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Saturday, July 31, 2010

The Basics Can Set You Straight

Today I decided that I would go to the barn and do a total overhaul of things. The ride itself wasn't necessarily an overhaul I guess, but I did try to work on the core of things. We worked a lot today working over his topline and to stretch down and out. Fire has a tendency to like to curl under and suck the bit up. So, in really moving him up and out today, I attempted to reestablish his foundation some more. On top of working on trying to get him to properly work over his back correctly throughout the ride, we also worked hard to get some more "schwing" established. To work on this bit of foundation, we worked great even circles and three and four loop serpentines. I tired very hard to make this a very forward thinking and happy work day for Fire, but one that really got the foam built up.

Our ride went well and the pair of us stayed happy and balanced. Since I had been studying for the IL bar for so long, I felt like I had been riding very sloppy, of halfheartedly in the past few weeks. It was really nice to get back on today and push the fundamentals and feel like I had a really good partner on a wonderful Saturday afternoon.

Beyond that, of course, Fire did get a megga scrub down and polish. Since he is such a dirty horse all of the time, having an entire week off just made him dull looking and grungy by nature. So I curried, and got a giant bucket of some brightly colored purple shampoo that turns his whole body purple, and went to work. I scrubbed every inch of the dirt ball, even the extra dirty parts. After I cleaned up an inch from his life, I braided his mane in hopes that one day it will finally fall to one side (a girl can hope). And I also cleaned and oiled all of my tack really well.

I think I did all of this because my world has felt so turned upside-down for the pest three months. The barn has always been my safe haven, and it was over the three months, but because of studies, I wasn't able to put in the time and effort that I would like to into things. not into Fire, and not into my pension for keeping things nice and neat and clean. So though I'm sure Fire will be dirty when I show up tomorrow (he had already tried to rub out the braids before I got a chance to leave the barn tonight), and my tack will get dusty once I ride outside in the sand tomorrow... my world feels just a little but more right after this major overhaul today. Sometimes I think its just getting back to the fundamentals, the basics and getting them all checked off to set things back in correct motion.

Friday, July 23, 2010

I'm scheduled to take the IL Bar this coming Tuesday and Wednesday so I won't be posting anything until I'm done with that. Sorry for the sparsity... I've been focusing on my studies and have not been out to ride in a while. I did get a chance to take a short break out to the show at Lamplight and saw a few of the horses in the Young Horse Championships. Lots of very nice horses, lots of action going on. Glad to see some bigger shows again and I do hope that they stay large like this. It is always so much nicer to have the big shows to go to and to show at. Maybe we'll get a chance to show there this time next year.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

I know I know...

I've been slacking. It's hot as hell outside though and I'm studying like a crazy person. Yes, I've been to the barn, and yes I've ridden since the hay incident. I just didn't have time to write anything. Nothing particular happened last time I rode aside from getting wacked in the face by some branches that need to be cut in the outdoor. That and Fire had a ton of energy and was almost a bit out of control. I found out this was because he hadn't been turned out for two days because of the rain. This tells me though, that if I'm going to have a lesson I should ASK that he be kept in at least the day before so he's got a bit more pep in his step. Espescially with this crazy heat!!

Oh... and I got my new bareback pad! Oh yea... western style! Sans stirrups because stirrups are for pussys.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Hay on Fire

After my ride today the last batch of hay caught on Fire as Bob was driving it down the rode back to the farm. I'm glad that it was only a 1/2 load or so, and that no one was hurt. Pretty scary though. Kinda over shadowed my semi crappy ride. Though, on a positive note, it was completely divine outside to ride in the wonderful weather!! Just another reason why I will always be a boarder and never will strive to be a barn owner.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

What to do in the heat?

