Friday, January 8, 2021
Wednesday, January 6, 2021
My favorite part of blogging is the perspective I get from looking forward and looking back, especially at the end of the year. Usually I go through month by month and link to my favorite posts and put the best pictures of the year together and come out like "wow, you really did something" and "look what you need to do to move forward".
|Look who goes barebacksies in a halter!|
I think we've all been living in the same 2020. I didn't even blog every month. Barely every quarter.
Rather than doing a monthly summary, I'm going to roll with the 2020 summary post I've seen making the rounds, that I believe is credited to Alberta Equest.
What's the best thing that happened to you in 2020?
|is truck collecting a mechanism?|
|putting that horse girl carhartt coat to work|
|gonna eat this sad pizza by my sad self|
|HAI CHRIMMIS TREE|
|it just occurred to me how funny it would be to put all the impulse buys on her at once|
but who has the time?
Tuesday, December 22, 2020
Y'all have probably heard of this nifty little robot camera gadget called a Pivo. I thought it sounded cool and I bought one. I read half of one how-to on using it and figured if I needed help once I got going, I could google it. It works exactly as advertised--tracks the horse, struggles with multiple horses, and if it loses you, just ride in front of it again.
Cool. Whatever. Pretty much everyone on the internet has one now and there's an entire facebook group devoted to people who are too stupid to read the instructions. You don't need me for that.
|You definitely needed this level of cuteness tho|
The Pivo comes with a handy dandy remote that I think most people carry with them and use to turn the tracking features on/off as needed. Right? Like you maybe don't want a 30 minutes walk warmup of you talking to your buddy but you probably do want the 5.5 minutes you trotted around in the good light trying to get a decent screenshot. (Just me? Whatever.)
|Nobody wants to screenshot long videos|
|oh that's a bit better|
|now that's almost something|
Thursday, December 3, 2020
|that back end <3|
|when all your wildest dreams come true|
|ground tying is fun|
Tuesday, November 3, 2020
You know what we haven't done in a while?
dun dun dun
A progression post!
When I met ZB, she was a loveable 4 year old with an impossibly smooshy nose that seemed almost too large for her rather-slender body. She was 15.2 on a tall day and had the best lil attitude about absolutely everything.
|Summer 2017 - 4 years old|
(layover at her Auntie's house)
Everyone warned me that drafties grow until they're 8 so it worked out that my whole life fell apart shortly thereafter. I mean it didn't work out for me for a long time (tho it did eventually), but this is a REALLY NICE PHOTO that ZB's other auntie took the next summer annnnnnd yeah you can see that her dimensions have changed a lot.
|Summer 2018 - 5 years old|
(it's two zbs!)
|Summer 2019 - 6 years old|
Looking like a little powerhouse
I now realize I probably should have been more diligent about documenting her growth--I think she's about 15.3 in front and 16.0 behind now. My logic is that I can get on her from the ground so she can't be that big. SOME PEOPLE are fond of pointing out that if your horse is roughly the same diameter as your couch, it keeps your hips more mobile. Whatever her height, she's the right size for me.
|Summer 2020 - 7 years old|
All sport-horsey and cute
We're going into her 7 year old winter now feeling fit and sassy. We both like variety and adventures, so we're spending time learning to neck rein and do a western jog but also working hard on the canter (and omg transitions) in her english tack with plenty of trail rides and jump days thrown in. She is coming together SO nicely and I can never emphasize enough just how lovely she's been to work with for the entire process.
Tuesday, October 13, 2020
An interesting thing has started happening lately.
Right now (I've been in town for almost a month omfg!), Zoe is in the most consistent work with me that she has been in a long time. She's worked harder before, but that was with weekly training rides by a competent professional. I am not a competent professional, nor have I played one on tv in a long time. (Or ever, let's be real.)
Point is. ZB is working harder and more often than she has in a minute.
As much as I go on and on about her lovely, can-do attitude, I have definitely been wondering lately about what horse I'd have when the pressure went up a little.
And another thing--the first summer I had ZB, a lovely trainer we did a clinic with pointed out that to move her along in dressage, I'd need to sensitize her to stimuli.
Make her hotter, if you will.
I was a few months off a hotter-than-hell horse and that sounded like the worst idea on the planet to me.
So I didn't do it. (And then my whole life fell apart and I basically quit riding, but who's counting?)
That creates a twofold issue now--we're adding pressure and I'm dialing up her sensitivity. I'm saying REACT QUICKER and MORE REACTIONS and both of those things are new.
Her response is a mixed bag--she definitely handles pressure better than any horse I've had before. She's willing to step up and try hard and give me good work, day in and day out.
She also (very fairly) has some of her own ideas about how that should go down.
I'm having a fabulous time problem solving our way through it. I dialed up her reactions (great!) but then when I tried to do a bareback-in-a-dress photoshoot after work one day, she was like OMG LIONZ, which was kind of funny because I'm pretty sure she'd just SMOOSH LION if she actually met one.
It's not a bad thing per se, it's just a different item to address.
I also have no interest in mindlessly drilling her like YOU WILL DO 5000 TRANSITIONS because fuck that noise. I'm not that person and I don't want to be. Like if you are that person, maybe get an RC car or something because you will break a living being. #shade
Which brings us back to our usual training path.
My biggest thing about not wanting to "sensitize" my non-reactive horse was that I did not want to create a dragon-monster-horse that lost it's shit over stupid things like a stereotypical dressage arena princess. Zero interest. Got ZB to not have that horse.
But we're fooling around western and you know what a good western horse is?
Dialed in to their rider on a low wavelength energy. It's not about being hot and reactive--it's about being keyed in and responsive.
It's about the rider being clear and consistent, providing the same subtle aids.
It's about the horse being soft with it's mind and body, carrying itself forward.
OH MY GOD WE JUST WENT FULL CIRCLE DID ANYONE ELSE SEE THAT.
Please tell me you saw that.
I'm working on becoming the best version of myself. Say after me:
Clear, consistent aids.
Clear, consistent aids.
Clear, consistent aids.
It's a lot harder than you'd think. Remember how we had a jump lesson like a week ago and my position was totally bangin' and I was totally mentally like "GOOD JOB SELF YOU ARE SUCH A SUPER RIDER WELL DONE"?
Well then we had an impromptu jump night and all the things I did right in the lesson, I managed to do wrong. See also: run at fence, pick to the base, fling entire upper body at miniscule X.
|And definitely always go for the long one|
Strangely, our performance was less brilliant that day. Even my gung-ho, jump-loving baby horse was like NO MUM IS NOT SAFE 4 JUMPIN and slammed on the brakes. Whoops.
The cool thing with horses is that they don't really hold grudges, tho. I cleaned up my ride, and she gave me different results. Clear, consistent responses to clear, consistent aids.
It's almost like.
Who is training who?
Welcome to uncharted territory.