Friday, January 11, 2019

My mare is the best mare

So there was the 2 weeks off due to my vacation. Then there was another  week off due to being sick (there was a short road/trail ride before I was officially sick). After 3 weeks off, and having about 75% of lung function, I saw this and couldn't resist.  Yep.  That is a jump grid.
Jomps?! Finally something other than flatwork?! YES please!
Can I say how awesome my mare is? On Sat and Monday I free lunged her and while she had some go, she wasn't nutso. On Tuesday I felt good enough to try to ride, saw the grid and I threw on my jump saddle. I forget sometimes how amazingly comfortable the damn thing is. 

I couldn't do more than a couple laps of two point at a time, but we went over the tiny little crossrails like a boss and Mia never set a single foot wrong.  The entire ride. Even when we did them all at angles. No speeding up, no taking off, no hesitating, no spooking, no acting like an idiot, she acted like we had been doing this every day for the past 3 months and was bored to tears. GAH I love this mare!

On Wednesday, they had taken down the 3rd jump but still had jump standards up for the first 2 jumps. So of course I had to jump again! This time I put the jumps up to 2' (eventually 2'6") verticals. Want to know what my mare did? She stopped this ripe idiot from falling off. Yep. So I started down the line at a trot (it was set as a canter-in distance) knowing we needed to be forward. Butttttt this rider sat there like an idiot. We went over the first jump okay enough. At the second jump, Mia was not at the right distance. The idiot was leaning forward from the awkwardness of the first jump. Mia WANTS to jump, so she does despite being at a virtual standstill (and no leg from rider). Idiot rider has no contact, no leg, no position, and does a small airs above the saddle.  What does Mia do? On the landing, she stopped and glared at me with her left eye. She didn't shift, she didn't sidestep, she didn't pause, all of which would have helped the rider fall off. Instead she looked at the idiot with a "WTF is your problem" expression.

She got lots of treats and lots of apologies for the rider not doing... well, anything, and for a thank you for not letting me fall off. All she would have had to have done is stepped, anywhere really, and I would have slid right off. I haven't come that close to falling off in a very long time, I am so happy with her. Low and behold, that was enough to snap my stupid idiot self out of whatever and we rode to every fence like seasoned professionals and had not a single incident afterwards.
I am good mare, so more treats?!
On the plus side, my saddle makes it SUPER easy to hold position. It is super comfortable to ride in and my horse was amazing. The downside is a really long ago habit apparently has popped up. At a bad spot, I bring my hands to my belly. Which helps exactly no one. The plus side is that when I do this, I open my hands (literally) and I never ever pull on the reins! The down side is when I land, I then have either A. super long reins or B. no reins.  Adding this issue to the "need to fix again" category.

It is now Friday and I am about 95% recovered from being sick. I have FELT fine since Sunday, however my lung function has been significantly diminished until this past day or so. I had to bow out of a clinic with Allie Sacksen due to my health (or lack thereof), but fingers crossed she will be back and I will be in fighting form. I hope everyone else has been riding and has avoided this death cold!

Friday, January 4, 2019

Back from vacation, just in time to be sick

Vacation was awesome. I visited Covell's Clydesdale Ranch and rode a Clydesdale. I rode a horse on the beach. I spent a lot of time on the beach, actually. Lots of sun, lots of sand, and nary a bit of the rain that has been inundating us here in the northeast.

I found out about Covell's Clydesdale Ranch from Karen at Bakersfield Dressage. She had taken a ride on them and recommended them.
While I am overall happy with the experience, nothing bad happened and I got what I paid for, I left disappointed. The ride wasn't nearly as long as I expected, the horses hadn't been groomed (ie. caked on mud) and the guide spent the entire time chatting with a friend who came along.
Thunder was my ride
Oh well, bucket list checked off. It wasn't a bad experience, perhaps I had built it up in my head too much? I thought it was a 1-2hr ride (45 mins, with 10 min halt break), I thought the tour guide would be interactive (she wasn't, unless I asked her questions), I thought we were doing more than riding to the top of a hill in a cow pasture (I thought it was riding through hills, not to the top of a single, long hill).
Walking after cows in the pasture
The ride on the beach was much better, despite it being a mess. I was supposed to go out with another guy and the guide and there was another group of 4 beginner riders.

My ride, Apache
Before I showed up, the guy threw a fit and refused to ride with me so I had to ride with the beginner group. I didn't really care, it just meant nose-to-tail walking for the entire ride. However this caused issues in which horses were assigned because "my" horse was a jigger if he didn't "run a lot" first. They asked if I would be ok with the horse originally intended for the 2nd group's tour guide and the 2nd tour guide would ride the jigger. I was fine with that, though "my" horse is now the only horse afraid of water. *eyeroll* 

Bucket list, riding a horse on the BEACH!
Overall the ride went very well. I was super happy to have not had the jigging horse, bc the tour guide did not have an enjoyable ride. At ALL. My horse was decent enough, his issue was actually the waves going out vs afraid of water He got disoriented and didn't like the sinking feeling. I tried showing him that it was ok when he would look to the shoreline, but I only got him in the water a half dozen times and I wasn't going to spend my ride training him.

On the trails at the beach
There was a black and white draft cross who LOVED the water and kept trying to go deeper. It was fun watching this beginner rider try to haul this horse back up to shore when the horse kept trying to go swimming. HA!  I would recommend them, and they were quite affordable. My guide, Kira, was very amusing and interactive.
Baby medium trot developing
The downside of riding in a western saddle two days in a row, they were both square seats and I actually bruised my seatbones. Ouch! It kinda hurt to sit for a couple of days. #Vacationproblems. Getting home was actually pleasant, the airline upgraded us to first class on the flight to Chicago so the long flight was enjoyable.  After we got home, SO got sick. Then I got sick. And now we are both sick. Lots of coughing, sneezing, and nose blowing has left me with a very, very sore nose and a possible pulled rib muscle.  SMDH.  I did ride Mia on a short ride on the road New Years Day and then for about 20 mins yesterday. She was foot perfect and while I have a little work in getting balance and stamina back, we will get there. Just in time for the deep freeze of winter haha.

Need to get back to this
I haven't been following blogs, many apologies. I hope everyone had a great holiday and good new year and is doing well with their ponies! Fingers crossed that I will be feeling better by next week and I can finally get back to a regular program again.