Ranger Recap: Lightning, thunder, and rainbows, Oh my!

We had some really gorgeous weather this week which was spent tending to Batt’s abscess. Exciting, right? As of this morning, it’s still there. I have a message into my farrier so hopefully I’ll be able to get him out. But, we’ll see. We have days he look better and then, nope, right back at square one. All of this makes me think it starts to drain and then closes back up. This morning I pulled off his wrap (meant to do it last night, but lightning storm) and didn’t see anything and when squirting iodine on his hoof, I got a reaction (major reaction) on his heel (and found a soft spot there too). Then I started prodding his heel like any good mother. More reaction. More iodine in squirting on his heel, more reaction. More prodding. So, I’m assuming the abscess is coming out his heel? At least it explains all the toe walking and why turns are the hardest thing ever. But, with all my prodding, I will win Mother of the Year. I’ll deal with it more when I get home.

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Lovely scar tissue hoof… this is what happens when you rip off 3/4 of your hoof as a 2 year old… It looks ugly but when he doesn’t have an abscess, he’s sound on it. Moreso than when we tried to make it look good. Lots and lots of scar tissue…

I also turned him out for a while the other day with his soak bag because I was lazy and had other stuff to do. Jiminy tried to eat the bag. Again, Mother. Of. The. Year.

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Can you spot the teeth marks?

But, enough about Batt, on to Ranger!

Ranger was NOT HAPPY TO SEE ME AT ALL.

He lost his BFF Elliot. Elliot now goes out with Coffee, rodeo horse turned princess (trainer’s husband’s new rodeo horse who was NOT happy to be out in the storm last night because he’s a princess now). Ranger is out with Mikey and Forrest now. He’s just as obsessed with his BFFs so who cares? Anyway, his friends were outside, he had already had a lesson earlier in the day, and I was there to make him work again rather than just give him carrots? What the hell man?

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Former BFF Elliot

So, we were poorly behaved in the cross ties. Normally poor cross tie behavior waits until post ride. Not today. Ugh. And it was looking ominous outside. Double ugh.

So we finally made it outside and watched the last course of the pony ahead of us. Then we proceeded to truck around the ring like crazy people at the trot. Thankfully after one circuit, Ranger came to his senses and decided to listen to me and returned to a normal trot. Meanwhile the sky became more ugly. We added in the circles and it’s finally clicked that if I add inside leg FIRST then we don’t fall in AT ALL when we circle. Anyway, our circles were lovely and balanced, regardless of size and impressed my trainer. Yay!

We walked and then, being warned that the storm was imminent, picked up the canter. I think we may have only cantered one direction… We cantered around, circled some, and then added in this “tiny pile of poles resembling a cross rail” and continued doing that landing right lead about 4 or 5 times before asking to land left. Which we actually did successfully. However, after landing left, I actually died and needed a break. So we walked.

Highlight of my week? I finally have a utility sink. And a crazy complicated feed program…

We next cantered over the log jump around around to the outside line that I love. I could NOT for the life of me see the spot to the log. We added and I jumped ahead because ???

Next, we did our white oxer and were to do the inside broken line around to the outside line. Except I turned back to the log because I can’t follow directions. And I didn’t even jump the log well and chipped it.

So we started again. And talked about how when I have the longest stride possible, it’s hard to adjust. So instead, I collected my reins and his stride and actually rode and followed directions. And you know what? It was better! Shocking! We landed on all our leads and hit our spots and everything was nice. We were a little forward landing from the in of the broken line and I had to collect a bit after stride 2, rather than sitting for stride 1 and 2, but the line worked out well. I also needed to woah a bit for the outside line, but again, I adore the line and it worked out perfectly.

We took a minute to catch our breath (OMG humidity) and managed to get one last coarse in (thunder was rolling in). This time, we rode conservatively to prove we could. If we’re more forward, we can land the lead, but the conservative ride, nope. So we missed every. single. lead. Ha. But, he was a good boy and did everything I asked. We got in the barn and the skies opened up.

And the lightning started.

And we waited.

And waited.

For 30 freaking minutes until I felt safe enough to turn him out. So much lightning. And rain. OMG.

Ranger had a melt down. While all the horses were melting outside because… rain. Ranger was melting down, because, OMG no friends inside with him and he needed to be OUTSIDE OMG NOW.

Idiot.

On my way out, I came across the most incredible rainbow.

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Most amazing rainbow. And a random stranger’s house. 

And then another storm.

