Saturday, 31 May 2014

June Goals

I've always been a big believer in goals.  I firmly believe that writing you goal down is one of the best ways to achieve it.  I've got life goals, 5 year goals, 1 year goals and now I'm delving into monthly goals.  I want them to be achievable, measurable and I want to be accountable for them so I am going to track them here.

June Goals

-Ride sidesaddle at least twice a week
-No stirrup work (or bareback) for at least 45 min a week
-At least one no pressure ride
-Complete an event with a number, even if it's K2 high (I've got two chances for this one)
-A jumping lesson (or show) without a single run-out or stop
-Make a concentrated effort to get fitter (so I don't run out of steam before the end of my course)

So there you have it, nothing earth shattering but important nonetheless.

Wednesday, 28 May 2014

Derby Time!

Sunday was the first cross country show of the year.  Isabel was awesome enough to come out and pick me and the mare up and we were off!  I had entered Entry, knowing we could have some issues but height isn't really our problem, steering and confidence are. So for better or worse we were giving 2'6" cross country  go.

Our course was 7 stadium fences and 7 cross country for a total of 1805m and an optimum time of 5:09.  The cross country fences were very straight forward with the most difficult being an up bank, 2 strides to a down bank.  The up wasn't flagged so there was the option to go up the ramp and jump down the bank.  (This becomes important later)

Stadium course (you know you're jealous of my awesome Paint skills)
Cross-country course
As we were tacking up, the skies unleashed a torrential downpour.  Rivers of water running of my saddle kind of downpour.  Turns out the mare hates rain.  She was fidgety, obnoxious and downright rude about me mounting up.  I was really glad I had corks since our stadium portion was on grass and then we went straight out into cross country.

Thankfully the rain was short lived.  By the time I made it to the warm up area the rain had mostly petered out.  The mare warmed up beautifully, even jumping the verticals at steep angles (inviting a run-out) without missing a beat.

Crappy cell phone photo at an interesting time...
When we went into start our twisty-turny stadium I was feeling nervous but very determined.  Our first fence was an oxer and I was not going to start our day with a run-out.  I rode her aggressively to the fence and she took it like a pro.  The rest of the course was not pretty as she felt very sticky and had a few deer moments but we went clear and were headed out to the cross country.  We had a nice gallop to the first fence and a few strides out I felt her back off.  I grabbed my reins in one hand and used my whip.  Unfortunately it didn't help :( She went left, and I went right.  The fall was minor and I could have landed on my feet if I had tried but since I have no desire to repeat my ankle destruction I tucked my knees in and landed on my hip.  The reins had come over her head and I've never been quite so glad I let her graze with the lead rope dragging.  She'd step on them, stop, back up and continue on.  I caught up and started my walk of shame.

Fortunately we had a second round to redeem ourselves.  The stadium felt great, until we got to fence 7 ad had a run-out.  Truthfully, I'm not sure why we had the run-out but it sure galvanized me into riding her like she was going to die if she went left.  We got over the first cross country fence, it wasn't pretty but I stayed on and we went.  The next fence rode lovely and we were off to the banks.  20 feet from the banks she slammed on the banks and reared.  These are the same banks we schooled a week ago without an issue.  Rather than pick the fight with her I chose to do the ramp and jump down.  We had another attempted run-out at the next fence which resulted in a stop.  I backed her up a few steps and we jumped it no problem on the second try.  Next was a big log pile that caused her to back off but I got aggressive and growled and we sailed on over. Our next fence was a small A-frame right before the water and I just plain ran out of steam.  When she balked I had no legs to back up my desire to go forward so we picked up a stop on the smallest fence out there.  We backed up again and jumped it with one trot stride.  She went through the water like a champ though!  The last fence was also the biggest, and one we hadn't jumped before so I was a little nervous and just rode with all I had left.  She didn't even look at it.  It was the nicest jump of the day and was a good place to call it a day.
Last Jump, apparently we jumped it at an angle

