Monday, December 31, 2012

Romeo Rocks and Dickie Gets a Saddle

I had to slip in a little brag time for Romeo and his Girl. The new curb has been amazing but he still has a ways to go before being spot on with neck riening. I decided to show her my lazy trick for speeding up that process. Chuck the bridle and use a rope around the neck. It was so fun to see them changing stride lengths, weaving in and out of cones, trotting ten meter circles, and stopping. At first first she wanted to pull on it all the time but once she just trusted her seat and her horse it clicked. Four months ago he couldn't do anything but a stiff jog unless you had a crop and now look at them. I think they look lovely even in this blurry iphone picture. 

I have wanted to pick up a wintec close contact for a long time and I found one for a great price. Between the three (soon to be four) horses I ride and I hope it will fit one of them. I really want it to fit my two. I like trail riding in a close contract and prefer riding greenies in them. I know it seems weird to  want less saddle when horses are acting crazier. The one time a greenie really messed up my back was from a bucking fit in a western saddle. I don't like feeling trapped by my saddle when horses are up to crazy hijinks. I do love leather best but I am hoping that this saddle will work for Dinkus as his body changes. I have a little super cruddy one just for pre-mounting prep but it isn't anything I would ride in. I can't wait until it arrives and I can figure out what gullet we need. It is just about time for me to start getting on him..... 

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Finally Got Nailed

Dickie isn't a mean kicker and he doesn't kick out every day. At the same time he is a very opinionated horse and sometimes he feels that a good hind leg flail puts just the right exclamation point to a statement. Usually he gives lots of warning and you can see him get progressively annoyed. Today was 
an anomaly and my leg got in the wrong place at the wrong time. 

It was a nice sunny day so I decided to take him for a walk up the road it is a short walk before you hit a busy road but there are lots of things to see on that short walk. He is getting better about the goats but thinks the llamas are evil. I totally agree with him so it is hard to fault him for all the snorting and prancing that happens. Then someone rode a really loud motorcycle by. It happened to be my farrier so he turned the bike off as he rode by. That helped but Dickie was sure the big black bike was going to eat him. I was impressed that he didn't rear, bolt, or kick out. He spun around me a few times but got his little self under control pretty quickly and willingly followed the motorcycle down the street. 

After the motorcycle and evil llamas we ran into a terrifying water drain. He decided that the drain wasn't scary if I allowed him to eat grass right next to it. Food fixes everything, I know that feeling. Because Dickie was being so reasonable despite the myriad of terrors I decided to try walking him over the little water ditch by the side of the road. I know that he will wade in the creek in his pasture but wanted to see what he does when he has to hop over something. First we went over the spot where he could splash through. Then we went back and forth where he had to hop a little. We ended up back on the road and I thought he had earn the chance to graze in the big field on the other side of the ditch. So back across we went. He hopped across no problem but somehow he got ahead of me and went he let out a big happy kick I was in the way. He nailed me right in the thigh and I literally flew at least three feet backwards. After trotting a few feet away he stopped to eat and let me catch up easy as could be. 

It was really my fault for getting lazy about watching his hind end. I had spent the morning taking care of the older horses so I was being less vigilant that usual. Dickie has also been so much better about where he throws his long legs that I haven't been as on guard. It was a good reminder that he is still a young TB and unpredictable. It is going to be a long time before I can treat him like Bre. Bre at his age made Dickie look like a 30 year old QH so there is hope for him. 

A few hours later and slowly getting red......
 One hour after the first photo....

I think I might be black and blue tomorrow. 

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Holiday rush is OVER

I do love the holidays. I love the lights and all the family get togethers. It reminds me of just how lucky I am. However, I don't love how they always seem to mess up my routine. Since I have been working graveyard keeping to a routine is even more imperative. I have to be structured about when I go to be and when I get up. That all went out the window last week. I worked both Xmas eve and Xmas. That meant I was going in to work at 7pm and getting off at 730am. Trying to squeeze in family time and a normal day of sleep wasn't an option. I had Weds off but I was a total zombie from two days of working with just long naps as sleep. Then my riding student had her first day of high school eq practice on Thursday (a day I worked). Usually I stay up the night before work then sleep all day. Her practice was in the morning so I had to sleep at night and planned on just a nap before work. The practice was cancelled last  minute but by then my sleep routine was all out of whack. 

