Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Riding Diary: 46

Time: 2 hr

Ride: You know those rides that you just... don't want to talk about? I had one of those rides on Monday. I really don't even want to post about it, but i've never not posted about my rides... sigh. It was potentially the worst lesson I have ever had on Jingle.

haha, I think I have mentally blocked on the scene-by-scene details, as i'm having a hard time recollecting some of it. We started off a bit rough and rocky, and for awhile my trainer has been commenting that perhaps we should try a bit again. I am, at this point, pretty anti-bit when it comes to my horse. It's tough, because his bit-issues are all behavioural/mental, and for two years he was ridden exlusively in a bit, and although it wasn't hard work - he went well. So I waver back and forth on whether or not to include a bit in his training schedule every once and awhile. However, what happens when we add a bit into the combination is a complete and utter stress-ball underneath of me. He becomes worried, anxious, and worst of all - the epitome of pissy, he's almost vindictive (I know i'm placing human emotions on a horse, bad me, but that's honestly the best way to describe how he acts).
So, my trainer was saying let's try a bit again, and I was gently saying "uhm, I don't really know, I'm not super comfor..." and then my horse started to completely and utterly stop moving. Of course today was the day I figured he'd be fine if I rode in my short loop reins. Generally, if I'm riding in split reins I can give him a tiny flick of the rein towards the hip and he's back to normal, I don't even really have to touch him. My loop reins don't provide that luxury. I asked for a crop. One would think that a small crop would be the same as a tiny brush of a rein... nope... Jingle loosssessss it when a crop is introduced. Monday was no different, except for the fact that the second I touched his hip with the crop (please note - I don't even smack him, I literally just move the crop from infront of my knee to my hip so he can see it) he went ballistic. I had a run away on my hands. Not good. My trainer was headed for the door to grab a bridle before I even had a chance to think.

I was stressed. My horse was stressed. & now we were introducing something that makes us fall apart. Well, long story short, it kind of helped, but in the end, i'm still on the "no-bit-for-my-psycho-horse" side. I understand where my trainer is coming from; my horse was acting pretty dangerous, not just naughty, and she can't have me running down children in the arena. However, she's not the one on his back, I am, and I can feel every bit of fried muscle running through him. She also kind of got after me for letting him get away with things, and I was a little hurt. I'm not letting him get away with things - he's a fricken disastor mess, and I'm trying my absolute hardest to make sure we don't kill anyone. The thing is, i've ridden horses that i've had to discipline, they shake their heads, you bump them with your legs, they figure out the pressure, they quit. With Jingle, everything is tied into this big emotional wrecking ball, and so I'll bump him with my legs, he will absolute melt into a puddle, and i'll lose him for the rest of the ride. It's frusterating to say the least.

Anyways, by the time my lesson was over, my horse was jogging really nicely, but it was all fake, and it was all done with aids, and I was pissed at him, and at myself.

For Next Time:
So, what am I going to do about it?

Well, I have a game plan.

First - I need to talk to my trainer about taking a step back. It's just not working. We have to re-evaluate, and figure out a different path that works better for my emotionally-damaged horse.

Second - no bits. I'm done. I don't want to use something that already causes my horse anxiety just to punish him with it.

Third - "Intensive". I have not been riding enough, I've been riding twice a week, maybe. Generally, on my other ride of the week, I fool around, or bring friends out. This is because all my friends have been home for reading week, etc. I'm not getting anything done. I'm not working on anything. So, what happens is my horse gets 6 days off to f-around, even when I do ride, and then Mondays come and I ask him to do a shit-ton. No wonder he wants to murder me. So, this week I'm trying a week-long intensive. I'm going to ride everyday except today (Wednesday), that's 6 days straight, we're going to work on transitions and stops, we're not going to canter a lot, when we do, it'll be our right lead - the one he's more uncomfortable and unbalanced on, and we're going to Wish us luck. :)

& Finally, things to look forward too... I cannot wait until school is done, so I can ride without feeling this guilt cloud of papers and exams strangling me. However, March is going to be a good (although, very expensive, and very busy) month - we have a better fitting saddle, we're figuring out tack, I have a Chiro/Massage coming March 7, Jingle will have his feet and teeth done and finally, super exciting news - we'll be going to our first sorting!!! - we're gonna get it together, it's just going to take a lot of time and patience, and a total re-working of, "the plan."

