Riding in Fair Hill (and not getting lost?!?!)

Sunday morning I finally got back out to Fair Hill with the Batthorse. The heatwave broke on Saturday (I, however, was dealing with another migraine rather than riding Ranger) and the weather was gorgeous.

I rode out from the Gallaher lot for the first time. And while the trails in this area were LOVELY, parking was AWFUL. I arrived to find NO PARKING AT ALL (and first thought I was going to have to back in to the one possible parking spot) and then finally noticed people parking on the grass across the street. Thankfully a nice person moved her trailer up to make room for me and I was able to park. Later on the grass area filled up too. But, Gallerher lot = no parking. Just saying.


I had arranged to meet a couple of random people via the Fair Hill trail riding group on Facebook. When I arrived, there was an empty red stock trailer that I thought belonged to the people I was meeting (also red) so the person I parked next to invited me along to join her group. Once I was tacked up, my real group arrived, but I ended up going out with the new group as the original group was only planning a 40 minute ride. Now, I don’t need long, but 40 minutes is a little too short. So I ditched group 1 and went out with group 2… Since I didn’t know any of these people… Plus the originally group was running late and I was all tacked up and ready to go.


This brings me to my question: How do you meet people to ride with? Especially when you keep your horses at home? Now, I ride at hunter barn, but primarily with kids on ponies. Most of them are ring kids and they venture out on trail rides 1x per year and beyond that, trails are loops around the fields with their ponies. I like kids enough, but I’m not big on trail rides with 10 year olds… especially on 50k ponies… ha! exaggerating. Maybe. img_7883

Beyond that, most of my horse friends don’t have trailers or horses. I’m no longer willing to ride at Marsh Creek after past “incidents” related to teaching, at least not yet. Wounds are still too fresh. My farrier suggested just showing up at Fair Hill and seeing who I can meet. As long as people are there, that’s not a bad plan. Facebook worked pretty well even though I rode with different people than planned.

Anyway, the ride was pretty nice. Went out with 4 MARES. My poor gelding didn’t care at all. He parked himself mid pack and only coughed when we stood to take a poll if we were continuing on or turning back.


We did try and take off our bridle once… Any suggestions for a bridle with a WIDE crown piece? I tightened his bit when I hopped off to adjust his boot which twisted, but I’d rather not have him ride with a tighter (than necessary) bit, but idiot Batthorse knows how to take off his bridle (and fly masks — except for the Rambo). Anyway, Batts starts shaking his head and next thing you know, one ear is free of the bridle (or would be if I didn’t catch it). Michele saw this happen last trail ride… I’m thinking a wide crown piece would make this more difficult? This hasn’t been a one time incident and has happened multiple times over the past year or so? With and without fly bonnets. Suggestions welcome!img_7882

Anyway, all and all we were out for about 2+ hours. We went over multiple bridges without incident (all following fearless leaders) with much praise. We crossed tiny creeks and went through woods. Batt was his usually calm self. Love this boy so much on the trail.

I exchanged contact info with our leader so I might have at least one person to go out with again.


Eating back calories lost from 2 hours of work… 

Fair Hill Blogger Trail Ride

Taking advantage of a quiet evening reference desk shift to catch up on this blog. Saturday afternoon we FINALLY had our much planned blogger trail ride at Fair Hill with Michele, Emma, and Emma’s barn mate Amy and her horse Punky. I think Emma first mentioned a trail ride almost 2 years ago and it FINALLY happened! Michele and I had a planned a paper chase this past fall that was cancelled then a ride that we bailed on when life, weather, and, er, musicals got in the way.


And this nose. This nose ALWAYS is in the way.

Too bad this trail ride happened because Michele is a terrible, mean person [who rescues me from airports and work and takes my blankets down to slower, lower Delaware] and is ditching us for TN. I mean, who is going to rescue me when I get stranded somewhere next? Obviously NOT my friends and family… Remember, it’s ALL ABOUT ME!
Selfish rant over. And, no, you can’t take Jiminy to TN.

