Saturday, February 4, 2012

Switching Things Up A Bit

Alex came out for another visit today. I really appreciate her coming out to give me pointers even though she makes me work really hard and do things outside of my comfort zone. She always says that she's afraid she'll never see me again, but I just keep emailing her anyway! I guess I'm a glutton for punishment. :)

She rode Lilly first and worked on some of the things I was having questions about. I don't get to see Lilly ridden very often, so it really helps me when I'm able to watch Alex ride. I'm a visual learner, so being able to see what Lilly is doing and the differences in her when Alex does different things helps me understand what I need to do.

Alex commented on how much stronger Lilly feels compared to the last time she was out... we've been working hard since then! She's really starting to develop some muscle tone as well, but it never comes through in the pictures. She's looking and feeling really good, though!

We worked on a lot of the usual stuff, like cantering, jogging, keeping her shoulders up, and stopping.

Jogging... and getting yelled at for my riding skillz.
Then, as she tends to do, Alex got a little creative and sacrificed her sweet puppy dog, Pepper. Pepper had to play the part of a cow, and Lilly turned into a cutting horse. We WERE riding in a cutting saddle after all! So we chased Pepper around for a while and Lilly seemed to really get into it! She's not a big fan of dogs as it is, so being allowed to chase one around was something she was all for.

Our little, black cow.
It was a lot of fun and gave Lilly a purpose for moving her shoulders. It's unfortunate that I don't have a dog, and the two dogs that belong to the barn owner don't usually follow us out into the arena, or we would try to do that more often.

Once we were done with cutting practice, I was instructed to take Lilly over the small jumps that were set up in the arena. I'm not a jumper, nor do I pretend to be one or know anything about it, but we did the best we could!

Getting ready!
A nice, low cavaletti, but look at that reach!
Now it's a little bit higher...
Then Alex got sneaky and raised the height of the cavaletti when I wasn't looking. Lilly had to actually "jump" over it. I wasn't exactly prepared, but my face seems to be saying I had fun trying!

A big, cheesy grin! :)
I know all you hunter jumper people are laughing at me, but our goal has always been to keep most of our hooves on the ground at all times! I do want to try a few hunter hack classes this year, though, so I guess there's no time like the present to start working on it.

I think Lilly had as much fun today as I did. I'm sure she gets tired of staring at the dirt the whole time we ride, so I'm going to try and keep it interesting for her. Like Alex said, I don't need to keep drilling the same thing over and over, I just need to work on having a soft, obedient horse who puts her feet where I ask her to. I'm going to have a bumper sticker made up that says, "If you control the feet, you control the horse." :)


  1. This made me laugh because Oberon is a reigning horse and has done a bit of cutting cattle as well as jumping. Although I have never jumped him, the other day doing ground work I lunged him over a low cavaletti and he soared over it. I looked at him with such a surprised look and he gave me this "Oh yeah!" look.

    Lilly looks adorable and I love her head position. I hope Oberon looks like that someday. And she is so clean...

    I didn't have my riding lesson today as a new horse (a Tennessee Walker) arrived at our barn, but I worked in the covered round pen and I really feel we made HUGE progress on him listening to my seat. It might have been because the smaller enclosed circle made him slow down and pay attention more. I'm not sure. The round pen, I realize is quite unique... I need to blog about it soon. It's almost like an indoor arena.

  2. I really think just about any horse can really benefit from working some cows occassionally. I have actually seen some big TBs in english saddles show up to some of the sorting events, and I always applaud them. WOrking cows really gets the horse using their body well. As Ive mentioned before, I love working my friend's dog Remi like a cow. She likes it and Milo likes it too. Im happy that your lesson went well! Btw, are you liking your tail bags? I never got word that you got them, but I see one in use!

  3. Margaret, I think the horses love doing things that are different from their daily routines. I wish I had access to some trails because trail riding is always fun and beneficial too. It sounds like Oberon is coming along really well, so I'm sure it's just a matter of time before he's going like you want him to. :)

    Milo, we have cows next door to our boarding barn and I want SO bad to ask if we can have one to play with!!
    And I absolutely LOVE my new tail bags! I should have sent you a note when I got them to let you know! It looks spiffy on her, right? :)

  4. Look at that cute expression on her face going over the jump! Looks like she's having fun to me.

  5. Oh fun stuff!

    Is there any chance that there are places around you that have working cattle practices?

    I'm going to be hauling to a friend's place once a week to work cattle and practice roping.

  6. That looks like heaps of fun :)
    hmmm.... I wonder if my dog would put up with that.

  7. Lilly looks like she's having a ton of fun with the caveletti, and you do too! It's great that you got to do some different stuff together - it really seems to help keep the horses' minds fresh and looking for the next fun thing, as opposed to tuning you out after the millionth 20 meter circle.

    PS. Maybe you need a dog? ;)

  8. Loved all the pics! And you did so good with your jump!! Lilly even landed in a canter like a good jumping pony, hehe.
    You are SO fortunate to have such a talented lady to come whip both your hineys in to shape periodically!

  9. Lily's muscles will never show up, no matter what. I took pics of Dixie's whole transformation from couch potato to endurance horse and you can only see the muscles at the edges - like her topline, or the front of her shoulder filled out some. It's the curse of the white hair, alas.

    She looks great in motion with you! Love that trot up to the cavalletti especially!

  10. She does look really good- and totally barefoot!

  11. Cowgirl, I've been looking for some places to work cows. Unfortunately, there are only clinics to attend, because all the other places are just too far for me drive. There's a weekend clinic coming up in March, but it's $500... I found one other clinic that isn't nearly as expensive, but these are all one time things. Nothing that I could do a couple times a month. :(

    Ruffles, give it a try! LOL

    Thanks, Britnie! I'm definitely glad to have found someone I can relate to, who understands my horse, and helps me get results without gadgets and harsh bits!

    Funder, it sucks doesn't it?? I really wanted to take pictures every week or so to keep track, but it seems pointless.

    Smazourek, go barefoot ponies, go!! :)