Tuesday, June 30, 2020

Reflections: June 2020 Quarantine

The month of June at TCF. Scottie lost a shoe twice, lost his fly mask, Peebs lost a shoe and Cinder lost her fly mask. But we're on day 10 and everything's been staying on!

Loving: That plans are coming together and things are starting to move forward.
Smelling: Nothing. My allergies have been awful.
Learning: History, especially what wasn't in our textbooks as kids.
Writing: Sadly, not much.
Reading: Blue on Blue by Dal Maclean
Watching: Queer Eye Season 5.
Craving: Berries. It's on the cusp of berry season up here and I AM READY
Obsessing: Over sending Cinder out to training. My baby's growing up!
Needing: Can't really thing of anything I NEED right now
Wanting: To buy Cinder's dad who is for sale. I can't afford another horse, I can't afford another horse...
Trying:  To stay awake.  I'm trying to reduce how much coffee I'm drinking.
Drinking:  Water, tea, and lemonade
Feeling: Cautiously optimistic for the future
Hoping: That momentum for BLM continues and we can have some real change
Listening: The audio book of The Lightning Struck Heart by TJ Klune
Clicking: Blogs to read

Monday, June 29, 2020

Back to Full Work

Peebs is back in full work and feeling good. When we first started increasing his work he was definitely a little stiff and lazy. We had one CTJ ride where I broke out my spurs and reinforced the idea that when I ask, he needs to go. He was very insulted but got his rear in gear and has been more forward in our subsequent rides. 

Unimpressed ears

We had our first lesson and jump school two weeks ago. I wanted my trainer’s eyes on him to confirm my thoughts that his stiffness was more of a coming back into work fitness issue and not a lameness one (she agreed with me) and to help us through his first jumps in almost two months. Peebs was much, much more forward when he realized we were jumping and suddenly I was having to hold him back and calm the beast instead of firing him up. I swear at one point his legs were spinning like a cartoon animal about to take off.
Having fun on the barn's new derby field

In our lesson last week we were able to advance from trotting single cross rails to trotting in and cantering through a line of cross rails, then putting together a course of cross rails including a rollback and bending line. Super exciting stuff! Peebs got tired quicker than he normally would have but we managed to fix (most of) our mistakes and end on a good note. Our last time through, we counter cantered the bending line but it was a very well balanced canter with the appropriate number of strides and my trainer said it would have been great if we were in an equation class and they called for it. We debated about going back to fix the line, but honestly I was so happy with everything else and for how I rode the counter canter, we decided to not pick that fight and end on a good note. 

Plus we had an exciting adventure two days later and I didn’t want to tire him out or make him sore. But that’s for another post!

Thursday, June 11, 2020

Now Enrolling for Kindergarten

July 1st Cinder starts kindergarten! I had originally be planning on sending her to an event trainer who has a great reputation with babies and is certified as a young event horse rider and trainer. Then the trainer moved barns and her board prices went up $200/month and the barn was farther away from me. I thought about it and figured I could make it work since show season has gone out the window. Then she stopped responding to my messages and when she did respond she said she's not really doing the young horses anymore, and isn't starting any under saddle. Ok then.

She's going to miss her BFF Scottie

So I posted an add on a local FB page asking for recommendations. I had a few other trainers in the back of my mind but figured I'd see what was out there. About half the replies were for the trainer mentioned above which obviously I disregarded. And even though I stated in the ad I wanted someone within an hour and half of me, I got a few people 3-5hrs away, and two in a different state. But I did get a few recommendations for a local trainer (15mins from work and 25 from my house) and messaged her.  She was great to talk to and we arraigned for me to come watch her teach a lesson last Saturday.

When you can't find a step stool and have to use a chair

Trainer S is also an event rider, but has a h/j background. She's started a number of horses under saddle and had ridden a lot of young/green horses as well. All the horses in the barn looked happy and healthy, and while the property is a little run down, I can see the improvements Trainer S has been making. The lesson I watched was with a jumper rider who has done up to the 1.30m, and I liked how Trainer S explained things and tried to trouble shoot the problems that arose during the lesson. Trainer S was easy to talk to in person and, most importantly, she's a fan of red headed mares!

