I told you all yesterday that I was working on a special project and I am really excited to share it with you! If you have not heard of the podcast Heels Down Happy Hour, you need to immediately go and download it right now! I mean it go right now and you can finish reading this post while the episodes download. It is this hilarious podcast that discusses current equestrian topics while the hosts share a cocktail (or two).
They had a recent podcast discussing anxiety in riding that someone had suggested that I listen to and from that episode I was hooked. I may even talk to my radio when they are on and I am pretty positive that my entire barn is so sick of hearing me talk about Jessica and Justine like they are totally my BFFs! I am still binging on past episodes and I swear every single one I have wished that I could add to their conversation. The thing I that love about this podcast is that it really is a conversation between friends. You learn so much but you learn it through hilarious banter of friends so when I saw that they had open casting call for a co-host position there was not a single moment of hesitation that I wanted in! I have been riding my whole life, I am outgoing which has put me in some hilarious situations, and I am not afraid to embarrass myself! The application is to simply post a video of you telling your most embarrassing riding story. While I have SO many that I could tell the video below describes what has to be my worst one.
Fingers, toes, legs, everything crossed hoping that I can join the cast so that I won’t look so crazy just talking to my radio! #HDHappyHour
Ok, this isn’t a real weigh in this week. As you know I spent the last week in Mardi Gras which was a lot of fun and well…… interesting! This was my first time in New Orleans so I have nothing else to judge it by but the French Quarters is CRAZY!!!! Lots of boobs, lots of beads, lots of alcohol, and legit people just passed out on the street! I was concerned about this guy passed out on the sidewalk at 12:30 pm but there were cops right there so I figured they had it taken care of. I did see him verticle much later that night so I felt a bit better. I am really sad that SnapChat did not save all of my pictures and videos. I had a hilarious video of me doing this shot chair thing that messed me up but that video is gone. I did notice lots of other people videoing so I am sure I am out on the internet somewhere. Lol
I may not have gone into the clinic for my weigh in but I did do an unofficial check on my home scale. I am thrilled that I am only up 1.5lbs!!!! I can’t tell you how exciting that is because I drank and I ATE!!!! Luckily, oysters and shrimp are pretty healthy proteins but they were not always cooked with healthy things. Lol
Alright, I am headed off to a lesson. Wish me luck cause Winifred did get 2 light rides in this week while I was gone but I was told that he was super strong! But first, you must get your weekly dose of cuteness from Finn. Oh, I did get some amazing kisses in the French Quarters from a Catahoula!!
My coffee mug perfectly sums up my day….. my week really. Winifred has had me grinning all week but last night’s lesson has got me on a total high! I will back up a little though and mention the cyclone bomb we had this week. No, I am not making that term up that is actually what the meteorologists called it on the news. We had 60mph winds this past Sunday which made me a bit skeptical about riding my nervous horse. Luckily our indoor is made of concrete so there was no siding to clank around but we do have 2 garage doors on 2 different walls. Those were moving and banging at any given time. Winifred was nervous but he really contained himself. I was so incredibly proud of him at one point when we were walking past the garage door and a particularly nasty gust hit. Win did jump and react more than the other two in the ring but for him, that was a super small reaction so I was proud. He did want to constantly be buddied up to Maestro (Stampy and the Brain). I commented that it was funny that the oldest horse in the ring was looking to the youngest for comfort. Kristen had a different take on the situation. She felt that Winifred was sticking close to Maestro because he knew he was much faster than Maestro so when the monster attacked Maestro would be the sacrifice. LOL
On to even better riding things though. I was really looking forward to my lesson last night because I did not end up doing too much jumping last week. Ever since my surgery, I am very diligent on getting a monthly massage and adjustment. I always get them on Tuesdays and so far the only downside I have had was that a couple of times I was too relaxed. Lol. That actually can be a problem in the saddle though. My chiropractor usually stays away from my surgical spot but this time he pressed down right on it. He also adjusted my hips for the first time since we were talking about how my toes always point out and he said that he could help with that. (Such an equestrian moment, my toes have pointed out my whole life but I only mentioned it because my trainer has been hounding me about them lately.) Like always, I felt great when I left but then about an hour later I had horrible lower back pain. I tried to suck it up to ride but my pain was clearly apparent when TS asked, “Is there something wrong with you today? Why are you riding so weird?” She suggested that I stretch it out by 2-pointed and it helped a bit. When it came time to jump though I could only stand to do a few warmups and a line.
