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.