It’s the learning in between that I love!

It has been a great month of riding!  Totally loving working with my little Cierra girl!  And I think she is enjoying it too!  It is taking us less time to feel comfortable and settle in and I feel like we are both enjoying it!  She has such a beautiful little trot!  It’s so smooth and feels balanced! We have figured out what seems to work for her, we have tried a few different things-more rides less time, less rides more time and it seemed like more rides less time was going to work for her but lately it seems she has been happy with less rides.  It just seemed like she wasn’t retaining anything and that our rides were feeling like the same ride as our first ride so we thought more rides, less time would make it so that she could retain what she was learning.  But now she is doing well with 2 rides a week and we are still on the lungeline but the last few weeks she has felt like we are progressing and will soon be off the lungeline!  She also feels nice and solid lately and is not spooky!  Last week we had a huge windstorm, I did not ride but I did bring her in so that I could put her winter blanket on and she did not bat an eye at the wind blowing through the barn and rattling everything!  But the other day she spooked at the cat walking by her pen while I was putting her halter on!  Such a silly girl!  My big guy last week was super spooky with the wind blowing through and I did not ride him either!  He wasn’t super energetic to lunge mostly wanting to stand as close to me as possible!!  After I put his blanket on though because it was making noises it was sending him into a few spazzes while I was bringing him back to his pen!  I was totally okay to not ride!

We are still working on collections and extensions and haunches in and shoulders in with my Mister Magoo.  We are getting them at the trot but not at the canter yet, however it’s starting to get better, at least for the collections and extensions!  We are also working on the spiral exercise and are getting better at it.

I am feeling pretty content about where I am going with both of my brats!  It’s been a pretty forward progression lately so it’s been pretty great!  While I love horse shows and showing what I really love is the training time in between.  We are having fun and are really enjoying learning and improving!  I also love the fact that working with Cierra has totally improved my riding with Mister!  Going back and filling in holes and giving myself reminders seemed to have really helped us!  And maybe that’s why Mister has been so content lately!

Until next time-happy riding and continued learning!

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Finding balance!

It’s been a great week and I’m finding the balance between the 2. I’m working Mister 5 days a week, one being a lunge and 4 rides and Cierra 2 days a week. Plus Mister is getting a couple days that are just his! He is not used to having to share his time with me but we are getting there!

This week Mister has been super happy! He actually has really been enjoying hanging out with me! And our rides have been pretty amazing! His trot is absolutely beautiful and the canter is getting there! We have worked on our transitions and they are getting nicer and nicer! Our collections and extensions are really coming together as well!! It’s super exciting and Mister just seems to be so happy learning again!! I think this last show has really bolstered us!!

Cierra has also been pretty awesome! Well not the other day, it had been over a week since I had done anything with her and it was pretty busy at the barn so I think maybe she was distracted! But at any rate she was grumpy and not focused! Although I did get a couple steps of canter on her and it was incredibly smooth!!! The next day though she was pretty awesome! A storm even came through and she didn’t care, she did not bat an eye lash even though the rain was pelting the tin roof! I was so happy with her!! She got lots of hugs!

Next week it’ll be lunging them both on Tuesday and then Mister and Cierra on Wednesday and Thursday and then just Mister Friday and Saturday! I can’t wait!! But right now I’m enjoying time with my family for Thanksgiving! I took a few days extra days off work and got to hang out with my horses and friends and then got to come home and spend time with my family too! Life is all about balance and I’m finding mine!

Craziness and Colic

Horses always have a way of making your life interesting!! This week I was working with Cierra and giving Mister some time off. He has worked really hard the past few weeks and we had such a great show I felt he needed some time off!  And Cierra needs to be working again!  So Wednesday was Cierra’s day and she was wild!  It was windy and she hasn’t been working much the last few weeks.  She seems to revert back to wild behaviour if she has been left to her own devices for too long! She definitely likes consistency! But I was sick a couple days this week so I couldn’t do multiple days in a row like I like to do,so I worked with her yesterday and she was much happier and calmer. Maybe it was just the wind!  She is a pretty neat little filly!  She is looking a little bum high lately so I think she’s headed into another growth spurt!  So I think we will take it easy with her until she evens out.

And my Mister Magoo well he decided I needed a few grey hairs!  I got a phone call from my riding instructor saying he was looking sick and we may need to call the vet!  That is not a phone call anyone wants to get!  I got out there and he was definitely uncomfortable-pawing and pacing and looking at his side, but thankfully he did have gut sounds and had gone to the bathroom.  We did call the vet though because after 3 hours he wasn’t getting any better and she said give him some Bute and if he isn’t better in 2 hours we would need to call the on call vet and haul him into her.  It was so hard seeing him so uncomfortable!!  But after the meds he seemed to relax a bit and after an hour he was eating again and had stopped pacing.  So I went back to work and my riding instructor had said that he hadn’t stopped eating and was looking much more relaxed!  So that made me relax at work.  Today my riding instructor said he was running around eating this morning and looked much happier than yesterday.  So I went out and gave him a light lunge and he did walk, trot and canter both ways and while he wasn’t as energetic as he would have been since he did not work at all this week, but he was more energetic than the day before.

