Monday, February 28, 2011

Free Ride...and art and University...

Had a free ride yesterday and got to go alone! Hooray! Another positive, it was almost warm out! You could actually be outside in just a hoody, since it was only -3!
The big scary insulation was gone, so he didn't have to worry about that, but at the canter he still tried cutting of that end of the arena.

Did some work on transitions, but not much, since it makes him ridiculously sweaty. Please hurry spring. He did well, but I keep forgetting to keep leg on so he'll sometimes go right to a walk instead of a trot or a complete halt instead of a walk. Still, they were all good, but not what I wanted. Also did pretty well at keeping my lower leg farther back, but couldn't seem to keep my ankles as still as I should have.

His turn-on-the-haunches are improving. Again only did a couple because he sweats a lot, but he did okay. He'll try to walk forward as he turns, but after getting him to stop completely he did really well for the second half.
Turns-on-the-forehand still require a lot of work. He shuffles to the side and steps forward, but he does better than Diesel used too!

Since Tommy is finally starting to shed heavily, I'm hoping spring is on the way! I like winter, the snow is nice and I don't mind to cold. But if it goes below -25 or so and it's windy...not a fan.

On the non-horsey side, I've finally found some inspiration! Thank god, it's the greatest feeling. I hate art block, it's sooo annoying and difficult to break through. My friend AS is also an artist, so we talk a lot about what we're working on and try to motivate each other when we can't find something to work on. However we have vastly different styles. Hers is very computer based, or anime and 2D designs, mine is a lot more 3D and realism, so even her suggested don't always do the trick. Mostly she suggests 2D designs, but they do nothing, so that sucks.

But finally found something today!! Whilst creeping through horse related blogs, I found several about riding side saddle, the photos on the people blogs were beautiful, and I figured it would make a great project. AS gave me a large chunk of illustration board (really thick cardboard like paper that is great for water colors). So I'm very excited to start and add something new to my portfolio! I only have a few months until graduation and my art teacher offered to help me build a portfolio but I'm running out of time and it gets wasted with this stupid art block. So it's time to get a move on. But the paper is expensive, so going to have to do a lot of rough drafts before hand.

 A somewhat different kind of inspiration. I'm going to university next year to study counseling psychology through the Faculty of Arts. I've been granted conditional acceptance, and have already declared my major in Psychology and a minor in Women's Studies. If I really do change my mind, I can get out of them and do something else. And sometimes I wonder if I'm picking the right course and making the right decisions. Of course there's a million paths not just becoming a psychologist, but whatever.
Lately I have been wondering about that, and if this is the right way to go.
After the news tonight there was an episode of 16:9, their topic was eating disorders and the treatments available in Canada. The stores are heartbreaking, and it's reminded me this is what I want to do. These are the people I want to help! People who suffer from eating disorders and self harm. I've seen friends suffer from eating disorders and know at least one girl that has left school because of one. SH is something I know first hand, it's scary as hell. And I'm not going to talk about on here. Needless to say, it has made me want to help others how suffer from it, to give them hope and help them find better ways of dealing.
Back to the show, it showed a lot of the field I will hopefully be working in.
Now America, for the most part your health care system annoys me, and so does your attitude towards it. No offense, but that's how I feel about. I don't care a hell of a lot, it's your country and my opinion is irrelevant about it. However, there is one thing I truly love (mostly) about your treatment of ED's. You have Residential Care Facilities. Where patients can go and live in a home-like setting. It's less stressful and and highly successfully. At least compared to what we have. Patients here either don't get treatment, because throwing up 15-20 times a day somehow doesn't let you qualify for community center treatment (they didn't elaborate on what that was). Those who do get treatment, can end of being hospitalized, where they aren't really treated, just barely kept alive. Sure, some people will get healthy, many will not. They get sicker, hardened and lose even more hope. It's like we're in the 70's still.
Some are lucky. They go to America and go to RCF's, where they are thrive and get healthy again. Not that it ever really goes away, but you know what I mean. However, the treatment can cost $80,000...or more undoubtedly, sometimes the provinces will pay for treatment, but still loads have to pay their own way. Placing terrible financial burdens on their families.
There are no RCF's in Canada. Until March 1st anyway. The very first RCF will be opening in B.C., its 20 bed facility, costing $400 per day (apparently cheaper than many of the ones in America). They already have a massive waiting list, not surprisingly. The show also shared some disgusting statistics, levels of ED's are on the rise here, in men, women, and children. Yeah, there are kids as young as 6 and 7 being admitted to hospital because they suffer from an eating disorder. In 4-6 years I hope there are a lot more RCFs here. That is where I want to work, not a hospital where the patients feel scared and trapt with few options for treatment. But I don't want to go to America to work in one. I want to help the Canadian kids (and adults) that need help and hope. Of coarse I may have to work in a hospital, and if I can help people there, great that's what I want. But RCF's are soooo much better and with more of those, it would be great. So many more could be helped. The governments attention needs to be brought to this, and hopefully the one in BC will do that, if the federal and/or provincial governments could subsides them and make treatment more affordable. Unfortunately that can mean a bit of lack in quality sometimes, so it needs to be a combination of private funding and government help. Anyway that's enough of that rambling, got a bit longer than I meant it too.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Jumping Blind

