Sunday, January 29, 2012

Daisy's Midwinter Return Home

Hello blogger friends!
First and foremost, I'd like to thank you for the comments on my last post. Comments are super appreciated; I love hearing from readers. Knowing my posts are looked at/read is very motivating. If you didn't comment. . . please feel free, and I'll try to stop over at your blog too! 

Now on to business. 
Thursday I was thinking how the weather in our woods was still so mild; we've had one 'snow storm' this winter, and the snow melted within 4 days or so. Mostly we've had rain and some wind, and as a result, unending mud in the horse pastures. Daisy was reaching the point where if I put her out without hay in her pasture, she would literally refuse to go through the pasture gait until I forced her to, and then she would only move in far enough for me to close the gate behind her. She's not very happy with the muddy conditions.  I board her because when the weather is bad I have the option of the indoor to ride in, but with the weather so mild, I decided to bring Daisy home for a week (it's only just over a mile ride on the roads; only about a 15 minute ride from where we board to our house). It's lovely to have my pony in my backyard again for a little while.
She seems quite content here at home. I like that, with her having the option of her run-in stall, I can leave her without a blanket. One spot on her back has hair that is wiry and dry, unlike the rest of her coat, where I guess the blanket is irritating her (although it's the same blanket as last year, and we didn't have problems then...) and I'm hoping that it doesn't grow in white in the spring! That would sad. 

Ironically, we got snow last night while I was at work. In less than an hour, we were hit with three inches. Luckily we didn't get more than that, and it's supposed to be warm so it should melt quickly. 
Daisy enjoyed her mid-morning hay in her sunny paddock today. She stands and stares at the door to our house, and anytime someone opens the door she whinnies for food. So cute ;). You'd think she was starving, and yet I've noticed she seems a little more rotund then I'd like at the moment. It is winter though...
At home, she gets 4 flakes of hay, spread out throughout the day (about every two hours), either in her pasture or stuffed in her slow-feeding hay net (which she actually likes).

 I was in the pasture taking photos, and the barn cats insisted on following me everywhere. Gronemeyer is below.
 I rode Daisy today and she was full of energy, and yet I was pleased to find that she was very responsive to my voice commands. We've been working a lot on voice commands while riding, and really quick stops (when we were still in the arena). She does so well! 
Weather-permitting I'll bring her back over to Jenny's farm on Friday. But for now, she's home. ♥

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Wordless Thursday?

Wordless Wednesday Thursday
Dated September 2007, the year I got Daisy. I was 12. 

Friday, January 20, 2012

Riding Gracie, etc

On Wednesday we went and visited my aunt who lives a couple hours away. 

I had the pleasure of riding her 5 year old Percheron/Thoroughbred cross mare, Gracie. I had a great time on her! 
Gracie has a lovely canter. She's a horse whom you truly ride through your seat rather than through your legs. . . it worked better to sit into her to make her go, than to squeeze with your legs. It was an interesting experience. 
Below is a video. . . not exactly the most shining part of the ride, but a good example :) 
Commentary by my mom ;) : 

Lastly. . . I'm going to Canada this year to study with Lisa Huhn, and she just posted this to her youtube. It's a simply beginning video. . . but I do love it! I know that's weird but. . . I do. I get so excited about horse feet ;) 

Daisy and I have been riding; today we barrel raced, which put her in a good mood. Monday I gave the usual lesson on her and Daisy was excellent! My student is getting better and better, and it's so fun  to watch :)


Thursday, January 12, 2012

Team Sorting, Wednesday January 11, 2012

I headed to the barn around 2:30 yesterday and did Jenny's stalls. Once Jenny got home, we brought the horses in and got to grooming and tacking. We're currently experiencing the mildest winter in awhile; yesterday's high was 41 degrees. We've had very little snow, and more rain than snow. Everything is muddy, which of course includes the horses. ;)

Jenny's sister Jean pulled up around 5 with her two horse trailer. Jenny loaded her horses on her trailer and Daisy hopped up on Jean's trailer next to Jean's lovely new gelding, Ace. And off we went!

The drive was about an hour and twenty minutes long. We unloaded and brought the horses into the barn. The barn is set up so that the center is the arena, but it doesn't stretch to the walls. There is space left on the outside of the outside of the arena for horse stalls and an aisle between the arena and stalls. We brought them in the aisle and let the horses check out the cows already being worked in the arena. They were all ears; Daisy stretched up high watching, she was twice her size ;). We bridled (and helmeted!) and took them in. They were all stunned at the sight of the cows, and yet as soon as I was on, Daisy seemed to get over it. We were all pleasantly surprised at how quickly they got over it; we thought we'd be spending a lot of time teaching them not to be afraid.  We were instructed to pick a cow from the group and follow it around, essentially ;) . The funny thing was that some cows, when you approached them, wouldn't move. You just awkwardly stood there hoping they'd make a move. Daisy and I had some fun chasing cows around, cantering behind them until they'd outsmart us and turn around too fast for Daisy to keep up. 

Then we moved to sorting. 
We were all complete newbies to the whole experience. We didn't have a clue at all how it worked.
The cows were all at one end of the arena, and three riders would stand facing them. The center rider started by crossing the start line, at which point a number for a cow was called out and the other two people would move in closer. The center person's job was to find that numbered cow and drive it out of the group of cows, over the start line, while the other two riders held the other cows back from crossing over. Once the first cow was sorted out, another rider would sort the cow with the next number up (the whole following numbers thing was a rule I didn't quite catch on to ;)) and the first person to sort became a person holding the cows back, and this cycle continued until all the cows were sorted out one at a time. 

