The gut feeling.

2 weeks ago the mid atlantic had what turned out to be a snow/ice event with 6″ of snow followed by probably 7 hours of sleet and some freezing rain and snow. Basically, all of the snow compacted and  we ended up with 5″ inches of concrete. Then there was a hard freeze.

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Evil, evil driveway

Everyone cares for horses differently. Some people lock up during storms (keep in mind, we were expecting a blizzard and were in the 18-24″ category). Some people turn out. My guys live out with 24/7 access to shelter. They always have. Jiminy and Batty would be fine living in a stall somewhere (though with my set up, this really isn’t an option), but Subi has never been one who does well with stall rest.  It brings him back to life on the track? I don’t know. He’s survived stall rest, but normally stall rest requires some help by drugs. As for stalling part of the time?  It’s never been something he’s adjusted to. I’ve tried it when I had access to stalls, but there is a trade off. The trade off being he doesn’t eat. I can stall him to eat (when I had that set up–we worked our way up to 1.5 hours), but anything more leads to too much paces/walking off weight, etc.

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Post storm shed antics.  Batts and Jiminy needed encouragement to leave…

So, with the storm coming, I packed the shed with hay nets (plus they always have a round bale out elsewhere), filled the unheated paddock trough, and basically fed dinner, added blankets, and said goodnight. Come morning, everyone was hanging out in the shed with no intention of leaving. See, that’s the thing. They’re happy to go in themselves and stay put, just don’t force them in. So, we skipped breakfast and didn’t feed until dinner when the mess had stopped.

 

By dinner Subi was bored and had wondered out (the other bums had to be coaxed out to play with treats–they had food so why leave?).  That night and the next couple of days it was super cold with a hard freeze and you could walk on top of the frozen mess–even the horses for the most part. Which caused problems. See, when Subi would walk, it was step, step, step, leg fall through. Step, step, step, leg fall through. So, he’d be really cautious while walking but…

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So on Thursday (3/16), I got home from work (sick), I looked out the window and notice that Subi was moving strangely. He was off, lame, but not necessarily lame lame if you know what I mean? I walked out and found his entire left hind stocked up with some heat around his stifle. He was definitely reactive when I’d mess with it, but certainly not 3-legged and while there was heat, it wasn’t hot or super swollen. Your could really see how off he was on turns (of course) but the more he moved, the better he looked, the more he stood, the worse he looked. I do want to add on thing about Subi. He isn’t lame. Ever.

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Nothing like finding a nice fat leg…

While most people would say I should have gotten the vet out, I didn’t. If it is a serious stifle injury, most horses don’t come back completely from them. I’m not going to put him on stall rest with hand walking (my shed can be converted to a stall so yes, that is an option). I am NOT doing that to this horse. Without serious drugs, he will cause massive injury to himself and others, lose weight, not eat (and he won’t eat on drugs), and possibly kill himself. For what? I just need him to be pasture sound and comfortable and happy. I’d put him down before I’d do stall rest (a decision I made years before).

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So, right now, we’re doing bute and he’s taking it easy. The swelling and heat are finally gone (yay!). Finally! And he’s walking normally again as of this weekend. But, my gut still says he’s protecting himself. He’s not joining in when Jiminy is carrying on and while he’s the mud lover, he’s less covered then he’d normally be and not on both sides. Saturday morning I gave him a nice grooming and after went to groom Batty (and promptly gave up–see evidence below *it would help if I included evidence*) and Subi did canter up to shoo Batty away but he’s not trotting so… I do want to get him out on the driveway and trot him and see where we stand. I do think that he’s just going to be a pasture pet which is fine.

After fighting with squirting crushed bute in applesauce down his throat,
we’ve mastered the bute-stud muffin pill pocket!

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**World’s Grossest Horse** The others side is actually worse, I just don’t have a picture. Take his legs and add that all over…

I don’t know.  But my gut just tells me something is up. And watching him move. And stand. And carry himself… So it might just be a  strain. It might be a slight tear. Who really knows. But, my job is to keep him happy and comfortable. I owe him that.