Putting Michele to work and making her hold my horse. And Batty’s posing because, that’s what he does…

After all this terrible weather we’ve had, Saturday was GORGEOUS! The pollen count wasn’t terrible either which was helpful as Batts’ heaves and allergies have been acting up. Enough that Michele and Emma thought I was contemplating bailing. No. But, had he been as bad as he was the previous week when I tried to get on him for my 1 “ride” since Thanksgiving, I’d had to have. Poor horse was coughing up a lung thanks to so allergies… But, everything settled since then and whenever the vet gets his Hydroxyzine in, he’ll start that 2x/day. Anyway, with 5 minutes of w/t on the lunge line and a 5 minute ride at the walk both a week before and no other work since Thanksgiving, we headed out to Fair Hill. Because, that’s completely normal, right?
Michelle taking a picture of me taking a picture…
So, Batty is THAT horse who is born broke and always quiet. This was no exception. His coughing was generally OK except when he was a. Ignored  or b. Bored. As long as we were doing something fun (ie: NOT returning to the trailer.. we sulked and had LOTS of feelings about going home. Mostly that included dragging our feet because we’re not normal), no coughing occurred. But, when we were in the trailer alone being ignored? Cough. Strange horse.

Anyway, we had a great time. Batty and Remus were the perfect pair. Remus was up Batty’s butt and Batts didn’t care (the joy of a former lesson horse…). Batt DID cause Remus to spook once over this plastic thing on the ground that he was sniffing at by turning sideways which was highly entertaining since Michele managed NOT to fall off… But all bridges were crossed, all water was crossed, and bravery was accomplished. We did make Angry Faces at Charlie for some reason though… Sorry Charlie…
Overall, the company was fantastic! I wonder why I don’t get out to Fair Hill more often considering I’m 15 (20-25 with the trailer) minutes away. So many trails to explore. And all Batts wants to do is explore. Had circumstances been different, some trotting and cantering would have been lovely! But, considering how out of shape a certain chestnut was… the walk was ideal!
Hopefully Michele and I will get out again before she heads to TN. So much more exploring to do!

Sir Charlie!

Of course, as great as our ride was, drama followed me home… After passing a tiny Amish cart pulled by a Shetland pony, I almost got run off the road by farm equipment… Nothing like a tractor that can’t fit in a single lane approaching you when your hauling. I certainly wasn’t moving off the road. Somehow he managed to pass me with about 6″ to spare… I just sat there gritting my teeth. Then I arrived home to find that Subi had been screaming since I left 3 hours earlier (he’d been running too but got tired and resorted to just screaming). Lesson learned: When I take Batt out. DON’T put Subi and Jiminy on grass. Jiminy cares more about grass than Subi and Subi cares more about Batty than grass or Jiminy. At least when they’re in the paddock, Jiminy stays close to Subi and he’s not THAT dramatic.

Clean at Fair Hill, muddy within 5 minutes of being home

Drama. I don’t need it.

These two… tale of two quarter horses with opinions.

And because I can’t leave out the biggest drama queen of the bunch… Geldings.


Subi’s lucky I love him…

Ranger Recap: Roll Backs and Batts and the arctic tundra

So last lesson it was before  EVIL that is daylight savings time. So it was darkish but not dark if you know what I’m saying? This week’s lesson was  DARK. DARK, DARK,  DARK, DARK, DARK! I hate this time of year so much. We have an indoor, but don’t use it until we absolutely need to so we were outside under the lights. In the dark and miserable work that is winter. I mean, it was fine and not that cold, but it was  DARK.


Biscuit says it’s DARK outside.

Last lesson we worked on bending lines. This week was roll backs. I forgot that I like rollbacks? I mean, I  haven’t actually done roll backs consistently (at the canter) since, well, Subi. And they weren’t our forte. Though we always did really well at the circle of death so maybe we did do well? I actually can’t remember. It’s been too long.

So, in my course drawings last week, I forgot a jump. Rather than try to update that one, I attempted to redo it. It’s still not to scale, but I used paint rather than a sharpie. So, ???


It’s definitely not as special as last week’s art, that’s for sure… But, tough. We started off by cantering in to jump 1 and in the air, opening up my left hand and turning my head to look at jump which yes, was a nice tight turn. We did get the turn, but a certain pinto pony was NOT helping me and landed wrong EVERY. SINGLE. TIME. no matter what  I did. Thank you Ranger. We repeated this a few times just to try and  get the lead and to make sure once I was over the jump, I was steering with 2 hands.

