A Waste

The next two weeks ended up with me waiting to get a shoe on him from my farrier. That was incredibly stupid on my part. He was out of town and implied he would get someone out there for him. Never heard from him. Followed up when he was supposed to be back. Again, never heard from him. Finally got the name of someone who comes to Ezio’s barn every Thursday and go it back on almost a full two weeks after.

So we spent two weeks carefully turning out and running him just enough that he wasn’t completely wild but not enough to cause him to be sore. He got his vaccines during this and only had a small bump on either side which was fine. Went away in a day or so.

He also decided he wanted to be a huge shit one of the days early in that two weeks and as I was leading him out of the arena and pushing the gate open, he reached forward and BIT MY ARM. I was so pissed. I bruised really badly too.

I was very pissed at him and am extremely vigilant about his mouth now. It’s very frustrating and I definitely need to figure out some good ways to add more ground work into our lives.

He was more or less normal other than that. We turned out daily and I groomed him when I felt like it. Just enough grooming so he didn’t look feral. He finally got a shoe on 6/23, nearly two weeks after he pulled it off. I may end up switching farriers since as of writing this post on 6/26, I have yet to hear back. I need a farrier who is good at communication and this isn’t the first problem. He’s been bad at communicating before but is so good with Scarlet.

Scarlet’s doing fine. He also got his boosters when Ezio did and had larger reactions to the vaccines. Nothing major still. Just larger bumps. He also got some acupuncture while the vet was out.

I think both my boys were conspiring together as mid last week, Scarlet was trying to kick at a fly and launched a forward hind kick right into the side of my knee. Luckily it was forward and without a lot of force because wow was I sore for a few days, but don’t seem to have any lasting issues. It was definitely not on purpose as he’s never hurt me deliberately in the entire time I’ve known him.

So now we are caught up. I’m bruised from both horses, made mistakes waiting on someone to respond and we now have two shoes back on Ezio so he can be ridden again!

Forward and Back

Trying to catch up on recapping (gosh I’m a terrible blogger sometimes) so this all takes place from 6/4-6/10.

I rode in the back arena for the first time since there was a lesson going on in our normal arena. Someone was free longing so I waited outside for them to finish and talked to my across the street neighbor while waiting. Ezio is so friendly that it was difficult to keep him in place as he wanted to say hi to her and to the horse she was leading at the time. He did really well once we got in the arena. He wasn’t spooky and even behaved when someone came in to longe while we were riding.

That was a Saturday and that Sunday I decided to give him a bit of a turn out to see if that helps how difficult he seems to be after days off. He wasn’t super interested in running and I’d forgotten my whip so I only ran him a little bit.

I ended up grooming him in his stall on Monday since the sprinklers tend to interfere with the time I arrive at the barn. I really have no desire to try to walk him past sprinklers where he will get suddenly sprayed on the butt. He was okay, just wiggly. During the ride he was again distracted by the lady riding and leading her horses around the property. She does it every week but it is still the most attention grabbing thing Ezio has ever seen.

We cantered a bit but he broke from the canter on both leads. I need to work more on that with him so we can figure out what helps (cantering only on straight, cantering big circles etc) so that he can get stronger. I also need to canter more when I have time to trot and walk more afterward as he begins to anticipate that we are cantering now once we do it. I was running a bit late but he was so sweaty that I knew I had to hose him off because it would be so uncomfortable for him otherwise. He sweats very easily which is a good thing, just inconvenient.

I had a lesson planned for that Friday and I was hoping to get better exercises to challenge him a bit more. He’s definitely still benefiting from the exercises we are doing, but I wanted to have a level 2 set of tools to use sometimes. His shoulders do seem to take a while to warm up where he doesn’t fall through them but that’s a strength thing. Unfortunately, he decided to pull his shoe sometime between longing on Thursday and when I went out Friday morning for the lesson. So no lesson for us.

