Tuesday, November 25, 2008


As the title suggests, today's ride was EPIC. 
There were only three of us in class today, so we had lots of room to ride. I rode a new pony named Mersea today. He was so adorable, a tiny little bay. I'm in love :) He was so great, and I had so much fun with him. 
We worked a little bit on the flat, and I loved Mersea's gaits. We got a wrong lead cantering once, but I fixed it and everything else was most excellent. I could actually sit his canter, which made me very happy. I hate having to two-point my canter because it's rough and hurts my hip. 
My hip hurts a little now, but it's not so bad. I can walk without pain meds, so I'm okay.
We jumped a combination that was made of four whole jumps. I was so nervous at first. I just kept picturing myself having a bad jump and taking a second jump a single stride later. In fact, that happened to me once, but it wasn't a big deal. 
It was actually really easy for me to do, and I had the greatest time EVER. 
Once, Mersea stopped at the first jump instead of trotting over it. There was a hay bale at the base of the crossrail, and he took the moment of confusion to pick up the entire bale and snitch a mouthful. It was really, really funny. I had to take the hay out of his mouth and a student who was helping Teresa had to put the bale back so that it wouldn't interfere with jumping. 
I had one bad start over the first jump, the crossrail, and I had to jump the second jump with my right foot out of the stirrup and my entire body being off-balance. It was okay, though. I turned Mersea off the line before we came up to the third jump, which was supposed to be two strides from the second jump. 
Ohhhh, man, I can't wait to go home and tell Larry and Stella. 

Monday, November 24, 2008

I can't wait for break.

I didn't do much at the barn this weekend. I did get to see Larry and Mindy before they left for the show. It was a tad bittersweet because I COULD HAVE GONE, but it was nice to get to hug them goodbye and play with Abby a little before they left. 
There's a new horse at the barn. He's a therapeutic riding horse, but he has a problem. He bites the kids. Nancy sent him to Larry so that we could work with him. I personally don't think he's malicious. He hasn't bitten at me at all, and I cleaned his stall, played with him, ran with him in the paddock, everything. I think he's a squiggler, and I think maybe he starts to squiggle the kids and gets so involved that he bites them. It's not okay, but at least he's not plain-out mean. 
Larry said I could ride him, so I guess I'll do that when I go back home. I didn't get a chance to ride this weekend. I basically worked at the barn in all the cold. 
I played with Stella a lot. I was wearing some thick fleecy gloves with a velcro thing on the wrist. Stella played with the velcro and pulled the velcro through the loop, tightening the glove around my wrist until it hurt and I was trying to jerk my hand away from her (which, in reality, made this situation worse). Stella is getting so white. She used to be so pretty and dark, and her mane had just one platinum section surrounded by a deep, charcoal grey. Now, about half of her mane is the platinum color, and the dark part is getting all frosted-looking. I still love her, even though she's grey :)
I can't wait until break so I can ride again.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

A Special Instructor

I think we had a clinician come to teach us today. She was very nice. 
We haven't had Teresa since she went away to the horse show. One of the girls who works at the barn said that Teresa is sick. I hope she gets better soon.
First thing, the clinician told me to shorten my stirrups. Since we were doing flatwork, I had my stirrups down to my normal, "dressage" length. It's easier for me to ride that way, and it makes me happy. It's a compromise. I told her that I normally ride with a very long stirrup because of my hip (It's true.), but she bumped me up a few holes anyway. 
We worked on the rail most of the time, and we did a whole lot of sitting the trot. I was really unhappy because Archie's trot sucked and my stirrups were too short for me to sit it correctly. I think Archie was the one I came on here and ranted about the other day. He was super cute, but he made me so angry! I know he really can't help how he was trained, and perhaps any physical problems in his body, but I cannot get along with the horse. I can't. 
We also did serpentines over poles. I really enjoyed how she focused on each rider and horse as individuals. She picked out problems that the horses had and told us how we might begin to correct them. She also emphasized bending, collection, rounding, accepting the bit, using the hindquarters--well, she didn't emphasize every one of them, but she did mention all of them throughout the lesson. 
I had a great time. Archie irritated the crap out of me, but I still had a great time.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

