Thursday, September 26, 2019

Asking For a Friend: Logo Design

Since I've been boarding at A's farm, TCF, this summer and A and I have shown together a few times now I've officially declared myself part of Team TCF. Even with Peebs moving out next week to go back to our old barn for the winter, I want to be repping TCF.  Only problem is that A doesn't have a logo, or barn colors. I want to fix that.

So dear readers, anyone do logo design or know who does? I'd prefer paying a blogger/horse person for it if I can.  Either leave a comment or hit me up at basneym at oregonstate . edu

Tuesday, September 24, 2019

Transformation Tuesday: Mane Edition

Since Cinder's been living outside 24/7 this summer I've been slacking a bit on her grooming routine. Most days I just brought her in to eat her grain, spritzed on some fly spray, and checked her out for any new bites and scrapes. I did start getting her ready for the Young Horse Show but once that got cancelled I let her get feral looking again.

If this tail keeps going, she'll never need a fake one

Sunday was rainy and nasty and Cinder spent the day inside. Since I wasn't going to ride Peebs, I figured Cin was due for a beauty day. Or as much of one as I could give her since getting a bath in the rain, and with stitches, was out. She got a good currying which is her favorite, a brushing, and a spritz with Eqyss Avocado Conditioner. I also brushed out her tail with Carr & Day & Martin Canter Conditioner. I had banged her tail in prep for the YHS and once it was all brushed out her tail looked amazing.  She's going through a weedy, awkward phase (honestly she looks like a 16.1hand dachshund) and I'm pretty sure all the extra food I'm dumping into her is going into her tail.

That one super long section? The only part of her mane she protests about getting pulled

The big transformation was her mane. She's surprisingly good for having her mane pulled, only protesting at one section. Like her tail, Cin's mane is super thick and I'm going to need to stay on top of keeping it pulled. In my zeal about how good she was handling the pulling, I grabbed a too thick section and got the pulling comb stuck.  As I tried to get it out I somehow stabbed my finger with the comb.  That ever happen to anyone else, or am I just lucky?

So much better looking
I need to touch up a couple places by her poll, but Cin was reaching the end of her patience.  We did end the beauty day with a quick clip of her bridle path and under her jaw. Her stitches come out Friday and I'm hoping its warm enough this weekend to give her an end of summer bath.

Friday, September 20, 2019

A Tale of Two Lessons: Lesson the Second

Monday my trainer was supposed to come out and do one last ride on Scottie since A was coming home on Tuesday.  I had hacked Peebs before my trainer came out and had started grooming Scottie for her. She works a full time non-horsey job and had gotten stuck leaving the office so she was a little late getting out to the barn. She made a comment about me getting on Scottie since I was still wearing my boots and chaps and I joked that I would after she got him all tuned up. That lead to her saying I'm more than capable of tuning him up and that she'd give me a lesson on him.  So that's how my impromptu lesson on Scottie happened.

Scottie was bred to be a pleasure horse and did a few years on the open schooling show and breed show circuit before flunking out. He hates flat work and needs an incentive in order to motivate him.  He loves to jump and when A first got him, they'd use poles and even cross rails to get him going.  He's much better about flat work now, but since he was off for a few months earlier this summer he's been doing flat work for the past month. And that's apparently his limit.

loves the jumpies
Our trot work warm up wasn't bad, but he was definitely sucked back.  When I asked for the canter he started reverting back to his Naughty Scottie ways and my trainer told me to aim him at a cross rail. I asked her if she was trying to kill me because he hadn't jumped in three months and I didn't want to be the guinea pig taking him over his first one. Add in the fact that I've never jumped him before and I was pretty nervous trotting up to the cross rail. You can see below how exciting his first fence back was.

Yeah, I really shouldn't have been as worried as I was. We did that same cross rail a few times while Trainer broke down the grid and set up a diagonal fence and an outside line. We then went to the line and did a very wiggly seven strides. For as stiff and unbendable as he can be on the flat, Scottie felt like a limp noodle wiggling down the line. Peebs tends to over bend and drift, but Scottie felt all over the place.  It took me a few tries to figure out how to ride him straight and when I did we were able to leave a stride out and get 6.  During one attempt I really revved him up and we almost did a 5.

