Friday, April 29, 2011

Pictures From Two(!) Blissful Rides

Yesterday, I'll be damned if I could get him to look at me for our pre-ride picture. However, aside from the few play-nicks on his coat, and a general layer of dust that is permanent until he gets a bath, look how good he looks you guys! My 'lil beefcake!

Siiiiiiigh....If you're just going to stand there cooing at me and holding that little black box that makes boop bee boop bop noises, I'm outie.

HERE, genius. Get on this thing, then get on ME so we can get to work and I can get back to my dinner already. Oy, it's like pulling teeth.

Miles was a bit looky-loo yesterday, but it had been awhile since our last ride, and over a week since I actually made either of us do any kind of work whatsoever. Also, no lunging, again-apparently he lets me get away with it every once in awhile; he was so great. We did more right lead canter work and it's getting more and more consistent. He's teaching me so much. Far more than I'm teaching him.

Wait, we DO look good together. I forgetz what I was looking at and feel like strutting my stuff suddenly!

Two right leads in a row and she won't shut up about it. Something about being the cutest and smartest pony ever. I dunno, sounds about right to me.

Today I rode AGAIN. Two days in a row! That hasn't happened in a ridiculously, embarrassingly long time. I decided to switch it up and do some ground pole work and jump a small cross rail. It was WINDY, and it didn't help that I decided to lunge him (due to the weather) and dropped the frigging lunge line like a moron while he was cantering. Poor boy did a couple of panicked laps as the evil line pursued him, until I got wise and stepped over to the rail where he then halted. Still, between that and the wind he was UP. I lunged him again over ground poles and the small cross rail and his brain came back when he realized the line wasn't going to start chasing him again. I rode him for only about 20 minutes since he worked so hard on the lunge, and took him over the cross rail twice. The 2nd time he cantered away! I love how this horse tries, and forgives my own mistakes. It's a pretty nice partnership we've got going.

Milez favorite-green spring grass nom nom nom. Is Milez crack cocaine-it ain't medicine but it'll eaze mah pain..(ps- one sloppy wet Milez' kiss if you can ID the song and artist I lifted this from:)

So, they weren't the most ground-breaking of rides, but pretty great considering our inconsistent schedule of the last few weeks. The important things are that he is SO happy, and healthy (and BEEFY, hello!), and I am feeling a confidence when I ride him that I haven't felt since I was in my late teens and riding my sweet appendix QH Chami. What a great way to head into Spring-you know, the kind with warm temperatures and whatnot. We've had the April showers thing covered for awhile now. Good job, Bubs.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Pony Moovies

In light of the fact that I have nothing of note to write about in the Miles department (he is lovely, as always, but what rides we're getting in are short and/or unremarkable-still he has kept me sane. I love him more than ever for just being the sweetheart that he is for me when I need to just *be* with him sometimes.), I thought, what better thing to write about on these rainy days than our favorite horse movies? Oh, I have so many...most are cheesy and horrible movies by cinematic standards, but they all make me smile. Below is a sampling of my best of.

Horse movie that's kinda mainstream and I will always watch when it's on TNT or USA or whatever...Something To Talk About, starring Julia Roberts, Robert Duvall (who appears to do his own riding, including jumping!) and Dennis Quaid. It's mostly about a couple working through infidelity in their marriage, but I will admit I'll watch Julia in just about anything, and when the backdrop is a big-time jumper barn in the South? I'm so there. A close second is Far And Away, for the last 45 minutes of the race for Oklahoma Territory...lots of amazing footage of people riding and driving fast horses. I'm going to throw Tombstone in there because it's my favorite modern Western, and also, young Val Kilmer as Doc Holiday. Yes indeedy.

Best racing movies...Seabiscuit and Secretariat. No explanation needed-both critically acclaimed and cutting-edge in their depictions of horse racing. Also probably the best overall movies of the bunch here. Except for...

The Black Stallion is in a class by itself. Its cinematic qualities are unparalleled. Also unparalleled? Its ability to make me bawl like a baby at the end, every single time. I also love the music in this movie.

Movie from my childhood I love, but can never, ever watch again due to its tragic ending? Phar Lap, tale of the great Australian race horse. That's all I want to say about that.

Two movies I watched dozens, if not hundreds of times during my childhood, despite their horrible acting, plot lines, and general ridiculousness. Danny, about a young girl who falls in love with a rich girl's cast-away pony, and Lightning, the White Stallion, about a French girl who, I don't know, somehow ends up riding a stolen horse in a big Grand Prix show (pay no attention to the fact that the horse in the show is a completely different color than Lightning, oy). There is blindness and stepfather issues and a goofy-but-sweet-boy problem. Also, Micky Rooney! Who has a gambling issue. Lolz, I know:)

So, those are my favorites. If you have some time to kill, look up the last two on You Tube-I'm pretty sure you can watch them both in their entirety. Poor horse-crazy kids today...what movies do they have? And what are your favorites?

Thursday, April 21, 2011

If You Don't Have Anything Nice To Say....

....why blog? Seriously, it's mostly the weather. This has been, without a doubt, THE worst Spring to date I can remember. I know horse owners/riders are waaaay more sensitive to the weather than other folk, but I seriously can't remember a more depressing Winter/Spring combo, ever, even in the years I wasn't riding. Blah, Grrrr, BitchMoanWhine, Ha-rumph, the usual. What an entertaining read, right?

Things have been a little cray-cray at the barn as well. I just...haven't had much to say that's positive, on any fronts unfortunately. Miles is fine, but poor boy is Sick To Death of the weather and wet, muddy pastures as well (he has actually balked when I led him from the barn to his turnout the last couple of days. Oy, the guilt...) I bet he's really missing his South American birth-place right now.