Taking a Step Back

This next chunk of time happened to start the day my cat decided to get sick. That Monday, Ezio ended up being quite difficult.

I started grooming him normally. I asked a lady I’ve talked with to hold him so I could do his feet and it went well. He was acting spooky due to the tractor moving around, or so I thought. And then I was trying to put on a smaller girth since the 50 he has goes to holes 5 and 4 when tightened. But he bloats to start so it was difficult. And then it happened.

Ezio freaked out about something and pulled back. Hard. He’s been wearing a rope halter so he didn’t get to break away. And he freaked out so hard that my quick release knot became not quick release. I couldn’t yank at it from the front as he danced toward me and almost pinned me between the pole and him. I had to yank from the other side of the crossties and it took a few yanks to get it loose. By the time I got him loose he had managed to stretch the rope halter enough to slip his nose out of the loop. He wasn’t hurt, which I was grateful for but it was… not great.

He calmed down well enough so I gave up on the smaller girth and hopped on him for a very short ride before work. He was great for the ride but this was something that seriously needed addressing. He could have hurt himself, the ladies at the barn, me and the horses around him with his freak out. I did actually get kinda hurt. My back hurt for the next day or so from trying to move to yank him out.

He’s really cute for how frustrating he can be.

After that day, I knew I had nothing in me left to ride for a while. I had several sleep deprived nights trying to figure out what was wrong with my cat so I needed something I could work on but not do anything strenuous. So Ezio and I began some ground work boot camp for the next four days. I learned a lot about what he has and doesn’t have in regards to ground manners.

Despite longing well for the PPE, when I tried to do it, he was wild and kept turning me into a water skier. So I free longed him until he was more chill and then we tried again with just walking and a bit of trot. Over the days we didn’t do much on the longe line practice but we did practice on the end of his lead line at the walk. He improved a little but its still a work in progress.

We did a lot of hand walking around the barn. He doesn’t halt during the longing practice so he doesn’t have a great concept or respect for the verbal command. He will do it just fine when walking with him though, which is good we have at least that. He does have issues with hand walking when he has too much energy. We had a nice tantrum right next to the dressage arena once while waiting for an arena to open for turn out. There was also a lesson happening in there so I felt absolutely terrible. Luckily no one has gotten mad about any of his antics yet.

Seriously cute

He is still ridiculously mouthy. A lot of the hand walking was spent arguing with him about not biting me and not biting at his lead rope. He will also curl his head to try to nip at me while I’m grooming or standing next to him. I decided that I needed to address this and he’s no longer getting treats by hand. I don’t want to not treat him at all though. He’s very food motivated so I definitely want to use that. I’ve now got a bucket that I use while grooming and stuff to drop a treat in. Hopefully he will slowly stop associating me as a treat dispenser and he will stop biting at me.

We also tried a bit of moving his quarters away from a whip tapping. He’s very dull to it. Well, dull might not be the right word. I’ve found that he doesn’t bother responding to a cue unless he 100% knows what the right answer is. He just ignores it. So I have to be very harsh for a teaching cue and then slowly back off from there. So I had to smack him with the longe whip to get him to move. I only tried that one day and decided that it wasn’t a thing I wanted to focus on yet given that he had so much else we needed to focus on first.

Over the course of almost a week of not riding, I definitely figured out a lot of holes in his ground work. This isn’t really surprising in one way since he is an OTTB and they don’t usually come out with ground manners. But he is so, so easy under saddle that I think I was not prepared for all the holes that showed themselves over the time of working with him. I have plans for working on most of them but it will take time and me being quite clear with him. I also cannot forget that I need to work on ground work, even when I want to ride him.

New fly mask. Hopefully this one doesn’t rub him raw.

Second Lesson

There’s a lot to catch up on here. I meant to write all of this a week ago Monday but that day, our cat decided he needed to visit the ER vet and my entire week got swallowed in worry. And then as happens when you fall behind, I fell more behind. So, several catch up posts are to come. Luckily, I recently started keeping notes on every day I’m out so I’ve got references to see use for catchup.

