Blogland? I need help.

 

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Would like this goofy boy back ASAP!

All jokes aside. Nay Nay is struggling. Really struggling. The electric fence was more than his little brain could handle and combined with his ulcers? I’m just not sure what to do at this point.

 

I chatted with the vet last night and I…don’t feel better. Her advice? Keep up with the ulcergard and wait it out. I asked about hindgut and she’s not convinced. He doesn’t have the symptoms exactly. Close but not quite.

img_3219He’s got mushy poop, but not diarrhea. He’s not exactly colicky though he’s uncomfortable whereas she’d think I’d see more definitive gas colics. He has the weightloss and the poor body condition and the loss of appetite. Without ultrasound and bloodwork, we can’t diagnose and no one is non-urgent stuff right now if it can be helped… Stupid covid…. And to just throw him on Misoprostol before we know he needs it… So yeah. That’s where I’m at. ::slams head on table since I don’t have a desk at home::

img_3218I actually just ordered a month of voodoo in terms of succeed. I’m probably throwing money away, but maybe it’ll help? If there is ANY improvement, he’ll get month 2. If not, we’ll call it a failed experiment. Dover has great and fast free expedited shipping right now…

img_3223The vet also suggested that I try to get him a nice orchard grass with a tiny bit of alfalfa. Since he lost his freaking mind on a half flake of lovely western alfalfa (Subi lives on that stuff), we figured maybe a tiny mix would be ok. So, I purchased some from one of the local suppliers this morning (the Hay Grocery Store — literally you walk around and have 30 different hays to choose from, it’s amazing — I don’t get my hay there regularly, but I do get my 3 string alfalfa and supplement as needed or special stuff–they always have hay and always have nice stuff). Hopefully nice soft, gorgeous hay mixed with his regular hay will encourage him to eat.

The vet also suggested that in a couple weeks if there is no improvement, we test for lyme. All his symptoms also mimic lyme. So yeah, there is that. In a normal world, I could hitch up the trailer and take him 20 minutes to New Bolton for a complete work up but they’re not taking non-emergencies either. Have I mentioned I freaking HATE COVID?!

So blogland? What should I do? I started by turning off the electric this morning. It’s not like he’s going anywhere near the fence right now…

#Notthesharpesttoolintheshed

Guys, I need help. Or rather Nay Nay needs help. Or an intervention. Or a tutor. A life tutor. A life skills tutor.

You see, he’s not the brightest bulb. In fact, he might have burned out?

img_3293It started the other day when he walked in the paddock prior to pre-dinner dinner and couldn’t figure out how to turn around and walk to the gate and walk out to get to his bucket. I tried to get him to follow me and leave, but he couldn’t or wouldn’t. He just stood there screaming. I had to take my sweatshirt off, put it around his neck, and lead him the 20 feet to the gate so he could leave the paddock. Once at the gate? All was fine and he found his way to pre-dinner dinner.

Nay Nay has also been slowly ruining all of my fencing. This is my fault. I should have had all the electric up and running before he got here, but I didn’t. So, Nay Nay had no issue ruining fencing. It’s gotten especially worse since spring grass. Saturday, Erik and I fixed all the electric and now it’s working.

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MUST NOT GO NEAR FENCE IT BITES (subi rolls his eyes)

Nay Nay must not be well versed in electric fencing (unlike Jiminy — Subi is just very careful as he learned his lesson once and once was enough) as he leaned right into that sucker and ZAP. That would have been fine, he didn’t know, but he proceeded to repeat that 3 or 4 times Saturday.

By Sunday he was terrified of the entire field. Because now the entire paddock and dry lot is out to get him, not just the fenceline. Pre-dinner dinner? I had to hold his bucket and feed him because we couldn’t hang it anywhere because he might die.

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Tentatively stepping forward for a carrot… 

This morning? Now we can’t even eat hay because it’s too close to the fence line (20 feet). So Nay Nay is stressing and worrying and I just can’t. This isn’t good for his ulcers, but at the same time, GET OVER IT HORSE! You don’t want to go near the wire? Stand of the other freaking side of the hay feeder and eat from that side.

