Monday, October 5, 2015

bali cam: all cute ponies all the time!

I'm starting to wonder if the reason I'm so excited about Bali is his extreme cuteness? I just can't seem to stop snapping pics of this guy (even if they all end up looking mostly the same lol).

kinda sorta a confo shot?
He continues to do inconsistently well. Homeboy apparently just doesn't like to be alone in the arena. Our last ride found us again dodging four tiny tots with questionable steering - two of which did wtc and the other two did wt. It was cool and windy (like the previous ride where Bali wanted to murder me through interpretive dance) but the horse was really very good.

baby horse is apprehensive about being surrounded by strangers
A lot of his evasion comes in the form of snaking his head around - nose stretched way out and chewing weirdly on the bit. Kinda like what Chesney is doing in the gif below, actually. His other preferred evasion is napping back and saying "No!" to being asked to move forward. 

Chesney: Hey! HEYY!!
Bali: ....hey what?
Chesney: Hay's for horses silly!!!
Bali: *cringes*
So I've taken to carrying a dressage whip with him. This has been preferable to a shorter crop bc I'm simultaneously trying to smooth out his contact issues (ie snaking his head everywhere) while also tapping the go button, so the longer whip gives me a little more flexibility in how I can combine aids. I also added baby nubby spurs to the arsenal this recent ride.

clarity in communication via cold hard steel
These are the same little nubs I wear with Isabel - blunt rounded tips that are just enough that the horse knows they're there. But also not particularly punishing (esp if I end up getting tossed about and accidentally goose the horse with the spur... not that that ever happens.... lol).

floooooofy forelock!
Bali is a serious push ride tho, and even tho he's resistant to the leg now the next natural progression might be for him to become totally dead to the leg. Something I'd like to avoid. And as a self-professed constant nudger, the spurs are also there to remind me to be more quiet with my legs: ask, then take the leg off. Don't constantly nag nag nag!

he has the softest eyes sometimes
Tho honestly I don't think the spurs made much of a difference this ride - horse was just in a good place (probably bc of all the company) and willingly went to work. They'll probably be important later, but it's good to know he's not going to throw a fit *just because* of spurs since he was pretty obedient to them this first time.

bali wants a sugar cube!!!
His trot work had a couple actual nice moments, but nothing that could be considered actually working correctly over his back. To be truthful, I haven't pushed for anything more than moving consistently forward with a light contact. That's mostly what he'll be expected to do in the lesson program anyway, so I want him to just get to it, no questions asked.

i take a lot of pics of him eating bc... well... he eats a LOT. also - Milagro sighting!!
But I do plan to move in the direction of more correct work. We played a bit with turns on the forehand at the halt and walk, and he did seem to get it. Practicing leg yields is on the agenda too - again maybe more for my own sake than his since I need just as much work lol. He's another horse that has very little bend through his body so perhaps working with him on that will also translate to making progress there with Isabel?

still eeting.... as is Milagro... while pudgy pushy QH mare does what pudgy pushy QH mares do lol
The canter was pretty great this time too. I typically start on the left lead bc it's stickier for him, then finish on the right lead as a way to finish on a 'good' note. But I've noticed that as he gets more tired, he becomes quieter and more obedient. So we started right this time (uneventful and pleasant) then tried left. And whadya know, he was easy and soft and honest through the transition (if not actually straight haha).

note how clean and tidy he is eating !
Bali seems to naturally have a low-ish head set and reaches forward towards the bit when he's going quietly. My guess is that this could eventually lead to leaning and heaviness, but for now I kinda enjoy it when he pushes into the contact like that bc it's so much nicer than when his head and neck are flipping around like he's somehow transformed into a 3-headed hydra.

#notpleasanttoride
Anyway dodging the kiddos became increasingly difficult as they continued trotting and cantering around. I really wanted to capitalize on Bali's quiet and willing mood by popping over a couple jumps, but the course and kids made that... tricky. We cruised through two canter poles a couple times off both leads successfully, and there was a small X for trotting that we managed to pop over a couple times without issue.

wait, how'd you already get schmootz all over your leg? 
Then there was a coop set around 2'6" at one end of the arena so we just cantered that a couple times (again, all without issue) and called it a day. Guys. This horse is SO EASY to jump. Omg. I never thought of Isabel as particularly complicated (she's more or less point-n-shoot), but finding a distance on her is tricksy bc she can almost always squeeze in one last step. Bali, tho? Wow... the distances are just right there every time. Always. Sometimes they're gappier than what I would like - but it's always pretty obvious when that's about to happen.

and your nose!! buddy, eat with your teeth, not your nostrils!
So... yea, I'm excited to spend more time jumping him. Just need to find the right balance of a busy enough arena to keep him happy (distracted? lol) but not so busy that we can't jump around at will.

