Sunday, February 26, 2017

Discretion is the better part of valor

On Thursday I rode Princess Fancy Pants in the arena and it was a nice enough day that I decided to go for a walk out back on our little trails. Pony always wants to go to the back gate of the arena because she'd rather be outside. So at the end of our short ride of walking and trotting and a little canter, we went to the gate and opened it and went to check out the trails. There was still a lot of snow on them and it was the crunchy-on-top snow that you walk on and then sink into. We made it around the loop but I decided I wouldn't be doing any actual work out there just yet.

So yesterday I get the grand idea that it is time to ride outside and since the arena footing is still covered in snow that I'd head out front to the pastures. There is a big-enough workable area without snow on it, and the footing is firm but not too hard. Perfect, right!? We did a little warm up in the covered arena and pony was good for some walk, trot, and a little canter, so I decided to head out to the pasture. We had some nice forward trot and found a path through the trees and with room for some nice straight lines. Everything seemed to be going well and then pony tried to pull some tricks. Squeal! Leap! Sort of buck! Leap again! Twist the body! Nope, Pony, nopenopenope! Put her back to work and a little more squealing and antics. Nope! Shut that down! Back to work! We did some more walk and trot and transitions and circles and when she was relaxed enough I called it a day and decided to not push my luck.

I decided that everyone needed a good run-around so I opened up the pasture that is in front of the barn (horses can access it through the sacrifice area if I open up the gate). So I let Mac out. Put Paddy out. They do not want to leave the paddock. Get them out of the paddock and close the gate. But they don't want to leave the sacrifice area. WTF? I go out into the pasture and stand there calling Mac and he slowly tip-toed his way down there and then he and Paddy went into the pasture. I went back up to the paddocks and let Pony out and she galloped off to join them and then everyone had a grand run-around, just as I'd hoped. I only left them out there for 20-30 minutes while I set up dinner and then brought everyone back in.

Today I thought I might want to ride out front again, but when doing ground work in the covered arena, the wind kicked up, a cold front moved in, and I decided that discretion is the better part of valor so I'd play it safe and ride inside. I did bring out the video camera today and set it up (not a good angle, I realized after viewing the videos) to watch my ride. Of course I don't look as good as I think I do! LOL! I got some MDC stirrups and switched them from my dressage saddle to my jumping saddle, and should have put them up a hole, but I just went with them feeling a little long. It really shows how much my left leg goes out in front of me. This is something that my old eventing trainer would point out to me, especially over jumps, but after my hip-pain issues, I think it is just an unconscious thing I do because that is the most comfortable position for my hip.

We of course did a walk warm-up, but that is boring (and half the time is off-camera) so I cut that out of the video. Here's a video where we do some trot poles:

Then we worked on transitions:

And finally we finished with some canter work - just a little bit in each direction:

I don't often canter in the covered arena because I feel like there's just not that much space in there to work on going as forward as I'd like. But I was happy with this canter work - I'd say it was her best ever in here - she's feeling much more balanced and like she can handle it, so I'll have to do it more often!

I feel like she'll be ready for lessons soon, I'm so looking forward to it!

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

I had that dream last night . . .

. . . you know the dream. The one where you are at a horse show (or supposed to be going to a horse show) and you are late because you can't (get your hair right under your helmet, find your boots, find your horse, find your bridle, find your saddle, remember what time you ride, remember what ring you are supposed to be in, etc.). I hate those dreams! I was taking Pony to her first show (even though I've already done that) and couldn't get my hair right under my helmet (which isn't too far off because I have a lot of hair!). Then it was somewhere I'd never been before and I didn't know where the arena was. Then I was helping someone else do something. Then it turned out I had Paddy with me, not Pony. Then I figured I had enough time and made it to the arena just as another class was finishing. For some reason I decided to clean everyone's bridles for them (?!) before their next class, but I didn't make a note of which bridle belonged to which person. And it went on and on and on from there - ugh!

When I think about why I had this dream, I'm pretty sure it is because the weather is crappy and I've only done been back to riding for three weeks now, but I'm sick of being stuck inside. And it was so windy yesterday that I opted to not ride (arena is covered but not indoor and the west wind whips right through the arena and makes a lot of dust). My goals are to get Pony out to dressage and h/j shows this year and so I feel like I'm already behind since we just started riding three weeks ago. And I feel like I need to have and keep up with A Plan, even though Pony is only four and we're not going to the Olympics and it really isn't a Big Deal in the grand scheme of things. But I'd like to get going with lessons again in March and that's really just next week so I need to make it happen!


I think I need to take a chill pill!

Sunday, February 19, 2017

We rode outside!

Sure, come summertime riding outside will seem like no big deal, but the snow/ice on the ground heretofore has prevented me from even wanting to do any sort of hand walking outside. All I've done riding-wise is 20 minutes or so of mostly walk and trot in the covered arena, with a little canter thrown in for good measure.

Well, yesterday we had intermittent rain, but between the rain it was clear enough to go out. The rain had washed snow away in enough places that I could do a little walk back to the manure pile, a little circle around some trees in the snow, back to the barn, and down the driveway to walk through the puddle that is at the entry to one of the pastures. Pony had fun playing splashy-lips with the puddle before walking through it.

I've been doing some trot poles and yesterday opened up my box of cavaletti blocks to make the middle pole just a little higher. We only did that a couple times, but it was fun nonetheless.

Another thing I've done a couple times is more tarp work. The dreaded tarp!!!! But Pony has been so good! The first time I got her to calmly walk over it going to the left. To the right she'd trot over it, but no balking or explosions or spooking or anything like that. I do bribe her with cookies. Today we did some tarp work again and she calmly walked over it and stopped and stood on it going in each direction so she got Big Cookies for such a job well done.

Of course it snowed this morning so I didn't get to ride outside, but spring is coming - it must be!!!