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).

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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: Wait, this isn’t Ranger…

Thanks everyone for your comments, sympathy, and feedback on Subi. I really appreciate every comment and suggestion!

Another Thursday, another week my trainer is away…

I headed out to ride and found Ranger in his stall from and earlier lesson so I tacked up and headed out to ride. Of course, there were ponies in the ring so after trying to ride and it not working, I just ended up standing around and talking with another rider on Ranger’s BFF Mikey. Then suddenly, after a while, the person teaching realized she had a lesson with Ranger. Turns out she rescheduled Wednesday lessons and forgot that I rode on Thursday… So I hopped off and completely wasted my evening (I hopped off without complaint).

Realizing that it wasn’t entirely fair (I wasn’t about to offer my saddle or girth), she suggested I hop on Forrest instead and offered to grab him from the MUDDY field for me if I did a saddle swap. So, I did that while she grabbed Forrest.

So, that was how I ended up on the big chestnut vs Ranger.

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Um, you’re not Ranger…

I didn’t exactly do much. After all, I didn’t feel like I should jump him for the first time outside of a lesson when I wasn’t exactly given permission to ride him by my trainer (not that I really jump much outside of lessons, I just usually practice a couple of fences). But, he was fun. Took a crazy amount of leg and was much closer to a Subi kind of ride than Ranger. Big trot (but not bouncy like Subi), nice canter, and long neck. Lot of leg required. And schooled up the wazoo.

Thank you Forrest for being a good boy.

When turning the boys out (Forrest and Ranger), Ranger saw me, and stopped dead. He KNEW I had the treats. I’m glad he still knows I AM THE TREAT LADY. We did share with Forrest though. Lol.

In Subi news, he was very good last night. We continued our back and halts to the barn but made sure Batt stayed in front. Then did some trotting in hand on the driveway. No clue why some days he’s better than others??? Then this morning, good again (less surprising), but then started to spook at the gate when Batt when to roll behind him (our other issue, Batty thinks rolling while heading out is acceptable). But, once he realized it was Batt, stopped mid spook once he realized it was Batt. It was almost as if he realized it wasn’t worth the energy to spook at his idiot brother.

Update and help the cats please

Before I update, just wanted to put this out there. If you have a few dollars to spare, or can send a few supplies, please consider helping out. Some people I know through people I know, are working to help a cat hording situation in AZ. What was initially thought to be about 20 cats indoors and out, has turned out to be 30+ with exact numbers probably well above that. Every time they show up, more cats are there. The situation is taking significantly longer to handle too because the cats are requiring medical attention and surgery beyond just the spay/neuter. Many of the females are pregnant and have had litters. Most have giardia, many have URIs. Indoor cats have ear mites. It’s a horrific situation. Anyway, anything you can do, please do. I don’t share stuff like this often, but I am today. If all you can do is share the campaign, I’d appreciate it. If you can send a case of food, that would be wonderful! If you can donate money, they’d love that as well. If you are in Peoria AZ and can foster, please reach out.

GoFundMe the Monterosa Cat Project ($5 helps!)

Amazon Wish List for the Monterosa Cat Project (List is low now, but I’m assuming they may need more supplies)

Social Media 

img_9569In other news, I FINALLY have had a chance to hang out out with Ranger! I had a short lessons last week (I wasn’t able to do much thanks to my inability to breathe post pneumonia) and now my trainer is away for 3+ weeks at a horse show. But, I can ride during my lesson time while she’s away and thankfully I can breathe again! Nothing worth reporting on, but it was nice to ride again and work on regaining endurance. Nothing fancy, just some flat work and single, low fences. We were both exhausted after that. Lol. Ranger is a bit out of shape too…

Missed this guy so much!

Subi has sort of fallen off the wagon too. I’m not entirely sure what is going on with him. He started to adjust to coming in at night and then suddenly started tensing up, getting spooking, rearing all the time (almost on top of me one morning) and it all culminated 3 nights ago when I could not catch him for the first time in…13 years. This horse has issues, but catching isn’t one of him. And, for all his issues, he’s not spooky. Reactive? Yes, spooky no. The constant tension, stress in his eyes, and a few other things have me fearing ulcers. So, I’m trying a few things and I’ll see if we have any improvement. He’s been eating OK (well, not his hay), but at the same time… I’m trying to trust my gut. I will say I’m not scoping, even though many will say I should. He was scoped 4 years ago and I’m just not putting him through that stress again.

