Weekend Adventures

This weekend was my father’s birthday (Happy Birthday Dad!) so we had dinner and cake with my parents on Saturday. I did squeeze in a quick ride on Saturday beforehand. RB was very spooky and distracted but I got him to focus on me by doing lots of 15m circles around jumps and random stuff in the ring. When he was more relaxed we moved on to cantering a pole course that were set up. We did a line in 4 strides and then an exuberant 3 (he LOVES poles) and some single poles on the diagonal. He was getting strong again and spooked at my husband P, who was kind enough to come hang out with us at the barn and was sitting in the same spot he had been in for the last 45 minutes. Sigh. The good thing is it used to bother me when RB got spooky and now I just laugh or get irritated. I realized later that some horses were playing and running on the other side of the arena so he was likely worked up by that. We finished with some calm stretchy trot and he got grass and minties.

Not a great pic but P tried.

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I had to pick up some more fly spray and Stud Muffins for his highness and I wanted to try a new girth too. We are currently using a sad, old, fleece, no name girth that came with RB when I bought him. It works fine and he likes it but it no longer washes up nice and I had heard good things about Professionals Choice girths. I happened on a used one for a decent price in RB’s size so I picked it up. Big. Mistake. RB is sensitive and he can be picky about tack. I could feel him kind of sucking back as soon as we walked away from the mounting block. We started just walking around on a loose rein and he wouldn’t walk forward. Trot was the same and he was swishing his tail and giraffing around. He only seemed comfortable in canter but it wasn’t his normal canter, kind of compressed. The only thing different was the girth. Several people at my barn have the Total Saddle Fit girths and one girl was kind enough to volunteer her’s for me to try. I hopped off, did a quick girth swap and we were off again. RB felt a lot better. I think he was still slightly pissed about the other girth but he moved out more normally and we were able to have a good ride. So… I went home and ordered the girth. I will review it here once I have used it. The weather wasn’t bad over the weekend. I’m only working Monday and Tuesday this week and I’m excited for a little 5 day vacay.

Pony treats!

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Lesson recap and a few random things

Monday’s lesson ended up being a flat lesson because we have had so much rain lately that both our outdoor arenas are flooded. It was ok. We started trotting large and doing 10m circles in each corner and at B and E. To the left went ok but to the right I was struggling to keep RB connected. We moved on to trot serpentines and sat the trot. This went ok but again I need to work more on my sitting trot. To finish up we did canter serpentines with simple changes. It was really hard to get RB back in time to trot on the center line and than the correct bend to pick up the canter all in the smaller indoor. This means I need to work on my aids. RB was a bit strong too so he was pulling a bit and not listening as well as he could be. We did have a really nice serpentine at the end though. All in all a decent lesson with lots of takeaways for work to be done. Flat-work is hard.

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Thursday’s lesson was actually pretty good. We did a quick warmup of spirals and smaller circles. I need to be able to move RB’s shoulders better so this helped me really control pace and path and focus was on not picking with my inside rein. We started over a small gymnastic, cross-rail one stride to a small vertical. My position was overall better and the grab strap is a good visual of where to keep my hands. We moved on to a 4 stride line. The first time through RB got excited and we did it in 3. My coach told me to really sit up and hold with my body in the line and we were able to get the 4 nicely a couple times. One time we had a weird chip and I pulled. That was the only time though so improvement right? Then we did a course- up the gymnastic which was now 2’3, down a vertical on the diagonal, up the 4 stride line and down a cross-rail on the other diagonal. I just really focused on pace and position and we had some nice moments. We got our changes too except one where I asked without half halting enough and RB kind of tripped and got mad and bucked. It was kind of funny. I also had a slight wardrobe malfunction. I have been breaking in new boots and not zipping them up all the way. Well the zipper went all the way down and my boot was flapping in the wind… I zipped them up and carried on. I think my boots are almost broken in now so the suffering is over… Why do boots have to hurt so much??

Just a couple things-

I’m sure you have all heard about the devastating fire at Crosby Stables. Miss Red Riding is a boarder there and her blog post has the info on how to help if you can. Please take a look- https://missredriding.wordpress.com/2015/06/21/fire/

A happier thing- Karley at All In is having a contest for her 700th post. Congrats. Check out her blog/contest-  http://dondeestahenry.blogspot.ca/2015/06/700-contest-time.html

Saucy Piaffe Brush Review

For my very first review post on this blog I thought I would write about one of the first things I bought for RB when I got him. Another boarder at my barn had a lovely set of personalized brushes and I of course wanted a set for my pony. The brushes are from Saucy Piaffe- https://saucypiaffe.com/ .  They are a Canadian company and they make amazing brushes, stall plates, halter nameplates, signs and other custom items. Their prices are very reasonable for gorgeous, custom, high quality brushes.

