Category Archives: Ponies

The View from Up Here

My big news is that I have gotten back in the saddle! And I cannot express how excited I am that my return is on the one and only amazing JB! As you know from my last post it has been 8 months since my butt has sat in a saddle and it has been a LONG 8 months! While my core strength is not where I want it I could no longer last without riding.

JB View

Oh how I have missed this view!

If you have ever felt the pain that I did you will understand why I was so scared to try riding but if you are reading this blog you are probably like me and understand that my insides would not heal without being able to ride. Riding is just part of who we are. That drive out weighed my fear and I asked my trainer, S, 3 weeks ago if she had anyone that I could ride. This was a tricky decision because I definitely needed a horse that was super smooth and would be tolerant of my atrophy of equitation skills. Lol. While I absolutely adore and love Tango I am afraid that his gait is part of what lead to my back issue so he was out of the question besides he has a great new partner right now. S’s horse, Newman, has been broken for some time from too much play in the pasture so he was out. Our schooling pool is very pony rich but only 4 horses. And of those that we do have; Rusty is way too bumpy, Pie is amazingly smooth but she has a full lesson schedule so it would not be fair to add another rider to her, Radar is decently smooth but busy like Pie, and then there is Willy but he older and for the little kids. My booty would be mean to him. Lol. I got a little frustrated but I understood and knew it would be hard to find the right one.

My jaw dropped when I got a text from S a few days later that said “Do you want to ride JB?” To understand why my jaw dropped I need to give you background on JB. He came to our barn in September and is being leased by A. The first time I noticed him in the pasture I just remember my eyes getting huge and I think I drooled a little!

on JB

The amazingly handsome mammoth, JB!

JB is a 17.2 10 year old warmblood. He has done everything from 2’6” hunters to the 1.35 meter jumpers. A will be showing him in the 3’6” jumpers and open eq. I got to see A jump him in a clinic held at our barn in November and I was in awe of his athletic ability! A is amazing with him and fearless! I remember commenting that I was in love but at the same time I am not sure I could ever imagine feeling confident on such an athlete. Granted I will not be jumping him but even sitting on him was like a dream!

I am starting slow with just once a week only walking and trotting. I will talk about maiden ride in my next post. Today I just wanted to show off this handsome mammoth!

JB Selfie

Selfies are hard when you have a giant head!

JB Creeper

I was hanging out at A’s lesson when I felt someone watching me and turned around to see JB creeping on me from behind a standard! Lol

Oscar Feet

Oscar had to prove that JB isn’t the only animal creeper in my life. LOL

Hover Trot

Today I am having a love/hate relationship with trainer D. During my Saturday lesson she was really drilling into me to be softer in the saddle when posting. I really thought I was but being both an expert and on the ground she was seeing something different. I was getting frustrated because I always want to do what is best for Tango. Not only is being light the prober way to ride but it is extra important with him since he tends to be back sore. An additional plus is that being light in the saddle will likely also be better on my back.

So going to the left T was nice and quiet, but when we reversed to the right he decided to become a spunky monkey! He was controllable but I was already thinking that jumping was going to be interesting. When he gets in his spunky mood it can turn bad over fences quickly. I really don’t ever think he is malicious he just gets super excited. I have never felt nervous going down a line with him because I KNOW that this horse is going to jump (knock on wood). It is after the out that he throws his head down, grabs the bit, takes control, and runs.

I meant to post this in my horse show post but forgot. I love the teal yarn in his mane!

I meant to post this in my horse show post but forgot. I love the teal yarn in his mane!

We did our normal warm up X then down the line. That was not horrible but we did have a pretty good argument in the corner after the first line. Well time to put a course together. The first course was a simple hunter course ending on the diagonal line headed home which could lead to trouble. So how was he…….. amazing! I feel like it has been nearly a year but he and I have finally clicked and trust each other. He revved himself up going down the lines but was so great that he came right back into my hand after the lines. The 2nd course had a roll back which when he is spunky can be difficult because he wants to go where HE wants to go but he did it with such ease. He even helped balance me when I tipped my shoulder in to the fence. I ended the lesson with a HUGE smile on my face!

