Over the deep edge

Day # 745 of artic winter.

We have taken to wrapping cats around us to stay warm. They are accepting of it for the most part, but resist when we stand up.

The air feels nearly warm at 19 degrees Fahrenheit. My fingers did not immediately freeze to the metal latches when I fed.

Only three instances of nearly falling on the ice today. My balance is improving.

Ponies have become feral. I found one eyeballing the cat as competition for food. There are no more pleasantries to be had with the she-devil, Joy. We vie for dominance over the only path through the snow. She-Devil wins more times than I care to admit.

~ winter crazy

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The “For Sale” lesson horse

Several years ago, I tried to take a jumping lesson at a barn I had Ava at (right after she injured her stifle).

When I showed up to the lesson, the instructor immediately started with “I have this horse for sale, and I think you should buy him”. I tell her I can’t afford the horse, and definitely not while I still have Ava. I think that’s the end of the convo and that I’m just using him for a jump lesson.

She asks me if I have my saddle, and I explain to her I only have a dressage saddle.

…it’s a jumping lesson….

She tells me to go get it and put it on the horse. So, being the good little dooby that I am, I fetch it and put it on the horse. She jacks it up too far on his shoulders, and hands me a bridle to put on him. I re-adjust my saddle, bridle the horse, and take him to the arena.

I’m with a few other riders who are learning to jump also.

Instructor tells the group to go into two point (which at that time I really had no clue how to do), so I’m trying like mad to two-point in a dressage saddle with stirrups set at dressage length.

Eventually the instructor see’s me trying to two-point and basically says “WTF are you doing? Don’t lean forward”… as if I’m a shitty rider.

Whatever.. I sit back down. We’re walking… I’m confused as to what is going on…

They go around in two-point a couple laps and then we trot some. Lovely horse, but he has absolutely no idea what seat aids mean, nor outside rein, nor really anything but pull and kick.

We go over some ground polls and horse keeps cutting the corners. Instructor is yelling at me not to let him. Uhm, sure… with what?

Eventually has me canter him. I can’t even get him into a canter. I’m supposed to sit way to the outside and do something or other with his head and kick… but the whole concept of sitting to the outside to cue for canter is so foreign that I can’t do it. We eventually get into the canter, but because I keep sitting to the inside, he keeps swapping to the off lead. This, of course, is interpreted by the instructor as proof that I’m a shitty rider.

I eventually give up and basically just sit up there like a passenger and take the berating from the instructor over how shitty I ride.

Ride ends, I untack the horse, and instructor mentions that the horse is for sale (again), and how well suited we are for each other…

I basically paid to test ride a horse for sale, that they wanted to sell me…. I never took another lesson from her again.

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So last week I have a jumping lesson with the place I’ve been taking jumping lessons at for the past year. I really like this place. I’ve been happy with them.

I walked in and one of the barn owners suggested I buy one of their horses.

I took it for what I assumed it was meant as, an off hand remark, a “just throwing this out there in case you’re interested” comment.

I tell them I have no money. They suggest they’ll take a much lower offer for the horse.
I laugh and tell them even my best offer would be well below what they paid for the horse.

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End of story… I assume.

Then they point me to the horse I’m going to ride, and tell me this is the one for sale.

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Angry mare

I’m a little suspicious at this point…

I get her tacked up and out to the arena. She’s fidgety. Mount up, and she won’t stand still.

I was trying to control my breathing in order to fake calmness. Every other step the mare is popping me up from the tack with a half-canter step/head toss, and shying away from the far end of the arena because “scary”… I try to test out what she knows, but every light aid is met with an over-reaction.

And all the while, the instructor is telling me to shove my hands forward, don’t round your shoulders, push your hands forward, sit up, shove your hands forward….

I think the word used most was “handsy”, with the comment that I need to stay off her mouth.

I was debating throwing the reins completely away… but the mare was eyeballing the end of the arena as if a fire breathing dragon occasionally pops out from there…

“Stay off her mouth!!”

“Push your hands forward”

“Push her over with your leg”

And then the coup de gras, instructor tells me I need to develop an independent seat and stop using my hands for balance…

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Riding this mare felt like this…

Or this…

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When I’m used to this…

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And all I could think of when the lesson ended was “Thank GOD that’s over with!”

Moral of the story is… always be emphatic when saying no to a purchase offer from a lesson barn. Lead off with “HELL NO!!” and end with “I will kick you in the junk!!”

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The Petteasy Gloves

I don’t usually endorse products, but when I find something that I find useful and durable then I don’t mind sharing my experience with it.

My husband bought me a pair of Petteasy gloves a few weeks ago. I hate to admit that we’re normally suckered into those “As seen on tv” products, but we are, frequently… Ha! We’ve been suckered into just about every pet grooming glove available… and they’ve all sucked. In fact, the “True Touch Pet Shedding Glove” is currently being used by Polar as a chew toy (that’s how much it sucked).

