Wednesday, 21 June 2017

Bright Spots

I seem to have hit a pretty serious run of bad luck in the last few months. 

To quickly summarize… water heater leaking/breaking, cat emergency vet visit, truck transmission blowing, condo board drama X 1 million, Apollo training stress, three flying departures from Henry (with the most recent resulting in a broken nose), car accident, uncatchable Apollo after returning from training, and just the general stress of selling/buying real estate.

It ain’t good.

But ain’t all bad either! :)

I’ve had some cool things happen in the last few weeks that have brightened up my slightly gloomy demeanor.

First off a few weeks ago I got to meet the lovely SarahO from Autonomous Dressage!

Yay blog friend!

We had fun dressage simulator lesson on Friday evening and went for dinner on Sunday.  It was so great to meet her and chat horse.  I don't have a ton of horsey friends IRL and it was so fun to meet up with a fellow blogger.  I learned a ton from the dressage simulator lesson and am hoping to incorporate more in the future.

She is such a pro on the horse robot :)  

I kept kicking him haha #horserobotfail

I also got a lovely package of good from L. as my prize for winning this contest.  This hand lotion is spectacular!  Lots of great goodies :)  Getting some happy mail instead of angry bills or condo board crap made my entire week.  Thank you so much L.!


I spent last Saturday afternoon shopping with a girl I ride with at Coach D’s.  We hit up Greenhawk’s bucket sale and the Tack Collector.  It was such a fun day.  I got some great deals on swat, flyspray and a cute new aerion t-shirt.

I also got to sit in a few saddles at the Tack Collector that I have in mind for Mystic.  I heard angels sing when I sat in this Black Country saddle.   When I get the insurance money from my car it will be coming home for a trial. :D  #adultdecisions #somature

I also got to watch SarahO and Kachina rock their dressage test last weekend!  Kachina is so fancy and they make a great team.  :)

I had my first ride post-nasal fracture on Mystic on Monday evening.  She was a complete rock star.  A deer jumped out of the bushes right in front of her and she barely flinched.  Excited to get a proper saddle for her soon!

I have some Henry/Apollo game plans to discuss shortly. Hopefully things are on the upswing now :)

Monday, 12 June 2017

Human Torpedo

Well my good luck continues!  I had my third flying dismount from Henry on Saturday.

And I broke my nose.

It was my first lesson back with ST and we were taking it kind of easy as my back has still been bothering me a bit from my last flying dismount/car accident.  Henry and I were cantering around and going over a little pole on the ground.  He took a huge flyer over the pole and a few strides after tripped and almost fell down, I lost my balance and he started bucking.  Not good.  I landed on my shoulder and rolled on my face/nose.  I felt a pop.  My nose started bleeding profusely.

 UGH :(

ST said I rode the bucks really well but since I had lost my stirrup during the tripping/almost falling I really didn't have a hope of staying on.

I went into the bathroom and stuffed my nose with toilet paper and got back on.  We trotted around from about 10/15 more minutes and then lunged him at the canter.

I still <3 him, even if he's trying to kill me

She has a few ideas about where this new behavior is coming from:

1) When I lose my balance and my legs bump him in a different spot it freaks him out (solution: more sacking out, patting him all over etc)

2) When he loses his balance his new go-to is bucking (solution: this might need to go to a cowboy who can ride the bucks out better than I can - I can't afford this solution at the moment but if a month goes by and we are still having trouble I will figure out a way to make it happen)

3) She also suggested incorporating more ground work and she's going to teach me to long-line him next week.   

I have a few other ideas that may be contributing:

1) Henry's human is incredibly stressed out.   It's just been a really tough month for a lot of reasons (namely real estate, car accident, other falls, Apollo/trainer stress, work stress blah blah blah). I think he can sense that I'm not really myself at the moment. (solution: ?)

2) Pain somewhere?  There have been lots of new horses arriving lately (including Apollo, who just got home on Thursday) and Henry has come in with a lot of bumps and bruises.  He hasn't quite felt 100% either.  (solution: he has a bodyworker appt on Thursday and I'm going to arrange having the flocking of his saddle re-adjusted as he is really growing and filling out.)

