Monday, December 31, 2012


I'm so behind in posting it's ridiculous.  I'm not sure when I'm going to catch up!  Today, I just wanted to share a brief tidbit.

I have dropped the martingale and spurs.  The no spurs seems to be going okay.  The no martingale has been a learning process and makes me miss the more level headed/lower headed breeds.

It is TERRIFYING to be on a horse and have them spook and fling their head upside down (not just up, but UPSIDE DOWN) so that your reins and bit are ineffective.  Luckily, she only galloped halfway across the arena and only bucked once but whoooo, hello heart rate!

It's a good reminder that you cannot ride off the face, especially with a horse who can lift their head and nose upside down.  It made me feel incredibly insecure.  We've had a few moments like that since last week when I stopped using the martingale.  I'm proud of myself for riding through them, recovering without yanking on her face and moving on.  And for not putting the martingale back on.

So, here's to moving forward in 2013.  Here's to letting go of what doesn't work and continuing to find out what does.

Oh - I also had a funny moment with Tessa and her biting.  She's been super crabby about saddling, brushing and girthing.  Being the pansy owner that I am, the first thing I did was worry that she was hurt.  Checked saddle fit, girth tightness, another round of ulcer medication, extra hay.  Then, yesterday, she really tried to bite me while I was brushing her front leg.  So, I unclipped her from the cross ties and tried again.  When she pinned her ears and nipped at me, I cut loose on her.  For about two seconds.  She flew back five steps and stared at me.  What the hell, Mom?  I put her back in place and continued brushing.  And then saddling.  And girthing.  And damn if that little mare didn't just stand still all relaxed and mellow.

Yep, she needs me to be in charge and if I won't do it then she's gonna try for that position.

So - 2013 is all about being the leader in our relationship.  If I have more free time I will try to do a year in review.  It was an AMAZING year for me and my horse and I've learned so much that even a Year in Review post couldn't do it justice, but I will try....

Monday, December 24, 2012

Jump Clinic Review~

I can feel the work of the jump clinic in every muscle in my body, particularly my back.  I'm told that as my legs get stronger, the pain in my back will lessen but today I'm feeling stiff and sore.  Sundays are usually riding days for Tessa and I, but I figured if I'm this stiff and sore she probably is too.  So we took our Sunday off.  I got some cleaning done, some last minute Christmas shopping and some much needed napping.

So, let's see what I can remember from the jump clinic.

I was frustrated because the second day we had to spend an inordinately large amount of my time on getting Tessa to canter on the correct lead.  We've been having some trouble with our right lead canter and it just fell apart on Saturday.  Sigh.

Okay, wait.  Let's start on the first day.  I was so nervous I thought I might throw up.  I got on anyway.  I learned that my horse's attitude is a direct response to my nerves.  She was a hot mess, kicking and bucking and spooking.  I whined for a minute at Linda that I thought maybe I should have someone else warm her up.  Linda shook her head and smiled sympathetically at me.  "Just ride her through this."  I glared at her (sorry Linda!) and went back to riding.  Sure enough, when my adrenaline simmered down and my muscles stopped being hard as a rock, Tessa got over herself and we went to work.

The first day was doing two point exercises.  First get in two point, then put reins in one hand, grab mane and push your legs deeper.  One of the things I really enjoyed about Marc was that he worked with where you were at and said there's no shame in holding mane until your legs get strong enough.  We went from that to leaning our upper bodies down so that our noses were touching our horses necks.  I was praying fervently to the God of Spooky Arabian Horses With Rubbernecks that Tessa would keep her head down and not smash my nose. My prayers must have worked because we survived.  When our upper bodies were down, our legs stretched even deeper.

After that we did some cantering over ground poles and then one jump.  He focused on getting forward (poor pony and I.  Maybe we really should look into Western Pleasure.) for a good portion of things.  He kept saying "Go somewhere!  REALLY go somewhere!".  After watching some video footage, I realized that what FEELS like GOING somewhere is really a lovely Western Pleasure canter.  

