Sunday, November 9, 2008

Taking a break from plumbing to ride!!!

John has been my handyman hero this weekend! I wanted to replace a light fixture in the hallway when the bulb burned out. So, we got a new fixture and took the old one off and realized that there were a ton of black wires, unmarked, hanging every which way. There was about an hour of trying to figure out what goes where and then we realized suddenly why all of the lights were off in the bathroom and the hall switch didn't do anything... All of those wires were not for light fixtures, they were to freaking wire our house!!! This is when we decided we want a new house. I left to meet the farrier about the time John started drawing diagrams on sticky notes with electricity meter in hand.

The farrier trimmed Sabumi and did a great job. We used another boarder's trimmer this time and I liked him better. I warned him that Sabumi can be a kicker. He picked up the front right and the horse reared. The trimmer kept his leg between his knees and held on until the horse calmed down. After that, the horse was fine. He trimmed him shorter than the last guy, which I liked and we were left with some very nice round leveled hooves. I worked him on the longe afterwords and he was not hoof sore at all even though he had been trimmed shorter than usual. We have been working on cantering and he really is getting the hang of it. He pickes it up within 4-6 strides of me asking him. He was having an issue with halting suddenly from the canter and I figured out that it was becaused he is not very well balanced around 'corners' so when he has the paddock fence on three sides he is fine, but that forth side is hard for him to hold the bend so he approaches the fence straight on and panicked. I have started really leaning on the line into the corner and helping him around the bend and he has been doing much better. The struggle for me is to help him balance without him thinking I want him to slow down. I usually kiss and snake the ship around on the ground while I am pulling him around on the corner. He is doing much better about staying in the canter for longer periods of time. I am very happy with that.

I came home and John had the light fixture fixed and had started working on the plumbing. He is still working on the plumbing. Our shower had poor water flow for hot water and John is working on replacing the corroded steel pipes. Except that it didn't work the first time because the fit wasn't tight for the connector onto the faucet. Turns out that the connecting piece is so old that is isn't up to pipe threading standards and there is not a match for it. So, we got a new faucet. Now john has to redo the hot water line under the house, also do the cold water line, replace the faucet and possibly replace the shower head. He is not excited about it. Charley, though, is thrilled at the prospect of going under the house again. We have totally decided we want a new house next time we buy.

This morning before we went to Lowe's, we went out to work with the horse. It was a great day! We started by giving Sabumi strawberry yogurt out of the dewormer tube. He was confused by that. More on that as it progresses. Then I groomed and tacked him up and longed him a bit. John mucked out the paddock and was able to see how much the horse has progressed at cantering! I got on him and we rode around the big grassy area for about 30 minutes or so. We worked on lots of trotting. We did circles, squares, serpentines and big ovals. Sabumi is doing very well. His responsiveness is getting quicker and he is doing really well. He seems more content at the trot when I am sitting rather than posting. That is OK for now as I prefer the close contact of a sitting trot on an unpredictable horse. I do throw in a few strides of posting to get him used to it. We also worked a lot on walk to halt transitions. I would get contact with my reins, sit deep, and ask him to 'woah'. He always stopped within 1-3 strides. I would hold contact until he gave his head by dropping his head down and relaxing his neck and jaw. This teaches him to be more responsive to the bit and not to pull against me and yaw his mouth open when I ask for the halt. He caught on very quickly and even performed very well at the trot to halt transitions! We backed a little which was OK, but not great. He didn't want to back straight up and would try to raise his head against the bit. He will get better.

After a while, John (who had been patiently standing in the middle of the field watching us work) suggested goin gout to the hay field. I wasn't even sure Sabumi would go past the compost pile, but he did, and we explored quite a bit! The field is about 70 acres and is really good footing. The hay is starting to fall down and was easy to ride in. We rode around for about 25 minutes and even saw a big creek. I had hoped the creek was crossable and would be good training for us to ride through. Turns out, it is about 20-30 feet wide!!! So, we will take that one a little slower than I had imagined!!! The whole time we were riding today, the only things Sabumi spooked at were a flock of geese taking off and going through the barbed wire gate into the big pasture. I as very happy with his progress. John was amazed at how well we were doing! It really feels great to know that I backed this horse myself and can ride him at a very basic level! He can walk, trot, halt, back and go out for a short hack! This was ride 11 or 12 and I hope to try cantering him around ride 20-25. I am so happy with his progress.

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