Posted in Uncategorized

Tears

I’ve re written this post now four times. I was so distraught after the lesson that I texted Emma to talk it out. Thanks Emma for chatting with me!!!! I’m still uncertain what I want to say about it.

Thursday afternoon I had a lesson prior to bringing the horses home. It was so bad that I had tears in my eyes right before I called it a day. At 35. While riding my horse. It was that bad.

I’m not sure the details are that important here. Gem was angry. Who knows why. It wasn’t pain. We weren’t doing anything hard per se: more work on rhythm and balance at the walk and trot with plans to add in the canter although we never got there. We didn’t jump either. Instead we zoomed around while Gem got angrier and angrier and I got more and more frustrated at life.

It’s odd. I wasn’t ever angry with her which is a major change from in the past. I didn’t get scared or tense even when she had had enough and eventually reared for the first time in the seven years I’ve had her. I was just heart broken that I had let it get to that point without speaking up

more firmly on her behalf. That’s my job as her owner. And I failed big time.

I was frustrated with Trainer for the first time ever though even that isn’t deserved. The woman sees us two hours a month. She can only do so much.

It’s just. Well, Gem wasn’t having it with the slow pace on a 20m circle. I understand she should be able to do that, but on Thursday for whatever reason she couldn’t handle the pressure. She told me loud and clear. And I didn’t listen because I figured Trainer also saw it and knew what to do. And maybe her tactic was right and my way wouldn’t have changed the outcome at all. I don’t know. I know what we did just made everything worse.

With a pissed off mare under me going at her best 12 mph endurance trot, Trainer had me work on transitions to get her listening better. I understand the logic. But I know my horse and I know transition make things that much worse. She hates them. Doing them on the circle made her get angrier. Her neck got shorter and shorter and her energy got more vertical with every passing lap and every passing transition. By the end of that she no longer had a walk. She jigged.

Ok. Let’s try something else. We began working on turns in the forehand at the halt. At least that wouldn’t require forward movement. Gem proved a quick study going both right and left. Perhaps installing better lateral aids would help. Nope. Once we returned to our trot work she was still feeling more like a carousel horse.

We then tried trot poles. Maybe getting her mind on those would help? Except we did poles on a bend requiring more circles. And that was the icing on the cake. She tried to escape the constant pressure to circle and bend by cantering and when I shut that down she reared. It was tiny and pathetic but it was a rear and I quit then and there. She was screaming at me to back off the pressure and I had to listen. I should have listened earlier. I knew better.

What she needed was a long trot around the arena on a soft contact with maybe some canter thrown in to loosen her up and let her blow off some steam. She needed a larger work space and a slow gathering to the 20 m. She needed the release of pressure and she never got it. So she exploded and I apologized to her and got off.

I’m frustrated. It was a bad ride for sure but not bad because Gem was acting up. It was bad because I didn’t speak up for her. I didn’t tell Trainer we needed to work on something else. I didn’t ask to jump a little or canter. I was a sheep and Gem needed a wolf.

Gem needed me and I slunk away and hid behind Trainer. That was wrong. I understand and like the training process we are going through, but sometimes the horse just can’t and it needs to be tweaked. As Emma put it “the training pyramid means jack shit if the horse is soured to the work”. I’m not ready to say she is soured to it after one bad ride. She was tense from the get go but I do think that the way we worked her made it worse and not better. We should have given her more space and gotten off the forsaken circle for a while. Maybe came back to it at the end after we jumped or did something else entirely like go out and jump the stone wall she loves so much.

I plan to ride Saturday and see what she is like. Hopefully it was just a small blip and we can return to the fun progress we were making before. Time will tell.

Posted in Waggy Tail

Waggy Wednesday

I’m still out of town and the app for WordPress is simply awful to use. I can’t even figure out how to put a caption on my pics 😦 so instead of wrestling with it any longer you get an update on the new furry love of my life.

Wags continues to go to work with me 3 days a week. She hasn’t (knock on everything even semi wood related) had an accident in the last two weeks. She is pretty lazy and this is her typical look when I try to take her outside to pee.

She is pretty well behaved though and has settle into a nice schedule. She sleeps from 8-1130 then wakes up and demands attention which is a bit hard since I see patients until 1230. I take her for a walk over my lunch break which tires her out until 330 when she again decides it is play time. We leave around 5 to get Wyatt. One day I walked back to find her on our lunch table. Bad puppy!

She loves riding in the car with me. For now she likes to sit with her front feet on the armrest between my seat and the passenger. She won’t for there for long though!

At home she is Einstein’s shadow. Mostly he loves it, but he has had to put her in her place a few times when he no longer wants to play and she jumps on his head.