Just breaking text up with pictures

From here, we added on jump 3 and  4. 3 was the straw bales and  4 was the out of the outside line. 3 was fine the first time as and  continued to be OK as long as I went into my corner and the out was decent every time even if I screwed up everything else. I’m realizing I have no issue riding out of problems because, again, I have a weirdly accurate eye. We ended up

Next we added in 5, our brownstone plank jump to our outside single. Again, Ranger is perfect, I saw my distance, it worked. It was easy.

We did end up cantering down to 2 as a single, around to the straw (3), and continuing to 4 because I screwed up my corner and distance to the straw once and the roll back was getting  hard because of the lack of lead, but, that’s a different issue. Jump 4 was lovely even when I screwed up 3. I’m noticing that my 2 point is getting really strong and I’m not grabbing mane half the time (not that I’ve needed to, but habit) because I REALLY  don’t need to? I feeling really tight and secure? I mean, the jumps have be lovely, but now they’re really nice? Pony is perfect.

We ended with an easy outside line. I just sat there and didn’t know what to do. I’m loving the courses. The easy lines are terribly boring now! But, either way, I love this horse!

As always, we ended we with lots of carrots and peppermints before I sent him out to field where Forest and Elliot where waiting anxiously for him… Seriously, the three of them need to get over themselves…


Friday also started off with the funeral of Nicholaus Nicklebottom, beloved friend who left his mark and bound us together. RIP Nicholaus! The OVERLORD has taken his place. The OVERLORD is NOT NICE. [update: the OVERLORD has gone missing since he started service Friday morning…] Yes, this is what we do at work….

As nice as it was Friday, it was miserable on Friday/Saturday. Windy and FREEZING. Which is why Saturday I had to lead a trail ride at 10am… At 6:30am it was 19*. Wind chill of 11…

So Batty and I headed out to Marsh Creek at 8am in the arctic temperatures and made it there when it was till below freezing. While the sun was out, it didn’t help too much. But, thanks to Mountain Horse Stella Polaris winter boots, 2 pairs of riding pants (I don’t know where my winter riding pants are…), wool socks, base layer shirt, super warm Noble Outfitters cowl fleece thing (I need to review this), down vest, and a down coat, I was pretty warm. Plus, I threw on Subi’s old quarter sheet which was a touch too small, but whatever. We were warm, though for some reason I forgot to put on gloves because I’m an idiot.  Also, it was NOT 30 degrees at 10 am… And the wind chills…


I was mid sentence when the picture was taken… Batty was mid sleep. His stomach is too big for that quarter… he’s too big for his 52″ girth. He’s just too big right now. 

Regardless Batty was perfect. Because he just is. Even though I barely managed to get his feet clean enough for his boots… But, whatever.

Hopefully paper chase next weekend!

What happens when you don’t ride your horse for 2 months…

Apparently nothing.



I last got on Batty just about 2 months ago when I last got stung by a wasp. On August 30th. I haven’t ridden him since mostly because I was afraid to open my trailer and his bridle and girth are girth are in there are I needed to make sure  there  were no wasps. I rode him Saturday. November 4th. How did he react?

I wore spurs and carried a crop.

I used said spurs to ask for extension. I didn’t use the crop. He pointed his toes, extended when I asked, and trotted around, ears forward, happy as a clam, like he’s been doing this every. single. day. since August 30th.

Seriously horse?

No drama. No fireworks. Nothing.


It was a gorgeous day!


He even cantered. Granted, he made it about 1/3 of the way around the ring first on the left lead before he got tired. Then half way around.  But he cantered.

To the right he was a bit stiff at the trot before he loosened up and was fine. Right lead canter was ugly and short strided, but no one died and the second and  third attempts were nicer.


Zen mode!

For a horse that hates ring work, he  LOVES THIS RING. We usually only ever play in this ring, even  when I make him work. I’ve never made him jump big scary jumps at Retta’s place.  I’m never over faced  him here.  We only ever play here and trot and  canter and  sometimes jump cross rails (though not this time).  And our visits usually end with trail rides. The other ring we ride at he doesn’t love.  We took lessons there. He had to jump big, scary jumps. Even though we don’t jump there anymore, I think there’s an element of PTSD? Anyway, he so much prefers Retta’s even though his feet prefer the footing elsewhere.

