Tuesday, December 1, 2020

Good Day

 Today was a good day. I think Sunday was a win in more ways than one. I think both of us learned some stuff and retained it. :) 

Today was BITTER cold... but the sun was out and the wind settled a bit and I finished all my errands and had time, so... we went to ride. (And oh crud... I meant to explore the pasture to try to find my missing lunge line and side rein and forgot!). I ended up riding here because it was just getting too late to go to Ashland and my truck wasn't hitched yet and... why not?! We did our homework at the walk... turn on the forehand and turn on the haunches, both ways this time. Then we went to the trot and mostly just worked on keeping him in the outside rein... in a true connection. Then we cantered and got what felt like some fairly connected/collected canter. And you know what?? I didn't see his tongue once! We only had one little balky moment and it was super subtle. :) Yay!

So then we went on a short hack through half of the neighborhood. He was a bit bouncy. The UPS truck came and delivered some Christmas presents I ordered and he tried to spin a few times, but.. it wasn't nearly as violent as the other week. :) 

Good boy Dan! I was hoping to ride again tomorrow because I had some cancellations, but... I ended up filling most of the spots and I've got to pack because.... WE LEAVE FOR THE BEACH THURSDAY!!!! Whooo hoooo!!!

Did I mention it was COLD and WINDY last night and today?! :) Cause it was!

Post ride snacks with sissy!

Sunday, November 29, 2020

Self Sabotage.... doh!

Today was a decent day. Although I tried to sabotage myself. Good grief. 

Anyways... more on that in a few. The weather was supposed to turn ugly this afternoon, anywhere from 1 pm to 4 pm and then rain basically all the rest of the day and night and then tomorrow morning, it will stop raining but the temps will plummet. Oh goody! So, I got up and Mike said he didn't mind if I got a ride in, so after I fed horses and ate breakfast and got the stalls cleaned, I went and rode. The arena was too wet to drag, but not too wet to ride. (Not so after tonights rain!!!). I turned Fleck and Dan out together this morning so that Fleck doesn't forget and get to where he can't go out with him and they were peaceful enough. I let Fleck and Funny out together while I rode Dan though. Which made Dan sad... and Funny and Fleck happy. Although I still think Funny has a big crush on Dan and prefers him to Fleck... Anyways... I still haven't found my lunge line or my other side rein and my new side reins haven't come in yet, so... we just went to the arena. I started with the equicube.... ah, such a good torture device. I really need to use it more as it makes it fairly impossible to ride with your hands and it really helps me keep my elbows at my side. BUT... it also makes it hard to give a rein to test self carriage and it makes it hard to work on getting Dan into the outside rein. And sure, maybe not for a professional, but for me, I still have to use my hands to feel and get the connection. I'm working on it, but... it is what it is. But anyways, we did a good bit of work at the walk with the cube and then a little trot. We did our homework with the turn on the haunches and then turn on the forehand. We even played with walking halfpasses. And then right about the time I picked up the trot with the cube Danny decided that he needed to call for Funny and got a little inverted and I decided it was just time to put the cube down. We had a pretty good ride. There was some ugly in it... there was a lot of tongue flying around. I'm not sure what's going on with that. I'm terrified that he's painful and that's why he's sticking his tongue out, except... he started almost as soon as I got on. Even with just the cube. It's definitely worse the last few rides though. Maybe it is just another evasion tactic. I don't quite know what to do other than ignore it and carry on. And assume it'll go away if it's an evasion... and if it's pain, I'll eventually be able to figure out the source of pain. Because at this point... he's feeling better behind and the front end issue is resolving, so... it's either a bone scan or an MRI and... ??? He is due for his dental soon though, so maybe that's part of it?? There was a couple of battles with him not going forward and sucking back and then going backwards and even popping up a bit. But we got through it. And I think.... think.... think... I'm starting to ride better. I feel like my timing is getting better... When he got stuck and wouldn't go forward, I kept the connection (it's an evasion to connection) and thumped with my legs until he went forward and then immediately went back to trying to not use any leg. No nagging! I felt like I was better with my leg and not using it every step of the way. (we didn't even do shock and awe today!) I felt like I was better at keeping my elbows by my side and meeting resistance with resistance and softening when he did. I feel like I was much better at giving my hand forward when I could. And the difference in the give is that if my elbow is at my waist, my hand can go forward a lot to give. If my elbow is forward, then there is only so far I can give my hand... And he felt pretty good too. There was a little head tilting... so I know he wasn't 100% straight but at least he felt like his neck was coming evenly out of his shoulders. He felt more on the bit, although maybe the connection was too heavy??? It's so hard to tell with him sometimes. So yeah.. I was pretty pleased with our ride. I thought our canter was better too. He felt more connected and more collected and less huntery. And I felt like I was mostly sitting better to it and not bouncing out of the saddle. So yay! We finished with that. Then I was letting him catch his breath and say hi to Funny and Fleck who came up to say hi, and... I figured I'd peak at the video. Well, my dumb self... I opened the video from two weeks ago instead of today. To be fair, I was wearing the same outfit just without the vest. But I glanced at the video and was disappointed. The canter just looked like he was loping on the buckle. So then I almost made him go back to work and get a better canter, but I decided not too. And I'm so glad I didn't. Because while my pivo lost me and I barely got any canter in the video, what I did get was WAY better than the canter from two weeks ago, so... doh! And overall, I feel like it was a better ride. Again, it's hard to say. Maybe I was too handsy... maybe I wasn't doing my homework like I thought, but... I think we were doing a little better. 

