Wednesday, September 28, 2022

This and That

Little bit of this and that from the last couple of weeks.

My last few lessons have been flat rides, mainly staying on a 20m circle. Cinder kinda lost the ability to canter nicely on the right lead for both A and I. She really wanted to go around with her head in the air and was convinced she couldn't canter on the bit. A has had me really focus on getting her deep and low in the trot, imagining I had draw reins on as my visual. Once Cin was steady in the deeper trot, then I was to ask for the canter knowing she'd come up a bit, but since she was almost too deep she'd come up to where we wanted her. I definitely struggled a bit, but at one point A told me to two point the canter and I lost it completely, but we've gotten some really nice canter work out of it. 


When I got to the barn for my lesson on Friday, A was tacking up Metro for a quick trail ride before my lesson. I mentioned a trail ride sounded nice and A told me to tack up early and we'd do a trail instead of an arena lesson. The BO had a mini excavator clearing out the stream and an old bridge at the bottom of the first part of the trail and Cinder was not too sure about it. We could hear it, but not really see it through the trees and I started to get nervous, so obviously Cinder got more nervous. And then Altivo, A's doberman, came running up behind us and spooked Cinder more. Cin is totally used to the dogs running around during trail rides, but she can be a little spooky if they come up fast behind her. She jumped forward into Metro, but being the saint that he is, he didn't care. Once we were in the woods I started to relax and so did Cin. We ended up having a great ride and I'm glad I kept going even when I was sure Cinder was going to loose her mind. 


After the trail ride, I watched A school a client horse, while the client was riding her other horse. A got off and had the owner get on so she could explain a few things and asked me to hold Brownie. He is the sweetest, cuddliest horse ever, so I spent a very fun 15 minutes getting loved on. The owner's other horse is a little bit of a local celebrity, and I've admired him for years, doing the junior jumpers before a certain former Olympic trainer in the area took over the ride and did the 1.50m on him. G, the owner, does the 1.10m with him now and I told her if she wasn't careful I'd steal both of her horses. I also really enjoyed being a bit of a barn rat, hanging out watching other lessons/rides and then shooting the shit with people in the tack room.

It was stupid hot for the end of summer over the weekend, hitting 91 on Sunday. I wasn't going to ride, just lunge, but when I pulled Cinder out of the pasture she resembled the Peanuts cartoon character Pig-Pen. The dust coming off of her was disgusting, so she got a fully soapy bath with a deep tail conditioning. She was not amused.

Monday, September 19, 2022

Bucket List: Spruce Meadows

 If you follow me on IG/FB you probably already saw, but a week and a half ago, my parents and I went to Calgary and Spruce Meadows. I've always wanted to go to Spruce, and my parents love to travel and thankfully indulge me when I want to combine travel with horse shows. We got tickets for Saturday and Sunday at the Masters, watching the BMO Nations Cups on Saturday and the $3,000,000 CN International Grand Prix on Sunday. 

Spruce Meadows flags were everywhere

We spent the first couple days in Calgary exploring, and heading up to Banff. Downtown Calgary is really nice and we found some great Vietnamese food, as well as an awesome steak house. Banff and Lake Louise are absolutely stunning and totally worth the day trip to go see. 

Lake Louise

From where we were staying in downtown, it was about a half hour drive to Spruce Meadows. We didn't want to bother with renting a car, driving, and parking, so we took the light rail from downtown to the end of the line, where there was a free shuttle but that took about 5 minutes to drive to SM. 10/10 would recommend; we beat the horrible traffic leaving as the bus got priority over cars, the light rail was clean, easy to use, and only took a half hour. The only problem was Sunday the last shuttle bus was at 5, but the GP didn't finish till 5. We ended up missing the final jump off to be able to make the shuttle. 

 Obviously we were only able to see the spectator parts of the grounds, not the stabling/warm up areas, but the grounds were lovely. Definitely the nicest venue I've ever been to. They had a bunch of food vendors, shopping, and a lot of clean bathrooms. We did a little shopping on Saturday; I ended up with a hoodie and stickers. When we got to our seats, I noticed there were a lot of people walking the Nations Cup course, and most of them looked like regular people not riders or trainers. After overhearing someone else, we realized they had the International Ring open for everyone to walk so my mom and I headed out to walk the course. I'm still in shock that anyone could step out into the International Ring and walk a Nations Cup course. I can't remember any of the major US Grand Prixs that I've been to where they allowed that. 