The Exhilaration of Jumping

I really, truly experienced the exhilaration of jumping yesterday. It was cold (There were actually little snow flurries!) and John T's bridle and girth were nowhere to be found (I was so late for class.), but I had a great time. We played Red Light, Green Light. The team I was on lost (but it was only by a horse length or so), but it was fun. We also jumped three jumps in a row. First we started by trotting one, then cantering one. Then, we added a third jump into the mix. It was a whole lot of fun. The jumps were pretty big. I think they were two feet high. 
I love John T so much. Something had gotten into him yesterday, though. He was a tad silly, and he really got excited when he realized that we were jumping. He loved it, and I loved it. 
Our jumps felt great, and I wasn't in too much pain at all. 
That's the thing. I go from wondering whether I'll ever ride again to jumping short courses and back again. It's really weird. I'm going to the doctor next Wednesday, so hopefully we'll be able to figure some stuff out. 

Sunday, November 16, 2008

And another equally depressing note...

I'm probably not going to the big show this weekend. We've been planning it forever, and nothing's going in my favor. Jean can't go because I think she's got to get her mom from the hospital. My mom can't go because she's got to stay home and take care of my sister. I basically don't have a way to get there, that's all. It sucks. 
I'm probably better off not going, though. I really need to stop riding for a while. 
It's kind of hard, though, when I'm in an actual riding class. I'm sure they would understand. Maybe I should talk to Teresa about just taking it easy for a while. 

Jumping Stella

Today, Larry took Mindy and me all the way to the local showgrounds so that we could ride. He even helped us "steal" the jump standards from the neighbors' yard so that we could practice jumping. I was really grateful that he was willing to do all of that stuff for us, but my hip just didn't want to cooperate. 
It was hurting before I even got on, and it didn't help that Stella was hauling me across the ring while I worked her on the longe line. She kept having little "mare flares," and I had to run with her in order to avoid losing the rope or falling down. 
Riding her was actually pretty good, aside from the fact that I couldn't use my legs. Seriously. When I applied leg aids, everyone knew--I shouted out in pain almost every time. Then, I decided to be stupid and try to get Stella to go over the jumps. 
Larry had to lead us over every one. I couldn't apply my leg, so I couldn't keep her from drifting. And, man, did she drift. She wasn't about to step over the one-foot vertical that we had set up. It was ridiculous. I felt ashamed that I couldn't do something as simple as put my leg on, and I felt frustrated because I can barely live like a normal, dignified human being. I really just wanted to cry. Eventually, Mindy got on Stella and took her over the jumps a few times. 
I envy everyone who lives life without chronic pain. 
I rode Tina for a while when Mindy was on Stella. I was stupid. I rode her over the jumps a few times. She drifted a bit too, which frustrated me even more. I just simply couldn't use my leg correctly. That should have been a sign that I shouldn't have been on the horses, but I'm foolish and hardheaded sometimes when it comes to my own well-being. I had one jump over the small vertical that was wonderful, though. My timing was perfect, and everything felt right for a few seconds. Then, it was back to pain and suffering. Mindy and Larry didn't even see it. 
So, now I'm frustrated, disappointed, upset, angry, and about ready to give it all up. 
I just can't see myself riding much longer at the rate I'm going. The thought brings tears to my eyes, but I just can't do it anymore. I need to see the doctor again, go back for more x-rays, get some stuff shoved back into place, maybe get a brace or something (I shuddered at the first suggestion of a back brace, and I hope I never have to wear one.), and get some more prescription pain relief. 
I can't imagine life without riding. 

Friday, November 14, 2008

Cold and Wet.

It was so cold and wet on Thursday. I wasn't happy at all because of all the puddles. My old paddock boots had holes in them and my feet were soaked. 
I rode Amber for almost the entire lesson. We did a stirrupless posting trot (I worked with no stirrups because riding with one stirrup screws with my hip.), some cantering, all of that business. I enjoyed riding Amber. I felt sorry that he can't pick up the right lead. I just let him counter-canter around the ring, and it actually felt really good. Then, I got switched to a big chestnut gelding named Aussie. Aussie wasn't thrilled about the idea of having to move, but I got him to go quite nicely. I liked his gaits. I might like to ride him again. 
My hip is really hurting right now. Ibuprofen, rest, and Sombra (Think Hot Ice times ten.) haven't worked for me, and I can barely walk. I want to ride this weekend, though.
Elizabeth has been jumping Stella over some small jumps since I've been gone, and I really want to give her a try :) Larry said he might take us down to the showgrounds to ride. That would be a ton of fun. We'll have to see what the next few days bring.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

I'm sorry I'm so lazy.

