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Recapping 2019

I had many great horsey experiences in 2019!  I am really pleased with how the year went overall; nothing is ever perfect, but both horses are sound, happy, and healthy, which is really what matters to me.

Some of my 2019 goals were met easily or with lots of hard work, and a few of them were utter fails haha.  C'est la vie! Let's recap!

Happy, health, sound
Both mares are doing well in this regard!  Dreamy will be 29 this year, and while she definitely shows signs of her age at times, she overall looks and acts much younger than she really is!  Ellie has really matured this year, filling out as well as mentally becoming more comfortable in her own skin.  As she will be eight this year, I feel like we have moved through the baby phase.

Continue lessons with Beth and Babette
This goal was met and then some!  I took almost weekly dressage lessons with Beth and monthly jump lessons with Babette. Thanks to the Morgan Dressage Association scholarship, I was also able to attend two clini…

A Riding Routine.....finally?

I was able to ride both days over the weekend, which was good! Of course, the wind was gusting and it was freezing cold, but I knew that if I want to do all of these early shows and clinics, I need to get my pony in shape!

So because of the wind, Dreamy was pretty nuts. Not bad, just REALLY forward. Her trot was crazy huge and too quick....the typical "Meadowlands Trot" as Suzanne from NJ would say. :) I did not even bother to canter. Mostly because the ground was so SOGGY, but also because it did not seem like a great plan.

I gave her Monday off due to the rain and yesterday because I was exhausted and it was cold. I can ride when I am tired, but the cold wind was just too much. It is absolutely FRIGID here right now. It sucks!

Today I had to ride. It was cold but not as windy. My plan right now is to ride 2 days in a row, and then one day off. Later this spring I will up that to 3 days ride, one day off. Dreamy seems to need a day off after three days in a row. She is not the type of horse I can ride for 5-6 days straight and then give a day off. Weird, but it works.

So the footing was much better today. And Dreamy was 1000% times better today than over the weekend. I rode Sunday for 45 mins. (up from 30) and most of it was walking though. Today I did ride for a full 45 mins. both at the walk and trot, with a couple of canters. She was RELAXED and totally soft. Lately she has been CHOMPING her bit like crazy, but not today. Today was more like soft chewing of the bit, with actual foamy lipstick! YAY! She never does that. More on the chomping and my hypothesis later.

We had a nice warm up, after a HUGE spook at the soccer net that had blown in the wind and moved itself to a new spot. That was scary! LOL! I did some leg yielding at the walk, and she did well keeping her body even, rather than leading with her hind end, as she rather do. I focused on keeping her shoulders in line and her body straight. No problems.

I also tried some leg yields at the trot. She had a lot of trouble with this last year, but was blowing me away in her lateral suppleness yielding to the left! WOOO! She is stiffer yielding to the right, but I expect that. I am just pleased that she is leaps and bounds better at the trot leg yields than last year. I also tried to let her out at the trot and see where our stretchy trot circle was. I figured there would be nothing. Well, she surprised me and stretched right down, seeking the bit, and not changing her tempo! YAY!!!! That was pretty fabulous. I did it both ways. She does seem to keep her nose at the vertical and not stretch out as much as I would like, but heck we have a sort of OK stretchy trot circle at least!

We did a few canter departs and they were so-so. I need to SIT UP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! She is still not strong in her stifles and back, so I am not expecting miracles in the canter.

She has become much more deliberate to move off my leg, which is great. It used to be last year that a half halt was SO much leg, and I ALWAYS felt like I was squeezing stubborn toothpaste out of its tube. LOL! Lately, I think I am giving too much leg and not enough hand because our half halts make her go into a trot or speed up her trot. Whoops.

But overall I was happy today. She needs more conditioning, but she is coming along well.

And now the chomping....I think the new JP eggbutt french link that I was all excited about buying is actually too fat for her mouth. It does not look that fat, but when I compared it to her regular one (the JP has a curved mouthpiece) I realized that the curvature makes it thicker. She obviously has NOT liked the curve, hence the CHOMPING incessantly, though supposedly it is better for a horse's palate. Yeah, right. She has a very low palate and a small mouth, so there was just too much metal in there. I switched back to her thinner french link, which is a loose ring, and she was PERFECT today. The only reason I went to an eggbutt last year was because the loose ring pinches her mouth. Well, I noticed that it was doing it again today. UGGGGGGG!!! It figures that the one mouthpiece my horse likes, the rings pinch her! Well, at least it rubs the corners of her mouth. Maybe it does not actually pinch/hurt, but it LOOKS like it does.

So I am not sure what I will do. I guess I need to find another (this will make 3) eggbutt with a french link that is THINNER than the two I already own. Oh and I have just 3 loose rings....both single link and french linked. Good grief. I know she hates the single joint and mullen mouth, so I will stay forever with the french link. But I also need an eggbutt ring. AND it needs to be THIN.

Geez, my horse is picky. :p

Too bad we can't just go bitless. Just kidding....I am NOT about to drink THAT Kool-Aid! LOL!