A Horse is a Horse

A Horse is a Horse

Monday, December 31, 2012

Oh 2012 how you rocked my world!

I don't have a lot of riding to reflect upon this year, only the last few months. My big event was the birth of my son, and the many many changes that come along with parenthood.

Now at over 6 months old, I can't imagine my life without my son and have found I have to be a more flexible and adaptable person. That leads into my last ride of the year. I went out to a deserted barn, enjoying the crisp air and beautiful sunset. My hubby and fussy baby were in tow, giving me a witness, but a little guilt at the hubby dealing with squealing baby. I grabbed Louie and quickly tacked him up. I decided to use a half pad I have which I again have decided is too fluffy, leaving me feeling like I'm riding a couch cushion not a horse (I like being able to feel a little more, lol).

We did a quick lunge to make sure the big empty arena wasn't too spooky and hopped on. Louie was a saint, and I enjoyed my new full seat breeches as I did some two-point and cantering. I did lots of circles, and tried to not let him become a slug on downward transitions. But mostly I just tried to enjoy being on a horse, really just relax and settle, which felt great. Louie was surprisingly chill for the cold, the emptiness, and the fussy baby. Since my baby was beside himself at this point, I quickly cooled him out and trudged him back through the dark muddiness of our barn, and settled him in for the night.

 Now on to the new year. I am not going to lease Louie, while he is an absolutely amazing horse, he just doesn't feel the right fit for where I'm at and my schedule right now. So now I have decisions to make this new year. Guess I need to play the lotto more ;)


Well on to working my 6th night of work in a row, and New Years at that!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Twas the week before Christmas...

And of course I'm not nearly done shopping/ making gifts... but that's on par for me. Any-who  back to the land of horses...

Monday I got to the barn a bit earlier than norm and hacked with Karley. I was happy for a little extra sun as it was none to warm (yes we are cold weather wimps in Cali). Louie was a sweaty mess under his double blanket so I cleaned him up a bit then went to lunge him. He was a slug, its like he and Henry were trying to see who could look less inspired lunging across the arena from each other. I gave up and hopped on. Overall  he was his awesome self. He was a little looky at the "trouble" end of the arena, but I kept him busy and he got over the crazy horse in the round pen. I tried to work on keeping us both in form, he tends to bulge when I am too focused on myself, and I am a constantly fighting my heels, shoulders, seat... you get the point. I had a few moments where I finally felt settled, my heels were down (without my toes out like a duck), I had a decent paced posting trot going, I was in rhythm, my calves were on, knees weren't pinched, it felt awesome.   At that point I think there were 5 of us all doing our own thing in the arena so I tried to just do alternating size circles and as usual not flopping all over on downwards transitions. Then Louie cooled off while Karley and I chatted and got his grain and tucked in for the night. He got clipped by J on Tuesday, pics to come :)

Tuesday was our normal lesson, although everyone seems to be arriving earlier and earlier, which luckily I had the mind to do as well. I ended up on Buster again, J was supposed to ride Magic, and I must say I didn't feel like riding the newly clipped Louie given our recent history of odd distractions during lessons. So, Buster it was. With lots of motivation we went through our paces in the chilly air, even some no stirrup work (ugh). L went first for jumping, always an impressive sight, then Karley. Henry was a brat, but she held strong and schooled him well, I can't believe how far they have come. Buster and I trotted then cantered back and forth over an X, I worked on not sitting back to early, head up, heels down... all the usual faults. Buster worked on not falling asleep, easy peasy work that it was.  I really wanted to do the X to the panel, but it was quite freezing by this point and I didn't want my trainer to turn into a popsicle  not to mention my toes were quite numb.

Not sure exactly when I will ride next, going out of town and with family and the like arriving in town for the holidays. Hopefully I can sneak in a ride Sun or Monday.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Baby its cold outside

Alrighty.... as usual the weekly update... as in last week... the beginning of last week lol   ;)

We get some great sunsets
Monday I got out to the barn a little earlier and hacked Louie with Karley. Apparently C has switched to riding Louie on Monday and he was a big brat, including bucking for her. He seems to finally have the winter wilds. I found him looking like he was on time out in the mucky round pen. Our trainer was finishing up with some beginner lessons so I took my time getting Louie ready to ride. He was pretty chill by thin point, but wanted to bulge and drift, things I don't notice and correct nearly fast enough. My knees and back were already a hot mess from 6hrs in heels (Christmas party shenanigans  on Saturday, so I wasn't feeling like doing much posting. We worked on canter depart (him picking it up faster, me not leaning forward) and downward transitions that didn't look like I just yanked the batteries out of him. It was a fairly short hack, way too easy for naughty boy.