Friday Faces: peppermint and coworker edition

No energy to actually blog but here are some faces for your Friday morning.

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Subi is not impressed by Nay Nay and his insistence that he gets ALL THE PEPPERMINTS. 

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He’s worse than a dog…

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Seriously, it’s gross. 

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But the old man still gets all the peppermints and carrots he could ever need.

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At least someone around here is sitting in a saddle…

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My new coworkers, hard at work, answering reference questions over chat. 

And next step… Ulcers!

Ugh. I noticed that Nay Nay had started to drop weight. It’s hard to notice these things when you see your horses every day. This is one advantage of boarding. You don’t always see your horse daily, or multiple times daily. I’ve had blankets off for at least a week and the previous weekend he looked OK. I had been taking pictures every other week for weight/muscle changes and suddenly I looked at him and his butt looked… Bad.

He was still eating and I decided I’d take my lesson. He had gone on a hay strike the week before, but I sort of dismissed it. I was at the end of one batch of hay and Nay Nay was still inhaling hay outside. It was just inside his stall. Then, he started eating hay again in his stall so I figured maybe there was something in the last couple of bales he just didn’t like and he was holding out for the alfalfa. It HAS happened before.

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Nay says, “Don’t mess with my hay!”

Except on Saturday morning? He hadn’t finished0 his Friday dinner. Or touched his hay. And then he didn’t eat breakfast. There was too much poop to be colic though he looked like he just felt crappy. Shit. Looking more closely at his stall, lots of mushy manure. Another sign. Crap.

So, we’re taking this self-quarantine seriously. I’m not scoping because, well, it’s a lot of money and he’s got all the signs. I can scope, confirm he HAS ulcers, and then treat and be broke or I can treat and be a little less broke. Either way, treating is going to happen. Plus, I really don’t want to put him through the stress of scoping, ESPECIALLY with vet offices limiting appointments, reducing contact, and all that. If I need to scope after treatment, then I will. I’m using the call for social distancing to give Nay time off and try and heal the ulcers.

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I bought ulcergard as a pre-self-quarantine stock up… normal, right? 

I’ve had really good luck with Abler products in the past. Except, shipping might be an issue. I’ve placed my order and I’m hoping I get the stuff (they have a delay warning right now). I’ve started on ulcergard now and I’m hoping the abler gets here as quickly as possible so I don’t go bankrupt. I do have Nexium on hand as well.

Anyway, since he’s been on Ulcergard, he’s back to eating dinner (breakfast? not so much) and cleans up his alfalfa. He’s picking at his dinner hay, but spends a good chunk of the time outside eating hay so that’s good. As of yesterday, he is eating a meal at 5-6 pm (pre-dinner) as I believe his ulcers are stemming from fence pacing/stressing to come in for dinner, NOT stressing about work/riding. Every night, he comes to the fence/gate around 5-6 and waits there until 8-9 when we bring in. Some days he’s VERY anxious to come in (rain). I’m hoping pre-dinner will help curb this. While he’s still happy to come in, he’s been less panicky the last 2 days since eating “pre-dinner.”

Horses, they drive us crazy, right?

First lesson in 5 weeks!

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Taking a vacation and making faces because Subi’s back smells like gold bond power

I’m going to split my blog into a couple of posts this week and start by focusing on the happy before I get into Nay Nay’s ulcer induced vacation. It probably comes at a good time with Corona-geddon, but still, no one likes to see their horses miserable. Hopefully, he’ll be feeling better in a couple of weeks and we’ll be back in light work. But, it the meantime, I’m going to take advantage of social distancing and self-quarantine recommendations and just stay home and pump omeprazole and alfalfa into his system. More to come…

But, before Nay Nay took a turn for the worst and scared me half to death by not eating either meal, we finally got in a lesson AFTER 5 WEEKS SOLO! This was our chance to see if all our hard work was noticeable or if I really screwed him up in that time… LOL

