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The change and saying goodbye to a lease horse is always so hard! (Even if you didn't feel you bonded - I still think about my first lease horse, who I called a "grumpy old man" and never really bonded with at all, so often.) Switching between barns is always a challenge, too - getting used to the new "rules", where to tack up, where to ride, etc.

But they each teach us something and keep moving you forward in your "horse life".

Let yourself be sad in the meantime, and try not to be too bitter to D in your memories. Bonding looks and works different for different people and different horses, and I don't think that's necessarily a flaw in her character, OR in the way you rode her. (The girl who leased that "grumpy old man" horse after me adored him. -shrug-) But, as I know you've noted, she was your entry back into horses and you had some good times.
 

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Discussion Starter #182
The change and saying goodbye to a lease horse is always so hard! (Even if you didn't feel you bonded - I still think about my first lease horse, who I called a "grumpy old man" and never really bonded with at all, so often.) Switching between barns is always a challenge, too - getting used to the new "rules", where to tack up, where to ride, etc.

But they each teach us something and keep moving you forward in your "horse life".

Let yourself be sad in the meantime, and try not to be too bitter to D in your memories. Bonding looks and works different for different people and different horses, and I don't think that's necessarily a flaw in her character, OR in the way you rode her. (The girl who leased that "grumpy old man" horse after me adored him. -shrug-) But, as I know you've noted, she was your entry back into horses and you had some good times.

Thanks for that! Yes, I am slowly getting less upset with the actual horse. I hope that continues, because I took a TON of pictures with her and I would like to display some at some point. I want to WANT to. LOL. For the first couple weeks I couldn't even stand to see her in a picture. I think these feelings are having more to do with the owner than the actual horse. :)
 

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Discussion Starter #183
Cantering Away!

Well, I cantered yesterday on "Missy". That sounds a lot more mundane than it was. It was a momentous horse milestone for me. I was starting to think I'd never have the guts to canter or gallop again. But I did! And I have "Missy" to thank for it. LOL Sometimes, a horse who has a bit of a mind of their own can actually help us--here's what happened.

I went out on a "road 'trail' ride" yesterday, with the owner's daughter. My husband felt better about having someone go with me the first time, so I could get the lay of the land (since I'm 80% blind AND riding a new horse AND the one road--about a mile, has a 55mph speed limit ). I balked a bit, but I the girl was able to go so I capitulated. Turns out this 14 yr old was an awesome riding companion. She's been homeschooled her whole life, has an accelerated academic program, is bubbly and kind and funny. We rode for about 2.5 miles. On the busy road, there is a nice shoulder +extra. On the quiet road, there are nice wide grassy areas on the sides of the road to trot, run, etc. as well as the road being so quiet you can ride right on the roadway. We only walked and trotted a bit all the way out. Then, coming home, we did more trotting. Her horse was so slow going out, but of course, when we turned around there was almost no stopping her. And her legs are longer than Missy's, so even at a walk--she kept outpacing us. On the way out--Missy was pretty put out that we were behind such a slow poke. LOL So, we did a lot more trotting to keep catching up. I ended up just doing sitting trot most of the time--or a very small post. I am much better at sitting trot and it's more comfortable for me. But I will continue to work on posting as well, as it's probably easier on the horse's back.

So, at one point, the girl took off trotting and she got so far ahead and Missy really wanted to keep up so our trot kept getting faster and faster and she didn't want to be held back and I wasn't really fighting with her b/c I wanted to catch up too. LOL So I kept her at a trot b/c I was so scared of breaking into a canter. But she did anyway--she got away from me a bit when my foot bounced out of place in the stirrup. I pulled her up right away, but then she did it again and I realized "hey, this is ok" so I went with it for a minute. We caught up quickly and slowed. Then a few minutes later they got way ahead again and I let them--and then asked for the canter. Wow, did I feel great! Then we got back and I did a little more cantering on their little cross country track. I'm clumsy and feel "heavy", but that will get better with practice. I'm just so proud of myself and happy that I'm a "real" rider again. I knew this horse would be the one. And I did it all in an English saddle! So, life was good yesterday.



