Showing off!

Wednesday, Karen from Spanish Walk came to play with me and Scarlet. I love showing him off. He was a good boy for her and only tried to nudge her off balance once looking for treats.

I rode him around for a bit just warming him up. I think it’s always polite and safer for the owner to ride the horse first so that whoever is riding doesn’t have a bad experience. He was very good and we even got a fantastically smooth downward transition from canter to trot.

Then Karen got on. They had a few issues with not understanding cues at first. Scarlet was super confused as to why someone new was on his back but he was listening. He kept moving and then dropping his head like he was saying “This? This? Maybe this?”. It was really fun.

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Friday, I wasn’t super interested in going out to ride but I wasn’t sure what riding I would get this weekend so I forced myself to go. It’s a good thing I did. There was only one other person out at the barn when I got there and by the time I left, they were gone. I had the whole jumping arena to myself.

I had been planning on working on flat work in my jumping stirrup length and working on my two-point but the arena was completely mine. How could I resist jumping? After warming up and doing a bit of two-point at the canter, Scarlet and I hit the jumps. We trotted in and cantered out of the straight line with the small cross rail and the gate that scared me before. (It’s not scary now). And then we trotted over a pile of poles and jumped a vertical. Scarlet definitely perked up now that we were cantering.

I wanted to link the diagonal line with the cross rail/gate line on the straight side so I switched directions and got Scarlet to trot into the diagonal so we would be able to make a nice sweeping turn at the end of the arena into the line on the straight. He definitely didn’t listen to me. He made it over the jumps but had sped up so much that we had a motorcycle turn and I had to pull him away from the jumps rather than head into the line.

We went back to the jump that we trotted in and I circled him a few times on the approach until he was listening to me a bit more for pace. We then went through it again. The turn was still shallow and he landed on the wrong lead and wasn’t picking up the correct lead so we ended up trotting into the straight. Again, he didn’t listen on pace and decided he wanted to take a flyer. We ended up messing up the striding for the canter line since he wasn’t listening. We had to add half a stride (All Scarlet’s doing. He really is doing most of the thinking going through lines at this point for us.) and then he rocked back and launched over the jump. He cleared this little bitty 12-foot fence like it was three feet. I was not prepared. I lost my seat, fell way behind and yanked on his face. But I didn’t lose my stirrups or my whip (no wrist strap since it was my dressage one I use for flatting) and was able to resettle pretty easily.

I took us back up the line and made sure to over exaggerate my release. I didn’t want him to feel bad about jumping it due to me yanking his mouth. I shouldn’t have worried. He jumped it just fine. Scarlet also listened a bit better so that was a good jump. I linked the two lines together, got a good turn and called it a night after that.

I definitely have jumping related things to focus on. For me, more two-point and thinking about striding and deciding what we are going to do. For Scarlet, he needs to listen to me for pace and not get too excited when the jumps start happening. After the first jump, any time a jump came close to being in a line to him, he would almost lock onto it thinking that was the one we were going over. I like that, but he needs to listen to me more. We need to do trot/canter poles and small cross rails with me controlling what pace I want him to go through so that we don’t have this problem of speeding up when we don’t need to again.

Saturday, I got Scarlet out on the trails! I wasn’t expecting it as I am not comfortable going on my own and didn’t know anyone at the barn well enough to plan for a trail outing. But some ladies were tacking up at the same time as me and I asked if I could tag along!

He did so well. I was really proud of him. He was a little jiggy at the beginning but he wasn’t worried about leaving the barn since there were other horses with us. Definitely would love to do more trails in the future.

Fun Stuffs!

So I had ordered a bunch of stuff from Dover (not my preferred place but their socks were on major sale). Sunday I was finally able to unbox and take it all out to the horse.

Saturday was our jump lesson so Sunday I wanted to work on getting him just moving forward and easy. I got out later than I had intended due to not waking up till almost 9. It was already pretty hot out and Scarlet was feeling it. He was pretty sluggish the whole time.

There was a jumping lesson going on but they don’t mind if you ride in the arena at the same time. Scarlet liked having the company and I was able to watch the lesson. After we cantered, Scarlet started throwing his head about and trying to list toward the jumps. I think he was annoyed that other horses were jumping and he wasn’t.

