Ranger Recap: Angry horse and Brain=FRIED

3 posts in one week? WHAT?

img_0994

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

img_1001

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.

img_0998

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…

img_1010

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.

img_1015

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.

img_1017-1

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…

img_0932

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.

img_0934

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…

Ranger Recap: I rode a horse again!

img_0819

Not Ranger but these 2 fools are worthy of photos too.

After almost a month off from riding, I finally rode again!

Between my conference, 1 short, wonderful lesson (that I may or may not have recapped), getting seriously sick, and then Devon, I basically did NOT ride at all in May.

But, it’s June now and I finally got to ride again. And, I remembered how to tack up! I’d say I remembered what I horse looks like, but I sort of deal with those daily. But tack? Yes, I remembered how to do that!

Ranger. I love that horse.

img_0863

No photos just food.

Anyway, I was running a touch late and got to the barn to see a whole bunch of trailers… It was strange as Thursdays are usually dead. Anyway, I tacked up, rushed out to the outdoor to see all these people I didn’t know. Seriously. No one. Well, Forrest was in the ring, but other than him? I knew not one horse, pony, or rider. So, I got on, said hi to my trainer, and realized right away that things were running behind. Lol. Anyway, instead of warming up, I walked over to the rail and chatted with my trainer’s sister instead for about 10-15 minutes (because even though I was late, I still made it into the ring with 10 minutes to spare before my lesson started…)

img_0865

This duo… no words. 

Finally, I had brief trot warm up before another long walk break… Then to canter? I basically was used to teach a rider in the previous direction her leads. So, I’d canter some, she’d tell me if I were right or wrong (FYI, I always picked up my correct lead), then I’d walk or halt, and try again. It was… an interesting exercise for her and annoying for me and Ranger.

Eventually they all finished up and left the ring and norm restored.

We warmed up over our outside line (far side next to the pasture), working on riding Ranger’s back legs in a bouncy collected canter in an adding 7. No issue at all. Next, same line in a more forward 6 but still riding the back legs without adding speed. Fail. I got the 6, but rode his front end not the back end. So, we went back to the 7 to get the feel of the bouncy short stride coming from behind, no issue before maintaining that and just letting go and adding leg. Got it. And the 6 was right there.

img_0664

ring from my last lesson but I’m pretty sure most of it hasn’t changed

From here, we moved on to our next course: inside single (stone pillar standards) towards the barn/in gate, inside broken line (straw bales to straw bales — white standards by both mounting blocks to the white wing standards) in a 7 around to the outside line in a 6.

img_0848

Barn kittens in a stall… 

The first time we were heading directly to the single with a perfect canter to a perfect distance and suddenly chipped. A certain idiot (you choice who is at fault) decided that it was A-OK to drop and drag at the last second so chip we did… a quick halt and back and we started over again. Take two included a tug up and no drop and drag and a lovely forward distance. The broken line was nice (I’m getting so much better now at riding the bouncy canter and his hind end) the outside line was good as well. I would have even been happy to end there.

But, we don’t do things just once. After all, since I haven’t ridden in a month, why end on doing some well once? So we did it again. And you know what? It was even better. Ranger was bolder on both lines so I didn’t need to add as much leg while also focusing on keeping everything rocking back. He was just there. I’d say eventually he’ll get there naturally, but… I’m the only one asking so probably not. Still, he fights me less and less each time so, yay?

img_0843

Ranger says later!

In turnout news, it appears Ranger has divorced (been divorced from) his BFFs Mikey and Forrest and now has a new BFF Coco. He’s less than enamored with Coco but give him time?

img_0840

Ranger’s new turnout buddy, Coco

Ranger Recap: flat work.

My lesson this past week moved to Sunday and unintentionally turned into a flat work lesson. This isn’t actually a bad thing, but I convinced my husband to come, watch, and video over fences and we don’t jump. Of course. Seriously? Lol.

We also ended up inside due to an unexpected rain storm…

The extra flat work came about because Ranger was completely ignoring my inside (left) leg. Part of the issue is he’s ridden by mostly kids who he packs around and gets no instruction from. As a result, he doesn’t have to do anything. So, if he isn’t straight? Who cares. If his nose is turned out to the outside of the ring? It’s fine because he’s not really running off with the beginners. And, riding in the evenings, I’m also getting my trainer at the end of the day and we’re not working as hard on the technical “stuff” either.

So, yesterday morning when he was completely blowing off my leg? We got down to business. Part of this is partly unfair when he’s never asked to do this stuff, but he’s also not being asked by anyone else anything else that he’s ignoring so… He also has training in this so he does KNOW how to properly carry himself, but won’t do it if he’s not made to.

