Tuesday, March 19, 2019

March Dressage Lessons on Ronnie

Chunkin up'

  I have climbed out of my hole I have been hiding in.  Winter is almost over.  At least I am telling myself that. While I actually haven't minded this winter all that much, the weather just has not been co operating.  The arena I rent has lessons Tuesday and Thursdays so I avoid riding those nights for my own sanity and just out of respect.  Of course then every Monday, Wednesday, or Friday we have been getting snow storms, ice pellets, torrential rain and if it is nice, we get 75km winds.  Oh winter in Canada is not for the faint of heart.

  I had a few weeks there where I wasn't able to ride at all, but things are turning around and riding is becoming a part of my life again. Yay for sanity!  Veronica had a few months holiday of her own.  My mom was busy with work and then went south for holidays, so we waited until all that blew over before we started to get her geared up for this season.

  She is probably about 10 rides back into the swing of things, and then last weekend my coach was down for our monthly lesson.  We took January and February off from lessons because the weather just didn't work out.  So I have been without a dressage lesson for a few months.  I always can feel myself needing a lesson at about the 3 week mark after my last one, so needless to say I was feeling pretty desperate to get some help.

this was the first day back to work

  Clearly I was needing the help too, after warming up coach Daphne left to her truck and came back with a neck strap.  She made me place the neck strap in my extra finger like you would with a curb rein, in my outside rein, and ride my entire lesson like this.  The purpose is to help train my hands, which I complain about over and over on here, but seriously have you ever worked so hard on something and still make like, little to no progress?  Thats my hands.  Always pulling in their own directions when I don't want them too. Trying to make the horse do things, when really I just want them to be soft and effective. Not to mention, pretty.

  So apparently the neck strap as a rein will stabilize my hand and make me ride from my legs and seat and also get me those Charlotte hands I want so badly.  Immediately, as I walked off I felt my outside hand swing out and pull only to get caught by the neck strap.  And again. And again and again. Oh man, it was going to be a long ride!  It was actually pretty crazy to feel how often my hand was trying to correct Ronnie instead of be the steady contact she needed.  It was pretty much every stride or every few strides.  Daphne warned me my arms would be burning in pain by the end.  As they were, and as was every other part of my body.  Ronnie of course, seemed very happy with the set up.

such a cutie!

  We spent the majority of the lesson working on my position, sitting taller, closing my ribs down with my chest up, hands quiet, and then of course with a better position, Ronnie just came into herself and carried herself better.  Daphne also pointed out that I am always demanding, or making her do things, instead of teaching her the aid.  Like flexion, if she doesn't give I just ask harder and harder until she does.  She showed me how to slow it down, explain the aid to her, then ask properly and reward when she gets it.  Of course we were doing all this while my outside rein is basically stuck to the neck strap and I feel awkward and uncomfortable, but the results shone through.

  I felt like a total numpty for both days of lessons, but watching the video I can see it looks way better than it feels.  Daphne said to me that I can train her to do what she needs to, but if we want her to continue up the levels, then I need to be much more "finer tuned" with my aids, less sloppy, and basically demand better.  Of course we want to do well at Training level this year, but the long term goal is actually training her to be the best horse she can and see how far we can go together.  I have always been a capable rider, but this journey is taking my riding to a whole new level.  It excites and motivates me to be the best I can be.

 I am supposed to ride for the next ten rides at least with the strap, but I think I will use it for at least the month and see where we are at.  There is a short video of our lesson below, see if you can notice my outside rein holding onto it.  Lots to work on before next months lessons! 

Sunday, March 3, 2019

100+ Thoroughbreds

  Ah, my dream.  A farm with 100+ Thoroughbreds all mine.  Just kidding, I wouldn't have enough time to love them all but it's nice to visit a place like this.  My friend Katie had to do a pick up of a sales mare at a Thoroughbred breeding and boarding facility a few hours away.  Having been basically stuck at home for most of the winter I of course jumped at the chance for a road trip to see all the Thoroughbreds!