Tentatively the plan is for Cinder to be with Trainer S for four months, then I'll bring her home for the winter. Once she's going a bit under saddle Trainer S will let me swap out 2 lessons a week instead of training rides which will be great. I'm excited for Cin's next chapter and hope she'll be good for Trainer S. This will be the first time in my life I'll have a horse in full training and it feel weird. I'm going to go check on her multiple times a week since she'll be so close but I'm for sure nervous sending my baby off to boarding school!

Wednesday, June 10, 2020

Happy Birthday Peebs

Peebs' 13th birthday was Sunday. We celebrated by sharing a bag of Sour Patch Kids (his favorite treat) and having our second ride since the fence incident.

On the 29th Peebs had his stitches taken out and was cleared for turnout. Vet still wanted me to wrap him with a standing wrap, 12hrs on/12hrs off to wean the leg off of being wrapped. He also said to wait a week to ride and to slowly bring him back up to full work. Knock on wood he's sound and did no soft tissue damage, so we're not taking it as slowly as if we were rehabbing a tendon, but we've only trotted two laps around the arena so far. And as of Saturday he was wrap free! He was a little stocked up Sunday, but it went away during our ride and hasn't returned.

He was less happy about going back to work than I was

It's been raining off and on for the past few days and is supposed to continue all week. I was going to ride last night but it poured right before I got to the barn and Peebs was soaked. Hopefully I can ride tonight and continue our rehab!

Monday, June 8, 2020

What I'm Doing

It's been hard to put into words what I've been feeling this past week, but I know I need to. As it's been stated before, and much more eloquently, now is not the time for silence. So to follow Megan's lead
 I'm going to share what I've been doing and am planning on doing.

  •     Since the election in 2016 I've been a member and made monthly donations to the ACLU. I upped the amount of my donations starting this month
  • I donated to the local bail fund for protestors in my state
  • My family is a bunch of book nerds, and my mom and I both used to work for Border's, so I love the idea of Saddle up and Read.  I've donated to them and plan to donate in the future.
  • One of my friends posted on FB that for then next week she's matching donations up to $500 to any BLM/LGBTQ organizations. Since I had already donated and felt like using those receipts would be a cop out, I donated to the Okra Project, which provides meals and resources to Black Trans people.
Reading and Learning
  • Blogs, especially from POCs
  • Books. I have a few that I've ordered on the way, and a couple on hold at the library I need to go pick up.
  • Articles (basically anything on L's list)
  •    I've been trying to share info about what I'm donating to, when and where protests, marches, and vigils are happening near me.  
I know there's more I can and should be doing, but a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. This is my first step and I'm determined to continue on as long as needed.

Friday, May 29, 2020

Reflections: May 2020 Quarantine

Frosty the pony. Pretty sure I was 8

Loving: That I got to see my parents and that my mom is spending a week with me
Smelling: Spearmint and eucalyptus lotion that I'm slathering on my hands to combat the dry skin all the washing and hand sanitizer is causing.
Learning: Working on the HQC course material (still!)
Writing: Jeopardy questions
Reading: The Ballard of Songbird and Snakes
Watching: Avatar: The Last Airbender (so happy this is on Nextflix)
Craving: Not much at the moment
Obsessing: Obsessively checking horse trailer dealerships to see if there's any COVID-19 sales
Wishing: Campus would stay quiet forever
Needing: A new mattress. I've known I've needed one for a while, but after spending a night in a hotel it's become VERY apparent that I need to move a new mattress to the top of my list of things to be bought.
Wanting: To ride Peebs
Trying:  To practice patience and go with the flow
Eating: My mom's matzo ball soup

Still the cutest
Drinking:  Water
Feeling: Fairly ok. Still a bit anxious, but not as worried as last month.
Hoping: To get good news tomorrow for Peebs' leg check up. The stitches should be coming out and I'm hoping we can graduate to turn out and/or riding. He's been great about stall rest and his 10mins of hand walking, but he's obviously bored.
Listening: Lots of happy/upbeat songs on Spotify. Samsies from last month
Clicking: Restaurant websites to see when/if my favorites are opening up again. I'm still very much in the take-out only mode, even if my county has allowed people to eat in restaurants again.

