Wednesday, January 1, 2020

Decade in Photos

Thanks to May As Well Event for the bloghop! I know I'm a little late to the party, but hopefully I'll be able to catch up on blogging soon.


When 2010 started, I had Phoenix and I believe we showed once before he came up lame.  We spent most of the summer trying to figure out what was wrong before he was diagnosed with side bone in his right front.  I made the decision to retire him at 15. I had started riding my former BO's gelding Buddy and once I started horse shopping she offered him to me. I bought him in the fall and spent the fall and winter playing around with him.


In February Phoenix moved out of the barn and into my trainer's pasture to be a buddy to her retired mare and he fully embraced the retired life.  I continued to DO ALL THE THINGS with Buddy.  We jumped and showed in both the hunter and jumper rings, took western lessons, chased cows, and went on trail rides.


Phoenix moved back to the barn, came out of retirement, and was leased by A who was in 4H and wanted to learn how to jump. Buddy and I continued to play with all the disciplines.


At 17, Buddy started to show his age and while we kept showing in the spring and summer, in the fall I made the decision that he probably needed to step down and not jump 2'6" plus anymore. He did help me qualify for my first medal finals, and because horses, the only time in the 7yrs I knew him he was went lame three weeks before hand. I borrowed the wondermare Tia and while having rider error in our over fences round, had a blast. Phoenix continued to pack A around and she took him to her first show over fences. In the fall my former BO found an add for a 5yr old OTTB mare four hours away from us and convinced me to take her sight unseen after her owners agreed to give her away. In all honesty, I didn't really want McKenna, but agreed.


Buddy sold very quickly once I listed him, and for more money that I was asking, totally spoiling me for selling horses. Phoenix came up lame and my vet told me in no uncertain terms that at 19 it was time to retire him for good. McKenna got all my time and attention that summer/fall and while I felt like we were stuck we did actually make progress. She turned out to be much greener than I thought when I got her and I spent much of my time learning how to sit her spooks/spins/bolts/rears.


I came to the realization that I didn't actually like riding McKenna, and put her up for sale. We then have some fantastic lessons, including jumping 3' in a gymnastic. I got a new job, which was the exact same position as my old one, just at a different university. That alleviated a ton of stress and combined with actually feeling like I was making progress with McKenna, I reconsidered selling her. Phoenix colicked badly in November and I made the decision to put him down. It was very clear there was nothing the vets could do, and while it was the toughest decision I've ever made, it was also the easiest. McKenna moved to her new family (which is the barn Peebs is currently boarded at) a couple days after Christmas, and for the first time in 10 years I was horseless.


Three weeks later I bought Peebs. I knew from the first ride was was supposed to be mine; he felt like home. There was some definite "get to know you" issues but once we figured things out I started having a ton of fun with him.  In our first show together, after having him for three months and not showing in almost two years, we won division champion. We continued to show that summer and Peebs proved what a rock star he is. I also bit the bullet and ordered my custom saddle since finding a used one to fit him and me was proving to be impossible.


 Peebs continued to be awesome and I really started to trust him. We continued showing and having fun.  I decided to do a breed lease on wonder mare Tia but unfortunately she lost the pregnancy and was given very slim odds of being able to get pregnant again.  In the fall a fellow boarder at the barn offered me her homebred warmblood filly.  I initially said no, then went to see her, and after talking my mom into helping me pay for her I agreed to buy Cinder.  She came home in December. Also that fall a new trainer moved into the barn and started causing drama and issues that I tried my best to ignore.


Barn drama got way worse in January and in early February I gave my 30 days notice. It killed me to leave the barn I had been at for 11 yrs and the owners who I considered my second family. But it turned out to be a blessing and, for the first time in eleven years, I could focus solely on my horses. Cinder turned 1 and we did all the baby things. Peebs was still a rock star and won division champion in the hunters, and reserve champion in the equitation at the first show I went to completely on my own. We ended the year by being series champion in our hunter division for our local schooling show series.  We also were second reserve champion in the hunters, and fifth in the eq for our state wide show association. 


Cinder got to start show season off in 2019 in halter and showmanship. We won the halter for her first blue ribbon. Peebs and I dabbled in hunter and jumpers where we had some great rounds, and some not so great rounds where I forgot how to ride. The ponies moved to A's house for summer camp while I helped take care of the barn while A was away on an internship. I love TCF and was very sad that they only have one stall available for fall/winter.  Cinder stayed while Peebs moved back to GS.  Having the ponies at two different barns has been a challenge, but I'm learning to roll with it. Once another stall opens up at TCF Peebs will move back.

