I think I shat myself a little

My second jumping lesson… read first lessons post here

I’ve got this ground pole business down now. I feel like a Queen surveying her realm when I look at a line of ground poles. Used to scare me to death to see two ground poles in a row.. but now? “What is this pathetic excuse of an exercise with just two measly ground poles? pfftt.”

So when the instructor set up a “Box” with ground poles… Ppffftt. No biggie.

She explains the exercise below. Trot in, keep turning right.

BoxPattern

I’ve got this.

I’m cocky.

I am Phillip Dutton riding a Beginner Novice event with ease!!

.

.

.

Then the instructor raised the poles.

I trotted toward the box, eyes up, position a bit shaky, but holding up okay.  As soon as the pony hopped over the first cross pole, I immediately looked down. One trot step in the middle, and Pony put the breaks on for the next cross rail.

I had a momentary “Oh Shit” type feeling, but since we really didn’t have any speed it didn’t unseat me much. Pony kindly did a slow, calm hop over the second cross rail (saving my butt).

Whew! Made it through!

At this point I have to make an immediate right turn and line back up with the box for the second line.

I was a few strides out, staring down the quickly approaching cross rail…

Utterly freaked out.

Pulled the pony off the line and circled.

I didn’t even think. I just saw the first cross rail, panicked, and immediately turned the pony.

As soon as I realized what I’d done, I realigned the pony, and we popped through the box again. Immediate right turn, and hopped the next line.

After third line, I was so giddy that I thought I was done and went back to the rail, completely forgetting I was supposed to do one more line of jumps. Ha!

I swear though, that second line, I could actually hear my anus clamp shut in fear.

……….

As a side note: This is the very first lesson I’ve ever taken where the word “twerking” was used to describe my riding position. HAHAHA!

half-ass

Yes, I am so dang good, I can twerk while jumping. jk. I don’t even know if twerk’s a word.

I’m starting to question my goal of participating in a beginner level eventing competition next fall.  Or maybe I just need to invest in some dark brown riding breaches. 😉😂

Advertisements

The Road Trip (of a life time)

To read the notes I took during the clinic, go to “Notes from the Charlotte Dujardin clinic“.

Post about how I got the tickets for the clinic: Once in a Lifetime

Although I only had one ticket for the clinic, my wonderful husband ended up going with me. Lucky for me he did!

Hubby was driving, and we had just pulled onto the off ramp when he casually says “We have no brakes”. Totally calm about it. I, of course, have 20 seconds of “What’d he just say?” followed immediately by extreme panic!

Hubby got us safely off the highway and coasted into a gas station. That man can seriously drive!  And then he was able to patch the brakes up enough to allow us to carry on with the road trip.

Yay!

The awesome handy man!

Brake fluid trail

Plugging the leak

He was coated in brake fluid afterward. Poor guy. Head to toe covered. And he broke his favorite tool. Not a good trip for the poor hubby, but boy was I glad he came!

The entire drive there and back took much longer than we anticipated. We left the house before 10am Friday. Google maps said it was less than a five hour drive to the clinic. That should’ve put us there about 3pm. Clinic rides started at 4:00.

Plenty of time…

Well, even though the brake issue took up an unexpected 30 minutes of our time, it still took us 6 hours and 42 minutes to get there. That included one short bathroom break and the brake line fix.

It was such a loooonnnnggg drive!

Since my hubby is a night owl,  we headed home right after the clinic.  He can’t sleep at night anyway.  Plus,  I was antsy to get home.

The ride home wasn’t much shorter. We ended up getting home about 4am. Left the clinic around 9:30pm.

The other funny thing that came out of that trip… I had asked the next door neighbor (who also owns horses)  if she could feed mine Friday evening while I was gone.  I set all the food next to their doors so that all she had to do was dump each bucket in to the feeders (access from outside of the stall) and kick the hay in.  Quick and easy.

However,  I knew my neighbor’s boarder was also coming. Nice guy, but he loves to get in Ava’s stall and pet her.

