Lesson 6/7/2020

I’ve been lucky enough to take lessons, with the exception of having to cancel one here or there due to being called in to work when coworkers are sick or busy getting fired. My previous lesson this weekend was enlightening, if not underwhelming, because it just confirms that I do not have an outside seatbone.

This problem came to light when I was speaking with my instructor about our elusive (only at the trot!) right canter lead, but that I cannot get the left canter lead when doing walk-canter transitions. Instead he picks up the right lead. So…huh?

That right there is the problem with ponies. They’ll show you exactly how unbalanced you are. Their smaller size is less forgiving to your imbalances and it really shows.

So we spent most of our lesson making sure my outside seat bone and outside leg was on. I was explaining that my outside leg really felt like it was on, which basically lead to the discussion that if my outside leg was on but our circle was still lopsided, obviously my outside seatbone had floated into oblivion.

To emphasize how much I WASN’T using my seatbone, my evil instructor–I mean, super wonderful and nice instructor (but truly, she is amazing and wonderful) set up both mounting blocks about 4 meters out from C, had me turn at C and go between the blocks. We just did it at a trot, but boy oh boy did we run into the mounting blocks or completely miss most of the time. So that’s our homework. I foresee myself setting up lots of of cones and making us squeeze ourselves through there.

Vibe Check

We’ll all be honest here and say that COVID-19 has f*cked up a lot of things for a lot of people. The horse world edition? Shows and clinics have been canceled, barns have closed to riders and boarders, sales have slowed, and lots of jobs have been lost. How have I been faring? Honestly, somewhat better than before. Let me explain.

  1. My barn is currently not shut down. We maintain our social distances, disinfect items, and a lot of us tack up in our stalls.
  2. I am riding Wally and my project pony every single day. Wally is older, and older horses should move every single day. It keeps their joints lubricated and their tendons flexible.
  3. My work is cut down to half days, but I am still getting paid for the full day. Plus, I still have a job, unlike many people. My luck has not escaped me, and I truly feel grateful that I am still able to work, as my workplace is essential. (Especially because I just got the financial aid breakdown for vet school. And holy $hit, I am already broke and crying just looking at it.)

Some people are not riding because they don’t feel comfortable doing so. I understand their reasoning that they do not want to A) go into a hospital that is potentially filled with the virus, and B) take up bedspaces from people who truly need it. To mitigate this, I keep my rides as risk free as I can. No more galloping bareback in the fields for a while. Riding every day has definitely mellowed out Wally and my little greenie project. They’re getting fitter, so if they got multiple days off, lord only knows how fired up they may be.

I am getting way more riding time, and I finally have time to actually dick around at the barn and not hustle back to work. I’m not trying to idle at the barn and spread germs, but I am finally getting the chance to pull Wally’s mane, tidy up his goat hairs, and clean his sheath.

We were supposed to go to our first rated show in June, and finally the National Dressage Pony Cup, but I am not sure if either of those two things will be happening. And after seeing how much I will owe for vet school, I don’t think I can throw up the funds for either of those two things. It’s sad, but it is what it is. And at the very least, I still have my health and the ability to go ride, so I am not taking those for granted and am thankful every day for both of those things.

I know this COVID-19 is, for lack of a better word, sucking, but it WILL be over eventually, and we all just have to keep doing our parts. Stay self-isolating and this will all be over before you know it, and life will resume!

Lauren Sprieser Clinic Recap

Our long awaited clinic with Lauren Sprieser finally happened! We hauled down on Friday around 8AM, which gave us a great chance to school in the arena we would be working in! I was lucky enough to be going with another person from my barn with her awesome horse, Brego. He was a sales horse we got from an auction. He used to be F.A.T. Like, his name was Fat Albert before she bought him and changed his name. Now he looks fancy, fancy, fancy, and everyone asks if he’s part Andalusian, so mad props to her from turning him from a chunky western horse to a fancy, prancy dressage horse.

A star loader!
Size comparison of Wally and Brego, his travel buddy!

We got to school in the arena the clinic was being held in, which I consider a god send, because my very first clinic had Wally losing his absolute shit for the first ten minutes of our ride. I REALLY wanted to avoid that, even though he has never behaved like that ever again. I mostly wanted to stretch his legs since he would not be getting turnout during the days we were at the clinic and because he had just been on a trailer for close to 3.5 hours. He got a nice stretch ride, going through all of the paces and seeing all parts of the arena. Luckily he is not a spooky horse, so there were no issues at all and we had a lovely and short stretch ride that lasted about 26 minutes.

