Wednesday, February 24, 2016

blurry brown blobs!!

Last week was the first in a while that we could fit in 4 full rides. Exciting! One of which was meant to be a trail ride at home... Except Isabel came in from the field extremely touchy, defensive and sore in strange spots across her hind end. Poor thing was VERY uneasy - even when I broke up our grooming routine with walking and grazing breaks (where she volunteered to lunge around me on the lead rope...).

Trail ride plans were scrapped (I predicted much jigging and unhappiness from all parties) instead for 40min of just plain walking in the little arena, with the potential for stretchy trot should the mare feel up for it. The wisdom in this choice was confirmed when Isabel promptly bashed my face with her neck then reared when I swung into the saddle. Geez mare, I get it, you don't feel good.

spot the loose horse!
She looked much better by Saturday - less tight and worried - so I opted to still take her to our lesson, esp given trainer P is always a good resource for sussing out issues with the mare. Isabel gradually worked out of the stiffness in her hind end while we warmed up - but we opted to keep things pretty light through the ride anyway. Nothing huge and only a couple trips. 

turn n burn baby!
And that's the beauty of getting to ride more often - I feel less pressure to "make it count" when perhaps the mare isn't at her best. Esp given that Isabel still had her game face on, it would be easy to just keep pushing unnecessarily.

oxer landing left!
As it was tho, keeping it simple proved perfect. Isabel grew looser and more comfortable as the ride progressed and we had some really nice jumping efforts through P's roll back exercises.

course 1: soooo ya wanna learn to land the lead, eh? 
Nothing really momentous to report on - the jumps stayed small and we focused on the basics of planning the turns, staying balanced, and landing the leads.

run mare RUN!
I'm still just loving how Isabel feels in the bridle these days when we jump. Initially I thought it was a function of feeling good from the time off while my broken bone knitted back together... But now I'm suspecting it's actually all the dressage lessons.

oxer landing right!
Our connection has changed completely - Isabel is pushing up into the contact such that our canter feels way more adjustable. Even in the tiny indoor with tight turns, I'm starting to feel a greater degree of balance and like we can still move forward to the fences from a compressed stride.

course 2: soooo ya wanna get lost, eh? lol
We were also pretty solid at landing the leads in this lesson - tho I'm actually not gonna read too much into it bc Isabel got really good at it last year in the indoor too, but then reverted back to always landing right once we got back out to bigger arenas. I think the closeness of the walls in the indoor kinda forces the issue, ya know?

isabel's face says it all while i try to figure out where the hell i was supposed to go
Anyways, the jumping was fun. At least, when I wasn't bumbling around off course haha.

mare so fierce! and emma put those heels down!!
And I pretty much hopped off as soon as we finished that second course to help take videos and give Izzy a break. Esp since I suspected that other lesson mates - like Kaitlyn!! - were gonna ask to give the barrels a shot, and I did not want to be lured into temptation given how Isabel started the day.


Part of me worried that I was just being a wuss and that Isabel would have been fine... but she jumped them so beautifully last week I didn't see any point in pushing for it again when she had some stiffness issues going on. So we just watched and cheered the others on. 'Twas all good.

Then lesson mate R (who will be out of the saddle for an extended period of time bc surgery, boooooo) asked if we could hack out around the property since it was her last hurrah for a while. Um, Yes Please! 
So I hopped back on the initially incredulous Isabel, and we got our trail ride in after all!! And everyone was allllll smiles :)
It was kinda wild, actually, watching Isabel's whole demeanor change. She suddenly stretched alllll the way out into an easy ground eating amble, with soft eyes and ears just looking around at everything. Never mind that she's never been out there before.
Pretty mare. We really need to get out onto the trails more often. 
Plus it's always nice having such good company!! 
It was over all too soon tho, and we turned around to head back to the trailers. 
All the horses were all so brave and happy too - all three in this pic are young green OTTBs (Bali, Tillie and Birdie) and they didn't even peek at this little bridge crossing!
Good mare. I promise to get you outdoors more often soon!!! C'mon spring, we're ready for you!!! 

