hahaha…I am so screwed!

So the show I am going to TOMORROW is going to be the western style in hand class. Where is sounds like being able to stand still and trot off are really important. Hahaha. Maybe I should have practiced. I don’t even have time to get out there today so we will really be flying blind! It is the FUN show that I went to with Phoenix so at least it is low key. I will try to remember my quadrants. Is there any chance at all that I could teach a horse to trot off in the 30 minutes before my class starts? He is cute as a button too so I feel bad for not practicing because this horse would have a chance to do well. It is all in good fun though and that is all that counts right?

I’m going to a horse show this weekend…

AND SHOWING IN HAND!!!! hahahahaha!

One of my friends has a very cute black and white pinto warmblood who see needs to get out and about more. Me being the helpful person that I am, told her all about the fun show that Phoenix and I went to back in May and how it would be perfect for her. She is totally the kind of person who loves a fun show so it was not a hard sell. I offered to give her a ride to the show on one condition. She had to let me borrow her horse and do the in hand classes 🙂 This all took place right as I was ending things with Phoenix so I thought I would never show again so In Hand was exciting. Now, only a few days from showing I am starting to wonder…what was I thinking!?!?!

I have never in my life done an in hand class. I don’t even know what they are looking for. Or what to wear. The good thing is that this show is so low key that it is the perfect place to learn. To do at least a little prep for this show I looked up some videos from youtube and this one is the best I found. Any one out there have any other tips for me? And for the record, no, the horse has never been trained to do an in hand class either. Hahaha…I am so crazy, but I am also going to have a lot of fun!!

I am like a vacation queen these days…

So remember this post? Or this one? Well this summer I am like the vacation queen. From going to the shore to flying down to Florida I am all over the place and loving it! What makes it even sweeter is the fact that since I got Gennyral over 5 years ago I have hardly gone away, and if I did it had to be for under 5 days because Gen couldn’t handle not seeing me. My horse would literally cut his face open if he did not see my mug for 6 days. It happened 2 times before I learned to just not go away. Clearly Gennyral needed me more than I needed to see my family.

Since moving to Hill Farm over 2 year ago things have slowly but surely begun to change. After only a few months there I went away for 4 days, but I still had the Young Rider check in on him. Eventually as the months went on I would go away for 5 days and cut the Young Rider’s visits to Gen down to every other day. This summer I had planned to be a total show queen. I had planned to be bringing Phoenix to a show every other weekend and some times more. This summer was supposed to be my summer of horses! When that fell apart (and I did too) I started to reevaluate things and decided that it was time to go away and have some fun.

Just the way things worked out I planned my vacations for 3 weeks in a row. They were 4 days, then 5 days and then 6 days. Just the thought of that a few years ago would have sent me in to a tizzy. This year not so much. The old Gennyral would hurt himself when I went away because he craved attention. My new Gennyral is spoiled and loved by everyone at the barn so he gets lots of attention…and cookies…when his Mommy is away.

Because it is so hot and my horse is a giant ball of fungus I needed someone to hose him off. One of the Barn Owner’s kids is home for the summer and said that he would do it. I told him to just hose Gen off and to keep an eye out for fungus. Well, my Gen was extra spoiled because the kid groomed Gen before he would hose him off and then would take him out to hand graze so he wouldn’t be put away dripping wet. I got texted a picture while I was away of my precious pony taking a nap while the son doted on him. It was adorable!

I feel so lucky that I can trust my barn to take complete care of my horse when I am gone. I know that not a lot of people can say that! How are all of you about going away with horses at home? I don’t think a lot of horse people go away because vacations tend to be pricey and most of our spare change goes in to horses. What is the longest you have been away and felt comfortable about?

1,214 days later…I RODE GENNYRAL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Not that I am counting, but it was 3 years, 3 months and 26 days since I last rode my horse.

That was…until YESTERDAY!!!!!!!!!!

Shocked? So I was I! I have been lunging Gen on and off this summer, but I had not given any real thought about riding him. So what happened? I have no idea…but I will tell you that I am CRAZY!

So about two years ago my vet gave me permission to get on and walk Gen. There was no medical reason that Gen could not walk around a ring with a person on his back. There was, and still is, a medical reason not to trot or canter, but walking was okay. So why did I not hop right on? Because my Gen, as much of a sweetheart as he is, can be a total fruit loop when mounted. There is a reason I got him for free! The way I fixed his original rearing problem was by teaching to run when he felt stressed. Bolting has never bothered me…I like to go fast and I would always get control back at some point. With bolting taking out of my tool bag, well, I just wasn’t sure how I could handle my little monster. I was nervous about riding my horse. He had a long time off and he was not a steady eddy to begin with.