The good news is I'm so fed up with the weather and everything else I haven't bothered to lunge him at all because I just want to ride and get done as soon as possible-and he's been great! Kinda hot-potato-ish, but great. Love being able to hop on him after a week of no work and feel safe:) Those crazy Thoroughbreds-ticking time bombs, I tell ya.

I know lots of people all over the Country and beyond are going through the same crap, so I have good company. Hopefully Spring is just being a coy bitch and she'll stop playing hard to get soon.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Had To Write A Post Today

To commemorate one of the best rides I've ever had on my horse. It was short and unremarkable for the first half...we rode in the outdoor arena, in the lovely sunshine, but Miles was not especially forward and I forgot my whip. I decided, you know what? He's not "forward" like a dressage horse should be, but he was listening and had a steady rhythm that was easy for me to post to. He was listening and supple and I thought, "F&#k it". Everything felt so great I refused to push him. We weren't plodding along, make no mistake, and he was working, but not like I know he can. I know, I know dressage sacrilege. Though I do ride in a close contact saddle:)

So began our canter work. To the left? Oh my lovely, lovely boy. I swear he has the canter I dream about. Just gorgeous.

To the right...the first couple attempts we got the wrong lead. Nothing new there. Instead of getting frustrated, or just letting it go, I simply brought us back to a walk and thought, "We WILL get this lead. We just will." So, I worked him at the walk (where I DID push him forward) and concentrated on our connection, and making sure I was sitting straight and assisting him as much as possible. Picking up the trot, I didn't need to ask for forward...suddenly it was there, and he wanted to do what I asked, I swear he did. Our issues in the past, and today, stem from me either asking him when we are not connected and straight, or (since the clinic) he doesn't pick up the canter immediately when I ask for it and ends up on the wrong lead. My timing, I think, is fairly on point, so when I felt him moving straight or slightly bent to the inside, I gave him a STRONG aid, while trying to lift my inside hip at the same time.

Holy shit, it worked. Not once, or twice. FOUR times!!!

This was a HUGE, huge breakthrough for us. I wonder now if he thought I always wanted the left lead no matter what, lolz:) I mean, it's not the first time we've gotten the right lead, but certainly the first time I felt we got it "on purpose" so many times in a row.

The best thing about today was we didn't need spurs, or a whip, or anything else. I never once got frustrated and Miles never got stressed out or worried. We listened to each other and finally figured it out, together. I love this horse so, so much.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Trail OTTB Extraodinaire

I know, I shouldn't be surprised. What I AM is a proud, proud mama, because Miles went on his first big boy trail ride today, and he was amazing.

I know, I know, another post about me gushing about my horse. But you guys? He was so, so good. We went with Amanda and her sweet mare Lady. It wasn't long, maybe 20 minutes to half an hour, but so great.

Honest to God, I was waaaay more nervous than Miles was. From the first moment he realized, "Oh, we're going this way???" his ears went up and he double-timed it. I'm talking, this horse was Power Walking through the was hilarious. He was very alert....and I wouldn't call him relaxed, but certainly brave and SO excited to get out-he was having a blast, is what I'm saying.

Not a single spook or shy, but we didn't encounter any wildlife either (I am totally OK with this). We did see some interesting things, including an outhouse that is literally on the side of a field, looking like it has no business being there, but he looked and kept right on trucking.

He doesn't like mud, no sirree, and there was lots of spongy ground we had to navigate, but he was having too much fun to let that slow him down much. I've not felt that kind of coiled power under me in a long time-not in a bad way, like he was scared (he was SO not scared) or ready to bolt, but he was definitely...just kind of vibrating with excitement. Still, he listened to me, came back when I asked him to, and all in all was pretty much perfect.

I totally brought my camera, I did. I will be the first to admit though that I was less than relaxed and the thought of taking pictures never occurred to me. Next time. Oh yes, there will be a next time. My boy is turning into a Renaissance Man:)

Monday, April 4, 2011


Cheating? Or helpful aid to those of us with challenging physiques and less than ideal fitness levels? Or total waste of money?

The #1 thing I noticed in the clinic pictures were that my calves like to float in the netherworld when I get fatigued. When I'm concentrating I can get my toes in and legs working properly, but when I'm working hard to get my horse forward and's not pretty. Some of my favorite pictures from the clinic had Miles looking like a million bucks and my lower half looking like a saddle-seat rider (no offense at all to saddle-seat aficionados, but it's not really what I'm going for).

For the record, I am aware that there is no substitute for fitness and better riding through good old fashioned hard work. This is literally the first "artificial" aid, besides carrying a whip, that I've ever considered with Miles. So, opinions...have at it!

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Wrapped Around His...Hoof?

Is it weird to be in love with your horse? Like, a year and a half after I adopted him, to be more excited to work with him and ride him then ever before? Well, maybe...but I guess I don't care. When everything else in my life seems topsy-turvy, going to the barn to work my big bay Thoroughbred is the highlight of my day more often then not.

We've only had a few rides since the clinic, and those have been pretty low-key, and pretty lovely. He's moving better then ever, and I'm trying to take everything I learned in those 50 minutes last Saturday (not to mention the pictures from the clinic) and incorporate them into our work.

Mostly thought? I'm getting this itch to ride outside, around the property and down the trails. Miles has risen to every challenge I've presented him with, and I have no doubts at all he's going to make a splendid trail horse one day. As soon as the weather clears up (don't even talk to me about the weather today), I'm taking my big boy and we are hitting those trails, with or without a partner. My confidence in him-in us-grows more and more each time I see him.

Ah, love. That's what it's all about, right?

She can't resist me.