He spent much of his day hanging  out in a paddock making new friends before we hit the trail with clients. For not being out on a trail for a close to a year (Thanksgiving paperchase when my hoof boot cable broke)? He was foot perfect and happy.


One. Pooped. Pony. (happy to have his boot repaired!)

Seriously horse? I couldn’t ask for  more  perfection.

(The video isn’t actually upside down)

Riding the GIANT horse

In an attempt to make some money this weekend, I took a  few trail rides for friend/part time employer in additional to my usual Saturday barn lesson stuff. With good weather, I usually take out a trail ride most Saturdays, but I added in an extra on Sunday as well.

The past couple of months I’ve been riding Peter, our 25-27 auction rescue who isn’t actually quiet enough to put any clients on. He’s quick footed (though wonderful and will NEVER move beyond a nice, forward walk unless you ask him to), but has a pesky habit of not standing and well, hopping when asked to stand. And we have to stand quite often to wait for CT, our PERFECT trail horse, to catch up. His feet barely leave the ground, he’s not trying to rear, but it certainly would freak out any beginner. He’s getting MUCH BETTER  and  if  I ask him to turn and face the other horses, he rarely even does it anymore. But, nonetheless, he’s not client approved… Still, he’s a great trail mount for me, especially at a compact 15 hands… (well, he also doesn’t yet stand for mounting without being held, but that’s improving as well–he’s especially as he’s beginning to be used for light lessons). If it weren’t for his teeth, you’d have NO IDEA he was an old man!

Good old Peter!

So, imagine my surprise on Saturday when I looked at the board and saw my 3 person trail ride has a 5 horses and I had the options for Heidi (our hafflinger mare who I adore, but she’s NOT relaxing), Seairra (No, just no. A TB who gets ridden 1x/year. NO. Not my ride anyway.). And Sam, a boarder’s belgian/TB cross who stands a whopping 17.3/18 hands at 6-7 years old. I chose Sam. A friend of mine joined me and ended up taking Peter (why he wasn’t on the initial list, no freaking clue).

Sam is actually pretty awesome so I took him out again on Sunday. He has issues that are pretty much user error. He’s big and stupid, but generally wants to be a good boy. But his ground manners are atrocious. Which is why, when the first girth a grabbed didn’t fit, my saddle ended up crashing to the ground. I was NOT HAPPY. I ended up needed a 56″ girth AND  girth extender. Holy crap. He had some time off while his owner debated selling him…? Not his fault. But,  I really want to play with him in the ring because he’s so freaking fun.


Giant nose for a  giant horse…

Anyway, Saturday we stayed in the back of the  pack while Peter led the way and just had a ball hanging out with the slow pokes, chatting and meandering around. He’s such a good boy. It was chilly and the wind was blowing, Sam did NOT care, even when a bicyclist almost ran him down…

Sunday he led the way of our 3 client trail ride and was happy to lead. He was bold and brave and forward. I worked on leg yields and bending on the trail and he went from being an 18 hand board to flexible and fabulous. I can’t wait until I can play with him in the ring!


It’s not the angle, he really is that big…

Today my arms hurt. I could barely reach to get the saddle on his back or his bridle on (I need a step stool). But, I had fun with Sam! If only his ground manners were better! 18 hands of baby horse… Oy. He’s actually not bad, just … annoying on the ground.

Sam pictures from last summer,  he’s not any smaller, but normally the 54″ fits. This weekend it was a 56″ AND girth extender… So I guess he’s rounder and/or grew? He’s still young… Damn.

Trail rides and Paper Chases

Hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving!

Instead of shopping (or eating too much) Thanksgiving this year was spent enjoying our new found freedom thanks to having a horse that actually loads on a trailer. It’s amazing all the fun things we can do!

