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.

Happy 4th of July!

Happy 4th!  I hope your holiday weekend is off to a good start!  My son and I started our weekend off with a little horseback riding.  He hasn’t ridden since April, but told me yesterday that he would like to, so I had him squeeze into his old boots, grab his helmut and hop on Sox.  I handwalked them around the arena a few times.  My son very much enjoyed it.  He said that maybe when it’s not so hot out, he may start riding lessons again.  We’ll see, lol. 

I used Sox’s walk around the arena as his warm up and got right to work when I got on.  I was trying out a pair of gloves today since I keep getting a blister on my left ring finger.  They felt super awkward.  Luckily, the rest of me didn’t feel awkward up there so I was able to adjust.  They weren’t great and I did end up taking them off for the last little bit of my ride.

For once I wasn’t feeling all over the place for my ride.  I mean, sure, there was plenty I could have been doing better, but I was doing better than normal for me, and the best that I could at the time.  I was able to pick up a nice forward trot after a little fuss from Sox.  I could feel the difference in my legs when they weren’t correct – I was doing much better at keeping the bend in my knee (and my elbows) and posting with my hips rather than trying to stand up in the stirrups.  Tuesday I couldn’t stop perching and standing on my toes in the stirrups, but my Wednesday lesson must have fixed that because I wasn’t doing that today.  Thank goodness.

I went over the trot pole exercise we did at the last two lessons and he was really good for it after the first pass where he stopped in the middle of the poles.  Last week he cantered through them, today he halts.  C’mon Sox, lol.  We picked it up and got it going right and I think I may have even dropped into a mostly correct two-point for at least half the passes we made today.  I was also paying a lot more attention to where we were in relation to the rail or our path around things today, as Sox has a tendency to fall to the inside if I am not on top of things.  We stayed to the outside for our whole ride today! Yay!!  Granted, our ride wasn’t super long, but hey – I’ll take all the victories I can get. 

I worked on a little itty bit of sitting trot today.  It was ok, but I kept letting that leg creep up and I’d end up pointing my toes…I don’t know where that reaction came from, but I kept finding my foot ALL the way in the stirrup, all the way to the heel of my boot.  Not ok.  So I spent a lot of my time trying to fix that while sitting the trot.  I probably should have just dropped the stirrups, but I can’t tell that I am moving my legs without the stirrups as well when I don’t have eyes on the ground to tell me. 

I did a tiny bit of canter work today as well.  Sox didn’t want to pick up a good canter today to start with.  I’m sure my aids were wonky and I was unbalanced or something, but regardless, he ran out the first few times so I brought him back down to a trot, which he tried to turn into a halt, and we tried again.  Then when he finally did start cantering, it was very choppy and not flow-y at all.  He did it like that the first couple times in each direction, but on about the third try we got it together.  I am sticking to cantering the straightaways and trotting the corners until I am better at telling whether I am on the correct lead by myself.  I’ll get there.  I can usually tell, but not everytime.  So the canter work was alright today as well.

Sox got a good hosing down and I washed his face & mane.  He got a bucket of watered down gatorade too, which he loves.  He was actually good again about me washing his face.  I think we’ve figured out how to do it without setting him off.  He even gave me a few snorts while I rubbed/massaged his neck.  He had a nasty welt on his neck (probably a bug bite), but after a good washing and then some spray, it looked a lot better, but he was sensitive about me touching it.  I let him graze a good long while after and he seemed quite content by the time I put him in his stall.

I decided Lily needed some loves today, so I took her out to groom and realized that she really just needs a bath.  So, I gave her one.  She is so spooky – today she spooked twice at the wash area.  Once she dropped her butt and her back legs looked ready to just take off, and that time startled me pretty good too, but I was able to calm her down both times.  We went in so I could spray her feet and comb her mane, and she kept trying to spook in the barn too, so I quickly finished up, calmed her down and put her back in her stall.  She got a great bath though and looks SOOO much better all clean.  🙂 

Well, we are off to our friend’s pool where we are going to hang out for a few hours before heading to the baseball game.  There’s fireworks after the game tonight so that ought to be fun!

Happy 4th (again) and happy riding!!

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.

