Posted by: bizzylizzy262 | April 15, 2015

Birthday Boy & Lesson Report 4/14/15

Yesterday was Cloudy Boy’s birthday! He is 23 years young! I’ve actually been calling him 23 all year, because of the thoroughbred bday thing, but yesterday was the real day 🙂 Cloudy Boy has taught me that older horses can be pretty bad-ass! He’s had his aging ups and downs, but since getting started riding with Debbie he is so healthy, strong, fit, and fancy! Here’s to many many more years of being young at heart!

Today was my first lesson of the week. I haven’t ridden since my last lesson (Thursday), unless you count the five minutes it took me to diagnose an abscess on Saturday. Cloud’s foot was in pain on Saturday, but if there’s one thing Cloud has taught me, it’s my way around an abscess. Once I figured out it was an abscess, I began aggressive treatment…going out in the morning, soaking his foot, wrapping it with Ichthamol and Animalintex pads. He actually was way better on Sunday. Better enough that I was looking for where the abscess blew, but couldn’t find it. I still don’t think the abscess blew out, so maybe it was just a flare up and went away. Anyways, I’ve been very proactive and have been treating it anyways.

So I wasn’t entirely sure if our lesson would be a go or not today. I had a good feeling that he was fine, but I just didn’t know for sure. So I got out to the barn and brought in Cloudy, who was walking normal. Groomed him as best I could with the time I had, and tacked him up. We were just finishing tacking as Debbie came in.

Just as it only took a few laps around on Saturday to know that he had an abscess, it only took a few laps around to figure out that Cloudy Boy was feeling fine. His walk was great right off the bat! Debbie and I chatted for a bit while I walked him to warm him up, just to give him time to show us if anything was going on. Plus we’ve become great friends 🙂 I asked for some advice as I begin searching for a new bridle. Boy was I shocked when we started talking about double bridles!!! Debbie said that if she had a schooling double, as she used to when she had her barn, she’d probably have already had me try it out. But for now, she wants me to stick with a single bridle…but we talked about how this summer could bring about a ton of change and progress, and that double bridle may be in the works this year. I’ve ridden in one before, on a horse that I used to ride (Harley) in dressage lessons with Shelley before I moved Cloud to the barn she taught at. I didn’t really know what I was doing, though. I mostly held the curb reins and used the snaffle reins to ride.

So that was the chat laps, and then we picked up the trot. We started with some simple changes of direction and riding circles. We took some walk breaks and practiced walk pirouettes, which are coming along nicely. Seeing as Cloud was perfectly sound and more than ready for work, both Debbie and I were pretty excited to get back to the simple changes that we were working on last week.

We started the pattern from last week, first trotting down quarter lines, doing a walk transition, then picking up the trot again while maintaining straightness. Then I picked up the canter and we did the same exercise…turn on the quarter line, make a trot transition, then pick up the canter. For some reason, Cloud picked up the wrong lead a couple of times, because he wasn’t waiting for my cue to canter. But we worked it out. So Debbie got to thinking out loud, and put out a challenge for me. She ‘thought out loud’ that a good next step would be to divide the quarter line into 3rds, and do a counter canter transition in the middle. But then she said, “No, I don’t want him to get confused”. Well, that put the challenge out there, and I confidently said from the saddle, “We can do it!”. 🙂 First step was to get the timing. We went back to trot/walk transitions. I would turn on the quarter line, and immediately ask for the walk, walk a few steps, pick up the trot, then 2/3rds of the way down the quarter line fit in another walk transition.

We managed that pretty easily, so next we did canter with two walk transitions, but stayed on true canter at first. We turned onto the quarter line, and of course, the challenge is that the the quarter line goes by really quickly when you are in the canter, so I had to shorten the stride in the canter, and really plan ahead for the walk transitions. I turned down the quarter line, gave him a stride, then sat deep to cue the walk transition. Walked a few steps, then picked up true canter again for about two strides, then walk transition, walk a few steps, then a walk to canter transition before the quarter line ended. It only took a time or two before we had that master….so onto the challenge.

We got it right on the very first try. Boo-yah!!! Turned on the quarter line, walk transition, walked a few steps and changed the bend, picked up counter canter for 2 strides, walk transition, walked a few steps and changed the bend, back to true canter…all before the end of the quarter line.

Holy moly! I can’t wait for our lesson tomorrow to see what the next challenge will be! We had so much fun tonight, and I think Debbie was shocked at how fast we are moving through these stepping stones to our lead changes. I know I am! It’s a mix, because I feel like our foundation is so strong now that I am confident, but I still am surprised at how far we are going with Debbie’s teaching! She is the very very best!!!!!!!

Before I left, I wrapped Cloud’s foot just one more time, since we had a hard ride. So I will go out in the morning to take off his wrap, but then if all goes well I want to leave the wrap off for the day tomorrow to see how it goes. It’s been fun this week getting up early and going out to the barn 🙂 I’ve been feeding Cloud breakfast and taking care of his hoof…and it’s tiring because I have to get up early and get ready quicker, but I really like starting my day with a barn visit! Makes me day dream about summer plans!

Alright, time for bed! Good night!

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