Ranger Recap: Changes

My recaps lately have been really…bad. I have no media and my brain just can’t quite retain the course in the ring and without a picture of the layout, I can’t adequate describe anything or even draw my own course map. So, apologies in advance. Brain power has been a struggle this week. Migraine fog? On a positive note, this is blog #4 for the week. Woah!


Migraine fog or Ugly weather fog?  The sky was scary this morning… And it was snowing

Flat work part 1:

We just did some basic trotting. Mostly working on moving out and nothing overly exciting. The big thing was my outside hand/arm and I was to focus on pulling it back instead of pulling out as Ranger was diving in a bit during the lesson rather than staying on the rail, regardless of the amount of inside leg I stuck on him.

Eventually we started adding in our pole down at the close end of the ring, making a circle over it and ensuring that we stayed even, straight, and all that. Also that my stupid arm pulled back instead of 12 feet out… and turning with 2 hands. You know, all those things because trotting a pole is hard man. Oh, and  I could run over a little  while pony or large chestnut gelding carting children because that would be bad. We also got to do the entire thing, circles and all, in 2 point where I impressed my trainer with my 2 point and  strength of holding 2 point. I considered mentioning my 2pointober championship of yesteryear, but decided that instead of holding 2 point for 30 seconds, I might actually have to hold it for some significant  length of time.  Yay for past victories!

The canter was  more of the same. For some odd reason, I started  off with an awkward forward lean, but once I corrected that, I was ok.  For there, we basically worked on our circle over the pole and thankfully in both directions I managed several fabulous circles of varying sizes were I didn’t take out ponies or people and even had some lovely tight turns. Circling over the pole was my success  of the  night thank you very much.


Ranger has better things to do than hang out with me… 

Over fences fails:

We started basically with a half circle over the second jump of our outside line (left lead canter). First time through it was fine, but I didn’t quite see the spot and… yeah. No, incorrect. I saw the spot, I just failed to do anything about it. second time through I thankfully chose to ride and moved Ranger up and success, lovely forward fence. Life is lovely when I chose to ride.

Next up, same thing but the other lead and the other side. So, right lead canter half circle to the second fence of the other outside line. This time I  actually rode to the jump, we had a perfect spot and…took down the top rail? Ranger failed to pick up his feet, convinced the fence was the same size as the other fence…  So, we did it again and much better. Thank you Ranger…

From here we started to hit the point of failure. So, we started to with an inside single (right lead) around to our first jump. So, roll back. Except, the first time through I was so preoccupied with the fact that we landed  on the wrong lead that I screwed up t he spot for the second fence and we launched over it and Ranger saved my butt (time number 1 of the day). Considering the fence had gone up, I owed him.

Second time, we did a simple change because we couldn’t seem to land correctly to save our lives and improved but….

We then did our other inside single around to the other jump on the outside. OMG. Holy saving  my butt (mega save #2). Again, we screwed up the lead. We tried it again.  Simple change, slightly better. Then we just had to land, canter around, and just did the last jump as a single and it was fine. The big issue was after the simple change, we just lost momentum. I could  NOT get back the canter before and as a result, we never could get to the spot I saw and instead  of chipping, Ranger decided to launch. I owed him BIG TIME.


Like hang out with Elliot

Flat work part 2:

After failed jumping efforts due to lead issues, I was given the option to jump more or learn to do changes on him. My trainer basically is the lead change master. (She loves to take on horses just for lead changes).   Me? I’m not great with changes. Subi had auto changes so I never actually learned how to do changes. I just basically set him up by staying balanced and he did them. Towards the end of his carrier, I did have  to ask a little, but I can’t say I asked the right way. Or maybe I did, but not the way my current trainer may have wanted me to ask. Basically, I did use some hand. Other than Subi, the other horses I’ve ridden have pretty much had no changes or auto changes. So, yeah. And evidently if I wasn’t riding Ranger  I’d be riding Forrest. Forrest is easy and perfect with Subi-like looks and changes, but… I don’t think I could ride him. He’s too much like Subi. I can’t. I just couldn’t. I don’t want  to ride a Subi-like horse. I don’t want to ride someone that remind me  of what I’m missing… No, no can do.

So, Ranger. His are “easy” just the case of getting used to balance and the right amount of speed. We mostly just worked on keeping my hands still and shifting my weight from center into left or right stirrup and kicking/adding  leg/speed as I passed through the  center of the ring. Each time we did eventually get it, but not at the right place. I need to give leg firmly ONCE rather than lots of little kicks. So, stuff to work on.

