August 15, 2008
Well, I said there would be a long break... I was right! Nova has been at home for a little while, but I've been focusing on Skye lately instead of Nova. He did get his feet trimmed, but I was unable to be there - but have been told that he was good.
So, after the loooong break, I felt like an easier lesson (aka less sweating) for myself today, so took Nova. Yep, hasn't been worked with in 1 1/2months, and I took him to a lesson!
He tacked up just fine, and actually didn't give my new hind boots any thought (no crazy 'what the heck is on my legs' walk). Becuase a younger girl was riding Kaila, I just led Nova down to the arena, so I could keep an eye on the girl. Once we got to the arena I did lunge him a bit before getting on. As I had predicted, he did have a couple bucks in him. Nothing more than a little good spirits, and he settled down wonderfully. (Heck, it was too hot to be bad! 32 degrees.)
I had Diane just stand by him when I went to get on, but as usual, he was perfect. Stood quite nicely while Diane gave some other instructions to the girl, and willingly moved off when I asked him to. We practiced doing circles between the pylons, first on one circle, then on a figure eight. He was a bit stubborn about his steering at the start but soon remembered and was much better. I did get after him with the whip once on his shoulder because he was ignoring my aids. He sure smartened up after that. Diane actually tightened up the noseband a bit - and that was a huge help. He definitely wasn't chewing near as much after, so he was concentrating better.
We then trotted around the whole entire arena a couple times to the right, changed across the diagonal, did a large circle in one end, then walked, then did two laps around the ring the other way, changed across the diagonal, did a large circle in the end again, and then walked. Diane was super impressed with him! It felt pretty good too, as he was going along quite steady (not trying to break to a walk), and wasn't fussing about his head at all. I did make sure to give him the reins a bit and not fuss with him.
We then hung out and watched Helga do some work, then we walked around the ring weaving between pylons (spaced quite far apart), and he was listening nicely and was very relaxed. During that time we kept catching up to Helga's horse, so we were stopping to wait. His 'whoas' are getting better too. And not once did I have to use my crop to get him to move off!!!
I was very happy with him tonight, and Diane was very happy with us too. I think she's excited to work with us, as he's coming along so nicely (and with such inconsistent work!).
August 22, 2008
I wanted to take Nova to the arena and ride him today but due to a saddle pad exchange incident (long story) I didn't get that done today. Hopefully tomorrow! But I did go out and work with him a bit. It's been such a long time - between focusing on Skye, or Nova not being at home.
After letting him graze on the lawn for a bit and giving him a quick brushing I decided I was going to ride him bareback today. I also tried out a new bit for him (just a thinner [non happy mouth] D-ring with a non-pinch joint in the middle) because Diane thought that maybe the happy mouth was a bit too thick for him which might be why he was chewing so much. He was still chewing the bit today as well, but it was a bit less (and if I'd done up the noseband as tight as Diane had it for the last lesson, he probably would have hardly chewed). I think he's just a really chewy guy. But it is definitely getting better, and I bet with consistent work we'll get him so he won't chew.
I had Mom come out to either a) take pictures of this wonderful occasion, or b) call the ambulance! OF COURSE it was option A! Nova didn't even blink as I did my 'flying leap and scramble' to get on him. Stood like a rock (and didn't even lift his head with a 'what the heck' look). We waited for a few seconds then I asked him to move off - and he did so very willingly! I do have to admit he's a little boney, but not too bad. We walked around the yard for a couple minutes (in between the scary collapsed tent and the flatdeck trailer) without issue, then he stood wonderfully for like 5-10 minutes for a photo shoot, then walked around again some more. He was perfect!
Mom got a video clip of us walking around the yard, but I'm having issues uploading it. When it does happen, I will put the link in this post or a future one.
You'll have to forgive my attire.
I'm off on another holiday for the next week, but once I get back I'm going to be focusing on him (for lessons and just more rides in general), so there should be a lot of updates! I'm really excited to be able to work with him.