Tuesday nights lesson was a bit of a departure from the norm since Magic's owner J has apparently switched to riding in the evening now so I had the choice of either riding Louie or Buster. Admittedly, I took the easy way out and chose Buster, who's beginner self was already all nice and clean and residing in a stall across from the tack room. This also meant I didn't have to jump Louie, since he still unnerves me a bit (I know I have to get over that, he's a very schooled boy).

I ended up getting on early, and with lots of leg got Buster's pokey self to walk a few laps around the arena. He was his normal sluggish self, so dressage whip in hand, we slowly got ourselves moving into a decent sitting trot when the lesson began. We did a few laps no stirrups (ugh!) and then lots of posting and two-point before a few laps at the canter. Buster takes lots of leg to get moving and his downward transitions feel like a car running out of gas. By this point I was feeling the burn of constant leg to motivate and wondering why I thought this was easier than Louie who takes so little to motivate.

Excuse my horrible Paint rendition
Then we moved into jumping. Which also coincided with the big semi deciding it was the perfect time to come and offload bags of shavings. We have bad luck with timing these days, first raccoon mating, now big scary semis and backhoes. Now I was really happy to be on Buster, who could care less about the ruckus outside. Magic dumped J (who luckily was able to hop right back on) and all the other horses were incredibly wary at nearing the end of the arena. We first went back and forth over an x to warm up.

Then we did a bending jump exercise that I found really hard, even at a trot because I really have not developed that Look-at-the-next-jump brain yet. We basically went over the x, circled around, and did two panels on a bent line, with a ground pole laying in between to "keep us bent" (aka make it feel tighter). Buster jumped looong to the first jump which totally threw my balance off. I still have a hard time feeling how I can contribute to getting the distance right, I still feel more like a passenger than a guide. The bending line from panel to panel I missed going the first direction and poor Buster banged against the second panel the second time over. Poor boy limped for a hot minute, but did remember to jump a bit higher on subsequent jumps.

This week I hope to at least hack one day and get my normal Tues lesson before all of the holiday trips start. 

Friday, December 7, 2012

I heart media...

Video from last Tues lesson, not many pics as its mighty dark and my hubby has to entertain the boy as well as play photographer/videographer :)

Wednesday, December 5, 2012


So (other than the fact that between my nerves, and forgetting to take Pepcid, I felt like I was going to hurl most of the lesson) I had a good night.  finally apparently reached a point where my trainer decided I am not only back, but ready to do more than I was doing pre-baby. I arrived just a hare late, but had to trudge through the mud to grab Magic so I was last on. Me and my mud caked beast quickly got to work. I did a few posting trot laps to wake us up and then did some rounds of cantering while L did some warm up jumps. Then we cantered a bit. Magic is pretty easy, once you get him going its pretty much just steer... which gets a little heavy in the corners. Last night was made a little more challenging because there was a pair of raccoon either fighting or mating right next to the arena wall. They were super loud and freaking all the horses out a bit.

Then we got to jumping. We first did an x back and forth, not super fun with 5 of us since it was at an angle and people were having a hard time figuring out when to cross back over, and kept cutting in front of whoever was setting their line to jump. I'm getting better at not falling behind the jump or falling in on my hands, now on to working on actually steering over and past the jump. The BIG thing was I finally cantered jumps. We did a panel to the x to another panel (K and L did an oxer). It was weird for me to keep Magic at the canter the whole time, but he really perked up once he realized what we were doing. I won't say I did awesome, especially since he'd get a bit spazzy when we got near the raccoon mating corner of the arena, but I didn't puke, stayed on and didn't knock anything over so I am happy. I feel like before I had my baby, I was just playing around at jumping, but now I'm really learning and training at it; and I like it.... Now to tell my stomach that I'm having fun, not dying ;)

Video/ pics to follow... takes a little longer these days to edit ;)

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Rain, rain go away...

