Friday, February 26, 2016

The Peebs Test: Ogilvy vs EquiFit

I've been using my Ogilvy pad for almost a year now, and while I like some things about I really dislike others. My jump saddle didn't fit McKenna all that well and I bought the Ogilvy because McKenna seemed a bit sore with my EquiFit T-form pad and the ThinLine sheepskin pad was way, way too much padding with my saddle.  I sold the ThinLine on ebay but kept the EquiFit as a backup, just in case pad.

When I first got the Ogilvy

 To me the Ogilvy seems too bulky under my saddle and too much padding between me and the horse, but not as much as the ThinLine was. I do think it helps relieve back soreness in both the horses and myself.  McKenna seemed much less sore and happier with it, so I kept using it.  But with Peebs I wanted to test the two pads out again.  I have the same bulky problem with him even though my saddle seems to fit him better, even though it's still not a prefect fit. Ironically even though I have a jumper style Ogilvy, it fits a lot better on both horses with my dressage saddle.

Someday I'll take this pic at Thermal, someday
I've used the EquiFit pad twice with Peebs now, one flat hack day in the indoor and one little jump day outside.  I like the look of the pad much better; it seems neat and tidy to me instead of a big floppy pillow.   While Peebs didn't seem sore, at least to palpation, after the rides or the day after, he didn't seem as happy under saddle.  Both days he was less willing to go forward, would stop or break gait easily and often (part of that might be rider induced), and just seemed a bit more meh than normal. The big thing that told me the EquiFit was no go was when I went to sit deep in the canter to push him forward and every time he fell into the trot.  While that happens a bit with Ogilvy pad, it's not every. single. time.  I'm just as happy to perch forward in a hunter hunch as much as the next floppy ammy, but sometimes you need to sit and drive your pony forward and not have them fall out of gait.  So for now it's the Ogilvy unless someone wants to buy me an EcoGold to try out.

I like how you look EquiFit, but function must follow form

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

One Month

Last week was the one month anniversary of  buying Peebs. I've definietly learned a ton about him, some good some not so good, and have a much better idea of what we need to work on going forward.

Our major breakthrough for the month was figuring out what bit to use.  I've already talked about it, but I'm still so surprised how different he is in the pelham vs other bits.  Would I like to not have to deal with two reins, yes.  But I'd rather have a happy pony while juggling a handful of leather than a pissed off pony.

He's ear shy, and so far is not at all interested in having his ears clipped. I'm playing around with getting an anatomic bridle but finding something that's legal in the hunter/eq ring is a bit of a challenge.  Especially with a limited budget. He's also not a fan of bridleing.  He wants to poke his nose out then nod his head up and down before he lets you put it on.  It's more of an annoyance rather than anything, but it's still a pain.  I'm hoping that getting his teeth done next week (also yay drugs for ear clipping!!) will help, and maybe the anatomic bridle would help too.

Lead changes freak him out.  Someone has obviously rushed him through them, and probably gotten after him about them.  Poor pony wants to drop his butt and scoot forward all nervous the couple times I've asked. You can tell it upsets him.  But on the flip side, I'd say a good 90% of the time if I have him coming forward to the fence and ask he'll land on the correct lead. The plan for now is to just do simple changes and focus on getting him to land on the correct lead.

He's a gross, disgusting pig in his stall.  Since I'm on self care at my barn, I clean my stall and know exactly how gross he is.  He likes to poop and pee in the middle of his stall and lay down in it.  Even blanketed he constantly has crusty pee spots on him and smells of poop.  It hasn't been warm enough to bathe, but it's supposed to get warmer this week so pony boy is getting a bath. Unfortunately I don't think there's anything I can do to fix this one.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Sunshine, Shows, and Suckiness

I'm currently sitting on the floor at SFO trying to charge my phone during a 10hr layover (thanks air traffic control for cancelling my flight!) trying to get back home from vacation. So apologies in advance for mobile blogger screwing up the layout and the rambly nature of this post. 

Last Thursday my BO and I set off on vacation together. Her husband is spending the winter with his 92yr old aunt who lives along the Salton Sea in SoCal, 45mins from Thermal, and BO was going down to spend a few weeks with them. Side note, Aunt actually owns the barn property and spends the summers up here. BO and husband are like her kids. I had been talking about going to see my parents in Mexico around the same time, and since my BO, her husband, and aunt are like my second family, they got invited to Mexico too.

 Some of the other boarders were worried because BO and I have never been gone at the same time and if something happened what would they do?!? Remember that for later.

The drive down was long...good God California is a big state. But it was 84 when we pulled in Friday afternoon, much nicer than 52 and rainy in Oregon. Saturday BO, husband and I headed out to spend the day at Thermal and watch the $100k World Cup Qualifier. We spent the morning watching some 1.20m jumpers, window shopping all the pretty tack, then watching the 1.35m class in the Grand Prix ring. 
I might have fangirled a bit walking around with some of the big west coast riders hanging around the in gate. I will say that Hap Hansen looks about a million years old, and that his neck has fused. The GP was amazing to watch; tough course with only three clears. My favorite was Rich and Flexi, and even with a rail down they ended 4th. And it was announced that they'll go to the World Cup finals next month. 

