Monday, June 22, 2015

Hand to Hold

Many things going on in the blog world - good and bad. Thinking of you who are going through really tough times and I wish there were words I could pass along to make things go easier. Just time... All it takes his time. It will get worse before it gets better but I promise you there is a light, I've seen it and so will you. For those who are reaching your goals and succeeding, congratulations and keep it up. It is beyond well deserved. We're here for support, to cheer each other on, and virtually hold each other's hands through those tough times and I am grateful for every one of you.

N. Kingstown Dover had their Tent Sale this weekend and since we had no pony adventures planned and E is on the mend, Wendy and I went on a mini spree. Very mini. I bought the B-man a very much needed teal saddle pad, a smaller girth to make up for lack of grass, some Sore-No-More Spray Liniment (loving it so far), and a new bit.
Last year I fell in love with the Happy Mouth I borrowed from Pretty's owner. I bought another one at the beginning of the year (full-cheek) and Brantley has been doing pretty well with it. I had this nagging feeling that, although he's always fit in a 5, this bit was just too small. A barrel racer friend was talking about how a lot of people are going up to 5.25 - 5.5 where she's running so I said, what the hell and picked up the D-ring with the copper roller in a 5.5. By god he loves it - or at least seems to. Scrubbing my full-cheek and trading it in for the 5.5. I think we've found our bit of choice!

We had another awesome hack in English tack today. I'm really focusing on getting my seat centered and my heels down - riding like I do in my barrel saddle. I don't know what my issue is - I have complete lack of confidence when I ride English! Just can't kick it yet, but it'll get better I'm sure. He squared right up to the mounting block today and didn't even flick his tail when I threw my leg over...

#winning #sayiwont

Thursday, June 18, 2015

First Beach Ride

I touched my English tack today. He even stood patiently at the mounting block waiting for me to throw a leg over. Bit of a rocket ship, may need to go down a girth size until the grass starts to grow because we're rocking a bit but none the less, only way to start my day.

Reason for all of a sudden hoping in the Bates today? Had another lesson the other day and the words spoken to me were, "I need to see you in your jump saddle... Make it happen." Well... #sayiwont

Here's a little video from our lesson: ... Technical Difficulties... Will post later.

Unfortunately, Wendy had to work this past Sunday so Brantley and I were planning on just sticking around the barn and doing some flatwork - maybe sneak out on the trails... But then I got a text from a boarder at the farm I was horse-sitting at. "I'll be there in 30 minutes, we're going to the beach."

Next thing you know Brantley and his new trail buddy Black Jack were on the trailer and headed over to Jamestown. JAMESTOWN! Ummm... Over the bridge... Where I live? Off the mainland? Well... Okay then...
"Ummm... What's going on?"
We parked in N's front yard right off the main street of town and the boys grazed while we got our stuff ready. Before you knew it we were tacked up and ready to go. I knew the roads we'd be riding down and how busy the beach would be so my initial thought was just to hand walk him to where we were headed...
That didn't happen. I jumped right on ready for the challenge. We ran into traffic and bicycles flying up our butts. Dogs parking out car windows. Trash on the side of the road. Motorcycles. Umbrellas. Kids running around. Brantley was a complete rock star. I have faith in my horse but mentally I was prepared for maybe not the worse, but definitely not this. He amazed me.

We even had our first canter down the beach!

B was not a huge fan of the water but he finally gave it and gave it a go. Now, I live in the Ocean State and grew up somewhat on the beach, but I am sooo a land animal. And no one warned me about losing your balance in the water, while on your horse. Has anyone else experienced this? We got all the way up to his chest and right when I thought things were good, we both started looking down... and then we both started to fall sideways completely unbalanced.

Brantley tried to catch me but ended up losing his mind... All I could do was hold the horn and wait it out because I was just as dizzy. He started spinning and running away from the wake he was making in the water and next thing you knows he's bucking sideways. Not once did I feel unsafe like he was trying to lose me though. I breathed, looked out on the horizon and said, "You're fine." Gave him a minute to cool his jets, take two steps deeper, and then we turned around and called it a day.

Anyone else ever have that experience? I think we'll stick to rivers and fresh water from now on haha.

Black Jack loves his Del's
We headed back and stopped for a Del's Lemonade (if you don't know what that is... I feel sorry for you). The girl working could not get enough of the boys. And then the small crowd started. Oddly enough, it started with adults and then the kids. Black Jack kept to himself and slurped up his Del's but Brantley... This is what he lives for.

I don't just own a horse for myself.
I own a horse and work with my horse so that other people can enjoy him too.
No... We can't do pony rides. But to see the smile that he brings me on someone else's face?
It makes everything I do and go through worth it.

