Sunday, 17 September 2017

A case of the wiggles

Last Friday I schooled Ron in the field, it was the first time in a quite a while for a genuine schooling session and it definitely showed. Baby pony is very wiggly and will wiggle around if the ground changes....or anything changes really! We did some practice with actual bending rather than just taking corners at a 90 degree angle, he was really good with it in walk but struggled in trot and canter. I've spent most of his canter time on hacks really so asking him to turn in canter seemed to confuse him somewhat, he could do it going right but going left he was very prone to dropping back down to the trot to get around the turns.
On the positive side though his transitions were brilliant and he was very well behaved and willing to try everything I asked of him.
We had a lesson on Monday and John got to properly meet him for the first time. I won't lie, he was a big fan! He agreed that bending is something that needs to be a big focus for us right now so we spent a lot of time doing smaller circles asking Ron to genuinely flex his body around my leg. There was some definite improvement by the end of the lesson but obviously it's a work in progress.
The other main focus of the lesson was my hands. The aim being to bring them more forward so Ron can move into them rather than just following wherever he decides to wiggle his little head. That was a bit of a struggle at times because sometimes it felt like moving my hands forward meant I had absolutely no connection to his mouth, but he did manage to find some stretch and reach into my hands on a few occasions.
He was, again, really well behaved and it was nice to get back to lessons with him.

Saturday, 16 September 2017

Who's the worst?

I am. I'm the worst at blogging. The actual worst. I apologise. That's all I can say.
However, last Wednesday I had an absolutely freaking amazing ride! I schooled Sunny and I can honestly say it was the best unsupervised ride we have ever had. Like I'm not saying we've never achieved this level before. We have. But only under instructor supervision. But we just went out to the field on our own and honest to goodness smashed it.
He was bending, he was flexing, he was leg yielding with genuine crossing of the legs. He did the most beautiful canters, I just couldn't have been happier with how he was working and we had so, sooo much fun!
I schooled him again on the Saturday and he was super again, not quite to the level of Wednesday but still working really hard and super relaxed without being lazy. We worked some more on re-enforcing the idea of using his right side more to carry me when bending to the left and he was really good.
Then this Friday Beth came with us for a walk while I took him out for a hack. Overall he was really good and the one tantrum he did have was easily containable (though it lasted a while I never felt like he was particularly explosive). He played up at his usual spot, going past the top gate of his field where he would no longer be able to nosy at his friends and know what was going on. He stopped and turned to go back and refused to turn back around so instead of arguing with him I let him continue facing that way...then asked him to back up. I didn't care which direction we were facing as long as the direction we were moving was the way I wanted to go. I basically just sat quietly and every time I felt him relax asked him to reverse a step. After a little while I managed to get him turned around again to face the direction we were going then with a little hand from Beth leading us we got him going forwards again. Mission accomplished, who's the winner now Sunny? It's not you is it? No. It's me! So we went up to the top farm before turning a circle and coming home, however when we got back Beth suggested taking him past where he would normally turn into the yard, just a few steps, to show him that he doesn't always get to go straight home. I did that and it was pretty successful and we even managed to turn around the other way and walk a little way back up the lane then I turned him around and brought him home. I know it wasn't far but it was a lesson that trucking your way on home it's going to get you back faster, you still have to do as you're told!

Thursday, 7 September 2017

Sunny's been doing stuff too

Ok, this is the last post and I'm officially caught up! About time!
Last week Beth came to see us and she schooled Sunny for a while, practicing the whole bending left and putting weight onto his right side malarkey. After she'd worked him in walk and trot I got on for the canter so I could practice the not bracing my arms in the transition. I did a canter in each direction and managed to be much freer with my hands/arms and low and behold he cantered rather nicely!
A few days later we had another lesson where we worked on some more bending and leg yielding. We did lots and lots of very small circles asking him to shift my weight onto his right side, when he did it we would reward him by going right for a break, then back to the right asking him to gradually move out and make the circles bigger and still keep the left bend. He was really well behaved and tried really hard at everything we asked him. We did a couple of canters and John commented that there was a world of difference since he last saw him then came back to trotting and bending. Towards the end we did a couple of turns on the forehand which he picked up nicely. All in all it was a really lovely lesson and we had a great time!

Sunday, 3 September 2017

Back to work for Ron

So Ron has had 3 rides now since coming up lame at the fun ride and I'm going to put them all in one post because otherwise I'm never going to get caught up!
The first ride was just to test him out under saddle and make sure he felt up to working again, it was a full walking ride, the intention was for it to be a hack but it was super windy so I decided to just take him in the field and walk some really long straight lines and super large circles so he wasn't doing anything too taxing.
A few days later I took him on a hack with the plan to mostly walk with a little bit of trot thrown in. We went up the lane to the top farm, he had a couple of spooks which I expected because it had been a while but after he realised that he was definitely not allowed to go home he was pretty chill and would just stop and investigate if he found something a little concerning. He even walked past the barking dogs with very little hesitation and he usually stands there for a few minutes before he'll go past so that was a winner! I took him out into field round the back of the top farm for some trotting on the nice ground and he was super. After a couple of sets of trot he actually popped himself into canter as if to say 'I can do this too mum!' then came back to trot after about 4 strides. Since he was willing I asked him to canter again and he showed me he was 100% sound and absolutely fine thanks! We had a lovely little canter then some more trots as we made our way around the edge of the field then headed home at a nice chilled walk on a long rein.