After getting slightly sunburned Saturday we left Sunday for Mexico. We did a little sightseeing and Monday headed out to the Guadalupe wine valley about an hour from my parents. Mom had booked a trail ride they the vineyard for BO and I and we had a blast! I got a slightly spirited Lusitano named Valentino. He jigged most of the time but was super smooth and fun to ride. 

Unfortunately when we got back to the house Monday both BO and I were bombarded with texts saying that one of BO's donkeys was down and not drinking. Vet was called and it took 6 people to get her up. BO slept on it Monday night and spent Tuesday making arrangements. Thankfully one of our boarders is a contractor doing an addition to the barn right now and had the equipment to bury Panda on the property. He took charge of everything. But both BO and I know that the SH, the other boarder in charge while we're gone, is just beating herself up about it. She's super sensitive and anxious, and even though everyone knew Panda was going downhill, she's likely worried herself sick over it. I know I'll get a tearful SH to deal with tomorrow and threats if BO and I leave at the same time again. 

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Sunday Funday

Instead of watching the Super Bowl on Sunday, BS and I had a super pony filled day.  We hauled Peebs and BS's gelding Kalvin up to another barn for an open jump school.  Kalvin is green over fences, has never jumped away from home, and hasn't seen any fill so BS wanted to get him out before showing him.  I had originally said I'd tag along as her ground person but there was an open spot in the same time time slot, and an open spot in her trailer, so Peebs got to go too.  I had no expectations of him; basically I was taking him to see how he is away from home.

I swear his ears aren't that huge

Both boys hauled well and were good tied to the trailer while we tacked up.  We hand walked them a lap or so around the ring then reset the fences smaller.  Warming up Peebs was much more up and forward, but not crazy or out of control. I had forgotten my crop at home, but I didn't need it. We started by trotting a cross rail on a circle and while he definitely wanted to go to the fence, he listed and waited for me.  Our first canter fences weren't so great, he likes the forward, long spot to fences and I do not. But once I relaxed and let him go we were able to find some better distances.  I know our biggest "issue" right now is just me getting used to him and getting comfortable letting him go.  McKenna was such a ball of dynamite I had to hold hold hold to keep her from exploding that letting Peebs go feels like suicide.
Our first oxer, which I didn't realize till we were on the way home. 
We stuck to the baby cross rails, the cross rail oxer above, and a couple small plank jumps.  I was just happy that he was so nonchalant about going places and other than being more forward, he felt like the same pony at home as away.

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Bits and Pieces

One of my goals for the first half of the year is to figure out Peeb's bit.  When I went to try him they had him a broken snaffle pelham with a bit converter and one rein.   He was heavy in my hand, especially in downward transitions, but didn't protest my nervous picking at him.  I told my trainer that it seemed like he didn't need that strong of a bit and I wanted to try him in some others.

When we brought him home I put him in a full cheek slow twist.  Peebs can pop both shoulders and make circles much more egg shaped than round and the full cheek helped with our turning.  The first few rides he seemed a bit pissed if I got too handsy when jumping and proved he is a master of the angry head toss. So I dropped him into a d-ring french link where he promptly ignored me. He wasn't bad or mean about it; he would just stick his little nose in the air and go "La la la la la, I can't hear you".  So back to the slow twist we went.

Tuesday I set a few cross rails up with the plan to string together a little course.  We started warming up by trotting one and the second time through Peebs flipped me the head bird and ran at the fence.  I stopped him hard on the landing and came back to try again.  This time he was even more upset and had an epic head flinging extravaganza while I tried not to be completely freaked out.  Where the F had my easy lesson horse gone?!  I pulled a lesson kid move by picking up a tiny little trot, two pointing while grabbing mane, and just pointed him at the jump. Again, a few strides out he flung his head and tried to canter it.  We did manage a somewhat decent attempt at the jump after that, but both he and I were frazzled.

Obviously a lot has changed from his old home to now, and we all know trying to figure out what sets a horse off can be impossible sometimes, but to me Peebs' crankiness seemed mouth/bit related.  He needs his teeth done ASAP, and will get them done once I get back from my vacation next week. 

He likey
But he was so easy in the pelham when I tried him I thought what the hell and put him back in it, only with two reins instead of the bit converter.  Voila, instant happy pony. He was still heavy in my hand but there was no head flinging. We tried jumping the same cross rails again yesterday and it was a night and day difference. Little lesson pony trot up to and away from it, then cantered it.  The first time at the canter I saw the long spot and just supported him and he didn't care, second time I deliberately held for the short spot and again he didn't care.  If switching bits caused that big of a change from one day to the next, then we'll be riding in the pelham from here on out! I'd rather work with a heavy on the forehand horse than one running at jumps with his head in the air.  Happy Peebs means a happy Molly!

Monday, February 1, 2016

2016 Mid Year Goals

I figure since I suck with monthly and quarterly goals, I'm going to try twice yearly goals.  Since I've met my only first goal of 2016, "Buy a new pony", I figure it's time to set some new goals.

The Peebs:
  • Work on ear clipping/ear handling in general
  • Get his teeth done
  • Figure out our bitting situation
  • Lunge 1x week in the vienna reins
  • Canter transitions 
  • Get comfortable over fences again!
  • Work on my eye and seeing a distance
  • Learn to trust that he's not going to take off/spin/crowhop/rear 
As anxious as I am to show I'd love to be able to set show goals, but I figure we need to get to know each other first.  If I show before the summer, great!  If not, who cares!  My main goal is get comfortable jumping again and enjoy the ride!