Going through the motions

Nay Nay and I have had some pretty fantastic rides as of late. I just haven’t really felt like blogging about them. What can I say? I’m lacking media and work is picking up so…blogging is taking a backseat. But, I do want to capture some of what we’ve been doing.

To be honest? It’s not very exciting. We’re in green horse mode. So there is a lot of rinse and repeat going on, and that’s just OK with me. But guys? This horse is quiet these days. The quick and forward and up and down trot I was dealing with a month or 2 ago until we worked through that crap? Completely gone. It’s sort of like he realized this saddle doesn’t hurt and he’s back to being quiet and light and not draggy Nay Nay.

Lawn mower

That’s not to say that things are perfect. That right lead is a work in progress. Bending to the right is looking really nice at the trot and we hold the bend nicely at the canter once we get the lead. It’s just picking it up. Building muscle is hard and Nay Nay has some muscle imbalance going on in his back. We’re going to test a few things to make sure that pain isn’t an issue, but, we’re suspect that if pain is involved, it’s pain from weakness vs pain from injury. So, once he builds that muscle? Picking up that canter shouldn’t be an issue. It’s not so much that he can’t, but rather some anxiety that it could be hard or might hurt. Once he gets it? Ears go forward and he’s 100% on board and OK, just significantly weaker.

We’ve played around with a little jumping work too. He’s a couple of lessons ago he jumped a gate for the first time. We practiced that for a few rides in which he then decided said gate did not need to be trotted but instead should be galloped. But, despite some enthusiasm, we maintained an acceptable pace without pulling. He also jumped a cross rail with a flower box this weekend just because. He didn’t care for it one direction (we took it as a 3ft fence), but happily trotted in the other way because???

In our lesson today, we worked on a circle over a tiny plank. We’ve worked on this on our own several times, but it was nice to tackle it in a lesson. The the left, we just trotted it several times as I stayed out of Nay’s way. To the right? Same thing until he landed on the right lead. At that point? We let him hold the canter and canter into the jump. I think we held the right lead 2 or 3 times before landing wrong. Our homework? Continue this exercise as the circle will help him build the muscle. If he lands wrong, start back at the trot.

I did have a chat with my trainer as sometimes I feel completely out of place among the $$$ warmbloods and all that. But, she reminded me that everyone has different goals and this used to be what she did all day every day. Green horses and ponies. It was only recently that she ended up with a barn full of AA hunters. I’m having fun, enjoying the journey, learning each ride (as is Nay right now), and it’s OK to have different goals. And, riding and training isn’t linear. We have good days and bad days. We improve and improve and then suddenly everything goes wrong and you suck as a rider, but then you progress faster and improve more before you plummet again. Regardless, right now, I’m happy where I’m at. Of course, I’ll be happier when that right lead is consistent!

The tale of the missing right lead (and brotherly bickering)

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“What? You FOUND it?” says Nay Nay.

Welp, that missing right lead. It’s a bugger and really doesn’t want to be found.

BUT, we did find it so I know it DOES exist!

For more details, please read on.

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“I would NEVER lose my right lead,” says Subi.

I was scheduled to ride yesterday in the late afternoon. After all, when I signed up for a lesson last week, I picked a day when it was cooler. Except, the “cold front’ never happened and the end of the week brought temps in the 90s with high humidity vs the low 80s that we were promised. Fail. So, early that morning, I was asked if I could ride earlier and I jumped through hoops to make it work with my schedule.

Due to the heat and a very hard ride the night before (someone had way too much energy), I had a pretty quiet pony in hand. We skipped the longeing and just tried to make it work. Walk and trot? SUCH a good boy. We actually had some bending to the right so the in hand work (both at home and pre-rides) is starting to pay off. And, I think Nay Nay is also starting to accept his d-ring bit.

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“So much work, so little food. You’re telling me I have to share?”

