Ranger Recap: Happy Place

I’ve been awful about blogging lately. I had a great lesson last week on Ranger and a really nice ride on Batts on Sunday (we rode in the ring and both enjoyed ourselves), but never got around to writing about it. Oh well…

Last night I managed to drag myself out for a lesson. I wasn’t in the mood, but I made myself. And then showed up to an empty barn. Thankfully after messaging my trainer, she was home and willing to come out and teach me when I was ready so I got Ranger ready and rode.

I guess it was camp week so I had a camp horse. He wasn’t exactly responsive on the flat. I mean, I had great brakes, but that was about it? He was sluggish and just wanted to drift to the middle. So, inside leg was the mode of the day. Great. I had none. But, despite that, he was a good boy and was quite willing to move at the trot. [We also spent way too much time on sit trot circles… Good thing I practiced those without stirrups on Batts…] Canter to the right? Not so much. But, once we re-established that when we don’t pick up the canter I will stop asking, recollect, and ask again, rather than looking like crap until I do get a canter, I got there, but damn, inside leg was necessary because someone wanted to drift in. So, when we cantered left, I was crazy surprised that we stayed out, because normally we don’t stay out that easily to the left.

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You can sort of see the course… Not the best view of the ring, but I took it from Ranger’s back while on a walk so…

It was another course change, but our outside single mostly stayed the same (but we lost the inside quarter line I liked so much). We started out cantering up our outside single and then down our inside single (brown boxes) which was actually UP to start with. Goal of this exercise was basically our path and pace. First time through, eh. I was a tiny bit slow the the first fence but the the spot was there, simple change was actually pretty neat and quick, we stayed out and had a nice path to our inside single. However, I didn’t actually trust someone enough and we were too slow to our inside single heading to the barn and chipped. Basically, I had no pace and  rode too passively. When I’m unsure, I get passive because Ranger will jump me out of pretty much anything.

So we circled and started over, this time with pace and energy and had a much better pace to fence one which we then carried on to the second fence. Now, after realizing that  I was riding Ranger, Camp Horse, aka, “I’m lazy and tired,” I was also I little more confident and active? Ranger can get strong and pull even though he’s amazing and perfect so knowing that heading toward the gate that this was NOT the horse I had, I rode his much differently and actually moved him up. So, turning the  corner to our fence, I saw the distance and instead of steadying him, we maintained our pace and had a nice forward pace and distance. From here, we continued to our inside line (I first almost turned to the wrong inside line… oops) in a 4, moving up on the landing of the first fence to actually get the 4.

Do you ever have one of those rides that after the first jump or 2, you just can’t miss?  That’s what this ride turned out to be. I saw every distance, made every correction necessary, because we didn’t actually come in perfectly at every given time. But, my eye was on. I need to remember and trust that I can actually find distances as scary as it seems. I just, most of the time, don’t trust that I can.

Our next course was basically the same in a slightly different order/directly. So, we came up the inside single (towards the road/away from the barn), down the outside single (towards the barn) and the same inside green line. And, because, for some reason I’m convinced my trainer likes me thinking on my feet, we can’t ever just do what I’m told, we have to add and keep going. So, after the green line, she had me do the brown boxes again, heading towards the barn. This time though, it just felt easy.

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Some of my favorite ears…

We ended with our brown boxes again, towards the road, to our other inside line, gross straw bales (it’s rained a lot lately and they haven’t done well) to the white stone oxer. We landed from the straw bales pretty slow and drifted left but since we started jumping, Ranger has been SO responsive and moved up off and forward off my leg and jumped the crap out of that jump just because I asked him to. I mean, he had campers all week on his back so he wouldn’t have if I hadn’t asked, but he was happy to do so at the slightest asking. Such a good boy. Everything felt easy. I love him so much.

We ended with a nice walk around the property and a bath before helping turn out. Hanging out with him is really becoming my happy place. How can it not be?

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summer in chester county

Oh and just because, meet Biscuit!

