2018 Goals

I’m not one for concrete goals. I have this terrible habit of if anyone -even myself – tells me I need to do something by X timeframe, I immediately want to do anything else but what I need to do to accomplish that goal. My mind is really annoyingly backward.

So I never really set goals. I can set overarching goals for years at a time. Or a general sense of ‘I want to work on X’. But I don’t set goals.

And now I’m breaking that rule. I’m trying to get into the habit of pushing myself past where I am comfortable. I will be lazy and go along at a shuffling pace in many aspects of my life but I want to push myself. I’ve set goals for running, goals for writing so now I have to set goals for riding.

Goals for 2018:

1) I want to sensitize Scarlet to my cues. I would like for him to move off my leg quicker and with less pressure than he has been. This also involves me being quieter in the saddle. I’ve improved with my hands but I have a tendency to nudge here and nudge there while going around rather than setting him up and letting him go. This is a progressive thing and will not have an “end goal” so I will just have to work on it each and every ride.

2) Learn how to ride bridleless – I saw a post from Megan at A Enter Spooking on teaching her horse how to ride bridleless. There also have been a lot of posts about clicker training things recently in the blog sphere. It got me thinking about what I do with Scarlet. I decided that I wanted to try bridleless riding. I don’t like bareback and Scarlet isn’t a big fan either so trying to do something fun and new needed a saddle still involved. (Or maybe a bareback pad someday. I’ll have to think about that) Bridleless is always cool. Like black stallion running down the beach cool. So I decided to indulge my inner 6 year old – more than just having a horse- and learn how to look badass without a bridle. We will see how it goes.

*) I’m putting this one as a star because I’m not sure how I feel about putting it as a 2018 goal. I’d like to get one lesson next year with Trainer D while I’m riding Scarlet. Now, this is something I can’t fully control myself. I don’t have a truck and trailer. I don’t know anyone at the barn that has a truck and trailer except one lady. And she has a kid and a family which limits her barn time as it is. I’d feel guilty asking her if she could drive me to a lesson. I can’t have Trainer D come to my barn because they don’t allow outside trainers. (Asked, was denied permission) So while this is something I really want to do, I don’t know how to go about doing it. But as I’m writing goals, it felt like I should add this anyway.

So there are my goals. They are very doable. They aren’t pressure-filled. I don’t have deadlines other than just do it next year. I’m feeling positive about doing that. That being said, anyone have any favorite exercises for sensitizing to the aids? Or does anyone have a suggestion for what rope to use as a neck rope? I was thinking paracord but it seems like it might be too thin when braided.


Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to you and yours. I hope that all of you are either enjoying time with family and friends or curled up in a blanket with a hot drink of choice enjoying your peace and quiet.

My in-law’s eclectic yet delicious spread. 🙂

Cold(ish) Finally!

It is finally reaching temps I would consider “cold”. They aren’t really cold in comparison to a lot of places. It still hits upper 60s during the day, maybe a low 70s day here or there, and only really gets down to love 50s-upper 40s during the night. But its definitely colder than it has been all the previous days of “winter” down here. It makes it a bit chilly when riding at night but nothing compared to what I had last winter. (just above freezing) I’ve determined that it’s not that I’ve become weak to the cold, it’s just that living here has made me accustomed to having a comfortable temperature 95% of the time. SoCal man.

Scarlet doesn’t seem to care one way or the other about the temperature. I’m not blanketing him at all right now. It hasn’t dipped below 40s at night and is still quite warm during the day. He has a full winter coat and even his shaved neck is almost right up there again. He isn’t losing weight from heating himself and I’ll keep an eye on that. Might let him lose a bit of weight before I think about blanketing though! Scarlet’s got a pregger belly going on.

I was away for a holiday party this last weekend so I didn’t ride then. Monday and Tuesday I was able to get out.

