Friday, May 31, 2013

It's a Hot One

Yesterday was the first day that NJ got above 90 degrees. I love hot weather so I am not complaining! Of course I had planned to ride so I didn't let that stop me. The breeze was nice, but it was not cool enough for Spyder. I was sweating tacking up! Oh boy, this was going to be a fun ride.

At first, I stuck to w/t and worked on that bit pressure business. I think Spyder is starting to catch on... you give, I give. What's so difficult to understand? He got a lot of walking time out in the field, and we worked on the canter for just a few strides in each direction. UGH! When it is hot, I know he is lazy, BUT we needed to at least pick it up. He didn't want to go, but I hadn't ridden since Monday and I spend a lot of time and money on this horse. He needs to listen (if only they could understand).

And so I kicked and kicked and kissed and kissed, and Mr. Grump has his ears back. I used my spurs, but 90 wasn't making him move. I'll have to use a crop when I ask him do so something that he doesn't want to do because we don't need to get in the habit of not doing something that's being asked. Once he picked it up (finally), I brought him back down to a walk. Hopefully he'll start to get that if he at least tries, he won't have to work that hard. We're going to go when I tell him to and stop before he feels like stopping on his own free will (his favorite move). I hate riding with a crop, but when it's hot, we'll save us both the trouble of getting hotter and more tired than we need to.

We walked back to the barn where I hopped off, and he was DEAD. He didn't move while I untacked, and I put him in his stall while I put everything away. I was so surprised that he didn't even move to check his grain bucket like he always does. He waited a few minutes and checked like I knew he would! If he didn't, something would have been VERY wrong.

I took him over to the outside wash stall to hose him down because he was so miserable and sweaty. He stood perfectly like he always does, but the bugs really get to him so he was aggravated. I made sure that I got every inch of him and he looked like he was so happy to be getting wet. He is REALLY loving this new hose trick, and he makes faces when he wants a drink. I put it near his face and he learned to put the end in his mouth to get more water! He used to just put his nose through the water or stick his tongue out to try to get it, but he's learned that biting the end of the hose, the water goes right in. I wish I had a video because it was too funny, but I didn't want to ruin my phone at the farm.. again.. for the third time.

I walked him back towards the barn to get my phone in the event he did something else cute and hilarious. I was about 10 feet away from it, and I felt a tug. I look behind me to see why he stopped. HE SAT DOWN... like a dog... butt on the ground and front feet on the ground still straight! This is the second time I've seen him do this, but I never thought it would be on the lead! He was in such "distress" from his relaxing/easy ride in the heat and his hose that he HAD to sit, lay, then roll in the grass while on the lead! I have a big dog. I was laughing, but REALLY? I had the shank on him (just because he can't help but help himself to grass the entire walk to/from anywhere) so I tried to get him up, but nothing was stopping him from rolling all over the clover. Hey, at least it wasn't dirt. It's just too bad I was [     this      ] close to having that on camera.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

MDW Videos

OK. So no need to judge the riding. It was a quick ride, and I was just showing Chris what Spyder has learned. Since I haven't been riding consistently, my leg is terrible and my posture worse! I am a rocker at the canter (Dom would say, "Stop humping your horse/saddle!"), and I am posting forward (with my big butt flopping all over the back of the saddle). I know! Always nice to see the reality of your terrible ways through video.

Progression of the ride per the last blog... YouTube video comments explain the deal. Don't mind the frustration/awful noises coming from me when he tries to break or get lazy.


Trot to Halt.

Canter to Halt.

Pacey Transition to Canter.

Pacey Transition to Canter and Back Down to Halt.

Canter to Walk.

Trot to Jump to Canter (He tried to launch into canter at first)

Jump to Canter - Broke and Picked it Back Up

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Memorial Day Weekend

Memorial Day weekend was a bit chilly - WHY!? I am so ready for summer, but it keeps prolonging warmer weather. I didn't ride Saturday or Sunday because I wasn't motivated by the wind and clouds. On the way to a BBQ on Monday, I finally got some sun and Chris came with me. He hasn't seen me on Spyder in a while so it was fun to show him what we have been working on. He took videos so stay tuned because I hope to get them up to YouTube soon!

