Matt’s Bday Games Practice 2018

February 9, 2018

This morning four of the Team Rogue riders got together in Berryville, VA for practice in honor of Matt’s bday! This was Averi’s very first practice with us and I think she enjoyed it even though we started off early. Early means cold! We all pulled a “Michael Jackson” and rode with one glove (you need the right hand free for equipment handling).

It was a really good practice. We busted through a good array of races including hi low, ball and cone (yep we did it), hoopla, 3 mug, litter, sword, 4 flag, flag fliers, mug shuffle, association, bottle, pony pairs and I am sure a few others. Pony pairs was particularly nice to be able to run through since we had four of us there.

Matt’s pony, Hero was fresh from having some dental work yesterday and seemed to settle down on his head tossing as the practice went along. I worked on pushing Poe up to equipment and not over checking, and we worked on a turn for Babyface. I think Cider was just happy to be out and enjoying himself.

What do the rest of you people in your 30s (ish) do for your birthdays?

Below are some photos of us practicing our “smoldering selfies” which Val recently read about and is instructing is in to jokingly help us all stay young. We are having a lot of fun with it. Clearly we did not follow the instructions with our group selfie. The angle is all wrong.

Please pass wide and slowly 

March 13, 2017 

We have a snow storm rolling in this evening.  The only one we are getting this winter so everyone is going crazy stock piling bread, milk and toilet paper.   I ran my normal errands and Costco was a mad house.  The parking lot looked like it was the Sunday after church rush.    

I managed to get home, and get my outdoor storm prep (stack more wood, find snow shovel, move bales of hay to the field, etc) with enough time to get in a nice road hack.  I have a couple road loops I can do from my house, mostly gravel roads, all about 4-6 miles long.  

I outfitted Simon and I in our safety gear – bright yellow – there is no way a car coming up behind us could miss us.  Heck, we were probably visable from outer space!  Decked in yellow, we trotted on out and got in a nice ride.  We passed cows, sheep, goats, other horses, scary plastic bags, pony-eating-farm-equipment, and plenty of dogs. Simon hardly blinked.  His most challenging part was a one lane narrow section of gravel road directly between two occupied cow fields.  Both herds ran along with us in their respective field.  Simon looked at them and I didn’t want to take my hands and attention away to take a photo, but it was no big deal. On we went.  

We came upon a school bus and four different pickup trucks.  All of which were amazing examples of vehicles coming upon a horse on the road.  I did encounter them all in rather narrow sections of the road, areas that would require a car to take care to pass another car going in the opposite direction.  They all came to a stop or close to it and waved and smiled politely.   

Shortly before the end of the ride a suspected high school or college aged girl came flying up on me, I swear she was picking up speed the closer she got.  I flagged her down and asked he to please pass horses slow and wide in the future.  That even if a horse appears to be comfortable with a car passing, something could cause the hose to startle (an evil leaf, a bird, etc) that horse might then jump in front of or into her car.  

I find it’s important to explain this in terms a driver can relate to. “You could kill me and my horse” *should be all that needs to be said, but it seems that it hits home for them more when you explain that their car and life are in jeopardy.  

I finished my ride, and grabbed the mail on my way up the driveway.  I even had a little more time to get in more wood before the impending storm.   

Games Practice 11/09/14

November 10, 2014

A couple of us from team Gone Rogue decided we want to practice this winter.  So we found an indoor that is about half way for all of us to meet up at.  Its one of those big white tent indoors on farm right on the edge of Berryville, just outside of Winchester.  It took me just over an hour to reach it, and it was an easy few miles off the main road.  Rocking M Acres, has some boarders, long-horned cattle and they host roping events.  The owners are extremely nice, and so are the two boarders we met.  It is a down to earth place.

This Sunday was our first practice, which we are planning twice a month for the next several months.   We have also invited a few other people to come and join us at their convenience.  Mainly an adult games rider crowd, we figured it would be an  opportunity for us to get our ponies out and work out some games skills and try some different techniques while having a fun social event.

For this first practice it was only three of us, which worked out great.  Val, Zoe and I met at the indoor, and got our games on.  We enjoyed playing at our own pace, and spent some time working on different skills with each of us.  Personally I want to improve my bottle placement on the B line barrel in position 1/3.  Val is perfect to work with on this because she has the fastest bottle placement I have seen on this side of the ocean.  She spent some time coaching me through it, and I think I have the idea down now, and just need to work on changing my approach to see if it will work for me.  We also worked on Zoe’s flag pick up.  She was unsure how she wanted to pick, palm up or palm down, and tended to approach the flag switching her hand.  I think She got it, and found the position that best suites her.  Val worked on her tool placement in toolbox, although I think she already knew she needed to just “place” the tool instead of putting it into the box with force causing it to bounce.

