Friday, August 30, 2019

AE Bloghop: 12 Tough Questions

I'm somewhat lacking for content right now, so how about these questions from Alberta Equest.

Q1: What hobbies do you have outside of riding?
Reading is my biggest hobby outside of riding.  I love a good romance or mystery, and the occasional fantasy or biography. I do tend to read mostly on my kindle or listen to audiobooks. I also love to travel and am a little bit of a foodie.

Can't get much more perfect than this

Q2: What is your boarding situation? Are you happy with it?
Currently boarding at my riding bestie's house (hereby known as TCF)  and I love it.  Unfortunately once the rain starts and horses come in off of the pasture she'll be short 1 stall. The current plan is me moving Peebs back to our old barn and leaving Cinder at TCF.  There's more turnout at TCF for growing baby horses, Cinder doesn't breakout into hives like she did at our old barn, it's cheaper than my old barn, and closer to home. This is going to sound super awful, but more than likely one of the older horses at TCF will not survive winter and when his stall opens up Peebs will move back. The only thing I would change about TCF is adding an indoor arena for winter.

Q3: What's on your horsey-related wish list?
New horse trailer.  My vet thinks Cinder might hit 17.1 hands and there's no way she's going to fit into my trailer. Even if she's not that tall, squeezing her and Peebs into my current one is going to be a tight fit.  So I'm looking for warmblood size straight load trailer.  I pretty much know exactly what I want, but pulling the trigger probably won't happen till the new year.

Q4: What is your most expensive horsey-related item?
The trailer. Both my current one and the one I'm looking to buy. Second would be my custom County saddle.

Q5: What is the hardest horsey-related decision you've had to make lately?
I haven't quite made up my mind yet, but I'm looking at trainers to start Cinder under saddle. The top contender is about 45mins away and has a great reputations for starting young horses.  SL's done a lot with FEH/YEH and puts a solid dressage foundation on her youngsters.  While I'm hoping Cinder will be a hunter, I think it would be good for her to get exposed to a bit of everything and having good dressage basics can't hurt!

Q6: What's something you feel you can't live without in your routine?
I am a creature of habit and LOVE my routine. Not so much doing things in certain order, but more doing things at a certain time. Like I'm off work at 3:30 and usually head straight to the barn. If I have to do something after work and get to the barn later it tends to really throw me off. I'm trying to be better about it, and learning to adjust my times but sometimes it can trigger my anxiety.

Q7: What's on your horsey-related calendar for the rest of the summer?
Not much. The Young Horse Show clinic I was taking Cin to got cancelled. I might take Peebs to a show at the beginning of October and might take Cin to an open show in the middle of October. The open show is being held at the facility that SL trains out of so I'm hoping to have a little meet and greet with her that weekend.

Q8: What's one thing you would willingly change about your horse?
Peebs: I think he's pretty perfect.  I would change his flying changes.  A past owner really screwed them up and when I first got him, asking for a flying change would send him into a panic.  He's gotten a lot better about them, but I don't think they'll ever be easy or drama free for him.
Cinder: Dear god stop growing! She's 16.1ish now and I'd be perfectly happy if she stopped growing taller. Also, all her allergies make finding things she can eat difficult. I'd get rid of those.

Q9: What is something you most want to improve on with you and your horse?
Our consistency.  This year we've had a bunch of little things in the show ring that while not horribly bad, have been just enough to keep us out of the ribbons or from placing higher. I feel like we're almost there, but not quite.

Q10: What has been your [current] horses most severe injury?
*Frantically knocks wood* Peebs really hasn't had any injuries.  He's pulled shoes and been sore. He was NQR this winter but stifle injections helped and we'll continue those. Cinder's had typical baby horse scrapes and bite marks. Her biggest vet concern were her hives/allergies.

Q11: What do you feel your biggest downfall is as a rider?
My mental game. I'm an over thinker and have a big case of imposter syndrome.