If I’m there,  I can usually nip Ava’s evil side in the bud before she escalates. When I’m not there, Ava can be downright evil.  I didn’t want to come home and hear about how Ava kicked him,  or bit him,  or trampled him…  (all things she’s done with other people before). So I left instructions for the neighbors not to go in Ava’s stall, at all.

The other two horses? Knock yourself out. Hang on them, lay under them… do what ever you want. Those two are saints.

Ava? Nope. Kick the hay in, slam the door. Do not go in.

So… Of course they went in anyway.

I didn’t find any dead bodies when I got home  — as if i wouldn’t have immediately implemented the “Shovel and Shut Up”  protocol if I had!

Ironically, I only knew that they’d gone in to Ava’s stall because they made sure to specifically let me know they’d gone in Ava’s stall.

Oh, and they were offended that I’d asked them not to.

tenor

 

 

Horse people are freaking NUTS! 

 

 

 

Danger Noodles and Mouse Sized Spiders

I was going to tell you about all our adventures in the last blog post, but it seemed too long. So I broke it into two posts.

I’ve been feeling a lot more confident in Joy’s ability to handle new things this year. I’ve been trying to take her out on the trails by herself more often.

We’ve finally conquered walking past the poop bog. That used to send us careening backward at full speed into ditches and trees. Now she simply gives it the stink eye while nervously walking past.

Yesterday we wandered out to the other side of the field to check out a freshly mowed path. Joy walked on a fairly loose rein the entire time. 

We were on our way back when the branch laying in the path ahead of us started slithering away. 

I’m terrible with identifying snakes. My default is avoidance whenever possible.

I halted Joy with the intent that we’d wait until the snake moved off the path.  I don’t think she even saw the snake.  Some leaf way ahead of us was beyond scary though,  and she was certain we needed to flee immediately. 

A couple of tense moments.  Snake was finally off the path.  Joy and I continued down the path and it was as if nothing had happened. 

I got back to the barn and started cleaning stalls.  I was sweeping up some loose hay in the corner when a small critter the size of a mouse scooted away and buried itself under some other hay. I figured Id shoo it out of the stall.   I moved the pile and this massive spider ran out and stopped next to the stall wall  staring at me.  

I go into attack mode! 

“No spider will allowed to live in my pony’s stall!! ”

I stabbed it with the bristols of the broom as hard as I can. 

I lift the broom,  expecting to see a wounded or dead spider,  but the dang thing had grabbed on to the bristols and was valiantly crawling his way up towards me. 

We lock eyes… 

I see I’m out matched,  so I hurl broom with spider out of the stall door and into the pasture. 

Shit. 

I needed the broom still… 
 

The case of the dastardly turkeys

Joy’s been about as well behaved as a red head with a napoleon complex can be, so I decided to ride her out to the field behind the pastures for a change of scenery.

Wouldn’t you know it, not ten feet down the path that leads to the back field and there’s a massive turkey and her brood of chicks milling about in the path.

Joy comes to a screeching halt when she see’s them. I was praying the turkey didn’t decide to go flapping her wings and scaring Joy into insanity.

We had a few tense turkey-pony stand off moments…

No one was going to make the first move, so I let out a war cry, booted Joy toward the turkey gang, and we chased them into the woods.

RAWRRR

It must’ve boosted Joy’s moral, because she seemed to relax after that.

We walked down the rest of the trail, and over to the path through the field. I wanted to try trotting Joy down the straight away that runs past the back of my pasture. It went well the first time. We trotted past our pasture and to the end of the straight away where I asked her to walk and then turn around. I didn’t want to trot “toward home” yet, so we walked back toward the pasture. As soon as we were half way past my pasture again, I asked for the trot. Joy trotted, then cantered. I freaked out a bit… then realized Joy wasn’t being out of control so we cantered the rest of the way down that stretch of path. When we reached the end, I asked her to walk. No issues. Whew!

However, after that point I only had two choices of gait: walk or canter. No trot. haha

So we cantered around for a while.

It was a BLAST!! That little pony is so much fun to ride!!

We wrapped it up after a while and headed back toward home.

We were casually strolling down one of the paths through some pine tree’s when those dastardly turkeys came out behind the tree’s with spears!

Joy sprung into action and  valiantly chased the evil turkeys off!

