Fair Hill Blogger Trail Ride

Taking advantage of a quiet evening reference desk shift to catch up on this blog. Saturday afternoon we FINALLY had our much planned blogger trail ride at Fair Hill with Michele, Emma, and Emma’s barn mate Amy and her horse Punky. I think Emma first mentioned a trail ride almost 2 years ago and it FINALLY happened! Michele and I had a planned a paper chase this past fall that was cancelled then a ride that we bailed on when life, weather, and, er, musicals got in the way.

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And this nose. This nose ALWAYS is in the way.

Too bad this trail ride happened because Michele is a terrible, mean person [who rescues me from airports and work and takes my blankets down to slower, lower Delaware] and is ditching us for TN. I mean, who is going to rescue me when I get stranded somewhere next? Obviously NOT my friends and family… Remember, it’s ALL ABOUT ME!
Selfish rant over. And, no, you can’t take Jiminy to TN.
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Putting Michele to work and making her hold my horse. And Batty’s posing because, that’s what he does…

After all this terrible weather we’ve had, Saturday was GORGEOUS! The pollen count wasn’t terrible either which was helpful as Batts’ heaves and allergies have been acting up. Enough that Michele and Emma thought I was contemplating bailing. No. But, had he been as bad as he was the previous week when I tried to get on him for my 1 “ride” since Thanksgiving, I’d had to have. Poor horse was coughing up a lung thanks to so allergies… But, everything settled since then and whenever the vet gets his Hydroxyzine in, he’ll start that 2x/day. Anyway, with 5 minutes of w/t on the lunge line and a 5 minute ride at the walk both a week before and no other work since Thanksgiving, we headed out to Fair Hill. Because, that’s completely normal, right?
Michelle taking a picture of me taking a picture…
So, Batty is THAT horse who is born broke and always quiet. This was no exception. His coughing was generally OK except when he was a. Ignored  or b. Bored. As long as we were doing something fun (ie: NOT returning to the trailer.. we sulked and had LOTS of feelings about going home. Mostly that included dragging our feet because we’re not normal), no coughing occurred. But, when we were in the trailer alone being ignored? Cough. Strange horse.

Anyway, we had a great time. Batty and Remus were the perfect pair. Remus was up Batty’s butt and Batts didn’t care (the joy of a former lesson horse…). Batt DID cause Remus to spook once over this plastic thing on the ground that he was sniffing at by turning sideways which was highly entertaining since Michele managed NOT to fall off… But all bridges were crossed, all water was crossed, and bravery was accomplished. We did make Angry Faces at Charlie for some reason though… Sorry Charlie…
Overall, the company was fantastic! I wonder why I don’t get out to Fair Hill more often considering I’m 15 (20-25 with the trailer) minutes away. So many trails to explore. And all Batts wants to do is explore. Had circumstances been different, some trotting and cantering would have been lovely! But, considering how out of shape a certain chestnut was… the walk was ideal!
Hopefully Michele and I will get out again before she heads to TN. So much more exploring to do!
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Sir Charlie!

Of course, as great as our ride was, drama followed me home… After passing a tiny Amish cart pulled by a Shetland pony, I almost got run off the road by farm equipment… Nothing like a tractor that can’t fit in a single lane approaching you when your hauling. I certainly wasn’t moving off the road. Somehow he managed to pass me with about 6″ to spare… I just sat there gritting my teeth. Then I arrived home to find that Subi had been screaming since I left 3 hours earlier (he’d been running too but got tired and resorted to just screaming). Lesson learned: When I take Batt out. DON’T put Subi and Jiminy on grass. Jiminy cares more about grass than Subi and Subi cares more about Batty than grass or Jiminy. At least when they’re in the paddock, Jiminy stays close to Subi and he’s not THAT dramatic.

Clean at Fair Hill, muddy within 5 minutes of being home

Drama. I don’t need it.

These two… tale of two quarter horses with opinions.

