Sunday, December 13, 2009

The Sky is Falling




OK, I already know what one of my New Year's Resolutions is going to be. I'll give you guess...it has something to do with my blog...apologies for my randomness. 2010 I'm going to be a blogging suparstar! I finally bought a new fire wire cable and was able to upload B's final Training 4 test. If you're looking for a fun distraction from work, here ya go!



B survived his first snow falling off the roof experience. I should correct that. I survived B's first snow falling off the roof experience. Even more impressive. ;0)

I think it took all us Northern Virginianers by surprise when we ended up with six inches of snow the first weekend in December. Say what? I know, right? I've been down here almost 5 years and I have become accustomed to the sprint to the grocery store the minute we hear the word snow and the inevitable morning after of green, green grass staring back. Imagine my surprise, when I pulled back the curtain at 8 am and couldn't see my deck. Twilight zone.

It was just my luck that the snow would make the roof of the indoor arena home until 5:43 pm last Monday, two minutes before my lesson. I longed B as usual. By the way, now I only have to walk him on the longe before getting on, that's some serious progress. Anyone who has been following this adventure for awhile knows that B and I are still working on the kinks of him being cold backed at times. Cold backed meaning I get on and he says, Holy Mother of God what is on my back?? I'd better start bucking right now!! We've been able to successfully avoid that situation for many months now and I'd like to keep it that way, hence the weaning. The new step will be just walking him around the arena. I'd better be packing mints. Oy yoi yoi, I'll keep you posted on that one.

Ok, so the first batch of snow fell while I was longeing B. He jumped a little, but not too bad. Of course, literally 5 minutes after I'd put my foot in the stirrup half the bloody roof fell down. At least it felt like that. In two strides B was from the right side of the arena to the left. B's ears were in my face as the snow continued to fall. Watching the chunks in horror B was so scared he started to shake. At this point, myself (yes, still in the saddle thank the baby jesus), my coach and the other gal in the ring are chanting "It's OK B, it's OK" knowing full well that it's not really OK, the roof does sound like it's going to collapse. The next 45 minutes of my lesson consisted of a whole lot of sitting trot. The snow keep falling and B was worried, but at least I could comfort him to the point of accomplishing some decent trot work. A friend of mine was watching this exercise in survival and listened as my coach said, "It' s up to you if you want to work the canter," at which one my friend replied, "Oh she gets a choice?" My immediate reply? "When your horse is over 18 hands you get the choice." Point well taken. There would be no canter that night.

All in all I was actually really pleased with B's behavior. He very well could have said, I think I'm going to die,I'm out of here, but instead he said, I'm pretty sure I'm going to die, are you with me mom? When I replied, you'll be fine that whole trust thing kicked in, in my humble opinion this moment separates the men from the boys.

Don't you just love those rides were your heart jumps into your throat over and over again? Me neither, but such is life with a baby. Alas I stayed in the saddle and B learned that the sky didn't actually fall. Don't tell him, but there were a couple moments when I was sure that chicken little wasn't lying after all.




Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Two Years and Counting




On November 30, Belotti and I will celebrate our 2 year anniversary. Awwww. I know, right? As the flashback goes, it feels like only yesterday that I walked off the plane into chilly Milwaukee, Wisconsin, into the barn that held the other half of my heart (my husband shotgunned the first half two years ago). For a nostalgic dip, I decided to make a video photo montage of his first year under saddle.

It's heartwarming to think that just over a year ago, B timidly walked up to the stall door when I'd arrive and now the moment he hears my voice he nickers with ears perked. As you guys know, there's nothing better than that. :0)

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Exit Stage Left





Beamer has been very busy these last few months, but now things are starting to settle down. Whew! We had two more licensed shows, which rounded out our season quite nicely.




Foxcroft was in April and the first day's weather was nothing short of miserable: Windy and rainy. The warm up was on grass and the bluestone ring was a swamp. As we approached the ring I had that moment of, he can either say I'm not sure about this Mom, but OK, or the dreaded hell no! Thankfully, B was true to his character and put his faith in his mother. B gave his best impression of a Saddlebred for the first half then settled into the splashing. The only thing that wasn't happening was the stretchy circle. Can't really blame him there. One splash and he could lose an eye. For our second test we were even luckier and it was full on raining. Oy vay. B once again pulled through. We even managed a 65+%. Wa hoo!





The weather at the Morven Park show in September was slightly better...at least it wasn't raining. B was a trooper as he chugged around the ring like a veteran. Sunday the sun came out. Wa hoo! We rode Training Level 4 test as this was our last chance to qualify for the regional championships. B felt very together and the test felt pretty darn harmonious. We managed to pull off a 74.4% and first place! Woot! Not too shabby for a 4-year-old's first year out. Yahhh B!! That was our second qualifying score. As a professional, I had to obtain two scores over 68% while Amateur's need 62%, just a tad difference. ha.





Once I qualified, the question was, do I really want to drive all the way to Lexington again this year? Hmm....I was so undecided that I even asked for input on my facebook page. After much debate I decided to end things on a high note and exit stage left. B is still a youngster and I want to make sure he enjoys the journey as much as I. Til next year show ring!








Sunday, August 2, 2009

Teenage Angst turned Teenage Stardom




First off, GIANT apology for my blog-slacking especially when I have so much news.

B survived at his first overnite dressage show in Lexington, VA. Yahhh, B! I packed everything up on a Thursday morning and my husband, Teddy dawg and I headed up to the big show grounds with Beeburr in tow. When we arrived after our 3-hour trek I was extremely happy to see that not only was B bone dry, he had eaten almost all of his hay along way. Always a relief for an overprotective pony mother.

We found what we would call home for the next four days. When B walked off the trailer he stood and stared at the grounds for a good 5 minutes. Thankfully, at no point did I see the crazy eyes. Whew. After having a rather "enthusiastic" mare in my previous show life it was a big relief to see his reaction was that of curiosity rather than intense, I'm going to kill you in your sleep, fear.

A couple friends from the barn had already arrived, so that was a comforting surprise for both B and I. We placed B in his concrete palace while we unloaded everything. I threw him a flake of hay and after looking around the stall and being somewhat fascinated by the little black horses bouncing up and down across the way, he began happily munching. Praise the baby Jesus.

The previous two weeks I had worked 12 hour days to make up the time for Lexington, which meant being up at 4am and home at 8pm (after riding) so my body decided that waking up 6am on the show travel day was just not happening. Hence, we arrived much later than I had planned. I was finally tacked up and ready to go around 7pm. We were riding in four different rings over the next three days, which meant I had to ride in all of them that night. Good times.



