Recurrence of heaves: the saga of Batt’s struggle to breathe

Michele said she’d fall off her chair if I blogged 3x this week. Here’s blog 2 of 3. I’ll be shocked if she comments on all 3!

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This guy isn’t feeling too hot. 

I alluded to Batt’s struggle with mild heaves a little in the past. It’s never been completely under control, but it’s never been terrible. There are thing I could probably do better (such as, no round bales, but at the same time, the quality of his round bales are often better than my squares so… my round bale guy is fabulous about making sure I get non-dusty bales). In the past, I’ve supplemented MSM, which has helped, and turmeric, which has also helped, and also added in generic zyrtec. Flax helped A LOT but was a trigger for his impaction colic so the risks outweighed the benefits there. I’ve tried a slew of other supplements and some helped, some didn’t and many helped sort term (Heave Ho I’m looking at you).

With this past year’s crop of square bales basically being crap (thank you rain), I purchased a hay steamer, and that has helped a lot. But, like everything else, things help only so much…

The past couple of weeks, Batt has gotten more and more agitated as humidity has increased. I’ve increased grass thinking that if he were off hay, at least part time, that might help (no). Low humidity days, were better, high humidity days, not so great. My farrier came out about a week and a half ago and mentioned the obvious, humidity makes breathing hard. And with all the rain we’ve had over the last 2 years, there is so much more mold out there. Of course. ::head–>desk::

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100% humidity at 6AM. It’s soup outside.

Around Wednesday/Thursday, the coughing increased to the point that I tossed a dex packet in his dinner grain to see if it would help. And by morning? Much better. So we reduced it down to a half a packet for a few days. Monday night? I completely forgot (bad mom). Yesterday morning? He had reached a point where I stood there at his stall at 6am considering an emergency vet call. He was hacking, gasping, and spewing food everywhere as he tried to breath and eat (world’s sloppiest eater anyway).

img_0381I tossed in some dex just to see how quickly it would work any headed inside. By the time we went to turn out, he was already looking better. Some coughing, but you could see the dex doing its work. Emergency vet call averted.

Calling the vet during business hours resulted in an Rx for prednisalone and Ventipulmin (we were able to bypass the visit for now as she had recently seen him). Other than crying over the cost (OMG a 100ml bottle of Ventipulmin directly from the vet, ::cries:: I don’t know if my vet writes Rx as legally, in PA, they are not required to), he is feeling SO MUCH BETTER as of this morning. He can breathe, he isn’t coughing, and seems comfortable.

img_0822Going forward, he’s on a decreasing dose of ventipulmin for the next few days though if it works, we’ll talk about keeping him on a tiny dose (NOOOO), seeing how he does without it, or saving it for bad attacks (hopefully). He’ll probably be on the prednisalone (thankfully not prednisone as I can handle this without fearing allergic reactions!) daily after a 2x loading dose last night for the foreseeable future before dropping down to every other day if possible. If that doesn’t work, we may consider a lower dose (right now, it’s 250mg/day). My wallet cries, but I’m hoping he can at least breathe.

As I now have an insane vet bill, if anyone want to buy a belt, let me know. Sample of some below but I have lots of other patterns as well. Will take pictures of other elastics later.

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Some belts, lots of other possibilities exist! Fully adjustable. 

Ranger Recap: Through the storm

I rode. 2 weeks in a row. What is this witchcraft?

That said, riding was probably NOT the smartest idea. Wednesday night I was nearly knocked unconscious by my idiot chestnut. It was a perfect storm. Bugs. Darkness rolling in. And a stick up his butt. He reared and came down on my head (with his head, but whatever). 5 days later, I still have a sore spot. But, no concussion symptoms yet. But I’m a 7-10 day person so…

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So exhausted (pre-lesson), lol

And Thursday, the weather people were calling for storms. But, it was looking OK. Sun. So I rolled out, humidity and all, tacked up, and hopped on. The previous lesson was running over (as usual) though it was no where near as crowded as before. We got our trotting in. And eventually some cantering. I was doing a decent job riding his back legs, but it took me a few strides to find the balance between riding with too much hand and trusting that he’d stay where I wanted him.

See, I’m probably the only person who asks this of him so…

By the second direction? We found the balance. Ask in the beginning. Lift in the corners. Ask him to lengthen and support himself down the sides. And let go. It was just there. And then our halt? Just there. He was under himself. It was perfect.

