About this Blog

Meet my very 1st horse, Lazarus.
I couldn't wait for Santa anymore or ask one more time for a pony for my bday (after age 30 it got embarrassing). I took matters in my own hands and I finally decided to pick a pony that needed a new home. Laz found me as I contemplated with this idea. He was sweet yet very sassy, fresh off the track, Thoroughbred (OTTB).
Join us for our re-training, rehabbing from laminitis and testing all parts of mixed up horsemanship and partnership, and luck...

Monday, September 23, 2013

Weekend play time

Early Fall is here! Chilly nights that the horses are loving, but sunny days. The leaves are just turning around here and things are started to hum in a glow of gold and orange.
Bugs are mostly gone and I have more open weekends to ride--HOORAH
On Saturday, I invited E to come ride Laz while I rode the barnowner's OTTB, Pito.
Originally we were going to trail ride, but the weather was a mix of sun and rain, so we stayed put. Not to mention I was 100% hungover from a bash I hosted the night before (#lovemeagirlsnight!)

So, we drug out some jumps and decide to give little Lazaroo a 'jumping' lesson
It was more, play with forward while giving him something to target.
Spacing out cavalettis for trot work, while the cow pony Laz just waited for his Aunt E.
He loves her. We love her. We miss her pony Justin all the time and our awesome foursome
 She is the perfect confident but SO gentle of a rider and Laz was perfect for her. I know he felt very comfortable in her hands
I pretty much don't let anyone ride him (not counting the pony rides I lead him on) but with E, I trust her to the end of the earth.
 Good forward pony
After about 20 minutes of walking/trotting over poles and X's, I thought Laz was giving 100% so we ended it by doing a reward road ride with the two horses.

 Pito and I leading the way. 
Side note; Pito rocks. Floaty hunter trot and all. He and his Mom were on the equestrian team at MSU
Coolness. He is such a gorgeous steely grey
 E and Laz (notice that Laz's mouth is full o' grass)
 Apples trees are in hanging in full fruit right now. This is just along the road, with THE SWEETEST apples ready for picking. 
 I am always envious of riders that drop their reins just confident that all is well. And indeed all was. I'm just hardly ever that rider. I always (always!) worry; what if he spooks? Steps on his reins? Breaks his neck? 
Riding is such an honest mirror into your anxiety or confidence. DEEP.
 Pito munching on road'sauce'
Pito is a cribber (despite his worry free, ulcer free life) and he has like no front teeth so I was happy he chose the smooshed ones vs round apples
Pito and I eating our fill
A fun day!
Sunday, I went back out to the barn
Laz and I just played around texting this photo to our friends
 Laz and I worked on riding point to point with forward movement and rewarding when we got to my targeting point. I stuffed a lot of treats in my pocket being he is so food motivated. (who isn't?!)
He tried his avoidance a bit, but I used leg (no crop or home made stick/whip) and he was like "UGH ok..." and then marched on. I stopped him and rewarded him. We continued on like this and on each ask forward he got better and better. 

I luv mah poneee!

We rode the road a few time, back/forth. We even dealt with the Sunday workers of lawn mowers and blowers, barking dogs (Mason running toward them and choosing to IGNORE me while I screamed at him) and a loose 4 yr old child who came running up to Laz barefoot (ummmm)
Anyhoo, after all that, I rode Laz towards another apple tree and let him treat himself!
 We also rode in our Myler D bit with much success. 
 My trainer mentioned using the pasture as his reward to dismount instead of always back at the barn.
So, we did!
It was a good low key riding weekend!

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Finding solutions!

Oh my sweet man...I literally am in love with this handsome boy.
We worked out in the big field on the lunge and he was 100% on point and honest.
 Took a stroll down the road...
Ate some tall grasses
All reward for him. He did so so well in our second part of our conversation...

Laz and I had a follow up lesson with our Parelli trainer on Tuesday evening.
We started on the ground and ended up riding it out.
The goal was to create patterns and get forward movement. 
Laz (thankfully) demonstrated what I was having a hard time with; him wanting to listen to my request to move forward, away from his herd mate.
My trainer had me work on keeping his nose tipped (not yanked in) towards me on the ground. She had me ask for a forward trot and/or canter and if he didn't respond to slooowly and loosely use my stick to show him my ask, by a slow and exaggerate way of circling my arm behind me and forward, ending with the stick pointing at him. It worked. It gave him fair time to see my action and make the choice himself to go forward. I got a lot of snorting, and breathing out from him which was great.
We decided it was time to saddle up. I also rode him in my new bridle and D ring snaffle bit to make sure my trainer thought he looked calm/comfie in it for when/if I want to use it vs his bitless. I'm not giving up on bitless, just adding to my options. I'll use all in rotation as I feel I need it.
He did great in the bridle/bit.