We did a small course of the outside line to a single diagonal to the outside cross rail a few times.  Scottie has flying changes but I wasn't able to get him to do any.  I think it's a combo of him needing more strength and me needing to ask harder. But I didn't worry about it too much since he's just coming back into work and just focused on trying to clean up the simple changes. I was surprised at how easy it was to see distances on him, once I got him going. He tends to have a slightly smaller stride but his pace and rhythm are pretty steady and consistent so once I figured out how to get him straight the distances were there.  I had a lot of fun jumping him and hopefully A will let me play with him again.

Thursday, September 19, 2019

A Tale of Two Lessons: Lesson the First

I had a lesson last Friday on Peebs and then an unexpected lesson on Monday on Scottie. I can't remember the last time I had lessons three days apart.  I wish I could do that all the time!


We've been doing lots of trot poles and canter poles with Peebs in the past few weeks.  I had the chiro out to check him two weeks ago and she recommended the trot poles to help strengthen his stifles and hind end.  All the pole work had me feeling like doing gymnastics so I asked my trainer if I could set one up for my lesson. We ended up doing a bounce to a one stride to a one stride and it was so fun!

My trainer had us start with the last one stride and built it back to front.  We nailed the one the first time out so she added the other one stride before it. Again we came in perfectly and the one to one was super easy. Trainer then put up the bounce and told me to do exactly the same thing and not to over think it. I just turned and started at her, asking her "Why would you tell me that?!?" Because of course I then had to over think it and screw up our pace coming in. Peebs earned his cookies because I found a half stride to the bounce and he had to do some fancy footwork to get us out of it. We did come back and fix it and my trainer raised the final vertical every other time we went through.

We ended up doing 2'9" the last time through and while it looked big, it didn't look scary big or like we couldn't get over it. We haven't jumped that big in a while and I was actually tempted to ask if it could go up to 3' but Peebs was getting tired and I didn't want to push it. I'm sure cantering down to a single at 2'9" might look bigger than the final fence in a grid, but I was proud of myself for not freaking out about the fences going up a few holes.

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

WW: Wound Wednesday

Cinder got her first set of stitches yesterday.  We're not exactly sure how it happened, but she got  a small cut on the inside of her right front, a scrape on her face, and a large gash on her left stifle. Based on part of the wire fence being down and cap off the top of a t-post, we're assuming she either got caught in the wire or she and Peebs had a altercation through the wire and Peebs nailed her. Peebs is fine.

I got the call from A's mom around 10 on Tuesday morning and immediately left work. My supervisor is a horse girl so all I said was "Cinder probably needs stitches" and she told me to go. It's super nice not having to explain horsey related things to my boss.

 My regular vet was out for a few days working on his new clinic (which will be like 2 minutes from the barn, yay!) so I had to call the vet school.  Thankfully they could make it out or else I would have had to haul Cinder in. Once they were out the doc agreed with me that the stifle wound needed stitches and they went to work.

He had two vet students with him and one seemed reluctant to actually touch Cin. She was much more comfortable holding the ipad and inputting all the info.  The other one jumped right in and started clipping and cleaning the wound. Cin was due for her fall vaccines in a few weeks so I had them do those while the sedation kicked in. Why just do a tetanus now and poke her again in a few weeks when I could do it all at once?

Drunk pony is a light weight
While the one student started suturing the Dr. asked the two what else they needed to consider. Both girls gave him a blank stare and he prodded them about aftercare. Still more blank staring. He mentioned a barn being full of dirt and poop and flies, horses being turned out in the elements.  Still nothing from the students.  I couldn't stand it and blurted out "Antibiotics". He said yes and that there was still other parts of aftercare to consider.  After more nothing from the students I said "pain management".  And then after the Dr. said he'd want Cinder on banamine, one of the girls kept trying to give me bute. I know they're still students, and just starting their clinical rotations, but it was killing me that these girls didn't have any answers.

Cinder ended up with 5 stitches. Thankfully it wasn't a deep laceration and there doesn't seem to be any joint involvement.  I will have to have my vet out in 2-3 weeks to remove the sutures. Cin's on twice daily banamine for three days, and twice daily liquid sulfa for five days. Both are syringed into her mouth and she is not a fan. Part of her banamine this morning ended up on me and the floor of her stall but she did take the sulfa fine. I kept her stalled yesterday since we had thunderstorms, and she's in today but if everything looks good when I go out tonight I'll probably turn her back out. Fingers crossed for a quick and easy recovery!

