Working on homework

As I mentioned last post, Nay Nay and I are on our own for the next 3 weeks. Free to learn a lot or make a lot of mistakes. Only time will tell which path we chose…

Prior to my trainer leaving, I asked for homework. What do we need to work on? Or rather, what should we work on? The answer? Jumps. Getting over them. First time. Getting confident.

See, remember back to that unfortunate incident of the brown boxes? That might have wrecked my confidence a bit… I’m not sure if it did anything to Nay, but me? Maybe… Since then Nay has been pretty good and has learned a LOT.

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Someone got a new girth on Saturday too…

We’ve added spurs and he’s learned that when I add spur he is to go FORWARD. So, if I add them before the jump? He needs to go forward OVER the jump. For the most part, this works. But, sometimes? We die. The thing is, Nay isn’t being bad. His rider is being indecisive and NOT adding spur/leg and as a result, NOT telling him forward. Nay he then left to decide on his own, do I go left? do I go right? do I stop? do I go forward? While he CAN walk over everything, he generally doesn’t because he’s convinced he can’t because his rider is convinced he can’t and it’s a bad combo. If I’m not confident, he’s not confident… And, after one skirt around, time 2 is harder.

So, at the end of our last lesson, my trainer basically told me, I need to get over this first jump thing and fix it now before it is an issue. That’s my job for the next 3 weeks. I can set up as many small fences as I want and just repeat. He can walk**, he can trot, he can canter, but he needs to go forward before I ruin* him (*my word).  ** he can supposedly walk over ANYTHING in the ring, barrels included, I disagree so we’re not trying that! LOL

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Learning is hard work!

Saturday it was FREEZING. Literally. But, I dragged Nay’s sorry butt out and we rode. I set up a couple of tiny fences. A single, a pole to flower boxes and decided that was good. We started off walking over everything because why not? They were tiny and Nay was stiff from the cold so it made our warm-up more interesting. Needless to say, he didn’t care. We had a lovely trot and worked over the pole and then a trailer pulled up next to the indoor right as we were about to canter bringing back a horse. In the past? Nay would be gone mentally. And while he was distracted and our left lead canter wasn’t great, I didn’t lose him. But the right lead? Best right lead canter EVER. We even had a nice circle at the canter! Seriously! Then we started our jump practice and had zero issues. We jumped everything both ways, added leg at the base (whether needed or not), and called it a day.

Sunday things warmed up some so we were back out to try it again. Nay was less than thrilled (I interrupted his morning snooze), but tough luck. He fell back to sleep in the cross ties as I decided to have a long chat but we quickly got to work in the ring where I decided to tackle my demons.

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These flowers? No issue problem!

Instead of sticking to a pole and flowers, I decided we’d tackle the scary brown boxes we struggled with so much that fateful lesson. I removed the gate, but we WERE going to jump it! The single was set to a small vertical with flowers and kept it that way and I left the flower boxes as flower boxes (no pole) after the brown boxes.

Like the day before, we warmed up with a nice trot where Nay had no energy. That said, energy finally came out at the canter where he let me know his displeasure at being asked to work. Once again, our left lead sucked, but eventually, he settled into a decent enough (though very forward) left lead canter and cantered a nice enough circle. But the right lead? Once again? AMAZING. Last lesson I was told to shake my reins at him approaching the first corner to get him to keep the canter. Who the hell knows why, but ever since doing this, his right lead canter has been strong and consistent. We can hold the canter, canter circles, and his balance is improving each time out. His canter circle was super balanced too. SO PROUD!

We trotted over the small vertical once to warm up and it was super easy. The headed up to the boxes…

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But we jumped THIS LINE TOO! Including these scary boxes!!!!

We casually looked at the boxes because I needed to… This wasn’t part of my homework, I admit it… But, we did it without approaching it if it makes sense? We came at it from the plain side. So, maybe we jumped it backwards, but whatever, I had a ground line, but first time up to it, he was gunning to go up and over. I added spur and without hesitation? Up and over. Next time, we WILL do it without looking at it first. We continued to the flowers and cantered out of those where he got so much praise. We repeated a few times before he got a bit lazy and almost took out one of the boxes…

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Super proud. 

