Tuesday, July 26, 2016

beating the heat out in the woods

Lest she be forgotten, Isabel is still the leading lady around these parts. It just... doesn't really seem like it, does it. Oops.

I've written it out fairly explicitly already, but mostly in passing rather than as a main point. The gist is: Isabel is on vacation this month. I'm traveling and only putting in 1-2 weekly rides on any horse, let alone on Isabel. That's not really enough to justify putting her through the rigors of an intense lesson in 90* temperatures.

coolin down with a mouthful of greenery
The way it basically went down was, the last couple rides after our fantastic Stephen Birchall clinic last month were fractious and not enjoyable even in the slightest. Taken individually, there's nothing particularly meaningful there. I didn't ride super well, Isabel didn't give anything away. Ya know. Typical incremental steps towards something that will one day be nice.

bambi!!!
Except. We had been having an awful lot of not nice lately, and the balance had tipped too far into the negative. So much so that I preferred not riding seriously at all. And so. We haven't schooled seriously since.

Nbd, tho, right? It's not like she's going to forget anything.

see the baby?
For all of July, we have only gone on trails. Or. Ya know. Done nothing at all. Doesn't really matter. And that's a pretty liberating feeling. The mare came out on that awesome paper chase in Fair Hill, then went feral and completely neglected for a couple weeks until I pulled her out for another quick trail ride last weekend.

"we're still friends tho, right?" - isabel
I think she legitimately was happy for the attention too - happy to get curried, and happy to do carrot stretches (obvi lol), and happy to wear the snackamore again and go out for a tasting tour of the woods.

good mare
I'm sure she would be equally happy to go back to work too. And maybe we will go there again next month. I'm frankly not too concerned about putting a timeline on it.

so hot out that the barn swallows actually sat still enough to get photographed
It just feels like a good moment for a rest, ya know? It's so hot out. And (not to beat the same drum again and again) I'm just not currently able to keep a horse in full work. Add in the fact that the arena at Isabel's barn is in a condition that I deem unrideable... and. Well. All signs point to not bothering with it for now.

hot cat is hot
Especially when I'm frankly enjoying riding other random horses so much. It's been SO LONG since I've been able to ride different things regularly and I'm REALLY enjoying it!

totally zonked
Plus, as has been made readily apparent by every one of them - there's sufficient work that needs doing on my own ride, without worrying deeply about the horse itself. So we'll see what happens. I'm not ending my lease on Isabel any time soon but I'm also open to playing the field.

Have you ever taken a little vacation from your horse? Sent it out to pasture for a season while you focus on other things? Did it work out for you and were you happy to get back to the horse and a routine? Or.... no?

22 comments:

  1. I regularly go through lulls between saddle time. I was going to say serious saddle time, but as I don't take lessons like I'd like I don't think my arena wanderings can truly be called serious saddle time 😶
    My girls don't seem to hate me for the lack of riding I give them, horses are typically happy go - lucky creatures. Mine like having a job to do, but equally like being left alone to stuff themselves on turnout...so much like their owner really 😂

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  2. The only time I've taken an extended break from Roger was last summer, after we crashed a jump and he was on stall rest for almost 3 months. I'll be completely honest: stall rest is the actual worst and I was totally miserable every single day. I did have some catch rides here and there, but there's nothing like the familiarity of "your horse," leased, owned or otherwise. There are currently some external factors that have significantly limited my riding time during the week, which motivates me even more to go out and ride on the weekends. I guess being forced to take days off has increased my willingness and motivation to ride when I can?

    Here's hoping this little break will be exactly what you need.

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  3. Henry's currently enjoying a bit of a rest too, before we start amping up again for fall!

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  4. I think breaks from heavy work are great for horses. I really wish that our flies weren't so bad right now because trail rides sound fabulous when it's so hot. I'm loving the updated snackamore!

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  5. I frequently find myself in lulls of riding either due to other life responsibilities, weather or just not feeling it. I have always found that I come back stronger, more motivated and the horse was better for the time away from a frustrated or lack luster rider.

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  6. I'm either really ON or I'm barely riding...haha. I spent last year being ON the whole year (chasing points for our state association) and consequently most of this year has been "off". Ruby definitely doesn't mind. We still hack out frequently and we're doing more random things and we're having fun. But I have no doubt that when I'm ready to get serious, she'll be right there with me.

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  7. I also go through highs and lows. I've got an event coming up this weekend and then nothing for 6 weeks so I'm looking forward to doing as little (or as much) as I like for awhile, with zero expectations.

