Thursday, June 12, 2008

I totally deserved it, and I didn't even get it!

Most of us who have been riding a long time have really gotten launched big-time a time or two - and we can all recall in vivid detail that second when we realized something had gone very wrong. We realize it was our own lack of attention that got us here as we feel ourselves come unglued from the tack, and wish we could undo that split second where we just weren't on our toes.

That should have happened to me tonight. I totally deserved it.

I've mentioned before that the VLC is antsy about mounting, but the last two rides, I've gotten him to stand still and even stay still after I was up. However, this is still kind of a crap shoot. I can get him to stop. I can remind him to stay stopped while I'm still on the mounting block. But he is a freakin' mountain, and I need to grab mane to get up, even with the block. I cannot independently use my rein hand as I am mounting. And you can't just have the reins tight, or he backs up. So I do my best to ensure he is actually stopped and looks like he is going to stay stopped before I put my foot in the stirrup.

We did have more activity than normal tonight. Josie started doing ground work with my yearling and he was basically farting all around objecting to her request that he not invade her personal space/mow her down like a bug. He is another VLC - 15 hands at 15 months and growing like a weed - and quite a bit hotter in temperament than the actual VLC as he is half Thoroughbred (same sire, though). Anyway, our deal is that I'll ride the SSG and she will do groundwork in exchange with the Big Gold Yearling (hereinafter "BGY"), so she started doing that and he actually did really well. I'm sure she'll blog about it...someday. ;-)

Anyway, I put my foot in the stirrup and it turns out I misjudged the longevity of the "whoa" state. I started to swing up and he ducked to the right and walked off and I lost my balance slightly backward and - WHAM - clocked him right in the ass with my right knee.

I knew the second I made contact that I deserved to bite the dust for that one. He did scoot forward and of course I responded in my usual way at these moments: by yelling "SHIT!" and doing a somewhat scrambled and panicked version of the one-rein stop.

He stopped. I was still up there. He was upset; after all, he'd just gotten kneed in the ass for no apparent reason. I had enough presence of mind to let him walk and start doing our usual bending warm-up circles to get refocused - but I really had thought I was going to get launched and so my knees were jelly and I felt shaky all over. Great.

It took him about 2 minutes to forget the entire incident and relax. I probably had to walk an extra 10 minutes. We can see which of us needs more training here, can't we now? Finally I decided if the horse was relaxed, I should be too and we proceeded with our ride. It was back to a sunny high 60s here and he's always better when it's warmer. I got really a nice trot both directions, not quick, reasonably consistent, etc. Since I had a witness around, I decided it was a good night to try out first deliberate canter. I came around the corner, kissed to him and gave him a little leg...and off he went! The first time he was on the wrong lead, so we broke down to the trot and then went back to it on the straightaway. That time he nailed it and I let him go around a little further. He even cantered around the short end. Wow, is he naturally round and collected. Then, haha, I wasn't paying attention since my mind was on OMG WE ARE LOPING and - insert appropriate sound effect - he quietly careened to the center of the arena to visit with the SSG who was tied up there.

Oops. Yes, we must actually ride the horse, and not just go, YAY WE CAN LOPE!

So I reversed direction and we did a little bit that way. He got his lead, we cantered down a long side and I said ho. He SLAMMED to a halt. I mean, you should have seen it. Even Josie said "Wow." One thing this horse has is a stop...a good thing when you are sixteen - f'ing - two. I still think that is ridiculously large. I know, you warmblood owners are laughing right now...Anyway, I couldn't have been more pleased. We walked and cooled out and then we switched the tack over to the SSG.

This was ride #4 for the SSG and we did two new things. First, mounting from the block. The first ride, I got on off a panel and the second and third rides, from the fence in the middle of our arena. The SSG, although he is quiet about nearly everything, is antsy about weight in one stirrup and so I wasn't pushing it. But hey, I had survived one near death experience already about mounting tonight, why not try again? I can't say he was thrilled with the more traditional mounting but he behaved and stood even though he was insecure. That is the mark of a nice-minded horse.

