Monday, October 31, 2011

October Comes To An End

Winslow Homer (gray horse) running down the backstretch in an allowance race at Keeneland.
I've been so busy with work this October!  It's the most beautiful time of the year here in Kentucky...

Edgar Prado coming back to the winners circle with Senada at Keeneland.

Weanlings at Shadwell Farm.

Nana the St. Bernard puppy.  She's only 15 weeks old.

Chantal Sutherland after her stakes win at Keeneland.
  Matt and I have been doing all we can to keep up with our work.  It's a nice position to be in! Matt recently blogged about some of our fun photo shoots - Capture The Light.   I've had a few photo shoots for Peeps and Paws which were great fun too!
A Rottweiler puppy born a few hours before this photo was shot.

A fun family portrait!  :)

Nana the mischievous St. Bernard puppy...

Nana the mischievous St. Bernard puppy - again...

And best of all...  on the closing weekend of racing at Keeneland, I ran into Ollie's old trainer.  Once again I was told of his horrible antics, how he tore down stalls, was nicknamed "Chuckie" and how much trouble they had keeping weight on him.  I was happy to say that he's fat and happy a few miles away from Keeneland and that I'm aiming to take him to his first show in either November or December.  The look of surprise was priceless.  The trainer's wife said, "He's a little nutty in the head..." and made that international sign for crazy by twirling her index finger around her ear. 

I told her he was much more settled and calm and a great trier.  I'm more determined than ever to keep up with our good work!  He's doing great and I'm so proud of him!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Progress Report - Canter Departs

October is a very busy month for Matt and me.  First of all, it's the Keeneland Fall meet time of year.  We've been having a grand time at the races...

If you haven't been to Keeneland then you're missing out on something very special.   The best horses come from all over the country and the racing is excellent as well as the scenery and atmosphere.

We've also had weddings to photograph and well I'm trying to keep up with my progress with Ollie in between all of it.

I dragged Matt out this morning to video tape our ride so I could show all of you (as well as myself) that we're doing better. 

We struggle a bit with our left lead and at one point in the video you'll see us on the wrong lead but come back on the correct lead.  It was a lovely flying change that was completely missed on the video and which I was completely unaware of until I felt the correct lead underneath me.

I talk to Ollie often and pat him when we do well.  The verbal commands help us.  And if you're curious, I put music to this from one of my favorite artists - Sara Bareilles, "One Sweet Love."

The video is great for me to see where I'm making mistakes when I ask for canter.  Like it would help Ollie to pick up the correct lead if I had his nose tipped in rather than out when I ask for canter.  Oh well!  I do want to get another lesson with Julie soon!

And if you want to see from where we came - here's our starting point video:

Monday, October 3, 2011

Cool Fall Morning Beauty

Ollie and I are continuing with our good work.  I've been having some great rides with him lately and I hope they continue.  We're still working on our canter as well as leg yields.  We're also working on our John Lyons training for when we load on the trailer again.

But otherwise, working on the same old stuff can be a bit boring to write about in a blog SO I thought I'd post photos this week.  Fall is a beautiful time of year - my favorite and the mornings have been spectacular when I go to take care of my guys.  They come in for their feed then I put them back out to enjoy the warm sunshine and cool air.  Matt came out and shot these pics of me doing my morning thing with the boys.  Enjoy!

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Documenting Progress

This week went by and I wasn't able to fit a lesson in.  We had one planned but my instructor had some people coming in from out of state to look at a horse and she just couldn't fit a lesson in at my barn AND showing the horse to the people coming in from a long distance.

That worked out just fine for me.  I still need more time to work on the canter departs.

This got me to thinking about this blog and how I like to use it as a way to document my progress (or lack of it at times).  I had some comments posted regarding my last video where people thought I was brave to post it.  I couldn't understand how it is considered brave.  I want to post our foibles and follies as well as our crowning moments.  It's what makes riding so much fun!  You come across a problem and you learn how to correct it or at least improve on it.

So I went back to look for an early ride on Ollie video and couldn't find any.   It's mostly of Betsy Van Dyke riding him.  So I went back further and I found this one of me and Jaguar Hope.  I KNOW I'm better at sitting the canter now than I was 3 yrs ago...

I still swoon over Jag's good looks and I try hard not to get too sentimental about missing him. After all, I have a cute pudgy gray pony who adores me now.  For a refresher - here is the last video I put up of Ollie and me.

I see improvement! I rode Ollie yesterday and worked a bunch on our cantering - me sitting it better and us with our departs. The departs are coming along slowly and my seat is improving but every now and again I get popped out of it. I have to think heavy thoughts to stay in that saddle.

Now it's time for my confession. I was always worried that Ollie would take off on me at the canter. He can make his jaw so stiff and crane his neck out and I'll have moments of no hand steering.

He's teaching me to use my seat as a steering wheel so I guess that's good. At any rate, I hate it when he does that and it's always made me apprehensive about the canter. Now I know that I don't have to worry about him taking off at the canter. He will lope around and around at a steady pace even when we have a long straight away. Our problem is getting him to transition down to the trot! He loves to do a relaxing lope around and around and around. It's super comfortable too. Sometimes it takes me the entire ring to get back to trot... ugh. He'll slow down his canter nicely but changing it to trot is another story.  I imagine he is thinking back on his racing days where he'd lope around the track for his exercise. The good news is that I don't worry about the fact it may take us a little while to transition down. He's relaxed and pleasant otherwise.

So we are going to keep on keeping on!  I'm sure a new video will be up in a week or two hopefully showing progress!