Ranger Recap: Proof in video

Thanks to a wide range of circumstances, my Thursday lesson was pushed back to Saturday this week.

It was really pretty earlier in the week…

It was all fine. Thursday would have meant that I got to ride with snow falling off the roof of the indoor which is always fun. Plus my neck/back was killing me for some odd reason… Who knows. I’m a walking disaster. Regardless, I find it really odd to ride during the day these days. Anyway, it all meant that Michele! came out and served at videographer once she navigated around Amish buggies… That’s the problem with Saturdays…


My lesson started with a pokey, blockheaded Ranger. Evidently he’s been a little difficult over the last week. So, during our initial w/t flat work, we did a lot of trot/halt/back transitions until I finally got him off of his front end and on to his butt. We also did a lot of tiny circles at the trot and worked on not falling in. Finally we got some square halts where it didn’t feel like Ranger was going to try and drag me onto the ground (it was that kind of a day to start out… He’s got a BIG HEAD). Somewhere around this point, Michele showed up.

At the canter, the focus was mostly forward down the long sides and making Ranger collect use his butt in the corners. Then, to start off to the right, we circled and I failed to realize that with the new course, the jumps were on the long side and proceeded to almost crash into a fence. BUT, we managed not to and didn’t lose our canter. It was just not pretty. Take 2 was nicer. Then on the other side of the ring, tiny circles at the canter were the goal. I should have know this was a clue for things to come. Left lead was uneventful… Just a circle or two…

Our warm up exercise was…evil. It was a figure eight exercise over a cross rail. Thankfully I do NOT have a video of it. Basically, we cantered left lead over this cross rail, then landed turned right and cantered right lead (TIGHT TURN) over the cross rail, landed, cantered left lead again over it. I think we did it 3 times? I mean, it went fine, I just didn’t like the exercise.

From here, we did the same cross rail (cantering in left lead), but instead of  turning back to the cross rail, we instead went to the outside line against the rail). First time through I kind of lacked the power I needed and we did an ugly 7. The second jump was the EVIL death jump that has the invisible spikes… YES they are there and they pop out at you when you go over it thank you very much. But, the second time through, I actually rode the damn thing and we got the 6. My issue the first time was I was still in the holding mindset from the tight turn to get back to the cross rail (we had to turn at the first jump of the line) rather than a going mode to make the line.

Next we worked on our inside single which wasn’t an issue at all. This was the only place that I could feel Ranger occasionally want to get strong but a tiny lift was all he needed. From the single we continued to the cross rail bending to the second jump in the outside line (AKA the death jump). It was fine. No issue at all. We only put the 3 together once?

Finally we ended with our course that took me a few times to get right. We started we the outside single which first time we proceeded to take a rail down. Next we came around to the inside line in a 6. I got the simple change late though the turn, while hard (it’s one of those you have to wait for it turns, but I turn late so those work for me), wasn’t an issue. That said, I let Ranger pull me a bit and we sort of sucked in the line and got in tight to the out of the line…

Take 2 was better spots, but Ranger was severely distracted. His BFF Elliot walked in and instead of picking up his feet, he was focused on Elliot. So we took out a bunch of rails. Because, idiot.

Take 3 was FINALLY the course we wanted. We added on to it by continuing to our outside line and then continuing to our inside single.

Anyway, we called it a day from there. The bad news was Ranger had to do double duty and will have to do double duty on Thursdays from now on. Sucks for him. AND I’ll lose my Thursday zen tack up time. But, hopefully come summer the kid riding him before me will find another time to ride and I can find my zen time again.

Ranger Recap: Changes

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


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

Flat work part 1:

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

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

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


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

Over fences fails:

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

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

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

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

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


Like hang out with Elliot

Flat work part 2:

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

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

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

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

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


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

If your horse were a human…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Something about him…

Who would your horse be?

Happy (?) 5 Year Anniversary

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

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


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

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

So I play the if only game.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


The sweetest mare there ever was

Catching up (and partial Ranger Recap)

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

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

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


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

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


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

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


One of these things do not belong… 

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

We call this look the Albert Einstein

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

Ranger Recap: Control.

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


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


Overworked, underfed. Poor, abused pony. 

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

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


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

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

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

The many face of Ranger need many treats

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

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