AKA My other title option was the Deplorable Word, but without the explanation, it doesn’t make a great title, but read on to find out why. Again, my life went upside down/I’ve just slacked, so you get another 2 weeker. Someone pray for my schedule and pray I make time for myself again.
Lets jump into the week. L got Monday off, I think I covered that one pretty well last week, but we’ll cover it again. Tuesday was the first day in a day off, and I told him in that ride, hey this will be the worst ride of the week!
You know that thing where you start to tack up, and no one is there, and by the time you finish, the arena is full? Yeah that happened.
I wasn’t picky with that ride, just a casual walking ride with a tiny bit of trot. I was also limited as the arena was still set up for bad weather turn out, someone was lunging, there were standards from the temp turn out still up and L was on fritz mode. I could very much feel the want to spook and jump and bolt, but we managed it well and I got what I wanted and called it. No point poking the metaphorical bear. He was good though, and we had some wonderful impulsion so it was an okay ride.
Wednesday I had the place to myself. I ended up waiting to ride until later in the evening, just because of how helping panned out. I did WTC, but was a bit discouraged when our walk to canter and canter walks weren’t great. I knew I was missing something, but couldn’t really put my finger on what I was doing wrong. The rest of the ride was great as always, but I just really couldn’t put a finger on it.
Thursday was a bit better. We worked on getting down in the scary corners, and L had one spook which we turned into a very nice canter, and then canter leg yielded towards the scary corner. Our canter work was lovely after that too, and while the canter walks were better, I still was getting one or two trot steps before the walk.
I told GJM the next day, when she asked how our rides have been going, we have had great rides. In fact, I can’t say exactly when my last “bad ride” was. I’m just missing things or little things need adjusting. Which she said, perfect I’m doing my job right, because if you said they’ve been perfect, then there would be no reason for me to be here right now.
Firstly, we went back to work on haunches in. I told GJM I had tried it once during the week, confused both L and myself, and ditched it entirely. I really wanted it broke down to see where I or he was going wrong. Because it could have been both of us at fault; mine for just not asking the right way, or his because he likes getting out of lateral work. Turns out it was mostly me and GJM. She ended up popping on him just to see if it was me or him, and we realized she’d given me one wrong direction, and once we fixed that, suddenly we had the movement. My biggest struggle was track left.
Track right my body easily twisted the right way to ask. Track left I just couldn’t get my shoulder back and my hip forward correctly. GJM originally had me looking over my left shoulder, but I actually got it better looking dead ahead. Once we had it down, we went to our canter walks. And boy was L ready for them. Like tense hot lets go. Then 10 minutes into that, the farrier decided to start hot shoeing, which if anyone remembers from a few weeks ago, L hates hot shoeing. So his brain started frying and I could see the sparks flying from between his ears. It was a lot of ask when he’s relaxed to canter, and even just say it to help reinforce the behavior you want, and then when coming down to walk, don’t ask until the weight has shifted to the inside hind. Which was hard to feel, and GJM told me, “his poll needs to be up just a big higher, which you need to drop the weymouth more for and feel more with the snaffle.”
Guys, I cannot tell you how it felt, only I felt it, and then suddenly I couldn’t un feel it. Like bomb, ubër collection, rocked back, on that hind inside leg, and then I’d ask for walk. GJM was super happy with the work we got, and I jokingly called it the Deplorable word, once you know it, you can never unknow it.
If I’m really referencing CS Lewis, the real Deplorable Word destroys all life and its a high cost to the user. But hey, the knowledge has destroyed all bases I previously stood on before, and now I feel like I could get on any horse and go “ew nope.” It’s a lot like when I learned to get L off his shoulder. Once I felt it, I could feel it on any horse and went “ew fix ew fix it now I don’t like, ew ew ew.”
And I honestly can say while it’s still a new feeling, I definitely could feel it the next day while schooling a lesson horse for JM, and all I could think was “ew how do I fix how do I fix?!” In short, there wasn’t much I could do to fix it on that horse because A: he doesn’t understand it, and B: also has very little stamina/strength to really sit on that back leg. It’s hard to really sit a horse down and ask them to carry on their hind legs, and it’s hard for L too, not only because he’s weaker on the left hind, but he’s also not really working at that level anymore. We school it, but he’ll never do more outside of that.
