Thursday, January 31, 2013

Probably beyond the strictly healthy level

Yup, I love that horse.  Absolutely adore him.   We had a great evening yesterday -- he played some on the longe, but not much, and then he was fantastic under saddle.  :)

I can't even say how much I needed that.   It felt so good to just ride and enjoy him.  WTC both ways, working on outline and connection ... ahhh.

I wish I didn't have an appointment tonight so that I could go ride again.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Happy day.

Thing one:  SO EXCITED GET TO RIDE TONIGHT GET TO PLAY WITH PONY YAY!   Even if it's just groom mud off and longe, I'm still excited.


Thing two:  Inspired by Checkmark115's entry about Jimmy Wofford's comments about the "cruising position" some BNTs have encouraged ...  I'm more than a little baffled.   I mean, I knew it was a thing being discussed in circles other than my own.  I knew there was debate about it.   I didn't figure it would last, because really: allowing rider joints to move in the classic galloping position is kind of obvious.  A dynamic position with the hip and knee joints mobile allows energy to be absorbed and dispersed, allows balance to shift as needed, and uses the least active energy from the rider.  

It seems really obvious to me.  Then again, I am a smurf for sure.  Less than a smurf.  I don't know my butt from a hole in the ground, I suspect.  

It occurs to me that MT and TD, etc, have never even mentioned it.  Not just not taught it but not even mentioned it.  I guess I could ask about it, but I can predict the answer: "Why would you want to do something like that?"   And if I could draw, I'd draw the exact expressions MT, TW, TD, etc would have on their faces.

Anyway, as usual, I think Jimmy Wofford's right.  And MT, TW, TD, TED, etc, who would probably chorus their agreement.  

Fads.   Hmph.  :)

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Yes, almost done with this now!

The end of this sickness is in sight!   Doctor says I should be clear to start exercising (read: RIDING) tomorrow!

I am SO excited.  I am tired of not doing anything, tired of not seeing my horse, tired of my house, tired of coughing.

YAY!   Horse!   I miss my sweet bay guy.   I miss the feeling of riding, of how much I love his gaits.  I miss reins in my hands and horse smell in my nose.  :)

Friday, January 25, 2013

Weather change!

It's warm again!! 36! Warm enough to ride!

Of course, Wednesday I realized that my usual level of respiratory crap was ramping up quickly. No problem, thought I, it's just starting to develop into bronchitis. I didn't feel all that terrible, really, so no worries. There was an ice storm predicted for that night so I figured I'd hit the minor emergency clinic, get some meds, and be on my way.

However, when the doc came in and heard what I had to say, he went to listen to my heart. Wasn't even starting with my lungs. He stood up, pulled the stethoscope away, looked startled, and said "oh my gosh!" Heh. Um, oops? I guess I wasn't alarmed enough by the wheezing - apparently what I read as usual crap devolving into bronchitis is bronchitis starting to settle into pneumonia.

I got out without having to have a chest x-ray or shots of antibiotics or steroids, but I did leave with weapons-grade drugs: abx, prednisone tabs, and weird cough medicine that works crazy well. And a stern admonition to rest, stay indoors, and come back at the slightest hint of fever or worse trouble breathing.

Hrrrumph. If I feel better tomorrow, I am going to go play with my horse. It's warm!! WARM!!

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

If you will

Picture, if you will, a small, fuzzy woodland creature.   It has a cute, small nose and adorable fuzzy ears.

Now picture that woodland creature wrapped in a huge comforter, with only its little nose showing.  Its little nose has frost on it and one tiny icicle dangles off.

That little woodland creature is the cartoon I'd draw of myself right now.

It is TOO DAMN COLD here to do anything.  Like, by the time I got out of work the temperatures were in single digits kind of cold.   I just don't ride in single digit temperatures.   Call it an excuse if you want, but I'm calling it a legitimate reason - I'm not aspiring to Rolex (or even Novice this year), so I'm choosing to stay inside!

It's been three weeks of way too cold.  I've managed to ride through a week of it, then ... yeah.  Not so much.  I think the last time I rode was the 17th, and even then was super cold, though the new thermals helped a lot.

In theory, we're getting warmer weather tonight, and tomorrow should be back to normal winter temperature for the area.    I'll believe it when I see it.   But I am really, really, desperately hoping to see it.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Mid-January already

I've discovered the freezing point of my motivation.  It happened last Sunday, when I completely overslept and missed my lesson, which I'd been looking forward to.   Seriously, it's been a week of highs in the mid to low 20s and lows in the single digits.  Around the 9th we had a glorious, warm day: 46 degrees!   But before that, we'd had a week of highs in the mid to low 20s and lows in the single digits.

Too.  Cold.