I was unfortunately ill-prepared and didn't know the course, so I kinda stumbled around trying to figure things out, and then we ran out of time. But it was awesome to see those big fences up close and to walk some of the lines. The open water looks huge standing next to it. I also failed at taking pics, mostly just being too in awe of being on the course. 

Hey look, the jump is a tall as I am

They didn't open the course up on Sunday, so no walking the GP course. But we were sitting close to the clocktower where riders enter/exit and a lot of riders/trainers/groms/owners were coming and going and I was able to hear a bit of what they were saying about the course. And watching some of the trainers and grooms while their riders were on course was almost better than watching the riders. There was a Belgium coach that almost fell over the railing while watching his rider. I was able to see Martin Fuchs, Jenn Gates, the Philippartes brothers, and Steve Guerdat up close. And those were just the riders I recognized. 

Captured the moment McLain had a rail on the double liverpools


It was an incredible experience and I'm so thanful for my parents for making it possible. I know I won't ever go to Spruce as a rider/owner, but hopefully I can make it back as a spectator again.

Tuesday, September 6, 2022

Breathe like a Dressage Rider

 We had a bit of a breakthrough in our canter transitions in my lesson on Friday. While we've had slow by steady progress on them, the first one or two each ride are still a bit rough. And while Trainer A has managed to do walk-canters, I've had a lot of trouble managing them. 

Mya, the other chestnut mare, is a very, very expensive International Hunter Derby hopeful and I told Cinder to soak up all of her knowledge when they were in the cross ties together

It didn't help that on Friday Cinder was very not feeling it. It was hot and oddly humid, and there was no breeze moving the air around. When I went to get Cin she was in the middle of her afternoon nap and reluctantly got up when I opened her stall door. She was behind my leg the whole lesson, even when we started jumping. While maybe not the lesson I had been hoping for, I did learn a lot on how to ride "behind-the-leg-Cinder."

Will work for cookies

During our flat warm-up, I was struggling more than usual with the canter transitions when A stopped me and apologized. She asked if she had told me about the double breath inhale. I had absolutely no idea what she was talking about, and she explained that since you can't use your voice in dressage, a lot of dressage riders use breath cues with their horses. A does a quick double breath inhale, like two quick sniffs, as she's asking for the upward canter transition. She then sent us back out on our circle to try it, and what do you know, it worked wonders. Our transitions were much more prompt, and we even managed a decent walk-canter. 

Very happy with how she's looking right now

 As I said above, the jump portion of the lesson was a bit of train wreck. I kept seeing the long spot,  while Cinder, who has finally learned to wait and add the stride, kept seeing the short one. We had a couple spectacular chips, before I got after her and made her take the long ones. We ended with an outside line that was a long 5 or short 6 and since the jumps were 2' and Cinder was not inclined to go forward, A told me to do the 6. I came in thinking wait for the six, but we ended up waiting for the 7. Oops. The next time through I let her flow more, and even then on stride 4 I realized it was going to be long and I was determined we would not chip, so I sat down, dug my heels in and clucked like hell. We got the six and then did the line one last time to smooth things out. I still had to leg her down the line, but not nearly as much as the time before and we quit with that.  

Thursday, September 1, 2022

Can You Not?

 Following the show, Cinder got a couple of easy days. A took her out on the trails Tuesday and did a stretchy arena ride on Thursday. Apparently Cinder had more energy than we thought she would. When A was turning her out Thursday night (she was on night turnout till this week) Cinder decided to choose violence. 


The horses are usually led double with a pasture mate and A was taking Cin's current BFF Violet out with her. Cinder objected, tried to kick Violet and almost got A who was in the middle. A let go of Cinder, who then proceeded to take a jaunt around the parking lot till she somehow got her lead rope caught in her hind shoe. She yanked the crap out of her head and destroyed the rope, but then stood quietly till A could come rescue her. 