Quick rides are still Good rides

I wasn’t able to get out to the barn early enough to get a full ride in today, but that’s ok.  Yesterday’s ride sucked.  It was like I had never ridden.  My butt didn’t know where to be, my legs were all over, my hands were awful…it just wasn’t great.  I wasn’t sure if I should even bother with trying to canter after all that awful-ness yesterday, but I finally pulled it mostly together for a little bit at the end of my ride and got a few good transitions to canter and back down to trot. I didn’t push my luck by trying to go too far or transition too many times, so the couple we did each direction were good and we left it at that.

Even though we got those few good canters in yesterday, I still didn’t feel like I did anything positive in the saddle yesterday so I decided (kinda late) today that I needed to at least get in the saddle today a little bit just to make sure it was a fluke.  I mean, I know I am not a great rider, but yesterday I was SO off balance and not right, I needed to end the week on a better note.  I didn’t get to the barn until after ten this morning (it was already almost 90 degrees too) and for once, everyone was wrapping up and getting ready to leave!  I don’t ride at the barn totally alone, so I hurried up and tacked up Sox and jumped on for a quick ride.

We only worked on walk-trot; there wasn’t time for any canter.  But that is totally cool because honestly, I just wanted to feel like I should even be in the saddle.  Which I did.  Compared to yesterday, I felt better today as soon as I sat in the saddle and started walking.  Granted, Sox had much less oomph today than he did yesterday, which is ironic I guess – yesterday he was GO GO GO and I couldn’t do anything right and today I was much better and he was trying to nap.  We did a bunch of figure 8’s and other circle shape-things, a few trot poles and a lot of 2-point (at both walk and trot).  When my friend told me she was heading out, I walked Sox around the barn and driveway talking to her to cool him out.  We’d only ridden about 20 minutes at that point, and not hard at all, so cooling out was more fun than necessary.

I spent more time with Sox after our ride than I did actually riding him today.  But it was nice.  I gave him a nice sponge-bath in front of the fan today, used his special spray for his skin (instead of his special shampoo) and then dried him off nicely and used one of the body brushes to make him extra shiny. 🙂  He looked quite nice when I was done.  Then, my son and I gave treats to and took pictures of all the horses in the barn.  It was quite fun.  Here are a few pics from today.  We took a boatload!

dexter reaching for treats

You can’t see it, but my son is standing off camera with the box of sugar cubes.

old man zak

Zak is the sweet old man of the barn. So gentle.

stuey

This guy is a little stinker, but totally cute. And very excited to come get that treat.

at the barn

It’s awful, but I can’t remember this guys name. I think it’s Travis. not sure though. he’s nice!

lily in the field

This is Lily in her Fly gear out in her pasture. She’s so sweet. She nickers at us whenever we walk close by.

sox eating my apple

Even thought I just shared the end of my apple with him, he’s giving me that look. He hates me taking his picture.

sox hating the camera

He totally freaked himself out over my camera. No flash or anything. It took me a good five minutes to calm him down after. He got really excitable after this shot was taken. He does better with cameras when he is grazing.

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.

 

 

http://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_photo_challenge/between-danielle-hark/

 

Parting ways with your noble steed…

Falling off the horse sucks.  People like to tell me that it’s so much worse for them because their horse is taller than my horse.  Ya know what?  It sucks when your butt parts ways with your saddle no matter the size of the horse.  Especially if you are moving forward with any speed at all.  Like we were, at the canter, when I decided flying was preferable to riding.  It turns out that I cannot fly.

So what happened to make me fly?  I am pretty sure that I was trying to grip with my thighs as well as hunching over and just threw our balance way off which may have caused Sox to trip and stumble.  When he stumbled, I was pretty sure we were both going down.  He must have thought the same thing too because he then popped up real quick – he did a jump up – to save his butt from hitting the dirt – and that down and then up movement, so fast, just sent me flying off into the dirt.

I landed pretty hard on my side.  Well, mostly my side.  I know the side of my helmet was covered in sand and my neck and shoulders hurt a lot now (several hours later).  When I first went to get up, I couldn’t, so I hobbled over to the mounting block and just sat there for a few.  I could see that Sox was fine, waiting by the gate, the reins weren’t hanging too long or over his head, so I sat on the block for a few.  Had to catch my breath because the wind got knocked out of me in the fall.  I was about to cool Sox down when I fell off, but there was no way I could get back on – I was too dizzy – so I walked him into the barn and gave his reins to my trainer.  I told her I just fell pretty hard and he needed to be cooled down.  Trainer was cool with it.  She untacked him for me too.  After a while, I was feeling better and my trainer suggested that I try hosing Sox down and see how I felt.  So I did, and things were fine.  I did hang around the barn an extra hour or so to make sure I was ok before heading home.