I did almost fall off once after getting  the change and Ranger was quite proud of himself. The light was changing and the other trainer stepped/moved and decided to spook at her shadow in the light just because and ducked in violently. He was VERY proud of catching me  off balance as he had JUST gotten the change. Thank you Ranger. I love you too.

Anyway, I slowly started to  figure it out and  despite a mini pity party (I mentioned that the kid riding him must be much better/stronger since I got to hear how she’s doing well with him with changes and  all that blah, blah and my confidence has taken a hit….) but whatever. We all have those  moments.

In the end, Ranger was most excited about treats. And  turnout with his BFF Elliot. Yeah. OMG. Those guys…


OMG! BEST FRIEND! We were just turned out at the exact same time and somehow got separated as we walked to separate hay piles… MUST NOT HAPPEN EVER AGAIN!

If your horse were a human…

Driving into work this morning, I was chatting with my husband about Jiminy. Oh, Jiminy, what is there to say about Jiminy. He’s the smart one. He just doesn’t always put his brains to good use. He is WAY to smart for his own good.

Anyway, Erik came to the conclusion that, if Jiminy were a human, he’d be really, really rich. But, that money probably wouldn’t all have been obtained, er, legally.

If Jiminy were a human, he’d be using his intelligence for nothing but mischief and no good. He’d be the super intelligent Wall Street guy running a Ponzi scheme…

Me? Use my brains for trouble? Yep. Probably? No never! Bwahaha!

Batts, who would he be? He lacks brain cells unfortunately and has recently earned the nickname “Battiot.” He’d probably be a high school dropout working at a convenience store spending his entire pay check on junk food while living at homing mooching off of…me? Great, thanks. He’d probably also be the person fishing through trash cans for food too. He also needs a bib to eat. He’d be the one wearing his food.

Point proven. Ignore the commentary… I didn’t realize a video was being taken… 

Subi. Oh Subi. What to say about him. Described as a drama queen and a diva by various equine professionals. He’s past his prime. He’s picky BEYOND picky. He’s part child, part civilized royalty. He’s sort of a washed up aging C list celebrity. I mean, he did race in a stakes race back in the day. He just hasn’t accepted the washed up part?

Something about him…

Who would your horse be?

Happy (?) 5 Year Anniversary

Some people celebrate birthdays. Some people celebrate memorials. Others celebrate other life changing events.

And I’m not sure how life changing or momentous this event was, but it’s something I try to think about because it certainly was more life changing than I like to admit.


And that was that. I’ve talked about it before on this blog. I remember it, but I don’t. It’s blurry. If you want to know what happened, read the blog I linked to.

The thing that bothers me the most about that day is that it completely ruined my relationship with Hayley. It shouldn’t have, but it did. There was nothing vengeful or malicious about the kick. She wasn’t targeting me, she was aiming at Batt, but more than anything, she, my crippled mare, was feeling good. With all her health issues, was feeling good. I was in the wrong place at the wrong time, untying a freaking knot of all things and got kicked in the head.

So I play the if only game.

If I had stayed at work instead of coming home early due to a headache, I’d have been fine.

If I’d have come home, but NOT fed and left if to my husband instead, I’d have been fine. After all, he always fed that meal.

If I had left the damn hay net alone, I’d have been fine.

If I had let myself fall into the mud instead of refusing to fall, I’d have been fine, after all, the second impact, the “catching myself” may have caused more injury than the initial kick.

If I had argued with the ER doctor who told me I was fine when I knew I wasn’t.

If I hadn’t gone back to work when I knew I wasn’t fine just to prove a point.

If I hadn’t waited until I couldn’t talk to see my primary care doctor (not exactly true, I called and made an appointment, but the office took my word which was the ER doc’s word that I was fine. That was what he told me. No fracture, no concussion), I’d be fine.

If I had done any of the above, my migraines wouldn’t be as bad as they are now.

The what if, they don’t help. But, they give an overly analytical person stuff to obsess about.

And the truth of the matter is, I had migraines before this happened. I left work BECAUSE of a migraine. Just not a bad migraine. And, I’d had bad spells before this. And, my neurologist has told me that he’s not convinced this concussion has played role in my current situation.

But, I never had speech issues at all before this concussion. I get the speech issues now when I’m stressed and a migraine is coming on. That said, speech issues are a symptom of migraines.

So, looking back 5 years, I consider the what ifs because that’s be, but I also remind myself that there are what if that are so much worse that I try not to consider. And for that I am grateful.


