Thursday, December 30, 2010


Today Denny and I had an interesting conversation while riding, about the lack of knowledge of a substantial number of people in the horse industry (namely working students). I don't know if people don't teach it or if the students just don't care enough to learn/study it. Things like what the German training scale is, how it fits together, and how to use it with your training. Also things like what proper distances in jumping lines are and how to accurately walk them. These are fairly basic things people should know. It isn't enough to be able to jump a line, you have to know when you are walking a course what the distance is so you know HOW to ride it. Also you should know, when riding on the flat, what you first need to achieve with your horse in order to properly move on to the next step. Principles of Riding is a really good book that goes over the training scale also there are tons of websites that go over it. I think the best way to learn about walking distances is to help set fences for you instructor or clinicians. You may have to ask questions and really get involved but what you learn is important for any person who wants to jump.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

A Bit Warmer

So the weather was a bit better today. The mornings have been quite cold though, I ended up going to get breakfast with Denny and May after feeding. When we got back the ground was still pretty frozen so we rode Rosie and Lofty in the indoor. Rosie is a funny horse because she is as calm as can be inside and if you go hacking after riding in the indoor. When you start outside she is quite hot and leaps and bucks on the lunge. She always settles down and goes quite well but has an outburst at the beginning. Rosie is off the track should settle down over time. I also haven't ridden her outside a lot down here, if I rode her outside everyday she would probably settle.

After I warmed Rosie up Denny suggested setting up a cross rail and popping Rosie over it. I got of and set up the jump, I hadn't jumped her before and she hasn't jumped in a long time so we kept it small. Denny just wanted her to casually trot to it, rock back and jump. She was very casual about it, not worried or upset about it all. I trotted it a few times both ways and then kept working her normally and popped it anytime she seemed really relaxed. This made it no big deal for her, she worked over her back and softly and then would pop the jump and go right back to being soft. We really aren't in any hurry with the babies, it is all about keeping it low key and simple for them so they aren't anxious abut jumping.

For the second set Denny and I took Skybreaker and Millie out for an easy hack. They went on a long hack with lots of trotting yesterday so we wanted to do an easy hack. These to horses both had setbacks so they are not as fit as we would like them. Skybreaker was gelded in the spring and had complications and had to have a second surgery. This resulted in him being out of work for several months. Millie had a foal last year but couldn't go back into work after weaning because of a sarcoid on the girth area. It took several months and many treatments with XXterra but the sarcoid is now under control and she can be ridden normally (with a fuzzy girth). So this winter we are really trying to get these too fit!!

In the afternoon we rode Union and Cordi, we hacked them as well. We did some trotting up the hills on fire lane 3, once we hit fire lane 1 we continued walking up to the Equine Research Center and wound our way back. We had them out for a bit over an hour, these two are much fitter than Skybreaker and Millie. Union is Denny's prelim horse, he is a thoroughbred who seems to remain quite fit. Cordi compete Beginner Novice and Novice last year and did lots of hacking in VT so she is pretty fit. She will need to get more fit to hopefully go Training this summer. The foundation is great because there are so many places you can go on long trots.

We took Simply and Atti out for a similar hack as Union and Cordi, but a little bit shorter. These two are 4 coming 5 and will also be working on getting more fit this winter. It is amazing how fit you can get horses even just walking. Denny said today he has heard it is hardest to get a horse fit the first time. This makes a lot of sense to me. If the horse has never had to expand their lungs or use their muscles, tendons, and ligaments extensively before of course it is going to be hard! If the horse has used them a lot in the past I would imagine things would kick in much faster. You can't rush getting a horse really fit, you have to build and build and start with walking.

It is supposed to get warmer and warmer the next few days!!! Jumping tomorrow!!!

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Snowy Day

Well they weren't lying about the snow! I could NOT believe it when I looked outside my door this morning. We must have gotten at least 6 inches, this constitutes a huge snow storm in the south! The horses were all quite high, especially the ones that were stuck in their stalls last night. Luckily none of them wiped out (at least I didn't see it if they did!). It was still snowing quite hard in the morning so we decided to wait until the afternoon to ride anyone.

Around one Denny and I decided to take Skybreaker and Cordi out for a hack. We rode around the farm but when we would go down any hills Skybreaker would slip pretty badly. When he almost fell down we decided it was best to go in the jump ring. The footing was quite good so we worked them in the ring for a while. Cordi is traditionally a very quite horse, today she almost dumped me several times! Every time snow would fall off a branch or jump she would leap in the air. It was actually quite funny because it is so the polar opposite of how she normally is. In the end she settled down and worked really well. With all her energy she really felt great, she was nicely forward and connected, which can be a problem at times.

Denny and I then rode 2 more sets in the indoor. We didn't work any of the horses too long, with the bad weather we didn't want to get the horses too sweaty. All the horses on the farm didn't get worked today but we mostly have young horses right now. It isn't such a big deal if the young ones get days off here and there. Hopefully the snow will melt tomorrow and we will be able to work all the horses outside!

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas!

Well what better day to start a blog than on Christmas! Today was much like every other day at the farm. Denny and I rode 4 sets, 2 in the morning and 2 in the afternoon. We hacked most of the horses, as we will probably be stuck in the indoor tomorrow. The forecast said it was going to rain and snow all day but we were luck to get away with nice weather today. It is supposed to get pretty bad overnight so we brought in the horses that do not have sheds. Hopefully we don't actually get the snow they are predicting. Being from Michigan I still find it funny that 2 inches of snow shuts down everything down here. I guess they just don't have the know-how to deal with snow.

Hope everyone had a great Christmas~