Thursday, March 15, 2018

Yes Ma'am

The weather behaved long enough for me to haul for my lesson this past weekend.  I was so impressed with Stinker.  He has had a long history of not accepting legs and not agreeing with suggestions to move his body parts around.

I have steadily been working on this and while there is still much room for improvement he is getting so much more maneuverable.  We have been really focusing on getting him to stretch down and me to ride properly.  Aka get my right hip out of his back.  He really really really appreciates that.

Plz get hip out of back.  K Thanks

We were able to do shoulder in and haunches in both directions at the trot.  I don't think the angle was steep enough for a test, but all the mechanics were correct and I could really feel him lifting and accessing his back.

The part that surprised me the most was in the canter.  To the left he was great, but to the right we have been struggling.  And by we I mean I am screwing up and making things hard for him.  I got my butt in the right place which allowed him to pick up the correct lead (funny how that works), but my right hip was still sinking back too much.  Trainer told me to think haunches in (mostly to get me to fix myself), which I did and he immediately shifted his haunches inward.

I could tell it was hard for him, but he tried and he did it.  Plus the canter felt better than it has been feeling.  Post EPM he was super weak and everything was four beat, as he has gotten stronger that has been going away, but when he gets nervous or frazzled it comes back.  So just about every time we canter there are portions that feel four beat.  This was the first time it felt like a solid canter the entire time.

So of course he got shoveled full of cookies while trainer and I told him how wonderful he was.  And he thought it was the best thing ever because he is a total ham.  But he totally deserved it.

Friday, March 9, 2018

Who Is This?

Yesterday I was able to sneak in my first ride in over 2.5 weeks.  It was cool and windy (~20 mph) and the horses haven't been as active since everything is drifted over or sloppy wet, so I was expecting Stinker to be a firecracker.

Never a trouble maker

He wasn't even close.  He was actually really really good.  My original plan was to just walk and get him stretching.  That was accomplished in about two minutes.  So I started working on my position and moving his shoulders and haunches in and out.  He kept feeling like he wanted to trot, so I said go ahead, but you can't invert and brace.

He said yes ma'am and proceeded to give me one of his better transitions.  I wouldn't go so far as to say it was a good transition, but with him everything is relative and I was more than happy to get it.  Going to the right he was a little tense and inverted until I remembered to get my hip out of his back. Then he gave a sigh of relief (or fine it was a sneeze) and gave me some of his better trot work.

Everything felt really balanced and rideable.  He never locked up and tried to plow through my aids.  I honestly wasn't really sure what to do since all the things I am normally trying to manage weren't happening.  Fingers crossed that the weather will behave and I will get my lesson on Saturday, so I can get told all the things I need to work on instead of basking in the "OMG my horse is trotting like a horse" moment.

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Time Flies: 3 Years In GIFs

I have officially been riding the little Stinker for three years now.  I can't believe he is about to turn nine.  That might have something to do with the fact that he still acts like a three year old.  If it can fit in his mouth it goes in.  If it shouldn't be messed with it will be.  If you set down the manure fork and turn your back it will be moved within seconds.

So what changes have happened over the years?

March 2015:

April 2016:

April 2017:

February 2018:

The filming and the outfits have definitely gotten better over time.  He is also getting more relaxed and stronger, but there is still a long ways to go.

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Running Away

There is a reason I ran away to the south for twelve years is I got really really really sick of snow.  Mother nature decided to give us winter all at once.

We got 10 inches of snow.  I haven't ridden my horse in over two weeks between work and the weather.  I am a giant sulky baby at the moment.

The horses seem to be enjoying themselves, although Stinker seems put out at the lack of attention.  I guess he likes work because the longer his break is the grumpier he gets.

Thursday, February 22, 2018


Stinker has taught me many things, probably more than I have taught him if we are being honest.  That might be because I am interested in learning and progressing where as his are "cookie?" and "WHAT'S THAT????" Either way I have learned so much from him and the mistakes I have made along the way.  Most of them were made out of ignorance and not me willfully ignoring things and I have done my best to rectify them (and probably made new ones I don't know about yet).

