Friday, December 8, 2017

I Feel Good

I'm a big believer in the magic of Back on Track products.  I had a sheet and saddle pad for Buddy, and they made a huge difference in the winter for him.  Peebs is similar to Buddy in that he tends to get more muscle sore/stiff than joint stiff (furiously knocks wood).  So I bought him a sheet over the summer.

I had the chiro out a month or so ago for him and she noted that his hips and back feel much better than usual but his neck is still his weak spot.  He loves to impersonate a giraffe; part of it is how he's built, and part is he likes looking around. I always know when it's time for him to see the chiro because he stops being able to bend his neck to the right and will brace and hold tension in his neck.  So my one Black Friday/Post-Thanksgiving Sales purchase was a BOT neck rug for 20% off.  Then last week SmartPak had one of their 25 days of Christmas specials as a BOT pad with free polos.  It also combined with another 15% sale, so I got a pad and polos. 



I've been using the sheet since we started blanketing the horses, sometimes layering it under another sheet or medium blanket once the temps dropped. Peebs started wearing the neck rug Tuesday and I just started using the saddle pad and polos last night.  He's been warming up much faster than before and feels good.  Almost too good.  So good he needs a lunge before we ride if he's had a day off or a couple of easy days.  So good I dropped my whip earlier in the week and didn't use one last night.  So good that I had to do our canter work last night in a half-seat or two point because if I sat he impersonated a race horse.  I'm happy he's feeling great, but I'm knida worried about the monster I've created. 

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Bringing Home Baby

Once again I've fallen behind on blogging.  But the biggest and most important thing is that Cinder came home last Sunday.  I'm excited, but also terrified.  Who let me buy a baby?!  I have no idea what the hell I'm doing.  I'm assuming this is kinda what if feels like to bring a human baby home from the hospital.

I convinced a couple other boarders at the barn to come with me when I went up to get Cinder on Sunday.  I figured having someone to talk to in the truck would help calm my nerves and get my attention off every bump and sway in the trailer.  We took Rosy, my BO's mini as a travel buddy for Cinder with the plan of putting them in a stall together over night while Cinder settled in. As we were getting ready to load up, KP (who is a vet) and I talked and decided to give Cinder her vaccine booster then and she took it like a champ.  We put Rosy in the first stall in the trailer, shut the divider, and Cinder took maybe 45 seconds to load.  She did get a bit nervous when she realized mom wasn't with her, and called a couple times.  But once we were on the road, I didn't hear or feel anything.

That's the sound of my heart melting
Rosy must have had words with Cinder because back home when we turned them out in the indoor together Rosy pinned her ears and Cinder wouldn't come within 10 feet of her.  Obviously Rosy does not appreciate having to play babysitter, thank you very much!  We let Cinder play around in the indoor for probably close to an hour and she called maybe five times?  Way, way less than I was expecting.  We decided to split Cinder and Rosy up and Cinder was walked happily down the aisle away from Rosy past a bunch of other horses and into her new stall.  She paced for a few minutes till I gave her some hay then seemed to settle in.  And from the reports I got (our BM lives in the apartment in the barn), she was pretty quite during the night.

BM put Cinder out in the indoor during the day Monday for me and said she was great.  When I came in the afternoon she seemed like she had been living there forever.  I turned her out again to clean her stall and tried on the foal blanket I got for her.  She spun a couple slow circles around me when I first put it over her back, but didn't seem to care at all when it was on and fastened.  It was hilariously too small so I ordered a pony sized one.
We used to have a 3yr old boarder here that had problems getting her head over the door.  #giantbaby

Yesterday the farrier was out so we brought Cinder out to mess with.  She was super not happy about her back legs being picked up, but a light smack on her ribs and a firm "Knock it off" got the point across.  She's smart, and once she realized that she got pets and scratches for holding her foot up she was fine.  Farrier rasped a little bit off on each foot since she was in the middle of a cycle and didn't need a full trim.

Good luck with that Cinder

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I turned Peebs and Cinder out together after their feet were done.  I was a bit hesitant because Peebs can play kinda rough, and his favorite game is chewing on other horses.  But baby sister wasn't having any of that.  He tried to bite her neck and she whipped around and let both back feet fly at him. He backed way off, and pretty much let her do whatever.  She tried to nurse from him and he just took it with a confused look on his face. I'm pretty sure he's going to be squarely under her hoof from now on.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

What's in a Name

I'm on day 10 of 12 working in a row....and the last few days have been ROUGH.  Like we normally have 7 people but have been down to 3 or 4.  Mentally and physically I'm fried so, for funsies I'm asking for help on picking a show name for Cinder. 

Every princess needs a sparkly crown.  Also, that's her dad's palomino butt in the background
Her sire is Chancellor (Rogue for a barn name) and dam is Brenna (Abby/barn name) by Buenos Aires. Doesn't give me a whole lot to work with.  Of note, Brenna's grandsire, Bolero, was the founding sire of the B-line Hanoverians and the grandsire of Brentina. 

Like mother, like daughter
I'm thinking something fire related to play off of Cinder, or maybe something in Spanish as a thanks to my parents (who live in Mexico) for helping me get her?  Currently I'm liking Sparks Fly, but my uncle's nickname is Spark and I don't really get along with him that well as he's THAT uncle at family gatherings.

So interwebs, help a girl out.  Anyone got any suggestions??

Friday, November 3, 2017

Worth His Weight

The past few weeks have been pretty good in terms of ponies.  Peebs' has been awesome over fences, minus one day when we attempted bounces, and I've feel like we've really figured each other out and have become a pretty good team. 

