Monday, April 25, 2016

Best Birthday Weekend

Sunday was my 30th birthday and to kick off the birthday weekend on Saturday we went to our first show of the year. It was my first show in almost two years, and obviously my first with Peebs.

You got me up how early for this?!?
Two days before the show I got an email saying they were starting my ring an hour and a half earlier than planned. So at the lovely hour of 5:30am Saturday morning we headed out. We got to show in time to school in the ring before they started, which was great because while they opened the ring between fence heights there was so many people and horses in a tiny indoor I wasn't able to do a whole lot. 

Peebs was pretty up when we first got there; he didn't want to stand at the trailer or eat. But once I was on and we started warming up he settled right in and was the same slightly lazy pony he is at home. We had a bit of a wait for our classes so I got off and we hung around watching some friends do the jumpers in the outdoor ring. 

When our ring was opened for the cross rail warmup we trotted around a few times and attempted to canter without running into ponies. Side note, I was the oldest one in my division.  That's not intimidating at all! I think we trotted maybe three fences before I had to pull him up pretty short when a trainer walked in front of us and Peebs ended up tripping and almost went down on his front end. We trotted a bit just to make sure he was ok then high tailed it out of  there. 
Blurry phone screen shots
Our first round was our best. He was relaxed and trotted around nice and quiet. I hadn't payed attention to the striding in the outside lines; my plan had been to trot in and trot out but since he was so nice I let him canter down the lines. One was a slightly long 5 while the other was a slightly short 6. Our second and third rounds weren't quiet as nice, he was more awake and a bit more bold down the lines. We ended with a flat class which was just walk trot thankfully because there was no way 8 of us could canter in that tiny ring at once. 
Cutest crossrail pony evar!!!!
They announced placing after the flat and we ended up with a 1st for our first round and seconds for our other two rounds. We snagged a 4th on flat and end up tied for champion! Best birthday present ever!! Take that little pony kids!

Thursday, April 21, 2016

The Peebs Poop Problem

Say that three times fast!!

When I bought Peebs they told me his "thing" was getting loose manure whenever they switched hay.  They had him on a probiotic that he got about a week before and a week after the switch and it worked pretty well.  I talked with my vet and he told me just to keep Peebs on the probiotic all the time.

Since I'm at a self care barn and clean my stall everyday, I've gotten to know how Peebs goes, as it were. He has had a couple days of loose poop and watery discharge but a double dose of probiotic has seemed to do the trick.  Add in some extra tail, butt, and hind leg washing and we were good to go.

With the arrival of warm sunny days and lots of green grass I've been slowly letting Peebs graze more and more after our rides.  I didn't want to upset his tummy too much so we've only been grazing for 10-15 minutes at time.  And there's been some more loose manure but starting last weekend I noticed that there was a lot of watery discharge down his butt and hock.  So much so that when I scrubbed his legs, he lost some hair along the back of his hock.  I figured it was the grass, and haven't grazed him since but our poop problem continues. His manure returned to normal, maybe a touch on the soft side if I'm being super poop picky, but the watery discharge is still there.

I've got a call into the vet, who is coming out Monday to do shots, and have ordered some BioSponge
 just to be safe.  He's fine otherwise, eating and drinking normally. He's gained wait and muscle since I got him so I'm not worried about ulcers but maybe I should. I just feel bad that his butt and hind legs are constantly gross and that I have wash him almost daily. 

Friday, April 15, 2016

Lead Ropes and Lunge Lines

Monday after our ride I gave Peebs a quick rinse and washed his socks.  The wash rack at our barn is at the end of the upper barn aisle and directly across from it one of the large wooden tack trunks our BO had built for us.  I usually set my lead rope down on it when I bathe but when  I was done my lead rope was gone.  I looked around and walked up and down the aisle in case I missed it.  No rope. I know a couple people walked past us while I was bathing and I'm assuming one of them picked it up, but I couldn't find where they put it.

Missing: one blue and grey lead rope
We all know things tend to grow legs and walk away in barns, and it's not like I don't have extra lead ropes, but it's still weird.  I put up a note on the white board in the aisle but haven't gotten my rope back yet. The extras I have are an old pink and white one of McKenna's and Phoenix's blue and black one.  I couldn't bring myself to use Phoenix's, just like I can't bring myself to take his halter off my hangers in front of my stall. The pink/white combo clashed pretty badly with poor Peebs, so we've been practicing our "off the line" skills.  He's very willing and so far I can walk him back and forth from his stall to the arena and the cross ties with out a lead rope. We also did a little ground tieing/free tieing in the aisle where the cross ties are, but I didn't clip him in. He's surprisingly willing to stand there. The feed store is having a sale this weekend and a new lead rope, along with grain and cat food, is on the list.

We don't need no crossties
We also had an unplanned free lung yesterday.  I had put the neck stretcher on and was going to put the lunge line on when Peebs took off on me.  Since he wanted to play run away I went to stand like I was lunging him and worked him off the line.  Going to the right he was great; went mostly in a circle around me, cantered and trotted when I asked and stopped off my voice.  Going left wasn't as good which is normal even with a lunge line.  He made some lovely egg shapes and kept trying to turn around and go to the right but we were able to trot a halfway decent circle at the end. I think we'll be doing more of this.

