Strength Training

Life has still been really busy for me recently and I haven’t been able to get out to the barn very often. Between hanging out with friends, appointments and my anniversary I just don’t get the time to go out.

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Anniversary cheesecakes! ❤

That also means Scarlet doesn’t get much done with him. I was able to go out on Monday and he was full of himself. He tried to charge out of the crosstie while I was clipping him in. Standing still while I groomed him was also an extreme hardship. Once I was on, he behaved himself more or less. We did our normal warm up, some serpentines, counter canter and sitting trot. The sitting trot actually got quite good as he seemed to lift his back and actually work vs just hate me sitting there. Progress!

I’ve been working on the transitions for canter when I’ve been out but I know I’m not out enough for them to have improved recently. I’ve been thinking about different ways I can help him gain strength so he has less of an issue propelling himself up into the canter versus just dragging himself through the transition. So far my ideas are:

  • Circles at the canter to help improve his balance
  • Counter canter
  • working on solid up and down transitions in other gaits
  • transitions within the trot to get him working back on his butt

Does anyone have any other exercises that they love which improve the transitions?

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He drooled waiting for his food.

I’m not sure if I mentioned it previously but taking Scarlet off the supplement seems to have stopped the flaky itchy skin. It’s odd because he has been on Omega Showshine before and didn’t have that issue. It’s annoying cause now I have a bag of it just chilling in my tackroom that I can’t use. But it’s good because Scarlet isn’t biting himself to get rid of the itchy.

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Koro sitting on a tiny piece of cardboard just cause.
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Scarlet Rates Stories – The Scorpio Races

Due to my best friend coming into town and another set of friends that claimed my weekend, I have only ridden a couple of times this week. This review is more or less taking place of my riding thoughts this week. Next week, I should be back to a normal schedule, more or less.

This review is based on my opinion entirely and I’ve received zero incentives to review the books I’ve chosen. Also, if anyone has any suggestions for books or any particular books they would like reviewed please feel free to comment!

The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater.

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Riders attempt to keep hold of their water horses long enough to make it to the finish line. Some riders live. Others die. At age nineteen, Sean Kendrick is the returning champion. He is a young man of few words, and if he has any fears, he keeps them buried deep, where no one else can see them. Puck Connolly is different. She never meant to ride in the Scorpio Races. But fate hasn’t given her much of a chance. So she enters the competition — the first girl ever to do so. She is in no way prepared for what is going to happen.

Summary:  Riders attempt to keep hold of their water horses long enough to make it to the finish line. Some riders live. Others die. At age nineteen, Sean Kendrick is the returning champion. He is a young man of few words, and if he has any fears, he keeps them buried deep, where no one else can see them. Puck Connolly is different. She never meant to ride in the Scorpio Races. But fate hasn’t given her much of a chance. So she enters the competition — the first girl ever to do so. She is in no way prepared for what is going to happen.

Scarlet’s horsey opinion:

This book my mom picked out had really weird horses. They weren’t really horses. I don’t know a single horse that wants to eat meat and blood. And they seem scary. They attack each other all the time. I like to play fight with my neighbor and we do nip each other sometimes but never as bad as these horses do.

They also want to be in the water all the time, specifically in the ocean. I didn’t know what the ocean was so my mom explained it to me. All that water that is always moving? No thank you! That sounds super scary! And your feet would be wet! I hate stepping in puddles already.

The only real horse in the story was called Dove. She was very brave. She ran with all the sea horses in the race even though they would like to eat her and had hurt her before. I don’t think I could be that brave. But I do like to run. It would be fun to race her, without the monster horses.

Alex’s reader opinion:

So, this isn’t really a horse book. It has horses in it but wasn’t as horsey as I’m looking for with books for these reviews. That being said, I did enjoy reading it.

