30 Facts About Me Blog Hop

I decided to join in on the blog hop that started on May As Well Event and has been making the rounds. This was super hard. I don’t find myself all that interesting and got to maybe 12 before I had to go re-read everyone else’s posts to get ideas of what to talk about.

30 Facts About Me:

1. I graduated from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo with a degree in Modern Languages and Literature. It’s a degree that is basically combining a Spanish major with a secondary language minor. This means I’m fluent in Spanish and conversationally fluent in French.

2. As part of my major, I studied abroad in Spain for a semester. I studied in the Basque country in Bilbao. I loved being in Europe, but honestly wish that I had gone through a different program. All the members of the group were mostly there to drink and party. I don’t do either of these things. Our classes were segregated from the Spanish students there and I feel like that was a big portion missing. I was fluent enough that I could have easily slid into a normal class at the university. I don’t regret it, but I wish the program had been different.

3. My ultimate goal for my language skill is to be pentlingual. I’ve got three down and am currently teaching myself Japanese.

4. I have never lived outside of CA. Each time I’ve moved, I have moved progressively more south in the state. Redbluff, Sacramento, San Luis Obispo for school and now San Diego.

5. I was born blue from being in the birth canal for too long. I put my mother through almost 24 hours of labor. She reminds me of this often. Luckily, I suffered no ill effects from this incident. (No one has told me otherwise. lol)

6. I have only one sister and am grateful it wasn’t more but a huge, talented extended family. Both my dad and my mom have several siblings and most of them have 2-5 children each. One of my cousins almost was in the Olympics for gym in 2016 but didn’t want to move away and do the crazy training they all do. She beat almost all the girls on that team in most of the individual events and all round as well. She was something like 3rd in the nation at one point. Another cousin works for DreamWorks. He worked on large films like Kung Fu Panda and How to Train Your Dragon. I’ve got a cousin who’s a lawyer, one who is an actress/model, one who regularly travels the world. It’s not hard to develop an inferiority complex in my family. lol

7. I raised market sheep for 4-H for four years growing up. It was hard at first but I figured out how to not get attached to them as they were going straight to market. I still won’t eat straight up lamb. Kebobs are the only exception.

8. I currently work from home as QA for a software company. It’s lovely to work from home but my job is not so lovely. It pays a lot for very little overall effort so it works for now. Definitely not what I want to do in the long run.

9. I have a huge needle phobia. I tried to run out of the Drs office when I was 12. I can’t watch needles on tv nor in person even if it’s not going in me. I was in an equine science class in college (for fun) and was at the front of the group cause horses when the professor handed me a capped syringe while he got a horse out of a stall for a vaccination demonstration. I had to focus super hard to not drop the syringe or pass out from fear.

10. I didn’t get ears pierced until 18 mostly due to the needle phobia. No matter how much I told myself it wasn’t a needle, I couldn’t separate the fear from the action. I almost managed to get it done a few months before I actually did it but when I was sitting in a chair there was a dad trying to convince his daughter that she didn’t actually want to get her ears pierced. He joked that they were going to use a super huge thick needle. I noped right out of there so I wouldn’t have a panic attack. My mom wanted to punch the guy in the face. I have no other body modifications though would love to get one tattoo. I even know what I’d get and where I’d put it but don’t think anyone would do it on someone drugged out of their mind to deal with it.

11. I had melanoma at 21 and surgery the week after diagnosis to remove it. I’m ethnically several different pale northern European countries so I’m really freaking pale. And have moles. So predisposed to skin cancer. yay… I’m absolutely obsessed with keeping myself protected from the sun now. I’m constantly wearing SPF 70 with SPF 50 sunshirts when outside. I love the sun but it does not love me back.

12. I love reading. I will giggle maniacally when I exit the library with a haul just because I’m so happy to have a new stack of books. My current favorite authors are Patricia Briggs, Anne Bishop, and Tamora Pierce. I will loan out my favorites and will do my best to get anyone hooked on reading. I will find a book you will like! I also read super fast so my library having a checkout limit of 40 is fantastic. I can read a full normal sized fantasy book in about 3-4 hours. Of course, I do nothing else during that time but pee and drink but its a lovely 3-4 hours. 🙂

13. I love writing. I write in my journal, I write in this blog and I write fiction. I’ve been writing stories for forever. I wrote fanfiction back in junior high and high school. In college, I really tried to write original pieces but never made it past the beginning. Last October was the first time I wrote a full novel length story. I currently have one and a half novel-length stories written. Being an author is my dream job and I’m working hard to make it happen.

