April 3, 2013

Trotting On - A Lengthy Update

I'm getting a little time on a faster internet by linking my iPhone to laptop. Yay. Not so yay for my data plan on my phone service.

I'm still basically living at my grandparents house. My grandpa under goes surgery on April 25th so I will be here at least until then. Most likely longer since he will be in hospital a few days post surgery and is going to have at least a week of healing time at home that will be risky. I'm happy I'm able to help out and be here for my family and I'm at a point in my life where I'm able to help out.

Being jobless (yes I'm applying for lots of jobs) and being farther from the barn, I'm not able to get out there daily because of the price of gas spiking again in this lovely state. So I'm down to 1-3 visits a week with the ponies.

Echo's Fifth Ride
March 22nd - I was staying the night with K since her parents were out of town. On my way over I picked up S since K and I were planning on going for a ride.

S rode Dakota, K on her new horse Fusion and myself on Echo. 

Echo was amazing as usual. Did lots of walk to halt and halt to walk transitions. Did circles both directions. She flinched when K had to use her crop but her flinch was more of a WHAT WAS THAT arch her neck and then go back to her 'whatever' attitude. Our plan was to attempt riding outside when we were done so before we headed out, K got on Echo for me. 

I asked her to try trotting Echo for the first time for me. I know she has a lot more upper body strength than me and can sit a buck way better as well if anything were to happen. It didn't happen. K asked for a trot, Echo went right into a working trot, head down almost into a perfect headset. K had her circle both ways and ride along the rail as well. Then without much direction from me other than telling K she looked fabulous, K asked her to canter. Again, perfect. Once circle each direction and we called it good.

Now I knew in my better judgement that this was enough for the night and we should end there because it was a lot to ask of her in one night. But I got back on her and walked around a few times then we started to head out of the barn. 

Rough sketch of how the property is laid out. I know most of it isn't to scale but gives you an idea.

Echo was hesitant but followed Dakota with a little encouragement and me talking to her. We ride out the end of the barn facing the fields - Echo was really confused but followed. She was great until we got to about where the arrow is. I felt her tense, I tried talking to her and reassuring her but she wasn't having it. I jumped off before she could spook, buck or do something stupid. I told K and S to go ahead and ride, and that I would lead Echo on foot behind them so that she still got out but I'd have better control on the ground.

She was a handful and didn't want anything to do with listening to me on the ground but I was able to keep control except when K asked fusion to open up into a gallop, Echo decided it was a good time to fly backwards and nearly break her bridle. 

It was getting dark, so we headed back to the barn. Not fully sure why, or what caused her problem both times, but as I lead Echo back, near where the arrow is again... She planted her hooves into the ground and bucked a good 10-15 times standing in place and did a pre-race jog the rest of the way back toward the barn. I through I was leading her to a race! But again, I never felt out of control with her, she just had never done any of it before and I saw a more energetic side to her outside.

Echo's Sixth Ride
March 31st - My Mom came in from North Carolina for her spring break and to visit my grandpa before he goes into surgery. I really wanted her to meet miss Echo so we headed to the barn after going to church for Easter and lunch we headed to the barn.

K and her boyfriend were riding in the arena while I was grooming and getting Echo ready. They headed outside to ride on the trails and in the outdoor arena so Echo and I headed to the arena. 

I was a bit nervous since the last time I was on her I esentially had to bail but we (ok -I-) relaxed. Did lots of circles, stopping and starting again. Previously I haven't been moving my hips a ton with her but I decided to open them up a bit and encourage her to walk on more than before. She put her head down a bit more, reached into the bit and lengthened her walk. She felt great and I got a chance to feel the size of her stride even at the walk.

Then I knew it was time for me to try asking her for a trot. I know how well she did with K so I wasn't nervous at all. I planned on going ahead and posting once I asked her, but as soon as she started, it was too smooth and I ended up sitting to it. My changing in balance and rhythm messed her up but she kept trotting until I asked for a walk. I did it a few more times, usually in a 1/2 point or 2 point so that I wasn't moving around on her back trying to figure out best way to ride her trot. Final time I did some big circles on her and lightly posted on her. She felt great the entire time! Such a good mare. 

Her confidence in the indoor arena and in riding in general still makes me think she had training at some point. After talking it over with my friend Colleen in Kentucky, we agree she may have had the very basics of yearling training when they break them in on the farms in September / October and then turn them back out. Clearly no race training, and the timeline of when she would of gone into more doesn't fit the rest of her story.
Post ride, I should of kept my helmet on with that hat hair.
I REALLY hate riding in jeans.
Things I learned from ride 5 and 6
  • As soon as weather is consistent we will be taking walks to graze, and explore the trails so Echo gets better acquainted with them.
  • Lots of lunge time ahead in the outdoor arena.
  • Echo dislikes dogs - must work on that too.
  • When I get on her, I can't be flaky and need to be confident from the start. 
  • I need to really get back to my walking / running. I stopped when I got the bronchitis and strep throat. I started walking again last week but I need to be way more focused on it.
Blog News
  • Clearly all series have taken a back seat. They will restart as soon as I can be online on a consistent basis.
  • I'll post updates as regularly as possible. Without going out to the barn on a consistant basis though my blog might be quiet for a little longer :(


  1. Ya Diagram and better internet and riding Echo!

  2. Sounds like ye are making great progress. :D
    Hope all goes well with your Grandpa's surgery - will be thinking of ye!