Friday, December 15, 2017

that freshly clipped zest!

It's been hard to feel inspired taking pictures lately bc.... well.. Everything is so... brown. The horse. The walls around the horse. The floor below the horse. The mud on the blanket on the horse. Everything. Brown.

skeptical brown face is skeptical
But I swear - for all my moaning and groaning about hoping to one day maybe get to do fun stuff with my horse again, we are in fact actually currently doing stuff too. It's just not super duper amazing exciting stuff, and is barely even made colorful by all these accompanying brown photos.

by jove, that's an open air arena! what on earth happened to the wall?!?
Mostly tho, we've just been schooling the most fundamental of stuff. Like, not even "dressage" fundamentals. Just.... riding horse fundamentals. Walk, trot, canter, steer. And. Uh. Yea I've started riding with the neck strap again bc sometimes the ride gets a tad bumpy.

if you just went by the mirror tho, it wouldn't look any different. just.... brown. 
Charlie's a very communicative horse tho. Which is a double edged sword. Sometimes I just wish he was a little tougher.... but then again it's honestly maybe possibly a little bit preferable sometimes to have a horse who tells you (clearly, so clearly) when something is buggin him.

behind that majestic horse tho, and behind that mirror... yup. that wall done got torn down!
Something is currently clearly buggin Charlie. And it's not just knockin the rust off or the residual creakiness that came from being on stall rest so long. It's not because he's lame. So next on the docket is equipment failures. You may recall this time last year I made the discovery that my oh-so-fancy anatomic leather girth was apparently the thorn (literally) in Charlie's side. And when I switched to a fuzzy girth, many many of our dinosaur-in-tar-pit moments went extinct.

this skeptical brown pony who would like to know wtf i'm doing taking pictures when clearly the wall is gone
My current hope is that we'll alight on some similar discovery this time too. Everything is on the chopping block. I've grown suspicious of the dressage saddle in particular, so that's on an unpaid leave of absence until the fitter can look at it and either deem it fixable for Charlie or a total loss. At this point, I'm actually planning on replacing it either way - unless the fitter reeeeally likes it.

horses outside The Wall proved to be very upsetting. unclear why.... i blame that fresh clip for letting the sillies in
The fitter will also take a looksie at the jump saddle too - which may be more easily adjusted for the horse given it has wool flocking. If she declares that a total loss tho, Charlie will be for sale.
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Lolz just kidding haha. Maybe. Haha. I really like this saddle tho..... But I digress. My point is that everything in Charlie's universe is currently under inspection. Since we already know he's the type of Prince to feel a Pea under 20 Mattresses, nothing is too insignificant during this review!

intermission from the all-brown-all-the-time pictures for a little colorful course diagram. keep in mind this arena is 20x40m, and yes those poles are just as close to the wall as they appear. turns are tight, lemme tell ya.
And in the meantime I just try to keep him working with me as best he can. As in the past, ground poles prove excellent in this regard. He still kinda hates me and thinks I'm terribly unfair to ask for canter like, ever, but can reconcile himself enough to the idea when there are ground poles involved.

This particular arrangement (left behind by lesson kiddos) was particularly useful in it's simplicity. I just did figures of 8 over the diagonal poles again and again and again - which, as you might imagine, necessitated many simple changes of lead. Currently Charlie's bugaboo - but again, once he was in the zone of the exercise, he could maybe concede to just pick up the new lead with minimal drama.

how many shades of brown do you think there are in the world?
The bending line exercise was particularly challenging for us bc it wanted a small enough canter to make the turn to the diagonal rail, and a small enough canter to make that 10m half circle turn at the end. Plus since I continued going in the same direction as I started, that bend in the middle actually hinted slightly at counter canter.

We needed the bend too tho bc the distances (measured undoubtedly for ponies) were tough. The four was probably spot on - but way too big a step for lumbering bronto Charlie to make that 10m half circle immediately after. The five was actually right there for us on the right lead, but nowhere to be found on the left lead. Further evidence that we've lost adjustability on that lead.

charlie doesn't care, so long as i hurry the F up with his treat delivery, plz!
So actually a pretty good exercise for where we are right now in regaining fitness. Just technical enough to call us out when our pace was wrong or we were strung out, but also simple enough that the horse could easily understand when he executed it well.

Little rides like this are honestly mostly what we need at this point. Opportunities for me to sorta sit back and guide the horse, with the walls and ground poles serving as "natural aids" in a way. So the exercise itself is clear enough to the horse that he can just get on with being a good boy without questioning what I'm asking every single step (ugh).

Considering the current icy state of the ground.... I guess this type of ride will have to suffice no matter what lol, so we might as well make the best of it! Tho I did learn on this particular evening that the lonnng driveway between the arena and barn is miiiighty sketchy when it's icy.

