Bridle: Joseph Sterling
Browband: Boy O'Boy Bridleworks
Half Pad: Mattes
Bridle: Joseph Sterling
Browband: Boy O'Boy Bridleworks
We'll start with Shiny since she's such a lil nugget. Things are going well with her for the most part. She was great in last week's lesson, though she does continue to kick out when she doesn't feel like cantering. I'm thinking I may have her saddle fitter out once we're back home to see if she needs it reflocked anywhere. She seemed less irritated about picking up canter in the bareback pad this week, but with her you just never know. She may have just not been so moody that day. Mares... Ha! Anyway, she's feeling pretty good. I think she's ready for a visit from her body worker though, so hopefully said body worker will be coming back up north soon. We lesson tomorrow, which I'm looking forward to.
Eros is perfect as always. Or at least, mostly perfect. When he got shod recently, we pulled his winter pads since hopefully snow season is over. But ever since he's been a little braced on the left side and acting kind of spooky. Even after his free lunge. He was definitely torpedo light for his lesson last week too. So I reached out to my farrier to see what his thoughts were about trying some pads again. I just think he's feeling a little uncomfortable without them and that's leading to his silliness and bracing. It may be totally unrelated, but he did feel considerably better with the pads on. Our farrier said it's worth trying, so I just need to wait for him to get back from Florida. (End of circuit problems... all the caretakers are still south!)
And then there's Al. Al has been a bit of a roller coaster lately. Our Friday lesson was meh. We only were able to use half the ring again because he just wanted to spin anytime I headed toward the other end. He was fine for what we did do, but I was feeling frustrated with myself for not riding through the naughty stuff better.
|2' King of the World!|
Generally for me, the best way to work through my riding problems is to just keep trying. So I signed up for a Saturday lesson too. We're only jumping 2' so it's not like two days in a row would be strenuous for him. Unfortunately, Saturday proved to be a miserable rainy day with wind. Of course there was wind. Not the ideal conditions for a horse that is angsty in the indoor. But I'm not (usually) a quitter so I proceeded with the lesson. It was going okay. After some flat work, we moved on to warming up over a small vertical. One of the same ones we'd jumped the day before. The jump itself was just fine every time. But each time we came to it, he was getting more and more spooky about the approach. (We were turning through the center of the ring between some other jumps to get to our fence. There was plenty of space, he was just being a child.) I finally just got very frustrated, because I wasn't doing a great job of handling the spook. Like I could get to the jump, and jump it fine, but he was so backwards on the way there, and nothing I was doing was getting him to give up the ghost. So finally I asked our instructor to hop on. And it was so good for me to see someone handle the problem really effectively, but without upsetting Al. She was tough with him, but not in a way that suggested he was in trouble. And he was very receptive of that. She pointed out that just before he props to spin, he tries to come up above the vertical. So the best thing for me to do, is make sure I keep him in the contact, and use all the inside leg I can muster to keep pushing him toward where he'd rather not go, along with a little bend away from whatever he is trying to avoid. It's not as simple as it sounds because you know, the angst! But I've been trying hard to really ride him this way, and rewarding him when he's a good boy. Yesterday it took a lot of everything for me to get it done, but I did it without ever letting him know I was worried. And today was a little easier than yesterday. Which is probably mostly due to it being warmer, but regardless, I'm taking it as a step forward. He will lesson again this Friday, and then I'll see about a weekend lesson. Probably Saturday again. I like my easy-ish Sundays.
And that's it from here! How are things going for all of you? Have you had to work through the Silly Sevens with your horses? I always remember that I hate four year olds because that's when they like to test boundaries. But I had forgotten that there's also this time in the sevens that's equally challenging. I really look forward to Al being a solid adult horse... But until then, we'll just keep swimming...
It's the same with the prospect of showing for me right now. Like yes! I am DYING to go do the thing. But all the unknowns (and my somewhat empty wallet) keep me from committing to anything. Like which horse would I take? Will I have the help I need? WHAT WILL HAPPEN?! I haven't ever taken any of my horses anywhere other than the boarding barn and my house. So I have NO idea what to expect from them. Probably I should just take Shiny to the first one. She's pretty much always the same pony and is generally pretty well behaved. Save for the kicking out in the canter transition... But I'm prepared for that nonsense. I almost feel like I need my own personal trainer for the first outing. And maybe a therapist too... Ha! I mean that couldn't hurt.
So yeah. That's today's confession. I'm both tired of the same old, and also a bit of a deer in headlights when it comes to doing something about that. Any of you ever feel this way? What did you do to handle it? I think for me, I just need to DO the thing. Perhaps it's time to make some lists, get organized, and pick something to do! (And also get some braiding work so I can pay for said thing.)
|Cutest boys getting their pedis|
The current issue is the actual dentist. My last cleaning she was away at a conference so I didn't even have to see her. But this time she comes in and starts telling me about all these fillings I need. Then proceeds to stick all kinds of instruments and fingers all up in my face and, well, it was some kind of torture. Next she proceeds to talk down to me like I'm a five year old, repeating herself over and over. I finally looked her in the eye and said, "do you think I ought to find another dentist? Because you're speaking to me like I'm a child a right now." She was clearly taken aback and somewhat changed her tune, but sheesh. I very much do not want to go back there. Like, it's hard enough as it is, and now I also dislike her pretty strongly.
Honestly, it's 2023, how has science not figured out a better solution for tooth care? Any of you a dentist? Or related to one? Please tell me they're working on better and easier mouth care practices for the future.