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The Biscuit “Bisquick” kitty

Ranger Recap: Devon and the Dixon Oval

On Monday, we had the local hunter show at Devon, Brass   Ring   at   Devon. This was probably the biggest local 1-day show possible in Chester County, because, it’s Devon and everyone wants to show at Devon. The thing is, Devon is Devon and despite being right here in our backyard, there just AREN’T local shows at the Devon Horse Show grounds. You have a few things (Devon, Dressage at Devon, and now Brandywine I and II, but that’s just about it), so getting to have our local show is pretty cool.

Let me start by saying it was a long ass day with an insane number of entries. Schooling was the night before for those interested, but no O/F schooling day of. Show started at 7:30 and rumor throughout the day was the estimated end time was 11:30PM. Insane. Seriously. 2 rings. The class after me was estimated to start no earlier than 2pm but let’s just say that come 5:45 they were still on Baby Greens, division 5 of the day in the Dixon Oval… I’m pretty sure Baby Greens went on for 2.5 hours. They ended up moving Thoroughbred Hunters to the Gold Ring at the end of the day to try and save time… I finally rode at 7ish after a small(er) low hunter division.

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Somehow I ended up with a franken-number ala IHSA… The secretary stand failed to tell the other family sharing Ranger that they should leave the number and since the show went on for a million hours, they’d already left when I showed up… They didn’t want to re-issue another number so they made me this lovely number… Yeah.

Meanwhile is was insanely sunny and freaking hot all day. Because you’re only ever getting burned at Devon OR in the pouring rain. And then the storm clouds started moving in… At some point there was a massive crack of lightning and a long roll of thunder (I swear only 6 of us saw the lightning) and then basically nothing until I went into the ring. Pretty much a little rain and the storm skirted Devon completely (at home we lost power long enough to require clocks to be reset).

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I don’t know where I’m looking but Ranger is cute… Probably calling for whoever he thinks is his new best friend…

Anyway, the classes were huge (I think we had 17-20 in pleasure under saddle classes) and the horses worth way more than Ranger I’m sure, but we rode in the Dixon Oval which was just about the coolest experience of my life. The cherry on top was our amazing Pleasure W/T class where we snagged our 6th place ribbon in a huge ass class.

He was great in his W/T/C but I got stuck on the rail too much and just wasn’t seen. Oh well, I’m not used to showing off… I don’t even care. I’ll be honest, I couldn’t even figure out where to go.

Over fences? Our course sucked. First off, it was a test not a course (4 fences…) and I never established a pace or a rhythm and screwed up fence 1 (but, Ranger being Ranger didn’t care and we got over even though we took a rail…). Fence 2 was still too slow, but I moved up and started riding to still get the strides for fence 3 and rode again to fence 4, halted, and trotted out of the ring. Seriously though, I had my rhythm by that point and it was over. I hate courses that aren’t courses. Oh well, I still was in the Dixon Oval, jumped my fences, stayed on, and had fun. We weren’t going to get a ribbon over fences anyway so who cares?

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The “lovely” course but whatever… I failed at riding it but who cares. Ranger saved my butt because he’s the best

And with that, I rode at Devon Horse Show grounds on the best Ranger Horse there ever was.

Ranger Recap: It’s HOT outside

So I’m finally back in the swing of lessons, hopefully at least for a few weeks or maybe until Pony Finals?

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With wonky weather and a horse show, I moved my lesson last week to Friday evening and it was gorgeous and then somehow we finished, were about to go for a trail ride to cool off, felt 2 drops of rain and though better of it, walked into the barn, and the skies opened up. Downpours for what felt like at least 45 minutes. Then it ended, I managed to turn Ranger out, and then more insanely heavy rain.

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Lacking media this week so the Lasagna Kitty reminds your she is god. 

Unfortunately, I remember very little of my lesson other than for the first 3/4 of my lesson I could NOT use my corners and therefore could not find a spot to save my life. I was a mess. Eventually, I actually stayed on the rail and stopped rushing and bam! the spots where there. Go figure?

This week the mid atlantic is experiencing a lovely heat wave with unbearable humidity. Today they’re calling for the heat index to be near 105 but really the humidity is what’s bad. So, I moved my lesson to 8AM to try and beat the heat.

It was still damn hot even at 8AM.

