Yay or Nay: Conquering the outdoor

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It wasn’t always warm. Just a few days ago it was freezing and snowing… I may have just ordered him another of these in a heavy… 

Nay and I FINALLY got a lesson in this weekend…after not riding for a week. On top of that, the weather decided to go crazy here in the mid atlantic and Saturday saw temperatures in the 60s. In January. Personally, I HATE warm winter days. Perfect recipe for people and animals getting sick. And for migraines. But no one asked me.

Anyway, all week I was stressing about my Saturday lesson as warm weather typically means… riding outside. Now, I have nothing against riding outside, but we JUST got Nay used to the indoor and now we’re riding outside? So, me being me, spent Friday night tossing and turning, stressing about dying while riding my quiet horse outside. Typical.

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Not related to Nay, but instagram told me Horizon Structures was having a sale… on SUBI?!?!?! 

We arrive and the barn was chaos. Everyone and their mother and their third cousin’s best friend was there. I managed to park my trailer, but… Go home people. Nay was good to tack up in the driveway (he’s gotten SO MUCH BETTER) and we walked over towards the indoor (hopes raised) where my trainer was standing. She did give me the option but there were SO MANY PONIES (seriously ponies everywhere) inside so I agreed to go outside if she made sure I didn’t die. We then tried to spook at a stroller coming out of the indoor… lol. I’m telling out, it’s all my anxiety.

We took a semi private with another young horse, Wilbur. That said, Wilbur is now showing, jumping, etc. but still has his green moments. I started off by hand walking Nay around the outdoor. He didn’t care. Because, why would he? He was more alert, but that was about it.

Once on, we wandered. Wandering is our pastime. I tried to sit up and keep my leg on him and sit in the saddle vs on the saddle. He likes that. He slows down when I do all of that. After wandering for a while at the walk, we got the all clear to wander at the trot. The goal? Keep his brain busy with turns and changes of direction. For the first time ever, I was allowed to ask him to slow down and encourage the trot from his hind end (by sitting back, erg). Eventually, we added in a pile of poles. Nay loves his poles so this was fun for him. After successfully doing our poles both ways, we eventually walked and watched some jumping for a while.

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It also appeared my barn was for sale… 

So, when I first got on? There was no question that we were NOT cantering today. Yet the more we walked and trotted, the more relaxed Nay got. He spooked once at the very beginning because the wind picked up and a gate went clattering and he scooted into the trot a few steps but that was it.  So, after we trotted, my trainer told me, never mind, we will be cantering…

We started off with the left lead. The first time? Eh. Ugly. He didn’t pick it up right away and, instead of being patient, I added leg and he scooted into the canter on the wrong lead. So, it started off a bit quick (not fast, quick) and rushed. Since we don’t care about leads, he tried to canter around the corner but was distracted (horse was walking in when we were approaching the gate) and off balance and… yeah. So we went back to the trot and eventually walked and I got the talk… Basically, TAKE MY TIME AND STOP WORRYING ABOUT WHEN I PICK UP THE DAMN CANTER…

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He’s becoming such a good traveler!

As a result? Take 2 was lovely. Nay picked up a quiet, slow, and relaxed canter that we held 3/4 of the way around the ring.

Before we picked went to pick up the right lead, we watched some more jumping. Then, a pony went on a walk around the indoor arena and Nay lost it temporarily. [Lost it now means lost focus and ears super forward] With some direction, I did a little trotting to get his brain back in his head. And right lead canter? Our best ever. Quiet, relaxed, and slow. The comment? “Well, wasn’t that adorable!”

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He’s cute when he’s not poorly behaved (another post about worst pony ever title)

Not the most exciting lesson, by outdoor arena conquered! The worst part? My saddle just isn’t going to work, not even for the short term. So, we’re 2 saddles down, a few more to try (or, I listen to Emma, and go saddle shopping/trying courtesy of MD Saddlery). I need to look into consigning my Millers at this point because it’s just not working for me (it fits Nay relatively well, but my trainer is hating the position it puts me in). I’m just not tied to it anymore so it can go.

Yay or Nay: lesson take 2

(All media is from Sunday)

It was a big weekend for Nayners. Saturday he saw the farrier, Sunday we hauled out for a practice ride, and Monday we had hauled out for a lesson. And you know what? Someone was a very good boy for everything.