I have said for two years now that if I was going to ride Gen again it would have to be on a triple digit day. Gen is not a hot weather horse so he would never be naughty with a heat advisory in effect.  Well, this summer I was starting to run out of excuses because there have been so many days where it is HOT. Gen’s lunging was sporadic because of the heat and also because he was not always 100% sound on the line. I know that a lot of that is probably from 3 years off and being stuck on a small circle, so the idea that I needed to get on to him started to become more serious, but it was still just a thought.

I still don’t know what came over me, but yesterday before my lesson I joked with my trainer that today I was going to get on him because it was so hot. My trainer looked at me and then in total seriousness said that it sounded like a good game plan to her. Her reasoning was that there was my magical heat advisory in effect, I was getting ready to ride in my lesson which would mean I would be nice and tired so I couldn’t clamp down on Gen, there was a nice breeze so bugs would not be bad, I wasn’t prepared for it so mentally I could not freak myself out,  and Gen had been perfect on the lung line as of late.

I stopped and listened to my trainer. She had some really good points. In the past 3 plus years my trainer has always wanted me to ride Gen, but this was the very first time she actually said flat out to do it. So I texted the barn owner at Hill farm to see if anyone was going to be around. As crazy as it is to just get on a horse after a 3 and a half year retirement I at least had the common sense to know I should not do it alone! When she came back and said that she would be there and hold my hand as necessary (reason number 987 why my horse is never moving). I couldn’t believe I was even thinking about riding my horse! My lesson was about to start to I pushed all thoughts of Gen out of my mind and focused on the school master.

By the time I left the barn I was starting to believe that I might actually get on him. As you can tell from my fantastically unmatching outfit, I really had not planned at all to get on Gen before that morning. By the time I got to Gennyral’s barn I was trying not to think about what I might or might not be doing. I tacked Gen up and he was clearly in a good mood, hot…but happy. As the barn owner and I walked up to the ring I just knew my horse would be perfect. Call it a premonition. I lunged him just to see where his head was at only to find his mind was and all that was running through his brain was the nap he was missing. So after a brief hesitation (including telling the barn owner where to find my insurance card) I stopped and talked to Gen.

With my head to his I told him that he had to be good because I really wanted to be able to walk him around. I swear Gen heard me so I took a deep breath and got on. Just like that. I just got on. I know…I AM NUTS! Gen stood there like a statue. He was PERFECT, but as you can see from the photo, totally confused!

I was beyond happy already just being able to get on him. As I told you before, I just knew he was going to be good, so I asked him to walk on. and he was PERFECT. Oh it was heaven to ride my horse again! His walk and my walk just sync up perfectly. I have never felt as comfy a horse as my own! Even better than the bliss of riding the perfect gait was the fact that Gen seemed to be enjoying himself. He kept all 4 feet on the ground the whole time! He didn’t even do his signature head tossing. He was PERFECT. He wanted to ridden. I was beyond happy.

My first ride back exceeded ALL my expectations. By about 100 times.

I RODE GENNYRAL!

Even if it was just a few minutes at the walk that is more than I could have dreamed of. I still can’t believe it. It makes me not want to go away and to just stay at home and ride him! I can’t wait to get out there again this morning to try it again. Man I am so happy!!!

The New Pony In My Life…

So I know I showed you pictures from my lesson last week, but since I have been away (and am heading out again very soon) I have not had the chance to write what is going on. This guy is the school master at my trainers barn. He is around 14 years old and a registered Hanoverian who has gone though the levels. I think I need a better nickname than school master though because this guy is my new “half”…but not really. Things got way too out of control with Phoenix when it comes to money and time. I lost both balance and perspective. It was all about riding, showing, and horses. I spent the month of June taking one lesson a week, but for the month of July I am picking up my game.

I went from shows every weekend and riding 5 days a week to just one day. And while I spent my time well (and even threw Gen on the lunge line many times) once a week was just not cutting it for me. My lessons are always on Saturday’s so by Thursday I was always starting to go stir crazy. My trainer brought up the idea of a lease and I started to freak out about it. Not only is this horse very hard to ride, I really have zero desire to lease a horse ever again. My trainer could see the panic in my face when she mentioned the L word (lease) so she let well enough alone for a few weeks.

