Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Y U Do That? A Rant


  Do you guys spend a lot of time on Social Media?  I mean, Instagram, Facebook....maybe you are drawn to CoTH like I am?  I use Instagram a bit, I started an account for my blog @bossmareeventing.  I only follow horse accounts on there, and that way it stays separate from those I follow on my private account. Some people overlap, but generally I really enjoy seeing all the horse owners from around the world and what they do with their horses.

 Anyways this isn't really about social media.  It's more about riding with a purpose.  This will probably come off as bitchy but oh well.  Not to be totally judgmental, but do you ever look at some of the posts online and think, what is the purpose of that exercise? Like, Y U DO THAT?  I mean, I know there is a lot of back yard ya hooos riding around posting videos and what not and that's all fine with me.  But I also see people who are more serious riders, who show etc and are working their horses and I just wonder if anyone ever told them about the basics training horses and riders.  I don't actually care about these riders - what they lack in knowledge is their own loss. But from a curiosity sake I find it fascinating.


  Every time you ride, you are training your horse.  Every time you set up an exercise, gymnastic, practice a movement, you are training your horse.  What the exercise does for your horse is almost more important to understand than how to actually ride the exercise.  For example, I see a horse rushing the fences.  The rider is jumping a single fence or maybe a related distance and the horse runs through the exercise.  So what is the point of this exercise.  It does nothing but encourage the horse to keep running at the fences.  I see people post themselves jumping massive courses on horses they are trying to make more careful, but they are just galloping around at these huge fences.  What is the point? How is this exercise helping your horse become more careful? Newsflash, it isn't.


 I see riders lamenting about their horses not going on the bit, but when they are riding, they are not doing anything to encourage this. They are doing exercises and have no idea what they are for or what their purpose is.  No planning, no thought going into the process whatsoever.  I guess I'm just ranting about this.  If people spent a little more time educating themselves, investing in lessons or a trainer, and actually thought and planned out their ride, what they will work on, and what purpose they will bring to their ride I can assure you they will see much improvement in these issues.

  Riding with coaches who not only have taught me how to ride, but WHY you do everything you do has changed my riding for the better.  Having an understanding of the movements you ask your horse to perform, how it effects their mind and body, and the long term results of this is a game changer.  When I am working with Penny lately, if she is resistant I just go back to my thoughts - "push her into the bridle, lengthen her neck", whatever my mantra is that gets me back to the feel I need.  Even just thinking this results in her relaxing and going back to being in front of my leg.


  If you don't want to learn and improve, don't bitch about it on Social Media with a video accompanying said bitching that is demonstrating actions most likely making the problem worse.  I highly encourage everyone who is out riding to start being more mindful about it.  If you do yoga you will understand this concept.  If your horse is struggling with something you are asking, take a minute and think if what you are asking, and how you are asking, is going to be successful in achieving what you are set out to achieve.  Are you riding with purpose, or just going through the motions.  Are you working on transitions, and do you know WHY you are working on those transitions?

  In blogger land the riders won't really need this reminder.  Most bloggers are more aware as riders and horse owners than the average, at least that is my experience.  Next time you work with your horse, whether on the ground or under saddle, just take the time to think about what we are asking and why.  The mind is a powerful aid that is rarely mentioned, but if you think about it, when we are scared and nervous it can have damaging effects on our rides.  So imagine if were present, thoughtful, and inquisitive in our rides, and what progress this could produce.


  Are you a mindful rider, or do you just get out there and ride around until it feels good or your horse is tired?

Miss Pen tired before she even starts

Friday, August 11, 2017

Yet We Still Improve


  It has been adjustment moving from a 17 acre farm to a much, much, smaller one.  There is not much room here.  There is no wash stall (yet).  There is no cross country I have built for the last 6 years.  There is no 200x180 groomed professionally installed ring to ride in with big arena lights at night.  Yet here I am, riding two horses a night.

  The footing in my "ring" is just dragged grass.  The ring is uneven although fairly flat.  It can be hard.  It can be lumpy.  I pick rocks and sticks out of it every day.  There is no fence around it, no gate.  There are no lights, no fancy jumps or room to do whole courses.  Yet here I am, riding in the darl, and my horses are improving.




    I might not be able to school big gymnastic lines at home like I used to.  I might not be able to go out on the cross country and get my horses brave before an event.  But I am out there, riding.  There are some dead trees we jump.  There's a natural ditch I put two wood poles on either side, and we trot over it.  It might not be fancy, but yet here we are, riding.

  The biggest change I have noticed in down sizing my farm and not having boarders, is that I have much more time to ride.  To stand in their stalls, and just hang out.  Sure there is work to do. Things to fix. Things to build, improvements to be made.  But here I am, riding.  Almost every day, my horses are working.




And the funniest thing of all?  They are going better than ever.  Penny has improved more in the last two months than she has the entire time I have owned her.  Indy steadily improves and we are becoming a team.  Valley has noticeable improvements every single ride.  So what is the magic that is happening?

  You don't need fancy, you just need functional.  You just need a dream and a plan.  At least for me that's it.  I am the happiest I have been in a long time, and it is reflecting in my riding and thus, in my horses.  There is no excuse not to ride.  I'm riding in a bumpy field in the dark, but my horses and I don't seem to mind one bit.




Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Introducing Miss Valley Rocana


 No, that's not really her name.  But that's what I like to call her, because she looks a lot like Michael Jungs Fischerrocana.  I couldn't steal the Fischer part in case I get sued so I stole the Rocana part.  Plus it sounds awesome and fancy, and well, that pretty much describes Miss Valley Rocana to a T.

