Monday, September 27, 2010


Sunday went to the barn with a plan. Groundwork and riding. Those were the plans, but I had to adapt. When I got there the horses had just been fed their morning hay. Cici and Casey were busy chowing down. Casey did lift his head out of the hay to come to the gate and greet me. Treats are better than hay to him.

Cici studiously ignored me. Didn't flick an ear, roll an eye or wrinkle her nose. Just kept her face buried deeper and deeper into the hay. I stood at the gate and waited and waited. Finally I said to her that I was going to clean the paddock while she ate and not ask anything of her. She lifted her head up and looked over her shoulder at me. Okay.

So clean up the paddock I did and then I sat on the rock and listened to her munch her morning hay. There was no one else around, but me and all the horses. Sun, some clouds and a bit cooler. But with no one around I will not ride, safety first. And since Cici had so much hay to eat I decided undemanding time was the best thing all around.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010


Just got home from a fantastic lesson with Avery. Major tune up. Just what we needed. I am so charged I can't even focus on my day job LOL. Just had to post something. I mean who else can I share my joy?!?!?

Of course what we worked on seems minor - we trotted the entire ring! But it has been such a struggle for me, and Cici. And Avery's help was quiet and so focused. Of course I "know" this stuff but applying it while in the saddle is a whole different story. Sometimes I think my mind leaves my body and hangs around over me twiddling its thumbs while I struggle to think! And reason.

Today I could relax while trotting and look where I was going - keep my focus out in front of us, around the corners and down the long side. And a part of me was amazed at my being able to focus so far out.

We eventually progressed to trotting big circles with the question box set up in the middle of the ring. First walked the circle then trotted. First one direction then the other. Each time rewarding Cici with a rest in the box when the circle was smoother and the trot consistent.

Avery explained about the 1% improvement each day. That goes for everything. That requires me to keep my wits about me and know what we did the previous time LOL. This should be a challenge and lots of fun. And I'm sure Cici will keep me on my toes! The other challenge is keeping things interesting for Cici. Not fall into patterns so that she starts to make assumptions and go right brain. We are definitely in left brain mode now!

Avery commented on our progress, both of us. That we have come a far distance from the last time she was here. That feels soooo good. I know we have come a long way. I couldn't trot a couple of months ago. Now to go around the arena! And wanting more more more. Slow down Jamie - 1% improvement each time is the way to partnership and success.

Just remembered that while I was in the paddock grooming Cici before the lesson a Sharp Shinned Hawk flew over the indoor, swooped the paddock and then circled the outside ring. A moment later a second Sharpy did the same. And during my lesson I heard a hawk calling. Hmmm how interesting

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Road trip

M showed V and me how to get over to Noon Hill by just walking through the neighborhood. Said it was 15-20 minutes to the woods. We were excited as that meant an easy way to get over to new trails without trailering.

Well it turned out to be 30 minutes of sidewalks and roads. Each way. The entire ride was 2 hours but that means half of it was roads.

The people we ran into on our journey were amazingly nice. If they had a dog they either brought them back into the house or put a leash on them. The cars generally slowed down for us. One father stopped and parked the mini van so his daughter could watch us go by. He said she was horse crazy. I told him that's how it begins!

There were a couple of guys doing some major yard work with heavy equipment. They saw us coming and took a break.

Cici handled all of this with great dignity and calmness. Cars, barking dogs, tractors, guy on ladder (which when V saw, she said, "Oh no, G does not do ladders!!!" fortunately the guy got off). I found it not too much fun. Okay glad we did it, but don't think V and I will be doing the road trip again soon. Want to trailer over to the woods and ride in the woods!

I had to work hard on staying relaxed. Okay my emotional fitness was put to the test. I worked hard at riding with a loose rein and loose seat. Constantly watching for cars, listening for dogs. G has shoes all the way around and watched him slide a bit on the down hills. Thankfully Cici is barefoot, but worried about her feet on the payment. Different things to be aware of in the woods. Maybe its just that this is new. But it didn't seem like enough fun to do again.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Figure 8 at trot

A first! Okay what seems like months ago when Avery was last here I had Cici trot the cones in a figure 8. But I haven't been able to manage to figure out how I did that. Finally on Sunday while playing it all came together!

Really asking Cici to trot the figure was all about me, not about her LOL. One of those totally duh!!! moments. How many of them do I need to have before I believe?

I've been realizing I'm on a plateau. I've reach one goal, and it is a big one - feeling comfortable back in the saddle out on the trails and as I said in my last post - What's next??!?! Of course I realize I have been thoroughly been boring Cici. To the point that after I saddle her and play circling game asking for walk trot and canter in one direction when I change direction she will walk trot canter and then turn into me, stop and say, Okay we are done. Can we go out on the trails now?

I'm struggling on how to be more creative. Keep her thinking and paying attention to me. Got so focused on the end result, my expectations, that straight line thinking was all I was capable of. Now the box is opening a bit. I know where I am and want to move. So slowly things are changing.

We've been working on backing and last week for the first time she backed just from my gentle pull of some tail hairs. Of course days went by without that happening again. But if nothing else I am patient. And persistent. Yesterday I again received her willingness to back by lifting a few tail hairs. What a feeling!

We are trotting out on the trails. We are going out for longer and longer times. We cross a road, walk over huge downed trees, walk under the power lines, cross a small brook - Cici likes to stick her nose in the water - encounter a barking dog. We lead on the trails, no longer just following. Cici and I are developing our partnership. God I love this girl.