Dramatic pony is dramatic

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Finding Our Groove

Last week's lesson was miles better than our lesson the week before.  Peebs was super soft and relaxed, almost to the point of being too relaxed. In fact not only were we able to trot in and trot out of a line, when Trainer told me to canter through the line I couldn't get him to. Oops.
Trot all the things!

We did canter some single fences and once I stopped picking at him things went really well. I know better than to pick at him, or get tense and lock my elbows, but it's soooooo hard to sit there and let him flow. MUST MICROMANAGE ALL THE THINGS!!! My job is to make sure he has a good pace and is straight. After that his natural rocking horse rhythm will carry us to the fence. My current mantra while cantering fences is "Don't pick, stay relaxed", said in a one-two-three-four counting strides style.  I also had a bit of a lightbulb moment when Trainer said to "Pull your hands back to your hips instead of pulling up." I don't know how many times she's said over the ten plus years I've been with her to keep my hands down, but this finally worked.

Since he was so good and I felt confident enough, we entered our first show on the 23rd. We're just doing trot-a-course cross rails but I'm super excited to get back to the show ring. Only downside is that after we sent entries in, Trainer's son's high school robotics team made the national finals which is the same weekend, and she's going to chaperone. They've been dealing with some scary health issues so this is a big bright spot and I'm happy he gets to go. And my trainer friend BS and one of her clients (McKenna's new owner but with her other horse) are going and my mom will be in town so I'll have back up and support. 

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Magical Unicorn Saddle

We had the saddle fitter out on Saturday to do Peebs and another horse in the barn.  While the mare seemed to be a quick fix (she just needs a wide tree saddle) it doesn't look as easy for Peebs and I.  Apparently we are on the hunt for a magical unicorn saddle.

Homeboy might be getting this plastered on him

Being the super awesome horse that he is, Peebs needs a wide to extra wide tree on an English made saddle (no Antares, CWD, Devocoux for us) possibly a hoop tree, while I being the short, squat person that I am needs an 18" short flapped saddle. Do you know how many of these mystical saddles are out there used?  Nada.  And I've been searching multiple used saddle sites multiple times a day since Saturday. I will admit to feeling a bit discouraged over the weekend.

For what I'm going to pay for our new saddle it might as well be gold

It was a bit funny, when the saddle fitter told me that I needed a bigger seat size with a short flap she seemed almost embarrassed, like it was a secret that I'm short and fat. I told her that I realize that, that I've had to deal with too long flaps my entire life and that I know how hard it is to find short flaps.  She let out a breath and seemed quite relieved. 

I do have an email into the local County rep to see about getting an appointment to see how much $$$ it will be to get a new custom saddle for us. I rode in a County years ago and absolutely loved it and the saddle fitter on Saturday said those saddles would be a good fit for Peebs. County is currently running a 0% financing right now, so we'll see if we can make it work.  It's my birthday at the end of the month and if nothing else I've asked for money towards the saddle and it will be one big ass 30th birthday present to myself!

Friday, April 1, 2016

Reset Button

Love love love this photo!

We had a lesson last night and while Peebs warmed up fairly lazily his Dr. Jekyll/Mr. Hyde side came out pretty quick.  When he gets excited, usually over fences, he grabs the bit and I have pretty much zero control.  He doesn't take off, no leaping/charging/running away; he just tunes me out and does whatever he wants.  He was fine over the first few cross rails but then we were to trot in and trot out of a line of x's and he said "See ya" after the first one.  I was able to pull him sideways out of the line but it was very ugly and not super fun to ride.
Trotting quietly is hard
After trainer talked me down we tried it again with a plant to halt immediately after the first fence and go from there.  Again, he took the bit and ignored me but I did get him stopped quicker that the first time.  Then trainer told me to get tough, sit down and back, and do a one rein pulley stop.  It's hard to do that while riding in the fetal position but somehow I managed and he got stopped hard.  There was much head tossing but when we came back around he calmly trotted the first fence, all but falling over it and trotted quietly down the line like the good lesson pony he probably wasn't was.
Jumping boxes like a boss
We managed a few times through the line before trying to string together a little course.  He would start to get quick and/or check out but each time trainer had me stop him hard and it acted like our reset button.  He would go along quietly after that for a few fences then try it again. He never did pull the full out "grab the bit and ignore mom" that he did at the beginning but you could tell he wanted to.  It was hard (read: terrifying) to ride, especially coming off of McKenna who would full on bolt/buck/spin/launch me into the next state.  And to Peebs' credit I never felt like he was going to pull those moves, or like I was going to come off, it just sucks to know that for a few strides you have no say in what your horse is doing.  That his little brain is in control and you really are just a passenger.  It REALLY explains why he was up for sale. But he doesn't pull it all the time, and our hard stop reset button works and I know once I get more comfortable getting after him it won't be as big of a deal.  My friend texted me after my lesson asking how it was, and I could honestly say it was a hard, eye opening lesson, but it was a good lesson.