Who is this horse?

The many sides of Nay continue to come out. Green horses, eh? LOL.

We set a new record. 2 weeks in a row, 2 lessons in a row. Shocking.

Tuesday morning rolled around and Nay and I set out for another lesson. I’m enjoying morning lessons for now until all the kids are out of school. It’s nice and quiet with just barn staff and a couple of adults around. My kind of day. But, for 10am in May, it was also hot. And humid. 97% humid.

Interestingly, the heat and humidity didn’t seem to bother Nay. Thinking about it, he’s always had energy in the heat and humidity. This horse HATES being cold, but likes the heat? Of course, he raced in Florida so maybe my New York bred is just built for summer…? Who knows but last summer on super hot and humid days (I remember being told to try new things when it was hot/humid because he’d be quiet), he’d always have excess energy. Always.

This ride was no different. He was ready to explode like Sunday, but he was still more forward than out last lesson. No tantrums we had to work through at the trot which is always nice. And I skipped lunging because, heat. We’ll see how much lunging I do in the summer.

Prior to the start of the lesson, I mentioned to my trainer our left lead troubles. Basically, last year’s right lead issues have manifested on the left lead. Typical. We drilled that right lead and Nay, being a pleaser, thinks the answer to most questions is right lead. Warming up at the trot, we worked on the noodling that I’ve been fighting as of late to the left. In the past, we spent a lot of time pushing inside leg/spur to move Nay’s body over however, Nay has taken some of this to the extreme. Over sort of means exiting the arena into the grass or crashing into the light pole, or a bunch of other things. So, I was reminded that taking BOTH hands to the inside (outside rein against his neck) still has its place and suddenly? we’re not struggling to stay in the ring… Using the outside leg isn’t wrong either… Oops. When you ride in an arena without a fence, you realize that staying in the ring is hard sometimes… We never got a fence back when the ring was expanded last year…

Instead of going right, we first worked on the left lead canter. I trotted, was told to canter, immediately pulled back, Nay broke, asked again, and picked up the wrong lead. This led to a discussion about what happened. I wasn’t sure. I just felt discombobulated. It wasn’t even that I could tell I was on the right or wrong lead — I wasn’t thinking “what lead am I on” as I didn’t get that far in my thinking, I just tried to do collect and nope.

So we tried again. This time, my instructions were to canter and move forward BEFORE I worried about the lead. We again picked up the correct lead and Nay bulged all over the place. Once we established the canter (5-6 strides), I was allowed to touch my reins to correct the dive to the outside. We cantered once around and talked and figured out my issue. And Nay’s.

Basically, I asked for the canter and if Nay is set up properly (hind end to the inside), he’ll pick up the correct lead. If I feel him bulging, I immediately want to course correct. If I do so right away (because he feels out of control in all ways — speed yes, but mostly balance and steering), Nay thinks, “Oh! Right, we only canter on the RIGHT lead. I’m sorry!” And trots. If I canter a few more strides no matter how ugly it feels, he is able to establish the canter and then we correct the shape. Then once the shape is corrected (hands to the inside, outside leg, even cutting the corner some and staying closer to the jumps than to the grass to give us more space to make the turns), we can adjust the pace (close and opening my fingers seems to work well for rating the canter.

We did this a few times and worked on the right lead (and trotted too…). Nothing exciting that direction. LOL.

Jumping wise? Nay has changed from a quiet horse to a forward and BOLD horse over fences. I’m not really sure who he is except that I think he thinks jumping is FUN. We started off with the Astroturf brush box single to the left, trotting in and he jumped the crap out of it, almost jumping me out of the tack (theme). Being the good boy he was, he landed left and we cantered in a few times, trying to rate coming in. He was pretty good collecting once we were straight, but on the circle approaching? He wanted to get to that jump. On the final circle, he spooked at something and we had to halt/back and had a discussion (me, not him) about the necessity of halting immediately when stuff like that happens… It wasn’t a bad spook and my plan was to circle and keep coming, but my trainer’s point was he’s green and she wants the halt and back to bring his focus back to be. Point noted.

