Friday, January 29, 2016

Silence

I've been a little quiet lately...there hasn't been much going on. It seems like we are in a bit of a holding pattern as I prepare to list Benny and start Emi. My rides on Benny have been really good.

Last night we taped his sale video and I had a really good ride. Our transitions are improving immensely as is the connection. This has led to some real progress in the leg yields and canter work. In our lesson with KB on Tuesday we added more difficulty to the counter canter work we have been doing. Up until now we had just been counter cantering the shallow loop from first level. Tuesday we changed it up so that we were cantering across the diagonal, counter cantering the short side and then going back across the diagonal. Benny was a rockstar!

After the dressage portion of our video I switched over to my close contact saddle and a kimberwick to show Benny more like an Arab on the hunter circuit. It was fun to play around and we had some pretty nice moments. If someone wanted to focus on that with him and polish up the skills they would require I think he could do well. Now I need to put my video together and list him for sale. How'd that come up so fast!?

Safe, sane and sound. What's not to love?

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

The Possibilities

The past two days I got to spend some time riding with Jessica Wisdom. I had ridden with her a few times in the spring and am really impressed with her ability to teach. I won 2 lessons at a silent auction a few months ago and so Monday morning we loaded up all three members of the half Arab club and headed for Washington.


Benny was a doll (as usual). He traveled like a champ and never put a foot wrong. My biggest takeaway was that I need to be asking for more. More connection to the hind legs and more commitment to being in front of my leg. I ride him like a training level horse but he's capable of more and so am I. We had some lovely work in both the trot and canter and have plans to ride with Jessica again the first weekend in February. I'll share some video from Tuesday once I get a chance to put something together. 


Today I had the pleasure of riding an adorable Arabian that has been shown to 3rd/4th level. Jessica said that I'm a good rider but have no idea what is possible (I agree). He wasn't easy for me but we did get some nice work. It's amazing how focused I have to stay because the moment I went on cruise control things started to fall apart. He also had a tremendous amount of power that I'm not used to.  Do you want to know the most exciting part about my lesson? Jessica said that next time she's going to have me ride Cardi....as in Emi's dad!!! I'm ecstatic about that possibility and if it all works out I think that will be one of my lifetime highlights. 

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Ain't Doing Right

Roz has been ADR for the past 6 weeks or so. It all started near the beginning of December when I went out one morning and he was making weird faces (not sure how else to describe it). He wasn't actually grinding his teeth but it was sort of like that. He had been standing like that for long enough that his chin was wet with drool. He ate his breakfast when it was offered to him but I was concerned. I attempted to have someone come look at him but no one was available. I ran home mid morning to check on him and he seemed back to normal so I didn't pursue getting someone out to see him.

Since then I've been watching him closely and debating whether or not something is wrong with his teeth. He had them floated in May so it hasn't been overly long. He's eating pretty well, although occasionally he doesn't finish all of his grain.  If his mouth is fine them my second thought is that he is in some other kind of pain. I know he has arthritis and I wonder if that's really bothering him.

Another change I've noticed that he has been really cranky lately. He's fine with me but he's very short tempered with Emi. At first I thought maybe she has been pushing his buttons but the longer I watch the more I think that he's just flat out not happy with something (not necessarily her).
He says, "Do I look crabby to you?"
Then Saturday I noticed that his sheath is swollen. Hmm...now I'm wondering if he may have Cushings. His hair coat is normal but from what I've read behavior changes can be associated with Cushings. They also list increased thirst and urination with may be true as well. It's hard to say for sure since Emi is in with him too. At this point he has an appoint for February 1st. I'm really curious to see what we find. Getting old sucks!

Side note: yes, he has a lot of hair but that's normal for him.

Sunday, January 10, 2016

So Done

I'm not sure about the rest of you but this seems to be the time of year when I'm really done with the whole winter riding thing. Not only is it dark but it's cold and muddy too. Then today, we had a lovely day that reminded me of spring and all was well in the world.


Benny and I proceeded to have a wonderful ride this afternoon. It was just what we needed after the unmotivated rides we have been having. We have a lesson this week with KB and then next Monday/Tuesday we are taking a field trip up to work with JW. I'm really looking forward to the week and our ride today was a great kick off.

The baby girl even got to have her blanket off all day

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

The Gift of Confidence

One of the greatest gifts Benny has given to me is the gift of confidence. I've owned several horses throughout the years and one in particular damaged my confidence. Roxy was a gorgeous thoroughbred mare that I owned for a few years. She had so much talent and was really fun to ride when she was going well. Unfortunately she was also explosive at times. You can see examples of the talent and the explosiveness in the two videos below (the training level test 2 is just 5-10 seconds at 1:40).





Can you spot Rozzy Ridge? 
She was freshly off the track when I got her and things started out very easily. As time went on and the work became harder that's when she started becoming more difficult. I kept on longer than I should have because she would give me just enough progress to make it seem worth continuing...and I really did love her.



The two videos above are both from the last 6 months that I rode her. The explosive response was escalating despite a saddle change, lessons, vet examination etc. It all came to a head when I get stepped on resulting in a broken foot. I needed 2-4 weeks to heal and would not be able to ride. At that point I knew I was done with her.


I've ridden and owned various horses since that time but without trying to be funny I've felt "scarred for life" from riding her. Reinforce that by purchasing another OTTB who had a penchant for bucking and I was definitely not nearly as bold and brave as I used to be.

Benny has been the perfect cure for my failing confidence. He's not at all explosive. If he does anything he will tighten up but not respond in any other manner. At first his tight response made me tighten thinking we were heading off on a bucking spree. When I first got him I'd be walking around on a loose rein and when he'd tense I'd tense right along with him and choke up on my reins. After about the hundredth time of that I realized that I wasn't being fair to him when he hadn't ever responded in that explosive way.


As the time has continued to pass I feel more and more confident and relaxed, rediscovering the fun of riding and (mentally) the rider I used to be. What a great gift that is and a lovely thing to take in to my time on Emi. I'm a rider that's firmly in the camp of moving on from a horse when they are not a good fit for you. It's not worth ruining your confidence and taking the fun out of riding. There are so many other horses out there who are fun...find one of those and continue on your riding journey.  

Monday, January 4, 2016

Equestrian Blogger Gift Exchange

This was my first year participating in the Equestrian Blogger Gift Exchange put on by Tracey at Fly On Over. I thoroughly enjoyed shopping for a gift for Alli over at Pony'Tude and I received a gift from Emily at The Exquisite Equine.
So cute!
Emily did a great job "blog stalking" as she gifted me the braiding belt I was looking for (see My Christmas List).


Not only is the braiding belt full of braiding supplies but she included some Quick Braid and peppermints. Thank you, Emily! I can't wait to braid using my new belt. It's going to be so much nicer than stuffing braiding supplies in any pocket I can find or holding items between my legs or in my mouth.