After chatting a little about the canter (sans advice, just me saying it’s been missing since before the 4th of July), I was told to trot a really large circle and ask for it in the corner so that my trainer could watch both of us. Yep, fail. Then the advice started. Lots of inside rein, inside leg, shortening my inside rein, not asking until his nose was turned in… Still not happening. So out came the crop. Using the crop and inside rein and inside leg, and a whole hell of a lot of persistence and circles (and falls starts), I finally got the canter. The trick was truly getting him off that inside shoulder, getting (and keeping!) the bend, and picking up the canter while his weight was in the right place. It was tough but doable. We cantered on the right lead a good 3+ times around the ring for good measure at a nice, forward pace. Once he had the canter? It felt good. But, right now picking it up is HARD so why bother? — Nay Nay.

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“Yes, how else am I going to keep my new figure? My belly sways when I walk.”

We moved on to the left lead and did a little work there. That lead is easy and we were able to do some circle work. Even with my crappy late steering, we still were able to hold the canter for a nice tight circle. Nay Nay is just that much stronger right now.

To end, we returned to the right lead, now with a tired horse. This time it was both harder and easier. Nay Nay said NO several times. It’s hard, but he knew what I wanted. The problem? He was tired. The time he tried some rein snatching from my hand. We had better bend from the start, but the new ploy was bend, slow way down, snatch, and drop. So, I got a bit angry. A little crop behind the leg (he decided that leg/kicks no longer mean go when he’s tired) and suddenly (well, after a couple instances)? We had a right lead canter. It did help that he rocked back onto his hind end which stopped the drop/drop, but nonetheless…

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“This sharing thing sucks! And why do we have to wear these ridiculous looking fly masks anyway? They’re not much fun for me! I liked the other ones that I got to put in my mouth and pull until I could hear that velcro go…”

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“Get over it Nay Nay! I was here first! I LIKE wearing a fly mask (and you seem to as well since your stays on most of the time… We have to wear these bug masks because these are the only ones you haven’t learned how to take off me yet!”

So, we have our work cut out for us. Each time he picked up the lead correctly, Nay Nay got all the praise in the world. After the first right lead canter, suddenly Nay Nay moved right off my leg, so with some consistency, I think we’ll be there. It may just take a little time.

Where we’ve been…

Nay Nay and I had an unexpected little break.

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Did a lot of this during his time off

I noticed some puffiness in his right hind a couple of weeks ago and decided to sit and try and see if it resolved itself. He wasn’t lame, it wasn’t hot, but there was definitely about a half an inch of puffiness in a tendon/ligament near his fetlock. He also decided to mysteriously lose his right lead for the 2-3 rides leading up to this time…

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Anyway, I tried a bunch of stuff and in the end, the swelling stayed and Nay Nay continued to feel just fine and had no issues with his 2-week vacation. He was sound, happy, and didn’t seem to care what I did to that leg.

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New bit sucks

I finally touched base with the vet and it’s been diagnosed as fluid in the tendon sheath/ a windpuff. The prescription? Ride the damn horse. Right now we’re trying to see if fluid disappears at all when riding. It doesn’t during turnout and it certainly doesn’t get better standing in his stall. But, the thought is it’s probably just chronic and stems back from his racing days. He wasn’t heavily raced (14 starts), but his legs are a mess (osselets in his front right and he’s been pin fired in both fronts). Despite that, he flexes fine and is sound (my farrier is shocked at his range of movement in his ugly leg… it’s just that, ugly). Down the line he will likely need maintenance, but for now? The vet feels 3 days a week of riding is perfectly acceptable and he can w/t/c and pop over jumps without restriction. The fact is, he hasn’t taken a lame step during this episode, I was the paranoid one.