Next, we did the vertical around to the in of the outside line which was a small verticle/plank. That wasn’t an issue but Nay didn’t find that one very exciting either (and barely saw a need to pick up his feet). After one more trip over his brown box line, we called it a day.

Sunday’s ride also was the first ride that didn’t include any screaming from Nay!

Weekend update, part 2

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

**all videos are from Saturday**

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Confident but bored ^^^

So much homework, but it should be fun!

Weekend update, part 1

I think I’m going to split this update into 2 parts because 1, I have a lot to say and 2, I have a lot of media. So, rather than making this post crazy long, I’m going to just try and have 2 sort of, kind of long posts? Let’s be real, I’m long-winded!

After my crap ride last Saturday, I took Sunday off and didn’t ride for a week (winter is hard and I worked all week). And, I’m being honest,  I was nervous. A month ago? I’d probably have been pleased with last Saturday’s ride. I do need to address riding with other horses. Not being with other horses in the ring, but RIDING with other horses. Still, I need to let that go. But, due to nerves, I begged my husband to come out and serve as moral support. Now, I agreed he could sit in the truck, but I needed him there.

Despite my nerves? My mud-covered beast was a saint. Relaxed. Happy. Goofy.  But completely gross. It took me about a half an hour to get him clean pre-ride and even then his tail was still mud covered… I just can’t. LOL. Anyway, enough mud, but we had a nice relaxed grooming session (barn was quiet–yay horse shows) followed by a nice ride.

As I mentioned last post, we’ve been introducing Nay Nay to spurs. Well, he REALLY gets it now. Saturday? Right spur? One step forward, one step backwards, then immediately shifted over! GOOD BOY! Left spur? Just shifted away from the spur. Such a smart guy! Then, walking he was SO GOOD about moving away from the spur. I’m SO HAPPY with him. LOVE LOVE LOVE.

At this point, I pulled Erik in to take some videos. Just what he wanted to do… LOL. We started off at the canter  to the left and it was fine. I’m having this issue here and there to the left that I’m a little too passive? So I ask and Nay Nay says sure! And canters and immediately trots so I need to make sure I ask and maintain. But, the left lead isn’t our issue.

The right? It was a mess. I need to follow up with my KEEP LEG ON from the left lead AND remember to add inside spur approaching the corners. Basically, I need to stay on step ahead. Things were made a little more challenging because 1, I kept worrying about the lead when we lost the canter (It was emphasized on Sunday to stop worrying and just canter for now) and 2, Nay Nay was super focused on Erik and as we passed each time, he kept craning his neck around to see him. Granted, my lack of leg and messy hands didn’t help. But those things NEVER help, do they? LOL.

(you can really see how gross his tail was…)

Spoiler, we worked on stuff on Sunday…

Rather than ending there, I decided I wanted to jump a cross rail (and eventually a small vertical with boxes under it). The cross rail was no big deal. In fact, the first time? Lovely.

The second time? Boredom.

The boxes, a bigger deal in that they took more effort, he was tired, but not in that they caused any actual issue. He got over them each time. The first time through was in slow motion, the second time, was much better though we took the rail with us. The third? Confident and perfect. So, it’s all a timing thing and also getting used to using the spurs to say, yes, move FORWARD over the jump. This was also a topic of Sunday’s lesson. When we all feel like we can walk over? No issue. When there is a question of, “can we walk over this?” The hesitation is there. In reality, he could have walked over everything, but neither of us are sure of that…

Sunday lesson recap coming tomorrow!

Yay or Nay: Learning moments

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

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

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

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

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

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He might be eating my elbow… who knows.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

So. There you go. I’m in love.

Worst. Pony. Ever.