The breed in general isn’t overly athletic so it’s no surprise that she isn’t thrilled with the idea of going for a walk. It’s nice to get out finally though. Dusty is super strict about what age a dog should be out on the town and she has finally reached that point. She has taken to the leash fairly well and so far doesn’t pull at all although she does weave around us a lot.

Waggy remains amazing with Wyatt letting him do nearly anything to her. She follows me around the house and is always, always smiling.

She is incredibly intelligent too but has a massive stubborn streak that drives my husband crazy. She is not the type to do the thing just because we ask. Most of the time she sits and debates whether it is worth her effort or not. I love it. Hubby gets annoyed.

She recently figured out how to jump on the couch so now there is no refuge from her. The other day hubby had a major pile up. Both dogs and Wyatt all on his lap.

Waggy Tails has been a great addition to our household. Yeah it makes life a little more work and adds some stress with house training and her chewing and now leash training but it is 100% worth it all.

Posted in 2017 Reading Challenge

Popsugar Reading Challenge Book #33

Back to the mothership for this choice! I had never heard of this book, which is odd since it was apparently a really big deal when it was published and there is a movie about it.

A book with the month or day of the week in the title- Tuesdays with Morrie by Mitch Albom

Morrie has been diagnosed with ALS. There is no cure and while many assume he would fade away in self pity and remorse instead the lively sociology professor embraces his last days with a vigor few live their best days with.

Mitch was one of his favorite students when he was a student at Brandies university in the 1970s. The feeling was mutual and upon graduation Mitch promised to keep in touch. Like many people though, life got busy and in the way and Mitch finds himself sitting with Morrie after a 16 year absence trying to squeeze in as much time as he can as Morrie’s days run out.


Mitch spends every Tuesday for 13 weeks at Morrie’s home, speaking to him about the meaning of life and trying to find answers to all his burning questions. This is his last class with his beloved professor and the lessons he learns are far more important than any form his university days.

The book is broken down into each topic the two men discuss. As it progresses, the ALS that is taking over Morrie’s body also progresses. Morrie maintains a love of life, passion for people and an against the grain attitude towards culture and the world. He helps Mitch face death directly and in the process helps him face his life as well.

The book end with Morrie’s life with all proceeds from the publication going to his medical bills.

This book is meant to be very thought provoking as Morrie’s theories on a life well lived are laid out. It was easy to read from a time stand point although the concepts were heavy. It is laid out in a way to allow you to think over each topic and digest it as you go. It is worth the read if you haven’t already.

4/5

Posted in Uncategorized

Wyatt’s First Lesson!!!!!

So much squeeing occurred from my end of the bleachers it was mildly embarrassing.

I take that back. I didn’t care one but how annoying I was. My heart was overflowing.

Wyatt has been begging for lessons on a smaller, slower horse for a while. Timing just never seemed to work out until yesterday.

We are heading out of town this weekend and half of next week and after the horrors of our last farm sitter (she fed 5 bales of hay in 7 days when we might go through 2, she let her dog inside when I told her no, said dog proceeded to terrorize my very sick cat and pee all over our house, and she let her dog loose when I told her not to and it got hit by a car and died) I was very hesitant to go that route again.

Trainer had just texted me that the farrier was coming again the week we were gone and I was scrambling a bit on what we would do when amazing Trainer said we could just board the horses there while gone. I told you she is AMAZING!

Thursday night we were going to drop them off and I asked if perhaps Wyatt could get his lesson. She was game and the poor kid was so excited he didn’t sleep at all Wednesday night.

Wyatt got to ride Misty, the resident pony club pony who has seen it all and decided walking was the fastest she ever cared to go again. I gave him three rules and then melted into the background to let Trainer do her thing. Those were:

  1. Listen to everything Trainer says
  2. No screaming. If you are scared tell Trainer nicely (we have an issue with his temper)
  3. Have fun!

She started off talking to him about his position and why he needed to sit that way. I’m telling you all I wish I had his riding posture. Holy crap!

She had Misty on the lunge and I was so curious to see how she went about teaching a nearly 5 year old how to ride. It is pretty much the same as she teaches me. But he listened better. Ugh 🙂

Wyatt has never expressed interest in any other sport or activity so I had no clue what to expect from him in regards to listening and responding to her. I needn’t have worried. She would say “heels down” and his little tiny heels would go down! “Look up” and his head would immediately swivel up!! I was so happy and very proud of him.

She had him work on halting Misty on his own. At first he pulled super hard, but that just garnered him a small lesson on where the bit was attached and how he needed to be gentle. From there on out he was firm but gentle and Misty responded by stopping every time.

