Friday, December 23, 2016

Second Half 2016 Goals and 2017 Goals

Since it's almost the end of the year I figured its time for our goals check in. For the second half of 2016 these were our goals:

The Peebs:

  • Work on ear clipping/mane pulling/ear handling Kinda sorta happened.  Had to resort to a twitch
  • Lunge 1x week in vienna reins Done, and will continue to do!
  • Canter transitions  Felt like a lot of time was spent in the past few months on our canter work
  • Start working on flying changes Didn't do, except that he's offering changes more on his own over poles and fences.
  • Field rides once a week when the fields open up  We rode in the field at least twice a week.  Usually at the end of our ride to cool down but also a few lazy day rides as well.
  • Get comfortable over fences Always a work in progress
  • Work on my eye and seeing distances See above
  • 2pointober  Done!  End time was over 8mins!
  • no stirrups at least once a week Nope
  • Be able to canter a full course of fences (height doesn't matter) without losing my shit  I can handle a course of ground poles, does that count?
  • Continue showing as time and money allows Showed in July, and the show we planned on going to in Oct got rained out.
  • Dominate the crossrails and make all the little pony kids cry when they lose to us  We can rock the crossrail trot-a-course!
 As far as 2017, I think I'm going to break it back down to quarterly goals.

The Peebs:
  • Continue canter work, especially to the right
  • Flying changes
  • More lateral work 
  • Figure out how to stop rushing the fence going right up the long side of the ring.
  • Stay happy, healthy, sane, and sound
  • More work cantering fences without feeling like I'm going to die
  • Work on relaxing my hands and elbows
  • More no stirrup work
I'm removing our showing goals. I tend to get hyper focused on what I feel like we should be doing and what I want to do versus where we're at.  Showing should be fun. So our showing goal/plan is to show as much as we can time and money wise and to have fun with it.

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

2016 In Review

2016 started out very differently than other years.  For the first time in 16 years I didn't have a horse.  McKenna left right after Christmas and I was horseless come the new year.  That lasted about three weeks.  I looked at Peebs Jan 8 and brought him home 10 days later.  He was the first horse I looked at when I started the pony search, and it felt like coming home when I rode him.

Our first meeting
We spent February getting to know each other, figuring out tack, and going jump schooling with friends.  I also got to escape the winter weather in Oregon for a trip down to Thermal and Mexico, but while my BO and I were gone we lost one of the donkeys in the barn.
Demonstrating a not fitting saddle

March brought the return of my jumping fears and the start of saddle shopping.

Favorite pic ever
April was a much better month.  We started finding our groove over fences,  and went to our first show.  We did the trot a course crossrails and came home tied for division champion.  The day after the show was my 30th birthday so it was a great present!!

May was spent trying to find a used saddle that worked for us. I finally said screw it and had us fitted for a new custom County.  We also signed up for a clinic with a "sports psychologist" trainer that ended up being the clinic from hell.

June started with Peebs having a mild heat stress colic.  Fun times!!  He also got to see the vet the week after that when his sheath swelled up.  Some happy drugs and a sheath cleaning later he was all fine. We had a couple lack luster lessons and another crappy clinic. But he redeemed himself with an awesome first field ride of the season.

In July Peebs kept proving he is the best pony and we went to our second show!  Day one ended with us earning two fourths, a sixth, and a seventh.  Day two saw improvements with a third and two fourths.  Peebs then got a break while my parents were visiting and I went to Vancouver, BC.

August was full of heat and meeting new people.  The temps were in the 90-100s and Peebs was fired up.  He started getting trainer riders, which helped immensely!  Peeb's breeder found me on Facebook and shared his background and baby pictures with me. I learned he is a QH/Morgan cross, not an appendix QH like I thought.  I also had a quick trip down to San Diego and got to meet L from Viva Carlos.  

September started off pretty badly, my BO had to put down her 27yr old mare and there was quite the barn drama about it.  The person who had the biggest issue with it has left the barn which has made life so much better. But my saddle came in and both Peebs and I fell in love with a gorgeous 3yr stallion.

October saw the return to riding inside and the end of show season. We also spent the last part of the month and a good part of November dealing with Peeb's poop issue.  While it's not fully gone away, and some days he has more liquid farts than others, he's happy and healthy otherwise so I've learned to live with it.  I am going to try one last digestive supplement after the holidays, but I'm not holding out hope.