I got to the barn and it was pretty busy for midday on a weekday. Turns out all the college kids suddenly had time on their hands with our university closed to students (not staff… I was just off for the day) and decided to ride. Nay tried to take it all in stride in the outdoor, but as we walked around in hand, it was a little too much. So, we moved to the indoor for our actual lesson. **He did nothing wrong, but the goal was to not stress him out** Inside, instead of 3-4 horses canter/jumping every which way, we joined the resident western pleasure trainer (yes, I’m at a hunter barn that has a western pleasure trainer renting out stalls) walking around on one horse while his student jogged on another. Much more Nay’s speed.

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Nay Nay earthquake has arrived, taking down plants and everything else in his way

Very quickly? All was right in Nay’s world. We need to work on the outdoor and we need to work on crowds, but that day wasn’t the day. 2 quiet horses in the ring? Happy camper.

As we were walking, the phone calls started coming in announcing the end of the world (first schools were closing). So I started my own warm up. I mean, it’s not like I haven’t been here for 5 weeks… And show off Nay Nay did. He gave me some of his best trot work ever. All of a sudden I hear, “Who is this horse? He is so even and balanced!” At some point we’re instructed to add in some figure eights, but otherwise, Nay just shows off what a solid citizen he’s become.

Next comes the message about USEF shows. So, follow up calls and text take place regarding that. I understand in a sense, but also, whatever. Short term plans were seeing who wanted to show this weekend who hadn’t originally planned to before no more points. Long term discussions were Devon points. Then, will there be a Devon? Nay Nay and I canter, adding circles and his left lead, which hasn’t been as great, was lovely. Then the right lead was pretty good, SO MUCH BETTER THAN 5 weeks ago, but not as nice as some of the other right lead canters we’ve had because, on a circle, I leaned it, and then we lost it… But, user error. Still, trainer couldn’t get over”his balance, consistency, and pace!”

Then it was time to really focus on me and we were asked about our over fences work. I explained that I really went back to the basics and stuck with tiny jumps and worked on asking at the base every time. Basically, micromanaging because he’s not consistent enough to get away without the micromanagement. And, he sometimes makes poor decisions on his own. [Leave me alone for too long and I get way too analytical!] I also mentioned that he loves the freaking straw bales of all things which is insane. “Have you cantered anything yet?” Gulp, no.

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It’s hard work being Nay Nay. You get hot and sweaty having to work really hard. It’s exhausting! Plus water sucks. Except when it’s mixed with dirt. Then it’s the best thing EVER!

So, the plan was to work on a figure eight. Trot down over the little plank jump (it was like 18″ around the corner and up over the pole. Next time, when I got back to the rail, ask for the canter and canter both a few times. And… we did.

Trotting wasn’t an issue at all. Cantering? Nay got pretty damn excited and launched himself over the plank because he’s awesome. LOL and then I had to work to keep leg on him while he tried to toss his head in celebration. It was cute. It took us a few times to keep the canter and canter the pole vs trot step/canter the pole but we got there. I did eventually have to hold a touch for the plank so that someone didn’t gallop, but he was very, very excited and happy. It was adorable.

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Fell better buddy!

Next, we were going to canter the straw bales. Right lead. I did interject and ask to trot first and approach from the LEFT LEAD and that was fine. See, I have to work too hard to keep him from drifting to the right and I just didn’t want to. So, we trotted it once, circled, and cantered up and over like he’s been doing it every day, cantered down over the plank, and then cantered up over his pole. And with that, Nay Nay cantered his first baby course.

You guys, the jumps were small, but he was awesome! He was so proud of himself! I can’t wait to ride again, whenever it is.

 

forward Forward FORWARD

Forward was the theme for my rides this weekend despite the fact that Nay Nay was slow and lazy.

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Mission: jump jumps and not trample cat down by in gate.