So last week was a bit of a departure from the norm. L went with our trainer to ride in GM's clinic so Karley and I were left to our own devices Mon and Tues. Luckily it was pretty dry and we even got to lunge in the round pen, a treat in the rainy season.

I just hacked Louie, Monday. I got wind he had been a bad boy with his owner, so I spent a little more time lunging than normal. We had a pretty good run of the indoor so I did lots of circling and transitions. I find my seat is just not independent enough from my hands, so we both fall apart on the downward transitions. Its all me, he's a well schooled boy. He still isn't clipped, so I spent a long time cooling him out, poor fuzzy bear.

  Tuesday was also a hack day since our trainer was gone. The normal lesson before us ran long since we weren't there as a group, which made working on circling a little more interesting seeing as others were jumping through the middle of our little indoor arena. Honestly I didn't do nearly the two-point and posting work I should have. I tried to not run into people, something my easily distracted self doesn't always succeed at ;)

I need to start thinking ahead of time what I want to do when I hack and work on one thing or two. I always think maybe I want to do something and then just end up kind of riding around without much direction. I did do some shoulder in/ haunches in, something Louie is a pro at. He makes hacking easy, little leg or clucking is needed, just occasionally reminding him of where the corners of the arena are or not to rub you off on the walls.

Wednesday, Karley and I braved the rain and drove up to GM clinic. It was a downpour, I didn't even get my good camera out. We quickly realized that we weren't going to get to watch riders in the big outdoor. It was a very intimate setting in their little "indoor" i.e. round pen with exerciser around it. We were finally given bales of hay to stand on so we could peer over the high walls. GM is amazing to watch, he is my dad's age (73) but still gets on a horse with each group (1 per hour) and rides around with no stirrups, cantering, jumping, and sitting all sorts of horse shenanigans I'd be lucky to ride out with stirrups. I feel like much of what he said will probably fade, but there were some great things, like how to properly half halt, sit downward transitions, etc; all things I REALLY need to work on. L rode lovely seeing as Carlos was high and the area for jumping was crazy small. Karley an I stayed til 1, ate our included meal and bounced.

GM getting his "proper" leg up

L and Carlos looking splendid

just a little wet

Hopefully this week will include hack Monday, lesson Tuesday.

Sunday, November 25, 2012


So once again, I prove at best, I seem to be able to post a week in review... then again, I don't really have enough interesting things to say daily anyways.

Monday I got out late afternoon and hacked Louie. K and another gal, M, were taking a lesson while others hacked around the indoor with us. It got a bit crowded, which makes it hard to do your own thing, especially when the dressage ladies are constantly cutting through the middle, leaving little room to turn circles or work on diagonals myself. I guess I never feel that I have right of way before others, something I need to work on, we ALL are sharing the arena, its an equal use area (unless someone's claimed it for a private lesson). A mare was being shown by another trainer, who apparently got Louie excited, so mid canter around the ring he got a bit full of himself, started spooking and just being a butt. Yay. So then I pretty much just did lots of trotting and took my time cooling him out. He's a fuzzy beast these days so I ended up graining him in a stall while he dried off so I could blanket him before I left.

Tuesday night we did lesson an hour early since most had the day off because of Thanksgiving. We had our usual group plus C came and rode Louie (without lunging brave girl). I rode Magic, who was his usual happy (not) self. We did the usual flat work, plus some no-stirrup work (ugh). Actually I realized Magic has a great sitting trot, and I was lucky enough to not have to try to post yet without stirrups (which wasn't going to happen lol).

We trotted some poles (which apparently I cannot find the center of) and then we were broken up into groups to canter so that it was a little easier, than we took turns jumping. We kind of went by skill level, as in I, the rookie, was up first. That actually worked well for me, no time to get nervous. I went back and forth over an X a few times, than did the X around to a panel.

 It felt like a tight turn back to the panel, and I found I was always messing with my rein length, stirrups etc as I was approaching the jump. Then I'd circles the wrong way back to the X. Ah the things we learn the hard way lol. I didn't do any canter to the jump work, I was tired so since my trainer didn't make me, I didn't ask.

