Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Leg. Always MORE Leg.

Despite getting sick AGAIN with the black lunge plague that everyone seems to have, its less aggressive and awful than the last time I was sick with whatever I had that was trying to kill me, so after a few days of sneezing, coughing and dealing with congestion I said screw it and rode anyways.

Once the temp rose, of course.

No more snerr
I don't know about you all, but where I am in Ohio, the temperatures have been INSANE the last 3 weeks. In that time frame we have gone from 20s, to mid 60s to negative temps back to 60s and it is pretty awful. Not only am I worried about colic, but it makes for ridiculously unrideable days and unpredictable weather.

I rode yesterday for the first time in about 9 days (minus the photo shoot which I don't count at all) and it was....lit.

In addition to the warm spell, we also had thunderstorms (WHAT?! it was literally 5 degrees on Sunday) and the wind was INSANE. Gale force. Hurricane.

So even though B has grown up and minds his manners most of the time, yesterday was a struggle and I do not blame him one bit. Skyrocketing temp changes, gale force winds, being kept in due to rain and a crowded arena do not a calm thoroughbred make.

We've also been busy taking pics from every goddamn angle for prospective buyers. 


It was a really good ride despite that.

I was prepared for antics and set myself a 2 hour block of time to ride. I of course can only ride once its dark and lessons for the evenings are in full swing. This means I do a lot of standing around, letting the lessons do their thing. I don't mind at all, and it gives B a chance to brush upon his 'stand calm' skills in addition to being comfortable with lots of horses in a small space.

For the most part, he was actually a really good boy and some people I had not seen in a while complimented how different he looks. I will say that he was giving some solid and connected trot work. Super pliable and really moving off my leg--it was lovely.

The trouble was the canter, again.

Half the time, its how I ride and the other half the time it was the insane weather understandably spooking a hot TB. It was spooking me, so I never got mad at him for it.

Going back to the lesson with S though; I learned that at this point, B cannot be coddled or just toodled around long and low. Boy needs to WORK and work from the get-go, so I hopped to it.

Like I said, the trot work was lovely but when it came time for the canter he was a wild child. I'm not sure if he was stiff from being inside, spooky or just sensitive to my leg (his skin gets that way with temp changes) but he would EXPLODE into the canter, dive into the circle and crow hop his way around.

At first, we fought. It wasn't pretty.  At all.

Then the lightbulb went off and I remembered what he was like outside with S during our lesson. It was a windy day, he was spooky, but whenI didn't give up on getting "a good ride",  I brought my hands up and supported with the reins (instead of pulling back like I habitually do) and added leg and sat quietly like nothing was happening, he magically transformed into a uni.

So thats what I did.

It worked.

Holy shit guys, this is real stuff.

Minus the one time on the left lead, when he literally cantered in place and kinda half hopped around (honestly would've been a really good canter pirouette) to which I refused to cater to his bullshit and literally cow-kicked him into an actual canter, it was mostly without fight. After 4 transitions, he no longer exploded and it was lovely each and every time.

So my assumption is that I've been jabbing him in the face accidentally with my wayward hands, or someone else has (he was ridden a lot by people at my barn while I was sick) and he's started spooking/scooting due to one thing or another when I ask for the canter.

Luckily, with S's tips on how to, you know, ride properly, we ACTUALLY worked through it instead of getting a "good stopping point" and ending there.

I was super proud of him for coming back to me so quickly and proud of myself for actually really working through a tantrum. Usually I would bring him down to a walk, distract him with lateral work and be done, but I worked through it at the sticky gait and it was brilliant.

I think this was the ride I really needed to give myself confidence that I AM doing OK with this horse and he doesn't hate me and I'm not a POS rider now. Sometimes its super frustrating when you feel like its you holding them back, but now I know I can do it and work through the rough spots. Coming back from this back injury has been so ridiculously slow that sometimes I feel I will never get my strength or confidence up again, but last night really helped me.

Tonight we have a jump lesson, first in months, and first time I've jumped since the disaster of my clinic, so I am nervous and excited. Its a group lesson though, which will diffuse some focus on me and I signed up for the 2'6 and under class to keep my nerves at a minimum.