Since it had almost been a full week since he had been ridden (again), I wasn’t expecting much out of our Monday ride. He was filthy when I got out there so grooming took more time than I would have liked. (Thanks horse) When we got to the arena, the same person was riding there again. This time, she didn’t leave the arena and talked to me. She must have just been having a bad day last time. Her horse is good in the dark so she said she just never bothers to turn on the lights. I’m pretty sure there wouldn’t be a horse under me if I tried that with Scarlet.

Scarlet was a little energetic but nothing I couldn’t handle. When he is like that, I have to push him forward and run some of it out of him or he just gets more and more wound up. We warmed up with a brisk trot and canter and he seemed pretty happy. I did a bit of backing and some transitions. There were a few poles set up at angles that could somewhat make a circle so I forced it for some practice. He did well at that and I called it a night.

Tuesday was much of the same. He spooked at a bird taking off of the light post next to us so we had to do a bunch of circles right there until he could go by without counter flexing. I’m okay with a side eye while warming up but counter flexing and moving away is not okay. He got over it and we continued on. The spooky side was needing extra watching and I got annoyed with it really fast. We had a discussion about being able to move forward connected down the line. He would just drop all connection and fling his head up. So we had lots of circled to get it handled.

To cool off, we did some lateral movements, some turn on the haunches and turn on the forehands. He complained that turning on the forehand was impossible. Are you sure you didn’t just want me to back up? We will have to work on those quite a bit more. I know he can to them because he was taught them by me when he was seven. Yay for more specific things to practice.

Watching a Dante

Saturday the 8th, I got to go watch L show Dante baby at a schooling show. I was pretty excited cause I haven’t been to a show period in a while and I’ve never seen her show. I was definitely looking forward to it.

Since this was their first fully under saddle show, it was even more exciting. Firsts are always exciting to me. Her classes were all the baby green etc classes (I’m terrible at class names) they were early in the morning. No big, I just got up at my normal time for work, ate a breakfast and packed a thermos of tea. The show park is about 20 minutes away from my house and at 7:30 in the morning, no one was on the road so it was an easy drive. I parked and wandered over to the arenas. I didn’t see L warming up so I just took a look around.


All the barn aisles were decorated and this one was definitely the best. I just had to stop and take a picture.

There were a few warmup classes going on and the early jumping stuff as well. This kid and pony combo were so adorable. So tiny. It sucked that they more or less blasted through half the jumps rather than over them but they were adorable anyway.


I kept glancing at the warm-ups, expecting to see L riding there at any moment. It had been a while since I’d last seen Dante and I kept thinking that I saw him. But then I’d look at the rider and think “Nah, their eq isn’t good enough to be L.” I hung out near the two main arena entrances after I’d checked out the whole place to wait. It was cool to see the other people go and hear the conversations between trainers, riders, and grooms. This show was a schooling show so it was more relaxed but it was more relaxed than any show I’d ever been too. It made me want to try to bring Scarlet there ( a far-off dream) because the atmosphere wouldn’t have added too much to his energy level.

L came over with her trainer a bit before her first class started. She had been warming up in the one arena I hadn’t found. It was still a bit early so we all waited patiently. Dante was getting all the scratches from me. He is such a large sweetie. Definitely a cuddle bug. He kept nudging me if I paused.

L went in for her first class. Most of you have probably read her take on the results. There were three and she was third. But I think the other two were older/had more training, just from how they moved.

There was a large-ish break between the two classes so L put Dante back in the crossties without tack and we hung around the barn for a bit.

Dante sucks at posing.

She and her trainer did a small little warm up before her next class and then they went in. There were five in the second class. Dante looked so good moving around. They’d lapped the arena twice, switched directions and lapped at least one more time when they came to canter by us. The canter transition was beautiful and Dante was going along smoothly. Then, he looked up at us and launched himself sideways. None of us were sure what happened. It took a while to get the canter back and then they were called in. When L was called as first all the juniors were shocked. One of them said, “But she spooked”. That’s showing for you. Sometimes you get by with a lucky shot when the judge doesn’t see. Or maybe they thought that all the rest of the moves were better than everyone else. Who knows. But the blue wen’t to L and Dante!