First trail ride

First up, I had a first hand experience of how important saddle fit is.  He literally would not walk until I got that fixed.  Of course since then I have also discovered there were a lot of other physical issues that probably lowered his tolerance for a poor fitting saddle.  Either way he has made a believer out of me about the importance of a well fitting saddle.  And honestly I think I will end up saving money over time by coughing up the dough initially.  I am on my second saddle and if it weren't so adjustable I would be on my fourth at least.  I love tack shopping, but saddle shopping sucks and selling saddles is even worse.

Latest trail ride

Next up draw reins.  I have mixed feelings about them, because on one side I know they saved my butt when *someone* decided to bolt off into the sunset.  On the other side I also know that they caused a lot of tension and connection issues that took well over a year to fix.  The reality was, I did not have the proper tools initially to deal with his anxiousness and bolting (again a lot of pain issues at the root of things).  But luckily they are a thing of the past and I have the proper tools now.  Unfortunately, Stinker was the one that paid the price on that.

The things he tolerates now

I feel guilty that it took me so long to get all of his physical issues addressed, but at the same time I don't know how they could have been addressed more quickly.  Post EPM it was a steady stream of vet visits trying to address the various areas where he was weak and hurting.  I honestly don't feel like I got everything fully addressed for almost two years the initial diagnosis.  Which that is a lot of time to spend with various parts of your body hurting.  I wasn't ignoring the issues, but it was very difficult to sort out what was training and what was physical with him.  The plus side is he has been thriving of late and looks and feels the best he ever has.

Current Stinker vs Baby Stinker

There are other minor hiccups that have happened along the way, but those are the ones I wish I could have a redo on and feel bad that it took me so long to figure out the lessons.  He has taught me how to listen, pay attention to the little details.  Most of his ouch it hurts behaviors could be taken as training issues, but more force does not resolve a pain response.  Stinker is a difficult and challenging horse, but he is also super fun and hopefully we can keep learning together without anymore massive mistakes.

Tuesday, February 20, 2018


I got another lesson this weekend and originally I was going to stick my camera on the mounting block and just let it roll, but my battery wasn't charged enough to last the whole lesson.  I was rather bummed because I wanted new media.  It turned out that it wasn't all bad, because trainer picked up the camera and took a few short videos during my lesson.

His walk has improved so much

We were working on the same things we have been: consistency, reaching for the bit, my right hip, and my upper body.  The consistency is improving, but still has a long ways to go.  The reaching for the bit is a similar situation.  It is getting there, but there is lots of room for improvement.

The most surprising part is the news flash that he goes better when I get my shit together and ride correctly.  It is amazing how much easier it is for him when I get my right hip out of his back a quit shoving his haunches fifty miles to the left.  Funny how that also fixed our whole can't pick up the right lead problem.


Two month ago

I was actually quite pleased with my upper body progress.  I got in the habit of pitching forward (probably to counter balance when he dropped his back and all of a sudden I would feel like I was sliding off the back).  But now that he is lifting more things are more level and I am not struggling with my balance.  Now I just need to remember to look up.

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Need A Little Help From My Friends: Equisense

Bloggerland I need a little help.  I am starting a project and would love to get more people involved.  I got an equisense towards the end of last year and my biggest complaint is I can't compare my data to other horses.  So, if you have an equisense (blogger or non blogger doesn't matter to the data ho) and would like to share your data with me please email me at at gmail

Blue and purple is where it is at

I would also greatly appreciate people helping to spread the word.  I am trying to make it as easy as possible for the people helping me.  All I need are screenshots of all the data and I will do all the analyzing and see what shakes out.  I am hoping for five rides per horse, but I will take what I can get.

Stinker says "save me from the crazy lady"

Stinker's data is all over the place because he is still quite inconsistent in the grand scheme of things.  He has made massive strides for him, but I think compared to the average horse he will be all over the place.  Also I think it would be interesting to see how green vs well trained, lower levels vs higher levels, and the various disciplines will compare.

Snow Stinker says "Bloggers are the best"

So please please please help a data ho out and spread the word.  I know that there have been quite a few posts popping up about the equisenses and a handful of bloggers have already stepped up to the plate and agreed to participate.