Wednesday, 26 November 2014

Work dat ass!

My horse and I are both lacking something. And I hear it is the key to all things great. When you have it, mountains move, you may even hear violins...

The result of it is a horse working from behind and you not pulling on reins like some first-day-of-lessons newbie. It's called muscles y'all. I have none and Miss Tea has none, and it sucks.

So many muscles involved--maybe I should switch to trail riding.

Lesson Monday was all about working this issue. Miss Tea is kind of like riding a plank; straight, long and rough. And then there is me; kind of like a bag of Jello, jiggling and wiggling along on said plank. My goal was to bend that darn plank and keep the Jello in the bag!

We started with exaggerated flexion at the walk, inside bend and counter-bend, and once that felt soft we moved on to trot with the same exercise. I discovered her right bend was much more of an effort for her and subsequently for me and my weak legs.

Then the canter. I am ashamed to say both Miss Tea and I can only make it about three quarters of the arena in good form and then fall apart. After two laps of canter (with most of it looking like ass) both Miss Tea and I were huffing and puffing and needed a break in the middle. This is where having a group lesson comes in supper handy--the other person goes out for a turn while you get a nice long break (collapse on your horse and die a little) before heading out for more torture much-needed practice.

We didn't get in any jumping this lesson, but really, I don't think I could have even managed to hang on over a jump by the end.

We ended the lesson with a lovely blow-dry for the girl as it was -10 outside and she was quite lathered from our workout in the heated arena (Yes, HEATED!!XOXO). She had never seen/heard a blowdryer before, but she stood beautifully for it--scared to death, but willing to be good for me--love her!

Now who thinks I will work any of those muscles again before my next lesson? Silly girls, I don't use muscles outside of lessons!

Wednesday, 19 November 2014

Winter play

This morning as I sat down to start work, I got a lovely little email from my boss not to log on this morning as work was know what that means! Horse time!

When I had fed horses an hour earlier, it was cold for sure, but no wind, no snow. With news that I had some free time, I ran to bundle up and head out to full on snow and wind. *^&%$!!.

Too stubborn to be defeated, I grabbed Savvy girl from the paddock and brought her to the outdoor to play.

Isn't she beautiful!? :)

But even this attention-loving beast was a little pissed at being out in the nasty weather, so I brought her into the cozy little tack shed for some loving up.

So happy to be inside!

And just when my fingers were frozen solid, the sky started to clear.
Right. &*%$ you winter.

Snow baby. XOXO

Saturday, 15 November 2014

Marathon struggles begin

I hate you winter. Go away!

It is now no longer about my horse's training. Forget the jumping. Don't even think about cantering. The ground is frozen and slippery.

I just want to riiidde!

It is now all about keeping water from freezing. Storing hoses in the house to keep them thawed. Freezing my fingers trying to do barn yard maintenance.

Feeding and feeding and feeding the beasties and swearing at them when they eat the wood fences if there is a two-minute gap in hay being available.

And this is just the beginning! The snow will get deeper and temps will get much worse.

The struggle gets harder and harder every year.  All I can do is feel so defeated today.

Maybe tomorrow I will buck up, bundle up and play with the horses. Or maybe I'll just keep all my fingers and stay the heck inside.

Wednesday, 12 November 2014

Know thy self, know thy horse

Many of us who ride come across times where issues will come up with our horses where we are unsure if we are dealing with a physical or a behavioral issue. It can be incredibly frustrating not to mention expensive to sort it all out. If praying for the anomaly to magically disappear doesn't work, we are left with endlessly analysing the issue in our minds, annoying anyone who will listen with the details and then perhaps bringing in the specialists.

The dilemma is, if your horse is misbehaving, you may need to push through the behavior, but if your horse is sore, you really need to stop and fix the issue if you what if you are not sure?

My Miss Tea has left me wondering what the heck is wrong with her more times than I can count. To my own defense, I am dealing with a hypochondriac of a horse--she can be seriously over dramatic.

Melman and Miss Tea would get along fabulously.

She will definitely not hesitate to let you know she is uncomfortable, and quite possibly dying. When her teeth are floated, she will be found with her head in the corner of her shelter, leaning on the wall, and will not move for TWO DAYS.

If I change her tack in anyway, lunge first or regret my fool heartedness. Seriously. Different saddle = buck. Different girth = buck. Different saddle pad = buck(just to let me know she's paying attention).

I have had this horse since she was 6 months old, and 7 years later, I can say I am catching on to her form of communication. It was actually quite simple--uncomfortable in any way = buck. Great, I like simple math. But then there was the overwhelming task of figuring out what nuances in her bucking style meant so we could possibly, oh I don't know, something like MOVE FORWARD with her training?!

Who me? I don't know what that human is talking about, I'm perfect.

When I was first training her, bucking happened when introducing the canter. Not that uncommon in horses and we got through it after a few months. From there she was fabulous for about a year, and then came up sore. The soreness first presented itself as bucking in the canter. She would initially start to canter just fine, but then it would feel like a moment of panic and then bucking. I eventually discovered it was a back issue and was luckily back to riding after about two months.

Another type of buck I have come to know is the "you are not riding good enough" buck. Usually this presents itself after a jump where my timing was off.

And then the "I think I would rather just trot today" buck where the tail gets involved and she basically gives my legs the finger.

At the end of the day though, I feel encouraged to know I am better equipped now to tell when she is hurting versus being naughty, when to push and when to back off. This horse just keeps bringing on the lessons!