Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Progress

I got another lesson this weekend and originally I was going to stick my camera on the mounting block and just let it roll, but my battery wasn't charged enough to last the whole lesson.  I was rather bummed because I wanted new media.  It turned out that it wasn't all bad, because trainer picked up the camera and took a few short videos during my lesson.

His walk has improved so much

We were working on the same things we have been: consistency, reaching for the bit, my right hip, and my upper body.  The consistency is improving, but still has a long ways to go.  The reaching for the bit is a similar situation.  It is getting there, but there is lots of room for improvement.


The most surprising part is the news flash that he goes better when I get my shit together and ride correctly.  It is amazing how much easier it is for him when I get my right hip out of his back a quit shoving his haunches fifty miles to the left.  Funny how that also fixed our whole can't pick up the right lead problem.

Lesson

Two month ago


I was actually quite pleased with my upper body progress.  I got in the habit of pitching forward (probably to counter balance when he dropped his back and all of a sudden I would feel like I was sliding off the back).  But now that he is lifting more things are more level and I am not struggling with my balance.  Now I just need to remember to look up.

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Need A Little Help From My Friends: Equisense

Bloggerland I need a little help.  I am starting a project and would love to get more people involved.  I got an equisense towards the end of last year and my biggest complaint is I can't compare my data to other horses.  So, if you have an equisense (blogger or non blogger doesn't matter to the data ho) and would like to share your data with me please email me at eventing.saddlebred.style at gmail

Blue and purple is where it is at

I would also greatly appreciate people helping to spread the word.  I am trying to make it as easy as possible for the people helping me.  All I need are screenshots of all the data and I will do all the analyzing and see what shakes out.  I am hoping for five rides per horse, but I will take what I can get.

Stinker says "save me from the crazy lady"

Stinker's data is all over the place because he is still quite inconsistent in the grand scheme of things.  He has made massive strides for him, but I think compared to the average horse he will be all over the place.  Also I think it would be interesting to see how green vs well trained, lower levels vs higher levels, and the various disciplines will compare.

Snow Stinker says "Bloggers are the best"

So please please please help a data ho out and spread the word.  I know that there have been quite a few posts popping up about the equisenses and a handful of bloggers have already stepped up to the plate and agreed to participate.

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Good Enough

This past weekend I was able to watch a clinic with the trainer that my trainer rides with.  It was a very good clinic and I enjoyed watching it, but it left me with mixed feelings.  All the horses were giant warmbloods, most were younger than Stinker and far more advanced.


Part of me was wondering why on earth I thought I could do this.  I don't have the desire (or money) to pay a trainer to train my horse for me.  I do not have a horse with 5 figure gaits.  I don't even have a steady horse.  I do have a a horse with significant physical challenges and the last thing I want to do is push too hard and have an unhappy unsound horse.


What I do have is the willingness to put in the time.  I have a horse I am perfectly capable of riding.  While he is a little too sensitive it isn't anything I can't handle.  I have a horse I enjoy working with, and don't feel the need to pay someone else to train him.  He is a hard worker and always provides me with a laugh.


So while he may not be able to prance around with all the fancy tricks of a five figure horse, what I have is good enough.  I have something I enjoy and don't feel pressure to live up to anything.  We may not ever win anything, but I think he can get me the beginning scores for my bronze medal.  Plus I really can't picture taking a hulking WB out in the hills to get these shots.


Friday, February 9, 2018

Loop Success

I have been searching for a way to make a long loop on the trail rides. I had a suspicion that one road would make most of a loop, but I wasn’t sure if I could cut through the hills and make the loop complete. I discovered that google maps would tell me the distance on the jeep trails. Technically they are considered roads but I definitely wouldn’t drive something I liked over them.


I also discovered that there was a dirt bike trail that should complete my proposed loop. And the best part was by my estimate it was going to be around 12 miles. I finally got a chance to test out my master plan last weekend. I had been on about half the loop previously but I had no idea what the second part really looked like.


I started early because I was worried he would get too hot and tired otherwise. It was great there weren’t any dirt bikes or buggies out that early and we made really good time for the first 5 miles. Since we had climbed quite a bit I gave him a rest and then led him for a mile. After I started riding again things started to get a little sketchy.


The road got really rocky and everything was loose and round and he was slipping quite a bit. I decided to try ditching the road because it looked less rocky. I was wrong. It was just as bad except there was brush and dried up cheatgrass to hide the rocks. I decided he was scrambling more so we went back to the road. He is getting more careful with his feet but it still makes me nervous.


We chugged along for awhile and finally the rocks cleared up and we could see the lake again. About this time Stinker decided he was headed home and picked up the pace. I cheated and peeked at my phone to make sure we were still on the right path. After a little ways I started seeing tracks from when my mom and I had gone on her grand adventure.


It ended up being 12.78 miles and we climbed a total of 1708 feet. I ended up walking him for about two of those miles. It took about 3.5 hours but considering it was nearly all at the walk I was happy with the time. Plus he was quite sassy when we got back so clearly despite being sweaty he wasn’t really tired. I wasn’t sure where his fitness was at since I haven’t been getting out as much and he got a couple weeks off plus more time in light work in January.

