Saturday, October 25, 2014

Whole New Pony

About a month ago McKenna had her teeth done, the first time she's had them done while I've had her.  I had gotten her vet records from when she came off the track and J bought her, and they had nothing previous since she came from a feed lot.  She had gotten her teeth done in spring 2013, so at a year and half I figured she was due and luckily another boarder wanted her mares done so we set up an appointment with our dentist.

Dentist said that she had a bunch of small, sharp points but didn't look too bad for 1.5yrs. She did complain (kiddingly) that McKenna has a very narrow jaw (I know, I had to go buy smaller bits) and that most horses have some excess skin around their jaw and McKenna didn't. Her teeth were right against the skin. The only major thing was one of her teeth on the bottom right side of her face was crooked.  Dentist couldn't tell if it was moving (please no, she's too young for dental problem!) or if it came in crooked.  She's leaning towards it coming in crooked, as it didn't seem to move around when she was working on it.  But its something to watch and she'll have to be done at least yearly to check on it.

I like that its hard to tell she's clipped.
Last Monday I gave McKenna her first clip of the season.  It's earlier than I normally clip, like to wait till mid November, but she's been so sweaty and I had time.  She was very good for it, standing still and not caring about the clippers except for around her head.  I still haven't managed to clip her ears but have gotten her bridle path done.  Last year I just did a trace clip along her neck and barrel, but since I hopefully plan to show the winter I gave her a full clip.  There's a few touch up spots I have to go back and get, but it took me just over an hour to do. 

Next week our chiropractor is coming out and McKenna's on her list.  During her trainer ride last week, trainer said she was much stiffer going left than right, but I hadn't felt anything. But during our ride Wednesday I couldn't get her to pick up her left lead without some major head tossing, running forward and general bad ponyness.  I had to dig my heel into her side while growling at her before I got a nice, clean transition.  That's pretty unsuall for her so I agreed with trainer and called for the chiro.
PNW bred ponies don't care bout no puddles
She's also getting her feet done next week, which is good since she's overgrown.  Our farrier was hunting last week when they were due, and had to push them back.  By the end of next week I'll have a whole new, (hopefully) balanced pony!

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Adopt Me?

I wish Bill Gates was my dad.  Not that I don't love my parents to death, they are absolutely wonderful and have been beyond supportive of my horse habit.  But this article really makes me wish I could be adopted.

He bought an $18 million, 230 acre, 120+ stall barn that used to be owned by diet guru Jenny Craig.  She and her late husband had racehorses, and this farm was their "layup" facility. It has multiple 30 acre pastures, a 3/4mile training track, rehab facilities, multiple living quarters for staff and who know what else. Gates' daughter shows in the jumpers, and they plan to turn this into a h/j facility. It's not clear from the article, or others I've read, if it will just be for their horses/trainer or if it will be a show facility.  The Del Mar Showpark and the Del Mar Fairground are about a mile and five miles away respectively, so I can't see another show facility being a viable option.

The real kicker is that I went to elementary school about a half mile away, if I were to jump a few fences and run through some backyards.  I don't know how many times we've driven by this place.  I've always been amazed by it, and I thought it was the coolest thing as a kid.  I can only imagine what Gates will turn it into.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Such a Mare

"She's a one woman type of girl."

That basically sums up McKenna's trainer ride on Sunday.  She had a major tantrum that my trainer was riding her.  She wanted Mom up on her and no one else would do.  This is only the third time in a year that someone besides me has been on her (one friend rode her for 5mins and my trainer rode her once back in the spring) so I was expecting some initial confusion/hesitation on her part, but not a full blown meltdown.

"I don't know who you are and what you're doing to me"

McKenna was stiff and hollow, doing her best backwards giraffe impression for Jen.  For almost every upwards transition she would fling her head up and mini rear.  At one point she even struck out with a front leg.  She got growled at and put in her place, but she was NOT happy about it.  
Backwards giraffe wants Mom now!

But on the plus side, Jen said she feels much more consistent in her pace and rhythm, like a trained horse rather than a baby. She also loves her canter, and really thinks that she's going to be able to haul ass around the jumper ring someday.

Staring to give in
 We will be scheduling more trainer rides in the future to see if we can get ride of the I-want-Mom baby attitude.
"Ok, maybe this isn't so bad"

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Bringing Up Baby

I've had McKenna just over a year, September 30th was our anniversary. We can currently walk, trot, and canter fairly nicely, with most of our trot work on the bit and moving forward.  We've started trotting cross rails and small verticals. I feel comfortable enough to start dropping my stirrups on her. I had hoped that we would a lot farther along after a year...cantering courses, showing, etc.  I haven't taken her off the property, but hopefully that will change soon.  I am proud that my trainer has only gotten on her once, and only rode her for about 20 minutes before having me get on.  I do have another trainer ride scheduled for her on Sunday, mainly because I've only seen someone else ride her twice and want to see how she goes.

