How to ride The Grumpy Chestnut

In all my posts lately about Ranger, I haven’t written a lot about Batty. In fact, after our few disastrous rides, I haven’t really WANTED to ride him. So far this year, we’ve had a grand total of 3 rides.

So, with summer coming up, I had to change that.


Why not pick the hottest day of the year to ride again?


I was going to haul out on Sunday morning, but instead, I decided to sleep in (7:30 just seemed so nice…), and then the idea of hooking up the trailer just seemed like too much work. I was already making excuses. So I decided to ride at home. I decided to try and bring the fun back for both of us and created a little playground in my backyard highlighting what Batts likes (crossrails, hills, and fun) and avoiding what he dislikes (anything that’s not a crossrail, solid jumps, too much work, non fun stuff, collection, etc.). So Batty watched me set up his course/playground with extreme interest and when I finally went to catch him, walked up to me rather than away from me (often I can’t catch him…)–huge change.

We also made 2 other changes. I lunged him lightly at whatever pace he wanted (to the left he chose the trot, to the right he chose a combo of a trot and canter) and I stuck a nose net on him to see if we could do anything to combat the violent head tossing he was doing the last few rides. He didn’t love the nose net but the head tossing did NOT resurface so… ???


Surveying our “playground” — what you can’t see is the steep hill after the extreme right crossrail or that the crossrail right in front of Batts head goes up an nice incline after

After lunging we warmed up with some trot and canter sets up the hill by my driveway before we visited our “playground” in the backyard. It was already freaking hot by this point. The plan WAS to be off by 10 but we didn’t actually get on until 10 so… Oops. Either way, we didn’t do a crazy amount. But, we visited our poles and crossrails and had a look. A certain chestnut eventually got mad a me for making him look and then stopped but then started launching himself over his crossrails and “galloping” up his hills afterwards. He was having fun. At one point I tried to trot my one crossrail to the next one but someone would have nothing to do with it and insisted we canter to it and gallop out and up our hill, but other than that… I’m pretty sure I looked like a little kid on a pony I was laughing so much. I had no control either. If only I could do cross country with crossrails… he’d shine at that… But ONLY that… Crossrail champion of the world.


So sleepy!

So what did this tell me? No idea.


Walking back after a walk through the development to cool down because we do stuff like that because, why not?

But, he wants the fun back in the work and ring work just ain’t fun. Crossrails and hills? That’s fun. Weirdo. Batts is an odd one.


Happy Grumpy Chestnut!

Well, he did take off on my after I untacked him and pooped in my neighbor’s lawn… So he wasn’t 100% well behaved…


Diet? what diet… Oy.

Square Peg, Round Hole

So, I have lots to update on, but instead I’m going to stick with what’s grating on my mind. I’ll get to the other, more fun, stuff another day.img_1433

Since my quite spectacular crash off of Batty a few weeks a go, I’ve sort of been questioning a lot of things. Am I asking him to do stuff he can’t do? Am I asking him to do stuff he doesn’t want to do? Am I causing all sorts of problems? Am I causing all of our stopping issues? Is it physical? Is it mental? Is it me? Is it him? Can a pro fix this? What is this? Am I going to get hurt fixing whatever this turns out to be?

So here is the thing about Batty and falls and all of that. Fall happen. I don’t actually care about falling. They come with riding and while we try to avoid them and minimize the risk, the only way to avoid them completely is not to ride. I am not willing to do that. So, it comes down to calculated risks. But, the other side of the coin is Batty has NEVER been consistent over fences. I remember when I first rode him as a green broke 5/6 year old (who was actually we later learned a green broke 2 year old) 12+ years ago wiggling and zooming to jumps and slamming on the breaks, ducking out his hind end… He eventually got more consistent, especially over plain jane crossrails and verticals. But, he’s never been confident or consistent over any jump with build up or anything solid underneath. This horse used to slam on the breaks at a ground pole… So, it should surprise me that we have issues…

Then there is me. Without going into issues, I’m at the point in my life where i need to minimize the risks. I need to avoid too many falls and concussions. I need to avoid head injuries and more concussions. I have too many issues with migraines (and right now am just in a holding pattern until I can get into see neuro in November, but that’s a whole other story). So, this brings me to this week’s lesson…

My trainer has offered me to get on Batty and school him over jumps and I finally took her up on the offer. So, after warming him up on the flat, she got on him to basically see who was the issue. Me or him (I’m quick to always blame myself even though deep down I know the issues I rooted well beyond me). With a lot of the same struggle I have, she schooled him over and over 3 jumps until he was consistent and confident over all 3, licking and chewing. Then I got on and did the same (I was fine for 1 and 2, struggle for 3,  but, that was me). We got through it and then ultimately had a talk.