Hoping this week goes as smooth as this line #mcm #easysix #aslongasiholdwithleg #alwaysaddleg #canyousayrightdrift

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Over the summer I had set up a couple gymnastics for Peebs, all one strides.  He was a champ going through them so when I set up one with a bounce to a one I didn't think anything of it. We started cross rail bounce to a pole and he seemed ok with it.  I made the pole a cross rail and while it rode a bit long he seemed to get the idea.  I shortened the bounce and it went fine.  I then put the second cross rail up to a vertical and all hell brook loose.  The bounce suddenly seemed super long and Peebs knocked the vertical with his hind end.  So I shortened it again.  Then he tried to put a one in the bounce, a few times.  My life might have flashed before my eyes when the one stride put us almost on top of the vertical.  But God bless him, Peebs never once felt like he was going to stop, or run out.  Every time he somehow managed to get over the vertical without pulling the rail or killing us. We finally managed to bounce the bounce and I quit with that.  I'm hoping to work on bounces in lessons over the winter to see if we can figure them out.

Absolutely no problem with the spooky Halloween jump

That ride over the bounce really cemented that Peebs is a trier, and will do his best to take care of me.  Phoenix would have stopped, and Buddy probably would have just gone through the vertical, if they were in that situation.  But even with some truly awful distances and take off spots, Peebs was rock solid and I felt completely safe with him.  The old me would have been in tears and would have given up. But with Peebs I was laughing and making jokes about it.  We had a lesson the week after and while we didn't have any bounces, we did have some bad distances.  And again, I felt 100% ok with it and Peebs took everything in stride..haha! Bend the bending line too much and end up at 4.75 strides?  Ok.  Don't hold enough in the outside line and get 5.5 instead of 6?  Whatever.  Seriously, this horse is worth his weight in gold!

A couple months ago my farrier (whose work I like, but as a person, not so much) made a comment about how much I paid for Peebs.  Basically he thought I got robbed and paid way too much for him.  And maybe in other people's minds I did over pay.  But to me, Peebs is priceless.  These past couple of weeks have only cemented that fact. I will happily pay more for a horse with a great brain who tries his heart out.  And as my trainer said in my last lesson, put a flying change on him and some 2'6" show miles, and I could list him at double what I paid.  But I'm pretty sure Peebs is with me to stay, forever.  

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

It Started with a Text

A former boarder at my barn, KP, texted me on a Saturday out of the blue asking if I wanted to buy or know of anyone who did her 4 month old filly. She's out of an imported Hanoverian mare by a Oldenburg/Trakehner stud.  The stud was who she used to board with us last year when he was 3 coming 4, until the testosterone really kicked in and she gelded him and took him home to recover. This is his first kid; KP has the same mare and another mare in foal to him for next year.

Hello world!
I really, really like Rogue, the stud/now gelding. He was a sweetheart on the ground, and you would have never know he was a stud till this spring.  He was the one Peebs was in love with last year. I was briefly toying with breeding Tia to him instead of Yorke, but physically Yorke was a better match for Tia.  Rogue is bigger boned than Yorke, and Tia needed Yorke's refinement.

Not to sure about this whole hatler breaking thing

I jokingly texted my mom, who was helping to pay for Tia's breeding expenses, and asked if she wanted to buy me the filly. She replied with "Ok, how much" and after I picked my jaw up off the floor and responded and said KP would let us do payments till she’s weaned.  So the next day my BO and I went off to meet her.  She is a beautiful foal.  Very well put together, great manners, friendly and best of all, a gorgeous mover. Seriously, all the things I want in a cute red package. KP's plans for her were dressage, but hopefully she'll take to jumping.
Baby's first selfie
She's not weaned yet, and probably won't come home till late November/early December but it looks like I'm buying a weanling!  I'm hoping I can make it over to KP's a few times before she comes home to play and get to know her. They mostly call her the baby, and the name they gave her I don't really love, so I'm trying to come up with names. I'm thinking Cinder for her barn name but I'm not 100% yet.  I think I need to get to know her more before deciding. The one downside is that Rogue isn't registered, so she can't be registered in a breed registry.  So I have some time before I need a show name for her to be registered with USEF. I need to double check what the dam's registered name is, but I think the name I had picked out for Tia's foal will actually work as well. 

Friday, October 13, 2017

Evolution of Peebs' Poop Problem

Back when I bought Peebs I was told that he had occasional soft poop and watery discharge down his butt and hind legs. I've had a couple different vets look at him, and tried various supplements, feed, probiotics, and what not. It would kinda get better, then kinda worse and was basically a constant thing.  I learned to deal with it and so did Peebs.  He wasn't colicky, kept weight on great, and was otherwise completely fine.

We're gonna need a bigger bucket

Over the summer I had the chiropractor, TS, out to work on him a couple of times.  She's a vet, and had also offered advise on our poop problem.  She has a client in the Bay Area whose horse had the same problem and they did a full work up at Davis.  They switched the horse to a completely pelleted diet, no hay, no grazing. And that worked.  The plan for that horse was to leave him on the hay pellets for a while (not sure how long) and slowly try adding hay back in to see if he could handle it.

The second time I had TS out this summer Peebs was having a bad poop week and had actually lost some hair on his butt and hind legs.  TS read me the riot act and told me to either try the pellets or take him in to the vet school for a work up. Since taking him in for a work up sounds expensive I started him on the hay pellets.  I slowly switched him off the beet pulp he was getting to the pellets, then started adding more pellets and less hay.