As I alluded in my last Nay post, on Saturday, Nay one the award of WORST PONY EVER.

You see, he’s really very good.

Except. Sometimes he’s NOT. Sometimes he’s bad. VERY VERY BAD.

This didn’t cause much of a stir on instagram, but facebook? Questions were asked.

You see, Nay decided walking was overrated. And decided that he’d rather rear and spin his way to turnout. I wasn’t leading him, so it was all good (no, not really, lol). He was really a turd. And Subi joined in a bit (but MEAN MOM)… So, upon FREEDOM, the 2 thoroughbred idiots, went running around like utter fools, rolling, running, bucking, rearing, and stirring up trouble.

While they were carrying on? I set out to fill up one of the water troughs. That didn’t quite work. See, I had to heaving , out of breath, sweaty, and thirsty ponies. Subi took and drink and moved on. Nay? No. He took the hose.

Yes, he took the hose.

And sprayed me.

And then proceeded to try and play TUG OF WAR WITH MY HOSE.

Idiot.

And then he gave me that look. And it was hard to be mad at him. But I did take my hose back…

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He is the WORST. He can’t even pose for a stall picture.

But then Wednesday, I was trying on his new bridle for size before conditioning it and realized I really needed a bit… So, I walked into my basement to see what I could find, leaving him at the door. I started taking the bit off another bridle and Nay got sick of waiting (patience is not his strong suit).

Next thing I know, Nay is standing IN MY BASEMENT WITH ME.

So folks, mark January 15, 2020 on your calendar. That is the date that Nay officially tried to be my dog.  And when I say he walked in, I’m not talking about his front feet, I’m talking about his entire body was standing inside my basement. And he suddenly lost his backing skills so I had to walk him in further and turn him around to get him back out. He is NOT scared of my basement (Jiminy is). He was quite happy in there and knows that’s where I keep the feed. Help me, please.

But, worst pony ever? Once I was done with him? I turned him back out. It was dark. Nay was convinced that DARKNESS = STALL. So, for the next 2 hours, he had a temper tantrum. Forget the fact that he is brought in between 8 and 9pm every night and it was 6:05pm…

So, worst pony ever. Coming to a sale barn near you… Maybe.

Yay or Nay: Conquering the outdoor

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It wasn’t always warm. Just a few days ago it was freezing and snowing… I may have just ordered him another of these in a heavy… 

Nay and I FINALLY got a lesson in this weekend…after not riding for a week. On top of that, the weather decided to go crazy here in the mid atlantic and Saturday saw temperatures in the 60s. In January. Personally, I HATE warm winter days. Perfect recipe for people and animals getting sick. And for migraines. But no one asked me.

Anyway, all week I was stressing about my Saturday lesson as warm weather typically means… riding outside. Now, I have nothing against riding outside, but we JUST got Nay used to the indoor and now we’re riding outside? So, me being me, spent Friday night tossing and turning, stressing about dying while riding my quiet horse outside. Typical.

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Not related to Nay, but instagram told me Horizon Structures was having a sale… on SUBI?!?!?! 

We arrive and the barn was chaos. Everyone and their mother and their third cousin’s best friend was there. I managed to park my trailer, but… Go home people. Nay was good to tack up in the driveway (he’s gotten SO MUCH BETTER) and we walked over towards the indoor (hopes raised) where my trainer was standing. She did give me the option but there were SO MANY PONIES (seriously ponies everywhere) inside so I agreed to go outside if she made sure I didn’t die. We then tried to spook at a stroller coming out of the indoor… lol. I’m telling out, it’s all my anxiety.

We took a semi private with another young horse, Wilbur. That said, Wilbur is now showing, jumping, etc. but still has his green moments. I started off by hand walking Nay around the outdoor. He didn’t care. Because, why would he? He was more alert, but that was about it.