My video montage for the lesson ;)

More Pics: 

Saturday, November 17, 2012

How Kitty Got Her Groove Back

Ok, so if Monday's lesson was the "hey look, I don't feel like I'm gonna die" breakthrough, then Tues nights lesson was the "yep, still not gonna die, can I do more" moment.

Tues night I was super sore, not that my trainer cared much. It was really cold, but I didn't notice after a few laps warm up posting and two-pointing  on good ol' Magic. There was more two-pointing at a canter work than usual, and I'm now adding not gripping with my knees to my LONG list of fix-its. Admittedly once I achieved proper leg contact, I felt so nice and secure, now I just have to learn to hold it. After watching L and K jumping bigger jumps our trainer lowered the x, making me have a moment of feeling bummed I was jumping so low (say what?!). Then I remembered I was tired and sore, and probably shouldn't push a good thing right away. I still don't feel coordinated enough to steer, jump, not fall etc. I did ask to start cantering the jumps instead of just trotting next lesson, guess I really am feeling more confident, I just want to feel some progress and not have to watch video of me on the baby jumps pfr too much longer (not that I want to jump very high either). I was also told not to hold mane over the jump (geez one good lesson and I gotta give up all my vices?).

Here's some video,  My trainer finally made my hubby go stand at the end so I could have a point to ride at and see later in the video how much I was drifting. It is far more obvious when I'm watching it now.

 Probably wont ride again until next week, hack Mon, lesson Tues.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Catch up

Ok so lets see, I am apparently a few weeks behind...

The Tues after my last post (2 weeks ago) I rode Magic, and did some ugly but ok jumping. We went over different little combinations, unfortunately after watching the better gals go first over larger fences, leaving me enough time to over think everything, and my husband to wander out to feed the baby, so no video/ pics. Poor Magic had a bad case of the runs, making him a little grumpier than normal. I was still pretty nerve racked, even though he's a begrudgingly good packer. Other than my head screaming "no no no" every time our trainer said again, it went well enough.

Last Monday I didn't ride, Louie had the runs and was still under the weather, so he got some loving and a day off.

Tuesday lesson I rode him but between nerves and a rotten feeling gut myself, I totally became a big weenie and didn't jump. I just couldn't get past the nerves over if I would be able to sit Sir Bouncy after we landed and he decided to lead change. I got an earful from everyone, and our trainer let me know this was my last pass. (gulp) I did get to watch Lyssette do the circle of death, which was great to watch.

George supervising our lesson 

Karley taking her Instagram pic, me lurking in the background

Decided to take an afternoon lesson Monday, since riding in the cold and dark all the time is a bit glum after awhile. I rode Magic again, he needs lots of motivation to move, but only needs steering once in motion. C rode Louie, which was nice to get to see how he is with someone else. Karley was there while we flatted, lots of posting trot, and two-pointing at the trot and canter. We jump a small x and vertical back and forth, back and forth.

Sweetest barn cats ever!

 It felt really good after the first time or two I might even go so far to say I enjoyed it :) Hubby got a few videos, and while its not pretty, I'm not so all over the place, and I stayed on so there's that. I was SUPER sore which made last nights lesson even more fun... More about last night and more  video to follow :)

Monday, October 29, 2012

Easy Monday

Had a light hack today on Louie. Karley got off earlier so we got to ride and, cool, grain, etc all before it was dark out. Such a nice change. Louie was a good boy. I kept one ear bud in and tried to work on loosening up a bit, letting the reins out a bit, lots of circles and not a ton of posting so I can still survive my lesson tomorrow.

Ok, because I did say I'd post video... for your viewing entertainment, video of my jumping last week. I'd like to think it gets a little better by the end. I am still amazed how different riding over that jump and how it looks from the ground. I can see why my husband doesn't think the jumps look that hard when watching the video. I am also amazed how much air I can get out of the saddle and still stay on, lol.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

The sound of music

Just curious what music others listen to while riding. I've started thinking that may help me quite the internal voices a bit and let me relax while riding, but I'm not sure what to listen to. I tend to listen to angry rock or techno/dubstep at the gym, but neither seem well suited to riding.

Hopefully I'll ride Mon, lesson Tues, work Wed-Sun

 and on a non-horsey note:

SF GIANTS World Series Champions!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

By dawns early light

Now of course since my little one is sleeping more at night, I am getting insomnia. It actually kind of works well, I can at least get some of the quieter chores done while baby and daddy sleep (although I got quite the confused look this am when my hubby found me up and doing laundry)... back to horses...