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Trying to find a saddle that fits. Pulled this out of the basement. Fits better than my other though it’s so deep…

The farrier appointment was uneventful, but it was nice to get that one out of the way. My farrier liked his look and build and Nay behaved himself so, win?

A3BEF0FB-5F5F-4348-BB59-B9F0B887FB29Sunday we introduced the clicker and he seemed to pick it up pretty quickly. He is food motivated so tapping his nose on a bucket lid and getting a piece or 2 of TC Senior? Score!

When I brought him out to trainer’s barn, the clicker definitely came in handy. He was better on the trailer but a touch nervous when we arrived. A couple halt, click, treats got him refocused. I let him play before tacking up and then clicked when he I got my good responses during tacking (brain melted a bit). I was all set to get on when trainer’s husband backed a trailer next to indoor and made a lot of noise before walking 2 horses off together. Brain blown. But. We backed, click. We halted, click. And a few minutes later, I was the focus.that click is powerful.

CEE24F25-E844-45B0-BC5D-5411CAA35AF4Our ride was lovely. I only wanted him to relax and he did. We walked and halted. And trotted some each direction. And called it a day. The clicker came out for the halts followed by a nice wither scratch. Nayners seemed to understand that was his reward this time. And with that? We went home.

Monday’s lesson was more of the same. I tacked in the 9E89FE12-9FF6-46A2-8FEB-4F93EF717308driveway before heading to the indoor with a slightly more tense horse (dogs barking at him plus farrier shoeing plus dogs just barking) and inside horses were jumping. We lunged for maybe 5 minutes at the trot and then all was good and I got on. Tension released.

We hung out with trainer while previous lesson finished and watched the big and scary jumps. He liked being held for them. But the last course, he did ok when we were set loose even though he didn’t like getting hit by sand. A little nerves but settled right away.

E6DDFB87-69D4-4D8E-8DA1-751A1FE67201We started off playing follow the leader as we were lessening with RANGER!!! So we walked behind him for a while then we trotted. The name of the game was NO PULLING on his mouth and let him trot. He can go slow, he can trot not fast, so as long as he’s not fast, I don’t get to touch his mouth. I would be told if there were reasons to pull… there weren’t.

At some point, Ranger got to walk while Nay and I kept trotting and circling both directions. A pole was put down for me and I misunderstood so I trotted over the pole with flowers first. “Grabbing mane in case he jumps to the rafters” wasn’t a thing but squeezing to keep the trot was. We were unconcerned. We repeated both poles successfully and walked.

After watching Ranger canter, we got out chance. While I canted Nayners at the rescue, we’re taking a different path now. So, we basically canter down the long side and halted at the wall, using the wall as a stop point. No pulling prior to asking for the halt. I completely misunderstood this the first time and continued around the corner then trotted, but got it the next 2-3 times. Canter was quick but we’re not regulating pace right now (and like everything else, I sure it’s not but rather just felt that way).

We watched Ranger jump (not scary!) and called it a day. Such a good boy! Hopefully I can get in another lesson this week on him and fit in a Bob lesson before I head back to work.

Bogging Blob (blogging Bob?): catch up

I’ve failed on recapping Blob lessons lately. And I’ll fail again as I’m a week out and I remember very few details of my last lesson (forget about all the lessons that have come before that one). That said, I should probably try to catch up with some details.

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Baby 5 year old Nay Nay 

I’m going to try to keep up with Bob as long as the money holds up. I’ve haven’t been back on Nay Nay yet (hopefully this weekend) and haven’t hauled him out to my trainer yet, but it’s going to be a slow process. He’s had some training, but he’s green. Riding a relatively well trained horse, especially over fences, can only help me and Nay Nay. And, until it’s spring, chances are I really don’t feel like hauling on weeknights. So, I’ll be limited to non-horse show weekends anyway for lessons. Besides, he’s turning me into a stronger rider, making me sit up and strengthening my core.

Lately we’ve been working on pace. Initially, working with Blob, it was all about staying even and consistent and getting comfortable. If I don’t ride to the base, Bob says screw it and stops. He’s not a stopper exactly, but, if you don’t ride, he gets lost and stops. The reason I say he’s not a stopper is that most of the time? I can have zero pace, but if I keep my body back? He’ll jump it. The distance doesn’t matter. He’ll fit it in. Snail speed? Sure! Jump for me? Eh… No.

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“What do you mean I’m going to have to work?!”

