All Four Legs

After my emotion packed lesson last week, my trainer and decided I should take a few lessons to get my confidence back and see where we go next.  I arrived to find myself assigned to an old favorite, “my” beefcake red lesson pony.  While he was never my favorite when riding him before I bought O (which seems like a very long time ago), I became very attached in past years since he hauled my pregnant butt around for weeks and kept us both very safe after I got back in the tack .

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He wasn’t quite as excited to see me as I was him, but obliged and let me tack him up and pull him to the outdoor.  He actually really warmed up nicely and seemed to appreciate having someone who knew a bit more than “up, down, up, down”.  I was feeling pretty good about myself, and we headed around to warm up over a little crossrail.

He gave the crossrail an unusually big jump (for him) and I am pretty sure I mentally squealed a little at how sweet this boy was.  The fun ended when he landed, and somewhere between putting his back legs down and cantering forwards, he seemed to lose track of his front legs.  Horses need all 4 legs, and unfortunately for us, this meant we were thrashing around in the arena dirt, as he desperately tried to get off his knees.  I thought for sure we were going to roll right over.

Somehow after a full 8-10 feet of knee sliding/thrashing he righted himself and halted.  He was blowing very hard and I immediately reached forward to give him giant pats.  I literally cannot believe we didn’t go over.  After swearing to red horse that I would personally take care of him for the rest of his life for keeping us upright, I trotted off.  Big red was obviously super sore on his knees, and we decided to cut my lesson off in exchange for a cold hosing.

So that’s how my second lesson in so many weeks, was cut short.  This time for a very different reason.  Regardless, I am very lucky and glad that my horse was able to get us both back up after his trip.  He got lots of cold hose time, then wrapped up and extra cookies in his stall.  My trainer reported that he was feeling so much better the next day and went back to his normal life. She also joked that she really is trying to make it fun for me.

Note:

Cathryn at Two and a Half Horses is sponsoring an awesome header contest.  I’m photoshop incapable, but someone else should try!  Great prizes and blog!

Blog Hop: Dealbreakers

Thank you for the great writing idea Amanda.  This is a topic that I’ve been stewing over since O left in 2016, and honestly will probably continue to change and evolve even more before I do any serious horse acquisition.  But I want to keep it pretty concise today.

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Because she’s adorable.

General thoughts:

I’m not the worst rider on the planet, so I don’t mind a ride that requires some thought, or that keeps you on your toes.  Since my roots are firmly in hunterland, I will avoid something that jumps in dangerous form, or isn’t neat with it’s legs.  I’m good at hurting myself without any help from my 4-legged partner, so it has to help me out a little in this area.  In my selfish ways, I just don’t think I can do greys – because I do not have time to manage that.  I like things to be pretty…or at least brown so I don’t know how dirty they are.

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So dirty and gross – but you can’t tell (except the socks)!

Safety:

I hope this is fairly self explanatory, but I am done with the days of riding anything that something hands me the reins to.  I want to ride something that I feel like I can handle and not fear for my life the whole time.  That is not enjoyable.  So that’s a hard nope to anything that makes me question my safety.

Poor Work Ethic:

I cannot have another horse with who does not like it’s job.  It is my above all else dealbreaker.  I had a horse, who I loved, which had a bad work ethic and didn’t really enjoy her work.  Summary – it didn’t turn out well, and it totally broke my heart after months of trying and trying to convince her to enjoy the work.  I will not do that again.  Whatever horse I have next will show up for me, and be interested in it’s work.  Obviously no horse wakes up and says “golly, I’d like to work on lengthening”, but they have to play the game.  In return they will be loved, rewarded and ridden with as much skill as I can muster.

Why can’t horse sale sites have a box to search for that quality?

Should I find myself with another horse who decides it does not like it’s job, I will find it a job it does enjoy; whether it’s with me, or with another owner.  It’s not fair to do anything otherwise.

If the horse has to live inside.

Even in the Midwestern ice storms, and the summer sun, I know that to get my husband to even entertain the idea of another horse in the family that is must live the majority of it’s life outside.  I’m not interested in a great debate, he is passionate about this aspect, so I am adding it to my list.  If horse has to live inside 24/7, that is a dealbreaker.