I think now I’m going to have to find the balance between the two because I’ll give Mister a break and go full board with Cierra or I’m working on something with Mister and then just throw Cierra to the back burner.  Neither horse is enjoying that right now.  I’m going to have to come up with a schedule and work with them both and somedays it will be both of them which means I will have to get up earlier on some days or move a bit quicker and chat and hang out a bit less!  On some days-there will be other days I can hang out and chat too!

Until next time-here’s hoping it will be a long time before I have to deal with that again but with horses who knows.  I have been incredibly lucky that they have been such strong and healthy animals.

The first last and only show of the season!

So it has been a great few weeks getting ready for our first show of the year!!  The focus of the show was to have a happy and relaxed test and to get my circles accurate! Well we had a happy and relaxed show and Mister moved beautifully!  The judge even said we had such wonderful harmony and an excellent attitude!  Plus we had good rhythm through all our gaits and our transitions are getting better too!  But those circles for some reason get me stumped!!  They start off excellent and I have lots of comments on how nice they start but then they end up being oddly shaped-either too big or they end up being cut in half!  I will keep working on them!!  Next year when I finally get them my marks will reflect that!  So now I have a few goals to work on for the fall and winter.  I can’t wait until the spring when we can show off all our hard work!  But here’s a few pictures of the show!  One of my friends took a few more on her camera so I’ll post those next time!

 

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In the messiness of life you find the gold nuggets.

It’s been an interesting week with my Mister Magoo!! Training isn’t always sunshine and roses! Thursday Mister dumped me in the dirt when he was mad about something he thought we couldn’t do so we’ve been working through that the last few days and he has become amazing. Working through the messy stuff is the only way to get through to the great stuff, both in riding and in life! It was a difficult few days and on Friday I had a thought I didn’t want to keep it doing it. On Friday I was so upset I was in tears and wanted to just give up on Mister and it still upsets that I even had that thought. But we worked through it and on Saturday that horse was amazing both in his attitude and what we were able to do! He is such a smart horse! It really doesn’t take long for him to figure things out both for good and well for evil lol He teaches me way more than I could ever repay him for.  

Often we don’t want to work through the messiness, we prefer to have our rides and our lives to be neat and not have any conflict.  But it’s in those moments of messiness that we see who we are and what we are capable of!  Mister and I have been fighting with contact for years!  We have never been able to get it!  Whenever I would put pressure and contact on him he would fight it and I would give in!  So I was teaching him to fight it and that I would give in.  It finally came to a head on Thursday when he bucked me off after I had been putting some pressure on.  So we went back to the snaffle and did some exercises and kept putting pressure on and did a whole bunch of ground exercises and while it isn’t perfect we had a really nice ride on Saturday and he seemed much more willing to accept  contact and pressure and generally was a much more willing horse in general.  It was nice to see that once we worked through things there was a visible improvement! It isn’t something that I’ll be able to leave and forget about though, I will continually need to be checking it and making sure that we are working on it.  Just like in life there are things that we need to continually be checking in on and working on.  I really love how whatever I’m working on in riding usually translates into whatever I’m dealing with in the rest of my life.  Horses are really the greatest mirrors, not to say that they don’t have their own personalities and Mister really does have his own personality, but he also  mirrors my own which makes it so I need to deal with whatever is going on so that I don’t wind up on my butt in the dirt again!

I’m looking forward to what this week brings!!  I know that I will need to keep working on it but I also know that we can work past it!  I am super excited to ride tomorrow!  So until next week, happy riding!!

 

Passing on the horse bug!!

I’ve had an excellent couple of weeks.  Mister has been amazing while we’ve been working on our dressage and then last week I had my nieces come visit so we got to show off a bit and hang out while my nieces had their lessons!  They had sooo much fun! My one niece has a horse but her horse is quite difficult for a beginner so she does not ride her and doesn’t have much opportunity for lessons anywhere else.  And my other niece loves horses but doesn’t have one and has only had lessons a couple times a year when she comes to visit!  So both are pretty inexperienced and they both cantered on the first day!  The horse they were on decided they were ready!  They loved it!  They rode 3 days in a row and got to ride on 2 different horses and got to try out the english saddle!  Watching them trying to learn posting was pretty funny!  Definitely reminds me of how much fun learning to ride was when I was first learning!  And always keep that joy of learning when you ride!  This is a fun and lifelong passion so always strive to keep learning fun and to pass it on to the next generation!! Here are some pics of our adventures!  Tomorrow I’m learning some new exercises so I will try to make sure I remember that and not get frustrated if I can’t figure it out!!

 

When it’s too hot to ride you have a bath!

