Friday, July 2, 2010

Practicing Obstacles

This was the little course I set up in the backyard before the ACTHA Ride. This was our second time through the course. All in all, I thought we did well. We never have side-passed before, but we're getting the hang of it. Eventually, I hope to take some basic dressage lessons, anything to improve our skills.
This was taken before the big spill, of course. I've ridden her twice since that happened, and I've been doing lots on the ground with her during my recovery. Here's the details of the course:
1. Walk up to the mounting block and stand still while mounting.
2. Cross the tarp
3. Cross the plywood
4. Walk over a low 'jump'
5. Go through the gate w/hanging vines
6. Drag a log
7. Side-pass
8. Back through the "L"
9. Step around the star
10. Trot-Stop- Back

Now why hadn't I thought to do all that with a hoola-hoop around her legs!

This post was supposed to include a video, but after waiting half an hour for it to load, I gave up.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Get 'em Hooked

Well, I ruined my camera, so I won't be adding any new pictures, but I still have a few old ones that I could post. It's been two weeks now since I got hurt. I had been doing some groundwork with her throughout the week, but I'd come in afterward limping. Each day I think I feel better, but when I try to do too much I feel it. I thought I would try riding a little just to get over the mental barrier. It was fun and we took it easy, but my hip and pelvis ached worse than it had for days when I was finished. Yesterday, I let my husband, Stephan, ride her. It's his first real ride on her; I led him around on her once several months ago. I gave him his first riding lesson. It was great and they both did well. He and my boys have shown some interest in learning to ride, but this was the first time Stephan has actually ridden my horse! It was exciting for me because there's nothing I would love more than to share this passion with my family. It won't seem like such an addiction if I get them hooked too.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

ACTHA Ride for the Rescues

Okay, so I spent a couple of weeks doing obstacles in the backyard. Calico did great. On Thursday, before the ride, my sister and I loaded her into the trailer and drove an hour away to Sandy Valley where the ride would take place on Sunday. Jenny borrowed a horse and we had a terrific trail ride. Some of the ranch dogs came along with us and chased jackrabbits and even scared up a coyote. Cali was on her best behavior. I marveled at how far we've come since last year.
Sunday morning I got up very early, and made preparations to leave. This was the first time I had pulled the trailer alone, and I was a little nervous, but felt pretty good since Jenny and I had done it during rush hour on Thursday. It was a piece of cake. I went to the check-in desk after I unloaded her and got my number and map. I saw the familiar faces of the volunteers from Shiloh Horse Rescue. It was great to see everyone. I got her tacked up and then went to the pre-ride meeting before warming up a little. I noticed a couple of women with arabians, so I had to go asked if the ever rode endurance. They said they mostly had done the XP rides! I was so excited to meet them. The riders went out in groups, though,initially, I started out on my own because my group was lagging behind. Calico started to get nervous, so I waited for anyone to catch up as I tried turning her and backing her to help her focus. It was the endurance riders, so I just went along with them for a bit; Cali relaxed. We came to a long, I mean 25 foot, metal pipe and Cali got nervous to cross it. She tried to go around but I wouldn't let her. After a few seconds, she rushed over it but now we were a little ways behind our new friends. She rushed to catch up when an old gate on the ground startled her. She bucked a little and sure enough, I came off. I jumped up and went to get her. I hopped right back up and went on. This is the first time I've come off since last September. By now the Shiloh crowd had caught up to us, so I rode with them. Cali was fine when we were just moving along, but every time we had to do an obstacle she blew it. This was stuff we had been practicing, but in a group and a strange place it was like she'd never seen any of it before, 'poles, cones, what?' We weren't racking up any points. I didn't care. I liked the challenge and I was having fun. The third obstacle was a hoola hoop on the ground. I was supposed to show a turn on the forehand by having her step her front hooves into the hoop and yield her hindquarters 180 degrees. We should be able to do this! She stepped in alright, then stepped ON the hoop which then popped up around her legs and that was it. She bolted and I tried to bring her down, but in a moment she bucked hard! I did a full somersault in the air before landing on my back, mostly my sacrum. I was hurt this time, and I knew it. I couldn't breathe for a moment, then I struggled to get up. I made myself get back on my horse. I rode another quarter-mile or so to the next obstacle. We were with our friend Eric, but both horses were acting anxious because we got separated from the rest of our group. At the next obstacle I told the judges, that had fallen and I would pass this one. I walked a few steps then decided I couldn't ride any more. They called for a truck to take me back to base camp, and someone ponied my horse back. I needed help getting into the truck. I couldn't take a step forward or lift my leg in or out. I was grateful the ride had been in Sandy Valley and not rocky valley. My husband had to come pick me up. By that evening I couldn't move at all. We went to Quick Care the next day and nothing was broken, but I think I tore or strained the ligament in my right hip. It's been more than a week now and it's still fairly painful to walk. I went out and bought a hoola-hoop and did some ground work with her today. I can't wait to work on the holes in our communication. I see I still have much to do. I'm grateful I wasn't hurt worse, but I'm frustrated that I'm still limping around. It's hard for me to sit still. The good news is...I've seen every game in the World Cup and I'm getting a lot of knitting done.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