Once on, we wandered. Wandering is our pastime. I tried to sit up and keep my leg on him and sit in the saddle vs on the saddle. He likes that. He slows down when I do all of that. After wandering for a while at the walk, we got the all clear to wander at the trot. The goal? Keep his brain busy with turns and changes of direction. For the first time ever, I was allowed to ask him to slow down and encourage the trot from his hind end (by sitting back, erg). Eventually, we added in a pile of poles. Nay loves his poles so this was fun for him. After successfully doing our poles both ways, we eventually walked and watched some jumping for a while.

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It also appeared my barn was for sale… 

So, when I first got on? There was no question that we were NOT cantering today. Yet the more we walked and trotted, the more relaxed Nay got. He spooked once at the very beginning because the wind picked up and a gate went clattering and he scooted into the trot a few steps but that was it.  So, after we trotted, my trainer told me, never mind, we will be cantering…

We started off with the left lead. The first time? Eh. Ugly. He didn’t pick it up right away and, instead of being patient, I added leg and he scooted into the canter on the wrong lead. So, it started off a bit quick (not fast, quick) and rushed. Since we don’t care about leads, he tried to canter around the corner but was distracted (horse was walking in when we were approaching the gate) and off balance and… yeah. So we went back to the trot and eventually walked and I got the talk… Basically, TAKE MY TIME AND STOP WORRYING ABOUT WHEN I PICK UP THE DAMN CANTER…

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He’s becoming such a good traveler!

As a result? Take 2 was lovely. Nay picked up a quiet, slow, and relaxed canter that we held 3/4 of the way around the ring.

Before we picked went to pick up the right lead, we watched some more jumping. Then, a pony went on a walk around the indoor arena and Nay lost it temporarily. [Lost it now means lost focus and ears super forward] With some direction, I did a little trotting to get his brain back in his head. And right lead canter? Our best ever. Quiet, relaxed, and slow. The comment? “Well, wasn’t that adorable!”

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He’s cute when he’s not poorly behaved (another post about worst pony ever title)

Not the most exciting lesson, by outdoor arena conquered! The worst part? My saddle just isn’t going to work, not even for the short term. So, we’re 2 saddles down, a few more to try (or, I listen to Emma, and go saddle shopping/trying courtesy of MD Saddlery). I need to look into consigning my Millers at this point because it’s just not working for me (it fits Nay relatively well, but my trainer is hating the position it puts me in). I’m just not tied to it anymore so it can go.

Learning and challenges: plugging away

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Droopy Lip Club — Official Member!

Not too much to report since my last lesson on Nay. We haven’t managed to fit in another lesson as my trainer has been at horse shows (though she had offered us a lesson New Year’s Day while we were out riding, but I just wasn’t up to it and just wanted to…ride around) the last couple of weekends. Hopefully she’ll be home Saturday. But, we’ve hauled out several more times and are making… something.

 

Yes, something.

I won’t say progress, because, honestly, I have no idea what we’re are doing these days!

But, now, a MONTH into our relationship, Nay Nay and I have accomplished the following:

  • 3 lessons
  • 8 (?) trips off the property
  • 2 rides without lunging first
  • 3 times mounting without assistance
  • Trotting on a loose rein
  • Cantering on a loose rein
  • Trotting over poles
  • 2 solo hauls
  • 1 solo ride

 

Now, it’s not always successful and sometimes somethings and some days are more successful than others. And lately I’ve been running into… trouble. After all, I’m riding a green horse, of course I’m going to run into trouble.

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Also a member of the gross horse club!

So, my routine in this. I get on, we walk around. I usually try and wobble all round the saddle and get Nayners used to me bobbling around, because, if not now, then when? When we’re all good and relaxed (which for him is immediately, but for me, after we walk around for awhile and explore), we trot.

 

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Handsome horse club as well!