14. My hobbies outside of riding and reading are video games and watching anime. I’ve been playing video games for a long long time. My favorite cousin introduced me to them in the Nintendo 64 era and I was gone. I like the types that have more story elements involved (RPG for those others who play them) or some type of overall goal to achieve. Anime I picked up in junior high and really enjoyed. I actually met my husband through a college club related to anime so it’s been a good thing in my life. 🙂

15. I did all the sports in school. Basketball, soccer, volleyball, track and field, cross country, tennis. The only large one I didn’t do was swimming because we didn’t have a pool at any of my schools so the swimming team was very small.

16. I’ve run two half marathons. I set them as goals more so to push myself to actually work out. I don’t necessarily regret doing them but running that distance is difficult and moves from fun to painful and boring.

17. All my workouts end up being in my home, running or riding. I hate gyms. I like the equipment in them but something about the atmosphere throws me off. I can find classes I like at studios and such but that is very dependent on the group of people and the feel of the place.

18. The worst injury I’ve ever had was either my bruised tailbone or a weird bruise/swelling on my knee/upper shin area that I got from falling on the goat ladder. I’ve never broken a bone or even sprained anything.

19. I don’t drink alcohol. None of my friends really do so its not a social thing for me and I don’t like the taste of almost anything. Super sweet mixed drinks and some hard ciders are about it. I think it’s kinda a waste of calories unless it’s really necessary for a social situation.

20. I’ve been riding since I was 8, though I got on a neighbors pony a few times around 4 or so. I don’t count that cause I didn’t really do anything on my own. That’s almost 20 years worth of riding. My college years were sparse in regards to riding time as I didn’t have my own horse and could only afford some lessons here and there.

21. I’ve only ever owned one horse, Scarlet, in two different chunks of time. (I really need to write about the actual story in full. It’s quite the story. )

22. I have literally no preference in color for Future Horse. I think some are prettier than others but color is literally not even on the list of things to consider.

23. My horse related dreams are to someday get all the way to a Grand Prix jumping class. I don’t need to win or even place. I just want to be able to safely and competently get around the ring. It’s a very big dream and I need a lot more money before this even becomes a possibility.

24. My husband is the only guy I’ve ever dated. I didn’t intentionally avoid dating but I didn’t ever find anyone that I really liked. It was hard to be attracted to guys when they honestly couldn’t hold a conversation. I like talking and getting to know people. There was one guy in high school who I dated for maybe a week but that doesn’t count given how short it was.


25. I’m a pretty picky eater when it comes to veggies/squash. The texture is a huge problem for me. My husband has worked steadily to expand my pallet for foods where the texture isn’t a huge turnoff and it has worked. I can now eat a lot of spicy dishes and more variety than I have previously. It’s quite nice because I’m able to try restaurants and new styles of food without being concerned that I won’t be able to eat anything.

26. I love baking but not cooking. I can make delicious sugary, chocolately, carby things when baking. I wish I had a bunch of friends close by I could give food to because then I could bake more often. Otherwise, I eat it all on my own.

27. I like watching shows but I have a terrible time sitting still through them. It’s hard for me to actually sit down and finish watching them. However, I like things on in the background while I work so I generally have something on youtube streaming (generally gaming related). We have Netflix but won’t bother with an actual tv subscription until we can pick and choose channels.

28. My  memory is really really good for absorbing things (probably why languages work well). Don’t challenge me on Disney or harry potter facts. =P I can probably tell you the whole of a book’s story if you start me with a title and author. My aunt quizzed me once on a book that took me no time to read and I got everything correct.

29. I am a fantastic listener. I’ve been told this by many many people and I tend to be the default for my friends to rant to. You want someone to listen and just commiserate? That’s me! You want someone to listen and figure out ways to resolve the issue? That’s also me!

30. I’m terrible at self-motivation. It is the bane of my existence and something I am constantly trying to overcome. Self-motivation is super duper important for working out, writing, riding etc. I know I need to improve so that I can meet my own goals but it is so hard. When there is no one but myself to disappoint, it is very easy to let myself slip. I am getting better. I’m good at habits so if something becomes a regular thing for me, I’m more likely to keep it up for forever.

