Weekly Roundup 8/11-8/17

Sunday 8/11: Sue’s first unsupervised shareboard ride. Got a nice “had a terrific ride!” text, so lots of warm fuzzies. Go mare go.

Tuesday 8/13: To make up for last summer’s “welcome to Chicag-izona” this summer has been fabulous riding weather. Had a nice productive ride. After our walk warmup, we started off with a teeny bit of no stirrups. I only made it a measly 2 laps each way, but by that point I could feel myself starting to pinch with my knee while posting so better to call it quits than start bad habits. I think I’m going to make it a habit to do my no stirrups at the beginning of the ride. I’m still at the point where I can either work on me or work on her, but not both at once. Since I like to give her a slow warmup anyways, I would rather let do her own thing at the trot at the beginning of the ride rather than “OK, I know I’ve asked you to carry yourself for the last 40 minutes, but let me chuck the reins at you while I flop around so you can forget about what we’ve just been working on.” It’s also good because Ms. Are We There Yet likes to be like “OK, Mom put her feet in the stirrups, time to trot” so I’ve always got to think hard to stay ahead of her. After I picked up the stirrups we got down to business a bit more. It was a little cooler than the last couple days and we haven’t quite gotten to where I am easily able to channel any freshness into “work smarter not harder” so I was expecting more of a challenge, but I was pleasantly surprised to see that we had an easier time than Saturday’s ride. We had the whole outdoor to ourselves, so ample room and opportunity for lots of changes in direction– good for keeping mare from either anticipating a routine or getting into lala land from too much repetition, and good for as a test of whether I can keep her going the same while switching my outside and inside aids. There are single jumps set up just off the track at the middle of both long sides, so a good visual aid for smaller circles around and between the jumps, and bigger circles at either end. I’m still not 100% confident on how much contact I should have when she’s resisting vs giving (reminder to myself and Christy that next lesson I should have her hold the reins at Pearl’s end and do a demo) but I could feel some nice moments (I think!) and she didn’t feel like she was falling in/going to crash into the fence when we changed directions, which is always a good indicator. I’d set up some trot poles that are a little shorter than our usual– the highly scientific measurement system of 5 of my foot-lengths rather than 6– so it was a good test of my ability to keep her from getting strung out as well.

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Poor mare grabbed a mouthful of grass while I was setting the poles, and then forgot she can’t chew it with a bit in, so she just stood there sadly with it hanging out of her mouth. I pulled it out but I gave her her snack after our ride so hopefully she forgives me.

We haven’t done any canter work in our lessons yet, but Pearl lives to canter and I think I have a jumping lesson at Barn Z on Friday, so I figured it would be a nice break for us. Plus we’ve had the cooler weather, and Sue has her Thursday/Friday/Saturday so I want to avoid any potential pent up energy situations. I don’t want to ask for too much (= mess with her face) at the canter, but I can obviously ask for her to make circles of varying size rather than sticking to the rail and building up steam, so we did a lot of that. If we ever do hit the show ring, I can see us getting dinged on obedience on whatever trot work comes after cantering because she just can’t understand why I won’t let her keep cantering forever trotting is so sloooooow you are the worst, Mom. (Insert internet masses telling me that if a horse prefers to canter over trot it means they’re probably lame… I just spent $1500 getting her sound, she’s fine, she just loves to go.) So to work on that, I like to make her do some more trotwork (eeeeeasy giiiirl, we’re just trooootting, good mare!) after we canter. After I got her settled, we did our big trot-little trot thing, again as a test of adjustability. Not as easy as it was in our lesson (namely the small trot part) but we were able to get some. To finish up, I kept her on a circle and did some “funky posting” — sit two post one or stand two post one. MUCH easier in the dressage saddle where my whole body is aligned underneath me than in our jump saddle. Did a little more normal posting, then tried the trot-small-enough-that-I-can-stop-her-with-my-seat thing. Didn’t go so hot the first time and I had a split second of “eh, good enough” but no, it’s really not, so we did it again with better results. Ambled around the arena for a bit, then I walked her down the driveway by the paddocks because every time up and down the hill (I’m from the Midwest, if it has more than 5 degrees slope it’s definitely a hill) is that much closer to growing a butt right?

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Austin says hey pretty lady….

Then I stuck her back in her stall (how luxurious), gave her her snack (more on Pearl’s dietary needs later), tossed her back out in her paddock, and spotted Christy riding Remy so I played creepy stalker paparazzi for a bit before I had to go. I don’t think I will ever find a barn that feels as much like home as Barn P, but it is nice to hang around at the barn and take pictures and chit chat and is starting to feel a bit more normal instead of odd and heartbreaking. Remy is lovely and I would like one in 15 hands, bay, and with indoor plumbing please and thank you. We’re gonna set up some more picture dates, which I am looking forward to.

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Proper horsemanship protocol: remain attached to your horse at all times

Wednesday 8/14: Was going to maybe toodle around bareback for a bit, but ended up getting to the barn as it was getting dark/late, so just had a general hangout evening. Brushed the rest of Tuesday’s girth marks off her so I don’t look like a total neglectful owner, hand grazed for a little bit.

Gave her her Pentosan…need to have vet call in a script for some needles I think, because the only ones Farm & Fleet had were 18 ga and I think that was a bit ouchy. The last thing I want to do it make her needle shy if she’s going to be getting a shot every month! She got lots of cookies after for being way braver than mommy (I pass out for shots). I refilled her supp tubs and mixed up some baggies so Sue can give her snack on the days that she rides.

Thursday 8/15: Sue

Friday 8/16: Sue– lesson; apparently it went very well

Saturday 8/17: Sue

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2 Responses to Weekly Roundup 8/11-8/17

  1. I am always having trouble figuring out just how much contact I should have, as well. Wiz has only been under saddle a year so it’s always like, is that too much? is this too little? idk!? 🙂

    I’ve never heard if a horse prefers cantering they are lame… all of the horses I have ridden that liked to canter just had a lot of energy! And most horses that are actually lame don’t really want to trot or canter or do anything thanks. 🙂 When Wiz was ouchy, he was bucking when I asked for the canter- he definitely preferred trot. But, maybe I’m uneducated 🙂

    And I’ve said this before but Pearl is the prettiest color!

  2. nataliecmine says:

    It’s so hard! I’m so used to just releasing the reins as a reward (and she totally knows/is used to that too).

    Nah, I think it’s just something a subset of “internet experts” like to say since I’ve only heard it online and not in real life…horses are all so different anyways so you can’t jut make generalizations like that.

    And thanks…she’s quite the project to keep clean but she looks lovely when she is!

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