Stuck in a rut.

Following the drama of last week (I did, by the way, receive my final paycheck), I spent all week looking forward to a trail ride on Saturday with Michele.

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Pathetic. Freeloaders.

Less a fabulous lesson on Ranger that almost didn’t happen due to a conference that had me out of town on my usual lesson day, the week basically sucked. I could talk about my lesson, which was FABULOUS, but I find when I have terrible weeks and my life sucks, for some reason, I feel the need to keep my lessons to myself. Let me just say that Ranger can cure anything and the lesson ended with the jumps getting hiked up for a final course. We cooled out with a walk around the fields and just for a moment, all was right in the world.

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Ranger fixes problems.

Good mood vanished pretty quickly when I headed over to the vet to pick up meds for Batts allergies/heaves to find that even though they said they’d leave it in the pick up box (that I couldn’t find), it wasn’t there. One bag of stuff was, just not mine. Ugh. Next morning I got up at 3:30 to head to a conference where my first presenter was LATE. And a whole lot of other drama. Finally on Friday, got back to vet, found out someone else had picked up my meds, got the meds…

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Conference views

Which brings us to Saturday. Feed horses, all seems good, got out to open the gate and notice Batt is toe walking on his right hind. Shit. He’s not lame yet, but he’s not sound. Abscess. I text Michele in disgust cancelling our trail ride, toss a muzzle on Jiminy, throw the horses on grass, and basically sit in my backyard and cry. I had a why me pity party. It wasn’t pretty.

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Toe walking and proud of getting out of work. 

Then I got a text from the mom of the ONE STUDENT I didn’t contact about me no longer teaching (I only taught her 2x, barn owner taught her once or twice) as they have no loyalty to me. I ASSUMED that the idiots were contacting my students to tell them the change of instructors… But, I guess not? They were letting me know a neighbor was bringing her over, but… Nice. Professional. Anger resumed. I didn’t respond. Who knows if she was even having a lesson today? Not me.

Yesterday Batty was sad, gimpy, and in pain. My friend Sandra came out and we tackled his hoof which I failed the day before… He got the full treatment. During a 45 minute white lightning soak (FINALLY have IV bags to soak in), we removed about 40 pounds of hair, pulled his mane, brushed out his tail, and let him graze. After the soak, he got his hoof covered in iodine then an ichthammol wrap (in which he tried to murder me for holding his hoof up for too long). Hopefully he’ll be feeling better soon. Assuming I have the patience, I’ll do another soak tonight or tomorrow.

Meanwhile, the pollen is OUT OF CONTROL. And the coughing is out of control. Ugh.

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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…

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 🙂

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?

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.

Cavaletti Clinic at Blue Goose

I still need to recap my semi crappy lesson from last week where I seemed to forget how to ride, but I’ll save that for tomorrow.

On Saturday, Batty, my friend Sandra, and I decided on a whim to head over to Blue Goose for a cavaletti clinic with the stable owner Darcy. She was nice enough to let  the 2 of us split the session and the whole thing just seemed super casual and a fun way to spend a Saturday morning. All media is either my own paint diagrams or videos of Sandra riding. Warning this post is super long.

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For those of you who don’t know, Batts used to HATE poles. I mean, HATE, HATE, HATE poles.  He’d stop at them, duck out. If he’d go over them, he’d jump them like they were 4 feet high. If you’d have told me 7 years ago that I’d be taking him to a cavaletti clinic, I’d have told you you were insane.  But, thanks to one boarding facility were he had to cross a pole daily to get to food and water, he quickly got over some of his fear. The rest dissipated over time. Now ground poles aren’t too bad. Ground lines are something to look at, but poles, no big deal.

One thing I did NOT do was give him any bute or lunge him. He’s been SO SOUND and loose lately that I didn’t think to do anything. Friday night was really cold and I’d had a lot of mud… As a result, he was super stiff and it took him a long time to loosen up. But, we did push through. He gave NO indication that he did NOT want to work. This horse will always tell you when he doesn’t want to do anything. He was ears forward and curious and willing the entire time. But, I could have prepped him a little better… Mostly just with some lunging…. My fault. It’s winter and  he loosens so much better and faster without a rider on his back (He’s a little off, especially to the right but he’s OK to work and is more comfortable the more he works).

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so. exhausted.