So there we have it. 30 things about me. Some of them may have been talked about on the blog already. I’m super open to sharing things and don’t remember talking about any of these in detail. Hope you all learned some more about me!


Back to the Important Stuff

With my half marathon over, I’ve been trying to get back to my normal rhythm of life. This first week back wasn’t quite normal but it was definitely closer than I have been recently. I was able to get out once on Tuesday and then Friday and Saturday. Monday I was too dang sore to get out period.

Tuesday was freaking cold. (Seriously winter why do you wait until the end of February to get here?) It was blowing hard and that made it about 20 degrees cooler than the actual temperature. I got Scarlet out and put him into an arena to run around a bit. At this point, I wasn’t sure if I was going to ride or not. It had been almost five days since I’d ridden him and it wasn’t calm horse weather.

He rolled and then had a fun little sprint down the line of the arena. I walked in and he lunged in a circle around me at a trot and canter without too many shenanigans so I decided that I could probably manage a ride.

He was so good for the ride. I’m so proud of him. He was tense for sure but he didn’t have a fit or spook and just kept going forward when asked. I just wanted to get him out and moving so I didn’t ask for much more than circles and serpentines as far as hard work.

Friday, I got out of work early due to having a meeting through my lunch hour so I was able to spend plenty of time grooming and fussing with Scarlet before getting on. I wanted to make sure that Scarlet worked for at least 30 minutes as he has definitely not been getting as regular of work in the last couple of months. After warming up, he was pretty sure we were done and needed to leave the ring. He just kinda slid sideways at the opening. I told him we weren’t done yet and he continued working.

It was only about 20 minutes in for our ride and I wanted to trot a lot more. Scarlet stocks up in his sheath area without regular work and trotting gets the blood flowing the best. But just trotting forever is boring. I decided I wanted to try to have him trot without much rein direction from me. I slid my reins to the buckle and we trotted.

It was hard. Scarlet speed up like nuts without rein direction. I know my hands do too much while riding and it’s something I need to work on. Sometimes we are good and he isn’t leaning on my reins but it takes a lot of effort to get to that point. He trotted without listening. I had to fight my body to not lean forward and thus encourage him to go faster. Leaning back, I tried to slow down my posting to encourage him to slow down as well. But I’ve never really understood how to do that without getting off beat on the posting so it didn’t go well. (If anyone has a good article explaining that, please let me know.)

After a bunch of circles and some voice commands to slow down, we ended up getting the idea of trotting at a normal speed down. I kept trying to use the reins to tell him to slow down but with my hands basically on the buckle, they really didn’t do anything so I had to really stick with my voice and body.

To cool off, I tried to get him listening to my body to halt from the walk. I shortened the reins and combined the voice command with doing my best to still my seat per what I’ve read in Jane Savoie’s books. I backed it up with the reins if he didn’t listen after a few steps. It got better as we went along. I’m hopeful we can figure out how to do this together.

Saturday was more just for moving around riding. Nothing new there.

After each ride this week, I took Scarlet to graze on the grass growing in the field. Hand grazing isn’t something we have easy access to at this barn. They don’t have a patch of grass they maintain that we are allowed to graze on. I really dislike it but it is what it is. The last barn had a huge lawn to graze on and I loved just letting Scarlet scarf up mouthfuls for half an hour or so after each ride.

I did find myself zoning out while hand grazing. Does anyone else find the sound of horses eating grass soothing? It allows me to get to an almost meditative state, just holding the line and watching Scarlet eat. I wish I could graze him more often but that’s CA for you. I’m making a point to take him to graze as often as possible while the grass still exists.

Next phone I get needs a good front and back camera. Also, does anyone have any classes on selfies? This took 14 tries!

Half Marathon: Accomplished

Saturday, I ran my second half marathon.


I did one back in college and I was in really great shape when I was training for it. I don’t get in shape very well without a concrete goal to goad me into working out so I signed up for another half marathon. As I was training for it, I realized I really don’t have the time to devote to running like I used to.

In college, I could run for 2 hours each morning no problem. I still managed to go to school, do homework and work. Now, I just don’t have that time. I was able to run during my hour-long lunch. But that was about it except for the weekends. If I had wanted to do more, I would have had to give up days with Scarlet. As it was, I was too tired to ride some days.