It was part of our jumping lesson yesterday. To stay in the two-point over the line, and keep our eyes closed. It was actually a lot of fun, not sure what the point of closing our eyes was, but it was awesome! I think part of it was we were supposed to be working on our position and not trying to correct the horse, but go with what he was doing.

A big thing I need to work on is keeping my lower leg still and back, I usually find myself riding with it to far forward at the girth. Defiantly noticed so big improvements when I had my leg back, he would respond to more subtle ques, not surprising since he could actually feel my leg when the girth isn't in the way. Did some work on transitions, but not the quite as much as we did last Thursday, he still did really well. =)

Had some problems with him being rather terrified of the sun and a bundle of insulation covered with an old blanket. It was one the other side of the railings on the stands, and the way the sun came through the door in the barn was very distracting to him. If it hadn't been so cold I would have got him to spend more time at the end where the insulation is so he could see it and get used to it and calm down. Sadly it was waaay to cold for him to get sweaty, so we had to cut of the home end of the arena for the most part. I hate cutting of ends of the arena and letting him think it's okay to cut them off because he starts to think it's okay.

Hooray! Extra free ride this week, so I get to see him tomorrow, unfortuantly it might be with L, which sucks, because time means nothing to her so she takes forever to do anything. Then, she gets really loud when she's talking and kind of shrill. It gives me a headache and I don't want to be rude, but want to tell her to shut up.

I'm way to lazy to keep referring to people as this friend, that friend, my trainer etc. so this is the "glossary" of their initials.

L-my 'gym buddy', and crazy friend who just moved to the same barn as me in September
N-my original riding buddy
A-my bestest friend
AS-other friend, and only friend who is also into art =)
LW-personal trainer
R-another friend
RM-second personal trainer while LW is on holiday
K-horse trainer, barn owner, coach etc (B.O, I've seen on other horse blogs and am assuming means Barn Owner)
S-friend and a big social nerd, like me =)
KA-another friend, don't see very often anymore, but some drama is starting, so she may show up
AC-crazy aunt, nice, but is a huge know-it-all and diets all the time, setting a terrible example for her daughter
M-one of my three older cousins, went to the Uni I'm going to next year
AK-another aunt with artistic skill I'm beyond jealous of

and that's all I can think of for now.

