First lesson in 5 weeks!

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Taking a vacation and making faces because Subi’s back smells like gold bond power

I’m going to split my blog into a couple of posts this week and start by focusing on the happy before I get into Nay Nay’s ulcer induced vacation. It probably comes at a good time with Corona-geddon, but still, no one likes to see their horses miserable. Hopefully, he’ll be feeling better in a couple of weeks and we’ll be back in light work. But, it the meantime, I’m going to take advantage of social distancing and self-quarantine recommendations and just stay home and pump omeprazole and alfalfa into his system. More to come…

But, before Nay Nay took a turn for the worst and scared me half to death by not eating either meal, we finally got in a lesson AFTER 5 WEEKS SOLO! This was our chance to see if all our hard work was noticeable or if I really screwed him up in that time… LOL

I got to the barn and it was pretty busy for midday on a weekday. Turns out all the college kids suddenly had time on their hands with our university closed to students (not staff… I was just off for the day) and decided to ride. Nay tried to take it all in stride in the outdoor, but as we walked around in hand, it was a little too much. So, we moved to the indoor for our actual lesson. **He did nothing wrong, but the goal was to not stress him out** Inside, instead of 3-4 horses canter/jumping every which way, we joined the resident western pleasure trainer (yes, I’m at a hunter barn that has a western pleasure trainer renting out stalls) walking around on one horse while his student jogged on another. Much more Nay’s speed.

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Nay Nay earthquake has arrived, taking down plants and everything else in his way

Very quickly? All was right in Nay’s world. We need to work on the outdoor and we need to work on crowds, but that day wasn’t the day. 2 quiet horses in the ring? Happy camper.

As we were walking, the phone calls started coming in announcing the end of the world (first schools were closing). So I started my own warm up. I mean, it’s not like I haven’t been here for 5 weeks… And show off Nay Nay did. He gave me some of his best trot work ever. All of a sudden I hear, “Who is this horse? He is so even and balanced!” At some point we’re instructed to add in some figure eights, but otherwise, Nay just shows off what a solid citizen he’s become.

Next comes the message about USEF shows. So, follow up calls and text take place regarding that. I understand in a sense, but also, whatever. Short term plans were seeing who wanted to show this weekend who hadn’t originally planned to before no more points. Long term discussions were Devon points. Then, will there be a Devon? Nay Nay and I canter, adding circles and his left lead, which hasn’t been as great, was lovely. Then the right lead was pretty good, SO MUCH BETTER THAN 5 weeks ago, but not as nice as some of the other right lead canters we’ve had because, on a circle, I leaned it, and then we lost it… But, user error. Still, trainer couldn’t get over”his balance, consistency, and pace!”

Then it was time to really focus on me and we were asked about our over fences work. I explained that I really went back to the basics and stuck with tiny jumps and worked on asking at the base every time. Basically, micromanaging because he’s not consistent enough to get away without the micromanagement. And, he sometimes makes poor decisions on his own. [Leave me alone for too long and I get way too analytical!] I also mentioned that he loves the freaking straw bales of all things which is insane. “Have you cantered anything yet?” Gulp, no.

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It’s hard work being Nay Nay. You get hot and sweaty having to work really hard. It’s exhausting! Plus water sucks. Except when it’s mixed with dirt. Then it’s the best thing EVER!

So, the plan was to work on a figure eight. Trot down over the little plank jump (it was like 18″ around the corner and up over the pole. Next time, when I got back to the rail, ask for the canter and canter both a few times. And… we did.

Trotting wasn’t an issue at all. Cantering? Nay got pretty damn excited and launched himself over the plank because he’s awesome. LOL and then I had to work to keep leg on him while he tried to toss his head in celebration. It was cute. It took us a few times to keep the canter and canter the pole vs trot step/canter the pole but we got there. I did eventually have to hold a touch for the plank so that someone didn’t gallop, but he was very, very excited and happy. It was adorable.

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Fell better buddy!

Next, we were going to canter the straw bales. Right lead. I did interject and ask to trot first and approach from the LEFT LEAD and that was fine. See, I have to work too hard to keep him from drifting to the right and I just didn’t want to. So, we trotted it once, circled, and cantered up and over like he’s been doing it every day, cantered down over the plank, and then cantered up over his pole. And with that, Nay Nay cantered his first baby course.

You guys, the jumps were small, but he was awesome! He was so proud of himself! I can’t wait to ride again, whenever it is.

 

Weekend update, part 2

Following Saturday’s productive ride, I was all set for my Sunday lesson which would be my last lesson for 3+ weeks as my trainer is heading down to Gulfport with a bunch of clients for the rest of the month. So, I’m on my own until they all return. 