Missy is just the kind of horse I love to ride. She's quiet and well trained--stands like a statue at the mounting block, is totally calm for saddling. But in the saddle, she is alert and has get up and go when you want it--but she's not pushy about it and will do what you say. Yesterday was a weird one, because we were both trying to keep up, as horses always do and I was fighting with myself about to do fast or not. When I did hold her back, it wasn't hard or anything. She listens to the rider--but still has a mind of her own. Which is good, it means I have to actually RIDE and not just sit there doing nothing. LOL She will take advantage, like most horses, if I'm being a total dolt or not paying attention, or don't know how to ride.



I will most likely not "fall in love" with this horse. But the "business" of horseback riding with her is awesome and I realize it's what I have desperately needed. I can find other horses or animals to bond with in my life, in an emotional way. What I really wanted was just connection--my hind end in a saddle, having fun with/on a horse. And safety and comfort--which I have with this horse. She's a lot like the horse I rode for years, many years ago. I'm still in the market for a good western lease with trail available, but I'm in no hurry now. I will be happy to ride this horse. And i'm hoping for a really easy Winter and no snow until the first the year--so I can keep riding her as long as possible. No indoor area to ride.



And I won't be taking many pictures either I don't think. I rode for about 2 hours yesterday-on the road and farm. I'm actually spending my time RIDING, instead of filling up time with photo taking, ground work, hand walking and treating sick feet and massaging tense horse muscles. But here are a couple photos. I DO want to have some photo record of my horse time. :)

So happy!!
 

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Discussion Starter #185
Boy oh boy, what fun it is to really ride! LOL Went out by myself today--on the road. Did that for almost two hours and then came back to the farm and rode the cross country track and the arena a little--wanted to show my husband my cantering. :) When I first started cantering today, out there on my own, I was so sloppy the first couple times-slapping onto Missy's back and then I just "clicked" in and found that rhythym and didn't bounce or come up out of the saddle at all--smooth and easy. Such an awesome feeling after all these years! Such a rush. I am still very much in need of polishing--one foot or the other kept slipping forward at a fast trot and sometimes canter and I keep nervously pulling on the reins when we first take off. Realized we were more galloping at one point, because I pulled way back and we just slowed down a lot, but were still cantering. LOL Both of us got a little carried away.



Missy isn't perfect by any means. She's just a horse--and a mare at that. She wasn't overly pleased at going out alone today and rode very slowly the first 3/4 of a mile and kept looking longingly at the fields on the side of the road and indicated she would like to turn around--but she didn't. I did have to "ride" the whole time--there was no just sitting back and letting the reins droop--she was a little naughty a couple times, and we are on the road, so we need good communication. But it was nothing I couldn't handle, thank goodness, and it wasn't even that stressful. And of course coming back she was an angel--except she didn't like to stop and stand while I dug out the walkie talkie to check in with my husband. LOL He was a little worried at me riding off alone, but checking in every 20 minutes or so helped him be at ease. So great that our walkies cover that far, since there is virtually no cell service for miles out there.

My husband noted that I seemed to be a lot more relaxed on this horse and he could tell I was a lot happier and feeling more confident---as he watched me gallop past a couple times. :)

And Missy is pretty incredible. I felt like I worked her sorta hard (I actually only cantered for about a minute or two at a time, at the most) and I was going to cool her out thoroughly since it's cold here and her coat got shaggy fast. So I walked her for a bit in that cross country area--but she keep wanting to trot or run, so I got off, intending to hand walk her, but she was barely damp at all--not blowing at all, she was fine. I swear I could have ridden her twice as long and run her a lot more before she even would have noticed. :) My only big drawback here is Winter. I haven't heard from the other woman I wanted to lease from for the Winter, she's having trouble getting a saddle for her horse and having time to meet me for a trial ride. Once we get snow--riding will be severely limited. So I'm hoping Farmer's Almanac is right and it will be a light Winter. :)
 

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Turns out this 14 yr old was an awesome riding companion. She's been homeschooled her whole life, has an accelerated academic program, is bubbly and kind and funny. We rode for about 2.5 miles.
Yay for awesome riding and awesome homeschoolers! I homeschool my two (age 12–has been homeschooling for 4 years, and age 7–has been homeschooling for 1.5 years), so I am a little biased as to the awesomeness of homeschoolers but all the ones we know are super at ease hanging out with people of all ages.
 