I ended up sleeping all day Friday (I was off at 730am) until about 5pm. I thought eight hours of sleep would be enough but I was passing out on the couch by 10pm. I was only awake for five hours so I am not sure what was up with that. But I couldn't keep my eyes open. I was trying everything. I slept like a baby until 7 this morning, fed the dog, read my book, then passed out until 10am. 

The moral of my story is Dickie was very neglected last week and I was filled with guilt. I won't say that Bre was neglected because the family she lives with spoils her rotten. Romeo isn't cuddly so Bre is the main cuddle pony. Bre gets more love than if she was at a normal boarding facility with me coming out every day. In addition to all the cuddle time, my riding student is working off lessons by grooming her and riding her. I know she still needs me but I have set up a situation where I don't have to feel bad when my time goes towards the youngster. 

Dickie is out on three acres of grass with two buddies, gets handled daily, and get loves from the BO and my friend who boards there. I know he isn't suffering when I have a week like last one. At the same time I love him to pieces and he lets me know when he hasn't had enough love. He might be a wiggly ADD fellow but he really likes his one on one people time. As soon as I got moving today I headed right out there. I called his name and he galloped half way across the pasture then stopped and stared at me his face said "Is it really you, are you coming to get me?" Then he tore the rest of the way across the field. 

We didn't do much because I have found he is offended if I dont' come out for a few days then immediately expect work out of him. I took him for a walk, made him pretty, and let him graze the extra yummy stuff by the barn. When I left he kept stopping and looking back to see if maybe I wanted to take him back out to the good grass. I swear he gets cuter by the second. It was such a nice day. I am happy to get back to my normal life of work, sleep, the honey, and ponies. Simple but it makes me happy. 

"They don't lie, the grass is greener over here."

"I might be eating grass but I am also watching your treat pocket."

"Must. Keep. Moving."

"Um, the hay is back there. If you take these ropes off I can help you eat that. "

"You realize many would consider forcing a two year old to stand still abuse. Someone call the SPCA and get me out of here!!!"
"More yummy grass in my pretty purple blanket. "

He was standing watching me get into my car to make sure I didn't want him to come back out and eat more grass. 

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Leaps and Bounds

Sometimes it is easy to forget how far the big boy has come when he is wiggling around, stepping on my feet, and trying to steal my stuff. Then, I remember our first walks from the old stable up to Bre's barn. Every spook was in my direction, my feet were smooshed every third step, when asked to move from pressure he often stomped in disgust or reared. He wanted to grab the lead rope out of my hand constantly and would headbutt me if I didn't share it with him. 

These days he only steals my stuff when he is bored. If he needs to spook it is away from me 90% of the time. He is willing to step out of my space easily and doesn't throw tatrums when I ask. He very rarely steps on my feet these days. He stands tied without too much wiggling and usually his only protest is the occasional stomp. I am still keep my guard up but he isn't half as nippy. He seems to be getting the concept that humans can be sniffed and nuzzled but not bitten. 

We've been working on trotting in hand quite a bit. He used to get so excited when I ran next to him that he would leap, paw at me, and dance sideways. The last two days I went out he just trotted along next to me like a good boy. 

Currently we are working on my putting my foot in the stirrup and jumping up and down. I've been trying to poke him in the side some so I don't have to be perfect when I mount. He stands pretty dang still for a horse who doubles as a perpetual motion machine. 

And through it all he is just so personable. He loves people, he eats up getting brushed and petted. He isn't perfect by any means. He can't seem to get to understand that when he whips his head around to look at the Llamas (or birds, dogs, other horses...) that my head is the exact same level. I currently have a bump on my forehead to show for it. But, he is tries so hard and I feel privileged to watch him grow up. 

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Work and Riding

I had my six month review because I am quickly approaching half a year working as a registered RN. The last six months have been very busy. I graduated from nursing school, brought home Dickie, and started a new job. They are all positive changes but it has been a whirlwind.

One thing that has become apparent is how hard it has been to keep up a horse routine with my work schedule. I am technically a part time employee which means I am only scheduled ahead of time for two shifts per week (three is full time). However, I need to work full time so from week to week I pick up an extra shift. Some weeks I get in my extra hours by picking up overtime. Other weeks I pick up last minute shifts. For my pre-scheduled shifts they make an effort to give me a break between shifts. However, when I pick up extra shifts sometimes the only option is taking a shift at the end of one set and the beginning of another. This means I might work five in a row or six shifts with just a day in between.

I am very careful about getting enough sleep and being on my game because my patients depend on me. My partner is also my priority. That means ride time takes third place. I do get out to see Dickie and love on him but I haven't had the time I want to ride Josey. I also know that once I can actually start doing real work with him I will be bummed if all I have energy for is brushing when I finally can get on him.