**all videos are from Saturday**

After such a QUIET and relaxing ride on Saturday, I arrived at the barn to… chaos. I barely found a place to park my trailer (along the driveway by the field behind another trailer) and brought Nay Nay into the packed barn. Who were all these people? Answer? Pretty much everyone trying to get ready for Gulfport OR doing what I was doing–getting in a lesson prior to Gulfport. LOL. Thankfully I found a spot at my favorite crossties (there was tack there, but the rider planning to use them was actually lessoning AFTER me so I was good to go). Nay was a little less gross than Saturday and despite a zillion people in the barn, he settled pretty quickly. He LIKES people/horses/activity in the barn, just not in the ring. I also had the chance to catch up with some of my favorite barn people I haven’t seen in forever which was nice too!

Thankfully, once we headed in to ride? The ring was empty.  We were joined by the next lesson but we each did our own thing. I know I need to work on riding with others, but today I wanted my lesson to be on other stuff and that it was. Plus, I needed homework. And homework I got! My trainer and I also had a chat about my opinion of my ride last week and I was reminded that it’s 2 steps forward, 1 step back and that I am constantly having good rides and I need to expect to have a few “bad” ones here and there. Manage expectations. Also a month ago I’d have considered that ride a good one. So yeah.

After Nay Nay investigated my trainer’s coat thoroughly (he gave it the sniff test because he’s a goof), we started off showing off how far he’s come with his spur training and OMG did he impress. He IMMEDIATELY responded to the right spur with NO STEPS FORWARD OR BACKWARDS and also moved over from the left spur immediately though took a step back at the same time (which was actually the worst he’s been for the left spur). Anyway, my trainer was impressed. From here we walked and applied spur to move over, check! And then applied the same lesson to the trot. SUCH A GOOD BOY! A few times he tried to move forward into the canter because he wasn’t sure and wanted to give the right answer, but if I asked again, made sure he had the space to shift over, he did just that. To the right, I was able to get the same response just by using my calf vs my spur. This horse wants so badly to give the right answer and retains everything. He lives for good boys and pats!

After a short amount of trotting, we quickly progressed to the canter and changed things up. We’ve been asking for the left lead canter in the same spot every time, but his left lead has gotten so reliable so this time around, the goal was to ask Nay Nay to canter near the in gate. This posed no issue and the left lead was pretty nice. He was forward, but not fast at all. I do need to work on not pulling out with my outside hand…

We also added in a nice large (1/2 the ring) circle at the canter. Unlike the last time we tried this, this time it wasn’t an issue at all and Nay Nay held the canter without an issue.

Before we cantered the right, Nay “spooked” at a pony butt standing outside the indoor. Pony was brought so he could see the mysterious butt but he wanted to stare (out spook was…staring). So, when we picked up the canter, we struggle a bit. When we passed the in gate, I was taken aback when he craned his head outside the circle to try and get a look at the pony butt again. This led to us losing the canter and then picking back up the wrong lead. We were instructed to KEEP GOING which we did and managed to hold the wrong lead all the way around. When we approached the in gate side, my trainer had me cut the turn a bit and shake my reins at him which actually allowed me to hold the canter. Then when we got to the far side, I finally was allowed to trot to change the lead and then did the same corner cut and rein shake before attempting a large circle at the canter. Interestingly enough, the rein shake really, really helped and the circle was great! We walked before we got back the corner and Nay Nay got lots of praise. He lives for this!

With this part of our ride over, we started with some jumping. Basically, we started by trotting back and forth over the dismantled jump location where we struggled a few weeks ago. Today it was just a few poles and some flowers, but trainer wanted to make sure there was no PTSD related to that location in the ring. Spoiler: no issues.

That said, that was the first jump in a line and heading away from the in gate, we trotted past a vertical with brown boxes a few times. As a result, once we were told to jump that jump? Nay Nay was a touch confused. First time he stopped having no idea where we were going. Second time he stopped because I didn’t really give him direction and say, yes, you need to jump this. The next couple of times we got over because I dug me leg/spur into him and said forward.

Lesson learned? I only get one first jump and I need to be definitive. We’ve done a really, really good job of training Nay Nay to the spurs right now so use them to say FORWARD. Right now he’s testing what he has to do and if I’m hesitant, he’s hesitant.

My homework for the next 3 weeks is to set up as many jumps the size of what we did and just practice moving forward over them. I need to make them small for me so that we can walk over them the first time if necessary. Now, as my trainer reminded me, technically he could have walked over everything the way they were set up on Sunday, but if I don’t believe it, he won’t. So, I’ll set them up small so I believe that we can and we’ll get over first jump-itis. Because when I’m confident, Nay Nay is confident.

Confident but bored ^^^

So much homework, but it should be fun!

