mixed and I think it is best for me to try on and find out how it fits.  I really like the look though.

Photo taken from Smartpak website

Now I can get into the bargain coats.  The Horseware Competition Coat looks very interesting and for under 100 bucks.  It doesn't have 4 buttons or a double vent back, but for the price you can't beat it.  The bargain shopper in me is hopping this coat fits well!

Photo taken form Smartpak website

Also at the tack store I am going to try on more of the RJ Classic brands like the essential and prestige and see how they fit.  These are more of a hunter ring coat, but for the price and if it fits well, I will be okay with that.  Who knows if Liam stays this quit I might see the hunter ring again...

So many choices, which coat would you choose?

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Tuesday's Ride - Melt Downs and Moments of Success!

Yesterday the sun was shining and the weather finally felt like spring.  It was a beautiful day.  I was able to ride outside again in a long sleeve tee shirt which was just fantastic because the next 3 days rain is in the forecast and I will most likely be back indoors... Boo

Liam was being pretty good to start out.  He was being soft and accepting the contact.  I went back to my lateral exercises.  I start out by going across the diagonal and asking him to leg yield into the new direction.  I used to just allow him to take a few steps and reward him and continue trotting on, but now that we are past the point of baby lateral work, I am asking for a little more.   I want him to lead with his hind end, not his shoulder or straight, if that makes sense.  Almost like a shoulder in without the bend...  He really gets flustered when I block the outside shoulder from moving over.  He will fling his head above the contact.  And then I had the audacity to slightly tap him behing my leg with my whip to move those hips over. 

Well then a full on melt down accured.  Grinding teeth, flinging head, tense body... Usually when Liam got like this in the past it was hopeless.  I might as well get off and start again tomorrow.  I decided to not give in that easily this time.  I asked him to canter and just did simple things.  Asked him to stay straight, bending circles, until he stopped cantering around like a jack hammer and gave me a soft canter.  Went back to the trot and asked again for small lateral work and he gave, but he was not happy about it, still tense, but much improved.  Then I decided it was time to start practicing the small crossrails with adjustability from my jump school. 

I knew my ring wasn't long enough to get a 66ft line like I did over the weekend, but was able to get a 54ft line which made my options with very small raised cavalettes a 5, 6, or 7 compared to a 6, 7, or 8 that I did over the weekend, but still the same concept.  Again the 5 and 6 were easy and the 7 turned out to be a bit more difficult.  Instead of sitting down and compressing he would raise above the bridle and break to a trot.  It is a really hard balancing act between my leg and my hand.  We did get the 7 strides in both driections and I called it quits after that.  I would like the 7 to be more round and compressed, but I will take what I can get. 

I am pretty proud of Liam to have a complete melt down and come back from that and finish up nicely, we have struggled with this in the past.   Maybe my boy is finally growing up to a big boy riding horse!

Liam was completely sweaty after my ride, and the water isn't turned on in the barn yet, so I decided that I would clip his legs up to his knees while he dried.  Now I typically only like to clip a clean horse, but figured that wasn't an option at the moment and I clipped with dirty legs (don't tell the grooming gods).  I don't think they came out too bad.  Killed the clipper blades though...