Friday, September 21, 2018

Riding After Dark - Help Me Light My Way

I need help.

I am struggling with the onset of another season of early darkness impacting my already sparse riding time.

Having to ask the barn owners every time I need the lights turned on in the riding ring makes me feel powerless and forces me into a specific time that I have to be there.

I wish I could somehow safely illuminate my path, just so I could manage a 20 or 30 minute walk/trot ride in a safe way without bothering anyone.

I found this item on Amazon but know nothing about it. I wish there was a way to "try before you buy" something like this but of course, there isn't.

LED Horse Breastcollar

Anyone out there have any real-use suggestions for this? I just need enough light to see where we are going in the enclosed riding arena. I know plenty of people ride after dark with no light but that's not for me. Keep in mind, I'm a 53 year old rider who is experienced but in order to keep riding as long as I can, wants to minimize my risk of having a horse spook in the dark at whatever and cause me a wreck.


Monday, June 12, 2017

Joey the Jumper

Long time since I have posted about us but thinking of trying to return to it.

Update on Joey, my Good Horse is that he is doing well and is still a much loved member of my family. We still don't get out much for time and financial reasons but below is video of us competing at a horse show in November of 2016 in a Baby Jumper division. Fences are set at 2' - 2'3".

This was entered at the last possible minute! I sent in my entries a day before the show because I almost didn't go. Originally I planned to catch a trailer ride with the gal who owns the farm since she had a student going to the show. There was a tiny hunter division that I could do without any help and while the farm owner was working with her client I figured I'd have some fun playing in the hunter classes.

Then her student had a change of plans and wasn't going to go. The farm owner said the offer to trailer was still open if I really wanted to go. I knew if I didn't go, I was losing another year without doing anything fun with Joey so I said yes!

However, the hunter class I wanted to ride in didn't fill with entries so it wasn't going to run. The only other division I could ride in was the Baby Jumpers. I said what the hell, I'll do that and ride it like an equitation class. My horse really isn't a jumper, he's never in a hurry to go anywhere, lol!

So here's our jumper round. I have only ridden in a jumper class once in my entire life and that was years ago as a warm-up round before a hunt-seat equitation class. You'll see I rode this course like an equitation/hunter ride. I asked the farm owner if she minded calling out my fences since I haven't ridden a course of fences in competition in at least 15 years!! I didn't want to get lost and go off-course. My memory isn't what it once was! She helped me out and we had fun!

And we did pretty well, all things considered. Here's the results of this division:

Reserve Champion! It was a good day. It was so fun and I needed to get out and play with my horse. He's become a wonderful partner.

Sunday, May 15, 2016

A brush with the past.

From the mindless to the mindful.

Grooming Joey before our ride today. I grabbed this old, worn out brush from my grooming box. Looks like it should have been thrown out long ago, right?

As I brushed the dust off of my horse with it, then put it down, it occurred to me. This brush has been across the backs of every horse I've been privileged to own. Even a few that weren't mine, but I had the good fortune to care for them and ride them for a time.

This was the first grooming tool I ever had. Bought it with my own money in 1976. 40 years ago. My favorite color. It has been in every grooming box I've had since.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Living for the Weekends

This past weekend was a good one for me and Joey. The weather was good enough and both rides were just great.

I've been slowly, slowly working on flying changes with him. Like slowly over years, LOL. Which started with simple changes, then simple changes with only one trot step between, to clunky flying changes to every once in awhile a perfect change.

Last year he was getting pretty good at remembering to complete the entire change and not swap only in front and have to catch up behind. Coming out of the winter back in March, after a few rides, just for fun I asked him to change across the diagonal. Nope, it was a big hop followed by a little buck to catch up the lead and I loosened the reins and just pushed him forward. He wasn't fit enough yet to give what I wanted so I quit and didn't frustrate him.

This weekend was a different story, he's been under saddle 3-4 times a week for the past month. This Saturday I asked for the change across the diagonal after he was well warmed-up and he just did the change and cantered smoothly through the corner! Almost surprised me how effortlessly he did it!

Asked again on Sunday, same result. Then he started thinking every time we circled he was going to be asked to change as he neared the center of the ring. He tries so hard he over thinks what I'm going to do. So I over exaggerated the "hold" with my outside leg and inside bend to direct him and kept pushing forward to keep him from assuming the change. He understood. We jumped a few low fences and quit with that.

It's gotten much harder for me to ride during the week. I live for the weekends. I can't wait to ride my good pony again.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Painting Class Tonight!

So excited! I attended another "Sip 'n' Paint" class tonight.
 Looked forward to a relaxing 2 hours of creativity.

 Here's the result of the evening. 

"Starfish Beach"

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

What Can I Accomplish With Only 20 Minutes To RIde?

Yesterday was probably the only day out of this week I'll get to ride. I was looking forward to it. The work day was long and before I knew it the clock said 6:25PM and I wanted to be on my way to the barn by at least 6:00.


I now feed and water all the horses at my barn in the evenings to help bring down my boarding costs. I've been rediscovering my barn worker skills lately in order to better afford my horse. (It's definitely easier when you're in your 20's than when you're on the cusp of turning 50, I'll say that.)

That being said, leaving work late means with all I have to do before I can get my horse tacked and in the ring to ride, all I'll get is about 20 minutes before I really lose daylight.

Is it worth it to even ride?

I was tempted to just groom him a bit after feeding and watering and that would be it. But we just got through a long, cold bitter winter where Joey and I had 3 months with no riding. That, and the lessons ingrained in me over years of competitive riding overrode the thought to be lazy. Any time spent in the saddle with a positive outcome will add to the hours needed to make a good horse.

So with a thorough but quick grooming (which is a chore in itself since Joey is shedding like crazy) I saddled up, zipped on my half chaps and buckled on my helmet and out we went.

 I'd rather be eating, mom but okay let's go.

Once I mounted up, my thought was, "what exactly am I planning to do?"

And I really didn't know. I really only felt like I had the energy for a leisurely walk around the ring but that's a waste. I got here, now let's do something.

So I started riding bending lines and adding walking over ground poles that were in the arena from lessons earlier in the day. We pushed into the rail from the quarter track and out again to do some work off the leg. We halted and backed. We rode long rein and on contact. We even trotted a few circles starting at 20 meters and spiraling in then out.

Then we walked out of the arena and up the driveway to a small grassy hill and walked up and down that hill to change up working on a flat surface.

And then it was dark enough to quit. And my 20 minute ride made it to 30 minutes, just walking and trotting a bit. But look at all the small things we did. There's always something to work on or refresh. So many little details that add up to a nicely trained horse.

It was quality work. Even just at the walk. 30 more positive minutes to add to Joey's resumé.

If you only get 20 minutes to ride, don't take the easy way out, use them. No minute in the saddle is ever wasted.