Showing posts with label OTTB. Show all posts
Showing posts with label OTTB. Show all posts

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Siegfried Winkler Clinic

I have a hard time turning down an opportunity to ride in a clinic. I LOVE them! As much as I enjoy showing, clinics are even more fun to me. So, when a friend in my barn was bringing in Siegfried Winkler and needed more spots filled, I decided to sign Summer and I up.

Watching us warm up.

I was worried how Siegfried would feel about a green OTTB, but was assured that he is very kind and gladly works with all levels of horses and riders. My main concern was over-facing Summer and everyone agreed that Siegfried would not do that. With that in mind, I figured that it was only money and my pride at risk, I might as well give it a try
Summer was really excited about it!

Six weeks after his last race, Summer and I participated in our first clinic. Siegfried was amazing! He is kind and patient. He pushes, but not past your and your horse's limits. He points out everything that needs to be fixed, yet let's you know every time you and your horse do something correctly. There were lots of walk breaks in which he made sure that I understood what he was saying and why it was important. One thing that I really loved about him is that he taught everyone with the same amount of enthusiasm, it didn't matter what kind of horse the rider's had or what level they were at. It's very obvious how much he loves horses and his job.

I had only signed up for two of the three days, figuring that three might be too much for where Summer is at mentally and physically. He's still only four and I do my best to remember that. 

Working in the quality of the walk.

The first day of the clinic was fairly easy. We just walked and trotted, as I told Siegfried that we hadn't done a whole lot of canter work yet. Here was the focus on day one:

  • Keeping my lower leg closer to the girth. I ride with my stirrups shorter on Summer, which jams my long legs up into my thigh blocks more, which causes my lower leg to come back too far. I can keep it where it needs to be, but it was something I wasn't even aware I was doing until Siegfried pointed it out. Keeping more weight in my heels and not letting them come up in the transitions was also part of this. He had me do this to help keep Summer more forward (especially when he tries to pull down) and to help with him wanting to drift over a shoulder.
  • Play with the bit and supple, don't hold. Summer steers pretty well, but not great. Sometimes, I use the inside rein a bit too much to get him lined out since he doesn't quite understand the outside rein concept yet. We worked on this a lot with supplying to the left and right.
  • Turning my shoulders to weight my inside seat bone to create bend. I was keeping my outside shoulder back too much, so when I was trying to get Summer to circle left or right, my shoulders were positioned as if we were going straight. #dumbass Between correcting this and the previous two issues, Summer's steering improved immensely.
  • Keeping my shoulders back. I do this well in sitting trot, everything else, not so much. Especially, when I'm riding green horses.
  • Downward transitions when Summer wants to start pulling down.
We worked on these things in the walk and trot, doing lots of transitions and introducing some leg yielding. I had a much improved horse by the end of my ride.


On day two, we worked on pretty much the same things, only we added canter work. Siegfried worked us both A LOT harder. Summer started out even better than he had ended up the day before. Having the time to process everything the evening after my ride really helped. We struggled with picking up the correct lead, especially to the right. Summer would pick it up when we were going to the left, but not when we were going to the right. Siegfried suggested that I should continue on and then change my direction to the right when he picks it up like that, just so Summer starts to associate going to the right with his right lead. I'm not too worried about it. At least he can canter on both leads, it's just a lack of understanding on something that we've barely worked on. My little guy is smart, I have no doubt he'll understand the concept soon. This is a short clip towards the end of our lesson on the second day:

This video makes me want to smack myself, but love Summer all that much more.

Summer was so good as far as behavior. He never set a foot out of place, even when a guy was cracking his whip while free-lunging his horse a hundred miles an hour in the pen next to the arena. He gave me 100% even when he was beginning to get tired on the second day. The improvement he made in two days was incredible.

I am definitely looking forward to riding with Siegfried again in Colorado. I was ecstatic to find a clinician that frequently goes to both cities that I bounce between throughout the year. Riding with him was one of the best investments I've made in my riding education.

Friday, March 17, 2017

Love At First Ride

Summer was trained by my good friend's husband. After the meet at Denver was over last year, his trainer decided to take a short break before Turf Paradise started. Summer had just broken his maiden and his owner didn't want to interrupt his training. The Fiancé and I ended up taking care of Summer for a few days before he was shipped down to Albuquerque to another friend of ours.