I'm so lazy. And I started a new, general type of blog, so I'm forced to divide my precious type time between the two. 
Okay. So, on Thursday I started out on Bugsy. I don't have an issue with Bugsy. Bugsy's a cute little guy, and riding him is okay. It's fun to canter him because I have to pretend like we're galloping and ride him like a jockey so that he'll just barely canter. Then, I had to ride Archie, or Archer, I don't know which. He was a tall bay gelding, and I didn't like riding him. He was resistant and too speedy, and he wouldn't respond to simple half-halts and such. I had to circle him a lot to slow him down. We were cantering poles, and I didn't feel comfortable doing that. He kept rushing and nearly fell flat on his face, so I forced him to work in a fairly small circle to work on getting him to slow and respond. I was not happy.
Today I rode Skeeter again. It wasn't a great jumping day, and I kind of hurt my hip again, but it was okay. I like Skeeter. He's pretty cool. He jumps like a pogo stick, though. 
Oooooh, and Skeeter was lying down when I came to his stall. I straddled him bareback and patted his neck to encourage him to get up, but he wouldn't do it ("You idiot, you're sitting on me. Of course I'm not getting up."). I eventually coaxed him into standing so that I could brush him and tack him up. 

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Whee, another good jumping lesson!

I think I really fixed my problem. 
I jumped just fine today. I rode a cute grey mare pony named Annie. She was so sweet. I put a pink halter on her, which was very cute too. I really, really liked riding her. 
She was lazy on the flat, but she had an excellent time jumping. She really livened up and started taking the fences like all of the larger horses. She was so good for me. 
I'm really, really happy that I learned what was causing me so many problems. I wasn't bringing my heels up--I was being dragged forward by the horse. My first jump of the day was absolutely effortless. It was absolutely breathtaking. Teresa also spent a part of our lesson riding. She was jumping a horse over a massive in-and-out. Now, watching her was breathtaking. 
Ah, such a good day. Laura took lots of pictures. I look really funny in most of them, but that's okay :)

Sunday, November 2, 2008

A Sobering Reminder

Today was certainly exciting, but not in a way that we enjoyed. 
We went to the barn today, and Mindy and I rode the "children." I started out on Tatiana and then went to Chester. Tatiana was okay, and so was Chester. Mindy and I kept talking about how we think Chester is going to be good enough for the AQHA World Show. Wouldn't that be awesome? ;) 
Later, Mindy and Elizabeth were riding in the pasture. I had Stella in the crossties, about to tack her up so that I could ride too. My sister went out to ride Tina with Elizabeth and Mindy. While I was brushing Stella, I saw a chestnut blur gallop past the open barn doors. I dropped the brush and forgot all about Stella, because Tina was running like mad through the barnyard. She was freaking out and I couldn't catch her. The shock came when I noticed that the reins weren't dragging on the ground--they were gathered on her neck as if my sister had been about to mount her. Mindy caught Tina and I ran over to my sister, who was lying on the ground and clutching her ankle. Evidently, Tina spooked as my sister was getting on, which sent my sister to the ground where Tina ran over her. The only contact that Tina's hooves made with my sister was on her helmet, but the ankle was seriously screwed up. I told my sister to lie down while Mindy unlaced her boot to relieve the already swollen ankle. We fetched ice packs from the freezer in the barn to bring with us, and somehow we managed to get my sister into a wheelbarrow to take her to the porch. David helped us carry her up the steps and put her on the couch, where we elevated her leg and called my dad. Larry stayed behind and put the horses safely in their stalls before coming up to the porch. Jean fetched a pair of David's old crutches, and we gently removed my sister's boot. We had to help her to my car, where I rushed her to the hospital. 
We found out that she broke it, so I had to call Larry and tell him. 
The really freaky part is that, about ten seconds before I heard anything or saw Tina gallop past the doors, I was thinking about broken bones and about how horrible it would be if someone fell off and got hurt. 
Stella was a really good girl during the whole thing. She stood calmly in the crossties until I came back inside to get an icepack, and she was okay with the fact that I tossed her into a stall and locked her up with no logical explanation whatsoever. I would've come back to give her a pat, but...well, you know. 
My sister was doing well when I left. She gets out of school for a few days, so she's really happy about that.  She also got some awesome pain meds. She was just chilling on the couch, watching TV. I hope she gets better soon. 

