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Showing posts from January, 2016

Another Project

I've been shopping for a cute brow band for awhile now but have been having a lot of trouble finding one that I like that's not prohibitively expensive. What I've been looking for is a U shaped brow band in brown, of course, with pink beads and a nice interesting pattern.

After another fruitless night of searching I decided that I'd just try to make one myself. After a quick Ebay search I found a blank channel brow band in a U shape that was Havana for $22! A quick stop at a local Michaels and $20 of beads later (I'd have enough for three more brow bands though) and I came up with this.

After a little thought I decided it was just too busy so I redid it a little simpler and ended up with this brow band that I think totally fits my pony and her personality :-)

At some point this year a PS of Sweden bridle is on my list and at that point I'll probably use one of their sparkly brow bands but I really do like this one!

Tack Locker Project

I briefly mentioned in an earlier post that I'm working with my dad on a tack locker. I had found this website and fell in love with this tack locker.

They have a couple of different plans and I liked a couple of the options but I decided that this was my favorite set up. I kept trying to figure out how I could get the tools needed to make this and how could I do it on my own. Eventually I realized that having my dad help could be a great option. He's done some carpentry projects in the past and he and my mom almost completely built the house I grew up in. The only things they didn't do on their own were pouring the slab, the central heating, and lifting the trusses onto the roof. Everything else including electrical, dry wall etc they did.

When I thought about that I decided to ask my dad to help me build it using his tools and I would buy the materials. He cheated a little and did buy most of the plywood which was so amazing :-)

Before Christmas we spent some time cuttin…

Changing it Up: Lesson Recap 1/24 and Saddle Fitting Update

L wasn't feeling well at all for my lesson on Sunday and for some reason I was more distracted and less motivated than usual so it was nice that we worked on a couple of slightly easier things.

We started off with warming her up nicely at the trot and she was actually a little sucked back. That almost never is the case with her but I had done quite a lot of canter the day before so I think she was just slightly tired. With my nice, slow pony who was really listening to me we started out by working on leg yields. 

We are still squarely on the leg yield struggle bus both because she's learning and because I'm proving to be completely incompetent at moving my body properly to get them done. Oh well, I've been working on them more in my schooling rides and they were slightly better in my lesson so after a couple of times in each direction we gave her a break and them moved to working on turns on the forehand.

We've worked on turns on the haunches before but this was t…

Take What You Need and Leave The Rest

I'll be writing a lesson recap post soon but first wanted to talk a little about my saddle fitting appointment today because, frankly, I need to vent.

Katai was scheduled for a massage at 10:00am and then the plan was for me to get to the barn around 3:00pm so that we could do a saddle fit appointment at 3:30. I got to the barn a little early, helped with turn in and then got Katai all groomed and ready to go.

We started out with Katai fully tacked up and the saddle fitter, who I'll call H, looked over my set up in detail, did tracings, and took some notes. I was pleased and she let me know that Katai LOVED her massage and was all relaxed and blinky and happy about the whole thing. That made me feel good and we were off to a good start.

Unfortunately that's where my happiness ended.

Let me preface this by saying that I'd prepared myself for every contingency. While I felt it was unlikely that my saddle was a horrible fit I was ready for everything from it just needin…

Training Ride and Clinic Update

Lately I've been taking both Monday and Tuesday off and riding four days per week. I keep meaning to add a fifth ride but honestly she's going so well right now that I hate to change things up and am going to stick with what works.

That means that today was my first ride after my lesson on Sunday and for the first time I was struggling a little with what to work on. I decided to start working on lateral stuff which is something I haven't done on my own much. It's definitely something that I've worried about breaking but I also know that it will never get better without practice so it's time to start working on it.

I still feel like I have to get more help with how to connect the different parts of my body together but I was getting some really decent leg yields. It just never really felt like it clicked. I also ended up realizing after doing a leg yield in each direction that she was running from my leg so I slowed it down to walk and kept my leg on, appropri…

2016 Shopping Goals

Ok, so I'm sure we all have them. I've always loved shopping for my pony and it's sort of like a side hobby to the actual riding hobby. What I've been surprised about, especially this year, is that as Katai and I progress and as I ride on a more regular basis I've become less and less interested in buying things for her.

It's almost like I was living vicariously through the nice dressage stuff that I was buying and now that we're doing well I don't even feel like I need to do that. Of course it's not that I don't like shopping for her it's just that I've got a set of tack that I love and other than a few items (PS of Sweden bridle, sparkly browband, a set of navy dressage boots, and a show appropriate dressage saddle pad) I just don't have that much on my wish.

However, that doesn't hold true for stuff for me. I've decided to focus on myself this year and one of my goals is to get myself more riding clothes. I've got a fe…

Narnia:Lesson Recap 1/17

So yeah, that title is a bit of a stretch.

It does sort of make sense, in my mind anyway, because today one of our exercises reminded me of walking through the wardrobe into the land of Narnia.

First we started off with a teardrop exercise where we trotted the diagonal and then went to a canter during the half 10 meter circle. Katai got quite jazzed up during this but it gave me a great idea of some things to work on. One of these was getting the canter transition when I needed it rather than letting Katai determine when she wanted to canter.