Q12: What feeds your motivation?
I want to prove I can do it, whatever it is. I've always felt like a bit of an outsider.  I'm a plus sized rider doing things on a budget.  I don't ride at a big barn. Sometimes at shows I don't have a trainer with me. I want to show that the H/J world isn't as elitist as it can seem and that people like me do belong.

Thursday, August 29, 2019

Team NW Bedrock Show August 2019: Day Two

To be perfectly honest, I woke up on day two of the show and wasn't feeling it.  I was considering scratching and just packing up and heading home.  But I rallied and told myself to longe Peebs and see what horse I had.  If he was still amped up I'd scratch, but if he seemed like his normal chill self we'd show.

Peebs played and cantered for a good long while on the longe. He doesn't buck but dolphin leaps and strikes out with his front legs. I can usually tell when he's got his crazies out and Sunday was no exception.  He finished playing, let out a snort and was back to his usual Peebs.  So I called my trainer with an estimated time of go and decided to stick it out.

I'm a bad blogger and got zero media from the show so enjoy Cinder and Scottie sharing dinner

I was pleasantly surprised to see that they actually had an interesting eq course for us.  Usually this show does the single/outside line/diagonal/outside/diagonal hunter course for their eq classes but this time they had a short turn to a diagonal fence we hadn't jumped in the other course set almost on the center line bending to an outside fence.  Exciting stuff!

When I got on to warm up Peebs felt like his normal first day at the show self.  Awake and energetic, but not spooky and he was listening to me.  We did have some issues over bending right and drifting left when we schooled over the warm up fence but I'll take that over running through my hands.  My trainer told me to let him go and ride forward, but I was still hesitant from the day before.  Our first round started off behind the pace till the fourth fence when I got myself in gear, but overall it was a decent round.  We did add a stride in the lines even though trainer told me we could have easily made it without the add, if I had let him go.

Our second round was the one with the bending line and while Peebs was behind my leg to the first fence I sat up and pushed him forward to #2 which was the start of the bending line. The line rode really well and I proud of myself for making the decision to push him forward.  I need to stop thinking that because he's short that we have to always do the add and let him flow a bit more.  He's capable of making the strides. We did have rub at the first fence in the diagonal line but I think that was Peebs just being lazy. 

There were 14 in my classes (they combined the juniors and ammys, damn them!) so we didn't place in either class. But considering the day before I was super happy with our progress. We might show in early October, or this might have been our last show for the year, but either way I'm planning on working on letting him go and getting the strides so we can hopefully be more competitive. And if we do this same show next year, and it's the same weekend as the Art and Air Festival, we're hauling up on Friday to avoid the balloon invasion!

Monday, August 26, 2019

Team NW Bedrock Show August 2019: Full of Hot Air

Every year my town hosts a weekend Art and Air festival. They have hot air balloons that take off Friday and Saturday morning and night, as well as Sunday morning. There's also booths with local artists, food, and drink plus bands.  I've seen the hot air balloons flying many times, but for the first time this year some of them landed super close to us.  Like in the field next to my barn close. My BO said in the 10yrs they've been on that property the balloons have never landed there.

My friend took this from her house, but the multicolored balloon and the red/gray one were landing next to my barn
Saturday morning I was hauling Peebs up to a show.  I got to the barn just as the balloons were starting to deflate.  Peebs had a direct line of sight to the balloons from his paddock, and he thought the alien invasion was upon us.  The BO has just fed but for the first time in his life Peeb was too upset to eat. He was standing at the back corner of his paddock with a bite of hay hanging from his mouth staring at the alien invaders. He would sporadically run circles screaming warnings to the other horses who thankfully didn't seem as worried as he was.

