Tuesday, January 27, 2009


I admit right here in front of God and everybody: I am a sucky rider. I had some marginal lessons many years ago, then didn't get on a horse again until I got Jaz in January of 2007. I've had a few lessons with Heather and Nita, but mostly, we just ride. If I have a problem or issue, they can usually talk me through it, or I'll load up you-know-who, haul him out there, and we work it out. Heather is one of those rare people, like mugwump, who has the ability to convey training concepts so clearly in writing, I am able to walk out the door and put them into practice. My hope is that at some point in 2009, there will be enough money that I can take western lessons, which I can't get from Nita or Heather. It's not looking good so far, but it's only January.

I glean anything I can from the trainer bloggers. Well, right up to the point when my eyes glaze over anyway. When they start talking about turns on the forehand, flying lead changes, etc. -- this stuff is beyond my current level of understanding, much less my ability to implement. I'm still trying to get my seat, posture, balance, and communicate basic things to my horse in a way we both understand. It keeps me humble.

The last time I rode with Nita, I felt as though I had a moment of clarity, where the concept of cueing sorta kicked in. Rather than having to think "inside leg, outside rein," and tug his head if I have to, it suddenly made sense. I was able to communicate what I wanted; he began to respond to the first two, so I didn't have to do the third. It clicked.

I'm home from work today because of the ice storm. It is cold and yukky, but the Boyz were already wet from some light rain yesterday, in addition to what's still coming down. I don't want to put blankets on them until they're dry. Both felt warm and were not shivering earlier, and they've been eating hay and periodically dashing around, warming themselves, so I'm not worried about them. That's one good thing about being fat and sassy.

I'm sharing my big bowl of real, cooked oatmeal with whole pecans, raisins, dried cranberries, and just a smidge of Vermont Maple Syrup. That will stick to our bones for awhile.


Anonymous said...

Hey, I'm home today because of the ice and snow, too! And, I made real oatmeal (not that instant stuff!) with raisins and apples for breakfast for me and the kiddos.

I did end up putting the waterproof sheets on my critters last night because the sleet started early. They just get the sheets to stay dry, they do the warm thing all on their own.

You know what's even better than weekly lessons? Hours in the saddle. Trial and error by the seat of your pants and enough curiosity to just get out there and try new things will get you pretty far. Read as much as you can, watch other riders and take an occasional lesson when there is something specific you want to work on. Ride with friends who aren't afraid to say "Hey, you're doing xyz...maybe if you tried abc he would respond differently."

Leah Fry said...

Jenn, you ROCK. Thanks for the encouragement. I'll take it!

cdncowgirl said...

Lessons are great but whether or not you take lessons you need to just get out and ride.
I'm in a similar situation. I can ride but not as well as I'd like. I read those blogs and my eyes start to glaze over. I'd really like to brush up my basics and learn some of the "fancy stuff".

ezra_pandora said...

I'm with you. I just wish someone would watch me ride to tell me exactly if/what I'm doing wrong and how to fix it. But you know what, no one does. I have a trainer, but they don't want to hold your hand, they want to tell you once and you should get it right. I'm making him sound bad, I'm sure, and he's really not. But I don't get the priviledge of having him out and if I had it my way (and had the moolah), I'd pay him to be out there every time I ride and tell me what to do. lol I know that's not learning, and I need to see what works and try things, but gosh, it is so much easier with someone just telling you step by step.

I'm in the process of going back to the beginning with what mugwump's last set of blogs were about and helping me with balance and flexing. I'm going to ride for the first time in over two weeks (because of weather) tonight. Wish me well in my rodeo!! lol

Leah Fry said...

Heather and Nita do tell me, if we are in a schooling situation. If we're just goofing around, they don't. If I ask, they will.

Hell, I still just don't get longeing. The couple times I've tried it, I only succeeded in confusing my horse and frustrating myself. I can do driving pretty well, but not longeing.

Sometimes you just wanna ride and bond with your horse and not have an agenda. That seems to be when we do the best.

jacksonsgrrl said...

I'm with you Leah, my eyes start to glaze over too, but I am lucky to have friends who help out here and there. Another valuable thing to do is have someone videotape you with your camera. You will be so amazed at the things you learn about yourself with no help from a trainer! It scares me to watch it at times but then I see and feel improvement and I know I'm getting somewhere!

Chelsi said...

Hey! That is such a nummy looking bowl of oatmeal! Mmmm... I want some. Thanks for inspiring me!

Here is the comment I left you abot leads....

Leah Fry- I know what you mean. I think it is interesting because your “correct” lead is only “correct” if your horse is “bent” (meaning in a slight arch so that its head and hip are slighting inside the rib cage). If you are traveling straight and your horse is straight, there is technically no “correct” lead. With that being said, if you were going to be running around corners on the trail, that lead thing would become handy (for a horse that does not change on his own) because if a horse is going to quickly and rightly turn a corner (like turning a barrel) to the left he will be much more balanced if he is on his left lead (and visa versa for the right). Also, it is helpful on long distance rides where you will lope a lot…..the lead is actually the “driving foot” if you will… so if you are loping a lot on a straight trail, being able to pick one lead or another can actually help your horse work both sides of his body evenly and reduce the fatigue he feels on one side. Think about like if you were walking up a set of stairs and you kept putting just your right foot forward to step up with… your right leg would get tired much faster than if you alternated between your right and your left when stepping up (as you naturally do). Same with horses. That is my explanation anyways….

Leah Fry said...

Chelsi, I learn something new every darn day, and that was my thing for today. And it actually made sense! (the part about going round a barrel - that visual - did it!) Thanks!

Laughing Orca Ranch said...

MMMMmmm! That oatmeal looks so yummo! I'd love to share a bowl with you. Home-made with love. Around here, nothing is home-made with love because I still can't manage the kitchen duties and cooking yet.
I sure do miss home cooked meals and after 4 weeks am already fed up with microwave, canned and frozen meals. yuk.

Sounds like you and area lot like in our understanding of horse techniques and lingo.
I did take lessons for a few months, when I first bought my horse last year, but then I let them peter off when I brought my horse home.
I'm at the basics like you, too. There's always so much to learn, it's overwhelming sometimes.


Anonymous said...

I'd join you and Lisa for that healthy breakfast anyday!!!

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