Saturday, May 20, 2017

Emergency Landing

I'm not sure if it's luck, if it's what horses I'm willing to ride, or if it was my early life dressage queen lifestyle, but I can count on one hand how many times I've fallen off in my 25 year journey of horseback riding.  It's not something I'm proud of, but at this point, I do find it a bit odd.  I've always been amazed by the stories people tell of falling and falling and falling, and never getting nervous, never getting seriously hurt, never giving up.

DreamBoat McCobFace
Here are my falls, listed in chronological order:

1st fall - I was 14.  Fell off a rank lesson horse who at the canter zigged and I zagged.  Rolled off.  I was totally A-Okay.  My mom's nerves were a little less A-Okay.  ;)

2nd fall - I was 19.  My sweet, but green TB, Clifford, bucked me right over his head.  I landed on my ass still holding the reins, which promptly snapped.

3rd fall - I was 19.  Clifford, you glorious asshole you.  He bolted and bucked as I was mounting.  I had no chance.  I was coming off.  After this, I spent a solid 3 months totally cowed by him.

4th fall - I was about 27.  Gavin bucked me off from a literal standstill.  One minute we were at ease, the next minute he was broncing and I was being ejected into gravel.  My hands and my pride hurt, but I was okay.

5th fall - was TODAY.  And it huuuuuurt.  We were jumping two crossrails in a little pattern and decided to start coming in at an angle to one of them that was riding easy.  The first time I went over it, Gavin jumped big (his tendency when he's unsure of a jump).  I decided I'd bring him around and ride it again, you know, just to show him no big deal.  Went into it, and I could feel when he was going to take off.  Well, he didn't take off, he added in this weird little half step before he launched, but I had already launched about 3 seconds earlier.  There was no hope.  I jumped Gavin, while he was jumping the jump.  I landed hard on my side and cracked the side of my (helmeted) head on the ground.  I just lay there groaning, feeling sorry for myself.  My friend came over (an old pro at falling off and immediately jumping up and getting back to business).  She made sure nothing was broken and then patiently waited as I got up at the pace of an elderly turtle.  I wasn't scared or mad.  Gavin hadn't been naughty.  I just read the jump wrong.
Lady?.... You alright?

I got back on and we jumped it once from the trot and once from the canter.  Both times he launched over it.  I'm pretty sure he thought some evil, invisible force pulled his rider off.  Ahahaha.  That's right, an invisible force did pull me off - it's called momentum.  My friend raised the crossrails up to small verticals and jumped them every which way, and I decided I needed to jump them straight-on (no more of this angle shit).  He was a good boy.  No hesitation, no trying to duck out.  I'm really happy with how the ride went and how it ended.  I'm just not happy that my entire right side hurts, and for some weird reason my neck hurts, like... my windpipe hurts.  I went home and had the most uneasy nap ever.

I can't say that I'm happy that I fell, but I think it was probably long overdue.  I also think there is something empowering about falling off and saying "yeh, that fucking hurt, but I'm gonna get back on and do the damn thing".  That last part might be the concussion talking.  ;)


Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Eff my life - outside rein? Feedback please!

So this weekend I audited a Bernie Traurig clinic.  I listened, I learned, I froze my ass off.

Arena envy is a real thing

What did I learn:
- Use the softest bit in the world and only work up from that if you need to (DUH!  Who doesn't know this?  I saw him swap out countless harsh bits for less severe ones.)
- If a horse can warm up long and low, awesome.  If not - don't stress out about it.  Just let him loosen up without forcing a frame.  (This was a good thing to hear as that's what I've been doing with Gav.)
- Fancy horses don't necessarily equal clinic favorites.  It was allll about the rider.  His favorite pair was a 13 year old girl riding what had to be a welsh pony.
- Know your strides (I would be chopped liver in these clinics)
- Inside leg to outside rein is (and I quote) a VIRUS infecting the thought process of all riders.

Wait... what?  Let's expand on this last point.  Basically he said that the inside-leg-to-outside-rein mantra was created by George Morris to keep riders from overbending their horses.  The problem with it, is that people have oversimplified and bastardized it.  People are now riding too much with only one leg and one rein.  Ridiculous (says Bernie)!  We have two hands and two legs and we should use everything we have for effective riding.  He said that to push a horse out on a circle, you should shift both your inside and outside rein further to the outside (basically, inside rein against the neck, and outside rein out away from the horse's neck).  Think of the motion of the horse like a river.  The river flows between your two hands and two legs.  If you move both hands to the outside you are displacing the motion and moving their shoulders out (shoulders move out, body will follow) and with the inside rein against the neck you will create slight bend to the inside (bend through the neck, not necessarily through the body - body bending requires human leg action). 

Okay.  So I get all of that.  And I decided to try it on Gav.  It went really well, and seemed to get rid of some of our shoulder bulging, corner cutting issues.

So umm... here's where it gets embarrassing and sorta feeds into Viva Carlos' blog hop about being young, stupid, and believing anything.  I think I've had outside rein wrong my whole riding career.  I've always assumed that when a trainer says outside rein, what they mean is exert backwards pressure on the outside rein (aka - pull back slightly on the outside rein).  I don't know where I got that - I've just always thought it and this action has NEVER been corrected by a trainer.  Now I'm wondering if what outside rein has always meant was outside rein to the OUTSIDE (outward motion NOT backwards motion).  Anyone?  Anyone?.... Bueller?...

