(mostly) Wordless Wednesday: Snow Antics

The boys have decided they are DONE with winter. Nay Nay in particular. Last week he was especially agitated by the SNOW. I turned him out in the round pen hoping he could let off some steam prior to turn out (hoping he’s be easier to lead). I didn’t help and the easiest horse to turn out ended up body slamming me and I ended up with a bad case of whiplash… More injuries. Great.

Subi also has been having issues with life and has been incredibly poorly behaved turning out. I think he’s decided he wants to live out 24/7 again, but Nay and Jiminy are 100% against that. So, after try a few things turning out that… didn’t work (loose Subi is a bad idea)… I introduced clicker training and this morning was much better. I’m also trying to feed breakfast outside as a sort of compromise. I’ll keep you updated.

In the meantime, yesterday was WARM. High 40s and melting! And then flash freezing as everything dropped to 17 overnight… And mean mom forgot to put heavier blankets on everyone. Snow storm tomorrow because we need snow again on top of the melted snow turned slush turned ice concoction currently existed everywhere but? Maybe it’ll miss us? Probably not because I still haven’t gotten the snow blower fixed which means I’ll have to pay to get the driveway plowed out again.

So much rolling
The drama! And squealing.
So Freaking OVER IT.

The boys have also been going out and playing most mornings… I never get the fun stuff of video though because why would I? I start recording after the gallop around and rear and buck…

Tiny bit more excitement here:

You CAN tell why everyone but Nay Nay usually ends up with their neck covers un-velcroed…

Moving…slowly.

Since I last posted, I’ve pretty much been on the sidelines with a bunch more health ailments. Whether they were caused by body’s reaction to the asthma flare or a deeper issue or both, I don’t know. But, I’ve been on the sidelines with a bunch of weird issues ranging from an eye issue that landed me in the ER to full body weakness to some other infection. I’m off antibiotics, the eyes are healing (a specialist diagnosed me with nodular epscleritis in both eyes but it’s self contained and healing), and all bloodwork is normal so the weakness is still a mystery. We’re seeing if it resolves in another week before we run more tests (I’ve been tested for just about every autoimmune disease).

Best pair of thoroughbreds. I’m not sure they like each other all that much, but they do enjoy playing. The rest of the time they annoy the crap out of each other…

Anyway, due to how weak I’ve been, much of my time has been spent on the couch under a heated blanket. I’ve helped out with stalls when I can, but there are days when I can barely hold onto the full pitchforks (my arm is shaking holding my coffee this morning). My husband is doing it all without complaint. I think he’s discovered the solitude of stall mucking.

Trouble. He really should never be fed treats because he’s so mouthy and bites my coat pockets every morning, but… Double blanketed and so happy during a recent cold snap. Body clipped and blankets is his preferred way to spend the winter! He struggles with temperatures otherwise.

Still, I’ve missed my horse time. I feed and turn out every morning and before turnout is treat time (right now, ginger snaps seem to be everyone’s favorite, but no one will turn down peppermints or an oatmeal cream pie — Subi’s eating them again). And I bring in at night while Erik makes up dinner buckets. I have to say, the ponies have been really good lately. After all his issues the last couple of years, he’s Mr. Relaxed. My husband turns him out in the mornings and they’re best buddies now—he used to be terrified of this horse and now he’ll lead him day or night. But they’re all so good. I mean, Jiminy is Jiminy so he’s a brat, but…

My best boys on a really cold morning.

I did finally get on Nay Nay on Sunday. He definitely knows something is up with me and is being extremely careful and gentle. When we walk at night, he stays close so I can use him for balance (my entire property is on a hill). Getting on? He’s never stood that still or not moved off until I basically begged him to and even then he looked back as if to make sure I was really ready.

Missed this so much!

We more or less just walked, working on a nice forward pace and carriage, but it felt like coming home. It’s amazing how much you can miss something so much. I did try and trot, but only managed 1.5 times each way before I was jello. Still, it was a place to start and Saint Nay Nay took care of me every step of the way.

All dressed up with no where to go

My goal is to ride again tomorrow and do more of the same. At this point, I don’t care how little we do, I’m just happy to get back on.

