Updates are hard without media…
So some of these post are useless without pictures, but I’ll do the best I can…
Not too much to report on on the horse front. The boys continue to do well though mostly just spend there time stuffing their faces with hay and grumbling about a lack of food… The feed store was out of alfalfa cubes a few weeks ago and so we got timothy/alfalfa cubes instead. Subi has always been hit or miss with cubes, but I like the benefits of alfalfa. It seems timothy/alfalfa cubes are the way to go and are a BIG hit with him. He’s actually enthusiastic about evening cubes now. We’ll see how long he keeps this up, but… I’d love to actually up with cubes in the winter, but that might be pushing my luck. Still, in the mean time, it’s nice he’s so enthusiastic about food. On top of that, he’s back to eating flax too. All of this means he’ll probably stop eating in January just to drive me insane..
Sunday I had a nice ride on Batty. By nice, I mean I tortured myself with 2 point for longer than intended. I set a timer that failed to go off so instead instead of staying up for my targeted 5 1/2 minutes, I ended up in 2 point for an awful 12:36.64. At the walk. How I did not fall asleep of boredom, I do not know. How my legs did not fall off, I do not know. How, 2 days later, I managed to hobble around, I do not know. But, listening to a podcast while in 2 point did make things more tolerable. As did a very happy and pleasant horse. He’s not normally this happy or pleasant, but I think the fact that I wasn’t asking him to actually work much helped a lot… After the torture of 2 pointed ended, we did some trot sets up and down the hill for a while and then I let him gallop up hill a few times before calling it a day. Then I conveniently decided to fill up a water trough, forgot about the hose until we came out to feed dinner, and noticed I flooded the paddock… Ooops. Only 2.5 hours of extra water… At least the round bale was sitting on a pallet?
Prior to my 2 point fiasco, I had a lesson earlier in the day on Ranger, where I more or less learned that I’ve been 2 pointing wrong most of my life. Well, not wrong so much as less correct. We don’t necessarily work on 2 point specifically in lessons, but I was warming before we started and my trainer started commented on position and all that. Turns out my heels are down to far to the point of being ineffective. So, the goal becomes concentrating less on heels and more of distribution of pressure between the big toe and the little toe (I already and pressing into my heel enough) to ensure that I’m keeping enough contact with my lower leg. Huge difference just bringing the little toe into the equation (and I’m blaming the little toe for all the pain felt as a result of the 2 point with Batt–but I certainly felt SO MUCH MORE stable making that minor change).
Anyway, back to my lesson. I love that little horse so damn much. He’s so perfect for me right now. He’s so broke on the flat that everything is just easy, but all my faults just are just magnified (my ineffective outside arm seems to move forward while circling for some reason…) so I really know what I need to work on. He’s super comfortable and steady too. What he is, I have no idea, but he’s truly amazing for me.
We warmed up trotting into a simple line focusing on where I’m looking (UP toward the second jump and not at the base of the first…). First time through I didn’t have enough energy and sort of held and we trotted into an un-energetic 7. Added leg to trot into a 6 the next time that actually looked better. Then I screwed up cantered in… I don’t know why I couldn’t pick up my damn lead. Then when I did, I needed to circle to get my rhythm, and unlike normal people who cut corner, I am the opposite and turn too late. So, we worked on that until it was nice. Then the conversation turned to “you’re going to think I’m crazy” and of course anything that starts with those words… So, left lead canter to a single towards the in gate) around to the outside triple (4 stride to 4 stride). Me: stops breathing. Before we start, we break it down a bit and remember that this horse will stop and NOTHING and all I need to do is steer as he does duck in a bit so in between the triple I need to pull hands to rail (triple was against rail which actually made it easy) and LOOK UP TO LAST FENCE OF TRIPLE until I’m approaching that fence and then look out of ring.
So, our first attempt was interesting. Coming to the single, Ranger decided OMG JUMPING TO IN GATE and decided to actually speed up and brain said OMG I DIE but as we approached in gate, Ranger said, time to stop and my leg barely said keep going, so, going to the triple it was wiggly and slow and ugly, but we made it over all 4 jumps. Trainer asked my opinion. Me: It was really ugly. Trainer: Did you get over jumps? Me: yes. Trainer: Are prizes being given out today? Me: But… Trainer: Goal was to get through it. Did you stop, crash, die, etc.? Hit him in the mouth? No. So, attempt 2 was pretty much perfect. We still rushed the first jump a bit (a little bit of OMG JUMPING TOWARDS IN GATE) but not (OMG DIE from me) and I was more prepared that he was going to pull me towards the quarter line while cantering to the first fence so I was able to use more leg and hand to have a better spot. And then landing I was prepared to just look up and ahead and then start adding leg as we approached the in gate so we didn’t have a debate about stopping which led up to a perfect spot at the the first jump of the triple. A little leg and steering in the air allowed him to just carry me over the rest of the triple and with that I survived. So, when I was told to do it again and add in the 6 line we started with, I actually said OK.
Was out 6 jump course perfect? No, I think the triple was prettier the second time, but our first jump was the best the last time (FINALLY no more OMG JUMPING TO IN GATE!!! from Ranger) and I finally had a nice turn to my 6 stride. So, for not having done a course in at least 7 years, I was pretty happy. The jumps are small right now which is fine. I need small though I don’t think the height really matters with Ranger. He’s just amazing and exactly what I need. If he were a little smaller, I might be able to fit him in my backseat and take him home with me…
I’ve ridden so many greenies over the years that I’ve learned to ride defensively or super well schooled horses with soundness issues that I’ve been very limited in what I can do, or modified HOW I ride to best support the horse. Or lesson horses that we pretty much limited to cross rails or had little to no education or soundness issues or both. Or “Wenglish” horses that were just interesting… I’ve had little chances to just ride a really well trained schoolmaster. For where I am right now, I need to bring my education back up. Subi is the exception as he was pretty well trained, but, my trainer at the time never got on him. Granted, I didn’t do training board, but I’ve learned even if I had, said trainer wouldn’t have actually ridden my horse, just charged me for service not rendered (not always the case but was the case during the period of time when I was a boarder). But that’s a whole other rant that I’m not getting into.