Saturday it was windy and the day started off sunny but freezing with 15-20mph winds. My favorite kind of day. My original plan was to ride in the morning before my farrier appointment, but it was so cold that… I just didn’t. So, I broke my rule of not riding after the farrier and rode after our trim. The wind died down late afternoon and things were fine. Nay was fine. Possibly a touch foot sore? But, it was only questionable when we were trotting and he worked out the iffy-ness at the canter. Again, no lameness, but a little (not even) tenderness, more just lazy, not really going to put full effort out or move truly forward. It’s hard to describe. But we cantered and even though we were both huffing and puffing after our canter (slow as freaking molasses), everything felt better after that.

I sent up some small fences (2 verticals) and decided if I felt brave, I’d tackle a gate and the straw bales. Both the verticals were part of lines (as was the gate) so I had to be strategic how I tackled them less I teach Nay Nay to go around them,  and the straw bales? Set up without standards so they were all about steering. Lol. Just 2 random bales on down the long side.

Thinking over the past week, I realized that I’ve been expecting way too much from Nay Nay. When I approach something small, I expect he’ll jump it. We’re not there yet. Or, if we do something 3 times in a row, I expect he’ll jump it the 3rd time. We’re not there yet. As a result, I don’t ride and Nay decides he needs to make a decision. Sometimes he jumps and makes the right decision, sometimes he says, “Oh! Freedom! Let’s not do this!” Right now, until he knows he doesn’t get to make that choice (unless, dangerous), I need to ride and ask at the base every time. I need to be assertive. If I’m assertive, if I add leg (or spur), I then can expect him to jump because leg/spur means forward.

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I’m very confident now over little jumps. Hopefully this will translate to less tiny jumps!

So, turning to our first vertical, I added spur because he was asleep and he immediately woke up and cantered (LOL) and I wasn’t quite ready to canter my first jump without my trainer there. So without using much hand and still apply that leg (yay for voice training trot), Nay came back to the trot and jumped the snot out of his vertical because? I rode. No pause, no hesitation. There was no way we weren’t jumping it. We repeated it several times and while the enthusiasm died a bit (he jumped and cantered out vs jumping a foot over the thing), it was all good.

We did the same thing to the next jump. It didn’t matter that this jump was in the location we had issues with. It was fine. Our approach wasn’t perfect but it was fine. Springy trot towards it, leg/spur, jumped with enthusiasm and no hesitation. Rinse, repeat.

So I was left with a dilemma. And decided to try the straw bales. We started to the left. I overrode in…fear that all my issues would come crawling back and… a little bay horse launched himself over the straw bales and cantered out. The second time? He carried himself to it while I still asked. After repeating this, I thought about ending because no good deed go unpunished, but decided to take on the other direction…

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We jumped those! This is big for me!

To the right, Nay Nay drifts in. I know this. And it was an issue. But, despite this, I caught it and we got over. Now, by calling him out on the drift, he did catch the straw bale with his left (I didn’t add as much leg here either as I was course-correcting) so we knocked a bale, but we got over. He doesn’t care. I hopped off, fixed it, and we proceeded to ride it perfectly now that I was prepared with extra inside leg and outside hand (so much work I need to do here). The 3rd attempt was even better and Nay Nay was so freaking proud of himself.

We stopped after that fence but holy crap. I think I finally get it? I could have it all wrong, but…? I ride, he jumps? Granted, everything was tiny, the straw bales being the largest, but the concepts are there…

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Such a perfect pony on Saturday!!!

Sunday my ride came early (a 1-9 workday ruining my weekend). Nay Nay was tired from his previous day’s work, but his trot work was lovely, if not slow. Things fell apart at the canter. There are days you pick your battles and there are days you don’t. I decided I just didn’t have time for a fight.

I struggled to pick up the canter. Nay just didn’t want to move forward. Like the trot, he just felt slow, but didn’t feel lame or even stiff. Once I got him cantering, the canter was completely fine, but his focus was anywhere but me. See, turnout was changing and 2 horses were face fighting outside the indoor and grunting/squeeling and I just couldn’t keep him focused. I ultimately managed to pick up the canter a few times, kept it down a long side, and asked for the trot and called bring him back myself a win. Sometimes picking a tiny victory is what you need…

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Little vertical, but we got over and entire ride changed. 