Saint Nay Nay

Regaining fitness

I was sick folks. Really sick. Way worse than I thought. When the urgent care doctor told me I could die, I kind of ignored him because, honestly, who wants to hear that kind of thing. Then my primary care told me the same thing though I was doing a lot better by that point. But, damn, asthma is no joke. 3 weeks of heavy duty nebulizer medicine 4x/day (which makes me feel like crap), dexamethasone (don’t be like me and be allergic to prednisone because then no one will prescribe you steroids), I’m finally approaching the world of the living again. My lung levels are finally out of danger zone and actually resembling normal person zone and my husband isn’t worried about me keeling over and dying. So progress, right?

But, I am weak. While I got crazy bad Xmas week, the truth is, I probably was going downhill for several weeks before that and just… ignored it. Because why not? Every time I rode, I was short of breath. I was tired all the time. But, it wasn’t that bad. I just tried to use my inhaler before and after I rode and moved on with life. For future reference? Not a good treatment plan going forward.

Nay Nay in cross ties
I love him.

So, now that I’m approaching the living, I’m trying to figure out how to re-introduce riding. When I got back on the other weekend, I know it was too early, but mentally, I needed to sit on my horse and walk around. I ended up having to recover for 2 days from the 10 minute walk and 1 minute trot session. But, with steroids in my system, I’m able to do a little bit more.

This weekend, I managed to get out both Saturday and Sunday to ride. Saturday, we worked on the flat with the draw reins and had a nice ride before popping over some tiny fences. It was a good ride. I enjoyed myself. Nay enjoyed himself. All was good. But, it took a lot out of me. Lesson learned. Nebulized BEFORE I ride. Then, I got home and crashed on the couch vs nebulizing and basically missed another nebulizer dose. Not cool.

First jumps in ???

Sunday? Armed with a nebulizer treatment, I felt much stronger. Except, I left circumstances dictate my ride. Nay has been REALLY happy with the draw reins. But they make me work very hard. We can spend 10 minutes just walking and stretching into a forward walk and I felt lazy. So, since there was a lesson in the ring, I decided that I would wait until the lesson was over and then forgo the reins. I got on and forgot how much organization they help me have. In addition, the lesson left (sub trainer as trainer is in FL) opened the barn door 100% so there was distraction and glare and movement every time we passed. It wasn’t a big deal, but just unnecessary distractions and I couldn’t focus my horse. The easiest solution? Hop off, close the damn door, and get back on with my ride. But, I felt stupid doing that and to do that I have to pretty much leave the indoor (the door was open wider than it is in the summer. I’ve never seen it that far open). So, pretty much our entire ride was just unfocused. Add dogs galloping around outside, it was wasn’t the ride I wanted. And I was tired from the day before.

Baby sitter pony

I ended up giving up on flat work after a while as it just wasn’t going anywhere. I was getting tired, I couldn’t get Nay forward enough and focused and it just wasn’t working. So we popped over some little fences and called it a day. He wasn’t bad, we just weren’t communicating. I’m going to try and get back out this week and see if I can get a better ride in when I actually make a plan and stick with it.

He’s always good even when I’m a mess

I’m trying to balance a little bit of yoga (I like power yoga, but I’m not there) to regain ALL the core strength with riding. But, it’s SO FREAKING HARD.

Anyway, I’m riding again. Maybe my February I’ll actually have some strength back? All video is from the Pivo. My settings were messed up and not working, but after not letting me change anything (speed, autozoom, etc.) finally Sunday night I had access to those settings. I’m hoping that this will allow me to make better use of it. I have some flat video, but the tracking is complete crap so… I’m also still trying to find a good place to put the tripod…. The end of the arena is too far, but the middle doesn’t work well either. Oh well…

Rules to ride by

Goofiest horse

I have several draft posts about my recent lessons that I just haven’t had the motivation to write about. They haven’t been bad. They haven’t been exciting. They haven’t been boring. I just haven’t had the motivation. That said, I do like writing about lessons as this blog also serves as a record of Nay Nay’s progress. Still… I’m not pushing it.

Not impressed by the snow.