I got to ride Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday but there wasn’t really anything new happening there. I’m not pushing for more than just good forward work right now as I haven’t been consistently riding for over a month now. I doubt the rest of December is going to be much better. I will start working on more exact things come January though. The holidays, even if I’m not traveling for a long chunk of time, always manage to throw my whole schedule off.


I’m back riding! I had to get new boots and then break them in but now that they are good enough, I can actually get back to riding.

Based on the time that the boots broke, the last good ride I had given Scarlet was the Monday before Thanksgiving, the 20th. Due to the holiday, I went up to Sacramento to see my family. I was supposed to fly back the Saturday night after Thanksgiving but a huge fog bank rolled in and my flight was turned around midflight as places were circling above San Diego. The next flight that they could get me on was Monday at noon. Frustrating, but I had the time to take off work and the airline couldn’t exactly control the weather. I’d rather not try to land in unsafe circumstances. No balls of fire here please and thank you.

Getting back on Monday, I wasn’t able to find out my boots couldn’t be fixed until Tuesday. Then I had to wait until Wednesday to buy boots. Then I had to break them in! So while I had seen Scarlet and done a bit of lunging with him, I hadn’t ridden him for almost two weeks.

I jokingly told my husband when I was leaving that it was going to be a “fun” ride. And I did Scarlet a disservice by saying that. I always forget that he is on his best behavior when we go riding for the first ride back after a break. He may want to move out, but he never misbehaves.

It was really lovely to be back riding. I didn’t ask for much on the first ride back. Just a basic ride. One thing I did notice was how secure I felt in my saddle between my new saddle and my boots. I didn’t realize how much having blocks on a saddle really kept you secure but it does! The boots need some more breaking in in order for the ankles to flex enough for more minute movements but they didn’t rub me anywhere. So yay for new boots!

Monday I rode again and took Scarlet over a few jumps. He behaved really well, even though we were riding in the dark. A strange thing happened with someone who was riding in the jump arena before I got there. I was up at the light switched and let her know I would be turning them on. There was maybe 10 minutes of natural light left but turning on the lights from horseback is hard. She said okay and then left the arena. I wondered if she was done but focused on riding. Then I saw that she had gone to a different arena and was still riding.  I’m not sure what to think about it. I’m positive it wasn’t a reaction to me getting on because I haven’t had much interaction with her. I think it was the lights. But that’s confusing because why would you not want more light while riding? Maybe her horse doesn’t react well to the shadows? I’m not sure. It was just the once though so maybe she just wanted an arena to herself to ride in.

I only lunged Tuesday as it was uber windy and I just didn’t feel like getting grit flung into my eyes. I think I need to toss Scarlet out in one of the arenas on a weekend day and just let him deal with being there by himself as he doesn’t really treat it like a turnout when I put him in. He just paces by the gate and screams at me to come get him.

He won’t enjoy his free time. Silly horse.


The Boot Fiasco

My boot zipper broke. Story of my freaking life. It actually broke for good Monday before Thanksgiving so my final saddle fitting ride was done in tennis shoes. I don’t have backup boots. I’ve considered grabbing a pair of paddock boots and half chaps but by the time you factor in the cost, they are not that far off from the price of my tall boots and I just like tall boots more.

But I have terrible luck with boots. This pair lasted about a year and a half. The previous pair lasted about that as well. This is with near daily riding mind. And the boots weren’t that expensive. The first pair I had were Saxon’s I believe. I got them for about 90$. The second pair was tuffrider and they were about $140.

