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.

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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…)

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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.

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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!

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Perfection.

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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).

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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)

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Thankfully, he forgives (though I reuse old media)

Final Score:

Sarah: 85
Subi: 25

Total gameplay: 33 minutes

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Practicing our angry face…

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

Ranger Recap: On Hold

I should recap while my lesson is fresh in my mind, but instead I just want to say this.

Sometimes  for no reason you have a bad day.

Sorry Michele. Thanks for letting me vent yesterday. Work. Life.  Stupid people. Stupid horses who don’t drink perfectly good water.

But I got to ride Ranger last night and  suddenly all was right in the world.

He was a mud pit (THANK YOU BLANKETS), but he is Ranger.

I got on early and just sat on his back for about 5 minutes and watched the 3 ring circus around me and life was suddenly good.

If I had to dismount after that, it wouldn’t have mattered.

So, instead of recapping my lesson now, I’ll just leave you with this.

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Thank you Ranger. Still feeling the zen today.

Ranger Recap: Bending Lines

Let me start by saying, I should have written this Friday, but I didn’t. And without media of ANY kind, a new ring set up,  and a deteriorating brain, this will be interesting. Still, instead of letting this lesson go,  I’m going to try…

I showed up Thursday to a (basically) empty barn and quickly falling temperatures.  The temperatures aren’t important, but, whenever  it’s cold, all the barn doors are closed which requires me to side open/closed lots of doors to get in/out of the barn to the indoor. It’s a  pain. 2 sliding doors to get  out of the barn then a short walk across to the indoor and 1 more  sliding door. Basically, when opening/closing, it’s 6 doors which is a  lot when holding horse. Thankfully  Ranger doesn’t care, but I’m not coordinated in the dark.

Anyway, enough about sliding doors.

We walked in to an entirely new course. Which was nice, but also meant  I had to work. Ranger sort of “memorizes” courses and it takes him about a week to learn the strides and  all that. So, the first week with a  new course means I work harder (as does everyone else who rides him). Jump height doesn’t mean anything, just everything else. I don’t mind having to work harder (it’s good for me) so I kind of prefer new un-memorized Ranger. Unless I’m not into working. Unlike last week, we had the ring to ourselves (until someone joined us to practice) so it was really nice. But, do to having the ring to myself, I got to work, HARD.

On the flat, Ranger was falling in HARD to the left, his difficult direction which would be the theme for the night. I seemed to be able to fix it at the trot and then we first picked up the canter to the right. I hate cantering right first as it’s my weak direction, but I didn’t get a say. We did lots of circles because, yay, before a simple change of direction at the trot across the center (where Ranger saw a jump, got excited, then disappointed) and more canter. Then, after canter around for a couple minutes (we had a really nice, forward canter, we added in the single placed at the end of the ring (see awkwardly placed single referenced below) and cantered that on a circle a few times. Finally, we got to walk for about 2 seconds before being told to canter to out next fence. I ignored the directions to catch my breath. It’s hard to breath when it’s cold! Fine, it was only 26, but I was struggling. Normally we don’t canter that long!

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So, with the new ring setup, the evil jump did not disappear. And lucky me, that was the jump we jump 1,545,346,544,353,467,456 times. And I still am convinced it’s evil.

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I’m telling you, this jump has spikes. I don’t  know why people don’t believe me… 

We began with a left lead canter (theme of the struggle of the night. Not the lead, but the drift on to his shoulder) to the grey boxes to the spiky straw bale gate jump (the straw bales are fine, it’s the damn gate). Unfortunately, the turn to the first jump was a struggle for me all night. The first time through, we broke and then got the canter back but I had to then work on the landing of the in to get the 6 to the evil jump. Because, who wants to really die at the jump the hate? But, it appears that I have a talent to nail the out even when I screw up the in…

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We tried this again and got slightly better, but I really struggled to turn hard when a certain someone was leaning so hard… But, it got better-ish? We then continued cantering around on our right lead (the nice lead of the night) and came back to the the same first jump off the right and did our other broken line — boxes to boxes (or maybe one of those was a gate… Who knows–you get the point). This was a 7 even though you can’t tell from my picture. This line was so much easier though the first time though we came in slowly and had to land and gallop. Oops. So. Repeat. Over and over. Until we got both lines several times. Except the last time when I completely missed the first spot of the first line, but we moved on. I was ready to quit there.