August 23, 2008
My horse is a superstar!
Today is my last day before my trip to NL for a week, so I really wanted to get on Nova and go for a ride. Even more so because I finally got my new saddle pad - and wanted to see just how totally spiffy he would look with it on.
He tacked up without a problem. Was a little hesitant about the bit, and that could just be because he hasn't been bridled consistently for awhile or that it's not the happy mouth anymore. Either way, he took it without a problem. We snapped some pictures, and then I mounted (using the 'mounting block' this time for practice). But once up I realized that the bit had turned in his mouth and the bridle was twisted... Whoops. So, hopped off and took his bridle off and put it back on - again with no issues. Got back on again and we were good to go!
He was quite energetic today (definitely no need for my 'go stick'!) and we were outwalking Kaila for most of it (which isn't hard to do... but still...). We actually led all the way to the entrance of the path to the lakefront and Nova didn't even care. He was more concerned about trying to trot than about being way out front. Being brave today, I suggested we venture out onto the lakefront for the first time with Nova. He egarly went onto the path and walked all the way to the lakefront without any hesitation!! This was a big surprise for me because he's always seemed like he didn't like being in the bush before and today he was totally cool. Once on the lakefront he was actually quite good. Still a tad bit joggy when we first got out there but settled down after a minute and we were walking along quite nicely.
He then saw a canoe up on some sawhorses that he thought was a bit scary, so of course we had to go up to investigate it. I was so proud with how well he walked up there. We did stop a couple of times and he eyed it a little, but he was still pretty confident (and Kaila wasn't close to us for support even). Of course, he smelled the canoe, then had a poo... Typical horse. And I'm happy he didn't even pretend to be scared of it as we were walking away.
We went a bit further up the lakefront before turning around (time constraints more than anything), and we even walked past the bunch of people walking along the lakefront, and the people in the gazebo (who I don't think he even saw...) without a care!
On our way back we ventured into the bush again, this time doing a tiny loop in the trees (the long way around vs. the short way to the road) and Nova was quite good. We started off behind Kaila, walking over a couple of logs on the trail, but then passed her and were leading for part of the way. When we got back to the part we came in on, Mom took the lead so she could get a picture of us coming through the trees towards her. So I haulted Nova and we were waiting for Mom to get the camera ready around the bend (and out of sight) - Nova was totally cool with it.... UNTIL...
This idiot comes walking (along the path) but out of the trees behind us totally SILENTLY!! I had no idea he was coming, so was totally shocked when Nova did a jump, partial rear, almost bolt, wheel around move. Once we turned enough and he saw that it was a person, he relaxed and actually walked up to the guy. I mentioned that Nova was inexperienced and the guy said that I should 'be careful'... Well, we were fine until he came along!! I realize I should have told the guy that next time he should make some noise if he comes up behind a horse (but we think this was the guy from the new subdivision and we're not fond of him, so it wouldn't have made any difference). The guy then went past us, and Nova did another spook like the first one, but nothing was behind us again. So I walked him up the path a bit so we could see Kaila, and even by that time he was relaxed again (definitely not upset about what had happened just a minute earlier).
We then walked out onto the road, through the field and past the arena before turning to head for home. He was doing great until we came to the hill just before our place... Ugh that's a big hill! Poor guy, all his momentum just dropped off. I think he wants to be a flat-land horse... We did make it home though!
All through the ride Nova was super responsive to my legs when I asked him to walk on. It was usually just a little squeeze and he would immediately walk off. Probably because he was hyper today (for Nova...). Our whoa's were less than perfect, but we did get stopped every time. Turning was also pretty good - no better no worse than usual.
I was VERY proud of how well he behaved today! He is a lot braver than I ever thought he would be (especially for a barely started 3 yr old). And the best part was that he settled down immediately after being scared (pretty badly, if I do say so), which is so wonerful! Makes it a lot easier for me to ride him, knowing that he won't get so upset for a long time after anything happens.