I had loaded the trailer Friday night so all I had to do Saturday was hook up and load Peebs, but I decided to toss a longe line in the trailer.  Normally Peebs doesn't need to be longed at shows, but with as upset as he was about the balloons I figured it was a good idea to take the longe line just in case. When we got to the show Peebs happily tucked into his breakfast and I left him alone for while to chill.  The show ended up being huge so we had plenty of time before my classes.  I did decide to longe and as we were waiting for the tractor to finish dragging the longe area a horse also waiting got loose from his kid and took a tour of the jumper warm up arena before running back to us.  He aimed directly at Peebs and I and poor Peebs shot backwards and into the fence. Seriously, not Peebs' day.

When I got on to warm up for my hunter classes Peebs was still a tense, hot mess.  We spent a long time walking around the warm up ring before trotting.  He was looking at everything, trying to find alien invaders or loose horses.  I finally just picked up the canter, got in a half seat, and let him canter it out. It kinda worked.  He was still looky, but started paying attention to me. When he gets like this there is almost no working him down, I could have longed him again for an hour and it wouldn't have made a difference.  So I popped over a warm up jump once each way and called it good.

Peebs was still looky and distracted once we were in the ring but I tried to stay zen about it.  Coming around to the first diagonal line, we had to go past the in gate and Peebs broke to the trot.  I knew kicking him back into the cater would lead to a disorganized zoomy Peebers so I decided to just trot into the line. Peebs apparently thought the aliens were hiding behind the first fence in the line and  got super wiggly and stopped.  I took a deep breath, circled and made it over on the second try.  In our second round I did a better job of anticipating where Peebs was likely to break and kept my leg on.  But our last line was down the long side towards the in gate and Peebs really wanted to be done.  He took a flyer at the first fence, started to charge down the line, and I pulley rein stopped him. I had already written off this day and I figured it was better to school my horse than worry about proper ring etiquette. We once again circled and jumped the fence fine on the second attempt.  I did make Peebs do a big courtesy circle at the end and walk quietly out of the ring.  We did place fifth and fourth in our rounds, out of five.

Originally the plan for the show was to do the hunters on Saturday as I was showing by myself and then do the jumpers Sunday when my trainer was available to school me. I called her Saturday as I was driving to the hotel and explained the day and how I wanted to scratch our jumper classes and do the eq on Sunday instead. She agreed with my new plan and we also decided that Peebs could go for another longe Sunday morning. I had felt pretty upset after my rounds Saturday, but once I had eaten dinner and talked it over with trainer I felt a lot better.  It just wasn't our day but I was happy with how I handled it and we had a plan for  Sunday.

Friday, August 9, 2019

Baby's First Clinic

I'm getting ready to drop our entry in the mail for Cinder's first clinic.  There's a Young Horse Show Series show next month and the day before they're hosting a jump chute clinic.  I'd love to show Cin in the YHS, but they have to registered with a warmblood/sporthorse registry and she is not, yet. I have filled out the membership application and paid my fees for the American Warmblood Society and Sporthorse Registry.  Cinder should be able to be registered with them but the process will take longer than a month.  So no show for us this year, but we can still do the clinic.

It kills me how grown up she is now

Per YHS rules, horses two and over must be show in hand in a bridle.  I had Cinder's wolf teeth out and her first dental done last month so she's been starting to practice with a bit and bridle. Getting it on is still challenging, but she's fine once it's on.  Her head is in a very awkward stage; the length is very cob sized with the widths is horse. I have her in a cob with the throat latch and noseband on the last holes and might have to cobble a frankenbridle together for her soon. I do need to get clips or something for her bridle.  The YHS says to have reins that are easy to clip on and off.  Anyone have suggestions?

Practicing our whoa and stand skill
I was supposed to have a lesson with Peebs this week but he halfway pulled his right front shoe off. So I asked my trainer if we could a jump chute lesson with Cinder instead. I set the chute to what the YHS does and we started with a single crossrail and worked up to a row of three.  It  wasn't about the height, just getting Cin used to it.  Once she figured out she did really have to jump and go through the chute (and that I gave her cookies afterwards) she was great.  She willing went back and forth and one time even bounced the first one stride.