Here there be dragons...

"I'm telling you stories. Trust me." - Winterson

Wonderful weekend weather!

All adventures stolen from Graduate Riding School Blog

While the subject line is true, and definitely made the weekend just that much better, it really has very little to do with our adventures... This really should've been up on Sun -- sorry for the delay, it's been a *tad* bit busy!!! Enjoy :)

So was an interesting weekend... Saturday a friend and I went to play XC. She's a h/j person who's never done XC before so that's always tons o fun, n my entire goal w/ Sienna was to get her out, have some fun, and build some confidence. We had a great time. H/J friend jumped some seriously solid XC fences and while she definitely wasn't too sure on take-off, she was pretty happy on landing *g* And I think now has a bit of a new understanding about why our height limits are so low (comparatively -- at Olympic level eventers jump about 4'6... Compared to the 6'+ in the jumper ring...) We trotted by the training level corner. The same size fence in stad she wouldn't even blink at, but that, esp at the top of the hill, definitely required some respect. hahaha So yeah, was a lot of fun. Just did PE and E w/ Sienna *yawn*. And by the end she was jumping reasonably well.

However, the lack of confidence and amount of hesitance (when she's schooled this property several times in the past) re-solidified my decision not to compete her. And I was really having trouble with the idea of going and not competing. So then I thought of borrowing a student's horse and just goofing around. Ok, that has potential. And then I thought of my supergroom Nicole who's been grooming for me for years (hahaha if you're new here, maybe consider reading the Cedar Run blog from last year you can see how our days differ at the same show. I wrote my version and asked her to write hers... :) who hasn't been able to show the last couple years due to being in university... Who was going to come out super early, even knowing there was a good chance it'd be just dressage. N who *also* happens to take lessons on this particular horse. Who I was reasonably certain would love to show him. So I called horse's super kewl owner and got permission n then texted N to see if she'd rather show than groom :) Yeah, like there's any doubt!

So I found a friend to braid for her, since she wouldn't be able to get there on Sat and I had neither time nor inclination. Since friend braids for Royal-level hunter people, N's braids were SO far above and beyond anybody else that day. hahaha was pretty impressive.

Early Sunday morning I get to the barn. Running a little late due to a - stupidly early, b - stopping at Tim's, and c - realizing I'd set the load time earlier than we really needed so not stressing about it in the am. N was already there with horse fed and everything ready to load in the beast. I had decided to bring Sienna too, mostly to keep N's horse company and partially to teach her to be at a show and be chilled. So I fed her while we loaded everything into the beast. Load both horses who just walked right on (makes the morning so much less stressful!) and off we went.

It's a long drive, but a nice one. Although both passengers slept a good portion of the way. hahaha don't blame them -- it was still dark out!

Got there to be greeting by a smiling Cedar Run volunteer handing out property maps and an equally enthusiastic parking attendant. Since we were all of the second trailer there, parking was not exactly a challenge. Have to say, as nice as the show was last year (their first) this one was significantly better. Super organized (due in part, I'm sure, to Jeannette being the secretary. I swear that woman's a horse-trials god. :) The xc course had been significantly improved -- even since schooling there a few weeks ago. E got to run through the woods and up the big hill, and as with last year, had the option of water. A HUGE plus in my mind. Dressage was on the grass field and stadium in a new sandring. I was sad they didn't
include their castle, but certainly the course that was there was fair and level-appropriate. And excellent footing all around.

So we unload the horses who were a little high, but not bad. N's non-horsey friend was quick to pick up the basics and help out, gathering various pieces of tack to help her get ready. Her horse was definitely ready to go, but not doing anything tragic. I held him for her while she got on -- an entertaining challenge as I had Si in the other hand. He was quite bouncy when we got to dressage w/u. Wanted to run and play and even tossing the odd mini-buck (his specialty!)

But N stayed calm and rode him really well. Kept riding him forward and let him see the world. Soon enough he discovered it's not *that* scary and then it was time for tack check and in. The competition ring was on grass and a ways from the warmup so I was curious to see how the horse, who's only ever done hunter shows, would react. But he was cool. N while their test wasn't competitive (we didn't expect it to be, N hasn't quite found the buttons at home yet, so away was less than likely :) it was calm and accurate. And the judge quite liked the horse which is always a good sign :) For a first time in the dressage ring, it was pretty impressive. I know N wasn't really thrilled -- she's ridden competitive tests before and knows enough to know the difference. But she hasn't ridden greenbeans before, and I know enough to know that for a first test that was great (I told her, but I don't think she believed me :). No concern over the white fence of doom or fear of the judges or anything. A *little* nappy towards the ingate, but even that not tragic. Circles were mostly round. Corners actually corners. Both leads on the first try. All good really :) Perhaps I should've reminded her of Sienna's first few trips in the dressage ring. hahaha

So we cooled her horse out and I pulled out all of the beautiful braids. I had to do it because N's never actually braided with string before. Yikes. Clearly I missed a rather serious part of her education! Oops. hahaha but since they were very well done, it was much faster for me to take them out -- and less risk of cutting a braid! -- then to try and explain and she have to search for the string for each braid... Esp with a moving horse. So she held Si while I did that. One braid actually broke my stitch ripper. Sheesh! Fortunately I had back-up scissors :) So all good. Load both horses on the trailer to hang out and eat while we walked the jump courses. XC made me wish I had decided to compete Si -- what a great E course. You don't get low level courses that are really fun very often. N PT was challenging but entertaining -- it too had been upgraded since last time. Had a while to relax and hang out before going to jump. By this point it was getting hot and was actually cooler on the trailer with the shade and the breeze than outside, so we left the horses there till it was almost time to tack up. They were relaxed and happy as could be. The woman in the trailer next said there was nothing from them while we were gone, which is always good to know :)

So we cooled her horse out and I pulled out all of the beautiful braids. I had to do it because N's never actually braided with string before. Yikes. Clearly I missed a rather serious part of her education! Oops. hahaha but since they were very well done, it was much faster for me to take them out -- and less risk of cutting a braid! -- then to try and explain and she have to search for the string for each braid... Esp with a moving horse. So she held Si while I did that. One braid actually broke my stitch ripper. Sheesh! Fortunately I had back-up scissors :) So all good. Load both horses on the trailer to hang out and eat while we walked the jump courses. XC made me wish I had decided to compete Si -- what a great E course. You don't get low level courses that are really fun very often. N PT was challenging but entertaining -- it too had been upgraded since last time. Had a while to relax and hang out before going to jump. By this point it was getting hot and was actually cooler on the trailer with the shade and the breeze than outside, so we left the horses there till it was almost time to tack up. They were relaxed and happy as could be. The woman in the trailer next said there was nothing from them while we were gone, which is always good to know :)

So then we tack up for stadium. Head over with lots of time to spare so watch a few rounds and then start to warmup. N he was an old pro. Quiet, relaxed. This being his first HT, I was pretty happy to see that. Admittedly this ring is the one he'd be most comfortable in, being somewhat like the hunter warmups he knows from his previous life... All was good.

Until N went in the ring. And she who I've never seen a sign of nerves from completely froze. :( Boooo. So the first fence had an approach that was a little fast and a whole lot on a curve, and her horse kinda followed the line she put him on... Oops. But she regrouped and trotted him over it, all well and good. 2nd fence, which was quite tricky, he looked at -- but she was back on the ball and got him over beautifully. Unfortunately the next one was on a bending line to the left... The pilot kinda overshot the turn and chose to turn right instead. Oops. She knew it wasn't legal, it was a reasonably call by the time she got to that point. Her pony was a little confused by the manouver, but when she told him she really *did* want him to jump it, he smiled and nodded and did his job. Unfortunately that was followed by another steering disconnect, which lead to them being dismissed from the class. *sigh* Nothing tragic or exciting -- just the demise of abilities due to unexpected show nerves. There's a first time for everybody. We'll know much better next time :)

So we hung out and let the horses graze for a while. N dedicatedly gave her horse a bath -- even though he was cooled out by the time we got back to the trailer (it's a solid 15min walk). Then it was just hop back on the trailer for the drive home.

So while the ribbon results were a little disappointing, the day in general was still a lot of fun and was finished off with super-yummy milkshakes after the horses were home and taken care of :)

Wonderful weekend weather!

While the subject line is true, and definitely made the weekend just that much better, it really has very little to do with our adventures... This really should've been up on Sun -- sorry for the delay, it's been a *tad* bit busy!!! Enjoy :)

So was an interesting weekend... Saturday a friend and I went to play XC. She's a h/j person who's never done XC before so that's always tons o fun, n my entire goal w/ Sienna was to get her out, have some fun, and build some confidence. We had a great time. H/J friend jumped some seriously solid XC fences and while she definitely wasn't too sure on take-off, she was pretty happy on landing *g* And I think now has a bit of a new understanding about why our height limits are so low (comparatively -- at Olympic level eventers jump about 4'6... Compared to the 6'+ in the jumper ring...) We trotted by the training level corner. The same size fence in stad she wouldn't even blink at, but that, esp at the top of the hill, definitely required some respect. hahaha So yeah, was a lot of fun. Just did PE and E w/ Sienna *yawn*. And by the end she was jumping reasonably well.

However, the lack of confidence and amount of hesitance (when she's schooled this property several times in the past) re-solidified my decision not to compete her. And I was really having trouble with the idea of going and not competing. So then I thought of borrowing a student's horse and just goofing around. Ok, that has potential. And then I thought of my supergroom Nicole who's been grooming for me for years (hahaha if you're new here, maybe consider reading the Cedar Run blog from last year you can see how our days differ at the same show. I wrote my version and asked her to write hers... :) who hasn't been able to show the last couple years due to being in university... Who was going to come out super early, even knowing there was a good chance it'd be just dressage. N who *also* happens to take lessons on this particular horse. Who I was reasonably certain would love to show him. So I called horse's super kewl owner and got permission n then texted N to see if she'd rather show than groom :) Yeah, like there's any doubt!

