Wednesday, December 31, 2014

2014 Goals



Hahahahaha.  When I started 2014 I had the plan to do quarterly goals.  That obviously fell by the wayside as I took my blogging break.  These were my goals from the first quarter of the year:


Buddy:

Work back to the 2'9"-3' and maybe show at that height.  Done!

  • Done, but not in the first quarter.  We showed in the 2'9"-3' jumpers in May and managed to eek out a 6th place year end award in the Low AA jumpers.  Ironically, getting a year end award wasn't on my yearly goal list because I knew I would be selling Buddy.

Work on his manners. Meh.
  • Once I started riding him more regularly than his lease girls, that got better.  Not perfect, but ok.
My big goal for him for the year was to sell him to the perfect home, which happened and for more $$$ than I was asking! I follow his lease girl on Instagram and she's got some adorably cute pics of them that make me tear up.

McKenna:

Work her (lunge or ride) at least 5 days/week. Kinda

  • Didn't happen till this summer, after I sold Bud and she became my primary pony.  And once it started getting cold this fall/winter I wussed out.  But it's on the list for next year!

Refine our canter transitions and develop a balanced canter. In progress!
  • We had some of the best transitions and nicest canter yet in our lesson on Sunday, so there's hope!
Continue working over little jumps and cavaletti.  Free jump her again with more height/spread to see how she does Done!

Phoenix:
Keep him as sound as possible and to continue to pack Anna around. Major Fail
  • Obviously it wasn't anything I could control, but the old man had to be retired in April/May.  He came up lamer than his normal, and after injecting to see if it would help his side bone my vet flat out told me it was time for him to be done. And a bout of cellulitis in September didn't help anything either. But he was running around in turnout a few days ago like a crazy pony (actually out ran and played McKenna) so at least he still feels young at heart!

Monday, December 29, 2014

We Do Stuff & Things

It's been hard scheduling lessons with my regular trainer for the past few weeks, and I've been feeling like I'm spinning my wheels with what to do with McKenna.  We walk-trot-canter, try not to have expoldy baby moments, maybe add some pole work in but generally its the same day to day.

On Saturday I had the barn to myself and decided to go for it and set up a cross rail and a set of trot poles in the indoor.  Our indoor is too small to have both set up if I have to share the arena, and since most of the other boarders don't jump I feel it's not fair to them if I take over the space with jumps.   We worked back and forth over the poles to warm up, stopping on a straight line and doing turns on the forehand or haunches to reverse.  McKenna was great, kept a nice rhythm and pace over the poles and didn't get rushy.
Queens of awkward trot fences

I then added trotting the cross rail and stopping on a straight line.  Again, she started out great before the fence, but was dragging on my hand in the stop.  I finally let her hit the wall with her nose and then she seemed to get to the point. McKenna did start getting bold going to the fence after a few times, but a couple small circles with random halting fixed that. My friend showed up towards the end of our ride and was kind enough to snap a couple pics. 

Sunday we had a lesson scheduled with our chiropractor/dressage instructor.  She watched us warm up, then readjusted the German martingale, lowering it on McKenna's neck so it sat more like draw reins coming from the girth, and moved the clip from the first d-ring on the reins to the second, giving me more leverage.  McKenna was not amused.

The main focus of the lesson was getting McKenna to over bend and work deep in a frame.  She wanted to be stuck behind my leg so Tina had me post on the wrong diagonal to help encourage her inside hind to step up. It took a good 10-15 minutes of trotting to really get her to where she needed to be. Tina told me to think about getting my inside seat bone on her stifle to help push her into my outside rein.  I'd never heard that before, but it helped. We did lots of walk breaks and changes of direction and except for one mini spook she was really well behaved. We also schooled some turns on the forehand, trying to keep a forward feel.
Love
Our canter work followed the trot work, only less of it.  The over bending and deep work really tired her out quick in the canter so if we got a couple good circles we called it good. We only rode for a half hour but both mine and McKenna's butts were kicked! We're going to try and have Tina back in a month or so for another lesson.

video
You can see her mini buck/tail swish about half way through the video, as we are cantering along the far wall. It feels bigger than it looks.

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Merry Christmas!!

A Merry Christmas TBT from us!


 
Top is my first horse Chancie and bottom is Phoenix, McKenna and I

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Blogger Gift Exchange Loot

Many, many thanks to Emma at 'Fraidy Cat Eventing for my wonder blogger gift!  It couldn't have come at a better time too; long day at work and no time to play with the ponies had me being a cranky girl.  But see the box in my mailbox  changed it all.

We got a bright pink saddle pad (she must know about my saddle pad obsession....one can't have too many saddle pads!), fun boot socks, a very cute jumping horse ornament, and an aswesomely painted body brush. I love the brush!!  No way is that getting lost or stolen from my tack trunk!  Hopefully today I'll have time to ride and McKenna can try out her new saddle pad!

