Thursday, March 29, 2012

Wooooaah Nelly. Or Siaga. Whatever.

Went for a ride. One honest spook, one "can I get away with it" spook. No falls. Hour ride. That pretty much sums it up. Started out with the neighbor girl until her horse stepped in a hole hidden in the grass and fell to his knees and Siaga reared and jumped sideways (AND I STAYED ON!!!) and then she went back on foot and Siaga and I stayed in the field. At first he was throwing a fit because Jughead was leaving him, and he threw his little test spook, in which I one-rein-stopped him and from there he scooted diagonally across the cornfield for a while as I was trying to convince him to WALK STRAIGHT DAMMIT. He really does have a nice diagonal. Too bad he's not doing it because I asked and only because he doesn't want to go where I want to go.

He did settle down after a while, though. Back at the house, we wove around trees in the woods to work on direction a bit more. He's getting pretty good at following me before I have to employ the reins, but still needs a touch here and there, or, a full on haul around if he's trying his hardest to NOT go where I want to go.

I'm thinking about taking him on his first trail ride in Houston Woods soon. Maybe this weekend, who knows.

When life knocks you down

You must eventually collect all your limbs and check what you've got, and stand back up. Today I called a woman that runs a barn that is like an offshoot of the big barn in Lebanon I almost had a job at. The woman that runs DHF had told me about this other lady, named Sheila, and said she might be in need of help. She wasn't in September.

I called back today. Turns out, she's moving her horses back to her barn in mid April, and will be needing help. If she is close enough to me, then I will quite likely have a job, starting April 20th or so.

I'm super excited. I may not be able to afford continuing lessons with Kathryn, but I would still be getting a lesson with Sheila once a week, because she wants her employees to know how she does things so that she can send them off with a horse to exercise the horse, and not worry about the persons riding skills.

Now if only I can sort out my health issues, I'll be all set to go, I think. I've got some serious stiffness in my lower back, and it seems to me that only riding helps to get rid of it, but it comes back as soon as my feet hit the ground again.

But, yesterday I tried something new, I have a Tribal Fusion Belly Dance DVD from Rachel Brice, called Serpentine. On disc 2, she has a section called Yoga for Backwards Bending. Because the back-bend is an important part of belly dance, it's important to have freedom of the back, and that is what it focuses on. Within the first five minutes yesterday, I felt it loosening up. Today I am just as stiff as I was before it, but I think if I keep it up I might finally loosen it up back there.

It seems the stiffness is mostly in the lower back, even below the small of the back, which is the curve forward, and in my hips. My left leg is fine to go forwards, but not backwards, and my right leg is fine to back, but not forwards. Gah. Anyways. YAY YOGA!

Monday, March 26, 2012

Earned my Reins

Today I earned my reins for my lessons... too bad today was the last paid-for lesson and I can't afford them anymore unless I work out a trade of work-for-lessons.

Anyways, I think I finally pretty much get the canter, and the proper form of sitting and not overly rocking with it, and we started on rising trot today. And then Rose was in heat and the mustang stud was in the arena and she was a complete .... ho. xD Every time we'd pass, she try to get closer to him, and he completely ignored her. Oh heavens.

My instructor put me to work after my lesson, had me help with a lesson she was giving to a five year old girl, it was the girls first ever riding lesson. So I helped lead the pony and sometimes trailed to make sure she didn't fall off while doing something complicated like the around the world thing. And she had me walk in front sometimes to do things with my arms, putting them up over my head or out to the sides or hugging myself or whatever, for the girl to do also. That was so much fun, I think I didn't stop smiling a single time. :)

Saturday, March 24, 2012


Never managed to get the farrier that I had a few months ago out, so Brenda brought her farrier over today. Last time, Siaga had an entire syringe (IM shot) of Dormasedan (sp?) and today just had the oral paste.

So much improvement! He still jerked back and pulled a little, but for the most part, he stood still and calm. He leaned on me a lot for balance, and I don't mind. It's probably not something he's supposed to do but he doesn't have the best of feet and just kinda bumbles along anyways.