Since he wasn’t necessarily himself, I didn’t exactly want to jump much. But, thought I pop over my 2 verticals (still set at yesterday’s height a couple times each). They were small enough to walk over and mostly I wanted to reinforce the lesson from the day before. Heading to the first fence, someone was focusing on anything but me… And tried to slam on the breaks because horses. Outside. More interesting. But somehow? New found confidence? Said NO WAY and kicked and next thing you know, we’re over without actually stopping. Maybe it was at the walk, but it was moving forward. We circled, trotted over without hesitation and immediately trotted our other vertical. Lesson learned.

And because I can’t leave well enough alone, I pointed him to the straw bales. And suddenly the feeling of slow and plodding disappeared and someone woke up. I guess he likes his straw bales? We did that each direction twice and called it a day. All was good (excepted something at the end of the arena was also distracting and causing him not to focus).

While Saturday’s ride was THE RIDE, Sunday’s was a lesson in how to handle distractions and picking battles. Ideally, Sunday would have just been a flat ride (my original plan), but I needed to work on something as someone’s brain had left the building. He definitely needed an easy recovery ride after Saturday, but if he’s going to let his brain leave the building, he’s going to have to work a little harder physically. Oh well, he can recover this week.

Now that it’s getting light in the evenings, I’m hoping to eventually get a ride in during the week. We could both use it! I’ve been on my own for an entire MONTH. Hopefully next week I will finally get a lesson! Or there will be a horse show. LOL.

The tale of 2 rides…

Saturday was cold, windy, and generally miserable.

I decided to head out to ride around noon only to find that a certain bay idiot has broken part of my fence… Not to name any names, but his name rhymes with hay. He left part of his tail behind as evidence… After fixing the fence, I grabbed him and off we went to the barn to ride.

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Don’t let this cute face fool you… It seems like crap days happen when he wears his black boots… Correlation or causation? 

Normally we get there and he’s pretty chill. Instead, he pawed the entire time in the cross ties and was generally annoying. My guy told me it was a good idea to throw him on the lunge line. So I did.

 

He proceeded to try and tune me out, but thankfully trotted and cantered and trotted and cantered and trotted and cantered…and tuned me out. Rinse, repeat. Once we lunged for a while, I thought we might be safe… Then he started to scream to every horse everywhere and tune me out again. So we lunged some more before moving down to the other end of the ring and continued, this time lunging over a pole. Every time I thought we could stop, he found some reason to tune me out. Idiot. Eventually, we found some common ground and did some in-hand work, and walked over some low fences. Finally, I got on (which was challenging because…idiot).

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“I’M NOT INNOCENT. But Feed Me!” – Nay Nay

At the walk, Nay was fine. I was going to end there, but me being me, had to push boundaries. At the trot? Holy speed and lack of steering. Seriously horse! With the amount of time trotting and cantering, what the hell? Thankfully after almost crashing into a standard and one lift of his head, someone came to his senses and the rest of our ride was fine. We trotted, did some poles, and managed a few small jumps. I decided to skip the canter because I valued living.

 

We finished up our afternoon with a nice, quiet mane pull… Guess who doesn’t care about getting his mane pulled? Yeah.

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Best pony! Wearing WHITE boots.

Sunday? It was still cold but the horse I brought out didn’t resemble the idiot from the day before. Maybe he was tired, maybe he was sore, but regardless, he was quiet and normal Nay. I set up 4 low cross rails and on I got.

 

We trotting and worked on the set of poles and did some leg work with the spurs. Nay put his heart into everything. Somewhere in the ride, something clicked for me. At the base of each pole, I started added both spurs as practice for the jumps. Nay gave a little more. We did trot circles, Nay BENT, moving off the spur. Then we did our cross rails, adding spur and the base each time. Nay pushed off. Normally I sometimes remember to add the first time but don’t continue adding each additional time. This time? I continued to add the spur at the base EVERY TIME and what a difference it made. Something clicked for both of us.

