A Horse Themed Announcement

It’s happening to me, the gradual change from weddings every other weekend to baby showers.  Which is really sad because I’ve about memorized every Bed, Bath and Beyond store layout in a 10 mile radius.  That and the excessive amounts of wedding gift bags I’m still trying to regift from our own wedding.

Anyway, point being is that many of my friends are starting to have kids, and it’s even more special when it’s your best friend….the one who rides with you all the time and who you trust completely with your own horse, who people commonly mistake you for (appearance and tendencies factor in this one), and the one whose husband puts up with me eating their leftovers whenever I don’t feel like cooking.

So far we’ve been through a lot!

 

College roomies.

College roomies.

Matron of honor at my wedding...

Matron of honor at my wedding…

 

So it was the most fun to be able to take these announcement photos for her.

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She is going to be an amazing mom!  Congrats to the whole family, including new (very) big sister Honey!

 

 

Topic for Tuesday….Moving Up or On?

This is a hot topic at my stable right now, as we have lots of our junior girls who are getting ready to make a move up in the showing world.  I’m not talking 2 foot to 2’6”, but rather children’s hunters to the larger junior hunters and beyond.  

Equestrian-Activities

So the topic is: When you have reached that point in your riding whether it be a height of jump, degree of competition, distance ridden, test difficulty etc. when your horse isn’t able to continue moving with up you….what do you do?  Do you choose to sell and move on with a new horse?  Or do you continue to stay at your horse’s level of comfort/practice?

Putri+Alia+Soraya+16th+Asian+Games+Day+2+Equestrian+WhShZU-_DXol

I’m not sure how common it is in other equestrian sports, but in hunter/jumper circles horses tend to be rotated around.  There are those few that never change, as their owners keep them forever, but it is common to see horses sold so that the rider can continue moving up.  

bridling-your-horse-the-english-bridle

In my particular training/boarding situation, I love that while people can and do sell their horses, my trainer is extremely choosy and only allows great horses to come in that she thinks she can preferably find new owners within the stable.  We have one schoolmaster type gelding in particular who has been with several owners (now leasers), but he never has to change homes or trainers.

I originally bought O hoping someday she’d pan out as my adult hunter pony, maybe an ammy owner class or two thrown in (3’3”).  Personally I don’t know if I want to go higher than that anymore, and we think O should have plenty of the scope for that height.  So I’m luck in that I hope that we have a long and happy career together, and then maybe she can semi-retire and poke around with cute kids on her (she LOVES kids).

But who knows what is next!  What would you do?  Move up and sell?  Keeping going at the pace?   

 

July Show Recap

This past Saturday was our next show at my home stable. We ended up putting up a tent for an additional 40+ horses who came in, plus people who tied to their trailers. So there was a good number of people there!

I got there at 5:30am to school, and O came out speedy, but reasonable. She did stop at our first warm up jump (too behind my leg) and I felt like an idiot, so we came around and she launched right over it.

5:30am was too early for this beastie....sleepy...zzzz

5:30am was too early for this beastie….sleepy…zzzzzzzzzzz

After cantering around the 2’3” stuff we subsequently deciding to stay at that height for this show. Could we do the 2’6” stuff? Yes. Would we be competitive? Meh, no idea. At 2’3” we could totally handle anything, and we are all about the boosting of horsey confidence right now.  I hosed her town, tossed her in a stall (to her horror right next to a particularly scary pony).  They estimated me showing around 2 or 3pm so off to home I went.

Around 12:30 I was eating a chicken nugget in my kitchen (wearing my pajamas) when my trainer texted and said to head back out there. By the time hubs and I got there thirty minutes later, I was running…my class had started early. Hence a bunch of random of my barn mates had thrown my horse together, and literally she was waiting at the gate for me. I walked up, someone tied my number on, while another zipped my boots, while I got my helmet on. Total team effort.  I hopped on, and walked right into the ring for flat class.

O pony was feeling fabulous. A little strong going from the canter to the walk (missed the transition hard core right in front of the judges stand), but she gave me this really wonderful trot that I loved. Out of 7 or 8 horses (didn’t have a chance to get a good count-too much hurrying to get on) we got third in the under saddle. I was really pleased. Even the hubs immediately walked up and said how great she looked.

Remembering to pose with ribbon!

Remembering to pose with ribbon!

Perk of being incredibly late is that people just shoved me into the ring for my three jumping classes. Our warm-up round went well, we really ate up the outside lines, and it was a tight 4 stride for her.

During our second round we really were able to tone things way the heck back, and put my freaking hands down, for a nice round. We even got a flying change, however flamboyant it looked.  We got a fourth out of the 7-8 odd riders.

Third and final class, we marched in with purpose, and although it rode so, so much better that the previous class…we missed our change once and had an awkward trot fix, plus hit a few long spots. Still, we improved and ended with a fifth place.