I spoke with Trainer J about my issues with lifting his feet before our lesson. She lifted it once and said its likely to be a time and repetition thing with him. So we got on with the riding part of the lesson. I tried to show her the issue with the left turn we had been having. But of course once I had a trainer watching, Ezio was perfect.

Over a few repetitions and doing some figure eights, Trainer J identified that he was falling out over his right shoulder and said that was probably a contributor to the broken left turn. She wanted me to ride bent to the right while going right and bent to the right while going left. Not just in the lesson but do that for a while. It was nice to be able to learn this during the lesson as I really got a good handle on the feel of catching his shoulder with my right aids.

My goofball

Trainer J said she thought he was ready for smaller figures and had us start doing some smaller serpentines. He managed to hold himself quite well and she commented that he definitely wouldn’t have been able to make the smaller turns during the previous lesson. I also got a nicely ridden compliment and I was pleased with that.

She wanted to know what else I wanted to work on, maybe canter? I said that if there was something else she though we should work on, I’d rather focus on that since I knew that his balance with the canter would be better with more muscle. So we worked on our transitions again.

Ezio had gotten better than the previous lesson. Not a lot, but enough you could tell. He still wanted to slam down into the halt since putting his butt under him is hard. Trainer J had us practice transitioning to the walk and back up across the long diagonal. We do our lesson in a very large arena and the diagonal is very long. She said that sometimes the long distance helps baby horses move forward since they feel less confined.

We did a lot of transitions and they got better but he also started anticipating so I knew that I would have to be careful when working on this on my own to vary up the place that we are doing the transitions so he is listening and not assuming he knows where to go.

I love having lessons because I get so much to work with on my own time after them. I’m definitely excited to see where we go with more lessons under out belts.

Its difficult for me to tell, but I think he’s gaining some weight and muscle. ❤

Lesson and Catchup

Ack! Where’d the time go? I literally had a blog post open and ready to write in last Sunday and it just… never happened. But I shall do my best to catch up now!

First, the bestest boy. Scarlet is doing good. I feel like this last week I figured out a good schedule and rhythm for my mornings. He still gets his walks every day and grooming on the days when I’m not riding Ezio or when I have more time in my day. On the two weekdays where I’m riding, he only gets about a 10 minute walk and his stretches. It’s only been one week so it’s not a good dataset but he seems to be doing well with this system so far.

Now the second bestest body! I had my first lesson on Ezio! It was a week ago Friday so it has been some time since then. But it was a great lesson!

Obviously the first thing I did was ask Trainer J what she thought of the saddle fit. She thought it would do okay. It didn’t strike her as fitting particularly terribly and might last a bit while he fills out a bit more. I just need to keep track of if he develops any soreness. Then Ezio really wanted to make sure he introduced himself so she spent a bit of time petting him while I talked about how we’d been riding in the handful of rides that we’d done. I talked about being very soft with my hands and mostly working on steering. She was not worried about how slowly I was taking it and that I wasn’t cantering very often.

We started with the walk for the lesson and she immediately told me not to walk for him. Ezio likes to shuffle along. He does have a forward walk when I asked for it, but apparently I was getting it with my legs and then keeping it with my seat by having a very driving seat. She wanted me to only follow with my hips, not drive. I was to ask for him to walk forward in front of my legs, escalating my cue until I got what I wanted and then leave it. I also needed to be quick to correct when he slowed down. This was a bit difficult as I wasn’t as quick as needed and trying to only follow with my hips led me to shutting down my movement. It took a bit of practice but we did get it.

For the trot, we worked on riding bending lines and asking him to move his ribs away from my inside leg to get him to soften. This was actually fairly easy for him, so I think he had the idea of it already in his head. It was nice though to feel him move slightly and for his trot to improve as we went.

