Thursday, October 24, 2013

Vote For Us?

Hey guys! I know it's been over 6 months since I posted but an update is coming sooooon.

Grayson and I are in a selfie contest that ends tomorrow at noon...I'm currently in the lead but one girl just keeps trying to catch up. :) One of my favs asked if I posted on here...I didn't even think about it. But thanks Trish!

Anyhow, the winner gets a free photoshoot...I'm thinking I would probably deck him out for Christmas photos. If you have Facebook, could you vote for our picture?

Just click here and like the photo!


Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Life is Going 100 MPH :)

Whew! Things have been going crazy here in Charleston. We are getting married is less than 3 weeks! March was chaos...I was gone for a long weekend for my shower in Pittsburgh and then another long weekend for my bachlorette in Asheville.

I've been pressed for pony time but I've also been more consistent than I've been in the past few months. After my impromptu Thursday evening lesson a few weeks ago, I've been trying to use the round pen and doing some free lunging. It's been going well! I set a timer on my phone (again, goal oriented) and just go have fun. We do lots of transitions from just walk to trot (remember, 2013, the year of trotting) vice versa...and then we switch on and so forth.

It's so funny how you can read for years about horse training but actually doing it is the only way to learn. Once again, I'm learning how inconsistent my cues have been, how spastic my leadership has been, etc... It sounds so elementary but the round pen work is helping me learn my flaws. For instance, I've always been like "trot" and then move the whip or maybe just move the whip. In the last session I tried to take some Parelli wisdom and do things in phases...within 5 minutes G was trotting with just a vocal command because in reality it seems that's all I've needed most of the time. Gah! It floors me how patient and forgiving these creatures can be with humans. :)

As dominant as Grayson can be, I'm learning that he also gets offended if I just demand...he likes to be asked and then encouraged if need be. I can't blame him and there's no reason for me to just be spastic and hurry him up in a frazzled manner.

I had a crazy day yesterday and figured I'd just go out to groom and do some trick training (we've not been doing it as much and I miss it). So we did our thing and he was great. After I took his halter off, he stood there for a second, walked 50 feet away, looked at me like he was waiting and then walked back. He did this twice. It shocked me as this is not a normal thing...I'm now wondering if he wanted to "work" because where he walked out to is sometimes where I lunge him if we're short on time.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Impromptu Thursday Evening Lesson

I had plans to ride Grayson again after work today. I was hoping to do the same thing I did Monday but the barn owner showed up to feed (much later than usual) so she hung around and chatted with me. I hopped on and he walked around just fine. We circled, did serpentines, etc... She asked what he would do if I asked him to trot; mind you it's warm during the day and starts getting cool around dusk so I could just feel his spring legs.

He gave some sass so I asked again and he bucked once but I knew it was coming. The barn owner was concerned (something about "walking" down the aisle in a wheelchair!) so she threw him in the round pen and worked him. It doesn't take him long to come to and was behaving like a champ and also seemed to be enjoying himself (!?!) so she handed the lunge whip over to me.

I definitely need to be more firm with him...he automatically knows he can get away with more when I'm in charge but still did what I asked. Once we did some transitions in both directions, I hopped back on to W/T in both directions without him bucking. He didn't buck but I didn't expect him to]o. TONS of licking and chewing was going on throughout...maybe he's at the point where he really does want to do some work? He just seemed content afterward.

I do struggle with the clash of training methods...doing the round pen thing with him tonight is not Parelli-ish or Clicker Training-ish but it worked! I think I need to let go of the black/white boundaries and use what works for the two of us. <- this is very difficult for me for some reason.

The BO suggested I try free lunging before I hop on...she trained her mare (a fiery and solid Appy mare) in a very similar manner. I'll do it a few times and see what happens.

Things I learned tonight:
1. I need to ask for what I want and release when he gives it to me. Duh! This is horse training 101 but my brain goes to mush when I work with him under saddle.
2. I need to be more vocal both when he's doing the right thing and the wrong thing. The BO says things like "oooooh preeeetttty trot" "niiiice walk Grayson." He does so well with voice commands (I guess most horses do?) but once again, I forget under saddle.
3. I'm way too fussy with my seat.
4. Keeping your heels down does in fact prevent being un-saddled in a buck. :)
5. I'm such a softy...Today I got called out at work and at the barn!
6. This horse training stuff is hard work but very fulfilling.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Trying to Get in the Swing of Things

So as my previous post states, I got to ride tonight after work! I wanted to start off Daylight Savings with a ride...I desperately wanted to. I even rode in the saddle which is something I haven't done in months...gah, that's embarrassing.

It took me an hour and half to get to the barn tonight so I felt a little pressured to beat the sun. I tacked up in Grayson's field (he's by himself again for some reason...) and he was if he does it every day.

My plan was to set a 20 minute timer on my phone and stay on him the whole time. I'm EXTREMELY goal oriented and I'm trying to bring little goals into his training...I've only set bigger goals in the past and only with ground work.

I hopped on, set my 20 minute timer and decided to play some music on my iPhone...I've never done this before but will definitely do it again. (I'm loving Bruno Mars right now...)

Interestingly, about half way through, I wanted to be done. This happens to me every.single.time. He wasn't being bad...he was actually walking forward and pretty interested in what we were doing. I realized I wanted to quit because things were going so well! <- I wanted to avoid any hairy-ness that might happen which is kind've a cowardly way of reacting. I continued on because of that silly timer and he was great.

I'm also doing the Couch to 5K program with an app on my phone...I love it so much that I think I'm going to find another and start it with Grayson in 2 weeks or so. The structure and little goals might help me be consistent!

Blurry Proof I Got to Ride Today!

Friday, March 8, 2013

A Tooth Scare

We're having a mild tooth scare with Grayson. :/ It bums me to no end.

I'm not sure how long most of you guys have been following me but for those of you that started reading in the past year and a half, Grayson is was rescue and has terrible teeth. He has had three removed in two different trips to NC State Vet Hospital. He has some additional bad teeth in there but we were hoping and still are, that we can go a few years before we remove more. If you want to read more, here's a good place to start.

The roots on Grayson's top teeth are mangled and strange looking...he is also missing the protective coating on many top teeth. The teeth "go bad" by cracking at where the blood supply comes through the tooth. You can get the idea from the picture above.

Since the whole ordeal, I'm quite paranoid about it. The extraction takes a toll on his body (that's a huuuuge socket to heal) and it also takes a toll on my wallet. The barn owner knows of his past problems and keeps an eye out. She recently noticed that he's been chewing weird. I always thinks he chews weird.

I decided to have the vet out to look for cracked teeth and float if necessary. NC State suggested that I get him floated every 6 had been 8 so he was due. <- He also got spring shots, coggins, etc...

The good news is that he has no current broken/cracked teeth and there were a few sharp points that have been removed but nothing major.

The vet is concerned about a bump he has on the side of his face. This particular bump has been x-rayed at least 6 times and is just calcified bone. It only becomes a problem if it grows. It has not.

The vet also has a second concern about one particular tooth and the missing protective coating. I'm still waiting from a call back from her. This particular vet has done no dental work with him so we're at a bit of a disadvantage but the vet hospital has a vet that does nothing but complex dental work so we're in good hands.

I think I'm going to agree to do the x-rays again...might as well know what's going on in there.

Like I mentioned earlier, it bums me out but it could definitely be worst. And on the bright side, he looks the best he's ever looked (we may need to even back off of feed) and his feed are balanced. Woo!