Monday, August 31, 2009
Saturday I didn't ride. It was all rainy and yucky and cold so I opted to be lazy and stayed home for most of the day. Yesterday was perfect weather wise. The air was dry and the sun was shining but it wasn;t too hot. I got to the barn late afternoon, I had to watch the Red Sox game first ofcourse haha. It was too nice to just do work in the arena so we had a long warm-up and flatted some. We brushed up on some flying changes which he did well with and did lots of serpentines and softening work. He was doing so well, like butter in my hands. I literally had ounces of weight in each hand, even on his bad side. I decided not to push my luck so we turned for the trail. It was Beautiful! We just buzzed along. Trotted when the footing was iffy and cantered when it was good. SOmetimes I just really like trail riding by myself. It's when I do my best thinking and relaxing. I Don't even talk out loud but I feel like Possum is knowing all that I'm thinking. Either I'm really in tune with my horse, or I'm just a wackadoo, I'
ll leave that one up in the air for now. It was nice to just get out. But like most of my trail rides I do like to work on things, We worked on shortening andn lengthening strides at the canter. ALso worked on some flying changes which he did awesome with. He was soft and responsive and really working through his back at the trot. I was really happy with how he was going. We got back to the barn about dusk. I gave him a quick grooming and then he had his grain since his paddock had already been fed. I then turned him out and fed hay to the guys in his paddock. It was just starting to sprinkle when I left.
Not sure if I'm riding tonight. If I don't I'll atleast find the time to have 2-3 serious ring rides this week and then a trail ride or two as well. I Like to mix things up. Possum is a little like me and can get bored easy and when he gets bored he finds things to do that are fun, Like galloping around an entire jump course. I want to keep him on his toes and working on things, but also want him to think it's fun and stay in tune with me. I'm finding that it's a hard balance. As long as we have our regular trail rides and gallop sessions he seems to be pretty happy.
Didn;t do much socially this weekend like I said I stayed home most of Saturday and Sunday went to the barn. But I did manage to rustle up some fun on Friday night and ended up hanging with an ex......giggle giggle....and no it wasn't Nick. It was actually quite comical and trust me nothing came of it. I won't get into details since this blog has become quite popular as of late so I'll leave it up to your imaginations. Well that's about it for now. Work is getting real crazy again since school has just started and I've been moving my office to another room in the building. Now I need to make up some posters to hang in the schools. Have a great day!
Wednesday, August 26, 2009
After a good flat warm-up we started trotting jumps and he was really doing quite well. Then I had him canter one single jump. Cantering to the jump and then breaking to a halt about 8 strides away, turning him around and then cantering the jump the other way. After he did that decent we jumped a roll back. There was a lesson at the top half of the arena so we stayed towards the back. After doing that fairly well we did some diaginal lines and he was really listening and going nice and slow. I even tested him and we got 6 strides in a 5 stride line, I was thrilled that he was really coming back to me and shortening his stride when I asked. I put the roll back jumps up to 3ft and practiced just going back and forth over those working in both directions. I was really happy with the ride! When we were finished I could tell that he felt good too, his ears were up and he had a nice swing to his back andw as just looking around. I made sure to give him lots of praise.
Below are some pics. The first one is a pic of one of the new jumoes everyone has been painting, they look really spiffy!
I let Possum out loose to eat his grain and graze for a bit. Got a shot of his ugly appy eye hahaha.
A close-up of him eating his dinner
Lastly a shot of all his muscles. He is quite fit and muscled. Look at that nice long appy tail, when I got him it was barely to his hocks and now it almost touches the ground. Also note that I do not touch his mane and that's all teh growth I can get. Luckily the barn owner is a whiz with braiding and make it look really nice for shows since I'm braiding challenged.