While trotting around, he did toss his head as he had been the previous rides. I asked Trainer J if she thought it was a pain response or just him being annoyed. She didn’t think it was a pain response, but she thought it might be him anticipating being forced into the contact, so I should keep my hands as light as possible and let him reach down and find the light contact. He will get there contact-wise. No need to force him.

The last thing we did was work on our downward transitions. Ezio is quite happy to go slower at any moment. I don’t have to fight him to go but the stop is really really there. Too much there actually. I explained to Trainer J that any time we did a downward transition, he just pumped the brakes and dumped all his weight on his forehand. It’s quite jarring.

Heya handsome ❤

So we did a bit of transition work. She wanted me to try to sensitize him to an exhale and ask so there is just a hair more time for him to prepare himself for the transition. This was very difficult with him but we got one really good transition and I called the lesson there after praising the crap out of him. We’d been riding for 45 minutes at that time and I’d been riding him about 30 minutes at a time. I don’t know how often he was worked before I purchased him so I don’t want to push him too hard.

Trainer J is of the same opinion as me. Working him lightly for a while as we build up strength will be good. And after all he is only four. We’ve got plenty of time.

I focused on the things we worked on during the lesson over this last week of riding. I tried my best to not drill him. We’ve definitely gotten better at the walking in front of my leg without me doing the work for him. But the other stuff not as much. The transitions are still crap. So hopefully we can work a bit more on those next lesson. We also broke our steering to the left this week. I couldn’t figure out what was going on but he would NOT TURN LEFT. I could haul him around and he still wanted to ignore it. I think it was my fault, since I kinda figured it out by the end of the week. I think with the softening to the leg cue, I was using my hands a little more to try to get him to soften as well. So I stopped using my hands as anything but barriers to guide the shoulders and added a ton more outside leg along with overexaggerating turning with my core. We kinda got it by Saturday. It was not pretty though.

I’m still super excited as we are making progress together. I find new and exciting (sometimes I say that last part sarcastically) baby things to be working on. Like backing. There was no reverse button installed. He’s actually picking that one up quickly. He’s different from other horses that I’ve ridden as he doesn’t respond to increased pressure at all until he figures out what you’re asking. He just ignores it rather than trying to do something. So everything needs to be clear and in small steps. Another fun baby thing was do not let your focus zone out. Ever. I let my focus drift in a walk break for just a moment and he decided he wanted to hug the fence. My leg being in the way was of no consequence. So now I have a lovely gash in my knee and I need a new pair of breeches.

I can moan about baby behavior but I’m still loving it. I haven’t found a moment where I regret purchasing him yet. Of course, it’s only been a month. Give it a little more and he might find the end of my rope. But I plan to do my best to not let that happen. We will both be calm and try our best together.

Getting to Know You

I’ll get back into doing this on time for a Monday update some day, I swear. This week doesn’t look like it has that day though.

It has been very interesting getting to know a new horse. I’ve technically bought a horse twice before, but that doesn’t really count since it was Scarlet twice over. Yes he had some more experiences that I wasn’t there for but at the core he was the same horse. No real new things to learn. That is definitely not the case this time.

Enjoy your new shavings buddy? lol

Not to say that I’m not enjoying myself! I’m enjoying myself immensely. I’m exhausted but enjoying myself for sure. Ezio is really personable and very easy to work with so far. He’s been very well behaved overall. Lippy and treat focused but very easy to walk around the barn. Easy to groom. Easy to ride.

Having my old old saddle working okay right now means that we’ve been able to ride a bit more consistently now. I’m still trying to figure out my schedule with getting to two barns in one day without neglecting either horse. Its going to be a work in progress. It might not be possible but I’ve got to give it my best shot before I give in and go to the barn twice a day.

So for riding, I have cantered Ezio now. I was on the second day of riding him and I managed to longe him before getting on. He didn’t kick up his heels too badly so I figured we’d probably be fine. And we were. He was very well behaved in the canter. I forgot how delightful his canter felt to me. Did I go to slowly by having a few rides with only trot? Probably. Do I regret taking it slowly? Not in the slightest. He’s a baby. We’ve got time for everything.