Technically I had to work Monday through Wednesday but that didn’t stop me from taking some time off for more fun things like riding lessons and trail rides. Tuesday was still super windy around here so I had my lesson indoors and it just sort of..sucked. It tuned out it was only Ranger’s second time in the indoor (since the first time I’d ridden him in there), and while there wasn’t anything inherently wrong with the lesson, I just kept sucking and he took full advantage. Basically we were doing an inside line and ducking out of the second jump. First time my fault, second time over and perfect. Third time, fine, 4th time, haha look at me caught you completely off guard! Then it was just a fight and I lost my confidence. We ended up just trotting a few times and Ranger got the “oh shit” look but the whole thing… especially considering we’re supposedly showing next weekend… yeah. Spatially I’m bad with indoors anyway. We’ll see how this week goes… I originally agreed to a barn schooling show but now it appears it’s a schooling show elsewhere an hour away…

So Wednesday I took a half day to take a trail ride with my friend Sandra who was visiting for Thanksgiving. So Batty and I headed to Marsh Creek for the afternoon. After 3 days of wind, it was finally a nice day. Sunny and warm(ish). We got to borrow Batts’s buddy Ben and had a great time and managed not to get lost while taking a trail I’ve only been on once before! Success! Anyway, the footing was great and we managed a decent amount of trotting and cantering too. Good prep for Friday’s paperchase!

Of course by Wednesday night I had some debilitating head cold (that I’m still dealing with now) so Friday morning I was still flip flopping on attending said paperchase but I ended up going. It was hosted by Fair Hill Stables and when I arrived around 9:30, my normally sane horse was a nervous nelly. Horses were screaming and he was just feeding off their energy. I eventually got tacked up and managed to get on and then asked for directions to registration. A nice pair asked if I had a team (the organizer was going to add me to one of the groups renting her horses), and invited he to join them. So Batty and I made our way down to the stable amid chaos and barking dogs, somehow registered while spinning, calmed down when a group of horses left, got reworked up, and then calmed down again once our team headed out. Once we were out on the trail, he was his normal happy self. Go figure?

5 minutes into the ride we suffered equipment failure when the wire in his one hoof boot snapped and Batts freaked out. Well, he was pissed that he went from cushy boot to harsh gravel… thankfully the girl I was with jumped off her pony (yay for vaulters) grabbed his half boot), jumped back on, and  the other lady stuck it in her saddle bag. We were approaching grass so I just walked to that point and luckily Batts was ok without a boot. But I wasn’t exactly happy. But grass brought us to out first canter stretch which left me with a very happy horse so his hoof boot was quickly forgotten.


The first half to two thirds of the ride went really well. Batty’s not great with bridges but he was happy to follow over them and through tunnels. He doesn’t actually care where he is in line so while we mostly stayed in the back he did get his chance to lead at times. He was also the brave horse through water (usually the leader) so all my fights at Marsh Creek have finally paid off! The trail was really well marked as well which was great. That said, it was crazy long. We did a massive amount of trotting and cantering in the beginning but ended up walking the lasted 1/3 as one of the horses we were with came up lame (stone bruise). We were out probably 3+ hours. They said it was 10 miles but it had to have been longer… it felt longer. By the end the horses were just over it. We did have one bridge where Batts just wouldn’t cross. Leader didn’t help. I ended up getting off and forcing him across. He eventually walked over a few times willingly and I got back on and we moved on, but something a boy that one stupid bridge…

Overall it was a fabulous event, just wish it was a tiny bit shorter. The footing was great, the trail was super well marked, but it was just crazy long. Nonetheless everyone had a lot of fun. Met a good pair who loved Batty too and we plan to do more chases together in the spring. Professional pictures

Must. Eat. All. The. Hay.

After my long ride Friday, the last thing I expected to hear was “trail ride” on Saturday but sure enough… so after lessons and armed with a killer cold, I took a nice couple out. Nothing like riding when you are so frickin’ sore. Saturday was back to being colder and miserabler. And windy. Not bad wind, but enough. But I did get to ride the Heidi-Mare, the only mare I actually enjoy riding right now. Of course, thanks to the wind and downed branches, we were looking and spooking at things left and right so it wasn’t exactly a relaxing or enjoyable ride, but at least she’s cute?

Weekend Trail Rides (or, Batts and Bailey take on Fair Hill)

Nothing too exciting to report. We had a really nice weekend weather-wise (in other words, unseasonably warm), so lots of trail rides. Saturday, I took out a nice couple down at Marsh Creek and on Sunday, Batt and I explored Fair Hill with a friend of mine.

Saturday was just my usual Marsh Creek excursion. I didn’t bring Batts down due to the warm temps, not having clipped him yet, and 2 new horses who had arrived the evening before from auction. I figured they needed some quarantine before I exposed Batts to them. So, I took out Sam instead. (For those of you who don’t remember, Sam is the 17.1 Belgian-TB cross who is pretty much dead quiet despite being 6).