So we hung out for a few minutes while the clouds rolled in and the other horses finished jumping. My trainer asked if I minded a little rain… Nope, what’s a little rain? As long as there’s no lightning?

So funny.

We made it into the indoor just in time.

The skies opened up like I’ve never seen before.

Through the deluge, we started in a circle over a cross rail, just keeping him on his hind end, and jumping out of stride. Holy crap. I cannot even explain how much easier everything is when he’s cantering properly like that. Long stride, short stride, IT DOES NOT MATTER.

Next we worked on the long ride down the inside single around to the short ride to the other inside single. I typically have struggled with the first inside single because coming around the corner, Ranger gets strong, drops and drags and in the past, it’s so hard so keep him in check. I can get the stride and the jump, but not out of the canter I want.

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Did I mention this was going on during my lesson????

This lesson? I picked up my canter at the far side and balanced him, making sure out canter was coming from behind. The first time we turned that corner, I felt him try to drop but because he was cantering from behind, I just tugged up and steadied and bam. Everything was there. Single best fence ever (until the next time). I didn’t keep enough leg coming out so we hit a longer spot and, because he was cantering from his hind end, it was all good. But, a touch more energy would have made it nicer.

Taking it all again, brought us to our NICEST JUMP EVER. Through a monsoon. Because, the indoor windows were open and we were riding past a beach wave? So, soaked we both were. Despite being inside. Lol.

But, this time, less fight and more response. And, I was able to add leg for the second fence and it took out the awkward massive spot.

What I notice here, was that if he’s canter from behind, using his hind end, it is SO MUCH HARDER for him to drop and drag. It’s a multi-step process. But if I can keep him here? He’s a different horse. And it’s so much harder for him to drag, get behind the leg, and all that.

Anyway, we ended with our outside line in a 6. Working on our canter coming in–energy–past the in gate and continuing to more forward. Jumps were just there that night and I was able to keep Ranger cantering correctly the entire evening.

Now if we could always ride like that…

25 Questions Blog Hop

Because all the cool kids are doing it. Thanks LWilliams for the blog hop!

1. What is the first thing you do when you get to the barn?

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Waiting for breakfast…

Feed the idiots breakfast. Technically my husband gives everyone a cookie and I all do is feed Subi breakfast while he feeds the rest, but that’s a technicality…

2. Is there a breed that you would never own?

Anything gaited?

3. Describe your last ride?

I blogged about it so go read that…

4. Have any irrational riding fears?

Getting run away with? I don’t like riding horses who have NO BRAKES. Especially horses with no brakes whose mouths you can’t touch (and who take off when you touch their mouths). Not my idea ride… I much prefer having to add leg…

5. Describe your favorite lesson horse?

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Perfection. 

RANGER. No contest at all. Seriously. He is 100% the best. Even if I did buy Batt years ago, he’s no Ranger. Back in pony land, Willy was pretty awesome too, but Ranger is the most amazing lesson horse ever.

6. Would you ever lease out your horse?

Anyone want any of mine? Please?

7. Mares: Yay or neigh?

I’m not a mare person. Hayley doesn’t count because she was more of a gelding than Subi. But I am not a mare person. Granted, she loved my husband and tolerated me so…

8. How many time per week do you get to see your horse?

7 days a week, 2-3-4-5 times a day?

9. Favorite thing to do on an “easy day” with your pony?

Stuff them with treats?

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Anyone want this thing?

10. Conformational flaw that bothers you the most?

Bad feed. Seriously. I hate bad feet.

11. Thing about your riding that you’re most self conscious about?

My build…

12. Will you be participating in no stirrup November?

Nope not my thing.

13. What is your grooming routine?

I’m terrible at the grooming routine. This is partially due to having horses that, until January, lived out 24/7. Once I have electric in the barn, I’ll try and get better with the grooming… Plus, 2 of my 3 hate it so… But, typically it’s a quick brush if they have dirt on them and fly spray now before fly sheets in the morning. Or, brush at night and the other stuff in the morning. Otherwise, just some brushing on the weekend while grazing on the good grass. I’m a terrible mom! Much more grooming happens during shedding season!

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Batt and his new version space alien/superhero fly mask 

14. Describe a day in the life of your horse?

Breakfast is fed in stalls between 6:10-6:20 (weekends around 7-7:30).Turnout around 7:30 (weekends 7:30-8:30). Stalls cleaned after work (or whenever I get to it on weekends). They come in usually before dark between 8 and 8:30 and eat dinner (and stay in for the night).

