Jumping & Going Fast! (and photo challenge)

I am going to start with this week’s photo challenge “Summer Lovin“.  Here is my entry this week:

He doesn't actively ride anymore, but is considering getting back into it once it cools off again, but here is my son riding Sox.

Here is my son (whom I love SO MUCH) riding Sox. He doesn’t actively ride anymore, but is considering getting back into it once it gets cold again. Since it’s Florida, that’s not likely to happen for a while. 😉

The instructions tell me to show you something I love.  Well, I love a lot of things.  I love my son, my husband, my dogs, cats, parents, sisters, nephews, my job…you get the idea.  I decided that since this blog is about riding, I may as well try to find a picture that captures what I love in relation to something related to horses.    This is one of my favorite pictures of my son riding Sox.  He’s actually smiling and laughing and enjoying himself here (of course, Sox doesn’t look nearly as enthusiastic, but he never really does).  It also was during the time that we were still taking lessons together.  I think his lesson was over.  He was really starting to make some progress in his posting trot that day and was excited.  It’s really hot here in FL and my son is not the most athletically inclined, so when he said he didn’t want to ride anymore and was having less & less fun because of the heat –   I didn’t want to force him, so I let him stop riding.  He didn’t love it like I do and that’s ok.  He still loves going to the barn, and that’s good enough for me.  ❤




Ok.  So onto the horsey stuff.  I had a lesson on Wednesday and worked as my friend’s groom on Thursday.  Sox was on fire Wednesday – full of GO GO GO!!!  He wanted to canter everywhere and do it FAST.  So, I worked a lot on my half-halts. Turns out, I need more work on that.  Wednesday was a jumping day!  I cantered the jumps!  On purpose.  Well, the first time not so much, but after that – totally. I told my friend that I had accidentally cantered up to the jumps, but not intentionally, so she decided we should do just that.  And what was cool to me was the fact that it meant I had to canter a smallish circle to get to the jump, but I wasn’t nervous!  My small circles were better than my attempt around the whole arena earlier in the lesson!

Speaking of cantering around the arena – I had a much better time on what is usually my bad side today!  I almost couldn’t get it at all on my “good” side!  Going to the left, I am usually able to pick it right up even though that is Sox’s bad side, but not Wedneday.  Nope.  I’d get a few strides and then he’d stop.  Because I was off-balance or pinching.  Or especially yanking on his face.  I could not get my arms in sync with the horse’s motion.  But to the right?  That’s Sox’s good side, so as long as I ask correctly, he can pick it up – but usually I can’t sit right when I ask but this day, I was on fire!  I made it all the way around on my first try!  And it felt good.  I had a good transition back down to trot and the one time he started to slow down like he was going to stop, I was able to apply a little leg and keep him going!

Now, if I could only duplicate that at will more often!!  Anyway, my small circles up to the jumps really weren’t scary at all.  I was nervous in my mind, but not too bad (surprisingly). And all I had to do was think about transitioning to canter and Sox was there already.  During the jump,  I was having a lot of trouble getting/keeping my hands up high enough on Sox’s neck.  I kept wanting to bury them in the saddle.  He really stretches that long neck out over the jump and I know I caught him in the mouth a few times.  I know what happens (why I get nervous – burying my hands is a sign of nervousness in me) – he picks up speed getting to the jump.  He’s excited and I am not confident in my ability to slow him down without getting in his way (and subsequently killing us or something horrible).  But we worked on slowing him down, at least leading UP to the jump, because as soon as we landed on the other side, it was like Sox was reliving his cross-country days and was galloping to the next jump.  Oh. My. Goodness. SO. FAST.  lol.  🙂   It would feel completely exhilarating for a few seconds and then my worrying conscience would kick and say something to freak me out like “Aren’t we going a little fast ??”  and then I would wreck it.  But feeling the wind in my face & hearing it whip by, was pretty cool.  One day, I will get to fully enjoy that.

I did finally get him to stop running up to the jump and finally we were able to get a more steady, even pace up to the jump.  The last 3 jumps were much more controlled leading up to the jump and the last jump was actually pretty well controlled after the landing.  He was picking up speed, but I was able to give him a small “woah” and half-halt and I let him canter a few strides and then asked for the trot and then actually let him have time to make the transition.  I also made sure to better follow his movements after the jump.  The first bunch of times, I was just stressing out because we were going so fast.  I wasn’t telling him to slow down, but I was resisting all of his movement by tensing up.  Once I was able to tell my stupid body to stop doing that and actually land the jump and intentionally canter away, things got easier.