Since it was so hot, I called it after just a bit more than our normal warmup. We had taken lots of walk breaks as well. He wasn’t sweating very badly due to that. After the ride, I let him out into one of the turn out arenas to roll while I cleaned up. He rolled and then looked around to see where I had gone. Instead of running around or talking to the horses near the arena, he decided to stare straight at me. Silly horse.

 

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Mom, what are you doing?

Sunday was also the first day I was able to try out my early birthday gift from my husband.

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A Polar H10 chest strap heart rate monitor. It’s super zoomed in on the image so it looks much wider than it actually is. It’s about an inch wide.

I’d been contemplating getting a heart rate monitor of some sort for a while now. I’d done a ton of research on wrist vs chest and different brands. I wanted a way to track how much I was working while riding and the chest models ended up being the best option based on the research. The one concern I had was chaffing. It would be horrible to ride and then undo the strap and find out that you had huge rub marks on your ribs.

That definitely didn’t happen. The strap is really soft and fits me pretty snug. I know others have had issues with it. The H10 is their newest version (like came out a couple of weeks ago) and has a few new things that I liked. There are a bunch of little rubber dots along the strap to provide friction to hold it in place. The monitor itself also has the capacity to store a work out on it without being connected to the device. That appealed to me because I do not ride with my phone on me.

It kept track of my ride and I was able to see how hard I worked. I could track the trotting sets, cantering, and the walk breaks on the graph. I also was impressed by how often my heart rate stayed in the 70-80% range for working.

Monday was much cooler and oh so much nicer to ride in. I did a bunch of lateral work with Scarlet, trying to get him to really move off of my legs. We started with some turn on the forehands since his hind end tends to trail more on lateral work. I wanted him remembering that this means move your butt. He did pretty well during the walk lateral work. The trot work was harder but he still did it.

Then I decided that I should ride around a bit in my shortened jumping stirrups since I did not feel as stable as I should during the jumping lesson. I tried to hold my two point at the trot and omg it was hard. Trot two points are just way harder than at the canter. Scarlet was really annoyed with me because my weight kept shifting back and forth and I was too busy holding onto mane and trying to balance to actually steer and ride. He put up with it which got him a lot of pats. This is definitely high on my need to work on list. I’m going to make an effort to do more flat work in the jumping stirrups and ride my two-point as often as I can manage in order to work on those muscles.

Most of the jumps in the arena had been raised to over two feet for another lesson but there were a cross rail and a line that were still at heights that we could manage. The line was super small but had a cross rail and a little gate. It looks solid to me and just kinda freaks me out so I had never jumped Scarlet over any of those. I weaved him into the line at a trot and we hopped over the little cross rail and the stand alone cross rail a few times. Then I decided I needed to pull my big girl pants up and turned him to take the full line. We trotted in and trotted up to the gate. Scarlet hopped over it like no big deal so I took the whole line at a canter and then called it good.

Let me tell you, my heart kinda raced as we approached the gate but I told myself that I trust Scarlet to get over jumps, even without me. He isn’t a dirty stopper or a horse that likes to run out. The height was totally within our reach to jump. And he did it. Trusting my horse totally helped. And I definitely got a thrill out of tackling something that was making me uneasy. Now, Scarlet and I can do almost all the jumps that are normally set up in the arena. Go us.

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My nemesis. Yes, it is really super small. Idk why I was so utterly scared to take him over that.

I also wore my monitor for that ride and jumping put me up into the 90-100% level of work. Woot! I’m definitely loving using this monitor and will continue to track my work with it.

Jumping Lesson

Yay for jumping lessons!

I got back from being out of town for work training Friday evening and immediately had a lesson on Saturday morning. I’m really glad I insisted on it being earlier. If I wasn’t tired from driving for 7 or so hours on Friday, I would have wanted it to start at 8. It was hot already when I got out there. I started sweating even before I got on Scarlet.

I kept my stirrups long for the warm up. The warmup wasn’t as good as I normally do since I was trying to talk to Trainer J at the same time as warming up. Since it was the first lesson, she doesn’t know much about me or Scarlet. So I was answering a bunch of questions and riding at the same time. I’m not in good enough shape to do that. I was heaving for breath when we stopped talking. lol.