15. Favorite season for riding?

I like spring ONLY because I have an unnatural hatred for fall. Everything is dying and getting dark. I HATE LOSING DAYLIGHT. I also really hate the angle of the sun in the fall…

16. If you could only have 1 ring: indoor or outdoor?

I prefer having an outdoor with really nice footing. However, at home, I’d love to have an arena. And, I’d actually love to have an indoor so I could use it for turnout too. So, indoor at home (yes, I’d need a different property for that).

17. What impresses you most about the opposite discipline (english vs. western)?

I love some of the ground manners of western horses.

18. You have unlimited funds to buy one entire tack set for your horse, what is he/she wearing?

I don’t need anything for my horses (except maybe a better bridle for Batt), but in general? Just a really nice well fitting set of tack for a unicorn horse would be nice…

19. How many blankets do you have? When do you blanket?

Let’s not discuss this… too many? Probably 25-30? Blanket when needed. It’s in the low 60s today and Subi is wearing a rain sheet because it’s pouring…

20. What is your horse’s favorite treat? Favorite place to be scratched?

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Free horses, anyone want one? Or 2?

Subi: Peppermints or my homemade cookies. Plus carrots. Will not eat: apples or stud muffins or similar treats

Batt: Anything except for bananas or fig newtons. Favorites include stud muffins and apples and carrots

Jiminy: anything. Favorites include stud muffins and apples and peppermints

They also all like nicker makers.

Subi likes to rub his head against my back which he usually isn’t allowed to do. Jiminy likes head hugs.

21. Something about your barn that drives you crazy?

That I don’t have all weather footing and don’t have more land or a place to ride?

22. Roached manes, pulled manes, or long flowing manes?

I like pulled manes but I don’t pull mine as Subi hates it and he’s retired so I don’t make him. Batts is thin enough so I just trim as needed when I’m not lazy… Jiminy? Well… He has Tina Turner hair… Or Albert Einstein hair depending on the day…

23. Can you handle a buck or a rear better?

I. Don’t. Do. Rearing.

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Marble hanging out with the new load of hay

24. I would never buy a horse who ___________________?

Rears.

25. Favorite facial marking?

I like stars.

Ranger Recap: I rode a horse again!

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Not Ranger but these 2 fools are worthy of photos too.

After almost a month off from riding, I finally rode again!

Between my conference, 1 short, wonderful lesson (that I may or may not have recapped), getting seriously sick, and then Devon, I basically did NOT ride at all in May.

But, it’s June now and I finally got to ride again. And, I remembered how to tack up! I’d say I remembered what I horse looks like, but I sort of deal with those daily. But tack? Yes, I remembered how to do that!

Ranger. I love that horse.

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No photos just food.

Anyway, I was running a touch late and got to the barn to see a whole bunch of trailers… It was strange as Thursdays are usually dead. Anyway, I tacked up, rushed out to the outdoor to see all these people I didn’t know. Seriously. No one. Well, Forrest was in the ring, but other than him? I knew not one horse, pony, or rider. So, I got on, said hi to my trainer, and realized right away that things were running behind. Lol. Anyway, instead of warming up, I walked over to the rail and chatted with my trainer’s sister instead for about 10-15 minutes (because even though I was late, I still made it into the ring with 10 minutes to spare before my lesson started…)

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This duo… no words. 

Finally, I had brief trot warm up before another long walk break… Then to canter? I basically was used to teach a rider in the previous direction her leads. So, I’d canter some, she’d tell me if I were right or wrong (FYI, I always picked up my correct lead), then I’d walk or halt, and try again. It was… an interesting exercise for her and annoying for me and Ranger.

Eventually they all finished up and left the ring and norm restored.

We warmed up over our outside line (far side next to the pasture), working on riding Ranger’s back legs in a bouncy collected canter in an adding 7. No issue at all. Next, same line in a more forward 6 but still riding the back legs without adding speed. Fail. I got the 6, but rode his front end not the back end. So, we went back to the 7 to get the feel of the bouncy short stride coming from behind, no issue before maintaining that and just letting go and adding leg. Got it. And the 6 was right there.

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ring from my last lesson but I’m pretty sure most of it hasn’t changed

From here, we moved on to our next course: inside single (stone pillar standards) towards the barn/in gate, inside broken line (straw bales to straw bales — white standards by both mounting blocks to the white wing standards) in a 7 around to the outside line in a 6.

