The Struggle Is Real for both of us. I am not even sure how long ago I started this post, 1 week? 2 weeks? Did I eat lunch? What day is it?
Fin pony was back in full work,last week, and progress is showing in leaps and bounds... literally, he is a cute jumper.
In the last few weeks we have learned:
- People have to handle are legs, sucking it up and standing quietly is much easier than the alternative.
- Good pony ground manners aka boundaries
-Just pose for the selfie or mom will keep trying,
-Stand for mounting (mounting block comes next)
-Reverse -Turn on the fore
-Cantering -it won't kill us
-Jumping is fun
Seriously he is definitely an Appy pony work ethic/ brain wise. Picks up what you are asking lightning fast, doesn't want to be over-drilled on it, and would much rather walk then anything else.
Sorry super far away, but those knees are tucked
My saddle isn't a great fit and I think he possibly wouldn't look so hollow back/giraffe if it fit better. It's too wide, and his sweat pattern is at least fairly even so he doesn't seem particularly tender in any area after a ride. Right now he goes best with a foam/gel pad and baby pad. We have had some funky days when the experiments have been wrong.
such a light mouth
Also been trying these stirrups out,
I'll review them someday. Short of it, I need shorter leathers, and my feet don't go numb, which is awesome!
We worked on moving his whole body in a turn not just his cute little neck. He is so beautifully responsive to hand and leg, its refreshing, even if he often has no idea what I am asking. His little ears are constantly checking on me (probably desperately trying to hear me say 'walk') I love watching him figure things out.
About to canter- I've been lucky with getting him to pickup his right lead
Of course, had a great week riding, then he blew an abscess in the same foot he had injured a few weeks ago. It really really sucks but I am happy it happened when my farrier was out anyways and that it gives a good reason why my last ride I kept swearing he was slightly NQR at times. He had been super sensitive in the deep sand, which makes since now.
And that's the gist. Except I finally bought some tall Ariats... and a corgi belt.... hubby really shouldn't let me shop alone.
I was trying not to buy something. At least that's what I tell myself. But I was at that point where borrowing was going to need to be either a lease situation, or a friend's green mare that the kiddos couldn't really hop on....
So I went and bought a green pony they can't ride yet lol.
6 Years old 13.3hh (just a little over with shoes)
Unregistered POA (going to get a hardship registration, just cause) Green
Background: After driving a few hours to see some really green/unbroke ponies who just weren't quite right (story for another day), I kind of reined in my parameters for what I wanted.
A few weeks later, Trainer went with a barnmate who has horse ADHD to a local horse trader. The gal has a pretty rough rep on the net. But when you really read through the reviews, a lot is buyers not doing due diligence. Vet Checks y'all. She was pretty upfront about the horses and their health, training (or lack there of) etc.
So trainer spotted an appy head sticking out of the stall and had the gal hop on. Then I started getting text with pics and trainer promising he was cuter in person. 'Cause Appy's aren't really my thing...but neither were bays...
We went back the next day. Story goes, he was one of the gal's own back-seat projects and had just been ridden around a bit on trails (and to Starbucks) for the last 2 years. By the next week he passed a vet check with flying colors and was mine.
Current State: He rides like... a drunk blind man? I'm completely nailed now on how even my hands are, and since he doesn't indirect rein, I get yelled at a LOT for that now too. If he is near the gate, he is sure all ques mean leave the arena.
He has a nice motor without being hot. He takes up a lot of leg because even our leggy, taller WS looks ok on him.
He doesn't seem particularly phased by all the new things, like cats running across the arena or a tractor pacing him along the fence.
Within the last 2 weeks he has already found a sitting trot, learned he has a studly frame hiding in there, and apparently never backed before now. Which requires a sit and think before the neurons fire up reverse.
He's got a lot of training coming at him and he seems pretty agreeable to trying it all.
Now if this horrible cloud of wheeze inducing smoke could lift off Cali maybe I could get more ride time in, because none of us need to do too much in such bad air quality. It is so hazy I can't see the hills around us.
Had another lesson on Jasper Wednesday. Weather was nice, too nice, its gonna be a hot summer. J had been turned out so I went out and grabbed him and did a quick groom as he was barely dusty.
I think there is a big sweetheart hiding under the grumpy, nippy exterior
We moseyed down to the outdoor and got to work. WS and her sister were just finishing up jumping the greenies in our barn. So fun to watch.
