It’s been a crazy summer and now it’s fall the time we spend working on goals for next summer!! I did 3 shows with Mister this year-they were all 2 weeks apart! They were good-they taught us a lot! The first one helped get our nerves under control, the second one taught us some independence as my riding instructor also had to be at a different arena with her kids and our third one was overcoming tiredness and knowing when to quit! The second show we had to do our tests without my riding instructor there and also my reader left so I had to find someone else to read for me! And I did not have a meltdown! So yay me! This really boosted our confidence and showed me that we both could keep it together even when things didn’t go perfectly smooth! Our last show I had let Mister’s feet get a bit too long and his feet were a bit sore so he was not moving as correctly as he normally does. So we only did 3 tests instead of 4 since the judge commented that he might be uncomfortable and you could think of giving him some bute. Instead, I decided to forfeit my last test. It just wasn’t worth it and I knew there would be more shows. We were also going through some saddle issues as well. Shortly after that, I had the saddle fitter come out and adjust his saddle plus he had a massage and that really helped him and also the farrier came out! We also did a level 1 and our first try in English we got a 59! Which was impressive!! We did get a 60 as well at Training Level so our scores are starting to come up! And our comments of harmony and such I always love! Plus we are getting 7’s for our canter which amazes me! Next year we will get 8’s because it is an even better canter now! And our circles are getting better too. We have lots to work on for next year but we are well on our way! Also, we will be doing Level 1 and finally getting out of training level!
This past summer we had some stresses with huge forest fires for the summer again! This time they were in my hometown so while the fires didn’t affect as many people it did affect my hometown and stressed me out! Plus we got all the smoke from the fires so it was pretty tough to do such heavy workouts! We didn’t go to any more shows after the 3 this spring! I was very glad I got them in when I did!! The September show we just didn’t have the motivation for. I wanted to take Cierra but we just hadn’t worked on anything enough because the weather this summer made it pretty difficult to progress!
September finally brought an end to the smoke though and we started to make some real progress! Cierra and I started working on the canter! And wow is it ever an amazing canter! She is really trying to figure it out and one direction she has it, but the other direction she is doing this super funny stomp her feet and my riding instructor said it’s kinda like trying to do a canter on the spot because she is I am glad we took our time with her with her because she just wasn’t ready and is not the kind of horse you really should push too much, she does things when she’s ready and when that happens it’s amazing! She is really starting to come together and has such a personality! I can’t help but laugh at her antics even when she’s being bad and showing some attitude! She is so vocal, she kinda reminds me of me-she likes to talk whether it’s hollering at me to come see her or groaning at me when I ask her to do something! You really don’t have to guess what she’s thinking!!! Plus her antics on the lungeline are also too funny! She does listen but when you ask her to do something she either grumps at you or does a head shake at you and I know I shouldn’t laugh but it is just too funny and I can’t help it! She has also changed shape and movement so much since the spring it’s really neat! She just had a growth spurt but in the spring I will measure her and see where she’s at. She is growing slowly and you don’t really notice until you look at her and think oh wow she seems taller! She also has a presence about her so she does not seem small! When her head is up and she is curious she could pass for the same height as my gelding whose 15’3 and she is only 14’3! She is so much fun right now! I definitely had my doubts this spring though when we did not seem to be meshing even though I really liked her. I’m glad I stuck it out! And maybe it just took me accepting her and her silliness! I even got her out for her first trail ride! She was super awesome for it and we will definitely do more!