The boot zipper had broke months ago on the right boot and I took it to a repair shop where they were able to get it to stop splitting. I had asked what it would cost to replace them with more robust boots but it was $130 for both boot zippers to be replaced. Since that was close to what the boots cost I passed on that. All was good for a while then the left boot zipper started to split. I was able to nurse it along for a while by using the elastic on the boot to pull the zipper closer together to make it easier for it to catch. But it didn’t work for forever. It ended up not zipping up and after five minutes of fighting with it, I just gave up. I went to a repair place to see if it was possible to fix it but they told me that the zipper itself was broken and it would have to be replaced. So we are back to the replacing the zipper equals almost the whole cost of the boot problem.

Left with boots that weren’t worth repairing due to the cost of repair and the lower quality of the boot in general, I headed to Mary’s to purchase boots again. I love going to Mary’s so it wasn’t a hardship at all. But boots are expensive and I literally just purchased a saddle. Why couldn’t the boots have held out for another month so the saddle cost and the boot cost didn’t come so close together?

I only tried on two pairs of tall boots at Mary’s due to the cost limit I had. Ariat’s Heritage Contour and Ariat’s Volante boots. The heritages fit exactly like I expected a boot to fit. They felt nice and looked nice. I like the look of field boots versus dress/dressage boots. The laces and the detail add a nice bit of class, in my opinion. And the zipper is beefy! It’s so much more robust than the zipper on my previous tall boots. The Volante were interesting. That is their line that has the sole made by Nike. They are supposed to be more comfortable and meant for wearing around more than showing. They were comfortable but the weight of the sole was really heavy. Startlingly so. It threw me off. Plus they were almost $200 dollars more than the Heritage.

So I bought those. I even got a price match to Dover’s which saved me $50! And I had my boots right off the bat instead of needing to order and wait for delivery. I wore them around the house for almost two full days while working as well as getting them slightly wet and wearing them for 4 hours. I probably could have soaked them more but I started late in the day and didn’t want them to still be wet when I took them off. They could still use more breaking in but I’ve ridden in them a couple of times and haven’t rubbed myself. They will break in as I use them now. So happy to have new boots that are reported to last for several years. Fingers crossed I don’t have to do this in a year and a half again.


PS – I think I have PTSD with zippers because I still gingerly inch the zipper up expecting it to catch any moment. If it doesn’t easily slip up, my heart skips a beat.

Does It Fit?

J had some personal issues that pushed the time back when we could get together in order to have her take a look at the Crosby and tell me what she thinks. So I ended up riding in it a couple more times before she did get out.

It wasn’t the most comfortable magical ride in the world, but it definitely felt nice. I could tell the difference in the seat from it to my AP saddle. It was much easier to move around as I would need to while trotting poles and two-pointing. I tried a bit more padding by sticking my fitted pad under there but it threw off the balance a bit and I felt like I had to lean forward. So I nixed that. I did take Scarlet over some jumps in it. It was much easier to move with him. I always felt like I needed to be prepared before getting to the jump in my two-point because I couldn’t just let the jump come to me in my Wintec. It was too hard to get up and out before we were over the jump.

I think I got three rides in by myself before J could come out. Each time, before and after a ride, I’d run my hand down his back muscles to see if he had any sore spots. He didn’t react to any pressure. So, that is a good sign. It wasn’t hitting or pinching in any place a noticeable amount.

We met up during my lunch hour on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving. It was 95 degrees. It was the end of November. Ah weather, you confuse the crap out of me. Since it was so hot, I was not planning on doing much with Scarlet at all. Literally just ride around enough to show her how it fit.

J showed up and took a look at the saddle just sitting on the cross tie. She was surprised at how nice it was. The price was really low so generally, you expect lower quality for a lower price. But she said it was in really good condition. The cosmetic scratch was really a non-issue. She placed it on Scarlet’s back and looked at it like that. It definitely was wide, but it wasn’t as wide as she thought it might be. We put it on with the pad and towels. She girthed him up and ran a hand underneath the tree. It was a bit looser but she thought it still would work with shims since it was working with towels.