First Ride
Obviously from the time I got her to the end of June I had Buddy and was having a very hard time trying to work both of them.  It didn't help that McKenna was very babyish, needed lots of turn out/lunging before I got on, and was prone to some not so fun antics.  She liked to come up with her front end and spin, and on one occasion she stood straight up with me.  I'm not sure how I managed to stay on, all I remember is grabbing mane and my martingale strap and praying. Now however, she's much more mature and while she still spooks, she doesn't try to rear and spin and can go back to work without loosing her mind.

"Me spook? Never."
My plan after Buddy sold was to put McKenna into boot camp and be able to hit a schooling show or two in the fall.  Mother Nature and McKenna had other plans.  It was one of the hottest summers here, almost two moths of 90+ degree weather.  While I grew up in that weather in SoCal, I've adjusted to Oregon's much more moderate climate and was dying.  I'd ride on weekend in the mornings, and in the afternoons during the week when we had cooler days. 


McKenna lost four shoes in three moths, always the left front.  One was 36hrs after our farrier put it back on.  My farrier kept saying that her feet are pretty nice for a TB, and that she shouldn't be loosing that many shoes.  I put bell boots on her 24/7 and she ripped the first pair off within two days.  But the second pair lasted a month and we didn't have any lost shoes during that time. She currently has clips on the front and that has seemed to help.

Our current plan, to be discussed with trainer on Sunday, will hopefully be to continue trotting fences, start cantering fences, and introduce lines.  I'd really like to be able to a schooling show in December and at least do cross rails, if not the 2'.  She's very much a jumper, but not many shows around here have lower level jumpers.  Most start at 2'6" and I'd like to give her some experience at the smaller heights first.

My current favorite pic of us.

Friday, October 10, 2014

My Own Redneck Neighbors

I know some of the other blogs out there have talked about their redneck hell neighbors, so I'm going to share a story about mine.

Next to our barn is another boarding barn.  The barn is a bit rundown, doesn't have as many amenities as ours, but the board is cheaper. You can see where this is going, right?  I've been at my barn for almost 8yrs, and while I don't know every boarder next door, I think the longest one there was maybe 3yrs?  They have a high turnover rate, either boarders getting fed up with care/management/lack of amenities or the BO getting fed up with the boarders and asking them to leave.

Our outdoor arena is along side some small paddocks at the other barn.  Over the years I've had countless horses come charging at the fence when I've ridden past.  Buddy and Phoenix didn't care but McKenna sure does.  Currently there is a buckskin half Arab in one of the paddocks that likes to charge us, ears flat back and teeth bared, then turn around and kicks at us with both hind feet. Last week we were riding around and the owner of the horse was out bringing them in. I was trotting past, and the Arab came flying at us, spun and kicked, and McKenna shot forward like she was coming out of the starting gate.  The owner just laughed. McKenna was so worried every time we went past that part of the ring, even after the horse was gone, she would tense up and spring forward.  If I thought McKenna wouldn't freak out, I'd take a dressage whip and smack the crap out of the other horse if she charged us when no one was around.

I think the other horse is jealous of McKenna's cuteness
Last night a different boarder and her 8yr oldish daughter were out riding in their "grass ring", or otherwise know as the BO's front lawn.  When you ride along the top rail of our outdoor you can see their grass ring.  It's small, but they have some poles/trail obstacles set up.  The other boarder decided to put her younger (maybe 5ish) son on the horse, but had him sit behind her on the horse's loin and grab the back of her western saddle.  Said horse looked fine to me, but about 2mins into the ride I hear her start yelling "Whoa" over and over.  I was approaching the top of the ring and stopped McKenna so she could take a good look and hopefully not freak out.

Mom gets her horse stopped then yells at her daughter to stop her horse and get off.  Daughter does and Mom tells her to take the reins of both horses while she tries to get the son off, because the horse was going to buck.  Mom starts yelling at the son to get off, but he's little and can't.  She reaches around and pulls him sideways, telling him to jump, and he ends up falling to the ground and rolled out of the way.  Cue immediate crying/screaming.  At this point McKenna shoots her head up and starts getting tense.  Mom starts yelling louder for the son not to cry and to get off the ground because the horse was going to step on him.  Horse hadn't moved an inch, and didn't look likely to but what do I know?  Mom gets off the horse and while continuing to yell "Would you rather fall off or get bucked off," tries to get the son to stop crying.  They walked away and I tried to get McKenna's brain back online but she started spinning and running sideways, so we lunged instead. 

