Monday, October 27, 2014

Halloween Haunt Driving Event

 This weekend I had the opportunity to navigate for a woman I know at a halloween driving event. It was fun! When we got there, we walked the Hazards course. Hazards are the driving version of cross country(called marathon usually). During this, the driver maneuvers around poles in the order marked, heading in the correct direction(red on the right), going as fast as they safely can since faster times are better There were three obstacles, each with a set of several poles, gates, and other things to weave between. They seemed to be tricky courses; if you went on the wrong side of a pole or stump, you would head through the wrong obstacle and thus get eliminated. After a long drive to get rid of Pistachio's extra energy, we began the hazards course. Other than a small rear, the course went fine. It was exciting driving and navigating. Yesterday I had even driven the mini Pistachio's owner has by myself!


Heading through obstacle B.

Exiting the hazards course.

After hazards was the costume pleasure class. Pistachio was dressed as poodle and looked very adorable! There was also a miniature horse dressed as a shark, another mini as a piñata, yet another mini as a hula dancer, and even a curly horse dressed with an Angry Birds theme! There was even a cute Belgian mule. All the costumes were cute. While showing off the costumes, everyone was participating in a pleasure class, which goes a lot like a flat class.  Everyone drives around  the arena at once, walking, trotting, and halting whenever they are told to. Pistachio did well and earned a third place ribbon! His owner let me keep the ribbon too for helping her out! Pistachio also won second place for the costume contest.
Watch out for the shark!

Pistachio, Myself(right) and my friend who is driving.
 Since it was a small show, people got ribbons for each individual event, not the whole thing, so ribbons were awarded for the Hazards that evening.We didn't get a ribbon for that, but received the pleasure class ribbon.
Angry birds and a curly horse!
 The next day was the cones course and a poker run. We started with the poker run in the morning, driving along the trailers and collecting cards along the way. The trail was marked with signs telling us where to go, and along the way were five boxes with cards sealed in envelopes. Upon reaching each box, we would take one card out and move pin. Pistachio was frisky and full of go. It was very fun driving along the trails. We did miss one turn, but managed to find the correct after getting all the other cards. Unfortunately we did not win that, but it was fun anyways. It's a pretty neat idea to play poker by driving the trails and collecting the cards, then seeing who won afterwards.
Cones course.
 The final event was the cones course. The cones course is the driving version of stadium jumping and works much the same way. There are pairs of cones that you must go through, in this case 20, set up in a course that you must complete quickly. Knocking down a cone is worth 4 faults and is equivalent to knocking down a rail in stadium jumping. We had walked the course previously and the cones were number, so we knew the course. However since Pistachio is a small pony and was up against other ponies and a bigger horse, the curly, we had to speed through the course. It was a fun ours and we made pretty good time. It was going well until we passed the bridge(there is usually a water obstacle but not this time) and went through the third to last and second to last cones. As we headed to the last one, we weren't lined up to it correctly and ended up knocking down one of the cones. It was disappointing because our time was fast enough that we would have placed first, but it was just a small event and still fun. I can't wait to navigate again.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Pony Power!

Sorry for the lack of updates. I haven't been up to much horsey things lately since everything has been so hectic with the barns changing. By November I will probably be back to the regular schedule again. Since I haven't had lessons, a woman that I know let me ride her driving pony, a cute cremello/champagne gene gelding named Pistachio. He is adorable! I had ridden in their driving cart last month, but this week I rode him for the first time.

 It was my first time riding a pony, so I wasn't quite used to it at first, but by the second ride on him, I was more used to it. Pistachio isn't worked under saddle too often, but he was fairly good for the first ride besides being very energetic and stopping at one corner of the arena, near his friend, a mini horse. I had to push him forward each time I reached that area.
 For my second ride on him, which was Friday, he was much better. There was no stopping at that one corner, and no incidents. I trotted him around the arena, across the diagonals for a bit in both directions, then decided to try cantering him. I made a small circle the right, just as I did with Moe, to ask for a right lead canter first as he doesn't bend well to the left. Once he slowed down and became calm, I vocally asked for the canter. It went well! No sudden bumps as I expected. His transition was very smooth, as was his canter. He only managed a few strides at first, but I worked up to riding a longer canter and even cantered around the entire arena. I was surprised at how fast his canter was. He is speedy, so I had to work on half halting him to slow him down.
 I tried cantering to the left a bit, but I could tell he had a hard time bending that way and only did it for a little bit. I also tried leg yielding him since his owner said that Pistachio needs to practice it. He did it a little bit, yet didn't cross his legs over and go as sideways as he should. I rewarded his efforts with a pat and after a few minutes rode him on a makeshift serpentine(the arena wasn't marked) to get him to bend more.