New tack, new rig and new arena.

We reconfigured the back to make an obstacle course. I have a low jump. A "L" to back through, a gate with 'vines' hanging down, a tarp to cross and a log on a long rope to drag. We can add or change obstacles as we progress. I also have tried out my new rig. Calico thinks it's too small, but she'll ride in it. Cali and I have spent this past year trying to gather the right tack. Finally, she is very comfortable in her Annie George saddle, I got it used and love it. She also sporting a zilco halter/bridle combo in turquoise with a full cheek snaffle that we ordered from the John Lyons store.

We have entered the ACTHA Ride for the Rescues/ Ride for the Record. They going for a Guinness World Record; the most trail riders riding simultaneously and the proceeds will benefit local horse charities. The Nevada ride will benefit Shiloh Horse Rescue. It will be a six mile ride with six obstacles and six judges. It should be pretty fun, but we have a lot to do in the next two weeks to get ready.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

A Little Each Day

Yesterday, I talked about how, for so long now, I've made excuses. I've spent too much time daydreaming about goals and not actually doing them. I decided that if I do a little toward my goal each day, I will surely get there. I went out and did something I've never done. I stood inside the round-pen and Cali was on the outside! I cued her from in there and it was really fun. Pretty soon she was galloping around the outside of the round-pen, having a grand ole time, and I was just laughing. She would turn in and face me when I asked. It was different and fun. Then, I brought her into the round-pen, and rode her bareback. We've never worked with a mounting block before, but I have a tall step for step aerobics. I could cue her to take one step forward and she stood very still while I hopped on. I haven't ridden bareback in a very long time, but I thought it would help me build my balance and I love the connection to my horse. I was fretting before because I don't have a horse trailer yet, so I can't really do any conditioning rides. (Sounds like an excuse!) I just decided that if I do something, anything with her for even just a few minutes, our bond will get stronger and stronger, and then nothing will stop me from making the time, finding a way. No more excuses, let's ride.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Tevis Goals- Reframing

I first became interested in the Tevis Cup as I watched a dear friend began her endurance career. I babysat for Carol, in fact, when she did her first LD. I was so intrigued. Well that was in 1994, but her enthusiasm and encouragement over the years has fueled the flames for me to set my own goals. Carol and I were both raising large families, and I was always amazed at how she MADE time to condition. I, on the other hand, made excuses. Ususally it was something like, I can't ride, I have small kids. I can't afford a horse, I have five (now 6) kids. I can't possibly ride that far, I've had too many kids. I can't get in shape, who will watch the kids. I can't ride more than a few miles, at my age. I can't , I can't , I can't. Guess what? I gave birth to my sixth child, at home, without pain medication at the age of 44. That makes me a bad-ass. I have endured, even at this age. I can because I have six kids! It is what I tell young mothers all the time... giving birth is a rite of passage that can help, not only face the challenges of motherhood, but also, face other challenges in your life. I am looking into my future toward riding across the Sierras, and I am telling myself, I can do this, I have given birth to six kids. That's my new mantra.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Moved Again

I'm pretty sure this will be the last time for a long time. I finally have a home where I can have Calico in my backyard and I am so pleased. It happened rather suddenly, but we found a nice place in the middle of L.V. on a half acre. Calico has her buddy Wishes and a new little friend, a mini named Rusty. I've set up the round pen in the middle and they can move all the way around the outside, at a lope if they like, and find shade under the trees throughout the day. It's the best I can do in terms of 'paddock paradise' on such a small property, but it's much better than standing in a 12 x 16 stall most of the day. Also, the half acre next door is vacant, and the owner said I can ride on it whenever I want to. I'd like to buy it from him, but that will have to come later. We love the new place. I really feel like it was built just for us. It's home.