Saturday, March 30, 2019

Straight Egyptian Arabian

To answer Lytha’s question:

The Straight Egyptian Arabian began as long ago as our recorded history of domesticated horses. They were integral in the spread of Islam, as Bedouin warriors mounted on the finest of Arabian steeds proved to be invincible. At it’s heart, the Straight Egyptian is the product of blending strains of pure, undisputed, desert heritage. They were significant in the battle between the armies of the West under Richard the Lionheart and the conquering King Saladin from the East. King Solomon of Israel housed 40,000 of them in his royal stables and Sir Walter Scott hailed them in his work “The Talisman”. 

More recently, the Turkish ruler, Mohammad the Great, brough together the finest Arabian horses he could find and demanded Arabia’s most priceless desert horses as terms for his peace treaty. His collection brough to Egypt 1100 of the most beautiful and valuable Arabian horses in the world. When he died, his herd was passed to Abbas Pasha, who kept incredibly detailed written records of the breeding and history of all of his horses. He combined Mohammad’s herd with the horses he had gathered from the Bedouin’s, the cream of the desert horse. When he died, his herd was dispersed.

Some of the herd was purchased by Lady Anne Blunt, who divided the horses she purchased between her Crabbet Stud in England and her Sheykh Obeyd Stud in Egypt. Egypt itself formed the Royal Agracultural Society and gathered up the best of Abbas Pasha’s herd for the overall good of the country. All the Straight Egytian horses in the Arabian world are decended from the Abbas Pasha stables, either through horses that Blunt purchased, or from horses that were later purchased front he government of Egypt. Some of these horses were imported to America. 

In 1952, the Blue Catalog was created. It is a proven list of horses that trace their lineage to the desert on every line. This Blue Catalog was started by one woman, but taken over by Al Khamsa (Letha - Al Khamsa is basically the breed registry for the SE Arabian). All of these horses trace in every line to the Bedouin desert horses or horse purchased by Lady Anne or from the herds of Abbas Pasha. The Asil is a German organization with the same goals. Asil means purebred. Egyptian related means the sire is SE Arabian, but that not all the lines are pure. 

The Crabbett stud is not Straight Egyptian, since Lady Blunt’s daughter did not keep the breeding lines clean. They do have a high percentage of Egyptian blood. The same applies to the Russian, Polish and Spanish Arabian. The foundation sires were straight Egyptian, but the breeding lines did not stay with SE Arabian breeding. 

The SE Arabian holds less than 2% of the Arabian breed registered in America, but holds 30% of the National Titles. 

The Pyramid Society was established to preserve the SE breed, and hosts the Egyptian Event annually. 

The purity of the Straight Egyptian breed has endured since the beginning of history due to the passionate devotion of its caretakers. They are known for their beauty, stamina, courage, intelligence and strength. I can attest to how special they are. And Ashke has not forgotten that his ancestors slept in the tents of their owners, carried their chosen riders into battle, and carried Kings in parades. In his veins in the unbroken heritage of thousand of years.

Arabians LTD, where Ashke was bred, is closing down their operations. The woman who shaped the breeding program for that stud is retiring and selling her blood stock. I’m sad, because I had hoped to someday visit and see where Ashke was born.

Monday, March 25, 2019

Ride #29, #30

I rode on Saturday and Sunday morning with barn buddies. On Saturday, I went to lunch at a wonderful Mexican restaurant and ate incredible tacos. Maybe close to the second best tacos I’ve found in Denver so far. 

Overall, my rides were pretty good. I still struggle with keeping my mind focused on “what to do next” when riding by myself. I tried to ride without spurs on Saturday and Ashke was like “I don’t know what you want” so we went back to them.

Here is video:

They got to run around and be wild horses before our ride


Half pass to change

Sunday’s practice of the double slalom

I also struggle to set myself up correctly for the changes. I am back to that place where it feels like I am struggling with slowing down the timing so I don’t feel like I’m rushing. Moar practice and better body management on my part. At least we have started to correct him throwing his hips in when on a lead. I also need to remember to do twice as many right to left lead changes as the other direction. So, many alternate them with simple changes to help him gain strength and understanding.

First baby born in the barn.

Friday, March 22, 2019

Lesson: Ride #28; Monday Night #29

The lesson was just me, since the other woman I mostly lesson with is off flinting around the globe. I wasn’t warmed up when we started so the first ten minutes was loosening his back and joints, then moving into some trot and canter to really get the muscles warm. Then we mostly worked on me keeping him straight through the change, both before and after. I know you all are going to be surprised, but looking up at where we are going instead of down at his shoulder or the top of his neck, makes it easier on him to carry himself correctly.

Really working on straightness

The other thing I am working on, which is hard for me, is using just my thigh to hold his shoulder up and not let him dive. When I move my lower leg, he wants to change, so its very important that I isolate the upper thigh without swinging the calf. 

This is why dressage is so challenging.