And because I can’t leave out the biggest drama queen of the bunch… Geldings.

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Subi’s lucky I love him…

Quilted Jiminy!

A mostly wordless… Friday post to share this amazing quilted Jiminy courtesy of Olivia from DIYHorseownership! I won her Easter contest and picked up an amazing quilted Jiminy complete with ears (that I missed in the box at first thanks to exhaustion and brain-dead-ness thanks to a 3 day work training in Pittsburgh…)

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Quilted Jiminy!

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Non quilted version

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Well behaved version with Ears!

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Non stuffed, less well behaved version with ears

And, to complete this, some fun from my trip to Pittsburgh… How many librarians can you fit in a hotel shuttle? Then answer is way too many when your shuttle driver’s name is Henry and you’ve been staring at large pages of text all day… And it shouldn’t be snowing at the end of April in PA. Just saying.

 

Ranger Recap: I’m so tired.

I have NOT recapped my lessons in the last few weeks. Not because they haven’t been good lessons (they have), but mostly because we’ve been stuck inside, have been working on rollbacks and I have had absolutely NO MEDIA and and work has been insane. Rollbacks are really hard to write about when you don’t have so much as a picture of the course. And then I sort of got tied up with work (or taxes) and never managed to even try and recap. Oops.

I’m not much better this week, but at least I rode outside?

I was in DC/Bethesda for the first half of the week for a workshop at the NIH on research data management. I only bring that up to clue everyone into my mental and physical state going into my lesson last night. My legs were burning (SO. MUCH. WALKING. NIH campus is huge) within 2 minutes thanks to comfortable (yet probably not ideal) shoes from earlier in the week and I was exhausted and not really able to take in direction? As long as I didn’t need to think, all was good. If I needed to think? haha!

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My train… Boarding without a platform… Platform 9 3/4 I guess?

We started off with a lovely FORWARD trot. Ranger was happy to be outside (though a little grumpy his OMG BEST FRIENDS were outside in the field next to the ring eating his hay) and moving nicely to the left. My left leg was not dead. We hopped over the poles that were in our one outside line working on straightness (so, there was a pole then a little shoot then another pole |    =    |   (the last pole had flowers with it). This direction was easy, though we did that a few times. Then we changed direction, and tried it to the right twice, adding in some circles and halts. To the right, OMG right drift and right leg = DEAD. And, after doing that twice, we picked up the canter and it became EVEN HARDER with the damn drift. But, the goal was canter the thing in 8 strides (easy), then canter it in 9 strides, really collecting (not hard, but the god damn drift), then 8 strides (easy), then 7 strides (easy) then 8 strides (OMG I’m dying)  then walk. The hardest part was that we essentially cantered 5 times around the ring and my legs were protesting so much. Well, my right ankle was mostly dying. See, I was paying with the swelling in my feet from the stupid trip…. Then we moved to the other direction and Ranger just naturally moved FORWARD. And the 8 was too fast and yeah we struggled. So, it took a couple times to get a nice 8 because I was already tired. But, essentially we did an 8 and then circled until we had the canter for the 9, then got him too forward for the 7 (oops, I was aiming for the 6…) then tried again and got the 7 then walked and I collapsed and took a break.

After a walk break which wasn’t as long as I’d like, Ranger and I were assigned our next task: cantering into our inside green oxer (an 8 canter), shortening our canter to our log (9 canter) which was a super tight turn as it was basically a tight half circle to the log out of the inside line and then immediately to the other outside line in the 4 (7 canter).  We actually made it through the first time, but had a little too much canter for the single. But, when in double, I’ve learned to move up rather than be passive and the jump was nice. But, Ranger was leaning on the landing making jump 2 hard. Take 2 wasn’t as nice as we landed wrong from the single (which was too slow) and turned late and it was ugly-ish. I mean, it wasn’t bad, but not great? Take 3 was better, but the simple change still was taking throwing me… Finally, take for was as perfect as I could make it and I think we thankfully didn’t do a take 5.