  There were babies, weanlings, yearlings, 2 year olds, 3 year olds, boarders, stallions, broodmares....over 100 Thoroughbreds.  The ones I wanted were all in the $25,000 and up category so, I guess I have champagne taste on a beer budget.  I'll wait until they are done racing and need a home, thanks. 

  I just wanted to share the pictures to hopefully brighten your day this winter of shit weather.  Which ones do you like?
The owners JRT was making sure we knew who's boss

Cryptorchid gelding, also hock chip. But FREE, and gorgeous and only 3.  With some investment could be fabulous horse. Extremely well bred.

Better angle. 

3 Year Olds

Hello, swoon! Only $25k...lol By Old Forester

4 Year Olds

Broodmares. The left mare is my friends mares dam.

something cooking in that oven


Sunday, January 13, 2019

The Mac that lives

  My beloved Mac died last summer.  It would turn on, then shut off.  Or turn on, and freeze.  This computer was probably 8 or 9 years old, and had worked absolutely perfectly every day up until that one day.  It was a hard realization when I couldn't revive it.  The guy at the local apple repair store told me it's not worth updating and trying to fix.  So I sadly stuck the computer in a spare room on a shelf and accepted the fact my Mac was dead.

  No computer makes blogging pretty much impossible.  Eventually I was able to use my boyfriends laptop to get blogging again and now his laptop has died.  A new computer was on the radar now but it will be a while until I can save for another Mac.  I was cleaning the house tonight and looked at my old Mac sitting on the shelf and thought "hmmmm why not, I'll try it".

  I took it downstairs, plugged it in, pushed the on button and like sweet music to my ears, I hear the trademark sound of when your Mac powers on.  This thing fired right up, and is working like its brand new.  I can't explain it, but it is probably the most exciting thing ever for me right now.  A good computer is like your favourite riding boots, comfortable and reliable.

  So, I can finally blog again.  2019 has started off on the right foot for me so far, and this is just another thing to keep the positive vibes flowing.  Penny and I spent the afternoon having a jumping lesson, and it feels like we are actually learning things together and improving.  It has been a good Sunday, looking forward to spending the night cleaning tack, and catching up on blogs with a glass of wine.


Thursday, December 27, 2018

Merry Christmas from Boss Mare Eventing!


 I really wanted some cute Holiday photos with the girls.  It can be hard to decide who to use for the pictures with three horses.  Penny was out because last time I tried to ride her bareback in the field in winter she took off and tried to kill me. I haven't ridden Emmy yet and for some reason I thought this was probably not the best time to try LOL.  Valley is big and black and so I thought she would be just gorgeous for the photos.  I got dressed, grabbed my bf as photog and took Valleys bridle and wreathe out to the field.  She came right over, took her blanket off and put the wreathe on. She let me mount her and was really such a good girl as we tried to get started.  The problem was the other horses wouldn't leave us alone.  At first it was cute....then, Penny got jealous..

 'Twas the night before Xmas and all that I wanted
Was a Holiday photo that could surely be flaunted
The horses were nestled face first in their hay
while visions of dinner time they dreamed of all day
with a cute white basic onesie on me
and a wreathe with matching bow on my beauty black steed
When out of the back pasture arose such a clatter
Valley trotted off and I said - whats the matter?
Across the pasture we flew like a flash
almost tore the wreath off and ripped open my butt flap
When what to my wondering eyes should appear
But a Chestnut mare, coming at us, filling Valley with fear
With her sass mane toss all lively and quick
I knew in a moment that I would never stick
More rapid than eagles that red head still came
and I whistled and shouted and called her by name
Now Penny! Now Miss Pen!  now Boss Mare!!
Do get the hell away from us, now don't you dare!
She chased her she bit her she kicked her with glee
All with the goal to send someone to the North Pole - me!
I sprang off Valley to my feet and gave out a whistle
and Penny flew away like the down of a thistle
But I saw her head toss and return to my sight
I had to let go of Valley and turned to say
Happy Christmas to you girls, and have a good night!