Scarlet definitely wasn’t as in front of my leg as I wanted but he was bending and stretching quite nicely so it wasn’t a total bust of a warm up.

Trainer J set up a small cross rail to see how we do while I shortened my stirrups. We hopped over it at a trot. Scarlet barely gave it any respect. So she raised it and added a bounce ground line for us. And then had to raise it again to actually get him to use himself and jump rather than just flounce over it.

We did the bounce at a trot and canter (obviously adjusted the striding when we started cantering). Trainer J wanted us to work on Scarlet keeping his neck low and rocking back onto his butt to jump over. Getting his neck low is okay when just doing flat work but he immediately reverts to saddlebred neck when a jump is put in front of him. He gets excited and tries to rush. I was riding on a really loose rein as I didn’t want to have our first jumping lesson have me banging against his mouth. So I wasn’t doing much more than steering. I’ll have to work on that now that I know what we can do and what we need to practice on.

We finished up on a two pole lead up to the crossrail at the canter. Trainer J set it up and it ended up being a little long for Scarlet. We cantered in and he made the striding but it was a bit rushed when he realized that he needed to stretch to make it happen. She adjusted it to be a bit smaller and we went through with a fairly slow canter and he jumped it quite nicely.

My homework is to get him to go over trot poles and low crossrails without popping his head up and practice my two point. The last one is more me assigning myself that rather than Trainer J saying I needed to do it. I know I need to. I have no muscles for the two point anymore.

Thinking about the insistence to have his head low… I’m conflicted. On one hand, Scarlet immediately throws his head straight up when faced with jumps. I know that allows him to hollow his back rather than use it. However, I don’t like how low she wanted us to get before going over. The speed of the trot and canter she wanted also bothered me. I didn’t feel like it was a very free moving and forward speed. Scarlet isn’t strong enough to do a collected canter or even a slower canter still using his back. So I didn’t feel like I actually had the correct use of his back and hind at that speed.

I’m still going to do another lesson, but I’m not 100% on board with how she would like us to get over the jumps. I will definitely be working on getting him to stop hollowing over the jumps but I don’t think I’m going to get it by insisting he bring his head down. We will have to see what exercises work best for Scarlet in order to get the correct form that we need.

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Wet pony got a bath after the ride. No face though. Water is way to scary for the face.

Jumping!

I got some jumping in with Scarlet this week! It was so much fun.

Wednesday, Scarlet was feeling somewhat lethargic and it was difficult to get him to move forward at a good clip. I tried to get him moving and do some transitions within gaits. That usually gets him a bit more up as he likes doing the lengthened gaits but I didn’t really get much out of him. So I didn’t push it.

We have been working out a lot more lately. He had basically had the last three months off. We did a few rides here and there but definitely not enough to keep him in peak shape. So I completely understand him being tired after three weeks of pretty consistent rides.

Thursday was his day off so I hoped that he just chilled and relaxed in his pen being a horse.

Friday I wanted to just get him moving forward and stretching as much as possible. I rode him around on long reins and pushed him forward into the bit. It took a bit for him to get with the program but I was able to work him long and low at the walk and trot. We even got a few laps of really stretched down. I then asked him to canter around a bit at an easy pace with a couple of trot poles after. He seemed to appreciate the easy ride.

After the ride, I gave him his grain in the cross ties while I groomed him. I’m still trying to get used to the perfect water ratio for the new beet pulp based grain that I am starting him on. I put a small amount of that in the bucket and soak it while we ride and then add in some of the old grain. Well, I overestimated the water this time. It all turned into a nice slurry mess. Scarlet didn’t care though.

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Get all that food. All up in my face…
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And this was AFTER he had cleaned up all the dropped food.

I cleaned his face up with a cloth cause it was just covered in goopy grain. He didn’t seem to care though.

Saturday was the day we went over a few jumps. I got out there at 9 and that is still too early for some horse people I guess. I never understand why people don’t get out until later on the weekends. It’s so much nicer getting out when it’s cooler and before you start your day.

I hauled Scarlet behind me to change some of the jumps back to cross rails. I have a lesson scheduled for next weekend and so I’ll start lessoning with jumps. I trust Scarlet to get over almost anything put in front of him, I don’t trust myself to do my part. So I didn’t want to deal with any verticals.