Trainer also had him working on using the outside rein to keep her on a larger circle. It took him a bit to get this concept and I’m not sure he fully understood but he would pull on the rein when asked. I need to buy him some reins that are two colors so she can say “use the red rein” and make it easier on him.

After that he started tattling on me. When he last rode Gem I took him over a couple crossrails. It was only at a walk and Gem just stepped over them while Dusty stood at her side ready to grab Wyatt if she did decide to jump. But to Wyatt that was jumping and he proudly told Trainer “My mommy lets me jump Gem. Can I jump Misty?”

That got him learning his two point. Again, his posture is amazing.

As they walked around she would tell him to get into jump position and he would! It made me so proud to see him so focused and listening so well. She eventually let him go over ground poles in two point at the walk and he was so happy.

After that they did a little trot work which brought out the giggles. She likes to teach them to two point the trot before posting as it is easier for the kids. Wyatt enjoyed sitting and being bounced.

I thought it was over at that point, but nope! She headed out for his first ever trail ride. My heart almost burst!! I’ve been waiting for this for 5 years!!!!

She had him go to two point up the hilly entrance to the trail. He was so comfortable in his two point. I don’t know how his little legs weren’t burning. Mine would have been!

After ward he told her the trail was his favorite but he wants to learn to jump “higher than my mommy does”. Sorry to burst your bubble kiddo by that won’t be such a hard feat 😉

He helped groom her at the end and led her all the way back to her pasture before getting to go play with his toys at the truck while we unloaded Gem and Pete and got them settled for the week.

We have been casually, very causally, on the lookout for a pony for kiddo. That search is now not so casual although I am extremely picky and it has to be a free lease type situation to begin with. I have a bead on the perfect little guy and we are hoping it works out!

Posted in Riding/Horses

Recent Rides

The FENCE Cross Country outing was an eye opener for me. Prior to that outing I had been riding, kinda hate to admit this but I run an honest blog over here, once every other week maybe once a week if I was lucky.

Doesn’t she looked so pleased to be in her dressage tack after dinner?

My lessons were basically the only time I rode and it showed through minimal progress and a tense ride each time. The week of FENCE I had a regular lesson Wednesday then went cross country Friday. The difference in Gem was amazing and not just because she loves being out on course. She was relaxed and settled and a lot of fun to be on.

After that I decided that a change was needed. I don’t have unlimited time. I work 50 hours a week and have a kiddo I adore spending time with and who, at 4 years old, thinks the world revolves around me. A simple switch from going to the Y on Tuesday to riding at home was easy enough to do though. Riding on the weekend can typically happen fairly easily as the kiddo enjoys going to RB to explore the woods and Pokemon hunt.  Two rides a week is still a lot less than most people, but it is a lot more than once every other week so I’ll take it.

Riding at home in the pasture. No matter where we are I still love the view between these black tipped ears

The first ride I already wrote about and it wasn’t that great. It was tense and rushed and not that much fun, but I kept at it and didn’t let it get me down as in the past.

The second ride that week was on a Sunday and I trailered out to RB to ride in the arena. I was planning on jumping but the footing was very wet from recent rain. Instead I worked on…..the canter! Gem was so relaxed in her trot work that I decided it was time. There is a whole post about this coming up, but I’ll give it away…we cantered beautifully and relaxed on both leads!!! I was grinning like a fool.

Wyatt was so amazing this day. He asked to ride, then asked to jump. I told him we could walk over the small cross rails but no jumping until he could trot. A few minutes later he was asking to trot which he has been too afraid to do on Gem in the past. Once he trotted a bit I led Gem over a 12″ vertical and she hopped it with her front end then walked over it with the hind. Wyatt was hooked!!! 

The following Tuesday was back at home and Gem was so great. She was relaxed and happy the entire ride. In fact she seemed a little bored if anything. Her halt was spot on. Her transitions both into, out of and within trot sharp and relaxed and our figures looked like circles. I worked on some serpentines and figure 8s as well. I briefly thought about cantering but this was the first relaxed and productive ride at home in 8 months and I didn’t want to push it. I decided to end on a good note.

The new riding schedule seems to be working well to keep Gem in a working frame of mind. She is easier to catch in the pasture as well. She was getting really bad and making me chase her instead of her usual stand and wait for me technique. Since I started riding twice a week she has returned to her easy nature. I’m thinking she is liking the new work load better too.

Nothing beats a good roll after a ride

I’ve put my husband on the task of figuring out a way to get a few lights out there for when daylight savings time ends so I can still ride during the week. Trailering out after work is really stressful and makes for a super long day and just isn’t realistic frequently so I need a plan B asap.