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I left the ring on cloud nine, my horse was amazing. She was rideable, she was correct, and she tried her heart out. I couldn’t ask for anything else. The ribbons are nice, but there is nothing like succeeding with a horse you care about!

My mom took video, and therefore still has the clips.  Will post as soon as I get them from her!

The Riding Doctor: Q & A Plus Review

I was thrilled when a publicist for RiderPilates™ creator and riding instructor, Beth Glosten, M.D., (who has released her new book on riding biomechanics, The Riding Doctor: A Prescription for Health, Balanced, and Beautiful Riding, Now and For Years to Come) contacted me earlier this month.  Dr. Glosten sent me a copy of her new book to check out and both review and share a short Q&A with The Riding Doctor.

The Riding Doctor - Front Cover

To begin, a short Q&A about Dr. Beth Glosten and The Riding Doctor: A Prescription for Health, Balanced, and Beautiful Riding, Now and For Years to Come.

1. What inspired you to write The Riding Doctor?

I want to share with other riders the discoveries I’ve made about what it takes to ride well and in a pain-free, healthy way. I want to provide riders with a logical system to keep track of themselves in the saddle. So often we are only thinking of what the horse is doing without asking ourselves if we are doing our best to contribute to riding and training success. Finally, I present a system that will hopefully minimize wear and tear on a rider’s body.

Beth Glosten - Author Photo

2. The Riding Doctor is a follow-up to your first book, Ride in Balance: Expand Your Riding Skills with Body Awareness and Pilates Exercises. How are the two books different?

The two books have a great deal in common. I self-published the first book, and as such, struggled with getting it out to riders outside of my geographic region. By republishing the book through a publishing house, I hope for much wider distribution. The new book has a new title (obviously!), and has some new content about rider pain and injury issues. The book is in color and there are many new photos – the layout is beautiful.

3. In The Riding Doctor, you include a concept known as The Rider Fundamentals. What are these and how do they help riders keep track of their position and function in the saddle?

The Rider Fundamentals include: Mental Focus, Proper Posture, Body Control – Legs, Body Control – Arms, and Understand Movement (how your horse moves at each gait, and how you should move with it). The Fundamentals form the structure of the book, and each chapter includes a discussion of relevant anatomy, exercises to illustrate this anatomy, why the Fundamental is important to riding, common rider problems with each Fundamental, and finally exercises to help improve the Fundamental. The Fundamentals are an on-the-fly checklist of a rider’s position and function in the saddle. A rider can ask, during execution of a movement: Am I focused? Is my posture correct? Do I have control of my arms and legs or are they gripping or tight? Am I moving with my horse in rhythm?

4. The Riding Doctor includes 50 step-by-step exercises geared toward helping riders develop their skills. Can you describe some of the exercises and explain what makes them unique?

The exercises in the book draw upon the Pilates system of exercise. My instructions are designed such that each exercise or movement has relevance to riding skills. For example, in Chapter 2: Proper Posture, there are some very basic awareness movements to help you find your correct posture. Then, there are simple movements that show you how to control the position of your pelvis and rib cage; important determinants of posture. Finally, there are exercises that challenge correct posture in the same way that it is challenged in the saddle – using a single rein aid, a single leg aid, or even just turning. I use an exercise ball and other props for the exercises. Balance is an important theme, as balance is key to success in the saddle.

5. How has your background as a physician helped you in developing the concepts behind The Riding Doctor?

I was involved in clinical research as a physician, so when faced with the question, what does it take to ride well and in a healthy way, I approached it the same way I would a clinical problem. What do I know? I know human anatomy and function. How do effective riders use their bodies? Answering this question took some observation and “data collection.” As I watched good riders, I learned that while they look “still” they are not. They are moving at the right places (usually the shoulder joint and hip joint) at the right times, and are stable and steadily balanced throughout (relying on their core muscles). My personal experience of improving body control confirmed my observations – my rides were much better after a mindful exercise session.

Finally, I use my knowledge of the human body from medicine and teaching Pilates. My system for riding well is consistent with how the human body works, which diminishes unnecessary tension and confusion and helps riders move efficiently and effectively.

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My initial impressions as I looked up some exercises were that the pictures and descriptions are wonderful.  Many have step by step instructions, and each exercise then relates directly back to how it affects your riding.

The first thing I went to look up was how to bring my shoulders back without creating that funky arch in your back.  Not only do they address some exercises for that, but also arm position, common leg position issues, and proper posture.  I love that this book is broad enough to cover a variety of disciplines, as it focuses on body areas as a whole too.   I’m planning to start integrating some of the ’rounded shoulder’ solutions into my workouts and let you know how it goes!

That said, I found this book really fascinating and loved the visual representation on both exercises and issues.  I can’t wait to see how it helps with my shoulders.

And finally….do you want to win your own copy? Enter below at Rafflecopter! Contest closes August 4th at midnight!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

O’s BFF

Meet Honey.

 

O masquerading as Honey in her halter.

Ignore O masquerading as Honey in her halter.

