Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Sassy Pants

I feel like I start every post with and "I'm sore" statement, but seriously Yankee has had a trend of being a brat and it requires more muscle exertion than usual. Yesterday this would be my shoulders.

I think he almost pulled my arms out of their shoulder sockets. OTTB ass.

We've put in some good work this past week and I think mostly we are both just tired and he is especially grumpy. We spent most of yesterday fighting because doing things the proper way is hard.

Yanks has started  anticipating flying changes too, now that we have them *mostly* nailed, and its getting annoying.

Ponyface is one of those "grumpy lead change" horses. You know the kind. Ears pined, grumpy face, tail swish...but he does them. So thats nice?

He also tends to be exceptionallly exuberant in changes...

It would help if I would stay straight and released more with my inside rein...so theres that to work on.

Beast was also ON FIRE yesterday...and not in a good way. Talk about long spots, bucking, dancing sideways and overjumping.

Forward TB was forward

Fuck you mom I want to run

Holy bounce

At least Yankee is fucking majestic when he's sassy.

We had a few good moments. Only a few. But mostly he was a ratchet mess and even knocked 3 poles due to a flat canter and simple disobedience. GAH. My Arms.

Oh look he's a little chill here

Solid rollback

Oh Hi eq! I missed you lots!

Sassypants IS pretty though

Also, got a cool pic of a trot/canter trans

You might note that is is fucking december and I have a T shirt on. Yeah welcome to the midwest. When 3 days earlier I was...

Bounce bounce do yo thang
.....Freezing my ass off and had to jump in the indoor.

This was quite the rambling post but when I'm cleaning/listening to music my words are just not there. But pretty pics?

I uploaded my vids from the past 2 rides on my channel on youtube, but since his behavior was embarrassing I didn't post it here. Hunt me down on youtube if you REALLY want to see, ha.

Toodles my beautiful candy canes.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Holy Hip Flexors Batman

Morning from chilly Missouri! (-3 windchill)

We is dressagin and we is doin it right!

My compadre, Jesse, who rode Yankee while I was in FL came and kicked my bum into gear with a dressage "lesson" of the aggressive type. I asked for it. Literally, asked her.

When I got home, Yankee was entirely different. In a good way. Straight and forward mostly. I was mostly happy, but slightly jealous that Jesse whipped him into shape in a week (see post titled "Stop Being Better Than Me").

So I asked her to tell me how she did it.

And it was really really hard.

  I have the unfortunate conformation that is not conducive for proper form in the saddle. I never have looked graceful in the saddle like most people do, and look even more awkward on Yankee who is small bodied. I might be the only person to complain about having long legs and a short torso, but seriously finding a saddle that FITS is impossible. My knees always look like theyre in my lap even when my stirrups are too long. Its an epic battle to keep them straight and I discovered that my hip flexors are tighter than a stuck pickle jar lid.

Jesse helped me with my dressage eq, since it was since gone by the wayside (think hair scrunchie). I have a HUGE problem with stretching through my hips down into the stirrups and tip forward, and ride with my hands in my lap. Typical ex hunter.

With CONSTANT (literally, almost every minute) feedback I was able to ride properly: legs back, seatbones connected, back straight, shoulders back, hands up, eyes up. Only when reminded though. In the video its really easy to see my inside hand creep home to its safe place on the saddle.

Muscle memory is a bitch.

Jesse would constantly fire commands at me; "inside hand up, shoulders back, sit, hands up, GET THAT INSIDE HAND UP, sit up, INSIDE HAND WOMAN, sit, legs back, half halt, sit sit sit"

But magic is magic and it worked. Who knew proper riding FIXES things.
This video is a really great visual for anyone that wants to see me being extremely tense (riding in the proper position is unfamiliar) and thus making my hot OTTB even more tense as well. Slowly, ou can see a difference and throughout the vid you can see us both relax. Yankee really changes from trotting/cantering up and down with no back swing, ewe neck/tense, to soft, swingy and relaxed. BUT as soon as I tense up again, he does the same. It is REALLY evident in the leg yeilds.

I know watching 7 minutes of another person ride can be exceptionally boring, but I really think this video is helpful! At least to me, especially because I can see the mistakes, see them corrected and SEE the difference.

For some reason I can't get the video to go where I want it, so its at the end of the post. DAMN TECHNOLOGY.

I could see the biggest difference in the WALK. He usually is really lazy and tense, and in some parts of the vid his back legs are actually stepping up. And the free walk? ummm, I love it.

Take a look at some differences in these still shots.

Better position, and look at dat trot!