I am have a really hard time half passing. I have progressed on many of the other movements but half passing is just something that I am not getting. After my last lesson when I was so close, but just not there my trainer pulled me aside for a little talk. She wanted to know what my goals were and if I was still happy just being a once a week rider. I told her that I just wanted to be a good rider (that has been my goal for 10 years now and I still have a long way to go!) but I also admitted that once a week was not enough, but I didn’t want to lease again so I still felt totally stuck. My trainer had the perfect solution. Why not just pick up one extra ride a week on the school master? He is already half leased out and she wants to b able to use him for a lesson every now then so a lease would not work for him anyway, but an extra ride would.

I told my trainer my worries about this possible situation, which she listened too, and then once she put all my fears to rest I smiled and truthfully said that it sounded like the perfect situation!

So now I am back to riding 2 days a week which has been pretty perfect so far! I get my butt kicked in my lesson and then use my extra ride to try and figure stuff out on my own. My goal this past week was just to work on being still (which is not easy on a horse whose trot is so big you feel like you are touching the moon) and to work on my shoulder in at the canter (which is still really hard!). It has been REALLY fun so far though. I am smiling after every ride and without a doubt learning a lot.

It can be frustrating at times because my trainer is being very picky with me. Since I am riding a horse that can do I need to learn it the right way from the start. I appreciate it because I want to learn things correctly once instead of having to re-learn things. My trainer is already ready to send me off into the show ring to get my last score for my bronze medal, but I am going to take my time and really make sure that I don’t let the school master down before we enter at A. For now I just want to learn how to ride him and ride him well.

Anyone have any nickname ideas? Let me tell you a little about him. He is very dignified, he can be a total cow sometimes (both on and off the ground), but he is a good egg who really tries to do whatever you are asking of him. He is also a total sweet heart and loves to get attention and love. He can be pretty herd bound and is happy to scream for his friends if he can get away with it. His eyes totally pop out of his big head but that makes him look even sweeter to me…kind of like one of those hairless cats or Phoenix…you know…an ugly kind of cute. He also LOVES treats and carrots seem to be his favorite. His real name starts with an A and is a people name, but it is not a cute name (he really is a cute guy). I will keep racking my brain, but feel free to share if you can think of anything!

Can I just tell you how good it feels to be riding again more seriously…it feels REALLY good.

Courtney King-Dye Rides Horse in Therapy

Got this from Dressage News

NEW MILFORD, Connecticut, July 21–Courtney King-Dye reports that she has twice ridden a horse in therapy to recover from a serious head injury in a riding accident almost six months ago.

Since being released to outpatient care on June 25, she said she has remained at the Kessler Institute in New Jersey for occupational, speech and physical therapy and additional therapies at the International Brain Research Foundation also in New Jersey.

“I also have now ridden a horse in hippotherapy twice,”‘ she wrote on her Internet site.

“The first time, I was more nervous than before I rode in the Olympic Games!

“They told me it was OK to cry (they were great), but once I was on it was like home. I didn’t know if I’d be able to do what I knew I must, but I did! I knew, for me, I had to separate the riding as a therapy, from the love of the horse. Even though I was working on very different things, it was still work. And once I was off, I let myself love him to pieces! He was great. His name is ‘Dude’ and he was great. I rode so ugly I thank God that it wasn’t on one of my horses… both for me, and for him! But you can’t take the trainer out of the girl. It was a very hot day, so Dude kept stopping by the door. Instinct took over, and by the third time I shocked everyone (including me!) by kicking poor Dude!! He, who is trained to ignore everything the person on his back may do, very obediently ignored my pathetic one-legged kick! I was mortified, but it caused a good laugh!

“I’m still keeping the good attitude, even though the reality of the situation has really sunk in. It is what it is, and I don’t intend to let it take any of my joy away! I know I’m lucky in a lot of ways, and I am constantly aware of and thankful for those things! I have every intention to ride again, at the same level I did before!

“We are also taking full advantage of our new-found freedom away from inpatient! I spent my first nights at home in months! We intend to go home any possible weekend. It’s not many, but it’s great!

“I want to take this opportunity to say THANK YOU to my husband. He has been unbelievably awesome. Also thank you to my family and friends for caring so much. Also thank you to all those people who are reaching out to me, sending me emails or notes, donations or other gifts. It means a great deal to me even if I don’t get to respond to them all because “Lefty” is so slow! So keep them coming!

“I am often asked how I feel about the discussion on helmets. Although I don’t want helmets to be all my accident means, I believe any protection is good. I normally ride my young horses or horses I’m concerned about with a helmet, but being in a hurry, I didn’t get one, and here I am. Who knows if a helmet would have saved me; I couldn’t have made the horse not trip, but I KNOW any protection is good protection. We all know and accept that big animals are unpredictable. Let’s face it, s*#t happens. I happen to be an example of that, and all I can say is, WEAR A HELMET!”