Tuesday, August 25, 2009
The weather held off and after tacking up we headed to the outdoor arena. I had no real game plan and was going to play it by ear according to how he warmed up. I let him warm up slowely not asking him to collect and just kept the reins loose so he could criuse around. After a while I asked him to collect. One of Possum's infamous traits is to suck his neck in, disengage his hind and crawl around in a nice false frame. I had to use quite a bit of leg to get him moving forward. It was then that I cursed myself out for not grabbing a dressage whip. Finally he started to really work through his body. I still had the Happy Mouth three ring Elevator on for a bit. He was suprisingly light and it was nice to only have ounces in my hands. We did some lengthening and shortnings. His canter was nice and round. His stiffer side is to the left and I worked extra hard on softening him with some shoulder in and lateral work. I was really pleased with how nice he was moving and feeling. We did some flying changes across the diagonal and he didn;t rush them and was quiet. Towards the end of the ride he was really stratching into the bridle and I could really feel him push with his hind end. I quit on a good note.
After a nice flat we hit the trails. He was a little sluggish at first. I could tell that he thought he had done a good job and didn't want to work anymore because a roundbale was calling his name out int he paddock. After about a quarter mile he perked up and really got into the ride. When we got to the long dirt road part he started to dance. We hadn't galloped in a while because of the funky thing going on with his left hind. I got up out of the saddle and we started to fly. It felt good to be out galloping again. His strides ate up the ground and before I knew it we were reaching the end. We walked most of the way back to the barn and cantered along side of the hay fields. I was very happy with our ride. Even though we didn;t go over a single jump, a nice flat is definately the stepping block to a nice hunter round.
Might ride again tomorrow. Have plans Thursday night so won't ride then, we'll see how hot the weather gets tomorrow. Possibly a wet weekend is coming so that means riding in the indoor mostly. Either way we'll get in some solid rides and keep working towards the medals.
Monday, August 24, 2009
Hes a very good boy. He would never buck or rear or be dangerous in any way, but he is also not an easy ride. He has a very straight shoulder which makes his trot bone jarring. He has a neck that is on the shorter side and his withers and back are dead even, meaning that for him to lift his shoulder and the frontpart of his body and really push from behind makes it hard for him. What is easy for some horses like some dressage movements, or soft and collected downward transitions is hard for him. I realize this, but on the other hand it is possible and if we want to do well at shows we need to work on this lots.
I feel while I am pointing out the negatives of my horse I should also add in a few positives just to even it out. Possum is the best trail horse ever, hands down! I have talked about this before, but basically he will do anything that I ask on a trail. He has a wonderfully long canter stride and can eat up the ground easily. Conformationally he is not that bad. I mentioned the straight shoulder which could possible be trouble in the future, and the short-ish neck and the slightly downhill build, but nothing like you see on the Fugly blog or anything. But other than that he doesn't have an real faults that could make him unsound in the future. He just isn't built like those wonderfully large warmbloods who are up-hill with long sculpted necks who just naturally collect. The ones you see cantering in the field and it looks like their in a dressage test. When Posusm canters and gallops around the paddock he looks like an arab. Head up, tail up, back hollowed and usually cantering disunited and then tripping because he was off balance. Am I drawing an accurate picture here?
So Thursday's ride went fairly well. We continues to work on halts in the middle of lines, then trotting int he middle of lines and then after some success just a strong half halt in the middle of the line. I absolutely hate having to muscle my horse around, but sometimes to get through to him it takes very strong aids and then we just try to quiet them every time after that. I do have to give him credit though, he strides were more collected and he was rushing the second fences in the lines less which is plus. We also continue to have challenges in jumping lines on the downhill of the ring. Cantering and then jumping 3ft on a downhill adn then quicky gathering himself and getting off his forehand is very very very hard for him. We usually leave out a stride on the downhill lines but I was working hard to get those correct number of strides in and I could see some progress. I ended on a good note and let him cool out, we were both really tired.
