Tag Archives: riding

Back in Action


Sorry about all the down time on Rosey’s blog.  A lot’s been going on in my world lately, so something was bound to get neglected.  In any case, we’re not that much advanced from where we left off.  Rosey came up a little lame over the last week, a frustrating and sort of mysterious thing, and then, when it was her day to go to Loch Moy for some more public exposure, her hock and lower leg turned out to be quite swollen.  While my immediate reaction was “nooo! broken horse! not fair with people coming to look at you this week!!!!” it turns out to not be the really big deal I was worried about.

That nasty scrape she took to her right hind? It turns out it was right over some lymph nodes, and while the injury itself wasn’t that severe, there was some infection.  The antibiotics we gave her at first were probably not strong enough to do the job, and so there you go.

A few days on the new regimen, and life is much better.  Swelling is all but gone, and we rode last night and she felt pretty good.  She still has someone coming to look tomorrow (wish her luck!)

As for our ride last night, it went very well.  I wanted to concentrate on me, so I spent the entire ride screaming to myself (in my head) to LOOK WHERE I AM GOING!!! I have a very nasty happen of looking at the horse’s head when I ride.  On the flat, it’s as if I can mentally push the horse’s head down by putting my OWN head down.  Over fences, it’s just a disastrous habit, as most people know.  So around we went, with me LOOKING UP! and not at her head.

The next thing to scream about was my hands.  My horrible, too low and attached-to- too-straight arms hands.  Elbows bent, elbows bent, wrists straight, elbows bent. 

And then there’s the real killer.  It’s called “straight.”  As in, hips and shoulders level, and legs equally placed on both sides.  My tendency is to collapse the left side while leading with the left shoulder while simultaneously sitting deeper in my right hip and leg, regardless of which direction I’m headed in.  This is a pretty difficult thing to fix- when I am actually sitting straight, it feels drastically not-straight.  Like, really badly not-straight.  Like I might fall off to the other side not-straight.  It’s sort of alarming.

Nonetheless, in a miraculous way, when I manage to get all those things put together, Rosey responds quite beautifully and goes really well (I wonder why, heh!).  I always say to myself that it’s not about “training” the horse, so much as it is just “riding right,” since riding right makes the right things much easier for the horse to do.  But actually DOING that is far more difficult than just saying it.

Quiet Ride

Last night we had a lovely ride in the indoor.  I didn’t want to do too much, seeing as she’s gotten worked the last few days for the Washington Post people, and both this afternoon and Friday afternoon there are people coming to look at her.  So Rosey has been working hard this week. 

I got to the barn in a little bit of a funk, which happens occasionally for no good reason I can think of.  This time I’m blaming it on the lack of rain in Maryland- everything’s all dry and dusty and the ground is like cement, and I tend to get a little tired/crabby feeling when things are like this.  Whatever the cause, the cure usually involves something with four legs and big, pretty eyes.  Rosey delivered yesterday!

Within minutes of hitting the saddle everything just felt better.  Miss mare gets more comfortable to ride every day- she’s happily figuring out the difference between trotting quicker and trotting more forward. I know to the non-riders that doesn’t make much sense, but it’s the difference between taking lots of fast little steps, and taking long, powerful strides.  Now that she’s learning that, she’s much more comfortable for me to ride, as I have trouble finding my balance on horses that “feel” little and/or quick.  She’s going more and more like a big horse, so it’s easier and easier for me to maintain some semblance of decent equitation.

Her canter is maturing as well as her trot- to the left, it’s almost as comfortable as Klondike’s, which is a pretty big deal.  To the right, it’s not quite as well balanced, but has still improved a ton.  I concentrated a little more on this direction than usual as a result of watching Liza lunge her the other day- under saddle, the weakness isn’t quite as apparent as it is from the ground. 

All in all, a wonderful, relaxing ride.  She’s getting really good at stretching down and out, sometimes looking like she actually had a long neck when I checked her out in the mirrors.  A couple times, she even got a little beyond that to actually giving to the bit more than usual. 

Afterwards we went for a walk down the driveway and back, and I am very pleased to report that even without company and after being “done” with work, she did not offer a single complaint or hop’n’spin. 

This week has been a whirlwind of activity for her, and it’s barely half over!  She will have earned a nice rest come Saturday…

And, as a side note, her blog has received over 3,000 hits as of yesterday 🙂  Thanks for reading!

If She Lasts a Week…

I will be just a little bit surprised if Miss Rose lasts more than a week with us, at the rate she’s going.  One fellow boarder who has been looking for a horse seems quite smitten with her and will be riding her in a lesson tomorrow.  She’s been at the barn for a total of two days, so little mare makes an impression fast. 

Today was a rather long day for Rose- we tested her patience mightily (and she seems to have lots of patience).  First, Jen acted as test rider for the afternoon for a little spin around our small outdoor ring.  During this, Rose had to contend with: yearlings pretending to be WWF wrestlers in the field next to the ring, a truck and trailer parking next to the ring, and ground poles (and all with a nearly 8 foot tall rider, to boot).

So really, she already has most of the skills she’ll need to be a successful show horse.  She may not steer really well yet, or understand “inside leg to outside hand,” but she’s highly unlikely to care about flapping show tents or out of control toddlers.  Well… maybe the toddlers, but they scare me too, so that’s totally forgivable. 

While she needs some weight and fitness (and some work on her feet), she still moves in very nice fashion, stepping out free through her shoulder and moving happily forward.  She seems very eager to please, and very pleasant about the whole thing. 

She did show a teeeeeny bit of concern about the ground poles, though.  Again, I totally get it.  It’s not like a log in the woods, which belongs there, it’s a brightly painted random THING in a sea of plain old sand.  It just shouldn’t be there, and it could turn out to be some sort of trap door to another dimension.

So, she eventually got the hang of it, but it took a couple of leads before she was totally assured that there was no disruption of the space-time continuum.  On that note, Jen decided to quit and after many big pats it was time for a bath and the official “before” conformation photos.

Now, most racehorses have had baths before, so they kind of know the drill.  However, I’m pretty sure most racehorses do not get those baths in scary strange wash stalls with cross ties.  And I’m definitely sure they’re not used to being scrubbed by three adult women acting like prepubescent girls with their first pony.  And I’m pretty sure she did not like the sweat scraper on her barrel as there’s not much covering her ribs.  But she handled it all like a champ, even if she does think we’re all crazy 12.

Anyhow, here is the official “Before” photo of Miss Rose.  The ones taken the day she came off the racetrack don’t really count, I think.