To the right? More of the same except I struggled with the rating and straightness to the fence as Nay REALLY wanted to go. We took a couple of long spots because I just didn’t collect hard enough (he was strong, not out of control, just strong and determined). Point noted.

We ended with a new fence that my trainer wasn’t sure we’d be successful with. It was the in of the outside line. Just some boxes with a gate (though the gate might not have been visible at our height). 2ft-ish. Last year he’d have had a heart attack. This year he was pissed off I made him look at it (well, he refused to look at it). We paused in front of it and chatted at my love for trot fences. Yes, I’m strange, but I adore trot fences and I know everyone thinks they are hard, but I adore them, I’m confident at them, I can see distances to them, and if I’m nervous, give me a trot fence any day. I spent 6 months trotting fences on Subi 2x/week when I first got him (up to 2’6″) and I’ll pretty much trot anything. LOL.

Anyway, we trotted in and again, Nay jumped the shit out of it, landed left and continued back around. We very much had to worked on collecting because someone thought this jump was awesome… Once we landed wrong and I asked too late (hind legs were already to the outside). Once Nay even tossed in a full change on the landing to show just how special he is. And once I didn’t hold enough and we took a flyer. Really. And almost crashed into a standard on the landing (no steering — Nay doesn’t steer on his own). And somehow I managed NOT to fall off? I mean, I almost did, but I saved it.

And with that, I have a new horse. He says he doesn’t want to be a hunter, but rather a jumper. But whatever he is, he’s bold and brave and it’s very different. I’m also going to have my trainer hop on him at the start of my lessons here and there (thinking 1x/month) just to make sure I’m not screwing him up too much.

Maybe this weekend I’ll have media?

Nay Nay-locks and the Three Rides

Nay Nay in cross ties sticking out his tongue wearing floral boots
He has the best personality

For the first time in a month, I FINALLY took a lesson on Nay Nay (no media at all because why would I have media?). The lesson was wonderful, the rest of my rides were… less so. It seems like I had 3 different horses on my 3 different rides. All (well, many) of Nay’s personalities came out this week.

I’ll start with the lesson. It was Tuesday morning and the weather was absolutely fantastic. It was warm and sunny and just perfect. The majority of the lesson focused on flatwork. Bending, using my inside leg/spur, and making sure Nay moved off the pressure. He’s SO MUCH BETTER going right vs left. To the right, because he is SO MUCH stronger now, we focused the order of operations: leg/spur, inside hand to get the bend, then take hand off the neck.

Eventually, the canter. Right lead is good, but we’ve lost the left lead. I mean, we got it, but it took a few tries.

We kept our jumps small. Just a small astro-turf covered box which we trotted over once and then cantered over in a circle a few times each direction. To the right, he’s super quiet while to the left? He’s fine, just occasionally gets a touch… speedy. Not fast, just speedy. The right used to feel speedy and then we found balance. Now the left feels that way. So we need to figure that out. We trotted then cantered a small gate a couple of times before calling it a day and going home.

We followed up Tuesday with a Saturday ride. It was sunny, but windy. Not like Friday (50-60 mph gusts), but still crazy windy). I considered riding outside but after putting a jump back up (as well as chairs back up), they promptly fell over. I decided to take advantage of the indoor. What I had was a tense horse. I lunged and still felt like Nay was ready to jump out of his skin. He was quiet when I led him around the outdoor, but inside? Eh. He wasn’t bad, just not good. I never even cantered. I felt like I valued life and chickened out. We did a lot of halting and backing and trotting (and scooting). It was fine, just not fun. I did trot him over some poles and a cross rail and he was fine. He even jumped a small vertical with flowers and never got fast, but I wasn’t able to get rid of the tension the entire ride. His tension brought me tension. I was out at the barn solo so I didn’t push very far either.

