Monday, August 1, 2011

A Ride Update

I haven't posted about an actual ride in quite a while. Granted, we haven't been doing a whole lot of riding because of the heat, but I haven't had the saddle on Lilly's back since June 15th when she started showing discomfort again. When I do ride, we just kind of play around inside the round pen bareback with only a rope halter. I've pretty much given up on the 2011 show season so I don't see any reason to work her hard ahead of pulling her shoes.

She's actually doing quite well in the rope halter. I only have one rein (the lead rope attached to the halter) so it gets tricky steering and communicating, but that's half the fun. I have to use my body to communicate rather than relying on the reins. I know it helps being in the round pen because she can only go so fast, but she's really learning how to get soft in the halter and I'm sure that's going to translate interestingly when we do put the bridle back on.

I've been working on getting her to allow me to get on from the gate. I sit up on the gate and ask her to come up really close and stop without swinging her hip to the inside of the pen. She is really good when it comes to the mounting block, but the gate thing is a bit perplexing for her. She would prefer to stand with her face in my lap and just enjoy each other's company. :)

I've been doing the same thing when I get off... park close to the gate so I can step off and use the gate to climb down, but she refuses to get close enough to make it easy for me to dismount. I can ask her to sidepass all day long and she complies, but she lets me know when she thinks we're close enough to the gate. That's what we worked on mostly today and I finally got her to get really close and stop. That's when I got off and we went back to the barn.

I've been doing quite a bit of cantering bareback and I can finally say I'm getting better. I think Lilly is getting better too and that works in my favor as well. Her transitions are beautiful (even though I know I look like crap up there asking for them) and she just steps right into the canter without fuss. I still ask for the canter from the trot, but it makes things easier for both of us until I've got a better bareback seat. She rates her speed pretty well and doesn't do a lot of speeding up and slowing down, which is always helpful, and she's been a good babysitter by slowing, stopping, or moving to the inside if I start to get unstable up there. Today felt really good and we did quite a bit more cantering than we usually do. :)

In other news, I made an appointment with Cat for September 8th to pull Lilly's shoes (yay!!). The fourth trimmer will still come out on August 13th to give me her opinion, but she's too far for me to use as a regular trimmer, especially if we're doing 2 week trims to start. Lilly's shoes will be at about 8 weeks by then, so hopefully they stay on and there will be some hoof there for Cat to work with. I'll also be done with all my August vacations and can dedicate whatever time and attention Lilly needs during her transition. I haven't told my current farrier yet, but I'm working on my speech and it's almost done.


  1. Good for you for doing the bareback work.

  2. It's sad, but it's kind of fun too, when you have to switch gears and slow down. I liked your description of Cat and I'm glad you're going to work with her!

  3. Congratulations on the round pen work with just a halter and lead rope.

    I loved the sound of Cat and can't wait to hear how Lilly dose on this next adventure.

    Nice layout by the way, good time since it's a beginning of a new chapter with Lilly.

    Good Luck

    Barbara and Dolly

  4. Funny, I had a feeling you were going to go with Cat. ;) Glad you are having fun with the bareback, it sure helped me out a TON

  5. It must be exciting to have a date set for Lilly's shoes to come off! I had a feeling you were going to go with Cat, and I think she's a good choice. You might also give the others a call to thank them for their time but that you've found someone else who really "clicks" with your mare, but could you keep them in mind it case it doesn't work out? Best not to burn bridges, you know!

    Your time bareback with Lilly sounds really special and fun. Sometimes it's really nice to slow down and just BE with your horse. However, I wouldn't toss the entire show season out the window just yet! Lilly could be perfectly fine coming out of shoes - or at least fine everywhere except rocks and pavement. Certainly sound to show! I'm not saying you should schedule out an entire show season, but it doesn't hurt to keep one or two in the back of your mind, just in case!

  6. I hope it goes well! Fingers crossed for an easy transition to barefoot. I envy the fact that you can ride Lilly bareback!

  7. Lilly could give Coriander some lessons- if I canter bareback and lose my balance he bucks. "Oh, you're falling off, let me help you!" Jerk.

    I'm excited to read about your new journey and your work with Cat. Fingers crossed all goes well :)

  8. Terry, thanks! I'm actually having quite a bit of fun with it. Lilly is quite comfy bareback too. :)

    Funder, I agree 100%! Like when Lilly first went on stall rest... I was really bummed, but the quality time we spent together turned into some of my favorite memories. We've been having a lot of fun in the round pen! And I'm very excited to start working with Cat.

    Barbara, thank you! This is kind of a new chapter with Lilly... like you said, a new layout is definitely fitting!

    Milo, the bareback gets even more fun as I learn to balance more and more. I'm a lot more steady when I first started and I'm also impressed with how Lilly had been doing with just the halter and lead rope. It's so cool!

    Jen, you have no idea how excited I am! I wish we could do it sooner but I have two trips this month and I really want to wait until I'm done traveling. Good idea about calling the other trimmers... I'll definitely do that.

    As far as showing this year, you're right... this barefoot thing could go much better than I think and we could still get in a show or two. There's one in November that would be fun to attend, but I didn't want to set any goals in case we need a lot more time. I might keep that one in mind, though... :)

    Sam, thank you! And luckily Lilly is pretty plump, so she's nice and cushy to sit on.

    Smazourek, LOL! I'm so glad Lilly doesn't do that! I'd be a goner for sure... Lilly is very polite about my terrible bareback "skills". :)

    September 8th feels like Christmas... I can't wait!