Then Saturday when I went up to ride I found the above on Cinder's right shoulder. She had been inside for a couple of hours and it looked fresh, so who knows what she did in her stall. I washed it and since she didn't seem bothered by it, decided to ride. She was having a total baby brain day, spooking at the new quads parked at the end of the arena (fair enough), spooking at a gate jump that was on the ground next to a cross rail (not fair as she's jumped that gate multiple times), forgetting she knows how to pick up the right lead, and being super distracted by two other horses who joined us half way through our ride. It was one of those rides that I was just happy we managed to w/t/c each way without dying.

Finally, when I went up on Monday to ride I was greeted with this. Super swollen left eyelid and weepy eye. My first thought was that her allergies were acting up, as it's been super smoggy/hazy/dusty and we've had poor air quality alerts all week. I put a compress on her eye, which she loved, and smeared some ophthalmic ointment on it before shoving some banamine in her mouth. I also put her on Platinum's Skin and Allergy supplement, which I used last year for some hives. She also has two fly masks she'll wear 24/7 and we can rotate and wash them every couple of days. A has been putting the ointment on for me and said it's looking back to normal, which is great.

Wednesday, August 24, 2022

Bedrock Finale Show: August 2022

 Cinder and I went to our second show of the year last weekend. We joined up with Trainer M and her clients and had a great time. We didn't get the results I wanted, but we learned a lot, had fun, made friends, and have a better idea of what I need to do to set Cinder up for success.

The week leading up to the show didn't go to plan, as I was supposed to have a lesson on Monday, followed by A schooling her Tues/Thurs, then shipping over to the show Friday. A's dog was pregnant and decided to have her puppies a week early, so my lesson on Monday turned into me just flatting her and A had to cancel her training rides. I unfortunately had other commitments and wasn't able to swing going up and riding, so Cinder had Tues/Wed/Thurs off. I did free lunge her on Friday before heading to the show, and that was a very wise idea. 

Not thrilled about the small tent stalls

Cinder actually settled in pretty well at the show. We let the horses chill in their stalls for about an hour before M had me and the two other hunter riders tack up to school in the hunter ring. I was a little nervous, as this was the first time I would be doing all the riding at the show, and not having a pro school her first. And this was her first time at this showground. 

We started in the warm up arena flatting, before moving into the hunter ring to jump. I let M school the other two first, letting Cinder take a nice long walk around the ring before we jumped. The two juniors were doing the cross rails while I had signed up for the 2' so after a couple times over an x to start, M raised the fences and had us do a course. Cinder was a little looky but jumped everything and I was really happy with her. 

Early morning walkies

There were three different 2' divisions (open, short/long stirrup, and an eq division. I just entered the short/long stirrup as I don't want to kill my horse with that many rounds) going first thing Saturday morning and we were scheduled to go middle of the order. I took Cin out for a long hand walk and watched some of the earlier rounds go. When we finally got on, she felt a little more up than she had on Friday. The schooling ring was a bit chaotic but she settled and I felt ready going into our two rounds. Cinder decided the far end of the arena was pretty scary, and stopped at fence two. I don't think she was scared of the jump, just the extra poles and gates stacked along the rail outside of the ring, plus whatever was in the trees behind them. I let the stop get to me and didn't ride her forward enough on the second attempt and she stopped again. 

One of the two 2' fences we made it over

I was determined to come into our second round and ride better. The first fence felt great, and as we were cantering to fence two I thought we had it. But we had to go past the in gate, and Cinder decided we were done. She popped her outside shoulder and tried to spin left and exit the ring. I managed to stop her before leaving, circled, and she pulled the same move. I did manage to get her away from the gate but my nerves were shot. M had us jump a few fences in the warm up, then we discussed our game plan. The cross rail classes were going later that afternoon and we decided to enter those. The goal at this point was to get her in the ring and just go around. If she still pulled crap with me, M would get on her, but M felt like with I could handle her, especially with smaller fences that we were planning on trotting. 

Unfortunately the hunter ring was moving slower than molasses, and the jumper ring finished early, so the cross rails and trot pole classes were moved to the jumper ring. I was disappointed we didn't school in the jumper ring on Friday, and that we wouldn't be able to try again in the hunter ring, but getting Cin in the ring and going around was the goal. When we came out hours later for the cross rails, Cinder felt much more settled and tired and warmed up really well. She was still a little wary going into the jumper ring, but didn't spook. We jumped everything even though she tried to run out the gate after our last line in our first round, which was an outside line heading directly towards the in gate, while I tried to do a nice courtesy circle. She got spanked on the shoulder and my outside heel shoved into her ribs plus some growling, but she didn't pull that move for the rest of the weekend, so lesson learned. Our second round was very nice and I was happy with how we ended the day. We placed 4th in both cross rail rounds out of about a dozen. 