Indy  has no problem with the early mornings as long as
 there's no screaming baby involved
Last week- Usually I hack on Mondays with Karley, but since she was sick , I brought my boys and rode pretty much alone in the indoor. It was really nice light workout (which if I had known lesson was canceled Tues I would have done a bit more). Louie listens well undistracted and I worked on not falling apart at transitions. I find I am floppy and stiff at the same time, simply a byproduct of still recovering muscle tone and nerves (whether I admit it to myself or not). I think (hope) as my muscle tone rebuilds I will start to trust myself more and relax (I'm sure much to Louie's delight).

Handsome, albeit fuzzy Louie
Then lesson night was moved to Thursday, which is a hard day for me to make since I work the night shift before and after, making a 6pm lesson push right up against important things like eating before work. It was a cold but clear night so we rode outside. I had been feeling off but got super dizzy while riding, so I was shamefully relieved to feel like I had a valid excuse to not jump. I give so much credit to the ladies I ride with, not everyone will just chin up and jump in late dusk lighting by the light of golf cart headlights with horses cutting out in nearby pastures. I also got the "next time you jump, no more excuses" from my trainer. I knew it was coming, I needed her to demand it.

This week I was super sick from that Thursday night (at work fun, fun) until well, I still feel crappy, but better. I decided not to ride Monday so just had lesson last night. We dragged the jumps up into the indoor and our trainer set up a little jump, but with ground poles  and wings of sorts etc, making me feel like the horses were going to hopscotch up to the jump. The funny thing is, I'm not scared of the jump, its the landing/ lead change after that get me.  I FINALLY put my big girl panties on and timidly made my way into the line up. After Karley and Henry cautiously made their way to and over the jump Louie and I took our turn. I must say he was a bit confused  and I was tense so he let out quite the leap at the end, rocketing me up and off balance. I was all over the place, too far in front of the vertical beforehand, leaving me lurched forward after. I got better after a few jumps (being denied water or stopping until I was told) I was finally able to relax a tiny bit allowing me to sit back. I have some not so spectacular video I will post soon. Louie looks so beautiful, I forget just how great he looks from the ground.

I feel in no way cured, or back to even the very novice level I was before baby, but at least I know I can get bopped all over the place, and I stay up there. (Not saying I can't or might not fall, but that I at least have better control than I thought). I wish others rode tonight, but since they don't will try to get  a fast hack in on Thursday. ... baby steps... baby steps...

Sunday, October 14, 2012

In need of a change?

I've been in kind of a funk lately with riding. I lost my desire (resolve?) to jump, and flatting only goes so far when you are constantly feeling like every inch of your frame is out of place. I can feel my muscles returning, which means I will continue to ride better, but I just haven't been 'feeling' it. I still love being around horses, the smell and sounds comfort me, but I drag my feet when going to ride, and only half-heartedly put effort into it. So I have been walking around for the last week or so thinking of the first line of the Shakespeare quote:

"Now is the winter of our discontent
Made glorious summer by this son of York;
And all the clouds that low'r'd upon our house
In the deep bosom of the ocean buried."

It is so misquoted that even in my mind, I was using it wrong. It really is about things beginning to go right, that after a bad time, things are looking up.  Once I spilled my unsettled thoughts to my husband, I felt a little better. I tend to bottle my deeper thoughts and feelings up until I'm all wound up. I always am looking for something else, more school, different car, (window) horse shopping, I guess I should have known that when my current H/J style of riding began to feel tough and a little redundant I would start getting restless. I do miss riding western, and after listening to my coworkers, trying dome cutting or reining sounds like such a fresh change. Not by any means do I think it would necessarily be easier, just different.

Really I think its just growing pains of sorts. I am a mom now, which leads to sleep-deprivation, backache, and guilt. I feel bad leaving my boys to go ride when there is always so much to be done around the house. I also think this crazy weather (really, high 80's in October?!) has me feeling unsettled anyways.  But lets be real, I have no intention of leaving the barn I'm at, and unless I win the lotto and get a horse, I'm gonna stick with what I'm doing right now.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Best laid plans...

