Thursday, December 29, 2016

Temper Tantrums and Lots of Fun

Tuesday was dressage day and it was interesting. Danny and I were on and warming up and there was two other horses in the ring. We were doing just fine and he was happy as a clam. And then Cindy started to teach us and we were okay for a minute. There was a noise in the corner maybe.... or something. He spooked a little spook. No big deal. He spooked and it was over. Or so I thought. He then freaked out and got all rowdy and ridiculous. Not just typical shenanigans, but an all out temper tantrum. He was bulging left, wouldn't bend right, hanging on the left rein, bucking, cantering but on about 6 different leads, and just ridiculous. Seriously ridiculous. I tried letting him canter out and then I tried making him work, but I couldn't even get him to stay on one lead and give me the right rein. So finally I just one rein stopped him and made him yield. It took about 45 seconds of him circling before he finally sighed and stopped. And then we carried on and he was back to business. It was different than his usual sillies, so it was a little bit odd. It almost felt like he had gotten stung by something or had something under his saddle pad, but I know he didn't. Cindy thought that he got mad that he scared himself in the corner and then just had a tantrum. Interesting thought. But we had a decent ride afterwards so... who knows!? 

I'm trying to remember my pearls from that ride.... Oh! When we do our 10 meter circles I'm trying to hard to hold his shoulders straight with the outside rein. I think I'm being supportive but in actuality, I'm blocking and restricting. And probably creeping towards crossing his neck. So when I opened that rein a bit it improved dramatically! Yay!

So then today I had a jump lesson with Beth. It rained hard all night long so I left the boys in. I turned them out for about 10 minutes this morning before I left. It was about 50 degrees last night and that was the high for the day! So luckily my lesson with Beth was at 10 am because around 11:15 the wind picked up something fierce and was blowing the jumps over and the temperature started dropping. And Danny was bouncy enough as it was. 

We jumped in the field and it was SO MUCH FUN! Danny was a ball of energy so I had to work him and get him going at first. Beth said that while it would be nice to appropriately warm him up, it is what it is, and sometimes you just had to canter. BUT.... he needed to WORK not just play. Zero tolerance! We both knew it's just as much zero tolerance for me too. I allow it, because it's fun. So while I attempted to put him to work originally with gait changes and direction changes and lateral work. But he was still playing. So Beth had me just ride the canter on a circle and make him work in the canter. He had to be rocked back and bouncy and on the bit. Then I had to go bigger. And then bring him back. Oh.... not as much fun huh dan?! ;) 

Then we were able to start jumping. We did two or three cross rails to warm up and then... we took a huge flyer! Seriously, he left the ground literally 10 feet in front of the crossrail. The 12" crossrail. Doh! So then Beth told me to think about tightening my trapezius muscles as we were heading to the fences. Aha!!! I like it!!! It made a huge difference. If I focused on engaging my traps, and even alternating each trap, it was like a half halt. A whispered half halt that kept my upper body in the right position, thus my lower body in the right position and also my hands in the right position. It kept me with a connection with his mouth without rowing. OOOOHHH!!! I really like this.  Dan did too as he was jumping pretty darn good today. :) And I am finally getting it as far as my position I think. Beth didn't have to say anything about my landing gear today and barely anything about my hands. yahoo!!! 

oh, and... at one point he slipped a teeny bit in the footing and he had another episode like he did at Cindys. I ended up circling him until he got his legs together and on the same lead and got ahold of himself and we could carry on. I really think Cindy was right. Beth said that he was mad that he slipped and had a tantrum! And "hold his breath and flail on the floor until he got his way or turned purple"!. Silly silly boy!! I'm hoping that this won't become a consistent trend... Gonna have to nip that in the bud!!

We had a lot of fun. He's really getting ridable and fun. (I know I keep saying that!). 

Now... to start planning our 2017 year. :) So far... I'm thinking FENCE in April as our first recognized. And then the BN 3 day in May. And then... we'll see. It would be really nice to get to the AEC's this year. :) 

Christmas 2016

I got to go for a ride!! Rode Fleck with Kelli for a long walk ride. Ahhhh... I love that horse so much.

Then I hopped on Danny to play for a bit. We had a fun quick jump school. He was great and we had some good fences. He was leaning into my right leg some and drifting some so Kelli had me counter bend him a bit. Which helped. I also closed my leg into him. Once I got his shoulders more square, he was much straighter and we had a few pretty nice round basculed fences :) I also worked hard and got him straighter. :)

So yep. A VERY MERRY Christmas!!! Mike and I spent the morning together, then I rode both boys, then Mike and I spent the evening together. Ahhhhh

Danny loves his big brother

Trail ride with Fleck (Kelli rode him) and Danny was on his best behavior and stayed slow and small so that Flecky didn't have to struggle. :)

Awwww..... I love these boys so much!

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Yay!!! Riding time!