Realizing horse show life is hard


We decided to scratch the 2' on Sunday, and stick with the cross rails. The cross rails were first thing on Sunday morning, back in the hunter ring, and I wanted to get some good, solid rounds in and felt like I was more comfortable doing that with the cross rails. Cinder came out tired and quiet in warm up, but I didn't let that fool me. When we went in for our first round I took a nice long tour of the ring to let her see everything. She spooked a bit on the far side, like I expected her to, but we were able to get around both our courses. I was still trotting everything, because I didn't trust her to not stop or try to run out the gate. I thought our rounds were decent, but we didn't place in either of them. I was still happy that we ended on a good note and got around the spooky hunter ring. 

learning to hurry up and wait

I know if I had had a pro get on her and school her we probably could have gotten over the spookiness faster, but I want to show my horse so I have to learn how to ride her through it. This show had the biggest atmosphere of any show she's been to, and she's still a baby, so it makes sense she'd be a little wary. I'm still getting comfortable riding her through naughtiness and riding her away from home, so hopefully next year we'll come out better prepared and ready.

Monday, August 15, 2022

Cinder DGAF

 In continuing with our good lesson vibes, we had another great lesson last week. It's been my first jumping lesson since Cinder has been up at SF and much needed, since we're showing this weekend. I have jumped her a little on my own, and A has been jumping Cin once a week or so and has said she's been great. Cinder really doesn't care about what you put in front of her or what the distance is. She's gonna jump it, and continue on like nbd. 

sorry for repeating myself, but this horse is amazing

We did a quick warm-up on the flat before starting over some crossrails. A wanted me to figure 8 two single fences on the diagonals and gave me the option of the short approaches or the long approaches. In an uncharacteristic move, I chose the long approaches since those tend to be the hardest on course. And what do you know, they were the easiest. Cinder has a really nice natural rhythm, and has finally started to find a nice balance, so all I really had to do was keep her straight and find our line and the distances were there. I do need to work on holding her out a bit on the landing side corners, especially if she switched her lead over the fence, but I think part of that issue was me being so happy about the approach and distance I forgot to ride the landing a bit. 

We then picked up an outside line that was a three to a one. There were placing poles down for the horse in the lesson before me, and A decided to leave them to see what Cinder did with them. Not going to lie, I was quaking in my boots approaching the line. I did let Cin get a little behind my leg coming in and didn't really help her out in the line, so we messed up the three and the poles kinda caught Cinder off guard a bit. But she gamely kept going and tried to figure out where to put her feet. Never felt like she was going to stop, or run out, or do anything naughty. And after we made it out of the line, she kept going like it was nothing. We came back around to it, after A pulled the poles, and she went down the line like we hadn't just royally screwed it up. I know A has told me before that Cinder DGAF, but this was my first time really experiencing it. 

Went up to ride Sunday but didn't feel like doing a hard ride, so we took a half hour walk around the property

 A then put the fences up a bit and gave me a little course. I had a brief existential crisis about it, but once again, Cinder DGAF. The fences rode the same as they did when they were crossrails. I just need to get out of my head and ride the rhythm and keep my leg on. Cinder feels much more solid and easy than I ever expected and I'm still in awe of her. Fingers crossed we can keep this feeling at our show this weekend!

Friday, August 5, 2022

That Good Lesson Feeling

 I know I'm a little behind in posting, but there hasn't been much riding going on for the past couple of weeks. I had a lesson two weeks ago that was great, and one on Wednesday that was also great. During the time in between we had a heat wave and Trainer A rode Cin as by the time I would get to barn after work it would be 95-105. I don't ride in those conditions for my own health, and A was coming out early to beat the heat, so trainer rides it was. Also, for the first time in my life, I'm at a barn that puts up fans in each stall and multiple big fans in the aisles when it gets hot. It's really nice.

