Tag Archives: baby horses

Chapters

This past weekend Sarah held some course work jump lessons and I signed right up! Sure, June and I are currently trotting poles to a cross rail, but I knew Sarah wouldn’t over face us, and I knew we needed to spice things up a bit as June is not one for constant repetition.

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She was super chill to tack up and on the longe. But I got on her and she realized we were jumping and I swear mare became a hot and sensitive beast. Now… I also realize the fact that she was calm until I got on her doesn’t bode well for me. Perhaps I made her a hot and sensitive beast? Maybe. But she definitely comes out of the gate raring to go, this one. This is so out of my comfort zone. A forward horse is lovely. I mean, I’m sure it will be, once I learn how to ride it. What I learned in this lesson, was that sometimes I just need to go with it.

Because June likes to take over to the jump, I came into this lesson prepared to do lots of transitions and keep things calm and her attention on me. She was great in warm up over the ground poles and settled in quite well as the lesson progressed. I wasn’t getting my typical June reaction, which has been, good for the first part, and then as things progress she gets more and more opinionated.

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There were a couple of moments where I had to tell her “um no” as she grabbed the bit and took over. But they were few and far between

And so, this is where I made my first mistake of the day. I didn’t read the horse I had. Now, it could have been that she was good because we were doing so many transitions and mainly working out of the trot. But it also could have been that she was good because of the work we had been doing and now was ready to progress. But instead of letting her canter to the jump, or letting her do her job, I got stiff in my body, constantly brought her back to the trot, and basically fought with her more than was necessary. I was unable to move forward with her, and instead just wanted to control every little thing.

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Meanwhile she just wanted to jomp jomp

I like to think of bringing along a horse as learning from a book. You need to know when to move on to the next chapter. When is your horse ready for you to move on, even if everything isn’t perfect. Or, when do you understand that they are ready for what’s next? I struggle with moving to the next chapter sometimes. I want to be as diligent and understanding of the current chapter and basically understand it to the nth degree before moving on. And this isn’t the most advanced form of horsemanship. Sometimes I need to take a risk and move ahead and use what we have learned to be successful with what we encounter.

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When she sees the jump, ears go forward

In this current lesson, despite Sarah telling me the same thing over and over, I didn’t relax my elbows and allow her to do her job. I didn’t see what would happen if I landed in the canter, re-balanced, and kept cantering to the next jump. I just kept thinking “Don’t let her take over, don’t let her go too fast.” Which was irritating, but understandable. I’m not used to a sensitive go get em, kind of horse, which June most certainly is.

All in all, the lesson was a lot of fun. I’m really excited to replicate it in my next lesson. I’m excited to allow June to canter and just see what I need to do in order to not pick, pick, pick, to the fence. Mare has zero issues jumping, so now, as we jump cross rails, is the time to get all of this sorted out. I’m really excited and can’t wait to work on something that is clearly out of my comfort zone.

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Trot Poles are our Future

I assume it’s the same for anyone starting a baby horse, but figuring June out has been so eye opening for me. I don’t know how I would do it without the expertise of someone who has gone through it before, as things are constantly changing. Then it’s sealing in what you want and having that be the expectation. And then things change again. And while this could be the same pattern in horse training in general, I’m finding that with June, since she has no base of knowledge to work from, we’re both figuring out what we want together, even if what we want isn’t necessarily the same.

I would like this ALL THE TIME

June’s connection has become so much more solid. We’re now working on not running through the outside shoulder and keeping her straight. We can keep the connection and stay straight on circles and in corners, but I work so hard on accomplishing that, that sometimes we lose our rhythm, and June quickens. On the flat, we’ve come a long way. We can canter in both directions, picking up the correct lead, but again, that falling through the outside shoulder is still a struggle. And June is far weaker going to the right, so there is a lot of swapping behind when I ask for connection in the canter. But, we’ll get there!

