A Horse is a Horse

A Horse is a Horse

Friday, December 20, 2013

Moving along

(Awesome screeners I know)
Lesson Tuesday night was cold and dark, but no where as bad as it has been. L was running late so Karley and I jumped while she warmed up. Holly already had a pretty intense jump lesson earlier in the day with the WS so she was pretty nice and tired for me. Not dead tired, just actually needed a little push, and not acting like everything was going to kill her. It was sooo nice.

At least I'm not looking down anymore
We jumped a baby X, a vertical, and the lattice panel. Holly really only disliked the little baby X. Dag nabbit, she likes bigger jumps. Great, guess I'm not going to stay in the baby jump classes. We worked on lead changes. Ugh. I really have to get my ass back in the saddle and just suck it up and push her. If you make it through the video, you can just barely see her do a super smooth change at the end. Little princess can do an awesomely smooth changes... if she wants... We will get there.

Wednesday morning I had another lesson. It was actually super nice out, so we went down to the outdoor arena. It was pretty dang hard, but dry, and since was a bunch of old barn girls back on winter break, we kinda needed the space. Holly was really good, soft and responsive, and slowly she's carrying her head higher where it should be more and more. I was dog tired, so I appreciated her not being silly or stubborn.

OMG I'm working again?!
I expected to jump, but then our had me hop off and cool a pony so the WS could jump Holly through some lines. I was nice seeing how she goes for someone else. She really is quiet to jump if you don't pick or apply too much leg. J stayed on Holly and I stayed on pony while we all went for a walk around the property. It was super nice getting to
enjoy hacking out a bit in the sunshine in December.
Sweaty girl finally filling out
I'm out of town this weekend, so it will be all trainer/ WS rides until I'm back. Poor poor Holly.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

First "Show" and other such things...

Quick catch up...

Lesson Wednesday that was so exciting, I can't even remember much of it. Lots of halting and backing, and avoiding the rope jigglers wiggling their horses across the other end of the arena.

Saturday I was super late and we rode in the lower arena, so Holly was wound up. After bounding around the lower bullpen and a few little spooks later, she realized we were going to keep working and settled in. I love that she had her blonde moments, but works through it. Jumped a little x, right towards where she was spooking. Another rider's man was standing there (what she spooked at) and finally he was Vanna White-motioning me past him, down the rail (face-palm). Finally got it right and quit.

Sunday = Show! One of the other trainers had her little schooling show. It was very small and low key. It was also in the 40's and windy as all hell out. Awesome. I had ditched work a couple hours early, squeezed in a power nap, ditched the kid, and dragged the hubby toting our camera down to the barn.

I got lucky and was able to snag the trainer's Butet. Cleaned it up, applied very generous amounts of Vetrolin Shine to my fuzzy beast and tried to run some of the crazy out in the round pen. Walked her down the the arena since it was so crazy windy and there were people milling about in blankets carrying chairs etc. Got on and got straight to work. Lots and lots of trotting....

Ended up doing the W/T, W/T poles, and W/T/C classes. They went really fast. Got 2 seconds places and a first. Not exactly a big wins (we won candy), but hey I'll take them since I don't have anything else under my H/J belt. We had great representation from our barn, two adorable kids, and Karley, L, and I, pretty much half the people in the show.

And on to pics... just a little sampling....

Yup, super brave pole trotting ;)

Sigh.. flap flap flap... darn elbows

avoiding super scary tree area

the elusive smile 

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Brrrr...This is not Cali Weather - Challenge Day 5

No lesson tonight, so after watching another trainer's students jump a big oxer a few times, I finally ran Holly around the round pen until she seemed to have taken the edge off and got on. Karley was already done so it was just E and I initially. Holly and I got right to work and did some sitting trot, both of us struggling to accept being forward with contact. I moved into a nice forward posting trot, with mixed results on frame, but hey we're working on it.

She was actually being really good considering my trainer had text me the previous day telling me she was "very bright". Then another gal entered the arena and hopped on her little mare. The owner is sweet, but the horse is super spooky, so of course she thought she was going to die as we were just passing her on the closed end of the arena so Holly took off like the hounds of hell were nipping her heels. We settled ourselves, got our bearings and got back to it. I had my I-don't-wanna-deal moment, and then we went back to the suddenly safer open end of the arena, and let the other owner work her mare through her thing. Cantered both ways, it was wiggly. but I worked really hard at sitting back, and finally started to feel where my body should by (non-fetal riding).

Cooled her off, and someone got her new blanket. It was a super steal on Cyber Monday. Hollyberry Plaid. Very fitting for my princess.