For size reference refresher, here’s Sam…

Anyway, I like taking Sam out on trails as he’s slow, steady, and keeps up with his slow and steady buddies Poe and CT. Batts has no issues leaving CT behind… Despite his long legs, Sam doesn’t actually mind moving at a snails pace…

Needless to say, Sam was less than impressed by the whole thing. But, it was a beautiful day and he was a good boy. Hunting season has started in the park so we all wore our neon vests, but thankfully no hunters were hidden in our path. Nothing like a 17 hand fraidy cat jumping in place… We only did that once, walking back to the barn when we spooked at the barn pickup truck pulling in behind us carrying grain. How can you spook at dinner?

Sunday morning I finally got around to clipping Batts and Jiminy. Batts has been super fuzzy this year and Jiminy is always fuzzy. I hate  how sweaty both have been. I decided to try a bib clip with Batt and a chaser clip with Jiminy. I may end up with a chaser clip on Batt and a full clip (minus head/legs) on Jiminy, but we’ll see… Thankfully, both are good about clipping, unlike a certain other chestnut… (I’m pretty sure Jiminy has never seen a pair of clippers before but like a good mini, he takes everything in stride).

Instant Pony Weight-loss Technique! Batty, on the other hand, was less than impressed…

Later that afternoon, Batts and I headed out to Fair Hill to meet my friend Terry and her horse Bailey for an afternoon trail ride. She leases one of the barns out in the park, but despite that, we rarely ever get out to ride together. We were planning a short ride as Bailey is 28, but we sort of got lost and ended up staying out for a good 2 hours. They horses had a good time though. Unfortunately, while Bailey knows the park really well, we can’t give him his head as he’ll take us back to Fair Hill Stables as that was home base for a long time for him. As for Batt, Batt never likes going home so he’s no help. We eventually just turned around and took a longer route back and were find, but our cross country efforts were interesting… Bailey decided hills were meant for galloping up (seriously, you’re 28…) while I’ve learned that Batty is seriously the most incredibly amazing trail horse every. I’d have no issue with him galloping his hills or really anywhere, but I know Terry isn’t necessarily comfortable and was just trying to keep Bailey in hand so I figured I’d help out by NOT cantering up those hills, as tempting as it was for both of us. Bailey was good for Batty as well. All our bridge issues we faced in the past when out alone? No issue! He followed Bailey over without hesitation.

I seriously love this horse!


Best Batthorse Ever!


Batty and Bailey returning home

weekend roundup

Nothing too exciting to report. Pretty uneventful week filled with lots of migraines and a fun work trip to Dover, DE (note, I don’t like Dover at all). Fun, right?

In non-migraine news, it was ridiculously warm all week with temps near 80 which is not normal for the mid Atlantic in October. So, of course, everyone was miserable with their fuzzy coats. I’m still debating weather to clip Batts and Jiminy, but if I’m going to I should probably get to it sooner rather than later. I waited until Thanksgiving last year for Batts which was way too late. Hopefully I get to it soon. My farrier was out on Monday and encouraged me to clip the boys. I certainly won’t do a full body clip (I was thinking about it for Batty, but i’m too lazy and cheap to buy another new blanket with hood) but some sort of trace clip should be fine. Though a hood was tempting to help grow back his missing mane. But, money. But, I have enough well fitting high neck blankets for Batty that I’m not going to bother with anything new. So trace/chaser clip will need to do.


Diet may be needed soon…

As for Jiminy, he hates being cold, but he’s so hot right now with his coat that I don’t really have a choice. Plus, he loves his blankets so… Seriously mini. You were supposed to be the easy one!

As for Subi, he needs all the coat he can grow. And blankets. I did order him a new discontinued Rambo for super cheap on Wednesday while stuck in Dover so hopefully I can retire his 10 year old Rider blanket to an emergency spare. It’s still waterproof and holding up, but after 10 years, it’s seen better days. I’d rather not use it as a spare anymore and just hold onto it for emergencies.

