This year took a rough turn in July, which is why I have not been blogging. Everything I have to say comes back to those events and I am not ready to have everything public. The blog is not dead, and I will be back at some point. I am very thankful for the wonderful people and animals I have in my life.
The new barn has been amazing. Karma had a colic scare, but she is doing really well. I frequently pinch myself just to make sure that she isn't a dream. I am not sure how I managed to find such an amazing horse and she always steps up to the plate no matter what I ask.
Bob is a bright weirdo that brings me joy daily. Even if I do call him my little psychopath. He is always able to drag me out of the gloom and puts a smile on my face. I hope everyone has a wonderful holiday and gets to spend time with the special people and animals in their lives.
I have moved quite a few times as an adult and this last move was by far the hardest. It was the first time that I wasn't really excited for the move, because I didn't want to move. Downside of being over educated is the limits in the job market. Then add in the pandemic and not having a horse community and it was a recipe for struggling.
Bob is like me and thinks summer is too hot
Things improved once I got the trailer and started doing virtual lessons, but as time wore on I was still feeling discontent. I knew I wasn't riding as well as I could, but I didn't really know how to fix it. Despite not being the most social person, I was determined to start trying to make connections in the dressage community. While scribing isn't the best position to meet people, I was lucky to connect with the one judge.
The outdoor ring
I have had four lesson with her and she has given me the boost I needed to get out of the sludgy plateau I had felt mired in. Like most things with dressage, it isn't anything revolutionary but it was the kick I needed. It is also extremely refreshing riding with someone that doesn't know the Stinker baggage (I may dig into this in a future post) but she also didn't see very green Karma. So its fresh eyes evaluating us right where we are at.
He is the cutest and I think Bob pictures are better than no pictures
I am sure we will hit other rough patches, but for now I am greatly enjoying the jump we've had in progress. And maybe I will get actual media and do a comparison over time, because Karma has come so far and I am very proud of her. She has been a major bright spot in the last couple of years.
After my impulse lesson, I impulsively asked if there were any open stalls and the cost. Quick mental math made me realize that if I moved, the cost of not hauling in for lessons would make up the board difference fairly easily. So I am officially in a dressage barn for the first time ever.
Happily hanging out in her stall
Karma made the move quite easily. I adore how adaptable she is. Her requirements are "Am I fed?" and "Can I see horses?" if those are met she is just fine. I feel bad because we have bounced around a bit, but I think this place is going to stick (unless I get a wild hair and move again).
More Bob pictures because I don't have Karma pictures
It is a nice small place. There are 8 or so horses on the property. The indoor is the size of a small dressage court and the outdoor is a large dressage court. There are letters in both and a booth with flowers at the letters in the outdoor. The BO has great attention to detail and communicates well.
I had no idea what was planted in my yard so I get pretty surprises
So now I am getting regular in person lessons, my virtual lessons, and I have two more trips planned to virtual trainer this year. All the lessons, but I desperately need them. So much of my time with Stinker was spent addressing managing him/his brain/his reactions that I developed some terrible habits. Then starting Karma without guidance let me solidify them. The great thing about her is while she tattles on me, all reactions are within a normal range and so we can just carry on while I figure out how to get my body to cooperate.
This picture of his psycho-ness makes me laugh
I was toying with the idea of doing a schooling show this fall, but I think I am going to keep my focus on getting myself in a better place and not immediately slumping back into bad habits. I think it will set Karma up for success. And honestly I am not too worried about her, I have more concerns about myself at shows vs Karma.
I scribed for a schooling show a couple of weekends ago and due to some last minute changes I ended up scribing for a semi local judge. After sitting with her all day (and only seeing intro and training level tests) I finally realized what farm she went with. After some googling on breaks, I realized that the farm was a very reasonable distance. I didn't want to be weird and pester her at the show, so I waited until the following Monday and messaged her asking if I could haul in for a lesson.
Bob pictures because I am a terrible blogger and don't have media
We set it up for last Sunday, so I popped Karma on the trailer and drove on over. The farm is lovely and the outdoor is complete with flower boxes at the letters and a judge stand. It has been a really long time since I rode in a fully set up dressage ring. I think virtual trainer's ring is slightly bigger than regulation (I have not asked or measured it, but it always feels big). Anyway, I managed to get tacked up and hadn't forgotten anything. Everything was pretty disorganized because I hadn't really unpacked or reorganized things after the long trip.
I had to have a bunch of electrical work done so Bob and I hung out on the screened in porch and worked
The judge loved Karma, I mean everyone loves Karma because she is adorable but it is still nice to hear. It is also nice to hear that we are progressing nicely and that I have done a decent job with Karma's training. While, she has a slightly different style of teaching from Virtual Trainer, the message was the same. And some of the things clicked better in my head. Mostly we worked on getting and maintaining connection. The two biggest take aways were getting the feeling into my triceps and getting my hamstrings to fire.
