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Under Construction: CT to Tevis

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        01-16-2011, 03:51 PM
    OUCH! Glad you had no jigging on the ride you did get on your girl for :) Of course it may have simply been because somebody else was with you, but it's still good.
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        01-16-2011, 09:07 PM
    Green Broke
    1/16/11 -- I STILL Ache All Over, and Am Doing Little to Help the Fact


    Very likely. She doesn't realize that I can protect her from the forest dragons, I guess. She is very reluctant to go places without her friends.


    Woke up today feeling like a train hit me. I was so sore I wouldn't move my neck or walk without significant discomfort. I was also troubled by the fact my injured right leg was much weaker than my left and I had an odd pins and needles feeling in my thigh. Pinched nerve indeed.

    So what did I do, in my bruised and broken state? I headed to the barn around lunch time and begged the BO to let me ride my horse. Of course, I got a no from both the BO and head trainer, who said I must be both hardy, confident, and **** stupid if I wanted to ride again.

    So, I spent two hours on groundwork and beginner jumping lessons. I put Baby Girl on a lunge line (they said I couldn't ride; didn't say a thing about lunging) and once she was settled into a steady gait, asked her to jump a six inch cross rail. She baulked initially. I twirled my rope until she at least stepped over it.

    During our next attempt, she slowed down, unsure, but semi-crow hopped over it. Stop, pet, repeat three more times. By the forth time, she was jumping somewhat smoothly and really seemed to enjoy it.

    We switched directions and repeated until she was jumping decently from that side as well.

    Not 20 minutes in, she started showing signs of exhaustion. We stopped jumping for the day, rested for 10 minutes, and got a couple sips of water. It was a hot day for January.

    Afterwards, we continued groundwork. She quickly conquered all our trail class obstacles --a shaky bridge, a pedestal (which she got all four feet on), a tarp, among others. We also worked on sidepassing, turns on the forehand, and turns on the haunches.

    Finally finished, I was also convinced by the head trainer to help her pick the pony paddock and assist her in setting up a new jumping course.

    After the day's work, my back and hip threatened to give out. My toes went numb at one point, and the benign pins and needles tinging in my thigh transformed into a painful burning. I had overworked myself, definitely.

    Now at home, I am still exhausted. The burning has ceased, replaced again with the pins and needles. Maybe I should see a doctor... Anyway, tomorrow I hope I am fit for a trail ride. A little riding will probably be less of a strain than all the stuff I did today.
        01-17-2011, 01:31 PM
    Green Broke
    1/17/11 -- Rainy Monday

    I woke up at 10:00 am today (I didn't have school on account of Martin Luther King Day), saw it was raining outside, and went right back to sleep. And hour and a half later, I received a text from my BO.

    "All 8 horses out by road. GATE LEFT OPENED."

    I called her and pleaded ("At least nothing died..."), so I got away with a ten dollar salary docking.

    At least since it's raining I'll have a day to rest my leg, which feels no better than it did yesterday. It's suppose to rain tomorrow as well, so I may not get a lot of riding in until Wednesday.
        01-19-2011, 11:44 PM
    Green Broke
    11/19/11 -- Back to Work

    Today was a pretty boring day. This morning the sky was blanketed with gray, but it cleared up to a beautiful, cloudless blue by the time school got out. I rushed immediately to the barn and got Baby Girl from the pasture.

    Since she hadn't been ridden in three days, I decided to start out her work week lightly with an hour and a half long trail ride at a walk only. She was a good pony and didn't jig a step. She was also a little sweaty after the ride; humidity, perhaps. This short, slow ride was also good for my hip. The pain is still there, but isn't as severe as yesterday or the day before.

    I rode in a Western saddle (on the account of my stirrups still being broken), which was really weird for me. Western saddles are just so... big. They are comfy though, in a bulky, secure type of way.

    I tried to jump my friend's horse over cross rails, but couldn't get into two point quite yet (or post, for that matter) without my hip complaining.

