Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Still sick, no riding except in my dreams

Last night I had a dream that I was taking Gwyn on a trail ride for the first time with my new saddle (it arrives the 7th!) We were doing really well going off alone and even in the dream I was excited for the miles it was going to net me for the distance derby. Well, we're off alone and go to cross a road, which we do without any incident. The road was curved so in my dream I was worried about cars coming around too quickly and not seeing us crossing. We get to the other side where I see 3 black bears and 3 grizzlies, some of whom have trekking gear attached to them like pack ponies. At this point I'm not really questioning what I'm seeing, it's just, "oh, okay, stay away from the bears". I tried urging Gwyn up the trail and past the bears but she was having none of it. So Gwyn, of course, freaks out and heads back across the road. At the same time, the bears are coming closer and I shouted to three hikers to watch out, since they hadn't seen the bears. Across the road another group catches up behind us and stops short because the bears are coming closer. Now you can see one even has a western saddle. Gwyn is nervous and spooks and I realized that my saddle was slipping off and my phone had fallen out of my pocket. I hop off to fix the saddle and try reattaching the girth but it's not fitting right. That's when I see that there are TWO girths attached to the saddle, duh, that's the problem. Also one of the billet straps ripped (Uhhh, new saddle!!! Noo!). I fix the girth and reattach it and as I go to get back on Gwyn my dream ended. Even in my dreams, I ride!

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Tuesday after a windstorm

On Tuesday, my daughter and husband were both home sick so I went and did my tuesday thing anyway. They watched a ton of Magic School Bus, so I think they had a great time. It was nice to not be under a time crunch. I started by lunging Gwyn, then since it was a gorgeous day, immediately set out on the path around the barn property. I was stopped by George Sr. and warned that the shelter had finally completely collapsed in the most recent windstorm over the weekend and he doubted that I would be able to make it all the way around. He hadn't been out to check yet, so I promised I'd take pictures for him. 

The sun was shining and it was pleasantly warm.

The path was definitely blocked. Gwyn had no issues approaching it and didn't seem at all concerned by the change in state. 

We turned around and back tracked.

Then came back the other side. It was a nap in the sun kind of day.

We approached from the other side of the blockage, effectively doing 2 circuits around the perimeter!

Then Gwyn and I braved the roads and explored the cul de sac. She did a really good job, no spooking. She was on alert, but I didn't feel like we were going to have a bad reaction at any point. 

Proud mare face.

And have some expressive Gwyn nose twitching. Sorry for the vertical video, it seemed like a good way to include everything I wanted.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Thursday and Friday Barn trips

Thursday I got out to the barn and went out on the trails again. I'm getting more brave about riding out bareback as we continue to have good rides. On my second lap it started to rain so I was just "UGH" because it was cold rain and I didn't have a jacket on. But then when I'd already decided to be done after the second lap it stopped raining, I decided to be REALLY brave and venture off property along the road that the barn entrance is off of.  It's fairly quiet, especially mid morning on a work day and that was the most 'up' that Gwyn was the whole ride. She did really well, and we only went to the end of the road and not all the way into the cul de sac since I was worried the trash trucks would be making an appearance. As a result of that detour, I still got in a decent length ride for my time!

On friday morning I had already sent Kaylee off to be at drop in daycare and I had time before my afternoon engagement, so I decided to do a quick lunging session and do some basic jumping exercises. Gwyn did really well until I tried to video it, and then she was just a fumbler. Grrr pony. In the end I did get a video of how she just... prefers to trot over things. 

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Groundwork Clinic

Tonight was one of a series of groundwork clinics that are held weekly in the evenings at my barn. We started with the basics and have been applying those basics to more and more things! These clinics have helped me finally get lateral movement under saddle from Gwyn and are just plain fun!

Tonight we worked on trail obstacles. These are more similar to things you could actually find on a trail ride, modified to be portable into an arena. There were two bridges, a rope gate, mailbox, plywood 'pit' and Gwyn log (so named because Gwyn is well known for not liking to side pass and that's what we were supposed to do at this log without stepping OVER the log)

This is one of the babies at the barn, Annie. We were being regaled about how a pitchfork's tines somehow found its way into her bum after she kicked Dani.

Gwyn watched very carefully while we went reviewed all of the obstacles that were set up.

One bridge, with Ira (colt) and Dani (human)


Talking about the second bridge and how it might be different and still scary despite us all conquering the first.

Gwyn selfie. She wanted to eat my phone tonight. She also wanted to eat my mint gum.

Snozz face.

No fear. In fact, the mailbox became a toy.

Then we moved to riding and doing the obstacles mounted. The gate was the hardest thing for everyone. 

Ira and Dani again near the plywood 'pit' with bonus Monet lunging out of frame

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Sunny and foggy trail ride! 2.32 miles

Yesterday was crazy enough I didn't have time to sit down in front of my computer to blog my ride. We've been having crazy foggy/sunny weather out here lately. When I get to ride it's usually high 30s low 40s and warm when the sun burns away the fog. Yesterday was great. I ride in the mornings, which means it's cooler but riding out in the sunshine was so pleasant!