Then I put Dan back with Fleck and Mike and I went to Home Depot. We went for a bathroom vanity but that's a lot more complicated than we thought. But we ended up with two cute little Christmas trees for the front porch and a cute little fir tree for the house. No fire pit.. guess we'll have to order it because they didn't have the one we wanted in stock anymore. And when we got back from Home Depot, Dan was flat out on his side of the fence and Funny was sleeping on her side. Fleck was standing guard for a bit, but then he went down too. Hee hee. Guess I finally tired Dan out. He was out cold for a good bit. :) Then they got rained on and now everyone is in, except for Dan. Because he's too good to stay in a stall and paws on the gate and I'm tired of having him paw his shoes off, so.. he can come and go. And he chooses to go out in the rain. At least he's covered up. Because if he's wet, he's gonna freeze tomorrow!

Saturday, November 28, 2020

Stubborn 1 and Stubborn 2

 Man... sometimes I wonder if Dan and I should just be trail pony extraordinaires!! Today was tough. It wasn't a bad lesson, but it was tough. He felt lamer but this time it felt more obviously in the connection rather than in the shoulder. And I mean.. it is in the shoulder, because that's where he's super crooked and tight, at the neck base, but... I felt it more obviously in the connection today. He just kept bouncing. I was trying to meet resistance with resistance and be soft and forward thinking with my hands, but... he just kept bobbing in and out. Which meant.. he wasn't truly ever in the connection. So.. it took a bit of a fight. Not a war.... I was much less frustrated today and therefore able to keep riding without losing my cool. (Sigh.. I know... I really really really hate this trait about me... I know it's toxic.. I know it doesn't help, but... I just get so frustrated and then I get angry and sadly, I take it out on the pony... it's not his fault!). I was not entirely emotionless, but.. it was better. I just out-stubborned him today. It took awhile. But eventually.... we got to where he went into the outside rein. It wasn't the best of connections... more weight than I wanted, and not as soft and fluffy, but... I think we had a true outside rein connection. And I was able to fluff it a little bit by thinking walk but then trotting on. But man, so much to work on. So much homework. We started doing some turn on the haunches in the corners and then turn on the forehand at C...  he must stay forward and moving forward and not get stuck. He must not pivot on the hind legs or front legs and keep walking. He must not fall in on the right shoulder....  but yep. That's our homework. In each corner, turn on the haunches and then at C, and probably wouldn't hurt to do it at A too, a turn on the forehand. Then we moved on to trotting and that's where it took the battle of wills to not get sucked in to letting him hang on the right rein. We finally got that and then worked on the half pass. Ugh... Half passing left is darn near impossible for me. My body cannot make it happen. Rana finally got on to show me and realized that basically Dan is so dull to my aids that I'm having to work so hard to get him moving that I'm contorting my body. So... she had her own battle of wills with him. She pushed him into the contact and he said no and started to back up. She kept the contact and kept pushing and eventually he went forward. And then she kept her legs off except to thump him when he started to fall out of the gait. So when I got back on, he was much more forward and in front of my leg, and if I didn't overthink it, and kept my body movements more subtle, it worked. It's not perfect, or probably even accurate yet, but.. it's progress. And that took 1.5 hours. Sigh. Poor lady. That's a long lesson!


