Monday, January 26, 2015

Time Off

Cupid got a week off since I went on vacation.  This is the first time I've ever gone more than a day without seeing him, I missed him and wondered if he thought I abandoned him.  It didn't help that a day before I left he had a bunch of scratches or bite marks on him. :(  I'm not sure who is picking on him since they always behave when I'm there.

I came back Saturday night and went from the airport straight out to go see Cupid.  It was already dark out, I was just going to say a quick hi.  I walked out in the pasture not sure how I would find him, then realized he was right by my side!  I gave him several hugs and kisses.  He followed me to the gate so I brought him out and gave him a little grain and light brushing and put ointment on his wounds which looked good but he had a few new ones too.

On Sunday we went for a ride, I wanted to take it easy since he had a week off.  He did light walk/trot work in the outdoor arena for about half and hour then did a little ride around the property including a short canter stretch which was a lot of fun.  Luckily the week off did not turn Cupid into a wild stallion. 

Then since he was filthy I gave him a bath.  He was very unsettled during the bath, not standing still and whinnying a few times.  I not sure why he seemed so upset because he was okay while I was riding.  Even after when I let him graze in the sun while he dried he was still unsettled.  I hope there isn't anything going on.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Even scarier junk pile!

Last night Cupid and I had a good ride in the covered arena.  There were 3 lessons going on (4 riders total) plus another person just riding, so it was hectic but Cupid doesn't seem to mind the activity.  After doing half an hour of walk-trot I asked for the right lead canter (his good side), and he picked up the left.  Doh!  Got it on the second try and went twice around the big arena.  Cupid has a smooth canter with long strides, but he is lazy and will drop to a trot if I'm not paying attention.  But his balance is getting better.  After a little more walk-trot we tried the left lead... nope.  Back on a circle to try again, another fail.  Cupid was getting a little upset, tossing his head, so we took a little break from trying to canter and just worked on bending and other things until he relaxed.  Then we finally got the left lead and went about one and a half times around.  I gave him several pats and "good boys", and told him we can cool down and be done for the day.

Today I woke up early and decided to go ride in the morning, since when I go after work it is already dark.  We warmed up with a nice relaxing walk around the property... at least until we got to the world's scariest junk pile. 
I didn't think this would be a big deal since Cupid has never been bothered by tarp-covered piles but somehow Cupid thought it was terrifying.  His head came up and he started snorting and staring as we approached.  Then he stopped dead.  I let him look for a moment, then asked him to go forward and he didn't want to go.  Then he tried to spin around.  I could feel him trembling under me!  This is on the driveway to the barn, we were on the road and of course a car has to come by just then.  I had to turn around to get to a spot so the car could pass by.  Then I asked Cupid to go back towards the scary pile.  He was not very happy and we almost ended up in the bushes, but eventually got passed it.  We finished our ride with a little cavaletti work in the outdoor arena.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Scary Trail

Cupid and I have still been having trouble picking up our left lead canter.  In fact I felt like I was making progress but then it felt like we were regressing.  He's young, and I know this can be normal.  But since it has been 2 months since his last chiropractor adjustment, I was hoping another one might help a little.  The chiropractor found some sore spots on his neck, especially the right side, as well as his lower back and found his left pelvis was rotated up.  But overall she said he was doing much better and said he has put on a lot of muscle and looked good.  Though he is very lazy and I can't get him to trot in hand.  This is something I should work on, but I guess I can be a little lazy too!
He got the day after his treatment off.  I did a walk/trot ride with him the following day.  The weather was very nice so after half an hour in the arena I decided to get out a little.  We walked down a trail we've been down many times before, but all of a sudden Cupid froze.  There is a house along the trail, and someone was up on a ladder cleaning the gutter.  I urged Cupid to go forward and he took a few steps, then stopped again.  I asked him to go forward but he backed up.  I tapped him with my crop, but he just did not want to go forward.  Finally I got off and led him, and he hesitantly did end up walking past the person.  I don't know if I should have gotten off or tried harder?  I didn't feel unsafe, just that it I didn't think I would have any success.  But hopefully with more experience he won't be bothered by these things, and for a baby he actually does pretty darn good already!

The following day I rode him in the covered arena, and we were fortunate to have it all to ourselves.  We worked on bending for a bit, then on lots of transitions.  We had a nice right lead canter a few times around.  Then more transitions, before I asked him for a left lead canter from a trot circle.  He picked up the right lead.  I brought him back down to a trot and asked for a canter again on the long side, and he picked up the left lead without me even resorting to any gimmicks.  Yay!  We went about one and half times around before he broke into a trot, and I didn't want to push my luck trying to get it again so decided to end there after a little cool out.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Warming Up

Well there isn't a whole lot to report.  The weather is finally starting to warm up a little.  Cupid is getting along well with his new pasture mates - he doesn't have a best bud like he used to but no one is picking on him. 
The outdoor arena is open once again, it was nice getting a little change of scenery.  There were lots of jumps set up, which we use to ride figures around.  Some day Cupid and I will be going over instead of around!  The new saddle is very comfortable and I think helps me sit a little more correctly - not falling forward as much and my lower legs feel more steady. 
I though my new Myler Comfort Snaffle bit was supposed to arrive yesterday so I returned the bit I had been borrowing.  Well it was delayed, so I ended up riding Cupid in just his halter with reins on it.  We did lots of walk-halt transitions, circles, and a little leg yielding.  I tried doing a little trot but it was not very comfortable!  He was a good boy though and very responsive to just the halter, I may even get a hackamore for light/trail riding.

He is also still a big beggar.  He likes to nose my pockets for treats, though I don't want him to become a biter he isn't too pushy.  After he finishes his grain he still likes to pick up his bucket and wave it at me, I think he's asking for a refill!

Friday, January 2, 2015

New saddle - Stubben Portos!

Cupid and I celebrated the start of a new year by having our Stubben rep come out with some saddles for us to try. He saw Cupid once before, last August, and it's a good thing I didn't get a saddle then because he has gone up 1.5 sizes! He was narrow when I got him, but now he's just shy of a standard medium. Turns out he's easier to fit then me, since I'm pretty short a lot of the saddles had flaps that were too long for my legs. We got to test out a few of different models.  Cupid was very good through all the saddle changes, and me getting on and off him.  All the saddles were very nice and it was a tough decision, but I ended up getting a Portos close contact saddle!  My old saddle was pretty comfortable, but I felt like I was often getting pitched forward in it. The Portos felt nicely balanced, and it's a demo/salesman sample so I got a pretty good deal on it.  I'm excited Cupid and I get to continue our training with such a beautiful new saddle!

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Happy new year!

On New Years Eve I had my final 2014 ride on Cupid. It was very cold in the evening, just over 40 degrees. I skipped my planned ride the evening before because in addition to the cold there were gusts of wind up to 40mph - it was so bad it broke the mirror in the covered arena! Cupid and I practiced a lot of transitions between halt, walk, and trot. He was good, though sometimes his downward transitions are a little abrupt. At the end of the ride I gave Cupid a kiss and wished him a happy new year. Next time I ride him he will be considered a four year old!