Sunday, April 25, 2010

First lesson on Baby Huey

Here's my first lesson on Huey (April 14), which was also only my third ride ever on him. You can see we're still feeling each other out. The fussiness turned out to be mouth discomfort; his teeth have since been floated and he's much quieter with his head.

He's a very sensitive-type thoroughbred. I had a super ride on him today. He's starting to understand the idea of a very subtle half halt. Yesterday Camilla took a jumping lesson on him, and today I had to pay close attention--there are jumps set up in the arena, and a couple times I felt him try to lock onto one and take me over. Abort, abort!

Saturday, April 24, 2010

What to do when a horse flips

Here are some safety tips we all hope we'll never need.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010


Flash and Camilla had a lovely dressage test on Sunday. I didn't stick around for the cross country, but there was a professional photographer there, so I got to see pictures. Every single picture looks like this:

Apparently, Flash thought he was jumping five feet that afternoon. He is small, but he is mighty.

Tonight I lunged Huey in side reins. He's not very used to that, so I kept them pretty loose. Even so, he produced a few impressive temper tantrums. I'm a big believer in obedient lungeing, so we'll keep at it. We have a lesson with Leslie tomorrow. I'm so out of shape!

Friday, April 9, 2010

Florence, Flash, and Baby Huey

It's Friday, at last, and I have a fun weekend planned. Tomorrow a friend and I are taking another friend to Florence (on the coast) for her birthday. I haven't been over to the coast in, like, a year. So stupid, because it's less than an hour away. It's even supposed to be sunny.

On Sunday, I'm off to a local eventing competition to watch Camilla ride Flash in the dressage portion. Then I'll head over to the barn and work Baby Huey. I'm going to bring my own dressage saddle along and see if it fits him (I suspect it will -- he's got a high wither just like Willow). The de Kunffy saddle that Camilla has is really flat and hard as a rock. Camilla is a hardier soul than I, I guess. I want my comfy saddle.

Camilla trailers over to take lessons with trainer Leslie on Wednesdays, and she has offered to bring Huey along so I can take a lesson as well. She's really focusing on Flash, so Huey is usually free. What a great deal! It's funny how things just work out sometimes.

In November I joined Massage Envy, so I get a massage every month. It's been rather awesome. But my massage therapist, Tracy, is stumped by the muscle that runs under my right scapula. It's basically in spasm all the time. I was sort of aware of this already; I get this weird creepy-crawly feeling in that area several times every day, and it always hurts some after I do anything strenuous. Tracy has not been able to get this muscle to unknot. Last time she said she's going to call up her instructor for advice. I separated my right shoulder ten years ago in a riding accident, and Tracy wonders if that was the start of the problem. It's weird to think of that poor muscle spasming away for years at a time.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

First real ride on Baby Huey

Huey is going to be a blast! He learns fast, he's very bendy, and he has such a cheerful attitude. Walk, trot, canter, leg yield, no problem. I asked him to be a little sharper to my leg, and he said, yes, ma'am. We had very few miscommunications, and his only disobedience was a bit of crowhopping when I first asked for canter. Camilla said he's been doing that with her as well, so she's going to have his back checked. He worked out of it immediately. He's got a super canter--leisurely and adjustable.

I videotaped, but silly me, I had the camera pointed into the western sky, so everything but the sky is way underexposed. I will do better next time.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Feeling whole again

Today I went out to Camilla the eventer's barn to try out the two geldings she asked me if I wanted to start schooling in dressage.

First up was Baby Huey. He's a gray TB, I guess around 16.1 or 16.2. He may not have the most obviously spectacular dressage potential, but bless his heart, he tries so hard. I had a really fun test ride on him: walk, trot, trot leg yield, and canter. He was very obedient and light in the bridle. My goal with him will be to get him more solid into the outside rein. He's a little wormy and doesn't want to bend to the right. I really did click with him right away.

Next up was Flash, who you saw a few days back in the video. He's TB/Oldenburg, about 15.3. Flash has super gaits, but I couldn't get him in front of my leg. Camilla says he likes to test everyone and will be as lazy as you let him. Since this was just a test ride, I didn't get into it with him, but next time I'll use a whip and spurs. In spite of the sucking back, we had decent walk and trot, and canter to the left. To the right, no luck getting a canter (doesn't want to bend, for one thing). Something to work on!

They both have a lot of potential, and I feel like they could both be going second level by the end of the summer. The current plan is for me to work one or both of them on Sundays, Mondays, and Tuesdays. There's only an outdoor arena at this barn, so I need to get some better all-weather riding gear, and I gotta get my saddle oiled up so it doesn't get ruined in the rain. We lucked out today and managed to get both rides in between squalls.

As much as I love and miss having my own horse, I also truly love getting on a variety of horses and figuring each one out. I find it so fascinating.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Fun in Galway

I took a stroll down the old Long Walk
On the day-i-ay-i-ay

So, when you're in Galway, you're supposed to head down to the Long Walk and kick the wall at the end for good luck. My friend and I kept meaning to do that, and the Long Walk was really nearby, but we somehow just never made it. If I have bad luck, I'll only have myself to blame.

Here's one of the cool narrow alleys in Galway, filled with shops and pubs.

And here's a cheesemonger! Which caused us to discuss, just what can you be a monger of? Cheese and fish. And war. But, for instance, not one of the sweater shops was labeled "Sweatermonger."

In this pub, a middle-aged, drunken Irishman sat down with us and announced he was going to recite us poetry. Then he forgot to do that. He also offered us a place to stay for the night, if we needed one. Then he confided that he was a wee bit tipsy. We quite enjoyed his company.