This is what happens when you graze a horse you have spoiled with carrots but he deserved them!

This is what happens when you graze a horse you have spoiled with carrots but he deserved them!

After the lesson I cornered trainer D like I do after most lessons. I love that D and S put up with me so much. I always want to know what I can do better and Saturday I needed to talk about how to be lighter in the saddle. I had a great Ah Ha moment when she explained that to when I am posting I really should not even sit back in the saddle and to think about Tango’s back coming up to met me more than I am sitting down on to him. I have decided to name this the hover trot.

Due to work I was not able to ride again until my lesson last night with trainer S.

As I said today I have a love/hate relationship with her. The great training and advice is why I love her but after concentrating on doing the hover trot all lesson last night my body is hating her! Lol. I am so sore! On the plus side S said that I was being lighter and it looked better. As always it is a work in progress.

Jumping last night went really well again. The challenging portion for us was a 2 stride line to the diagonal line home. On a normal horse it would not be that bad but to make the 2 strides with T you have to get him cruising. That is not what is difficult. The difficult part is getting him back to a calmed canter on the diagonal headed home so he doesn’t get too strong and run. Did I say that was difficult? T stepped up to do the 2 stride and immediately S yelled to us to now calm down.  I could feel him wanting to take control but I sat up and quietly told him “easy bub” and his body relaxed got our strides down that line, courtesy circled and done! Like Saturday the 2nd course had rollback but this one was tighter. He nailed it!

Ok I will stop now because I sound like I am bragging. That is not it at all I am just so proud of that horse and the bond we are creating.

And you thought you were having a bad hair day!

And you thought you were having a bad hair day!

Stampede thought it was fun to pick up the step ladder.

Stampede thought it was fun to pick up the step ladder.

Throwback Thursday

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Encouragement aka “Jamison”

I miss this boy every day! He was a 16.2 hand appaloosa. I think these pictures are 10 years oldish. This is one horse that I trusted my life with! He passed away about 5 years ago at the age of 20. There is all this blog talk about Heart Horses and my Baby Jay was definitely that for me! He was the kindest and silliest horse I have known and for me he was the bravest because we trusted each other. 

He kept trying to push me down! Lol. I swear sometimes you could hear him laughing!

He kept trying to push me down! Lol. I swear sometimes you could hear him laughing!

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Baby Jay loved kisses!

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Supervising my wrapping job!

Supervising my wrapping job!

I Want to Bottle this Feeling (Horse Show Part 2)

Saturday seemed to be such a long day I decided to write this in 2 parts. Last post covered the morning which was hot and frustrating. We all got a little worried though as the skies turned dark. There was a lot of talk about a storm coming in and it did sprinkle a bit but we were lucky because the storm went just west of us. Silver lining is that the temperature dropped about 10 degrees!

It was finally time to set up for the $400 Classic. The course was beautiful with a few bending lines, one wicked turn, a fence that kind of pops up on you quick, and the scariest of all cantering out of the arena and jumping into another! We were 2nd on the order of go which was probably good for my nerves! I wish I had a video of this ride!

Classic course. This really doesn't show how tight of a turn between fence 3 and 4.

Classic course. This really doesn’t show how tight of a turn between fence 3 and 4.

Trainer S and I decided that cantering directly to fence one was not a good idea so I entered between fences 3 and 8 and trotted a large circle all the way around fences 4, 9, and 7. The other reason for this is that it gave us a great view of chute and fence 10 which T seriously gawked at as we went past.  By the way sorry to my trainers if you said anything to me while I was on this course but I could not hear a thing! Too much focus! Lol

Part of the Classic course.

Part of the Classic course.

It is hard to see but here is the chute between the 2 rings with the jump at the entrance of the grass ring.

