Monday, September 30, 2013

She's Here!

McKenna got dropped off around 1 this afternoon and settled right in.  I was at work, but Connie said she came off the trailer cool and calm and relaxed right into her stall.  When I got there we put her in the arena and she just walked her around. I had to chase her around with the whip to trot and canter and even then she was totally relaxed.  She's got a floaty trot and I think once she relaxes and learns to use her body she's going to be a nice mover.

I put her halter on and we stood talking to Connie and another boarder as she rode around.  McKenna looked at the other mare, then promptly fell asleep.  She's just so relaxed and calm. 

Our vet was out to check another horse so we had him do a general exam on McKenna.  She does have a big splint on her left front.  The vet said it was old, and in a place that won't bother her.  She didn't flinch at all when he was listening to her heart, or checking her legs. Our vet used to breed TBs and said she looks great and is put together well.  Hopefully tomorrow will be our first ride!

Friday, September 27, 2013

Reason #647 I Love My Barn Owner

My barn owner has a habit of collecting horses, especially hard luck horses.  Connie also has a great eye for horses so most of the horses they have are pretty nice.  Last week there was an ad placed on a Facebook group both her and I are part of.  It was for a 5yr old, 15.2 hand OTTB mare asking $1500.  She's green, but going w-t-c and lightly started over jumps.  Connie tagged me in the post, saying she'd be a good project for me.  I texted her backing saying only if I got free board.
Awkward angle, but she looks cute
Apparently Connie contacted the trainer the horse is with and they are willing to give her away.  The owner bought a big fancy warmblood and wants to find the mare a good home.  You can see where this is going, right?  Connie and I texted back and forth about it today and the mare is coming up on Monday.  The word is that the mare's mine as a project (Connie thinks her husband might freak if he found out she got another horse sight unseen), but Connie's not charging me board.  I'll pay for her feet, which currently have shoes but the trainer says she could go barefoot. Officially Connie will own her but I'll be training her and making the decisions.  Hopefully she can be used in the lesson program.  If not, she'll go up for sale.

Her name is McKenna, but I want to change it.  I don't know her registered name yet so maybe I can get something out of that.  I guess when she comes on Monday we'll see what she's like and go from there.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

HP Blog Hop: Your Dream Horse Show

Where would I love to show? 

I remember watching on TV rounds from Spruce Meadows and thinking that the International Ring was the coolest thing ever!  Walking in under the clock tower, the huge grass ring with the bank, the open water, the devil's all seems so awesome.  I loved watching the derbies where they had to jump everything.

What else I love about Spruce is the "fun " classes they have.  The double slalom, the 6 bar classes.  I'm not sure that I would want to do those, but I'd be ok owning a horse going in those classes.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

One Small Circle for Me, One Large Circle for the Win

While the show didn't go exactly as planned, I'm still very happy with it.  Tia was awesome, did everything I asked even when she wasn't sure.  I had one moment of panic while on course and if not for that we probably would have won. 

We got to the show a little before one, checked in and got Tia settled in her stall.  They opened the course up at 1 to walk, and I wasn't scheduled to do my flat class until 2:15.  The plan was to walk, change my clothes, get tacked up, then warm up on the flat.  The walk went pretty well, minus that both Jen and I  had trouble figuring out strides.  No distances between fences were posted on the course (the course pic is posted below) and we had to walk a couple lines twice.  Overall it was a pretty technical course considering it's a local medal final.  There were 2-3 make-it-or-break it fences and our plan was to just ride everything forward and go for it.

It started raining while I was changing.  The classes were being held inside but warm up was outside.  It was warm, around 70* and humid. I was dying in my hunt coat. We somehow got behind tacking up and I got on with about 15mins to warm up. Oops.  It stopped raining, yay!, and we went outside.  The outdoor ring was pretty deep and Tia was having a little trouble working in.  We schooled transitions, trying to make them as crisp and clean as possible. We headed over to the indoor a couple minutes before to relax and breath.