I got the Custom Brush Set 2 which are natural bristle brushes. The set includes a dandy, body and face brush. I use them every day and have had them for over a year now and they are still in great shape. I’m not very good about caring for my brushes and I don’t baby them and I haven’t had any issues with bristles falling out. The face brush is so soft! When I got RB he was a bit head shy and the Saucy Piaffe brush was the only one he would let me use on his face. The dandy brush is awesome, just the right stiffness and the body brush is soft and really gets that last bit of dirt off and shines his coat.

You can order really anything you want on the brushes. I did RB’s barn name but you can get your horse’s brand, your name, farm name etc. If you don’t see what you want just inquire about doing a custom order. The set I bought was 56.99 which I think is more than fair for such gorgeous brushes.

https://saucypiaffe.com/product/custom-horse-brush-set-2/

If you are looking for a gift for someone (trainer, barn friend) these brushes would be a great choice. Or you can just do what I did and buy them for your horse (ok, really for yourself) for Xmas. Saucy Piaffe is awesome to work with and I can’t recommend them enough. They also do cool stuff like logo and website design and website hosting so check them out for that too!

These are my brushes:

https://www.facebook.com/saucy.piaffe/photos/pb.798148046904225.-2207520000.1435358467./798199573565739/?type=3&theater

RB with his new brushes.

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Day in the Life of a working ammy

I’m not sure what the protocol for Blog Hops are but they look like fun so I wanted to do one. “A Day in the Life” from Fly On Over caught my eye. Feel free to comment below if I have gone off track here or I missed anything that I need to do to make this an official blog hop. I’m still getting used to blogging.

I’m a working adult ammy just like most of us bloggers. I juggle work, family and riding (don’t have much of a social life so no need to worry about that). Here’s what a typical week day looks like for me. I should also mention that my husband, P works in another province so he is only home on the weekends.

6:30 a.m- Randomly wake up. Every day. No idea why. Check my phone and verify it’s not time to get up.
7:30 a.m- Randomly wake up again. Check phone. Realize I have to get up in 15 minutes. Try to make the most out of those 15 minutes by falling back asleep.
7:45 a.m- Alarm goes off. Struggle out of bed and start getting ready for work. I hate mornings.
8:30 a.m- Walk my dog. Wish I could stay home with my dog.
8:45 a.m – Leave for work, grab coffee on the way. I have a very short commute so at least I don’t have to get my butt out of bed any earlier.
9:00 a.m – Start checking emails and reading blogs. Guzzle as much coffee as I can.
9:45 a.m- Harass a coworker into walking to a coffee shop with me for more coffee
10:00 a.m- Start working. Lots of paperwork and conference calls.

Fast forward through the day. No one needs to read about the working day of someone in finance. I have no way to make it interesting. I usually have lunch at 1 and snack throughout the day. If I get hangry my coworkers better watch out. And they know it.

This is pretty much me.

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5:00 p.m – Woohoo! Time to leave for my lesson (2 nights a week). I speed home to change.
5:15 – After changing, letting my dog out and making a protein shake in record time I hit the road.
5:22 a.m- Inevitability get stuck behind some sort of slow moving farm machinery.
5:45 p.m –Arrive at the barn, scream RB’s name into the field and hope he comes (he usually does) while I dash into the barn and mix up his feed.
5:50 p.m – Curse under my breath at the amount of mud and pine tree bits that are caked on RB’s butt.
6:10 p.m – Phew, tacked up and ready to go in time with a slightly less than stellar grooming job.
6:15 p.m –Lesson starts. I struggle bus for the first few minutes but once I get going its usually ok.

Lesson crew

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7:15 p.m – Lesson over, stuff pony full of treats and hand graze him.
9:00 p.m – Home. Eat some food (usually cereal. I do not cook) and watch some TV/Netflix with my Boston Terrier. Attempt to read a bit but usually fall asleep by 11.

It’s a good life

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Weekend adventures

My husband P comes home from his job on Friday nights so I usually spend the evening with him. Depending on the weather I will sometimes run out to the barn for a quick ride after work but it was rainy and cold Friday so I didn’t bother. Saturday was sunny and warm and I rode alone in the large jumping ring. I focused on going FORWARD and making sure RB was really listening to my leg. He was really good so after a few transitions we did some trot and canter poles. I tried to give him a large release over every pole. I finished off the ride with some no stirrup work. I definitely don’t do enough of that and I was hurting. It was nice to ride completely alone and just focus on myself and my horse.