We started in ring 8, which was indoors. We wandered into the ring right as couple of tween riders being directed to fly around the ring as fast as they could. OK, so maybe they weren't being told exactly that by their trainers, but that's what it looked like. Have you ever ridden in a dressage warm-up ring with tween riders? Think Twilight on horse back. I swear they are out for blood. I quickly discovered it is not so easy to make a quick turn on an 18.2 hand, 12 foot long, 4-year-old Oldenburg. Actually, it's down right impossible. All I kept thinking was this little girl on her warp-speed pony was going medium canter right under my horse. In between this there were of course random Dressage Queens of varying ages, shapes and sizes. How was B taking all of this commotion? I think he found it rather amusing. He certainly has gained some serious confidence. At our first "pretend" show in March he would tuck his bum in when horses passed and scoot away. Now, not so much. Another tween came right up behind us on her belgian cross (?) and B kicked. Did I get mad at B for this behavior? No. Frankly, I was getting annoyed with everyone coming to close and trying to pass right on right. Secretly I said good boy. Does that make me a bad person? Probably not, right? Does the fact that I wished he had drawn blood make me a bad person? OK, I'll give you that one. ha ha. I'm kidding I swear....

The next day we were showing in Materiale and Suitability in the coliseum so that was a big one on the list. I'd heard many a horror story of horses freaking out when they go into the coliseum so I was fully prepared for some antics. Nope. Not B. The only thing B didn't like were the giant blue garbage cans he had to pass before entering the ring. I didn't like them either. So there. We walked, trotted and cantered around there like he's been there his whole life. Yahhh B!

Our last stop was the ring on the mountain. Seriously, a mountain. To this day, I barely know how we, and the other 500 horses, made it up and down without rolling over. B was pretty cool with this ring too.

I finished the evening up with some purty braids and tucked my boy into bed.

I'll just give you some of the highlights because if you read my blog regularly you know that even the highlights mean this entry will probably go on for another four pages. ha...sorry



Friday: Show day. Dun dun dahhh!!! I was sooooo psyched because my coach decided to make the long haul up to Lexington to help myself and the other five or so students she had showing that day. Materiale and Suitability were our challenges today. B was super, uper, duper UP in the warm up. For the first time since probably the initial canter I did on B many months ago I was a little nervous to even canter. I sucked it up and asked him to roll and roll he did. We went in the coliseum and rocked the house. Yeee Yahhh! We ended up a really close second—71.7 percent pour moi and 72.2 for the winner—out of eight horses. It was a super long class too. It lasted about 35 minutes. After about the fourth lap in the canter I decided to let B fly. I figured if he's cantered this long it's the least of a reward I can give him while in the ring. He bounded around that ring like he was on a pogo stick. It was really fun. As for suitability, we missed the class...it's a long story. I was just happy he was such a star in Materiale. Check on the video on the right by the way.



The rest of Friday we relaxed and cheered on our friends.

Saturday we had Training 3 and Training 4 to tackle. Training 3 was early in the morning on the mountain. B and I warmed up beside the ring with about 50 other riders and horses of all ages and levels. To be honest, B just wasn't with me...at all. He felt like a firecracker ready to explode. All that sense and sensibility had been drained out of his body and he was ready to be a 4-year-old. I dug in as best I could and practiced our w/t/c and figures but as I walked over to the ring I knew he wasn't really paying attention to me. The buck just outside the ring after the judge ring bell said it all. Hang on to your hats kids it's going to be a wild ride. We made it through the first trot and canter tour without too many fireworks, but then came the left canter tour that starts right in front of the judge. Well, we made an impression. 18 hands of fury leapt into the air landing on the wrong lead. OK, OK we can recover, right? I brought him back and asked again. B jumped even higher into the air this time but at least we got the correct lead. We continued on our merry way with the pattern ending at our halt salute. The judge was at least smiling. Nothing is worse than when your horse asks like a total brat and the judge gives you that stern look like teachers used to give you in class when you misbehaved. She seemed pretty psyched that I stayed on...ya, me too. Needless to say I was holy disappointed and my score reflected this feeling. I didn't actual check my score until after my next test, which turned out to be a really good thing.



So, the second test. That was it. It was on. I figured if B had enough energy to leap all over the ring like an F'in gymnyst then he had enough energy to work. My motto, you wanna dane? Oh, we'll dance. I channeled all of this disappointment and frustration into productive serious riding. Our warm up for our Training 4 test was a battle of wills. B was throughly convinced that his role in this new venue was to play and show off to all his new friends. B was not stressed—at all. He thought this was fun to do whatever he wanted when he wanted. I felt like I was dealing with a 16-year-old girl who was convinced she knew everything about life and was going to go out and party with her 20-year-old boyfriend because he's cool. Time to lock the door and throw away the key. B and I had a non-verbal discussion for about 15 minutes. Every muscle in my core burned by the end of it. He finally figured out after a whole lot of firm, non-allowing aids that play time was over. We finished our warm up in the covered arena as it was getting rather steamy. I finally felt he was actually with me. We went in the show ring and did what we came there to do-rocked. B was the star I knew he could be if he was properly motivated (ha). Once again, a frustrated parent seeing a child with a wealth of potential wasting it on some useless distraction. The result? 71.2%. Aaaahhhh yaaaaaa. That's the pony I know and love.

Sunday we rode the 4-year-old test and it was a non-event. B was rock solid, but he was tired and it showed. Our score wasn't great, but it could have been awful and I wouldn't have cared. B and I had already far surpassed our initial goal of our first licensed show—be sane, happy and smile along the way. Layer an over 70% score and I'm down right bubbly.



Since the show, B and I have been living on the trails. His walk has already started getting more free in the shoulders and he's mighty perky when I arrive. We even had a little crow-hopping episode in the field while I we were cantering, as I wasn't able to get him to slow down before we started going downhill, but guess what?I didn't bite it!! I was able to get his head up and he stopped. That's probably the biggest accomplishment of them all.


We started work on our flying changes last lesson, so that was a blast. Just testing the waters and it seems they are just about the perfect.

Every day I watch B grow a few more brain cells and I'm amazed as I see my little guy growing up. Then a bunny runs by on the trail and B leaps out of his skin and I'm reminded maybe he's not so grown up after all. ;0)




Monday, June 29, 2009

Beware the White Poodle


**New video to your right. Check it out!

Well, we survived our first licensed show. I might even venture to say we thrived, once we got past the white standard poodle that is. Every show has to have its obstacles, right? We arrived at the show around 7:30am, about a half an hour later than I was hoping. Now that we have a dog it takes extra time to finally get going in the morning. Meh. Thankfully, B cooperated pretty well in the loading process or we may not have even had the opportunity to test the recognized show waters. You never know with babies....