So I found a friend to braid for her, since she wouldn't be able to get there on Sat and I had neither time nor inclination. Since friend braids for Royal-level hunter people, N's braids were SO far above and beyond anybody else that day. hahaha was pretty impressive.

Early Sunday morning I get to the barn. Running a little late due to a - stupidly early, b - stopping at Tim's, and c - realizing I'd set the load time earlier than we really needed so not stressing about it in the am. N was already there with horse fed and everything ready to load in the beast. I had decided to bring Sienna too, mostly to keep N's horse company and partially to teach her to be at a show and be chilled. So I fed her while we loaded everything into the beast. Load both horses who just walked right on (makes the morning so much less stressful!) and off we went.

It's a long drive, but a nice one. Although both passengers slept a good portion of the way. hahaha don't blame them -- it was still dark out!

Got there to be greeting by a smiling Cedar Run volunteer handing out property maps and an equally enthusiastic parking attendant. Since we were all of the second trailer there, parking was not exactly a challenge. Have to say, as nice as the show was last year (their first) this one was significantly better. Super organized (due in part, I'm sure, to Jeannette being the secretary. I swear that woman's a horse-trials god. :) The xc course had been significantly improved -- even since schooling there a few weeks ago. E got to run through the woods and up the big hill, and as with last year, had the option of water. A HUGE plus in my mind. Dressage was on the grass field and stadium in a new sandring. I was sad they didn't
include their castle, but certainly the course that was there was fair and level-appropriate. And excellent footing all around.

So we unload the horses who were a little high, but not bad. N's non-horsey friend was quick to pick up the basics and help out, gathering various pieces of tack to help her get ready. Her horse was definitely ready to go, but not doing anything tragic. I held him for her while she got on -- an entertaining challenge as I had Si in the other hand. He was quite bouncy when we got to dressage w/u. Wanted to run and play and even tossing the odd mini-buck (his specialty!)

But N stayed calm and rode him really well. Kept riding him forward and let him see the world. Soon enough he discovered it's not *that* scary and then it was time for tack check and in. The competition ring was on grass and a ways from the warmup so I was curious to see how the horse, who's only ever done hunter shows, would react. But he was cool. N while their test wasn't competitive (we didn't expect it to be, N hasn't quite found the buttons at home yet, so away was less than likely :) it was calm and accurate. And the judge quite liked the horse which is always a good sign :) For a first time in the dressage ring, it was pretty impressive. I know N wasn't really thrilled -- she's ridden competitive tests before and knows enough to know the difference. But she hasn't ridden greenbeans before, and I know enough to know that for a first test that was great (I told her, but I don't think she believed me :). No concern over the white fence of doom or fear of the judges or anything. A *little* nappy towards the ingate, but even that not tragic. Circles were mostly round. Corners actually corners. Both leads on the first try. All good really :) Perhaps I should've reminded her of Sienna's first few trips in the dressage ring. hahaha

So we cooled her horse out and I pulled out all of the beautiful braids. I had to do it because N's never actually braided with string before. Yikes. Clearly I missed a rather serious part of her education! Oops. hahaha but since they were very well done, it was much faster for me to take them out -- and less risk of cutting a braid! -- then to try and explain and she have to search for the string for each braid... Esp with a moving horse. So she held Si while I did that. One braid actually broke my stitch ripper. Sheesh! Fortunately I had back-up scissors :) So all good. Load both horses on the trailer to hang out and eat while we walked the jump courses. XC made me wish I had decided to compete Si -- what a great E course. You don't get low level courses that are really fun very often. N PT was challenging but entertaining -- it too had been upgraded since last time. Had a while to relax and hang out before going to jump. By this point it was getting hot and was actually cooler on the trailer with the shade and the breeze than outside, so we left the horses there till it was almost time to tack up. They were relaxed and happy as could be. The woman in the trailer next said there was nothing from them while we were gone, which is always good to know :)

So we cooled her horse out and I pulled out all of the beautiful braids. I had to do it because N's never actually braided with string before. Yikes. Clearly I missed a rather serious part of her education! Oops. hahaha but since they were very well done, it was much faster for me to take them out -- and less risk of cutting a braid! -- then to try and explain and she have to search for the string for each braid... Esp with a moving horse. So she held Si while I did that. One braid actually broke my stitch ripper. Sheesh! Fortunately I had back-up scissors :) So all good. Load both horses on the trailer to hang out and eat while we walked the jump courses. XC made me wish I had decided to compete Si -- what a great E course. You don't get low level courses that are really fun very often. N PT was challenging but entertaining -- it too had been upgraded since last time. Had a while to relax and hang out before going to jump. By this point it was getting hot and was actually cooler on the trailer with the shade and the breeze than outside, so we left the horses there till it was almost time to tack up. They were relaxed and happy as could be. The woman in the trailer next said there was nothing from them while we were gone, which is always good to know :)

So then we tack up for stadium. Head over with lots of time to spare so watch a few rounds and then start to warmup. N he was an old pro. Quiet, relaxed. This being his first HT, I was pretty happy to see that. Admittedly this ring is the one he'd be most comfortable in, being somewhat like the hunter warmups he knows from his previous life... All was good.

Until N went in the ring. And she who I've never seen a sign of nerves from completely froze. :( Boooo. So the first fence had an approach that was a little fast and a whole lot on a curve, and her horse kinda followed the line she put him on... Oops. But she regrouped and trotted him over it, all well and good. 2nd fence, which was quite tricky, he looked at -- but she was back on the ball and got him over beautifully. Unfortunately the next one was on a bending line to the left... The pilot kinda overshot the turn and chose to turn right instead. Oops. She knew it wasn't legal, it was a reasonably call by the time she got to that point. Her pony was a little confused by the manouver, but when she told him she really *did* want him to jump it, he smiled and nodded and did his job. Unfortunately that was followed by another steering disconnect, which lead to them being dismissed from the class. *sigh* Nothing tragic or exciting -- just the demise of abilities due to unexpected show nerves. There's a first time for everybody. We'll know much better next time :)

So we hung out and let the horses graze for a while. N dedicatedly gave her horse a bath -- even though he was cooled out by the time we got back to the trailer (it's a solid 15min walk). Then it was just hop back on the trailer for the drive home.

So while the ribbon results were a little disappointing, the day in general was still a lot of fun and was finished off with super-yummy milkshakes after the horses were home and taken care of :)

Highs and Lows

Ok so I should be asleep right now, cause really I'm exhausted. But I'm too keyed up so I figured I'd write and then sleep. I usually don't do personal in this blog, but today really got to me so here goes. Consider yourself forewarned.

*edited to add* - post has been significantly edited from the original due to not passing the 24 h rule. hahaha did you get to read the fun version?

So today was a highs and lows kinda day.

Work was interesting and very busy, which I prefer. So that's a high.

Then I get home and find out Sherlock (my cat) is missing. That's a serious low. Look all over for him inside and out. No sign.

But I had to go teach. Perhaps a good thing, as it got me out of there. But totally not appropriate to go try and teach in that mindset (ummm deleted p explained why I was LIVID beyond rational thought). I've had a couple coaches who take their personal frustrations out on their students, and that's really not right. N then I've had two in particular who are absolutely phenomenal about putting whatever is going on in their world away when they deal with clients. As in they've been ranting to me about X, totally over the top upset, and a client walks in and they just switch it off. You'd never know. Client leaves and rant resumes :) And having observed this a few times, I know this is how I intend to deal with my clients. I also know I'm not quite *that* good at it yet. So I detoured on my way to teach and went to see my pony. Made up her dinner, cleaned out her water buckets, and then just went to hang out with her in the field for a bit. And when her ears went forward and she left her hay and her friends to come see me, it helped stabilize the emotions a little. "The outside of the horse is good for the inside of the man." Or something like that :) - Winston Churchill. So that's a high.

So went to teach. Lessons were going really well. Had an extra in one class who was a real pleasure to teach. High. One of my students was having her last lesson before leaving for uni. Went well, but I'm going to miss having her in the class. High and low.

In my last lesson I was teaching and somebody was waiting for the ring. As we were working on a reasonably simple exercise I invited her in to ride around, which she did. But when she was done riding and I offered to let her out, she said she'd really rather stay and listen because she was really interested in what I was saying. And I shortly thereafter had a similar comment from her mother on the sidelines. That is about as HIGH as it gets :) When people are interested and ask intelligent questions and think about what I'm saying, it really validates all the work and effort I put into coaching. It's such a little thing, from a random stranger I could barely see in the dark (there were some lightbulb issues :), but it totally made my night.

So drive home. N of course as soon as I leave the barn the reality of what I left behind returns. But I know cats are nocturnal. And I know where Sherlock was found the last time he disappeared (a couple years ago. An accident, with an apology and a search. He was gone for TEN days and returned @ half his body weight. So you can see why I'd be concerned). So I went out to that area with a mini-flashlight and I called and I called and then...

I FOUND HIM!!! Woohoo HUGE HUGE HUGE HIGH!!!! And he came right to me, meowing his really scared meow. So I picked him up and brought him back.

Problem, the porch light is on, which makes Sherlock panic (and yes he still has his claws). AND the door is locked. Keys are in my jean pockets. Ever try to hold a cat who's panicking and doesn't want to be held? One who still has his claws? Ever try to do it with ONE hand??? So I rang the bell. With two hands I could hold the cat and keep him from scratching me. By this point he was hissing. I've never (10 years remember?) heard him hiss like that before. No answer. Rang the bell again and again andagainandagainandagain in rapid fire succession. Did this for about 3 minutes (although it felt like *forever*) -- just continually ringing it. I know there are people home. I also know they're known for ignoring the door. But I would've thought the excessiveness of it would've convinced somebody to come see. But no. Low.

