Friday, July 31, 2015

Leg Leg and More Leg

I didn't realize how spoiled I was jumping Charlie. Most of my lessons on him have been getting him to stay in an easy rhythm and not hauling ass around. His idea of a good lesson would be for me to just get out of the way and let him pick the direction and speed. I'm pretty sure if he talked he would say, "Cross-rails are bull shit. You hang on and I'll find something fun to jump. And for the love of God get out of my way I've got this." Anyway, I have a clinic this weekend and Pongo pulled not just one but both of his shoes. Face palm... He may or may not be sound when he gets them back on (fingers crossed), so I've been looking for a back up horse.

Enter Blue who is an adorable Percheron/Quarter Horse cross. He is owned by the sweetest lady in the world and she is letting me borrow him if Pongo isn't sound. Since I'm not a total idiot, I borrowed him yesterday so I could get a ride in on him before the clinic. I don't want to make an ass out of myself by climbing on a horse I've never ridden in front of a clinician. I'm totally cool with doing that on the flat, but jumping I'm very unsure about everything really. Thankfully I realized this.

We started off a hot mess. I had been warned I needed A LOT of leg. Sadly I did not get the concept of what is a lot of leg. Charlie requires zero encouragement and Pongo just needed a touch of support to keep him straight. Blue and I plowed our first jump. I didn't have any problem sticking with him but I was so ashamed. This very kind lady is loaning me her pony and I'm sucking at riding. So I decided to get my big girl panties on and get over this jump. Keep in mind another girl who does jumpers has jumped him over three feet and I'm plowing a cross rail that is sbout 20"...

So I get my leg on line him up to the jump and....jump it from a stop. Not just once but two or three times. I'm getting pissed at this point. Not at Blue, it's not his fault I'm riding like shit. I'm packing a crop but I can't get my coordination together enough to use it. I did make one attempt and forgot it wasn't a dressage whip and popped myself. Honestly I was the one that needed it anyway.

Finally I just gritted my teeth and was like we are jumping this from a canter come hell or high water and we did. I am sure it was ugly and I shouldn't be as proud as I was but after that we did much better. We even jumped a couple in a row. Although I did cowboy kick between the jumps because I can't remember to use that mother trucking crop except on myself.

On a side note I'm doing cross country this weekend on with Pongo or Blue and guess who has never done cross country before. Yep that would be me and it's in a clinic. Here is to not making an ass out of myself and S. I'm terrified I will embarrass her. Not so much me, I honestly don't care if I make a fool out of myself. It's a learning experience but I really don't want to make a poor showing for S's sake.

Trail Riding Fail

As part of Stinkers rebuilding process I thought it would be a good idea to pony him on a trail ride. A very kind boarder with a very steady horse said I could borrow her horse, Blue. I decided to go on the weekend when I had more time in case things didn't go as planned.

Blue says, "WHHHYYYY????"

I arrived at the barn a little later than planned and it was getting warm (by warm I mean freaking hot) already. But I figured since we were just walking it would be fine. I was into the barn and see a horse disappearing into the hay room. It was the resident escape artist. I put him back in his stall and realize Stinker's stall is open. I promptly think great he has learned to open his stall or the other one let him out. Then I realize I don't see him in the barn. I double check the hay room and he wasn't there. The front of the barn was closed and the back has the bar up. It's a solid three feet and I don't think Stinker can jump it with his weak hind end. I am trying not to panic and call the barn owner/manager 

Our conversation goes something like this.
Hi, do you know who fed this morning? I can't find stinker and Wyatt was out too
He isn't in his stall?
Nope. And the front of the barn was closed and the bar is up at the back.
*silence* my anxiety is rising
Well let me get my shoes on I think LR fed this morning.

I hang up the phone and proceed to call LR and leave an awkward voice mail in which I'm pretty sure my voice kept going higher through out the entire thing. 

I decide to go check out back since that is the most logical place. Sure enough I find Stinker looking perky as heck and hanging with the horses from next door that crawl through the fence. I halter him and lead him up to the barn. His girlfriend follows and he takes offense and squeals and kicks. He catches her up high on the inside of her front leg. It promptly starts bleeding and dripping down her leg.