However… I am so incredibly impressed with the petteasy grooming gloves. I love them. I would buy twenty pairs if I could. These are fantastic for grooming horses. The nubbins are just firm enough to get the hair and dirt out, yet not so firm that they don’t have some give to them. They’re durable. I’ve used them on all three horses for a couple of weeks now (used them hard too), and all the nubbins are there and only some very minor wear.

The best part is they fit well. Snug enough that they aren’t rolling around under your hand when you really press hard, and yet comfortable. The velcro enclosure is a great feature.

Straight out of the package they were a bit too stiff to really use your hand for hand things, but after the first use they softened up to a point where they were comfortable and usable.

My horses love these. Joy has kind of become a monster about getting ‘scratchies’ with these gloves. She leans into my hands and makes the craziest contortions trying to point me to the right spots to hit. They’re perfect for getting those itchy places on a horse (belly, chest, that spot where the neck meets the shoulder).  Even Jessie, the “I hate all things human” really enjoyed them. Which shocked me.

These don’t work so great on long haired pets. I tried them on my Great Pyrenees and the results were blah. It worked about as well as any rubber, small nubbin type, grooming tool would work on a long haired dog.

But, back to the horses.. I put these gloves on when tacking up. Since they fit like a good pair of gloves, then it allows me to hold a brush while wearing them. I alternate hands when using the rubber nubbins on the gloves and use the other hand to brush the dirt off. Works awesome. Gets the dirt, hair, and dead skin up. I can still hold a lead rope securely, work a brush with them on, and feed a treat. Slip the gloves off when I’m done grooming and off we go.

Really impressed with this product.

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

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).

Continue reading

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.

The Game

Last night I went to my jumping lesson. I’d switched nights due to a sleepless night of puppy shenanigans. Darn puppies…

Anyway, after my lesson there were two adorable little girls getting ready for their lesson. The parents were patiently waiting in the wings, watching the kids tack up. I kept thinking the woman looked familiar, but I couldn’t place where I knew her.

Until finally it hits me.. Of course, I still can’t remember her name, but I at least had identified I wasn’t off my rocker thinking she looked familiar. Ha!

So we chit chat about how we know each other for a moment , how long it’s been, etc. when she asks, “Do you own horses?”

Why is it that it always feels like I’m entering into a competition with newly found horse people every time we wade into the subject of horses?

The conversation itself was rather banal, but the subtext of these conversations always seems to contain a query to determine my importance to the horse world.  With the goal being to determine who the better rider is, and then ranked accordingly.

Maybe I add too much into these things.

I probably do….

But, still…  I swear, sure seemed like I was being evaluated and dismissed as anything other than a beginner rider.

Anyway, we talk for a bit until I make my awkward exit (she’s basically written me off at this point). Except, the entire car ride home I’m thinking of all those things I could’ve said instead. The things that would make her see me in the light I want to be seen in (an accomplished rider, who has had at least a modicum of success in the horse world). You know, all those things you wish you would’ve said instead of what you said.

Why’s it even matter?

I don’t really care what she thinks…

I think the issue I have is that, I have put so much time, sweat, blood, tears, into this sport that I want to be taken seriously. I want my accomplishments to count for something. I want to be seen as an accomplished and skilled rider.

Because, lately, I don’t feel like I am. And having that feeling reflected back at me, through her eyes, hurt.

Top 100 Blogs

My blog got added to the “Top 100 Dressage Blogs…” blah, blah, blah..

Feedspot has this deal where if you’re a Gold member, they list your dressage blog in their Top 100 list. You can’t get listed unless you’re a Gold member.

Gold Membership costs money though.

They won’t tell you their gold membership fee up front though. You have to give them all your info first. Then when you see the fee and go “Oh Hell No!”, they’ll email you directly to convince you to pay. They’re actually quite persistent about you paying them.

At first they’ll offer you one (1) free month.

However, I got sick of the emails, so I replied with “I’m never paying you a dime for a membership”, and they responded by giving me a free Gold Membership.

(I’m not tossing away hard earned cash on a feed aggregator.)

(why can’t people give me cars, or money instead?!)

(I bet my Gold membership gets yanked now.)

With my newly minted “Gold” status, I’m suddenly a Top 100 Dressage Blogs!! Woo! I’m so kewl! 😒

If you’ve read more than one post, you know my content is rather sub par, sporadic, and well, as my mom put it “I read the first line and quit”. 😭

😂😂

[she wasn’t captivated by my laminitis post]

Here the listing: https://blog.feedspot.com/dressage_blogs/

Go get your blog listed for free now too!! …where the fees are made up, and the lists don’t matter!