Thursday, May 21, 2020

Thirsty Thursday: My Horse is a Ho

Since Cinder turned 3 last week she's started to blossom into a woman. She's in flaming heat right now, and it's the most intense heat she's had. The couple of little heats she had last summer and earlier this year weren't bad and I figured I'd maybe lucked out in a less mareish mare.

I don't know why, but this pic of her and Blue cracks me up. The 23yr old paint vs the 3yr warmblood

But nope. Overnight she's turned into a friendship destroying ho. She's turned out with two geldings right now, and yesterday I watched them fight over her while she stood around and peed.

Blue trying to bite her while she tries to pee on him

Blue was ultimately the winner. He is herd boss (when Peebs isn't around, then the two of them vie for that spot) and Scottie is a wimp who gives up pretty easily. Scottie and Cin are usually BFFs so I think Scottie was more upset that Cinder was spending time with Blue more than anything else.

Cinder: Come and get it boys

To top it all off, A offered to let me ride Scottie last night and when I pulled him out of the pasture instead of Cinder she pinned her ears and gave me the mare glare of death. And when I started riding she was galloping back and forth along the fence having a meltdown. She never does that when A takes Scottie out to ride. She did get over herself and when I brought her in for dinner she only glared a me a little.

It might not be chestnut ears but it was great to see this view again!

Monday, May 18, 2020

Happy Birthday Cinder

Cinder turned 3 on Saturday. She's really looking like an adult now, not such a baby anymore.

Birth, one, two, and three

She got a matching saddle pad and bonnet set for her birthday. I was worried the bonnet would be too big, but nope, first perfect. I now want to get a green brow band to match

Mad that I wouldn't let her graze.

Her feet have gone through another rough patch, and she's a little tender footed. She was fine during the couple week dry spell we had, but it's been raining off and on for the past couple of weeks and the back and forth has been hard on her. She gets her feet done on Thursday and I'm going to grill my farrier on what he thinks will be best for her. I have a feeling she's going to be in shoes sooner rather than later, but that's ok.  We' haven't done any "work" other than playing dress up while she's been tender footed.

I just can't with how adult she is

Tuesday, May 12, 2020

The Leg

My vet was able to come out Sunday evening (and bless him, didn't charge me an after hours fee) and change Peebs' bandage and check the leg. It didn't look nearly as bad as I had thought. I'll post the pic at the bottom of the post so if anyone's squeamish they can skip it.

Vet poked and prodded the leg a little bit and showed me what parts of skin were dying off and will need to be trimmed. He also thinks one of the stitches will blow but left it for now. He said since Peebs is sound and since there's no swelling he doesn't need to be on the bute, which is nice. Peebs is still on the antibiotic till Thursday, when I do the next bandage change. I'm to take pics and text them to my vet and he'll decide if we should continue antibiotics or not then.

List of bandaging supplies from vet.

Peebs got cleared to have access to the paddock attached to his stall, and can get 10mins of hand grazing a day. It's supposed to rain on and off all week and if it downpours Peebs need to be shut inside. Peebs generally doesn't like being out in a downpour, so I'm 99% certain he'll be inside the stall anyways.

The stitches will come out in 3 weeks. Peebs is due to get his teeth done and sheath cleaned in June so I'm going to call and schedule an appointment for everything all at once. Cinder's teeth will also be due, so it's going to be a fun day for my poor wallet. Scottie is also due for teeth so at least A and I can split the farm call fee.

Without further ado, the leg:

The laceration at the bottom was the one I was really worried about. The skin was flapping and it looked deeper before they cleaned it up.

Sunday, May 10, 2020

Peebs vs The Fence

Peebs is normally pretty respectful of pasture fences. He hates hitting the hot wire and is generally too lazy to try and run through a fence or jump over one. So our theory for what he did Saturday is that he tried to kick at another horse on the other side of the fence, in the other pasture. Because Peebs is an asshole sometimes and would try to do something like that.