Wednesday, December 25, 2019

Thursday, December 12, 2019

Shit Shit Shit

My job revolves around animal care, rodents in particular. Mainly mice, but some rats and the occasional hamster. I've also worked with llamas, alpacas, dogs, barn owls, chickens, pigs, quail, and ducks. But 95% of my job is mice. Cleaning cages, handling mice, treating mice, collecting tissue/fecal/blood samples, etc. So, obviously, I'm around mouse poop a lot and it doesn't bother me. Until yesterday.
Your basic lab mouse, a C57BL/6J

The barn Peebs is at has a mouse problem. I've seen them, they've chewed into my SmartPaks when people leave the drawer open, I've see there poop. But last night when I went to grab my gloves out of my helmet, which hangs on a hook on my saddle rack, I noticed mouse poop IN MY HELMET. Disgusting. I then had to take everything off my saddle rack and inspect it.

New BOT quarter sheet in action
My new BOT quarter sheet had some poop on it, but it brushed off easily enough. But the biggest issue, besides my helmet, was my Mattes half pad.  Not only did it have poop on it, there was evidence of chewing on the sheepskin. Can't say I blame the mice, it makes great nesting material. But my half pad! I'm also terrified my saddle's going to get chewed like Cob Jockey's old Wintec did. It's currently swaddled in covers and my helmet (minus the liner, that's in the wash) and half pad are in my tack trunk.

I'm going to have to have a talk with the BO about getting tougher on rodent control. I saw her saddle had some mouse poop on it, but she either hasn't seen it, or cares about it. At least I'm well versed in mouse psychology and know lot of tips and tricks to catching the little bastards.

Tuesday, December 10, 2019

Back to Basics

It feels like I've been spinning my wheels a bit this fall. Work has been crazy and won't even back out for another month, I was gone early in November and then again at Thanksgiving, and with the ponies at two different barns I feel guilty spending more time at one barn than the other. Granted Cinder is two, turned out 12hrs a day, and her only job right now is eating and pooping. Peebs, on the other hand, has been either super hot and spicy (for him) or super lazy and convinced he doesn't know concepts like bending or riding with contact.

We went to Utah to volunteer at Best Friends Animal Sanctuary at Thanksgiving and I got to help feed ponies and Lucky the mule
I think part of Peebs' issue was moving barns.  He went from 24/7 turnout to maybe 4hrs of turnout a day, and now that its started raining, the pastures are closed and he's in 24/7. Also GS switched hay from the local grass they used to feed to Eastern Oregon orchard grass, which is a lot richer. I've always had him on plain grass, and he just felt like he was vibrating out of his skin on the orchard. Peebs had diarrhea almost constantly from the orchard so I went out and bought my own grass hay for him. Diarrhea stopped, and a much more saner Peebs is back.  He's also an air fern and got very rotund on the orchard.

Lucky and his pasture buddies live at the Disney barn. Many movies have been filmed on the property and Disney built this for one of theirs.
I finally had a lesson this weekend, after about a month.  I had asked for a flat lesson as Peebs and I had been having issues, see above. We did have a CTJ last week when I had to borrow a dressage whip, but Peebs did remember he knows how to get off my right leg and that he can go on the bit. Our lesson went a lot better than I was expecting; I was able to get Peebs to soften and listen to my aids quicker than I thought I could, and from there we worked on more refining the aids rather than big asks. My big take aways were watching his right shoulder tracking left, and to always feel like I'm pushing him out tracking right. And if I feel like I'm working too hard, grab the dressage whip or put on my spurs.  He knows what I'm asking for, I shouldn't have to nag him.

Tuesday, December 3, 2019

Two Years of Cinder

Happy gotcha day Cinder!! I can't believe two years ago I picked her up from her breeder. She'll get stuffed with cookies tonight to celebrate.

Thursday, November 14, 2019

Mid-fall Break

After the show at FHF, Peebs got a bit of a mid-fall break.  He had spent a couple of days at TCF before the show (since the weather was perfect and dry and they reopened the big pasture) and I decided to leave him there after the show. I had plans to be out of town for four days and felt better about leaving him at TCF where he could be out 24/7 vs at GS where he would be out only a handful of hours a day, if that. And after his colic episode, I trusted A to watch him better. The morning feeder at GS had noticed he was slightly off his feed the morning he colickd, but they didn't tell me till 3pm in the afternoon. Not cool.

Nap time
In the three days between the show and when I left for my trip, I got some nasty 36hr stomach bug and spent most of the time hurling my guts out and sleeping. Thankfully once it was over I felt perfectly fine and back to my normal self. So between everything, Peebs got 7 days off. He didn't seem to mind at all. When I got back he went for a lunge the first day and spent a good 20mins blowing off steam before settling down. He was his normal, lazy self for our rides after that.

