Ranger Recap: Escape to Zen

It’s been insanely stressful at work lately (understatement of the year, but this blog isn’t about me melting down about work), so a lesson with Ranger was exactly what I needed.

Goof.

He was already ridden that day (and, as a result, was super clean) and supposedly spent a lot of time leaning in. But, he was super pleasant to ride. While slow and a bit pokey, I faced none of the typical leaning issues and we circled without issue and played none of our regular “GET OFF MY RIGHT LEG” game while trotting around or circling. Maybe he sensed my stress and was going easy on me? Maybe he was happy to have me on his back? Maybe he got it all out of his system earlier? Who knows, but all I know is “he would not stop leaning in the entire lesson” according to my trainer with his earlier rider. I faced none of that. Lucky me? Anyway, he was a DREAM to ride. Love my Ranger.

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Log jump (on an angle next to the green) with the real plants next to it

 

After a low key trot and canter warm up and a quick review of changes (we did one right to left and moved on), we started by picking up a right lead canter and started over the log jump heading away from the road (new course, yay!). Then, we continued to our outside line against the fence in a 7. Supposedly because the log jump is narrowish (ok, it didn’t feel that way, but I guess), Ranger likes to duck out), but there was NO hesitation, ducking, anything and we cantered over nicely and continued around (with a simple change because we. could. not. land. on. the. correct. lead. to. save. our. lives. at. all. during. the. entire. lesson. I think Ranger thought it was funny?) to the outside line in a 7. Every once in a while there is a line that I love. It’s this outside line. I cannot explain how much I just love this line. It is set up to perfection. Everything about it is perfection.

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My lovely outside line

There wasn’t much to perfect (seriously. LOVE that line) so instead of turning to the outside line, we turned instead to our small white oxer after the log jump and then continued around to the broken line with the trees. The log was good, the oxer was eh (Ranger was a little slow so I ended up moving past the spot) and then the line, the first jump was again perfect, but then I again and too slow of a horse and rode too much to get too much pace and yep, move too far beyond the spot to a chip. Not that it mattered because it’s Ranger. But…

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Full course including inside broken line (stone walls with tree standards) and white oxer with the blue and white standards

So we did that again. This time the wasn’t as good, I had a better but still not 100% perfect ride to the oxer and finally stopped over riding when it came to the broken line. Took me long enough, right? Then we continued around and added in the outside line and once again it was just perfection because it is. I 100% LOVE THAT LINE. It’s just so easy.

Instead of jumping the log away from the road again, we changed things up and took it towards the road. This direction I actually felt him think SLIGHTLY about doing something, but it wasn’t even any effort to keep him straight and he didn’t really try. It was a half hearted, “are you paying attention? yes? never mind.” Type of thing. We continued around down to our blue and white gate jump as a single towards the in gate and then came up to other outside line (I can’t remember the stride). This was the only time all night (the line) that Ranger had ANY energy and I had to actually land, woah SLIGHTLY and the just sit there. He was so completely perfect all lesson it was incredible. Have I mention how insanely perfect this horse is?

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A nice view of the blue and white gate (we jumped it from the other direction where there are a whole bunch of flowers)

We ended on that course, because, I really couldn’t top anything. The jumps were low and easy, but who cares? The strides were fine even if I couldn’t see spots all the time (my eye wasn’t working which I hate as that is not normal for me).

All in all though, it was a great lesson and just super..consistent. We took an insanely long walk around the paddocks to cool out which I needed just to decompress mentally.

Ranger grumbled as his friends were out eating his hay, but he enjoyed himself. It’s so nice it’s finally light and getting warm. I missed my post lesson walks. I really needed them.

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How could you not love this guy?

Fair Hill Blogger Trail Ride

Taking advantage of a quiet evening reference desk shift to catch up on this blog. Saturday afternoon we FINALLY had our much planned blogger trail ride at Fair Hill with Michele, Emma, and Emma’s barn mate Amy and her horse Punky. I think Emma first mentioned a trail ride almost 2 years ago and it FINALLY happened! Michele and I had a planned a paper chase this past fall that was cancelled then a ride that we bailed on when life, weather, and, er, musicals got in the way.

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And this nose. This nose ALWAYS is in the way.

Too bad this trail ride happened because Michele is a terrible, mean person [who rescues me from airports and work and takes my blankets down to slower, lower Delaware] and is ditching us for TN. I mean, who is going to rescue me when I get stranded somewhere next? Obviously NOT my friends and family… Remember, it’s ALL ABOUT ME!
Selfish rant over. And, no, you can’t take Jiminy to TN.
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Putting Michele to work and making her hold my horse. And Batty’s posing because, that’s what he does…

After all this terrible weather we’ve had, Saturday was GORGEOUS! The pollen count wasn’t terrible either which was helpful as Batts’ heaves and allergies have been acting up. Enough that Michele and Emma thought I was contemplating bailing. No. But, had he been as bad as he was the previous week when I tried to get on him for my 1 “ride” since Thanksgiving, I’d had to have. Poor horse was coughing up a lung thanks to so allergies… But, everything settled since then and whenever the vet gets his Hydroxyzine in, he’ll start that 2x/day. Anyway, with 5 minutes of w/t on the lunge line and a 5 minute ride at the walk both a week before and no other work since Thanksgiving, we headed out to Fair Hill. Because, that’s completely normal, right?
Michelle taking a picture of me taking a picture…
So, Batty is THAT horse who is born broke and always quiet. This was no exception. His coughing was generally OK except when he was a. Ignored  or b. Bored. As long as we were doing something fun (ie: NOT returning to the trailer.. we sulked and had LOTS of feelings about going home. Mostly that included dragging our feet because we’re not normal), no coughing occurred. But, when we were in the trailer alone being ignored? Cough. Strange horse.