Thanks neighbors for ruining my ride.  But at least all three of them had helmets on. 

Monday, October 6, 2014

Feel the Burn

While I might not be blogging regularly, I am reading/stalking everyone else's blogs.  I joined in the 2pointober challenge and got my baseline of 2.06mins last week.  Ever ride I've been trying to do 2point sets, but McKenna doesn't make it easy.  We've had some fairly energetic rides the past week, including one where I just got off and ended up lunging her. 

But today I managed to get in almost 8 minutes total of 2point, all at the walk.  Even though Phoenix is retired, I still hop on him once or twice a month. He's lost all of his top line, and looks (at least to me) horrible.  I know I'm not going to be able to get him back into shape but I'd at least like him to look less like a neglected pasture pet.  So we do 10-15 min working walk rides every couple weeks where he has to march out and stay as round as he can.  I did my 2points in sets and timed each, and did 80% of our ride in 2point.  I'm sure I'll be feeling it tomorrow!!

Also check out L. Williams' giveaway for her 1,000 post!!

Saturday, October 4, 2014

What We've Been Up To

So I haven't blogged in over 7 months.  Oops.  Last winter was way overwhelming, between work, managing the barn while my BOs were gone, seasonal depression, trying to work my horses, and just life in general. I just had to shut down for a while.  The barn situation has vastly improved; my BO stopped the lesson/college program we had so now I don't have to run herd on 10 immature college girls.  My trainer is still coming out and doing lessons, but just for boarders and very select leasees. Work is slowly getting better, as of Oct 1st I got a promotion and the coworker I can't stand is leaving at the end of the month. 
But they make everything better

The biggest thing to happen during our hiatus was I sold Buddy.  We had been schooling 3' at home, and even showed in the .95m jumpers at one show in the spring, but it was too much for him.  Between the college girls riding him and me, he was working 5-6 days a week, but was getting tired and cranky at the bigger heights.  Discussing my long term goals with my trainer (show at 3', start doing some rated shows again, maybe the 3' jumper classic they added to the last A show of the season here in Oregon) we  both thought it would just be too much for Bud. He's 18, but has lots of life left in the lower divisions.  And I have McKenna, who is young and should be more than capable of doing the 3' jumpers.

Bud and his leasee won their first eventing derby at intro.

I had listed Bud on a local FB page and DreamHorse, and had some hits.  We were going to a show, hauling up and schooling Friday and showing Saturday and I had two people lined up to try him at schooling.  Two other people came up to me at schooling asking about him.  Both women trying him were looking for lesson horses, one for her friend outside Seattle and one in Portland.  Both loved him.  The Portland one asked for a trial, and mentioned that I was going to have a bidding war over him since everyone seemed to love him.  Then the Seattle lady came to me with a checkbook out and asked how much I wanted for a deposit.  She had loved him and called her friend and they wanted to buy him on the spot.  I was completely surprised and shocked.  They wrote up a contract, and after our classes on Saturday I dropped him off at the friend's farm where he stayed for a few days before going up to Seattle.  They also payed me more than what I was asking.  It was very surreal, and considering it was my first time selling a horse it went way faster and easier than I ever thought.  I've done some FB/Instagram/YouTube stalking and Buddy has been leased to a young teenager who adores him and is showing him in the 2'6" jumpers. 

Morning I sold him, my last pic of him.
As far as the other ponies, Phoenix has been officially retired.  His side bone on his right front started making itself know again and despite injecting it he was still off. My vet was out a few weeks after we injected and asked about him and flat told me it was time to retire him.  So he's been hanging out all summer getting fat and sassy.  I took him to a friend's who has five acres and a run in to live with a couple of my BO's retired horses but Phoenix bullied them too much and had to come back to the barn.  Which was a good thing; two weeks after coming back he developed cellulitis in his left hind.  He was lamer than I've ever seen, his leg swelled up at least twice it's normal size, couldn't move his hock at all, and almost fell down multiple times.  I was convinced he wasn't going to make it. But five days of twice daily penicillin shots and bute and he was back to normal. 

Day 2 of cellulitis

McKenna has continued her progress, but it still squarley in the baby stage.  She's matured and isn't nearly as ADD as she once was. She's trotting very nicely (most of the time) but our canter still leaves a lot to be desired.  We have started jumping some small crossrails and verticals, just trotting, and she's loving it.  Hasn't looked or cared at anything I've put in front of her, including a brick wall plank and the flower boxes.  Our biggest issue is that she's very smart and tend to get bored and naughty so I have to keep switching things up and changing our ride every time so she doesn't get used to a routine.

I'm going to try and get back into the swing of blogging.  I've started a blog for McKenna but haven't decided if I'll use it or use this one.