Tuesday, October 27, 2015

happier times: a lesson with Bali

Thanks everyone for your kind thoughts about the abrupt end to our season. My leg seems to be doing ok (will see a specialist today to get the full story), but the crutches are hell. Using them is more painful than the leg itself, which is crazy. Getting in and out of my 3rd floor apt is overwhelmingly difficult. So admittedly I'm wallowing in self pity. Ugh.

Luckily I have the perfect antidote for the depressed mind: pictures and video from a lesson at OF with Bali!

just add hay and bali is a happy pony
Obviously none of my well laid plans for the weekend ended up mattering, but the idea had been to save Isabel's legs for show day on Sunday and just focus on our flat work on Saturday. And since the OF lessons are fairly jump-centric, I figured I'd just take Bali instead to get the full benefit of the lesson, and then ride Isabel afterward at home.

he looked around a bit, but was very quiet at the trailer. dug right into the hay too. good boy!
Plus, as previously mentioned, I wanted to try a lesson with Bali to get help in making sure I'm on the right track with him. All too often I settle for 'good enough' when really I ought to push for a little more. So lessons are a good way for keeping me honest there.

wick was maybe a little surprised to be the 'adult' for once (he's only 7, i believe) but was a nice calm buddy for bali
And also I wanted trainer P's opinion of him, since I'm obviously totally smitten and as such, am blinded to his atrocious fetlocks, parrot mouth, and suspiciously weak hind end. P's general assessment? Yep he's pretty darn cute, and yep I actually fit on a horse WAY better than I do on Isabel (tho Izzy and I do well enough as a matched pair). She encouraged me to continue taking advantage of riding him while I can, but nothing really beyond that.

bali settled in to the lesson beautifully
Really tho he was a star. We walked around on a loose rein for maybe 10 minutes looking at everything while waiting for the lesson to begin. Bali eyeballed a couple areas but it only took a lap or two before we felt good enough to cut the cord between us and Wick and venture out for our own solo explorations.

short one stride grids are apparently quite easy for baby
Then once we actually went to work, I had a little bit more forward of a Bali than I'm used to. It was nice! The novelty of a new location made him much more responsive to my 'go' aids and he trotted and cantered around quite nicely. Still misfired into the left lead, and had a few moments of expressive leaping at the far end of the arena, but nothing major. He always comes right back from those moments anyway.

he don't care about no astro turf oxers
Trainer P had us start with a couple trot poles, then a small X, then a small vertical, just to get a sense for what we were working with here. And it was a very nice start - Bali was able to demonstrate both his talent and good honest nature, but also his greenness.

wheeee!!!!
So P's prescription became: one stride grids! Haha, I'm pretty sure that's her favorite prescription for all horses anyway lol, but they have been super educational for Izzy so why not let Bali have a try too? I was a little nervous about whether he'd figure out how to adjust his rolling, ground-covering stride, but he's a good thinker and made it happen. 

We trotted in to the grid and knocked everything down a couple times, but as the heights progressively grew he became more and more nonchalant about it. This is not a horse that likes to repeat the same mistake over and over. 


We trotted in to the grid then bent left to the oxer with the astro turf covered barrel underneath a couple times - a tricky line for Mr. Lands Right & Drifts Right Every Time (funny - he's the total opposite of Isabel) - but he always managed to make it work. Sadly that's not on the videos tho.

he says, 'lemme at it!!!'
Then we moved on to very basic course work - still starting with trotting through the one stride grid each time, then long straight approaches to a bunch of singles - three oxers and one vertical, all at varying heights.

never quite found a good distance to this fence, but he's a super honest guy and gave it a good effort anyway
And the horse was really just so good. I luv him. So hard. Lol. It was a perfect lesson for me too, bc P was able to help me identify how to help him better (like keeping an eye out for when he gets too low in his poll and heavy on the forehand when approaching a fence). And also, as he became more tired - remember he's not at all fit right now - it became more imperative for me to really ride the rhythm and help him find the fence.

#lovehim
So we got a couple clunkier distances than normal - but in a way that's kinda reassuring to me. The horse is so talented and easy that it is tempting to keep raising the bar and going higher and farther and faster. But he really is just a baby, and it would be awful to scare him or undermine his confidence.


Therefore having a ride where he kinda has to deal with less than perfect distances (a little tight here, a little gappy there) at heights all well within his comfort zone, and figure out how to make it happen anyway might be nicely educational for him. Obviously I would rather do my job a little better... but eh, I consider it part of developing a horse's sense of humor, and that's never a terrible thing for a lesson pony.

he has the sweetest softest expressions
After the lesson, B asked for permission to hack out to the cross country course to school the water a little bit in anticipation of her BN debut the following day at Olde Hope. Wick has gotten better and better about water - but can still be a little wiggly, and has previously given drops into water the hairy eyeball. So B wanted that little bit of reassurance.

all the pretty fall colors!
And of course I was more than happy to accompany her and Wick out there with Mr Balimurphy in tow. He's been schooling before at Tranquility and ran BN at a schooling HT at Plantation in May, so he's no stranger. But it had been a while, that's for sure.

hacking out to the xc field like nbd
He's just so quiet tho. Such a good boy. Looking around at everything, sure, and I was happy to stay close behind Wick on the way out. But he was also happy to strike out ahead while B handled gates and all too. Very bold!

water is apparently for playing
And he marched right into the water too, definitely nbd. I didn't do any actual schooling with him aside from walking up and down the lowest banks into water, and he did it all just fine. Balked slightly at the down banks, but it was only ever a moment's hesitation before he stepped down nice and quiet.

my camera doesn't do the fall foliage justice
And he didn't mind standing around or walking around while B did a little trotting and cantering through the water. Good boy!

good boy plowed through the hay super quickly, then stuck his head into the trailer to keep snacking on the bags in there
Then back to the trailer, where I promptly loved all over him, untacked him, and then broke my damn leg. Ughhhhh fml.

