The Highs and Lows of Temperatures and Horses

Hi again, it's been forever but we're still here, melting away in the Carolinas.

So melted I had to clip him three weeks ago. And he needs to be clipped again.

Since I last posted in July not too much has happened. With vacations, extreme heat, and a busy work schedule, Goose wasn't put in hard work again until September where it was still reaching satanic temperatures but I also signed up to go cross country schooling, so we did our best to get our asses in motion. Part of this was signing up for another lesson with Coti.

Here's a barndog picture of dirty Franny just because.

We hadn't lessoned since early July due to aforementioned summer happenings, plus trying to pay bills after being financially irresponsible investing in a puppy, new saddle, various travel activities, and furniture for my house this year. At this point I'd decided that if the stars aligned and they were schooling on a weekend I could actually go, I'd do it and that meant catching a lesson beforehand.

The lesson was great, one of those breakthrough lessons I really needed. This whole getting dark early thing sucks though, so we rode under the lights in the jump field which limited us to some flatwork. We spent the entire hour working on getting Goose to carry himself, lifting my inside rein straight in the air to try to get him to bend and I loved the result. I tend to overcompensate for Goose and do all the work for him so he doesn't carry his part of the bargain. With continued work over the past few weeks we've had a ton of improvement and I'm doing my best to correct some bad habits to continue progress.

My friend Jess helped me come up with a fitness plan for Goose to optimize the two weeks we had before schooling. As my disclaimer, I know there's not much fitness you can really build in two weeks, and the plan was NOT to run him off his feet before and during schooling. I really just wanted to make sure I made the most of the time I had and gave him the best chance to have a good day without extreme huffing and puffing as is our usual status. We stuck to the plan with only a few slight changes to fit my schedule, and by the time the weekend came around we felt ready.

Unfortunately as is so often the case, the horses had other ideas and Goose and I were unable to go. His trailer buddy was a little off, and since we were going all the way down to Aiken and the other trailers were full, we were staying home. No biggie, things happen, but now I'm really itching to get out there and jump things.

Lauren and I had a fun jump school the day we were supposed to go to Aiken. Goose was great and we had a fun gallop around the field catching a few fences.

When you both decide you like the long spot

The day after we jumped in the field I was able to catch another lesson with Coti since my schooling funds could be reallocated. This lesson felt much less successful though there was definitely progress made. I'd been practicing what we worked on the previous lesson in the big field where there's tons of space to make giant circles and do what I like to call drunk driving - basically changing direction and loop at will whenever he's hanging on a rein etc. He'd been fantastic at trot and was improving at the canter so I was a bit dismayed when we both struggled so much back in the jump field. I genuinely think Goose goes better in open spaces, not to use this as an excuse but to try to put my mind at ease on why we suddenly slid backwards so badly. I also think he was tired from jumping the day before, and I was certainly not riding my best. With a big horse like him, he does not bounce back as quickly as the lighter thoroughbreds and day to day he really feels it after a more strenuous ride. All in all this lesson pinpointed problem areas for me that I'm going to keep working on so the next time we're able to catch a lesson there will hopefully be even more improvement.

Too bad I just shipped my saddle to get the new panels put on which will take a few weeks. I'm planning to force myself to keep riding bareback, we'll see how much we actually get done and how much we just mosey around.

It's still way too hot here. Last week we had record highs for this time of year, and pretty much every day up until this past Saturday was in the high 90's, getting into the 100's in SC. Saturday the temperatures dropped significantly down into the 60's which was a welcome reprieve but really tough on the horses. Luckily no one seems out of sorts and I hope it stays that way. My parents were in town and since I was sans saddle and my dad had his nice camera with him, I hopped on Goose bareback and rode down to the pond with the dogs.

Also while parents are here we went to visit family in western NC. Let's just say I know where I'm moving next because we NEED a little cabin in the woods. 

The mini photoshoot was the perfect reminder of why I love my animals so much and why I work so hard with them. Franny did not move a muscle the entire time I asked her to stay. She did lay down when she got tired of sitting but for an eight month old puppy, I have zero complaints about her behavior. Goose is a champion at standing still, he pretty much ground ties and I'm known for leaving him unattended, fully tacked, in the middle of the field to go set jumps. He doesn't move a muscle and if I loop the reins over the back pad he can't put his head down to graze, and still stands like a statue. Such a good boy.

I pulled his bareback pad and bridle off and tossed them to the side. He stood in front of the pond grazing without walking while I got the dogs situated. Zuzu is the middle child and definitely doesn't enjoy the shenanigans but sat and stayed when asked... until she got bored and we had to reset. We ended up with some really sweet pictures, not bad for an amateur photographer and a couple of goofball animals! These pictures make me so happy and I can't wait to print and hang them on my wall. They are the perfect reminders of why I do what I do - these three are a culmination of entirely too many hours of training and work to pay the bills, and I regret none of it.

This one is going on the wall <3 

I also love this one and plan to do another mini photoshoot at some point so we can avoid getting the pool noodles in the picture and go to a spot the grass isn't so long. I still love this so much, three perfectly imperfect creatures.

Life is busy and I'm finding it harder and harder to find the time to write, though I do find myself missing it more and more. I'm hoping to do a couple updates soon, including a melanoma update (spoiler, it will be boring which hopefully is a good thing) and see if I can't get back into the swing of this whole blogging thing.

For those of you interested, one of my best friends, Jess, is diving back into the world of Pine Hollow and I'm tagging along for the ride. She's re-reading every Saddle Club book and writing about it at The Saddle Club Revisited, and I'm sharing guest posts when I can find the time and right prompt. This is a really fun project and I encourage you to come along if you're so inclined! Want to contribute to the blog? You don't have to write about a book, but any Saddle Club related experience you've had is welcome even if it's about your first lesson, trail ride, fun horse adventure, seriously we'd love to chat and have you contribute. Email us at thesaddleclubrevisited@gmail.com and hop on board!

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