Its interesting, the last time I really jumped B was in September and we jumped a sick grid ending with a 3'6 oxer and then I jumped him ALONE, 3'9 just to see if we could. THEN, I went to a show, competed in a thunderstorm, fell off (are we seeing a trend with thunderstorms?) and now I'm shattered and can't seem to jump anything over 2ft without collapsing in on myself into fetal position and  riding like shit.

Where is this badass? Why am I like this?

Since then, minus the clinic (which was DUMB), I have avoided jumping, and the weather has supported this by being too cold for jumping. But damn, I need to get this horse jumping again...

LOL at me for being nervous to jump my fucking badass jumper horse who I'm trying to sell as as a jumper...

I have issues guys. Lort give me gumption.

Monday, January 9, 2017


I'm not usually a fan of super sappy/annoying/heartfelt blogposts and perhaps have strayed from my sarcastic tone only a few times, but since listing B for sale and trying to sell his ass...I've been feeling all the feels.

In May (if I still have him then--lort plz no) he will have been mine 3 whole years.


That went by so fast, I can barely believe it to be honest.

Day 1: trying him out

In selling him I have found it INCREDIBLY difficult to not preach how god awful he was when I first got him. Its so difficult to not say "well x amount of time ago he was y and how he is z"...because people don't care. They don't care if he was a giant exploding ball of anxiety around trailers and stalls and in crossties and now doesn't bat an eye at any of it.  They don't give a shit. They see whats in front of them, which I can 1000% understand...but as an owner its SO damn hard to not be like here's xyz.

He used to literally be dangerous. He would rear, kick, bolt, buck and explode at any and all moments for no given reason. A lesser person would've given up or treated him like garbage, but I saw what was underneath that hard & explosive exterior. He was horse who had been broken. Broken to to core and just needed love, trust and understanding. He needed time. And I gave it to him. Years, actually.

& it was fucking brutal.

Do you know how hard it is to watch everyone else schooling their 6 year olds over 3ft fences, when yours can't even walk forward half the time? How hard it is to struggle day in and day out with loading in a trailer? How miserable it is to re teach the same thing over and over and over because your horse is afraid of the wind and literally cannot keep himself together for 5 minutes at a time? How embarrassing it is to have your horse jumping 3'6 one day and refusing ground poles the next?

So fucking hard.

But, I slowly kept chipped away at him, building a partnership, teaching him its OK to not understand and to trust what I'm asking of him. I kept at it, when everyone else was light years ahead, because I knew he was special. I knew it would pay off.

And it did. It DID pay off. He's a brilliant horse, with so much talent and he is finally less of a spaz. Sure, he still spooks at the wind on occasion and we have a bad ride here and there (everyone does) , but I'm no longer leaving the ring every single time in tears. He has grown.

Realizing that any potential seller could easily google my name from the ad, find this blog and read it. Great. I don't care. If anything, I wish they would to learn what a badass B is now.


(for me) When selling, its a constant struggle to show him in his best light vs. what he was because I find that to be more informational than anything, and a true testament to the horse he is today.

But alas, thats not how it works.

I love this goon

I also apparently forgot that people want X-rays and photos of legs, of which I have neither. I refuse to get X-rays for a horse that's under 10K, so people can ge over that or order it themselves.

But for real. This whole process has been numbing.

Bacardi was and is my dream horse. Forever.

Don't get me wrong, I adore Yankee and he is my heart, but I also outgrew him in many ways. He does not challenge me any more and he is physically too small for my amazon body. Also if I am being frank, he is quite plain and not a stunner in any way other than his brain and talent for learning. I had ALWAYS wanted a shiny, chromey, flashy, BIG horse. I will never forget what Yankee has done for me and he is never leaving...but B encompasses everything I've ever wanted and ripping it away after such success is killing me. I finally felt whole and content in my purchase of that big crazy chestnut boy.

People read his ad and see an unshown 8 year old off the track Thoroughbred and nothing more. I KNOW why people focus on a show record, but it is so fucking frustrating when people have all the money in the world to show every weekend and I am scraping together every cent I have to provide for my passion and show a schooling show a month. I feel like thats worth some credit too and pricing B where he is now is almost a slap in the face to myself. It sucks.

I just wish everyone could see his transformation like I have and realize he is so so special and worth every cent he's listed for and more. It kill me to give him up after all we have been through.

XoXo forever