July 24, 2012

Update on Ms. B: 30 rides!!!

I am somewhere close to 30 rides on Ms B now, our 3 yr old POA mare. Since our last video, we've established a consistent jog and can now transition btwn the jog and trot fluidly...we've also introduced the canter as of a few weeks ao and are working towards a consistent lope! Her headset has also steadied and requires minimal correction when working alone....when working with other horses inthe pen, the distractions are cause for a bit more proactive riding....that will pass in time as she gets more mileage and more exposure to working in traffic...she's been introduced to bth english and western tack and rides just as well in both....what we will be working a lot on for the near term are transitions and leads.....
we are very excited about this little lady's future...I've submitted her entries for Pleasure Driving, Western Pleasure, Hunter Under Saddle, and Trail in our POA Regional Show August 10-12...stay tuned for more updates!

Happy Trails,

July 21, 2012

Summer Schedule....ARGH!

Was just going thru our family schedule for the next several months...wasn't specifically aware of what all we have going on until I put it in writing....perhaps my own mind was blocking out the volume of commitments I have made in an effort to protect me from myself....me and my senseless desire to be busy...more than busy, actually...not sure there is even a word to describe this...I may need an intervention...here we go!

...this weekend is packed with a personal driving clinic with Priscilla Lane to ensure my rigging is correct as I start spending more time with Ms. B in her cart, Randi and her friend have a lesson to work on posting and diagonals, I promised a friend I would take some pics of her and her daughter at some point this weekend, I also promised another friend she could come out for a ride, and I may have to pick up our new POA gelding late Sunday or Monday...somehow, I think it will all actually happen...lol

Next weekend is a VQHA show in Culpeper...I told a friend I would bring Bo for her son to do leadline plus my two will be doing leadline and Randi will be doing small fry classes on the new POA gelding...I will be hauling Ms. B to school in the warm up pens....we need traffic!

The next weekend we are driving to WI for Family Packer Night! That is a whirlwind trips Thur-Sun with 14-15 hr drives each direction....still, it's the only time we get to see his family each year, so it's worth it!

The next weekend is our regional POA show in MD...all 3 of mine will show and I may even get Ms. B in the ring if she's ready...my friend said she'd come to help corral the kids for me....the trick is bringing someone along they are comfortable with...they are NOT friendly with strangers, so I can't leave them with just anyone...clingy kids!

Then freedom for 2 weekends....for now.

Then a POA show here in VA.....

Then 1 weekend off....for now.

Then a MD POA show....

Then the Bill Picket Rodeo....will probably ride in the relay for the United Horseman's Association again.

Then the Warrior Dash in VA with the family...

Then State Fair....if we aren't showing our ponies, we will at least go for the entertainment.

Then I am thinking about a road trip to the POA International Futurity and Sale...anyone wanna road trip?

Then a nice long break until our next POA show in VA over Thanksgiving week.....then we are DONE for the year with all major events!!!

Wait...I think the Equine Extravaganza is in there somewhere durign November....LOL

Mon, Wed, and Saturday I drive Ms. B in her cart after work....Tue, Thur, and Sunday I ride her.

Mon, Wed, and Sunday JR and I walk/jog after I finish working Ms. B and doing barn chores.

We go out to eat on Fridays.

I kiss my kids every other Tuesday whether they need it or not.

Dec-May I hibernate :) ..can I get an Amen?!?!

July 15, 2012

Pony Driving 101

I have been having a blast getting this pony ready to pull a cart....we are learning together! Here is the process I have followed to get us to this point...
Step 1. Wake up! I have a very lazy pony...she is almost always sleeping when I go to her stall to get her.....I like to wake her with a song, but you should tailor your wake up routine to your pony's own personal preference.

Step 2. Introduce the harness. This only took a few repetitions until I was comfortable that she was comfortable with all the dangly things and doohickes associated with a driving harness. I am not a professional, so if you want technical terms this is not the place to look!

Step 3. Ground Driving...or as I like to call it: 'getting my dust jockey on'! I ate a lot of dirt during this task as I worked on this for a significant amount of time. Me goal was to get a solid walk, jog, and extended trot with a consistently level topline before we moved on...I also wanted to ensure I had a good handle on her for turning, stopping, and backing. I figured it would be easier to correct her clearly and quickly in this phase than down the road with the cart between us.

Step 4. Pulling Pipes. To simulate the awkward feel of the shafts against her body, I slid PVC pipes into her tugs (unsecured) and had a friend lead her as I walked behind. I had the ends of the PVC pipes tied together at my position for easy handling. In this position, I could easily pull the pipes out of the tugs in the event of an emergency. I also allowed the pipes to drag behind her a bit to simulate the scary pony eating noises that carts are known to make! She took to this rather quickly. I also pulled these around when I was riding her for extra exposure, which helped!

Step 5. Push it. "Look at me...if I can do it you can do it!" In this step, I literally push the cart around while tugging my pony behind me....she got to see and hear and even occasionally taste the cart in action....she's a little mouthy, so pony teeth marks on all things that come within chomping distance are inevitable....fortunately for me, my pony didn't care too much about the cart rolling around her....my arms and legs were spared from doing this more than 2 or 3 times...I did do it enough for my appreciation of the effort it takes to move that thing around to multiply tenfold tho!

Step 6. Hitch it...ALMOST. In this step I simply slid the shafts thru the harness tugs to let my pony feel the weight of the cart on her...My handy helper took the lead while I kept my hands on the shafts in the event I needed to pull them out...these carts don't grow on trees, ya know?...and I am kinda fond of this one. A few times around the pen without incident an we were ready for step 7!

Step 7. Hitch it...FOR REALS. OK, perhaps I am being over cautious here...but it is my life at stake when I hop in the cart! ...and I love my life! Sooooo, I hitch her up...and lead her around in all her driving glory! There's no turning back now! No simple escape maneuver to get her unattached from this contraption at this point....just me, my pony, and a couple hundred pounds of wood, metal, and leather.....deep breathe, and we ready for step 8.

Step 8. Drive it! This was a little scary....I had thoughts like, "Have I ground driven enough?" "Have I exposed her to the cart enough" "Am I going to faint in this heat and fall off the cart and be trampled to my death?"...but in the end, WE DID IT! I hitched her up and a dear friend stood in as my 'header' (person handling the horse from the front while the driver is in the cart) and led us around the arena.....
When we determined that my precious little cart pulling princess of a pony was ready for some more Independence, we switched up from the leadrope at the head to a lungeline....my 'header' stood at the center of the arena and I drove her in a circle around her....this is what you will see on this clip below.....I think I will do this 1-2 more times before unclipping and driving independently....she seems to be taking it all in stride, but I'd rather be safe than sorry!
Stay tuned for more footage next month when we are driving solo!

Happy Trails,
PS...Thank you Ms. Beth for your assistance! Also, thank you to my dear hubby for his excellent video taping! xoxo

July 04, 2012

God Bless America...

On a sidenote...this was Bree's introduction to a flag...out of her stall and to the field we went...I thought it fitting to capture the essence of American freedom on a Pony of the Americas (POA)....gotta love a good POA ;)