Thursday, November 12, 2015

Just Stuff

Random stuff that is.

It's been quiet and low-key lately since our show season is over. With the arrival of Daylight Savings the other week it now goes completely from daytime to total darkness all while I ride the train home from work. Between no shows to prepare for and it feeling like it's nine at night when it's actually five-thirty, I'm left with little motivation for lengthy training rides. 

So sometimes we just lunge.
I've toodled around on Maggie a few times each week though, and we did have a super productive jumping lesson two weeks ago. This past Saturday I took advantage of the being able to ride during the daytime and brought Maggie out to the jump ring to try and reinforce my new mantra: "chin up, leg on, let go". I'm pleased to say my muscles remembered what to do and we jumped very fluidly as long as I 'let go' and kept my lower leg solidly at the girth asking her to stay forward. 

On the flat I've been working on bend and leg/seat aids, mainly at the walk and trot. We've been saving the canter work for jump sessions. Getting her inside hind leg more active and stepping under herself has been a common denominator in both our jump and dressage lessons. Maggie moves off my left leg and seat aids pretty responsively, much better than she does the right. That right hind leg seems stuck to me and under saddle isn't the only place I've noticed it.

Always putting more weight to the right...
When I've got her out on the crossties, Maggie always likes stand more to the right side of the aisle. Some days it's a bit of a struggle to push her over to the middle of the aisle just so I have room to groom her. I've noticed that when I try to push her haunches over from the right she only takes baby steps with that right hind instead of crossing it under her belly to take a big step. My trainer and I did spend a little time poking at her back after our last lesson and her left side is tighter than the right, though not seriously and nothing that a chiro session won't fix. So I wonder if a tight back on the left side means she can't step under with the right hind as well? Does that make sense? Just thoughts... On that note too though, I've been toying with the idea of doing some in-hand work over the winter so I can really watch what her hind legs are doing and try to help her strengthen them.

We've been enjoying the new barn that we're at. I miss seeing my friends next door every day, but we've still trail ridden together and hung out a few times. I've only actually ridden in the indoor twice since I've been at the new place - both on rainy days - otherwise I've been sticking it out in the dressage ring. We've had some unseasonably warm weather for November over the past two weeks so it's seemed a shame to ride in the indoor, even though it's pitch black out. Luckily there are lights over the dressage ring!

I had been planning on clipping Maggie this year anyway, since I plan to work her more over this winter than any winter previously. Last week was a good time to do it since when I got to the barn after work one 70-degree night last week poor pony was super sweaty just standing in her stall! Fuzzy winter ponies do not appreciate the warm November.

This was PRE-ride.
This is the first time I've clipped her at all and she was pretty nervous. I had done some desensitizing with tiny clippers previously, but this was her first time with the big guns. We took it slow and she got her face stuffed with post-Halloween marked down candy corn (her favorite). 

We finished the first session with just a bib clip:

And then a couple days later I extended it  into kind of a low Irish clip:

Seriously though, those lines looked straight in person...
I'm planning on extending it more and doing a low trace once I decide what do do with the belly hair...leave it or no? Anyone have an opinion?

And fun fact - this is actually the first time I've clipped a "real" horse. This one time in college I body clipped Zipper in the spring because she was so hot as the weather got warm. It was kind of a hack job, but she still looked adorable in my opinion. 

Holy dapples!!
And this other time in college I clipped show cows...

Because isn't that what everyone does in college?
So all in all, not a whole lot going on - and that's ok! It's nice to have a breather.


  1. i'd be riding outside for as long as possible too, darkness be damned. nice to have that indoor option so easily available tho! also, it might just be me but that little mini-maggie in the crossties pic is just so distractingly cute lol

    1. mini-Maggie distracts me every single day - I just can't handle that they are stalled across from each other. Her actual name is Ladybug which is fittingly adorable!

  2. I'd extend the clip. I just think it looks even to carry it through the hind end and also the horse will have every major sweating area clipped. This is how I did Simon last year for his 2nd clip -

  3. Handsome Simon! That clip looks fantastic. I'm definitely planning to extend it to the him end, but I'm just unsure if I want to clip the belly hair or not. I've seen a few trace clips that left the belly hair, but still clipped the sides. It's looks a little funny, but I also think it sort of makes sense to leave the belly - where the blanket doesn't cover - with hair so that it protects them from the cold? I dunno.

  4. Zipper's hair is amazing. Why do mini horses have the best hair??!! (Maggie's hair is lovely too.)

    I did an uneven and not-very-low irish on my mare (Peanut) because my clipper blades were losing steam. She's a big neck sweater and I think that's good enough. If you're going to extend to the hind quarters, give yourself a big, wide allowance for the flank whirls -- it looks better!!

  5. I think I'm going to clip Knight this year. You're giving me motivation. So how are cows in comparison to horses--when you clip them?

  6. I think I'm going to clip Knight this year. You're giving me motivation. So how are cows in comparison to horses--when you clip them?