Wednesday, December 6, 2017

The one where we jump a straw bale.

So last night, despite the crappy weather, I headed off to the barn. I was really in a riding mood which was good because it was cold and super windy out. Yuck. And I wanted to put Moon's hood on so he'd be cozy in this cold weather.

SL was at the barn doing training rides, so I wasn't riding solo like usual. I focused on dressage because no surprise, I really am not confident enough in my jumping to do it with an audience. Okay, that's not true. I've jumped in front of a whole arena full of people at larger shows, I've jumped with strangers on a cross country course last summer, I've gone to smaller shows and jumped then too.

I guess it's more about the audience being the resident coach, that doesn't coach me. And doesn't really know how I ride, or how my horse rides, or the ins and outs of us.

When riding I find that everything else tends to fall away. Except yesterday every so often I'd come back to myself and realize Moon was going around with his classic evil rabbit face. Or would be tilting his head. Or would be stiff. Or I'd be stiff. Or my downward would be bouncy. And all kinds of things I'd critique myself for. And more so because I felt like while they're just a part of us, and something we work on, others could easily see them as heavy hands or Moon being uncomfortable or insensitive or who knows what else.

I am really proud of him. And we did a lovely job on our walk-trot transitions and, lots of bending. I even did the whole thing without stirrups, which really should make me feel proud and think that SL wouldn't judge too harshly of a bouncy downward from Canter to Trot when stirrupless. But I'm hard on myself like that.

My legs were BURNING by the time SL was done her ride and heading into the barn. I stayed back because I *really* wanted to try jumping over the strawbales she had set up in the ring. They were just one bale wide, with a single stride between. Ooo!

The first time Moon was totally confused about what I was asking and it was awkward. The second time, he flew through beautifully, even with me stirrupless. So proud and so much fun. I even announced that to SL when I went back in.

I also asked if I could put my jumping saddle on my tack box, because I currently have one of the highest saddle stands (it's well over my head), and I can't even reach up high enough to add a second saddle to the stack. My shoulder has been bugging me again (old quad injury), and I was having a lot of pain and discomfort trying to get it up there. And I ride in both saddles very regularly. She wasn't really happy about it, but I told her if anyone complains I'll keep it in my car then. Because I can't lift it that high.

Anyway, it was a really wonderful ride. I grumbled a bit going out, but I just knew I needed to. And I wound up in the saddle for over an hour, I was happy and smiling and feeling good. Sometimes, it's just the dragging yourself out that's the hard part.

Sunday, December 3, 2017

The Shave.

So I've been managing my 3 rides a week, just sometimes forgetting to find the time to post about them. Last week on Thursday L the Farrier came out and trimmed Moon. He was...perfect. I mean, it was early evening, the barn was BUSTLING, and he was just perfect the whole trim. Even L commented on how perfectly behaved he was.

He's been fabulous at my place for the two summers he's been there, but just a total skitz at H's. We've been trying to understand what makes him so different, and I have a long list.

1. He was boss gelding at H's, and felt he needed to still keep everyone in line. At my place he's alone, and at the new place, RR, he's not at the top as far as I can tell. He's maybe the 2nd or 3rd gelding down out of 5.

2. He needs to "own" the mares. At H's, he had a healthy little pack of mares, that he didn't like to be separated from unless we were riding. They'd often be tied at the rail and I'd be taking him away. That said, at RR, he's got 2 mares and had no issue for trimming.

3. He's worked more at home and RR. At H's over the winters, I'd ride a lot less, and in the last couple of spring/summers he's been there, I wasn't riding as much either. I don't recall him being such an issue way back when when I was showing tbh. At RR, I'm riding a good 3 days a week and he's being worked until he's sweating. L even commented on what a lovely topline he's grown, so I know I must be working him well!