 

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His face is the cutest! His forelock is absolutely pathetic though… Still, gave me 115% 

After our cross rails, we cantered. He was tired and maybe a touch sore from yesterday, but gave it his all. His left lead we’ve struggled with lately because he just wants to toss his head like an idiot at the in gate, but a shake of the reins keeps him focus. His right lead? Fabulous. He was tired, but just kept going and giving it his all. And, because we need to push a tiny bit past comfortable, we trotted a few cross rails to end and they were the best of the day. He truly gave me 115% this ride. 

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Not perfect, but he doesn’t look homeless anymore!

We finished with some final mane pulling and tail brushing (I’m determined to keep his tail gorgeous — it’s been knot free and silky since I washed it last week — I just keep spraying in leave-in conditioner and it looks amazing… of course no tail pictures) and all the treats in the world. 

 

Jumping (through) distractions

First, as an update from my last post, my horses are IDIOTS. I put their regular bale in my existing Shires large net (I’m not sure if it’s this net or if it’s a discontinued full bale net, but either way, it easily fits a full, 2 string bale) in their feeder. Idiot horses ate 5 lbs in 2 days. 5lbs. They CAN and DO eat from the 2″ holes in stalls or elsewhere, but NOT in the feeder. So, small holes are out. I can’t risk Subi not eating. So I ordered a large hole net and we’ll give that a try. I’m just trying to keep the hay in the feeder so maybe this will work? Idiots.

Moving on.

img_2722I was able to ride last weekend but due to circumstances, I only rode saturday. I had a great ride! And a terrible ride. It really depended on how you analyzed the ride. I really need my trainer back for a lesson…

The weather was really nice and I considered riding outside, but I was a chicken and the other horse out there was not one that would provide a calming presense… So, I stuck to the indoor. That said, all the jumps were removed so I was left with some poles and plain standards to work with which was fine. I left the trot poles up, and set up 3 cross rails.  In the end, I had a poles on the long side, a cross rail on the other and 2 cross rails on figure eight.

When I got on, Nay Nay was quiet but had energy. I decided just to trot. And trot we did. Around and around and around. We circled and added poles and circled. Eventually I decided to add in the cross rails and all was good. He was a star. We did all our jumps and was perfect.

After trotting, we picked up the canter. For some reason, now when we canter to the left, Nay Nay starts tossing his head as we pass the in gate… He’s fine, but throws a tiny fit… I decided to throw my hands at him (it worked to the right to help fix our right lead canter) and fit was over. Finally. We cantered a nice circle and walked. Continued to the right and had a lovely right lead canter. He’s gotten SO MUCH STRONGER to the right.

img_2720While he was getting tired, I decided we do all our jumps a few more times. We did our first circuit one time and he was great. Then came direction 2. Oy. Issues. We did our first fence and it was fine, then as we were coming over our second jump? Forrest walked in with his rider and Nay got distracted. We made it over, but I failed to realize just how distracted he was. We continued to our last jump and headed right to Forrest and nope. Nay full out said, THERE’S A HORSE IN HERE!..as we were trying to get over our cross rail and crashed and burned… We should have been able to get over it but Nay backtracked instead and took it down. So I had to get off, put it back up. Then Nay was convinced we couldn’t. He was tired and done. I finally hopped off and walked him over and fine, he was over. After I got him over, I put it down a hole (it wasn’t big, but I made it slightly smaller just because), and we jumped it a couple times and called it a day.

I’m made at myself partially because 1, I should have stopped before I got to the stopping point 2, I should have realized he was distracted and overrode to that jump and 3, I should have predicted all of this stuff. I wish I could have ridden Sunday, but I had pre-existing plans so that was out before I even got on Saturday.

I really need a lesson AND possibly a training ride to make sure I don’t ruin him…

Still down on myself for all these mistakes I’m making!

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!