Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Bosco in the round pen

I took some pictures after a session in the round pen yesterday, he managed of course to get nice and dirty before I was able to get my camera from the car.

Friday, May 21, 2010

New improvements

After the productive lesson last time, Bosco has mostly been sore so I haven't been able to train very well. I have tried to make the best out of it in the round pen, but somehow I haven't made it work. This thursday, Pelle was at Årungen with all the others who haven't moved yet, and he was so nice to come over to Røed just for me.

The lesson was quite intence for my part. We started out in walk, flexed to the outside. Bosco didn't really want to do it and I usually tense up when doing something "new". Need to remember to relax the legs, be flexible in the hip and follow the movement. After a few rounds on each hand we started working in trot. Pelle told me to change hand, and when I did, he asked me "what did you do when you turned the horse?" to that I answered "hmm, not sure". He asked me to change hand again, and asked the same question, still no good answer from me. After doing the same thing 5 times I noticed what I did, I pulled in the inside rein. *sigh* When I pull back the inside rein, he tenses up and "fall apart".

So next excersise was to change hand with the same work we started last time. When riding alongside the wall: start by looking the direction you want to go, push forward with the outside rein while relaxing the inside leg and step down in the inside stirrup. Sit on the inside seatbone and lift the outside seatbone, support the outside with the outside leg. The horse will then turn, when it has turned "enough", push forward with the inside rein while relaxing both legs, stepping down in both stirrups and sit with both seatbones, the horse will go straight forwards. Go straight for a few steps, then push forwards with the previous inside rein (now outside), step down in the new inside stirrup, relax the leg, and sit with new inside seatbone while lifting the new outside seatbone, support the new outside with the outside leg. I had to do this "a few" times before getting it correct, but it is funny how easily I can manouvre the horse when I do it right!

This lesson I really noticed how much space he needs on the outside, especially on the left hand. The left side is the stong side, while the right side is the flexible side. He gets easily tensed on the left side, right side is alot easier with the flexion and almost no tension, on the right side we lack impulsion.

I have been struggeling with the canter almost since I got him, but it goes up and down. Pelle told me to canter, and I said I don't know how to do it. Every time I try to work at it, we both just tense up and always end up with the left hand canter. First Pelle took the "motivation stick" and poked abit on Boscos hindlegs. He wasn't too pleased with that, but in the end he did what he was asked to: step further with the hindlegs. So after waking up the hindlegs I was supposed to canter. We quickly discovered that I am no way near precise enough for this sensitive little horse. First, I have to ask for canter at the right time. To do this I got Pelle to flick his fingers everytime his hindlegs were at the correct position. Almost everytime I was too slow and Bosco did what I asked of him, I just asked for canter at the wrong time, so he began the left hand canter instead of the right hand. I think I was precise enough two times, and the result was a nice right hand canter.

Now I atleast know what the problem is, then I might be able to do something about it aswell! Poor Bosco was really tired after the lesson, really sweaty too. When I went to let him out into the padock after the lesson he was in a hurry to get "in the shower" and had just passed through the door before he threw himself on to the ground and got his fur all muddy and dusty :D

I wish I had a personal photographer to take pictures during these lessons, but it felt really good and Inga, who was watching said it looked good aswell. So I trust her until I get some picture evidence!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010


This week I moved Bosco to a new stable. I had actually payed to stay at Årungen through out may, but for a number of reasons I felt like I just had to move. First of all I did not really trust the owners on the hay they were feeding the horses. Three horses have had colic during the past few months. Other people have found moldy hay that the horses were eating, and the feeding rutine was really weird the last few weeks. The hay is also abit too strong for Boscos sensitive stomach :/ Second, the mood had changed in the stable. I didn't enjoy the time I spent there and I felt I just had to get away. 

Bosco relaxing at Årungen a few days before we left

So now I moved to Røed, which is basically 5 minutes drive from Årungen. This was the place that I could find, that were closest to what I was looking for. One big drawback, there is no arena... yet. The plan is to build one over the summer, but I'm not sure when that is. In the meantime, there is a roundpen I can use and there is a road made only for horses, where I can get some training done. 

Took some pictures in the nice weather today, suddenly summer arrived!

The stable, not quite finished yet

The stable, the door in the end leads to the indoor area of the padock. 

