Yak to cow pony.

It’s that time of year! Well, a couple months late, but…

Jiminy got clipped this weekend!

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Before!

He turned from a mini horse into a yak. His coat was about 4″ thick and he was miserable.

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Mid clip….

He briefly turned into a pony with boots.

Thankful for my clipmasters! Those are the only things that get through his coat.

And a mini who is a saint for clipping!

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Begging for cookies. 

Then he got his brand new sheet on and turned into a cow!

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Cow print!

People always ask WHY I clip my mini.

Multiple reasons.

  1. When I first got him, my farrier suggested it. It is SO hard with the minis in the winter to figure out just how fat they are with their coats… Clipping allows me to actually see just how much he weighs.
  2. Despite his coat, he gets REALLY cold backed and when he’s cold backed, he turns into evil, devil Jiminy. You don’t want to meet Mean Jiminy. With a blanket on, he’s an angel. So, clipping allows Jiminy to wear a blanket and be nice. Sounds strange, but come pony sit and you’ll see the difference. Until you’ve been kicked by Devil Jiminy…
  3. Weight control. I’ll be honest, if has to use some calories to keep himself warm, he has a few extra pounds to spare.
  4. He’s just happier.
  5. He runs warm and can’t handle warm days without being clipped. I should have clipped him 2 months ago but I failed. He can’t handle warm days with his coat.
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Looking good!

Anyway, he’s very proud of himself now. He’s marching around the paddock with extra confidence these days!

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So. Much. Hair. 

 

Ranger Recap: Blame.

I want to start this post off by saying my lesson this week was everything last week was now. Incredible. Perfection.

But, it revealed some holes(?) in my past training that I want to talk a little bit about while also recapping my lesson.

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In one of her recent recaps, the everything pony talked about how old habits from old lessons and old trainers resurface during lessons with new trainers. Stuff that’s so ingrained that we don’t even think about it. It’s not necessarily the heels down or closed fingers or the mechanics of riding, but the mental stuff that sticks with you in ways you don’t realize until you are riding with someone new. Now, caveat, my trainer isn’t new, I’ve been riding with her consistently for 2.5+ years now and have taken a few lessons with her before then. But, I rode with my previous trainer for much longer, multiple times a week at times, plus I rode with other instructors at her barn, in her program. So, I was fully ingrained.

Last week, I had issues with the one stride. I didn’t steer aggressively. Then, I didn’t do enough to get us over the skinny. It didn’t take a lot to get over the 1 stride and after 2 attempts, we were over and had no issues. The skinny, I struggle with, despite my best attempts, I still AM 100% certain I WAS DOING SOMETHING WRONG and a better rider could have gotten Ranger over.

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Last night, we were warming up on the flat at the trot. It was windy, but warm so we were light on flat work. Trainer mention I need to work on bending him more (his nose wanted to point out despite my best effort). To the left, I managed to get him bending (holy crap, my inside leg was THROBBING), but to the right, nothing I did worked. “I have no right leg.” “It might not be your right leg. If he’s not listening, escalate. Kick him with your inside leg.” After kicking him, we did some circles and I got him bending better to the right (I struggled with our circle/pole exercise to the left, however, I misunderstood the point was to go OVER the pole the until I was halfway through the exercise to the left the first time, so… that was the bigger issue. Lol)

During our walk break, my trainer mention that an 8 year old has been riding him and causing his right drift. I brought up that I was taught to blame myself for all the issues and never blame my horse. My trainer flat out said that is bull and sometimes it is the horse. All of the issues last week were caused by right drift. Yes, I was passive, but, I rode straight to the jumps with equal leg pressure and normally that would have been enough. I did then share that I hate 1 strides (and bounces) and left to stew about dying… She agreed that I do better when I can just get my course and go so that lesson wasn’t the best fit for me. But, my riding wasn’t the entire problem. But, I take 100% of the blame when stuff goes wrong even when it may only be 50% my fault (or less or more). Much of this is because I don’t see myself as a competent rider. I need to work on that. But, it was a really good and necessary conversation that we had.

So, after this, we canter and I rode. First, supposedly, I picked up too much of a canter? Rare for me! But, I’ll take credit here. We were outside and it didn’t feel fast so I asked for more. But, with the wind, it was supposedly too much. And, Ranger was leaning in on the corners… I was told to halt and back, but as I asked for that canter, instead I just lifted and balanced and he came right back to me which made my trainer happy. To the right, the leaning was worse so I kicked which got him fast, but, he got off my leg which then allowed me to balance him. I did have issues keeping my right hand by his shoulder so I’ll work on that for next week…

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We started back and forth over the quarter line jump. Basically, working on straightness to it, even pace, and halting on the landing. Right lead was actually easy and I made the turn without issue (I struggle SO MUCH with that turn). Left lead we were able to canter a circle first to establish pace, then a slight steadying tug UP and again, all was good.

