Heat

Its still hot though the end of this heat wave looks to be in sight. I really hope that this is the case. It sucks trying to ride when its hot and it sucks trying to sleep when its hot. It doesn’t help that our bedroom is in the upstairs part of the house.

I am still waiting on the rates from the barn.They are revising them to be active come August 1st. I have my fingers crossed that I can still afford to move to that barn. I should find out in the next couple of days.

I’m having issues with motivation for things at the moment. I sometimes have spats where I literally do not want to do anything. I’m pretty sure its not depression as I still want to read and watch videos but I don’t want to do anything that requires the smallest amount of effort from myself. This is a problem because it means that I haven’t gone out to see Scarlet since Saturday. Plus I’m going out of town this weekend for the 4th so I wont be riding then either. I am going to try to ride Wednesday and Thursday, even if I don’t want to. I have to start forcing myself to do things in order to get myself out of this funk.

A search

I got a promotion at work recently. I was hoping to use the increased pay to move Scarlet to a better barn. I’ve had a specific one on my mind for forever. I’ve tried to contact them a couple of times but I haven’t heard a response. I’m hoping I do and that their rates are within what I can pay with my increase.

On Saturday Scarlet and I did a lot of work at the counter canter. I ┬áconstantly amazed at how much he can actually do considering I don’t feel like I’ve been properly building muscles for things like counter canter. It definitely feels good to see that even though I’m constantly doubting my ability, I must be doing something right.

One of the things I’m hoping to get by being at a different barn is lessons. I really do need more direction than what I have now. If I can’t get a place at the new barn or if I can’t afford their rates, I’m going to try and get lessons still. I would prefer to have them on Scarlet so my practice is with him but I want them either way.

Hot Weather

Post is late as I completely forgot that yesterday was Wednesday.

We got a heat wave moving in across the southern half of California this week. It’s pretty killer. Sure 107 heat may not seem that bad to someone in Arizona but its pretty bad for us. I’m used to it being that hot in the summer where I grew up but we always had a good breeze that cooled down everything at night pretty well. We aren’t getting that as much here. Unfortunately so. It makes sleeping very uncomfortable.

I managed to get a ride in on Sunday in the morning before it got too warm. I didn’t have any particular goals with that ride so we just went and putted around. I did take my feet out of the stirrups for the cool out so that I would have to support them. Gotta work on those thigh muscles.

Monday and Tuesday were the first days of the big heat wave and I did not go out and ride. It had looked like it was supposed to get back to the mid 90s after that but now its just supposed to be 99/100 every day for the next two weeks. Normally, my schedule is to get home, get in riding clothes, and go ride. I can’t do that very well if it is super hot. Especially now since I am riding in long sleeve shirts.

On Wednesday, I tried something different to see if I could get out and ride without killing myself. There are no trees at the place I board so there really isn’t any shade to make the ride cooler. I went out after 6pm and got on to ride. It was definitely cooler. Even then, I walked and did a bit of trotting with Scarlet. I didn’t want to overheat either of us on our first real hot weather ride. It was not a bad ride. We had a couple of large spooks but went forward fairly well at a walk and trot. I did some spiral in and out circles at the trot to get Scarlet a bit more under himself.

The sun was still fairly high in the sky when I finished so I could have gone out a half hour later and still had plenty of light. I’m going to try that today. I still want to have decent rides but I don’t want to melt either.

Improving Myself

I want to work on my riding as much as I possibly can on my own. This is difficult to do because I’m always on my own when riding. I don’t have mirrors nor a self following camera. Things like balance and position I can somewhat correct when I feel like they are off but I can’t get verification from anyone. 

I’ve been looking for things that I can do on my own. Improving my overall fitness level is one. I have been working on this, specifically core focused as well. But I wanted to figure out things I could do while riding.

On Wednesday, I decided to try doing some no stirrup posting. We all were forced to do no stirrups by our trainers when we were kids but I can’t remember the last time I voluntarily rode without stirrups. It’s really good exercise and would help correct any issues I am having with my seat. It was super hard for me to do. I posted one 20 meter circle in both directions but that was about all I had in me.

Surprisingly, I could sit my trot much better without stirrups than I could with. I wonder if that means that I’m bracing against my stirrups. I probably am and I should relax and let my hips become hinges.

On Friday I took it a step further and rode bareback. That is far outside both my and Scarlet’s comfort zone. Scarlet is a horse that needs to feel like his rider is in control. If not, he freaks about everything. He is pretty spooky normally but it becomes even worse when I’m not feeling comfortable on him. 

