Sunday, July 20, 2008

If you want to get in shape, take up Reining!

Wow, my thighs are STILL sore and it has been 5 days since my last reining lesson. If you want to get in shape, take up reining. At the last clinic, we did a lot of cantering and working on sitting straight in the saddle and keeping our horses bent to the inside (just a hair). I could hardly breathe afterward. To heck with posting the trot, just canter a lot! Hmmm, that rhymed, too. Aren't I clever?

Hormonal Mare also did a superb little sliding stop. It was my first and I have never felt anything like it. Don't get the wrong idea, it was not a slide across the arena. We merely slid about a foot, but WHOA. I have felt Hormonal Mare stop quick before. In fact, she does it all the time. THIS time, however, it felt very different. It felt like her butt dropped out from underneath me (which I guess it did) and I was jerked so hard I hit the horn. I must have looked very impressive with my eye bugging out of my head.

After that, we started working on spins. That really killed me. It was all my pathetic, out of shape body could do to get her to move her forehand around. At this point, Hormonal Mare was tired and did not want to work anymore. I can't blame her, but if I had to keep working, so did she.

Over all, it was a great clinic. I love the trainer and the group I am riding with is great. The barn is fabulous. It is the only dry place I have been able to ride in for the past month. Here in Florida, it has been raining every darn day. My arena is like a river at the moment. I think fish are living out there now. Obviously, I have not been able to ride at all. The few times I have ridden are at the indoor barn for the reining lessons.

Also, I finally got a good pic of Hormonal Mare and I from the past show we went to. Here she is in the warm up area. If only she had looked like this in the RING in front of the JUDGE we might have placed higher. Oh well, our next show is August 8th. Here's to placing higher!

Friday, July 11, 2008

Please dear God in heaven, HELP me!

How friggin ANNOYING. I really adore Hormonal Mare, but some times she is so ... hormonal!! I know, surprise, surprise. What can I say, she matches her name. Normally, Hormonal Mare is sweet as the day is long. She's just an all-around sweetheart of a mare. She does have her flaws, however. Don't we all *seriously dripping sarcasm here*. I swear, her spookiness is going to be my undoing. I understand she is only 3 years old and all, but please God in heaven, take pity on me and let her grow out of this.

At the reining clinic (it was SO much fun), we had our first BIG spook. We were cantering around just fine. In fact, better than fine! I felt so free and alive. I felt like a goddess on her gorgeous, powerful steed (well, maybe a FAT goddess, but a goddess none the less). Hormonal Mare was so smooth and supple. It was just the most awesome feeling. You know the black stallion riding on the beach with the little boy scene? Yeah, it was like that ... only in an indoor arena with metal siding and dirt instead of sand and waves. Yeah, see the similarities? Anywhoo, you get the picture. Well, to get to the point, Hormonal Mare sees a big green sign leaning up against the railing and jumps through the air completely sideways like a rabbit with a coyote after it. I stayed on easily enough, but I felt a lot of air under my pants and I didn't pass any gas. Okay, that was a bit gross in my description, but you get the idea.

Now, again, I understand she is 3 years old. I am allowing for a lot of error here. The spooking doesn't annoy me so much as the fact that she had already passed by it FIVE TIMES before she suddenly decided it might eat her. What the heck? Please God all powerful and wonderful, let her grow out of this.

So, the last straw was tonight at feeding time. I walked through the pasture to get her for her evening meal. Everything was very normal. Nothing out of place, no odd animals running around, NOTHING. Hormonal Mare absolutely INSISTED that there was a huge, horse eating monster in the pasture and refused to get anywhere NEAR it even for her food. So, I spend 15 minutes trying to convince her that there is NO horse, eating monster and that it is safe to come eat her food. My husband comes out of the house screaming at my asking why in the heck I'm taking so long. I scream back that the dumb horse is being dumb and I'm being dumb for putting up with it and it's all just dumb, dumb, dumb. So, the dumb horse very quietly and all relaxed like saunters into the pasture and starts eating like nothing out of the ordinary was going on. WTF?? I mean really, WTF????? I am not normally one for vulgar language, but this just made me want to scream and pull my hair out.

