A Horse is a Horse

A Horse is a Horse

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Win Some, Survive Some

Last Wednesday's lesson was... uh... unremarkable apparently, because I don't really remember it. Holly was sluggish, needed a lot of support to stay framed up. Jumped a little crossrail in the corner of the arena and worked on our 'bad side' lead changes. 

One of my fingers had been pretty darn swollen and sore so I bailed on Friday riding.

Tuesday had an am lesson to beat the rain (barely). It was already cooler out, with a breeze normally reserved for northern coast winter beaches. We even had seagulls... Uh yeah...?

Joined a few of the barn girls schooling ponies. Ponies were naughty! Cute... but naughty, and not exactly confidence building watching their shenanigans while jumping. 

While ponies were flying over oxers, I was left in infinite loops of two-point and posting trot, with a calm but not-so-easy-to-frame mare. Luckily I tried a Devoucoux Biarritz (squee).  Much easier to two-point in, and soooo soft under my backside, but the wider twist takes some getting used to. Overall I really liked it, dang it.

After some nice (albeit slightly crooked) canter work, our turn to jump. There was some spooking, and pretty darn rough lead changes, but overall it just felt good. 

Nothing big, but working on coursework. I can actually see doing courses with her now, as long as I stay chill she stays chill. Well duh.

And video because it makes things clearer than words....

Aaaand then their was today... Ok so nothing horrible happened, but it was rainy and windy, and miss cranky pants must have gotten up on the wrong side of her paddock because everything was just soooo rough for her. Lots of leg to get a frame, lots of giraffe neck (although no spooking so small win). Then because when I am my most sore and whiny, my trainer really pushes me, we schooled lead changes across the arena.

Did I mention there was a mule? Apparently Holly is muleaphobic, because having to share the arena with said mule was apparently a traumatic event for the princess. Any-who, really really bouncy lead changes passed standards and mules and water dripping down arena walls, led to us both to becoming a bit undone.

Took a few laps to cool mind and body and did some eh-ok line work. Long 4, or tight 5, kinda went 4 and chip mostly. Lead changes were still beastly to right, but to the left were pretty auto and much softer. She gets changes after a jump, just not at random. Thank heavens got enough right to quit and cool out.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Keep those Hamsters running

Poor doped pony
Miss Holly got some good jump schooling Thurs and Fri, some 3ft work and naughty lady refused a lattice panel she hasn't seen in quite awhile.

She also got her teeth done, poor lass had some big hooks on her bottoms.

Saturday I was actually at the barn with enough time to groom, free lunge in the big round pen and wander back up to the indoor (boo) for our lesson and still not be last on (yay).

Holly was actually good on the flat, her only real spook was another rider shouting as L and Ramone had a moment, which made all the horses startle a bit.

Did some horrible line work. It was a longer 4 stride then Weds, and I could not get good distances. Lots of crappy half-canter chip- in, and weak strides to either a chip or loooong jump out. ugh.

I need to get forward but not canter when trotting in, and MOST IMPORTANTLY- I need to get my eyes up and off the second rail, no amount of staring will make it disappear. Of course every bad run just causes the dreaded "One More Time" shout from trainer.

After the line was a wide right or tight left at the end. We did some crummy, grape-stomping, back-breaking lead changes which really set something off in my back. Then I got frustrated, and that's when its so hard to have an arena full of onlookers.

Thankfully my torture ended and I went with a couple others to hack around the XC field, making precious pony super on alert, but she held it together since she was in a crowd.

My careful little driver
Today was another crazy windy morning. I wasn't real sure of Holly's mental state when she reared and shied just walking up the path to the barn. Then we apparently both needed to run around the roundpen together while sheets of dust blew into our eyes.

Then we got to it and had some of the best flatting since I've got her. She wasn't perfectly framed, but she seemed almost to search for the contact, not constantly fight it. She was still heavy once she was tired, and she was fairly tense (the roof sounded like it was slowly being torn off) but she kept her wits about her, which was impressive given the noise level and how many others were in the arena.

