As 2019 draws to a close, the year has caught up with me or I’ve just fallen back into a migraine pattern. Either way, the last couple months have caught up with me and I’m just down for the count.
I think I’m struggling the most because one of the best parts of 2019 (Nay) is a direct result of the worst part of 2019 (Batt). I don’t know how to resolve this in my mind. I just don’t know…
2019 didn’t start off terribly. After all, my barn installation happened in 2019 (a lifetime ago). But the year will be defined by November.
Miss this freedom. Best trail horse ever.
Because November came and… I still can’t wrap my head around losing Batt. I’m missing him so much today and yet November seems so far away. When I couldn’t save him, I threw myself into trying to save Subi. We lost Batt on Wednesday night. We dropped him off at the clinic, leaving him at 7:30 and he was gone by 9. The worst day after losing Batt was that Sunday morning that followed when Subi got loose, and went running in full panic around my neighbors’ yards in a blind panic, trying to find Batt. I was sure I was going to lose him to that day. How he didn’t kill himself, I will never know.
Since that day, my focus was Subi and saving Subi. I tried everything. I tried to borrow a horse and eventually the easiest option became adoption. Enter Nay Nay.
This way the hardest and easiest decision I’ve ever made. I saw his listing and convinced myself it couldn’t work out. The rescue also had companions I could adopt for as long or short term as necessary. But meeting Nay, riding Nay… it was the first time I smiled in a month which made me cry which made me question why this was working out. I’m still waiting for the other shoe to drop.
Will never not adore this moment ❤️
You see, Nayners has been the best part of 2019. He’s made Subi whole again, he’s made me happy. But then again, I shouldn’t have needed him in my life. But he IS here and I’m falling for him and I think I DO love him already too. So I’m struggling here. And that’s what I’m ending 2019 thinking about. And missing my Batthorse.
This horse is a star. Every single time we go out, he’s better than the last time out. It’s amazing and I’m so impressed by Mr. Nayners. He’s such a good little green bean.
When we last left off, we introduced the canter in our lesson and cantered down the long side 3-4 times, stopping at the end of the arena. Other than to stop, I wasn’t allowed to touch Nay’s mouth provided he didn’t do anything stupid. But like the trot, he’s been pretty level headed.
Now, Nay isn’t directly off the track, but I really don’t have a clue how much he was ridden by his previous adopter before her health deteriorated considering how green he still is. Add in some anxiety… anyway, we’re treating him like he knows nothing.
So Friday’s lesson. I was on my own hauling over. So I tacked at home and tossed his cooler over his saddle, but I’d probably have been fine to tack at the barn because he was…fine. Been there, done that. Slightly tight, but fine. I opted to lunge at the trot for all of 2 minutes, but again, just more because it is the routine, not because I needed to. I also left his rope halter on under his bridle, but decided this would be his last time with it as it was no longer necessary. We got a hand mounting, but again, not exactly necessary, just…familiar.
Our walking warm up included me making as much fuss in the saddle as possible, leaning in all directions and being as wobbly as I could, just to get him used to that. Then we trotted a good long time on a long rein, introducing as much movement as possible. He tended to slow down when I leaned back, but otherwise stayed pretty consistent. There was a brief moment of screaming to a horse in the field, but som talking and refocusing got us back on track (brain, not pace). Eventually, we started adding leg to increase the pace, encouraging more trot. Nay had no issues with this other that trotting faster is harder and squeezing is required to maintain the more forward pace. But, he did through his circles, trips down the long sides, and wherever it was we went. He was thrilled with the cue to…walk.
Next up? The canter. We started off with the same drill. Pick up our trot, trot down to the far end, ask for the canter, canter long side, then halt. Nayners was very much ready and aced the exercise with a perfectly paced canter. Last lesson the canter felt quick. This time? Completely comfortable.
(Videos are from my ride Saturday where Nay took completely relaxed to the next level…)
Next up, “if he’s quiet, keep cantering all the way around.” This you guys was a struggle. Nayners was all set to walk though he picked it back up without protest and out third attempt we actually made it all the way around the ring without breaking. The amount of leg required. Damn. I struggled the second time as I rushed the transition and got forward which didn’t help (this saddle tips me forward too, but fits him ok for now). But we got there.
We next attempted the right lead. This direction was rough. Less because he did anything bad, but just because he’s so weak. Still, we managed to canter around in one piece without collapsing of exhaustion, so success! Homework? Canter as much as possible.