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You can sort of see the log?

From here we cantered right lead over our other inside single towards Ranger’s OMG BEST FRIENDS (idiot) and then came around to our inside line. My brain was seriously fried at this point so I just decided to count 1-2-1-2 to hold a steady pace and not mess with him. Our pace felt fine though I did here my trainer tell me I didn’t need to gallop… Oops. Our first jump was gorgeous and then I forgot to stay out for the line (it’s a super hard turn and if you don’t stay out, the line DOES NOT WORK AT ALL) but then Ranger drifted because I had no right leg and it all worked out and the in was perfect and then we drifted slightly and the out oxer was perfect, even though, gallop. But, because we can’t end on almost perfect (ie: gallop), we did it again.

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So brown single (with the blue and white standards) around to white boxes inside line

So last time through. Goal: NO drift and NO GALLOP. I basically approached the single with the same 1-2-1-2-1-2 approach and thankfully we had an even more perfect jump (no OMG BEST FRIENDS this time) and then landed and I continued to 1-2-1-2-1-2 myself to the next jump and we jumped STRAIGHT through the entire thing. Ranger, knowing he was complete PERFECTION got a hug and then started yanking at the reins… Brat. Thankfully we ended or I would have said no. Seriously, it was the nicest jumps I have done in the longest time. Don’t make me top that.

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Reunited with BEST FRIENDS Elliot (bay) and Mikey (grey)

The Great Easter Egg Hunt of 2018 (or not)

I have a lot to recap including a lesson on Ranger and so much to do at work. But instead, why not share some silliness?

Olivia @ DIY Horseownership is holding an Easter Contest — You can enter too on her blog. And, Saturday after a long day when I was losing my mind, I figured it was as good of a time as any to participate. So, I what did I do other than make horse cookies and hold an Easter Egg Hunt for Jiminy?

The plan was to follow her Pill Hider Horse Treats (rules stated you could use any of the homemade horse treat recipes), but I didn’t have any apple sauce and didn’t want to go to the store (keep the part in mind later) so I used canned pumpkin in its place. So, basically, my treats were a hybrid between the Pill Hider Horse Treats and the Pumpkin Horse Treats.

But the recipe was super easy to follow until I realized that I did NOT own a mini muffin pan. And was not planning to buy one. Enter modification number…6? So I used a large muffin pan and made some large muffins and then still had batter. They take an hour to cook and if I did multiple batches, I’d never  be finished and I needed sunlight for my Easter Egg hunt! So, I found muffin cups and started dumping batter in those. So I ended up with less than pretty muffins, but it worked…

Biscuit approves… This kitten is TROUBLE.

Of course, while the muffins were cooking, I realized I was missing a key element of the hunt. The costume. So, I left my husband with a core instruction: Make sure the house doesn’t burn down. And headed off to CVS in search of bunny ears. The struggle was real folks. BUT, success! 3 pairs of bunny ears remained and I purchased the best pair. (I could have picked up apple sauce…)

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I came home, house still standing and waited for the cookies to finish Then, when they were FINALLY finished, I sped up the cooling process (thank you refrigerator) and out we went for a photo shoot, egg hiding session, and THE HUNT!

It was dinner time for the boys so Jiminy was the only HUNT participant. But, they all participated in the taste test and photo shoot. Subi, pickiest of them all, is IN LOVE with the cookies. Probably because they don’t have apple in them. He is NOT a fan of apple sauce… So, the pumpkin in a hit.

MORE COOKIES!!!!

But the star of the show? Jiminy.

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Yes,  Jiminy

We didn’t allow him loose for the hunt as he can escape from the round pen and he was a little distracted by grass…

Nonetheless, he’s utterly adorable…

He was very disappointed when he found the last “egg” and didn’t get to stay and enjoy the green grass… Let’s just say, grass is the last thing he needs 🙂

Ranger Recap: Proof in video

Thanks to a wide range of circumstances, my Thursday lesson was pushed back to Saturday this week.