Anyway, we had a great time. Batty and Remus were the perfect pair. Remus was up Batty’s butt and Batts didn’t care (the joy of a former lesson horse…). Batt DID cause Remus to spook once over this plastic thing on the ground that he was sniffing at by turning sideways which was highly entertaining since Michele managed NOT to fall off… But all bridges were crossed, all water was crossed, and bravery was accomplished. We did make Angry Faces at Charlie for some reason though… Sorry Charlie…
Overall, the company was fantastic! I wonder why I don’t get out to Fair Hill more often considering I’m 15 (20-25 with the trailer) minutes away. So many trails to explore. And all Batts wants to do is explore. Had circumstances been different, some trotting and cantering would have been lovely! But, considering how out of shape a certain chestnut was… the walk was ideal!
Hopefully Michele and I will get out again before she heads to TN. So much more exploring to do!
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Sir Charlie!

Of course, as great as our ride was, drama followed me home… After passing a tiny Amish cart pulled by a Shetland pony, I almost got run off the road by farm equipment… Nothing like a tractor that can’t fit in a single lane approaching you when your hauling. I certainly wasn’t moving off the road. Somehow he managed to pass me with about 6″ to spare… I just sat there gritting my teeth. Then I arrived home to find that Subi had been screaming since I left 3 hours earlier (he’d been running too but got tired and resorted to just screaming). Lesson learned: When I take Batt out. DON’T put Subi and Jiminy on grass. Jiminy cares more about grass than Subi and Subi cares more about Batty than grass or Jiminy. At least when they’re in the paddock, Jiminy stays close to Subi and he’s not THAT dramatic.

Clean at Fair Hill, muddy within 5 minutes of being home

Drama. I don’t need it.

These two… tale of two quarter horses with opinions.

And because I can’t leave out the biggest drama queen of the bunch… Geldings.

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Subi’s lucky I love him…

Quilted Jiminy!

A mostly wordless… Friday post to share this amazing quilted Jiminy courtesy of Olivia from DIYHorseownership! I won her Easter contest and picked up an amazing quilted Jiminy complete with ears (that I missed in the box at first thanks to exhaustion and brain-dead-ness thanks to a 3 day work training in Pittsburgh…)

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Quilted Jiminy!

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Non quilted version

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Well behaved version with Ears!

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Non stuffed, less well behaved version with ears

And, to complete this, some fun from my trip to Pittsburgh… How many librarians can you fit in a hotel shuttle? Then answer is way too many when your shuttle driver’s name is Henry and you’ve been staring at large pages of text all day… And it shouldn’t be snowing at the end of April in PA. Just saying.

 

Ranger Recap: I’m so tired.

I have NOT recapped my lessons in the last few weeks. Not because they haven’t been good lessons (they have), but mostly because we’ve been stuck inside, have been working on rollbacks and I have had absolutely NO MEDIA and and work has been insane. Rollbacks are really hard to write about when you don’t have so much as a picture of the course. And then I sort of got tied up with work (or taxes) and never managed to even try and recap. Oops.

I’m not much better this week, but at least I rode outside?

I was in DC/Bethesda for the first half of the week for a workshop at the NIH on research data management. I only bring that up to clue everyone into my mental and physical state going into my lesson last night. My legs were burning (SO. MUCH. WALKING. NIH campus is huge) within 2 minutes thanks to comfortable (yet probably not ideal) shoes from earlier in the week and I was exhausted and not really able to take in direction? As long as I didn’t need to think, all was good. If I needed to think? haha!

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My train… Boarding without a platform… Platform 9 3/4 I guess?

We started off with a lovely FORWARD trot. Ranger was happy to be outside (though a little grumpy his OMG BEST FRIENDS were outside in the field next to the ring eating his hay) and moving nicely to the left. My left leg was not dead. We hopped over the poles that were in our one outside line working on straightness (so, there was a pole then a little shoot then another pole |    =    |   (the last pole had flowers with it). This direction was easy, though we did that a few times. Then we changed direction, and tried it to the right twice, adding in some circles and halts. To the right, OMG right drift and right leg = DEAD. And, after doing that twice, we picked up the canter and it became EVEN HARDER with the damn drift. But, the goal was canter the thing in 8 strides (easy), then canter it in 9 strides, really collecting (not hard, but the god damn drift), then 8 strides (easy), then 7 strides (easy) then 8 strides (OMG I’m dying)  then walk. The hardest part was that we essentially cantered 5 times around the ring and my legs were protesting so much. Well, my right ankle was mostly dying. See, I was paying with the swelling in my feet from the stupid trip…. Then we moved to the other direction and Ranger just naturally moved FORWARD. And the 8 was too fast and yeah we struggled. So, it took a couple times to get a nice 8 because I was already tired. But, essentially we did an 8 and then circled until we had the canter for the 9, then got him too forward for the 7 (oops, I was aiming for the 6…) then tried again and got the 7 then walked and I collapsed and took a break.