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Corner of Shame

So last time we had the sleazy of shame, now we have the corner of shame!  It's been a rough week for the poor mare.
Being cute won't get you anywhere....sometimes

McKenna's consistently spooky in two corner of the indoor.  Tracking left she likes to drop her butt and take off going past the corner that has our mounting block.  Tracking right she likes to take off in the opposite corner, which just happens to be next to her stall.  We've tried doing downward transitions, halting, tons of halt halts, but nothing really works for long to keep her little brain in her head in these two corners. 

On Friday we had cantered left, trotted across the diagonal and were getting ready to pick up the right lead when she took off bucking.  Granted, probably not my best idea to do that transition in the scary corner. Got her walking in the center of the ring, then she started crow hopping.  I was so pissed that I took her over to the scary corner and made her stand in it for a good five minutes.   We then did a turn on the haunches and stood facing down the long side for another few minutes.  Once she gave me a big sigh and relaxed a bit I let her walk off.  Did some walk-trot transitions on a circle at that end of the arena before going back to a canter.
All we need is a dunce cap

I was playing it safe and cantered at the other end of the arena, one bucking/crow hopping fit a day is enough thank you, but my friend pushed me into doing at least one canter through the scary corner.  I took a deep breath, tried to stay relaxed and pushed on.  McKenna got tense, but was good so we quit with that.  Times like that that I both love and hate friends that push me out of my comfort zones!

Thursday, December 18, 2014

2014 Year End Awards

With our one and only show at 3' ever Buddy and I managed to snag a 6th place year end in the 3' Low AA Jumpers.  And even better is that we weren't dead last in the division, we beat someone else! This is my first year end award since high school, and damn it I'm going to be so proud of that green ribbon!

Friday, December 12, 2014

Pony Express Christmas Blog Hop

Since my mom just asked what I would like for Christmas, besides cash, I'd thought I'd join Alanna's blog hop.

Swanky Saddle Script Name Plate:


I think this is so cool.  Much cuter and funner than the regular saddle name plate.  I've never had a name plate for my saddle and I would love to have one with my last name.













OTTB Designs:
I'd love to show our OTTB pride at shows, and what better way than with OTTB Designs saddle pad and their matching ear bonnet.  Both with the rose design and in the navy with silver!
 
 
Quarter Sheet:
I'd love to have a quarter sheet for cold winter nights.  I tend to weenie out when it's 35 or below and not ride, but having a nice fleece quarter sheet to cover both McKenna and my legs would help.  (Mom, I know you're reading this so a medium sized purple or argyle please!)
 
 



Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Sleazy of Shame

I tend to turn McKenna and Phoenix out together, either in our indoor when it's cold and wet or in the all weather paddocks.  For the most part they get along really well.  Phoenix tends to be fairly submissive and while McKenna's not an alpha mare by any stretch, she does push him around.

I had them outside for a few hours on Saturday while I was doing chores and didn't hear a peep.  Sometimes McKenna will squeal, usually when she's in heat, if Phoenix gets too close for comfort. Obviously I wasn't watching them the whole time, but I do glance out there from time to time to check on them.  When I brought them in McKenna had a long, thin scratch on the right side of her neck.  I did have that "Do I need to call the vet" moment, but it wasn't super deep.  I washed it out with some Betadine and to me it looked like a bite.  Naughty Phoenix! I put some antibiotic ointment on it and then had a decent ride on the mare.
24hrs later

Sunday afternoon I had a lesson scheduled and I headed out early to do chores and give myself time to lunge the mare. First thing I went to check on the cut.  It wasn't hot, but there was some swelling around it (you can barley see it in the pic).  I cleaned it again and put more of the antibiotic ointment on it, as well as the EPF 5 which works wonders for swelling.  McKenna was great about it, didn't care at all.  We ended up having a really good productive lesson, one of our first such rides in a while.  My trainer and I joked that the key to getting McKenna to focus was to dose her on the EPF 5.

I wanted to cover the cut that night, but couldn't think of a way to easily wrap her neck.  So out came the full head and neck sleazy.  I hadn't put it on her yet, but I've used a shoulder guard on her before.  She was surprisingly good about having it put on, even when I covered her eyes.  I don't think she liked wearing it, or that fact that it clashed with her blanket. 

Really mom?!
The cut continues to look better each day.  I had ordered some stuff from The Herbal Horse and she was delayed sending it to me and included a free sample of the Heal Quick.  I got it last night and am excited to try it and the Be Calm on McKenna today.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

#TBT Freeman Farms May 2014

During my blogging break this year Buddy and I went to two local schooling shows.  The first of them was the May Freeman Farms show.  We went to the same show last year, but this year it was just me showing.  No organizing everything, no having to share my horse, no worrying about anyone else....it was very nice!  Unfortunately, like last year we had the same weather.  Pouring down rain, cool and windy.  Not very fun show weather.

 Because of said weather no pics or video was taken. This was from a lesson the week before the show.