Mister and I had a tough September. I started back in my dressage saddle and I just felt like I went backwards in my riding. It is a really nice saddle and it fits me but I think my other dressage saddle this spring put me in a bad position on him and this one actually puts me in the correct position but my body was fighting the position. I was super floppy and felt like I couldn’t even canter because even trotting felt out of place. And because I was riding Cierra lots and she was using up so much of my leg strength I was having a hard time on Mister. My body did not like switching back and forth. Plus Mister was not enjoying it either. But I decided that I was going to keep riding in the dressage saddle until spring because a couple of weeks was not going to be a good indicator of whether or not Mister and I were going to be riding dressage or western dressage. We discovered part of the problem is because Mister has bulked up so much over the last few years and before when he was younger he was quite a bit slimmer so it was easier for me to get my legs on him and now he is so much bigger. But I have adjusted and while it’s still not the easiest I am getting better. And since our rides have become better Mister has become happier again. The dressage saddle is a Schleese and I had it fitted to him, they had to widen it quite a bit plus they changed the air bladders to wool so now it’s a beautiful saddle. I know it fits him and me it was just a matter of getting used to it! We are getting close to where we normally are in the western saddle now though and by the spring we are going to be further ahead for sure! I love all the training that happens in the fall and winter! Cierra’s canter has actually improved Mister’s! That is just so cool! The other thing that has helped our canter is me preparing him for it instead of just saying do it now. And now we are also able to get the canter from the walk which was so hit and miss for us before! He has been so amazing this fall especially all of October. He’s back to being super content and happy and seems to enjoy this saddle now that I’m not so floppy! He is really getting back to his calmer self this past year. It’s been nice since he used to be a calm and happy horse. But we had a stressful few years. So it’s nice that he’s coming back to himself after that! And our shows were really great this year! Next year will be even better!
We have also discovered I have a hard time with hand-eye coordination and my brain does not trust my hands to stay where they are so unconsciously I kept looking at my hands and also I would think about what I’m trying to do instead of just doing it! Once I told my brain to just keep focused on the front and not to worry about my hands then I could do beautiful shoulder in’s and haunches in and circles. My body knows what to do, my brain just has to let it. So since then, my riding has come forward again. And now I’m also really enjoying my dressage saddle and it’s really feeling like home! I can canter without feeling like I’m going to topple over!
So even though the summer wasn’t as fun. the fall has really been. Plus I have been riding both horses in a day once or twice a week and that is really challenging me! But in a good way!
Here are some pictures of my summer and the horse shows this spring!
Mister in the top set and Cierra in the bottom set!
We had our second show of the season on the weekend and it was pretty interesting! It was just 2 tests, western dressage but we had to do some of it our own as my riding instructor had her kids in and they were set up at a different arena which was pretty tough for us as it was a bit difficult for her to run back and forth. Also my reader left but thankfully one of the other girls I ride with was there and able to read for me! It could have been a very stressful show but I’ve been doing some meditating and it sure helped!!
Mister and I even rode in the warm up all by ourselves and he was pretty awesome!! The last few shows we’ve been trying to keep a buddy with him so that he can stay a bit calmer but we weren’t able to do that this show and we had to be a bit more independent. It was good for us. Our marks weren’t the greatest but we did improve on a few areas!! We got comments about how much better our accuracy has become ( I put the letters between his ears and sent him there!) and we got 7’s for our canter! Our next show is in 2 weeks again! We will be doing 4 tests-2 Western and 2 English, so I’m pretty excited! I love my new dressage saddle!
We didn’t get as many pictures this time around but here are a few! One of my friends did take a few pictures on her camera but is having trouble uploading them so when she does get them uploaded I will add a few more!! She got some nice ones!
Until next time!
It’s been a crazy few months with many ups and downs. I have had a difficult time adjusting to riding 2 different horses! I’d ride Mister and put Cierra on the back burner and then I’d swing the other way and ride Cierra and put Mister on the back burner for a few weeks! Honestly though if my biggest problem has been getting used to 2 horses life must be pretty great! Sometimes I would ride them both but would ride Mister in a similar manner as Cierra-ie: beginner level and didn’t expect anything from him! Thankfully I have never expected Cierra to be like Mister!! Mister must have felt like he was on vacation!