After Spyder was slobbering all over my arms while I tightened his nose band (guess he was liking the salt? or just tasting me like he tastes everything that comes near his face), I went out to the big field because the cross country field is beyond overgrown. To my surprise, only the perimeter and the dressage field were cut... still. This was going to make for a boring ride, but I decided to start with the perimeter of the field, once in each direction. I got back around the field to Chris (while working on my bit pressure and Spyder fighting back - you'll see in the videos my bad posture and horrible leg), and I realized something. This time last year, I just started riding him out to this ring, and it made me so happy to know now I wasn't scared. When I told Chris he said, "Really? I thought you would have come out here!" Happy moment for me because I am more trusting of Spyder as we've become a much better team, and his attitude is getting better with time and patience.

After we went around a bit, I moved into the dressage ring to canter. Videos to follow. His canter was a bit more pacey than usual, but I think Chris gets my problem too. Laziness. Spyder is SO lazy, and I try to excite him at any gait. What am I supposed to do to make our lack of skill/ability to do all that much fun and exciting for him? I push and push and push, and he is hard to make move. He'll do it, but with no excitement. BORING! I brought him out into the field to see if that would excite him more, and it did a bit. We just can't get lines... straight is an issue, and it's my fault for not working on that more. I will have to figure out how to push him out better... OR, I'll have to bring it back to trot to work on leg/rein commands to get the lines better. Things are always harder at a faster speed! We don't have all that much control going at the canter so that is partially the issue. The other issue is the need to canter and hold it better (even if it's in a circle) to bring us both up to par muscle-wise to do the straight thing.

We did a few jumps, and I think those really help his canter because he gets it right after. In the one video, you'll see that I put him on the wrong direction coming off of a jump - I looked, and I got it wrong so we slowed down and picked the canter up in the other direction. What I do have to say is he gets it. Spyder knows his leads, and he gets so upset if you try to tell him otherwise. He refuses to do it wrong, lucky me! :)

I am excited to get some videos up as I had fun yesterday, and Spyder was so well behaved/happy (becoming a trend). I only rode for about 20-30 minutes because he was such a great listener, and I was running late. Great combination for a quick ride (Chris got to witness that riding for even just 30 means means at least 1 hour at the barn)!

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Beating the Storm

I had a half day at work to meet the homeowner's insurance inspector at our new house. Fun stuff! Of course I would take a half day when it was supposed to pour and storm. I turned out of the parking lot at work, and it started raining. Go me! I decided to head to the farm where it was still raining, but I got changed into my riding clothes thinking I'd at least brush Spyder and not get my work clothes dirty. It was sunny out the second I took out my tack! :)
He looks thrilled
Falling Asleep
As I approached the field, I saw Spyder out in the back. I was thinking, oh great, it's hot and I have 30 minutes to ride. This is going to take up some time. That's when I went and grabbed my brushes and it got sunny. Heading towards the paddock again, he was at the gate! Now I'd like to think that he came because he knew I was there, but he was drinking water. He did make a few cute sounds and looked happy to see me so I'll just pretend he came to me! He got a peppermint for being so cute right at the gate before I even got him hooked to the lead rope. I saw a meme or something of the sorts that said, "you know you're a crazy horse person when you take mints at restaurants for your horse." That's me. Spyder got his from the sushi place I went to for lunch a few days prior!

Headed out on the track
I tacked up and got on quickly trying to beat the rain. The sun was out and shining, and I was thinking it HAD to be the calm before the storm... the storm we never got! It was soooo nice to ride and was just a bit windy when I got home. We hardly got any rain and no thunder. So happy I got to ride, but today is another story... it's coming!

Rode the perimeter
We rode in the big grass ring which is now cut around the perimeter. Our warm up was the ride out there, and we trotted the entire area once each time around. I was thinking as I was doing this... this time last year, I would have never! I moved into the dressage ring since that was cut to work on our constant pressure which was a fight. Since that was getting annoying, we did some cantering which turned into TRYING straight lines. Umm, yeah, we need help with that. We would canter "straight" aka on a diagonal and change direction. It was kind of fun because he would turn the other direction, trot a few steps, then we'd pick up the canter the other way. Simple changes? lol

Once he got it, I gave us both a break going back out in the field. We went over the wishing well at a leap! I guess he saw something (aka the cut grass laying on the ground) and decided it was scary. I made him do it again, and he was quiet. I am very lucky to have a horse that will try anything - and keep going in the event something deathly (nothing) scares him. We moved to a cross rail and cantered off of the jumps into the tall grass.