The sweetest mare there ever was

Catching up (and partial Ranger Recap)

I’ve been dealing with lots of migraines of the last week or 2. LOTS. To the point that I barely made it to work half of last week and barely made it to my lesson on Thursday and barely remember my lesson. There was also a Nor’easter and then melting and some classes I had to teach and stupid horses and a farrier appointment. And rather than do a photo dump and a separate Ranger Recap, I’m just sort of going to…I don’t know, try and remember last week?

I really don’t remember most of my lesson. In between migraine from hell and the death migraine? One of those migraines had me crying the pain was so bad… It was not a good week…

Anyway, our lesson consisted of a whole lot of bending lines and turns and no media. For some reason, my trainer realized that I was directionally challenged (migraine side effect) and actually walked our bending lines and roll backs for us–without it, I wouldn’t have made it. That said, without images, graphs, and charts, I really cannot say more. But, from what I remember, it was a surprisingly good lesson. The first time through was typically about learning the lines/space, the second time through was perfecting it. We worked on asking for the lead, but using our space and not leading/crowding the jumps in the air. Honestly, after the first time, everything was easy.


Friday, my farrier came out. In sprite of the mud, we managed to get everyone trimmed. Batty MIGHT be working on a abscess (he was on and off gimpy leading up to Friday and then completely comfortable on Friday), but with the mud, it wasn’t close enough to do anything about. So, we’re just watching it but he’s comfy again so… Who knows… But if he does go lame on his left front, I’ll know why…

Meanwhile, my Subi’s starting to struggle a bit. Last winter he did something to his right stifle and that was sort of my call to retire him completely. His arthritis has been acting up more anyway and this winter it’s gotten a bit worse. He’s 21 and has been mostly sound until last winter. He’s had issues with getting his feet done stemming back before I bought him (long story simplified to bad farrier but barn farrier threw a rasp at his head when he reacted to a when stung by a horse fly. He was done with drugs for years until 2009 when I started working with my current farrier. We were able to get him from drugs to 4 shoes without anything in 1 visit — took forever but it was just fear. To him being a relatively easy horse in a year. 2 years later the horse with the worst feet was barefoot and sound and simple to do). Now, he’s a bit of a challenge to do behind because it hurts. He’s achy on the left hind and then acts up a bit, but the right hind really hurts. He grinds his teeth and it just hurts. He tries to take his leg back and doesn’t try to be bad, but lets us know it hurts. I forgot to give him bute beforehand (and he’s figured out the bute stud muffin trick so I need a new way to poison him). Poor guy.


Wearing his brother’s clothing because… it’s what I had laying around… 

And then there is this guy. James Tiberius Harper Horsie. Aka Jiminy. Tiny Terror. According to the farrier, his weight is fine (I trust the farrier more than the vet in this instance. My vet tends not to complain when he’s a little fatter…). He’s a problem though. He wants to be part of the action. Any action. In your face. Pay attention to me.


One of these things do not belong… 

When he’s not destroying property, at least he likes to be groomed?

We call this look the Albert Einstein

Now he just needs it to warm up so he can have a job. Maybe we’ll take on long lining this summer. If I could leave Subi alone, I’d pony Jiminy off Batt. But, alas, his main job is baby-babysitter… And property destroyer. And little pain in the ass. And being utterly cute.

Ranger Recap: Control.

This week needs a do-over. Or maybe this week just needs to have never happened. But, a quick recap to the week basically could be summed up in a few words: stress, soul selling, chaos, and storms. Oh, and Dr. Seuss. How do people NOT know that Friday was Dr. Seuss’s Birthday? I’m seriously ashamed. I’m more ashamed that I work in a library and people STILL didn’t know that (yes, academia, but still…).


Anyway, I carried much of the week’s tension in to my lesson with Ranger on Thursday. And a headache too. So our flatwork semi sucked. Especially the canter as I was carrying so much tension in my shoulders… Shocking, I know. I wasn’t quite able to fix it, but sometimes you just can’t. Second direction was a little better but…


Overworked, underfed. Poor, abused pony. 

We ended up doing a semi private this week so I didn’t actually get to do too much which was fine. And it was Ranger’s second lesson of the day and he wasn’t feeling it either. But, what we did, we did well, so there is that?

