That thing I couldn’t get

I’ve owned Joy, the pony, since 2015.   If you want to read about when I got her, go to I bought a…

Anyway… I FINALLY got her to do haunches in at a canter!!! Woo Hoo!! And it was pretty darn decent too!

Seriously, I have been working on this for YEARS. Granted, we’ve had a lot of time off over the years, but I wouldn’t have thought it’d be that hard to get this. I never had half the issues getting haunches in at a canter with any other horse.

This one.. whew.  Struggle bus.

Anyway, I was so thrilled.

Now I can start working on counter canter! Yay! lol!

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Online Showing

I want to try the online show series called Better Dressage Scores.

It’s 100% online. You video your ride (as if you’re the judge at C), pay the $19.00 per test to enter, a real judge judges you, and you get the marks and comments back in an email.

You can also earn ribbons and year end awards.

Instead of “winning” based on the quality of your competition though, places are awarded based on score. So, a 70%, or higher, is First place, and multiple people can earn a first for the same test in the same show. Which is a bit different, but I like that you’re actually competing entirely against yourself and your placing isn’t determined by quality of your competition.

They have Intro through FEI levels available.

And, for all of you Western Dressage riders out there, they also have WD classes available (Intro to Level 3).

This seems like a great way to get some feedback without having to suffer through an extremely long day at a real show. Plus, if I only want to do one test, then it’s $19 total. No office fee’s, no haul in fee’s, no gas costs, etc. Total is $19.00.

Their next show is Sept 30th (entries close Sept 23rd). If I can figure out how to get markers up so they’re visible for the video, and figure out how to work through the large hole at M, then I should be all set to enter this.  I think that’ll be my goal this week – figure out how to set up lettering.

Along with power washing all the water tanks, cleaning the feed bins, cleaning tack, and continuing to fill in the giant hole in my yard.

I suppose I ought-a get off my butt and get started!

356 Days

It’s been 356 days since I decided to start taking jumping lessons.

It’s been 335 days since I took my first jumping lesson.

I’ve had approximately 18 jumping lessons since then, and have gone from petrified of even ground poles to jumping small verticles. Yay!

Next week marks the same event I originally went to where I decided to begin jumping. I had hoped to be competing in it this year. In hindsight, I think that was a bit of an overly aggressive timeline. 😏

But… this year, when I go watch, it won’t be with wide, fearful eyes, but with an eye toward identifying what I know, to watch how others do things, and learn more about the sport.

And wine.

I’m really going so I can sit on the sidelines with a single serve plastic cup o’ wine while “Ooh”ing and “aaah”ing over the cross country jumpers.

It’s gonna be a blast!

I can’t wait!

Don’t ask me how far it is

I saw an exercise online that I wanted to try with Ava and Joy. Basically a 3 loop serpentine over ground poles.

Trot the first set of ground poles, canter the second, trot the third. Then you’re set up to go the opposite way and do it all again.

I liked that it not only incorporated ground poles, but also worked on bendy lines to increase suppleness AND transitions between gaits to work on collection. Really neat exercise.

So I tried it with Ava first. She whacked every pole with her feet. Knocked them all over the first go round. It didn’t go well. I didn’t have the spacing right. Oh well. Instead, we worked on rhythm and straightness, combined with relaxation and suppleness. She did well.

I reset all the poles for Joy and tried it with her. Little dynamo perfectly picked her way through the poles at the trot. When I asked her to canter, she stepped right into it in balance. I was really happy with how it went. I didn’t have the canter pole distance right though, so we ended up trotting through those too and did transitions before and after each set.

She did really well.

I really need to get better at distances though.

This was also my first run of having the puppy tied out near the arena while I rode. He’s only 5 months, and not ready to make his own decisions yet, so he had to be contained for his safety (and mine). But, I wanted to get him used to the idea of me being on top of a horse. He did really well. Altogether it was an hour and a half of him basically being left to his own devices and he happily sat and watched, played with the kitties, and dug holes (he loves digging holes!). About the hour and a half mark and he started up with the most woeful howl you’ve ever heard.

Polar

Polar

Nothing earth shattering or awesome. Just a fun time.

This and That

“If you build it, they will come”

I’m working on a website to list horse related events. I know.. there’s a million already. But mine will actually have good search functionality! ‘Cause it drives me nuts that I can’t friggin’ do a search for dressage clinics within 50 miles of my zip code, and then filter it by date.

Except, I’m trying to write it in Angular 6 and PHP, but my php is rusty, and my angular skillz are non-existent. Ha!

I’m struggling to learn the new language.

Which is kind of like learning dressage. New vocab, concepts are either new or applied in new ways, and simplistic definitions with immensely deep meanings.

Anyway……

I’ve (knock on wood) finally gotten both Ava and Joy back in work again. All kinds of mystery lamenesses (seriously, knock on some wood. This shit seems to crop up everytime I think I’m past it). Not sure what was going on with them, but they’re doing better now.

