Tag Archives: happiness

June’s First Cross Country Schooling

It’s a funny thing, prepping to school cross country on your own horse after not having done so for way too long. I was convinced I would forget something, and put my safety vests in the car the night before just to make sure I didn’t forget them. Then there was the task of deciding what June needed to wear. I haven’t bought much for her, so was hopeful Georgie’s xc boots would fit her (they did!) and that she would be fine in her D ring snaffle (she was!). Once I checked and double checked that we had everything, the excitement was palpable.

We went to school with Sarah and Rapid, which I appreciated, as I wasn’t sure we were ready for a group environment yet. Keep in mind, we’ve cantered in the open twice? Three times? And she has never done the “go do something then come and stand here for a while” routine, which is what you do with groups. Plus, I had no idea what she would think of all the jumps, and all the open space, and I really just needed to see who this horse was when put to work in a new environment doing new things.

I started with lunging her (duh) and she was so calm and relaxed we quickly moved to jumping over some obstacles. She handled these incredibly well. Really didn’t look at anything, even as we progressed from logs to a “picnic” table,  red branch looking log thing, A frame, hanging logs, etc.  Again, she was being so good, I hopped on her and we got to work under saddle.

The goal for the day was to build confidence, but also for me to get a glimpse of what she might be like on cross country. Who knew if she would even want to do this, and one thing I must have, is a horse who is willing to get from one side of the fence to the other, safely.

We started by trotting and cantering around the field. She didn’t get spooky or weird as we trotted and cantered away from Rapid, into the shadows, and up and down a teeny hill. In fact, she kind of liked the exploring, and she had her ears forward, ready for what was next.

IMG_9488

Just taking in the sights…

I continue to be in love with this horse’s canter. I have never had a horse with an uphill canter, nor did I ever put much thought into why it was important. But then, when I rode Rapid for the first time, I was like “Woah. This is like a totally different experience.” The best part is that you just feel the power from the back end surge forward and instead of falling down they come up. Have you ever driven a sports car? Hit the gas and felt the front of the car lift as the back powers it forward? It’s like that. It’s amazing. Ever since I rode Rapid’s canter, I knew I wanted an uphill horse. And thank God, June does not disappoint. She isn’t strong enough to keep that canter for too long, but it’s there, and it’s going to make things so much easier moving forward.

From there we moved on to trotting over logs. Super simple, super FUN. Our goal was to see if we could get June to land in the canter. No problem. She was eager to do so. She was bold, honest, and everything I would want her to be for her first outing!

IMG_9474

wheeeee

Now, don’t be fooled. I’m making this sound easy and perfect. It wasn’t. I was thinking “steer, steer, leg on, steer, SUPPORT,SUPPORT, steer” the entire way to the jump. June was being honest and brave, but it didn’t mean I just sat there and hoped it would happen. It was a lot of work, a lot of figuring out what works best, but in the end, it honestly went great and I think both of us had a good time!

IMG_9490

Love everything about this!

Since I didn’t want to over jump her on her first outing, we headed over to the water to see how she would be with that. Sarah was going to school Rapid, so June and I would have a little break and she could just check things out. I made the mistake of hopping off of her, so I could film Sarah. And I say mistake, because June thought me getting off and standing with her for 20 minutes meant we were done. She wasn’t really excited when I got back on her. She got tight in her back and a little sour. So, I hopped off, lunged for a few minutes, asked her to lunge through the water (which she did) and got back on. She  without hesitation walked into the water and walked around.

IMG_9491.PNG

But I never got that relaxed, easygoing, horse back. She continued to be tight in her back and sometimes refused to go forward in the water. I wouldn’t give her her head, as I didn’t want her to buck, so the entire experience wasn’t as low key as I was hoping. I got a little stiff, she got a little stiff, and I expected it to go south. It didn’t. It went ok. In fact, in looking at the videos, I think she was less likely to buck than I thought. I think she was just figuring out the splashing, she wanted to drink (which she later did), and she didn’t love the feeling of wet boots in the water.  At one point she just started pawing and pawing and pawing in the water and would NOT move. I was legit scared she was going to lay down and almost hopped off, but Sarah was like “Nope. Stay on.” And she grabbed June by the bridle and pulled her out of the water. Then she looked at me and said “THAT was being a pony.” Meaning, she was just being a brat. So, the good news is, she isn’t scared of the water. She didn’t buck me off. We need to work on me being confident but smart when she pulls these shenanigans. Actually using my dressage whip to get her moving forward. I knew from the get go she was going to test me. Now I need to have the answers.

