We have to have some bad nights and this was one of them. 

I could not grasp any of the lesson that was being taught. Circles in both corners at one end of the arena in something like a figure 8 pattern.

We weren't out there maybe 15 minutes then the mosquitos came out. I have big bites on my face, arms and neck. 

Cooper was trying to stay close to other horses, going too fast as usual. I was bouncing too much, couldn't get my legs relaxed, hands were all over and yanking on his poor mouth!!

He was spooking all along the far side and corner of the outdoor arena, lots of scary monsters in the bushes ( cats running around acting crazy ) and I was worrying about it. I almost went off one time but managed to grab the horn and stay on, still grabbed the reins too, but somehow remember to release so I wouldn't pull him over like when I fell off. I know, stop dwelling on it, but that was all that was going through my mind! Oh No!! here we go again!

I couldn't do any of the leg cues because my feet would keep falling out of the stirrups as soon as I tried to bring them back behind the girth or even with it!!

Both of my feet are handicapped, one is the prosthetic the other is useless, from that myelomengocele I was born with.

I feel awful watching the video that my husband took, hopefully I learn from most of these!

Then at the end of the night Cooper still stuck to me like glue, done for the night mommy.

He sweat so much under his saddle, I had a different navajo under that pad, didn't wick up any sweat.

I am sure he was bothered by that.

Al towelled and scrubbed him with a big towel on all his wet spots then we went in arena to see if he would roll, but he didn't.

Hoping to get out 3 days in a row this weekend to practice, it's a long one for us here in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

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Comment by Coopersmom_1958 on July 31, 2011 at 5:19pm

Thx Jackie! We had another spooky episode yesterday when a playing cat leapt out of the tall grass and Cooper jumped sideways. I did a face plant in his neck and ended up a little sideways on him and holding onto his cheek strap of the bridle and the right foot (real one) out of the stirrup, before putting elastics on. He did not run away, he stood still and let me rearrange myself back in the saddle. What a good boy to do that. My husband had just gone into the barn to get me a drink of water and I told him not to worry that I would just walk around. Haha!!

I don't think I can step down with the prosthetic without it hurting and the foot still slipping out of that stirrup, since it doesn't bend. Not really certain how to do it but will ask my coach. I have been watching some dressage videos and watching their legs, very long, I wish I could get that long. I know the heel won't go down on that prosthetic if I try to do that.

It has also been suggested for me to try the whip or carrot stick, which I might try doing also. Like Lauren Barwick. Will have to learnt to get very handy with the stick skills for that.

I put the elastic bands on and then completely forgot to try some leg cues. But while standing still at the end of the evening I brought my legs back and the feet stayed in both stirrups, so maybe some hope that it will work.

Thank you again for your support and encouragement, and I can say the same to you!! To still be riding and doing something you love with all you are going through.

If only this was covered by insurance as physical & mental therapy, because it really is the best therapy around.

Comment by Jackie Cochran on July 29, 2011 at 7:59pm

You stayed on and loosened the reins.  That is GOOD.

For the leg cues, is there any way you can "step" down into the stirrup for the leg aid?  Some of the dressage riders do this.  If you can it may help you.  If you can't, the old time side-saddle riders used a whip on the right side of the horse to substitute for the leg aid since they did not have a leg on that side. 

I have had to find a lot of ways to make up for my handicap and you have to do the same.  I admire you, I do not know if I'd be able to ride if I didn't already have experience, and here you are determined to ride your horse.  Good for you. 

Thanks for keeping us updated on your rides.  The more you ride the less of a beginner you will be! 

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