Thursday, April 20, 2017

Novice CT Photo Dump

There was an overwhelming request for a photo dump, so...okay!
Dressage warmup looking great
Mia is responding so well

Position LOVE

Who thinks 2'11" is too small?  Mia....
After this fence, Mia comes right back to me.  Wow!

Very short approach, nailed it anyway

Do you see how I am riding?  So much better!
Someone is going here....
This makes me so happy!
This is not a racing mare, this is a controlled mare!
Someone ends up with a pretty yellow
When we got back to the barn, I applied hoof treatment to App and when walking by, he stuck his head in the trailer.  I asked him if he really wanted to hop on the trailer, he actually did!  Weird right?  He hasn't willing hopped into a trailer, like, every?  Let alone wanted to.  Ha!

Old men shed a lot
He is doing decently enough.  He is holding his weight very well though he is pretty uncomfortable.  His left shoulder causes him a lot of pain, even though he is on a lot of drugs.  It is all about managing his pain levels and trying to make sure he is sort of limping instead of really limping.  It's tough seeing him as uncomfortable as he is

He is currently on Equioxx and Gabapentin for arthritis pain, Pentasan and MSM for inflammation, Polyglycan for the joint fluid that is left and Buteless Pellets.  I am hopeful this isn't the last year with him :( but he is still happy and love attention so I am doing what I can for him

And finally, this girl turned 11.  She doesn't go along for trail rides anymore, nor chase the ball for more than a throw or two, but we have her separation anxiety mostly under control, she hangs out at the barn when I go and she is much happier than she was after we first moved to PA.  That is a win.

Monday, April 17, 2017

Mia's Novice Debut

Things have been really busy here, thus the lack of updates.  Blah.  Last week was prep for our show, Monday wasn't a good dressage ride and there were lots of arguments.  Tuesday was fantastic and Wednesday we jumped and Mia was an angel.  We jumped 3'3" and she acted like they were 2'.  Jumping from a trot, coming back after the fence?  Holy crap, she did it all!  On Saturday, Mia was pretty decent in our last dressage ride until the canter where she insisted that a canter/trot transition didn't exist and that she also needed to bolt in the canter.  Well, at least we had this discussion before the show!

On Sunday Mia loaded right up without hesitation (WOOHOO!!  One day I won't wonder if she will balk at loading haha) and we made the 2+ hour trip to the show.  She was nice and calm and happy.  We warmed up in the grass by the dressage arena instead of in the sand warm up ring which was "over the hill" and Mia was awesome.  Very soft, very light, responsive off of my leg and so awesome.  I was very excited about our dressage test!  We went to the ring and Mia immediately stiffened up, she was not at all comfortable on the substrate in that ring.  It was a large, course sand-ish material with large rubber pieces mixed in and she didn't like it at all.  She became tense and hesitant to move forward as we walked around the perimeter of the ring and didn't get much better even after I pushed her forward.  Damn it all!

Our test rode okay enough, our canter was actually decent (with a 7 on our left canter!!) but the entire test had remarks that she was stiff and not bending through her body.  We got lots of 6.5-7's and a few 6's, so I can't be that upset with the ride, but there were 3 people who had mid to low 20's scores and we couldn't compete with that when she was footsore.  We were 4th after dressage.  We had a 2+ hour break until stadium so we went back to the trailer.  Guess what happened when we got back?  Stacey and Klein parked right next to us!  Holy crap!  I HAD to go over and introduce myself and, of course, bring a peace offering of a granola bar for Klein.  Stacey was so nice and seemed to enjoy having someone to talk to at the show, she was there by herself because her hubby is deployed.  I had no problem keeping her company haha!

