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.


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!


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.


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…


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.


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.


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.


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!


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.


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.


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.


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!).


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!