bumming it

Weather forecasters were predicting 5-10 inches of snow in our city this past Sunday. I decided not to go anywhere for fear of getting stuck there or it taking a lifetime to get back home.

In true Ohio fashion, we got no snow and a bit of wintery mix and I wasted a whole day at home.

Which means I last rode a week ago Wednesday and did not get out to the barn until yesterday. 7 days, no riding. Not my longest streak but quite the momentum crusher.

Yesterday I went out to meet the farrier and it dropped 10 degrees between when I arrived at the barn and when I left, two hours later. 10 DEGREES! Talk about a cold front. I call bullshit. Thankfully Dassah's trims take about 10 minutes - barefoot definitely has its perks!

Farrier is a talker but not a gossiper or negative. I mention this because I'm so awkward with talk and when your farrier spends half his time talking away from you, behind your horse, it can be hard to hear and then I spend most of that time asking him to repeat whatever it was he just said. Now I just go "uh huh" and "hahahaha" because it's easier. I'm also not comfortable with silence - working on that though.

He is definitely one of the better farriers I've found - he does a great job with Dassah's hooves, shows up for our appointments, and is so easy to work with. Highly recommend him if you're in the Central Ohio area.

I almost put back Dassah back in her stall because I was so sick of the cold. But I'm ridiculous sometimes. Lauren and I were trying to meet up to ride together but she texted and said she wouldn't be out until later. Knowing that she was still going to ride was enough of a kick in the pants to tack up. I am so weirdly competitive/motivated/manipulated. During the winter though, whatever gets me in the saddle is good enough. Which reminds me, I need to thank Lauren....

Turned Dassah out in the indoor (saddled but not bridled - had that stuffed down the front of my jacket to warm up the bit). She let loose a bit but settled down quickly. I clipped the lunge line on and sent her around me and no sooner did we rotate down the indoor to the other side then she flipped her shit and lost it.

Bucking, sprinting, zooming. on the lunge. at not quite 20m.

I reeled her in and unclipped her - no sense in damaging tendons or risking a fall.

I did go grab the lunge whip - she's notorious for zooming in close and bucking and kicking out as she zooms away. It's unsafe and rude.

I was almost angry at her for behaving this way - why couldn't she just LUNGE LIKE A SANE ANIMAL?! Why doesn't she just behave?! For.the.love!

Thankfully I immediately realized it. I stopped, shrugged my shoulders, rolled my neck, and cleared my head. What was the problem?

Nothing. There was no problem. A certain chestnut hadn't been worked in a week, had limited outdoor time because of the weather, and was already predisposed to sprint. There were numerous issues to be addressed but raised emotions shouldn't be one of them.

I calmly pushed her around the indoor - if she stopped to smell the same mound of manure or to park in a corner, I rhythmically slapped the whip on the ground. No shouting, no chasing, just breathing, a whip smack on the ground, and movement forward. Work it out sister, work it out.

Not one minute in and Dassah was paying complete attention to me. I've never used anything more than body language to free lunge her and the use of the lunge whip had her giving me the, "Have you lost your everlovin' mind?" look. Not wild-eyed but clearly thinking I was more interesting than the cavaletti/standard pile, the tractor on the other side of the panels at the end of the arena, or the round bales stacked there. All the sudden I became a person of interest and please, would I let her come in?

I don't do this often (when I first worked with Dassah after sending her out for training, I did it waaaaay too much and soured her) because there's very little value in it when it's repeated frequently. This time I was more concerned about my safety than "join-up" or whatever people call it and so I kept her out of my space with more a tidge more gusto than I have in the past.

At any rate, she was quickly tuned in and ready to stop zooming (maybe 5-8 minutes of zooming). I turned away and dropped my shoulder and walked towards a point in the arena about 30 feet in front of her. She stood looking at me and then out of the corner of my eye, I saw her walk away from me. Turning quickly I slapped the whip on the ground and pushed her away. She trotted to the adjacent wall and circled around. This time when I turned and walked away, she walked right up to me. We stopped and stood there for a minute. Her sides were heaving and her neck all wavy with sweat. Steam rolled above her.

It wasn't my plan to work her like that and I didn't - she worked herself and when she was done, let me know.

We walked off-lead around the arena doing loops and serpentines until her breathing regulated and she had cooled off. I hopped on and schooled ever so briefly. She was soft and relaxed - her movement nice and big and swingy. #winning. At one point, while riding without stirrups, I half-halted and then asked for a halt using only abs and seat. Boom - she stopped immediately. #winning2

Did a couple walk-trot-walk-halt combo transitions and then called it a day. She was mostly cooled off so drying off only took a couple swipes of a towel. I hate having her furry during the winter but we don't work enough to clip.

And that's the written saga of a 20 minute school. With horses it's never dull, quick, or boring!


  1. nice job checking in on your emotional state - that's definitely a struggle for me (ie not taking it personally when the horse blows my expectations to smithereens lol)... sounds like you turned it into a very productive little schooling session :)

  2. It's always "OMG SNOWPACALYPSE" and then we get less than 1" lol


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