And we’ll see where he is. We’ll see if he needs something to keep him comfortable long term. Obviously bute isn’t a long term solution. But, that’s ok.

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Best friend. Always.

Ranger Recap: breaking up is hard to do?

It appears Ranger had a really rough week. He may have had some rough days last week too, though I’m not entirely sure since I cancelled my lesson last minute like a completely terrible person (like 20 minutes before my lesson… I’m awful) because Subi was lame, I freaked out, and then there was the issue of what turned out to be a horrible sinus infection AND the flu for me and a 102.something fever. So, I was probably good that I cancelled. So I’ll update on Subi later, though I don’t really know much and am waiting and seeing, but, honestly, I’m operating under he’s just retired forever. We’re not seeking vet care, he’s not lame, but he’s just off? Another post, another day.

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When you’re sick, sometimes a Lasagna kitty decides she is the cure…

So Ranger. Ranger evidently hasn’t exactly been the best behaved horse.  Which I have a hard time believing because he’s completely perfect. Other than 1 bad lesson last fall, he’s really been nothing but perfect. I’ve had an issue here any there with tight turns when I couldn’t ride and he didn’t help when I refused to sit up or do anything, but he’s basically perfect. So hearing that he’s been poorly behaved, well, I have a hard time believing it.

I got on early and basically just walked around while the lesson before was jumping around. I had no energy so walking around made me happy and I could have been happy doing just that. Then at some point, trainer mention that Ranger really needed me this week. And then mentioned 1) that he looked like the happiest horse in the world, 2) he’s had a rough week, 3) every time she says something like this I get on him and he walk around and prove her wrong and 4) he needs me. I love him.

So we warmed up with some trotting, bending, circles, during which she mentions, causally, that he took off with a child during the week. During that statement I noticed that the previous lesson left the gate wide open so if Ranger wanted to take off and take me to the barn at any point, he was free to do so. I was also asked if I wanted to show this weekend, but I’m busy with fun birthday and family stuff. This is super important** Moving on to the canter, Ranger took even move leg and we did a large circle to the right (easy) and a tiny circle to the left (hard side), down by the stupid open gate. We actually kept our canter. By this point, I had no energy left considering 3 days before I was still barely getting out of bed.

 

So, while I took a quick break, I learned more about poor Ranger’s week. In addition to his ring antics, he’s also broken up with his field mate and best friend Forrest as they’re too attached and are now no longer allowed to go out with each other. I guess being separated left Forrest (or Ranger) bucking/screaming/carrying on all day yesterday or today. Life is tough when you break up with your best friend. As a result, he’s been more crabby this week…

On to jumping. I refused to do any courses do to being dead and really didn’t jump much. Honestly, I was just happy to ride. The girls before me were stringing together 7-8 jump courses and I didn’t want that. So I prefaced jumping with that. So we started with a basic figure 8 with a strange approach basically having to cut between 2 jumps to approach jump 1 and then deep in the turn to the rail around the first jump of the outside line to the other inside single. Surprisingly, we did this perfectly the first time, complete with a nice, QUICK simple change. Now, normally I have a hard time with simple changes on Ranger because I die and we trot too many steps and then eventually get our canter back. This lesson, all our simple changes were perfect, single stride canter, perfect. Why? No idea. Because he’s perfect.

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Not to scale, really bad attempt to draw the course. Several jumps may be missing…

So from there we when the other direction. So, down the first single, then between the 2 jumps (really freaking tight), tight turn to the other single away from the in gate. Despite the fact that when I turned I was, for a stride, looking at the WRONG fence, we got to it and got a perfect spot.  In fact, ever damn spot was perfect. **why can’t I ride like this when I’m showing? Even trainer made the comment about how disappointing it is.

So, despite being dead, we ended by going back to our first single (heading away from the in gate) and then continuing instead to our outside line in our 6 stride. Now, I hate this line and have an irrational fear of the last jump. It’s the stupid picket fence gate and straw bale. I just think I’m going to impale myself on the blunt gate. Why? no clue. Nonetheless… I also suck on the  turn to the line. But, I did my first jump, perfect spot because that was the order of the night, perfect change, because, why not, turned perfectly because, again, let’s not question things, and then the damn spot for the first jump was there. So, in order to not screw up the night of everything being perfect, I made a conscious decision to add leg (we were slow and I saw something), ride, and what do you know, the spot was there. And that was the night of perfect spots, on the perfect horse, that people were spreading false rumors about.