We walked back to the trailer on a loose rein and all in all I’d say it was a great experience. I’m so excited to get back out there with her!

Advertisements
Tagged , , ,

Fraggle Friday: Stella Milestones

Today marks two months from Stella’s first seizure.

When that seizure happened, I hoped I had one month, prayed for two months, with her. I heard brain tumors grew quickly, and 1-2 months was a reasonable prediction for how long she would have.

Stella had back surgery on April 10th. On that day I hoped she would make it through surgery and regain some mobility. I hoped she could walk on her own again. I never expected her to walk up stairs or run. At 14 years old, I kept my expectations in check for what this dog would be able to do.

But apparently I forgot it was Stella who had back surgery and a brain tumor. Stella, the dog who I joked, if she were a human, she would be a multi sport Olympian. This is not a dog who is going to sit around and let anything stop her.

20180629_Nadia29

This photo was taken 7/13. Clearly she can run…. PC:Nate Liles

And, so, a summer of adventures began. And, because it was summer, our adventures have involved a LOT of time in the water.

IMG_8941

Amazing weekend trip to Stanley, Idaho. Stella hadn’t been in the water yet this summer, and I worried she would have trouble. She didn’t.

On this trip to Stanley, Stella realized she felt GOOD. She took off down a trail thinking that’s the way we were going. Bring that she is basically deaf, and totally independent, I ended up running after her down the trail for 5 minutes when it became clear she was not coming back to me.

IMG_9144

She’s still one of the strongest swimmers. Siri does her best to keep up

She still loves to play fetch, although sometimes she can’t actually see the stick once I’ve thrown it into the water…

IMG_9143

Ready to fetch!

And to be honest, some days are better for her than others. Yesterday she just wanted to sleep. It’s been hot and smokey so I pretty much feel the same way. I’ve stopped thinking “is this your last day?” every single day, and instead am just enjoying every single day we have together.

IMG_9097

Siri is really good at convincing Stella to cuddle

It’s been an incredibly fun summer with her, and I am so thankful I get to continue having her in my life!

 

Tagged , , ,

The Georgie Predicament

To catch you all up, Georgie went to her new lessee April 1st. She’s being leased by a junior rider who hasn’t done a whole lot of jumping and Georgie is the perfect match to help her build confidence in eventing.

I was super happy when I heard this gal would be riding Georgie. She’d be in a lesson program with Sarah, part of Pony Club, and I knew Georgie would love not being asked much in dressage while still getting to jump some small jumps.

I have the option of riding Georgie once a week to assess mental and physical soundness, and give any feedback to Sarah. Initially I thought I would DEFINITELY ride her weekly, but as the months have gone by, I’m riding her less and less. For one thing, Georgie doesn’t need me to ride her. I watch her with her new rider and she looks great. Sound and happy. Secondly, I have June to focus on. And while I did pony June off of Georgie one day, that ended up being a lot of work and not really stress free, so I haven’t done it since.

IMG_8658

This about sums up that ride

I’m lucky in that Georgie’s pen is next to June’s. The two mares have become buddies and get turned out together. When I bring June back from a ride, I give Georgie a treat before giving one to June, just so June knows where she stands in the hierarchy 😉

IMG_9063

I get to see lots of Georgie’s butt when she’s out on pasture..

My dilemma is this.

I love watching Georgie with her new rider, I honestly do. Of course there is a part of me that wishes I was still her rider, but dwelling on that does me no good. What’s harder for me, is watching Georgie succeed without me.

Does that seem weird/selfish/horrible? It probably is, but hear me out.

Georgie is currently competing at the Intro level in Pony Club events and doing up to 2’3 at jumper shows or derbies. This should come as no surprise, but she is rocking it at this level. Mare can “assume the position” in dressage and is far more put together than any other horse she is competing against. Get her out on cross country and she lopes around safely with an attitude of “just hang on, I got this.” And while she did hit a rail at her last event (which made me laugh out loud) the mare has got show jumping down, even if her rider has the tendency to jump ahead. Essentially, she is safest, most capable, horse out there.