A slight tilting of my upper body and it all starts to fall apart

Our last few lessons we’ve concentrated on working over poles to a fence. As I mentioned in my last post, this usually starts out fairly easily. Losing the rhythm, and June taking over, usually happens as the exercise, or the jump height, builds. I’ve never had a horse as sensitive as June or as opinionated. She epitomizes “give an inch she’ll take a mile.” And while I love her work ethic, and her attitude of being an over achiever, sometimes I want to sit her in the corner and remind her she doesn’t know how to do EVERYTHING better than I do.

She always enjoys a good gallop around the arena. She’s definitely better at galloping than I am

Seriously, though. Our lesson was great. But it takes just one ineffective ride and it can spirl. One time, I let her rush the fence in the last stride. She was SO proud of herself and cantered off after the jump even though she knew that we land, take a few canter steps and then halt. The next time around, fire breathing dragon appeared. But it’s so funny how she does it. Over the poles it’s: perfect angel, perfect angel, perfect angel, and then the last pole to the jump it’s: MUST GET THERE NOW.

I was definitely more effective in my riding than I have been and shut her down a few times. But that one time, where I don’t catch her in time, and she gets over the jump in an on the forehand ball of not listening? That means we will have to work even harder the next time around.

But the good news is, June is a quick learner. And while she will continue to try some antics to get her way, (including snorting and bringing her head down as she does so in order to try and get the reins longer,) all in all, we’re making progress. I feel like we could trot poles to a fence everyday for 6 months before she gives in and stops trying to take over, but that’s not what we’ll do. We will keep mixing it up, lots of work on the flat, challenge her other ways and soon, hopefully, I’ll have a horse who is light and off her forehand to the fence every time. I mean, it will look lovely and effortless, but we all know, I’ll continue to be working my butt off every single stride.

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The Calm After the Storm

The last two weeks have been a good sort of mayhem at work.  After about 10 years of planning, and dreaming, and fund-raising, we moved into our new Animal Adoption and Education Center at work. Considering the tiny hovel we were working in prior, moving into a 16 million dollar facility has been a dream. And a nightmare. Things weren’t working properly at first. A part of the roof was leaking. Nothing had been shoveled so there was nowhere to walk the dogs. And on, and on.We have been working out the kinks for to weeks and yesterday had our Grand Opening. And the public response was overwhelming. We had more visitors than we could have ever expected. The community was thrilled with the building and the work we are doing. Which is excellent.

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Our adoption lobby with a cat colony room and our indoor dog play yard off to the right

But also absolutely exhausting.

Thankfully, I THINK life goes back to normal now. But I feel like there is going to be a new normal we will all have to adjust to.  I’m just so excited to be in the new building and so excited by how much the animals seem to love it.

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Sir Meows a Lot, my favorite cat at the shelter currently. Also, I am super proud that I set this room up for the cats and got to place all the beds and stepping platforms. You’ll also notice a camera on the wall- cat room live streaming!

Working 7 days a week for 2 weeks straight left little time to get to the barn. But I’m so lucky to have Sarah to help me. Whether she throws June hay for me, gets her lunged when I can’t come down, or puts training rides on her, I was so incredibly lucky these past couple weeks not to feel any guilt about not being able to ride or care for June. I think we can really only get through stressful times with the support of friends.

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Pirate and Percy, two adoptable rats housed in our small animal housing,agree that life is better with friends.

Anyway, I DID get to ride June on Sunday AM before I went to work. It was a COLD morning and Sarah was nice enough to turn the heaters on in the indoor before I arrived. I mean, how nice is THAT????

June was a BIT full of herself at first, and got to gallop around for a bit. I was REALLY happy with how she settled down though and we had a really lovely ride. She was light in my hands and nicely forward without rushing. I was especially happy since Sarah had ridden her Friday, her first time jumping her, and she was a bit of a fire breathing dragon. In typical fashion, it started like this:

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Such the perfect pony

And as the jumps went up, and the exercise became more challenging, June tried to take over and stopped listening. But this time, she had Sarah on her back. And they worked through it until she was once again a polite pony through the exercises.

