Welcome to Bit of Honey Training LLC

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

Sunday, May 31, 2020

Trip to Larkspur for Saddle Fitting and XC Schooling

This weekend I packed up Rizzo, Highboy, and Silver, so Owen and I could make a trip to Larkspur.  I'd managed to get in contact with Miss Pea's (Sweetpeacefuldream) new owner, Kathy, and I was going down to help her with some saddle fitting to see if we could improve Pea's gaits and help her relax under saddle.  Kathy was kind enough to put out an email to the horse folks in the area, resulting in another woman offering to let me park my rig at her place and keep my two geldings there for the weekend.  This allowed me to go school cross country at Dawson Butte.

We drove down Friday afternoon and stayed in the living quarters of my horse trailer while the geldings enjoyed their paddock and pasture.

Saturday morning Owen, Rizzo, and I went to Miss Pea's barn and I was able to find two saddles that worked for her.  Kathy rode her in the Stubben that Pea worked in when she lived here, and it still was a nice fit.  There are so many aspects to fitting a saddle to a horse correctly and comfortably, and thankfully Miss Pea has always been demonstrative about what she likes and doesn't like. 

After we were done with the fitting Highboy, Silver, Owen, Rizzo and I met Gillian and Pam with her horse Harbour at Dawson Butte to do a little cross country schooling.

It was such fun to see the improvements Pam and Harbour have made since I last saw them.  They had gone to Florida for the winter and were able to do all kinds of driving and riding there, and they returned looking great!  Harbour still thought it was best for him to be in the middle of our herd of three on the trail and near the jumps, but that worked out fine because Silver likes to lead and Highboy wasn't overly enthusiastic about the small jumps. 

In a strange plot twist, Highboy was actually the steady quiet one on this ride.  Harbour is only five, and Silver is still somewhat new to cross country jumping.  Highboy was steady influence on the youngsters, if that can be imagined.  I texted a friend and told her this, and her response was, "Whaaaattt?  Highboy a babysitter??  That's amazing!  'Steady influence' is some strong words..."

We also had a silly photo, because what's a group pic without horse making funny faces?

No trip is complete without some Dog Snoozing In The Trailer photos, so here's Rizzo!

These next ones are really special to me because Owen and Rizzo had a rocky start.  Rizzo took a long time to adjust to living at our place, and she was really vocal when she was upset or worried she had been abandoned due to her severe separation anxiety.  I can't blame her, she had been returned to the rescue twice before I took her and hadn't been crate trained properly.  But the howling and screeching really wore on Owen's nerves. 

Thankfully Rizzo now understands the routine here, and that I will always come back for her.  Occasionally she'll yodel if I leave her behind in the barn at home and ride a horse without her, but most of the time she's pretty quiet as long as she isn't missing out on something fun.  She did really great on this trip, happy to hang out in the trailer in the gooseneck bedding area.  She even was mostly quiet in her crate in the horse portion of the trailer when I was riding and Owen was running on the trails.  But I felt happiest when I saw my sweet husband snuggling with my sweet dog, finally friends.

The next morning we sneaked in one more ride with Silver and Highboy (Pam had taken Harbour driving) at Dawson.  Highboy was tired, he even fell asleep at the trailer while we were tacking up!

This time we did the trail like a pair pace, trotting and cantering over every jump we could find.  Mostly Silver led, but Highboy did the downhill series first, cantering through the series of about five logs with a couple strides in between.  When I looked back I saw Silver cantering his way down too, hopping nicely over each fence and doing it in as mannerly a way as possible. 

I did get a little video of Silver doing a series of fences in a small field.  He's making these cross country rounds look like hunter courses. 

Highboy was also tired at the end of the ride.  This is the first selfie he and I have taken where he didn't have his ears straight up and eyes wide open. 

After we were done with everything we headed back home.  Such a fun weekend and so nice to get out of town for a couple days!

Sunday, May 24, 2020

Weekend Schooling

Here are some photos from Kimberly Hale Photography of this weekend's rides.  We had a bunch of nice arena rides as well as riding out to the back forty.

I got on Note bareback with just the bareback pad because I wanted to get him out but I didn't want to wrestle with him.  If we're just in a bareback pad and I'm wearing jeans he knows we're just going to hack around and there's nothing to get excited about.  If I tack him in full saddle, boots, and I'm in breeches and such he thinks he's ready to gear up for a big job.  Ironically, I have much quieter rides on Note my favorite bucking horse when we're bareback than when we're saddled.  I am meticulous about saddle fit, though, and I'm sure that's not the issue, he's just mentally much more geared up for action in full tack.

Sam went for a nice ride, too.  Warmed up in the arena and then we hacked out to the back forty with Alice and Beauty.

Silver and Gillian also had a great riding lesson this week.  They warmed up in the arena and Silver was a little sticky, just kind of slow and disinterested in working.  So we headed out to the field just in front of the arena outside the round pen and worked over the small log there.  Once that was going smoothly we went to the pasture with the dry ponds in it and schooled up and down the small banks there.

I also had baby Jury out for seeing the sights and meeting the people.  It's amazing to me how much they learn by watching other horses and riders, and Jury is no exception.  He's calmer and friendlier each time I take him out, and he seems to be realizing that riders aboard horses isn't so strange after all.

 Jury checked out my phone call, wondering if he could place an order for some more horse cookies.

As usual, the dogs were out helping me, too.  Rizzo and Pascal are so pleased to be out working on these nice days.

Thursday, May 21, 2020

Graduation Ride at Soapstone

Last week Jasi graduated from high school, but graduating in the time of COVID-19 isn't quite like other graduation years.  One perk of not having an in-person ceremony (it was videoed and shown online) was that we were able to take a celebratory fast trail ride at Soapstone in the morning before coming home and getting dressed up to watch the presentation online. 

I rode Highboy, Jasi rode Daisy, and Owen ran on foot.  We did the ten mile loop in about an hour and half.  We trotted most of the way with some walk breaks, but included a galloping run through my favorite straightaway.  When Jasi asked Daisy to go a bit faster she kind of sunk down and kicked it into another gear, and Highboy just mildly extended his lopey stride to keep up.  He tried to play with her a couple times jumping around a little while they were running, but mostly he was very business-like and focused on footing and shifting his stride on the trail for just the right foot placement.

 Not a bad way to celebrate the morning of graduation!