There ended up being 7 in my class, a few ponies, one somewhat wild TB who kept screaming, and a couple other horses.  I tried as hard as I could to find us a spot on the rail but kept getting behind the small ponies.  Tia was largest horse there, with the biggest stride, and I felt like we were lapping everyone.  We had to do a couple laps one direction and another lap the other way of sitting trot.  My leg hadn't really been bothering me until that point. When the judge called for the second sitting trot I thought I was going to cry.  I'm sure I made some lovely faces.

Jen said we looked pretty good, the only major thing was my hands.  I tend to have piano hands.  When we were just trotting or cantering around I could think about having my thumbs up, but during the sitting trot I was more concerned with the pain and not looking like a sack of potatoes and my hands reverted back.  We ended the flat class with a 4th, which I was surprised with.  As long as it looked better than it felt I'm happy!

We had about 45mins to wait till the over fences round, and I was scheduled to go 6th in the order.  I got off, grabbed a snack and some water, and let Tia graze for a bit.  Then it was time to get back on and school over fences.  We didn't do too much, a couple x's to warm up, then we worked on doing square turns to vertical on the center line.  Tia was pretty balanced, I just needed to ride her forward more.  We went back to ring to watch a few rounds before I went.

The first line was a flowing 4 strides.  I had to make sure we had a forward, flowing canter to make the first line.  Coming to it, I was slightly behind but she moved up perfectly thru the line.  The original plan was to ride fence 3 square, but after watching everyone before me try to do the same thing and screw it up, Jen decided to have me angle the fence.  Tia was slightly over bent coming to it, and wasn't too sure about the jumping on an angle thing, but we nailed the distance.  I had to collect her a bit in the turn to 4 then moved up to it but it flowed well. A lot of people had trouble in the rollback from 5 to 6; their horses loosing impulsion and chipping into 6.  I lost Tia a bit in the turn, but sat deep and pushed her forward to oxer.  It was a bit long, but much nicer than everyone elses!

Fence 7 is where disaster struck.  Tia was over bent again in the turn and didn't want to land and turn to 8.  It was a forward 5 or a tight 6 strides to fence 8, then a tight 3 strides to fence 9. Since she landed a bit disorganized off 7 I asked her to come back to me to regroup.  She took offense, flipped her head, and did her bunny hop short stride thing.  We ended up at five and half strides to fence 8 and I panicked.  I circled her off the fence, and came back to it.  I know if I had just sat up and kicked her forward she would have gotten out of it. The three might have turned into 4, but she would have figured it out. 

Coming back to fence 8 we found a distance and the three to 9 flowed fine.  Fence 10 was the hardest fence on course.  It was angled funny, and you had to ride past the turn to it to have a nice landing turning right. Almost everyone else got an awkward 3 strides to it off the rail with a wide right turn after.  Our plan was to almost hand gallop it in a two.  We nailed it.  The two was almost short and Tia was even pooping as we cantered up to it. I was looking right, opening my right rein, and she landed perfectly balanced and on the right lead.  We were able to shave off a few strides from where everyone else was landing and turning. Coming to the last fence I had to collect her a bit and we got a short stride to fence 11. 

We ended up 6th out of 7 (the 7th rider was actually eliminated for refusals).   A lot of people who were watching told me I would have won if not for the circle.  We had the most polished round and were able to ride the make-it-or-break-it fences (# 3 and 10) the best.  I am kicking myself for that damn circle, but I'm really happy we were able to make the hard fences look good.  For Tia, the point and shoot hunter who doesn't do turns, to be able to do fences like that is huge.  I could tell she wasn't sure or happy with some of them, but she did it, and did it well.  I am disappointed that we could have won, but there's always next year.  I'd say for my first medal finals I did pretty well.

Thank you Tia for being the best horse I could have asked for and for putting up with me!

Friday, September 20, 2013

Here We Go

Tia got bathed and braided tonight.  Corie was able to work in the charm I got and Tia look so fancy!

  I also finished clipping her and got all my tack cleaned.  All that's left is loading up the trailer and taking off!

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Mineral Ice FTW!

My leg is getting much better but is still sore.  As I was getting things packed in my tack trunk last night I came across my tub of Mineral Ice.  I've used it on the horses and a little voice in my head said to try it on my leg. I put it on this morning before work and within a half hour my leg felt great. It was cool and tingly; felt like I had an ice pack on it.  It lasted about an hour or so and really helped me get through the day.