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Lil' Life Update

I've been pretty scattered lately. I feel like I'm rushing around, so busy all the time, and then all of a sudden I stop and look around, and realize I haven't accomplished much. Gotta step my game up. However, this last week was reading week, and I did get to spend some time with good friends :)

I visited some great friends that are living in Canada, and originally from England. I met them at a ranch I worked at in Nanton, and they are now working at Warner's in Banff, a trail and outfitting place. Banff is pretty spectacular, and riding in those mountains?! Well... that's something I want to check off the list this year!

None of their string was in, but all their drafts were because they still do sleigh rides throughout the winter... I am such a sucker for a draft horse.

This big guy was named Crocket, I really liked him.

Then I met Boone! It was love at first sight. Look at his forelock! I know Jingle wants a long-haired, bigger brother to hang out with. Oh man, did I love this big, slow drafty. He was just so adorable.

My friends think both Boone and Crocket are partially Ardennes, a breed I had never heard of before, so ya learn something new everyday. Catching up with old friends was just what I needed to put a big smile on my face. I have to remember to spend more time with those that I love, but that aren't always as close as I wish.

Then, my friend, Jess, (Hi Jess - I know you'll be reading this!), and her 5 month old babyyy boy stopped by the barn. Of course, my baby (ponyboy) had to meet her baby! Both weren't too sure of eachother...

Jingle: "Mahm, what iz this thing?!"
Baby B: "Mom?! What IS that thing?"

Sidenote - my mother saw this photo and exclaimed, "Hey, he actually doesn't have crazy eyes for once, maybe he likes babies!", thank you for your insight Wanda.

From there I showed my friends a new way I've been stretching out my sore back lately...

My horse thinks i'm a nut job. He's probably right.

Is anyone else experiencing shedding yet? Jingle is in major-shed mode, I can't wait until that winter coat just starts dumping off. Okay... I can wait... frick I hate horse hair in my nose. But, better to get it over with - QUICK.

That's a clump of neck-hair my friends!

Finally, to sum it up.. a couple of pictures :)

One of my absolute favourite APHA ads,
aside from having a draft brother, Jingle would also like a "little" paint brother - I have baby horse fever, it's just that time of the year! :)
(Jingle would like me to inform you all that I am lying, and, to repeat - a nut job)

Words to live by.

Have a great start to the week!

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Riding Diary: 45

Time: 1.5 hr

Ride: My horse, and his many facets of personality. I've said it before, and I'll say it again - how does one deal with a pissy horse... all.the.time? It's draining. I think ponyboy and I are both drained by dealing with eachother, and that's just no fun. I can't wait for the ice to thaw so I can start venturing outside of the indoor arena, I think we both need some fresh air to blow out all the cobwebs from our brains.

Anyways, the ride started out good, we had a beautiful, slow, workable lope to begin with, and then the zoom-ey side of my horse flung himself about for awhile. Jingle has a rub mark from one of his side-pull's on his nose (even though it's wrapped in vet wrap), I had changed up his sidepull to a softer rope one (Crystal! The one you so wonderfully gave me - I keep meaning to take a photo of him in it! haha), but it was still agitating the rub mark on his nose. So, halfway through the ride, I jumped off and wrapped that sucker in vet wrap too, but, the damage was done, and my poor pony with his slightly ouchy nose wasn't having any of it. (I know I shouldn't judge him, I certainly dont like running with a blister on my heel, but the rub mark is probably the size of pinky finger nail... and he's using it as an excuse to basically fling him self upside down and wail "NO MOM, PLEASE GOD NO")
So, vet wrap in hand, we went back to work. Our stops were lackluster, as they generally are, and my trainer was basically confused. She mentioned that he always looks like he's going to give me a nice big stop, he tucks end her hindend, he gets ready, and then at the last moment he just leaks through it, and attempts to run off. She tried to get me to think about giving him a release before pulling him down into a stop - which, obviously I should be doing, but one does need a reminder sometimes when your horse really doesn't love the whole concept of "stop, and stand here quietly". So, we tried that, bigger release before pulling him down if he doesn't listen, and then moved in to a very, very long time of transition work.