We finished our journey by touring the barn just because…
Saturday we headed out to practice. He was dead quiet unloading and stood still for me to tack solo (husband in truck). I tried to lunge but trotting around for 2 minutes was hard and unnecessary. Still, routine.
Success? Mounting solo for the first time! We trotted around, watched another horse trot and canter, walked over a small plank just because he decided to. And we cantered.
The canter was slower than Friday during our lesson. I completely failed to maintain it around the one corner (sitting back will help), but I can’t complain. He truly tried his best. Say Slow Nay Nay is his name. And he impresses me every single time.
We ended by untacking in the barn. Why? Why not. He stood in the cross ties and acted like he belonged there.
So I could write all about Nayners (we had another lesson this morning), but instead I’m actually going to write about Bob. You see, yesterday I took a lesson on Bob. Including today’s lesson, that brings my weekly lesson count to 3, ride total as of now to 4 (not including the 2 planned rides for tomorrow). Who am I?!?! But this ride deserves its own post.
Lesson was at 1:30. I have found that Bob is grumpiest in the early afternoon. Sure enough, he didn’t exactly want to be caught…in his stall. He sort of, kind of came over, started to put his head in the halter, then pinned his ears at me and backed up, considering biting. We played this game for a couple minutes before I threw the halter at him and played my game until he presented friendly ears and agreeably let me put the halter on and stopped trying to turn his but to me. But, this was my warning of what was to come.
With my friend Sandra’s help, we got him groomed and tacked before heading to the indoor just to be told that the lesson was going out and we could follow. We turned, and Bob realized I was distracted and tried to take a chunk out of me so I smacked him and he reared. Then the dad of the rider who was heading out made some snide comment that I should watch it because his kid (or horse) could get hurt. Maybe she shouldn’t walk right behind another horse then? If she’s jumping 3’6″ and showing in FL then she should know better… but I have a horse that bites and can hurt people, I’m told to beat him if he bites [clarification, I’m not beating horses, but I am getting after them for biting]. There was space, don’t walk into a horse’s butt… (she didn’t exactly, but snide “watch it!” From the dad so wasn’t appreciated… I’m getting bitten here!)
Outside, after jumping a mud puddle, jumping when the gate hit out butt, ad just being stupid, I knew something was up when he was in front of my leg at the trot… the trot was fine. The canter. Shit.
See, Bob doesn’t buck. Bob doesn’t bolt. Bob doesn’t spook. Bob doesn’t do anything… Not really. Except, Bob was really, really up. See, the last time Bob was ridden was almost 2 weeks ago when I rode him last. So when I asked for the canter, we canter. And had a temper tantrum and regardless of how much leg or crop I used, regardless of how much weight I put in my outside heel, regardless of pulling my reins to the rail, Bob decided that he was going to canter around doing changes… EVERY. SINGLE. STRIDE. I’m barely exaggerating here. I wish I had video. We cantered forever until I begged to stop. He was actually better to the right so we thought he tired himself out some so we tried to canter again to the left and it was better for about a minute before Bob started with the changes again…
He’s lucky he’s cute…
As a result, when it came time to jump, Bob had…nothing left in the tank. He was VERY good, but exhausted. And soaked in sweat. We did very little as he was bound to be sore from his effort…his own fault, but he probably could have used some extra rides too. I’m going to try and hop on this weekend so our lesson next week is a little less…dramatic.
He was very good over fences even though we did very little! Hopefully he’ll be good this weekend!
From May as Well Event: As we enter a new decade, I thought it would be fun to propose a challenge to you all! Let’s see ONE horsey picture for each of the last ten years.
So much happened this year. Batty joined the family in November, but this was also the year of Sound Hayley. And riding Subi… before life and work got in the way. I was super happy at this self care barn too with Hayley and Subi. Batty didn’t join us there until later.
Best Chestnut Mare Ever
We moved to our next place as my 90 mile commute started…killing me. This was the year of the laminitis scare for Hayley and the abscesses for her and Batty that wouldn’t end and eventually me accepting a new job that I wouldn’t start until 2012.
Settling in at their new home, healthy for now
The year we left crazy, moved to a friend’s temporarily, and then moved HOME.
Best kids home at last. Last time things ever looked nice.
Uneventful year. Except that whole getting kicked in the head by Hayley thing…
Batt proving he’s a saint and me not needing a ladder. Trimming trees on his back.
Batty’s New Bolton stay for his first serious colic, Subj issues under saddle, and we lost Hayley. Year #1 where I decided I hated horses.