So I pin cat to the ground and feel absolutely horrible for doing so. Serious Low. He came to me so bravely when I called him and let me pick him up (which we all know is a huge sign of trust. And he doesn't let anybody else hold him for more than about a second and a half.) and carry him all the way back. And then I force him down in a scary place and hold him there. While with my other hand I fiddle with the keys and try to get the door open. When I did manage to get it open he ran right in. High.

*Deleted mini-novel that was a significant Low.*

So now the cat is home, and I'm sooooo incredibly relieved. High. But I don't particularly want to be here any more. Low.

*edited to add* -- after I posted this I went in the office of the third member of our little party (who had thus far stayed out of everything) and found a stack of "Missing Sherlock" posters. That effort is hugely appreciated. Esp as with my schedule I'm not likely to be home to search much till Thurs... Another High.

Do you think we could consider just skipping the teenage years?

Stolen from GRS Blog.

One of those rides. Consider yourself forewarned!

So I generally love riding babies. All the firsts -- first time under saddle, first time without a babysitter, first trot, first canter, first jump, first outside (sometimes before the others!), first trail ride, first show, etc etc etc. Love the feeling of accomplishment when they get it -- whatever 'it' may be and the entertaining speed bumps along the way. And since I was a teenager I've ridden babies almost exclusively (with the odd side-line into OTTBs, which are their own challenge -- in some ways way easier because they've seen everything already and in some ways way more challenging) so I understand what's involved.

But I can't help but think of how much, at this point in my career, I would really love a season on something that already KNOWS what it's doing. Something that's happy and confident in their job that could let me see what *I* could really do. hahaha ah well, we all know that's not likely to happen *sigh* I guess just frustrated at yet another show season shot by a combination of spinny greenbean not ready to compete and said greenbean being off for the entirety of July :( I'll take her out to do the dressage portion of Cedar Run but I'm not asking her to jump (even if we navigated the course successfully -- which we probably would since it's only entry -- it'd completely blow her little mind and would take me weeks to get it back. So not worth it.) and then we're done for the year. Will try and school most weekends in hopes of *next* year being reasonable but I have to admit to being somewhat frustrated by this one. Don't get me wrong, I absolutely adore her. And once she understands something and gets it, she's an absolute sweetheart to ride -- so a few years from now I fully expect her to be a packer. But getting her there is proving to be a much slower process than I've been accustomed to in the past.

For instance, before her month off, she was confidently jumping PT - T level courses (schooling only of course -- off property's a whole nother game!) But still, at home anything I pointed her at we went over and she was *most* days hoping around like an old hunter schoolie. Occasionally we'd meet the OTTB and have a ride n a half, but generally she was jumping really really well.

Take the entire month of July off due to injury and the start of Aug due to pilot vacation. Then start over. First little while, super high. Ok no surprise there. But then she was coming back and doing ok and then one day, random meltdown. Since then, her anxiety level is off the charts -- esp when we're alone (which is most days). Suddenly my essentially bomb-proof horse is shying at anything she can think of to shy at, and every single fence is scary. Most times she'll go over it -- but overjumping everything by ridiculous amounts and tension just radiating from her. N that's at the TROT. Canter's almost unrideable. Significantly better with other horses around, but even then a LONG way from the superstar pony of the spring. Almost like I'm getting at home what we had at that horrendous CT at the start of the year. Not nearly that bad actually, so suppose I should be happy about that, but a moderated version of it.

So I had a lesson this am. Still going high off last week's lesson, and I've gotten much more comfortable with the new language. Warmup and coach is running late -- which means he actually gets there on time (he's usually super early). So by the time he got there Si was properly warmed up and working. He walks in "wow, that looks great. How warmed up is she?" Very. "Ok well let's jump then." hahaha graduated from DQ world. Yeah us. Except I actually had a couple 'new language' type questions so ran those by him first and got a little help on the flat. Did get tons of bonus points for having done my homework though *g* Doesn't matter how long I've been riding, how many lessons I've taken or who I'm riding with "that looks great" from my coach is still enough to have me high all day. hahaha esp when it's actually something I've been working ridiculously hard to make happen.

But then of course it was time to jump. And at first Sienna didn't *know* it was time to jump because, well, she wasn't paying attention when we were talking about it. I often shorten my stirrups and then don't jump anything specifically so she never learns to put those cues together. So I trot her around and she's still in the same mindset as our flatwork. All good. Turn towards the first fence and all of a sudden her body radiates tension. Fence was maybe 2"6. Not the least bit scary. And she jumps it almost every day. There was no feeling of hesitation, I never felt she was going to quit, but I also wasn't the least bit surprised when she cleared it by a solid foot. Form was beautiful. Textbook. Just waaaayyyy higher than necessary. Coach calls me over and asks me to analyze, which I did. This is not new. And on the plus side, I've actually been riding well (I swear that's not ego, just fact *g* I know and acknowledge fully well when I'm riding like I've never sat on a horse before, but the last couple weeks have been good from an eq and a timing perspective :) so I know it's not that I'm causing the reaction (which I can do -- if I get ahead of her and she deigns to still jump it, it'll be that kind of jump). Coach agreed with me. "She's just a little sharp." hahaha and that's fairly accurate. I would never have thought to describe it that way, but that's essentially it exactly.

There are these two purple boxes - not huge. Maybe 2'6". With hideous pokadots on them. They're great in a horrendously tacky way. Sienna HATES them. With a passion I've never felt from a horse before. Lots of horses will look at something that strange at first, but all the rest of the ones I know get over it pretty fast. Every. Single. Time. we go to this fence she'll hesitate and then clear it by a mile (assuming she goes over it that is -- that's not always guaranteed.) So today they were set as wings because somebody else was jumping the fence and wanted it lower than the box allowed. So my coach pulls the two boxes out together and makes them a wingless, poleless, skinny. Lovely. Actually an exercise I'm all for. Use it a lot. Entirely believe any horse should be capable of it. But doing it with the one jump she despises at a time when things are not going well was, ummmm, questionable. But there is absolutely no reason she can't do it so... Trot towards it in a positive manner. Horse: "You've got to be friken kidding me!" Stop. Spin. Bolt. Rider: *sigh*. Second time we actually made it over -- twice the height it needed to be, but over. Did it a few more times and she got better each time. Ok, progress.

So coach moves one of the boxes back under the jump where it originally lived (adjusting the pole accordingly). The other one gets moved to the middle of another box jump (that jump has three boxes, that aren't scary, side by side. He removed the middle one and replaced it with the purple one). Now you have to understand, that other jump was the one she'd been jumping *best* all day. Holding a perfect line. Quiet. No tension. Really good. Yeah, putting the purple dots under it changed that significantly. We got over it, but calm, quiet and straight it was not.

Ok attempt the *other* purple box. Now it is exactly where it's *always* been -- from the day it got moved into the sandring. With the same wings, the same pole on top. Only difference is that now there's one box where previously there had been two. I understood the other box being scary -- it appeared with the wrong jump, but this one...? About 18' out she quit. Really quit. Like snorting, 2 hands taller, explosion trying to happen quit. N I'm thinking you've got to at least go up to it. Yeah no. Can't spin or go backwards, what's left? Up. Waayyyy up. Now up's been her thing since before I ever got on her. But usually it doesn't even really count as a rear. It's semi-impressive to those watching, but really nothing to it. She comes up to about the angle she'd have taking off for a 3'6" fence. Feet are around her shoulder height and she hovers for a bit and then comes down again. No biggie. This time her feet were over my head. She's never gone up anywhere near that height with me on her before (although I have seen her do it playing in the field). So we're hovering up there and she starts to loose her balance -- one hind leg is still significantly stronger than the other. And as she shifted, it threw me off balance too. Making the situation much worse as my weight was now in a position to pull us over.

So I'm sitting up there and time slows, as it does. N my first thought is "this is very bad. I don't want her to learn this trick because I *hate* dealing with it." Then I realize she's really having trouble holding it and it's "well I can hop off now and let her fend for herself or I can pull us both over backwards. The second option's going to hurt both of us a whole lot more and probably wreck my saddle." Seriously -- had that whole conversation with myself. And then swung off my horse. Basically just let go and let gravity do its job. Does it count as a fall when it's unplanned but intentional? I landed on my feet, perfect dismount really, still holding the reins. N without me throwing her balance off, she was able to come down on all four safely.

Other than when I was learning to vault and we were *told* to hop off our horses at various gaits and positions, this is the first time I can ever remember voluntarily coming off. Usually I'm more of the hold on no matter what type. I may get concerned about the situation after the fact, but I stick as long as humanly possible. But it just seemed the wise decision at the time (although my coach was countermanding it as I was doing it -- "stay on that horse!" -- I had already started apologizing by the time my feet hit the ground).

So get back on. Hard to do when she's growing by the second and vibrating with tension. "I think that scared her more than it did you." ummm yup. Pretty safe bet on that one. Given that being scared was what caused her to go up in the first place *sigh*. At least with her it's never malicious. It may not be what I want, but there's always a reason. Sometimes it's a particularly dumb reason, but at least there's a reason. Go try jump again. Sitting on a giraffe on crack performing the jackhammer trot. Try getting *that* in front of your leg. Yeah, not easy. But this time we went over it. Explosively, but over it. So then we spent the next half hour jumping a figure 8 over those two boxes. Was never good, but it did get much better. Got so the trot was pretty consistent. Could canter one at a time, but not both together.

Ok, new exercise. Random oxer in the middle of the ring. Ascending. Back rail still only about 2'6". Maybe 2'9" if you stretch your imagination. Trot up to it, and she jumps it beautifully. First fence she's done with no hesitation. But she touches a rail. N she *really* hates touching a rail. *sigh*. 3'4 of a mad gallop lap later I get her back to me. Go try it again. And again. And again. And eventually out of the canter (I admit I snuck in an extra couple trot fences after my coach suggested the canter - much to his disgust, but we did get there :) And finally *well* out of the canter. As in when she was going for a stupidly dangerous long spot and I told her to wait and add, she did.

