Friday, August 28, 2015

Mochi Kicks More Ass

How we hack sometimes.

Hacking down the road, no bridle required.

We also stopped by the lake.
 Pre-hack have a good ride face hug from The Other Half.
 Mochs also just learned to handle gymnastics the other week.  

Gound rail - 11ft - cross rail - 11ft - ground rail - 11ft - cross rail - 11ft - ground rail. 

 Four trot poles space 4.5ft apart with 9ft between the last one and the cross rail then 11ft - ground rail - 11ft - tiny vertical.

We started with the two lines above.  Both lines I started with just one cross rail to break it down for Mochs.  She caught on quick and I felt comfortable with putting both lines completely up.  I didn't get video from the second line but I did get some from the first.

She was surprisingly great.  She is getting very light in the bridle and off of her forehand at the canter.  She's getting stronger and it is noticeable.  She wanted to take off after the last ground rail but I was able to bring her back.  Yes, bring her re-balance and get her light in the front.  Mind...blown.  This is hands down the best she has ever been over any jumps, even though they are tiny.  

A couple times on our approach to the line in the video I felt the thought cross her mind to rush but I sat up and tightened my core and that idea left her mind as quickly as it came in.

Such a good pony!

iPhone in evening light wins again.  Blurry, but you get the point.  Go Mochs!  She'll be getting around 3' courses (hopefully higher) one day.

 Best little spotted mare.

Friday, August 14, 2015

Mochi Meets the Ocean

 Yesterday I took Mochi to the beach.  It was her first time, but I knew she'd take it in stride like anything else we do.  She is such a brave little horse.

 None of this crap bothered her.  People had all their typical things they bring to the beach:  umbrellas, crazy colored chairs, canopy tents, inflatable rafts, boogie boards, other random inflatable things, kites, etc...  Mochs would take note but there was no spooking.  She was kind of like "huh...doesn't appear to want to eat a pony, proceed."

We walked along the edge of the water for a little while.  That way she could get used to it and the extent of what the waves do.  Then I got her in the water a little bit.  She was fine once she was in the water, but as the new waves rolled in she wasn't too sure of what was going on.  Eventually she was fine with that too though. 


 Not too concerned with the waves anymore.  She was kind of like ok, ok I get it.  Whatever.



 The first tide pool she went through was pretty funny.  She took a look at it, went to cross it and once she was in it she was kind of surprised, you could tell she had no idea what to expect.  I think she was just confused by the ripples in the sand and glittery appearance.  She never thought about not crossing it, she just wasn't sure what it was.


 And of course, cantering along the ocean is mandatory.  I would have galloped her but she was still keeping an eye on the water rolling in so I wanted her to go at her pace and be comfortable.


 Mochs was super interested in what the Other Half was doing with the metal detector.

 Super nice beach condos.

 After our ride we went back to the trailer and sponged Mochi off, let her rest in the shade for a little bit, gave her some treats, ate some of our snacks then went back out just for a walk. 

The Other Half showing Mochs a tortoise.

Walking back onto the beach.

 By this point, Mochs was not impressed with the ocean anymore.

...until she found out that the ocean tastes like a giant mineral block.  She had a tiny sip before I was like ok, done.  Klein LOVES to try to drink the ocean.  I feel bad telling them not to drink but, um yeah, not the ocean.

We had a great time, Mochs did awesome.  It was a character building and bonding day for her.  I wanted to take her by herself.  Just another opportunity for her to learn to rely on me.  She is a very trusting little mare, this just reinforces that.  I took her to yet another new (and strange) place and nothing bad happened to her.  Here's some video from our time yesterday:

This morning when I got to the barn Mochs whinnied to me before I even started walking toward the pasture.  I went over to her to say hi and when I went to walk away she followed me along the fence.  I think she's already looking forward to the next adventure.

Monday, August 10, 2015

Hound Exercise

 Seriously magical place.

I took Mochs roading on Friday.  There is a very nice fox hunt close to us so every now and then I'll meet my friend that hunts with them regularly to go roading.  I've taken Mochi and Klein, both of them always have a blast.  Then after roading, my friend and I will keep riding the beautiful country that surrounds the fox hunt.

The only down side to getting there, there is about ten miles of this stupid, tiny road.

*Le Sigh*

Moch thinking this place looks familiar.

The kennels.

The staff at LOH is always so welcoming every time we go there.  I love them.  They are all very, very nice.  We are always treated like honored guests, despite just being there to tag along with them.

I took a little video while we were out that day:

Friday, August 7, 2015

Level Up

My ride yesterday, Pretty Boy Floyd.

Yesterday I went to just have a fun hack with my dressage instructor.  We decided to ride yesterday the night before.  While we were texting she was asked if I wanted to switch horses and I ride Floyd, a VERY well-schooled dressage gentleman (one of her personal horses), and she ride Mochi.  Um, yes please and thank you.  I am not one to let people ride my horses.  I actually get pretty offended when people attempt to invite themselves to ride my horses.  Like, who are you?  But, this is different.  I have asked her to do a couple training rides on Mochi and sometimes she has gotten on Mochs to warm her up for a lesson with a certain plan in mind.  So, for her to ride Moch, every minute would be a learning experience, and bonus for me, every minute on Floyd would be a learning experience for me.