    In other news, my trainer is coming back from Atlanta on Friday so I can have a real jumping lesson. I am learning to jump right now as a time killer... I don't like to ride without a competitive aim on the side of CTRs. I'm hoping to one day find a saddle seat instructor, but learning to jump for now won't hurt and earns me some respect and experience in the "real deal" competitive world.
        01-21-2011, 09:48 PM
    Green Broke
    1/21/11 -- Disappointed in Myself, But I Have An Awesome Horse

    I'm very disappointed in myself. My jumping lesson was today and I felt like I didn't accomplish anything. I rode two horses in that hour long lesson, Cody and Firefly. First was Firefly, whom I have mentioned many times on this forum and a handful in my journal. I got on, trotted, and I felt like a noob. My trainer hold me to put my heels down... I haven't been told that in what feels like years. Among other complaints, I post off my toes, lean forward, don't release right over fences, and have lost my half seat canter. That canter... Ugh. I CAN canter that horse --I can canter most any horse--, but half seat isn't my friend, and neither are short reins and the horse diving into the bridle and throwing off my already tedious sense of balance. My actual jumping was okay, but lack luster, in my opinion.

    Just to add to my emotional distress, I left the God ****ed stall door opened AGAIN and two horses got out and were galloping free across the pasture.

    So, I was basically having an very off day. I was so angry that I couldn't do what I knew I could do I almost started crying. Angry at myself... Not my horse or instructor... I just hate myself today for not being my best.

    I mean, the 11-year-old in the lesson before my did better! I'm the jealous type, I will admit. Everyone at the barn, even the head trainer, is competition. Silly, right? I just can't help it...

    In other news, I rode Baby Girl before this lesson, so I guess I have her my best. We went on an exercise trail run for about an hour. We walked about 50% of the time, gaited 25%, and cantered 25%. (I know, too much cantering.) She is finally hitting her proper gait, I think. Every so often, I could convince her to get in a couple paces of a proper rack. It felt great.

    I'm beginning to like her a lot. We're starting to get to know each other better and come to a more complete understanding. She's a good girl and very smart.

    At the end of the day, the BO gave me a sign up sheet for the "Equine Communication Challenge" in Edington, Georgia, and said she would trailer my horse and I down there, along with her horse Amber and the head trainer's horse Cody. I'm not sure what it's about --some Parelli thing, I assume--, but it has obstacles and $100 cash prizes for first, so why the heck not?
        01-22-2011, 04:03 PM
    Green Broke
    1/22/11 -- "Dressage"

    Very short post today. I went out briefly to visit and rode for about 20 minutes, bareback, just to stretch her out. Walking around is boring, so we worked on lateral movements. Successful leg yield! Very simple and easy little exercise, but I'm very happy. When I got her, she was trained like most gaited horses I've met; seat cues and reins only, no leg unless you're requesting a speed up. After almost a month, she's finally gotten that leg doesn't mean go faster, but move over. Next, I'm going to try to teach her shoulder in. I feel like a dressage queen, ha ha!
        01-23-2011, 07:53 PM
    Green Broke
    1/23/11 -- Pacey Pony is Pacey... Inflexible Pony is Inflexible..

    Today I told myself very firmly, "I will not ride today." I haven't had a weekend off for four weeks. I turned off my 10:00 alarm in favor of sleep. At about 11:30, I awoke again and got some breakfast, still steadfast in my decision not to ride. My phone started ringing in the next room (playing my theme song, "Dog Days are Over"). I answered and spoke to my grandmother. She offered to take me to the farm so I could ride. I declined. "Well, if you change your mind, call me back," she said.

    I wandered over to the window and pulled back the curtains. The sky was huge and blue and alluring... I called my grandmother back and told her I wanted to ride.

    I have no will power.

    Anyway, I arrived at the farm about 2:00 and got Baby Girl from the pasture. The question was, to saddle or not to saddle? I was feeling bareback, so no saddle.

    We went to the round pen and did a little walk-gait session. My grandmother filmed us so I could see her gaiting... Pacey, pacey, pacey! Grr...

