Midori and I have been working hard continuing with boot camp. Since the last post I have tried a few new things, one of them being switching bits to what I affectionately call my Miracle Bit. It's a gag bit and it's fabulous! Midori is almost soft in it! I'm not playing tug-o-war with her any more! She is way better and any time she thinks about hanging on the bit I can just bump her right off of it, though it does bother me wondering what made her so hard in the first place. I've always thought I had pretty soft/light hands. Regardless, it makes the lead changes so much easier! And of course as soon as we got her head under control other issues that were hindering our progress popped right out, which made it easier to understand why we were having so much trouble. Amazing how that works! Now that I know about those issues, we have been working on them and things are really coming along. Our lead changes still aren't pretty but atleast left to right they are consistant. Right to left, they are still a challenge, but she'll atleast DO them and even in a mostly collected manner (for us anyways).
So our lead changes are getting better. Still have a loooooong ways to go, but we are getting them. YAY! Our spins are looking more like very slow motion spins instead of watching and going, WTF are you trying to do?!? lol Our stops come and go, but I'm not sure that she'll ever slide. Our rating and circles are decent, we don't work on those much. She's spent the last 5 years rating and running in circles in drill, so that's not a concern for us at this point.
It's very exciting to feel that progress is being made! Unfortunately due to illnesses and scheduling conflicts we have ended up with a couple week break in lessons and riding for the most part. The ponies have all been a bit under the weather for the last week or so, recovering from a day or two of major runs, and with 2-3 shows coming up this month, I wanted to make sure they got a break and were 100% all better before we worked them too hard. Midori especially dropped a bunch of weight in a matter of days, but never got dehydrated or ran a fever and didn't look anything more then unhappy about her circumstances. I got them on Fasttrack and electrolytes to help their guts and make sure they didn't get dehydrated, but other then that I couldn't find much else that I could do for them. Sugar and Mister seem to have gotten over it just fine, but Midori is still not 100%. She was the only one that was ridden hard as she was getting sick and I wonder how much that has to do with it. I'm hoping she gets back to 100% this week! We've got our next show this coming weekend and I need to get a couple rides on her before then! We should still be able to take it pretty easy though, it's just one reining pattern and I don't think a lack of warm up time will be what hurts us. lol
There are two of the winter series shows this month and then we skip December. There is also another show at the arena that has a schooling reining pattern that we are thinking about going to. Practice is always good! They also have a trail class, which I really like so I might have to do that one too. Also happening this coming weekend is the awards/year end banquet for our cutting club. I'm looking forward to finding out if I get a buckle for my second place finish in that series!
In other news, I've gotten a few rides on Mister. We started with a new shoer who is aggressively correcting his club foot. The previous shoer was simply maintaining it and Mister had been pretty much chronically lame with abscess after abscess for most of the past 6-8 months. He's been mostly sound with this new shoer. Very exciting! From so much time off and so many issues though his shoulder was extremely atrophied so we spent a lot of time ponying him around or hand walking and light lunging to build his muscle back up. Other then some soreness, he's been just fine and in the last month or so I decided he looked ready to carry my butt around a bit. I've gotten 3 rides on him, even getting up to loping both directions. He is still, of course, very green, but seems much more confident packing a person around then he did last time I was riding him. He has been such a good boy! Last time I was on him the arena was pretty busy so I didn't want to push him with loping. He took everything going on around him in stride and stayed focused on what I was asking him to do, but instead of loping I decided to work on moving off my legs: sidepassing and pivoting on his haunches and forehand. He's very sticky with moving his shoulders or hips, though he seems to understand moving off my legs while I'm riding. He'll try to shape away from my leg or move over the direction I ask while he's going forward. It was a completely new concept for him when standing still, but after he got those wheels turning, he seemed to pick it up pretty quickly, I was pleased. I'm hoping to get some more time on him soon, but he was sick too and does still have some issues with lameness, so I don't want to push him too hard.
We had a wonderful day outside yesterday enjoying the sunshine and possibly the last of the nice weather. I only had one long sleeve thermal shirt on with my puffy vest! The ponies enjoyed some attention and a little TLC. I'm sure they appreciated having clean butts and tails, even though the water was cold. :) We got another paddock up for the boyfriends sister's horse that we are boarding and that freed up the arena-to-be area and got us motivated to have more sand brought in so we can atleast get the round pen up with some good footing. It would be really nice to have that available for turn out this winter and so that we have some where to atleast get the ponies some exercise on nice days, even if it's not great for getting any real work done with them.
Lots of work to be done, as always. And of course not enough hours in the day, but we'll get there! Atleast there is progress being made on many different fronts!
Hope you all are enjoying fall!