Monday, March 28, 2016

Saddle Shopping: Oh Crap

Our "before" confo shots.  That neck makes me cringe a little inside.
I knew my saddle wasn't a great fit for Peebs and have been planning on getting a new (or more likely a new-to-me) saddle in a year or so.  I figure his topline was going to develop more and he'd fill out a bit and why fit him for a saddle now when it could all change. 

I'm pretty sure there isn't supposed to be daylight between my saddle and his back
But over the last couple weeks Peebs has started being different under saddle.  He's a bit lazier than normal, wants to stop more, and every time I went to pick up my reins from a walk break he'd stretch his head down and put out a front leg like he was going to rub his head on his leg.  But he wouldn't rub; he'd just stretch down and not want to go forward. The first couple times he did it I thought he was complaining about his boots so I took them off and used polos.  And he still did it so off came the polos and he went with naked legs.  And he still did it. I might not know this horse well yet, but I could at least figure out something was wrong.

Peeb's wither tacing
One of the other boarders in the barn has a good friend who is a saddle fitter at Pelham Saddlery and directed me to her.  I sent in some confo shots, and tried my hand at wither tracings, so she could get an idea of what we would need to be looking for in a saddle.  Other boarder is having a local saddle fitter out this weekend to look and and reflock one of her saddles so I signed us up for an appointment with her as well.  Other than I know that my saddle doesn't fit, I'm not exactly sure what I should be looking at/for.  Luckily for now my BO has a saddle that fits better, but still not great, that we can use and while I've only used it twice, he hasn't done the head/necking stretching thing. 

Friday, March 25, 2016

This, That, and the Other

After my last post about our disappointing lesson, we did end up having two good jump schools last week.  The weather somewhat cooperated and I was able to set a few fences outside in a freshly worked arena.  Is there any better feeling than being that first person to ride on a freshly drug arena?!?  The first jump day we just did a couple of cross rails at the trot but we did a line and I realized it was actually the first line I've done with him.  The second jump day I cantered a couple fences, trying very hard not to pick at him, and then tugged my big girl breeches up and did the little green boxes with Peebs for the first time. And what do you know, he just trotted right up to them and hopped over like it was no big deal. 

Kisses for a good pony
Unfortunately I haven't gotten to ride this week.  But I did go pony shopping with one of the teens at the barn because my trainer ended up not being able to make it and there was very good prospect that was sure to go fast that we wanted to jump on (no pun intended). A has been looking since August and a couple of horses she's liked sold either before she could do a second ride or a vet check. But it looks like she found the one! Trainer went up the day after we did for a second  look and they put down a deposit. He's being vetted today, and fingers crossed if all goes well we'll haul him home on Sunday. 

Unrelated pic: Peebs twinning with my BO's 5yr old. 
I did attempt to ride last night but a friend of my BO's who is an instructor/trainer hauled in her horse to ride and another boarder was riding with her (maybe having a lesson, I couldn't tell).  It's still to wet to lunge in the outdoor and they were riding inside.  I hadn't ridden since Sunday and wanted to lunge Peeb's before getting on.  Instructor friend has been hauling over 2-3 times a week for a couple weeks since she doesn't have an indoor arena and her horse is rehabbing and needs consistent work.  BO told her the arena is busy from 4-6 and to try not to come at those times.  But apparently something was lost in translation and she was there at 3:30.  Our indoor isn't big enough to lunge and have people ride so after grumbling for a bit and decided what the hell and got on anyways. About two laps into our trot work I could tell Peebs and I were going to battle it out and since I was already in a shitty mood over our arena being taken over by someone who doesn't board here I got off instead of taking it out on my pony. I don't mind the occasional haul in rider, but A) don't come during the busy times and/or B) if you do let people know!  I did send a couple snarky texts to my BO which I later apologized for.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Like Riding a Bike

I know it was unreasonable, and unrealistic, but I had visions of selling McKenna, buying a new pony, and being able to go back to the 2'6"+ fences like a snap.  Other than I think one jump session with Tia, and the couple little gymnastics we did with McKenna I really hadn't jumped anything bigger than 2' in over a year and a half, since I sold Buddy. But riding a horse is like riding a bike, right?  I've jumped bigger jumps in the past so I should be able to now.


I don't trust my eye and, how ever unfairly, I don't trust Peebs.  McKenna was such a powder keg that letting go and trusting Peebs to not kill me isn't something I'm ready to do.  I want to hold and nitpick every stride with him.  And I know he doesn't need it.  That he gets angry with too much micromanagement.  That he's not strong enough or balanced enough yet to collect and wait forever for the distance. 

He's the cutest
So for the past couple weeks, when the weather's cooperated (which wasn't often) we jumped outside and when it's windy/rainy/flat nasty out and I have the indoor to myself we've jumped inside.  The focus for most of our jump schools is just going forward, me staying relaxed and not picking at him, and cantering a bunch of tiny jumps so I can feel comfortable again.  He's a good boy and I know this, but it takes time for the trust to build.

Unfortunately we had a somewhat disastrous lesson on Monday.  It was our first lesson in a month and it was pouring down rain so we were inside.  Trainer set the diamond of death exercise; a cross rail on the center line with four poles in a diamond around it.  We were to trot across the diagonals, from center of one pole to center of the cross rail, to center of the second pole.  Both trainer and I thought we'd end up working more on keeping Peebs straight, but it turned into a fight to keep him trotting.  

Making friends with his new turnout buddy Charlie
He wanted to leap at the first pole and was very confused and upset by trotting everything.  And his way of expressing said confusion and anger is by grabbing the bit and going sideways for a stride or two where I have absolutely zero control.  Just that stride of knowing you have no say in what your horse does is terrifying. I'm not proud of it, but I got after him a little too harshly out of fear. It had scared the crap out of me. But he never once tried to truly bolt or take off, buck, rear, or crow hop all of which McKenna would have done.  Trainer had to talk me off the ledge a bit, and said that this was a hard exercise and probably a little too much too soon for the both of us.  But now we know what his (and my) limits are and what we need to work on.

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

I Would Have Remembered That

Peebs had his teeth done yesterday and while they weren't as bad as I was expecting, there was one little hiccup.  Apparently he's missing his first bottom molar on the left side. My vet was talking about the big hook on the upper molar and how we need to watch it while he was having me look at it. Our conversation is as follows:

Me: Wait, is he missing that bottom molar?
Vet:  Yep but we knew that from the initial exam I did on him.
Me: Really?  I'm sure I would have remembered that.
Vet: Well I remember.
Me: I don't think you told me. I'm sure I would have remembered that.
Vet: Hmm..........................maybe.  But I meant to tell you.

Meanwhile his vet tech was trying not so successfully to hold back her laughter and keep Peebs' head up at the same time.

Drunk pony got his ears and bridle path clipped, sheath cleaned, and part of his mane pulled.