She’s an interesting horse for sure. She’s going to try and try and try to do it her way, and I’m really learning that you have to ride EVERY stride, as she will go from perfect pony to fire breathing dragon in one stride. And once the dragon comes out, it’s really hard to contain. So, my homework is to be a more effective rider and not let the dragon out.

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Not a dragon. Fernando is one of the NICEST chihuahuas I have ever met. I got to help check him in at our new Spay&Neuter Center

I have a jump lesson tonight and then am headed to Gary Mittleider’s for a lesson on Saturday. I was going to cancel, or have Sarah ride June, but instead we’re just going to have a private lesson and work on trotting ground poles or something thrilling like that. June really needs to understand that she has to listen ALL THE TIME before we progress or we’re not going to get anywhere. I think riding somewhere new will be good for her, and getting to get out of dodge for a day will be good for me.

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You know who else is good? Sasha. She’s loving life in her heated floor dog kennel

Anyway, I’m excited for the coming weeks, excited to be in our new facility at work, and excited that one day, who knows when, it will stop snowing.

If you’re interested in learning more about the organization I work for, Mountain Humane, you can follow us on Facebook here: Mountain Humane on Facebook

Or visit our website here: Mountain Humane

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When Your Child is a Phenom

You’ve undoubtedly met the parent who thinks their child is a phenom. The parent can be seen speaking in a muted voice,asking lots of questions about the upcoming show schedule, taking up a lot of the trainer’s time, and always thinking one step ahead. (Forgetting that horses are fragile creatures, and that thinking one step ahead leads to heart break.) We have had a few of these parents in our barn and I just roll my eyes at them.

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But then, I got June, and I BECAME them.

Except, my “child” is a horse. Which may be better? Or worse? Heck if I know.

I worry that June has too much talent. Especially for little amateur me. But then I get ecstatic about how easy the work we’re asking of her is. I laugh at how little energy she puts into jumping a 2’6 jump. I watch her trot and  swoon. Instead of listening to what Sarah is saying as she trots her across the arena, I think “man she is going to have a nice extended trot one day.” I’m insufferable when it comes to my phenom.

But then, fortunately, reality sets in. I get on my horse and she’s inconsistent in the bridle. I can’t pick up the right lead. Hell, I can’t even get her to trot over poles without falling on her forehand. My horse may be a phenom, but we’re not bound for the Olympics with me on her back. This team is as average as they come.

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Much talent. Much Phenom.

And, what I’m learning, just as those parents will have to, is that being a phenom doesn’t just happen. It is a hell of a lot of work, and more than just natural talent. It doesn’t matter if my horse came out of the womb doing pirouettes. If I can’t harness that, and work my ass off on all the other miniscule things that are important, we’ll never get around to actually performing pirouettes.

June is the fanciest horse I’ve ever had. And by fancy, I mean, she was bred to do the job I’m asking of her.  Even though the work isn’t as hard for her as it may be for other horses, it doesn’t mean she naturally engages her abs, rocks back and is light on her forehand. It doesn’t mean I can trot down centerline, and just sit there, hoping the judge will be dazzled by my horse’s incredible movement. Nope. Sure doesn’t. I have to continue to ride every friggin step. And lets not forget, June may be fancy by my standards, but there will always be a fancier horse and better rider out there. Always.

