Thursday, September 30, 2010

How you know your electric fence is not working

This weekend, I had reason to suspect that something might not be quite right with our electric fence.

How did I know, you ask?

A little Reddums told me. (The white webbing you see is supposed to be electrified.) Apparently the grass is greener on the other side of the fence.

And that thin black and yellow wire that is against Red's chest? That's supposed to be electrified, too. Red is NOT supposed to be standing on our front sidewalk!

Fortunately the situation was remedied by removing a few branches that were shorting out the fence. Red was disappointed to have his salad bar removed from reach. Poor starved pony.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Jumping lesson on Reddums

The hubby also took another jumping lesson on Reddums this weekend. They continued to work on staying in 2-point over the entire fence (instead of sitting up over the top of the fence), and steering. Red decided since his rider wasn't doing much steering, perhaps he didn't have to jump all the fences. Details, I know.

Unfortunately I took this video rather late in the lesson when we were jumping a small course, and with the added steering and the fact that they were both getting tired, the jumps weren't as nice as they were earlier in the ride. Still, there's improvement over their last jumping lesson.

Although they've still got lots to work on, the hubby was definitely able to feel when he was standing on his tip-toes over the fence (instead of keeping his heels down), and also when he was coming up to soon and hitting Red in the mouth. He's not happy about either thing happening, but at least he now understands when it's wrong and what the problem is, because he's had enough jumps where it's RIGHT. He had a really great time riding and kept saying how much he likes Paige as a teacher, since she's really able to break things down for him.

Paige mentioned to us that we were her most "entertaining" lesson. I guess that means we laugh a lot (or maybe she just finds watching us amusing, who knows!). Regardless, riding with her is a lot of fun, and we still manage to get a whole lot of riding and jumping in. I'm hoping to squeeze in some more lessons with her this fall, although foxhunting is still my main goal!

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Jumping lesson on Saga

This morning, the hubby and I headed down to Corragio H/J to take another jumping lesson with Paige. I talked to her a bit about what I'd seen in the video from my last lesson, where I kept hitting the saddle. After a few small fences, we agreed to pull my stirrups up another hole - and really, I could probably go one more, but I'd run out of saddle in front of my knee. Upping my stirrups helped me keep my butt out of the saddle a lot, and the lesson progressed well from there.

Since the hubby was riding with me, we didn't get much video, but he did take a video of our last course.

The fences were all a decent size (i.e. not crossrails or miniature verticals), so I felt like we were jumping a 'real' course. I loved how steady and rhythmic we were, and that we got all the correct leads. I didn't try to blast him at any fences, just sat up and waited, and it's probably the smoothest round I've ever had on him! What a fabulous way to end a ride!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Tally Ho!

Foxhunting (well, ok, coyote chasing) this weekend was incredibly awesome. Since it was only the second hunt of the cubbing season, the group was small and everyone was quite laid back. Neither the hounds nor the horses are terribly fit yet, and it was hot and humid, so we only rode for an hour. That was fine with us, though, since neither the hubby, myself, nor the boys have gotten much exercise of late!

I managed to snag a few pictures (discreetly) on the way home, and a bit of video when we were stopped. And no, I am NOT going to try to take footage when we are actually moving!

And the pictures...

Headed home - the hounds and first flight are in front...

...and the folks in second flight.

We actually did spot a coyote this time (my first), and second flight also saw a deer. I didn't jump, and neither did the hubby, since the jumping options were 3 foot coops, which is a bit much for us right now. Hopefully next time I'll get in a bit of jumping the week before the hunt so that we can jump with the field! But the best part was that we got a lot of good trots and a few great canters in, but spent enough time walking, plus standing and waiting for the hounds, that nobody was too tired at the end of the day.

We can't wait to go again!

Friday, September 17, 2010

Ready... set...

... Tally Ho!

Our boots are polished. My saddle has been cleaned and conditioned, and the hubby's saddle dusted and wiped down. I washed our Wintec girths, which are now shiny and clean. Red's bridle got cleaned (and conditioned!) for the first time since I won't say how long, and Saga's jumping bridle is ready to go.

The boys have grain and hay - the bale bag didn't even have any scorpions in it! - and the trailer's cleaned. I even swept out and rearranged the tack room!

Ok, so I didn't iron our stock ties, and we're not wearing coats (tomorrow's high is something like 92, so my wool coat is Right. Out.), but otherwise... we're ready to go on the first hunt of the cubbing season tomorrow!

Departure time from here is 6 a.m., so I'm off to bed.

Oh, and in case you're wondering? The flask is filled with Balvenie Doublewood. Gotta take the edge off somehow!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Red's new day job

Recently, The Kyoot Widdle Weddums (my nickname for Red, which he hates with all his cute little heart) has embarked on a new career path: he gives pony rides to our 5 year old cousin.

Red is particularly fond of this job because the ratio of cookies he gets to minutes of ride time he provides is quite high.

Apparently, to a 5 year old, feeding horses is nearly as much fun as riding them. Red is quite pleased with this arrangement and has informed me that our cousin can come visit him any time she likes!

DISCLAIMER: Safety, as ever, is my first concern with someone as young as our cousin. Because she is small and has not yet learned how to control Red past stopping and turning, I lead her around with a halter under Red's bridle. She wears heeled boots and a helmet, and her dad is never more than a few feet from her side in case she needs him. I want her early memories of horses to be fun and positive!

Friday, September 10, 2010

Saga Jumping Lesson

A couple of weeks ago, I took a jumping lesson on Saga. The hubby filmed me, and I put together a couple of clips:

The lesson itself was great - I got a lot of information from Paige - but very frustrating, because I felt like I wasn't able to fix the problems.

The biggest issue, as you can clearly see in the video, is that I'm doing something weird and wiggly with my upper body and then sitting up way too soon - so soon that I'm hitting the saddle over the top of the fence. Definitely a bad habit, but I'm not sure how/if it's exacerbated by riding in a dressage saddle. I would certainly prefer to ride in a jumping saddle, but finding one that fits Saga hasn't been a priority for me since we got the house. I did start out the ride in my Wintec AP, but Saga let me know right off the bat that he wasn't comfortable in it. He really pitched a fit, but all our problems miraculously went away when I switched back to the dressage saddle after 10 minutes of warm-up disaster.

The other issue is that, in two-point, I keep my hips positioned to the left. Waaaay to the left, apparently. I've known for years that my body is somewhat awkward on the left side - I tend to sleep curled left - but this is the first time someone has pointed out how it's affecting my riding. I made a big effort to shift my hips to the right, and lo and behold, Saga stopped falling in on the corners are went much straighter. It's really amazing how much our bodies affect our horses' way of going. So, something else to practice.

I would also like to point out what a SAINT my horse is - trotting and cantering to the fence without a single change of rhythm like an old pro. It's kind of odd to ride a horse that doesn't bolt to the fences, like Cash did. It's going to be hard to learn to wait for the fence, but as Paige very astutely pointed out, it's not going to run off or anything, so I can let it come to me.