Tuesday, May 1 2012 

There were 2 others riding in the arena so space was tight but we all managed to work together. One girl had a jump set up and Cooper & I would watch when she jumped. It was funny, Cooper was really watching her jump too. We did about 20 minutes on the ground, some changing eyes stage 1 and some circling. He wanted to be in close to me tonight. I had him do some transitions from walk to trot to walk, more walking. We did falling leaf to the back of the arena while 2 others rode around. We then did some giving to the bit. I got on and rode at a walk for about 10 minutes. I tried to hold my stomach in and push in my right stirrup to keep myself straight. I was also trying to keep my legs back and trying not to fling them forward the way I seem to do with them. Practice, practice, it will get better.

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Comment by Coopersmom_1958 on May 30, 2012 at 4:41pm

Tuesday, May 29 2012

95th ride, I almost didn't go because I was too hot but there was a very nice breeze that felt wonderful. We did circles in the corners on one end of the arena and even did some posting trot. Cooper was pretty good until he decided it was time to quit which was only about 15 minutes into the ride. He started running out at his shoulder again, trying to head to the gate sideways, mostly in the far corner opposite the mounting block. He's very stubborn with the whoa too. I don't think I'm being firm enough with the outside rein and I really have to learn to release when he does as I ask (always had that problem). I was a little tense when I first got on, otherwise I was feeling much more confident on him. Every time I watch my old videos of lessons I start to feel a little more confident and it transfers into riding. I watch them and think to myself that I was doing very good back then, I was keeping balance a lot better than I am doing now,  just have to keep at it. When he would raise his head to look at something I made him look to the inside and pay attention to the work we were doing. He spooked one time by the gate, there were a few cars parked and a trailer parked there that weren't there before. Not too long after that the neighbors starting roaring around on a dirt bike and he was getting jittery so I walked him out a little more and when he was calm I got off.

Comment by Coopersmom_1958 on May 27, 2012 at 10:32pm

Saturday May 25 2012

Our 94th ride, getting close to the 100 mark! We followed another horse out to the outdoor arena and Cooper did better again. I had the rope halter and 12' rope on and also his bridle with the full cheek copper dee snaffle so didn't let him stop to eat any grass and I think he was a little upset, but he got over it quickly. We did about 10 minutes of ground work, some falling leaf pattern and a few circles and he was very calm so I decided to skip the long groundwork and get on him. Only thing, Al was in the barn fixing the tack box so I had to ask for help from one of the other riders. She was fantastic helping me get on, Cooper stood quietly and I actually did a good job mounting with her help. 

We walked around, going over poles and past a few scary objects, a bunch of poles stacked together and some of the jump standards. I remembered to keep my leg in and stretch them down into my heels. I would tip his eye to the inside when we were coming up on the scary things and he did better. I practiced some turn on the haunches and my foot fell out of the stirrup a few times, really must remember to get the elastics put on my feet. We then tried a bit of trot circles. He was running out at the shoulder again and I used the outside supporting rein to straighten him up and stay on the circle. He would quicken his pace and I tried to hold pressure and release when he would slow a little. We did a lot of stops and back ups. I did a little of the serpentine exercise and some shoulder over work. 

The other riders asked if I wanted to take a walk around the scary end of the arena. The 3 of us walked with Cooper & I in the middle. He shied one time and I tipped his nose and eye to the middle and he settled down. There was a little rabbit in the far corner which I don't think Cooper saw and I was trying not to look just in case his gaze went that way also. It was a very nice night.

Sunday May 26 2012

A girl I rode with in lessons came out today and rode Cooper. He tested her at the beginning but she was very confident riding him. She's been riding since she was eleven and is a very good rider but lately has not had the funds for lessons so this works for both of us. She had him doing circles keeping his shoulders up and he started to get soft in the bridle. He still has a bad stop, we have to really work on that. I really think this will be good for all of us, having someone else put some work on him and she knows the Lyons methods so that's good. She decided to try a lope and the first one he gave a buck and then smoothed out. This was going to the left, that is his bad side and he bucks the first time loping on the lunge line too. The right way was a lot better. 