Anyway, once we escaped the clutches of the standard poodle we began our wander down to the outdoor warm-up ring. K, so what's the story with the poodle? I was hand walking B with his longeing gear on when he stopped dead, his eyes bugged out of his head and he snorted. You'd think I just threw him into a Lion's den. He seriously lost it. If I wasn't so rushed for time I probably would've laughed. Instead I secretly cursed the man with the poodle. We were able to get out of that situation without making too much of a scene. Just one leap backwards. One thing about having a horse that's 18 plus hands is one leap backward is enough to get the attention of quite a crowd of people.


The next obstacle in our gauntlet known as a breed show was a barely there yearling. Oh ya, super fun. This baby was leaping in the air and generally having a pretty fantastic time torturing his 12-year-old handler. All I needed was the 12-year-old to be handling the lion-poodle and I would have had a real show on my hands. We braved past the baby, baby and luckily the warm-up had a soothing feeling with only one other horse.


When I put B on the longe, I told myself, whatever tension you have in your system let it go, now. Right now. I knew that B would feed off any nerves, tension or hesitation I reserved. Right there, I let it go. He longed fantastically. Super stretchy, soft and loose. I hoped on and he felt even better. Before I knew it, we were called to the big indoor ring.


My ever-supportive and ever-adorable husband loaded all my stuff up and walked with me to our licensed debut. He is a self-proclaimed horse show pack mule. I highly recommend everyone get one.


As I entered the ring, I realized that all of these people had been in the ring warming up. Ya, didn't quite know that you could warm up in the actual show ring. Oops. There were banners, people walking around on the metal stands, crowds at every end, flash photography, videography and many other distractions. How was Mr. B? Absolutely rock solid. He glanced at the banners and perked his ears at the people, but he remained super awesome soft, loose and forward.


The challenge came when every other horse in my class was tiny. By tiny I mean under 17 hands. ha ha. Is that my bias speaking? We ended up playing the passing game for most of the class. My biggest question about riding him in a flat class was how would he be with a bunch of other horses cantering around him? How was Mr. B? Awesome. We even passed people, circled, turned in and out and he never even questioned my requests. Near the end of the class, the judge asked for a stretchy circle and B was so loose and soft already that he stretched down and out, lifting his back like dressage riders often only dream about.


The results? Third. Not great, but the judge commented that it was really close and we had the best stretchy circle by far. My real satisfaction came as I watched the video and saw this fabulously happy, soft, loose, 100% correctly trained horse that I was lucky enough to ride.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Priceless Perspective


We had our second horse show on June 14th and I'm happy to report that B was cool as a cucumber. Within a few minutes of being off-loaded he was happily munching grass and enjoying the warm, breezy summer air. We arrived just before lunch time so he a chance to hand walk around the ring. I even ran beside him straight up centerline and didn't pass out immediately following. It's like running beside a smart car, only faster and more powerful. There were a couple other youngsters in the ring that weren't as well behaved as B (wow, can you believe I just said that about my 4-year-old? ha), but it was yet another good experience for him to learn that just because one horse spazzes out doesn't mean he must spazz out. Good pony.

My trainer was able to make it for our first test and she made sure there was no slacking in the warm-up. Unfortunately, the transfer from the firm footing of the indoor arena to the deep sand in the outdoor would quickly proved too much for my baby cake. The moment B stepped from the grass into the big arena it felt like we were battling quicksand. During the test, he would relax and soften into my hand only to then trip. Poor B. Although, much sympathy was lost during the first canter tour when he broke. I was so unaccustomed to this behavior that I barely knew how to react. He lost the canter near our transition point so I decided just to ride it out. I thought it must have been a freak incident, so I wasn't worried about the second canter transition. Ask and you shall receive, right? Ya...not so much. I brought my leg back to politely ask for the canter. Nothing. I squeezed with both legs. Nothing. Mind you, we are now about halfway down the long wall when we are supposed to circle at A-abort mission. I decided to take the -2 and fix this problem. I asked a second time and he picked it up. Oy vay. All I could think was, ah geeze, here my coach has made a special effort to come see me and it's a bloody disaster. We saluted and left the ring with a smile, but I wasn't quite sure what to make of it.
I met my coach at the other end. I immediately said, well that was a disaster. And, here's a perfect example of why everyone should have a quality, experienced coach. Her response? Not really. Arrrrhh? She said, he simply had difficulty with the deep footing. He's just 4 and 18 plus hands. He needs to build strength. The real relief came when she said that my decision to throw in the circle was the best decision I could've made at that moment. Whew. She reminded me, it's a schooling show. You're here to school. Awww perspective. I later watched the video and realized it didn't look half as bad as it felt. Once again, whew! We walked away with a much deserved 58%. The judge's comment was what I'll take away from the test though, "Once he gains strength, he'll be a star!" I couldn't agree with you more Nancy. ;0)

Our second test was much improved as I knew what I was up against. Only one trip and no breaks. We has a little "discussion" during our initial trot around the ring that involved a couple half bucks in, but luckily I won that one. We rounded that test off with a 63.6% and a third place. Not too shabby considering.

We spent all this week riding outside, up and down hills and around the driveway when the footing was too wet. It's a fun time in his training. He knows his ABCs, now it's time to put them to use. Next Sunday is our first licensed show-Materiale and Suitability. Not much will change training wise this week. A lesson tomorrow then lots of hill work again.

What lesson did I learn in our latest adventures? You can't put a price on a great coach.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Really B?


I guess the first event of note is my latest tumble off my pony. Yes, again. I'm making up for a good four years of not falling off...I'm due. Last Thursday, I thought I'd try riding B without longeing him first. I've been gradually longeing him less and less and I haven't had a problem so why not right? Famous last words. The last time I rode B without longeing him first was at least eight or so months ago and it was the first time I fell of my munchkin. I took B into the arena, lined him up beside the mounting block and stepped into the saddle. We started walking and I thought to myself, what a nice forward walk. Red flag! Red flag! Ya, B was just picking up steam for his rodeo episode. He was on a long rein down to the buckle so it was over before it even started. The bucks were at least slower and having fallen off him the same way three times before I had lots of time to think. I literally thought, do I A) try to ride this through and possibly get thrown into the wall, which by the way was coming closer and closer, or, B) do I bail? Plan B it is. I tried to bail on about the third buck but he jumped toward the wall: Abort! Abort! The next buck I did my best to wait till his feet were on the ground to roll off. I landed on my butt and hopped back up to stop the mayhem. His eyes were as big as saucers. My pony was wiggin out. I stopped the mayhem but he was definitely scared. Fine. Back to the longe line. 