We basically spent 20 minutes trotting around working on a slow trot adding inside leg and informing Ranger that when I add ONE leg, the correct response is to move over NOT to speed up. It took a LONG time (hence 20 minutes of circles and bending) but we got there. It took actual kicks but eventually we got there.

Then we did the same thing at the canter, working at an upright canter, coming from his hind end vs long and low from his front end. Some point my husband must have realized this “boring” lesson (I was enjoying myself) should be recorded so he started videoing the canter stuff. I struggled some here but we got it at parts. I was struggling with the shortness of the reins and holding him up to get him on his hind end.

Also struggled with body position and tilting forward…

Adding in a pole and struggling with new way of riding…

Finally we added in a single fence, jumping it both ways (my husband however failed to record 3 of the 4 attempts… why, I don’t know… I can’t take him anywhere!). Coming up it, the first time, around the corner at the far end of the ring, Ranger wanted to duck, run, and get heavy. While I was able to get him back into a nicer canter, I lost all steering coming up the short turn to our fence and it just wasn’t the prettiest (I kind of failed to collect him (the point of the exercise) or look at the jump. At least we made it over. Second attempt was good though the duck, drop, and run at the beginning still existed.

For the long ride, first fence was nice in terms of the jump except I failed to actually do the exercise and shorten his stride and get him on his hind end… Oops. Next attempt? See video for disaster?

The problem was, I added hand, there was NOTHING there. Nothing was coming from his hind end at all. I added leg, and the only power I could get was up front. We called it a day as he was pretty much just spent at that point and had nothing left. The rain stopped and he and I went on a short walk before my husband fed him all the cookies.

I’m off to conferences starting tomorrow so we’ll see if I get any updates for the next week or so…

Ranger Recap: Turning in the air

This week’s Ranger Recap focused on turns.

Rather than our normal hunter courses and occasional roll backs, this week was completely focused on deliberate turns in the air.

We started off with the outside single (away from the road) around to the skinny (turning before the mess of other jumps) to the in of the outside line backwards (3 strides).

course001

The trick with this was to ensure that I kept Ranger’s stride short enough to make the turn (heading towards the barn, he likes to lengthen) and to keep him off of his front end so I could turn him. That said, this exercise went surprisingly well despite not having that much time to turn…

Next we did the exercise in reverse, sort of. So, we came up the outside single away from the road to the skinny towards the barn to the out of the outside line (see handy image…lol)

course002This went…less well than the other direction. We struggled (it didn’t help that I sort of injured my hip and had no right leg the entire night) and basically rode without any inside leg and we missed the skinny the first time… On repeat I forced myself to use my leg that was super weak and got through the exercise but it was…not the prettiest.

Finally, we added a whole bunch to the first exercise. So, outside single away from road, immediate turn to skinny 3 strides to in of outside line backwards to end jump turn out of inside line backwards 4 strides to inside single to 2 strides to green jump. Confusing? Hell yes. I had the other rider go first because I was so lost.

course003 The first time through I made it though jump 6 before I looked at the ground and ducked around it… Not exactly a success… Lol. We repeated jump 4-7 where Ranger decided to try and BOLT approaching jump 5 but thankfully we survived. On re-approach, I was able to collect his stride and successfully accomplish the course at hand.

Take aways? It is REALLY hard to ride when you have 1 good leg. Wednesday night my hip was hurting so much I could barely walk. Yesterday is was much better, but I just felt weak. That weakness just made everything harder. It was fine, just harder. Overall, not the easiest day to do these exercises. Still, definitely a welcome change from the normal hunter courses.

img_0453

Ranger Recap: Look anywhere BUT the fence

I have had some really decent lessons lately and yet, I haven’t felt like writing about them. But maybe I’ll touch on a few exercises?

We warmed up alternating between small and large canter circles. The size wasn’t exactly important so can’t necessarily say it was a perfect 10 meter circle (aim small was the goal). But think small balanced circle. The focus was adjusting stride length, getting Ranger off his inside shoulder and shifting his balance. Overall, he was very much listening to my aids and I began to fear something was wrong. Lol. Usually we struggle with the tiny circles but the seemed to work. The “larger” 20ish meter circles we a little uglier.

We continued this to a some larger circles over a pole which was fine one direction and challenging the other. After all the small circles, I struggled to make wider, more sweeping turns. But I got there in the end.

This should give you an idea of jump placement…

Next, the circle pattern continued to basically include the inside single. So, we were cantering a roll back to the oxer. Here is where I started struggling. Not with the fence. The fence was fine, but with the rhythm and the canter. First I was too fast for the exercise. Then my stride felt too choppy. The jump itself, fine. But the canter? It never felt right until the last jump. Finally, we had a discussion.