Classic Monica, hands in lap, tipped forward, heels up. BAD, But DAT TROT

AH MAH ZA ZING trot, and look my hands, my upper body! Leg is still a little tense, but better.

Ah-mazing walk, Upper body is a little forward, but, I still love this walk

So you can see here my hands in my lap, but my upper body is where it should be and my legs are relaxed, getting there....

Here I was tapping with my inside leg, but my thigh is still relaxed, hands where they should be and upper body back. He is listening and REALLY engaging (look at his back right behind saddle pad) and that inside leg action!

Classic Monica is back, but Yankee looks SUUUPERRR relaxed

Here I was half halting with inside, then outside, but my leg is all tense again and I'm starting to tip forward

Lovely engaged collected trot. LOVE LOVE LOVE this picture as a whole

I don't know if you guys have ever tried to change your way of riding in one day but it is seriously frustrating. I was definitely complaining and puffing like a fatty. I wasn't used to moving that way at all and my muscles were very unhappy with me. I was actually TIRED from riding. And my legs/back/abs were sore as soon as I dismounted.

God, I need to work out  more.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

I Hate Everything, Give Me Chocolate

I'm totally OK with Yankee being a nudist. Its actually so much easier in all ways besides blanketing. If bipolar Missouri would just decide if it wants to be 18* or 70* I wouldn't have to come out 3 times a day and change blankets.

Yesterday was so freaking warm though, that even fully nude, he was super sweaty. Could be that I worked his bum pretty hard with a demanding course. I'm trying to keep him in regular work because *cross fingers* I would like to compete in February.

I set up a line of bounces, an outside line (3 strides) of verticals, a 2 stride line of oxer-vertical-oxer and a free standing vertical. I jacked the oxers up to 3'9 and kept the rest at 2'6-3' and did work.

He was ridiculously abhorrent at first. I was also PMSing and everything even slightly irritating made me want to kill him.

My pet peeve is head tossing and Yanks was doing everything in his power to righteously piss me off. He was doing that stupid head toss thats like, crazy. Where they flip their nose up and down really fast about 20 times. OH MY FUCKING GOD I CANT STAND IT. He only does it every once in a while, and for the love of god I can't figure out why. But it starts in the cross ties and doesn't stop.


The whole ride.

Seriously I almost went back inside and got the damn running martingale and cranked his nose to his chest. But I know better than that. But I still thought about it.

We did lots of leg yields and pole work and that mostly distracted him from being an asshole. I continued to be annoyed.

Now THATS the trot I want all the time
Flicky toes

Once he kind of sort of settled  I got some nice work out of him. He was still pissy about changes and slowing down of any kind, but I gave him BIG praise for not blowing through the bounces. BIG praise.

Sorry for the delays, I'm videoeing myself. Obvi. And you can't see me jumping the other lines. THE STRUG IS REAL.

But aren't his little legggies so cute? I love his grunts too. Bounces are hard!

I used the bounces to set up for the lines and it seemed to really help him engage and rock back! I also was intently conscious of my body and tried reeeeeally hard to stay still. Slowly but surely improving. I don't really know why my eq disappeared.

Progress Progress Progress.

I hoe you're enjoying these pics because it was a bitch to acquire them.

I don't know if you guys know this, but taking video's of yourself is undeniably one of the hardest things to do. Like, I'm pretty sure. I almost stomped on my phone and beat my horse because he continued to be a jerk on the ground and would toss his head into me, thus my phone would tumble to the ground after I had perfectly arranged it on a standard.

I just...cant.

About a thousands tries later though I go this thuggin reel though...

Gonna toot my own horn here just a bit and say that this might be one of the coolest things I've seen in a while. And it was not easy to get. BUT SO COOL.

This isn't the greatest, most cohesive post in the world but I've had a stressful 2 days and maybe I'm slightly intoxicated because I'm still pissy and just want to drink Christmas beer okay?

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Yankee, Fully Nude

But in all seriousness, I did not mean to make him naked. But I majorly effed up his checkerboard.

Do not, I repeat DO NOT attempt to freehand designs. You are not good enough. Get tape.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Florida (mis)Adventures

I'm slightly behind on bloggin, per usual.

Last week I went to Florida to look for apartments and horse boarding barns. From the get-go, it was a stressful adventure.

When we first decided to move (about 6 months ago) I was mostly just super pumped and ready to event in eventing land. There is literally an event within a 4 hour radius of where I will be living, like, every weekend.

Then adult reality set in and I was like, I guess I need to focus on a job. And a place to live. And one for my horse to. Shucks. I was having a swell time in fantasyland, dreaming up all the things I can't afford to do quite yet (like buy a second horse, and decorate my apartment really swanky and event every weekend and board at $1500 mo barns...etc)..