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So do ear bonnets

So, yesterday after 2 weeks or so off, we headed over to the barn to ride. Nay Nay was a bit… up. My trainer asked me to change my bit my last lesson. I did and Nay Nay hasn’t been a fan. We first switched into a single jointed full cheek (thanks Michele). Nay Nay HATED that thing. I could not steer at all. I’ve never felt this horse heavy in my hands either (he was in a double-jointed loose ring copper mouth snaffle). After 2 rides of pure hell on the flat (fences weren’t as bad in that I could keep him IN the arena), I decided to give up and purchased a double-jointed full cheek for yesterday’s ride. He still dislikes the full cheek, but he doesn’t object to the mouthpiece. I’m actually wondering if our missing right lead may relate to the damn bit?

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Lots of feelings

Anyway, he was a bit… spicy on the ground and blowing me off so, against my better judgement, I tossed him on the lunge line. And, he’s lost the ability to lunge. Especially to the right. Mostly it is avoidance, partially it is extreme weakness. But, I don’t think it’s injury. Injury wouldn’t prevent him from walking. If I had thought more clearly, I’d have brought my halter out and lunged in that, but… hindsight. I think it’s all the damn bit.

However, once I got his brain installed? (really, it was hot, I wasn’t lunging for energy, it was a training thing… Donkey Kong decided that listening wasn’t part of his vocab… Success was walking in a small circle around me to the right because listening is necessary) I got on to a dead quiet horse. Steering at the walk was MUCH improved as was everything to the left. The right still worked, but significantly better. We didn’t leave the arena once!

img_3993We ended with a lovely but brief canter to the left just so I could see where he was.

And Nay Nay picked up the quietest, loveliest canter ever. Recently he’s been scooting past the viewing deck because that’s a great place to speed up. If I stay closer to the jumps, he’s better, but… This ride? Quiet, lovely, relaxed. After he cantered quietly by the viewing deck, I finished the canter across the center of the ring and called it a day even though we barely cantered half the ring. Sometimes you just end on a perfect note.

The pendulum of green horses

img_3887This was a weekend of a lot of firsts. Some highs, some lows, and some good old boring repetition. My trainer is away for a couple of weeks so our homework is just to ride, repeat some exercises, and repeat again and again and again until we’re both bored silly.

I need the repetition as much, if not more, than Nay Nay!

I was off on Friday so Nay Nay and I had 3 solid days of riding in front of us. Typically I don’t ride 3 days in a row, but… In hindsight, we could have skipped Saturday’s ride.

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happy ears our of the ring

Friday was nice and low key. We worked on the basics, played over our crossrails, and ended going for a walk around part of the property. Our FIRST trip out of the ring! And Nay held it together! This was impressive considering he was chased by ponies 2/3s of the time (damn young ponies). I let him watch them and sat and he was OK. He tried to lose it at the end when we walked by the pony mares again (the true terrors) to get my bag (one spin and jump and big loud grunt but we didn’t actually move), but all was fine once we entered the (fenceless) outdoor. Without the ponies chasing? He’d have been fine.

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Full-time grump.

Saturday the weather was crap. I forgot his ulcergard (we’re still getting a 1/4 tube pre-ride/haul), it was trying to storm but… not, ponies were ponying. And we just didn’t sync. I managed to fall off getting on? thanks to some random step sideways that left me tumbling forwards in slow motion off the other side. Positive? Nay Nay was not bothered at all and stood stock still (without me holding him in a fenceless outdoor) looking at me like I was the biggest idiot in the world. Yep, I agree. After that, nothing felt right. We could not get the right lead (this has become our solid lead in the outdoor), and everything else just felt… off. We rode, it was fine, but just not in sync. He was a brat in the crossties and ended up having to share his treats with Ranger because Ranger gave me a look.

Sunday? Ulcergard in hand we had a nice ride. Ponies were galloping around like fools and Nay was very fascinated (there is one pony visiting while everyone is at the show and he is equally as fascinated by Nay Nay).

img_39083/4 of ride was spent with Raisin galloping around the fenceline staring at Nay Nay… Ponies. But, we took the energy and put in to work over our crossrails. Our corners our of the second crossrail needs major work (I tried), but we’ll get there. Mostly Nay Nay just wanted to gallop to his jumps once he realized we were jumping. Erik stopped the videos pre and post so you can’t see the enthusiasm that came with the fences. His video technique (ie: vertical video and immediately stopping post fence) needs work, but I try not to criticize. At least he came out in the heat at all!

