Ranger Recap: Through the storm

I rode. 2 weeks in a row. What is this witchcraft?

That said, riding was probably NOT the smartest idea. Wednesday night I was nearly knocked unconscious by my idiot chestnut. It was a perfect storm. Bugs. Darkness rolling in. And a stick up his butt. He reared and came down on my head (with his head, but whatever). 5 days later, I still have a sore spot. But, no concussion symptoms yet. But I’m a 7-10 day person so…

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So exhausted (pre-lesson), lol

And Thursday, the weather people were calling for storms. But, it was looking OK. Sun. So I rolled out, humidity and all, tacked up, and hopped on. The previous lesson was running over (as usual) though it was no where near as crowded as before. We got our trotting in. And eventually some cantering. I was doing a decent job riding his back legs, but it took me a few strides to find the balance between riding with too much hand and trusting that he’d stay where I wanted him.

See, I’m probably the only person who asks this of him so…

By the second direction? We found the balance. Ask in the beginning. Lift in the corners. Ask him to lengthen and support himself down the sides. And let go. It was just there. And then our halt? Just there. He was under himself. It was perfect.

So we hung out for a few minutes while the clouds rolled in and the other horses finished jumping. My trainer asked if I minded a little rain… Nope, what’s a little rain? As long as there’s no lightning?

So funny.

We made it into the indoor just in time.

The skies opened up like I’ve never seen before.

Through the deluge, we started in a circle over a cross rail, just keeping him on his hind end, and jumping out of stride. Holy crap. I cannot even explain how much easier everything is when he’s cantering properly like that. Long stride, short stride, IT DOES NOT MATTER.

Next we worked on the long ride down the inside single around to the short ride to the other inside single. I typically have struggled with the first inside single because coming around the corner, Ranger gets strong, drops and drags and in the past, it’s so hard so keep him in check. I can get the stride and the jump, but not out of the canter I want.

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Did I mention this was going on during my lesson????

This lesson? I picked up my canter at the far side and balanced him, making sure out canter was coming from behind. The first time we turned that corner, I felt him try to drop but because he was cantering from behind, I just tugged up and steadied and bam. Everything was there. Single best fence ever (until the next time). I didn’t keep enough leg coming out so we hit a longer spot and, because he was cantering from his hind end, it was all good. But, a touch more energy would have made it nicer.

Taking it all again, brought us to our NICEST JUMP EVER. Through a monsoon. Because, the indoor windows were open and we were riding past a beach wave? So, soaked we both were. Despite being inside. Lol.

But, this time, less fight and more response. And, I was able to add leg for the second fence and it took out the awkward massive spot.

What I notice here, was that if he’s canter from behind, using his hind end, it is SO MUCH HARDER for him to drop and drag. It’s a multi-step process. But if I can keep him here? He’s a different horse. And it’s so much harder for him to drag, get behind the leg, and all that.

Anyway, we ended with our outside line in a 6. Working on our canter coming in–energy–past the in gate and continuing to more forward. Jumps were just there that night and I was able to keep Ranger cantering correctly the entire evening.

Now if we could always ride like that…

25 Questions Blog Hop

Because all the cool kids are doing it. Thanks LWilliams for the blog hop!

1. What is the first thing you do when you get to the barn?

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Waiting for breakfast…

Feed the idiots breakfast. Technically my husband gives everyone a cookie and I all do is feed Subi breakfast while he feeds the rest, but that’s a technicality…

2. Is there a breed that you would never own?

Anything gaited?

3. Describe your last ride?

I blogged about it so go read that…

4. Have any irrational riding fears?

Getting run away with? I don’t like riding horses who have NO BRAKES. Especially horses with no brakes whose mouths you can’t touch (and who take off when you touch their mouths). Not my idea ride… I much prefer having to add leg…

5. Describe your favorite lesson horse?

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Perfection. 

RANGER. No contest at all. Seriously. He is 100% the best. Even if I did buy Batt years ago, he’s no Ranger. Back in pony land, Willy was pretty awesome too, but Ranger is the most amazing lesson horse ever.

6. Would you ever lease out your horse?

Anyone want any of mine? Please?

7. Mares: Yay or neigh?

I’m not a mare person. Hayley doesn’t count because she was more of a gelding than Subi. But I am not a mare person. Granted, she loved my husband and tolerated me so…

8. How many time per week do you get to see your horse?

7 days a week, 2-3-4-5 times a day?

9. Favorite thing to do on an “easy day” with your pony?

Stuff them with treats?

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Anyone want this thing?

10. Conformational flaw that bothers you the most?

Bad feed. Seriously. I hate bad feet.

11. Thing about your riding that you’re most self conscious about?

My build…

12. Will you be participating in no stirrup November?

Nope not my thing.

13. What is your grooming routine?

I’m terrible at the grooming routine. This is partially due to having horses that, until January, lived out 24/7. Once I have electric in the barn, I’ll try and get better with the grooming… Plus, 2 of my 3 hate it so… But, typically it’s a quick brush if they have dirt on them and fly spray now before fly sheets in the morning. Or, brush at night and the other stuff in the morning. Otherwise, just some brushing on the weekend while grazing on the good grass. I’m a terrible mom! Much more grooming happens during shedding season!

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Batt and his new version space alien/superhero fly mask 

14. Describe a day in the life of your horse?

Breakfast is fed in stalls between 6:10-6:20 (weekends around 7-7:30).Turnout around 7:30 (weekends 7:30-8:30). Stalls cleaned after work (or whenever I get to it on weekends). They come in usually before dark between 8 and 8:30 and eat dinner (and stay in for the night).

