Thursday, December 22, 2011
Wednesday, December 21, 2011
Any rider will appreciate the ah ha moment. The moment when you and your horse finally move together as one rather than two entities trying to sync with each other and end up going in completely wrong directions. After struggling to learn how to jump and ride a rather sensitive horse all in one, I have finally reached the ah ha over a jump. Turns out trying too hard, giving your horse too much freedom to do what they want and then pulling them up at the wrong moment and not riding with enough leg just doesn't work when guiding them to the fence. Hats off to my coach who has helped me find my way. All I wanted was this ah ha moment, and I think I got it :)
Thursday, December 15, 2011
I often wonder where all my time has gone. The past few weeks are flying past way too fast. Answer? Horses. Why do I devote so much time to horses, riding, coaching, mucking out stalls, hauling water, frozen hoses, tending to needy animals, mending wounds, sweeping, mixing grain, throwing hay, trudging through the coldest, wettest, muddiest, windiest weather, and attempting to push a wheelbarrow where no wheelbarrow should go when I could be inside relaxing in the comfort of my lovely home like most normal people do? This is the life of horses. Any respectful horse owner/lover can understand that there is truly no good answer to explain all our craziness except for our true love of horses. We have the inept drive inside us to do the insanest things all for the love of our horses, things that we would never put ourselves through for any other reason.
Thursday, September 15, 2011
Okay, this isn't a horse related post-but its something you will appreciate. My boyfriend is an avid dirtbike rider. My last birthday, I was given my very own bike. I am still learning, but I think I am doing pretty good considering the number of times I have ridden it. Last Sunday, my boyfriend and I went down on our dirtbikes into the meadow to ride the trails for a bit. For a beginner rider (dirtbike rider) this adventure seemed more challenging on motorbike than it did ontop my horse. Having forgotten my gear- I thought my boyfriend would have remembered it??? LOL I was wearing my riding helmet, riding gloves, Kerrits riding breeches and my baby phats. Yeah, I looked cool alright. First we went down the giant hill (which really is quite small on horse, but HUGE on bike). I put it in neutral and braked the whole way down. My heart was thumping. Next, came the creek. Luckily the entrance into the creek is quite shallow, but the exit, quite steep and slippery. I put it in first gear and gunned it up out of the creek - I made it, but barely I putted around the meadow and started feeling more confident on my little bike. My boyfriend ripped up the trails, making it look way too easy. At least now I can appreciate when people compliment my effortless skills in the saddle. Mostly, I just like to sit on my bike and admire him. When it was time to go back home, I expressed my worry about crossing the creek again. This time, I had to enter it steep, slippery, rutted side first. My boyfriend lectured me no matter what DO NOT drop the bike in the water, put your feet in the water before you drop the bike. But, what about my baby phats!?! I didn't want to get them wet- they are expensive! For some reason, perhaps I was feeling more confident than I thought, or maybe I wasn't thinking clearly, I crossed the creek in second gear. WAY TOO FAST! Going down the steep slope, I needed to brake, but in a fret, I gassed instead and didn't let off. Where the heck is the brake?!? I created a tidal wave through the creek, and was soaked head to toe, there goes keeping the baby phats dry. I barely managed to stop before I got to the fencing on the other side of the creek. I popped the clutch and looks back. My boyfriend was shaking his head laughing. He didn't know at that point what had happened, but he could see from my drenched state and the muddy creek bed that I had an adventure. I didn't drop it I exclaimed! I kept the bike up- only thanks to my expert balance from riding horses.
Tuesday, August 9, 2011
Sometimes I amaze myself with the incredible balance and swift athleticism I possess. My 17 y/o horse Sheylan is quite the clown. She is much too smart for her own good and knows exactly when she has to behave and when she can have fun. Coming to the end of our lovely trail ride one day, Sheylan was more exuberant than normal, wishing to trot way past a speed that was anything but comfortable. I was all too relaxed when trotting the last field line home when Sheylan thought she would wake me up a little. Suddenly, out of the blue, I found my body suspended in the air, my feet still in my stirrups, but no horse beneath me and we were traveling at full speed towards the barn. I was pulling my right rein as hard as I could to try to turn her to stop. There must have been a good three seconds while I was suspended in the air, my body weight supported by me pulling the right rein as hard as I could. After unsuccessfully trying to stop her (I began to rethink my bitless hackamore - where was my western bit when I needed it?) I finally came to my senses and yelled "WHOA!", at which point, Sheylan instantly came to a dead stop. I grabbed her mane, and pulled myself swiftly back into the saddle. Only Sheylan would spook that big and stop that suddenly at the sound of my voice. I guess she knew the joke was over! I laughed the entire way home. How the heck did I not fall off?!
Tuesday, July 26, 2011
It's that time again. Bugs, bugs, bugs. The horses are all wearing fly mask and to go out on the trail, you have to beat them before they eat you. If you cannot trot, you will get eaten alive. I must be tastier than the average human because the bugs just love me. I have scars from deerfly bites. We ride in the river flats, so the deer flies are especially bad and they are hard to outrun. Especially the horseflies, a good gallop and you would think you lost them, but they are speedy little things. The worst is the green worms that drop from the trees in the spring while you are riding down trail. I once got caught in a nest of them, and had to take off my t-shirt in disgust - they went everywhere (and I mean EVERYWHERE). My boyfriend of course found it quite amusing. However, he was following behind me and didn't get near the worms that I got. Ahh summer!!! All winter long we await the warm temps, only to wish for winter to come back because of the darn bugs!!!