I hopped on and we walked and trotted a bit to see how it looked while moving. She asked me how I felt. I told her that it felt fine. A little hard in the seat but nothing that was uncomfortable. It could use more forward flaps if I was jumping to the point where I needed to raise my stirrups more. I’m not so that is something I could live with.

J said, based on my budget and how it worked for me and Scarlet, it was a really good choice. She even said she kinda wanted it. (Though I’m unsure if that was lip service or if she was serious. lol) It fit me well enough and I rode fine in it. It had a large padding in the back that removed the need to put shims in the back to account for Scarlet having a slightly swayed back. Since the saddle was in good condition and fit me well, she thought I should keep it. I would need to get 1/2″ shims for the front in order to pad it enough that it fit him but the saddle didn’t move much while I was riding with the towels and the padding should work for us.

So here is my new saddle:


It was a lot less intense of a process for me than I thought. Part of that was me being impatient and wanting a saddle NOW! Part of that was really thinking about what I wanted to spend money on. I could have sat around looking at more expensive saddles for months. I could have found something that would have been 100% perfect for Scarlet and me. I even had a Stubben I could have purchased that probably would have been a much better fit for both of us. But that saddle was twice what my Crosby cost. I ended up deciding that I would rather spend less money and get a decent saddle than my unicorn saddle. Someday, I’ll spend a lot more money on a perfect saddle for me and Future Horse so that we can take the showing world by storm and be perfectly comfortable while doing it. For now, for what I’m doing with my horse this Crosby is a pretty great find.

Saddle Search – Part 2

~*News Update* The SD fires are no where near where Scarlet is Stables (as of 8:30 on the 7th). They are about 40 miles north of where I live but are moving toward the coast with minimal southward progress. I don’t think I will personally be in danger but there are a lot of people who are evacuated and a lot of horses who need to be moved. Please keep everyone in your thoughts while this happens. And hope that the winds die down. ~

I have to admit, I was quite disappointed that the M. Toulouse wasn’t going to work. I had looked at all the websites everywhere (slight exaggeration) and even my larger budget wasn’t giving me much of a window to wiggle within. There was still the one 1500$ Stubben hovering at the edge of my mind but… I still couldn’t do it. I guess I’m more miserly at heart than even I realized. I want a house someday (WHY OH WHY DO CA HOUSE PRICES SUCK SO MUCH!? Who has 100k+ sitting in a bank account for a downpayment) cause I want a yard and a dog and no people stomping around above us. So saving where I can is always in my mind. And honestly, a new saddle is not a necessity. It matters to me but if push came to shove, it was something I was willing to let go.

I did ask the 1500 saddle owner if they would be willing to do a trail. I had only sat in two versions of the Portos by Stubben when doing a fit and I wasn’t sure if the Zaria was the same. And I really didn’t want to purchase a saddle unless a) it was exactly what I’ve already sat in or b) I could try it before being committed. But they said they had the saddle priced to sell and weren’t interested. Fair enough. It was worth asking.

J and I talked about various options on the internet. Mostly ones I had sent her. She had a more discerning eye from the start. Nothing was really popping up. Then J sent me a link to a fb group. It was for a Crosby Centennial for $750. The owner was willing to do a trial. The only issue was that it was a medium tree. J said that we could probably make it work with some shims depending on how “medium” it was.  With my budget, I was most likely going to have to sacrifice something in the way of saddle fit and shimming would be the easiest to make work.

So, I spoke with the saddle owner and we agreed that I’d pay her via Paypal and she’d ship it to me. If it didn’t work within 7 days, I’d pay to ship it back and she’d return my purchase money. So, I had a trial to kinda cover my butt a little if this saddle didn’t work.

It arrived and the box was huge! She had wrapped it in two fleece blankets and put a pillow on either end. Perfect packaging for shipping. It arrived in great condition and I was pleased with it. The leather was in good condition and the saddle was clean. There was one cosmetic scratch on the cantle but I wasn’t concerned about that. After all, not showing.  Appearances are less important.