So, when we started, he did hesitate on my ask for him to walk out of pasture and toward the grassy side of the road,  and then did his complete stop and turn back, in our ride. So instead of leg/leg/leg, my trainer followed along side with my stick. Laz does not, nor should he fear my stick. It's used as guidance and for happy rubs as reward. So she lightly bumped (note--no whipping) his hind to encourage forward, as I concentrated on looking WHERE I wanted to go--focus and ask with my leg and body. When he went forward, we released any asking pressure, and when we got to our spot, we stopped and gave him rewards with rest, grazing. We worked on spot to spot riding, which was about the distance of half of his large pasture. I rode from a grassy spot to my neighbors mailbox (no mailboxes were harmed) and back. The exercise was to make the mailbox which was the spot furthest from the barn and his calling buddy, the reward. We would then trot, or allow him to canter if he kept his cool back to the grassy spot, turn right away and come right back to mailbox. Rest/reward. We did that about 5 times and then called it a day. It's all about ending on a great note. She had me dismount at the mailbox and pet/praise him and then we walked back to the barn together. 
I was so pleased. I will be working on this more and more.

A funny thing, today when I drove to the barn, I approached the road mailbox that we did break...and the guy was out there fixing it. I pulled over and told him I was the girl who left him the note and how sorry I was. He was SO kind and said he totally appreciated that I was honest and he often enjoyed watching me, Laz and Mason amble down the road. He was shocked that my normally plodding pony ripped on his mailbox. I laughed and said I was as well. I offered again to pay for any new materials and he said it was an easy fix and no harm for a couple of new screws. 
Hopefully no more mailbox murders in our future.

Monday, September 16, 2013

The whipping boy

Last week the weather was a mix of 90 and 60's. I took advantage of the one hot day and gave Laz a nice liniment bath and scrubbed him down, knowing it would probably be his last bath of the season. He used to hate baths, and he now really enjoys them. Just stands and lip laps at the water
So, yea..well, I guess I got yesterday's dirt off.
Someone was literally quite pleased with himself
"Now i reelly cleanz"
Mid week I saw a 5k and a 10k race in Kensington, which is the park I board near. I thought, HEY, this is perfect..we (Billy and I) could do this together and Laz had a farrier appointment at Noon. 
Run, Laz, Lunch-YES!
So, we did. 
I have a love affair with Kensington and I thought it would be the coolest place to do my FIRST 5k in.
It was! The race was small but soooo beautiful and fun. So many positive, encouraging people with Cider, fruit and sandwiches at the end. Oh, and a medal, and an UGLY sweatshirt that I will literally cut into for rags.
After our race.
Billy is an avid runner. I is not.
When I ran (well, when anyone did) across the finish line, they announce your name/age/where you live. It was very cool. I know that isn't new ..but for me, it was!
I ran as much as I could, but walked a lot too. Finished in 37:54
Billy after his 10K cooling off along the lake
Then it was time for Laz to get recasted. We did the same double cast and he grew about an inch of heel--HOORAH!

Sunday Funday!
J9 and Kaspin  came to meet us at our barn for a hopeful trail ride. It was raining so we decided to just play and see what transpired. We didn't want to get caught out in a storm/downpour especially since Kaspin is a newbie at trails.
Can you believe that I randomly met J9 at a clinic about 4 years ago and we live about 1 mile apart and board about 20 minutes apart. Crazy. She's been SO awesome to us in our Parelli training and just overall support! I just adore her.
So, we warmed the boys up in the front pasture.
Laz was giving me some indications that he wasn't pleased that his pasture mate Pito wasn't around

Here he is handsomely staring at Pito
The sun poked through so we decided to tack up and do a bit of road riding to help expose Kaspin.
Well..Kaspin was TREMENDOUS from start to finish. J9 has done some amazing things for him, it's truly remarkable. I had thought "Ohhh, we will be soooo good for your newbie boy because we do this allll the time" 
Boy did I eat my words. Laz acted like he has never left his pasture. EVER.
He literally would put the brakes on, try Quarter horse spinning around and ignoring ALL my leg/rein asks to want to go back to Pito.
He was 100000% ignoring me.
I was beyond frustrated and embarrassed.
Thankfully J9 helped me through it and we FINALLY got Laz to lead  er FOLLOW the 'newbie' Kaspin who thankfully wasn't feeding into Laz's high strung behavior.

 Yes, that's me below, with a whip/crop made of a branch.
That I used. A LOT. ughhh
I had to literally "beat the sh*t" out of my horse (I kidd of course..wait, do I?) to get him from stopping swirling around to try to run back to his pasture. It was ridiculous. He was not scared, he was not in pain, he was truly wanting to be sour.
I would gently ask for him to continue forward. He would ignore, I would ask again, he would ignore following with a "I'll just turn opposite super quick" and I had to crop his shoulder until he turned to where I was asking. I ended up having to match his intensity which I hate doing.
But it worked and he ended up shaking his head, processing it, and settling down a bit more.
I had to take many mental breaks. Pauses. I wanted to reset him as well. I would start again. Asks and suggest and then TELLS. The reason the 'tells' came into play??? 
He literally ran INTO a mailbox and then broke it off. 
Ya, don't worry...I didn't at all feel like a DumbA## leaving a note in their smashed box of "Sorry my horse rammed into your mailbox, I'm happy to pay for repairs"