Thursday, February 17, 2011


We worked on transitions today, but not a whole lot and we had a lot of long walk breaks since it's so damn cold again.
But it was great! He did AMAZING!! I'm so proud of him, he did brilliant for both the downward and upward transitions. Usually he likes to leap into the canter or rush it from the trot, but he picked it up really well with no rushing and only one big stupid leap. Turns out I've been riding with my leg to far forward which is part of the problem, but once I was riding where it was supposed to be, he was great. The trainer was saying that horses can be nervous if they can't feel your leg and don't know when they are going to be asked to do something. Which I suppose makes sense. The downward transitions, were for the most part much smoother than they have been. Concentrated a lot on what I was doing and that really helped, sitting forward, shoulders back and lifting hands, it seemed to work miracles! Well not miracles, but we had dramatic improvement.

As for the jumping part, we only did smallish jumps, but they were really challenging because I had my stirrups tied with twine to the girth. It was so weird, the most ridiculous sensation ever. It made jumping rather challenging, not sure why, because my feet and legs should have been relatively still and not effected by the twine, but I found it hard to balance after the jump and had to use my hands on his neck to balance.

I don't remember much about the Sunday ride. I meant to write about, but my poor dogs been really sick, so I've been a bit stressed with her, but we gave her pepto-bismol the other day because apparently you can give it to them. So she's done a lot a better these last few days, thank god.
This is me and her last winter sometime.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Jumping and Ramblings

Yesterdays lesson actually went really well, and it would have been great if I hadn't been so tired and was actually able to pay attention.

Mostly just messed up on serpentines' and stuff because I'd forget how many loops we were doing or whether we were starting from C or A. We had one really good serpentine at the beginning, got the bend and balanced back over the center line, but after that not so much. As my trainer said "you seem a bit looser than usual today." I knew something felt off, and I guess it was that, and of course she was right. To much movement in the foot, hands were to lose on the reins, wrists moving, back on straight....So, going to have to move the workout to a different day. As the lesson went on I managed to wake up a bit and fix my posture.

We had less problems with the left lead, I think he may have dropped it once but he was good. Right, at first we had a beautiful canter, nice and balanced and he didn't drop it! Later on though he struggled to pick it up, optining to jump in to the canter and pick up the wronge lead, so that was frustrating, but we got it in the end. Fingers crossed it will be warm on Sunday so we can work on upward transitions.
No flat trot yesterday either, he was nice and forward and kept his head low. So that was an improvement, I wonder if it has anything to do with the nice weather that's come back and he's in a good mood, or he knew that I brought crunchies.

No actual jumping course, but the jumps had a bit more height to them this week, so Tommy actually showed them a bit of respect. Our trainer recorded the jumping parts so she can watch them and find things each individual rider needs to work on. So she said she'd email them to us or something, so when I get them I'll hopefully post them. He's got a stylin' My Little Pony look going on thanks to one of my friends who started braiding his mane while I got him brushed and ready to go. As usual after jumping he got his "cheese burger" supplement mix after. He was very excited for that AND crunchies, even though the filly in the stall next to the one he was tried to tried to bite his ear off. The trainer was feed thing the horses and opened the fillies stall and she made this weird lunge at Tommy, who wasn't to bothered, since he had his bucket of grains/mash. I guess she thought he'd steal hers or something because normally she's pretty friendly.

I went to the mall in the city yesterday afternoon, since we had yesterday and today of school. I've wanted to stretch my ears for ages! So I talked to the girl at Culture Craze, about starting, and bought a pair of tapers for $20, it's a bit expensive since I could buy the same thing from Hot Topic, for $14 and get two tapers, two plugs and extra o-rings. Then I figured shipping could be a lot! because they also sell gorgeous pincher and plugs in the max size I'd go to (2) but turns out that's not true, it's still cheaper, only $18 with shipping. So maybe I'll go with them next time? If mum lets me use her pay pal.

 My left hand looks so weird! But yeah, they're pretty small 16g I believe.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Cute Pictures & Sunday's Ride

 Magnus and Kokeene coming to say hi 

 Tommy, looking a bit less than pleased to be dragged from the nice weather to work in the arena

 Magnus wanting to play as usual

 Forgot the computer camera would reverse the words. Oh well, this is a delightful book I found the other day and have been starting to use in free rides.  It's super easy to understand and has diagrams and everything. 