I cancelled my lesson on Thursday (migraine) and rode Sunday on the Ranger horse. We sort of picked up where we left off with the gate around to the triple (after flatwork and sitting trot which I sucked at this week). Thankfully the triple started out as well as we ended with and my brain didn’t get overly involved which is always a good thing. After that, however, we introduced the evil 2 stride. My issue with this was that I had to canter in the first time (fine, no big deal) and no nothing (much bigger deal). Thankfully, unlike a normal person who cuts corners, I usually go to wide which helped me with the 2 stride where I needed to be wide to come in straight. It was actually fine. Of course, instead of just doing the 2 stride, we needed to continue to the triple which sucked the first time since I failed to add enough leg and the first jump was ugly. The next few times were much better. We may have done another line in here but I don’t really remember. Overall, it was a short, but productive lesson. Sometimes I feel lessons might not be the full length, which would bother me, bit I didn’t feel I were getting so much out of the lesson? If that makes sense? We’ve also gone way over when I’ve sucked so… Anyway, I just love this perfect horse who makes me look like I know what I’m doing. I’m sure i don’t but it’s nice to feel that way sometimes!


Other than my lesson, the Batthorse worked hard all weekend. On Saturday he came down to Marsh Creek for lessons and a trail ride. One of my adults hopped on him for a lesson and he was a good boy though completely took advantage of her at times. His opinion? Good boy= Whoa. Yeah. But, he trotted around like a champ, trotted his poles (though when she had super long reins the first time he did canter over them and was VERY proud of himself), cantered around like a perfect pony, and even popped over a crossrail a few times (happily walking over it several times first). He hasn’t been a lesson horse for years, but he didn’t seem to mind the light lesson work.

After the lessons he joined me on a trail ride in 40 mile/hr winds. Not that Batty cares about no wind. He had a bigger issue when one of the horses tried to take the lead from him… Anyway, despite the wind and cold, I think he was happy to be out in the park. I tried to do 2 point on the trail ride which was a little interested, but managed about 15 minutes….

Sunday after our lesson I pulled Batts back out of the paddock for another ride to time our 2 point. He was none too impressed. I guess 2 days of work in a row violates our contract… Anyway, we just walked around the woods while I timed 2 point and listened to a podcast. Seriously 2 point is easy on Batty thanks to his downhill nature. Grabbing made/touching his neck pitches you forward so it’s actually easier NOT to hold on. Batty was happier to learn he didn’t need to work so he happy to walk forever. Anyway, we hit the 25 minute mark (finally!) and I’m surprisingly not sore today. I feel a lot stronger doing 2 point after lessons so jumping must be getting me stronger.

Anyway, no lesson next week. I work Thursday night (normal lesson time) and trainer is a show all weekend. So, instead, it’ll be a weekend of trail rides. Saturday at Marsh Creek (assuming a bring Batty again) and Sunday at Fair Hill. I’m hoping that the ‘on location’ riding will help with contract violations…

Weekend wrap up

I already posted about Sam, the giant horse, but I figure I should catch up a little on the rest of the weekend.

I’m trying to get back into lessons again and had my first lesson (in a couple of years) scheduled for earlier last week. Of course, a storm was moving in so about 40 minutes before my lesson, we rescheduled for Friday. Storm dissipated completely and it was sunny (though raining) during my would be lesson.

Lesson on Friday was a little earlier than was convenient, but being a holiday weekend, I decided I could skip out a little early. So, when 4:30 came around, I headed out. Just to get to my car as a bolt of lightening struck and knocked out power across the university campus. No rain at this point either. Of course, I park in a gated lot which meant that the electric gate didn’t work to let us all out. Calls to parking and public safety were useless and no one necessarily wanted to be “the one” to break the gate. Eventually, we decided to drive through the handicap ramp and sidewalk to exit the parking lot. Fun times, but no cars go stuck. I’m not sure if it would have been as successful if it were raining…

My drive home included lots of sun, lots of rain, localized flooding, localized heavy winds, and downed branches. Oh and more blinding sun. I got home to find heavy rain and part of a tree on my round pen. Another fun project. Still, radar looked looked like it would clear out, 6pm showed 0% percolation, and no lesson cancellation. Because of the rain, I ended up rushing out last minute (we had a long 1 mile drive…) and felted rushed pretty much until I was actually on Batts.


Round pen repairs needed again….

While I’ve worked with this trainer very briefly a few years ago, I was still nervous because that’s me. Nerves and stress. Add in crazy 90% humidity and I was feeling sort of wonky to start out.

