Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Little Darlin

Little Darlin came into my life last Summer.  I went out to the Stockland Horse Sale in Davenport, Washington, just to watch and see what was going through.  I sat with a friend, watched the horses.  I walked in the back pens and found 4 mini horses.  No information posted.  One was a stud, one mare and foal and one single mare.  I went in with the single mare, she was stand-off ish and not interested in me.   Her hooves were long and elf like.

Darlin at the auction
Her hooves were neglected and way too long.

So, I made the decision to bid on her.  I ended up paying $100 for her.  Not much for a registered AMHR miniature mare.  Next decision was how to get her home.  I had to go home and get the horse trailer.  When I returned to get her, I felt really bad.  They were loading horses up for the feedlot (slaughter), packing them tight in a stock trailer.  Here I had this teeny mini horse in a spacious two horse slant load. I wished I could of taken one of the other horses from that cramped trailer but, I was going to have enough trouble from my husband.
Darlin's first day at her new home with us

It's May now, it's taken Darlin quite a while to settle and get friendly with me.  We are starting to bond and her hooves are coming around.  I've done all her hoof trimming myself.  Our big plan for the summer is to enter our first SASHA (Spokane Area Small Horse Association) show.
Darlin's hooves in less than a year
Pretty Little Darlin

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Dressage 101

Yesterday, I had my first official Dressage lesson on my own horse.  A little background here, I've had my horse for 21 years now.  I trained him.  So, needless to say, he's had no formal training and he's old (as well as me).  I wasn't sure what to expect of him, but he surprised me.

First we worked on guiding and staying on a 4" path.  Basically, finding a focal point, and following it.  If something grabbed his attention, we changed directions (90 degree turn or less) and found a new focal point.  After a couple of these, he was really getting it.  First at a walk, then trot.  Next we worked on transitions, using the same exercise.   Finding a focal point, trot to it, change directions, walk to the next, find the next and trot again.  Finally we graduated to a canter.  Here is the thing, I rarely can sit his canter, it's so elevated and it throws me from the saddle.  I'm sure it has to do with collection and training.  Plus he prefers a right lead over the left.  I know that most horses do have a preferred side to them, just as humans do.  In order to get him to take the correct lead, it takes a lot of preparation and position and throwing my weight.  It's certainly something that we need to work on!

In this first lesson, I used my English bridle, but I rode with my Fallis Balanced Ride western saddle.  I have an old Wintec English saddle, but I just didn't want to try that with the first lesson.  I'm hoping by the end of summer, I can find a decent Dressage saddle for us.

My goal is to ride a Dressage test in a schooling show.  I know that I will be a nervous mess, but I am sure I will enjoy it.  I was nervous about this riding lesson!