Monday, September 27, 2010

Off to bootcamp

On Sunday morning, Indy loaded (first time, thankfully, as I was running late, berluddy daylight savings!) and we set off for Trisha's.

I lessoned with Scarlett. Indy looked on, occasionally spotting us in the arena & calling out. At the end of the day I loaded Scarlett twice and put her back in the yard; good practice.

I trimmed Indy's feet (hard work...), put her away and told her to behave for Trisha.... loaded Scarlett again and went home.

I'll be up to visit next weekend, all going to plan. I hope to watch or help with one of her sessions.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Visit to Sharon's

Yesterday I trimmed two horses in the morning; the weather packed in so I didn't try to trim Indy but instead floated her over to Sharon's for an outing.

Sharon came over after helping load Vicky & Portia's new pony, 'Baby' (Bush Baby, LOL!). I'd started fiddling around before she got there and Indy was in the float for the 2nd time. She got a fright when the car came past, stepped delicately on my foot, then exited the float at high speed... OUCH. No real harm done other than a very bruised foot.

I put her straight back on and left. She travelled well but always turns up a bit hot and sweaty. The angle float is closed in by the barn doors and a LOT less airy than my old float, even with the top vents and both side windows open. She hasn't travelled very often or very far but seems to be getting better each time.

She got to chill in the round pen for a bit while we had coffee & 'nummy home-baked apricot & dark Ghana choc biscuits.
Alberta rode Bess, then Portia was led around on Baby by Vicki (first ride since they bought him). I gave Indy a good brush while she was loose in the round pen. She's ITCHY and moulting like mad.

With rain clouds threatening, I tacked up, fiddling with groundwork in between putting on the saddle and bridle.
The picnic table mounting block was a new experience (very different to the pink one at home!). Shaz gave us a lead on Ozzie to walk around all the paddocks. Indy was more looky about all the 'stuff' - barrels, jumps, poles, toughs - than the traffic whizzing past behind the hedge on SH1B. Her time at Cobham Drive paddocks served her well!!

More coffee & biscuits for afternoon tea. The poor 'starving' pony ate grass in the round pen.
She loaded first time & decided the float was a good place to pee, so I had to clean it out before I could eat MY dinner...

Saturday, September 25, 2010

More bootcamp prep

We have had to play the "I am taller than you" game.

Generally she's pretty good once I'm up.


We have encountered the Big Scary Trough...

And survived!

Bootcamp prep

Trisha had a 4-day residential clinic booked for this week and wanted a spare horse or two. Of course, I volunteered Scarlett - I'm not one to turn down free training opportunities ;) It also made it easier for me to devote two weeks to getting Indy ready for Trisha.
So, with that still in the works, Tuesday nearly two weeks ago I roped Jude in to be my Spotter on very short notice; "are you free?" "Yep, see you in five." The weather closed in and I nearly piked out but she was already offline so I was stuck!

Indy was nervous at being asked to leave Scarlett, walk up the Very Scary Driveway, stand still not very still so I could get *some* mud off her, tack her up and walk her out to the paddock. I should have done more groundwork before getting on: Hindsight - isn't a wonderful thing?! I really only asked her to walk on, turn in each direction and stop, which she coped with well, so I called it a day.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Saddle up!

I always planned Indy would spend time with my instructor, Trisha Wren, as I love the results she gets from horses. I will take Indy to one of the 4-day Peggy Cummings clinics in December & wanted her to be ready for that.

I would have liked Indy to head up for schooling with Trisha in, say, March, or April, or May. Given that she just wasn't READY to be ridden that soon (I didn't get on her until July and only had two very short rides then) & I hadn't done all that much groundwork due to her Top Secret status, the 'plan' was a *tad* unachievable...

I floated her up for a one-day Intensive clinic with Trisha at the end of August, following her one night at home to see whether she and Scarlett would get on together. I was the only one to brave the weather. It meant I had Trisha all to myself & we could go at Indy's speed.

The more we do, the more holes show up from her backing/starting/general education before she arrived here. The CR work (groundwork in particular) helps get her through those holes.
She is very different from side to side; I wonder if she had a significant amount more handling on one side (or, none at all on the other). Asking from her 'good' side is often met with heaviness, whereas on the 'bad' side there is just no reaction. She simply does not get that I want her to DO something on that side.

Playing around with groundwork showed us she needs to spend more time out on one line at the moment, as it seems to help her take responsibility for herself, the contact, her rythym and her stride. She became much steadier in her contact when she was just that little bit further away from the handler. It also directly - and positively - affected her connection with a handler back at her side.

Picking up two lines is a LOT of input at this stage, as is too much rotation or asking for a particular thing for even half a stride too long. She really drops back into first gear... If I am lucky I can pre-empt the 'stall' and keep her moving. Her tendency to stall involves PLANTING her feet and swinging her hindquarters out ('facing up').

After groundwork, we took her to the yard for a rest. Trisha was going to do a first Equine Touch session (Indy is one of her case studies). As she gathered the info for her forms, I brushed and tacked Indy up so she was ready to ride.

Trisha led Indy to the arena & I carried my mounting block. Scarlett doesn't react so I forgot that I'd never dumped it on the ground near Indy... oops!!! She jumped a mile. We spent the next few minutes asking her to step closer, finally resorting to a handful of oats on top which helped her realise the Big Scary Mounting Block wouldn't eat her  ;)

I rode for 15 or 20 mins. Go, Stop, Left and Right. She volunteered a trot twice. The secont time we accidentally went over some trotting poles... without faceplanting! I figured that was enough for a big day out in a strange place and it was a good note to end on.

After the Equine Touch session was finished, I floated her back to Cobham Drive. She travelled quite well though was a little hot and sweaty at the end of the 45-minute trip.


Scarlett is having a 'holiday' up at Trisha's this week, so for the first time Indy is by herself. She is coping quite well, but she doesn't like the wind! Especially when it brings horizontal rain with it!!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

The beginning...

Stiletto (Indy) stepped off the Horsemovers truck on Jan 22... She was still Dancer then. She was a very pretty girl & I liked her straight away.

It was a big jump to buy her sight unseen (though Karen & Melda did check her out for me), and she was Top Secret from the moment I saw her sale ad.

She spent a couple of months chilling out and just being a horse - first in with Joanie on Matangi Rd, then onto the HLHC grazing next to Cobham Drive. I snuck her up for a lesson with Trisha in March, but other than that I really only checked on her, trimmed her feet & did the odd short session of groundwork. She got dinner most nights in winter.

In July I decided it was time to ride so ramped up the groundwork... just a smidge ;) She was very good. Limited time & bad weather meant I only rode twice so she continued to hang out with her herd.

Midway through August I - finally! - told mum about her. Within a week mum suggested bringing her home to graze. I had her at home for one night in August to see if she and Scarlett would get on. I took her up for another lesson with Trisha then floated her back to Cobham Drive to eat out her two weeks' notice.

Two weeks after that - when dad had left for a 2 week holiday - I loaded her into the float to bring her home for good...