The problem arises when people tell me things like “Georgie is amazing.” “Georgie is such a great dressage horse,” “Georgie is so easy.”

IMG_9021

Back in the day at Rebecca Farm

Yes, she is all of those things. But it took me years and a lot of work to get her that way. And when she wins competition after competition, all I can think is that I hope her rider realizes how lucky she is to have such a great horse. I hope her rider, and those commenting on how great she is, realize there was someone who helped create that. And that, right when she was at her peak, and the hard stuff started to get easier, I had to let her go.

I know it’s a testament to my hard work that Georgie is still easy and happy and retains lots of what we worked on together. But sometimes I don’t want to hear how great she is without a “you put a lot of work into her” at the end of it. Georgie has the best brain and the best work ethic, so she was easy on so many levels, but it doesn’t mean she magically became a great dressage horse, or easy to ride.

So therein lies my dilemma. Be happy for Georgie, and all the fun her new rider is having, without lamenting that I no longer have her, and am no longer the one succeeding with her. In the grand scheme of things, really not a big deal. But every once in a while I long for the good ole days, which seems only natural.

Tagged , ,

Fraggle Friday: A Lifetime of Worry

Not surprisingly, lately, I have a lot of angst about Stella.

I worry she won’t eat. I worry she won’t sleep through the night. I worry that she will have another seizure. All I seem to do is worry. Which, I guess, considering her condition, is “normal.”

But then I realized that I have spent pretty much Stella’s entire life worrying about her.

Seriously.

bird dog

Young Stella looking for birds

When she was a young dog, I had a friend look after her when I went out of town. I left a 5 page instruction sheet and called at least once a day to check on her. When I returned, my friend joked that Stella had a great time just being a dog without someone worrying about her all the time. It maybe wasn’t the nicest thing to say, but now, 12 or so years later, I kinda get what she meant.

stella theo park

Stella has driven across the country with me 5 times. She really enjoyed Theodore Roosevelt National Park!

I have worried every day that Stella would get hit by a car.

I worried that she would get hurt while running like a maniac in the hills

I worried that she didn’t get enough exercise.

I worried that she didn’t get enough to eat.

I worried that she was home alone too long.

I worried she had to potty while I was out and couldn’t.

I worried more about Stella’s general well being than I have worried about anything else. For almost 15 years. And weirdly, nothing terrible has ever happened. She ate when she was hungry. Was smart enough to avoid getting hurt when out on runs. She’d have to be slow and idiotic to be hit by a car (at least in her mind) so THAT wasn’t happening. She never went potty in the house and seemed fine snoozing away the day until I got home.

stella swim

How is her hair so perfect in the water??

So, really, she’s had a pretty great life, catered to her by my angst.

And while I probably wouldn’t change a thing from our past, my hope is that with Siri, maybe I can chill out just a little bit.

I’m also hopeful I get to worry about Stella for a while longer.

dub and stella

Back in 2009, right before I left Ithaca NY for Idaho.

Tagged , , ,

And Then…We Cantered

I need to start thinking of some “How you know you have a warmblood” jokes, because having never had one, I am just beginning to understand how they get their reputation. I mean, don’t get me wrong, I LOVE June, but mare is completely fine letting me KICK her and just not caring ONE BIT.

So, all of this is a lead in to my post about the canter, but don’t worry there wasn’t any kicking involved (from her OR me.) It’s just that Sarah and I were trying to figure out how to introduce the canter with me on her back and June made it very clear she was in zero hurry to move on from the trot.

Sarah mentioned there were three ways she likes to introduce the canter under saddle. 1) Go on a trail ride and have the horse in front of you canter and your horse needs to keep up, so it starts cantering. (She did this with Rapid when I was riding Georgie and it worked great) Well, we didn’t really have the time to go out for a trail ride so this one got put to the bottom of the list.

2) Put up some small (tiny) jumps and have the horse land in the canter after the tiny jump. I liked this idea and we decided to try it! Last week we set up elevated ground poles, with the world’s tiniest cross rail at the end. The idea was I would ride through the line in jump position, and maybe she would jump the cross rail! Well, June was completely unimpressed by the “jump” and just kept trotting over it. There would be no cantering during this exercise. Which was kind of a bummer, but also totally fine. We still had a blast trotting over the world’s tiniest cross rail!