I spent countless hours researching, calling, reading and organizing apartments and barns. There were 82 barns within an hour of Jax. I emailed/called about 22 of them. I could really only afford about 11 of them. I only heard back from 8 of them. Great.

There were about a thousand apartment complexes. I didn't even know where to start, so I set a cap on rent and selected bathrooms, bedrooms and excluded places that don't allow two dogs. Apartment Finder is great, but really you need to just be in the area to find one.

My anxiety was skyrocketing. My notebook was a jumble of numbers, addresses and prices. I NEEDED to visit these places.

So we booked a flight and went down.

Trying to schedule 4 days of appointments is WAY more difficult than I initially presumed. Also, I hate flying.

I only got FIVE of the initial 22 barns to meet with me. And I had 7 apartments to look at. I was SO nervous. I wish I could've gotten more booked, but a lot of the barns were at shows. Didn't think of that when I scheduled a visit from thursday-Sunday. DUMB DUMB DUMB.

Also right before we left, I was got deathly ill. Like, i'm pretty sure I was gonna die. This complicated matters. I was miserable the entire trip.

The first barn I visited was...not as advertised.

I stayed around and chatted to be polite but left ASAP.

The second barn was Janky and definitely not a "show barn". And you weren't allowed to jump unless you were in a lesson. And there were two pastures. No hay. And the owner/trainer was a total BITCH. Ugh, no thanks. Bye.

I was beginning to worry. We had at this point wasted 3 hours (45 minute drive times) and I was losing hope I would find a barn in my budget.

Then we arrived at OHE.

I was entranced. Captivated. Stunned. Floored. In love. I HAD to board here. It was absolute perfection.

The owner was...like an angel. She has to be the nicest horse person I have ever met in my life. Genuine nice. The boarders...so sweet.

The barn. Fucking gorgeous. I can't even begin to describe it. Its not worthy of my futile attempts.

The facilities..I'm..I can't..its too...perfect. Two swimming ponds, 50 acres of gallop paths/trails, a GP jump ring, a massive outdoor, 3 barns, individual turnout or massive pastures, gaited, heated wash racks, a riders lounge, a full bath, lockers and absolutely gorgeous landscaping.

It was too good to be true. This could not possibly be a barn I could afford. I had written down that it was $550/mo. Theres no way.

Yeah there wasn't. I mixed the prices up with a different barn. Its $800. BUT there's a pasture board option, for $450. And its not even the typical "pasture" board. They still have stalls and a gorgeous barn to live in, they're just never shut in. And they're turned out together instead of individually. And in Florida, the grass is good almost all year. So, there's that option.

I want it so bad.

The next day we went ahead and visited two more barns, but after OHE I was not as impressed. I also had that icky feeling that my horse would not get fed everyday. I did find a second option though. Nice facilities. Its an old show grounds bought out and taken over by an ex jumper lady. The barn is like, 600 ft long and there's a dressage ring, jump ring and gallop paths. PLus pretty nice pastures. And the horses seemed happy and well fed. The only red light was the amount of rubble on the property. The unused old stalls barns (the 3 other 600ft barns-that used to be stalls for shows) were crumbling and untouched. There were large pieces of equipment everywhere and weeds growing up around unused pastures. Slight red flag.

I think we found an apartment too, so thats a relief. We also had quite the time with those. Several of them were in the ghetto and we were like...uh no. We had to up our cap price a bit to find a safe place to live, but its worth it. The place we found is beautiful. The boy is moving down before me, so thats a little stressful. But mostly I am excited.

Sadly the trip didn't go as smoothly as I meticulously planned. I was in misery the entire time being sick. I could barely wake up in the mornings and was suffering through all our visits. It was so sad. I made my self get up and go to the beach and take a picture, since we were there, but man, I just wanted to sleep.

All in all though we did what we came to accomplish, even if I didn't have the energy to extracurricular activities.

I think I will go with OHE pasture board for now. Perhaps in summer months when its really hot I will bite the bullet and stable him, but I just don't see myself being as confident with his care as I will be at OHE.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

The Shit Show

There are various meanings to this title. Also WARNING: cynical post to follow, with some swear words. Back away slowly if you get offended by such things. I need to vent.

One being that my brain was a hot mess and couldnt seem to remember courses and I made myself look like an idiot in front of the whole crowd. Several times.

One being Yankee, who was a giant fairy the whole time. He reared on me. Actually two legged I thought I was gonna flip over backwards and gonna die rear. The fuck.

