Monday, February 27, 2023

If You Have to be Lame, You Picked the Right Week

I normally have a Monday night lesson, but we decided to give Cinder the day off after the show. Trainer A usually rides her Tuesdays and either Wednesday or Thursdays, and I have another lesson on Fridays. The weather forecast was calling for snow and very cold temps, so we figured we would play her work schedule by ear. 

I hate winter. Where I live we really didn't get that much snow that stuck, but it did get down to 10* with the windchill

Cin had a little bit of fill in one front leg after the show, so we decided to put some Voltaren on it (from a tube I've used on her before) and throw a set of standing wraps on her. That was apparently the wrong decision, as the combo of the Voltaren and the wraps gave Cinder a chemical burn. Whoops.

It ended up getting a little bit bigger than this pic shows

It looked ugly, and the whole inside of the leg was swollen, but it didn't seem to bother her that much, and she was never actually lame. I was able to leave work early on Tuesday, swing by the vet's office to grab some antibiotic cream with steroids, and go up and doctor Cin. We left the wraps off, and kept her in with hand walking for a few days, which she would have done anyways since the snow started Wednesday night. What better time for your horse to need to be on stall rest than when the barn is covered in 4 inches of snow and ice and the pastures are closed. 

She was very skeptical


Trainer A told me not to come up on Friday as the road to the barn was still pretty bad. I did make it up Saturday and with A's approval gave Cinder a free lunge in the indoor. She wasn't as wild as I was expecting her to be, and A said that she had been very well behaved for her hand walks. Cin looked totally sound and since most of the snow was melted off the pastures I said I was ok with her getting turned out again on Sunday. 

Trainer A was putting some horses on the eurociser, and since Cin has never been on it and I don't know how to use it, I asked if I could throw her on as well. We put her with two geldings, and her pasture buddy Jazzy. Cinder was very confused at first, but didn't freak out like I was expecting. I guess she really is growing up. Once we switched directions, and she was behind Jazzy, she kept trying to move the chains out of the way to get to Jazzy. I'm glad she was so good for her first time on the eurociser.

Thursday, February 23, 2023

MDT Winter Show February 2023

Cinder and I had our first show of the season together last weekend. One of the local show series that we've done in the past has been looking for a bigger venue to host their shows, and used Cinder's barn for their first show of the year. Unfortunately none of their other shows will be held at SF, but I'm glad this one was. 

No one ever uses the viewing room normally, but it was nice to hangout there while waiting

 This was a two day show, and Saturday we had a 2' over fences class, and the under saddle. Jumpers ran in the morning, and there were a lot more jumper entries than hunters. Cinder stayed in for the day (as I wanted to keep her clean) so when I came out to the barn I gave her extra hay and hung out in the viewing room/show office to watch the jumpers. They held classes in the indoor on Saturday, but moved outside on Sunday. 

Spoiler alert. Also, my mom watched from the viewing room and took the pic from inside, hence the glare from the glass

Cinder was a little confused about why there were so many people and new horses at her house, and the extra jumps at the end of the indoor, but after a lot of walking settled into work. We focused on getting her to put her brain to use in warm-up, and then popped over all the fences once. She felt really good and the fences looked small to me, so I was pretty confident heading into our round. There was an odd end fence that I opted to trot since it was a tight turn heading towards the gate, but otherwise the round was solid. We got the strides, got our distances, and I was really happy with us coming out. Cinder was little looky in the under saddle as some people sitting up on the bank by the barn got up halfway through but she kept it together. We ended up winning both classes. 

insert tiktok side eye audio here

Like I said early, we moved outside to show Sunday. I was supposed to do a 2' hunter round, the 2' medal class, and a 2' derby.  The jumpers had been moving pretty fast but then slowed down and I ended up getting Cinder ready too early. We did a little warm up before I hopped off and let her hang out for a bit. When I got back on she was definitely annoyed and confused. We schooled fences in the outdoor and she was tired, but good. They were having us enter with one gate, and leave by the far gate and to get back to the in gate you had to walk up to the barn, and then back down the hill. Normally when we leave from the far gate and walk up to the barn, that's where I dismount and Cinder was very confused as to why we weren't doing our usual routine.  

the show photographer was sick, so someone bribed a teen into taking pics on Sunday and she gave them to everyone for free! thanks random teen!!

