Day 9: injuries that occurred from riding

This one’s going to be a doozy! So remember how I said I didn’t have many falls as a kid and that I got my comeuppance? Here you get to read all about it!

Most people I’ve met have had their falls as a young kid. I got mine later in life – I was lucky enough to stay on a kid. So, I’ve sustained quite a few. My worst fall was off of a huge 3 yr old QH stallion. The girl working with him had become afraid of him, and essentially taught him how to get away from people. I knew I was not capable of handling him, but was pressured by those above me to ride because I knew more than the girl. Not the case, everyone. If your gut is telling you no, you should listen lol. Anyway, I hadn’t even gotten my leg over his back before he locked his jaw and took off bucking. I immediately came off – landed on a rock on my left side and cracked 3 ribs, his hoof smacked my shin so I have a nice bump there, and since I landed on my back my head whipped back (yay whiplash) and my head smacked on the 1 inch of my ponytail because stupid me wasn’t wearing a helmet. I’m still amazed I didn’t get a concussion from that. So, helmet up, guys.

I’ve been bucked off and hit the dirt so hard I actually have a bit of surface nerve damage. If I scratch one place I feel it elsewhere or I just feel this weird sensation on the numb spot. I got bucked off and the horse stepped on my ankle and it now has a bit of weird growth on it, but so far does not seem adversely affected. I got run over by a horse I was trying to stop so I have a weird smooth patch on my lower left leg. I got bucked off of a very very quirky stallion that caused a knot to form in my neck that I still can’t get rid of. The most colorful injury was getting cowkicked in the leg. I still have a weird-looking lump-slice in my thigh from that. Thankfully, it doesn’t seem to affect my leg’s general musculature. Sure looks weird though!

Gnarly. The white spot is actually where the hoof hit my leg

I’ve come off Amber only twice – both times bareback funnily enough – but so far no lasting injuries. My left hip is occasionally sore, but nothing major lol. Thankfully, none of these falls – while they definitely could’ve been worse – have seemed to really adversely affect me. I’ve healed well from them, and physical therapy has helped fix the rest.

So, some bad injuries, but they’re all okay!

Practicing

Amber and I are hard at work. She’s doing phenomenally, being a Super Good Girl. Her jog, being more solid before our transition to more English this summer is good but….worse in a way haha. Not that she’s not uphill. She is. She’s just being lazy and wogging. (which is a mix of walking and jogging – it’s not a true jog or a true walk – like troping lol) Not badly, and nothing we can’t honestly fix.

I was disappointed in myself Monday. I seem to have no control sometimes when my brain seems to switch severely to a different mindset when I ride western (oh hey, baggage; yes have a seat on my shoulders), and I was expecting a few impossible things with her that day. Impossible meaning expecting a different headset or pace when I know we’ve been working on different things, or getting frustrated when I know I haven’t worked on something with her but she’s just not doing it like she should (even though, you know, she doesn’t know). And after a much needed self-scolding, I brought myself around and finished the ride on a good note.

Was it REALLY that cold? Ehhh not quite but it made me feel better lol

Monday still had some good practice in there, so I just kept it going for Tuesday. Again, I tried to keep things the same and yet get some different things in there. Amber’s canter has been doing super in English, so in lieu of that I shortened my stirrups a hole, and took a loose hold on her, sat my upper body like dressage and bore down with my abs. And her canter was great. I even let out the reins a little, and she really remained nice. I have to admit the western was just what she needed for lifting her sternum on her right lead. I think she’s still realizing she’s able to do it just as well as her left lead.

We practiced those canter poles again, only a few times, and she leaped one again. Both my mom and I laughed. So we tried once more and while she spliced the first, she’s handling me turning her tightly well, even though I never ask her for that. Our horsemanship pattern is coming along better, and while we sort of missed a departure because I said “yes!” to her and she was went “oh, okay, I had the right thought” and didn’t canter, we still had to canter lol. So we bumbled through it, almost nailed the walk and picking up stirrups, and then had a gorgeous right lead departure. So I hopped off and gave her many pets and head scratches and love.

