Archive for December, 2011

100th Hour

amywink December 31st, 2011

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Today’s drive: 1:27:48

So technically, 100th hour and almost 13 extra minutes!!

We made it in 2011 too.

WHOOHOOOOO!!!

An excellent close to 2011.

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Progress and Patience

amywink December 22nd, 2011

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Blessing’s training continues to prove her excellent character. Last week (the above picture) she showed how well she was improving her balance and taking to the saddle. Which is a good thing since I am planning on taking a riding lesson soon to determine how best to proceed with her training–and my own.

She’s got some very good brakes on her, and stands quite nicely so far, always good in a driving pony as well as a riding pony

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And she’s moving very well and learning to hold herself in the proper frame.

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But the VERY exciting part from last week was this:

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And steady as she goes. not a kick, not buck, not a bite, just a sniff. Great progress for her.

For her brother and I, patience. We hold steady at 98.75 hours as the rain keeps coming. I wonder if I’ll finish those 100 hours in 2011 or whether it will be next year for that last hour and 15 minutes.

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This week, after more rain, the pasture where we drive looks like this:img_2785.jpg

So, again, no driving this week or probably next week either. More and more riding lessons in a covered arena seem like a good use of a wet, cool winter and it looks like I’ll have to finish that 100th hour in 2012.

But this week, more progress for Blessing. She’s really learning the bit this week and as usual, every time I see her, she’s developed more muscles, looking better, more grown up. Malen reports her balance is very good and I can see her moving better.

Today, I got to see her work on the long lines, which showed how well she really is responding to the bit. Again, her approach to the situation: calm and steady.

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She really looked like she was concentrating hard on getting things right. She also didn’t make on tail switch or one kick at the long line around her hock. Since she’d been described as “kicky”, I had been waiting for the kicking explosion and this certainly was an instance where she might start. But she didn’t. Good girl. Very good girl.

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Revisiting and Redefining Perceptions

amywink December 12th, 2011

I had a very successful visit with Blessing this weekend. And I had a wonderful surprise when I got there. Malen had saddled Blessing to help her respond better to the bit and I got to see the most adorable Western pony I’ve seen in a long long time. Maybe ever.

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She is doing spectacularly well–in my opinion!–and every time I see her, she’s developed more muscle and balance and becoming a quite lovely mare. She’s also showing off her character. She’d only been under saddle one day when I saw her and took it all like a champ, without any issue or even resistance. While I was there, Malen began to show her how to yield to the bit and Blessing responded very calmly as she worked to figure it out img_2620.jpg

Seeing Blessing under saddle made me think hard about what I wanted for her and for myself. I don’t think I ride very well but it has always been a desire in the back of my mind. I’d wanted to ride and drive Will when I bought him but things didn’t work out as well for that desire as I had hoped but because I love driving so much, it didn’t really matter any more that I didn’t ride.

Until Saturday.

Suddenly, it was like the first Ride for Nickel Grocery Store Pony I ever saw was right there waiting for me and I had plenty of nickels. For a kid who grew up watching old Roy Rogers movies on Saturday morning and Lone Ranger in black and white and color, there’s just something about a pony in a nice western saddle. And that old desire rushed up all over me and I had to figure out what to do about it.

So, after lots of advice from friends, I’m revisiting my perceptions of my riding skills and have planned to take a riding lesson in the very near future. Once I have a new understanding of my abilities, I may add riding to Blessing’s training regime. She’ll still be a driving pony and her brother is waiting on her return and their future as a pair remains unchanged. Except, she may be a riding pony too.

How could I resist this?
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Holding Pattern

amywink December 3rd, 2011

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More mud means no driving. I’m still happy to see mud but I suspect in a few more days, I’m going to be a little less happy about it. I didn’t think I’d be stalled on my 100 hour goal because of rain but it is still the best reason to be stalled.

Will’s happy enough but I’m not sure how long it will take me to get the mud off of him. It’s probably going to take a bath to get him clean but we’re about to start winter temperatures so it’s just going to have to be a good brushing.

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Blessing’s training is turning out to be nicely timed since I have to stay off the carriage for a while. Visiting her is making up for the time away. It’s also giving us time to bond nicely and give her some Only Horse time. She was quite affectionate today and seems pleased with her own progress, though some of it is icky and sort of confusing. But she’s a smart girl and figuring stuff out without a great deal of argument or anxiety.

This week, she’s been learning more about the bit, including learning to deal with side-reins that teach her how/where to hold her head. The exercise is also making her neck quite shapely! She is filling out nicely all over, developing her chest and hindquarters. img_2406.jpg

Here she is with her side reins, learning how to hold her head correctly
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Interestingly, the side reins also seem to make her move more carefully at her trot, encouraging her to gather her legs under herself correctly and move her entire body in a more balanced way.

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As well as the new tack, she continues to learn to move away from pressure, the key directional mechanism for horses.img_2441.jpg She did several nice side moves today as Malen worked her. And she finished up looking a little tired but fitter and happy enough–and expecting treats!! Which she did get after she had a nice brushing.

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