One of the last healthy pictures I have of Hayley before she took a sharp and sudden turn downhill and said loud and clear, my body is failing at 14.
Year started with me abandoning the horses for almost 2 months due to grief and letting my husband take care of them. Still feel guilty about it today. Most major happening? Jiminy joined the family in July bringing the number back to 3. 2 was not working!
Cutest pony ever. First #notachestnut but he can pass for one sometimes. Bay roans are cool
Year of lots. I’m cheating because 2016 brought me hauling out Batty, a second serious concussion, Ludwig’s Corner, and… RANGER. The horse who changed my relationship with jumping. I also retired Subi completely. And colic.
First show over fences since 2008/9?
In his element
Let’s go show in pleasure horse at Ludwig’s Corner even though we’ve never been to a show before… large classes with expensive horses 😂
Trail rides galore and Devon with Ranger. Plus abscesses for Batty. Always abscesses.
Best Ranger Ever!
Ranger was my constant. Batty’s heaves started to get worse plus abscesses. But we managed some awesome trail rides. And barn purchase!
Best trail horse ever.
Couldn’t resist an excuse to include the greatest image ever. Fair Hill maps are confusing.
Worst year ever. Ranger taught me all he knew and I moved on to Bob (not bad, but sometimes you just need a constant).Culvert. Ulcers for Subi, Batty super awful heaves, then after 3 years without a colic, we lost him to a colic that didn’t present bad but just got worse and worse and worse. Worse than New Bolton colic of 2014. I basically bankrupted myself on Batty this year and lost him anyway. Plus deteriorating health. And I almost lost Subi. I still might in the next year if he doesn’t put on weight(though he is more content).And then Nayners came along to try and sort out the mess.
I’m including The last picture I have of Batty alive that is the most awful thing ever. I took it when my gut said he would not make it, before leaving the clinic. 60 minutes later they called us to come back to say goodbye. Im sharing it because it has too much power and maybe by putting it out there, it won’t? I’m including a second because I need a happier photo to end the year.
No words, just pain. The moment you know in your gut you’re not going to make it through this complete.
I have so many other pictures, better ones of Nayners. But this is the moment that things became OK again. The first OK again moment. It’s worth saving.
It was a big weekend for Nayners. Saturday he saw the farrier, Sunday we hauled out for a practice ride, and Monday we had hauled out for a lesson. And you know what? Someone was a very good boy for everything.
Trying to find a saddle that fits. Pulled this out of the basement. Fits better than my other though it’s so deep…
The farrier appointment was uneventful, but it was nice to get that one out of the way. My farrier liked his look and build and Nay behaved himself so, win?
Sunday we introduced the clicker and he seemed to pick it up pretty quickly. He is food motivated so tapping his nose on a bucket lid and getting a piece or 2 of TC Senior? Score!
When I brought him out to trainer’s barn, the clicker definitely came in handy. He was better on the trailer but a touch nervous when we arrived. A couple halt, click, treats got him refocused. I let him play before tacking up and then clicked when he I got my good responses during tacking (brain melted a bit). I was all set to get on when trainer’s husband backed a trailer next to indoor and made a lot of noise before walking 2 horses off together. Brain blown. But. We backed, click. We halted, click. And a few minutes later, I was the focus.that click is powerful.
Our ride was lovely. I only wanted him to relax and he did. We walked and halted. And trotted some each direction. And called it a day. The clicker came out for the halts followed by a nice wither scratch. Nayners seemed to understand that was his reward this time. And with that? We went home.
Monday’s lesson was more of the same. I tacked in the driveway before heading to the indoor with a slightly more tense horse (dogs barking at him plus farrier shoeing plus dogs just barking) and inside horses were jumping. We lunged for maybe 5 minutes at the trot and then all was good and I got on. Tension released.
We hung out with trainer while previous lesson finished and watched the big and scary jumps. He liked being held for them. But the last course, he did ok when we were set loose even though he didn’t like getting hit by sand. A little nerves but settled right away.
We started off playing follow the leader as we were lessening with RANGER!!! So we walked behind him for a while then we trotted. The name of the game was NO PULLING on his mouth and let him trot. He can go slow, he can trot not fast, so as long as he’s not fast, I don’t get to touch his mouth. I would be told if there were reasons to pull… there weren’t.