 

Ready to be finished with the evil spike jump, my luck did not end.

We switched from broken lines, but I continued to work on the stupid spike jump.

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The GOAL was to canter left lead over the outside single and continue around to the straw bale diagonal line (straw bales to sharp spike jump) and then continue around to the blue and  white single in the middle of the ring that  my trainer was, up until that point, using as chair. However, it would  be about 20 minutes until we made it to the single. See, the stupid line became  our undoing.

The single was easy. Sometimes we even landed correctly. But, the STUPID LEANING. First time. I did something  I NEVER DO. I turned too early. Who does that?  Normal people. Not me.  I do weird things. I am the QUEEN of Turning Too  Late. So,  I saw ABSOLUTELY NO SPOT. So, we launched a MASSIVE spot (thanking Ranger) and I was forced to land and ride and  make up for my screw ups. We stopped there and repeat.

Take 2. Decided  I HATED  turning  too early because, I just CANNOT do that, we fixed that by turned on time and hard (damn that leaning Ranger!) but had zero speed.  The  spot at the in was actually fine, but we got 7, not 6 as requested. Repeat, repeat, repeat.

There was drifting to left.  What a shock.

Then, on a really unfortunate incident, we chipped so badly at the base of EVIL JUMP,  I though I was going to eat the jump and die.  And on a normal horse, I might have, but it’s Ranger and  he doesn’t care.

So, refusing to EVER make that mistake again (seriously,  I’d NEVER jump that thing again), we started  over, then actually got a forward canter out of our single (never a problem, YET), cantered into our corner, used BOTH hands to steer, landed galloping forward (I was so not missing the damn spot,  nailed the  evil jump, was told to keep going, and promptly looked a the other outside single, then realized that wasn’t the jump was to be jumping, asked which one, then second guessed in, looked at the outside standard, and Ranger laughed in my face…

…And ducked out.

DAMNIT!

And we had to start the entire thing over again. This time, for the first time ever, we had zero pace to the outside single and chipped it.  (I was tired). But, I landed, galloped (well, I felt like galloping though it was likely just a forward canter for 2 dead tired individuals) and we THANKFULLY jumped everything else perfectly. Knowing where the last jump was when I landed from the evil jump REALLY help and Ranger knew I was actually riding and didn’t try anything.

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So tired. So in need of carrots. 

We ended there.

Thank god.

He got carrots.

I went home and collapsed.

Ranger Recap: Riding again!

After last week’s bomb cyclone and arctic temperatures (though it was comparatively warm last Thursday just steadily dropping to… 7), I didn’t have  my lesson last week. I don’t actually know if there were lessons. I just know that I cancelled. Anyway,  I DID  have a lesson last night and it was  WARM. We’re talking 50s during the day and probably high 40s when I got on? Crazy for January. Of course,  as I’m typing this it’s 61 and pouring. Tomorrow the high is 34 and the low is 11. No wonder my migraines have been insane…

Oh by the way, while I didn’t end up going to the awards banquet, Ranger and I managed to snag 3rd place in Pleasure Horse for the series! Not bad for my first year back showing! Thank you  Ranger for saving my butt some many times last year!

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Ranger’s accomplishments (and Batty’s random ribbon from Ludwig’s which mean’s just as much as all of Ranger’s) (and those 2 6ths are as important as the champion/reserves so they get places of honor)

Back to Ranger. It was so good to see that muddy beast. Thanks to the warm weather, he was a little muddy anywhere his blanket didn’t cover. But, after a nice long grooming (yay for getting to the barn early enough not to have to rush!), he looked respectable enough to head into the ring.

Unfortunately, my weeks of having the indoor to myself seem to be over. Our indoor isn’t tiny at 75×200 but with a full course of jumps and a few other rides, it sometimes feels that way. Plus, there are walls. We use smaller jump standards inside, but still. When I first walked in, there was a beginner lesson finishing up with my trainer, a girl hacking, a teenager hacking, and a lunge line lesson. So, trying to figure out where to go was a little complicated. Especially since I needed to navigate around everyone but the teenager… Eventually the beginner lesson left as did the young girl on the pony. But I hate navigating around lunge lessons! She luckily left before we finished our flat work.

