The Horse Forum banner
101 - 120 of 121 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
264 Posts
Discussion Starter · #101 ·
On Bob and Lucy, I am finally starting to do things at the canter, as opposed to just going around the ring. Nothing fancy, of course. Trot around the ring, sitting trot in a circle, canter around the ring, canter in a circle; that sort of thing. I'm not struggling, per se, I just haven't done it correctly yet. :ROFLMAO: My cantered circles are too big. But I'll get there!

With Bee at the canter, I would say I am struggling a bit. We worked on cantering today and it felt like an uphill battle just to get him to canter. This is twofold: one, with Bob and Lucy I don't actually have to signal the canter. If you grab their mane at a sitting trot, they know what you want. So I haven't had much practice doing the signal yet. Two, for the first few beats of the canter, I still get really tense; I have to actively make my muscles relax. So, today, when I did get Bee to canter, he'd react to me being stiff by going back to the trot. I don't know if that's something about how he was trained, or if he's just going "my rider is not moving correctly, ow, I don't like it, I'm not doing this." Either way, this is also something that I will achieve eventually, but it feels much further away than my Bob/Lucy goals.

Mentally, I'm about at the place where I could start looking for a horse. I want one, in a way I didn't until recently, because I knew I was too green, whereas now, I feel I could do it with the assistance of my instructor. Financially, though, it's not in the cards any time soon. I just bought a house and a bunch of furniture, the bathroom needs to be renovated, and prices for pretty much everything are so inflated right now. So I can't.

Anyway, I should probably be more comfortable at the canter before I buy a horse, and even start jumping a bit. Those are things I want out of a horse, to canter and to jump; not big jumps, not competitive, just for fun. And to trail ride! (Which also requires the purchase of a trailer, and a truck that can pull said trailer, and learning how to drive a big truck with a trailer attached. So just, like. A lot of things to spend money on first, and a lot more training that needs to be done.)

C'est la vie.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
264 Posts
Discussion Starter · #102 · (Edited)
Had a wonderful ride on Lucy today! We were able to canter in correctly-sized circles and did multiple loops of the ring at the canter. I am still struggling to get my hips/thighs to just relax already, dagnabbit. Especially any time I have to do anything other than go around along the rail. As soon as my brain starts concentrating on what I need to do next, everything seizes up again. But having some progress is nice! I'm also practicing jumping position/the standing trot, in prepration for jumping! Kind of can't wait or that.

No lesson on Friday. :( They're off to an Equine Fair. I actually thought about going, myself, but I can't take time off work, Saturday is my nephew's birthday party, and I'm going to need Sunday to decompress. Maybe next year.

Edit for typo.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
264 Posts
Discussion Starter · #103 ·
Rode Bee today. It was a hard lesson and none of it was his fault. It rained last night and all of the rings were muddy. It's cold and I was stiff, even though I stretched beforehand. I've been talking with my teacher, and we've decided I should shorten my stirrups, so we tried that today; it will be good when I'm used to it, but it means I have to use my muscles just a tiny bit differently, which felt weird. There was a tractor doing some work near the ring, and while I wasn't worried that Bee would spook, everyone was just very distracted. My hip hurts.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
264 Posts
Discussion Starter · #104 ·
I am not usually one who dislikes winter weather. I'll take freezing and covered in snow over summer any day. I keep having to miss lessons lately, though, and I'm not happy about it, obviously. Either it's freezing rain or it's 7 degrees F windchill (and while I might be fine with that, since I'd be exercising, I don't for a minute blame my instructor for not wanting to sit around outside for over half an hour in that cold) or the footing is just too bad to chance it. I've ridden maybe twice in the past three weeks.

They were both good rides, though. First was Lucy, who bridle I actually managed to get on without any trouble. (I struggle with bridles in general, because I get overwhelmed by all of the straps, and Lucy has warts in her ears that mean she really doesn't want her ears handled, so between the two of us I usually need help with her.) She's a sweetheart in the saddle, though.