So we arrived and thankfully I was able to follow another trailer in to the field or else I would have turned down the driveway and discovered the gate was closed and would have had to back down the driveway like another trailer… Signs people. But thanks to leaving later than planned, I had a nice trailer to follow and  was able to park in the field as planned. We tacked up and headed down to the ring with 4 other horses, all of whom knew Darcy. We were the odd ones out.

We started with just a simple exercise of trotting over one pole turning to the left at the end of the arena and then ultimately trotting over other pole turning right towards the end and coming back up through the center and repeating.

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First easy pole exercise

Poles were added and we continued alternating which direction we turned coming up off the center.

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Building on it…

Then more poles were added and we continued alternating not only up the sides but up and down as well. We were allowed to pass the side by side as well.

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More poles! This one showed my weaknesses until I figured my position out.

Batty and I had some issues with multiple poles and we were trying to jump them at times rather than just trot. He wasn’t JUMPING, but jumping. The issue stemmed from me as I would tilt slightly as the base of the pole and Batts would take this as a cue to be enthusiastic and jump rather simply trot. To change this,  I needed to sit deeper and engage my core and pull my shoulders deep to encourage him too trot rather than jump. I also was told to stop looking so far ahead and to look down at the pole one pole ahead since we were trotting them and not jumping. The combination of these too things really worked and we soon trotting through without issue. Darcy very quickly asked though if I were a hunter rider… Um… Yes…

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Super cute barn kitty. 

At one point early on, one of the horses took off bucking and unseated her rider. We all halted and though she came super close to Batt, Batty just looked at horse with a look that said, “Why the hell would you work that hard? Are you insane?” That’s my horse. Why join in antics when you can just stand. I think I was holding the buckle why we were halted…

The last exercise I rode was more of the same with some diagonals thrown in. I wasn’t sure HOW Batty would take it. I screwed up the directions the first time and got lost (what a shock!). Basically, we headed over the sets of 3 poles heading toward the barn/sheds turned right went over the diagonal pole shoot thing turned and went up the center line.

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The last exercise I rode

The horses were a little tense going through the diagonal part so we were encouraged to scratch their withers to keep them calm and them make a fuss on the landing side. Batt was a star considering he’s done NONE of this (I mean, he’s done poles, but nothing this hard). I was complimented for my ability to keep him slow and not tense up on the reins. Once I figured out the body position thing, I didn’t need to be told again. I’m pretty good about having super soft hands.

At this  point, Sandra hopped on and ran him through the 2 poles and 3 poles while Darcy swapped the course (she asked me how Sandra rode and I said semi similar which is true-ish).  She mostly just commented to Sandra on making sure she helps him out by lifting him up some–Sandra’s long rein weakness.

Their exercise was completely different. Focused on straightness. Basically, it was a long line of poles both to go over and through. As the end there were 4 pieces of lumber forming an X. The needed to cross the center of the X and then continue trotting over the remaining poles. This was BEYOND what Batts has EVER seen or done.

This horse was a star. He struggled in places but made it through (especially the X part). It took few times but eventually he did it without any canter steps. We were proud. At first Sandra clucked at places, but Darcy explained just to close your leg/thigh instead as clucking introduces more stimulation that he doesn’t need. He was MUCH better without the cluck. But, clucking is so ingrained!

The last exercise (after everyone turned down the option to down something at the canter) was just for Sandra. Everyone else left the ring, but luckily Batty doesn’t care. It was just another straightness exercise but without the x part and more poles to go over. He did it SO well the first time that we called it a day there.

We chatted for a few minutes after mostly about Batty and his history and how she could see his wheels turning. You could see how much fun he had and we both said we’ll do this again (though we’ll probably each do a separate clinic) — she’s doing winter clinics at Pink Ribbon Farm in Oxford. He reached confident and fun, but not cocky and bored.

All and all and really fun morning. Can’t wait to do another one! I liked Darcy’s teaching style too. While it was more about the exercises here, I got some nice tips that I can definitely use. Batty liked the farm too which was definitely a plus!

 

Happy 7th Anniversary to the Batthorse!

7 years ago the Batthorse joined the family!

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Officially the Batthorse! On our way home! Or not… First failed trailer loading day. 

He officially stopped being Batman and became Batt, Batty, Batts, or Batiste if we’re being fancy (or in New Bolton…), or the Batthorse.

His story is a simple one. I’ve known him forever. He came to my old barn (not the one in the background of the picture but the barn at the Phelps School which is no more) as a “5 year old.” Year later we learned he was likely a 2 year old.