4. Less movement during trims. At H's, people are adding and removing horses from the tie line as we trim. Standing with his mare, then having her put back in the field, while he's being trimmed, I could see as getting Moon worked up. I never tested this theory since my horse not behaving is my problem, not the owner of another horse's problem. But at RR, the other horses in the barn were either not from his paddock, or they were but tied next to him and stayed there the entire trim. The one that did leave for the ring, he started calling for and got a bit worked up, but the trim was over at that time.

So I personally think it's #4 tied to #3. He's worked more so he's got a little less spunk and a little more aware who's boss, that he's less worked up when his friends leave his side. That simple.

Anyway, super thrilled to hear about his topline and with how well he was behaving. There was another girl tied behind Moon, with her beautiful mare Arty. Stunning black, long legged beauty that reminded me so much of E from Coach W's. Who used to love Moon. No surprise, J, the owner of Arty, informed me that Moon and Arty were a couple, following Moon breaking up with Hazel. Well, well. That's my pony.

I think J and her horse are fabulous. I seriously would love to ride every Thursday evening with her. She's just friendly and inviting and easy going.

She was all done riding when Moon and I got in the ring, but we were with a big brown horse and a big grey horse. I mean big. Holy do I have a little pony lol. I always have a moment of "Wow, those are some pro horses", but I could see that Moon was something special. All horses have their strengths and weaknesses, and for all the others were big and tall and probably far more expensive, Moon was passionate and mine, and wonderful. Probably helped that J was complimenting him like crazy ;)

We did a bunch of flatwork, and even did some cantering with all those other people in the ring! :o In both directions! And managed not once to almost crash into anyone! Moon was a little excited to start, but I kept him moving and he had some pretty moments. And a couple of buck and squeals when we went into our first 2 canters, but I love that. Makes me feel like I can ride.

We cooled out, and enjoyed listening to SL teach J about jumping. Bascules and take-off points and wonderful things like that. Always fun when you get a bonus lesson at the end of your ride.

Everyone was really awesome and it was a great ride. I was proud that we did so well with so many people around. I even shaved a bit of Moon's hair off in a "bib" cut, to help him cool off easier.

We were back at the barn Saturday night. I was tired, and the weather was very warm, but we were all alone and there were jumps out. So we worked a bit on our combinations and gymnastic jumping. I have to work on getting my distances right, but Moon did a cavelletti to a vertical to a narrow x-rail beautifully. I love that pony.

And I sold my old Blackburn saddle :D It's off to a new home with a girl up north, and I have been loving my new wintec. Can't complain at all.

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Fear and Flying.

I love riding. With a passion. And part of that love, comes with fear. Perhaps that is a part of every great love. The fear of loss. The fear of injury. The fear of getting hurt. It sits there, damp and heavy on the back of our minds, weighing on our soul.

I find myself struggling a bit with this, this morning. Let me back track...

On Monday I took my new saddle to the barn, and got ready to ride. My tack all has a home now, though I can't find a few things. Will have to look tonight when I have more time. Anyway, Monday night's kid crew was in with their moms, finishing up their lesson. I REALLY like the Monday crew. The kids are typical, young, horse crazy kids. Like will dawdle for hours with their horses, they adore Moon, ask lots of questions and just have horse obsessed. I'm not even sure they all own their horses, but they love them to bits. Their moms are equally laid back. Just a couple of moms of horse crazy kids, hanging at the barn. Like spot on. What I hope to find as mates when when B is ready to ride.

Pretty new jumping saddle!

There was already a small jump course set up for them, and with the new saddle, I just HAD to jump. I tacked Mr. Moon up and off into the arena we went. He of course pooped JUST outside the door, but Stellar Mom #1 cleaned it for me. Like I said, I love this group.

Little jump course. 

We warmed up in the arena, and I could tell he was feeling his oats. I hadn't been out in a week thanks to a road trip to the USA over Thanksgiving weekend and he needs to be ridden regularly.

I also think he LOVES jumping and gets pretty excited.

I took him around the course, at least 5 or 6 times. We took breaks in between, and we worked on not rushing and just riding nicely beside the jumps, but we did jump lots.