I also started to dislike running because it became a hated chore. Not a good thing to do when you need to run multiple days a week. I was counting down the days till the stupid run so I could just stop running.

Someday I’ll hike here so that I can appreciate the view without trying to suck in air like it’s going out of style.

The track was off-road and had a super steep mountain we went out and back across. It was a lot harder than I had anticipated and I had to walk a lot more than I had planned. My joints hurt from rolling my ankle and not having a flat place to set my foot down. The track was narrow and a favorite of mountain bikers so we had to dodge those while running. I was out there so I just kept my focus on finishing because I had to.


I finished in 3 hours and 5 minutes. Almost a full 30 minutes slower than my previous one (that one wasn’t off road). I’m a little disappointed but mostly just glad to be done. I don’t think I’ll ever try an off-road half marathon again. And if I ever run a half again, it would ONLY happen if I have a work schedule that would allow me the time I need to actually work out to the point where I feel prepared. So basically, never. XD

Now that I’m done, I’m very much looking forward to getting back into a normal routine with relaxing occasionally during lunch, running a bit and riding all the days I want to. 🙂

How to break up with a farrier

Okay,  haven’t fallen off the face of the planet I swear. Work is still nuts. (Seriously how long do they expect us to run at 120%? This is nuts. It’s been product release time for about 4 months now and it’s killing me.) My half marathon is this Saturday and I’m freaking about that. My goal is to finish and anything else is a bonus.

I’ve not been able to get much horse stuff done. I visited my best friend over the weekend which requires flying up to NorCal. It was delightful but I didn’t get any riding time obviously. (Not a horse friend.)

One thing that has been on my mind is breaking up with my farrier. I’ve never done it and have zero idea how to go about it politely. It’s such an awkward thing.

My farrier isn’t bad. He hasn’t done anything noticeably bad with Scarlet’s feet. He is just “meh” as far as quality goes.

My problems with him are centered around 2 things:

  1. I have limited knowledge of how horse feet are supposed to go and what healthy feet consist of. I like asking my farriers questions so that I understand what is going on. The farrier I had before I moved was fantastic about it. This farrier barely responds to direct questions. This isn’t a huge problem because I’m also not there when he shoes so my questions are over text. Still, I’d prefer to have more back and forth when discussing my horse’s hoof health.
  2. He keeps creeping the reshoe dates closer together. He contacted me for the first reshoeing at about 7 weeks. We planned it for the week after. Every subsequent time, he has been trying to get it to a 6-7 week cycle. Not because Scarlet needs it. He is fine until the standard 8 weeks. Longer right now since we aren’t riding terribly much.

I don’t generally allow the quicker shoeing and push back the time he will come out. When I was out of town this weekend, he texted me asking if he could shoe Scarlet since he was out there. It’s about 6 weeks. I told him not yet as he was still good. I then was told that Scarlet had twisted a shoe and he had already pulled it since he noticed it when he was walking by. I then gave him permission to reshoe since Scarlet was already missing one.

He explained that the back nails were loose. That’s not a twisted shoe. That’s not something you are really going to notice when walking by a stall filled with soft dirt. Maybe you would as a farrier but that’s kinda the last straw. If my horse’s shoe was really twisted and would be causing him pain, yes please do pull it before contacting me. Loose nails? I’d rather you don’t.

I’d been contemplating trying another farrier in the area that L and Carrie used. I think he is the same price for a half shoe or maybe 10$ more. I think I’m going to reach out to him and schedule a shoeing the next time. Now, I just have to figure out how to convey that I’m not using you again to my farrier. It should be simple. “Oh, I’m switching to a different farrier.” But I’m worried about being asked why. I’d ask if there was a specific reason so I could know and improve upon said reason so I’m just expecting him to ask. And as I said, there is nothing terribly bad about him, just that his service is meh and I feel like I can find (and deserve) better when I’m paying $140 for a half shoe.

Anyone done this before? Any suggestions?

Busy life, chill riding

It’s been over a week since I’ve actually written about my riding. Life outside of riding has been extremely busy. Work is stretching this release pressure out as they have now decided we want to fix the quality issues before releasing (duh, couldn’t you have decided that 3 months ago so we could have planned rather than sprinted to try and just get stuff out?) so we are still in release mode. This occupies my brain a lot and riding ends up being some of the only time that I’m getting to shut off.