Jump and hack with Peri yesterday...... finished with some really nice oxers! Just don't give up... that last stride... either sit up and keep the leg on if we get chippy, or hold the stride if we are going to get there long and still sit up and leg on. But make my half halts count.

then dressage ride today. Worked on my toes and legs. :)

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Not so slow for LSD day

Yeah... Danny was LIT UP today! The original plan was to go to Hard Labor Creek or Watson Mill but I ended up with a migraine all night and couldn't get my day rolling quick enough. So we decided to just take our time in the morning and go to Harbins instead. 
When we got to Harbins Dan came off the trailer HOT! He was all bug eyed and just looked like he was full of spit and vinegar. Kelli suggested that I should hop on and take him out for a little energy burning and then come back and get her. She suggested this before even taking her pony off the trailer. He was that fired up. Hee hee. So I hopped on and headed off. 
I did not get to do the warm up I was hoping for. So we ended up walking a little bit, trotting a little bit and then cantering. The trails there are not very wide and fairly windy in places so we had a few areas of chaos where I thought we might sideswipe a tree or wipe out ourselves. I managed to keep him mostly under control and because he didn't know where we were going and the terrain was twisty and turny enough, he listened. We hit a spot in the trail that I wasn't sure which way to go so I decided to just head back the way we came. There was a little fallen log so I let him jump that and then we cantered on. And... we pretty much cantered the entire way home. Doh! Only this time he was much more willing to stay a bit more up and balanced and not get quite so fast. He did keep trying to open up in the open stretches but it's so twisty that the long stretches aren't that long. But we had fun. We ended up doing 2.6 miles in 20 minutes and he came back to the trail literally steaming with spit and dirt all over his chest. Goof!
Luckily that settled him down because he was perfect for just about the entire rest of our ride. We picked Kelli up and headed out and Dan walked flat footed and on the buckle for most of the ride. We did some trotting and when he was in the back he was naughty and kept cantering instead of trotting. But I did manage to get some good trot eventually. And then we also did some little canters which was fun. As we finished the 6 mile loop (remember that Dan has already done 2.6 miles prior to starting the 6 mile) and headed on the 4 mile loop, both ponies were fairly tired. So we let them walk on a loose rein. About 1.5 miles from home, they both got their second wind! Dan got all fired up and we almost took off. We managed a little trot and he settled. But when we got back to the trailers Dan still felt like he could go around again. Jeesh!! This horse has no bottom!

 And... apparently someone was decorated the trails! We saw a bunny face on a tree, a Santa pez dispenser, and this! Danny thought the ornaments were great fun! Hee hee. He's so silly!

Christmas Toys

Anyways, it was a great day and hopefully Danny is feeling better for good! He was the tiniest bit sore after our ride but not bad considering! Hopefully that heel bulb is on the mend!

Yay! Almost sound again!

 Today was a good day. I managed to get home in time for a ride so we ran up to Ashland quickly and got on. We had enough daylight to do a quick hack and snack in the XC field to warm up and then go to the arena and then finish with another quick hack (less snacking).
 We had a pretty decent dressage ride. He was sound and I didn't appreciate really any abnormalites in his gait, so yay! We worked a little bit on him but mostly on me and applying my biomechanics lesson stuff. Danny felt pretty good and we got some good work in.

 After the dressage school we went for another hack and went up some of the hills. We were chasing the sunset and sitting watching at the top of the XC field. Suddenly we heard footsteps and another horse and rider came galloping across the field. Dan held it together until they disappeared over the hill. Then he bucked and bolted and I just let him go. We galloped up to the top of the hill where the horse was and then he stopped. Wheee! So then we had to meander a bit longer to make sure he was nice and cooled out. ;)

Saturday, December 10, 2016


Argh... I just want to ride!!!!

So far this week... I've ridden on Tuesday. And that's it. Sigh.... well, today, but only at the walk. And Thursday, but a bareback walk hack on Fleck. 

Tuesday was a good lesson day though. I can't remember everything but I do remember this. :)
We were working on the leg yield and I was crossing the rein over his neck. As soon as Cindy pointed out that I was blocking him and needed to use that rein, but normally and not by crossing over, and that I was blocking him with my seat and needed to move my inside (I think) seat bone forward. And... I did and it worked! 

So yay. But then.. life and work and... argh... So then Thursday I got my work done as quick as I could and headed home to grab Dan to go ride. And... he had his shoe half ripped off. Ugh... and had a small slice in his heel bulb. So... I managed to get his shoe off and put him in the stall. And I took Fleck instead. Which was lovely, but... I sort of needed a gallop. Or at least a nice big long canter. Don't get me wrong, I love riding Fleck and he was great and the sky was amazing!! It was a great ride. But... I was wanting to ride Dan too.

So then Friday Dan got his shoe back on but by the time I got done with work and home it was 8 pm and freezing. Literally. It was 28 degrees that night. 

Saturday was the biomechanics clinic. I was really kind of excited about it. I got there early thinking Dan would be wild and would need a bit more warm up. But.. he was lame. So lame! I sort of saw it this morning but was hoping he'd work out of it quickly. But nope.. he's super sore. So... I did just a walk lesson. Which was very helpful but I was really hoping to do more. I'm just frustrated with life right now. No time to ride. No time to do anything but work and reports. Sigh... And then I finally get to ride and... he's lame. Ugh. 