The writing style threw me off at the beginning. For most of the book, the POV alternates between the two main characters, Sean and Puck. Their voices are very distinct so it would be easy to tell who was talking even without their name being on the chapter page. Puck’s viewpoint is very simple and straightforward. She is a bit selfish and focused entirely on things that matter to her. She isn’t cruel about it though so it was just a character trait to me, rather than a flaw.

Sean’s chapters are more… abstract in the style. People in the story say that he has one foot in the sea and one on land like he is also a mythological creature like the water horses. The chapters are written in a way that feels slightly like a fairy tale and slightly like a dream setting. It took me a bit to like his chapters but they had a lot of plot happening in them and I grew to like how distinct he was from Puck’s directness.
The water horse mythology and the little bit of lore as to how and why the people on the island race the horses was interesting. The idea of a flesh-eating horse emerging from the sea is both cool and terrifying. It’s like sharks suddenly got legs. I would have liked to have heard a bit more background as to how the first capall uisce was caught and trained and why they worshiped the particular gods they had but that wasn’t explained in the story. I don’t really see it as a negative though as it was obvious that Stiefvater was writing to show that this was so integrated with life that no one ever considered the whys. It just was.

The one major problem I had with this book was there didn’t seem to be a very important motivating factor for either main character. The first half of the book was a struggle to read. It wasn’t till around the second half of the book where a large motivation for each character was introduced. What had kept me reading up till then was trying to understand the capall uisce.

Overall, it is an entertaining read and an interesting look and humans and what they want out of life. It is not a horse story in the strictest sense, though there are some moments that speak to the heart of every horse person out there.

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Poker Ride

Karen texted me Friday night and asked if I wanted to go on a poker ride to support the local rodeo. I thought about it and decided that yeah, that would be fun. I was a little nervous because it has been a long time since I’ve take Scarlet off property. He isn’t easy to manage because he gets anxious. He likes his routines and gets thrown off when they change. When I was taking him to lessons weekly, he was better. I was also worried if he was going to actually get on the trailer without a fight. But Karen would have her and a friend’s horse on the trailer already so I thought Scarlet might feel better due to that.

Sunday morning rolled around and my stomach decided it really needed to be anxious about this whole thing and that I HAD to get up at 5:30. Great. So I was up much earlier than I had to be. I puttered around the house for a bit and then headed out to the barn. The horses hadn’t even been fed when I got there and Scarlet was mugging me for treats the whole time I groomed him. I left him in the stall, hoping that he’d get some of his hay tossed to him before we had to leave.

I was waiting for Karen to show up and chilling at a table when one of the horses near Scarlet flipped out. She had gotten her mouth caught on the chest straps of her fly sheet and couldn’t get free. She backed up and flipped over. I was up and running toward her, calling out for her to whoa. She got back up and, luckily, seemed to listen to me. Her poor neck was super over curved as she was stuck. I was a bit nervous about trying to free her because she isn’t my horse. I do know her owner since she has a tack room right next to mine so I knew the horse slightly. I got into the stall and walked over to her. She definitely was waiting for me to help and just stood there while I tried to move the strap. I didn’t want to try to force her head closer to her chest as it was already really close. I tried to undo the buckle but I couldn’t get enough slack to undo it. As I was yelling for help while straining against it, she managed to slide her head sideways while I held onto the strap and free her mouth. What a shot of adrenaline. She stood there, seeming slightly shocked,  while I stroked her for a bit. I then got my phone so that I could give her owner a call and let her know. I had just finished the call as Karen pulled up so I couldn’t stick around but the owner said she would be there in a few minutes so I felt okay leaving her. She had gone over and started eating and didn’t seem to have any more injuries than a bit of blood on her gums.

Scarlet got on the trailer without too much fuss after we gave him a bit of room to get on. Once we got to the place, he kept screaming out for the other horses and didn’t want to stand still. It wasn’t too bad though so I was just frustrated with him but not overly upset. The ride was scheduled to start at 9 but didn’t really get underway until around 9:25 or so. There were a TON of horses. Maybe 50? There were too many. Scarlet didn’t settle but he didn’t get worse. The start of the trail was… interesting. We went by the road, under an overpass and then down a STEEP hill. I didn’t get as many pictures as I had hoped to as I really had to focus on riding.