This will become the washing booth

This will become a common room with sofa and a small kitchen


Food for all the hungry horses

Where we keep all our equipment

The roundpen

Just behind all this rubbish is where they are going to build the arena

Indoor area for the outdoor horses

Bosco right outside the indoor area

Outdoor area

Outdoor area

Outdoor area. This area will expand all the way to the houses in the background and the horses will have lots of green grass to eat. They just need to adapt to the new grass. 

The road made for horses only, straight forward as far as the eye can see

Walk, trot, canter, do what ever you like, the road is all yours :D

Bosco with my new handmade Total Contact saddle
(first time I tried to braid his mane, looks weird, but working as intended)

The last week Bosco has had some trouble with his hoofs. They have been really sore and he has not been comfertable with a rider. This is ok now, but I have only trained him twice since he got well. We have both been abit rusty after almost one and a half week break, but tomorrow Pelle is comming over to set things straight. Hah!

Saturday, May 08, 2010

Houston, we've made contact!

For the past weeks I've been struggeling with contact. Too strong, too loose, nothing at all or just really uneven contact. It has been a while since my last lesson so it was about time to get some pointers on what I'm doing wrong and what I'm doing right. For the past week, we have been training with a cavesson and it has not been ideal, but at least he has gotten som exercise. I started out with the birdle again on wednesday and it went fairly ok.

Yesterday I had another lesson for Pelle, and we worked mostly on the contact. Before we started the lesson, Pelle tested my hip to see if there was any improovement in the "looseness". He did this by taking hold of my leg and se how far he could move it backwards, forwards and to the sides without any tension in the muscles. Even I could feel that there was improovement! yay!

During the warm up I was told to keep my focus on my hip and make sure that I kept using it in all the exercises. Turns, straight lines and changing the direction is no longer a problem, but the problems arrive when  I start to work at the mobilisation exercises. The moment I want the horse to move sideways i tense up and he stops. There is nothing in between, when I remember to use the seat correctly he does the exercise correctly. If i tense up, he stops, at once! hah. No need for an instructor to tell me what to do, the horse does it all by himself.

After the warm-up, I told Pelle that I was struggeling with the conctact. My problem is that I don't want to be to strong in the hands, but then it goes the other way and the contact is more or less nonexisting. So I was told to shorten the reins abit, and take contact so that it was even on both sides. Then, by using the horses natural response of going against pressure, I was to use the reins and put his head where I wanted it. The inside rein shows him the flexion, the outside rein determines how high/low his head should be.

We worked on flexion both in walk and trot. To get the flexion in the horse, we want him to bend around the inside seatbone. So weight on the inside, contact on both reins, when you get contact, slowly push the outside rein forwards so  that the horse will follow the pressure and bend to the inside. If he looses the flexion or he thinks it's too hard, I use the inside rein and lead his head to the inside, when he obeys remember to give the rein. My problem is that I move the hands to fast and then loose the contact because the pressure goes away. When this happens, start all over with even contact on both reins.

It took me about half a cicle to see how that I haven't really been working on contact at all, because this was a huge difference! Suddenly, the horse was alot calmer and more susceptible to the aids. We worked in this exercise throughout the lesson, and in the end the horse worked alot better than he had done in weeks. We even had a few moments here and there where he actually worked really well! Now I know we are on to something!

During this lesson, I realised what different instructors has been trying to tell me, but it haven't really come through to the brain until now. It's when you suddenly get the feeling of contact you can actually really understand what it's all about. And I think this is a major part of what riding is, you can read all you want and know all the theory, but you don't know it until you feel it.

At the end of the lesson Pelle said; "You haven't ruined the horse! Nice work!" So I ask my self, was that to be expected? nop, don't think so. I think it was more Pelle talking to my subconcius that keeps telling me "don't do anything wrong! don't ruin the horse!". And I haven't, so I'm happy :D

On a sidenote; I might have found a new stable. It is only 5 minutes away from where I am now and it is under construction. The outdoor areas are in place and have been for a while. They are building a stable and an arena which is supposed to come up this summer. I think it will be quite promising once its finished and the bus stops right outside, brilliant. The girl who runs this place seemed like good old farmes daughter, with both legs firmly planted on the ground and a healthy view of the horse. And last, but not least, we can have whatever instructor we want!

Monday, May 03, 2010

Trouble at the stable part 2

So yea, we have to move. The owner insists on keeping this instructor and noone else for atleast those three months. Allthough, according to the email she sendt out it seems it could last longer.