Last Tuesday I rode Bee, who was particularly a handful that morning. Bee has two modes: "I refuse to canter, don't wanna, why are you being so mean to me," and "Let's goooooo, time to canter, whoo!" 95% of the time you get lazy Bee. The first time I rode energetic Bee is the time I fell off. The time after that, they cantered him around first, so that he was tired when I actually rode him. This time I just rode. It's still vaguely alarming, but also very satisfying. I kept him under control most of the time, and the handful of times I lost control I got it back pretty quick. Also, I apparently sit the canter better when I'm not planning for it, since it doesn't give me time to brace up, haha.

I also had two lovely experiences with the barn cats. Wendy, who hates being picked up, let me scoop her up, touch noses with her, scratch her ears, and set her down again. (Everyone was very impressed.) Then I sat down to write a check on Tuesday, and Shirley, who has lovely long fur but is somewhat skittish, took the opportunity to hop into my lap. It was very nice.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
264 Posts
Discussion Starter · #105 ·
Been awhile since I last posted. Many things to share!

Let's get the bad news out of the way, since it's not really horse related -- I was laid off a few weeks ago. On the bright side, I was already planning on leaving that job, since I did the math and realized I would not be able to afford a horse on that salary (and with how small raises are, it would be a long time until I could). So... this just forces me to do it earlier than I'd been planning. It's still not fun. I'm not scared, just worried. I know my parents will step in if they have to, so I'm not worried about losing the house, and Ma has also said they'll start paying for my riding lessons if I need them to, because it's an important part of my mental health. Hopefully it won't come to that. At least the Bank of Mom doesn't charge interest on loans.

Now the fun stuff!

I have discovered a magical spell that has made my riding like 50% better. It's called "taking pain killers before the lesson instead of after." :ROFLMAO: Honestly, the things you can do when you're not in pain. We spent an entire lesson doing laterals a few weeks ago, which are usually hell on my hips, and it was just fine. It's a shame to need them, but I shall keep working on my strength and flexibility, and perhaps will need them less someday.

I have now ridden my boy Stryder enough that his trot no longer unsettles me (literally or figuratively) which is great because he is one of my favorites. 💜 We have even done a little bit of cantering -- just a little!

On Lucy and Bee, I have started jumping! Just the trot for Bee, but the trot and canter both with Lucy.

Bee and I have been having communication issues around the canter. He was a dude ranch horse before coming to the barn, so his job was basically to ignore whatever queues his rider was giving him because they didn't know what they were doing. He certainly never cantered with them! So it's hard to convince Bee to canter, and only a few people can do it reliably. It makes him nervous. Moreover, I still get real stiff when signaling the canter; I usually relax within a few strides, but it's a conscious effort. This past Friday, we had a breakthrough!

I also started volunteering at the barn on Saturday mornings. I get to learn things about taking care of horses, help out, and have more horse time! I have mostly been riding Penny on Saturdays. They have decided that she is not actually a good candidate for a lesson horse and are looking for a new home for her (apparently someone they know has shown interest) so it's unfortunate that I'm getting attached. C'est la vie.

Penny came from a very neglectful situation, and even though they've her for about a year (probably, I'd have to look it up) she still "needs more groceries." She is also out of shape, and the muscles in her hind end really need to be built up. I am, well, probably at least 100 lbs heavier than K, her regular rider, so I'm helping build those muscles up! She's got the oddest trot (something wrong with her stifles, apparently, I think it's a conformation thing). It's actually more comfortable to sit her trot than to post. She sways side to side kind of like that goose in the Aristocats.

Last Saturday, Penny was in a bit of a snit. Actually, she started off really well, she let me pick her feet and put her bridle on with no issues. (She is over 16 hands, and I am short, so if she pulls her head up I just literally can't reach, haha. But she was a good girl.) Out in the ring, though, we had some problems. Penny was green for 15 years, so it's understandable that she doesn't like being asked to work, but obviously, throwing hissy fits is not acceptable. I actually had a great ride, though! She was pulling out all of the stops (shy of rearing or doing a serious buck, which she never does -- she's not mean, just whiny), ignoring queues, kicking up her heals, going backward instead of forwards -- they she knows what they mean and how to do them, but she just didn't want to. We had a bit of an audience, and multiple people said I handled her really well! It was very affirming.