  Valley was gifted to me by an amazing friend/connection I have in the Thoroughbred industry, Linda.  I first met Linda through my horse Parker.  Linda had raised him from a foal, along with many other Thoroughbred babies on her farm here in Ontario.  I had already adopted the mare Veronica (formerly Rachel), through Long Run Thoroughbred Retirement Society thanks to the help of Linda.  Ronnie, who is now living on my moms beautiful farm is in training to become a fancy dressage horse.  Linda had contacted me in the fall of last year about Ronnies half sister that was coming back to her farm after being retired from the track.



she loves the attention and stands like a boss mare

 She was 3, a big dark bay and rumored to be a nicer mover than Ronnie, and the same temperament.  She said I needed this horse (ahh...don't do this), and that she was so nice that if I didn't take her she would be scooped up in a hurry and for a good chunk of change. Ahh...send me pictures please.  So she did.  I wanted her.   I knew I didn't need another horse. But wow, she was nice.  And Linda, and my other track connection Kaila have never once led me astray.  Their horses are always exactly what they say, and always nice, and sound, and virtually issue-less as Tbs go.  So I said I would take her. Figure the rest out later.

  It worked out that my first event in the fall of last year we were able to swing by and pick her up on the way home.  She was tall and leggy and a bit meek.  She loaded right onto the trailer. Bonus.  She came home and I threw her in an empty stall (hard to believe I had one eh).  She was a bit timid and shy at first.  It took her a few weeks to really settle. Right away I noticed how vocal she was.  She loves dinner and breakfast and always calls out to me as soon as I open the door so that was pretty adorable.  Another thing I noticed that although she was a bit shy, she was very brave about exploring her surroundings.  Then, when she was turned out for the first time I noticed what a mover she was.  Wow, can she move.  Big, floaty, fancy trot mover.  Miss Valley Rocana.

  I took my time with her getting to know her.  Brushing her every night and getting her used to her new life off the track.  She hated having her mane combed or her under belly touched.  She was fine if you tied her though so I would do that every night to brush her mane.  Over time she became more and more outgoing.  Not hiding when I went to pat her.  Coming to see me out her stall door.  When I moved farms my horses had to stay at my parents for a month and she started to come out of her shell even more.  With that her very sweet and kind personality started to shine. She is just an absolute sweet heart.  I rode her for the first time in the comfort of my moms arena and she was honestly foot perfect.  She was relaxed, quiet, and even reaching down to stretch. OK then...this was promising.



such a silly mare

love

  I started working her more regularly at my new farm, just a month ago.  She has an incredible work ethic.  Although she loves to call for her friends, she gets less vocal every ride, but it doesn't detract from her work.  She does exactly as asked with no shenanigans.  She is really quite a dream to be around.  Her canter is so naturally balanced and her trot so incredibly floaty.  I have been taking it very slow with her just working on the very basics.  Being only 4, we are in no rush.  She is signed up to do the Retired Racehorse Project in October in Kentucky.  I will asses whether she is ready or not at a later time.

  Valley is a big bay mare.  She sticks 17hh on the dot and has a large barrel and long legs.  She has a huge shoulder, and big nostrils. She is short backed and uphill.  She is pretty much built to event.  With her brave curiosity, I am excited to see how she is over fences.  She is by Vibank out of Serenity Prevails.  She has Storm Cat, Bold Ruler, and Deputy Minister lines, let's not forget Northern Dancer and Vice Regent.  She is related to Jessica Pheonix's Exponential and she looks very similar.

just chillaxin on the long rein

such a good girl


gotta have the derp in there too


baby stuff


just her normal trot lol


 She is my future event horse I hope.  She makes me smile every single day and I enjoy working with her always. Eventer or not, she will be with me always.  This is Miss Valley Rocana everyone.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

XC Schooling at Abydos


  On Sunday my friends and I headed to a local farm to do some cross country schooling.  Almost everywhere has been closed this year because of all the rain we have received, so when Abydos opened up we were pretty pumped to head over.  Although all their jumps were not ready, there was a couple of fields with everything we needed.  Bank, ditches, water, and lots and lots of coops!

  There isn't much to say other than we had a great time. Indy was absolutely perfect, albeit a little excited and strong.  He went down the big bank easily, and over the ditch - both the small and the big one first time no problem.  He also went right into the water.  I was able to put a course together and work on keeping him off his forehand and get accustomed to the type of ride he needs. Still getting used a horse that isn't all sit up and wait. This is the type of outing we need more of.  Lots of practicing actually galloping and stringing fences together.

  We did all Entry and Pre-Training fences and he didn't hesitate or look at anything.  He was jumping really nicely out of stride and we just had an absolute blast.    I will let the pictures tell the story.  With another outing like this we will be ready to tackle Entry level again. I will have to do another post with the pics of my friend Katies pony Cross.  Shes 19, 12hh, and BEAST xc.  Seriously. You gotta see this thing.


warming up in the stadium ring

my hunky horse

over the liverpool with water

not sure what happened here, new style? LOL
Remember my old horse Archie? Here's Dana and him - shes 9 or 10 months post baby, hes 17 now

warm up fence

me trying to not touch his face



getting the hang of these drops


sneaking in a pic of the super pony


majestic as f*ck

ditches now our bitches


swoon <3 font="">



making it look easy

3ft coops no prob

this was first part of a 4 stride bending line

2nd fence in the line



trying to be a wing for my friends pony - getting run over

Indy was displeased with this

she can jump though!!

note Indys face now LOL NO TOUCHY
all smiles



well deserved face scratch

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