Basically, we just worked on a small circle and every 5-10 strides I'd throw a bit of slack, ask for a big "WOAH", wait a step, and then pull him down into a stop from a slow jog. It seemed to kinda, sorta work... our stop is definitely something to work on. It's frusterating because on the ground during leading exercises he knows how to stop - he'll stop the second I say "woah", and then all of a sudden i'm on his back, and he sprouts his dragon-wings and blows fire in my direction everytime I ask for a stop... even if i'm in a paper bag dress, begging for forgiveness, and asking ever so kindly.

My horse hates me.

Afterwards I gave him his standard Monday grooming sesh (one day I WILL blog about the insanity that is my grooming routine with Jingle). His braids come out of his tail and mane, I brush both out with spray-in conditioner, he get's re-braided, and then I rub MTG into the base of his tail, the start of his mane, as well as underneath. I generally trim everything, just a smidge, every couple of weeks. Then, because I love my horse even though he hates me, I rubbed a ton of Arnica salve on his jaw, cheeks, and poll area, to reduce any inflamation and tension he may be feeling. I like the arnica salve I have because it's thicker than my alternative (Apple Cidar Vinegar), so it's easier to use, and apply with your hands, but it is a mess. It's too thick, and so it globs on to his face, and of course he is shedding, so half of his facial hair come off onto my hands and clothing... sigh. He seemed to like his mini massage though. Then we did a couple stretches with the aided help of cookies, I applied some vetricyn to his nose rub, in an effort to get it to scab over quicker, and he was then allowed to mosey on over to his bed.

My horse likes me...

just not when I ride him.

For Next Time: Traaaaansitttiooooonsssss

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

What's on my mind tonight...

Deworming Schedules...

Whereas I should be very much buried in a mountain of studying related to the Civil War and the History of Anthropology...

More to come.. ;)

Riding Diary: 44

My Caption for this photo on fb was...
"This is a really cute photo of Jingle peeking out from under Jager's neck... Don't be decieved, my horse was King Dickhead tonight. #lifewithhorses"
Time: 2 hrs.

Ride: Welll......

Jingle was in a mood.

I knew before I even stepped on that it wasn't going to be a good ride.

Factor in a brand new saddle (post to come!), and brand new cowboy boots (apparently I am a bazillionaire who can afford these things... naaat), and the uncomfortable factor that was caused by a new saddle (where'd my rough out seat go :( ?), and boots that weren't fitting juuuuuuuuust right, and a horse intent on making me work for my summer... Jingle and I were unhappy campers.

I barely remember the lesson honestly, I just remember Jingle being a helldemon - consistent stalling where he wouldn't move an inch, attempting to throw me into walls, not listening to be at all, spooking at random shit he never spooks at, half-bolting when someone tried to hand me my vest... casual day.

What were attempting to work on was transitions, half a lap at a lope, half a lap at a walk, trying to get Jingle to stop associating lope with "fast as I can until mahm starts interfering"... it went well, for two minutes, and then ponyboy lost his brain somewhere in the arean dirt.

Finally, I was so annoyed and exasberated that my trainer told me to get off and she lunged him and gave him a bit of a "HEY! HELLO! LISTEN TO ME!" lesson. The whole time he whirled around like a fricken tornado and I feared that my new, very expensive, saddle was going to end up my new, very expensive, and broken, saddle, or perhaps that my trainer was going to get jumped on top of by my very crazy horse. His sass was in fine form - he'd finally listen to her, and then, just as he was about to do something good he'd give that big flick of a tail like... I hate you, demon lady.