She felt a little more on edge as I went in for our hunter round and got very distracted by a horse coming in from turnout. She picked up the wrong lead, got offended when I tried to bring her back to the trot to change it, and I made the executive decision to trot into the first fence. She was diving down on my hands, and then would get very offended when I went to correct her. I did end up circling in one of the lines because she was so heavy in my hand. It was definitely a schooling round, but I'm proud of myself for not getting flustered, and for being confident enough to keep schooling her. We placed second out of two for that round. 

moments of cuteness

Trainer A and I talked after the round and decided to scratch the other two classes. Cinder was obviously done with us and there was no point in pushing it. Between getting her ready to early, and everything not being our usual routine at home, I think her brain was fried. It's different going to a show and doing new things, but having new things happen in her usual environment just threw her off. And this was only her second two day show so we're still learning what works best for her. 

We did end up champion for the 2' division. I'm really happy with how I rode, and even though we struggled a bit on Sunday and had to scratch, I'm glad I could ride her through it and not let my anxiety take over. Onward towards the rest of show season!

Wednesday, February 15, 2023


 Last Thursday and Friday were dental days at Cinder's barn. One of Trainer A's good friend from college went on to become an equine dentist and does amazing work. She's moved to Colorado, but comes back to Oregon twice a year to do clients. Both of my ponies were due, so on Friday I hauled Peebs up for his dental. Cinder had gotten done on Thursday.

Uh, mom I don't go anywhere anymore

I was so very excited to have both of my ponies together, even for an afternoon. Peebs hauled like a champ, but was little nervous upon unloading. He called out as we walked towards the barn, and I immediately heard Cinder call back. Her stall is now the first one when you walk into the barn, and she had her head craned around the corner to see us. They sniffed noses, nickered at each other, then Cinder tried to bite the hell out of Peebs' neck. Sibling love at it's finest!

Cinder's turnout buddy Ani was in the crossties behind me when I took this pic, and she was very very mad that Cinder was excited to see Peebs. Cinder is her girlfriend and no one else is allowed to like her and Cinder isn't allowed to like anyone back. We joke that Ani is the butch lesbian of the barn, to Cinder's femme bisexual. 

I chucked Peebs in a stall, letting him chill and eat a little bit of leftover hay before he got his sleepy juice. A couple of the other boarders came up and asked about him, one asking if he and Cinder were really related (I had yelled at Cinder to not bite her brother, and hahahaha no they are not related) and one picked apart his flabby retirement bod. I was ready to smack her; I know he's not a big fancy warmblood and this is a barn full of big fancy warmbloods and he's been in rehab/retirement for almost two years now but I was still pissed. We do not body shame in this household.

Peebs dental went well, and as he was waking up I had a great flat lesson on Cinder. We introduced counter canter and while she was a little confused, she did it. We had ridden outside since it was gorgeous and warm, and she actually worked up a little bit of a sweat. I gave her a quick rinse afterwards, and as she was drying off gave Peebs a good tail and butt wash. His leaky gut syndrome tends to get worse in winter, especially with big temperature swings, and his barn only has cold water. I wanted to take full advantage of having him at SF for the day and use their hot water. I took the two of them out to graze for a little bit before tucking Cinder away for the night and loading Peebs up to go home. They kept calling for each other, and Peebs was uncharacteristically bad about loading up. It broke my heart separating them again.  I wish I could have them together all the time, but I know they're both at the right barns for them. 