But anyways.. .The rider biomechanics clinic was very cool. Jason, who is a physical therapist, came and watched us ride. Beth coached a bit and over saw to make sure that he was improving our posture for riding correctly as he's not a dressage rider. It was very cool. He showed us how to engage specific muscles to accomplish specific things. 

We started at the walk and he worked on my pelvic position. He said "neutral" pelvis was where we wanted to be for dressage. Basically we achieved this by rocking the crotch up and lifting the belly button, but not too much. I tend to over compensate. I shouldn't be leaning back. And I want my back to be straight. I tend to over arch. And I need to lift my sternum and keep my nose tucked in a bit but... again, not too much. So then, I also need to keep my toes in. Which means I need to rotate internally at my hips. Which is really hard! I'm really stuck. So Jason showed me a few stretches I can do to help that. I really need to remember to do that because it made a big difference with my rotation. 

Then we worked on turning. Jason said to try to turn by just engaging my shoulder blade. And it works!!! I had almost no contact and was just sitting evenly and I engaged and opened my right shoulder and Dan turned right. It was pretty cool! Then if I engaged my transverse abdominal on the right side, he turned right AND stayed supple and would have gone into the outside rein had I had contact. It was really kind of cool. And he was bent around my inside leg too and not pushing into my leg. Really kind of cool :) 

So we even did it at the trot for one turn each direction just so I could try it. And it works!  

I've got four exercises that I can do to help me in the saddle too. 

1): Slouch to Neutral pelvis to slouch to neutral pelvis to slouch to neutral pelvis to over flexed to neutral pelvis. 
2): lay flat on my back and engage my TA (transverse abdominals). I should feel that muscle pop up when I have my finger poking into my muscle just medial to my hip bone. 
3): Do #2 but then also do kiegels and hold.
4): Get a 6" foam roller and lay on it with it under my spine, butt to head and let my arms flop down and out to open up my pec muscles. Gradually be able to bring my arms farther up (closer to my head).
5): Dead bug! Still on the foam roller... Then put my hands straight up in the air and my knees up. Then engage my TA and bring my left knee to my right hand, meeting mid belly, and hold for a few seconds and then bring my right knee to my left hand.. and repeat. 

So then..  to stretch my hips I basically need to get Mike to lean into my leg while pushing on my butt bone. Not really anything I can do on my own. But I can stretch my piriformis muscle on my own. And man... that really needs to be stretched. It burned!! Basically I lift my knee to my chest and pull on it with my arms. 

So yep. It was pretty cool. I wish I could have trotted and cantered but Jason said he'd help me out again when Dan wasn't lame. 

Poor pony. I hope that he feels better soon. I know he's bored too. He was a good sport about today. Although he was in a sour mood on the ground. Hopefully his sugardine bandage wrap tonight will help him out. 


Saturday, December 3, 2016


Today was a great day. I took both boys to Ashland for a ride. It was a bit chilly and damp feeling but not too bad. Danny was a little bit on fire which was fine! We had fun.

We headed out and ran into 3 people riding. I stopped and asked where they were going so that I could plan where to gallop. Then I saw that the other riders had headed in, so I knew I had some openings. So I told them I would probably gallop up the hill and headed off towards the lake intending to loop around. Danny was good leaving the herd and we trotted off and put in some warm up. Then we trotted down to the hills we usually gallop up and see them! Thank goodness I didn't take the more direct route! I might have plowed them down. So we took the long sandy path along the river and trotted and then took the windier path back along the other side of the river. Danny was on the muscle and we had a lovely big bold canter. Then I let him go up the hill and while he enjoyed it, he didn't hit the next gear.

I thought I would let him try again in the cross country field but the 3 girls were out there again. So.. we decided to just join in and play with them. We did some flat work and then jumped a little. Dan was on fire today!! We had some awesome jumps. Even some of the training level cabins! I headed to one and as I got 4 strides out I thought "hmm... that's big!!! But too late now!". He jumped it beautifully though. And I worked on sinking my seat down and back a bit, closing my hip angle, and keeping my heels down and slightly in front. No idea if it worked, but it felt good. :)

Somehow I didn't get any pictures. I think because when we first started he was a little animated and then we just joined in on the fun. We did a little hack after to cool off but it was with one of the girls, so I was chatting instead of taking pictures. Oh well.

Friday, December 2, 2016

Fixing Me

Another great lesson with Danny! He's getting to be SOOO much fun! We worked a little bit on leg yielding and shoulder in today and... I had an aha moment! Cindy was saying that I was not bringing my hip forward. And yep.. sure enough, when I got that hip swinging again, his back could move again. Ohhhhhh.... He really did follow my hips!

I'm trying to remember what else.. cause it was a good lesson, but... it's now Friday night and I'm tired. Ooops. 

But I do remember this... as I have photos. ;) I hosed Dan down after his lesson because he got a little sweaty and was just dirty. And it had rained the night before.. for the first time in EONS. Which meant we finally had something other than dust. He had his cooler on for the ride home so when he got home I unloaded him and let him pee and then pulled his cooler off. I went in the barn to hang it up to dry and grab his sheet and then went back out to put his sheet on. 
I was greeted by this...  UGH!

 So.. he got to stay naked the rest of the day. Doh!