He kept ramming me into tree branches, or would step too close to water pipes in the ground. He literally was acting up one of the worst ways I've ever had him do.
I don't know what got into him but I do know this; for a while now, he's been testing me and Sunday it blew up in my face.
 We just continued down the road, and worked on going forward, and listening to my cues. J9 suggested turning around and walking and then circling back and walking him opposite and he FINALLY calmed down and listened.
Even the whole way back, he felt slightly annoyed with me and much more fast paced than when he and I ride either alone, with Mason, or with Pito.
It was just off. We were off. I was sooo disappointed that I had to crop my horse and even more disappointed that he was not listening to me
We did end it all on a good note, with the two boys grazing on our return, so we dismounted and ended it. Kaspin was an A+ student and Laz was a pot smoking D student. 
Scratch that. Laz is an A student..his teacher (me) failed him.
I have a lesson scheduled this week to help me work this kink out.

It was eating at me ALL day yesterday. So much that I was telling my Husband about it while we walked the pups. He really didn't get it until I said "It's like in a heated game of Basketball, and your star Forward asks your Guard, in front of you as the Coach, what play to play?"
He was like "Oh.  Wow."
Anyway, I had to really work on letting it go. I actually saw this and decided, in the end, he did make good choices. It just took awhile.
We'll see what my trainer is able to offer me for this behavior so I can earn his trust and confidence during our rides, at any time. 
Build the partnership instead of us fighting 
He clearly wanted to be just be back in his pasture with his friend and not listen to me. I want him to be able to make decisions but then also trust when I need to make one for us.
After all, this is a team sport.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

The trail ride that wasn't

Can you even stand the sweetness? I can't and I see them multiple times a day.
Just sayin'...

Le Boeuf CAKE!
The week escaped me for rides (I still got pony time no worries) but by Friday, I was ANGRY from wanting to ride/ride/ride/ride and then, ride.
So, I did. 
Friday after work, Laz, Mason and I had a date.
It was a beautiful day and Laz was awesome.
We road out on the road
 With my best boy Mason by our side
 Laz seemed SO happy to be out doing his job of kerplunking around
 We played in the pasture a bit too, where he only bucked a couple of times from excitement

 Greeted by his lover. 
I do think a third horse would really help these two chill out with their love affair
Dare I say, maybe even a mare??
 Untacked and relaxing in the stall way breeze...ahhhh
Saturday, E and I had made plans to take Laz and Pito out on a trail.
Pito's Mom wasn't available, so I was to ride Pito and E on my Laz.

About 15 minutes before I pulled into the barn I got a scary phone call from the BO

"KRISTEN?!....The horses are loose!"
I about died. Loose?! Like LOOSE?!
So I said "WHAT!!!!!!!!??? WHERE ARE THEY?! ARE THEY OK??!"
She promptly responded "I think (!!) next door and I think (!!) they are ok"

I just assured her, that myself and E would get them and be there in minutes...after I clarified they got loose by charging her when she opened the gate to drive through vs running through a fence (insert thoughts of my horse is bleeding out)
I asked if I should call my vet and she thought they were fine, so I went with it.
Within maybe 20 minutes of their "BORN FREE" adventure, Laz stopped his fat rear and came walking up to the BO's husband, ready to go home and relax.
It was comical.
Thank the horse gods that the two boys were OK and nothing happened. I can't even think of all the possible death traps they somehow avoided, but they did.
Needles to say, they were wiped out and totally soaking wet with sweat. So E and I hosed them down, checked them out entirely from nose tip to tail. All was fine.
But now, we had no horses to ride....so E actually suggested we drive 30 minutes to her barn where she leases her wonderMare Stella, a 17 hh Thoroughbred and ride her.

E and Stella above
and below...awesome!
E is one of my favorite people to ride with. She's super sweet, calm and a great rider/teacher/friend.
I adore her. She makes me feel confident as a rider, so I decided to hop on Stella. She's not an easy horse to ride. She is VERY mouth sensitive and will bite the bit down and throw her head down and gallop around. But I just listened to E, who has been leasing her since Feb and we did OK.
We jumped even! It was SO fun. She leapt over this baby X rail probably not knowing why it was SO low...she did take off in a BIG ass canter and it took me a couple of minutes and circling to bring her down. Then I called it a day! I wanted to end it on a good note
She's so pretty but boy she doesn't photograph too well as seen below
You can see a little 45 second video below of our trotting:
 E dropped me off back at my barn after our fun Stella ride and I was able to check on the boys again. It had started sprinkling and you may be able to see the two princess under a tree below.
They were fine, tired, but fine.
Then Sunday I returned to make sure my baby was "for sure for sure" OK
And they were. 
So I hopped on bareback, seen on video below here:
 So thankful that it all ended up just fine and no ponies were hurt in the filming of 
"WE  runz FREEEE adventures"