Approximately 6lbs of soaked timothy pellets in a standard water bucket

We got up to 6lbs of soaked pellets and one flake of grass hay twice a day, and our poop problem stopped. It was amazing.  His butt and hind legs looked normal for probably the first time in the year and half I've owned him.  It made me sad thinking of how long I let this go on before doing something about it.  Since he was doing ok on half pellets/half hay, I left it at that and never fully put him on straight pellets.

Thank god he's an easy keeper

So Peebs is currently on the 6lbs of pellets and a flake of hay twice a day.  Once a day he gets his Horse Guard vitamin/mineral mix and Omega Horseshine. No other grain, no grass, just some cookies or carrots. The theory is that for whatever reason, his GI tract can't handle too much long stem fiber, but is ok with short stem, aka pellets. We did have a relapse a couple of weeks ago and I was pretty upset until I found out a barn mate was trying to be nice and feeding him a flake (or two) of hay at lunch when she fed her mare.  I felt like a bitch when I had to tell her not to do that, that he can't have any extra food. Knock on wood this keeps working and we can officially end our poop problem!

Monday, October 9, 2017

Stress City

The past month has been Stress City.  We had a big accreditation site visit for work and have spent every moment getting ready for it.  And of course, the week before, our internal review board said they wanted to their biannual inspection before the visit, instead of during the visit like originally planned.  So our time frame was suddenly shortened.  But both are over now and hopefully things can return to normal.
Still as cut as ever

To keep my sanity, I've mostly managed to keep riding during Stress City. Peebs, for the most part, has been good.  We've started putting the jumps up a bit to a whopping 2'3" and even a 2'6" fence.  And added in oxers.  I'm nervous about them, but Peebs don't care.  As long as I don't get handsy, and keep my hands down, he just goes with the flow and jumps from where ever I put him.

One of the easiest horses to ride through a gymnastic
We did our last show of the year at the end of September and while it was a bit of  a hot mess (apparently Peebs doesn't like waiting in the rain for his classes to go and got a bit spicy) I'm happy with how I handled it. He wanted to run, but at the same time was spooking at whatever and trying to go sideways.  We mostly trotted fences and I tried to keep my cool and not let it affect me.  Which I did, and we did improve with each round. In the past if Buddy or Phoenix pulled something like that I would have been in the fetal position crying and not able to push through and keep going.  So while we didn't have the show I wanted, it was worth it in terms of showing how far I've come as a rider. And the mental victories like that are worth more than ribbons any day.

I swear I'm not that pale in real life


There have been a couple big splurges, because we all know Stress City is best dealt with booze and retail therapy. I dropped my GPA on the concrete tack room floor a week or so before International Helmet Awareness Day, so of I made lemonade out of lemons and took advantage of the sales.  CO's and Samshields don't fit my head and the tack shop I went to didn't have any GPA's in my size and I was wary about ordering another with out trying it on first.  I liked how the Kask fit and it's pretty comfy so we went with that.  You'll have to wait for another post to see the other big purchase.

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Return to Riding

Well Peebs' summer break is over and it's back to work.  The chiro came out and said his hips were good, but his neck and poll were out again.  Pretty sure his neck will always be wonky; its where he likes to hold tension and his under neck muscles are super developed.  She did complement me on how much his top line has grown but it will always be a battle to keep his neck from being upside down.

Like this, his go to spook is to stick his head straight up in the air.  Here he was freaking out over the misters that were put up in the barn aisle.  It got up to 108 and even then he still hated getting wet.
I also got his hind shoes put on, but I'm thinking that probably wasn't necessary. I haven't noticed a difference in the week or so that he's had them. But we've mostly been doing flat work so we'll see once we start jumping a bit more. If I still don't notice anything we'll pull them.

Our first few rides back were rough.  I wasn't trusting him to not be crazy after almost a month off so I was holding his face too much and was too handsy.  I finally set out a bunch of ground poles one day and just trotted and cantered them while repeating to myself "Don't touch his mouth!!" And what do you know, he was pretty good.  I had set some of the trot poles a bit short and he completely biffed it the first time and even though I wanted to do some major half halting coming in the second time I didn't and let him figure it out.  Which he did fine on his own. He's got a good eye and is smart so I need to trust him to figure out the distance a bit more. Its hard because McKenna just wanted to run and jump ALL THE THINGS while Buddy didn't give a crap about ground poles and would fall all over them.

Wouldn't you want to hold that face?  It's the cutest face ever!!!

The day after our pole extravaganza I added three trot poles before a pile of poles that became a cross rail, then a vertical, then a bigger vertical. I wanted to set a gymnastic but was too lazy. Again, I had set the trot poles short, actually too short, but Peebs made it work. I just focused on getting him in straight (didn't always happen) and my body over the fence. He was great so we quite after a few goes. I'm going to try and set up a gymnastic today or tomorrow to play with.  And hopefully next week we can get back into regular lessons.  I haven't had one since the show 6 weeks ago!


Monday, July 31, 2017

Summer Break

The plan for after the show at the beginning of July was to let Peebs have an easy couple of weeks.  The week right after I lunged him once, and then used him for pony rides for my cousin's kids who were visiting from NorCal.  Peebs was pretty sure his days as a pony ride horse are over and would only walk as long as I was walking with him. He was very happy, however, that the kids stuffed his face before and after the ride with sour gummy worms and cookies.  Like mother, like son; we both have a weakness for sour gummies!