Then yesterday I was invited out for a hack with L and her mum D, so I tacked up and headed up to meet them for what I expected to be a nice quick hack. Ron was absolutely perfect on the way up to their house (the top farm), stopped to look at a couple of things but then happily tootled on past once he decided they were safe. When we got there L and D were pretty much ready and as they were mounting up I was asked if Ron would go in water because we were going to the river! We headed out up into the woods that I go in regularly then D lead us out into another field that I've not ventured through before, we walked through the huge stubble field, out through a little narrow field then through to another field before coming out through some more trees to find ourselves by the river she meant, I had no idea we could even get that far! It was super cute, L took her pony in the water and he had a great time splashing around, D and her mare followed them in but Ron was hesitant so I decided to lead him in myself. He was super chill once I was on the ground with him and walked into the water no problem. I got back on him while we were in there and he wandered around a little before we came out. I was honestly super happy with his reaction and hoping the more I expose him to stuff like that the more chill he'll become with it.
On the way back we had a little canter through the stubble field and then kicked it up a notch for little Ron to have his first gallop, which he loved! He was so calm about it though, perfectly happy that the others were leaving him in the dust (little legs yo!) and just cruising along happily like a little pro. He then showed just how chill he was by being happy to walk along behind when L decided to go for a gallop on her own. I could not be more proud of him!

Sunday, 27 August 2017

Lesson buddies

On August 14th Beth and I had a lesson together on Sunny and Puzzle. I don't think (I could be wrong) that I've ever had a joint lesson with Sunny, we've always just had them on our own I believe.
We had the instructor from the riding school come out to us for a change and it was a really fun lesson, he put a lot of focus on leg yielding with Sunny and at one point we actually achieved honest to goodness crossing over of his legs which was super exciting. A lot of work was also put on flexing Sun to the left because as we know this is not something he enjoys. John commented that it's because he's left dominant (which I will hence forth refer to as left handed lol) so when he's going right he can carry my weight on his left side then when we go left instead of using his right side to carry me he counter flexes so he can keep the weight on his left. Obviously I'd known he had a good rein and a bad rein but I'd never related it in that way and it really made a lot of sense. It ties in with the left being his 'good canter' because he was already working with his shoulder popped out so he naturally dropped onto the correct leg when I asked because it was already more forward.
We then did a quick canter, Sunny has a tendency to rush in canter because he's not the most balanced and I'm fully aware that because of this I use faarrr too much hand, because ahhh runaway horse. I was challenged to hold him a lot less in the canter and actually let him go and balance himself rather than trying to hold him up, I managed it once by holding the saddle but promised to work on it more.
That afternoon it was lovely weather so I gave Ron a good long groom then took him for a little in hand walk around the farm just to get him out since it had been a while. He was a proper little dog and we had a super chill stroll.

Wednesday, 23 August 2017

Always be prepared

And don't forget to put calmer on your horse before you hack when you always normally use calmer like what is WRONG WITH YOU EMMA?
For clarity, when I say 'always use calmer' I mean for a hack, like I don't drown him in calmer for schooling rides lol.
August 2nd Beth and I took Puzzle and Sunny out for a hack and as you may have guessed, I forgot to spray the calmer on Sunny. So he jogged. The whole way. Any opportunity to turn round he did. He didn't rear or buck or bolt or do anything like that he was just so pissy and not enjoying being out that obviously it made it not very enjoyable for me because it's no fun riding a pony who isn't having fun.
It was one of those rides where it wasn't awesome but it definitely could have been a lot worse. At the time I was super discouraged by it but looking back I can see it wasn't actually the most awful ride, I must have just been having a very sensitive day lol.

Friday, 18 August 2017

Work for everyone

30th July

I gave Ron a nice groom and then a little lunge to see where the land lay with him, he wasn’t at all lame being led in but I’m not great at being able to trot him up and see him at the same time lol. Lunging isn’t ideal as it’s a tight circle but at least it would let me see. Anyway, lunged him in walk and he was fine so let him pop into trot and he was a little bit stiff but not what I’d call lame, just stiff. I figured that made sense with the fact that the assumption was a muscular thing so I was happy with that.

Then I decided to school Sunny again, just in the field this time. He warmed up and lengthened his stride a lot more quickly than the last time and did some nice work. I didn’t do anything too difficult, just wanted to have a ride that ended on my say so after his escapades for the last ride. Not a massive about to say about it but he worked pretty nicely.