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Monday, March 12, 2012

I Love Snickers!!!

Nope, I'm not talking about these:

I'm talking about HER:

This 8 or 10-y.o. QH mare was my mount for my lesson on Saturday, and I LOOOOVED her. Of course I was delighted from the beginning that she was a dark bay mare with a crooked blaze, and if you have to wonder why, just look at the photo in my last post. I thought it was a pretty cool coincidence that she was channeling Zenyatta! In fact, I whipped my phone out and showed my new friend Katherine that the photo of Z and Baby is currently adorning the lock screen (and by the way, if you want to see some more incredibly adorable pictures of the mother and son pair, just check out their new Facebook page. I'm having a hard time deciding which is the sweetest!).

Snickers came right to the door of her stall when I opened it, which I always think is a good sign. (Butt to you, tail swishing angrily, ears back? Not good.) She was easy to pop in the cross ties, easy to groom, and acted like a little lady. Interestingly, the only thing she didn't care for grooming-wise was when I went to use my stiff brush on her lower left side, near her flank. She let me know that it didn't feel right. Other side was no problem. I filed that away for future reference.

My antique saddle pad looked rather well on her, too, if I do say so myself. Here we are just at the start of my lesson (thanks again to Patient Trainer M for me making her fill in for Annie Liebowitz):
I could tell from the second I sat on her that Snickers had a little more get-along than Ms. Slowpoke-But-Sweet Thumper. This was a relief, because while I'd recuperated pretty well (the Gatorade treatment continued to work), I didn't know if I had it in me to spend the whole lesson squeezing again! Anyway, she moved right out and I had little problem keeping her going the whole time. This was a great particularly because M decided to have us do quite a bit of trotting and then a number of walk-to-canter transitions.

The latter were necessary because I wasn't organized enough when I asked her to canter, and was also relying on the corners too much. M really wanted me to pick up the canter on the long side, but I guess I'm not confident enough in my aids so I was reluctant to do so. I finally succeeded, but not without almost completely cramping my outside calf up. It was a close thing. We were working on the right track, and my left hip also hurt pretty badly yesterday, so clearly there are muscles being put to use that haven't been in play lately!

Another thing we worked on was keeping Snickers straight. She's developed a pretty bad habit of carrying her head to the left all the time, so I was frequently reminded to shorten my right rein. I had a devil of a time getting her to go into the corners nicely on the right track at the trot. Didn't want to listen to/bend around right leg, AT ALL. To compensate, I'm afraid I kept crossing my right hand over her withers and don't think M didn't notice! I did remark after the lesson to M that Snickers had been ouchy just on her left side when I was grooming her, and we both kind of wondered if the behaviors are related. She has been seen by a chiro in the past so I think M will be keeping this in mind. (Note: All the time I was taking lessons in the past - if you recall it's been at least five years - I never even knew there was such a thing as horse chiropractors. Thanks to the interwebz and my extensive blog reading, I am now thoroughly familiar with them and the great work they do. One of the better things to come into the horse world in recent years!)

Right after I mounted up, I asked M about the hand-too-high thing and how I'd never been told this was a problem in the past. When she heard that, she said that it probably is a bad habit I've picked up just trail riding on Giant WB LiRoi. Funny the stuff we do unconsciously. I got told a lot again to keep them down, so believe me, I'm trying to focus on that.

So, are you wondering if I jumped the Scary Blue Wave again? Well, yes I did, and guess what, it went MUCH BETTER this time! We started out trotting a crossrail a couple times, and then M told me to keep going afterwards and come around over the blue wave (back at a trot, which I have to admit I'm still more comfortable with). We did that twice and I was super-pleased because I really didn't feel like I was landing in a heap as badly. Gettin' the mojo back!

In other good news, I put Lexol on the half-chaps, wore them around the house some more, and really worked on smooshing them down so they weren't rubbing those bruised areas. Something worked because I had almost no trouble with them during and after the lesson. Hurray! I was beginning to think I might have to sell them and get the standard height ones instead (these are X-Small Talls, a size I would not have guessed I'd wear despite my pencil-like shins. I know I have fairly long femurs but thought my tibia/fibula length was on the short side.). Still no horrible shin-rubs, either. Don't know why I didn't try narrower stirrup leathers a looooong time ago... argh.

After the lesson I untacked Snickers and asked if I could take her outside for a pick of grass. When I had arrived at the barn, I'd found my friend Sally grazing her mare outside and the latter was having a grand old time hoovering up the tender new blades. We've had hardly any winter here in MO and now it seems like spring is here in a hurry, so everything is growing. Yummee! Before we went out I dug out a horse cookie I had buried in my bag and fed it to Snickers. Here's a couple of short and dopey videos that I made of these occasions. I sure do love grazing a horse... best therapy there is.

P.S. Having not been around horses as much as I would have liked lately, and having spent a whole lot of time with my dog, I'm finding I tend to address the poor equines in the same tone I use with the dog. I keep telling them to "Stay," too! Has anybody else done this? Aside from Albert in "War Horse," that is... good grief. >.<


  1. My "best pony ever" was named Snickers so I automatically like anything with that name. Well, except for the candy bar! I don't eat nuts so as far as I'm concerned the candy bar is a total waste of chocolate!


  2. That's right, I think I remember seeing pictures of your Snickers! My new friend Katherine, who helps out around the barn (I assume for a boarding/lesson fee deduction) said that they often call her "Sneakers" instead. I think that's pretty cute, esp. since I also don't care for the candy bars. I do like nuts but there's too many of 'em crammed in there! Now if I found a horse named "Mounds" I'd be all set, LOL.

    She really was a great ride despite the bending-leftedness. I even asked about leasing, but that was def. more than the old wallet can handle right now. It's ok, I'm happy just to be doing "real" riding again. Definitely going to keep going, even if only 2x a month.

  3. Your line about "stay" made me smile. I'm actually trying to teach all the horses at the little barn I ride at to "stay" and "come." Why shouldn't those be standard horse commands too? (P.s. Found your blog from Jess and Prince of Thieves blog :-) )

  4. Sounds like your lesson was fun! Snickers sounds like a great lesson horse (who in true lesson horse fashion has picked up a few odd ways of doing things along the years).

    I however DO like snickers bars so feel free to send them my way!

    I'm also guilty for talking to Prince in my high pitch dog voice but I'm equally as guilty for telling Fred to "whoa" in a low horse voice.


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