Monday, October 15, 2018

Stepping Up to the Plate

I'm still ruminating on my thoughts about this weekend's Centered Riding clinic (that Cinna and I attended), but in the meantime, enjoy some of my favorite photos. The lack of prep leading up to this clinic (between daaaaaays of rain and some stress at work) had me super apprehensive about taking her, but I dug down deep and went anyway. The first day we started out kind of a hot mess, but over the course of our hour lesson, things improved immensely. We ended on a really good note, and I was excited about day two!
At least the outfit was on point even if there were shenanigans, right? haha #priorities
Some words of encouragement from the clinic organizer, who had watched her spinning around like a top over the lunch break as I tried to acclimate her to the arena. 
Audibly breathing, which is why I'm making such weird faces in most of the pics haha. 
I was scolded by my husband for my perpetual RBF (that's just what I look like when I concentrate!) so I had to try harder to smile the next day. 
Pretty representative of the first half -- either trotting at Mach 10 or giraffing.

But we ended up here, so I was thrilled!
Probably singing? Have to breathe to sing!
Day two went even better -- the horse I got on at the clinic was basically the one I got off the day before, so we were able to jump in and work on new concepts immediately instead of spending half the lesson trying to defuse the bomb I was sitting on... novel concept!
Came out walking like this, instead of having to ride through an hour of a Tasmanian Devil impersonations first. 
At the end of the ride, the clinician was very complimentary about the improvement from the beginning of session one to the end of session two, and she also had some thoughts on how complicated Cinna can be, and how she really tested a rider's ability to stay centered. I went in to the clinic hoping to get some techniques to help me bring her "down" when she's "up" so we can work together in a positive cycle instead of a negative one, and it definitely delivered. 
Still had to bust out the #dramaticSpanishmare signature move from time to time 🤷 
Even managed a little canter!
I probably just wasted all my good photos and will have to reuse them when I actually have time to write about the clinic in depth (assuming I find that time?) but I don't even care, I'm so proud of my baby horse! (and yes, I know 6 is technically not a baby anymore, but she'll always be a baby to me!)
This mare <3

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

WW: Finding Routine

Slowly but surely finding my way to a new routine with my changed work hours and commute :)
Don't let her face fool you, she was quite good!
As was this one -- dare I say it? I think she's finally growing up!
We had a great ride last night and were able to have some "conversations" about contact at the trot last night that had her softly reaching down and maintaining it for a few strides before we had baby bobbles. I was so happy with her!
She was so excited that her post-ride hose off made it easier for her to grind dirt into her coat lol.
Unrelated sunset photo. 
Earlier this month.
More unrelated sky photos. 

Because I know you missed the goats too!
Hoping I will continue to maintain this balance and maybe even squeak out some time to blog regularly again soon :)

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

WW: Views

Sadly not back for real (yet), but I was jonesin' too much to stay away from blogland for another day! Part of the reason for my recent silence is a new job -- hooray! But it means my five-year routine has been turned upside down as I try to navigate a new commute and new workplace and new coworkers. Plus you know, the tiny matter of a completely new set of duties and expectations? It's compounded by the fact that my new office is literally a BLACK HOLE with no cell phone service -- literally how is that possible, its friggin' 2018! Anyway. The horses are great. I'm good. Lots to talk about, just no energy to add the blogging plate back into the juggling act for a little while longer. 
So enjoy this view from someone's office window (tragically not mine, haha, but I loved it and wanted to share). Hopefully soon things will level out and I'll have lots to catch you up on!

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Taking a Break

Due to some overwhelmingly complicated life stuff, I think blogging will be on indefinite hiatus -- I will try to still read everyone else's updates, but no promises on comments either!
Nothing wrong, the changes will be good (I hope!) but you know how historically bad I am with changes, so I need a minute to figure out my new normal. In the meantime, the horses are still great (and well-dressed, see above!) and things are still clipping along at a good rate. I will still be posting on social media, so head over there if you want to keep up while things are quiet here! :)