When you drive past a bar with your name on it.... We didn't actually go in because it looked sketchy af

I then went on vacation to New Mexico for five days, so Peebs got even more of a break. On our second day in Santa Fe I saw a local events magazine with a pony on the cover so of course I had to grab one.  We were there for the first of three weeks of Hipico Santa Fe, a h/j and dressage show. We managed to stop by late one of the days, but there was only one dressage ring going and it was 96* so we didn't stay. 

My superpower is fining ponies wherever I go
When I got back home, I started by lunging Peebs for a couple of days before getting on.  He was pretty up on the line but part of that was the stallion was getting lunged as well and they were showing off for each other.  Boys.  Our first ride back was pretty good, I didn't ask for much just let him stretch his legs a bit.  But our second and third ride were pretty crappy.  He's not lame just NQR and spooky.  I lunged him again to see if I can see anything, and his hind end was funky. He fell off the lead cantering both ways and did this weird stabby thing with both hinds.  So I've got a call into the chiro for another adjustment. I also think it's time to put hind shoes on him to give him a little more support.  I've never had hinds on him so I'm curious to see how he is with them. If that and the adjustment don't do anything, our regular vet is coming at the end of the month for teeth and fall shots so I'll sign Peebs up for an exam. Fingers crossed between the shoes and adjustment he can come back from his summer break!

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Cutting My Losses

We all know horses are a money pit.  Unless you're wheeling and dealing at the upper levels, its hard to actually make money on horses or even break even. I'm obviously not at the upper levels and am probably spending way more money on my ponies than is wise. Which makes knowing when to cut your losses hard. 

At the end of June I took Tia in to see where she was in her cycle in hopes of breeding her again.  We still were waiting for the biopsy results, but the vet wasn't super worried about it.  When they scanned her, they found a decent sized cyst that hadn't been seen before.  Either it grew fast, or was never found in her earlier scans.  The vet and I discussed options, and decided to wait till after the Fourth to short cycle her and rebreed. I then got the biopsy results the next day and that brought everything to a screeching halt.  The vet originally didn't think she was as bad as she it, and seemed a bit shocked and apologetic when telling me.

Tia has a lot of scar tissue and some signs of long term, low grade inflammation. Even with a clean uterine culture, she probably has, and has had, a low grade infection.  The infection we can treat. The scar tissue we can't.  The vet gave her a 10-50% chance of the embryo being able to implant after fertilization. If we can clear up the infection, and treat her all winter, the higher the chances.  But then we're waiting another year, and she'll be even older which lowers our chances. But even so, we're looking at a less than 50% chance of implantation. 

Basically he told me, if it was his mare, he'd cut his losses. We could throw a ton of money at her, and still end up with nothing. I'm already about $2,000 into this, which isn't all that bad considering the price of going out and buying a foal at the level I'd hope this one would be. But do I want to double that and get nothing? Embryo transfer is an option, but it's not a magic bullet.  I'd be looking at around $5k with no guarantee. Not to mention the emotional cost.  I'm proud that I haven't cried in front of the vets, but there's been plenty of tears in the truck, at the barn, and at home.  The owners of the barn next to mine just had a mare foal and they were complaining that they wanted a bay tobiano colt and got a liver chestnut filly.  I wanted to punch them and scream that I just want a Tia baby.  I don't care gender or color. I understand a better now how women with fertility issues feel.

So for now, we're done.  I technically still have a breeding to Yorke but I don't have a mare. For a few days I was tempted to contact McKenna's new owner (who doesn't appear to be doing a whole lot with her from what I see) and ask for her back.  But the baby wouldn't be what I want, and Yorke wouldn't be as good of a cross with McKenna as he would be with Tia. And I don't ever want to breed just for the sake of breeding.  I'd like to think that someday I'll find another mare like Tia and be able to breed her.

Monday, July 17, 2017

2017 Q2 Goals Review and Q3 Goals

Better late than never, right?  For the most part we knocked some of these goals out of the park.  There are a few still left to work on.

Peebs:

  • Right lead canter.  It'd be nice to not go running up the long side counter bent with his head in the air. Done!!  I've learned that whenever we start having issues with his right canter, he's out and needs to see the chiro.
  • If above goes well, start cantering fences to the right. DONE! Not only did we canter fences to the right, we cantered entire courses, at shows and won!
  • Keep working on counter canter.  Be able to pick up the right lead tracking left. We've worked on counter canter, but haven't been able to pick up the right lead going left.
  • More lateral work  Done, but we can always do more!
  • Stay happy, healthy, sane, and sound We had a couple weeks of crazy Peebers, but I'm learning that him being spooky is a sign he's out and needs the chiro. Other than that, he's great!
Me:
  • Awareness of my outside rein...don't forget about it! I can actually carry contact in both reins, at the same time.  I'm sure this will always be something I need to remember tho.
  • More ground pole work so I can work on my eye and seeing a distance. We've done at least once a week ground pole days and it's really helped.
  • More no stirrup work  Big  fat fail

For Q3

Peebs:
  • Keep working on counter canter and picking up the right lead tracking left.
  • Start working on flying changes
  • Now that the fields have been harvested, field rides once a week!
  • Stay happy, healthy, sane, and sound!
Me:
  • No stirrup work
  • Get comfortable with bigger fences and oxers
  •  Work on my fitness and stamina so I'm not exhausted after shows

Friday, July 14, 2017

Team NW Outreach Show Day Two

After the success on Saturday, I was pretty pumped for Sunday.  Wile I was tired and sore, I couldn't wait to get back out in the show ring.  All my nerves from the day before were gone and for the first time in a long while I felt completely confident walking into the ring.

