Monday, December 13, 2010

Obstacle Challenges . . .

After many trail adventures, it was time to take Bucky to a few clinics to work on our skills. So October 24, we attended the first clinic at West River Stables . . . the first major obstacle, was keeping Bucky calm and focused in a ring full of horses!

There were about 15 horses at the clinic and Bucky was VERY well behaved and kept his cool as we practiced turn-on-the-haunches, turn-on-the-forehand and other skills needed to maneuver obstacles on the trail or in the show ring.

Jerilyn & Tana

We worked on backing up on an 'L' and also tricker obstacles like this horse-eater. A board on two barrels that you have to move on end attached to a rope while keeping the other end on the barrel. Jerilyn & Tana demonstrated this for us, Bucky got as far as moving the board, but we did no t complete the obstacle. It will take some time to get used to something attached to us moving!

Angie & Doc working the gate

We also practiced opening / closing a gate from horseback, a very useful skill and something we have also worked on at home. Overall Bucky is very good at this and let me latch / unlatch the gate patiently. I did get a big ole bruise on my knee at home though when we went through the gate without leaving room for my leg - ouch!

Then in December we attended the second obstacle clinic at Crystal Gait, and were able to use their gorgeous heated indoor arena. It was very nice to be in this ring while the wind howled outside and temperatures dropped!

Bucky adapted nicely to the indoor and was very good with the other horses in the ring. Sometimes I forget he is only 5 years old, having many adventures has definitely made him a more reliable mount.

There were a variety of obstacles to work on including this horse eating "teeter - totter" which Bucky thought was pretty scary. We did go over it (and leapt off) a few times, but ended with a positive experience. Bucky also LOVED the big ball to play with, herd and chase. I hope to someday introduce him to cattle work, which I suspect he would love.

We also got to do a mini "cowboy race" which was fun and Bucky was very good. Now it is time for him to have the winter off and get ready for more adventures next spring!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Ride for the Cure VT-NH

Today we set on a very important ride. My best friend Alison and I headed to Green Mountain Horse Association (GMHA) in beautiful Woodstock Vermont. We had collected donations to ride in the FIRST VT-NH Susan G. Komen Foundation "Ride for the Cure".

Learn more about the foundation at their link. Seriously. Learn more about this amazing and critical organization founded in 1982 by a woman who lost her sister to breast cancer. They raise money for breast cancer screening, treatment and research with the majority of funds raised going back into local programs.

So we clipped and plaited, glittered and ribboned our horses to prepare for this ride. Dressed in pink and covered in ribbons we rode to honor our family and friends who have battled this dreadful disease.

We again rode in honor of my grandmother, a breast cancer survivor, and in memory of my aunt Dyanne.

And in memory of Ali's friend Sandy who also passed away after battling breast cancer. But it was even bigger than that, even bigger than us and our loved ones, and over 100 people came, all of us touched by breast cancer in some way and raised over $40,000.

The trails at GMHA were great, very well marked and maintained, and the views were simply breathtaking. The weather could not have been better and we had a fabulous time. A day made up of those "moments" cantering through the forest on a trusted horse, with a good friend that make you truly happy to be alive.

The buckskins were wonderful, after a long weekend of traveling they were still willing to get right in the trailer and put up with all our grooming and ribbons! This is where they get to hang out and rest after a long ride and munch hay . . .

Sunday, September 5, 2010

July 2010 - Pisgah Trail Adventure . . .

We headed out again end of July with our friend Jerilyn on Tana to explore Pisgah State Park in NH. Bucky was outfitted in his new (slightly ridiculous) burgundy ear nets to combat the deer flies.

We had a great time, mostly walking as the trails were rocky with lots of water crossings. Some of the bridges were a little scary to me (rotting, slippery wood) but Bucky was a trooper and walked right over them after Jerilyn or I got off and tested each one.

Some spots are a little tricky to maneuver with a horse and we had one very scary moment when Bucky's saddle got caught on this gate, but he stayed calm and we managed to squeeze by without any further mishaps.