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Doesn’t like kids.

I have one, and she’s pretty important.  I realize that she probably won’t be in the saddle as much as I am (duh), but it’s a dealbreaker if the horse is not friendly on the ground, or is difficult to manage.  I want to be able to share my riding and horses with my daughter, and I can’t do that if I am stressing the entire time horse and child are near each other.

Share your dealbreakers and join the hop!

I Had Forgotten

Since having my daughter, I've been in a consistent riding program. That all ended about a month ago when work priorities took over (for better or worse). After a week or two, I feel like my obsessive "must ride something now" kind of waned.

I was incredibly busy, and horses suddenly seemed like the one thing totally not worth it. Usually I have those moments while waiting on a vet bill, or after I couldn't catch my horse for an hour–the usual equestrian doubts. Having these doubts while just sitting at my house was a bit scary.

As I mentioned before, I'm attempting to revamp my priorities and get some time back for my goals outside of the workplace. Horses are the core of those. So back to lessons I went-no excuses.

Tacking up Cooper today, I actually felt anxious. Cooper had been inside for a few days because of all the rain, so naturally he would be a wild stallion right? (Spoiler alert-nope) Stupid thoughts. Sending my toddler with her grandpa, I swung up and warmed up the giraffe as usual.

The lesson was incredibly hard, a technical ride. Cooper was feeling spicy, but I don't mind a little play as long as it's not stupid. By the end I openly admitted that I was exhausted.

But then as soon as I loaded up the car, gave the kid some snacks, and headed home I could actually feel the buzz. Better than champagne, I kept thinking over my ride; how I could do better, what I can do in the gym to get my fitness back and so on. I realized that in the weeks away I had forgotten how much I love the smell of the barn, the satisfaction of patting your horse after your ride, or the sheer joy of sharing the place you love the most. Essentially I forgot that I do belong with horses, and on horses. It is a part of who I am, and while life is an insane roller coaster I am so lucky to continue to have horses in my world. So next time I forget, and am having all these insane-o thoughts about horses not being worth it, I should reread this post. Because they are.

It Was Okay

In honoring my last post about having realistic expectations, I showed up to my lesson with Cooper in an optimistic mood.  I told myself that he was the best school horse for me, and that I should be very glad to have something that will take care of me today.  I also noted to a riding buddy that he was not my type of horse but that I need to know how to ride him.  Not everything was going to go around like O or Dee did.  Horse #2 may be more like him.  I should be prepared.
I got the big giraffe all tacked up (so cute in his green extras) and headed to our lesson.  Warmup was abbreviated to avoid the heat, and we started popping over a little x.  There were a few ugly ones, usually when I pulled without leg support.  While it was irritating, my trainer just had me keep coming around until I understood that the horse was going regardless, and that he prefers a nice release…so I should probably try that sometime.

Forest green on a chestnut!

We laughed (while I tried to recover from our 1000 attempts) and decided that while he goes around a bit like a giraffe, he really needs someone to be soft and offer a big release. My reaction is to whoa and try to get his head down, but he wants me to kind of toss him the reins.  It really does boggle my brain.

We moved into some courses and while there were a few moments where I should’ve left the horse alone to do his job, it wasn’t totally ugly.  We might of even had a few nice fences…dare I say it.

Super attractive.

At the end of the ride I agreed with my trainer in that he is not the hero in my horse love story-but he has a lot to teach me.  I think after this ride, the biggest win is that I could be grateful, and that I wasn’t obsessing in a negative sense.  I went out, rode, and it was okay!  It’s a step in the right direction both in riding Cooper and mentally handling my riding.

 

SaddleBox Subscription Box Review

When SaddleBox reached out to see if I’d like to try and review the Saddlebox for June, I happily accepted!  The pretty blue package arrived very quickly and was stuffed full of good things!