It was really pretty earlier in the week…

It was all fine. Thursday would have meant that I got to ride with snow falling off the roof of the indoor which is always fun. Plus my neck/back was killing me for some odd reason… Who knows. I’m a walking disaster. Regardless, I find it really odd to ride during the day these days. Anyway, it all meant that Michele! came out and served at videographer once she navigated around Amish buggies… That’s the problem with Saturdays…

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My lesson started with a pokey, blockheaded Ranger. Evidently he’s been a little difficult over the last week. So, during our initial w/t flat work, we did a lot of trot/halt/back transitions until I finally got him off of his front end and on to his butt. We also did a lot of tiny circles at the trot and worked on not falling in. Finally we got some square halts where it didn’t feel like Ranger was going to try and drag me onto the ground (it was that kind of a day to start out… He’s got a BIG HEAD). Somewhere around this point, Michele showed up.

At the canter, the focus was mostly forward down the long sides and making Ranger collect use his butt in the corners. Then, to start off to the right, we circled and I failed to realize that with the new course, the jumps were on the long side and proceeded to almost crash into a fence. BUT, we managed not to and didn’t lose our canter. It was just not pretty. Take 2 was nicer. Then on the other side of the ring, tiny circles at the canter were the goal. I should have know this was a clue for things to come. Left lead was uneventful… Just a circle or two…

Our warm up exercise was…evil. It was a figure eight exercise over a cross rail. Thankfully I do NOT have a video of it. Basically, we cantered left lead over this cross rail, then landed turned right and cantered right lead (TIGHT TURN) over the cross rail, landed, cantered left lead again over it. I think we did it 3 times? I mean, it went fine, I just didn’t like the exercise.

From here, we did the same cross rail (cantering in left lead), but instead of  turning back to the cross rail, we instead went to the outside line against the rail). First time through I kind of lacked the power I needed and we did an ugly 7. The second jump was the EVIL death jump that has the invisible spikes… YES they are there and they pop out at you when you go over it thank you very much. But, the second time through, I actually rode the damn thing and we got the 6. My issue the first time was I was still in the holding mindset from the tight turn to get back to the cross rail (we had to turn at the first jump of the line) rather than a going mode to make the line.

Next we worked on our inside single which wasn’t an issue at all. This was the only place that I could feel Ranger occasionally want to get strong but a tiny lift was all he needed. From the single we continued to the cross rail bending to the second jump in the outside line (AKA the death jump). It was fine. No issue at all. We only put the 3 together once?

Finally we ended with our course that took me a few times to get right. We started we the outside single which first time we proceeded to take a rail down. Next we came around to the inside line in a 6. I got the simple change late though the turn, while hard (it’s one of those you have to wait for it turns, but I turn late so those work for me), wasn’t an issue. That said, I let Ranger pull me a bit and we sort of sucked in the line and got in tight to the out of the line…

Take 2 was better spots, but Ranger was severely distracted. His BFF Elliot walked in and instead of picking up his feet, he was focused on Elliot. So we took out a bunch of rails. Because, idiot.

Take 3 was FINALLY the course we wanted. We added on to it by continuing to our outside line and then continuing to our inside single.

Anyway, we called it a day from there. The bad news was Ranger had to do double duty and will have to do double duty on Thursdays from now on. Sucks for him. AND I’ll lose my Thursday zen tack up time. But, hopefully come summer the kid riding him before me will find another time to ride and I can find my zen time again.

Ranger Recap: Changes

My recaps lately have been really…bad. I have no media and my brain just can’t quite retain the course in the ring and without a picture of the layout, I can’t adequate describe anything or even draw my own course map. So, apologies in advance. Brain power has been a struggle this week. Migraine fog? On a positive note, this is blog #4 for the week. Woah!