Anyway, I have to find a new place and that is going to be hard. I haven't seen any places with the same standard as where I am at the moment, but I'll keep looking, perhaps there are some places just hiding out there.

Saturday, May 01, 2010

Trouble at the stable

The last few weeks has been abit weird if I may say so. Before I got Bosco I was used to horses kept in stables and with shoes. Now, Bosco was barefoot when I bought him, and has been so all his life so there is no reason to shoe him. He has also been kept outside in a paddock all day, all year round and I didn't want to change this because he is more comfertable living outside in a herd.

Anyway, when I got Bosco I knew I had to find another place to keep him. None of the places I have kept horses before, keep horses outside and in a herd, so I had to look elsewhere. I got lots of tips from other people who also have their horses outside and finally I found a nice place.

Bosco, loose in the arena

This place was at the other side of Oslo, but it doesn't take me extra time to get there so I'm happy. The horses are kept in two different herds, one for the fat horses and one for the horses that are able to limit their eating. In other words, one fat herd and one thin herd. They got a big area indoors where you can groom your horse and give extra food if they need it. There are 4 stalls and a few places where you can tie up your horse. There are also a few places outside where you can tie them up. We also got a "washing booth" in a separate room. The thing I like the most about this place is all the people, mostly grown ups who only care for their horses and their well being.

Bosco in the indoor area

Now, on to the thing that troubles me. We got one of the best arenas in the area, and I think we got 3 different instructors on a weekly basis. Last week there was a note in the stables that said that after the 21st of june, there would only be one instructor. If we wanted to take lessons from someone else we would have to ask this person and he/she could say yes or no. And there would be a 3 month quarantine where only this instructor would have lessons, noone else. Apperantly there has been some discussions before I arrived at the stables about different training methods and that some people are cruel to their horses because of the way they train them. This has led to some bad mouthing and some people has felt they have been looked down upon. That is why they want this quarantine, to calm things down.

First of all, I really don't care which training methods other people use, I might not like them, but thats my buissness. Secondly, I have never met a single instructor everyone likes. There will always be someone who doesn't agree or just don't like the way they do things and that is why I dont get why they want to keep just one instructor at this place. I have nothing against this instructor personally, but when someone comes and says she is really good and uses techniques she apperantly has invented her self, there is a red blinking light going "DINGDINGDING" in my head at least. She has no educaution when it comes to riding or instructing and from what I can tell, she does not ride for instruction.

One of the reasons I moved to this place was to be able to train for Pelle on a weekly basis. This has worked perfectly and the other instructors have lessons on different days so nothing is colliding. Since everything is going smoothly the way it is I really dont get why they want to close down the stables for any other instructors. If she is having a hard time getting students, this is not the way to do it! This is practically pushing people away.

We had a meeting today where everyone exept the stable owner agreed that we wanted the opportunety to choose who we wanted to ride for. Now she got until monday to come up with a set of new houserules, and if she keeps the 3 month quaranteene, quite a few of us will move out. I have no intention of being controlled by someone else, I want to choose whats best for me and my horse and I can not see why they want to do it this way. But its their stable and they get to set the rules, I just think its sad if we have to move since we are really happy with the way things are.

Now I just have to wait until monday to see if I have to start looking for a new place. I don't want to go all summer without being able to have any lessons and the summer is the highseason for us who got outdoor horses, I want to use it!

On another note, since Bosco pulled a "wolfs tooth" the previous week, I have been riding with a cavesson. It's not going great. He is not comfertable with the pressure and I'm not comfertable with the little control I seem to have with it. The good thing about it is that I have to ride with my seat, if i cheat he wont work. When I really focus, he is working aceptable, not great, but its ok. Main problem is me, as usual. I just really hope he wont have much problems afterwards and that I can go back to riding with the bridle soon. The vet told me to check the wound in his mouth, but that's not easy when he keeps throwing his head about every time I try to look inside.

Perhaps a bit too much complaining in this blog, but I just had to get it out. I'll keep you updated on how things are progressing.

Signing off with another picture, just because he is so cute !

He will soon has lost all of his winter coat, can't wait!

working equtation speed test

Found a video of David riding Otario in Working Equitation from 2008. I have only seen videos from the "slow" part of the program and the dressage part, this is during the speed test. Fun!

Also found a video of a dressage test, David riding Mulato in 2006.