While it was not the day I wanted it still had moments that stand out (like our course had 4 oxers and not one was an issue!).  I have to say it is very disheartening to continue to have the same issue and at tiny little fences.  I'm feeling discouraged and at the end of my rope.  I can't keep falling off because I will eventually get seriously injured and I just can't afford that.  I promised myself and the mare that I would give it a solid year for us to get our shit together but there are people (best friend and coach included) that think it is time to find her a new home.  I'm not there yet, and I don't want easy (safe is a whole different story).  I'm not going to learn anything if I continue to ride the easy horses.  So I'm going to pick myself up and head to the Alhambra derby this weekend for another go at this cross country thing.
I'm not sure why but I love this photo

Monday, 26 May 2014

Chainsaws, Shampoo, Sunburns and Tack

Saturday was a full barn day.  I stopped by the Beaumont cross country course to watch Sarah ride in a clinic.  Pony did really well and the clinician spent some time with Sarah working on keeping Pony out of his favourite spot, the deepest spot possible.

Sarah and Pony (yes, he has a name but no one uses it)

After I headed out to the barn to hack out the mare.  Since we had the x-country derby on Sunday I wanted to take her for a good ride to take the edge off.  We started off with a brisk trot and before I knew it we had trotted almost a mile and a half!  After a short walk break, which was more for me than my horse, we started back at the trot.  We were trotting by a yard when some idiot started his chainsaw no more than 5 feet from us!  Mare reared up, did a complete 180 and took off the other direction.  Thankfully she did it so gracefully I had no problem sticking with her.  I got her back under control and turned around to go back the way we were going.  I gave the guy a piece of my mind and all he had to say was "I didn't think it would scare her".  My response may or may not have been "It's a F@*^!ng CHAINSAW!"

After that incident my ride went downhill.  She just wasn't focused on me.  In total we went 9.4 miles in 1hr20min but it wasn't until mile 9 that she stopped acting like everything was going to jump out and hack her legs off.  Needless to say it was a challenging and difficult ride.

Beautiful day for leather therapy
Once we got back I gave her a quick bath because she's not great to hose off so I am aiming to hose her every chance I get (I also don't want her to get all sweaty, stand in the sun and turn a faded orange).  Bonus was it took off a bunch of the winter hair that has been hanging on.

I let her hang out and graze while I gave all my tack a deep clean and oil.  There is something therapeutic about cleaning tack.  I may have had a difficult ride and a challenging bath but an hour spent cleaning tack does wonders for the mood.

In all I think I was outside for about 4 hours.  I am a fanatic about sunscreen since I have the complexion of a redhead without the actual red hair.  I was wearing a SPF 30 on my entire upper body (I spray myself, then get dressed so that I don't miss spots) and a SPF 60 on my face.  My face survived the day with nothing more than a few freckles but my shoulders and back were not so lucky.  The picture is from shortly after I got home and the burn proceeded to get worse well into the evening.  I've now invested in SPF 60 for my body and have added a bottle to my brush bag so that I can apply right before I get on.

Not fun, not fun at all
Next up, the challenge of finding the right bra/shirt combo for the derby on Sunday that won't irritate my shoulder and back.

Thursday, 22 May 2014

One Goal Achieved, Another Failed

So I have set a goal for myself to ride sidesaddle at least a couple times a week from now until the July long weekend when I am off the Bar U for an intense 3 day sidesaddle clinic.  I want to make sure that I am in good enough shape to do it.  And sidesaddle uses muscles I didn't even know I had!

Today the sidesaddle made the trek out to the barn, where it will live for the foreseeable future and the mare and I warmed up for our lesson in it.  She was fabulous considering this was her third time in it.  We had lovely WTC with leg yield both ways!

Next up was our jumping lesson.  Just the day before I was commenting that I wanted to go a whole month without falling off.  Apparently I jinxed myself because I came off during the lesson (Friday would have been the month mark).