I did take Sunday and Monday off from riding as I was exhausted after finishing up my lease rides last week and riding Ezio as well. Monday I did free longe Ezio a bit but he seemed more interested in hanging out with me than running around. Tuesday, I needed to finish up quickly since the farrier was coming for Scarlet so I didn’t longe and just got on. I even pulled Ezio away from his food to do it. He was great for that. No fuss, no attitude.

I did only walk and trot but I was on a limited amount of time. And I was focused on figuring out steering. Steering had felt kind of optional in our previous rides and I wanted to keep my leg attached to my body, not rubbed off on the fence. So I focused on that. I’ve noticed that Ezio seems to hate my hands. He’s definitely reacting to something I’m doing and I wanted to figure that out. Turns out, my hands are very connected to my steering and he was unhappy. He wants leg, weight and some outside rein for a turn, not being directed with the inside rein. Fair enough horse. That is bad on my part.

I’m looking forward to more of these little discoveries. Figuring out what works for him and figuring out what I need to show him so that he understands what I’m asking while riding. We’ve got our first lesson scheduled for Friday and that should be very fun.

Bienvenido!

I probably should have written this post so much earlier but things have been hectic lately so this is when it’s happening.

Say hello to Ezio! (Eht-zee-oh) I got a second horse!

After Scarlet retired from riding late October 2019 due to his neurological issues, I knew I wanted a second horse. But that was so far from a reality at that point. We had purchased our house two months prior and were extremely house poor. So I thought about it, dreamed about it, but did not act on it.

Then, late last year we were in a financial position where making a second horse happen was a possibility. My budget was small when I started looking in September so I didn’t find anything much. If you haven’t been looking, the horse market has been quite wild for a long time. So anything in my budget generally had problems. Most of them weren’t things I was willing to risk. So I waited and saved. I definitely wasn’t patient. (Thanks L and Ruth!) But I kept looking. I do kinda want to do a post about the horses I tried and the frustrations of searching for a horse. But I’m trying to figure out how to not talk to specifically about the horses I’ve looked at. Some of them are still on the market and my opinion on them is only my opinion. So that might take a while.

Most of my photos are from this angle or similar. He wants to be nose in my face or in my hands all the time.

So I’ll just give a summary of how I found Ezio here. I found a facebook ad for him. He was local and in my then price range. I asked about him and got a video. When asking questions, the seller didn’t label him as forward so I passed on him initially. Then I thought about it more and decided to follow up a couple of weeks later. I tried him and was immediately thinking “Shit, I like him.” I tried him again the following week and decided to move forward with the PPE. PPE got delayed once but nothing major showed up and I purchased him on April 16 and then brought him to the barn Trainer J works out of on Wed the 20th.

He’s a four year old technically ottb though he never raced nor has published workouts. He’s tall. Vet says hes 17-17.1h though she used a tape on him which isn’t as accurate as sticking him. He’s tall and that’s pretty much as much as I care about. I wasn’t looking for tall so his height is unimportant to me. He is sensitive when I ride him and very person focused. He’s also lacking in a few ground manners and very pushy when it comes to cookies. We’ve already had a few discussions about manners and he’s getting better each time I work with him.

I threw my old saddle on him when I first got him settled in and it definitely doesn’t fit. He’s got some decent sized withers but is very skinny still. He’s a bit of a hard keeper so getting weight and muscle on him will help with that but not for the immediate need of a saddle to ride him in. I was fully planning on getting a saddle and needing to get a new one within the next couple of years but I figured I’d take my trainer up on her offer to try her saddles out for fit first.

He’s cute. ❤

Two of her saddles looked possible and I hopped on him for the first time on Monday. The saddle I chose did not fit me. It fit him nicely and the sweat pattern was good but it tipped me forward in my pelvis until I felt like I was going to go face first into the dirt. We only walked and trotted due to me feeling unstable. That saddle was a wintec dressage saddle and it reminded me that I never got rid of my old wintec AP saddle. So I excavated that and tried it on him on Wednesday.