When do I start looking AT the jump?

The last few weeks, I’ve been told I’m looking too far ahead. Mostly on the flat, but I know that it’s impacting fences too.

See, I turn a corner and I see my distance (or where I should be leaving). It doesn’t matter if I’m 3 strides, 4 strides, or 7 strides. The problem is, I shouldn’t be looking for my distance at that point (unless I’m 3 or 4 strides away). I should just be focused on rhythm. I’m not a pro. And most pros aren’t focused on distances at that point…

So, next lesson. STOP LOOKING AT THE JUMP UNTIL YOU’RE 3 STRIDES AWAY. 

FYI, hardest thing EVERY.

img_0306

But cutest pony ever

We changed direction and the roll back the other way to the second jump in the inside line. When I turned, I was about 3-4 strides so I was able to look pretty much right away so it was fine. Rhythm felt better this way and all was good.

We ended up with the following course:

Outside single towards the road, inside single, inside line, outside line.

The plan was to not look ahead (haha). Basically, approaching the first single, I didn’t actually pay attention to that plan because, well, I didn’t have THAT long of a ride to it, but coming to the inside single, I did look the first time, and then immediately stared at the ground until my trainer told me I could look and then continued to see the same distance as I saw 7 or 8 strides before when I had initially looked at the fence… The rest of the course was fine.

We re-did this about 4-5 times only having one error (I focused SO MUCH on what my trainer was saying one time that I forgot to steer to the outside line and Ranger noped out of it… 100% on me…). The looking down before fences will stop, but it’s an attempt to retrain my brain not to find distances 8 strides away and instead just focus on my canter. Eventually I will be able to look at the jump, but right now glancing down is the easiest.

Do any of you look for your distances too early? Any tricks to STOP DOING IT?

 

Ranger Recap: getting back into the swing of things

I took the week off of work and a side bonus was I was able to move my evening lesson to Thursday morning. It was a gorgeous day. Sun, light breeze, and relatively warm (well, it would be, it was still in the 40s when I rode). Regardless, it’s SO NICE to ride when you’re not stressing about work!

We warmed up on the flat and my legs were not cooperating. Ranger was sleepy so I was finding other methods to get him going. Like using my shoulders to post. Needless to say, this was NOT successful. Eventually though, I figured out how to ride, but the shoulder thing came back to haunt me here and there.

Over fences, we started on a circle over the jump on the end, working on pace and distance. It is SO NICE to ride when Ranger hasn’t been ridden yet. Typically he just does a beginner lesson, but still. He is SO MUCH more responsive. Anyway, the fences were easy and we hit our spots nicely.

Next, we started over a few mini courses. Basically, down our outside single (away from the road), up the inside line, and down the outside line. The outside to the inside were fine, perfect even. The trick with the inside was to maintain pace as we were passing the gate and the lines were forward moving. The outside line was…less great as I didn’t have a straight line to the in and took a long spot, but the out was nice. On reapproach, the course was good.

We did a few more courses, ended with our outside single towards the road around to the straw bales, the inside line, outside line, and inside plain straw bales.  The first time we did the course it was pretty nice except we didn’t maintain a consistent pace. We got a little quick heading to the first inside single (straw bales) though for the most part it was decent.

Being the idiot that I was, I decided to attempt the course again, and have video proof of my worst course of the day. Ranger was tired. I was tired. And well… We ran into traffic heading to the first jump because the only horse in the ring didn’t realize we were heading towards the fence and then I wasted lots of energy circling. By that point, Ranger was dead and… Yeah. But at least there is media? And pretty boots?

Sorry Ranger…

Ranger Recap: Drowning.

It’s warmed up here in the mid atlantic but the rain is back. We had 2 glorious mostly rain free weeks (so, there was some rain, but mostly dry) weeks. And then yesterday happened. My paddock and yard that had begun to dry so nicely? Yeah no. SO MUCH MUD. I’m drowning. Sinking is probably a better word. It is AWFUL.

So, after being washed away walking from building to building on campus yesterday (stupid college campus with terrible drainage and work schedule that left me with meetings on the other side of campus), I convinced myself that I really DID need to ride. So I ventured out to ride. Last week? We were outside in the outdoor for the first time since last year. Last night? Back inside. Yuck. At times the rain was so loud I couldn’t here instructions. So I made my own… Completely fair, right?