Thursday, February 9, 2023

Feeling Good

 Cinder has been feeling really, really good lately. Between the bit change, body work, and injections, she almost feels like a brand new horse. And she's growing up mentally as well. 

She also looks very cute in her breastplate

Last Friday it was super windy, and one of the metal sheets on the side of the arena came loose. It would periodically bang against the wood beams pretty loudly. There was also a pipe at the far end of the arena that had broken, so a couple of the handymen at the barn were working on it. For the most part they were out of sight, but would occasionally drill/saw things making loud noises, and would pop around the corner of the arena and up from the ground at weird intervals. To say it was a Very Spooky Day™ was an understatement. 

I legitatmently thought about pulling the ammy card and cancelling my lesson, but I was already on and figured we could have a walk/trot lesson, at the close end of the arena away from the noises and people. Cinder started out pretty tense, and spun once at the metal sheet banging, but once the lesson started she settled. We worked on shoulder in and haunches in on a circle, going back and forth between the two before incorporating a set of raised trot poles into the circle. Cinder wanted to rush the poles, so I was instructed to bring her down to a walk three to four strides out and walk over them. We did this a few times each way before she got the idea and then were able to trot them without rushing. 

She got a massage on Saturday and was so relaxed the body worker was afraid she was going to fall down in the crossties.

  From there we moved on to trotting two diagonal piles of poles, figure eighting them. Trainer A then set them up to cross rails. My instructions were to treat them exactly like the pile of poles, and to not change anything. Cinder was great over them, and landed in a nice quiet canter each time. As I was coming around the corner to one of the x's (on the diagonal from the far end of the arena heading straight at the gate) one of the handymen drove up on the four wheeler, spraying gravel as he came into the storage space at the end of the indoor, right behind us. Cinder very slowly stopped, spun, and snorted at him. It was a very controlled spook, like she knew she needed to keep it together but was terrified at the same time.  We walked, then trotted a circle, jumped the cross rail and called it a day. Both A and I were very impressed with how well Cin handled the four wheeler coming up behind her, and that she was able to go right back to work. No need to pusher her anymore that day. 

Getting me more comfortable with the long spots

I had another lesson Monday night (we're switching from two trainer rides/one lesson per week to one trainer ride/two lessons per week this month) and it was the best lesson I've had in months. Cinder and I both felt on it from the get go. We worked over the raised trot poles from the previous lesson, and then started jumping a single cross rail on a circle, first at the trot then canter. I'm trying to work on letting go at the canter, and being more comfortable with a longer take off spot. We then went back to the two diagonal fences, which were now verticals with boxes under them. We did each a couple of times then moved onto a line of poles. I realized later A was trying to keep me on my toes, and not let me get too focused on one exercise or stress about doing something perfectly. It's a good strategy for me.

The line of poles was set as a five stride and A wanted me to get five, then six. Cinder isn't convinced that shortening her stride is a thing she needs to do, and it took me a few tries to get the six. It took a much more physical ride than I was expecting, but we got it done. To finish off the lesson, we did the line of poles in five, then did the other outside line which was a cross rail to some boxes. My directions were to let her flow, get the five and then don't change anything to get seven in the other line. I think I was so tired by this point, I couldn't do anything but let her flow. We go to the first pole long, but I just sat up and kept leg on her and the five worked out. We got a little short to the cross rail, but I let that go and focused on riding the rhythm to get the seven and it worked out great. Considering I haven't been jumping regularly since like October, I was really happy with how we did. 

Monday, February 6, 2023

Bye bye Money

 After the show, Cinder had a pretty easy week. She had Monday off, a light lunge in the Equibands on Tuesday, and for my lesson on Wednesday we went on a trail ride. I did opt for a free lunge before our trail ride, as she humped her back, squealed, and trotted off as soon as I got on. I do appreciate the fact that Cin let's us know pretty quick when she's feeling fresh. 