More changes

Ashke really is giving me everything. We had a couple of moments when he didn’t want to listen during trot to halt transitions, but he caught on pretty quick and when I rode again on Monday night, he was sensitive and listening to my seat. 

I am very aware of my fragile emotive state right now and am checking my feelings at the door when I walk in. Ashke is such a healer and he is making it very easy for me to be in the moment with him. 

Monday, March 18, 2019

Week In Images

Left hand, ringless

Wild and free
Ashke and Kat

Storm of biblical proportions.
Bomb Cyclone

Saturday ride (#26) 
Ride #25 was my lesson on Thursday where we worked on straightness after the change.

Able to pull my horse trailer

Sunday morning ride (#27)
Included a bounce and a cross rail, where in I did not hit him with my spurs

New gelding next to Ashke

A lot of love in that look
First tail wash since October

Monday, March 11, 2019

Ride #23, #24

Saturday I had my 23 ride of the year. It was pretty solid, as rides go, and Ashke was focused and listening. We ended up with a series of changes that were very, very good, for where we are at in our process. He continues to make strides.

He’s definitely got the “this means change” part figured out.

Tempi changes in a straight (mostly) line

Sunday, I hauled over to PVF and participated at their play day. Flambe brought Kat with us and they had a great time. Ashke, however, struggled with the whole “there are other horses near my mare” to the point that I finally whacked him on the hip with a rein. I had his attention but couldn’t keep it for long. I started distracting him with wither scritches, which he decided he liked better than the mare. We ended up riding all of the obstacles with flying changes. Notes: I have to really remember to ride him straight forward after the change from right to left lead in the double slalom or he will dive around the pole. It takes a little bit of outside rein and a lot of inside leg to keep him from doing so. I think this is the kryptonite we are going to be focusing on for the next few months. I also need to figure out how to ride a jump in the western saddle without hooking both spurs into his sides. Bad rider.

When we went to load, Kat, a friesian Arab cross, would not get on the trailer. I think the trailer was too small. I ended up unloading Ashke and leaving him in the round pen while I hauled her home, then came back and picked him up. He was rearing and whinnying and bucking in the round pen when I pulled up to the farm, stopped moving when I hollered at him, and was very happy that I was willing to take him home. I hope to get back over there at some point before the show to ride in the arena again and maybe work the obstacles.

Thursday, March 7, 2019

Ride #22: Lesson in Difficult Times

Ashke loves FlambĂ©’s special nails

Everyone is ready for spring. Birds are having bird sex and building nests. Horses are dropping their coats like it’s eighty degrees outside. Other people are posting pictures of crocus and daffodils on their social media. But here in the land of white, we are still dealing with weather of all kinds. Who would of guessed that the week in January where we had temps close to 65 would be paid for by a week of temps that didn’t get out of the single digits. The ride was also spiced up by the sound of ice sliding off the roof, and the special effects of some mutant duck-rabbit-cat like death screams from outside. (Fox gets rabbit, maybe?) It set the horses off and took the riders in the arena some extra time to get them back.

Ashke and I were both a bit stiff when we started. It was cold in the indoor and the footing was questionable in spots. The indoor is huge and wonderful most of the time, but there is spots where the roofline lets in snow and water, which create spots of mud you have to ride around. Additionally, because of the temps, the footing needs to be watered and dragged, which is really hard to do when the equipment is frozen to the ground. We think, given that the horses that were having issues with the footing both had shoes on and the rest of the horses did not, that the damp dirt was freezing to their shoes, similar to what happens with snow and horse shoes. Ashke had several trips during our ride, like he couldn’t get his hoof out of his way. Mostly at the trot. It made of an uneasy feeling.

We worked on all of the things on our list. He got better as we both warmed up and gave me some really nice moments in the ride. He was also able to give me the opportunity to work through the distraction and frustration of the spook and stare moments. I can say that 1) I am reacting less to his shenanigans, and 2) he is letting it go and getting back to work quicker. His half-pass is improving, but we still struggle to get his shoulder a little fore going from the left to the right. His leg yields were very solid and he is flowing to the side with his body very straight in the movement. We did some changes in a series of diagonal lines around the arena, which got better and better, although he did give me one that was unasked for as we came around a turn and straightened. We worked on transitions within the trot and canter. My biggest issue in the trot is getting him to lift in the front and not just go faster, while my issue in the canter is bringing him back to a more collected gait off my seat. 

This Sunday, provided the weather holds and we get no more freezing rain, Flambe and myself are going to haul into PVF and practice the obstacles. Get exposure to the arena. Make him behave in a new place. 

My horse is so spoiled

Monday, March 4, 2019

Seven Degrees

Not a lot of riding since Thursday. We did dinner at Ocean Prime on Friday night in celebration of J’s birthday. Saturday dawned cold and grey, with white bits spitting from the air. I decided to explore the Rocky Mountain Horse Expo. This was the first time since 2015, that I wasn’t down there riding. It wasn’t an option because of it being the first weekend in March, which is pretty impossible for me to get off from work. I’m really glad I didn’t go, since the clinicians were limited, the vendors were minimal, and attendance was really down. 