We played about ten different races, using up more than our two-hour session.  It was nice to get the hang of each other in a small group.  We found that our handoffs were nice and smooth, and we all three use much of the same techniques with the different equipment.  It was also decided that Petal much prefers handoffs from Poe over handoffs from Sprite.  Val and I also determined that we must reclip our ponies before the next practice.  Zoe was smart with a freshly clipped Petal.

After practice we stopped for pizza and got in a few more good laughs and reflected on our practice.  Hopefully next time a few more riders will join us, but if not, the three of us had an awesome time on our own!

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They had this giant mounting block.  We tried it out and you had to LOWER down onto your pony from the top.  We thought it was hilarious.


My New Riding Helmet

December 16, 2013

This evening I arrived home just past dark, and sitting on my porch was a box from Adams, with my new riding helmet in it.
*lame post alert*
I put it in, adjusted the chin strap, and sat around on the couch “breaking it in” for a while.

Daisy joined me for a photo op.


Dog Behavior Around the Pony

dd08A dog with no pony etiquette is very annoying.  Not only for the rider and their pony, but for anyone else in company. It is distracting and frustrating and can be dangerous.

I knew better, yet I still let Daisy and Simon goof off and bait each other while I rode.  It was a terrible precedence to set, and I knew it all along.  On trail rides Daisy is fine and scouts around, ahead and behind like a pro.  But riding at home she tends to spend more time running close to Simon.  Last weekend my husband pointed out how annoying Daisy was becoming and how her behavior around Simon was becoming atrocious.  I had been noticing this as well, and agreed, it was time to give her some direction.

dd10Recently she has started to dart ahead, cutting close to Simon’s head, and looping back around for another pass.  She is also very excited at mount up time, and has started to run around Simon barking.  This is not OK.

dd09So today I started working with Daisy and her behavior around the pony.

I started off leading Simon and instructing Daisy to stay behind me.  She caught this very quickly.

Next I lunged Simon.  I instructed Daisy to stay at my feet while I did so.  It was a bit of a challenge.  Every time Simon slowed and I had to ask him to move on, Daisy wanted to run out to him.  It was also a bit of a challenge for Simon, who wanted to run in and attack Daisy.  I ended up putting a rope on Daisy that I could step on if she attempted to dart out.  This made the difference and after a few minutes we were consistently successful.


After that we worked on mounting.  This has become quite the challenge for Daisy and took a few minutes to accomplish smoothly.  I made her sit off to the side, so that both Simon and I could see her.  She was initially so excited that she sat on her butt, bouncing her front feet on the ground and voiceless-barking.  I went slowly, reminding her to SIT-STAY often.  I faced the saddle and reminded her.  I placed my hands for mounting and reminded her.  I put my foot in the stirrup, and again, reminded her, SIT-STAY.  I bounced a few times, and again reminded her.  I bounced up and on, and then had to send her back to her SIT-STAY spot.  She immediately returned and sat down, with her tail wagging so hard it looked like she would propel herself off at any moment.


working on SIT-STAY while I tightened the girth

Our next step was to work on WAIT-BACK while riding.  This is a command I use when trail riding and I come up on a road or approach other riders/hikers/bikers.  I accompany the vocal command with a stop sign hand held out to my side.  She is generally good at following this command on trail when coming to a road, less so when approaching others (too exciting!).


This was key to working with her in the ring.  She already knows the command, and knows it means to stay behind my leg/hand, and there fore, behind Simon’s flank.  It took a lot of reminders, but she quickly accomplished it at the walk.  By the end of our session she did not require any reinforcement at the walk.  The trot was more challenging, but we ended with her not passing Simon, and only needing minor vocal or hand signal reminders.


Now the canter was a whole other situation.  Not only was she less inclined to heed the command, but Simon was more interested in bucking and charging her in this gate. We did not finish the session with consistency at the canter.  She did choose to run off around the field on her own a few times, and one time took a 20 second lay down on the side, which was acceptable.  She did stop darting past Simon but did run past him, so improvement, but still a lot of work needed here.


All in all it was a very productive training session for Daisy. I think if I were able to work with her several days in a row, she would be able to consistently maintain proper behavior around Simon with some basic reinforcement.  But I only ride with Daisy in company on weekends, so it will probably take a while.


Simon was also a champ and quickly caught on that this was about Daisy, and not so much about him.  Because he neck reins, it was also much easier to give Daisy hand signals.  What a good pony.

A good SIT-STAY while I prepared to mount

A good SIT-STAY while I prepared to mount

As a reward I took Daisy with me to the pet store (needed to pick up dog food) where she had a fantastic time on leash, smelling everything.


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