27 comments:

  1. I know the feeling. Our trails have been closed since it was hunting season and I've been wanting to get out and do something besides walk trot in circles.

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    1. so frustrating to not be able to get out! ours aren't closed (tho they can get quite tricky in bad footing) - but on the weekends i'm usually going to a lesson, and on weekdays i'm not there til dark so... le sigh.

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  2. Maybe she yanked something out of whack due to the mud? Glad she's feeling better, though!

    Due to lack o' decent footing, I've been stuck in walk-trot land -- it's so wet that if I do much more than that, it tears up the fields. I'm going to add a day of "Roads and Tracks" (shoulder of low-traffic country roads -- he's traffic safe and needs the exposure) to our work once the time change rolls through but he needs shoes for that. Must schedule farrier...

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    1. ha i love the idea of 'roads and tracks' - and wish we had safer roads nearby to do the same thing! it's definitely a super effective way to just lay on those miles

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    2. I live about 4 miles from Breezewood, smack up against the state forest. As long as I'm not on Route 30 or in Breezewood proper, traffic is fairly minimal. Plus we have a covered bridge to ride over. (I'll have to get some pix once it gets nice out.)

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  3. Replies
    1. i like documenting exercises for future reference - if you're ever looking for ideas check out my "course diagram" label (in the little cloud thingy at the bottom of my sidebar)

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  4. Awww she's so pretty! I was hypnotized by her tail in the video. It's quite expressive!
    I can't wait for the weather to warm up and dry out all this mud. Trail riding will officially commence, and I feel bad for them having to walk around in it in the field, it's just too much for them, poor horses. This has been the muddest winter I remember for sure. I hope she feels better quickly.

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    1. lol her tail is pretty much the best! but yea, this mud has got to go... our trails don't get too too terrible bc they're all hills and as such get a lot of drainage.. i just never have a chance to get out there

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  5. Replies
    1. ha me too! they were so flat and wide and pleasant compared to most of ours at home - and we really only explored one path out and back bc we had limited time, but i think the property is actually covered with them, esp as they wind through the fields and xc course

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  6. Looking good. I find I struggle to talk myself into schooling rides cause the trails are so inviting.

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    1. i mean.... when the trails beckon it's pretty hard to say no! we only have about 4 miles of loops at home tho, so they can get old fast too... but in an ideal world we'd get out once every week or two

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  7. She looks so happy on those trails! I can't wait to do more trails with my boy. It's so nice to let them just have a fun ride and take charge a little.

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    1. seriously! she is really the most excellent trail horse now too - i actually insist on always having a neck strap for the express purpose of never actually touching the reins, since she'll stop and steer (if need be) just from the strap... and she just loves the change in scenery and focus

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  8. Trails look fun! Glad you're getting saddle time again.

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  9. You two make small arenas/tight jump and turns look easy! :)

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    1. i seriously thank my lucky stars that isabel is so handy! she really doesn't love the confined spaces but makes it work all the same

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  10. What a fun ride. Glad Isabel is feeling better.

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    1. ugh i was super relieved she was feeling better too... i think springtime can just be a hard time for these mares... oh. and mud. so much mud!

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  11. Can I say I giggle every time you make a comment about the "loose horse"? I also have one of those wild ones that won't really go anywhere. Most of the time (she is a red-headed girl). Fortunately, I wasn't the one that had to chase her down when someone got off of her to set a fence, lol.

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    1. haha yea isabel is pretty awesome about standing around hanging out... except for, um, those other times... lol!

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  12. I am totally stealing this course sometime!

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    1. Oooh definitely do! It's not really so different from just two jumps on the diagonal... But I think having the three jumps in each direction really does ask new and different questions as the angles of the turns and approaches and landings all change significantly as you go down the line. Plus putting a bending line between fences is fun too!

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  13. OMG take me with you on those trails

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    1. come east and we can make that happen ;)

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