3) Inconsistent riding schedule.  I have been doing my best but as mentioned previously it's been a challenge to put regular rides on him (solution: I have reached out to a friend who is a fantastic rider and is currently horseless to ask if she can help putting some rides on him, she knows ST and I thought maybe if I paid for an ST lesson she could ride him in that and then maybe another ride during the week... details to be sorted.  Two rides a week from a better rider than me would be a huge help for both of us.)

4) This isn't really a contributing factor but I think doing some more core exercises would help me sit bucks/unbalanced situations better so I will be adding that into my life routine. 

Sir pounce is always relevant

So because my nose is broken the doctor recommended that I take a week off from riding.  My fracture is not displaced so if I let it set for a week it should heal normally (and straight!) without a reset or surgery.  The doctor also felt that if I hit my nose hard enough to break it I should also be on concussion protocol.  I feel like most of the force was absorbed by my shoulder and nose but I have been a little dizzy since I hit the dirt so better safe than sorry.

Hope to be doing more of this soon! 


This has been a big blow to my confidence as I'd been having so much fun riding Henry and for once was actually enjoying jumping.  But I'm hoping with my ideas listed above we will get on the right track soon.

What is your post-fall protocol?  Any tips for me for getting my confidence back and managing this kind of young horse behavior?  I also would love any groundwork suggestions :)

Thursday, 1 June 2017

Blank Space

It has taken me a long time to be ready to write this post, I was super upset when it all happened and am still very upset as I write it now (and have taken a fairly large amount of pain medication for my crippled body) … I apologize for the non-linear rambling.  I hope that it sort of makes sense. :)

I mentioned here my objectives for Apollo’s 30 day visit with RK.  I was so hopeful that this time with RK would be a stepping stone into riding with my husband.  And at the very least I hoped that I’d come away with more tools and insights for Apollo in the future.  I sold Apollo’s saddle to help pay for this training, with plans to buy a more husband/trail friendly saddle once training was complete. 
In June 2017 Apollo and I celebrate 10 years together.  I was also quietly planning to have some photos taken at RK’s beautiful property to commemorate this huge milestone. 

And instead there is nothing.  There is blank space.
None of the things I’d hoped for have happened.  I would actually venture that things are worse than when I dropped Apollo off. 

May was a very busy month for me.  My husband and I have spent some time acreage shopping (as I shared yesterday) and also prepping our house for sale.  I really trusted RK to put trail miles on Apollo and keep him busy while I worried about house buying/selling and kept my remaining herd members in work.  And unfortunately that trust was misplaced.

I’ve had four visits with Apollo in May, and I don’t plan on going back.  I will be sending a trailer to pick him up and I will meet it on the other side.

Anyway, those are all my feels about what has happened.  Let me break down those four visits and elaborate a bit on what has gone wrong.