We don’t have mirrors at our barn, so I always like to show them to him so he gets used to seeing them again. He always wants to know who the little guy with fluffy hair in the mirror is!
Everyone kept saying how cute he was! Wally LOVES that sort of attention and snuggled with everyone that came up to his stall.

DAY ONE:

The first thing Lauren went after was my contact in the warmup. I let Wally warmup on a mildly loose rein for the beginning of our trot work. I am pretty serious about our warmup and tweak it constantly with minor changes to make it fit with how Wally is feeling that day. Lauren said that we should have more contact immediately in the warmup, saying that young horses in Europe are used to warming up with more contact and that it is not a sin to warmup with more horse in your hand.

The next thing we focused on was GOING. Lauren said the trot and the canter needed to be more forward, and really riding forward into the canter. She said the difference between him being a cute little pony and a dressage horse was how forward his canter is. Point taken. After being told to ride like the devil was after us, Wally probably thought I was going to run him into the ground. After spending so much time SLOWING down and collecting his canter, I’m pretty sure Wally had no clue what we wanted from him. You could practically hear him thinking, “Wait, you want me to go fast now? I thought we took that gear out of the picture?”

I don’t think Wally was really as balanced going up into the canter, because we could not pick up his right lead to save our life (save for when we were going to the left *cue face palm*). But he did get up and rounder, stepping underneath himself more. Which brought into play steering from the outside rein. This was an interesting theory and really blew up the inside leg to outside rein idea into bigger proportion. Wally was great about doing this on the left side, but definitely not so much on the right side. He went back to being squiggly wiggle and popping his left shoulder out as we cantered, even though I had previously fixed this issue.

Us picking up the wrong lead for probably the 30th time. His face clearly says, “What the shit is doing on?”
But look how round and full his neck and body is here! The poll is up and he looks like he’s compressing himself (wrong lead or not!)
I would love this picture *if* I wasn’t leaning to the inside. But look how thick and stallion-y his neck looks here! I wish we had a side shot to see what it looked like from that angle!
Lauren explaining a Turn on the Haunches. Wally’s face basically translates to a bunch of four letter words.
The concentration on his face was pretty par for the course. I’m still amazed by how well he settled down and was willing to go to work.

Day 2:

Day 2 went a little bit more smoothly than day one, mostly because Wally and I knew what to expect. For Wally, that meant working his little booty off. For me, it meant working Wally’s little booty off. Outside rein was king, and the go button had to be there.

We worked on spiraling in and out on a circle, relying on the inside rein to spiral in and then control the spiral out. She told us to think of almost leg yielding on the circle to spiral out. We worked from a 20m circle to about a 10m circle, in and out before we were released (like from prison–Wally’s words, not mine).

Next we worked on the canter, riding almost like a leg yield to the quarter line to get his outside hind stepping under and across and the inside hind leg coming up and more active. We went really forward and across, getting Wally to achieve more thrust while moving both forward and sideways–a novel idea, really. This was my favorite part of our lesson, and got a couple of Good’s yelled our way. Unfortunately, it was also the only part of our lesson we did not get on film, but it gave me a really good idea of what feeling to achieve in the canter, with him coming up more active underneath me.

When Lauren says, “Imagine you’re kicking him in the stifle to get him to go!,” I apparently took that to heart. Sorry, Wally!
How we really felt after the weekend was over.
One of my all time favorite pictures from the weekend.

All in all, the clinic went very smoothly and the facilities were gorgeous. Everyone was super nice, and the person in charge of organizing everything, Olivia Reese (who is also a gorgeous rider), did a phenomenal job with the schedule and fixing an issue that happened last minute. She and (I think) her assistant trainer, took all of the riding pictures you see here! They’re gorgeous photos, and I am super thankful we got them!

There were some really good takeaways from the clinic, and I am glad it was a positive and happy learning experience for everyone. I am super proud of how the pony put on his “working pants” and focused all weekend. He trailered well, settled in quickly, and was just the ultimate champ. Every time we do something like this, I am always increasingly impressed with how he does.