After a short warmup, I pointed him at the line of trot poles we did the other day. He sped up into them, as usual, and bonked his hinds on them. So I did them again and halted him after the line. Then we did them a third time and he kept a fairly even pace. Its nice when his brain kicks in and he stops rushing the lines.

We started our jumping with a line down the rail. He hopped over both of them at a nice even trot. It was super awesome. Then I went back around and he trotted in, cantered out no problem. Then a diagonal with the same results. Then I strung the lines and a small single cross rail together. He did freaking amazing. It’s so nice to just be able to point him at the lines and say go get them. At this height, Scarlet has no problem and I’ve  never had him try to run out or stop on me. He likes jumping too much. I’m sure we will have a few issues when/if we raise the jumps higher in lessons. I’m pretty sure they will all be caused by me. We had a couple of bad jumps due to me. He overjumped due to a filler being a bit scary than he had thought and I got super left behind. I also came down on his back hard at another jump. I need to practice my two point so that I don’t make him sore by not being able to stay off his back.

It’s so nice to ride Scarlet sometimes. I just know him so well now and he is behaving so nicely at this new barn. It’s really nice to be able to decide on focusing on him for a ride, focusing on me, or just riding to feel good.

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The mare behind Scarlet has decided that he is mighty fine. She nickers at him every time I bring him back to his pen.

 

Friends!

So as many of you have probably already read, I hung out with Karen from Spanish Walk and L.Williams from Viva Carlos at the Diamond Jubilee Horse Show on Sunday. It’s my first time being over in Del Mar so I was really excited for that and definitely excited to meet them for the first time.

Before I hit the show, I stopped by Mary’s Tack and Feed to pick up a few things for Scarlet. And of course, to drool. And drool I did. I don’t need most of the things in there but boy did I want them. But I’d have to have way more money than I do in order to get them.

 

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The color organization of the saddle pads just made me want more so I could so that. lol

The show was really fun. L and Karen are awesome and I’m really glad we got to meet up. We talked a ton and watched all the classes. I may have a part saddlebred but I know nothing about saddleseat.

I know the people at the show worked hard and they all looked great, but I couldn’t help but think that it has to be uncomfortable for the horses to have someone sit that far back while they invert their back and run with their head straight up. And their front hooves are so long. Sometimes they even had what looked like platform shoes on.

We got the hang of what the judges were looking for after a while and were able to pick out the top horses with regularity. Of course, most of the classes has two or three participants so we had a pretty good chance. But we did well in one class that had six and the big class of eleven as well so I’d say we picked up a bit. It was a lot of fun and I’m looking forward to the next hangouts.

Despite wearing a bunch of sunblock and my sun shirt, I still managed to get burnt so I stayed inside and layered aloe lotion Monday.

Tuesday, I went out for a short ride. Scarlet was listing pretty well and I worked on getting a more connected feeling on our outside rein through serpentines. It was hard and he really really does not want to bend to the right and put his weight in the left rein. I didn’t want to do too much as I still wanted to stay out of the sun so I didn’t do much more than a warm-up. After cantering, we worked on a bit of lateral movement. Scarlet has a lot of stiffness in his right side so leg yields to the left are hard. We did them both directions at both the walk and the trot. He did his best at the trot but he sucks back a lot there. I need to work on getting those to happen with more forward movement rather than just sideways. A work in progress for sure.

After the leg yields, I took the advice I’d gotten from Karen and L, relaxed my butt, kept my knees away from the saddle (ie not squeezing) and did two laps of sitting trot. O.M.G. I’ve ALWAYS had trouble with the sitting trot and no explanation has really helped me with it. Somehow, these ladies nailed it on the head. I was able to sit to the rhythm and absorb it. Scarlet wasn’t sure about just trotting while I was sitting. He’d much rather canter. But he wasn’t objecting to me sitting, which is super good.

After we left the arena to cool out. I’ve been doing that the last few rides to get him accustomed to walking around the barn and seeing new stuff. He seems to like it. I felt oddly brave and decided to turn him onto the path that leads to the trail to see how far he would go without freaking out. He went farther from the rest of the horses than I would have guessed he would. He was so brave!  He then ate all his grain, which was a mixture of the old LMF Senior and the new Integrity Senior that I picked up at Mary’s after discussing what I needed with their feed guy. Being brave must be connected to being hungry.