The Fiancé had me tack up Summer one day for him to ride. After being on him for a few minutes,  TF  told me to grab my helmet. I had SO much fun riding him! Afterwards, I said that I wanted this horse when he was done running. I didn't expect that would actually happen, or that it would only be a few months later, or that The Fiancé would agree  to another horse (especially since I splurged on a new pony-horse the month before that). The stars aligned and now Summer is mine.

This is a very short video from that day. Summer was three years old. I wasn't planning on riding that day, so please excuse the sloppy tank.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Horse Racing Preconceived Notions: Weight

My fiancé and I looked at a horse at the track for someone that was interested in it for eventing. This mare was actually in the same barn as us, so we already knew some about her. She was really thin and needed some serious work in the hind end. Other than that, I really liked her. She was as sweet as can be, tall, clean legged, pretty, and smart. On top of that, she was well bred and would be worth at least as much as a broodmare. If she didn't work out as an eventer, she would still be marketable. The lady bought her.

I was looking through Facebook one day and happened to see that the lady who bought her posted pictures the day that the mare arrived (the new owner had tagged a couple of mutual friends in the pics, I wasn't stalking). She looked extremely thin and her previously shiny coat was all puffed up (she'd just left 75° weather to go to 30° weather) from the cold. Plus she had just taken a very long trailer ride that had sucked her down even thinner. In short, the mare looked like shit.

Not the horse she bought. All of these pictures are of horses that are or are close to the weight and condition that we typically want. This guy is bordering on being just a bit too heavy.

I'm not blaming the new owner for posting the pictures. It's a new horse, she probably was a little shocked by her weight, and she probably wanted to track the horse's progress. I would have done the same.

What bothered me were the comments, not only in just the first post of her, but in the ones that followed too (again not stalking, friends were tagged in them). People were saying that the mare just needed groceries and some TLC, that she must think she died and went to heaven. They assumed that she had been neglected. I know it's an easy conclusion to jump to, but they are so far off that it isn't funny. None of them saw what her life was like at the track, but I did.

This mare started her career in a very good barn. Seriously, almost all of this guy's horses look absolutely phenomenal and are the ideal of what a fit and healthy racehorse should look like. They are fed extremely well. This mare was an exception to the rule when it came to weight and muscle. While I'm sure that she was fed and trained just as well as the rest, I never would have guessed that she could have come from that barn if someone hadn't told me. When the next trainer bought her she was already thin.

The next trainer is an old man, the mare his only horse. He spent a ton of time grooming and petting her. She was given more than enough feed and it wasn't poor quality. I was doing something with one of our horses one day and looked over to see this old man crouched down picking as much grass as he could to take to her, not because he was doing it to get her to gain weight, but because he knew it would make her happy. It had to have hurt him. Anything he could try to get weight on her, he tried. He did get some weight on her, but he could never get enough. Even though she was thin, she still had a healthy coat and her eyes were bright. She was always happy and never seemed sour or depressed.

The mare loved him. She would just stand there perfectly and let him do whatever he wanted with her. His hands were arthritic and the mare would patiently walk next to him for as long as it took for him to get the walker snap on and off of her. He was very kind to her and in return, she was just as kind to him. They appreciated each other.

I will admit that it probably took longer than it should have for the old man to give up on her racing career. However, when your wife is dead and you have nothing else to do, it's a little hard to give up on the one thing that fills your day. He believed in her and she would often show just enough for him to justify giving her one more chance.

When he finally did decide that she needed a different career, he just wanted her to have a good home. He wasn't asking much money for her, she was definitely worth at least what he asked because of her breeding. Fortunately, I believe that she did find a good home.

I don't know why the mare wouldn't gain weight. She probably had ulcers (her coat was still shiny and healthy) and I think that the hind end issues bothered her quite a bit, even though she wasn't actually lame. Maybe track life was just too much for her. I don't know. What I do know was that no matter how hard the old man tried, she never put on as much weight as she should have. The point is that he DID try. He may have made mistakes unintentionally, but he never neglected her and he definitely never starved her. She was probably fed more than 95% of horses that have careers outside of the track.

While there are a few people on the track that don't feed well, most do. Anyone that is competent at all realizes that the horses need good groceries to perform well. Not to mention, no owner wants to hire a trainer who's horses are thin and nasty looking. It's just bad business and no good ever comes out of feeding a horse poorly.