I do not have any shows or other clinics on the horizon, so I am starting to work him up to First Level Test 1 and build his strength before it really gets hot in Alabama. I want to nail his leads and start working his simple changes and canter serpentines back in. Other than that, super exciting news coming up that will change a lot for both Wally and me!

xoxo,

Superstar Champion Little Pony and his Feeder of Treats

Dentist Visit: Sometimes Less is More

The first month of the year is when every horse at our barn gets their Coggins pulled, vaccinations taken care of, and their teeth done. They usually get done in separate trips, with the Coggins and vaccines done on the first visit, and then teeth are done along with any Health Certificates (which the pony needs for our clinic in about three weeks!).

I knew Wally was due to have his teeth done, so we put off getting them worked on in November. Due to his age, I have the feeling he is turning into one that will need his teeth done twice a week. He is not necessarily a spring chicken at this point, as we think he is between 15-17, although his Coggins say he is 17 this year. Despite being kind of an old man, he acts very young, so I do not worry too much about his age, although it does mean I have to watch certain health issues a little bit more (like his teeth).

My previous posts touched a bit on me having trouble with steering with him. I fully believe 99.99% (or something like that) of your steering really needs to come from seat, but I found myself really having to use my reins to get him to complete circles, especially going to the right. He also really likes to straighten and hollow out on the left lead canter. Some of it I chalked up to pony naughtiness, because those were issues we had when he first came in and was really green. But those issues returned and I found myself really frustrated, because after all, I thought we had solved this sort of problem over a year ago.

It turns out that while he is really good at ducking his shoulder and bulging out, his teeth were a huge issue. The vet who did his teeth said there were some pretty sharp hooks (something my instructor and I both suspected), but that the rest of his teeth looked pretty good. I rode him the following day, and I cannot tell you what a difference his dental visit did. If you have seen some of my other rides, you can see him fighting me a little bit, making our circles pretty questionable in the shape category, and our rhythm is not consistent. But HOLY $hit, I was just going to give him an easy stretch ride in case he was sore or anything, but I had one of the best rides I have ever had on him.

Our warmups used to start with him charging through the bridle, running in the trot, and basically doing everything dressage riders do not want. I would spend a good 10-15 minutes just at a walk and trot (AFTER a 10-15 minute long walk warm up) trying to get him not be a little fool. I chalked part of it up to him being more fit and the weather being cooler (which I still believe is a factor, because we had a nice XC gallop the other day in the back pasture that was him just running his little butt off and having a great time). He would even rip the reins out of my hands and be a little bit of a jackass. And this is why when you are having behavior issues, you clear all medical stuff first. Check the back, the teeth, the tack, the eyes, etc., and then parse out whether they are being naughty or not. I know some people do not think horses have the ability to decide whether or not they will misbehave, but I full disagree with that notion (have a pony and you will too).

But this ride was magical. Straight off the bat he was more accepting of the contact, really bending and counterbending the way I asked, and even better, was soft and accepting in the trot. We have always had issues with the trot being a little too erratic, but I really felt like I had control over it this time, with super soft hands and any aids conveyed through the leg or the seat. He still wanted to get a little charge-y and run off in certain directions, but I think this is mostly from previous pain from his teeth. After him trying to take over on a couple serpentines, I really slowed him down, made him leg yield the opposite direction he thought we were going, and completed a circle instead of the serpentine to keep him guessing and on my aids. It was sort of like I had to rewrite and rewire his brain history so that he does not have to keep worrying about his teeth.

We still had some issues picking up the right lead, but I had a HUGE revelation. I took everything back down to a walk, softened all aids, gently put my left leg back, sat a little heavier on the right seat bone, and simply breathed out and he picked up the right lead effortlessly. That is how I need to ride all the time. The pony is at the point where he is more than capable of riding off a light aid, so I need to remember not to squeeze his little guts out when asking for something. The focus for this month (and probably forever, TBH) is riding with the lightest aid I possibly can to get what I am asking for. #LIGHTRIDING2k20 or something like that.

1-24-2020 Update: Sick and Cold

We are approximately T-minus 22 days away from the Lauren Sprieser clinic, and I am not really sure how to feel about the riding front. I am fixing some issues that popped up. Like the fact that we have lost a lot of steering at the canter. And that the canter is not adjustable any more. At. All. And we’re not always getting the right lead.