Oops got on a tangent when I was supposed to be talking about my amaze-balls jumping last night! My back was still a bit sore but not like the week prior and I was hell bent on doing more. Horse show season is upon us my friends and I already missed one home show! I am not sure if I will be ready for the March show but last night was a huge step in the right direction. First, TS had set up a nice gymnastic of a trot pole, X, one stride, X, 2 strides, vertical. The trot pole ended up adding an interesting element for Winifred. It really backed him off! This was great though because it forced me to ride 2 sides of my horse in one test. He was so backed off that I had to really push him into the first 2 jumps but then he was ready to run at the third jump and I had to sit back, hold him, and hold my body to make the 2-stride work. We did that a couple times then put our course together. The course had a couple pitfalls that we have been avoiding the past few months, long approach headed home and a diagonal line headed right to the exit. There were 3 of us jumping and for different reasons TS wanted everyone to add but commented to me that depending on how Win jumped in we might not be able to do the add on the diagonal home. OMG, our course was awesome!! The only thing in the course that was not in the plan was that I circled after the long approach to get a calmer trot to go into the combination. TS and I agreed that I could not enter that with the hot horse I had coming straight off that jump. The course ended with the combination to the diagonal home which was set at a 4-stride. Winifred jumped in pretty strong and wanted to go but I sat back and took control and forced him to do a 5!!! Obviously, for the shows, we will do the strides but right now I need to prove to myself and Win that I am in control! TS was so happy with that she was ready for us to be done but I asked if we could do one more challenge to prep for show season.
I can’t believe that it has been months since I have done an oxer. I was avoiding them more out of the cold on my older boy but then it started to become an obstacle in my mind. To avoid him getting too strong in the approach we decided to jump the in of the diagonal then left rollback to the oxer. So yeah, my in was pretty shitty because all I was thinking about was “bitch you better sit back approaching the oxer” and then forgot that I actually had to jump the first jump! I got caught behind and in my attempt to try to keep a softer release I ended up losing my left rein. Ok, folks that is bad enough on a regular horse, but let me explain why that is so much worse on Winifred. Winifred was a very accomplished jumper in the high point of his career (this is where his running comes from) which means that he can turn on a dime! I have done those turns and they are so much fun but his problem is that he is pretty confident that he knows exactly where to go to next and that is much worse when you just jumped a course but are now changing it. Below is a typical conversation between us when we go from a hunter course to an equitation course.
In the air over the jump:
Me: Hey Love we are going to turn left when we land.
Win: Yeah yeah don’t worry I see da jump in front of us.
Me: No bub we are going left to the oxer over there.
Win: Seriously, mom don’t worry I see dat straw bale.
Land, I pull HARD left, and attempt to block him with my right leg:
Me: WIN I said LEFT!
Win: This is so awesome mom I bet I can get to that jump in only 3 strides this time! TS was so happy with me last time she is going to love this!
Me: WINIFRED we are doing a rollback!
Win: Come on mom I KNOW that this is our next jump! Did you read the course map???
Me: WINIFRED JOSEPH YOU DO NOT KNOW HOW TO READ A COURSE MAP! We on an equitation course!!!!!
Win: OHHHHHH well why didn’t you say so?!?! I love equitation courses! Bending line next?
After that, any little shift of my body and he is on point. So knowing that is how it typically goes, really think now about the consequences of me dropping my inside rein. But praise Jesus, halleluiah, he listened to my body, turned, and I was able to regain my rein in time for a beautiful soar over the oxer! I swear we were in the air for 30 seconds. Ok, I know it was only like 2 seconds but it was amaze-balls! And let’s face it those 2 seconds where your horse lends you his wings so you can fly are why we deal with all the frustrations, bills, worries, sweat, blood, and tears. Those 2 seconds of perfect flight make up for all of that and the high from that can last for days. I know that I am definitely still on my high!
Guess what time it is?????? Saddle pad time! Well, maybe….. I made it to -30lbs but I am wondering if I should wait. I am headed to Mardi Gras in a couple of weeks and let’s be honest I am not going to follow my diet program while I am down there so I am going to gain. If I was farther from -30lbs it would be a big deal but I know my body and even a little bit of bad food or drinks and I skyrocket up. Should I wait until after Mardi Gras when I will be down 30 and stay down to get my saddle pad??? But I did decide on a navy pad with white piping and orange binding.