So, the first several weeks of Bob were spent just developing the feel. Collect, 3 strides out squeeze, and jump. After my first lesson where I basically stopped at EVERY SINGLE FENCE for the first half of the lesson until the collect 3 strides then leg message clicked, we’ve had very few stops. But, we’ve been slow. It’s fine. But slow. First jump of the day is snail slow and then everything else is just collected.

Now? Trainer wants me to have an actually forward pace. The forward pace will help everything eventually, but lead changes in particular. See, we get them now, especially after fences, but they can be sticky and often dramatic on the flat. So, the goal is getting a forward pace so that I’m not, er, flying around and being launched in the air when we practice our changes (note: we usually asked for 1 left to right and one right to left change on the flat each lesson). Also, forward pace will keep SOMEONE from getting bored and swapping down the long side 2 or 3 or 15 times some days.

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Standard Blob and Splinty picture

Anyway, we’re on week 2 of FORWARD. Warm up at the canter consists to leg, crop, and galloping down the side and some growling at Bob. And more leg, crop, and growling before we finally are forward. I feel completely out of control, but supposedly we look good? Lol. I have to get used to the hand gallop. That said, the changes are much cleaner even though we have a temper tantrum at the canter before we get to that part.

As for fences? I’m struggling a little more. I see all my distances now at the slower pace, but my eye hasn’t adjusted 100% to the more forward pace. I’m trying to remain consistent and we’re getting there, but it feels fast. Last lesson? We had to circle once when someone wanted to run off with me around a turn and I needed to regain control, but otherwise, we’re getting there. One of these weeks I’ll get video for comparison purposes of slow Blob vs forward Blob.

And, as they say, you adjust one thing and everything else is a mess… One day. At least our changes are consistent?

Blogging Bob: “except he’s such a jerk.”

Ah Blob. It’s about time I catch up on some lesson recaps. Or, more accurately, start recapping lessons again. I mean, I’m not going to even try to recap all my missed lessons. But, some lessons did happen.

Proof:

Last night (and the last couple lessons), the focus was on maintaining a consistent forward pace. The week before, I ran into the issue of running out of gas leaving the in gate for my inside line and it sucked. Basically, I got over the in, landed, did NOT move away from the fence, then Blob decided it was time for a lead change and I decided we most certainly were NOT attempting the out.

So, goal? Not to do that again.

Unfortunately, I struggled a bit cantering on the flat and was doing a weird twisty thing with my body. Up the quarter line on the left lead, Blob will throw in all the changes in the world if you’re not careful, so, in an attempt not to do that, I was a little too active. I was also recovering from the pneumonia shot in my right arm (and flu in my left) and right arm weakness was playing a role… Lol. Still, our left to right change was spot on and we continued around, past the in gate (aided my some crop because, er, leg was not enough), and the right lead canter was a touch better, less the weird twisty stuff I was doing. We finished with another acceptable change (right to left) and celebrated with a nice walk (er, stand) break and Blobber fell asleep.

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“Are you talking about ME?” 

We warmed up with the tiniest of fences, the outside single, which was basically just the flower boxes and a pile of poles left over from tiny pony kids earlier. Left lead, once we figured out balance through a circle for a nice canter, was lovely, and right lead, we got over it, but continued back around for a much nicer second attempt. I did have to re-remember a little “tug, tug” from Ranger days because, while less extreme, a bit of head dragging was occurring. One thing I did realize is I like horses with higher head carriages while jumping. Subi, Bob, etc.

Next, we attempted the inside straw bales around to the inside line. I HATE THE INSIDE LINE. I have this issue of turning too late and losing gas (see above). The first time, I think the single just sucked so much that we started completely over just to get a nice canter. OK, what really happened is that I forgot the squeezing 3 strides out and just stayed back with my body so, because I did that, Blob jumped and I got left behind and it was super ugly. Take 2? I rode, added leg and it was better and then, again, the inside line?  I turned late, but got off the ground, and was forced to ride every single step to the out. It was fine, but I felt like I had to work too hard.

So the thing about the line was that turning late is USUALLY better than turning too early. Except, it my case, I get sucked into the in gate because I actually use my rail, and I don’t seem to have a strong enough right leg (I need to ride more). But, if you turn too early, based on ring setup, horses typically assume that they’re heading down the quarter line…

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Not to be left out, Miss Marble!

