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?