My last 3 lessons (all taking place in a 7 day period) have been all over the board. This reflects my recent rides. Everything as of late is lacking consistency. I’ll be honest? This has sort of wrecked my confidence a bit. But, going forward, I need to just put that aside and ride the horse I have.

Instead of recapping the rides, I’m going to instead recap the takeaways.

  1. Sit DOWN. When I’m uncomfortable, I have a habit of tensing in my thighs and ankles and sitting ON the saddle vs IN the saddle. If I really sit down, Nay starts to relax. If I tense, I give Nay reason to tense.
  2. Engage the brain. When I get on, get to work immediately. Work doesn’t mean trotting. Work mean getting into the center of the ring and circling and changing direction and marching forward. Start the trot the same way. ONLY once the brain is engaged and the body and back is warmed up do we leave the center and continue on. Once on the rail? Sometimes the brain still needs extra engagement. Nay likes poles on these days so circling and adding some pole work and lots of change of direction once his back is warmed up is good.
  3. Utilize draw reins. This one might be controversial to some, but, like everything else, they are a tool and when used properly, they have a place. We’ve introduced them and Nay Nay is responding well.
  4. MARCH ON. This is especially important when using draw reins. If I am using draw reins, I CANNOT have an up and down trot. It needs to have power, it needs to be forward, it needs to have controlled speed. Basically, I need to ride. So often when trotting, I just am happy if we are trotting slowly and not dying, but this isn’t OK. This isn’t a proper trot. So, March On.
  5. Ride the horse you have today. Basically, stay in the moment. I can’t ride concerned about what happened last week or yesterday because the horse I had those rides might not be the horse I have this ride. This one is SO hard for me. I fixate on past issues or mistakes or fears rather than embracing the moment.
  6. Control what you can control. Some rides just don’t happen. If Nay is tense? It might be worth it to take advantage of running through the indoor. Preemptively. If I get on and it’s STILL not going well despite engaging the brain? I can get off and lunge or run around the indoor. That’s OK. Sometimes the only thing you can do is free lunge or run around or lunge. That’s OK too. If it goes really well and everything is accomplished in 10 minutes? It’s OK to end there too.
So gross

While Nay Nay hops around and curls up in a ball, he doesn’t actually do anything beyond that. In addition, he ONLY does this at the trot. Never at the canter. So, as long as he warms up and works out of it, things are usually fine once we do canter. I’m so much more comfortable at the trot MENTALLY, but my horse does NOTHING at the canter. I have no clue. Brains are strange things.

Anyway, it’s cold and miserable (temperature wise, we finally have sun over snow and ice) but I’m hoping to get out to ride by Saturday if I can dig out the trailer. We’ll see if I can follow my own advice!

Winter wonderland

1 Year.

Somehow, it’s been a year since Nay Nay joined the family. While the last 18 months have been pretty awful (and obviously 2020 is 2020), Nay Nay has been the bright light.

I was planning to do this Saturday, but we spent our anniversary having a terrible ride. It was cold and windy and I questioned the last year. Of course, Sunday we had a great ride so I just wrote of Saturday. There is a reason I never ride on horse-anniversaries.

Anyway, enjoy a year of Nay Nay pictures. Way too many. But, these made me happy this morning. LOL

First ride!

Coming Home:

December and January:

February:

March:

April:

May:

June:

July:

August:

September:

October:

November:

December:

Chugging along

I haven’t blogged for awhile. I keep meaning to and then I just…don’t want to. Life and work has been getting me down and I just haven’t been up to it? Life’s got me down for no real good reason.

The horses? They’re doing OK. Jiminy has decided to get all heaves-y on me so that’s fun. I have him on zyrtec plus leftover ventipulmin as needed. It’s fine. I should start steaming his night hay but the issue is he doesn’t necessarily eat a full flake if it’s in a net so I don’t really know how much to steam. If it’s not in a net, he’ll eat too much. Dilemmas. So I do nothing.

Doesn’t get much cuter than this, does it?

Subi. Subi is currently feral. Some days he’s dead quiet and others he’s a wild maniac. So typical Subi. He’s also grown a coat for the first time ever so there is that?

This fool… there are no words.