Sunday I rode with my trainer. We are really good friends so we often ride together outside of lessons. It was rainy and a bit colder so we didn’t have any issues with forward. RB was a bit distracted by some jumps that had been moved outside of the arena so I worked on getting him to bend and soften and not spook at the offending purple gate every time we rode by. Then I worked on adjusting his canter which I struggle with. He is quite adjustable when I ride well. We had some angry giraffe moments and some good moments too. I did more no stirrups and 2 point. I’m really sore today which just means I’m not doing enough so goal for the summer is to do no stirrups and 2 point every ride. Sigh. On the plus side I had my lesson tonight in the spooky indoor and I didn’t die! More on that to come.
Cute pony wearing his dinner

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Lesson Recap

My lessons were Monday/Tuesday this week and if you are feeling sleepy at all you might want to skip this post. I wouldn’t want to be responsible for you falling asleep at work. I am really on the struggle bus lately so I apologize if this post is whiny too. Monday we did a quick warm up and started over a single vertical about 2’ish with a really long approach. I mangled the distance the first time but managed to jump it ok the next couple of times. I am still not releasing enough although I have stopped pulling to the base so progress right? Right? Sigh. Over smaller fences it doesn’t matter so much but I was not releasing over the bigger ones enough from my last lesson so we are really focusing on it. We moved on to a small course, cross-rail on a circle, 2’ vertical on the long side, smaller vertical on the diagonal and quick inside turn to a cross-rail on the other long side. Nothing too hard. It wasn’t disastrous at all but every time I would think I was folding/releasing enough my coach would say I wasn’t. We got a couple of long spots but nothing scary. It was overall just meh. RB was an excellent boy and does not seem bothered by my apparent inability to jump anymore. We jumped the course 3 times and called it a night. It was kind of a downer lesson.

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Tuesday I had my private and right from the start RB was sticky so we worked on getting him forward, He wanted to look at the new flower boxes. I admit I can be a bit slack on making him go forward right away so we worked on his “yes mam” response to my leg. We did canter lengthening/ shortening and tuned him up a little on the flat. Then we started over the same vertical with the long approach as the night before and I really focused on my release/fold. It was better but I am still sitting up too soon on landing so my coach put a 9 foot rail on the other side and told me to not sit up until we were past it. This seemed to work but I was still hovering my hands a bit. I asked her if maybe a neck strap would work. I don’t need it for stability but just as a reminder of what to do with my hands. We tried it and it worked. We jumped the vertical again and I just really focused on hands on the strap and closing my hip more. We jumped a 3 fence bounce too and I only pulled slightly once which is a big thing for me. After that we did a similar course to the night before but we added a skinny vertical on the quarter line and an in and out which my coach put up to 2’3 and jumped around. It was not perfect but it was better. All the jumps were pretty tiny though and I’m sad I have regressed to using a neck strap but if it helps I’m fine with it. RB was an absolute saint and happily jumped around. He got stuffed with Stud Muffins and mints and grass. In July I am switching to 2 privates instead of a group and a private and hopefully that will help. I’m still sad about it because in the winter we were jumping around the indoor and my position/ release were a whole lot better. I’m not sure what happened but my wonderful coach is determined to help me fix it. I’m lucky to have her and RB. Sadly I have decided I will likely not show this summer or if we do it will just be flats. I need to get this issue under control.

This is me right now.

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Lesson recap.

The bad.
I’m still sore from Monday’s lesson. RB was strong and it took every bit of strength I have to bring him back. We were doing a small course, in and out up the diagonal, small cross-rail on a circle, up a slightly larger cross rail on the outside and then down another cross-rail on the outside. Tiny course for wimpy re-riders. RB seemed to think we were in a jump off at Spruce. As soon as we would land off the in and out he would bolt for the next fence. We ended up doing endless transitions and stopping him in front of the fences.
We had started with a single vertical around 2-2”3 and I could not keep my hands in a decent position. My release was crappy every time and I pulled too much to it once and we demolished the jump. Sigh. Poor RB. It’s my natural reaction to pull instead of give. I need to work on that. Anyone have any tips? I try to think about pushing my hands to his ears but I just don’t seem to get the timing right sometimes. Overall not our best lesson. Sorry for the downer post but I’m feeling a bit defeated. We did get a cute pic after the lesson though.

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The good.
Thursday’s private lesson was amazing! I redeemed myself. We started with some trot work over poles and some canter work over 3 canter poles. I will skip over the boring flat-work stuff and get to the jumping. We started over a cross-rail on a circle, first trotting and then cantering it. I was struggling to the left to find a decent spot and kind of just stopped riding a couple times. To the right was better. After that we did a single vertical with a longer approach and worked on path and pace. Amazing when I kept RB straight we got our lead every time. On to gymnastics. We did a one to a one to a one, really focusing on my release. My trainer gradually built up the middle jump to 2’9 and the third to a 2’3 oxer. I actually thought the middle was 2’6 so that was fun. The first time through at the 2’9 height RB backed off a bit and I legged him and he went through but it was kind of awkward. I caught some air haha. My trainer was dying laughing. The next few times were better. I was focusing on giving a giant release but what I feel is giant is not apparently that big… My trainer thinks we need to try an auto release. I have shorter arms and a long torso so she thinks that might be better and let me close my hip angle more. All in all it was a very good lesson. I learned a lot and it was my first time over 2’9. Happy dance!

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