Charlie slips exactly as much as you would expect a careless oaf like him to slip. Plus for whatever godforsaken reason, leaving the arena (with me on foot - no death wish here!) he got a major bee up his bonnet upon spying other horses through the torn down wall omg and spent the whole walk spooking and snorting and slipping down the icy driveway.

Oh Charlie. I blame that fresh clip...

23 comments:

  1. I think that you are wise to check the saddles. He's changed shape over the last year so it wouldn't be unusual to think that the saddle is no longer working.

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    1. Yea luckily both my saddles are adjustable and I've changed the gullet plates over the past year. I also have a huge variety of half pads - one of which is shimmable - and that's helped me keep up with changes in Charlie's weight and muscling. It's time for an overhaul tho I think.

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  2. I laughed out loud when I read 'then Charlie is for sale' I woke my dogs up laughing so hard. UGH I hope one or both saddles can be adjusted to fit him better. I hope he gets out of his winter blues. AND YES THE WORLD IS JUST SO DULL COLORED RIGHT NOW. AHEM Ours is white again right now (more snow yesterday) and more snow coming today. UGH It is supposed to be 40s on Sunday and i am holding them to this since I have a lesson on Sunday but dullsville, COLD AS EFF (18 this am) and ugh just brown (Or white). Not very inspring I agree! Charlie's new clip is great through (OH SHIT I Forgot it brings the sillies out HA great watch out Sunday, REemus might have a bit of sillies ;) Have a great weekend....

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    1. Oh man, boo to more snow! I keep hoping for it to just stabilize at "above freezing" for a little while and it looks like it actually might next week. Tho turns out I have to go out of town again so I won't even get to capitalize. Wah. And yea glad you liked my jokes lol but no Charlie is NOT for sale ;) not yet at least lol

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  3. Ugh SO BROWN. Or black. Or grey. BLECH. WINTER. But glad you are feeling like you're getting at least a little bit done this time of year!

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    1. Lord knows we are trying! This is the first time I've missed his last barn bc their indoor was nicer. But c'est la vie. I'm grateful to even have the options we do!

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  4. I have the brown blues, too. It's not made better by the omnipresent dark. Sigh. Wishing you an easy enough solution with your saddles. (I'm not 100% sure, but still pretty positive that horse shopping sucks worse than new saddle shopping, lol)

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    1. Yea the dark is really harshing my vibe. I've got this big grand plan to counter act that fact but it keeps getting delayed, womp.

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  5. i LOLLED at 'charlie will be for sale'. last night I was undoing the vets elaborate wrap and when i finally came to the center of the kinder egg I said "okay, i'm sending you back now".

    side note, im totally settng up that exercise as soon as i can find some free space in the indoor. we need to canter some poles. things have been dramatic.

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    1. ughhhhh Indy, stahhhhp :( imho threatening them with being sold for a dollar totally works. sometimes. sorta kinda. if you squint sideways hard enough.

      and yes. ground poles have often proved the perfect distraction for me and charlie when things are otherwise a tad too dramatic for my tastes lol

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  6. Seriously, I think it might be easier to buy a horse to fit our saddles rather than buying a saddle to fit our horse. Love that ground pole exercise!

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    1. ugh yea. i mean i bought super adjustable saddles to help with that - and while this jump saddle was never really a great fit for isabel, it's done a reasonably nice job for charles. the dressage saddle has always seemed like a fine enough fit too, tho it lacks a little bit of clearance but i'm not convinced that can be fixed just by adjusting the gullet plates. it was always kinda a starter dressage saddle anyway tho, so i'm feeling kinda ok with the thought of investing in something nicer now that i know i enjoy the sport. we'll see!

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  7. The clip job looks fantastic! And I hope you get to the root of what ails him quickly. And its simple. Not complicated. Charlie should be done with complicated. :)

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    1. thanks! i'll tell my friend who clipped him that you said that lol ;)

      and i suspect we're dealing with something relatively simple. honestly any problem that can be solved by throwing a little cash at it is preferable to a few alternatives! the funny thing with charlie is that he never seems very complicated, and yet.... the small stuff always has this way of adding up with him. go figure.

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  8. Clips can make em spicy! I hope you find the next thorn in his side so you can both be happy clams together! Also hooray for poles! and I love that festive wreath on his stall.

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    1. ground poles are my favorite! we just don't often get to take advantage of them amidst the crowds. that wreath is pretty too - tho it's actually on his neighbor's stall, he doesn't have anything festive of his own yet, poor grinchy charlie!

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  9. Ha! I have this mental image of you just suspiciously eyeing all tack and anything that ever touches Charlie. Constantly. All suspicion all the time.

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  10. Those tight turns tho! Oh my. But...I kinda like the looks of that exercise a lot. And the looks of Charlie with that clip job 😍

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    1. the tight turns were tough but it was a great exercise!

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  11. Winter is not the most fun time for riding. Everything is brown here too, though a more yellow-y brown. Hang in there for a bit longer for the return of color. Or dye charlie blue or something ;)

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