We had decided to move up a division at this show, doing the 2'9-3' Low Child/AA jumpers.  We had three rounds, a power and speed and two jump off rounds.  I don't remember much about the courses, except there was one pretty funky bending line from an outside oxer to a diagonal vertical.  We were lucky that we got there early to school and did that line a few times because it was hard.  You had to go straight after the oxer for 2-3 strides, then almost make a 90 degree turn to the second fence.  If you tried to soften the turn, you ended up falling way in on the landing and running into another fence.   I remember that my mantra was "Go Deep!" for that line.

FF show May 2013.  It looked just like this, only the jumps were bigger
While Buddy is normally a horse that doesn't care about ridding in the rain, he took exception that day.  In two of the rounds to get to the first fence you had to canter headfirst into the rain and wind.  He was not a happy pony about that!  I had to circle in front of the timers and beat him with my stick to get him forward.  If he could have cantered backwards, he would have. In another round my reins were so wet I couldn't hold onto them in a turn and we had to circle while I got them back.  We didn't place super great, but if I remember we didn't have rails down (maybe one), we were just slower than everyone else (and the whole circling thing didn't help) but we came home with some satin. I was still super happy with how we did.  His first time showing that big, my first time in 5yrs, and miserable weather, not a recipe for for a good horse show.

Monday, December 1, 2014

All Quiet on the Western Front

Not much has been happening in the week since I got back from vacation.  I lunged McKenna in the side reins for a couple days since she had had a week off and was in the middle of her heat cycle.  Silly mare, no need to be in heat in November!

I did have a decent ride on Thanksgiving.  Had the barn to myself, let McKenna and Phoenix hang out in the arena for a while and loved on both of them before getting on.  Tried to not pick on the mare, just some w-t-c working on keeping her head connected to her body.
Love that they love each other
Friday our chiropractor/dressage clinician was out and we talked about scheduling lessons (at the end of December) and working with babies.  She brought up the German martingale so for our ride on Saturday I put it on.  It was nice to not have to worry about her head, I could focus on getting her to go forward, stay sane, and lot of transitions.  The chiro also suggested lot of interval work, 3mins trot, 1min walk, 3mins trot, 1min walk, 2mins canter......so we did that too.  I really liked how it seemed to focus our ride more so we'll keep doing it.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Before We Were Interrupted

I'm currently in New Orleans on a much needed vacation, but before I left McKenna and I had a lesson last weekend.  It was sunny, but cold, and knowing my trainer I took the mare for a lunge in the outdoor before the lesson.  Our indoor is small, and my trainer much prefers to use the outdoor, even if I'm beeing a weenie about it.  I hadn't taken McKenna out there since she dumped me the week before, partly due to said weenieness and partly due to rain and then freezing temps.
I also helped move 7 tons of hay that weekend so I was very tired and sore

When trainer got there we talked about what I've been doing with McKenna, mostly lots of transitions, circles, and figure 8s to keep her little mind engaged.  It's easier in the indoor, smaller with less distractions for her to use as escuses to be naughty.  For the lesson we pretty much stayed on a hunter course minus the jumps (long side, diagonal, long side, diagonal) for the whole time.  At various points on the pattern trainer would call out transitions for us to do, and at any point I felt McKenna get strong or counterbent I was to circle. 

It might not have been the most exciting or super productive lesson, but by the end I had a responsive horse who was listening to me and not  anxious and focused on other things.  Her brain was connected to her body, and we had some of our best upwards and downwards canter transitions. And, best of all, I had relaxed and wasn't expecting an explosion of ponytude every other stride.  Now, hopefully a week off won't undue all of this!
Found in NOLA.  Will be going on McKenna's halter

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Seat, Leg, Hand

It's something that I've had drilled into my head for years. Something I know inside and out, but one of the hardest things to do.

 I had a breakthrough moment during our ride Friday.  McKenna likes to rush through a couple of the corners in our indoor arena and I have been trying to half halt before and as we are going through them all week.  I say trying because once I really thought about it on Friday, I realized that I've just been holding her face, probably making her more nervous and or at least not getting her to slow and calm down.  But once I really thought about it, and rode the half halt seat, leg, then hand and made sure to let go, she slowed down and relaxed through the corners.  At one point she even broke to the trot. 

It seems like such an easy concept, but we all know how how something so easy can be so hard to practice.
We'll get there someday

Monday, November 10, 2014

Ass Meet Dirt

It was bound to happen with a baby at some point.  McKenna dumped me on Saturday.  She reared and spun and I didn't.  Not too much worse for wear, landed on my butt, but my lower back is not super happy.  Luckily she was easy to catch and after quite a bit of lunging I got back on.

We had been trotting around for 10 mins or so and she was high as a kite.  I had already lunged her, and I was going back and forth in my head about getting off and lunging some more.  She was getting bold down the long side so I went to circle. She protested, I got stronger with my aids, and she went up and sideways.  While I was super pissed at the time, I can't really be mad at her.  Between the change in weather (getting into the 30s-40s at night), lack of turnout, not being ridden in the outdoor in more than a week, and general baby OTTBness, I should have seen it coming. She might have a trainer ride on Wednesday and we have a lesson on Sunday so hopefully we can get some help. 