Subsequently, I cannot remember anything I did while riding last week. I do remember them being good. I’ve been very focused on doing simple things to get the ride done well. Since I know this lack of brain capacity is going to continue for a while, I decided to start writing notes while giving Scarlet his grain. Gotta write it down while it is fresh!

This week, I’ve been out on Monday and Tuesday. I’m still restricted to the jump arena as the light is still an issue but it’s getting lighter each day! I’m super excited for the eventual light lasting long enough to use another arena or go on the trail.

Monday, I started off with an easy warm-up, focusing on getting him to move forward into the contact. After a bit, I tried to work a bit on straightness while off the rail. I rode to a point on the rail working to keep myself on the straightest line possible and making nice corners at each end. It was difficult but after doing it for a while at canter and trot, Scarlet was maintaining it with little active direction from me. I was very pleased with that as a warm-up.

I’ve been trying to get him into a good connection to the rein. My previous trainer explained that when he was properly in the bridle and in the outside rein, you could drop the inside rein and he should continue on as before. I tested it a bit and definitely didn’t have the connection. I want to do some re-reading and research on properly moving into the outside rein. I don’t think I have the concept correct with all my aids. I want to be able to get him forward and moving correctly. Small steps here.

I wanted to do something more complicated with him since we have been doing so well and decided transitions were harder but not so much that he might react. We did transitions in between walk/halt/trot mixing it up as I thought was worth it. I was trying to keep him moving over his back (a really hard thing to do when downward transitions are involved). We got it, but he began to anticipate and hollow out so we had to do lots of 5-10m circles at the walk to get him to actually lift his back again.

I finished off the ride with attempting some two-point. I may have earned most improved in twopointober but between not practicing and getting a new saddle, my balance is fubernucked. I need to add that in a lot more to get back to being able to keep myself up properly again.

Tuesday, Holly was out at the same time so I was able to ride with a buddy. I’m very much enjoying riding with another person. Its never been something I’ve had access too so it’s a new experience overall.

I started off the ride making Scarlet walk and walk until he connected over his back. It took some nudges with the spurs and smacks with the dressage whip before he moved forward. We had a few breaks into the trot but we got a good walk going and the transition to trot was beautiful. We were able to have some good moments in the trot as well of being forward and connected. The canter transition wasn’t great but I may need to focus on being connected in each step of the warm up before going further now. I generally try to work on connection and impulsion a tad while warming up but really enforcing it after Scarlet is warmed up. I think he is in shape enough for me to try to enforce it earlier so that we have better work earlier on in the ride.

Holly moved some trot poles into place so Uno and Scarlet could work on that. Scarlet did very well not tapping any of the poles. He also didn’t slow down going into the poles this time which was very nice.

We then practiced trot/canter transitions to try to get some good ones where he didn’t toss his head up and hollow out. It was touch and go but we ended up getting at least one good up/down transition on each lead and I accepted that for the day. Just for fun, I wanted to see if I could get a flying change from bad to good lead. I asked for it and Scarlet was not pleased with me. He gave a nice big kick in complaint and half changed then fully changed but he wasn’t happy. I’m planning on setting up a pole to work on changes someday in the future so we can try asking for them that way at first.

I did some more two point work, going in circles and over the trot poles. Gotta build those muscles!

Overall, I’m pleased with Scarlet’s reactions during the recent rides. He is still looky at things but he isn’t spooking as much. He also seems less grumpy over all during the rides. I’m trying to make sure I mix things up while riding so he doesn’t get bored. The light coming back will really help with that as we can go do new things outside the arenas.

VIP tickets!

I love Mary’s Tack and Feed. They are a gorgeous store, have great staff members and are really involved in their community. One way they are involved is they have almost weekly contests for swag. Last week, their contest was for two VIP tickets to Laura Grave’s master class and the freestyle afterward at Adequan West Coast Dressage Festival at Del Mar.

I won!

I’m not a dressage person. I think its the best building blocks you can give a horse for strengthening and preparation for everything else but I’m not interested in showing. However, its gorgeous and I love watching it anyway. Freestyles are so fun and the horses at that level are so impressive. And I don’t get to have lessons very often. Going to audit clinics is something I’m going to try to do in order to gain more information that I could potentially use when riding as a cost-efficient method of learning.

