Eat Already, Horse!!

I’ve posted about this subject before I’m sure, but once again, Subi has decided that eating is optional. This time however, it’s not not both meals, but simply breakfast.

Huh.

Really. Really. Frustrating.

Now, he does get different combinations for breakfast vs dinner. Breakfast he usually gets beet pulp and grain (omolene, soaked senior) and dinner he gets soaked cubes (timothy alfalfa as he’d NEVER eat plain alfalfa or plain timothy) and beet pulp plus grain (omolene, soaked senior, and fat). He takes a good 3 hours to eat the cube/grain mix so that is NOT an option in the morning. Sorry. I feed at 6:20 and he has until 7:40 to eat. He usually walks away by 7 on a good day now. 6:45 on most days. He’s just NOT interested. Dinner? He’s interested. Breakfast? No. He’s hungry for dinner because he doesn’t eat breakfast…

I’ve tried a partial grain reset (omolene plus beet pulp). I’ve tried a full grain reset (just omolene. I’ve tried mixing omolenes (200 plus 500). I’ve tried cutting his chopped hay (he had been getting a bucket of chopped hay in the morning). I’ve tried adding a flake of hay next to his grain so he doesn’t bother to wonder off to the hay when he decides he’d rather eat hay vs grain.

The only thing I haven’t bothered with is a small version of his dinner. Some soaked cubes (1/2 scoop) mixed with his morning ration of omolenes (I’m adding in the 500 as it’s higher fat so maybe that’ll help keep weight… Might be worth a try. He does better on weekends when I can give him 3 hours with breakfast. I’m just not willing to get up 2 hours earlier to make that happen during the week.

At this point, I don’t care WHAT he eats, just THAT he eats. He now gets his MSM in his dinner vs breakfast. No other supplements. I can’t risk him not eating.

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He still looks good weight wise and he’s eating a crazy amount of hay. He just is being finicky about grain. Stupid horse. Vet doesn’t care what he eats either. The best grain in the world is no good if he won’t eat. I’m tempted to buy a massive vat of molasses and add that too. I just worry about not eating heading into winter. Granted it’s been super hot and he’s had his winter coat… Maybe that’s played a role? Who knows…

I’m open to suggestions. He’s been like this his entire life. The older he gets, the pickier… Vet warned me that some TBs are like this and I have one… I’ve met people who have heard stories of picky thoroughbreds but haven’t met one. I have one. Lucky me. Yay.

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I’m NOT the biggest Purina fan AT ALL. But, this horse is BEYOND picky. Subi will not eat: Buckeye senior (both their seniors), will NOT eat nutrena senior, nutrena safe choice, will not eat nutrena proforce fuel, not eat purina ultium, strategy, etc. picks at TC Senior (he’s always sort of eaten it, but wastes half of it so we’re at a 50% waste rate and can never keep his weight with it), Purina Senior and Senior Active (“new” formula — at Active until they adjusted the formula. He ate regular senior for a while a few times), several others that I don’t feel like listing… Too tired. He currently gets Blue Seal Sentinel Senior now mixed with his dinner. Won’t eat it solo now, but it makes a good mash. His favorite feed has been Progressive Senior Sweet, but the local Progressive Dealer stopped dealing and I decided after 3 or 4 trips (directly from the garage of a vet who served as the next closest distributor in the area–he put feed aside for me, I left him a check and loaded my feed in my car), I wasn’t driving 70 miles to buy this feed for Subi. It’s a shame because the close Progressive dealer served ALL my feed stores. I boycotted them for about a year… They claimed Subi would eat the Buckeye and it was the same. Nope. Wouldn’t eat it. They guaranteed it. Promised me. Not that they refunded my money when he wouldn’t touch it. Batty enjoyed that bag of feed.

Happy 12 Years Subliminal!

12 years ago, Subi joined my family.

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He’s been part of the family longer than my husband.

He was a spunky, spry 9 year old with plenty of opinions, a massive stride and more scope than I could I need.