The other thing he focused on was waiting, waiting, waiting.  Wait for the jump.  Wait with your shoulders.  I saw this over and over again with most riders.  We all anticipate.  It's hard not to!  We only jumped one jump.  Nothing complicated.  He worked a lot on our form over the jump.  Shoulders back, don't anticipate, long legs.  It was hard work but I could really tell a difference the last time we went over the jump.

I'm working on getting some video up, but at the moment I can't edit and my darling non-horsey husband took a lot of random video.  So, in the meantime here's what we looked like before we rode.  I even busted out with a cute sweater for the clinic!  Too bad you can't see my polished boots in this picture.  I will try and post more pictures later today or tomorrow.  Merry Christmas Eve everyone!  I have to run out to the barn now and give my pony a kiss and a carrot.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

The Cowardly Lion

Yesterday was the first day of the jump clinic.  I was incredibly nervous and kept wondering why in the world I signed up for a stupid jump clinic.  Marc, the trainer, introduced himself and asked about me.  Then he said that Linda and Laura had both told him that my anxieties exceeded my abilities.  Meaning it's in my head. 

I don't have a huge amount of time to write a well thought out post....oh wait, I NEVER write well thought out posts.  I don't edit either.  I'm so lazy.....anyways.  I'm sitting with a giant cup of coffee, my body aching in ways I didn't think it could.   And I'm gearing up to go back today.  Yep, I'm riding BOTH days. 

I'm dragging the husband out with me today to try to get video or pictures or something.  I will do my best to post later today if I can. 

The most important thing that I came away from this experience (besides to LOOK WHERE YOU"RE GOING!!!!!!  I'm a solid 'watch the horses head' dressage rider.) is that I'm okay.  My horse is okay.  We're a good team.  And when my nerves are in check, I think I might be enjoying myself.

This clinic (so far) has been full of AHA! moments.  I can't wait to share them with you....after I survive Day 2.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Noah's Ark

I'm gonna take a moment and whine.  Yes, I live in the city known for rain but our dirty secret is that though it 'rains' a lot, it doesn't usually RAIN.  Our winter is usually grey and depressing, but sort of drizzly and showers and blah blah blah.  The last two days, it's been a downpour.  A constant deluge of freezing cold rain.  It's just barely warm enough to be rain as we top out at 41 degrees during the warmest part of the day.  But it's drenching everything.

And the mud!  Dear Lord the Mud!  Again, I live in a place that's muddy and swampy by nature but when you have heavy rain for 48 hours it makes muddy into a joke.  It turns mud pits into muddy swimming holes.  I haven't been out to the barn today, but I wouldn't be surprised if they just kept most of the horses in.  Mud up to their knees isn't really conducive for doing much, besides standing around in the oozing mud.

Some barns around here have 'mud free' turnouts.  Most of the time, this is accomplished with pea gravel.  I'm glad that my barn has grass in the summer because of their pasture management, but it means we all put up with the mud in the winter.

The jump clinic starts tomorrow and I'm riding in the evening.  I haven't ridden since Sunday and today I should be heading out to the barn.  But I gotta confess, in this awful, miserable, terribly cold rainy dark day, I"m having a hard time getting motivated.  The fireplace and a cup of tea is calling my name. And pretty damn loudly.  It's pretty much just the worry that I will embarrass myself in front of the clinician that's going to get my butt in the saddle today.  Also, in case the world ends tomorrow, I'd like to get a ride in first.  :)

Ahhhh, winter riding.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Going Without

First of all, thanks to everyone who's commented on my last post.  It has really helped to hear everyone's different experiences.

This post has two parts about going without.  The first one fun and the second one more serious.  Let's start with the fun, shall we?

After my bitching and moaning about not having fun, I once again decided to take matters into my own hands.  There were people at the arena so I couldn't do anything crazy, but I did make some decisions about what I was going to do with my horse.