To bookend this post with non-horse things, I also got kittens! (This was about a week before I got laid off. Oops.) They are very cute. I will post some pictures of them and also of Penny shortly; the pictures are on my phone and I am too lazy to transfer them to my computer right now, so I'll do it from my phone later.

Hope everyone is well!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
264 Posts
Discussion Starter · #106 ·
Took my first ever bad fall last week! I am okay, though!

I have fallen off of horses before, but they were all the kind where you just stand up and brush yourself off afterward. I've been winded, and I've been sore, but no actual injury.

So the thing about Stryder is, he is a very big boy with very big movements. Riding him at the trot is a bit like riding a pogo stick; posting isn't any trouble because you literally get thrown into the air whether you want to or not. It's controlling that movement that's the hard part, and the scary part! It took me the better part of a year (granted, not working with him every week, it would've been faster if I was working exclusively with him) to get comfortable with it. I worked hard and we're all very pleased with how far I've come. So we recently started doing a little bit of cantering. Not for very long, just get him to canter, see what it feels like for a few beats, then back to the trot.

The horse that I have the most experience cantering with is Lucy, whose canter is very easy to sit. Stryder is not like that at all. We went around in one direction okay, but trying the other direction, my balance was off right from the start. I got panicky and tried to adjust my balance, and Stryder, well, he tried to help. He's a sweet boy, he could tell I was upset and wasn't balanced right, but unfortunately he's never taken a physics class, so he doesn't know about Newtons laws of motion. He stopped in his tracks and I went over his shoulder. Curse you, inertia!

(I've read that some horses will do that on purpose to get you off of them, but that wasn't this. He's such a sweetheart, and very well trained. 'Twas an accident, is all.)

I landed hard on my tailbone. I'm very lucky! Didn't hit my head, didn't damage my spine, didn't break any bones, none of that. What I have is a sprained hip flexor and a bruise the size of a dinner plate. Most impressive bruise I've ever seen in person, for reals.

It hurts very much, but I'm already so much better than I was a week ago. I can actually use the hip flexor a little bit, whereas I had no range of motion before. It doesn't hurt at all so long as I don't try to lift my knee. The bruise is still massive and painful, and it's hard to sleep at night because of it, so I've been feeling kind of lousy since then. But, I'm off of the crutches! It all just needs time.

I am going to the barn tomorrow, not to ride (I literally can't lift my leg high enough to mount, and I don't want to think about how bad the saddle will feel on the bruise) but to help out with chores, just so that I can get in some horsey time. I can't do heavy lifting yet (trying to explain to my little nephew why I can't pick him up is not fun) but I can bring horses in and groom them and such.

I really want to ride Stryder again so that I can nip any anxiety in the bud. I wasn't able to "get back on the horse" that day, but same idea. It's a shame that I can't do that yet, but it'll come!

Edits for clarity.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
264 Posts
Discussion Starter · #107 ·
A'ight, multiple posts incoming, seems like a better idea than one massive one.

I am basically all healed from last post's fall, and am back to my regular riding schedule. I was concerned that I would be nervous about riding Stryder again, but I wasn't. We didn't have a particularly good ride the first time I rode him after, but that was because the bugs were awful. He was very distracte d and I had a difficult time keeping his focus on me. He even spooked once, carried me out of the ring (no fence) and up a little hill, but I sat it just fine.

...Hilariously, I fell off again a few days after that, off of Bee this time. I should have been able to sit it, but it was very hot, very humid, and I was tired and dehydrated, so going over a crossrail I just kinda... melted off of his back. No injuries at all with that one, not even a bruise -- Bee actually has experience with keeping people from falling off of his back (he was a dude ranch horse in a former life) and he was Very Offended that I fell, because he did his job properly, gosh dang it. Him doing his job properly meant that I landed soft as a feather, even though I couldn't hold up my end of the bargain. :ROFLMAO:
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
264 Posts
Discussion Starter · #108 ·
The past few Fridays, they've been having "Friday Fun Nights," basically little clinics. The first one was on dressage. I took part, and found it very interesting, but interesting in a "I enjoy learning about things" way rather than an "I am interested in this as a hobby" way. Which is good, because I would be very bad at it, because my learning disability means that dividing up geometric space in my head is extremely difficult for me. My proprioception is very poor, so precision is hard. I worked really, really hard to do well in the clinic, though, and I'm pleased with how I did, as was my instructor. I was on Lucy, who could do a course that easy in her sleep, so that probably helped.