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That’s my secret, mom. I’m always hungry. 🙂

I think I’ll try it every once in a while as a cool out thing to see if we can inch ourselves further down the trail each time.

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The trail Scarlet walked down. We got to the dark blob (pile of dirt) above the post in the middle of the picture. So brave!
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My selfie game needs some serious help. I feel like such an old lady but I do not know how to make these look good! lol

Good Rides

I was so sore from riding and working out that for our Wednesday ride, I wanted to keep it simple and short. In all my amazing wisdom, I said “You know what is the perfect way to have an easy short ride? REMOVE THE STIRRUPS.”

And that’s what I did.

Not exactly brilliant. It was short but I forgot just how much muscle was required to even keep your legs correct at a walk! It was good for me because I was able to stretch my legs and hip flexors while walking with Scarlet. We did try some trotting. It was terrible. I have never been able to sit the trot. Follow the motion at a walk and canter? Hell yeah, I got that. Follow the motion at the trot? Whu? Scarlet let me know just how bad it was by sticking his head straight up in the air. I agreed with him and let us walk. I did a circle and half a lap at the canter, which I was pretty pleased with. And then I called it a much needed day. I was quite sore afterwards (no duh Alex. Work harder when you are tired. So smart)

Thursday is Scarlet’s day off from riding but I still went for a run. It wasn’t too bad.

Friday, Scarlet and I worked on transitions between the gaits. He was very good and pretty responsive. He edged over into too responsive when I did big figure 8’s switching leads via a simple lead change. My butt had to touch the seat just a hair longer than posting and he would canter off. Correct lead so I didn’t get on him too hard. We just did a few trot-sit-trot on moments to remind him that he does need to wait until I cue, even if he is smarter than me.

Saturday was the first time I’d been out on a weekend to ride in the morning time. It was quite nice. There was hardly anyone at the barn, which was odd. I wasn’t out there super early. It was around 9 when I arrived. But I had the arena all to myself still. There was only a horse in one of the turn out arenas and a couple of people using the round pens. I wanted to focus on getting Scarlet to move forward and be in front of my leg that ride with a tad bit of lateral thrown in for stretching.

After our normal two loose rein walk laps, I asked Scarlet to move forward and the walk and on the bit. He kinda ignored me and tried to pretend he was moving forward by dropping his head. So we did a bit of halt-trot transitions to get him remembering what forward was. Then we worked the walk and I actually felt his back come up underneath me. We moved into the trot and worked on keeping that back up. He got a bit distracted sometimes by things moving outside the arena but was focused overall and listening. We could get the connection back fairly quickly by doing circles.

I did some figure 8’s at the trot holding onto the front of my saddle pad to check how my hands had been doing while trotting. I’m pretty bad at holding them steady and I haven’t been focusing super hard on myself during the rides so I figured I should check. It was a good thing that I did because Scarlet was really unhappy with that. Which means I’d been letting him get away with tugging at my hands instead of moving up into them. So we did figure 8s and he eventually gave and moved forward correctly. It’s always difficult to do figure 8s without my hands. I do rely on my hand aids for direction more than I should. It’s a bad habit.

Our canter transitions upward were lovely and pushed from behind. After we had cantered a bit, I let him walk for a break. Then came the lateral work. We spiraled in and out on a circle both directions at a walk and trot. Then I asked him to leg yield both ways walk and trot again. It’s definitely hard for him but I got a few good steps both ways. The trot was better than I thought it would be since I haven’t been working on that with him. I let him canter off for some fun and then ended the ride.

I actually borrowed my husband’s Fitbit charge for the ride on Saturday to see how it did. It said I burned 477 calories for a 43-minute ride. My high was 145 bpm with the average around 125. Which seems about right but I don’t really have any other comparison for exercise using the Fitbit, let alone while riding. Though I rode with it to see if I wanted one of my own, I’m leaning towards no.

I ride in long sleeve sun shirts always. Even when it is overcast. I do this because I’ve already had one brush with skin cancer and do not want another. So I cover as much of me as possible and use sunscreen on the rest. So my arms have long sleeves and gloves on. Which makes it a bit difficult to see a watch. Not to mention, the reason I wear a watch while riding is to keep an eye on the time. Since the Fitbit has to be in contact with my skin to keep track of my bpm, it can’t be seen under my sleeve. My normal watch that I wear while riding is one I fasten over my sleeve.

