Ranger Recap: I forgot how to ride…

This post could also be titled: Don’t do yoga before you ride…

It was also a week of boxes and shipments and we all love boxes, especially when they don’t cost anything! And even when they do…

First box? New helmet ordered on IHAD! I ordered the Trauma void and then spent hours debating whether it fit (I had tried one on a few weeks ago so I knew the size was right). I also realized that my old One K helmet did NOT fit (plus was giving me headaches again–the last thing I need). Thanks Michele for laughing at me and thank you to Amanda @ 900 Facebook Pony for helmet fit advice from pictures and random text messages! I’m still not sure I love the look, but it’s comfortable and it definitely fits. I’ll do a full review one of these days!

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Next box? ~$300 worth of Kensington fly stuff! I won an Instagram drawing a few weeks ago and now am the proud owners of lots of fly garb. All my guys already have fly sheets (Batty and Jiminy JUST got new sheets this year) but Subi’s is on his 4th summer so he was the recipient of the prize package. Fly sheet, fly mask, fly boot, tail cover (not really sure about this one), and a matching lead rope. At some point I might splurge and get a matching neck cover, but, as I don’t use the neck cover on Subi too much, he may just use his current next cover on with this sheet… Who cares about matching… I’ll dress him up this weekend and take a picture. The mask MAY be too big as he usually wears a cob mask and the smaller size was listed as arab (on the package it’s listed as cob/arab) so we’ll see. It’s a new style so very few reviews. Regardless, it’s still nice to win stuff!

Now, lesson time! Thanks to a weird  kumbaya day at work, I ended up doing a lot of yoga instead of working (less the 90 minute intensive research class I had to teach while the rest of my colleagues were running around playing video games and painting rocks). I love yoga, but it’s been a while. As a result, I felt it when I hopped on Ranger last night. Flat work was fine. Did a lot of extending and collecting at the canter.

Over fences, we started out working on an extending/collecting exercise over the center line (maybe 1ft fences). First time in, 10 strides, next length in for the 9, then collecting for the 10, then back to the 9, then 10, then 11, then 8. One time I overrode for an 8 instead of the 9, but ultimately, you get the idea. The fences weren’t the issue, the stride length was.

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Next we took it to the inside single around to the inside line. Goal was to do the inside line first in a holding 7 then a going 6. The single was fine, the holding 7 was fine, reapproaching the single was fine, the 6, less so. I failed to keep my right leg on him as my leg was starting to die by this point and because of a lack of a straight line, we ended up with a 7 vs 6. So continuing around, we landed from the single, moved UP, stayed straight, and got the 6. Easy, no issue (this time).

After this we did the other inside single (oxer) around to the outside line (4 strides) back to the inside line in the 6. This was, er, less successful. As we turned to the oxer, Ranger had a moment of GALLOP in his mind (he caught his eye on the outside line vs the oxer) and I had to collect). Despite that, the oxer wasn’t terrible). But, we landed and didn’t exactly regroup and sort of flew to the line and while I collected as necessary, I failed to ADD LEG at the base and we chipped before thankfully finishing the line semi successfully. The inside line was OK.

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On the reapproach, I stayed out longer before the turn to the oxer and there was no attempt the gallop as Ranger did NOT get his eye on the wrong jump as my turn was better and direction was clear. The turn to the outside line was again so much better. BUT, where I completely failed was the inside line… OMG. I landed from the in and just lost it. We did the line in a 7 and it was ugly. So, I was to go to the other inside single and go back around to the inside line. Except… I completely FAILED at that. (legs DEAD and no heel and shaking legs re: yoga coming in to play)

Let me just mention this. It deserves its own line.

Ranger is a SAINT.

Ranger SAVED MY BUTT.

I have no idea how WHY we got over the jump OR how I stayed on.

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Summer is ending quickly…

First he thought we were jumping the brick box NEXT to the single then realized I was likely thinking single and said, “Idiot, I’ll jump that, hang on fool.” And jumped from the base of the fence about a foot higher than the jump so that he cleared it. I landed in a HEAP on his neck. But managed to stay on as he cantered around the corner and decided he’d throw in a front change just because… (I’ll while I’m promising him so many cookies and peppermints to make up for my mistakes).

Needless to say, we restarted and I regrouped and got my leg under me and we jumped both of the damn jumps/lines. They weren’t perfect, but I believe at that point, as it didn’t look like I was going to die, my trainer decided that was a close to perfect as things were going to be. I made promises never to do yoga before I rode ever again and off Ranger and I went for a walk (where he proceeded to spook at a horse running and bucking and almost unseating me AGAIN–thankfully I had decided to put my feet back in my stirrups as there was NO strength left in my legs to hold on to his side jump and spin).