Neither lesson has been groundbreaking in terms of what we focused on; it's been the basics. In my lesson two weeks ago A had me ride in her knock off Equibands. She has used them on Cin a few times, but wanted me to feel what they were like. Part of how Cinder's lameness was diagnosed, was that she likes to push her haunches sideways instead of sitting on her hocks/stifles, so the vet recommended the bands to help keep her haunches straight. And if the hill work/band work made Cinder lamer we would know we needed to do more for her. But thankfully Cinder has been feeling really good. 

We also switched her bit to a Myler and despite her face in this pic, she goes really well in it

 For that first lesson, we focused on getting her in front of my leg, then me doing nothing. She's getting strong enough now to carry herself without my constant input; I just need to learn when to let go and when to help her out. We worked over raised trot poles and my instructions were to support with my leg and hand, but let her do the rest. The first couple times through she hit the poles and got a little quick, but by the third time she nailed it. 

I showed up one Sunday before she got turned out and she was upset I wanted to lunge her before playtime

My lesson this week was a continuation of the same theme. We started by working on a large circle in the middle of the ring spiraling in and out at the trot. We then moved on to the same thing at the canter and while we struggled a bit, I felt like I was actually riding and correcting her instead of being a passenger. I tend to forget about my left hand in the canter and it became very apparent in our right lead circles. But, when we fixed it and left the circle to go around the whole arena, we had a lovely canter. 

Obviously not Cinder, but look how adorable Trainer A's new foal is

I'm really happy with how Cinder's coming back into work and how she's feeling. If she feels like this after only a month back into work, I'm excited to see what the future is like!


Tuesday, July 19, 2022

A Real Trail Ride

 Last Wednesday A's vet was out to inject another horse and we had her take a look at Cinder. I had Cinder's hock and stifle x-rays sent over to her and told her that Cinder is out of shape, but has been feeling better since the round of Adequan. Dr. D did a quick physical before we popped Cin on the lounge line and then some flexions. Dr. D felt that currently the stifles were Cinder's biggest issue but over all she's looking good. Being out of shape is not helping things, so our current plan is to get her back in shape while focusing on strengthening the hind end and stifles. 

I'm slowly getting used to the fact that Cinder goes around with her ears forward most of the time and ears pricked is not an indication of an incoming spook

What's good for strengthening stifles and getting a horse back in shape? Hill work! No matter what you're doing at SF, you're going to be doing hill work. The property is on the side of a giant hill (it's not considered a mountain in the PNW if it doesn't have snow on it or if it's not a dormant volcano) with the only flat spots being the barn and arenas. The pastures are sloped, walking from the barn to the arenas or pastures involves hills, and all the trails and XC field are either going up or down. So Cinder will for sure be getting in lots of little hill work. But A wants to get her out for walking hill work 1-2x a week. 

Putting the forest in Sherwood Forest Equestrian Center

In my lesson on Friday, we went for a real trail ride. A has taken Cinder out all over the property, but I've only gone on the short trail we did back in February. This time we set out with A on Froggie and planned to do the whole property. Since I didn't know where we were going, A took the lead and Cinder happily followed. I did have to pull her up a few times, as she kept trying pass Froggie, who at 14.2  takes a much smaller step than 17hand Cin. 

We started in the outdoor and ended at the green pin

The whole loop took about 45minutes and we went up and down some pretty steep grades. Cinder was much better than I was expecting, only spooking a little at some squirrels in the bushes. There was a big tractor parked in the XC field as they were tilling the upper half that both Cin and Froggie were wary of, and Cinder wasn't fond of the cemetery at the top of the field but she didn't do anything naughty.  She did try to convince me she was scared of the bridge we had to cross in the woods, but I knew A had taken her over it before, so I kicked her forward and she went over it. 

Being back in work is exhausting

I was nervous at the start of the ride, but found myself relaxing about halfway in and ended up having a really good time. I'm glad I let A talk me into the trail ride and hopefully soon I'll be brave enough to take her out on my own.

Tuesday, July 12, 2022

Back to Work

 Cinder had a bit of a rude awakening going to back to work with Trainer A last week. A is riding her twice a week and apparently Cinder found that one day too many. 