 

Stay tuned… Subi gets his own post because he scared the crap out of me on Friday night…

Baby steps

My blogs are getting boring these days but…

Another day, another lesson. I made it my goal in June to try and take a bunch of lessons and see what progress Nay Nay and I could make. We’re on the other side of our speedy-no-brake days (that lasted a grand total of 2 rides) and we’re on ride 2 of no lunging. Lazy-bones Nay Nay is back. Lol

I took a lesson on Friday and it was…OK. I felt a little defeated as while we had some great moments (he was a good boy overall), it also sort of sucked with the baby moments. We were walking over our small boxes and the jumped the first one a few times without issue before walking the second and crashed it (ie: took the jump down). Took the boxes down and confidence? Gone. Then the confidence was gone on the first fence (we over jumped it so much that I nearly came off) and we couldn’t get over it. We eventually removed a box, aimed towards the center of one box with the pole next to it, and walked over it. Repeat and were jumped the center of the box/pole several times to end on, but… I felt like I wasn’t good enough. Yeah.

Sunday I went to ride and Nay Nay was ouchy from his trim on Saturday so we did a touch of trotting before we just stood at the deck and socialized. He thought it was the best thing ever. So, while it wasn’t the ride I planned, going to the barn and socializing? Nay Nay thought that was AWESOME.

All this brings me to Tuesday and another lesson pre-trainer leaving for a horse show. It was hot as hell. I considered cancelling and Michele told me to ride.

I was late, got on, and hoped no one would die.

Nay Nay was dead at the trot. Add leg dead. Loose rein around the ring. Lol. At the canter? Pretty good thought we’ve been struggling with our left lead canter as he gets speedy right by the viewing deck and I need to figure out how to distract from the burst of speed without pulling. After a few circles there is no more burst/head toss, but it takes a while. When I stay close to the fence (vs deck), he’s definitely better, but I forget that. Our right lead right now is amazing… I don’t really get that as trotting to the right currently sucks. Haha!

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So hot and sweaty but such a good boy!

Instead of boxes, my trainer dismantled the jumps and set up a mini shoot with cross rails and the boxes around the jumps plus our little plank jump. We walked our cross rails and Nay Nay only hesitated briefly at the one where we crashed Friday. After that? We trotted and cantered and tried not to gallop those cross rails over and over. And did a mini-course with our plank jump as well.  We were coated with sweat in the end, but he was so happy and proud of himself!

Our homework? Set up the fences exactly like that and repeat every single ride until our next lesson in 2 weeks. He needs the repetition to just get confident. I do too.

This, we can do.

Finding a new normal

While I hate the phrase “new normal,” maybe it fits with Nay Nay?

I had another lesson yesterday afternoon and I was curious who would turn up. Supercharged Nay Nay or the Sleepy Variety Nay Nay that I rode on Sunday. Or, for all I knew, I could find a new version I hadn’t ridden yet. Green horses people!

I arrived early with the plan to lunge and stuck to my plan. What I didn’t expect was there was almost no one at the barn. Lately, it’s been packed. Nonetheless, we took advantage of the empty outdoor and put Nay Nay through his paces. I’ve been lunging in his bridle and it seems to be working better, especially to the right. Anyway, we walked, we trotted, and we cantered, but other than one squeal and one time spent convincing me he could not possibly move forward followed by bursting into the canter (horses), no actual antics. With Nay Nay? There are never any antics. He doesn’t buck, he doesn’t rear. He’s super balanced on the line. It’s actually incredible. His antics come while playing with Subi and Jiminy.

img_3784So I got on and that was that. He was quiet. We walked and circled and explored and got him used to my leg, but nothing exciting. We trotted some circles and worked on bend, but, same thing, drama free.