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My face when I have to share the ring (or rather my kitten’s face after getting locked in the pantry for 3 long minutes)

Ranger was basically dead most of the lesson. I sort of miss the “I’m going to take off!” Ranger of the summer. Not that I like him taking off on me, but he was so happy and relaxed that it was sort of boring. Not that I mind it, because, I mean, I love happy Ranger, but he was so low key. Where’s crazy Ranger? I’m sure he’ll be back the second someone turns out his friends when he’s standing in the cross ties instead of when he’s in the indoor… My arms were a mess at the trot (I need to work on that… my left arm was out too farm instead of bringing it back and I can hold my hands a bit higher at the trot) and at the canter I needed to give him a pony club kick just to get him to move out to a forward canter. He was cantering, and I wouldn’t even say he was behind my leg, he was just slow and happy and had no need to move out and was content as can be. After a kick (both directions–because no amount of leg was helping), we got the forward button. Before the kick, I was doing a bit too much leaning to the right. I need to work to the right more. But, in general, I got the comment that Ranger just looking insanely happy. That was the theme of the night. Happy Rangy.

After a brief segue into political discussion with parent of teenager, teenager, my trainer, barn manager (where I think we may have all scared the parent of child on the lunge line who is not client of the barn owner/my trainer… oops) and Ranger took a nap, we started to jump, beginning with the outside line going away from the in gate–started with the line on the right trotting in. First time through was…semi OK in that the line itself was actually bad. But the trip TO the X was ugly. We trotted the cantered then argued down to the trot, lost our straightness then jumped the X ok and worked to get a lovely rest of our line. Because, if I can do one thing right, I can fix a line. But, I also forgot to count my strides which was not ok.

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Like this, but jumps were small cross rail to vertical on both lines (outs were height of the in)

Our second take was significantly improved and we rode in straight though with less impulsion which then required a bit of leg over and on the landing of the X but we rode the line and did a lovely 8 and landing in a nice halt (that I had to work a bit for… thanks Ranger).

From here, we changed direction and did the other outside line, also a cross rail (with a box in front) to a vertical. Thanks to the box, this one was significantly easier and since I got the turn, we just maintained everything for an easy, steady 7. And halted. Less challenges here.

We continued next by cantering over our gate in the center of the ring (there are straw bales on the other side of it) around to the devil jump. I tried to beg out of it even exclaiming how evil the next jump was as I passed my training, but I think I was told just to jump the damn thing because Ranger doesn’t care. I think I added leg and closed my eyes. He was having an awesome day though and landing correctly all night. We hit our first spot and didn’t have to do one simple change all night. I can’t comment on the second jump other than we made it over and no one was impaled. That doesn’t make it less evil.

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I’m convinced this jump will kill me. Especially when it’s a couple holes higher than this like it was last night… Ranger will be fine, I will die. 

From here, we continued and jumped our single on the quarter line going away from the gate and continued around to our grey box. The tricks for these are basically turn early enough for the quarter line which means LOOK. This one, even though I tend to struggle to turn early, I tend not to struggle too much with. Then stay out. Because Ranger was landing correctly all night, and jumping super well, we (and not rushing), we easily hit our spot, staying out and used the top of the ring and then rode the long side of the ring. Then we did hit a bit of an issue. To get to the grey box (if you look at ring picture, you can sort of see this), you can’t turn right after the outside line jump, but need to wait until you see the line to the single. Of course, remember, I have a habit of turning late. And there was activity going on at the end of the ring… So, cantering down our long side, we were both sort of watching that a bit too long rather than our jump. Then when I realized that and turned, we long our canter for 2 strides and had 2 trot steps because my leg had nothing and my hand (1 not 2… oops #2) was a bit more powerful. Nonetheless, we got the canter back, found a lovely spot, and jumped our grey fence without missing a beat. Which was good considering it was one of 3 fences that actually had height to it…

As a result, we tried that all again with better results. Whether I was more focused or Ranger knew what we were doing, I don’t know, but we had no issues the second time. Both jumps had the same lovely spots, but not trot steps this time. We ended there and just walked around (much to Ranger’s chagrin as the other horse left and he was all alone… the horrors!).

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Helmet hair! Bad lighting! Gross clothes! Who cares!

