Pin Oak II – Overview

I had a ton of fun with Caitlyn at Chick Who Lifts and another friend from the barn at Pin Oak, and have a lot of thoughts to share, now that I finally have all of the photos edited. There were so many beautiful horses everywhere! We chose to go Saturday so that we could get the most out of our trip with the special classes at night in the jumper ring, Continue reading

Someone to Sit Beside

“I want someone to sit beside after the day’s pursuit and all its anguish, after its listening, and its waitings, and its suspicions. After quarreling and reconciliation I need privacy – to be alone with you, to set this hubbub in order. For I am as neat as a cat in my habits.”
― Virginia Woolf, The Waves Continue reading

Photography Friday: San Diego

Rather than boring you with all the details of my amazing long weekend in San Diego, I’ll just leave a few of my favorite photos from the weekend. The highlights of my trip were the San Diego zoo (Because duh.), Sunset Cliffs, lighting up a fire pit on Moonlight Beach–potentially after it was closed because we’re rebels/couldn’t find a sign–and getting to meet and hang out with some of the great Navy guys Continue reading

Finding Your Passion – Part I

When you graduate high school everyone says “It’s okay if you don’t know what you want to do with your life, no one does at 18.”

And then when you’re 20 and you have a breakdown because you thought you had finally figured it out, but the thought of doing that forever is suddenly daunting and not at all exciting, they tell you “It’s okay. Everyone changes majors and life plans in college.” Continue reading

Pogo Pony Lesson

I got back from London Tuesday evening (another post on the trip to come!) and Wednesday was a day of playing catch up. But Thursday I went out to the barn expecting to still have a lame horse and to just ride whatever hadn’t been worked yet. But I pulled Val out and wouldn’t you know it; he looked great! So Thursday was a light hack with a good but silly Val. We did a little dolphin leaping here and there but in general he was his normal well behaved self.

Friday we tackled the new jumps in the arena to get out the sillies, make sure he was going to hold up and stay sound, and to get a peek at the new boxes and the liverpool. I put him on the lunge line for a few minutes first with side reins and then threw on draw reins for our ride. Though I don’t always use “gear” I do think that many tools are useful if used correctly, and in this case, draw reins really help a silly Val to engage without getting undone or upset. We hopped over the three new jumps a few times each direction and Val pulled his knees up to his eyeballs, but was brave and came back nicely after each jump so we called it a day and went for a walk.

Saturday I was nervous that after jumping around he’d come out off since we never did nail down why he was off in the first place, but he was once again fine. We had a solid flat and worked on collecting and moving forward with a lot of lateral work as well. Normally day 3 Val when bringing him back into work is no fun, but he was lovely and soft and really worked hard to do what he was asked for the whole ride. It was definitely one of those rides in which I appreciated how hard we’ve worked to get here; it is so easy to forget where we came from, and it’s good for me to have reminders that I need to be thankful that I get to work with such a cool horse.

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Sunday was lesson day. I really don’t even remember the last time we had a lesson, but in general today was very good. Our first course however, was less than stellar. Since he was so great in the draw reins on Friday, I thought we’d try lessoning in them as well. Our warm up course was just a little box to a line with the liverpool folded in half and set as a 2’3ish vertical as the out. Jumps 1 and 2 were fine if a tad quick. The line was a canter in 5, but I figured we’d add since we were on our warm up course, and trying to stay quiet, plus I wanted him to have a chance to see the newish jump. What happened instead was Val cantered down quiet and nice for the first 5.5 strides, and at the last second noticed something about the jump that he didn’t like, tried to put on the brakes but had too much impulsion so he left the ground anyway. Instead of a normal, round jump that goes across the jump, he hopped straight up in the air in a strange pogo bounce/bunny hop. In the process I got left, he bounced off the draw reins, and his front end popped off the ground again as soon as he landed. Long story short we did a lot of pogo stick bouncing, I whacked my head on Val’s neck, and I exercised my sticking skills. End result: Val decided the liverpool eats ponies and we have something to work on this week.

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Other than that debacle however, we had a great lesson. Since it was our first lesson back after a couple months of inconsistency we kept it simple (and exchanged the draw reins for our normal running attachment). We did a couple of tighter turns and a 1 stride to a 4 stride that made Val package up a bit so he didn’t get deep on the out. Our first full course was a little wild and wooly because he’d been kind of undone by the liverpool mess, but it wasn’t awful. The next was an improvement, and our last course was beautiful. I was able to stay out of his way and give him minimal help to each jump without nitpicking.

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Since I didn’t get any pictures of myself with Val this weekend, I played in the pasture with he and his 2 yr old buddies and that’s what these photos are from. I’ve got a few other fun things in the works including London and Bath, and eventually a review of the Ecolicious Equestrian line. So far I think I really like them, but I’m thinking it’s going to take a few uses to know for sure. How was your weekend? Was it full of ponies like mine?