I looked at one jump in the line. Moon had been pretty much clear every time as long as I stayed off his face, and I was feeling very comfortable in the new saddle. Hmmmm...

I raised it. I walked up to the second jump in the line and raised it. To 3'. That's as long as Moon's legs. It's higher than I have ever jumped on him. And I've only jumped 3' once in my life and it was during a make-up lesson at a fancy barn. I was riding with a higher group and I'm not sure the coach realized I'd never been up that high. But I just went and did it anyway. And loved it. And kinda freaked out too.

Whoops! Almost missed it!
I stared at it. I want to try cross country again. I want to keep jumping. I want to get better at it. I want to see what Moon can actually do. Life is fleeting. Life is short.

My heart raced. I got back on. I trotted a warm up. Then I started the series. Two nice 2'3" jumps with 4 strides between. Around the corner. 2'3" and then we're striding...he's wavering off a little to the side, and I know he's second guessing it. Like "Do you REALLY want me to jump that?? Maybe you mean for me to just go around over here...."

Thinking about going around...

But I stayed it. I asked him to go over, kept him aligned with the jump...

My heart skipped. It pounded in my chest. My pulse raced. Nerves shot through my body like crazy. But I stayed it.

And we sailed over.

Clearing 3' like a pro. 

They say 3' is the point in which a horse actually has to jump, and you can feel it. His huge muscles balling up under him, and the driving force of those hind legs as they propel him over. It was...incredible.

We landed on the other side and I yelled a huge "F*cking ya!!!" which if you know me, is out of character lol. I'm not much of a swearer, but that was incredible. Moon is 14'2hh and not a big horse. But lord he sails over jumps.

Tons of praise and we went around one more time. Because....I just wanted to. I had pushed every bit of fear down deep into me, focusing instead on the wonder and awesomeness of pushing us to that point.

As high as his legs are long. 

We rode straight to the jump line again, and up and over. Not saying it was perfect, and we have LOTS of work to do on form and such, but it felt amazing.


When wonder overwhelms fear, you get to do amazing things.

But all of it, comes with risk, and anxiety and the unknown. A friend-of-a-friend, an old school mate, got some bad news after a bad riding accident, and I heard about it this morning. And it makes you pause, makes that fear you pushed down come rushing back. What if it was my bad accident next? What if I got seriously hurt? Would it all be worth it? Would I regret my choices? Should I play it safe, go slow, stay low? Is riding too dangerous?

Leave them in your dust. 
My girlfriend's daughter ended up in the hospital this summer after a horse accident. I know it scared the shit out of her. Again, you wonder if it's worth it. Should I shelter my girl? Should I keep her from the things that can hurt? That can hurt her, and can hurt me? Is it worth the risk? The fear, it mounts. It plays. It weighs heavy again. It comes out from where we pushed it away for those fleeting moments of wonder and triumph.

Life is for living. You can wake up at any moment, from any thing, whether you're scared of it or not, and find chaos. Find sadness. Find pain. It is the counterpart to love. And we can't shy away from love because of pain; we can't shy away from greatness because of fear.

I'll do it all again. Because the highs, are worth the lows.

Wow. For us, just Wow. 

Monday, November 20, 2017


So I didn't post anything from my last ride, but I went out Sunday and did some dressage work. No pictures, as it seemed absolutely freezing. Not sure why because it said -6C when I checked, but it sure felt the coldest yet. Maybe the way the wind was blowing or something.

Really pretty uneventful. I think Moon is starting to get softer and more in contact again, which makes me happy. It's a slow process, but I like that we keep working on it. Man, being freezing cold though sure doesn't help you ride soft and loose :P

So I heard someone yelling outside the arena when I had been riding about 45 minutes and was just cooling Moon out anyway. So I decided to dismount before he got too worked up and sweaty. Inside the barn, a gal and her mom were moving a horse in, and she stopped to tell me that she was just "blocking me so I couldn't leave yet" but "would be out of the way soon". I told her not to worry, I still had to untack and groom still anyway. Which I at that point didn't even realize she meant she had parked her 3 horse trailer and truck directly behind my car, and I guess her mom had parked her car on the other side of mine, blocking me into the corner of the barn parking lot.