Friday it was threatening rain all day. I did manage to get in a 40 min ride before the skies opened up. Not only was it pouring but the lightening was horrible. The next town over even had a tornado touch down. A tornado in Maine! It was crazy. So for our 40 min ride I warmed up fairly quickly. It was hot and muggy and I didn't want either of us to get too over heated. I just wanted to brush up on the jumping from the day before and see if any of it had sunk in. He actually did fairly decent. We rode a couple courses, nothing fantastic, but also nothing that would make people hold their breath.
This weekend was just a relaxing weekend for me. I literally stayed home all weekend. Saturday was another super humid day with temps in the mid 90's. I cleaned the apartment top to bottom. When I would get really hot I would go in my room and cool off in the ac and then go back to cleaning. The apartment really needed a good scrubbing and I was feeling motivated so it was a good combo. Yesterday I ran some errands and then watched some TV. We still havn't gotten ride of all of the fleas so we did all the carpet stuff again, bathed all 4 dogs and my roomie's cat in flea bath and washed all our bedding again. Those suckers are really hard to get rid of. The weather we're having isn't helping either. Hot and sticky exuals lots of fleas. Supposedly this is the worst year on record for fleas in Maine and we're not te only ones having issues. It was quite a project last night. My roomie and I in our bathing suits one washing the dog and one rinsing them. We scrubbed and scrubbed and rinsed and rinsed. It was so hot that the sweat was dripping off my face into the bath water, gross!! SO now the dogs are all squeaky clean, the rugs treated and the bedding washed. So keep your fingers crossed. Ok enough of my rambling. Hope to ride Possum tonight if the weather holds off. Probably going to do some flat and then a quick trail. Have a good day everyone
Wednesday, August 19, 2009
So this is my excuse for not folding and putting away all my clean laundry. Jetta was enjoying the AC in my room and decided to curl up in my clean clothes. This little dog does anything she wants!
Monday, August 17, 2009
Wednesday, August 12, 2009
P.S. my boobs are nowhere near that big, so you can just take those out of the picture
Monday, August 10, 2009
Friday, August 7, 2009
Even though I havn't been able to attend as many shows this year as I have wanted due to lack of funds, we have been doing alright, especially with only competing in the 2'9-3' division. The Downeast in June was a good show for us, and luckily the Medals this year will be held at the same show grounds and the footing is great. Here is a pic from the show in June.
Last summer at around this time my roomie and I were settling into our new apartment above the funeral home. It has now been over a year and I still love where I live. It's huge and comfortable and most importantly their dog friendly. I also got my nose pierced this winter which is my first piercing ever.
This year was also the year that I broke my back which was really tough. Not only breaking it, but all of the stuff at the barn and just having it be one huge accident was horrible. This is something that I will never forget and I will also never forget to thank my lucky stars that both Possum and I made it through with only bumps and bruises and were able to make a full recovery.
This year has been one of growth and stretching my legs. Trying to be comfortable in my own skin and also recovering from broken relationships and a broken back. I'm connecting with friends and learning to just relax and have fun. The just relax part needs some work. As a person with high anxiety, relaxing is not always easy unless your sleeping hahaha.
So my goals for year 28 are as follows: Doing my own thing. Focusing on myself and not trying to force things to happen ie. boys. Fun Fun Fun. Not someone else's idea of fun, but what is fun for me. Be that going to the barn , or singing outside my house or doing cartwheels and handstands on the baseball field (what my roomie and I did last night after practice). I also want to focus on losing weight and being healthy. I'm doing well with toning up and being more physical and shedding some lbs. I hope to be fairly slim by Thanksgiving time if all goes well. When I feel better about myself physically, I also feel better mentally. I have more confidence, can wear the clothes that I want and feel healthier. Save some money. This is a hard one for me since I don't make a lot to begin with and usually after all my real life bills it all goes to the animals. I do want to put some away into retirement, even if it's onle a few bucks a week. Hanging with my friends, both barn and otherwise. But there is nothing like your barn friends. We all live breathe and speak horses. There's nohing better than a big group of horse people (who all get along) and having a good time.