Then there’s the fact that we got the cold front from Hell and I got nice and sick, wasting a couple days of riding. I am sorry, but if it is in the teens and I am sick, I am not waking up at 5 A.M. to go riding. Sometimes you have to cut yourself some slack. I am always afraid that I am going to get burnt out of riding like I did with rowing. I highly doubt it, but I always have that fear in the back of my mind.

Tack-wise, we are doing great. Wally has two new bridles, since his last one was kind of going out the door (the leather was starting to split a little) and I really wanted one with poll and ear relief. I managed to find a gorgeous Halter Ego bridle on sale for $70 (which is a steal, because they normally run for $280-300ish), and it fit ALL of my requirements for white padding, anatomic fittings, and even patent leather with a noseband cavesson rather than a crank! Then the most amazing thing happened where my sister and dad nominated me for Solo Equine’s bridle giveaway, and I was one of the lucky winners! I am making the Solo Equine my show bridle, since it is a little flashier and has the glitzy browband. The Halter Ego will be my everyday one and have to take on more wear and tear. I also got a custom pair of stirrup leathers from Gary Mundy, which came highly recommended, so I am excited to try them out! They will get their own blog post, but they are Webber Style and have my initials stamped on them! (They also showed up the day I sprained my ankle, so cue irony’s entry.)

His new Halter Ego bridle! Black, white, and patent all over!

On the riding front, I have really been trying to build up Wally’s strength, pushing for longer cool downs and warm ups to build a bigger aerobic base, as well as asking harder and harder things during our workouts. Sorry, Wally, but the days of fifteen seconds of canter are over. We’re pushing for closer to building up to fifteen minutes of cantering per session. *Cue this look he gave me.*

I have been focusing on riding every single movement I can in shoulder-fore, especially the left side where the muscle imbalance was found (and that you can see from the ground especially during the canter). He is pretty willing to offer it, but I just have to give little reminders to stay in it during our ride, because he likes to straighten midway through a circle or down the long side. We lose our left bend in the canter. He picks up the left canter lead just fine, but HAS TO STRAIGHTEN on that side for some reason. But the really weird fricking thing is that if I ask him to bend and counterbend on the right lead, we hold the left bend super well. So color me confused. I am hoping some lessons and the clinic will fix this, in addition to strengthening and suppling.

Lesson 12-15-2019

As the year is wrapping up, I am realizing that my months with my current instructor are coming to an end. Regardless of whether I get into vet school, I do not think I will still be in Tuscaloosa as of next year (although stranger things have happened). She is by far the best instructor I have ever had, so my brain is already trying to wrangle up situations during breaks where I can come ride with her. Let me just find 20 grand really quickly to buy a truck and trailer and that will make it way easier.

Either way, I really need to start writing what I learn from her so I have a sort of online journal to reference. Everything she says is very useful, not just for my little snot of a pony, but for every horse I have ridden/will ride. Everything she teaches is classical dressage, which has stood the test of time, and will continue to do so. No modern dressage for me, thank you very much!

Our final lesson of 2019 was a continuation on the one we had had the week prior, where she taught me that the entire arena is actually a set of grids and involves a ton of math. (And here we were thinking we could just ride horses and have fun!) Within those graph squares are checkpoints to half-halt, collect, half-halt again, and then say “Go on!” with your legs to keep your horse balanced and full of impulsion. Throw on 20, 10, and 8m circles onto those graph squares, and you have a lot of complicated $hit to sift through.

We focused on my 20 meter circles, which should be easy, but like I said, there is a lot of fricking math and the pony is a genius at messing up any math I can think through unless my brain and body is more determined than his. My instructor explained it something along the lines of this

Young horses first begin on twenty meter circles, where Intro and Training Level only require a small degree of bend. The younger, unbalanced horses can be traveling on three or even four tracks, but by the time they make the move up the level to 8 meter circles, they must be traveling on two tracks. The horse must straddle the line evenly on either side with both sets of legs as his training goes up. Think taking the training wheels off a bike, or how a tricycle is more balanced than a bicycle, but can do less advanced maneuvers. By getting the horse to take fewer tracks, he is balancing himself.

But the tricky part is then figuring out how to get the horse to balance himself. He must learn to step under himself with the inside hind to keep the balance, but not swing the outside hind out and bury the inside shoulder. He has to learn to use his abdominals (which really means that you are using your abdominals!) to hold himself, keep the weight on the hind end, and free his shoulders to lift. Long story short, bring back in the concept of the grid squares with all of their half-halts, and that is how you do it. Except it is really hard and your abs will kill you.