When I walked back to the barn, I made Spyder walk up the "bank" since he can never get his feet right, but he did well. Finally, he's watching where he goes! He didn't want to move in the stall so I got to brush him down and pick his feet without trouble. I think the heat had something to do with it! The tall grass gave his socks some grass stains, but I think the rain today will help those out. Poor guy is probably freezing today - it went from 85 to 56! :( I took a picture of his straggling "fly-aways" that he's got on his body. Hopefully they are helping him keep warmer today!

Before putting him back, I hosed him off and he just stood there like he was so thankful to get wet. He gets what the hose is now and kept reaching towards it! He will drink from it, but he's still figuring out the best way to get water from the step closer to a new trick.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

We've got this

I didn't ride over the weekend between painting trim to prep for carpets AND my bridal shower! Oh, the rain didn't help either. Anyways, the bridal shower was a great surprise and my house now has carpet! For the first time since we settled on April 30, I feel like I have a home. I can walk around with no socks on (because it's clean now) and sleep in my own bed (this has been packed away since February when we sold our first house). Needless to say, I can get back to more riding as now we'll take one room at a time. WHOO!

So last night I rode after work, and Spyder was AMAZING! He's shed out nicely in most areas, and he looks so shiny! It's great he looked so good because I hadn't been out since last blog - so maybe Thursday or Friday? I lose track of time when things get hectic. Anyways, I think he's the horse in the field that birds choose to hang out on... that or he's very "lucky" to get pooped on so many times. He had so much where the pad goes, really Spyder?

He was already in his stall to eat which was nice, and he looked at me like "Oh, God no. It's so hot, please spare me... and give me more grain." Since he's on just a 1/2 of a scoop he gets bored in his stall while he waits to go back out with the others. His favorite part? Getting back in the field to make his rounds to all of the grain buckets to see what others have left for him. My least favorite part? The one tb gets supplements and different feed to keep his weight up. He never eats his grain because he gets all worked up sooooo Spyder LOVES it!

Back to riding, we went out to the dressage ring. The grass is tall in the field and hopefully that gets worked out soon. I'd like to jump a bit now that I feel like we're getting somewhere with the canter. We worked on that after we did some trotting and moving off leg while going round. Instead of using the "cranking" method or half halts, we worked on steady pressure on the bit until he gave. This meant that my arms got a great workout because I moved them apart to get some steady pressure on his mouth, then, I would put them back together once he gave. He got it! I just hope it gets easier to move him off of my leg at the same time, but we'll get there. Since I haven't been riding in a routine, it could be my leg, too.

We used 1/2 of the ring to move out on a circle, and once he was balanced, we worked into a canter from the trot. HE GETS IT! :) The next hardest part is going to be keeping his balance at the trot and not getting lazy (he'll pace when he "doesn't feel like it" or when he gets off balance), and the same goes for the canter. We REALLY need to work on straight lines because we've got the circle! Even if I ask him to move straight in the canter, he wants to keep turning because it's what he's comfortable with since we've always worked in the circle. We'll get there.

Oh, and a bird tried to attack me in the barn. It was unsuccessful, but it swooped down towards my head and I had to crouch down for cover! There is a nest on the light above the barn opening, and this bird is not a happy mom. I'll have to pay attention to her coming at me next time I'm out there. Yes, more bird stories.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Another Ride In

With all of the housework going on... every day after work, I managed to get a ride in. After, I went home to paint, blah! The ride was great, though. It's been warm a few days this spring FINALLY so I took the opportunity to work on some color (not) and even got to wear a tank top. Oh, spring, I need you, but I need summer more. Since it was feeding time, I grabbed him from his paddock to come in to eat. He called for me at the gate which was adorable. I'd like to think he does this because he's happy to see me, but I'll have to ask those who feed if this is the case. How cute.

We rode on the track after I got on because there was a lesson going on in the ring. On the track, we were a bit drifty since it was feeding time, but I made sure that he was listening. We did w/t, worked on our stop, and back. The back needs to be fixed! I worked on picking up the canter in each direction with different footing than we're used to. The sand is a bit deep, and the area we work on has somewhat of a slant so we're going up and down "hills" aka a high area and a lower area as we work in a circle. Is this good or bad? I'm not really sure, but I do know people say to work on hills for the canter... this is far from that - it's really just a slight incline/decline.