I guess everyone was on their way back from the big horseshow 3 hours away.

Well...I untacked, groomed, put my gear away, blanketed my horse, adjusted his blanket straps, put my horse away (in his far far away paddock), swept the barn aisle, picked poo in the arena...and they were still blocking me in. It was just a 3 horse trailer and I had seen them leading the horses out when I was walking Moon out...

So I found my old AP saddle which someone is interested in buying, and removed my stirrups from it since I wasn't selling them. Looked in my bin for the small gullet plate the buyer wanted. Restacked my stuff...

Huh. They were bringing some gear in around me during all of this. Saddles back on racks, hay nets back to the hay pile. Decorations in bins.

I'm an introvert and they were talking in French around me since the initial "We're blocking you" conversation, so I figured I'd just go out to my car and they'd clue in and let me out. It had been a good 15-20 minutes at this point so surely they were almost done and "soon" was about now.

I sat in my car. I turned it on bc it was cold. Taillights lighting up the back of their trailer, my headlights streaming into the darkness. Turns out they unloaded their shavings beside me too. Could *almost* squeak by, but wasn't worth risking it. If the car wasn't there I would definitely be out.

Waited a bit longer. They took out their water pails. Some halters. More shavings. In the barn they went. Out the barn they went. They stood a bit having a discussion.

I seriously went from "No worries" to "WTF! No worries meant I thought you could get this done in 15 minutes!"

Finally they appeared to clue in that I was sitting there in my running car and it was 9:40 on a Sunday night. LET ME GO HOME. The fellow went in and out and finally got in the truck and moved the trailer. I threw my car in reverse and hurried out of there. Because where there's one trailer coming back...there was 11 more based on what the BM told me on Thursday! And I was *not* getting trapped in there all night long!

Sure enough, by the time I got onto the road, there were 3 more trailers headed in. Close call!

But seriously? I understand that there's gear you don't want left in your trailer all night. But if you've blocked someone's vehicle in, why wouldn't you just place your gear outside the trailer, move the trailer, and then sort and organize it into the barn and various locations it needs to go? Or leave the hay nets and shavings and buckets for another day (the stalls have auto waterers). It really kinda felt like I didn't matter, and they couldn't be bothered by the fact they had boxed me in, and while I was kind and patient for a reasonable amount of time, they had now exceeded that time. It was my Sunday too, and while I appreciate they've been off showing all weekend, there's no warning to me that I needed to be gone by X time. The barn had plenty of space even to park so not to block me, but the whole rest of the group had parked in such a way that it wasn't an option. I just...sometimes I don't get people. Or society now of days. No one should sit boxed in their car, while you stand in the barn doorway having a discussion.

That is my rant. And if you're someone like this and you read this, PLEASE. We're all tired. We're all sore. We all just want to go home at the end of the night.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Sweat it Off

So I missed my Wednesday ride because I had an exhausting, late day at work, a meeting that ran over, and a blazing headache. I just wanted to sit on my chair, under a blanket, glass of wine in hand, doing nothing. So I did.

I had a moment of guilt because I wasn't following my big plan after spending all this money on a fancy indoor arena, but too bad. Thankfully despite a rather crappy Thursday, I was ready for barn time. Probably because I went to bed at 8:30 the night before, and after crying in front of my boss (it's like the 30th time so hardly a big deal anymore), I just needed to turn my head off and ride my horse.

The wind was INSANE and blowing like the devil. There's apparently a show going on this weekend ( know me, always asking questions), so a bunch of kiddos were at the barn with their folks getting ready. Trimming manes, and cleaning tack and filling trunks. I kinda loved it. I've already noticed there's two groups; the folks who proclaimed my horse "sturdy" and stood about with their 17hh beasts in their nice jackets and shoes, and then those that exclaim Moon is just the cutest pony while wearing their knit toques and joking about how much iced coffee they should have. Those moms and kids of the latter, I just gravitate to. They're what I want to someday be. Rolling my eyes at my kid while I head to Tims to grab a coffee while they spend another 30 minutes perfecting their horse's hairdo. Their horses aren't fancy or huge or expensive, but many are they loved. And their kiddos just, love horses. It's just that simple.