I originally planned to give L Saturday off, but New England decided she wanted to play with the weather forecast, again. My dad already vetoed me leaving on Sunday, which sounds stupid to say to a 21 year old, but I personally was okay with it because I hate driving in the snow.
So I tacked up Saturday afternoon with the intention of just strolling around, doing a tiny bit of trot work in straight lines. NOthing major as we’d done a lot in our lesson the day before, and a lot of collection, so he deserved a good stroll out ride.
First, JM noticed my avoidance of the Magic Corner, and went “Are you avoiding it?” Thus I had to explain to her that yes, I’ve been avoiding the scary corner in my rides again, mostly on days where he feels like a powder keg, and yes my anxiety spikes now everytime his ears flip forward. So yes to the fact a 1000 pound animal has trained me to avoid a certain area of the arena.
So I spent most of my walking working on getting him in the scary corner both directions. And it was going great, so great I was ready to work at it in the trot. And then someone took their horse to their car to grab something (which I’ve done like 400 times with him), L saw it, and promptly freaked out because “THEY DISAPPEARED, ANNA WE HAVE TO GO CHECK ON THEM.” So my nice quiet ride turned into panicked horse. We had some lovely impulsion, and while it took me a few minutes to get him back with lots of changes of direction and lateral work to find the lost brain cell, he was really good.
Sunday I was a lump on a log. Literally. Snow days are chores/tack cleaning days normally, but I was a lump. The snow didn’t start till 10, and in all reality I could have gone and done chores, but I woke up too late.
Because I am horrible at remembering the week, Monday and Tuesday are a bit of a blur. I remember he was a bit spicy, for lack of a better term, after a day off Monday, and in an ideal world, I should have ridden Tuesday, but it was a snow day, I made it there to lunge H for JM after her injections, and planned to ride, but the ring was divided for a horse to be turned out, and some of the heavy machinery was in the ring. While I could have made it work, and lunging was fine for H, having a loose horse in half the arena didn’t seem like it would mix well with L. So he got handwalked instead.
Wednesday he was really good. GJM had suggested throwing in some canter in the warm up just to help warm up the hocks, so we started trying that. I think it really has helped, however it brings up a new problem of L thinking he can escape leg yields by cantering later in the ride as its already been warmed up. That ride we did a lot of canter leg yields. Normally, I’d bring him back, but GJM always said, if they pick the gait, they have to do the movement in the gait. So that’s what we did.
I also have almost, almost, conquered the magic corner with L. The ear plugs seriously help, so we’re going to continue with those when they’re needed, but I did walk trot in that corner with little panic on my end. The trot track right felt funky that ride, and it made me nervous, but he didn’t feel off the other direction, so I just made a note to have JM watch me on Thursday.
Thursday she watched me and went “you need more leg, you’re fine.” Yep, I’m a dope, more leg is always the answer. We had another day of “canter leg yields are easy! Wait no…”, but it was good all around, nothing to really to talk about. Okay, lies, I don’t remember what we did. I’m going off my text convo to JM after getting off and I didn’t say much so clearly not tons to talk about.
Friday was our lesson, and I started a hot mess. Guess who forgot her breeches at home, and didn’t realize it until it was almost too late, had to bolt home, get them and bolt back? Me! Most stressful hour of my life.
L was a bit stiff to start, so GJM had us doing small ten meter circles in each direction to get the neck looser. Her comments were he was tight at the base of his neck, but doing the small circles and shoulder shifting did help. In the beginning, I kinda thought it was counterintuitive to do small 10m circles, but it really helps stretch the neck and body, and then shifting the shoulders over. Then we warmed up WTC, and went to shoulder in. I felt my shoulder ins weren’t that great over the week, so we went to that first before revisting the leg yields.
First off, doing shoulder in down quarter line is much easier when you’re not avoiding the Magic Corner. GJM had us doing shoulder in to X, then straight, and then the tough exercise of last week of shoulder in left, straight, then shoulder in right. Which is very hard, but fun and once L realized we were doing that, it was easy. GJM told me it was a harder exercise, and it’s actually a precursor to half pass zig zags, which was cool to learn, but L and I won’t be doing those any time soon.
