Tuesday, April 2 2013

We went up tonight to meet with the farrier and try on the new Myler bit. When the farrier was done with Cooper he thought he was done and since we were right in front of his stall he started to back into it without me asking. I brought him back out and then walked him in so he wouldn't think he could do what he wanted. The farrier was going to do another horse in front of Cooper's stall so I took him out and moved down the aisle to try on the new bit. I attached it to the one ear training bridle that has snaps on the end for this. He was good with it sitting in his mouth but as soon as I asked for some giving he started chomping away. I was told that it is typical for horses to do this as it is new to him, he has to get used to it and not to think that because he does this in the beginning that he doesn't like it. It is different for him, a 3 piece jointed mouthpiece with a barrel in the middle and copper inserts. They didn't have the Western D so I got the Eggbutt one with mouthpiece 1 which is Myler 04. We did some did some flexing and giving with the new bit in the aisle. I didn't like the way it was sitting with this bridle, the side piece seems very wobbly with the snaps so going to switch it to the Billy Cook bridle next time and maybe attach the mecate reins and slobber straps.

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Comment by Coopersmom_1958 on May 9, 2013 at 8:33am

Friday April 19 2013

153rd ride. I used the new bit again tonight and put the slobber straps and mecate reins on. I did a few minutes of ground work and then the young girl who has ridden him before offered to ride him. She had him doing counter circles, trot and some cantering trying to get him to keep his shoulders up. She went over some poles that were on the ground and once he tried to jump them as he cantered over them. Then I rode and did some walk, whoa, roll back and go the other way. I wasn't going to do any trot but we did a little. We went to the back of the arena and I could feel him tense under me but I tried to look ahead and bump his mind back to pay attention to me. We did this a few more times and he was great back there. Rode around for about half an hour with a few others, following them around. 

I wasn't going out to see him Saturday as we were going to a horsemanship clinic out in Niagara Falls area for the day. We thought we might go out after but I was cold and tired and just went right home after. I ended up getting sick after the clinic and didn't get out to see Cooper again for a few weeks.

Comment by Coopersmom_1958 on April 17, 2013 at 10:37pm

Thanks Jackie! Those breeches sound great! I do want to try some half chaps I saw with velcro tabs, see if they will fit over my prosthesis and my jeans. Sore muscles today from that spook and the long ride, almost 45 minutes in the saddle, longest since last year I think! 

Comment by Jackie Cochran on April 17, 2013 at 1:11pm

Good for staying on!!!!

I just got myself a pair of full seat (perforated doe skin, not suede or clarino, FITS brand) breeches that actually reach all the way down to my ankles.  I felt a LOT steadier in the saddle today, and my seat was not moving unless I moved it myself.  Santini, around 70 years ago said that one of the reasons for wearing high boots while riding was that the leather of the boot against the leather of the saddle improved grip greatly.  From my results today I would say he was right!

I last rode in the old cavalry twill cotton breeches, no suede on the knees, decades ago, maybe 35-40 years?  I felt so much more secure in the saddle with the old fashioned breeches than I ever have in synthetic stretch breeches with suede knee patches.  Before my MS got activated big time I ignored the slipperiness of the synthetic knit breeches, but with my MS active I have never felt that I had a good hold on the saddle with my legs until today.  These full seat breeches with the leather in panels are going to save me a LOT of energy!

Unfortunately they are expensive ($240 USD), but with my added security I am glad I went ahead and spent the money.   The perforated doe skin patches are worth every penny.  MUCH better at sticking to the saddle than clarino, suede or blue jeans. 

Comment by Coopersmom_1958 on April 17, 2013 at 10:25am

Tuesday April 16 2013

I put the new Myler bit on tonight and first we did a little ground work, trot circles, falling leaf around the arena. Then we did a little hip, shoulder, shoulder work. He was very calm and relaxed again tonight so I decided to get on to ride.
We stood at the mounting block for a few minutes, flexing on both sides and stretching and trying to relax my legs and pull them back. First we walked around the rail following others who were riding. Cooper was very good going around the back of the arena tonight. I felt very crooked in the saddle and tried to pull my prosthetic leg back as well as trying to keep my real leg in and down. The real one was flopping all over and I couldn't get control of it. It's funny how my left side is my better moving side and the right one is stiff and awkward and I have problems with the hip on the right side also. Another boarder had some poles and cones down doing western trail things and we walked over them at first then tried a few trot, but didn't get the pattern done. The first few trots over the pole Cooper tried to jump then he finally jogged nicely over it and I moved on to something else. We did circles and at first he was going fast and running out at the shoulder again. I tried to keep him up with the outside rein and my leg and after a few more circles he started to get better. We did some jogging, the tried some long trot on the long side and jogging on the short side. We did some sideways in the middle of the arena and some roll backs on the rail. Then we went into the middle while others were cantering around us and tried some square corners, phew I threw in a lot of stuff in tonight. Next time I will have to remember to do the lesson where we moved the shoulder over when our horse was drifting off of the circle, I think that will help better as you release right away when you get him turned, better than constant pull on the rein. I must remember that!!
Just as I was feeling safe and comfortable and let my guard down Cooper spooked when someone hit the arena door while sweeping and scared him. He jumped and I almost went off the other side of him but somehow managed to stay on and pull myself back in the saddle. It was so fast and I remember reaching for the rein then I quickly switched and grabbed his mane and the horn of the saddle, thinking to myself I didn't want to grab at his mouth. Oh yes, and I screamed which had everyone come a running to see what happened. Cooper didn't take off but stood still after the jump sideways, he did very well. Good thing I had the elastics on my feet as I think this is what stopped my right foot from coming out of the stirrup. I think I would have been on the ground if my foot came out. My head started thumping with the blood rushing around through my ears and it actually unblocked the one ear for the moment, it started to block up again later.
I think I have to get the tarp out and some other scary things and start desensitizing on the ground again and then try them while in the saddle. 
We walked around for a little bit after that, going past the spot where he spooked and then I got off over near it.

