Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Getting Ready

I started getting the ponies ready for our little schooling show on Saturday.  I'm taking Zoe in the 2' long stirrup and Bud in the 2'6" pre-adult hunters.  Nik will also be taking Bud in walk trot and a couple trot-a-pole classes.  If I have energy and its not blazing hot (the forecast calls for 91*) I might enter a couple jumper classes in the afternoon.

Both ponies had their manes done yesterday as well as getting clipped.  Zoe is still horrible about having her ears done, but after  a come-to-Jesus talk, she's getting better.  Unfortunately my clippers started dying as I started her ears, so I'm charging them tonight and we'll try again tomorrow. I also washed and conditioned both their tails and they'll get bathed on Friday.

I'm excited because my friend will also be showing in the 3ft hunters.  We showed together a ton a few years ago, but she moved back up to Portland after she graduated.  We haven't managed to show together since, so hopefully Saturday will bring back all the good times!  I'll also have my own little cheering section; Zoe's owner and possibly her daughter will be there, Rick and Connie are coming to watch with the 4H girls, and Jen's friend is coming back to take pics.  Hopefully I can get someone to video as well.

Looking as cute as can be!

Friday, July 27, 2012

Boys, boys, boys

The boys have been tying my stomach in knots this past week!  Last Friday Phoenix was kicked by his pasture mate, a little 14.2hand QH/Arab mare.  She nailed him just below his shoulder and in the middle of his cannon bone on his left front.

I saw it happen, so I was able to pull Phoenix out right away and clean and wrap his leg.  I kept him in for a few days, with the leg wrapped, then turned him back out (in a different pasture!) to see how he would do.  He's sound at the walk, but off on both fronts, at the trot.  He still has a large lump on his cannon bone.  One of the other boarders at the barn, who graduated from vet school last year and has spent the last year in an internship at an equine surgical clinic, look at his leg and told me to get x-rays  since it's highly likely his splint bone is fractured.  So we have an appointment next Thursday with Dr. Ben. 

I had a lesson last night with Buddy and he was super lazy.  Jen had me get my spurs.  He was more awake, but a lot more pissy once I had them on.  We were having a pretty good ride, working on having enough pace and rhythm, when we went up a 2'6" vertical landing and turning right to a rollback when  Buddy slipped on the clover and went down to his knees.   All I could see was the ground coming at me and thinking "Oh this is going to hurt". I don't know how I stayed on, or how he righted himself, but he did.

Both of us were pretty shaken, but once my adrenaline was under control, we tried again but instead of landing and turning, we landed and stopped.  Buddy seemed sound, but he was very cranky so after a couple nice fences we called it quits.  Jen suggested getting him drilled and tapped for studs, so I'm going to call the farrier on Monday to see when he's available.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Lazy Sunday

After running around at fair Mon-Wed, then busting my butt at work Thurs-today, I didn't have the energy to do much with Bud today.  It's cooler than it has been, so I had the engery to move the jumps around in the field to a somewhat hunterish course.  But by the time I tacked up, my motivation was gone. Bud and I went out and just played around on the flat then took a nice long walk around the field.  He didn't seem to mind an easy day!

I took Zoe out for her first jump school in the field yesterday.  I've ridden her on the flat out there a couple times before.  Again, the whole no fence line thing came into play; she really wants to pop her right shoulder and not pick up her left lead. She was better once we started going over fences, but we still have problems getting her to open up her stride and move up to a distance.  I haven't been using spurs, but I think I will next time.  We kept getting a shorter waiting distance, which now that the fence are going up doesn't always work.  I did take her over her first 2'6" fence, and she hit it pretty hard her first time.  The second time, she really sat back on her hind end and made it over fine.  I'm so proud of her!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

4H Fair

Sunday thru today was our county's 4H Horse Fair.  The three girls from our barn did awesome!  They had showmanship and trail on Monday, western eq yesterday, and English eq and dressage today.

Anna (the girl leasing Phoenix) earned a red in both showmanship and trail.  She forgot part of her pattern in showmanship, and unfortunately was 10pts from qualifying for state fair.  The judge also noted on her score sheet that Phoenix was too thin.  To me, he needs muscling but is an ok weight.  Except for last summer when he was on pasture 24/7 and hadn't been ridden in 6 months, he's always been on the lean side.  The judge is a QH halter horse breeder, so I'm trying to not take too much offense at her comments.

Their trail class was actually pretty nice for Phoenix.  He was one of the few horses to walk right over the bridge.  Anna was able to open the rope gate, but wasn't able to get Phoenix to turn and back to close it.  They also had trot poles to do, and they were set too close for long legged Phoenix, so he jumped a couple.  Whoops!

I was happily surprised when they earned a blue in western eq!  While Phoenix didn't exactly jog or lope, they had a nicely done pattern and unlike a lot of the kids, were able to get the correct leads.