They've been working on the electrical at the barn and the hot wire wasn't hot for a few days. A certain chestnut mare figured it out, and proceeded to let her and her pasture buddies into the drainage ditch to get the good grass. She got to wear a grazing muzzle for a week till the fence was hot again.

After running around like a lunatic, and falling down once, Cinder was perfect for our trail ride. She was content to walk on a loose rein and only had one mini meltdown on having to walk through some deeper mud. 

 Friday of that week, the vet was out and we opted to inject Cinder. She had said to the animal communicator that her hocks were sore, but x-rays showed that the stifles were worse and probably causing compensation in the hocks. I decided to do both hocks and stifles at once, and hopefully knock everything out of the way in one go. Per my vet's recommendation, we injected with RenoVo, a biologic. Trainer A has seen great results with it in her horse, and I liked the fact that it's not a steroid. 

post injection hand grazing and lesson watching

Cinder then got three days off with turnout, and three days of light riding. Trainer A rode her last Tuesday and then on Wednesday we had the saddle fitter out. Thankfully my saddle still fits and we decided to add a breastplate to help the slipping issue. Part of the slipping issue is just Cinder's build, and the new sheepskin girth I got doesn't help. Adding a breastplate fixed our issue, and I'd much rather pay for that than repaneling my saddle, or having to get a new one. 

Thursday, February 2, 2023

Jump 4 Joy Schooling Show 2023

 The first show of the season is in the books! There's a local pony club fundraiser jumper show held every year in early January with easy courses and a low key vibe. Trainer A was showing another client horse so I asked her if she wanted to take Cinder, just to get Cin out and about. We ended up entering Cin in the 2'3" timed first round, a 2'3"-2'6" gambler's choice, and a 2'6" timed first round class. 

Deciding standing at the trailer isn't bad when you have an all you can eat buffet

We hauled the girls up midmorning, hand walked around the grounds a little upon arrival, then tied them to the trailer to stuff their faces while we waited for their classes. Jazzy, the other mare showing, was doing the 18" and 2' classes, so she went first. Once she left the trailer, Cinder had a bit of a meltdown. She called a few times, wouldn't eat, and would only stand still as long as I was next to her. She and Jazzy are turnout buddies, and I was slightly worried one or both would have meltdown leaving the other. Thankfully, but the time I started tacking Cinder up, she mostly calmed down. 

"Whhheeeee, jumpies!"-Cinder, most definitely 

A finished her rounds on Jazzy, we switched her saddle onto Cinder, and we thought we had a little bit of break before A needed to get on Cin. We had been told there would be a drag before the 2'3" classes, but that got canceled and A got on about 6 rounds before Cinder would go. Their warm up was a bit abbreviated and Cinder was feeling a spicy. Their first round was a little rough; Cinder spooked hard at the first fence, lost some steering on the turns, and just generally green. But they kept all the jumps up, and ended up winning the class. 

A then proceeded to canter laps around the warmup to let Cin burn off some energy and put her brain cells back together. Cin calmed way down and they were able to watch a few rounds of the gambler's choice go before they went in. They had a rail down early in the round, just got to the fence a little too deep. As they were cantering around after the jump, an overeager pony club kid working as jump crew ran out to reset the fence, running directly in front of Cinder. I'm not sure what she was thinking, as she saw Cinder cantering towards her. Cinder would have no problems running someone over, and A said afterwards she didn't want to rip Cinder's mouth off to try and stop her because it mostly likely wouldn't have worked. Thankfully the kid jumped backwards out of the way, but I thought for sure we'd get kicked out of the show for running over a kid. 

All I got on video was the kid running and looking at Cinder about two strides away from her 

By her 2'6" round Cinder was much more rideable and relaxed. It was their best round; Cinder was turning better, their pace was much more consistent, and overall just more polished. The class was pretty big and the pony club kids were riding balls to the wall, so Cin didn't place. But both A and I were really happy with the round and that's what matters.  It was good first outing and a great show to knock the rust off.