Two tracks!

There are certain areas of the circle where we tend to bulge, lose the bend, and swing a shoulder or hind leg out the wrong direction. By really sitting down in the saddle and pressing him laterally, I can get him to really straighten up his tracks, keep the bend, and stay soft in the body. Especially on the left side is where we tend to lose the bend, so I really need to push him off my inside leg laterally. He tends to lose the flexion on the left side, so much so that the saddle fitter commented on his uneven muscling. His right shoulder and back next to the wither has almost a centimeter more of muscling, which is actually kind of scary and shocking, so I need to make sure I am really working on his left flexion.

I really like how you can see in the video below that he gets rounder and stays flexed more correctly as our ride and lesson goes on. That is a good sign things are working (which on a pony can be a really tricky thing to tell!). There were some definite moments where he softened and held himself up. You can match up some good steps with where my instructor yells, “Good!” so it is always nice to see what she sees in those moments. My instructor mentioned that he is finally working through the topline more correctly, but needs to be using his bottomline now. We managed to get a couple steps where he was using his bottomline, so that is the goal from here on out to use all ends of the horse!

Our lesson. Notice how he gets rounder and rounder throughout it!

Finishing Out 2019

Our lesson this past Sunday was the last one of the year (different blog post will be going up about it!), as I am now home for about two weeks. I’m counting this as Wally’s two-week mini winter vacation before we hit bootcamp mode to get ready for the Lauren Sprieser clinic in February. I am using the break from riding to do more yoga and core/back strengthening so I’ll be ready to ride when I go back!

I really like planning out our rides and the fitness schedule, even though I pretty much never stick with it because there are days I do not go out, days where I get on the pony and feel like we need to work on something else, etc. Ingrid Klimke outlined her workout plan, so I loosely follow something like that, with flexibility in the schedule. I am currently looking at something like this:

-Mondays: Longer warmup at the walk, really focusing on bend and counterbend at all gaits, especially on a circle. Being able to regulate speed and focusing on softening the hind end joints to get them more bending and stepping under is key here.

-Tuesdays: Working on stuff we worked on in our lesson. I prefer not to work on it immediately on Monday after our lesson on Sunday so the pony does not get too bored with it. This is where we follow up with specific exercises or drills that we used in our lesson.

-Wednesdays: Floating off day. Since I have to ride at 5:30/6 A.M., sometimes I just do not get up, especially if it is below freezing out.

-Thursdays: Cavaletti work/hacking out for fitness. The focus here is on getting Wally to engage his “bottom line” rather than just his top line, so his hind legs become more active and stepping under, activating his abdominal and rump muscles. Trot and canter sets up and down the plowed field, plus up and down the super small hills that we have just so we can get a change of terrain (if I don’t get yelled at by our mean neighbors).

-Fridays: Test riding + hacking out (stretch ride rather than just fitness). Most shows are on the weekends, so we typically practice tests any way, so it is good to have it already built into the plan. Hacking them out after keeps them used to focusing when in the arena, but losing tension when outside of it (much like how you have to go from one ring to another at shows).

-Saturdays: More cavalettis or “Box of Death” work to really keep the muscles engaged, but give his mind a chance to work on something different.

-Sundays: Lesson days, so trainer’s choice.

If I can, I like to hack out before and/or after to cool him out and let him grab some grass to keep him fresh and not ring-sour, despite the fact that he believes he should never do any work and should just eat all the time. I am hoping we can stick to some semblance of this plan throughout the year so I can keep his fitness on track and hopefully have a solid First Level debut in 2020.

Christmas Gifts for the Equestrian in Your Life–All Under $25!

Christmas is practically here, which means it is time you started shopping–particularly for the equestrian in your life.  This may mean an S.O., friend, or barn mate.  This can get expensive, so I have decided to include a list of goodies all under $25 that would make any equestrian happy!  I have used all of these products extensively, so I can back the effectiveness/quality of them!  Any items that I am partnered with, I will make a note of so you can take advantage of the discount code!

