Monday, July 30, 2012

Ontario County Fair: English Day, July 24th

After deliberation, I've decided to make posts for each individual day of fair. . . that way, it's less work for me, less reading at once for you, and. . . etc.

The first day of fair was English day. I only decided to take Daisy a couple days before. I've received a lot of criticism lately about how Daisy and I look english (awkwardly paired), so first I thought I wouldn't bother, but then I did anyway. The fact is, I'm borderline too big for her. . . in an English saddle. Put me in a dressage saddle or western saddle with long stirrups, and somehow it looks fine. 
Daisy was lovely for English day. We ribboned mostly in the top 5. We didn't have many firsts and seconds, but we did decently well and I was pleasantly surprised with how the day panned out. 

Our best class, as usual, was trail class. The fact is, we win first 99% of the time ;), thanks to the work I put in with Daisy teaching her to sidepass over a ground pole. 

The jump course for the seniors was 3' max. . . which is too high for Daisy and I. I asked to be allowed to do the junior course (2'6") exhibition style, with no ribbons, just for fun, and we were allowed to. The course was perfect and Daisy was really lovely. She's turned into a steady jumper, which is so surprising compared to how she used to be. She has gotten soo much better at not rushing between jumps and just popping over them as-is. Unfortunately, we have a limited number of jump pictures. . . In fact, the photo below is basically 'it'.

Trust me, she sticks her ears forward once she's mid-air and looks much happier ;).
Overall, I was very pleased with the way the day went, and we did walk away with two blues. A good start to the long week ahead. . . 

P.S. I should probably include this in the Thursday post. . . however, I think containing my excitement for that long could be detrimental. Therefore, with great pleasure I present to you the official Daisy Mobile of Red Gate Ranch: 
My dad broke the news to me on Thursday that we could begin trailer shopping. Yesterday, we took a road trip and signed the papers for this baby. A complete tour will be provided once we bring it home sometime this week. I am SO. THRILLED. :) 

Friday, July 27, 2012

County Fair is Going Well

:) More details later this weekend :)
(First post from my mobile phone!)

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Not Our Finest Moments

 A neighbor down my street invited the horses and riders in the neighborhood to have unlimited access to their pond for swimming. I was pretty excited to finally have some place so close by to swim Daisy! I headed down to the pond with Jenny on Jolee on Tuesday morning. While Jolee went in relatively easily, Daisy would have nothing to do with the pond experience, which was a bit disappointing. I think the issue was simply that the pond is a step down into water, rather than a gradual slope downward like everywhere else that we've swam. 

On Saturday, I rode Daisy 4.7 miles through the hamlet below us and out the other side to go to my friend Katie's farm, where I had Daisy last year during county fair week. Last year, I rode Daisy home from there and while she did have some spooky moments, they were relatively insignificant. This year, going the opposite direction, Daisy was on high alert as soon as we reached the bottom of the big hill and entered unknown territory. I admit, I was frustrated and angry with her. Of course, hindsight is 20/20. 

I spent a considerable amount of time on foot, leading her forward. When I was on her back, she was too spooked and uncomfortable to move. Once riderless, she moved on fine.
My theory, after the fact, is that she felt too pressured when I was on her to be the 'leader'. She was in foreign land and couldn't trust where she was, and wasn't confident that she or I would be safe moving forward. When I was off her back, the leadership role transferred to me and she was happy to follow me along, assuming that if I was ok with going forward, she could be too.
Does that seem like a valid possibility?  I could also of course say that she didn't trust me that I knew we were safe, so that's why she wouldn't move forward with me on her back.... but she did trust me to move once off, so I'm not sure that explanation could hold water. 

My mom met us at the base of the hill just outside the hamlet to take pictures. Once she started calling out to Daisy, the familiar voice gave Daisy confidence and she trotted forward all too happily. 

I got off and on a few times throughout the ride. This is us passing the little convenience store/antique shop. 

Last year, going in the reverse direction, we had issues where the picture below was taken because Daisy couldn't handle the stress of Dumpsters and the sound of the air conditioner at once. This year she was still spooky, but with my mom leading she went forward. 