Floyd is a sweetheart.  I thoroughly enjoyed my ride on him.  So many things that she tells me to do during my lessons make just that much more sense after riding him.  It's not like I don't know what she is talking about, it's that I could feel 110% what she was talking about after riding Floyd.  This guy is so responsive that at the canter, if you sit up just an INCH taller he comes under himself and comes to you.  My girls have the right idea with those aids, but with Floyd is razor sharp with them and there is a crystal clear and definite transition within the gait.  With him, you have to ride with your seat, or he's not going to do what you want.  You should be riding with a lot of your seat anyway, but there is no confusion with Floyd.  Either you do it or you don't, and you will know.  It is kind of like making a firm decision, there is no back and forth or maybe, you have to commit to the aid for it to work.  It's awesome.  That helps me understand what certain movements feel like 100% correctly, they show me what we are striving for.  Another example, haunches in, as soon as you give him the aids, it's like his back end unhinges and goes onto the inside track.  Floyd is my dressage goals.

Mochi did great for her ride!  We got a good progress report.  My instructor told me to keep up the homework because, it's working.  Mochi is becoming noticeably stronger and lighter, more steady in the bridle.  That was nice to hear, it lets me know I'm not just feeling what I want to feel when I THINK I feel improvements with her.  It is validation.

At the end of the ride we went in her dressage ring and did a little more work.  She worked on Mochs at the canter and then we switched back so she could point out a couple things to me.  I had her going nicely at the trot, the nicest ever.  There is thing called the Equicube, and we were pretending I had it.  I actually am going to order one.  Anyway, it makes you ride with your core.  She kept asking me "where's your cube??" It worked.  Between that and keeping my leg on and ensuring Mochs kept the same rhythm between sitting and rising she was moving nicely and into the contact.  I was super proud.  Mochs has tried to evade contact (she has never been taught what it is or how to use it)  and we are teaching her to go to it, she wants to go to it, with core and leg. 

I rode Klein that evening and "where's your cube" was on a constant loop in my head.  I have noticed some real improvements in my riding from all this work with Moch.  It is translating into better riding on Klein and I'm pretty excited.  I know I say this all the time about my current dressage instructor, but she has taught me to ride with my core and it is starting to really sink in and become second nature.  I wonder why no other dressage instructor has ever emphasized this?  I guess it's better late than never to find such an awesome teacher, I was missing out.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Summer Break is Over

 Time to go back to work.
Time for Klein baby to come out of her summer break slowly, though summer here doesn't end until about Halloween.  It is so hard to keep her on the flat and keep it easy.  She has been on break for about two months but she is on 24/7 turnout on 10 acres.  Two months isn't that long of a break and all that turn out makes it even less of a break as far as fitness loss.  However, I'm always careful with her and we'll be on the flat for a little while then gradually bring back the fences and get back to 3'3"-3'6".

During her break I started her and Wes on Ichon.  Anyone use Ichon?  My vet suggested it and my dressage instructor uses it with great success.  It is an I.M. joint injection.  Last time I had my saddle fitter out she suggested (she's a body worker too) that it might be time for Klein.  I talked with my vet and she also thought it wouldn't be a bad idea since she is 11 now, and a big girl.  And Wes, well, he is 22, and arthritic.  If it didn't work well for him we'd step it up to Adequan.  But, it does seem to be working well for him.  I did the loading dose of one injection (5cc's) per week for four weeks and now they get it twice a month.  Mochs is a pretty low mileage model, so I think she's fine for now.

These past couple rides, Klein has felt great.  We have just been doing easy hacks and working on stretching down and things like shoulder in and haunches in to stretch, counter flexion.

I have a couple different goals I'm thinking about for this fall with Klein baby.  They all involve jumping and dressage.  I have to get her a little more back in work before I decide on one.

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

More Videos

First, please enjoy Mochi trying to steal Wes' dinner.  She finishes hers first, obviously because she gets a easy-keeping-pony-appropriate amount, and Wes has about three times more than she does.  Klein also is still eating her dinner but Mochs' knows for a fact that Klein won't put up with this silliness.  Well, if you catch her on a good day she might tolerate if for a few minutes but good luck guessing which day that is going to be.  She knows Wes will just ignore her.  Her adorable little speckled nose pony charm doesn't work on him.  But she gives it her best effort.

Some people have said Wes needs a bigger feed bucket.  No, he doesn't.  His head takes up this one to the point where a little pony nose can't fit in there with his nose.  Of course, this week, I learned that Moch has figured out how to grab onto Wes' feed bucket, pick it up, and throw it on the ground.  This way some spills and she gets that little bit while Wes acts like nothing happens and continues to eat out of it from the ground.  *sigh*  That has been remedied.  I could bring them in to feed where they couldn't mess with each other, but this is a minor issue.  If ponies were really fighting it would be different.

Last weekend the Other Half and I brought an extra couple guns to the barn to shoot after I rode.  We are lucky that our barn is 45 acres and surrounded by 1,000 acres of wooded area.  This is why we can shoot on the property.  First, let me put a disclaimer out there...the way the barn is cross fenced, there is no possible way any horse could have gotten in the pasture where we were firing.  We actually were shooting in our pasture but prior to firing, we went and put our three in a pasture in the exact opposite direction while we were shooting.  There is no way in hell we'd be shooting with any horse in the same pasture or with any chance one could come anywhere near where we were firing.  Also, we picked up every single piece of brass when we were done to ensure no pony feet stepped on any.

Here's what they did when we were firing.  This video is with the Other Half shooting the Tavor Bullpup.  It shoots 5.56.

No one cares.  I brought my AK too, they didn't care about that either, and that's 7.62.  The Other Half actually brought the 30-30 Marlin a couple weeks ago and I had him fire it while I rode Mochi within 50 feet of him just to see what she would do.  The first time he fired she jumped a little.  Every time after that she either did nothing or barely flinched like a fly touched her.  I like to know what they would do in certain situations, and sometimes, there is only one way to find out.  I know Mochs well enough to know that I'd be fine riding when he fired the first shot.  Klein has even less of a reaction while riding within close proximity to gun fire.  None of them flip out or act like psychos.

I love my AK.