  1. Visit One (a day or two after we dropped him off)
    Very quick visit, just stopped in to make sure he was settling in OK.  I discussed my hopes about Apollo being a husband horse.  That was pretty much it. 
  2. Visit Two (about a week after he arrived)
    RK told me that Apollo was not suitable as a horse for a novice.  Without a ton of elaboration.  He mostly just focused on how Apollo is a very difficult and dominant horse.  I had mixed feelings about this, part of me felt validated that I’d had a hard time with his training…. The other part of me was like “Don’t talk shit about my horse!!”.  I have never read Apollo as a dominant horse, at all.  I’ve actually read him as the opposite, he isn’t confident so gets overwhelmed easily and resorts to speed when unsure what to do.  Sidepass? Uhhhh… GO FAST!  RK showed me some groundwork stuff he’d been doing and Apollo couldn’t handle jumping the tiny blue barrels but went into the river, because he’s random like that.
  3. Visit Three (about a week and half after he arrived)
    I rode Apollo this visit bareback and did a little W/T/C around.  He was polite at the mounting block and quiet under saddle, about as good as when I had ridden him last.  RK told me that Apollo can be very good but also spends a lot of time coming up with ideas on how to be bad.  For example he ran through a lot of his groundwork/preflight check stuff and one day Apollo would do everything perfectly.  The next day he wouldn’t do any of it.  Blah blah blah RK thinks Apollo is a jerk.  He said he thinks Apollo needs more time in the arena before he’s a good trail horse.  I said, ok fair enough.  He mentions that they will start with some trail work shortly.
  4. Visit Four (about three weeks after he arrived)
    This was my final visit and it occurred on the May long weekend (specifically on May 21st).  I had asked RK if my friend C (who owns the place where Mystic lives) could trailer over and we could do a ride with Apollo just down the road and back, nothing major.  He said that would be fine.  I ended up having to change the date, which is my bad.  I was supposed to take Henry out schooling xc on Monday (which didn’t happen after all) so I had asked to reschedule to the Sunday.  I suggested 10 to RK and he came back with noon, I asked if 11 was ok as I was meeting my grandma on the other side of town at 2 and I didn’t want to have to rush.  I didn’t hear back from him so I asked C to haul over closer to 11:30 so we’d be closer to his requested 12 time. 
    I was a little early and so was C.  RK was pretty upset with me.  He had been planning to ride with us but had a lesson booked at 11 so couldn’t go until 12.  I apologized and said we would wait.  Then he told me that I couldn’t ride Apollo, that he would ride him.  I was a bit surprised by that but said OK.  Then he decided that he wouldn’t ride Apollo either.  He spent some time telling me how bad and dangerous my horse was, peppering that with a story about another a lady who put her horse down because it had mental issues. 
    Ok then… So when I had my quick ride in the arena… I was legit terrified.  Was I too much of a numpty to realize over these past years that my horse was dangerous??  I was using a barrel to mount up and my legs were shaking so hard I was thought the barrel was going to tip over.  I rode Apollo and he was hot, and it felt like no one had been riding him.  But he was fine, it was a short ride before I put him back and grabbed the other random horse I was riding. 
    RK barely spoke to me for the ride or for the rest of the time we were there.  He talked to C a lot and helped her cross the river and the bridge with her horse.  Which is super nice.  But C is not paying him for training…so..?  The horse he gave me to ride was a bit sketchy but he told me it was his best horse.  I ride green baby peanuts like erryday, that horse did not feel more trained than either of my two young horses. 
    I was upset on so many levels…
    Is he not riding my horse?
    I paid for and asked for trail miles… has Apollo even left the arena?  He had been there for 3 weeks at this point.
    Who the fuck tells me that I can’t ride my own horse?  I don’t want to screw up his training program or anything but I feel like if it wasn’t ok for C and I to ride together he could have told me that before I showed up excited to ride my horse.
    Why was he so grumpy at me?  Yeah maybe I screwed up the scheduling a bit, but a) it was not intentional 2) I apologized  3) I am the customer, the customer who is paying a lot of money for training that is not happening
    I was also super embarrassed to have that happen in front of my friend (she said she felt really bad for me and was really confused by RK’s behavior while we were there)
    So I almost borrowed a trailer the next day to pick up Apollo and bring him home.  Then I decided to leave him for the rest of the month and pay a hauler to get him.  At least RK will feed him his supplements every day and I can carry on with my ST lessons like this crap never happened.   When my husband called me later to ask how my day was…. I ugly cried so hard.  I am so disappointed with how this turned out. 

    I spoke with ST about this (as Apollo and I have had some lessons with her).  She said she never felt like Apollo was dangerous at all.  She thinks he can be a bit rude and cheeky but he just lacks training.  I told her how this all had really rattled me.  This was the lesson where Henry bucked me off (perhaps my emotional state contributed to this?  I’ll never know but it didn’t help to start my lesson off by almost crying about the Apollo drama). 
    *Deep breath.*  This was a really hard post for me to write because I'm still incredibly upset.  I want to do the grown up thing and have a conversation with RK, but I don't think I can do that without bursting into tears.  I'm not sure why I'm so emotional about it.  It was really hard for me to trust someone else with Apollo and I'm really angry at myself for doing that.  Thank you for reading this far into my random rambling upset post <3