Meanwhile poor baby got moved to a different field and has started getting beat up. He was top dog in his little lot with the aging Dolly... but now he's straight back to the bottom and has the wounds to show for it. He's SUPER jumpy about other horses getting close to him too - like in the arena when one of his tormentors would get close to us Bali would nearly lose it. Poor guy!

ugh that mouth haha.... and notice the mash all over the halter and lead rope (not pictured: all over me too)
It makes it more difficult to feed him now, too, since he doesn't have his own stall and takes FOREVER to eat... Plus the horses all crowd around the other side of the fence where he eats and he gets all nervous. Oh well, maybe he'll settle in better soon? Or maybe this will play out to my advantage by humbling him a little bit so he's not such a cocky jerk about saying "no" all the time? We shall see!

24 comments:

  1. Poor guy getting beat on... Hopefully he continues to make progress!

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    1. me too! at least he seems to be settling into the herd a little better now and is no longer the lowest rung (still pretty far down the ladder tho haha)

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  2. That face is so cute! Does Isabel get jealous of you spending time with him? My mare I always had to ride first or else she would be upset.

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    1. fortunately i don't think she really notices haha - so long as she gets her attention (and treats!) she seems satisfied. the whole 'work' thing isn't always her favorite anyway, so maybe she'd even be relieved to see someone else take the burden ? lol

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  3. That face is so cute! Does Isabel get jealous of you spending time with him? My mare I always had to ride first or else she would be upset.

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  4. I love all this baby horse stuff! Baby/green horses don't understand that when they're being ridden, other horses are being ridden too, so they just see them approaching in the arena and panic. Lol. I think you've got the right approach to him. Loved the photo captions too :)

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    1. oh silly baby horses... they really are so different too! it's crazy all the little things he's reminding me about, like, ohhhh yea horse's aren't just born knowing that lol

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  5. TINY MOUTH!!! Riding young/green horses is so fun and interesting, you learn so much. What I've found helpful with horses that are like "oh this game of contact nope nope fuck that nope" and flip their head constantly is this idea of planting my inside hand on my thigh (I usually grab somewhere on my half pad if it's fuzzy or I make the velcro on my saddle pad into a grab strap). That way you can take up the reins to what amounts to a reasonable amount of stretch/contact (here baby horse, try this reasonably lengthed rein where you'll be asked to feel the bit in your mouth but not necessarily use yourself just yet) and then just keep your hand firmly on your thigh. Then there's never a reward for rooting or ripping the reins out of your hand, because they can't do it. And once they soften to the idea that they just need to be okay with that rein length, there's an immediate reward because your hand doesn't come back or move either. You just need to keep pushing them off your inside leg so they don't just circle in smaller and smaller, but that can be a helpful exercise anyway.

    BALI. Excited to see more as he progresses. :)

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    1. oh man he's just so cute!!! (except for the mouth lol). but yea your point is very well-taken - and actually Karen from bakersfield dressage was just writing about something similar with her baby (i think) and i've been trying to use that approach. seems to work too bc he really seemed to actually understand so much better when my inside hand was that stabilized. will keep workin on it!

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    1. he is SUPER fun - and in a way entirely different from isabel. yay for so many fun horses!

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  7. Pony cuteness is definitely a blinder :P

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  8. He is really adorable! He sounds like a challenge, but a fun one.

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    1. he's super fun - and actually not particularly challenging as far as the basic stuff he's expected to do. we'll see tho!

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  9. The three headed hydra gif made me laugh.

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    1. lol and it's surprisingly accurate ;)

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  10. So adorable! I can't wait to see how he improves. He seems like a fun horse.

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    1. he's so super fun!!! and seems to get a little better each week

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  11. So adorable! I can't wait to see how he improves. He seems like a fun horse.

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  12. You get the grain moosh on your leg from rubbing your grain nose on your leg. Ask Bacon, she knows all about that trick! He is so cute.

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    1. haha some of them just have to be messy eaters i guess

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  13. That gif in the barn...the best ever.

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    1. hahaha glad you liked it! i may or may not imagine all sorts of ridiculous little thoughts and conversations between the horses. crazy? maybe... entertaining? definitely :)

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