The first time I rode him I was terrified. The girl leasing him had just gone off to college and Subi was terrifying. He was fast. She was always falling after the jumps (how, I don’t know). That summer involved a trip to the ER and crutches. I had been riding Atlantis for a good part of the summer. He was a Scott Stewart hand me down who had soundness issues, but carted me around and was the first horse to give me confidence. From him it was on to Dream Boy who was my trainer’s horse and was young and green. He was wonderful but I never felt comfortable or trusted him. Anyway, I was grooming him and had him half tacked when I got a call telling me to ride Subi instead. Nothing like suddenly falling in love with a horse you don’t trust like being told to ride the crazy TB…

Yet instead of being crazy, I had to use more leg than ever before. I fell in love with Subi immediately. I never clicked with a horse like that.

I had to ask to ride him again (vs Dream Boy) and immediately fell off when he did a 3 in a 5 as I failed to realize just how long his stride was… Oops.

Anyway, we had a number of good years though never showed too much ($$). He’d have been better at shows had we been able to get out consistently but as I was entirely self funded, that didn’t happen. Nonetheless, he was the right horse for me then. Now? Not so much (the horse he was then).

Through the years we had our issues and injuries (including a massive kick the shoulder that healed thanks to sugar packs) and farrier issues. But, thanks to my current farrier of the last.. 9 years? He is now barefoot and easy (enough) to trim. Arthritis is now making trims a little harder. But his farrier fears are long gone.

Anyway, as we creak into the latter years of Subi’s life, (and suffer through issues like refusal to eat–another day’s post), I’m just happy to have Subi with me. Here’s to 12 years and to as many more as we can have!

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Ranger Recap: Finding the stride

I’ve really been terrible about blogging lately. Honestly, life sort of been a mess and I haven’t wanted to put everything out here until at least some of it is resolved. Honestly, each time I think some aspects of my life hit rock bottom, things get worse. So, there’s that.

 

But, having said all of that, I have 2 rainy lessons to recap.

2 weeks ago, in the cold, pouring rain, we rode inside. Ranger was UP. This lesson was all about bending, looking ahead, and riding the stride I had, staying consistent.

We started off at the top of the ring (away from the in gate) on a left lead canter basically cantering over this inside single on a circle several times. After that, we continued from the inside single, brought him back to the trot trotted the center vertical heading towards the in gate at the very top of the ring (jump 2 in the very bad illustration) landing, turning towards back towards the out of the bending line (jump 3). We did this several times, finally stringing it together as a continuous pattern. The time the only struggle was the trot fence, Ranger was convinced I wanted a simple change, so I had to fight more than I wanted. The second time, I had a more collected trot than I’d have liked, the third time, we were both on the same page and he understood that letting go did not mean canter (sometimes he getting a little lesson horse programmed). And, having more go than woah…

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Not drawn the scale…

Next (there may have been other jumps in between… I don’t remember), it was about lengthening vs turning in the air. Using the same first jump, this time from the other direction, everything this time was about the ride and trusting my eye. Short ride to jump 1 (A), then around to the outside line going by the in gate (ugh) in a going 6. The line was perfect. Then, around to a long ride to long ride to jump 4 (D). Heading to the last fence, a large, wide oxer, once again, I saw the spot turn the corner and decide just to go for it. About halfway towards it, Ranger started to get heavy. Trusting my eye, instead of pulling, I re-balanced him, added leg, and we were able to hit the forward spot. 2 weeks ago, I’m sure I would have messed with it or done nothing but maybe I’m learning to trust what I see? Either way, it was perfect and we ended there. The out of the line was 2’9 which for inside is huge for me and it looked tiny and felt tiny. I guess that’s good? When I’m told heights by my trainer and I don’t believer her… lol. I could have done more, but sometimes you just want to end with perfect.

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This past week it was raining. Again. But, we rode outside and the rain eventually stopped. Unlike the week before, I had to work to get Ranger in front of my leg on the flat.

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This rain is getting old…

We warmed up with a circle exercise both directions consisting of 4 fences on a circle: poles, 2 boxes, and a cross rail and jumped them several times each direction worked on maintaining a slow, collected stride and working on riding each fence on that going but  collected stride. It was easy because it’s Ranger and thankfully I struggled on the flat and by the time we started jumping, he was already there.

