Conclusions at Almost 2 Months

More reports from the ranch that O pony continues to be an easy going, quiet riding horse for whomever needs her.  They teased me a bit saying that after two days straight of working and moving cattle my ‘super fit’ jumping horse was a hot, sweaty, sore mess for a few days.  But besides her having to adjust to a different type of workload, they continue to have zero issues with her doing anything they ask.

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She’s pretty much been a “yes mam” ride for them.

Which brings me to a few conclusions as we approach the 2 month mark of her being out there.

1. There is nothing wrong with her brain.

2. This was a good decision.

Off she goes!

3. It’s looking like the program we had her in all winter may have been what made her meltdown.  (Process of elimination/Duh moment)

3a FYI: The program included getting ridden 5-6 days a week, jumped two or so times.

4. She’s doing really well out in big spaces, with or without other horses.  We need to accommodate this new positive aspect when she comes back with more time out of doors, even if it means skipping a ‘training ride’ or two.

5. Maybe she’s not happy doing ring work as much as hunter/jumper calls for.  This is the bad news, as obviously I am a hunter/jumper rider.  Perhaps we can find a middle zone with #4 and make both of us happy when she gets back.  Cross training here we come.

6. That really lovely, quiet mare is still there.

7. I miss my horse.

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Over Half Baked

It’s official.  I’m struggling a bit to ride.

I always assumed it would be balance, or pain that would slow me down.  In reality it’s that I cannot catch my breath.  As DaBaby moves up in my torso, it pretty much squishes my lungs into uselessness.  This past week was the first time that I really noticed it and since there’s not a lot I can do to help, I’m going to have to learn to live with that for now.  It is sad, that even while looking only ‘a little bit pregnant’ according to my riding friends, I definitely feel the change in body more each week.

My big aim is to make it to 28 weeks, or 7 months, before having to exit the lesson program.  Maybe even a few weeks after if I can find something to just let me toodle around on it.  We shall see, that’s only a few weeks from now.

In light of my first 6 months of being a human oven I thought I would share just a few funny and interesting things I’ve noticed about being pregnant and still riding.

1. About 20 weeks I realized that I am officially top heavy, and bending over to pick out feet I often wobble/have to take a step forwards.  Awkward weight distribution for the win there.

2. My riding tights do not fit comfortably under the belly.  So they must go over.  I feel like this:

So attractive

3. Side zip breeches are not a great solution while pregnant as I couldn’t figure out away to use the hairband trick or anything else in my arsenal to extend them.  They were an early loss to the belly.

4. Funny but true: cantering sometimes makes me feel like I have to go pee really freaking bad.  Do I really?  Nope.  Ask me how many times I got off before I figured out it’s just something about that motion.

5. Baby does not move at all while I’m riding.  One of the few times it’s not bouncing around!  I’ve decided it’s because they love it and clearly want me to keep riding.

6. I’m real awkward getting off the horse.  Getting on = easy peasy.  Getting off the horse is a whole other issue.  I have to do this half twist sliding thing with my body.  My fellow riders find it pretty fun to watch.  I’m sure that is only going to continue to get worse!

Right around 3 months pregnant here.

Right around 3 months pregnant here.

7. I’ve said it before, I’m sure I’ll say it again.  Lesson horses are worth their weight in gold….times 10.  Honestly I could not have continued to ride if it weren’t for the tried and true schoolies who have carted me safely around these past few months.  They are a godsend.

8. Not totally horse related, just  funny: even just sticking out a little from the norm, I feel like I bump into everything.  Horses, my saddle while I’m tightening the girth, my closet door etc.  I was never graceful to begin with, but wow, it’s weird.

I’ve been so incredibly lucky with the first half of this pregnancy, and I have been enjoying every minute possible in the saddle.  My Mother-in-law rode up until right before she had the hubs.  And my friend lasted into her 7th month in the middle of the summer.  So far the only issue I’ve had is working too hard, and making my core (what’s left of it) hurt.  I just avoid lots of cantering/sitting trot work, and so far so good.  Plus, I’m already excited to start making plans about getting back into the saddle after baby!

SFTS Blog Hop: Heart Horse

Do you currently have your “heart horse”? What makes a “heart horse” to you? If you don’t own a horse, have you ever leased a “heart horse”? 

Great question.

I have no idea.

For years I thought I had maybe already found mine in my fiery redhead from highschool.  She still holds such a huge part of my history as an equestrian, and I feel like I grew up on her.  I even wrote about her leaving our stable just a year ago for HJU.

But.

This O mare is really special too.

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And before this past winter I would and probably did tell anyone who would listen that this one was staying with me.  Forever.  End of the story.  I thought we were developing a connection that was so different than any other I’d had before.

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But then things changed, and I have to admit our relationship changed too.  And now she is spending her summer at the ranch as a last chance moment to try to resemble the mare I thought would carry my kids on their first rides, and me to the Adult Hunter ring.  If next spring she still isn’t that horse, I don’t know which way things will go.

What I’m trying to say is that I really want O to be my heart horse, but I don’t know yet.  I think that is something that time can only tell.

ZBH Blog Hop: Everyday Fail

Nicole has a fantastic idea!.  Let’s all share those everyday fail moments that most of us hide from the blogging world.  Or maybe you just write a 100 disclaimers to like I like to do.  We are all human, and this could be pretty funny!