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Migraine fog or Ugly weather fog?  The sky was scary this morning… And it was snowing

Flat work part 1:

We just did some basic trotting. Mostly working on moving out and nothing overly exciting. The big thing was my outside hand/arm and I was to focus on pulling it back instead of pulling out as Ranger was diving in a bit during the lesson rather than staying on the rail, regardless of the amount of inside leg I stuck on him.

Eventually we started adding in our pole down at the close end of the ring, making a circle over it and ensuring that we stayed even, straight, and all that. Also that my stupid arm pulled back instead of 12 feet out… and turning with 2 hands. You know, all those things because trotting a pole is hard man. Oh, and  I could run over a little  while pony or large chestnut gelding carting children because that would be bad. We also got to do the entire thing, circles and all, in 2 point where I impressed my trainer with my 2 point and  strength of holding 2 point. I considered mentioning my 2pointober championship of yesteryear, but decided that instead of holding 2 point for 30 seconds, I might actually have to hold it for some significant  length of time.  Yay for past victories!

The canter was  more of the same. For some odd reason, I started  off with an awkward forward lean, but once I corrected that, I was ok.  For there, we basically worked on our circle over the pole and thankfully in both directions I managed several fabulous circles of varying sizes were I didn’t take out ponies or people and even had some lovely tight turns. Circling over the pole was my success  of the  night thank you very much.

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Ranger has better things to do than hang out with me… 

Over fences fails:

We started basically with a half circle over the second jump of our outside line (left lead canter). First time through it was fine, but I didn’t quite see the spot and… yeah. No, incorrect. I saw the spot, I just failed to do anything about it. second time through I thankfully chose to ride and moved Ranger up and success, lovely forward fence. Life is lovely when I chose to ride.

Next up, same thing but the other lead and the other side. So, right lead canter half circle to the second fence of the other outside line. This time I  actually rode to the jump, we had a perfect spot and…took down the top rail? Ranger failed to pick up his feet, convinced the fence was the same size as the other fence…  So, we did it again and much better. Thank you Ranger…

From here we started to hit the point of failure. So, we started to with an inside single (right lead) around to our first jump. So, roll back. Except, the first time through I was so preoccupied with the fact that we landed  on the wrong lead that I screwed up t he spot for the second fence and we launched over it and Ranger saved my butt (time number 1 of the day). Considering the fence had gone up, I owed him.

Second time, we did a simple change because we couldn’t seem to land correctly to save our lives and improved but….

We then did our other inside single around to the other jump on the outside. OMG. Holy saving  my butt (mega save #2). Again, we screwed up the lead. We tried it again.  Simple change, slightly better. Then we just had to land, canter around, and just did the last jump as a single and it was fine. The big issue was after the simple change, we just lost momentum. I could  NOT get back the canter before and as a result, we never could get to the spot I saw and instead  of chipping, Ranger decided to launch. I owed him BIG TIME.

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Like hang out with Elliot

Flat work part 2:

After failed jumping efforts due to lead issues, I was given the option to jump more or learn to do changes on him. My trainer basically is the lead change master. (She loves to take on horses just for lead changes).   Me? I’m not great with changes. Subi had auto changes so I never actually learned how to do changes. I just basically set him up by staying balanced and he did them. Towards the end of his carrier, I did have  to ask a little, but I can’t say I asked the right way. Or maybe I did, but not the way my current trainer may have wanted me to ask. Basically, I did use some hand. Other than Subi, the other horses I’ve ridden have pretty much had no changes or auto changes. So, yeah. And evidently if I wasn’t riding Ranger  I’d be riding Forrest. Forrest is easy and perfect with Subi-like looks and changes, but… I don’t think I could ride him. He’s too much like Subi. I can’t. I just couldn’t. I don’t want  to ride a Subi-like horse. I don’t want to ride someone that remind me  of what I’m missing… No, no can do.

So, Ranger. His are “easy” just the case of getting used to balance and the right amount of speed. We mostly just worked on keeping my hands still and shifting my weight from center into left or right stirrup and kicking/adding  leg/speed as I passed through the  center of the ring. Each time we did eventually get it, but not at the right place. I need to give leg firmly ONCE rather than lots of little kicks. So, stuff to work on.