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Someone at work filled the candy jar with peppermints. I may have been taking handfuls for the kids… 

In addition, I’m doing some behavior modification. Teresa from Journey with a Dancing Horse recommended a leading technique that I started introducing last night. Basically, you have the horse follow and maintain the same distance. This video explains it. Probably not the best way to introduce it, but I introduced it last night, in the dark, on the driveway. We’ve been doing work on the driveway at night before heading into his stall. I think he started to get the idea. Then we followed up this morning in the round pen and led to the field that way. He seemed more relaxed (though he is better in the daylight). We did have a spook, but this one was legitimate as my dog came flying around the corner like a bat out of hell. He stayed out of my space and calmed down immediately once he realized it way Hermione so I’ll take that one as a win. Normally we have an incident and we carry tension the rest of the walk to the field. Not today.

That’s about it. Batty’s heaves are acting up, so I’m thinking I’m going to have to go the steamer route soon. I’m broke so I’ll be building one, but I was hoping to avoid it. He’s better with hay outside (despite the round bale form — my round bale guy has really good hay), it’s just the stall seems to exacerbate his issues. Oh well.

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.

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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.

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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.

Ranger Recap: better late than never?

Considering I’m scheduled to ride tonight, I might as well get around to recapping last week’s lesson… A week later, I’m going to simply try and highlight the basics. I was trying to follow the philosophy of jump the first thing I see. It seems to work for me and my eye…

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Riding with leg AND hand: We started off with a skinny (wth is with all of these skinny fences lately?) in the center of the ring) parallel to the long sides of the arena. So, first a longer approach from the left lead (it was closer to one wall of the indoor than the other) than from the right lead. On the left lead it was easy as I’m just more comfortable on the left lead some days. To the right, steering to the base wasn’t the issue, but it took several attempts before I was able to canter out with the same canter as I approached with. Partially, I was terrified that we’d duck out, but mostly I was lazy in my approach and didn’t actually ride to the base and OVER the fence. Once I added leg and rode, it was fine. But, for some reason, I just faced a bit of insecurity and was riding with more hand than leg. Skinnies do that. But, I had Ranger off his front end so I really just needed leg… I eventually learned.

Do things right the first time/I love winter Ranger: Winter Ranger is in front of my leg and I LOVE IT! He’s forward and responsive. We started the next exercise which was the Swedish oxer (next to our skinny) on the right lead and then were to do the inside line in a 7. Oxer was fine, the inside line we did in a VERY long 6. I mostly just landed from the in and let him go. It was fine, but I probably could have helped for a nice 6. We redid that and the 6 was lovely. No point on collecting for a pony 7.

Plan ahead: Next we did this 3 jump course/bending line. Basically, outside single followed by the inside single boxes bending line to the double Xs. It’s hard to explain without media, but there was a small window to turn before you’d miss your chance to get to the jump. When you jumped the single, you’re pretty much facing the outside rail of the ring so you need to plan to turn in the space between the outside single and the Swedish oxer/skinny jump… But, for whatever reason, I could steer and Ranger jumped the snot out of all 3 fences.

Listen and STEER CORRECTLY: We finished up, or tried to, but doing the same 3 fences in the opposite direction. So, outside single heading away from the in gate, double Xs bending to the boxes. I jumped the single perfectly 3 times, but kept screwing up my approach to the double Xs. The first time Ranger noped out when I cut the corner. Then, misunderstanding what my trainer was telling me (turned too soon–>I interpreted as turn sooner), I made worse, and then even worse, until she changed her wording to stay out longer… By the 4 attempt, we stopped doing the outside single because trainer decided I didn’t need to keep jumping that one and couldn’t do it better (seriously). Once I stayed out, I actually saw the straight line (::head –>desk::) and the jump was easy and then Ranger overachieved, REALLY jumping the snot out of the last fence. I swear it took days for my back to feel normal.

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Regardless, Ranger is a saint. And, winter Ranger is SO MUCH FUN (yay for being in front of my leg!!!). Even if he hates to bend. But, I didn’t feel like focusing on out bending issues this post.