First of all, a GIANT thank you to everyone who commented on my post and facebook and instagram regarding the great helmet search! I think I will have to suck it up and make the pilgrimage to Dover (turns out, it is a full hour and a half away), to try on all the helmets. Be ready for an epic blog post about all the helmets.
As for Ms. May… she’s been both a delight and a frustration lately hahaha. I think the wet weather has been keeping her from really moving around in her field like she usually does, so she has been a bit more tense and flighty lately.
I rode her last Tuesday night, and it was just a really odd ride for a lot of reasons. First of all, the weather made a SHARP 180 during the day on Tuesday. From 65 during the day, to close to 40 when I was actually riding… and we were riding under the lights trying to stay out of the way of a pretty interesting jumping lesson.
During that ride, she was tense through her whole body, half halts were considered to be suggestions, and the idea of coming off her forehand was a foreign language. I ended up taking my winter gloves off and riding bare-handing (something I NEVER do) because I couldn’t figure out why the connection was SO bad. It varied between her hiding behind the contact to her leaning down and bearing into it.
So what do you do? You do a ton of transitions. Trying to get the horse to accept both the reins and the leg. Or at least… that was my plan for action. The canter was just an impressive feat of holding the horse together with all the aids. Leg stayed on until the hind end engaged, seat stayed deep until shoulders came back to me, hands stayed engaged until she flexed around the contact. Then, suddenly, it all softened, and I had a really nice horse on my hands.
She still wasn’t super supple laterally, but she was engaged and listening. Cool. Then, I spotted my trainer doing a cool exercise.
The exercise had you jump one wing (maybe 2′ high), loop around to the second wing (maybe 2′ high), and then come back to a trot or walk and go over the center piece (maybe 18″). The piece was really more of a spindle shape than a barrel, so it had small sides on it as well. However, it was REALLY narrow. (I would think the same method would work with a small barrel, but they definitely need to be LITTLE.)
The goal was to go perfectly straight over the center piece and really have the horse between your legs. May’s feeling on it? That it wasn’t worth jumping. She was great over one, and two, which looked like proper jumps to her. But over the spindle? Nope… she just stepped over it and knocked poles everywhere. But, she was straight, and I felt bad making NT reset jumps for me when I wasn’t even in her lesson. So we called it good. She was straight, she was brave, she was just UTTERLY UNIMPRESSED.
Friday night into Saturday morning it snowed, so I wasn’t sure if I would make it to the barn. However, by mid-day, the snow had melted off the roads for the most part, and I figured I should probably ride the beast again.
The barn was bustling with activity as NT and some working students and other boarders worked to make sure the place was fully winterfied before a serious cold snap passed through KY this week into next week. (The high this Sunday is 20 degrees, with a low of 4… I told the half leaser she can picks another day to ride haha)
I tacked up May… noting just how wet her feet are. Ugh. And I headed into the indoor. The trainer from the other barn was riding in there, doing one stride tempis around the outside of the arena… nbd. Let me just get on and try to bend right. I hopped on and we walked for a while.. I am not sure why I decided to just walk, but it was a good decision apparently. May got nice and limber, and by the time we went to trot, she was READY to get to work.
She was quick off my leg, but consistent in the contact. She wanted to get heavy through the transitions, so we did a lot of big loopy circles with transitions and changes in direction. I was concentrating so hard on maintaining this great feeling, that I did not see the working student approaching the arena with the massive wheelbarrow. May did, however, just as we passed by the arena entrance and the wheelbarrow was all of 5′ away from entering.
May popped off the contact, threw her head in the area, and SKITTERED away from the door. The WS kept apologizing as I put my leg on, lifted my hands, and reestablished the trot we had before. I told her it wasn’t her fault and no big deal… but I hope she took my word for it.
I spent a lot of time at a barn with some older ladies with some serious fear issues. Anything that you did the spooked their horses resulting in screaming, throwing things, and then at least a week of the silent treatment. I know it came from a place of fear, but I refuse to be that way. Spook my horse. Please. It gives me A LOT of information on where our holes are. (Or just confirming the fact that my horse is a bit high at the moment).