IMG_8956.PNG

We decided that with June’s lackluster attitude to canter, we’d try option 3: Put her on a lunge line and ask for the canter.

So, before we got to the lunge I just walked and trotted June around a bit. At one point, I asked her to pick up the trot and she was like “No, thanks. It’s hot, I’d rather not” and just kept walking. So I kicked like a Pony Club D1, but nothing happened.

So, June got introduced to the dressage whip!

Smart pony let us rub it all over her and flick it around her in her vision without caring too much. And wouldn’t you know, she’s seen enough whips that me just holding it got her to trot whenever I asked. Warmblood.

We dropped the whip for the canter obviously, and my hope was all our work in the round pen and on the lunge would come in handy. My hope was I could give her the verbal cue for canter and it would happen.

And guess what? It did! We did some slow to fast trot transitions, then, while trotting fast, Sarah gently raised the whip (like I would if I were lunging) while I asked for the canter cues with my body and said “And June cannnntttter” and she had the LOVELIEST canter transition. We did this a few more times and it got better and better. (I got better and better, she was good from the get go.)

IMG_6383

Big kisses for ponies who canter

At this point I felt pretty confident, almost like I didn’t need the lunge line, but we kept it on and proceeded to go right. Well, June LOVES to fall in going right, and it’s kinda hard to keep her from doing this, while also asking her to bend right and pick up the canter. So, our transition wasn’t quite as beautiful, but it happened nonetheless! We definitely have our homework going right!

I couldn’t be happier with how June handled the canter work. The anticipation was kinda killing me and now I feel so confident asking her canter. While she can be a bit stubborn, and maybe lazy, really, when I am on her back, she takes her job seriously. She also is a warmblood in that I think the effort to buck just wasn’t worth it on a seriously hot day. Hey, that’s fine with me!

I couldn’t ask for a better pony!

IMG_6375

Literally all smiles

Tagged , ,

Not So Boring Basics

I’m loving everything baby horse right now. Honestly. Other than not having a horse to gallop around xc with, this journey, so far, has completely exceeded my expectations.

So, obviously, with a baby horse, you start from the beginning. But, I’m finding that this is the perfect time for me to start from the beginning as well. Long story short, I’m hoping I can refine my riding a bit so that I bring June up properly and as beneficially as possible.

20180629_Nadia10

I have some amazing media for this post so GET READY

I have the opportunity to ride a great little Appendix QH named Flint while his junior rider is on vacation. Flint is a GREAT teacher. My first lesson on him consisted of me really struggling to get him going the way Sarah wanted me to. So, I asked if we could stop the lesson and if we could just work on me? Forget about Flint for a minute and get me to stop riding backwards?

And so we did.

And for every ride since all I work on when I ride Flint (and one of the things I work on with June) is to make sure I am not riding backwards.

20180629_Nadia14

The four legged family

Now, I’m sure many of you know what this term means, but if you don’t, here is my interpretation. Riding backwards is essentially not allowing the horse’s energy to flow freely forward.Restricting the motion instead of giving with it.

How do you know if you’re riding backwards? Well, in my experience, if you’re riding backwards, you don’t have an independent seat. When you aren’t balancing with your hands, you can feel it in your abs. A visual that helped me is when Sarah had me think about there being a block in front of the saddle. My hands could not come behind the block, so they keep pushing forward towards the horse’s mouth.

Some people do this naturally. Others, myself included, when we get nervous, or stop thinking about it, start restricting the motion. It is really counterproductive to everything you want the horse to do. They can’t come up over their back, they’ll shorten, and well, it’s just not good.

20180629_Nadia

Mouth full of hay, of course

So, Flint and I, good boy that he is, just walk, trot and canter, and all I do is think about my connection. His head can be anywhere, he can be unbalanced, and he can careen all he wants. I just keep thinking of bringing my hands forward.

And wouldn’t you know it? After a few minutes of me doing this consistently, Flint accepts the contact and stretches into it. He’s a sensitive boy and the perfect teacher. If I stiffen, or stop the forward motion, he immediately inverts and brings his head into the air.