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Barn kittens in a stall… 

The first time we were heading directly to the single with a perfect canter to a perfect distance and suddenly chipped. A certain idiot (you choice who is at fault) decided that it was A-OK to drop and drag at the last second so chip we did… a quick halt and back and we started over again. Take two included a tug up and no drop and drag and a lovely forward distance. The broken line was nice (I’m getting so much better now at riding the bouncy canter and his hind end) the outside line was good as well. I would have even been happy to end there.

But, we don’t do things just once. After all, since I haven’t ridden in a month, why end on doing some well once? So we did it again. And you know what? It was even better. Ranger was bolder on both lines so I didn’t need to add as much leg while also focusing on keeping everything rocking back. He was just there. I’d say eventually he’ll get there naturally, but… I’m the only one asking so probably not. Still, he fights me less and less each time so, yay?

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Ranger says later!

In turnout news, it appears Ranger has divorced (been divorced from) his BFFs Mikey and Forrest and now has a new BFF Coco. He’s less than enamored with Coco but give him time?

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Ranger’s new turnout buddy, Coco

Long time no post…

I meant to post a couple of weeks ago, but I left for about 10 days of conference(s) hell in gorgeous Cambridge, MD and Chicago. I was home for a grand total of 2 hours between conferences. Not fun. Less fun was arriving in Chicago at 11pm. But that’s a blur.

Anyway, post Chicago haze, I had a few days off from work and a weekend to recover.

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This should have been a good thing and I dragged myself off the sofa to ride Ranger. I had an awesome lesson that I now remember nothing about (sorry). 

Then I continued to mostly sleep the weekend away minus a day trip to DC before heading back to work.

img_0697Before finding myself in the ER on Tuesday where I spend the day.

After almost 10 hours of test, nothing exactly was wrong with me other than a possible (probable) virus and extreme dehydration. First/several attempt at an IV/blood draw didn’t work and they had to abandon my left arm completely. Right arm is still bruised a week later but I no longer look like an IV drug user…

img_0717Anyway, mystery illness later, I’m trying to teach myself to eat with limited success. I’ve spent since Tuesday drinking and eating bland gluten free crackers. It’s pretty pathetic. Jello. And rice. And slowly eggs and last night, tofu, have been introduced. Needless to say, I’m having extreme aversion to food right now.

 

Ranger Recap: flat work.

My lesson this past week moved to Sunday and unintentionally turned into a flat work lesson. This isn’t actually a bad thing, but I convinced my husband to come, watch, and video over fences and we don’t jump. Of course. Seriously? Lol.

We also ended up inside due to an unexpected rain storm…

The extra flat work came about because Ranger was completely ignoring my inside (left) leg. Part of the issue is he’s ridden by mostly kids who he packs around and gets no instruction from. As a result, he doesn’t have to do anything. So, if he isn’t straight? Who cares. If his nose is turned out to the outside of the ring? It’s fine because he’s not really running off with the beginners. And, riding in the evenings, I’m also getting my trainer at the end of the day and we’re not working as hard on the technical “stuff” either.

So, yesterday morning when he was completely blowing off my leg? We got down to business. Part of this is partly unfair when he’s never asked to do this stuff, but he’s also not being asked by anyone else anything else that he’s ignoring so… He also has training in this so he does KNOW how to properly carry himself, but won’t do it if he’s not made to.

We basically spent 20 minutes trotting around working on a slow trot adding inside leg and informing Ranger that when I add ONE leg, the correct response is to move over NOT to speed up. It took a LONG time (hence 20 minutes of circles and bending) but we got there. It took actual kicks but eventually we got there.

Then we did the same thing at the canter, working at an upright canter, coming from his hind end vs long and low from his front end. Some point my husband must have realized this “boring” lesson (I was enjoying myself) should be recorded so he started videoing the canter stuff. I struggled some here but we got it at parts. I was struggling with the shortness of the reins and holding him up to get him on his hind end.

Also struggled with body position and tilting forward…

Adding in a pole and struggling with new way of riding…

Finally we added in a single fence, jumping it both ways (my husband however failed to record 3 of the 4 attempts… why, I don’t know… I can’t take him anywhere!). Coming up it, the first time, around the corner at the far end of the ring, Ranger wanted to duck, run, and get heavy. While I was able to get him back into a nicer canter, I lost all steering coming up the short turn to our fence and it just wasn’t the prettiest (I kind of failed to collect him (the point of the exercise) or look at the jump. At least we made it over. Second attempt was good though the duck, drop, and run at the beginning still existed.

