O Goes Offsite

Last schooling we had before a show went not-so-great. I was determined to make this schooling go better!

I arrived at the show site to see a very chill, happy pony.

Chill pony is chill.

Chill pony is chill.

Not to mention she was super, duper excited to see me! It was adorable.

How she was acting at the show.

How she was acting at the show.

I quickly tacked her up, hopped on her, and headed down to check it out. I got on at the stalls to avoid the mud and then marched O right down through the chaos. She didn’t take a bad step. She marched along, ears forward, mouthing her bit, just checking it all out. Once at the schooling rings, we rolled on in, and strolled around the ring like it was nothing. I was so proud. We hacked around and actually got some pretty decent flat work done. She was the only horse in the ring for a bit, and it made her a bit nervous, but she handled it pretty well. I called it quits and took her back to her temporary home.

Checking out the show scene.

Checking out the show scene.

Super attractive O moment.

Super attractive O moment.

She got her grubs, I tucked her in and said I’d see her in the morning for the real work!!

Nom nom.

Nom nom.

A Good Ride

With O’s first off site schooling this friday, quickly followed by two days of showing at the same venue, I was looking forward to getting some kinks out in our lesson this week.

We flatted, it was brutally humid and the first day all year to be in the high eighty degree range.  Needless to say O and I were a little sluggish.  I might even go as far as saying it took me an extra ten minutes to tack up.  Oh yes, I was moving that slowly.

Anyway, threw my butt in gear and started working hers.   On the flat we had minimal disagreements, and while she carried her head up a little high for me, it wasn’t bad.  On to jumping we went!  The course was nice and swirly with lots of turns, and different approaches.  It only took two jumps to realize that I just needed to sit quiet and enjoy the show.  O felt wonderful.  She was actually jumping, versus rocketing over the jumps, she was quiet, got her simple changes easily, and let me put her at the base of the jumps.

HALLELUJAH!

We finished our courses.  O got her legs clipped (much to her utter panic) and she’ll be waiting for me at the venue on Friday.  Yay!

Good ponies get more grazing time!

Good ponies get more grazing time!

 

Before back.

Before back.

Before Front

Before Front

After front (she would NOT let me clean up that front right-super frustrating)

After front (she would NOT let me clean up that front right-super frustrating)

After back.

After back.

Weather man is calling for 3 days of rain….for all 3 days I’ll be at the show. Awesome.

The Cost of a Fall

This March I had a supremely ungraceful moment at the same instant my horse decided to have a wild moment. So off I went. And it hurt pretty freaking bad. So of course the ambulance got involved, then half a dozen scans, test, drugs, and sitting in my own little room with trainer and a fellow rider for the evening.

Note: I was there roughly 4 hours.

I realize that every hospital and situation will be different, but just to throw it out there. Let’s break down some costs.
money2

Radiology: $761.00

ER Doctor’s Attention: $1,136.23

Hospital stay (for the whole whopping 4 hours): $26,603.21

And let’s not forget the going away present from ER Doc…
Happy pills: $20.00
(thank god for pain medicine)

All this leads to a grand total of…

$28,520.44

And now I know why we buck up and pay for health insurance every month. Holy cow!! And the final diagnosis? Soft tissue damage. Nothing some fabulous pain medicine and time off the horse didn’t cure.

I actually ended up paying about $1,700 which is about 5% of the total cost. Not too bad considering everything.

This does probably mean I can’t be throwing myself at every show that comes my way, and yes, it kind of shut down my dreams of fancy show bridles for O pony. But really what is most important is that I knew I wasn’t broken, and that I was assured of what was going on. So while it was expensive in my mind, I can’t help but be grateful for those who did help take care of me that night!

She doesn’t seem to think she needs to apologize….and I can’t stay mad at that face!

Too cute for my own good.

Too cute for my own good.

Outdoor Rings

At our old facility, which we moved from roughly 6 months ago, we rode outside as much as humanly possible (midwestern winters suck). The ring itself had a hill, banks to jump, and was easily twice as big as the indoor. O much preferred it, especially when she first got to the stable, and so did I! The new facility has two outdoors: a smaller dressage ring, and a larger arena side by side. A few weeks ago we got fabulous new footing and were all ready to start using them. I walked O around then, showed her all the scary stuff, and from the ground she was as chill as a cucumber about the new spaces.