The first thing I went without was my spurs.  I'm working on better communication with Tessa.  In my lessons, I don't mind wearing spurs.  I have someone watching over me and helping me be precise.  Don't get me wrong, I don't accidentally spur her all the time or anything when I'm not in a lesson.  It's just that I'm looking for a different kind of communication right now.  A softer, gentler communication for the most part.  So I left the spurs off.  I did have to actually take my legs completely off of her and wallop the CRAP out of her side at one point because she completely tuned me out.  But that one boot was enough and we didn't have any trouble after that.

Second thing I went without was my running martingale.  It's time.  I have to start letting to go of my crutches.  If I'm having a nervous day or she's super hot, I won't hesitate to return to it but it's time to step out of my comfort zone.  Things went fine.  She's pretty stiff and bracey when she wants to be, but the point is for me to learn how to maneuver her body, not how to yoink her face and head down with a running martingale.  And yes, I did say yoink.  It may not be a word yet, but it should be.

The third thing I went without was stirrups.  I did it at the end of my ride and I walked, trotted and cantered.  I crossed the stirrups up over her neck.  She did great.  I did great.  She didn't want to canter and kicked out at my leg and I didn't lose my security at all.  Yeah!  Also, that ten minutes didn't make me sore.  Which means I should go longer next time!

Now, let's talk about the other going without.  I know I've covered this before, but I have some new readers and fresh eyes, ears and input always helps.  We are not a wealthy family.  We do not own property.  We have to board my horse.  Nobody else in my family likes horses so the time is not shared time, it's just me time.  The closest place that I can afford to board at is about twenty five minutes from my house.  An average barn trip is about three hours when you factor in traffic time, grooming, saddling and riding.  This does not include washing feet, tails or cleaning tack well.  My average bill for the pony is about $900 a month.  This is not a small chunk of change for us.  We go without things (not necessities ever, but luxuries) so that I can have a horse of my own.

And lately, I've been able to ride two or three days maximum.  That's it.  Tessa often gets used the other days, but $900 for three days a week?  That works out be $75.00 every time I go to the barn.  Ouch.

I'd like to be out there more.  Left to my own devices, I'd spend seven days a week at the barn for hours on end.  But I have a six year old daughter.  And it's important that I be home for dinner and homework most nights.  It all feels worth it when I have a good ride on Tessa.  When she whinnies for me from her stall.  But some days (especially around the crazy holidays) when I'm frantically trying to decide if I need horse time or family time, it's hard to feel like the scales are balanced.

I won't get to ride this week until Thursday and then my jump clinic is this weekend.  Wish me luck!  I will try to solve my picture dilemma by then so maybe there will be photographic evidence.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Evaluations and Chickening Out

I didn't go to my jump lesson last night.  I could have.  I told myself I just didn't feel like it.  It was cold.  It was dark.  It was raining.  It's the same weather that it's been for the last month and will continue to be for the next few months.  Nothing new.

I know that it's because I'm afraid.  But I'm questioning my goals and my fear.  Because this might be a healthy fear.  Jumping IS more dangerous.  There's loads of things I can do that don't involve jumping.  So why am I jumping?

It started as a way to do something different and a way to meet the basic Pony Club levels.  However, I've done that.  I've jumped my course of 18" jumps (and some a little higher).  I've jumped crossrails, cantered through ground poles, jumped oxers and sailed over verticals.  It was scary every time.  And though I felt a sense of accomplishment, I feel like I just realized that now that I've accomplished that I need to move forward.

Moving forward is jumping is bigger jumps.  Jumping more jumps.  More complicated patterns.  More chances of accidents. The jump clinic is looming in my future and I'm not looking forward to it, I'm terrified.  I don't know how to say "Sure I want to jump, but I'd rather it was single jumps and only 18 inches high".

I'm thinking of dropping out of jump lessons but I don't want to let fear get the better of me.  I think what I really want is to try some other horse things that involve less adrenaline.  Some trail riding.  Some Western. 

A friend of mine asked me the other day if I had fun at the barn.  I paused.  For a long time.  I love the people.  I love my horse.  I love my trainers.  But fun?  What I feel after a good lesson or a good ride is a sense of exhilarating accomplishment.  But I'm not sure fun is the right word.  Maybe that's what's driving my sense of their being something not quite right?  Maybe I'm looking for fun?

