Thursday, April 29, 2010

Checking in

Hi Kids,

Just a quick note today to let you know yes, I am still among the living.

Been riding here and there can't seem to get into a schedule around here, there is always something happening. I did take Frank on a few trail rides with friends and we did well, he has gotten a bit nervous on the downhill transitions particularly if he is following a horse. I am wracking it up to being nervous that the horse will leave him because when he leads he is quiet as a mouse on the downhills. Hmmmmm....more stuff to work on.

I also did a competitive trail ride with Frank on April 17th. It was fun! There were 54 riders total and it was a lovely day. The object of the competitive trail ride is to ride 6-10 miles of marked trails with 6 obstacles worked in along the way. You receive a rider score and a horse score. The score is 1-10 with 6-8 being average. Frank did OK, the bridge obstacle threw him. It was kinda tricky in his defense, you had to go up a hill then down onto the bridge which had rails and this totally freaked him out. The next obstacle was working a gate which he scored a 10 on. The third obstacle was an embankment and stream crossing, he bobbled a bit on the down hill and scored an 8. The fourth was a log crossing and he scored a 10. The fifth obstacle turned out to be our downfall. It was a simply creek crossing or so it seemed. Frank was negotiating the somewhat steep downhill approach when the entire bank gave way. This sent Frank straight to the ground, it was like his legs folded up under him. He saved me by putting his face down on the ground so we did not flip. He was very cool under pressure he stayed down and did not panic. I was worried he was injured and proceeded to step off to the right (only solid ground I could see) but Frank slowly placed his front legs out in front of him and calmly stood up and proceeded to cross the creek. We scored a 1 on that, but I was happy he was uninjured and handled it so well. The last obstacle was a step up of about two feet and then walk through a forked tree. He scored a 10 on that as well. We finished the ride but out of the placings with the bridge bobble and the creek disaster but I would definitely do it again. I found out later that three horses fell at that crossing and I did make mention of this to the ride coordinator later.

I had hoped to put him on cows last weekend at a friend's house but mother nature had other plans....rain and tornadoes. We were spared the tornadoes but got tons of rain and that is what they are calling for this weekend as well.

Happy trails.....

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Re Uniting

That is the stage of the relationship of Frank and I are having. It seems this long winter off for me has changed our relationship. It could also be that I have lost my edge. Let's face it I am no spring chicken anymore and the thought of me getting hurt is not one I relish to think of. I know I am out of shape, riding and in general. I am working on it again.......

I am cautious more so than usual when I am first getting up on Frank. There really isn't a reason but still I notice it.

Yesterday after work I went to visit the Frank. He greeted me at the gate and was talking to me the whole time I walked out to him. He seems to love being outside in the fresh air and sunshine despite the pesty flies. The weather has been unseasonably warm (mid eighties!) and the hair I thought Frank did not have is flying. I gave him a good currying and he seemed to thoroughly enjoy it, I was covered in white hair. I brought my new puppy Chloe out to the farm and gave her a chance to see horses and other dogs, she was a riot. She actually climbed Frank's leg while I had him tied. Thank goodness he has a good mind, he just looked down at her clawing at his leg and gave her a little sniff.

I tacked Frank up in the new saddle (still breaking it in) and we worked on some ground tying and him standing still while I mount. Things were a little tense at first, he was doing his normal screaming for the mares and jigging about. I worked on remaining calm and giving him a job to do. Amazingly he did settle much sooner than the previous ride and we got good schooling done. I am still having issues getting him to cross over when turning to the right but last evening I had a thought pop into my head. I am going to try ground work to start working on that issue, perhaps if we can master it on the ground it will carry over to when I mount up.

I am so enjoying having him home and am looking forward to the day when we mesh as one again and get that total trust back. I am riding again this evening and yes I got some pictures to share as soon as I get them uploaded.

Happy Trails......

Monday, April 5, 2010

What's New

What's new around here? Well as promised I am back to tell you all what the Frank and I will be up to next. I still plan to show ranch horse shows but I am terribly missing my first love, trail riding. Hence my screen name. I must say I can't believe how much I am enjoying having Frank home, did not realize how much I missed spending quality time with him.

I had Friday off and after a quick visit to the ENT with my littlest to check on the ears again I spent the rest of the day with Frank. I rode him in the paddock and he was er... well.. mischievous at best. Seems he has already attached himself to those mares and he isn't even pastured with them. After much screaming and a few Lipizzaner type moves on his part he decided to settle and go to work. I think the 80 degree weather may have had something to do with it. We worked on circles and me getting comfortable riding him again. I rode my new saddle and decided although I like it, Cutter is still my first choice. After schooling I did some work with Frank on opening the gate both directions, he is not as good on a right hand pull so we did it until he relaxed and got it right. After our ride I treated him to a bubble bath and he seemed to enjoy it. He is loving being outside and free to run about as he pleases.

Saturday I had the first trail ride of the season planned with girlfriends. Despite threatening Sky's we headed out to the reservoir for some good times. We were disappointed to find that it was closed due to a youth turkey hunt. Time to punt...
Which we did. We went to a place up the road and headed out into the woods. There wasn't as many trails and we had to do some loops covering the same trails but we had a great time anyway. The wind was howling and blowing stuff around but Frank was good as gold. I was happy that he still seemed confident and relaxed outside after being stalled up over the winter for six months. I was particularly happy because.....

The next thing Frank and I are headed out to do is competitive trail riding. Have you heard of it? It is new to me but I am heading out for my first one on the 17th of this month. Basically it is trail riding 6-10 miles with 6 natural obstacles judged by 6 different judges. The name of the organization is ACTHA or American competitive trail horse association.Go here and check it out. What I like best is the fact that they give a portion of the proceeds to help feed horses. I will let ya know how I like it and of course how Frank does.

Happy trails.......