Anyway, it was humid (rain) so Ranger was slow and behind my leg a bit so… fun. Spent time working on that and getting his head up. He just wanted to drop and pull. Not so much in a drop and drag kind of way, but more so in a get heavy and fall on his face? My least favorite Ranger ride, especially when I’m struggling to keep him in front of my leg.

course32119

We started off just working on a large pattern. Down the purple single (towards the in gate) and back around away from the gate to the Swedish oxer (orange jump on ugly diagram). We repeated this 3-4 times until we maintained a forward GOING pace to both jumps. Supposedly in his previous lesson (he did a 1/2 hour with a kid to who kicks and causes Ranger to gallop) he was bolting to the single, but mostly I just had to worry about getting him to carry himself. No drop and drag was happening. Initially despite getting to the fences at nice spots, we lacked…power, but once I found a better canter, everything improved.

Next we reversed the pattern. So up the single away from the in gate (tight turn to the purple single), down down the Swedish oxer towards the in gate and continuing to the outside line (purple on diagram) in the 6. All would have been fine, but I got in my head because I started listening to chatter. Find the straight line. Leg, power, 2 hands. And got in my head. So, Ranger noped out of it when he felt me not ride. We circled, I used my inside leg this time and all was good. We continued around, did the whole pattern, and everything was good.

We did another course or 2 and I completely forget what they were… Sorry. I can remember the courses my lesson mate rode? Not helpful…

To end on, purple single away from the in gate, around to the Swedish, outside line again, around to the skinny (green single). I HATE skinnies, but since I actually rode, it was fine. We had done the outside line 3-4 time by this point, but Ranger tried to NOPE out of it and I had to use so much leg/had to keep him on course. He as a little annoyed at me but thankfully all was good. He was SO hoping I wasn’t paying attention by that point (he was tired), but…

Over all, it was a good lesson. But my legs were dead. I paid getting off and manage to pull something in my hip. Then, overnight got a charley horse in my left calf. So I’m a mess today… Need more water and probably less coffee but…

Ranger Recap: Ride Defensively.

The frigid cold finally hit the Mid Atlantic yesterday in the form of crazy wind gusts and plummeting temperatures (gusts were up to 50mph during the day). Nonetheless, after cancelling last week due to a migraine, I dragged myself off to the barn to see possibly my almost favorite horse ever.

I was warned that he’d be grumpy, angry, and possibly crazy and that the kids can’t work him through that, but I said I was up for the challenge. Now, Ranger is a draft cross. I’m used to thoroughbreds and warmbloods being up. Ranger being up isn’t like that at all. He doesn’t get up, he gets heavy.

I got on and he tried to convince me he needed a nap. So we worked on trotting with energy and eventually I managed a forward trot knowing that everything could come out over fences. My trainer eventually asked me to through in halts and backs. This is when you could tell he was faking as it took everything I had (and several attempts) before I could halt without Ranger pulling his large head to the ground. Eventually, I was able to keep his head up, but the struggle was real…

After a while, we added in the canter which was surprisingly lovely. However it took a few strides to get my body back were it needed to be (why? no idea but I started the ride a bit forward). After 3 or 4 or 5 times around the ring, we added in the in of the outside line on a circle, in an attempt to tire him out before really starting over fences. We did this 6 times, with the first 3 being nice, then I got passive and Ranger NOPED to the outside. See, I came up to the most PERFECT spot on the most PERFECT stride so I didn’t add extra leg and since we had already jumped it, I didn’t use extra hand (both hands to the inside). Ranger saw the inch I gave and took a mile. I need to be on the ENTIRE ride. Ride defensively. On repeat (x2) no issue.

We switched directions, cantered around 3-4 times,  and did the same thing over the outside single on the other side with no issue.

Feeling “warmed up,” we started down over the inside single heading towards the in gate and then were to come around to the outside line in a holding 7. The inside single is the jump that Ranger loves to OMG LAUNCH over because it’s heading home and GATE. Sure enough, right as we turned, I felt him go for the bit, but I was able to tug his head up early and a couple follow up tugs brought us to a perfect spot. It was really nice and Ranger was slightly pissed that I had his number… We stayed way out but unfortunately, I didn’t keep enough outside leg on him for the line and he noped out of it. That was the last NOPE of the night and sort of woke me up… Circling back WITH outside leg, we got down the line in the 7, continued around, did it in a 7 again, evenly woahing at strides 1-3, continued around and did the line again, this time in a 6. And then we got to walk. Finally.

Next, the word “skinny” came up. Since everyone knows how much I love skinnies…. the plan was to approach the inside single from the opposite direction (away from the in gate) and then stay close to the wall to do this crazy awkward inside line of a skinny to oxer. The issue with the line (in addition to the blasted skinny) is that everyone wants to turn too soon and then the horses assume that they’re jumping the outside single vs the inside line which is not the normal diagonal line but off set so you go all the way around the corner and part way around the side before you turn.