 In the black bubble thing "includes 1995 tests". Score! Just kidding, I've started this one, it's okay, but I like the first one a lot more.

As for Sunday, we've had better rides. The trot was not as flat so that was good, and no crop! Hooray! Well it's not really anything to celebrate, I've only used it for 1.5 rides in a year. But whatever. Only one other person was riding with me, which was my friend, so that was fine. Did lots of serpentines' and circles, he was pretty good for those. Did lots of figure eights as well, and going to work on keeping him off the wall. It's really noticeable at the canter how much he leans on it, and I need to keep him off it because it's not a good habit for him to have when jumping. 
Tried some turns on the forehand, he did okay, but he shuffles to the side rather than pivoting. It took a lot more effort to get him to a turn on the haunches, but in the end he got it, just took a while.
We had the same problem at the canter, he was more willing to pick up the left lead, but he kind of leaped in to it instead of stepping in to it. Still better than pacing for it. Like last time though, he broke to a trot a lot. Unfortunately it was to cold to really get after him for that, because then he would have started sweating, and I hate putting him out even the slightest bit damp when it's this cold.

I'm quite excited for our Thursday lesson! My coach is going to record our jumping sessions and then critic them and send them to us and then we'll work on our individual problems. Very excited!

Saturday, February 5, 2011

The Bad Kind of Excitement....

Had a little to much unnecessary excitement on the highway tonight.
Nasty weather today has made the highways a bit treacherous, on the way out they weren't to bad, there were sections where you could feel the wind pushing against the van and snow was blowing over the road. I didn't see anyone in the ditch and there weren't a lot of other cars on the highways, which was good.
On the way home it was a lot more wind and a lot more blowing snow, plus the added bonus of black ice. There were more drivers too.
So, I was about 3km from the turn off into the city, and there is a huge big rig truck ahead. He was slowing down but not stepping to break so there were no lights. I stepped on the break to try and slow down behind him, I did...then we (meaning me and the van) hit some black ice. She (the van) started to fish tale, and not just a little one, but wide swinging ones across the other lane, so I cranked the steering wheel in the opposite direction, over compensating, we turned and slide around to the left and back to the right a couple times. Heading towards a bridge, and really, in a semi out of control vehicle is where you want to be heading, what with the nice cement supports. Actually, with all the snow drifts there was no way we'd make it there. Anyway, thank god for ABS breaks, otherwise we would be in the ditch, but we stopped a few feet short and no one was hurt. No one was anyone near me, so me and the van posed no risk to them while we were swinging wildly down the road.

As for Tommy, he was okay. He has a really flat trot, and I've decided that I don't really want to use the crop, I get why people want to use them or need them, but I think, for me and Tommy anyway, it's kind of like taking the easy way out. I'd rather have to work harder to get him to do the work. That might be a bit different for when it comes to jumping, but we'll see. So yeah, flat trot, but we did lots of circles and some serpentines, unfortunately there were a couple other people there. The one lady is really nice, but the second is the best dressage rider at our barn and she kind of acts like she owns the whole arena. She's so annoying. I like watching her ride, but I hate riding with her. You try to do your thing and stay out of her way at the same time, but she makes no effort to stay out of your way. We pass left to left, but she was like "try not to get so close, he's being a bit crazy." She was polite enough, but at the same time its kind of frustrating because I ALWAYS try to be out of her way but then its harder for me to focus on what I want to be doing with Tommy as well.

He was less than great at the canter, he had trouble picking up the left lead and trouble keeping it, always dropping it at the gate and doing this rushed trot when I asked him to canter, even when we were starting from a balanced trot. Once we finally got it, he did well at the circles and what not. But at the right, not much better. He picked up the lead okay, but it was kind of impossible to do our 20m circles and other exercises because the dressage rider kept getting in the way.
Going out again tomorrow after kick boxing, so hopefully there will be less to no people in the barn.

