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Showing posts from April, 2016

Redheadlins Blog Hop

Redheadlins started this amazing blog hop and I HAD to join.

After all I work in HR so I've heard all kinds of crazy things. I can certainly imagine a few concerns that people might bring to HR about Katai.

1. She gave me the stink eye

Like all mares Katai has really perfected the mare face. One example is;

2. She's always talking
Katai is a big talker, she's loud and shrill and likes to express her opinion about how late her dinner is, even when she's still got leftovers from her last meal.
3. She put my stapler in jello
Yes, Katai would totally be a prankster. She loves to antagonize her paddock pal and would be exactly the type of coworker that would put your stapler right in a big bowl of jello.

Under Pressure

Yep, mainly my head. I've also been really headache prone my entire life and it's never worse than when I'm stressed or when the weather is changing. Right now there is some of both and so I've had a few days of bad headaches. I was doing ok until today when it got worse and I just didn't feel like I could function anymore. I was able to make it through work all day and was firmly convinced that I'd be able to make it to the barn but once I got home I just couldn't make myself climb in the car. I was functioning so poorly that I was forgetting to close the refrigerator door.

I wasn't able to go see Katai on Monday or Tuesday so now it's been three days and I miss my pony. I'd had a couple of weeks where I was at the barn 5-6 days per week and I had been neglecting my chores and home stuff so I guess it was time to catch up. I can't WAIT to see her tomorrow and I'm hoping she won't be too bouncy but she certainly has license to be a …

The Ugly: Lesson Recap 4/24

Today was one of those lessons that felt ugly but accomplished a lot. Katai had been in all day and with our sort of weird week she wasn't feeling dressage time in the sandbox today. Also, after the Janet Foy clinic and a couple of clinic videos I watched I was doing more to correct her when she was misbehaving.

I had learned to do no, to almost no correction, when she was having meltdowns because once she started melting down she wouldn't stop for the rest of the ride. The problem is that now she's not doing that any more and when I'm not correcting her when she's doing something wrong, like bulging her ribs into my leg and not listening at all to my leg cues, I'm just allowing her to get away with something and not really teaching her anything. Today I started correcting her and then going back to how I was riding before and guess what, no meltdown!

She would react of course but that's what she's supposed to do. Then she would go back to her normal se…

Vacation and Development

First, thank you all for your comments on my last post. It was very helpful and also made me feel better. I think my goal is to just take my worrying down a notch and push myself to ride her at least a little even when I think she might be sore since I honestly know that it will help and it isn't anything more than I'd expect for myself.

I've been really enjoying my vacation but it's been a busy few days. On Thursday I went to the barn and then threw a party for my roommate's birthday. Then Friday was MN Horse Expo day!! Honestly, it was fun but the vendors have been worse and worse for the past few years. The expo was always dominated by western tack vendors but this year it was particularly bad.

I did go for a few hours and saw Guy McClean and did a little shopping at the used tack sale but that's it. I didn't have any reason to stay after that so I didn't. The expo is always on the same weekend as Rolex and next year I'd really like to try to do …

Honesty Is the Best Policy

I had another post all planned out about my ride on Tuesday and today but then I realized that it was another post where I talked about Katai being a little sore or off and that by now anyone reading probably either thinks that;

A: My pony is broken
B: My pony is broken and why haven't I called the vet
C: That I'm a horse hypochondriac (spoiler alert, this is a little true)

So, I decided that instead of posting that again I'm going talk a little about what this is all about. Call this a little personal therapy session if you will ;-)

The first thing that feeds into this is that Katai is extremely honest. She really is a sensitive flower and is very clear about things when they don't feel completely well or if she's even slightly sore or uncomfortable. It doesn't mean that I give that any less weight to what she tells me, just that I need to translate that from the normal equivalent and I'm not very good at that.