And after that, we finally called it a day. But seriously -- more than an hour of jumping to get to where she should technically be *starting* the warmup.

I'm hoping a few years from now I'll look back at this post as my superstar pony is packing some student around prelim n laugh n be glad I stuck it out, but I have to admit right now, it's not nearly as much fun as it usually is.

Is it possible to skip the teenage years?

So I generally love riding babies. All the firsts -- first time under saddle, first time without a babysitter, first trot, first canter, first jump, first outside (sometimes before the others!), first trail ride, first show, etc etc etc. Love the feeling of accomplishment when they get it -- whatever 'it' may be and the entertaining speed bumps along the way. And since I was a teenager I've ridden babies almost exclusively (with the odd side-line into OTTBs, which are their own challenge -- in some ways way easier because they've seen everything already and in some ways way more challenging) so I understand what's involved.

But I can't help but think of how much, at this point in my career, I would really love a season on something that already KNOWS what it's doing. Something that's happy and confident in their job that could let me see what *I* could really do. hahaha ah well, we all know that's not likely to happen *sigh* I guess just frustrated at yet another show season shot by a combination of spinny greenbean not ready to compete and said greenbean being off for the entirety of July :( I'll take her out to do the dressage portion of Cedar Run but I'm not asking her to jump (even if we navigated the course successfully -- which we probably would since it's only entry -- it'd completely blow her little mind and would take me weeks to get it back. So not worth it.) and then we're done for the year. Will try and school most weekends in hopes of *next* year being reasonable but I have to admit to being somewhat frustrated by this one. Don't get me wrong, I absolutely adore her. And once she understands something and gets it, she's an absolute sweetheart to ride -- so a few years from now I fully expect her to be a packer. But getting her there is proving to be a much slower process than I've been accustomed to in the past.

For instance, before her month off, she was confidently jumping PT - T level courses (schooling only of course -- off property's a whole nother game!) But still, at home anything I pointed her at we went over and she was *most* days hoping around like an old hunter schoolie. Occasionally we'd meet the OTTB and have a ride n a half, but generally she was jumping really really well.

Take the entire month of July off due to injury and the start of Aug due to pilot vacation. Then start over. First little while, super high. Ok no surprise there. But then she was coming back and doing ok and then one day, random meltdown. Since then, her anxiety level is off the charts -- esp when we're alone (which is most days). Suddenly my essentially bomb-proof horse is shying at anything she can think of to shy at, and every single fence is scary. Most times she'll go over it -- but overjumping everything by ridiculous amounts and tension just radiating from her. N that's at the TROT. Canter's almost unrideable. Significantly better with other horses around, but even then a LONG way from the superstar pony of the spring. Almost like I'm getting at home what we had at that horrendous CT at the start of the year. Not nearly that bad actually, so suppose I should be happy about that, but a moderated version of it.

So I had a lesson this am. Still going high off last week's lesson, and I've gotten much more comfortable with the new language. Warmup and coach is running late -- which means he actually gets there on time (he's usually super early). So by the time he got there Si was properly warmed up and working. He walks in "wow, that looks great. How warmed up is she?" Very. "Ok well let's jump then." hahaha graduated from DQ world. Yeah us. Except I actually had a couple 'new language' type questions so ran those by him first and got a little help on the flat. Did get tons of bonus points for having done my homework though *g* Doesn't matter how long I've been riding, how many lessons I've taken or who I'm riding with "that looks great" from my coach is still enough to have me high all day. hahaha esp when it's actually something I've been working ridiculously hard to make happen.

But then of course it was time to jump. And at first Sienna didn't *know* it was time to jump because, well, she wasn't paying attention when we were talking about it. I often shorten my stirrups and then don't jump anything specifically so she never learns to put those cues together. So I trot her around and she's still in the same mindset as our flatwork. All good. Turn towards the first fence and all of a sudden her body radiates tension. Fence was maybe 2"6. Not the least bit scary. And she jumps it almost every day. There was no feeling of hesitation, I never felt she was going to quit, but I also wasn't the least bit surprised when she cleared it by a solid foot. Form was beautiful. Textbook. Just waaaayyyy higher than necessary. Coach calls me over and asks me to analyze, which I did. This is not new. And on the plus side, I've actually been riding well (I swear that's not ego, just fact *g* I know and acknowledge fully well when I'm riding like I've never sat on a horse before, but the last couple weeks have been good from an eq and a timing perspective :) so I know it's not that I'm causing the reaction (which I can do -- if I get ahead of her and she deigns to still jump it, it'll be that kind of jump). Coach agreed with me. "She's just a little sharp." hahaha and that's fairly accurate. I would never have thought to describe it that way, but that's essentially it exactly.

There are these two purple boxes - not huge. Maybe 2'6". With hideous pokadots on them. They're great in a horrendously tacky way. Sienna HATES them. With a passion I've never felt from a horse before. Lots of horses will look at something that strange at first, but all the rest of the ones I know get over it pretty fast. Every. Single. Time. we go to this fence she'll hesitate and then clear it by a mile (assuming she goes over it that is -- that's not always guaranteed.) So today they were set as wings because somebody else was jumping the fence and wanted it lower than the box allowed. So my coach pulls the two boxes out together and makes them a wingless, poleless, skinny. Lovely. Actually an exercise I'm all for. Use it a lot. Entirely believe any horse should be capable of it. But doing it with the one jump she despises at a time when things are not going well was, ummmm, questionable. But there is absolutely no reason she can't do it so... Trot towards it in a positive manner. Horse: "You've got to be friken kidding me!" Stop. Spin. Bolt. Rider: *sigh*. Second time we actually made it over -- twice the height it needed to be, but over. Did it a few more times and she got better each time. Ok, progress.

So coach moves one of the boxes back under the jump where it originally lived. The other one gets moved to the middle of another box jump (that jump has three boxes, that aren't scary, side by side. He removed the middle one and replaced it with the purple one). Now you have to understand, that other jump was the one she'd been jumping *best* all day. Holding a perfect line. Quiet. No tension. Really good. Yeah, putting the purple dots under it changed that significantly. We got over it, but calm quiet and straight it was not.

Ok attempt the *other* purple box. Now it is exactly where it's *always* been -- from the day it got moved into the sandring. With the same wings, the same pole on top. Only difference is that now there's one box where previously there had been two. I understood the other box being scary -- it appeared with the wrong jump, but this one...? About 18' out she quit. Really quit. Like snorting, 2 hands taller, explosion trying to happen quit. N I'm thinking you've got to at least go up to it. Yeah no. Can't spin or go backwards, what's left? Up. Waayyyy up. Now up's been her thing since before I ever got on her. But usually it doesn't even really count as a rear. It's semi-impressive to those watching, but really nothing to it. She comes up to about the angle she'd have taking off for a 3'6" fence. Feet are around her shoulder height and she hovers for a bit and then comes down again. No biggie. This time her feet were over my head. She's never gone up anywhere near that height with me on her before (although I have seen her do it playing in the field). So we're hovering up there and she starts to loose her balance -- one hind leg is still significantly stronger than the other. And as she shifted, it threw me off balance too. Making the situation much worse as my weight was now in a position to pull us over.

So I'm sitting up there and time slows, as it does. N my first thought is "this is very bad. I don't want her to learn this trick because I *hate* dealing with it." Then I realize she's really having trouble holding it and it's "well I can hop off now and let her fend for herself or I can pull us both over backwards. The second option's going to hurt both of us a whole lot more and probably wreck my saddle." Seriously -- had that whole conversation with myself. And then swung off my horse. Basically just let go and let gravity do its job. Does it count as a fall when it's unplanned but intentional? I landed on my feet, perfect dismount really, still holding the reins. N without me throwing her balance off, she was able to come down on all four safely.

Other than when I was learning to vault and we were *told* to hop off our horses at various gaits and positions, this is the first time I can ever remember voluntarily coming off. Usually I'm more of the hold on no matter what type. I may get concerned about the situation after the fact, but I stick as long as humanly possible. But it just seemed the wise decision at the time (although my coach was countermanding it as I was doing it -- "stay on that horse!" -- I had already started apologizing by the time my feet hit the ground).

So get back on. Hard to do when she's growing by the second and vibrating with tension. "I think that scared her more than it did you." ummm yup. Pretty safe bet on that one. Given that being scared was what caused her to go up in the first place *sigh*. At least with her it's never malicious. It may not be what I want, but there's always a reason. Sometimes it's a particularly dumb reason, but at least there's a reason. Go try jump again. Sitting on a giraffe on crack performing the jackhammer trot. Try getting *that* in front of your leg. Yeah, not easy. But this time we went over it. Explosively, but over it. So then we spent the next half hour jumping a figure 8 over those two boxes. Was never good, but it did get much better. Got so the trot was pretty consistent. Could canter one at a time, but not both together.

Ok, new exercise. Random oxer in the middle of the ring. Ascending. Back rail still only about 2'6". Maybe 2'9" if you stretch your imagination. Trot up to it, and she jumps it beautifully. First fence she's done with no hesitation. But she touches a rail. N she *really* hates touching a rail. *sigh*. 3'4 of a mad gallop lap later I get her back to me. Go try it again. And again. And again. And eventually out of the canter (I admit I snuck in an extra couple trot fences after my coach suggested the canter, but we did get there :) And finally *well* out of the canter. As in when she was going for a stupidly dangerous long spot and I told her to wait and add, she did.

And after that, we finally called it a day. But seriously -- more than an hour of jumping to get to where she should technically be *starting* the warmup.

I'm hoping a few years from now I'll look back at this post as my superstar pony is packing some student around prelim n laugh n be glad I stuck it out, but I have to admit right now, it's not nearly as much fun as it usually is.

