Thursday, October 27, 2016

I was due

I hadn't fallen off a horse since 2009. I was due for a fall I guess. I fell off Phil today. 

Let me say I'm fine. I'm bruised and I'm going to be REALLY sore, but I'm going to be okay. I was wearing my helmet and didn't hit my head. The most annoying thing was getting dirt in my eyes (which really sucks with contacts!). 

Here's what happened. We were just warming up at the trot and as we approached the corner, Phil stumbled. At the moment that he was jamming his toe into the dirt, he spooked. Not having his feet firmly planted in the ground, he fell to his knees, and crammed his nose into the dirt just for good measure. 

I had no chance to stay on. I went right over his shoulder and off the saddle to the left side, banging my inside right leg on the saddle on my way over and out. I landed on my right hip and back. Kinda hard. Nothing like a full body slam to make your day! 

So then Phil was loose, and I had the wind knocked out of me. My friend Cindy was in the arena lunging her horse, and she said "Hey! Are you ok?!" I was making a really bad noise because I was trying to breathe and also tell her that I was fine. I got to my feet and was dreading trying to catch Phil. Then the most amazing thing happened. I called him and he trotted right up to me. 

So this is a big deal. I can only assume that Phil has been punished for dumping riders in the past, and he was probably really scared about what would happen next. But, not having anyone else around that he trusted, he came to me. I got back on, and rode for another 30 minutes or so. He was tense, but really pretty good. But I didn't punish him at all. We just worked. Business as usual. 

When I was grooming him after the ride he was all over me. Seriously, this horse has never ever been so affectionate to me. Trying to grab my clothes, rubbing my shoulders, neck, and back. I have to wonder if some wall between us was smashed down today. I really do hope so. I would love to continue growing the trust between us. 

Yes, I'm very sore and bruised, but I still entered the schooling show on November 6th! Woohoo! I'm planning on doing a bunch of schooling shows this winter. We're making great progress on the connection issue. Maybe now we have made some progress on trust as well. 

Right now though... ow! 

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Good start..

I rode Phil today, for the second time after a two week break, with no stirrups. It's not a super great ride because my legs were bothering him due to the whole no stirrup thing.

Here's the video proof! Macey was doing the video work! 

Phil 06/21/16 right

Phil 06/21/16 left

The left video is kind of short because I ran out of storage on my phone. Oops! In spite of everything, Phil was fantastic. I'm pretty happy with him!

So I have faith that we will be able to bounce back and have a decent go at the schooling show on July 10. 

Tuesday, June 07, 2016

They say owning horses will make you broke....

Things have been going really well with Phil. He's getting the idea of connection and is really starting to be able to keep his concentration while we are working. Sure, he sometimes gets distracted and might even spook a tiny bit, but overall I can keep his attention or get his attention back very quickly if he loses it. He's learning very quickly and seems happy and relaxed about it. 

I was so excited about his progress that I entered a local schooling show. I signed us up for Training level test 3 and First level test 2. I had a lesson planned, had a trailer ride to and from the show, plus friends to hang out with. I was ready to take Phil to the show coming up this Sunday. Our first show in years! 

On Monday after I had another great ride on Phil, Macey helped me hose the mud off of Kaswyn. I led him back to his stall, and it just happened to be feeding time. Kaswyn has a horrible habit of running into his stall if he thinks there is food in there. He certainly thought his grain was in his stall, so he began to rush into his stall. I began to stop him, and at that second he stepped hard on my right foot. At the same time he was trying to stop, so he slid forward, making his foot scrape and slide over the top of mine. 

At first my two smallest toes were numb, but the rest of my foot was certainly in pain. I carefully handed Kaswyn off to Macey, and she led him into his stall without incident. 

My main concern was that I had possibly lost one or both of my toes because they were numb. I carefully took my boot off and hobbled into the tack room. Fortunately fellow boarder Donna grabbed me a towel and an ice boot so I was able to get ice on it quickly. It didn't look horrible, but it was really painful. And my baby toe had weird numb places on it. Also, when I wiggled the end a little, there was a grating sensation. 

So off I went to Urgent Care (after picking Lily up from camp!) for some x-rays. Sure enough, it was broken. 

What that means is:

No schooling show.
No lesson. 
No riding. 
No walking without the lovely shoe that they gave me.
4 - 6 weeks of healing, then I can get back to it. 

I'm hoping I can make the July schooling show. The good thing about owning an Arab is that you don't have to re-teach them things. I have confidence that Phil will pick up things relatively quickly once I start back to work with him. In the meantime, I get to rest and keep my foot elevated. 

Honestly, I'd rather be riding. 

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

You say it's your birthday......

Phil turned 11 today! Birthday pics right here! (Thanks Z for the hat!)

Also here is a shot of his sexy bod! He really looks great right now. We're making some progress on training too. 

Schooling show in June. We're working hard. I'll post video when I can. 

Friday, March 25, 2016

Proof that horses don't understand economics

Kaswyn says "This doesn't matter because blankets are free!"

Saturday, July 25, 2015

A Familiar Feeling

Phil and I have been putting in some great rides lately. We had a fantastic lesson three weeks ago and, as usual, my trainers instruction has helped in huge ways. 

Before the lesson I had been concentrating on keeping Phil's neck loose, since his first instinct is to tighten the neck whenever he is resistant or stressed. To do this I was moving his neck left or right to alleviate the tension. 

During the lesson my trainer told me that it was time to just hold my hand still and firm and just push him into my hand. If I kept moving my hand and his neck around it would be really hard for him to establish a steady contact. Makes sense, right? At first Phil resisted but my trainer told me just to be firm. And after a few minutes, Phil relaxed his neck and established contact. THIS IS HUGE! My bit evading horse, making contact? So wonderful! 

My trainer also started work on the flying changes. She gave me an exercise to begin training his mind and body for the change. We are to head across the diagonal at the canter and as we approach X, circle ten meters. Then we are to continue to circle and shorten the stride until Phil is coming through and on the contact. Then, walk and simple change at X. 

After a few tries, Phil knew exactly what we were doing, so he started anticipating, but kind of in a good way. Then she had me just ask for the flying change instead of the simple change. It really stressed him out but he did one clean change each way. Until the next lesson we will just work on the simple change exercise so he gets it in his mind that he's supposed to change leads. 

Today, though, something amazing happened. Halfway through our canter work, something felt familiar. Phil was cantering over his back, neck loose, mind and body relaxed, with a good jump, all with a steady but light contact. 

He felt like Kaswyn. It was amazing. 

Who is awesome? This guy! 

Friday, June 19, 2015

The Horse Pesterer

The other day I only had a short time to spend at the barn. That meant no riding, but I did have enough time to turn my boys out for a little bit. They don't go out together anymore because Phil is a jerk and chases poor Kaswyn around. But since I was there to supervise I thought it would be fine. And it was, considering they were much more interested in the grass than each other. 

Then of course I wanted pictures because it was a beautiful day. 

I was following them around to try and get a good shot. 

I had to call their names to get them to pick their heads up. Phil was pretty cooperative. 

Kaswyn, on the other hand, was completely ignoring me, 

Finally he got sick of me calling his name and pestering him, so he threw me some shade. 

Uppity little thing, ain't he? Still, gotta love him! 

Header Image from Bangbouh @ Flickr