However, May settled right back into work. I did some shoulder ins and leg yields at the trot. They were great… ok. I picked up the canter and did some leg yields both away and towards the wall at the canter… also really good for something we haven’t touched in about 6 months. MMMMMK. I asked for a halt, and she rocked back and came right down, staying on the contact. I shrugged my shoulders. Gave her a pat. And called it good at about 25 minutes of work.
Just as I was leaving the arena, I noticed that a bunch of people were going on a trail ride, so we hopped into that group. What better reward for a yellow pony than a nice trail ride after a great dressage school?
WHEW! LONG POST. If you all made it this far, let me know, do you find that sometimes your best rides follow a ride where you really struggled?
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I won’t even REMEMBER how to ride so love reading all the detail you put in your posts. Thanks and what a good girl May! And umm Remus would have been plastered to the ceiling when the wheelbarrow of death rolled in (or maybe not you never with old TwoFace). HA HA HA
Dang this weather is crazy!! UGH we are in the 50s after today and then like almost 60 on sat then it plunges to the low double digits. CRAZY CRAZY…
hahaha yeah. Same here. 40s then 20s then 40s… idk… I think I will have to bring up May’s heavy blanket on Saturday >.<
Remus doesn’t even have a heavy nor does Tate.
I layer the shit out of them but i finally bought a thermometer to hang in barn and it is cold in there even when they are both in and shut up for night. I have been taking clothes off at night and leaving Remus in a liner but they might have to be dressed all night this weekend.
I know a bunch of places are having sales right now… But it’s so expensive to buy a heavy that you will probably use only a few days a year.
Yeah almost always happened to me haha. A tough ride, and then the next ones were really good. I also found that half of the time, the tough rides were because Amber was mad at me for not paying as much attention to her as she wanted LOL. Like, if I had a busy week, so I missed riding her like 2 or 3 days in a row – yup, she’d be mad at me haha!
I think the sun goes down and May thinks “awesome. another day of not having to work.” then I show up and ruin the whole day hahaha
Yes! I tend to think those tough rides set us up for a really good one.
If you’re trying to hit up the Cincy Dover I highly recommend Equus Now! in Loveland while you’re in the area. Their original location is up in my part of the state (north of Columbus) but that store is great too. Excellent customer service and woman owned ?
Thanks! I will check it out.
My main reason for heading to Dover is due to the fact that I got a bunch of gift cards over Christmas… sooo free pony stuff! But I have heard great things about Equus Now.
Sounds like the work you did on the not so good ride really paid off since you had such a great one next!
It’s been cold like that here for the past couple of weeks. And snow is coming. Yuck! I’m ready for spring!
Our “snow” is already gone, and there doesn’t appear to be more in the forecast… just rain and clear, freezing days. Ugh.
Gem used to be that way. I always swore she knew when she pushed me too far and then came out an angle the next ride so I wouldn’t sell her. Mares. Always have to stay one step ahead of them. I’m glad everything was great the next ride. That melty, I think it and the horse does it feeling is the best there is.
Mares have all the feelings hahaha. And have no problem telling you about them.
I feel like it’s Newton’s Unspoken Law of Horses that you have a good ride after a total strugglebus ride. That’s always been my experience at least! lol
Hahaha I love that “Newton’s Unspoken Law of Horses”:
“Good rides only happen after you pay for them with sore muscles and frustration”
I’m the same way you are when it comes to people doing spooky things. Do it all! Go out of your way to try to scare my horse. I board at a very small adult barn and a couple older ladies there are the exact opposite, which is frustrating. How do you expect to ever be able to take your horse off property?
I hate bad rides in the moment, but when I actually think back to them (even better if video is available), it gives me a lot more insight as to what we need to work on than the amazing rides do. Because horses mess with your mind like that.
Godspeed in this weather! It’s going to be 60 degrees Sunday, then 32 on Monday 🙁
Yeah…. I feel like my bad rides always need time to process. Unfortunately, that manes every horsey person in my life gets to hear about them for 24 hours. At least I listen to return the favor 😉
May this winter be AS SHORT as possible… and a dryer spring than last year would also be greatly appreciated.
I understand people wanting to apologize but I’m of the opinion that unless its maliciously done, my horse needs to deal with it. And Scarlet is a spooky horse! So he reacts to a ton of things. And always has. Probably always will. But he needs to come back to me. If I fall from him freaking out (not likely) I will get back on.