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Weird. I ride like shit, she goes like shit

 

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I ride well, she goes well

And this may sound obvious. And I guess it is. But up until recently, I’ve been half heartedly starting my horse. Dedicated to getting her ridden, but not asking for much. If she wants to pull through my hands I let her. She wants to be inconsistent in the bridle, that’s fine. In my mind, I shouldn’t have to work as hard  because she is a nice mover and talented. Image result for ridiculous gif

I’m not a naturally talented rider. I work hard and have good horse sense, which is my saving grace. But even if I was, I’d still have to work hard. Especially with a green bean. I watched Sarah ride her the other day, and she was working, working, working. Thinking, working,thinking, working. June looked great, but it definitely wasn’t easy. Even for a pro who is literally doing everything correctly at the exact right moment. So, ya know, like, the opposite of me. I kinda check out during rides instead of staying engaged mentally and physically the entire time. And that’s gotta change.

So, moving forward, every time we enter the arena, or have a lesson, we’re working hard. We’re only as good as the work we’ve put in. If June has phenom potential, well I better not look like I’m a waste of space on her back. My dream is to one day go Prelim with her. But for now, I need to concentrate on being able to do a 20m circle in a walk/trot dressage test. Cause hell, that’s going to take a lot of work.

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Best Yet

I was really really excited to write a recap on my most recent jump lesson. But work has been busy, and I have family coming into town tomorrow and I just can’t settle down enough to write a thoughtful play by play.

So, instead, you’re getting a recap through pictures. But just know this. It was super fun, and left me with so much homework. But I am so incredibly excited about June’s potential.

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We cantered over two poles to a jump. I had to work really hard to maintain rhythm. June was like a torpedo to the jumps

At first it was just a simple crossrail. But June wanted to pull me along to it, so I had to work really hard on keeping the uphill balance and not letting her take over.

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She was just like “easy, peasy, yawn, what’s next?” Meanwhile I was trying to remember how to jump and do a million other things

We had to work off the left and right, and our right lead canter has been, well, less than stellar, or consistent, but I was really happy with how we were able to work within the canter in this lesson and actually make some changes. Progress!

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Sometimes June took the long spot. Especially when she would take over and drag me down the line

But I worked and worked on getting this to improve. I wasn’t making changes quick enough, or insisting soon enough, but it got better as the lesson progressed.

And then, the crossrail became a vertical (yes it’s a vertical in the last photo but ignore that). June and I have never jumped a vertical before! So exciting!!

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Lets just say it was no problem for her

Going left I could get a fairly adjustable canter. Going right, well, we had to go right a few more times than left, but in the end it was far better than in the beginning.

And June just kept jumping out of her skin!

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I think she likes jumping.

June is just a natural jumper. It was so easy for her. Which meant I had to work hard on getting her to the first pole and not letting her drag me past our distance. I had to work on keeping her in an uphill frame. I had to keep my elbows moving and my leg from clamping (less successful with this..). My take away was that I can expect more from her than I was. I need to instill what I want from the get go, cause June is pretty sure she doesn’t need any help from me.

At the end I asked Sarah how high the jump was. 2′? 2’3? She paused and got the measuring stick. Almost 2’6! What??? We went from jumping crossrails to jumping 2’6 and I had zero fear, zero trepidation and it was SO FUN.

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Because I have the best friend ever, I asked her to stand next to the jump and look excited. And she did! And June just posed naturally, lol.

I think I have been grinning ear to ear ever since.

But OMG so much to work on. And I am SO EXCITED!!!

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Cold Temps, Belly Kicks, and Scopes

Not too much to report, as I am just waiting to get June scoped tomorrow. She was doing much better, eating well, and then fell off the wagon again and went on a mini hunger strike. We added some straight alfalfa to her daily feeding (she already gets grass/alfalfa mix) and she seems to enjoy that. She is eating out of the hay net, but prefers to throw it around all over the place when it starts to get empty. I was worried she wouldn’t eat out of it, but that isn’t a problem. Apparently she thinks of it as a toy that also tastes yummy…

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I have zero recent media so here’s a pic of happier times

I took her out Monday to groom and lunge her a little and she was feeling meh. On the lunge I asked her to trot and instead she started galloping and kicking out. Not a buck, more of a “my belly hurts” kick. So, we stopped, and I walked her and then put her away. Interestingly she went to eat when she returned to her paddock. So, there doesn’t seem to be any rhyme or reason to when she does and does not eat.