I invited Holly from my barn to go with me and she was excited as well. We met at the fairgrounds at 4pm and talked to the people out front. They directed me to a table within the VIP lounge to find the lady Mary’s had provided with my tickets. We got wristbands and a voucher for champagne for each of us. We got our flutes and stood at one of the small tables near the inside ring to watch the rides go. It was fun chatting and watching rides. I’m used to going to shows on my own since I didn’t really have many friends who enjoyed horses until recently so it was a unique experience.


We got the full VIP treatment and could wander around the lounge. I’m terrible with horse people’s faces but we saw Robert Dover and Laura Graves there. L. was there as well so we met up with her and she took a picture of us in front of the sign before we headed off to the VIP tables.


That was the best part. We got a course meal and got to eat it with a front row seat to the arena.

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I totally forgot to take pictures of the food but did get a picture of my dessert.


Laura instructed 3 rider pairs during dinner. There was a 6-year-old, a 14-year-old 4th level horse, and a 10-year-old that I can’t remember the level of. Prix-St-George or Grand Prix I think. I took notes and most of the notes come from the first horse as the rest were focused on pirouettes and such which Scarlet and I never will do.

Notes: (May or may not make sense without watching the master class. Be forewarned)

  • Don’t stay where it’s safe, you’ll never improve
  • Forward is always safe but you need to challenge with slow
  • almost leg yield in a turn to help w/spook
  • quick to make the correction, quicker to give the praise
  • push him to create contact when he comes back too much
  • you need both reins to work in each direction – helps with changes
  • don’t run through changes
  • exercise for pirouette: haunches in spiral in
  • have to be detail oriented
  • don’t be afraid of mistakes
  • don’t ride to cover up mistakes


Most of what I thought was useful was Laura’s attitude. She stressed that she didn’t want to ride for no mistakes. In fact, you need to push into the mistake areas because the horse needs to learn how to do those things correctly and without you riding to cover up his weaknesses. I would love to have more opportunities to audit her clinics as I can imagine the things she says about mindset being extremely helpful for me.

It was a lovely evening and I had so much fun spending time as a VIP surrounded by horses and horse people.

Lowering Expectations

Now, contrary to the general feeling of the title, this was actually a good thing for me. Since we’ve been having such issues while riding recently, I decided that I was going to lower my expectations for each ride. I was going to go out hoping to basically get around with minimal problems and then build back up to doing more when we have had more consistent rides.

Thursday, my goal was literally just to manage our warm up. My plan was to just get him to stay on the rail (ie not moving sideways away from the spooky nothingness) at w/t/c. If he spooked, we would circle until he stayed on the rail at the insistence of my leg. I decided that the looking at the spooky stuff wasn’t something I was going to fight that ride. I thought that narrowing down my focus on which things I was going to control would help.

It ended up taking around 45 minutes to just get the warm-up done but I wasn’t frustrated, which I considered a bonus. It wasn’t like Scarlet got no work done either. It just took that long till we got laps that I considered good. And sometimes that is just how it is going to go.

Friday, it started misting on my way out. I was already halfway there and decided that as long as it didn’t get heavier, I’d still try to ride at least a bit.

It didn’t get heavier so I rushed through tacking up and hopped on. The arena with lights had been drug and closed off so I lapped the barn twice at a walk. One of the turnout arenas opened up then and I trotted and cantered two laps each direction. Scarlet was obedient but definitely didn’t want to be out in the wet. He was distinctly reluctant to go forward. I called it good and rubbed him off. He wasn’t that wet, though he tried to convince me that he was the most miserable horse ever.

Saturday, I got out a bit later than I had planned and it was crazy windy. I wanted to do something fun while riding so I decided that if we could get through a quick warm up without too many problems, we’d hop over a couple of jumps. Scarlet was decent, though distracted by the wind and such. It wasn’t bad enough for me to think that he would be bad while jumping so I headed for a low crossrail to warm up a few jumps. We trotted over that one and another slightly higher crossrail a few times to get into the hang of things. He definitely perked up for that, trying to turbo trot around the arena to get to each jump. I then cantered over a higher cross rail. By that time, someone was in the arena adjusting some trot poles in the direction we were jumping. They weren’t anywhere near my path so I paid them no mind.

Scarlet did.