  • Shock and Awe! He MUST be in front of my leg. He must go until he gets aids saying otherwise. I cannot keep nagging him with my leg every stride. He must be self propelled. SO, keep my legs off him.. use my upper thigh and seat to ride... and when he starts to falter, thump him with my leg. Back it up with the whip behind my leg if need be. And at home, some shock and awe at the beginning of my rides wouldn't be a bad thing. And it's totally my fault... I let him suck me into it. So I need to be just as disciplined about it as I'm expecting from him. 
  • Straightness!!! Ride the neck between the shoulder blades. Don't let him over bend. Keep him in the outside rein, but don't abandon the inside rein. Even when tracking left, almost counter bend him to keep him straight and upright. Meet resistance with resistance and soften when he softens, but don't drop him. 
  • Keep my elbows and hands in a box. My elbows need to be at my side for my core to be strong. My hands need to be forward thinking and float forward with him, but.. only to a certain point. Then he hits the wall of resistance and needs to soften to that. (Y'all.. this is HARD!! I'm either floating and bobbing in the contact, or my contact is too much and not forward. ugh...). She said to picture a box and we can float within the box, but at the edge of the box, we hit the wall. Maybe I need to do some equicube days. Sigh... I know I do. :) 
  • Turn on the forehand comes from the outside rein aids. This is a great exercise to get him into the outside rein, especially in my hands. (In other words... this is a good way for me to get the right feel and the right result without taking over an hour to accomplish). He must keep walking with all 4 feet though, so if he gets stuck, abandon it and go forward (but forward into the contact). 
  • Turn on the haunches also must be forward and marching. Don't let him fall/list into it. 
  • Half-pass Left: My left hip and shoulder must come forward, which means my right hip and shoulder stay back and my right elbow must stay at my side... don't give up the outside rein!!!! But... if I don't think that... just think of halfpassing my own body to the left, and he is a little more reactive to my aids, it works. 
Sigh... poor Rana. Oh, and... Dan's tongue came out again today. A lot. :( Why?!?! It is stressing me out. Is it just an evasion? Is it just because the work is hard? Or is it because it hurts to use that right hind appropriately? Or the left hind? Shoot, I don't know. I guess I'll have to ignore and ride through it for a little bit and see if it goes away or gets worse. He doesn't tend to stick to any one particular evasion very long if I can find a way around it. But if it gets worse, maybe I'll have to do another lameness exam.. or a foot MRI.... or a bone scan.. or scope him for ulcers again. Sigh.

When we got home he got to be turned out with Funny again for the rest of the day. :) 

Friday, November 27, 2020

Anti Perfectionism Day

We needed today. We needed a anti-perfection day. An anti-perfectionist day. A day to just be 12 again and play. Yes, we made sure we were straight, but that was about it.  We hacked. We walked to warm up. We saw two coyotes in the pasture playing... or two big foxes! Then we trotted and cantered some. We hopped over a log. We saw the heron. We saw some deer. Then we went to the XC field and played over some fences. We started out decent but we chickened out at the novice coop at the top of the hill. Ugh... I think had I closed my leg he would have went but I didn't, so he stopped. But then we jumped some other stuff and even did the BN and Nov coop two stride. But man.... I am not sure I'll get brave enough to go prelim again. Although, I'm sure it'll come back when we get our mojo back (if we can... or maybe it'll have to be with Funny). But we had fun. When I was brave and put my leg on, he went boldly and happily. :) Wheee! Then we cantered to the lake and splashed around there. He was fierce! Serious splashing! :) Then we headed home and saw the coyotes again. It was a beautiful day.  Beautiful weather... beautiful fun.... lovely pony! I do love this kid. 

Grateful on Thanksgiving Day


Wednesday, November 25, 2020

Long Day

 Today was a long day. But at least it wasn't a work day. :) I got up early when Mike left for Louisianna but was able to go back to sleep for a little bit. Then I woke up to someone banging on the gate. I'm guessing it was Dan. I got up and fed and turned Fleck out with Dan for a little bit. They were pretty decent together. I sat on the couch for a little bit and talked to Mike and then got ready for my lesson. Oh, and..I knew I shouldn't have left the lunging stuff in the round pen. Today I found the tub in the pasture, flipped over and open.... I found one side rein in the water trough... one is still missing. Luckily my dinosaur stirrup covers were still in the tub, but... my lunge line is missing too. Oh Dan!