Trainer basically said it’s amazing I haven’t come off more than I have because when he stops it’s not a normal stopper motion. He swings out his hind end and it comes out of no where. He doesn’t look at the jump, doesn’t drop his head, and doesn’t give warning (well, when we stopped at jump 3, he warned me as we ran out of gas 4 strides out, but that’s different). He’s never going to be consistent. If we jump him daily, he’ll likely get better (aka memorize these jumps), but the second something changes — be it the ring, a jump, etc.–we will be starting over from scratch. So, the advice? We stop trying to jump him. He’s sound. Physically he can do it and more and he can do it easily, but it’s just not for him.

So Saturday we went on a trail ride and soon we’ll start looking for paper chases and stuff like that. Just need to find people to do stuff like this with. We’ll still try and take a lesson here and there to keep up with our flat work, but no more solid ‘hunter’ jumps. That’s just not him. But give him a field to gallop through and he’s a happy horse… Regardless, he’s with me for life.


So, for the time being, I’m going to take lessons on one of her lesson horses who can pack me around over 2’6″ for the winter and reassess in the spring. We’ll see where I am financially in March. If I have the funds, I might see about putting Subi in training for a month to see what I have. My mom asked right away about Subi but it’s almost October… Why get him in shape just to give him the winter off in 2 months? I know I don’t have the time to commit to what he needs in the winter but I can probably do enough for spring/summer/fall. So, we’ll see. I’m hoping my family will help me out with training. The downside of all of this is, right now he is sound, but he’s 20 in January. Will he be sound back in work? I’m only willing to do so much maintenance to keep him comfortable when I know he’s comfortable retired. So, we’ll cross that bridge when we get there. Hopefully we’ll know what he have pretty quickly and can back out of training if he can’t hold up  and I’m happy popping over 2′-2’3″ if that’s all he can do and skipping changes if it keeps him sounder. Hopefully by the spring I’ll be healthier too.


In an attempted to provide motivation, accountability, and strengthen my weakish legs, I decided to participate in 2pointober sponsored by Viva Carlos and Equestrian At Hart. My leg is weak and it just seemed like a good idea. I didn’t participate last October so this year it is. I’m not expected to do well, but I am curious to see how much I can improve by the end of the month. If I’m motivated, maybe I’ll keep going through winter too. It definitely can’t hurt.

Anyway, it was cold and windy (thank you 20* temperature drop overnight) and I decided to hop on Subi for the challenge. Now, I did lunge him to get the craziness out of him (I haven’t been on in 2 weeks, it was colder, and the ground was wet/slippery) and let him figure out the footing in the round pen. He had a couple stupid moments (first one he actually put effort into his buck/rear combo, second, not so much) but after 10-15 minutes of trotting, I got on. What can I say, I’m a wimp and some days my confidence needs lunging more than others. Right now, it’s better for me to do that and get on and have a good ride then not and either not ride or have a bad ride. I had too many of those bad rides over the past couple of years.

Because of the ground and honestly? my confidence, we stuck to the trot for 2 point. Baseline is 5 minutes and 22 seconds. Way more longer than I thought. I felt OK at the time (though really sore at the end), but my thighs hurt more now. I’m suffering a bit from jello leg syndrome.

After our 2 pointing, I did a bit of trotting each way and called it a day. Subi was perfect and quiet, but since I was riding in the grass round pen and it was super mushy/wet, it wasn’t worth risking falls/injuries.

Anyway, that’s this week’s 2pointing. We’ll see where I am next week!

Catching up.

So I haven’t posted lately for a variety of reasons. Mainly weather, vacation (over a month ago! How did that happen? I want to go back!), and just the Subi Horse turning into a complete jerk.