They were very interesting so he forgot to focus on the jump. We reached it and had no momentum. At all. He realized a jump was there and porpoised over it. It was extremely odd feeling and all I could think was “Well, I know you can jump better and higher than you ever give me the effort of doing…”. Since that jumping effort was entirely unsatisfying, we circled and jumped the crossrail again and again till we got a jump that was smoother. It took about four circles but we got it.

I finished the ride off with two jumps over a roughly 2 foot vertical and left it there. It was a short ride but I wanted to do something more fun for him and try to keep life interesting.

Lowering my expectations felt… odd when I considered doing it at first. He is an experienced horse and I’m an experienced rider. I should be able to expect and receive good behavior from him at all times. But he is a dramatic horse and sensitive. He very much feeds off of emotion and tension. Since we’d been having so many bad days, it was making me hate going out and I was starting my rides braced to fight. That’s not a good mindset for me to be in, for both our sakes. Sometimes, you have to let go of everything but the bare basics in order to eliminate things that are causing problems. I think, given that we have had a few good rides, that I can start adding one more thing I expect him to do while riding these next couple of rides. It shouldn’t take long before we are back to where we were. One step at a time.


I got out to ride Scarlet this Sunday while it was still light (I let myself sleep in so early afternoon instead of morning). I wanted to ride him in a different arena than the jump arena as that is all we have been able to ride in lately due to needing lights. The back arena near where we tack up has decent footing and the bonus of being right next to the trailhead so if anyone goes out or walks anywhere on the trail, we see it.

We did have some moments of counterflexing in order to try to keep an eye on the people half a mile across the field but overall, he paid attention. I wanted to try the diamond exercise I’d read about on a blog a few months back. I’m not 100% sure we did it right but it was good to keep him focused on me. We walked in a diamond pattern around the arena, with a quarter turn on the haunches at each point. Once we got that in walking, we did it in trot a bit, with a halt turn at each point. Scarlet got a little tense while doing it, as turn on the haunches asks him to do something with his hind end that is relatively hard. He is much better one way than the other. His right hind is his stiffer leg and he wasn’t pleased with having to flex and hold his weight there. He did very well with some large circles to let him relax in between. I tried to be very calm and clearly ask for him to move. I praised each correct step and I think it went well.

I also tried for a tiny bit of shoulder fore/shoulder while cooling down. I think we got some since I felt him move back straight when I released the cue. I’ll have to try it again sometime when I have someone there to tell me yes or no.

After all the fires recently, I decided I needed to do some preventative stuff for if Scarlet ever needs to be evacuated. He now has a dog tag with his name, my name and my number on his halter. If he is let loose, he has contact on there. If he is evacuated without me knowing where he is going, they have my number to contact me. It’s not as ideal as my own trailer in case of an emergency but it’s better than nothing.

Monday was another story. Scarlet started out losing the one tiny pea-sized marble he has in that big head of his. It was frustrating but I’m not as mad as the previous times. He was losing his head over the other horses around the arena. The mare next to him was throwing a fit at still being in the round pen and Scarlet thinks she is the sweetest thing he has ever seen so he was uber distracted by her. Then some horses walked on the trail and he couldn’t believe there were horses over there. All the distractions meant that he was paying absolutely zero attention to me. Corrections didn’t matter, urging him forward to ride him through his snit didn’t matter, nothing worked. I eventually settled on riding him into the dirt, which I don’t like to do. I can’t remember the last time I actually had to do that to get him to pay attention. We didn’t get any good work done but he was very sweaty and it was late so I called it good after he stopped freaking out.

So, 50/50 on rides this week. Not great but not terrible. Hopefully, he is too tired to muck about with me tomorrow.


This last week has not been great as far as riding for me. This is due to several different reasons. Primarily, the weather. I can ride in the rain. The barn I’m at doesn’t close off all the arenas so I’m able to get out. But I don’t enjoy it. If it is sprinkling, I’ll go out and ride. But it started raining Monday night and it was decently heavy on and off. I decided that wasn’t worth it. Then the sky opened up on Tuesday and tried to drown SoCal. No way I was going out then. Wednesday and Thursday I had things to do after work so the arenas being wet weren’t a problem.

Another reason I haven’t been out much was, even though I had an okay ride on Sunday, the attitude change with Scarlet really knocked me. When it became more tedious to make it out to the barn, I just didn’t. It’s not a great mindset.

