Thursday, May 25, 2017

Coming April 2018

If you've been following my blog for a few years, you (hopefully) remember how much I love my BO's mare Tia. She's the ultimate hunter, loves her job, does it well, isn't marish, doesn't give a crap about anything except having her mane pulled, and anyone can ride her.  She does have some arthritis issues with her front end, but I believe a lot of that was due to being over jumped/showed as a baby. My BO got her for $1, and it was hands down the best dollar ever spent.
Tia with a former leaser
We were told when we got her that she had been bred in the past, but had had an issue getting pregnant. I've said for years how much I'd love to breed her and get a baby, but was worried that it would have to be an embryo transfer and that's expensive. My BO has always told me that if I want to breed her I can. When Yorke moved into the barn last fall, I really, really, REALLY wanted to breed them.  He's more refined and lighter built than Tia, which is what she needs. Both have awesome temperaments and are easy to work with and be around. And how awesome would it be to have mom and dad in the barn?
When I used to jumper bigger fences
I kinda hemmed and hawed this winter/spring until one of the other boarders at the barn gave me a kick in the ass.  I talked to the vet, and basically she said to have Tia ultrasounded to see what was going on in there, and if I really want to breed her, this is the year to do it; she'll be too old next year.  So in early May right before I left for San Diego I dropped Tia off to be bred to Yorke.  She was bred on the 8th, and they said everything looked good and she had a nice big follicle. Yorke has very good semen and has never had to rebreed a mare, so that was a good plus.  I took her back yesterday for her pregnancy check and there was the little black dot on the screen!!  Tia's officially 17 days in foal to Yorke for an April 2018 baby!! 

She did have a bit more edema in her uterus than normal, so she goes back in for another ultrasound in two weeks, but they didn't seem too worried by it.  I have a list of dates for her pneumabort shots as well as updating her vaccinations and deworming. But hopefully, if all goes well, we'll have a baby around April 13th of next year!!

Monday, May 22, 2017

Emotional Swings

The past month or so has been hard for me, mentally. Work has been super busy, I've been stressed about another horsey endeavor (more about that later), and the weather has gone between the 60s with thunderstorms to 85-90 and back. I felt like I couldn't get into a routine or ride consistently.  

Peebs and his new friend Trask
 We were supposed to go to a show last weekend, but didn't.  My trainer was originally going to go with me, but had to back out due to her real job. I tried to see if I could get someone else to go with me because I don't like going by myself.  I feel better knowing there's someone on the ground to help if something goes wrong.  So I set my sights on doing one of two shows in June, and of course, neither one works for my trainer. I pouted for a couple of days before coming out of it. And luckily  one of the teens in the barn has agreed to go with me as my groom so *fingers crossed* we'll be showing on the 17th. Still trying to figure out what classes; it'll either be the 18" or 2'.  And there's a show in July that works for both me and trainer so that's on the calendar too.

We really didn't jump for a couple of weeks and then last week jumped three days in a row. I didn't plan it that way, but when offered a last minute lesson, one doesn't say no.  I had jumped a little last Tuesday and Wednesday, just working on a few fences each day.  Tuesday we worked on a line and Wednesday we figure eighted two diagonal fences.  We're starting to put together canter courses but Peebs is pretty sure we should still be trotting every other fence. It takes a lot to keep him going and I wanted to stick with a few fences and establishing that yes, he has to keep cantering.  My plan worked, except that on Wednesday we had our first run out.  We were coming up to the fence when another boarder drove down the road and parked her car. Super scary because he's obviously never seen a car before. I think Peebs probably just caught it out of the corner of his eye, but he scooted to the left and went past the fence. It was very slow-mo and I was in no danger of coming off.  We walked past the offending car and circled back to the fence without any problems. Peebs did seem a bit sheepish.

But he's not ashamed of his awesome bee fly sheet!!
I was expecting Peebs to be super lazy in our lesson on Thursday, but he was actually great.  He was behind my leg, and I got reminded that my whip is functional and not just something for me to hold, but he wasn't nearly as tired as I was expecting. We started with cutting across the center of the ring to the second jump in an outside line then rolling back to a diagonal fence.  I had some trouble finind our distance to the first fence, but once I was able to control his outside shoulder and turn a little earlier it flowed really well.  We moved onto a bending line that was much easier than I expected.  The footing coming to the first fence was a bit deep and Peebs no likey deep footing.  He kept wanting to break to the trot and that's when my trainer had to remind me to get after him.  We cantered a few circles at that end of the ring to establish that yes, he has to canter through the deep stuff, and once we found a good track we continued to the line. We quit with that as both Peebs and I were getting tired.

