A Horse is a Horse

A Horse is a Horse

Tuesday, February 25, 2014


Since it was our 5 year anniversary, hubby and I decided to take a weekend vacation to the coast. It was our first time being away from kiddo for 2 nights. We rented a really nice little cottage on a bluff. We ate good food without a bored, fussy toddler and spent plenty of time drinking wine and looking at the ocean from a hot tub. Amazing.

Sorry only cell pics, slow to edit the raw ;)

Got a video from Karley of WS working miss Holly on Friday. Heard she was bratty, but I'm still impressed at what she's starting to be able to do from where she was 4 or 5 months ago.

Hopefully by the end of this week my blog will be caught up lol.

Monday, February 24, 2014

At Least the Weather was Nice...

Last week... Sorry, this wasn't supposed to be wordy....but as usual, it is ;)

Lol, one day I will smile when I ride

Tuesday I had a lesson in the morning, and since it was nice out, we slogged about in the muddy round pen and then trekked down to the outdoor arena. Normal W/T stuff, working on frame. as always. Then we did circles with shoulder in or counter bending through the circle. Very awkward at first, but really cool, I could feel her little brain figuring it out (along with mine lol) as we circled around.

Hamsters doing double time

Then we started cantering. We cantered the whole arena which feels huge, after so long indoors. Then my trainer had me turn down almost center-line to canter...

Me: Ok Holly lets canter down the middle, nice and straight
Holly: Oooh, we're not on the rail....that means a LEAD CHANGE!
Me: No, Holly, quit bouncing, just canter straight
Me: Sigh, no just canter please! No, more forward, less up...
Me: Sigh, monster created....

Then came jumping. Just a little 2' ish single cross rail at one end of the arena. Nothing big, but apparently new. Holly clearly was not about to touch this new jump. On the way back I felt her slow so I put on leg, then she felt about to break into canter so I backed my leg off. Dumb. Then I got the worlds slowest semi-refusal. D'oh. Back at it. Wash, repeat seriously like 20 more times, she finally stopped over jumping and being fussy and we did a couple ok lead changes her easy way and called it quits. I need to push her more to jumps, and relax on the other side. Easier said than done.

Wednesday was a meh lesson in the indoor. Nothing spectacular, except I may love my bratty, spooky mare a little more. We were working on a sitting trot without giraffe neck when we passed two little girls sitting on the rail.

Story of my life

After already being scolded for kicking their legs, using flash photography, etc, one of them decided the best way to get down was a flying leap off the rail, right after I passed them. I was all la ti da in my own little decaffeinated world, and then I heard thump and wham, my next thought was my Holly's ears are so soft on my face... WAIT. Oh crap, I'm like half across the arena and on her neck, Good Morning!

Like this- just giving a mid-ride hug right?
Holly (prob because trainer was lunging a rider nearby) scooted, hopped when my spurs inadvertently stuck her, and then when I was totally vulnerable and laying on her neck, she stopped. She snorted and looked back at me like ok, fix yourself already lady. I quickly scooted back, still kinda trying to figure out what happened. Ah, always the source of amusement for the railbirds. But I was so impressed she stopped and didn't duck out from under me, or cont acting a fool. Baby steps.

Then we jumped. Better than Tuesday, mostly. Meh, I'm a tense tense woman on a easy to upset mare. Nuff said.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Weekend update

First off, go win stuff! Thanks to Equestrian at Hart for offering such a cool prize.

Valentines Day started with a rather mellow night/day at work, followed by me coming home to roses and a card... only to realize I had forgotten to buy one for the hubby.... Had to make up for that one later ;)

Got to the barn for a 10am lesson, just about right time-wise other than it usually being a little crowded in the arena. Luckily it was busy but cleared mostly out by the time I was jumping. Groomed up a mostly clean horse and ran her around in the still muddy/nasty/huge puddled round pen. Ugh haven't even tried wearing my tall boots, I refuse to get them that nasty. Holly practiced her prancing, bucking and slide stopping until she was sufficiently warmed up (and nasty) and I got on.

Had decent trot work, she holds her head fairly framed up now if I am paying attention and there's nothing scary around. Had to do a few laps of two-point followed by no-stirrup work. That will definitely help my leg strength, ugh. Holly was pretty mellow overall. Went to canter work, really tried to relax into it without getting chicken elbows. I can stay relaxed for a few laps then my back just starts to tighten up... (hmmm BoT back brace in my future)?

Moved onto jumping. It so weird plugging Magic around little 2'-2'6" courses, then having to work so hard over a little 18"-2'3" vertical with my mare. Anywhoo, got my wiggly mare over it back and forth working on the dreaded lead changes....

Ok maybe not this bad...

Changing to the left is actually pretty smooth as long as I give her the rein/space to do it. To the right is still really rough. Had a few I kinda wimped out of once I was bounced around half the arena, even with a ton of rein she's just not as balanced that way yet. Need to find the right amount of leg before the jump, so we stop getting that little add. Overall, didn't die, figuring it out, slowly relaxing into it. Very slowly lol.

Saturday ditched lesson (hey I did have 3 already this week) and got up early for some (ok one little 10oz) Pliny the Younger, woot! Also had a decent brunch buffet, which is awesome when your toting a toddler with you.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

The Good, The Bad, and Progress?

