Welcome to Bit of Honey Training LLC

Welcome to Bit of Honey Training LLC
Welcome to Bit of Honey Training LLC

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Books are Ordered

I placed the order for my 2016 printed blog books for Bit of Honey Training. That's right, plural: books. There were more than 1500 photos in the blog this year necessitating that I print it as two volumes. I had to do this last year as well. Hopefully that means we've been having adventures with interesting stories that were told in the last 12 months.

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Fun Adult Lessons

I had some fun flatwork lessons today as well.  We worked with Smokey and Cimmaron, two horses who are relatively new to Bit of Honey Training.  Their owners are a great couple, Ken and Kathy.  We have been really thorough in getting them outfitted in tack that suits them and their horses, and in the process have gotten new saddles for both horses. 

Cimmaron, the buckskin with a summer mustache, needed something different because his western saddle wasn't comfortable.  Between that and a big shanked bit he was bucking in protest.  With our simple tack changes he has transformed into a quiet friendly gelding for Ken. 

Kathy and Smokey were getting along fine but their trail saddle was putting Kathy off balance and she couldn't get her leg underneath her.  Once we changed them to a saddle that allowed Kathy to have a good plumb line through her body Smokey has changed his way of going as well. 

Their goals are to trail ride together, and to learn great horsemanship.  I adore working with both Ken and Kathy, they are fun to have around and are great students to have in the program!

The other lesson today was a new client who has been riding western and working with natural horsemanship methods.  Kate and her horse Bridger are a fun pair because Bridger is so responsive and eager to learn.  At only five years old he is still figuring out how his growing body works and how to coordinate all his limbs, but he and Kate have a great relationship and fun history together.  Today was their evaluation lesson so I could have a chance to see how they work together.  It also allowed me to get a feel for how Kate and Bridger learn so I'm able to teach them in the way that will help them the most to become solid all-around pleasure riding partners.

Jumping Saturday

Big thank you to Sara for taking photos of today's noon jumping lesson! 

Joan rode Cole

Video of Joan and Cole can be seen here:

 Phoenix rode Rain

Here is a video of Phoenix and Rain riding the course

 Jasi rode Beauty

Jasi's course video can be seen here:

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Girls and Their Ponies

Today we did a few jumping lessons with the zipper exercise.  Phoenix joined us again for the first time in a while (busy kid!) and she rode Rain while Jasi rode Cosmo and Carol rode Shambhu.  We had another lesson earlier in the day with Joan on Cole and Joyce on Khreed but unfortunately I didn't stop to get any photos of them.  They were fun lessons, though!

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Riding a Pony Ponying a Pony

My husband is pretty sure most equestrian terminology comes from a Dr. Seuss book.  Think about it, just in the world of equipment you have a snaffle, bosal, cantle, pommel, rowel, and body parts include the gaskin, stifle, cannon, ergot, and chestnut.

It's only fitting that with such a wide variety of verbage from children's literature I should be able to describe today's workout with the following accurate description:  I was riding a pony ponying a pony.

To clarify, I was on Tao and leading Cosmo in the back forty.  We did trot sets to try to get Cosmo moving a little since he's starting to look like a fuzzy marshmallow.  It was hard to get a photo of Tao's ears forward, because as soon as he heard me pull out the camera he was listening to the various noises it makes. 

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Group Riding the Zipper

This weekend I set up an exercise I call the Zipper in the arena.  It consists of about seven jumps positioned in a zig-zag pattern down the middle of the arena.  Depending on what you focus on when riding it the exercise teaches steering, multitasking, finding a distance, collection, among other things.  I also like it because (as with all my jumping exercises) I can easily adapt it to the level of rider so when I have a group lesson everyone can participate at whatever level they are riding.

This ride had Jasi on Beauty, Alice on Sloan, Kim H. on Rain, and Joan on Cole.  They have all been eagerly awaiting a group jumping lesson, and we certainly enjoyed ourselves with this one!

To start this exercise I have the riders walk through the course first to get the idea of the turns and directions.  I do my best to make the jumps different colors and put flowers in the centers of the circles so that they have visuals to aim for if they forget where they are in the circuit. 

The first couple times through the course the jumps were all ground poles, and everyone was walking.  Once everyone had the pattern in their heads I had them all trot through the course of ground poles.  This exercise gets more challenging as you try to make your figures smaller and more precise, as you increase the speed, and as you increase the height of the jumps.  Some of the riders were working on accurate figures and correct diagonals at the trot, for others it was important to get the pattern right at the faster speed.

Next came raising the jumps a little.  I set two of them up as cross rails.  This visual made it easy to get to the center of the jump because you just have to aim for the x, but you still had to make all your turns around the flowers and find your line to the fence.

The final level of difficulty for the riders was to make some of the jumps verticals.  This made it more challenging to find their lines to the jump so they jumped straight and not at an angle.  However, for Cole and Beauty this also made it more interesting and challenging so they tried a little harder.

The last difficulty level in this particular lesson was to add in cantering.  Beauty did a little bit of cantering, but we used the exercise more to help slow her down and keep her calm.  Cole likes to canter because it's easier than trotting, and Joan rode him well enough to do some of their landings in the canter and then continue on around the flowers in the small circle. 

A big thank you goes to Sara for taking photos while our regular photographer was riding in the lesson.  My favorite photobomb of the afternoon was this one where it appears Sloan is eating Kim H.'s head.

Fergie was just grateful we didn't try to make her ride the Zipper.