Next we did this crazy roll back exercise. Basically doing a figure eight. Ranger’s OMG BEST FRIEND Mikey left the ring so he was devastated so life was even harder (and Forrest started calling to him too…). Basically, we cantered up over the quarter line single turning in the air to the out of the outside line (3 strides) then turning back to jump the quarter line the other direction to the other jump in the outside line (3 strides). We did this several times. See illustration below but keep in mind I was also dodging other jumps. Goal: looking ahead, turning in air, remaining forward to hit the 3 stride.

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Sort of illustrates the figure eight exercise?

Finally, we ended with the following: outside single, to the inside cross rail (these were the first 2 jumps of the circle exercise) around to the large inside oxer. The trick of this exercise was to ride the appropriate stride depending on which part of the exercise you were on. The first part of the exercise required required a quiet canter, keeping Ranger in front of my leg. We really collected on the landing for the tight turn turn to the tiny cross rail (barely a pole ~12″) and then we had to land and move up immediately to find the right canter for the next fence so that once we were straight I wasn’t fussing with my canter. Thankfully because he was in front of my leg, he was there immediately and we were able to get the forward spot. We continued around to the outside line in 5 (?) and called it a night. I don’t remember the last time where I had 2 lessons in a row and didn’t miss one spot.

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Just hanging out with this guy is the best!

Trusting your eye and turning off your brain

Be warned, this may be more of a philosophical post than a traditional recap post…

In today’s edition of Ranger Recap, I’m going to try and talk about my last 2 lessons. 2 weeks ago was my first lesson in about 3 weeks. The lesson was fine except I could NOT ride a distance to save my life. I was going to say I couldn’t see a distance to save my life, but that’s not true.

The issue was, I say the distances, I saw EVERY. SINGLE. DISTANCE. And then missed every distance. Or most of them. The problem being that instead of riding the distance I saw, I didn’t trust my brain. I changed something and then the distance wasn’t there.

And this was so frustrating.

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I have mentioned it before, but I have a very accurate eye. Why? No idea. But I can see distances very well, especially for someone who isn’t riding much. If I rode more, chances are my eye would be pretty damn close to perfect. But, that’s how accurate my eye is.

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Gross mini anyone? He’s trying to be an appaloosa? 

The issue came last lesson that I started second guessing the distances. Instead of turning, seeing the distance, and riding TO it, I turned, rode 4 strides, and said, “Oh shit! Maybe that’s not what I should be riding to!” and changed something. This had me riding past the distance. Or, when I finally accepted that the distance I saw turning the corner (seeing the distance 10-15 strides away ISN’T ideal FYI — but that’s where I see things) was THE DISTANCE and stopped fiddling, I then failed to add leg for the going stride. And we’d chip.

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Always judging me… 

We started off in that lesson with baby fences. 2′? And I really couldn’t see anything. Granted, I didn’t panic, but it was HARD. Then my trainer hiked the fences up to help me out. It was so much easier to see, but then I stopped trusting my eye. (NOTE, there was 1 fence I nailed every time, 2 fences I screwed up every time, 1 I then fixed, and 1 we drilled until I finally didn’t screw up).  We got through it, but it wasn’t pretty.


Based on last week, I was dreading this week. Migraines all week and I wasn’t disappointed when my lesson was rescheduled from Thursday to Sunday.  Sunday it was pouring and we were inside.

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Constant judgement

Barn was empty when I got there so I had my Ranger time and a full 40 minutes to groom and relax. So necessary.

The rain and cooler weather and possibly not being out overnight left me with a energized horse. He was forward and wiggly. We had a long flat warm up and lots of circles and two point and circles in two point and drilling my position in two point. Then cantering. Larger circles. Small circles. Focusing at the canter shifting between 1/2 seat and 3 point. In our small circle dropping my outside shoulder and sitting on my outside seat bone. Then lengthening. Then, because when you haven’t done lead changes, why not work on that in the indoor? Which we missed at first but eventually got in the corner and the collected the canter back up and repeated our circles before halting with Ranger’s head up (he likes to root if given the opportunity).

