Thursday, January 22, 2015

So sore!

PI'm definitely not what someone would call fat...however after the holidays I find myself bordering on 'I've never weighed this much in my life chunky'. 

^chunky. For once I'm not talking about pony

So I started a new workout program, called daily burn. You've probably all seen the commercials...point of my story is that I'm sore. Sooooo sore. While I'm hobbling around I'm dreaming of those bikini legs cause otherwise this whole hobbling thing kinda sucks. 

Anywayyyys, my point being that I went to the barn Wednesday morning and even sitting on my horse hurt. Obviously I chose this to be my stirrup less ride because I'm the smartest of smart. It was awful. We did an extended trot and I worked on really glueing my ass down. Luckily though, my farrier was there so I had to cut my ride short anyways for pony to get her feet done. She was a full like three weeks overdue. I love my farrier and I literally don't trust another soul to touch my horses feet....but he is a cowboy and has a lot going on. We had really heavy rains a few weeks ago, which  wiped out a lot of fences and my farrier had 11 cows get loose. Those 11 cows amounted to about 22,000 dollars. Yeah...I get why you were to busy to come do my horses feet. 

This morning I went out to the barn late and hobbly. There was no way I was riding hahahah. 

Instead I took carrots and grooming supplies out to pasture. I groomed pony at liberty which I love doing...and we could have done a lot more if the boss horse wasn't on her side of the pasture. 

Where she lives, you can't see one side of the pasture from the other, so if she's alone on one side then she's awesome but if the bossy horse is there he runs her off when I'm around. How rude! 

That's not bossy horse. That's blaze who is bffs with pony, he's also one of my trainers horses and him and pony have lived together for probably a solid 4 years or more. 

We call him stick horse because he has the saddest looking conformation. He's skinny but has always been skinny and will always be skinny...doesn't even matter how much he gets fed, she hates it when people act like he needs more food...he's just a skinny horse get over it! 

Of course blaze looked at me so sadly and obviously he got brushed too. I'm such a pushover

In reality they're smelling for carrots 

Overall pony was thrilled with her heavy work load today. Such a tough life

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

 Last Friday :
      I officially took pony off flax after jokingly making the connection and then realizing it could be seriously accurate. Friday she was awful. She couldn't stand still, wouldn't pay attention to me, rushed through everything and wouldn't just calm her shit down and relax. Finally I got off of her and free lunged her around the arena. She was crazy and after a serious workout for me, she joined up nicely and followed me around the ranch at liberty while she was huffing and puffing from galloping around. 

Last Saturday :
       She was stupid again. I don't really remember this specific ride but I remember being irritated by her once again. 

Last Monday : 
       She was better but still not great. 

Last Tuesday :
        We went on a trail ride! Got trailered out to a place literally half a mile from the barn. Lots of rolling hills and open space. Very pretty. Lots of fire roads....but lots of galloping space :) we had a lot of fun. 

We jumped over drainage ditches....I walked her over it the first time since she had absolutely no clue what I was asking her to do, and after that she jumped it when I got back on. 

Lots of cows 

Patient ponies waiting to leave 

She's so little you can hardly see her in the trailer 

Ride stats. It was SOOO nice 70 and sunny. 

Last Thursday :
       I went to the barn at night to ride with a friend and did a no stirrup ride. Pony was loads better this week than she was the week before, I think the flax was definitely affecting her. 

Yesterday/ monday :
       I had a lesson with my trainer and I asked her to kick my ass in a round pen lesson. She obviously obliged and we did a lot of body control in the round pen. We worked A LOT on glueing my ass to the seat in a trot. Not an easy trot...a forward bounce trot. She did a lot of rollbacks and I got super off balance in some of them (I didn't always know when they were coming) but I figured it out and worked on really getting my butt deep in my seat. 

After that we put a bridle on and worked on controlling all parts of her body to really get her engaging. SO MUCH LEG. My left leg is naturally way weaker and I have problems with quieting it in the lope so we worked on really pushing into my left stirrup since usually I push into the right more and really lengthening the left leg. 

Overall a great lesson 

I took my saddle home last night to clean and oil it. It's looking good :) 

Before (you can see the Velcro on the panels and see more clearly how the panels are not part of the saddle 

And after : 

It looks better in person and this morning after the oil had a chance to soak in overnight 

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Sorry for the blog spam

But the first post of today was supposed to be posted yesterday....and I got curious after my last post a googled it, I guess a lot of mares are very reactive to flax seed!! I will try and not give pony any and see if she calms down...maybe that's why she's been such a spaz!

More goals!

New year goals 
1) once a week stirrup less
2) once a week out on the hill (unless it's sloppy muddy obviously)

Woohoo! More goals! Clearly I'm making this up as I go. 