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Perfection.

So I promptly gave him a large hug (again — he got lots of pats and hugs throughout because, well, why not?) and stuffed his face with carrots and peppermints. I try to stay out of his way when I ride, but if Ranger likes me, I think it’s because I stuff him full of treats after every lessons.

4 years.

Yesterday marks the 4 year anniversary of a day that really changed my life in ways I had no way of knowing.

4 years ago I came home from work a little early (I had a migraine and I think I just wasn’t feeling work and wanted to lay down) and went out to feed Hayley her “tea.” Hayley got a mid day meal we called tea. Normally Erik fed and he had the routine down, but since I was home first, I decided to feed. So, part of the routine was clearing everyone out of the paddock/shed so I could feed her. I decided to untie the hay nets first and had her bucket waiting in the lawn.

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It was muddy and for some strange reason Batty was hanging out in the shed (he uses the shed when there’s food in it and when it’s raining or snowing). So I went it and starting untying the nets. Hayley runs in and sees Batts and charges out, bucking. ***Please keep in mind, this was my crippled mare.***

On her way out, she bucked and clipped me in the head. Remember that there was a whole lot of mud in the shed. I fell forward, grabbed the shed to stop myself from falling snapped my head back, basically rocking my brain around my skull a few times. But, I didn’t fall in the damn mud. Anyway, somehow I didn’t lose consciousness and got myself out of the paddock  with the hay net (I think the hay net ended up on my bed), but I don’t think I fed Hayley. Details are fuzzy. Looking back, I actually don’t have a lot of memory of this beyond what I’m writing which is freaky.

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Sweet, innocent Hayley. I feel guilty that I never trusted her completely again. And I tea was 100% my husband’s responsibility. I could do breakfast and dinner but not tea. 

So I called my husband, argued with him about going to the ER when he got home (I was in the against column), called my aunt, chatted her for awhile (in all honesty, I was trying to stay awake and alive and conscious), and then I looked in the mirror, saw the shape of a hoof on my forehead and agreed to go to the ER when my husband got home (I’m sure he’d have made me go, but…).

Of course, the idiot ER doctor was the start of my problems. After determining that I had no skull fracture (thank you for being barefoot Hayley — I’m actually paranoid about putting shoes on anyone now — I’d likely be dead) the idiot told me since there was no fracture, I had no concussion. I mean, I didn’t help by arguing I was fine, but anyone could tell I wasn’t. I was told to follow up with my primary in 3-5 days and take ibuprofen if I felt pain. And maybe I could use some ice, but only if absolutely necessary. And there was no reason not to go to work.

So, the next day, feeling like crap, light headed, sick to my stomach, with a pack of ice, no sleep, and near constant ibuprofen, I went to work. By noon, my boss sent me home and wouldn’t let me work my weekend shift. At some point I made an appointment with my primary care doctor’s office and they couldn’t see me until the following Wednesday. I can’t remember if I tried to go to work Monday and failed or if my boss banned me until I saw my doctor. By my doctor’s appointment, I couldn’t drive, walk in a straight line, or, guess what, talk in full sentences. I could get half formed words and that was about it. Holy concussion. And it got worse from there.

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(Weird backwards computer selfie…) Dropping black eye. You can see the mark on my forehead above my eye where I got kicked. If you look at my other eye, you can see bruising is starting and a second black eye is forming. They both ended up black. 

