Yak to cow pony.

It’s that time of year! Well, a couple months late, but…

Jiminy got clipped this weekend!

img_8831

Before!

He turned from a mini horse into a yak. His coat was about 4″ thick and he was miserable.

img_8836

Mid clip….

He briefly turned into a pony with boots.

Thankful for my clipmasters! Those are the only things that get through his coat.

And a mini who is a saint for clipping!

img_8844

Begging for cookies. 

Then he got his brand new sheet on and turned into a cow!

img_8845

Cow print!

People always ask WHY I clip my mini.

Multiple reasons.

  1. When I first got him, my farrier suggested it. It is SO hard with the minis in the winter to figure out just how fat they are with their coats… Clipping allows me to actually see just how much he weighs.
  2. Despite his coat, he gets REALLY cold backed and when he’s cold backed, he turns into evil, devil Jiminy. You don’t want to meet Mean Jiminy. With a blanket on, he’s an angel. So, clipping allows Jiminy to wear a blanket and be nice. Sounds strange, but come pony sit and you’ll see the difference. Until you’ve been kicked by Devil Jiminy…
  3. Weight control. I’ll be honest, if has to use some calories to keep himself warm, he has a few extra pounds to spare.
  4. He’s just happier.
  5. He runs warm and can’t handle warm days without being clipped. I should have clipped him 2 months ago but I failed. He can’t handle warm days with his coat.
img_8846

Looking good!

Anyway, he’s very proud of himself now. He’s marching around the paddock with extra confidence these days!

img_8848

So. Much. Hair. 

 

Ranger Recap: Blame.

I want to start this post off by saying my lesson this week was everything last week was now. Incredible. Perfection.

But, it revealed some holes(?) in my past training that I want to talk a little bit about while also recapping my lesson.

img_8826

In one of her recent recaps, the everything pony talked about how old habits from old lessons and old trainers resurface during lessons with new trainers. Stuff that’s so ingrained that we don’t even think about it. It’s not necessarily the heels down or closed fingers or the mechanics of riding, but the mental stuff that sticks with you in ways you don’t realize until you are riding with someone new. Now, caveat, my trainer isn’t new, I’ve been riding with her consistently for 2.5+ years now and have taken a few lessons with her before then. But, I rode with my previous trainer for much longer, multiple times a week at times, plus I rode with other instructors at her barn, in her program. So, I was fully ingrained.

Last week, I had issues with the one stride. I didn’t steer aggressively. Then, I didn’t do enough to get us over the skinny. It didn’t take a lot to get over the 1 stride and after 2 attempts, we were over and had no issues. The skinny, I struggle with, despite my best attempts, I still AM 100% certain I WAS DOING SOMETHING WRONG and a better rider could have gotten Ranger over.

img_8818

Last night, we were warming up on the flat at the trot. It was windy, but warm so we were light on flat work. Trainer mention I need to work on bending him more (his nose wanted to point out despite my best effort). To the left, I managed to get him bending (holy crap, my inside leg was THROBBING), but to the right, nothing I did worked. “I have no right leg.” “It might not be your right leg. If he’s not listening, escalate. Kick him with your inside leg.” After kicking him, we did some circles and I got him bending better to the right (I struggled with our circle/pole exercise to the left, however, I misunderstood the point was to go OVER the pole the until I was halfway through the exercise to the left the first time, so… that was the bigger issue. Lol)

During our walk break, my trainer mention that an 8 year old has been riding him and causing his right drift. I brought up that I was taught to blame myself for all the issues and never blame my horse. My trainer flat out said that is bull and sometimes it is the horse. All of the issues last week were caused by right drift. Yes, I was passive, but, I rode straight to the jumps with equal leg pressure and normally that would have been enough. I did then share that I hate 1 strides (and bounces) and left to stew about dying… She agreed that I do better when I can just get my course and go so that lesson wasn’t the best fit for me. But, my riding wasn’t the entire problem. But, I take 100% of the blame when stuff goes wrong even when it may only be 50% my fault (or less or more). Much of this is because I don’t see myself as a competent rider. I need to work on that. But, it was a really good and necessary conversation that we had.

