Friday, June 29, 2007

We had another good ride yesterday. Practiced more ground obstacles and trotted circles and serpentines. He's got me a bit shaken. I think the ground obstacles would be a lot easier for him to do if I wasn't so worried about them. I wasn't worried about them before, but you know, falling off isn't fun. Todd keeps teasing me and saying he got the arena footing all fluffed up for me. I told him I wasn't going to fall off anymore. And I didn't. We both progressively got more relaxed. At one point when going over a short railroad tie he got all bunched up like he wanted to jump, and unfortunately I got scared, but I pushed him over it and he didn't jump and we did it over and over and over again until it was pretty boring and not much to worry about. I really think we made a lot of progress, and Todd said I looked a lot more relaxed. So that's good.

My tailbone was hurting after the ride, and is hurting a lot worse today. That first fall was a while ago now... I guess I'm just going to have a painful tailbone for a while and I'll have to deal with it. I've thought maybe I need to go to a chiropractor, but I just don't know.

Oh, and I watched Todd drag a log on him. He did great. Kind of cautious, watching it with his ears, but didn't overreact at all. Until he stepped over the rope and got it wrapped around his back leg. Then he just backed up quickly for a few feet.

Yesterday was so busy! But we have most of our hay taken care of for the year now. Just have to wait for the neighbor to cut and bale our fields, and then pick that stuff up. (Unless we decide to sell it out of the field and let someone else deal with it.)

Well, I'm off to try to put a dent in the to-do list.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

I didn't fall off today! We had a pretty decent ride, mainly concentrating on walking over things. My daughter went with me, which was a lot of fun. Much better to have someone to chat with on the drive. She said she wasn't even bored when I rode. I didn't ride terribly long though, maybe an hour. Then she got to assist me when I trimmed his hooves.

And, thanks to my lovely assistant, I have pictures!

Getting ready

Getting adjusted

Carrot Top on horseback. (This really is a bad picture, but I wanted to show that Tonka really can move out. It's just the better pictures are all standing still because my camera can't handle the dim light.)

Good Boy.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Well, Tonka unseated me again today. Ugh. This time my foot got caught in the stirrup. Tore up my hand even worse, because I wasn't letting go until my foot came loose, which it did pretty quickly. My boot had come half off too, so I suppose I'd have gotten free even if he dragged me a few feet. (Good argument for slip-on cowboy boots, not lace-ups) Gosh I bet that looked funny... I keep going from laughing to being totally upset about it. My pants are all full of sand... I don't think I landed on my tailbone this time though, because it's not any more sore than it was. I think I did hit the back of my head. Again, thank goodness for that soft sand. I was also wearing my helmet, but as I found last winter when I landed on frozen ground, it still hurts to hit your head with a helmet on. I feel more rattled today. Yes, I got back on. AFTER Todd did. I wish I could ride like him. He lunged him with the whip threaded through his stirrups, (the whip was the scary object again) and then he rode him and flicked the whip around Tonka's legs, sometimes getting it caught. Then somehow it got knotted on one back leg, dragged all around, then wrapped around the other, and he kicked out and didn't like it, but got over it. I didn't ride him with it tied to his leg, I'm not quite that brave. But we went over and over and backed over and over, and he still wasn't 100% comfortable. The thing that's gotten me both times though, is that he seemed pretty much okay with it, and I thought he was fine, then he freaked and jumped up, forward, and around all at once, and there I went. Yesterday Todd made it sound like he didn't do much, but I watched it today and while it's not a buck, it's a BIG movement. My sister reassured me that I usually have a good seat, so I don't feel quite as much like a failure, but jeez... My poor horse. He gets scared and his rider isn't there for him... Literally... Hee hee.

He was pretty hot when I got done, and I went and hosed him off. He did great with that. Todd's been working on that with him, I guess the first time he thought he was going to die. But today he just stood there, and lipped at the water a bit.

So now Todd's going to work on roping his legs from the saddle, and stuff like that. His problem is a combination of fear of the thing tangling him up and fear of the movement of the thing even when it doesn't catch him...

