Back To The Riding

Coming back from the convention, I was super tired and battling getting sick. I wanted to get out and ride Scarlet the first day I came back because he hadn’t been ridden for a week at that point. My body had other ideas and said, “You are NOT riding!” So I listened. Instead, I went out and gave him some attention for a bit and then headed home to rest.

The next day, I wasn’t as tired but I was still feeling like I was getting sick. I didn’t feel bad enough to really skip riding though, so I headed out to the barn. While it wasn’t necessarily the wrong choice to get out there, I really should have gone out with the specific mindset of just getting Scarlet to move around. He was spooky and a bit difficult to get a good rhythm out of. I started to get really annoyed with him because he has no reason to pull this bullshit. Then I remembered he did. He hadn’t been out for a week. And then I realized the problem was me. I was cranky from feeling bad and it wasn’t his fault. So I finished the ride with a good canter loop and hopped off.

I gave myself a day off from riding to recover and was back out on Friday with a better attitude. I promised I’d remember Scarlet had more energy than usual. I still wanted to do something productive, but something that wasn’t specifically going to depend on having a horse that is able to listen to me. I’d been tossing around ideas on how to add more transitions into my ride. Scarlet gets very anxious when I focus on them so I thought I’d try to incorporate circles with transitions.

My idea was I’d transition from a gait, circle and then transition back. I did this mostly with downward to a slower gait. It actually worked for the most part. Scarlet got a little anxious with the canter-trot transitions. I need to do those more often so that he doesn’t think they are as big of a deal.

We had one fabulous transition. We were crossing the diagonal at the trot after just having transitioned from a canter. He was a bit heavy on my hands so I half halted then asked for an upward transition. He came up into my hands in the transition. It was fabulous. I can’t even describe how awesome it was.

It was such a good finish for the ride and I stayed in a much better mindset.

Saturday morning I wanted to work a bit on lateral work. I wanted to try it with the new way I’ve been holding my hands. I have a tendency to pull and push with my hands when I’m trying to get sideways motion. I’ve been working on that. We did a bit of leg yield at the walk during our warm up. We got a few good steps and a more forward walk while doing so. I did a bit of shoulder in and then some leg yield at the trot.

I found myself getting frustrated as the ride went on as I tried to get better leg yields and transitions. Scarlet was evading like nuts, dropping his chin to his chest and trying to avoid any contact. I couldn’t figure out how to get him to accept the contact. I couldn’t figure out what on earth I needed to do. I made sure that I took some breaths and stopped myself from getting annoyed at Scarlet and then finished our ride.

I really wish that I had the budget for more lessons or just more knowledge in general. I feel like I have serious gaps in my ability and riding knowledge at times. I can get the response I want occasionally but sometimes I feel like I’m just a few inches away and if I just knew what the feeling I was looking for was, I could do it better.

Mostly, I’m just bitching. I’m working on getting lessons when I can and I read riding books to at least help me with theoretical knowledge. Anyone got any riding youtube channels they like following for riding instruction? 🙂

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Busy Bee! (Me not Scarlet)

Man, it’s been a busy past 10 days. First, the bit of horse stuff that happened.

I got a new farrier for Scarlet and he is much better. I really wanted a farrier who was going to talk over feet shape, what he was doing, etc. This farrier is also willing to shoe Scarlet if I cannot be out there during the times he has free. It was really interesting to have a conversation about Scarlet’s feet. The farrier said they looked pretty good. They weren’t overly dry, had good hoof wall and didn’t have any issues with the shape that he was overly concerned about. He did a bit of tweaking to encourage a few places to drop and balance the hoof better.

It was a really interesting appointment. I like having conversations about new horse things with people. It was also good to hear that his feet were in good shape. I admit that I fuss a bit more than necessary over small things on Scarlet. It’s still good to have professionals support my thoughts on his health.

I got a few rides in on Scarlet. Nothing specific. I’ve been riding bareback much more frequently after getting my bareback pad. It makes it so much more comfortable to ride. I’ve also gotten a lot better at sitting the trot. I think its definitely due to riding bareback more often. Holly tried to convince me to hop over a cross rail bareback. I wasn’t sure I’d stay on, not that I was too worried about falling. But I was heading out on a trip just after so I didn’t feel like possibly getting hurt.

For me, life has been pretty busy. Work has been a never-ending stream of busy for about 2 years so I guess I’m pretty used to that. It’s still tiring. I’ve got lots of projects I’m doing for my own pleasure as well. But I was really looking forward to this last weekend.

I went to WorldCon in San Jose. It was my first WorldCon ever. WorldCon is one of the largest Science Fiction and Fantasy convention around. It’s where the Hugos are presented. For SF/F, the Hugos are analogous to the Oscars. I’ve been writing as a hobby for years and the past few years I’ve been writing fiction with the eye of eventually getting published. Being able to go to WorldCon was an important step for me. I wanted to get more information on the industry, meet people and network.

It was fantastic. I’ve been to conventions before but omg this one was the best! I felt so included and had so much fun. I attended a bunch of panels on writing, fandom, and storytelling. I felt like I learned so much. I got to meet a bunch of my idols and speak with them. I met authors who’d been published for forever, newcomers, aspiring authors, agents, editors, and publishers. I socialized and talked to everyone I could. I was so exhausted by the end of the con but it was worth it.

I even got to attend the Hugo awards. The creators of a podcast I follow and support via Patreon won the Hugo for best fancast! I cried and cheered. They worked super hard on their podcast, Ditch Diggers, and really believe that talking about the business of publishing is important for writers. And I met these people over the weekend and they are both lovely and down to earth. I couldn’t be happier for them.

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Winners of the Hugo for Best Fancast, Mur Lafferty and Matt Wallace of the Ditch Diggers podcast.