I’ve ridden him 3 times now and today worked at the canter for the first time. It was so fun! When I ride correctly, and problem solve as to why he’s unhappy, I end up working through it and have a horse who slows down, accepts the contact and actually goes around quite nicely. My hope is, in the 3 weeks I have to ride him, I can keep these moments for longer and longer on him.

20180629_Nadia19

Always making me smile

And, obviously, my ultimate hope is that this way of riding becomes a habit for me. Anything I can do to make it better for June, I’m totally up for. I had no idea how fun the basics of riding are!

Tagged , , ,

June’s Birthday Weekend

 

So, not long ago, (like a week ago), I decided it would benefit June and I to go to a local-ish derby and school the cross country course. The facility is a little over 2 hours away, but it has great obstacles AND I knew there would be lots of riders. I really haven’t been able to get her out and about into situations where there is a lot going on, and I want to see how she handles these situations in preparation for the FEH competition in August. I’ve been reluctant to go anywhere that involves a sleep over because of Stella, but she has been doing so well that I figured I’d bring her along and find a pet sitter for Siri. The idea of taking young horse/young dog still stresses me out a bit.

I loaded June up early Saturday AM and headed over. She loaded well but then the baby horse antics began. She was back there pawing and dancing and it was kind of annoying, especially since the wind was so strong, I really couldn’t drive over 65mph.

When we arrived at the facility I realized she had untied herself. The trailer I was borrowing didn’t have a divider so I imagine she spent some time walking around back there. She had eaten all her hay though, so she clearly had her priorities. Interestingly, about halfway through the drive the wind had died down and I didn’t feel the trailer pulling any more, so she must have just started munching at that point. Things could have been far worse I suppose.

What I am learning about June, and perhaps is true of most baby horses, is that she is prone to tantrums, but they are short lived. She still struggles with being tied alone, whether on the trailer or off, but she knows to settle down eventually. She got off of the trailer, tied nicely with minimal pawing while I groomed her , was calm while we walked around before our lesson time, and then was all business for the lesson itself. She could have cared less about the other riders, horses, or any of the chaos around us.

We schooled a ditch, log, and A frame before moving to the bank complex. She was unfazed by all of these and the bank was no different. She seemed to really be enjoying herself!

IMG_8833

We took a short break and then headed over to the water complex. She was a bit freaked out by the water. There was some snorting, and side eye, and she was reluctant to get in it. Or near it. In her defense it was dyed a crazy turquoise color. But I have no idea if horses can see that color? So, anyway, it took some time. And lots of Sarah telling me to just be patient. But then, about 30 minutes later, someone was happily trotting through the water!

IMG_8853

The water was great for pictures even if it was a bit unnatural looking!

We called it a day on that, and June headed back to stabling where she got to rest, relax and think all about how great water was. Meanwhile, we returned to the event and volunteered to get it all set up for the following day. Unlike June, Stella thought the water complex was the BEST THING EVER.

IMG_8821

This is her “please throw rocks for me” look.

She was pretty damn adorable- especially since she can’t really see so she would miss about 50% of the rocks I was throwing. She had probably one of the best days ever, and I can’t tell you how great it was to have my best horse show dog with me.

Because I could, and because we felt it was good for June to get right back in the water, I loaded her up early the next morning and took her back to the facility. (We were stabling just 5 minutes down the road.) She didn’t want to get in the trailer, especially after a night of hanging out with her friends. But, we got her loaded (yay for people helping!) and off we went. She was a bit more high this time, but in her defense, I was in a hurry and just like “we need to get out there asap, before the event starts” which is really never the best mind frame to be in with a baby horse. They don’t always respond well to people hurrying.

I did minimal lunging and then walked over to the water complex. We walked the edge with no issue. I lunged her on the bank with no issue. I then asked her to lunge into the water and there was no issue. Within 5 minutes we were lunging in the middle of the complex and she was perfect. So, I snapped a pic, gave her some big pats, and we were done!

IMG_8841

This is her “I’m fine with water” look

I was going to be volunteering for a few hours and debated about taking her back to her stall. But, I was running out of time and figured this could be a great exercise in just standing for her. So, I tied her and her hay bag to the trailer and hoped for the best. As I was leaving I could hear her pawing away, and figured that at some point someone would complain about the unruly horse that’s tied to the trailer.

An hour in and I heard no complaints.

