Ranger Recap: 100% Bob

I’ll warn you in advance. This is a media free post written at 5am. Lol

I’m struggling with what to rename the Ranger Recap Series as it appears it will be Bob from here on out. Ranger is needed for other lessons (don’t worry, he did get his treats!) and Forrest is currently out of commission. Bob is stepping up and trying his tricks and scaring people along the way (lol).

This week we spent more time being intentional about flying changes. I had to work a little harder to get Bob going and forward, both at the trot and canter (lots of tripping was happening and he’s not the soundest of horses or he wouldn’t be sitting around for anyone to ride. He’s serviceable but wouldn’t pass a ppe). Much better once he started using his hind end vs dragging it around. At the canter, I had to do a little growling at him when i added leg to prove I was serious…

so changes. Bob sort of throws is entire body into it and my core is…not strong. I was getting the lift hand part but flying forward. I needed to approach it by thinking lean way back and keep adding leg. He’ll do them w/o the leg, but they are so freaking dramatic. After several tries and a break, we got a few nice ones.

We kept the jumps really low. Not because height was an issue, but because I didn’t want to have to think about the jump at all. So, when my trainer started to put a cross rail up to a larger on to start with, I told her she could keep it small so I could just master everything today. And this is how I didn’t stop at one fence last night.

We started with the cross rail (adding lines in the sand 3 strides out for a visual cue for me lol) and all was good–collect until 3 strides then leg, same other way. Repeated with outside single. Next thing you know, we’re jumping the outside single inside cross rail around to the inside quarter line skinny with no warning and all is good. Both directions.

So what changed? I’m not sure. We had one fence last lesson that we sort of ran of of gas and jumped a close short spot but I kept leg on him and Bob said, “OK! I’ll jump!” And since then, I know as long as I add that leg, he’ll jump. Our first left lead to the outside canter, I rode to the short spot which Sunday he would have stopped, BUT I kept leg on him and said jump and there was no way in hell he wasn’t jumping. Again, after that, no inkling of concern. We took short spots and long spots and Bob started filling in the pieces for me. I just squeezed.

I’m sure once we do lines we may have so rough moments, but I feel 1000% more comfortable on him. It’s almost like a switch was flipped and he realized I figured something out and he’s meeting me halfway. After the lesson, my trainer commented I could jump anything in the ring now. How I felt last night? Probably. You rise up to Bob or you crumble. I’m not crumbling.

Waving goodbye! vs waving a white flag?

This a VERY dramatic conclusion to this post. Lol.

The got this stupid thing OUT. This was the most crazy process EVER. And, upon getting it out, the contractors are convinced this stupid thing predates the house and was put in no later than 1950 back when the whole cluster of properties was a big working farm… Gee, great. Ugh. My house in 1972. There was a lot of field stone (not quarry stone) used around and under the culvert… Plus, it’s condition… Thanks. A lot. Lol. Plus cofferdams and lots of other regulations and stuff. And thanks to Liz I know all about E&S plans. Liz, you are the best!

My boys were awesome hanging out in the barn all morning while this project took place. No one flipped out, not even Subi while the big pipe was driven by his stall. The pipe is now living out its life at the scrap yard.

Ranger Recap: hello Bob

This edition of Ranger recap takes an interesting turn as it features Bob rather than Ranger (Ranger did get treats).

I was able to sneak in a make up lesson today (Sunday) but the offer came with “we’ll try someone different.” I figured I’d ride Forrest and he was an option, but when given the choice between point and shoot Forrest and Bob, I chose Bob.

Now, I knew nothing about Bob, I just knew he didn’t remind me of Subi in looks and way of going and that was a good thing. Emotionally, I couldn’t handle chestnut ears.

So, meet Bob.

Bob was a bottle baby supposedly so he is a bit mouthy, but other than manners, he’s a good boy. And huge in comparison to Ranger and even Batt… lol

Much to my surprise, I was actually able to get on. Lol. I was worried that that might not happen 😂 but fear not, my foot did reach the stirrup without anyone dying. And we survived the hack portion of our lesson. Lol. Bob actually bends. Very strange. At the canter we worked on changes. Or rather, I started to cross the diagonal and Bob changed leads. I was told to set him up and he’d change the second I asked, but I did nothing. I started to turn and Bob took over. So yeah, must work on having control.