We started out basically working on an exercise for adjustment. We cantered in to the outside line which is a 6 for us, in a holding 7 and then continued around to do it in a 6 and then came back around to do it in a 7. The first time in, the 7 was actually there and it wasn’t an issue and with a little hold Ranger collected and easily fit in the 7 and there you go. Coming back around, we lengthened, and came it nicely, got the 6 life was easy and happy. However, continuing around, attempt 3, was not as successful. We came in with the right pace that we needed for the 7, but when I asked Ranger to hold for the 7, he interpreted my hand for a cue to trot, unlike take 1 so we ended up trotting in the middle at a pace for a stride or 2 before cantering what would have been a 7. Turns out, with Ranger, I need to remember that I can’t pull back on him most of the time, but I have to remember my “tug tug” method with him (a lift up of sorts) to get him off of his front end so he can collect. So, picking back up the canter, collecting the stride, I tugged coming in and immediately upon landing and what do you know?! The 7 was simple and easy… Go figure… These things are always easy when your heavy horse isn’t heavy… shocking.


“Are you calling me heavy? Are you saying I have a big head?”

We next changed direction and cantered into our inside single boxes from the wrong direction (got to love jumping jumps backwards…) and then continued around to the OTHER outside line where we were to jump the line in a slow, holding 8, continue around, and then jump the line in a forward 7, and then back around in a holding 8. Having actually learned from the previous line, we accomplished this the first time with zero issues at all and it was easy and called it a day there. It was unexpected to all when my trainer says “you did that much fast than I anticipated.” Well, I can ride when I remember how… Plus, my old trainer, when she remembered how to teach, loved this exercise and we spent insane numbers of hours adjusting strides. I think I only ever did the horse show strides at horse shows… All Subi and I ever did was stride adjustment exercises and drove ourselves insane… When she remembered to teach. And then I left.

So we spent the remaining time just watching. I was offered the opportunity to jump something else if I really wanted, but, it was one of those, my jumping was so on, and my day was so off, I just didn’t want to push it. So I just sat and watched. Ranger didn’t appreciate it. He wanted BACK TO BARN FOR TREATS. Whatever Ranger. So I got a lesson in watching for the remaining time.

The many face of Ranger need many treats

Yesterday was the storm of storms. At least in terms of wind. We didn’t actually end up with accumulating snow just lots of wind, power outages, and gross-ness. Horses survived (spend the night tucked in the shed–this morning they’re out playing halter tag), my property survived, and all that. My power was out most of the time I was at work, but came back on once I got home (yay!). Driving home was fun though. Especially the big hill near Fair Hill — our half ton truck was being toss around. I can’t imaging what it would have been like in a car. Today, lost of damage around, but we’re unscathed. Some trees down in the woods, but since most of the big ones are down, I’m hoping I can convince my husband to let me fence it in for the horses…

Plus there was this fun train derailment about 3 miles from me…

Ranger Recap: I hate one strides…

The weather here has been completely gross. And I have zero media. I didn’t even remember to take a picture of Ranger. So, I’ll just throw in random pictures of my muddy beasts to break up text….

Rain is for naps, right?

We’ve gone from cold and rainy to 70 degrees to 40s and rainy again to finally not rainy but not sunny. I’ve had a headache for 5 days now. My lesson on Thursday was cancelled and we rescheduled for Saturday and it rained because all it does is rain. Yay. Rain. But, Ranger.

We started out with some nice trotting and evidently my right heal was particularly nice. Who knows why? We spent some time circling to get a certain pinto off his shoulder but otherwise our trot work was unremarkable. Cantering was fine as well. Leads were easy and we had some really lovely circles and thinking ahead we canter a really nice small circle in his bad direction where I planned ahead (go me!) and got OFF HIS SHOULDER!

Instead of starting off with an easy single, we started off with the new devil line (course change) which was the inside line, the stupid one stride. I don’t know if I’ve mentioned it before, but I HATE ONE STRIDES. HATE THEM, HATE THEM, HATE THEM! I always struggled with them back with Subi due to his massive stride length. So, inadvertently we’d end up getting a half stride or turn it into a bounce… Oops. Yeah. So I’d hold too much coming in and it would suck. Anyway, irrationally, I’m freaked out by one strides.


Subi says this is how the cool kids wear their halters

So, needless to say, I whined, was told it was fun on Ranger, and to jump it anyway, and because it was Ranger, I jumped it. So we did, it wasn’t lovely but my goal was survival. We then jumped it again where the goal was “to do more than survive” and to steer with 2 hands and not one (we were wiggly) and it was better. Fun? No, but acceptable. Then the jump just kept go up, and up, and up. We did it probably about 8 times until the second fence, was a 3′ oxer. Then we called it a day with the damn one stride. Ranger saved my butt. It was fine. It was acceptable. It wasn’t even bad. Ranger jumped his heart out. I still won’t say it was fun.