Our second new thing tonight was the trot. We were doing very well walking on the wall and circling (virtually no balking tonight - this little guy learns fast!) but he still would like to go over and crawl in his mom's lap. So I decided we would use this to our advantage. I told Josie to stand at one end of the arena, and I walked as far away as I could, circled back and gently asked for a trot. About halfway to Josie, I got it and what a great little trot this guy has! So smooth it's almost like a gaited horse. I let him stop and get petted and then we headed back to take another try. That was a bit more difficult as there were many distractions. First, he wanted to visit with the VLC and the BGY, who were tied up in the middle. Then, his favorite kitty was on the fence so he wanted to stop and snarfle all over her. It would have made for a funny video - SSG sidepassing toward the kitty and me commenting along lolcat lines "Nooooo. No can socialize with kitty. Riding now!" while bumping him with my legs and trying to maintain our forward motion past the kitty. The second try, he was asleep at the thing's for sure, he isn't going to run off with anybody. So we gave it a third shot and that time he trotted the length of the arena very nicely. We quit - I remembered Mugwump's blog about reward and so we quit. I got exactly what I set out to get and there just wasn't a single reason to continue further. What a great little pony - someone is just going to love the heck out of this guy!

All right, time for bed. Project #3 arrives tomorrow - a beautiful, beautiful, beautiful Thoroughbred mare named Honey in the Money who needs to further her education past what she learned at the track. I can't wait! And yes, there will be more pictures soon. I know I'm way behind with that, but here is a picture of the BGY (although he's much golder now, he wasn't all the way shed out when this was taken.


polocrosse21 said...

You sounded like you got a lot accomplished, I cant wait to come watch you ride again and see how VLC is coming plus the BGY he is adorable. Well hope Lucy's doing well.

loneplainsman said...

Snarfled.. LOL! I have a cat snarfler too. o_0

Great job with the VLC and the SSG! Sounds like you're having a blast!!

I had a breakthrough moment recently with my bareback riding - I cantered! For the first time since I was 9. Or maybe 10. After being so afraid of horses I didn't ride for 2 years. I actually cantered bareback!!

We practiced a few times in the little round pen where I knew he wouldn't/couldn't run off with me and where I could get my balance sorted out, but then yesterday I went into the big scary arena and asked for a canter. We stayed in a circle about twice the size of the round pen, but I got two whole laps without falling off and without the Lazy Gelding breaking gait! Success!!!

My balance in general is getting much much better and I'm finding myself able to do a lot of trotting (and even some small Xs) without any trouble at all! And my seat is actually independent of my hands.. a REAL seat.. which is something that, for a very long time, I only had when my trainer was there micromanaging (hrm - I mean *training*) me. Yesterday I cantered in the round pen, on the right lead, without falling off, while SHOOTING A VIDEO with my camera! :-) Doesn't get much better than that!! Maybe I can progress to Cathy's emailing from my Blackberry... ;-)

Probably an easy thing for most of you all - but it's been a really big deal for me!

I'm just very very VERY excited about it!!

Dirty Harlot said...

Holy crap, I'd have peed my pants! He really must be a nice, level headed horse. But come on, we need a feet update :). Did you try anything to get him to hold them up longer?


Floyd said...

Ok, not sure if you're doing this already, as you mentioned a one rein stop, but I got to work a 17hh Clydesdale mare, so I know the "climbing the mountain to reach the saddle" feeling. To keep Miss Summer from walking off, we worked on bending to a stop on the ground. Whenever I picked up a rein and brought her head to her shoulder, she would stay where she was, because if she moved, I'd chase her in tiny circles. This was a fairly lazy mare, so having to collect herself to work small circles was punishment enough. May not be enough for the VLC.
This extreme bend is also what we did for mounting. Whichever side I was getting on (owner asked she be trained to be mounted from both sides) her chin was next to her elbow, which was below the stirrup, so no chance of me kicking her in the chin accidentally. By having her cranked all the way around like that, even if she did try to walk off, she ended up circling the block, so I could stop her, and still get on.
If you're already doing all that, I'd be asking him to back up to the block, and to back away once you're on, so he's not always thinking "and now we walk forward for fun stuff" as you're trying to get on.

fanoffugly said...

Well done on the canter, that can be a real OMG moment. You have got a real production line there! The BGY is a looker too.
Very exciting and inspiring reading Fugs. Blogging really helps set goals and reflect. My BBH ( has really helped me.

ellen said...

Brava! I know that feeling of being still-alive on a horse and thinking "wow, I got away with one there".

Isn't it fun when, after all that obssessively picturing death and dismemberment and all the horrible things that can happen, we have a day when it all works, progress is made, and it reminds us why we love this so much to start with?