Friday, November 7, 2014

Quiet Week

When we left off last week McKenna was scheduled for her adjustment with our chiropractor.  Luckily her biggest issues were with her poll and neck, her back and hips felt great.  I was slightly worried that her back was wonky, as my saddle doesn't fit her great, but I was happy that's not the case. Of course that makes it harder for me to daydream up ways to justify a new saddle, but oh well. We got complimented on how McKenna's filling out and the chiro agreed with me that she's finally starting to look like a grown up horse, as opposed to a baby still growing.   Some of the other boarders had their horses looked at as well, most for the first time, and everyone loved our chiro as much as I do.  She's also a dressage trainer/clinician and we've had her out before for clinics, and everyone at the barn seemed interested in having her out for another.

Non related pic of the ponies playing together
We didn't do a whole lot else last week, the barn was really busy every evening and I didn't have a lot of time to work the ponies.  Then over the weekend my parents came up for a quick 48hr trip.  This week I did a couple flat rides, starting our No Stirrup November.  I'm comfortable dropping my stirrups for the sitting trot with McKenna, but when I try posting she gets tense and wants to either speed way up or stop completely. Last night we did manage a full lap around the indoor posting without stirrups, so we'll keep chipping away at it.  My goal for the end of the moth is to be able to drop them at the canter for at least a lap.

Loving my new composite stirrups.  So much lighter!

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Whole New Pony

About a month ago McKenna had her teeth done, the first time she's had them done while I've had her.  I had gotten her vet records from when she came off the track and J bought her, and they had nothing previous since she came from a feed lot.  She had gotten her teeth done in spring 2013, so at a year and half I figured she was due and luckily another boarder wanted her mares done so we set up an appointment with our dentist.

Dentist said that she had a bunch of small, sharp points but didn't look too bad for 1.5yrs. She did complain (kiddingly) that McKenna has a very narrow jaw (I know, I had to go buy smaller bits) and that most horses have some excess skin around their jaw and McKenna didn't. Her teeth were right against the skin. The only major thing was one of her teeth on the bottom right side of her face was crooked.  Dentist couldn't tell if it was moving (please no, she's too young for dental problem!) or if it came in crooked.  She's leaning towards it coming in crooked, as it didn't seem to move around when she was working on it.  But its something to watch and she'll have to be done at least yearly to check on it.

I like that its hard to tell she's clipped.
Last Monday I gave McKenna her first clip of the season.  It's earlier than I normally clip, like to wait till mid November, but she's been so sweaty and I had time.  She was very good for it, standing still and not caring about the clippers except for around her head.  I still haven't managed to clip her ears but have gotten her bridle path done.  Last year I just did a trace clip along her neck and barrel, but since I hopefully plan to show the winter I gave her a full clip.  There's a few touch up spots I have to go back and get, but it took me just over an hour to do. 

Next week our chiropractor is coming out and McKenna's on her list.  During her trainer ride last week, trainer said she was much stiffer going left than right, but I hadn't felt anything. But during our ride Wednesday I couldn't get her to pick up her left lead without some major head tossing, running forward and general bad ponyness.  I had to dig my heel into her side while growling at her before I got a nice, clean transition.  That's pretty unsuall for her so I agreed with trainer and called for the chiro.
PNW bred ponies don't care bout no puddles
She's also getting her feet done next week, which is good since she's overgrown.  Our farrier was hunting last week when they were due, and had to push them back.  By the end of next week I'll have a whole new, (hopefully) balanced pony!

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Adopt Me?

I wish Bill Gates was my dad.  Not that I don't love my parents to death, they are absolutely wonderful and have been beyond supportive of my horse habit.  But this article really makes me wish I could be adopted.

He bought an $18 million, 230 acre, 120+ stall barn that used to be owned by diet guru Jenny Craig.  She and her late husband had racehorses, and this farm was their "layup" facility. It has multiple 30 acre pastures, a 3/4mile training track, rehab facilities, multiple living quarters for staff and who know what else. Gates' daughter shows in the jumpers, and they plan to turn this into a h/j facility. It's not clear from the article, or others I've read, if it will just be for their horses/trainer or if it will be a show facility.  The Del Mar Showpark and the Del Mar Fairground are about a mile and five miles away respectively, so I can't see another show facility being a viable option.

The real kicker is that I went to elementary school about a half mile away, if I were to jump a few fences and run through some backyards.  I don't know how many times we've driven by this place.  I've always been amazed by it, and I thought it was the coolest thing as a kid.  I can only imagine what Gates will turn it into.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Such a Mare

"She's a one woman type of girl."

That basically sums up McKenna's trainer ride on Sunday.  She had a major tantrum that my trainer was riding her.  She wanted Mom up on her and no one else would do.  This is only the third time in a year that someone besides me has been on her (one friend rode her for 5mins and my trainer rode her once back in the spring) so I was expecting some initial confusion/hesitation on her part, but not a full blown meltdown.

"I don't know who you are and what you're doing to me"

McKenna was stiff and hollow, doing her best backwards giraffe impression for Jen.  For almost every upwards transition she would fling her head up and mini rear.  At one point she even struck out with a front leg.  She got growled at and put in her place, but she was NOT happy about it.  
Backwards giraffe wants Mom now!