Peebs was in the pasture on the left while the others have moved to the pasture on the right.
As I drove up to ride around 11:30 on Saturday I saw the fence was down from the driveway. A had snapped me a pic at 7 when she fed of the ponies taking naps so sometime in the 4.5 hours between, this had happened. All four ponies were up by their respective gates when I went to assess the damage and at first I wasn’t too worried. But then I saw the blood against Peebs’ hind stocking and started getting worried. His left hind was pretty badly torn up and he had the leg cocked. I called A and left her a message then called the vet and left another one. I did a quick check on the other three but thankfully they were all fine.

I grabbed Peebs and prayed he could make it into the barn. Thankfully he took one lame step then walked perfectly fine into a stall. My vet returned my call and said he was en route to another emergency and I should call the vet school. A came down as I was talking to the on call vet who advised me to bring him into the hospital. Peebs had one laceration/puncture on his fetlock and I was worried about joint involvement.

(Side note: my former mare McKenna was put down last fall due to a severe laceration on her fetlock involving the joint. She would have required surgery and a long recovery with a poor prognosis so her owners decided to put her down. I was having visions of this in my head all day.)

On the right side of his barrel while everything else is on the left
I ran home and grabbed the truck then ran back to the barn and hooked up the trailer. Never have I been more thankful that I live 9 minutes away from the barn. Peebs jumped right in the trailer and we set off for the clinic. When I got there they told me due to Covid I wasn’t allowed in the clinic and that I had to unload Peebs and tie him to the trailer and then they would come and get him. Watching them walk him into the clinic killed me and I lost it in the front seat of the truck.

I then spent the next two hours waiting, alternating between telling myself he was going to be fine (he was sound, if he was dying/permanently injured he would be at least a little lame right?!) and trying to figure out what I would do if he was dying/needed to be retired. I mean technically Cinder is capable of being ridden, but this would definitely not be the best circumstances in which to start her. A, her mom, my mom, and my trainer were all texting me so I didn’t have too much time to spiral and look at sales ads.

Back home and wrapped up tight
When the vet finally called me it was mostly good news. Most of the lacerations were fairly superficial and the one on the fetlock didn’t seem to have any joint involvement. They had done a joint tap and flushed it  and everything looked fine. He got a couple of stitches but she did warn me that some of the skin is going to die off and she couldn’t reattach it. They were bandaging him up and wanted to send him home with instructions to have my vet check him Sunday or Monday and then have him decide how to handle things from there. They also gave Peebs some Bute and sent me home with antibiotics and instructions to keep him on the Bute until my vet looked at him.

 And that was the extent of the instructions. No “keep him on stall rest”, no “you can hand walk for 10mins”, nothing except have your vet look at him and go from there. So on the way home I called my vet and left another message asking for an appointment either day. When we got back to the barn Peebs unloaded fine and immediately tried to eat the weeds at the edge of the driveway. I put him back in a stall and threw him hay then went and grabbed a beer from the tack room fridge.

Matchy matchy with the vet school’s vet wrap

After I decompressed a bit I did pull Peebs back out to put a standing wrap on the other hind leg. He has a few scrapes on it and he went from being out 24/7 to stall rest and I knew he’d stock up. Also it makes me feel better to have both hinds wrapped instead of just one. I also put a fly sheet on him to help protect the cut on his barrel. I did slather it with cream and will get my vet’s take on what to protect it with. Peebs seemed totally fine if a bit confused as to why he was stalled and not going outside. He happily ate his Bute and antibiotic laced grain, mixed with copious cookies, and when A did night check she said he was perfectly fine.

My vet’s coming out tonight to change the bandage and give me more instructions. Fingers crossed everything looks ok and we can get a better idea of what his recovery will look like. I’m hoping we can do some hand walking and he gets the ok to have one of the stalls with an attached paddock.

Thursday, May 7, 2020

Got it From Her Momma

Last week Cinder was going through a growth spurt and looked super skinny and awkward. I was going to take conformation pics of her for the HQC study group but since she looked like an emaciated wiener dog that wasn't happening. Yesterday when I pulled her out she looked more normal, so I figured we'd take some pics during our ground work session.