You have some very nice youngsters to play with, and I can't wait to see pictures of this lovely new mare.

Jackie said...

Wow..I've had plenty of those "shit, I screwed up and now I'm going to pay" moments..and nothing happened except me needing to hit the bathroom really quick...

loneplainsman...great! That's my goal...was hoping today but it's T-storming...sigh.

Got to ride yesterday..she had over a week off, so naturally I lunged her first to see her attitude. Actually, I do two things when I am not sure...offer her the bit, and if she doesn't take it from my hand right away, then I know she's, at the least, distracted; and lunge. Of course, being hard to catch or dancing on the cross ties also lets me know something is up.

Well, lunging she slipped a little, got pissed, and had a bucking fit for a moment...I was sure I was going to have one of "those" rides. Sucked it up, got on..and had the nicest ride with her. I've been working on getting her to reach for the bit with no luck (funny how only one year being a school horse can teach them not to trust the bit) and not only did she suddenly reach and make contact at a walk, she also did it at a trot and a canter! I was sooo happy, and she was too, I could tell!

Finally found a trailer! I hope I'm not jinxing it...going to get it today. Yeah! Now I can take lessons! I am not a great rider, but I want to learn to be, and I feel I am at the point I need guidance with her to progress with her training, my riding.

Now I need to teach/remind her how to load!!!

4Horses&Holding said...

I'm glad that you didn't get it! I have fewer moments riding that I've thought "oh, I am going to get it." than ground moments where I didn't listen to that "little voice". But I so know the feeling.

One thing that I do to all the horses I've started, and I think I picked up this tidbit from John Lyons, is bump them all around before I ever mount up. Like what happened to you, Cathy, you hate to be taken off guard because your horse gets surprised by something that can happen during the mounting up process.

I swing my arms (and then legs) across their rump, knee them (gently) in the sides, hang/lean a little on their neck, and push my old fairly light-weight, sacrificial first-time-saddlings saddle off their sides and rump (to mimic what could possibly be me in an accident).

But, yeah, I bet we've all had that thing that we've done, when we *should* have known to slow back down. *sigh*

Char said...

AWESOME deal with all of the youngsters! I can't wait until one day when I have my own youngster to train.

Good deal on cantering! I think that really is the gait that takes the most guts to try, especially bareback. Much scarier than trotting.

None of my origional goals are becoming a reality. I have a phone call in to the vet to set up another appointment for my gelding, as he is now VERY lame in the front end, and he is still gimpy in the rear.

My mothers mare came up slightly lame in her right front shoulder, although I would say that it seems more like a stiffness than actual lameness.

So, everybody's laid up and I don't have ANY goals right now other than to keep my new resolve to get over there Tues, Thurs and Sat to clean stalls, groom and give treats.

So there.

Char said...

Hey Jackie - Congrats on the trailer! I know how frustrating it can be without one...TRUST me! lol
We just got one last fall and it is SO nice to have the means to go somewhere if need be.

mugwump said...

This is a good time to mention one of my old lady save your ass training methods. When I am first standing in the stirrup, but before the first time I get on a young horse, I get them to tolerate my knee banging up and down on their butt. Why? Because I'm such a dork I slip and bang them with my knee all the time. Ahem.

Heidi the Hick said...

Yeah, I know that feeling of dumb shit luck. The "got away with it" feeling. But I've had even more moments of getting off the ground and looking for my horse...

Some people disagree with me but when I trained the mare, I spent some time "accidentally" kneeing her in the butt and bumping my legs against her belly. She was always intended to be a kids' horse so I wanted her to be used to clumsiness and beginner-ness.

I'm digging that SSG.

As for using Josie as bait- I did that with my mare too. I put her best buddy in the corral, rode her up to the fence line at a trot, then let her have her head on the way back. Double whammy because it was also the "heading home" direction. Not good really because I don't want her trained to run home, but then I had my daughter ride the best buddy to the fence line and did it the other way.

So she loped sort of by co-incidence but I was sure to give her all the right cues. She still doesn't have a reliable lope but at least she knows what to do.

You had a goooood day!

EquineSpirit said...

Dang...sounds like an exciting night!! :) Glad you didn't get dumped though. Wish I was so lucky a month or so ago...we had our third ride and not long after starting our session my butt was sitting on nice soft arena sand versus the saddle several feet above where we started...LOL!