Bob says you don’t have control now either…

Then jumping… so yeah. This is where the wheels fell off a bit. [we mostly worked with the outside single both ways and then added the inside single]. So Bob isn’t a lesson horse. He likes support to the base and with long spots, squeezing to say, yes, we do jump this. Ranger just says, screw it I’ll make up for every last mistake you make, lady, just get me the treats!

So first time through, I forgot how to ride and we went wide turned last minute to the fence and stopped. 🤦🏻‍♀️ Took 2 attempts to get over then had it, the other direction, same issue. Not with going wide, but with not riding to the base. Bob also decided that if I wasn’t 100% committed, why should he help. So, crop encouragement, turn, too much pace, issue.. but we got through it.

Somewhere along the way, my trainer said the magic words. Collect the canter until 3 strides out and THEN squeeze like crazy. All of a sudden we jumped everything. Granted, it was 2ft and we were stringing 2 jumps together but it clicked.

Of course, before it clicked, I also had to make sure I wasn’t ruining him with my errors but was told no, just need to learn his buttons. Once I do, he’ll take me over 3ft and I’ll wonder how I ever found him hard.

I’m not sure why we ended up so color coordinated… 😂

So it appears Bob is the new ride for now. My trainer wants to watch my confidence, but I said if it looks like it’s taking a beating, just throw me on Ranger for a lesson or 2. I need the challenge and lets be honest, does Ranger really need to be jumping 2’9/3′? Probably not. Just because he can doesn’t mean it’s not time for me to move on at least temporarily.

So for now, hello Bob.

Hot and sweaty! 88 in late September! No thanks!

Alternate plans.

No lesson recap this week because my lesson didn’t happen. Again. I have thoughts about that, but this isn’t the right venue. Sometimes you really just need to unwind in a way that ONLY riding can allow, but with an arthritic senior and a horse that can’t currently breathe (right, dealing with THAT too), I don’t have a ride-able horse right now).

So, instead I groomed this guy. He didn’t enjoy it, but whatever.

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Recapping Ranger. I’m a mental mess.

I’ve been avoiding posting about my lessons for the last few weeks. First because I didn’t have a lesson for about 3 weeks and then I had a really crappy lesson. So crappy that I managed to fit an extra lesson in over the weekend that sorta made me feel better but not really. This past week was better. Still, I find myself struggling to recap.

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Exciting news! the barn now has ELECTRICITY! 

Thursday nights have turned into groups with the “big kids.” Aka the teenagers and their horses/division large ponies who have no fear. As a result, at this point, they all ride way more often than me. When I’m on, I don’t find this intimidating, but sometimes? Yeah. We also all seem to get on whenever so if they start at 6, I start at 6:30, it all merges in to who knows what… Lol.

 

The other week, I just couldn’t find a rhythm to my canter. It wasn’t there. It was fine when the jumps were small, but when raised, I basically rode a saint into the a nothing spot. And, to make matters worse, I spent the entire start of the lesson, jumping the same fence over and over again until I could get it right. 15 attempts later, I finally succeeded in not failing. That’s how low the bar was… And I could NOT let it go.

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Gorgeous sunset one evening

So, come Sunday, I thankfully had a private. The jumps stayed low, and while I didn’t ride much better, there was a little less failing. As a result, I dwelled less on said failures. *yes, my attitude needs work*

We started off on a circle, jumping the four single fences — Outside single, the end stone wall w/o standards, quarter line skinny, and end gate. Goal of the exercise was to work on turning in the air, maintaining a rhythm, and keeping a consistent pace and we continued around several times. My goal? Survival. (expectations=low) (secondary goal? not to die). It actually went pretty well and the second time around actually looked nice. Other lead, rinse, repeat.