The lesson actually went really well.  The course had lots of tight corners to encourage me to use inside leg to outside rein and a super tight lower leg.  It was only myself and Hannah (who's horse it significantly greener than mine) so we started out with 2'3" fences.  Eventually Erin moved them up for me because she feels the mare needs some bigger fences to get her attention.  We were doing about 3' and there was even an oxer! 

On what was supposed to be our last go it kinda fell apart.  It was going well until the 2 stride where she got a little flat and pulled a rail (she hates touching fences).  It's a little blurry but we came aroun the corner to the oxer and I think I chased her to it and then she just didnt' get enough to get over it.  We crashed through it in spectacular fashion.  Rails and standards flying everywhere.  I just tossed forward onto her neck and accidetally grabbed her with my spurs.  The mare bolted towards the arena fence (apparently everyone thought she was going to jump it) and at the last minute ducked to the left.  That duck was the end of me.  I came off and broke my fall with my face :(  Thankfully I mostly rolled under the fence, only clipping my arm on the rail and grazing my helmet off the post.  But I did have a bloody nose and a wicked sore face.  
Her tail bag whacked me in the back of the head over this jump once

I got myself mostly cleaned up, hopped back on and did the whole course again.  We had one run-out coming into the 2 stride but it was completely my fault.  I was shaken up and basically looking for a way out and she obliged me.  We represented and the rest of the course went very well, including a giant effort over the oxer.  It was a good lesson despite the bobble which resulted in my first ever bloody nose.  Only sad thing was The Boy (hence why I have actual proof I ride my horse) was there and I think I terrified him.

Tuesday, 20 May 2014

Busy Pony-Filled Long Weekend

So Friday saw the mare getting her feetsies done.  We had to put new shoes on the front since we wore the toes right down.  First thing my farrier said was "Well you've sure been riding".  As much as resets are much easier (her feet are crazy round and huge, so it takes a ton of manipulation to fit her shoes) I love her new shoes.  She's in a different shoe now, with clips that are much more forward.  My farrier would have liked to put her in a toe clip but he didn't have any shoes big enough so she got the fancy German shoes.  Hopefully we can get at least one reset out of them!
I wish I got pedicures this regularly
Saturday, Isabel and Erin came and picked me up and we were off to Blackfoot Grazing Reserve for the first big trail ride of the year.  Erin hasn't been out on an actual trail ride since she came off a year ago and broke her back so she was justifiably nervous.  But Spider was fabulous and we went on to have a lovely ride were we did a bunch of trotting and cantering.  We ended up going just over 10 miles in 2 hours.  So a little slower my normal pace but still quite a good clip.  It was so nice to actually get to ride with other people.  I've been hacking out by myself too much!

On Sunday we went cross country schooling again, this time with our coach.  Once again the mare was fabulous.  We had a few bobbles, but for the most part she was forward, brave and willing.  Even after our big hack the day before she showed zero signs of being tired.  We worked our way through pretty much every complex at Beaumont, including banks, ditches and the water.  We're back there next weekend for a derby so it was nice to have a chance to school beforehand.  

Isabel and Martini, Shelby and Sailor, Erin and Spider and Melinda and Ducky
I really need to work on not having a moment of hesitation.  All it takes is a split second and the mare will take advantage of it.  She's more than capable of jumping everything I point her at and I need to ride her like she's going to jump it or die rather than giving her the opportunity to make her own decision.  Especially since her decisions can include rearing and spinning.  Not fun :( I also need to remember to bring my corks.  We had a couple of slips that shook the mare up a little.  I have the holes drilled in so I can use them (when I don't forget my kit in the car).  

Straightness is also a new goal, especially on the banks.  She seems to have developed a wiggle and a preference for angles.  I need to be a better driver so that I don't set her up for a run-out, not after all our work to kill the run-out.  