The second was a jumper's clinic. I didn't participate because my jumping isn't good enough, but I watched it. I learned a lot from this one, too! Including how to reset a jump, because I just got up to do it when everyone else was focused on the other end of the ring, so I had to figure it out myself. (Mostly myself. K had to tell me to make the standards further apart so that the pole would fit hahahahaha.) But the brackets that held the pole had been knocked out of the standards along with the pole, so I figured out how to replace them at the right level myself!

Last Friday was a trail course. Basically an obstacle course. It was a lot of fun! Bee and I were teamed up for that one, which is an interesting choice because "trusting" is not the relationship I'd say we have. We're the friends who show they love each other by bickering constantly, that's Bee and me.

The course was as follows:

1. Cross the "bridge" (a wooden platform).
2. Go through a set of jump standards with pool noodles strung between them.
3. Go through an aisle lined with spectators (teddy bears).
4. Walk into and then back out of two parallel poles lying on the ground.
5. Go through a course made by some boards set up in a zigzag pattern.
6. Trot over some poles.
7. Weave through some barrels.
8. Grab a (frankly terrifying) stuffed animal off of the last barrel and trot/canter back to the first barrel and back, carrying the plushie, then put it back where you got it.
9. "Stir the bucket" - a long pole with one end in a bucket, propped up on a jump standard. You hold the end with one hand and go in a circle, trying to keep the pole inside the bucket.
10. Go through the garden (green cloth with fake flours on either side), open the gate (unhook rope from one jump standard and throw it out of the way), and pass through the graveyard (~spooky~ Halloween decorations, but the actual trick to it was you go under an arch to leave, which you (and your horse, depending on the horse's height) have to duck under.
11. Go through the Amazon wreckage (bunch of Amazon boxes scattered on the ground).
12. Stop by the teddy bear picnic and say hello to them!

For the hard things, we got to practice first, and then we put it all together.

Bee flatly refused to step onto the bridge, not no way, not no how. Not even after we were done when K tried it, and not even when I tried to do it just by leading him by hand. I do not blame him, I can see how that would be Very Scary for a horse.

In practice and during the actual run, he didn't like going through the pool noodles, but did it anyway like a champ.

We had difficulty with the going backward and the zigzag, which is entirely on me, because I am bad at precision. Did better at the backwards during practice and better at the zigzag during the real run. Shrug emoji.

The trotting part wasn't up for practice, but it was no problem, even though I wasn't entirely certain the best way to carry a large round stuffed animal while on horseback.

Stirring the bucket was interesting. During the practice run, Bee was freaked out by the pole. I took my time, let him sniff it a lot, and said nice things to him. During the run, though, it was the best thing we did! He didn't mind it at all, and we were the first one to actually keep the pole inside the bucket for the whole circle!

For the garden, after a lot of coaxing, Bee went through it during practice, but he refused to during the actual run. I'm pleased that he was willing to do it at all, though! It's not like we were playing for points or anything. Doing it during practice counts, to me!

We had no more issues until we got to the Amazon wreckage, which is very funny to me. Bee was highly dubious of those boxes. They were Not Trustworthy. Was I absolutely sure this was a good idea? Like, really certain? Seriously, he Did Not Like those boxes and I have photographic evidence to prove it:


(but we survived it! and with some coaxing, we made it through!)



Overall, I was pleased with how we did and with how brave Bee was. No one asks dude ranch horses to walk through pool noodles or stir buckets, and that's how he spent most of his life. Some people had more success (mostly the people who owned their own horses and therefore had deeper bonds with them -- there was this one little mare, gorgeous palomino, she was very nervous but she did every single thing because she trusts her owner, we were all very proud of them both). Some people did worse. I'd say we were near the top of the middle, which is just fine when neither of us had done anything like this before!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
264 Posts
Discussion Starter · #109 ·
But okay, now we're going to talk about Penny!