Love Love Love!
I put another coat on my leg before heading out to the barn.  I got Tia ready as I felt it kick in.  We had a short ride, but I as able to hold the canter (part of that could have been my spurs) and we did a quick jump school over a few fences.  I'm still not 100% but hopefully by Saturday I will be! 

My friend's braiding Tia in the morning, and apparently the "thing" is to have a charm braided into one of the braids.  Since the show's a cancer fundraiser, I found a small pink ribbon charm that hopefully Corie and work into the braid.  I also got a pink ribbon pin to wear instead of a traditional stock pin.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Slow Progress

I managed to not only make it out to the barn but also ride last night. I was worried that getting out would be a problem, since lifting my right leg high was painful and Tia's 16.3h.  It turned out to be a non issue and we proceeded to do a long walk warm up.  When I felt secure enough, I bumped her up to the trot.

Trotting and posting were not painful in the least. We did a few walk-trot transitions trying to get her to focus.  She was distracted, was sure that there was something in the bushes along the far side of the arena that was going to get her. I wasn't wearing spurs and that didn't help matters at all. At one point Tia actually spooked.  She did the legs splayed out thing, but tripped and ruined the whole thing.  I think that's first time I've know her to spook.

We took a walk break and tried to canter.  Going to right, I automatically wanted to put my inside right leg on the hold her shoulder up and support her.  Bad decision.  Hurt like a mother and I could only do about 5 strides before taking my leg off and she would break to the trot. We tried a couple times before I gave up.  We walked a bit more then I decided to go left to see if it was any better.  It didn't hurt nearly as much and we were able to do a full lap before I gave in.  I decided to quit with that and not push my luck.

To get off I had to walk Tia up to the 3-step mounting block and dismount onto that.  I didn't want to try getting off onto the ground with a bad leg from that high up.

Today I had to go back to work, so I opted not to ride. My tailbone was pretty sore after work but I plan to ride tomorrow and Friday.  Instead tonight I cleaned my leather open fronts and tall boots.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Getting Ready

I took today and tomorrow off of work to rest.  My tailbone is hurting more, and my right leg is still pretty sore.  I'm not walking quite right, but much better than Saturday night.  I'll try to ride tomorrow, and hopefully I can make my lesson on Wednesday. 

We got the schedule for the finals on Saturday.  We have a course walk at 1pm, then my flat round starts at 2:15.  My over fences round starts at 3:30.  The plan is to leave our barn around 10:30-11 Saturday.  It's a little over an hour away, and that will give us time to settle Tia in her day stall before walking the course.  After the walk I'll tack up and warm up for the flat, then jump after.  Luckily Tia is the same at shows as she is at home and shouldn't take much warm up or fuss.

My friend is going to braid Tia Friday for me since my hunter braids are majorly lacking.  Jen and I finished pulling her mane last Friday with the aid of the twitch.  It looks so nice!  I of course forgot to take a pic but she now has a respectable mane.  I'm planning on clipping her later this week, probably with the twitch.

The last thing I need to plan is what I'm wearing.  I'd normally wear the traditional eq clothes; blue hunt coat and white shirts.  But these medal finals are a fundraiser for the Portland Providence Cancer Center they are asking riders, trainers, and spectators to wear pink.  I have a pink plaid shirt.  Jen said to go with the pink, and I'm leaning that direction but I'm not sure. 

These aren't mine, but the same shirt that I have.  Got it for $15 from!
In the past the winner of these finals got a custom County saddle.  This year they said that awards are being sponsored by a local feed store, a local tack shop, and CWD.  They didn't say whether or not a saddle is up for grabs, but I can hope right?

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Three Years in the Making

Buddy dumped me for the first time in the 3yrs that I've owned him today.  I was riding him bareback and decided to jump a bit.  I jumped him for the first time in 6wks on Tuesday and he was good.  The first few jumps he was a bit forward too, and didn't want to balance on the offside but settled down well.  I ended our ride by dropping my stirrups and trotting x's and he was great.