So my doctor was furious at the ER for being stupid. Furious at his office for hearing the words “kicked in head” and “head injury” and NOT getting me in immediately and fearful that the idiot ER may not have order the right scans or failed to read them right (thankfully, in we were clear in both cases as the ER did something right).  So, I was out of work for a couple of weeks until I was cleared… With the warning to avoid future head injuries…

That said, 4 years later, I still deal with some post concussive syndrome stuff. When I’m tired, I lose words. When I’m stressed, I lose words. When I’m overwhelmed, I lose words. It appears, losing words is my lingering symptom. All of this was made worse by not resting right away after the concussion. While I didn’t have any immediate concussion symptoms, they can take a 1-2 weeks to show. That’s why it kills me when people are so sure they DON’T have a concussion (me included this past fall…). The kick was a huge part of mine, but the not falling and catching myself was actually the likely larger culprit for my problems. I saw an improvement after a year, but at this point, I think the rest of it is here to stay.

I’ve also always had migraines, but this concussion seemed to move me from the acute-to-chronic category (8-15) to the chronic category (20+).

 

 

Lesson Recap 3/9 – All things Ranger

For the first time in about 3+ weeks, I had a lesson. And thanks to the glorious weather, we rode outside. Thank you lovely outdoor lights and 60 degree weather! You are all a fond memory since Friday greeted us with snow and Friday into Saturday saw temperatures around 13 degrees…

Since my last lesson before vacation, I rode exactly once (a quick ride on Ranger last week). I also had the stomach flu and completely lost any an all endurance I might have had before vacation. And for some reason after being migraine free for almost 9 (!) days, have had migraines for about 4 of the last 5 days including a really nasty one the day before. Despite all of this, I decided to actually go to my lesson, because, well, Ranger makes life better and I know this. This horse is therapy.

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How can you say no to this face?

So the lesson started with the question: Was he wild when you rode him last week?

Um… no. He was comatose. I barely had enough leg to keep him forward. Granted I was sick, but, he was the usually Ranger, but slightly sleepier.

Oh. Really? He was crazy. I’ve never seen him like that. I guess it was just his rider.

See, I got a text Wednesday night while on my way back to the airport asking if I could ride Ranger while trainer was out of town on Thursday because he was wild. I assumed wild was an exaggeration, because, it’s Ranger and Ranger and wild are words that just don’t go together. And sometimes if my trainer is away at a show and I miss my lesson, I get an opportunity to ride Ranger. I just assumed maybe he was a little faster than usual and this was the case.  Evidently not. But, as usual, he was my perfect Ranger.

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This face = perfection

So, onto the lesson. For some reason, whenever I haven’t ridden, we seem to do MORE flat work with less breaks. It’s not that we were working on anything, just that I didn’t get to rest. So, some circles, cantering from the trot, back to the trot from the canter, changing direction, cantering again, and then oh, wait, canter over that log jump, change your lead, do it again. It was the do it again that I finally said fine, but I need to walk a second. Endurance wasn’t there at that point. First time over the log (weird angled jump by the in gate) I was sort of happy with it (mostly since I saw my spot), but, we were a little long, hence the do it again. Second time through, I never established a great canter. We were more forward and rushed the jump and chipped. Third time through I was able to establish a nice pace early and then just worry about maintaining my rhythm to the middle of the jump (the second time I drifted a bit as I wasn’t focused towards the center of the fence either) and we finally found a nice distance and got to more on. One thing that this trainer focuses on is to steer with both hands together–I’m so used to keeping each hand independent that this is often a challenge–but it makes a huge difference. I think part of the issue is someone years ago ingrained in my head that I couldn’t cross my hand over the mane, but by allowing my hands so work together (instead of fighting each — I have soft hands so fighting in a way that someone with soft hands can fight–so instead of being ineffective?) I can work effectively?

So from here we moved up quickly and my brain got fried. More in a direction sense than anything else. Staying on the left lead, trainer wanted me to canter into the this inside oxer (tight turn — turning before the log jump on the corner)  and take the long ride around to the inside line which was a straw bale jump to something else that I don’t remember. My issue was the path the get to the oxer. Does anyone ever just NOT understand directions? For the longest time stood there trying to figure out if she meant to turn before or after the log jump –meaning turning AT the jump, not realizing the turn was way before the jump, the same place I would start turning to approach that jump. Adult issues. Once we got THAT out of the way, I realized how huge the jump looked. It’s amazing how big jumps look when you haven’t jumped in a while! I’m sure it wasn’t too much more than 2’6″, but it looked huge, solid and built up. Of course I was reminded Ranger doesn’t care… First time through was fine, though I turned a bit late to the first fence. Second time was better. From there we were to add on our outside single. Except as we went to continue to our single, everyone (but me) seemed to get distracted. See, we are near the TastyKake factory and sometimes you can smell TastyKakes when the wind blows. Of course that night your could smell doughnuts. So, a comment was made about the smell, I respond, still looking and seeing my spot, Ranger thinks his job is done, trainer forgets we still have a fence to go and then remembers, meanwhile I’m adding leg determined NOT TO LOSE THE CANTER NO MATTER WHAT. We got the damn distance I wanted, but it was way too much work. Stupid TastyKakes.