I still do want a way to keep track of my bpm and calories burned while riding but I don’t think a wrist mounted heart rate monitor is going to work well for me. I’m looking into polar’s chest strap heart monitor. Its got great reviews and is supposed to be very accurate. My only concern is chaffing, which is why I’m going to try and see if I can find a store where I can touch/try it on to see how it feels.

Scarlet has been really good lately with the rides. I know that I could always be clearer and more direct with what I’m asking him to do but he tries to listen. He hasn’t thrown fits in the arena, even though we have only been here for two weeks. He pays attention even when horses are leaving the area or arriving. Sometimes, he is just a really good boy. I’m very happy with our riding recently and am very glad that he seems to be a content, fat happy horse as well.

Working Hard

So, riding Sunday didn’t happen. We stayed out with friends on Saturday and didn’t get back till 1 am. And, apparently, I’m too old to stay out till one. It kicked my butt and I was out of commission all of Sunday.

Monday I did get back out. I wanted to try riding Scarlet in some of the other arenas at the barn. We had only been working in the jump arena since we got there. I wanted him to get used to his routine and working again before mixing it up so we stayed there all last week. This week, I decided we were ready to try the other arenas.

There are 4 main arenas at the new barn. One jump arena, two that can be turned out in and one that is used for flat lessons a lot. I wanted to try one of the turnout arenas since its pretty large and smack dab in the middle of the stalls. The one for flat lessons almost always has a group of people in it and I didn’t want to mess around there. It was a good day to try that, as some of the fences in the jump arena were being fixed. We wouldn’t have been able to use it anyway.

So we went out and tried that arena. We walked around a bit and I brought Scarlet into a bit of contact. But I really didn’t like the footing. I hadn’t realized how deep the footing was in that arena compared to the jump one. We are out of shape and I didn’t want to strain his legs too much. Plus, I wanted to work on transitions, which is enough work without Scarlet needing to fight the ground. So we left and tried the other turn out arena. It was deep too but mostly around the edges. The center was okay. So we did a big, slightly larger than 20 m circle for most of the ride.

The circle worked out well as its easier for me to focus on asking for the transitions if I don’t really need to worry about bend as much. We warmed up and then got to work. I did a few walk-trot transitions to work on Scarlet being in front of my leg. That isn’t a large problem for us once we warm up as he is usually raring to go after a canter. Then we focused on lengthening the trot and then coming back to a working trot. Half-halts are something Scarlet understands, but it depends on the day whether he decides to listen or not.

Monday, he definitely was trying to listen. Left was pretty good. Right is his bad bend so he fell apart a lot when I asked for him to come back. But we worked on it and he stopped trying to run back into the lengthening when I asked him to come back. That’s a lot of improvement since the last time I dedicatedly worked on these. We did some work in the canter as well. Those were much harder, again even more so to the right. His right canter is terrible. We have been working a lot on it but it is a very slow work in progress.

Overall, he did really good with the exercise and I was very pleased. This needs to be something that we work on more often as transitions are important for getting him engaged behind. I could definitely feel a tiny bit of improvement in the canter as he worked on actually getting his butt underneath him.

Scarlet worked hard on Monday but I did as well. My back muscles are not up to the task of working so hard. I was so sore that I couldn’t fall asleep. I had to get up and take some advil in order to get some rest.

Since I was so sore on Tuesday, obviously that meant that I needed to try to go for a run during my lunch break. Hahaha…ha…ha. That could have been better. But I did it. My goal is to get in better shape so I can support myself more and I don’t put more strain on Scarlet as I ask him to work harder. I was inspired by May As Well Event talking about how she fits in some working out even while riding. I’m planning on trying to run/work out 4-5 days a week. I’ll see how well I stick to that schedule.

Being sore, I figured we should try to work on forward and stretchy with circles and loops rather than anything really techincal. Which was a great idea since my legs protested loudly when I started trotting. Scarlet was very good and listened to my asking for bends on a circle at a walk and trot. We did a little alternating between a deep inside bend and a slight outside bend. Its pretty hard for him. I asked slowly and calmly and we eventually got it.