After a walk break which wasn’t as long as I’d like, Ranger and I were assigned our next task: cantering into our inside green oxer (an 8 canter), shortening our canter to our log (9 canter) which was a super tight turn as it was basically a tight half circle to the log out of the inside line and then immediately to the other outside line in the 4 (7 canter).  We actually made it through the first time, but had a little too much canter for the single. But, when in double, I’ve learned to move up rather than be passive and the jump was nice. But, Ranger was leaning on the landing making jump 2 hard. Take 2 wasn’t as nice as we landed wrong from the single (which was too slow) and turned late and it was ugly-ish. I mean, it wasn’t bad, but not great? Take 3 was better, but the simple change still was taking throwing me… Finally, take for was as perfect as I could make it and I think we thankfully didn’t do a take 5.

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You can sort of see the log?

From here we cantered right lead over our other inside single towards Ranger’s OMG BEST FRIENDS (idiot) and then came around to our inside line. My brain was seriously fried at this point so I just decided to count 1-2-1-2 to hold a steady pace and not mess with him. Our pace felt fine though I did here my trainer tell me I didn’t need to gallop… Oops. Our first jump was gorgeous and then I forgot to stay out for the line (it’s a super hard turn and if you don’t stay out, the line DOES NOT WORK AT ALL) but then Ranger drifted because I had no right leg and it all worked out and the in was perfect and then we drifted slightly and the out oxer was perfect, even though, gallop. But, because we can’t end on almost perfect (ie: gallop), we did it again.

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So brown single (with the blue and white standards) around to white boxes inside line

So last time through. Goal: NO drift and NO GALLOP. I basically approached the single with the same 1-2-1-2-1-2 approach and thankfully we had an even more perfect jump (no OMG BEST FRIENDS this time) and then landed and I continued to 1-2-1-2-1-2 myself to the next jump and we jumped STRAIGHT through the entire thing. Ranger, knowing he was complete PERFECTION got a hug and then started yanking at the reins… Brat. Thankfully we ended or I would have said no. Seriously, it was the nicest jumps I have done in the longest time. Don’t make me top that.

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Reunited with BEST FRIENDS Elliot (bay) and Mikey (grey)

The Great Easter Egg Hunt of 2018 (or not)

I have a lot to recap including a lesson on Ranger and so much to do at work. But instead, why not share some silliness?

Olivia @ DIY Horseownership is holding an Easter Contest — You can enter too on her blog. And, Saturday after a long day when I was losing my mind, I figured it was as good of a time as any to participate. So, I what did I do other than make horse cookies and hold an Easter Egg Hunt for Jiminy?

The plan was to follow her Pill Hider Horse Treats (rules stated you could use any of the homemade horse treat recipes), but I didn’t have any apple sauce and didn’t want to go to the store (keep the part in mind later) so I used canned pumpkin in its place. So, basically, my treats were a hybrid between the Pill Hider Horse Treats and the Pumpkin Horse Treats.

But the recipe was super easy to follow until I realized that I did NOT own a mini muffin pan. And was not planning to buy one. Enter modification number…6? So I used a large muffin pan and made some large muffins and then still had batter. They take an hour to cook and if I did multiple batches, I’d never  be finished and I needed sunlight for my Easter Egg hunt! So, I found muffin cups and started dumping batter in those. So I ended up with less than pretty muffins, but it worked…

Biscuit approves… This kitten is TROUBLE.

Of course, while the muffins were cooking, I realized I was missing a key element of the hunt. The costume. So, I left my husband with a core instruction: Make sure the house doesn’t burn down. And headed off to CVS in search of bunny ears. The struggle was real folks. BUT, success! 3 pairs of bunny ears remained and I purchased the best pair. (I could have picked up apple sauce…)

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I came home, house still standing and waited for the cookies to finish Then, when they were FINALLY finished, I sped up the cooling process (thank you refrigerator) and out we went for a photo shoot, egg hiding session, and THE HUNT!

It was dinner time for the boys so Jiminy was the only HUNT participant. But, they all participated in the taste test and photo shoot. Subi, pickiest of them all, is IN LOVE with the cookies. Probably because they don’t have apple in them. He is NOT a fan of apple sauce… So, the pumpkin in a hit.

MORE COOKIES!!!!

But the star of the show? Jiminy.

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Yes,  Jiminy

We didn’t allow him loose for the hunt as he can escape from the round pen and he was a little distracted by grass…

Nonetheless, he’s utterly adorable…

He was very disappointed when he found the last “egg” and didn’t get to stay and enjoy the green grass… Let’s just say, grass is the last thing he needs 🙂