#fridayflash 47: A Sticky Note Life

A modern epistolary tale... Does it work? Let me know what you think!

-----
My parents divorced when I was little. I hardly ever saw my dad while I was growing up, but it was ok because Mom did everything she could to play both roles, and her brother stepped in to help out from time to time. And we managed, in the way families do. The summer I turned 16, in those pre-cell phone days, our schedules often conflicted as I began leading my own life. As a result, my mother and I conversed almost entirely in sticky notes:

Possible proof of the paranormal?

So I was flipping through some old files -- looking at "first lines" and story starts that I'd written but never done anything with trying to decide what I might do for Flash this week when I got distracted by the other folder -- the one that holds 'finished' versions... And I was randomly opening and reading some of them and it was the weirdest experience. I know I wrote them but enough time has passed that some of them I hardly recall at all. Added an interesting distance to read them from that perspective -- some I still really like. Others fell into the "what was I thinking?!?!" category :) hahaha But the really interesting part was in doing so, realizing that the ones I still like are those that came easily. Where I typed the story as I heard it in my head, with absolutely no knowledge of what was going to happen and always really glad when something did *g* As opposed to the ones written with "I have to write something now" that took serious effort and thought and planning. You would think that stories that have *some* sort of plan behind them would turn out to be better, but evidently not so much in my world *g* I'd also think that me writing and me writing would turn out somewhat near the same quality of story, but again, evidently not so much. Or maybe the divide is really just in my mind, caused as much from the vague memory of the writing as by the story itself -- but looking at it it seemed the style was so different between them as to be blatantly obvious. One story even switched in the middle -- the beginning was forced, but then the rest flowed. So I'm wondering -- can you tell which ones came easily? Or is it only with that background knowledge that it's obvious? Cause really, if the forced ones are blatant, perhaps I should just skip those weeks :) But then that being said, some of the ones I like least get the most comments, so what do I know >;-P

As for the paranormal -- I know there I know nothing. So when Shan sent me this I was leaning towards the 'mist' idea, but figured I'd at least watch it through and see... Let me know what you think!

This is a car advertisement from Great Britain. When they finished filming the ad, the film editor noticed something moving along the side of the car, like a ghostly white mist. They found out that a person had been killed a year earlier in that exact same spot. The ad was never put on TV because of the unexplained ghostly phenomenon. Watch the front end of the car as it clears the trees in the middle of the screen and you'll see the white mist crossing in front of the car then following it along the road.....Spooky! Is it a ghost, or is it simply mist? You decide. If you listen closely to the ad, you'll even hear the cameraman whispering in the background about it near the end of the commercial.

Equestrian Air Bags?

Ok so I admit when I first heard that subject, my thought was airbags for the trailer... Yeah not so much. hahaha heard about this today: Equestrian Air Bags -- for use over a traditional crash-vest, they inflate when the clip is detached from the saddle... Apparently significantly reduce neck/back injuries. All good. But what happens the time when your horse quits and you end up on her neck... A salvageable situation most of the time -- but not if airbags suddenly explode on top of the horse!

Ok I'm sorry, but I couldn't take this "safety" video seriously when their demo rider wasn't wearing a helmet! But anyways:



The German version of this commercial is significantly better (and way more amusing :) but for some reason it has disabled embedding. What company doesn't want their advertising sharable? Strange. There are a ton more if you care to browse youtube -- some seem more reputable than others. But the general idea? Thoughts?

Equestrian Air Bags?

Ok so I admit when I first heard that subject, my thought was airbags for the trailer... Yeah not so much. hahaha heard about this today: Equestrian Air Bags -- for use over a traditional crash-vest, they inflate when the clip is detached from the saddle... Apparently significantly reduce neck/back injuries. All good. But what happens the time when your horse quits and you end up on her neck... A salvageable situation most of the time -- but not if airbags suddenly explode on top of the horse!

Ok I'm sorry, but I couldn't take this "safety" video seriously when their demo rider wasn't wearing a helmet! But anyways:



The German version of this commercial is significantly better (and way more amusing :) but for some reason it has disabled embedding. What company doesn't want their advertising sharable? Strange. There are a ton more if you care to browse youtube -- some seem more reputable than others. But the general idea? Thoughts?

I have a friend with whom I exchange fairly regular emails. Not having seen her this weekend, I sent a message at lunch saying "How was your weekend?" Pretty mundane eh? But hotmail wouldn't let me send it! Declared it spam and told me I had to change the content of the message and try again. "Your message seems to have triggered our junk e-mail filters. Could you edit your message and try again?" -- and this was not a question. I tried just hitting send again, but it wouldn't send. Was not amused. I don't mind the "enter in this funky code" when I send an email to a ton of people, but filtering a message to a single person who's in my address book? That's a little excessive.

Ugh. Ok end of mini-rant.

Your "how can people be like this" article of the day: Woman pats cat and then traps it in garbage bin in England. Caught on tape.

And to counteract that, your good news story of the day: Toddler walks to firestation to get help for her father

Learning a new language

Was supposed to go to Caledon to school XC today. Of course rain and thunderstorms put an end to that. Made some comment about it on FB (this is the 3rd or 4th time we've been rained out in a summer of otherwise incredible weather) and was reminded that any time I've gone to *teach* the weather's been perfect. So evidently it only rains when I plan to ride *sigh*. So who here is surprised by this? Yeah me neither >;-P

So just rode at home instead. Easy indoor ride with the simplest little gymnastic in the world. Spent as much time chatting as riding *g* But was really nice. I've been trying to ride in the way my coach introduced in my last lesson. Now part of the entertainment with that is I'm trying to speak to my horse in a language *neither* of us knows. Because of course, I trained her. So all the buttons are where I put them. Which is, sadly, not where I need them to be now. Oops *g*

So my first attempt coach says "talk to her" and see what happens. And the conversation went something like "So, how's the weather?" "Well the daemons from Minnesota are planning to take over Switzerland."

That was day one. Roughly translated to "How bout we trot now?" "Halt, ok." So technically wasn't our best ride in that what I *wanted* to happen, rarely happened... But be were both trying really hard and she was going really well -- just not necessarily where or how I was intending :)

Move on to day two. By now we've figure out some of the basic nouns and sentence structure. Conversations are more like "So, how's the weather?" "Wet." -- we're not winning any Pulitzer prizes yet, but we're at least attempting to speak the same language. This allows me to choose the gait and general direction, but not effect or improve said gait or direction. So we're trotting left. This is good. But the trot is downhill and the shoulders (or fore-quarters as one student declared them the other day :) are considerably ahead of the hindquarters. Less good.

Day three. Well now this was the really interesting one. Because you see, Sienna has now mastered the language. In fact, is significantly ahead of me. Which tells me that this is definitely a worth-while endeavor to embark on since she's clearly all for it. Today when I asked about the weather, I got a PhD dissertation on the effects of tectonic plate movement on weather patterns. I won't bother to retype it here. You wouldn't understand it anyways >;-P But what it meant was, so long as I was avoiding the way I've ridden all my life, I could move any part of her body and entirely control the pace, with essentially a thought. Was pretty friken amazing let me tell you. Have not figured out how to apply this in any way shape or form over fences yet *sigh* but our flat work jumped about two years in about half a week. So yeah, I'm pretty excited about that :)

So now since Sienna's way ahead of me in the new language, when something strange happens I work backwards. "Ok she did A. What did I do to cause A? I did X. So does that mean if I repeat X A will happen again? Yup. Very kewl." Languages have never been a strength of mine, but I have to admit I'm fairly entertained learning this one :) Just kinda wishing I'd done so 20 years ago!

Learning a new language

So just a suggestion -- don't go to Staples 2 weeks before school begins. hahaha Absolutely insane.

Insert abrupt topic change here.

Was supposed to go to Caledon to school XC today. Of course rain and thunderstorms put an end to that. Made some comment about it on FB (this is the 3rd or 4th time we've been rained out in a summer of otherwise incredible weather) and was reminded that any time I've gone to *teach* the weather's been perfect. So evidently it only rains when I plan to ride *sigh*. So who here is surprised by this? Yeah me neither >;-P

So just rode at home instead. Easy indoor ride with the simplest little gymnastic in the world. Spent as much time chatting as riding *g* But was really nice. I've been trying to ride in the way my coach introduced in my last lesson. Now part of the entertainment with that is I'm trying to speak to my horse in a language *neither* of us knows. Because of course, I trained her. So all the buttons are where I put them. Which is, sadly, not where I need them to be now. Oops *g*

So my first attempt coach says "talk to her" and see what happens. And the conversation went something like "So, how's the weather?" "Well the daemons from Minnesota are planning to take over Switzerland."

That was day one. Roughly translated to "How bout we trot now?" "Halt, ok." So technically wasn't our best ride in that what I *wanted* to happen, rarely happened... But be were both trying really hard and she was going really well -- just not necessarily where or how I was intending :)

Move on to day two. By now we've figure out some of the basic nouns and sentence structure. Conversations are more like "So, how's the weather?" "Wet." -- we're not winning any Pulitzer prizes yet, but we're at least attempting to speak the same language. This allows me to choose the gait and general direction, but not effect or improve said gait or direction. So we're trotting left. This is good. But the trot is downhill and the shoulders (or fore-quarters as one student declared them the other day :) are considerably ahead of the hindquarters. Less good.

Day three. Well now this was the really interesting one. Because you see, Sienna has now mastered the language. In fact, is significantly ahead of me. Which tells me that this is definitely a worth-while endeavor to embark on since she's clearly all for it. Today when I asked about the weather, I got a PhD dissertation on the effects of tectonic plate movement on weather patterns. I won't bother to retype it here. You wouldn't understand it anyways >;-P But what it meant was, so long as I was avoiding the way I've ridden all my life, I could move any part of her body and entirely control the pace, with essentially a thought. Was pretty friken amazing let me tell you. Have not figured out how to apply this in any way shape or form over fences yet *sigh* but our flat work jumped about two years in about half a week. So yeah, I'm pretty excited about that :)

So now since Sienna's way ahead of me in the new language, when something strange happens I work backwards. "Ok she did A. What did I do to cause A? I did X. So does that mean if I repeat X A will happen again? Yup. Very kewl." Languages have never been a strength of mine, but I have to admit I'm fairly entertained learning this one :) Just kinda wishing I'd done so 20 years ago!