On the way there I was about ready to give in to John and go pick Tonka up tonight, and then do lessons with someone here 3 days a week or something. But now I'm really glad I have Todd to work on this stuff for me. I still need to do it too, of course, but this way it'll be done daily by someone who is NOT going to come off...

I think my leg got twisted. The one that was stuck in the stirrup. Not too bad right now but I better keep moving and take some ibuprophen.

Hope you're all having more success than me!

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Had another really great ride with Tonka today. He was really twitchy when I first got on, but he got over that after a bit. (Oh, I fell in love with the horse he was tied next to when I got there. He was sweet and very handsome. And he's for sale, but for once I wasn't really even all that tempted. Really.) I was shaky and out of it a bit myself, from taking Benadryl late last night, staying up too late, and just generally not feeling good. I think I have a cold. This is just a bit too much to be allergies. Not so much itching, but a sore throat and all the sinus junk and I haven't been feeling right.

Sorry for the train of thought type writing today. Can you tell I'm a little bit off my game?

So anyway, we screwed around in the arena for a long time. Todd had unknowingly left me an opportune obstacle, a lunge whip on the ground. We walked around it, and it was SO going to jump up and eat Tonka. So we walked around it a lot more, on both sides. Mostly it was going to eat his right side. I saw it lick its lips in anticipation of a tasty meal. Well, Tonka saw it do that, and he wouldn't lie to me, right? So eventually we walked over it, and Tonka lunged forward and turned at the same time, and I fell off. Hahaha. Actually it was kinda funny, and I'm sure it looked really funny. I was laughing about it. No concussion this time, just a slightly sore tailbone. Not even as sore as when I went to the Pete Ramey clinic and spent so much time sitting and driving and sitting and listening and sitting and driving some more. I got back on and we did walked over some more, then went out to ride.

When we went into the pasture a big herd of bucking stock was nearby, and they went galloping off into the distance. Tonka wanted to go with them really bad but he listened to me really well. We crossed the creek, fiddled around on the bank, and watched the new filly race through the creek a few times. Tonka has a tendency to rush up and down banks, so we're going to have to work on that some more. We crossed the creek again, this time travelling up the creek a ways. He's such a good boy! On the way back I worked on keeping him going in a straight line, which is rough for both of us. He drifts and I react slowly with my legs, but we're getting it. When we got back we crossed the lunge whip a couple more times, and the second time he did well, even though he stepped on it and it moved, he didn't flinch. So we called it a day. A good day. I love my horse.

I was going to bring him home tomorrow, but I'm going to leave him there for at least another week, and try to get out there as much as possible to take more lessons. It's not Tonka who needs more time, it's me. I do alright on Danni, because she's not a young punk, but I need to work on my reflexes and seat and stuff on Tonka, where it matters more. Childcare may be a bit of an issue. John is grumpy about the length of time I'm gone for each lesson so I'm going to have to try to find a way to do it without his or his mom's help. I'm going to call in all my very few supporters and see if I can impose on them a bit more than usual over the next week or two, so I can get this done. I was hoping to be able to bring him home and ride with my sister and get pointers from her, but she broke her collarbone so she won't be riding for a while. Which also means I probably shouldn't ask her to watch my kids... Oh, the joys... (I've been having a really kind of minor baby urge lately, but this will help to squash it. Cuddly babies are great, but free time is a beautiful thing, and I have no business having another anyway...) Actually if I put Liam in the roping box with some digging implements, maybe I can take them with me... Hey, that's an awesome thought...

Tomorrow it's working on going over poles and other things, since he's so hung up on that.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Boy howdy, I am so in love with my horse. We had another great ride today. Not perfect, mind you, but darn near. He's doing so well for a young punk. No major over-reactions, no major problems. He's just a good boy. And so sweet. I had a hard time leaving him.

I rode him in my own gear today, and Danni's saddle fit him just fine. He had no issues with switching from an O-ring to a D-ring snaffle. I had to borrow a pad (I think I want an air ride pad) and a running martingale. I did order myself a running martingale yesterday, got a great deal on eBay. Hopefully it'll be here by the end of the week.