Take 2 (er, 3? if you include the first failure?) again I was fine for the single, and turned earlier for the inside line which allowed me to keep the forward momentum from the single which carried me across the fence and the line rode well! Woohoo! So, trick here? Turn a touch earlier than I normally would or I get sucked into the gate and it becomes a little be too hard. I guess early for me isn’t exactly early, but straight? Who knows…

After a break where we talked about horses and Bob (see the end of this post), we finished up with a course that included way too many lead changes during the “wake up you idiot phase” because Bob, being Blob, was convinced he was finished and I couldn’t be serious with my canter… Oh Blob…

Our course? Inside pink single, around to outside single, inside line, straw bales. Honestly? It went REALLY REALLY WELL. Nailed every. single. distance. And every lead change we needed. And it was fun. I really like this horse you guys. He makes me work, ride, and be assertive. But, if I ride, he rewards me and does everything.

So, my trainer is pretty sure his owner might give him to me, except, the problem is, he’s a jerk. Bob, who is perfect to ride, goes on trail rides, is dead quiet. Is a complete, utter, jerk. To the point that he can be dangerous. And, that is probably a no go. Trainer thinks it is. There is no way my husband could handle him. He bites. He can be downright mean. And I don’t know that I want something like that at home.

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Really Blob, why are you how you are? 

So, the horse that could probably teach me everything I ever need and want to know, is a complete ass.

Nice, right?

I haven’t had to deal with too much of his jerk behavior. Though I did the one day I came out to ride right after I lost Batt. He was napping in his stall and didn’t want to be disturbed. Ears pinning. Snapping. Threatening. His threats are a warning of what could come. I wasn’t in the head space to deal with it, but I know how to now. Trainer got him out with a combo of halter tossing and kind words whenever he backed down. On the crossties? He was an angel.

The worst part? We get along really well and I think he actually likes me. But for now, this is a no go.

Thanks Blob for being a jerk.

 

Blogging Bob: I jumped the barrels…

And I didn’t die.

Rode on Friday this week due to Halloween. It was cold and windy and all that. So we rode inside. The problem with riding inside was that there are these stupid evil barrels. And I didn’t want to jump them.

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Bob didn’t see the point either

Supposedly no horse has had issues with them.

That wasn’t the point

I WAS having issues with them.

I went into a long discussion about rotational falls and dying.

I negotiated an extra ground pole.  Kids, always negotiate with your trainers.

I got over them. No one died.

I didn’t have to jump them again.

The end.

Blogging Bob: Indoors.

This week’s (last week’s) Bob lesson took place inside due to super high wind. After a day spent a fair hill and a couple hours spent contemplating cancelling, I reluctantly showed up to ride after a hasty nebulizer treatment. Because, it’s a perfectly good idea to go ride when you are completely exhausted and unable to breathe, right? (after quickly cleaning stalls)

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Hermione met her long lost cousin this weekend.

So, I decided to ride mostly because I ended up running out of time and never cancelled.

Due to rain the night before, Bob didn’t get out (while I turn out in all weather, this barn does not). So, when I got on, he was a little gimpy and we spent about 10 minutes or so working out of it. We rode inside due to the high winds (up to 40 mph gusts…).

Eventually Bob was feeling mostly normally and we warmed up at the canter over 2 poles on the quarter line, alternating between  6 strides and 7 strides. This was also when I learned that lead changes are no longer optional. So, the one time we landed wrong when I didn’t quite collect enough for the 7 (and we fit it in but barely), and Bob also decided changes were optional, we continued cantering until I asked properly and he responded in kind. I learned my lesson, he…didn’t.

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Cornelia Dorr and Brush Dance

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Our exercise we started off with was basically a figure 8 over our 2 inside singles, a nice and easy inviting vertical with flowers and a tiny swedish oxer. While I spooked at the oxer, it rode fine but someone did NOT like getting his change after it… Theme of the night. We got it, reluctantly (left to right). The next couple of times it was a bit smoother. Then he had a temper tantrum about it the last time…

Next (by this point my legs were DEAD and I was ready to be done) we worked on the outside line. Bob was also finished here. So, first time through, I had to kick for the canter, circle (he them was convinced we going to the inside swedish oxer), the approach the line with almost zero pace. I guess I gave me trainer a heart attach as we came in with less than no canter, but I kept squeezing and Bob carried me over, continued cantering, carried me over the out (with the add), and we both died on the landing until I was made to keep cantering until I asked for the change… MEAN… We got in down the long side.