I started riding at a barn with a serious lesson program.  Lessons are what I know.  But at that barn, we used to have fun days.  We'd have a polo instructor come in.  Sometimes, in our group lessons, we were paired up with a partner and had to ride dressage tests in tandem.  We went on a few short trail rides.  Though the barn was primarily dressage and jumping riders (all lower level), it wasn't unusual for someone to decide to try reining and to put a Western saddle on their horse and tool around.  There was goofiness and silliness.  The riding was not as perfect, we weren't taught softness or lightness.  But there was fun.

I know we've gone down this road before, but I'd like to hear from you guys?  Do you have FUN when you ride?  Is it every time?  Sometimes?  Is it your barn that helps create this fun?  Tell me your stories! 

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Up And Down. Forward and Back.

Tessa continued to be an angry mama yesterday while I was grooming.  I got on and her walk was forward and a bit tense.  I asked her to move into trot and she shook her head at me.  I swear, if ponies could growl my pony would have growled at me.  She swished her tail, hunched up her back and kicked a leg up at me.  I reverted to panic mode for a minute so I rode over to talk to Linda about it.

"Is she in pain?  Am I hurting her?"  

"If she has an ulcer, her tummy might hurt a little bit.  But she's eating and drinking, not losing any weight and she was fine at the walk.  She can work just fine.  She just doesn't want to.  And if you let her convince you of that now, you're gonna have this battle again."

I sighed and slumped in the saddle.  One of the hardest things in riding and in life and with anxiety is when you go backwards.  And you will go backwards.  It's not me, it's just how it goes.  You go forward and then you slide backwards.  The trick is to not let it defeat you.  So, I straightened up and pushed her on.  When she sassed me, I just kept my leg on and kept riding, focusing on pretending I was holding the towel so that my arms stayed still and light.

Into the trot we went.  And then we had lots and lots of moments of gorgeous, back lifting, soft trotting.  We even had a few steps of shoulder in that weren't slug slow or completely crooked.

So, we moved on to cantering.  Ugh.  Ick.  Bleck.  Was that two steps forward and nine steps back?  Cause that's what it felt like.  She was cranky and fussy and angry.  This time, when she threw a fit, we would bring her back to trot and push her forward.  If she wasn't going to canter, then she was going to trot and work hard.  

We got a few circles of canter, but she kept quitting and dropping her head and threatening to buck so we did more circles of forward trot.  Our trot work was pretty spectacular by that time, with Tessa really pushing forward and into contact.  

I was worried about her canter transitions and how far backwards we slid, but Linda said not to worry about it.  She pointed out that I now have a wholly different standard for our trot work and that Tessa is just seeing if she can get out of cantering.  For now, since we've established new baselines in the walk and trot (she must go forward into steady contact), we're not going to worry about the canter falling apart. 

I'm also hoping that when she gets on ulcer meds, some of this will magically disappear.  Otherwise, I think that part of why Tessa ended up being my horse was because she's smart enough to find my buttons and push them.  She knows I'm not comfortable at the canter (evidenced by bracing, throwing away contact etc.) and so she uses that opportunity to try to get the upper hand.  By bringing her back down to trot and then making her work in the trot, I'm establishing that I'm in charge.  Hopefully over time this will make the canter depart less of an issue.

Monday, December 10, 2012

New Times and New Friends

Sundays ride with Tessa was a definite 'meh' for numerous reasons.

It started while I was saddling and brushing her.  Despite me being gentle and going slow, she was a snarly, teeth gnashing mess.  I have been ignoring this behavior and just going about my business.  It doesn't intimidate me anymore and I was hoping that the behavior would go away.  I know her saddle fits and I'm girthing up ridiculously slowly.  I snagged Laura and asked her to take a look at her.  She pressed a few points on her belly and Tessa kicked up at her hand.  We think she just got super stressed out from her frenemie, Dez and that her ulcer may have come back.  We're going to put her on a course of ulcer meds and see if that helps.  Poor pony.