Yay!

Joy’s such a trooper. The crap she has to put up with, with me as her owner… hahaha

All in all, a successful, and massively fun, outing by ourselves. I was very proud of my little warrior pony.

 

Horses at home

My little princess, Ava, doesn’t enjoy summer. She is happiest squirreled into her stall with a hay net and fan.

I threw Ava outside after her dinner so she’d go be a horse for a few hours. 

She kept an ear cocked,  listening for me to come out and “save”  her. Obviously her human had made some kind of mistake and would rectify it immediately. 

I forgot my phone on the back deck.  I had to crawl across the deck on my hands and knee’s to retrieve the phone, because if Ava see’s me she runs to her paddock gate,  refuses to leave it,  and will whinny until I let her in.

Ava heard me open the back door.  She ran to her paddock gate, whinnied,  then stood there seeming confused when she couldn’t see me.

I crawled back inside…

At 9pm I snuck out to the pasture without being seen. I hollered out ‘Ava!! You can come back in now!”

Ava whips her head up, and lets out a continual bellowing whinny as she galloped up to the paddock gate. 

Today, the little monster (Ava still) decided she needed more hay, and began her systematic kicking of the stall wall to voice her displeasure.

Bam

Bam

Bam

Bam

“It’s second lunchies,  bitch” BAM!! 

.. 

I snuck out to the barn hoping to catch her in the act, but right before I get to the barn Joy lets out a big “Hey, what’cha doing?!” whinny.

D’oh. Caught.

I hid behind the wall of the barn hoping they’d both think they were mistaken and go back to what they were doing.

 They both pressed their heads hard against the bars, trying to eye ball me as I snuck looks around the corner.  

Ava’s new trick is to shove whatever itches in my face.  Shoulder itches?  Shove it into the human.  Belly?  Yup,  human can access it better from the ground.  

The cat’s have become complacent around Ava lately.  They should know better, but they are arrogant cats.  Yesterday I let Ava out and one of the cats decided to make friends with Ava.  It should’ve been one of those cutsey moments..  Instead,  Ava’s ears go back and demon monster horse lunges with teeth and hooves flying toward the cat.  The hoof missed by skant inches. Cat goes fleeing for her life.  Ava promptly turns toward me with a “Hehehe..  Did you see that cat run!”  look.  Like she expected me to get a good laugh out of it.  

Ok,  I admit,  once I knew the cat was fine,  it was kind of funny. 

Pics!! 

The old lady

Power of Defensive Pessimism

 

I’m fed up with the whole “power of positive thinking” movement!

Ode to the Power of Defensive Pessimism!

What if…

What if I fall, what if I die, what if I break a leg!

What if I feed, and it’s all wrong, what ever should I be doing?

What if I today I skipped my helmet, imagine would could happen!

What if today, with winds a howling, I chose to lunge instead?

Terrible ode.

Worst Ever!

Julie Norem, a psychology professor at Wellesley College, studies people she calls “defensive pessimists” who deal with anxiety by thinking about everything that could go wrong.

the-official-strategy-is-defensive-pessimism-always-quote-1

Her studies show that by processing the negative possibilities, defensive pessimists relieve their anxiety and work harder at their task to avoid those pitfalls. Several studies by Norem and others suggest that forcing optimism or a positive mood on an anxious defensive pessimist can actually damage performance on tasks that include math problems, anagrams and playing darts.

 

….

 

What ever…. You’ve already stopped reading.

You’re pouring yourself a glass of wine, and practicing your “positive thinking” right now, aren’t you?

Let me help you with that…

When the mind is negative, poisons are released into the blood

Really?

Poisons?

Image result for anti-science

Or this…

Think positively, expect only favorable results and situations, and circumstances will change accordingly.

9-just-hold-stomach-and-laugh-until-people-start-laughing-with-you

 

Another useful technique is the repetition of affirmation.

 

 

Or this gem..

Resolve to be cheerful, no matter what happens.

 

Or, just don’t bother with adult responsibilities at all…

Do things that make you happy! If you don’t feel like doing something, don’t do it.

 

….

 

 

 

that’s all.

