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Showing posts from December, 2015

2016 Goals stumbled over this article while I was doing some research for work. It is amazing and, if you haven’t already, I would highly recommend that you read it. I started with this because during the second half of the year 2015 I had some big changes in my life. They were absolutely all for the better but did lead to me deciding to take a step back and work on self improvement. As the rest of the year went on I felt like I kept stumbling over puzzle pieces about how to make these changes and this article was one. I do, actually, happen to be one of the people that is told not to finish reading the article since it was fairly easy for me to name five things about my life that I’ve accomplished and that I’m very proud of but I’m always curious and a lifelong learner thanks to my mom so I read it anyway.It’s sections #3 - #1 from this article that really made me think and made me reconsider how I structure my goals …

No Lesson: Recap

Since my trainer was out of town for the holidays I didn’t have a lesson this past Sunday. I had given Katai almost a week off both because I thought she needed a more extended vacation and because I did. I didn’t want it to start feeling like work for either of us and planned to start back with consistently riding 5 days per week after Christmas.
So, the past Sunday I had my lesson and then on Saturday, since she had just had 5 days off, I followed my own advice and just lunged. She went really, really well! She was letting me determine her trot speed and stride length on the lunge but was defaulting to a nice slow trot on the lunge line. It really gave me something to think about because that means that if she’s racing around under a rider but not on the lunge I’ likely doing something with my body as I’m riding to cause her that tension. I’m not completely ruling out that she just has a more negative association of being ridden (no thanks to J) but I also made some plans to be mor…

Everything but the Kitchen Sink: Lesson Recap 12/20

Katai got her second trainer ride on Sunday and it was amazing! I had mentioned that I was a little concerned because I hadn't been riding regularly last week but Katai actually did really well. She was tense and a little reactive at the beginning but didn't end up actually having a tantrum, she just threatened to have one :-)

At one point Katai was doing everything she possibly could to get L's weight to the outside but L, being a much more experienced rider than me, wasn't moving and Katai was getting frustrated. She literally was stumbling around like a drunk and L made the comment that Katai was throwing everything at her but the kitchen sink.

Eventually Katai realized that she was making choices that were making her life tougher and started to cooperate and then, once a few good moments happened L dismounted and handed her off to me.

I so love this little mare. Once I was on board she was so honest about what I was doing that was different than L. I again had an …

Holiday Slumps

"She's a pony and you're only human, of course you are going to lose your patience sometimes."
                                                                                                                         -My mom :-)

I adore the holidays but this is always when my riding seems to suffer and true to form I had a horrible ride today. It wasn't that Katai was that bad, it was that I was a total asshole to her. I was gritting my teeth and gave some half halts that were way firmer than I should be giving.

The worst thing is that I knew that she had a reason to be stubborn and full of energy because I hadn't ridden her enough this week and then when she carried through and was stiff and full of energy I got frustrated. Instead of pushing her when I knew that she was feeling up at the beginning of the ride I should have found a good note and quit.

I know that the important thing is to move on, learn from my mistake, and not do this again but all I want t…

Trainer Ride: Lesson Recap 12/13

Today L rode my pony and it was amazing!! So far L hadn’t ridden my pony for a couple of reasons. One was that Katai had been such a wild card that I don’t think either of us thought it would be especially helpful. She was so wild, resistant, stubborn, and just untrained that having L climb on just seemed like a waste of time and energy especially since I’ve been making good progress with her help from the ground. More recently though that’s been changing as Katai gets more broke and more rideable. She’s becoming more consistent both with the good and with the bad and L has been mentioning that she has wanted to put a ride(s) on her. I’ve sort of been waiting for L to say "Today is the day!" but based on an interaction with a different student last week I decided that I should set it up and ask her to ride instead. L is very collaborative and I think that if she thinks that I want to ride she’s not going to say anything. So instead I got to the barn a little early today so …

Feeling Down

I'm not sure if anyone else has seen this article floating around but I read it a couple of weeks ago and it's been making me feel down ever since. I tend to doubt myself and always question if I'm doing the best that I can. That makes me successful at things but I also have to be aware of this tendency or I can tend to spiral and get more and more negative.

This time I caught myself and realized that I was feeling bad based on this article.

I've always been careful to give Katai lots of breaks. I've also read a lot of Jec Aristotle Ballou and she is an expert on muscles, muscle recovery, and how to properly condition your horse. However, it's been making me doubt myself and question everything I do.

It's also been giving me the odd thought that maybe this isn't good for Katai or maybe she's struggling when actually it's pretty clear to me that she's doing amazing and continuing to get stronger and fitter. She's maintained soundness, o…

VCBH: What's in Your Show Tote

I really like this blog hop concept and so although I’ve only showed a handful of times my whole life (and only once in dressage) I thought I’d do a "What’s in your show tote: wish list edition" adaptation to this hop!
I tend to be a very mentally disorganized person, whatever the opposite of type A is (would that be type Z?) would pretty much describe my mental state most of the time. Whatever small ability I have to be mentally organized is used up during my job which leaves me with about nil during the rest of my week. However, I love to be physically organized. While I’ve never been able to keep any type of planner and just rely on my phone to tell me what to do, I do very carefully organize my space at home and that includes my horse equipment storage. I have a large wooden trunk that holds all the misc items that I don’t use on a regular basis that resides at home and my small tack cabinet at the barn is carefully organized with totes and color coordination. I’m especi…

Saddle Pad Collection

I've always loved saddle pads, they're just my thing. I really like how they're both pretty and functional and there are so many choices between the different colors, patterns, trims, designs etc. For me the trifecta is a dressage saddle pad that's small enough for my pony, that's easy to care for, and that's not too pricy.

My max budget for most saddle pads is $30 but I'm willing to spend up to $40 for just the right pad. To be easy to care for I need to be able to just toss them in the washer and dryer. Especially now that I'm riding five days per week and pony is working hard enough to get sweaty I go through 2-3 pads per week and just don't have the time to mess with doing anything special to clean them. Size is the trickiest thing for me because measurements are almost never listed and I'm looking for something smaller than what most people are looking for. This is both because my saddle is quite small and because she's quite small. My…

The Weeknd: Lesson Recap 12/6

This weekend was amazing for me and my pony. I had, due to some unexpected changes last week, ended up with four rides in a row. I had ridden Thursday for drill team (short ride), Friday (dressage ride), Saturday (supposed to be a trail ride), and Sunday (for my lesson of course).

This whole week we've had unusually warm temperatures and the snow that we ended up had almost all melted. I had been hoping that this would mean that I could safely plan a trail ride on Saturday but I was warned by the BM that the slush and mud was making it slippery out so I went to the outdoor arena instead and was so glad that I did!

The arena had a thin coating of snow but with the warm temps the footing was still good and since pony was full of herself I was looking for any excuse to ask her to canter. She had to wait until I asked but once I did I had her canter pretty much until I could feel her tiring a little. Because of the snowy footing she had a great amount of jump in her canter and so I …


2012 Boarding Katai where I was renting in Northern WI.

2013 Moved Katai to her first boarding facility which was a pasture share with one other aged gelding.

Fall 2013 Moved Katai to a facility with a covered arena so that I could ride during the winter. This is where she really became broke to ride. Any previous rides I had done lasted about 5 minutes at the longest and only consisted of walk.

Spring 2014 I moved Katai to a barn with a dressage instructor and a nicer indoor with MUCH better footing. Plus I was worried because Katai had lost a lot of weight at the previous barn which you can see from one of the photos. If it hadn't been for J I would have continued to board here and still really miss most of the people.