Random Riding Days

I was shocked on Monday when my office was released for the day.. two and a half hours early.  I've got a pretty reasonable boss and he completely gets that my animals are comparable to children, horse included.  Well, anyways, small perks.

I ran home, changed clothes, released animals, and waited on D to return from running errands.  I'd rediscovered some of my old training stuff, including these little exercise books that I bought from the bargain bin at a used bookstore for a dollar each.  I was surprised that they had the Beginner, Intermediate and Advanced.  I was also surprised that the Advanced was so advanced.  When I get a moment, I'll scan a few of the pages from the Advanced section, so y'all can see what I'm talking about.  Those canter pirouettes that I was joking about?  Totally in there.

But, with the surprise time available on Monday, I wanted to do something different.  From the Intermediate book, I selected Exercise 6, "Trot - Halt - Back - Trot", and from the Advanced book, I picked Exercise 1, "Counterflex".  Which, really, we should know by now.  We don't.  Halt transitions are hard.  He doesn't want to stop square.  He also gets really, really pissed off in the halt to trot transition - which just means that we need to work it to death and possibly with a crop.  The counter-flex/bend was pretty amazing and I think we're good there.  It was a good exercise to move his focus away from the turn the hates (tracking right towards the little hover pole).  We alternated the two practices and finished on a little canter work.  BO had come to ride at about that point.  I spent the rest of the time at the barn doing carrot stretches and just loving the goof.

And... we are not party animals.  Monday night was spent straightening the apartment, ordering pizza and eating ourselves sick.  I just can't drink like I used to, either.   (That's a lie.  I've never been able to drink.)

Tuesday, we slept in.  I didn't want to do a damn thing.  New Year's Day, though, so I wanted to start on a good note.  We lounged about for a bit and then blew two of my gift cards on cardigans, socks and a $5 dress at Marshall's.  Lunch was Japanese.  Then home.

One of the books that I checked out from the library last week was "Fitness Evaluation of the Horse".  So far, I've found it pretty informative and I've already incorporated the stretching exercises.  We used that on our post-ride yesterday.  It focuses on poll, back, sacrum and heavily on the tail.

As far as the ride itself went, I wasn't aiming for much.  I wanted forward and bend.  I focused a whole lot more on myself:  heels down, toes forward (which, really, have you ever noticed how much that just changes the angle of your leg?!), chest out and hip angle open.  I also tried to wuss out of cantering him because it's so new again and we're doing so much of it.  But I told myself to STFU and ride.  So we cantered, two laps each direction, on the big circle.  Each successful lap is increasing my confidence in my abilities and in the sanity of my horse.  There's a lot of faith in cantering in two-point on a horse like Archie.  Last week, he spooked at the canter tracking right (which is the bane of my effing existence).  I'm thinking it was shadows or the man who decided to do construction work across the street with a large tarp at that precise moment.  But I rode it forward and we did another lap without issue.

Post ride, I spent a lot of time brushing him and loving on him and incorporating some stretches and massages.  Monday, I got big chews and licks from massaging his TMJ.  Tuesday, he didn't give two shits about the jaw, but loved the tail work and back strokes.  He also doesn't appreciate the vertebrae pinching, so I went very lightly on that.  And then I tried to braid the tail, which was the Photo A Day from yesterday.

When I was driving up the dirt road, I saw a small herd of mothers and young.  Humans.  I've noticed them coming out several times and I've never accommodated the random drop-ins.  So, yesterday, I stopped my car and asked if the kids wanted to see a horse.  Yes, of course.  So I put Archie's halter back on, pulled his munching face from his beet pulp and trotted him up the fence line, to the chorus of oohs and ahhs.  I gave the moms some baby carrots and instructed them on how to feed them.  They asked if they could bring carrots by occasionally.  I advised that it would be okay, but that we didn't want the horses trained to approach every stranger that came to the fence line, so treat-less visits were better.  One kid had come by with her grandparents last week (I give a lot of horsie presentations these days), but the mom wasn't with her.  So when I introduced Archie, she immediately exclaimed recognition.  Evidently, her daughter (toddler, mind) had named her new bouncie horsie after my amazing Thoroughbred.  I was really, really touched.

In non-horsie stuff, Christmas season has completely vacated the apartment.  I had to put up my catnip and my potted palm because the kittens are demonic and want to knock shit over.  Any tips, beyond a squirt gun, on training a Honey-Badger-esque kitten on staying off the counter?  Greatly appreciated.

I went to make the "traditional" New Year's Day meal last night when... our stove died.  Is it just a Southern thing to cook collards, black eyed peas (or Hoppin' John) and porkchops?  We substitute the pork for cornbread (poor, deprived husband).  Anyways, after googling, I found out that you can indeed cook cornbread in the microwave.  I took a few spoonfuls from the loaf pan and put it in smaller ramekins, then nuked it for seven minutes at 80% power.  Highly edible.  The microwave saved our finances and luck for 2013.

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  1. Not going to comment on all 6 of the entries that piled up as I'm super behind it seems (yay 1000+ posts to look at lol) but that book looks really cool (both of them do actually) and I would love if you'd divulge more info from them :D