I did almost fall off once after getting  the change and Ranger was quite proud of himself. The light was changing and the other trainer stepped/moved and decided to spook at her shadow in the light just because and ducked in violently. He was VERY proud of catching me  off balance as he had JUST gotten the change. Thank you Ranger. I love you too.

Anyway, I slowly started to  figure it out and  despite a mini pity party (I mentioned that the kid riding him must be much better/stronger since I got to hear how she’s doing well with him with changes and  all that blah, blah and my confidence has taken a hit….) but whatever. We all have those  moments.

In the end, Ranger was most excited about treats. And  turnout with his BFF Elliot. Yeah. OMG. Those guys…

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OMG! BEST FRIEND! We were just turned out at the exact same time and somehow got separated as we walked to separate hay piles… MUST NOT HAPPEN EVER AGAIN!

If your horse were a human…

Driving into work this morning, I was chatting with my husband about Jiminy. Oh, Jiminy, what is there to say about Jiminy. He’s the smart one. He just doesn’t always put his brains to good use. He is WAY to smart for his own good.

Anyway, Erik came to the conclusion that, if Jiminy were a human, he’d be really, really rich. But, that money probably wouldn’t all have been obtained, er, legally.

If Jiminy were a human, he’d be using his intelligence for nothing but mischief and no good. He’d be the super intelligent Wall Street guy running a Ponzi scheme…

Me? Use my brains for trouble? Yep. Probably? No never! Bwahaha!

Batts, who would he be? He lacks brain cells unfortunately and has recently earned the nickname “Battiot.” He’d probably be a high school dropout working at a convenience store spending his entire pay check on junk food while living at homing mooching off of…me? Great, thanks. He’d probably also be the person fishing through trash cans for food too. He also needs a bib to eat. He’d be the one wearing his food.

Point proven. Ignore the commentary… I didn’t realize a video was being taken… 

Subi. Oh Subi. What to say about him. Described as a drama queen and a diva by various equine professionals. He’s past his prime. He’s picky BEYOND picky. He’s part child, part civilized royalty. He’s sort of a washed up aging C list celebrity. I mean, he did race in a stakes race back in the day. He just hasn’t accepted the washed up part?

Something about him…

Who would your horse be?

Happy (?) 5 Year Anniversary

Some people celebrate birthdays. Some people celebrate memorials. Others celebrate other life changing events.

And I’m not sure how life changing or momentous this event was, but it’s something I try to think about because it certainly was more life changing than I like to admit.

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And that was that. I’ve talked about it before on this blog. I remember it, but I don’t. It’s blurry. If you want to know what happened, read the blog I linked to.

The thing that bothers me the most about that day is that it completely ruined my relationship with Hayley. It shouldn’t have, but it did. There was nothing vengeful or malicious about the kick. She wasn’t targeting me, she was aiming at Batt, but more than anything, she, my crippled mare, was feeling good. With all her health issues, was feeling good. I was in the wrong place at the wrong time, untying a freaking knot of all things and got kicked in the head.

So I play the if only game.

If I had stayed at work instead of coming home early due to a headache, I’d have been fine.

If I’d have come home, but NOT fed and left if to my husband instead, I’d have been fine. After all, he always fed that meal.

If I had left the damn hay net alone, I’d have been fine.

If I had let myself fall into the mud instead of refusing to fall, I’d have been fine, after all, the second impact, the “catching myself” may have caused more injury than the initial kick.

If I had argued with the ER doctor who told me I was fine when I knew I wasn’t.

If I hadn’t gone back to work when I knew I wasn’t fine just to prove a point.

If I hadn’t waited until I couldn’t talk to see my primary care doctor (not exactly true, I called and made an appointment, but the office took my word which was the ER doc’s word that I was fine. That was what he told me. No fracture, no concussion), I’d be fine.

