Due Any Day Now!

After spending an hour scraping off a massive pile of hair, detangling dreadlocks, and washing and Keratexing muddy feet, I thought I would take a majestic photo of Tyco in the evening sunlight filtering in through the barn windows. Romantic, no? I thought so…until I saw the photos:

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I mean, not to be too hypocritical, but dude….when are you due?

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Tuesdays are busy at the barn so we went to ride in the outdoor arena. It was a little windy but a pleasant night so I figured we would be okay. The dressage trainer was in the outdoor too, schooling a young gelding who can get a little goofy in the outdoor so we figured we’d keep each other safe buddy system style. The young gelding was a champ, meanwhile the sassy old man I’m on decides he is athletic enough to spook and then buck after our first canter. Must be the hormones…

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The dressage trainer was surprised he had it in him, I was just happy I stayed aboard. He was super keyed up afterwards and never really regained his composure though we certainly did not end on that note. So there was my first rocky ride on the little gray nugget, conveniently right on the heels of our previous magical ride. What can ya do? Horses- they’re humbling. The dude just needs some consistent work and things will be right as rain.

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                              Muahahaha I iz secretly spicy! Now, moar studmuffins… I has a craving.

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Happy Lesson Day to me!! Happy rides to you too!

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swl

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WAAAAAHMBULANCE

To summarize my ride on Sunny over the weekend I have prepared a series of GIFs for your enjoyment. Can someone please tell me what it is that I am doing so wrong?! No, never mind, it’s not even worth it. I should just probably stop riding in general for the benefit of equines everywhere.

Here, we are “warming up trotting” after lunging and a walking warm-up:

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When told to continue trotting after that mini-tantrum, I finally got more effort…just not in the way I wanted:

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After being circled for bucking:

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He also doesn’t like cantering:

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Here is the rarely caught on camera “Sunny stomp” his patented evasion move is to go super behind the bit and stomp/hyperextend with his right front while trotting. It is a little hard to see but it feels really weird:

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Is he sore? Broken? An asshole? Totally normal so stop being a baby about it? I don’t really know.

You more advanced riders deal with this stuff like it’s no big deal. How do you fix this behavior? I have just been riding it out and hoping that I am not hurting him or causing any irreparable damage. I come from exclusively riding school masters and well-mannered, good-natured, forgiving horses who rarely to NEVER pull this shit, so it really makes me feel like I shouldn’t be doing this.

I guess I should be pleased that I actually did get more than a few non-fussy walk-trot transitions in a row (an issue Sunny and I have discussed on more than one occasion). But in general, he was braced, hollow, draggy, uncomfortable, and obstinate for the majority of the ride.

At this point, about the only thing that makes me happy about this whole situation is that I’m not paying anything to ride him and it is going to be over soon.

Awww yeah!!!! cue the world’s smallest violin,

playing the world’s saddest song just for me! 

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I apologize.

Thanks for listening.

ugh….just go cuddle all those truly good ponies out there and give yourself a nice little pat on the back for not ending up this pathetic.

swl

Because We Broke 30 Degrees!

Yesterday I was finally able to get in a ride on Sunny since the temps have been atrocious for the past week. My lesson last Wednesday was cancelled and I have been mostly hibernating.

I think yesterday may have been the first day in a while that the horses were actually turned out. I came over my work lunch hour(s) last week to help muck stalls since everyone was stuck inside with the miserable weather. I commented to another volunteer “see that gelding with the blue blanket annoying everyone and making everyone run around the arena? Yeah, that’s Sunny.”

When I came out to ride yesterday I wasn’t taking any chances so when I brought him in from the field I turned him straight out in the arena and free lunged him until he looked like he had more or less located his brain.

Look what my loving mother who ordinarily does NOT prefer to buy me equestrian gifts bestowed upon me for Christmas!!!

Who you calling chubby?!

Who you calling chubby?!

Unfazed by how spiffy he looks in my new saddle pad, Sunny was mostly ahem… cloudy, for the entirety of our ride.

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We had some nice moments of walk, trot, and canter.

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This was how we felt about walk-trot transitions.

All about that bass.

All about that bass.

This was our general opinion of cantering.

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Mostly we just did rapid hip twists and violent leg stretches, which I guess COULD be considered exercise.

If one or more of your legs is here, then you are not helping...