I think Scarlet was as tired as I was from our Monday workout. He stood still while I talked to the assistant trainer for about 15 minutes after our ride. Scarlet hates standing still. He will shift or step forward and back but never just stands. Poor horsie.

I’m not sure what the plan will for Wednesday’s ride. I’m going to work out during my lunch again so I’ll probably be pretty tired. I wish I had a trail buddy to do that but I haven’t really been at this barn long enough to get to know people. Someday soon hopefully.

Settling in Nicely

I’m so freaking proud of Scarlet and how easily he has adjusted to moving to a new place. The first rides had a bit of tension but on Wednesday and Friday, I literally didn’t feel a difference.

Since we have been out of consistent riding, I still am not asking him to work as hard as I normally would. I did insist on working, though. Wednesday, I wanted his walk to be forward and more connected than I  had let him be previously. Since he didn’t have any tension from anxiety or fear, it wasn’t going to cause him to get more anxious. He was reluctant, as anyone is when asked to work harder but I kept after him and he finally connected his head to his legs and walked on. We didn’t work super hard on Wednesday, just a normal w-t-c with a few walking ground poles. But, it was hot enough that he was pretty sweaty when we finished.

After the ride, I was able to get him to stand in the crossties. He isn’t relaxed, but he is in there and tied in. He tossed his head a bit and kept trying to move forward but did listen when I told him to step back and then stand. It was nice to be able to not worry about him moving while I’m picking out his hooves. He did get anxious when I left his side to go put away the tack. So that is still a work in progress.

Thursday is our new day off for the week. It’s the day my husband usually has the longest commute back in traffic so I agreed to try to cook dinner on that day of the week. This week, that didn’t happen as I took our young cat Koro to the vet. She has been barfing every two-ish days for about 10 days. We thought it might just be a hard to hack up hairball but it kept going even after we started to give her petroleum jelly to help move the hair. So we took her in and got a blood test done, just in case. It came back perfectly clean and the vet explained that she might not be the type of cat that has a formed hairball. So they recommended that we keep up the jelly treatment since she is happy to lick that up. She puked on Friday and it actually had a decent amount of hair in it so that may be our solution.

Friday, I asked Scarlet to work more in his trot and walk. We worked on connecting more and then did some transitions within the trot. Scarlet is really good at transitioning to a lengthened trot but he really does not like to be asked to come back. He does come back, but will not maintain it without me asking constantly. He will maintain a lengthened trot though. So we do need to work on that as transitions help a lot with balance and getting him to use his back. His canter was quite good. Easy transitions upward and a nice forward pace. We probably could have been a smidge more forward but there were a couple of other horses in the arena so I did not want to push too much.

Since he did so well for me, I trotted him over these itty bitty crossrails that were set up in the arena for fun. He definitely perked up at that and decided, nope we aren’t trotting out, and proceeded to hop over the first in the line and canter out. Silly boy. He was really up after the handful I let him go over so I did some more cantering and then some trot figure eights to bring him back to me before letting him walk and cool out.

Saturday we didn’t ride due to having plans for my husband’s birthday but I did go see him in the morning and let him roll.

I’m really happy with how all of our rides have gone. We’ve only ridden in one arena since we got to this barn and I think my project for this next week will be to try some of the other arenas now that he is all settled in. Its hard to do really concentrated flat work in an arena that is filled with jumps so I need to get him used to at least one arena without jumps in order to get that done.

First Outings

Scarlet arrived on Sunday and I was so happy to see him. I got a call from the hauler that they were about 30 minutes out and headed right on over. I got there just about when they pulled in. Scarlet started calling out when they stopped moving. The hauler said it was cause he heard me. I kinda chuckled at that. Scarlet always has thrown a fit while being in the trailer if he wasn’t moving. So him calling and starting to dance around was just normal.

He walked down the ramp like a sane horse, which I really wasn’t expecting. He was in pretty good shape, just a tiny nick on his left hind about the size of the tip of my pinky. It was already dry and honestly, horses get small nicks like that all the time so I was 100% not worried about it.