If I had done any of the above, my migraines wouldn’t be as bad as they are now.

The what if, they don’t help. But, they give an overly analytical person stuff to obsess about.

And the truth of the matter is, I had migraines before this happened. I left work BECAUSE of a migraine. Just not a bad migraine. And, I’d had bad spells before this. And, my neurologist has told me that he’s not convinced this concussion has played role in my current situation.

But, I never had speech issues at all before this concussion. I get the speech issues now when I’m stressed and a migraine is coming on. That said, speech issues are a symptom of migraines.

So, looking back 5 years, I consider the what ifs because that’s be, but I also remind myself that there are what if that are so much worse that I try not to consider. And for that I am grateful.

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The sweetest mare there ever was

Catching up (and partial Ranger Recap)

I’ve been dealing with lots of migraines of the last week or 2. LOTS. To the point that I barely made it to work half of last week and barely made it to my lesson on Thursday and barely remember my lesson. There was also a Nor’easter and then melting and some classes I had to teach and stupid horses and a farrier appointment. And rather than do a photo dump and a separate Ranger Recap, I’m just sort of going to…I don’t know, try and remember last week?

I really don’t remember most of my lesson. In between migraine from hell and the death migraine? One of those migraines had me crying the pain was so bad… It was not a good week…

Anyway, our lesson consisted of a whole lot of bending lines and turns and no media. For some reason, my trainer realized that I was directionally challenged (migraine side effect) and actually walked our bending lines and roll backs for us–without it, I wouldn’t have made it. That said, without images, graphs, and charts, I really cannot say more. But, from what I remember, it was a surprisingly good lesson. The first time through was typically about learning the lines/space, the second time through was perfecting it. We worked on asking for the lead, but using our space and not leading/crowding the jumps in the air. Honestly, after the first time, everything was easy.

 

Friday, my farrier came out. In sprite of the mud, we managed to get everyone trimmed. Batty MIGHT be working on a abscess (he was on and off gimpy leading up to Friday and then completely comfortable on Friday), but with the mud, it wasn’t close enough to do anything about. So, we’re just watching it but he’s comfy again so… Who knows… But if he does go lame on his left front, I’ll know why…

Meanwhile, my Subi’s starting to struggle a bit. Last winter he did something to his right stifle and that was sort of my call to retire him completely. His arthritis has been acting up more anyway and this winter it’s gotten a bit worse. He’s 21 and has been mostly sound until last winter. He’s had issues with getting his feet done stemming back before I bought him (long story simplified to bad farrier but barn farrier threw a rasp at his head when he reacted to a when stung by a horse fly. He was done with drugs for years until 2009 when I started working with my current farrier. We were able to get him from drugs to 4 shoes without anything in 1 visit — took forever but it was just fear. To him being a relatively easy horse in a year. 2 years later the horse with the worst feet was barefoot and sound and simple to do). Now, he’s a bit of a challenge to do behind because it hurts. He’s achy on the left hind and then acts up a bit, but the right hind really hurts. He grinds his teeth and it just hurts. He tries to take his leg back and doesn’t try to be bad, but lets us know it hurts. I forgot to give him bute beforehand (and he’s figured out the bute stud muffin trick so I need a new way to poison him). Poor guy.

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Wearing his brother’s clothing because… it’s what I had laying around… 

And then there is this guy. James Tiberius Harper Horsie. Aka Jiminy. Tiny Terror. According to the farrier, his weight is fine (I trust the farrier more than the vet in this instance. My vet tends not to complain when he’s a little fatter…). He’s a problem though. He wants to be part of the action. Any action. In your face. Pay attention to me.

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One of these things do not belong… 

When he’s not destroying property, at least he likes to be groomed?

We call this look the Albert Einstein

Now he just needs it to warm up so he can have a job. Maybe we’ll take on long lining this summer. If I could leave Subi alone, I’d pony Jiminy off Batt. But, alas, his main job is baby-babysitter… And property destroyer. And little pain in the ass. And being utterly cute.

