Friday, February 26, 2016

Skeeter's Field Trip

Colorado Mustang Days begins exactly two weeks from today.

My neighbor owns a riding school and has kindly agreed to let me use her arena in preparation for CMD. Today has been absolutely beautiful, so it was a perfect time to get to work. Skeets hasn't been ridden in almost a month (again). Our last ride was 1/29/16, but she has been so good. I haven't had much time other than just loving on her - no actual work has occurred, so I wasn't sure how today would go.

She was such a pro today. I spent some time grooming her while purred like a cat. She didn't actually purr, but if she was a cat, she would have been purring. Despite how ugly her mane is, I've decided to just leave it. She's a mustang - her mane doesn't have to be perfect. We did some circling work and I picked up her feet. She tried to tell me she didn't remember how to pick them up, but I reminded her that she did know how to do it and she finally picked them up nicely.

I tacked her up and headed out to my neighbor's. We'd visited once before, but just for a few minutes. I anticipated that she'd be distracted, so we did more circling work in the neighbor's driveway until she remembered I was the boss.

Once in the arena, we did even more circling work and direction changes until her brain engaged. My neighbor teaches young jumpers (kids), so there were some low jumps set up in the arena that we used as obstacles. She did a great job walking over the ground poles and a couple of the poles that were maybe 6-8" off the ground, so we went to some that were a little higher, maybe 10-12" and she dragged her back hooves over them. She didn't knock them over, but she didn't fully pick up her back feet either.

I knew I was stretching her a bit, but I then had her walk over the taller poles. She got her front hooves over well, but knocked them over with her back. I set up the poles and we tried it again. She dragged her back hooves again and knocked it down, so I set it up again and just left it.

I had gone over with the intention of riding, but knowing that if Skeets was not behaving or I felt in any way that it would be a bad idea, I would just abort and do in-hand work instead.

She was being so good that I went ahead and mounted up. I only rode about ten minutes, but it was a good ten minutes.

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Jay's New Saddle (Maybe)

My friend, Mrs Mom/Momma Bear/whatevershescallingherselfthisweek, has a bunch of tack that she's trying to get rid of for a friend of hers. Jay and Copper don't have a saddle, so I thought I'd do the friend of a friend thing and buy one of the used ones. She had an Aussie that looked like it would fit both Copper and Jay, so I bought it and had it shipped from Georgia to Colorado (God, the shipping was painful).

I've never bought a saddle in my life, now that I think about it. I've always used Mom's hand-me-downs from the livery. Hmm.

Anyway, when the UPS truck pulled up this morning, we were both pretty excited to see Jay's new-to-him saddle in real life.

The box was so big it almost didn't fit through our doorways.
The saddle looks to be in good shape, though there are straps that I don't know anything about.

Please excuse the cat-damaged couch.
At one point, I laid down a strap I had no clue about, shot a picture off to Mrs Mom and asked, "what the fuck this is?"

Apparently it's an over-girth. I've heard of 'em, not sure I've ever dealt with one by itself. Thank God for YouTube - I managed to find answers to all my questions about this crazy saddle and am now feeling much more confident.

Jay will take it with him to his lesson on Saturday to see if it fits Copper. If it does, we're golden. If not, Mr Mrs Mom wants it, so it'll get shipped back to Georgia.

And in other news ...

Gizmo has claimed the box as her own.

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Jay's 4th Lesson

Since Jay and I have such weird opposite schedules, there's not always someone available to video his lessons. The weather has also slowed down Copper's training, so though he's been at Jessica's quite a while, not every day is a work day.

For Jay's 3rd lesson, Jay got to work in the round pen and on the lead line and then got to lean over Copper bareback. That lesson happened before we went to SHOT Show in January. Then the weather and work schedules screwed everything up again and Jay wasn't able to get to his 4th lesson until February 13th - almost a month later. I, unfortunately, had to work, but Jay was able to talk his brother into going to video tape his lesson.

Things are going well. Jay's a bit tentative around Copper, which makes Copper nervous, and it starts a whole cycle, so Jessica's suggestion is that Jay act silly around him - do random things when they're leading. You know, be obnoxious like Grandpa Bill.

(Warning: the wind noise is really bad, so watch with the sound off.)

At the end of the lesson, Jay stepped up into the stirrup! Copper has been ridden by Jessica and her student, but Jay's getting closer and closer to his first ride too! It's pretty exciting to see the progression.

On Monday (2/22), Jay had another quick lesson, in which Jessica had him doing all of the work with Copper from beginning to end (no video). They ended the session with Jay sitting astride Copper for the first time. I'm so sad I wasn't there to see it (stupid adulting). He's got another lesson scheduled for Saturday - maybe he'll get to take a few steps at that point. I'll be working again, so I'll miss it (again), but I can't wait to hear how it goes.

Jessica and Jay have decided that Copper is going to stay at her place until the morning we leave for Colorado Mustang Days. Jessica thinks it would be too much stress for him to go home for a week, only to have his world uprooted again - plus that gives her an extra week or so with him.

CMD is coming up so fast! Jay's decided to do his classes in-hand with Copper and I'll ride in my classes, unless we just fall apart. The beauty of the open CMD classes is that everyone understands the point we're starting from and is so supportive. We're both just going for the experience.

Monday, February 1, 2016

Grandpa Bill's Turn

Bill has been on Skeeter before - last year when we were just getting her used to having weight on her back - but no one has ridden Skeeter other than me since she came back from Jessica's.

Mom really wanted to ride, but she's having trouble with one of her hips and decided to wait until after she sees the orthopod on Thursday.

When I dismounted, Skeeter was still doing so well, I asked Bill if he wanted to ride and he jumped at the chance.

I was so proud of her!