Thursday, June 9, 2016

Baby Steps

I want to thank everyone who commented yesterday and was able to keep the conversation adult. I know back in the day my blog was scattered, offensive and immature but I sometimes try to be a smidgen more professional these days when blogging. It was a breath of fresh air to see so many comments from those who prefer the breeds I don't, and were OK admitting they didn't enjoy TBs either. I hope I didn't offend anyone, that was not my intention, and I am happy there was good discussion. I love the blogging world!

Moving on.

I put off this post (surprise surprise) because I wasn't sure if "Bacardi good behavior "was a one ride" fluke or not and my last post about him was incredibly emo & I was having another mental breakdown about horses in general.

Past that now (will this be a monthly thing for me??) and moving on from the second guessing.

I have ridden B every day for the last week, with the exception of yesterday, which was amazing. I wish I could do this every week because unlike Yankee, he benefits from work everyday. I had a LOOOONG weekend due to the PT's being out of office for a medical seminar, so I wasn't required to show up to work...which was incredible for my pony time.

repeat media, don't care
I can't remember which day it was, but the first ride back after the disaster that was our shitshow ride was AMAZING. I decided to switch it up and do flatwork only and focused on stretching through the bridle for about 20 minutes in just the walk and trot. He was brilliant. Almost too brilliant. I dismounted incredibly skeptical, wondering if he would be the same the next day.

The ride after was another flat day, and B maintained greatness.

Such a good baby
I won;t go into too much detail, because how fun can reading about flatwork be? Like "oh, yeah he was being really good and responding to my inside leg like a champ. Doing normal dressage  horse stuff. Also, he cantered straight and picked up all his leads calmly and was adjustable and..."

Pretty much the same everytime, amirite.

The next ride I wanted to bring back some jumping. My friend L showed up again, which is always lovely because  get media and second opinions! She's a really good rider and I enjoy her company at the barn.

For always, B has had a little issue with quickness in-between lower height fences. At first it was because of weakness and as most of us know, weak horses tend to snowball over courses. Then it morphed into gusto after he learned how to carry himself and realized jumping was best. Now its flat out not listening to half halts and blowing through fences because they aren't tall enough. Literally. He sometimes takes out the entire fence because he's traveling so far DOWN and refusing to listen to half halts and effectively jumps downward....its possible.

Case and point.
This type of jumping is no bueno and not something I like to encourage. We've tried grids. We've tried trotting fences (hint; he gallops at them anyways). We've tried half halts. I tried everything I could think of to get him off his forehand and RESPECT the fences. Not like he can't jump the height. He's cleared 3'6 easily before, when he's paying attention.

First thing I did was change him back to his golden wings elevator bit. 

Notice anything different besides the bit?
Then, my friend L got on him and showed me a little trick she uses with her reining horses.

Yes, reining.

We would hop  him over two crossrails, at his preferred speed (yes, his speed...which is full on gallop) and then halt him HARD after the line, about 4 strides after.

It was messy. It was ugly. It looked a little like this..

Such impulsion. Very canter. Much uphill.
A few things you might notice. I am not sitting down. We tried that and it lit him UPPPP. We realized that if we ask for the halt with pulsating hands (so we aren't ripping his face off) he has less to fight and brace against  (his favorite) and we aren't jamming down on his back. 

Then, once he was halted, we asked for a turn on the haunches 180*, moving his shoulders while his butt stayed planted. Then, canter off and do the line again. Wash. rinse. repeat.

(This is what I referenced in my last post about teaching him in about 10 minutes flat. He went from not knowing how to do this, to doing it the second you moved your hands and asked with your heel. Genius level when he wants to be.)

After 4 tries only, he was like, "OH OKAY, sit back and slow down after fences, I get it now".

Literally four tries.

Complete gentleman
After that he was a dream after and in-between fences.  I kept practicing string together the outside line, the liverpool and the oxer line and he maintained even rhythm and consistency throughout. #PROUD

I try to keep the fences lower for work like this, because it is more difficult and there is no need to always school 3'3. It is fun, but not necessary. Especially because when I do ride, most of the rides consist of flatwork then some light jump school work. 

After the coursework, I felt good and confident to send him through the grid thinking he would be abel to maintain a balanced uphill canter.


We still have a lot of work to do when it comes to stringing together a lot of fences in a grid. He tends to get so so so strung out and the good effects of the grid never really take place. I've never seen a horse turn a one stride into a bounce before, but he has the stunning ability to jump a grid of 3 fences in 3 bounds, no joke.

First, he tranters over the ground pole...

And proceeds to bounce through the grid like it was set to bounce distances. All I could really do was laugh, because the amount of athleticism it takes to do that and not knock any down was impressive. It also felt really good, which is weird, haha.

long spot much
L was videoing and at the end of one pass through I was cackling and said "WHAT was THAT". 

Eventually, I was able to get him to sit back a little bit and slow his roll through the grid, but for now, I think I will focus less on gridwork and more another things. Sorely tempted to jack them up to 3ft 3in and see his that backs him off, but that smells like disaster. He did do remarkably better though when I bumped the last oxer up to 2'9...