So first time through, we started, and another pony was in hacking so I had a bad corner to my jump because she decided to be in her own world so I circled defensively and Ranger had an “oh shit, she means business” moment when I forced him through a tight turn and made him bend… Ha. Our inside single was perfect and then I forced him to stay OUT and wait for the skinny which in turn made the line an easy 6.

Ultimately, we put in all together. Down the inside single towards the in gate (check). Outside line in the going 6 (check). Awkward skinny inside like (check). Inside single away from in gate (check). Could not have ended with a better course.

The jumps may not have all been picture perfect throughout the lesson, but as my trainer said, it was some of the best riding I’ve ever done. I rode defensively most of the lesson because I needed to. If I gave anything away, Ranger ducked out. I had to ride to the base and over or else we were going around. Lol. When Ranger has energy, THIS is how he shows it. But, it was fun too and great for my confidence. A year ago, I wouldn’t have trusted myself that I was strong enough to ride him through everything. Last night? No issues.

Ranger Recap: no rest for the weary.

img_9072

Yesterday I dragged myself out to the barn for a lesson on Ranger. By dragged, I should probably say, swam. I swam out to the barn for a lesson on Ranger.

Thank you weather gods! I KNEW I was missing something in my life. RAIN! After all, it had been 3 ENTIRE days since our last round of monsoons so we certainly need more monsoons. By the time I made it from my car to the barn, I was wet, my hair was wet, and my saddle was wet. It’s not THAT far of a walk either…

img_9080

Not innocent… Mooching for treats.

We started off with what I thought was going to be a quick and easy warm up. A little bit of trotting, a couple of circles, etc. All WAS going well until I heard the dreaded words, “drop your irons.” OMG. I seriously avoid no stirrups. I do not participate in No Stirrups anything. And, in the 2+ years of riding with my trainer, I don’t think she’s actually asked me to drop my stirrups. Thankfully we started at a sitting trot (which is easier) but then I was to continue around posting. Damn. Of course, then I was told I was trotting too slowly. BUT BUT BUT. See, the slower I trot, the easier it is without stirrups. Counter argument from trainer: the faster you trot, the quicker you can have your stirrups back. In my defense, I kept my argument in my head. I compromised and trotting a tiny bit faster, but I didn’t want to lose my position. Unfortunately, we did the same the opposite direction, minus the sit trot. Evil. Positive? My position is evidently good. [I am NOT sharing that past trainers have told me I have a better position without stirrups…besides, this is no longer the case. I ride Batty without stirrups, but I haven’t been riding him and he’s a couch.]

Next we changed up our canter work a bit. Basically, normal canter around the ring with a large circle thrown in but each direction with ended with a hand gallop up the final long side ending in a half. This was actually A LOT of fun. Ranger was quite easy to get going (and pretty easy to halt), but more than that, the quick gallop really helped us out over fences later.

ring 12-20-18

img_9075

This nose!

We warmed up on a circle over the second jump in our outside line (basically, we were jumping the in of the outside line off the right lead backwards). Our first and third circle were fine but I forgot to ride the second and had a crappy stop, but oh well?

Next we did the outside line in a forward 7. Thanks to the hand gallop, we were successful in one.

After our warm up fences, BFF Mikey left the ring and POWER Ranger (pun maybe intended?) came out to play. We started off with our inside single which we ran out of 2 or 3 times until I finally managed to steer with both hands AND my right leg to and then continued around to the inside line in 6. Whereas last week we had trouble with the in of the line, this week, we did not. I did have to hold a bit for the 6 (it should be a going 6, but honestly, if I added a tiny bit more leg, Ranger would be doing the 5 with the big horses… LOL). We continued back around to repeat the combo twice more before heading from the inside single to the outside single (towards the in gate) around to the outside line in the 7 then BACK to the inside line to the outside single away from in gate (we almost crashed into a dog) so we cantered around and did that again and then again did the weird random jump that’s sort of at the middle top of the ring (light blue in the graphic) around to the inside line ON. LAST. TIME. where we perfected our 6. We ended there.

 

img_9085

Tucked in for the night!

OMG. I’m pretty sure we jumped about 20+ jumps straight. I lost track. But we just got better and better and better. Made a mistake here and there, but we found a rhythm and went with it. Ranger was in front of my leg and forward and adjustable. And best of all? He was having a blast!

I can tell my endurance is getting better, but the best thing about jumping like this? I don’t have TIME to get stuck in my head. It’s too rapid fire. Just wait for next instruction and keep going. So strange, but sort of crazy fun.

And Ranger? He’s the best.