I’m actually not too worried about the trail. I think we’ll be okay in that one, even if we jump lol. She’s been really great with that, and while we may or may not do well in our horsemanship pattern, I think we’ll do okay there too. Leads will still be an issue in reining, but hopefully, with our work on simple changes, our ranch riding will be a little better! I’m going to try to do a ride Thursday but….with it getting dark by 5 and me getting off work at 5….not sure how successful that will be. But we’ll try and see.

Friday will be our last ride before the show, and then I’m going to go all out for this one – braiding! Both days. My fingers will be dying.

NaBloPoMo Day 8: About the barn where you board

Well, the ponies are in the back yard! It’s actually super super nice to have them there. My mom and I were pretty stressed with having them at the other place, but I think they absolutely love it here!

The barn is a simple 36×36 with outside runs. There are officially 6 stalls, but 4 are semi-enclosed and 2 are fully enclosed and are used as the hay barn and tack room. Seeing as the place is ours, the girls have the run of both indoor stalls on their respective sides. Since there are no other horses either, the runs did not have to be divided, which allowed us to give them very decent sized runs. Amber’s run is only 24×24, seeing as she’s on the hay side and we really don’t want her smashing the garage hay barn door when she’s having a fit. Still, she technically has a 48×48 stall when including the indoor portions. She’s naturally a stall walker, so to encourage this we divide her food at feedings to encourage her to walk out of one side and into the other side. The indoor stall divider is kept as more of a support for the barn.

When we had just gotten all the lighting done; hay to the right, tack room to the left

Whisper only has the run of one indoor stall at the moment since we’re waiting on concrete so we can put the extra mats in that second stall. But, though the inside stall is only 12×12, her run is 24×36 since she’s on the tack room side and the run can be extended all the way to the end of the barn.

Amber is absolutely loving her new digs. My mom often sends me pictures of her laying down to snooze in the sun. At the other place, her stall was barely large enough for her to lay down, much less very hard even though I tried laying down shavings (somehow within 2 days 2 bags of shavings would completely disappear. Hmm…). But here, with sand, shavings and pellets she loves laying down in the softness and standing in the sun. Right now, Whisper’s side is getting the most shade, but it works out for both horses. Amber hasn’t grown much of a winter coat yet, and Whisper has poofed out like wooly mammoth, so the shade feels GREAT to her right now. Perfect!

The arena is nice and huge, with plenty of space for the both of us to ride in. Just big enough for a small jump set-up, and anything else we want to do. We feed the horses 3 times a day – sometimes 4 if they need. We muck 2-3 times a day as well along with ordering fly predators that help keep the flies down. We have close access if Amber needs a thin cotton sheet at night, and it’s very time efficient to have them so close. Plus, I can go out and hang with the horse any time. She’s also much happier now that she sees me more often.

Unfortunately there’s no pasture, but hopefully we’ll be able to use the arena as a turn-out soon!

Blog Hop: NaBloPoMo 1-7

So this is supposed to be posting for everyday, but I’m going to slip these in amongst my usual updates. So since I’ve missed the first 7 days, here’s AAALLLLLLLL seven of them in one post. Enjoy!

Day 1: When and why you started riding

I started actually riding and taking lessons when I was six. I was a wee sprout but determined to FINALLY start riding. But I was put on the backs of horses and led around probably since before I could walk. I was the definition of horse crazy – I didn’t want to even watch a movie that didn’t have a horse in it. Or a book without a horse. Black Beauty and the Black Stallion books/movies were my go-to. Also adored Misty of Chincoteague (1961) and Horse in the Grey Flannel Suit.

Yup. Super horse crazy.

Day 2: The last time you rode your horse and what you did

I rode my horse yesterday actually, starting western again to prepare for the show this weekend. We practiced our horsemanship pattern as well as parts of the trail pattern with a little bit of reining thrown in there. She was a good girl, and we got nice and sweaty.

Day 3: Your best riding

I am disappointed in my riding at the moment, but I would still have to say my best riding has been recently. Over the past few years I’ve become a better, more sympathetic rider, trying to once again view riding through the ammy lens with only a dash of trainer thrown in there instead of the other way around. It’s a major work in progress still, but so far, I’ve had a lot of success with it with Amber.

photo courtesy Becky Gregory

Day 4: A ride that impacted your life

I rode a pony named Air Myles for the 4 years my family lived in Hawaii. Once we retired in Las Vegas I got to go back after 2 years and ride him once more. He was ecstatic to see me, and my coach let me take him out to jump “cross country” in a field (the fences were super low and it was only a very small section of field). But that ride planted the eventing seed – it just took me a few years of doing other things before really wanting to start eventing!