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Discussion Starter #189
Glad you had another good ride. What a difference between horses!
Amen to that! I'm overall a lot more relaxed too--from day to day. Not worrying about the next ride--or looking up how to "fix" a problem. Just enjoyment. My digestive problems are settling down a bit too. Hmmm.....
 

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Discussion Starter #191
Going out to ride tomorrow and I was just thinking of when I went to get Missy out last week. It's a very huge pasture/field area where all the horses are--and they always seem to be at the far end. My husband has been going out with me and good thing, because it's such a huge area, I can't even see any horses--much less the one I want. There are three horses that are similar color to Missy, so until I get right up to them, I can't tell if they are her. Last week, I went up to each one and since I'd only gotten her out once by myself before--I was having trouble trusting I knew who she was. LOL My husband is no help in this area. He's so goofy. If I sent him out there, he probably would have come back with the 17 hand thoroughbred. :) Anyway, I was positive none of these horses were her, but then hubby said there were no other dark horses out there--so I got really confused. Until he finally spotted--in a side area (sort of of an L shaped area) another dark horse. So I went over there--another long walk and THAT was Missy--yes! I now know exactly what she looks like and will not mistake her again. The funny thing is, I thought once she saw me, she would just head for the gate like she did last two times. So I didn't put the halter on her. But then she was going fast--in what I thought was the wrong direction, so I caught her up and put the lead rope around her neck (I thought she was running away from me) and while I was standing there, I realized she was standing right in front of another gate! There are two entrances to the huge field and I never knew it--but she did of course. LOL So, next time, I will trust the "guide horse" and let her lead me to the exit. When she knows she's getting out for a ride--she is very willing and eager to get to the gate. It's actually better if I don't hold on, so I don't have to hold her back to my pace and worry about getting stepped on. LOL But I do seem to have to go right up to her before she'll head for the gate. I'm hoping the lure of treats will get her to come to me or the gate sooner in the future. It's at least a 10-15 minute walk out and back.



Tomorrow should be a beautiful day here--50 and sunny. Looking forward to it! Equine therapy is finally working!! :)
 

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When I started leasing a bay OTTB mare last year, she was in a 3 acre field with like 6 other bay mares (no exaggeration)! I felt so silly, but I actually asked her owner for any tips on knowing which one was her and she was sweet about it. For the first week or two I had a mental checklist: white snip on her nose - check, front blue bell boots - check...etc.

Loved the part about Missy leading you to a second gate - precious.
 

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Discussion Starter #193
Gorgeous Day for a Comedy of Errors!

It was absolutely beautiful yesterday! Sunny, over 50 degrees, no wind, wonderful nature and country smells in the air! If only any of us had been feeling better. LOL I was a little tired after three days of dealing with and worrying about my cat who got injured jumping off the counter--might be a cruciate ligament partial tear, or just inflamed due to patellar luxation, or just a sudden injury to an arthritic area. She's only 12.5 years, but has always felt weak in the back end--not a lot of muscle mass there, but she's never been bothered by it, until now. So she's having to be confined--no jumping and the first night I let her sleep with me--she never leaves the bed anyway--but then she was at my feet and I was afraid to kick her, so I barely slept at all. Next night she was downstairs in my office, so I could sleep--but she cried for a while and it came right up the stairs--and broke my heart and I couldn't sleep. You get the picture. And I'm battling a sinus infection too. Ugh.

My husband is going through some deeply painful mental/personal problems so he's been on the verge of needing to be hospitalized for the last two weeks. So he slept in the car the whole time we were at the farm yesterday.

And then there's Missy. I'll back up.