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This face does not judge. Unless you stop stuffing him with food. 

Over fences we warmed up with a large figure eight exercise — single around to short ride to another single back around and repeat. We did that a few times before turning it around and doing that the other way. After the lead change, Ranger was a bit excited, but nothing crazy. We then turned back around and did the first single around to the long ride to our oxer focusing on steady pace and even. We. Hit. Every. Single. Spot.

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Judging me, judging Hermione (who is suture free and doing very well!)

As the ride continued, we added in fences, working 3-4 jumps at a time. Always riding forward, working on straightness because Ranger was NOT providing that and keeping the forward going. My eye was accurate and the only change was that once I saw something, I just started counting 1-2, 1-2 to maintain a steady rhythm. If Ranger tried to pull down (not forward, down), I tugged up to rebalance and back he was on his hind end, moving forward. Everything was right there.

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Best face.

We struggled with 2 lines. One inside where my turn wasn’t perfect. We made it work the first 2 times (first turned too late… shocking, then didn’t use 2 hands) but once I used 2 hands AND outside leg it was easy and I didn’t need to work. The only real issue was the bending line and that was not Ranger but me. First time through we did the oxer around to the line and I didn’t like the oxer and failed to let that go. The in was actually nice, but I got nervous heading to the out oxer (it wasn’t huge, but it was close to the wall and made me twitchy) and looked at it and saw the spot and then stopped looking at it and rode right past it. Consciously.  So we did it again. I did the add just to get me over it. Before jumping the second time my trainer yelled “you guys jumped in the Dixon Oval and that jump is making you nervous?!” Lol. Third time was gorgeous and forward and we called it a day.

Well, I called it a day. Ranger had a do a w/t lesson with a tiny bit of cantering which is cute and terrifying. Supposedly he’s good if he likes the kid. If he doesn’t, he can’t do the w/t lessons. He just takes off cantering and gets faster, and faster, and faster. Oh Ranger…

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Best face in the world. 

Anyway, my takeaway from this very long post. I really need to trust what I see, what I FIRST SEE, and go with it. Once I see something, I need to focus my brain on something, anything, whether counting, singing, or conversing with Ranger about anything. But, trust that I can and do see the spots. I wish I wouldn’t see distances so early because that is part of the issue. Seeing something 12-15 strides back isn’t ideal as that’s a long time to stick with a plan. But, that’s where I’m at. Trust it. Go with it. Commit. And stop interfering. And it’s all better when Ranger is more up like yesterday. When he lazy, it’s so much harder to stick with the plan!

Hermione

A temporary break from a horse blog to discuss my best friend, my favorite dog, my Velcro, my co-dependent pup.

Hermione.

Last Tuesday she woke me up vomiting bile and acting lethargic. She wasn’t interested in food. I went to work, came home to check on her at lunch, found she was super perky but still not eating so I went back to work. That night, she was super lethargic so after chatting with my vet practice a few times, we took her to ER vet #1.

 

They did X-rays (inconclusive), gave her fluids, and pain meds and at 2 am we were released.

The ER is boring!

The plan was to follow up with our normal vet in the morning for more x-rays but the ER vet didn’t feel she needed to stay overnight…

Of course, by the morning (all 3.5 hours later), she was groaning and miserable. So, we fed the horses while Hermione lay in the grass looking pathetic and in pain and basically made me cry. Our vet appointment was at 10, but we carted her over the moment they opened at 8:30 to sit in the waiting room and the took us pretty much as soon as a vet showed up.

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The vet immediately suspected pancreatitis. The admitted her, drew blood, re-ran x-rays, and called me a few hours later. X-rays didn’t reveal much. Blood pointed to pancreatitis. Continued on pain, fluids, and a long acting antibiotic through the day. That night we were going to transfer to ANOTHER ER clinic (my vet doesn’t have 24/hr monitoring).

