A Horse is a Horse

A Horse is a Horse

Friday, May 23, 2014

Magical Rides

Ok, so maybe nothing magical happened, but I did ride Magic Tuesday night. I just was feeling kinda lacking in my already rather empty confidence department, and figured riding a schoolie might help. Magic is a grumpy bastard, but once you start his motor, and learn how to keep it running, he will pack you around anything under 3' with little need of your input.

This meant I used a LOT of leg muscle, but I was able to not worry about the jump or changes, just me, my position etc.

This also meant my trainer could throw really weird patterns at me in a rather small area because he's a handy little 15.2 guy. 

If you couldn't figure it from my beautiful artwork lol, there were angled lines, and roll back type stuff that I could really get to liking :) 

I also jumped at 2'3" and 2'6" which for me is really good. He feels great at that height other than his ability to suck back to a crawl before a jump if your legs not on... or a cat decides to cross under the jump as you approach (see video lol).

It was windy and kinda crowded so I got to work on calling out heads up, and planning how to go around people (aka backup landing plan). 

There was very little naughtiness and drama, and it was nice. Finished up and watched L jump Ramonasaurus around then took treats to my princess who barely acknowledged my presence.

Wednesday am brought about lots of fun things I unfortunately don't have much evidence of. Lets justs suffice to say jumping is far more interesting when there are people practicing carrying flags and ropes in the arena with you. I am glad our outdoor is huge, because we used all of it between the three of us.

Warm up was uneventful other than Holly princess needing lots of leg to find her frame, somthing I didn't have a lot of to work with. When will I finally be in shape? 

She spooked at the Evil Man charming snakes (worker watering trees) right before our first jump, so we had to do some canter laps by him until we were no longer interested.

Jumped the little vertical as a warm up (which is all I have video of). The first jump she notices the Evil Man charming snakes again and chips in, crunches my...um proper-ladies-don't-speak-of-them parts... and then I catch her mouth and she throws a fit. Then we settled down, mostly, and got to work. 

After lame video jumps, I actually did variations of a single back to the single in a line. It was again 2'6" and although i'm pretty sure I didn't breathe, it actually felt good. She tucked up so much nicer, and if I listened to my trainer and got her motor going early, we got great distances. We did circle once as she was overly concerned over horses being eaten by flags very closeby, but after a couple circles, she came back to me. I love that, if I stay calm, she gets over stuff fast.

I'll deny it at the barn but I think I could get used to jumping bigger. Not like the rest of you big, but like 2'6" without panic attacks. Now to be able to do a course by the next show, I'm not so sure, that still gives me panic attacks, lol.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Sweating the Small Stuff

I haven't been the greatest blogger lately. Our ride Saturday (as in over a whole week ago) was decent. We did little courses, but with like 5 of us jumping at once, you had breathing time in between runs.

I had a near perfect round except for the last lead change after the last fence, boo. I HATE lead changes. I know I need to pull the big girl panties up and deal, but they are bouncy and awkward, and if I am nervous, I occasionally don't even notice that I missed one (she likes to swap back, half way through). 

It's pretty much 90% me, and I hate that. 

Love this pic
Then Tuesday night (it was still 90 degrees out) and I was down to doing one lone, low crossrail, which was harder work then a course.

She was doing the I'm a slug- rush last 5 strides- beast after routine. Nothing horrible, just annoying and darn heavy on my arms and back. She's really harder over the smaller jumps than the bigger.

The bad side is I should have her jumping anything with the same rhythm and energy. The good side is it makes bigger jumps less scary and more comfortable....kinda..

There's video, but hubby is editing Ferrari picks, so I've been bumped lol.

\Wednesday was more of the same but we did another little 3 jump course and it was lots of rough changes and dragging mom to the jump. In retrospect, it doesn't look that bad.

We did lots of stop before jump, stop if just not swapping leads in a timely manner. Stop if not half-halting. Lots. Of. Stopping.

Didn't make Saturday lesson as I had to work OT to pay for princess. Hopefully this week will be cooler, smoother, better.

Good lesson tonight, but I'll save that not so exciting tale for another day ;)

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Blog Hop: Continuation School

Why do I keep riding? Beats me. Its the one sport I can stick with, the one thing that raises my pulse uncomfortably that I still enjoy (I don't do roller coasters). It's my addiction, my drug, my release.

Pirate- half blind, all sweetheart
It all started really when my mom took me on a trail ride at about 9 or 10 years old. The love for horses seeped under my skin, into my veins, and settled into my heart.

I started volunteering and ultimately working at the riding stables from that time on through the summer after I graduated HS. I briefly owned an older QH, (who was more awesome than  I realized at the time). I only rode western (and endurance) and thought things like jumping were for crazy people (other than jumping the odd log on trail).

Then there was the 10 year dry spell.