Before warming up I talked to Trainer about how on Saturday the lines rode in a 6.5 and I pushed him forward for the six.  I said I probably screwed up my math but once we looked at the Sunday's courses she said they should have been 7s.  As we were warming up she commented that Peebs' stride was much more open than at home, but he didn't look fast or quick.  Who knew he could have an effortless 13' stride?! We did plan to do the 7s, which were easier to get since he was a bit tired.

A non-horsey friend came to watch and brought her dog Jack.  Jack was pretty sure Peebs was his new best friend
We had two Outreach hunter over fences, two eq over fences, and an eq flat on Sunday.  The Outreach classes had three or four while there were 9 in the whole eq division.  My first round went pretty well; we were a little short in one of the outside lines but not horribly so.  The second round was going well until the approach for the last line.  There were a couple people sitting in the grass in the shade at the far end of the arena and they stood up right as we were coming around the turn.  Peebs spooked sideways and I ended up having to circle. We broke to the trot to pass them as Peebs was convinced they had appeared out of nowhere and were going to eat him. The people stayed down in the corner of the ring, randomly walking back and forth then sitting down and getting up again.  They spooked a few other horses and one poor kid came out in tears after her pony refused to go past them.

Going into our eq rounds both Peebs and I were pretty tired.  My goal at that point was to not let him break to the trot, which we did in the last round. Cantering past the in gate was just too much and Peebs was sure he was done. I cursed myself again for signing up for the flat, and basically tried not to fall off.  We earned an 8th for it and I hopped off to wait for the over fences placings. 


We managed a first and second for the Outreach classes, and a first and fourth for the eq.  It was my first ever win in an eq class.  Because the Outreach division didn't fill (had to have 3 in the first class and there were only two of us) they didn't award champion or reserve, but we would have been champion. I was slightly pissed I didn't get a champion ribbon, but I couldn't be happier with how we did.  I in no way expected to end the weekend with a champion, especially after the disaster that was the show last month. Peebs far exceeded my expectations and I had so much fun.  I bought Peebs thinking we'd plunk around the hunters for a bit till I got my nerve back to go into the jumper ring but after having a blast in the hunters this weekend, I think we'll be staying in hunterland for a while. I can't wait to get back into the show ring!

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Team NW Outreach Show Day One

Saturday morning came way to early.  I stuffed my feet into my paddock boot and ran out to the show to feed Peebs. He seemed totally chill and clean (I don't trust him to keep himself clean but it was too hot to put even a sheet on him overnight). My original plan was to lunge him, but since he was a complete 180* attitude wise from the last show I didn't.  I headed back to the hotel to pick up my parents, change, and get breakfast.


We got back to the show around 8 and wandered to the ring to try and guess when I'd go. My parents parked themselves by the ring while I went back to get ready.  I was doing two divisions on Saturday; an 18" USHJA Outreach Hunter and an 18" Green Rider Hunter.  The Outreach division had classes on Sunday as well, and I was also in the Green Rider Eq on Sunday.  The GR Hunter division had 9 in it, while the Outreach had 1-3 per class.  I was the only one doing the whole division. I had four over fences rounds and they had all four cards open before two under saddles.

Warm up went well, but I was still at bit nervous at how Peebs would be once we were actually in the ring.  I decided that we'd trot the first round then try cantering.  My goal for our round was to ride forward, not let my nerves get to me, and not pick at him.  The first trot round went fine, but I forgot to count in the lines.  I thought they should have been 7s on the outside, and 8 across the diagonal.  When we went back in to canter, the outsides rode in a 6.5 and the diagonal was 7. I pushed him forward for the 6 and it actually felt pretty good.  He was flowing really well, and the 6 and 7 came easy. I was kinda shocked at how easy and good everything felt. I figured I must have screwed up my math.  It was some of the easiest hunter rounds I've ever had, on any horse.  We did have to do simple changes since Peebs doesn't have flying ones yet, but other than that we cruised right along.
 
In which I'm cursing former me for signing up for the flat classes
We had a bit of break until the flats so I hopped off and downed a bottle of water. When I went back in for the Outreach u/s I was the only one.  Luckily the judge took pity on me and I trotted and cantered maybe a 1/3 of the arena each way. They also didn't make me line up. It was my first under saddle win!  I just stayed in for the GR flat which all 9 of us were in.  My left calf started cramping pretty badly about halfway through and I thought I was going to die. For this hack the judge had us do over a lap of trot and canter each way and I was in agony. Once we lined up I dropped my stirrups and tried to stretch my leg as much as I could.


We ended up placing in all of our classes with the first for our solo under saddle, a first and second in the Outreach over fences, and a fourth and a sixth over fences in the Green Rider and a sixth for the GR under saddle. I was super happy with how we did, especially compared to the show a month ago. Peebs was like a total been-there-done-that show pony and I could focus on what I needed to work on and not worry about what he'd do. I was kicking myself for every being worried about cantering him around at a show.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Team NW Outreach Show Warm Up Day

I had a half day at work on Friday so after loading the trailer and Peebs, we hauled out around 1 to the show.  Even though he seemed back to his normal lazy, non-spooky self, I wanted plenty of time before showing on Saturday to let him get his crazies out. Once we got to the show and got his stall set up and dropped the trailer I took him out for a lunge.

Ready to go!

They were working the lunge area and jumper warm up (they're next to each other) so once I saw that Peebs no longer cared about the water truck or tractor we went and watched the National Hunter Derby till they were done with the rings. Jumperland is at the opposite side of the show grounds from Hunterland and Peebs hadn't been over there before.  He looked around a bit, whinnied once when he realized he was alone (the rated show was very small and the jumper ring had finished for the day), then lunged fine.  I probably didn't need to lunge him but figured why not.