Then GJM upped it another level. We schooled the leg yield, and it was actually really good because I didn’t have to think shoulder in while leg yielding, he was pretty spot on. So our new exercise was up center line, leg yield to quarter line, shoulder in after X up the quarter line, and then an extension across the diagonal, and rinse and repeat. God it was fun, L really liked the extension across the diagonal. It was stupid fun though, clearly I’m a dressage queen if I find this all fun.
GJM was really impressed with our canter transitions overall that day too. She liked how uphill I had gotten L in the trot to canter transitions, and when we went to canter walks, it was pretty smooth and I was really getting a feel for sitting L back on his hind end. She said whatever I’d been doing during the week had been working wonders, which I’m glad, but at the same time he also had his Pentosan that morning so that probably helped too. It was an awesome lesson and I was so happy with how well he’d gone.
Saturday I popped on real fast for a chill ride. Of course, L heard me say Chill Ride, and it was not a chill ride. He spooked at a bird flying past, which should have told me he was going to be some fun. He’s been doing this thing when I go to do leg yields from quarter line to the rail, I turn the corner and he breaks into the canter. I’ve been told if he picks that gait, do the movement in it and then go to the right gait and try again. He’s been over thinking cantering left, and once I canter right, which I do first because it’s hard, he is itching to canter left. Then, I go and ask, he blows me off, I ask a tiny bit louder, and then he blasts off in some sassy fashion. Saturday, he bolted on me. Usually its a buck or a very exuberant launch into the canter. It’s something I’m definitely bringing up this Friday in my lesson.
And then, you’ll never guess who I hopped on Sunday? If you guessed Lush, you’re right!
L had the day off, I had the time, and she was available. Her lesson/barn rat peasants have been the only ones riding her, and I haven’t had the time. She’s not in the same amount of work I had her in over the summer, but she’s doing well. We played around the indoor, she finds the magic corner magical too, and the went on a stroll. She was being weird about the big doors, so instead of being smart and trying to open the door, I rode her out the aisle. So much for being a good example for the small children and I could tell she was definitely worried about me being on her back in the aisle, but she was a good horse.
Oh and look at this super cute cookie JB made for me! She’s very into baking, and I told her she needed to make me a mini L next time she did sugar cookies, and look how cute!!
L wasn’t very cooperative with photos, but his expressions make up for it.
I did end up hopping on Lush again on Monday, and poor Lush was “sharked”, much to her displeasure.
JB likes to train her horses like they will be treated in the show ring. She exposes them to a lot, and in show rings, some people are asses and like to ride up yours. JB has been meaning to do it with Lush anyways, but it’s not something done with lesson kids, so that meant it was me and it was just the perfect timing. JB rode her horse very close to Lush, and was either right beside us, or just behind us. At the beginning, Lush tried to get out of it, but then realized JB was not moving away, so she tried either slamming on the brakes or speeding up, before settling. JB’s horse oddly enough seemed to have a lot of fun doing it. Despite all of that, she was a star.
L was a powder keg pony Monday. It felt like everything and anything was setting him off. He was spooking and jumping at little things, and even did a spook and bolt at, wait for it, another horse snorting. Can you hear the eye roll in that sentence? We did get some good impulsion, and my original plan was to work on straight lines, but that got shoved to Tuesday. Lateral work takes up brain cells and that’s what I needed to do to get him back. We ended on a good note, (one really good leg yield in the hard direction,) and I made a note to mention it to JM and GJM.
Your girl also finally adulted and emailed HorseLoverz about the Mountain Horse boots, and hopefully I should be seeing a refund soon. Then, I noticed Ariat Kinsley tall boots are in short supply, so I found a pair in my size from Dover and already ordered them.
So much for waiting for the refund to hit my account, but it’s hit my Paypal so hopefully it will hit my bank account soon. Dover did give me 10% off for being a USEF member, which dropped the total price from $425 to $382, so I’ll take it. Not my favorite, but hey it gets me boots under $400, which was a criteria when searching.
Is 4 pairs of tall boots too many? Or am I just obsessed and crazy?