From here, Ranger got a little mad as he thought we were finished. See, trainer got up from the gazebo and walked into the ring to adjust jumps/gave him a hug, but the getting up part was his cue that he was finished. We switched from cantering the short ride/tight turn into our single oxer and instead rode it the other direction (long ride) around to our outside line (in a 7) (we may have repeated this a couple of times before the course, I don’t remember), continuing to the inside line around to the outside single around to the inside single (that I didn’t know I was doing or that it existed — I just heard keep cantering to the inside single so I’m cantering until I finally saw I jump– thankfully I saw it eventually — and the spot was good because it felt huge ). We finished by cantering down our oxer around to our outside line, remember to rebalance, and moving up to the 6. Of course, the 6 felt way easier and more comfortable. But, I actually sat up after the oxer, lifted someone’s big head up an inch or two so that he couldn’t pull me forward, and added leg since we were now going away from the in gate. Amazing how those things work.

 

So lessons learned for the evening.

  1. Rebalancing after jumps really helps set up the next line.  If I stay forward, I can’t really do much. If I sit up, I can actually ride? Rebalanced Ranger is really easy to adjust
  2. Setting pace early makes things so much easier
  3. Steering with both hands is useful and helps get all of Ranger where he needs to be, not just part of him
  4. Stop worrying about the size of the jumps. Ranger doesn’t care so why should I?
  5. Ranger makes life better.

 

Plan 2017 because life is getting me down

I’ve been highly unmotivated lately. And busy. And just haven’t felt much like blogging.

The horse world has been getting me down and I think I’m done with parts of it again. I just sort of want to run away and hide and be done with it again. If I could just hang out with my horses, take my lessons on Ranger, and go to the occasional show? I think I could be happy. But right now just doing THAT isn’t in the cards. I’m trying to be vague here. Maybe I’ll say more one day.

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“Are they making fun of me?”

I taught a lot years ago. I loved it at first. It paid for a lot for me. I wasn’t experienced, but I knew enough to do what I did (or at least I thought I did, some days, I look back and wonder what the heck I was doing). But, I mostly stuck with up-downers and got students to the point where they could do more and passed them along. On safe horses, that’s probably OK. People can argue otherwise, but fine. (Side note, it was kind of cool last year at Devon, a of my very first student stopped to see if I remembered her and to say hello. Her daughter was showing in the junior hunters. I’ll take all undue credit for that! And for the very first lesson at 3 years old (and for other subsequent lessons later on) for another former student who is showing all other in the junior jumpers–granted, in her case–much credit should be given for not murdering her multiple times when she was under the age of 10…And she is reminded of this!) It’s what allowed me to have Subi, but it also burned me out. It was also the push that eventually gave me the confidence to take me horses OUT of the boarding environment. But, looking back, I hated how things were done and how I was treated. But, I did it because I needed to financially.

I started teaching again when I needed a little bit more financially assistance. It was different. But, now, a few years later, it’s not? Except it is? I barely teach (I have 4 students, mostly adult beginners, 2 teen beginners), but in the spring/summer/fall–trail rides = $$. But, there is drama now and I have enough drama with my real life (aka work) and I don’t need it! Except the little bit I make still helps cover my horse habit. Everything was fine until it wasn’t (politics). And I could be making everything up in my head, but between work and life, I just feel this big source of anxiety regarding horses now.