She is a 16.2hh thoroughbred mare, off the track, has legs for days, and the cutest little dished face.

Just look at that cute face!

Just look at that cute face!

And many days I want to steal her.  Her and O are hilarious together (cuddles one second, bucking running mare war zone the next).

All snuggles waiting to be brought in...

All snuggles waiting to be brought in…

Attack mode when let free.

Mare attack mode when let free.

I affectionately call her the grey giraffe, or the laz-e-boy counch.  Her canter is heavenly smooth and comfortable.   She belongs to the best friend.  Hence I get to ride her sometimes, and it’s a blast.

photo 4 (16)

Nose poking warm up!

photo 2 (50)

Dangit hands, get with the program.

Dang it wrists, get with the program.

photo 2 (48)

Since she actually has made other appearances on the blog (here, here, here, here, and here) I thought I’d give her a name and a post all about her fabulous self.  It’s not often you can say that your horse, and your best friend’s horse are buddies as well!

So what do best pony friends do?

Snuggle when it's cold and your Mom's stole your blankets.

Snuggle when it’s cold and your Moms stole your blankets.

 

Synchronized trotting sessions.

Synchronized trotting sessions.

And yes....they even drink together.

And yes like many friends….they even drink together.

 

Whammy

We finally got a little bit of a break in the oppressive heat lately, so intent on having a ‘fun horse’ night versus a serious working night I tossed on shorts and a tank and went to go toodle around on my beastie bareback.  The next few days will be really hard, training rides, so this sounded like the best idea to me!

Arriving at the barn I heard that the little herd O lives in had been running about their field like manics for the past 20 minutes.  Great.

Luckily O was easy to catch, as the herd (especially the cute old retirees) seemed to be done with the running for the day.  As soon as I closed the gate behind her though I saw something red…and knew I wasn’t getting on my horse today.

O got whammied by another horse while running today, leaving a nice horse shoe shaped kick mark on her back left.  Below picture is after hosing.

Since it had probably just happened,  I cold hosed her for almost 20 minutes.  During which she danced around and slapped me repeatedly with her wet tail.  Awesome.

O is not pleased with cold hose time.

O is not pleased with cold hose time.

She did trot and canter out soundly on a lunge, so that is good news.  I didn’t do a lot, just enough to see what I was going to be working with ouchie wise.

I then tortured her with mane pulling and a bath before tossing her back out.  Hopefully all will be fine tonight!  Lesson tonight, schooling tomorrow, show Saturday.  

Distracted pony.

Distracted pony.

Dat face.  Even if it's blurry.

Dat face. Even if it’s blurry.

Also, go check out Alyssa’s Awesome Bonnet Giveaway!! 

PSA It’s Hot!

Woe is me, it has finally heated back up here in the Midwest to truly nasty, and unbearable.  And while taking a shower with my horse does help, there are things to watch out for.  (Why did I pick a sport with long pants and boots?)  I know it’s a little excessive, but I’m a bit neurotic when it comes to heat safety.  Bad things can happen, so be careful!

hot

This week we started getting the official heat advisories from local weather channels, and handy dandy weather.com. 

Just some quick info you should probably know…

Heat advisories and warning are always issued from the National Weather Service when high heat temperatures are expected to grace us with their presence within a 36 hour timeline.  These alerts are put out when the heat index is expected to exceed 105 degrees for two consecutive days.  (yuck)

Heat Advisory classifies a heat condition that will be highly uncomfortable and may have dangerous results to those enduring the temperatures.  

Heat Warning actually means that conditions will be dangerous enough to threaten life and health of those exposed.  AKA…get someplace cool if you can.

I linked up to the National Weather Service if you want the whole story on heat warnings/symptoms of heat related health issues here. 

Hydration is cool.

Hydration is cool.

Horses suffer like we do during the ridiculous hot, and can easily suffer from heatstroke as well.  I have seen a horse suffering from heatstroke, and it is really scary stuff all around.  I found this short and informational piece on the symptoms at Drsfostersmith.com and thought I’d share. 

Signs of heatstroke (heat stress/heat exhaustion are other terms):

1. Elevated respiratory rate-between 40-50 breaths per minute, shallow breathing and breathing that remains elevated after two minutes of rest.

2. Elevated heart rate- a pulse of more than 80 beats per minute that doesn’t slow down after two minutes of rest

3. Increased or absence of sweating- full body sweating or worse, if you horse stops sweating

4. Elevated temperatures- a rectal temp or 103 degrees F or higher

5. Lethargy- signs of depression, disinterest in food, stumbling or collapsing.

To help cool your horse, do the obvious and stop work, bathe them immediately, offer lots and lots of water to drink, and get your horse out of direct sunlight.  

 

bath

 Okay, I think I’m done with my soapbox.  Just wanted to make sure everyone stays safe and cool both four legged and two!

O loves to go swimming when it's really hot.  Sadly we don't have a pond anymore!

O loves to go swimming when it’s really hot. Sadly we don’t have a pond anymore!