I start swearing, get Stinker in his stall and go back out to check on her. It isn't a bad cut but it's bleeding everywhere. So I text LR and BO to let them know I found Stinker. Decide I need to do something with the leg. I don't even know if this mare is halter broke. I do know she isn't used by her owner. I decided to give it a shot. I hose her leg and get the cut to clot and put some ointment on it.

I have gotten a text from LR saying she couldn't get Stinker in this morning and just left him out. I'm rather pissed about this because he needs to be fed since I'm trying to get weight back on him. So I fix up another breakfast for him (Wyatt ate his other one). I manage to get my bitchiness under control before LR gets back. Overall I understand that my horse can be a pain. His nickname is Stinker, so I get it. But at the same time I pay full board and help out around the barn. I don't ask for a discount, but I do expect my horse to be taken care of and that includes bringing him in the morning even when he is being an idiot. To me it is unacceptable to leave a horse that needs his breakfast out just because he is running around. Maybe I am being unfair but I feel like it is bull that she couldn't approach my horse. If you are racing around on the golf cart yes he will run like an idiot. But on foot he is always approachable. Rant over.

BO says he will fix the fence and I say I will help. While he bush hogs I decide I'm going on this trail ride. I get Blue tacked up no problem, get Stinker, and get on. Make it down the driveway to go to the back pasture where all the trails are. And the gate is closed. Fanfreakingtastic now I have to juggle Stinker who has become quite wound up, but I have to figure out a way to get back on...

I muddle my way through the process and finally get both horses pointed in the correct direction. Well Stinker walks about twice as fast as Blue and is throwing his shoulder into Blue causing us to have some drifting problems. I decide it will be easier to get onto a narrow path where Stinker will be forced to stay back.

Major flaw with this plan. Stinker quickly becomes bored and starts trying to nip Blue in the flank. Blue deserves a medal because he squeals and waves a foot. He never struck out at my idiot. Second flaw is there are spiders and webs every where! Big spiders and strong webs.

Normally I carry a whip and use it to clear the webs but I didn't bring it. I'm so busy juggling my idiot and attempting to steer that I can't even duck half of the webs. It's late enough in the morning that the light and lack of dew make them hard to see. I spend most of the ride catching webs with my face and praying that I don't get a spider on me. Mostly I'm able to steer Blue to where the spiders are on the other side of the trail.

The final spider count was two on Stinkers face and one on me. There may have been more but that is all I knocked off. Blue was done with me and trying to turn around (it was a loop otherwise I would have agreed with him). I was done with everything and Stinker just wanted to go. On the way back the horses that live in that pasture decided to come check us out. One walked up behind Stinker. He squealed and kicked. It left a print but I didn't see blood. I'm going to have to do something about this kicking but I don't know what.

We ended up trotting and some canter (not asked for but I couldn't get my shit together enough to break it so I just rolled with it) back to the gate. We made it out of the pasture and back to the barn.

Stinker says, "Who me??"

Clinic with D

Can I just say OMG and squeal like a little girl?  I had forgotten how great lessons with D are.  Things did not go as planned, but over all the weekend was awesome.  I had three lessons and I had to work my ass off.  My legs are like jello right now and I love it.

One of the biggest take aways from the weekend is I seem to have a problem with forgetting that I do know how to ride.  I know that I can ride, but when I start focusing on dressage I seem to forget that I know what I am doing.  D yelled at me and forced me to think and really ask for what I want.  I get the horse about half way there and then start doubting myself and I say, "This is enough." In reality I need to be saying you can give me more. Here is your happy place let's work within these parameters.

My first lesson, I rode Pongo. He struggles with bending to the left. Just like another little stinker I know. Pongo is really good for me because it is the same issues and aids but at a slower pace. Stinker tries to run out of all my aids and I get discombobulated. Things are slower with Pongo, so I can get everything established then the faster pace won't mess me up as easily. By the end, we were both drenched but the difference in Pongo was amazing. There is video below but please excuse the length and videoing skills. I still haven't figured out how to edit my videos. Damn work keeps getting in the way.

