Final Day in the Mud Pits

Yesterday we went on our last trail ride from our current barn. It’s sad and I’m going to miss a lot of the aspects of that barn, but overall this is a great thing for us. Riding just hasn’t been fun lately – I love going out and hanging out with Robbye, but she’s just too wild and uncontrollable to ride. She really needs a TON of time doing ringwork and a TON of time running around being a crazy woman…and those aren’t things we can get at our old barn.

So today the horses are on their way to Nickel and Dime Farm.

Kathy and Julie are moving them, because I wasn’t able to take the day off from work. We’re all meeting for a ride in the indoor this evening. I am SO SO excited. It’s going to be awesome.

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Photos in the Sunny Mud Pit

I’m not in the greatest mood today – I have a Microsoft Certification exam coming on Friday that I’m really stressing about – so I decided not to go with Julie and Kathy on their trail ride. Instead I just groomed and took some pictures in the sunshine. Please excuse her swollen left eye – she got mud in it.

Rob made me feel a little better by following me back along the fence line as I was getting ready to leave. She’s such a lovebug.

Driving Clinic with SPOH-OH

This Sunday, Julie, Yogi and I headed over to the Chillicothe area for a driving clinic with the Ohio Standardbred group. This was particularly special because Julie and Yogi were half of the clinic! There was an awesome turnout and I think people were really into the whole thing. SPHO-OH is trying to offer more events (clinics, likely) this year, and I think this was a great start to that effort. People were even requesting another driving clinic once the weather gets better, which I think would be amazing.

Julie taught a portion of the clinic focused on pleasure driving, and specifically converting the OTT-SB from racing in harness to a purely pleasure and/or trail driving role. There are actually many differences between a pleasure harness and a racing harness, and of course that’s something an OTT-SB has to be trained to understand.

The other clinician demonstrated the harness and carts that a racing Standardbred experiences. I was especially impressed by the racehorse the clinician brought – Standardbreds are truly a special horse. Though this horse was a young, hot, racing horse, he stood absolutely still as he was harnessed, trotted calmly and slowly around the ring, and even let novice drivers take his reins. What a good boy.

Julie and Yogi did a fantastic job. Julie really knows her stuff, of course, and is a good public speaker. As much as I would like to share any knowledge I have, I feel like I would stumble through a presentation and just wouldn’t be a good clinician or teacher. Julie is great at answering questions and at addressing the right issues (whether it be training, safety, money, whatever).

Yogi, on the other hand, is always a total ham in front of people. He loves to show off and treats people he doesn’t know a lot better than he treats me and Julie! He was absolutely perfect this Sunday and even let several children drive him around the arena. His unique personality just continues to blow me away.

I already knew most of what was being taught, and have also been trying to find a way to contribute to the organization, so I decided to break out my DSLR and try to document the event. The light was weird (but dramatic) but my camera and training really pulled through, I think. I’m not sure if the organization will like the photos, since they’re very artsy and photo-journalistic, but even if they don’t, I feel like I’ve contributed. I hope to continue photographing for them, and to hopefully get more consistent photos – out of 350 I took this weekend, I was only really happy with about 30. It was quite a struggle to get any nice photos, I have to admit – but I had a ton of fun with it.

Long Trail Ride with MINIMAL DRAMA!!

Julie, Yogi, Robbye and I went on a longish trail ride today. It may be the last time we get to leave from the barn to go out onto the trails – this aspect was definitely the best part about our current barn. It was a refreshingly low-drama trail ride – Rob bucked and bolted a few times, but nothing too bad. She and I just really need a lot of time working on basics. I feel like we haven’t accomplished anything in like six months, and that’s really depressing.

Yesterday I took some screenshots of a cross-country school Yogi and I did last summer. I think they’re awesome, and they’re really complimentary of Yogi!!

My hands – ouch,
My elbows – ouch.
Again with the hands. Taking these screenshots really helped me see exactly what’s up with my equitation.
This photo is really special because Yogi is such a horrible canter-er. He tries so hard! (Also, not sure what I’m looking at. His lead, maybe?)
Canter!
Almost nice legs, almost nice hands, almost nice elbows. At least my chin is up!
Better.
That back – ouch.
Trying to jump FOR yogi.
I think I got left behind lol.
CANTER!!