 

  1. Kendall’s Sassy Buns: I have a review of these coming up, but these are totally customizable.  You can choose the colors of the scrunchie, beads, pearls, netting, etc., as well as choose between mesh and netting.  Additionally, you can let the maker know how thick your hair is so she can choose an appropriate size and strength of netting/mesh to hold your hair in! Mine ended up costing about $22 shipped after I had customized everything, which is comparable/cheaper than quite a few non-customizable hair nets out there!  Even better, it is a small, woman-run/owned company!  Pricing: $22+ depending on all customization

    58855659172__4910ec88-1eb0-4eff-8c23-6b132a308962
    My full customized black and gold one, with mesh and beads I picked out!

    https://www.kendals-sassy-buns.com/

  2. K9 HYDRA KERATIN + LEAVE-IN BALM: This stuff is amazing. I rarely brush the pony’s tail because he has so little of it, but after not brushing it for over a month, I sprayed this stuff in and was able to brush through it in one go with no tangles.  It made his tail super silky and look extra full.  I love that it is hydrating too, because the winter air makes hair super dry and brittle, so this made his coat and tail luxuriously moisturized and got rid of some of the dandruff he is prone to getting.  Again, this is another small, woman-run company, which if you cannot tell, I am a huge fan of.   Price: Around $20, depending on where you get it from.  Honestly worth every penny.  This stuff beats the heck out of Cowboy Magic detangler, which I used to like.img_0055
  3. Pure Sole Hoof Mud: If you have not already seen my review of this stuff, click here. This stuff is amazing, all natural, fun to use, and also comes from a small, woman run/owned company (are you sensing a theme?).  They did just undergo a change in ownership, but everything seems to be about the same so far! Price: $24.50 (USE code WALLY for 10%)  https://www.puresolehoof.com/product-page/pure-sole-hoof-wax-16-oz

    img_0143
    Check out my last review to see how bad his feet looked versus how they look now with no thrush.
  4. K9 HORSE ALOE VERA SPRAY:  It is a leave-in spray conditioner that works as an antistatic (great for winter season when blankets create static!) and detangler.  It has Aloe Vera, D-Pathenol, and wheat protein to not only nourish the hair and skin, but strengthen the hair as well.  The price is great too! Price for 500mL $8 http://www.bluestallionsharpening.com/product-p/avn500ml.htm
  5. Soap for Dirty Equestrians: If you have not seen my review on Instagram of this soap, go check it out!  It is from the amazing folks at Heels Down Happy Hour.  These soaps are vegan, smell amazing, and come with hilarious names guaranteed to make any equestrian laugh.  Price: Each bar $10.99, some gift sets available https://shop.heelsdownmag.com/
  6. Diaper Cream: Seriously.  You can use this for just about anything on horses.  Scratches? Check.  Itchy butt cheeks? Check.  Summer rash or “chub rub” on yourself? Double-check.  This is a must-have for your tack kit.  Found at any drugstore for $2-4.
  7. Sterling Essentials:  If you haven’t heard of these products yet, I have no idea where you’ve been.  See my review here All individual products under $20, and Starter Kit is $7.95 (perfect for stockings!) https://www.sterling-essentials.com/products (Use code Jackie4Sterling for Free shipping!)
  8. Sport Horse Essentials Waterless Horse Shampoo: Perfect for cold weather when you cannot bathe your horse.  Totally takes away the smell from your horse rolling in their own poop.  I did a review of their Coat Conditioning Spray, which is also great.  Made with all natural ingredients and essential oils.  Great for spot cleaning of sweaty spots or stains.   Price: $23 https://sporthorseessentials.com/collections/grooming-packages/products/waterless-shampoo-and-stain-remover
  9. A baby bottle warmer to act as a bit warmer:  There are multiple options here, so scope out the best price and reviews.  Easily wraps around multiple bits and gets them to just the right temperature.  Way cheaper than most bit warmers out on the market.  Price. $14 on sale https://babyaccessoriesonline.com/products/baby-portable-bottle-warmer?variant=31415620108360&utm_medium=cpc&utm_source=google&utm_campaign=Google%20Shopping&gclid=CjwKCAiAxMLvBRBNEiwAKhr-nOw2QZ3l7gMNghHMrXXRvpNji0_K5uBOnDVSad78efbCPsMs_ULg2BoCVWIQAvD_BwE
  10. Video Lesson: Video lessons are an interesting concept.  On one hand, you don’t get immediate feedback, but on the other, it is perfect if you cannot get to a trainer regularly, don’t have the funds to clinic, or just want another set of eyes on your ride.  While I have not done a video lesson with Ellessee Jordan, I do know she offers some for dressage riders and jumpers, so you reallyhave your fair share of options with her.  She has pretty good accolades too, so you know she has the experience to back up what she is teaching.  I did one with Alexa Derr after winning her giveaway of one, and it was great to get more feedback.  Different instructors say things differently, so one instructor may say something that changes your perspective or offers a better view of an exercise or concept.  Price: $25 for first lesson http://www.ellessejordan.com/store/c2/online-coaching 