The Fatbatthorse

Then we jumped an inside single around to the one outside line in a going 7. The single was good, but we kind of lost the go after the single and then got an 8… Repeat and got the go and had a lovely line. What can I say, I was exhausted after the damn 1 stride…

From here, Ranger soul mate — his current BFF is Mikey as he no longer sees Forrest at all–left the ring. Ranger had a mini melt down. Despite this, we switched things up and cantered the other inside single around to the other outside line in a 6. We had NO ISSUES with the GO and basically worked on COLLECTION while Ranger tried to GALLOP over the DEATH JUMP (ie: SPIKES) down to the other straw bale jump in the line.



Despite his over enthusiasm, it wasn’t actually a bad line, but we repeated and worked on collection. Ranger was still ANGRY but the line was more collected and we found a happy point at which to end… No hand gallop this time. But, even with our attempts to gallop, it wasn’t out of control just lots of power–we easily fit the strides in and he listened, just a bit too much speed.


No muscle, overgrown mane, lots and lots of mud, but his weight looks good! Not terrible for a 21 year old retiree

Anyway, I’m sure I have more to say, but… it’s Monday and I’m blanking.

Less work, more play in boxes!

Ranger Recap: Simply the Bestest.

Don’t tell my boys, but Ranger is the best of the best.

It’s been a rough week work wise, but I dragged myself out to my lesson last night — a lesson that almost didn’t happen as my husband stopped me as I was pulling out of the driveway to ask if I could push my lesson back 15-30 minutes. As the last lesson of the night, no. I either go or cancel (thanks Jiminy for destroying the fence. Michele, you just MIGHT find him tied to your front door).

Thanks to the INSANE weather and the fact that I was running late, I pulled in, and discovered 2 things. 1. there were NO lights on in the indoor meaning we were RIDING OUTSIDE IN FEBRUARY thanks for the 58 degree temperature and 2. Ranger was a mudpit thanks to being turned out blanket/sheetless. Did I mention I was running late? So late in fact the previous lesson came back in before I finished tacking up and my trainer called to see if I was in the barn… Ooops. But, she said I wasn’t actually late…

Got mud?

After a brief foray into discussions about the state of the world (we tend to have these conversations whether or not we should is a different discussion, but I’m a willing participant so…), I started trotting. It was SO COMPLETELY AMAZING TO BE RIDING OUTSIDE I CAN’T EVEN DESCRIBE IT. There were wet spots, but the ring actually has amazing drainage. Ranger wasn’t as thrilled with the kids playing first on the swingset and then basketball, but we later had bigger issues with the cat jumping out at us… I’ll get to that. Nonetheless, he’s Ranger so whatever. We started with a bunch of trotting and circles and all that. With the extra space, it was so much easier to get him off his left shoulder and nothing felt as tight. I love having a FENCE and not walls!!!

There were 2 polls in the ring. 1 in the middle of the ring and 1 down by the in-gate. They are the blue lines in the terribly drawn course map below. After doing tight circles around random jumps to make sure Ranger was actually listen and off his shoulder (damn him and his leaning), we added in those polls, just working on steering straight and getting him to move his body over. And then the cat launched over the pole so we had to avoid him too. Finally, after adding in some halts and backs (damn horse hears trainer say halt and halts… So much for listening to me last night…) we got to canter.

Cantering is HARD you know? Holy crap. I really need to work on my trot-canter transitions as my walk-canter transitions are better. Right lead was actually OK. We cantered for a bit (serious, HOLY CRAP the amount of canter) and then circled, and then cantered over the damn pole in the middle of the ring. And that is when the stupid cat zig-zagged into the ring in front of us and I got distracted and we didn’t quite hold our canter because CAT. So canter picked up and do it again. And again. CAT zigged in front of us AGAIN and jumped the pole and we chipped the pole. I think the cat then jumped a jump and finally left the ring. AND WE WERE FREE! Then, on take 25, because we were still cantering (ok, it was only the 4th circle), we continued our canter and cantered onto the log jump which is the black line at the bottom of the horrific image below. So, circle the to the pole, canter pole, hold canter to log, keep canter because even though the log jump was perfect, the pole WASN’T and we must repeat. After 3 times, the pole was finally adequate and we got to trot… in order to change direction.