I didn't post much in November, but I did blog about our struggles cantering fences and about the barn in Mexico I'm moving too if the US goes to shit.

December has been pretty quite on the riding front, we've had some fun field trips.  I went and watched the first day of the George Morris clinic.  Peebs played dress up for the first time.  And then we went to spread Christmas cheer at the Veterans Home.

I had no expectations for 2016 when it started.  I just wanted a safe, sane, and sound pony to play with and relearn that riding is supposed to be fun.  While we haven't progressed as far as I thought we would in terms of how high we're jumping or showing, I know a lot of that is my mental issues and Peebs learning how to really carry himself and use his body correctly.  We'll get there, and I'm not in a hurry.  This point last year I never would have considered doing half of what I've done with him with McKenna.  I've had so much fun with Peebs and am so thankful for him.

Monday, December 19, 2016

Spreading Christmas Cheer

On Sunday the 4H group in our barn took some horses over to the Oregon Veterans Home for Christmas caroling.  The Veterans Home is a skilled nursing center about twenty minutes from the barn that is for vets, their spouses, or parents of servicemen killed in action. While most of the residents are older, there were a few around my age that had sever physical, mental, and/or emotional disabilities.
Christmas Peebs 2.0

I had orginally said I'd go to help, and wasn't planning on taking Peebs.  But Sunday morning one of the 4H'ers decided not to take her horse so there was an empty spot in the trailer.  I figured why not, and did a quick sock wash and muzzle clip on Peebs.  We then proceeded to deck the ponies out in more Christmas finery, including bows in their mane and tail, garland around their necks, and glitter on the butts. All of us wore Santa hats.
This guy kept saying Peebs was a pretty boy.

All the horses unloaded fine and we proceeded to walk around the parking lot while residents came out. One of the 4H'ers brother had his phone plugged into a portable speaker and was playing Christmas carols.   Another brother was passing out Christmas cards from the group.  There were probably 15-20 vets that came out to see the horses and a bunch of family and friends joined in.  It was 28* so they didn't stay out too long, and most had blankets wrapped around them.
Meeting Chris

I was shocked at how good all the horses were.  Most were in wheelchairs or had walkers and none of the horses cared.  Some wanted to pet the ponies, and all were agreeable.  There was one guy, Chris, who probably isn't much older than me, who is wheelchair bound and has difficulties talking and moving his hands.  But he absolutely loved the horses.  He kept grabbing their halters or necks and hugging and kissing them.  His mom tried to take him inside when he started shivering but he wouldn't let her so an aide brought him a blanket.  He asked if we had brushes so he could brush them and all of us were so upset that we didn't. We promised him that we'd come back in a few months when it was warmer so he could brush them.  He kept telling us to make sure to take pictures.  I was battling tears the whole time.
Kisses for Chris

We then took the ponies for a walk around the campus so residents that weren't able to come outside could see them from their rooms or windows.  Peebs saw a monster in the fog and decided that going around one of the building was not happening so we had to turn back.  He was completely fine otherwise.
Right before the attack of the fog monster

I am so glad I decided to take Peebs.  It was such an amazing thing to see how happy the horses made the vets and just how good Peebs was about everything.  I'll definitely be taking him back when the club goes again in a few months.
Peebs kept trying to put his head in this guy's lap

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

How to be a Normal Pony

One of the horses in the barn is a former pack horse/ranch horse from Wyoming.  His owner, TN, is the contractor who built the barn and is friends with the BOs. TN and some friends owned a hunting guide outfit in Wyoming to take people into the wilderness and had 25-30 trail/pack horses and mules.  When they sold the outfit, TN kept Sundance, his favorite horse and brought him home to Oregon.
We also figured out how to take selfies.  Obviously very important

We don't know much about Sundance's history.  He's in his teens, probably a QH or QH cross.  I call him the Wyoming Warmblood. He's big, probably 16.3 and heavy boned and muscled.  He's obviously had a hard life and is very wary of people. One hind leg has a scar that looks like he was roped. He's also got some arthritis issues.  When he first came, he wouldn't step on the mats in the barn aisle, was nervous going into a stall, wouldn't eat treats, and it took him a while to figure out grain. You had to move slow and quietly around him or else he'd pull away from you.  We think he'd always been turned out in a herd in Wyoming and maybe had never been in a barn or indoor arena.  It was almost impossible to catch him once we turned him out for the summer.
We can also stand to get our foot soaked when we have an abscess. After snorting at the water once, he stood stock still the whole time. So proud!