Soooooooooo I let me boss know that I really need more set hours. I am starting up school again soon (need BS in nursing) so it is even more imperative that I can plan my life. As of last week I am officially a full time employee. I will know my schedule two months ahead of time. I can plan ride times, flip myself to being awake during the day, know when I actually have time to show, plan weekend beach trips..... All the fun stuff that keeps you from getting burnt out.

I didn't realize how much having a variable schedule was stressing me out until I had a set schedule for two months sitting in front of me. I am sure I will still pick up the occasional overtime shift but doing it because I want a little extra cash is different than doing it because I feel like you HAVE to because I don't have enough shifts later in the month. YAY!! I am thrilled.

Watch out Dickie and Josey. Some hosses are gonna be trained!!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Trivial Schooling Show Dilemnas

We have a show in one month and Dickie is for sure going. Not sure if he will eat me but I am taking him anyway. That part is set in stone. The giant mule eared beast is getting in the trailer. He is also getting braided even though it is a little super low key show. I want to do as many dress rehearsals as possible before I am trying to ride him AND braid him AND not die.

I really want to take a horse to ride in a few flat classes. I feel like I need to get the feel for showing again on a broke horse. My plan was to take Josey but I have been horribly delinquent in riding her. I have worked a really crazy work schedule the last month and about all I have had energy for is clicker training and ground work with Dickie. Even at that some days I have just been giving him kisses and brushes then going home. The work schedule issues have resolved but I have Christmas next week and some extra lessons with Romeo's Girl to get her ready for a series of three shows in two months. ARGH!! Not enough time in the day. I really really want her to have a good experience and trust me before I got hauling her off to deal with a big crowd of horses. My plan is to be disciplined until the entries close and see how she is feeling about me. If I get the sense she trusts me and won't find the adventure traumatizing she goes. If not this is the first show in a series so I won't ruin her confidence just to satisfy my urge to get back in show ring.

That brings me to the dilemma. If I don't take the Spotted Princess there is one shiny Red Mare sitting in my barn looking pretty. She's a go anywhere do anything kind of girl and wouldn't be stressed at all. We've been together long enough (13 years next summer) that she's happy to go anywhere I am at. However, I am sure we will look REALLY sloppy in the ring. I haven't ridden her in a bit more than five times in the last two years. We trail ride but use her hack. Our arena is a swamp and the indoor down the street has footing that would hurt her arthritis. That means there is not time to acclimate her to a bit. She very much prefers her little short shank hack (hates side pulls and bitless bridles) to a bit and will go all day in that without any prep. Since I don't care how I place, I just want the experience of being in the ring, do you think it is a big deal if I show up in the hack?  I know the show won't kick me out of the ring or anything.

I am kind of thinking I will take both the hack and the bit. If she is feeling amenable to a bit (some days she is) we will go traditional. If not the mare gets what she wants. I am only doing this to get my jitters out. Then again maybe miss Josey will decide she would like to go and the red mare will get to stay home stuffing herself with hay.

Ahh the totally trivial things I spend my time thinking about so I don't have to think about real life :)

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Romeo's in the Zone

I don't have much to update on Dickie and Breedle. Bre is happily getting fat and getting loved on by Romeo's Girl. We have worked out a great trade systems. For every hour I teach her she gives me equal time in horse chores. It is hard having two horses. The youngest one is the most demanding so Bre doesn't get as much of my time. The barn owner treats her like their own and spends daily time in her stall cuddling and giving her treats. However, it is nice to have RG take her blanket off, look for rubs and cuts, and pick out her feet. I paid her to do this during nursing school and it was a huge weight off my shoulders. Bre think her prime role in life is being admired so the arrangement makes her very happy.

Nothing is new with Dickie. His ear is healing wonderfully and he got his feet trimmed on Sunday. He was filled with naughty both times.
Romeo on the other hand has had some very exciting breakthroughs. It is all a result of his riders wonderful riding. You may recall that Romeo ended the show season a hot mess. He was sore, his gaits were choppy, couldn't pick up the right lead, wouldn't move past a teensy jog, and chomps at the bit like the worries of the world were on his shoulder. He has had a lease for the last year but I didn't think it was his rider causing the issues. I had seen her ride back when she first started leasing Romers and she had the making of a lovely rider back then.