It is hard to see but here is the chute between the 2 rings with the jump at the entrance of the grass ring.

It is hard to see but here is the chute between the 2 rings with the jump at the entrance of the grass ring.

It is hard to see but here is the chute between the 2 rings with the jump at the entrance of the grass ring.

We picked up our canter just past fence 7. His approach was great to fence 1 and luckily since it was his good lead he landed the right lead. He jumped fence 2 great but started to pick up some speed as we headed to fence 3 which was right at the entrance gate. I really could not have him coming in too fast since we had a tight turn after that fence. Since the turn was to the right I was hoping he would land the lead but he didn’t. He changed in the front very quickly but could not get the hind end switched. He jumped fence 4 nice but after a counter canter he always takes off after landing. Luckily we had a nice long bending line so I was able to talk to him. You definitely cannot just grab his mouth or he will run in to it even more. I have learned that you have to sit tall and do a small sawing motion and talking to him goes a long way. He was nice and calm again by the time we jumped fence 5. Landed his lead coming around to fence 6 and was pretty consistent headed to fence 7. Good boy landed his lead headed to fence 8. Fence 8 was interesting because it really surprises you as you turn. Not much room to set up. There was more than a handful or horses that jumped it awkward but it didn’t bother T. Coming off it headed to fence 9 though was a different story. He really wanted to run at the scary fence but I knew if I let him fence 10 would be dangerous. Again I sat up and talked to him. He jumped 9 calmly and we headed to the chute. He definitely looked at it but never once changed his pace or tried to baulk out of the line. He did come off the fence a bit fast but I could not have been more proud of the two of us at that moment!!

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I love this picture! I love how excited he looks!

I love this picture! I love how excited he looks!

I was on such a high after that!  We got a score of 66 which a friend of mine thought was low but really I didn’t care. There were 30 entries and we were in the call back up until the 29th rider. We missed the call back by 2 points! Even with that and 2 days later I am still reliving that ride! I think the thing that made me the proudest is the trust that I felt between Tango and me. The horse I had last year was such a kick ride that a horse that pulls and runs so fast was at times scary for me. The speed isn’t necessarily what scared me but the fact that he can get so strong when he is running that he forgets I am even up there. This ride was so the opposite of that. I felt that he finally trusted me when we were headed to scary things. I wish I could describe that feeling but I am not sure there are words for it! If only I could bottle this feeling!

Uh I snapped back too quick but I still like the picture.

Uh I snapped back too quick but I still like the picture.

At least one of us is looking at the next fence. Lol

At least one of us is looking at the next fence. Lol

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After the Classic we went straight to our medal class. I was mad at myself for the first jump. Tango jumped it great but I didn’t flatten my back and more rounded over the fence. These jumps were a lot smaller than the Classic and I think I got lazy so points off for that. I also assume I got points off cause I had a panic attack headed to fence 2 when I realized I forgot which fence we had to roll back to! As we headed to fence 2 I had to turn my head and scan the course for fence 3. Lol. The roll back was beautiful though. T was still pretty excited from the Classic that we rushed the outside line and had to sneak a stride in at the last second to make our strides so I am sure that didn’t help. We ended up 6th but again I did not care because OMG I was still on fire from the Classic! Lol.

After the medal class we were done so T got a shower, poultice, and wrapped and I got some pizza. As the evening went on my back started bothering me more and more. By the time I woke up on Sunday I was pretty sure I was not going to be able to ride. I got on and flatted but on our 2nd canter my back seized up and I fell on his neck. Obviously that could not happen over fences so I scratched for the day. I have had a back issue since last September but that is a separate post.

Overall I could not be happier with our Saturday afternoon! It is rides like those that keep us going even through the blood, sweat, tears, and back pain! I hope everyone else had a great weekend too!