Her winter coat is starting to come in already which is really early for SC. Typically she doesn’t start to darken until October. I was so thrilled to see it coming in with healthy dappling throughout. 

 

Posted in 2017 Reading Challenge

Popsugar Reading Challenge Book #32

The next prompt was back to me and I have found that finding the book is nearly as much fun as reading it. These later prompts are reminding me that earlier picks may have fit better in these categories as well.

A book set in two different time periods – The Wedding Dress by Rachel Hauck

1912, Emily. 1929, Mary. 1968, Hillary. Present day, Charlotte. Each bride finds themselves in the possession of a magical wedding dress made with gold silk that shines in the light, never fades and never needs altered.

Each bride has a story to tell and it is up to the newest owner, Charlotte, to find out where the dress came from and what it means. As a modern day bridal shop owner who specializes in matching each bride with the perfect dress, Charlotte is up to the task. When she begins to untangle the history of the dress she learns more about herself than she thought possible.


Charlotte is about to get married when the book begins, but she has questions: is he the right man, does she want to get married, will she fit in with his family? She feels unsettled about her own past as an orphan with no family and has been delaying her own wedding plans until the month prior to the date when she finds herself at an auction purchasing a welded shut trunk for $1,000 from a strange man dressed in purple velvet.

The book then flashes back in time to 1912 and introduces the reader to Emily, a well to do young lady torn who has sworn her hand to a man in her social circle while secretly loving another. The city she lives in is separated by race and Emily finds herself longing for a wedding dress made by an African American woman. She frequents the “black neighborhood” to have the dress handmade all the while siting for a hideous dress her mother insists on from the white seamstress in town.

Back to present day and Charlotte has broken up with her fiancee and broken into the trunk to find a 100 year old dress that glows from an inner light and looks brand new. She begins her search to find the original owner and is led first to the last owner: Hillary who helps her find Mary who tells the story of Emily.

What I found interesting about this book is that while it is a basic, easy reading feel good story with predictable turns and a tidy ending, throughout the novel it actually brings to light some deep themes. Emily, back in 1912, is a well to do white woman who is joining the suffragist movement. On top of that, she is fighting the chain gangs that work in the  mines for no pay and constantly extending sentences. Then we find out that she is breaking all the social rules when she hires an african american woman to make her wedding dress and gets arrested for being seen in the wrong neighborhood. These are awfully heavy, and pretty flippantly processed, themes for the book to cover in the midst of finding the history behind a magical wedding dress.

The book is also heavily christian which was not evident from reading the excerpt I had access to. Charlotte herself is very religious and the man in purple who brings the dress to everyone and never changes throughout the century the book spans is heavily hinted at being God.

All in all it was an okay book. Easy to read although a lot of the minor themes don’t really fit into the arc of the novel. I wouldn’t really recommend it.

2/5

Posted in Farm life

Mowing the Pasture

Before we moved to the farm we had a lot of people telling us how awful it would be. How we wouldn’t have any free time because of all the work that would need doing. How I’d wish to be boarding again.

As I mow it creates a nice little race track for Wyatt and he always shows up on his quad to race around it

It’s a good thing that I don’t let others negativity effect me.

Since moving here I have never once regretted it. Honestly, none of the “work” has actually felt like work at all. I enjoy most things around here, but the one thing I love to do more than anything else is now the pasture.

Sometimes he gets his own tractor out to help. I love the afternoons spent outside riding around with my little man

There are so many reasons for it. It’s a great way to check out the fence line for loosening, holes or other issues. I can look over the grounds for the health of the grass, invading weeds and any potential area of harm like large rocks or sink holes.

Obviously the horses are very bothered by my mowing activities. 

But beyond the logical reasons for loving the task, I also just really enjoy the time spent in the tractor. The task itself requires minimal mental effort and is an instant gratification type activity. I can easily see the progress I have made and the difference in the pasture it is creating.

There were a lot of roadblocks Sunday afternoon as I tried to mow the pasture before Irma hit

The four hours spent out there is a time for me to think, dream and watch the horses as they graze and interact with each other without any pressure from me. The pasture has been needing mowed every 6 weeks or so since spring. I’m not sure what the fall and winter will bring, but I’m thinking I’ll likely get one more mowing in before a long break for winter.

Wyatt picked out a skeleton dog that barks and growls for his Halloween decoration this year. I didn’t realize he brought it into the pasture until I made the circuit and saw Pete on high alert. Poor horses. They are pretty little kid proof at this point. 

Any farm chores that speak to you more than others? I know plenty of people enjoy kicking stalls for similar reasons.