It'd been a few months since I rode her, since before I fell from Stryder, and I brought it up last Saturday, whereupon I was told that not only could I ride her that day, but also that she needs to be getting more exercise (she's not a lesson horse and probably won't ever be at this point) and if I want, I can ride her anytime I like for free up to four times a week. I was not expecting this and am very pleased. Obviously it means I get free horse time, but it also means that they trust me enough to take care of her and also to be safe with one of their more difficult horses. More horse time for me, exercise for Penny, and a helping hand for them. Everybody wins!

Have I mentioned that I am 5'3" and Penny is 16.2hh? I literally have to reach above my head to groom her back, it's hilarious.

Penny, for anyone who doesn't recall, was green until she was fifteen years old and was a neglect case. She is only trained at the walk and trot (which is fine because I'm still working on being comfortable with the canter to begin with) and her history/anxiety make her buddy sour. Basically, she couldn't trust humans most of her life, so if she doesn't have a horse (literally any horse, it doesn't have to be one of her buddies) in sight, she gets anxious. She's now comfortable being handled, but she doesn't trust humans to watch her back.

(Bee thinks she's the best thing in the whole wide world, and she likes him a lot, too.)

I've ridden her twice since then, and both times actually went pretty well? Yesterday, one of her buddies was in the ring with us, and she tried to chase after him, but she listened when I told her to stop. We did a bunch of things to get her focused on me instead of her buddy -- transitioning from walk to trot to halt, circles, etc. and after the first ten minutes she was golden. A big thing with her in the past has been that she stalls when trotting, and yesterday she clearly thought about it a couple of times but kept going until I said to stop! Very pleased with her.

Last week, though! Last week was the day after the obstacle course, and most of the obstacles were still set up. I wasn't planning on going through any of them with her, because I expected her to be weirded out by them (she is the most inexperienced horse at the barn, even though she's sixteen now) but she was just so chill??? So we ended up trying most of them out, and I was so pleased by how she did!

Penny:
- Also refused to step on the wooden platform. I didn't really expect her to, I doubt she's even seen one before.
- Was confused by the pool noodles but also handled them like a champ. After a few times few she didn't even hesitate anymore.
- I didn't try stirring the bucket because she's definitely never seen anything like it and I didn't want to freak her out for no reason.
- She refused to step into the garden, which was fine, I only asked a couple of times just to see how she would respond.
- She did not even blink at the Amazon wreckage, like seriously they were no problem at all for her, I was so proud!

No photographs of pretty Penny doing the course, since it wasn't during the actual event. I meant to take some pics of her yesterday, but my phone battery died.

I want to come up with some kind of routine for her -- I'm not very good with unstructured time, so far we've just tootled around a little. I'll probably make a separate post for advice about that.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
264 Posts
Discussion Starter · #110 · (Edited)
AND NOW WE'RE GOING TO TALK ABOUT MY NEPHEW, HE HAD HIS FIRST EVER PONY RIDE, IT WAS SO CUTE.

My nephew "J" knows that I ride. "Who did you ride today?" is something he asks me sometimes instead of "how was your day?" (Sadly, I sometimes have to tell him that I didn't ride any horses that day. Alas.) He is determined that he's going to ride Penny, and he named his rocking horse after her, which is adorable. (Reminder, Penny is over 16hh.)

His mom "N" is scared of horses. Not like a phobia, just a very strong wariness that they are big and she doesn't know anything about them. But, one way or another, horses are going to be in J's life, either because he grows up a rider himself or just because they live with me. The plan is still to have horses on the property someday! Someday, when I have more money. When the school year got out (she's a teacher) she started taking lessons. Partly, she doesn't want to pass on her fear to him, and partly, if there's going to be horses in our lives, she wants to know how to be safe around them.