I am so ready for fall. I am ready for sweaters and boots, and warm spicy teas. I am not a fan of super cold weather, or rain, but I love early fall, when it cools off, and the first rain makes the world feel just a little more clean.

But alas, mother nature is not ready to give up the blistering heat of summer just yet. It just feels wrong to have hundred degree days in October.

So last week I only rode Monday, and that was just basic hacking in the arena. After that I felt horrible all week, and since I can't afford time off work, I figured I better take it easy (boo).

How our arena felt in this heat
So far this week I just lunged Louie on Monday, no one else was riding while i was there, and it was nasty hot, we both got a fair workout in the round pen, and he got some grooming love and his beloved grain.

Tonight we had a lesson. It was still sticky hot, but at least we had a breeze as the sun set making it livable. Since Louie had already been hacked in the am, I didn't lunge him and hopped right on. He was a little fussy at first, but he's a big puppy dog overall. I didn't jump today.. a million lame reasons.... Got to watch the others all jump well, cool Louie off, and walk Louie back to his home in the near dark. I would love to make it out tomorrow and Thursday, but I don't know if my muscles and family will allow it. Trying to keep my mindset positive (not my strong suit) and just roll with it all.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Sit Down, Shut Up, and Hold On

That's my new mantra, sit back and stay put.

 Last Tuesday's lesson was a good reminder of just how much I still need to work on. We did our normal flat work and then moved into jumping. Our trainer doesn't seem to feel I need the fences put lower anymore, since Louie knows what he is doing, but I still notice they are taller than I used to jump. Once again I found myself pitched overly far forward not only on the flat, but after a jump, leading to my near fall after Louie's patented bouncy lead change. I was super surprised I had the strength to stay on, and laugh it off instead of getting angry at myself, well too much anyways. I actually had to yell in my head to just sit down stupid. It did make me feel more vulnerable jumping, but I keep thinking if others actually fall off and get back on, I must persist. :)

Thursday I tried to have a quick hack in the big outdoor while Karley and Lyssette had their lesson. I felt in the way as they were working through the center of the arena, and being someone who is always half in her head, I kept not  paying attention and realized I had no idea where they were going. I tried to just do lots of posting trotting and transitions, since I still need to clean them up if I ever want to show.

This week (hopefully):

Mon: hack
Tues: (work)
Wed: hack
Thurs hack/ lesson

Doubt I will make all three days, but here's to hoping :)

Friday, September 14, 2012

Its Friday Friday...

Wish I had gotten a pic of Liam and Louie getting closer than normal.
 Im not sure who was more unsure of the other :)

Decided to stay home between shifts yesterday, so I went out and hacked Louie tonight. Louie was his usual slightly lethargic  self in the round pen while lunging. I think he enjoys watching me run more than him.  I gave up and hopped on him in the indoor arena. It was the first time I rode without my trainer at least somewhere around, making it oddly quite.  L was walking her horse, who's still on hand-walk only, and another gal was riding who I should probably know the name of but don't. One of the other trainers also kept walking her horses through the arena and my hubby, sporting our child, Liam, and Erica were watching from the side, making plenty for Louie to look at. Overall he is just a good boy, he tests but not in any major sort of way.

We did a few walking laps, working on not looking like a snake while staying off the wall. then did lots of posting trot, working on his impulsion and my many positional flaws (heels down, shoulders back, legs forward). I really like the indoor for hacking simply because of the wall of mirrors which allows me to see what I'm doing wrong in real time. Louie decided he didn't want to pick up the correct lead to the right, and after some backing, lots of outside legs, and a little motivation from the crop, I finally drove him into a turn and got the proper lead. It was a little hard to maintain collection with others riding around, someone walking on the ground, etc so I tried to work on maintaining speed with different size turns, and keeping my butt in the saddle, hips relaxed. He of course happily cantered the opposite direction, then we cooled off and I put him back home with a few treats and some love. I love the post ride barn, everyone is mellow, chatting while cleaning up. I talked with B-Day girl Lyssette a bit and we came home since the baby was hungry (you can only feed your baby of you remember a nipple for the bottle, lol).

Hopefully will post a few of the scant photos from the last week tomorrow, and we will go watch Karley and Lyssette ride in the show on Sunday, so there will definitely be photos from that. Sigh, I will definitely show next summer, I have the bug!