I had a suspicion that it was misguided (although well meaning instruction). That instructor left the state and I graduated RN school so it was great timing for me to take over. She rides western and that isn't my gig. However...... I know more about western that I let on. And, unless you are wanting to do breed shows, good riding is good riding. Romeo is naturally a WP horse so if you ride him correctly he naturally wants to jog around smooth as silk.

I am so impressed with the maturity of the youngster. She whole heartedly accepted that to move foreward we had to go backwards. He was stressed, tight, stiff, unresponsive. To get out of that we had to let him stick his head up in the air, trot/canter too fast, and chuck the curb. I didn't care if he was on the forehand or rush he just needed to remember that leg/seat means go not suck back/chomp the bit and break gait. Nothing could look less like WP than the first few weeks. She got the concept of what we were doing so fast that in just a few lessons he started stretching down and actually using his back. Pretty soon he moved out without the crop and hardly any leg. Somewhere in there he stopped breaking stride when she asked him to move out. Did I mention his young gal can get him to go from jog to working trot without anything visible from the ground? He is back to picking up his right lead canter EVERY TIME even when doing 10meter serpentines from right to left.

Then there's the bitting issue. He has a very sensitive mouth and is a worrier. You wouldn't think it to meet him. He is a mellow slow moving guy. He internalizes things though and it comes out through an incessant spazzy champ champ champ. It is kind of hard to present a relaxed picture to the judge with that going on. I had a feeling when I started with him that a different bit would help. I also know that this type of horse works better when you just leave their face alone entirely and ride them from your seat. Once their back/butt get moving correctly it is more work to have a giraffe then just relax and stretch. If you get into the mode of "headset" it will never work with this kind of horse. I had switched him into a french link snaffle that they didn't use for half the year. Then they added a curb (he is over 5) and he HATED it. He hated every one they tried. They all had long shanks and high ports. A few weeks ago she had him going in the snaffle with pretty much zero champing and sucking his chin to his chest so it was time to try a curb again.

Last week our new curb got here and they looked AMAZING from the first trot. I think he might have liked it better than the snaffle. He still needs some help with tight turns neck reining but he was stretching down and foreward. He didn't champ one time and we were asking him to so some complicated things. I was so proud of how she used that curb. She was using is very differently than what I observed this summer. She gets when to release better than many adults.

I am so proud of the two of them. Things are rusty and I think the upcoming show will be sloppy. High School Eq team will probably be a little messy too. I let her know if she tries to put a headset on him before he is ready they will be back where he was after state last year. They are on track to peak at 4H not this winter and she is OK with that. However, if they keep on this path they will be in the ribbons for High School Eq team next year. The biggest thing I am proud of is that she isn't getting antsy for things to be perfect now. That has to be hard for a teenager. And I see her making such good independent decisions. He was getting all fired up and rushing when we worked on patters. Without me even asking she took him out to the rail got him moving forward and relaxed then brought him back to a WP pace. I think it is a big deal for a young rider to decide "Moving my horse OUT will work better to slow things down more than holding him back".

Sorry it was a novel. I am just so happy at where Romeo and his Girl are. I knew things would get better but I never expected them to improve so fast. I am going to tell her it isn't about the ribbons but I will admit to you guys that I am going to gloat big time this summer if she cleans up.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Baby get's his first very own blanket...

Dickie has done great with his borrowed blanket. I am shocked!!! I thought for sure I would be buying a replacement within a week. The only mishap is a broken snap and I am not sure it was 2yo destructo related. I decided that I was pushing my luck and it would be best to get him his very own blankie before he wrecks Josey's.

Stateline had a sale and I was able to get a 1200D blanket for under $70 bucks with free shipping. It couldn't have come at a more perfect time because the one he is wearing just started leaking today. I put his new blanket on tonight and it fits great. Saxons can be shorter in the back, narrower, and have less belly. This is exactly what he needs!! He is tall but still very babyish so he swims in blankets with a roomier cut. I would suggest the Saxon's for those of you with narrow baby's. They look great on arabs too. He looks quite fetching in the purple plaid. I know he will outgrow it by next year but it will fit Romeo so it won't go to waste.

Next week I will be taking some blankets to the laundry with Nikwax in hand. We were really bad and didn't wash anything last year. Romeo and Bre both got Rambo's blankets at the end of the year and they looked clean. It was sheer laziness that prevented the back up blankets from being washed. I used to rewaterproof every year but didn't waterproof Bre's back up blanket for a few years and it was a little leaky. Romeo's  owner was given a blanket that will fit both Romeo and Dickie so I want to get that one serviceable for a back up. By next week Josey, Romeo, and Bre's back ups will all be ready to go. Not having back ups is a sure fire way to make sure your main blanket gets ripped.