Next we came down our quarter line around to our outside single around to the inside single oxer. Once again, the quarter line was easy, the single was fine in that I rode to it and fit what I saw and wanted in to it. Now, the spot was our worst spot of the night but it was 100% adequate. It wasn’t a chip and it was completely deliberate, but it wasn’t as lovely as every other jump of the night. But, as I struggle SO MUCH with that jump, I’ll take it. After that jump, we headed towards the in gate where Ranger got a bit excited and thankfully I adjusted early and we nicely jumped that fence.

We ended with a course. Outside line in a 6, inside line in a 6, outside single, and inside oxer. Every. Single. Fence. Just. Happened. Perfectly. Seriously. I can’t even describe it. So, the inside like was a 5, but the 5 was there. We were going home, he was in front of my leg and it worked. Heading to the outside single, I felt the right drift early and was able to get him OFF my leg and move him over and finally nailed the distance I wanted. The outside line was nice, the oxer was lovely.

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Halloween for horses? 

My trainer thought it was a good idea to end while we were ahead. I agreed. I didn’t miss one distance and Ranger was perfection.

25 Questions

Amanda asks 25 questions and since it appears I’m blogging this week, why not? I’m not sure I’ll actually answer all of them since I don’t actually have answers for everything, but other than that? Why not?

Why horses? Why not a sane sport, like soccer or softball or curling?

Mostly because I played soccer and softball and didn’t like playing them? I wasn’t good and in team sports that matters? Individual sports it doesn’t matter so much. And curling? Well, I DO want to try that one day… Lol. Plus, horses. Animals are so much better than people, just saying.

What was your riding “career” like as a kid?

My riding “career” started as a teenager as the deal for lessons was I could start lessons once I could find a barn and schedule lessons myself. I actually got into horses through horse racing and a phenomenal organization called Kids to the Cup founded by the late Trudy McCaffery who sought to bring young fans to the Breeders’ Cup and Triple Crown races. I won a trip to the 2001 Preakness Stakes through an essay contest and joined KTTC to the Breeders’ Cup and 2002 Triple Crown for my senior project… The organization introduced me to trainers, owners, jockeys, etc. and brought me to the backside.

Anyway, riding wise, my mom paid for weekly lessons until I graduated high school and then I was on my own. So I started working off my lessons for my instructor and went from riding 1x a week to 3x a week…

If you could go back to your past and buy ONE horse, which would it be?

Forsooth. He was probably always a better match for me than Subi. Just as athletic but always a little quieter?

But truly, Ranger is the real answer here.img_8600

What disciplines have you participated in?

Hunters, eq, and short lived IHSA stint in western stock seat

What disciplines do you want to participate in some day?

Perhaps eventing? I’ll steal Ranger and we can go event. Lol

Have you ever bought a horse at auction or from a rescue?

Nope

What was your FIRST favorite horse breed – the one you loved most as a kid?

Thoroughbred

If you could live and ride in any country in the world, where would it be?

Irish countryside or Icelandic horses!

Do you have any horse-related regrets?

That I couldn’t fix Hayley. Maybe if I figured out what was wrong with her earlier I could have fixed or saved her?

If you could ride with any trainer in the world, ASIDE from your current trainer, who would it be?

This I don’t know. Perhaps Louise Serio for hunters?

What is one item on your horse-related bucket list?

Riding in the Dixon Oval was a bucket list item that I’ve checked off…. Riding in Ireland?

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If you were never able to ride again, would you still have horses?

YES! Considering I have a retired Subi horse and mini….

What is your “biggest fantasy” riding goal?

Large farm! I just want LAND and no mud. Fine, that’s a horse goal not a riding goal.   To be comfortable and confident almost always?

What horse do you feel like has taught you the most?

I think Ranger, being a packer, has taught me that I know more than I believe I do?  When you can just work on you, it’s SO NICE. Subi taught me to have a strong leg and quiet hands. Batty taught me to wait at fences (yay for stoppers…)

If you could change one thing about your current horse/riding situation, what would it be?

I’d have money and be able to ride multiple times per week? Maybe I’d have a riding horse that can actually do ring/fence work? I want a Ranger!

If you could compete at any horse show/venue in your home country, where would it be?

I don’t love showing/competing so no real needs here! Lol. Showing  at the Devon grounds was just an experience  because, tradition.

If you could attend any competition in the world as a spectator, what would be your top choice?

I’ll start with NotRolex and go from there

Have you ever thought about quitting horses?

All the time! More due to finances than reality. After Hayley, I was an awful person and ignored my boys for about 2 months…  So much guilt about that…

If you could snap your fingers and change one thing about the horse industry, what would it be?

How fragile horses are…

What’s the dumbest horse-related thing you’ve done that actually turned out pretty well?

So many dumb things…. Riding Batty around the neighborhood? Buying Batty?

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Not a planned purchase…

As you get older, what are you becoming more and more afraid of?

Head injuries.

What horse-related book impacted you the most?

I’ll try and fill in later…

What personality trait do you value most in a horse and which do you dislike the most?

Willingness and loyal and kind.

What do you love most about your discipline?

Non scary jumps!

What are you focused on improving the most, at the moment?

Trusting my eye!