More stopping.

Pony doesn’t do red flowers.

So purdy.

Blah.

Tight spot, crawling up neck for the bonus.

Tight spot, crawling up neck for the bonus.

This.  All of this.

This. All of this.

Dropped reins make great faces.

Dropped reins make great faces.

Leaning helps obviously.

Leaning helps obviously.

Ewwwww

Ewwwww

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2nd part of lead change

Lunging fail.  Still nice.

Lunging fail. Still nice.

Lean Back

I’m a chronic ‘lean forward’ rider.

PC: She Moved to Texas Ride: The fantastic nerd horse.

PC: She Moved to Texas Ride: The fantastic nerd horse.

Leannnnnnnninnnggg

Leannnnnnnninnnggg

It’s not my favorite habit, but it also hasn’t proved to be especially disastrous (yet).  And I do tend to be much better whilst jumping.  So it kind of fell to the ‘eh, it’s her thing’ part of the FIx Someday list.

Then my horse started stopping, got sent to the ranch for brain washing good times, and I ended up riding anything and everything I could get my preggo hands on.  Last night in my lesson I was riding a solid as a rock schoolie, and I just happened to glance in the mirrors.  Dear God, I wasn’t leaning up at him.  My back was perfectly flat, and for once my elbows actually bent in the correct spot.  I was leaning back.

My trainer loved it.  She agreed that because my balance has shifted forwards with the weight of my new (and very funny) bump, I seem to be overcompensating by leaning way back.  BUT IT LOOKS SO NICE!!  So we just want me to continue to ride and lesson as much as possible right now so perhaps we can start a new, correct upper body habit.  I know that it would definitely help O as well.

And look–I didn’t always lean forwards!  This is me playing jumper at age 17 or so?

I used to not learn forward....

Trainer also commented that my eq is really looking nice, and that when O comes back and I’m back in the tack that we should be sure I get more rides on other horses still.  I seem to benefit from the change in pace!  Yay for great lessons and continuing to feel great in the saddle!

O @ The Ranch: 3 Weeks In

First, allow me to start with a picture.  Because I love it.

Hubs and horsebeast in action.

Hubs and horsebeast in action.

O has now been at the ranch for about 3 weeks.  She’s been out and about over the land on rides, seen cattle, massive equipment (it’s hay season!) and had my nephews ride their bicycles all up in her bubble.  I hit a rather awkward stage at the moment….and so basically none of my clothes fit, so I was in shorts when I was down there.  The hubs rode horsebeastie for me.

1st fun tidbit: She can now be tacked up in ‘her spot’.  Each ranch pony has a stall that they belong to.  Not only does she go to that spot and wait, but does it without prodding.  It’s kind of adorable.

2nd fun tidbit: My in-laws love her.  They say she’s lovely to be around, and just a nice ride overall.

3rd funny tidbit: She’s the very bottom of the horsey totem pole.  Only friend she has is this little shetland guy.

I love him.

I love him.

As for the ride, we scraped as much of the mud off of her as possible (someone has been rolling extensively) and then tossed a saddle on the mare.  Off we went to their arena area, which was new for her.

Off she goes!

Off she goes!

She walked.  She trotted.  She cantered.  She never put a foot wrong, even while crossing water to get to the arena.  Oh and during all of this my Farrier-in-Law was dragging the arena for us with his tractor, and my bro-in-law plus nephews were tossing haybales at O so she could jump them if the mood struck.

SHE DIDN’T LOOK AT ANYTHING.

Good mares don't care.

Good mares don’t care.

In fact the only time she even got remotely sassy was when my husband decided to play flying changes.  The first was silky smooth, the second was spicy but successful.  Both her good direction, but still.  She just loped around like it was no biggie.

Just toodling along.

Just toodling along.

Then the hubs wanted to tempt fate.  Let’s just see what she does with the bales, he says, as he trots her at the hay.  Mentally I’m thinking 2 options in play here.  She’s going to stop.  Or, she’s going to rocket launch.

Well, she went with rocket launch.  Once we laughed that off, he circled her back and popped her over it a few more times.

Learning no rocket launching is necessary for hay bales.

Learning no rocket launching is necessary for hay bales.

Loping over them at this point.

Loping over them at this point.

She stared it down once or twice, sure, but never even thought about stopping.  In fact, she gave this face (look below), and started to take him there.  He actually laughed, and asked who was really teaching who here.

Mare sees jump.

Mare sees jump.

Mare goes to jump!

Mare goes to jump!  (her ears are forward, and she was locked on)

Not exciting enough to use her knees.

Mare doesn’t bother actually jumping the jump. She got wayyy close to the bale on this one.

I was bursting with pride at all of this.  My husband has never really purposefully ridden to a jump of any kind, and my pony actually stepped up and acted like the horse who knew her job.  I feel validated in that this was what she needed, a true shake up of her daily life.  And while I miss her so much at home, I don’t know how many times we’ll have this opportunity.  I want to be sure we get everything out of it.

Hiding in the barn while her Mule overlord waits outside.

Hiding in the barn while her Mule overlord waits outside.

Just over 3 weeks down, and we are looking at roughly 8 more depending on how she’s doing.  Hopes are high!