Once my trainer lunged him and reminded him that he can't be an orangutan, he got a bit better. I got back on, feet and mind both hurting tremendously, and we jogged and walked and jogged and walked some more until I had some semblance of my normal horse back, and then we quit on a decent note.
The thing with my horse is... when he is in a mood, aint nobody slowin' him down. I was doomed from the beginning, and he wanted me to know it. Even after our crazy two hour ride, both of us soaked and chilled by sweat, I was attempting to give him a solid groom (because i'm a good mother), and braid up his mane (because I love and attend to his every need), and he was still acting like a complete twerp. My trainer went to cut his forelock and he almost got stabbed in the eye... repeatedly... due to his head tossing and general lunatic-ness. My mind was so fizzled I just wanted to curl up and sleep right there.

Between midterms, work, buying this new saddle and a hell-demon horse.... I am a zombie.
Next week (Reading week) couldn't come sooner.

For Next Time: Transitions, and bringing Jingle's mind back to the task at hand.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Riding Diary: 43

Time: 1 hr

Ride: Monday I was tired, I honestly almost fell asleep on the way to the barn - that's an issue. haha. I was in one of those moods where I was praying to the horse god's of above that Jingle wouldn't be in one of his "MAHM, I HATE YOU SO MUCH RIGHT NOW" moods.

Jingle was good at the warmup - maybe my horse is a hunter under saddle horse? Just sayin'. Anyways, from there we trotted the barrel pattern, as we went in to the first barrel Jingle balked at something.. apparently he was as tired as I was and didn't see the barrel we were turning ? who knows... and up into the air he went. I was pretty surprised, enough that I lost a stirrup haha. From there I just asked him to be polite in a small circle and we attempted again - he was fine, what a weirdo. My trainer had originally had me really taking my barrel hand up and over the barrel through the turns, however, I've noticed this often results in Jingle deeking his head more down and around than actually following his nose through a turn, and keeping that turn through the hind-end. So, instead, I kept my hands up by closer to his neck, and we had some really wicked turns. Good boy.

From there the bulk of our lesson was jogging and loping a set of three ground poles on a circle. Our jog was decent, I think all of our transition work is helping, Jingle doesn't automatically think "we're jogging a small circle so that must mean I get to lope right?!" however he still was a little frantic and pushy at the jog. At the lope he tried his old tricks - deak to the right, square off in the turns, run me into the wall - but I was there to block his advances. We're like a well oiled machine - him and I.

Once we had our jog and lope all sorted out, we worked on our stop. My trainer got me to "bait" Jingle, meaning if we were loping the circle, she would have me give him a little more rein and see if he wanted to speed up, if he was pushy and tried to zoom off, I would shut him down. This worked really well and after a couple times he was being a lot more consistent through the circle.

Finally, she had me asking for a stop on a curve, generally I stop Jingle on the rail, so it was a good exercise to just get him thinking about stopping, backing up, waiting, forward when I ask him, etc. It was funny though, "waiting" wasn't his strong suite, and so when I stopped him from a lope right infront of the ground poles, he would pitfully paw at the poles. When I asked him to stop he would sheepishly lower his head and then sneakily attempt to paw again. He is such a goof.

For Next Time: Transition work - lots of it!

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Never Stare a Guard Goat in the Eye: Part 2.

I decided I would try one more place that was right across from where I picked them up - it's called "The Gardens". "The Gardens" is right on the highway, I drive past it weekly, there's a large lavishly painted sign proclaiming its name, in the spring I've watched with amusement as people just seemingly mill about, once I witnessed a drum circle as I went flying by on my way to the barn. What "The Gardens" actually is, is just a lady's house. I should mention it is also a hippie paradise; creations, sculptures, painting, strange random sheds, signs leading you to weird and wonderful sounding places litter the area. There was so many odd bridges and random buildings that I wasn't sure how to actually get to the house. I wish I would have taken photos, or could atleast remember the names of the buildings odd pathways attempted to suck me into, but it's safe to say I had wandered into the inner sanctum of a very different person than myself, very much in love with colour, and with windchimes, to say the least. I finally found my way out of the expansive "backyard" I suppose you could call it, (I followed figurines of fairies, magical frogs, and painted rocks), and made my way onto the large wrap around deck and knocked on the door of a brightly painted purple house.

