Getting a Feel For It

Trying to stay consistent with blogging and epically failing. I’m still getting a post up but I kept delaying because I got Pivo video this week and I wanted to find time to edit it and post with this. Did not find the time and figured I’d post before I get that. Videos next time!

Cav and I have been feeling each other out. He’s getting much better at the downward transition from trot to walk. He does still need support into it but even when I don’t, he’s not dumping 100% of his weight onto his front end. I have managed to get him to do canter circles both ways. He currently doesn’t respond to turning aids the same in both directions so I had to figure that difference out as well as supporting him through the circle. But we’ve got it. Its still a 30+m circle but we will get there with more practice.

I’m still quite sore each day. I keep telling myself I need to stretch and then I forget about that promise until I’m done riding again. My hip flexors are not happy. Not only am I out of riding shape but I sit in a chair all day for work. So not the best for my body.

I got my Pivo over the weekend and forgot it on Tuesday. I brought it Thursday but was trying to use an old phone so I didn’t break my current one. But the software wasn’t compatible so I didn’t really get much video. It would just stop tracking me after a while. Cav showed his good boy side though while I leaned down from the saddle and fussed with the phone. He just stood there. He doesn’t walk up and side step toward something well but once you’re standing, he’s happy to stay there.

Saturday I used my current phone and got some video. It’s not fabulous but its there! I will probably just do a Friday post with the edited video (please cross your fingers that I find time for editing this week!) from my Pivo and also some video clips of me riding Dante!

L and I met up for lunch and then went to her barn to ride Dante. I rode him when he was a scrawny 3 year old but was worried I’d ruin him so I didn’t really ride. This time, I really wanted to at least try to ride him like I knew what I was doing. Dante is so tall. I know this, but its been a while since I stood next to him. He’s a gentle giant though and was quite happy to get cookies for a smile or two.

L rode and got him moving. It was wild to watch Dante move with a completely different viewpoint than I’d previously had. Of course I’d admired his movement before but I’ve watched a lot of horses going in circles in ad videos recently so I had more to compare it to. He just has so much suspension in his gaits. Even with my potato riding, his default is so nice.

And I did ride a bit potato-y. In my defense, we met to ride on a Saturday which is one of my lease ride days and I’ve only been riding 3x a week for two weeks now. So I was tired and out of shape. I still did wtc each way but it was pretty much all I could do to manage my own body, let alone his. Dante wasn’t being a brat to me. He just knew he had an easy rider on top. lol.

Being able to compare Cav and Dante (truly no comparison) gives me some ideas of areas I’d like to work with Cav on. It was fun to experience another ride. And it was awesome to see L’s face in person again.

The First Week

Before I get in on the first week of riding, lets do a quick catchup on Scarlet. He’s been doing great. We’ve been keeping the walking up. He definitely isn’t getting as much attention on Tuesday and Thursday as I have limited barn time before I have to go to work but he doesn’t mind as long as he gets his grain and treats. We’ve been doing ~30 seconds of trotting and I haven’t seen any weird leg puffiness like the last time we tried it so I call that a win.

He’s definitely lame at the trot but it’s not soreness lame. He is compensating for the lack of feeling in his right hind. He lifts it extra high in order to compensate for the fact that he has less feeling. Definitely not a great movement but its not so bad most of the time that I worry about him moving faster on it. He really has adapted to it over the last two years. Yes two years. It will be exactly two years since I fell off him on the 14th. Kinda hard to think about.

So now that we’ve checked in on Scarlet, I wanna talk about Cav. Oh man riding multiple days a week makes my body hurt. Obviously its a good thing because I’m building back muscle but I don’t remember my hip flexors being this sore. I need to stretch more.

Cav has been a good boy. I’ve not asked for much as I’ve just been feeling him out. I’ve been trying a few serpentines and circles to get him flexed. He’s tight on the right side and falls through his shoulders quite a bit regardless of the direction we are going. He cannot canter a large circle. It was probably about 30m and he made it between 1/2-3/4 the few times I tried. He’s not used to someone sitting on his back during the canter so I’ve been alternating between half seat and a very light seat while touching his back. He’s not consistent with his leads. Switching directions is hard and I have to ask a few times to get it right. I think I need to start adding in a circle right before the canter while we work on building up strength.

But he’s very good despite his weakness and greenness. He wants to do well. I can feel he’s a little anxious but each time he gets the right answer, he settles in. I think that will go away more as he gets more confidence in what he does. He’s started reaching for the bit more at the walk and trot. Not a lot and we are still working on not leaning or floating but its progress. I’ve worked a bit on the downward transition from the trot to the walk. Just asking him to not dump off on his front end when going to the walk. He’s lightened up a lot on one side and getting better the other direction. I need to do some research and find good exercises to help encourage a horse to do more from his hind end.

