By and large, I'm pretty pleased with it all, though I remain a little nervous about the cross-rails class. Only because we're sooo green and I don't want to make a fool of myself. I know, I know, not why I'm there. : P
Looks like we'll x-rail it up, relax for a bit before the walk-trot equitation. Have lunch, go outside for our walk-trot test, skip back inside for a trail class and then have a short break before the bribe your horse.
I'm now planning on staying in the costume class if I can whip something up, as it's one of 2 classes on Sunday. Won't be a lot of fun doing only one class all day! Would have prefered the x-rail class on Sunday, but not surprised by the order of go.
Saturday, June 2nd
Bribe Your Horse
Outdoor (begins after lunch)
Cadora Walk/Trot Test A
Cadora Training Level B
Cadora First Level A
PineRidge Equine Park's 100th anniversary FREE BBQ!!!
Will begin once Saturday classes have finished
Sunday, June 3rd
2'0" Horse/Human Relay
Dressage Pas de Deux
Cup of Water Race
Champion Ribbon presentation
Today I headed out to the barn despite the calls for rain showers. Mr. Moon was waiting for me, and I took some time just prepping and getting things ready. I like to be prepared.
I pulled a bit more of his mane, and then brought out...THE CLIPPERS.
Yes, I did. I know.
I kept thinking about how strange it is when you don't know your horse's history. Did Moon previously show? Is this old hack for him, or something new and scarey? He sure doesn't give me a lot to go by, that's for sure. He acts like everything is either "kinda new" or "boring". Mane pulling? Doesn't care other then he can't get to the good grass.
I was nervous to try the clippers. In hindsight, I can't believe I did it without A. A helmet on, and B. Anyone else there.
Um, hello, previous hospital visit from horse+clippers+stormy day. And just 20-days (and many years) off the last accident? Oye. Glad I wasn't thinking about it! In honesty, Moon is the kinda horse that I often forget about ever being nervous or injured by horses. I just trust him.
Even when I brought the whirling clippers towards him.
And he gave me the stink-eye. "Um, I don't think so" his eyes seemed to shout.
"It's okay bud", I said as I brought them closer and leaned them against his shoulder. His muscles quivered like a million flies sat there, and then he settled.
"Whatever mum. Can I have some grass now?"
That's my boy!
And so I shaved off his fetlocks nicely (with all this mud, I'm happy about it!), and I cleaned up his chin. Unfortunately I forgot to do his bridle path, but maybe it's better. More experience is good experience, and I'll whip them out again tomorrow or Wednesday.
Another moment when I wasn't sure if he's had past experience, or is just that laid back.
Probably that laid back : P
I stopped to snap a couple pictures of my nicely trimmed man, and then saddled up for a ride.
Moon's Hindquarters - Summer 2010
Moon's Hindquarters - Spring 2011
Moon's Hindquarters - TODAY!! : )
We have muscle! Bum definition!
Moon Sideview - 2011 (pre-training)
Moon - 2011 (mid-training)
Moon - November 2011 (after moving to W's)
Moon - TODAY!
The rains have come down non-stop for almost a week now, and everything is flooded. The arena hadn't time to dry since it had only stopped raining about an hour before I showed up, so I thought the trails were my best bet. While I wanted to be jumping and riding our Pas a Deux, it wasn't happening until the sand dried up some.
We hacked up the road and over to the local Provincial Park. I found a nice place to deak into the woods and we wandered along the trails. I seriously need a map or to bring my gps. Because on a cloudy day, I had zero clue where we were going. I tried to always make left turns when at forks, and we wound and wove our way through the woods.
Until we came to a low spot. A bog. A marsh.
Ah well. Moon can cross it. "Good experience walking in water," I assured myself. And so I nudged him forward.
He started in. And further. And it was a little mucky and about up to the middle of his cannons, but nothing horrible. I urged him further. I mean, he's a quarter horse. ; )
And then it happened.
We were slightly more then 1/2 was across (it was a very long bog, 1/2 block at least), when he suddenly sunk to his haunches. I seriously just felt him go down, and my feet were in the water.
