Yay or Nay: kicks and…jumps?!

It was a rough week. Less for Nay, but mostly for me. But this blog isn’t about that.

I grabbed three saddles from MD Saddlery to try on Nay and 2 were complete failures. He’s turning out to be a really strange fit. He doesn’t look wide so I had a m/n collegiate–way too narrow, an adjustable Bates w/ medium gullet–popped up in the back, and a wide Ashland Saut D’Or. The Ashland could be a hint wide, but not enough for a thick half pad, just a bulky saddle pad…. first saddle that hasn’t slid back on him (the case with every single one so far). My Toulouse popped up really bad with him (worse than the bates so we didn’t ride in that) and the integrity slid back, a lot…

Bates — I didn’t love it in the store, but it felt super secure on Nay. Just didn’t fit.

Ashland— Love. And Lasagna. Needs conditioner. But so secure. Thigh blocks too.

Collegiate— I really liked this in store and sad I didn’t get to sit in it. Too narrow.

Saturday snow was expected so I tossed the saddles on in the morning and posted photos. My trainer saw, told me to come for a lesson as her show was cancelled and the snow…skipped us. So 30 minutes later we were over for a last minute lesson. She loved the fit of the Ashland too for both of us and even though she discouraged me from saddle shopping at this point, encouraged me to make an offer, especially if I can get them down in price (it’s cheap, but cheaper would be better).

Fancy new bridle from Grandma

We started off trying to install a forward button. Nay was feeling quiet and with the ground in turnout hard, a touch footsore. I’m resisting shoes if I can (he’s been barefoot for years) and might try durasole to help toughen his soles as he deals with frozen mud. He’ll get there it just takes time. He got better once he realized the indoor was soft though. We worked over a pile of poles which he loved and made things better.

A better picture of the saddle

Then came the canter. So much easier to stay back in this saddle. OMG. Left lead was decent, but still had to work to keep the canter around corners, lots of losing it, regaining it, etc. Then the real challenge, cantering a half circle… it took a few time but we sort of, kind of, maybe got it? But, during all of this, I was told to..

Kick.

It turns out, I don’t really know how to kick.

Another picture of his new fancy bridle. Xmas gift from my mom that had to be reordered by it was mismarked on tag and Nay has a weird cob head. Still needs more conditioner…

I mean, I can kick. Especially at the walk. Sort of at the trot, but at the canter? It’s hard! So we practiced because right now Nay doesn’t understand squeezing. First kick at the walk? No response… second? Mild ear flick. 🤦🏻‍♀️ Third with a cluck? Some forward momentum 😂 Folks. This is what I’m dealing with… with that, we attempted a right lead canter where I tried to kick approaching every corner. He’s so weak to the right, but he’s still trying to figure out what I want. Grabbing mane helped. But it was ugly and hilarious.

After my trainer commented that she’s pretty sure he’s going to be a quiet one, she had me walk back and forth over some jumps, letting him look at the boxes/flowers if he wants, but no turning around. He neither stopped or looked, just walked… eventually he got bored and clobbered one but didn’t change anything 🤣

We trotted them each direction for a total of 4 fences. Our last 2 can be seen here:

He’s unconcerned… obviously. Did I mention it was 22 degrees? Lol

I rode again yesterday (Sunday) and it was warmer, but windy and temperatures were dropping. Nay was less relaxed, but honestly, it didn’t matter. For the first time, I tacked up in the cross ties in the barn. He got in a fight with Splinty (stalled next to the one set) — I forget how bad he is as the one horse he doesn’t mess with is Bob– so we moved to the other set as Nay was a touch…traumatized. But he likes the barn and feels at home there. Once tacked up, we joined a pony inside and walked around a touch before I hopped on. We walked a trotted but got upset when his pony friend left (ie: screamed before walking and getting back to work). Whereas Saturday he was slow, Sunday he was more forward. Not fast just carrying himself forward. We did a lot of circles, figure eights (he actually liked those), serpentines, and our pole pile. He remained a touch unfocused, but didn’t put a hoof out of place.

Then we cantered. We had our best left lead canter ever. The benefit of a more forward horse? I left out the circles that probably were my homework and just focused on maintaining the canter which we held at an even pace for 2-3 times around the ring. Such a good boy! Right lead? We worked on kicking approaching our turns and cantered turns before losing it down the side. Progress? We would get it again.