It’s also been a difficult winter this year. It’s been cold and I have not been as motivated as previous years either which led me to feeling very unprepared for our first show! I was not sure if I was going to show but I decided a few weeks before the show to switch to my dressage saddle. I hadn’t ridden in it all winter but the show season was fast approaching and even though it still felt like winter, the calendar said it was spring! I want to be able to ride both Western dressage and Classic dressage this year, so I pushed myself into the dressage saddle and within a few days I was so crippled up it was ridiculous! Not quite sure what went wrong but the saddle did not fit Mister and I and then because I was tensing up in the saddle Mister ended up with a sore back too. So we took some time off and if he was feeling better we would show in the western saddle. And because I felt unprepared I was a bit grumpy the week before the show and had quite the show nerves! Mister was not super happy with me and this created a bit of a struggle with us! Once we got to the show grounds and I realised I was as ready as I was going to be I seemed to relax. Hanging out with Mister really made me relax even more. I also discovered that I need to meditate a bit. I don’t remember the meditation clip I was listening to but the guys voice just brought me back down to Earth. But I was too relaxed in my tests once I got in the ring and neither Mister nor I had a lot of impulsion! I rode 3 tests the one day and they were alright but we were both pretty tired. We did do better the next day when we just had one test. I actually remember thinking when we were almost done that we have to keep going as my riding instructor said it seemed like when we were close to the end of our tests we would lose that focus, so my last test I kept that focus and it showed in our marks!! Some of the scores on my previous tests definitely went down at the end of the test when I knew we were coming to the end of the test! We have lots to keep working on-more contact, more impulsion and more accuracy-though our accuracy is getting better and we are using the corners more than we used to! This was our best dressage show ever and our confidence is coming more and more. We have another one coming up next weekend and then another 2 weeks after that! It will be nice to have a nice solid base of shows this year! The last week after the show has solidified our trust in eachother. Mister is so much more content and I love how we are totally back in sync with each other again. That is one of the reason I love shows-it shows you both the holes and the strengths you have with your horses!
I’ve thoroughly enjoyed riding Cierra lately! Last month I was still on the lungeline with her and got a few steps of canter! But she hasn’t offered since and I am not pushing it. She has a really nice trot and I am really enjoying it! The last week we have been off the lungeline and working on a lot of steering. We’ve been feeling quite comfortable with each other. I am enjoying figuring her out and helping her with her firsts of everything! It’s also a lot of work! But she is smart so it has been pretty good. She does like to look for things to spook at so keeping things interesting is something I have to keep doing-lots of bending and steering seems to help her focus on me a bit more. We are aiming for the September show to take her to a walk/jog test and get her used to the arena and the atmosphere. Maybe I will be brave and take them both to it!
Here are some pictures over the last few months! Enjoy! And hopefully my next entry will be sooner than later!
My beautiful girl!
Cierra’s new saddle!
Giving me a hug!
Last test and he was so incredibly good!
Happy and relaxed!
Babysitting my brat! All his friends left and he was not happy!!
The beginning of the month was not fun dealing with the cold and not getting to ride! Just after Christmas I came out to work Mister because he does not handle sitting around very well!! It was cold so I knew I wasn’t going to ride but I thought a light lunge would be good since he hasn’t worked in over a week or so. I knew I didn’t want him to work too hard since it would take forever to cool him out and it was far too cold for that. I went to get him and he was pretty good but somewhere along the short walk to the arena he transformed into a crazy kite and was just flying around me! He decided going to the arena was not a good idea maybe there was a boogie man in there, so I thought OK it’s cold maybe a lunge isn’t the best idea anyway so let’s go back to your pen. But then he turned into a crazier kite and didn’t want to go back so I said OK let’s go to the arena; he did more crazy circles around me so I stopped and made him stand still-he also was not happy with that! So since he couldn’t make up his mind I decided we would at least go to the arena and walk around it a few times and then I’d take him back so he could see his friends! Once we did that a few times he danced back to his pen and then once there ran around bucking and snorting and kicking up his feet and getting everyone all worked up! I wish I videotaped him because he was so wild! I decided after that the cold made them just as miserable as us so it was OK to not come out!