Then we cantered. Right lead I rushed transition so we did a quick change, but it was lovely. We started with half the ring and then extended to 3/4th but it was lovely and quiet and balanced. Left lead was nice, but a touch iffier because Nay was too focused on barking dogs. But, once we got over trying to play (aka tossing his head as we rode by), it was lovely.

Next? JUMPS!!! Last time we jumped we worked over a little plank. Not today. We started with a box with massive pink flowers. The box itself was small, but the flowers probably added another foot to 18″… Goal? Walk up and over. If you remember, we had issues with some fences back in the indoor this winter… So we walked up, he stopped. I added leg but was told don’t make a big deal and just let him figure it out. So we stayed there then circled and up and over. We walked over it the other way and then once more. Then we trotted it several times and the big thing was not stopping the forward motion. So, holding mane. And Nay Nay would launch himself over because this was getting fun I guess?

Then we continued to walk to the second fence in the line. A stone wall with a gate behind it. It was pretty narrow but a touch larger than the other fence in terms of solid matter. We walked up before he stopped and stared at dogs on the other side of the road. Goal, get him to walk up another step. So I squeezed and next thing we’re on the other side. Ok then…

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Reusing this because I love it so much

We walked over another time then trotted it (this time I had to kindly say woah and release approaching it because someone thought he knew better and wanted to CANTER) a few times before we put the line together.

And? With that, Nay Nay jumped his first line of real jumps without any issue. We woahed in the middle (because he said canter) but the jumps themselves were nice. I need to get media, but my trainer is happy with his front end over fences. I might end of with a little tb hunter after all…

It’s amazing how much better things are when your horse feels GOOD physically. Loving my Nay Nay Donkey right now!

Growing pains.

img_3716I alluded in my last lesson recap that I had a terrible ride on Nay Nay last Wednesday. He had energy, I had no brakes, and honestly, I just couldn’t control him. We are making some changes so the ride wasn’t entirely surprising, but it was still… demoralizing.

I took a lesson on Friday hoping to have that same horse so that I could learn to ride him, or at least get the tools to ride him. And luckily that same horse showed up.

img_3828The thing is, Nay Nay doesn’t do anything, but at the same time, it’s still not the horse I’ve been riding. And then I get tense which doesn’t help. So… Yeah. On Friday, when we picked up the trot? We went flying forward. Not the lovey puttering trot we’ve had as of late. New rule #1: if he’s fast? pull back immediately, not after 10 strides. Rule 2: start on a small circle. So, after it took me 13 strides to pull him up, we moved to a small circle and worked there for a while, woahing every other stride for a while, then every 3 strides, then every four strides. As he listened, we expanded the circle.

img_3830To the right, I started with short reins which helped and we quickly were able to move our circle around different parts of the ring, but, rule 3: be strategic and clear. Also, his lack of bend to the right worked in my favor as I also worked the inside rein to ask him to soften his neck. Honestly, the right is hard and explosions didn’t happen. We made our way through different parts of the ring and it was actually nice.

img_3827After trotting, we… cantered. Rule #4: ALWAYS have a plan. The goal with the canter was to stay at the far end of the ring and not pass any jumps. Keep my reins short, and keep him slow. So, I picked up the canter and immediately got yelled at that I needed to shorten my reins and pull my left (?) rein and all sorts of stuff. Rule #5: having a plan isn’t good enough, you must FOLLOW THE PLAN. Eventually, we got the canter figured out and it was slow and nice. We also discovered I am pathetic and don’t know my left from my right, but that’s a post for another day.

img_3826The right lead? We started off with the correct length rein though picked up the wrong lead (which no one but me cared about). On a circle though, it’s HARD. That said, he was slow, responsive, and VERY GOOD. Eventually we changed the lead and started expanding the circle till we got around 2/3 of the ring. He was great! We ended with picking back up the left lead canter just to prove I could do it without antics. Done.