The final major reason is training for my half marathon. I’ve done one before but it was back in college when I had a lot more time to train. I’ve got about a month left for this one and I’m finding out that I’m running out of spoons. I’ve only got so many spoons to use for tasks day to day and when I run more than three miles, it’s hard to get out to the barn. I’m tired. Forcing myself to run more tires my brain as well as my body. So, not enough spoons.

(Sidenote: if I EVER say I’m going to do a half marathon again, can someone please smack me upside the head? Please?)

So, all of the above are my excuses. Not great one and not ones that I should allow to keep me from going out. Friday, I went out and tossed Scarlet into a pen to lunge him a bit before getting on. I was sure he would be very energetic due to the lack of riding recently. He did trot and canter around but wasn’t moving forward at all. He was snorting and staring at a corner of the arena so I gave up and pulled him out to ride. He was muddy and grooming took a while. By the time I was ready to get on, the sun was going away. Luckily, the arena with the lights was also the best draining.

We walked and trotted. It wasn’t super nice footing but it wasn’t super sloppy. I didn’t want to canter either. Scarlet… didn’t have a brain but he wasn’t being bad. Just a bit up and down and staring.

Saturday, I almost didn’t go out but convinced myself that I really should. We headed into the arena without lunging. In the first trotting lap, Scarlet spooked at some leaves skittering across the driveway and almost took a header into the ground. He seriously spooked so hard he tripped over his own feet instead of trying to run sideways. Dumb horse. It jolted me quite hard and I was pretty annoyed at the ache it caused in my head for about half a lap. Then I got over it. It seemed to jolt his brain and he focused much better for the rest of the ride.

Other than not really wanting to bend, he was focused and moving forward. I’ve noticed he is leaning on his forehand more often when I ask him to move forward so I was trying to get him to put his weight back on his haunches with some half halts. It worked for a bit. Mostly, I think it’s a strength issue and I’ll work on it as we go throughout the year.

I was pretty happy with Saturday’s ride. It is nice to be able to go out and not hate my ride. I’m hoping he got whatever it was out of his system. I’m going to try to get out more often and do some sort of exercise with him. I also am going to try some groundwork with him. I don’t have many ideas for that. Most of the groundwork exercises I’ve seen online is all centered around breaking a horse or a horse that has never done groundwork. Scarlet knows how to lead, how to move when I tell him to move and how to move the various parts of his body. So I’m planning on working on backing, backing over poles, turn on the haunches/forehand and a bit of sidepass. Hopefully, they help bring him back to me a bit. If you guys have any other suggestions, I’d love to hear them.


I didn’t get out on Wednesday but I did get out on Thursday and Friday.

I wanted to just have a simple ride on Thursday. I had an audiobook that I was listening to and didn’t want to stop so I decided to listen to it while riding. Those rides, Scarlet really knows that I’m being half distracted and he takes advantage of it. Generally, he takes advantage by being lazy and taking an easy work day.

Not this time.

Everything was spooky. OMG that chair! The chair that has been there for months and months and has never moved. He spooked and didn’t pay any attention to me asking him to do anything. I should have stopped listening to the audiobook but after we started getting moving, he seemed to chill a bit. Then another horse came into the arena, rode with us for a bit and then left. And he threw a fit. How dare I force him to work after the other horse has left. We finished the ride fighting a bit. Not outright tantrums but more microaggressions that were somehow worse.

I think the horse leaving has been due to me riding with Holly and Uno more often recently. I like riding with her and chatting but I need to do that less now if he is going to associate another horse with stopping work now.

Friday evening, I didn’t listen to an audiobook. I came prepared to work during the ride since he hadn’t worked well the night before. And… well it was worse. It was mostly more of the same fighting me, spooking and ignoring me telling him to work. It was extremely frustrating. We ended up getting work done and he ended up being very sweaty at the end

I know these nights will happen. They used to happen more often. They were also less frustrating when they happened more often. He has been so good for the last few months. We’d have a moment or two during a ride where he was a bit of a butt but nothing like two nights full of brainless horse. It’s not really depressing or going to keep me from going out. But I really hope that this doesn’t become a trend. If so, I’m going to have to come up with some more methods of forcing him to pay attention to me and not everything else that is happening around the arena.