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My new helmet ALMOST got a crash test.

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Ranger got an INSANE number of peppermints and cookies.

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Ranger Recap: sunny sundays

Thanks to horse show season, my lesson schedule has taken a strange turn. I once again rode on Sunday vs Thursday due to horse shows. My trainer is away at shows the next 2 weeks (I could ride Monday but 2 lessons 2 days in a row didn’t seem appealing to my wallet) and I’ll probably try and fit in a lesson next Monday.  In the meantime, I get to put a couple rides on Ranger to ensure his lesson horse brain stays a lesson horse brain. Evidently too many days off isn’t good for him? haha! I miss last summer’s habit of randomly taking off towards one jump/lesson!

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Hermione says summer is for napping

Before I recap, Batt’s rambo space alien fly mask arrived on Friday and has stayed on since then. That thing is intense. Good thing because while his earless Supermask was still on, the entire side was torn. He looks like an idiot, but appears to love the nose coverage. He’s also started a feed through fly thing (no way would Subi eat it even though the smell is mild and I’m not about to mess with him ACTUALLY EATING right now) and they’ve all started SimpliFly

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Looking like an idiot but we haven’t resorted to duct tape, superglue, a staple gun, or teflon tape yet

Ranger:

Despite getting on by 9:30, it was already crazy humid and 80ish and cloudless. Nothing like the low humidity I’m sure we had on Thursday while I was busy being shocking my my electric fence… But, unlike last week, I remember my water bottle and actually drank water throughout my lesson? Progress?

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Who needs Ranger when you have VOLDEbisc? Don’t let that face fool you. She’s recharging. The little hellion was all hellioned out.

Flatting:

Basically, this was an effort in bending and finding energy. To the left, we were fine, we just lacked forward motion. We worked on some circles were when I actually planned WHERE I was circling, it went better than when I didn’t plan where I was circling… amazing how that happens? Then we halted where Ranger wasn’t entirely listening (hands only, not fully engaged so we got to practice that). Then we stopped and talked for a second before trotting to the right. Except Ranger was convinced it was canter time and kept trying to take off cantering around the ring… I probably brought him back to the trot 4 -5 times before he accepted we were trotting… Silly boy. Circling to the right was like turning a 2×4… Lots of playing with my inside rein and encouraging him to relax (NO) and inside leg until finally and then a nice loose rein and we got to trot on. Then we cantered each direction including a small circled to the left around 2 fences…

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Best ears!

Jumping:

So the canter circle would be the basis of our first over fence exercise.  Basically, we were to pick up a left lead canter over the outside single turn in the air and continue our canter, passing only the inside single and do it again. The goal going to the left was to get as close to the cross rail as possible and maintaining a steady rhythm. And, ideally, landing the lead which required steering in the air. We got there eventually, moving up for the right spot and repeated it 3-4 times nicely before walking. Then did it the other way where Ranger bends less nicely, but despite that, it was easier? I don’t know. The first time I had to move up a little more aggressively but then had a bit too much 2 point. After that, we eventually got the rhythm. We were helped by the fact that Ranger likes to land right…

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I should never draw courses… But I have a call number too if anyone needs a book…?

From here we started by taking the long ride down to the cross rail (it was a large cross rail) around to the inside like that I struggle with last week. Unlike last week, the line was more normal sized at 2’6″ ish and I was just in a non-thinking, non-rushing mode, staying steady, counting 1-2, 1-2 kinda mode. It’s amazing how if you just count sometimes it solves everything? Anyway, those jumps worked perfectly.

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Here the course hasn’t changed. Better than my drawing… Because I can’t draw courses!!!!

Next we moved over to the inside single heading towards the indoor and then around to our other inside line. I remembered to stay out and again counted. And for the inside line, Ranger wanted to drift, but, because I didn’t cut my turn to the in, it was easy to fight the right drift and he moved right on over to the center of the jump. Good boy.

But I can send a kitty after you… except she’s scared of humans except for me and erik and is trying to break my house… 

Last we jumped the inside single the other direction (towards the road) around to the broken line. This was probably my only issue. The first time I had to circle as I couldn’t find the inside single (there were a lot of jumps…) and then I realized I’d over shot my turn and I’d miss it if I turned, and finally I remembered to turn on time, but had no pace at all and the whole thing sucked. I was slow to the single, slow to the in, slow to the outside oxer that was just lovely last week so we got a 9 in that broken line that should have been an 8 (or a really going 7)… Yeah. So we did it again. The single was good, the in was good, and then I just had a moment of uncertainty and took my leg off and chipped. Take 3, we skipped the single and just did the broken line and I finally rode the entire thing, not just 7/8th of it.