Then we cantered with two poles on the long sides, trying to keep steady rhythm, even with poles. This was made way harder since another trainer's adult student decided at that moment he also needed to wander through the poles while he waited for the trainer to get back. Argh!
Awesome Paint rendition ;)
After that I took turn with some of the kiddos (nothing makes you feel more sheepish as jumping the same level as little kids) trotting and cantering through an angled line of trot poles and the littlest itty-bitty vertical. It really makes you look up and ahead, not my strong suit. Holly was good, even when there were horses in the way and did all but one lead change quietly (for her).

Survived! Such a pretty pony :)

Back at it tomorrow, hopefully minus the wind.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Eyes Up!

Apologies, wordy as always...

I knew it couldn't all be gravy. Friday got off work, scarfed some food to keep the coffee-fueled ulcer under control and dragged down to the barn. Another barn-mate's Crosby was sitting out for me to try. Ugh, saddle trying is hard. It was slippery and I found I don't like big knee rolls anymore. I felt up on my crotch (which I really don't need any encouragement to do) and felt completely off my game. Not that that won me any sympathy from trainer.

Line work and lead changes. If I kept her straight, kept my weight back, we had a few soft, gently changes. Then we had the bronc, just go forward dang it! lead changes, including almost running into the wall because I was pitched way too forward after the line. Luckily no video, although I bet it felt worse than it looked.

Saturday morning I came out just to try an Antares. It was a 17.5, my legs felt so far forward on the thigh blocks, it didn't make it feel very secure.  I think Antares are amazing, but not for us. It did fit her great, but I like a more narrow twist and need something that puts me back a bit more. That said, two-pointing felt awesome. Win some, lose some it seems. I have to face it, I love the Butet, or something more like it?

Tuesday am Mother nature unleashed some crazy wind, like can't walk straight, taking down trees bad. So bad even my trainer said go home and said come back for eve lesson.

Evening lesson ended up just L and I. It was windy, crap was noisily blowing about, so I knew there would be scooting and spooking. Since she was a bit up, we did serpentines at a posting trot across the short length of the arena then sitting to turn, back and forth up and down the ring until she chilled out.

We did a cross rail that eventually led to a figure 8 of two jumps. Of course there were cones everywhere for moi to remind me to go straight lol. Eventually ended up cantering continuously through it, lead changes included, not great, not horrible, and certainly new stuff for us. Over shot once, had some rough changes, but overall it wasn't bad.

round and a round we go...

Wednesday am brightened into a tolerably windy, sunny day. We did lots of sitting trot sans stirrups (oh what fun...) and worked on not scooting from that which scares us (like leaves and birds).

Then, we did a bunch of variations of a line down the long side and a little cross rail across the short end of the arena. That was interesting, and hard, lots of bouncy changes. At one point got stuck in a endless circle jumping the little x until trainer was happy with the approach, etc. The line was a 4, or long 3, we did several chip in, chip out 4's, and some holy crap we're flying 3's. The 3 stride felt ok when I wasn't in the backseat from a long distance in. Did it until I was jello then finally got to cool her off.

the "good" stuff.. well best we could muster anyways

My new mantras: EYES UP and FORWARD IS GOOD. I see a lot of dirt and ears when I ride...and I'm still too tense when she's forward, which just gets me crazy mare forward, not steady forward. When I breathe and take my knees off, she's quite lovely.

Below is just more jumping should you be killing time, but mostly just so I that its all grouped where I can watch it. Amazing how different it looks then feels sometimes.

Warm up Tues night

Other lines etc Weds lesson

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Tack-Ho fever!

Ok, so I got $ back from taxes, and even though its not even in the bank yet, its burning a hole in my pocket :P

Most will go to saddle, bills, new camera stuff...

But.... there's a little room for other things, so... What's everyone's favorite bridle???

Like give me your cheap (but nice enough to go to a B/C show with) and your super nice dream bridle.(because its fun to dream). I have heard the SmartPak Plymouth is decent enough, and very likely the price range I'm shopping in.

 I also had two pretty awesome lessons this week. All Smiles.


ehh... yea had more of this...
Tuesday night I came to the conclusion that my mare is very ADHD and is more trouble on the flat then over jumps these days . Less spooky than last week, but just needs constant direction. This really messes with my fear of jumping since its now the part to look forward to. Hmm...

Holly was in the twisted wire, so lots of fussing on the flat, but really nice adjustability (yes spell check I say its a real word) while jumping... which was good since we are finally doing lines!!! Baby steps!