I had to go buy new thermals because the ones I have, light or silk weight, just don't stand up to this cold.  Even after a lesson my legs would be so chilled I could feel my cold skin through my winter britches and thermals.   So now I have Seriously Warm bottoms and a midweight top.  This will help a LOT with motivation.   I also picked up a new wool hat.  :)  It's pink and grey and tan.  I got tired of looking at myself in the barn bathroom mirror and realizing that I was wearing all black to the barn.  Again.   It's not deliberate, I swear!  I'd rather have tan britches any day, but the ones that are warmest (and were on sale when I bought them) are black.  My FITS are black, espresso brown, or blue -- it's just what was most affordable and available at the time.   My fleece jacket is black, but it was the one that was on consignment and $10.  :)

So obviously, price trumps color for me.   Except for crazy colors, like lime green or whatever.  I don't wear those colors even if the outfit is $1.   I do not need to look like a diseased kiwi, thank you.

ANYway.  Yes.  Warm clothes for barn.  Desperately needed.    I am so, SO over this cold weather, I can't even tell you.   I'm sure Apollo is over this weather too.  Blech.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

My dog has no nose*

It is SO snowy out there.

How snowy is it?



In all seriousness, it's so snowy that TD texted everybody who usually comes out to ride in the evenings to say that she does not recommend coming out to the barn tonight -- there are 3 foot drifts behind the barn and lots of ice.

That's pretty dang snowy.  For any of the T family to say "ah, no, don't come out and ride" is srs bsns.**

* My dog has no nose.
   Really?  How does he smell?

** Serious business.  Much more dramatic in txt.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013


Yknow what's amazing?  That I actually get to own and ride this wonderful horse.  This astonishingly kind, athletic, willing creature is my own.

I still stop and am amazed sometimes that I am riding my OWN horse.  Not someone else's, not a horse I'm leasing ... my own horse.   Mine to bond with and care for and love.   I don't have to give him back to anyone (except our maker, may that be a long time from now), and I get to choose where I live and what I do -- which means staying with my horse because I want to.  I felt that way, just astonished that I was finally riding my very own horse, when I bought Rev at 31.  Now, a few days shy of 37, I still feel it, and I feel like I have gotten the opportunity to have a really nice horse of my very own.  How amazing is that?!   Close to 40 and still sometimes giddy about my very. own. horse.

But that's not really what I'm trying to say here.  What I really mean is that I am amazed that THIS horse is the one I have.  Somehow I got blessed with this wonderful animal.   How unspeakably lucky do I feel?  Unwritably unspeakably lucky.  Days like this make me believe in everything good.   Whatever force led me to call about him, try him, and buy him -- whether you call it God, Goddess, karma, fate, happenstance, human insight and awareness, Bob Dobbs -- to that force, I am a thousand times grateful.

And I'm grateful for the people who had him before me, too.  His previous owner taught him good dressage and fostered his good temper.  Redheadlins got him off the track and started him as a riding horse, and she did an amazing job of it.  (Go read her, incidentally.  She's got a lot of fun and interesting things to say about her really cool life and horses and husband and dog!)  Whoever bred him for the track chose well; I wish I knew more about the horses in his pedigree.   So all those people contributed hugely to this wonderful thing in my life, and I'm so thankful.

Obviously, we had a great lesson tonight.  Didn't do anything earth-shattering, just flat work.  Worked specifically on his outline and on my position in the canter, and made some good changes.   More than anything, I just really, really enjoyed riding Apollo.  The fact that this was just a daily ride, that this is How It Is, seems really important to me, if that makes any sense.    And the fact that things will get better from here? That's just so awesome to think about.

How amazingly lucky am I to have this horse to ride and love?  I mean, really.   I don't have enough happy words for this, and I have a frighteningly large vocabulary.  :)

Monday, January 7, 2013

Less than three

I love it when I go out to get my horse and I know, from the moment I see his little nose and see him walk toward me, that we're going to have a good time.   :)

Tonight was one of those nights.  It was snowing but not freezing -- above 20! WOOHOO! -- and I got to the barn a bit early (left work early to miss the chaotic traffic that I knew was coming).   Apollo came out of the pasture in a good mood, didn't really mind one of the other horses screaming his head off in a stall, and didn't really mind that the indoor waterers were being worked on.

I popped him on the longe line for a bit, just to see what I had to work with, and I was very pleased!  He wasn't tense, stretched, and generally was his usual cooperative self.  Hallelujah!   Didn't bother with side reins this time, and I hopped into the saddle fairly quickly.

For the past few days, Apollo's been rather squirrelly about the mirrors -- frosted up mirrors hide horse eating demons, of course.   I'd noticed that he doesn't care about the mirrors when I longe him, and I thought "of course he doesn't care on the longe line; he's convinced you're in charge on the longe, and you get nervous in the saddle when you think he's going to spook."   So I didn't do that.   And neither did he.   :)   To be fair, he was also much less up today.  Not sure if it's the cold or the fact that he's been ridden more, but either way, I'll take it.

So yeah.  WTC both ways, contact, forward, et cetera.  Happy campers!   I heart my horse.   (Apparently I can't use the less than character without escaping it, and I don't feel like looking up the unicode for it.  Imagine a little heart there.)


Well, the weekend was a mix of productivity and complete chaos.   