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Dead Batteries

You guys I have another Pixio confession to make. This morning I set it up (I'm really getting in a groove and getting quicker with that!) and was excited for some good Ruby media. And then I realized I'd forgotten to charge the camera 😂 I'm legitimately the worst at this! But I did get 3.5 minutes of walking for our warmup, so you can have screenshots of that I guess 🤷 anyway....
My ME contest prize boots arrived last night! Cinna was interested, but clearly not as excited as me haha.
I've been slowly recovering from our hay extravaganza -- yesterday was Cinna's turn to work and I still wasn't feeling 100% so I opted to lunge instead of ride... And then halfway through I was kicking myself because she was being SO GOOD. No spooking, no bolting, no dolphining into canter transitions. She was rhythmic and methodical, keeping her mouth quiet and her attention focused on me.
So majestic, haha.
Cinna would like the record to reflect she could also be a bridle model -- especially when braided Otto is involved. 
When tacking up, I noticed a small wound on the inside of her left hind, but thankfully she was sound on it. There was some swelling so after a short lunge I cold hosed it and cleaned it up really well, and will be keeping an eye on it. She tends to bang herself up a bit and it seems like as soon as I get one cut healed up she's done something new. Horses! Thankfully she's never lame from these misadventures, I think she just likes the extra attention and fussing...haha.
Definitely an attention whore.
Ruby's ride this morning was similarly uneventful, working on simple concepts. I wanted to really focus on straightness down the long sides so I rode a lot of quarterlines to test myself without the rail doing half the work for me. The first few were wiggly but when I really focused on keeping her between the aids she was happy to march along. I dredged up a technique from a previous trainer imagining Ruby as a flowing creek and my job was to clearly set the boundaries (my legs and hands) in a straight line to direct the energy forward -- it's been more than a few years since that lesson (which was actually on Topaz, before Ruby was even under saddle, haha), so I may not be explaining it well, but it made sense in my head and worked for the ride, so I'll take it!
Accurate representation of how we usually warm up -- I'm on my phone setting up EquiLab and the music, while she's just motoring around getting loose.
The canter was a lot of fun today, I am a little sad the camera died so early in the ride. I was really focused on keeping my reins short (because no matter how short I think they are, the Pixio video tattles on me) and my hands forward. I know I'm a broken record, but the left lead canter was so fun I could have ridden it all day. She's getting the hang of letting me half halt more in the canter and not immediately thinking that means break to trot, but rather letting me adjust the tempo. The right lead was a little faster, and she wanted to zoom off a bit more, but it's getting better. 
Realizing I had forgotten to turn the Bluetooth speaker on and remedying that haha.
I'm so grateful for summer hours right now because we're back in a heat index through the weekend, but being on by 6 am means I can usually squeeze in a productive 40 minute ride before it gets up to the 80s.

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Tack Model Tuesday

Y'all, I'm pretty sure my horse missed her calling as a bridle model..... Just sayin'
Featuring Ruby's new Red Barn Piaffe bridle that I annoyed Aimee into selling me (just like Otto, are you sensing a pattern? 😂). My horses are incredibly grateful for her good taste, and that she's willing to sell me pretty strap goods 😍 they're also probably grateful right now that I made myself so sick last night unloading hay in the heat and humidity that it's probably going to take me a few days to recover, so they get a mini summer vacay.
Totes worth it to have beautiful green hay stacked all the way to the rafters of my hay barn with 18' sidewalls 😍😍😍

Monday, July 9, 2018

Trail Ride: Three Creeks CA

I think I might have recovered some of my brain cells enough to write a coherent entry. We'll see! This weekend we finally got a break from the heat wave, and Saturday was GORGEOUS. Once chores and catching up on some things around the house were done, I dragged DH on a trail ride. I didn't want to drive super far, or deal with a ton of people, so I scrounged up a new place we'd never been to try. Since it was a new place and I wasn't sure what to expect, I opted to take Ruby.
I know, I know. Shorts and sneakers. What am I going to do with him?
We went to Three Creeks Conservation Area -- it wasn't overwhelmingly awesome, but I'd ride there again. It's open to pedestrians, bicyclists, and horseback riding, but the parking lot definitely isn't built with horses in mind. Although there was a really nice mounting block, bonus! When we got there, there were two other trailers, and a few cars. We actually ran into the other group riding as we headed out (they were just getting back). Because there wasn't a lot of room to park (and also I was worried some idiots would block us in), we ended up parking on the side of the gravel road (it dead-ended in the parking lot). That worked out okay, and we were tacked up and on the trail quickly. After running into the big group coming back as we were going out, the rest of our ride was pretty quiet -- a handful of pedestrians, and one other pair of riders (on really cute gaited horses!). Thank God no bicyclists 🙄
I got fun new color blocked Kerrits tights from TOTD and kind of love them. 
There wasn't a ton of shade, so I'm glad we had nice weather (80 with low humidity) -- I think it would have been miserable in the 90s! It probably also would have helped to get there earlier in the day, but ya know. There were some nice open fields to trot in (if you were so inclined, which we mostly weren't), some hills, and one particularly rocky section -- if it hadn't ended about 150 feet in, I would have turned around, because my horses are barefoot and huge rocky sections are not my favorite. The conservation area is called Three Creeks because it has....three creeks (shocking, right?). But we managed not to hit any of them on our ride, which unceremoniously ended at a sign that said "trail closed". There were a few other trail forks we could potentially have explored, but we were reaching the end of DH's patience, plus our hay guy had called and needed us for the afternoon, so we opted to head back.
The rocky section -- didn't photograph too well!
It was a quick, easy place to ride, and would probably be a decent first outing for a young or green horse. I think we'll probably go back, just because of how convenient it is, but it definitely won't be replacing Indian Camp Creek as my favorite trail! The rest of the evening was devoted to farm work, moving various tractors and pieces of equipment to and from hay fields. The tractor pulling the rake was having some mechanical issues, so we ended up not getting anything baled, but DH headed back out there yesterday afternoon for a few more hours of work and I met him to bring home 180 beautiful bales of hay 😍
I know it's not technically "his" tractor, but I still think it's pretty sexy!
I climbed up for a minute while we waited, haha. 
DH told me we need a third truck, so he can hook his boat up without unhooking anything else. Right *rolls eyes*
 Mmmm beautiful hay! Didn't lose a bale on the way home either haha.
 Too tired to unload at 9:30 when we got home so we just stashed it all.
Doing chores this morning was fun haha.