So, we picked her up at 7 and took her down to the other ER vet. They weren’t convinced it was pancreatitis and we made a tentative plan to ultrasound in the morning depending on if she was willing to eat. Vet said she’d call me at 6:15 unless something bad happened. No other news was good news.

img_0238So, finally around 11pm we left, drove off, left the highway, stopped at a drive thru for food and coffee and found our truck, with BRAND NEW BRAKES (literally, every single piece of the brakes from front and back lines to pads to calipers to parking brake) sliding into the car in front of us. And my husband’s food was on the floor. When I got out, brake fluid was GUSHING OUT. EVERYWHERE. So yeah, there was that. Thankfully there didn’t appear to be any damage to the other vehicle. And the driver was very nice about it. Thankfully. Exchanged info, but (knock on wood) it wasn’t needed.

I called AAA and they said 50-75 minutes. We managed to get the truck to a parking spot (yay for new parking brake). 20% brakes came back. AAA tow truck driver called to say they were low on tow trucks and it would be at least 2 hours (only 2 trucks in Chester County that night and abnormally busy). So, we were looking at 1:45AM. 1:45AM turned in 4AM. I got a ride home to feed the horses, feed the cats, clean litter boxes, feed and grab Marble, and drive back to Erik. And we waited. We eventually got the truck off to Toyota. And got home around 4:30AM.

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Defective Caliper. Seriously. WTF?!

And then the vet called at 6:15 to tell me she didn’t want to eat and we agreed on an ultrasound. So much for sleeping.

And then the horse vet came at 9:30… So it’s not like I could go back to sleep either! (routine)

Around 10:30 I got a call that the ultrasound revealed a foreign body in her small intestine. Plus an unhealthy part of her small intestine. Surgery. Thanks to my mother for saving the day, we were able to make the surgery happen. [Somehow while waiting for news about surgery I managed to get my promotion documents submitted…]

She came through with flying colors. The removed a portion of her small intestine (several puncture holes), but were NOT able to identify what she ate…

By Friday morning she was eating chicken at the vet.

We visited on Friday night.

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Reunited! We both cried. 

Saturday night she was released to come home.

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Heading HOME!

And for the last week I’ve been sleeping on the sofa while my best puppy ever has been living in an x-pen and trying to be the best patient ever. We SHOULD have a follow up with the surgeon on Wednesday and hopefully she’ll get her sutures removed.

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So HAPPY!

Anyway, I was holding off on this blog until I felt better about my Hermione. She’s still on antibiotics for another 30 days (well, it might only be 27 now) but otherwise is recovering well. She’s grumpy about no sofa or running around or mostly laying in my lap on the sofa, but otherwise she’s doing well. She doesn’t eat stuff so this whole thing was just strange. She just needs to keep doing better.

 

Blog Hop: (MULTI) Millionaire Me

Joining the blog hop started by hellomylivia because why not?

  • New farm!!! I don’t actually need/want anything crazy either.
    • Possibility 1 – pasture needs work, but it’s doable
    • Possibility 2 – house is a bit too grand, but my dogs love having a pool so I don’t want to take that from them or have to put 1 in… Barn is cute but being connect to trails in nice
    • Possibility 3 – 45 acres? why not. House is lovely and no pictures of the barn, but I could put in a ring or 2 (outdoor and indoor) and a pool (dogs) and still have acreage for turnout AND hay. Plus Peacedale is a gorgeous preserves! You can ride there, but you can’t haul in so being attached to the trail network…
    • Possibility 4 – 26 acres! Needs horse facilities and a dog pool (yes, I’m serious), but… Land looks lovely.
    • Possibility 5 – This is a little extreme… But… wow!
  • Ranger. Sorry he needs to come join the new farmimg_7981
  • All weather sacrifice paddock (Cough. Jiminy. Cough.)
  • New trailer
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    Upgraded one of those please!
  • New truck (Let’s not go there…)
  • Pay off student loans
  • Pool (if current house doesn’t have one — doggies need  a pool) AND pool guy — we’d use it SO MUCH MORE if we had a pool person other than us!
  • Arena (s)
  • Hired help — maybe not all the time but definitely regular help
  • Second/third riding horse (why not?)
  • CART AND TRAINING FOR JAMES (and Jiminy also needs an attitude adjustment)
  • Unlimited supply of Carleigh’s Cookies for Subiimg_7991

Maybe I am asking for a lot.