Last Sarcoid Treatment (Win and Fail)

First the win part.......

Dickie's ear has continued to look amazing. If the hair wasn't shaved you wouldn't know he had a big ugly growth removed and caustic medication squirted into it. The vet agreed that it looks on track, she took the stitched out, and gave him one more treatment. It probably won't come back but I will keep an eye on it just to make sure.

Now for the fail......

I brought the horses in and Dickie was a little annoyed that dinner wasn't waiting for him but was happy to be inside visiting with the people. Then the vet showed up and his happy day was ruined. The second she wanted to listen to his heart he started kicking out and pawing his legs. Not only did she have the nerve to listen to his heart but she went after his jugular. EFF THAT!!! Was all he had to say about that. He threw the biggest tantrum I have ever seen. Rearing, kicking, pulling back... He put his whole big mad self into fighting the vet injecting sedative.

I have to say I love my vet and her assistant. The assistant was a superstar. I couldn't help much because it was a small space with a needle flying around. The vet and I stood outside the stall and help his lead rope. We just kept at him. We held him when he threw himself into a fit then released when he released. The assistant was in the stall with him convincing him the needle wasn't going to kill him. He's a pretty smart horse so he eventually figured out that the tantrum wasn't getting him very far and gave up. He gave us all a huge appy stink eye then took a nap. I am so grateful that they didn't get into a huge power struggle with him and that they were understanding of his age. The quote of the day was "Somebody is showing his spots today"

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Tack Bonanza

Other than the occasional halter or the bell boots Bre burns through I haven't
bought much tack in years. I don't tend to have a bunch of different things. Bre is particular about what she likes and it is usually the expensive stuff so I can't afford to have two of everything. I but used but it still adds  up. I have my black dressage stuff and my brown close contact things. Plus, I have been at this for awhile so I have narrowed down what I like and stick with that. Now that I have a new guy I forgot how many little things you need!! I had planned to share tack between the horses but once I moved him five mins down the road we can't just walk to Bre's barn. That means two of everything. It is spendy but I am getting really good deals and just getting a few things at a time. 

I have been perusing ebay to price western show sets. I was thinking that it would be nice to get something for Romeo's girl before next summer. In my searchign I found a ridiculously blingy western bridle. It is totally OOC shiny but the price was rock bottom and I decided Bre needs a new trail bridle. It can double as a show bridle for Romeo. Win win!! I figured it would be cheap leather for the price but the brand goes for over $100 on a different site. It is nice thick soft leather. I love it. 

In April I sold my close contact saddle because it didn't fit Bre very well. It fit her like a glove when she was conditioned but now that she is semi-retired with less muscle tone she needed something different. It covered several months of board for Dickie so that was great. That left me with only a western saddle. It fits Bre wonderful but western doesn't work for me. It kills my bum hip. I have wanted to get a Thorowgood dressage saddle for years and recently saw one in a pawn shop of all places. And it only cost $124!!!!! It looked rough in the picture so I thought it would be a good starter saddle for Dickie. It was way better in person and I couldn't stomach giving it over to him. Magically it fit Bre the best of any saddle I have put on her (including nice leather ones). It was more comfortable that my last high end dressage saddle. I am really fussy about how a saddle positions me and this one is just right. WOOHOOO!! 

I also picked up a little close contact saddle for $25. I don't have a picture but it is nothing to write home about. It fits Dickie well enough that it won't hurt him to do ground work in. I don't like those older close contacts no matter how well they fit so I will eventually need a real saddle for him. The panels are so narrow and hard in those things. I can't afford the saddle I want though yet and it's going to be months before we do much so I am in no rush. Hopefully there will be some good deals after xmas because people got new saddles for gifts. 

On to bits...... It is about time to start introducing Dickie to a bit. I borrowed one to use on him the other day and he wasn't too worried so it will probably go easy. I don't own anything that I would use on him for a starter bit so I have been watching for a good priced option. I knew I wanted a Happy Mouth. They taste tummy and are easy on baby mouths with all those new teeth coming in. They are more than I wanted to spend new so when I found a used one I had to snatch it up. I ended up with a D ring, french link, Happy Mouth. I use a loose ring KK once they are mature but babies usually like something with more stability to start. The last picture is the bit I ordered for Romeo. He just hates the curb we have for him. It isn't a bad bit but after six months he hates it has bad as they day she first tried it. I rode him in it and I am shocked RG has been able to do anything with him. I can't wait for the new bits to get here!! Romeo's should be here Monday or Tuesday. Not sure when Dickie's will get here but we are not in as much of a rush with that one. 

