Saturday June 1 2013

I didn't get out all week to see Cooper, between stomach issues and being too darn tired after work. We were supposed to go Friday night but my spouse fell asleep and we didn't it out.

Cooper was very happy to see us, squeezing up against the corner of the stall door trying to get to us. 

I tacked him up with the bridle and bit and did some ground work for about 30 minutes. We did some half circles to the back of the indoor arena and once there we did the squeeze game by the open door. We stayed in the far end of the arena as another rider was in the front part. Then we did some sideways back and forth at the back of the arena. We did some squeeze by the smaller doors. The one to the other barn was open and a little scary to him so we spend some time there. One time while trotting around he me slipped on his left rear and almost went right down. We did a little giving to the bit, holding the reins until he gave and then releasing. I was taking him back inside then I remembered I wanted to do some stirrup work, so went back into the arena and practiced getting him to move off of the stirrup, going forward, yielding the hindquarters and moving the front end over off of the stirrup. Next time while riding I have to start doing the exercises again where I move his hind over a little while walking, that was one of the lessons we had when we took them at Five Star Ranch.
I was going to untack him and Lizzy offered to ride him, I was too hot and tired to ride again. This silicone sleeve on my prosthesis that helps me to walk and move better really makes me hot.

She did some walk, trot and canter transitions on him. He was having a hard time getting the left lead, just like on the ground when we do it. He was very sweaty when finished so she hosed him down in the wash stall and then Al toweled him off while he was eating his TREATS.

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Comment by Coopersmom_1958 on July 2, 2013 at 9:56am

Sunday June 30 2013

It was a another nice evening at the barn with Cooper & Al. We missed Saturday night, we were in the car and heading to the barn but didn't get there as I had stomach issues again and had to go back home.
I tacked him all up and did the flexing and yielding the hindquarters on the ground. We did some falling leaf/c-pattern across the arena and some circling with the bridle and mecate set up.
Before we went into the arena we did flexing with the halter in the aisle. Then I put the bridle on and went into the arena and did some flexing with that then worked on the touch and rub exercise to yield the hindquarters.

158th ride, I stretched before getting on tonight and it really helped with the mounting as I had an easier time getting my leg over the cantle, must remember to always stretch. Then I got on and we did flexing at a stand still and then yielding the hindquarters while mounted. I have a very hard time getting my prosthetic leg back behind the back cinch, to exaggerate to teach, so I used the dressage whip on that side and just had to lightly tap and he moved. Al told me he was walking a circle though instead of crossing the back leg over and pivoting on his front foot so next time I have to remember to shorten the rein more when flexing him to do this. We did the one rein stop at a walk and then tried a bit of trot, letting him go where ever he wanted without steering. on that. Al was yelling out the lessons and kept saying now it's time for the passenger lesson, but I told him we have to get pretty good at the one reins stop at the trot before I move on to the passenger lesson. It would have been a good night to try it as no one else was in the arena but it was getting late and time to shut arena lights out. Lots of time, he is getting better and softer on the bridle every time I ride him.

Friday June 28 2013

I tacked him up and we played in the indoor arena on 12' rope doing circles and change of directions, approach and retreat in the corners. I had to bump his nose a lot to get him to pay attention to me. We stayed at the far end of the arena for a little while just doing squeeze game and half circles as someone was riding.
We did some sideways over to the rail and then resting, then some backing with a soft feel on the halter and moving quicker in the back up.

Comment by Coopersmom_1958 on June 26, 2013 at 2:53pm

Monday June 24 2013

I picked his feet then took him into the wash stall and hosed him down. At the beginning he was moving all over from side to side so I would make him move more. I was making a mistake and stopping the water every time he moved. Next time must keep the water going, move his feet and when he stops then stop the water and let him process it. Al towelled him off and then I took him outside to dry and eat some grass before the bugs started biting.

Saturday June 22 2013

I only groomed Cooper tonight as it was too hot to do any work. Also my stomach was acting up again. I didn't get to play with the other boarders horse either.