Nay Nay grazing next to the ring of fallen jumps
Hanging out next to the ring of fallen jumps
Marble with the lilac
Lilac season (and Marble — it’s always Marble season)

Sunday? I anticipated an empty barn as it was listed on the schedule book as a no lesson day but there were several cars when I arrived. I dragged my husband as I wasn’t feeling well. Wind came back, but nothing terrible and temps were back up in the 80s. By the time I was out in the ring outside, all other horses had cleared out. Nay didn’t have the calm aura of yesterday when we first walked outside, but with the warm weather, I decided not to lunge. We started off with some tension, but mostly energy. We trotted for a while, just working on moving over when I asked. I held him together to the left (scooting stopped after a minute or so — too hot for antics), but to the right? I finally gave in. He wanted to canter. All he wanted to do was canter. So if he wanted to canter? We’d canter for as long as I wanted to canter which was much longer than he wanted to canter. I then tried to canter to the left but failed. I could not uncurl him and before either of us got frustrated/confused, I stopped. Instead, we trotted our green astro-turf brush box, landed the left lead, and cantered for several minutes. Nay decided to play as much as he possibly could, but he’s Nay. He doesn’t (usually) buck or bolt, just tosses his head and flings his front legs without actually doing anything.

We ended by trotting and cantering the same jump to the right and he was quieter that way. I could have done more. He probably needed more. But we were successful and I was tired. Sometimes you end on a good note.

There are times that you think, “My horse feels like he’s going to run off with me!” But Nay was never actually running off with me. He just had energy. Why this week brought excess energy, I don’t know. I’m sure he needs to be ridden more, that can never hurt. Regardless, if he keeps up this level of energy, I’ll learn to ride it. It’s better when it’s without the attitude! Sunday was much better than Saturday, but he was still a dream to ride (and much less of a workout) on Tuesday!

Forward and Back

The never ending trailer loading saga continues. Because, of course it does.

Nay met with the trainer again on Tuesday and had a lovely session. He loaded every time and even made fabulous progress self-loading. While it took time, he did great self-loading and with some pressure, would get on every time. He was also fine with the butt bar and the door closing. This were going great.

Nay Nay headshot
Always getting in face fights with Subi…
Nay Nay headshot
Good boy

Were.

Thursday the dentist came out and everyone got their teeth done. It was also cold. Freezing. Windy. 40 was the high. With everything going on, we didn’t practice.

Friday? Nay loaded fine with me leading. Then I tried to self load and everything went to hell. Suddenly he was pulling me across the lawn and I couldn’t even get him to load with me leading. I think this was the point that I decided to sell him and was writing up his sale ad. That’s how quickly things unraveled and how bad it got. Eventually my husband came out and with him leading and me getting him straight (and pushing his butt), Nay stepped up on the trailer and we called it a day. He wasn’t upset that he was on, he just didn’t want to set up on?

Nay Nay full body giving side eye
Side eye prior to our loading issues…
Nay Nay in trailer
Maiden voyage!
Nay Nay in crossties
We made it!

Saturday, despite everything, I decided if I could get him on, I’d go out and ride. He only had a month off… So, with my husband’s help, we got Nay on. Me leading, my husband behind with a touch of encouragement (just a tap with the stick to unstick him–it worked and he loaded). We made plans that when I was ready to leave, he’d come out to the barn and help me re-load.

So, off Nay went on his maiden journey. He was fine in the trailer. Being in the trailer isn’t an issue. Just getting on. We lunged. We rode. We popped over some fences. We tried to canter (I mean, we did canter, but OMG keeping the canter on an out of shape horse is HARD). We fell asleep. We untacked. We tried to come home.

I made the mistake of TRYING to load myself. Right when I was ready to leave, trainer’s husband pulled in with a trailer of horses and Nay got completely distracted. He ended up helping unstick Nay and he loaded no problem, but we’re going to have to figure this loading thing out…

Nay Nay between the ears
Missed this so much!