But on the plus side, Jen said she feels much more consistent in her pace and rhythm, like a trained horse rather than a baby. She also loves her canter, and really thinks that she's going to be able to haul ass around the jumper ring someday.

Staring to give in
 We will be scheduling more trainer rides in the future to see if we can get ride of the I-want-Mom baby attitude.
"Ok, maybe this isn't so bad"

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Bringing Up Baby

I've had McKenna just over a year, September 30th was our anniversary. We can currently walk, trot, and canter fairly nicely, with most of our trot work on the bit and moving forward.  We've started trotting cross rails and small verticals. I feel comfortable enough to start dropping my stirrups on her. I had hoped that we would a lot farther along after a year...cantering courses, showing, etc.  I haven't taken her off the property, but hopefully that will change soon.  I am proud that my trainer has only gotten on her once, and only rode her for about 20 minutes before having me get on.  I do have another trainer ride scheduled for her on Sunday, mainly because I've only seen someone else ride her twice and want to see how she goes.



First Ride
Obviously from the time I got her to the end of June I had Buddy and was having a very hard time trying to work both of them.  It didn't help that McKenna was very babyish, needed lots of turn out/lunging before I got on, and was prone to some not so fun antics.  She liked to come up with her front end and spin, and on one occasion she stood straight up with me.  I'm not sure how I managed to stay on, all I remember is grabbing mane and my martingale strap and praying. Now however, she's much more mature and while she still spooks, she doesn't try to rear and spin and can go back to work without loosing her mind.


"Me spook? Never."
My plan after Buddy sold was to put McKenna into boot camp and be able to hit a schooling show or two in the fall.  Mother Nature and McKenna had other plans.  It was one of the hottest summers here, almost two moths of 90+ degree weather.  While I grew up in that weather in SoCal, I've adjusted to Oregon's much more moderate climate and was dying.  I'd ride on weekend in the mornings, and in the afternoons during the week when we had cooler days. 

Oops

McKenna lost four shoes in three moths, always the left front.  One was 36hrs after our farrier put it back on.  My farrier kept saying that her feet are pretty nice for a TB, and that she shouldn't be loosing that many shoes.  I put bell boots on her 24/7 and she ripped the first pair off within two days.  But the second pair lasted a month and we didn't have any lost shoes during that time. She currently has clips on the front and that has seemed to help.

Our current plan, to be discussed with trainer on Sunday, will hopefully be to continue trotting fences, start cantering fences, and introduce lines.  I'd really like to be able to a schooling show in December and at least do cross rails, if not the 2'.  She's very much a jumper, but not many shows around here have lower level jumpers.  Most start at 2'6" and I'd like to give her some experience at the smaller heights first.

My current favorite pic of us.

Friday, October 10, 2014

My Own Redneck Neighbors

I know some of the other blogs out there have talked about their redneck hell neighbors, so I'm going to share a story about mine.

Next to our barn is another boarding barn.  The barn is a bit rundown, doesn't have as many amenities as ours, but the board is cheaper. You can see where this is going, right?  I've been at my barn for almost 8yrs, and while I don't know every boarder next door, I think the longest one there was maybe 3yrs?  They have a high turnover rate, either boarders getting fed up with care/management/lack of amenities or the BO getting fed up with the boarders and asking them to leave.

Our outdoor arena is along side some small paddocks at the other barn.  Over the years I've had countless horses come charging at the fence when I've ridden past.  Buddy and Phoenix didn't care but McKenna sure does.  Currently there is a buckskin half Arab in one of the paddocks that likes to charge us, ears flat back and teeth bared, then turn around and kicks at us with both hind feet. Last week we were riding around and the owner of the horse was out bringing them in. I was trotting past, and the Arab came flying at us, spun and kicked, and McKenna shot forward like she was coming out of the starting gate.  The owner just laughed. McKenna was so worried every time we went past that part of the ring, even after the horse was gone, she would tense up and spring forward.  If I thought McKenna wouldn't freak out, I'd take a dressage whip and smack the crap out of the other horse if she charged us when no one was around.


I think the other horse is jealous of McKenna's cuteness
Last night a different boarder and her 8yr oldish daughter were out riding in their "grass ring", or otherwise know as the BO's front lawn.  When you ride along the top rail of our outdoor you can see their grass ring.  It's small, but they have some poles/trail obstacles set up.  The other boarder decided to put her younger (maybe 5ish) son on the horse, but had him sit behind her on the horse's loin and grab the back of her western saddle.  Said horse looked fine to me, but about 2mins into the ride I hear her start yelling "Whoa" over and over.  I was approaching the top of the ring and stopped McKenna so she could take a good look and hopefully not freak out.