Today we was lazy in warm up and was pretty laid back to the first few x's we did.  He was much more balanced and together on the landings and even gave me a nice lead change.  I decided to take him over an 18in vertical and apparently it looked a lot bigger to Buddy.  He launched over it from a stride out and I got sent flying over his shoulder.  I landed on my tailbone and rolled to my left side.  It did take me a minute to get up, my right leg was hurting more than the left. 

To add insult to injury, the other farrier at our barn and his wife (who were Buddy's former owners who didn't treat him well) were there working on horses.  They saw what happened and came over to help.  Buddy had stopped and wasn't moving but they lead him into the barn for me.  I untacked him and put him back outside.  By then my thigh was screaming so I crawled into my truck and went home.

I barely made it into bed and took a few Aleve.  I rested for a few hours, trying to move as little as possible, and iced my leg.  I was supposed to go out with barn friends tonight because its my barn owner's aunt (who actually owns the property and acts as an aunt to all of us boarders) 90th birthday. I had gotten up trying to see if I could go and it had taken me 10mins to walk from my bedroom to the kitchen to feed my cats.  I was crying and sweating and texted Connie that I wasn't going.  She asked if I wanted someone to take me to the ER and I said yes please.

I could barely move but managed to hobble out to the car and then into the ER on my own.  Two hours, and one pelvic x-ray later, I'm back home with vicodin and directions to ice my thigh for a couple days.  They said it's a deep bruise and to stay off my feet and not ride for a while.  I won't be making my lesson tomorrow, but come hell or high water I'm showing next weekend!  I have a ton of sick hours at work and already left a message for my manager telling her I won't be in on Monday and will let her know about the rest of the week. I have no problems taking the week off to recover.

Hunter Princess Blog Hop: Hunter Stereotype You Break

Is there a way that you “break the mold” of the stereotypical hunter princess?"

I don't really consider myself a hunter princess, since I perfer the jumpers but I've shown more in the hunter ring.  I think the biggest stereotype I break is that my horse isn't a made fancy warmblood:

It really doesn't get much anti-hunter than this
For the first 12yrs of his life, Buddy was a rope horse.  He had never seen an english saddle till he came to our barn in 2007.  We don't play with cows a lot, and I'll never have the coordination to rope something, but it's fun to put the western saddle on and just mess around.  I really think it's good for them to be well rounded ponies; I'm even thinking of taking Phoenix on cows to see what he does.

At shows I've had people ask me what breed Buddy is.  I usually say he's a QH because it's easier than trying to explan he's a Paint with no white.  His mom was a QH so he's really 50/50 but has APHA papers. I had someone tell me once that he looks like a warmblood with his legs cut off.  I thought it was a compliment.
Our best beefcake warmblood impersonation

Monday, September 9, 2013

Hunter Princess Blog Hop: Ideal Show Outfit.

I took my boots in today to see if they could fix the zipper and ten minutes later I walked out $12 poorer but with fixed boots!  I was freaking out just a bit that either the zipper was unfixable or that they would have to replace the whole zipper (which they told me was an option, at $100). My boots are 7yr old Ariats and are still good shape so I prepared to be pissed if I had to replace the whole zipper or get new boots.

Last night I spent way too much time looking at the cost of new boots and found these, DeNiro Jumper Boots. Because they are so not hunter ring approved I'm going to base my ideal show outfit for the jumper ring. 

They have different colors for the pipping, I think I'd get silver.

Since this is my ideal outfit, I'd ideally be showing in a money class and would need white breeches. These Tailored's would do nicely.
Continuing with our Tailored Sportsman theme, I love this shirt.  I know you wouldn't be able to see the cheetah but who cares!
I really want a soft shell hunt coat, especially in Oregon where it tends to rain a lot.  This one from RJ Classics is water resistant which would be so nice!

 Last but not least, I'd want an Antares helmet.  I like the leather look with the rubber shell. 

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Take and Give

Had a lesson yesterday with Tia and while it started out good, we hit a bit of a bump towards the end of lesson. We worked over some solid 3' fences before disaster struck. It was mostly me picking at her and her getting mad at me.  My main problem is when I'm not sure of the distance I want to hold and mess with their mouths, and that never works.