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I really do love these boys…

So, having said all of that, I’m focusing my energy right now on what I can control. Like how awesome Ranger is (I haven’t had a lesson since Feb. 16… I was out of town, then trainer was out of town, but I got to ride him last week anyway while trainer was away and he just made me happy despite the fact that I was sick (don’t get sick on vacation, it sucks) and miserable.. .). How muchly annoying Subi is. Idiot horse decided to stop eating before vacation so we’ve gone through ANOTHER grain switch, but he’s eating well again. The feed store people think he’s insane, but are constantly trying to come up with solutions and having employee brainstorming sessions to solve his issues. But, right now, we eat. Tomorrow we might now, but that’s tomorrow’s problem. How much Batty needs to get back into work. But, when nice weather happens during the work week and arctic weather occurs during the weekend, that’s just life.

So, I’m coming up with a plan. No goals, because goals = immediate failure (yeah, about those goals on my performance appraisal… oops), but a plan because they can allow for a change in course..

Plan 2017

Subi

Spring 2017

  • Ground work with rope halter
  • Begin trailer loading?

Summer 2017

  • Begin work under saddle
  • Visit with trailer loading guru for self-loading lesson if necessary?

Summer 2017 Wishful Thinking:

  • Field trips to trainer’s property?
  • flat work lesson or training ride with trainer?

Batts:

Spring 2017

  • Body clip
  • Ground work for better manners…
  • Introduce rope halter/reins
  • Good Friday Paperchase at Fair Hill if I can get off work/find people to ride with
  • Plenty of trail rides

New super adjustable rope halter I can’t wait to play with!

Summer 2017

  • Trail rides/paper chases
  • Visit new parks for rides
  • continue work with rope halter/reins

Jiminy

Spring 2017

  • Attitude adjustment! (Just kidding, but he needs a job!)
  • Introduce bit
  • Purchase surcingle/harness/etc. (any suggestions?)
  • General desensitizing (He has a REALLY good brain so this will be FUN)

Summer 2017

  • Introduce harness/surcingle/crupper
  • start ground driving.

 

 

Catching up with the boys

Not too much to write about. It’s been a rather uneventful week. This post will mostly be a useless pile of pictures.

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Big and Little

I took Wednesday afternoon off for a farrier appointment so I got to spend some time with my boys. It also happened to be 60 degrees which is crazy for PA in February, but whatever. The next day we got snow (though the storm pretty much missed us completely), but going from 60 to 19 in a day is always fun…

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How many horses does it take to fill a water trough? Too many when they help drain it while I ‘m trying to fill it…

Anyway, my boys being the idiots that they are, took advantage of being unblanketed and unsupervised for 5 minutes while I paid the farrier to go and roll and get gross that that they needed to be groomed AGAIN so before I could reblanket since temperatures were already dropping. I love my horses, I really do. I think I mentioned that Subi and Batty hate being groomed? Yeah. They love dirt and hate brushes. Yeah. Jiminy loves being brushed. He also doesn’t like getting dirty. He, however, did not use his unsupervised time to get gross because he’s a good mini.

“Hi Mom! Look what we did while you were gone!” Idiots.

So, they all got brushed. And they didn’t like it. But they got clean.

And thanks to the lovely weather everyone got reblanketed. This has been the strangest winter in a long time.img_2838

No lessons this week as trainer was is MS for a show. I got to go out a hack Ranger (I almost bailed because it was cold and I had a headache) though I really didn’t do much… I was there alone. It was windy. Tan Dan was stalking me. It was cold. Horses hadn’t been out that day, but at least I got to ride? Mostly I just focused on circles and tried to avoid running over our stalker cat…

 

 

Riding the whole course [for the coolerette]

Going into our final show of the series, I had one goal and one goal only.

Win the damn division for the series. No pressure.

Well, actually, there wasn’t really too much pressure since we were leading by 30 points and just needed to show up. If the second place person showed up, won everything, and I stayed home? Then I could lose but that was really about it.

So, in reality, goals were the normal ones: not dying, remembering my course, and, well, riding.