Please pray with me. Dear superb, masterful being in heaven; PLEASE let my hormonal idiot grow out of this highly annoying, dumb, stupid, idiotic, friggin nuisance of a phase. Amen.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Long time no post! Update!

Goodness! It has been WEEKS since my last post. I am very sorry to those of you that are readers. I had computer issues at home and my work computer blocks Blogger from my use. I was so busy with reining clinics and shows that I wasn't able to deal with the problem.

Speaking of reining clinics, Hormonal Mare and I went to our first one! I am REALLY, really, REALLY out of shape. The clinic lasted 3 hours and I barely made it out alive and sitting on top of my horse. That was a work out! Considering that we sat still for half of it, it's kind of sad how much it took out of me. Hormonal Mare got, well, hormonal on me half way through and laid down with me still in the saddle. I guess she wanted to let me know what she thought of it all. What a hormonal COW. Actually, it didn't upset me too much considering she is only a 3 year old and this was her second outing.

Which brings me to her FIRST outing; we went to our first show, too! Am I full of new stuff or what? Yes, our first show was a rather BIG show. I spent way too much money and decided I should have opted for something smaller. Hormonal Mare was quite a good girl, but for a few set backs. Her first set back was the fact that she had a FIT the morning of the show. I wasn't expecting it since she had been so calm the evening before when we went into the ring. So, surprise on me, Hormonal Mare got HORMONAL the next morning and I had to lunge her for a good 20 minutes before she acted normal.

Her next set back was a miniature horse. The large horses pulling carts didn't bother her but the MINI pulling a cart, OH MY! After that, she settled down fairly well. The railing and the people standing by it kept making her half step away every time I tried to get her on the rail. That is something she will get used to with more shows, though. Overall, she was a good girl and we did place in a few classes. Best of all, she could have cared less about all of the horses and action going on around her. I was very pleased!

Oh, golly, how could I forget? We did have a third set back. Hormonal Mare decided she did not want to come home. After being in the heat all friggin day, I was ready to pack up and leave. Nooooo, not Hormonal Mare. She planted her feet and refused to move. It took 6 people and 2 hours to get her loaded. When we got home we worked on loading some more. I am pleased to say that with a lunge line and some coaxing, I can load her all by myself. Thank you John Lyons!

Although I mostly mentioned the bad, Hormonal Mare truly was a very good girl considering her age and lack of exposure. She was probably better than many seasoned horses that I have shown. Heck, she was better behaved than most of the horses at the show! I am already planning on our next show and our next reining clinic. I'll have some photos up soon, too. Here's to green horses and shows; what a non-stop headache.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Like a Monkey on a Pogo Stick

Well, time to change Hormonal Mare’s name to Crippled Mare. Actually, she is doing much better. She is still tender, but is able to stay off bute without being hopping lame as she was 2 weeks ago. In fact, she moves sound on soft ground and only shows slight tenderness over hard surfaces. I rode her for the 2nd time today (2nd time in the past 2 weeks). Both times we rode bareback. I must have been a real sight to see.

Bareback is so friggin’ hard. I have not ridden bareback in over a year. The first time we rode, this previous Tuesday, I could hardly stay balanced and was all over the poor horse’s back. She was very tolerant of my fat butt sliding all over, so I was pleased with her. We are only doing walk/jog bareback for right now. My poor muscles cannot handle anything harder.

Several times I felt like I was about to slip over her side. Every time we turned, my upper body went in the opposite direction. I have never felt so unbalanced in my life!! That ride really proved to me that I am seriously out of shape and need to get off my fat behind and do something about it. Really, it’s embarrassing to ride like monkey on a pogo stick. I’m sure my neighbors found it almost as amusing as the time I split my pants open (with no underwear on, no less).

Today, my second bareback ride in the past year, I was much better. Even after just Tuesday’s ride, my balance was amazingly improved. If any of you want to get superwoman strength and balance, try going bareback. It’s brutally painful at first, but it seems to get easier with each ride and your balance will improve drastically.