We were going to a giant  3'3" oxer on a short diagonal off the right, Tia's hard side.  She wants to over bend and bulge thru the turn, thus throwing our distance off.  At first I was over correcting a little too much and holding her back resulting in a couple horribly short distances to the oxer.  Thank goodness Tia's so point and shoot that she'll just go from anywhere!  Jen wanted me to just let go and ride her forward to the fence but when I tried we felt so crooked and strung out I pulled her off the fence.  At that point Tia and I got into a little tug-of-war with her just wanting to go to the fence and me not.  When she gets mad, she hops up with her front end and has a pogo stick like canter.  It kind of reminded me of Phoenix when he was younger, if I picked too much at him he would suck back and have this itty bitty canter that went no where.

We took a walk break while Jen moved the fence down to a vertical and then went and worked on just having a nice rhythm and going to the fence.  It took a few tries, but once I figured out that all I needed to do was check her in the corner then relax and not touch her mouth, and was able to relax enough to let it happen, it went really well. The oxer went back up, but at 2'9" and we did it pretty well a few times.  Why is letting go so hard!?

Once we figured it out
Today I was going to do a light hack with Tia just to let her move around a bit.  I've started wearing my tall boots in preparation for the show and as I was zipping them up the zipper tab on my left boot broke.  It was about 90% up so I could ride in them, but I wasn't sure I could get them off.  Tia and I did about 15mins in the arena then headed out to the field for another 30mins of just walking.  She's pretty good by herself, as long as she could still see the other horses.  If we went too far out she'd try to turn back and head home.  Once we got back I was able to stick one finger inside my boot and work the zipper down so I could get it off.  There going to the boot repair guy as soon as I get off work!

They've lasted 7 years without a problem. Sadness.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Baby Steps

Tia got her teeth done yesterday, so she got yesterday and today off. I did free lunge her a bit today then decided to tackle her mane. I was disappointed that she got her teeth done while I was at work because I wasn't there to take advantage of her sedation. For an ex-A circuit horse Tia is awful about beauty treatments.

  She HATES having her mane fussed with, will tolerate clippers on her muzzle but not her bridle path or ears. In the past I've used a thinning blade to trim her mane short but I really don't like the look or feel that it gives the mane. All the horses I've had or leased have been great about getting their manes done that I can do them pretty fast and pretty well. I don't have the same ability with the thinning blade and don't want to learn. I decided that tonight Tia could suck it up and deal because I am not going to a medal final with a horse with a half assed mane.
Her long bridle path is very annoying.  Apparently I need to supervise the lesson girls a bit more when they do their show prep.

I ended up doing about half of her mane and it's not quite as short as I would like, especially since she'll be braided for the show.  It took me roughly 45 mins to get that far so we'll continue to work at it. I had her in the cross ties and we walked back and forth with me pulling as we walked.  Since she wouldn't stand still I couldn't use a step stool (she's 16.3hand and I'm 5'3") so my arms got tired.  She did get cookies and an apple afterwards so maybe next time won't be so bad.

On the Buddy front, I rode him last night and he felt a little too good!  He doesn't feel sore or tender at all and was really forward.  We didn't do too much, just worked on transitions and getting him to relax because all he wanted to do was run.  I'm sure that won't last too much longer as he's a lazy horse at heart.  But it was fun not have to carry/use a whip or feel like I'm nagging him with my seat and leg.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Blog Hop: A Circuit Horse I'd Love to Own

I didn't do the first part of the blog hop, but I'll jump in here.  I'd love to own Royal Beach Farao. 

He's an 18yr old Mecklenburg stallion from Portland.  I saw him a few years ago while I was horse shopping before I bought Buddy. He was boarded at the barn where I was looking at a horse and I was impressed with his presence and good looks.  Since he's a local boy, I've followed his wins at shows and thru Facebook. 

In the past he's been a GP jumper, with wins at Spruce Meadows and has qualified for the World Cup.  A few years ago he moved to the hunter ring and has wins in the performance hunters and derbies.  This year he qualified for the International Hunter Derby finals, but didn't go.
 This is his final show season, he'll be retired to the breeding barn this fall. I don't know how much his stud fee is, and since I don't have a mare the point is moot, but I would breed to him if I could.  He's the perfect mix of hunter and jumper for me.  Since I love riding in both rings I'd want a horse that could go back and forth.