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.