Thursday, September 3, 2009

Week 51.

We started Jr on SmartCalm yesterday. If it works KAT thinks we will start to see results in only a week or two. That would be SOOO cool, but I know there's a chance it won't work at all. There are three other horses in the barn on it and KAT said it has worked for them.

Last night's lesson was fine but a bit chaotic. He had his worming done so he was stuck in his stall all day and I could tell he had some energy to burn so we warmed up with some extended trot and a little canter (because he wanted to) while the rest of the class was mounting up. I've been playing musical lesson times this summer. When my college lessons are going on I'm in those and I really like them. They're all western and all the riders are around the intermediate to advanced level. Most of the intermediate/advanced riders at the barn (those of us who show) are primarily English so most of the Western lessons are more beginner oriented. (I'm back to being the only one who shows western.) I did some Thursday mixed lessons this summer but now they are all English riders since my one western buddy has switched to English so she can show IEA. KAT said she felt like I was missing out while she was having them do more "english' things and moved me to an all western lesson. Last week there were only two of us and it was nice and we got to work on some patterns. Last night it was ridiculous. Only three of us could w/t/c, the other three seemed to be beginner beginners, one on her first lesson so I got very little instruction and spent more time navigating traffic. One thing I'm pretty good at is navigating lesson traffic, but I had to stop twice because there was so much veering going on by the other horses that I got stuck. I have only one more at that time and I might try to swap it for a private since it's the week before to the show. I'm doing an English lesson next week. Last night was also weird because there was the new reiner practicing in the arena and when she hit the gas to get him into a sliding stop Junior went a little batshit. It took me a rough 1/4 of a lap to get him to come back to me. Then he was constantly looking over at the reiner. When he did his second sliding stop he set off one of the kids (boarder, not a lesson kid) horses. Then at one point we were loping and he forgot what he was doing and looked over at the reiner and while I was trying to intercept his ADD he stumbled and I heard the same boarder's horse go nuts behind us. Kid was fine, of course, she's far too brave. I apologized to her but she just laughed and said it was like a roller coaster! Oh if I only had 1/2 of that kid's nerve!

When I compare how he rides now compared to how we rode at the beginning of the summer I can see a huge difference. I can also see a difference in how I manage him. We're still not awesome at the lope. Better at the canter when I don't have to add "slow down" to "stay upright" "pay attention" "stay even" and "go where I point you." He seems (knock on wood) to need less shoulder maintenance so I can work on an even, cadenced stride. The weird stuff he was doing about turning to the right is totally gone.


  1. What's in SmartCalm - I'd be interested to know. Those group lessons with mixed abilities can be really difficult and not too useful - good luck with finding something better!

  2. I ride exclusively english (hunter jumper) but used to be at a half english half western barn. Of the western riders 90% were reiners, the rest were pleasure riders. The very first time my big warmblood jumper mare saw a horse slide, stop and go straight into a spin? She FLIPPED out even though she is generally a very calm, steady mare. I think she thought she was going to have to learn to do that, poor thing!

    She got over it eventually but never really liked it when they'd whoop and yell etc. in lessons after a really fantastic stop or spin.

    And of course, none of them really did the pass left shoulder to left shoulder deal so we had a lot of near misses where they'd doing fast circles and nearly clip us with their stirrup coming around the corner while we're pressed as far against the wall as we can get!

    Good luck finding a lesson that works for you! I definitely know how frustrating it can feel to be stuck with someone much below your skill level!

  3. Kate,

    SmartCalm Ingredient Per Serving
    Magnesium 5,000 mg
    Taurine 4,000 mg
    Inositol 2,000 mg
    Thiamine (B1) 550 mg



    Yeah there was just something about the way the horse hit the gas that got Junior all excited. I think it's good for him to have some of that exposure, but "some" is enough! As far as I know it's the first time he's seen that so close. He watched a reining class at a show but was outside the arena and didn't seem to care.

    I already asked KAT to trade my only remaining Wednesday lesson to a private the week before the show.

  4. I had my horse on SmartCalm. I think it worked...It is really hard to tell with him because somedays he will be hot, hot, hot and then the next day you'll be left wondering if maybe he has narcolepsy and is going to take a nap right there.

    But I think it worked. I know it has worked for other horses.

    Sounds like you didn't have the best lesson! Hopefully you can go for the private next time. In the meantime at least you got to, erm, practice steering. Always useful