Hot & Humid! (Horse Show Part 1)

The show is over and now time to look back. Friday’s schooling didn’t go so great but I made the mistake of getting a facial and massage before riding. The heat index was 98 and I think my body was a little too relaxed. The heat did not seem to bother Tango. He was definitely excited and was pulling down on the bit and trying to run at the fences. I did get in trouble with trainer S when I pulled out of a line but at that point I was nauseous, weak, and getting light headed. We came back did the outside line to that diagonal again and I was able to at least keep him to the strides I wanted. After that I called it a day.

Saturday morning arrived and the heat was expected to be worse. I am not sure how accurate it is but I did hear someone say they heard on the radio that the heat index was going to reach 113! Hunt coats were waived thank God!

In the morning we had our warm up, 2 hunter courses, and hunter U/S. Our warm up course seriously lacked consistency! One line he wanted to run down the line and it took everything I had to hold him in but then the next he added 2 strides! That was a horrible jump! As my trainer S said, “It was not our greatest moment.” Our actual hunter courses were a bit better but not by much. He really was not consistent at all on which lines he wanted to run at and which he wanted to practically jog. Plus he was not getting his hind lead changes. I think his shenanigans the day before effected his hocks. This was frustrating because he had been doing them so well and maybe if he wasn’t such a jerk-face on Friday be wouldn’t have been so sore. We took 4th out of 5 in both our classes.

Great picture if I could get rid of the fatness. Lol

Great picture if I could get rid of the fatness. Lol

The hunter U/S class was just bad luck. He was going pretty well but when we were asked to canter to the left (his already bad lead) we were pinned between the rail and another horse. I was obviously going to wait until that horse was cantering before asking but I think T’s race days kicked in and he shot forward picking up the wrong lead in the process. He got pretty pissy when I had to bring him back down to change it and proceeded to hop up and down. Needless to say we got 5th out of 5.

With that kind of showing you would think that I would be depressed and yes I was a little frustrated but honestly overall I was happy that we were safe and got over all the fences. Not to get on the ego side but I also was happy because I felt like I am getting a bit better. A friend of mine who is a photographer was there and got some great shots. Plus we still had the afternoon to ride but that will come in part 2.

The first half of the day was rough on baby boy!

The first half of the day was rough on baby boy!

Lesson Recap

Last night Tango and I did a makeup lesson from Tuesday night’s rain out. Since he has been so lazy lately I came prepared. I only needed for the first few times around and the first time we cantered. He wasn’t showing any signs of being lame just lazy.

I came prepared with my weapon in my sheath!

I came prepared with my weapon in my sheath!

Our flat was pretty uneventful. Trainer S commented that my leg has improved. I have a tendency of swinging it. This has been an issue since I had to take time off for my fractured vertebra. Not that I ever had a super strong core but my core has certainly weakened. This causes my legs to swing since I can’t keep my core tight. Crazy how your core effects your leg movement.

So yay that my legs are better but boo that my hands are now too active. I have been thinking that I want tie string around my martingale to put my pinkies in so I can feel when I bounce them. I really don’t feel like I am so maybe this will help me realize what I am doing. Any other suggestions to help with this?

On to jumping…. We did the normal warm up over a small X then waited until the ponies jumped their courses. Once they were done it was time to raise the fences and make some oxers. It was a simple hunter course consisting of outside line with an X to a vertical in 6 strides, long approach to an oxer on the diagonal, outside line of vertical to oxer in 5 strides, then a broken line diagonal headed towards the gate. S told me to pick my spot for the last line by my ride and to shape it how I wanted. The first line was interesting. S bumped up the X but it still was unimpressive for T. He came off the X in a la-tee-da canter but should have been enough to get us there in 6 until Tango looked up and saw a bigger fence. You could almost hear him say “oh shit!” He stutter stepped so that we did a 7. It was not pretty but he got over it. S stifled a laugh and told us to come back around and do the line again.

We started the course over and OMG he was wonderful! I really hope he rides like that this weekend! He was very smooth and adjustable. He let me pick all the spots and the broken line towards the exit gate where he usually grabs the bit and runs he was so quiet and we shaped it out to be a nice 7 stride. It is supposed to be 90 and humid so he might be pretty quiet anyhow. Lol

Happy post ride selfie

Happy post ride selfie

Because I am a worry-wort step mom I poulticed his back and legs after jumping bigger.

