Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Blogging Failure

I looked through my photos and realized...blogger failure that I have become, I missed out on posting a lot of stuff!

In August, I boarded Daisy at a friend's house a few minutes away. I had a lot of fun riding trails with her and her two mares. Daisy spent a bit of time each day out in a big grassy pasture:

 We cantered over logs on our good mares through the woods:
Some days I cavorted through the woods on lovely Miss Phoebe, Katie's horse:
She's a halflinger. She has the quickest little trot. LOVE her! Such a good girl.

We went up and down hills, pausing to enjoy the marvelous view:

  (These are all cell-phone shots. Unfortunately I didn't bring my camera along that day)
When it came time to bring Daisy home, I decided to mix it up with my easily-bored horse and ride her home. It's about a 4.5 mile ride; not long, but it includes a huge hill. Unfortunately, I have no picture of it, but believe me, it's big. So big that we often have different weather on the top of it than at the base. Daisy's leg muscles are very used to hills, as we ride hills all over the place every day, but this was easily the biggest one we've ever ridden. ;)
Just below our house, on the base of the hill, is a small hamlet. Just houses, a hairdressers shop, a gas station and convenience store, and an ice cream/barbecue place. I've always wanted to ride down in summer and to get ice cream and ride back ;). I never did that, but I finally had the opportunity to ride Daisy through the little village anyway. 

Daisy likes being ridden and has a lot of energy, but when she does the same thing or rides in the same place often, she gets lazy and uninterested. Understandable. Riding through the town made her completely excited! She had her ears forward the whole time and walked forward with an energetic step. We left at 9 am I believe. It was just under a mile ride from Katie's house to the hamlet, and then we rode through. Our first shocker came when we went to pass behind the convenience store and Daisy heard the air conditioner going, and I think she associated it as coming from the garbage Dumpster behind the building. She backed nervously into the street and tried to spin. I attempted to calmly talk her out of it for a bit, but eventually I gave up and got off her and hand walked her around the dumpster, placing myself between her and the Dumpster, as my riding instructor once taught me when I was little. 
Once past, I got back on. We passed the playground below, situated at the bottom of the hill. Daisy thought it looked suspicious. 
We passed a cow farm. We couldn't see any cows, but all of a sudden the stench hit us like a wall, and Daisy's nostrils flared and she looked all around her. She wanted to spook, but she couldn't tell where the scary thing was! So funny ;) I urged her on, and she complied. She marched full of energy up the big hill. She didn't spook anymore. 
Once we reached the top and went along a little ways, she suddenly recognized where we were, a place we'd ridden in the past, and her interest in the ride was gone instantly. She walked slower, her head hung low, and she walked relaxed back home the last mile and a half. 
 She was such a good mare though!
I love trying new things with Daisy, taking her or riding her in new places. She gets excited and interested, and that makes it fun for me too! I hope we ride through the hamlet again sometime. Maybe if we do it enough, she'll get over it and we can get ice cream ;). 

My brother got engaged to the lovely Stormy in August, and in September I took them both on a ride at Jean's farm. 
From left to right:
Me on Phoenix, Markus on Scout, and Stormy on Buttercup

 (The happy couple got married in October)

I've been enjoying Daisy, as always. I drove her often in September and October. I haven't driven her in weeks now; my driving-helper's schedule and mine haven't meshed all that well. Saturday her and two other girls from our pony club are coming over to drive Daisy with me; fingers crossed she behaves after over a month off from driving. I think she will; she always surprises me with how quickly she picks up something again, even after time off. I have a video of us driving that I've posted to youtube. I haven't posted it to the blog yet, but I'm preparing a compilation post and it will be in it. 

Daisy has been on Mare Magic for a few weeks now. It's a supplement for mares; literally just raspberry leaves. It had a lot of good reviews, so I'm trying it. It's hard to gauge whether it's working or not, but I have a feeling it is. She's been more pleasurable to ride lately. 
Daisy yesterday as we embarked on our ride: 
Today I got on her bareback with just a halter and reins for a quick ride up and down the driveway a couple times in the rain. I've been incorporating voice commands into all our rides; Daisy responds well to whoa, trot-trot, canter (pronounced caaaann-ter!), and back. It's made rides so much more relaxed! I still use my reins sometimes from canter to stop, but it's not as much of a struggle; I sit deep in the saddle and say "and waaaalkk" as I exhale, and she slows. She listens to "easy", as well, when I ask her to settle into a more controlled canter. Today, with only the halter, I used voice commands  the entire ride. I picked up the reins a couple times to reinforce commands, but I never have to jerk back hard; it's a slight movement of my finger, and I get a response. She's incredible! At the end, I backed her with no rein pressure, just repeating "back" over and over, and sidepassed her both ways as I said "step-over" and used my leg pressure. It's so awesome to ride like that!
Then I stopped her and gave her a hug, did a cycle of 'around the world' ;), and stood on her back for a few seconds. This all with her standing feet from the gate, where she normally just wants to walk to. She stood stalk-still. Good mare!!!

I've been giving weekly (weather and health permitting) riding lessons to a 10 year old. 
My mom graciously drove me out to pick up a kid's saddle I found on craigslist for $50. Worth the purchase! The leather was a little dry, but after two times of oiling it, it's supple and wonderful. 

Lastly, Daisy knows the word 'cookie' now. I'll let you see her reaction ;) (and this coming from the mare who has her ears pinned back 90% of the time):

It's a shame that I was so negligent about posting stuff this summer. 


Bella said...

That IS a big hill! I can second that! ;)

Is your goal to eventually ride without tack like Stacy Westfall? Maybe eventually you won't even have to use voice commands and just use your body! That would be so cool.

Mellimaus said...

I'd like to, yeah. In an enclosed arena anyway ;). I'm not sure if we'll ever get there w/o voice commands; Daisy is so opinionated about what we do ;) but I'm going to try :) I've been able to ride her with just a neck-rope in the past, so we're starting there.

allhorsestuff said...

I loved this post of days/months past events!!
I learned that thoughts about my Wa mare being really bored with old trails, sometimes misbehaving on ones she doesn't like, isn't just my whimsical thinking! I'm really glad you told us about her excitement for new things. My mare shares that with yours!

Too cool that 4.5 mile ride through the hamlet! It was really fun almost " riding with you" as you described it. What a good girl she is.
Ya know you both have grown so muchyou and she can do anything!

Cute little Western fits your mare okay? I guess at 10 yrs. Not too much weight on it even if it were an ill fit!
Neat teaching someone young to love the horse!
You take care Mellie Happy Thanksgiving!!
Kacy and Wa mare


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