So my homework was to practice all of this. And to lunge before I rode in case he needed to get energy/anxiety out pre-ride. Way easier to do that on the line (or running around the indoor) vs with a rider. I was given the rules and the plan, I just needed to stick with it.

I went out Sunday with my plan. I put him on the line and he seemed slow, but…

I got on and… I needed to kick. Kicking wasn’t part of the game plan. WTF horse. To keep him trotting, I needed to kick.

img_3837I’m set for the horse I’ve had the last to rides and instead, I have “please kick to make me move forward”?!?!?!?!

I mean, he was fabulous. 100% fabulous. The best ride I have ever had on him. I tried to follow the plan as best I could (meaningful circles, deliberate track around the ring, etc.) but???? Who was this horse? We even popped over a jump because why not?

So, that’s where we’re at. Lesson later today. I don’t know who I’ll be riding. I’m going to lunge because…

Most amazing lesson ever (and some thoughts/questions about alfalfa)

While I thought of discussing the tale of 2 rides (Tuesday’s lesson and my ride on Wednesday), I don’t want to minimize the success that was my lesson on Tuesday but dwelling on the demoralizing disaster that Wednesday’s ride was. So, with that, let me talk about my lesson on Tuesday.

You guys, Nay Nay was phenomenal. I don’t even get it. Maybe I grabbed a different horse (who? No idea), but he didn’t put one hoof out of line the entire time we were at the barn. He exceeded expectations.

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Breaking up text with a picture!

Normally, Nay Nay lives up to his name and, er, is a bit… vocal. He’s a screamer. He didn’t scream once. Not before I got on, not while I was on, not after we were finished, not on the trailer. He was a gem.

We rode outside. We weren’t alone. In fact, I started freaking out because what started with one horse eventually became 5 horses (including Nay Nay). And… it didn’t matter. We trotted. He was slow (not lethargic), just relaxed and happy. Putting out just enough trot. We made circles and explored the ring and took everything in. And you know? It was all good.

While we were trotting, one of the horses started cantering and eventually popping over some fences. This is when my nerves got to me. I haven’t cantered with another horse before. Been in the ring? Yes. Trotted some (sticking to one end)? Yes, cantered while they were cantering? Nope. I had expressed fears at the beginning and was told we’d addressed this today. I was later told, don’t invent potential problems, ride what you have now. 

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This idiot like ornamental grass. Old picture because he’s gained a ton of weight… And that grass is really tall now. 

So, when asked, I picked up the canter. Did Nay Nay care? No. I did ask that no one run me over (or run up his butt), but some of that is PTSD from Subi because he cared and I did get bucked off (at a show of all things) from a horse running up our butt (into our butt) so… Lol. Nay Nay never changed his pace. He didn’t care. Life was good.

Both leads were the same. Even when a horse came cantering towards him nothing mattered. Seriously. I cannot explain how amazing he was.

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must keep eating

We moved on and trotted the same little fence from my last post. We trotted it from both turns heading into the corner and he happily jumped over, cantering out. From there? We cantered over it, picking our canter up in the corner and cantering the long ride to it. And he was perfect. Life was good. He was very proud of himself.

Without going into details about Wednesday’s ride, I will say he wasn’t bad (though he did try and roll before I got on and while I was on at the end of the ride). He just had energy. A lot of energy considering it was 90 degrees and blazing hot. I rode Wednesday at the request of my trainer to test something out. He wasn’t mentally upset, but he had energy. I’m pretty sure that nothing I could have done would have tired him out. He also has had energy many of the last several rides (with the random exception of Tuesday). I’ve lunged him several times.

We trotted, he wanted to canter. At one point I just let him canter, but I can’t say it helped. I didn’t feel like I had brakes. I don’t like that feeling. I got to the point that I felt like we could walk calmly, stand calmy, and did a bit of trotting (after we walked and trotted and randomly cantered) and called it a day. He was done at that point (and hot and wanted to roll or canter) even though he had energy. I was done. And it was time to stop. I signed up for a lesson on Friday hoping that I have the Wednesday horse vs the Tuesday horse so my trainer can walk me through riding the Wednesday horse because I can ride the Tuesday horse without issue (though the Tuesday horse is much more fun).