So since January the weather has really sucked. It’s been cold and frozen and it’s just been miserable. Really, there is nothing else to say about it. I really haven’t ridden much. I had a good ride on Subi one afternoon in February and he was a saint for ¾ of our ride (I also rode the Batthorse and he was fine, but he always is). The dogs got loose and ran through the broken electric fence and were trying to hang out under Subi and he was fine and careful and really wasn’t bothered. We had a nice ride, he really used himself at the walk and even at the trot. I could have ended there, but… Then I decided to pop over a pop over a half X and all hell broke loose. Actually, he just jumped it as if it were 3ft and tried to buck and crow hop on the landing, but somehow I was actually prepared. We did it several times without much different results, dropped down to a pole, and had the same issue. I think we finally semi-calmly walked over it and I called it a day and hopped off. Walking out of the “ring” he started jumping around like an idiot… Who knows why, but he’s Subi. But that was that. He was 90% good for our ride. Batt was in the ring with us too because I didn’t trust riding Subi alone so that helped some, but honestly, other than the pole issue, he was a good boy.

Fast forward to the weekend and sucky weather. Then the next week Sandra came out to ride and Subi was a complete jerk. He pretty much has a bug up his butt and wanted to jump, play, and buck. I was NOT enjoying it. After a few too many crow hops I jumped off and walked for a minute where he proceeded to be a jerk again. Then we just stood at the mounting block. I ended up back on him and walked a tiny bit in a small circle and then once around, but pretty much called it a day with a tiny bit of success. Sandra and I chatted and I pretty much decided he’s just going to be off until the weather consistently improves and I can ride 5-6x in a row for 2 weeks. Honestly, he’s got energy and needs consistency and I can’t give him that right now. I also need a fenced in area to ride or lunge (or rather free lunge as that’s usually safer with him) which I don’t have. I thought about trying to board him for a month, but I don’t have the money and even if he’s boarded, who knows if I’ll get out enough to make it worthwhile…

I realized though that I need a round pen. Of course, who has $1000+ to spend on one? Not me that’s for sure. However, I have since learned that they are easy to build and Erik’s 100% with me putting one in the yard so hopefully in a few weeks/later this month we will have a round pen! It’ll be on grass for the time being, but hopefully come fall I’ll have the money for a load of sand to stick inside. Then I’ll more or less have all weather footing to keep him in work. My round pen plan is to work him in the pen on the ground for about a week and then work him in the pen on the ground, riding after in the pen for another week+ before I venture out to the “ring” again. I think just having fencing will make me 1000x more comfortable. But, I’m excited about this! Just not necessarily excited about the prospects of renting the 2-man auger again… I still have bruises from putting in our fence this past fall! Oh well… Anyway, the only issue is that the area we’re going with isn’t completely flat, but honestly, who cares… It’ll work for our purposes and I can really get Subi’s butt in gear (and since it’s an enclosed space, I can work on using the actually lunge line seeing that the jerk of a horse is well versed at getting out of his circle when lunging. Add walls.. ha! Success will be mine!).

Meanwhile, me and Sandra are sharing the Batthorse. Rode on Saturday and he was wonderful. Spurs and a dressage whip and he quickly started to understand that he needed to use his butt and carry himself. We got a nice working walk and later a gorgeous working trot. He had one hissy fit but got over it and was a star. He seems to be enjoying his hoof boots as well which helps a lot. We popped him over a pole and later a half x (I need to bring my jumps/standards/poles from my mom’s house…) and he really started enjoying himself. I rode again Sunday and while he wasn’t as good (what can I say, he likes Sandra better), he still tried. Plus I let him canter some which made him happy.  Both days left me with a tired Batts.

We’re also manually clearing out the “ring” better known as the woods where we ride. The previous owner cleared out a oval trail, but there are a lot of small trees/brush/plants/etc. everywhere else. This limits how much we can do. Anyway, Erik has started digging out roots and plants, section by section, so that we can have a bigger ring. We’re going to keep the smaller trees for now, but they may come down in the future. Anyway, he’s trying to make it as same and functional as possible (I have a good husband!). It’ll probably take a few months so finish everything, but it’ll be well worth it. Once we get our harrow this spring, we can drag the ring as well. In the next year or so I would like to put sand down as well and maybe fence it in? I just feel better with a fence! But, the fence is negotiable, the sand is not. But, it’ll be a next year project.