She is going to come out and ride him a few times a week, mostly on weekend because of her work schedule. He is going to quickly be back to the stage he was when we left our lessons, I am so thankful that she is doing this for us. 

Comment by Coopersmom_1958 on May 25, 2012 at 8:33am

Thursday May 24 2012

93rd Ride. We did falling leaf, c-pattern to the back door of the arena then headed out to the outdoor arena. He's getting a lot better at walking around outside. Everytime his head went up I would have him lower it and walk quietly beside me.
Walked around edge of arena for about 20 minutes doing c-pattern and some squeeze game letting him stop occassionally to grab a bite of grass, he enjoyed that. We alternated between the outside edge and the middle of arena. There were some poles set up and we walked and trotted over those and did some touch it with the barrels.
I rode with the rope reins and full cheek copper bit tonight and did some of the beginning lessons that we learned when taking lessons. Circles, inside rein up, outside rein pulled back slightly towards my hip hip and he started to get it. I wrote a lot of notes from the lessons that I have on video to follow. I still was crossing over his neck with the reins which I have to stop doing. When asked for a trot the first few times again he would run out at the shoulder and not want to listen. I would stop and back him up then continue on. I tried to keep my legs relaxed, breathe and to keep my real leg, the right one, in closer to his side. I must remember to start using the elastics on my feet again to keep them in the stirrups as I relearn to lengthen my leg. We walked and trotted and got a few slower jogs at times, a few, not many, but it's a start. The bugs were out biting me and I had the veil on Cooper again so he wasn't tossing his head as much from them. 

Comment by Coopersmom_1958 on May 22, 2012 at 10:36pm

Monday May 21 2012 We went out to the barn around 6:30 and the horses were just being brought in for their dinner. Cooper only gets a handful of grain now, so he thinks he doesn't think he is being left out. I worked our way to the back of the arena on the 22' rope then walked around the scary areas out to the outdoor arena. We did about 20 minutes of groundwork around the edge of the arena. When we got the far end of the arena he started to get spooked at a flock of geese in the front paddock. There were honking loudly then a bunch took off in flight and scared him and he bolted. I let him work it out and talked calmly and had him do some approach and retreat to the scary part. I also had the bag on the end of the carrot stick, which he was concerned with at all. Another rider came in and asked if I could put the bag away as her horse was spooking at it as soon as they came in the arena.

We worked our way to the mounting block and I decided to get on. I didn't feel completely confident about it but got on anyway. Cooper moved away from the mounting block a few times with his head raised high. My heart was thumping and still I got on, maybe not the smartest thing to do. He had more go than whoa, again. I had him walk a lot before attempting a trot. Again, too fast so just went back to a walk again. I also had the german martingale on which I felt he did not like at all tonight. He was running out sideways at the shoulder in the opposite direction I was trying to go. He was tossing his head and this time I knew it wasn't the flies bothering him. I decided to take the martingale off and just work with the reins and he was much better. 

I tried to do trot again and some circles, which were not working. I have to review all my notes and videos from the beginning lessons again and work all over with him. When he went fast my brain was just saying whoa, whoa! So we did a lot of whoas the back to a walk again. I then tried to do some of the serpentine exercise, we got a few half circles in at a very fast pace and he started to slow down a little. I have watched the clinic videos over and over, I hope that I can get back to that, when I was more confident. I did some one rein stops and some more whoa and back up work then got off. I rode him for about half an hour and I was wiped out just trying to control him. One of the other boarders said it looked like we were doing great, I guess I sure hide my emotions well while in the saddle. 

We did lots of grooming and I settled down and we ended the evening with some flexing, which he is getting very good at as soon as I lift the rope. There a lot of things I have to work on again, slight set back but maybe that is what we need right now. Sure hope to get my confidence back while riding, the groundwork is getting good though.

Comment by Coopersmom_1958 on May 21, 2012 at 4:23pm

Sunday May 20 2012

I didn't get out to see Cooper all week. We went out for our bithdays, my daughter on May 17 & myself on May 15. Then the other nights we were looking around and test driving cars with my daughter. Saturday I had a headache and tummy troubles and didn't make it to the barn. 