What did I learn from this episode? Ya, ya, ya, longe before I ride, but what I really became aware of was B's girthyness. B holds his breath on the cross ties when I do up his girth. Not in a I'm a 20 year-old school horse and I know better way, but as in a oh my god, oh my god, oh my god kind of way. I can barely get the girth up to the third hole on the cross ties and it goes up to six once he's worked. I think when I got on, he was still holding his breath, so the saddle felt ├╝bertight. This added with me on top equalled panic zone. Meh. We're just going to take it easy on the non-longeing thing, eventually weaning him off by walking him around a lot and moving the saddle on his back first. I haven't tried it yet, my butt needs time heal. Good news is I only had a bruise on my upper thigh and knee, but other than that I was no worse for wear. Whew!

I rode the next day and he still had the I'm scared look in his eye so we took it easy. By Friday we were out in the open field walk, trotting and cantering. I had my lesson on Monday and he was a good little solider. With youngsters I'm learning that you have to relish in the good and stomach the bad...and as my coach says, it doesn't hurt if you bounce well either.




Monday, May 25, 2009

Blue Ribbon Style


We survived our first horse show. Whew! We walked away with a blue ribbon and 68+% in our first ever dressage test. Yahhh B! We received 66% in our second test and third place. Yahhhh B! Sorry, is that getting annoying yet?So, B rocked it out in Training Level 1 and 2. Now, for the gritty details.

My ever-supportive husband and I arrived at the farm around 6:30am to get ready for the day's adventures. B was still out in the field after a long night of grazing, so we quickly brought him in for some last minute primping. Lucky for me he chose not to roll and was therefore as shiny as I had left him the night before. Yahhh B! Ha ha...sorry...I digress. I gave us a solid 45 minutes to load, as this is not B's strong suit. Plus, I hadn't loaded him since our last outing in March. I was perfectly willing to accept his possible refusal, but, once again, lucky for me, B climbed on up within the alloted time. Off to the show! 

We arrived at the farm 15 minutes later ready to rock. Woot! We soon learned that the farm where we were showing was in a low lying area that 8 gazillion nats had made their home. Within the first minute, one flew in my ear. In my ear. After dropping the F-bomb one hundred times the little bugger flew out. Ok, ouch. Meanwhile, I was walking B around the show ring. He was uppity-up once in awhile, but overall he just wanted to make friends and graze. Longeing proved difficult as we had to attempt it on grass. Mission aborted. 

By the time I had given up on longeing I realized that it was 9:25am. We showed at 9:44am. Oops. We ended up doing some trot diagonals, a couple circles and one quick canter each way. By the end of that warm-up I was seriously wondering why I couldn't just be doing Intro. I heart walk/trot. Here goes nothing...

In classic first show style, B and I walked up to the judges box and the scribe shuffled a bunch of papers. Yee haw! To the middle of the ring in one swoop. The judge thankfully told the scribe to put her papers away. Awww 4 year olds. After a brief jaunt around the ring, the whistle blew. I'm not going to give you the complete blow by blow as I don't want to bore you completely to tears. In summary, it was a blast. :0) I have never had so much fun showing in my life. We boogied around that ring and I couldn't wipe the grin off my face. It was another "first ride on a pony" moment.

Our second test was more contained, so it felt better to me, but, as a result, wasn't as brilliant to the judge's eye. Fair enough. Our only snafu was when two people on dirt bikes decided to be a little bit evil and rev their engines right behind the ring (which was maybe 10 feet from the road). B jumped in the air, but then came right back to me. I definitely didn't blame him for that one.

Both of my tests are up on my you tube channel. You can access them on this page directly or go to my channel: youtube.com/jhmctaggart. The tests aren't exactly polished and perfect, but I think it was a delightful first outing. 

I can put a big check mark beside another rite of passage in this Baby's career. Yahhh B!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Unexpected Vacation


Ahhhh! It has been way too long since my last post. My apologies. I have decent excuses though. Just quickly, I went to Canada and it was fabulous-great weather and many long nights spent with friends and family. But, alas, I ended up catching the Flu on my journey. This bugger knocked me out for two days of my first week of work at a new job and out of riding B for five days. Five days..?! Can you believe that? So B pretty much enjoyed a two week vacation. He looked so sad when I was finally able to visit him on Sunday. Oh ya, and this past Saturday when I was finally feeling better I was bitten by some alien bug that landed me in the urgent care center. I'm now armed with an Epi pen and the knowledge that when your lips start swelling maybe you shouldn't ride that third horse. Whoops.

Anyway, I was able to take my weekly lesson on Monday but my other allergies began acting up. Here's my old lady tales of woe...I get fluid in my ears so bad it gives me vertigo. After not riding for five days nothing was stopping me. I warned my coach and she was sensible enough to remind me to take it easy and we only did walk/trot work. B was a fabulous little solider as he carted his discheveld mother around the ring. Guess what? We're going in a show this weekend. ha ha...ya seriously. It's only a schooling show and even if we have to scratch our classes and just walk around I know it will be good for him.

I'm feeling much better and was able to get back into the normal routine tonight. It was lovely out and since I now get to the barn by 4pm we were able to workout outside. We were both a touch uncoordinated, which was probably cute to watch in a sad kind of way. he he. I took him out for a walk in the front field afterward and just enjoyed the ride. 

I think I have taught B a trick that hopefully will come in handy at horse shows. Remember one of my last posts where I talked about B having to pee really badly during the entire ride? Man, this is a sexy blog...ouch...meh. Ever since that day he has peed after every single ride before getting back into the barn. Today we were walking in the big field and he stopped and peed while I was on him. Of course he received uberpraise and a mint, as always. By george I think he's got it! If I ever doubted that I have a horse that wants nothing more in the world than to please this proves it. He even pees for praise. How adorably cute is that? I heart my pony. :0) 

Sunday, May 10, 2009

When Paper Attacks


I arrived past the Mason Dixon line around 4 pm on Friday. First stop? You guessed it-to see Mr.B! Armed with fresh stud muffins, 5 pounds of english mints and maple leaf embroidered polos, my husband and I walked around the corner to see B's sleepy face in the corner of his stall. "B!" He immediately nickered back. I gave him a molassasy muffin and all the "you neglected me for a week" bitterness melted away. Apart from a bit of mud he looked fantastic. The cut on his fetlock had healed up completely and he had his slight belly back. Yahhh B! Wearing flats and jeans I was not quite up to riding, but I gave him many guilt-ridden carrots, mints and apples.