Yeah, my arms are like wings. But man am I happy. 

Anyway, the kids went about their business and Moon and I headed into the ring. I spent a good 15 minutes stuck in my head, wavering between "Are the kids watching and judging me?" and "Omg, that work meeting, what about, and who about, and what next", before I finally got irritated with myself. I half shut my eyes, in this loud arena with the wind making all the steel panels shake and odd noises float by, and I asked Moon to trot. I sat that trot and just felt it. I felt my body loosen. I told myself to let my hands become disembodied. To let me legs fall. My shoulders relax. I willed myself slowly into this almost trance, where I simply moved with Moon.

And it worked. Everything drifted away until I knew nothing more than the movement of the horse beneath me. Around and around we went, and I sunk so deep and wholly into that movement.

Finally we both felt more relaxed and content.

I knew it was a dressage day. We should work on flexing and softness and being supple. I know. But there was a jump course up thanks to the big show everyone was heading to and...well...I wanted to. Jumping is just that freedom for me.

So I did. Heck, I did in my dressage saddle and I really don't care if that was wrong. We whipped through that course over and over and it was wonderful. We knocked down one pole and I know we could have gone higher, but we just went. And it felt amazing.

When we finished, we were both sweaty. Like Moon was dripping. I'm seriously thinking about shaving him so that he's not so hot. It took FOREVER to cool him off. Many laps around the arena, then inside with a cooler, rubbed down, brushed, rubbed again and so on. It was a good 45 minutes to cool him off.

But I took some pictures of my old AP saddle to try to sell to cover the cost of my new CC saddle, and just messed around. Spoke with SL's husband a bit about the mascot goat and finally deemed Moon dry enough to go back. Man were his guts unhappy though. They swapped to 2nd cut hay and he was pooping like crazy. And SOFT. Ugh.

Anyway, it wasn't a learning experience, it wasn't a technical moment. But it was a hell of a lot of fun to just charge around the ring jumping crap like it's nobody's business. Man I felt refreshed when I got home <3

Doing a "combo"!

Monday, November 13, 2017


Oh I'm loving having an indoor.


Sunday I headed off to the barn and it was FABULOUS. The weather had warmed (not enough to melt the snow, but it certainly was an improvement), and my DH bought me a swanky new flashlight. I mean it's SUPER bright, you can adjust the beam, dim it, has a belt clip, everything a barn girl needs.

Had no problems finding Moon from half-way across the paddock with the thing, and into the barn we went. It was later than I'd been going lately, but once again the place was all mine. Mmmmm....

Moon's blanket was perfectly intact, so I'm thinking everyone is settled in finally.

I decided it was time for some jumping. Moon has become so relaxed and easy going in the arena and barn already, that it felt appropriate. He would still call a time or two our last couple of rides, but his head was in the game. Now thinking back, he didn't actually call out once during our Sunday ride! :D

Right under the Canada flag!

I pulled out two sets of standards and 4 poles. Insert lazy person claiming to be "training" and I grabbed a set of narrow poles (5') and a set a little wider (7'). One low vertical on the straight away, and one higher one across the diagonal. Next time I'll do some proper gymnastic jumping and think about strides and pace and all of that jazz, but this time it was late, and I just wanted to do it. I've always been one to over think my riding, and bounce between being too anxious to just do it, and feeling like I'm "not allowed" even though it's my own horse and I'm an adult. Figure that one out. He's probably not going to end up ruined because I threw us over some verticals, and no one can give me shit. So to hell with it. I was jumping.


We warmed up and then started.

Let me say, that it felt so good. Moon was ears perked, happy and energetic. I really think it's something he enjoys doing and finds a fun challenge. Dressage might be therapy but jumping is a treat.