A day off?

Taken from GRS Blog

So I was intending to be away this weekend. As such, I had nothing booked. So when my plans were cancelled, I ended up with a WHOLE day free! Woohoo. So I promptly made a list of all the things that desperately need to be done. Laundry. Clean house. Pay bills. Latin HW. Paperwork. Clean tack. Pull horse's mane. And as I was sort of mentally sorting through the order in which I would accomplish these things, I happened to glance at FB and saw a note about dressage at Palgrave. hmmmmm today eh? Well if dressage is on at Palgrave, my coach will be there. And likely her groom. And some other people I'd like to see... So I look up her ride times; I was already too late to make it there in time to see her first horse go, but her second one was in the aft.

Ok so my laundry was mostly done but the rest of the things on that list got scrapped in favour of going to watch her ride. hahaha so I spend all my life at the barn, and on my day off what do I do? Go watch somebody else ride. Obsession? Addiction? Insanity? Possibly all three. But I do know that no horse-person would be even the slightest bit surprised by that choice. So whatever it is, I'm not alone with the affliction *g* hahaha Those who know, cannot explain. Those who don't know, can never understand.

I get to the grounds n find her stalls. No people. Ok wander around a bit. Visit the tack store (Sienna now has a new half-pad. The first I've ever bought actually, but her Fleeceworx pad disintegrated so I needed a replacement n figured this was worth a try :). Wander back. Still no people. Pick up a random time sheet -- ok she has a student going in a few mins (yeah for excessively detailed dressage sheets), wander over to 1st level land. No M, but it was amusing me to sit and listen to the various coaches and their students so I hung out there for a while. My fav line: "That was GREAT! At *least* an 11!" and then I guess realizing she might've been a little too enthusiastic, an aside to those around "I'm a judge, so I can decide it's an 11." hahaha - amused me anyways. At one point there were about six coaches all sitting side by side speaking instructions quietly. All to their respective students, clearly wearing headsets. Was sort of entertaining to pick out who belonged to whom :) But then, I'm easily amused.

So eventually wander back to the stalls figuring my coach has to reappear eventually since her horse is still there and we're getting close to when she should be riding :) Was just debating where to wander next when her super-groom appeared. N where she is, M will soon be. hahaha So we chatted for a few minutes, and sure enough shortly thereafter she arrived followed by the appropriate getting changed and tacked up chaos.

Quite enjoyed watching my coach warmup her superstar horse and evesdropping on her coach's comments. I even more enjoyed watching her absolutely brilliant test. And the look on her face coming out that made it clear it felt as good as it looked :) It's not too often you get to see somebody come out of dressage smiling like that.

So we go take care of the horse and watch another of her students ride. Convince a near-by kid to did a ditch to funnel water away from the stalls for when the rapidly approaching storm hit. hahaha he was handy to have around :) And then it's time to go find the scores. Always scary -- what happens if the judge didn't think it was as good as it felt? It *shouldn't* influence how you feel about a ride, but it always does...

So as we were hanging out, about to go see, her phone rings...

Scores are up.

And hers?

First.

As it should be :) I oh so rudely read through her test (bad Lauren! :) to see a good number of 9s on it *g* Pretty sweet.

Anyways so that was a good random horse-show day. Had fun socializing, did some shopping, and watched the friend I went to see ride a kick-ass test. Doesn't get much better than that.

So on the way home stopped to ride my pony. N while I wasn't sore at all after yesterday's lesson when I woke up this morning, about two minutes into trying to ride I could feel all sorts of new muscles screaming. hahaha but my horse went beautifully! And we finished just before the rain hit.

And just to round things out she did get her mane pulled and the tack did get cleaned. So while the *whole* list didn't get done, parts of it did *g*

A day off?

So I was intending to be away this weekend. As such, I had nothing booked. So when my plans were cancelled, I ended up with a WHOLE day free! Woohoo. So I promptly made a list of all the things that desperately need to be done. Laundry. Clean house. Pay bills. Latin HW. Paperwork. Clean tack. Pull horse's mane. And as I was sort of mentally sorting through the order in which I would accomplish these things, I happened to glance at FB and saw a note about dressage at Palgrave. hmmmmm today eh? Well if dressage is on at Palgrave, my coach will be there. And likely her groom. And some other people I'd like to see... So I look up her ride times; I was already too late to make it there in time to see her first horse go, but her second one was in the aft.

Ok so my laundry was mostly done but the rest of the things on that list got scrapped in favour of going to watch her ride. hahaha so I spend all my life at the barn, and on my day off what do I do? Go watch somebody else ride. Obsession? Addiction? Insanity? Possibly all three. But I do know that no horse-person would be even the slightest bit surprised by that choice. So whatever it is, I'm not alone with the affliction *g* hahaha Those who know, cannot explain. Those who don't know, can never understand.

I get to the grounds n find her stalls. No people. Ok wander around a bit. Visit the tack store (Sienna now has a new half-pad. The first I've ever bought actually, but her Fleeceworx pad disintegrated so I needed a replacement n figured this was worth a try :). Wander back. Still no people. Pick up a random time sheet -- ok she has a student going in a few mins (yeah for excessively detailed dressage sheets), wander over to 1st level land. No M, but it was amusing me to sit and listen to the various coaches and their students so I hung out there for a while. My fav line: "That was GREAT! At *least* an 11!" and then I guess realizing she might've been a little too enthusiastic, an aside to those around "I'm a judge, so I can decide it's an 11." hahaha - amused me anyways. At one point there were about six coaches all sitting side by side speaking instructions quietly. All to their respective students, clearly wearing headsets. Was sort of entertaining to pick out who belonged to whom :) But then, I'm easily amused.

So eventually wander back to the stalls figuring my coach has to reappear eventually since her horse is still there :) Was just debating where to wander next when her super-groom appeared. N where she is, M will soon be. hahaha So we chatted for a few minutes, and sure enough shortly thereafter she arrived followed by the appropriate getting changed and tacked up chaos.

Quite enjoyed watching my coach warmup her superstar horse and evesdropping on her coach's comments. I even more enjoyed watching her absolutely brilliant test. And the look on her face coming out that made it clear it felt as good as it looked :) It's not too often you get to see somebody come out of dressage smiling like that.

So we go take care of the horse and watch another of her students ride. Convince a near-by kid to did a ditch to funnel water away from the stalls when the rapidly approaching storm hit. hahaha he was handy to have around :) And then it's time to go find the scores. Always scary -- what happens if the judge didn't think it was as good as it felt? It *shouldn't* influence how you feel about a ride, but it always does...

So as we were hanging out, about to go see, her phone rings...

Scores are up.

And hers?

First.

As it should be :) I oh so rudely read through her test (bad Lauren! :) to see a good number of 9s on it *g*

Anyways so that was a good random horse-show day. Had fun socializing, did some shopping, and watched the friend I went to see ride a kick-ass test. Doesn't get much better than that.

So on the way home stopped to ride my pony. N while I wasn't sore at all after yesterday's lesson when I woke up this morning, about two minutes into trying to ride I could feel all sorts of new muscles screaming. hahaha but my horse went beautifully! And we finished just before the rain hit.

And just to round things out she did get her mane pulled and the tack did get cleaned. So while the *whole* list didn't get done, parts of it did *g*

My mother always told me there'd be days like this; she just didn't tell me there'd be so many!

From Here There Be Dragons Blog

So some of you might be aware that Sienna and I have been having a bit of a rough week. *sigh* I get that she has just decided she's a teenager, and this is all part of the fun and games, but really???? She's SIX now. We should be about 2 years past this behaviour. Of course we should be about 2 years past her growing too and she's still doing that. Ah well.

Last Sat I jumped her around and she was absolutely incredible. One of the best jump rides I've ever had on her. Perfect little hunter pony. Ratable, listening. Hit every spot bang on, gave me every lead I asked for, lengthen/shorten/turn all no problem. Honest and confident. Just wonderful. One of those rides that makes you really glad you threw the schedule out the window and skipped dressage for one day *g*

So there's a line about "it doesn't matter how good a trainer you were yesterday, your horse wants to know how good you are today" -- that was our next ride. It got its own post. Something about Why do I ride TBs? Can't remember the last ride I had like that on her. Last time she lost her brain that badly was @ Grandview this spring, but this was different in that this time it wasn't total sensory overload it was just one specific thing that the tiny TB brain couldn't handle. Conveniently it happened when I was feeling entirely patient and I basically kept repeating the question till she figured it out.

So of course every day since we've been over the tarp. She's a long way from confident about it yet, but she's getting much better at it. Still wouldn't want to see one in competition though! hahaha not that I'm exactly concerned about that, but anything similar really. So the next day I decide to hop her over some baby stuff. Yeah that was bad. Very bad. It's as though our wonderful tarp school convinced her that A, everything is scary. And B, jumps are optional. Training rule #1: "Never teach your horse something you want them to forget." *sigh* I spent a very long time and eventually got her quietly trotting over a few fences and left it at that. Now you have to keep in mind, this is the *same* course she was jumping like a pro on Sat. Just lower :) But no, evidently in her world that's entirely irrelevant.