Please tell me someone has some thoughts on this!  I'm fascinated!  I feel like I'm having an AHA moment mixed with a Wow-I'm-Stupid moment!

My new favorite thing is Gavin's new SmartPak halter/Graycodesigns lead rope combo

Saturday, January 7, 2017

Spending Freeze, Secret Santa, and Selling Tack

This post is a total mish-mash:  First up, spending freeze and weird animal drawings.  Second, SECRET SANTA awesomeness/mystery, and third, selling tack (polos and a gorgeous PS of Sweden hackamore).  It's like choose your adventure in blog form!  And now - on to the blogging!

I may have gone a bit crazy over Christmas giving gifts to others... and maybe also to myself.  So, I'm now on a spending freeze.  Sometimes I kind of enjoy spending freezes.  I know that sounds insane, but it helps me remember to value what I already have.

One thing I already have (bought a while back) is a Wacom tablet.  I am not skilled when it comes to drawing, but I like to draw as I find it really relaxing.  So, I've started drawing my friends' animals just for fun.  My friends probably don't even want these Photoshop monstrosities, but whatever.  It's about the process dammit!

One awesome thing that I'm currently enjoying is my Secret Santa gift from Fly On Over's secret santa gift exchange!  It's an adorable makeup bag that is covered in Thelwell images, with pink heart polka-dots for the lining.  It looks like it was shipped from England, and it was stamped as Made By Rachel, but I have no idea who actually sent me the gift.  Very mysterious ;) Anyone want to take credit for this adorbs gift?

I also went through my tack trunk and found a couple of items that I just don't use and am trying to sell!  :)  If you're interested, or want to talk pricing - hit me up at warriorpony at gmail dot com

Set of 4 fancy polos - never used.  Left view is of outside, right view is of inside of wrap that touches the leg. $20.  Shipping addt'l.

PS of Sweden - lovely dark brown cob-sized hackamore.  Used 3x.  In like-new condition.  $250 - free shipping w/in US.
You might be wondering why I'm getting rid of these awesome items.  Well - Gavin never goes in polos because his owner is LAZY.  These are super handsome, which is why I bought them, but they've been hanging out in their packaging for 2 years now.

The PS of Sweden hackamore.  Le sigh.  I dreamt about this hackamore for months before purchasing it.  And it's lovely (email me for pics).  Gavin just goes SOOOO much better in a bit that it doesn't make sense for me to ride him in it, and so it has got to go!

Adult ADD post over.  :)

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Mostly Silent Sunday

Lesson on Saturday, hack on Sunday.  I love my pony, who is game for just about anything.

Saturday, October 15, 2016

What I Do v Who I Am

Like many others in blogger land, I work in an industry completely unrelated to horses.  Honestly, I'm not even totally sure how I chose the profession I chose outside of the sad fact that since I was young I've compulsively made what I call "money lists".  That's right... I'm an Accountant.  Even a CPA.  

It's um... heart-wrenchingly boring most of the time.  I used to be a tax accountant and really enjoyed the work, but the hours were just UGGHHHHHH, so now I'm an industry accountant, which is a lot less fun (I know, you're thinking 'Something can be less fun than tax accountant?  Impossible.' But seriously, it's true).

Anyways - this post isn't meant to be a huge bitch fest about my career.  It's more about reconciling what I do with who I am (accountants love a good reconciliation).  This is something I struggle with almost daily.  I basically go between "do what you love" (aka work with animals or people more closely) and "you have to pay bills to keep what you love" (horses and home). 

My thoughts exactly, you adorable man

I'm currently of the mindset that I have this analytical/numbers skillset, and I'm good at what I do, so I need to work that angle.  BUT - I hate a lot of things about office life, mostly the clothes, the inability to do whatever I want to my appearance, the frowning upon swearing heavily, etc.  It's just suffocating how stuffy office life can be, especially in any finance related field.

One thing I am working on is buying clothes that I can wear to work, but would also wear in my everyday life (horses, going out to eat with handsome beau, reading some awesome blogs).  I know this sounds like a pathetic reach, but I do think being able to dress more 'myself' at work will help me stay happy in that work.  Anyways - I've been looking a lot at Asmar Equestrian and Ariat, but again, I'm left a bit stumped - do people actually wear this stuff to ride in, or even be around horses in?  Can you actually get away with wearing breeches to work?

Does anyone else do this?  Any brands I should look into?  Or ideas?  Or job offers outside of the soul crushing work of finance?  ;)

Until then...

Friday, October 7, 2016

Thou Shalt

I've been working on coming up with my equestrian code.  Just something to help guide me in daily decision making and behavior at the barn.  The reason I chose to do this was because I tend to be very hard on myself to the point where I don't enjoy things, pretty demanding of Gav when I may just not be "explaining" a concept to him quite right, and sometimes I just feel downright lost in my equine pursuits. 

Relaxing after our first cross country outing

So far, I've come up with three commandments that I believe can hold true to me on any horse day of the week.  I think the Olde English helped ;)

1) Thou shalt enjoy thine sport (for thou doth not have enough time or money to rain dolla billz on a hobby thou doth not enjoy)

2) Thou shalt focus on thineself and thine position before nagging the mount (thine legs and core must be stable, solid, and engaged before you can expect the same from thine equine brethren)

3) Thou must shower thine mount with praise and affection for he art a living beings who thrives on such things.

First trip to the cross country course

Does anyone have any rules they live by with horses?  :)