There were also some trails that were impassable due to large fallen trees and we had to resort to "bushwacking" around them through the forest. Bucky was a champ and led the way through all sorts of terrain. He can be a very bold little horse!

If you're headed out to Pisgah, bring a map and flyspray!

June 2010 - Buckskin Adventures!

We found some great riding buddies and headed out for new trail riding adventures this summer.

In June, we met up with Angie & Doc (another buckskin) to explore the local trails. We had a great time riding at the Springfield Reservoir, what gorgeous trails and a big river to cool off in.

Our first time out I took Bucky, although younger & green, he is still the "more experienced" trail horse of my two. So we set out to explore the trails at Springfield with our fearless leader Doc. After a few initial spooks at big scary rocks, Buck settled right in and was a great little trail pony.

Seeing double? Doc is a buckskin Paint who looks like he could be Bucky's twin. The two boys got along very well and are great trail buddies.

For our next adventure I took a different buckskin trail riding in Putney to explore the trails of the Putney School and surrounding area. Angie & Doc were again great leaders for Haley & I to follow. Haley was a trooper, but small streams definitely gave us pause.

Haley did this big hill without any complaints and we even cantered up it on the way home. Haley is well on her way to being a fabulous trail horse too!

Buckskin butts headed home! Unfortunately our riding buddy Angie was in a riding accident and won't be riding for a while - we miss you Angie, heal quickly!

Sunday, June 13, 2010

A few great reasons to trail ride . . .

Bucky & I did the MA 2010 "Ride for the Cure" June 6th along with some good friends. We had a great time, managed to stay mostly dry, and rode 10 miles to raise money for the Susan G. Komen foundation.

The ride overall was a success despite skies threatening to rain all day, we had fun and Bucky & Haley had a good ride. For the most part they were VERY well behaved except for a few bucks from Bucky at the canter.

We rode in memory of my aunt Dyanne, who passed away from breast cancer and in support of my Nana, a breast cancer survivor.

Today we completed the 7 miles ACTHA "Ride for Rescues" in Springfield, VT and also had a great time. Both buckskins were in good shape and a little frisky to start off! They settled in and were good trail ponies for the remainder of the ride.

This ride had six judged obstacles and we did our best, though very green Haley tried her best at each obstacle. Bucky was good (as long as it wasn't the dreaded trotting poles!) and we placed 3rd in the pleasure division.

We also worked on trailer loading this week which paid off, both horses loaded very easily to go to the ride and home! Something never to take for granted with young horses.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Show #2 . . . the real thing!

This weekend we headed to the River Riders Open 4-H show at West River Stables, it was our first "real" show . . . where we would compete in classes with other horses in the ring. Bucky was fantastic and I was so proud of him!
He was a little quick, but overall very good for having 10 green horses in the ring and I was just happy that it was a good experience for him.

He has a big stride for such a little horse!

If only his mom could remember how to ride huntseat . . . we did get 4th in equitation though.

He was great in trail class, minor leap over trotting poles, did the mailbox, bridge and gate well, our practice has paid off. BUT I forgot an obstacle . . . oh well, he was great and we had fun!

Sunday, April 25, 2010

First show!

On Saturday Bucky, Haley, Ali & I headed off to our first show! We found the ideal opportunity to introduce them to showing at the SYALER Dressage Schooling Show at Langwood Farm. So we brushed, braided, and borrowed gear!

We had a beautiful day and the show was small, so the horses quickly settled in and were very well behaved!

Bucky trotting in the indoor, he was good and even got the high point horse award for the day.

Photo from SYALER

The judge was also very nice and gave many helpful comments and things for us to work on.

Haley has only been really going under saddle for a few months and has been being ridden (and loved!) by my best friend Ali. Haley has had some biting issues and had only been ridden in a bitted bridle for a week prior to the show.

Photo from SYALER
She was also a star though and did very well for Ali.

What a pretty mare, Ali has done a fantastic job with her. We are looking forward to more adventures with the buckskins this summer!