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Three Days of Adventure

This was actually a pretty good week for me overall. 
Tuesday was possibly the best ride over fences that I've ever had. I rode a big chestnut gelding named Skeeter. He was kind of lazy on the flat, but he became very excited once we started jumping. We started with a crossrail, and ended up jumping four jumps total. I didn't lose my stirrups at all, and I figured something out. In an effort to avoid the "unforgivable sin" of catching the horse in the mouth, I've been sliding my hands up way too far--seriously, three-fourths of the way up the horse's neck. That, in turn, is dragging me forward on the landing. As soon as I figured that out, I started giving less release, still didn't catch the horse's mouth, and didn't get thrown forward over the jump. I didn't like Skeeter's canter, but I cantered him over a few of the jumps. He tried really hard for me, and I enjoyed riding him.
I rode another new horse on Thursday. His name was Amber, the poor thing. He was a small chestnut gelding, and he was so soft and fuzzy. I loved petting him. He didn't like it when I touched his ears. I enjoyed riding Amber as well, even though he had a medical problem where he couldn't take the right lead. We just counter-cantered one way, that's all :) We had to switch halfway through the lesson, though, and I rode Dutch again. I had to do a pattern on Dutch, which the whole class judged. I ended up being placed third in the class. I think it really depended on what horse everyone had. Some of the horses simply won't canter when asked. Some simply won't stop. Dutch didn't want to stop at the gate when I asked him to, and we went several strides too far. Oh well. I think I rode the pattern well, even though Dutch didn't cooperate at the halt.
Today was awesome, plain and simple. 
I went to the barn and Larry made us rake leaves and walnuts in the yard for a really long time. It wasn't bad, really. It was a gorgeous day, and I really hate stepping on those walnuts. After we finished the section near the house, Larry ordered pizza for us and we ate lunch on the porch. I normally don't eat dairy products, so I'm not feeling very good right now, but it was still fun. Then, we went out to ride and play with the horses. We did a lot of fun stuff while we rode today. My sister, Elizabeth, and I did a "turtle race," where the slowest horse won. My sister and Sissy won; Sissy was the only western pleasure horse in the bunch, so of course she was the slowest :) We also had a few real races at the trot. Stella and I won the race once or twice. We also took turns cantering around the ring with no reins. Stella was very good when we did that. I used my reins to cue her, placed them on her neck, spread my arms like I was flying, and had a lovely canter. She really didn't even need reins to stop. I just used my seat a little and gave her a little "whoa." I also rode sidesaddle for a little bit, but I only did it at a walk. I thought about riding bareback, but I decided that wouldn't be a good idea. Stella just isn't a comfortable bareback horse. Her withers are just too bony. Maybe I'll invest in a bareback pad or something. After our ride, Stella and I did a little showmanship, hands-free. I let her go and she walked beside me. I clucked and started jogging, so she trotted beside me. I turned, so she turned. I halted, so she halted. It was really cool.
What Stella did during her bath was NOT cool, though. I was trying to get her onto the black mats, and she decided to rear up. She went up and over, got up, and trotted away. She let me catch her on the other side of the barn, but she was muddy and really needed a bath after that incident. She hates the mats, as you can tell. 
Oh, yeah, and we went on an adventure before we had our pizza. We went into the woods and had a lot of fun swinging on vines. There was one that we held onto and could swing, and there was another that was suspended between two trees that we could sit and swing on. Then, we found a place that was full of a lot of old junk. There were a lot of interesting things. We had so much fun today. Mindy is supposed to come over tomorrow, so we'll have even more fun before I have to go to school.