Wednesday, March 27, 2013

No more "bit-guilt", "moments for Brilliance!," and more....

Monday night was hands down the best lesson, and the best ride Pippi and I have ever had. No fuss, no pulling, just forward and quick responses. When I tacked her up Pippi was fine with the bit. Never threw her head, never acted pissy, just ready to go.
We have had an issue with her walking the moment I mounted, and that is a BIG NO NO in my book. Horse stands still until rider says go. I want to get situated while at a stand still, not fumbling while horse walks willy-nilly. I found that tightening the girth even tighter fixed that. I bet the saddle shifted and annoyed her, and so she shifted to compensate and started walking. I also mount quicker; gather reins while on the ground, step up on mounting block, and mount right away. If I linger on the block, Pippi gets a bit restless, so this is my compromise.
After mounting fine, we walked a few circles and worked on our bends. Awesomeness!! Did you know that the riders upper body should not be straining at all? AT ALL!! Wowser! I flexed fingers, and Pippi responded by bending. To either side!! The improvement was so marked that I decided then and there, no more Bit Guilt! Quite frankly, my Trainer is right and since it doesn't bother Pippi why does it bother me?

We did our usual work, lots of bending, lots of direction changes and serpentines. And then it happened: Trainer said we "had moments of brilliance," and "it is better than I have ever seen you guys." Woo-freakin'-Hoo!!! Yep. Moments of brilliance. I'll take it. She also stated that i had been right, Pippi's trot can be just at beautiful as I had described it. Way to go Pipster!!

She then asked me to do some sitting trot................

Did I tell you just how marvelous we were? We were really doing great there, so I just don't know if it is strictly necessary to ruin this great post with a description of what came next. We had "moments of brilliance" okay? So, let's just end with that! 

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Milestone reached!

As some of you know, those that have been reading this blog for a while that is, I have cantered before.  I have cantered Pippi. Not a whole lot, but I have.

When I started lessons with Denise in early January, she banned me from cantering. I feel strongly, and by strongly I mean I insist, that students should adhere to the rules of their teachers. In my situation, that meant, NO cantering until Denise stated that I was ready. She was looking for balance, confidence and the ability to use independent aides before I was going to be allowed to canter. There was also the less definable "you have to be ready." I trust her. Denise is my Trainer, and her word is LAW! If you don't agree with the overall goals of your trainer, and you do not respect that person enough to follow the rules, get a new trainer. Do yourself and the Trainer a favor, and hit the road.

Both Pippi and I are learning, and growing, and we are thrilled. We both are happy to be where we are, and we have progressed to canter stage. I can now stand at the Trot without supporting with hands, and I can even use aides while standing. So Denise said that we were ready. I was so proud, and that is yet another reason to set goals and benchmarks like that. I can see progress in chunks this way, and know exactly what I am working towards. Not just the overall goal of being a better rider, but to get to canter (or whatever the next goal is).
So we tried to canter. I am not used to the longer stirrups at the canter (dressage saddle vs. Hunters previously), and kept losing them and thereby bouncing Pippi down to a Trot. She is quite sensitive to balance, and when I lose mine Pippi slows right away. Good girl! Right when things were starting to come together, Pippi flew across the arena like a devil was after her. Seems something outside was super scary. That "Spookin' Fool" bloodline, I tell ya! So since I had been riding for two hours at this point, my legs were shot, and now that she had yanked my elbow with the spook (tendon still an issue that I mostly ignore), we were done. So we calmed her down, did some more work with the turn on the forehand, and halts, but the canter trials were over for the day.
So tomorrow, I ride on my own, and now that the Canter is allowed, guess what I will be doing? I am so EXCITED!!  I would like to find someone to go with me for safety though.......any takers?

Monday, March 18, 2013

My Feline Entertainment

My Persian Cat, JingleBelle, and my exotic Shorthair, Stumpy playing early Sunday morning.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Snotty McSnottsnott

I have the mother of all colds. It just keeps coming back. I think I am over it, and then my sinuses fill, headache ensues, body aches follow and the drainage makes me super queasy. Sleep evades me, and I get a terrible case of the grumps.
Yesterday was a beautiful spring day, with temps in the 70's. I felt great, went for a walk with a friend, and did some minor things outside. Then in the afternoon, YUCK!!! All evening I felt horrible, and ended up laying in bed hoping I would not need a bucket. Today I am at work, hoping the same thing.....

On Saturday March 2nd a new horse moved into the stall next to Pippi. When I arrived on Monday, she was giving me the look. If you have a mare you know this look. The Satan has taken my sweet mare look. Ears look like horns, and nostrils flaring. I took one look at her, and said "so, it's a gelding huh?" Peeked next door, and yep, there he was, the creature that took Pippis' sanity and replaced it with a mare in heat. He was tied up in his stall, which told me that this fella was in need of some patience training. When I walked Pippi out, he let up quite a racket, kicking, pawing, and yelling loudly. I think it was something like "Don't take the girl!! I love her." This continued the entire time she was with me. Poor fella. Pippi took it all in stride and we had a decent ride.

On Wednesday I was sick and spent the day in bed, only to get THE Text message from Denise. Pippi was hurt, nothing serious, but I may want to bring some Bute. When she heard I had the flu, Denise banned me from coming out and assured me that Pippi was fine. She had had a moment of mare crazy out in the field, by herself mind you, on Tuesday, and they had noticed some swelling on her right hind fetlock. Nothing major, just seemed to favor it a bit, but was putting weight on it. Seems her sliding stops, and general shenanigans caused some discomfort. But what is a mare to do when her BadAss Boyfriend calls to her from inside. They would give her some Bute paste, and keep me informed. If I could have made it to my car without passing out, and had any chance on moving without throwing up I would have. (I tried, and made it to bathroom before considering just sleeping there. Even went as far as looking at the towels for warmth, before staggering back to bed, get it)
Son on Thursday I dragged my butt to work, and felt better. Stopped by barn on my way home with w new tube of Bute to replace Denise's and was able to check on Pip. She had some swelling, nothing too severe, and they had given her Bute that morning too as she was a little stocked up. We decided to keep that up for a few more days. I hand walked her, and she was fine. She allowed me to palpate the leg, and I even cleaned out the hoof. She had been out walking in the arena earlier that day, which seemed to reduce swelling. Not really lame, just swollen. I stopped by again Friday, and she was better. I put on some topical liniment, and she was less hesitant to let me handle it. Not lame at all that day either.
On Saturday, with the promise of getting some dinner, Hubby went with me for the first time to the new barn, and Pippi seemed even better. Still a bit swollen, and again I put liniment on. Hubby loved the new barn, really liked Claude, and felt that I "had finally found the right barn."
I was to have a lesson today, but i postponed it. Will be going out after work, but I doubt I will mount up. We have nothing my time, Pippi and I, and so we can wait until she is better.