Mom gets her horse stopped then yells at her daughter to stop her horse and get off.  Daughter does and Mom tells her to take the reins of both horses while she tries to get the son off, because the horse was going to buck.  Mom starts yelling at the son to get off, but he's little and can't.  She reaches around and pulls him sideways, telling him to jump, and he ends up falling to the ground and rolled out of the way.  Cue immediate crying/screaming.  At this point McKenna shoots her head up and starts getting tense.  Mom starts yelling louder for the son not to cry and to get off the ground because the horse was going to step on him.  Horse hadn't moved an inch, and didn't look likely to but what do I know?  Mom gets off the horse and while continuing to yell "Would you rather fall off or get bucked off," tries to get the son to stop crying.  They walked away and I tried to get McKenna's brain back online but she started spinning and running sideways, so we lunged instead. 

Thanks neighbors for ruining my ride.  But at least all three of them had helmets on. 

Monday, October 6, 2014

Feel the Burn

While I might not be blogging regularly, I am reading/stalking everyone else's blogs.  I joined in the 2pointober challenge and got my baseline of 2.06mins last week.  Ever ride I've been trying to do 2point sets, but McKenna doesn't make it easy.  We've had some fairly energetic rides the past week, including one where I just got off and ended up lunging her. 


But today I managed to get in almost 8 minutes total of 2point, all at the walk.  Even though Phoenix is retired, I still hop on him once or twice a month. He's lost all of his top line, and looks (at least to me) horrible.  I know I'm not going to be able to get him back into shape but I'd at least like him to look less like a neglected pasture pet.  So we do 10-15 min working walk rides every couple weeks where he has to march out and stay as round as he can.  I did my 2points in sets and timed each, and did 80% of our ride in 2point.  I'm sure I'll be feeling it tomorrow!!

Also check out L. Williams' giveaway for her 1,000 post!!

Saturday, October 4, 2014

What We've Been Up To

So I haven't blogged in over 7 months.  Oops.  Last winter was way overwhelming, between work, managing the barn while my BOs were gone, seasonal depression, trying to work my horses, and just life in general. I just had to shut down for a while.  The barn situation has vastly improved; my BO stopped the lesson/college program we had so now I don't have to run herd on 10 immature college girls.  My trainer is still coming out and doing lessons, but just for boarders and very select leasees. Work is slowly getting better, as of Oct 1st I got a promotion and the coworker I can't stand is leaving at the end of the month. 
But they make everything better

The biggest thing to happen during our hiatus was I sold Buddy.  We had been schooling 3' at home, and even showed in the .95m jumpers at one show in the spring, but it was too much for him.  Between the college girls riding him and me, he was working 5-6 days a week, but was getting tired and cranky at the bigger heights.  Discussing my long term goals with my trainer (show at 3', start doing some rated shows again, maybe the 3' jumper classic they added to the last A show of the season here in Oregon) we  both thought it would just be too much for Bud. He's 18, but has lots of life left in the lower divisions.  And I have McKenna, who is young and should be more than capable of doing the 3' jumpers.

Bud and his leasee won their first eventing derby at intro.

I had listed Bud on a local FB page and DreamHorse, and had some hits.  We were going to a show, hauling up and schooling Friday and showing Saturday and I had two people lined up to try him at schooling.  Two other people came up to me at schooling asking about him.  Both women trying him were looking for lesson horses, one for her friend outside Seattle and one in Portland.  Both loved him.  The Portland one asked for a trial, and mentioned that I was going to have a bidding war over him since everyone seemed to love him.  Then the Seattle lady came to me with a checkbook out and asked how much I wanted for a deposit.  She had loved him and called her friend and they wanted to buy him on the spot.  I was completely surprised and shocked.  They wrote up a contract, and after our classes on Saturday I dropped him off at the friend's farm where he stayed for a few days before going up to Seattle.  They also payed me more than what I was asking.  It was very surreal, and considering it was my first time selling a horse it went way faster and easier than I ever thought.  I've done some FB/Instagram/YouTube stalking and Buddy has been leased to a young teenager who adores him and is showing him in the 2'6" jumpers. 

Morning I sold him, my last pic of him.
As far as the other ponies, Phoenix has been officially retired.  His side bone on his right front started making itself know again and despite injecting it he was still off. My vet was out a few weeks after we injected and asked about him and flat told me it was time to retire him.  So he's been hanging out all summer getting fat and sassy.  I took him to a friend's who has five acres and a run in to live with a couple of my BO's retired horses but Phoenix bullied them too much and had to come back to the barn.  Which was a good thing; two weeks after coming back he developed cellulitis in his left hind.  He was lamer than I've ever seen, his leg swelled up at least twice it's normal size, couldn't move his hock at all, and almost fell down multiple times.  I was convinced he wasn't going to make it. But five days of twice daily penicillin shots and bute and he was back to normal. 

Day 2 of cellulitis

McKenna has continued her progress, but it still squarley in the baby stage.  She's matured and isn't nearly as ADD as she once was. She's trotting very nicely (most of the time) but our canter still leaves a lot to be desired.  We have started jumping some small crossrails and verticals, just trotting, and she's loving it.  Hasn't looked or cared at anything I've put in front of her, including a brick wall plank and the flower boxes.  Our biggest issue is that she's very smart and tend to get bored and naughty so I have to keep switching things up and changing our ride every time so she doesn't get used to a routine.