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young batthorse

His owner chose to donate him to the lesson program because he was too much horse for her and she was going to get hurt. He was quiet, but green broke and she was a dead beginner and learning to steer and post and trot and well ride. So, she started taking lesson on our draft horse that had 2 speeds (slow and slower) and we took Batman.  I rode him, he was green as hell (can say I loved him, we barely got over jumps… see the theme? as he’d slam on brakes, duck out, or over jump… It was…not fun. But despite being green and wiggly, his gates were awesome and he was quiet. But, my instructor and I weren’t sure he’d stay.

But, the next day he ripped off 3/4 of his hind hoof and earned 9+ months of stall rest. And then coming off stall rest he was leased by a barn kid wanting a project. Then he entered the program with some “training.” Though still stopped at everything. Poles, crossrails, etc. But, he was forgotten about.

He eventually became the MOST AMAZING walk/trot horse EVER. He could trot for days without spooking or getting too fast or ducking to the inside. Eventually he learned to teach people to canter. He got better with poles and crossrails with advanced riders if he could look at things.

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I worked with him a lot when I started teaching and developed a great friendship with one of my closest friend’s Sandra over this horse. She started riding him (and riding with me when the instructors she rode with left our barn) after college and  fell in love with him. Now, though all his issues and colics and drama, we both still adore him, even when we want to murder him… But, we figured him out.

At one point she tried to buy him only to be presented with some outrageous figure. When I moved Subi and was looking for a second horse,  I tried to buy him, no response. So,  I bought Hayley (I loved that mare and miss her dearly, but she was a financial train wreck–though Batty hasn’t been THAT  much better with his New Bolton stay).

A year later, 7 years ago today, I was eating breakfast and drinking tea with my mom when I got a text from my trainer. I had JUST finished working for her that past weekend and the ties were cut or were being cut or something.  The text simply said, “I’m getting rid of Batman.”

I read the text to my mom. Her reaction? We need to get him. Whether I keep him, Sandra keeps him. That could be figured out later. “Text her back and ask how much.” This was followed by a reasonable price (I’m pretty sure he’d have been sent to someone who would have sent him to auction so that she could  have kept her hands clean.) followed by “Buy him!”

As a result, it’s my mother’s fault I had 3 horses. It’s all my mother’s fault. A fact she is very proud of…

It wasn’t the right time for Sandra to take on ownership and then I was too emotionally invested. We ended up with a partial lease situation that works.

7 years later he’s still with us. He’s had some stupid impaction colics which drive me insane including one long stay at New Bolton with round the clock fluids… He’s had lots of trailering issues (including that day I officially took on ownership and he decided he wasn’t leaving the property… or when he wouldn’t leave New Bolton). But, he’s overall a pretty happy grumpy chestnut.

Happy 7 Year Anniversary to the Batthorse!  Here’s to 7 More!

Ranger Recap: Roll Backs and Batts and the arctic tundra

So last lesson it was before  EVIL that is daylight savings time. So it was darkish but not dark if you know what I’m saying? This week’s lesson was  DARK. DARK, DARK,  DARK, DARK, DARK! I hate this time of year so much. We have an indoor, but don’t use it until we absolutely need to so we were outside under the lights. In the dark and miserable work that is winter. I mean, it was fine and not that cold, but it was  DARK.

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Biscuit says it’s DARK outside.

Last lesson we worked on bending lines. This week was roll backs. I forgot that I like rollbacks? I mean, I  haven’t actually done roll backs consistently (at the canter) since, well, Subi. And they weren’t our forte. Though we always did really well at the circle of death so maybe we did do well? I actually can’t remember. It’s been too long.

So, in my course drawings last week, I forgot a jump. Rather than try to update that one, I attempted to redo it. It’s still not to scale, but I used paint rather than a sharpie. So, ???

Course

It’s definitely not as special as last week’s art, that’s for sure… But, tough. We started off by cantering in to jump 1 and in the air, opening up my left hand and turning my head to look at jump which yes, was a nice tight turn. We did get the turn, but a certain pinto pony was NOT helping me and landed wrong EVERY. SINGLE. TIME. no matter what  I did. Thank you Ranger. We repeated this a few times just to try and  get the lead and to make sure once I was over the jump, I was steering with 2 hands.

Just breaking text up with pictures

From here, we added on jump 3 and  4. 3 was the straw bales and  4 was the out of the outside line. 3 was fine the first time as and  continued to be OK as long as I went into my corner and the out was decent every time even if I screwed up everything else. I’m realizing I have no issue riding out of problems because, again, I have a weirdly accurate eye. We ended up

Next we added in 5, our brownstone plank jump to our outside single. Again, Ranger is perfect, I saw my distance, it worked. It was easy.