Friday June 21 2013

I went to the barn by myself tonight so didn't tack him all up, just worked with the 22' rope and carrot stick in the indoor arena doing circles and transitions at the far end of the arena in the scary corners while another boarder rode around in the middle. I set up 2 cones and did some figure 8's around them, I was slow and he went too far behind me most of the time. We did some sideways over to rest up against the rail then changed direction and went to the other side and rested over there. He was doing really well and after about 30 minutes we went for a walk out to the outdoor arena and then back around the outdoor wash stall area. He was a little spooky going past some cars but settled down once he saw grass to eat. There was a tarp near the wash stalls and we did some approach and retreat to it until he put his foot on it then I went into the wash stall which was new to him. He was snorting at everything but moved forward when I asked him to.
Another boarder asked if I wanted to do some stuff with her horse so I went into his stall, backed him up away from the doorway and put the rope halter on, putting it around his neck then on his nose, having him turn his head to me to put it on. The owner said just that part was amazing as he is always pushing her trying to get out of the stall and raising his head in the air giving her a hard time to get the halter on. I just did it the say way I do it with Cooper. We walked up and down the aisle, flexing and walking and whoa, he was already very good at this. I only did this for a little while then put him in his stall having him turn his head to me and quietly taking the halter off.

I hope that I can work with him again tomorrow night and maybe go into the arena and do some work.

Thursday June 20 2013

Worked with the 22' rope in the indoor arena doing circles and transitions, moving all over the arena and doing lots of change of directions and draw to me when he would start to get bratty. I had poles set up and he wouldn't slow down over them and tripped a few times, almost going down so we started doing the c-pattern/falling leaf before coming back and trying them again, still with no luck at slowing down. I had him saddled as I was going to ride but he was so full of beans tonight and would not slow down. After about 30 minutes I put the 12' rope on and we walked out to the outdoor arena past a lot of scary cars, trucks and equipment. Once in the arena we just walked around in the middle for him to cool off. I took the saddle off because he tried to roll, he was really wet under the saddle pad and thenn he didn't even try to roll again. I wanted to walk around the outside of the arena but the dirt was too deep for me and it was hard to walk in and there was someone having a jumping lesson anyway and she was cantering all over the arena. On our way back inside he did the spooking again. I had him do half circles in front of me and then turn and face me to pay attention. We were almost at the arena door and he was getting still jumping around so I backed him briskly for several feet before turning and going inside. 
Whoa boy, sure glad I didn't ride tonight!

Comment by Coopersmom_1958 on June 18, 2013 at 12:12pm

Monday June 17 2013

It was a nice evening at the barn with Cooper & Al. We got to the barn around 8 p.m. and didn't get out into the arena until almost 9. I spend way too much time grooming and also took him into the wash stall to clean his dock area. When tacking up I took the breast collar off as the reins were getting caught all the time on it.
We did some falling leaf/c-pattern across half of the arena and some circling with the 12' rope then Al set up the poles and we did some trot work over those. Cooper didn't want to trot with me just saying trot and waving my arm so I got a lunge whip and just had to raise it towards him and away he went. We only did a few times over the poles on each side, probably no where near enough to benefit him but I wasn't liking the shorter poles tonight or using the 12' rope while doing this. Next time will use the longer poles and the 22' rope or lunge line. Then we went for a walk around the arena to the back scary part and he was very good back there. Did some sideways and squeeze, touch it in the corners, especially where the radio was as he was doing a little snorting at it. He scooted off once when we were squeezing by the open back door, I'm guessing a horse made a noise in the other barn as the windows to it are right there. I stopped him to face me then had him go back through again several times until he was relaxed, which didn't take long, he's getting so much better.