Thankfully it warmed up and I’ve been riding about 6 days a week between my 2 horses! The last few weeks have been amazing, we’ve ridden with other people and even cantered with other people in the arena, something which does not always have the greatest outcome for us!! But lately he is very content! Every January he seems to mature and calm down that much more! We have worked on the leg yield at the canter (something we have never done), getting better at our shoulder in’s and haunches in, walk to canter transitions, trot and canter transitions both up and down, and the very beginnings of a pirouette!! It’s been so much fun! We are getting less and less worked up when we do quick transitions (we both used to get fired up!!!) but now they are coming nice and calm! I am loving these new exercises! We are also working on our simple lead changes which we have had a difficult time getting but we seem to be getting this time around! Our progression this month seems to be coming in leaps and bounds especially since I was getting so frustrated that the weather had been keeping us out of the saddle!!
Things with my little Cierra girl are also coming forward! She is so funny and sweet and silly! It’s really been fun learning with her! We still start off on the lungeline and I’m happy for that since I’ve sat a small buck and a bigger spook and have had help controlling it but we have been finishing off our lessons on our own and we are getting more confident together. Her spook was because the snow came off the roof and every time for the next few days she decided that the feed wagon in the barn aisle was to blame! She can be pretty obsessive and has been looking for reasons to spook but aside from the snow has not really found anything! She is pretty funny! She’s been given a few extra days off and we shall see where her mind is at this week. She hasn’t really felt like she has her mind with me the last few rides, but this is what happens with young horses! Some days you get to do stuff and other days you let them be!
Not that I have ever taken my Mister Magoo for granted but working with Cierra has made me appreciate him so much more! I love both of them for the different personalities and learning I have gone through with them! It is so nice to be able to jump on my gelding and when I ask him to go forward he does but with Cierra it is also nice to be going back to basics! They are both so much fun lately and I am very lucky to have them in my life! This year is going to be an awesome year! Mister and I are going to do a bunch of dressage tests this year and I am going to get Cierra used to new settings! I am super excited about show season this year!!
So until next time, happy riding!!
It’s been an interesting few weeks! I had bronchitis a few weeks ago and had such an awful cough and brain fog it was ridiculous! I took a day off work but couldn’t stand being home all the time so the next day I went to the barn and just lunged because Mister handles time off just as well I do(which obviously isn’t very well!!)! He was pretty mellow-he definitely feels my energy! The next week my cough was still really bad but I was on antibiotics and an inhaler so I gave riding a shot. Cierra did not enjoy hearing me cough and had her ears pinned almost the whole time! We did not do anything faster than a walk and I was huffing and puffing and coughing! A couple days later I rode Mister and we only worked on walk and trot but it was nice to be in the saddle and Mister seemed to be pretty content! I rode a few days that week, just walk and trot and a bit of canter since at canter I would start coughing too much. The first day even the trot made me feel light headed but by the next ride my trotting felt normal but not so stable in the canter!
This week I rode both Mister and Cierra on Monday and Wednesday and really pushed the canter on Mister! I rode just Mister on Tuesday as well and by Wednesday we were just so tired and mellow! Cierra was so distracted and just wanted to chill out so we didn’t work very hard! Then with Mister we jogged and a little bit of canter too. He has such a beautiful jog, it was nice to relax and visit too after having been sick and then pushing so much this week. My riding instructor was going away for the rest of the week so I wasn’t going to ride the rest of the week but after a day off on Thursday by Friday I decided to ride on my own and we had such a relaxed and happy ride it was nice! That Mister Magoo just makes my heart feel so full! I love that horse! Next week we will be back to full force I think since I am feeling better and there will be no breaks. It was nice to have a bit of a break but it will be good to get back into the swing of things until Christmas and then another bit of a break until the new year! Provided of course the weather keeps cooperating! Anyways until next time!
Here’s a happy Lennise and Mister!
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!
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!
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.
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!!