So, we got her out of the field without incident. I used binoculars to pinpoint her and as soon as I got up to her and showed her a treat--she stuck to me like glue all the way back to the gate. A little too close--she's a bit clumsy with her big old feet, so in a muddy pasture, I prefer her to just "go" or walk farther out to the side. LOL But we did ok. Got her out and in the cross ties. Thought the owners had left the correct saddle out of me--there were two--the tiny, child-size synthetic that is normally Missy's and the old leather one I usually ride her in. But the girth was different and very stiff and hard to get on. And there was a different saddle pad--not a great one--it wouldn't lay flat without a lot of smoothing. Finally got the saddle on and went to get the bridle and the one where hers normally is, didn't seem right. It had some white on it and I was pretty sure hers didn't. So I dug down and found what I thought was hers. But the throat latch seemed to have aged 10 years since the previous week (her bridle is relatively new and stiff) and so had the nose band--plus it grew. Otherwise it seemed the same. Ugh. So I walk her up to the arena and get on and she won't stand still at the mounting block. I finally get on and almost can't reach the stirrups they are so long--even though I put them on my normal holes. Had my husband adjust them, but then I kept not being able to get my foot in the stirrup and realized the irons were small. Not safe. I thought someone had switched the stirrups from one saddle to another. Went back to the barn, couldn't find the other stirrups. Went up to the house and found the owner's daughter and she realized after a minute, I had all the wrong tack. They had not brought the right tack down to the barn. The other saddle is very similar. So she went to get the stuff--and the bridle, brought it and then left. She hadn't brought the other cinch or the other saddle pad. So I used the others and I hate that cinch--so hard to use. Got her all re-tacked and got out to the arena again and Missy was a little better on the mounting block, but not perfect like usual. I get on and ride around a few minutes and my husband takes pictures. Then I look down and think the saddle is too far back--but I'm not sure. I ride around a minute, testing it--cantering a bit. Then I realize the saddle pad is slipping behind the saddle--under it and rolling. Ouch for the horse! So I go back to the arena and re-do the saddle. With that god-awful cinch that takes the strength of hercules to get on. LOL Get BACK on again, and finally am ready to go out on the road. Had a decent ride, although Missy was pretty naughty, for her. She stopped a lot, although she was only hard to get going one time--had to circle her a bit. And she was being naughty at the intersections where I had to cross the highway. She HAS to stand still so I can listen and use what limited vision I have to make sure it's safe to cross. It was late in the afternoon so traffic had picked up. And she did NOT want to wait--almost had to call my husband to drive down and help us cross. But we made it. Then, all the way home, she really wanted to GO and I was having to hold her back tightly in areas that weren't safe for trotting or cantering. She was fighting me a bit on this and jerking her head forward a lot. I rode with as loose a rein as I could in-between to save her mouth.

And about halfway through our ride, my back was hurting so incredibly bad I didn't know how I was going to keep going. But I really wanted to--such a nice day and I so love riding this horse in this area (even when she's being a little sassy) so I did. But I was ready to be done when we got back. Since all of our "cantering" had to turned into more of a hard gallop b/c Missy wanted to get home, I wanted to just do a little more light cantering in the cross country area--to get that nice gentle rhythm, so fun. But then I noticed Missy seemed to be favoring her front leg--maybe. Hard to tell, I walked her around and seemed to not want to step on any gravel at all and stepped a little hard when she did. I had noticed that a couple times out on the road, but thought it was just her showing a bit of attitude, by not wanting to "go" on the way out. But now it seemed like she was actually favoring it a bit--so I didn't ride anymore. And on the way home, she had stopped to pee and released the largest amount of gas I think I've heard come out of a horse! LOL We started going and I said to her, "I bet that feels better". LOL



So, anyway, I hope she's ok. She seemed very unperturbed by the whole thing. Happy to get unsaddled, get carrots and get put back, didn't seem upset at all, even though I found a place on her face missing hair and slightly red. Did I do that? I felt really bad if I did--but she was fighting me a lot a few times. And she was so totally wanted to GO like a bat out of He--, I didn't think she was hurting too badly overall. But maybe she was just feeling bad and wanting to be done. Who knows. I told the owner, she thinks maybe she has an abcess. Their farrier is out every two weeks she said and was due this week I think--so she'll have him check.

Sheesh! What a day! I laughed and told my husband I was feeling so crappy and in so much pain, I think today I was looking forward to our treats at Kwik Trip (every week on riding day) as much as I was the actual riding. :) And yet, even after all the hassle....I am already looking forward to next week! :)

Oh, and even with all this going on--all of a sudden my posting trot is improving and getting smoother and feeling better. Hallelujah. Practice, practice, practice.
 

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Discussion Starter #194
Well, I got my behind kicked yesterday--but also did some kicking! I rode out again with the owner's 14yo daughter. Missy was back to her usual self, thank goodness! She was so naughty last week and the owner told me yesterday that Missy was very naughty in lessons last week too. After doing some jumps, in the cross country track, she would stop just over the jump--before even completing it and put her head down to grave, throwing the kid over neck. Pretty naughty. So it wasn't just my imagination. But yesterday she was fully herself and feeling fine and well-behaved.