TN had knee surgery at the beginning of the year so Sundance has sat for the most part. He has ridden him a handful of times, and every time Sundance has been super wigged out.  But BO and I have started working with him to teach him how to be a normal pony. He's really come out of his shell and wants to be a good boy.  He's started nickering at me, but that's probably because I come armed with cookies and carrots for him which he's figured out are amazing.  But he can now crosstie, wear a blanket, pick up all four feet, and we've started learning how to lunge on a lunge line. He's decided getting his head brushed is the best thing ever. Seriously, he's so much better about it than Peebs, its sad. You still have to move slow and not spook him, but he comes back to you much quicker than he did before.  He's also figured out he can canter in the indoor arena, and cantered four times when I lunged him on Monday.  It used to be almost impossible to get him to canter at all, let alone that much.  Hopefully BO and I will get on him sometime in the next couple weeks to see what he's like under saddle.
Blankets are scary

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Saint Peebers

Peebs proved yet again he's a saint this weekend.  As much as I get frustrated with out canter issues, and my jumping fear issues, I REALLY love and appreciate that I can do stupid shit with him and he takes it all in stride.  I dressed him up (not nearly as awesomely as Bobby was), jumped a Christmas tree, and had a lesson in the pouring rain this past weekend.

I started by playing dress up Saturday with some garland, reindeer antlers, and a blinky red nose.  Peebs wasn't a fan of the antlers, mainly because he can be a bit ear shy and they were touching his ears.  It was hard to keep him from shaking his head and throwing them off.  But we got a couple cute pics out if, even if he looks less than thrilled.

Peebs: I'm pretty sure when I got bought by a 20something the stupid "dress up the lesson horse thing" would stop. Me: You thought wrong!!!!

Bright and early Saturday I went Christmas tree shopping for the first time in 8yrs, I think.  And I have no intention to put up my tree or decorate.  It's purely jump filler.  I've seen pics for years of people jumping their trees during the holidays, and finally this year I have a horse that I feel comfortable doing it on. So I went and bought a small little tree to play with.  I put in the indoor while I had Peebs turned out and he glanced at it once then ignored it.  I free lunged him a bit and he jumped it on his own so I figured we were good to go. I tacked him up and put the garland back on. A quick warm up later and we headed to the tree.  And he didn't care. One. Little. Bit.  He pretty much fell over the fence the first time.  I think I need to get a bigger tree!

A video posted by Molly Basney (@mollybasney) on
Sunday we had an early morning lesson. It had rained all night, but wasn't while we tacked up. The footing outside, while puddle filled, was fine so we braved the outdoors. And of course it promptly started raining about ten minutes into the lesson. Trainer called my bluff and made me stay outside. We did end up completely drenched but oh well. We didn't do much, just four fences strung together at the trot, working on bend and pace. Peebs was trying very hard to avoid the bigger puddles, and of course to get a good approach to fences we had to go through them. He wasn't pleased but I made a big effort to not get mad and pick at him and we actually had a pretty nice ride. It felt like if I picked a fight, there was a huge screw you in him and I'm glad I was able to avert disaster. Small victory!

Peebs says screw you and your Sunday morning lesson in the rain ☔️🌧

A photo posted by Molly Basney (@mollybasney) on

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Location, Location, Location

I figured I'd jump on the location blog hop from Sarah.  I know there's a few other bloggers from my area so you might end up seeing this more than once but it'd be fun to see their spin on things.

I'm in the central Willamette Valley in Oregon, roughly an hour and a half south of Portland. My part of the valley is mostly rural, but it's become more urban in the 12yrs I've been here.  It's a lot of flat grassland with mountain ranges on either side, and the Willamette River in the middle.  The county I live in is know as the Grass Seed Capital of the world; as in rye grass, bent grass, fescue (not THAT type of grass!!)  My barn is set in the middle of grass seed fields and after they harvest in the summer (late June-early July) we can ride out in the fields.

As far as barns, there's a mix of general boarding barns, a few discipline specific barns, and a lot of people keep their horses at home or board in the winter for access to an indoor arena.  

