"And, when you want something, the entire Universe conspires in helping you to achieve it." -The Alchemist, by Paulo Coehlo

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Listen to the Music

I wrote this entire post, tried to publish it, and Blogger deleted it!! The WHOLE thing! Even though I'd saved it! So I've had to re-write it, and of course it's not as good as the first time...

Saturday was another gorgeous day, in the 60's. I was at the barn early to ride both of the girls. Jez went first.

She had a big day Friday-it was her first real trail ride, negotiating varying terrain, and she had been wound up most of the way. Actually, Sally had ridden her in the arena for almost an hour prior to the trail ride while we waited for Tina, and despite walking most of the time, she had been a little wired then too. All of that excitement = tension = soreness the next day. Predictably, Jez felt stiff as we warmed up. Not leg-wise, just body-wise. So we did a recovery workout-walking on the buckle to start, just straight lines and big circles, then we picked up the trot and I let Jez really step out until she felt warmed up. Since I was feeling tired myself, I had decided to ride with my iPod for the first time in a really long time-I have this awesome playlist specifically for working out that I have used for riding before. Of course Jez could hear it despite my headphones, and she responded with a more animated movement than ever before, even at the walk. I swear she likes house music!

We then went back down to a walk, and did small circles and figure-8s, then trotted out again. I asked Jez to come up into a frame, but she complained, and I decided to give her a break for the day and allowed her to trot with long strides on the buckle. We then alternated these sets 2 or 3 times: more concentrated bendy work at the walk, with 5 minutes sets of trotting with loose reins. Jez seemed to enjoy this, to the point where, all by herself, she offered to come onto the bit for a couple of strides. Good girl! At the walk, she even gave me a couple of shoulder-ins for a few strides at a time.

After that, it was Lily's turn.

She allowed me to catch her in the paddock, and after  I took her to the outdoor, where we rode simultaneously with our resident trainer's lesson. We have several trainers at this barn, the main ones being the resident trainer and our problem trainer (the one I've been complaining about-she's the only one everyone has problems with, including the stable hands and the barn manager! The only reason why she's allowed to stay is because so many of the older boarders take lessons with her. No one can figure out why.) Our resident trainer is awesome-she used to be a jumper, rides dressage now, and has extensive natural horsemanship training. She boards 2 of her horses at our barn: one is a retired gelding with degenerative suspensory ligament desmitis, whom you could never tell has this horrible disease because he is one of the happiest horses I've ever met. He has a whole arsenal of tricks that reminds you more of a Golden Retriever than a horse. Her other horse is a Dutch Warmblood mare who is doing First Level dressage. She is spectacular, and whenever this trainer is riding her, I find myself stopping whatever it is I'm doing to go watch them!

Decked out in a proper dressage bridle...
Like Jez, I rode Lily with my iPod, but turned down the music just enough so I could hear the lesson. Our resident trainer was very good about letting us know what her student (our only underage rider in the barn, on her adorable black pony mare) would be doing next so we could all stay out of the way. They were doing poles, grids, and lines, and working on control over fences (see? This is what a real trainer does in a lesson...I need to shut up...). The trainer calling out what they were doing made it so easy to work around the lesson-you could still have a productive session without constantly trying to guess where the student was going to go next.

Lily and I had a really good ride. We worked in the mullen mouth snaffle, and focused on staying on the bit while remaining light at walk, trot and canter. We were on a roll, and we received compliments after from the people that had gathered around to watch the lesson.

The problem trainer arrived with her entourage before our resident trainer's lesson was over, and that's when I hopped off Lily and walked her to the indoor where we could continue our workout in peace. And of course these two trainers don't get along!

In the indoor, we practiced lateral work at the trot: shoulder-in and crossing the diagonal in leg yield, and on just keeping Lily straight and picking up her inside shoulder going to the right. We then did some trot-canter-trot transitions on 20 meter circles, and called it quits when our resident trainer showed up with her next lesson. (Yes, she moved to the indoor-that's how bad the problem trainer is. Some people call her a ring hog.) I walked Lily out while the next student warmed up on her horse.

Lily was DRENCHED in sweat. Since it was finally warm enough that I'd been walking around the barn in just a long sleeved shirt without a jacket, I decided to give her a real bath, with warm water and shampoo. I let her dry out in the sun while hand-grazing. Her woolly mammoth coat took forever to dry.

GREEN grass!

Lily's gravel crunchers! We had to walk through a gravelly path to get to the good grass. She walked sound through it!

The real reason for the bath, other than cooling her down, was so I could do this:

Trace clip time!
Now, if you bring your pet to my ER for any kind of minor surgical procedure, you can bet your bottom dollar that if I'm working that shift, the clip job on your pet will be very neat and tidy, with perfectly straight lines. I love surgical prep, and I'm really good with clippers. Last year when I body clipped Lily in FL, I did a perfect star on her butt, without using a stencil. And since I never posted pics of it here on the blog, you'll just have to take my word for it. ;) This was her trace clip last year (I would do a trace clip as an in-between sort of thing when I didn't have time to finish the full body clip in one sitting):

Her coat was shorter overall so you can barely see it, but it's there! Straight lines!
Inside the barn it was somewhat dark, and of course the clip job looked perfect. But once out in the sun, I realized this is how it really looked:

You'd have thought I had Parkinson's or something...

I didn't take her back in to fix it because it took 2 HOURS to get this done, especially considering the amount of hair that she has right now, and she was getting fussy about standing for so long on the concrete, and I was ready to go home.

So yeah, we will be revisiting this clip this week with a roll of tape and getting those lines straight. It's especially embarrassing because she is the only horse in the entire barn with a clip of any sort...


  1. Well I think it looks awesome. And I love that you're all "I shout shuttup" about the trainers. I got a good giggle about that. Because I'm not involved in that drama in anyway I'm rather amused hearing about it. Tehe. Yay idiots?

    1. Lol! The original post that Blogger deleted was even snarkier regarding the trainer situation...I was really happy with the outcome, as it was pretty funny. So pissed that it got erased! Lesson barns always have drama, but the problem here is that this barn advertises specifically as not being a lesson barn. It's a really cool barn though-despite it being 30+ boarders, ALL of them women (except for our one token male boarder), almost everyone gets along with everyone and helps each other out. It's a small barn environment in a big barn. Very unusual. :)