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. 

Ranger Recap: things are coming together

Balance, bending, turns, canter from the hind end? It’s all starting to come together. Without trying to recap my entire lesson last night, all I can say is that I wish I had media. It was seriously a good lesson.

We started at the canter over “the pile of trash” in the middle of the ring. Basically it was a bunch of poles and a gate that was propped up at a 90* angle against the out of the outside line so that you could jump it as long as you prepared properly from the left lead. We did this on a canter circle and while I thought my trainer was insane (my thoughts most of this lesson), the jump wasn’t hard at all as bending, turning, listening to my leg, were all in Ranger’s plans last night. The only issue we started off with was finding the right amount of power at the base. I just needed to add leg/squeeze at the base as the canter I had coming in was fine (yellow line indicated on poor version of course below).

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A really bad attempt to recreate the course… 

Next, we warmed up a figure eight over the straw bale jump (orange line) to the plain vertical (burgundy line) on the right lead. Of course, by this point, most of the fences were hiked up to 2’9″ which got in my head for a few minutes. I struggled with this even though this was the exercise I practiced almost exclusively last week. I saw my distances yet the first time, failed to commit and added. Then I committed, got the distance, then committed the same sin. It wasn’t so much that I lost my pace, but rather that I lost my line? And let Ranger drift in a touch which caused the chip. Once I fixed that, the line was fine.

Then, the insanity began.

Because my trainer is crazy, we started with the trash gate (yellow) roll back to the our green oxer (green line) around to the straw bales (orange line) this time jumped the opposite direction) bending line to the vertical (burgundy).

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PERFECTION.

Holy crap. With the trash jump, we needed to turn before the in of the outside line which actually wasn’t a problem and the green was lovely. And the bending line was perfect. Ranger, on the other hand, has been SO BALANCED and on his hind end, that he through in a full change along the way. Seriously, this horse just keeps getting better and better.

We repeated this course one more time, adding in the blue outside line before calling it a night.

But, I can’t even describe how amazing this horse feels these days. I did mention riding someone else 1x a month because it’s probably good for me, but, I don’t want to stop with Ranger because I’m having so much fun right now…

Ranger Recap: redemption

I never quite figured out how to write about my last lesson and then instead, I wrote about all this other drama.

Long story short, I never quite clicked with Ranger 2 weeks ago. It had been a few weeks and everything felt off and I just was really hard on myself the entire lesson. I rode with a mother-daughter duo and they were great and commented (separately) after the lesson that they’d never seen Ranger so put together or go so well, but I just never on that lesson. Towards the end we sort of got it together, but I couldn’t really keep him packaged, moving from behind, AND not get my hands overly involved… I never felt like I got that bouncy canter either… So, I was either too slow or too fast. And then I never recapped.

I had the opportunity to ride over that weekend and used my water bottle and phone for some media so I’ll try put that in throughout this post even though it has nothing to do with this week’s lesson…

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So much pizza from a meet up with Emma and another friend the other week!

We were reunited with Mikey for this week’s lesson. I always enjoy riding with Mikey as we tend jump a little more AND get much needed breaks. In addition, I’m not complaining, we ARE challenged more.

We started off with a lot of time on the flat. Just trotting around, using the ring, remember (me) not to look too far ahead. I sort of have this problem where I twist my head/upper body trying to look too far ahead sometimes? So, I focused on trying to focus just between Ranger’s ears. Then we did a whole hell of a lot of sitting trot to get me straight. It appears when I DON’T fight it? I’m fine. When I do? hahaha… To the right, sitting trot wasn’t an issue, the left? Took me a while to get there even after a really nice sit trot the other way. One day I’ll learn. Cantering right was decent and I managed to package him up pretty quickly. Found pace, then worked on bending, impulsion, and all of that to make sure impulsion is coming from behind. Of course, every time I add bend, hand, etc., Ranger takes it as a cue to slow, but we’re getting there and I’m able to add pace more quickly/directly. The left was a little better, but more of the same.

We started off with a figure 8 of sorts, inside single gate around to the bending/broken line in a forward 7 (we did this continuously ~4x). The gate was fine the first 3 times, though around the corner, approaching it, Ranger had the habit of trying to “drop and drag” which forced me around the corner to do some adjustments. As for the bending line, I was turning a bit late for the in which made the line harder as  Ranger doesn’t exactly bend well — he’s about as flexible as a 2×4… On the 4th time through, Ranger suddenly required NO adjustment around the corner and I stopped riding (he also had been getting a little… strong? approaching the single and I had been checking to ensure that he didn’t drag me to the fence). As a result? Well, we took a superman flyer over the inside single… Who knew? Lol. After a halt and back, we restarted, I rode, and we rode to a respectable distance WITHOUT dragging me, and proceeded to once again, screw up the bending line (it was fine, but I turned late again and made more work for myself).

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After a quick break, we moved on to the following course of bending lines: straw bales to out of the outside line (7) around to the plain vertical to the in of the outside line jumped backwards (forward 7).

And this is how I nearly impaled myself on a fake tree and Ranger saved my butt.

You see, Ranger had springs. Serious springs. We jumped the first fence and instead of steering to the second fence, I decided to adjust my stirrup. Then I was approaching the fence I thought, shit, I think I need to go around. Let’s go to the right. No! To the left. No, that’s the standard! Then, Ranger, bless his heart, just said, “why don’t we just go over, you idiot?!”

