Week 5 The Home Stretch!

The Real Riding Challenge - Week 5 - It's Complete!

This is the final week of my month long real riding challenge that I made for myself. I have learned a lot during this past month, which I will share with you at the end of this post. This is it, the final week!

This has been a very long month, but it also went pretty fast. I know that doesn’t really make sense. But I am just so happy with how this month has gone. Both of my horses are healthy, and sound, and I was able to complete a challenge that I created for myself. And I proved to myself that I could do it.

But I’m getting ahead of myself, how about we break down each day?

Monday August 26, 2019

Even though I typically use Monday’s as my day off as well as my horses, with giving the horses off on Sunday, Monday evening meant it was time to get back to work, for Frisby. He is breathing fine, and the coughs have been minimal. Which means I can continue riding him without feeling like I am hurting him.

And while I would love to give you all kinds of technical things that we have been doing, I can’t

Everything we have been working on may seem relatively elementary for some, but for us it works out well. After grooming the arena, I laid out some ground poles for us to school over. Now typically when you are schooling over ground poles at different gaits, you space out the poles to accommodate your horse’s stride But to make the most of the riding time I have, I devised a pattern using a total of 8 rails.

The Real Riding Challenge - Week 5 - It's Complete!

4 went in a semi-circle in one direction….

And 4 went in a semi-circle in the opposite direction. By setting up the poles like this, I can move closer to the inside for walking,

And further out when Frisby is in trot.

I can go in both directions, and then come down the center of the poles for a change of direction or go from one set of poles to the other continuously.

Having the poles set up this way gives me a lot of different options to keep Frisby’s attention while we are both getting a good work out.

Tuesday August 27, 2019

And after having a great ride with Frisby, I was hoping to have an equally good work out with Ethan. I am still not comfortable enough with his way of going to get on his back, but that will be coming soon.

The Real Riding Challenge - Week 5 - It's Complete!

So instead, I opted to tack him up again, and work on lunging. Again, just having him stand still for tacking up is a good thing. And I want everything to be a positive experience for him, so getting him tacked up quietly, well I call that a win.

And then we went back out to the arena again, like we did the other day.

He is making progress. But it’s slow going.

Every once in a while, when going to the left, when he starts, he gets a little unbalanced and excited. He kicks out, or takes off at a fast canter, but then settles down. I make sure to reassure him, and let him know its ok, and he is doing good. I find that when I stay calm, he stays calm. What a concept right?

I know, it sounds easy. And for some it may be. But sometimes when you have a goal in mind, and a deadline, sometimes it’s hard to keep your cool. And that is never a good thing when it comes to horses. They have their own thoughts, and ideas and also their own time frame of what they want to do, and when.

The Real Riding Challenge - Week 5 - It's Complete!

So my goal with Ethan is to slow down, and not rush things. If he gets worked up, or acts up, my goal is to stay calm and not overreact. And you know what? IT WORKS! When I overreact, he overreacts. When I stay calm and have a ‘meh’ attitude, he does too.

And if I want to get in the saddle and not have it turn into a battle, or worse, an instant reaction from him that ends up with me in the dirt, I want it to be easy and event free. Which is one of the reasons I am really looking forward to the online horse fair. There seems to be a lot of trainers participating that will be very helpful to me and my silly thoroughbred.

Wednesday, August 28, 2019

Well, it is still hot. But even though it’s hot, the evenings are a little cooler which are perfect for riding. And it’s back to Frisby’s turn.

I had so much fun a week ago or so riding him bareback that I decided tonight would be a good night to do the same.

The Real Riding Challenge - Week 5 - It's Complete!

It’s still not easy climbing on, but I make do.

And riding bareback isn’t as easy as riding with a saddle, but it sure is a great exercise for improving balance.

I have walk down, and trot, well let’s just say I’m working on it.

The Real Riding Challenge - Week 5 - It's Complete!

And because Frisby tends to be a little more difficult to get motivated to move forward he definitely gives me a workout.

I try not to get frustrated with his lack of motivation. But it would be nice to have a horse that wants to move!

Thursday, August 29, 2019

Today is my son’s birthday. Happy Birthday Corey! I can’t believe my baby is 28. That is just crazy! And while I texted him all day long, he has his own family. So long gone are the birthday parties or rushing home to have a birthday dinner with the kids. Now I rush home to be home with my husband, and my horses.

