Shedding Shenanigans

Though you wouldn’t know it today (the blizzard of 2017 hit today), spring is less than a week away.  I have 7 shaggy ponies in the barn, all beginning to loose their winter coats and boy is it a mess!

I love spring.  I love how winter dies and everything starts to bloom, the grass starts to turn green, the days become longer and the air is warmer.  And while I love sleek, summer coated horses, I HATE the shedding process with a vengeance.  It will be weeks of hitting each and every horse with a shedding blade until I can officially declare them “shed out.” Meanwhile, the hair clings to everything.

In the last week I’ve come home every day coated in horse hair.  I’ve swallowed horse hair and I’ve inhaled horse hair.  I’ve gotten horse hair in my eyes, and I’ve even pulled some out of my ears (don’t ask).

Looking at the horses before grooming, they don’t look that fuzzy.  Sure, they’re a little more fluffy than they were last September, but they’re not wholly mammoths (well, not all of them).  After just 10 minutes with a shedding blade, it’s possible to get a mini’s worth of hair off of them, and you’re nowhere near done!  Ugh!

I’ve seriously contemplated just clipping my herd.  And perhaps in the coming weeks I will.  Clipping during shedding season gets it all done at once, in a matter of hours.  You still end up covered in horse hair, but at least then it’s done till next year (or the fall if you decide to keep your horse clipped year round).  However, today’s weather is exactly why I won’t clip the herd for a few more weeks.  The weather lately has been 70 degrees one day, then a blizzard like today.  I prefer not to blanket the horses if I can help it and clipping them means they will need blankies if it gets (or stays) cold.  So I will wait.  And continue to ingest my daily serving of horse hair.



Back to School

Spring is almost upon us.  Last night before bed the clocks jumped ahead an hour, the flowers are starting to bloom and the horses in the barn are beginning to shed like crazy!  For those of us without an indoor, all of these signs point to it almost being riding season again.

I’ve decided to do a bit of spring cleaning here at SnapDragon.  I’ve begun getting the business back in shape to start on a very small scale.  I started to clean up the SnapDragon Face Book page, and I resurrected and updated the website. I’ve learned my lessons of the past and my hope is to start teaching and training again, but keep it at a manageable level and grow slowly.  That’s the goal anyway…

Part of getting everything back into shape is getting myself (the head trainer) back in shape! I signed up to take 2 riding lessons this past week and boy was it a wake up call!  Getting old stinks and if I have any advice to offer my readers it’s this, “Don’t get old. Just don’t do it!”

My first lesson was at a Hunt Seat barn in the area.  Hunt seat is what I grew up riding, so I figured it would be a breeze. Well, after not riding for almost 8 months, I was in for a rude awakening!  My instructor picked me apart (nicely) and attempted to put me back together, while I struggled to maintain my position, breathe, keep the horse moving, and generally ignore the searing pain in my left ankle that is a constant when I’m on the back of a horse.

At the end of the lesson, I was left sore but accomplished.  I got my first ride of the season under my belt and I survived!

A couple of days later, I took a lesson at a Dressage barn in the area.  Public Service Announcement: completely changing disciplines is a great way to make you feel like you forgot how to ride!  Honestly, I didn’t do terrible, but there was quite a bit of adjustment. The way a rider sits in the saddle, how their leg hangs and how their upper body are positioned are all slightly different in Dressage than in Hunt Seat.  It was fascinating and frustrating all at the same time.  The result of that lesson is that I definitely want to work some more in Dressage.  My goal at SnapDragon is to turn out well-rounded riders and that starts with a more well-rounded instructor.

Right now, I am sore but happy.  I am excited to get myself and my horses back in shape as the weather becomes nicer.  Lessons start up again in about 3 weeks (April 1st) and I’ve already booked a few students!

Remember, everyone can benefit from riding lessons.  It doesn’t matter how long you have been riding or what your skill level is; there is always something to learn.  And even the best riders will benefit from an eye on the ground.  Trust me, all the best riding instructors have their own riding instructor to keep them on top of their game!

If you have any suggestions for topics or any questions you would like to have answered, let me know in the comments section.