I'm currently on self care at my barn so my costs are slightly different that average.
  • Trim $40
  • Fronts $90 (I haven't had a set of full shoes on my horses in years so I have no idea what they cost)
  • Training:  I'd say lessons start at $35/hour and go up from there.  As far as full training $350 on up.  Again, I haven't had a horse in full training ever so I don't know. I do know some of the h/j barns and eventing barns in the area have requirements for lessons or training to board in the barn.
  • Pasture board $100 on up
  • Stall board: A lot of places around here offer self care, partial care, and full care.  I'd say self care is $150, partial $250, and full care $350+.  
  • Hay (everyone else's hay that I've seen has been way cheaper than mine, lucky!) Depends on if you get local valley grass, or eastern hay.
    • When I did the math (I buy by the ton), my eastern hay, which tends to be nicer than valley grass, was $11 a bale for 110lb bales, delivered and stacked in the barn.  I could go to my hay guy's place and pay $14/bale but then would have to stack it myself. 
    • I bought some valley hay last year and I think it was $12/bale for an 85lb bale. 
    • My BO gets eastern alfalfa delivered for about $12/bale

Weather: It rains, A LOT.  Pretty much October-May is the wet season. This October was the second wettest on record, and we got 11in of rain. We usually get a couple days of snow or ice a winter, but we have gotten over a foot of snow and down to 0* a couple years ago.  It usually stays in the 30s-40s during the winter but can get colder.  Summers are dry and in the 80s-90s but I've been at shows in July in the pouring rain and it was 48* and then a show in August at 105*. 
Demographics: My area is mostly western...gaming, cows, trail riding. In my immediate area there are a few dressage and eventing barns, but no h/j barns within a half hour. The closer you get to Portland, the better the h/j scene gets.  There is a healthy local/rated circuit up in Portland, a few nice rated shows in Central Oregon, but I find it sad that World Cup and Olympic rider Rich Fellers who is based just outside Portland rarely shows in his home state. I know there's not the $$ or demand for top shows and classes here but it would be nice to see him show on his home turf. A lot of the bigger barns travel up to Washington and Canada and/or down to California to show. 
Frustrations: For me, lack of h/j barns in my area.  I love my barn and my trainer, but I do miss being at a show barn and showing with a group. My trainer works a full time non horsey job, and is a single mom, so sometimes fitting in lessons can be challenging. I'm not a fan of the trainers at the two closest h/j barns (each over a half hour away) and I couldn't afford them.

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Christmas Wishlist

Since it's that time of year I'm putting out my Christmas Wishlist.  Some of the bigger ticket items are things I'm planning on replacing within the next year or so. 

Leather Open Fronts:
I had to sell my much loved EquiFit open fronts (both the leather and the orginials) because they didn't fit Peebs.  For whatever reason the EquiFits want to slide down his legs and bunch around his pasturn. I've had good luck with Majyk Equipe open fronts so I'd like to get a pair of their leather boots for showing. I haven't decided if I like the brown with the buckles or black with hook closures instead.

County Logic Girth:
I had to sell my 46" County Logic girth when I got my new saddle because it became to small for Peebs.  I got a cheap fleece girth in a 48" that works, but its hard to clean and gets gross easy, especially in the wet Oregon winter.  I'd love to pick up a new County Logic girth in a 48".

Deco Pony Name Plate:
I love the new Deco Pony name plates.  I think I'd like to get both Peeb's show name and barn name on it. I've kinda jumped around in colors for my horses over the year, but lately I'm really into navy/silver combo, so navy background with silver lettering.

New Helmet:
My current helmet is due to be replaced in a year or so (unless *knocks wood* I have a fall).  My head is a GPA shape; the CO's don't fit me at all. I've never tried a Samshield so I'd be interested in trying one on. But as far as GPAs go, I love my Speed Air.  It's the comfiest helmet I've ever worn. I'm not sure I love the look of the First Lady, so it would probably be another Speed Air.

New Tall Boots:
I'm probably going to have to go custom for new tall boots.  My 17" calf is a hard fit for off the rack boots, coupled with my short height.  I have a pair of Ariat V Sport boots that fit, but the blue cuff isn't exactly hunter ring approved.  I can get away with it at schooling/local shows but I want to start doing the rated shows again in the next year or so as well as some of the local medal classes when we're jumping that big again.  