Karen V said...

It's funny...sometimes you have an "oops" and expect and NASA Launch, but it never happens. When it doesn't, you KNOW you have a nice minded horse who is, or is going to be, a great friend and partner. MY Fat Appy Mare is very loving and forgiving of my faults and stupidity.

But then sometimes you think you have a very nice little horse, old enough to be dead broke and solid, and with one bump of your calves, blows through the launch sequence and you are airborn.

Lisa said...

Woohoo for cantering! I've only cantered my filly once so far, and it was by accident. We'll probably start working on it next week or so. I've really been dragging my feet with the lack of arena.

amarygma said...

Yay canter! I'm still learning it myself (luckily the horse is thrilled we're graduating from walk-trot and tolerates my practicing of seat).

Last night I fought the urge to go ride by calling stables for my BO and actually getting that first blog post done!

I've had to tell my copper, beefy gelding before that "we don't gnaw on our kitty!" as he started chewing on his head (which the cat liked?)

Josie said...

Yep it was a very good evening for all concerned. I'm going to enjoy working with the BGY. And seeing the SSG trot under saddle almost brought tears to my eyes. My baby!

Seeing some of the replies reminds me... my SHM (Strong Hot Mare) was out for training last summer and fall, and the trainer not only dragged his leg across her butt when mounting, he also GROANED. Ha ha ha, very funny. His eyes probably fell out of his head the first time he saw what a pain (literally) it is for me to get on, but thanks to him she is butt-kick-proof!

4Horses&Holding said...

Josie - sneezing is good to do from the ground, too.

I've had a green horse spook when I sneezed from his back.

Sagebrusheq said...

My method for handling the reins while mounting ANY horse gives control at every step of the maneuver. It is a bit awkward to explain in writing but here goes:

Bridge the reins in the left hand securing them between the thumb and forefinger. grasp mane with the other three fingers. This enables you to have an independent purchase on the reins and mane. As you release the mane the three fingers come under the reins into a normal bridge giving you a direct rein to near and off sides. Adjust the reins so that there is slack in them but so that when you release the mane your hand doesn't have to move more than an inch or two to have contact. The right hand is free on the saddle to steady the body as needed- providing the third point of contact, very secure. It takes some practice to adroitly handle the reins at each stage of the mounting process but with work you can get to the point where you can trot circles from any intermediary position with control and confidence. I don't bring the horses head around when mounting. If he is not standing still and straight on a floating rein I figure he needs more work on that first. Again, to become adept you need to practice this from every position: standing with one foot in the stirrup, knee on butt, etc. as you would practice handling the reins from any other horseback position like two point for instance.

If the horse moves a foot at any stage in the process he is gently stopped, release, start again from the last step that he completed properly. You can't prevent him from moving by holding his mouth but you can correct him when he does, and repeat. The object isn't to get on but to teach him to be mounted.


Sagebrusheq said...

I'd also like to point out that a great advantage to getting good at this is that it greatly facilitates being able to mount a restive, spoiled, or untrained horse in a pinch. when the only object IS to just get on.

Cheers, S

Anonymous said...

See, I'm kinda with mugwump and Heidi on this one. With the greenies and even the broke ones, I want to make sure that they stand for mounting, no matter what, and I'll condition them to an accidental bump (with one exception, see below). Moving off of any sort while mounting, whether from the ground or from a block, is one of my big, big pet peeves.

If I have to, I'll spend an entire session working the mount. But one thing I also do that worked for my little sensitive mare (LSM), who had a habit of moving off right away was that I made her stand still until she relaxed after I mounted. I would just sit on her, scratching her neck and talking softly, until she'd relax. Then we'd go.

I still do that, because I can't abide a horse who walks off during mounting. I'm a very short person and I mount from the ground in Western tack, which means that I really don't want a horse taking off with me. I can mount the LSM from the ground in English tack, but try to avoid it.

I am also exquisitely careful about not jabbing her with my toe when I mount--she reacts more to that than any thump on her butt or side with my knee. She's a little bit cinchy, and between being careful with my toe, and stretching her forelegs while cinching (she offers them up easily now), she's mellowed a lot. I think far too often people tend to get sloppy and want to race off and do stuff after mounting. I want my horses to stand and relax on a loose rein while being mounted, then move off (besides, all we're going to do is a warmup walk anyway). I fiddle with tack, scratch the neck, and make it no big deal that I'm up and eventually we'll move. No hurry.