Yay or Nay: Learning moments

I’m sitting at work on a Sunday night falling asleep–what better time to write a blog post? At least if I can manage without falling asleep. I’ve been here for 7 hours and it’s getting slower by the hour… 1 more hour to go. #librarianproblem #wintersession

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I think I just watched the radar on and off for hours overnight/early morning… 

I’m going to start by saying I almost cancelled my lesson on Saturday. The weather SUCKED. Nay Nay was a mess in the morning–stressed and anxious and highly impacted by weather changes because he’s a delicate little flower of a thoroughbred. Overnight and into the morning, we had… 2 inches of rain. So, I pretty much tried to hold off turning out the horses because it was so awful. To top it off, Nay has been pretty terrible about hay consumption lately. He’s been picking at it, but not eating enough for my comfort.

So, by the time I finally turned out, the horses had been in for about 16 hours and it was still pouring. Subi was… FINE. In fact, he didn’t want to go out. Nay was high as a kite and ready to explode (and hadn’t eaten much hay). I turned out were he proceeded to pace and paw for an hour. [I think he’s a little ulcery and will treat accordingly]

When my trainer messaged me to see if I could come earlier for my lesson, I basically said I think I’m cancelling. To that? She told me I could always ride Bob [I should blog about my last awesome lesson on him, but I sort of forgot to…] I ended up agreeing to an earlier lesson and I’d show up with a horse.

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He might be eating my elbow… who knows.

A couple of hours later, Nay seemed more like himself so I took him over and… he was pretty darn fabulous.

We walked, trotted, and then I found out that JIMINY has been escaping and my neighbor has been collecting him… (I knew he’d gotten out but he’d been in my front yard… NOT down at my neighbor’s across the creek — neighbor rents part of my trainer’s barn). Following this aside, we cantered. 2 times around left lead and despite losing the canter early on, we managed to keep the canter 1x around for the right lead with some strategic kicking. Seriously some improved cantering.

From here, the wheels came off a bit as we over faced Nay a bit for the first time. We started over a cross rail which we did a few times with no issue and then added in the inside line. This is where problems came. Not, “I’m being bad” but “I don’t understand” and “I don’t think I can” and “Do I have to?” So the vertical with flowers he did, slowly (my fault), but he did, but the next fence was larger and he was convince he couldn’t. We struggled. We crashed it a few times while we tried to get him to walk over it (technically it was big, but he COULD walk it). We added a crop. My neighbor came it and served as a side block for me and my trainer was my lead. It took a while (it really wasn’t but for me in the moment it felt that way, LOL) but with a lead, we got over and once he decided, he launched himself over it (and I almost fell off…) and got the biggest celebration ever after.

Since he got over, they dismantled it and made it small — basically just the little flower boxes and we jumped that 3-4 times. He did that with no issues, trotting in, cantering out and enthusiastically JUMPING the snot out of the flowers (the last time he was less enthusiastic, but we still cantered away), celebratory pats after each. We finished by connecting all three fences, trotting in, cantering out of each.

img_2470So, while I wasn’t sure where that screwy fences would lead us, Nay learned that when asked, we do stuff (even if I’m not so sure… LOL). He also figured out the whole jumping thing and pushing UP and OVER and AWAY from the fence as every fences since has been a true push over and away.

I rode again today. On the flat Saturday I was told to add/introduce spurs because I’ve been squeezing REALLY REALLY hard. Good news? He doesn’t care. Surprised. Lol. But, it’s nice to be able to start pushing him out with my leg a bit and actually get a response. I can feel the wheels turning and he’s SO HAPPY when he knows he gives the right answers (he loves praise).

His canter today was lovely. I lost the left lead the first time around, but then kept it a full 2x around so we’re making progress. And the right lead is getting stronger as well. I just need to focus on the point where I add leg approaching the corner vs in the corner (too late). We’re finally OK at the far turn, it’s just the turn by the in gate, but we’ll get there.

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Nay can be VERY cute… Jiminy is a brat. Subi is just perfect.

Since we weren’t alone today, we worked on a cross rail with flowers. It was a bit wider than I thought, but small in height. To the left? No issues other than staying straight. Nay gained confidence each approach and by our last attempt (#4) was locked on that jump and cantering away like a star. To the right? First time I failed to keep him straight and we wiggled right to a stop while he looked everywhere but the jump. BUT once he knew where we were going? He carried himself to that jump and jumped the snot out of it first time. He didn’t drag me or pull, just carried himself and pushed off and over like a star. My job was just to keep him straight (SO MUCH HARDER to the right). But, the change in his understanding of jumping from yesterday to today? Amazing.

I need to get new video soon of him actually trotting, cantering, and a real “jump.” I was in a rush so I didn’t ask the person in the ring with me to video, but she had nothing but compliments about what a nice mover he’s turning out to be. And is stunned at the progress he’s made in the last month and a half. She was there for his first lesson when everyone thought I was a crazy person with this anxious little OTTB…

So. There you go. I’m in love.

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.