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! 

Friday, May 29, 2015

Boots don't lie

Well I'm back to riding. A few observations: 

Dressage boots with no zipper or elastic will be brutally blunt about any weight gain. Mine were so tight it was painful just to be in them, let alone ride. 

Taking them off was even more painful. It seems like I must make better choices when eating or buy new boots. The first one is cheaper so we'll go with that. 

Phil has been okay with returning to work but I feel like he's uncomfortable somehow. Or maybe he's not making as solid of a connection because he likes being off work! I'll just keep trying. 

An old barn friend once told me that dirty horses are happy horses. Kaswyn has reached nirvana, everyone! 

Friday, May 22, 2015

Taking a rest

It's not just Phil that's taking a little break, it's me too. I'm not able to ride right now. I had to have surgery on my face to remove a small bit of basal cell carcinoma. 

Before you get all freaked out by the Big C, this kind of carcinoma is easily treated by a procedure (called the Mohs procedure) and as of right now it is totally gone.  

The bad thing is that I haven't been able to ride for a week. I might be able to ride again in a few more days. But for right now, I can't ride until I'm all healed up. 


So people, along with your helmets, wear your sunscreen outside! Especially during peak hours of 11am and 4pm. 

Monday, May 11, 2015

Mother's Day ride

Mother's Day for me started off with a lovely breakfast in bed served by my girls (assist from Craig, of course). Then I was off to the barn to see my pony boys. 

I rode Phil and he was really good! We are still working stuff out, but I feel progress. 

Then I took Kaswyn out for a walk. He's completely recovered from his fall a few weeks ago, so we had a nice walk outside and a little graze. 

It's easy to let him graze when I'm riding since I ride him in a halter. 

This horse is so fantastic. I wish everyone could meet him. He's the best! 

Thursday, May 07, 2015


I ride Phil outside again today. It was really lovely. The footing was perfect, the breeze kept the bugs off of us, and Phil was a pretty good boy. 

High off my ride from Phil, I decided to hop on Kaswyn just to walk him around outside. It was my first ride on him since his terrible fall, and it was really nice. Both boys got a quick bath after their work, and went back to their stalls to eat their hay. It was such a great evening all the way around. Little did I know...

I was cleaning up the wash rack when I heard Phil nicker in a strange way, and then I heard hoof steps in the aisle. Since I was the only one at the barn, I found this somewhat alarming. 

I ran into to aisle to see Kaswyn trotting towards me. I held my hands up and said "Kaswyn! Whoa! You stop now!"

He turned around and ran into the arena, where he proceeded to run around loose like a total boob. All I could think about was that the last time he was loose in the arena he fell in the most horrible way, Finally he stopped and let me catch him. I think he was really proud of himself. 

I put him back in his stall, making sure that I latched the door this time. He scared me, but who could stay mad at this innocent face? 

Tuesday, May 05, 2015

Rain riding

Today when I got to the barn I went to check the outdoor arena before I decided where to ride. Since it had rained off and on all day I was concerned that the outdoor would be too wet. To my delight, the footing was perfect, 

Of course I lunged Phil first, and I was able to get some pics. Check mah boy out! 

The ride was virtually goose-free, and even though it was raining lightly it didn't seem to bother Phil. The only thing that was annoying was all the sand that got on my boots when I lunged. It made the bottom of my boots slippery and I kept losing my stirrups. Either that or I was doing something weird with my legs or feet or something. 

The cleanup afterwards kind of sucked because there was wet sand everywhere, but I still had a good ride. Go Phil! 

Kaswyn is doing well too! I think I'll hop on him and have a little stroll around this week. I do love that boy! 
Header Image from Bangbouh @ Flickr