But mostly I want Ranger.

My poor lame and miserable horse

Short Saturday post to vent.

Subi is miserable this morning. He was trimmed Wednesday and my farrier noted his feet were really soft, especially for him. Kept him long in hopes that he’d not come up sore (in 8-9 years of my awesome farrier, Subi has only once been sore and that had more to do with the lost shoe vs his work). Unfortunately, he’s ouchy.

Then, last night, super monsoons and I doubt this mud will EVER dry. A nearby town had 12″ of rain yesterday, 7-8 in 1 hour…

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This morning, HIVES.

Very uncomfortable! 😕

I’m running to the vet for more dex but he’s so miserable and off his feed (standard for him). He’ll eat when he’s less uncomfortable. I’m tempted to pick up some good hay and leave him in the less muddy area alone next to his boys and put his easyboot clouds on to help. Just for the weekend. Plus maybe some keratex on his feet if the boots keep them dry.

We’ll see, either way, he’s miserable today. Vet’s out Thursday for routine stuff so we’ll chat about pain management which regardless of this mess, I think we need sooner vs later 😕 The old man is getting creaky and ouchier.

Ranger Recap: I forgot how to ride…

This post could also be titled: Don’t do yoga before you ride…

It was also a week of boxes and shipments and we all love boxes, especially when they don’t cost anything! And even when they do…

First box? New helmet ordered on IHAD! I ordered the Trauma void and then spent hours debating whether it fit (I had tried one on a few weeks ago so I knew the size was right). I also realized that my old One K helmet did NOT fit (plus was giving me headaches again–the last thing I need). Thanks Michele for laughing at me and thank you to Amanda @ 900 Facebook Pony for helmet fit advice from pictures and random text messages! I’m still not sure I love the look, but it’s comfortable and it definitely fits. I’ll do a full review one of these days!

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Next box? ~$300 worth of Kensington fly stuff! I won an Instagram drawing a few weeks ago and now am the proud owners of lots of fly garb. All my guys already have fly sheets (Batty and Jiminy JUST got new sheets this year) but Subi’s is on his 4th summer so he was the recipient of the prize package. Fly sheet, fly mask, fly boot, tail cover (not really sure about this one), and a matching lead rope. At some point I might splurge and get a matching neck cover, but, as I don’t use the neck cover on Subi too much, he may just use his current next cover on with this sheet… Who cares about matching… I’ll dress him up this weekend and take a picture. The mask MAY be too big as he usually wears a cob mask and the smaller size was listed as arab (on the package it’s listed as cob/arab) so we’ll see. It’s a new style so very few reviews. Regardless, it’s still nice to win stuff!

Now, lesson time! Thanks to a weird  kumbaya day at work, I ended up doing a lot of yoga instead of working (less the 90 minute intensive research class I had to teach while the rest of my colleagues were running around playing video games and painting rocks). I love yoga, but it’s been a while. As a result, I felt it when I hopped on Ranger last night. Flat work was fine. Did a lot of extending and collecting at the canter.

Over fences, we started out working on an extending/collecting exercise over the center line (maybe 1ft fences). First time in, 10 strides, next length in for the 9, then collecting for the 10, then back to the 9, then 10, then 11, then 8. One time I overrode for an 8 instead of the 9, but ultimately, you get the idea. The fences weren’t the issue, the stride length was.

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Next we took it to the inside single around to the inside line. Goal was to do the inside line first in a holding 7 then a going 6. The single was fine, the holding 7 was fine, reapproaching the single was fine, the 6, less so. I failed to keep my right leg on him as my leg was starting to die by this point and because of a lack of a straight line, we ended up with a 7 vs 6. So continuing around, we landed from the single, moved UP, stayed straight, and got the 6. Easy, no issue (this time).