Funny thing is, the LSM has started moving off when I'm starting to dismount...I suspect I'm inadvertently giving her a move on cue rather than anything else (gee, is she hinting she wants more work? Actually, with this mare that might be a possibility). So we're working on that--same thing, quiet, settle, maybe start the dismount, then remount.

As an old lady I sure want both mount and dismount to be quiet. The horse ain't broke if you can't have them stand for both.

hope4more said...

I love the BGY, I have a soft spot for palaminos. He is very pretty I will be excited to hear more about him.

I too have really tried to keep Mugwup's posts in my mind about rewards.

fuglyhorseoftheday said...

>>But come on, we need a feet update :). Did you try anything to get him to hold them up longer?

No, but we have now also established the BGY needs professional help too. Josie tried and gave up. And that one WAS good about his feet when he was a weanling! He is just having this rotten teenager phase.

I am just going to hire someone to come out and train them both about their feet. I was trying to get the VLC in with this trainer that I like this week but he couldn't squeeze him in.

fuglyhorseoftheday said...

>>I've had a green horse spook when I sneezed from his back.<<

I had a NOT AT ALL GREEN horse go AIRBORNE when I zipped up my jacket on her back!

You never do know...

Linda said...

OMG, I'm glad I'm not the only one to suffer from cussing outbursts when things get suddenly interesting!

And I've done the Forgetting To Ride thing, too, in lessons. I get call caught up in "wheee!" and forget to bother with directional control.

My "dressage prospect" is a 4 y/o half draft. He's sweet-natured, good-minded goofball, but with a big spook-buck-and-snort in him. He came to me as a gently-started 3-1/2 y/o, and I'm just started to ride him now that he's 4. I'm really enjoying your blog - very close to home.

By the way, trailer fenders make great mounting blocks. Very high up there. I just throw a leg over my big guy from up there.

Linda said...

Yeah - What 4Horse&Holding said! Do all sorts of stuff. I like sitting on the pipe corral and scratching their backs with my hiking boots. They make good curry combs, and the horse learns it's OK for you to be "up there" and that it's no big deal to get touched all over by feet. I do it with the horse loose. If they get worried they can just walk off - but they usually come back because they like the back scratching. :-)

crazyhorse said...

New blog for people who show and do a lot of it...

readytoride said...

"Honey in the Money"- is she a for real palomino TB? If so, how often does that happen? Was she raced? cool....

I finally made the correlation between the same time I stopped likeing to canter was about the same time that I needed to always hold the railing when walking down a flight of stairs. When I was younger (like less than 35), I would fly down stairs 2 or 3 at a time. I also would canter on anything, in any little area or out in fields, along busy roads whatever.

Now, I have to hold on the the stairs railing and pay attention. This loss of balance seems to have happened about the same time I lost my nerve for cantering. Oh well, ain't plannin' on going to the olympics....

a beautiful disaster said...

yay cantering! i had a great ride on the SLM yesterday and my friend came to video (and nag me about my equitation haha)...its at if anyone's interested (really crappy quality and no sound tho). she absolutely adores her new bit, and its so exciting to feel her actually seek it out!

friend rode her today, and i hacked around bareback on one of my favorite old schoolies. all the kicking was very thereputic XD

SammieRockes said...

haha, My 7 yr old BBG (Big Black Gelding). is so solid, I love it sometimes. I can smack his a** as hard as I can and he wont move. But he will easily pick up speed if kissed too. No leg required until asking for a correct lead lope.(can only use one leg or he launches into a cross canter)

Im proud of myself, I actually did start working him in the arena(BBG Hates arenas, much prefers trails)

He walked successfully around it, He doesn't stop at the gate but he will sidepass toward this broken area that opens into his field-I wILL HAVE TO FIX THAT-Got him to jog around, he is DEF. faster in the arena, he stayed on the rail for the most part but I had to tie my reins and kind of direct rein him a little to keep him on the side. Jogged pass the gate and past the broken fence. Tried a lope, went ok. Didn't stay on the rail but I did get him to cross at the center(He usually isn't steered to much at a lope since its mostly a trail and you don't have an option.)

Then since he did good I stopped him in the center and gave him a treat, walked him out and decided a nice trial wood be a good reward.