Much better with some more height 
The next day I repeated the exercise L taught us over the outside crossrail line and no fights were had and he halted calmly and without issue.

SO that was neat.

The rest of the week I focused on flatwork and hacks and gave him the day off yesterday. Today will be an other jump school and hack before I leave for KY for the weekend.

I'm running another Tough Mudder saturday in the 93* heat, so if I don't return its because I died.

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

What Do Wednesday: Breeds

Again, trending with the theme of not exactly what do you do, but "what is your opinion" this week.

Also, I have great news on the Bacardi front and so much to update I haven't even sorted through all the corresponding media. Its coming!

Sneak peak picture of a picture, lol
So this week was inspired again by Facebook. I spend far too much time there, scrolling scrolling scrolling mindlessly in the middle of the night when I can't sleep (often). I classify myself more of a "lurker" than an active poster or comment maker, but sometimes I can't help myself.

This past week I read a comment that I haven't been able to dismiss yet. Perhaps because I am so sick and tired of hate becoming the norm online, or perhaps I just can't grasp why people have to be so nasty for no reason when hiding behind a keyboard. I also will never understand why people insist on forcing their opinions on everyone at every opportunity and then making those who disagree with them feel idiotic or horrible for disagreeing. They're called opinions for a reason, we don't need to hear yours for the hundredth time. We get it. You hate *this* for *this reason*. What is the actual point of repeating yourself all over social media?

What I am speaking of, and what I read on Facebook that night, was an absolute disdain for Thoroughbreds.

Which I can understand.

They aren't for everyone. I am well aware of that. They can be hot, lunatic, batshit insane, unsound, skinny beasts. I've been there, done that.

Jumping attack mode; engage
I have also seen and personally experienced the heart, work ethic, athleticism and love a thoroughbred can have for its job and its human.

But the unnecessary bashing needs to stop. Regardless of what it is about. Breeds, discipline, talent, money...whatever. Why do we all hate SO much? We are so quick to judge and spew distasteful comments and I am sick of it. It sometimes makes me want to quit blogging altogether because of the few select Queen Bitches that reign.

Breeds are a choice, and those choices are made due to personal taste, comfort level, goals and experience. Who are "we" to judge anyone else for their choices?

For me, there will never be another horse like my Yankee. He is one in a million. When I sit on his back, I am home. Everything else dissolves and I only feel him listening beneath me and I am content. There is absolutely nothing better than that creature in this entire world. He is perfect in every way to me and I will treasure him until the day he dies. And guess what, he's an OTTB. Suck it haters.

Kiss our perfect asses
I am so SICK of people vehemently preaching their hate for OTTBs/Thoroughbreds specifically,  and then casting out those who love and own them....considering them lesser people with minds of an ape.


I  love thoroughbreds. Its okay that "you" don't.

I just don't see the point of spewing the hate repeatedly (like, all the time on Facebook) with derogatory and condescending comments.

I absolutely 100% take offense to that, even if those comments aren't even directed at me (most of them usually are, for the record).

Thoroughbreds will always be MY breed. For the reasons I listed above. I would appreciate not being hated for that opinion. When someone insults thoroughbreds, intentionally directing the comment my way, you are essentially saying my horse(s) is/are a piece of shit. When in reality, Yankee is the lightest, most responsive, consistent and athletic horse I have ever owned or ridden. He glides over 4 ft fences (and above). His halt to canter transitions are almost flawless. He responds to my aids without hesitation and he is happy to please and work his ass off for me.

Halt to canter betches

Bacardi too, despite his green horse flaws, is an incredible animal. His athleticism continues to amaze me and when he's paying attention, he absorbs training like a sponge. I taught him turn on the haunches in ten minutes yesterday, and today he did them like he was an old pro. Sure, he's green and sure he can be a a handful but I LOVE the spunk and heart and ability that horse possesses.

How DARE you assume otherwise, or think they are lesser creatures, or label me as an idiot. How fucking dare you.

I will say this one time only and for the sake of this blog post.

I have breeds I really don't care for too. Paso Fino's, Arabians and Saddlebreds. I think they're abominations of the equine world and would rather not associate myself with them. Paso's are like tiny bombs with no brains and I think they are useless creatures. Their gait is confusing and boring and I think it looks manufactured. I also had more trouble handling this breed than any other I've worked with. So stupid. Arabians are more insane than Thoroughbreds, and I will NEVER own another (fun fact, I've had 2). Never. They are impossible and I won't do it.  Additionally, MOST of them are too refined for my taste. Too man-made and dainty. I like some meat and bones on my horses. Also, too small for my tall ass self. Saddlebreds are just ugly as sin and I cannot make myself like them even if I tried. Plus, I only know of one that is good at jumping/dressage- which is MY sport.

But you know what, thats fine. That my opinion and I don't give a flip if you own one of those breeds, because YOU love them. Its YOUR choice.  & I sure as shit will NEVER make you feel bad about it or berate you for owning a certain breed.

They all have a purpose and have those humans that love them. Its not okay to hate someone for the breed they choose to love.

Can we please end the hate?

So what I want to know is what your favorite breed is and why! If you want to share your least favorite you can as well, but you don't have to.