Day 5: Your first fall

The first one I actually remember was at a show. Thankfully I don’t think I fell much as a kid (don’t worry; I got my comeuppance later in life when the falls REALLY hurt), but this one was at a show in a hunter under saddle flat class. I was riding pony Air Myles and he was already feeling really lit that day. I remember he just felt like something was really bothering him, but anyway, we were cantering, and someone in the stands sitting right next to the covered arena opened a giant neon green umbrella as we cantered by. I don’t remember whether Myles sidestepped or bucked or what, but I just remember landing on my tailbone really hard and standing there ready to cry. I was super embarrassed but also just really shocked. Myles was a sweetheart and walked right back to me after a lap or so around, and I hopped back on as we stood in the center and the rest of the class finished. I pet him a lot though since it calmed me down and of course he hadn’t done anything wrong. I’ll tell you what though – since that fall, I can’t do sit ups on a hard surface or even one of those mats. I have to do them on a bed or something thickly cushy because otherwise it hurts lol.

Mr. Myles

Day 6: Favorite tack and riding clothes you have (brand/color/other details)

Oh, I love these! My favorite tack items are my PS of Sweden Flying Change bridle and their Golden Delight browband. I think the gold brings out the shine in Amber’s coat and really makes her color pop. Next we have my Prestige Sinead monoflap event saddle. I adore that thing. My butt loves it, Amber’s back loves it, and I love that the monoflap allows me a super close feeling to her body and I don’t feel like I’m sitting on a wider barrel than I already am lol.

My favorite riding clothes are my Ovation Aqua X breeches and my Mountain Horse Sovereign tall boots. The breeches are so cooling in the summer, but they also have the best fit of all the breeches I have. I just wish the exact same fit and style was available for winter…. And my new tall boots I just love. So far, I’m only keeping them for showing with a few rides every now and then to keep breaking them in, but so far they feel better and better every time I put them on.

Day 7: Your favorite ribbon won at a show and why

Now we’re all caught up! Air Myles features in this one again. Although Amber’s third place ribbon means a whole lot to me, too, I have to go with the Amy Rich trophy and champion ribbon I won with Air Myles before I left Hawaii. He was a pony, so naturally he had sass in spades, and that always transferred to the show in flat classes. He hated flat classes. He wanted to jump, dammit! But a flat class we were in, and he was bucking and kicking and tossing his head in the air and being a right ass and you know what? We won the class. I was so confused until learning that that specific class was to reward a young rider’s determination to get the horse or pony to continue to be forward and going somewhere. And, well, Air Myles was worse than the other pony in the class, so I had work harder to get him to behave and actually, you know, trot. While it’s very nice to win a championship ribbon and trophy, it really had a positive affect on me to keep going, to keep working and develop a determination that I could do it. I could work through it and succeed.

What he loved best

Down to the wire

The show is this weekend! In a way, I’m really excited – I’d love to win a buckle with this girl for performance, and it’s something that’s been a hopeful goal of mine as a “someday” achievement. And in another way, I’m really excited because with this show over that means dressage lessons, JUMP lessons, and getting into gear for eventing. I think both Amber and I are getting a little confused and frustrated – there’s just not enough time in between shows (it would be easier tho if I were doing QH HUS English instead of Dressage English).

But, it is getting down to the wire. Originally, I’d been oscillating back and forth between practicing more western or not, but after looking at points, it’s a tight race between me and someone else for that buckle. So, time to pull out all the stops we can! (haha sort of literally. Unintended pun lol) So that means one more class, and we’re really going to be practicing these patterns. Western it is for this next week! But, I’m crossing my fingers it won’t be too confusing. We’ve made a few breakthroughs on my position, and it really helps her canter get sooooo nice. She still likes to let her sternum drop on that right side, but we’re making progress.