Saturday was productive, albeit cut a bit short.  I thought the last lesson of the day ended at 3, so I headed out a little before 3.  Turns out there was a lesson at 4:30, but that still left me enough time to longe and ride.  Apollo was pretty good, actually!  Not wonderful, but I was pleased with what I remembered to do (relax!) and what that got from him (relax.).   When the 4:30 group got there, I hopped off, got Apollo squared away, and then hung out to watch the jumping lesson.   Lots to learn from any lesson!

Anyway, looking forward to getting on tonight.  :)  Apollo's coming back to himself, and so am I, so this is getting easier and easier!

Thursday, January 3, 2013

The part of Schprockets where I

COMPLAIN ABOUT THE COLD. I know. I said it already and have said it a bunch of times in person, but ... Holy crap it's cold! Another 18 degree when I got there, 7 when I got home night. SEVEN. That is too freaking cold! I was wearing thermals and winter breeches and my legs were way cold. I was home for an hour and a quarter and still wasn't warm - my freaking HAIR was cold to the touch, not to mention my arms and legs. Not my torso, though. Yay?

Anyway, that is just about all.u Apollo was predictably up but worked in spite of it.

Unt now, DANCE, Dieter!

A very good place to start

Oh holy yikes it's cold out there.  Like 18 when I got to the barn and 10 when I got home, then 5 when I woke up this morning kind of cold.  It's warming up this week; the high might get as high as 27!  Woot!   I'm having to reconsider my "I don't ride when the temperature is in single digits" rule ... but I don't think I'll have to invoke it.  It should stay in the teens in the evening.  Yay?

Apollo was good last night.  I chose to just longe in a surcingle and side reins, see how he was doing.  TW had mentioned that he looked a bit off on the RF but that it was probably just hard ground causing it.  He seemed a little off at first on the longe, then worked down.  I didn't feel any heat or see any swelling when I brought him out of the pasture, so I won't worry.   Anyway, he was quite good.  I could have gotten on and not had problems, but I'm glad I plopped him on the line.

I would like to revise my "left shoulder argh!" statement, however.   What I mean is "right rein argh!"   He doesn't want to take contact on that right rein, so he pops his left shoulder out.   So that's something to be aware of and working on consistently.  I wonder if it has anything to do with his injury, which is on the RH.  Dunno.    It also looks like he could use some bodywork in the poll and the pelvis.  Must see about getting that done.  With any luck Doug Hannum or Grant Showalter will come out soon ... that would be ideal.  I should see about chiro for him as well.

Waiting for a call from the County folks about an initial consultation regarding saddle size and panel shape, etc.  Not planning to do anything about that immediately, but one has to have a starting point.   There's a possibility on one of the sites I'm watching, but I have no idea if a 19" is too big even for my butt or if it'd sit wrong on Apollo's back, hitting that last rib.  This is why I need a fitter!

Lesson on Sunday with another of the Ladies Who Lesson; I'm glad to get this train back on the tracks.  It'll be mostly flatwork, which is good for now.  Patience, grasshopper.  Do this for a month or so, then see where you are.   Position position position.   Work on your lower leg position, and think of MT's position and of Denny Emerson's recent FB posts about how he arrived at his ah-ha moment re: leg position.  (Spoiler: he watched lots of videos of Mike Plumb in slow motion.)

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Picking up

Rightyo -- I'm ready to rejoin the world.   I think the single best gift I gave myself this winter was to just rest during my vacation from work.  I feel human again, like I can actually function and progress instead of flail at going through the motions.

I mean, yes -- I committed THE WORST SIN EVER of not riding much.   Apollo will be up when I get to the barn today, tomorrow, and for a week or so.  We're not going to be doing as well as we would if I'd ridden every day.   But yknow, that's okay.   I am okay with it.   I was just reading back through my most recent posts, and the main theme of them was "I don't feel good and I'm tired."  Wow.  Yep, I was burned out.  Not so much on horses or riding, but more on work and life and everything that goes into supporting a horse and riding.   Looking back on my posts, sleep was what I needed, more than I knew.  I'm thinking of making a habit of taking a few days off every couple of months just to prevent burnout and catch up on sleep.

Depending on finances, I'm going to get this train back on track with lessons again.  :)  I think starting with a flat lesson or two would be a good idea, to help work out some of the issues I'm having (left shoulder argh!) and get that part of things rolling again.  Then back to jump lessons.

And maybe we'll make it to the February or March schooling show.  ;)   One thing I'd like to do this spring and summer is actually ride in the test of choice nights rather than scribe only.   Apollo's dressage is quite good, and I'd like to take advantage of and improve that.   I feel pretty lucky to have a horse who's the complete package -- dressage and jumping and personality.   We need mileage, but we can totally do that.  :)

Things I'm planning to do in 2013 include:

* Ride in as many of the TOC nights as I can
* Complete the home derby
* Complete the Rafter K derby
* Participate in as many cross-country schools as possible

And if everything goes well, make a foray out to Golden Spike for Intro.  :)    I think I can totally do that with this horse.

But most of all, my goal is to enjoy riding my sweet horse.  Not pressure myself.  Just love riding and my horse.   Hang out with the awesome barn people.   Learn.  Laugh.  And have a good time.  *nodnod*