Really bad course map. Top is by the gate, bottom is far end of the ring by the road. We did NOT jump the triple. Blue are poles. 

And pick up and left lead canter. And then, canter the damn pole. The damn pole was SO MUCH HARDER this way to get a lovely stride to it. With enough leg, I help the canter, but it was a chip. I had too much canter and needed to shorted, but, it was SO MUCH STRUGGLE to pick up the canter from the trot and it took me FOREVER to get the canter. So, once we did, I hesitated to woah at all… And, it turned out, I was to know that from the pole, I was to go to the log so the first time I missed that step. Oops. So repeat. Pole to log. Second time was an improvement though we needed a simple change because, Ranger. Third time was lovelier and finally, WALK!!

(somewhere during this left lead work, it started pouring which sent the kids inside and left me wet, but the rain did end even if I almost dropped my reins once and buffled up the canter…)


Just a little shower…

After a VERY BRIEF walk, we started with the outside line, trotting in, cantering out in 5. So weird to trot in (though I did some of this when I rode a very angry Ranger Sunday in the indoor and he went from dead to insane when I made him work after his new friend left the indoor and it was pouring and he was ANGRY RANGER). He was lovely. We did this once or twice? Easy and slow. Right lead for those trying to follow along on my ugly graphic (and not the triple).

Then we cantered in left lead to the damn inside line (the pole was gone) — the only really inside line — attempting a going 6. The trick with this line is that we need to stay out close to the gate (which would be up at the top of the picture) before turning to first jump. We had the turn, but not quite the energy the first time. So we had 2 jumps were I stayed back and let Ranger save my butt (but better then jumping ahead). So, needless to say, we repeated. Second time was better, but it still wasn’t fabulous. My turn is actually great, but I just can’t nail the first jump. But, I stayed with the plan this time, landed moved him up, and got the 6 as planned.


OMG he’s perfect. And sweaty.

Because the line went better, we moved on to a course (because I wasn’t already dead at that point). We started (right lead) cantering down the inside single, turning after the first jump of the outside line). The jump was beyond PERFECT and I was able to keep Ranger up off of his front end (he tried to get heavy, but came up right away with just a little ask from me). We landed, did a super quick simple change and kept the pace which was lovely. This was the missing link for the inside line. We rode the same path to the inside line (but I’m convince I cut the corner a tiny bit which made it easier–I tend to stay out too much even though this line you need to so maybe it was just more pace?) and nailed the first jump. Then we just balanced for the second jump, not needing to override like the time before. Because he was super balanced, we landed right and held our canter to continue to our outside line, cantering in to the 4. He tried to get heavy, though not strong. The first jump was met perfectly, I was able to woah just enough, and the 4 was there and light and no freight training occurred (it would have, but he was listening so well). It was one of the courses where the first words out of my mouth were “Don’t make me do that again!” — He was SO PERFECT!



We ended cantering up to the big oxer in the inside/middle of the ring. He was good, I was a bit tentative. He took care of me. I should have been a bit more aggressive. The jump was fine. Just not my best. Oh well. We didn’t do it again, which was fine. I was tired, but part of me wishes I’d ridden it better. The spot was better, but I was more passive than I could have been. But, the spot was nice. I just wasn’t 100% confident.

Overall though, best lesson in a long time. I LOVE being outside and needed that so much. Ranger is the best.


Just in case you were curious just how gross the weather has been lately… This was Ranger’s field on Sunday… 


Ranger Recap: Zen and Inner Turmoil

After a really hard week, [seriously, this week was insanely challenging. I can’t explain how much I hate people sometimes and ice. I hate ice.] I desperately needed my Ranger lesson. I didn’t ride last week as I was sick and my trainer was in FL (not that I could have dealt with it anyway. But this week I. Just. Needed. It.


So. Happy. To. See. This. Face. 

Even better, the barn was quiet [so sorry for accidentally turning off all the barn lights while someone was riding in the ring… I’m pretty sure I turned them all back on before you made it back to the barn and hopefully noticed? But it was THAT QUIET!] Just a couple of children to navigate BEFORE my lesson started. While tacking up I got to hug Ranger and otherwise act like a fool and the best part? NO ONE WAS AROUND TO SEE IT!

Anyway, the lesson. Not the best, not the worst. But, I haven’t ridden in 2 weeks. And I was wearing my newer boots because I’m an idiot and unlike my normal boots they fit, but aren’t broken in (my normal boots are insanely huge in the calf and starting to fall apart for being so big). Stiff leather (they’re older so not the super soft leather of now), COLD temperature… Yeah. Ow. So, my leg was sort of locked into place. And a certain pinto wasn’t helping matters by being extra pokey. Thanks buddy. But, it was nice just to see him again.