Oh hai. Yes, we make progress

I couldn’t ride Friday, but the wind was horrid on Saturday. She was just fine though, and it was our first ride after jumping so she was pumped. I’d set the poles differently, and since it was poles she thought we were jumping. What a girl for trying, and she felt a little disappointed they were merely poles. But she settled rather quickly upon realizing my different leg position as well as body position (hopefully) and we had a good ride. No breakthroughs, but just building, so some of it was good and other parts not so much. Still, it was a good ride, and we ended on a good note.

Hi Whisper! I love you!!

Sunday was almost as breezy as Saturday and not pleasant (for me; she was like “whatevs I’m happy to be out” lol) and I had planned one more dressage day to ensure a “coming down” from jumping. She settled right in really well, and we did that for a bit before working on a few aspects of some of the patterns. I’m the most nervous about doing trail, because I tried to stay up and supportive and she was like “OH POLES ARE WE JUMPING” and I had to really take a hold of her at times. It wasn’t pretty, but we figured out a few things that worked, and it gave us info for heading into western this week. That trail course is going to be TIGHT so it’ll just be a matter of being able to do it okay…. I’m taking the eventer philosophy on this one that it doesn’t need to be pretty – you just need to be able to get it done. I’ll need to enter trail if I potentially want to get a really good chance for that buckle so uh…..I swear if she jumps over those poles at the canter in the trail class I’m just going to be laughing like I did yesterday. She did a very nice leap over one of them at one point and came back nice and soft so….can’t be too bad right?

ERMERGERD I THINK YOU JUST LOOKED AT ME I HATE YOU

It’s going to be tough with this show transitioning disciplines, but I think if I keep as much as I can the same we’ll be on target – even if that means I have to take a tighter hold on her face though the judges like a more draped rein. We just need to be as correct as we can because while we might not get “the prettiest pattern” award, we’ll do it as correctly as we can. That’s got to at least not knock us points, right?

So gorgeous ❤ I don’t know how she gets so shiney-pretty-burnt-orange-lovliness in the winter

It’s such a weird dynamic. She’s really starting to feel like a dressage horse (as much as I think a dressage horse feels like since I’ve only ever ridden one) but we’ve been having some really great trot work. She’s been on the vertical more, and sometimes it feels like she’s trotting out from under me but it feels so powerful and like wow! at times. Definitely to the left she’s feeling more comfortable and her left lead is feeling much more elastic than before. I’ve been fixing my defensiveness when she drops that shoulder, and it’s making it so much easier not only for me to ask her to put it back in the center but for her to actually do it. Her right lead is still very much in the works, but it’s getting there. We’ve been working on stopping from the trot, canter to trot transitions, and while we don’t get it all the time, it’s getting there for sure. I have a feeling her western will feel awesome with all this dressage work. I never was able to teach her how to really stop correctly before we discovered what had happened with her hocks, so all she knows are the developing stages before I was able to solidify stopping through her back. Right now she’ll stop from her butt but her sternum will drop, her head will go up and she’ll hollow, and working on dressage halts has been very beneficial because keeping that contact is encouraging her to push herself through. I know I keep saying it, but I love theory and a well-rounded horse, so mixing all this stuff together is fascinating for me.

Not me; it’s nap time, ma

So, we’ll be practicing the patterns this week, or at least all the parts of it so that she’s not memorizing the patterns! Lol Cause she would. But, once the show is over, the western saddle will get packed in its saddle bag, put in the house and then it’s full steam ahead to eventing!

Jumping into fun

Even though I said yesterday that I couldn’t wait to get to dressage, I wanted to switch it up (because I’ll get to dressage over the weekend. Let’s do fun things! lol). So we jumped! She’d been so good the past few days that the last thing I wanted to do was seem like we were drilling the dressage work.

The second time I’d ever jumped Amber, I could tell we were doing the right flat work because her canter felt better. It felt active and on her butt. I’ve sort of been chasing that feeling for a while, wondering if I could get it back since it didn’t seem to be forthcoming, and Thursday it was nice to see that we could get it back. By working on lifting Amber Wednesday, I could feel the different power and jump in her right lead. Even her left lead felt really good. So I focused on keeping her shoulders up even if we weren’t quite in the right dressage frame.

