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: 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.

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: 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…

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: no rest for the weary.

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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…

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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

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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.

 

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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.

Ranger Recap: SO MUCH ENERGY

So I never recapped last week’s lesson and I’ll be honest, I can’t remember a lot… Oops. I meant to? And then life got in the way. If this BARN thing ever happens, I will write a series of blog post detailing EVERY. SINGLE. CRAZY. ISSUE. THAT. POSSIBLE. COULD. HAPPEN. DURING. THE. PROCESS. But, I’m not doing that until stuff happens because the last thing I need is more of a jinx. AHHH! (thank you michele for talking me off a ledge on a daily basis since thanksgiving)

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More muffins!

So Ranger was once again WINTER Ranger though it was comparatively warm. I learned last week that he’s not getting ridden much. I’m not sure WHAT that means. I know I’m riding him and I know his favorite little 8 year old kid is riding him. I don’t know who else. But, I’m wondering if I’ll get to pick up some extra rides throughout the winter? You never know…

Anyway, he’s regularly lazy and pokey and SO HARD TO BEND while flatting at the trot. We’ve been integrating a little more changes of direction into our warm up routine which does help, plus I’m getting a bit more aggressive–if I’m digging my heel into his stomach and he’s still not moving off my inside leg, he does get a small kick. Usually that helps. Oh Ranger. Things would be easier if you would listen… Thankfully we do bend better at the canter and fight less (with or without warm up).

We’ve been testing my lungs lately (not great for my asthma, but good for my endurance?) and right out of our canter, started over fences, integrating our outside single off the right lead a couple times. Then, changing directions, we hit that the other direction continuing around to the outside line, attempting (and failing) to do the line in a 7 (we were a little pokey and did an 8). On re-approach, I actually added leg coming in and the 7 was there. For some reason, inside I have a harder time judging speed and stride length. I can find my distances, that’s not the issue, but I can’t judge the length of stride?

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I’ll do anything for this face!

After finally allowing me to catch my breath, we started around over the inside single/Swedish oxer to inside line (going 6 which turned out to be a HOLDING 6)… So we started out with ducking to the right of the single where Ranger laughed at me but on redirect I somehow remembered how to ride (I might have been taking it too wide?) and then screwed up the next line. See, I landed in too quiet of a canter and was told I would never make the 6 with my canter. So I added leg. And then I turned (I think too early because I had to make the same mistake as last week…) and Ranger decided to grab the bit and try and bolt. So, once we were actually heading over the our jumps, I was basically doing everything in my power to add for the 6 while Ranger was trying to convince me to let him take a flyer and do a 5.  We added back in the outside line in the 7 and continued back to the inside line a few times. Then after the inside line which was never lovely, but successful-ish? we landed from our semi-6 and continued to the outside single (away from the in gate (so, slower) and then around to the inside single/Swedish oxer (other direction – sort of towards the in gate) trying not to let Ranger take off… We finished attempting to pretty up the last 2 fences and did so as well as possible (our last swedish oxer was actually nice).

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Cat wars continue at my house. Biscuit kicked off out the top shelf and downgraded by Lasagna to “steerage” 

It was a different lesson. It was probably the first time in a long time that I did all my over fences work in a concentrated time. Usually its a few fences and then break. This time it was just keep jumping. OMG. I felt OK, but my lungs did start arguing a bit, but nothing like a few weeks ago. My endurance is definitely getting better. But, I can tell Ranger is not working that much as he’s certainly opinionated. Lol. It’s fun though! Much better than summer Ranger where I can get a little too passive. I like having to be on my toes.

Ranger enjoyed Subi’s pumpkin molasses muffins in celebration/payment of hard work.