Saturday, January 3, 2015

schooling for a disinterested audience

And by disinterested audience, I mean my camera that refused to focus (probably that darned iphone was too hung over from NYE partying... sheesh) and some deer. Ya know. We roll deep at Isabel's barn. 

ANYWAYS... Our two recent schoolings were kinda meh. I've been wanting to dig more into our flat work at home - especially with rotten footing, seems like the safest thing to do while still being productive. 

We warmed up and felt like things were really moving along quite nicely (and got complimented on how Isabel was going by the resident natural horsemanship pro). Then I set my phone up on the fence line to try for some video. My phone proceeded to decline focus of any kind, and died shortly thereafter. Oops.

Plus, Isabel felt like we probably couldn't achieve the same level of relaxation we had just moments prior...

But in a way, it was kinda good practice for me. I was maybe riding a little differently in the various areas inside and out of the camera's view. Perhaps this somewhat mimics a judge's presence? Given my tendency to slide into passenger mode while under the watchful eyes of a judge, I'm thinking we'll be repeating this video set up for more practice.

The arena was only partially thawed for our next ride - and mostly along the M-B-F side that gets some sun on these short days. We walked around for a few minutes assessing footing when I noticed these deer just hanging out grazing. Isabel wasn't particularly worried about them, but I just KNEW that she'd find a reason to spook at them later. So I wanted them gone. 

I shouted and yelled for a minute and one of them hightailed it out of there, while the other two gave me puzzled looks and resumed grazing. Hrm. 

On our next pass by I yelled some more and shook the gate. One deer raised its little white flag of a tail, but went right back to grazing. So finally I just kept rattling the gate until they both raised their little flag tails, gave me very teenager-ish scowls (like, ugh, seriously lady???), and deigned to retreat into the woods. These deer.... they are BOLD!! 

So getting back to the subject at hand, pretty much only the section you see above was kinda thawed enough for trotting and cantering. I was a little ambitious when setting stuff up tho - and set up a line of four canter poles each set a short one stride (18') apart. I also set up four trot poles with alternately raised ends.

it's not, uh, really very straight. but workable.

I say this was probably too ambitious bc there really wasn't enough room to approach from the chosen gait - so it was kinda like, turn the corner, pick up your trot or canter, and come through, then whoa. Not the worst thing in the world, but not also very conducive to establishing consistent rhythm. 

Also, Isabel really does NOT appreciate being micromanaged through crappy footing and wanted to be wild in the ok areas and then very dramatically unhappy about the frozen bits (that we kept ending up in bc Ms Wild Thing wanted to overshoot our turns... oops).

She did pretty well over the canter poles (at least, when I kept her straight), but the trot poles weren't great. First pass was ok, but it kinda devolved from there. I didn't press it tho bc it honestly wasn't the best situation for practicing. So we'll have to revisit that some other time... 

Meanwhile, the horses are living in mud. At least when it's cold, the mud just flakes off like above. But unless the temps are freezing, that mud is wet wet wet. A couple other horses at the barn officially have raging cases of scratches, and Isabel is starting to get a little red and tender on her rear socks. I'm going to try to manage it for now with MTG... but if they get any worse I'll have to bring out the big guns. 

Yay winter!


  1. Wow those are some brave deer! Hope the mud situation stays under control - i am lucky with the girls turnout all the trees bordering it and randomly placed in the middle of it keep the ground from turning to crap.
    Hope the arena thaws soon and that Miss diva can have the better footing to behave better all the time. Horses are so funny - any excise for some mischief

    1. thanks!! yea the footing around here just is not good... and the fields are awful. in a way i'm almost excited for the ground to freeze just for the mud to go away... all the trees in your field definitely sound like they'd help tho!

  2. I am SO done with mare comes in caked up to her knees :(

  3. Wow those are very brave deer!! Around here if one sees you they are gone in a second. Maybe it's because you were on Isabel. They are used to seeing horses and horses rattle lots of things, but I wonder why the yelling didn't bother them. Weird! Cool pictures though!!!

    1. yea the deer have pretty much no fear. i think it's bc the woods around the barn are protected from hunting, so there are a whole slew of deer back there who are essentially super sheltered. so they don't really see us as particularly threatening... esp since we don't really chase them off very often either, but maybe we need to start?? lol these two were unusually bold tho haha

  4. Replies
    1. yep. mud added an HOUR to my chores today.... wtf ....

  5. Wow those really are some bold deer! I've had a very muddy winter so far too. Not cool :/

    1. yea the mud is really making life miserable - all the lesson horses have blown up legs covered in scratches that are then covered in desitin... poor things!