Gwyn was almost lazy when I lunged her, which gave me hope for barebacking it around the property. After I fell off from a spook in late September while on the trail I've been hesitant to go out bareback. Call it old age. But Gwyn's attitude seemed encouraging!

Lazy pony walk

Long and low trot!

 So after riding her once around the indoor out we went!  The fog was still hanging around and parts of the property were still in shadow (and cold!) because it was morning.

The 'trail course' is on the right.

We looped around the barn to start and then headed out for a counter clockwise loop. I even got pictures of the scary tipped over run in shelter.
See? Tipped over.

Gwyn was relaxed and happy the whole time. Her shoes were back on so I wasn't worried about the rocky portion of the trail.  Off to the right is a neighbor's backyard.

Another view of tipped over shelter.

We were approaching the tipped over shelter of doom from the opposite direction this time and I wondered how Gwyn would handle it.
Still happy ears.

Getting closer! You can see the cement still on the posts. It just got ripped out of the ground by wind.

A properly upright shelter

Final third shelter.

I'm not sure how this picture got instagram'd

Neighbors to the north. Sometimes I see deer in this field. There are also some inquisitive horses.

Third shelter! And close to the yard of random doom that Gwyn always snorts at.

Fog back on the barn

Callie just laying down. The horses were enjoying the sun.

We did three loops, alternating the direction with an occasional circle of the barn. Minimal trotting and Gwyn was totally relaxed and happy the whole time. I think she just enjoyed being outside and not riding in the arena, which I totally understand. I wanted to be outside too.

Apparently, she was quite put out when her pasture buddy, Callie, walked past her when they did turn out. Gwyn stays in on the days that I come out because I get there so early in the morning it doesn't make sense to turn her out for 30 minutes at most. Have I mentioned I love my barn? George claims it's less work for him, I'm just thankful he remembers.

Friday, January 9, 2015

Farrier Day!

The farrier came out this morning to trim Gwyn's feet and fix the shoe she lost. She's fully shod again (fronts only) and her hind feet look GREAT! Her biotin supplement has really made a difference.  Kaylee came with me and requested a ride, so we helmeted up and walked around the indoor arena. Gwyn is such a careful girl with my kid. 
Big grins on the big horse.

Apparently, psychopaths take lots of selfies. TIL

Pretty girls.

Pretty new toes and helping to clean the barn aisle. This time we're going with bell boots for turnout.

Kaylee tries hay too.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

January 8th Ride

I had another ride today with better success using Endomondo. The gps doesn't work well in the indoor arena and thankfully the weather allowed me to go outside. I had taken my bareback pad home to wash and forgot it (Doh!) but I had standing permission to borrow a saddle, so I decided to do that today.

Gwyn was feeling fresh today, so it's probably good that I used a saddle. It was also pretty cold so I used my quarter sheet while I lunged her.
Lookin' fancy!

It quickly became apparent that she was likely warmed up enough to not need the quarter sheet, so that came off while I finished lunging. Then I hopped on for some quick schooling in the arena. Since I had the saddle I wanted to work on canter departs, which weren't -great- but we haven't worked on them under saddle in months.

Very concerned about something across the street

Then it was off and out the arena! The farrier is scheduled for tomorrow so she was still missing a shoe on her front, which meant that I didn't feel comfortable doing too much outside but Gwyn seemed pretty relaxed and happy to be out of the indoor.  We started with a circuit of the drive around the barn itself.
Best view.

Very foggy.

Then I moved onto the grassy area. I wasn't sure how muddy it was going to be. All we did out here was walk, to be safe.
Down the corridor of resting paddocks. They're used in the summer. Reason Gajillion I love my barn, they rotate pasture!

She was feeling pretty calm and relaxed, and the mud wasn't terrible, so I decided to do the outer circuit path, which is 2/3 of a mile. That would give us some good distance compared to tuesday without being too hard on her shoeless foot.
The path runs along the road, with a fence in between, then turns in and toward the back of the property. Lots of blackberries in the summer and a great place to hand gallop.

We encountered some spooky trail obstacles including the "yard of random doom debris", a tipped over shelter (thank you, wind storm damage) and a lake crossing.  The back three pastures each have a run in shelter. One of them was lifted clear out of the ground and tipped onto its back. I should get pictures, it's crazy. You can see the concrete on the ends of the posts. It blocks a majority of the path and the approach we took puts a bush in the way so it looks like you can't get by. Plus, sheet metal in a new position can be scary. Gwyn was a big, brave Goober and slowly approached it, getting lots of praise and scritches for each forward step. She was snorty and nervous, but trusted me. I was SO PROUD.

Then we immediately encountered flooding across the path which required her to walk through water. If given the option of a puddle, Gwyn steps around it. This, there was no going around. She nosed the water, made a face, then walked through. Good girl! Great practice for cross country! We ended with a walk past the winter paddocks and around the barn once more before calling it a day since I had to get off to go pick up my kid from preschool. Plus I was getting cold.
Thirsty mare. She always gets a drink.

And for fun. Gwyn being ridiculous. She did settle down and focus and it wasn't the quarter sheet that caused the snorts and tail flagging.