I know I need to challenge myself like that more often.  It feels SO GREAT when I do and we have even the tiniest bit of success.  I also know that since the last time I fell off Sox, I have been more reluctant to challenge myself.  Because I was challenging myself that day.  I have really wimped out lately in terms of how much and how hard I will work on the canter when I am riding on my own.  I was doing really, really well with cantering a lot on my own, until I fell.  I know that the riding I am doing is still helping and is making a difference, but I know I can do more.  I finally realized how little I am challenging myself on my own after this week’s lesson.  I don’t mean I should start jumping on my own or anything, but I really need to suck it up and go for that canter.  I need to master this.  Well, it would take thousands of rides to technically “master” it, but I need to get my canter ability up a few notches to where I’m no longer receiving instructions on how to do it, but rather I want to be at the level where I receive instruction on ways to make it better.

Grooming was fun and I am looking forward to next week’s lesson & groom session.  The plan is to push myself a little bit more on my own this week.  I only have 2 more weeks left in my summer.  I can’t believe it is almost over.  I will keep riding and posting, but probably less frequently.


Happy Riding!


Weekly Photo Challenge – Containers!!

Over at the Daily Post, they do a weekly photo challenge and this week is titled “Containers“.  Here is my contribution for this week.  I actually have several pictures today.  😉

feed buckets

Eduardo is supervising feeding time at the barn. “Someone needs to deliver these buckets to their proper stalls!”

Keeps us going!!

Keeps us going!!

I love this bowl holding the candy - it's got peacock feathers all over it.  It was a housewarming present from my husband when we bought this house.  And it's complete with candy!!

I love this bowl holding the candy – it’s got peacock feathers all over it. It was a housewarming present from my husband when we bought this house. And it’s complete with candy!!


Weekly Photo Challenge: Relic

I know I don’t participate each week, but I try to when I remember.

This week’s theme is “Relic” (click HERE to read about the challenge).


When we looked at the house we live in, I remember thinking that the tree house in the back yard was cute and quaint.  It’s like a relic of the past when kids played outside and that treehouse was a castle surrounded by a moat of burning hot lava.  Now, the kids are inside; playing a video game where the hero must fight his way into a castle surrounded by a lava moat…

For now, this relic of past childhood memory-building times is used as a lookout tower by my dogs.  Below you can see Bowser checking out the yard for bad guys.  All is well.


My dog, Bowser, uses the treehouse far more often than my son does.  It's the dog's "lookout" tower.

My dog, Bowser, uses the treehouse far more often than my son does. It’s the dog’s “lookout” tower.

Weekly Photo Challenge – Contrast

Regarding the photo challenge, I haven’t been playing weekly, but only when I remember.  That counts right?  I also need to write up my last few rides and today’s lesson.  I’ll get to that in a little bit.  For now, here’s my “contrast” picture. You can play too, check it out HERE for this week’s guidelines.  The dailypost in general is fun for inspiration.  I was pleasantly surprised by it.

You can see he was basking in the sunlight, his white fur is very reflective in those situations.  His different color eyes really stand out in this lighting too.  Basically, he contrasts with everything around him, most of the time.  And so does his white fur.  😉

My cat Fox.  Sitting in the sun.

My cat Fox. Sitting in the sun.


I will be writing a horse-related post in just a little bit.  Stay tuned.

Weekly Photo Challenge – Between!

I came across the weekly photo challenge (found here) and thought it sounded pretty cool.  So here is my idea for this week’s theme, Between.

 A snack between friends.

My son rode for about a year and then decided it wasn’t for him.  But he still likes to come around the barn with me, mostly to visit with Modoc.  The biggest sweetest horse there.  He often pets and loves Modoc while I ride Sox.  Here he is helping himself to some of the sugar cubes I brought for the horses.   I think that was the third one he gave Modoc.  He loves that horse.  That horse loves everyone right back.  😉

My son and Modoc sharing a snack.

My son and Modoc sharing a snack.