I rode in jump tack with the idea of working on my two point position.  My two point still sucks and I can't hold it all and I can't feel any muscles working.  Sigh.  I also had my shoulders up to my ears most of the time, which threw my shoulder back out.  Monday I saw my PT and they couldn't believe how 'angry' my shoulder was.  Double sigh.

Our trot was okay.  I worked hard on just setting my rein length and leaving her face alone, especially since I was doing two point and jumping.  I just wanted forward.  When I asked her to canter she threw a hissy hit, trying to bash my nose with her cute little head.  I had almost ridden without the martingale that day.  I'm so glad I chickened out and put it back on her.

While she was freaking out and resisting and tossing her head and bucking stupid little bucks, I thought about a recent post over at A Year With Horses about bracing and softness.  I focused on being light and letting go all of the tension and bracing in my arms.  We finally eked out a decent canter, but it wasn't great.  I could have used my whip to push her more forward, but I really felt like she was bracing against me and if I couldn't un-brace then it wasn't fair to punish her for that.  We've had such great rides earlier in the week.  So, I just left it at that.  We had a few so-so trot circles and another crappy canter depart before I called it a day.

Despite the possibility of an ulcer, Tessa still loves her food.  She's like the Garfield of the horsey set.  She just wants to eat and nap and nap and eat.  I gave her a carrot and put her back out with her turnout partner, Truck.  Yes, she is now going out with Truck.  The same horse who took a chunk out of her ear through a stall last year.  Apparently, Truck was a total gentleman in turnout with her.  We'll see how it works out.

Laura also moved Dez out of the stall next to Tessa and moved Manny in.  Manny is a gorgeous quarter horse who is in love with Tessa.  They hang out next to each other batting their eyelashes at each other.  It's adorable.  Hopefully these changes will help Tessa feel better soon.  Now if I can just let go of the tightness in my damn arms!!

Friday, December 7, 2012


Remember the cute pictures I posted of Tessa and her new buddy Dez?  Yes, well, much like friendships between middle school girls, the relationship between Dez and Tessa has soured.  It started with Dez kicking at the wall separating her stall from Tessa's.  There was much ear pinning and squealing.  At first we assumed it was because one of them was in heat.  But it persisted.  Dez put up such a racket that Tessa ended up moving to a different stall.  She had become very cranky about people going into her stall.  She's been in the new stall about a week and already she's less crabby.  I'm glad my barn has folks who notice things like that.  I know a lot of barns would have just disciplined her for being crabby and left it at that.  My trainers and my barn are really invested in my pony's happiness and that's so important.

Dez and Tessa were still getting along okay in turnout, so after my lesson on Thursday I put Tessa back out in her usual pasture.  As I was turning to go I heard the sloshing sound of horses galloping through the mud.  I looked back to see Tessa with her tail straight up in the air, galloping around the turnout with Dez in hot pursuit.  They did this for about five minutes, but then seemed to settle into a truce.

I walked back to the barn and watched them for a few minutes.  Just as I was turning to go, they started up again.  Laura was already on her way out, having seen the ruckus too.  So we pulled Dez out so that Tessa could have some turn out time.  Poor Tessa stood by the gate giving me the most pathetic look.  She's not a fan of mud and she's not a fan of 'alone time.'  Though there are horses right next to her in the other paddocks, she prefers a buddy with her.

So that's the end of that friendship.  I think it's interesting that they started out okay and the relationship deteriorated after a few months.  Tessa is very submissive and Dez is only three so maybe Dez figured out she could push Tessa around and is being a snarly middle school bully.  Our paddocks aren't big enough to allow this dynamic to continue.  My pony also hates the mud so I'm sure she was unhappy about now having mud all the way up to her hindquarters from all the galloping.

I don't know who she'll get turned out with next.  Hopefully a pony who will be nicer to her.  A lover, not a fighter.

First the Towel, Then The Ball

I was lucky enough to get another private lesson this week.  This time, instead of the towel, we used a medicine ball.  I've ridden with the medicine ball before, but we really focused on making sure that it was my core that was getting worked and not my arms.