After a long, but enjoyable, day of teaching at my other farm I was only able to muster up enough energy to groom B on Saturday. When you think of the square footage on a 18.2 hand horse it's practically like cleaning a studio apartment. With that, he once again received his bucket full of treats, a kiss on the nose and was tucked back into bed.

Sunday was our first ride post va-k. My trainer said he had been really good for his in-hand work during the week so that made me smile. As I brought him in from the field I knew he definitely needed to get back into his normal routine. I forgot to mention that yesterday while I was grooming him it was crazy windy. I had him on the cross-ties with the lead rope around his neck while blankets were rustling and dust flying. I thought, well we're going to be at a horse show one day and it's going to be crazy windy so he might as well get used to it, right? Wrong. ha. Actually, he did pretty well until this giant, horse-eating monster came to attack him. That was B's version. In reality, a fluorescent-green piece of paper escaped from whence it came and blew right toward B. I didn't notice until B's eyes grew as big as saucers. I tried the useless, whoa but he proceeded to back up at warp-speed and break the cross ties just to cower in the corner by his stall while the paper blew by. I heart babies. The rest of the grooming session was cross-tie less. He stood still all by himself in the whirling wind. Good pony.

Back to Sunday. B certainly had a quality "edge" on him. There was no lowering of the head on the cross-ties and the usual ear rub seemed only a nuisance to him today. Fine. He ended up being a pretty good solider in the arena although one end of the arena was totally off limits for the first 10 minutes. I did my best to use his excess of energy for good instead of evil. We did our usual exercises and had a soft, uphill canter at the end. Once back on the cross ties, B was back to his usual self: back leg cocked with sleepy eyes. 

Entries are due on Friday for our first schooling show, which happens on May 23. I'd better start memorizing my tests now...I've heard there's more than one circle in Intro B. ;0)

Monday, May 4, 2009

Back to the Mother Land


I have to get packing for my trip to Canada, but I wanted to write a quick note first. B was super fantastical at the Manolo clinic. I posted a short video of some of the highlights. You should be able to click on it to your right. I'll expand more when I get back from Canadeeeaaa. 

B will be in good hands, as my trainer will be keeping him in work. She promised to give him a couple extra carrots on Thursday. Why you ask? My little boy is turning 4. Awwwwwww. It seems like only yesterday that I saw his timid 2-year-old head peaking around the corner in Wisconsin. They grow up so fast. ;0)

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

The Rebellious Stage


B had his toes done this morning and unfortunately he was not a perfect gentlemen he usually is. I think it's official...my soon to be 4-year-old just turned teenager. He was better once we turned him in the direction where he could see the truck, but still not perfect. Even the farrier said B was copping an attitude, Today we're going to do it B's way. Yup, that is B's mantra lately. 

Our ride on Friday went pretty well. The first trot transition was interesting though. I put my legs on B and he thought he would try something that worked a couple weeks ago–he ducked his head between his front legs and lifted his croup. Bad pony! Luckily, my reins were short and within a mili-second his ears were in my face. He was certainly surprised...in a good way for me. The rest of the ride was fine. I kept my reins short and kept to my mantra for B- Yes Ma'am!

Today, B learned a valuable lesson: always pee before you start to work. I could tell on  the cross ties he had to go, so I put him in his stall. Of course, nothing. He just looked at me like, why am I in here and you're out there? I proceeded to tack him up, longe and ride him. His back end was super tight. I'm sure he would have kept his legs tightly crossed if he could. Being well aware of his discomfort I kept my reins short. ha. We did some shallow loops, leg yields and plenty of canter. Finally when I walked him down the driveway I got off hoping he would finally pee. I let him walk on the grass for a moment (don't tell my trainer...beatings) and he peed. He looked so relieved. After riding him on the gravel he was a touch tender, but he had a lot of hoof taken off this morning so it shouldn't be any reason for concern. I had the vet come out just in case and he prescribed some bute and light or no work for the next few days. I'll make sure to ride him on the soft rubber footing inside up until the clinic. 

Remember the gal I asked everyone to keep in their thoughts a couple weeks ago? She's back at the barn and looking great! You wouldn't even know she'd had an accident. Everyone is so excited to have her back, especially me! We were discussing the lesson she may have learned from all this and the best we could come up with was...I guess you need a new helmet. ha ha...We all have to be a little off our rockers but who can resist the allure of pony noses? 

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Aww, self-preservation


Whew! This week has just flown by and thankfully we're almost to the end of this rainy, nasty weather. I'm so ready for the 80 degree temps that are to slide in on Saturday. 

Well, B has been in boot camp this week. The goal: A little more "Yes ma'am!" and a little less, "Ahhh do I have to?" Mini-boot camp courtesy of yours truly can do wonders for any attitude...just ask some of my students. he he. 

During Beeburr's  first workouts, he definitely tried some croup lifting and ear pinning. He even threw in a couple, I dare you to rush me into the canter transition moments, but I was able to keep him thinking forward and uphill. Self-preservation can be a highly-effective motivator. 

We had our lesson today and my trainer said Beamer was much better in the contact. I must say it was quite amusing to watch her slowly walk over to the corner as she  told me to pick up the canter. I think she wanted to make sure she didn't get hit by any flying bodies. ha ha...nice...B was a good fella and we were even able to work on adjusting his tempo. The trot work was interesting, too, as we worked on counter leg yield steps on the long wall and on a circle, then placing his weight on his inner hind leg then the outer. All things that, as a fairly experienced rider, I often do naturally, but it was enlightening to hear it explained piece by piece. 

Next Friday, B will be making his clinic debut in front of Manolo Mendez. I have one simple goal for this outing, for B to be attitude free. I think it's something like asking a teenager to be attitude free. Meh. I'm all about wishful thinking!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Another One Bites the Dust


Our transition back into work went pretty smoothly...well, until half way through my lesson when he went rodeo bronco and I hit the dirt. Awww my butt meeting the mixture of rubber and sand, a familiar place during young horse training. It's been a good six months since our last session of rodeo bronco, so I guess you could say we were due. 