This describes the past week. Ice, rain, and cold. And I’ve been stuck outside in them all.

We warmed up with an insane amount of trotting where I actually did try not to run small children on small ponies over (but said children were on really cute ponies so… it was hard to want to kill them and they were just w/t). They soon left and we added in more circles and crap and worked on LEFT LEG to get a Mr. Ranger off his shoulder while we made small circles and what not. Eventually we stopped. I could have called it quits. Then we chatted about life for a while and work and quitting stuff that sucks in life and work and children and all that. Ranger fell asleep. And zen. We talked about zen. I mention Ranger is a zen moment and I was offered an extra ride this weekend for more zen so I’ll definitely take advantage of that on Sunday since the ring will be empty and my trainer will be in FL.


Marble is like Ranger. She always tries hard and all she wants to do is sleep, eat, or be with her friends and family. Or, in this case, hold my hat hostage. 

Then we cantered and my ankles hurt (OMG boots) and was told he wasn’t carrying me enough (no kidding… but more leg was hard too). We added circles — so hard as we started to the left and we fall in to the left, but we had a lovely circle anyway and then were never told to stop… OMG. So. Much. Canter. Then cantering to the right. I added a circle because I thought we were forgotten about. So. Much. Canter. Again. Eventually we were allowed to stop. I was dead. So. Very. Dead. That’s what happens when pony parent walks in to talk about leasing. Ahhh. Fine. Just. Not. While. I’m. Cantering.

Before we started jumping, my trainer mentioned that Ranger’s kid who rides him the most has been working on his changes so he’s been strong on the landing of his jumps and dragging her on the landings. But, I’m stronger than she is so just be aware… and land and back a few steps

DETOUR: Once upon a time, I was the one who rode him the most… Kind of makes me sad, but this is the issue of riding lesson horses. I’ll go cry in a corner now. I’m just stressed and emotional. I’ve also not been consistently riding either…

Now, Ranger has NEVER been strong landing jumps. He’s been strong APPROACHING jumps which may lead to a strong landing, but never landing. So, now I’m armed with information I do NOT need to know. [Side note: I have seen him be strong landing with other people though just because he’s got a big head.]

So, we start with a small single and cantered in (left lead) and got a long spot. But, I rode defensively because I was given information I didn’t need. Seriously, I need to ride the horse I have, not the information I’m given. And he was behind my leg. So, it wasn’t pretty. But, we got over. And died on the landing. Because, instead of being strong, I had to add leg to keep him moving so I could even have a canter to halt from. Because, we were POKEY. Take 2. We approached at the exact same spot as before, but at least this time from an actual forward canter. Landing? The same old normal Ranger. I think we repeated this a few times. But there was not speedy Ranger.


Not enough treats. Must. Not. Move. Forward. 

We moved on to the other outside single (right lead) and cantered in. This we struggle with not because we were strong on the landing, but because I struggled to get the right canter and turn early enough (what a shock…). I also struggled to pick up the canter once because we were arguing, but that’s a different story… Basically, the first time or two, I was turning too late which caused issues. We chipped terribly the second time and Ranger saved my butt. Finally, I drove him forward and got him in front of my leg and the jump became easy. Shocking… I can’t see anything when he’s behind my leg…

Once we solved this fence as a single, we added on the inside brown box line. So, we cantered right lead over the outside single and then continued to the brown boxes. This basically required that I KEEP HIM MOVING and look and turn early WITH BOTH HANDS, land and move up for the 6. Thankfully, I did all of this and it was easy. A couple lessons ago, we ducked out of the first fence of the line and each time I approach it now I have flashbacks… PTSD for the win. Not an issue as long as I steer. It’s a super awkward turn…

From here we finished with a course. Instead of cantered right lead DOWN the outside single, we cantered left lead UP that jump (away from the gate). Then we cantered down our straw bale jump down the diagonal  (past the evil boogey spike jump that my trainer was nice enough not to make me jump). The goal was to use the corner and then keep leg on for the turn to go to the inside brown box line and then around down our outside single that I started the night jumping.