So it's no hidden fact that it's hotter than hell out this time of year and that many horses don't want to do much. Hell, not many riders want to do very much either. So, even if you don't want to do a traditional training ride on these hot days because you can't get out to the barn at 4am to beat the heat (I know I'm not getting my ass out of bed that early!) then there are other options out there:

1. You can clean tack. I know, its not the most glamorous thing to do, but it needs to be done. And I bet your beeswax conditioner is nice and soft in the heat too. Just be sure to get all of the sweat and crud off of your tack first! I personally use the Passier Creamsoap and then the Passier Lederbalsam. The Lederbalsam is great and has beeswax in it but doesn't have oil so it doesn't over saturate the pores of your leather. Everyone has their own methods, and these are the things that are in my usual arsenal of tack cleaning. That, a good sponge, a clean rag and a tooth brush for those tough places.

2. You can scrub your horse, pony club style. I myself was never a pony clubber, but I've heard that if one was ever to follow all of the rules in the handbook that you would never have time to actually get on the horse. If you're deathly curious as to how a pony clubber meticulously grooms their pony to gleaming brightness, you can click here for the instructions and try yourself. I'm sure it will take up an afternoon for sure.

3. You can bond with your steed by doing some confidence building ground work. Set up a mini obstacle course and convince your horse to follow you through the areas either having your horse have to do tight turns, or have to go by or over scary things like big blue tarps or stacked up plastic chairs. This can help for future showing situations, and since your horse is hot and tired already hopefully he'll be less willing to spook.

4. Since it is so gross and smelly out, you could strip your horse's stall down to nothing and scrub it, but I would be VERY impressed if anyone did this in this heat. If you do, send me a photo and I'll post it here! That might help with some of the uber icky smell that can come along with the summer though...

5. Or you can just go to the barn and get some beer and sit around with your barn friends and shoot the shit. I personally vote for this one. Hose the horses off to cool them off a little and then set up shop under a tree with some of your gal friends and chat about whatever gossip is going on in your local dressage world, or your work, or just have a good laugh.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Not Everyone is Cut out For Young Horses

Not everyone is cut out to work with young horses. They aren't easy, or always fun. It's much easier to buy a schoolmaster and ride them and have a nice fun easy time. I myself enjoy the challenge and what comes with a young horse. Don't get me wrong, I learned a lot from having the schoolmaster that I had. Frenchie was a wonderful horse to learn from. He taught me to be slow with my aids and to appreciate the finer movements of FEI and just... so many other things that I can only describe as the magic that happens between a horse and rider when you just have to think the movement and it happens. That is what he taught me, but there is something about having a young horse to teach that is just a totally different realm.

You see... Fire is a silly idiot. A silly and potentially very talented idiot of a horse, who I happen to love. In the training process there are bad days and good days, no reason to hide them. I actually think that I have so many people coming back here because I don't try to hide those crap days. I think others can relate with these *(#&$&#@ days that I run into with my idiot fun little five year old warmblood, because they too have a young horse, or a silly naughty horse that has had a bad day too. But within those bad days lie the good wonderful moments as well. I've put a decent amount of work into Fire. Decent enough for someone with a part time job who is also a full-time student. And today, we rode bareback walk, trot canter with great cadence and fluidity, no whip, no spurs, great transitions, great leg yields having a wonderful time.

Some people don't want to take the time to work with young horses. They don't want to go through what it takes to deal with the growing pains and the learning curves and the temper tantrums that will inevitably occur with every single horse. I rather enjoy being there for the entire process, even if it means getting a little banged up here or there, or having to take a step back to reevaluate a training process. I find it a wonderful bonding experience, one I wouldn't want to trade for anything.

Monday, July 5, 2010


Being made to sit in class while the ENTIRE nation has the day off is complete torture. Another reason not to take Kaplan.... Barbri has the day off. So not only does Kaplan have classes like every single fucking Saturday when BarBri does not, but we have to have class today when everything on campus, and in the town is completely closed. We had to call the POLICE to let us into the building because everything was LOCKED. Had anyone told me this at the beginning I would have gladly paid the extra money for Barbri.... THIS SUCKS.

Yes, I want to sit here and listen to Professor Morris blab for four hour about wills. Oh yes... its not even a SHORT DAY, but one of our LONGEST DAYS that we have. I HATE THIS. GOD. We are 36 pages though the outline thus far and still going strong on hour three... just shoot me now.