Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Placed in a Holding Pattern

Red just gave himself 2 weeks off by puncturing the upper inside of his forearm. I have no clue what he could have done it on. He is in a 4-board white vinyl fence pasture that might as well be a padded cell. No sharp objects, debris, or random metal in the pasture. But he's that type of horse. Give him a stick of butter and he's slice himself open with it somehow. Regardless, he's got the next 2 weeks off until it heals. It's deep enough, very swollen, and he was in pain. The only good thing is he did it in the night before the vet was scheduled to show up at 8:30am for spring shots. So, no extra vet trip fees, yay! Either way, it's coming out of Red's allowance.

Pics were taken about 8 hours after the vet was there and cleaned it up.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Spring is Here!

Ahhh, the warm weather has finally arrived, but so has the rain! We need the moisture, but muddy sloppy arenas make it hard to ride. Either way, I've been bringing Red back from our time off this winter as possible and he's coming along nicely! I have a not-so-short unedited uncut video here (~9 min) of him hacking around. He's come a long way in his dressage since last year, but obviously we still have a lot to work on and many improvements that need to be made, including for myself, for the love of God SIT UP STRAIGHT!

More updates, pics, and videos to come!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Is Spring here yet?

What a fun winter it has been. Red has been relaxing and taking the winter off. As soon as it warms up, it's back to work for us!

Since August, not much has happened. Red has his shoes pulled in September and he was tender for about 2 months. Once he was 100% sound again, the temps dropped and that's where they have been ever since. We see 4" of snow here, 6" of snow there, but the cold has been the real story. -12°F, -22°F, wind chills approaching -40°F; it's getting old.

Otherwise, Red did God-knows-what to his eye in January and had it swell up nice and big. The vet was called, he was checked and medicated, and was back to normal within 48 hours. Whew! See the pic below, it wasn't pretty!

The good news is that slowly but surely, winter will come to an end and warmer temperatures will be here, which means lots of riding, schooling, and eventing! Until next time...

Monday, August 23, 2010

Holy Update, Batman!

Wow! I can't believe how long it's been since I've updated Red's blog! Yikes!!! Thanks to those who reminded me and got me back in line!

Red has done a ton since our first event. I have been working on his transitions and control and keep trying to expose him to more and more every day, jump new fences, etc. Red was in his second event on August 15 at the Colorado Horse Park and he was great. He is getting much better about being calm when we go somewhere new. Horse trailer does not = run, though we are having some trailer loading issues due to the mental reminder they give him of a starting gate. We'll keep working on that.

Here is a video synopsis of his second event:

Here is one my mom made for us that is very special, it's to music and very cute!!

We also have a few fun photos from the day...

More can be seen here:

This past weekend, August 21-22, the infamous Phillip Dutton was in town teaching an eventing clinic. This was something I planned on attending with Red months ago, so I was glad it worked out.

The first day, he was a little hyper. Phillip said he was "lovely looking" but referred to him the rest of the day as "the nervous one". He calmed down a bit when it came time to jump and I was very happy with Red's performance. Phillip challenged Red and I, and considering how green Red is, I thought he did great. He really started to settle down and relax as the day went on.

There is a video of the first day of the clinic here:

The second day of the clinic, Phillip advised I ride Red in the morning too since our ride time for cross country wasn't until the afternoon. I did, and when we got out on the XC course, Phillip said he was much more calm. He actually stood around like the other horses and wasn't nervous at all. We had a blast jumping all kinds of things: logs, coops, ditches, barrels, down banks, up banks, through water, and even got to jump an up bank out of the water. Red only hesitated over the barrels and going in to the water.

The most memorable part of the day was the ditch. Red was starting to resist and was cantering in place and not going forward as we try to approach this ditch. Phillip told me to loosen my reins, so I did. He said to loosen them more, so I did. And once again, loosen them more, and I did. Finally, he said, "Drop your reins!" and for some odd reason with out question, I did, and Red went forward and jumped the ditch. It was awesome.

The clinic was great, Red and I both got to experience some new things and I think this really helped give me the tools we need to keep moving on and moving up.

Red Avenue and I with Phillip Dutton, Aug 21 2010.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Our First Event!

Well, it's done! We worked especially hard this month and Red did his first event today! I wish I could have given more updates along the way, but I'll give a brief run down of them now:

1.) We have been working a lot our dressage.

2.) I've been trying to put together random things at the house for him to jump to give him as much experience jumping new scary things as possible.

3.) Remembering to relax and have fun!

So today was the big day! I planned on getting there an hour before my scheduled 9:25 am ride time to let him see the sights and warm up. This was not nearly enough time and next time, I need to double it. We got there, unloaded, got registered, then realized 30 minutes were gone and my ride time was in 30 minutes! Crap! So quickly brush off the horse, quickly tack up, and by the time I got to the dressage arena, I had 10 minutes and I was riding a prancing giraffe. Well, crap. Looks like I'm going to spend this time walking and trying to calm him down, because he is plenty warm!!