I’m going to try and ride Batts later this week if the weather holds out, but with this snow/rain/who knows what storm coming, we’ll see how things work out. Weather this weekend looks nice though. Mid 50s! I’m just ready for spring!

Weather. Abscesses. Hay.

Went back to work on Wednesday. I wasn’t ready for vacation to end, but end it did. It hasn’t been terrible being back, but being at home is so much more fun than work. That said, I’ve had headaches every day since Tuesday so  that hasn’t made things easier. In addition, I’ve felt really run down which hasn’t helped either. I’m afraid I’m fighting something. Just what I need. To get sick. I also need to get a flu shot which will definitely mean getting sick which is why I haven’t gotten it yet. This week. This week I’ll get the flu shot and likely get to take a sick day. Great. Being home will be nice, but not when I’m miserable from getting sick from the stupid flu shot…

The ground has been super frozen since who knows when. Prior to freezing, we had a crazy amount of rain which resulted in mud. Now I have ugly frozen mud. Not fun. Horses are miserable due to the frozen (and deep in some places) foot prints throughout the paddock/field. Just what I need. Right now I need spring so that the frozen ground can become unfrozen and the ground ultimately become normal again.

I’ve discovered why this riding thing is so hard. Being at home is a part of it, but mainly my issue is that it’s winter. I hate the winter. I hate the ground. I hate the season. I never like winter and over the past few years, I can’t say I ever have ridden consistently. So why should this year be any different? If I don’t like winter riding, why do more of it than I have to?

So I’m just going to continue to ride when I can and forget the rest. Expectations, etc. Sandra came out today and despite my hopes that the warmer weather would lead to softer ground, no such luck. It’s going to take several days in the 40+ degree temperatures so that the ground can start unfreezing. Anyway, we mostly walked. Batts wasn’t overly comfortable and lots of trotting isn’t yet in the plans for me and Subi. So we worked them both hard at the walk. Subi was awesome. He’s really starting to get it and our work on framing and carriage has come a long way.  I do have to say at this point I’d love some dressage lessons… Anyway, back to the ride. I mostly walked with Subi, but we did through in some trotting and he was awesome. I could feel how hard he was thinking AND how much he was trying. Plus, he’s getting more and more muscled the more we work. Have I mention lately how much I love that horse? Even when he’s a jerk, I still love that horse.

Batts and Sandra worked on hind end work as well. Poor horse was so confused, but he seemed happy whenever everything clicked. And, like Subi, poor guy was exhausted. That said, hopefully if we get him going nicely at the walk, we’ll be ready to do the same at the trot when the ground improves.

Poor Hayley, likely as a result of the ground, appears to have an abscess. Just what that poor mare needs. Her feet have been doing great, but I’m assuming with the ground… Poor girl. I hate seeing her miserable.

Speaking of miserable… The horses are driving me nuts. They’ve been finicky about their hay. Sometimes not touching much of it, sometimes demolishing it, lately a combination of the two. Now, this is the same hay they’ve been eating and cleaning up in a few short hours until last week. Now? Who knows. I thought I had a bad bale or two, but if I put the hay out a second time, they have been finishing it and then not eating the new stuff… They’re also eating it on the ground and not always in the nets? Maybe they’re protesting the hay nets? Not that they haven’t had nets for the last year plus… I’m starting to think that maybe the ground where the nets are is bothering them and that more of the issue? I don’t have a clue but they’re driving me nuts.



How things go.

So I’ve been fighting weather and business and haven’t managed to ride much. Of course. I’m finally off from work and the weather has been miserable. Or, the weather is fine and I’m busy with family, holidays, etc.

So I’ve managed to ride twice in the last week. All things considered, that’s not actually terrible. Subi was fabulous on Friday. Lots of carriage work. We even managed to add in a little trotting while working on carriage. He was fabulous. That said, he was also completely exhausted from the effort and once the tripping and weakness started showing, we called it a day. We’ll get to do more soon.