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Not Ranger but… 

The issue however was, as we moved on, finding the right canter for the remainder of our course work… The previous exercise required collection, the rest of our coursework, not so much. So, after a few fails, I finally got the correct forward canter and stopped riding to crap…

This past week? Back to our group lesson. Instead of the 4 fence exercise we did on Sunday, we took out the skinny and used the remaining 3 with rollbacks/turns. So, left lead to outside single turning in air to end jump (stone w/o standards) turning RIGHT back to outside single on RIGHT LEAD turning in air to other end jump turning left back to outside single on LEFT LEAD repeat. Like always, first time through was about survival and not dying, but the second time was actually pretty nice.

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Also not Ranger

From here, our course work consisted of large SKARY fences because, big kids.

So, right lead to outside single, inside single, inside line (repeat inside single, inside line). Focus here was finding pace, keeping pace, and MAINTAINING FORWARD but not galloping. While we got through it initially and it wasn’t bad, I had to make sure to 1. KICK Ranger to make sure I actually had the forward installed (lol) and 2. really squeeze at the base of the fence to remind Ranger to actually jump not just up but over as well… He was sort of kind of going up and straight down vs across…

In the end, we did get there. But, I’m just feeling SO RUSTY. I need to ride more and I want to but life. And then I just feel down and frustrated and hard on myself. And riding with fearless kids just makes me feel incompetent… It’s funny, I’m not a perfectionist, but I expect that I don’t make the same mistake over and over again. And lately, I just can’t stop making mistakes. It’s been rough.

As a result? Blogging hasn’t happened. If I wrote this blog 2 weeks ago I’d have written how much I suck. So this is progress? lol.

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So many belts in progress. 

Because horses.

Life has seriously gotten in the way of…life. Blogging? The fun parts of life? Anyway, I’m running on fumes right now and full into the worst season for migraines. There is a reason why I hate everyone’s favorite riding season. Being in constant pain really makes it a miserable season… but this blog isn’t (currently) about migraines.

Waiting to go outside…

Horses are stupid. This winter Subi was dealing with a lot of crap (eyes/vision, change in routine, etc.) and ultimately developed what I assume were ulcers. He responded to a course of treatment with Nexium and life got better and the word had more daylight, and ultimately my horse not only started eating but also stopped rearing while I led him in at night.

Over the last month, Subi started acting like a fool when I’d bring him in. I blamed the light (well lack there of) and started turning in earlier and earlier. Sometimes it helped until it…didn’t. I went from leading 2 (usually the big guys) to having Subi alone as he was all I could handle. Sometimes he was ok with Jiminy, other times Jiminy needed rescuing by my husband with a hernia…

then Subi stopped eating. It was breakfast at first. He’d always eat dinner. Then less dinner. Then he stopped completely. Well, not completely, but he’d leave 2/3 of each meal or more. Then it occur to me…

Ulcers.

Grumpy and miserable

I started the nexium but I wasn’t getting fast enough results and ordered omeprazole paste from Abler to switch to. Yes, I could do Ulcergard, but I want to help my horse without going bankrupt. It arrived fast (4 days with STANDARD shipping) and by that point the nexium had started to kick in… I also added in Purina Outlast after realizing he’d eat that thanks to my awesome feed store giving me 3 sample size bags to get started. Within a week, he was eating full meals again. Well, modified full meals–we are just NOW up to our old full meals…

And, because I’m a sucker, I also bought Subi 6 bales of nice alfalfa and he gets 2 flakes each night. Only as of a few night ago did I stat putting them in a hay bag because alfalfa mixed with bedding is gross. So now we’re alfalfa people…

And finally, I’ve taken on a new form of training. Avoidance. Instead of dealing with Subi’s behavior leading him in at night, I just feed him carrots. Is this good training? No. Does it work? Yes. He’s focused on he and not the dark shadows and last night was the first night we spooked in weeks. His reaction to calm himself? Look for me and the carrot while I just stood with Batt. Considering last night it was pitch black and I led them from the gate we haven’t used since spring (they couldn’t get to the paddock since in smart mom moment I blocked their access) and Batt immediately bumped his butt against a tree branch, it was successful?