After this we did the other inside single (oxer) around to the outside line (4 strides) back to the inside line in the 6. This was, er, less successful. As we turned to the oxer, Ranger had a moment of GALLOP in his mind (he caught his eye on the outside line vs the oxer) and I had to collect). Despite that, the oxer wasn’t terrible). But, we landed and didn’t exactly regroup and sort of flew to the line and while I collected as necessary, I failed to ADD LEG at the base and we chipped before thankfully finishing the line semi successfully. The inside line was OK.

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On the reapproach, I stayed out longer before the turn to the oxer and there was no attempt the gallop as Ranger did NOT get his eye on the wrong jump as my turn was better and direction was clear. The turn to the outside line was again so much better. BUT, where I completely failed was the inside line… OMG. I landed from the in and just lost it. We did the line in a 7 and it was ugly. So, I was to go to the other inside single and go back around to the inside line. Except… I completely FAILED at that. (legs DEAD and no heel and shaking legs re: yoga coming in to play)

Let me just mention this. It deserves its own line.

Ranger is a SAINT.

Ranger SAVED MY BUTT.

I have no idea how WHY we got over the jump OR how I stayed on.

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Summer is ending quickly…

First he thought we were jumping the brick box NEXT to the single then realized I was likely thinking single and said, “Idiot, I’ll jump that, hang on fool.” And jumped from the base of the fence about a foot higher than the jump so that he cleared it. I landed in a HEAP on his neck. But managed to stay on as he cantered around the corner and decided he’d throw in a front change just because… (I’ll while I’m promising him so many cookies and peppermints to make up for my mistakes).

Needless to say, we restarted and I regrouped and got my leg under me and we jumped both of the damn jumps/lines. They weren’t perfect, but I believe at that point, as it didn’t look like I was going to die, my trainer decided that was a close to perfect as things were going to be. I made promises never to do yoga before I rode ever again and off Ranger and I went for a walk (where he proceeded to spook at a horse running and bucking and almost unseating me AGAIN–thankfully I had decided to put my feet back in my stirrups as there was NO strength left in my legs to hold on to his side jump and spin).

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My new helmet ALMOST got a crash test.

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Ranger got an INSANE number of peppermints and cookies.

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Ranger Recap: omhumidity

I FINALLY had a lesson Thursday after 2 lesson free weeks. First I was away on a much needed vacation (where I spent the week covered with ice packs barely able to walk because of an allergic reaction to some sort of biting/stinging creature that took me 14 days to recover from — not seeking medical attention was not a good idea but I’m also allergic to prednisone). Then trainer was away at pony finals. I did ride Ranger (Dr. Ranger in case anyone asks) while she was away though it was insanely hot. But FINALLY a lesson.

But, it was crazy humid. Seriously, I almost died. I wanted to pass out several times during my lesson. And I’ve lost just about all strength in my right leg thanks to stinging injury… We got on early and the previous lesson was running late. So I took a nap on Ranger while the cantered for a bit before I was advised to start trotting (sorry, napping was a better idea). Thankfully, Ranger came to play and we had a nice forward trot and, at least on the left rein, incorporated some nice bending. And, because there is nothing more you want to do when your horse is moving forward, we also decided to add in some sitting trot circles… Ugh. To the right, nothing was as easy. As I mention, I have less than NO right leg and Ranger does not like to bend to the right. I am helped by the fact that I am the only person that can get him to bend (we worked a lot on bending last week when my leg was in worse condition). Eventually we walked, other rider worked on her changes then it was time to canter.

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Major success at Pony Finals for one of our riders! 3rd o/f, 3 overall, champion welsh in mediums!