Monday, June 15, 2015

Riding is the Best Solution

The craziness is just about over. My body last night finally told me to just stop and I should probably start listening to it. These migraines are getting closer and closer together and honestly freaking me out. But a girl has got to work to do the things she loves. I did wake up feeling up and refreshed, ready for the day.

I didn't get to ride much after our last lesson. Amanda had brought my side-pull back so I did get to finally use that. Still working on this dropping his head and taking the bridle thing... I don't know what happened but that was always his best trick. Who knows what caused him to turn into a llama in between when I wasn't riding and when I started him again this season... I will fix it! I will prevail! He will love to be bridled again!

The Adventures of Elijah and Brantley continued with our first hunter pace of the season last weekend and we totally kicked Arcadia butt. 4th out of 10 or 12? I'll take it. We hit the Hilltopper division because we weren't sure how they boys would be since our only experience was the Pomfret Pace in CT.

Hilltopper was described as walk, trot, and some canter. So obviously the boys were complete superstars and wanted to lope the whole thing. Well, Wendy was itching for some satin so we take back and took it easy down a few trails thinking we were going too fast.

Apparently we weren't going fast enough!

We only had one "I don't wanna" moment at the second bridge. But luckily enough, a car needed to go over the same bridge. After they waited patiently for me to try and go over one more time, we waved them on. The light bulb went on and I said, "Well... Maybe I can get Brantley to pony up with the car." AND IT WORKED! Elijah followed along with no issue and we got a thumbs up from the driver. #winning!

Love these boys <3

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

November to June

Ummm... It's June.

When the hell did that happen?

I feel like I was just trying to figure out my goals for fall and now it's Summer?

Did I mention it finally rained and went for 80* to 50*? I'm so thankful for the rain though!

I'm loving all these showing and event posts. Everyone is looking great! Can't wait to get out there, but I am definitely looking forward to a Hunter Pace we've got planned! My most recent adventure with the W/E team was a lesson with a local trainer at the barn she grew up.

Now my goal lately has been getting him to pick up his shoulder and bend through his corners then straightening out again. He's been kicking ass with this at home especially since I'm taking in a bit more contact and pushing him out of his comfort zone. It's helping. I relayed this to Q (we'll call him that) and we got straight to work.

Right away Brantley had some ADHD going. Okay, not some, more like, he was the definition of ADHD. "And we're walking... walking... vertical? No let's walk. Okay trot? Shit! That's a shelter. Crap! There's a horse in there. Okay mom, you want my nose into the fence and then my body going straight? Is that your leg? Wait... BIRD! What's that ticking noise?"

Q kept asking me to do things with my body but I honestly could not get a hold of my horse. I finally said, "Let me to try to get his brain working." Q was open to watch me work B in his small serpentines and mini figure-8's and finally I felt him start to focus. Getting grounded has started to become easier and easier for us so that helps.

Back to the rail and straight back to work - Brantley was a superstar.

I don't think either of us have worked that hard in a lesson situation in a long time and I can't wait to go back. By the end of the lesson we worked on a rounded rectangle at one side of the ring with halt to canter transitions. We started with our right lead because that I had full confidence he'd pick up just to introduce the exercise. We'd go around a circle to the right, deep into our corners, back up the center, halt, and then off we went to the left.

He'd want to stick his head, neck, and body in about 4 different directions and we'd have to straighten out around the corner and get the connection back. After a few times around, he was actually halting straight. I was really able to focus in on my body and pick up his shoulder with my own.

I'm ready to go back...

Amanda and I finally got to get together this weekend and she showed up to the barn for coffee with "no intention of riding". Psh... Like not riding was ever an option. It had been since last October that she had been on B and I wasn't sure if Jax was coming to play with Zoe sooo... This is what we got:

First ride back had to totally be in a rope halter. Yes, I made her flip it over his head.
And get on without a mounting block.

The best part of the ride was when she went to get off. Her normal jumping off experience with him is that he freaks out, but I told her if she goes nice and steady like he's a "normal" horse, he'll be fine. I took a moment or two to slowly show her how to do it... She looked at me funny as if to say, "Why are you showing me?" but seemed to shrug it off and go with the flow.

It was after she was on the ground and his cinch was loose that I told her there was a giant bomber type plane flying off in the distance... Close distance... Like close enough where it looked like it was going to touch the trees. Yeah... I forgot that there was an Air Show that day and Brantley wasn't freaked out about her getting off at all, but hey... They handled it well.

I have to work Friday so no lesson for me but it's a 50/50 chance of rain again and he's had the last two days off sooo, I can wait until next week for sure.

Oh... By the way... I had a meeting at work (for any interested) and let's just say that anything and everything I've been stressing about was put on the table. Hold back? Me? Not at all - I had even brought an empty backpack and told them I was fully prepared to empty my locker.

We'll see what the next few weeks bring - Think I can hold out until the end of the summer? Tear Drop Winken: June 2015

Tear Drop Winken