Remember this face?
Eddy was part of a performance of Hafflingers working at liberty. K was a little nostalgic until we watched him ignore his handler, run around wherever he wanted, nip at his handler three or four times that I saw, and just be Eddy in general.
I think after watching that performance, K realizes her connection with Aria is much more better. 

There were Zebras.

The woman working with them had a couple of things to share: they don’t give into pressure the way a horse will. Instead, with some Zebroids, it really kicks in the “flight or fight” mode, with the emphasis on fight. She said that they bite and refuse to let go, which is down right terrifying, and seemed to make an impact seeing as none of the spectators tried to pet or attract their attention. 

The one in front was a two year old male and the one in back was a 4 year old female. 
I have always thought Zebras were beautiful, but I really don’t think they should be domesticated. Just let them be wild. 

I wandered around the vendor booths a bit and managed to find the exact pair of spurs I am currently riding in, in a black and silver motif, for my show attire.

I may try to find black spur straps or I may leave the brown, since all of the rest of my gear is brown.

One inch shank with soft rowels. 

I stayed til 8:30 watching the Mane Event, which consisted of a bunch of people hauling on their horse’s mouths. The sidesaddle group was pretty awesome and the vaulting group was very good. I found it really interesting that the vaulting group was working as a performance group this year. I wonder if they are competing. In the past its been a group of kids vaulting on and off various sizes of horses. This year is was way more polished and put together. The rest of it was meh.

Sunday morning was -8 and eventually warmed up to 7 degrees. The new heater in the barn seems to be doing it’s job, which is awesome. There was no ice in any of the buckets. Ashke, who stalls next to the door at the far end of the barn where it is much colder, had zero ice in his bucket. My insulation project is still working. I checked his temp under the blanket and he pinned his ears at me, moving away, and sent me an image of him shivering in the cold if I took it off. I wasn’t planning on it. I just wanted to make sure he was warm. The carrots made up to him.

He has a new buddy who has moved in next to him.
So far they have played a little bit of bitey face without winding themselves up.
Lakota seems like an awesome horse and I really hope they get along okay.

Friday, March 1, 2019

Ride #21: The Training of a Bridle Horse Rider

Treat Monster

We had a lesson last night. Ashke warmed up well, with a little stiffness in his hocks to start, due to the temps in the area. It's been fairly comfortable in the day, but the temps are dropping with the sun and the indoor isn't exactly warm. I had tried to ride on Wednesday, but it was frigid in the indoor, so I opted out and just stuffed carrots in the boy's face. Thursday was a much better day and probably the last day of riding for maybe a week, because March is roaring in like a lion and the temps in the next three days are not supposed to get above 12. 

We warmed up with some nice fluid walk, then some medium trot, where Ashke is now snorting in his circuits around the arena. It's that "I'm having a great time" snort, not the "OMG, the baby dinosaurs are going to eat me" snort. We went back to the collected trot and worked our shoulder in, then haunches in along the rail. We finished with some medium canter in a huge circle, working forward and back in that gait. By that time, he was moving nicely and felt warm, just in time for the lesson to start.

Not impressed with my shit

We started with our lateral work at the trot - leg yield to half-pass and back again in both directions. I could feel the stickiness as he was a bit hesitant to reach with his left hind leg, but as we kept going he got more warmed up and able to flow. Then we worked on the serpentines with a simple change. When it was time to start working on the flying changes, I told Amanda that one of the things I had noticed in the video was that on the change from right to left, he was dropping his shoulder and diving for the turn around the cone. That was pushing us out of position to ride the double slalom correctly. 

Amanda told me to use my thigh (same thing Saiph said) and keep him straight until I need the turn. We worked on that a couple of times, but I kept running out of room before the turn. Amanda had me work the long length of the arena, asking him to keep his body straight in a line of three tempi changes. The first time he threw his hips around quite a bit, but the second time I got three changes in a row with him fairly straight. We ended up with a bit of a buck to straighten himself out. I tried that change one more time, which he gave me flawlessly. 

We moved on to working on the medium canter along the long side. I had to remember to breathe because I was holding my breath the entire circle and leaving myself light headed. Then Amanda had me working him in the collected to schooling trot off just my legs. OMG. I was beginning to feel like jelly.

We finished up with some one handed riding, since that is our goal. Amanda told me to add five minutes or so of one handed riding at the end of my rides. Riding one handed makes it really obvious whether you are riding off your legs or not. We did pretty good, even picking up a nice canter in each direction (we didn't try a change though). I was wiped out by the time we were done and my butt, thighs and lower back are all protesting today. It was good though.

Amanda did make the comment that I am much quieter riding one handed. I think it may have to do with how I rode when I was a kid. I just need more practice. 

Left him in his stall with feed and carrots.