Finally we put everything together. So, upon getting a REAL canter, we actually cantered the outside line WITHOUT the add or the heart attack, then came over the oxer (the opposite way around to the vertical. We called it a day there. Bob was tired. I was tired.

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So tired, so sweaty!

This all ended with a threat that it’s time to start jumping bigger fences. Crap.

Blogging Bob: Putting things together

Once again, media-less. Sorry!

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So handsome. 

This is a double lesson recap as I rode on Thursday AND Sunday. Woohoo! I’m seriously in love with Bob! He’s a character. A baby faced, teenaged (13ish) character. He figuring out he can’t bite me (I bite back), is HIGHLY disappointed that he gets smacked when he tries to bite me, and now only halfheartedly tries to “bite” me. It’s sort of amusing. He looks as me, moves closer and closer, and ultimately bites at the air. And get tapped for it. Then sighs, defeated. This is the same horse I was originally told to get from his stall with a crop so he knew not to eat me alive… Bottle babies… Lol. I will say, for all his mouthiness, he actually takes treats like a gentleman, unlike a certain RANGER pony who tries to fit my entire hand in his mouth… Bob eat each treat separately, chews, then gently takes the next?!?!?! Go figure. I’d feed him in his bucket except he’s SO gentle. Probably because he’s scared of me now.

So lessons. Thursday we rode in the dark under the lights because FALL. Fall sucks. I was tired and having breathing issues. But, our flat work was decent AND we successfully mastered out changes this lesson! So much so that I even asked for them after a few fences. Who am I? Lol. We had one stop because I forgot what I was doing and where I was going and basically was a complete space cadet, but it really wasn’t Bob’s fault. I was user error. 100%. I approached the outside single (the ONE fence in the ring that I’m not concerned about) still thinking about my turn rather than riding to the fence and forgot to squeeze and Bob said, “wait, what? do you want me to jump? You’re not really here…” so we didn’t.  A quick kick (just because we’re trying to train him to take riders over even if they forget to keep leg on 100% of the time) and reapproach, and it was fine.

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unfortunately, he’s a cribber..

We also did our first line. Basically, it appears with Bob, you ride each jump as a single. So, leg to the first, land, woah, collect, leg. Nice, easy, no hesitation. And, as long as I stay back with my body and add leg, he’ll jump anything. Which I learned when we came up to our inside single which was some jump with massive (I mean MASSIVE) pink flowers that Bob really looked at. But, I kept squeezing so he said OK and jumped in slow motion. (our second trip over was fine).

Sometime between Thursday and Friday, I found myself unable to breathe and since then am on new asthma meds, have a new nebulizer, and lots of fun stuff. I shouldn’t have ridden Sunday, but…

Sunday we warmed up with poles at the trot and canter (I died breathing wise) before working on changes. It took a couple attempts to get the left to right, but we got there eventually (I was lacking a little pace). The flat work took a lot out of me… After a nice break, we started over fences.

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Bob and Splinty

Jumps stayed small, but it was all about control and putting things together. We started with the outside single in both directions and then the inside straw bales. From here, we ended up doing the right lead over the outside single around to the outside line. Super easy and controlled. The nice thing about this line is that it’s right against the fence so I just need to stay against the rail and keep my inside leg on… Lol.

Next, things got scary. My security of the rail was taken away. Lol. So, it became outside single (left lead) around to the INSIDE line (no security). To make it to the inside line, I really had to stay on the rail until I say the straight line and turn with 2 hands. Honestly? I think I kept turning a little late, but it worked out much better than if I turned early so we’ll take it. Bob was a bit hesitant to the in, but I kept leg on and waited and it was all fine. Body back, leg, Bob jumps. Collect on landing, wait, leg, Bob jumps jump 2. Lol. It’s really strange. He just wants to feel his rider there with him.

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Goof.

So we next repeated all of that a couple of times then added in the outside line, and then the OTHER inside single with the scary pink flowers. Again, all was fine with the first 3 fences (the inside line was a lot better), then came into the outside line and on the landing of the in, had to really hold and then add leg again (this will take a little getting used to). Continuing to the final single, I was a touch forward until I realized that I was forward, got my body, back, and despite Bob’s slight hesitation, jumped it fine, landed, got the change (our only necessary one of the course), and ended on that note. But hey, first real course!