Scarlet started off anxious and jigging in place while the road was wide. He worried about being left behind, I believe. Once the trail got to single file, I managed to stick his head in a calm appy’s butt and he was much happier. Which is good because the trail turned into a teeny tiny narrow trail about one hoof wide that was basically the middle of a divot caused by rain running down the hills. There were so many hills. Steep too. It was much much much harder than any trail I’d ever taken Scarlet on and I somewhat regretted throwing him into this. He seemed to handle it okay until the last half of the ride.

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There were two trail options, a long and a short option. I wanted to take the shorter options since Scarlet wasn’t used to hills and was pretty sweaty already. When the other horses left us, he kinda lost it. I did get him stuck behind Aria, who is super calm for being a baby on the trail and he managed to hold his brain for a while. But once we got back to the wider part of the trail, some of the other horses were freaking out and heading faster and Scarlet lost it. The third horse with Karen and I couldn’t stand still and he took off really fast to go back. Scarlet lost his marbles and tried to keep up. Up the steep hill. It was really steep and really long. I tried to hold him back to a walk but that caused him to freak out and start cantering sideways. Letting him trot up it was as slow as I could get without him freaking out. So we trotted up the whole hill. It was nuts. I was glad that was basically the last little bit we had to do and the ride was over.

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Sweaty sweaty Scarlet
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Aria kept mugging me when we were back at the trailer after the ride. Yeah right hunny. I’m not gonna give you a treat you are allergic to.

Overall, it was good to get Scarlet out. I didn’t fall off, Scarlet didn’t lose it too much. Objectively, he held it pretty good for not being accustomed to riding away from our barn or even out of the arena much. The trail ride itself wasn’t great. It was really poorly organized and I was not expecting it to be as difficult as it was. There are several things that could have been fixed in order to improve the trail ride in general.

However, I’m very open to the idea of hauling out to more trail places to go riding. It’s good exercise and I do like riding with other people. I’d prefer a smaller group so I wouldn’t have to shout to talk to people but it would be fun to do again. I feel like Scarlet will also benefit a lot from being taken other places.

Overall, a good day with both of us ending up tired and (me but hopefully not him too much) sore. I don’t regret going but I only want to go again next year if I’ve been out on more trails in between now and then.

Oh, my poker hand was trash. Lol

Sore!

On Sunday I rode bareback again. I tried to work harder at it since I knew that I was able to stay on Scarlet’s back. It was just as much work as the first time, possibly even more. I was really really sore and my hip flexors now hate me for eternity. I wanted to try and get more actual riding done so I was trying to get bend and such. Letting go enough with my hands so that Scarlet could move forward was hard though. I know that holding onto his face wouldn’t keep me on his back if it came to that so why do I have such a hard time of letting go of the freaking reins? Silly brain.

I was able to get more bend through the corners and a few more circles. I tried really hard to let go for canter transitions but they were still pretty bad. Did you know, that if you put your inside leg on the horse while going around a corner or on a circle, your weight naturally stays more centered? Who knew. lol. It’s funny how you know some stuff about riding but then when you ride a different way, the mechanics of it blows your mind.

Monday I thought his bite might be good enough to not be aggravated by the girth so I did a saddled ride. It was much easier on my body in general. What wasn’t easy was that I tried out some spurs I had just bought. I rode with spurs back when I first had him, though not until two years after I bought him. My trainer back then was adamant that I not ride with spurs until I wasn’t going to bop him with them due to my wiggly legs. So I’ve ridden with spurs before. But it’s been about nine years since I’ve ridden with spurs. And I’ve gotten lazy with my cues. I could not freaking figure out how to cue without spurs and make it effective. My legs felt so odd as I tried to do the inside of my foot or my calf for cues. It really sucked. I’ve got one more aspect of my riding that I need to fix. I didn’t really think about how my cues were being communicated these past couple of years but apparently, I’ve been lazy. Sigh. More work on getting my toes to turn a bit more forward so that my cues are more correct. After the ride, the bite on his girth line didn’t look like it was agravated so I’m hopeful I can continue to use my saddle while riding.