Up up and away!

The highest vertical we did was about our "usual" max, and one that I've always felt pretty anxious heading towards. By the end of our ride?? I was just jumping it and enjoying. Yes, I was often ahead of the jump. Yes, often my toes tipped down, but I was noticing when it happened. My release was good and soft, my hands were steady and following.

Little vertical

When he weaved a little coming up to the jump I could keep him neatly between my legs and direct him straight. I never bashed him in the mouth, and I stayed on well. Heck, he even chipped in once and I stayed right with him for a massive jump.

It felt so good. To just tackle it and not stress about the whole thing. Makes me think about how kids must feel when they're 14 and have a horse and are just charging around the arena, doing crazy things to their hearts content. Maybe that's why I love this so much; it's like all the adulting just fades away for a bit.

Love his bascule in this one!

Actually, I'm sure that's it. More and more I realize that this time is my selfish me time, and I love it. I feel refreshed when I'm done for the night, I sleep like a log, I dream about ponies, and I can't wait to tackle another goal. Sometimes I think "Gawd, we're spending a LOT of money so I can ride around an arena all winter", and then I realize it's money well spent.

Better body position on this one.

Anyway, around and around and over things we went. It was awesome.

And then Moon was sweaty so I untacked him. I made the two jumps into a jump shoot and ran him through twice just to see :) And like a pro he did it all. The entire ride he didn't refuse a single jump for me. Gawd I love that boy!

Free Jump

Then I cleaned up everything, put the jumps away, walked Moon till he was almost dry, put a cooler on him and brushed him out. Back out to his paddock in his blanket he went!

And me, I drove home, just thrilled.

Moon snuggles the barn cat <3

:D Once a week we're gonna jump. Just for the thrill of it.

My beautiful boy <3 Look at that soft eye <3

Thursday, November 9, 2017


Ah barn night! Despite being up half the night with a cranky toddler (the wonderful husband (DH) actually got up with her...I just couldn't sleep because I knew she couldn't sleep, so I laid there in bed. Which DH the next morning pointed out that I might as well have been up with her while he sleeps, since he knew I wouldn't be sleeping when she wasn't anyway. But he knows I don't like his logic ;)

Anyway, dragged myself off to the barn once the kiddo was in bed, which got me there a little later than the recent days. Moon had dragged his girlfriend off to the furthest reaches of their pasture. I had thought the treeline was the end...but no. It carried on from there, and the two of them were pawing snow and eating the grass underneath. Okay.

Drag my boy up the hill and of course, all the horses except the twins follow us. And a big black beast decides he needs to bite the ass of my horse RIGHT when I'm opening the gate. Moon pulls away, the lead rope drags through my hand and I manage to flip a nail over backwards. Le ger.

Of course, I've been wrangling barn ponies for years now, and let out a loud "HEEEEYYYYY!!" in my deepest mom-voice, chastising the bad behaviour and vocally ensuring that I will not tolerate being run over.

Right as a random fellow and SL are coming down the path to another horse pasture. SL calls out to see if I'm okay, which of course I am. Random fellow seems to give me a raised eyebrow as I lead my horse past, grumbling about the burrs that are now stuck to my mittens and my sore finger and misbehaving ponies with horrible timing.

Into the barn and start unblanketing, happy to see Moon's rain sheet only suffered a small tear in the tail flap.

Then over comes random fellow, to announce that my horse has the "perfect" feet, to explain whatever it is he's explaining to SL.

"I'm not sure you say perfect like it's a good thing, or perfect like you're about to declare how perfectly imperfectly they are..." I retort to the fellow.

He lifts Moon's foot and proceeds to explain that at a recent seminar "they" had been discussing long toes and proper angles, and that properly trimmed, he would nip the hoof back to "this point", which was the little ridge behind the white line. Pretty well my thumb in the below picture.

Strange Fellow's suggested point of "trim"
He states that this will improve the angle of the hoof so it better matches the shoulder, because it forces the hoof to become more upright and natural. The toe will automatically shorten and the heel will come up.