The night ended with carrots and a brief photo shoot since someone was misbehaving (pawing… do to carrot impatience) so I punished with photos before more carrots and turnout. Overall, it was nice just to be back with my Ranger!

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How to survive the arctic tundra…

The Mid-Atlantic has turned into the arctic this past week and this coming week isn’t that much bettering (though it looks a little better even if next Friday/Saturday look pretty awful.

 

Needless to say, my focus has been keeping my ponies warm and surviving a trip to Connecticut that included a night without heat. On Tuesday before I left, I noticed Subi was having issues walking on the frozen ground and was sulking by his tree.my husband assured me that each morning he’s been at the round bale eating hay (my guys live out 24/7) so I tried not to worry and basically just dragged him forcefully from his tree to the paddock where we keep the round bale. Once there, he stuffed his face with hay. At dinner around 9pm, we moved him back to his tree and he happily inhaled a bucket of warm soaked alfalfa-timothy cubes, beet pulp, soaked sentinel senior, and omalene 200. We figured as usual, he’d walk back to the bale.

Freezing cold CT. Frozen lake anyone?

The next morning, he was still at his tree, upset and cold from having eaten no hay all night. In a panic, I found an old pair of Batts’s hoof boots and threw them on. While they weren’t the best fit, they fit and instantly I could see some relief in my old pony. He ate breakfast and a bucket of chopped hay and then I directed my husband to lead him into the paddock with a halter to the round bale. With each step, he grew more confident and sure footed and I breathed a sigh of relief and left the house only 15 minutes late to head to my mom’s to head to CT. For the next 2.5 days, after each meal, my husband led Subi back to the hay to ensure he ate properly. (To ensure Batty was drinking, he got extra water in his soup. Jiminy? He wanted to eat in the shed. No one catered to that request).

But I’m cute! Why doesn’t anyone love me?

Grumpy child. The Grumpy Chestnut. 

While I was away, I researched boots and chatted with my part time boss and friend. She has her senior in Easyboot Clouds. It was late by the time I got home Friday so on Saturday I measured him (there are things I trust my husband to do. This is NOT one of them), went back and forth on size, and finally placed an order through Amazon when I saw 1 day free prime shipping with Sunday delivery. Guaranteed 12/31 delivery.

So imagine my frustration when I get shipping notification for 1 of 2 boots. Yep. 1 boot shipped the other did not. New arrival date of Tuesday because this is so helpful. Meanwhile, the the right Cavallo is starting to rub Subi’s heal… but the Clouds fit so yay for that?

The Arctic tundra was also leaving my delicate flower cold as well despite 3 blankets (2 mediums and a sheet). Dover put their Northwinds on sale (@50% off) so we picked up a heavyweight detach-a-neck. Of course, while I wanted a detach-a-neck, I didn’t realize that’s what I bought and thought I just got the last 78″ heavyweight they had and the last medium neck cover. So now I have to go back and return the neck cover. But, he seems warm (FINALLY) with the heavy and a medium and a neck so that’s good.

 

The Arctic tundra was also leaving my delicate flower cold as well despite 3 blankets (2 mediums and a sheet). Dover put their Northwinds on sale (@50% off) so we picked up a heavyweight detach-a-neck. Of course, while I wanted a detach-a-neck, I didn’t realize that’s what I bought and thought I just got the last 78″ heavyweight they had and the last medium neck cover. So now I have to go back and return the neck cover. But, he seems warm (FINALLY) with the heavy and a medium and a neck so that’s good.

So happy and warm! Even though it was snowing… Evil snow. 

 

I braved the elements today to reblanket Batts and Jiminy. Batty was almost sweaty yesterday with his sheet and medium but with the 15 degree drop to our high he was shivering today so he’s got on 2 mediums as does Jiminy. Jiminy would prefer just to move inside the house though he’s making due with sharing the shed with Batts. Subi’s working on the round bale we stuck out this morning.

As for me, I still haven’t warmed up from late morning round bale/blanketing. And in 45 minutes, it’s time to go feed dinner.

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He just got so much older this year… Between not tolerating the ground, the cold, and his arthritis bothering him… 😦 But he seems so content here (his eyes in particular). And he’s crazy fat under his blanket. But still, I hate seeing him like this!

 

May the arctic move on… now! And Happy New Year!