Seems easy, right? Except I’ve sort of had the spectrum of lessons lately. 2 weeks ago I probably had the best lesson of my life. I meant to blog about it but I didn’t. It started well and I was happy. Then when I thought we were finished, the jumps went up. I saw pretty much all my distances but one. We had a talk about how good and consistent my eye is and how consistent it has always been, especially since I’m only riding once a week right now. I disagreed, but then again, I will agree that I’ve always lacked confidence. I feel like my old trainer ingrained in me that when you do well it’s all the horse, when you make mistakes, it’s all the rider. Therefore, I’m a passenger who tries to allow my horse to do well and try to to get in the way too much. 

Of course, sometimes a good lesson is followed by a bad one. Not to say the following week was bad, but I just felt…off. My eye wasn’t there and I couldn’t always get the canter I needed for a couple of singles. We crashed one.. made it over but dismantled the over in the process. Of course I was made to finish my course. Lines (mostly) were fine, just the damn singles. I saw nothing so either I over rode or was passive. Plus I just fell loose… we got through it and ended with an acceptable course (our 3 or 4 try) but I just wasn’t thrilled with it. 3 months ago it would have been a great lesson.

So the show. Confidence level wasn’t high. Brain was having evil thoughts. But Ranger is Ranger. Of course it was crazy freaking cold (started the morning at a balmy 19*F) and way more waiting around the last show. So, while I had a million layers on, once I actually put on my boots and show gloves and removed some layers, I was freezing. My trainer was nice enough to hold Ranger and another horse while we warmed up before schooling as I pretty much stopped feeling my fingers and toes (I was offered toasty toes but I’m so weird about anything in my boots). Thankfully I warmed up fast standing next to the heater in the indoor and I was able to survive schooling (other than taking out a jump…oops sorry!).


So our course was a long ride to an inside oxer which I was a touch slow to so we chipped around to an inside line (going 4) to my challenge, keeping him out to use my corner but still steering to my inside single [I’ve alluded to it before, but Ranger drifts and isn’t always the easiest to steer combined with my TERRIBLE habit of turning late and dropping my shoulder–he isn’t hard but he is happy to take advantage and laugh at me when I give him the option]-we absolutely nailed this corner and jump (and as a result I forgot goal 3 was on going) around to both outside lines the first in a 5 which was fine the second in a 3 (well, 4) because I forgot to ride and Ranger assumed my lack of direction indicated we were doing a courtesy circle. Instead, SUPER ugly jump as he saved my butt. [i was so tempted not to share the video but why not, right?]


Thanks to someone copying my lovely last line and some other errors, we walked away with a 2nd over fences. We followed that up with seconds in our flat classes as well. and another reserve champion. I’m happy as a whole, but honestly just didn’t feel as on as I should have. But, regardless, Ranger is the best. 


And we got our series grand champion coolerette. Goal accomplished!

Ranger jumps stuff! Or, another lesson recap

In light of all the craziness going on in the world, I thought I’d focus on more positive things, like this week’s lesson on Ranger. For some reason, some weeks I ride like crap and can’t see a distance to save my life. Other weeks everything just goes right. Which is probably a good thing considering my thoughts on the state of the world. And the state of my life (nothing major just stupid things like $400 electricity bills and $300 septic bills). And mother nature. And barriers in the road. Or rather my driveway.

 

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Yesterday morning’s fun surprise…

Anyway, last Thursday I had a very much needed fabulous lesson on the wonderful Ranger. Sometimes I get really excited about bringing Subi back and actually riding him. And then I have such fun with Ranger that I wonder why I need to even bother. So who knows what I’m going to do. Right now I don’t actually care so that decision can be made or not made later.

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“Me, misbehave? Never!”

So I sort of had a 1/2 private, 1/2 semi private lesson which worked out sort of nicely. We each did our own thing, but it gave me some time to watch, but also be motivated (nice TB starting on flying changes). Also learned that Ranger and I will start working on changes soon. Evidently Ranger does changes which I did not know. So, something to work towards. After a nice warm up, we started with the evil hay bale jump and around to the outside line in a 6 that I struggled so much with a couple lessons ago. However, it was way lower than before and the start of the lesson. Somehow, we nailed it first time for both jumps. Repeated almost as successfully though a little bit of a drift in our line. Then we moved to our inside green single (right lead) around to the inside line in a 6. I’m finally getting it through my head that when I don’t see my spot, instead of holding to nothing, I just need to pick up a forward canter until I see something. The lazy holding canter is getting me nowhere but the forward canter is. I can then SEE spots and either hold or go. I actually managed to see my spots first time through. Scary. And we got our 6. Scary again.