Besides the obvious benefits of nice steady contact (you can't adjust your reins when you're holding the ball) I found another hidden benefit.

Tessa was very hot and spooky, even though she'd been ridden every day.  I think she was mostly trying to get out of work since she hadn't gotten to go to turn out yet that day.  So, at one point, she did a jump, whirl and tried to bolt.  I couldn't do my usual flailing again because I held the ball. Which was even harder than the towel since my hands couldn't adjust the rein length.  So, without even thinking about it, I just tightened my core and shut her down.  My trainer actually applauded because without using ANY REIN, I had shut down a bolt in two strides.

Sometimes I think trainers must have something stronger than coffee in their thermos, because I don't know how else they put up with the learning process.  Oh sure, we all nod and go "Right. Use my core.  Uh huh." and then we get right back to fiddling with our hands.  And when a horse takes off, we pull back on the reins.  Because how else will those horses stop?  And the whole time, somehow our trainers manage not to roll their eyes and sigh in exasperation. We pretend to believe them when they tell us that you can stop a horse with no reins.  We know that wouldn't work on OUR horse.  It's got to be perfectly trained before you can do THAT.

But then, every once in a while, something like my pony's spook and bolt happens and you DO use your core (even if it's on accident because you can't physically move your hands because you're holding a heavy ball) and it's effective.  And for a brief moment, the light bulb is on and it all makes sense.  Here's hoping I can keep my light shining!

Leap of Faith

By the time I got to the barn Tuesday night, the temperature had dropped ten degrees and the rain was hammering the roof of the barn.  I was shivering from cold and from anxiety, my stomach turning flip flops. It was jump lesson night.  I went over and told Laura that I was feeling nervous and anxious and wasn't sure I could do this.

"No problem" she said, "Just get on and maybe you'll just ride around in jump tack tonight."

So I got on.  I was a ball of tense energy and Tessa picked up on it, refusing to move forward freely and spooking at both ends of the arena.  Still, we pushed forward into a warm up. It was ugly looking, but we both got moving.

While the other two girls jumped cross rails, Tessa and I were instructed to go over a small stack of ground poles at a trot.  And if we felt like it, we could canter over it.  We did both.  Then she raised it to a crossrail and we jumped that a few times. 

I really wish I could draw a picture of the way the jumps were set up, but since currently I haven't solved my picture dilemma I'll just have to try and explain it.  There were five jumps set up at angles from one end of the arena to the other.  The standards were touching each other but the jumps were at opposite angles going down the line.  We started on a right lead and then switched after each jump.  I didn't have to do the more advanced exercise, which involved very tight turns.  But (can I get a drumroll please?) I rode a course.  Of more than five jumps.  Which means I can cross that off my pony club list.

Tessa was good.  The first time we tried to go over a larger cross rail, she went from canter to trot to stop.  It was totally my fault because I was unprepared and more than a little nervous.  She heard me say "I don't think we should do this."  And she listened.  Good pony.

She also got a bit frustrated at me launching my upper body and tensing up before each jump, so when I would land too far forward she would throw her head around and pitch forward.  Which sent me more forward.  Nerve wracking for me, but it sure was an effective way to communicate!  "Mom!  GET OFF MY NECK!"

Laura said that once I got in the air, I had great position and things were fine but that I threw myself over the jump before we got there and that was what Tessa was reacting to.

I did the course twice, only having to repeat a few jumps.  When I was done I was completely wiped out.  Leila was riding in my lesson and at the end, she hopped on Tessa and took her over the hard course with tight turns and higher jumps.  The first few were pretty bad, with Tessa careening around and jumping with her feet hanging every which way.  With the tight pattern, she only had four strides of turning before the next jump.  However, after her first time through she got the hang of it.  She's so little and flexible that the tight turns were easy for her.  And once she got balanced and ready to jump she did a brilliant job.

Countdown of only two weeks until the jumping clinic!