The next big thing I'm looking forward to is the Medals in September. It's going to be a weekend filled with horses, friends and showing and I am bound and determined to have the time of my life. No boys or other stressors are going to get me down. There will be jumper classes and of course the medals. We will be camping out at the grounds and will have a blast. But until then, It's just a day at a time, an hr at a time and even a minute at a time.
Thursday, August 6, 2009
These are pics of the most important kids of mine. I don't have any really good ones other than random camera phone shots, but the first one is Jetta and I when I got her last year. The second one is Abby taken this summer at the barn. And the third is Phin. I love this pic cause it's just too funny. He was growling at my roommates dog and I got right up close and took his pic. He totally looks like Cujo.
Tuesday, August 4, 2009
We then warmed up at the canter and he was pretty decent, although at the top of the arena turning left down the long side I could feel a slight heisitation and a small twist in his ribs. I kept my weight even and tried to support him as much as I could not wanting him to lose that hind end lead. After thoroughly cantering him in both directions it was time to work on the meat and potatoes of the ride. First we did walk halt and then trot walks and eventually worked up to canter walks and canter trots. I wanted to mix it up to make sure that he was listening to me and not just expecting on what was happening next. Towards the end of the ride he was doing really well. I gave him lots of praise when he did it well and let him have a walk break. Positive reinforcement is a big part in how I train and work a horse. They need to clearly know when they do it correctly and when it's incorrect. When they do it right I like to reward them on a job well done. After getting many canter trots and then canter walks I let him end on that. I opted not to do any jumping. I didn't want to push the issue with his left hind. We walked around the farm to cool out. It was so ot when I was riding that I felt the sweat dripping off my face. As we were walking around I felt refreshed and like we had accomplished something. Sometimes it's about taking a small bite instead of the whole thing when it comes to working on areas that need improvement. Today it was downwards and I was satisified with the results.
Whenever I have a good productive ride I always feel more clear headed. My body also feels good working and burning calories. I sometimes have a bad habit on my downwards to let my hips move side to side. I concentrated on keeping my upper body still, my arms bent and letting my seat bones settle in the saddle. Since Possum is very downhill he needs a lot of support on clean downward transitions and it takes an incredible amount of core strength. After Possum was thooughly cooled out I untacked him and gave him a good brushing since he was quite sweaty. I gave him a treat and then turned him out to eat his hay for the night. I don't think I'm riding tomorrow, but I hope to ride again Thursday and work a little more on transition and then possibly trotting jumps. Troting jumps is always good for a horse rider. It gets them using their body and can develop an even better eye. It also gets them snappy with the front end. For the rider it's good practice for position and distances. Well I think that's about it. I'm just home sitting in the ac and watching re-runs of the Cosby show. It's so funny because as a kid I was allowed to watch it and then I had to go to bed right after. I used to hate it that in the summer my parents made me go to bed when it was still light out. Sometimes I wish I could go back to those care free days when I only lived in the moment and my biggest worries were if we were going to the beach that day. Oh well, life is good. With freedom comes responsibility and at this age it's just learning to balance the two.
Monday, August 3, 2009
Saturday the roomie and I got up fairly early and went to the barn to ride before it got too busy and hot. It wasn't that busy, but it sure was hot. Possum was pretty good. I rode him in the pelham and started outside, but due to all the rain the night before it was still kinda slippery so could only flat in the dirt portion. Another lesson started and I decided to try a little jumping down in the indoor. Possum was doing OK, but his left hind still felt a little sticky. The lumpy bump on his fetlock was going down and hard and cool so I didn't think it would hurt it, plus he was full of energy. We warmed up over some small verticals at a trot and then just cantered them. I really wanted to work on him listening to my half halts, especially in between lines. I had him halt in the middle of a three stride line of jumps at about 2'3". He wasn;t that great. At first he was like a bull and kept charging down the line almost jumping the second jump. He threw his head up to avoid the contact and hollowed his back. He couldn't evade the contact after a while so he would skirt sideways. After a few tries he was doing better but still nothing show worthy. I then asked him to canter the whole line with a sharp half halt in the middle and he did listen to that which was nice. It was soooooo hot in the indoor that we were both pouring sweat and puffing hard. I walked him around the property to cool him out.