All things considered for her second time on a cross-country course I was super impressed.  She's gong to make an eventer yet!
My favourite view.
Monday I had the osteopath out since her back has been bugging her quite a bit.  I've been putting her Back on Track sheet on every chance I get but she obviously needs some help.  I was running behind so they got started without me (he works with my mom so zero trust issues here).  They found quite a bit in her back related to that awful hematoma she had in March.  Also found some new stress in her jaw.  I hoped up on her to take her through her paces and see and even after two days of hard riding she WAS NOT TIRED.  She was spooky, reactive and just generally up.  I'd been on for 5-10 min and she took a misstep and was 3 legged lame.  I guess it's better for it to happen when the osteopath is there but I wish it hadn't happened at all.  Seems like she twisted her knee quite good.  After taking the stress out of she was no longer dead lame but she was short on it.  He figured it could take a few days for the tissue to recover.  Thankfully she gets Tuesdays off while I go to yoga anyways.  Fingers crossed!

Mom hopped up to she what she could feel
Overall it was a great weekend.  It was also my last free weekend until August so I managed to devour 5 books, hang out with the non-horsey bestie, and play the dog out completely.
Being a barn dog is sooo exhausting

Saturday, 17 May 2014

Small Validations

Our Thursday evening jumping lesson got cancelled because everyone but me and Melinda cancelled because it was windy.

It was not that windy.  So I rode anyways, and since Melinda was around I jumped the fences already set up.  The mare was a rockstar.  She jumped everything without hesitation and only had one ugly distance.  We even jumped the oxer without a second thought.  I'm so proud of her and me.  I'm working hard on remembering that I did not get hurt at an oxer, and even if I did, she can, and will jump them if I can stay out of my head.   She was so good that I really got to focus on my position, which has been neglected of late due to the ever present left run-out and desire to just stay alive.

I really focused on a tight lower leg ad keeping my weight on the balls of my feet to allow my ankle to have some movement to absorb the shock.  I also kept my butt out of the saddle, before, during and after the fence (which is a big deal for me, I tend to sit down halfway over the fence).

It was the first time Melinda has seen me jump in a few months and she remarked that it looked like a different horse.  She commented that the mare was actively listening to me, rather than listening to her emotions ("I'm mad, I'm mad" being her normal for jumping).  It's just amazing how much my confidence was lifted by that one small comment.

I have to thank Sam for the progress we've made in the past month.  I was down her way for a week in April and hauled in for a few lessons.  Her fresh eyes were able to give me some very effective tools to combat the run-out and boosted my confidence by miles.  We jumped a 3'3" oxer with a 3' spread while down there and at the time I was struggling with a 2'3" oxer at home.
Giant oxer- Wasn't even scary
When the mare and I have a partnership that has really cemented I think we are going to be a force to be reckoned with!

I'll leave you with these photos of my horse choosing the most inappropriate spot to graze.

There's a giant lawn at her disposal, but apparently this grass is better?

Friday, 16 May 2014


So the red mare and I went for a hack down the road.  I figured it wold be interesting since she had 3 days off due to me being at the horse show, having a horse show hangover, and then going to ride Studly while Shimmer-E took a mini-family vacation.

My favourite view
I was not wrong.  We had FORWARD, and not much else.  I figured rather than getting into a fight with her it was easier to let her wear herself out.  So we trotted.  And we trotted.  And we trotted some more.  We went about 4km before she was willing to listen and do some work.  We managed another 6.5km of decent work, including a few decent changes on the straightaways.  Mostly though we just did transitions.  Both between gaits and within the gaits.  I've been focusing on really using my core to control the zoomy mare rather than getting into a pulling match (which results in her nose going to her chest).  My abs and back hurt by the time we got back.  I've also been working on lowering my center of gravity and having more weight in my calves, resulting in sore legs.

We also played in the water without any drama.

All in all we both had a good work out since our 10.5km ride only took 50 min.

Wednesday, 14 May 2014

Jump All The Things!

As mentioned earlier I took the mare cross country schooling this weekend.  It was her first time out and our coach could not make it.  Since our first event is in under a month I figured that it was imperative to get out ad find out how she was going to do.  So we loaded up and headed out to Minds Eye Ranch (about 1.5 hrs north) since our local course didn't open until Sunday.

