June 20, 2008
It's been bit a dry spell, it seems! Nova got some time off to be a pasture ornament/mower at friend's of ours place. He did come back home on the weekend, but between the arena being full of people and it raining pretty much every night, I haven't worked with him.
This afternoon I wanted to wash Nova's tail out, because it is pretty dandruffy (haha, that's so not a word!). I first tried with the hose, but he's not fond of the water at all, and there was no way he was going to stand for me to wash his tail with just me there. So I resorted to using a bucket, which worked okay. He stood quite well for it, and I had no problems washing it. Because of the bucket, I didn't wash his mane... I'll save that for a day when I have help holding him.
Tonight was also a riding lesson night. And after giving him his time off, I was itching to get on and ride him again. He stood well for saddling - moved a bit when I went to do up the cinch. So I'll keep an eye on that, so he doesn't get in the habit of moving. When we were at the arena he bridled very well, and also stood perfectly still for mounting. We started off walking behind Rhythm, but after a lap we were actually leading, and he was doing so good! At least he didn't forget anything. In fact, he was actually almost 'spunky'.
For most of the lesson I worked on trotting with him. HE WAS GREAT!! Previous, we used to trot about five strides and then he'd have to stop. Well, this time we were trotting around three sides of half of the arena. We didn't do much trotting across the middle because if the other horses were at the other end he wanted to veer over to see them. At the walk, he was perfect about going across there. I think we could have trotted all the way around if the other horses were in our end of the arena. I actually did it about 8-10 times in each direction. After the first few rocky tries we got our groove on and he was picking up the trot quite nicely and holding it (and seemed pretty relaxed about it too). I even could get him to keep going when he wanted to stop and visit with Matthew and my dad. We even had a few times when I went to ask him to walk that he slowed down to a walk without trying to resist the bit (must mean I had my act together for those ones!). I still had the whip in my hand, but only needed it a couple of times (he started to get sticky about walking past one spot in the middle of the arena).
For not having been ridden for a month, he was a superstar!! He was so well behaved and relaxed, that I think he even surprised Diane (trainer) with how well he did. I bet she was expecting a lot less from us after I told her he hadn't been ridden in weeks.
June 21, 2008
Since Nova is going over to grass tomorrow (so there will be another dry spell), I decided I should probably get one more ride in on him before he goes.
Well, I first planned on taking him down to the arena and practicing trotting (having Mom hang out in the middle so we could go around her); which then lead to how sore my heels were from my boots from yesterday, so maybe I could ride him down; which then lead to if he's good, why don't we skip the arena and just go on a trail ride (down the road). The last idea won, and I'm so glad we did!
Again he was perfect for saddling, bridling, and mounting. And even as we started down the driveway he didn't get the least bit excited about being ridden down vs being lead. And that was his attitude for the whole ride. Except for our couple steering 'mishaps' (a couple times he forgot what turning was all about), you would have never known it was his second trail ride. We didn't go far, and stuck to the non-scary part(s) of the road, but even still, he was just relaxed, moseying along the ditch. The one time we went down off the road (actually towards the arena on the way back - so we could walk along past it) he tried to trot, but I got him walking again after a stride or two and he then walked down the little hill nicely. But when we were just about at our driveway he decided to trot down the ditch (and I wasn't paying enough attention, so he did get 'away with it'), so I'll keep more of an eye on him for next time.
We also got passed by a motorcycle (who was very polite and went past us slowly), and Nova just looked at it, and wasn't scared of it at all.
I was verrrrrrry proud of how relaxed he was during the whole ride.
June 27, 2008
Okay, so no dry spell quite yet. We didn't end up taking them over.
Instead of a lesson today, since our trainer was busy, we decided to go for a ride instead. Obviously, I took Nova.
Today we extended on our previous ride (I got brave!), and went the whole loop around the office (instead of the half we did the other day). I decided to go the other way around, just in case he got excited because the other half is not as busy. I got really lucky again, and nothing really happened to get him excited. Where ugly dog used to live they now have a new one - also attached to a cable. Thankfully his people were outside, so by the time he did run out, we were far enough past him that Nova just turned and looked back at him. We had a very large water-truck drive passed us, and he didn't even blink at it. And other than that, there was no excitement what-so-ever. Even Stewie the mini donkey wasn't out. I'm glad that the ride was so boring! And even happier that Nova was so darn relaxed. He might actually make a trail horse yet!
June 30, 2008
Diane managed to squeak in a lesson for us today... Of course, 2pm in the blazing sun and almost 30 degree weather! So because of that, she kept the lesson really easy.
After our two trail rides, I of course, had to ride Nova down to the lesson. Darn it though, we beat Diane so she didn't get to see! But we did tell her about our trail rides (yeah, I bet she still thinks we're crazy).
Nova was really good in the lesson. With the heat, I figured my normally lazy guy would be extra lazy, but he really wasn't! We walked around for a minute, then picked up the trot. We were 'following' Mom around about 3/4 of the arena, and Diane said that if I felt that that was too big an area for Nova, to let her know. Heck! He could've cared less! We did a few rounds, then changed across the diagonal, then did another round or two before walking again. Then Diane had us do some really big figure-8's in that part of the arena. Ours were, of course, less than stellar. But we did get them done (as in, he did turn the direction I wanted him too, and we mostly kept a trot). We then hung out in the middle of the arena (and I worked on my sun-burn) while Diane worked with Mom a bit. Then it was our turn to go to the small part of the arena and work on some walk/trot transitions. We did pretty well (now that I know he's going to keep trotting, and have a bit more faith in him at the trot, they're easier) - and I find that I can really use my seat and a cluck to push him into it. The downwards ones need some work (some can be great, some not so great). And that was the end of the lesson for us. He wasn't hardly sweating at all, the lucky boy.
I did ride him back home, of course, and he was, as always, just fine.
(And now there will be for sure a dry spell, as they were hauled over to grass. Nova loaded and unloaded well!)