The short video clip below is of Daisy and I :) 

With each round of us sorting, the man who owned the arena would give us more tips to improve. Even so, we weren't exactly experts by the end of the (almost) two hours. And we were later told that we were practicing on older cows. "We use young cows for real competitions. They're quicker."

Jenny's horse Jordan got really into the sorting, as did Jean's horse Ace (the black and white pinto in the next video), who has cow experience. They knew they were chasing a specific cow and were good at honing in on it and driving it off. Daisy didn't catch on quite as well. For one thing, she was afraid of the end of the arena where the cows were; not the cows themselves, but the strange shadowy areas behind the arena wall. She was a bit difficult to get toward the cows for that reason (however, we had a short break and I spent some time working her down at that end, and she got better).  She also wasn't quick to run into the group of cows. The man instructing us said that was usual for a horse that was just starting. He said they generally weren't comfortable with running right into the group of cows right off the bat. I ended up borrowing Jenny's crop and giving Daisy a good smack a few times to get her to just go, as she was very reluctant at times ;).
By the end of the night, once we'd have a cow, she'd kick it into a canter and pin her ears flat back against her head and chase it. I do think she enjoyed that part ;). She did do a lot of snorting in between, so I think she enjoyed herself, and the experience of trying something new.

Jean is on Ace, the black and white pinto, Jenny on Jayda is the chestnut mare with the white saddle pad, and Daisy and I are the liver chestnut team with the gold breast collar.

My apologies for the language of the videographer in the video below ;) : 

We rode from about 6:30-8:30, at which point a new group of riders came and we left the arena. We untacked and threw coolers on the horses. Daisy got a good amount of treats, and we loaded up in the rain for the ride home. 
I do love coolers. Daisy's sweat was all gone by the time we pulled in at home. She was totally dry. 

If and when I go again, I would probably switch to a snaffle bit or tom thumb, as I ended up two-hand reining a lot and that was difficult in the western curb. I'd also definitely bring a crop. Or spurs. Or both! 

I had so much fun last night! Daisy wasn't awesome at the sorting, but it wasn't competitive and none of us were spectacular anyway, so it was a lot of fun. Cantering around and chasing cows, like barrel racing, is something Daisy evidently enjoys :)

Monday, January 9, 2012

Off-Farm Trail Ride and Upcoming Events. . .

On Saturday afternoon, Jenny decided short-notice to go for a trail ride on a set of pathways in town, and invited Daisy and I along. . . We were too happy to oblige :) 
Daisy walked right on the trailer, no fuss (as usual) and proceeded to get down to the business of emptying the hay manger. 

We arrived tacked and were surprised to find it very windy in town. . . luckily it seemed to die away, or maybe we just didn't notice, as we headed down the trail, with Jenny on her newly-acquired mare, Jolee. 
 The pathways go for about 20 miles I think and connect all the way through our county. As a kid, I spent a lot of time walking and biking the trails closest to home. We parked at the county fair grounds where Daisy and I show in summer and crossed the street to a trail opening. 

We rode until we reached a bridge with a tricky, small opening at the other side, and decided to turn around. That section took us probably an hour and a half or so (. . . This is a rough estimate, I never really kept track of time. . . ). Daisy was thrilled to be out and about on new land! She had a real perk in her step, her ears were forward the whole time and she swung her head side to side to check out the sights. So cute! I love when she's happy; it makes the ride so much more enjoyable. I can't wait until one day when I have my own trailer and the ability to drive it and can take her places.  Something to look forward to :) 
We headed back and continued in the other direction past the trailers so we could reach this big bridge a short distance away. 

It's hard to tell in the picture, but the bridge is high up! Neither of the two horses wanted to cross it, but I didn't want to give up, so I got off Daisy and after a few minutes of coaxing her and praising her for every step toward the bridge, I got her to get one hoof on it. Once we got that first hoof on, her fear was gone and she was fine with it. Jolee followed suit. It was so cool to be on that big bridge over the water with the horses! I walked her across and re-mounted on the other side. We headed back over the bridge, back to the trailers. 
We mostly walked for the ride, with a little trot and canter. I had such a good time! Daisy and I needed that off-farm activity :) 

And we have more coming our way! 

Wednesday is our first step in the direction of fulfilling one of our goals for 2012. . . we. . . are going. . . .

Team penning!!!
Actually it's team penning practice, but. . . yey!
Daisy is afraid of cows. But I think once she has a few minutes to warm up to the situation (ok . . . maybe a bit more than a few minutes) she'll be fine about it. 

I'll let y'all know how it goes. 

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Hello 2012 :)

Sometime last week (whoops. . . back in 2011) Daisy and I visited these horses. There is actually a third, a black and white pinto, but (s)he didn't come up to the fence. They seem like sweet horses. There used to be two, but their herd moved up to three at some point. I've talked to most horse owners in our riding radius, but not these ones; I've never seen them. Hopefully one day we'll get to chat so I can find out more about these cuties. 

Yesterday was a cold day here in New York. . . I went to the farm around 1 o'clock yesterday and it was 9 degrees Fahrenheit. When I left a few hours later, it was only 7 degrees. Daisy and I went for  a quickie ride in the indoor. I was bundled up in many layers, and glanced in the mirror and laughed. I thought I'd share ;) : 

I purchased a Tough-1 medium weight blanket for Daisy this year, as her old blanket was a couple years old and smelly and torn. I splurged and bought her one with a fun pattern. I love seeing her in zebra stripes :) 

 I received a smartphone for Christmas, and I'm liking the photo aps. Below is "retro camera": 

This was taken on our ride today. We went out in the snow to stretch Daisy's legs after a few days in the indoor; She loves to canter for long stretches. This is extra fun in the snow, where she has to use extra effort to move her legs up and down through it. She's so good. :) 

Stay warm!,


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