So, after this, we canter and I rode. First, supposedly, I picked up too much of a canter? Rare for me! But, I’ll take credit here. We were outside and it didn’t feel fast so I asked for more. But, with the wind, it was supposedly too much. And, Ranger was leaning in on the corners… I was told to halt and back, but as I asked for that canter, instead I just lifted and balanced and he came right back to me which made my trainer happy. To the right, the leaning was worse so I kicked which got him fast, but, he got off my leg which then allowed me to balance him. I did have issues keeping my right hand by his shoulder so I’ll work on that for next week…

img_8822

We started back and forth over the quarter line jump. Basically, working on straightness to it, even pace, and halting on the landing. Right lead was actually easy and I made the turn without issue (I struggle SO MUCH with that turn). Left lead we were able to canter a circle first to establish pace, then a slight steadying tug UP and again, all was good.

Next we came down our quarter line around to our outside single around to the inside single oxer. Once again, the quarter line was easy, the single was fine in that I rode to it and fit what I saw and wanted in to it. Now, the spot was our worst spot of the night but it was 100% adequate. It wasn’t a chip and it was completely deliberate, but it wasn’t as lovely as every other jump of the night. But, as I struggle SO MUCH with that jump, I’ll take it. After that jump, we headed towards the in gate where Ranger got a bit excited and thankfully I adjusted early and we nicely jumped that fence.

We ended with a course. Outside line in a 6, inside line in a 6, outside single, and inside oxer. Every. Single. Fence. Just. Happened. Perfectly. Seriously. I can’t even describe it. So, the inside like was a 5, but the 5 was there. We were going home, he was in front of my leg and it worked. Heading to the outside single, I felt the right drift early and was able to get him OFF my leg and move him over and finally nailed the distance I wanted. The outside line was nice, the oxer was lovely.

img_8823

Halloween for horses? 

My trainer thought it was a good idea to end while we were ahead. I agreed. I didn’t miss one distance and Ranger was perfection.

25 Questions

Amanda asks 25 questions and since it appears I’m blogging this week, why not? I’m not sure I’ll actually answer all of them since I don’t actually have answers for everything, but other than that? Why not?

Why horses? Why not a sane sport, like soccer or softball or curling?

Mostly because I played soccer and softball and didn’t like playing them? I wasn’t good and in team sports that matters? Individual sports it doesn’t matter so much. And curling? Well, I DO want to try that one day… Lol. Plus, horses. Animals are so much better than people, just saying.

What was your riding “career” like as a kid?

My riding “career” started as a teenager as the deal for lessons was I could start lessons once I could find a barn and schedule lessons myself. I actually got into horses through horse racing and a phenomenal organization called Kids to the Cup founded by the late Trudy McCaffery who sought to bring young fans to the Breeders’ Cup and Triple Crown races. I won a trip to the 2001 Preakness Stakes through an essay contest and joined KTTC to the Breeders’ Cup and 2002 Triple Crown for my senior project… The organization introduced me to trainers, owners, jockeys, etc. and brought me to the backside.

Anyway, riding wise, my mom paid for weekly lessons until I graduated high school and then I was on my own. So I started working off my lessons for my instructor and went from riding 1x a week to 3x a week…

If you could go back to your past and buy ONE horse, which would it be?

Forsooth. He was probably always a better match for me than Subi. Just as athletic but always a little quieter?

But truly, Ranger is the real answer here.img_8600

What disciplines have you participated in?

Hunters, eq, and short lived IHSA stint in western stock seat

What disciplines do you want to participate in some day?

Perhaps eventing? I’ll steal Ranger and we can go event. Lol

Have you ever bought a horse at auction or from a rescue?

Nope

What was your FIRST favorite horse breed – the one you loved most as a kid?

Thoroughbred

If you could live and ride in any country in the world, where would it be?

Irish countryside or Icelandic horses!

Do you have any horse-related regrets?

That I couldn’t fix Hayley. Maybe if I figured out what was wrong with her earlier I could have fixed or saved her?