 

Non-lesson rides this week:  2

Tuesday I also came out to ride.  It was one of the first times I was pretty frustrated.  My trainer laughed and told me that “frustrated” and “horses” are two words often used together in the same sentences.  Sox was certainly being frustrating.  I am sure I was frustrating him too, but he’s always been rather forgiving of my faults; that is part of the reason I decided to lease him.  My trainer said today that Sox probably is looking at me differently now – my role has changed.  I went from being the once-a-week-silly-lesson-human he let ride to his new stand-in mommy.  I am now worthy of ALL his fun (And not so fun) behaviors, including pushing the limits and boundaries and not listening to me unless I ask correctly.

I could not get Sox to do anything yesterday.  He didn’t want to trot, he didn’t like the trot poles, he refused to canter.  It was very annoying.  And I take full credit for not being a stellar rider myself.  I know I need a lot of practice.  But he has responded to my shitty aids before – and yesterday was no different from any other day!! So we didn’t get much done really, I spent more time walking around yesterday than anything else.  (So i practiced holding my two-point position in the walk).  Afterwards, he got a hosing down and then I let him graze for a bit.  I took a couple of good pictures of him.  After I was done with Sox, I took Lily out and groomed her too, and then I took pictures of all the other horses and shared my treats with them.

ImageImage

Today started off MUCH better.  He was responsive and forward.  He had a good trot going, he was willing to canter – too willing actually.  He kept trying to break into the canter when I was trotting around in circles between canter laps.  We did some basic stuff: posting trot, two-point at the trot all the way around the ring a few times and over some poles, sitting trot, all the trots in circles, and a few laps of canter in both directions, both sitting and in two-point.  Then I took off my stirrups to do the same without stirrups.  It’s hard work, but I enjoy it.  It helps my seat a lot.  Everything was fine.  I was having a bit of trouble keeping the canter going though.  Both with and without stirrups.  It’s probably me leaning forward or pinching my legs.  I was actually quite conscious of this fact going into that last canter lap.  I was telling myself to put my shoulders back and to breath….and then BAM.  Out of the saddle!

Looking Ahead

Surprisingly, I am not freaked out by my fall.  The last time I fell (like a year ago), it really shook my confidence.  It helped in some ways – it relaxed me a lot on the horse because I had that big scary first fall out of the way.  But it took a while for me to not have all that adrenaline pumping when I would get on the horse.  Of course, I rode once a week then and had literally just started cantering and only on the lunge line at that point.  I know falling is a part of riding.  I hope to do it as little as possible.  I am not as resilient at these young girls at the barn.  I am only 34, so I am still sort of young myself, but I’m not bouncy and bendy like these teens.  I also have RA and that doesn’t help either.  My confidence has increased a whole lot since that first fall.  I still need to work on my confidence in other areas, probably I will be a little nervous the next time I canter, but not to get on Sox.

I am taking tomorrow off.  Originally, I planned to ride tomorrow as well but I am going to go to the beach instead with my mom, my son and my nephew.  Plus, I think I will be pretty sore tomorrow.  I am riding on Friday though – I have a lesson.  I should be even more sore then.  I was already going to be sore in the “i worked out” sense because I rode pretty hard today.

Well, happy riding to you.  I am off to soak in the bath.  I have some epson salts laying around somewhere….

~Auntie Chi Chi~

 

ps.  Here are those other pictures I took this week:

 

This is Charlie.  He makes the SILLIEST faces at me when I have treats until I share with him.  He's so super friendly and sweet.

This is Charlie. He makes the SILLIEST faces at me when I have treats until I share with him. He’s so super friendly and sweet.

This is Dexter.  He saw me sharing with Sox and Charlie and wants some too.

This is Dexter. He saw me sharing with Sox and Charlie and wants some too.

Samson, Charlie, Travis, and (I think) Brooke.  They are all watching me and my food.

Samson, Charlie, Travis, and (I think) Brooke. They are all watching me and my food.