Ok, so I guess I'm behind, so I will try to keep it short....haha yea right...

So muddy- I want our arena back!

 Last Thursday had a good flat lesson. Ended up hopping right on Holly since she had been ridden pretty hard by trainer the day before. I was apprehensive, but she was super good, even with an arena full of horses, trucks circling the arena etc. A few baby spooks, but a very good girl. 

Friday she was a brat, we had a big spook at the side gate while cantering, she about tossed me off, I flopped about, got yelled at, and felt ashamed of my lack of riding ability in what was once again an arena full of mostly trainers and WS. Had another, why don't I sell this brat moment, felt really defeated (doesn't take much).

First course (I think, its kinda fuzzy by now)
Tuesday night trainer had me back on Magic, black schoolie beast. He had just finished a beginner jump lesson and after a few laps of "WTF lady I'm done" attitude he settled into the well schooled beast I really really appreciate now. 

We did some crazy jump patterns (for me anyways) and I was super stiff since I have barely jumped in the last several weeks, certainly not courses. Uh yeah, and like never oxers but at least she lowered the wedge to cross rails right? Once I relaxed a bit and figured out how fast you really need to look ahead with weird bending lines etc, it was more fun than scary, which is a nice change. 

(Left sound in for your entertainment)

Felt good to push my little chicken brain way past my comfort zone, and not die.

Cool sun halo
Wednesday had a morning lesson back on my princess. Trainer insisted I ran her around in the incredibly sloppy round pen. After a few impressive slide stops at the huge puddles, she mostly was good and figured out how to do laps around the edge, giving a little hop over the smaller puddle. She was not amused.

I finally was tired of running around in the mud, and decided to just get on. Holly wasn't horrible, she framed up if I kept contact and mostly only gave the hairy eye to things with a little scoot, not OMG we're going to die bolting.

I seriously don't feel like I will ever be able to comfortably site her canter and I don't know why. Its a big stride, but as long as you keep her moving forward its smooth. I just cannot get my legs/back etc to relax into it. Sigh.

Did a little vertical and worked on the dreaded lead changes. I get so tense expecting them to be rough, but if I asked quietly, she gave quiet changes, huh, imagine that. 

My big guy supervising

Pepper KITTY!!!

Gee, why'd you go way up there?!

Tuesday, February 4, 2014


Today ended up being a hack instead of a lesson. I had work meetings in the am and since trainer's daughter just brought home her adorable baby, we were left to our own devices in the evening. 

Trainer suggested I should lunge Holly on the 'scary' side of the arena before hopping aboard. Since someone was running a very hyper horse around the round pen and the indoor was oddly devoid of riders, it was perfect.

Clearly my trainer had run some sense into her the day before because after a little bratty prancing and head tossing, she did some pretty nice laps, without making me work for it. I could see more lunging in her future :)

I got on before Karley or E made it into the arena. Holly was a little bright eyed, and had quite the speedy sitting trot the first few laps, but overall I couldn't be more pleased.

Lots of sitting trot then lots of posting trot, trying to maintain frame without losing impulsion. Not as easy without eyes on the ground. Holly barely looked twice at anything, and really overall was fun to ride. 

Cantered both ways throwing in some circles and transitions back down to the trot to keep princess guessing what was next. Another trainer came in with a beginner lesson, so since I didn't feel like playing dodge the pony, we cooled off and cleaned up. I love that she's shedding out, dried time has improved significantly. 

Was it a perfect ride? No. But I rode my horse and just enjoyed it. Very awesome.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

More of the same

See, its kinda winter-like in Cali :)

Really haven't written because there just hasn't been that much going on. There's been lessons, and trainer rides, but mostly flatting, and really nothing special.

Mustn't forget to mention an awesome giveaway by She Moved To Texas :-) Because who doesn't love to win stuff. Especially in dreary winter.

Last week we included fun stuff like after a full lesson on the flat, going into the scary round pen and doing lots of sitting/posting/canter transitions, trying to stay in frame and not look like a giraffe when passing the side closest to the chickens (they live under a house!) which was uber scary apparently. I learned I really need to not raise my hands, get her head down, then just dump the reins back down. I am clearly not used to being in charge of maintaining contact.

Booooring stuff.... :)

This week the WS jumped Holly inside, up to 3ft and considering she just hopped on her, said she was bright eyed but good. I rode her Friday inside. She was pretty chill, very little spooking considering there was a ton of stuff going on outside (like big trucks unloading hay).

My trainer had me jump around  2'3", just a single vertical mid arena. We had to do some stopping before the jump so princess didn't rush the jump, but overall she is a quiet, willing jumper most of the time.

Out of the whole round pen,
she rolls next to the wall

Since my trainer wanted me to do simple changes (read: I suck at changes and she doesn't want me messing them up) so we got lots of bunny rabbit bouncing at the end of the arena as I tried to slow her down to a trot and Holly let me know she very was game to swap leads, even if I wasn't asking. Argh. I just worked on slowing her sooner before turning, so it was clear what we were doing. 

Of course my human child was running amok through the barn so no video from the hubby (boo).