B was actually really good on Tuesday, which was his first ride post injury, although I should have known he was plotting something as his head kept going lower and lower in the trot. Rule number one: Never completely trust a young horse. It is your downfall every time. During the lesson he was planting himself in my hands and was never completely in front of my leg. Yup, hindsight is 20/20. He decided to let his opinion be known when I asked for the first canter transition. He bucked a couple times, I tried to bring him back, but then he planted his head between his knees. Game over. I saw the wall and knew that wasn't where I wanted to be. See ya. I landed in the cushy rubber and sand on my butt and rolled onto my back. Rule number two: There is progress in everything. Even though B dumped me, I was secretly proud of him that he actually noticed I was on the ground and decided to jump in the other direction instead of on top of me. That doesn't mean I gave him a big pat and a kiss on the nose, but I certainly appreciated the sentiment. The first two times B went rodeo style he left me in the dust and didn't even seem to notice. He just spaced out. This time he was just being a 4-year-old brat. Meh. I'll take that. I don't hold this one too much against him. He hadn't been consistently worked for a week and had limited turn out due to the weather. It doesn't mean it's OK, but I'm not taking it personally.

After a quality "forward" session with my trainer on the longe I jumped back on and reinforced the brakes and the gas. We walked, trotted and cantered and everything was fine. So...the lesson in all this? Buy a protective vest. Snarf.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Mr. B turned Mr. Boo Boo


I'd like to start this entry by asking everyone who reads about my young horse adventures to keep a friend of my'n in your thoughts for the next few days. I arrived at the barn today to take care of my pony, and my trainer explained that my good friend had to be airlifted away after her young horse took off at full speed in the field during a routine workout and proceeded to throw her into the fence post. Apparently she had some serious cuts on her face, but she was talking. Events like this are always a severe reality check at the dangers of what we do, especially with babies. I hope to hear an update tonight and y'all will be the first to know. Update: She has to have surgery, but she will be OK. Whew.

Now back to the Bman. I went out to the barn on Tuesday to meet the vet for his second set of spring shots and do our normal gym workout. It was chilly out, so I threw up my parka hood, which, yes, I bought in Canada and went to get the B. He was, of course, in the farthest corner of the field just hanging out with Lancer. After walking him through the grass I noticed a line of blood dripping from his left fetlock to his hoof. It wasn't swollen and B certainly hadn't taken any notice of it, so I figured those were good signs. On closer inspection, it was a pretty good gash. He even has managed to take the hair off the inside of his other hind leg, so I'm guessing he did it to himself with his shoe. Oh, B. The vet quickly gave B his spring shots before examining the cut. It's never fun when the vet says to you, "The only thing I'm worried about is if it went right down to the joint." Oy vay. Really? After B received some happy juice, the vet injected the joint on the other side with saline (? I think) to check if it came out of the cut. Talk about some tense moments. As B's head lay practically in my lap..mmm...drugs...I lost a few years off my life. Ok, maybe not a few years, but definitely three weeks to a month. Nothing came out. WHEW! "I think we may be lucky." That's a better line, thanks. The vet ended up putting in stitches and wrapping it. B is on antibiotics for the next 7 days and stall rest for probably the same amount of time. I have to give B props for good timing. At least he saved his mother a little bit of money...and a heart racing phone call.

The bandage came off for the first time today and I am super happy to report that all is well. :0) No swelling or lameness. One of those perks of having a young horse, at least this one, is that they heal well. Good pony! Beeburr is allowed to be hand walked, so we did the horse-approved kind of hand walking: grazing. He was very well mannered, especially after being in for two days. Even when another horse took off playing he just raised his head for a moment then went back to munching. Like the clinician I covered this week said, "I've always liked a horse I can bribe." 

B has already gotten out his first horse show. I guess he's even more talented that I thought. 

Monday, April 6, 2009

Sleepy B


Well, my boots are on there way to being broken in. How can I tell? By the large chunks of flesh missing from the back of my legs. Sounds lovely doesn't it? I certainly got a few questionable looks on the treadmill this morning and this time it wasn't just for the wheezing.

B was a little suspicious of the new boots. When I got on, which took a couple tries seeing as my lower legs felt like lamp posts, B immediately turned his head with that "What in the world are those?" look in his eye. He sniffed them and decided they may be tolerable for now. Yup, my boy is one of those sensitive-types. If there were ever any doubts, that moment cleared them up. As we walked, I did my best to stretch out the heel by standing in my stirrups like a hunter kid about to enter the equitation ring. The best was my first transition to trot, which anyone who has been flowing my journey knows is not our strong suit anyway. He actually responded immediately but as he felt me spring up 10 feet during the first post he walked right away. I had to apologize to him for that one. New boots=trampolines in the heels. The first 5 minutes were not pretty as I worked to stretched the heels of the boots. We had a couple stops and starts. Overall he was fairly understanding about the whole thing.

Anyway, we've been stuck inside for our last two rides due to the rain, but we were able to venture down the driveway at least. For the first time under saddle, we walked down the giant hill at the end of the driveway. Beamer stayed on a loose rein the whole time and figured out that in order to stay in walk down the hill he would have to keep him weight behind him. I did my best to help by keeping my weight back as well. He was ├╝beradorable as we walked back up, taking big, super slow strides. I could feel him saying, "Ok Mom, hold on. I'll get us there!"  Mints awaited him at the top.

We had a late night ride yesterday, as I covered a clinic in the morning and had to work on my presentation in the afternoon. My husband, entirely motivated by the fact that he didn't want to finish the other items on his hunny do this, decided to tag along. B likes seeing Daddy. As my hubby says, "B loves me more cause I don't use him for my own selfish reasons. I just give him mints and pats." It makes me laugh every time I hear it. 

It was around 6:30pm when we arrived. When I turned the corner and said, "B!" in my slightly irritating mommy voice he looked up and did a throaty nicker that sounded remarkably grown up. I knew that I had interrupted his after dinner nap time when I placed him in the cross ties and they became a hammock for his head. During our workout his tiredness became obvious. When B's tired he finds a soft spot to lay his head, which ends up being my hands down to his knees. Adam taped the session and at one point B stumbled a step in front. It was hilarious to watch because his face right afterward clearly said, "Whoa, what happened, when did I get here?" Oh, B. After we cantered he perked up a bit. He was very rideable, just sleepy. 

It should be a busy B week seeing as we have the horse show next week. Time to break out the trailer again. Yee haw.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Stop That Incessant Clicking!


Yesterday was damp, drizzly and cool. Definitely not the most motivating of weather for riding. The barn was bustling when I arrived with the farrier shoeing at one end, my trainer teaching away in the arena and a fellow border grooming her horse. I pulled out all my tack and grooming essentials, popped some all important mints in my pocket and headed out to see the Beeburr.