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Back to the Grind

So I am officially back to work. People were nice to me, and most of it came rushing back, so it wasn't feeling as awkward by the third night. Now if only riding were as simple to return to. But really, its starting to feel better too, I'm not quite as much of a spaz these days.

Last Thurs I fit a quick hack in before work. Its nice when our trainer is there giving another lesson because she can't help but yell at me when she's around (which I need).

Tonight I worked hard at keeping my legs forward and not tipping forward when cantering. I feel like I have a ton of voices going through my head when I ride (mine, my trainer, what I've learned from GM's book, etc). I know what I want to look like when I ride, its getting there that's the challenge. I asked my trainer if she could make a "baby" jump for me, and she said no, I could jump the box everyone else was jumping. I eyed it and decided I had my big girl panties on so I should get to it. Louie is such an easy jumper, point him at the jump, keep him from drifting, and he pretty much does the rest. I worked at not hanging on his mouth, and think we went pretty clean. Then Karley did some bigger jumps, proved she's got some sticking power, and then Erica did a loop of two fences. I was really tempted to join her, but I was sore, and figured why push it, Louie was on his second ride of the day too.

I have come to the realization that I really am going to have a hard time coming out three days a week right now, I feel super guilty leaving the baby, since on work days it pretty much fills my waking hours between shifts. I probably should have figured that out before committing (and paying) for three days/week, but que sera sera.  I'm sure as I get back into the swing of working nights, I will probably be able to make it out easier (and it helps when I can drag my boys along).

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

No Excuses

Ok, so its my last few days before going back to work, and can I just sit back and enjoy them? No, my mind has already been whirling with the what-ifs and I-don't-wannas. It doesn't help that they messed up my pay, and my friend calls me with all the latest work drama including her absence when I return, making me REALLY not want to go back. But since I have yet to win the lotto, to work I shall go on Thursday night.

 I am slowly regaining some ground on the flat, I can actually two-point again which is a huge improvement. It was super dusty and pretty warm out, I am weary of 90 degree days, although I know I will regret whining when I am schlepping Louie through the rain to ride in a few months.

Louie Big Withers sporting his jumping collar

I think all this constant nervous energy came to a big Kat's-a-big-chicken ride today where after sloppy flat work I chickened out of jumping. I swear the X looked a few notches higher, but it was likely all in my head.  I came around and just straight up chickened out. I am a nervous person with poor confidence, but I usually at least push a little past it, but lately I have weaker resolve. I had a million excuses, but really none were good.

I really needed someone to just get in my face and tell me to suck it up, put on my big girl panties and jump! But my trainer was nice, and my hubby only rolled his eyes a little so I sat on Louie and got to watch Karley show us how far she and Henry have grown :) I know Louie is way better at jumping than most horses I have ridden, I just have to trust myself to say on while he pretty much packs me around (give or take some bouncy lead changes).

Hack on Thursday,, hopefully just some laid back riding will keep my stress down for work.

Sunday, September 2, 2012


“Courage is being scared to death but saddling up anyway.”
           -John Wayne

How even the little jumps feel right now

I like how others start posts with a quote. Kind of sets the mood. So last week I had lesson Tuesday and a kinda lesson on Friday. These were my first two real days of riding Louie. 

Tuesday Louie was pretty mellow. The weather was nice and it was overall a good ride. I have come to the horrible realization that my body is no longer controlled by my mind, but by the weak muscles I now have, courtesy of my maternity leave from riding. I know I will take some time getting back into shape, but it is frustrating knowing what I should look like on a horse, and seeing pics that show I am no where near that. Plus I keep forgetting to smile. Half of my pics I look like I'm being tortured by riding, which while sometimes a little anxiety inducing, is so not how i feel. I always feel more satisfied after riding, like I've accomplished something. We always do lots of posting trot, sitting trot (yuck), and two-pointing. I find two-pointing easier on Louie, he's a bit round and has such a comfortable trot. I felt a little antsy at initially cantering him in the large arena, but he was a perfect gentleman, and so comfortable. I find I have to constantly force my back to soften into the rhythm. I get so stiff now  (I'm really only in my 30's right?!) I miss the rebound ability of my teens and early twenties. 