So that's Peebs bridle, and I didn't have to adjust anything on it to fit her head. His girth also fits her.
Cinder on the other hand, has decided that fall is the perfect time to come into heat. She has one heat when we first moved to TCF early in the summer, but then I never noticed her showing signs till last week. She was way more flirty with the boys in the pasture, and peed every few minutes with them, but thankfully didn't do any of that when I had her out. She was more amped during our ground work in the arena and I ended up letting her loose to run off some energy.

Cinder's changing color
About a month ago I switched her grain in a continuing effort to find something she likes and can eat with her allergies. She's on Purina Wellsolve L/S and likes it. I've noticed since switching her to it that her coat is way shinier and she's developing Bend-Or spots. She's got a few on her right hip, and one on her left. I also noticed she's getting some dapples on her barrel but couldn't get a good pic of them. I guess the Wellsolve is agreeing with her!

Monday, October 28, 2019

FHF Fall Schooling Show: The Show that Wasn't

The morning of the day Peebs colicked I saw a FB even for a schooling show one of the H/J barns outside Portland was hosting. They had had one show this spring and were seeing if there was interest in having more.  For this show they had jumpers Saturday afternoon/evening, and hunter/eq all day Sunday.

They had 3 .70m classes, starting at 3pm. The entry fee were slightly higher than other shows around here, but they didn't charge a haul in fee and with a 3pm start time and our classes going first I wouldn't need a stall. So it worked out to being a fairly cheap showing opportunity for us. Once Peebs recovered from his colic episode I sent our entry in.

The facility was freaking gorgeous
A few days before the show I got an email from the show manager saying they were limited in parking, and that haul ins would have to park at the bottom of the hill, while the barn and show was at the top.  But they had some empty temp stalls, and I could use one to put Peebs in and unload my stuff and then go park. So I basically got a day stall without having to pay $65 for it. Score. And the night before the show she emailed everyone with current class counts and estimated start times for the later divisions. That's super rare for H/J shows and I thought it was super nice and helpful. A++ for show management.

Schooling the Halloween jump at A's earlier last week
This barn has a huge outdoor ring that was open for schooling, a small indoor that was being used for lunging/schooling if needed, and the big indoor which was the show ring. It was honestly one of the nicest barns I've been to in a long time and I was slightly taken aback by just how nice it was. The show ring was open for schooling prior to the start of the show so we had planned to school there before my classes. The course was set to .7-.75m when I went in and everything was built up, oxers, planks, boxes, skinnies, you name it, they had the fences decked out. They also had pumpkins at the base of all the fences painted with the fence numbers. Cue me starting to feel intimidated and like we don't belong.

I would happily take that outdoor arena home with me
They had doors on the long side of the arena, one that was being used as the in gate, and another that looked out to paddocks.  Peebs did one big spook when we walked past the paddocks the first time, then seemed to realize they were just horses and there was nothing to be scared of. Once I asked him to trot he settled more and was all business. There was a few other people schooling so my trainer lowered a skinny plank for us to warm up over. I'm not sure if Peebs didn't get his eye on it, or my slight unease trickled down to him, but he ran out the first time to it. We came back and got over it and on the third time I remembered (or my trainer yelling "other right" clued me in) that we were supposed to land and turn right in the course so we schooled that.

We then picked up a diagonal line that actually rode well, but I couldn't see the distance to the second fence for the life of me. I was starting to go fetal and lock my elbows so Peebs was shortening his stride and distance would be gone.  When I did actually sit up and let him go it was a perfect 5 strides. We tried another line and a single and I kept panicking about my distance and either pulling up or circling. It was like my brain switched off as soon as I started thinking about putting everything together.

Enjoy Peebs and Cinder sharing breakfast the morning of the show. Peebs spent a few days at A's last week
I was getting more and more worked up and finally asked my trainer if we could go take a break in the outdoor. Peebs was being a saint and didn't care about the fences, or me having a panic attack on his back, bless his heart. No one was in the outdoor so once I had walked and calmed down a bit my trainer set some tiny fences and had us work over those. She just wanted me to find a rhythm and let him go. It took a few tries, but I finally remembered how to ride and let Peebs do his job. Both Peebs and I were pretty tired and I asked my trainer if we could scratch. She agreed and said this was schooling and show, and we schooled. It doesn't matter if I didn't actually make it in the show ring, we had issues and schooled through them. Peebs probably could have gone in a done a round, but mentally I couldn't, so why push ourselves?

I walked Peebs out while my trainer went to scratch me and then we untacked and put Peebs away. Nicole stopped by as her barn is just down the street and some of her barn mates were showing. We chatted for bit before I loaded up and headed home. Did the day go as I had planned? Hell no. But my horse was a saint and took the best care of me, I didn't cry or fall off, and I was able to fix our issues in the schooling ring. I don't know what it is about jumperland that makes my brain shut off or intimidates me, but we're going to keep working at it. Show management said they're planning on 4 shows next year and we will definitely try to make it back for some of them.