Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Practice Makes Perfect!

Lilly always has the day off after a show, so I didn't work her at all yesterday. I did bust out the scissors to chop off some more of her mane, though. After putting all those bands in it on Sunday, I decided it was way too long. Now she's officially ready to go for Saturday's show! She also got Adequan shot number two, so we've got five more to go!

Even though Lilly was really good for our show on Sunday, there are still a number of issues we need to work on. The show helped to highlight those things, and we worked on them all today.

I was having trouble getting her to square up for halter and showmanship. I think it was more the footing than anything, but it took me forever to get her set up in halter. A couple people have commented about how she was a bit "parked out" in the pictures and she definitely was. I think the issue she was having with the footing is that it was getting packed into her hooves. After each ride, I had to hop off and pick out her hooves before I could walk her outside the ring. She seemed fine in the riding classes, but I think it may have been uncomfortable for her to stand still. Regardless, I worked on showmanship a bit today and she was fabulous. We practiced backing up since she backed a bit crooked in her pattern and she did nothing but back nice and straight. I knew she would! Honestly, though, I can't remember the last time we practiced showmanship... Sunday's show was the probably the first time since our show last November.

One of the other issues that was a big problem is the fact that she doesn't ride as well one handed as she does two handed. That one is clearly my fault and I need to start riding her with one hand as often as I can. Today we did all of our jogging with one hand and she did amazingly well.

Even though I will never own a horse who lopes like the horses I showed against, Lilly is still way too fast for western pleasure. She has come a LONG way in a very short period of time and I'm super proud of her, but now it's time to really work on slowing down. Going to the right, though, we really need to focus on our transitions first. When I ask for the lope, she pops her head up and then levels out a few strides in. It took a lot of work and a lot of praise, but she was staying round through the transitions by the end of the ride. She was also staying more collected and keeping her speed down because she was anticipating the stop she knew was coming her way. She didn't seem as resistant as she has in the past, so I'm hoping her hocks are starting to feel better.

Her transitions going to the left are great. She always stays round and soft, but she moves out like a freight train. I was able to ride her with one hand for a majority of our work in this direction because she keeps her head down and has such good breaks. We did a lot of lope, stop, back exercises and I kept the number of strides between stops shorter than I did in the other direction. I saw definite improvement in her today!

In other news, yesterday I found Lilly with a jacked up fly mask. At first I thought she wanted to channel her inner Saga and decided to try wearing it differently.

Saga wears his mask like this too!
I had to work very hard to get this picture. As soon as she saw me, she nickered and whinnied as if to say, "help me!" I went into the pasture with her trying to snap a quick picture but she would not leave my side for a second. I even tried running across the pasture so I could get far enough away to get her head in frame, but she ran after me. Eventually I gave in and fixed her mask. Poor princess...

The more I thought about it the mask, the more I decided she must have been playing kissy face with the neighboring boy toy. After our ride today, though, she promptly dropped to the ground and rolled around like a crazy pony. When she got up, her mask was all jacked up again, so that must be how she's doing it. She walked back over to where I was standing and stood there as if to say, "fix my mask, servant!"

In other, other news, there's a pair of beautiful Eastern Bluebirds hell bent on building a nest under the nose of my trailer. Whoever the genius was who installed my break box left just enough room behind it to make the most wonderful nesting spot ever. Last year I murdered a bunch of baby birds because I had to move my horse to her new farm. Luckily I found the Bluebird nest before the female could lay any eggs, and I yanked out the nesting material before Sunday's show. Between the time I got home Sunday and the time I went back out Monday, they had built another nest. I yanked it out again and stuffed a bunch of towels up there, even spraying one with fly spray in the hopes that they'd find a less stinky spot to nest. Today I found yet another nest built on top of the towels and when I yanked it out, they started swarming me! I flailed my arms like a mad woman to protect myself from the killer birds and then went and got even more towels to shove up there, leaving absolutely NO room for a nest. I fully anticipate to find another nest tomorrow... perhaps with 3 towels scattered around on the ground beneath my trailer.

Does anyone have any suggestions to keep birds from nesting in there? I might buy a can of spray insulation or something and completely fill the area... I'd rather not to something so permanent, but I don't want to murder anymore birds and that's exactly what's going to end up happening. :(


  1. lope, stop, back ... is that to get her to slow down? My 14.2 QH likes to GO... When he is walking, he wants to trot. And he will trot way too fast. His canter starts out too fast and I slow it down, but it creeps back up. All of this "energy" is good for trial riding, I suppose, but I like to know he is listening to me. I also want him to be going much slower for when my girls ride him. At this point in time, I don't have my mind on showing.

    1. Lilly used to be like your QH... well, she still is, I've just managed to channel all that energy. She's quite forward, always anticipating, and likes to decide on her own she's ready to trot. The lope, stop, back exercises (I also do it at the trot) work great with her because she starts to anticipate the stop, so she never gets going too fast. It helps keep her round too because she stays prepared to put on the brakes. After getting a lot of praise and a good release, she just starts to relax and learns to go slow.

      It works great to help keep their attention on you as well, because they're waiting for you to ask for the whoa. They might work well for him!

  2. I need to work on slowing down Brandy's lope too. She has a real hard time with that too! Silly Lilly and the flymask, I've had a horse or 2 get them off before. I wish they would just realize they are there to help them!
    I don't know what to tell you about the birds. They seem pretty determined to nest there! Hope you can figure something out!

  3. Buy a cat ; ) Tie cat to trailer. : )

    Then you just have you know...cat poop and hair to deal with! : )

  4. Yall are going to rock this weekends show out!! And poor you getting attacked by birds, lol, they must REALLY really like that spot, guess they paid a lot for that 'real estate', haha.

  5. Our guys mess with the fly masks too. I've been through many brands, and the good old Farnums seem to stay in place the best, even with horsing around.

  6. Hahahah, dude, you're killing me. You ran away from your poor horse to get a better picture of her predicament? ROFL. You are a terrible human servant.