I made myself jump, even though my legs were jello. It was just back and forth over a little x, but more than enough for me. I had one spaz moment when Louie did his super bouncy lead change after the jump. My legs went straight out "like sticks" according to my laughing trainer. Luckily Louie is super smooth and I lurched back into the saddle only with a pride bruise. I don't know why I don't grip with my legs more, you'd think I would clamp down when I feel off balance. 

Friday morning was surprisingly cold and dreary when I got to the barn. Louie was a bit higher with the gale strength wind, but he seemed to get most of it out in the round pen and we had a good ride in the indoor arena lots of posting trot and trying not to run into others at a canter. Our indoor gets small fast. When we all went down to the lower arena to jump, I declined feeling if I stink at flatwork, I shouldn't be flying thru the air until I get more solid. At least not too often. The second day of riding per week is definitely making me more sore, and it shows in my riding. Hopefully I will get stronger faster and finally start riding better with more rides on the same horse. I know i will get better, but I am type A and impatient so it can't happen fast enough. I am not sure riding Mon and Tues back to back will feel so great but we will see.

Rough schedule: Mon- hack
                           Tues- lesson
                          ( Wed- yoga ) 
                           Thurs- hack  

I'm back to work this week, hard to believe its been three months already. But unless, I win the lotto, someone's gotta bring home the bacon :)

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Step Up

So I dragged myself (and my boys) out to the barn bright and early this morning (yes 9am is early to me now) to give Louie a try. When we got there J was jumping Henry so we sat and watched with Karley (hubby with camera in hand as usual). I think my baby boy enjoyed watching as much as I did. Not sure if such a dusty setting is the healthiest for such a young babe, but he really enjoys it, and i figure he has my immunity. Plus it was so smoggy out I figured the air was frankly nicer up on the hill.
Ok so its an old pic of Louie, but we know I will have lots soon enough :)

After Juliana put Henry away, we went and grabbed Louie. He is such a big puppy dog. We groomed him, and I finally attempted polo wraps. It looks way easier than is was, which is kinda sad for a nurse. It isn't much different than when I bandage a person, excluding the whole way bigger, standing in mucky wash area and moving part. I am sure I will quickly get the hang of it... or just pick up some boots ;) way easier lol.
     After a quick lunge, J rode him around in the indoor while our trainer was giving a lesson. After she warmed him up a bit, I hoped on... well ok after a failed leg up, I climbed aboard and enjoyed the ride. I was definitely a little sore from riding Tues, so I was more than happy to not do a ton of posting trot. Louie has wonderfully comfortable gaits, even when he's being lazy. So since I liked Louie, and I wasn't a spaz, I will now be leasing him 3 days a week. Yay for more riding, more learning, and more to blog about!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

That old black Magic

As the title confers I mixed it up at last nights lesson and rode Magic. He was his normal (less than) charming self. Most of our issues were clearly mine, but he could be a gentleman and not point them out right? My biggest issue is still when a horse gets heavy and too fast, I have the horrible tendency to pop my butt out of the saddle as I pull back, obviously lessening my ability to balance and defeating the purpose. Very irritating habit I have not been able to remedy yet. I jumped a little jump across and back, Magic being fairly cooperative, but my back was screaming at me, so I declined further jumping, much to the harassment of my husband (which I have told him to do). The way  I see it, if I'm riding crappy on the flat, no reason to go riding crappy over jumps.

 Pics aren't edited yet, I don't think my amazing husband got too many since he was busy with the baby most of the time. The best part of the lesson was when I stopped for water and upon getting close to my baby, he lit up with a huge smile and coo. According to my husband, our 10 week old already likes watching mommy ride :)

More pics once they are edited. Unfortunately since I chickened out of more jumping  because of some minor back spasms, I only have two horrible examples of my bad form over a fence these days, which will not be shared.

Tomorrow I am going down to hopefully ride and possibly lease the awesome Louie. I am hoping that being able to ride more than once a week, along with riding one steady mount will help my riding, cause right now, I'm kinda embarrassed. Luckily I know:  (a)I have before and can again ride better, (b) progress takes time, and (c) my trainer will keep on me until I get better; and (d) I ride with some very cool ladies who put up with me and make lessons fun :)