An hour and a half in, and Sarah texted me that June was standing quietly at the trailer

Two hours in and a colleague told me June was being so good at the trailer!

And at three hours, when I got back to the trailer, there she was, just hanging out. She was completely calm and relaxed.

IMG_8850

Hi mom! Where have you been?

I just can’t fully express how great this weekend was. I achieved so much with June, and got such a good sense of what I can expect from her. She was such a rock star about ALL of it. From being left alone, to being introduced to jumping xc obstacles, to working among chaos. She wasn’t barn sour, or scared, or difficult, at all. If I can remember to be patient with her, and really plan for the fact that I am working with a baby horse, I think the sky’s the limit with her.

And as for Stella, this weekend just reminded me how lucky I am to have had her for almost 15 years. She was the cutest, best behaved dog, who just rolled with the punches all weekend. Whether she had to be in the truck, or tied to the tent while I was volunteering to score for the event, she was cool with all of it and friendly with everyone.

IMG_8854

Plus, her bed head in the morning is amazing

I realized, driving home, how badly I needed this weekend. A weekend where my animals brought me nothing but joy. A weekend where I could see the future with one and enjoy the present with the other. And while I don’t know what the future holds with either,  a weekend where I could just enjoy everything about them, in two very different ways, has put a smile on my face that I can’t seem to shake. These are the moments we live for, right?

Tagged , , , , ,

Two Lessons, Two Different Horses

I haven’t taken a proper lesson in about 4 months. A proper lesson being one where I am riding a horse that can do more than trot in a side pull. What this means is, I am out of riding shape, and have gotten used to a life of plodding around and not asking much of myself physically.

It’s been kinda nice, but I’ve missed getting my butt kicked and improving my riding. I’ve been riding school horses, and running a bunch, so I hoped that when I did take a proper lesson again, it wouldn’t be too disastrous.

And when I got the opportunity to ride a barn mates horse in a dressage lesson, then a school horse in a jump lesson, I said “YES!” Even though the lessons were on two consecutive days and I knew that would be a lot for this out of shape rider.

I was eager to get a chance to ride Max, as he’s a fancy prancer in  dressage and while he can be opinionated and quirky, I hoped Macy had prepared me for him. I hopped on him and my first thought was “Oh my God this is a lot of horse.” I felt Sarah said it best “it’s like every vertebrae can move, and can move in a different direction.” I didn’t have much time to think about it, as we got right to work. And we just kept working. And working.  Overall, the lesson went pretty well, especially the trot work. I was shocked at how behind the leg he was- I had to really work to get him forward. REALLY work. I had just figured that this nice moving horse was self-propelled, but it takes a lot of work to get him moving the way you want. But once he does, it is really, really, lovely. When I got him moving straight, and forward, he was super fun.

IMG_8760

 

I wasn’t as strong in the canter work, but we would get it for a few moments, and when I did it was really lovely. I have such trouble moving my hips, which is essential in the canter, and at this point in the lesson I was getting tired, Max was getting a bit tired of me, and it wasn’t happening as magically. But it was ok, and honestly I was proud of myself for riding a new horse and having a productive lesson. Sarah had some really positive things to say about my riding and I felt exhausted but good. I’m very grateful to his owner for letting me ride him.

IMG_8762

The next day was pretty much the complete opposite. I would be riding Deputy, the fun little QH I rode in the Gary Mittleider clinic. (I can find ZERO media of him, sorry!) Hopping on Deputy, my first thought was “Oh, it’s like sitting on an Easy Boy recliner.” But this wasn’t the only place Deputy differed from Max. Deputy is actually very forward. He has a go button. And with this go button comes some reactivity and opinions. I had to ride him basically the exact opposite way I rode Max.

Which was tough for me. I wanted to react back. I wanted to pull and insist. I wanted him to stop spooking at the cow roping dummy and got angry when he wouldn’t. Yeah, this ride was starting out really well.

We worked at the walk for a while, then the trot, then the canter. I felt pretty good about 30 minutes in and Sarah set up a 5 stride line.

At cross rails. Spoiler alert, we stayed at cross rails for the entire lesson. Not because Deputy did anything wrong.