Day two. I go to get Pongo and he has pulled a shoe. He was so lame he was gimping at the walk. I was so disappointed. D was finally here and I have two broken ponies. Luckily S said I could borrow Rocky. He belongs to one of the teenage girls and she was at the beach. I told S to make sure the owner was ok with borrowing Rocky and S said ok I will text her.

Rocky is another TB for sure and possibly an OTTB. He came from the hunter/jumper world. I had never ridden him before and holy cow he made me work. He was determined not to give and it took everything I had to get him suppled, but again D got us to a really nice place. There is more video. I recommend jumping around to see the changes.

I checked with S and was told it was fine to borrow Rocky again for a third lesson Monday. It was similar but much easier than Sunday. Overall, he is an awesome little horse and I have no idea how his owner rides him. She is an absolute twig, but they make an adorable pair.

Overall the weekend was a huge success. The other riders that ride with D loved their lessons (even if there was a bet going around that one of the girls was going to puke). And I got a huge boost in my confidence. D is great because she busts your butt, breaks your issues down, and builds your confidence all in one session. I just wish I had access to her on a more regular basis.

Sweaty Tired Rocky

Monday, July 27, 2015

I Rode Stinker!!!!

It has been two months since the last time I rode him. Close to three months since he has been in regular work. I have missed my pony. I was quite pleased with him. We only worked for about 10 minutes, but I got him to bend both ways and not trot like a saddlebred. I realize he is a saddlebred but I freaking hate the head up, hollow back, front legs popping a mile off the ground trot. When he lifts his back, drops his head, and trots in a normal rhythm it is like floating on a cloud.

I have several half posts to finish up, but quite frankly blogging when your pony is broken sucks. Hopefully mine isn't broken in the morning.

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Weekend Preview

I am so excited I can't stand myself.  D gets into town tomorrow!!! I can't wait for a dressage bootcamp.  I realize this is suppose to be an eventing blog, but I love dressage.  I can't help it.  It appeals to my perfectionist, OCD, and neurotic tendencies.  I just wish I could ride the little Stinker.

Honestly, I haven't gotten a chance to look at him yet.  I was out of town for a couple of days and I didn't manage to get time to check him today.  S was going to lunge him for me and let me know how he looks.  The vet is also coming tomorrow for another check up.  I am going to check on Stinker in the morning and hopefully things are good.

In Pongo news, he is still doing really well.  I had a lesson on him today and he was a little sluggish.  I think it was a combination of the heat and he got wormed yesterday and was a little runny behind.  Anyway, I think we are making good progress and he will get tomorrow off.  We will probably have our first jump lesson together next week, which makes me excited.  The clinic I want to ride him in is at the beginning of August and I don't want to embarrass S with my crappy floppy riding.

In the meantime, I can't wait for more of this...

First ride ever on Stinker

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Sad Panda

I think I was overly hopeful about being able to ride Stinker for D.  He still has some lingering lameness.  All I can tell is it is associated with his left hind.  Beyond that I am worthless.  The vet will be back out next week.  I hate how long this is dragging on.  It has been a month and half since I stopped working him.  I am doing ground work with him.  It is all at the walk (unless he volunteers the trot), because he looks fine at the walk.  The poor little guy is so bored.  He will periodically stop and look at me like, "Seriously, how long do I have to walk?  This is stupid."  While I agree with him, I don't know what else to do with him.

On a happy note, Pongo has been making really good progress.  I had to lessons with S on him and at the start of the second one he actually felt like a supple horse.  He is really starting to understand the concept of inside leg to outside rein.  Which I am very please about...It took me far longer to understand the concept and even longer to actually develop the feeling for what you are searching for.  I am glad that I have the opportunity to ride Pongo while Stinker is out.  I would be completely nuts if I didn't have something to ride and all my time was devoted to obsessing.  I finally took some pictures of Pongo.  They are pretty terrible, but he likes to be in your pocket which makes things difficult.

Pongo has lost his stall and is very sad about being outside 24/7.