B was all alone in his field today, as Lance had been pulled out for his work out. B was happily munching grass, much to the relief of his mother's heart, when his long lost friend Lily came walking down the drive. Trotting over to see his gal pal I noticed that I think he is really pretty tall...like everyone including the measuring stick have been telling me. As he stood by the three board fencing, the top rail came up to the bottom of his chest. If he ever channels his inner Riverman I may be in trouble. 

Our lesson focused on lateral suppling, straightness and adjustability. We chugged down the quarterline as I looked in the mirror to make sure his pretty little face was right in the middle of his chest. We also worked on some flowing lines with a shoulder-in feel. As we proceeded into the canter, I realized that I need to step up my expectations. Beamer is getting stronger by the day and now demands organized boundaries that help him balance and keep the energy flowing. And...because I have a show coming up in a couple weeks, my trainer also nailed me for my "use of voice." Images of -2 keep flashing in front of my eyes...I swear I'll stop. The lure of the click is just too much sometimes. All of this fun stuff will be worked on tomorrow, during our next ride. It's actually quite nice out today, but alas I have a final presentation and paper due that I've put off long enough. 

Hopefully tomorrow I will be able to ride in my brand new boots! Wa hoo!! After being fitted for them in January, I just received the call 10 minutes ago that they are in and ready. Even though they cost as much as a mortgage payment, I reassure myself by saying they will last me a long, long time. Plus, as I tell my hubby, it's motivation to stay shape cause Lord knows I won't affording another pair for a long time to come. 

Monday, March 30, 2009

The Comfort of the Sandbox


I can hardly believe it's been a week since my last blog attack. Time flies when real life intervenes. B has been a happy, cooperative boy this week and thankfully he does not have any new scratches or dings. Way to go Beamer. 

After our triumphant first show, B was allowed to bask in his genius (he, he) and have a couple days off before his lesson on Wednesday. We longed outside to warm up, but quickly took the opportunity to ride inside when the arena became available. The wind was so bad that my eyes were watering. Not happy 4-year-old riding weather. Wednesday was a day of adjustablity. As we worked on slowing the trot down while maintaining the tempo it was amazing that there was already a passagey feeling developing. As we picked up the canter to the right B had an extra jump in his stride and I found myself laughing and smiling slightly uncontrollably...focus... I often find myself reverting to that little girl who is experiencing her first ride on a pony. Ya, he's seriously that fun. I think the feeling is mutual as my trainer even commented on how happy he looked. We wandered back to the barn where B was allotted his mints, carrots, apples, cookies and supplements before heading back out to his best bud Lance.

The weather was kinder on Friday so B and I were able to enjoy the great outdoors. He was happily swinging along on the longe line so I hopped on board looking forward to a pleasant ride. As we walked around the ring and practiced our diagonals I got the feeling that B was more interested in seeing Lance than dealing with me. Actually, he told me so. As we walked around the corner away from Lance, I asked B for a bit more swing in his walk. He halted and looked around to Lance, who was mocking him as he ate the delicious spring grass. We got through that little sticky point but then came the trot transition. Dun dun dahhhh!!! I asked. B thought about the idea, but ultimately decided it wasn't necessary. Having worked on his responsiveness in the last two lessons I bit the bullet and boxed him with authorittiii (Lisa would be proud). Well my trainer said he may get scared, but "You have to get a reaction." I got a reaction alright, in the form of a "I'm outta here" gallop. Well, he responded, right? He went a few strides, but I was able to bring him back to the trot fairly quickly. I could tell even as we sped across the ring that he was trying to understand what was happening. When he took off, I, of course, pulled back with my reins a bit high for leverage. He has never felt pressure back on his mouth anywhere near that strong. Luckily, he must have been paying attention during the last months of his training where he learned to give to pressure and it releases. Clever, clever boy. He has never had a side rein within 200 feet of him and he is so sensitive that I barely have to take the rein for him to soften. It is pretty remarkable watching young horses learn, even through the not so fun parts. I kept him trotting on the circle then we walked and I gave him a pat for responding. Yee haw, adrenaline rush. As much as my heart was in my throat for those few seconds, it was a good thing. What? Well,  I'd rather have him learn how to react after a spook in the sand box then out on a trail where there are a million other challenging elements. Wait a second. Do I sound like one of those parents that thinks it is better that their teenage kid drink at home with them than out on the street? whoa. Ya, um no. These rules are for the B only.

After his mini episode, B reacted promptly to my leg in each transition. ha ha...nice. Awww youngsters. Sometimes it takes a little shock and awe to got the point across...and by shock and awe I mean to the rider. After his workout we went for a lovely trail ride in the woods. B spooked a tiny bit twice but in his defense, it was one mean lookin bunny rabbit. We stomped through puddles and mini half ditches without a problem and I got my workout ducking under 10 foot high tree branches. 

The rest of the week proved relaxing. B's summer coat is coming in and I can't wait to back in one layer of clothing. 

Monday, March 23, 2009

B Goes to the Horse Show


B's show season debut was yesterday. Well, not officially I guess seeing as he was a non-competing horse. But, for as calm, cool and collected as he was he might as well have been.

First, props must go out to an older, flea-bitten grey horse that was happily grazing when B slowly walked off the ramp of the trailer at Morven. He set the tone for the day. When I opened the trailer door B left out a soft nicker. No screeching, ear piercing screams or stomping around in distress. Can you tell my last horse was a mare? ha ha...

Once B was off the trailer he did his trademark move: stand completely still and, with his head completely out of reach, stare. After a short walk up the driveway and back he was content to munch on the spring grass. I think all the walks and hill work we have been doing paid off as he slowly creeped his way up a mini mountain beside the indoor arena. From here he continued eating and keeping an eye on the competition.

The day consisted of lots of walking and a little entertainment. We were in luck; a group of about 35 hunter kids/adults were using the lower ring for practice. We were just leaving the ring as they entered. B broke out his "I have more suspension in one stride of my trot than you have going over a 3-foot-fence" attitude as we left, but he quickly remembered there was grass under foot and got back munching. I enjoyed the flash back to my past as I watched them line up to jump and and listen to the coach yell at the top of her lungs.  

Later in the day, we had a chance to walk around the actual show ring during a break. Here B discovered flags. He just, you guessed it, stared. He sniffed some letters and almost knocked down a video camera...so all in all a productive walk. 