And tonight I decided to take it easy with Ethan, but still challenge him a little. Tonight we went for a walk. I know I have told you before, but the neighborhood I live in has all dirt roads. Which is really nice for taking my horse for a walk.

The Real Riding Challenge - Week 5 - It's Complete!

Not really a hard job, but it gives his mind something to think about. Well, a lot of things to think about actually. Not only does he have to think about everything new he is experiencing around him, but he also has to listen to me. That’s a lot to stick in that little head!

But he did it without incident, and he even got a reward of enjoying a little bit of grass at the front of our property.

The Real Riding Challenge - Week 5 - It's Complete!

Eventually I want to be able to ride him out here, so taking him for a walk away from home is a good thing for him to get used to being away from home, and Frisby.

And he had company too, our neighbor’s horse had to come over and assess the situation.

And once we were done with out walk, I brought him back into the arena and made him work for a little bit longer.

The Real Riding Challenge - Week 5 - It's Complete!

I don’t like to push the envelope, if you know what I mean. I mean, there were multiple times that we could have been done for the evening. But he was doing well, and I wanted to push him even more. Not really push him, but make him do more.

And that is what I did tonight, and he did great!

Friday, August 30, 2019

Back to Frisby’s turn tonight! I have to say, being able to work the horses on opposite days, and having a horse to work every day is awesome.

Tonight I wanted to work on ‘forward’ with Frisby. I decided I would lunge him before I tacked him up, to see if I could really motivate him to move. Typically, when I start working with him it is a chore, for the first 20 to 30 minutes. So by the time I am exhausted from trying to get him to move, he is ready to go.

And my thinking was that by warming him up on the lunge line first, and then tacking him up, maybe just maybe, we can get going somewhere!

The lunging went pretty well. He moved very nicely, and really went forward, so I know he can do it.

And then once I tacked him up, and we went back to work in the arena, he was a little resentful for having to go back to work, but he settled in. And I have to say he did move a little more forward from the get go. Lesson learned, 1 point for Lisa!

Saturday August 31, 2019

Well this is it, the last day of my challenge! I love that the last day fell on a Saturday.

Saturday is chore day, along with getting necessities. And it happened to be the day to go get hay.

Ever since the bomb-cyclone that happened last year, I have PTSD about running out of hay. Even though the weather is perfect, and it’s the end of summer, I still get nervous when my hay stack starts to dwindle. And because of that, I am a stickler of getting 10 bales of hay every 2 weeks whether we need it or not.

The Real Riding Challenge - Week 5 - It's Complete!

It’s looking fairly good right now. We have 17 bales of hay, and hay nets filled for a few days along with 2 bags of alfalfa cubes, and the trash cans are almost full of grain. I have been buying a bag of alfalfa cubes each time I buy grain. The horses get a couple of cubes right now, but during the winter, they get a lot more. Not only does it help to keep them busy, but it also could be an emergency food source, just in case.

It gives me a very good feeling to have enough feed to last several weeks, just in case.

After all the chores were done, then it was time to play. And even though I rode Frisby yesterday, I wanted to work him again today. I had something new I wanted to practice, and I needed to do it from the saddle.

Making A Course of Ground Poles

a ground pole course

I made some photos of different courses, so I can keep them in the barn. The 4 x 6 size of the photos make it easy to carry, as well as stack them up in the barn. So I took a course diagram with me to the arena, and set up ground poles as if they were a course of jumps.

It was so much fun!

So after I lunged Frisby first (see, I’m learning), I tacked him up, and then we went to work over our course of ground poles.

It was so much fun! Frisby had to pay attention to me, and I got to work on my walk and trot through my ‘course’ of ground poles!

The Real Riding Challenge – Week 5 – It’s Complete!

And this is a perfect way to end the month. Frisby did great, I was happy with my own performance, and I completed my challenge!

The Real Riding Challenge - Week 5 - It's Complete!

And something that I have been waiting an entire month to do happens tomorrow. Tomorrow, I get to open my mystery box! Theoretically I could do it today because I finished the challenge, but nope. I am going to wait until tomorrow.

The Real Riding Challenge - Week 5 - It's Complete!

So that means the next post I am going to have will be an unboxing of my mystery box!

If you have been waiting for this, be sure to come back in the next day or two to find out what is in this dang package!


I am horse crazy and love DIY projects, and finding great deals on everything horse related. When I have a new idea, or find a great deal I love sharing this information with you.

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