 

Arena Building with No Money

Well,  the expanded arena is moving slowly.  Since we can’t afford to rent proper equipment to do this,  nor hire someone,  we’re stuck rota-tiling the entire thing and then dragging it ad nauseum until relatively smooth-ish.

Definitely going to be a “Premier Arena” when finished. 😂 

For the small area I ride on now,  we were able to break up the weeds by rota-tiling and (after massive amounts of dragging)  make the area less uneven.  Still rolly,  but no ankle twisters,  or leg breakers. It worked okay. 

We’re optimistic this will work on a large scale.

yeah, right

 

The rota-tiling was going fairly well,  but the old machine is popping seals and protesting!

Burning engine 

Luckily hubby is a small engine repair God and can make just about anything work with barely any money.  

Engine repair

He got it working again! 

The alternative is a hoe and a rack,  and I’ll be 80 before the arena is done.  *sigh*

So,  this image is “the dream” :

And this is the reality:

Looks like a God damned alien landing pad. 

Communication

I would regale you with my exciting riding adventures,  but there are none.  I’ve been rather depressed,  hot,  and stressed out. Ponies have not been ridden in nearly two weeks.  I’m starting to hate summers here as much as I hate winters…

Anyway…  I decided this week that I better put more bells and whistles on Joy if I’m going to ensure she gets a great home if I sell her.  So yesterday I decided I would teach her…  *drum roll**..

Spanish Walk.

I’ve never done this before.

Don’t worry,  I watched all of the youtube videos.  😂

Thirty minutes of trying to teach it,  and all I can get is that she’ll pick the leg up that I’ve touched,  but only to about fetlock height. Doesn’t matter what I do,  where I tap,  or what I varied,  that’s all she would offer.

I got so desperate that I tried showing her what I want.

Yeah,  didn’t work. Nothing worked.  Total failure of communication.  Back to the drawing board.

Since that obviously wasn’t working,  I decided I’d try to teach Joy to bow.

I’ve never succeeded at this before.  Tried and horribly failed with Ava. BUT,  I watched all the video’s yesterday,  so I’m,  like,  an expert,  you know.

ijer7

Anyway,  first session..  grain in hand,  lead rope in other.. . I pick up her hoof and ask her to back.

Nothing.

Ask again.  Nothing.

Work on backing without the hoof lifted.  That works fine.

Pick up hoof and ask her to back.

Nothing.

We do this over and over and over,  until she just barely will shift her weight back a little. My back was killing me,  my legs hurt from being crouched over,  sun was beating down and I was sweating profusely..

I couldn’t coordinate lead rope,  hoof,  and grain so i take her halter off…

Joy takes a step away,  drops like a stone and starts rolling vigorously.  Then she hops up and drops to the other side.  She stops long enough in her rolling to eat a small offering of grain I held up,  and then pops back to her feet.

I pick up her hoof,  ask her to back…

Nothing…

😂

We worked on that for nearly 30 minutes.  She did start shifting her weight back, finally,  but then i accidentally dropped her leg mid back-up and she decided I was no longer trustworthy, so she left.

Today, i tried again…

Picked her leg up,  asked her to shift her weight back.

She shifted back!   She only brought her knee about halfway down,  but it was progress! Yay!

I had the lead and halter on again,  and decided to take it off.  If Joy actually DID bow,  I didn’t want her to step on the lead (which I couldn’t seem to keep out of the way).

As soon as i take off the halter –  straight down and rolling.

She pops back up and shakes vigorously for a second,  then lets me pick her leg up and ask her to back again.

We never got the knee to the ground. A decent effort on her part,  but she’s not there yet.

Then Joy decided she was done and left.

Maybe tomorrow…

….

Pics

Clean barn!

Foggy morning.

Everyone gets a cape when a new bag of shavings is opened!

 

Indian Summer

We had a brief glimpse of what spring may look like.  It was fantastic. I was running around in a t-shirt! I was marvelous! The sun even came out for the day.

The following day was the dreariest day in history.  Fog all day, and the worst chill. Blah!

dreariest day ever

All day with that fog.

We’ve had three days of sunshine in 2017.

Three!!

Screaming