And Nay Nay. We’ve been alternating really good rides and less than great rides. He does better when he’s ridden a lot. I’m just trying to find the right balance. We had a fabulous lesson the other week where he pretty much grew up.

Blurry video but video nonetheless

And the proceeded to have crappy rides every day after.

It’s not that they were bad. They weren’t. They just weren’t… good. They were fine. But I’m struggling to find the balance between forward and quiet, slow and dead, and spooky and stupid. Most of the time he’s been slow, dead, and stupid. But not actually dead or slow? I guess what I need to do is suck it up, get after him, and find the forward button?

I’m not exactly sure what’s going on. He’s fine. He’s not doing anything. But some days? Work is sort of, kind of optional. And then I struggle to keep him moving forward and we end up with this behind the leg crappy canter that I just can’t ride. And, instead of smacking him with the crop and saying knock it off you fool, I just sit there and don’t do anything? I don’t know. User error.

The far end of the ring has become spooky town for us (read: me). And well, that’s not helping. I mean, we’re fine. And Nay doesn’t do anything. Other than the weekend before our lovely lesson when neither of us were feeling it (and I was almost dumped 3x). But besides that day? He’s done nothing to make me nervous so who the heck knows.

So that’s where we’re at. Lesson tomorrow. We’ll see how we do.

The tale of 2 rides

Or however many rides as it’s been since I’ve actually blogged.

There seems to be 2 Nay Nays out there: Good, perfect, willing Nay Nay and opinionated, angry, energetic Nay Nay.

They grow up fast

Neither Nay Nay really does much wrong, but Good Nay Nay is my preferred ride where as Angry/Opinionated Nay Nay is a little more unpredictable and makes me work harder.

Also clipped Nay for the first time last week.

A couple weeks ago, Angry Nay came to play. Leading up to my lesson, I just didn’t ride enough (lacking motivation) and Nay Nay, enjoying his time off, was a bit bitter about this “work thing.” A normal horse might try and buck you off or take off or be fast. Nay Nay doesn’t buck. In fact, he was pretty quiet. But, instead, he put all his excess energy into spooking. And by spooking, I mean, getting distracted by various things like cats because, Nay doesn’t really spook either (he did at the end of the lesson when some crazy farm equipment came speeding down the road — he was fine once he saw it). But, scary invisible cats just… Yeah. So cats plus just not feeling the ride? Not good. He decided he didn’t want to jump (we got over our outside line) and then he decided he under no circumstances was jumping the inside single. Not because of the jump, just because he didn’t want to. So we fought it out and he got angry and lost. It had NOTHING to do with the jump, but it was that kind of day. His brain hadn’t been engaged enough leading up to the lesson and yeah.

Just a little canter fence, no big deal

Post lesson, I decided to put my sweaty horse into boot camp. We working Friday-Sunday plus Tuesday and I had a very perfect horse. He was happy, quiet, but annoyed with this work thing. Yet, perfectly awesome to ride. Then, because, adulting, we skipped a lesson that week, and resumed riding this past weekend with rides Saturday and Sunday.

We can trot in, but cantering into this line? I screw up the striding every time.

Saturday? The outdoor was a bit mucky from rain, but despite that (and a lunging horse at the start of the ride), Nay was a gem. I mean, he is a wild thoroughbred as all videos will show (my husband has retired again so enjoy video until he un-retires in 2-3 months). But, completely, utterly perfect thoroughbred. Showing shades of growing out of his green been status.

We have a right lead canter now

Sunday? It was windy and ugly and I rode inside because, why not? Ride started perfectly with a quiet horse. We jumped some fences as part of our flat work (I like to incorporate some crossrails or tiny jumps into flat work just to spice things up and all was good. Then, later, we jumped a small jump on the diagonal (we’re not jumping much, just a handful of 18″ fences that we usually trot over and then 2-3 2’+ fences that we usually also trot and maybe canter 1-2 18″ fences) and things went… array? You see, he landed on the wrong lead, no problem. Except, he landed, balanced, and when I unintentionally touched my spur to his side, someone decided to toss in a full change. Then, he did it again the next time we landed without any accidental cues. Then, he decided he could toss his legs all over the place because he’s awesome like that… Not that his legs go anywhere because he’s not athletic, but….