Did the usual sitting trot/ posting trot/ kill me with two-point stuff. MUCH better frame than last week. Still have a left foot that can't find the correct spot of a stirrup, and chicken elbows, but I can make the horse look pretty lol.
Then WS and sister left the ring and J and I worked on two-point at the canter then counter-canter. If I don't get all crazy with shifting my weight, he is super. Thanks to all the bloggers who I read about their work and struggles with body-mechanics all the time.
Worked on holding the correct lead around a change of direction, counter-cantering then swapping when asked. Came around towards then end of the ring and suddenly he head was up next to mine and we were bunny-hopping around. Pulled him up to a walk because I had NO idea wtf was happening (I don't get a lot of sleep these days) Trainer called out the horses had just tore it up over the hill next to the arena. Thanks. To be fair 5 mares and 1 gelding makes for a rowdy group.
So we worked on the circle. Lots of tiny counter-bent circles alternating with bigger normal bend circles. This was made harder by jumps in the way so I had to really plan ahead, sit up and keep him off the forehand. Like real rider, not passenger stuff. Makes me dizzy but pretty fun and got both our minds back on task.
I'm pretty sure the western dressage people think I am a major narcissist cause I do this every ride lol
Then trainer made a tiny cross rail, which had guide rails in front as well as the sides because they had been jumping the greenies.
I trotted J at the babiest of crossrails and as we approached his head flew up and he practically slid to a stop. Without a crop I couldn't convince him to go past so I circled and trainer moved the side rails out a bit so it didn't look like he was jumping into some sort of box of doom.
I got him to jig his arse over it, laughing at his completely awkward prance-hop-prance-canter away nicely routine. By the second time I was cracking up. The jump was so tiny I just couldn't help but laugh that he jumps 3ft but the tiny cross rail with ground poles was gonna kill him.
I was glad I could laugh at it, but it was a reminder of what triggers my anxiety, and how much muscle I need to regain to be able to properly school green/naughty/ wtf moments. Realistically as a 1-2xs/wk rider, a real greenie isn't a great option unless its one heck of a deal and super calm. Then I could pay for training until its more schooled and I am not such a flabby flabberson. And if I want a greenie, I better prove I can ride them and accept my friends offer to ride her young'n. Make sure I'm up for it before I fall in love with any pretty faces.
My normal Tues or Weds lesson was moved to Friday so trainer could take care of some personal business out of town.
It was warm, quickly got into the high 70's, I'm not quite ready for heat, conditioning wise. Lots of panting lol. Went down to outdoor and another older woman who trailers in with alternating horses each week joined us. She is great to ride with, she is polite and braver than me (jupms and rides sensitive horses) so gives me courage lol.
Started with a nice relaxed but forward walk, until trainer realized I was slacking and told me to do a sitting trot. I worked hard at opening my always tense hips, which softened my bouncing on his back into following his motion. Novel
Blurry selfie. Go me.
Plenty of trotting, with more two-point than my flabby core could muster, and I admittedly snuck in posting whenever trainer looked away. Rarely does she not notice, sometimes she is just nice enough to call me on it, push me one more lap then let me rest.
Apparently I am leaning back behind the motion a bit to compensate for me having no core at the canter. I really thought i was just sitting up properly, but alas another thing to work on.
Did a few lead changes. He is really nice, L to R he is crazy smooth. Reverse he rushes a bit. which gets me tense, expecting some sort of naughtiness. But it doesn't come. He just does it.
Then trainer asked if I wanted to jump a little with the other rider. I said sure. I still had some reserve energy and I have watched him enough to know he is VERY forgiving.
Trotted back and forth over a little 2ft cross rail. What eye I had is gone... well not gone totally, I could see the wrong distance, I just forgot what to do to fix it. Trotting we were mostly fine, I sat up, grabbed mane and tried not to collapse from lack of muscle tone.
Then we cantered. That's where he proved a gentleman. I felt him move up and got all grabby handed. Slowed him down and we got a weird distance. Folks its hard to mess up 2ft, but I did. Flopped on neck, bopped his mouth, prob grazed a spur to his side. He just slowed to a trot and side-eyed me like WTF, you seemed ok til now lady. Trainer told me to trust him, his eye is better than mine for distance. Got a couple more better jumps and proved there is some nerves still hiding in there about cantering fences.
After over a year, guess that's fair. Hoping I get my core back soon.
Notice the dog chasing a ball in the distance? Jasper didn't care
Had my 3rd post baby ride. It wasn't all sunshine and roses, we had frame issues, but it still overall felt great.