Well we crossed the bridge, bugs buzzing in my ear and all around me, didn't even get to the part of the trail where It splits three ways before I couldn't stand it and loped him all the way back to the barn to get away from those dang bugs. Man when we are near the barn he has a great stop-makes me wish I had a big sand arena so I could practice sliding stops.

Showered him off, and took him on a walk. Which was good because he HATES Two-Wheeled moving objects! Bikes and motorcycles just make him nervous, so while I was walking him around two bikes past, he stopped and watched, but didnt act up so he got a treat, took him back to the barn and he got lunch.
Productive Day.

SammieRockes said...

OH, before I got BBG from my dad(he was dads trail horse) I was retraining one of my dads OTTBs. One of my favorite things is to retrain OTTBs, you make a connection with them and they will do whatever you want. When I was selling him a lady came to ride him and she fell in love with how willing he was, but he would not stand for her to mount for anything. and then when I went up to get on him from the ground(he was huge, about 16.3) he stood perfect till I told him to move. That took some training and let me tell you, those cold 40 degree days when I went out to ride him I would always get on from the ground, my joints objected more often in the winter. haha

SammieRockes said...

Readytoride==I had a bucksin TB. He didnt make it on to the track because the jockeys couldnt handle his studly self, so the only logical thing was to get him cut and throw a 14 yr old him on a 6 mile up rocky terrain mountain trail. Haha, that was a fun day, He was queit after he was cut, never bucked with me or anything. Real sweetheart, I actually got him to the point where my 10 yr old beginner cousin could ride him, so consequently I lost the horse becuase it was tech. my uncles and my uncle gave him to his grandson

LESSON LEARNED==Don't train a horse you like too well if its not yours.

I love my BBG, but I would give anything to get my buckskin boy back.

Bucksin Boy- aka Brilliant Coo

My BBG(I know, Couldnt find a helmet that day)


a beautiful disaster said...

<< LESSON LEARNED==Don't train a horse you like too well if its not yours. >>

that is exactly how i feel about the horse i'm leasing now (buddy). i love him to bits, but he can have a really foul attitude and is quirky undersaddle on an average day...its nothing i couldn't fix, especially the ground manners, but i just really don't want to :) he's been for sale for over three years (this will be my third summer riding him) and hasn't had any interest, so i;m hoping that when i get ready to go to college after next year his owner will give him to me (i will have payed enough in lease fees to cover his purchase price anyways). but if he gets too good and gets sold, i won't have my baby anymore - therefore, just as much training as he needs for me to safely ride him!

Jackie said...

"Char said...
Hey Jackie - Congrats on the trailer! I know how frustrating it can be without one...TRUST me! lol
We just got one last fall and it is SO nice to have the means to go somewhere if need be."

Yes! I *hated* that I was dependent on someone else. I had investigated taking in a rescue recently, and my biggest issue was borrowing a trailer! I also was worried about I can be sure she'll be trained to load easily, just in case.

It's nothing fancy...just an older two horse that is solid (everything we looked at here in MI was rusted away); it has *everything* I wanted...7' tall, front escape, removable partition, ramp load (only because that is what PrimaDonnaDiva is used to). And all for under what we were thinking we needed to spend! It's condition is so nice that we are going to cough up the money next year and clean it up and paint it (we are also car people, so have access to do that ourselves).

Bringing it home gave me such a sense of freedom!!!

We had a good week for finds..also got one of those tow-behind Bush Hogs with a motor on top...for $150...guy didn't know what he had! Now my husband can stop worrying about me killing the lawn mower on the pastures LOL!

Karen V said...

Honey in the Money is NOT a palomino. She's a dark bay. The palomino is the Golden Yearling (I forget the first letter....)

bigpainthorse said...

Congratulations on the LOPE and the non-blow-up! That's fantastic progress, and VLC continues to show what a smart, patient boy he is.

It's been a week for victories on horseback ... we took on the scary indoor arena for the first time on Thursday. Of course, I think it was more scary for me than for BPH; she was a little snorty for our introductory "stroll around and look", and she actually did a double-take at herself in the mirror. It was very funny. (I did a double-take at myself as well, urg, must-lose-40-pounds ...).

There was a DQ working a testy Arabian in patterns while we were there and she kept cantering her horse past mine; BPH is very competitive and wanted to go faster than an extended trot to show off and give that Arabian what-for, but I was too much of a chickenshit and wouldn't let her.

She was a good girl. I could use some work, though.