And a left lead

So, the rest of our ride was spent dodging legs and remaining vigilant, and getting out excess energy because a certain bay horse suddenly was feeling very full of himself… He didn’t toss in anymore changes, but he did think about it. I don’t plan to try any on my own (I’d like help for those thank you very much!). After I finished some work and a particular display of… leg flinging, we ended up trotting for 20 minutes to end and cantering a few times around each direction without acrobatics before we ended… Despite all of that, he never came close to unseating me and I don’t think he was trying. There was no buck in there, but lots of front leg flinging… I wish I had video of that.

Nay’s favorite jump

Freaking Succeed?!?!

Back when Nay Nay was having all of his stomach/ulcer issues from March-June, I stuck him on Succeed at some point in a fit of desperation. I had no idea if it did anything, but he liked the taste and something he was on (Ulcergard, Succeed, Outlast, or Redmond’s Daily Gold) plus a massive diet overhaul seemed to fix his stomach. Not the way to test supplements/medicines but I was desperate and Ulcergard wasn’t doing it (and by month 3…).

Well, mid summer, I decided to remove the overpriced Succeed. Haha. Something went wrong (saddle fit) and Nay Nay got a touch grumpy and back on Succeed he went and I don’t know if it was the Succeed or just life working out again.

I recently decided that spending $100/month for 1(!!!!!) supplement was crazy. Especially one that I don’t know was doing anything. Nay is on Platinum Performance ($$) plus Outlast plus Daily Gold plus electrolytes on top on his diet of alfalfa pellets and rice bran and special hay and alfalfa. Feeding this damn horse costs a freaking fortune. Not to mention Ulcergard as needed for lessons and/or rides if he’s feeling stressed…

Nay has been off the Succeed for almost 10 days and is becoming increasingly grumpy. Until yesterday, he’s been good under saddle. Yesterday he was fine, but had the bug up his butt attitude. Today? Complete turd. Until we jumped. Then he was happier. But he’s grumpy. He’s got mushy poop too. And a sensitive flank. And he kicked out at me. Once. He learned never to try that again.

All coincides with time off the Succeed. So, thanks to his generous sponsor, a new autoship is being placed and back on he goes. There’s something in this oat flour concoction that makes his belly happy. And a few days of Ulcergard or Esomeprazole/nexium might not hurt either.

Horses. Trying to bankrupt us every step of the way!

That pesky right lead.

I’ve talked some about our right lead issues. We had a right lead and then suddenly it was gone.

Saddle fit played a role, I’m sure, but honestly? I don’t really have a clue what caused Nay Nay’s right lead to pretty much disappear. But it did.

We’ve been working on it. And it’s been frustrating.

What’s worse is that when we get it? The right lead is actually BETTER than the left lead. I mean, there is NOTHING to do once you pick up the right lead. You just sit there whereas the left lead? the canter is less consistent in terms of pace and gate and all that. But the right lead? The canter is PERFECT.

During Wednesday’s lesson, we worked with the spurs on moving his hind end over. First standing still, then walking, then trotting, then eventually when asking for the canter. We weren’t able to pick up the right lead, but he did get the concept of moving off the spur.

Nay Nay visiting Ranger

Thursday we took another lesson and continued the above. When it became clear that we weren’t getting the lead, my trainer got on (yay!). First, I need to be way more assertive with my leg/spur… But, it was actually nice to see someone have similar issues. After a little bit of wrong answers (which were ignored), Nay Nay answered with the right lead and OMG so much praise. Then he was asked again, and again, and again. The thing is, he is OMG THIS CLOSE and then, hesitates, and left lead. All in all, he picked it up 4 times, each time getting so much praise.

Afterward, he was VERY proud of himself. My trainer basically said, the canter is LOVELY and there is nothing physically preventing it. He just needs this to be repeated over and over and over until he realizes that, yes, we do canter on the right lead. She was shocked at how balanced the right lead is. It is THAT lovely (loop your reins and occasionally cluck/squeeze but that’s it. He does it all).