I think her growth spurt went into her head and her back length

A friend who used to own Cinder's mom and half sister commented on the pic that Cin's looking a lot like her mom. So I did some FB snooping and found a pic of both Abby (mom) and Izy (half sis) to compare and contrast.

Abby on top (pic is flipped so they'd be the same direction) Cinder on bottom left and Izy on bottom right

Holy cow is there a family resemblance!! I admit that I'm not the best with conformation, but Abby sure does pass along her genetics. To me, the three of them have the same hind end. I also think Cin got Abby's neck.  It's hard to tell in the pics, but Abby was around 16.3, Cinder currently clocks in at just over 16.1 and Izy is 15.3.  I want to take an updated pic of Cin later in the summer when she's shed out and has a shinier coat to match the other two.  I did see Izy go at a show a couple of years ago and was able to watch her hang our before her rounds. You can't tell from this pic, but she has a big blaze so while her head doesn't look that much like Cinder's her expressions where spot on with Cin's. It was super weird to see my horse in another horse like that.

She was super cuddly yesterday and when I was grooming her she wanted to groom me back. While she has her "chestnut mare" moments, she's one of the sweetest and cuddliest horses I've known. Also, if you curry her you'll be her friend for life. She'd rather have curries that cookies. She is not one of those delicate flower chestnuts that need the softest of brushes, bring on the hard stiff curries and body brushes!

Thursday, April 30, 2020

Reflections: SIP April 2020

 I'm stealing this idea from L and doing my own mini bloghop version.

This is from last year, but the same thing is going on this year. The ponies, except Peebs, are transitioning onto the summer pasture while Peebs hangs out in the grazed down winter paddock till the summer pasture gets grazed down a bit.

Loving: The fact that work is empty and my boss is working from home now and I'm all alone at work. My introvert soul is so happy!
Smelling: Cow shit from the dairy down the road.
Learning: Working on the HQC course material (join L and I if you want to get your H/J knowledge on!)
Writing: Blogs

Reading: The House in the Cerulean Sea by TJ Klune
Watching: Never Have I Ever
Craving: Chicken Alfredo and Garlic Bread from one of the bars in town that's closed due to the virus. Also, just going out to eat with friends!
Obsessing: Over what to do with Cinder
Wishing: I could be with my parents
Needing: Something I'm not quite ready to talk about yet
Wanting: A new horse trailer. The trailer I really want hasn't dropped in price, even though a lot of others have.
Trying:  FitOn workout app
Eating: Takeout to support my local restaurants. Bonus, I've found a new Italian place that's amazing
Drinking:  Water and Coffee and Lemonade
Feeling: Slightly worried. My dad got some (not virus) medical news and I really, really wish I was physically closer to my parents. Being 1,000 miles (an in a different country) from them really sucks sometimes.
Hoping: Things fall into place soon
Listening: Lots of happy/upbeat songs on Spotify. Bonus to work being a ghost town, no one to see me get my dance on!
Clicking: Watching webinars on compassion fatigue, technology in the vivarium, and new and novel ways to deal with work-related issues during a pandemic. I'm lucky that my professional organization has been making a bunch of these free and that my work will let me watch on company time.

Tuesday, April 28, 2020

Quarantine Birthday

My birthday was last Friday, and leading up to it I was a bit depressed. We were supposed to be at a show last weekend, hauling up Friday to school and settle in. My parents were paying my entry fees as my birthday present. Instead I had a three day weekend with nothing to do, nowhere to go, and to rub salt in the wound, Peebs had been a total twit all week. He was full of himself, jigging with his head in the air, throwing his shoulders around, and generally ignoring me.

I did get take out tacos from my favorite taco place for my birthday lunch

After talking to A and my trainer, everyone agreed they were fine with trainer coming out and doing lessons. So I scheduled one for my birthday. Not only did we desperately need help (our last lesson was 5wks ago) it gave me something to look forward to and to get out of my own head. As I was getting ready to leave for the barn, A's mom texted me asking what my favorite pizza was from one of the local places as she was getting pizza for after our ride. She's the type that loves a party and to socialize, so quarantine has been super hard on her. I shouldn't have been surprised she'd throw a little party for me.