If you could ride with any trainer in the world, ASIDE from your current trainer, who would it be?

This I don’t know. Perhaps Louise Serio for hunters?

What is one item on your horse-related bucket list?

Riding in the Dixon Oval was a bucket list item that I’ve checked off…. Riding in Ireland?

img_4392

If you were never able to ride again, would you still have horses?

YES! Considering I have a retired Subi horse and mini….

What is your “biggest fantasy” riding goal?

Large farm! I just want LAND and no mud. Fine, that’s a horse goal not a riding goal.   To be comfortable and confident almost always?

What horse do you feel like has taught you the most?

I think Ranger, being a packer, has taught me that I know more than I believe I do?  When you can just work on you, it’s SO NICE. Subi taught me to have a strong leg and quiet hands. Batty taught me to wait at fences (yay for stoppers…)

If you could change one thing about your current horse/riding situation, what would it be?

I’d have money and be able to ride multiple times per week? Maybe I’d have a riding horse that can actually do ring/fence work? I want a Ranger!

If you could compete at any horse show/venue in your home country, where would it be?

I don’t love showing/competing so no real needs here! Lol. Showing  at the Devon grounds was just an experience  because, tradition.

If you could attend any competition in the world as a spectator, what would be your top choice?

I’ll start with NotRolex and go from there

Have you ever thought about quitting horses?

All the time! More due to finances than reality. After Hayley, I was an awful person and ignored my boys for about 2 months…  So much guilt about that…

If you could snap your fingers and change one thing about the horse industry, what would it be?

How fragile horses are…

What’s the dumbest horse-related thing you’ve done that actually turned out pretty well?

So many dumb things…. Riding Batty around the neighborhood? Buying Batty?

img_1741

Not a planned purchase…

As you get older, what are you becoming more and more afraid of?

Head injuries.

What horse-related book impacted you the most?

I’ll try and fill in later…

What personality trait do you value most in a horse and which do you dislike the most?

Willingness and loyal and kind.

What do you love most about your discipline?

Non scary jumps!

What are you focused on improving the most, at the moment?

Trusting my eye!

Happy Halloween, throwback style! AKA a little sugar with your gore?

**warning, graphic content**

I don’t think I’ve posted this before…

10 years ago, right around Halloween, I got a call from my barn owner/trainer that Subi was FINE, but had gotten kicked in the shoulder and had a nasty open wound that couldn’t be stitched… Darn hind shoes…

subi_wound_1

Instead, he was getting SMZs and they were packing it with granulated sugar at the vet’s direction…

Being a new library graduate student, I had to research the crap out of what my trainer was telling me, but yes, it was a thing. Sugar packing, who knew?

subi_wound_7

He was also on stall rest and hating life. But, no swelling because a certain IDIOT walking circles and kept the swelling down. Lol.

subi_wound_8

Sugar packing was fine. My trainer attempted to clip is leg and everyone nearly died…. They decided they’d skip that step. I scrubbed and curried sugar and blood off that leg FOREVER. 

And yet, after a couple of weeks, it healed nicely (despite the face that at one point, you could stick your entire hand inside the wound).  It ultimately healed without a scar. Then my idiot horse somehow scratched himself the SAME PLACE (no blood) and THAT scarred…

subi_wound_9

2 weeks post kick

If you are interested in reading more about sugar…

Scholarly Articles

Dunford, Cheryl, Rose Cooker, Peter Molan, and Richard White. “The use of honey in wound management” Nursing Standard 15, no. 11 (29 November 2000): 63-68.

This article discusses the history, background, and use of honey in the wound healing process. A more well known treatment (dating back more than 2000 plus years), this article also discusses the advantages and disadvantages of using honey in wound treatment. Furthermore, multiple images are included.

Gordon, H., Middleton, K.; Seal, D.; Sullens, K. “Sugar and wound healing” The Lancet 2, no. 8456 (21 September 1985): 663-665.

This article chronicles the treatment of foot abscesses using a sucrose sugar paste and includes both scientific text as well as images. Furthermore, the article also address the use of sugar in wound treatment throughout history, referring to Egyptian use of honey as well as explaining how sugar works in the healing process.