The heat was bothering me when we were at the barn yesterday. When we brought Cooper into the barn he was spooking at everything, we hadn't been out for 6 days. I took him into the indoor arena with the rope halter & 22' rope and as soon as I asked him to move out in a circle he just wanted to go. So I let him gallop at the end of the line until he slowed down on his own and started to lick and chew. I had Al do the umbrella at the front end of the arena and we worked our way back up as he opened and closed the umbrella. It didn't bother Cooper at all, he was more worried about things going on outside the open arena doors.

I then walked him out back arena door and around all the scary cars on our way to the outdoor arena. He was good about that and when ever he raised his head I would have him lower it and pay attention to me. We walked around the edge of the outdoor arena doing the squeeze game and c-pattern. We walked into the middle of arena and did some circling, change of directions and transitions, walk, trot and lope. He listened very well and didn't go off on a crazy gallop like indoors. We did some trot and lope over some poles that were set up outside. We stayed outside for about 45 minutes.

After both of us were pretty sweaty and I gave him a bath in the indoor wash stall. He was jittery, moving back and forth as it was feeding time and his pasture mates were all coming in for dinner. I took him back outside after his bath to dry off and watched another boarder riding. The bugs were starting to come out and the temperature had dropped. I had a veil on him for the bugs but they weren't out earlier. This was the time I should have come out, even though the bugs were out it was much nicer weather, then I could have rode. We were there about 4 hours and my legs and back were killing me from all the walking around. 

I woke up with a headache again today, Monday, and won't be going out to see him. Tuesday night we are picking up the car for my daughter and Wednesday is physio, so guess we won't see him now until Thursday. I just might try to get out to see him on Wednesday though if there is time after physiotherapy.

Comment by Coopersmom_1958 on May 15, 2012 at 10:08am

Monday May 14 2012

91st ride. We went outdoors again, another gorgeous evening. I followed a boarder as she rode her horse out of the arena and around parked vehicles to get to the outdoor arena. Cooper was a lot better today walking out there. Everytime he raised his head high in the air I would have him lower it.
We walked all around the edge of the arena again with the 12' rope and rope halter, doing squeeze game, falling leaf pattern and touch it on some barrels. He was jumpy this time at the far end of the arena. We haven't been going over there as it has been too wet but is finally drying up. I let him eat the grass in that area and all along the far side as we slowly walked around. We did some changing eyes stage one when we got to the end where the mounting stool was.
I got on and we walked around for a bit, he was walking fast again at the beginning but slowed down. Did some one rein stops, going around and around in a circle making me dizzy again before he finally stopped and relaxed. We tried to do some jogging and again he wanted to go too fast. I tried to trot around the barrels that were set up and he would push out with his shoulder and not listen to me when trying to turn. I still have a lot of fear and my heart goes in my throat when picks up speed.
I did pretty good trying to keep my leg in closer to balance out with the prosthetic one. I was trying to keep my hands and seat quiet. The sun was going down and the bugs were coming out and they were bothering Cooper. He was tossing his head and flipping his ears around a lot. I walked around a little more and got off at a relaxed moment when there was no head tossing so he wouldn't think if he did that then I would get off. We were alone walking back, he did very well and I took him over near the manure pile where the grass grows nice and let him graze. He would grab a mouthful then lift his head and snort at the pit then eat again. 
I might not go to see him on Tuesday as it is my birthday and my daughter and spouse might take me out for dinner.

Comment by Coopersmom_1958 on May 12, 2012 at 10:23pm

May 12 2012 

90th ride. We went outdoors again, it was a beautiful windy day. Walked all around the edge of the arena with the 12' rope and rope halter on doing the squeeze game, falling leaf pattern and touch it on some barrels. He was a little jumpy near the truck and trailer parked by the arena and again in the far corner of the arena where some machinery is stored but calmed down quickly. It took us about 20 minutes to walk around and when we got to the end where the mounting stool was we did some changing eyes stage one.
I got on and we walked around for a bit, stopping and backing up. Also did some yielding of the hindquarters which he was not very good at to start. He kept going around and around in a circle making me dizzy before he finally stopped and relaxed. We did some jogging and again he wanted to go too fast. The wind was whipping dirt around and whenever someone loped past us he wanted to go. I tried to trot around the barrels that were set up and he would push out with his shoulder and not listen to me when trying to turn. He has a lot of energy but we did well with the control. The boarder who is a coach was also riding and offered me some tips. I have to try to keep my real leg in as I hold it out from him. That way he will have both legs laying on him as I can't keep my prosthesis out. Also my hands and seat are very busy, I am moving around too much in the saddle on his back and he is getting mixed signals. Sore again today when I got off but I did do a very good dismount for a change.