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I look awful, he looks cute

This morning, it came to me that I might be feeding him too much alfalfa. Nay Nay isn’t being bad, but he has had so much energy (and isn’t being bad about it, but he probably doesn’t need all that protein for the amount of work he’s doing right now). He’s put weight on really fast once we cut the grain and his body stopped fighting his feed. But, perhaps he doesn’t need as many pounds of alfalfa right now. That’s a lot of freaking protein… When I start to calculate the amount of alfalfa forage he’s eating, it’s a little much. I might have created my own problem here without realizing it. I was so worried about his weight that… Oops.

So my thoughts are to replace his alfalfa pellets with alfalfa timothy pellets. Or, I could replace half the alfalfa pellets with orchard grass pellets. He does get a flake of alfalfa hay each night that’s about 5-7lbs (I should weigh it, but it’s super dense and flakey and…) plus orchard alfalfa hay because that’s all he’ll eat.

In terms of pellets:

  • Alfalfa pellets are min 16% protein
  • Alfalfa-Timothy pellets are min. 12% protein
  • Orchard grass pellets are 8% protein
  • Timothy grass pellets are 8% protein

So yeah. That’s where I’m at. Open to all suggestions. I just calculated how many pounds of alfalfa he’s eating and… I’m not sharing the number. Tuesday he didn’t finish his dinner on Monday night or Tuesday morning. Just saying.

Riding the horse you have.

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Next door neighbors setting off fireworks into my woods and making jokes about what they set on fire doesn’t help…

I’ve been struggling a little bit with confidence and motivation lately. Riding, it’s a head game. I haven’t been helped by being completely overwhelmed by work lately (I’m still at home and anticipate working from home through at least July 15 when we hope to begin some services on campus — this still means will be working remotely, at least in part). Somehow, I just have too much going on and I’ve internalized a lot and… It’s just put me in a bad place.

Riding and horses should be my escape, but I’m still getting to know Nay Nay and he’s green and while not unpredictable, my brain isn’t convinced he’s not. So I’m waiting for an explosion or a bolt to happen. It’s terrible but I just need time.

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This cutie is always smiling

I tried to schedule a lesson last week and my trainer was…unreachable. Communication isn’t her strong point. People used to have set lesson times which made it easy to fit other people in. Then the pandemic happened and people started riding at weird times. Then people just started signing up on her schedule when they wanted to ride. The issue with this? If you text her when her schedule isn’t in front of her? She doesn’t schedule you and usually forgets to get back to you. This happened twice last week. I gave up. Then felt bad for myself and didn’t go out Saturday because I was in a weird place mentally (I also didn’t realize all this scheduling stuff, just figured that she wasn’t looking at her schedule and forgot–one of the boarders filled in the details).

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Will work for food

I went out Sunday knowing that a million people were going to be at a show. The first schooling show in a while and the barn would be empty. I hadn’t ridden my horse in a week. Not ideal. I did some lunging and he was pretty good, but Nay gets bored and loses focus pretty quickly and starts screaming… He does it out of anxiety and he does it out of boredom. It’s freaking annoying. After trotting and cantering each way, I got on.

We were joined by another horse and Nay was thrilled. He’s decided he loves having 1 other horse in the ring with him, especially outside. So I got on and found, for the first time ever, Nay had energy. We trotted and circled and changed direction and occasionally cantered a few steps, but he had energy. That said, he never did anything.

Eventually, we walked and let the other horse jump. Then we cantered. I rode like crap and could not sit back (tension), but nothing happened. I have no idea why I’m so pitched forward. Part of it, most of it, is being outside. I have this complex about the outdoor. But part of it is just staying out of his way and that includes a light seat. But I don’t need to be so far forward!

