Tuesday, April 23, 2013

"I'm Not Dead Yet!"

Hi there! No I haven't dropped off the face of the earth :-) it's just been one of those weeks. I promise more posts are coming!

This is pretty much how I've felt all week...

Monday, April 15, 2013

New Pictures!

Friday Alex and I were back at work after two days off.  I decided to lunge him, since the temperatures had dipped and I hadn't worked him in two days.  He was very good on the lunge line, so much so that I probably could have just gotten on and ridden, but better safe than sorry.  We had interesting things going on around us, we had lost power in part of the farm, so there were trucks and workers climbing poles checking everything out.  Alex was really good, he was so calm, yet forward and light... it was wonderful.  Then I got really brave and decided to venture outside the arena.  He very quietly let me push the gate open and walked out into the grass around the arena.  I think Alex was a little confused.  He tried to stop a few times when I asked him to move forward, I thought he might be contemplating a buck, so I booted him forward into a trot to show him I meant business.  Finally he got over himself and walked calmly back to the barn.

Spring Sunset at the Farm

Saturday was a beautiful sunny windy day.  Alex started out working really well, then he saw some people walking down by the lake and just absolutely could NOT stop looking at them!  After several minutes I finally got his attention back and we managed some really nice flat-work, even our first
leg-yield at the trot!   Afterward we ventured out around the arena again and this time he was a little more brave :-)

The most exciting outcome of Saturday is that I finally have new PICTURES!  Huge thanks to my friend S, who graciously came out to watch me ride and snap some new shots for us.  They are all (sorry I'm excited so there are lots) posted below.


Staring at the "people of the lake"




Love him!

Good Boy!
Sunday I finally put the cross-rail exercise up in the outdoor for the first time.  Alex had another really stellar flat session and he followed it up by jumping really well.  He didn't even think about the jump, just went about his business.  I was feeling so confident, I decided we'd venture out a little further from the arena on our "mini hack".  He was cautious, but mostly curious ( other than this weekend, we've done NO hacking, walking around the farm at all since he arrived), walked where I asked and back to the barn with no fuss.  It was a really stellar three days of riding if I do say so myself!
Tonight Alex had a well-deserved day of rest, plus it's my birthday, so I elected to go out for a celebratory dinner :-)
Happy Tax Day!  Hope everyone gets a nice return with which to do some horse related shopping.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Uber Busy

I'm so behind on my blog!  It has been an uber busy week, but that doesn't mean I haven't been riding, it just means I haven't had any time to write about it :-)

Sunday was a beautiful day out at the farm, so although I still haven't dragged any jumps outside, I decided we'd work outside again.  Alex was awesome, his baby flat-work is much improved from where we were when the abscess and winter arrived.  I actually thought about that a lot as I was riding around, since it was windy and there were a few distractions lurking.  Last fall I didn't know Alex and didn't really have a handle on his quirks.  Now a little wind, other horses and mostly his bouncing around don't really bother me.  We've come a long way already!

Alejandro Himself

Tuesday we had another good ride outside and my mom came to watch/give pointers.  I've been told I need to do more circles, spiraling in and out especially at the canter, doing more leg-yields and shoulder-in at the walk working toward it at the trot.  So now I have a to do list.

Tomorrow we'll be back to work, and since I finally dragged some jumps out yesterday, we can start working grids outside.  So exciting!

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Spring is here!

Alex and I have have a really great week.  Tuesday we did more flat work which was much improved.  I think I've been neglecting his flat work a little bit while I've been on this mission to fix the jumping issues.  We also did a more of the cross-rail w/extra trot poles gymnastic and after a few initial rushes, he was fantastic! 

Wednesday Alex had a well deserved day off, but we were back to work on Thursday... and with company.  My barn buddy, and fellow OTTB owner, E's horse James was back from training and the weather was nice so we decided to ride together outside.  Alex has only been ridden outside once since the start of his abscesses last October, he's barely been ridden in the arena with another horse and he'd had Wednesday off.  I decided to just get in the saddle and see what happened.  If we were to have a rodeo, so be it.  Things didn't start out well, while I was making an adjustment to my saddle, Alex had a girthy moment, got irritated and kicked me in my right thigh.  It was a light kick, if there is such a thing, reflexive and unintentional, but it did hurt.  There wasn't any time to focus on that, I finished tightening the girth and got in the saddle. 

The ride actually wasn't bad.  Alex was concerned with where James was, what he was doing, but behaved pretty well.  Initially he did try to bully me with his usual tactics, head shakes, hops and bucks, but then settled down.  Alex thought that when James was cantering or trotting he should too.  After some quiet flat work, I decided to call it a day.  This was a VAST improvement from the last time I was riding him in the arena with another horse and he tried to turn himself inside out.

Thursday we were on our own and although I was tempted to ride inside where the jumps are, it was just too darn nice outside.  Alex was a rock star.  Lovely quiet flat work.  Even a little leg-yield and shoulder-in at the walk!  I think he is thrilled to be back outside again and as long as the weather looks to stay consistently warmer it looks like I'm going to need to move the jumps outside. 

Not gonna lie...I'm kinda in love with my horse right now :-)  I don't have any recent riding pics of us, so the pictures below are actually from last fall, but I like them, I haven't posted them on here yet and this is pretty much how I felt about last night too.

Good Boy!
 Today was absolutely beautiful, perfect for riding, but the hubby and I had already made plans to go watch the ponies run at Keeneland, so Alex had the day to himself.  I hope he took a sun bath, because I sure did and now I'm a bit sunburned. First sunburn of the year means Spring is here!

Monday, April 1, 2013

Forward to Progress

It seems I have some catching up to do.  Totally intended to do another post on Saturday, but well... we all see how that went :-)
Saturday morning I went out to the farm earlier than usual since we were leaving town for the afternoon and evening.  We had some MAJOR fog going on when I left the house and it continued all the way to the farm.  This is what encountered when I went out to catch Alex for our ride.
There's an Alex in there somewhere!
"Who me?  You want me?"
"Ain't nobody got time for that..."
"Ok fine... I see you come bearing gifts."
The fog wasn't much of an issue for our ride, since we're still using the indoor.  I decided to just work him on the flat, since I had a schedule to keep and didn't have time to be dragging jumps around.  Alex started out well both on the lunge and in the saddle.  The ride wasn't bad... he didn't do anything bad he just wanted to battle.  He really wanted to fight the bit and started throwing his head around to resist.  I knew I had to win the battle because otherwise he'd think this was acceptable behavior.  That damn smart horse... every time I'd get somewhere and be about to be finished, he'd go back and do something else I had fix.  By the time we got done, both of us were sweating and puffing.  Of course this meant he'd need a bath... there went my schedule, right out the window.  Such is life with horses.
Alex had his usual day of leisure on Sunday, although he did get a bath because he'd been naked for two days and turned into pig pen.  Today I got out to the farm early since I'd left work to go to the dentist.  I set the cross-rail with the extra trot poles on the other side of the arena.  His flat work was SO much better other than a few little spooks and he did really well over the little gymnastic, so I was very pleased. 
They say patience is a virtue and man is that ever true with my horse.  You can't get impatient or frustrated.  You just have to keep the horse moving forward and work out the kinks.
Tomorrow will probably be more of the same and then I'm hoping to get back to our two jump grid by the end of the week.