The lesson came out of the ring so we worked over there a bit. As soon as I got in, we trotted the entire perimeter. Usually I let him "look" at everything, but we're been in here enough that I decided to give it a new try. We worked in our usual circle with the canter, and then, I ventured out into the ring to canter. We cantered all over the place, but if Spyder gets off of a bend/circle like movement, we're back to trot or pace. The good news, no kicking out! He'll resist the canter if he doesn't feel like it, but once he picks it up, I can push him up a bit and out! We'll still need to work on consistency and the fact that we need to work up the muscles (and get past his lazy side), but it was so fun!

Wishing Well
I knew I should have left it there, but we didn't even ride for 20 minutes. I decided to jump the wishing well that we usually do to work on the stop, but we got a canter after instead! I just kept pushing the canter and the direction I wanted him to go. I think he likes it? It's funny because he used to canter to be "bad" and now that he's being taught it, I wonder if he still feels like he's doing something wrong. I guess not if I'm asking him to canter and he's moving into it. It's great to know that his response time is much better than before, too.

I was looking around the ring at some of the jumps, but they were set higher than we normally do. Well, yesterday they didn't look that big because the grass is really tall. Umm, what am I doing? I decided to jump a vertical that looked a bit scary to me when the grass was cut, but hey, what the heck? We jumped it quietly and cantered off of it... and I wasn't nervous! Hopefully they cut the grass out in the ring soon so I can come to my senses, but I just had to keep going.

We walked out of the ring and away from the barn to test Spyder (because again, I couldn't leave it on the other 5 good notes I had). We worked our way down a small bank and across the track to some more ditches/uneven ground to work on his feet and balance. Yes, we tripped up a small hill of dirt before. Spyder needs to watch his feet! We walked along his paddock by his run in and walked up another "hill"... the same one we'd tripped over before because he doesn't always pay attention. Whoo, no tripping!

Can I go eat now?
After that, we still weren't cooled out so I took my feet out of the stirrups and we walked quietly on the opposite side of the barn by the cars, round pen, and empty paddocks without a flinch. Can you tell I'm feeling better on him? We got back to his stall, and he just wanted to get to his hay. I hosed him off before putting him out, and he kept trying to drink from the hose. Looks like Spyder might be learning a new trick!

His annoyed face

Thursday, May 16, 2013


Ahh! I need suggestions for tick products that work. Right now our product is my fingertips... picking those that I see, but Spyder has some in places that I'd rather not touch... and I think he agrees from his tail swishing and antsy antics when I try to get them!

Are there any tick products out there that work? I have talked to a few of the fellow boarders, but the consensus is that nothing is that great, and they will just move to places that aren't covered. Hmmmm....

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

An Easy Keeper and Student

Tell me I don't have an easy keeper. I can not ride for a week, even two weeks and have the same horse I had when I last rode. I haven't had him off for more than that, but I think he'd be good. Sure, we might need a 5 minute refresh, but he's been bouncing right back. It's great knowing that when life gets hectic, I don't have to feel guilty if I can't get out to the barn. I mean, if I was showing or something, sure, I'd be out there, but the pleasure in riding is great when you're just doing pleasure. We need to get some goals!

Another easy keeper note. We don't have to blanket. Spyder has a GREAT coat, and he's out 24/7. He's happier outside with other horses because he's super social and loves to play. This is great, BUT I think the other horses just run and hide from him because he's always bossing them around. He's gotten better now... he's to the level of "my ears are back, go away" vs. "if you come near me, I will bite and kick you." He's one of the most clean horses on the farm which is surprising because even with others in a blanket, they manage more dirt. He will only go through mud when he is getting to his food or water. You can be leading him, and he will walk right around a puddle (and even manure). If he poops when you are riding, it's hilarious to try to steer him through it. Whenever he is laying, he's in the sandy, high and dry place in the paddock. I picked an easy one to groom.

Next is grain, he's the least fed on the farm and holds weight the best. He's fat and happy on 1/2 scoop. He was eating 2 when he first came, and every 6 months it went down 1/2 scoop. He doesn't have a whole lot of grass, but the paddock is covered. It's more busy grass than anything. I do believe that his bossiness makes up for his lower grain intake. He's the first to grab the hay and the last to leave it. He makes sure that he gets his fill as he bosses them all around. This goes for the run in, too!