We had some snow the other day and then crazy wind so it wasn’t until yesterday that I hopped on Batts. The ground was a little funky but we did the best we could, just a little trotting and cantering. The other day with Sandra he worked on trotting a log which he seemed to enjoy, but unfortunately, his log was covered with snow so we skipped that. But again, he was very good. That said, he’s still way out of shape and that played a role in the length of our ride. But, nonetheless, it was a success. Success is what I’ve been looking for lately. That and staying on.

More later when I have more motivation to write, but there’s a brief summary…


I had a nice ride yesterday afternoon! Finally. I really needed it to keep me from getting too frustrated.

Anyway, I started out on Subi and Sandra on Batts as is usual. We just walked around for a few minutes, up to the road and back down to the drive. Subi was a little weirded out by the driveway (he would be…), but didn’t do anything stupid. After that we headed into the “ring” in the woods. It worked really nicely. I have some more stuff to clean up and if we cut down the little sapplings before spring, there will be even more space. Thankfully the real trees are not in the way. If I can get footing put down in a year or two, it’ll be perfect in there. But, it’s working nicely now too.

Anyway, once in the woods I put Subi’s butt to work. We worked on carriage and his neck and butt muscles were working over time. That said, I’m realizing how much my saddle doesn’t work for me (I’ve known, but it fits the pony so…). I wished at that point I had a dressage saddle because I really wanted to sit deeper than I could. Oh well. We worked. Hard. And thankfully Subi was exhausted. After lots of work at the walk, I decided he was dead enough that I could trot a bit. He was a good boy too. Super springy trot, responsive, etc.  I didn’t canter today, but give me a few rides with a nice trot before I move on to the canter. Still, I’m proud of him. I’m sure he’s a bit sore today as he was using muscles that he hasn’t used in quite awhile.

Then it was pony changing time… This is when things got interesting. Does it count as falling when you’re standing on the ground? Subi and I left the woods first and noticed Batts and Sandra were coming out the other entrance. Then they were trotting so I hopped off as I was planning to anyway and my pony was dancing around like an idiot. I jumped off and suddenly Batts “galloping” and jumping the ravine/walkway and heading up the hill. Subi starts crow hopping, I hit the ground, almost get stepped on until he realizes I’m under him so he stops and stands stock still until I get back up. Evidently Batts decided to “take off” (it’s Batts, taking off to him isn’t what taking off is to a normal horse). First she figured trotting was fine until he broke into his version of a gallop and jumped the ravine… If Subi didn’t need an opinion, it would have been entertaining. Anyway, after he galloped up the hill, he broke to the walk and that was that.

So after that, we swapped for a little while and I did some trotting without stirrups on Batts. Just a sitting trot today, but my legs were aching anyway. Then I cantered some  (with stirrups) and called it a day. All in all it was a nice day.

Dewormed the ponies after that and then ran out to Erik’s parents for raclette. Too lazy to write more about that.

Anyway, I’m going to attempt to ride at least Batts today. If time allows, I’ll hop on Subi too (once Erik is home), but we’ve got errands to run and his sister and boyfriend are coming to see the house and it’s evidently going to rain/snow later. Great. And then rain pretty much every day but Christmas for the rest of the week. Not looking forward to that. But, I hope I’ll have time for at least Batts and possible Subi as well. No real goals for today. Too much to do instead.


Riding this afternoon with my friend Sandra. Having someone to ride with DEFINITELY makes riding at home easier. I’m so happy she’s been able to follow me and the kids wherever we end up. Yes, she gets a good deal to pretty much ride Batts whenever she wants (though it usually only ends up being 1x/week) for virtually nothing, but still, it’s excellent for me too. It’s freezing and frozen out, but the scary winds of yesterday are gone! We usually ride in the mornings, but when it’s so cold, afternoon should be better. Plus, Erik’ll be home from work and can babysit the needy dogs. They (read: Hermione) can’t stand that I’m home and they’re inside and they insist on crying (well, howling) the entire time I’m riding. They could be outside but they feel the need to start playing underneath the horses’ feet while I’m riding. They only do that when I ride… Thanks guys.