For the long ride, first fence was nice in terms of the jump except I failed to actually do the exercise and shorten his stride and get him on his hind end… Oops. Next attempt? See video for disaster?

The problem was, I added hand, there was NOTHING there. Nothing was coming from his hind end at all. I added leg, and the only power I could get was up front. We called it a day as he was pretty much just spent at that point and had nothing left. The rain stopped and he and I went on a short walk before my husband fed him all the cookies.

I’m off to conferences starting tomorrow so we’ll see if I get any updates for the next week or so…

Ranger Recap: Turning in the air

This week’s Ranger Recap focused on turns.

Rather than our normal hunter courses and occasional roll backs, this week was completely focused on deliberate turns in the air.

We started off with the outside single (away from the road) around to the skinny (turning before the mess of other jumps) to the in of the outside line backwards (3 strides).

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The trick with this was to ensure that I kept Ranger’s stride short enough to make the turn (heading towards the barn, he likes to lengthen) and to keep him off of his front end so I could turn him. That said, this exercise went surprisingly well despite not having that much time to turn…

Next we did the exercise in reverse, sort of. So, we came up the outside single away from the road to the skinny towards the barn to the out of the outside line (see handy image…lol)

course002This went…less well than the other direction. We struggled (it didn’t help that I sort of injured my hip and had no right leg the entire night) and basically rode without any inside leg and we missed the skinny the first time… On repeat I forced myself to use my leg that was super weak and got through the exercise but it was…not the prettiest.

Finally, we added a whole bunch to the first exercise. So, outside single away from road, immediate turn to skinny 3 strides to in of outside line backwards to end jump turn out of inside line backwards 4 strides to inside single to 2 strides to green jump. Confusing? Hell yes. I had the other rider go first because I was so lost.

course003 The first time through I made it though jump 6 before I looked at the ground and ducked around it… Not exactly a success… Lol. We repeated jump 4-7 where Ranger decided to try and BOLT approaching jump 5 but thankfully we survived. On re-approach, I was able to collect his stride and successfully accomplish the course at hand.

Take aways? It is REALLY hard to ride when you have 1 good leg. Wednesday night my hip was hurting so much I could barely walk. Yesterday is was much better, but I just felt weak. That weakness just made everything harder. It was fine, just harder. Overall, not the easiest day to do these exercises. Still, definitely a welcome change from the normal hunter courses.

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“Recent” Purchases

I’ve been doing a little shopping over the last several months. This is both good and bad. Good because I’ve needed some of the stuff, bad because I bought a barn and I can’t really afford to be shopping… Anyway, some mini reviews on random items. Some things are too new for real reviews yet, but initial thoughts.

EquiSteam Hay Steamer £299.00 plus insane shipping at £180

img_0421Batt has a had a chronic cough for…too long. I’ve really avoided the idea of a hay steamer, but hay as of late hasn’t be the best (it hasn’t been terrible either) and I decided to just go for it. Other than making my own (which was the cheapest option but I just didn’t want to go that route because it scared me), I could go with EquiSteam or HayGain. HayGain is US based and was just about $1000. EquiSteam is UK based about $300 cheaper even with the shipping.

I ordered it Friday, April 5th after conversing with Paul who ensured me that they’d ship a US compatible boiler and timer separately. It was shipped Monday and arrived on Thursday from the UK. img_0446

So far, so good! I’ve steamed 3 times so far (Saturday, Sunday, and Monday) and Batty eats without issue (no surprise). He no longer dry coughs, but it’s more of a mucus-y cough (he has allergies in addition to heaves) so it’s progress. I’m going to give it a week before deciding if he’s going on Zyrtec too for the season.

Leather Hybrid Halter from Horse Education Company $99 (I bought mine from Tack Shack of Ocala)

img_0244I purchased this for Subi during his “I can’t see” and “I’m going to act like a dingbat” phase. I felt like the chain was starting to cause issues (anticipation) but that I didn’t have enough control without it. I liked the idea of rope halters, but didn’t like using them (plus the excess rope was causing issues at night when he’d see it’s shadow and spook at it brushing near his eye.

End result? It’s ridiculously overpriced, yet I love this thing. And so does Subi. It’s a nice compromise between traditional halter, rope halter, and chain. I also like lunging in it. I’d definitely buy it again. I have control when I need it. It’s well made too.

