Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Cavalia in Denver September 2010

I wanna go to this.

Hey Mr.'s near my birthday.

Cavalia will be performing in Denver September 22 - October 3, 2010

If you've seen Cavalia perform, please tell us what you thought of the show.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Misty's Monday Muse - Termites

I have a secret.

I hear we have a termite problem in our barn.
They say it is one really big termite. 

I know nothing about it.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Misty's Monday Muse - Half Baked

Hello there. I haven't had much to say since my little buddy went to a new home. It's been kind of boring and lonely without Marley, but I've handled it well and I'm enjoying the extra attention from MyLady.

On Saturday, MyLady and I went into the country for a riding lesson with Sir Cowboy. Sir Cowboy called me a "half baked cake". He says I'm half baked because I'm 7 years old and am not a finished horse and MyLady has been dabbling with my training for 3 years. He says we need to turn up the heat and get me fully baked. MyLady has to raise the bar for both of us. She has to get brave and move beyond her comfort zone.

So on Saturday, we started out with groundwork in the big roundpen. I had to do a lot of trotting and loping. Then MyLady got onboard and we did exercises at the walk and trot (more trotting than walking). Sir Cowboy put two barrels in the roundpen with an orange cone on top of each barrel. He gave MyLady 3 rings. She was supposed to trot me around the barrels and place a ring over the cone, then switch rings and reins to the other hand and drop another ring over the next cone as we trotted around the 2nd barrel. Even at a standstill MyLady was all discombobulated trying to practice switching rings and reins between her hands, so Sir Cowboy took the rings away. We did the exercise without rings so MyLady could practice switching just the reins between hands and using her leg aids to move me around the barrels. It wasn't pretty to begin with, but we did pretty well. Then Sir Cowboy decided to raise the bar on us. He told MyLady to move me into a fast trot around the round pen and "kiss me into a lope".

A lope!!! MyLady has never asked me to lope before! And if you read her last post, you know she recently just loped on a school horse herself for the first time in 25 years. Sir Cowboy told her to be brave and trust me. He told her to put me into a lope for just 1/4 of the way around the roundpen, then pull me up to a stop and we'd talk about it. We trotted fast, and then moved into a lope for just a little bit and then MyLady asked me to "whoa." It went pretty well, but she was a little surprised because she felt something unexpected as we moved into a lope. She felt an extra hitch in my giddy-up, as she describes it. She turned to Sir Cowboy and asked, "DID SHE BUCK?!" I didn't really buck, but I did kick out a back leg. Sir Cowboy said it is not uncommon for a horse to do that the first time it lopes with a rider because it can be a bit of a surprise to us. (I had a Pro lope me under saddle once, over a year ago, but I haven't done anything like that since.) He told her to put me into a lope again. I didn't kick out this time because I knew what to expect. We stopped again to talk and think about it and I got lots of pats on my neck and was told I was a good girl. I was glad to rest and relax and catch my breath. Loping is hard work. The last time we loped we went 1/2 way around the roundpen before Sir Cowboy told us to stop. My Lady didn't want to stop, but she did because she is an obedient student. My lope felt really nice to her and she was enjoying herself. Sir Cowboy said that on that last lope, I was very relaxed, loping nicely, and that MyLady was perfectly in sync with me.

We rested for a few minutes so I could think about what I had just accomplished with MyLady on my back. Then Sir Cowboy had us end the lesson with some trotting exercises. He says it is good to end with an exercise I'm very confident with after having moved forward into a new challenge, like loping. Next week he plans to have us work up to loping 2 times around the round pen.

We have some homework to do this week. MyLady is to get more aggressive with our groundwork and has to make me lope in a roundpen or on a lunge line while she is directing me from the ground. Sir Cowboy could tell that MyLady has been stuck in her comfort zone and hasn't been asking me to lope during groundwork.

We also have to work on my stops. I'm pretty good at stopping, but Sir Cowboy wants me to come to a full stop more quickly when MyLady asks for a "whoa". He doesn't want me trotting for a few strides, then walking a few strides before coming to a stop. There is a difference between transitioning to slower gaits and a "whoa". I need to have a good "whoa" from any gait. He said that someday MyLady and I may need a good, solid stop and wouldn't it be better if I stopped sooner, rather than traveling several mores strides....right over a cliff? Then he told us this funny story:

One day a policeman pulled a motorist over for running a stop sign. The driver argued and said, "But officer, I slowed down!" The officer took out his billy club and started hitting the driver over the head. The driver yelled, "Stop! Stop!" The officer asked, "Do you want me to stop? Or do you want me to just slow down?"

Whoa means whoa, not slow down.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

The Confidence Booster

Quite by accident, I came across a horse for sale that sounded interesting, so I called the seller. The seller, whom I'll call Sir Cowboy, is a professional team roper/cowboy/trainer. Sir Cowboy trains roping horses, gives roping lessons to people as well as teaches beginning riding lessons to children and adults. He suggested I come to his ranch and take some lessons and he'd put me on this horse he has for sale.

I've taken 2 riding lessons on this roping horse and he's been a big confidence booster for me. On my 2nd lesson, I loped for the first time in 25 years. It was wonderful!

I wish this were the horse for me, but I'm trying to be wise about this next purchase. He's 15 years old and has been a performance horse. He has a big knot on his knee; looks like it might be a capped knee, but I don't have much experience with equine knee issues. He's been perfectly sound when I've ridden him. He moves nicely and is comfortable to ride. But the knee worries me and I'm afraid it will become a problem down the road. The protrusion on his knee joint feels hard, like it must be calcified, and that worries me. So I guess I'll keep looking. My farrier advised me to "ride 10, buy 1". I really have to ride 9 more horses before I recognize the right one? This is harder than finding a husband.

I think I can learn a lot from Sir Cowboy, so I will continue taking lessons from him. He is a traditional cowboy - encouraging, yet firm and won't put up with any weakness. Here are some words of wisdom Sir Cowboy has spoken during our lessons:

"I know you got hurt recently, but if you want to ride, you gotta dig down deep and be brave. You gotta control your motor (as he taps on his chest over his heart)."

"There is no such thing as 'pleasure riding'. Riding is work and if you aren't riding, then you are just hanging on."

"You are training your horse every time you ride. You keep training him until you bury him."

During lesson #2 when Sir Cowboy told me he was going to have me lope, my eyes got big and I said, "Ohhhhh, but...." He stopped me and said, "I don't want to hear that. I told you you've got to be brave...or get a bicycle."

I look forward to more lessons with Sir Cowboy. He pushes me and corrects my riding, but he also tells me when I'm doing everything right.