Friday, April 19, 2013

Strap what on?

I rode Phil and Tuesday and he was being pretty cooperative, considering the thunderstorm and rain that rolled in a few minutes into our ride.  Since I was able to concentrate on something other than him, I was thinking about my position.  I tried to envision two fantastic riders that I've seen and keep my position like they do - my trainer and Courtney King-Dye.  This would prove to be ironic, considering what happened during the last part of my ride.  

There was a bit of hair that kept falling in my face.  It was really starting to bug me, and I kept pushing it out of the way.  After moving it out of my face for the third time, I realized I was touching my head.  I should not my able to touch my head if I was wearing a helmet. 

I completely forgot to put my helmet on.  

Before I had kids, I only wore a helmet (I actually just typoed there and wrote helpmet... interesting) when showing.  After I had Lily almost ten years ago, I decided that I owed it to my kids to wear a helmet.  Of course after Coutney's accident many more people are "strapping one on", especially in the dressage community.  I'm sure most of you have heard of this fantastic organization, inspired by Courtney's accident - Riders 4 Helmets.  If not, go take a look.  

Anyhow, since I decided to wear a helmet while riding I've never knowingly decided not to wear one.  Twice during the winter I got on Kaswyn without one, and that was purely a function of "I already have something on my head so I'm good to go."  Too bad it was a winter hat that would have done nothing to save me from cracking my skull.  

I know what happened to make me forget to helmet up.  When I gathered all my equipment together I ended up hanging my helmet up on a hook that I usually don't use.  Out of sight, out of mind I suppose.  Or just a break in routine got the better of me.  

Once I realized that my head was bare, I ended the riding session.  We were almost done anyway, and thankfully nothing dangerous occurred.  

When I got back to the barn to get Kaswyn ready for a walk, I put my helmet on top of his bareback pad where I was sure NOT to miss it.  And I put it on.  See, I can learn!  

Everyone, please wear your helmets.  You never know what might happen.  You wear a seatbelt, right?  Just strap one on.  

(I love this shirt from Riders 4 Helmets. But it's sold out! :(  I love all the merchandise actually. Go here to visit their store!

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

I want to say it's over...

...but it's Ohio and I just don't believe we're quite done with winter yet.  

However, Sunday was nice enough to ride outside.  Not in the arena, but down the driveway.  It's really long and pretty straight, and right down the middle has really good footing!  

So Phil and I did our ride up and down the driveway.  Walk, trot and canter, and he was really good!  No big spooks or silly business.  It was great - a little chilly, and no sun, but just a light wind and no bugs.  I think Phil really liked it.  Look at that view.  What's not to like?  

Yeah, we're ready for winter to be over.  

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Thinking about stress

Well, I'm more than thinking about it.  I'm living it.  

Work has been just horrible for me as far as stress goes.  Long hours, with both mental and physical exhaustion.  Because of this I have missed many days of riding and of course I don't like it.  

On Friday, here is where I stood:  I hadn't ridden either horse in a week.  The work day had been insane, and I just didn't have it in me to go out and ride.  But it was more than just being physically tired.  I realized I may have a little bit of a problem.  

I didn't want to ride Phil.  

The thing is this - riding Phil is not 100% fun right now.  It's worlds better than it was when I first got him, but it's still stressful.  He's still tense and there are many things that still set him off and cause him to throw his head in the air and leap forward.  Most of the time it's something I can handle, but a collection of circumstances had made it so that I really didn't want to get on him.  

First, I hadn't ridden him for a week.  When he has more than one day off, Phil seems to take a step back as far as relaxation goes.  After a week...sheesh.  I really wasn't looking forward to it.  

Second, I was stressed out enough.  Did I really want to get on a stressed out animal?  Would it even be a good idea?  

Lastly, it was raining.  The roof on the arena is metal.  Phil doesn't like wind and rain.  See where I'm going with this?  Why would I want to add more stress to my life?  

I chickened out and didn't ride on Friday.  

Saturday, I worked, but after work I decided I needed to ride.  I got Phil ready.  It was raining and he was spooky when I was just lunging him.  Maybe I could just lunge him? And blow it off again?  

Nope, I couldn't do it.  I got on him.  As were were walking around and I was trying to relax, it occurred to me - both Phil and I have stressful jobs.  I still love my job, and I think Phil likes his.  So I was going to have to help Phil through his stress.  

Amazingly, we had a pretty good ride.  Not the most relaxed ever, but certainly not the worst.  

I guess we make a good team.  And, not surprisingly, I was much less stressed after my ride.  Kaswyn was a god boy too.  I have to remember that even though I might be stressed about riding, that it's still good therapy for me.  

So if you're stressed, go get on your pony.  That might help.  

Tuesday, April 02, 2013

An error in judgement

It's April.  

I have a grey horse.  

I wore dark breeches and a black shirt today.  

See where I went wrong?  

Well, you can't really see it because I didn't take a picture but GOOD LORD there was a lot of white hair on me.  

Now, I'm not saying I made an error by buying a grey horse, even though I swore up and down that I'd never buy a grey horse.  I guess I just need some lighter colored breeches.  

Time to go shopping.  And shed out that hairy beast!

Header Image from Bangbouh @ Flickr