After cantering, Nay more or less lost his brain and started screaming to every horse everywhere. He did nothing else, just screamed. He’s a screamer. So annoying. I ended up calling it a day after walking as he was annoying me. But, we stayed at the barn for another 30-45 minutes to work on patience. Not much of a punishment (not that that was the goal), but he had a ball. Best part of his day. He socialized with everyone (all 4 people) in the barn, got doted on, treats, attention, ignored, watched the activity. He loved it all. Plus, he just stood in the cross ties and pretty much only was scolded when he listed his leg to paw (he doesn’t paw, he just picks his leg up and holds it high in the airing his best Radio City Rockettes impression.

All in all? 2 great days with Nayners!

And then I went to return 2 of the saddles and bought a pair of Renegade Vipers (no idea the size) for $35… I figure I can sell them if they don’t fit, but my Renegades were $200 for the pair… deal of the day! Now I need to figure out the size. I’m pretty sure they are too small, but…

Worst. Pony. Ever.

As I alluded in my last Nay post, on Saturday, Nay one the award of WORST PONY EVER.

You see, he’s really very good.

Except. Sometimes he’s NOT. Sometimes he’s bad. VERY VERY BAD.

This didn’t cause much of a stir on instagram, but facebook? Questions were asked.

You see, Nay decided walking was overrated. And decided that he’d rather rear and spin his way to turnout. I wasn’t leading him, so it was all good (no, not really, lol). He was really a turd. And Subi joined in a bit (but MEAN MOM)… So, upon FREEDOM, the 2 thoroughbred idiots, went running around like utter fools, rolling, running, bucking, rearing, and stirring up trouble.

While they were carrying on? I set out to fill up one of the water troughs. That didn’t quite work. See, I had to heaving , out of breath, sweaty, and thirsty ponies. Subi took and drink and moved on. Nay? No. He took the hose.

Yes, he took the hose.

And sprayed me.

And then proceeded to try and play TUG OF WAR WITH MY HOSE.

Idiot.

And then he gave me that look. And it was hard to be mad at him. But I did take my hose back…

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He is the WORST. He can’t even pose for a stall picture.

But then Wednesday, I was trying on his new bridle for size before conditioning it and realized I really needed a bit… So, I walked into my basement to see what I could find, leaving him at the door. I started taking the bit off another bridle and Nay got sick of waiting (patience is not his strong suit).

Next thing I know, Nay is standing IN MY BASEMENT WITH ME.

So folks, mark January 15, 2020 on your calendar. That is the date that Nay officially tried to be my dog.  And when I say he walked in, I’m not talking about his front feet, I’m talking about his entire body was standing inside my basement. And he suddenly lost his backing skills so I had to walk him in further and turn him around to get him back out. He is NOT scared of my basement (Jiminy is). He was quite happy in there and knows that’s where I keep the feed. Help me, please.

But, worst pony ever? Once I was done with him? I turned him back out. It was dark. Nay was convinced that DARKNESS = STALL. So, for the next 2 hours, he had a temper tantrum. Forget the fact that he is brought in between 8 and 9pm every night and it was 6:05pm…

So, worst pony ever. Coming to a sale barn near you… Maybe.

Update on Subi

This blog has been very Nay-heavy lately and I’ve been meaning to do an Sub-date for a couple weeks, but just haven’t gotten around to it. I’m also worried that I’ll write something about Subi and he’ll go and stop eating or something. But honestly, knowing him, he’ll do that update or no update.

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The best Subble Bubble covered in bedding

So how is he doing? Short answer? Pretty well.

After Batt died, Subi basically didn’t eat for a month. He ate and drank the bare minimum to survive, but that was about it. As a result, he lost at least 150lbs. I’ve been struggling to get the weight back on him ever since. Now, Subi was at REALLY good weight prior to his hunger strike, but, unfortunately, 150lbs is a HUGE loss for a hard keeping thoroughbred. He pretty much ate alfalfa and picked at whatever else he wanted.

He also developed ulcers during this time, because, why not? If you all remember, a few days after losing Batt, Subi took himself for a gallop around the neighborhood searching for his friend. That resulted in a long acting sedative. The sedative helped until it didn’t and the ulcers developed from stress, grief, and general unhappiness. After I realized keeping him in at night only made things worse, I started bringing them in for dinner, turning out after 2-3 hours, and bringing them back in for breakfast. He never ate much, but he stressed less.

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You can really see his weight loss here. He lost a little bit more after this picture

Around this time, I pulled him off the sedative, put him on ulcergard then compounded omeprazole paste (he was on nexium but since he wasn’t eating…). Around this time, he became dull and docile. To the point that anyone could lead him including my husband or a 5 year old child.