It was not an ideal day weather wise.  It was overcast and windy as we tacked up and then because it's Alberta and MOTHER Nature likes to laugh at us it started to snow as we were warming up.  So we were all a little wet and a whole lot of cold.
Eventers do it in the snow!

Despite the weather she was a rockstar!  Considering we have had major problems with run-outs this winter I was a little apprehensive but my goal was to make it fun and be successful to build our confidence.  We had  few stops that were more a stutter than stop.  I've been working so hard on interrupting the run-out that sometimes we just peter out of energy.  So we backed up a few strides and she always went on the second go and then we didn't have anymore trouble with that fence.  All of our issues seemed to be at the little fences.  The few bigger ones we jumped were problem free.  Perhaps she's just a snob about little fences.

We schooled the ditch, with only minimal pony-club kicking necessary and went up and down the banks without a fuss. We jumped all the Pre-Entry fences and about half of the Entry fences and I called it a day since she blew my expectations out of the water.

We are heading to Beaumont this weekend with our coach this weekend to school again.  I hope that I can successfully school all the Entry fences and perhaps some of the Pre-Training fences since I would ideally like to do Entry at our first event.

Monday, 12 May 2014

Pony Filled Weekend

Friday was my day off so I headed down to Red Deer for the Gold Dressage show where Shimmer-E was showing her lovely 4-year-old RPSI stallion in their first Gold show.
I'm a braiding machine! (And Ritchie was convinced his water belonged on the floor, hence the Captain Jack pose)

Her weekend started off with a bumpy start, her Thursday hack was tense, distracted and Ritchie threw in a buck. Friday morning she was feeling nervous and discouraged and like she may have over-faced her horse.  After another tense warm up she elected to dismount because she was not feeling confident or safe.  After a quick discussion with the steward it was decided that I could in fact warm him up.  So I grabbed my boots and breeches out of the car, borrowed her helmet and mounted up. Studly Pants was a little behind my leg, and a lot tense but I said "go forward, and go forward NOW" and since Shimmer-E has installed all the right buttons he responded with "Yes, Ma'am".  We went on to have a solid warm up.  He was no where near as relaxed as he can be, nor as forward but he was willing and obedient.  For a baby stallion at his first really big atmosphere I think we can call that a win.  They went in to take a 67.7% in First Level-1, good enough for a first!

Saturday I got up early to go and ride Ritchie again since Shimmer-E was teaching a first-aid course.  He schooled just lovely and then I settled him in for the day and booked it home.  I loaded up my mare, went and grabbed a couple of friends and their horses and made the trek to Minds Eye Ranch for our first cross-country school of the year.  It deserves a post of it's own, so stay tuned!
Most handsomest baby pony

Sunday I headed back to Red Deer to help out Shimmer-E again.  I got him braided and all groomed up (she had let him roll in the arena-this is me publicly shaming her for not bathing him after!) and hoped on to warm him up again.  He warmed up fabulously!!!!  I couldn't have asked for anything better.  There was a small jump set up (read 12", maybe) and he even got his first experience going over a fence with a rider.  Once those massive joints of his fuse I'm totally stealing him and he's going to make a fabulous jumper.

Amanda got on and was having a great warm up until a gelding walked by in a scrim sheet.  The sheet for some reason caused a baby meltdown.  They had to go in and ride their test and Shimmer-E kept it together and rode the very distracted and tense horse that showed up and managed to pull off a ride that was good enough for 3rd.  We just couldn't get his brain back so after a few 'discussions' about acceptable behaviour we ended on a decent note and put him back in his stall to hopefully let him settle.

We pulled him out for his last test of the day and he was back to being a very good boy.  A few bobbles left them slightly behind their first First Level score but it was still good enough to win the class.  It was a really good place to end his show weekend (after a brief photo shoot with his handsome ribbons).

Thanks to Natural Expressions Photography for this lovely photo of a most handsome boy.