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  8. Eh, I'd say a break came at a rather good time for you considering the new job. Take it in stride, learn as much as you can. Heck, try some more of that long lining if you wanna mix it up.

    Also, I haven't dealt with barn swallows in a while, and that pic hit me right in the PTSD

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  9. I planned out this year with the idea of having a full, busy, all-out season of eventing at BN and doing ALL THE THINGS!! Obviously that hasn't happened, and the things we're doing are turning out to be more laid-back events than I envisioned, and while at first I felt defeated for not being able to be competitive this year, I'm actually pretty okay with our more easygoing summer. Less pressure can be a good thing for horses and humans alike.

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  10. Ries is on a little break right now as I attempt to get mentally healthy again. And you know, stop hitting my head. I didn't plan a busy season because I know I wouldn't be able to do it financially and I'm so happy with just trying to get my life together. I honestly find that I am able to progress faster with a lot of little breaks, it just keeps the horses head in the game.

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  11. Sometimes we go on breaks because of weather, vacations, crazy schedules, and honestly, sometimes, after a bad ride (or multiple weeks of not getting ANYWHERE) I just don't want to ride and deal with it. Luckily my trainer is coming in next weekend so we can address these "I WON'T, I WON'T, I WON'T, NEVER!" tantrums RedMare has been throwing. But yeah, I can't say we've ever come back from a break worse off than we were before it.

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  12. I 100% think that horses and people need to have lulls in life in order to survive happily. :) Don't feel guilty or anything about having to take some time to relax and have fun. It's a good thing!

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  13. This has been the Summer/year of vacations for Murray. He got pretty much all of March (I took like 4 lessons), most of June (same deal), and now I'm riding 2-4 days a week tops. I take a few lessons, do a few dressage rides, and find myself generally in awe of his belly. He's been fantastic, and the minor issues of spookiness that come with a lack of riding notwithstanding, and really fun to ride.

    The only problem is that people keep saying "maybe you should just keep him on this riding schedule forever, he seems to like it!" and I'm like... does that mean you think he hates real work and DOESN'T want to be a sport horse? Because I'm not sure I like that option honestly.

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  14. Last week I was tired from dumb dumb Reef, it was hot and muggy, and I just didn't feel like riding. So I didn't. And I didn't let myself feel guilty about it. Saturday I came out for a lesson and Cosmo and were both ON IT. The week off did us both good. If you're not feeling it, time off is a good alternate to getting into a fight with your horse or yourself.

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  15. Sounds like an incredibly wonderful way to spend the summer. I typically give Georgie 2 wks to a month off after our eventing season. We trail ride and play, and I always really enjoy it. I think Georgie does too!

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  16. Yeah this one time I gave my horse three months off and then accidentally got a second horse three weeks later. #oops

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  17. It's good to take the pressure off! I am actually a perfectionist (anyone who has seen my horses or car would dispute that) and I get soooo frustrated if things don't occur exactly as I think they should. That part of my personality results in me taking frequent breaks. :S P.S. I LOLed at "snackamore" hahahah so awesome

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  18. Vacation is the name of the game with endurance for sure! ...and apparently for Griffin too who is brewing an access or some other relatively mild hoof issue and has been off for a week. -_- (progressively better but not 100%) Vacations equal a horse ready to come back into work more wager than before though!

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  19. I think it can help in some situations. Sometimes if you just feel like it's nothing but a battle, throwing a horse out to pasture can be good for you and them until you get that "I want to ride" feeling back again.

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  20. I've been feeling burnt out myself after one successful schooling show. All I feel like doing is petting Gavin and kissing his nose. Seriously. When I ride, it's seriously like play time "look at my welsh cob jog like a western pleasure horse" or "watch me desperately try to get a hunter canter Out of him". He kinda hates me for the latter piece, but riding is supposed to be fun.
    I don't think forcing it is ever good for you or the horse. Enjoy your beautiful trail rides!

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  21. A break now and then is a great idea, especially when you are still trying to adjust to this new busy life and dealing with tough riding issues. Just let the pressure off of yourself and regroup. The last time I let go, sent a horse off to pasture and regrouped, I came back with a different horse and found my love of riding again. Its not all Disney story book perfection, but the good outweighs the struggles in a way that makes it feel worth it all again. Good luck and enjoy this down time!

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  22. Thanks for clearing that up... I was almost going to start scrolling back through your posts for one about Isabel losing the leading roll. I know I'm way behind and all but what a change to have missed. Glad to see the two of enjoying time together and avoiding the heat.

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