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It wasn’t much better at 8am either…

In preparation for our show on Monday (more on that later), the goal was 15mph trot, loose reins, and trot somewhere you haven’t trotted before each time around the ring, trying to keep him round and not interfering with my hands and keeping the bend. Sometimes I was more successful than others. Lots of trot-halt-trot transitions mixed in as well. Left lead we cantered a circle using first half the ring then later a small circle not passing the mounting block down at the far end. The left lead is a struggle for us at the canter and I had to work to keep my body back, look ahead, and not break AND not turn early enough. Add in heat… Somehow we were actually successful today. Small canter circles, left lead in particular, I HATE. I think Ranger helped. I’m pretty sure he knew we’d still be working on the damn circle if we broke…

Right lead we were spared of circles and added in the our log jump (outside single). First time through we had a nice soft canter. Second time around, I was asked to be more forward so I asked for more canter. Still a nice easy jump. At this point, I’m pretty sure Ranger was ready to be done.

We started cantering down my favorite straw bale jump towards the in gate (now in a new location) and continued around to a brown box jump so it was sort of a figure 8. Goal was not to rush to the bales, but to keep the energy to the boxes and remember to stay out long enough on the rail but then to use both hands to steer to the center. Today was the start of “I can see my spots today” and “Jumping is easy?” It was turning out to be that kind of lesson.

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Next we came up the straw bales and then down the inside line on the quarter line and continued around to our brown boxes. First time, picking up the canter, Ranger was a bit strong and even through I tried to “tug-tug” I also held a bit. As a result, we broke turning the corner to the bales and then got our canter back. The spot was still there but the rhythm wasn’t a nice as it could have been. Still, remember that the turn to the inside quarter line was tight, I remembered to stay out (yay for fixing last week’s mistakes!) and look and our turn worked and again, spot was there and the line was there. We kept our energy and continued to the last jump which was fine. We repeated our exercise to improve my hands and not fight and with a better first turn and better balance, we didn’t break–everything else stayed the same. We walked our corner to looked at the angle of a broken line (I like looking at lines whenever possible, especially if the turn is weird).

From the first jump of our broken/bending line, we turned left and picked up a canter and cantered down over the outside single log jump, cantered up our brown boxed, and then continued around to our weird broken bending line. What can I say, I was have a good day? I don’t know…

 

By this point, we’d jumped everything in the ring but 3 jumps. So, we ended with trotting the cross rail on the end (awkward entrance) down the long side to the inside line (goal 6 strides). First time through we came in from the left. The cross rail was fine (Ranger wanted to rush it, but whatever), but then I struggled to bring him back for the change and  I never re-established our canter rhythm. By the time we approached the first jump of the line, we were crooked and it wasn’t pretty. We ended up with a 7 because that was what was there and I didn’t have any rhythm. We did it again, this time from the right. The cross rail was better (I found the right approach easier even though most evidently like the left approach better?), he still wanted to rush, but we landed less draggy. I managed to bring him back for our change right away and then established a rhythm rather than fighting and could actually look for my spot. First jump was there and then I could move him up for the 6. Thankfully after that, we were done.

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One Hot Ranger

I tried to walk him out a bit, but moved on to the hose pretty quickly. I’m pretty sure I spent 30 minutes hosing and scraping before he actually felt cool. No one was ever going to dry today…

Meanwhile we’re supposedly showing on Monday… I’ll be off from work for the week and agreed to this. It sounded like a good idea at the time. Like all shows do… But now? Local show at Devon which is mostly the reason. How often do I have the chance to show at Devon? Pretty much never. So, for that reason I’m going. But then I think, why spend money so that people can judge me? Makes little sense… Regardless, this will probably be it show-wise for me for a while. I need to build up my reserves. Maybe sometime in the fall, maybe not. But definitely it for the summer. Possibly the fall. But maybe I’ll get some nice pictures out of this one?

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Love my Barn Dog Apparel T-Shirt!

Supplements (BlogHop from DIY Horse Ownership)

 

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Olivia from DIY Horse Ownership is doing a Blog Hop on supplements so I thought I’d participate.

