It was a sunny weekend and so I opened up Little Birdies coop door so she could enjoy some sunshine with her babies. Of course I closed the main door on the coop so the other chickens couldn’t bug her but she seemed to really enjoy the sunshine for a little bit after being cooped up with the babies. The babies are adorable but weird looking. Something between a bantam (their real mother) and a weird speckled chicken (their father). I have no clue what their father is because he came to me from a random batch of chicks and the lady who I got them from had no clue of his breed either. R and I were joking that we made some mutant chicken breed by letting them hatch. They really are funny but impossible to get a close up of because they move around to much and momma (Little Birdie not their real mom) doesn’t really like it when we get to close. It stresses her out. So it was nice to see her basking in the sunshine while the chicks peeked their little heads out to get a good look at what was happening.
I am so sore. I am feeling muscles I haven’t felt in a long time. My abs and thighs mostly. All because my trainer decided to whoop my ass on Sophie. Even Sophie was like, what the hell lady?! I love my trainer. She is a young girl (she is 21 years old but that is young to me haha) who I met at the barn I used to volunteer at in exchange for lessons on my big boy Roy (he was a 16.1 warm blood retired champion that was an amazing lesson horse at the barn). She was the main trainers assistant at the time and every time I took a lesson with her, she really helped me. So when she branched out on her own I reached out to her and she said she would gladly train me on Sophie at my home for a very reasonable price. So every Saturday afternoon Sophie and I spend an hour in the arena in the barn getting our butts whipped into shape.
The trainer is a combination of tough love, positive encouragement and letting me figure out some things on my own. She spices up our lessons and gives me lots to work on that following week. Sophie has a few issues, she drags her feet and she pulls her head down instead of engaging her rear end when she gets tired. So this weekend we worked on transitions because transitions are a great way to get a horse to engage their rear end. We started with walking, stopping and backing up every few minutes. That got Sophie paying attention. Then we went from walking the short wall to trotting the long wall (the arena is kind of square shaped more than circle shaped). Then we went from slow trotting the short wall to post trotting the long wall. I really worked on pushing Sophie into her big trot and slowing her down into her slow trot. Now, if you have ever posted on a trotting horse, it takes all the abs to do it properly because you don’t want to whack your butt down on the horse. Not to mention that because Sophie will pull forward a bit I have to engage my abs extra and hold my arms steady so she doesn’t pull me forward.
So I am FEELING my abs. The burn. Oh the burn!
Then we worked on some turning on the haunches. Now, this one was hard on Sophie and I. First of all it requires a lot from me, sit back on the horse, hold one reign out, pull up on the other and tap with your heel in the direction you want to go. This one is hard on Sophie because she doesn’t like engaging her rear end and that is exactly what turning on her haunches means. She leaves her rear end still while she crosses over her front feet to make a circle. Ever watch the western horses turn in those fast spins? That is turning on their haunches! By the end of it we got a few cross overs but it is something Sophie and really need to practice. But when I first got her she didn’t like turning on her forehand (same thing but with the butt moving while the front stays still) and now she is very good at it. So it is in my homework this week, work on turning on the haunches as well as transitions.
Last but not least we did some no stirrup work. That is where lucky me I get to drop my stirrups and ride without them. She even has me trot without them and that makes my thighs burn like no tomorrow. But I am thinking it is better than a hundred squats any day of the week. According to my health app, I burn more calories riding my horse than I do being on the elliptical for 30 minutes. Damn! I will take it!
Because I was still feeling the high from an amazing ride on Saturday, I went out to ride again on Sunday. Sophie wasn’t amused but I took it easy on her because we both were a little sore from the day before. The retired brood mares normally graze in the back 10 acres in the summer but in order for it to grow back the landlord moves them to the smaller pasture. So during fall and winter, Sophie and I can go back out to the 10 acres to do figure 8’s around the big tires out there. R joined us and helped me come up with some fun exercises to do with Sophie around the tires. We worked on trotting and walking figure 8’s with big circles around the tires. It was fun and nice to be out in the pasture vs. working in the barn all the time.
But I am so sore now! A good kind of sore but sore none the less and walking funny at work. Every time I stand up I groan a little. But I wouldn’t have it any other way. To be honest I love having goals on Sophie. It really helps keep me motivated and riding all week long when my trainer gives me homework. So my plan is to go out to do some light riding in the evenings (it is usually dark but the barn has lights) and then during my four days off for Thanksgiving get some good rides in out in the pasture.
So what are your favorite exercises on your horse?