Sunday, June 13, 2021

Gone West

 Gone West

Good news, is that it didn't stick and we didn't die. ;)

In this case, my husband and myself went to Southern Oregon and Northern California to spend time with my family and to do some of the touristy things.

The theme of the trip was rocks, trees, and water.

Sorry for the deluge of photos. Some of our favorite highlights included Crater Lake in Oregon, Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, Redwoods in Northern California, and various parts of the Rogue River near where my family lives.

Where are some of your favorite places to travel? Where should we go next to find some fun trees, rocks, and water? :)

Friday, June 11, 2021

Bucket List: Riding on a Beach

 Ever have some ridiculous bucket list items?

I certainly do. One of them is riding a horse on a beach. I blame The Black Stallion for that one. 

Well, at the end of May, I traveled back to Oregon and Northern California to visit family. I had mentioned to my dad that I wanted to ride on the beach and at one point and time, he drove past a stable on the beach in Oregon. He looked up the number and booked a ride for myself and my grandmother.

The horses were fairly well kept with equipment that seemed to be fitted. The manure was all picked up out of the holding areas and most of the horses had shade over their pens which was nice to see. There was a little gazebo and a restroom to use before the ride started and the staff went over everyone's riding experience and comfort level.

I was given this kind of rangey looking grey gelding named Renegade. He was a little impatient in the holding corral, but moved off of leg well enough and was responsive so that's not too bad for a hack horse.

We rode through the dunes at first, then headed out to the beach, where we were told as long as we headed North, we could spread out and not be nose to tail, so this was my view.

When everyone had arrived towards the end of this section of the beach, the staff helped people turn their horses around and then took the obligatory horse against the ocean photo.

I'm not photogenic, but apparently neither is Renegade

When we reversed and began heading home. Another horse ended up trying to kick a staff horse and was spinning in a circle who then bumped into Renegade who was startled into a crow hop. Nice to know the horses still are horses. ;)

The staff did let the horses trot back towards home and Renegade was not incredibly impressed with this plan as he was a gelding on a mission. At that point, I pretty much appreciated his tie down and asked him to settle down and walk because I think his only two speed options were angry prancing or run-back-home. The staff, unfortunately, were quite interested in talking to each other rather than managing a few other horses and rider related issues, but I was fine with dealing with Renegade and his problems. I just felt that enforcing his walk was going to be important to whomever had to ride him next time.

Regardless of some slight naughty behavior, I had a great time. The horses really handled themselves well as the wind was very brisk, it was quite chilly, and I hadn't realized how loud the ocean really was there.

How about you? Which horse related bucket list items have you accomplished?

Sunday, June 6, 2021

May Clinic


May has been somewhat of a busy month. While I keep hoping things will be simplified at work, they aren't quieting down. There are still significant supply shortages so I spend a number of hours each day trying to track down reagents, sort out ordering issues, and find alternatives to keep my laboratory trucking each day.

So, I'm late posting this, but it happens.

I had a chance to clinic with a well regarded "S" judge.

She was very patient with my somewhat feisty, red pony mare. She declared she knew how to speak chestnut mare. :)

One of my biggest takeways was committed to a decision once I made it. Once I made the decision to ask for the canter, to marry that decision, and to canter. Don't ask for canter, waffle on it, ask again, and waffle. It just irritates the horse.

Makes sense, but somehow I still manage to waffle.

One of my other takeways was how to approach and ride each part of a circle differently. She emphasized on how often horses will bulge out on the circle closest to the gate or exit and it's OK to have different aids or strength of aids depending where you are in the circle.

On the horse front, she did have me keep busy, which sounded very counterintuitive and difficult for me. I want to be a kind rider. However, my little red pony takes full advantage of that and either quits, inverts, or stops using her back. So "S" wanted me to go ahead and think about the strength of my aids. When she was being steady and quiet, think about being a 1 or 2 on a scale and when she was being looky or needed to be kept busy, to emphasize aids up on a 5 or 6 level. Not saying, she meant to be harsh on the horse, but in Chili's case, it ends up being more tug-of-war if I completely release rather than keep half-halting or keep her mind busy with soft hands and something to do rather than leaving her to her own devices.

So all in all, a good lesson, despite having to move inside halfway through as it started raining.

Our first schooling show of the season is next week so it will be a good barometer to see where we are at at and to gain more feedback.