J told me how to use a pair of hand towels to make temporary shims for fitting purposes and how to lay them on the saddle. The saddle fitting fee covered her coming out again to check whatever saddles I might find but if I hopped on and it was terrible like the M. Toulouse, what was the point of her coming out again?

The saddle was definitely wide on Scarlet when I plopped it on before putting anything under it but it wasn’t as wide as I had initially expected. That’s good, right? Next, I pulled out the girth. J wanted me to try girthing the saddle and then running my hand underneath the tree to make sure that it wasn’t pinching weird. I did that and there was a lot of room. Pretty much what I expected due to the saddle being wide. I then added the pad and the towels. I girthed him up again and had to keep nudging my girth up holes. The billets on this saddle were really long! Once all suited up, I swung up right next to the tack room. I had walked over to the arena with the previous saddle and had to go all the way back to change saddles so I could have a full ride. (I’m not being lazy guys, the way the barn is laid out, the walk to the jump arena is really long.)

I walked and trotted in the small arena near my tack room quickly to see if the saddle rubbed like the last one. Nope, good there. It didn’t seem to pinch or irritate Scarlet right off the bat so that was also good. I headed up to the jump arena as it’s the only arena with lights to try a full ride.

The ride went well. I could tell that the saddle needed a smidge more padding up front to level it out but I didn’t feel stuck in any position. The blocks on the front felt nice and kept my leg in place well. The seat wasn’t the most comfortable in the world in terms of softness. It was a harder seat without the cushion that the Stubbens I tried during the fitting had but I figured that was more of a luxury type thing and I probably wasn’t going to get that. I told J that it seemed to work and we set up a time for her to come out and verify.

Next up: Does it fit?

Saddle Search

Now that I had a proper fit guide for a saddle, the search was on. While we had been trying saddles, the fitter, J (I’d put her full name in the blog but I didn’t ask. If anyone wants to contact her for a fit, I’ll happily give you her information. She’s fantastic) had gone through all of the used saddles within Stubben’s database to see if there was anything that would work. Unfortunately, she wasn’t able to find anything. That meant it was time to take the search to the internet.

J said she would continue to look as well and if I found something I thought might be a possibility, to send the link to her so that she could tell me if it would work or not. Armed with the specifics from the saddle fitting, I started my search. There are a lot of saddles online. There are not a lot of 18″ seats online. There are even fewer that are narrow and less of those that fit into my price range. $1500 was as much as I could go and even then I felt iffy about it. That is a lot of money for when I’m not doing anything specific with Scarlet. I can justify a jump saddle because that is what I do for fun but nothing expensive because I’m not showing or training to show.

J found a Stubben Zaria online that fit the specifications but was exactly $1500. Since she found that around day one or two of searching, I didn’t want to jump on it. There could be other options within my price range but lower that would show up someday in the search. There are a lot of old saddles being sold online. A surprising amount of old saddles. Unfortunately, those were what was most in my price range. I looked through ebay and three different fb tack groups. There were a couple but either they were too expensive or too wide.

J spoke to one of the used tack stores here in town and they had an M. Toulouse with an 18″ seat for $1250. It had an adjustable gullet so I could make it as narrow as necessary to fit Scarlet. Since it was in town, I was able to do a trail without paying a fee for it or needing to purchase it entirely before trying it. I picked it up during my lunch hour and it was gorgeous. The tack store owner showed me how to adjust the gullet. It was really simple and very sturdy hardware. I also popped over to Mary’s to get some leather stirrups. I knew matching a saddle I was only trying out was silly but I needed leather ones anyway for this trial and future ones. Having a Wintec AP saddle meant that my stirrup leathers were synthetic and that is a no-go for actual leather saddles.