I guess he’s staying…

On Saturday, I picked it up 3 or 4 times. I had to work for it, but praised the hell out of it when I got it. Then he landed from a few fences on the right lead so we held the canter and again, praised the shit out it. He’s crazy happy about jumping so I’m trying to pop him over a few fences every ride just to balance out the canter crap.

Sunday? 4 right lead canters and then he landed from his roll top on the right lead several times again. The canter was so lovely that we held it all the way around and cantered into the roll top — first time cantering that fence. And it was perfect. I can’t say enough about this kid’s enthusiasm for jumps. Even when I miss a distance, he says, “I got this!” and takes care of it.

Nay Nay requests new accommodations…like his stall. It’s pouring rain and he shouldn’t have to be outside.

So yeah, that’s where we’re at. If nothing else, the fact that he’s trying to land right is progress. We’ll see what progress we make in a few more weeks…

Evidently we jump liverpools?

I’m blogging because I’m angry at the state of the world and focusing on my horse sounds like a good idea? Caveat? I have ZERO media.

Love this horse so freaking much

After recovering from VACCINE FEVER 2020 (we need to booster the botulism vaccine in 30 days and see if he spikes a crazy fever again), I rode Saturday and had WILD HORSE. Well, not really. I had distracted horse. He had energy? But was slow as molasses. Like I tried to longe but realize that Nay Nay didn’t need it? And, why move forward when you can spend all your energy screaming to the new Bay Horse in the front paddock that you can’t even see from the outdoor ring?

Yes.

My horse screamed.

The ENTIRE FREAKING Ride.

I didn’t realize until I was leaving that he was calling to Bay Horse who was calling back.

Pretty day, little jumps

Idiots.

We trotting and screamed. I had zero focus. I thought he’d explode? But he didn’t actually have an energy to do so… so I popped him over so jumps. Easy peasy. Then we added in a new jump. A scary roll top. Scary roll top? Nay Nay’s new favorite jump. Then, things were grand, so why not introduce a broken line? So we did that. No issue. We jumped around slowly. And screamed. And jumped. And eventually I got annoyed so we cantered around (we can jump and scream, but turns out cantering and screaming is hard). And jumped a course or 2 and called it a day. All in all? We introduced 2 new jumps and I think I put a rail up on one of them?

New favorite jump!

Sunday we came back out, armed with a touch of ulcergard just in case all that screamed stressed him out. He was better, but Bay Horse still called and Nay called back a time or two. Before I got on, I looked around the outdoor and realized that I had jumped everything but 3 fences and the liverpool. The outside line was a little big for my liking, but other than that? Still, Nay has been so brave lately I thought, what the hell? So, we marched up the the in which was a large gate with some stuff. The gate itself was 2′ which was my issue. But I stepped over and Nay just followed me. Ok then. And after that? The out was no issue. Then we walked over the other single I hadn’t attempted as it was just a bunch of boxes and flowers and felt built up. Nay didn’t care. Turns out? He has this jump stuff figured out.

You can see the damn liverpool…

That left the damn liverpool. It was set up pretty big (well, 2’6″) so I dropped it to about 12″ and walked over and held my breath. See, I have post traumatic water jump syndrome as a result of the number of times I’ve landed in them. I didn’t actually expect that we’d tackle it today. But Nay just walked over it and looked at me like I had issues. I do. Ok then.

Granma came to visit!

So, we got on, warmed up, and started over our quest to conquer every fence in the outdoor. We trotted our chosen singles and roll top, we trotted in and cantered out our broken line, and then, somehow, we jumped the liverpool. First time, we trotted, then Nay decided the jump was so amazing that we needed to pick up the quietest canter ever and just canter down to it and over. Distance didn’t matter, he just wanted to canter over that damn jump. He landed quietly too. But it might now be his favorite thing ever?!?!?!

After tackling that thing, I put on my brave pants and pointed him to the outside line, legging him up for the in and somehow we managed to land in a canter and added about 12 strides to canter out over the second fence.

All the treats in the world for these boys

With that? I burst into tears, did a couple of courses, and told Nay he is the most amazing horse ever.

WHO THE HELL IS THIS HORSE?

So, on Sunday? Nay Nay jumped every single fence in the outdoor ring including a freaking liverpool and didn’t care one bit about anything.

So freaking good!