Tuesday, I was just too sore to do anything. So I didn’t. I haven’t ridden four days in a row in a long time. Plus, two of those days were bareback. So I told myself to not feel guilty about missing out. Instead, I went to the library to pick up books (eleven! XD) and then went out to the barn to give Scarlet a bit of time in turnout. When I got there, there were a couple of dogs running around the barn on the back end of the property. I was annoyed because people should have their dogs on the leash always when at the barn. Both for the horses’ safety and for the dogs’.

I got Scarlet out and put him into the arena for a bit of a roll and a stretch. Then I marched over to the dogs, ready to figure out who their owner was to give them a piece of my mind. At this point, one of the dogs was barking at the horses and that is NOT okay. But, it turns out that they were runaways that had escaped a yard.

So, my dad has this really deep voice that he uses when the dogs aren’t paying attention, misbehaving, or some other dog tries to come out and bark/attack during a walk. It’s this really deep alpha growl of a voice and he yells at them. I’ve figured out how to approximate that with my own voice (Scared the crap out of my husband the first time I used that on dogs that were coming over to bother us while we were walking, lol) So I yelled at the dogs. The barking one, a shepherd mix, came loping over to me and stood right next to me. He was all “okay, okay, you said not to I stop.” Since he had obliged me by coming over, I snapped the lead onto his collar and took a look at his tag. His buddy was a blue and white pit without a collar but he was really chill and pretty tired. He just moseyed over and stood next to us while I called the number on the shepherd mix’s tag. I called up the owner.

Me: “Um, hi. Do you have a dog named Guinness?”

Guy: “Uh, yeah. I do. ”

Me: Do you also have a pit looking dog? Grey and white?”

Guy: “Yeah, Blue.”

Me: “Okay cool. I have both your dogs. It looks like they got out. They are at X”

He was really sorry and said he was still at work but would leave and come get them. So I kept a hold on Guinness. He looked to be about one and was really energetic and excitable. I figured Blue wasn’t going to head off anywhere without Guinness so at least I had a hold of one of them. I got some water and let them drink. They were pretty thirsty. One of the ladies said she had been trying to get them for a bit but they had just come close and then ran off.

The guy called me back and said his girlfriend was actually closer and would be there in about five. I waited with the dogs and she came to pick them up. She was thankful that I had grabbed them and kept apologizing. It wasn’t their fault that the dogs decided today was a great day to go on an adventure. I didn’t hold a grudge, especially since the dogs didn’t do anything to the horses. She was surprised that I was able to catch Guinness since he is pretty slippery. She said he would let anyone pet him but not grab him. I explained that all I did was yell at the dogs and he came right over. She laughed and said that was what their owner did so maybe that was it. The dogs loaded right up into her car and she took them home.

After that, I just sprayed Scarlet down with fly spray and then put him away. A lot more eventful than I expected the lazy Tuesday at the barn to be but I’m glad I was able to make sure the dogs got home safely. But, in my silliness, I forgot to get pictures of the dogs! And Guinness was soooooo pretty too. Lol. I fail at blogging and putting up pictures.

Unexpected Milestone

Scarlet and I had an unexpected milestone happen on Saturday. And I’m going to put that at the bottom of the post because a lot happened during the week before that so I’m going to make you all wait to read it. Mwahahaha!

Wednesday, the icky cold my husband had given me that I’d been fighting for more than a week decided to rear its head. I was super drained all day and just couldn’t manage to scrape together the energy or willpower to go riding. I decided to go buy the new fly mask I’d been meaning to get for a while.