It wasn't a great lesson. It started out well! I was cheerful and optimistic. We had some fairly decent trot work and then we added the leg yield. He's better to the right stil... he's not dumping onto the right shoulder quite as bad and wasn't twisting his head quite as bad, but it is still there. And Rana wants him to go more sideways. Like how Kelly E had me work on a long time ago. Sideways!!! But still forward. So that's our homework. Working on the zig zag leg yields in an effort to get him supple and smooth and evenly in both reins. Then we went back to the trot on the circle and it spiraled terribly. Tracking right too of all things. I got so frustrated and took it out on Dan. His tongue came out. It was pretty bad. I feel like I'm battling the same thing I battled to the left, but now on the right. But my brain can't follow the process this way. Basically... he's not in the left rein, so he's hanging on the right. He's throwing his whole body to the left because he's collapsing on the right shoulder. And his haunches are way out. Except... that's not what my brain is telling me. My brain is telling me that his haunches are in, his left shoulder is out, and I must grab onto that right rein for dear life because otherwise he's going to fling to the left and fly outside of the arena. And when I let go of that right rein... that's what happens!!! So... my brain isn't wrong. Except it is. What I think I'm feeling is not exactly what's happening. So my correction is counter intuitive. But why oh why can't I figure this out and believe it?!?! So... now that I can think it through.. it makes sense. He's still dumping on the right shoulder... it's just that he's motorcycling onto it. So while it feels like his body is flinging left... it's centrifigal forces I'm feeling, not the actual body flinging left. It's flinging ME left...  OOOOOHHHHHHHHHHHH... now that makes more sense! (I literally just got that... or made it up in my head... maybe it's entirely opposite, but whatever, it makes my brain happy which means maybe now I can make my body cooperate and do what my trainer says to do rather than what my smartass brain thinks is best). SO... I must...

  • Sit right
  • Hold the connection in the outside rein, but soften when he softens
  • for the love of all, let go of the inside rein!!! Like throw it at him... repeatedly. I can use it for bend, but I must leg go more than I use it.
  • Inside leg to outside rein. More inside leg.... even more inside leg
  • Ride haunches in
  • My brain has to think of riding a half pass to the right. 
Anyways... maybe eventually I'll get it. Rana had to break the spiraling cycle we were getting into and got on. And wanted me to try him in a regular bit rather than the nathe. She felt like a double jointed bit might help me and that him going behind the vertical isn't related to the bit, but just an evasion on his part. So.. we'll see. I feel like it doesn't really matter to him one way or the other. He goes about the same in any bridle, any bit, any whatever. Which, isn't a bad thing. Anyways... I did feel a little better because she had to work fairly hard to get him to behave. Of course maybe that's because I screwed him up so bad first. But I got back on and maybe it got a little better. 

Then I put him in the trailer while I watched her ride Marvin and about halfway through her ride, he started pawing in the trailer. I watched him for a minute but then decided he had to pee and wasn't just bored so I went over and let him out. He barely made it off the ramp before he peed! Well, I may not be able to ride, but I at least know my pony front and back. Sigh...

Then we got home and I was about to turn him out and go get some food before Freddie came... and Freddie came! eeeeeks! Good thing I was home. I had to move Mike's car though. We ended up putting the pad back on the right front to see if that helps him with his straightness until I can learn to ride better. So we'll see. After his turn, I turned him back out as he was pawing at the gate, while we did Fleck. Then it started to rain and Funny freaked out in the stall! I don't know if she's ever heard rain on a tin roof! And sweet Dan came back to the barn to comfort her. Awww... no wonder she loves him. 

Riding at Home

Instead of riding with Kelli again today (sadness) we rode at home. Kelli hurt her back. It maybe wasn't a bad thing as I couldn't seem to get rolling and then the boys were supposed to have their dentals in the afternoon. I eventually got some stuff done at the house and then went to get Dan to ride. I decided to just ride here because... I have an arena now! Well, technically I don't own it yet, but... hopefully soon I'll at least own some of it. But anyways... I lunged him first. We worked on keeping his nose between his shoulders a little better than the other day and got some nice work. Then we went up to the arena and used the pivo. It felt like a good ride. The pivo did a cruddy job of following me so we'll see how much video I got, but... he felt very in front of my leg and forward! He felt pretty straight and pretty sound. We had some fairly decent work. Then I wanted to jump so I popped him over a few fences and he got quick and super exciting. It sort of was tricky to get him to settle back down after that but I tried. We managed a little bit more work and then we went for a hack. We got almost to the lake and met the HOA owners, who also happen to own the german shephard puppy. Then we went to get a drink out of the lake and Dan barged in so fast... we almost took a dunking! That lake isn't as shallow buddy! It looks like it drops off quick. Luckily we caught ourselves. So then we headed back but I decided to go towards the neighborhood entrance and ride along our property line. It is a long line! Then we came home. :)