The sizing looked okay and my trainer got to look at it as well. She had some sort of sizing guide she placed around his withers and said he’s hovering between a medium-narrow and a medium seat at the moment. Of course, that’s mostly a guide and not a guarantee. I believe the AP saddle is a medium but its been years since I bought it so I have no idea. We rode and I felt waaaayyy more secure. I still kept the ride to a walk and trot because Ezio was pretty hot at first. He came from a barn where he got half day turnout with other horses. That’s pretty unusual for around here and unfortunately I cannot provide that for him. He’s been getting walks, turnout and lunges with me but its not the same. And while dealing with the saddle, I haven’t been working him enough to get the energy out. Hopefully that will change soon.

Even though he was hot, he was very good. He kept spooking at the birds and squirrels around the arena so I took him in a large circle in the center of the arena so we could be further away from distractions. After a while, he settled into the work and was much less up and tense while trotting. If I hadn’t had work, I would have probably tried to canter but I had a limited amount of time to ride and preferred to keep it low key during my time crunch.

Post first ride!

So my old AP saddle looks like it will fit him okay for now. I’m getting him a nice half pad to give him some more cushion and just a little bit of padding since the saddle slid a tiny bit while riding. I’ll keep riding him in this and checking to see how he feels after the rides. Hopefully everything goes well in that regard and I can hold off on buying a saddle for a bit longer.

But even without having consistent rides, I’m so ridiculously happy. Scarlet will always be my bestest boy and I’d give half my bodily organs to have him still ridable. But he isn’t and this is the reality we have. He’s fat and happy being retired and, most importantly, still here with me. And I’ve got a new baby to learn how to ride and figure out what shape our partnership is going to take. This is going to be fun!

A Canter Lesson

I’ve done at least one lesson with Trainer J that I haven’t written about. I got bad about updating. I realized, after the removal of some extra work load at work, that I was really really close to burnout and kinda dropped everything to chill a bit and regain some mental balance. Which did help me but didn’t help with posting.

For most of our lessons, I’ve been only walking and trotting. While being limited would usually ignore me, it was much better due to me wanting to focus on me instead of this horse. But this last time, we did end up cantering.

I was tacking up Zoe this time. While it was nice to come to a horse all tacked up and ready for me, it did feel disconcerting not touching the horse while grooming etc. So doing it myself was nice. I managed to get all the tack on correctly which yay me. I’ve never put on a dressage saddle before. I think Zoe had just gone through her heat cycle or was still in it. She was sensitive to me touching her back half and had some crud trailing down her legs and on her lady parts. I told Trainer J about it so someone could wash her later when it wasn’t cold morning time.

I warmed up like I normally would. Trainer J let me do it and just called out adjustments to me. Then she asked what I wanted to work on. I explained that lately I’ve been feeling like a muppet during canter transitions, both up and down. I feel like I’m flopping around and flailing ineffectually a lot of the time. So we worked on the transition up.

Wow was that a lot of hard work. I was exhausted by the end. But I had some serious breakthroughs. Basically, what we discovered is it has been a long long time since I haven’t had to make the canter transition happen. I’ve had to use my whole body to get the green horses to do it, so I’ve not been asking properly for a while.

It was amazing to work with a trained horse on that. I really got the feeling of the inside leg as kind of a pivot point when on the girth getting that flexion to the inside and the scoop with the outside leg. I ended up needing to hold Zoe’s face a little more so she went up rather than out into the trot. It was a little difficult for me to ask properly and wait a moment to see if she got it but it worked really well once I put all the pieces together.

I did get a chance to try it more properly on Cav and even that showed a remarkable difference in how he responded to me. So my bad habits weren’t helping there either. But now I’ve got this to practice and I’m so happy!

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