The other thing is that I am a bit of a hors…

Sound Decisions: Lesson Recap 4/17

First of all I have to report that I still didn’t really work Katai 5 days this week. I started off strong with a walk ride on Monday because I had plans on Tuesday evening. Then on Wednesday I took Katai to the outdoor arena where she crazily lunged herself. On Thursday I had a great ride with no attitude where we accomplished a lot and then on Friday I went out to the barn because Katai was having her feet trimmed by the new farrier.

I love him!
It’s one of those "hindsight is always perfect" moments where I wonder why I didn’t switch farriers earlier. He and I laughed a bit at how it looked like she was standing on peg legs (gallows humor) and then he gave her a great, balanced, reasonable trim. I thought he might bring up shoeing her but he didn’t. I had my fingers crossed that she wouldn’t be too sore.
On Saturday I went out to the barn mainly so that I could cancel with L if she was really bad and was extremely pleased (really that doesn’t even capture how ecstatic I was)…

Spring Schedule and Ride Recap

I have so many fun horse things coming up over the next 1-2 months!

To start off, this weekend I ride on Saturday, lesson on Sunday and then I’ll be going to see H ride in a dressage schooling show at a gorgeous facility on the west side of the twin cities!

The following weekend I don’t have any current horse related plans but then after that (sort of the following weekend) I’ll be riding in another Suzanne Winslade clinic on May 9th! So excited for that one.

Then, next weekend I have vacation Thursday and Friday with Friday being the start of the MN Horse Expo!! I LOVE going to the horse expo and usually take a day off so that I can spend a ton of time there. In the past it’s been an hour drive for me but now it’s actually within walking distance of where I live (I’ll be driving so that I can do more shopping but it will be a short drive) so that will mean that I can literally spend the whole day there on Friday. On Saturday I’ll be watching H ride in a Janet Foy clinic (!!!) and then…

Spinning Like a Top

Our weather is finally turning nice!! It made it to the low 70s today and that was a great reason to get Katai outside for the first time since last fall. I have taken her out for a couple of walks and some time to hand graze but otherwise she hasn't been out since last year.

The goal for the next few weeks is to get Katai outside as much as I possibly can so that at least that part of the show at the end of May won't be too odd for her. I'm getting her out every day that the weather holds whether it's to ride or just to take her for a walk.

I felt like we had a 50-50 chance tonight whether she would be calm and normal or completely lose her mind. Spoiler alert...

It was the latter

During grooming she was really quiet and sleepy. I'm so happy to say that this no treats thing is working really well and she's quiet and pleasant and seems to enjoy my company. Katai was also really quiet and reasonable about walking to the arena which would have really made her ho…

You Forgot Something

Not really, but Katai sure thinks I did.
L has been recommending that I do a walk only ride for a while now. Normally I work her suggestions into my rides the week following my lesson, however, this one has been tough for me. I’ll plan to do a walk only ride and then Katai will be going so well that I decide to just see how she’ll be at the trot, then she’s great at the trot and I’ll decide to just see how she’ll be at the canter.
This week was great though because I’m still slowly working to increase the number of rides I’m putting on her each week but she is still seeming a little tired or sore after a couple of more intense rides back to back. Plus, since I ended up with plans on Tuesday and needed to ride Monday (her normal day off since it’s right after her most intense ride of the week at my lesson) and Monday was spring shots day it was a great day to just stick to walk.
I started Katai off on the lunge and did have her trot a little in each direction since I knew that looseni…

The Best Teacher: Lesson Recap 4/10

Not saying that L isn't an amazing teacher but both of us learn so much from Katai. I'm lucky in how honest she is, even when that means bucking, kicking out, not taking the correct lead, bouncing, balking etc. I learn something every time and I love that L takes the time to figure out what she's trying to say rather than just encouraging me to scold her when she's doing something that could be considered naughty.

My lesson started out really nice, Katai was forward but relaxed and listening. After my first walk break though she got really hot when I went back to the trot and I had a run away freight train on my hands. All she wanted to do was canter and she really wasn't listening, L said she looked great but that she also understood what I was feeling. We talked a lot about adding forward but keeping submission but Katai really just didn't want to play today. All she wanted to do was rush.