 I will be riding him more times after this, and next weekend I will ride in his driving cart again and be a navigator for his owner at the driving event. I'm looking forward to it!

 Also check out this giveaway from Equestrian Journey.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Silver Rose Ranch

 On my last day at the barn I took pictures of the place so I could always remember it, and here they    are.
This is what you see as you enter through the gate and go up the driveway. To you r
left and right are large paddocks, and once you pass them the arena lies on the right. You can see a bit of it  in the middle right. 
This is the paddock to the left of the driveway.
This is the lawn next the paddock I pointed out, across the driveway from the arena. To the left of the barn is the round pen and hay barn, and beyond the round pen is the winter arena(far left).
A closer look at the winter arena, which they used because it didn't flood.
A closer look at the round pen, which is close to the leftmost entrance of the barn. Notice part of the winter arena to the right. Beyond all this is the large track I sometimes cooled out on.
The arena entrance, just across from the barn.
The rest of the arena.

The lawn where parents and others watch at.

The wash racks(hard to see unless you enlarge) across the path to the right of the hitching posts. The path is the one I follow around the barn and rounds the corner, crosses the bridge, and runs parallel to the fence in the picture, then makes a left turn past Chester's paddock after passing two large ones on the left.
If head left after going down the driveway, the round the corner of the barn , you see this: the hay barn, and the turnout for the small paddocks. This is the way I went to get Chester. If I follow this path, past the hay barn and paddocks, and head right, I would reach Chester's paddock and those of several others, which would be on my left.

The small stall-size paddocks(not sure what to call them), which have turnout behind them.  These are the ones by the tree in the picture above this one.

If you enter the barn and head to the middle where the cross ties, you reach a small open area  where there are entrances to tack rooms and a table. At the very back of the, adjacent to this area, is a large opening, which leads to this breezeway that goes between several large paddocks and the turnout to the small outdoor stalls. this was one quick way to reach Chester's paddock and the ones next to it. The paddocks to the right are the next to thrones I passed when taking the path around the barn.
Further down the breezeway. To the right is where the path comes out on, and just ahead are paddocks. Chester's was just to the left, slightly cut out in this pick.
Chester's was ahead and one to the left.

The two next to Chester's.

Finally, leaving the barn one last time. 
 Turn left and you head past theses stalls again. Keep going and you reach the barn at the entrance to the left( if you are facing the front). I hope you enjoyed looking back at the place with me and that you weren't confused by how I explained everything. 

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Last Ride at Silver Rose

 Last Wednesday, the 24th, was my last ride and my last time at Silver Rose. In spite of that, I had a nice ride on Moe. I started the lesson like last time, when I rode her across several diagonals to get her completely warmed up and ready to start working. I asked for a some connection and worked with getting her one the bit. Because of all her dressage training, it's not very hard to get her on the bit if I continue to ask until she responds. She doesn't stay on the bit for long periods at a time, so when she puts her head up I just ask again until she once more connects.

 Before cantering I rode her in a spiraling circle, like I have been doing, until she slowed down and felt responsive. Then, I asked for canter, cantering on the circle, around the arena, then back to the circle again. I tried getting her to canter on the left lead, and she responded correctly.

 I also tried Training Level Test 2, which I have not done before, on her. Unlike Test 3, which contains several loops, this test consists mostly of several diagonals. Rather than heading left, I tracked left, then made a 20 meter circle at B, riding across the diagonal to M once I reached K. Between C and H I cantered left, rode a 20 meter circle at E, then between E and I returned Moe to the trot. I rode a 20 meter stretchy circle at a, and then between A and F I went to the walk. I rode a free walk FXM loop, then at C trotted. At E I circled left, and at F rode across to H, canter right at C.  I circled right at B, returned to trot, then went down centerline.

 The test went well, except Moe didn't pick up the left lead for the first canter part. Afterward I hacked her around the property for the last time. I had a great ride, but it was a bit sad to be leaving that wonderful place fore the last time. The new places seem pretty nice, and the one where the lessons horses are going has a monthly schooling show, so it will be a nice place to do my first show. My first lesson will be on the 20th of October, after everything settles down.
Also, take a look at Viva Carlos giveaway.