I took him back to his stall and tacked up to go for a hack.  The hunter warm up ring was full of International Derby horses and I felt out of place in my schooling breeches and t-shirt in the sea of shadbellies. They were working the arena I was going to be showing in and they said they'd open it for schooling so I only did a little in the warm up before waiting to school in the ring. Peebs was foot perfect in the show ring; we trotted and cantered a couple laps each way before popping over a fence.  My nerves were getting to me, the jumps were set 2'3"-2'6"ish and looked huge. I picked the smallest of them to jump and did it once at the trot and once at the canter.  Peebs, of course, didn't care.

To finish the day he got a bath, wrapped, and a big pile of hay.  My parents were flying in for the week, so I ran off to check into the hotel and then pick them up from the airport. On my way I got a text from my trainer that her daughter had gotten hurt and she wouldn't be able to make it Saturday but would be there Sunday.  That didn't help the nerves at all, but at that point I was too tired and hungry to really care. I figured if worse came to worse, we'd trot everything. 

Monday, July 10, 2017

Redemption

I have a lot to catch up on, but first and foremost, we had some serious redemption at our show this past weekend.
Kisses for the best pony

Not only was Peebs back to his normal, happy self, we cantered our first full course at a show and didn't die!!  In fact we did pretty damn well. I honestly don't know why I was scared to do it; cantering him in the big show ring is so much easier than trotting around. For the most part we were able to find a nice rhythm and just lope along.  I found most of my distances, we made the strides easy (actually too easy, homeboy can have a 13ft stride, who knew?!).  I'll put a full show recap up later.

Of course getting here from our last show took some work.  The week after our last show Peebs felt really disconnected and when I lunged him to take a look, it was like his front end and hind end were two different horses. We also had another major spooking incident walking down the road involving a mail truck.  So I called the chiro and poor pony was way out.  When she first started working on him she said his hips were out and his neck was a bit wonky.  But once she started on his neck he was much worse than she thought.  He's very stoic and we think his way of saying he was out was spooking and being super amped. And a couple days after she worked on him, the tension I'd been feeling for the past couple weeks was gone and he stopped spooking at things. At the show we had multiple encounters with the water trucks and tractors and he never once cared about them.  Even when they got close enough that we got sprayed all he did was stick his head in the air and pin his ears.






The week before the show we had our best lesson to date. Trainer put the jumps up a hole and set the lines on an 11ft stride.  Our arena is small and it's hard to set on a 12' stride so we normally do a 10' or 11'.  Since we've mostly been doing baby stuff I tend to set on a 10'. The theme for the lesson was to ride him forward, in prep for  the bigger strides and lines at the show. And what do you know, once I committed to it, it was easy.  Once I'm comfortable with having a bit more pace and bigger stride, Peebs is super easy to find distances on. He's not a super fancy warmblood hunter, but he can have a nice pace and rhythm that makes doing the hunters fun. Now, all we need is a flying change and we'll be set!!

Monday, June 26, 2017

Bel Joer Blog Hop: If Your Horse Were a Drink

It took me a bit to think of what Peebs would be for the Bel Joer hop.  My past ponies were easy, but Peebs not so much.

Phoenix would have been a nice wine; one that gets better with age. I'm not a huge wine connoisseur but he reminds me of a Mexican wine that I absolutely love.  Its a grenache, a pink wine.  I wasn't expecting to like it but it really grew on me and is now my fave. It's a bit fruity, which Phoenix was as well. When I first got him, he was in love with another gelding at the barn and the two of them were inseparable.  

He could definitely rock the pink
Buddy was, of course, a Budweiser.  He's your all America, basic been there, done that, do anything horse.  I mean his show name was play on Budweiser.  One Bud Wiser... 


McKenna is shots of Fireball. Their website states "If you haven't tried it yet, just imagine what it feels like to stand face-to-face with a fire-breathing dragon who just ate a whisky barrel full of spicy cinnamon." Only try riding that.  She was an explosive powder keg of energy that if you weren't careful, like the shots, would leave you on your ass on the ground wondering how you got there.


Peebs, I think, is vodka. He's pretty unassuming, but can pack a punch.  He also mixes well with other horses, and you can dress him up, like mixing cocktails. I'm a big fan of cocktails and mixed drinks, but I can't handle cheap vodka.  It knocks me out like nothing else.  Top shelf vodka I'm good with, just like Peebs on his good days.  When he's up and spooky he's like cheap booze in that he can rattle me pretty good. But when he's on his game, he's smooth and perfect like nothing else.

Friday, June 23, 2017

The Dangers of Mesh Sleeves

At the show I wore an Essex Classic show shirt, that I've worn in the past.  It's one of the new designs, pretty sure a Talent Yarn with the quarter placket of buttons, snap wrap collar, and mesh on the underside of the sleeves.

Mine had different trim, but basically the same shirt


I have a mole on the underside of my right arm.  I've worn other shirts, and this one, with mesh before and never had a problem.  But on Sunday my mole somehow got stuck in the mesh.  I didn't realize it till I was taking the shirt off, and I kinda had to just yank it out. Sorry for TMI. Everything seemed fine at the time, but Monday morning my arm really hurt.  The mole was slightly swollen and it felt bruised, but there was nothing visible.  All week my arm has hurt and I've had to change shirts because they would either brush too close to my mole, or hit my arm at exactly that spot.  Today is the first day it hasn't hurt.