I was first quite disappointed with her behavior, but like I said, in retrospect, I'm not mad at her for how she behaved. I almost see it as another gesture toward her intelligence. What do you think?

A couple of our 'finer moments' ;). Some graduation pictures. 

I've been trimming more . . . I gave Daisy a fresh trim this week. I apprenticed the majority of the day Wednesday. That day, I had my first true moment of "I got this". I wasn't really questioning my ability before with trimming, but I wasn't feeling 100% confident that I "got everything" when I would put a hoof down the final time, and I would ask Daisy's triminologist to double check. On my second horse on Wednesday, something clicked and I put down the hooves and really felt like I got everything and it looked good. Trimming is such an art, and very rewarding once it's done; I have such a sense of accomplishment when a hoof is finished. 

On Friday I took my first official client by myself! Family friends of ours whose horses were trimmed 'naturally' before. I did one of the horses Friday, and one Saturday. I'm painfully slow at this point with trimming (1 horse takes me an entire hour) but I do know I'm doing a good job. I'm planning on asking for a hoof jack for Christmas, so at this point I'm using a bulky cinder block... which, besides the bulk, actually works quite well with a towel over top. 

County fair week is this week! The 'biggest' week of the year for Daisy and I. After going back and forth, I've decided to show her English day on Tuesday. I may skip some classes in an attempt to take it easy, since I will be showing her Tuesday through Friday... but we will be doing it :). Wednesday we'll be taking part in costume classes as hippies!
 ♫ Do you want a revolution, well you know! ♫

Happy summertime, folks. Stay cool and bug-free :) 

Friday, July 6, 2012

June Wrap-Up & July Cross Country Schooling

 Hello, bloggers!
It's been so long since I last posted! I'm sorry. Time got away with me there. 

June was busy for me as I wrapped up school things and officially graduated from high school. Whoot! Does this make me an adult? ;) I also got my driver's license. 

It's been super dry in our area, so Daisy and I have been able to trail ride often with no worries of botching up any land. We went riding one evening with a crew from Jenny's barn, and it turns out that we're invited to swim the horses in a pond down my street. Yey! I'm hoping to head out there soon with Daisy for a dip. I can't wait! 
I also went to Lydia's barn where we have pony club lessons for a trail ride. We rode around 7 miles total that day! Daisy was a good girl. Pony club lessons have started up again, and last week Daisy and I had a jump lesson at Lydia's in the indoor. It turned out that we were the only ones to show up, so it was a private lesson. It went decently well, my only complaint being the slightly slippery footing, which made some jumps a bit unbalanced. 

Yesterday, Daisy and I trailered off the farm for a cross country schooling! 
It was a blast, as schoolings generally are. 
Daisy has a history of being a speed demon toward jumps. My instructor at a different schooling once told me to basically let her do that... balance her to the best of my ability, but then not give into her rushing with my own body. She said over time, Daisy would learn that rushing was more strenuous than just approaching the jump balanced, and she would stop being speedy. It seems she was right, because Daisy was uncharacteristically balanced yesterday, all on her own! It was really queer, and yet wonderful, of course. We had a couple jump course runs where she literally kept the same even canter toward jumps, over, and afterward. 

The schooling yesterday consisted of just two riders actually jumping... so it was quiet and nice. 

We jumped the beginner novice jumps, which are a maximum of 2'6" (.762 meters). This is pretty much Daisy's max height, if I had to limit her, but it's still fun to jump her at that height.

Jenny, the owner of the barn we board at in winter, trailered us and took the picture below and one of the others. I love it! That particular jump was one in a line of three going down hill. We jumped a line of 3 jumps, then did a relatively sharp right turn downhill to the next three. Daisy stayed incredibly balanced and nice, and approached the jump below so perfectly. What a joy to ride :) 

 I love my pony :) 

I've been out a few times trimming other people's horses with Daisy's triminologist. I also trimmed Daisy's feet myself for the first time, soon after returning from Canada. She was pretty impatient for trimming-ugh! I hope that improves. Overall it went fine and she's still sound. I especially love to walk her bare feet over the thick gravel on our driveway and watch her not take a lame step. How's that for balanced trim and soundness? ;) 

Stay cool wherever you are! We're experiencing a serious heat wave here. 


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