Thursday, 8 May 2014

Lazy day

I went out to the barn yesterday with every intention of riding.  I got all my gear out, grabbed the mare and put her on the lawn to graze while I let my coach's dogs out.  I ended up playing fetch with Austin for a solid 20 minutes and sort of lost my motivation.

So I gave the mare a good grooming (she's only started really shedding in the last few weeks) and grabbed the clippers.  Her cornary band and fetlocks are now presentable and  I did her bridlepath while she was groundtied!!!!  Considering she's a crazy nut about her ears I counted this as one of our biggest victories yet.

I was feeling a little more ambitious by that time so on the lunge she went.  We even dragged out the Pessoa system for shits and giggles.
Pretty Red Mare
She was do good that I figured I'd hop on bareback.  I grabbed my EcoGold pad (no desire to get covered in hair, nor to slip off) and clambered on.  We had a fabulous ride that included leg yields, shoulder ins, travers, and even one flying change.  I found it way easier to make sure I was centered and balanced so I think I am going to incorporate it into our weekly routine.

Mare also started a new supplement for her ulcers, so hopefully I will have positive new on that front in a few weeks.

Overall it was a perfect day out at the barn.

Wednesday, 7 May 2014

Mangled Ankle Back Story

It's likely to come up many times so I figure some back story is necessary.

In January 2013 I was feeling frustrated with my horse and my mom had mirror feelings about hers.  So we decided to swap horses for a few months in hopes that a change of pace would help us both out.  So Riddick went to live at a barn near her (she lives 2.5 hrs away) and the mare and I got our first taste of each other.  I'd only had her for a few weeks but I was already pretty sure I was game for keeping her and selling Riddick, things were going so well.  We'd had a a couple of jumping lessons that went quite well, despite her being quite green over fences.

January 23 was a normal lesson day.  I didn't want to ride but I drug myself out to the barn.  Our flat work started out lovely and the first few jumps went well.  We presented to a plank vertical and my world came crashing down.  I didn't give the mare the ride she needed and she ducked out to the left.  I came off over her right shoulder.  I landed on the side of my right foot.  As I lay in the dirt my coach thought I should get up and walk it off.   I told her I was winded and was just going to take a moment to gather myself.  Then I looked down at my feet.  "Call an ambulance, call an ambulance now!" was the immediate reaction.  My foot was not facing the right way.  I could almost see the bottom of my foot.  After some quick discussion that , yes I have benefits that would cover the very expensive ambulance ride, 911 was called.  I'm not sure how long it took the paramedics to arrive but it really felt like forever.  The girls covered me in all the coolers and someone took care of my horse.

When the ambulance finally arrived they gave me laughing gas to splint my ankle.  They also put an IV in, which was difficult considering how cold and shaky I was.  Then with their help I stood on my good foot and got myself on the stretcher.  I told them there was no way they were lifting me if I could help it.  The trip in the ambulance involved me being incredibly high, and crying because they were going to have to cut my boots off.

In the ambulance, after being splinted
In the ER I was put in a trauma room with my own private nurse.  It's all slightly blurry but they put my under conscious sedation to cut off my boot and align my ankle.  Apparently they also did X-Rays while I was under because when I came to they told me they couldn't see any breaks in the x-rays and that was highly unlikely. So off to get a CT scan I went.

Turns out they were right, I basically obliterated my talus and ruptured my calcaneofibular ligament.  Surgery was booked for the next morning.

Just in case the cast doesn't make it obvious which one is broken..
 Prognosis was 12 weeks non-weight bearing.  I spent the first 5 weeks on my couch, but I live in the country, by myself and could not drive.  I was going out of my mind with boredom so I went back to work way too early (doctor figured June).  One of the guys in the office picked me up and dropped me off and i worked from home a few days a week.

At my 6 week check up my doctor informed me that I was going to be non-weight bearing for longer than the 12 weeks as it appeared I had broken the blood supply and it was taking it's sweet time healing.  Since I had the flight and hotel and tickets already paid for (for the past 6 months) I went to my first Rolex on crutches.  I can't wait to go again when I can actually get around and walk the cross country course!