Does this mean that well fed horses always look good? Absolutely not. There are so many other factors that contribute to weight loss like ulcers, illness, stress, pain, etc. While most people do everything they can to prevent this from happening, sometimes it happens anyway. It can happen fast, too. Anything can happen. Just like with any other horse on the planet.

I understand that people, who's only knowledge of the track is what they've heard through the media, are going to have a hard time believing a horse would be in bad condition for any other reason than mistreatment and neglect. Even people that have been involved in racing might have trouble believing otherwise. It can be the case, but just as often there are other factors involved. There is almost always more to the story and few situations are that black and white.

In the end, all that really matters is that the mare is in a good home where she gets good treatment. I hope that she will continue to gain weight and muscle. If she doesn't, I hope that the people judging the previous owner don't jump to the same conclusions about the treatment she is getting from the current one. I guess I just wish people would question more and judge less before reaching a conclusion.

*I'm sure that some of the horses in these pictures look slightly thin to people who participate in other disciplines. I guess I'd have to ask if you ever see a person that runs track carry as much weight as a sumo wrestler? No? Why do you think that is? Well, that is precisely why these horses don't carry the same weight as a dressage horse does. You're comparing apples to oranges.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

The many thoughts of Gunner

On the this thing called life:

Muh name esh GunNaaAh. Gun-Nah!


Derp! I'm freaking hysterical!

Wait a minute...

Did you just derp me?!

The focus is food:

Why are you so short? Where's the treats?

They have to be here somewhere...

I can smell them....

Revelation in the round pen:

Am I a dressage horse or a pony-horse?

Because if I'm a dressage horse, you seriously need to do something about this mane.

Picture perfect:

Oh, so you want to take a picture of me?

I am not a pony-horse here, I do not just stand wherever you leave me anymore! I am a dressage horse! I shall follow you. *note the fly on his face.

Wherever you may go!

Self Image:

I have a great ass for my age!

Sunday, August 31, 2014


I had this whole great and witty post written up about Barstow along with a recap of each of my rides on her. Then Blogger ate it. It's late, I'm tired, so here is a very much condensed analysis and an extremely boring video.

*this is only her fourth ride since retiring from racing. You can see where she wants to get behind my leg or drift out a little. This usually happens when she gets distracted. Considering we could barely walk a circle and looked a bit like a drunk trotting the first time I rode her, this is actually pretty good. She had also had a few days off before this due to getting cast. While this video is far from impressive, I'm really happy with how she progresses with every ride and remembers what she has learned.

She's very green in that she doesn't know how to move forward off of my seat and leg, bend through her body, or even steer very well. No big deal. Lots of horses coming off of the track don't. She doesn't know how to balance or go forward without being held together or pulling. Once again, that's usually to be expected from a horse off of the track. She's really funny in that you can tell she is waiting for you to take ahold of her so that she knows what to do. Now that B is starting to understand that is no longer part of how she is ridden, she is beginning to relax a lot more.

As far as mentally, she has a pretty good mind. Barstow is sweet and personable. She wants to please and isn't moody. She can get a little distracted and worried over things at times, but this is all really new to her. Every ride, Barstow understands a little more what I want from her and becomes more confident. She may get a little upset over something new initially, but she has the ability to get over it in a reasonable amount of time.

When it comes to soundness she is very clean legged. The only thing I've noticed is some tightness/stiffness on her right side, especially in the shoulder. I'm not concerned about this because she warms up out of it and she feels better every time I ride her. Barstow last ran about three weeks ago, it's not like she has had a significant amount of time off. Most horses coming off of the track are going to have some form of stiffness, tightness, or be a little body sore somewhere. The fact that it is going away as quickly as it has is a good sign.

In short, I REALLY like this mare. She is a good height (I originally thought she was around 16 hands, but I think she is actually closer to 16.2). B is fairly broad and a very comfortable ride for me, I don't hurt after I ride her and don't struggle very much at all with my crookedness. She is comfortable.

We'll see how she progresses and hopefully I can get a sales video that will do her justice soon. Right now I'm trying to just focus on establishing rhythm, going forward, and bending from my seat, weight, and leg. I'm leaving her face alone as much as possible other than just working to develope a steady contact where she is reaching into it without pulling or coming up to avoid contact. Right now she just needs to understand those things and then the rest will start to come. I could force her into the frame and make her look like she is going right for the most part, but that wouldn't be in her best interest.