Ponies are transitioning to the summer pasture, and while it's hard to see, Cinder had her first rider two nights ago. A little birdie on her back
Our lesson was 45 mins of mostly trotting and it kicked both Peebs' and my butt but it was so worth it. We started with circles, loops, and transitions trying to get his brain installed back in his head. Once we had warmed up, our biggest issue (as always) was him throwing his right shoulder out tracking left. Trainer described it as him dislocating his shoulder into the next county. Tracking right she had me establish a nice bend, and a slightly slower than normal rhythm, but keeping the impulsion, then trot across the diagonal and make Peebs hold the counter bend. Our first few attempts were pretty awful; Peebs was very confused and not too happy that he couldn't fling his shoulder lean on me. We did get a couple good circles before slowly bringing him back to straightness before asking for the left bend. We quit on that note since Peebs finally felt normal and was listening to me.

best barn fam
My trainer had gotten me a little birthday cake so after A's lesson we had pizza, watermelon and cake in the barn aisle with A and her parents. It was super fun and so nice to be around people again. While it wasn't the birthday I had envisioned, it turned out pretty well in the end!

Thursday, April 23, 2020

The Blind driving the Blind

I've ground driven horses a few times, and only with horses that had known how to ground drive. So I've been a bit hesitant to ground drive Cinder since it would be a bit of the blind driving the blind. But A has a ton of experience ground driving, and cart driving. Her best friend in elementary/middle school's family breeds and shows minis and has multiple national and world champion driving wins. A knew how to drive a horse before she knew how to ride.

Our trainer had given her set of long lines to A a while ago and I asked if I could borrow them and have A give me and Cinder a ground driving lesson. We started with the lines attached, and A up at Cinder's head just giving guidance before she set me free.  It took me a minute to figure out how to hold the lines and not get too tangled up, but Cinder was good about me fumbling around back there.

Our first attempt was pretty good (see above video) but when I tried by myself earlier this week we were much more all over the place. Part of it was Cinder was more confident and cocky, wanting to prove she knew what to do and didn't need to listen to me as much. And I think I was a little nervous not having another person there to help if things went south. Turning left is harder than turning right, but that might be me messing it up rather than Cinder. We did do a little trotting and she didn't try to take off with me like I thought she would, so yay! I'm hoping to ground drive her twice a week, and start doing it with a bridle instead of her halter.

Friday, April 17, 2020

Fail Friday: Free Jumping

 Obviously this is only Cinder's third time free jumping and I wasn't expecting her to nail it. She seemed quite game and went blasting down the line, but she hasn't learned how to find her distance yet. There were a couple mishaps but she figured it out, never got flustered or upset, and kept going. All qualities I hope she'll have under saddle.

Wednesday, April 15, 2020

Wordless Wednesday: Free Jump

A and I finally got around to free jumping the ponies this weekend. We did my two, as Scottie had conveniently twisted a hind shoe and was ouchy. We started with Cinder and she very clearly remembered  her free jump lesson from last summer. Once I turned her loose in the arena she walked right up to the first fence in the chute, walked over it, and calmed walked down the line (we started with a crossrail and ground poles) and then turned and looked at me. Definitely too smart for her own good.

We finished with a 2'3" oxer that clearly was too small in her opinion

Peebs went after her and I added a bit more height for him. He was not nearly as extra as Cin.

I have some hilarious fails of Cinder that I'll share on Friday, so I can stretch content out. She might have been bred for dressage, and will hopefully want to be hunter, but she's got the eventer fifth leg gene in her!

Friday, April 3, 2020

Excitement Level: Farrier Day

Not much has happened in the last week. It’s poured off and on, with some hail and even a little slush mixed in all week. A and I didn’t end up free jumping the ponies last weekend, but maybe next week as it’s supposed to be dry. 