Seriously. I LOVE THIS HORSE. He’s so good for me. He doesn’t care if I miss a distance as long as I add leg.

 

Ranger Recap: 100% Bob

I’ll warn you in advance. This is a media free post written at 5am. Lol

I’m struggling with what to rename the Ranger Recap Series as it appears it will be Bob from here on out. Ranger is needed for other lessons (don’t worry, he did get his treats!) and Forrest is currently out of commission. Bob is stepping up and trying his tricks and scaring people along the way (lol).

This week we spent more time being intentional about flying changes. I had to work a little harder to get Bob going and forward, both at the trot and canter (lots of tripping was happening and he’s not the soundest of horses or he wouldn’t be sitting around for anyone to ride. He’s serviceable but wouldn’t pass a ppe). Much better once he started using his hind end vs dragging it around. At the canter, I had to do a little growling at him when i added leg to prove I was serious…

so changes. Bob sort of throws is entire body into it and my core is…not strong. I was getting the lift hand part but flying forward. I needed to approach it by thinking lean way back and keep adding leg. He’ll do them w/o the leg, but they are so freaking dramatic. After several tries and a break, we got a few nice ones.

We kept the jumps really low. Not because height was an issue, but because I didn’t want to have to think about the jump at all. So, when my trainer started to put a cross rail up to a larger on to start with, I told her she could keep it small so I could just master everything today. And this is how I didn’t stop at one fence last night.

We started with the cross rail (adding lines in the sand 3 strides out for a visual cue for me lol) and all was good–collect until 3 strides then leg, same other way. Repeated with outside single. Next thing you know, we’re jumping the outside single inside cross rail around to the inside quarter line skinny with no warning and all is good. Both directions.

So what changed? I’m not sure. We had one fence last lesson that we sort of ran of of gas and jumped a close short spot but I kept leg on him and Bob said, “OK! I’ll jump!” And since then, I know as long as I add that leg, he’ll jump. Our first left lead to the outside canter, I rode to the short spot which Sunday he would have stopped, BUT I kept leg on him and said jump and there was no way in hell he wasn’t jumping. Again, after that, no inkling of concern. We took short spots and long spots and Bob started filling in the pieces for me. I just squeezed.

I’m sure once we do lines we may have so rough moments, but I feel 1000% more comfortable on him. It’s almost like a switch was flipped and he realized I figured something out and he’s meeting me halfway. After the lesson, my trainer commented I could jump anything in the ring now. How I felt last night? Probably. You rise up to Bob or you crumble. I’m not crumbling.

Ranger Recap: hello Bob

This edition of Ranger recap takes an interesting turn as it features Bob rather than Ranger (Ranger did get treats).

I was able to sneak in a make up lesson today (Sunday) but the offer came with “we’ll try someone different.” I figured I’d ride Forrest and he was an option, but when given the choice between point and shoot Forrest and Bob, I chose Bob.

Now, I knew nothing about Bob, I just knew he didn’t remind me of Subi in looks and way of going and that was a good thing. Emotionally, I couldn’t handle chestnut ears.

So, meet Bob.

Bob was a bottle baby supposedly so he is a bit mouthy, but other than manners, he’s a good boy. And huge in comparison to Ranger and even Batt… lol

Much to my surprise, I was actually able to get on. Lol. I was worried that that might not happen 😂 but fear not, my foot did reach the stirrup without anyone dying. And we survived the hack portion of our lesson. Lol. Bob actually bends. Very strange. At the canter we worked on changes. Or rather, I started to cross the diagonal and Bob changed leads. I was told to set him up and he’d change the second I asked, but I did nothing. I started to turn and Bob took over. So yeah, must work on having control.

Bob says you don’t have control now either…

Then jumping… so yeah. This is where the wheels fell off a bit. [we mostly worked with the outside single both ways and then added the inside single]. So Bob isn’t a lesson horse. He likes support to the base and with long spots, squeezing to say, yes, we do jump this. Ranger just says, screw it I’ll make up for every last mistake you make, lady, just get me the treats!

So first time through, I forgot how to ride and we went wide turned last minute to the fence and stopped. 🤦🏻‍♀️ Took 2 attempts to get over then had it, the other direction, same issue. Not with going wide, but with not riding to the base. Bob also decided that if I wasn’t 100% committed, why should he help. So, crop encouragement, turn, too much pace, issue.. but we got through it.