She was supposed to have a lesson Monday, but there were thunderstorms, so they rescheduled to Tuesday, which is the same day I have one of my lessons. Only, over the summer, J doesn't have daycare on Tuesdays. Solution as suggested by my instructor: We all come together, I babysit while N takes her lesson, and J gets a pony ride while I take my lesson!

J is two-and-a-half. The pony, Pocket, is a shetland mix (who is friends with the Clydesdale mix, the first time I saw them nuzzle I just about died). The only thing cuter than J and Pocket separately is the combined cuteness of J and Pocket together. For added size shenanigans, I was on Stryder at the time.

J had a great time. He very intently groomed Pocket, loved ordering him to "walk!" though got shy when the command switched to "trot," but had a big smile on his face when they finished doing their little trot. Minor temper tantrum when N pulled him off of Pocket's back because he wanted to get down by himself, but cheered right back up when he got to lead Pocket back to the barn "by himself" (meaning he was holding the lead rope but under very heavy supervision, with K holding Pocket's halter, obviously).

From left to right, K, Pocket, J, and N.

Plant Sky Cloud Tree Working animal






Edit to fix picture, it broke somehow.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
264 Posts
Discussion Starter · #111 ·
Today when I got to the paddock, Bee walked right over to say hello. I wasn't even waving treats around or calling for him, just leaning on the gate. It was sweet. I think the obstacle coarse/trust excerised were good for our relationship. More evidence for that forthcoming, it's 1:10am and I was feeling sentimental but I must sleep now.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
264 Posts
Discussion Starter · #112 ·
I had the opportunity to ride with a different trainer the other day (mine is on vacation, I was exercising Penny and the person house/barn sitting was checking the soundness of a pony that had gotten stuck in the fence earlier -- the pony is fine) and she said my equitation is pretty good for hunter/jumper, but since I am not interested in a particular sport, I should work on leaning further back. I gave it a try and it will take getting used to but it might be a good adjustment to make, since my current problem is pitching forward when I'm panicking. (For posterity, more details on that here.)

She also helped me with something with Penny that I've been having difficulty with. Penny is sixteen but not fully broke, and so she sometimes does things that I'm not used to because they feel intuitive to her, but that the other horses I'm ride have been trained not to do. One thing that keeps happening is that I signal to halt, which she does, and then I lean forward to pat her neck and tell her she's a good girl, and she starts walking again. I thought she was ignoring me, but the sitter said that because of how it affects my balance, Penny is interpreting leaning forward as me wanting to move. So, something to work on still, but now I know she's trying, rather than just being difficult, so it will be much less frustrating!

I tried to take a pic to post here but she moved it kept coming out blurry. Will try again tomorrow.

Does anyone have some rain they don't want? We could sure use some.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
264 Posts
Discussion Starter · #113 · (Edited)
Promised pics. You can probably tell from the photos that her muscles need a lot of work, especially in her back end (which, granted, this is not the best shot of) hence me exercising her. I think her weight is fine, she's just not in shape. I still think she's a pretty girl, though.

Horse Working animal Liver Sorrel Plant

Working animal Liver People in nature Grass Fawn



It was soooo hot today, and humid too, so we didn't do much. A little bit of trotting, but not too much. With the heat, neither of us wanted to be out there for long. No, what I did today was teach Penny about circles. When you start a circle, she thinks you want her to turn around and gets confused. I think we had some success. She went from a very lopsided shape where she was fighting me about going back to the rail, to a circle-ish shape back to the rail correctly. I made up a little exercise. Do a circle (my spatial skills are bad, but let's say 15ft diameter?) at the walk, then trot to the end of the ring, then walk back around and do it again. We did it three times and she seemed to be getting it.

And then I rinsed her off and gave her yummy carrots, and went home to air conditioning. Ahhh... The one flaw of the barn, right? No a/c!



edit: typos
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
264 Posts
Discussion Starter · #114 ·
I had such a nice ride on Lucy yesterday. Lucy is both: an experienced lesson horse who knows how to read her rider and take care of them, and also an experienced hunter jumper who loves to go fast and to jump big. We were practicing cantering and she did get excited, but it was okay. I realized that my disability understanding geometric space made it difficult for me to do a circle at the canter because I literally didn't know what it looks like; hard to explain, but I would get to a place I'm used to trotting circles at and my brain would look at it and Error 404 at me, I just could see what I needed to do. At A's suggestion I started circling around jumps; it gave something concrete to help me understand the space I was in and helped immensely.