Rode again in the half-groomed, mostly ok footing of the outdoor. It was nice in the high 60's barely a breeze, enough clouds to not feel too bad I forgot sunscreen.
Jasper didn't want to frame. At all. Which gave us issues with maintaining speed. But it was fun getting to work on it, I worked hard at paying attention to my body, where were my legs, was I leaning, was I sitting up. Its nice riding a horse that is steady enough to let you pay attention to yourself.
Rode with WS and her younger but taller sister (who is also an awesome rider). They are fun to watch and ride with. I do miss my Sat am barn mates but still short horses to ride.
How Jasper felt about our ride
I rode a little extra in the indoor as trainer had to meet the vet up in the barn. I worked at shoulder/haunches in and some turn on the fore as I only trust myself with a mirror if no one else is watching.
Then homeboy got some dental torture work done and his nasty tail fungus cleaned.
I am hoping trainer will find a unicorn that I can bring the kids to come ride, otherwise I know I will get mighty itchy to buy something...
Had another lesson on Jasper. Was offered coming on Tues and ride him, or Weds and ride Belle as Jasper's owner was riding Weds. Opted to stick with the horse I am comfortable on for another ride, because I was sure my comfort on my first ride back was a fluke.
But it wasn't. I still felt overall really good. Like I am sure if he went into some bucking fest, or spooked, or any other horsey- shananigans, I would have flopped off and been a wreck. But he was a solid enough citizen, and I apparently after several years have some muscle memory on how to not be a total noob in the saddle.
I do still have my left foot which wants to sink into home position, chicken elbows, and stiff hips, so apparently I am mostly back to where I was, just minus any core muscles.
We used draw reins, because why not torture me farther by making me struggle to maintain two sets of reins. We did achieve moments of awesome frame though, and really it ended up feeling pretty normal too.
I worked really hard at keeping us both more upright and not falling on the fore, something most horses easily sneak past my attention until I am holding their freaking head up and wondering why my back hurts and trainer is yelling at me.
Another lesson this next week. Hard to fit more in with short list of horses to ride, and this cute guy wondering where his food source mom went.
Well, guess I picked a good time to get back into riding, that way I can just pick up at a new quarter.
So this is a really rough, just trying to hold myself accountable draft...
Goals (riding and life):
1. Ride at least 1 lesson/wk (no option for hacking yet) 2. Set base two-point time 3.Double two-point time by end of quarter (..so like 1 min lol)
Yup, totally me
4. Convince self don't need pony
5. Buy a pony.......... ok realistically find one to ride (bought or leased) 6. Budget for a horse (like the realistic order this is in?)
7. Kids ride 1/mo (no horse to put them on yet- mine or borrowed)
No more Trooper pony :(
8. Set technology boundaries for family
9. Regular exercise 3 days/wk (gym or home)
Seriously I just wanna do a weight circuit and treadmill
10. Not eat like I'm still pregnant (hello waaaaay too many calories)
This vague list in all honesty still seems really ambitious, because babies and eventually going back to work will kinda mess up my pathetic energy levels. When I get a feel for that I'll shore up a real list.
Felt like eons, but to an equestrian months of no saddle time, is forever right?
Clearly stoked to take selfies
Since trainer has no lesson horses currently, another boarder was kind enough to loan me her gelding. Jasper is a pretty nice gelding, similar enough to Holly to not feel totally foreign after my hiatus.
Done with me
He is more forward, which is really nice, that whole squeeze to go then just keep a little leg on to maintain is pretty awesome. I got to half halt instead of kick kick kick like I was doing on Trooper pony before my hiatus. Jasper has a higher headset, which makes me feel like he is "perked up" and ready to spook at something, but no, just not dragging me over his neck. Novel.
Trainer was funny and had me do some two-point at the walk and trot. Um, yeah... that was not pretty. Posting trot felt fine, Jasper has a nice rising trot, although fussy about frame and can get hollow at sitting trot. I am really impressed with how he has turned out since they got him fairly green (but not young). I cantered like a mannequin, super stiff and unable to float with his decent sized canter... certainly feeling it after.
Thank you car outside for getting his ears up
Did get some really nice shoulder-in, prompting trainer to say there's "hope for me yet" if I can remember that after all this time off.
Another boarder who only rides on weekends has offered me her green bean mare, who I will love to ride... once I get some core back.
Now to figure out how to pencil in riding around my schedule, small children, and having to borrow horses... easy peasy I am sure.