Luther some minor bad news last week. Nothing major, but he has now started to develop proud flesh on his puncture wound. In all my years with horses this is my first experience with proud flesh, so of course, I ran around asking everyone in sight what to do then stayed up late obsessively researching it. Lol. It is by no means bad enough to get cut off so I was looking for treatment I could do. Many people suggested Wonder Dust but there was some debate over wrapped or unwrapped. In the end, I decided to use Wonder Dust and continue wrapping. It is just so wet here and it keeps freezing and thawing so you never know when it is going to sloppy mud. After only 3 days his wound looked fantastic!!!
I have also been plopping around on him. The first time I was just being lazy and didn’t feel like hand walking so I just hopped on bareback with his blanket still on. If you ever get the joy of watching Luther go you will know that the first time you ask him to trot, no matter how he is feeling, he MUST protest!! This is just his thing he has to do to let you know that he feels that working is bull shit and he does not want to do it. Couple good jabs in his side though and he knows I mean business and moves forward. I also usually ride with spurs to get the forward movement and a crop which is used solely for when he bucks or tries to kill other horses (have I mentioned how special he is????? If I didn’t love him so much…..). Since we were not planning on doing much I didn’t grab either, so I was completely shocked when I asked him to trot and he went right into it! He was totally “Luther” sound! (aka stiff but sound) We did a few walk/trot/walk/trot transitions, and all was good until he decided another horse got too close. This is not new and didn’t concern me, but he usually gets a wack from the crop for that behavior but all I had was an empty thud of my spur-less legs on his side. My pony kick stopped him alright and I shit you not he turned his head, looked right at me, and you could see the recognition in his brain, “Ha mom doesn’t have a single weapon!” And that was the end of me getting Luther to move forward! LOL! For real, he is a pain in the ass but I love him so much!
I am getting real sick of Mother Nature lately! As I mentioned in my previous post, we had another ice storm last week which knocked out our power. Power was restored on Wednesday, but It was still so slick outside that no one from my barn rode since we have to walk across the driveway to get to the indoor. We definitely have trade-offs between the two barns on our property. The “old” barn is attached to the indoor so that is nice during winter or raining but the “new” barn has heat, wash racks, and IMO is just beautiful. To me the walk is worth the extra amenities in the new barn.
Thursday, I got on to flat and between lack of turn out and his last ride being Saturday, I had one fresh boy! He was super though. No spooking but left to his own devices his only gates were extended gates. Lol. The ring was decently busy when I got on but cleared out enough at the end that I opened him up and let him hand gallop. He just gets so happy doing it and as long as he is good, meaning I still have brakes and steering, I do not mind letting him have some fun. That much hand galloping lead to a pretty chill Friday.
We lessoned on Saturday to make up for missing our Tuesday lesson. Like our flat on Friday he started out pretty chill. It was so pleasant until………… the blue jacket of DEATH!!!! Before I go any farther let me clear up that I and no one else in the lesson (except for her sister cause you know sisters) blame the owner of the jacket. ABSOULTELY DO NOT blame her!!! Ok, that disclaimer is finished. Back to the story, there is a corner in our indoor where there are benches and straw bales for people to sit and watch. It is also a place where many people place their coolers and jackets. So, this sweet junior rider took her jacket off and dropped it on a straw bale. I saw it and knew I needed to be prepared because Winifred spooks at anything over there. What we didn’t expect is that every single horse in there lost their minds over this jacket! Even my friend, C, who’s one major reason for buying her horse was that he does not spook, and he even was like “aw hell no!” Winifred just could not function. When it was clear that Winifred was not getting over it, TS picked up the jacket and put it on a jump standard. You would think that it was over, right? Well, you would be wrong. He still kept trying to bolt from that corner so, of course, I forced him to circle over and over down there. Lol. The thing that I thought was hilarious was that he was going within 2’ of the jacket on the standard and had no issues but the empty corner was still terrifying. I finally got him to the point that he was just nervous down there and not full on bolting, so I took it as a win. He is such a silly boy.
Now on to jumping. I was feeling confident but after the jacket incident I started to get nervous, but for real, there was no reason for that. Winifred was amaze-balls. We didn’t do too much because the lesson was huge and running late plus I am jumping again today. We basically just did a couple mini courses. TS wanted to keep him quiet after the jacket fiasco and our first line she wanted us to do an add which was a 6. He was SO quiet and SO lazy we got a double add! WWHHHAAAATTT?!?!?! Yes, let me repeat, we got a double add!!!! We also had 2 long approaches which is where he really likes to build but he stayed right where I wanted him! It was awesome! Hopefully, tonight goes just as good.