I'm going to try and get back into the swing of blogging.  I've started a blog for McKenna but haven't decided if I'll use it or use this one. 

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Retail Therapy

Nothing like shopping for pony supplies to make you feel better! Both Buddy and McKenna have ripped holes and leg straps off their blankets in the past month.  Buddy caught his on his water bucket ruining the bucket in the process as well.  I think my barn owner can repair it, but I'm hesitant to have her do it or get him a new one since he'll more than likely be sold this summer.  If I do have the blanket fixed I'm pretty sure it will fit Phoenix so he'll have a back up medium weight.


McKenna's blanket was an old stable blanket that my barn owner gave me, so I don't feet too bad that she's ripped it up.  I have a feeling she's going to be pretty hard on blankets so I think she'll do better with a tougher turnout blanket vs a stable blanket.  SmartPak was having a sale a couple weeks ago and their SmartPink turnout caught my eye.  It was on sale for $50 off list price so I bit the bullet and ordered it.  It came today and while it's just barley too warm for her to wear it now I tried it on before putting it away till (hopefully) next winter.
Fits her better than the old stable blanket did too, so hopefully no more shoulder rubs.
My second piece of retail therapy is still on order, but hopefully should be getting to me in the next couple of weeks.  Tack of the Day had Tredstep da Vinci field boots on sale last week for $199.  Normally those are $489 and since my 8yr old tall boots have started to die (my mom got the zipper replaced in the broken boot but there's something wedged in the bottom of the heel and it looks and walks a bit funny) I couldn't say no. According to the size chart they should fit, but if not I'll put them up on a couple local Facebook groups/Ebay and at least get what I paid for them then start the boot search all over.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

What 3 Week Break?

Adding to my dreary mood the weather over the past month has been nasty.  We got 17in of snow, and since my truck is still not fixed, I got snowed in for 3 days because my car couldn't make it out of the driveway.  After that we've gotten a few inches of rain and some strong winds, not very nice riding weather.  But now that I'm getting back into a more manageable routine and being able/wanting to ride my horses the weather has decided to cooperate. 

Buddy's lessee this term Maddie made it out and did a quick snow ride

It was warm and sunny yesterday, and since I haven't jumped Buddy in three weeks since the clinic, I set some fences out.  Just 4, an x to warm up with, two diagonal verticals and an outside square oxer.  He had been strong, forward, and opinionated during our flat ride on Friday, and I figured he was bored and wanted something more to do. 

He was awesome jumping!  Not too strong, but forward and willing to go wherever I pointed.  We schooled some bending lines and once I remembered to not open my left rein we nailed everything.  We had been doing the outside oxer bending right to a diagonal but I couldn't get him to land on the right lead. My friend then yelled at me to not use that left rein and, like magic, we were able to land on the right lead and go to the second fence.  I just need someone to follow me around all the time telling me to not open the left rein.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Burnout

Over the past 6+ weeks, I've slowly burnt myself out at the barn.  My barn owner's left for their yearly trip to southern California for part of the winter, leaving me in charge.  This is the third or fourth year they've gone, but there's always been at least two or three of us sharing in barn management duties.  This year was the first year that I was the only one managing the place.  I was doing some extra stalls and feeding, but I did that in past years as well.

I have so much more respect for barn owners and managers now, especially those that have real jobs outside the barn.  I was putting in 12+ hour days during the week; leaving my house by 6:15am and not getting home till 7pm every night.  And for the most part I wasn't riding or working my horses that much.  I was lunging McKenna, but just enough so she wouldn't go stir crazy in her stall.  With Buddy I would hop on bareback and cruise around for 10-15 minutes a couple times a week.

It got to the point where I was having weekly panic attacks/hysterical sobbing sessions.  I dreaded going out to the barn, especially during the busy afternoon hours where I would have to see/interact with everyone.  I'd pull up and see what whose cars were there and then plan how long I wanted/needed to stay and how best to work around who was there.  I did have to get after people, "No you can't ride that horse", "The fields are closed for winter riding/turnout", "Your board/lease payment is late",....you get the idea.  I hated doing so, it made me feel like a bitch, and I would get progressively madder as time went on.  Part of the reason I wasn't riding was because I know if I rode in a bad mood I'd take it out on my horse and that is in no way fair to them. 
Sassy pants on her birthday

But my barn owner's have been back for a week, and already I feel so much better.  I've managed to ride McKenna three times in the last week and Buddy twice.  I think I only rode McKenna twice while they were gone, sorry mare! 