His feet? Perfect! He's not even ouchy on the driveway which is rocks, and the pavement doesn't seem to other him. Yes, he's out on sandy terrain/grassy paddock most of the time, but it's another perk to have him barefoot. While that's the way I like to go regardless, it seems other people aren't as lucky to have such great feet on their horses. Our biggest issue is his overreach. He's got such long legs, but a short body so he "clicks" all over the field. I make sure the farrier rounds out his toes in the back, but when he's getting close to being due, he's a mess walking and stepping on himself. Poor baby!
Not even sweaty after that ride.
We rode out to the big field yesterday with a few days off, and there were others riding around the arena on a trail which made Spyder excited. He was looky (with deer added to the mix), but he was good! We did some stop/go, and his reaction time is getting better. The stop and go are good, but we'll have to work on the back. I feel like every time we'd go to back, he'd be looking at deer or the other riders (or feeding ritual), and not pay attention at all. You can put all the pressure in the world on his mouth, and he'll back... eventually. We did a lot of pulling and fighting until he realized what I wanted, but then the backing got much easier.
Donkey ears
The canter was perfect in both directions with no fuss, and it's apparent that I've been working on it. Glad the cue is finally in order. We trotted over the wishing well (which looks a lot smaller with tall grass around it) and worked on a halt after the jump with some backing to work on our task from earlier in the ride. We'll get there, and it's great knowing we've come this far.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Cardinal - Not Horse Related

So this morning I get to work, and I see a bird going insane. A cardinal is flapping like crazy flying into the mirror and window of a truck. What? I took a video (one minute but I watched it for a good 5 - 10) of it because I assumed that it was looking at itself and was intrigued. Well, I was wrong... someone at work let me know there was an article in the press talking about how they are aggressive, and they fly into windows all the time. LOL.


I love that this article calls them "raging spring hormones."

Then, today at lunch, I run a few errands, come back to the parking lot, and someone that works next door that I speak to every now and then walks up with it in his hand! It was biting him and screaming for dear life. He's like, "Look, this was in my truck!" I laughed. He said that it comes back each and every year and has the same nasty ritual with his truck mirrors as well as another truck's window in the parking lot.

Interesting bird. I've only ever been attacked by a blue jay, but I'll be sure to steer clear of these beautiful birds, as well.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Friday Fun

Friday I got to the farm and brought Spyder in to feed before I rode. He always acts like he is going to die if we're not far enough away from the barn during feeding time. It's really annoying to me to have to deal with him so we've been working on his issue with food. When I bring him in, I brush him and work around him eating. When I first got him, he was super ANGRY when you'd be near him eating. Now, I know that nature calls, and if he were in the field, he'd be making sure no one took his food... BUT there are times at shows when your horse needs to eat in a stall while you groom or you may want to take off the saddle in the stall since you have no where to tie them. This is why we've been working on that. I don't need a horse to be angry with me being in the stall... even if they are not eating. So Spyder, get over yourself! He's been getting better! It's really fun walking him by the hay when they are putting it out in the paddocks too! :)

As for the ride, he was pumped since I didn't ride since Saturday. He got a lot of time to clear his head, but he's falling out of shape. Wish that my house wasn't taking up so much of my time, but it will be over and I'll be back to riding... then, the wedding! We got out to the big ring and walked around a bit since it seemed like he'd be so looky. I was happy it was so warm because I love the heat and I knew he would be up to less tricks! He was calm and so we did our w/t/stop practice. The brakes and steering are working SO much better than before!

Since the w/t/stop was going well, I moved on to cantering which was PERFECT! He was a little lazy/out of shape (aka not liking the sudden heat), but I pushed him through wanting to stop a bunch and even got away from circles some! I started in the place we always would do our circles for him to get the idea, then moved to other areas in the field. He would pick it up in almost any place that I asked. WHOO! We're getting the cue down! I was asking him on straight lines vs the circle and seeing if he could hold it. We were cantering for a while, but being out of shape, warm, and having a weak leg, I didn't push too hard. I was happy with him just picking it up, and I am so happy to finally be getting it! He's such a fun horse and he tries so hard for me... this time, with no kicking out! :) Hopefully I'll get a ride in a day or two this week, but I have to paint before the carpets come on Monday! AHH!

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Have to Rant

So I haven't been able to get out to the barn this week. My life has been ripping apart our new house. We've got WAY too much to do between the wallpaper, trashed flooring, and PAINT! I have to paint to get the carpets and hardwood installed, but it's a lot to get completed after work when it's getting dark. Ahh! Hopefully this weekend I can get some done, but I also want the opportunity to ride. Mother's Day is also an event that will keep this weekend's schedule interesting and hectic.

