Saturday, December 29, 2012

Happy Holidays!

I finally made it out to see the boys again today ... first time since last Sunday. I do need to post a photo of Gus's hooves from last week. But I'll get to that some other time.

I worked with Gringo first today. He was sound as a dollar. Which was amazing. What wasn't amazing was his attention span. It was completely, 100% lost. Gone. Oh well. After w/t/c/whoa on the lunge, we did some ground driving. The ground driving is going REALLY REALLY well. Gringo willingly does 10m-15m circles along with 3-loop serpentines without any issues. Seems like our "problems" are on the lunge again. All Gringo wanted to do today was canter, canter, canter. Definitely need to work on that.

Gus was a good trooper today as well. I opted to not lunge him, for the sake of sparing myself another 15 minutes of going in circles. End the end, it didn't seem to make a huge difference. We started with shoulder stretches at the walk and then proceeded to do 10m spiral circles. Basically, you start at F (or K, M, H) and do a half circle, then on the centerline you change the bend and go the other direction. At the rail you move up the the next letter, rinse and repeat. That exercise really helped Gus work on his bending and suppling ... so I'd call it a success.

Trot work consisted of big 20m figure-8s, followed up with some 3-loop serpentines. Gus was good boy and I was feeling fairly well, so I opted for some canter work. Pretty boring canter work. Just 15m to 20m circles at each major letter, once around the arena. We had a really nice, up and forward right lead that was to die for. Granted, I'm sure B would've had a lot to say about it but I was happy with Gus's willingness to move forward and outward.

Nothing else to really report except that I desperately need to get those photos uploaded. I think I'll try to get some new shots of the boys tomorrow as well, seeing as I need to head back out to the barn again. Anyways, til later ...

Happy Holidays and stay WARM!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

No reserve ...

Well, yesterday was Wednesday, so of course that means today is Lesson Recap day.

To begin with, Gringo's new blanket liner came in over the weekend so I was finally able to get out and try it on him. It's very similar to the blanket liners I love from Schneider's Tack (see the Adjusta-Fit Nylon liners ... they are AMAZING) but this liner is from Chick's Saddlery. The only reason why I ordered from Chicks was I already ordering some hay nets for the MIL from there (they were cheaper then through Dover). Needless to say, the blanket fits perfectly and secures nicely with surcingles and leg straps.

Gringo is still floating around in just his heavyweight Masta. This liner will most likely be used under his Centaur sheet as a midweight. If needed, I guess I can always add it to his heavyweight ... but then it would be an extra-heavyweight blanket (and usually horses are inside if its that cold, even the pasture boarded horses).

Now, on to Gus.

We had a really nice lesson. Started off on the lunge, as per our usual. He was very sluggish and lazy to get going, not sure if it was the cold weather or just him being him. But, he was moving evenly and that's all that matters.

Under saddle work consisted of shoulder stretches, with a 6-8m circle thrown in at either E or B. We really, really worked on bending on those small circles. Along with that, Gus had to maintain an inside bend during the entire exercise (or at least looking to the inside). He did fairly well with this as time progressed ...

Trot work consisted of basically working on serpentines, with Gus really, truly bending around my inside leg - whichever "leg" was on the "inside". We had some nice moments in our trot work. Nothing fabulous but then, I'm not expecting that when both him and I are outta shape.

Canter work began with us on the right lead (the harder of the two leads). We decided to work on counter-canter last night and it went fairly well. Going to the right, the 1-loop serpentines were very, very shallow - think like a stride or two off the rail. Gus did really well with this. Switching to the left lead, the 1-loops were more "dramatic", coming nearly to the quarter-line before turning back to the rail. We had a few more issues maintaining the true lead when doing counter-canter work on the left. This was mainly due to the fact that Gus was throwing himself around with this shoulders and not lifting, so it was more difficult to pick himself up when moving to the counter-bend. Before we called it quits, B had us counter-cantering the entire arena. That was A LOT of work for both of us, but Gus did a good job. I think we got about three laps before his engine was gone. He truly has no reserve ... when he's done, he is done.

All in all, it was a good lesson. Not as exhausting as the previous week, but exhausting enough. Gus ended up getting bundled up in his Northwind, which he's been wearing for a while now, with his Schneider's liner. Hopefully he's staying warm in all this cold weather.

If I don't write again before the holidays, Merry Christmas everyone!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Monday's Ride

Well, the first workout for both boys (and myself) since last Wednesday was on Monday. And both boys were really good.

I worked Gus first, so he'd have a chance to cool down and dry off before I put him back out. We worked on the same basic principles as we have done in prior rides. Lunging followed up with some shoulder stretches. Trot and canter work was almost entirely done on 20m, 15m and 10m circles. Gus was really good - seemed to be travelling much looser then he has in previous rides. I'm not sure if that has to do with the addition of aspirin back into his supps or not. We shall see.

I did finally upload those photos of both boys ... so here's what Gus looks like currently.