In no time at all, it was time for stadium.  At 20 mins prior, I walked in the warmup, trotted a lap, trotted the x rail, cantered the vertical and cantered the oxer.  Mia tried to take off over the oxer, taking a very long spot, knocking the back rail down and it seemed to have hurt when she hit haha.  I represented her and she listened and went over it with plenty of clearance the following 3 times.  Pick up your feet Mia!  I walked over and hung out with the rest of my class who were hanging out.  As they got ready to start the class, about 15 mins later, I went back and popped over everything.  Mia was so adjustable that so I called it quits and just hung out and waited.

We went in the ring and it was almost like I was in the twilight zone.  I sat up and back and you know what Mia did?  She slowed down.  We went over a fence and you know what she did?  She jumped it while being balanced!  I added leg to avoid a long spot, you know what she did?  SHE LENGTHENED.  And then?!?!  SHE CAME BACK TO ME!  OMG.  I am not sure I can adequately convey the shock and awe I felt over her agreeing to be my partner and not only listening but also applying the training I have been putting into her.  She didn't speed up a single time.  Do you have any idea how rare that is??  It is so extremely rare.... and to do it at a show?!  OMG Love!  Mia not only jumped 2'11" like it was two foot, jumping way higher in several instances, she was the only horse in my division that went double clear.  Wow.  Just wow.  We ended up 3rd in our division but I feel like we were a first place winner with her stadium round.  I was, and still am, so, so, so, SO happy.
Just look at that!!  <3
The final piece about our show?  I fricken love my new saddle.  I had no idea I could possibly ride as well as I did.  I am super serious, it is like my saddle says "stay here" and so my body just does.  I loved my Stubben, and would recommend it as it made me a great rider, but I am seriously appreciating the help my new saddle gives.  Every single picture of us jumping looks amazing.  I hope to have pics in the next few days, no one would mind a photo dump, right?  Ha!

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Playing catch up via a photo dump

Goodness.  Where did we last leave off??  I think storm Stella was hitting, yikes.  Let's start with there lol.  We got 30 inches of snow, apparently the horses did survive and App did well despite the snow.  Yes, thirty inches.  So since I have a ton of pics, here is catch up in the form of media.

30 inches off of the back deck
Breaking out of the big toys
When your "wall" of snow is 5ft to stop the very significant drifting
Trying to peer over the snow, 18" tall at the patio door
Horses saying Hi during Stella
Snowed in at the barn
Driveway to the barn

Horses as I left for FL, not sure they missed me
From 30 inches of snow to 80 degrees, we went on vacation to Hutchinson Island, FL.  Guys, this is an awesome place to go.  It is mostly residential so there are not may tourists, there aren't a ton of super skinny 20 yr olds or lots of loud, overpriced bars, it is a quiet little place with a lot of older people and a lot of not crowded beach during spring break.  Loved it!

Rainbow spotted!

Kayaking in Indian River Lagoon
On Tuesday night we headed up to Ocala (apx 4 hr drive) to visit some people I know from MI, sightsee and see the HITS show.

Cool looking statue
Peacock!  It was just walking around town!
It is between the wall and the blue pole, can you see it?
HITS warmup
HITS warmup
Finally figured out the sheepskin pads were used as essential blinkers
This guy, though, had actual blinkers on.  Weird for a jumper show, no??
I didn't see him do more than walk/trot with them but didn't stay around.
Watching the show on a Wednesday was actually cool, there was virtually no one around, there was no fee to get in and we had full access to anything we wanted to walk to.  We watched the entire $5000 Johnson Transportation 1.4 Meter class.  We sat literally next to the video booth and had prime viewing for the whole thing.  It impressed SO, he hadn't seen horses jump that high (really??  Huh.).

Class 416: $5000 1.4 meter course
Class 416: $5000 1.4 meter course
Class 416: $5000 1.4 meter course
Class 416: $5000 1.4 meter course
We went back to Hutchinson Island to recoup

So much of this.  Love!!
On Thursday we went to Wellington to visit the Winter Equestrian Festival

We realized we can't afford to live here
Statues created by the grade schools
We watched some of the 3'6" class on our way to the International Arena and watched both the FEI 5* $35,000 WEF Challenge Cup Round XI and most of the $6000 1.4m Speed Challenge.