Mathews, Karol A. and Allen G. Binnington. “Wound management using sugar” Copendium 24, no. 1 (January 2002): 41-50.

This article discusses wound management in dogs and other small animals using sugar. Written by a pair of veterinarians, the article chronicles a research study on sugar impact in the healing process of large wounds in dogs, includes multiple images, and address the healing properties unique to sugar.

Seal, David V., Roderick J. Hay, and Keith R. Middleton. Skin and wound infection: investigation and treatment in practice. London: Informa Health Care, 2000.

This book addresses infection and wounds and discusses different treatments and practices related to wound care. Though not entirely devoted to the use of sugar, this book does devote an entire chapter to sugar paste and wound healing.

Ranger Recap: Laughing at me.

So it was bound to happen. I finally had a crappy lesson. At least for the first time in a while. I’m pretty sure I never wrote up my last lesson, but too late.

Nothing starts well when you get there and 1. notice everyone is riding in the indoor and 2. are early (enough) and are told to get on as soon as possible to ride with the other girls.

I typically ride at 6:30 so arrive between 5:50 and 6:00 which gives me enough time to groom, relax, and hop on by 6:20. So, being told to hurry up so I can ride with the 6:00 lesson is never a good sign. And, it turns out everyone was riding inside because the rated show was indoors this weekend. This sort of meant that I wasn’t going to a priority because 1. lesson person and 2. children’s hunter and larger division pony in my lesson. So yeah. Granted, I was defeated before the lesson because I hate rushing.

I won’t go over our warm up/flat work because it was decent enough. I’ve been struggling with bending on straight lines with him. He’s being ridden by a lot more kids now and no one works on bending at all so I get on and it’s 1000% harder for me. So… Corners/circles/etc. are fine, going straight? way too much work. Especially as my inside leg wasn’t working (both directions interestingly enough).

As the other pair were the focus, I didn’t jump as much. I can’t complain as this rarely ever happens. But, when it does, it’s frustrating. I didn’t help things but not being on my game. But… I started off with my nemesis. A 1 stride around to a skinny. Except, I had to wait a while as my trainer kept messing with it while I sat and contemplated my impending death. Lol. But it’s true…

So, when it was finally my turn (other girls were jumping other more fun stuff), we jumped the in, I gave zero direction and Ranger NOPED out to the right. So, we turned, cantered back around, and Ranger NOPED at the in (twice I believe. The second time I was actually trying and he grabbed the bit, laughing all the way, ha! Ha! HA!). Thankfully, anger got in the way of my fear of death (I seriously despise 1 strides) and I picked his massive head up and got him through the damn line a couple of times…

We next added in the skinny and again had the SAME problem (thankfully, he stopped playing with the 1 stride once he realized I was not not jumping it). So, my trainer is on a skinny kick. This one is NOT as bad as the skinny in the outdoor that was so skinny that, jumping the center, I tapped my foot on standard, but that freaked me out. This one was hard to get to and I kept overshooting the approach and Ranger first got his eye on the out of the inside line… So, first step was correcting then trying to get straight. Except we ducked out to the left. Ugh. Instead of going back to it, we repeated the entire thing and I’m pretty sure we got over it the second and third time, again, sitting deep and LIFTING a big and ultra heavy head. But, it’s been a while since Ranger has tested me that much.

Finally, we were to end with the skinny, around to the 1 stride around to what was a bending line of our picket fence jump to oxer in what was anticipated to be a 7. But, the damn skinny. See, the first few times we did the skinny, my trainer was standing near it and then she was down towards the end of the ring. And Ranger was not having anything to do with it. Finally, I was told to forget my distance (I saw my damn distance every time and rode to it and then lost it when Ranger dropped and rolled–well, not quite, but I could not get on the same page when I knew where I wanted to be) and just get over the jump. Lol. So, I fought him, we lost our canter, ended up trotting the skinny (at the distance I wanted because, I can’t let everything go). Then, from there, the one stride was easy (the out now being an oxer but that didn’t matter). While I was concerned about the picket jump to the oxer, it was mostly because I despise the picket (it’s my death fence) and the oxer was a much larger than anything else we had jumped that night. I was told it would probably be 7 strides but we jumped the in out of a forward canter and landing, Ranger was so in front of my leg that I saw that 6 that I just went for it vs fussing. After all the cruddy first fences/lines, it was nice to have SOMETHING look nice first time through and to ride aggressively.