The only reason I quit riding bareback for the past year was because my previous 3 year old, a HUGE 16.2 hand AQHA gelding, hated bareback. His eyes would literally BULDGE out of his head and he’d basically go ballistic. Needless to say, NO bareback riding for fruit loop gelding.
Crippled Mare (hahaha, that really isn’t quite true, but its catchy sounding) is such a sweetie, bareback doesn’t faze her in the least. She stands like a statue to be mounted and does everything I ask calmly. The only attitude I got was my first bareback ride when I was sliding all over like ice cream on the frying pan. The swished her tail a bit, but that was it.

As far as the hoof, I now am 99.9% sure it is a nasty bruise and not an abscess. Since she is slowly, oh so slowly (think of melting ice in the Arctic), getting better than it must be a bruise. When she went pretty sound today, that really eliminated an abscess from my mind. The farrier comes back out on Tuesday, so hopefully we can get front shoes and maybe even pads on her. I am still undecided on the pads. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that Crippled Mare stays somewhat sound and doesn’t go lame again. I actually like riding her and haven’t been too happy to be sitting on my couch the past 2 weeks. UGH!

Sunday, June 8, 2008

I ate FIVE brownies!

So, yesterday I ate 5 brownies. That's not a good thing. I also ate some frosting right out of the jar. I think my weight issue might be related to eating. What do you all think? Hahaha. I will be the first to say that I am NOT the type to just stop eating. Nope, not gonna do it. I'd rather work my butt off in the gym and stuff my fat face. Okay, so the gym part doesn't always happen. In fact, it hasn't happened in 6 months. Yeah, I guess that might be why I gained 30 pounds.

Let's face it ladies, riding does help but it doesn't help enough. If we want to avoid looking like a beached whale ontop of our horses, we need to do more than sit and look pretty. I want to start adding in 10 minutes of long trotting ... you know, the gait and speed where you have to push your butt out of the saddle and post. Yes, that gait. Not only will it help me, it will help the horse build more muscle. In the long run, we both win.

Also, how many of you move your upper body to avoid using your hips/pelvis to canter? Raise hands ... I'm holding mine up, too. I plan to also really, truly, properly canter. That means, my upper body sits tall and my hips and pelvis go with the motion. It's hard. It hurts. It uses your muscles. Try it. Add in 10 minutes of long trot work, 10 minutes of REALLY cantering properly and "Holy boots, Batman!", you added 20 minutes of a real work out to your day.

I still urge everyone to add in some crunches every other day. You don't have to do the ones that break your back. Just flop down flat on the floor, put your hands behind your head, and lift your upper body about 4" off the floor. Just enough to feel the squeeze in your tummy. Do this as many times as quickly as you can. It helps build muscle without hurting your back (something I have to be careful about).

Oh, try to lay off the brownies.

I made my own soaking boot!

Sorry for my lack of posts this week. I have been going crazy the past 7 days. I want to rip my hair out!!

Hormonal Mare and I had finally fallen into a routine and were doing quite well until she decided to turn herself into a lame, three legged wonder. That's right! The previous Thursday went well. We had a small spook, but it was more than easy to handle. In fact, she never spooked again, even in the same corner. She must have some intelligence in order to have figured that one out. On Saturday, we saddled up and started out a little rocky. I noticed Hormonal Mare was acting according to her name ... hormonal. She was swishing her tail, pinning her ears, and other typical mare type behaviors. She also felt a tad tender on her right front. I assumed she would work out of it, but 5 minutes later she was hopping lame. I checked the pusle on her pastern and was thumping.

To those of you who don't know this, you should NOT be able to feel a pulse on the pastern. If you do, it means there is pain in the hoof. The pusle can be found near the large vein that runs vertically along the side of the pastern. If you cannot for the life of you feel it, then the pain is caused by something else other than the hoof.

It is either a bruise or an abscess. Heaven only knows which. I am okay with this, though. Being the annoying, antagonizing worrier, I imagined all sorts of horrible outcomes that it could have been. A broken coffin bone, Navicular, Laminitis, and other such cruelties that horses are subject to. Luckily, it is something easier to deal with than those others. However, if any of you have dealt with a sore hoof before you must be able to physically feel my pain right now. It HURTS. My head is going to explode out of my temples.