Overall, this last weekend was fantastic and I really want to see if I can afford to do the one in Dublin, Ireland next year. We will see. Now to get back to my normal habits and schedule again once I recover from this weekend.

Fly boots and rainmaker

The flies are super annoying this summer. I’m not sure what causes it but I know they are annoying the crap out of me. Scarlet seems to be okay and isn’t rubbing his face too much. I still feel bad because I want to try to help him a bit with keeping the flies off of him.

I’ve been tossing around the idea of getting him fly boots for a while and finally decided to go for it. I bought the Shofly leggins that a few other bloggers have tried. I’d been able to get a good look at L’s and thought they were pretty dang sturdy. When they came in, I took them out to adorn Scarlet.

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He was NOT pleased.

I thought it was hilarious and figured he’d get over it. He still seems annoyed with me whenever I go out there and put them back on but it’s been only about a week and he hasn’t worn them the full week yet. I’ll give it some more time and if he still seems to hate them, I may stop. My biggest concern is he is CONVINCED he cannot walk with them on. He reluctantly steps forward to grab treats and I’m pretty sure he isn’t walking as much in his stall. Again, hoping this goes away as he gets used to them but its a wait and see game.

Scarlet’s hooves have been bothering me for a while. They’ve got a lot of cracks in the heel and they flake off quicker in the sole area. I couldn’t determine if it was just from the dry weather or from bad diet. I’ve added a hoof supplement but that’s going to take a long time to grow out proper hoof. I don’t seem to be seeing any difference in the hoof growth up by the band either. That stuff is flakey as well.

I tried to research moisturizing hooves but there’s a lot of contradictory stories out there, not much research. Most of what I could find was anecdotal evidence of doing it one way or another. The heel seemed to be flaking more lately and I finally decided to look up some hoof conditioner. I figured I’d use it sparingly and watch to see if there is any result, good or bad, and then decide to continue from there.

I purchased some Rainmaker hoof conditioner and have used it on him twice so far. All it seems to be doing is allowing the dirt to stick to his hoof better. I’ll need to give him a bath and let his hooves dry to see if there is any noticeable difference. I took some pictures in order to have a reference of how all the hooves looked before I started this.

A Day at the Races

I grew up reading the Thoroughbred series as a kid (as I’m sure many of us have) and loved reading about the races. I had never been as there wasn’t one near where I grew up. As an adult, it hadn’t come up. I don’t gamble so there wasn’t much of a reason for me to go.

Now that I’m in San Diego, I definitely wanted to go to Del Mar at least at some point. I’ve been to the fairgrounds for horse shows and have seen the track but its not the same as attending. My day came when my husband told me that his company’s summer bbq was going to be held at the race track. We were even going to be in the infield in some sort of plaza they have there.

To say I was excited is an understatement. He did warn me that some of his coworkers were probably going to ask me for betting advice since I was the only person they knew who rides. I laughed cause I don’t know anything about race betting. Surprisingly, no one ended up asking me for advice past explaining what the stats in the little booklet they hand out mean.

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The best my hair was gonna get in the wind…

I’m a perpetually early person so we were some of the first there. I sat and nibbled at some food for a bit but when it was five minutes from the start of the first race I had to get to the track. It was a 6-furlong race so they started on the backside. Hardly anyone else was there so I had a delightful view. It was awesome.

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I ended up watching about five races and managing to get right next to the finish line for the rest. There was a mile race on the turf as well and the thunder of hooves as they passed on the start was… emotional? Weirdly emotional. Its such a fascinating sound and hits all the love of horse buttons inside me. There was a maiden 2-year-old race that was the last one I saw for the night. The start from the gate was hilarious. All the babies were so confused and jumped out and then spooked sideways before realizing that they were running and settling down to business.

I definitely want to go back. I wouldn’t call myself a diehard fan but I enjoyed my day. I’d love to go back with people who love horses and know something about racing. The infield was an interesting view but I actually want to be up in the stands so I can see the action better.

Catch-up Post 10: Hands Forward!

So, after my recent jumping efforts being videotaped, I realized my hands are crap. I hold them so close to my groin and that is not good. For one, I don’t release well over the jump which holds Scarlet back. For another, it is a backward way of thinking. I’ve got my hands back and am artificially creating somewhat of a connection instead of Scarlet really moving forward into the bridle and lifting his back. Now that I know this, it’s one of the primary things I am focusing on fixing.

The first ride that I started thinking about my hands, I tried to carry them as if I was holding them over where his neck connects with his shoulder. They ended up being somewhere between there and the front of my saddle but I have to imagine overdoing it in order to get a more forward hand. It felt so weird and I had to focus on it a lot.

Scarlet also thought it was odd. He held his head back where I normally have it and didn’t easily stretch into the connection. It was like he was saying, “Um, Mom? Head goes here right?”.

I shortened the reins until I got some feeling on his mouth and then slowly worked him out to a bit longer of a rein but I never felt like I really had a connection to his mouth and back.

After another couple of rides, I wouldn’t say its much easier or better connected but Scarlet’s at least not defaulting to an uber short neck. It’s something I’m going to have to work on for a while before both of us get used to it.

One of the ladies at the barn was attempting to go on the trail a bit with her anxious thoroughbred and asked if we would accompany them. Scarlet was really confused at being the lead (the other horse literally could not walk forward without a lead) but he was really good about it. He was even fine with the stop and go we had to do in order to wait for the other horse. The poor guy was literally shaking. I offered to do this more with her so that it can become a habit and he can learn that nothing is going to eat him on the trail.

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I is done rolling and eating, take me back now mom.

 

It’s crazy to me that this silly guy went from an absolute no on the trail to being the lead horse for someone else. I’m so proud of him. ❤