At the store, I got a new fly mask and some wound spray/liquid bandage. And I bought some more grain because we were getting low. And a salt block. And a sun visor. I ended up buying more than I wanted. Most of it was needed but I’d been wanting the visor for a while and finally just said what the heck.  I meant to go out to the barn after buying everything to put the fly mask on Scarlet but I was so drained when driving back that I just stopped and went home.

Thursday, I normally don’t ride and wasn’t planning on it. I did go out and spray the wound spray on his nose. He wasn’t super happy with me doing that as it stung a little I’m sure. But he was a good boy and got lots of treats. Before the spray, I tried on the fly mask. And well….

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It was too big. By like 3 inches. Scarlet’s head is a bit odd as he has a thin face but it’s not super small like a typical Arab. Which means he hops back and forth between Arab and horse size depending on what the item is. There is a small feed store near the barn so I went over there quickly to see if they happened to have the Arab size of the same mask. They did. It’s much better.

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Friday, I felt so much better. I was not dragging at all that day and was really happy about it. Getting sick sucks but if I get sick, I prefer to be actually sick vs the really annoying my-energy-is-just-sapped-away sick that I had. So out to riding I went. I tried incorporating some walk-halt transitions after doing a round of stretchy walking and then trotting. The change was pretty impressive. Scarlet’s initial trotting is pretty lack luster and I have to nag after him to get moving. After cantering, he is much more forward. Adding the transitions made him bring his forward trot into the game earlier. Some of it was tension due to the transitions. He anticipates with those and gets himself a little worked up. But I was much happier with that trot and I think if we do that more often, he might not have as much tension as he gets used to it. I definitely liked the warm up more than previously.

I also tried to do some trot-canter transitions. I’ve decided that we need to stick on circles more until we have a more consistent upward transition. It is much easier to get him reaching and using his hind legs properly on a circle so I will take the training wheels for a bit. We had a bunch of bad transitions and two decent transitions each lead so I finished on that. We will continue to work on it. I’m also doing a bit more backing up to try and bulk up his hind muscles a bit to help him out. To finish up the ride and not encourage him to think canter = end, I did sitting trot serpentines around the arena. It was hard but Scarlet actually listened to me asking him to lift his back more and they weren’t as bad as previously.

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I tried my new sun visor out. It happened to be kinda cloudy so I didn’t get the best trial run but it was windy so that was a good thing to test out. I could feel it and feel a bit of tugging as the visor acted as a sail but it wasn’t too bad. I think I’ll keep the visor. Having more sun stay out of my eyes and off my face will be very welcome.

Okay so now for the grande finale: Saturday!

Scarlet has not liked the flies in the last week. At least, I’m pretty sure its flies and not him playing too hard with his neighbors. He has bites on his body like he has bit at them pretty hard. Most of them are tiny and are healing well with the wound spray. He hadn’t had any more on Friday than Thursday when I checked. Saturday though, he had one more. On his girth line. I couldn’t put a saddle on him without rubbing that spot. And I didn’t want to do that.

So I rode bareback.

I had planned on doing 30 minutes minimum. I’d ride it all at the walk if necessary. But guys? I SUCK at bareback. I’ve probably ridden bareback a handful of times in my life. Horse’s backs are slippery and Scarlet had never been an easy horse to ride. His trot always requires a bunch of effort from me to get it to be nice and smooth. When bareback, all my effort is focused on staying on. I have no brain or muscle left for actually riding. So I wasn’t expecting to trot much, if at all.

Scarlet seemed okay with me getting on bareback. I’d drug a mounting block into one of the arenas with a gate that can latch. (Not going to have my horse running around everywhere if my dumb ass falls off) I got on in there and Scarlet responded by walking off at a swinging walk. I shifted around a bit to try and figure out where my best balance was. Once I found it, things felt pretty okay. I lapped the arena two or three times and then tried a circle. And didn’t slide off. Last time I tried to circle on anything smaller than a 20-meter round pen, I almost fell off. So far, it was going much better than my last attempt at bareback.