Somewhere along the way, my trainer said the magic words. Collect the canter until 3 strides out and THEN squeeze like crazy. All of a sudden we jumped everything. Granted, it was 2ft and we were stringing 2 jumps together but it clicked.

Of course, before it clicked, I also had to make sure I wasn’t ruining him with my errors but was told no, just need to learn his buttons. Once I do, he’ll take me over 3ft and I’ll wonder how I ever found him hard.

I’m not sure why we ended up so color coordinated… 😂

So it appears Bob is the new ride for now. My trainer wants to watch my confidence, but I said if it looks like it’s taking a beating, just throw me on Ranger for a lesson or 2. I need the challenge and lets be honest, does Ranger really need to be jumping 2’9/3′? Probably not. Just because he can doesn’t mean it’s not time for me to move on at least temporarily.

So for now, hello Bob.

Hot and sweaty! 88 in late September! No thanks!

Recapping Ranger. I’m a mental mess.

I’ve been avoiding posting about my lessons for the last few weeks. First because I didn’t have a lesson for about 3 weeks and then I had a really crappy lesson. So crappy that I managed to fit an extra lesson in over the weekend that sorta made me feel better but not really. This past week was better. Still, I find myself struggling to recap.

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Exciting news! the barn now has ELECTRICITY! 

Thursday nights have turned into groups with the “big kids.” Aka the teenagers and their horses/division large ponies who have no fear. As a result, at this point, they all ride way more often than me. When I’m on, I don’t find this intimidating, but sometimes? Yeah. We also all seem to get on whenever so if they start at 6, I start at 6:30, it all merges in to who knows what… Lol.

 

The other week, I just couldn’t find a rhythm to my canter. It wasn’t there. It was fine when the jumps were small, but when raised, I basically rode a saint into the a nothing spot. And, to make matters worse, I spent the entire start of the lesson, jumping the same fence over and over again until I could get it right. 15 attempts later, I finally succeeded in not failing. That’s how low the bar was… And I could NOT let it go.

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Gorgeous sunset one evening

So, come Sunday, I thankfully had a private. The jumps stayed low, and while I didn’t ride much better, there was a little less failing. As a result, I dwelled less on said failures. *yes, my attitude needs work*

We started off on a circle, jumping the four single fences — Outside single, the end stone wall w/o standards, quarter line skinny, and end gate. Goal of the exercise was to work on turning in the air, maintaining a rhythm, and keeping a consistent pace and we continued around several times. My goal? Survival. (expectations=low) (secondary goal? not to die). It actually went pretty well and the second time around actually looked nice. Other lead, rinse, repeat.

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Not Ranger but… 

The issue however was, as we moved on, finding the right canter for the remainder of our course work… The previous exercise required collection, the rest of our coursework, not so much. So, after a few fails, I finally got the correct forward canter and stopped riding to crap…

This past week? Back to our group lesson. Instead of the 4 fence exercise we did on Sunday, we took out the skinny and used the remaining 3 with rollbacks/turns. So, left lead to outside single turning in air to end jump (stone w/o standards) turning RIGHT back to outside single on RIGHT LEAD turning in air to other end jump turning left back to outside single on LEFT LEAD repeat. Like always, first time through was about survival and not dying, but the second time was actually pretty nice.

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Also not Ranger

From here, our course work consisted of large SKARY fences because, big kids.

So, right lead to outside single, inside single, inside line (repeat inside single, inside line). Focus here was finding pace, keeping pace, and MAINTAINING FORWARD but not galloping. While we got through it initially and it wasn’t bad, I had to make sure to 1. KICK Ranger to make sure I actually had the forward installed (lol) and 2. really squeeze at the base of the fence to remind Ranger to actually jump not just up but over as well… He was sort of kind of going up and straight down vs across…

In the end, we did get there. But, I’m just feeling SO RUSTY. I need to ride more and I want to but life. And then I just feel down and frustrated and hard on myself. And riding with fearless kids just makes me feel incompetent… It’s funny, I’m not a perfectionist, but I expect that I don’t make the same mistake over and over again. And lately, I just can’t stop making mistakes. It’s been rough.

As a result? Blogging hasn’t happened. If I wrote this blog 2 weeks ago I’d have written how much I suck. So this is progress? lol.

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So many belts in progress.