Trot wise? Nay gets to pick the pace in the beginning. He gets to trot as slow or not fast as he wants. Because, fast is not in his vocabulary. We do circles and explore, much like at the walk, constantly taking different paths as well as taking full turns around the arena. Eventually, I also add leg, and do ask for a little more trot because slow and lazy is fine, but a little energy isn’t terrible too. We stay in not fast land because… that’s where we live. Direction changes exist too and if a pole is out, we do that too. Or if I set one out, we go over that (note: he has NO ISSUES with me holding him AND picking up a pole and moving it, even if I accidentally hit him with it.).

 

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Cute horse club member too

Walk break. At some point during the trot, he does get lazy so squeezing is added and we do a tiny bit more to prove that we can before the walk. Endurance is what we are working towards.

 

After our reserves are built up, it’s canter time. This is when the problems arise. We start with the left lead because it’s the easy lead. Except, while I can pick it up and we canter a lovely canter, I CAN’T KEEP MY HORSE CANTERING. Sometimes I can canter around the corner, sometimes 2/3 around the ring, sometimes we break in the corner and get the canter again down the side.

The right lead? OMG. It’s even worse. If I’m lucky, we pick it up for the side, and then collapse and die. No energy left.

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Quiet enough for this now!

I’ve learned the following: I can kick my horse like he’s a big old shetland pony. He doesn’t care. He just sighs and walks forward.

 

So yeah. I have a problem.

So I’m back to only cantering long sides for the right lead because I fear I’ve screwed him up.

What the heck people?

I so desperately need a lesson…

 

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.

1 week!

Nay Nay has been part of the family for a week and…we haven’t done much. Lol. I’m still not sold on Nay Nay as a name, but I haven’t got anything better. My husband is calling him Mr Meeseeks from Rick and Morty but I’m not sure that’ll work beyond a nickname… always in your face, whether you want him there or not.

He’s does NOT like being cold OR wet. So, rain is his least favorite thing EVER. He’s grumpy and miserable when he’s wet. For someone who lived out 24/7 without a blanket until a week ago… Granted, my property is colder and damper, but… He’s getting a 100 gram liner in the mail too because grumpy horses are a pain in the butt.

He’s getting better with turn in too. We’re taking him in first and then we take Subi and

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Baby 5 yo Nay Nay

Jiminy. He’s shown his displeasure about being in his stall alone (with grain and hay) for 90 whole seconds, but last night? He didn’t scream once to his friends. Stood, ate, and looked around. He’s also locked in his stall completely. Both dutch doors are closed and his window. He was a little too bitey-face with Subi over one door and the first time I left him alone, he was stressed PLUS wet and cold (so miserable pony) so I closed his outside top door to make sure he didn’t doing anything crazy like jump out. And? He seemed to really like his stall doors closed overnight. It made his stall toastier. So, now they just stay closed. It is winter after all.

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You can kind of see a tiny bit of puffiness. His ugly ankle is normal…

He did do something stupid and gave himself some sort of bump on his splint… Idiot. Dried blood yesterday and it’s a little ouchy today and a touch warm/puffy. He lets me mess with it, but does pick it up for me when I touch it. Sound on it though. Stupid pony. Dealing with it more tonight…

Today and tomorrow? More freaking rain. I want to haul him out to trainer’s and play with him in the indoor. I have no clue if my tack fits him. I’m hoping I can make my saddle work since I don’t want to sell that yet (it fits Bob relatively well and I’m still riding him). I assume I have a girth for him. Bridles? Well, all of mine are horse sized… Him and his little cob head. So that’ll be interesting. Right now I’m hoping it’ll be dry enough for my to lunge in the woods tomorrow and them MAYBE haul out in the afternoon for a field trip to the indoor (not concerned about riding). Then maybe I can ride Sunday if he’s quiet enough? Lesson on Bob Sunday, but I should have time for both…

So that’s where we’re at. He seems to be settling in. He loves his stall, loves his grain, loves to eat hay, drinks a full bucket of water every night. He just hasn’t figured out a slow feeder net yet… He’s destructive on hay bags so I can’t go that route (grr), so he’s getting a small amount in a traditional net and extra in a slow net and hopefully eventually he’ll figure out the net? Horses.