Thursday, March 27, 2014

Lesson Win

So far I have been taking lessons on Frankie and trainer has been riding Dickie while I am at work. Takings lessons on baby horse was pointless. We were working on such basics that it would be a waste to pay someone to tell me the obvious. However, we are past the point of just getting down go, stop, and turn. He is going over poles, he is trail riding like a champ, and even gets himself looking fancy in the bridle. I have ridden Frankie enough to have regained some modicum of coordination in my legs. My hip is still twisted up but if I think really hard and stick my tongue out I can almost get it straight. 

I booted up today so I was ready to take my turn on the spotted brown horse. For some reason I get really nervous taking lessons with anyone but my old trainer. I have had some bad expiriences with finding new trainers. It seems that if you don't get on and do things their way they assume you don't know anything and want to start over and treat you like a begginer. Sadly at this point in my riding sometimes looks terrible but there is a rider under there somewhere. I was nervous but she has seen my ride a trained horse so at least she knows what I am capable of. 

Watch out this will be us. 

I got on first and she zeroed in on the fact that I am giving him way too much slack. I assume he isn't getting what he needs from me so I give up just a little too soon. We are getting a nice forward trot on the long sides but he gets tight on circles or corners. I kind of half assed put my outside leg on him to keep his shoulder from popping out then do a crazy thing with my inside arm. Then I just give up because I feel bad he has to put up with me. I almost get what I need then just crap out. After I rode trainer got on and didn't give him any excuses. Then back on went mom. I sat up and rode like I knew how. She had home moving forward and fancy so I could feel what he was capable of. Trainer got on my case when I needed to keep my hands together and put my leg on. And BAM!! My horse felt amazing. He floated. I could feel him sit, his back come up, and stretch down into the bridle. I felt like I was riding a fancy assed trained dressage horse. 

Us? No, not with me on board. 

From now on I just ride. I don't feel bad for him that he is stuck with an out of shape owner with a twisted hip. He is my horse. I might not be perfect but he has to learn my ways  regardless. And if today is any measure of what we can do together it might be pretty fancy. She works spotted pants on Weds in april and I happen to have every Weds off. Looks like it is lesson time for us for awhile. 

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Let the good times roll

I love trail riding. I love splashing through the rain. I love jumping logs and wading through creeks. And more than anything I love a good long gallop. That's why I love eventing. You get to take a trail ride as part of the show! 

Dickie and I were both decked out in reflective gear so the wine tasters could see us coming. 

Bre and I have always had access to trails. In Alaska there were miles of trails we could access winter and summer. In Oregon we were on the edge of over a 1,000 acres along the clackamas river. Miles and miles of footing w just the right amount of river sand that allowed us to tear it up rain or shine. Bre's current retirement barn only has a small loop and some polo fields. 

We had a quick warmup in the ring. 

I've missed being outside so much. I just found out that Dickie and I are a short ride away from trails. One of the neighbors backs up to a farm that donated the land for equestrian use. Sunday the weather was lovely so we hit the road. It's about a half mile up the road then a half mile up a private drive. We let the horses trot up the drive (a decent grade hill) and I was shocked that my ho dee dum appy was asking for more at the top. 

He was so good that my friend gave us a ride home. 

Once at my friends house we hooked up to the trail system. Those trails are still a bit soft so we couldn't trot or canter but they are fantastic. The footing will be great once it dries. Lots f hills, a little creek, and even a horse bridge. 

He got to have some yummy grass at my friend's house before heading home. 

And Dickie was a bomb diggety rockstar. He had his moments. He was appalled that there was running water on either side of the rode and decided that a jeep was somehow more terrifying than the giant dump truck. But he kept forging on and even took the lead for a large portion of the ride. He was bold and forward and fun. Other than short jaunts up the road he hasn't been on a trail ride and he was game the whole time. He was such a good boy that we ended while he still had spunk in him. My friend have us a ride home since he was getting a little tired and the hill home is steep. I can't wait to take him again!

Sunday, March 23, 2014

St Francisco Banderas

I have mentioned my lessons with a local event trainer. I met her at my last barn and started getting her help with Dickie before Christmas. Since I got Dickie I have been wanting a trained horse to take some lessons on. I tried to ride with  my first trainer but they don't have consistent lesson horses for advanced riders. I have been beside myself to find Cricket and her Saint of a horse Frankie. Frankie is a 16.3 hand tank of an OTTB. He's got feet like a draft and a moose sized head and he's exactly what I need. Years of riding without lessons, riding green horses, followed by a hip injury has left me with some deep rooted position issues. I can cover it up pretty easy and get the job done but she is helping me with details. Frankie has been so patient. He has an amazing work ethic. If I get my position right he rewards me right away. And if I am tired or riding with  my head up my ass he doesn't take advantage.

It was a sunny day to ride while the sheep watched on. 