This is what Gus looked like at his lowest weight. Notice the significant muscle and fat loss on the topline, haunches and  the underside of his barrel. Thankfully the weightloss has subsided and now we're working on weight gain again.

His skinny little butt, with all the muscles showing ... 

Ribs showing ... 

Taken Monday ... about a week after we dramatically upped his grain.
So, not entirely sure how much hay Gus is getting ... I think it's like 2 flakes in the AM and 3 in the PM, or maybe it's 3/3 or 2/3 but I do know, for a fact, how much grain Gus is getting.

Currently, as of this morning, Gus is getting  1 1/2lb of Triple Crown Senior morning and evening. along with his MSM and apsirin. Hopefully the increase in grain, along with the better hay he's supposed to be getting in the evenings, he'll pack that weight back on in no time. I guess time will tell.


Since Gringo graced me with being sound on Monday, we worked on the lunge line instead of ground driving. He was a really good boy. Unfortunately, we had issues with getting the correct canter lead, especially the left lead canter. Not entirely sure what's up with that. I know he can get really unbalanced at the canter, but he should still be able to manage to pick up the correct lead ... 

Anyways, he was a good boy though and we had some really nice work. I still ended up shortening the inside side rein two holes when we were going to the right. This helped encourage Gringo to work on the correct bend. I did not make any changes when going to the left ... but I think I'm going to try shortening the side reins next time to see if that encourages the correct bend and therefore the correct canter lead. We'll see if that little experiment works.

Gringo photos. I have a few new ones of him as well.

 While Gringo is still quite pudgy, he has lost a little weight. So I opted to increase his grain slightly as well. Instead of 1/4lb TC Senior twice a day, he's now getting 1/2lb in the AM and 1/4lb in the PM. We'll see if that helps keep him from losing too much.

Stay tuned for more updates. Tomorrow is lesson Wednesday!

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Wednesday Recap.

Well, yesterday I had a fabulous lesson on Gus and a nice ground driving session with Gringo.

Starting with Gringo ... Well, he ended up being lame on the lunge yesterday so instead of wasting a day and not doing anything, I opted to get out the long lines and work on ground driving. He was such a trooper yesterday. I had another "proud momma" moment with him. Despite not being ground driven since his lesson like three weeks ago, he did really well. I definitely want to keep working on this as it's a really good tool to have in our box.

My lesson on Gus went well too. We were both exhausted but such is life. I started off with Gus on the lunge, as usual. And he was a total loony - not necessarily typical Gus, but the antics were (the buck/fart/bolt thing). He looked to be fairly sound-moving, but had just the slightest hitch on the left front. We did eventually work out of that though.

Under saddle work consisted of circles. Lots and lots of circles. We had cones set up on a 20m circle in the middle of the arena. Cones were spaced out at 15m and 10m (B, E and on both sides of the centerline). Objective? Smaller circle, more collected, bendy trot (or canter). Larger circle, move forward, freer trot (or canter).

We had some very nice trot moments undersaddle. The canter work was nice too - we had a real nice 15m canter on the RL - the 20m circle Gus didn't try hard enough and the 10m was too difficult. On the LL, Gus was pretty obedient the whole time ... but when he was done, he was DONE. There is absolutely no reserve left in that boy's tank.

We ended the lesson with both him and I being exhausted. Gus was puffing like there's no tomorrow, along with being drenched on his shoulders & chest. I'm glad I clipped him this fall ... cause after a ride like yesterday, there was no way he would've otherwise dried off. As it was, I did end up putting him back outside after just 30min under coolers.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Winter is HERE!!!

And I'm none too happy about it, but what do you do? After not being able to partake in my usual Wednesday lesson, due to a work emergency,  I did managed to make it out to the barn on Saturday to ride Gus and pony Gringo.

As usual both boys were good and as usual, Gringo was stubborn about moving any faster then a walk. So, I decided, since the arena was empty, to put up the gate and let him roam around while I worked with Gus. He was good and Gus was especially good. Heck, even I was good :-). All things considered, it was a good ride.

Just as I was finishing up, Gringo noticed the handsome (beautiful ??? not sure what he thought) horse in the mirror. Oh boy was he having a field day talking to the beauty in the mirror. It has hilarious. He was so obsessed with his reflection. I don't think I've ever seen that reaction from him before. He was a good boy about me catching him again and  didn't have any issues leaving the beauty behind in the mirror.

Yesterday, however, was a miserable day. I am very thankful I dragged my butt to the barn on Saturday. We ended up with something like 14"+ of snow yesterday. It's truly a winter wonderland, treacherous roads and all. It's crazy!

So, not sure when I'll be back out to see the boys. I'm planning to go tomorrow, weather permitting. Lesson is scheduled again for Wednesday.

I'll try to get some photos posted that I took this morning on my drive into work. What's normally a 30 minute commute took over an hour. It was ridiculous, but beautiful.