Bob was very interested when the guys were working in the kitchen
It was a really good lesson and I am looking forward to getting more, because I think having more regular in person lessons will compliment the virtual lessons really well. She also said if I cleaned up the transitions, we could do a lovely training level test. I tentatively put an August schooling show in my calendar. Even if showing in August sounds absolutely awful.
This spring I have really been struggling with my motivation. It has been a bunch of little things, but I have really been dragging my feet about going out to the barn and then I feel guilty and so on and so forth. Thankfully, before I really started losing my motivation I scheduled a trip down to my trainer's place for this past weekend.
So bright and early on Friday Karma and I headed out. The drive isn't terrible it is about 4.5 hours and it didn't rain nearly as much as I anticipated. We arrived a couple of hours before my first lesson, so she had time to eat and drink and settle in before I rode. I was really pleased with how well she travels. She ate all of her hay in her hay bag on the trailer, unloaded drank, and immediately started eating.
Mirror selfie from the first ride
Our first ride was a lot of fiddling to see where things were at. We played with some bits. The last time I was down there she was locking her neck so we swapped her to a bit that helped me unlock her. Now she is curling and hiding behind the contact, so we were looking for something that she wanted to go into without me losing all communication.
She got breakfast at the trailer because I was feeding earlier than the rest of horses and I felt bad taunting them
Our second ride was more playing with bits and really working on getting her steady. Sometimes I swear she manages to have every leg going in a different direction. Getting her packaged and straight is a challenge, but that is pretty standard baby horse problems. You get a 2x4 or going in 20 different directions.
Screenshot from the video of the third ride
The third ride we finally managed to get things dialed in (my riding included). Once my trainer got me riding correctly, I swear Karma went oh thank god and she settled right into a nice steady contact. It is amazing what she is like when she has a steady place to go. One of these days I will be able to keep more than three riding instructions in my brain at a time.
30 second trot video (pivo struggles in the ring)
I am so proud of how well Karma did. She handled being stalled for 48 hours really well despite not having been in a stall since our last trip last fall. She really stepped up to the plate work wise. I really adore how solid and willing she is. And now I am feeling much more motivated.
I am way behind this month. It hasn't been tediously boring on the Karma front, but at the same time it also wasn't ground breaking omg must blog now work either. I have started riding her and while there have been some hiccups along the way she is coming along.
Karma enjoys being a crusty muffin during mud season
Her favorite way of going is what I call her cart horse trot. She leans her chest forward, lets her hinds kind of trail along behind, and I'm left floundering because I can't feel anything. So alot of the focus has been getting her balance rocked back where she is powering from behind and not just pulling from the front.
My little psychopath is enjoying the nicer days
The other tricky thing has been contact. I have a long history of chucking contact away and she has me very well trained in that area. The combination of us is a bit of a struggle, but when I trust my trainer (I do but some times my brain lies about what is happening) Karma looks great. And no there is no media because she looks feral and I look homeless 90% of the time. Maybe I will actually put an outfit together once she sheds out and everything isn't mud anymore and get updated riding video.
I know this is supposed to be a horse blog, but I seem to only take pictures of Bo
It is kind of funny, our best lessons tends to be when I don't focus on my "homework" and spend the week mostly working on her posture. I haven't blogged about the posture things, because I haven't fully wrapped my brain around it. I might get around to it, I might not, because it sounds so kooky. But it is working so I will roll with it.
I totally lost track of time and I don't know what happened to March. It's been a pretty quiet month. Karma and I are plugging along. There isn't a whole lot to write about, but we are adding a bit of riding back in. She's looking much stronger and more mature. I am so over the midwest winter and desperately want to get back to the outdoor. We are in the wonderful mud season and the tease of good weather.
Very redneck set up. Karma is fussy with her mouth so I am riding off the flat halter and she just carries the bit
Last weekend it snowed and I couldn't summon the energy to go out to the barn. It was cold and gross. Currently it can't decide if it wants to rain or snow which just results in me being cranky and sulky. Bob demands his walks so while I whine he at least gets me out of the house.
Why can't we go walk?
I am super excited for better weather and hopefully some time on the trails, which always improves my mood. I spent half the winter with the truck in the shop. I ended up having to replace the turbo, which wasn't an uncommon problem. At least everything is in good working order now and I have found a decent diesel mechanic. I am hoping to make a few trips to trainers this summer. Currently only set to three because I was worried about diesel prices and how much wiggle room I have in my budget.