On to more ranting... I know that other people have stb's and they are used for all sorts of disciplines. Have you come across those people that say "they aren't bred for that" or "what do you plan on doing with him?" It's super frustrating to hear, but I see plenty of people doing whatever they want with them... and they do it. Stb's will do anything they are asked to do. They try REALLY hard, and they are capable. Why is it that the questions always come up? Yes, it's not as easy as having a "normal" horse, but they can do anything that any other horse can do. OK - rant over as I can keep going on this topic for hours, but no need to make anyone bored.

On another note, it's nice to connect with people to see what they look like and what their life is about. Who is on Facebook? My profile is always full of life updates, current events, and horsey pictures. Find me on Facebook.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Lots going on!

Finished my first graduate course which was a relief, but we just got into our new house! Lucky us the man finally decided to give up and move out, but the house is DISGUSTING! We had to rip out all of the carpets because he didn't always get home to his dogs, and they would be left in the house. Right now, we have a 30 yard dumpster in the yard FILLED. Blah!

 Unhooking the gate - quietly looking at deer.
On a lighter note, I did get to ride despite the construction/war zone in my new house. Saturday was beautiful, and the deer were in plenty. There were about 15 in the big field when we got out to the ring, but Spyder just looked! Whoo! I knew it was going to be a good ride.

 I got off to get the gate, hopped back on, and we went right to work. I did the stopping practice that Danny helped us with until he wanted to listen. He was listening, and responding to every single command within an instant. We cantered both directions, and there was no kicking out!

Looking at the deer running and not caring!
From there, we did the same steering and speed exercise that we learned. I could tell that listening and practicing paid off because we could do it! There was a grid set up, and I used those jumps to run through out serpentines. I was balanced, my posture was better, we kept our pace, and we steered! :)

Listening perfectly!
On the way back to the barn, I decided to do something different. We rode away from the barn up the track and did a mini trail. I didn't want him to be too upset going by himself, and I want to take it slow since I was nervous, so we followed along the perimeter of his paddock where his pasture mates were eating hay. I figured he would be more calm, and we went through the woods and past the cross country jumps quietly. There were deer in the cross country field, and he did stop for a moment, but I let him since it was better than acting up/running away. YAY for us! I feel like I have more confidence now that I know we can steer and stop! :D

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Clinic x2

I rode with Danny again yesterday. The ride from our barn next door wasn't as bad this time. Spyder was a little spooky, but he knew I was worried. We got to the farm in one piece and even got to ride all the way into the ring. He was much more calm this time which was great.

We worked out in the ring near the jumps to give Spyder something to look at, and he didn't care about anything - not even the other riders jumping or the flower boxes. Danny asked me what I wanted to work on and that was the same items as last time and my posture. I do think that we both need help - him being green and me being a sloppy rider - how do you get anywhere? I was assured that posture would help teach him, as well. I had to work on sitting up and using my lower back muscles which was a workout! I found my seat bone and had to lean forward and backward to get a feel for the different seats. When I was using both left and right seat bones and allowing them to move with Spyder, he was very relaxed and brought his head down which was awesome to see happen. We were working together and not against each other. We walked for a while, and I learned how and where to use the power to get him to stop with posture and legs versus the reins (but needed them because he doesn't get it yet). It's so much to think about!

So, sitting up tall, and bringing my knee forward and my heel down, we worked on stopping. First we did it 25 times at the walk - first think about it (release leg pressure from your calves and tighten up your thighs), then close your fingers for pressure, then pull back a little, pull back a lot, then use leverage. It was so hard to do while figuring out posture! It was nice to see that by the end, we were doing very slow and smooth stops rather than head jerking and forceful movements. We did that exercise at the trot once we got it down at the walk, but the right was a lot worse than the left as always. We worked on first tell him to move over, then tell him your serious, then make him if he doesn't listen. He moved over! Oh, we even did a little funky gait that Danny called the "Puerto Rican Shuffle"... haha.

Listening ears...

Then we went back to what we worked on the following week - listening and turning. Direction and speed - keeping the speed constant, looking forward, and telling Spyder where we are going to go. We did this in a serpentine around 3 jumps which were tight considering the large gait he has, but it was easier than expected... with instruction. Danny helped me to calm down, relax, sit up tall, and move around the jumps quietly. I think it was the most quiet ending to any ride I have ever had with control, and Spyder was waiting for the cue to find out what to do next. We rode back to the other barn with one scene in the driveway and a few spooks, but it was the first time I knew I could handle it. We had to keep moving, and I had to tell him what to do. We made it, and it was great! :)

Our ride back - it was a beautiful day!