I was really excited to try it out and headed out to the barn. I tried it on without the saddle pad first and adjusted the saddle down a lot to make it nice and narrow. I had no idea if I got it right or not but I think it was okay. I had asked for a lot of pointers on how to test fit myself during the fitting so I felt confident enough to say I got it okay.

Unfortunately, as soon as I hopped on it felt off. The saddle fit funky underneath my butt. I thought it might just be me not being used to having a new saddle and walked for a while in it. It still felt odd but I decided to trot. A few steps in and it was like a stop sign came out of nowhere and hit me in the face. It was rubbing at the junction of my thigh and butt. I checked my breeches to make sure they hadn’t bunched up, checked my stirrups to make sure they weren’t interfering and no good. It just fit me wrong.

To say I was sad would have been an understatement. The saddle was gorgeous and the adjustable gullet would have made it super easy to transfer to Future Horse whenever they came around. So I returned it to the tack store and resigned myself to searching more.

Next time on The Horse Dream: Saddle Search – Part 2

I’m Baaaack!

I hope all of you read that in a sing-song voice because that is totally what I did when I typed that.

So, November. Yeah, that was quite a month. As I said, I was participating in NaNoWriMo. I did pretty well keeping up with the word count par for the first few days. Then I had a few days where I fell behind. No big deal, I’ll make it up. Except I was planning on visiting my mom for Thanksgiving and needed to be ahead because I wasn’t likely to get to write while there. That never happened and I fell even more behind. But I was determined to finish. I ended up with 10,000 words left to write on the last three days of the month and got it done with a few hours to spare on the 30th. Surprisingly, 10 minutes writing and then 10 minutes of audiobook or a video then back again was the most effective way for me to get words done. Good to know. But finishing the 50k words took up all my writing brain and blogging fell by the wayside. Now that that is over, I’ll be getting back to blogging at a normal rate.

I’m going to break the catch up posts into sections since a lot has happened. Today’s will be about riding after the time change.

Scarlet has, for the entirety that I’ve owned him, dealt with riding in the dark with arena lights. Our first trainer had lights so she could continue to give lessons no matter what time of year. Most of her lessons were after 4:30 in the afternoon till about 7pm so yeah she needed lights. All of our arenas have had a light source of some kind. So while I knew Scarlet would get a bit tense, lights weren’t something I was worried about.

Our first ride mostly consisted of him paying more attention than I’d like to the outside of the arena but we didn’t have anything more than a generalized increase in tension. The second night right wasn’t as great. For some reason, everyone and their mother was out at the barn. Horses were going every which way outside the arena. There was one other horse inside the arena and he was feeling the energy as well. Then coyotes and dogs started howling at each other and there were a few sirens and someone’s horse went nuts in the round pen and Scarlet lost his marbles. I had to give him a serious whap on the butt and pulled him around my leg. I try not to do that but if he just loses his brain, I have to get him focused on something other than what he freaked about otherwise we bolt. We were able to get a ride in but I never felt the tension leave him and getting him to move forward was terrible.

All the other rides underneath the lights have been just fine. He is a bit tense but we work the same no matter what. He also is fine with jumping in the lights. In fact, he loves it. But my god is he getting rushy with jumps lately. I haven’t been jumping him recently with the twopointober stuff going on as my primary focus. So when I did allow him to jump twice in November, we had a serious talk about maintaining pace and listening to me. Whoa means slow down and hoa means stop.

To work on that, we trotted some poles and halted right after them. Then trotted a crossrail and halted after. Then trotted and halted before it. Then repeat at the canter. It still was hard for him to listen when we did a line with another jump in front of him but it was better at the end. I do need to make a point to jump more and work on responsiveness while jumping. I also need to get off and make the jump something serious so that he actually has to put effort into jumping and not just rushing over it.

I can’t remember much more about my rides. I didn’t get out as often as I had been as I got sick sometime in this and it kicked me hard. But I did ride a few times each week.

Next catch up post: saddle search!