I'm kinda nervous to wear any shirt with mesh on the underside now, sun shirt or show shirt. I guess I'll have to start putting a band aid or something over the mole so this doesn't happen again.  And a word of warning to anyone with a mole under their arms; watch out for mesh sleeves!!

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Here, There, and Everywhere

I feel like I've been saying this a lot lately, but the past week has been a crazy roller coaster. Between hauling horses, the show, crazy weather swings, and being shorthanded at work I feel like all I do is run around.

 Last Thursday I took Tia in for a uterine exam. The clinic was a little over an hour away, but they're one of the top repro vets in the state.  It had been raining off and on all week and cooler, in the 60s, but the day I was to haul her up called for 30-50mph winds.  Not exactly what I want to haul in.  Luckily the wind wasn't too bad, except for the last five miles home.  The exam itself went well; Tia was the picture of perfect uterine health. No cysts, no edema, no visible scaring. I did opt to do a uterine biopsy and culture just to be safe.  The culture came back negative but we won't get the biopsy report back for another week or so.  The vet recommended rebreeding her (hopefully next week!) and putting her on Regumate to make sure her hormone levers are sufficient to maintain the pregnancy.

Mare is not amused
Originally my show was supposed to be on Saturday, but because of the rain, they moved it to Sunday.  It was a USHJA Outreach show held during a rated show and show management was moving some of the rated classes around to save the footing. I was fine with the show being moved back a day, gave me extra time to prep and I spent most of Saturday getting everything cleaned and ready instead of rushing around Friday night.

Gelding is not amused

 But of course Sunday dawned sunny and hot. It was over 20* hotter on Sunday than it had been earlier in the week.  And of course my classes didn't go till early afternoon.  We got to the show around 8 and I was glad I had gotten a day stall.  We threw Peebs in and went and watched some of the junior/AO hunters and the jumper ring. We also grabbed lunch of delicious grilled cheese sandwiches and the teen from our barn that I forced asked to be my groom/ground person found a $360 hunt coat marked down to $20 that fit her perfectly. She's mainly a western rider but is doing English pleasure and dressage in 4H and open shows so she needed a coat. I wish I could find deals like that!

Unfortunately Peebs was not in a horse show frame of mind.  He was super looky and spooky and tried to take off with me in the canter during our warm up.  We spent a lot of time walking around trying to get his head on.  I didn't even think to bring a lunge line, but he could have used a nice long lunge.  I will for sure be bringing one next time and doing an early morning lunge just to be on the safe side. I was debating trying to jump him in the warm up (would it wind him up more or calm him down?) when there was an open gate for our ring.  I said screw it, I'm hot and they're 18" jumps, and I think getting him in the ring and focusing on something will calm him down.  So we went in with no warm up jump.
Molly is not amused
We trotted into everything and cantered down the lines, and the first class was a shit storm. He was spooky, tried to run across the diagonal line, and wouldn't come back to the trot after our last line.  So I stopped him hard, made him wait, then walked out of the ring. I think that knocked some sense into him because our second round was much better.  Still jumper-in-the-hunter-ring like, but we actually got the correct number of strides, and decent transitions without having a battle over it. 

While waiting for our third trip and flat class they brought a water truck and tractor into the warm up.  Peebs lost his shit at the water truck and went flying backward and spun.  I hopped off to hold him and every time the truck came at us or close to us he'd try to vacate stage left. At one point he backed into a trainer who wasn't paying attention.  Luckily she was fine and I apologized profusely. I was really hot and done at that point so I scratched the rest of my classes and took him back to the stall.  I figured he was an ass in warm up and the first round but we redeemed ourselves in the second round and while I was pissed at him for being THAT horse at a show, I was never scared or felt like I was going to die.  I didn't get mad at him, tried to keep my hands down, and release in the half halts.  And the 18" fences looked tiny. Big wins for me! He was just not his normal unflappable Peebers self, but we survived and got better, at least until the water truck.

I wasn't expecting to place at all considering most everybody else in the class cantered the fences and we exuberantly trotted everything. But I checked the results online when I got home and we somehow managed a 2nd for our second round, out of 8.  I was shocked! Not shockingly we did place 8th out of 8 for the first round.

We're going back to the same show ground for a two day Outreach show in July and I will for sure be lunging him and avoiding water trucks!  Hopefully he won't be as much of a nutcase!

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Hands Breakthrough

Peebs and I had our last lesson and jump before our show on Saturday.  I wasn't in the best of moods going into my lesson.  Work drama, barn drama, and Tia have left me on a roller coaster of emotions.  And my lesson last week wasn't so great; damn you hands!  But this weeks lesson was actually really good and we fixed (most) of our problems from last week.



Last week we I had a meltdown trying to canter a single diagonal going right to left.  Peebs is worse going right, and historically has been strong and bargy going up the long side by the barn.  So of course, trainer sets the fence so we have to come up the long side by the barn. I wanted to pick and pull and get high with my hands, all things guaranteed to piss Peebs off. So he braced against me, got strong, and I got more handsy. We went back to trotting it and ended ok, but couldn't find a happy canter to it.


This week we started with that fence, first trotting and really focusing on finding my line.  I want to turn early so trainer stood where I was to turn.  It felt super late, but made the offside so much nicer. The first time cantering it I turned too early so our line was wonky, but I kept my hands down and didn't pick at him. Peebs was awesome and added to the fence and landed quietly.  The next time I turned when I was supposed to, and the fence was perfect. It was 1000% better than last week.