Joy saw a turkey and little turkey babies crossing the pasture today, and Joy thought she’d go say “Hi” and give them the neighborhood welcome. The turkey wasn’t having any of it. She booked it across the pasture with Joy trailing behind in this happy-go-lucky jog trot pursuit. It was quite comical.

Ava’s trying to kick down the stalls, constantly. We had to reinforce hers AGAIN. Gesh. You’d swear we were housing a tyranasaurous rex in there.

The big “Wow” for me was last week. I was on Ava, in the arena, and along the side of the arena in the woods, a giant tree fell. I thought for sure Ava would bolt when it started to fall. Heck, it scared me! But she held her ground. Stood like a live wire, tense and ready, but she stood. And afterward, she calmly walked around again. I was incredibly impressed with her. And thankful she didn’t take me for a hair raising ride away from the noise, since I wasn’t quite sure I’d be able to stay on.

Pics:

Pasture

Stall damage

Stall damage

I jumped a Vertical!

I had a private jumping lesson last Wednesday.. because, I’m special.

Ok.. fine, no one wanted to ride with me. lol

This lesson I was able to do something bigger than a cross rail!

SQUEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

And I didn’t lose my lunch about it either!

It was awesome!!

It wasn’t the smoothest round on my part. I had a few moments where I came back too soon, the first jump I accidentally bumped the poor pony in the mouth a bit (oops). I lost my reins going over one. I’m not sure what’s worse, that I lose them so often it doesn’t phase me, or that I lose them so often. haha

No reins and I still nailed the straight away, away from the jump.
Booyah!

What I was really proud of was that I felt more secure this lesson, with a strong base under me. I felt… locked in.  Like my base was immovable, so the rest of me could adjust to whatever the pony needed (sort of).

It felt really good. I felt confident.

And, it was a BLAST!!! So addicting!


 

I’m trying to figure out a way to practice two point while I’m working from home. Eight to ten hours of (let’s be frank) slouching like a boneless lump of flesh in a chair is not going to help my riding.  I have an exercise ball. I actually use it frequently while working, but I am the Master of Lazy. I can slouch like a mo’ fo’ on that exercise ball for HOURS!

So.. I was thinking… “What IF…. I put a saddle ON the exercise ball?!?!?!?!”

Mind blown, right?!

I tried it. It kind of works. Harder then heck to stay balanced on it, and I probably should wear a helmet sitting on that contraption, but it definitely works the balance muscles.

Fairly certain I’m going to bash my head into the desk at some point soon sitting on it.

Might be worth it though. hahaha

Mass production limited to midgets only. I can’t imagine a regular sized person being able to fold their legs up enough to ever make it work. If you do, I need pics, ’cause that would be hilarious to see.

 

Deep Cleaning Stalls, or How to waste a perfectly good day

We’re battling a fly problem this summer. They seem immensely worse this year than prior years and I’m not sure why. It’s annoying.

I figured one way I could reduce the attractiveness of my barn for flies would be to give the stalls a deep cleaning. I put some thought into how to do this. I even researched smells to figure out which smell flies hated most (turns out I could only choose the lavender scented variety, which ended up smelling more like a cheap men’s cologne than a flower).

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Board Stiff

I’m having a discussion on FB about bits with people. I’ll be honest.. I don’t consider them the most educated horse people.

I’m sure they’re fine people.. when they’re not calling me names, or being passive aggressive, because I ride/rode dressage.

I think they were insulted when I suggested additional training versus a bigger/stronger bit.

But, that’s not really my point.. what I wanted to ask you is this:

At what point in learning dressage did you realize that other people’s horses feel like blocks of wood with piss poor training?

You know what I’m talking about. You hop off your horse, after you’ve gotten yours bending evenly on both sides, he’s forward and responsive between the reins, and you can feel his back come up and the movement lift and swing..

And then you sit on their horse.

Their horse, the one that doesn’t even have the first clue what moving away from a leg is, NOR does the horse do more than grit its teeth and bear down on the reins when you ask for slight flexion to the inside.

This isn’t to say everyone who doesn’t ride dressage is a bad rider/trainer. I’ve met many non-dressage horses that are trained as well (if not better) than a good 2nd level horse. I’ve been in awe of many of them.

No, this is the average, back yard, 4H level horse, or the dreaded “School Horse”. The kind you used to sit on and think was trained well. The kind you never noticed how stiff they were before you began dressage. At what point in your dressage training did you start to realize how poorly trained the average horse is?

Have you experienced it? And if you have, do you find yourself trying to “fix” the horse?

Actually, this same phenomenon probably applies to other disciplines too.

I’m sure Reiners could relate (I’m not gonna list all the disciplines).

I’m probably just being a pompous ass, but it’s something I noticed. Horses I once thought were the epitome of trained, now seem stiff and cumbersome to ride. I take things like “move away from the leg” for granted now, and yet so many horses can’t do that realtively simply thing.

I’ve gotten so I won’t ride just any horse. It frustrates me too much to have an unresponsive, argumentative horse, and I can’t fix it in a 15 – 20 minute ride, so I turn down a lot of rides.