While he's standing there holding Moon's hoof, Moon is shaking it every so often. Like "Who is this man, why is he doing this?" And he almost seemed to hold the leg...differently. When I hold Moon, my shoulder is touching his shoulder, my right arm is wrapping his leg and supporting it. This fellow seemed to more hold the hoof, and just the hoof. I could feel Moon feeling "unsupported", like if someone was holding your foot up by a toe, when you're used to them holding your foot up by your leg.

He proceeded to chastise Mr. Moon repeatedly about how he should stand still and to "stop that" with the shaking his hoof.

It was one of the those moments where you lean back half in bemusement, half in eye rolling irritation like "Kindly put my horse's hoof down and go spout your pseudo-farrierism somewhere else."

I'm getting less patient in my old age.

Mr. Moon, hanging out in the corner of the arena. 

He eventually moved on, namely because SL noticed the huge pool of blood on Moon's hind leg, dripping onto the floor and dying his white coronet band bright red. The fellow hurried over to run a hand down the leg, but I already knew it was just a little scratch that I guess with the cool temps stayed brighter red then normal. No biggie. Apparently Moon had done some mud bogging bc his back legs were covered in mud too. SL agreed it was just a superficial scratch and no harm. No swelling and it seemed to have scabbed over already nicely.

That freed me to carry on with my tacking and before long I had the barn to myself again. Oh thankfully! Sometimes I think I should ride more during the daylight, but man I love an empty barn to myself <3 I think this is sometimes an introverts dream. And I totally understand those people who build massive arenas and 4 stall barns and don't let anyone else in! I totally would. Just a few close friends and that's it!

We warmed up and started the "usual". Lots of working on bending and softening and reaching into the bit. You know what?? I think Moon did really well. To the right he had moments of beautiful that almost felt like they were 50% of the way to where we were when we quit lessons. To the left I'd say it's more like 20%, but I had a few moments of success and that made me over the moon!

Hard to see, but he's moving more and more with his head lower, his neck reaching. I even feel like you can see a bit of an "arching" to his neck, without his nose going behind the vertical. 

Considering it was the 3rd ride, I feel like that's awesome. I want to try to start adding more lateral work in again, but I feel like I need to rebuild a certain level of softness and flexion before I ask. Like he needs the opportunity to grow those muscles again that are needed to do it.

After a bit of canter work and a cool down, I couldn't help myself. There was still a little x-rail and a vertical set up (which saddle was out of my video capture!), and a huge perk of an indoor is jumping! Yes, we were in our dressage saddle, but I wanted to, so I did. And Moon's little ears just perked right up and he energetically headed towards the jumps. The x-rail he eventually just cantered over, but I got some cute little jumps from the vertical. Man do we love jumping!

Woohooo!! :D 

He was a bit damp by the time we were done, so I walked him out and then scooped poop while he followed me around. The barn was still quiet and empty when we went back in, so I threw his cooler on and puttered about for awhile. I had sewn up his winter blanket Tuesday night, and while the job isn't stellar, it's workable. The poor DH had to flee downstairs because of the "rich" barn smells the emanated from that old blanket lol.

An "acceptable" patch to Mr. Moon's blanket

Once cooled I re-dressed him and put him back out in the field. Already it was 9:30pm and I was tired, but happy. Really happy. No matter what, an evening at the barn just refreshes me.

I can't wait until Saturday when I get to do it again!! And with just 2 weeks until Black Friday and my saddle somewhere on the road between Washington State and North Dakota, it won't be long before I'm soaring over jumps. I was thinking lots about my Blackburn, and I suspect it might be part of my issues with toes down jumping this past summer. With my long legs and the position of the stirrup bars, I feel like it really moves my legs ahead of me. Even in my dressage saddle yesterday I felt like my heels stayed down nicely and felt nice and secure. Just to be sure, I did a good 10 minutes of 2-point work, and aim to do lots more!

We <3 Jumping.