Rain, Rain, Go Away….

While I still would not trade rain for freezing sub-zeroes, it certainly does put a damper on riding when you don’t have an indoor.

Lots of rain means no riding. Wump wump.

When I was told my lesson was cancelled…

Luckily, I am one of those people that just loves being around the animals. So a day at the barn without riding is still pretty great.

When told I can still spend time with horses though….

I mostly have been doing an extensive clean up and hand walking job.

The property we ride on has a nice path that goes along the entirety, so my thought is if you do 3 or so laps, it’s probably a mile? This is a totally unofficial guestimate, possibly to not feel guilty about a package of Whoppers I get on the way home from the barn.

It’s good to reconnect with your horse on the ground. While frustrating that we cannot ride given the good streak we were on, I think it’s overall a positive thing to pause.

Right now, I have been doing some soul-searching as to what we each need to get to the next level. For him, continuing his progress on his weaker left side. Slicker and “uphill-feeling” downward transitions. Higher sensitivity to leg.

Excuse me, could you stop that whole squeezing me with your leg thing?

In order to get him there, I need better straightness in my body (I am a leaner). I need to not rely on the spur so much. And I need to be more precise and curt with my asks.

My forever battle is keeping my reins short and my fingers closed. Soft elbows. I could go on and on.

One thing I was reminded of in my recent COTH thread that I started is that it’s okay to have days as well where you are just enjoying your horse. They need those “lighter” days too. Especially with Q occasionally being used in other lessons and being ridden by other people.

One thing that is nice about the rain, it really creates reflection (yes, this is both a water pun and a real fact of my recent activities).

How do you all handle short-term downtime?

Group Power

Basking in the glow of good rides is its own energy that burns completely clean. I had the wonderful opportunity to ride in a group lesson, which I realized, I totally missed. Having additional people around to release the tension of mistakes, or cheer you on when things go well warms my spirit. As well, getting to watch others approach the same challenge generates interesting “huh” moments.

Yeaaa, group lesson cheerleaders!

With Q, none of us who work with him have Olympic aspirations. Thus, we are all taking our time to piece together a stronger, healthier, and happier horse. With that, comes taking a step back on course complexity and height, which I was elated to do.

Though on Saturday, we got to do something a bit more fun and higher than we typically do in our private jumping lessons, and we really rose to the occasion, no pun intended (really).

The nice thing about our flatwork progression is that Q is getting a motor as well as more impulsion to his gaits, which makes the jumping easier and more enjoyable.

We did a line to rollback to rollback course. The jumps were objectively not big, maybe 2’6”, but when you have been jumping 2’ mostly, there is still a child-like enthusiasm when jumps go up.

I laugh about the days when jumping 3’9″ in lessons was “normal”. Maybe one day I will own a horse capable of that, but I am happy to do what I can now.

That’s all to say, Q was fantastic. He totally marched down the line in the strides, jumped the snot out of the oxers, and in general felt really willing.

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Not Q, but big man is still adorable and still for sale.

One thing I will continue to work on is to get his hind end aligned, he loves to trail his hindquarters out (toward the rail if you are coming off it), especially through the turns. I need to really bring him more effectively around my inside leg then and also finish the turn with outside aids so we don’t canter somewhat sideways.

It wouldn’t be me if I didn’t have some thing I could do better. But I cannot contain my joy with him. We are all so happy with the little squirt. Maybe a show season could happen?

Moving Along

A special someone (whose name might be the oddest in the alphabet) is becoming so enjoyable to hack.

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The Q-test face. Yes, I’ll see myself out.

Anytime I sit on a horse, I generally am happy. Certain horses make the happiness easier to achieve.

A lot of this is personal preference. I have the opposite of an electric seat, perhaps we call it a slumber seat. I cause horses to sleep while cantering, a not at all useful skill. What’s even funnier is that I somehow think we are going SO FAST all the time.

Thus, a leg ride has never been my MO, not to say I don’t enjoy it, it’s just not “as” fun. I like spicy, fiery, and barely broke.

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I’ll take the one on the right, please. (Photo: Andy Barron/RGJ file)

When I started riding Q, he did not have shoes and was a bit over being in “school horse mode”. He certainly took advantage of riders who were earlier in their riding careers, never in a dangerous way, just to avoid work.

Thus he was a bit meh off the leg, clunky to bend, and in general duller to aids. I was also unfit even more so than my average state of being, so my riding was about as helpful as listening Google Maps in a foreign language. Communication be muddled.

His physical comfort has increased tremendously since adding shoes, and *surprise, surprise* so has his willingness! It is a remarkable difference, to which I attribute none to my riding, entirely placing this acclaim on good care.

Between myself and the other girl who rides him, we have been so in awe of his short transition. Truly, it’s amazing what a couple of seemingly insignificant changes can make. Hacking him feels less like dragging an angsty teenager from bed and more like working with an over-eager intern.

Remember folks, no feet, no horse!

The Right Thing Comes Along – New Horse

Horseback riding has offered me continual trickles of heartbreak. The sport of the wealthy teaches you to gather what you have and repeat, This is enough. I have enough. Even if what you have does not include an 8 year old dark bay with grand prix jumper potential or a tack room full of French saddles. Humility and gratitude, forcing me to cherish every moment with these magical animals, contribute to a better mind and spirit.

Thus, when stars align and the universe smiles down, sometimes I think I have to shake myself to wake up from a dream.

It’s happening though, I have a horse to ride in my new city! Better yet, I will not be out of house and home.

Over my 16 years, I have been blessed to ride many types, and can safely sit on most. Not talking Olympic level talent, but I can keep my wit and humor on the spooky and green.

As expected, this guy may be a bit of the latter (not as much of the former).

This is big news for me. I cannot wait to share more details.