Tuesday I just came down to give her meds and kiss her nose. It was all of 1 degree out, so I didn’t stay out there any longer than I really needed to. This cold spell has me even more concerned about the fact that she’s not eating, and my hope is the cold weather spurs on a need to get some calories and she eats a bit.

Fingers crossed the scope is routine. I am expecting ulcers, but lets hope they aren’t horrid, or the worst the vet has ever seen? My animals seem to go to the extreme when they hurt themselves….

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She may have severely injured her back at age 14 but look at her go now!

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Dressage Tests and Ulcers

Despite the fact that we had a dressage schooling show coming up, in my most recent lesson, I opted to jump. And while I have no media as proof, June was really fantastic. I gave her a day off afterwards and got a text that June didn’t seem very interested in her hay. I went down to the barn to find June in her shed with a tub of uneaten hay. Banamine was given, she was lunged lightly and fingers were crossed. She wasn’t any better the following morning, so Sarah gave her some more Banamine and I stopped by to check on her. She was bright and alert and seemingly normal. If she was colicking, it must be mild. But then, why wasn’t the Banamine working? Just as I was thinking she might have ulcers, I received a text from Sarah that said “Ya know, I think she might have ulcers and this isn’t colic.”

I drove over to the vet’s office to see about having them come out and happened to catch her veterinarian between appointments. She agreed, ulcers seemed likely. I have her scheduled to be scoped on Thursday, and in the meantime have begun her on the crazy expensive Gastroguard regime for 30 days. I will admit there was a part of me that was like “How does this horse have ulcers??? I haven’t even asked anything of her yet?”

But in thinking it through, and reading a great article Sarah sent me from horse.com (along with some others) it seems it doesn’t take much for most horses to have ulcers. And probably the biggest contributing factor to her ulcers (which at this time I can only assume are the problem) are that she is “meal fed” as my veterinarian called it. Meaning, June gets two meals a day, and that isn’t great for a horse’s gastric health. Now, I love the barn I board at. But, do I love that my horse spends hours upon hours without anything to eat? No. Especially since I grew up with horses who never had any issues with colic or ulcers and spent their days out on pasture, eating all day long. So, this is tough for me. And clearly, it’s tough for June too. But the good news is, I have some solutions to keeping hay in front of her for longer periods of time, without having to change how the barn feeds her. More on that, later.

 

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More of this please!

Having suffered from an ulcer myself this summer, I knew how painful they can be, and also, that eating actually makes them feel better. Along with Omeprazole. I also knew the meds can take a few days to work, and actually, if she doesn’t have ulcers, they would not help a bit. But, by the next day, she was already eating a bit more. And while she wasn’t her complete sassy self, she was feeling well enough to at least get excited about feeding time.  And while I had initially thought I would scratch from the dressage show, on Saturday morning, seeing as she was feeling better, I decided to go ahead and ride in the show. I mean, we were doing a walk/trot test and it was at our barn. Stress levels should remain low for all involved. I made a deal that I would keep spurs off and that I wouldn’t fight with her. We’d just go into warm up and see what mood she was in. If she was willing to work, we’d work. If she felt crappy, I’d scratch.

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So cute!

She actually felt calm and relaxed. Perhaps a little duller than usual, but with lots going on around her, she was curious, but not anxious. And she handled the little bit of atmosphere like a champ. I definitely could have been smarter about my warm up. I could have done more transitions and worked on getting her to listen to my aids. I did some work on 20m circles and trying to be straight up centerline, which was fine. But I think in general, I just need to go into warm up with a plan, rather than figuring it out when I am already on her back. Especially with a young horse. I was overly concerned with symmetry instead of quality of my gaits. Therefore, our circles were ok, but June was dragging me around, and not listening to my aids very well. Lesson learned. There is a lot of work on transitions in our future. I was also overly worried about connection, instead of riding forward and with rhythm. Rhythm before connection, Nadia. Remember that next time.

