Saturday, September 14, 2013

From hot to cool to hot to cool! (I will not go in the barn, round 2)

September 2, 2013
Now that the hot, humid weather has turned to cool breezes I am sitting outside writing instead of in front of the window facing the bird feeder.  I can still watch the birds come and go, with doves roosting in the grass.  The first leaves are beginning to descend from the trees, and I am beginning to feel a chill in the air that has been absent in recent days.  Every so often I pause and lift my face into the breeze, savoring the peacefulness.  I'm sure that we still have warm days ahead before autumn settles in, but for now I am going to enjoy the break.

September 2, 2013
US Labor Day, means a holiday.  I take advantage of this by riding early for the third day in a row! In spite of the overcast skies and moderate temperatures the bugs were bad already!  Suki and Nikki were anxious to come in.  Morning is my favorite time of day, and fortunately most of the boarders are turned off by the early hour, so the farm is quite peaceful.  My friend Amanda sometimes rides in the morning as well, and I welcome her company.  It is good for Nikki to share the arena and I enjoy riding with Amanda.
I decided to do a bit of lateral work again by performing a variety of figures in the arena then throwing in a leg yield or shoulder in from time to time.  For my leg yield off my right leg I focused on relaxing and not trying too hard.  My right leg is weaker so sometimes I tend to over ride movements off that leg to compensate.  As a result of doing less, the leg yields were much more correct.  Yay!  I was less successful on the right shoulder steps!  Nikki was a willing partner and i finished with something I rarely do,but should probably do more frequently; I got up in a slight two-point (not easy in a dressage saddle!) and did a nice forward canter around the arena.  We both needed that!

Suki called to us while Nikki and I were on our way back to the barn.  I aways announce our arrival into the barn with "We're back Mama...told you we wouldn't be too long!" Suki settled back into her hay and waited for her turn.  I decided to just let Suki move forward on the lunge at the trot and canter with some transitions.  It just seemed like that forward kind of day! I finished with a small amount of in hand work and some leading exercises back to the barn.  Unfortunately the new lunging surcingle that I ordered was not to my liking, so back it goes.

Sunday, September 8, 2013
Well the heat and the bugs are back!  I arrived at the barn early and Nikki was grazing near the fence by the driveway.  I put down the window and called to her.  She is so funny!  Nikki looked up strolled closer to the fence and looked in the car at me.  I believe if there was not electric across the top rail she would have stuck her head in the window!
I had asked Jenn to help me with Suki while I pulled her mane today.  Suki is notoriously bad about this, and always has been.  Lately I have been razoring her mane, but I really don't like the way that looks and Suki's mane is really too thick to do that successfully.  So with assistance hopefully Suki will keep the body slamming to a minimum.  She is not shy about expressing her opinions, that's for sure.

Since Jenn has not been able to ride for awhile due to some health issues, I suggested that she come to the barn early and walk around on Nikki.  Riding always helps the soul, doesn't it?
Nikki walked happily out to the arena happily seemingly looking forward to our work.  Since she had Saturday off I lunged for a slightly longer period focusing on transitions.  With good energy we moved through the gaits and finished with a big pat and a sugar cube.  Standing quietly for me to mount, I moved Nikki off on a long rein for our first lap around the arena.  Picking up the reins to a working contact we set to work.  Nikki was nicely forward and attentive so did a bit of transitions within the gaits on the serpentine.  Louise has been doing some counter canter so I worked a bit on that as well.  She only through in one flying change on me which was likely my fault as I shifted my weight.  Just as I began my finishing work Jenn came down the driveway.  She took a few pictures of us, then it was her turn.  Because Nikki worked quietly and well, I knew that she would be fine for Jenn.

Jenn and Nikki
Nikki was a star and Jenn enjoyed being on a horse again!

Me and Nikki
Obviously Jenn is quite a bit taller than me!  Nikki is 17.2 (Louise says 17.3)

Then we set to the task at hand....Suki's mane.  Chain over nose I went to lead Suki out of her stall.  She stuck out her head first as if she was looking for a trailer, which would have made her back up and refuse to come out!  All clear, so out she walked.  Jenn held the lead rope and kept Suki occupied as I started my work.  Taking very small sections at a time I made my way up her neck.  Suki would lip Jenn occasionally, but overall was amazingly well behaved!  We rewarded her with sugar cubes every now and again.  SUCCESS!

Full week ahead at the barn.  Vet on Tuesday for fall shots, farrier on Thursday with some riding in between.

Saturday, September 14, 2013
Perfect morning to ride!  Temperatures in the upper 40's with a slight breeze. Nikki probably could have used a light sheet over night, but it did not get that cool until much later in the evening.  I walked out to get Suki and she willingly walked to the gate.  Nikki remained where she was and continued to graze.  All seemed to be going fine until I tried to bring Suki into the barn.  She planted her feet and refused to enter.  Last time this happened it took awhile for me to get her inside.  Whacking her with the lead behind me the stubborn girl would not walk in the barn.  A carrot bribery finally worked and into the barn we went.  Suki's stall is the first one at that entrance and she planted her feet again!  We walked down to another stall and she went right in.  So I brought her out and down to her stall again.  Nope!  She was not going in.  So I put her in the other stall and went out to get Nikki.

We had a lovely ride.  Low key and easy as I offered a few pointers and suggestions to Amanda.  It was good for Nikki to be in the arena with another horse and even with the crisp autumn air and cool breeze she was quiet and relaxed.  When I finished with Nikki I brought out Suki to be groomed and she willingly walked into her own stall.  Maybe she just wanted a better view of the arena! I had lunged her on Friday so decided to skip today.  Friday, too, was breezy which can often make Suki behave a bit silly when out n the arena.  She was relaxed and nicely forward....a happy girl!  It brought a smile to my face to see her so full of life.  The courage that Suki has demonstrated over the past several years still amazes me.  All too often we take the everyday joys and privileges for granted until we almost lose them?  While I am not always successful, I do try to appreciate life's gifts.

This morning I looked in my garage and saw what a disaster my horse supplies section was.  Walking past it everyday on my way into the house I must have just blocked it!  In the spring I had all of the heavy horse blankets cleaned, but never had the sheets done because they were still in use.  The pile of sheets became covered by the ever rotating pile of saddle pads, wraps and animal towels.  So this afternoon I folded the sheets and put them in a pile, followed by an email to my fabulous blanket lady, Donna.  Next I made a pile of dirty saddle pads to be vacuumed before getting washed.  Six sets of dirty polos into the laundry crate.  Ready for action!!

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