* I am not allowed to have another horse. I'm not allowed to buy her. No Jodi! It doesn't matter how comfortable  and painless riding her is. The fact that my saddle fits her perfectly is not a sign. I have too many horses already. Horses are not like shoes, a girl can actually have too many. Those suckers are expensive to keep, shoes are not. I'm not allowed to get attached. I can detach myself from anything. Really, I can. She is a sales project. I'm doing this because I like finding OTTBs second careers, not to find me more horses. There's no way I can ever own her. Not happening. Ever. I have to be professional, not behave like a horse-addicted child. I will repeat these things to myself until I get them through my thick head.

I'm sure you will all agree with me. Right? Perfect. Thanks.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Haven of horses

*I promise that this entire post isn't negative.

So here I am in Albuquerque. Again. Life has been crazy busy since we've arrived. I've kept up with reading my Feedly, but haven't had time to comment on posts much. Hopefully, things will level out here soon and I can be more involved with the blogging world.

I'll try to keep this update as short as possible. Let's see, where to start....

The Downs at Hellbuquerque 
Zorro hates it here too.

I feel no need to sugarcoat my feelings towards this place, so I'll just be blunt. I freaking hate almost every minute I'm at the track. Don't get me wrong, I obviously love the horses and I love racing. That doesn't mean that I have to love this track too. I spend most of my mornings pissed off, exhausted, and partially depressed. There are some very good people here that I do really like and they help make it better. It's still a long ways from good though. By the end of the morning I just want to get the hell out of there and to my saving grace: the dressage horses. I guess that's one good thing about despising being at the track so much, my motivation to go ride has increased exponentially.

Speaking of which:


I had a great, and much needed, lesson on him Saturday with JL, my trainer. We went to a schooling show on Sunday (there isn't a recognized show here until mid October). Beefs was AWESOME! We did very well in our classes, but that wasn't that big of a deal. What I was most happy about was how well behaved he was! Seriously, he was better at the show than he is at home. The arena itself wasn't scary, but there is a soccer field next to it, a raised trail on one end (which includes horses trotting by, people walking with dogs or strollers, runners, etc.) with a gate so anyone could come off of the trail right next to the arena, and the drunk guys running around on their horses (one of which that fell off and his horse got loose and ran into the warm-up arena). There were also two little kids that decided to race each other right next to the show arena, which fortunately didn't happen during my ride. Then there was the ignorant jack ass that enjoys trotting up your horses ass and about running into you any chance he got. Anyway, Beefs never spooked and he kept his focus better than he ever has before. I thought I hadn't taken him to a show in three years, but it has actually been almost four. This was only his third show, so it's not like he has ever been a seasoned veteran. He pretty much acted like one though. This makes me so happy because I want him to be my niece's show horse when she gets a little older. I think with a couple more years experience, he will be an awesome first dressage horse for her!

Watching the videos, I'm not happy with my riding. At all. I will just have to keep trying, work harder. The judge did tell me later on that we beat a really nice (more talented) horse because our test was so smooth and accurate. At least I did that much right.

His training level score was high enough to win High Point. He got a new bridle for it!

The first level score about shocked the hell out of me.

This mare has so much potential! She's smart, athletic, and beautiful. Barstow only ran three weeks ago, so she is still a little racey, but she doesn't forget what she learns. I think she really enjoys the more laid back, slower-paced atmosphere. The hardest part is going to be not getting attached to her.

Winndelynn (sorryI forgot/haven't been able to get pics yet)
I was feeling bad about not getting much done with Indy this summer (I wasn't very comfortabcomfortablee riding her at the track), but I think the time for her to mature mentally and physically was a good thing. Indy fell while she was on the walker the spring of her three year old year and my previously gorgeous moving filly just wasn't quite right after. She wasn't lame, just didn't have much flexibility in her neck or freedom in her shoulders. I had L, the best I've ever worked with, adjust her and do laser therapy this spring. Indy was much better after and I think fixing her before she had the break made her much better. She is moving gorgeous and is a lot more mature, not over reactive or spooky like before. Suddenly, all of my dreams for her don't seem hopeless anymore. My trainer's wife, MB, asked why I didn't do the four year old classes with her this year. That was something that I had originally wanted to aim for, I really don't think she could have handled the pressure though. We're going to see how she does these next few weeks and then decide if it's worth trying to show the five year old young horse classes. The fact that JL and MB even think that she might have the talent to be competitive makes me feel a whole lot better. 