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“mapping” my ride… Go make sense of this… 

So, despite me not steering, just carted my butt over a 2’9″ vertical… See, Ranger has a LOT of tricks (stopping is NOT one of them thankfully). The main one? Going around fences when you don’t steer. And here he saved my ass. Why? I have no clue. But, last night? That horse just took care of me… All the cookies in the world.

So, we started over, I kept my leg on, and we did the course with out ANY issue. Lol. No fear of impalement on second attempt. 3rd attempt? That 7 became a 6 and SPRINGS started doing the horse show strides..  he was feeling good. We had to hold for the 7 for our second line. We had power.

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We end with the following course: straw bales jumped the opposite direction (away from the out of the outside line) around to the outside line, around to our original bending/broken line (the out had gone up to some big oxer… to which I was asked if I was comfortable jumping it or if I wanted to stick with my other line… I decided to try), to the straw bale to the out of the outside line to end. Before I started, my trainer’s daughter asked if Ranger could jump that high. The answer was yes, but it made me laugh. Obviously he doesn’t jump high with anyone other than me and rarely jumps the large oxers. It’s funny though. 2’9″ now looks normal and while the oxer looked larger, cantering up to it, it didn’t look that impressive.

img_1143So, the course started off well enough, the straw bale jump was easy, though our change after was slow which made the approach to the line feel less smooth than I’d like, but it was fine. The line was good, but I did have to hold as Ranger was jumping the crap out of everything and covering ground like I’ve never felt. Then FINALLY remembered to look and turn a little earlier to that stupid line and we nailed that turn and line (though I had to remind him we weren’t leaving out a stride on a going line) to the oxer — which Ranger flew over because he was in SUPERHORSE mode  and continued to the final bending line — again moving up for the 6 because why hold?

Seriously, this horse. He’s amazing! I made the decision not to try anything again because I couldn’t ask for more. Was I perfect? No. But he had springs and gave 1000% and why try and beat that? All the cookies in the word.

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“a creature from outer space living in the dog bed, begging from a bell rub” — the lasagna

Ranger Recap: Angry horse and Brain=FRIED

3 posts in one week? WHAT?

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Batt doesn’t take very good selfies…

First off, thanks to everyone for your support for Batt. He’s doing OK though I heard him cough this morning… Ugh. I’m going to need more ventipulmin soon so I have a call into the vet for it. Hopefully I can get a refill today so I have an extra bottle in hand vs risking an emergency vet call this weekend (I shouldn’t need it until Tuesday, but I don’t want to risk it).

My lesson last night was…interesting.

We did a lot of work on the flat, really trying to get a nice, round, uphill trot that encouraged Ranger to use his hind end like he does at the canter. I started off throwing away the reins so that didn’t exactly help… We did get there in the end.

Then at the canter, where last week I had too much input, this week, I tried to correct

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Subi’s selfie game is MUCH stronger

that and didn’t give enough. Ugh. I can’t win!!! So, I did try to change that and ride providing a little more input and use more hand. Seriously. I can’t win! We also introduced more circles, riding a large circle into a small 10m circle at the canter which actually worked once I had the right amount of control and use of my outside leg…

Next? The most god awful exercise ever. Well, almost ever.

Basically it was 3 bounces. Flowers (2 ft skinny flower box) — large crossrail — flowers (again 2 ft skinny flower box) on a diagonal. HARDEST. MOST IMPOSSIBLE. EXERCISE. EVER.

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These boys like to go inside the second the weather is less than ideal.

We struggle with this evil thing forever as I fought to use enough right leg and both hands to keep Ranger straight. It took us about 10 attempts before we made it through the first 2 parts (we did manage to walk over the first 2 parts a couple of times too) but then still failed the out another million and a half times and Ranger was PISSED. I could tell you the point of all of this but I had such an ANGRY HORSE who I managed to try and keep from bolting and dragging, but… after we got a guide pole next to the out, we did get over it, but… he was ANGRY. And we almost bolted a few times…

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Acting innocent… And begging for peppermints.

From here we ended with a figure 8 over an inside single around to an our inside broken line (we went around about 5 times). The first time, my canter was too slow and while the distance was nice to jump 1, everything fell apart to the line and we got slower and uglier and angrier. I tried to get more pace to the first fence and I did, but the distance wasn’t quite as nice and I still screwed up the in of the line and the rest of it wasn’t much better. Continuing around, the single got better and I stopped thinking about the last exercise, but we took a flyer to the in before surviving the out… Finally we put it together for the last 2 times through and had the pace, which allowed me to focus on the turns which allowed the distances to be there.

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Ranger says, “see ya!” and Coco stays to see if I have more treats…

The humidity was awful and we ended at that point. It probably took about 4 repetitions before Ranger let his anger over the previous exercise go and actually started listening… If it hadn’t been so hot, I’d had cantered him around a few times just to get his focus back on me, but… Oh well.

It was just one of those days. Angry Horse days.

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Photo wall at work

 

Ranger Recap: Through the storm

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

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

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So exhausted (pre-lesson), lol

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

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

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

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

So funny.

We made it into the indoor just in time.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Now if we could always ride like that…