At some point, Ranger got to walk while Nay and I kept trotting and circling both directions. A pole was put down for me and I misunderstood so I trotted over the pole with flowers first. “Grabbing mane in case he jumps to the rafters” wasn’t a thing but squeezing to keep the trot was. We were unconcerned. We repeated both poles successfully and walked.
After watching Ranger canter, we got out chance. While I canted Nayners at the rescue, we’re taking a different path now. So, we basically canter down the long side and halted at the wall, using the wall as a stop point. No pulling prior to asking for the halt. I completely misunderstood this the first time and continued around the corner then trotted, but got it the next 2-3 times. Canter was quick but we’re not regulating pace right now (and like everything else, I sure it’s not but rather just felt that way).
We watched Ranger jump (not scary!) and called it a day. Such a good boy! Hopefully I can get in another lesson this week on him and fit in a Bob lesson before I head back to work.
You see, I signed up before I lost Batt. I thought about emailing Tracy to either edit my description or pull out but… I didn’t. I was not in the holiday spirit at all for weeks. In fact, at Thanksgiving, my husband asked what I wanted for Christmas? I said I wanted my horse back… so yeah. I just had to home someone would read my blog and realize I lost Batt and at least not address the card to him and me (I’ve done stuff like that).
But Olivia? Her gift? I was crying after reading the card and bawling by the time I opened the gift.
Handmade quilted stuffed Batty is perfect. I couldn’t have asked for anything more.
Thank you Olivia!
**The first thing my husband asked when he saw it was, is that from the person who made mini Jiminy a few years ago? Strangely enough, I think they might be to scale to each other!**o poop
But Nay Nay managed to get caught in his hay net during the 4 minute drive to the barn and had to be cut out. Seriously horse, you are on a suicide mission.
We got there and thanks to the hay net incident, I had an anxious mess on my hands. I did some walk/trot/halt/backs in the indoor before starting to lunge but when my trainer came in, we decided just to run him around the indoor. He proceeded to not move faster than a trot, and keeping him trotting was HARD. We gave up when he decided he wanted to roll (no) and stuck his bridle on. He showed he had ZERO ground manners 🤦🏻♀️😳 and was a complete embarrassment. But, as I’m paying for assistance, he and trainer exchanged words and he was actually a gem for me to get onto once the bridle was on.
We worked for a while on walking and circles and keeping my leg against him without reaction or me pulling or doing anything (so hard just to sit and be loose!!!!). But we got there.
Then, how exciting, we trotted. And, nothing exactly happened. I had to not pull other than play with inside rein if he was focusing outside but we circled and changed paths and all that and changed directions. All was pretty good. He had moments of weird head fits that I can’t really explain–mini I want to act up but then doesn’t so he just tosses his head in the end.–I don’t know. But he was very good all things considered. He was anxious but, lesson 1 is in the books.
After the lesson? His brain melted out his ears and he couldn’t handle getting his bridle off or saddle off or halter off. Trainer’s husband helped and helped load him in trailer. But, then we got home, and lightbulb went off and he realized that we go places and we come back home. No pulling or poor manners. He wasn’t even interested in going back in the field or seeing his friends (walked to water and started eating hay). I’m pretty sure that with repetition, he will get better.
I will be doing a short course of ulcer treatment for him just in case. His whole life has been turned upside down and I just want to make sure his gut is healthy. He has some loose poop, especially when he’s stressed…
Nay Nay has been part of the family for a week and…we haven’t done much. Lol. I’m still not sold on Nay Nay as a name, but I haven’t got anything better. My husband is calling him Mr Meeseeks from Rick and Morty but I’m not sure that’ll work beyond a nickname… always in your face, whether you want him there or not.
He’s does NOT like being cold OR wet. So, rain is his least favorite thing EVER. He’s grumpy and miserable when he’s wet. For someone who lived out 24/7 without a blanket until a week ago… Granted, my property is colder and damper, but… He’s getting a 100 gram liner in the mail too because grumpy horses are a pain in the butt.
He’s getting better with turn in too. We’re taking him in first and then we take Subi and
Baby 5 yo Nay Nay
Jiminy. He’s shown his displeasure about being in his stall alone (with grain and hay) for 90 whole seconds, but last night? He didn’t scream once to his friends. Stood, ate, and looked around. He’s also locked in his stall completely. Both dutch doors are closed and his window. He was a little too bitey-face with Subi over one door and the first time I left him alone, he was stressed PLUS wet and cold (so miserable pony) so I closed his outside top door to make sure he didn’t doing anything crazy like jump out. And? He seemed to really like his stall doors closed overnight. It made his stall toastier. So, now they just stay closed. It is winter after all.