Next day... Theoretically a schooling jumper show. Yeah no, I know better than that. Not worth screwing her up entirely to go play when things are not going well at home. Instead normal ride. W/u includes tarp. She thinks about it a whole lot but no serious meltdown. The advantage to the whole tarp w/u thing is it *really* brings her back up. Made the following dressage ride pretty seriously impressive. hahaha so yeah, was actually a good ride. She was very strong and a little high and it took a long time to get to the "relaxation" phase of things but when we got there things were quite good. Of course hacking back to the barn we had to shy at everything and end up a bouncing ball of tension. Which resulted in us practicing walking around quietly (much to the amusement of those grazing... "Ummmm didn't you just leave?" "Yeah, we need to practice walking." *sigh*) I was tempted to walk her through the drivethrough, but managed to restrain myself *g* Mostly cause losing it on pavement would be very very bad for my pony :( Eventually though she walked quietly and halted properly and I could dismount.

I did end up going to the show -- entirely to socialize. Got talked into being a slightly useless groom (useless cause I kept wandering and talking to people :) but for people who don't actually need a groom so it's all good. Saw a friend and her superstar pony that I don't get to see nearly often enough. Chatted with a few people I haven't seen in years -- also entertaining. Generally not a bad evening. Of course anywhere there's horses and free wine is bound to be entertaining.

So then we get to today. Lesson time. I got on w/ enough time to get our tarp-school in before my coach got there. Not *quite* enough time to get her relaxed (he's *always* early!) but close enough. And he asked me how she's going. And I told him. And apologized *g* Figured we should just get that out of the way. So he watches for a minute and comments on her great trot. Well yeah, the plus side of all this is awesome dressage. hahaha So for the dq portion of the lesson we worked entirely on me. And I'm not quite sure how he did it, but he made me tall! hahaha like I seriously felt I was on a horse a hh taller. Was really quite impressive. It was one of those "take all the pieces apart and put them back together differently" type lessons. Where for a little while I felt completely, entirely incompetent (which was definitely not aided by the fact that my incompetency was making me giggle. Ego aside, after the amount of experience I've had feeling like a beginner again is really really funny. Like riding the rolly-polly paint pony western *g* Or vaulting in university -- a sport that should never be attempted after the age of 12!), but by the end the difference was... Wow. Will be interesting to see if I'm sore tomorrow. I noticed it in the lesson, but was fine after... We shall see. Anyways, the end result of fixing the rider was our impressive eventing dressage became real dressage. Like the kind of dressage Zelli used to do all by herself :) Well maybe not *that* good. But far closer than I ever imagined Sienna could get.

Only down side? Somewhere in the midst of the beginnerness I happened to mention that a lunge lesson would be potentially useful... That might've been a mistake. We'll find out next week *g* Superpony's never been lunged w/ a rider before. I've no problem galloping her at a 3' stone wall.... But going in a 20m circle w/ a line attached to us? Well that's scary! And I, well I have to admit I love lunge lessons. Of course I also love gymnastics. So yeah, basically I'm insane. You're not new here. This is not news. But, that being said, I haven't had one since I was riding with L... N that was in 2002. hmmmmmm

So then we start to jump. "So what do you want to do?" (Wait, I get a choice? ummm I *never* get to choose!) "Something easy." He just looks at me, looks pointedly at the course I designed, and rolls his eyes. "Something easy?" he asks. "Trot fences." I decide. Knowing fully well that cantering and jumping at the same time is a bad combination for Sienna's little brain at the moment. So he watched us trot around and saw some of what I've been seeing from her. I avoided the tarp entirely (having already told him about that game, and already done it that am, he didn't push it), but trotted over everything else. Including the bench (which got an "I really like that jump" from him. hahaha yeah eventers!). Which she trotted over in absolutely perfect form. Her anxiety lowered as we went around. Never got to confident, but got back to reasonably calm and willing, so that's a start for today. We left it at absolutely nothing challenging or interesting, but at least accomplishing point A to point B in reasonable form.

As for the show next week? It may well become a dressage show for us. But we'll see. It's all about the positive experience right? *sigh* The trainer side of me agrees with that entirely. The competitive side of me would like to get back to the winning. Like all three phases in one day. hahaha One day. Hopefully not TOOOOOO long from now.

My mother always said there'd be days like this; she just never told me there'd be so many!

So some of you might be aware that Sienna and I have been having a bit of a rough week. *sigh* I get that she has just decided she's a teenager, and this is all part of the fun and games, but really???? She's SIX now. We should be about 2 years past this behaviour. Of course we should be about 2 years past her growing too and she's still doing that. Ah well.

Last Sat I jumped her around and she was absolutely incredible. One of the best jump rides I've ever had on her. Perfect little hunter pony. Ratable, listening. Hit every spot bang on, gave me every lead I asked for, lengthen/shorten/turn all no problem. Honest and confident. Just wonderful. One of those rides that makes you really glad you threw the schedule out the window and skipped dressage for one day *g*

So there's a line about "it doesn't matter how good a trainer you were yesterday, your horse wants to know how good you are today" -- that was our next ride. It got its own post. Something about Why do I ride TBs? Can't remember the last ride I had like that on her. Last time she lost her brain that badly was @ Grandview this spring, but this was different in that this time it wasn't total sensory overload it was just one specific thing that the tiny TB brain couldn't handle. Conveniently it happened when I was feeling entirely patient and I basically kept repeating the question till she figured it out.

So of course every day since we've been over the tarp. She's a long way from confident about it yet, but she's getting much better at it. Still wouldn't want to see one in competition though! hahaha not that I'm exactly concerned about that, but anything similar really. So the next day I decide to hop her over some baby stuff. Yeah that was bad. Very bad. It's as though our wonderful tarp school convinced her that A, everything is scary. And B, jumps are optional. Training rule #1: "Never teach your horse something you want them to forget." *sigh* I spent a very long time and eventually got her quietly trotting over a few fences and left it at that. Now you have to keep in mind, this is the *same* course she was jumping like a pro on Sat. Just lower :) But no, evidently in her world that's entirely irrelevant.

Next day... Theoretically a schooling jumper show. Yeah no, I know better than that. Not worth screwing her up entirely to go play when things are not going well at home. Instead normal ride. W/u includes tarp. She thinks about it a whole lot but no serious meltdown. The advantage to the whole tarp w/u thing is it *really* brings her back up. Made the following dressage ride pretty seriously impressive. hahaha so yeah, was actually a good ride. She was very strong and a little high and it took a long time to get to the "relaxation" phase of things but when we got there things were quite good. Of course hacking back to the barn we had to shy at everything and end up a bouncing ball of tension. Which resulted in us practicing walking around quietly (much to the amusement of those grazing... "Ummmm didn't you just leave?" "Yeah, we need to practice walking." *sigh*) I was tempted to walk her through the drivethrough, but managed to restrain myself *g* Mostly cause losing it on pavement would be very very bad for my pony :( Eventually though she walked quietly and halted properly and I could dismount.

I did end up going to the show -- entirely to socialize. Got talked into being a slightly useless groom (useless cause I kept wandering and talking to people :) but for people who don't actually need a groom so it's all good. Saw a friend and her superstar pony that I don't get to see nearly often enough. Chatted with a few people I haven't seen in years -- also entertaining. Generally not a bad evening. Of course anywhere there's horses and free wine is bound to be entertaining.

So then we get to today. Lesson time. I got on w/ enough time to get our tarp-school in before my coach got there. Not *quite* enough time to get her relaxed (he's *always* early!) but close enough. And he asked me how she's going. And I told him. And apologized *g* Figured we should just get that out of the way. So he watches for a minute and comments on her great trot. Well yeah, the plus side of all this is awesome dressage. hahaha So for the dq portion of the lesson we worked entirely on me. And I'm not quite sure how he did it, but he made me tall! hahaha like I seriously felt I was on a horse a hh taller. Was really quite impressive. It was one of those "take all the pieces apart and put them back together differently" type lessons. Where for a little while I felt completely, entirely incompetent (which was definitely not aided by the fact that my incompetency was making me giggle. Ego aside, after the amount of experience I've had feeling like a beginner again is really really funny. Like riding the rolly-polly paint pony western *g* Or vaulting in university -- a sport that should never be attempted after the age of 12!), but by the end the difference was... Wow. Will be interesting to see if I'm sore tomorrow. I noticed it in the lesson, but was fine after... We shall see. Anyways, the end result of fixing the rider was our impressive eventing dressage became real dressage. Like the kind of dressage Zelli used to do all by herself :) Well maybe not *that* good. But far closer than I ever imagined Sienna could get.

Only down side? Somewhere in the midst of the beginnerness I happened to mention that a lunge lesson would be potentially useful... That might've been a mistake. We'll find out next week *g* Superpony's never been lunged w/ a rider before. I've no problem galloping her at a 3' stone wall.... But going in a 20m circle w/ a line attached to us? Well that's scary! And I, well I have to admit I love lunge lessons. Of course I also love gymnastics. So yeah, basically I'm insane. You're not new here. This is not news. But, that being said, I haven't had one since I was riding with L... N that was in 2002. hmmmmmm

So then we start to jump. "So what do you want to do?" (Wait, I get a choice? ummm I *never* get to choose!) "Something easy." He just looks at me, looks pointedly at the course I designed, and rolls his eyes. "Something easy?" he asks. "Trot fences." I decide. Knowing fully well that cantering and jumping at the same time is a bad combination for Sienna's little brain at the moment. So he watched us trot around and saw some of what I've been seeing from her. I avoided the tarp entirely (having already told him about that game, and already done it that am, he didn't push it), but trotted over everything else. Including the bench (which got an "I really like that jump" from him. hahaha yeah eventers!). Which she trotted over in absolutely perfect form. Her anxiety lowered as we went around. Never got to confident, but got back to reasonably calm and willing, so that's a start for today. We left it at absolutely nothing challenging or interesting, but at least accomplishing point A to point B in reasonable form.

As for the show next week? It may well become a dressage show for us. But we'll see. It's all about the positive experience right? *sigh* The trainer side of me agrees with that entirely. The competitive side of me would like to get back to the winning. Like all three phases in one day. hahaha One day. Hopefully not TOOOOOO long from now.