*After the show on Sunday JL told me we really need to focus on Indy while I'm here. He knows how much I love Beefs, but he made a very good point. While Beefs is a nice horse, it's going to be hard for him to compete against huge moving warmbloods at bigger shows in areas with tougher competition. JL isn't putting Beefs down or anything, just being honest. He's right and I really do need to make her my biggest priority.

Love my Gunner!

After I got off of him today, I told MB that it really annoys me that Gunner has probably only had about ten dressage rides since last year (he was ponying at the track), has about 1/20 of the training that Beefs does, hasn't been ridden in almost two months, and he still goes better than Beefs. Talk about being happy, yet wanting to cry at the same time. Gunner is more like a warmblood than a thoroughbred. He has a ton of natural talent with big movement and suspension. Dressage just comes naturally to him. He's not nearly as intelligent as Beefs though. Gunner is as sweet as can be, but in all honesty, he isn't exactly the sharpest tool in the shed. That doesn't mean that I don't still obsolutely love him. The fact that I could just jump on and go after he hasn't been ridden in that long makes him worth his weight in gold.

Other than the track, I'm really happy right now. I've been out to JL and MB's every day since I've been here. I've ridden every day except two. One day it was raining and the other was the day after the show. I'd gotten so sun burnt at the show that I was really sick that night and totally drained the  next day. I still went out to see the horses. I enjoy everything about being out there. Four horses to ride on top of working my ass off at the track might kill me. At least I'll die happy. Their barn is my safe haven while I'm surrounded by Hell.

Monday, August 11, 2014

So excited!

I was asking one of our friends (he's kind of like a surrogate father to the fiancé and I) at the track if he knew of any horses for sale for a friend that's looking. He told me about a gelding, that I really like, then came back the next day and said he wants to sell his mare. I told him that I would come get some pics and video of her. I did that today and asked what he would do if my friend wasn't interested and she didn't get sold. He said he really wanted to get her sold, but would board her in Phoenix until he got back from vacation if he needed to. Throughout the conversation, he decided that he would send her to my trainer's in Albuquerque for me to ride and see what we could get done with her in the dressage arena. He knows how bad I don't want to go to the Downs at Hellbuquerque and figured it would be healthier for me to have a project. Ride my misery away and such instead of moping around. I agree with him. Three horses to ride will keep me out of trouble and plenty busy. Having his horse will ensure that I don't get in a rut and hide from the world. I'm not going to let him spend the money on his horse to just sit there, so it gives me more motivation to get off of my ass and get my horses ridden. I'm not getting paid for this and I don't want any commission if she sells. I'm just looking forward to the challenge of it. I love retraining OTTBs. So if my friend that might be interested ends up with her, great! If not, I have something to look forward to. It's a win/win situation either way :)

*No, this isn't a for sale post, I'm just excited about her. The for sale post will come a) if my friend doesn't buy her and b) once I've been able to ride her.

Anyway, meet 'B':

Her owner/trainer bought B last winter. I didn't know he had bought her. I was up on the rail watching horses go and was immediately drawn to her. B just stood out, the way she carried herself and moved. She screamed dressage to me. Then I saw his saddle towel on her and questioned (okay, interrogated) him the first chance I got. I've liked her from the first time I saw her and I am not normally a chestnut mare fan. For me to even notice B, she REALLY had to have a commanding presence.

I can't wait to get to Albuquerque (who would have thought those words would ever come out of my mouth) and start riding her! Having her, Beefs, and Indy at my trainer's is going to make being there soooo much better! 

Friday, July 25, 2014

Horses Gone Crazy

I've been a little short on time the last few days and probably will be until next Tuesday. I'm trying to keep up with everyone's blogs, but will definitely get all caught up mid next week. I hope everyone has a great weekend!

Loving on Gigantor and wishing I owned her so that I could throw my dressage tack on her. Just out of curiosity.

Beefheart decided he was all of the sudden barn sour yesterday and tried to run sideways to the path back to our barn. When I got after him, he figured hopping up and down might help him get his way. We worked through it and I didn't lose my temper, so that was good. Then on the way back to our barn I made him weave through other barns, taking a different path than normal back. He was prancing, but not getting stupid until we turned the corner to go home. At which point he decided to spook at absolutely nothing, grab his ass while we were on concrete, slipped, and then bolted. I got him pulled up fairly quick (knowing how to gallop race horses comes in handy off of the track too) and he continued to act like a dumb ass. We made it back to the barn. I was seething mad, he thought he was done.