You can kind of see a tiny bit of puffiness. His ugly ankle is normal…
He did do something stupid and gave himself some sort of bump on his splint… Idiot. Dried blood yesterday and it’s a little ouchy today and a touch warm/puffy. He lets me mess with it, but does pick it up for me when I touch it. Sound on it though. Stupid pony. Dealing with it more tonight…
Today and tomorrow? More freaking rain. I want to haul him out to trainer’s and play with him in the indoor. I have no clue if my tack fits him. I’m hoping I can make my saddle work since I don’t want to sell that yet (it fits Bob relatively well and I’m still riding him). I assume I have a girth for him. Bridles? Well, all of mine are horse sized… Him and his little cob head. So that’ll be interesting. Right now I’m hoping it’ll be dry enough for my to lunge in the woods tomorrow and them MAYBE haul out in the afternoon for a field trip to the indoor (not concerned about riding). Then maybe I can ride Sunday if he’s quiet enough? Lesson on Bob Sunday, but I should have time for both…
So that’s where we’re at. He seems to be settling in. He loves his stall, loves his grain, loves to eat hay, drinks a full bucket of water every night. He just hasn’t figured out a slow feeder net yet… He’s destructive on hay bags so I can’t go that route (grr), so he’s getting a small amount in a traditional net and extra in a slow net and hopefully eventually he’ll figure out the net? Horses.
I’ve failed on recapping Blob lessons lately. And I’ll fail again as I’m a week out and I remember very few details of my last lesson (forget about all the lessons that have come before that one). That said, I should probably try to catch up with some details.
Baby 5 year old Nay Nay
I’m going to try to keep up with Bob as long as the money holds up. I’ve haven’t been back on Nay Nay yet (hopefully this weekend) and haven’t hauled him out to my trainer yet, but it’s going to be a slow process. He’s had some training, but he’s green. Riding a relatively well trained horse, especially over fences, can only help me and Nay Nay. And, until it’s spring, chances are I really don’t feel like hauling on weeknights. So, I’ll be limited to non-horse show weekends anyway for lessons. Besides, he’s turning me into a stronger rider, making me sit up and strengthening my core.
Lately we’ve been working on pace. Initially, working with Blob, it was all about staying even and consistent and getting comfortable. If I don’t ride to the base, Bob says screw it and stops. He’s not a stopper exactly, but, if you don’t ride, he gets lost and stops. The reason I say he’s not a stopper is that most of the time? I can have zero pace, but if I keep my body back? He’ll jump it. The distance doesn’t matter. He’ll fit it in. Snail speed? Sure! Jump for me? Eh… No.
“What do you mean I’m going to have to work?!”
So, the first several weeks of Bob were spent just developing the feel. Collect, 3 strides out squeeze, and jump. After my first lesson where I basically stopped at EVERY SINGLE FENCE for the first half of the lesson until the collect 3 strides then leg message clicked, we’ve had very few stops. But, we’ve been slow. It’s fine. But slow. First jump of the day is snail slow and then everything else is just collected.
Now? Trainer wants me to have an actually forward pace. The forward pace will help everything eventually, but lead changes in particular. See, we get them now, especially after fences, but they can be sticky and often dramatic on the flat. So, the goal is getting a forward pace so that I’m not, er, flying around and being launched in the air when we practice our changes (note: we usually asked for 1 left to right and one right to left change on the flat each lesson). Also, forward pace will keep SOMEONE from getting bored and swapping down the long side 2 or 3 or 15 times some days.
Standard Blob and Splinty picture
Anyway, we’re on week 2 of FORWARD. Warm up at the canter consists to leg, crop, and galloping down the side and some growling at Bob. And more leg, crop, and growling before we finally are forward. I feel completely out of control, but supposedly we look good? Lol. I have to get used to the hand gallop. That said, the changes are much cleaner even though we have a temper tantrum at the canter before we get to that part.
As for fences? I’m struggling a little more. I see all my distances now at the slower pace, but my eye hasn’t adjusted 100% to the more forward pace. I’m trying to remain consistent and we’re getting there, but it feels fast. Last lesson? We had to circle once when someone wanted to run off with me around a turn and I needed to regain control, but otherwise, we’re getting there. One of these weeks I’ll get video for comparison purposes of slow Blob vs forward Blob.
And, as they say, you adjust one thing and everything else is a mess… One day. At least our changes are consistent?