The farrier pointed out how his front left he sorta splays out to the side, the opposite of being pigeon toed. He said this is probably from when he was little and didn't have good trimming and care to start with, so when he would splay his feet so he could graze or drink, it just kinda stayed like that. He says he's got pretty good feet otherwise, good sole cavity and everything, just needs shortened up and a bit of correction on that front left.

Now all that stands between us and the Whitewater trails is a coggins test and some exercise. xD

Monday, March 19, 2012

I wish I had a camera for that!

Yesterday Siaga and I went for a little swim in the creek. I led him out to the creek to work on water crossing because no one has ever asked him to cross water. Most horses pitch a fit and fight it like crazy. ... Siaga acted like it wasn't even there, led right in, no head tossing, no jumping, no flinching, just marched on in. So proud of him.

Today I had another lesson, focusing mostly on canter. I'm getting better at it, I can hold on to it for a little longer, but what a work out that is! I only have one paid for lesson left, I'm going to see if there's any way I can work off my lessons somehow or something. Anyways, I took Devon with me today to watch so that when I start working with Siaga he can tell me what it looks like Siaga is doing from a different perspective, since I, on his back, won't have the advantage of being on the ground to get a good view.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Another loooong ride

Went again with Brenda and her son, Devon, on a trail ride at Whitewater, 9 more miles. I think Spirit might be losing some weight. (As if)

It was a nice ride, a little muddy (and my boots, chaps, and girth are all very muddy) but we did have a sour spot. I'll just have to copy and paste the conversation I had with a friend where I told her about it, because I don't want to go back over it in my mind. I just can't even believe that people like that exist in the world (I mean, I can, but I just don't understand it.)

Brenda, Devon, and I were riding along and this older guy (looked like upper 40s, 50s maybe) and this kid (who was 16) caught up to us, and the old guy was on this bay horse. Beautiful, beautiful bay, with a white face and the white on the back legs came way up the front of the back legs.
But was so skinny, bones sticking out all over
Covered in sweat, huffing and puffing and panting
I'm pretty sure if looks could kill that guy would have died the moment I saw him.
They went around that trail TWO TIMES. It's a nine mile trail. Therefore, 18 miles, in one day, on a horse that could stand to gain about 200, 300 pounds, carrying a guy that was maybe 100 pounds more than he should have been carrying at all.
And the boy, I think he was not all there in the brain, talked kinda funny
But took the pains of showing off for me on his horse, using spurs and the reins like a whip, kept looking back at me on Spirit.
So the three of us tried to pass the two and leave them behind on the trail, no doubt the paso's would have easily skipped on ahead, but the old fucker (excuse my language) thought that was an invite to a freaking RACE
Finally we just stopped and let them go way ahead, and they weren't even out of earshot when I burst out "Did you see that horse?! Skin and bones, things all sunk in where they shouldn't be!" and Brenda looked at me like @.@
And I was like "What? That's just ridiculous." and then when our ride was over, she invited the two to have lunch with us and keep hinting about how some horses are hard to keep weight on in the winter and stuff and he said he kept EIGHT horses ALL WINTER on TWENTY SEVEN bales of hay. ALL WINTER. That's about how much Siaga has had, BY HIMSELF.
I wanted to cry, and kill that guy, and his show off douchebag son
This is why I want to run a rescue. I may not be able to stop horses from dying, but I can keep a few from having a life like that.

There was more that that guy had said that I didn't tell that friend, how he had said he had a mule once that wouldn't stop braying so he duct taped its mouth shut, how when Brenda's mare, Dulche, was pawing while standing tied, that he'd tie her leg up to teach her she can't do that. Dulche came to Brenda as an abused mare, taken her a long time to get this far. I just... I can't even comprehend. I just can't. I don't think people like that should be allowed to walk on this earth. There was, by the way, alcohol involved, sitting right there in the park drinking.

