Thursday, March 13, 2014

I have confidence that spring will come again

In my second life (the non-horsey one), I'm working on a production of the Sound of Music.  One of the more recent additions to the show is the song 'Confidence' from the movie version as a whole ensemble musical number, so it's been running through my head a lot, and now it seems even more appropriate with the return of what feels like real spring weather at last!

So needless to say I finally get to make a happy, excited blog post again! Yay! I've missed those! It's been a bit of discouragement and slow, slow, painfully slow progress for a while now, but I finally have something happy and exciting to report!

But I'll get to that.  I arrived yesterday at the farm to a very water-saturated yard, and a dirty horse.

I see a dirty horse


"Oh.  You meant me, didn't you? Rude.  You try keeping clean in that pasture."
She was just covered with what seemed to be sweat stains.  She's still retaining a lot of her winter hair (I don't blanket, so she has puh-lenty of that), and I tried the shedding blade, but it's just not ready to come out yet.  Oh well, we'll both be full of her hair soon enough when she sheds out.  Anyhow, she stood really quite well while she was tied, and I tacked her up without any fuss (a big improvement! she always used to wiggle around).

We headed into the arena, and I had another engagement later in the evening, so I didn't have an exceptionally long time to work with her.  Because of that, I decided not to concentrate too much on anything specific, because I didn't want to bring out any issues that I wouldn't have the time to deal with properly.  I had a bit of a play day, or a I like to think of it, a crash course.  I did a little taste of all the exercises we've been working on lately, only doing them once or twice per side until I got an really good try out of her, and then moving on.  She was backing, moving her shoulders, her hind end, and bending around a barrel with changing directions and rolling through her shoulders, all like a superstar.  She also did great with the new exercise we started at our last lesson, which involves taking the rope over the seat of the saddle and doing lateral flexion, and once she's got that down, bending her head around and then asking for her to move her shoulders and turn on her hind end.  There was a little resistance on her harder side (moving her shoulders over to the right), but she did almost an entire circle to the left when I had only asked for one step! What a good girl!

Of course the real main event came next....

 Unfortunately, I didn't have my usual camera, so I had to use my phone.  It looks very much like there was a big smudge on the lense, which would be the cause of the weird haze on the pictures, but it doesn't matter.  I finally, finally got to get back on my horse! Yay!

These were the best of all the pictures we took
 I started off on the ground bending her head my direction and jumping on the ground, pulling on the saddle a tiny bit.  She took that fairly well, so I started jumping around with my foot in the stirrup, and then I laid across her back, as you can see in the last two photos.  She took that no problem, so I got the rest of the way up, and worked on getting on and off both sides equally.  She did awesome! I didn't want to push too much, and I was almost out of time, so I didn't ask for anything else, just standing for mounting.  Nonetheless I am super excited about this big step towards being back to normal!  Spring here we come!

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Blog Hop! What's in your name?

I found this fabulous blog hop from Viva Carlos, and it's just perfect because I was going to plan to do a post explaining my url at some point anyhow!

What is the story behind your blogname/url?

The story for my blog title, The Fabled Christmas Pony, is not a long one.  I was in some sort of class or another, and we were doing one of those exercises where everyone goes around and says their name and something of interest about themselves (you know, those ones that make you immediately forget everything of interest that has ever happened to you?).  Needless to say the only thing that came to mind was horses, and I told them about how I was the little girl who actually got a pony from Santa on Christmas.  So, my title is essentially me saying that but attempting to sound fancy in my wording of it.  

My url is a little bit more of a story, but not by much.  Jazz is grade, so she isn't really registerable (I'm sure I could find a way if I were really determined to get her registered, but I see no need), and I come from a family of baseball fans, more specifically the blue jays.  I have a brother who is a particularly big baseball guy, and not exactly 'horsey'. He has taken to referring to Jazz as Colby Jazzmus. 

Which, of course comes from this gentleman, Blue Jays center fielder Colby Rasmus

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Help Wanted

You just can't win them all.

I arrived at the farm today to a very cute and furry horse.
Seriously, just look at that winter beard. 

So, I caught her and brought her into the barn for a quick groom.  She was a bit.. unsettled.  (That is, she was squirming around and thrashing her head and generally not being her most co-operative self).  I settled for being able to pick up her feet with her standing, which took convincing.  Then I took her into the arena, and started lunging her a bit.  She started off okay; something spooked her and she reeled off and took off the other way before stopping planted, breathing like a dragon.  On the bright side, it was significantly better than the last time she spooked in a similar situation and charged directly through me.  She kept a nice distance.  

Of course most of the good ends there.  She just became a bit of a head case on the lunge, and I was having a hard time correcting her, and she was just escalating and escalating.  That is, she escalated until she... escalated.

Something like this.  Remember when her rearing was just a tiny pop of the front legs?
And I, of course didn't take it all that well.  I was not in the right place, literally or metaphorically to deal with it at all. I did a little bit of piddly groundwork just to move her around a bit and not to end on her getting away with that sort of behavior (although she did sort of get away with it. Sigh.), and chucked her back in her pasture.  

We've made leeway in the last two months.  I had a lesson again this week and did groundwork with Jazz in the saddle (and she was very good at standing for being tacked up, didn't even move a muscle), and did some more new groundwork exercises.  My trainer said something at the end of the lesson about how Jazz was doing well with her re-start.  I hadn't thought of it in those terms, but I guess that is what we have been doing. There are a lot of things that have been consistently getting better, and that's great, but it's frustrating how I rarely feel like I can handle my horse on my own.  She is quite honestly dangerous sometimes, and I am doing everything I can to sort her out, but there has been more than one day that I've taken her in and thrown her right back out again shortly after because I just wasn't equipped to deal with her safely in that moment.   I think that that is a root of a lot of our roadblocks together.  Sometimes I think It would have been better if I'd just followed the books, green and green make black and blue.  

Of course, that is an incredibly rare thought.  I wouldn't trade her for the world. 
So for now we truck on through, thankful that when I simply don't know how to work out my problems with Jazz, I know someone who does.

Monday, March 3, 2014

I'm still here, I promise!

I haven't forgotten about you! It has been monstrously cold lately, so there has been little point in doing much of anything horse-wise; it's just too cold.

I did bring Jazz in a few days ago when it was cold but tolerable, and she was very good.  I ended up just tying her in the barn for a good grooming session, head to.. hoof.  It's been a while since we had a good one of those (partially because she was not having any of being tied the last few weeks, so I concentrated on moving her feet first).  Either way, she got a good currying, which was nice because she is just starting to get itchy with the oncoming spring.  Not that it seems to be coming on anytime soon with this weather.  I also finally got around to trimming off her mini-mohawk at her bridle path, and cleaning up the hair on her fetlocks.  She had the cutest little blonde fetlock hairs growing, and I almost didn't want to cut them, but her legs did look a lot cleaner and nicer once it was gone.  She was such a good girl about it too!

Anyways, since I am not sure exactly when I will be having anything of interest to share again, here's some of my favorite pictures of Jazz that I haven't shared yet in the meantime.

There are only two possible faces I make in pictures with my horse:
One: Big, Cheesy, I-have-a-horse grin

Or two: "When are you taking the picture again?"

I just love the spring.  As much as I get completely covered in horsehair, Jazz gets so itchy and makes all kinds of funny faces

Cutie Pie 

Just look at her pose! What a ham!

Jazz loves my custom hat from Custom Stall Signs almost as much as I do!