Sometimes the having the horses at home is a pain. Sometimes I don’t want to deal with mud (don’t get me started), frozen hoses, poop (Hayley’s endless diarrhea is another days post), and not being able to walk outside with the OMG FEED US WE’RE STARVING reaction from the herd (they’re waiting a the fence line by 7am each morning… probably earlier but it’s dark out so I can’t see…). But having them outside my bedroom window does have some good points.

Batts and Hayley attacking their morning hay.

Batts and Hayley attacking their morning hay.

Excuse the crappy cell phone picture. I was leaning out my window and trying to keep the screen from falling to the ground… Batts is on the left (ignoring me as usual) and Hayley is on the right.

So the plan for this morning is to go out and pick sticks so that the woods are cleaner for riding today. Hopefully we can have out trot track now.  Then I need to make a trip out to Walmart (my least favorite store, but convenience of location wins) to get a different sized picture frame so I can wrap holiday gifts. For some reason I can’t count…

Goals for the ride? To stay on. Seriously.

All kidding aside (maybe.), today’s main goal is to get Subi’s butt working. We’re going to work on a nice FORWARD walk. Then add in head carriage. Then if that goes well and he’s not dying (he’s super out of shape and we haven’t worked on this hard stuff for way too long), CIRCLES, still working his butt and moving forward.

I’d also like to get on Batts so hopefully Sandra will be willing to pony swap so I can work my leg some more. I’d love nothing more than even 10 minutes of no stirrups (well, love is an overstatement, but I need it!). Plus, even if she just walks on Subi, it does make me feel better so watch someone else on my horse.

If all else fails? Back up plan is a “trail” ride, or rather, a ride through suburbia. Then Batts can be disappointed that he doesn’t get to go down every driveway. I’m convinced that horse is looking for a new home. He loves nothing more than to walk down driveways. Streets aren’t necessarily exciting, but driveways? OMG. But really, the goal is work.

And if I survive all that, dinner at the in-laws tonight (it still feels so strange to have in-laws). My mom, her husband, and my aunt will be there too, but… Raclette! Nothing better than raclette!

As an act of accountability. I’d better be back tonight/tomorrow to report on today’s ride.


So, part of the reason I decided to start this blog is for accountability. It’s so easy to say you’re going to do something, but at the end of the day, saying is not doing. If I write something down, it’s there in print and it’s harder to deny something to myself. Verbal statements are so much easier to deny to myself. Anyway, where am I going with this…?

Accountability. I need to set goals and stick to them.

When it comes to horses, I have 3, but only 2 are ridden. I keep saying I’m going to try and bring my mare back, but it seems her soundness issues always surface once I have the idea that I’ll get her back in work. Or she gets an abscess. Or we fear founder. Or stomach issues. Or there’s 12 feet of snow. Or something else completely ridiculous. I’m not entirely convinced something won’t happen if I put her back into work again.

But, just because the Hayley-Mare is a young retiree, doesn’t mean the other 2 are. In fact, they desperately need to work. So I need a plan for each one of them.

Subi: I think right now I just need to get 0n him consistently and make him work. If the ground is a mess or I’m not comfortable trotting/cantering because he’s decided he should be a circus horse, there is no reason that he still can’t work, hard, at the walk. Part of the issue right now is he is SO out of shape and trotting on the soft, hilly ground is super challenging and it’s easier to act stupid then to actually work. As he gets into better shape, the terrain won’t be as much of an issue. So I need to just get on him as often as possible and get his butt working. A couple years ago we worked hard on carriage and engagement and the poor horse was exhausted after a good 45 minutes at the walk. While we later moved on to the trot and canter, there’s no reason why I can’t spend a few weeks drilling this stuff again at the walk. Besides, the time in the saddle, working, even at the walk, will help me get my leg back…which brings me to the root of the problem.

