All the Pretty Horses

I have been riding lately although now that I know there isn’t really a lease on the table anymore, they feel more like pick-up rides. But that’s not so bad. I still enjoy being at the barn and taking care of the horses so much that I’d rather it be this way than no riding at all.

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After receiving another cryptic message from Tyco’s owner ultimately resulting in her saying she would be gone the next 10 days and I should ride whenever I wanted, I got on the books for a short lesson last Saturday. The mud was knee deep and unfortunately the indoor was also under some water covering almost half of it.

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We made due though, and trotted some ground poles and worked some in the canter. He was pretty zoomy and a little unbalanced, especially to the right, so it gave me the sensation that if he took a wrong step he might trip, but it didn’t happen. He’s been out of good work for a while so he was out of shape and a bit spooky, even in the indoor. He tries so hard though, very willing. The dressage trainer and I talked biomechanics and I shared some of the things I learned from the clinic. I told her the most important things I took from it so she incorporated them into the lesson, which was nice.

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I couldn’t help myself and I took an extra long time grooming him afterwards. It can be so therapeutic. I loosened all the tangles from his long mane, removed every speck of mud (even though I was going to just turn him back out in the pit), and worked hard to transfer handfuls of white hair from his back to my clothing. I’ll probably go see him tonight, it may be our first “solo” ride, though we wont be alone, my friend will be out riding her horses too.

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Tyco makes it snow in dis club. #haybelly #longhairdontcare

                          Tyco makes it snow in dis club. #haybelly #longhairdontcare

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Last night the weather was gorgeous and since I didn’t exactly feel like wading through the mud, I stopped by to see my old pal, Sunny. The barn was empty, not a soul in sight. I said a longing, remorseful hello to Charlie.

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Sunny was his usual goofy self only quieter. He stood patiently while I groomed and verbally praised his attention to detail while gently pulling mud from his eyelashes. He must have played hard in turnout yesterday because he seemed a little tired and was already a little sweaty when I got there.

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derp horse is skeptical

                                                                derp horse is skeptical

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I took a short ride in the arena, his feet are getting long and he is already a bit klutzy so I didn’t push my luck. Plus, I wasn’t looking for a fight so we just walked and trotted. We did some figure 8s at the walk and worked on straightness and smooth changes of bend. We did some walk trot transitions that turned out pretty well. Each time I felt like he was on the edge of acting up I just quietly changed the exercise and did something different. It worked for us last night, no bucking, no ear-pinning. I did get a few “Sunny stomps” but all-in-all, a good evening ride.

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The Sunny Stomp

                  The Sunny Stomp  

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swl

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

Keeping Options Open

A huge thank you to everyone who stopped by to offer moral support during my Eeyore moment last week. The situation ended about as perfectly as it could have with me finally emailing the lessor back and her responding with a very sweet email. Basically, all you people are brilliant and very wise and you’ll note that every one of your suggestions was represented in our traded emails and at the very least I can wrap a pretty little bow around the situation and call it good!

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I am going to go ride Sunny tonight- hopefully he is in a decent mood. My focus for the evening is going to be “light seat” and “subtle cues”.

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!

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