In the end, I’m not sure what to make of the lesson. It wasn’t great. Part of that was because I wasn’t riding well. Part of that was because I was down on priorities list. But, Ranger doesn’t test me like that often. He’ll test me when I’m not trusting my eye (ie: add if I don’t keep my leg on). But, it’s been a long time since I’ve dealt with this ducking out stuff. So, it was a good reminder to stay square, keep leg on to the base, and lift his head UP a half an inch as needed when he STARTS to feel a tiny bit heavy…

I may not have enjoyed all of it, but I’m pretty sure Ranger had fun. He had a twinkle in his eye every.single.time. he ducked out. You could see him laughing. He has too much personality…

Fair Hill Recap (Part 1 of 60000)

Another Fair Hill is in the books! My goal this year was to attend everything. Soak up as much as I could and volunteer as much as I could and just be there.  I haven’t started editing pictures, but here are a few to get started…

img_8721

And I sort of accomplished that and sort of failed.

img_8722

Much of my volunteer work came before the event with pre-event set up. I was out bright and early Saturday a week ago helping decorate the venue. Moving mums, driving around in gators, watering mums, breaking water tanks in the stabling area (oh, wait, never mind) until the water guy showed us how to work the damn tank, stacking straw cut side up and then, 20 MINUTES LATER, arranging straw (SO WHY DID IT MATTER HOW WE STACKED THE DAMN STRAW), moving chairs, etc. img_2313-1

Sunday was dressage ring set up. I said last year I wouldn’t do this again so of course I signed up to help and once again I’m OCD enough to be volunteered to make the courts straight… there were two of us left making everything straight after the bulk of the group left because it appeared it was out talent… Oi. Wednesday was merchandise set up and my OCD took over again as I was volunteered to put everything in size order… Is anyone seeing a pattern?

img_2600

Charlotte Collier & Clifford M (3*)

What I missed was the jogs. I was originally going to volunteer for the jogs, chickened out, then when I went back, the slots were filled. Friday, was Young Event Horse Jumping and jump crew– the best volunteer position EVER. I had the opportunity to eavesdrop on the judges and learn SO MUCH about what they were looking for. And, accidentally voiced my opinion and cast my vote for the safe harbor winner… Can someone PLEASE buy me this horse? I can’t wait to volunteer for YEH next year too. Learned so much!

img_8756

Celtic King and Charlotte Collier

2*/3* cross county on Saturday was incredible with the exception of a super scary fall in the 2*. I didn’t see the fall, but heard it. Horse was down for a very, VERY long time, brought out the curtains and everything. He trotted the fence before hand and… Despite that, horse and rider were OK.

The rest of the day was a lot of fun and the course was challenging.

img_2359

V3 Red Thirty Six and Campbell Jourdian (YEH 4 year old)

Sunday was windy and blustery. In the 2*, jumps were blowing over and Master Frisky was held up mid course so that the jump crew could re-assemble a fence that fell over completely. Despite that, he went double clear. Boyd and On Cue went double clear to win when a plank was almost flying into them. In the 3*, 8 in a row went double clear towards the end before the final riders started to have trouble. Then Frankie Thieriot Stutes put in an incredible double clear to win. All in all, another incredible Fair Hill in the books!

 

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.

img_3375-1

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.

img_7786

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.

img_5387

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!

img_7793

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…

img_8707

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.

img_8595

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.

56038311390__88db4adc-7ad2-4553-8e14-9aafbc89d633

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.

img_8708

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.

img_8534

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.

img_8534

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.

img_8567

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.

img_8568

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.

img_0418

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).

img_8597

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.

img_8594

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.

img_8599

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…

img_8595

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!