Such a pretty girl ❤

And she was really super. She warmed up very nicely in both leads, and even though I wasn’t wearing my sticky pants, she was really calm and focused. She would anticipate a bit, and that caused her to push her shoulders to the left, but a few soft reminders (although a little harder with the leg since no spurs lol) and she willingly let me help her make the canter transition easier.

I set poles on either side of the jump to help her with a ground line. Although with it looking different than before the first few times we popped over it she nearly got me unseated. That horse has freakin roundness when she wants to! (those first two my mom didn’t get unfortunately lol) But I’ll tell you what – Amber’s injection and dressage work and my 2 pt work outs sure made this short jump session feel so much better! I felt more in control of myself (although my hands need so much fixing) and more able to not over jump her (though pretty sure a few times I did) and I think she also realized she felt much better!

I didn’t think we jumped all that much for her to be THIS tired and hanging her lip LOL

But she was so great! We only had one slight funky jump (the one my mom actually cut off a little lol), and the others I felt jumped really well. So much fun! The first videoed jump though was about my favorite (more for being humorous than an actual favorite lol). She’d gone over it this point twice, and had way over jumped it both times, but there was never a question of if she’d jump it. She just felt like she thought “oh THAT’S what it is” and then as you see full on stopped afterward like “okay, I did it! I figured it out!” It was so adorable lol.

After that, I lengthened my stirrups back down to dressage length. I wanted to stretch her muscles, and also let her relax and understand that sometimes after jumping we go do calm things. And she was so good. She could feel my leg and upper body in a different position, and it was almost an “I get it now!” feeling from her. She was very relaxed and moved right into a good dressage trot in frame. We’ve been working a bit on halts, and when I asked her for one, it was our best one yet. And square front legs! So we were done!

She gets today off since I work a long shift, but it was the perfect ride to have a bit of fun. NOW I’m ready to go do dressage again.

Although, maybe we can keep doing these fun things instead?

That time of year

It doesn’t seem to matter how hard you plan for this time of year – the time when Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas things are ALL in the stores at once. (Can’t we just have one holiday at a time, people?!) But everything ALWAYS seems to blow up in your face. At least for me it does. I’m sitting here kind of shocked it’s already November 2. I mean, where did the year go?!

Also, congrats to everyone who participated and completed and won and got top 5 in 2ptOber! You guys are awesome!

Amber says good job everyone!

Tuesday we had a great ride. I had determined to change my schedule a bit when I ride. I’m a bit set in my structure, and she knows it. Amber is a busy-minded horse, but not in a bad way. She very much wants to please you, so if you’re not careful and give her something to do (AHEM MANDY) then her anticipation levels go out through the roof. She gets tense, fast-legged and behind the movement while simultaneously managing to trot me out of the tack.

For the most part, she’s very good at waiting for me to ask. And I think she’s just such a sensitive horse that my position and my developing defensive riding and then the movement of cues from western to English are all confusing her at this time. I needed to be clearer. I needed to get myself together. I needed to do my part so her part was easier.

I think she’s looking slimmer!

So, I stepped into my full seat breeches. I mean, I had bought them for dressage, but after a few rides found that I couldn’t post. Oh, hey! Cue lightbulb lol. Second, I implemented longer stirrups, and canter in our warm up as well as a few other movements. I usually do trot work, pause and walk, and that’s when her nerves heighten. I know we’re going to canter ma!! Because, yes we are lol. Also in her walk, I focused on shoulders up, not speed, as well as little haunches-in here and there. I actually think the haunches-in has really helped her understand how much she’s feeling better. This gave her something to focus on and succeed, and really helped her to relax. Third, I had to be clearer about contact. She’s used to contact telling her where she needs to be, then the contact is released. I have to be clearer to her that contact is okay, and that when my hands are still that’s the right place, not when I release. That one is challenging, but she’s already showing improvement.

Tongue!

And it worked into a very successful ride. (And I don’t want to go back to western now for the show lol). Because I “couldn’t post”, she couldn’t launch me out of the tack as badly. I’d had shorter stirrups because otherwise I flailed when I’d post, but the shorter stirrups hurt my leg position as well as my body position at the canter and walk and even consequently the trot that I couldn’t sit. I could get my leg longer now, keep my thigh and knee in the proper place despite being in a jump saddle. And that helped me use my calf, not my spur as I had been, to ask her to bend around that. And she took to that so much better. With my position less moveable, she could actually feel my seat – not the bumbling mess it had been before. OMG magic lol.