Being me, hahahahahahahahahahaha, I created a make shift soaking boot. Rather than spend $40 and have to wait a week, I wanted one NOW (as in, right this minute it better poof and magically appear in front of my eyeballs). As it turns out, a velcro bell boot, duck tape, and card board does the trick rather well. Hormonal Mare is actually very good about wearing it for the 15 minutes it takes to soak. She doesn't move much with it on, thank the good Lord in heaven. For her leave on spa treatment, I am using baby diapers and duck tape to make a pasture boot that will hold in the sugar/iodine solution that will help draw out the abscess.

Now it is a waiting game. At the moment, she is comfortable on bute and is not lame. If I take away the bute, she goes 3-legged lame again. I really cannot figure out if this is a bruise or an abscess. It is driving me nuts! The farrier will be out on Tuesday and maybe he can help me do something with this bum hoof.

Saturday, May 31, 2008

Getting Back Into Shape

Wow! Just after a week, I can already say that my legs are a good 50% stronger than last week. I have ridden 4 times in the past 8 days. It’s amazing how quickly the human body develops. Then again, I come from sturdy stock. I’m the kind of girl that cannot lift weights because my biceps would erupt and split my shirt. Then I would look like Mr. Heat Stroke instead of Mrs. Heat Stroke. My husband thinks this is great (so long as I never, EVER, ever lift weights) because he envisions our future son. Said son is sure to have raging muscles, thanks to me. Boy, isn’t it great to be a woman? Sarcasm off now.

I do want to get back into shape. I am a yo-yo dieter. I can easily drop 30 pounds, but on the same token, I easily gain back those 30 pounds. Seeing as how I have gained again, it is time to lose it. This is yet another reason that I need to motivate myself to ride. It really helps my cardiovascular, which is sorely out of shape at the moment. My office recently relocated to the third floor and you can hear me coming a mile away. I start out trying to quick walk the steps and by the second floor, I get much slower. The third floor comes and I’m dragging myself up. At the top, I’m breathing so hard that I am convinced I resemble a beached whale screaming in his dying agony. Do whales even make a noise when they are beached? If so, that’s what I sound like.

My goal is to start doing crunches every other day. The trick is to start slowly. Never over tax your body. It can actually have the opposite effect if you over due your workouts. I usually start with 10-15 crunches and after my body starts thinking that’s easy, I increase by 10 crunches. If you can brave the pain, crunches really can help strengthen your core for when you’re in the saddle. Squats REALLY burn and I hate them beyond all measure of life, but they also truly help for getting those legs of steel that come in handy when your horse decides to spook at plastic bags.

See these girls? What a fine example. Don't we all want to look like one of them? Look at their balance. Amazing! Personally, I'd like to see them on a bucking bronc. *Evil laugh* Sorry, that just slipped out.

Back on topic, if you happen to come across this post, do yourself a favor and try adding in a few crunches and squats here and there. Even if you HATE working out, just add a few in a day (nothing too serious). Just doing 5 and 5 a day will make a difference. You might decide you like that difference and start adding more into your daily life. Here’s to HATING to workout!

Two Days In a Row - It's a Record!

This Blog REALLY Works

I am amazed to say that I have ridden 2 days in a row. WOW! This blog really does work and NO, I am not being sarcastic. I can honestly say that I have not ridden two days in a row since last year. I rode every day for a week trying to cram in a months worth of training for a show I wanted to attend. For any of you who, like me, are lacking in motivation, try writing a blog. It might surprise you! You might start getting motivated.

My rides were very good considering how green Hormonal Mare is. On Monday, we lunged first (maybe too much). By the time I got into the saddle, Hormonal Mare was LAZY. She tried to baulk when I asked for the canter. Her tail started swishing and she slammed on the breaks. I simply continued to ask until she got irritated enough with my persistence to go into the canter. After we finished, I noticed the saddle had left two HUGE dry spots on each side of her shoulders. Uh-oh.

On Tuesday, we rode again. This time, she started baulking as soon as I was in the saddle. She did not want to move. I threw her off balance a few times and then she politely started moving again. I didn’t lunge that day, so she was a bit spooky when we went around the right back corner. I’m very proud to say that she did not spook once! However, I did make sure to keep her attention focused on her headset. We also kept doing shoulder ins around that corner. Eventually, she lost interest in whatever was making her nervous.

