Second Lesson

It took quite a while to get a second lesson to happen as the last several Fridays were rained out. This last Friday, I finally got to have another lesson.

I rode Zoe again and Trainer J got her ready for me again. I still feel quite spoiled with that but it is quite nice to spend all my time riding in my lesson instead of extra time grooming.

We started our lesson with me just warming up as I pleased. I incorporated some leg yields during both the walk and trot to get Trainer J’s eyes on what I’d been practicing. She seemed pretty pleased with what I was doing. We also discussed how difficult it is for me to do it on Cav. Cav doesn’t really understand communication from my outside rein. She gave me a couple of tips for when I’m working with him. One, don’t go any more sideways than he will keep his shoulder with me. If that means only one step sideways, only do one step sideways. Two, try doing leg yields at a 45degree angle on the rail. The rail will keep his shoulder in place so it would b a good practicing option.

After the warmup, I needed my stirrups adjusted. Dressage saddles are still super weird for me. I do like how flat work feels in a dressage saddle but with always riding in a jump saddle but my legs want to shorten up. I kept losing my stirrups. I’ll get there eventually with letting my legs hang properly.

Then Trainer J asked what I wanted to focus on. I considered it and decided lets focus on my position again. I don’t get to do that much on Cav as he’s pretty green still and requires more of an active ride when messes up my position. So we did.

Wow did we ever. We focused on my seat a lot. She’d noticed that Zoe was bulging out to the left in a weird fashion. She said it could be her, it could be me. So she asked me to move my right seat bone until I felt like it was in the center of my saddle. That felt so awkward. Not quite like I was going to fall off the horse to the left but close. Then I felt like above my pelvis was twisted around weird to compensate for the feeling. She had me twist my torso to the left a few times and my body just kinda slotted into place.

My weight was much more even and I could actually feel both seat bones. But I had to struggle to maintain my position. We did a bunch of walk and trot that way and I had to focus so hard to keep my seat coming back down evenly. She also suggested I try to keep both sides of my core lengthened to the same length on both sides, which helped.

We then focused on my arms. My hands keep wanting to turn so the backs of my hands are too the sky. That ends up pointing my elbows out some. We focused on rotating my thumbs up to the sky and over rotating them so that I can fix the feeling.

Trainer J also wanted to fix my elbows. I thought they were hanging nicely by my side and staying soft but she wanted me to imagine touching my jacket with them and that ended up bringing them back to my side. Again, that felt like my elbows were sticking so far behind me that I’d look like a turkey.

But feelings are never right when correcting bad posture habits. We kept at it and I could feel my lower back working super hard to maintain the correct posture. I was so sore for several days afterward.

I’m glad I found a trainer I can keep having lessons with. Each time we work on what are really small issues that have a large impact on how I’m riding. I’m looking forward to my future lessons.

Birthday(s)!

Scarlet turned 25 on Friday! He had a good week, including getting his toes done. He actually did amazingly this farrier appointment. No wobbling or anything this time. It was great. It’s always good for me when I see him doing well. I know his improvement can only go so far but its nice to see examples that my efforts of keeping him in some sort of shape are working.

He got spoiled for his birthday. There were more treats from Emmie’s Edibles for his birthday. I got him two birthday cones, which were basically scoops of horse treats on top of sugar cones, covered in sprinkles. He loved them. I think his neighbor would have loved them as well as she started begging for a treat when I began opening the plastic they were wrapped in.

He made a mess while eating it but loved it, which is really all that matters. It was definitely fun to give him an extra special treat. I’m happy to still have him for his 25th birthday.

Going back in time a bit, there was some wild stuff that happened on Tuesday at the barn. I go out early, earlier than most people get to the barn. This day, I was out around 7:30ish. I fed Scarlet like normal and then went to walk back to where Cav’s tack is stored. As one does, I look at the horses as I walk by. I notice one stall and basically stop in place.

What the fuck?

That’s a baby. That’s a baby horse just chilling in the stall. Up, dry, it’s definitely been around for a while. I sent the above picture to Cav’s owner, since she is the assistant trainer, asking if anyone knew about this and if it was planned. Apparently, she was very sleepy when she looked at my text and thought ‘Gosh Alex is an idiot. Its a mini not a baby.’ (A mini did move in last week) And then my picture came in. And she said, no definitely not planned.

The little colt (we determined later) kept looking around for milk but was nuzzling all over the place. I thought he might have issues getting to her teats with the blanket on so I went in and pulled it off. The placenta was near the front of the stall as well. Mom was a bit defensive but when I placed my hand on her, she realized I was going for her, not the baby and was fine with me actually getting her blanket off. Then I called the owner. The BM had called her right before because the stable guys had sent her a text with a picture saying ‘un bebe’. The mare’s owner said wrong number when the BM called her because she couldn’t believe her mare had a baby.

The mare is actually a rescue from a feedlot that the owner got last June. She was super skinny when she came in, as most rescues are, so apparently no one suspected anything from how she was fattening up. But what makes me laugh and shake my head is her lady bits were looking swollen this last week and multiple people at the barn just thought she was in heat. And then there was wax on her teats Sunday or Monday. And still no one expected this. Wild!

Luckily, even with no one knowing and having her blanket on while giving birth, mom and baby are doing great. The vet has come out a couple of times and gave them both clean bills of health. She’s a great mom, keeping a close eye on her baby. He’s quite adorable and pretty big. He’s a solid little boy as well so all her good feeding definitely helped him develop well.

Quite the exciting thing to find out in the morning. It felt quite surreal, like a movie or something. But it meant we had two birthdays last week. XD

Breaks

Well I fell off the wagon a little bit. I’m trying to not beat myself up over it. I fell into another bad mental slump. Now that I’m having more good days than bad, I’m trying to get back to doing all the things.

We’ve had some rain in the past couple of weeks. Somehow, it always ended up being on my riding days. That or it was close enough that the arenas were too we to ride in. (seriously socal, I grew up riding my horse through puddles in the arena. It’s not going to make us melt…) No new lessons for me but not for lack of trying. They kept getting rained out. I did get some rides in on Cav. He’s been having some issues with his right hind. It seems to kinda… disappear randomly. He also has issues with his right lead canter.

His owner is aware and she’s working on getting the vet out to see him. In the meantime, I’ve been very careful to try to be as thorough as possible in our warm ups. I only ask for as much right lead canter as he seems to be able to do. At least he’s very clear on when he’s not feeling good. He doesn’t have a ‘no’ in him so if he says no, that’s all he can do.

Scarlet is doing good. I got a whole bunch of fancy horse treats from Emmie’s Edibles. I unfortunately cannot remember which blogger I saw link her cookies first but I got like 80$ worth of various cookies. Scarlet is very very pleased.

There are a bunch of options. I got the originals that have little dried apple slices inside them, Delilah’s dots which are little cookies with sprinkles, pill pocket treats and b-day cones. Scarlet’s bday is coming up soon so he’s going to get a nice treat then. The treats are super nice. They’re all handmade and Debbie was super easy to work with. They shipped fast and honestly smell great. If they weren’t so hard, I’d be tempted to eat them myself!

Cav likes them as well. He only gets them after a ride though because he actually gets belligerent once he gets them. He gets pushy and begins trying to search for more good treats.

So that’s what we’ve been doing. Nothing much but hanging in there.