Today was farrier day and my farrier has a new apprentice so it went a little quicker. All 5 horses at A’s are on the same schedule and use the same guy so having two people helped. One of the other boarders was there to hold her horse so there was 5 of us out there, and I have to say it was weird being around that many people after weeks of social distancing. Some of the horses can be crosstied while getting done, but Cinder isn’t trustworthy enough for that yet so we totally broke the social distancing rules. I didn’t have to use the stud chain with her today, so that’s an improvement. Her feet are looking much better than last time and you can hardly tell they went to shit this winter.

I have no idea why this is rotated 

Friday, March 27, 2020

Essentially the Same for Now

I work with animals at an university so I'm considered an essential employee. Which means I have to go to work. So basically, not much has changed for me during these odd times. Other than the university shutting down and campus being a ghost town. But I still get up at 6am and am at work at 7 and do a full 8hrs.

As far as the ponies go, I'm still going to the barn. I'm so thankful that TCF is such a small place and that the two other boarders (who both have retired geldings) rarely come out. It's just A and her parents on the property and they're all staying home, other than runs to the grocery store. I've told them that I understand if they don't want me coming out, but for now they're fine with me being there.

Cinder has other opinions on me being there, especially when it ends in bath time
I've been riding, but have lunged Peebs a few times before our rides just to be on the safe side. It's not that he's been bad, and in normal circumstances I would ride through it. But these aren't normal circumstances and there's no harm in letting him blow off some steam without me on his back.  It's supposed to rain for the next week, and I think I'll let him have the time off. A and I have a plan to free jump the ponies tomorrow, but otherwise Peebs can have a break. I'll re-asses later if I want to continue riding or just let him have all the time off until things are more stable. Also, another reason I'm so happy to be at TCF is that here the ponies are out 12+ hours a day vs my last two barns where they would have been inside.

Instead of going to our first show of the season, I rode bareback and drank a beer. Still a win in my book
I've also decided to postpone sending Cinder to training. There's a lot of reasons why. I don't want to send her to someplace new then not be able to see her for weeks/months. I don't want anyone getting hurt starting a baby horse under saddle at the best of times, but right now no one needs to be taking any necessary risks. It's not going to hurt Cinder to hang out in the pasture for a few months longer. Also, the trainer I want to send her to moved barns and the new barn's board is $200/month more. So saving money now to spend it later just sounds like a good idea.

Friday, March 20, 2020

Funny Fail Friday: Naughty Scottie Edition

A and I had lessons on Wednesday this week.  During A's ride, she was working on getting Scottie more forward and he was starting to offer flying changes. He knows them, but he's super lazy and the changes aren't automatic. His "offering" them is to get hoppy in the corner and occasionally he'll swap behind. A was having a hard time timing the ask, and was a little hesitant in her asking, and I made a comment to trainer about how I wanted to hop on a give him a solid smack with the crop. She told me to go get my helmet, and that's how I ended up schooling Scottie's lead changes.

Buck #2

I did a little walk/trot/canter with him, establishing that yes, I do want you to go forward and I'm not afraid to bridge my reins and smack you when the situation calls for it. Scottie can be a bit of a bully and tries to get out of work, but if you're fair and no-nonsense, he gives in and fun to ride. You just have to work through the bullshit.

Victory head shake

I picked up the canter and sent him across the diagonal, right to left, which is apparently his harder direction.   Right as I was starting to ask for the change, and bridging my reins to go to my crop, he let out a huge buck. Definitely the biggest buck I've ridden in years; really sad I didn't get it on video. He landed crow hopping and I tried to sit up and and drive him forward. He did change his lead and I kept him cantering on for a few strides until he calmed down then walked. Trainer and A were laughing and telling me that both hind legs were up so high they couldn't see my head. I said I was done and A could get back on. Trainer told me that I needed to school the left to right and then I could be done.

I walked for a minute till my heart rate was normal then tried the left to right. A's famous last words were that this way was easier and that it should be a lot smoother. I was holding more with my hands, which Scottie did not appreciate (he's a less is more type of horse in terms of contact) and our first attempt was met with another, smaller, buck and no change. Second attempt trainer told me to let go of his face and gallop him up to it. He swapped behind a stride or two before the front, but it was smooth without too much fanfare, until trainer and A started cheering at the end. That was met with some lovely head shaking and neck flailing.