Batts:

Batts is my supplement horse. He’ll eat anything (except bananas and fig newtons) so he’s not a good test case regarding taste. He lives by the philosophy of eat first, think later.

Which is why it’s really strange that there are items he won’t eat.

Like fig newtons.

Go figure?

I don’t understand this horse entirely…

Digestive:

Dispersible-Powder_5lb Probios Powder 2 scoops daily (~ $.22/day). I started him on this after his New Bolton stay for colic since I’m just paranoid. New Bolton basically told me probiotics don’t do much, but, it’s cheap and doesn’t hurt and makes me feel like I’m at least doing SOMETHING vs NOTHING so why not, right?

 

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Joint:

 

 

I just feed MSM. Right now he gets the Vitaflex MSM @ $.17/day. He’s a little sticky sometimes and this seems to help him be less creeky and more comfortable. When he gets more ouchy/stiff, we go back to the loading dose @$.34/day but most of the time we do well with the maintenance dose.

 

Electrolytes:

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So, Batts is my chronic impaction colicer. He gets EVERY. SINGLE. MEAL. SOAKED. More than soaked, he gets them soupy. Thankfully he’ll more  or less eat anything. He gets a single 3 quart scoop of cubes, 2 take out quart soup containers of plain dried beet pulp dumped in a 5 gallon bucket, and water added so the whole thing is filled 2/3 – 3/4 of the way (lately it’s 2/3 since he’s started protesting the 3/4). To that we add 1-2 quarts of grain for flavoring (right now he gets strategy healthy edge which I can up if he needs to when in higher work but this summer he doesn’t need it — winter he gets too fat and usually needs a diet…). He doesn’t do well on ration balancers and usually looks terrible coat and condition-wise. This seems to work for us… Then he gets electrolytes. LOTS of electrolytes. I buy a MASSIVE 20lbs container of Orange Stress Dex (smells like tang) and he gets 2 scoops AM and PM spring and fall and had been getting 1 scoop AM and PM the rest of the year. But, after he coliced in December, my vet advised he stay on the massive dose all year. But, I go through 3-4 of the 20lbs containers a year. It’s INSANE. So, since he does drink a lot in the summer, I’m experimenting with 1 2/3 of a scoop AM/PM just to limit my use. Yes, our electrolyte usage is insane, but it’s under vet directions. Stress Dex is the cheapest I can find and he eats it so… I have no idea the cost per day nor do I wish to ever calculate it. I usually buy from Dover @ $44.99 per container (tax free) from the local Dover store. If I buy from my feed store, it’s a few dollars more with tax (I buy most everything else from them so I don’t mind skipping them on the Stress Dex purchases).

Flax Seed:

I started feeding whole flax a few winters ago. It improved his coat and hoof quality. I feed a 1.5 cups/daily. A 50lbs bag runs ~ $29.95 from the one further feed store ($45 from the close local feed store) and lasts 2 months since Subi will no longer eat it. Every time I take him off of it, he gets abscesses. Now when he gets abscesses, he’s rarely lame from them so…?

Jiminy:

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He’s easy.

Metabolic:

1 scoop of Quiessence just because I’m paranoid. I don’t know if it does anything, but I’m afraid to stop. He’s in decent weight, but just in case… Gets soaked beet pulp with 8 alfalfa cube PM only and a handful of grain.

He also gets 1/2 scoop electrolytes.

img_3376-1Subi:

He’s terrible about eating poison aka supplements. He gets 1 1/2 cups Buckeye Ultimate Finish fat (~1lbs 2x/day) with his grain and beet pulp in the morning or grain and soaked alfalfa cubes in the evening. He gets chopped hay AM as well (he will ONLY eat the tractor supply brand chopped hay… we are that picky…). He gets way too much grain (combo of Equine Senior and Omalene 200 RT which is currently willing to eat now, but I’m sure it’ll change when he decides that’s no longer edible).  You haven’t met picky until you’ve met Subi. When feed reps actually suggest mixing feeds (which they do NOT do), you know your horse is picky… Nothing medically wrong with him either. I’d love to add at least one supplement (MSM), but I’d risk him going on a hunger strike so it’s just not happening.