I was super happy with how good Peebs was that it killed me little to not be showing.  But I've been telling myself that with a few extra weeks Peebs and I will that much better when we do make it into the show ring.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

A Tale of Two Horse Shows

I went to two different horse shows last weekend. Neither of which I competed in.  Saturday night was spent at the Del Mar National and Sunday was the Hipico Real del Mar show in Rosarito, Mexico.
Why yes, I did buy a limited edition Flexible sweatshirt

I was originally going to come down for the show in Mexico, which we were invited to in February.   But once I saw that the National was going to be the same weekend I knew I wanted to go to that as well.  Especially once they announced Flexible's retirement ceremony.  I absolutely love Flexi and Rich.  While it's sad that they don't ever compete in Oregon, I'm glad I was able to see them one last time.

So many tears
 I had texted early in the week with L to see if she was going to be at the Grand Prix and maybe meet up.  I was super busy Saturday before the GP and didn't follow up.  To my surprise, about half way through the GP I heard someone call her name and looked over and she was sitting in the same row as I was.  I texted her then and she kindly took me over during the break before the jump off to meet the other bloggers there. I got to meet Carey, Alex, Karen, and Susan.  We didn't have very long to chat and I wish we had had more time.  I also ran over at one point to see a big group from my old barn and talk to my old trainer for a bit. I had to leave right after it was over because we still had over an hour drive back to my parent's house and I had been up for close to 20hrs at that point. The GP course was super hard; I don't know if I've ever seen so many retire on course or be eliminated.

Seriously, best arena view ever
Sunday was wet and cold, not your typical SoCal/Northern Mexico May day. We got to Hipico Real del Mar as they were walking the .80m course and I really wanted to be out there jumping it. The rain started during the second rider's round and it was super nasty.  We didn't stay very long but from what we did see, the show looked a lot like a US show.  There were kids not knowing where they were going, trainers at the ringside looking frustrated, and parents in the stands trying to jump every jump with their kids. There was one dad who was talking during his daughter's round, counting down the strides and telling her to wait or kissing when appropriate. But it was all in Spanish. It was very cute. I'd say the biggest difference, besides the language, was that none of the girls had their hair up in their helmets.  Everyone just had a pony tail and one or two didn't eve have their hair tied back.  What would George Morris say?!

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Ride Like a Hunter

Last weekend when Peebs couldn't horse because reasons, I still wanted to ride so I commandeered Tia.  Her leasee had already ridden her that morning, but she rides her pretty lightly and I figured it wouldn't hurt to pull her out again.

We both enjoyed it

It was a bit painful when I first got on to feel how old and stiff Tia's gotten. Her trot used to be big and bouncy but now it starts out as more of a shuffle. She did warm up out of it and her canter still felt great as ever.  There's just something about being able to get up in two point and cantering around with a loop in your reins. It's so much fun to play with her; all I have to do to bring her back is close my fingers and sit up a bit. We ended up popping over a couple of cross rails and big mama still loves her job.   I contemplated doing the boxes or a vertical, but didn't want to push it. I'm sure she would have been super excited for "big" fences but I didn't want to make her sore or lame.



It got me thinking about how I ride her vs Peebs so differently.  I ride her like a hunter but I ride Peebs more in a dressagey frame.  Part of that is Peebs is still learning how to use his body correctly and Tia naturally goes like a hunter while he doesn't.  While I want to show Peebs in the jumpers I think I need to try to ride him more like a hunter and not focus on packaging him up as much when we're jumping.  I realized that I'm hyper focusing on getting him round and packaged instead letting him flow to the fences. Obviously getting him working in a frame is a good thing but I'm afraid of over doing it, more for me mentally then for him. Long term goal wise I want to a National Hunter Derby as well as some AA eq/hunter classes, and I kinda sorta have a plan in the works for that. I need to not forget how to ride a hunter now, so if/when I have my hunter pony I know how to ride it.

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Figuring it all Out

I don't even know where to begin.  The past few weeks have been super busy and stressful, and it feels like I have a lot to catch up the blog on but I can't think. 

Peebs got upgraded to a double stall

I think I've figured out a good work schedule for Peebs.  Ride 3-4 days a week, with 1-2 jump days and 1-2 flat/play days.  Doing two hard work days back to back tends to piss him off, and eventually we'll have to deal with that in prep for multi-day shows, but for now it's working.  We've trotted the barrel pattern when one of the teens set it up; we've hacked around bareback while the 4yr old baby stallion jumped (Peebs is a great babysitter and couch except when he thinks he needs to get as close to the stud as possible.  He loves him some Rogue!); we've gone for walks down the road.

We had a good lesson last week, managing to put together a whole course.  I need to work on not dropping my hands before the fence, and Peebs needs to get over having more a feel in his mouth. He wanted to have a fit over it, but I didn't let it bother me and we avoided a battle.  That's a big step for me, not getting sucked into an argument.
We also jumped an oxer and didn't die!