Then, at my request, we did some jumping practice, and I could tell that Lucy wanted to go go go! But she could tell I was anxious. (I had a literal death grip on her mane lol.) So instead of jumping, landing at the canter, and racing to the next jump (which I knew was a possibility and was trying to be ready for), she kept to a trot and just did little hops over the crossrails. She took such good care of me! All I had to do was focus on heels down and eyes up.

Oh, and it was raining, and I just, I love riding in the rain.

Rode Penny after, not terribly long because I had a time limit (was my turn to cook dinner) but I got her puffing, so not a waste. I also got her to pick up all four of her feet (lack of handling at a young age + some conformation problems means she struggles with this, partly because she doesn't see why she should have to and partly because I think it just feels really, really weird on her back legs). I might be bribing her with little peppermint cookies when she does it correctly. :whistle: I think soon we'll move to just cookies for the back legs, since those are the hard ones, with lots of pats and "good girls" for the front legs instead.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
264 Posts
Discussion Starter · #115 ·
Had another great ride on Lucy yesterday. I'm getting more confident at the canter! We cantered a full loop of the big arena before I got nervous! And then we cantered in the other direction until A said "and bring her down to the walk," which is the first time that's happened because I always get too wound up and slow down early. Very proud of that. I even sat a trip at the canter and didn't freak out about it!

Bad day today. Depression and poor sleep habits made it impossible to get out of bed in time to go to the barn early like I usually do on Saturdays. I got up an hour ago because my cats reminded me I had to feed them, and I've only eaten a chocolate bar so far myself. It's noon and I'm still in my pjs.

Okay, I typed that out, I can fix some of it. Going to go get dressed now. Then breakfast/lunch. I'm out of milk, so idk, maybe a sandwich. Probably a fluffernutter. Still not the healthiest choice, but some protein would be good for me.

I hereby promise that I will go to the store today and buy milk, because oatmeal is a healthier choice than fluffernutters, but I detest it without milk.

Also I set my daily alarm for earlier. I don't want to miss more barn time. If that means needing a nap during the day, fine, as long as I can get up when needed.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
264 Posts
Discussion Starter · #116 ·
Sunday, I had the barn to myself. They're closed for business on Sundays so they can do family things (I believe they went to the lake) but boarders and people they trust are welcome if they have a reason even when they're not there. It feels nice that I'm included in the latter group.

Had a decent ride with Penny. She's been testing my authority lately. She really doesn't want to work, and it's not like I blame her, exercising is hard. I wish I could find something to make it fun for her.

I'm constantly surprised by what this girl is and isn't bothered by. She can be very anxious, but she's practically un-spookable. (knocks on wood) There's this rabbit that hangs out in the back of the big ring; Stryder is terrified of it and it can startle Bee. (Lucy will pretend to be startled with an experienced rider, just to be a brat. She's very good at understanding what her rider can handle, and will be very gentle when she needs to take care of you but extremely sassy when she thinks you can handle it.) Penny, though. Penny was not phased by this bunny. Even once it moved and I knew she'd seen it, she didn't even twitch. I eventually had us chase it out of the ring, so it hopefully wouldn't startle the next horse (a boarder showed up as we were wrapping up).

More pics of Princess Penny, who did not particularly feel like looking at the camera today:
Working animal Wood Tree Fawn Grass

Horse Eye Working animal Horse tack Liver

Horse Sky Plant Ecoregion Working animal
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
264 Posts
Discussion Starter · #117 ·
Had an... interesting... lesson yesterday.

I've been having bad nerves at the canter. Part of it is that when I got hurt falling off of Stryder, it was at the canter. Part of it is that I never cantered as a kid (at least not on purpose lol) and so I'm learning a completely different set of motions (as opposed to the walk and trot where I've just been refining what I already knew. Part of it is that I am just a more anxious person in general than I was when I was younger. Part of it is chronic tightness which is a problem with just about every physical activity.

