I know that most of my blogs are about Winifred because he is my show pony but Luther has been incredible lately. I broke my winter of bareback and saddled him up a couple of weeks ago. He was doing great bareback but really I only started that because this winter was ungodly cold. He didn’t need to work too much in those frigid temperatures. While it is still cold here there were a couple of days where it “warmed up” so I saddled up and Hello FancyPants Luther!
Apparently his months of bareback was the time that he needed cause my old man feels great! He is never going to completely move out at the trot anymore but he has really been stepping up. I have even had to whoa him a lot at the canter. He is so much fun to ride when he is like this. Sure he threw in a couple bucks but none of them were his nasty bucks so I can’t be mad.
I have been wanting to take him over a few fences but I haven’t been lessoning on him and in our barn you cannot jump without trainer supervision (safety rule). On Tuesday his owner came out and rode him during my lesson. I knew that he had been feeling good but it was so much fun to watch him go around. His owner even jumped! SQUEE!!!! He looked AMAZING!!! My old man even did lead changes even from his good lead to his bad lead!!! It was only back and forth across an X but man was I proud of him! Crazy how proud I am of a horse that isn’t mine watching someone else ride him. Lol
So at the beginning of this I said that Win was my show pony but mark my words I will be taking Luther in a flat class this summer. Not sure which Luther I will get but which ever it is we are going to have some fun!
It has been a long day for baby Finn. As I have mentioned before he can be a bit naughty and today that had some major consequences.
He electrocuted himself. I am re-doing my home office so in the meantime my office is in my dining room. He chewed on the plug part of an extension cord for my monitor an docking station. I could hear him chewing but when he laid down next to me he had a bene bone he was chewing on so I didn’t even think about the cord.
He was shaking for a while but I am sure that was nerves too. His gums were grey and 2 of his teeth were black. I of coursed ran him to the ER immediately which was slow because of the massive amount of snow we got last night.
Vet couldn’t see any burns so that is good. She said the big fear is fluid in the lungs. She said it is usually immediate and she can’t hear anything but it can show up later so I need to make sure I monitor his breathing. She said that his tooth will die but the big concern is what it will do to the bone. Need to bring him back in 4 weeks to go under anesthesia to get full mouth x-rays. But if he is drooling, having a hard time eating, or his breath gets bad I need to bring him in right away. His neuro check was good. She said that it must not have been that bad since it didn’t leave a burn.
On a happier note earlier this week his beginner’s agility course came in this week and we worked on his tunnel.
Well I added another brick to my confidence wall last night. It was such a nice small lesson and since everyone else was just flatting it turned into a private jump lesson for me. Trainer put the jumps down small 1) for my self-esteem and 2) it was cold and there is no reason to jump big in this cold when you don’t need to.
We did the exact same start as we did on Saturday. Warm up trot X, then a warm up of trot X, roll back to cavaletti, roll back to another X, then long approach to a skinny oxer. The oxer was one of the jumps that I really had an issue with 2nd guessing myself over. This time was much better. Next was our hunter course. Did the steps on the outside line to the long approach to a single vertical on the diagonal. He got a little spunky after that one so I circled before going to the outside line which was a 3 stride. I felt that rode nice then on to the diagonal that I flubbed on the lesson before. We jumped in and I wanted to do the add since I failed on it last time. We got the add but let me tell you it was not pretty! I failed to start to ask for it until our 3rd stride and given that it was set up as a 4 stride it was a little late to ask for it and have it fit nicely but he did listen and fit it in. As ugly as it was it reminded me that this horse does listen to me! Well he listens to me when I ride correctly. Since we flubbed trainer made us canter around and do it again. This time I asked right away and *wala* 5 fit perfect. Next we did an equitation course of X, roll back to other outside which was now a vertical, to the cavaletti, broken line to oxer, then broken line of the skinny oxer to the single vertical on the diagonal. Thanks to Kristen from Stampy and the Brain I have this on video, unfortunately, Maestro wanted to help video so I am out of the frame a little but I am still grateful for the media. Anytime I watch our videos it amazing me how little you can tell how hard he is pulling. Lol. Again the jumps were some but it is what I needed. I felt like myself again making the choices of where we take off and the pace I wanted. I also need to remember to breathe and talk to him. He really does seem to do much better when I talk to him.
I really needed this since I am out of town for work next week this was the last time I get to jump before our first show! The jumps will be a lot bigger but I feel like we can do this! I stated to get that fun feeling again.
Side note: You can see my baby Luther a little in the video. His owner rides him once a week and it is usually during my lesson. I just LOVE seeing him go around and how happy he has been lately. I need to do a whole post just on him soon!