And since I did the canter in the warm up – oh, she just flowed into it so nicely. Her left canter was pure magic. Aaaaand then she got tense and anticipated, and we couldn’t get it again quite like the first time, but I was able to do better. The right was better, but I can tell she still compensates and lets her ribcage fall down while trying to pretend to be “up” by lifting her poll. Not working little girl. But I took what I could get Tuesday, working on cadence and pace and at the end another epiphany! I’m not sure why it resonated with me, but I was slowly figuring out what I needed to sit her canter well. And I just shouted at myself “omg Mandy sit with your abs!” And miracle of miracles it worked. I just bore down with my abs, still keeping tone in my thighs, and it was like my midsection grew, my arms stilled and worked with Amber, and Amber said “oh, this is nice I can lift and canter and be soft to this”. And I quit before that failed lol.

She was so good she got her bridle off. And then took a looooong drink. She was thirsty after that ride!

I was on air after that ride! So, I was super determined to do the same things Wednesday. And it was even better. I was a little more hit or miss in my position cantering, but I just have to find that magic sweet spot of ab work and keep working on it until it becomes habit. But all we did Tuesday worked wonders. She was actually too slow in the trot work, and I had to encourage her a little more. She was out of contact more because she was a bit behind, but we had so much less tension that I didn’t make it a big deal. But she was moving better and understanding the outside rein better. I was very amused though because while Tuesday she was super responsive to my calf, my calf had way less meaning Wednesday lol. So I had to use a bit of spur. And then she started to realize it’s a bend around. And I think she’s realizing too that she doesn’t hurt anymore. At least I’m hoping!

Today I shall pose

We worked more on that right lead, really trying to get her to lift her ribcage up. I think of it a little more as raising her sternum, but she was pretty resistant for a time. Just seemed difficult for her, but once she could do it a bit, I could sit better, and I think by the end she realized she could do it. I’ve also been working on trying to still my seat bones to cue a downshift, but that has not been so successful lol. I should wait on that one, but we are doing better in our down transitions. I’m trying not to use my verbal cue because then she just drops her sternum into that trot and we want to work on keeping it up.

Yup, definitely getting thinner!

This also must be the week of epiphanies because I also had one in her left canter. She seemed to understand I was not upset at her but at myself after realizing that whenever she starts to waver in a certain area of the arena to the left I get extremely defensive. My hands move funky, my weight is STILL shifting to my right hip bone, and my rib cage collapses to the left and my shoulders hunch and I stare down at her neck. Ick. So we paused, I got my bearings, and while we were cantering chanted to myself “hands forward, don’t be defensive, calf, look up you idiot, sit with your abs for god’s sake” and you know what? It worked. When my position went wonky, she couldn’t do her job. And that included lifting that shoulder for herself. I swear angels sang. I actually felt that for a few moments we were actually dressaging. How about that.

I’m so tired ma!

I was so proud of her. She was really listening to me, really trying, and we felt so much more in sync than before. I can’t wait to ride today. I’m also sad that I’ll have to practice western soon. As much as she’s a very good all around horse, I think it’s a little hard on her to have the back and forth. I ask her to be in a dressage frame – not really a hunter frame. Which then when we western a lot of times she’s like “oh hey wait I am not pushing into a bridle anymore and hold on I really need to hold myself and I can’t yet”. And while it’s good to switch every now and then, I’ll be glad when the show season is over and we can really dive into eventing. I just think that while the back and forth is good, between shows we don’t have enough time to really get it confidently. When we start really getting the English or the western, then it’s time to switch back and I think that’s where her confusion is coming from. So one last show (maybe only one western ride before so we can keep our English mojo going) and then it’s forward!

When your horse is so used to standing in cross ties that now she just stands there lol. And then decided she’d move right after this photo LOL

Also, today begins dogsitting for my sister in their new house. Which is great but they don’t have internet yet lol. So I will try to get all my blog posts done next week!