Very cute hunter in the 3'6" class
International ring
Speed Challenge!
The benefit of going on a Thursday was, again, no crowds!  It was alternating between really sunny and sporadic showers, we were able to hang out under a huge green VIP awning and have great seats at no cost.  Yay!  The speed round was super cool to watch, the international riders certainly find ways to cut the course time significantly!

Statue at WEF
I also realized I am nowhere cool enough to wear things that were for sale in the vendor area.  Breeches on sale for $200?  Exclusive designer brands?  I am so uncool, I couldn't even bring myself to spend the $35 on the cheapest tshirt I could find with WEF on it.  Blah!

View from our hotel room balcony
It was an awesome vacation, I had so much fun and had SO much relaxing done.  At home, I am always pushing to DO stuff, it is different when there is literally nothing you HAVE to do and you can just relax.  I was able to be on the beach every day and put my toes in the ocean 6 of the 7 days.  I ended up with some sunburn, and also some really bad sunburn, but it is already fading. Note to self, apply a FL amount of sunscreen, not a PA or MI amount of sunscreen.  A FL amount is about 3x as much!!!!  Monday night I barely slept because I hurt so badly

We got back and I have ridden every day since.  I lunged Mia on Sunday, since she hasn't done much but stand in snow since the 14th, and she was a wild child.  Lots of leaping, bucking, running, she ran nonstop for almost 10 mins before she finally walked on her own.  Fun times!  After that, though, she was great.  I hopped on and she was completely agreeable and even remembered her buttons.  Progess indeed!

Attempts to use remote shutter and tripod, camera didn't want to focus
You can see she is coming along though, kinda, if you squint
Last night we did actual work and rode Novice test A and B.  We haven't done much real dressage in almost a month thanks to her lameness and my vacation and yet she was totally content to give a good effort.  Our canter/trot transition is our weakest, she wants to splat on her forehand and counterflex something horrible, but the rest was a good mid 30's score IMO.  Fantastic for the lack of work we have done!

This weekend is the farrier AND spring shots.  I have a tentative show on Easter Sunday, let's see if I can get us in shape enough to go to it!

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Eventing bingo fun!

So as I mentioned a couple of posts ago, Emma is hosting Eventing Bingo.  Some of these ladies are on point and have come up with AMAZING stories.  TeresaA?  Hilarious.  Wendy?  AMAZING.  I am neither, just warning you haha!

Mia has been my special child, though not nearly as special as App.  Oh, the stories I have on that man.....  This year, though, we are going to kill it.  We have worked on dressage over the winter (well, I mean kinda, between being broken and it being bitter cold) and we have worked on stadium (well, not really that either, but we can pretend) so we are going to be awesome this year.  We go to our first HT of the season in May and we are prepared to KILL it.  In warm up Mia is responding very well, round, soft, things are looking up for this season, I tell ya.  We get in the ring and Mia goes from amazeballs to OMG LOOK!  I CAN'T HORSE RIGHT NOW!  Again.  This happened last fall, remember mare?  We talked about this, we weren't going to do this again.  She is suddenly very attentive towards a scraggly, wormy, skinny bay gelding who looks like he rolled in mud and was groomed only for a saddle pad.  Why is my mare being mareish all of a sudden??  It should be of no surprise that right as we go "near" this gelding (I hope to god he is gelded anyway, no one should be passing on that neck or hind end) Mia blatantly ignores my cue and leaps forward into a canter/gallop, on the wrong lead of course.