After a walk break L set up a square of cones that was probably something around 5' x 5'. The goal was to get the transition, either up or down, in that space. It REALLY helped me to set her up properly and get the transition when I needed it. Not that it always worked well but I was getting transitions more immediately then I have in the past. At first she was really getting wound up and doing all kinds of crazy canter things. One time…

Why I Love Drill Team

Despite a lot of positive posts recently I've been having some struggles with my dear pony. Of course that's to be expected and the more we ask the more she will check to see if she really needs to listen or be with the program. Right now our thing is whether she really needs to make reasonable transitions. I'm focused mainly on her walk to trot transition but all of her transitions need work. My main thought process right now is just that we need to do it more :-)

Lately when things seem difficult I've been reminding myself that although my rides with my instructor are better then when I'm on my own, I'm the one that does at least 75% of the work with her which means that I get a decent amount of credit for our awesome progress so far. Of course we'd never be where we are without L (not even close) but it's the daily grind that is a big part of our progress.

However, no matter what the rest of our rides are like I always look forward to drill team. Th…

The Sticks: Lesson Recap 1/10

I got to the barn just in time for my lesson this week because it was 15 minutes earlier than normal (I knew it was 15 minutes earlier than normal and still didn't leave enough time). I stopped by the ring, said hi to L and checked to see what was on the agenda and found out that we were doing ground poles!

I've done up to three in lessons before and never raised but Katai has been doing so well that L started us with four raised and then quickly added two more. At first we just focused on maintaining bend through the line and making sure that I could keep her at the same tempo. After a few great circles in each direction L had me do an exercise where I trotted over the poles on a 20 meter circle and then immediately asked for a canter. Sometimes I would do a couple of circles at a canter going around the poles and then L would have me do a circle where I would trot over the poles, canter almost back to the poles and then back to a trot over the poles again.

It was an awesome …

The Blahhs

I love how so many of us are writing about how to stay motivated or lack of motivation. I've been going to the barn at least 4 days per week but it's been mainly by rote. It's not that I'm not enjoying it, just that I always have a tough time getting enthused about anything during the winter dark and cold when I'm lacking sunshine. I take vitamin D but it's only partially helpful. Thankfully though we've been continuing to make progress and I can slowly tell that I'm getting better at picking something that's weak and working on it rather than just going through the same things every time. Today that was working on getting Katai to take the speed that I was asking for.

She's been understandably enthusiastically forward now that we had that lesson on baby extensions and she truly wants to show off her new toy every time we go across the diagonal or even anything off a 20 meter circle. However, although they're important we just can't get …

We're Kind of a Big Deal: Lesson Recap 1/3

When I think back over 2015 I can't quite believe that we are where we are right now. Katai has become an amazing little athlete and I realized the other day how much she's developed a presence both in the arena and just in the barn. As she's developed strength and confidence I feel like she's got this confident, slightly sassy persona that makes people look when she walks into a space.

L started out riding again since we'd talked about having her start the ride for a few lessons. Since I hadn't had a lesson the Sunday before and had taken almost a week vacation I was crossing my fingers that she'd be good.

She was!

L commented that Katai was feeling excellent as she was riding. They had a couple of minor disagreements but Katai just hasn't been having tantrums anymore and so it didn't take much for her to start listening again. L played with leg yields and Katai wasn't sold on the idea of crossing over so she'd let her haunches really trail…

Fall Favorites

There may be a theme here... Horze Saddle Pads:Honestly I don’t know why I look at saddle pads from any other brand anymore! I ADORE European style dressage saddle pads and while Horze doesn’t have many that are quite as cute as some of the European pads, HKM pads for example, they do have more European styling plus most of them come in pony sizes. While Katai isn’t an itty bitty pony she is on the smaller range of what most adults ride and because of that even some of the suggestions for smaller pads just don’t work for her. I have 2-3 pads for her that are as small as I can find in "normal" dressage saddle pads and they are still just too big. One of them (around 20 spine x 22 drop which is REALLY small for most horse pads) even caused L to comment that it was no wonder she wasn’t listening to my leg since my pad was too big!
I have eight saddle pads from Horze, all in pony size, and they are wonderful! Even the ones on the larger end of the scale are close to 20 x 20 and t…

2015 Goals Recap

Time to recap my goals from the beginning of the year!

Knowing what I know now I think that a lot of these were way out there for 2015. I've also switched my focus a little and thanks to regular lessons with a great instructor I've got better ideas for goals for 2016 which I will be sharing soon!

23 completed out of 48 so almost half accomplished :-)

Completed Goals
- cross train, add cavaletti
- stay still for mounting - continue with clipper desensitization - perfect trailer loading – On this last barn move she hopped right in despite the wind blowing and the trailer being completely different than she's ever ridden in so I'm pretty confident in her trailering skills. - get used to riding around other horses and busy warm up areas - listen to outside leg cues - get a halt that regularly lasts at least 20 seconds by the end of February - find someone to take regular lessons with by the end of February - renew my subscription to Dressage Today and read every article - …