Let's be honest though, hills are awesome exercise for them. Pony needs it!

Today we went out on the hill. Unfortunately our 'trail riding' is two it's kinda a lot of winding around and not very far you can go. 

We galloped up the hill once, yay for a super fast pony at a whopping 18mph (that's a joke). 

And trotted up the hill some too. And walked down hills and opened and closed 5 gates. Have I mentioned pony is awesome at gates? 

Back in one of the back pastures there's some obstacles set up since that's normally where we would have a trail class in the few shows we do at our barn. 

There were a few big plastic drainage pipes that I asked pony to step over, that she walked up to and jumped from a standstill hahahha. I guess it was too high to step over (in her defense she has tiny legs). 

Funny side note....last week we went out in that pasture and I tried to have her walk up onto the teeter totter and one of the horses boarded out there walked straight past us and stood on it and wouldn't let us on it. Ummm okay horse, all yours. Ponys been so spazzed out the past few days....hopefully she calms her shit down Hahahah. Can flax seed make a horse hot? 

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

No stirrups new year!

New year, new goals! 

Or, in my case, actually having goals since I spent a good part of last year having ZERO goals and ZERO ambition to do anything. 

But I'm never gonna improve or stop feeling crappy about myself unless I make a change!

Anyway, back to one of my new goals. 

Ride once a week with no stirrups EFFECTIVELY.   Did you see that keyword effectively? It's easy to ride with no stirrups and just hang out. But it's totally different to effectively use your leg! 

I have a tendency to grip with my knees....and the worst habit I have is bringing up my heels when I put leg on. It's so hard to use your calf!

Today was day one. You know what it taught me? 

I'm an awful rider hahahahha. 

There was a lot of my horse having absolutely no clue what the hell I was asking her. 

There was a lot of me looking like a floppy whale on her back. 

There was a lot of my legs burning, within like two minutes of a sitting trot. Yup, you heard that. My legs are so pathetic that just a sitting trot while engaging my calf was hard work. 

Yay goals!

She was also not her perfect self hahahah. There was a lot of giraffe impressions and a lot of sporadic rhythms. Most likely from the calf I was engaging Hahhahahah. She was trying hard, but it was just asking her for things in a different way that she wasn't so sure about.....thank you bad habits of me riding without enough leg. 

We did a lot of trotting and I was actually surprised and how much of an extended trot I could sit by using my legs and not brace into my stirrups. 

The first time we loped was really surprisingly good. Pony is not a good lope horse, at all. She's great walk trot and she has never and will never been a good loping horse. 

To the right she was really good!  To the left is her tougher lead when she's out of shape and it was rough but still not awful. When we went to the right again though she was a little crazy, she kept diving into the middle and dropping her shoulder, and without stirrups I totally didn't have the control to pick her up! So I just kept bouncing around until I was finally able to sit my ass into the saddle and really engage my core and wait until it was manageable and then let her stop. 

So, at least i have something that I really need to work on!!

For your viewing pleasure.....enjoy the monsters in my horses grain 

Monday, January 5, 2015

Weird saddle problems

So, almost a year ago I bought a new saddle. 

In case anyone remembers or cares, pony had the BIGGEST problems being fit for a saddle. NOTHING fit my dang horse. 

She has narrow withers, wide shoulders and a kinda broad back. She also has long actual shoulder blades, which means that when she walks her shoulders are moving back way far, which runs into any saddle tree ever. Seriously. 

She's kinda mule shaped hahhaha. 

So after trying every western saddle tree known to man, I was riding her in an older jump saddle, it didn't fit her great and if I rode for too long it would pinch the sides of her withers. 

When I tried to choose a picture of the old jump saddle I was using I accidentally clicked on this. Enjoy my equine safety at its finest.... ;)

This was the english saddle I rode her in for a while. 

So anyways, I had a friend at the barn that heard I had been looking for a saddle, I said I would take any type, if it fits my horse I don't care what type of riding it's meant for. 

Turns out, she works for reactor panel and is trying to learn how to be a saddle fitter and could use the extra practice of fitting pony. 

So she measured Ponys back and brought out a few saddles to try her in. 

How many people have heard of reactor panel? 

You should look them up because they're amazing. 

Basically, you have the saddle part, that you sit on, but underneath there is no flocking. Instead, it's Velcro. 

Then, there are two panels, they're literally super lightweight and flexible material, that are the size of a panel of a western tree. These attatch to the saddle part using polyurethane discs, so basically the polyurethane absorbs the shock from your body and the part that is touching your horse bends and flexes with your horses back. 

So basically, it's the perfect fit. 