While not the ride I was expecting, it was funny looking back at it. I'm glad I was able to ride him through it and not let my nerves get to me after the first buck. And I'm happy that I could school him so that he's easier for A and she feels more comfortable asking for the changes.

Monday, March 16, 2020

Self Destruct Mode Activated

Cinder has been on a self destructive streak lately. First she got a minor eye infection. It wasn't too bad, and she let me rinse it out, but I did end up calling my vet for some ophthalmic ointment. He did stain her eye and didn't see anything and agreed with me that it wasn't that a big deal. A few days of ointment and it cleared up fine.

Then she ate one of the new fake flowers I got as jump fill. I had turned her out in the arena before doing some ground work and she walked right up to the jump and shoved her face in the flowers. She came up with a mouth full of yellow flowers and fake grass and then proceeded to canter around the ring with them hanging out of her mouth. I went after her yelling at her to drop it, but that command works better on my parents dog than Cinder. She did eventually drop the fake grass, but there's a yellow flower that was missing from it and I'm 99% certain she had swallowed it. It was a Sunday, of course, and I called my vet because I was sure she was going to colic. He laughed at me and said to just watch her and since it's been two weeks now, I'm sure she's fine.

Zero shits given

Thursday she apparently felt it was time to scare me again and got a couple nice scrapes above the same eye she had the infection in. I think they're from teeth, and knowing how much of a pest Cinder can be sometimes, she probably deserved it. I called my vet yet again and texted him a pic asking if it needed stitches. I was going back and forth on it needing them, but thankfully he thought it should be fine without them. I washed it out, treated with antibiotic ointment, and put her in a fly mask. There was also some swelling so she got a little banamine. She was more upset about the banamine than anything else and has been good for her daily cleaning and treatment.

I swear she's close to getting bubble wrapped  24/7.  No more tying to kill and/or maim yourself mare!

Thursday, March 12, 2020

Now We're Getting Somewhere

Thanks to daylight savings and my trainer leaving her real job earlier, my lesson on Monday was held during daylight hours and Peebs didn't think it was dinner time yet. Which means we had a normal Peebers and a great lesson.

I had had a not so great ride the day before, then realized I hadn't eaten all day and was middle of a sugar crash and ended the ride prematurely. I had been holding and holding on Peebs while we were trying to jump and just couldn't keep him going (holding onto the reins for deal life will do that) and I told my trainer at the start of the lesson about it and how I was trying to not let one bad ride get in my head. A and I had also reset the course and I was nervous about how I set the outside five stride line and how it really rattled me the day before. Trainer helpfully lowered the second fence in the line so it didn't look as big or intimidating.

We warmed up of a couple of single crossrails, then was told to trot the two stride. I clarified and asked if she wanted me to get three since we were trotting in and was told no, trot in and trot out of the two. We got it done, but it wasn't pretty.  I half halted so hard over the first fence poor Peebs literally paused mid jump and landed in a very inelegant heap but gamely trotted the second fence. The second time around Peebs knew what was coming and decided to just trot over the first fence and not even attempt to actually jump it.

We then moved onto the five stride and started by trotting in. It was an easy six and I realized I had been making way harder in my head than it actually was. Peebs did want to drift out on our approach, but otherwise it was rode really well. The second time through we cantered in and again, it was an easy five. Trainer then put up the second fence and told me nothing changes. And I was actually able to do nothing and let the five come. I then got really bold and asked if she could make it an oxer and she agreed as long as I didn't change anything again. Peebs was starting to get tired by this point and I needed to add a little leg coming into the line, but I was proud of myself for not adding too much and trying to gun it to the oxer. We quit with that one.

 It was so nice to finally have a lesson were it feels like we're making progress instead of just spinning our wheels.  We have another lesson next week, then if it doesn't get cancelled, our first show of the season next Sunday. It's at a new to us venue that is a dressage barn/show facility but is starting to venture in to h/j shows. The plan is to do some 2'-2'3" classes and a 2' derby and then hopefully we'll be ready for the 2'6" in April.