Then I got the hell out of there before I died.

Horses.  Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to you all!

Friday, December 21, 2018

Bloghop: Favourites of 2018

  The $900 Facebook Pony Blog has given us a really fun blog hop.  Your favs of 2018! And since I am Canadian, I am spelling favourite the Canadian way despite what spellcheck wants me to use LOL 

Favourite Show picture

  Penny showing us her near perfect form over a skinny chevron, third part of a bank combination at her first event back.  My leg obviously needs work this winter and my stirrups are twisted...hot mess.

Penny and I back eventing after a long hiatus to work on dressage. She didn't miss a beat

Favourite non-show picture

  Indy and I schooling at Lanes End with friends.  It was rainy, hot as hell, and we all challenged each other to step up our game that day.  Really fond memories of this day.

I love this photo for simply showing what a beautiful animal Indy was

Favourite thing you bought

  I bought a new horse...that is pretty unbeatable.

has to obviously be my new girl, Miss Emmy!

Favourite moment on horseback

  Pennys first event back after 2 years of dressage work scoring a 38 which for us, was a huge success.  I actually cried. Over a dressage score. In a good way. Oy.

dressage iz pozzible

Favourite moment out of the saddle

2 days spent with Charlotte Dujardin was beyond inspirational

Favourite between the ears picture

Penny and I on the top of the hill at my parents #views

Favourite horse book or article

I've had this forever but just read it this summer...carried it everywhere with me.

Favourite horse ridden/groomed/cared for that's not your own

  Obviously this has to be the one and only Veronica.  My moms mare who I have been showing dressage.

I love the Ronnie Rocana

Favourite funny picture of your horse

I couldn't pick just one....

sorry ponies

Favourite jump you jumped successfully or movement you conquered

  Our first event back, these brush were massive and skinny in person.  Penny said "no-problemo".  The feeling of clearing these fences was indescribably.

Favourite horse meme or funny picture

hilarious and inspirational

  Let's see your 2018 favs!

Thursday, December 20, 2018

Jump Lesson with Penny Sunday Dec 16 2018

the lady doth learneth

  It's been quite the week.  I have been studying for an exam in my profession and I finally wrote yesterday afternoon.  There hasn't been much pony time the last few weeks in the final stretch of my studying.  I finally feel like I have my life back now that its over!  On top of that I actually accepted a position at a new job, so I have been dealing with leaving my current one and getting ready for the new one.  Everything is in order now though, so I can get back to what I really want to be doing, and that is riding.

  I snuck out Sunday afternoon to have a jumping lesson with V.  I was on the fence if I should go because I really should have been studying, but really, who can turn down a jumping lesson on a gorgeous Sunday?  I had a really good ride earlier in the week on Miss Pen so I was hoping she would be on her best behavior. Video from our flat ride.

that carrot face though

  We started the lesson with a short warm up and got to work trotting down the long side over three poles then several trot strides over a single rail.  Eventually the rail would be a fence.  We did this several times in each direction.  Like our last lesson, V had me allow Penny to maintain a bigger stride so she didn't have to struggle over the poles.  Basically Penny doesn't maintain the rhythm when you half halt.  She listens but speeds up again. It's a work in progress, but I obviously have a habit of holding her most of the time because of this.  We are trying to retrain my riding and her.

  I make sure not to let the corner take too much away from her.  I have to trust her to maintain the trot and not run off after the poles.  I allow her to have a bigger trot with short reins and very soft hand.   She was really good through this exercise and you can see she is starting to figure things out (me too).    We added the fence at the end, with a 5 stride waiting line.  I had to give her a hard half halt only once this lesson, which, hey, its an improvement.   My focus was not taking back and shortening her into the first fence so she feels like she has to gun it down the line.  She was jumping in fairly quiet and only rushing the last stride before the pole at this point.