Monday, June 6, 2011
Back from the second annual rodeo up in Purple Valley and once again, had a blast. This year I was more prepared with my authentic western saddle, western shirt, cowboy hat and boots. Sheylan, my cowpony was on her best behaviour and seemed ready for each event with the competitiveness I had thought she lost years ago when retired. No bucking, no bolting, she was on fire. We even did the dash for cash- we weren't as fast as those quarter horses, but we did as best we could for the run for money. These events are totally foreign to us, galloping from a dead halt, turning on a dime and maneuvering swiftly around barrels but our horses caught on quickly. Still didn't manage to get my fiance - yes, fiance! (we got engaged two weeks prior at the lake) - to compete. Maybe next year?!?
Saturday, May 28, 2011
Every year, I love to go hunt for bargains at the local community-wide garage sales. Never before have I seen so many garage sales in one town, nor those that actually have good stuff for sale. This year, I brought my mother in law along to share the fun. She is an avid barterer and boy, did I learn how to bargain for low prices. I came home with literally a truck load of stuff, and paid for nothing in full. The steal of the day was a trophy saddle from the Dodge Rodeo tour in 2001. The previous owner a bull rider - afraid of horses (go figure) - had never had it on a horses back before and had no idea of it's worth (approx $1100). My mother in law played it cool, pretended that she knew nothing about horses, when in actuality she is a professional in the horse world and offered them $100. We paid a shocking $250 and walked away knowing we practically stole if from them. And guess what?! It fits my horse perfectly. It took a while to break the 10 year old leather in!
Thursday, May 5, 2011
Recently I was training a horse that had come to the barn for a few weeks to get her manners in line before her owner moved her to her own farm. After almost two weeks of working with her, I had no issues; this horse was smart and knew exactly which buttons she could press. She had had a hard tough previous life and knew how to survive through thick and thin. My last day of training, I was going to take her out for a trail ride by herself. The horse was in a dithery state, and I should have seen what was to happen, but unfortunately my mind was too preoccupied on personal matters. I was out at the mounting block, still afoot, trying to send a quick text and the horse was getting more and more dithery (don't mix texting and horses- it's a dangerous mix- read on to see why). While trying to text, I just kept reminding her to stand still and be patient (one of her weaknesses was waiting)- something we had worked on and excelled at over the past few weeks. All of a sudden, with no warning (ok I had warning, I just wasn't using my horse sense at that particular time) the horse ran off, leaving me desperately hanging on the reins trying to stop her. I let out a squawk (which apparently was confused with the half crow of our old rooster) and the reins ripped out of my hands and off she went, galloping back to her paddock. I could swear the horse would have given me the middle finger if she could have. I caught her, and started to cry. My morale was beaten to a pulp. Boy did I feel stupid. Lesson learned, don't mix business with personal matters!
Sunday, May 1, 2011
Why is it that every spring, the horses get too hot for their britches? Every April, out comes my western shank bit for Sheylan - I normally ride her bitless, but even in the spring a regular snaffle won't suffice when she's out on trail and makes a mad dash out of pure glee. My jumping horse, Eddie, who performs like an angel all winter in the indoor arena, needs draw reins added to keep him from galloping at every jump. I don't know whether it's the warmer weather, the softer footing, the after affect of the rider glad they can finally ride outside and not freeze that makes them act a little bit crazier. But every spring, all I know is that I blame all craziness on the weather.
Monday, April 25, 2011
Having recently bought my first jumping saddle, many would think that I am strictly an english rider. But, the fact is I just can't decide which side to choose! We are gearing up for the annual rodeo that is coming up soon and I am now in the hunt for a western saddle to match my new western headstall. I am a total believer that a truly good rider is a versatile rider who can ride in any type of saddle, on any horse and in any discipline and excel. That is the type of rider I wish to be. So, for me, no doors are closed, when an opportunity arises, I step up to the challenge. I make my weaknesses my strengths and my strengths even stronger. The key to being versatile is to have an open mind. Every coach, and every sport has their traditional ways of doing things. I strive to be a well rounded rider which means I never want to stop learning new things, new tricks and new techniques.
Saturday, March 19, 2011
If you would have asked me a year ago- trade my dressage for a jumping saddle- no way! Keeping an open mind was one of my goals when I started to take up jumping last spring. A lot of the jumping philosophy is quite opposite as to what I grew up with, but I decided that to be a more well rounded rider, it was best to keep an open mind and try new things that I generally was opposed to do. The past few months, my addiction to the thrill of jumping has sky rocketed and my need or desire to ride in my dressage saddle has dissipated. Why? I don't know. I guess I was in need of a change and a new challenge. Though my old ways are still what I preach, I take pride in my new love of jumping and to embrace it I sold my loving dressage saddle and have purchased my first close contact saddle. Oh, did I mention last week I jumped 2'9" for the first time!
Wednesday, March 9, 2011
I am torn. Struggling to decide... sell my dressage saddle for a jumping saddle? I can't decide. I love my dressage saddle but I am not riding in it enough to make it worth my while to keep it. I don't want to let it go, I have a lot of history with this saddle, but I already have an all purpose and I can't ride in three saddles at once! What to do???!!! I also want a western saddle to go with my new western headstall and breast collar, but-that's a whole other story to tell some other time....