Sunday, I planned to try again but Nay had a minor belly ache that resolved itself very quickly (he was pawing/stretching but by the time I finished brushing my teeth he had pooped and looked comfortable — probably just a little gas). Anyway, I just decided to give him the day. Later that afternoon I did a 15 loading session. Me on the trailer with treats and the clicker, my husband behind him with the stick. Load click treat praise. Off. Repeat. After 2 times, no stick was needed. We’re going to try again and just skip the self loading for awhile.

Nay Nay in outdoor ring
Best boy (as long as he loads on the damn trailer!)

Riding recap.

Nay Nay-face looking out his stall door
Always Mr. Goofy Face

And just like that it’s been 2 weeks since my last post.

Where to start?

2 weekends ago things were… awful. My trainer was back from FL and while not ready for lessons, I was determined that I would ride my horse. Saturday was not pretty at all. It was windy and ugly but damnit. I was going to ride.

I pulled into the barn and I realize right away I should have just turned around and kept driving. I was immediately greeted at the end of the driveway by a horse. Not normal. So I stopped, put on my 4 ways and caught the gelding while everyone around me ran around like fools. He was quickly handed off and I pulled around to park. But if that wasn’t a sign? In the barn, I groomed and tacked up. Nay was fine until some ponies came in, spooked, and bodied slammed the wall. Nay was done. In the indoor a lesson was going on and Nay decided that rearing was OK. It was not. I tried some ground work but never got through to him. I accepted some chemical assistance and was at least able to get on where I spent my ride trotting him down (there were 5 horses in the ring by that point) until we came to an agreement that we don’t jump sideways at every noise, sound, or movement. Moral of the story? Loose horse? DRIVE AWAY.

Goofy Nay Nay photo
“Is this my best angle?”

Sunday the barn was emptier. Western trainer was finishing up a lesson and rides. Nay was quieter so I got right on and one of the riders stayed in with me so I could work on getting Nay used to riding with other horses. Except, he had too much energy. After trying to work through it where Nay tried SO HARD to be good but where all he really wanted to do was buck me off (he didn’t but you could tell he wanted to), I finally hopped off and lunged him. Nay NEVER plays on the line. The first thing he did was explode. So out of character but he was holding it back and trying to be good. So, after one good buck, I let him canter and then did some canter trot canter transitions each way and by the end of our lunge session? Nay’s head was about 18 inches lower. His eyes were relaxed and he just looked… happy. After that? we had a nice, relaxed ride. That said, as we were leaving? Another freaking loose horse. Turns out part of the fence was down… But, horses were crazy which made leaving a stressful experience.

Nay Nay riding photo
He’s such a good boy.

With all of that in mind, I set out this past weekend to ride a little later in the day. Due to work, I was unable to get out and ride during the week (work has been hectic). By the time I made it out, lessons were over and the barn was quieter. I’m OK sharing the ring, but I wanted to make sure that we had access to either the indoor OR outdoor to lunge. Because, my new plan is to lunge before we ride. So Saturday we had a nice lunge in the indoor before we rode.

Sorry for the orientation… I left my husband in charge. Yes, I missed the first 2 distances…

It was nice enough to ride outside, but I haven’t been riding and didn’t feel like introducing a new ring on a cooler day. My plan was to ride outside Sunday but that didn’t end up happening. I went out Saturday with a touch of anxiety, but Nay was a doll. We did what we felt comfortable doing and he was a gem. I haven’t been asking for the canter because it takes a lot out of me physically, but as he landed IN the canter after a couple of jumps, I decided I’d just let him canter. It worked out well and was a lot less work on my part.

The right lead will always be the right lead… what happens when I don’t remember to set it up. Ignore my head.

Sunday, more of the same. Except, warmer temps and high, high, high winds. Every jump in the outdoor blew over and everything was banging around. I was exhausted from the ride the day before, but despite all of that, Nay didn’t care one bit. We had a pleasant ride INSIDE thanks to the weather though did a little less than the day before (my confidence wasn’t quite as high thanks to shaky legs from the day before).