If one, or more, of your legs is here, then you are not helping…

I tried out some two-point, which Sunny seemed to actually like quite a bit. (Subtext: EquiNovice please get your potato sack butt OFF of my back! Love, Sunny) But, my god! was that freaking hard! Good thing I didn’t actually participate in 2-pointober because I think I managed 3 laps and had to call it a day because my left ankle was starting to give away all of it’s personal belongings and threatening to jump ship.

Is this two-point? EquiNovice doesn't even really know.

Is this two-point? EquiNovice doesn’t even really know.

Then we did this:

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And then we did this:

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Which culminated into this:

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Then I put him back out to annoy his buddies.

Hopefully I can get a lesson in this week and maybe a make-up lesson next Saturday too!

swl

Sunny the Bipolar Dragon

Coin Flip

 

I had a brilliant ride on Sunny last week with very minimal fussing and only one mini buck. He relaxed a little (still awfully tense); begrudgingly bent his body (after the thousandth circle); and even cantered both directions (pinned ears are for streamlining, right?).

Last night I had a more spicy dragon and took many rides on the merry-go-round as we hopped around the arena. He did some decent trot work for me but I’m pretty sure our canter was not cantering but rather sequential crow-hopping which, actually, felt a lot like cantering to ride. I know sometimes I make him sound like a dangerous jerk but he’s not. Spoiled rotten and work sour is probably more accurate. He rarely bucks to remove me from the saddle, mostly just stating his opinion-and he has MANY opinions.

I got off to tighten my girth once in the beginning of our ride and decided I wanted to see if I could still mount from the ground. HAHAHAHA sorry you need the chiropractor now, Sunny. But for the record, I made it. Don’t worry, I’ll not be doing THAT again unless I have to- wouldn’t want anyone calling Animal Welfare on me (trust me, you would if you’d seen it).

Then after some more work I decided that some no stirrup riding would be fun. Sunny is like the easiest horse to ride bareback or no stirrups- his trot is super smooth. He also hates it though, so there was much mini-bucking which is extra fun to sit with no stirrups. Luckily he gives a lot of warning and doesn’t lose his mind over it.

I’ll flip the coin a couple more times this week and hopefully get some decent rides in. He’s sound-so that counts for something!

swl

 

What the buck!?

I had a rodeo dressage lesson on Sunday. What is rodeo dressage you ask? It’s when your dressage instructor spends the majority of your lesson rapidly feeding you tips on how to disengage the hind end of the bronco you are riding up, down, and around the arena. It was a special Sunny Sunday treat that I’m not quite sure what I did to deserve. I lunged him before my lesson and he wasn’t super squirrelly just did his normal “see what buttons I can push” routine where he’ll be trotting along and then he’ll look at me and kind of pin his ears and threaten to come in on the circle or switch directions. When this happens I make a correction noise and keep him moving forward but I have to watch him like a hawk because he is constantly testing the waters.

The ride was going fine to start, we were both warmed up and my instructor had us work on an exercise to help with our rhythm and relaxation since Sunny starts out stiff but then sometimes remains tense after he works the stiffness out. We leveled out our trot and he started seeking contact with the bit a little more. We did some spiraling circles in both directions and everything was going fine. Not amazing, but fine. We did some leg yielding towards the rail and then after a few more balanced long walls we added a canter transition after the leg yield. Sunny wasn’t thrilled but he picked up a decent left canter. We came back to the trot for a lap and then switched directions. This was about the time Sunny decided he didn’t want to participate in the dressage lesson anymore. We were tracking right on the rail and I hadn’t asked him to do anything yet but I suppose he anticipated we were going to be asking him to leg yield and then later canter in this direction so he started to do his patented stomp while trotting routine. I squeezed him briefly with my legs and told him to “quit”. He promptly responded by bucking twice. I wasn’t super prepared for it and lost my right stirrup. I slowed him just to pick my stirrup back up and then asked him to trot-on. He bucked again and this time at the request of my instructor I pulled him in a fairly small circle so he couldn’t buck anymore. After a handful of revolutions on the angry merry-go-round I let him continue trotting on the rail. He pinned his ears and humped his back again so we did some more circles. And then some more circles, and then we did a few more circles. Each time he pinned his ears and tried to lower his head we circled. And that was the rest of our dressage lesson. 

 

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swl