Monday, April 25, 2016

Photo Shoot with Alex

Last Saturday, my friend Alex and I decided to do a photo shoot. Alex has beautiful horses, and one day I hope to grow Ollie's hair out as long as Ike's (yeah, a girl can dream. lol).

First we took some portrait shots..

Ollie, prick your ears!!!

..and then we went for a trail ride. We both had our Canon camera's, so we each got photos of each other. 

I had Ollie go through some water...

..and stand in the middle of these..tall plants. The name of these things is currently escaping me. 

Lastly, we loped/galloped on a flat part of the Open space...

"Go Ollie, go!!"

*cue awkward lead change*

..and then I galloped Ollie up a hill. 

I have even more pictures, but those are going to have to wait for the next post. Thank you so much for taking pictures with me, Alex!


Monday, April 18, 2016

Riding Part 3.....Collection and Basic Patterns

Hello everyone, and welcome back to my blog for Part 3!

I got these pictures last week, but I just have not had the time to blog about it yet..until now! Enjoy!

Mrs. June came over to help me work on some Collection and Pattern work. Since Ollie's first show is June 25th, we are working on a lot of collection, bending, and patterns. He want him to learn two "styles" of how to carry his body, both "Collected", and "Long and Low." 

Ollie has a very high tie-in to from his chest to his neck, and with his breeding, he prefers to keep his head at the natural level, as shown here:

It is nice that he already naturally carries his neck in a good place for the show ring, but I really have to bring that nose in, as shown here:

It will take some time for him to tip his nose in and to hold it for longer periods of time, but practice makes perfect, right? :)

Anyway, before I got started on cones, Mrs. June had me warm Ollie up a little bit. I started with groundwork first...

In this picture I am keeping my feet in the same spot and just having Ollie trot around me.
 It is a super fun exercise to try! 
..and then did some bending to get his body soft and supple... well as some trotting,,,,

...and loping each direction. 

I wanted him to turn sharply. Please note, I riding in a different saddle, and it places me slightly off of the shoulder-hip-heel placement of my body. No worries! I am getting a new saddle next month! 

After his warm up, I got directions from Mrs. June on how to use the patterns she had set up with the cones. 

Making sure I knew exactly what I was doing. 

My instructions were to walk up to the first pair of cones, and stop Ollie right to where his shoulder would be right next to the cone....
Laughing, because I missed the cones and stopped Ollie too late. Oops!
...walk diagonally to the next pair of cones, but ask Ollie to go "Long and Low"....

...and then stop at the next pair of cones. 

After I stopped Ollie, I would bend his head from side to side, ask him to collect, and walk off. After Ollie taking 5-6 collected steps, I would slowly release the reins and ask him to go "Long and Low". 

*Excuse the posture* Sometimes Ollie would go behind the vertical, but Mrs. June and I are going to worry about that later. I will blog post on it, too!!

Asking Ollie to go "Long and Low". He likes that! 

We then repeated this for 30 minutes or so. Basically, it was a big figure 8 with four stopping places. 

After Ollie started to do the pattern well at the walk (so, about 15 minutes) we did it at the trot. 

Overall, Ollie did fantastic, and I am so excited for our show!! We have 10 weeks (ish) left, and I am ready to see how far Mrs. June and I can take him. Stay tuned, more content is coming!!!

What am I doing!?  *Insert crying happy face emoji* 

Until next time!

Monday, April 11, 2016

Groundwork/Riding Part 2......Rollbacks and Bareback Riding

Hello, and welcome to Part 2 of this 3 part series! 

After I did the plastic bag desensitization and basic round pen work that I showed in my last post, I worked on some Rollbacks On The Ground. Ollie LOVES doing these, and I love doing them with him. It is kind of like a dance, and sometimes I put on my headphones and listen to music with a beat that matches our Rollbacks. It is a lot of fun. This particular time I didn't have my headphones on, and for half of these Rollbacks I didn't use the Handy Stick.

To ask Ollie to Rollback, I put him out on the circle. When he is loping (trotting also works, but you will get a better rollback out of a lope) I step in front of the horses' drive line (shoulder) change my lead rope into my other hand, point, look the new direction, and cluck (or kiss. I typically kiss because that is Ollie's lope/canter cue). 

It is important to have some energy in your body for this exercise because it takes a lot of energy for the horse to Rollback. Rollbacks are EXTREMELY good for hot horses who need to move their feet, and get on the thinking side of the brain. 

Clucking, or kissing, will "scoot" the horse out the Rollback. A Rollback needs to have (like I said) a lot of energy. The horse needs to get on his haunches and turn using his hindquarters.
He is on his forequarters right now...this is because he is about to turn on his hindquarters.

Turning on his hindquarters

This lesson can also be done at the trot once the horse is used to it. I wasn't using the Handy Stick for any of these Rollbacks...just getting in front of the drive line.
Getting in front of the shoulder, and changing the lead rope to my other hand...

Pointing and looking the new direction. 

See him turning on his hindquarters?

After doing each side 4-5 times (so around 10 total rollbacks) I bring Ollie into the center for a good rub. When horses are first learning they may need to do more "rollbacks" before they start to understand. Don't finish too early, but at the same time don't ask too much of the horse in one lesson. This is where timing and feel, and knowing the horse's capabilities come into play.

After rollbacks, I decided to just hop on Ollie bareback. Well, let me actually re-phrase that.....

I cannot swing on the back of horses. I am working on it, but I just cannot seem to be able to use momentum and swing my body up on Ollie without the help of a bucket/fence/round pen fence.....if y'all have any suggestions or tips that could help me, I would love to know a few! 

I just hopped on him using the round pen. 

...and then flexed him to take his halter off once I got on. 

Freedom!! Haha! 

I love this picture. Ollie looks very relaxed. 

Exaggerating the "whoa" cue with my body. 

I love this horse!!!!!
Part 3 coming soon!!! Riding, and more collection!