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Hopefully you can figure out jumps based on ring picture above. Hay bales far left, outside line far right, jump with green is the tight turn jump with 1 short standard…, inside line (pink and black to wall/oxer thing), other inside single is the white single boxes

 

At some point we took a break. And then some of the jumps went up. Like my nice outside line that became an oxer (second jump only increased). And the white single. And the green inside single that’s not green on the other side. Then things got scary, but they were going so well that the really didn’t? And that’s what really was scary.

So my trainer had me canter up the white boxes around to the green single that’s not actually green on the other side (the turn is crazy tight so goal was to look, sit up, and use BOTH hands–I tends to sometimes forget to use both hands) and continue to the grey and white oxer (broken line) in a 7. My response was “you’re crazy.” But we actually accomplished it pretty well  hitting all our spots perfectly the first time. The second time I was more confident, and the third time it felt easy, almost fun.

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Ranger selfie

As a result, we ended with a course. Inside white boxes single, around to green/not green single broken line to grey and white oxer, outide line in a 6, around to inside line in a 6. Basically every jump but the evil hay bales. And success! The entrance to our last inside line wasn’t perfect, but instead of sitting like a sack of potatoes and letting Ranger get lazy and add for the 7, I sat up, added leg, and moved him up to for the 6. I was tired. I didn’t want to repeat the course. And thankfully, with that, we called it a night. And Ranger got what I’m pretty sure was a 1lbs carrot. I think he likes me. Trainer mentioned I might be his favorite. I think it’s all the carrots I bribe him with.

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That face…

Winter Schooling Show Series #2

Where I last left off,  I had a really good pre-show lesson which is actually not a common occurrence. I remember back to showing Subi as well as showing IHSA and regularly the last lesson before a show would usually suck. Regularly things would either suck from the start or they’d be going ok and then we’d push it until magically they’d suck. So, last lesson was sort of an anomaly for not sucking. Either that or the other obvious answer. Ranger is just perfect.

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Unlike last show where pleasure pony and horse were combined, we were separate this time around. Of course, my division sort of fell apart after anyway after some scratches and some less than ideal schooling. Nonetheless, we still had slightly larger jumps which definitely made things a little easier. The course was pretty simple. Outside line, around to inside single, inside broken line, to outside line. Unlike last time around, Ranger WASN’T flying and we decided that, thanks to the slightly larger fences, we were going to ask him to leave out the stride rather than holding for the 6. So, the goal was FORWARD the entire time (he was  doing the add for his cross rail courses and 2ft courses with his 2 kids earlier).

Schooling went really well, better than our actual course (I screwed up the turn to the third line and which resulted in an ugly chip… and we were just holding the canter rather than simple changes in our actual course as requested by trainer so some cross cantering/lead issues) but since I’m willing to post the video evidence, you can tell its 1000x better than the last course.

Thanks to class size, we came away with a second and I made it my mission to win the hacks. After all, Ranger is the epitome of a pleasure horse and managed to pin well in a much larger class (2nds) last time around. As it turned out, there were only 2 of us hacking so my goal became not to do anything stupid and to win the damn classes.

And that we did. Well, we almost did something stupid, as I was trotting around on loose reins and Ranger did think about leaving the ring for a moment, but other than that! Thankfully he’s reliable, has great downward transitions, trots around on a loose rein, etc. I love this guy!

Hacks are boring, but my husband was a good sport and actually recorded stuff…

 

Needless to say, it was a successful day and we walked out with a second, 2 firsts, and champion. Thank you again Ranger for carting my butt around.

Goals this week were to once again: 1. Not Die and 2. Remember My Course. 3. (NEW) Remember How to Ride. Over all? Success!

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