I can't afford weekly lessons and it would be too hard with our schedules anyway. One of her other students has been riding Frankie while her horse is injured so scheduling has been even harder this last month. She called last week to say a student was hauling in for a jump lesson and I could ride with her. I could warm up and ride alone for awhile then she would jump in at the end of my lesson. 

We started out with a serious of poles on the ground. Two poles on either long side (three strides between), then on the short side two raised poles up on jump blocks. They were on a curve with a canter stride between. As usual we spent a good chunk of time at the walk. My hip is so crooked that I am having to work hard just to be aware of when I am straight. Then we moved it up to the trot and worked on getting through the corner poles perfectly straight. It is so funny how you can muscle through stuff but when you start trying to get your lines exact and the exact same number of trot strides the sillliest stuff gets mind boggling. 

He puts up with my lazy ass when I am sure he would rather do this. How cute is his face?

When the other rider made it in she set up one of the poles on the long sides to a jump and added a bounce on the diagonal. She said I could be done if my hip was killing me but I decided to bite the bullet. I haven't jumped in years (since the day I hurt by hip) and an audience of my student, trainers student, and trainer's student's mom was a little nerve wracking. However, Frankie packed me around like a Saint. We went right over the long side, around the two corner jumps, up over the bounce, and back down the other long side. I went through a few times. It felt so good to get into a zone. The last time we threw in flying lead changes. The jumps were teensy but it was a big deal for me. This horse is amazing. What a good good boy. I love you Frankie. 

Insert treats in my face now. 

Saturday, March 22, 2014

The New Baby (don't worry it isn't alive)

I have a dressage saddle I like after many trial and errors. However, I don't love riding babies in dressage saddles. I much preffer getting my stittups up a bit. I feel more secure and better able to keep with with the drunken trajectory and variable tempo of big gangly youngsters. It is also easier to keep up off a young growing back. I bought an Ainsley so I would have something to trail ride in and work on two point. I didn't feel like I should go all out with my dream saddle (Black Country). I hadn't even jumped yet so who knows if I will like it as much as I remember. And maybe Dickie won't have any interest in jumping. Then we would have a fancy jump saddle just to tool around the trails. 

The Ainsley isn't a fancy saddle but is in great conditional, built to last, and fits him really well. Sadly, I didnt' didn't feel all that solid in it. I assumed it was just me and my noodly out of shape legs. I tried to two point on him and made it half a lap before my legs started flailing like I was having a seizure. I assumed baby horse + out of shape was the cause and I just needed to get my shit together. Last week I had a lesson on bad ass Frankie horse in trainer's Black Country. Frankie is a magic horse that anyone could two point so I didn't realize how much her saddle was helping me. But last week I actually went over fences for the first time in YEARS (that deserves it's own post). I was a mess in many ways but my legs was rock solid and I felt melded to the horse. I mentioned I might like to start looking for a different jump saddle sooner rather than with next years tax return. Magically trainer found one for a steal of a price. 

I tried it on Dickie and it fits!!! He will probably grow out of it by next year but I will easily be able to get my money out of it and replace it with a wider saddle. Dickie moved well in it. He moved out and even asked to canter a few times so I think he likes it. I LOVE IT!! I felt like a tiger in that saddle. We rode outside for the first time in months and he gave me some attitude. My legs didn't even move. It was amazing. I am soooo glad I went for it. And did I mention how gorgeous it is? Tomorrow is our first real off the property trail ride. Can't wait to get in my new saddle.


I haven't really set concrete goals for awhile. I felt like everytime I set goals something out of our control would get in the way. Broken feet, jumpers taking over the barn, pneumonia, tummy aches, holidays, working too many hours..... The biggest barrier to setting tangible goals was Dickie's mental status. When you have a youngster you can only go as fast as they can handle. Bre came to me with plently of issues but that mares brain has always focused like a lazer. She was too serious for her own good. Dickie on the other hand thinks life is a party and if his people don't keep things fun he ain't playin'. He couldn't even be bothered with walking on a lead rope if something more entertaining came along. 

Long story short Dickie's brain is grown up enough that he improves with each ride. Even when I factor in baby brained back slides we are still moving steadily forward. So when my friend mentioned she is heading to the Inavale one day schooling horse trials I said I would tag along. It is the end of May  and there is a 2'0' class. He lifts himself that high in a canter. And if we decided to just do dressage and scratch the jumping it will get us out and about. Her horse is this calm young OTTB who travels like a dream. He would be the perfect partner for Dickie. 

Soooo May 31st and June 1st we will be heading down to Inavale for some fun (hopefully in the sun). I bet I will run into a few of you down there. 

Trying a New Blog Tracking Method

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I find myself on my phone much more than my computer but the Blogger app just lets me post. I am going to trying the bloglovin' app to keep up with your posts. It says I need to put this link in a post to claim my blog so that is the reason behind this random post with nothing in it.