We stayed in the round pen so that I wasn’t worried about steering. At first, I was really preoccupied by how slippery his back felt and was having difficulty even at a walk. Then I realized that if I focused on riding and not staying on, I stayed on. So I focused on riding. I managed to get Scarlet to walk a fairly energetic walk and we even managed to trot for a while. It was difficult to trot. I didn’t feel like I could stay on the same way as I did when walking. I will need to do it more to figure out the balance for it. I’m sure that I will benefit from working on my balance.

I plan on trying to ride without my stirrups more often so that I can keep improving. I know my sitting trot needs a lot of work and my downward transitions as well. Hopefully, if I am forced to improve my seat, my overall riding will improve.

Sun Shirts

These last few days I’ve been riding in sun shirts. They seem to be doing quite well. I’m super duper pale and have already dealt with skin cancer once, so I’m very careful about how much sun I’m exposed to. When I ride, I put on 50-70 SPF sun block on all exposed skin. I don’t like doing that as hair can get stuck to it and it can wear off if I’m outside longer than planned. So I had been considering getting long sleeve shirts to ride in for some time. The idea didn’t really appeal to me as I also overheat fairly easily. But I asked my dermatologist last time I went to see her and she said that just normal long sleeve wouldn’t be enough.

And so I bought a few sun shirts from Coolibar. (Amazing customer service btw) They have been pretty comfortable and light weight so far. Of course, it hasn’t been really hot this week. Its usually mid to low 70s by the time I get out to ride at the barn. Its supposed to start heating up again soon so that will really put the breath-ability of the material to the test. However, they are worth it if they protect my skin from the sun.

Scarlet and I have been doing pretty well. I’ve gotten a bit better at focusing on doing something each ride so they are mostly feeling productive. Sunday was focused on moving forward. The neighbors were moving around in their yard and he was really feeling good so moving forward was about all I was going to get.

Tuesday I lost track of time since I was so focused on what we were doing. I decided to make him side pass into the corner whenever he spooked. We did that a couple of times in two corners and he seemed a bit better. After warming up, I focused on him remaining relaxed in those corners. By this, I mean I rode him in circles till he stopped worrying about the corner and took his nose out of the air. I did this on a loose rein and it seemed to work. At the canter, I tried to encourage him to move forward while supporting him with only seat and legs. This doesn’t work as well on the right lead as on the left. I’ll need to work on his balance with that lead some more. For cooldown, we did more circles in the corner. I did those till he was willing to drop his nose all the way to the ground. I did nothing but right on the buckle and walk circle after circle but he followed the reins down after a while. A fairly successful ride.

Recovery

Recovering from being sick sucks. It takes forever and can be extended by mucus that randomly chokes you. 

I didn’t manage to get out to ride till Thursday of this week. That’s two weeks since I last rode. (And yes I was going insane.) I just walked and trotted a bit. I had planned on being out longer but the more I did, the more likely I was to keep choking on mucus. So I called it short. I wasn’t completely better so it’s better to just do a little than push and be out of commission for even longer.

Friday I did not ride but I did go and watch my coworker do a dressage test at the horse park behind my work. Her horse was not happy to be the last one riding before lunch break and threw a mini fit at the beginning of the ride. She had a buck at one canter depart and he did not want to counter canter on one lead but they did well overall.

It wasn’t as fun as watching the jumpers but it was interesting. Dressage is really difficult, necessary for every horse to know the basics of and really not a spectator sport. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a really difficult sport but it doesn’t have the mass entertainment appeal that a jumping round does. I believe that is because it is much more technical on what is bad and what is good. It’s pretty easy to watch a jumping round and understand that knocking fences down is bad and going fast is good.

Saturday I was able to get out in the morning and ride a good amount. Still a little mucus but definitely not as much. I also tried out my new sun protection shirts. It wasn’t super hot so I didn’t fully put them to the test but they don’t seem like they will kill me with the long sleeves.

I just got a promotion at work and I really enjoy the new job. Bonus is I got a pretty large raise and the husband is okay with me using part of that to move Scarlet to a better facility. I have my eye on one in the area. He would like to wait till we know exactly what is coming out after taxes and 401k but I should shortly be in a place that has better arenas, more food and a trainer on site. I still need to come up with extra money for lessons but I don’t have to worry about trying to get the them anymore. So I’m definitely going to be doing some. My goal is to get one a month. Fingers crossed everything goes well in that regard.

Sick

I got some type of plague (read: nasty cold) while I was out of town. So I have only been able to make it to work and then home before passing out. No horse time yet. Which is causing me to go insane. But its not a great idea to go out to your horse when you can barely stay awake/upright. Hopefully I’ll get better soon and I will be able to get back on.