Water was running instead the house, so I knocked again. I heard someone scream "I SAID COME IN!" I jumped a bit and slowly opened the wooden door. A woman peeked her head around the corner and seemed to surprise to see me - a total stranger, in her foyer. I smiled awkwardly and explained my story. She motioned for me to step inside, and a big old golden retriever ambled over to say hello, his name was Roy.

She told me she'd grabbed tons of dogs off the side of the road, and seemed genuinely kind and caring, she however - did not know the dogs. I told her about my encounter with the General Store - Kelly not seeming to car her dog was playing "Catch me if you Can" with semi-trucks on the highway, and the whole "Drop 'em and run" plan. I asked her, since she lived in the area, if that's what I should do, is that what one does with farm dogs? She replied that if it was her dog, she wouldn't want me too, and she wouldn't either. I smiled, she may live in a crazy hippie paradise house, but she was really nice. For the first time in two hours I felt comforted by someone about this little situation I had found myself in. Along with a bleeding heart, and a need to apparently dog, deer, and just generally animal snatch, comes a lot of guilt about outcomes, etc.

 We both agreed I should take them into Calgary, and into a vet clinic that will transfer them to the pound. Just as I was to leave she added, "You know what you could try - do you know the place up the highway that literally looks like they run a business on breeding animals in confined spaces?" I nodded, ridiculously I knew exactly what she was talking about. Similiar to "The Gardens", it was a ranch right on the highway that I had driven by thousands of times. There was a big barn, a round-pen, an outdoor arena, a ton of trailers, and a roping dummy always out front. There was also what looked to be way too many horses on a small piece of land. I had always wondered who those people were, and what exactly the place was. Most were blanketed, some were turned out in a nice big pasture, other were cramped in paddocks - it was a strange hodge-podge place.

"Go see if they know these dogs - I've picked up their dogs a couple times and dropped them back off for them."

As I went to leave she told me Roy would escort me out, and invited me back in the summer for a drum circle - I told her i'd be sure to stop by. Sure enough, that old golden retriever literally "escorted" me out, he walked me all the way to the front of the driveway, ever the gentleman - right beside me, never behind or infront. He then stood there as I walked to my truck, watching me and wagging his tail as a sort of doggie "goodbye, come again soon", or perhaps, given his surroundings, "Bye Man - Peace and Love to your family on your mystical journey". Who knows.

Back in the truck I went - by this time Bubba had half-perched on my centre console, and Collie had sort of half thrown himself on my passenger seat chair - still, ever worried, I kept my hand rested on him the entire ride and his shaking subsided. Bubba's drooling on the other hand, did not.

We made our way to the last ranch on our stop, there was a large gate, and I decided it best to get out and walk up to the house. I first peaked my head into a massive barn, it probably had 30+ stalls... all empty. I imagine when it was first built it was amazing, it was painted mostly white with green trim, huge aisle, however clearly over time it had been a bit neglected, and let go. There was a horse pacing nervously in the roundpen, he was clearly in trouble. There was a puppy running amuck, and a couple cats sauntered by me. A truck and trailer were parked at the mouth of the barn, and another truck was pulled over to the side. Yet, no one was around.

I wandered farther up the driveway, heading towards the house when I heard something behind me - I turned around and almost jumped out of my boots. A goat, a fricken goat, was trotting towards me. I didn't know whether to stop, run, yell... the goat did not look impress. As soon as I stopped, he stopped, and stared at me with his bright yellow eyes. Shit. I thought. These bastards have a guard-goat. I decided my best bet would to be continue moving, every step I took - that darn goat did too.

This goat was a lot more menacing when chasing you - i promise

The house has a massive dog run - perhaps I had found Bubba and Collie's home?! However, it was one of those houses where you just can't figure out where the front door was. I didn't want to creep around the property too much longer so I knocked on a door that seemed to be my best guess. I heard movement inside, but no one came. I knocked again - loudly. At this point the Goat had made his way onto the concrete steps with me, and was coming closer and closer. I knocked again - no answer. At this point the goat was beside me on the top step, and he was attempting to inch me off of it. He had big curled horns, and I just really did not want to cuddle with this darn goat.