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Put The Left Hip In

My last lesson was really focused on getting my body in order yet again, but rather than focus on my wonky hips I want to talk about how we are utilizing lateral work.  Very early on we started using leg yields and shoulder in to slow Stinker's feet down.


He is quite good at the sideways, but it used to require enough concentration that his feet slowed down.  Now he is stronger and it isn't as taxing and he knows the game he can zip sideways and it isn't as effective at slowing his feet down anymore.  So trainer has started having us working on haunches in and out.  I am not bending him enough that it is true, but it is more the thought and feeling and balance we are going for.


So far it is working quite well.  Obviously my hip problems tie back into this.  Since I tend to drop my right hip I am always pushing his haunches to the left.  Which works great for haunches out while tracking right and haunches in tracking to the left, but the opposites are a struggle.  The great thing about Stinker is he is so sensitive.  Any little movement from me results in a change from him.  For better or worse he immediately shows what I am doing.

His hips used to trail right all the time

When I get it right it is super easy, when I am struggling he giraffes and wonders what the fuck is happening up there.  Luckily he is a game little horse and keeps on trying while I fumble around.  When we get it right a little praise goes along way and we keep getting it quicker.

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

The Anxiety Monster

For once it wasn't Stinker that was suffering from the anxiety monster.  It all started on Tuesday when life decided to flip me the bird.  He ended up getting Tuesday off because I didn't get home until 9 pm despite my plans to leave early and ride in the evening.

Sad and pathetic Socks to go with sad and pathetic me

It is a well established fact my horse does not like it when I am anxious.  He feeds off my energy and we both end up a hot mess because I don't have my usual patience and he gets even more flustered.  Wednesday, I tried to ride and it was less than ideal to put it nicely.

Stolen from SB

First off he was wound up from cantering on Saturday, so every little leg movement resulted in head straight up and him asking "CANTER????"  Yeah, dude so not what I was going for.  Eventually I settled for some semi decent work and called it a day because I just wasn't in a good frame of mind to improve anything.

Sad pathetic forelock plus sweaty face

The rest of the week I kind of settled down until right before my lesson on Saturday.  I got not so great news right before I was leaving.  I was really upset and didn't even want to go to my lesson.  I thought about canceling but couldn't bring myself to do a last minute cancel.  So I decided I could always see if she was willing to ride.


I was so distracted I didn't even get a bonnet packed, so the world saw his dinky little forelock.  It was terrible.  Luckily Stinker loves trainer and had his game face on for her.  In the end I was very happy that I sucked it up and rode.  And I was really impressed that he mostly ignored my anxiety energy and went to work instead of worrying about why I was worried.

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Chugging Along

My previous lesson was a bit of a hot mess and in hindsight I decided it was because his right hind was bothering him slightly.  A few days off ran into crap weather which ran into him slamming his hip into the fence(?) and turned into almost two weeks off.  I decided the fastest way to work on his fitness was long trail rides and long lining.  So I didn't ride a ton leading up to my first lesson after trainer got back from her vacation.

I wasn't really sure what to expect from him.  My riding has been rather floppy and not great as I am trying to figure out how to get my hips back to even.  My right hip wants to drop back way too far and my left hip just doesn't want to do much of anything.  The one benefit of having a very sensitive horse is I know immediately when I do get something changed.  For better or for worse he tells me when things are different.

The one day we had snow

He had a bit of a meltdown on the trailer again and came off it really sweaty.  Luckily I had given myself lots of time so I took him on a walk for a bit and then he settled down and ate hay while I regroomed him.  I gave myself time to have about 20 minutes to warmup and he was delighted to see trainer because she immediately started stuffing him with cookies.

I love his half colored lip

We walked around and I focused on my body and getting him to stretch while she finished up the lesson before me.  He was a little skeptical about the water dripping in the drains and cranked his face towards trainer anytime we were near her (hoping for more cookies).  But overall he was pretty good about going right to work.

Always get piping ;)

Trainer had us do the typical serpentines and leg yields in and out on the circle help him really stretch into the bridle.  Then we moved up into the trot.  He is slowly getting more consistent in the trot and the transitions, while still pretty sketchy, are showing improvements.  It is tricky getting him to maintain the stretch and not hollow in the transition.

My latest obsession

We touched on the canter a little bit.  The left lead was really really good and the down transition was about as good as he can do and the trot he transitioned into was great.  He was pushing behind without any hollowing and stretching forward.  It felt fabulous.  With the right lead I couldn't get my body right and kept flubbing the transition and he was picking up the counter canter.  It was really nice and balanced and no sign of rushing.  After I screwed up three transitions he started getting a little frazzled so we didn't push the subject and called it a day.


I can't believe how much his ride-ablility has improved.  Hopefully I can get my body lined out sooner rather than later, because he goes so much better when I get myself straight.  Funny how that works.