Enter Nay at the beginning of December. At this point, Subi perked up in the field and was finally able to stay in his stall overnight without trashing it MOST OF THE TIME. But, he still had days where he stressed. Dinner was about 50/50 as to whether it was finished but he started eating hay in his stall. Vet drew blood (also tested for cushings), but everything completely normal. Vet suggested we do a full 60 day ulcer treatment vs 30.

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Subi and his favorite sidekick with his favorite thing in the world: blanket with neck cover (best thing for weight gain). 

Enter January. His weight still sucks, but he’s slowly gaining. I purchased MORE 3 string western alfalfa (price went down?!?!? I’m so confused…) and I’m giving in to his love of all things…sweet feed. You see, Subi is now cleaning his dinner bucket if he get 6 quarts sweet feed and 2 quarts TC Senior whereas before the ratio was 6 quarts TC senior and 3 quarts omolene 200. He’s getting less of his fat and less of the purina outlast than I’d prefer, but the current ratio seems to keep him eating… So, Subi, you can eat what you want. In the mornings (he eats less for breakfast), he just gets 5 quarts Omolene 200 with a touch of fat and outlast. So, when I finish this bag, I’m dropping the senior. At 23, he can eat what he wants. I give up.

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Made the mistake of turning this fool out without a sheet/blanket one morning because it was that cold… he reared the entire way to turnout… idiot. 

He’s also slowly getting a bit…spunkier leading from the field at night. He’s not bad, he’s never bad (YES HE IS), but he has his moments and his personality is back. He and Nay have also gone flying around the field many a days and Subi is quiet crippled the next day because of it (arthritis…). Of course, with his ulcers, bute and Equioxx are off the table. My farrier is thrilled with his BOT boots prior to trimming (he was shocked at the difference as I hadn’t had them on prior to his last trim) and Subi went from creaky and teeth grinding to compliant and comfortable. So, for now, we stick with stuff like that.

Generally though? He’s content. He’s Subble Bubble. He likes his kisses, peppermints, and carrots. He eats apples from everyone BUT me and is generally a gentleman if you stick to his routine. He likes Nay (and is thrilled that someone wants to run and play), but isn’t obsessed with him and doesn’t care when he goes off on the trailer. And, he’s constantly covered in mud, everywhere his blankets don’t cover.

Yay or Nay: Conquering the outdoor

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It wasn’t always warm. Just a few days ago it was freezing and snowing… I may have just ordered him another of these in a heavy… 

Nay and I FINALLY got a lesson in this weekend…after not riding for a week. On top of that, the weather decided to go crazy here in the mid atlantic and Saturday saw temperatures in the 60s. In January. Personally, I HATE warm winter days. Perfect recipe for people and animals getting sick. And for migraines. But no one asked me.

Anyway, all week I was stressing about my Saturday lesson as warm weather typically means… riding outside. Now, I have nothing against riding outside, but we JUST got Nay used to the indoor and now we’re riding outside? So, me being me, spent Friday night tossing and turning, stressing about dying while riding my quiet horse outside. Typical.

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Not related to Nay, but instagram told me Horizon Structures was having a sale… on SUBI?!?!?! 

We arrive and the barn was chaos. Everyone and their mother and their third cousin’s best friend was there. I managed to park my trailer, but… Go home people. Nay was good to tack up in the driveway (he’s gotten SO MUCH BETTER) and we walked over towards the indoor (hopes raised) where my trainer was standing. She did give me the option but there were SO MANY PONIES (seriously ponies everywhere) inside so I agreed to go outside if she made sure I didn’t die. We then tried to spook at a stroller coming out of the indoor… lol. I’m telling out, it’s all my anxiety.

We took a semi private with another young horse, Wilbur. That said, Wilbur is now showing, jumping, etc. but still has his green moments. I started off by hand walking Nay around the outdoor. He didn’t care. Because, why would he? He was more alert, but that was about it.

Once on, we wandered. Wandering is our pastime. I tried to sit up and keep my leg on him and sit in the saddle vs on the saddle. He likes that. He slows down when I do all of that. After wandering for a while at the walk, we got the all clear to wander at the trot. The goal? Keep his brain busy with turns and changes of direction. For the first time ever, I was allowed to ask him to slow down and encourage the trot from his hind end (by sitting back, erg). Eventually, we added in a pile of poles. Nay loves his poles so this was fun for him. After successfully doing our poles both ways, we eventually walked and watched some jumping for a while.