Failed Photo Session

I took Rob out to the dirt ring again last night to try to take some nice photos of her. I’m not sure why I thought this would work – firstly, I couldn’t get her clean (not to mention her winter coat is not the prettiest thing in the world), secondly, she wouldn’t really do anything other than follow me around, and thirdly, she was convinced that I took her out there just so she could eat her fill of treats.

Soooo most of the shots look like this:

TREATS PLEASE.
But, I did manage to get a couple pretty ones. Her dirty winter coat and the ridiculous mud pretty much ruin them, though. Even the ones I got with the gorgeous sunset beams shining on her are just so….dirty.
Pretty much the only one I’m really happy with.

She also didn’t feel like working on any tricks, but we did do a little bit of heel. She likes to trot at a heel, and her whoa is pretty good too.

Working on heel.

I tried to chase her around and get some of the crazy out of her, but she didn’t feel like it. She’s just not “afraid” of me at all.

“Fine, I’ll trot halfway around the ring. Is this what you wanted, Mom?”

I think we’re going out on a trail ride today – I hope I manage to stay on what I’m sure will be a crazy ride. Tomorrow Yogi, Julie and I are going to a driving clinic (Julie and Yogi are teaching). Less than one week until our move!!

Free Longeing – LOL

The dirt ring was less of a mess yesterday, so I took Rob out there to try to free longe her (or, at least, chase her around so she could get some bucks out). Well of course that didn’t work exactly as planned. I took her out (along with some treats in my pockets, for an after-romp reward) and I think she thought we were going to work on tricks. This is something we’ve done before, and she really loves it. So as I let her go in the ring, she…followed me around. At a walk. Directly behind me, basically with her chin on my head.

It was really cute and I felt very loved. She obviously just wanted to “work” on the ground, not run around like a crazy woman like she had the day before.

I did eventually get some trotting and a few bucks out of her, and then we worked a little on ground tying and carrot stretches. I think she could make a really happy and talented trick-horse, and that’s probably what I”ll work on in the next week while we’re waiting to move. I just can’t stand the outdoor here anymore, and I don’t think Rob can either.

Exactly one week until we have a clean, safe barn with a BIG indoor, HUGE outdoor, and TURNOUT!! Next Friday can’t come soon enough!!!

Spring Crazies

Well, it looks like Robbye has been hit by the spring crazies.

I had filled my weekend with wedding planning stuff (ugh) but was really hoping to get a good solid school in on Saturday morning. She was very happy to come in from her mud pit, and stood quietly while I scraped her and tacked her (that’s not something she’s always been good at!!). She does tend to happy-buck, so I was expecting that but….the bucks never came. Rob was responsive, steady, and a really good girl. She was being a little looky, but didn’t try to buck or run off with me at all…that is, until I started focusing on myself, trying to relax my hands and shoulders. Of course, as soon as she felt me untense, she gave a great big kick and threw me over her shoulder.

Oof.

I got out the longe line and…she completely ran away with me and galloped around the ring.

I really feel sorry for her. She never gets any exercise, can barely walk through her mud pit, and has always disliked being stalled. We never worked much on longeing so she doesn’t understand that she can let loose on the longe without running away from me.

After longeing, I got on her again and we got some nice W/T/C. She wouldn’t pick up her right lead but I wasn’t surprised or upset. Neither of us were happy or comfortable and we were both pooped and stressed.

I went out again last night, hoping to get her some exercise at the very least. I wanted to let her loose in the grass ring so she could buck and roll, but it was wet and dangerous (there was an entire lake in there, ugh). We longed again instead, and it went a lot better than Saturday had. She still ran away from me a couple times, but she always comes right back and I can’t blame her for wanting to let out steam. I do think that we’re both getting better at longeing, so there’s that.

Most importantly and excitedly, we’re moving in less than two weeks. Hallelujah.