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But connection can look so pretty!

But overall? Overall I was thrilled with her. She was focused and willing and a really really good girl. I think with a better warm up plan, and using warm up wisely, I could have imporved a lot of things, but I came out of both tests just thrilled with how it went and thrilled at our potential future.

June seemed unfazed by all of it, and was completely ready for treats when we were all done. And while she never gets treats unless she is in the horse trailer or her paddock, I made an exception and was happy to see how eager she was for them.

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So, all in all, a mixed bag week. I’ll keep you all posted on her scope this Thursday. I guess at this point, fingers crossed we find ulcers? Blerg. But, as always, I have a plan in place and we’ll get through this.

 

 

 

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June’s Mini Boot Camp

While I figured out what to do with June in the time that I can’t ride, I decided to keep my weekly lesson with Sarah and have her continue to ride June.

I’m really glad I did as it taught me so much about my pony and Sarah had some amazing progress with her.

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In their first ride together they worked on connection and balance in the walk/trot. June tends to grab the bit and pull. She evades steering. She evades contact. But by the end of the ride she was already lighter in the bridle and making progress. Sarah was looking forward to riding her again 4 days later to see what the mare had retained.

June was more supple, lighter in the contact and more responsive to what Sarah was asking from step one. She had pretty much retained…everything! Sarah was very impressed and moved on to the canter. Which…well.. lets just say our canter needs work. Especially on a 20 meter circle. June roots, evades contact, falls in, and just stops. I knew it would be a mess, so wasn’t surprised when Sarah had some serious work ahead of her.

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June’s two tactics for evading work, well three actually, are 1) grab the bit 2) just stop 3) buck/kick out. She didn’t buck or kick out at all with Sarah. But she grabbed that bit and ignored half halts. And towards the end of the ride, when she was tired, she literally just stopped moving forward and would start going backwards. As you can imagine, when a pro is riding a horse and it does this, it doesn’t go very well for the horse…

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By the end of the ride they had made some good progress and June was tired, but had learned what doesn’t work for her. She got the next day off and I got the following texts:

“I’d like to ride June again. We made such great progress and I’d like to see if she retained what we worked on.”

“June is so smart. Do you know how smart she is? Most horses don’t learn this quickly.”

“I am in love with her trot.”

My trainer wants to put another schooling ride on my horse? She thinks my horse is wicked smart? She loves her trot? Best Day EVER.

And so, after a day off, June had what will be her final ride before going out to pasture for a month while I recover. I had wanted to give her a month off after a summer of intense riding so her baby brain could process it all. I wasn’t expecting to do it now, but the timing will have to change as I don’t want to miss riding her for 4-6 weeks and then give her time off when I am better.

So, Sarah got back on her, and from their first steps together, through the end of the lesson, all I could think was “She looks like a completely different horse than she did two lessons ago.”

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She barely evaded contact. She barely pulled on the bit. She was responsive and forward (maybe too forward sometimes, but who can blame baby horse for trying a new tactic to avoid work) and she listened to Sarah far better than she had before. The ride was short and sweet. June was good, so there was no need for Sarah to drill her. She needs to learn that good behavior results in quitting time coming sooner rather than later.

I was amazed at the progress she had made in such a short time, as was Sarah. She mentioned that June made leaps and bounds beyond what is normally seen or expected. I’m not too surprised that June is a smarty pants. I think it’s why I struggle with her sometimes. I think she has strong opinions, and isn’t afraid to test me. But the good news is, she isn’t resistant to work, I just need to ask correctly. She didn’t kick out once with Sarah, despite being asked to work harder than she ever had. So, why did she buck with me? All I can think is, it’s worked for her in the past, and it’s her go to. I think me hanging off the side of her pulling on her rein, was not fun for her either, so the most rescent kick out, didn’t work that well for her either. I’m sure she’ll buck again. I’m sure I’ll fall off again (but hopefully NOT from a buck) but seeing her work ethic, how, um, FANCY she is when she’s put together and how willing she can be, I know that this journey will be fun and worthwhile.