 Another big step was jumping the oxer above.  When I don't jump them for a while oxers become super scary. Setting it up in a one stride is fairly safe; all I have to do it get him to the first fence and hang on. Easier said then done of course.  The first time through after it went up to the oxer I let Peebs stall out coming in and he Supermaned through it.  As awful as it felt (and I'm sure it looked awful) I never once questioned that he was going to stop or we were going to die. I slipped my reins, sat up, and put on leg and trusted him enough to get us out of it. And he did. I don't think I'll ever take for granted having a horse I can do that on.  As much I love Phoenix and he was an awesome horse, I'm 99% certain he would have stopped in that scenario and more than likely I would have come off. Buddy would have gone for it, but it took me a long time to trust that he would. Peebs just has that special something that makes it easy for me to sit up and leg him on in bad spots and trust that he's going to get us out.

On a day he couldn't horse.  There were bugs, and new horses in the barn and spring cleaning. ADD pony to the max

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Keep Up the Good Work

It's been a long couple of weeks.  We had an inspection at work this week and it served as a prep for a major inspection that's coming in October.  Lots of long days with lots of emails, calls, and meetings.  I've been too tired or mentally exhausted to ride more than I'd like so I'm only riding maybe 3 days a weeks, as opposed to my usual 5.  But Peebs doesn't seem to mind, and it hasn't affected our work. After my "OMG we can canter right" moment a few weeks ago I've been able to repeat that nice feel almost every ride.

 I even got crazy brave one day last week and tried cantering a fence off the right.  It did not go well.  He got crooked, and fast, and high headed and I got scared/mad and pulled on him.  As I tried to go back and establish a nice canter again I realized I was the problem. Cantering up to that fence I took my leg off, locked my elbows, and perched on his back in the fetal positon instead of driving him forward from my inside leg, opening my outside rein and half halting every couple of stride, and sitting deep and holding him together....just like I do when we're just cantering around the ring. No wonder he gets freaked out cantering fences to the right; I tell him I'm freaked out then get mad at him for freaking out and then he freaks out more. Sorry Peebers!

The day after that realization I tried again.  I didn't warm up over any other fences, just went straight to it. I sat deep, focused on bending him right and keeping him together. The first time he got a little over bent and drifted past our turn but I'd much rather have that then the complete lack of turning right we had a month ago. The second time I picked him up with my outside rein more and it was a perfect three strides out of the turn.  He landed on the correct lead and canter quietly around the corner. I let him quit with that, after only 20 minutes and two jumps.

Good ponies get to go for walks down the road and maybe steal a bite of grass

We had a lesson on Monday and even attempted a line going right. Trainer had us trot in and trot out, focusing on keeping the right bend and having an active trot.  We did have to circle between the two fences, more to reestablish the bend.  He was more than willing to drop down to the trot after the first fence. Trainer said when turning to the first fence I need to aim for the inside standard and push him out to the middle of the jump and when I was able to coordinate myself and him it worked really well. We moved on to a little figure eight with two jumps on the diagonals, working on switching his bend before the fence so he'd land on the correct lead.  Not surprisingly it was much harder going left to right then right to left. To finish we did an eq style rollback that was surprisingly easy.  If I can get his bend correct, and get him in front of my leg, the distances are a piece of cake.  Now if only I can get that feeling every time we'll be golden!

Friday, March 31, 2017

It's a March Miracle

For the past month or so cantering on the right lead has been pretty damn awful.  Turning to go up the long side of the arena by the barn is especially bad.  I know part of the problem is I tense and anticipate, which causes Peebs to tense, but that's only a small part of it.  I knew getting his teeth done would help, and when the vet suggested I call the chiropractor I did.  TS came out last week and Peebs was a mess.  Dropped right in his poll (why it feels like he tilts his nose left), locked in the neck, and dropped right in the hip.  I once again felt like an awful pony mom.  From now on whenever we have major issues going right the chiro will be my first call.

I did an easy ride the day after the chiro appointment then was gone for the weekend. When I got back I was slammed with work and didn't get to ride till Wednesday.  We were stuck in the indoor since it was raining but Peebs felt pretty damn good.  So good that I had to drop my whip. I was trying to focus on what my trainer had said in our last lesson, getting up in front of my leg and lots of changes of bend and direction.


Yesterday I rode outside and OMG Peebs was amazing.  Absolutely the best canter right in a long time.  He was forward, but listening, didn't get counter bent or twisted, and didn't try to bolt up the long side.  I had on the teens video us, figuring it would jinx us, but nope, he was still great.  Our canter left felt great too; it was so soft and easy.  I can't wait to jump him today and see how he feels.