I ended up going on a trail walk on Tuesday after we had a huge downpour (for our area) that shut down our arenas. He was completely fresh as it was cold and he was 100% good on the trail. He’s a naturally forward horse so we walked out the entire time but anything spooky he just looked at in an alert manner but never freaked out. I was very impressed with that.

I did get my Pivo and tripod at the end of last week but there was more rain on Friday morning and only one arena was open on Saturday. I didn’t want my tripod to be in the way of everyone so I decided to not try it out. Hopefully I’ll get some video of us riding this week. Not sure if I will try it on one of the weekdays or wait for the weekend so I have more time to fuss around with technical difficulties. We shall see!


So last week I teased you all saying a bit of good news was on the way. Well here it is!

I found a partial lease at my barn! Meet Cav.

I’d been riding Uno once a week for about a year and a half now. And I’m extremely grateful to Holly for letting me ride her boy for so long and for free. It really saved me mentally. Riding is so important to me that losing that still kicked my ass even though I still had Scarlet. But she recently moved to a new barn. While its not that much further, it threw a wrench into my mornings to have to go to two barns. One to ride and one to give Scarlet his meds.

I initially started looking to purchase a second horse. We’d found space in our finances thanks to some good moves up in both my and my husband’s careers so it was something we could afford. I even sat on a possible and had to say no to him. But I don’t know if any of you know this, but the horse market is nuts right now. Nuts. I thought I had an okay budget for a horse at 5k. I didn’t expect anything super quality. Young and green was fine. Any breed was fine. Color, sex, didn’t care. All I wanted was for it to be started enough that I could to a test ride at wtc. But right now, that budget is not getting me much. Granted, I am in SoCal. Things are more expensive here. I can see a ton of options on the east coast but given the state of the world (sigh…) I didn’t feel super comfortable traveling far away to do a test ride.

After about a month of searching and asking on possible ads only to find that they were more than double what my budget was, I was lamenting the market’s state to a lady at the barn when she said that the assistant trainer was thinking about leasing her horse. Since I’m out so early in the morning, I rarely see anyone else. It took a bit of time and syncing up twice but I was able to talk to AT and she was interested in leasing to me. She knew who I was and knew that I’d ridden Uno previously.

Last Thursday I stayed out a bit later and told my work I’d miss my morning meetings (eek! Such a bad employee!) so that I could meet up with AT and try Cav out. He felt good to ride, moved forward nicely. Green in some aspects but it will be a fun challenge for me to see what I can do with him. So we agreed on a half lease that started this Saturday. I still want to purchase my own horse but this half lease means I can ride multiple times a week and also put more money into my horse purchase fund. Hopefully something good will come up when I have more to spend.

A little background on Cav. He’s 9 and hasn’t raced since he was 4. He was retired and tossed into a field for about four years before AT purchased him. He had a lot of behavioral problems when she got him. Couldn’t stand at the mounting block, bolting and rearing. Those are all ironed out now and he’s a much more chill boy. But he’s also had a lot of time off. He had a popped split that took 3-4 months to completely heal, some foot soreness issues on and off. She said in the year she’s had him, he’s probably only been worked for half of that and not consistently. But she doesn’t have enough time in her day to fit him in as much as she wants. So a half lease will benefit us both. Cav gets worked, I get to ride and she gets to have one less horse on her schedule.

The first ride on Cav I didn’t do anything fancy. I wanted to make sure my saddle would fit him well enough and figure out his buttons. I did have to stop during our walk warm up and change out from AT’s half pad to my half pad. Her’s had shims on both the front and the back and mine only has them on the front. The way my saddle is, the back shims were tipping me forward so much I had to struggle to not flop on his head. After the pad change, the balance was a lot better so I continued with the ride.

Cav currently floats above the bit without really touching it. He lowers his head at the walk but lifts it super high at the trot and canter so my whole goal for the ride was to get him to touch the bit and lower his head some. We did manage to do both. After circling and gently encouraging him, we ended the ride with a light touch on the bit. It will get better with time. But his canter was a lot of fun. Definitely a more uphill canter than what I’ve been used to riding. It will be interesting to see how that changes with more strength and teaching him how to really push from behind properly.

All in all, I’m super pleased with the decision to get the half lease. It will be a lot of fun to ride more and see how he goes with more rides. I even purchased a Pivo so I can get a lot more media. Hopefully it will get here in the next couple of weeks so I can get some early video and compare that with later ones as we get more used to working together.

Glamour shot with the nice ears.