The other being the mess that was the judging. I don't think I will ever go to another show where the students of the college (a horsey one) are judging. They have no idea what is happening. No idea.

To begin, I was very positive. It was the first time I drove my own horse with my own trailer and I felt very accomplished. No one died. It was good.

Yankee was suuuper calm. I should've seen that as a warning. Never trust an OTTB when they're calm. They're just plotting evil.

Jackie came with Isis and it was her first show ever, so we hopped on as soon as we go there and puttered about the warm up ring.

Did I ever say how much I loathe warm up rings mixed with hunter princesses? They literally think they are the only people in there and they have right of way. DOES NO ONE KNOW LEFT SHOULDER TO LEFT SHOULDER ANYMORE.

Yankee was an explosive mess at first and reared out of no where straight into the air. I was VERY caught by surprise and almost died I think. Mostly of embarrassment because I was THAT girl with the psycho pony. After a quick reminder that he is now 11, he simmered down and gave me a few nice flying changes and some great lateral work. I was pleased again.

Put him away and began attempting to memorize my courses. Yes. Courses. There were 4, which is 3 too many.

I am an eventer. I memorize one stadium course and thats it. My brain is full after that.

From the get go I was terrified I would forget courses because I did at Ridgefield, twice. It doesn't help that there is one course, a jump off then the very next class is a similar but different course. MY BRAIN IS FULL. DOES NOT COMPUTE.

Of course, in a self fulfilling prophecy I went in to my first class, a wimpy looking 2'3 class and promptly forgot my course before I even started. I circled four times before someone shouted to me th course. Went clear. Forgot the jump off halfway through and was eliminated from ribbons. FUCKING SHIT.

Second time I remembered my course but Yankee rubbed a rail because he is an asshole. I swear he does it on purpose over the little stuff just to piss me off.

 Oh meanwhile, he is ripping my arms off galloping around the arena and bucking like a bronc. Thus the barely any release over fences and his crazed " I'm going to eat all the fences" look he has.

Also please excuse the tacky screen shots. I haven't ordered pictures yet and this is all I have.

FINALLY we got our shit together and won the speed round, because, come on, he was really getting into the whole run around like a crazy horse thing. So that worked in our favor.

In the 3 ft non speed class, I got screwed because I was trying to be honest. I forgot my course...AGAIN, and circled at one end trying to remember. Went clear, and they told me to go to jump off and I spoke up and was like, "you didn't count my circle as a refusal?" and they were like "oh....yeah...nevermind". Um. Okay.

The VERY NEXT PERSON did the EXACT same thing I did, but didn't say a word about her error, and won the class. MOTHERFUCK. I WANTED THAT RIBBON YOU SLUT.

Luckily I beat her in the speed round because Yankeewas finally not being an asshole and was listening to my aids. But it was a mute point by then, everytime I came in the ring people were like, "oh THIS trainwreck is back". I shit you not.

I also had some violent words with the organizer because I was going in for table A round, not the speed and they blew me out halfway around because I was "off course". When in fact, they had the wrong class, therefore THOUGHT I was wrong, and eliminated me. I was SO FUCKING PISSED I actually cried. Right there in the ring. I was so goddamn frustrated with myself in previous classes and now for the organization elim. me that I lost it right there, Then the organizer chastised me in front of everyone, making me feel like a dick, even when I was right, so I mostly held my tongue in an outburst that is most shameful, now when I think back on it. She let me re-do my round though because they were in the wrong, but I was so so so upset and rattled that I forgot my course...of course. I WIN ASSHOLE OF THE DAY YA'LL.

In the last class of the day, I was finally remembering courses, but my nemisis who always beats me in the upper 3ft classes beat me by 1 second in the speed round. Her horse is the master of turning on a dime and we just couldn't shake her. I like her though so its ok ;)

So I did 8 rounds and only placed in three of them. I actually cried like a spoiled brat, had fierce words with the organizer, forgot lots of course, rode pretty crappily and was freezing, BUT in the end it was a learning lesson. I still had fun in SOME classes but for the most part..I was frustrated. I'm one of those people that cannot just be like, "its not about the ribbon its about having fun"...UH NO. ITS ALL ABOUT THE RIBBON.

No but really, I show to win. And thats it. I don't show to putz around and get last place. I want to WIN. And you're all lying if you say you don't want to win. I worked too hard with this horse to not have something to show for it and I take extreme pride in winning, and extreme failure in losing.

Yankee is still adorable and my favorite even if he was a dick for most of the show. Sometimes you gotta suck to humble yourself right?