I had my mom on the phone and whispered sharply that the goat was currently on the step with me. "Stare at it, maybe it'll faint - like in that movie!" I rolled my eyes, and kind of looked at it sideways - it stared right back at me... this my friends, was no fainting goat.

So, I kind of edged my way around the thing, and made my way back up the driveway - the goat followed! I kid you not at one point the goat attempted to herd me towards his pen - surely he wanted to eat me.

Finally, the goat stopped, and I half jogged my butt back to my truck. I jumped back in, a little shaken by my guard-goat experience, and turned to see Bubba, propped up on my centre console, staring at me. Bubba had a really big head, like a really, really big head. The thought crossed my mind that perhaps I should go outside and hang out with the goat, because this dog could bite my head off - literally.

Hi there.

However, I had gotten myself and these two dogs in this mess, so I was going to get us out of it. My mom had been on and off the phone the entire time, she wasn't being much help, but she was clearly getting more and more agitated that her only child was wandering around random ranches, and was missing a) packing for a trip b) a scheduled manicure and pedicure (my life is tough, I know).

So, we headed to the vets. When I got there, I'm sure I looked quite the scene. A vet tech and I brought Bubba and Collie in, and I waved goodbye to my two friends. They had me sign out some basic paper-work stating that I brought them in, where I found them, then, the girls at the front desk basically told me to leave.

"Well, how do I find out about what happens to them?"
"They will be impounded for 10 days, if they aren't picked up by their owners by then, they will be put up for adoption and then transferred to the humane society."
"Well, is there anyway to notify me of this?"
"No. You can check the Pound website to see if they are listed as impounded or adoptable, but we cannot release information on them."
"So, I wont be able to find out if their owners came to get them."
We both stared at eachother.

"Well I want to know"The Vet Tech seemed bored, and slightly annoyed with me. She handed me a piece of paper and told me, "Say you'll adopt them, if they dont get picked up, you will be the first person the pound will call after 10 days."
"Adopt them? Well, I don't know if I want to adopt them!"
She stared at me. I sighed.

"Okay, so If I say "yes" I will adopt them, hypothetically, the pound can call me and I can say that I changed my mind and don't want to adopt them - just so I can find out their status, right?"She nodded, "Yep, I guess."I stared at her - why wasn't she assisting in my bleeding heart agenda here?!

I filled out the forms, and asked them to check if either of the dogs were chipped or tattoo'd, the Collie was. Bubba wasn't. Then, I left.

The pound never called, neither dogs went up on the "impounded dogs" site, and when I called the City to ask if they were there, he responded that if they weren't on the website, they had obviously been picked up by their owners. Clearly, the City is on top of it's game when it comes to social media.

So, all in all, I guess the story has a good ending. I'm glad their owners (or owner I suppose) came to get my two adventure-buddies. I hope that they both escaped, and the owner/owners were scared sick - unlike Kelly, my "friend" with the Jack Russell. I also hope I did the right thing by taking them to the pound, I know people have to pay to get their dogs out, and so I feel kind of bad about that. However, I can't help but think that if someone found Moose (my dog) and he was far from home and they were advised to just "drop him off 10 km away in a field", and they did - he would probably never be able to find his way home. I would be forever grateful to pay the measly impound fee if it meant getting my dog back.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Trail Ridin' in the Arena

Cash & I at the "top of the world"
Today, I had the hankerin' to go out on the trail.