We decided to give Cierra a bath and get a few updated pictures of her!  Last year my friend and I took a few pictures of our 2 fillies.  They both came on the trailer together last year and have been the best of friends ever since!  They were in pens beside each other for a few months, then we separated  them but eventually we put them back beside each other again!  They are the same age (only weeks  apart) but came from different farms.  My friends filly Mika is a Quarterhorse and Cierra is an Andalusian cross (Paint and Thoroughbred-so pretty much an Andalusian Quarterhorse cross!).  And last year were the same size but Mika has really grown!  Cirra seems pretty content to be staying the same height as she was this winter!  I think next week I will measure her!

Neither Cierra or Mika had had a bath, so today we decided to give them a bath and get some updated pictures! So here are some of them!  Neither of them particularly enjoyed the baths but after the initial shock of the cold water they both were a lot less reactive by the time we rinsed than they were in the beginning!

Letting go and moving forward!

So it’s been a tough couple of months.  Some things in my personal life put my riding on the back burner. It wasn’t a fun couple of months that’s for sure, but I have come through it, and while I’m a bit bruised and tarnished I am definitely feeling like a stronger and happier person!  And the last few weeks my riding has gone from ok to amazing!!  Mister is looking absolutely beautiful and is shiny and healthy and happy!  Sometimes it takes letting go of people to be able to move forward.  A relationship that was toxic ended and while I was upset about it at first now I feel like I’ve been released from a life I didn’t actually want-I know that sounds a bit dramatic!  But I am not someone who settles and I was settling for mediocrity.  I was going to have to give up showing and while I know that isn’t a big deal for some people, I love it and I’m not ready to give it up.  I love my horses and I love showing off how beautiful they are and I love growing and getting better as a rider.

The past few weeks we have been working on the shoulder in, the haunches in, turn on the haunches and making Mister follow his nose.  We even got a couple steps of half pass though I have no idea how we did it, ok well I have some idea but not entirely!  I’ve also been working really hard on connection and am finally getting it!  A couple weeks ago we also worked on collections and extensions and he is moving so nicely!!  Also he is sooo incredibly sensitive, all I have to do is move slightly and he does it once he knows what I’m asking!  I’ve been riding in my dressage saddle instead of the western and I’m not sure why but it has made a huge difference in my legs; I really feel like they are on my saddle and I’m keeping him under me straighter.

We haven’t been to a dressage show this year because there were a few things going on during the time of the first 2 shows of the season. And now we are in the middle of the craziest forest fire season we’ve seen in years which has made travel difficult.  If there is a show in town in September we will go but otherwise this will probably be a non-showing summer!!  That’s ok there will be more shows next year and this summer will be a summer of learning and regaining my confidence.  We are working on so much new stuff and I can’t believe how far we’ve come just in the last few weeks!  Even Saturday while it wasn’t our best ride of the past few weeks, it was still good and I learned a valuable lesson!  I saw when things start to go wrong and how quickly it can undo all the good we have worked so hard for!  But I also learned that it’s pretty easy to get him back if he I just re-focus on us instead of paying attention to everything else going on!    I’ve always known that but sometimes I just need a reminder!  I really feel like we are ahead of where we were a few months ago before I got sidetracked. I have my eyes set on amazing things for Mister and I and for Cierra and I too!  She has been pretty awesome lately and I think because I have been doing basic skills with her it has cemented them into me and it has made me a better rider for Mister as well.

Cierra seems to love showmanship and is pretty sensitive to my  movement!  It’s pretty neat!  I didn’t enjoy showmanship before because Mister and I were awful at it.  But it’s really fun with Cierra!  We did some pole work one day and she just trotted over them without touching them!  She’s just so mellow and chill! She was supposed to be my dressage horse but we shall see what she wants to do!  Mister seems to be loving the whole dressage thing right now and is so sensitive to me that he might be my dressage horse and Cierra might be my all around horse!  Who know’s!  I do think I might learn jumping with her though as well as dressage  and maybe some western as well since she has a super cute jog!  But next year she could totally change!  Next year we should have a better idea of what she wants to do!  Next year I’ll get her out to a show too and definitely a few for Mister as well!  I am super excited again!  Next time I’ll get a few new pics of them!  They are both looking so amazing!  Cierra is still a bit chubby but she is slimming down since I’ve been working with her more!  She will be my 5 day a week riding horse eventually cause like me she will need to be kept in shape!!  I’m enjoying the present with these 2 but also incredibly excited about our future!  Until next time!!

Reminiscing of show season’s past!

I came across a few pictures of a show in Smithers in 2012 that Mister and I were in!  My mom brought my nieces and nephew to come watch the show and go to the fall fair.  Mister was sooo good with all the attention! I love that horse! I love the reminder of how calm he was and how much he loved the attention even though he was getting swarmed by strangers!  And he was awesome with the kids too!  I am excited for this show season!! Enjoy the pics and smiles!