15. Favorite season for riding?

I like spring ONLY because I have an unnatural hatred for fall. Everything is dying and getting dark. I HATE LOSING DAYLIGHT. I also really hate the angle of the sun in the fall…

16. If you could only have 1 ring: indoor or outdoor?

I prefer having an outdoor with really nice footing. However, at home, I’d love to have an arena. And, I’d actually love to have an indoor so I could use it for turnout too. So, indoor at home (yes, I’d need a different property for that).

17. What impresses you most about the opposite discipline (english vs. western)?

I love some of the ground manners of western horses.

18. You have unlimited funds to buy one entire tack set for your horse, what is he/she wearing?

I don’t need anything for my horses (except maybe a better bridle for Batt), but in general? Just a really nice well fitting set of tack for a unicorn horse would be nice…

19. How many blankets do you have? When do you blanket?

Let’s not discuss this… too many? Probably 25-30? Blanket when needed. It’s in the low 60s today and Subi is wearing a rain sheet because it’s pouring…

20. What is your horse’s favorite treat? Favorite place to be scratched?

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Free horses, anyone want one? Or 2?

Subi: Peppermints or my homemade cookies. Plus carrots. Will not eat: apples or stud muffins or similar treats

Batt: Anything except for bananas or fig newtons. Favorites include stud muffins and apples and carrots

Jiminy: anything. Favorites include stud muffins and apples and peppermints

They also all like nicker makers.

Subi likes to rub his head against my back which he usually isn’t allowed to do. Jiminy likes head hugs.

21. Something about your barn that drives you crazy?

That I don’t have all weather footing and don’t have more land or a place to ride?

22. Roached manes, pulled manes, or long flowing manes?

I like pulled manes but I don’t pull mine as Subi hates it and he’s retired so I don’t make him. Batts is thin enough so I just trim as needed when I’m not lazy… Jiminy? Well… He has Tina Turner hair… Or Albert Einstein hair depending on the day…

23. Can you handle a buck or a rear better?

I. Don’t. Do. Rearing.

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Marble hanging out with the new load of hay

24. I would never buy a horse who ___________________?

Rears.

25. Favorite facial marking?

I like stars.

Ranger Recap: I rode a horse again!

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Not Ranger but these 2 fools are worthy of photos too.

After almost a month off from riding, I finally rode again!

Between my conference, 1 short, wonderful lesson (that I may or may not have recapped), getting seriously sick, and then Devon, I basically did NOT ride at all in May.

But, it’s June now and I finally got to ride again. And, I remembered how to tack up! I’d say I remembered what I horse looks like, but I sort of deal with those daily. But tack? Yes, I remembered how to do that!

Ranger. I love that horse.

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No photos just food.

Anyway, I was running a touch late and got to the barn to see a whole bunch of trailers… It was strange as Thursdays are usually dead. Anyway, I tacked up, rushed out to the outdoor to see all these people I didn’t know. Seriously. No one. Well, Forrest was in the ring, but other than him? I knew not one horse, pony, or rider. So, I got on, said hi to my trainer, and realized right away that things were running behind. Lol. Anyway, instead of warming up, I walked over to the rail and chatted with my trainer’s sister instead for about 10-15 minutes (because even though I was late, I still made it into the ring with 10 minutes to spare before my lesson started…)

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This duo… no words. 

Finally, I had brief trot warm up before another long walk break… Then to canter? I basically was used to teach a rider in the previous direction her leads. So, I’d canter some, she’d tell me if I were right or wrong (FYI, I always picked up my correct lead), then I’d walk or halt, and try again. It was… an interesting exercise for her and annoying for me and Ranger.

Eventually they all finished up and left the ring and norm restored.

We warmed up over our outside line (far side next to the pasture), working on riding Ranger’s back legs in a bouncy collected canter in an adding 7. No issue at all. Next, same line in a more forward 6 but still riding the back legs without adding speed. Fail. I got the 6, but rode his front end not the back end. So, we went back to the 7 to get the feel of the bouncy short stride coming from behind, no issue before maintaining that and just letting go and adding leg. Got it. And the 6 was right there.

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ring from my last lesson but I’m pretty sure most of it hasn’t changed

From here, we moved on to our next course: inside single (stone pillar standards) towards the barn/in gate, inside broken line (straw bales to straw bales — white standards by both mounting blocks to the white wing standards) in a 7 around to the outside line in a 6.

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Barn kittens in a stall… 

The first time we were heading directly to the single with a perfect canter to a perfect distance and suddenly chipped. A certain idiot (you choice who is at fault) decided that it was A-OK to drop and drag at the last second so chip we did… a quick halt and back and we started over again. Take two included a tug up and no drop and drag and a lovely forward distance. The broken line was nice (I’m getting so much better now at riding the bouncy canter and his hind end) the outside line was good as well. I would have even been happy to end there.

But, we don’t do things just once. After all, since I haven’t ridden in a month, why end on doing some well once? So we did it again. And you know what? It was even better. Ranger was bolder on both lines so I didn’t need to add as much leg while also focusing on keeping everything rocking back. He was just there. I’d say eventually he’ll get there naturally, but… I’m the only one asking so probably not. Still, he fights me less and less each time so, yay?

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Ranger says later!

In turnout news, it appears Ranger has divorced (been divorced from) his BFFs Mikey and Forrest and now has a new BFF Coco. He’s less than enamored with Coco but give him time?

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Ranger’s new turnout buddy, Coco