Friday, March 29, 2024

The Daily Grind

So my excuse for blogging this go round is I have been sick more in the past month than I have in the past ten years. Started with food poisoning, a terrible first, and then COVID, also for the first time, at least symptomatic, and now some other viral funk that I got from my BFFs kiddos while having an otherwise lovely visit with them. Work has also been tossing more than the normal level of "extras" my way, which is fun... there should be a benefit to it in the end, but it feels an awful lot like I'm doing a lot of busy work for no return currently.

I'm toying with the idea of moving Ben to Goggles' farm so they can hang out together because Goggles is still kinda stressy away from his friends. His belly is happy, and we've been having some really good rides, but he does not like being alone in his field. Since he's happy barefoot behind, I might give them a chance to be together. TBD. 

Goggles had about a week off when I went out of town and came back better than ever. He did some really great trot-canter transitions and worked very hard at staying up off his inside shoulder in both directions. We ended with a walk up to the front of the property and along the road. 

These fools galloped up to the fence behind us and all he did was a bit of sideways trotting

The mini donkey was running laps around the horse and Goggles did a great job keeping his cool in spite of that. There was definitely some heart pounding under my leg, but considering the situation that also included a trash can lid flapping in the wind, he was super brave. 

The next ride was equally delightful with some really soft, lovely trot work. The focus on slow , consistent tempo means we're sometimes lacking impulsion and push, but we can add those back in soon. He was even braver by the donkey, enough so that I was brave enough to pull out my phone to snap a picture. 

Herro! Friends?? 

Absolutely gorgeous Florida day

He got a training ride last week at the GY's from JT's assistant trainer. She came up to teach the other boarder at the GY's and we planned to have her hop on Goggles. It had been several months (at least December) since she rode him last. 

He was such a good egg. If you watch the video, at one point he sort of awkwardly hopped the in with a bit of a canter stride not a real jump, then he politely did the quiet 5 down the line. Another time he got a good, big jump in and then did an easy 4. I was very proud to see him make good choices about both without flailing. The assistant trainer said it was the best he'd ever felt. A good reminder that we are making progress. She'll be out to ride him again this morning, and I'll video some more then. 

She does such a great job being giving over the jump with him

For our at home rides, we're chipping away at the very basics still, but making them quality. I'm being very exacting about his tempo and bend, the best tidbits I took away from watching Peter Grey teach. And he's delivering, we've had softer transitions and no shenanigans in the canter lately. Another tidbit was taking eight strides instead of three to do down transitions and slowing down as you ease into it. It was really cool to watch Hillary's horse lift her back through the transition instead of drop, and I think I'm achieving that same result with Goggles. We've also started playing with baby stretchy circles at the trot. He's got a really darn nice natural free walk (time will tell if that delivers at a show with things to look at), but has definitely wanted to fall on his face when we stretch at the trot. We've been doing little bits of that with Peter's method of bend, give, praise, repeat. He's getting much better at being able to keep a steady tempo. Sometimes I end with letting him slip into a nice long rein walk while keeping the stretch the whole time, sometimes I pick him back up a little bit before asking for the walk. 

I feel like we had stalled in progress because I hadn't moved the bar, and I hadn't been at all consistent about riding him in January and February. JT and I have also been having a tough time lining up our schedules lately (ie the past two months), so I haven't had the consistent lessons to force me to continually demand a slightly higher quality, more consistent response. But watching the Peter Grey lessons gave me a new focus and a new way to work on things that has been super useful while I haven't been able to get to JT. 

I would LOVE to be done being sick, and if that works out for me, the plan is a lesson Monday morning at JT's farm, then a schooling Wednesday at Majestic over their stadium course. We're entered in a combined test the following Wednesday. I may yet scratch the stadium because the idea of a whole 2'3" course right now is pretty iffy. But we'll go and dressage and at least visit the stadium warm up. It will be a learning experience either way. Compared to Leila and Yoshi, he has NOT been an easy horse to get going. I think it will all be worth it in the end, but I have to not fall prey to internal and external comparisons. The past few months have been a bit of me dealing with that emotionally as well as trying to keep his emotions happy and still end every session on the ground or in the saddle with him feeling like a success. 


  1. He really looks great in the video!! And so cool to have so much inspiration from the Peter gray clinic. I’ve scribed for him a couple times at YEH stuff and would love to audit a clinic at some point too! Fingers crossed the lesson schedule gets back into alignment too. I’ve kinda felt a little stalled at times too bc getting lessons is similarly logistically challenging here… but eh I think sometimes the horses do well with an ebb and flow in the pressure and intensity.

    1. Her assistant trainer does such a great job with him, I love to watch. I'm excited that this is going to be a more regular thing!! Ms GY has scribed for Peter Gray too before, I would love to do that. I learned so much just watching three lessons.

  2. I hope you are feeling better, that sounds like a rough month!

    1. Thank you! I'm still struggling with the last remnants of the cold, but getting better at least.