Monday, September 9, 2019

Pony of a Different Color

The reason I moved the ponies to A's barn TCF this summer was to help her mom watch over the horses and help out with chores.  And to also ride A's horse Scottie. He's the type that doesn't do well with time off, but not in the normal sense. Scottie isn't one to get really hot, or excited, but he will throw on the breaks when asked to go back to work.  He believes that a couple days off in a row means he's retired forever.

Unfortunately Scottie was dealing with some soundness issues before and right after A left. He did get some time off before we finally decided to call the vet. Thankfully it seems to be something that can be managed with a shoeing change and joint injections. Scottie then got another few days off before finally going back to work.

Haven't seen the view between bay ears in a long time

I did the initial ride (and lunge, he might not normally be hot but I wasn't taking any chances!) and even knowing he gets surly after time off didn't prepare me.  Oh boy does that horse not want to go forward. The first few walk trot transitions are met with slamming on the breaks, trying to go sideways, pinned ears, humped back, and threats of rearing. Once he's trotting he's fine but good lord those transitions.  My trainer did the next few rides on him and I was able to watch and even got a mini lesson on him. She, of course, made it look easy.

Scottie is a very different ride from Peebs and it's been good for me to ride him. If I lean too far forward he slows down or stops, so he's keeping me honest about keeping my shoulders back. He requires a committed, definite ride and I have to 100% crisp and clear in my aids and what I'm asking of him. He's also super smooth and I've been getting in a lot of no stirrup work and sitting trot in on him. And once you figure him out and what it takes, he feels great and it's easy to keep him where you want him. 

Thursday, September 5, 2019

Now We're Getting Somewhere

In terms of riding, most of 2019 has felt like we aren't quite there.  I'm not sure how to explain it other than it felt like something in our training, or my riding, was missing. It's not like it's been a bad  year, or we've had major problems but I've felt like we were so close to really moving up a notch but just couldn't make it.

I had a lesson on Tuesday and while the biggest thing we jumped was a line of cross rails, it was an amazing lesson.  We focused mainly on the approaches and straightness and something finally clicked. It was like a light bulb went off and I found what we've been missing.

I bought the saddle pad a few weeks ago and then found a perfect matching bonnet at the show so I had to get it.
When my trainer asked what I wanted to work on, I told her that we've been having issues at one single diagonal fence and an outside line.  The diagonal was on a short approach off the right lead.  We had to canter down about three quarters of the long side before turning I just could not get a distance to it to save my life (or Peebs sanity. Thanks bud for putting up me!) So after warming up we moved to that.  It was a plank with pole on top but trainer broke it down and set the plank on the ground leaning on the standards.  It was maybe 1' tall. She said the height of the fence didn't matter but she wanted to make it as easy as possible. 

Blurry screen shot but pro tip: Don't let your horse counter bend down the long side
Our problem getting to the fence was that Peebs was bracing against me, or I was bracing against him, and he was counter bending and drifting to the inside.  That made staying out and waiting to turn hard, so we would turn early and screw up the line to the fence. Trainer put out placing poles to help guide us and make me see where I needed to turn.  But it wasn't until I really got him listening and bending to the right that I could actually make that happen. I needed to ride off the rail down the long side and make him hold the bend. It really helped to think about doing a baby leg yield to keep pushing him out into my left rein. We finally nailed the approach and the jump and it flowed so well. 

We then switched to the outside line that had also been giving me trouble. It was off the left lead and while not as challenging as the single diagonal, I just couldn't get a flow to it.  It also didn't help that it was a short 4 stride line and if I rode the first fence aggressively we ended up at 3.5 strides.  Trainer had me start circling Peebs, spiraling out at the canter again to get that same feeling of holding the inside bend, but for whatever reason Peebs took offense to this and got super hyped and scrambly. I think part of it he needs to see the chiropractor (happening tomorrow) and I need to work on our left lead canter a bit more. We ended up walking for a bit to calm Peebs down then just picked up a canter at the end of the opposite long side, cantered around the short side then went right to the line.

I had to hold Peebs more than I would have liked, considering we've also been working on me not holding onto his face for dear life, but as my trainer said, this was a deliberate holding that I was backing up with leg.  Letting him get long and strung out would make getting the four very hard and since Peebs was worked up he needed to be packaged more.  I could really feel a difference between this type of holding vs my nervous holding and I'm glad we were able to work on this during the lesson. Typically Peebs is much better once I let go and ride forward but occasionally he needs me to hold and package him. We never quite got a nice flow into the line, but sometimes that happens and  I'm learning to be ok with it.