Feeling slightly optimistic, I asked Scarlet to trot. Omg bouncy. We got about half a lap before he dropped back to a walk. He was basically telling me, “Mom, get your shit together.  I’m not going to do all the work.” I apologized and resettled myself. Then I rode. We trotted around so many laps I lost count. It took a bit for me to get him to a good trot where I could sit without falling. It wasn’t a very fast trot but it was a trot, not a jog. It felt so weird to feel his skin moving so much with me bouncing along at the trot but we figured it out. I reversed, trotted a bunch the other way. It was amazing.

Then, I must have been overcome with insanity. I’d trotted bareback before, briefly. It was never good. Mostly I stuck to a walk. I’d never cantered bareback. Scarlet’s transitions are not smooth and never have been so I’d never dared to try for fear of bouncing right off. But I asked for a canter. And he gave it to me (Pinning his ears at me a little. I was kinda holding onto his face and making it hard.) And we cantered a bunch. Then switched directions and cantered again. I freaking walk-trot-cantered bareback.

I freaking walk-trot-cantered bareback. I cannot emphasize enough how big this was for me. I have NEVER done that before. I suck at bareback. I am terrible at it. But my seat has improved incredibly in the last year or two since I had tried it. There is no other explanation. I feel like I have a better feeling of the movements of each gait now and I stuck with it. I am so incredibly happy and proud of this accomplishment. I’m so sore but it is worth it. And I’m so thankful that Scarlet is pretty forgiving and didn’t mind me hanging on his mouth too much while I figured out how to sit each gait before giving his mouth back to him. He was so good and listened so well to me. He definitely got all the cookies.

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This is his “Can I have that cookie you are holding?” face.

Scarlet Rates Stories – The Lady Review

This review is based on my opinion entirely and I’ve received zero incentives to review the books I’ve chosen. Also, if anyone has any suggestions for books or any particular books they would like reviewed please feel free to comment!

The Lady by Anne McCaffrey

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Summary: They are the Caradynes, who for over 200 years have bred and trained horses of the finest caliber on Coernanagh. But all is not idyllic at hearth and home. Catriona, the youngest child, longs to ride her family’s big jumpers and show horses. Her father Michael, recognizes her gift, but her mother hates the very idea. All are in a stalemate until Lady Selina Healy enters their lives, and provides for Catriona and her father a stunning example of how the reins of power can be held by a glorious, fearless woman.

Scarlet’s horsey opinion:

My mom thought I’d like the horses in this story much better than the last ones and she was right. There were lots of horses in this book and they all acted like horses. The farm they were on sounded like lots of fun, though I’m not sure how I would like the trails they talked about. It would probably be okay since it didn’t sound like they ever went out alone. I don’t like the trail by myself.

The horses all had really good sounding food! I wouldn’t mind having extra food like theirs. Food is good.

All the people treated their horses well. They really cared about them. I was most impressed with how well they treated any injuries that the horses got. Mom does a good job with my little cuts but some of the horses had much more than that. Mom told me she wouldn’t have been confident on how to treat those without calling out a vet. This family did. It must be because they have had horses for forever and ever.

Alex’s reader opinion:

I very much enjoyed reading this book. I was a bit surprised that McCaffrey had written real world fiction as I only knew her through her Pern books but I was really excited to see how her narrative style worked for a book of this style.