I am almost comfortable at Lucy's canter. Not quite, but almost. I'm doing more things at the canter than just holding on for dear life around the ring, doing various exercises, circles, even jumping (over little baby crossrails, but still). She has a very smooth canter, you barely move at all. I just need to remind myself to relax my hips and it all goes smoothly.

Bee has a very big canter. Not as big as Stryder's trot, though relative to his size, it's bigger than Stryder's canter. And his first step, when he pushes off with his back leg, is even bigger than his gait once he's gotten going. You literally feel like he's going to run out from underneath you. I know once I get used to it, I won't feel that way anymore. (It took me a long time to not be intimidated by Stryder's trot, but I'm there now. This is the next step to work through.)

But, he's been having some difficulty himself, with people freaking out at his canter and hauling on his mouth. We'd had a breakthrough in communication before I got hurt, where he would pick up the canter at my first or second ask (and getting Bee to do something on the first or second ask is not always an easy thing, he is usually a more woah than go horse) but it's been so long that we're back to stage one, or possibly even worse, because we're both more anxious abut it.

Yesterday was the first time cantering on Bee in a few months. He really didn't want to, and did quite a lot of "okay I know what you're asking, what if I just trot really, really fast instead?" which is not the most comfortable thing. I got him to canter in both directions, but it involved repeatedly asking, then making it clear that a fast trot was not acceptable, then asking again, and I wanted to give up halfway through because we were both anxious, and the only reason I didn't was because this was a battle I had to win. I couldn't let him get away with that behavior. And then he finally comes in with that huge step, and I didn't haul onto his mouth because I had hands fisted in his mane and all my attention was on keeping him toward the rail and away from the jumps (because as much as he's woah rather than go, he really likes jumping) but there's that big swoop when he goes, and by the end I was shaking and trying not to be sick.

And I really do think that that was important, it was necessary for me not to give up, it was good to enforce what I was asking for and not let him get away with that behavior, and it was a mental block that we had to work through, but it was not pleasant for me. My instructor would have let me stop if I had asked, but that would have been bad for Bee in the long run. And probably also bad for me, in the long run. But I had a stomach ache for the rest of the night.

It's okay. We'll get passed it. I'm just not passed it yet, and I wish I was.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
7,369 Posts
I think what you did was the right thing, but I do want to explain something to you.

That was a really hard thing to ask someone uncomfortable with loping to do. I am very comfortable loping, but I’ve fought with horses who did the same thing as Bee many times for other people. It is very awkward and uncomfortable. They throw even someone like me (not meaning to sound arrogant, although I realize it could be taken that way I can’t figure out how else to word it) off balance.

They throw you off balance because of that extended trot and scotch type combo they get going on, you are stuck pushing for them to break and your body isn’t quite riding the motion because you are pushing and it’s not the motion you are asking for.

What you did was good, and I can only imagine how difficult it was for someone uncomfortable in a lope to begin with. The sick stomach sounds like a natural reaction for the combination of what went on for you. Don’t be hard on yourself at all, but be proud of yourself.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
264 Posts
Discussion Starter · #119 ·
Thank you. It really did need to be me -- he doesn't do this with K because he knows she won't let him get away with it, and he was testing me, specifically, to see if I would. Hopefully next time he remembers that and we don't have to do it over again.

It is good to hear that this is a thing that some horses just do, and that it would be difficult even for someone more experienced.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
264 Posts
Discussion Starter · #120 ·
Okay, the stressful lesson with Bee was 100% worth it. She gave me a break from the canter for a couple lessons, working on getting used to Stryder's trot again (it's a very big trot) and this was my first lesson back on Bee again. Absolutely beautiful canter. Stepped off my leg with no problems at all. I'm still not great at the canter, but that's just time and practice to get used to it. (I would have stopped after just a couple beats but ahaha my reins were too long to tell him to stop, and in the time it took me to hitch them back up I'd calmed down a little.) Great ride on Bee followed by a great ride on Penny. I'm in a good mood.
 
101 - 120 of 121 Posts
Top