    The trainer arrived and I was kicked out of the round pen, so I went to walk around in the field in front of the barn. Remembering yesterday's "dressage", I decided to pretend to a do a pattern. My poor pony is terrible inflexible... She wouldn't bend properly around turns, and her turns were terrible in general. She rushed, dropped her shoulder, and all the other things that don't make good turns. Her circles were equally bad; she couldn't bend her body in an arc to save her spotted hide.

    So, we worked on turns and circles for a while. Eventually, she at least did the "pattern" at a walk, quietly and without rushing. I've learned with her to ask nicely, ask for little, and reward generously, so we went on a trail after that to mentally cool down. Being a trail horse, turning properly and flexing to any degree is mentally straining.

    While on this ride, she was still hyper and jiggy, as usual. She had been hyper all that day. After a few calm steps, I decided to heck with it, let's do some stupid stuff. So I took up on my reins, grabbed some mane, pointed her down the trail, and let her gallop.

    I'd never galloped bareback before, so it was very exciting. She kept on running and I was afraid to stop her, because she would hit that crazy pace and bounce me off before returning to a walk. It seemed like half of forever before I got the nerve to try and slow her down.

    I remained mounted through deceleration. We returned to the barn with minimal jigging.
        01-24-2011, 08:59 PM
    Green Broke
    1/24/11 -- Pacey Pony Trots Briefly

    My hip was bothering me again today, so I decided that riding wasn't the best idea. I set up four ground poles about a human stride apart each and lunged Baby Girl over them. As I had hoped, this broke up her pace and she started to trot. Any gait other than a pace is appreciated and desired. We attempted a short cross rail after walking and trotting the ground poles, which she hopped over no problem. Once I'm feeling better, I may jump her once or twice under saddle.
        01-26-2011, 05:44 PM
    Green Broke
    1/26/11 -- Windy Day Thoughts

    The wind is gusting terribly and the ground is still spotted with puddles and muddy from the recent rainstorms. These factors, combined with the chilliness of the air and the amount of homework I have to complete, have turned me off from riding today.

    Baby Girl's pacing has recently become so annoying to me that I have put forth all the effort I can to fix it. It seems that my best attempts currently aren't good enough. I simply am not knowledgeable or experienced enough to make her gait. A long running thread I posted on this forum has yielded a promising solution: send her to a trainer. She has never gotten any professional training and has probably step paced her whole life. Her recent turn to hard pacing was probably prompted by being re-conditioned; pacing is easier for tired ponies.

    I'm not sure how long she would have to stay at the trainer's. I have no experience with normal pace breaking time frame. Once she gets gaiting semi-constantly, I can probably maintain it and keep her in the habit with help from my gait savvy BO (who unfortunately can't re-train my horse either; her horse is trotty, not pacey, so she doesn't know what to do. But she can still stay on the ground and tell me how we're looking). I'm going to take a shot in the dark and say Baby Girl may be away for a month.

    Vivache recommended me a trainer in Virginia, which is about a nine hour drive. I plan on calling in the next few days to see if he can do anything for me. Meanwhile, I shall continue to consider the problem and all its possible solutions, though I'm leaning more and more towards letting the professionals handle it.
        01-27-2011, 09:14 PM
    Green Broke
    1/27/11 -- Bareback Trail Day

    Today was easy and uneventful. I rode about two hours on the trail, bareback at a walk, with two other people. Very, very relaxing. But, since I couldn't walk a trail for too long without messing with something, I worked on getting Baby Girl "on the bit" -- or, technically, accepting bit contact and giving slightly at the pole. She didn't like it too much, but got use to it quickly. We did for for a couple minutes at the time. Once she accepted it and flexed her pole, I let her have her head back for a mile or two. I figured this would help her round her back up and possibly help the pacing.

    Speaking of pacing, my mom still approves of sending her off to training. I haven't yet gotten her to call the trainer, but I'm working on it.

    Speaking of working, I'm going to have a lot of that to do. The trainer wants me to go to a show with her in April and enter Baby Girl in a western pleasure class, if they'll permit gaited horses. Obviously, I don't expect to place. I just want to look good from the stands, ribbon or no ribbon. The experience will also be a plus for us both.

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