A$$hole Pony for Sale

A$$hole pony for sale:

-likes to bite

-can gallop very very fast

-no maintenance required other than front shoes and 50lbs of carrots a day

-no chance in hell you are going to get a good ride if he’s grumpy unless you somehow manage to be grumpier

-every ride may or may not be a battle of the wills

-may or may not pass PPE, because his legs look like they were put on the wrong side and backwards

Price: $10,000,00

 

Obviously a joke, but in all honesty, the pony was BAD this morning.  I love when people say that horses can’t be naughty, because that may be true for horses, but very untrue for ponies.  Anybody who says ponies are incapable of the thought process that lets them be naughty is just 100% wrong.

I had pulled something moderately in my back on the right side, and it was very stiff.  I decided to ride Wally since he is smoother to ride than Willie, and a smaller mover than Scout.  Well, BIG FAT JOKE on me.  I hacked him out to warm him up, and he was totally fine.  He was a little fussy earlier when I was tacking him up, so I took his flash off and loosened his noseband and let him get away with it.  I finished warming him up on a loose rein and then turned him to go to the arena.

Long story short, he did not want to go inside, but then I saw the back pasture was open and no one was in it, so little genius me thought it would be good to go ride in.  I figured even if it was not our most productive ride, at least he would be building fitness.  So a win-sort of win situation, right? WRONG!

We spent all of our time with him deciding to throw out a really extravagant trot with NO control or galloping round and round like a fool.  There was some mud, so I was worried it would be slick and that we would fall or lose a shoe, but it was solid enough ground and the fool has moderately good balance.  All I can say is thank God for my new saddle with buffalo leather that I just cleaned and conditioned, which made it even grippier.  While the pony did not buck or really try to get me off, there was definitely a bee in his bonnet about something.

Normally after a ride like that, he has calmed down and is back to his usual self, but not today!  He continued being a little piss ant with his ears pulled back and his nostrils wrinkled.  I turned him out, where he grunted and rolled a whole bunch.  When he came to say goodbye, I thought he’d be sweet, but no.  He bit my inner arm when I was petting him, so I chased him off with a lead rope.

I spent most of my morning at work coming up with his full workout plan, that is how pissed I am.  But that is also life with a pony that you buy very expensive tack for while he gives zero shits about how much you spend on him.

img_0157

Wally Update 12/6

Sooooo….. I’ve already broken my promise to myself that I would make it out to the barn every day.  So far, I have missed four days in a row due to being sick/having my sleep schedule completely f’ed with.  This week has really just beaten the $hit out of me and it is only Thursday.

I am in massive pony withdrawals, so I took my lunch to visit my pony.  Did I drive forty minutes just to spend 20 minutes with my pony?  Yes.  Yes, I did.  Was it worth it?  Absolutely.

He is definitely going to get ridden well tomorrow, and then I have lesson on him on Sunday.  If we are going to make a push up to First Level, I need to be super consistent about keeping his strength and fitness up.  Especially considering I am signing up for a Lauren Sprieser clinic…

See how casually I just slipped that in there? She comes highly recommended, and my dad’s house is only 12 minutes away, so I would not have to pay for housing/lodging.  The clinic works out to $150/ride, and $30/night for stabling, so I’m looking at clinic fees of about $390.  Thankfully lunch is covered by the clinic, the rest of the food will be taken care of by my dad, as will the housing.  Not too bad for a clinic, but now I need to figure out hauling fees.  I’m probably going to be looking at somewhere close to $400.  *Cue the dying* Which is why I am trying to get a couple barnmates to go to split the fees, or just get the one who has a trailer and has offered free hauling before.

So the first big thing is on my calendar.  It is good to have a solid date to work towards so I can stay motivated about my goals.  First Level, here we come! (Hopefully!)