Last night I had a decent ride on Jingle. I busted out the split reins, I always feel i'm more liberal with my release, and keeping off of his face with nice leather split reins. I worked on a lot of slow stuff, walking and circling, circling without my hands. I had my cutting lesson in my mind and kept my hands on his neck, and tried to only touch my reins if he was doing something I didn't want. It was hard for me, and he was mentally being a bit spazzy, but we're working it out.
At the end of the ride I could feel him still buzzing with energy, all the other horses had been loping in the arena and I knew he was thinking, "What, that's it? We're done?" My plan had been strictly slow stuff, but it was late, and the arena was near empty, so I decided to do something a little different. I asked for his left lead, the one he is most comfortable on, and just let him fly. I put my reins in one hand, unless he needed some direction, and kept them looooooong and around and around we went. I could tell he was happy, and I was pretty happy too.
My thought process was to just let him run, and only correct him when I absolutely needed too, however, I wasn't going to let him quit until he gave me something nice, slow and responsive.
It worked. He was wicked. The first couple laps were pretty fast, but I didn't feel out of control, the next couple laps were a little more calm, but still too fast, and then he kept trying to break down - nope, pick it back up ponyboy. Finally after circling and loping the entire rail, I got exactly what I wanted. A nice, soft lope. We quit.
I let a friend jump on him to cool him off and they just plodded along.
As my friend was walking him around I couldn't help but think about how much I truly love my horse - gushy stuff aside, I like how he travels - quick, sure footed, I like how he moves - really reaches under himself, has a nice low headset (if no one is even thinking about touching him with their legs/hands). We just gotta figure out how to become more of a willing duo together. It'll come.

Anyway, long ramble aside, during our big, nice lope, I couldn't help but think how nice it would be if we were out exploring a trail somewhere and came upon the flats, and just let it fly.
That is one thing I will truly, truly miss, especially once springtime comes around, where will I adventure?
It wont be so easy to roll out of bed in the morning and hop on a horse and just go anymore.

Figuring it out with my Shyboy.

Riding Diary: 42

Time: 1 hr

Ride: Why is it Monday was only a couple days ago, and yet seems years away? My brain is mush. Anyways, my lesson was... welll... 50/50. Jingle was good at the warm-up, and then my trainer asked me to just post trot a medium circle, with a cavaletti in the middle of it. Okay, easy... nope. Jingle was back to his old trick of swinging in his hip and attempting to run out of the circle. My trainer reminded me to open up my inside hand to the circle and really guide him over the cavaletti, releasing tension on my outside rein. I have a habit of holding too much tension on my outside to attempt to keep him "in" the circle when I just need to work on guiding him through it, and using more leg.

Okay - let's try this again. Again, he stopped, swung his hip out and danced around. So, I got after him, and over the silly little thing he went. After a couple rounds of this he was going over it calmly with a loose rein. Sigh, it felt like it was going to be a pissy day, and indeed it was.

Jingle was beautiful the first time we loped, and I literally got the best stop out of him i've ever had before. He parked it so hard in the dirt that we bounced a couple steps. It was wicked.

The Jog was alright, a bit rushed, but he was transitioning into it really nicely and smoothly. I love his transition from walk to jog, its so effortless, and I still dont really understand why he cant maintain that same level of impulsion - it's perfect.

Then, he started stalling again on me, and started to square off his corners/attempt to run into the wall business he does to fake me out. This is a) dangerous, b) something he should not be doing - he knows better, I wasn't asking for flying changes down the centre line for heavens sake, I was asking for a jog on a small circle, and then a lope - for him, this is a cake walk. So, I picked up a crop (god, I hate riding with crops), and he got a bit of a swat everytime he attempted this "let me dance into the wall, and then stop completely" business. The good thing about Jingle ft. Crop is that I barely have to brush him with it for him to straighten out, and get back to business. A couple little smacks later and he was jogging that circle like a boss. We loped a bit more, and quit for the day.

My trainer was pretty amused for the whole ride, she commented that I own a very weird horse. Sometimes, he's an angel - so well put together, so completely amazing, other times - he's a total wack job (but he's phasing out of that), and then there's lessons like Monday where he is absolutely amazing one minute, and absolutely falls apart the next. Sometimes, owning horses with a personality, and a pissy streak, isn't easy.

For Next Time: More transition work, I want to figure out how to keep that beautiful walk-jog transition going into a slow, put-together jog.