Because I am a worry wart step mom I poulticed his back and legs after jumping bigger.

Tango is so stylin he has an ombre tail!

Tango is so stylin he has an ombre tail!

It was a wash out!

What is it they say about the best laid plans? My trainer D and I formed a riding plan for this week on Saturday but with the never stopping rain that has now changed. The original plan was as follows:

Saturday: Lesson with low and slow jumping

Sunday: Flat by another girl

Monday: Flat

Tuesday: Lesson go over a few 2’3” jumps with oxers

Wednesday: Flat by his owner

Thursday: Day of rest (Friday is usually his day off but since we are schooling on Friday we switched)

Friday: Horse Show schooling

Saturday: Horse Show

Sunday: Horse Show

Monday: Much needed rest!

Well this freakin’ rain has changed that! I guess I will start back at the weekend. From my last post you know that I did lesson on Saturday and we did jump a little. We did a couple warm up fences and then a low course just to see how sound he was going to be. Sunday he was supposed to get hacked by another girl but she text me that she got too busy to ride so he had an extra day off which is fine since he is still recovering.

Monday my heart dropped a little. Tango was definitely off again! It took everything I had to keep him trotting and I could feel his hind end dragging. Luckily my trainer D was giving a lesson so I was able to get her opinion. She reminded me that he is always a little stiff for the first 10 minutes and told me to keep going. I did and he still was dragging.  I can’t tell you if I was more sad or mad at this point. D saw my frustration and told me to try a crop. Well low and behold simply holding the crop was enough for his hind end to suddenly engage! Once again D was right. Looking back on it I now wonder if Tango has classified me as the cautious one and knows that if he fakes being broken I will give him time off. Lol. For the rest of the ride his hind end was engaging but too much. He went from being a ass-dragging lazy butt to a grab-the-bit-run-around-the-ring crazy boy. Once D’s lesson ended I was able to have the whole ring to myself and to counter act his craziness we did a lot of off the rail work like circles and serpentines. When he gets this way he also over anticipates lead changes so we kept riding until he could canter the diagonal and cut across the ring without grabbing the bit, throwing himself forward/downward, and changing leads. Once we had that down I then asked him for a change and wow did we finally get a smooth one! Granted this did end up taking over an hour. He seriously makes his own life harder sometimes.

This leads us to last night. I had my usual lesson scheduled with trainer S. I told her D’s and my plan for the week and she agreed. Tango came out a little lazy but then moved into a normal pace. Everything was going great and then the skies opened up. Unfortunately, the temporary stalls are mostly up in the indoor. There is a quarter of our indoor still open but not enough for a lesson. The rain started lightly at first and S told us to  go hang out in the still cleared section of the indoor until it passes. 3 of us decided to stay out there. Tango was moving out so well that I could not stop. His extended trot was back to where it was right after he got his hocks done. The rain then started to come down even harder and S offered to us again to go in the indoor to wait it out. I told her that I would not scratch in a horse show for this kind of rain so why would I quit a lesson. Then God said, “oh yeah well here you go!” The rain became a down pour and the wind had it almost sideways so I gave up and headed to the indoor. Side note that we almost didn’t make it when the trees blowing caused T to spin and run but he put his brave face back on and we made it to safety. As I said there was a small corner open so we trotted a little more even though the temporary stalls were pretty scary. We even did a little canter both ways and then called it a night.

Hard to tell but I was drenched!

Hard to tell but I was drenched!

S said that she really wanted me to jump before schooling on Friday so she offered to give me a makeup lesson today (Wednesday). Wednesday is normally his owner’s day (I only have a 60% lease) I had to get her permission to do it. She was great and said no problem and she would just take what would normally be my Thursday. Pray for no rain tonight!

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