She turned 6 on Valentine's Day and got a big hand full of peppermints.  She's surprised me with how good she's been under saddle for as little as I've done with her in the past 6wks. She had a lightbulb moment the other day when I was trying a baby leg yield to help soften and bend her.  Gave me a nice balanced trot, bending to the inside and holding a frame. 
3'6"ish
I free jumped McKenna again, and she was awesome.  Popped over everything, even up to 4'ish.  I had the fence up to the top of our standards, and she pretty much loped it.  She did kind of scare herself at that height and refused it the second time but once I put it back down to 3' she went over.  I just wish I had something better to take pics/videos than my phone.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

John Turner Clinic - Day 2

It seemed like we rode longer on day two than day one.  My group was right after the lunch break and all of us had gotten on about 10 minutes early to start warming up.  John came out and started talking to us and giving us exercises to do during warm up so I think we did get an extra bit of time.  He didn't have us do a lot of trot work, mostly walking with turns on the haunches and forehand and sidepassing.  We went almost straight into canter work, doing walk-canter-walk transitions then doing canter-halts. 

Moving right along John had us start jumping with a skinny brick wall set along the outside, with no standards.  The first time through Buddy veered left two strides out and we had to come again but we got the standards put up.  Not a problem then.  A few others had runouts as well, so we went back and forth over the wall a few times. 


The other fences were set up along the center line in a zig zag pattern.  John had us do a bunch of different bending lines, starting with some longer ones and ending with an incredibly short one. I got yelled at for using too much left rein and not enough right rein.  At one point as I went around all John was saying was "No left rein, no left rein!". 

video
Then we switched up the lines and did a short, hard line bending to left he turned to me and said "You can open your left rein here, but only here".  The line started off a short right hand turn from a skinny bending left in 4 to an oxer.  The first time I did it we totally missed the turn, but then so did almost everyone else.  Second time, we got the turn but Buddy was pretty tired and we pulled up at the oxer.  You can hear on the video John saying he was ok with that, then he had the oxer put down to a vertical and we got it (mom missed getting that on camera).

video
I never realized that I'm a lot stronger with my left rein before.  Buddy's gotten most of this week off, his lease girl did a flat hack with him today, but when I ride this weekend I want to set poles and practice the same lines, not using my left rein. John was a great clinician and I'm hoping they'll have him back down because I would love to ride with him again.

Monday, January 27, 2014

John Turner Clinic - Day 1

Friday afternoon getting ready for the clinic was a bit of a disaster.  My truck wouldn't start despite the fact that I took it in 3wks ago because it wasn't starting then and had supposedly been fixed.  That combined with the fact that I have been majorly overextending myself at work and the barn (12-14hr days/5 days a week for 3weeks combined with not being able to sleep more than 5hrs a night) led to a panic attack/sobbing phone call to my mom, the second one in a week.  I was all set to cancel the clinic and spend all weekend in bed until another boarder at my barn, who I don't know super well, said she'd lend me her truck.
Nice F250 diesel that hauled really smoothly
My mom ended up flying up to meet me Friday night and joined me at the clinic both days.  No one else from my barn went, even though auditing the clinic was free.  It was awesome to have her along to take videos and make sure I ate and drank and to spoil Buddy with apples and peppermints.

I was in the 2'6"-2'9" group and we started right after the lunch break.  There were 6 of us, one 17yr old junior and the rest of us were ammys. We started out by going back and forth from a two point to a deep seat at the walk, finding our balance and stretching down in our heels. In the trot John wanted us to flex our ankle and nudge the horse with our heels every time we sat.  We added some trot-halt transitions, making sure they stopped straight and didn't move once stopped.  A few of us (me included) had horses that stopped crooked, so we were instructed to halt with the haunches in the opposite direction they wanted to go.  Buddy likes to stop haunches left, so I had to make sure to stop him haunches right.
Introductions day 1

This led to turns on the haunches and turns on the forehand.  John said he does a lot of this with his horses, and that the key to successful lead changes is turn on the forehands. I got dinged for going to fast and trying to rush through them. He kept telling us over and over that nothing we do is a race, and to keep everything slow and in control.

We didn't do too much canter work at first, just a few transitions to lighten them up. Again he said "It's not a race, it's a departure. You prepare them, then ask for a canter departure." For jumping we started by trotting a small vertical with one side dropped and halting in a straight line. The jump was the first in a 4 stride line so that made it a bit more challenging. Buddy was offended by stopping and not going down the line and was pulling me forward. John had me take off my figure 8 noseband and martingale, saying that he thinks they are just decorations and he thought Buddy didn't like the flash. We then moved onto cantering a small vertical on a diagonal with a long approach and stopping on a straight line.  The first time sans noseband and martingale was pretty awful.  Bud was flipping his head so much I was afraid he'd rear.  Almost everyone in the group had problems so we did it a few times, and each time through got better.
Way to over jump Bud.
The jumps went up and we added the 4 stride outside line after the vertical.  It was a long four, and some people got 5, Buddy was feeling forward so I pushed for the four. Again we had to stop on a straight line and despite having to move him up, Buddy halted well.  John then had us reverse the exercise and go up the line to the diagonal, halting again.  A few of us were having issues following our horses mouths and relaxing our elbows so we finished the day by doing some canter work  and jump the single fence with our reins in a driving position.  As weird as it felt, I did notice I could follow easier and had to unlock my elbows.
It took me a while to figure out how to do this and hold a crop at the same time.