If he's there again next time we go, I'm going to do my best to report him.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Good to know

That I can ride for hours in my Wintec dressage saddle and my butt NOT get sore. I went riding again with the paso fino woman, Brenda, on her buckskin, Spirit. The boy is big and fat and my saddle fits him almost perfectly.

We went to Whitewater Memorial Park in Indiana and rode the 9 mile trail all the way around. There are LOTS of up and down hills and creeks and mud holes. But my behind is fine, though I think the horses were pretty tuckered out, though they still had the energy to run for the trailer when they spotted it and we had to keep them reined in.

Hoping to get Siaga there soon, but he needs a trim and his coggins test done before he can cross state lines.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Fell off

During my lesson today (in which I actually got a saddle rather than a surcingle and pads, though I still had to ride with no stirrups) I got to trot no-hands with Rose during my lesson with Kathryn for the first time, though I've been trotting no handed with Brandy quite a bit.

Anyways, I learned that cantering with something to hold on to right in front of me (with surcingle) is a lot easier than holding on to the pommel with one hand and the cantle with the other on the saddle.

Aaaaand... she spooked. And bolted. I kept my balance around half of a circle and then fell, rolling so I landed on the back of my right hip and then hit my head. Glad, again, that I had a helmet. Didn't do any serious damage, just knocked the wind out of me. Kathryn came and knelt down beside me and kept me talking, directed my attention to Rose, who was standing there looking ashamed of herself and looking worried, shaking like a leaf in the wind. It made me laugh that she looked so, and I had to get up and go pet her and tell her I was ok, even if she's a horse and probably hasn't got much of a clue of what the words meant.

Head is ok, hip took the brunt of the beating, a little swollen along the back of the hip, just above my butt, and a little red, will probably develop a bruise over night.

After a little breather, a bottle of water, and some anti inflammatory herbal tablets, I climbed back on and did some walking and a wee bit more no handed trotting and Rose thought she might put in some strides of canter here and there and so I rode those strides no hands and no stirrups.

Yesterday I went riding with one of the people I met at the Paso Fino clinic and rode one of the Paso's at a local state park on the trails there. I think it was about four hours in a saddle with no padding... yeah, my butt hurts. And now my hip hurts. But you know... I was thinking the other day about Parkour and Freerunning. If you don't know what that is: Parkour is the art of moving from point A to point B as quickly as possible, using your energy and moment in the most useful way. If there's a wall, you climb it. You leap it. A "cliff?" Jump and roll and get back up running. A rail? Dive through it. Freerunning is like Parkour only with out a destination, or a lack of need to get there quickly, it's Parkour with fancy stuff thrown in. Flips, spins, back flips, etc. I love to watch this stuff on youtube or in person, and I would love to learn to do it... if I could guarantee that I wouldn't be hurt while doing it.

There are some things in each person's life that he or she is willing to do regardless of risk to life or limb. For me, this is anything with horses. The wonders these animals bring to my life are worth the risk they bring, too. The risks that parkour brings to my life is NOT worth the wonder of being able to soar like a monkey. That being said, this is why I get back on and keep going.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Lesson Session

I love it that I can see very obvious improvement at each lesson, like suddenly something just clicks and muscle memory takes over.

I'm now moving -with- Rose's trot, rather than bouncing along behind her. We have started on canter and I know I'll get it eventually, but for now I keep putting her in a counter canter (which feels totally weird) as we go around the lunge.

The best part is that in the occasions that I'm riding Siaga, even if I'm just spending quality time with him mozying around the paddock, I can certainly notice an improvement, and I would like to say he does, too, but he remains physically silent when I ask him a question with my seat bones. He'll get there eventually, I'm sure.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Paso Finos!

Went to a Paso Fino clinic yesterday for some possible networking. Ended up getting to ride one.

What a smooth ride! But I don't think it's my cup of tea, I prefer a bit of bounce with my horses. :)

But hey, new experiences and new friends are always welcome. And new ponies.