All of those horrible Sunday afternoon animal rescue programs went spinning through my head, my poor horse trapped in the mud as I stood need knee deep in the bog calling 911 on my cell phone (thankfully I had it and it was charged), and a boatload of rescuers would have to come to haul him out with a dozen ropes and winches and slings.
I knew I couldn't let that happen.
"Let's go Moon! Keep going bud!" I cheered to him, encouraging him to keep going.
Somehow he managed to extracate one hoof, propell himself forward and sink again into that bog. My feet returned to their murky depths even from atop Mr. Moon's back.
I kept encouraging him, giving him free rein, and doing everything I could to make it easy for him to pull that back end out of the muddy bottom.
Step by step, he lurched forward, always being sucked into the next hoofprint. It was deep, it was muddy and it was sticky.
Somehow he managed to get across it. My boots were soaking wet, my chaps were wet, my pants were wet, there was mud splayed on the back of my saddle, his bum...He was literally soaked from hind quarters to chest.
Water dripped off of him.
I hopped off and had a look over him. No damage done. Well, other then to my saddle and girth : P As I turned, this side of the trail had a nice little sign: "Caution. Thin Ice". How about "Caution, deep bog" next time?!
I walked Moon a bit to let him catch his breath and dry off before remounting and carrying on.
...You know, another 200 paces before we came to a second bog!
And I was NOT going back through the 1st one!!! This one was at least shorter and hopefully not as deep.
Moon thought I was nuts. He refused to move from the edge of the bog at first, surely thinking I'd taken him out into the woods that afternoon to do away with him. Why else would a sane creature venture through so many bogs??!
Thankfully while this one was muddy and sucky, it wasn't nearly as deep. Even more thankfully, when he got to the shallows and gave a MASSIVE SHAKE.
...and shook his bridle right off his head.
Into the murky water it went.
Went his matching crocheted ear net.
Went Moon's hoof, right through the noseband of that bridle.
I wasn't dismounting into the bog. I squeezed him forward cautiously the three steps we needed to get to dry land, and thankfully he managed to neither damage bridle nor self nor rider.
And I promptly dismounted and removed my bridle from around his front hoof and jammed it back on his head. Was this Mr. Moon's way of expressing his general displeasure in my riding adventure??
Yes, I also pulled the wet ear net from the mud and hung it from the saddle to dry. Just like the rest of us : P
I must say that the rest of the ride was less exciting after that. We made it out of the boggy section, I found a path that appeared to lead to a clearing and came out from the woods...
...1/2 a mile downroad from where I went in! Yes, we somehow BACKTRACKED!!! AURGH!!!
And so we hiked back uphill (no wonder it was getting wetter!), and found a better path into the woods. From there it was a short canter where Moon thought another rock was trying to kill us and I nearly got ejected from my seat...and promptly discovered that I felt unbalanced in the stirrups because I WAS unbalanced in the stirrups...since they were on different hole numbers! After the stirrups were readjusted I felt more comfortable and we found ourselves on a nice little mowed patch of grass large enough for an imaginary dressage ring.
From there we worked.
Circles and serpentines. Changes of direction and leg yielding. Walk-trot transitions, lots of suppling and trying to reprogram my mind. Lift the hands. Elbows in. Relax those legs. Stop fighting. Wait for it. Be patient.
And so forth.
I think it improved as we went. Not saying anywhere near perfect or even show ready. But better.
By that point I was hot and sweating and so was Moon. The bugs were appearing, the darker clouds were rolling in, and we headed for home. Down the highway : P
At one point, thinking about the costume class, I tried riding him side saddle. NOT as easy as you think. And I'm sure a side-saddle wouldn't make it that much easier. That's HARD stuff!
I walked him the last couple of yards home so he could cool out and to show my appreciation. H met me at the barn and we chatted while cleaning him up. She gave me great advice to wrap the mane around the pulling comb to save my fingers and voila, WAY easier pulling time! I shortened up the patch in the middle that was longer then everything else, and still think we need to go shorter. But all things in time. Still need a trip to Greenhawk tomorrow to buy some braiding supplies anyway.
Moon was still sound when I put him away, and I was happy to get in my car and head home. We had a very successful and very fun afternoon, full of adventures. I can honestly say, come hell or high water, he's the best horse I'll ever have.