Comment by Coopersmom_1958 on May 12, 2012 at 3:27pm

89th ride. We followed 2 other horse and went outside, it was a nice night. We did some c-pattern (falling leaf) all around the arena for about 15 minutes before getting on. The barn managers husband helped helped me get on as Al had gone to get something to eat and was gone for a long time. Cooper was a little fast walking at the beginning, speedy Gonzales.

I tried to get him to jog but he just wanted to trot fast so we did lots of walk, stops and back up. I was also trying to be more aware of my prosthetic and trying to keep the pressure off of him.
There were 5 of us riding in the outdoor arena today, it is huge out there.

Comment by Coopersmom_1958 on May 11, 2012 at 10:30am

Thursday May 10 2012

We were going to go outside but by the time I had Cooper tacked up it was getting dark out so we stayed indooors. There was a private lesson going on and we had to stand and wait for it to be finished. We did some lunging with the bridle and bit. I tried to use the German martingale tied to the saddle horn but the reins were too stiff and kept coming loose so just took them off. We did walk, trot transitions for about 5 minutes in both directions and he listened very well. He was a little fast at the beginning and broke into a lope a few times, but it wasn't a crazy out of control lope, it was slow and he listened when asked to transition back to a trot. 
I put the German martingale reins back on and we did some Lyons giving to the bit around the inside of the arena.
I got on and rode around for about another 20 minutes at a walk and some trot. The german martingale was attached but it was on the loosest setting and we were only working off of reins and not the draw rein part. He keeps a very good head set on his own with what we have already learned, I don't know if I will need to go to the next setting on the martingale.

We walked around a lot at first following the other horses around that were in the arena. There were 3 others riding in the arena and we all managed well. At one time all 4 of us were at the same end of the arena and it looked like we were in unison as we all made the turn from close to the wall to the middle of the arena. That must have looked so neat but my camera man did not get it on film, so sad. We managed to get 2/3 down to the scary end of the arena by following other horses. I felt him tense up and he raised his head when were getting close to the back of the arena near the feed room door. I steered him in the direction I wanted to go and tried to ignore this, hard for me, but we managed and went on around the arena several times. 

I tried to get him to jog but he just wanted to trot fast so we did lots of stops and back up. One time when asked for a whoa I breathed out, sat deep and said whoa and he stopped perfectly, he actually started the stop before I even said whoa, what a good boy! I was trying to be more aware of my prosthetic and trying to keep the pressure off of him which was making my back and legs sore, not used to it. I really couldn't get comfortable in the saddle either so must remember to do a few more exercises on the ground and while in the saddle before moving off. Have to keep this up and I will get stronger.

We tried to do some turn on the haunches and he was getting confused, so was I, probably giving the wrong signals, I will have to look it up to review the steps. Heading back up tonight to try this all over again :)

Comment by Coopersmom_1958 on May 9, 2012 at 10:20am

Tuesday May 8/12 

We got to the barn with plenty of daylight but the outdoor arena was wet so we worked indoors. We did some lunging in the indoor arena with side reins on very loose, 2 holes on outside, 5 holes on inside rein and they were still loose, but looked tight on the outside but I knew they weren't.  We did walk trot transitions, he did really well.
Then we did some giving to the bit around the arena. We went out the back door and the side door. He was spooky out the back door so I made him pay attention to what we were doing with hindquarter gives and back ups, then forward and sideways before going back inside. When doing hip, shoulder, shoulder work he wanted to trot and I brought him back down to a walk. He was tossing his head and not wanting to cross his back legs and give his hindquarters or back up on his left side, he was more concerned with the noises on the outside of the arena than our lesson. Tonight would have been a good night to get the tarp and plastic bag out as we mostly had the indoor all to ourselves, but forgot until we were finished. Oh well, next time.

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