Monday, December 20, 2010

Blah Again...

I'm a little delinquent....
Call it lack of motivation...
Call it not being in the mood...
Call it NOT looking forward to the Holidays at all. I will fill you in tomorrow...promise.

In the mean time - Feel free to contemplate what happens when one of the cats does a flying leap from the stall, lands on your horse's back and chaos ensues.....

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Blah Winter...

My horse, keeps me sane - if it wasn't for him, I would have jumped off of 100 bridges by now. It is hard to stay motivated in the winter. It is cold, it is dark, it is windy, it is dark....
When I go ride now, I find myself wanting to be better then the last time I rode, more so then during the that weird? I think it should ALWAYS want to do better then the last time, regardless of the time of year. I think I know the reason why...since Chester has rehabbed from his injury, we evented twice, (the first time being 10 days after he jumped for the first time in 6 months having NEVER schooled xc before), and really just got into a program - I would say at the end of September. So, I feel like in the past 10 weeks - we have accomplished more then in the past 10 MONTHS...he just gets better and better and better... which is what I think it motivating me more now (in the cold, frigid, white North) then I ever have been before during winter. I WANT us to do well...and, while winning isn't everything - it sure would be nice to win an event next year. I have never come first in anything before...I would probably cry.
We have 4 1/2 months before the 2011 season starts...let's hope we can stick to our plan for the upcoming year (and heaven forbid not have a 6 month set back, knock on wood) and accomplish our goals. We WILL be going training by September.
AS much as I find myself being motivated right now - probably because I have a LOT of energy because I do not have anything better to do during the day - I would much prefer to be one of the lucky ones who get to head South for the winter...that said, as soon as I win the lottery on Friday - I am packing us up, and heading to Florida for the know, to train with KO'C or something.
More soon - we are going to jump tomorrow...

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Baby it's COLD Outside...

To the point where my school yesterday was 20 minutes long, with a lot of long and low and a 20 second canter so he could stretch his legs.
The ground is frozen, there is no snow and my horse is hesitant to walk (because it is icy) and he just sort of shuffles along.
The best part, is coming around the side of the barn and getting smacked in the face with the wind. That part R.O.C.K.S!!
Can you see my horse...yea, me either - and it is FREEZING...AND it is not even really winter yet. Sigh - I wish I had a ba-million dollars so I could be one of those lucky ones that goes to Aiken or Ocala for the, until I win the lottery, looks like the poor Pickle and I are stuck in the Great Frozen North.

Thursday, December 9, 2010


Yeaaaah - I called it.
Boss looked at Chester and said 'from now on, I am the only person who clips your horse'... and then she laughed out loud for a good 2 minutes.
Lesson update later - all I'll say for right now, is: it was a DOOZEY.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

More Boogeymen...!

Just when I thought it wasn't possible, we have uncovered a new species of horse-eating-boogey-man. The creatures hide on the outside of the arena door and when you ride by, bang the door really quickly making loud, scary noises. Of course Chester has every right to be absolutely terrified and almost make me break my face when he jumps sideways 17 feet for no reason.
Other then that, Monday and Tuesday have been fantastic schools...we are really nailing down our trot-canter-trot transitions. Did some canter poles last night too and he was long as I remember that I have to ride him! Ha.
Haven't jumped since last week's will be interesting to see what we work on in today's lesson!!
More soon!

Monday, December 6, 2010

Learning Tools...

Horses are learning tools...probably the best ones, come to think of it. There is not one day that goes by, where I don;t think about Chester, the other horses in the barn and how they all constantly make me think of ways to better myself.
I was out with one of my girlfriends the other day and the subject of positively came up. I looked at her and said 'You know, I have to be in a positive, relaxed state of mind whenever I am around Chester, because if not, everything I try to accomplish is just simply a disaster. It is almost as though he is my calming effect....that makes me crazy doesn't it?" She said it didn't, but I don't think I believed her...completely.
I learn something new about myself every time I ride my horse. From patience, to relaxation to determination to counting to '10' so I don't have a freak out when something doesn't go as planned. I could write a book just on what my horse has taught me about myself....
The most recent good example I have of this, was from our lesson last Thursday. We are working on Chester's front end - getting a better jump out of him and bringing him to the next level of his thinking. Mainly, getting his leads. This has always been a little tricky for him - even more so since his injury in March. He is much better to the right, then he is to the left and he is much more comfortable landing on the right, then he is on the left. The Boss set up two jumps on the diagonals, almost kiddie cornered to 'x'...I wish I had taken a picture of it because it is hard to explain. It is riding a figure of 8 with jumps just on the 'other' side of 'x'...meaning, the exercise got it, asking to swap leads over the jump...Not as simple as it sounds. You know what else isn't as simple as it sounds...jumping from trot...don't even get me started on that one! As we moved through the exercise, we built on it as follows:
1 - from a trot, ask for the canter the stride before take off, get the lead, come back to trot, change diagonal, repeat.
2 - as above, keep the trot, then add in the second fence over the other diagonal.
3 - canter into the first, if he lands the lead, keep going over the pattern. If not, simple change, trot through the diagonal and repeat until we land the lead
4 - canter the whole thing, landing all leads.
When we started, step 5 seemed near impossible, I couldn't even land his correct lead out of a trot...pretty frustrating. There is a trick to getting leads - look into your corner (d'uh right?!), open the rein for the lead you are looking for and ask for the change before the fence...okay, SERIOUSLY? I am lucky enough that I remember to release enough to let Chester jump now I have to help him land his leads?! Jezzzzzzze. Luckily for me, my horse is brilliant and my coach is brilliant, so it is basically waiting for me to become brilliant. Joyce says, the more we do these sorts of exercises, the easier landing his leads will become, and he will eventually recognize where he is going and what lead he should be landing on and do it himself, AND he is about < > that far from his flying changes...I can feel it!! I don't like doing those sorts of exercises without Boss being there, so she said to mimic the pattern using our ever trusty canter poles and ask for the swap over the, we will work on that.
Things I need to work on: shorter reins, better release (Boss - "annnnd, why exactly is it you are releasing towards his withers?" Me - "uh - good questions?" Boss - your reins are too damn long and your ass needs to get out of the saddle!!"), getting my ass out of the saddle.
So - what did I learn?! When I think I am asking enough - I'm not and need to ask twice as much to get the result I am looking for. My horse is green, but he is smart. VERY smart. If I practice my patience, let him understand what it is I am asking him to do, if ask him properly, then we will go far.
I love my 4 legged learning tool.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Ding Ding Ding...

Chester, 1
Carrie and the Clippers, no score.

Well technically I think it would be 1/2 a point each.
He was great for the first hour, and then he just had had, he now looks like a redhead with a hack job...sigh, poor Pickle.
I would say it is about 90% done, just need to do some touching up and around his head... should have taken a picture so there would be proof of the damage. I did get a little frustrated and numerous times told him that all his friends in the field are going to make fun of him for his bad haircut, but that didn't work.
So, tough for him...

Clip Clip Awaaaayyyyy....

I can see it now - Chester will know something is up the moment I put him into the crossties. It is me vs the clippers vs the Pickle....Full. Body. Clip.
Actually, he is a gem of a boy when it comes to stuff like this and he could care in the least what is going on around him...when we trace clipped him last month (which was pointless, because his hair was still growing), he just stood there and I swear he was falling asleep...and the 'pickle' made its appearance as per expected.
I just entered a WAY COOL contest on Facebook for a new ECOGOLD xc saddle pad. The pads are fantastic!!! as are their xc boots...humm, might have to buy a pair of those for Christmas for Chester!!
Oh - Lesson update will be a doozie!