Sunday, December 4, 2016

George Morris Clinic 2016

I mad the hour and a half trek north on Friday to watch Day 1 of the 2016 George Morris Clinic. It's hosted by Rich Fellers, so you get the added bonus of watching him ride.  And catch glimpses of Flexible!!  Honestly, I think I was more excited for that than anything else.  This clinic has a slightly different format that others I've heard about; it's a 3 day clinic with 3'6", 4', 4'3"+ groups and is geared more towards the jumper rider than the hunter/eq.
Started the day off by catching a glimpse of Flexi

George had all three groups do the same basic exercises, both on the flat and over fences.  Everyone started with shoulder in/out and haunches in/out at the walk and trot. George had them do lots of walk/trot and walk/canter transitions to sharpen the horses to their aids.  All groups did counter canter, with the the 3'6" group only doing a little in their warm up while the the 4' group had to land off a fence and counter canter the corner and short side.  The 4'3" group had to change direction in the canter and hold the counter lead going the new direction.

All three groups warmed up trotting a cavalletti to a trot fence.  As they went through, the fence got progressively bigger and the 4'3" group ended up trotting like a 3'6" fence. It was huge! They jumped right into the jumping (sorrynotsorry for the pun) and did a tight roll back to an oxer, direct short five stride bending line to a skinny plank, then a four stride bending line to a triple bar. This caused lots of problem, for all three groups.  The first group mainly wanted to over bend the first line, making the five easy or adding for six. The triple bar was set so the horses jumped directly towards the spectators, so they had to land and turn quick.  Some horses spooked at us the first time and there were a few that looked like they might not make the turn. The first clip in the video is Chris Fellers (Rich's son) on his 3'6" horse (he also rode in the 4'3" group), a lovely chestnut that could come home with me.  The second clip is Shelley (Rich's wife) in the 4'3" group. Shelley has been a pro and competing in FEI classes for a while now, but Chis just turned pro this summer and is now one of their assistant trainers.


The second exercise was a quadruple combination; a vertical two strides to an oxer, two strides to a vertical, one stride to an oxer.  Then it was around the ring and down the center line towards the "open water".  The 4'3" group then came around the ring and did the quadruple the opposite direction. Since it's December in Oregon the clinic was inside but Rich has a huge moveable liverpool that was set behind a plank. The 3'6" group had the most trouble with the water but luckily no one ended up in it!  The quadruple took its toll as well, with the 3'6" and 4' group being nailed on their straightness, or lack of.  In the 4'3" group Shelley's horse decided it was done and stopped out a few times with her.  She came off but landed very gracefully on her feet.  George had them lower the fences and she did it again going to the whip over every fence. They did it a few time till she didn't need to go to the whip.  Rich's horse had some problem with one of the oxers, a big airy fence with all white poles.  He knocked it a few times and George kept yelling out for Rich to do it again, and again, and again.  They did finally get it, but George told Rich to set airy oxers all over the place.
Rich's horse #noscopenohope

As far as Georgeisms, and his temper, there wasn't much to report.  He loved all the horses in the clinic; said this was one of the best groups he had.  He asked one of the girls in the 3'6" if she owned the horse she was on, and when she said yes, he told her that the horse has a major problem.  You could see her spine stiffen and she had a taken aback look on her face.  He then said the problem was that she paid to little for her horse, that no matter what she paid the horse was worth much, much more. The whole audience laughed while she relaxed.  There was one older adult ammy in the 4' group that had a few stops before falling off that George didn't let get back on.  He had his helper, Alex something (didn't catch a last name, I think he was from Canada?) ride the horse for the rest of the group.  George told her she needed to be in the 3'6" group and that she has hero syndrome.  Trying to jump bigger and better when not prepared for it.  He also made a few quips about having Alex or Rich show the horse while she sit in the VIP tent as owner. I felt sorry for her.

During the lunch break Flexi was in the crossties getting groomed.  If there weren't a bunch of people around I would have kissed that little nose.
 George and Alex each got on a horse for flat work during each session (and Alex got on the one horse from the 4' group to jump)  but George only jumped one horse.  At the end of the 3'6" group George rode Chris' horse.  He schooled him over a couple single oxers and then the water.  The horse didn't need schooling but it was obvious that George really liked him and wanted show that he's still got it.  Video below.