Sunday Funday

  Once we could navigate this successfully, we added another x rail, so we jump in, 2 strides, then 3 strides over the pole at the end which was lowered again. She was being adorable and at every halt checking herself out in the mirror in front of her.  We then added the third jump in the line.  We played with how much I can let go, and how I still have to give little half halts to prevent her from rushing the last stride or two.  She does need to learn to keep the same pace without this, but she is not there yet.  Right now it is walking that fine line of too much and not enough hand. 

  To finish, we did the gymnastic, halted, picked up canter and cantered down over the diagonal, then around to a waiting 5 stride line, and back across to another vertical on the diagonal.  This actually went pretty well, and we finished the lesson on a pretty much perfect fence down the diagonal after doing the course a few times.  V asked me, why can't all the fences be jumped like that?  Good question V, good question LOL. 

Penny watching, and listening.

 Some takeaways from my lesson; keep working on a soft hand, Penny has to learn to maintain her pace without needing to be half halted or held.  I need to keep working on sitting better to the fences and keeping my hands low and soft.  The best takeaway of the day is that I realized how rideable and mobile Penny is becoming since I have really made a program with her and stuck to it.  She can do these courses, with lots of transitions, changes, small turns etc very effortless now and before just cantering a circle was a bit of a struggle.  I am really excited about how strong she is becoming and very pleased it is still early in the winter at this point.

  We have another lesson this Sunday, so excited for more fun stuff!

Friday, December 14, 2018

PEMF Day for the Girls

Emmy waiting her turn

  Black Friday didn't bring me many goodies, I bought an Amigo rain sheet for Emmy to match the other girls at a really good price but that was it.  The most local PEMF administrator was having a sale though, 50% off sessions.  She is about 2 hrs from me so I messaged her and asked if she ever comes down this way as I have always wanted to try it.  It turns out she was already planning on seeing a few horses in my area so she could happily add me to the list.

  If you haven't heard of this type of therapy, here is a basic explanation;
PEMF therapy uses bursts of low-level electromagnetic radiation to heal damaged tissues and bone, to relieve injury-related pain, and even to stimulate organs.  The idea is that pulses at low frequencies will pass through the skin and penetrate deep into muscle, bones, tendons, and even organs to activate the cell’s energy and encourage its natural repair mechanisms.  PEMF is catching on as a non-invasive way to approach injuries, chronic pain, and even chronic conditions like depression and diabetes.
 Some of the benefits are;

  • Rate of injury healing
  • Immune function
  • Sleep
  • Depression
  • Physical energy
  • Bone healing and density
  • Circulation
  A few weeks later we had a date with the PEMF machine!  Penny went first.  She was totally fine with the tubes and the lady handling her and the machine.  She quickly relaxed and seemed to almost smile once the machine got going.  The tubes just lay against her, and the electromagnetic waves do their thing.  Her muscles begin twitching.  It is really cool to see.  Some areas twitch more than others.  Some horses will twitch more on one side than another, like when their neck or shoulders are being done.

A very chilled out Miss Pen

 She moved the tubes down her back, and also over her hind end.  She ended on her neck and chest, and if any areas needed extra attention she would work those areas again. While she did her body, she also used the leg tube on each leg over a period of time.  Penny stood totally still only moving a bit when the tubes were readjusted.  When she was done we moved onto Valley and then Emmy.  Both girls also stood perfectly for the whole procedure.  Even Emmy who is just a month off the track, gave us no issue.

Valley getting her big booty done
working on Emmy - shes already gained so much weight

 They all seemed to really, really enjoy it.  Once they were all done I turned them back out for the afternoon.  I was observing them to see if there was any noticeable change.  Penny went and parked beside the round bale and slept for at least 3 hours. It was hilarious.  She must have been so unbelievably relaxed after her session, and that is not like her personality.   So I was happy to see that. Even if it just super relaxes the horse, I would say that is a positive effect of the therapy.

  I rode her a few days after and she felt amazing.  She was fresh with energy but in a good way.  The other two girls seem their happy selves.  I think I would certainly go for more PEMF therapy in the future on my girls.

 Have you ever used PEMF? What did you think?

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