Overall, I like jumping the outside single the other direction. It’s MUCH easier. The straw bales were perfect–in that I could jump them nicer. And I could stop my recap there. Except my course didn’t end there. Unfortunately, while my turn was nice and I even kept a nice canter, I forgot to turn with BOTH HANDS DAMNIT and as a result, the spot I saw and my trainer saw, didn’t exactly happen and we fizzled out a bit (if I added a bit more leg, that might have helped but I NEEDED TO REMEMBER TO ALWAYS TURN WITH 2 HANDS). We still jumped our in, but it wasn’t lovely (it wasn’t ugly, but it wasn’t nice either). I then had to land and work, but we got the 6 because I can fix a line like no one else and the out was gorgeous. I really need better talents. Then our outside single was possible our nicest jump of the night. So, we ended there.

Needless to say, Ranger did not get strong once. Whether it was because he was pokey or because he just doesn’t get strong with me, I don’t know, but once I stopped worrying about extra information (other than the psychological impact), I rode with contact, but not excessive contact? He had pleasure class o/f contact…

How I torture Ranger after lessons when no one is in the barn… 

After all his hard work, he was rewarded with treats. Then he proceeded to attack me for treats when I didn’t dispense them fast enough. My coat is covered with Ranger slobber. And then I tried to take pictures. He did NOT appreciate that. He found more treats in my pocket and tried to eat my pocket for withholding… My coat will never be the same…


How to deworm a difficult horse

Subi and I are on different pages when it comes to medication.

Or food.


I’ll be watching you… 

But let’s talk medication. He just KNOWS when I have poison.

But, over the years, I’ve become more successful because, sneaky doesn’t work.

But, let’s talk talk specifically about dewormer, because, we HATE dewormer.

I could really use the dental contraption to help with deworming, just saying…

In the past, when Subi was a young, spry, individual, deworming involved a chain, blind fold, a prayer, and quick reflexes. If I could friend someone brave and suicidal, a person willing to hold up a leg helped too. Basically, the goal was to get as much of the dewormer down his throat before rearing ensued. Sometimes holding a leg up helped, sometimes it was a suicide mission. Sometimes the blindfold helped, other times, ha!

Now, that we’re mature at 20, we’ve ditched the blindfold, the chain (we ditched that last year), and the leg holding (ditched when no brave idiots were “available) and found a new method–the sneak attack. OH CRAP. We’re not 20 anymore, WE’RE 21 and I JUST REALIZED IT! SHIT.


We don’t like dewormer. Dewormer is EVIL.

So, on Tuesday night, armed with dewormer and a terrible virus, I headed out post dinner to dewormer the 3 beast after dinner. The kids were separated. Batty and Jiminy together and Subi alone. I thought this would help. He wouldn’t know. I had 2 eager volunteers in the piggy clan–they just subscribe by the philosophy of eat first, think later–and deworming went off without a hitch (Jiminy is a wierdo and enjoys his dewormer a little too much).

Unfortunately, despite being NO WHERE NEAR the scene of the CRIME, Subi just KNEW what was happening (15 points Subi). My easy to catch senior who loves me more than life itself decided to play hard to get and, in the dark, frozen drylot, I wandered after him for 15 minutes while he remained just out of my reach. Damn horse. I love you too. I swear, he could smell the dewormer a mile a way.  I though the darkness would be my friend. Thwarted again (5 more points Subi).


I don’t want to know the score if Subi had friends helping or some daylight…

Finally, armed with 2 stud muffins and 5 peppermints, we reached an agreement and on his head went the halter (5 points Subi, 5 points Sarah). And there we stood while he chewed his treats while I stealthily uncapped the dewormer. Finally, after all the treats were chewed, I stepped back so that my shoulder was behind his head (I must NEVER be in front of his head of the mission FAILS and I wear the tube of dewormer). Quickly BUT QUIETLY I pushed the dewormer into the corner of his mouth and before he could react, pushed his head up as high as possible and held it there (15 points Sarah).

For the next 10 minutes, there we stood. Me holding a heavy chestnut head in one hand while rubbing his throat with the other hand, begging him to swallow while Subi stood grinding his teeth, angry that he had been foiled once again (10 points Sarah). Finally, I left go, removed the halter, and watched as my ANGRY CHESTNUT  unsuccessfully tried to cough out to AWFUL POISON he inadvertently swallowed (5 points Sarah). Entire tube consumed! No dewormer on Sarah! (50 points Sarah)


Thankfully, he forgives (though I reuse old media)

Final Score:

Sarah: 85
Subi: 25

Total gameplay: 33 minutes


Practicing our angry face…

During this time, my husband never though to send out a search party… Nice of him, right?