The dressage test was nothing like what we practiced at home, but there were horses everywhere and this place was sooooooo exciting! Red wanted to see them all! He had good moments where he was collected and bending well, and other not so much moments. We didn't get our LEFT lead on the first try of all darn things, but got the right! When it was all said and done, I was very happy with him. He didn't spook at the judge's tower. He didn't spook at the huge white letters. And he listen to most of what I had to say, as long as it didn't get in the way of him looking at everything else around him, haha. After dressage, we were in 5th place of 8 riders.

So now it's time to prepare for the jumping phase. He jumps the warm-up jumps without hesitation, he is going great. He is listening, not too quick, just great. We get to the start and I want to watch a round and see what my course is because I didn't have time to walk it. Turns out it's just one big circle, easy enough. So we're getting ready to start and Red is prancing, trotting in place, just being crazy! He was ready to go!

So we go on course, jumps 1, 2, and 3 were great. Fence 4 was a coup that was elevated and Red did not understand what in the heck that was so he stopped. He popped right over it on the second try. Jumps 5 and 6 were great, and jump 7 was an up-bank, meaning he was jumping from a lower level of ground on to a higher level. Red has never seen anything like that before and stopped. And stopped. And finally he got it! Jumps 8 and 9 were good, and jump 10 was a large downhill jump. I was sure Red was going to stop but he flew over it and loved it. Obstacle 11 was water, which was another fear, he has never seen water before! He didn't even hesitate, it was great. Jump 12 ended a great run! I was so proud of his first go at this new sport.

I wasn't happy with all the stops, even though he did GREAT, he could do better, so I jumped a second round (which was optional, not judged) and he went all the way around without stopping once, it was great. He really ended on a good note! It was a good opportunity for him.

Well it turns out we finished in 4th place! How exciting! That was much better than I ever expected. I wanted him to see what this was all about and get the experience, so placing didn't matter, but he really did well. Good job, Red!!!

Sunday, April 11, 2010

It feels like summer!

Gosh, what a great day! 75 degrees, sunny, with a light breeze. It was the perfect day to spend outside. I rode Red and worked on our dressage and transitions. I rode him in spurs for the first time and wow, what a difference. We could bend, we could balance, and the transitions are coming along beautifully! I'm getting really excited about May 1st! We need a little more work on the right lead and there is still a way to go with the transitions, but he's responding well!

He did such a good job today, I decided to give him a bath which he didn't like, but he's nice and clean now. He got to graze on the green grass growing on the trail while he dried.

Below is a picture from yesterday, such a cute pony!

Saturday, April 10, 2010

New Jumps!

So I finally got my jumps built! Here is Red giving them a try. So far, so good!

Thursday, April 8, 2010

I love this weather!

First off, let me say a big "hello!" to my new friend Aurora and her family up in Alaska!

The weather here in Colorado has been great these past few days. Today I hopped on Red bareback, without a saddle, and let him eat some fresh grass on a riding trail while the dogs ran around and got some exercise. It was so nice! It was over 60 degrees out.

Below are some pictures from this week, just the daily sights.

Red eating dinner. When almost all of his grain is gone, he bites the side of the dish and shakes it to move the remaining grain to the middle of the dish. It's too funny to see.

This is our shadow. What a pretty day!

No saddle, just hanging out, Red is eating grass.

Red loves to come in the garage and beg for treats!

This Sunday I think we are going to our first lesson and getting a chance to school our first cross country course. I'm so excited!!

Sunday, March 21, 2010

A jump jump here, and a jump jump there...

The weather imrpoved a lot quicker than I expected, so I was able to squeeze in one more ride before I leave for Alaska. Red and I worked on our walk-trot transitions in the ring, took a nice relaxing walk around the trail, and even jumped! A few jumping video clips can be seen below. The 2nd jump was 2'6" and 2'9". He was a good boy!

Friday, March 19, 2010

Our Next Goal: Transitions

I've been riding a lot more consistently now, and the weather has been great (with the exception of today and the 6" of snow on the ground that is still falling). I think our first event is going to be at the Colorado Horse Park on May 1, so I looked over the beginner novice dressage test A and give it a try with Red for the first time yesterday.

We trot down the center line with no problem, turned right and Red asked me where we were going. We followed the arena to the left and made our circle. When we broke from the arena rail, Red again asked what we were doing but we kept going. We picked up the canter and made our second circle, and when it came time to transition to the trot again so soon, Red was completely convinced we were suppose to keep cantering around the arena. It took me half the arena length to bring him back to a trot again, but we got it even though his head was straight up in the air. We transitioned to the walk and had a nice relaxed walk across the diagonal. We picked up the trot, made our circle, and got the right lead on the first try (though it wasn't so pretty) and got back to the trot easier than the previous time. We came back down the center line alright and did an ok halt.

The bottom line is it made me realize the next thing we need to work on are transitions: canter to trot, trot to walk, trot to canter, etc. So, there is our goal. I also jumped Red over a new jump and I didn't let him see it before we approached it. It was just a part of our fence that only has the bottom 2 rails, nothing too scary. He jumped it just fine, in fact I think he liked it!

As I said before, it's currently snowing. I leave town on Tuesday for a while so Red is going to have about 2 weeks off. When I return, it's going to be the final push before our first event. So the rest of our training will be transitions, transitions, transitions!