On the upswing

So, the great news is she seems to be doing well. She still has her moments of tension (I swear I watch video and it does NOT look how it feels lol) and anticipating, and that’s where you can see she short steps a little, but the overall consensus is that she’s still doing well.

Yippee!!

Oh hai there camera

At times she still seems a little funky, like maybe she pulled a hamstring at one point or something. But, as we rode, it really did seem like she was expecting things to feel uncomfortable. Her walk has been more consistent, her trot, and when I ask her to sit a little more on her haunches in the canter, she really tries and it feels much easier for her. She feels so much better to the right, and even in the span of from Friday to Sunday I could feel that she was a little more comfortable realizing things were easier on that right lead.

Friday’s ride was really good – longer than I expected (same with Saturday and Sunday) but there was a lot of walking in between. I found that with the way I’ve put a few buttons on her for reining, when I put pressure on the outside rein, I’ve taught her to arch her neck and lift her shoulders and turn her nose in a touch while she turns. Which is why her left was always funky – she always turned better to the left, so I never fully enforced it. Now, when I hold more steady pressure on the outside rein to the left, and remind her with my leg, she’s realizing she knows what that is and I’ve had a lot more success with that to the left over the last three days. On the Friday video you can see that as she comes down from the canter, she crossfires first. This is a little bit of a concern for me because she doesn’t do it the left, but then she’s mostly just responding to a verbal cue – there’s no help from me and I haven’t actively taught her to correctly come down from a canter. So that’s another thing I’ll be working on in the future and will take time.

Saturday she was good as well – we had a few other issues, but it was more that she just wouldn’t listen to my voice or seat for cues and would just take off expecting me to ask her to canter or trot when I wanted something else. We worked on that for a time until she relaxed, but looking at how she was traveling she was still good, and all the other aspects related to the injection were positive. Our canter work was by far the best on Saturday – a few things seemed to click so nicely buuuuuuut it was really difficult to replicate Sunday (of course lol).

Ugghhhh maaaahhhhm no more pictures

Our best ride was on Sunday, still working on getting her to wait for my cues (but she was much better!) and she felt really nice. Not as lofty and bouncy when going slower, but I’ve noticed no strange hitch when we switch direction since the injection. She’s been the same both sides, improving on the previously tough aspects of left trot and right canter. She’s been able to stay in frame better and for longer, and while that frame is low for now, I’m pleased that she can do it. I also didn’t give her the verbal cue for slowing to a trot, and she felt much better. It wasn’t pretty, but there wasn’t crossfiring or a weird hitch so I’m going to keep working on that. After that ride, we headed out for a small walk about the property, and that really helped her mind, I think. Plus, a roll for the excellent ride, and she was a happy girl.

Oh wait, what’s that? I shall pose

I of course need to ride better and put my stirrups back down. I feel like the shorter stirrups help me when her trot gets really bouncy (because I seriously can’t even post a very bouncy trot well) and that it would help if I actually sat a bit straighter, but I know that when I canter, I feel like I’m trying to replicate the trot feeling and I’m just sitting on the back of the saddle and not in the middle where I’m supposed to. It doesn’t help that the saddle flaps allow my knees to creep up and sit me back, but I just need to plug away watching videos and improving with the help of the videos my mom takes (god bless her!). My hands need to be fixed for sure, but hey, my elbows haven’t been flapping horribly! Baby steps lol.

I don’t always pose, but when I do, I make sure mom has a good shot

If you guys would like to torture yourselves and watch 15 minutes of our rides Friday and Sunday, then please tune in below. Please forgive my riding at times – body parts have minds of their own, I swear. But, I don’t think we look half bad, and I’m super proud of her for all her tries. Heart of gold, this little girl.

Plus, she still seems to be tracking those hind feet into her front footprints more often than not!

So, I’m going to stick with my verdict of waiting to see how this turns out. Time is such a huge factor with horses that while I’m so relieved she’s shown improvement in the past few days adding more work, that only time will tell if this was the issue or if something else may need to be done. She’s been doing good things I haven’t seen her do in a while, she’s been feeling better, and it could have been the un-dragged arena and tension that caused a bit of shortness but overall, I think we’re on the upswing (knocking furiously on wood). Yay for progress!

Gotta love a freshly dragged arena!