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It also appeared my barn was for sale… 

So, when I first got on? There was no question that we were NOT cantering today. Yet the more we walked and trotted, the more relaxed Nay got. He spooked once at the very beginning because the wind picked up and a gate went clattering and he scooted into the trot a few steps but that was it.  So, after we trotted, my trainer told me, never mind, we will be cantering…

We started off with the left lead. The first time? Eh. Ugly. He didn’t pick it up right away and, instead of being patient, I added leg and he scooted into the canter on the wrong lead. So, it started off a bit quick (not fast, quick) and rushed. Since we don’t care about leads, he tried to canter around the corner but was distracted (horse was walking in when we were approaching the gate) and off balance and… yeah. So we went back to the trot and eventually walked and I got the talk… Basically, TAKE MY TIME AND STOP WORRYING ABOUT WHEN I PICK UP THE DAMN CANTER…

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He’s becoming such a good traveler!

As a result? Take 2 was lovely. Nay picked up a quiet, slow, and relaxed canter that we held 3/4 of the way around the ring.

Before we picked went to pick up the right lead, we watched some more jumping. Then, a pony went on a walk around the indoor arena and Nay lost it temporarily. [Lost it now means lost focus and ears super forward] With some direction, I did a little trotting to get his brain back in his head. And right lead canter? Our best ever. Quiet, relaxed, and slow. The comment? “Well, wasn’t that adorable!”

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He’s cute when he’s not poorly behaved (another post about worst pony ever title)

Not the most exciting lesson, by outdoor arena conquered! The worst part? My saddle just isn’t going to work, not even for the short term. So, we’re 2 saddles down, a few more to try (or, I listen to Emma, and go saddle shopping/trying courtesy of MD Saddlery). I need to look into consigning my Millers at this point because it’s just not working for me (it fits Nay relatively well, but my trainer is hating the position it puts me in). I’m just not tied to it anymore so it can go.

Learning and challenges: plugging away

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Droopy Lip Club — Official Member!

Not too much to report since my last lesson on Nay. We haven’t managed to fit in another lesson as my trainer has been at horse shows (though she had offered us a lesson New Year’s Day while we were out riding, but I just wasn’t up to it and just wanted to…ride around) the last couple of weekends. Hopefully she’ll be home Saturday. But, we’ve hauled out several more times and are making… something.

 

Yes, something.

I won’t say progress, because, honestly, I have no idea what we’re are doing these days!

But, now, a MONTH into our relationship, Nay Nay and I have accomplished the following:

  • 3 lessons
  • 8 (?) trips off the property
  • 2 rides without lunging first
  • 3 times mounting without assistance
  • Trotting on a loose rein
  • Cantering on a loose rein
  • Trotting over poles
  • 2 solo hauls
  • 1 solo ride

 

Now, it’s not always successful and sometimes somethings and some days are more successful than others. And lately I’ve been running into… trouble. After all, I’m riding a green horse, of course I’m going to run into trouble.

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Also a member of the gross horse club!

So, my routine in this. I get on, we walk around. I usually try and wobble all round the saddle and get Nayners used to me bobbling around, because, if not now, then when? When we’re all good and relaxed (which for him is immediately, but for me, after we walk around for awhile and explore), we trot.

 

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Handsome horse club as well!

Trot wise? Nay gets to pick the pace in the beginning. He gets to trot as slow or not fast as he wants. Because, fast is not in his vocabulary. We do circles and explore, much like at the walk, constantly taking different paths as well as taking full turns around the arena. Eventually, I also add leg, and do ask for a little more trot because slow and lazy is fine, but a little energy isn’t terrible too. We stay in not fast land because… that’s where we live. Direction changes exist too and if a pole is out, we do that too. Or if I set one out, we go over that (note: he has NO ISSUES with me holding him AND picking up a pole and moving it, even if I accidentally hit him with it.).

 

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Cute horse club member too

Walk break. At some point during the trot, he does get lazy so squeezing is added and we do a tiny bit more to prove that we can before the walk. Endurance is what we are working towards.

 

After our reserves are built up, it’s canter time. This is when the problems arise. We start with the left lead because it’s the easy lead. Except, while I can pick it up and we canter a lovely canter, I CAN’T KEEP MY HORSE CANTERING. Sometimes I can canter around the corner, sometimes 2/3 around the ring, sometimes we break in the corner and get the canter again down the side.

The right lead? OMG. It’s even worse. If I’m lucky, we pick it up for the side, and then collapse and die. No energy left.

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Quiet enough for this now!

I’ve learned the following: I can kick my horse like he’s a big old shetland pony. He doesn’t care. He just sighs and walks forward.

 

So yeah. I have a problem.

So I’m back to only cantering long sides for the right lead because I fear I’ve screwed him up.

What the heck people?

I so desperately need a lesson…