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:

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Humbled, A Showing Story

After I had cried out my anger and frustration about how pitiful I rode during our schooling, I had a few hours to get a grip on life.  By the time I was called to get into the tack again, I was in the mindset of “hey, how much worse can it get?”

Well folks, turns out a lot.  Also, sorry because I haven’t had time to update videos because of life.  They will be debuting in all their refusal glory later this week.

Anyway…..

Trainer had advised me to get into the 2 foot hunters so that I would have one class before my 2’6” classes to O to see the course again.  Not that she doesn’t see and jump these objects ALL THE TIME, but hey, we were being careful.

Course numero uno:

-We stopped at the first jump

Staring down the scary jump that she sees 4-5 times a week.

Staring down the scary jump that she sees 4-5 times a week.

-We stopped at the 8th jump (previously had been the crossrail of doom from schooling)

Stoppy McStopper Horse.

Stoppy McStopper Horse.

-We stopped at the 9th jump (we only made it 2-3 strides down the line before she said “hell no” to this one.

-As we trotted out I actually apologized to the judge.

-The jumps she did go over, she jumped cute and quiet.

Oxer 2

So basically I walk out and say WTF horse?!?!  My trainer said I gave her the ride she needed, but she just isn’t getting over herself.  Awesome.  I get off, and wait another hour plus until I ride again.

"I cannot brain today," says O.

“I cannot brain today,” says O.

It’s the flat classes first up.  I freakin’ love flat classes, and at this point I am looking for a beacon of light anywhere.  I hop on, walk horse into ring with 14 other horses for the under saddle.  I walk out with a 2nd place.  She was lovely.  We were beat by a fancy little pony.  I can live with that.  Ten riders stay in the ring for equitation.  I pick up the 2nd place again.  Also-my sitting trot is great because my horse softens and coasts across the ring like the grown up, trained horse she actually is.  Internal fist pump of glory.  At least I look okay while we stop at all these jumps?  Right? Right.

Sitting up

Looking grown up.

Looking grown up.

My 2’6” over fences were a blur.  There was a warm-up, two under saddles, and 1 equitation.  We had stops in everything but the equitation.  And with over 20 horses in the classes I knew I was out of the ribbons. I used it to school, and actually circled and came back to the line from hell in one of the classes because I HAD to get her to do it twice in a row.  No one seemed to care, but people did stay back from the railing as we got close.

Stop 2

We=scary scary.

But we did make it around the equitation round.  No idea what the difference was, I felt that I rode it the exact same I did all the other times I was trying to get her over the fences.  This time she played along.  We took a 5th.  Oh and got both our lead changes.

Funny lead change snaps from the video:

Sassy mare

Part of lead change

2nd part of lead change

So looking at my ribbons, two reds and a pink, you would actually think it went pretty well.  That said, I know it didn’t.  I do not want a stopper.  And in my mind I’m simply waiting for someone to officially title her that.  After a 12+ hour day, and several drinks, I poured myself into bed in order to get some sleep before the finale of the weekend dawned: the judge was staying to clinic us Sunday.  I had a feeling it was going to get interesting.

Picky Picky

First lesson since the biting of the dust a few weeks ago. I was really excited to jump. I admit that I was hoping the stupid flowers O lost her mind/back end over, would be in the mix so we could tackle them again. Sadly they were stored to the side.

I'm coming for you evil orange flowers.

I’m coming for you evil orange flowers.

Flatwork is coming together, we get 5-6 strides of really great canter, usually down the long sides, and the corners are so much of a train wreck. I’m still really struggling with keeping that outside rein steady in contact at the left lead canter. We moved pretty quickly into jumping, starting with just a little vertical on the quarter line. And for the first half a dozen times I rode to it like I was coming to a 3 foot oxer. Pick, pick, picking at her about her spots.

Fail.

My trainer kept saying “Why are you picking at her?! She’s figuring it out!”. Anyway. It was not one of my better moments as a rider. Once I realized I was just getting in her way, I half halted coming out of the corner and sat quietly. O quietly took me to the vertical each time after. Huge shock (not). I was really proud that she would choose to pick the shorter, closer spot too, versus the herculean-effort long spot she sometimes prefers.

Once we moved into course work, I got my butt into gear. We managed to fit in the adds every single line, and I realized that my horse is actually pretty adorable at her job. I also got the clear to show next weekend, so that is good news. O was a sweaty pony post ride, and is still attempting to keep her weird straggling red hairs on some parts of her body. SHED HORSE! I need you to shed!

Also, while eating her dinner, I tempted fate with the new pony (cutest little white fluff ever) by putting her next to him. In case you don’t know, O is either terrified of, or hates all ponies. The new one sent her into a spook every time he went past last weekend. And you can read about her meltdown over our mini here. Apparently the tiny adorable-ness pony can fit his head through part of O’s stall near her food. A ridiculous battle of pinned ears and wrinkly noses ensued.

Cuteness pony sees O's dinner.

Cuteness pony sees O’s dinner.

He makes his move!!  O is not pleased.

He makes his move!! O is not pleased.


O wins.

O wins.

Fit

This is the longest I’ve gone in a long time without posting. My apologies, the temperatures have continued to be horrible, I did make it out to check on her, but the footing wasn’t thawed enough to ride. I did get a text on the one warmer day, my trainers words…”I looked up and she was hauling ass around the (40 acre) field…by herself. No idea what she was doing.” I have a special horse. At least she didn’t wipe out. And hey, the glue mended fixed blanket totally stayed with her.

Anyway, the big news was that today I had my second lesson on O since August, and since we’ve been cantering. It was over freezing finally, and the footing felt great. O felt awesome, and my trainer couldn’t stop saying how sound she was. Knock on wood (several times).

We’d done a few little baby x’s, and about 100000 poles since she started rehab. But today, we had our first “in program” training lesson. We are talking cantering, trot changes, working on the bend, and yes…we freaking jumped!! We started her out on some larger x’s. Which is good because apparently she forgot how to jump for a second, and totally jackrabbited it.

The first jump kind of felt like that.

The first jump kind of felt like that.

But we did it again, and again, each time getting more and more smooth. Then we added another jump, and then another. We finished doing a little 5 jump course with a bending line. Pony jumped it SUPER cute. We decided she had done far better than we would’ve expected and she got tons of pats and cuddles. I may have shrieked a bit on course at one point because she was jumping so good. And just because we were jumping anything!!

One of the jumps we did!

One of the jumps we did!


Baby roll top that O jumped super cute.

Baby roll top that O jumped super cute.

The best part is the fact that she was a total pro about the whole thing. She had her strong, flowy canter going, would jump in strong and do the stride, and land looking for the next one. Ears, up she felt so fit and strong through the whole thing. And God knows I was waiting for the tiniest evidence of any pain or unsoundness, but all I had was a quiet, confident little mare.

Needless to say. I’m a tiny bit giddy. However, we still have to wait and see how she comes out of this lesson to see how we proceed forward. But it feels good to see how happy and healthy she is.

O loved all the extra attention she got today.

O loved all the extra attention she got today.

Still Sore

As you may have guessed from my very subtle title for this post, that O is still sore.  I will say that she is looking better, maybe 90% of her usual self.  I’m taking that as progress.  Hoping she continues to heal up and get to feeling better ASAP.  Obviously she misses her job.  She went over this pole half a dozen times when I let her out in the ring.

Big jump

Big jump