It's super frustrating to get so excited about this horse and then be immediately sidelined from doing more with him. However his lease rider has been back at it with a vengeance - and even rode him in a lesson with Dan last week. Plus he's been getting back into regular lessons. This is all good news. And I plan to be around while his leaser schools him to maybe help her out and keep the pony on track. Gotta get my fix somehow, right?

35 comments:

  1. Hopefully the specialist has good news and 3 flights of stairs on crutches gives you the right to have a pity party.
    Bali is soooo cute and looks like he is doing really well.

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    1. he is so super cute haha. looking at pictures of his floofy forelock and ear fuzz is almost enough to cure any and all woes ;)

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  2. Aw baby horse is doing so well! And good job with him - the fact that his lease rider is able to bring him to lessons with Dan and he's going back into the lesson program is a testament to the work you've put in!

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    1. i'm so glad he's back to being ridden again! i think it just took a lot of the students by surprise when he started acting out - they've probably never really dealt with a horse this green and didn't realize that's part of the process. it wasn't fun for them either. but now i think they understand better after seeing me ride him (and seeing that he still pulls the same hijinks, but can work past them). so we'll see!

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  3. What a great schooling. Good baby horse! Fingers crossed the specialist has some good news for you.

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    1. thanks! he's so good! and yea i'm hoping for good news too

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  4. Can I just say. ..I think you and mister Bali are MTB...meant to be. Just sayin....

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  5. Can I just say. ..I think you and mister Bali are MTB...meant to be. Just sayin....

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  6. Having been on crutches for 16 weeks when I destroyed my ankle, I completely feel your pain. The sound of someone on crutches still makes m cringe. My advice? As silly as you look, go up long flights of stairs backwards on your butt.

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    1. ugh 16 weeks?!?! that sounds awful... ugh, i can't even imagine (and i'm only a couple days in, ugh, kill me). and yea i'm starting to figure out the stairs bit a little better - but i definitely have to scoot on my butt in the sections that spiral (bc obviously my 100 yr old home has sections of spiral staircase. obvi. ugh fml).

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  7. Ahhh!! so fun! I wish I could come to these lessons...I really think Tillie would greatly benefit from this person. Glad Bali had a bit more go!

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    1. well i'll have an open spot on my trailer for the next couple months - you are welcome to take advantage of that on any saturday afternoon when you're not teaching :D

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  8. Ugh your poor leg. What rotten luck.

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    1. 'rotten' is a pretty apt description :(

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  9. Watching Bali's video--Iove him. Sending healing vibes for a fast healing fracture!

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    1. thanks! i pretty much love him too! i could watch videos of him jumping over and over again (and actually, i might already do that lol) - even in a ride like this where he got a little tired and everything wasn't perfect. he's just so good!!!

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  10. His forelock is SO CUTE. And so is his jump :D

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  11. What a good baby!

    PS what are your half chaps- I love that color!

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    1. he's the best baby (and no i'm not biased - that's a fact lol). and those are actually my tall boots - Mondoni Kingstons, first discovered through the $900fb pony, like so many things haha. you can find them (and other brown boots by the same maker) at divosa.com

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    1. he really is!!! he's just so pleasant to be around :)

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  13. Bali is super cute! Fingers crossed you get a better picture of your leg and the road to recovery and return to Bad Assdom!

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    1. thanks! details will hopefully be known soon - but i'm already plotting my return haha. at least with the coming of winter there won't be any huge pressure to rush back into shape too fast...

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  14. I hope the specialist has good things to say. Can you get a walking cast instead of crutches. I cannot do crutches because I am a weakling so I got walking casts for both my leg fractures. Mine were only fractures, not full breaks though.

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    1. specialist reaffirmed what they said at the clinic - non-weight bearing for 4-6 weeks, but in boot, no cast. and no surgery.so pretty much not amazing, but also more or less the news i was hoping to hear. i'm non weight bearing (ie no walking cast) bc it's a full break - but the break is NOT displaced and we want to keep it that way!

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    2. At least with a boot you can shower like a normal person, right?

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    3. yes, thank god. the boot is definitely among the easiest of potential outcomes here. phew!

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  15. gah! i hate getting behind on blog reading- curse you, works trips! I read the first sentence of this post and was like...wut?! I'm so sorry, Emma :( I wish I could trade injuries with you (I sprained both my ankles last week on my work trip doing something incredibly stupid) I mean if you have to be injured at all, I wish the one of us who actually has horses to ride could get back into the saddle sooner. I'm gonna try and ride tomorrow night for my lesson...but we'll see how it goes. ice pack cheers- for a rapid recovery!

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    1. aw thanks :( bummer about your ankles too and good luck riding!!! it's definitely no fun being laid up regardless. here's for rapid recoveries all around!

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  16. Man he's cute! You make a lovely pair!

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    1. aw thank you! i really really am totally nuts about this sweet guy :)

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