Overall, the lesson went pretty well and we’re going to try and stick to an every other week schedule (I’d love to do more, but my bank account objects) and I’ll haul in on off weeks to hack in the ring. We worked on pace, moving off my leg when asked, bending, and energy. Needless to say, we rocked our halts and downward transitions, but it was suggested I start wearing spurs with him again since he was zero respect for my leg. Right now we’re following the whole ask with leg once, then demand with crop. I’ve avoided spurs lately as my leg sucks and swings though trainer has indicated that it really doesn’t in reality… So, back on spurs go, at least for flat work.

We actually did some jumping which surprised me as I was expecting a flat lesson. I don’t know how much I’ve posted about Batty, but he’s a former dead quiet, bombproof lesson horse who would be absolutely perfect if he weren’t a stopper… A reluctance for jumping combined with getting hit in the mouth by a variety of riders and all of that… Even poles were an issue at times (stopping or trying to launch over them). Anyway, since I’ve had him, I haven’t done too much jumping. I didn’t jump him at all for the first few months and then boredom hit and poles were reintroduced as were cross rails. He has his moments, but for the most part, he’s pretty good with simple, boring cross rails of varying heights. Even boring (read empty) verticals were pretty consistent too and he’d occasionally pop over a 2’6″ bland vertical. Then, with all of his soundness issues and abscesses last year, he hasn’t really jumped much. Anyway, a few weeks back he popped over some cross rails and a tiny vertical and then the following week we fought a little with our jumps since the one cross rail was trying to eat him… After successfully trotting a few cross rail courses, we haven’t actually popped over anything since.

So when trainer suggested some fences, I wasn’t entirely certain. Especially since we were facing actual solid jumps (brush box and some astroturf covered thing). They were tiny, but solid. Determined he could walk over them, we worked on the whole forward motion thing. Lots of crop and kicking later, he finally made it over to lots of pats and praise. Second time was quicker success, third time was immediate. Then we trotting it before moving onto the second jump. Astro turf is scary, but having learned from the first jump, we eventually made it over, and then immediately made it over the second time. Once he was over, he was good. We trotted the line once then trotted in and cantered out and called it a day. Batty was pretty darn pleased with himself. He’s a strange one and moves very quickly from OMG something’s living in that jump and it’s going to eat me to Mr. Cocky and Proud of Himself (from there we move onto “I’m bored and can’t be bothered to put in effort” but we didn’t get that far).

Anyway, post lesson we were both exhausted and sweaty. After a nice cool shower (using cross ties! which appears we’re fine with again) we headed home to a thoroughbred who missed his Batthorse very much…


the masked men

On Sunday, we were supposed to go to a fun little schooling show at my friend’s barn, but due to low entries, she cancelled. Instead, we headed out to Fair Hill for a trail ride with Erik and the dogs.


My best girls (and Erik)

Armed with a broken crop, I learned bridges are something we need to work on. He was find with the first bridge until a car went under it and then no go. Darn broken crop didn’t help me much. Second bridge was scary because of the sound the small piece of metal made when he stepped on it. I eventually got off and forced him over it (again, damn broken crop) and considered it a success. The covered bridge however was no issue at all and he happily crossed that one (that was the bridge we had issues over last time). Still, considering he was out there without other horses, he did pretty well. Stuck mostly to the walk as my Hermione dog did NOT like me getting that far ahead and since it was warm, I didn’t feel like stressing my already tired pups (Marble got to lay in the creek so she was happy). I did let him canter up this small hill a bit once the dogs were back at the truck and that seemed to make him happy. Strange horse likes cantering up hill.

Arrived home and the boys were happily reunited. Well, Subi was happy, Batt just wanted to eat and I can’t same Jiminy actually cared.

Does this horse make me look short?

Led out a nice, low key trail ride yesterday afternoon. Sun, temps in the 70s, no humidity. Really nice afternoon ride. Took Sam out– he’s really just massive.

door frame for size reference

massive mounting block for size reference

sam standing downhill next to 2 draft crosses for size reference

Overall, really nice ride and grateful that Candace lets me take out her big 6 year old baby. He’s definitely a nice complement to CT and Poe: the gang of slow, slower, and slowest.