The first thing I noticed was the POV. Generally, modern books stick with either third person limited or first person. This helps keep the reader following along without any confusion. Third person omniscient is not as popular as head hopping is very difficult to follow and knowing everything about every character makes suspense even more difficult. This book was in the third person limited but it hopped around heads. This was a lot more common with older fiction than modern. I didn’t dislike the point of view but it did cause some confusion at different points of the book. There weren’t any signals that the point of view was changing, no page breaks or new chapters. It would suddenly switch from Catriona to Selina and I’d find it confusing as the pronouns would be the same. It didn’t take long to fall more into the rhythm of the changes and I didn’t get confused as often.The setting of Ireland was quite fun. The general attitude of the characters was much different than what I’m used to with very American style characters and it was cool to see

The setting of Ireland was quite fun. The general attitude of the characters was much different than what I’m used to with very American style characters and it was cool to see inside the everyday habits of an Irish family. There weren’t as many sweeping visual descriptions of the lands as I thought there would be. The setting was more there as an actual place for the story to happen than as a very important part of the plot. It’s good that it was like that as sometimes the setting can take over. This one just melded right into the story.

This next thing I noticed really isn’t a criticism or something I praise but its something I’ve noticed after reading this book and George Morris’ Unrelenting. The kids in these stories jump high! In both books, they talk about the height being at 4 and 5 ft for the jumps. I don’t think I’ve ever jumped over 2 and a half feet. I didn’t know kids were even allowed to jump in classes with heights that high. Maybe its an older generation thing though. I can’t say I’ve ever seen anyone who looks younger than at least late high school actually jump in the higher classes.

I really enjoyed this story overall. It was fun to go back to a more flowing type of story telling versus the immediate action and one main huge problem stories that are typical of books published today. The horse story was solid. The characters were interesting. I kept reading and reading, just to see what horse things the next day would bring. A solid book.

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AH VACATION!

I can’t prepare for vacations apparently. I was not prepared for this one last week. I meant to have a book review post ready for Friday and a post ready to upload Sunday but no dice. I cannot handle life and getting ready for a vacation at all. Fail!

Except for the book review, the posts would have been pretty light. The heat wave caused me to not do much at the barn. I did head out to check on Scarlet’s nose. It looks like it is healing well. Me being a dummy, I forgot to take photos until a week after I first saw it so here is a week later update pic.

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I had left his flymask completely off while the rub healed. I was able to get out Friday before I left to visit the in-laws and saw that that wasn’t going to work. He had taken to rubbing his eyes and had rubbed a teeny tiny bit of skin off the inside corner of one. Eyes are more important than his nose so I put it back on. I put it on loose though, in the hope that he wouldn’t rub the exact same spot. I haven’t been able to get to the tack store to get another one yet but I will be going soon.

Since I was out in the morning, I was able to ride. I didn’t do much since we were leaving shortly but I got about a 30-minute ride in.

Monday was cooler and I was able to get home from our trip early enough to get a ride in the evening. It was pretty humid and I was tired, so I decided to stick to an easy 30ish minute ride again. I rode in the jump arena and warmed him up. By the time I was done warming up, I was ridiculously tired. That’s what I get for riding inconsistently for a few weeks. I’m so out of shape now.

But I wasn’t done riding. I wanted to send him over a few jumps as a fun thing. So I trotted over a few. And they weren’t terrible but they weren’t good. He decided to lose all momentum at the base of the jump and awkwardly hop over. He didn’t do that at the canter. After a few successful canter jumps, I went back to the trot and forcefully booted him over the jump at a good pace. That went much smoother. I like cantering jumps better and I guess I’ve been letting Scarlet get away with being bad at trotting. I’ll have to put that on the list of things to practice.

Tuesday I went out and rode for only 30 minutes again. I’m catching a cold and it drained some of my energy but I stuck out the ride. I focused on circles and transitions. Scarlet’s trot after some frequent transitions is so different than his typical trot. He is much more elevated. Part of it is tension from anticipating but part of it is he just has to use his back a bit more. I’m thinking of adding some halt-walk-trot transitions into the basic warm up we do just to get him pepped up a bit. Not a lot as his back won’t be warm but just enough to engage his brain. I’ll try it for a bit and see if we can do it without him getting too anxious and tense.

FYI, the book review will be up this Friday, promise.