Real lesson tomorrow, ugh. Trainer rides, Thurs, Fri, Lesson Sat and poss show Sunday.


Challenge Day 5      Holy moly, I completed a challenge... ok well not in 5 days, but I at                                              least got the 5 posts in, and updates to boot :)


21. Favorite class to watch at shows.

What i'm watching depends on where I'm at. I love watching team penning, and I love photographing bronc riding. I also love watching anyone jumping big. I love seeing that hang time, and how well a horse and rider can work together. Since I really only attend schooling shows of late, I like watching the jumpers (ooh bright jumps) and the little pony's flying pigtailed girls over baby jumps.

22. Whats in your cooler at shows.

Basic stuff. Legal drugs, sandwiches, water, lots of water. Gatorade if its hot, and lots of snacks. I don't like to eat when i'm nervous, but man I could eat half a cow when I'm all though. 

23. One thing about showing (or riding in general) you wish you 

could change.

Didn't I answer this already? Still the money. This is was too expensive of a hobby. I keep thinking, start a photography business, make Holly my mascot, then she's a write off right? I think I just need to get creative. ;)

24. Your ringside crew.

Ha, we will see. My trainer and my poor husband. I know my mom would be there too, but lets be real sometimes moms are a lot of work. 

25. Best prizes. 

My first Endurance ride I won a t-shirt and a buckle. It's not super fancy, but after 50 miles I was dang proud of it. We ended up riding alone, my first endurance ride. It was my 18th birthday and through the Santa Cruz mountains, ending at the ocean. We almost fell down a steep cliff, and other such awesome events. 

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Challenge Day 4- and Muddy Magic Does Gymnastics

Rode Magic Sat am lesson. I was running late so of course my trainer decides I have to ride Magic, who stood in the far corner of a sloppy pasture, and had clearly been trying to go camouflaged with a full body of mud camo. Awesome.

Only L and I really rode, E's horse was off, Karley was elsewhere and M couldn't ride. More torture for us, (yay)! Hubby unfortunately didn't come so no video (boo). We did the normal WTC, including me ending up pathetically hugging Magic's neck, thanks to the workers loading some chairs for our trainer just outside the arena. Could have ended worse.

Magic and Ramone
Then we did a little gymnastic, starting with trot poles and one jump and working up to 3 cross rails with fairly tight one stride apart. We trotted both ways with combos of 1,2,and 3 jumps, then cantered the 3. I really like gymnastics, which are easy on Magic, who pretty much is point and shoot with jumping. It was well timed because I had to sit back more, a big problem of mine lately.  Since usually on a single jump my mind is pretty much screaming I'm gonna die!... I mean relax! bouncing through 3 jumps gave me time to actually pay attention to what I was doing, not just shut-down survival brain mode. Novel Idea. :)

Challenge Day 4


16. One thing you'd like to change about your horse. 

The spooking. Enough with the spooking. Nothing can kill us in the indoor, except maybe my trainer, but I'd die first, so chill already. Other than that, Holly's proving to be pretty good natured for a mare, with big pretty eyes, and a very honest ride.

Princess giving love...
ok looking for her grain...

17. Your horse's future. 

Uh..... Trail horse extraordinaire? Oh wait...I'm a pseudo-H/J princess now.... Schooling shows are in the future, possibly very near future. Time, money, and nerves likely won't get me too far past little shows, and I'm ok with that. I'm in my 30's, this is all for me now, I don't care as much what others think, I just want to challenge myself while still having fun.

18. Your worst show ever. 

Haven't been in a real show (H/J) yet.  I did work a 24hr shift as an EMT once, then went to a "friend's" backyard show and proceed to get thrown on a horse I didn't know and added to a variety of classes, many of which I wasn't sure what I was supposed to be doing. I HATE feeling like that, if I fail a class because I suck, fine, but not because I'm riding a crappy ex-rent-string horse in an event/ class I don't understand... I did get the fastest time on poles, which was kinda awesome since I'm pretty sure I was only half awake.

19. Favorite horse show venue.  

Don't have one yet. I think they are all a little crazy. Ask me again by the end of next summer, hopefully I will be better versed. 

20. Your show day routine. 

Don't have one yet but I'm pretty sure whiskey, obsessive cleaning, and projectile emesis will be somewhere in there. 

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Challenge Day 3 and Flying lead changes...kinda...

Tues night had my cold solo lesson. Lots of jumping, angled at the wall. Really pretty fun. Then we tried lead changes. I understand why they haven't been worked on much before I got her. She has quite the kickout. Trainer told me not to practice alone... ha, silly trainer, that wasn't even on my radar... 