Wednesday last week A took her on a trail ride with another client on her horse. They wandered up and down the XC field, and A took the opportunity to take Cinder in the water. They haven't filled the water recently, so it was mostly mud but there was a little water in the center. Cinder didn't realize she was in the mud/water till she was all the way in (too busy trying to make friends with Froggy the other horse), then had a bit of a melt down over the fact she was wet. A said Cin was too tired after going up and down the big hill to throw too much of a tantrum, but she tried. 

The pic I got sent from A after the ride

 Thursday was when the real drama happened. A got to the barn early and decided to ride Cinder first. She started tacking up right when horses started getting turned out and Cinder was very upset she had to work and not go out. And there were horses on the Eurociser which was terrifying, even though she's seen that before.  A said that as soon as she got on, Cinder tried to take over the ride. A said Cin hasn't pulled that move since the first or second month she was under saddle. They had it out and A said they ended up having a nice ride, once Cinder realized who was the boss. 

I had my lesson on Friday and Cinder was foot perfect for me. It was hotter than it has been and she was tired, but still tried hard. We mainly focused on me relaxing and slipping her more rein, trying to get the feel that we need for the under saddle classes. The trot work felt lovely, but Cinder still wants to be a little high headed in the canter. We did canter several laps around the arena in a row both directions, without breaking, which is a big improvement for both of us. I'm getting better at feeling when she's going to break and catching her before she does. We ended the lesson with A saying I look more comfortable and confident on Cinder that she's seen in a long while.


 I then proceeded to get sappy and teary eyed, and told A I feel so happy being back in her program, that I can relax because I know she's taking care of Cinder and will help come up with solutions for our problems, that I feel 20 pounds lighter and my anxiety has dropped 100%. So good job me, taking a compliment and turning it awkward. But I am really happy to be back at SF and in A's program. I just wish I had done it sooner.

Tuesday, July 5, 2022

Barn Tour: SFEC

 It's been a long while since I've seen a barn tour on the blogosphere and now that Cinder is up at SF full time, I figured why not. 

Her stall is directly across from A's tack room and has a tie ring, so I'm probably just going to tack up there instead of hauling my crap down the aisle to the grooming stalls

 Cinder hauled up much better this time; no trying to kick her way out of the trailer. I chucked her in her stall while I unloaded the trailer and A finished teaching a lesson, then tacked Cin up and A hopped on. Cinder had been a little off last Thursday (the day before the move) and I of course spiraled and was convinced she was going to be lame forever, but thankfully she only took a couple of off steps and A said she felt good, if not a little out of shape. I let her have Saturday off and rode by Sunday and Monday and she felt great, so fingers crossed whatever was going on Thursday was just a fluke. 

Ariel view. Not sure exactly where the property lines are as I know there's trails in the woods on the west end of the property, but the black lines are good approximation. The whole property is on a hill, going uphill from the bottom of the pic.

The lower blue building is the indoor, with covered jump storage along the south side. There's also a viewing room with a kitchen and an uncovered viewing platform in the indoor. The middle blue building is the barn, which has two aisle with I think 20 stalls per aisle. It also has 4 tack rooms, three grooming stalls, two wash stalls with hot and cold water, grain room and a laundry room. The smallest blue building is the hay and shavings barn. Above that is the parking lot. 

There's another covered viewing area just off the barn overlooking the outdoor.

The outdoor arena is to the left of the indoor and barn, with a Eurociser in the bottom corner of it. Next to that is a round pen, and then some smaller, single horse paddocks. Above the parking lot are more single horse paddocks, and then the two bigger group turnout fields. There's a smaller one for the mares and a bigger one for the geldings. 

A's tack room. It has a sink with hot and cold water in it. 

Looking down the first aisle from the tack room. There's also a fly spray system in the barn, you can see the blue barrels for it.

Grooming stalls, with the wash stalls across from them. In the background is another one of the tack rooms.

Thursday, June 23, 2022

What's in Your Feed Bucket

 I'm jumping on the mini blog hop Moonlit Pastures did and showing what's in my ponies' feed buckets. 

Currently the ponies are out 24/7. Peebs is in a smaller pasture that's half dry lot half short grass. Cinder is out with two other horses on a 2 acre field that's really nice right now. My BO reseeded and fertilized it last fall and we've kept the horses off of it till a few weeks ago. Obviously Cinder's living situation will change next week, but I'll go over what she's currently getting and what she will be getting. 