Eventually I’ll canter in, but for now…

What I’ve found is that lunging right now is key. It puts BOTH of us in the mindset for work. Nay gets to warm up without me (he’s sometimes a little cold backed) and I get to see what his energy level is (physical and/or mental). Depending on how hard we work on the ground, we adjust how hard we work under saddle. As I’m not riding him very hard right now, the ground work is probably a good thing. He’s also improved A LOT on the lunge line as we work on transitions. Walk is now in his vocabulary (though downward transitions from trot to walk are still a work in progress). Good boy doesn’t mean woah anymore either.

Hugging Nay Nay
I adore this horse. Even when I don’t.

Slowly getting back at it

Happy March everyone! Who knew 3 months after getting sick I’d still be in recovery mode? The good news is the full body weakness is gone. The bad news is, my immune system sucks and my asthma isn’t exactly under control… and endurance is non existent.

Forever a problem child

The weather has also sucked. Nothing like the south, but the Mid Atlantic/southeastern Pennsylvania has had one snow storm after another. Nothing crazy, but enough. Actually, some of them have been sleet storms for my portion of the county because totals have varied upwards of 12-15” for some storms in the same county (45 miles apart) due to the snow/sleet line. But, either way it’s sucked. Even worse because we still haven’t fixed the snowblower and my driveway is evil (I can only afford plowing every so often). And yesterday? Rain. So much rain and flooding. I’m surrounded by creeks. Between the melt and the rain…

I hate my driveway.

But enough about weather. The horses.

Nay hasn’t been eating as well as he should. He’s not loving this batch of orchard grass (2 bales left if he’ll just eat them) plus Subi deciding he can’t eat breakfast inside… I’m not sure if his weight is awful or if he’s lacking muscle… anyway, horses. I just don’t like how picky he is. I’m treating him for ulcers again, but it’s not helping so I’m pretty sure that’s not it. Subi, on the other hand, is night and day since starting ulcer treatment.

He is cute though

But, due to weather, I hadn’t ridden since the beginning of February. Wednesday we reached a balmy 52 and finished shoveling out the trailer (I don’t haul in snow and that Monday it snowed) and off Nay and I went to the barn to ride. We lunged and I hopped on.

The ride was nothing exciting. We trotted a bunch and did poles (a favorite) and worked on a puddle from the leaky roof. We were joined by another haul in and found out about monthly caveletti clinics in town so we might try those as well as Friday night dressage schooling shows. I have no interest in dressage, but it’s a low key way to get him hauling elsewhere in town. It maybe adds 5 minutes to our current trip. So something to think about for this year.

Thoughts about work

We rode again Thursday, this time 100% solo. More poles. There were several set up thanks to the resident western trainer so we just played with what was there and changed our pattern constantly, circling, bending, changing direction, etc. we added in some 2ft fences here and there as well and Nay had a grand old time. I don’t know what it is, but this kind of ride really suits him. I did canter a couple of circles and found myself heaving a touch but I survived? Lol

Friday was COVID shot 1 and Saturday I was just exhausted so I waited till Sunday to ride again. In the pouring rain. Not ideal. I’m a fair weather hauler, but we did it. There was barn activity and Nay was a touch up and cold backed so I tossed him on the line. The other trainer ended up dismantling the ring ( so he could drag ) as we ride (left us piles of poles) but of all things Nay cares about), moving jumps/standards/boxes is not one of them. Didn’t even give them a second glance. Go figure. We had a nice walk/trot ride and called it a day.

Always a good boy. But if he’d just eat breakfast…

Trainer is back Tuesday from Florida. Honestly? I’m enjoying playing right now and might wait a few weeks before I start lessons. I mean, I don’t really have the strength to canter yet… so why bother? We could use help at the trot, but I just want to enjoy my rides and not make them work while I’m trying to come back.

(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:

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