I pull her back, boot her in the ribs with my "encouragement nubs"and we at least pick up the correct lead.  Progress right?  For whatever reason, Mr. Ugly is walking behind the judge's booth as we finish and I have to literally pull Mia for her halt as she wants to go see him, so much for a good impression.  Mare, stop thinking with your ovaries!  We go back to the trailer and take the LONG way around to avoid Mr. Ugly and get ready for XC.  It's okay, we got this, XC is our strong point!  After a quick rest, we go to the start box... and you have got to be kidding me.  They are running out of order and Mr. Ugly is literally leaving now and there are only 2 of us to go next.  SMDH.  I am not even sure how Mr. Ugly makes it on course, he looks like a camel as he saunters along, at least he looks gelded, thank goodness for small miracles.  I have the other gal go next to put some space between Mia and Mr. Ugly and then go on course.  On the other side of the field, I can see Mr. Ugly about to finish the course.  Great!  I won't have to worry about him!  Uh oh, Mia saw him too.  Uh oh...Mia is accelerating.  Brakes are failing...  We fly over the first few fences before I am able to yank her back to a canter.  We go over a scary coop and I used leg to make sure we go over.  Oops, apparently that was the wrong solution we are now a runaway again.  Apparently, the gal in front of us has had issues at the water so I yell "HORSE INCOMING" as we FLY by her through the water at almost a gallop.  Uh, good to know Mia is okay with water still?

Mia doesn't care what I point her, we fly over everything.  At least I have steering, it just that pesky brake issue.  And then we came in one second under the speed fault time, way too fast mare.  Way too fast.  And no, we did not catch up with Mr. Ugly.  On the way back to the trailer, I swung by to check scoring, small miracles they have already scored dressage!  Wow already!  Oh geez....we got a 46%.  I mean, no real surprise but it IS a schooling show, that's a little rough for a schooling show where we DID actually do all of the movements.  Grrr.  But somehow we are still in the ribbons, 6th place!  At least the judge scored everyone equally poorly?

We retire to the trailer where we prep for stadium and I gave Mia a very stern talking to.  First, we do NOT lose our marbles over a man.  Secondly, we do NOT lose our marbles over a gelding who we will not see again.  She didn't seem interested in the mother/daughter talk and munched hay while looking for her lost love.  *Sigh*  We went to the stadium ring and went in right away.  Mia was on fire, in a good way finally.   When I sat up, she sat up and gave me the bouncy canter I wanted for stadium.  This is awesome!  As we came around jump 5....there he was.  Mr. Ugly hanging by the in-gate.  Mia started to accelerate so I gave her a very strong half halt.  I then very nearly came off as she slammed on the brakes and chipped in an extra stride instead of compressing her stride and jumping like a trained, experienced horse.  Like the horse I thought I had.  At least I stayed on?  Apparently, that half halt was too strong, consider that noted Mia, I heard your message.  The combo of 6/7 rode very nicely, as did 8 and 9.  10, however, was headed straight for where Mr. Ugly had just planted himself and Mia was having none of my opinions.  As we approached the last fence, she stumbled 2 strides out and I saw my life flash before my eyes.  I am going to die and it is all Mr. Ugly's fault because he made Mia lose her marbles!  Mia's nose hit the dirt before she popped up and LEAPT over the fence, easily clearing the jump and most likely the standards (if I dared to look at the official photographer's pictures).  OMG.  All I can say is thank goodness for my new saddle as it kept me in position and I didn't fall off and die in front of all of these people.  How embarrassing.  We finished the round double clear and walked out as Mr. Ugly took his turn.

I watched him go and while he looked like a camel when he moved, he did jump everything and was clear.  Go figure right?  They announced the placings right then and there and we moved up to 5th due to the gal before me on XC and the issues they had at the water.  Even with XC speed fault penalties we placed!  I can say, this is one show I am so glad to be over and I would not be upset if none of these people saw me again.  At least I got my satin, even if Mia didn't get her "man".