Crappy cell phone pic
Today in English, Anna nailed their pattern (which involved counter canter, which they practiced for the first time yesterday) and were called back to the premier class. They were given another pattern and about 2 minutes to learn it.  This time they had counter canter and hand gallop. Anna was pretty nervous, but held it together and earned a medallion! They ended the day by doing Intro Test A and she got a 68.6% and another medallion!  I looked over the comments on their tests, and they earned a lot of 6s and 7s, with one 8.  They got points for having a nice steady rhythm and were called a well matched pair.  I'm so proud of both of them!

Monday, July 16, 2012

Sweet Sixteen

While doing some summer cleaning, Connie finally found Buddy's papers.  I haven't been upset by not having them; I'm not going to be showing him in any APHA shows and he can't be bred but it's always  nice to have them.  We were under the impression that he was a 1997 baby, but he's not.  His birthday is May 20, 1996 which would make him 16.  I gave him a carrot yesterday as a belated sweet sixteen present.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Lesson on the Grass

Our lesson on Friday kicked my butt!  After trotting a couple fences to warm up, we started working on a bending line going to the left.  Since there's no rail to guide us, Buddy really wanted to hold the right bend and throw his haunches to the right.  Needless to say, we had a hard time getting a nice distance to the first fence.  Jen had me go back and work on a circle for a few minutes, spiraling him out and having me really sit deep.

Once we had a bend we went back to the line. I could get the first fence, but would loose the bend and rhythm to the second fence.  At this point Buddy was getting pretty pissed and reluctant to go forward. I really had to sit down and get after him.  We nailed the line once, and called it good.

After a walking/water break Jen had us change it up and do a fun, twisty course.  Buddy was much happier!  The course involved a couple tight rollback, taking an oxer on an angle and a long gallop uphill. We were able to do it pretty well right off the bat, but had a little trouble on the rollback to the angled oxer.  Buddy was tired by this point, and doing a tight turn uphill wasn't something he wanted to do.  We went back and schooled that turn a few times, and on our last attempt, about 2 strides from the oxer I bridged my reins and hauled off and nailed him with my crop.  Boy that got his attention!  He moved forward to the long spot and cantered off in front of my leg .  We decided to quit with that.

Poor tired pony!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012


The weather gods have decided to finally allow summer to grace Oregon.  It's been hot (90* today) for us, so I've been a little lax on working the ponies.  Zoe pulled a shoe, but hopefully one of the other farriers who comes to the barn can put it back on tomorrow. 

Rick mowed the fields yesterday, so today I convinced my parents who are up visiting to help me move the jumps out.

 I've saved some old courses from shows, and found a couple online so today I set up an eq course that looked fun.
I took Bud out to the field tonight, and he was pretty distracted during our warm up.  Every time we passed the gate, he would pop his outside shoulder, drift toward the gate, and slow way down.  I kept my crop in my outside hand, popped him a couple times, and we worked a lot on transitions and turns, trying to keep his attention on me.  Once we started jumping, he seemed to focus more. I kept the jumps small, just some x's and 2' verticals.  I tried to focus on having a nice rhythm and keeping him straight. I know I was holding him a bit, but the more I jump out there the more I will relax.  I have a lesson on Friday so that should really help.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Burning and Barrels

It's been busy this week, and thankfully dry! The ponies got there feet done on Tuesday. Phoenix had pulled a shoe and thankfully I had found it so my farrier could reset it. Phoenix has had a small crack in his right front for a month or so. Hasn't bothered him and while it's not too big, it bugs me. My farrier heated up the end of his rasp and burned a mark into the hoof to keep the crack from getting bigger. Looks kinda funky, but works!

I haven't done too much with Bud this week, just a couple easy flat rides and one jump school. With Zoe I've done the same, with the addition of barrels to our jumping. The barn has 3 plastic barrels for barrel racing, but I use them as jumps.

The first time thru, about 3 strides out I felt Zoe back off, but with a nudge from my spur she hopped right over them. The second time thru she didn't hesitate at all! I got one of the other boarders to video, but I can't upload it. So here are some still shots!

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Dressage'n it up

Yesterday I went with one of the 4H girls to a little dressage schooling show.  I didn't get my stuff together in time to send in an entry for Buddy, but I told Abbi I would go help coach and be her reader.  Unfortunatley right as she started tacking up, it started raining.  On the plus side, it was warm, around 70, but it kept a light rain during all of her two tests.  Of course as soon as she got off, it cleared up. 

Abbi did really well, a 58.5% and a 62% in training level.  She had a couple little bobbles, but for her first dressage show she did great!  Watching her go, I really regret not taking Bud.  I know we could have done pretty well. 

Today Buddy and I practiced movements from training 3 and first level 1 tests. Our trot lengthenings still need a little work, but our canter lenghtenings were actually pretty nice. In the stretchy trot circles, Bud stretches down well, but tends to speed up.  I had a little light bulb moment.....to keep him in a nice frame and pace I really have to close my thighs and slow my post to slow his rhythm. Riding like that is better than a ThighMaster!  I could feel the burn and I know it will be worse tomorrow!

They are having another schooling show in August and I think like 6 of us from the barn are planning on go.  We'll have a regular caravan up there!