Ranger Recap: it’s cold outside! And equestrian blogger gift exchange

I headed out for a lesson today at noon (I love riding during the day because it’s light and warm–we had daylight, but no warmth…) and holy crap was it cold. I swear my car said it was 31 when I left the house but it was 25 when I got to the barn (1.5 miles away) and with the damn wind… My trainer needed to look up the temps and it felt like 16 degrees. So it was fun. But, looking ahead to the rest of the week, today was the warm day and probably the only riding day of the week so it was today or not at all (I’ll be in CT the rest of the week anyway. Yay. Said with no enthusiasm).

Anyway, unlike last lesson, Ranger was a little less pissed off. Another benefit of riding during the day? It’s not turnout time for Ranger and therefore there’s no temper tantrum when Forrest and Elliot go out without him. Seriously, those 3 are idiots. Today, he was much happier. And since he decided last winter that he needs to be out longer than day turnout allows (day turnout is 4 hours due to field space, he and his band of idiots go out at night so they can be out all night long and Ranger won’t run away with small children).

Last lesson on the flat I was having issues with my corners so I was determined to work on that. Our corners were fine but Rangy was a bit stiff and spent the entire first 2/3s of the lesson falling in the left. My left leg is sore from working so hard.

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Quarter line single, grey jump, straw bales, and in of the 6 stride outside line just to break of lots of text

We warmed up with the long ride to our cross rail and continued around to the long ride to the grey single. The mounting block was almost in the path of the grey single so I needed to be exact with my turn to that jump. But, since I chose today to steer, it was all fine.

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You can sort of get an idea of the ring… 

From here, we worked on our single down the quarter line around to the outside line. I think we repeated this not because the jumps were bad (they weren’t), but because my turn wasn’t as nice as it could have been? Again, Ranger = LEANING LIKE CRAZY. But, the in jump was nice and I moved him up and all was good for the line in an easy 7.

Next we cantered over the straw bales and continued around to our other outside line in the 6, goal being to stay out after the straw bales and then steer with 2 hands to the in of the line. I felt that we were a little slow for the 6 and I didn’t actually ride the line (and didn’t notice that I wasn’t riding it until stride 5), but thankfully when I closed my leg he listened and just took the longer spot for the 6 and didn’t chip it.

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Out of 7 stride outside line. Not an oxer today…

We ended by repeating those same 3 jumps and then adding the evil, Evil, EVIL (for some completely irrational reason I HATE THIS JUMP) picket fence that I swear I’m going to impale myself on after the outside line and then continued around to our other outside line in the 7. The first straw bale jump was are best fence of the night. The outside line was decent as well as the I moved him up a bit, though the out still felt a little long. The picket fence from hell we got over (Ranger has no issue with it, I just am convinced it’s going to kill me), and the other outside was nice AND our corner had no leaning! Yay!

 

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There really are spikes sticking out of that jump. They’re just invisible to everyone but me…  Ranger says take me back to the barn and FEED ME!

I’m pretty sure we ended there. I was finally warm and walked around for a few minutes to make sure I really did have feeling in my feet before heading back in the barn to stuff Rangy with treats. Because, why wouldn’t I?

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Grumpy Ranger.


When I got home, I have a lovely box waiting for me from my blogger secret santa! Thank you Emily! I have a great new blog to follow as well. And thank you Tracy for hosting! It’s my first year participating and it was a lot of fun!

Emily really out did herself! So many fun things! Awesome purple unicorn rainbow socks, a pin, an amazing calendar (including lunar stuff) that is going on my work desk that has never been this clean), treats and other goodies! Thank you so much!

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Hope everyone had a great holiday! Stay warm this week if you’re somewhere cold!

Ranger Recap: But I don’t want to work!

Long overdue Ranger recap, but I had a crappy lesson last month (?) that fried my brain (first lesson in the  indoor of the winter) then skipped a week, had a fabulous lesson 3 week ago (outside! that I never actually got around to blogging about because I’m lazy and well, work took over my life and I decided to blog about something else and then I sort of forgot), went on vacation, then  I was sick last week and cancelled, and that brings me to last night and I FINALLY  rode!