Here's what Eros and I wore for our photo shoot:
When we last left off, we were waiting to see how Shiny felt after her vet work last week. I'm happy to report that she's feeling a lot better. I didn't notice a huge difference immediately on the flat, but when we started jumping in our lesson Thursday, that's when she realized she felt so much better. She was back to her old self. Taking me to the jumps, jumping ACROSS the fences, and feeling generally like the pony I remember from last year. So that's a huge relief. She's feeling better each day on the flat too. She's also a little wild, but we have to wait a little bit longer before she gets to have a free lunge. So, um... wish me luck when we jump tomorrow...
Speaking of our lesson last Thursday, it was able to happen because Jury Duty was canceled! Yay for that! I really wasn't excited to go.
Eros had his vet work done last Wednesday which meant he had vacation days through Saturday, and a light flat on Sunday. Monday the barn is closed, so he didn't have real work until yesterday which was our flat lesson. He feels great, but he is also WILD. And also can't free lunge at the moment. I think tomorrow's jumping lesson for him will consist of only trotting cross rails so nobody dies. I mean, I'm glad he's feeling good. But maybe he could tone it down a touch. Eros is a gentleman, so even when he's fresh, he doesn't do anything terribly wrong. But he PULLS. My old trainer when I was growing up always said it takes two to pull. Which is a true statement. But if you attempt to not play the pulling game with Eros, he just winds up with his face on the ground and full possession of the reins. It's pretty hilarious honestly... But also, kinda naughty. I just love him and his antics though.
Things are going pretty well with Al too. While mother nature continues to try and sabotage my lessons, we're working around that pretty well... I was hoping to finally jump the full course today, but the 30mph winds outside made today not the day. I still had my lesson, we just focused on the little jumps at the less noisy end of the ring. Maybe Friday will be the real day. Time will tell. I'm happy with him though. He's making an effort to pay attention to his rider, and that's definitely something for him. His flatwork is improving too. We had kind of paused with lateral work while his quarter crack was growing out and like any typical boy child he "forgot" how to properly do a shoulder in. But we've been plugging away at all things lateral and he's starting to really do thinks properly again. Proud of him!
That's really about all we've been up to here. I've been getting to ride an extra pony here and there which has been super fun. I know I'm totally spoiled and I get to ride three horses every day, but it's still so fun to me to get to sit on something else. Plus it kind of keeps you humble. When you ride the same horses all the time, they start to respond to you even if you're doing things wrong. So it's nice to hop on something else now and then to make sure I'm asking for things correctly.
How are things with you guys? Have any fun adventures lately?
Awhile back there was an article kind of shaming people who like their matchy matchy. That article pissed me off. Like how is it hurting anyone if you want to collect saddle pads? Okay, maybe in the long run if everyone on the planet did that we'd have an environmental issue. Fair. But like one person owning 15 pads? Who cares? Can you afford to support your saddle pad habit? If it's not negatively affecting your quality of life and finances, buy the effing saddle pad.
Are you someone who judges people who are into matchy stuff? Do you poke fun at people who have weird passions? Do you make other people feel badly about something that brings them joy? If you are, maybe look inside and redirect that to something YOU can be passionate about it. Are you uncomfortable because you kind of like something that people might find weird? Embrace that weird! Own it! Do it! You'll find life is so much better when you're enjoying something for yourself rather than hating on someone else for having a little fun.
Al is doing just fine and we've had some good lessons over the last week. I had to postpone my usual Friday to Saturday because Shiny was having some vet work done and the times overlapped. But it was a fun Saturday lesson. We rode with a couple of the younger kids. Al was feeling brave that day (no wind blowing the scary doors!) and we managed to find our way far enough toward the end of the ring to actually jump a real line. So that was a big deal for us. We're still jumping tiny, but getting further around the ring so I'm happy and feel like we're progressing. It can be a little depressing considering we were jumping around 3'6" this summer and now we're not... But that's horses. Sometimes there are set backs, but we keep plugging along and eventually we get back to where we left off. Al is such a nice horse, and it will be worth riding this struggle bus for now. Hopefully anyway.
Eros is also great! I switched him from the two ring to the dee bit, and he seems really happy in it. I can't get the same "sit" in it that I can with more leverage, so I plan to use the old bit here and there to keep his flatwork honest. But jumping in it was dreamy. I could actually take a half halt when I needed to and he accepted it without overreacting. My guess is that it might not be enough the first few times we jump outdoors, but hopefully that will be the only exception. Time will tell! He had his annual spring vet tune up today, so he'll miss his jumping lesson this week, but will be back at it for next time. Hopefully feeling amazing!
Shiny is feeling vastly improved. Doc was on the same page as I and agreed that it was time to do her neck, and also wanted to do the right stifle. Additionally she got some shockwave up by her poll. One of the things I really like about my vet is that he is interested to hear what my body worker says about the horses and lets some of her findings help guide which therapies we decided to try. He thinks the shockwave may help her next adjustment go better. We shall see! She had the weekend off and we've had a couple of fairly light flat rides this week so far. She's still kicking out when I ask for canter (doc believes that is in fact behavioral... Lol. Me too doc... me too) but her canter is so much more balanced and she's not tripping nearly as much as she had been. We're going to have a jump lesson tomorrow so we'll see what we have! I'm glad she's feeling better though. I probably should have addressed some of this sooner. It's tough to tell with her sometimes when she's hurting and when she's just being a sassy pony. Mares are tricky!
In other news, after a three year hiatus, I got to attend a really fun chili cook off hosted by a friend and her husband. They take it pretty seriously... like seriously fun anyway! The winner gets a trophy:
What about you? Do you have a Peeps preference, or just like anti peeps entirely?
Bridle: Joseph Sterling
Browband: Dark Jewel Designs