Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Quarterly goals recap Jan-March/Second Quarter Goals

The first three months of this year have gone by faster than I could possibly have imagined.  I think I may have found the time to grab the occasional breath a handful of times in the first quarter of 2015, but I can't be sure.  Without further ado, the overdue analysis of my goals:

Make more horse time.  Too many excuses and not enough pony have been happening recently, and I intend to put a stop to it.   Success! The lengthening daylight hours especially have been a huge help in completing this goal!

Play with the Horse Ball.  Jazz's absolute favourite thing and I'm not even sure I've brought it out more than twice in the last year.  Plus a fun thing both on the ground and under saddle. I brought out the ball one day, only to remember why it had been put away in the first place after an immense half-hour struggle to get it inflated enough to be safe.  

Put the Western saddle back on occasionally. I kind of miss it.   Done and done! I had it on at least twice, one of which was  pony sharing with two awesome kids at my barn, and Jazz was an angel for them.  

Do something about my tall boots.  I need to bathe them in boot stretch or get room put in at the shoe repair place because they are much too tight on my calves.  Yes! I bought the most wonderful, most beautiful, bestest imaginable brand spanking new paddock boots and half chaps a few weeks back.

Tack store haul! I also got a new saddle pad and cookies!
Write a product review post or two.  Product reviews are the kind of post I will read 100% of the time I see them on my blogger dashboard, but I have yet to write one.  This one was a failure.  I attempted to write a review of leather care products and was starting to assemble the pieces and then pre-spring break crazy schedule and spring break happened.  
My personal favourite picture from leather care product review day. 

Think about a bitless bridle option. Since my horse needs her teeth done every 6 months at this point, it might be nice to have an alternative when her mouth hurts.  I do own a bitless bridle, but I don't love it and I'm considering a different type of bridle.  At no point did I even think about this at all.  There were too many other things on both the horsey horizon and the personal one.  

Try to talk less in lessons. Pretty self explanatory but a definite bad habit of mine. I definitely made progress, but this is ongoing, so I'll probably repeat it in another quarter.  

Show off the horse.  I have been telling many, many friends for a long time they can come meet my horse, but I have taken very few people out to the farm.  I may end up moving this goal to a different quarter depending on how our winter goes (I probably shouldn't introduce my non-horsey friends who have never ridden a horse to the crazy winter Jazz I know and love).  I had a relative come to visit just last week and we went for a farm visit.  Plus I shared her with the two kids at my barn mentioned earlier.  I like the idea of sharing her, so this will be another repeat goal.

Get better at leg protection. I will divide this one into two parts
a) use the brushing boots and/or open front boots I own much more often
b) polos! I have one set and I am honestly pitiful at wrapping them  Truth be told, I didn't do this, but in hindsight the last three months were not a good time for this goal, as we're lucky to be able to do a good flatwork session most days, so it doesn't seem that necessary to do boots.  This one will probably be back in the summer.  
And because I love sharing him, here's my cat, continuing to be deluded into thinking he's a person.  

Goals for the Second Quarter (April-June)

Survive the next month and a half.  There are huge time commitments coming up on the personal horizon.  May especially will be no doubt roaring along at 1000 miles an hour, and I think it's only fair to myself to acknowledge that fact and try to do my best.

See to it the horse is fed. I think I've mentioned here before that Jazz is prone to bouts of diarrhea that can cause a sore, rubbed bum. I had the vet out on her last episode, and one of the new management protocols we're trying out is more regular doses of her probiotic.  At very least every 2-3 days she needs to be fed a dose of it, and luckily C will be able to help on some of the aforementioned crazy weeks.

Get the horse photo ready.  Some important photos are being taken with the horse very late May.  Make the necessary arrangements (trailer loading practise, thorough grooming the days leading up to photos, cleaning tack, etc.)
Casey is always photo ready. 

Try to get pony exercised.  I'm actually taking May off of lessons since I physically do not have the time.  I have someone in mind who I want to ask if they'd be willing, so if possible, she'll be getting a little training and exercise.

June: Advance.  Make some progress with riding.  More work in non-lesson rides, less messing around.  Get some momentum going heading into our busier riding time in the summer.

Edit: Keep it positive.  It's come to my recent attention that I am often not good enough at talking up my pony successes with my real life horsey friends, and I tend to overemphasize our difficulties.  Work on that.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Apparently I accidentally published this with no title and didn't notice for a couple days. Whoops.

In our last installment, Jazz was fresh off a great lesson.  I promised a story about a lesson which was now almost a month ago. Oops.  I'm going to go ahead and make this the last time for now that I make excuses and cite my insane schedule, blah blah blah.  From now on, I'm just gonna write about what I want to write about and get back to basics.
No farm visit pictures, so here's my cat, Casey!
I had a lesson waaaaaaay back on March 8 I want to talk about.  I arrived a little late, and didn't end up having time to lunge beforehand, the first time I had not lunged before riding since I started doing so a couple of weeks before.  Started with all the standard exercises, but the real showpiece was the canter.  Right lead was business as usual, but left lead quickly became World War III.  Jazz was having absolutely none of it, pulling on her martingale, popping mini-rears, the works.  I had so much trouble, my instructor popped a lungeline on her.  After she got a canter on the lungeline, I got back on and tried to get a canter on the line.  Jazz had a couple fits and ultimately ended up bucking me off.  She threw a couple crow hops and I ended up with my left foot out of the stirrup and over Jazz's right hip, and Jazz pretty much stopped there, so I just slid off the right side.  Luckily for me, Jazz really doesn't have much of a buck, I just consider it a side effect of the martingale (she'd rather be rearing), and she doesn't appear to want to throw me, just teeter me off balance enough that I stop pestering her.  After that episode, my trainer got on and had just as much trouble with her attitude as I was having, but eventually she did coax a left lead canter out of her.  I have to admit that I felt a little better seeing my trainer having as much trouble with my horse as I was having.

He's a very talented cat, capable of being a lump and coveting your dinner at the same time.

I had one other lesson before I went away for spring break on the 18th which went different than I expected.  I had another commitment that ran long, so I was running very late to my lesson.  Luckily my trainer is awesome, so she had my horse caught and in the barn for me when I got there.  We got her groomed and tacked quickly between the both of us, and I got to do the majority of my lesson.  We spent the bulk of my shortened lesson working on leg yields off the quarter line at the walk and trot.  It was mostly okay, but Jazz was getting lazy, especially towards the end.  Jazz likes to shut down and turn everything into a fight as soon as she decides that she's done.  I ended up getting the crop out to encourage the forward a little, and Jazz started doing little rears.  I brought her into a tight circle every time, and we eventually got a little co-operation out of her (luckily right at the time my lesson was supposed to end).  As a really great bonus to a successful lesson, my trainer even said it was the best she's seen me ride yet.