As always, yay summer, Ranger and I ended with a stroll around the fields, a bath, and I stuffed him with carrots. And, when he gave me that “I’m starving” and “Aren’t I pathetic?” look, I gave in and added in some peppermints because, obviously 7 carrots weren’t enough.

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Ranger is wondering exactly WHY he is looking AWAY FROM HOME. Change of scenery? I’ve got nothing kid.

Batt and the Great Fly Mask Conundrum 

Houston, we have a problem.

I cannot keep a fly mask on my horse.

If someone were holding a gun to my head, a fly mask would fall off of Batt’s head.

I need help.

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I bought a lot of fly masks. Mission. Fail. 

So far this year, Batt has worn several different fly masks and NOT ONE OF THEM will stay on. NOT ONE OF THEM.

He is also extra itchy this year.

We find the fly masks everywhere. In the dirt, in the water trough, in the hay. Just laying on the ground. He shakes his head and OFF GOES THE FLY MASK.

We started the season with the Roma Stretch Fly Mask. It actually stayed on. Until it didn’t. After a week, this fly mask started coming off. Now it’s a failure and doesn’t last more than an hour. If I’m lucky. Maybe I need a cob sized? I don’t know. Maybe I should wash it in boiling water? What do I have to lose?

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It was all so promising and then it wasn’t. 

Next up was the Kool Coat Fly Mask. It looked huge but fit REALLY REALLY REALLY well. And fell off immediately. There was NO WAY a cob would fit on Batt’s head. But, the horse size doesn’t stay on. But, at least Batt had fun looking like a race horse?

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Race horse mode!

Then we tried on the  Kelley & Company Brow Lift Fly Mask w/ Ears but the horse size was way too big. Subi is currently wearing the cob size and it fits him wonderfully. I’m going to return it and get him another cob. It’s not going to hold up well, but it’s cheap and I can see his eyes which I like.

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When your head is heavy, your brother makes a good head rest…  And Subi modeling the Kelly & Co. fly mask. It really fits him nicely (cob size)

Then I put on an old Rider’s International Fly Mask. Didn’t even last long enough for me to make dinner. Granted it didn’t work when I bought it either, but… Cob size.

Next we put on an old beat up Farnam SuperMask II. These have ALWAYS stayed on but tend to rub which is why I was switching around. The damn thing came off. WTH? I found it by the hay feeder and it’s in the wash pile as Jiminy peed on it. Jerk. Anyone want a miniature? No, wait, anyone want an appendix who won’t keep on a fly sheet? I’ll keep the miniature, he’s happy in HIS fly mask…

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Not the same mask or model of mask (where is that one? I have no idea…) but you get the idea. Last summer when Batty had to wear one of Subi’s fly sheets… 

This morning, after retreiving the peed on Supermask with ears, I threw on another Supermask without ears. Maybe the ears are the issue? But he’s ALWAYS had ears????? I have NO IDEA if that one is still on. I didn’t look after I fed. I didn’t want to know.

I haven’t tried a Cashel this year as they’ve never stayed on any of my horses except for Hayley. He has a Pirate mask, but that won’t stay on either. I’m one step away from turning him out with a halter over a fly mask, any fly mask, to see if that helps. Or I can try rubber cement or duct tape. Kidding. Really.

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Once there was a Batthorse Pirate…

He has a Rambo Space Alien Fly Mask coming but I doubt it will stay on. I used my SmartPak store credit from when they fell apart and tried to get me to shop with them again to buy it. So, if it fails, at least I didn’t spend real money on it? And maybe it’ll work for Subi?

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This fly mask fit really well… Maybe I should sew the velcro back on the throat latch? But, if I do that, it’ll probably fall off just like the rest of them. Because my luck = NONE

I also ordered some feed through stuff because I’m at my wits end. He’s miserable. Even with a fly sheet (but less miserable as he was SERIOUSLY OMG MY LIFE SUCKS MISERABLE when I took it off). So maybe they’ll help somewhat? He’s not hivey anymore either. He’s just dramatic.

Any suggestions? Any way to save my horse from bug hell? Better yet, any possible way to SAVE ME FROM FLY MASK HELL?