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Poorly behaved treat monger

And needless to say, Ranger was NOT happy to see me. It’s not that Ranger doesn’t like me. I think he does.  And I may still be his favorite. But, Right. At.  The. Moment.  I put him in cross ties, Forrest and Elliot walked past him to go outside and his entire world turned upside down. From that moment on, he was miserable and made sure I knew it. He wanted me to know that he NEEDED TO BE OUTSIDE WITH HIS FRIENDS. There was no consoling him. I stuffed treats in his mouth (temporarily helped), but the pawing, oh the pawing. The attitude, oh the attitude. He was informed by my trainer’s husband that we all need to work for a living and then we lamented that adulting sucks…

Meanwhile, I managed to get the Ranger Beast tacked up. I was so thrilled that I EASILY found a 46″ girth only to find that someone put on weight and it came no one close to fitting. WTH Ranger? It’s only been 3 weeks… It’s not like you haven’t been ridden… So I had to seek out a 48″. (On a side note,  I can’t talk,  I often have to squeeze Batty into his 52″ double elastic girth).

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Me? Paw? Never!

Once in the indoor (he tried to drag me to his field rather rudely), the attitude continued. We worked on manners until he would stand  at the mounting  block. He took offense to being in the ring and to the the lunge whip my trainer had for the little kid on Raisin… We started power trotting around the ring until I noticed my stirrups were crazy long, well, 1 hole too long.  WTH? I haven’t ridden since last lesson so  how did they drop a hole? After that adjustment which Ranger so rudely didn’t want to stand still for, we went back to power trotting. We attempted a halt and back. Halt was fine, back DID NOT EXIST. We continued power trotting with the understanding that he could trot as fast as his desired down his long sides to get out some energy… Eventually we walked. We also tried to add leg to avoid bowing in at on the sides.  “Tried” because I don’t think I had any real leg…

Eventually we cantered and he was… a perfect gentleman? No power canter, no pulling towards the gate, nothing. Just maintained a perfect forward, but steady pace. Considering his performance at the trot, we were not expecting that. He was lovely. Got to love him. Maybe he got over being in the ring and not in his field?

We started  over fences with a small single fence off of a tight turn around to a long ride (around the first jump of the outside line) down to our straw bales. Having not jumped in weeks, I told Ranger to take care of me. I was told the first turn was hard, so as I cantered past trainer (the end of the ring has a fence/viewed area where trainer coaches from) I needed to look at fence and turn with both hands but not to worry about being perfect. Last lesson in the indoor Ranger was ducking  out of everything (after we did the super hard stuff — that he was perfect for, singles, lines, nope. There we struggled so my confidence was shot and we had some similar problems last year. Plus indoors just feel small) and I don’t love riding inside. I probably shouldn’t have worried. The turn was easy (I guess if someone says a turn is hard its not, the easy ones are hard) and  then Ranger had pace coming out of it that once we got our simple change (he was more interested in doing front changes and ignoring me), we could maintain our pace thanks to his motor. Spot wasn’t perfect for the straw bale jump, but it was nice enough.

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Not to scale. Light blue = grey jump. Dark blue = straw bales, Green = outside line

Next course we took the grey single the opposite direction (coming towards the fence) and then continued to the outside line in a 7 and then around to the straw bale jump. First time through I landed from the grey single and sort of cut my corner causing me to leave out 2 strides and slow down to the outside line. I was also nervous because I’m me and we struggled with ducking out last time inside and the  the line was actually big.  But, it was fine and I marched him up for a nice 7 because I’m too good at correcting  lines (my second jump is generally nicer because of this…). Straw bale just was the nicest of the night as I really moved him up.

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This horse!

Needless to say, we redid that to focus on the damn corner after the grey jump so I could fix the in of the line. By forcing him out, I got my extra strides, but I did have  to be cautious about not letting him drift too far and turn too late (almost happened, but didn’t). The in was nice and I didn’t actually have  to do anything for the out of the line. The 7 was just there. Amazing how much less work lines are when you ride in nicely… The straw bales were fine, but less nice than the perfect jump  the time before.

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But I’ve missed him terribly!

We ended there as I was dead (I mean, no riding for weeks) and Ranger was basically done. But he got lots of (unappreciated) hugs and I stuffed him full of treats. I turned him out my light of my cell phone and I was pleased that he returned to the fence to see me (and make sure I wasn’t feeding Elliot his treats)