Weds am, flat lesson in 38F weather with a nice chilly wind chill. It was cold, did lots of lengthening and collecting at the canter. Good work, but my legs were already burning. I think with some more muscle, her canter will come together more, because Tues night she actually collected after jumping and showed me a glimpse of a much more uphill, comfortable canter in there somewhere.

5 Day Challenge - Day 3


11.  Critique Your Horse's Conformation

Ok, so I may need to take some conformation shots...

Paddling along...

So, if you break my mare apart, she's not amazingly well put together. She is a hair butt high. She paddles at the trot (albeit I think its kinda cute). Her front legs are her big negative. One is more upright, they angle inward a bit, and her navicular bones likely would break down fast if she was jumped high and hard often. 

Overall, I think she has an adorable head, and a nice TB like body. With some better muscling, and fat she should be mighty purdy come summer :)

Tweaky front legs

12.  Horse's Favourite Riding Exercise

Ha, walking on a long rein? No, really, she may not like having to trot to a jump, instead of just putting her head down and cantering like she used to, but she really does seem to enjoy jumping. So far she doesn't get to do anything crazy, but she doesn't get particularly fazed by height or oddness of a jump, just gives a bit of a hairy eye while she flies over.

13.  Favorite Spa Day Products

I'm an old school Show Sheen fan. It gets the job done. Other then that, I haven't owned my horse long enough to acquire all the fun grooming stuff yet :)

14.  Three Best Things About Your Horse

1. She's mine. Its taken a long time to be able to say that.
2. She's very sweet, she has her moments, but overall she's very honest and good natured.
3. She comes back to me. She may think the shirt on the ledge will kill her, but she spooks, then gets back to work, no long drawn out theatrics. She's just al ittle jumpy like me ;)

15.  Favourite Picture of Your Horse

Haven't taken it yet. Really, I have a few pics I want to get of her, but now its winter, and she's fuzzy, so I leave you with just a couple pics, including one of us jumping, reminding me I can do it without dying.
Well, she looks lovely anyways

Works in Progress

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Challenge Day 2 - my days blur together ok?

Ooh camera!

Saturday a bunch of us just hacked around the outdoor arena. It was nice and relaxing, my princess and I have not really had much down time riding, so while I have photographic evidence we didn't always maintain a nice frame, and I still have chicken elbows, we had a nice ride. 

5 Day Challenge - Day 2

6. Favorite equestrian book and movie?

Umm.... So its not necessarily my favorite, but when I was a tween I read "A Horse Called Holiday". It was super cheesy, but the girl was a super brave jumper and fell in love with a horse she basically got for free. I still thought jumping was crazy back then, but it was the first thing to spark my curiosity about jumping and the plausibility of me ever trying it.

Movie wise, I pretty much can enjoy any movie with a horse in it. Although the guy in War Horse drove me nuts! My first 'horsey' movie was "The Last Unicorn", ok, not quite a horse, but who wouldn't want a unicorn? This movie seriously haunted me for years, until I finally tracked a copy down. Much to my hubby's annoyance amusement I still get a hankering to watch it occasionally.

7. Most common riding misconception?

I agree with most, that the horse does the work. I wish they did, I'm sore more days then not. Some horses are pretty amazing packers, but there's still certainly some muscle use on both parts. 

8. 2 riding strengths and 1 riding weaknesses?

Ok. Strengths: 1. Umm...Ummm....ok... I'm to stupid too quit? Really its a positive, I get scared, beat up, worn down, but I keep going. 2. I can be taught. I actually have pretty fast comprehension when not scared outa my wits. Sp those moments when I'm riding, but not feeling eminent death, I'm quite receptive to being taught.

Only 1 weakness? But there are so many to choose from.... Fear. I am a nervous person, I worry about practically everything, so obviously hurdling myself on a 1000 lb animals over jumps isn't exactly a calming thing for me. I get tense, then I ride not-so-awesome. Nothing some hypnosis and whiskey can't fix right?

9. Least favorite thing about horses and/or riding?

Besides it being a complete money suck? Not having enough time/ resources to be at the barn more. I would love to live closer to my horse.

10. What do you feed your horse?

Currently balancing out her Oat hay/ grass/ alfalfa. Then there's the (hopefully) temporary grain: senior/ strategy mix. Her grain is also getting spiked with Mare Magic to see if it takes the edge off. She seems calmer, but I don't want to assume that its truly helping yet.

Love when we can both just relax