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.

 

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Testing the Read More Button

This is my post. There are many like it, but this is mine. My post is super long winded.

I have many posts and none of them are very interesting.

People like to pretend to read my posts because it makes them feel like they’ve got their shit together in comparison.

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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.

Cross-Rail Queen

I’m still doing the jumping lessons. Having a blast with it. The instructor is focusing a lot on the rider position. Which is great, but my body disagrees.

I’ve found it interesting learning the new positions and how to stabilize my upper body (especially over a jump). Prior to jump lessons, I didn’t realize I used the ball of my foot to balance off. I thought I had my weight in my heel. After a few times being thrown forward on a tiny jump, and I realized I really wasn’t sinking into my heel. I think it’s helped my dressage riding learning this.

The lesson prior to this last one, we started on counting strides to a fence. I thought I wouldn’t have an issue with this. I can count strides! I can count them on a circle, I can count them down a wall, I can count them as we wiggle, I can count them down the hall…

Put a fence in front of me and ask me to estimate three strides out and start counting… HA! Nope. Can’t do it…

Even with the instructor counting FOR ME.
Nope, couldn’t do it…

It was like patting my head and rubbing my stomach. If I counted, I couldn’t ride the jump. If I rode, I couldn’t count. Haha

I realized recently that I’ve been taking twice a month jumping lessons for about 8 months now (approx 16 lessons). When I started, I was still nervous about going over ground poles. Cross-rails seemed like an 8 foot wall, and made me almost nauseous to even think about going over one. Last lesson… I’m now bored of cross-rails. I’m actually pretty darn proud of that fact. I never thought I’d get comfortable enough to think a cross-rail was ‘boring’. Woo Hoo!

Not sure where I want to go with this whole jumping thing still, but I conquered a big fear I had, and I’m pretty darn proud about it!

Of course, put me on a horse that has a big jump, or isn’t quite as experienced, and I’m sure my tune will change real quick. haha

I would like to share that I am covered, head to toe, in poison ivy.

Polar, the Great Pyrenees.

My big, loveable dog, Dax, died of cancer last fall, so I was searching for a new large breed dog to fill Dax’s big shoes.

I tried the animal shelters first, but after getting bitten and growled at by the “friendly” adult dogs up for adoption, and having been denied by the rescues, I figured my only route was buying a puppy.

I’d been reading up on Great Pyrenees dogs over the winter and thought one might be a good fit for our family. I scoffed at the “fiercely independent” description. I thought. “Pfft, we trained a full grown, adult, Chihuahua that knew nothing. How bad can a loveable big dog be?!”

The size didn’t bother me. Dax was 130 lbs when he was in good health, and it wasn’t an issue until he got too ill to walk on his own.

So, I was browsing puppy ad’s when I shouldn’t have been, and saw a Craigslist ad with Great Pyrenees puppies for sale. Of course we called them, but unfortunately, all the puppies were sold already. I figured that was that, and we carried on with life.

I like the concept of fate when it comes to animal companionship. If it’s meant to be, it’ll be. I figured it wasn’t meant to be.

A couple of days later, we get a text from the breeder that one of the pups was being returned. The largest male of the litter.

The people who had taken him named him Cashmere, and were returning him because he barked non-stop.

None of this deterred us in the least. We immediately went to pick him up.

We show up at the breeders house and this fluffy, white puppy tumbles out, falls in my lap in a heap, and contentedly lays there while I pet him. I was shocked how mellow and calm he was.

So we took him home…. this fluffy ball of mellowness…

Ever since, I’ve been learning that I need to up my dog training skills to the top level in a hurry if I’m going to have a chance at ending up with a well behaved canine citizen!!

This is only my 3rd puppy (and 4th dog) I’m training, but I grew up with parents who bred, raised, and showed Rhodesian Ridgebacks and Walkers. I’m not a total newb to this… but this pup has kept me furiously racing to stay one step ahead of him at all times. I feel like a total newb with this puppy.

It’s a darn good thing he’s cute, and those rare instances where he’s not a total jerk, the glimmers of the loving and affectionate dog he’ll become shine through.

If we survive puppyhood…


Polar as a wee pup at his breeder’s farm. He’s so small.

Polar with his dad

May 8th, first day at his new home.

Age: 8 Weeks.

Week 8

He’s almost the same size as Zeus.

May 14

He looks like a potato.

may 15

May 20th

Anything that moves gets attacked. Brooms, cats, toys… you….

We found this horse ball in a pile of brush. He thought it was the best thing in the world!

May 24

Morning walks means he sleeps for 2 hours afterward while I work.

May 28th

Polar meets new friends, Sebastian and Murphy:

may 28

Another play date with “Uncle Sebastian”.

june 1

Age: 12 weeks

He bites, a LOT, and nothing seems to curb it. His needle like teeth hurt too.

Moments like this are priceless.

Because…

He figured out how awesomely fun digging is, and does so at every opportunity. I follow behind, filling them in. It’s my vindictive way of showing him the futility of his destructive ways (did i mention he bites me a LOT and leaves me bloody and wounded? You’d be a tad vindictive too.)

june 2

Morning walk.

First horse show

I took Polar to visit a local open horse show to try to expose him to new experiences. He was a perfect gentleman. He is awesome with other people and kids. Never barked at anything.

Polar watching the horses go around.

He caught some zzz’s while I watched the show.

june 4

I’m 4’10 and sone change.

june 5

june 9

One of the things they talk about with the GP breed is the delay in responding, or the euphemism of “needing a lot of patience” when training them. I didn’t understand at the time…

It works like this.. I say “Come”, and then there’s this 30 second delay where Polar thinks through all his options…. it’s maddening sometimes. I’ve never had a puppy this obstinant and independent before.

I’ve been told you can’t train this out of them.

june 15

Age: 14 weeks

Weight: 34.5 lbs

Morning walk

His recall when I have cheese is phenominal.

june 17

Zeus tries hard to keep his top spot in the family dynamics, but it’s hard when your underling outweighs you.

june 19

june 20

june 23rd

Not a lap dog anymore…

June 26

Loves riding in the UTV, but gets confused about where he should sit.

Destroyer of Cushions

July 3rd

Age: 16 weeks

Weight: 43.5lbs

July 4th

He still goes after anything that moves, including us. Hubby and I have more holes in our clothes than we can count.

This breed is cute, affectionate, and extremely smart… but for the love of God, do not get a puppy. There’s a reason a ton of these dogs end up at rescues.

We start a new puppy class in 2 weeks. Fingers crossed it goes well.