I put him in his stall and he stuffed his face into the hay waiting for him right away. He ate, paced, “discussed” with his new neighbors, and drank some water while I watched him for a bit. I took him out to give him a bit of room to stretch his legs in the round pen. He rolled a bunch but wasn’t much interested in kicking up his heels. A bit too much new for him to do that. So I brought him back and groomed him really well. He was super dusty and hairy since he hadn’t been getting regular groomings while shedding. He and one of his neighbors had to bite and paw at each other a bunch to try and figure out who is the badest baddy of them all but no squealing which was nice. I wanted to stick around till he pooped but I’d been there for a couple of hours and he hadn’t. He doesn’t like to drink while in a trailer so I wasn’t too surprised that he was a bit dehydrated. He had drunk and ate while I was there so I wasn’t too worried.

Monday was the first time I went out to ride. I was sooo excited to be able to get back on him. Some people probably would have given their horses a bit longer to get settled in but Scarlet needs work and needs his routine. It’s easier to get him settled into what he is going to be doing, rather than letting him laze around for a while. He was quite tense when I got him out to groom. The crossties were not his friend either. They were kinda far away from his stall since my tack room happened to be one that was farther away. But, we were still within eyesight of horses so I didn’t think it would be a problem. But the crossties kinda echoed when you walked into them and he did not like that. So we spend about 30 minutes dancing around while I groomed him. He didn’t want to tie to the crossties either so that hadn’t been an option. Once I got on him, he was quite good. He called out a bunch but was only slightly tense while working and didn’t really try to act up. I called it after an easy 30ish minute ride. I only wanted to get him out and moving. I am not going to ask too much of him for a week or so. I want him settled in before I ask him to work harder. He did very well for the first ride.

Tuesday, we did a bit more work with the crossties. I walked in, turned around and walked right back out with him a few times till he didn’t balk at entering. There we stopped and walked out a bit. I was able to do a bit of the grooming in the crossties, though he wasn’t attached to them. Having the crossties on his halter caused him to panic a bit more than just having the lead so I wasn’t going to push it too much. I don’t want him to freak out in the crossties. I just want him to get used to them and deal with their scariness. He was much less tense for our second ride and did a bit more work at the walk for me. He was really good and only called out twice. He even almost stretched down at the walk. Not as much as he normally would but it was close. Afterward, I got him to stand in the crossties, hooked up to them while I untacked him and groomed him. He was very good and got a bunch of treats for being so brave.

It’s great to have him back and I’m really enjoying being able to go out to the barn every day again. He is doing really well for just having arrived a couple of days ago. We will ride again on Wednesday and then Thursday will be his day off. That is the busiest day for traffic for my husband so I agreed to cook dinner on Thursdays and make that my non-riding day. I feel very positive about our potential rides and working us both back into fitness. It will be great to get back into enough shape that both Scarlet and I can do a full workout and not feel super exhausted. Plus, we both have a bit of chub that we need to lose! No better way to do that than by riding. 😉

SCARLET IS COMING!

I got notice that Scarlet is coming down! He will be here on Sunday!

The barn manager at our old barn texted me Saturday morning to ask if I had heard from the transport company since they were dropping another horse off at the barn he was at up north on Saturday afternoon. I hadn’t, so I gave them a call.

They checked the schedule and said they’d give me a call back. When they did, they said they can pick him up today. He will have a layover in LA for the night and then will head on down in the morning. I should get a notice of when he will be there but, let’s be honest, I’m probably going to be out there from around 10 am on or something.

I’m so excited. Also a little anxious. Scarlet has never ridden well in trailers and now he doesn’t even load well. Not much I can do about that till I become good friends with someone who has a trailer and is willing to hitch it up for me to practice with. We did have a small practice session a couple of months back but that is not nearly enough to fix his anxiety getting in.

Either way, it’s out of my hands now. This company does tons of these trips and are very good at it. They will be able to handle him, especially since Scarlet doesn’t try to attack anyone, he just is thinking about running away.

I’m shaking I’m so excited. I will finally have my boy down here and we will be able to ride again! Woot! San Diego, here we come!

Updated after Scarlet was picked up: Scarlet supposedly walked right onto the trailer. I’m literally in shock. He has had such a hard time loading anytime I’ve had to do it with him recently. Oh well, I’m not going to question my good luck. Here are a couple pictures of his fuzzy butt on the trailer. I do not know how he got mud behind his freaking ear. We will take care of that tomorrow.

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Muddy ear!

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