Gee by summer we will do courses like the big kids! I don't look amazing over the jumps, but I am way less tense, which is huge. Not to mention, if I steer and ask for a change properly, lead changes are getting quite nice (at least to the left).

Today had a morning lesson. Had her in the slow twist, she's much happier on the flat, pretty easy to push into a frame, when I pay attention to keeping a solid leg on. Less brakes jumping so had to remember to really sit back. What I should be doing anyways. It was funny, it was harder to figure 8 the line than to actually jump it, Holly was kinda miffed at why we were jumping towards ground poles, and piles of jumps. And again, I don't look amazing, but Holly clearly is enjoying the jumping, her ears are forward, and although not always super respectful of the itty bitty cross rails, we both had fun. Yep. I. Had. Fun. Jumping. Mind-blowing.

Need to grind out a 10- page paper here in the next few days, while working the next 4 possibly 5 nights, and riding at least one more day... and ya know being a wifey and mommy.... Lots of Caffeine in my future...

Sunday, March 2, 2014


This week has been kinda gloomy. Weather and riding. My horse is PMSing, no bueno. Muy no bueno. But I get ahead of myself....

Monday was a trainer ride. Apparently Holly was a beast, and Trainer said NO GRAIN! When she text me. She had already been off it for a few days while I was out of town, so I was like sure, I just bought a bunch more, perfect timing (argh). 

Tuesday was an am lesson. I was a little bummed we stayed in the indoor because it was going to be our last day of sunshine and warmth. Holly was indeed a bit fire-breathing. She did plenty of bucking in the round pen and then continued to be high and full of it pretty much our whole ride. We went straight to a trot, and did plenty of it. Jumping was short but clean, so short the hubby didn't even notice we were jumping til i was done (no video boo). 

Wednesday was another morning lesson. It was blustery cold, windy, and on and off pouring. Not exactly fun weather to be out in. Holly again felt like she was just humming with extra energy. We lunger indoors a bit and got right to trotting again. If I kept her ADHD brain focused she didn't spook and would frame up, but it was hard. There was several other people riding, a trainer doing another lesson, a new OTTB being lunged. It was a great time for my trainer to say "drop your irons". Eek. Did that till my thighs and lower legs cramped (I had already been trotting a decent amount) and one of the other trainers finally shouted "you're going to kill Kat", so my trainer finally let me pick up irons and slow to a walk for a bit. 

Jumped a little like 18" vertical just to the left, her easier way, a bunch of times. Considering it was gusting and things were flapping, I only had to circle her once and she was good if I gave her the leg support she needs (not too much, not too little). 

Then we cantered to the jump. Little thing, I know, but I haven't been cantering jumps with her, and it felt like a huge deal to start. I'm dumb, she was awesome. adjustable and non-dramatic. She also seems mostly over her crazy distances she used to take when we first got her. It makes me excited to do more with her, even though i know she's a beast at times when the WS does courses with her, I'm not feeling like such a weenie about jumping her. 

Thursday/Friday Trainer/ WS rides, she was still bratty, but at least she tires out faster by then end of the week. 

Saturday group am lesson. Ok, I really have a tough time making a 9am On Time. I'm either rushing from work, or just dragging butt. I'm not a morning person, I work nights lol. It was a decently packed indoor, meaning I was 3rd in line to lunge, taking a lot of my lesson time, and getting me scolded for not arriving sooner. 

Funny thing, I think Holly's more of a bother lately on the flat than jumping. That's like mind-blowing when you're kinda afraid of jumping. Other then one big spook where she pretty much ducked out from under me as I was up-post and I again clung to her neck fearing a dirt landing (good girl stopped), and we regrouped and moved on.  Lord help a spacey rider on a spacey horse. ;)  

We had to canter in groups, then L and I jumped. There was a gymnastic set up, but we just used one of the center jumps and trotted it at a bit of an angle. Holly was totally game, and even did some pretty nice lead changes when I applied enough leg to send her forward. As another trainer said to me after, when I figure out how to be the calm alpha Holly needs, and just relax into everything, we will be amazing together. Very true...Then L jumped some big stuff totally impressively with Ramonasaurus. 

Such non-dramatic jumping.
I got left behind a couple times, oops ;)

Trying to figure next weeks schedule out since I have things like taxes and work meetings to deal with.