IMG_8136

My last jump lesson…

We worked on me, my position, and getting through the corners and the line the same way. I was unable to stay consistent with my arms (mainly my elbows) and have a lovely, light, following, forearm. I was unable to keep my chest up over the jumps, instead I jumped as if it were a 3’3 oxer. I couldn’t half halt in the 5 stride line while also keeping my leg unlocked and useful.

Blerg.

Deputy was a good boy, and dealt with all of it. The lesson left me feeling the way I do after SO MANY jump lessons. A mix of “why do I do this, I hate stadium jumping” and “just let me go cross country and have fuuuunnnnn.”

13406988_1039956452757080_2080671373626927783_n

This. I miss this!

But here’s the silver lining. As I bring June along, I’m essentially bringing myself along too. it’s almost like I get to start over. As she learns,  I’ll get to restart jumping from ground poles up. And I can start to fine tune things. And ride one horse and work on my position and learn what works for us.

And sure, I want to ride other horses and continue working at becoming a better rider. Which, in my opinion, happens a lot faster when you’re riding lots of different horses and learning what works and what doesn’t. Having as many tools in your toolbox is helpful, and I want to keep collecting tools.

So, I guess I’m back at it- not just having fun with my young horse, but back to getting my butt kicked and trying to figure it all out. And despite how drenched in sweat and exhausted I was after my ride on Deputy, I immediately asked when I could have another lesson.

 

Tagged , ,

On Being a Laid Back, Type A, Personality

I am fully aware that my title contradicts itself.

But it’s truly who I have become. Especially when it comes to “show season”

When I was riding Georgie, I would have my show season set by January. I knew what I needed to do if I wanted to qualify for the 3 day,  knew what clinics I wanted to participate in, and had a good sense of exactly how my season would go.  Planning gives me a sense of peace and relaxation.

IMG_8684

Also peaceful and relaxed

But then Georgie injured herself, and ever since I have not had a single plan work out.

The plan to compete Macy at a recognized event fell through at least twice.

And more recently, my FEH plans with June have gone askew.

But I think one of the most important things Macy taught me, in preparing for a baby horse, is to throw all plans out the window. And somehow, this lesson from Macy (like many others) is absolutely invaluable.

IMG_8055

Thanks Macy!

I am so incredibly laid back about all my June plans it’s like I am a different person. (But still the same person, because I love MAKING plans. I’m just okay with said plans not being what actually happens)

This laid back attitude reaches from my daily training of baby horse to future of baby horse and everything in between. When I found out that the Spokane event wouldn’t be holding a FEH 4 yr old class this May, (where I planned to go watch so I knew what I was getting into for Rebecca), I re-routed myself to NY to see family and deliver Peekaboo to her new home. When I found out Rebecca Farm wasn’t holding any YEH or FEH classes this year, I felt relief, as I could now speak at a conference and not have to figure out how I would fly there from Montana and get June home without me. And, even when I found out that the FEH class that I was hoping to attend this fall was happening AFTER championships (therefore making qualifying for championships obsolete as it’s not like I can go next year), I kinda shrugged and while bummed, knew there is a good chance I won’t qualify for champs, so no big deal.

IMG_8696

She’d probably have a better chance of qualifying for champs without me…

But, in case you’re worried about who I have become, and worry that I have turned into some apathetic, non caring human, fear not. Sarah noticed there was an event being held in August we’d never been to. It was holding both YEH and FEH classes. After emailing them to confirm they would hold a FEH 4 yr old class, I decided this was the new plan! Sarah and I would go, me with my 4 yr old, her with her 2yr old. Not only do I get to take June to a show, Sarah is coming and we can make it a quick “vacation” of sorts! So, not having plans, may actually work out for the best!

IMG_8695

Still so adorable

And if these plans fall through, that’s ok too. I can re route once again. All plans are up in the air, and changeable. And weirdly, at this point in my life, that’s totally ok.

 

Tagged , , , ,

Habits

Since I’m not doing much riding with June just yet I’ve taken the opportunity to ride a couple of the lesson horses at our barn. Mostly I just hop on them when Sarah is out of town and they’re not being used for lessons, but could use some exercise. No matter which horse I ride, my habits are right there with me. It’s nice because I can work on them. Work on my position and try, desperately, to break my bad habits.

There’s one habit that follows me on whatever horse I ride and quite honestly, I am not willing to break it. It’s a habit I actually think has served me very well over the years.