I lost my leg. I didn’t ride consistently thanks to life, weather, time, work, and I lost my leg. It’s hard to be confident or trust your horse when he’s acting stupid and you have no leg. Without my leg back, I can’t stay on when he decides to act like an idiot. Then I lose confidence. Then I ride less. Then I get myself into situations where I have a horse who decides to act like a nut case thanks to lack of work…

Batts: I have 2 hard keepers in the winter and then I have Batts. Somehow he’s managed to put on even more weight in the last 2 weeks. How? I do not know, but his weight gain plus lack of fitness (in part due to weight gain) make riding him…interesting. He can have all the time off in the world and he’ll still be pretty much dead quiet. He’s got his issues, but bucking is not one of them (thankfully he doesn’t have a clue how to buck so when he tries, he more or less drops his head and if he’s lucky, gets one hoof about 6 inches off the ground).  For his sake, he needs to work and he can help me get my leg back. Over the next week, I’m going to try and get on him as much as possible. Hopefully I’ll have the “track” in the woods cleared out so he and I can really work. He needs a refresher course on using his hind end and I need to do some no stirrups work. So perhaps for the next week or so, each time I work with him, we spend 10 minutes without stirrups at the trot (though with his lack of fitness, I’ll probably have to do 5 minutes and 5 minutes because at this point, I’m not sure if he can even trot for 10 minutes…). How much else I do will depend on how much huffing and puffing is going on. But we can definitely work on using his hind end and possibly some hill work at the walk?

So. I have a plan. It’s in writing. I need to stick with it.

Getting back in the routine?

I moved my horses home a few weeks ago. It’s wonderful to see them again everyday and to have them right there in the backyard. Generally, I think they’re happy. Generally, I’m thrilled. But riding…

I’m battling a lot right now when it comes to riding. I’ve been out of the routine for months. Just with time, moving, the wedding, and the commute, I just haven’t been consistent. So my horses are showing that now that winter has come and I’m trying to ride again. I guess I should clarify. Subi is my issue. Batts seems fine, but Subi… I can’t say I’ve been all that comfortable since he bucked me off (nasty buck too) a month and a half ago. I haven’t ridden that consistently since then either. Again, life. But, now they’re home and I need to ride.

My friend Sandra and I rode for the first time at my house a couple weeks ago. We all survived and the horses were more or less good. But, the grounds been horribly mushy and out of shape horses on mushy ground and not level ground… It’s been a recipe for disaster. Last weekend, I came off almost immediately thanks to an unexpected crow hop at the trot. I’m not in shape so it is my fault for coming off, but it’s right there in my brain. I’m stressing because there isn’t a great place to ride at home.  I’m sure once the ground gets harder and the horses get into better shape and I get consistent, we can tackle all these issues, but until then, I fight my brain.

I did get on and we rode for another 40 minutes or some, at the walk, through the field, up some hills. Horses were exhausted and no one tried anything, but… I guess the issue is, at the walk, I don’t feel like I’m doing anything. But, if I’m making Subi work, even at the walk, maybe I am? Right now, the most level portion of my property is actually the woods. The horses are loving wandering through the woods and seem relaxed in there. There is a path way and I could easily (once I pick up twigs and branches) turn it into a trot and canter track of sorts. But, in the back of my mind, fear. So where do I go from here? I’m off for a week and a half starting Saturday and the plan is to ride as much as possible. Both Subi and Batts, as much as possible. Batts is fine. He’s quiet and just fat and lazy and should build confidence, but Subi… Should I just walk and do work at the walk? Extension, making him work and engage his hind end, and hill work?  If he’s tired, he won’t be stupid (and he rarely acts stupid at the walk–famous last words…) and maybe things will just fall into place?

I know the main thing is to ride more. I know that. But work and real life just get in the way. Why am I an adult again? I told Erik that any day we’re both off and it’s not raining, he’s riding with me. He’s not thrilled about it, but he’ll do it. All we’ll do is walk, but it’s another way to get the horses working more. Maybe we’ll explore the neighborhood on horseback as well? There are some nearby farms/houses with horses so it might be a way to meet people as well and find trails, etc. I invited another friend out next week as well and she’s game for exploring so…

I created this blog months ago and haven’t posted anything until today. To be honest, I’ve almost forgotten about it. But, the other part is lack of time and lack of motivation. But, it’s the Thursday before we’re closed for the holiday, I’m at work, and bored out of my mind. What better time to start then now? And instead of doing any sort of introduction (considering I’m mostly talking to myself), why not just start?  So there we go.