We did the first six lessons of Clinton Anderson's Riding with Confidence Series 1. Clinton says you can never do enough of the flexing exercises. Cooper does great with the flexing exercises with the halter and the bridle. With more work he will start to get softer in the bridle. He has a bit of a hard time with Lesson 3, touch & rub exercise. As soon as I flex his head and neck and move my hand to his flank to press he starts to move before I even touch him, so back to flexing and standing still and then try it again. I haven't done much of the rubbing to a stop with Parelli and Jonathan Field, something I did only a few times. 
157th ride, I have a very hard time trying to get my leg over the 5" cantle of my saddle, so glad Cooper is used to me dragging my leg over his butt. I really have to remember to do stretches before riding. I had Al push my thighs back, after some cracking and popping and some ouches I was sitting in the proper position, for a little while anyway. He is going to do this from now on for me. 
We did lots of one rein flexing at the mounting block before moving out into the middle of the arena to do Lesson 5, yielding the hindquarters at the standstill. At first we had to do a lot of flexing just to get him to stand still as every time I picked up the rein and looked at his hind he would start to move without me putting my leg on. I don't know if this is good or not, I better read the book again and see if this is in the troubleshooting section. When I finally got him to stand still for me and when I put my leg back he would lean on my leg so this time I had the dressage whip ready and after a few taps he started to move off of my leg. This is a big feat for me as I have a very hard time moving my legs back and using the dressage whip is really helping. After a few times I only had to wiggle it towards his hindquarters and he would move. 
We then moved on to Lesson 6, One Rein Stops at a walk. The first few times when I squeezed he didn't move so I would cluck and away he went. You are not supposed to steer but he kept heading back to Al who was sitting by the barn door, so I would direct rein him the other direction. I was going to try this at a trot and go all over the arena but there was another rider in the arena using the riding crop a lot and yelling loudly at her horse to go and Cooper flinched several times when he heard the crack of the whip but stood calmly and I rubbed him and told him he was a good boy. 
I had changed his cinch to a felt one I had that was too big before, and still is, 32", other one is 28", and it was really irritating him, he was biting at it where it connected to the latigo. The next time I will put the neoprene one back on until I get a string cinch. 
This is slow and boring work for someone sitting and watching, like Al, but I enjoy it and it really works on getting Cooper soft so I will be doing it until he gets soft and makes more progress, slow and steady will get 'er done.
I still have to do the one rein stop at a trot and a canter, letting him go where ever he wants without steering. The canter is not going to get done though until he is moving off a softer touch and I'm ready to work on that. Then after that is the passenger lesson, again no steering, which I didn't do enough of before.

Comment by Coopersmom_1958 on June 16, 2013 at 9:27pm

Saturday June 15 2013

When we first went into the arena we did some circles and falling leaf/c-pattern around the arena. There was a another boarder lunging so we stayed near the front at first. I put the bridle on and then changed sides and worked in the scary end of the arena. Cooper was great in that end tonight, walking calmly beside me, doing the squeeze game and touch it on the walls.  Flexing with the halter than the bridle, then did some touch & rub exercise. I got on and did some flexing and then tried to do yielding the hindquarters at a standstill. I had the elastics on my feet to keep them in the stirrups but I was having a hard time getting the prosthetic leg back to yield him so I got the dressage whip and we started working better together.  

Then we did some one rein stop at a walk, he did this very well, I didn't have to use my legs for this one. With this exercise you don't steer, you just let them go where they want, and he kept going to the barn door where Al was sitting and tried once to walk inside with me on his back so I had to pick up the reins and steer at that time.

Friday June 14 2013

We did some flexing with the halter than the bridle, then did some touch & rub exercise to yield the hindquarters. Lizzy got on and rode for about 10 minutes then I got on and she coached me a little, leaning back when changing directions doing the figure 8 and serpentine at a walk.

Comment by Coopersmom_1958 on June 11, 2013 at 12:22pm

I didn't get out all week to see Cooper. We went on Friday and I groomed him then gave him some treats.

On Sunday we played on the 22' rope, I was getting all tangled up in it, don't know when I will get handy with this longer rope. There was another boarder lunging at the far end of the arena and we stayed at the front end and did some circles at a walk, trot and canter. Then the other boarder and I changed sides. We did a travelling circle to the back of the arena where we did some half circles and some squeeze game while tossing the string over his back until he settled down in that scary end. Then we did circles in both back corners and he started to throw a fit when going to the left near the feed room door, he is having a hard time picking up the correct lead going to the left. I got him to do a few strides of canter then brought him in to me. He settled down and we did the opposite corner. 
The other boarder left so we did some falling leaf/c-pattern across the arena going both directions at a walk to cool him off. We walked around the rail and did some whoa, tossed the string over his back and had him do a turn to go the other way and continued on around the rail. While resting I rubbed his ears which he was really enjoying. Then I scratched his belly and he stretched out like a park just loving the scratchs! He had a lot of yawns after this.
I was going to ride but always spend too much time with the ground work. I haven't ridden since May 7 and that was the only time in May that I rode. Oh well, watching a lot of DVD's and hope that I will be softer with him once I do get back riding again.

Comment by Coopersmom_1958 on June 3, 2013 at 10:45pm

Cooper had a really good workout and I get a great workout on the ground too. If I don't wear that sleeve on my leg it's hard walking around in the arenas, but ooh, it's so hot!!

Comment by Jackie Cochran on June 2, 2013 at 8:32pm

Sounds like a good workout!

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