50 Ft Expandable Garden Hose – I paid $25, this one is $28

BEST PURCHASE OF THE WINTER. Seriously. We don’t have water in the barn (it’s attached to the house) so we have the heavy duty house that reaches the edge of the barn. We got this to make up the difference. It is SO MUCH EASIER to drag this thing around to fill/clean buckets, spray stall pellets, and clean Batty’s wall vs a big heavy duty hose. Plus, at night, we just disconnect and story in an extra bucket in the hay room. So easy and light weight. Whenever we fix the front water spigot, I’m getting another expandable hose for the garden because I love this thing so much.

Partrade Trading Company Ultra Slow Feeder Hay Net – $25 (price has gone up a bit…I paid $19 with prime shipping)

img_9385-1When we switched to stalling overnight, Batty was going through hay as if his life depended on it. So I had 2 options, feed him more hay or move him from a 2″ net to a 1″ net. As he didn’t need the extra calories, he moved to the 1″ net. Thankfully, unlike some horses, Batt does NOT think that he is dying when faced with eating out of a 1″ net. He sees it as a challenge. MUST EAT HAY. I know, I am very lucky. He also eats his hay wet and steamed. He has no issues with most things. Thankfully.

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This next is FABULOUS (I have the purple). It’s huge. You can fit a 2/3 of a bale in there if you want. Probably more. The cord is really sturdy and it just holds up. It’s a good hay net, easy to fill. I don’t know what else to say? I’m steaming his hay in it now so we’ll see how well it hold up to that, but so far so good? I’ll be ordering a second soon to help with hay steaming set up.

 

Ranger Recap: Look anywhere BUT the fence

I have had some really decent lessons lately and yet, I haven’t felt like writing about them. But maybe I’ll touch on a few exercises?

We warmed up alternating between small and large canter circles. The size wasn’t exactly important so can’t necessarily say it was a perfect 10 meter circle (aim small was the goal). But think small balanced circle. The focus was adjusting stride length, getting Ranger off his inside shoulder and shifting his balance. Overall, he was very much listening to my aids and I began to fear something was wrong. Lol. Usually we struggle with the tiny circles but the seemed to work. The “larger” 20ish meter circles we a little uglier.

We continued this to a some larger circles over a pole which was fine one direction and challenging the other. After all the small circles, I struggled to make wider, more sweeping turns. But I got there in the end.

This should give you an idea of jump placement…

Next, the circle pattern continued to basically include the inside single. So, we were cantering a roll back to the oxer. Here is where I started struggling. Not with the fence. The fence was fine, but with the rhythm and the canter. First I was too fast for the exercise. Then my stride felt too choppy. The jump itself, fine. But the canter? It never felt right until the last jump. Finally, we had a discussion.

When do I start looking AT the jump?

The last few weeks, I’ve been told I’m looking too far ahead. Mostly on the flat, but I know that it’s impacting fences too.

See, I turn a corner and I see my distance (or where I should be leaving). It doesn’t matter if I’m 3 strides, 4 strides, or 7 strides. The problem is, I shouldn’t be looking for my distance at that point (unless I’m 3 or 4 strides away). I should just be focused on rhythm. I’m not a pro. And most pros aren’t focused on distances at that point…

So, next lesson. STOP LOOKING AT THE JUMP UNTIL YOU’RE 3 STRIDES AWAY. 

FYI, hardest thing EVERY.

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But cutest pony ever

We changed direction and the roll back the other way to the second jump in the inside line. When I turned, I was about 3-4 strides so I was able to look pretty much right away so it was fine. Rhythm felt better this way and all was good.

We ended up with the following course:

Outside single towards the road, inside single, inside line, outside line.

The plan was to not look ahead (haha). Basically, approaching the first single, I didn’t actually pay attention to that plan because, well, I didn’t have THAT long of a ride to it, but coming to the inside single, I did look the first time, and then immediately stared at the ground until my trainer told me I could look and then continued to see the same distance as I saw 7 or 8 strides before when I had initially looked at the fence… The rest of the course was fine.

We re-did this about 4-5 times only having one error (I focused SO MUCH on what my trainer was saying one time that I forgot to steer to the outside line and Ranger noped out of it… 100% on me…). The looking down before fences will stop, but it’s an attempt to retrain my brain not to find distances 8 strides away and instead just focus on my canter. Eventually I will be able to look at the jump, but right now glancing down is the easiest.

Do any of you look for your distances too early? Any tricks to STOP DOING IT?