After 16 weeks I was finally allowed to start walking (and driving) with the aid of a cane.  This also marked the start of 8 months of intensive physio.

I still struggle with my ankle.  It has minimal flexion, almost zero inversion (which makes picking up my stirrup nearly impossible) and I struggle with pain if I ride long distances or intense courses. But I can walk, and I can ride, both of which I am extremely grateful for.  I'm also incredibly grateful that I live in Canada and the only things I paid for were my ambulance ride and walking boot (which my benefits through work covered) and physio after the first 7 appointments.  Because I had countless X-Rays, 2 CT scans, 1 lung scan, and inter hospital ambulance transfer, surgery (with 2 internal screws and one broken K-wire left behind), 3 days in the hospital and 4 orthopedic follow ups.

Tuesday, 6 May 2014

Let's Stretch Our Legs, Or Go 6 miles, That Works Too

The weather was crappy this weekend so I didn't get a chance to ride (think wind and snow).  So when I went out last night I figured the mare would be a little excitable, so the plan was just a nice quick hack down the road to stretch her legs.

Well she was feeling pretty good so my short ride turned into a 6 mile conditioning ride.  Turns out we did the 6 miles in 46 minutes!  Mare was barely sweaty and I wasn't struggling.  Apparently both our fitness levels are better than I thought.  I even had enough energy to go to an aqua-fit class after.

If we can just get jumping all things down we should have a stellar event season this year!

Saturday, 3 May 2014

Aurora's First Ride

One of the girls from work has an 8 year old daughter who desperately wanted to ride a horse and it finally worked out for her to come out and hop on the mare.

Considering the mare had a meltdown over walking through the water the day before I didn't have much hope of getting past leading her around at the walk.  The mare continues to surprise me because she was a complete saint.  She took great care of Aurora.  By the end of the ride Aurora was riding solo, no lunge line, complete with walk, stop and solid left and right turns.  She was also starting to get the hang of posting trot on the lunge line.

I couldn't have been more proud of the mare!  She did a very quiet jog and anytime Aurora got off balance she came right back to a walk.  She was actually a little lazy (that never happens!) so Aurora had to pony club kick her to get her to walk.

After she took cookies like a complete lady and stood like a statue for Aurora to brush her.  Good Mare!

I think the affection is mutual.

Friday, 2 May 2014

Red Mare Meltdown

I love my horse, I really do.  But sometimes I just want to strangle her.

Gratuitous photo of her showing off her posing skills
After a winter stuck in the indoor we are both sick of circles and arenas so we have been hacking out down the road for the past few weeks.  Every single time we go out I have been walking her down into the ditch and through the puddles (in our quest to be a fearless event horse).

Our ride started out really well.  We had hit the 2 mile mark and since I was aiming for a short ride we were going to turn and head for home after traipsing through the puddle.  Well we walked through the puddle into the field with minimal fuss.  When I asked her to go back through to the road all I got was a loud, resounding "No".  For the life of me I could not get her to walk into the puddle (which may have been fetlock deep and I could see the bottom).  She tried every evasion in the book.  She reared, she spun away, she kicked out behind when I used my whip, she bolted away, she put her nose on her chest and backed up and finally she just stood and refused to move, despite the pony club kicks.

Since i was obviously not getting anywhere I walked her down to the end of the field to where the puddles aren't as wide and got off.  I led her through the puddles a few times (with minimal theatrics) and then remounted.  After that we were back to walking through water like a champ.

I try really hard not to pick fights that I can't win but in this instance I didn't even realize we were fighting until the battle was raging on.  While I was unable to get her through where I originally asked I am going to count it as a success.  It's not like we had a choice either, the field is completely surrounded by water filled ditches.  To get out we had to cross the water again.

The rest of the ride was uneventful but the mare was dripping sweat from our earlier battle so we took it easy, worked on our bow and then she enjoyed a fabulous roll in the arena.  I even managed to get her mane pulled and under control.

Posing Fail, but isn't her mane purdy?