While hand walking in the arena B had the pleasure of meeting his first Friesian. He was thoroughly convinced they were going to be total BFFs when he laid eyes on him. But then it happened. The Friesian cantered. B's ears flickered 90 miles a minutes as he watched his knees almost hit his nose each stride. When B realized that this distinct sound didn't necessarily mean, "Charge!!!" he relaxed.

By mid-afternoon B was supa chilled so I longed him and hopped on. A friend who came to watch kindly me asked at the trailer how do you get on him? Not even thinking I quickly responded, "With a really tall mounting block." Light bulb moment: I wasn't in Kansas anymore, hence no super tall mounting block. Ultimately, the end of wooden bleachers did the trick. Good pony.

My husband was my lead line master for the first circle as we rode in the open bluestone ring at the lower level. As Adam walked back to the bleachers to watch a couple hunter brats (oops did I say that out loud...?) decided it was the perfect time to play a game of soccer. What are you we in freakin Italy? Meh. Thankfully, B barely batted an eyelash as he continued our workout with some walk, trot and canter. 

After a successful ride outside, we ventured to the indoor warm up ring. Dun dun dahh!! Anyone who has ridden with dressage riders, been a dressage rider or has watched a warm up ring at a dressage show knows how brave I as being. As a hard core dressage rider myself I know how merciless we can be. One agenda—your own. There were only two horses in the ring and they were about Second Level types...whew. After getting past the wolf dog that guarded the entrance (don't ask) we ventured in. We walked and trotted while the other horses did about 5000 extended trots and 8000 canter-walk transitions. 

As for Beeburr's general attitude, he tried his best to make friends everywhere he went. You could almost read his face as he tried to follow almost every horse that passed: "Wanna be super good buddies?" By the number of people that came up to pet him cute little face nine feet in the air, I think they received the same message. 

Maybe the next show we'll actually be one of those fancy competing horses. Regardless, I certainly am one proud mommy. :0)

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Sensitivvvveeee-o


Well, big surprise B's sudden crankiness had something to do with me. ha. This is why God created trainers. B had reacted the same way during my Tuesday ride as he had on the previous Friday, which only served to make me worry as this is uncharacteristic of him. Then I remembered a similar behavior developed about four months earlier, which was the direct result of using a collecting seat as I asked for the trot. What? It worked on my highly trained Young Riders horse. It's amazing the things your body does without you even knowing it. Snarf. The crankiness slowly gained a life of it's own. Mr.B was basically saying to me, "What in the F are you doing?"I'd respond, "What in the F are you doing?" Yup, and then it progressed to angry faces and wind up bucks. Oops. Once my trainer pointed out that I need to keep my hips swinging and not tighten like I'm intending to break a thigh master, B happily obliged. In my defense, my trainer said that he was a little tight in the back at the canter. So there. Awww the joys of always learning.


B has the day off today as I have a paper due for class tonight. Tomorrow the plan is to do some cold trailering. What? Normally, I ride B first then trailer him. In anticipation of his first show this Sunday (as a non-competing horse thank you very much) we're going to practice trailering first without the initial tiring out session. I'm keep you posted on that....

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Some days we're cranky



This weekend's weather appropriately  reflected Beamer's mood. It was gloomy, cloudy and drizzily. B's longing session in the outdoor ring on Friday was fairly easy and fluid, but it became obvious once I landed on his back that he just wasn't that into me...at least not this day. While simply walking on a loose rein I saw his ears come back and his hind leg strike out. This simple gesture told me that this pony wasn't having it. Sympathetic to fact he had his first set of spring shots the day before, we accomplished a couple laps at the trot interspersed with some transitions and called it a day. Normally a perky and willing partner I wasn't deaf to his opinions. 

Saturday and Sunday we took it easy. Canada mints and a thorough grooming go along way to improving a pony's mood it seems.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Show season is Fast Approaching


Wednesday was lesson day. Enjoying the last day of warm weather for awhile we rode in the outdoor sandbox. B was loose and happy so we were able to quickly get down to work. While further refining our connection we were treated to a full-on distraction test consisting of a golf cart, an excitable mare and a four horse trailer. B kept his cool and focus. By golly gosh I think this 3 year old may be growing up. It was a day of mini-tests as we checked to see where B was in his training. We rode pieces of test patterns and checked his responsiveness in the canter transitions. Other than some drifting in his down transitions B took everything in stride. My trainer laughed as she remarked that everything is perfect here, but when we go into the show ring everything will undoubtedly be brand new and scary. Been there, done that, amazingly willing to go through it again.

The next day, the vet came out for B's annual coggins and his first set of spring shots. He stood perfectly still for the vet. He didn't even flinch. Good munchkin! Since he had his lesson the day before we took it easy and just went for a hand walk in the woods. Memories of the power walkers that passed me during my marathon run  came to mind as I worked to keep up with B's 18+ stride. Soon as we were walking uphill and it all evened out. Muwahahaha!

Tomorrow we'll probably do some practice loading and trailering again after our gym workout. Next Sunday we'll be heading to Morven Park for B's first show. As my trainer says, "Next stop, culture shock." It's all part of growing up.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Enjoying the spring/summer like weather

This past weekend, B and I enjoyed the summer-like weather together. On Friday, we proceeded to the outdoor gym for our daily workout.  After spending the morning at another barn, my four layers had delightfully turned to one as I rode in just a polo shirt and full seats. The workout consisted of a loose, eager trot and canter followed by a walk around the property. 

On Saturday, B had the treat of working out with his best buddy and pasture mate Lance. Being ever the inspiration, Lance decided to encourage B to stick to the man by making a fuss. B successfully fought the urge to be "born free" and played nice. B's baby brain was challenged again as the horses were trotted in from the field to their delicious dinners.We stuck to the program and enjoyed some fluid leg yields and prompt canter departs. With the wind whirling around, we skipped our daily walk. There is definitely something to be said for that whole survival instinct thing.

Sunday made three workouts in a row for Beamer. I knew he was up for more as he trotted toward the gate the minute he heard my voice (that never gets old). In respect for his eagerness, we had a light ride in the ring then proceeded to walk up and down the hills in the nearby fields. He happily obliged, obtaining mints along the way. 

Monday was a day of relaxation. I  hand walked B around the property, which included the "short hills" of Virginia. A thorough grooming and a bucket o' treats concluded the visit. As I walked B backed to his field and gave him a few departing treats he followed me back to the gate as if to say, "That's it?" Lance came over to escort him out to his lush field again.

Stay tuned, tomorrow is lesson time!