I had fun, I hope you had fun reading it.  Let's hope this DOESN'T actually happen, though I am sure a great story would come of it!  This was a fictional story, even if it started to sound VERY realistic in my head.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Lesson cancelled, a blizzard hit and more shenanigans

Crap, I have been so bad.  Things have been insane here.  I have started a post 3 times.  THREE!!!  Alas, I have failed.  So let's try to mash some of this together.  I was supposed to have a lesson last weekend.  That was canceled due to super cold, they don't like to give lessons when it is 15 degrees out.  Hey, I ride until it is 10 out, they could have sucked it up..... hahaha!  In prep for the lesson, that was canceled, I actually did really good with riding.  Not that I can remember it all *sigh*.  Somewhere I have a short video too, maybe tomorrow I can upload it. I just don't have the energy to find and edit it right now.  Sorry.

We worked on shortening our reins (ahem....) and I even went so far as to tie a knot in my reins like a little fricken kid because for some reason I cannot stop giving them away.  And then I got to ride like that for all of 10 minutes before someone randomly showed up to the barn, scared me and needed someone to talk to.  Then the super freeze came and no riding.  Then the blizzard came and I have 30+ inches of snow and IT IS STILL SNOWING.  I spent almost 4 hours snow blowing today over 3 different time periods.  At 7a we had 10 inches of snow (?!) and it just kept piling up from there.  I am HOPEFUL that I don't have to snow blow yet again in the morning.  SO is out of state on business so it is just me and the damn snowblower is amazing but has broken 2 shear pins (at different times) and I didn't know where either was so it took longer than it should have (and a trip to YouTube) to diagnose and fix the issues.  Ugh.

Tomorrow I will try to head to the barn and see the horses for the last time before I go on vacation.  I hope to take a bunch of pictures as I am going to FL and will visit both Ocala AND Wellington. Woohoo!!  I don't expect to ride, I figure the arena will still be closed (storing the equipment in there so it isn't covered in, you know, 30+ inches of fricken snow) but I want to see their fuzzy faces.  Saturday I leave at 6a and won't be back until the following Sunday, I can't wait!  70-80 degrees here I fricken come!!

I have the Eventing Bingo story all written out and was even going to include it in this one but the post got really long and who wants to read that much text?  The story is posting in the morning, come back and see my submission!

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Blog hop: What do you feed?

Eh, why not, I don't have a lot of stuff to write about (well, I do....I even have video! So let's say motivation to write about..) so let's do a quick blog hop.  Spotted Dressage asks What Do You Feed & Why?  I haven't read her much but I follow Amanda and it sounds like an interesting topic.  This has changed over the years, of course, but has stayed pretty consistent since we left Ohio.

App - 1994 App Gelding - Permanent retirement

  • 3 pounds Triple Crown Senior AM and PM
  • 1 tablet Equioxx/Previcox
  • 1 oz Buteless Pellets
  • 1oz MSM 
  • 1 scoop Cool Calories

Mia - 2007 App Mare - Competition horse/up and comer

  • 1.5 pounds Triple Crown Senior AM and PM
  • 1 oz Grand Hoof
  • 1 oz MSM

They also have a grass hay round bale in their turnout 24x7, which has kept App at a good weight and makes Mia pretty chunky.  Additional supplements?  App gets a monthly injection of Polyglycan ($$) and they both get bi monthly injections of Pentosan ($).  As the vet says, it's just money right?  Haha..Sobsobsob....  I do believe I see a difference so I keep them up.

Some things that change?  The brand of hoof supplement mostly, though I am really happy with Grand Hoof.  I have used several brands for Mia and her bad hoofs, the last being Uckele, and she has always had microcracks.  With the Grand Hoof, you can actually see all of the cracks stop in a line around her hooves from when I started her on Grand Hoof back in July.  I am going to stick with this one for another bucket!  I also add in a 2nd and 3rd weight supplement for App as needed, he got some Dumor Weight Builder and Max E Glo this past winter and beet pulp in Michigan.  Everything else has been pretty par for course for a while. What does everyone else feed?