We did end up cantering down to 2 as a single, around to the straw (3), and continuing to 4 because I screwed up my corner and distance to the straw once and the roll back was getting  hard because of the lack of lead, but, that’s a different issue. Jump 4 was lovely even when I screwed up 3. I’m noticing that my 2 point is getting really strong and I’m not grabbing mane half the time (not that I’ve needed to, but habit) because I REALLY  don’t need to? I feeling really tight and secure? I mean, the jumps have be lovely, but now they’re really nice? Pony is perfect.

We ended with an easy outside line. I just sat there and didn’t know what to do. I’m loving the courses. The easy lines are terribly boring now! But, either way, I love this horse!

As always, we ended we with lots of carrots and peppermints before I sent him out to field where Forest and Elliot where waiting anxiously for him… Seriously, the three of them need to get over themselves…

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Friday also started off with the funeral of Nicholaus Nicklebottom, beloved friend who left his mark and bound us together. RIP Nicholaus! The OVERLORD has taken his place. The OVERLORD is NOT NICE. [update: the OVERLORD has gone missing since he started service Friday morning…] Yes, this is what we do at work….

As nice as it was Friday, it was miserable on Friday/Saturday. Windy and FREEZING. Which is why Saturday I had to lead a trail ride at 10am… At 6:30am it was 19*. Wind chill of 11…

So Batty and I headed out to Marsh Creek at 8am in the arctic temperatures and made it there when it was till below freezing. While the sun was out, it didn’t help too much. But, thanks to Mountain Horse Stella Polaris winter boots, 2 pairs of riding pants (I don’t know where my winter riding pants are…), wool socks, base layer shirt, super warm Noble Outfitters cowl fleece thing (I need to review this), down vest, and a down coat, I was pretty warm. Plus, I threw on Subi’s old quarter sheet which was a touch too small, but whatever. We were warm, though for some reason I forgot to put on gloves because I’m an idiot.  Also, it was NOT 30 degrees at 10 am… And the wind chills…

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I was mid sentence when the picture was taken… Batty was mid sleep. His stomach is too big for that quarter… he’s too big for his 52″ girth. He’s just too big right now. 

Regardless Batty was perfect. Because he just is. Even though I barely managed to get his feet clean enough for his boots… But, whatever.

Hopefully paper chase next weekend!

What happens when you don’t ride your horse for 2 months…

Apparently nothing.

Seriously.

Nothing.

I last got on Batty just about 2 months ago when I last got stung by a wasp. On August 30th. I haven’t ridden him since mostly because I was afraid to open my trailer and his bridle and girth are girth are in there are I needed to make sure  there  were no wasps. I rode him Saturday. November 4th. How did he react?

I wore spurs and carried a crop.

I used said spurs to ask for extension. I didn’t use the crop. He pointed his toes, extended when I asked, and trotted around, ears forward, happy as a clam, like he’s been doing this every. single. day. since August 30th.

Seriously horse?

No drama. No fireworks. Nothing.

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It was a gorgeous day!

 

He even cantered. Granted, he made it about 1/3 of the way around the ring first on the left lead before he got tired. Then half way around.  But he cantered.

To the right he was a bit stiff at the trot before he loosened up and was fine. Right lead canter was ugly and short strided, but no one died and the second and  third attempts were nicer.

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Zen mode!

For a horse that hates ring work, he  LOVES THIS RING. We usually only ever play in this ring, even  when I make him work. I’ve never made him jump big scary jumps at Retta’s place.  I’m never over faced  him here.  We only ever play here and trot and  canter and  sometimes jump cross rails (though not this time).  And our visits usually end with trail rides. The other ring we ride at he doesn’t love.  We took lessons there. He had to jump big, scary jumps. Even though we don’t jump there anymore, I think there’s an element of PTSD? Anyway, he so much prefers Retta’s even though his feet prefer the footing elsewhere.

He spent much of his day hanging  out in a paddock making new friends before we hit the trail with clients. For not being out on a trail for a close to a year (Thanksgiving paperchase when my hoof boot cable broke)? He was foot perfect and happy.

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One. Pooped. Pony. (happy to have his boot repaired!)

Seriously horse? I couldn’t ask for  more  perfection.

(The video isn’t actually upside down)