Masquerade said...

I got my 5th ride yesterday and it was great. Finally had the BO around to lunge the horse with me up in the saddle. We did walk/trot and then afterwards I rode him. He was great and willing to move off at the walk, we did a few odd patterns around the ring LOL I got a few backup steps and dismounted. I'm so so so happy he is finally willing to move forward. Apples explained it to me that I was blocking him somehow, I agree, but didn't know how I was doing it. Mucho ground work to get him accepting contact and then having someone lunge us seems to have helped immensly.
Going for ride 6 today :)

VLC and all the other 3 letter horses sound like they are doing great. Congrats

Mary said...

Ugh, so I rode Friday. But not who I wanted to and for the right reasons. Long story short, 2 of my sons, ages 10 and 6, decided to run away in the middle of the night. We live in a heavily wooded area with very few neighbors. There is a known mountian lion and LOTS of bear. So while 30+ cars took to the roads, I ran out and grabbed my sure-bet for trudging through the woods. My 24 year old OTTB, Tango. Thankfully I had been working on getting him back in riding shape before this and he had just had his hooves done last week!

I grabbed the first bridle and saddle i could find. Thankfully it was HIS bridle, but it was my English bridle and I grabbed my western saddle. I was in my PJs, no bra, hair not even close to being brushed, screaming my head off for my kids through SUPER thick woods! I can't say enough about this horse! Even though he's only been ridden a handful of itmes in 3 years, he never skipped a beat. Through water, swamp, over logs, under branches, deer bolting out infront of him, cars whipping by him, other mounted posse horses freaking out and acting up, my 2 dogs running circles around us trying to find their boys, it didn't make 1 bit of difference to him. I asked, he listened and kept me safe even though I clearly wasn't in the right frame of mind.

He and I have been partners since I was 17. I'll be 32 this year. There is no horse on this earth that is better then him! Did I mention he was tossed away and slaughter-bound when I bought him?

I hope Nike will be just like him!

The kids made it 14 miles away. They are home, safe and sound, but in sooooooooooooooooooooooo much trouble!!

Mary said...

Oh, and Lex has finally started packing on the pounds! AND whomever told me about the toothpaste on the sarcoids...I could kiss you right now! IT WORKS! It does tear them open though. I wasn't expecting that. But they're healing nicely!

Training OTTB question: Ever get one that doesn't like to canter???? Lex, in the 4 years I've owned him, has only cantered on the line or under saddle ONCE. Walk/Trot...noooo problem. Canter? HELL NO! He plants his feet or does the super-make-your-boobs-hurt-for-a-week trot. He shakes too much when he sees a crop, so I've been using just legs and verbal cues and nothing. Nodda. Not even a try. Even on the line, if you have a whip just for sound, he stops and faces you and shakes. Atleast he doesn't fall to the ground just from the sight of a whip anymore!

deanna may said...

Ha! I've done that. In my younger years, I was pretty good at vaulting on horses. I used to run alongside a trotting horse and just jump on. I did that once with my coach's 16.1 TB/QH gelding, while he was wearing a saddle.

So then I get my VLG, who is a half belgian, 17hh mountain, and I decide one day to take him out for a nice bareback trail ride. I thought, "I'll just hop on him."

I pretty much kicked him in the ass three tries in a row trying to get on and he didn't even budge. He just stood there while I threw myself at him, frantically attempting to mount him. He really should have trampled me on the ground, is what he should have done.

He is a lot less quiet now than he was when he was four and five. I don't know if I'd try that with him, now! Or maybe I'm just more chickenshit than I used to be!

English said...

Can I add my own (funny looking back on it, but at the time.....) experience on the mounting bit?

My pony - luckily only 14hh - is also unreliable in the mounting stakes. A few weeks ago, mounting form a step (yeah, wimpy I know, but I'm an old git) I'd just got my weight in the stirrup, and left the step with my other foot when Pony shot forward. I landed behind the saddle, my f***** rammed up against the cantle, left foot jammed in the stirrup, on a now bolting pony (who is also known to rear and leap if she gets hysterical), thinking 'Oh shit, oh shit, oh shit).

I managed to swing my right leg back over her rump, kicked off the left stirrup and started to slide down, my thoughts changing to 'Please, don't kick, please don't kick'. Luckily she didn't, and I landed on my feet with adrenalin pumping so fast I felt sick.