Is there Perfect Prep for people? A few years ago I started wine and cheese before my Tuesday night lesson. It was a lot of fun where those of us in the 7pm lesson would get together at 6pm to watch the 5:30 lesson, eat cheese, and drink wine before we had to go saddle up. Trainer said that we were all a bit more relaxed and rode better. It fizzled out as the weather got warmer and lessons moved outside. I am thinking maybe I need to bring this back. Perhaps wine was my Perfect Prep. Lol
I had a jump lesson on Saturday and jumping started off still shaky. The X trot warm up was fine. I hate trot fences but it was alright. Next it was a trot X, roll back to a cavaletti, roll back to another X, then long approach to a skinny oxer. The first roll back we missed our hind change because I was so concerned about not letting him get fast that 1. I was not asking for it and 2. I didn’t let him move out enough to get the change even if I was asking for it! Then as we approached the oxer I knew my spot but then right before hand I waivered. Trainer not only saw it in my riding but knew from my face that was 2nd guessing my instincts. I took us to a corner and had a long internal talk.
I reminded myself that Winifred and I are a team and the only reason that we are flubbing is because I was not trusting in him or myself anymore. I needed remember that he and I have fun together.
Time for our first course. Trainer suggested that for my mental state to do the adds. Outside line was great, long approach to a single on the diagonal was great, other outside line was perfect, then the diagonal on the way home…. It was a 4 stride so I wanted to do 5. Mental counting 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 but actually was 1, 2, 3, 4, take off! I was left so far behind! Win is such a good sport he was fine about it. Here is the issue, if I want an add I actually have to ask for an ad! Noble concept. LOL. He was being perfect and in my head I wanted to do the add but I literally did nothing to TELL him that I wanted the add. The 4 was PERFECT but since I planned on the 5 trainer made me canter around and do the 5. He was SUCH a good boy!! I am pretty sure the second we landed is when I yelled “I’m done!” I was so happy and feeling so much better about us being in stride together that I wanted to end on a good note.
I am so fortunate to have such an incredible barn family who is so supportive of each other. After my lesson I had a great talk with LT about different relaxation techniques. She suggested visualization which is to basically remember a time when we were on our game the best. For me that was the clinic. We definitely had some misses in the clinic like dropping strides but I left the clinic feeling on top of the world because I was able to make him do what we needed and it was so much FUN. And neither of us had Perfect Prep. Lol
I have another jump lesson with him tonight so I can continue to build my confidence. Wish me luck!
For more Finnley fun be sure to follow his Instagram Finnley.the.cata_whattt
Just got home from my jumping lesson and I have to admit that my fall last week got to me more than I let on (even to myself). The lesson started much like it did last week with Winifred being a good little hunter going low and relaxed.
Things started to go downhill when as we went around a corner by the mounting block trainer closed her coffee cup lid which made a snap and after that Win was absolutely sure something was hiding in that corner waiting for the perfect time to jump out and eat him.
We changed direction and suddenly the other end of the arena was a mine field. The funny thing is that is the clubhouse end and at the beginning of the lesson the barn dog was barking but by then she was silent. Normally his spook is to jump sideways and spin. We had a few of those and also two butt-tuck-under-then-jump-ups. He even did a “hopping” canter at one approach to that end to. Then he would relax down the long end then the scary mounting block monster would threaten. *Sigh*
I thought that that things would be fine once we started jumping. While he gets super strong over fences he does get focused and scary things tend to fade away. We trotted the warm up X, well the front have of him did at least. Did it the other way and he definitely didn’t want to hit his legs again. Back and forth one more time fine then did the outside line. I like to force him to do the add in our warm up so we did a 6 SUPER easy and I relaxed but not one stride off the line he shot left. Not something he has ever done.
That run out brought up nerves I didn’t want to acknowledge that I had after the fall. Part of me even wanted to tell my trainer that I was good for the night but I soldiered on. Our first course was going good until our last fence which was a long approach to a single. Win was building his canter stronger and stronger but I was holding my own. I saw my spot and it was the right spot but as he got stronger at the last second I gave in and ended up jumping ahead for the 2nd time ever on him (1st time ended in a face plant). This time ended up better because it was a single and not a triple but still not good. Second course was alright and I hit my spot on that fence but I am pretty sure I had a death grip on him.
This night (and last week) have got me completely rethinking my goals. Look, I know that many of you are jumping 3’, 4’, or giant cross country fences and probably think I am pathetic to question if I can do 2’6” but I didn’t grow up jumping. I did dressage and even a little western pleasure (shhhhhh don’t tell anyone!) and after my back surgery I know my mortality. Can I do this? Which yes, I am still confident that I can jump 2’6″ but can I do this on Winifred? I know that I can but am I good enough to handle a strong, spooky horse like Win?
Trainer and I discussed this after my lesson. She reminded me how confident I was at the clinic and how good we did over the solid jumps there. She reminded me that we have not jumped in a month (expect for last week) and that everyone loses confidence after a bad fall and that we did 20 jumps tonight and had 1 bad and 2 eh jumps. But of course all I am focusing on are the 3. Lastly, she pointed out that we have a schooling show in a couple of weeks and I can make some decisions then.
I thought I was fine but it is clear that I am now second guessing my distances. Anyone else ever feel this way, and if so, how did you get past it?