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

The Magic Feather

Remember Dumbo and how he couldn't fly without his magic feather?  I may have a new magic feather.  Except it's not a's a towel.  Damn you blogger for not letting me upload more pictures (not that I took any, but this is exactly the sort of thing you need pictures for,right?).

One of the things I like about my trainers is they are always willing to try new things.  They don't get stuck in saying the same things over and over again.  Shoulders Back.  Heels down.  Use your core.  I'm sure we've all heard those things and at some point, it stops mattering.  Now matter how many times you yell "Shoulders back!" at me, I'm going to hunch them back up to my ears whenever I do something.  Remember me, Arms of Steel?

Well, last night was more of the same.  She asked for an opening rein and I pulled my shoulders up to my ears, pointed my elbow in to the center of the arena, flipped my wrist upside down and brought my hand up to my waist.  All while maintaining at least 100 pounds of pressure on my arm.  This did not go over well with my horse, my trainer or my injured arm.

So she calls me over to her chair by the side of the arena and hands me a towel.

"Put each end under your armpit and hold it there."

I tried to muscle it there, hunching my shoulders, but it moved my arms too much and the towel drooped.  I tried using arms of steel to hold it there.  I was too rigid and the towel drooped.  I tried to open my rein with my elbow away from my body and my towel drooped.  Finally, I relaxed my shoulders and used the muscles behind them to hold the towel in place.  This left my forearms relaxed and supple.  Instantly, Tessa dropped her head into the contact.

We still had our crap moments, but I could no longer react with flailing elbows and rigid arms.  So our crap moments were less crappy and were over quicker.  Turning her to the inside while I pushed her off my leg actually started to work.

There was even a scary moment where she spooked and bolted.  I had my towel under my armpits and she spun a 360 and took off galloping. She didn't pull up immediately and I didn't want to lose my towel and spook her further.  So I just sat deep and called out "Runaway Pony!".  But before everyone could stop to gawk at the girl with a towel under her armpits on a runaway pony, I had her under control and right back into a forward trot with contact.

Our canter was equally amazing.  Again, I was unable to move my arms into rigid pistons and I couldn't contort my body without losing my towel.  Our contact was unbelievable and steady.

Now, I just need to petition the USDF to allow me to show with my towel......

Monday, December 3, 2012

The Clock is Ticking

It's October, right?  No?  November?  Ah, crap.  It's already December.  The month of holiday/birthday/no school/busy work/what am I doing with my life because this year is almost over and am I SATISFIED???  AM I HAPPY?

As you can see, December is a bit of a whirlwind for me.  I finally got to go back to the barn and start riding again.  Which is good since I'm participating in a jump clinic this month.  Yes, only three weeks from now I will be in a jump clinic.  I have now officially lost my mind.

So I finally saw my pony's adorable face yesterday and got a quick ride in.  She was a little hot, a little spooky but mostly forward and good.  We didn't push our issues because I had two weeks off, which is just enough time for a small nugget of insecurity to place itself in my brain.  Tonight is my lesson and then tomorrow is jump lesson so I'm sure I'll obliterate that nugget in the next two days.

I haven't had a chance to catch up on everyone's blogs yet (work! holidays! aaaahhh!) but I hope that you are all enjoying your ponies and making progress.  I will be reading your blogs this week but may not have time to comment.  Especially if you have the word verification because I am old and get it wrong at least twice, which leads to inappropriate words being yelled at the computer and me finally deleting my comment of "Go girl!" or whatever happy thing I felt compelled to say before I wanted to kill verification words....  So, if you don't hear from me, it doesn't mean I'm not cheering you on.  I know that lots of read and don't comment all of the time.  I'm okay with that.  :)

So, here's to a crazy December!  I will do my best to at least take pictures and write short updates.  My pony is doing great, especially in jumping.  I heard she did a three bounce grid AND jumped a picket fence jump last week.  Good pony.

Oh, I just got a notice that I'm over my quota for photo storage.  Hmm...what to do.  Delete old photos?  Pay some money so I can upload more photos?  Of course, this had to happen now when my brain is so overworked that I can hardly remember what day it is....