Peebs would like you to know he doesn't get fed enough

Peebs is the easiest of easy keeps. Which is good, considering he has Leaky Gut Syndrome. I've done a lot of trial and error over the years, but have found that he does best with half hay/half hay pellets. Contrary to most horses, his gut does better with shorter stem fiber vs long stem. He currently gets 1 flake of Timothy and 4 quarts of soaked pellets (I try to do Teff but its been hard to find lately, or super expensive, so I also do Timothy) am and pm. Sometimes I'll give him a little extra hay, like half a flake, midday/early afternoon because I feel guilty.

 I've had him on Assure Guard Gold (the recommended 3/4 scoop twice a day) as a GI support on my vet's recommendation, but over the winter he had a bad Leaky Gut flare and even a double dose of the it didn't help. I was reading a thread on Twitter and someone recommended Tribute Constant Comfort. Tribute isn't sold anywhere near me but I was able to order it on Chewy and it made a huge difference. He gets a cup and a half twice a day. They also make a Constant Comfort mineral block but Chewy has been hit or miss on having it. When they have it in stock, he gets it and one block last about a month. He's also on salt twice a day and MSM once a day. 

Peebs' supplement packs I make up so my BO doesn't have to measure all his various shit

Cinder is currently on just pasture as far as hay goes. During the fall/winter/spring she was on 2 flakes of Timothy in the morning and 1 flake Timothy and 1 flake alfalfa at night, plus being on pasture during the day and her stall opens up to a grass paddock. So she basically had 24/7 access to forage. When she moves to SF, and when she was there in February, she was on 2 flakes of orchard am and pm, and 1 flake alfalfa at night. They're also turned out daily, and fed piles of orchard at lunch outside. Their pastures aren't as lush as our home barn, and I appreciate that they feed as much hay as they do to compensate.

At our home barn, they sometimes get fed in piles at breakfast outside too

 As far as grain, Cinder is currently on Nutrena Safe Choice, but once I'm out of it she'll be switching to Purina Wellsolve. SF provides three different Purina grains so if I'm going to be spending $$ on board, I'm going to take full advantage and use their grain. She currently gets about two cups of the Safe Choice once a day. She's also on a little rice bran as another boarder bought it for her horse but he refused to eat it and she didn't on it to go to waste so she gave it to me. Cinder's also on Platinum Performance and 1 pump of GutX. I'll probably up her to 2 pumps of the GutX this weekend and keep her on it for a few weeks after the move just as a precaution. Cin can be a bit of a picky eater so who knows how long this version of her grain will last.

Monday, June 20, 2022

Pre-Training Trainer Ride

 The university I work for starts summer term today, and with the Juneteenth holiday they gave us Friday off instead of Monday so classes wouldn't be disrupted. Which honestly, doesn't feel ok with me, but whatever. My job requires someone come in every day and this was my holiday to work in our rotation. Thankfully we usually only do the bare minimum on holidays so I was done in about three hours. I had decided to use the rest of my holiday day to haul up for a lesson/trainer ride with Trainer A.

I had thought Cinder was feeling better after her round of Adequan, but wanted a second opinion. And since Cin is moving up to A's July 1st, I figured it would be a good pre-training check in. We got stuck in a major traffic jam on the way up and during our 30mins of stop-and-go traffic Cinder had a huge fit in the trailer. I was half tempted to pull over and see what the hell was wrong, but as soon as we started moving she calmed down. She did unload like a bat out of hell and was pretty worked up as I tacked up at the trailer. 

From baby horse having a tantrum to respectable hunter in 30 minutes

A saw Cin having her fit at the trailer and wisely grabbed her helmet to ride her first. I ran to the restroom while A got on and came down to the ring to see them attempting to trot. Cinder was flinging her head around like she was possessed. A just gave in and let her canter it out for a few laps each way and Cinder settled down. They did a little more trot and canter work before A pointed Cinder at the fences set up. 

First time seeing the astroturf rails? No problem

If I hadn't know that Cinder has only jumped twice since February, I wouldn't have guess it. She hopped around everything like no big deal, only jumping big at a square oxer that she didn't realize was an oxer till she was over it. She got funky distances but figured it out; she hit rails but didn't react; she acted like a pro and I was so proud of her. A said she felt great, and that she loves Cinder and is so happy we're coming back. 