I knew if I kept riding we were going to have a full out war, my limit had been reached. I told the fiancé to get on him. It seemed like the best option to keep the ride from ending on a bad note. I also wanted to see if he would try it with the fiancé or if it was just me. Beefs tried it. I felt better that he wasn't just being rotten with me. The fiancé was actually very patient with him and just made him go back out on the grassy area to keep working until Beefs finally gave it up. It all worked out.

On another note, fiancé brag:

He is a very good rider, but has never had any formal education. Everything he knows about dressage, he has learned from watching me ride during lessons and clinics. So yes, he could use some refinement, but I think he does really damn well. For Beefs to be this good after getting so pissed off is pretty impressive. The bad part is that I didn't get the figure eights with the perfectly balanced counter canter on video. Yes, that one did hurt the old pride a little. Especially when the Fiancé asked what is so impressive about it. Hmph. 

I gave Beefs the day off today and rode Gunner instead. I figured it would be nice to have a fun, peaceful ride on Gunner after Beefs having a rough few days. I figured wrong. Gun was just as pissy as Beefs and worse going back to the barn. In all fairness, we gave him some time off after he fell and he's only been ridden once since then. It had just finished raining. He's fresh. I think he may have pulled something in his shoulder when he fell because he just didn't feel quite right on it. We also rode right after the races which still and probably always will get him a little amped (I'd never attempt ponying races on him in the afternoons). I'm not sure that warrants him loping sideways and hopping around with his head straight up in the air all the way back to the barn though. My friend that I was riding with started laughing and told Gunner that he was supposed to be the steady Eddie of the group. I laughed a little too and asked her if there was something in the air or if I just had a talent for turning my horses into psychotic idiots this week. There's nothing better than having a layed back friend to help keep the mood light when your horse decides to act like an asshole. Anyway, we made it back alive.

We have three horses in tomorrow. Sunday, we have to get things ready for the horses that are shipping to Albuquerque on Monday and the one shipping to Boise on Tuesday. I might survive the next few days since the fiancé is doing all of the hauling. I feel sorry for him. Of course he gets several days of only having to take care of one horse, while I stay here with eleven or twelve, depending on how many go to The Downs at Hellbuquerque this week. So, I guess it all kind of evens out. Pray for me...

Monday, July 21, 2014

Getting the most out of a bad ride

Beefs just wasn't into getting ridden tonight. Honestly, the ride was pretty damn bad. When I think about it, we've gone about a month straight with really good work and he was about due to have a bad day. So instead of getting upset or down about it, I'm going to focus on what I learned.

There were good moments. Not many, but some is better than none.

1. If he doesn't seem quite like his normal self, adjust. I knew it wasn't going to go well from the second I led him out of his stall. From the beginning I should have just gone for an easy laid back ride instead of trying to force what I had planned. It wasn't the day to try for perfection. I knew better, but ignored my instincts.

2. I kept my patience and didn't let him talk me into a fight. Because of this, the ride may have been
ugly, but Beefs finished with his brain still in tact and I'm not going to have to go back and fix it tomorrow. I need to remember that one bad day isn't worth loosing my normally willing and happy horse over.

3. He was pissed off, tense, disconnected, and pretty much just in a bad mood. But then, so was I. I need to clear my head of everything else before I ride. If I can't, then it is probably better to just skip riding him that day. Beefs is smart and extremely sensitive. He's not going to miss the fact that I was in a crappy mood (I'm blaming it on the fact that it was so hot and miserable today).

His REALLY pissed off moment. Pretty, no?

4. It doesn't matter that we both looked like crap out there. The ride ended better than it started. Other than one tense moment where he started to get behind my leg and just a little too light for comfort in the front end, he really didn't do anything bad. He was grumpy enough and is more than capable to plant my ass if he wanted. He didn't. Beefs really is kind and tries hard. He doesn't have to go perfect every time.

He's still my rockstar!

It's possible that I may have learned more about myself and Beefs from the ride tonight than I have from the last month of good rides. In a strange way, I might be more proud of how we managed today than I am when things are going well. There is a bright side to everything and tomorrow is another day.