Because I’m an idiot, I decided to pick up the left lead first. Our easy direction. At this point I was already exhausted. Humidity was killing me. I really need to work on the hard stuff (right lead) first. Instead, we cantered for what seemed like an eternity: circling, lengthening, etc. before we finally changed direction. To the right, the balance was not there. I could feel my legs shaking from the start and no amount of right leg plus hand could get his head where I wanted it. Of course, my outside hand started becoming ineffective too so there’s that. But, we had a moment where the balance came suddenly. While our trot circles suck, right lead canter circles don’t. And suddenly Ranger was round, bending, and balanced. So, at the canter, I need to remember to circle early, balance, and then work down the sides until I can achieve that balance with him elsewhere. Part of it is that he’s a lesson horse that no one else does any of this, but still…

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(at this point I downed my entire bottle of water and proceeded to die while the other rider started jumping before we joined in)

The exercise was to trot into the outside line and canter out in the 6 (I think… It’s been a few days). First time through we got a 7 as we just had no momentum into the in of the line and had to land and work. After that, realizing that the trot we needed was almost a canter but still a trot (basically forward with energy–these weren’t tiny fences though obviously not massive either), it worked. We did this several more times until no more thinking was required. The other horse did one more fence and left the ring (Ranger was less than impressed, but was joined by another horse which softened the blow).

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You can see the out of the outside line (not an oxer in this picture) and the log jump. You needed to pass the out of the line before turning to the log. (The inside single is the tree/brick wall half cut off by this picture)

Next we cantered into our inside single and were to go around to the log jump and then back to the outside line. Except, nope. Fail. The single was fine, the single was great actually. We moved up to a gorgeous spot. The log though. Drive by. First drive by in a while. It’s a hard approach as you have to go by the out of the outside line and turn to the log there (and the log is a skinny). But, being that you’re already cantering down the quarter line… So we reapproached, this time I used twice as much leg and hand and sat back and Ranger grabbed the bit, gave me the middle finger, and laughed in my face. My shoulder still aches from that one. So I got angry back, pulled up, added leg, and at least did quite let him pass it even though we had no change of getting over it. At that moment, Ranger realize I wasn’t once of those little kids he gets to drag around. With a more conservative approach, a couple tug, tugs, we got over the damn jump. Then we did the whole thing twice. The first time was decent. The second time we moved up to everything and called it a night. Sometimes you just don’t want to mess with a good thing.

 

 

The tale of the neighborhood pony.

I haven’t written about Jiminy lately.

He’s fine. Neglected in his new purple fly sheet. But fine.

I decided recently that he needs more work. But, with the insane amounts of rain we’ve had, I really don’t wan to lunge him and tear up my grass round pen. Plus it is SO BUGGY and it appears I’m allergic to every. single. bug. out there so I thought I’d start taking him for walk, because, why not? If nothing else, if I ever start driving him, it’ll be good desensitizing.

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Best pony every.

So we starting our walks last night with a stroll around the neighborhood (or the development across the street). We didn’t get out of my driveway before we were stopped by a car and a lady in her mid 70s who had to chat about Jiminy (and make sure I still had my big red horse too). Jiminy was a little antsy during the chat, but we worked on personal space and he got the message really quickly. He’s a pretty good egg. Most of the time.

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So much to explore!

We continued our walk. Chatted with a lady and her elderly dog who failed to notice us for about 5 minutes and passed by lots of cars. We mostly stopped and let them pass, working on patients and watched people smile and him. He brought lots of smiles from people.

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Taking it all in

It was also the night before trash day. So we handle large trash cans, and odds and ends at driveways. We sniffed some and took in the sights. He doesn’t spook and mostly just walked up to things and looked. The only thing he didn’t care for was the grates of the street. To be honest, his feet would likely fall through so they’d be an issue anyway, but the most he did was stare at those.

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So much grass and no eating… 

Mostly he took everything like a champ. Include kids doing sprints behind him. They eventually came up and said hi to him (their dad was on their driveway and was the ONE person we ran into who didn’t look impressed), but even their running didn’t bother him. Since they weren’t running up to him, just running in general, I didn’t say anything. Jiminy didn’t care. I’d have moved if it bother him but he was very unfazed by the entire thing.

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Such a good boy

All in all, we were about about 35 minutes and he was tired by the end, but pretty perfect. I’d like to do this a few times a week and eventually take him out for a few mile treks at Fair Hill this fall. He just takes everything in like the good little mini horse he is. Hopefully as more people see him, he’ll continue to bring people smiles.

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Best mane ever