The sad news is, I need a new saddle. I HATE this! I love my current saddle. It’s absolutely not fair that I have a horse I enjoy and a saddle I enjoy, but the two cannot go together. Does anyone else see the cruelty in this? If you have EVER been on the hunt for a properly fitting saddle, then I am sure you can feel my pain.

Hormonal Mare is also about to go onto Mare Magic. She is very calm by nature, I just thing the Mare Magic will help her transition into the life of a show horse. She is sure to be nervous the first few shows and I hope this herbal stuff will ease some of her tension. I will update on how well it works once I start using it. Feel free to leave a comment if you have ever tried the stuff.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Does anyone else pass out after a ride?

Mind you, I live in Florida with 100 degree heat waves, but is it normal to feel like passing out after a ride? Answer to the question; NO. For those of us that are out of shape, it is imperative to stay hydrated and not over due our riding. My problem is that I have a temper. Said temper gets me into trouble sometimes. My adrenaline gets going and I ride WAY past my physical ability. Does anyone else do this? I hope that I am not alone.

The last time that I rode my big Hunter Under Saddle gelding (who is now sold), we engaged in a huge battle of wills. Said gelding did not want to MOVE and I, of course, wanted him to. By the end of the ride, I got off and could hardly breathe. I also felt like my vision was about to go black. It became very obvious that I had been too emotional and angered to pay attention to the signs of my body. I also should have stayed more hydrated considering the heat. Even for those of us who only ride for 30-45 minutes, I vote that we all start carrying water bottles on our saddles. If I had at least stopped to take a few swigs of water here and there, I might not have come so close to passing out after that ride.

It also dawned on me that I was in a dangerous state. If the said gelding had decided to spook or bolt, I would have been too weak to get out of the way. Luckily, said gelding is so lazy, he never would have considered doing ANYTHING that required energy.

I have started forcing myself to drink several glasses of water before I ride. Also, my rides have been closer to the end of the day when the sun and heat are down.

However, the moral to this story is to 1.) STAY HYDRATED and 2.) Do not ride past your physical abilities. PAY ATTENTION to your body while riding.

I lived another day

I rode Hormonal Mare for her first ride at her new place. First, we practiced NOT being terrified on plastic bags. Then, we ran around for a few minutes and crow hopped from the feel of the saddle. I want to add that the crow hops did not help my confidence level, but I crossed my fingers that this was not a cute trick that Hormonal Mare liked to pull under saddle. At this point, I climbed on board and forced myself to relax.

My trick is to go into a calm like trance when I ride. It is something I have been able to get fairly good at. In fact, it's almost like being in a "Zen" state. Of course, I have never been in a "Zen" state and this is just what I would imagine it would feel like. Hopefully, you readers out there (the few of you) will get my point. My belief is that as long as the rider remains calm, this transfers to the horse who, in return, also remains calm. It usually works with great success. Of course, I have had a few horses in the past that get a little crazy with me, but so long as I remained calm, they eventually settled down.

I also focus on keeping soft hands and a soft seat. It's hard to transfer calmness to the horse if you are gripping the reins like a life line and squeezing your rear end like their is no tomorrow in sight. This is why, I try to let my body go as limp as possible without losing my posture. It really helps, so try it the next time you ride (if you don't already do this).

Now back to Hormonal Mare. She was a tad forward at first. A bit more so than when I rode her at her previous owners house. However, she did settle down after a few minutes and went beautifully. One problem I noticed is that her previous trainer taught her to canter off as soon as she finished her pivot. We nipped this right in the bud and she caught on quickly. She also had not been asked for a headset in a while. When I test rode her, she started to buck up a bit when I tried to put contact on her face. This didn't bother me as she was in a tomb thumb, so I am sure it was pinching her mouth. However, I put a slow twist snaffle on her and she automatically started dropping her head. As you can imagine, I was pleased as a pig in a mud. Rolling in some mind right about then might have been nice, because it was hotter than you know where.

Hormonal Mare did a great job for me and she didn't spook once! I still don't trust her not to spook, but we will see how she rides the next time around.