Yep 10-ish years with only a handful of trail rides on friends horses or rent strings full of barn-soured horses.

Then I started hanging with Karley. She kept badgering me (in a friendly way) to come ride with her trainer. Me, english?! Jumping?! Heck no... ok, well maybe.... and so it began. Again.

Buster- such a good boy!
My hubby and I had been going to car shows, etc and certainly keeping busy but life just felt lonely without horses. I didn't realize how much I missed it until I was back on a horse, smelling that sweet manure and sweat smell, and loving it.

I lessoned, I leased, and now I own.

I keep at it, because despite the turning stomach as I first mount, the palpitations at the thought of showing, I really love it. It wards off depression, and keeps me social and outside. Despite the expense, I want my son around horses, and dirt and barns. And hubby has settled in, he enjoys taking photos around the barn and of people riding, and even has warmed up to Holly quite a bit.

Love my Holly

Friday, May 9, 2014

Pony Ride

Ok, I'm soooo behind, I'll work in reverse.

Wednesday lesson = pony ride... on Trooper that is. This is the pony that I almost bought before Holly. He has come so far since I first rode him, learning things like how to back up, and obtaining a real canter, not just trantering about because he was so out of shape and lazy. Now he's nearly a packer for two awesome kids that ride with my trainer.

Got to jump a bit. Felt totally different, and his little kick over the jump felt like I was going to fly over his neck, but was a great reminder to keep my weight back. I bounced a lot since my legs were already sore. I promise I'm not hitting his back like it looks.

Then since saddle fitter happened to be on site, I ended up yanking my 1-shoed pony out of turnout and hopped on to try some saddle's I really can't afford, but loved sitting in. Considering I literally tossed saddles on her and hopped on, I was impressed with how chill Holly was, we even did a bunch of decent lead changes (great test of how easy I can sit in a saddle).

Tuesday Night lesson= Made the mistake of arriving right in between kids lesson and our ladies night lesson so I ended up doing a lot more trotting while waiting for L and E to get on and kids finished jumping.

Holly had been a squealing, bucking nutball in the large round pen, including losing a shoe without my knowledge. She (other than tripping once or twice), never took a sore or fussy step all lesson, even with just 1 shoe on.

Yay for shiny ponies
L and I warmed up over a cross rail at a crooked angle, I had to confirm the line was wonky with L, but we just laughed and followed orders, and I was glad to see Holly will let me aim her at weird angles without fuss. Then we took turns doing series of 2 or 3 jumps. including the 2'3" oxer. I kind of had that, hey I'm finally comfortable at 2'3" moment. Almost wanted to jump more.

Overall Holly was good and I was good, and the lesson was good.

Last week= Ended up missing Tues night lesson, had a semi-ok flat lesson Wednesday, and blah flat lesson on Friday. Friday the WS had ridden her first, jumping some decent jumps well, but despite that she was kind of a brat to flat after. Someone thought she was done to early.

It was also Miss Holly's 6th Birthday (April 25th). She got schooled by WS and lots of carrots from mommy. I feel guilty not giving her b-day its own post, but hey, it happens.

The Saturday before I had lots of crappy indoor jumping for which a straight line could not be had. Left me feeling like crap. Video is on YouTube but I'm not inspired to share, despite a few awesome lead changes, it was overall pretty gnarly. Wanted to switch to trail riding and admit defeat. Then I remembered I get like that, and to just give it a few more rides. See above :)

...Back to present where, we did well, and if princess gets her shoe back on we will be back at it Saturday.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Blog Hop: Right Here Right Now

So, since I'm like super behind, I might as well just do a blog hop :)

What am I currently working on in lessons?

Well.... EVERYTHING. But here's the gist of what I'm mostly getting yelled at for schooled on.

Straightness. No haunches in going to the right because it feels easier for her, no worming around to the jump (or after), no falling in at a corner... When I stay really relaxed and focused, she is so lovely.

Pace. This is as much me as her. I have to really get her going way faster than I think and let her fly when jumping. She's a good pony, she comes back to me, I need to trust that more.

Eq. When you make the mistake of riding a horse of a similar color, while wearing the same colored polo and breeches as a much better rider, you start to notice that you don't look the same in photos. I know I've gotten miles from where I was, but now I wanna look pretty while riding, not like a crazed chicken. And my trainer I am sure would love to not waste her voice on my lack of elbow control.

I guess I could at least tuck my shirt in :P

Confidence. This goes up and down, but luckily I lesson with a great trainer and an awesome group that reminds me that I'm a better rider, and I'm riding a great horse in the making. I've also learned it just about every 3 weeks or so I start feeling like a complete loser, maybe its hormones, and ride it out, because there's always some better rides on the horizon.

and I did.

.......But now trainer has me trying saddles like this...

Voltaire's Stuttgart 
Amazing... and way over my saddle budget
(heck over my initial horse budget)