Ranger Recap: Control.

This week needs a do-over. Or maybe this week just needs to have never happened. But, a quick recap to the week basically could be summed up in a few words: stress, soul selling, chaos, and storms. Oh, and Dr. Seuss. How do people NOT know that Friday was Dr. Seuss’s Birthday? I’m seriously ashamed. I’m more ashamed that I work in a library and people STILL didn’t know that (yes, academia, but still…).

 

Anyway, I carried much of the week’s tension in to my lesson with Ranger on Thursday. And a headache too. So our flatwork semi sucked. Especially the canter as I was carrying so much tension in my shoulders… Shocking, I know. I wasn’t quite able to fix it, but sometimes you just can’t. Second direction was a little better but…

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Overworked, underfed. Poor, abused pony. 

We ended up doing a semi private this week so I didn’t actually get to do too much which was fine. And it was Ranger’s second lesson of the day and he wasn’t feeling it either. But, what we did, we did well, so there is that?

We started out basically working on an exercise for adjustment. We cantered in to the outside line which is a 6 for us, in a holding 7 and then continued around to do it in a 6 and then came back around to do it in a 7. The first time in, the 7 was actually there and it wasn’t an issue and with a little hold Ranger collected and easily fit in the 7 and there you go. Coming back around, we lengthened, and came it nicely, got the 6 life was easy and happy. However, continuing around, attempt 3, was not as successful. We came in with the right pace that we needed for the 7, but when I asked Ranger to hold for the 7, he interpreted my hand for a cue to trot, unlike take 1 so we ended up trotting in the middle at a pace for a stride or 2 before cantering what would have been a 7. Turns out, with Ranger, I need to remember that I can’t pull back on him most of the time, but I have to remember my “tug tug” method with him (a lift up of sorts) to get him off of his front end so he can collect. So, picking back up the canter, collecting the stride, I tugged coming in and immediately upon landing and what do you know?! The 7 was simple and easy… Go figure… These things are always easy when your heavy horse isn’t heavy… shocking.

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“Are you calling me heavy? Are you saying I have a big head?”

We next changed direction and cantered into our inside single boxes from the wrong direction (got to love jumping jumps backwards…) and then continued around to the OTHER outside line where we were to jump the line in a slow, holding 8, continue around, and then jump the line in a forward 7, and then back around in a holding 8. Having actually learned from the previous line, we accomplished this the first time with zero issues at all and it was easy and called it a day there. It was unexpected to all when my trainer says “you did that much fast than I anticipated.” Well, I can ride when I remember how… Plus, my old trainer, when she remembered how to teach, loved this exercise and we spent insane numbers of hours adjusting strides. I think I only ever did the horse show strides at horse shows… All Subi and I ever did was stride adjustment exercises and drove ourselves insane… When she remembered to teach. And then I left.

So we spent the remaining time just watching. I was offered the opportunity to jump something else if I really wanted, but, it was one of those, my jumping was so on, and my day was so off, I just didn’t want to push it. So I just sat and watched. Ranger didn’t appreciate it. He wanted BACK TO BARN FOR TREATS. Whatever Ranger. So I got a lesson in watching for the remaining time.

The many face of Ranger need many treats

Yesterday was the storm of storms. At least in terms of wind. We didn’t actually end up with accumulating snow just lots of wind, power outages, and gross-ness. Horses survived (spend the night tucked in the shed–this morning they’re out playing halter tag), my property survived, and all that. My power was out most of the time I was at work, but came back on once I got home (yay!). Driving home was fun though. Especially the big hill near Fair Hill — our half ton truck was being toss around. I can’t imaging what it would have been like in a car. Today, lost of damage around, but we’re unscathed. Some trees down in the woods, but since most of the big ones are down, I’m hoping I can convince my husband to let me fence it in for the horses…

Plus there was this fun train derailment about 3 miles from me…