Outdoor ringsexamination

Outdoor rings examination


However, in my recent experiences riding outside we’ve struggled. First I had zero steering (we actually bumped into the rail a few times) and the idea of breaks was pretty non-existent. It was just plain ‘ole UGLY. Then she was off for a bit.
Circling to slow the beast in the 2nd ring during our show.

Circling to slow the beast in the 2nd ring during our show.


And now guess what show is 100% outdoors…….oh yeah, the one we are signed up to do this weekend.

So last week we took to the outdoor ring again. I figured she had only reacted because it was still new to her last time or two we were in there. Plus I’m trying out this I-don’t-start-fights-way of riding my “new” more forward horse.

This time I let her zoom around me on the lunge line before I got on. And after being able to walk around mostly quiet, I asked for the trot….without picking up my reins. For about a quarter of a lap she trotted like a maniac. I still just sat there, determined to not fight with her. Within a few more strides, she stretched down her neck from it’s position imitating a llama and gave a big sigh….and trotted like a normal horse! I slowly picked up my reins, and we kept the peace.

Were we a little quick? Maybe, but the whole ride was soft and she wasn’t being naughty about it. Even our canter was nice. I was truly thankful for the brain between those big ears of hers. After a few lovely trips around, O got major pats and was done for the day!

Not counting my eggs before they hatch, but I hope this means a better experience at the show this weekend!
dont-count-those-chickens

O Having Fun

Playing in her field after being stalled for a few days! Cute girl!

Next week around this time, we will be headed to school at the horse show venue (about 45 minutes from ‘home’), and I can’t wait to see how O does off site. I’m hoping we can do the following:

1. Maintain MY choice of pace
2. Not scream our heads of at new horses
3. Load and unload nicely
4. Get over and around all our courses
5. No attacking cute ponies
6. End the day leave feeling better about being away from home and riding

Whew. I feel like I’ve got a lot to do before then!

Blog Hop: Why?

Why do you continue to ride?

Thanks, L for another great blog post idea.

When I started riding at age 11, I believe the most people thought it was a cute phase and that I’d grow out of it. Then I quit one sport after another, preferring to ride, and later work, at the stable rather than do anything else. When I started college, I was horse-less, but continued to introduce myself, “Hi, I’m Genny, I ride horses.” Pretty much everything I thought someone needed to know.
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While riding in college was scattered, I embraced new things, but continued to dream about riding. The fancy walls and benches around camppus were always elaborate jumping courses I would run through in my head as I walked between classes, and I would stop to pet the police horses any chance I got. Pretty sure my husband secured our future together in the first 15 minutes of our first date when he told me he had a fiery chestnut at home I could come ride.
horseback facing away
To me, they were a part of my history, and ingrained in the very way that I think. Anyone else hold their steering wheel with their pinkys on the outside? I do.

Once I got out of school and could afford to both eat and ride, I was back at it. Why? Because I don’t know how not to! Every time I swing my leg over a horses back I get this ridiculous sense of home, and that I do belong somewhere. Do I sometimes want to give in because of the cost? Because of the strain it puts on other parts of your life? OF COURSE.

But that is always squelched by the fact that it would be giving up my favorite part of myself. So that’s why I continue to push to be better, to know my horse, and to enjoy every second of saddle time.

It helps that I have such a wonderful mare to love on too!
photo 3

Brave

Tonight O and I had our lesson and I am so happy that we had the following things happen:
1. We had great breaks (no galloping/flailing)
2. We jumped everything the first time (even the brick wall)
3. We did the stride easily and it was not frantic
4. Half-halts were effective and she responded quietly

I was such a proud mom! Since my fall (and the weeks off after that) both of us have had some issues being brave. Me because I know this mare jumps the new/scary ones really hard, and her because since my fall (which apparently scared her too) we haven’t done a ton of jumping. And my newly acquired nerves don’t help her at all either. But last night when I didn’t hesitate, neither did she. By the end of the lesson she was quietly taking me to the jumps, and while eager-she was listening. She did throw in one enormous, awkward, all-four-legs-off-the-ground jump, but my brain continued to function and I just sent her forward and onward we went.

I hope I’m not jinxing anything, but last night felt like things as usual. I didn’t get anxious, she didn’t get wild, and we had a great ride. It was a blast!

I leave you with a picture of her snoozing in the wash stall before our ride. She’s recently developed a fear of the wash stall so has been spending some quality time just hanging out in it.

Zzzzzzzz

Zzzzzzzz