Friday, February 4, 2011


Finally made it back out to the barn last night!
Tommy was pretty good, carried a crop with him this time. Not with the intention of needing it, but my trainer had suggested having one in hand when he's being super unresponsive. Tried that, it seemed to work and he picked up the pace a bit. Didn't have to use it of coarse, it's just a bit of motivation for him I suppose.
However, when we got to the actual jumping portion of the lesson, he may have been a bit too quick. So had to do some extra work holding him back. I don't know if I'd rather have him go slightly to quick, or be flat and slow. Thinking quick because it's easier to hold him back than it is to have him flop around the coarse.... Anyone have an opinion?

Not that quick was brilliant yesterday either. I'll try and show you what the coarse looked like so my rambling will make sense.
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Okay, so the two diagonal jumps in the corners were a bit farther out from the wall and on a bit more of an angle, but that's the best I can do.
During the warm up we went over the dotted vertical on the left side and then went to the diagonal in the corner closest to it.
I'm not sure exactly why we ran out because we weren't really going to fast and the corner jump was tiny. It may have been because he was used in a lesson the day before and did the same thing, so it was a bit of learned behaviour, but whatever. He ran out to the right.
 My friend was in the lesson as well, as soon as we came back to a trot, she calls out "What was the crap Chris?!". Not being nasty or anything, just her usual loud and sarcastic self, my trainer said she was thinking the same thing, not to mention so was I.
Anyway he ran out once more but after that we got it. When we did the whole coarse it wasn't brilliant, he didn't have much respect for a few of the jumps, but the ones that did work, were great.

He's lost some fitness over his time off and was breathing harder than usual, so going to do some work on getting that back. Unfortunately he hasn't gained much weight back since he got his teeth done, which is disappointing because we thought it would make a difference, so he's getting some grain and supplement mix after jumping work. This will hopefully help a lot, since what he's getting, my coach once described as 'cheese burgers for horses'.

As far as my losing weight goes, yesterday was also my first day back in the gym. Did kick boxing with my trainer, it was great but my back is sore from the twisting motions, but it's all good. She's teaching a kick boxing class on Sunday, so I'm planning on going to that, but we'll see.

Also, general psychology didn't suck ass as much as I'd anticipated! We've started on a partner project that will end up in a presentation. Sadly. But I've found someone to work with and she's not a dumb ass!! Very pleased. I had my share of dumb ass partners last semester in social I think. So, yeah. Mmm, last thing, one of the most amazing songs EVER! Bigger Than Us by White Lies. It's amazing. The video is weird, but the song is great.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Photo's from the barn

 Sunset at the stable
My dad was trying to be artistic and take photos of the full moon with the horses in, but they weren't cooperating.

 In the dark I can't tell who this is. =P

 And a little owl that wanted his picture taken too.

Useless Ramblings

Ugh. Today has been much to stress full. I want to go to sleep for a long time now. Not just hours, but days. Except then I'd miss a lot of school and time with Tommy and at the gym.

We'll go in order of the days "events".
School: Day 2 block 1 General Psychology.
Well the good thing is my teacher seems really interesting. But he has combined my two least favorite things: group projects and presentations. This will suck. Because apparently there is a lot of them and I have no real friends in this class. So that was really disheartening because I was really looking forward to that class. Especially because group projects and presentations lead to an unnecessary amount of stress. I hate stress, bad stress anyway. It leads to bad things, over eating and worse. Which I'm not going into.

I think I need to go to the gym or something, I hate these weird moods where nothing is interesting and you want nothing to do with people. I want to go to the Rockies.

My photo album from Australia came today!! I have a desk top Mac and it has a MyPublisher so I used that and made a sick photo album! I love it! =)