Monday, December 3, 2012

Ear Update and Halter Practice

Dickie's ear looks AMAZING!! I thought for sure he would rub the stitches out or his wound would get looking crusty. You won't even be able to tell he stitches once all is said and done. The vet comes out in a week and I am hoping that the evil little bugger will stay gone with one more treatment. If you have a horse with sarcoids you should seriously consider going the cisplatin route. I know there are a few creams out there but the horse usually ends up with a big wound while you are killing off the sarcoid. This was easy on Dickie and has better long term results.

After inspecting his ear we went over to the arena. We haven't been in the big arena for a couple of weeks. I have been focusing on manners in the stall, clippers, holding his feet up, and all the good citizenship stuff. We made it to the round pen a few times but the arena was crowded so we didn't go in and disturb the peace. I will be going to a show in just shy of two months. We have a long way to go if I expect survive the experience.

At this point he walks quite well on the lead rope. He knows "Hoa" and does his best to stop when I stop. Sometimes the devil takes a hold though and he wants to grab the rope then leap with his front legs. This used to be a constant battle but during most walks he only needs one or two well timed "Ahhahahaha" and he will make a better decision. Trotting is a different story. Me running next to him apparently turns me into a horse. This results in him leaping and jumping next to me with the occasional front leg thrown my way.

I steered clear of trotting in hand until I felt he was more aware of  my space and really understood  the difference between people and and horses. There was no use asking him to do something I knew he would fail at and putting my head in the striking range. I am happy to say that today went much better!! He still got really excited and did some leapkicking the first time we trotted. He is out of my personal space now so I am not in striking range when the wild mustang in his soul takes over. Even better he doesn't take much reminding that I am a human and we don't jump on the heads of humans. After that first lap he was very polite. I could tell he wanted to grab his lead rope and take charge but he didn't. It seems the teenage boy is learning some self control!! Next step is to start taking him in the arena with other horses.

Bre goes on a ride and Romeo needs a new bit

Our arena is a swamp right now so we made a plan for Romeo's Girl to haul out where Dickie lives. The arena there is big and the footing is great. It is really quiet on Sunday's and we had the place to ourself. I decided it would be fun to take Bre along. She has only left the farm for a few trail rides in the last two years and I haven't had it in a full size arena since our last stable. 

Our only mishap was when we first loaded. She went right in, I hooked her up, and she decided to back right out. She snapped the leather halter I have had for her since I first bought it. I guess it is time for a new one...... She hopping right back in the trailer no problem. 

Who are those strange horses calling to me?

Romeo did great. I was really impressed because we didn't exactly get to fix his issues before the weather turned. Other than that we have just been trail riding. His RG (Romeo's Girl) rode him over the the tiny indoor by us yesterday and he was a spooky mess. Today they did wonderful. She got him moving out really nice. Earlier this summer we needed a crop to get him going because he was so stuck in the jog and stiff. He would also constantly break to the canter every time he was asked to move out. 

Today I had RG follow me on Bre for the warm up. I wanted to give her a chance to see how I warm a horse up and figure out on her own how to cue him without me staring at her telling her what to do. I could see her out of the corner of my eye enough to know she is doing a great job. I am so impressed with her. She is really thinking for herself and using her great seat. She isn't doing the hands to her thigh habit she had started. She has all the tools to put a horse together and solve problems as they come up. My hope for her now is that she will know when to use them without being told. She is getting there now :)

Our last issue is the incessant chomping. Romeo champ champs away and apparently has done so since he was started. He added sucking behind the bit to this issue this summer. We now have him in a snaffle (yay for Sprenger bits) he loves and with a proper warm up he doesn't champ. RG is really getting how to keep him from dropping in the poll. The problem is he can't show in a snaffle. She got a nice little curb but he champed like crazy last show season. Today was the first day he went well in it. However, I am not convinced it is the right bit. She can't touch the reins or he starts up stressing. I have some ideas for what to try but it is such a pain to get something but not know if it will work!! She already has two other bits he hated. We have a month or so to get it figured out. Maybe ebay will have some good deals.....

Arriving home..... They look like we took them on a 100mile endurance ride not a one hour relaxing ride in and indoor arena.