To the right? More of the same.  That said, he was feeling crazy good going to the right and tossing his head in celebration. What I got out of the right was that if he’s up and feeling good, but only tosses his head and keeps his hind end in check? It’s not really too big of a deal. So that was good.

When I got on, I put a fence down to a tiny little vertical and decided I’d work on that. We jumped it one way without issue (no video) — he carried me over a few times, then launched himself over because why not give it 150%???

I did get video of our 2 attempts to the right. The first time? He decided that trotting was overrated and cantered the last few strides because why not canter in on a horse who isn’t confident over fences… LOL. He was having fun.

He also had a crazy amount of energy. When I changed direction to trot it again, he took it as a sign to canter so struggled to bring him back to the trot again. So the next video is me telling him he as energy with him trotting nicely.

Before I left for the day, I did sign up for a lesson today. Cross your fingers I don’t die. I definitely need to ride more.

Everything old is new again

Well folks, we did it!

After 10 weeks off and way too much money spent on ulcergard, Nay Nay and I had our first rides back this weekend!

We started off on Saturday afternoon with me a nervous wreck and followed my vet’s plan for bringing him back. The main goal was to keep him as stress-free as possible. This horse is rarely ever UP (he just isn’t), but mentally is a worrier so we have a lot to deal with. Anyway, armed with tools, we headed out to the barn for our first lesson during Corona-Times…

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Someone has put on a good bit of weight! And his girth barely fits!

When I arrived, I was a bit dismayed to see so many people around (I have my own thoughts, but whatever). My county is still in the red but different barns are responding in their own ways. I already made plans to groom at home and tack up at the trailer so I tacked up, grabbed my gear back, put on gloves and found my trainer who told me both rings were empty (yes!), but that there was a lot of activity outside so her suggestion was we ride inside where Nay Nay was most comfortable.

Inside, I decided to lunge. He didn’t need it, but it was my way to just see what I was dealing with. 5 minutes of trotting (I even brought my own lunge line) just let Nay stretch his legs and see the ring again. Once we were finished, my trainer joined us and we got on.

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Handsome as always!

And things were… Fine. He’s very weak and I had to remember to SIT DOWN. Omg. 10 weeks off and I forgot how much this horse wants my butt in the saddle! But otherwise? No big deal. We walked, we looked, and nothing happened. If you all remember our first ride? This wasn’t it. At one point, Nay’s head was on the ground. We trotted around and there were a few steps of canter here and there when he was “inspired” by the other horse who joined us in the indoor, but nothing exciting. In the end? We even canter each way. It was an easy, unexciting, and overall boring ride. I could have done all of this outside of a lesson, but I need to make sure I didn’t die! I needed that ground person!

Because Saturday went so well and all dinner and breakfast were consumed Saturday night and Sunday morning, I decided to ride Sunday as well. We went out Sunday morning to an EMPTY BARN! My favorite! I again tacked in the parking lot (Nay was a little looky so we grazed first), then lunged again (this time I asked for more: walk, trot — large and small circles — and canter), before hopping on. I also set up some poles.

I had a quiet and distracted horse under me. There was a pony outside who Nay was a bit… obsessed with. So, it took a bit of work, but we got through it and by the time we were joined in the ring, were walking with our head low to the ground. On Sunday, his trot was nice and relaxed, but, I found that I need those spurs back because no amount of inside leg was helping me push him out going right! Still, Nay happily trotted over his poles and definitely enjoyed them (though I completely forgot to put my dismantled jump back together… oops).

And then we cantered. He’s weak and the right lead is bad (picking up the lead is definitely not there), but for 10 weeks off? It didn’t look ANYWHERE as bad as I anticipated.  I even have video.

We’ll try and ride sometime this week and take another lesson this weekend. The outdoor is supposedly getting expanded so it’s out of commission (I had originally planned to use it Sunday and found all jumps removed and no gate or mounting block so…  But a new larger outdoor is exciting!