You see, I talk to horses.

june hay

What’s that you say? I have hay in my forelock?

When I’m on their back, I’m a talker. Like, not all the time, but a fair amount. It served me really, really, well with Georgie. For one thing, when we started going Training, and neither of us had jumped cross country at that height, I could have been up on her back, just not breathing. Instead, I made sure I was breathing by talking to her as we cruised around. There were lots of “good girl” and “woah” and sometimes me blithering on about what was next. It kept me breathing but it also kept her engaged with me. I’d see her ear flick back. As time went on, it was totally routine. When we were out on course together, I was always communicating with her. I actually think she really enjoyed it. It seemed to be what she expected and it relaxed her a bit.

Ingrid Klimke actually spoke in an interview about how she is constantly talking to her horse while she is out on cross country. And while I can’t find the interview, I remember she made fun of herself a bit, referencing the fact that she is not a quiet rider. Instead people are surprised to hear her talking as her horses fly over jumps. Her reasoning is much the same as mine.  Think about it, we’re ALWAYS talking to our horses. We’re asking them to move over, get out of the way. We cluck at them, ask them to whoa, and tell them how amazing they are. They’re used to our voices.

willy2

One of our ridiculous barn cats

With June, so much of our relationship is based on verbal communication. She is so used to my voice. And, now that I am riding her a bit, I’m teaching her what “woah”means as well as what a “cluck” means. I assume my habit of talking to her while I am on her back isn’t going to stop as we progress in our training.

With the school horses I ride, if they offer a good behavior, they’re sure to get a “good boy.” If they spook at seemingly nothing, they get a “Seriously?” But they also get lots of verbal reinforcement as we go about the ride.

It’s a habit I can’t see myself changing, and one I’m actually quite happy I’ve got. What about you? Are you verbal with your horses when riding? Or do you tend to be the silent type?

Tagged , ,
Advertisements
Hope's Promise

The blog of a dressage dream come(ing) true

SprinklerBandits

An amateur eventer's adventures

Zen and the Art of Baby Horse Management

An inquiry into values and survival in a life with baby horses

the everything pony

who would really much rather eat all day

DIY Horse Ownership

on Mules, Horses, and DIY

OTTBs and Oxers

Eventing. Hunters. Horsemanship.

Horse Glam

Equestrian. Life. Style.

The Frugal Foxhunter

More bang for your buck than showing

The Printable Pony

An amateur eventer's adventures

The Roaming Rider

"Don't live the same year 75 times and call it a life." - Robin Sharma

Urban Thoroughbred

West and East Coast adventures with OTTBs

Eventer in Progress

Laughing at oneself is best done as a group activity

Clover Ledge Farm

An amateur eventer's adventures

Eventing Saddlebred Style

An amateur eventer's adventures

The Repurposed Horse

An amateur eventer's adventures

PONY'TUDE

An amateur eventer's adventures

Poor Woman Showing

An amateur eventer's adventures

Live Your Adventure

Tara - Horse lover, horse rider, horse enthusiast

SmartPak Blog

An amateur eventer's adventures

In Omnia Paratus

An amateur eventer's adventures

The Blog of Travel

Motorbikes, dogs and a lot of traveling.

Simple Changes

An off the track thoroughbred and his girl.

Hunky Hanoverian

An amateur eventer's adventures

*TBA*

An amateur eventer's adventures

Cob Jockey

An amateur eventer's adventures

She Moved to Texas

An amateur eventer's adventures

Guinness on Tap

An amateur eventer's adventures

Equestrian At Hart

adventures in riding & life

 Clover Ledge Farm

An amateur eventer's adventures

Viva Carlos

An amateur eventer's adventures

Horsemanship 101

Leprechaun Lane Training Center's Guide to Horsemanship

ridingwithscissors.wordpress.com/

Horse humor and the musings of a weenie adult eventer

May As Well Event

Here's To Not Following Your Own Advice

A Yankee in Paris

No animals were harmed in the making of this blog...

Horse Listening

Horses. Riding. Life.

EquiNovice

Becoming a student of horsemanship.

Chronicles of a "Mini-Pro"

Celebrating the incurable addiction which is being an equestrian

A Horse For Elinor

Dressage On A Dime

Charley's Angel Eventing

Just a High Schooler Living for Jesus & Ponies