They're expensive (duh, what about horses isn't) but totally worth it. 

I ended up buying my saddle (obviously after having it on trial for a month or so) and pony has never been so thrilled about a saddle. 

A lot of horses will deal with an ill fitting saddle. Nawt pony! She freaks out if her shoulders are too tight, it literally makes her unridable. 

Here's my beautiful saddle 

See how the top part of the pad looks thicker? That's because they are sewed to hide the panels, the panel sits inside of it and is covered to make it look like a 'normal' saddle. 

It's amazing. And the disks can be moved based on if and how her back changes. It can also be adjusted for other horses. It's really awesome. 

So here's where a weird thing happened. I had a sheepskin pad because it lifted the saddle up higher off her shoulders and made it fit a little better, it was the best option for her. I felt like my positioning was strange but I chalked it up to me being out of riding for a while and needing to work on my seat. 

This is my sheepskin pad

Then, about six months ago I took the pads home to wash them (each side has a separate pad) and I used a regular quilted pad while it was at home being washed. Obviously, because that's hard work and they have to be carefully hand washed I cleaned one and then never found time to clean the other. Until this week. So I've been riding in the green quilted pad for months. 

So on Wednesday, I switched back to the sheepskin pad, and BOOM, I felt like I had no control and my seat was awful again. Seriously. It was crazy. 

I felt like I was tipped forward, and like I couldn't get my butt underneath me. My main problem, was that I felt like my leg was behind me rather than under me and not effective at all. I felt 'perched' on top of her. 

I didn't put two and two together until friday, and today me and my trainer tried one pad on right after the other and she agreed with me, the pad completely changes the way you sit. Isn't that strange?! So weird. 

Obviously I'm getting my friend to come back and check it to see if we need to adjust the discs, but it's so weird that the pad could make such a difference to your seat when it makes it more correct on the horses back. 

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Happy New Years!

The remainder of this week gave me two absolutely lovely rides. 


On New Year's Eve, I got to the barn knowing I was going to ride and then drive about an hour south to meet my boyfriend in the town he grew up with and spend New Years with them, so I literally had my hair pinned up under a hat in curls. (P.s. I tried to get sexy victoria secret curls but I ended up with stepped wives curls.....) 

So I saddled pony and took her back to the round pen, I wanted to work more on  my seat and my body. However, rather than bridling her I just left her halter on, and didn't even bother to wrap it around and tie it. Instead, we opened and closed the gate to the round pen with just one rein connected to one side of her halter, so proud of my pony!

We did a few circles in the round pen before I leaned over and removed the halter completely. Because my pony is a superstar she acted like nothing changed. 

Also, totally forgot to mention that New Year's Eve was the craziest wind ever. It was blowing so hard, and since my barn is in a sort of valley between two large hills, the wind was just HOWLING through there. Pony was cool as a cucumber though. 

So we did the same thing I did on Tuesday, I walked, trotted and loped with no halter/ bridle while working on my body control most. She was so responsive, we did a lot of transitions, and worked on changing her trot speed. 

Afterwards, I grabbed her halter and started to put it back on when I laughed at the thought of trying to open and close two gates with her bridleless.....and since my motto is no excuses I obviously had to try it. So I left her halter off and flung the lead rope around her neck and set to work on the first gate. We made it out but closing it was way tougher. Finally we pushed it closed but then the wind picked it up and blew it all the way around the opposite way. I just left it then, since pony did technically do what I wanted her to. 

Onto gate two... We walked to the other side of the arena to get out of that gate and we had more difficulty. Pony always has trouble with that gate. The latch is down low and its unlike the other arena gate, she has to stand in a different position and that confuses her. So it took us quite a while but we finally got it, but it was really hard to do since I was trying to keep my halter and rope around her neck and not fall to the ground. 

We did a big lap around the ranch, she was wonderful as always. We even have almost mastered our new trick, backing up bridleless. It took her a long time to figure out what I was asking her, we can do it with a rope around her neck but completely bridleless was harder, but on Wednesday she was bomb at it. 

Friday : 

I met a friend at the barn for a ride, we took our ponies into the arena to warm them up, pony was totally awesome. She responded well to everything and was super calm. Then we took them out back to the pasture and the first gate I opened was a doozy. The chain was really low and wrapped around a railroad tie. Getting it off wasnt a big deal but closing it again was super difficult. I was like fully leaned off of pony hugging this railroad tie to try and wrap the chain back around. But pony was saint like and let me do it. 

We rode around the pasture for probably about 45 minutes before going in. Me and pony galloped up the hill (leaving my friends horse bucking in the background, Woops)  

All in all it was fun!! 

And for your viewing pleasure :) 

Happy New Years!