I lunged her on Sunday and we had a cuddle session in the arena afterwards


We then switched and I had a little trot and canter lesson. Mainly it was A reminding me to relax my arms and not hang on her face. But we got some good stretchy trot and it felt like I had my horse back, something I realized I hadn't truly felt since February. Cinder was definitely tired and traveled home without attempting to kick a hole in my trailer.

Wednesday, June 15, 2022

Plans Made

 When we left off last week I was planning on heading up to watch one of our local schooling shows and do some recon on trainers. Well, thanks to an unseasonably late atmospheric river, the show as cancelled. It's been the wettest April/May/June on record and all the stalls, the warmup, and the lunging arenas at the show were completely flooded. Show management also pushed back the start of the rated show this week a day due to how wet everything was. 

But Trainer M wasn't deterred and decided to host an in-barn show for her clients, and two outside riders who wanted off property schooling miles, and basically put together a show in 24 hours. M is the one who hosts the show series we did last fall, and the one this spring, so she had almost everything ready to go. I messaged her asking if she needed help running it and volunteered myself. She happily accepted and I became the office lady. 

My station for the morning

It was fun seeing all the lesson kids getting ready and I was able to put names to faces, both human and equine. I got a close up look at how M runs her program, how the two assistant trainers work, and I was able to snoop around the barn more. When I introduced myself to people, most of them remembered Cinder and loved her. I felt very welcomed by everyone.

I was pretty happy with most of what I saw during the day, but there were a few things that pinged my spidey senses. I know there's going to pro and cons with every program, and nothing will 100% mesh with what I want, but for the most part I agreed with what I saw and heard during the day. Unfortunately M still hasn't said anything about when/if a stall will be open, and looking ahead she's gone most of the month of July at shows. I really don't want to wait till August to put Cinder in training.

Splitting up my shit is hard

 So, July 1st Cinder is moving back to SF and going into training with Trainer A. I like A's riding style a bit better than M's and I think Cinder will do better there. My tentative plan, that A's on board with, is to haul over to M's once or twice a month for lessons and then show at the h/j shows with M. We'll see how it goes but I'm really excited to be back with A and she's really happy to have us back as well. 

Thursday, June 9, 2022

Holding Pattern

 Not much is going on over here. Cinder finished her round of Adequan yesterday. I've put a couple of easy rides on her to gauge how she's feeling, but honestly, my mental and emotional state is pretty shitty right now and I don't trust myself to assess her soundness. She did feel more even behind, but still has some anxiety picking up the canter. But the canter work itself was really nice. So 🤷

She has been working on her hunter bod with help from the spring grass.

I will say this downtime has been good for her body. Cin's always been a bit of a string bean, and I was told her siblings were similar till around 6 when they all chunked out. Cinder's bulking up happened this spring and she's gone from wearing a 50" girth in March to a 54" now. I barley had time to break in the 52" I bought her. She's also in a warmblood sized fly mask now because the regular size was too tight across her jaw. I had to let her throat latch out a hole from where it used to be. Apparently the only part of her head growing is her cheeks. I've told her that between a new saddle, vet bills, and new girths, she's not allowed to grow out of anything else she wears for at least a year, if ever. 

First ride back in 3 weeks and she was almost asleep


Our trainer situation is still up in the air. I haven't heard back from Trainer M on when/if a stall will be open, but we do have a lesson tentatively scheduled in two weeks. She's at a show this weekend and next week. I do plan on going up to the show this weekend and doing a little recon watching her and other trainers. I also have a lesson planned for next weekend with Trainer A. She knows Cinder better than anyone, so if Cin is still having any soundness issues she'd find them. And honestly, part of me still wants to be in her program, even if I'm the hunter in a barn full of eventers. 

Peebs is still the best boy ever. We've been doing some bareback walks once or twice a month and he's been great. He's back in the bigger paddock 24/7 and thankfully hasn't gotten too fat. He's the easiest of easy keepers and I was worried he'd gain too much weight being on grass and out of work. I do plan to do at least once a week walks with him once Cinder is in training, just to help keep his weight down and so I can ride one more day a week.