So this was the second time going out with "Libby" (not her real name). Apparently she is very happy to ride with me as her mom won't let her go on the road alone (good!) and when she goes with her mom, they don't that far as she has medical conditions that make it hard for her to ride or ride for very long.

So, this time, I was doing "real riding" as I call it, LOL and "Libby" took full advantage! We cantered/galloped a LOT! I am so sore today. It was exhilarating, but exhausting and my back and shoulder muscles today are just screaming at me. But in a good way--sort of. This is what I've been looking for!! As my husband said, I'm "sore and happy". I can feel my core strengthening. I finally got Missy into a good sweat--but for all the fast galloping we did (seemed like a lot to me) she was still only mildly sweaty, under the saddle and her chest--nowhere else--no lather or anything. Wow.

I also finally figured out I CAN talk while I'm galloping away--LOL. Finally found my voice yesterday and if I talk the horse down "easy Missy" plus using reins, she will slow down a bit--and a lot easier than just using reins. Duh! But hey, I'm still getting used to this again. One thing that keeps happening is I keep losing my stirrup. My foot is going forward and I end up riding on my arch--sometimes at a faster trot too. It's so aggravating. I may need the stirrups one notch shorter, but I'm afraid to unbalance myself. May try it next time before going out on the road--see how it feels and if it helps me keep the stirrup better at a run.

Had an interesting occurrence yesterday too! New one for me--I felt like such a teenager again. My saddle pad was slipping back and had gotten far enough back that Missy's shoulders were bare and in contact with the saddle. So we had to fix it. We were still WAY out from home and I cannot mount from the ground without a mounting block. So, we pulled over and Libby got off her horse and I pushed myself back to sit on Missy's rump while she redid the saddle--holding the reins from back there--felt like I was driving, LOL and holding Libby's horse too--and praying everyone stayed still since I was precariously perched. Then, it was time to get back INTO the saddle from behind. Easier said than done. I couldn't get myself over the back of the saddle. With some trying, I was able to get my feet back into the stirrups--leaning way over to find them, but then I still couldn't get the right kind of leverage. Finally, I think I stopped trying to use my hands to "leap frog" the saddle and planted my feet and took the reins and really pushed--and then pulled a little on the reins to help and got back in! Phew! I was then laughing at myself as the 14yo who rides bareback most of the time--for galloping and jumping--is watching this. But she's very sweet. I felt bad about pulling on Missy's mouth to haul myself back in the saddle--but she was SO good about it! Never complained, never got antsy. She did want to move a bit when I was on her rump, but she listened to us and settled down. THAT was a first for me! *giggle*
All in all, a very good day--oh and the weather was beyond gorgeous! 68 and crystal blue skies and sun! Perfection.
 

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Discussion Starter #197
I am so happy that you are really enjoying this lease! You deserve it for everything you went through.

Thank you! My husband is finally happy with the horse situation--now that I'm happy. He we pretty upset that we were spending all this time, with driving and him waiting around--and I was just more stressed out and unhappy. LOL This is SO much better.
 

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Discussion Starter #200
Question: I am looking for a horse to ride for just a couple months over Winter, since Missy has no indoor area to ride. I have a woman offering me an 8 year old Belgian Warmblood who she rides in dressage competitions and showjumping. I know--sounds like way more horse than I need--and way fancier than I need. I've seen photos and videos and it's intimidating. LOL I am such a sloppy hack compared to this professional looking rider and her horse. I do have to try the horse out she said she has to see me ride--I tried to really be honest about my abilities and lack of them and told her exactly what I was looking for--just walk/trot/canter in an arena, one day per week on a safe horse, just over the Winter. She said the horse has some minor spooking issues--just shies away from something if he's worried--but not flighty. And she'll charge me only $100/month for this. Is this worth it for me to even go try the horse? What do you all think? Do some people with a horse like this--and professional photography sessions with it and showing at this level, really not mind if someone likes me comes out to ride their horse? Is she desperate for money? Do you think the horse will be safe? He's kind of young, and large and that part makes me wonder too.

Thanks!
 
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