Ponies: the only socially acceptable form of child abuse.

One of the guys at work creates ap games for the iphone -- had a lot of fun playing one (not yet released) that he's working on now. Might have to go get me an iphone. Yeah, or maybe not >;-P

So I amused myself this morning... I have this new alarm clock. That I'm not a huge fan of, but it's mostly doing its job (although Alarm 2 seems to be optional? Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't?!?!) Anyways I need it to be dark to sleep. My old alarm clock had a wide, flat face -- so I just used to put it face down. Problem solved. This one is a more normal design. So I started by putting a book in front of it, but that just wasn't working because the surface is curved and short. So looking around for something that would work. Found a little stuffed bear (which significantly outlasted the ex who gave it to me! :) Little stuffed bear hugs the clock perfectly and is small enough to fit on the little space there is. Perfect. And for a couple days, the alarm would go off, I'd knock the bear off the shelf and find the snooze button. Worked well enough. But today I discovered that instead of knocking the bear off the shelf, I just hit him on the head. The head is in exactly the right place to hit the snooze button. hahaha so gets rid of anger at alarm clock for waking me up, hand is cushioned by nice soft bear (making it that much easier to fall back asleep -- hmmmm potential flaw there?), I don't have to search for the bear from wherever it got thrown, and like 10 years after the fact, ex becomes useful *g*. All round solution really. Yeah well, we know I'm easily amused *g*

I was reading, yet again, about the whole "8 glasses of water a day" thing, and I gotta admit -- unless it's like 30 deg out and I'm working outside, this is nearly impossible for me... I have my glass of OJ in the am. A coke somewhere mid-aft. And usually a bottle of water while I'm teaching (sometimes two :). So total liquid consumed doesn't equal the amount for just water. And I'm not willing to give up my oj or my coke for more water! hahaha Although I suppose it depends on the size of a glass. A very small glass 2 bottles *could* equal 8 glasses (comeon stretch your imagination :) So to start with I'm going to go for two-three bottles a day (instead of one-two). We'll see what that does.

A few of my friends posted this on FB today and I thought I'd share... Under the evil pony category: Ed!



If you browse you-tube a bit there are other vids of this kid having fun a few years later on a much nicer pony :) Kid'll be an awesome rider if he sticks to it.

And just cause it amused me, a random Simon's Cat vid -- I love the fascination with the little scrap of paper he tears off. Definitely a Sherlock move *g*

Tell me something... Why do I ride TBs?

From Graduate Riding School Blog

---

Remember the superpony I told you about a post or two ago? The one who was jumping around over scary things like the brave eventer she might one-day become? Yeah I'd like to know where she went and ask her to come home *sigh*. I had a chestnut OTTB mare to ride yesterday. In a big way. To be fair, she had two days off and it feels significantly cooler out (my car tells me it's 29, but it feels cold. No humidity @ all so I'm guessing that's the difference. I can't handle summer ending yet!).

Yeah so I should've known when she didn't come to me in the field. She didn't run away from me either, just basically ignored my presence entirely (usually I call her from the gate and meet her half way). Grooming and tacking up she was witchier than usual, but not tragically so. PMSing maybe? Take her out to the sand ring and get on -- she's her usual quiet self. And I *might've* let her wander away while I was getting organized. Technically a bad habit I realize, but one born of always riding in busy locations where there's usually a lineup for the box. Get on and get out of the way. So we're still in wandering/getting organized mode a few seconds later when suddenly we're standing on our hind legs for a few seconds and then promptly galloping the other direction. Ummmm excuse me?!?!?! Fortunately I have both reasonable balance and the ability to react quickly when necessary so got organized *really* quickly and stopped the pony. Ok so what was that all about? Walk her back that direction on purpose this time to find out. Sure enough, stop/snort/up/backwards. Ummmm no. Backwards is not in the contract. Counteracted w/ our friend the dressage whip which promptly led back to up. *sigh*

There's a theory about a horse has 6 ways to go: left, right, forward, backward, up or down. And when riding you're supposed to close all the doors except the one you want. But I have yet to figure out exactly how to close the "up" door. *sigh* I can hold her straight, and stop her from going backwards, but to avoid forwards when she's this concerned, she'll pick up. And it's not even a malicious thing -- she only does it when she's genuinely concerned about something. But it's still not a good thing.

So we finally compromise with stand still (all four feet on the ground) and snort. She's about a hand taller than usual and her whole body is quivering. The very scary thing she's concerned about? Yeah it's the blue tarp. The blue tarp that she's seen many, many, many times before. But it had been rolled up (it's usually the "liverpool" under one of the jumps) and put off to the side. At about this point one of the other people arrives "what's her problem?" "Chestnut ottb mare." Right. hahaha So I get her to go past it in start-stop-start-stop-shy-bolt fashion. Do that a couple times till we can maintain a straight line and something that resembles a trot.

Remember by this point we still have not done so much as a warm-up circle.

So I ask the person on the ground if she could possibly take the tarp out of the bushes, fold it very small, and put it between two standards so we can school with it. No rail on top - if it's "just a jump" it defeats the purpose since apparently tarps are only scary when they're by themselves. So there's enough space between tarp and standard that, were she straight, she could walk easily between the tarp and the standard. So this is where we'll start. Uh huh. Yeah that's clearly setting the bar WAY too high. About 10 ft out. Stop snort try to rear and spin bounce in place a bit. Seriously horse? Was actually a reasonably entertaining drama given what was involved. So I get her *almost* to it and she's stretched out her nose as FAR as she possibly could to investigate without getting too close... All good till she snorts on it. It's a tarp. Tarps move when a strong breeze hits them. AND they make noise when they move. And I was laughing too hard at Sienna's reaction to stop her. hahaha. So we had to circle a couple times and get the flight response under control and then come back to it. Repeat this three or four times w/ regaining control after a stride or two instead of the mad gallop and then eventually keeping her straight so we snort and freeze but don't disappear. Ok, progress.

Proceed with the "walk by" plan. She's *really* hesitant but at least gets up to it (now it's folded tiny -- maybe 1' across if you stretch your imagination. To put in perspective -- BOs 5yo child would have no problem stepping over this). So given that it's tiny, her head is already past it when the feet get there. Remember at this point I'm only asking her to go beside - not over... But she's really unsure, so she's taking these tiny baby steps and throwing dirt all around. Anybody see the problem with this? Yup, as soon as she got close enough to *almost* go bravely by, she kicked dirt on the tarp. Which made noise. And we were gone again. And it made MORE noise as we spun to run away. Which made us leave faster. hahaha such a goof.

And we try again. This time when the scary noise hits the tarp I take spinning out of the equation -- so she has up or forward as her options. Since she really doesn't want to stay with the tarp, forward it is. Fast! hahaha. But technically we were past the tarp.

Done? No, of course not.

Ok so turn around to go over it the other way. Have you ever worked with a horse before? Scary object in the other direction is a NEW scary object. Repeat the above few paragraphs. On the plus side, it was nice to see she can now spin and bolt evenly in either direction (when I got her she used to only spin left - no strength to the right). She picked it up a little faster this way. Either because she'd done it once already or because she prefers jumping that direction in that ring.

Turn around and try again. Not so much hesitation this time. Still a bit of a leap and run but getting easier. Repeat this a few times till it feels less like I'm sitting on an explosion waiting to happen.

Alright so now we've got the walking by, how about over? We start the easy way but pointing her straight at it this time. Stop, snort... comeon pony... FLYING leap and gallop away. hahaha ok, well technically over it :) Back and forth a whole bunch of times till she's trotting over it and landing in a controlled canter (never got relaxed enough to treat it as a trot pole, but at least somewhat calm and straight.

Now I *could* have left it there... But really, it shouldn't've taken me 40 minutes to get her to trot over that. May as well take the desensitizing all the way while we're there. Asked somebody on the ground to please put it back to its normal size (about 4' wide). I thought even in her spinny mode she'd look at it and just way over jump it.

Yeah no. Not so much. Remember waaaaayyyyy back at the beginning when we stopped like 10' out. Yeah back to that. Only now it's even scarier because this way it's lighter, which makes it more susceptible to the wind. Which means it randomly MOVES. Yikes! But I started the game, had to finish it. Right back to stop, snort, inspect, walk beside it. Then we did walk part way beside it and flying leap over the corner. Land flying (like to the point that when I get her back to a trot the walk will not happen. Ears up around my eyes. Less good. Get her chilled out again (took a while). Do some walk trot transitions. Reinstall brain. Try again.

Going the one way, that was the best I ever got *sigh*. Going the other way I got her trotting it and landing excited but ridable. Had to leave it on that because I had to teach (usually I have time to ride, cool out, untack, and chill for a bit before that lesson gets there. This ride I hadn't even gotten to the w/u yet!). So I got one good trot over it reasonably and left her on that. Went over to the other side of the ring to do some trot loops and take advantage of her back being up nice and high and the power behind the trot for a bit n then let her cool out (despite the fact that we never technically warmed-up!).

Now since I didn't have time to put her away, she had to teach with me. Hanging out in the middle is a good lesson in patience so I generally don't mind this, but today was even better because every time student stopped for a break or something, we worked on the tarp. By the end she was walking over it BOTH ways quietly (actually even stepping ON it - albeit cautiously). So I was quite happy that we got there. But man it took forever to get there. So guess what we'll be doing for the rest of the week?

When I say she's a little slow sometimes -- these are the days I'm talking about. It shouldn't take more than an hour school to convince her to go over a tarp. And once she's done it, it should get *easier* each time. Or so that's been my experience in the past. Not so much with this one *sigh*. Ah well -- ditch training right? Essentially the same idea.

So why do I ride a TBs? Because they're cheap! hahaha nah - most days they're entertaining, but some days I think life'd be easier if I'd gone and gotten something a little more sturdy with a little less edge. Of course then I'd be bored :)