Then when we started working on a transitioning to a canter on a spir…

The Recipe

I was thinking last night about how to structure my ride today and I realized that I had already found part of our current recipe for success and then promptly forgot about it. Earlier this month (I think it was prior to Katai's mounting flail thing) I was lunging Katai before riding her. Only for a few minutes in each direction but going through walk, trot, canter and really giving her a chance to warm up.

For Katai it's never about getting her bucks out since she is almost subdued on the lunge. Seriously, crazy things can be happening and Katai will just be in listening work mode the whole time. Every once in a while she'll break into a trot before I ask her to but most of the time she listens to everything I ask. I think that for her it's more about warming up, particularly her back, and finding her balance with the neck stretcher before I climb on.

This was working so well for the week that I was doing it but I don't know that I ever put two and two together an…

Big Girl Trot

Tonight the plan was to just lunge since I'm still working back to 5 rides per week and wanted to make sure that Katai got an easier day. I'd rather go on a trail ride or something but the weather has been horrible for getting a hot young horse outside so since I don't like to die this is the safest option for both of us right now.

I got her groomed and tacked up and I actually had happier ears! She did pin them a few times but over all I think she was more relaxed and seemed less pushy.
Then I put her on the lunge and after a brief warm up where she got to put her head where she wanted I put on the neck stretcher. It's been working really well lately and I'm happy with how she responds to it. As always recently I just sort of try to lunge her effectively but really inside I'm jumping up and down because my pony actually has some suspension! I think I've mentioned this before but I finally got video to prove it! First of all though, some stills :-)

And now …

No Treat April

We'll get to that in a minute.

First of all, I had an EXCELLENT ride tonight. Katai seemed a little crabby when I was tacking up but wasn't sensitive anywhere and wasn't fussed about me tightening her girth. I'm guessing that she's maybe just as sick of the cold rain as I am. At any rate once I climbed up she was amazing.

She was really listening, other than one resistant moment at the beginning, and I was able to get her to go forward or come back as I asked. She was working through fairly well from the beginning and got very connected by the end. I had made it a goal to really use the whole arena so I started off riding her around the outside. A risky endeavor since Katai usually get's quite hot on the long straight lines however, tonight she was great and I was having so much fun that I must have had a big smile on my face for the whole ride.

After a couple of times around in both directions I gave her a walk break. Then when I picked her back up she actuall…

Twisted: Lesson Recap 4/3

This week was tough for trying to schedule rides so I ended up with a Tuesday evening, Thursday evening, and Saturday evening. Every other day isn't good for me or for Katai since she always has too much energy when we start our ride and then never really settles in. This week the plan is for five rides (again) and I should be able to stick to it so that should make everything better!

At any rate none of my rides ended up being stellar and Saturday was no exception. Pony was hot and didn't want to settle. She was using any excuse to become extremely offended and then letting off a huge buck. She must have bucked seven times that evening, sometimes little ones, and it just makes me giggle every time. It's frustrating but just not really her fault, she just has energy to burn because I'm not riding enough days in a row and we're both bored of being stuck in the indoor doing circles.

It actually wasn't a bad ride, I stuck with it long enough to get some great work…

First Quarter Goal Review

Goals for Katai: Master our canter transitions   - Nope, still on the struggle bus with this and I haven't been breaking these out and practicing them the way that I should. Of course it hasn't helped that Katai has had a few health issues already this year and we've lost over a month of riding. Not making excuses, it's just made it tough to make consistent progress. This is one of my main goals for the next couple of months.
Perfect Leg Yield  - Not enough progress on this either but we have been practicing them more despite them not being perfect and that's a big deal for me. More practice needed! Practice riding through at least two Intro tests and at least two Training Level tests  - Nope, I have memorized Training 1 so that I can practice riding through it but now that I have an idea of what I'm going to do for the first show in May I'm going to focus on doing Intro A and Intro C to see where we have holes.
Sign up for at least two clinics  - Done! I've ri…