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.