Comment by Coopersmom_1958 on April 17, 2013 at 10:21am

Monday April 15 2013

It took us over an hour to clean the mud from Cooper then we went in to the arena to do some groundwork with the 12' rope, rope halter and stick. We did some falling leaf pattern to the back of the arena with just a few snorts from Cooper at the back corners. There was a noise coming from the feed room so I took him over to the open feed room door and let him have a look inside at someone doing some feed in there.
He was really wanting to stick to me and not wanting to go too far away. He circled me closely at a trot with lots of belly in the rope and I had to keep asking him to slow down to a walk. We did the changing eyes exercise (Clinton Anderson one) and at first when I brought the rope to his hip he started to back up, but after a few tries he got it and crossed his back legs over and changed sides. We did a few sideways into a sweet spot and sideways towards me. He was calm and connected, stopping when I stopped and backing up out of my space.
Tonight the barn manager told me that every time when we give him beet pulp then the next day his stall is full of cow patty type poops. I don't know why this was happening as he has been getting beet pulp since we got him.  So no more beet pulp for him now, he doesn't get it in the spring and summer anyway and he really doesn't need it. It was only making us humans happy thinking we were warming up his belly for the winter.

Comment by Coopersmom_1958 on April 17, 2013 at 10:11am

Tuesday April 9 2013

We did some ground work on 22' line and rope halter. We spent a lot of time at back door tonight, approach & retreat, squeeze, half circles. He took a long time to finally settle and relax as it was raining out and making lots of noise on the roof. He almost pulled out of my hands several times trying to escape backwards but I managed to get his mind straight and we ended well. I forgot that this was one of the things I wanted to ask Jonathan Field about at Can-Am! What I can do when he goes backwards fast like that trying to escape me and then I have a hard time getting after him since I can't go fast enough because of my leg!
He didn't want the stick on his back at all when doing the close circles, trying to move away from me and going fast in front of me. The rain was so scary tonight!
I was thinking I would ride tonight but Cooper had different plans. By the time he was getting relaxed I was too tired out to saddle him up so he got off easy again with no riding

Comment by Coopersmom_1958 on April 8, 2013 at 11:30am

Sunday April 7 2013

It was a nice day out and I got ready to go to the barn at 1 but waited around for Al until after 4 p.m. We got to the barn around 4:30 and went out to get Cooper. When I called him he came in again, this time he was farther out than the time before. At first he looked up and then put his head back down but when I opened the gate he came to me, parting all the horses again as before LOL

I tacked him all up as I was thinking I might ride and we did some ground work on 22' line and rope halter at first. We made our way to the back of the arena doing the falling leaf and then walked out the back arena door. I had to do some approach and retreat at first as he was a little spooky in that spot. He had a few spooks in place which was very good. I found myself jiggling the rope too much, I have to watch that as he is sensitive and I really don't need to be so firm with this. Then we went inside the feed room, I gave him a hand full of sweet feed and then backed him out of it. We did some circles around that end and he wanted to go back into the feed room, hmmm, looking for more food.

We did travelling circles and the falling leaf pattern towards the front of the arena. we played with the draw again and it was even better today. I dropped the line one time while passing it around behind me when he was doing a canter circle around me and he turned and came right back to me, what a good boy. We then walked around for him to cool off, he was just a little warm from cantering. We walked over and had a look out the side door at his pasture mates all wanting to come in as it was just about time for that. I was too tuckered out from the ground work and Al was worried that it was too windy and he might spook if I rode him, so we just finished up and he got his treats.

Comment by Coopersmom_1958 on April 8, 2013 at 11:20am

Friday April 5 2013

First we did a little ground work, trot circles, falling leaf around the arena. Then we walked around following another boarder with Cooper leading behind me and me keeping an eye on him just in case he spooked forward on to me. He was very calm and relaxed while on the ground so we just made it a short session then I decided to ride.
151st ride, I got on and rode with the rope halter and 12 'lead tied on it for reins. First we walked around the middle then we walked all around rail. Cooper went around the far end of the arena very well but spooked a little at the front of arena this time. Someone was cleaning out the stall on arena wall side and hit the wall and scared him. I got Al to walk with us a few times along that side then he was fine. While Wendy loped on the rail we did a few trot to whoa in the middle. The first time he stopped when I only thought stop and he planted his feet and stopped fast. My body was still moving and not ready and I almost went over his head but didn't. We then did a few more with him stopping before I pulled on the rein. I noticed his ears were back a few times when I asked for a trot and was wondering if I was doing something to make him feel like that. I didn't have the silicone sleeve on my prosthesis and it was twisting and very uncomfortable so maybe that was what was bothering him also. It was a short ride, maybe about 15 minutes with 10 minutes of ground work.

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