We then did an outside line.  We trotted in the first time in a short five then cantered in.  I saw the short distance coming in, and miracle of miracles, kept my hands down and waited for it. My go to bad habit when I see a bad distance is to pick my hands up, which raises his head, which makes the distance harder to see, which makes me get handsy.  Not a good cycle.  I had to hold for the four, but again, I managed to keep my hands down and Peebs happily loped down the line.  Trainer said I did exactly what I needed to, and that while the line wasn't perfect, I schooled it perfectly.  I rode the short, icky distance coming in and kept him packed for the short four while keeping his mouth happy. Peebs is more than willing to do the short stride, or add a stride, I just have to learn to ask for it with my hands down.  Once I raise my hands and his head comes up, its all over.


We finished by doing the little white fence above.  It wasn't as good as the other diagonal or the line.  I couldn't get Peebs off my right leg on our approach but, for the most part, was able to keep my hands down even with a bad approach. On the landing side we had a tight turn around an outside fence and Peebs kept landing on the wrong lead.  Between the tight turn and a lead change Peebs got worked up and we had to halt on a straight line a couple of times.  As you can see above, he didn't really like that.

Monday, June 12, 2017

To Good to be True

Tia went in for her 30 day check up on Friday afternoon, and they weren't able to find the embryo.  Sometime between day 16 and 31 she lost the pregnancy.  I had been thinking that everything had been too easy, going too well and I was right.  For an older mare, that has had reproductive issues in the past, I was shocked that she took on the first try and everything looked good at the first check.

I admit to crying the whole way home from the vet's. Which is about 5 minutes, but still. Once at the barn and after unloading Tia, I sat in the truck and cried some more while texting my mom and BO. The vet asked me if I wanted to try again, and I had said I didn't know.  My fear is that we'll rebreed her and it'll happen again. At that point I was too upset to even think about trying again. I don't recommend trying to back up and park your trailer while crying; I might have almost hit another trailer. Damn tears make it hard to see.

I spent most of Friday night/Saturday morning crying and trying to figure out what I want to do. I looked up repro specialists and after talking with my mom, BO, and another boarder I decided to take Tia into another vet about an hour away and get her opinion. If she thinks Tia could hold a pregnancy we'll try again.  If not, I  think we're going to try embryo transfer.  Our barn manager, LT, has offered her husband's trail mare up as a surrogate, pending vet approval.

 It's expensive, but as my mom put it, not that much more than going out and buying another horse.  And I don't want another horse, I want Tia's baby. I adore the mare and would love to have a piece of her for my own. If I could have bred Phoenix, Buddy, or Peebs I would have.  It's not about having a fancy, upper level horse for me.  It's about having a piece of a horse I love. I never plan to have human children; my horses are my kids and I didn't think I'd be so upset about losing Tia's foal. But it feels like I've lost part of my heart.

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Happy 10th Birthday Peebs!!

Happy 10th birthday Peebs!!! Can't wait to see what the next ten years of your life will be like!

Newborn Peebers known then as Little Scotch

Yearling Scotch


4 years old and showing off his classic high head at attention position

The day we met, such a sad Peebers, known then as Paddington

iPhone black backround pic of a much happier Peebers

Winning his first division champion

First year end award

Monday, June 5, 2017

Catching Up

I feel like the last month passed way too fast.  How are we already in June?!  Peebs moved into his summer paddock 24/7, which I love because I don't have to clean a stall every day, and he loves because there's grass! 

Don't bother me, I'm eating
As far as catching up on my riding, I feel like there isn't much to tell. For them most part Peebs has been good, if not lazy. I'm having problems seeing distances (like that's a new thing?), especially to diagonal fences. I know it's because I loose his shoulders in the turn, and we don't finish the turn. Hopefully I can get some help in my lesson tomorrow because my entry for our first USHJA Outreach show has been sent in. 


Thursday, May 25, 2017

Coming April 2018

If you've been following my blog for a few years, you (hopefully) remember how much I love my BO's mare Tia. She's the ultimate hunter, loves her job, does it well, isn't marish, doesn't give a crap about anything except having her mane pulled, and anyone can ride her.  She does have some arthritis issues with her front end, but I believe a lot of that was due to being over jumped/showed as a baby. My BO got her for $1, and it was hands down the best dollar ever spent.
Tia with a former leaser
We were told when we got her that she had been bred in the past, but had had an issue getting pregnant. I've said for years how much I'd love to breed her and get a baby, but was worried that it would have to be an embryo transfer and that's expensive. My BO has always told me that if I want to breed her I can. When Yorke moved into the barn last fall, I really, really, REALLY wanted to breed them.  He's more refined and lighter built than Tia, which is what she needs. Both have awesome temperaments and are easy to work with and be around. And how awesome would it be to have mom and dad in the barn?
When I used to jumper bigger fences
I kinda hemmed and hawed this winter/spring until one of the other boarders at the barn gave me a kick in the ass.  I talked to the vet, and basically she said to have Tia ultrasounded to see what was going on in there, and if I really want to breed her, this is the year to do it; she'll be too old next year.  So in early May right before I left for San Diego I dropped Tia off to be bred to Yorke.  She was bred on the 8th, and they said everything looked good and she had a nice big follicle. Yorke has very good semen and has never had to rebreed a mare, so that was a good plus.  I took her back yesterday for her pregnancy check and there was the little black dot on the screen!!  Tia's officially 17 days in foal to Yorke for an April 2018 baby!! 

She did have a bit more edema in her uterus than normal, so she goes back in for another ultrasound in two weeks, but they didn't seem too worried by it.  I have a list of dates for her pneumabort shots as well as updating her vaccinations and deworming. But hopefully, if all goes well, we'll have a baby around April 13th of next year!!