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When You Can’t Ride, But Your Trainer Can

Thanks to June, I’m not doing much riding. Apparently, when you land directly on your tailbone, it hurts a lot. For a really long time. From what I’ve read, I could be out of commission for up to a month. Now, I don’t know if my tail bone is fractured, or merely bruised, but what I do know, is that doing pretty much anything is incredibly painful.

The good news, bad news, is that 4 days post fall, I was planning on going on vacation. I had been hoping to ride June the day I left, but there would be no riding since I could barely walk. But then, as I limped around, unable to sit, sleep, or do anything else without pain, I realized this was the perfect time to have Sarah ride J for me!

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See that blip up there? That’s Stella. The fact that she is walking that much faster to me can give you an idea of how much pain I am in.

I was so excited to have Sarah ride June. I hadn’t seen anyone ride June since I have been working with her, and I knew she’d get a great schooling ride with Sarah. On the other hand, I was a bit worried. June is far from broke, but what if I had done a crap job starting her so far? What if everything was wrong?

Good news. I hadn’t messed everything up thus far. As I had hoped, Sarah was able to hop on June and show me what she is ready for. What I should expect from her. It wasn’t all rainbows and unicorns, but what was great, was that June tried hard and was willing to work hard. I was able to see what we needed to work on, and what I shouldn’t accept from her. (Grabbing the bit is a no no. This sounds obvious, but when you let it happen for long enough you just assume it’s normal).

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June looks so happy despite working hard!

I assume there are going to be a few more June/Sarah rides happening, since I still can’t sit down without wincing. I’m excited to see how much June progresses by the time I am able to hop back on her!

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In the meantime, I’m going to just try to keep running away from those mini golf cougars.

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What Macy Didn’t Teach Me

Macy taught me so much in our year together. She taught me how to ride a bolt. How to ride a spook, How to ride a spook into a bolt.

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Usually I was good at riding the spook bolt. This time not so much

But she didn’t teach me how to ride a buck. Which, at the time, I really appreciated. But now, I could have used some practice.

Because for the third time June bucked me off.

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Yeah, I still love her though

Our lesson was going so well. We were working on connection. We were getting her to flex at the walk and trot. Then, we moved onto the canter. And we worked on some more connection, but also getting her to go forward on a 20 meter circle, and not having her run out her shoulder when we were at the open end of the arena.

She was getting tired. This was to be expected. She hadn’t worked this hard before for this long. She had been great so far. But this time, when I asked her to canter she was so incredibly behind the leg, and I could tell she really did not want to. So, I gave her a whack with the dressage whip.

And she responded with a double barrel kick that unseated me and threw me forward and then sideways. Unseating me freaked her out and she squirted forward. And I started falling off, but growing up a foxhunter taught me to never let go of the reins (who wants to walk miles home??) so I kept pulling on the left rein and she freaked out and well, I fell on my ass.

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When I stood up, there was Georgie , who was also being ridden in the arena. I looked at her and said “God I miss you.”

What’s the worst thing about falling off (when you’re totally ok)? Getting back on. It really is. Or, maybe the next day is the worst part. All I know is, I landed on my tailbone and my ring finger on my right hand did not want to bend. But despite the pain and the blood from ripping my fingernail back, I got back on and got back to work. I knew the faster I got what needed to be done, done, the faster I could go ice my hand.

June was really good. We did some more cantering, in both directions and my tailbone was on fire, but luckily we didn’t have to work long, since she was responding to everything I asked of her.

So, welcome to the world of opinionated mare babies? Maybe I’ll get better at sitting a buck. Maybe third time’s a charm. God I hope so.

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