List of items from June:

  • Epona bath sponge
  • Pretty horse molded soap (currently living in my spare bathroom)
  • Bridle Bites Horse Treats (a SaddleBox original product-already devoured)
  • Epona love curry brush
  • Herbsmith SoundHorse herbal liniment
  • The Horse Lover’s Guide to Massage
  • Peppermints (already devoured)
  • Spurrs Big Fix – Filly Cream Moisturizer

So far the only thing that I haven’t really been sold on is the LOVE curry brush.  I don’t know what to do with it.  It says it tackles tangles and provides massage, but is a curry brush?  The horses I tried it out on last week were not a huge fan of it on their bodies, but it works fine as a tail brush.  I do love the moisturizer, even if not sold on the name; and all things edible were immediately gobbled up by my friends horses.

The Horse Lover’s guide to massage is sitting on my coffee table, and I hope to actually try out some things before I judge one way or the other.  It’s really interesting stuff though, everyone always wants to keep their horses more comfortable.

Some SaddleBox Info:

Overall I think it was a really fun mix of products for horse and owner, with the added bonus that it is affordable and you subscribe on a monthly basis.

You can check out SaddleBox on instragram too, where they sometimes show off upcoming products for their boxes!

 

 

 

Still Here, Just Busy

The months of June and July ended being some of the craziest I’ve ever set up.  I’ll be in 7 different cites in 61 days doing my day job.  Add that to my trainers travel, and pretty much I’m in a non-riding holding pattern until things calm down. 

Getting business done.

Airport sign wins!


I’m squeezing lessons in when I can, but full disclaimer, I continue to struggle.  It’s been a long time since I cried during lessons twice in a row.  Or maybe I’m at 3 in a row now?  Anyway…

Chestnut boys!


Essentially riding hasn’t been fun lately.  I’m not giving up, but it’s been nice to get away, see somewhere new.  Hopefully when I get back in the saddle next I’ll be in a better spot mentally and ready to deal with the hard lessons.  

Third Lesson Not the Charm

Since he is apparently going to stick around the blog a bit longer (no one seems to ride him on my lesson days) the red giraffe, formally known as Cooper needs a bit more of a bio.

I like him in purple!


Cooper was purchased by my trainer in 2016 (I think) from his home where he was doing the equitation stuff at some of the rated shows.  I actually rode him right when he arrived and where I sort of blundered through our ride.  However, he was perfect, and didn’t put a toe out of line.  After joining the lesson program, a teen rode him and fell in love; so while he is technically a lesson horse, he only “teaches” randomly.  He’s a OTTB standing 16.2+ but all withers.  Very giraffe-like in appearance, but has fabulously easy canter to ride.  He’s quiet, but can get a little heavy.  Until last week I carried a stick just in case I needed back up.

Don’t let the sleepy giraffe fool you.


My first lesson was all peaches and cream.  Second lesson is discussed here.   Third lesson, this past week, oh HOLY HOT MESS. Cooper’s teen has been traveling this month, so his 5-6 days a week of exercise has ended up being more like 2 times a week.

Everything was so exciting!  Trotting circles, passing the broken arena door, the barn cat – the whole thing was pretty exhilarating to Coop. Points to my Roeckl’s for still sticking with me after the giraffe just went around and around.  I was also in tights for my lesson, which I almost never do (it was so humid) and I felt like my butt just slid everywhere in my saddle.

3 legged giraffe! 🙂


We made it through our warm-up, and at the trot, I actually had a few moments where I didn’t have to peer around his giant head to steer.  Yay?  I did have a big issue with the “whoa” this week.  It wasn’t much there.  Half-halts were turning into pulling fests, and I was losing ground.

We were both sweating extensively by the time jumping came around.  And even then, I couldn’t regulate his pace to save my life.  By the 2nd or third try to quietly canter a 18″ single I was pretty angry.  I know, anger has no place with horses and all that.  BUT.  It wasn’t that I was necessarily mad at him, but I was so angry that I couldn’t ride him. Sure, I did call him some…names…but what was most difficult to swallow was that I could not ride this mostly level headed, lesson horse who I have seen less experienced riders waltz around on.  Enter internal self-esteem tear down.

Was he rude?  Yes.  Was he dangerous?  Definitely not.  Was I so embarrassed and angry and wanting to scream?  Absolutely.

It’s been a long time since I felt as bad about a lesson as I did last week.  I know there were good moments, but it really did shake me up.  Change is hard you guys.