September 30, 2010

March 17, 2010
Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Since today was supposed to be the last nice day for a little while I decided to take advantage of it (thankfully the clouds cleared, too bad the wind hung around). So I saddled up the brat and we headed down to the arena for a bit of work and to check out the snow situation there. (Results: Very wet and still a lot of snow - not great for any serious work.)

Funny story though, before I get talking about the ride. As I was putting on Nova's back boots (he was munching on cubes to keep him amused), Soka decided to trot right underneath him to see what I was doing, and he didn't even flinch. Just made me thankful that he's pretty bombproof to stuff like that, because it would have been me to get it if he'd decided to take offense. He's so good, and that just proved it.

As per usual, Nova walked down there like a dream, pretty much on a loose rein except for when I had to steer him out of the snow in the ditch and back onto the road. I was very happy with him when I managed on the second pass to stop him right by the lock for the gate and then lean over, put the key in, and open it while he stood completely still. And he didn't even try to take my knees off on the gate posts when we went in, even though there was a puddle right at the entrance. Pretty good start!

We walked, then trotted (or rather, splooshed around) while we waited for Mom to come down with the camera. He was pretty forward, and wasn't as consistent in his gait - which is very understandable given the wet footing. We cantered both ways, twice, and he was very good about his leads. We cantered right first, then I cut across the arena and he picked up his left perfectly - good boy! He did give me the usual hassle with his right leads, but I made a point of picking up my inside rein and shoving his butt over with my inside leg, then asking - worked like a charm. Perhaps that's my new move for him, and if it works, I'm totally all for it. (I do know that I should be doing that already, but I just never made a point of doing it consistently.)

All in all, I was pretty happy with him, and can't wait to ride him in an arena with good footing! I found it kind of funny that last time I talked to my trainer she made the comment that we'd probably be cantering "within a week" (if I boarded him out), well... I'd say we're ready to canter now! Nova's such a good boy that her typical reservations don't really apply.

On the way home he was okay. Was excited and jiggy, so I was working on getting him to walk. Then one of our neighbours was coming home pulling his work trailer, so I decided that given Nova's current mood to bail off and hold him (to save myself the spook into the bushes most likely). Of course, now that I wasn't on him, he stood and watched the trailer like, "Ohhhh, it's a trailer...." Gah, silly horse. I then lead him to our neighbour's driveway before I mounted again, and he walked nicely down the hill to our driveway on a loose rein, only to get hyped up when we got into our driveway. (Let the crazy horse canter up it once, and he never forgets apparently!) He did well though even when Soka ran up and around him just as we got to the top of the driveway.

For only our third ride of the year, he was pretty good! (I seemed to have forgotten to write about our solo trail-ride a couple weeks ago. Shoot.)

March 27, 2010
The weather was just so nice today that we didn't have any choice but to go for a ride! I also thought my friend was going to come riding with us on Sunday, so I wanted to make sure Nova had been out and about and perhaps just a wee bit tired for that. As it turns out, she's sick and had to postpone.

We decided to head over and ride through Spring Hills. Nova was good and bad throughout the ride. He got himself worked right up when we started off - pretty much when we turned towards the arena (even though we weren't going there) - I swear, he really wants to be an arena pony! He also got a bit excited for various times during the ride, but just as fast as he went 'mental' he'd calm down again and plug along like nothing happened. For example, his jump/buck/kick move that he did for no apparent reason - poor Rhythm who was right beside us when he did that. Of course, we did have a discussion about that! Moves like that are not good for Christine's heart! Crazy beast.

The funniest part of the ride was when the two mini's that reside over in Spring Hills came running up to the fence to say 'hi'! Oh dear... Rhythm is at least half petrified of these two guys, and so she immediately went into arab-mode with her tail flagged and let out a loud snort. So, guess what Nova did? Totally copied her! It was pretty funny - and I totally had a big ol' snorty saddlebred underneath me! (Stereotyping, I know.) He wanted to go up and meet them though, so I let him walk over and greet them. I wish we'd had a camera, because I'm pretty sure Nova's neck has never been as arched as it was then. It amuses me how every time we go past there and the mini's come visiting the horses are just beside themselves.

I was also very proud of how well he handled all of the cars! He's been very brutal the last however many times he's been out about freaking when they go past. So Mom was super nice and cooperative and stopped with us so he could watch all the cars go past. When we came out of Spring Hills I decided to hop off of him and walk him down the ditch back to our entrance instead of riding. I think it was a good decision because a handful of vehicles went past (including two motorbikes) and all he did was stop and watch them. Then I mounted again and we stood and watched a few more before crossing the road and heading home.

He also got to say 'hi' to a great dane on our way home. The one house we pass has three of them, plus a rotti and two small foo-foo dogs. The horses aren't sure what to make of these pony-sized dogs. The people are very nice and the one lady came out right away to tell the dogs to be quiet, and we started chatting a bit. So Nova took it upon himself to go say meet these dogs. Walked right down the ditch and right up to the fence - two of the dogs did NOT like that and started barking again, but the one was calm and sniffed his nose - and I think gave him a little kiss. My horse is such an attention-hog, methinks.

Overall I was happy with how he went - I only muttered "dogfood" a couple of times. And I can't blame him, he's been cooped up in the pasture since September, so everything is fresh and exciting and he just wants to GO! Once I can start lessons (soon!) I think he'll chill out a bit more and he that good boy I know he is.

March 28, 2010
Two days in a row! No way!

Today was a big day - not only was a different friend coming to ride with us (she was going to help out for when my other friend was bringing her gelding over, but since that was cancelled she still decided to come ride), but my father decided to come too! (No joke, this might be the only time he gets on his horse this year.)

I figured this is a good experience for Nova to go out with more than just Rhythm, but he would either be totally cool about it, or be an excited jerk about it. He was both, haha.

Started off calm and leading nicely down the road, but once we got onto the lakefront and we started spreading out and (how dare they) passing him, he got himself worked right up. He did attempt his 'mini rearing' thing a few times, and that just got him in trouble. When we turned to ride back he was still so agitated that I put him right behind Mom on Kaila. Kaila is old and walks slow, so he had no choice but to calm down a bit - Kaila was also giving him a lot of dirty looks because he was being stupid. That seemed to work because after a few minutes he settled down and I allowed him to remove his nose from Kaila's butt and pass her. He stayed very calm for the rest of the ride! I was verrrrrry relieved!

We went from the lakefront onto the path that comes out into Spring Lake Ranch, then down that road onto the next range road, then through a subdivision over there, then back across the range road into Willow Peak and home. Again, he was very well behaved with the cars. As we were crossing the range road I heard some motorcycles coming (loud ones), so we moved through the ditch and up onto a rise and I bailed off to hold him. I'm glad I did, because they were pretty loud and there was about five of them, and he did jump a bit when they went past - I think if I'd been on him he would have been a lot more nervous. (Instead, I just gave him a treat as they went past, so they can't be *that* bad.) After they were gone I mounted back up and away we went.

The rest of the ride was very uneventful, which is exactly how I like them! He went on the buckle and motored along like a champ.

He's getting his teeth floated on Wednesday, and I'm very excited about that.

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