I don't know what it is with my horse. I'm trying very hard to not blame him and really see what is going on big picture. I hate to admit it, but I do think that my horse is smart, maybe too smart. He loves to jump, and sometimes that takes priority over what the rider is saying or asking. Never do I have to ask him to go faster in a line unless we really get a horrible close spot and need to make up ground, but he is always more than willing. He likes to do things on his terms, even though I know better. I also know conformationally it is hard for him to sit on his hocks and rock his weight back on downward transitions because of his downhill build, but ya know, it is possible! Unfortunately he has the heart and mind to make a terrific jumper, but his body not so much. He is brave to every jump. never looks at a thing, and trust me I've jumped him over scary things. He never refuses unless the rider really screws up and that is totally not his fault. I guess what needs to be done is to keep grinding away. We need to perfect all of these little things before the medal finals. We both need to be sharp and on our A game. He needs to be ready for tight turns and roll backs and long spots and short spots, and most importantly being able to adjust his stride!
My friend the other day was talking about Possum and I and saying that he really did turn out to be a good horse for me. I kinda laughed at that statement, but what she said was that I always like a challenge. If I had an old plodder or a push button horse it would get old and be no challenge. This may be true, but damn, sometimes I could use one of those for my own sanity. Oh well. I have softball practice tonight, but I plan to be back in the saddle tomorrow.
Saturday after riding we went to a pool party and had fun. I played horse shoes (of course). Ate some yummy food and swam in a great pool. Thanks Courtney! I then went to the movies with a friend, we saw The Ugly Truth. It didn't get great reviews, but I thought it was cute and funny. It made me laugh a lot. Thanks to whoever suggested it on here.
Yesterday the roomie and I took the motorcycle to the little open show to cheer on some people from our barn. We had fun and the weather held out for the most part. One of the finniest quotes of the day was from my friend Emily. There as a friesian there that everyone was ooooing and ahhhing over. I'm not a big friesian fan myself. Their pretty and all, but ughhh, I think they look much better in harness than being ridden. Here is exhibit A and B below:
Well the friesian at the show was kinda strung out and getting wrong leads all the time and the rider didn't really know it was wrong. As we were leaving I was talking about the friesian to my friend and she simply said "friesian's can do whatever they want." How true that statement is hahaha. I didn't even have a come back for that. Friesian's are so highly regarded with people, especially with the not so experienced horse people. I really have no use for them in the jumping world and those feathers just scream scratches to me. I know I would be shunned from society if I clipped them. SO I'm sure I'm gonna catch some crap for this statement, but hey, it's my opinion. I own an appy for Gods sake, so obviously I'm not into looks or athletic ability ahahaha.
After the show we rode the bike back home. It was then we found out that all of our animals have fleas. Not infested or anything, but we had noticed more scratching lately and sure enough when we put the flea comb through them they all came up with 1-4 fleas each. We then went to Walmart and got stuff to treat them. Also got carpet powder and washed all of our bedding in hot water. The cats were less then impressed about the treatment, but it had to be done. If it's one thing I hate in this world it's fleas!! I think it came from the cats under the porch in the dirt that brought the fleas into the house. I'm crossing my fingers that the treatment will work and we caught it early enough to kill them all. Well that's about all I think. A busy and fun weekend. I also think my roomie is planning a surprise for my birthday. It just dawned on me last night that she has asked me like 5 times if I had plans for Friday and she's been kinda secretive on the phone. I have to say that I'm excited to see what happens. Have a great day everyone. Can't wait for practice tonight.