I've been having some issues with reins, since I'm not used to using leather split reins. But with the running martingale I can't use anything with a bit snap, so I can't use my favorite reins. I will get the hang of it. Or better yet, find a safe way to use my favorite reins anyway.

I'll be going back out on Thursday, and riding him out on the range. Then again on Friday, and I think I'll just bring him home. I don't see any real reason not to. If I run into something I don't feel I can handle I'll leave him there. But I don't think that'll happen.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Tonka is doing soooo incredibly well! He rode out calm as could be, opened and closed a gate, crossed a rather wide creek a little over knee deep, up and down a hill, a strange horse came running up and he didn't mind. Wow, I was so impressed. He was very aware of everything going on around him, but not at all spooky or goofy. He quickly sidestepped once, but that was because there was a monster gopher hole right in front of him.

Then I got to ride him! Wow was that really awesome but kinda weird. I have been looking forward to this for so long! And it was really great. I have a feeling we've got a lot of good times ahead of us. He's really narrow! Even more so than my TB mare. He has a different feel in the face than my other horses, much lighter, and I'm really going to have to work at riding him right. He expects me to be constantly in the driver's seat too, which is weird. Todd, the trainer, is constantly riding with his legs, and using the reins not so much, and I'm not that advanced a rider yet. Using my legs is not second nature yet. Plus I kind of let my horses go on autopilot a lot of the time. Not to mention I can't stand long leather split reins and that's what he's using, and they're sticky from being on so many sweaty horses and don't slide much at all. Will practice...

Todd had changed his tune from what he said on Wednesday, he said Tonka has come a long way even just since then. He'd be happy to keep him for another 30 days or whatever I am most comfortable with. I said I'd leave him there this week to make up for Lyric leaving a week early, and I'll decide later. Todd wants me to come out as much as possible and take lessons. I hate that drive! It's an hour and a half on really winding roads. But I really think I could learn a lot from him.

As you can probably tell I feel a lot better about this guy now. He's very quiet with Tonka, and at the same time matter of fact. No pussyfooting around, which is good, but no more force than is necessary to get the right reaction. Not that I've seen him fight with Tonka, just a little discussion about not running through his leg last time I was out there.

I'm really excited, and really excited to do it again! And again and again for many years to come. I think Tonka's going to be a wonderful mountain horse, and eventually he'll be able to do some competitions too.

I wish I had pictures, but I don't. Sorry!

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Just a quick note, since I don't feel overly wordy... Tonka may be coming home tomorrow! I was a bit worried about it since he's only been there for 30 days but now I'm getting excited. If he's not ready for me to ride, I guess I'll just have to play with him on the ground. Will give him more time to mature anyway.

I'm sure I'll be back tomorrow to post an update.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Tonka's doing fine. A bit silly at first, yucky weather and they had cattle in the arena today for the first time.

Mind you, the trainer is probably at least 6'4". Tonka isn't all that small.

Lyric is not doing so well. As a matter of fact I'm going back out there to get him right now.

Sunday, June 03, 2007

I have Tonka's title! He's officially mine! Woo Hoo! You know, when I got my first mustang's title I was much more excited. I don't know why. Maybe because it isn't the first time now. Maybe because he's not here. Maybe because all year I've really thought of Tonka as mine, and I didn't have to jump through so many hoops this time. With Willow it took forever, and her paperwork was lost several times.

Now, however, I think I'm going to have to ask for a revised title. It says he's a mare. Everything else is right, but that's kind of a biggie.

Even if it isn't quite the thrill I thought it was going to be, it's pretty darned exciting! My boy is now legally MY boy. Very, very cool.

I got an update from the trainer. He say's Tonka's no rocket scientist, and that he's sticky. I think he is pretty darn smart, and just isn't convinced that what he's being asked to do is a good idea.

Going to see him either tomorrow or Tuesday, just waiting for a call back to confirm. Will get pictures this time!