Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Less is more

Why yes, I am super busy still, why do you ask?  Oh the blog silence?  Well, it hasn't been THAT silent, geez.  So what has been going on.  Well, my trailer got it's pinstriping put on, or rather stripes since they are 2" and 1" tall.  The trailer got delivered back to the barn.  Powerwashed the entire front porch of our house, got shelving and lighting up in the garage and some yardwork done.  Phew.
So happy this is done, back to the barn we go!
Mia was going to have an easy trail ride last week but decided instead that she had to lose her marbles and actually smacked me in the face with her head by drama llama'ing so badly.  She's done this before, but had not actually hit me yet.  I was surprised I didn't have a black eye, because she hit me pretty hard.  She got spanked pretty good and then I made her trot along the road for about 2 miles, including over the ouchy rocks she didn't like.  Her attitude greatly improved after that.  Damn horses.
Ready for fitness!
Another day, one of the barn ladies watched me ride and commented I am over riding, I need to ride with less.  Mia carries a lot of tension in her chest/neck and suggested I really need to focus on relaxation as my next stepping point.  When I rode (what felt) like a newbie and flopped all around, Mia trotted around all relaxed and they said it presented a much better picture. Hmmm.  Personally I think it was more that Mia wasn't being put into a frame, as that is when she gets tight and tense, but I'm up to try anything.  Feedback from almost anyone is welcome at this point.

The next day was super hot so I we worked on getting into that outside rein.  The barn friend hopped on Mia and remarked how soft and responsive she is.  Well, I hope so, I am the one that put every bit of training on her!  Sometimes I just have issues putting it all together, it's why I keep asking around for lessons.  I have actually tried really hard to train her correctly and not use shortcuts or gimmicks.  Yesterday I rode dressage and while it was super humid, Mia was pretty good.  I tried to focus really hard on not micromanaging and instead, apply more leg.  What's the answer?  More leg.  Head up?  More leg.  2+2?  More leg!  We still have our spots of inconsistency, and I am not sure we will be there by the show, but I am trying.  Her being relaxed is more enjoyable to ride, that is for sure.

Tired mares tend to look very downhill #fitness4lyfe
What was that?  A show you ask?  Why yes, a show this coming Sunday.  Hopefully we are ready for it.  It isn't supposed to be too bad weather wise which will be nice.  And MC from the barn is going to go to the same show, so we may be able to haul together.  I tried to go xc schooling at the facility but the owner just wouldn't return my calls so schooling is going to be over the logs at the barn and hope for the best.  Mia is a beast, we haven't had a single issue since our very first horse trial, I need to trust my pony more.  This is the mantra I have told myself every time I think about the lack of schooling we have done.  Ack!!!

Roll all of the stress away Mia, roll it all away
Mia has her first ever massage scheduled for Wednesday in hopes that any residual tension will melt away and she will be amazeballs.  MY last massage was in 2009 so I am not quite sure how it is fair, but it is what I have scheduled.  Fingers crossed!

Monday, June 12, 2017

Trailer Maintenance Time!

After a year of not, it was finally time to address my trailer and do some needed maintenance.  We have always been good about maintenance and usually work on it a little every year, however after the move it hasn't gotten anything except some grease for the wheel bearings.  It didn't even get a bath last year, and it showed.  Badly.  EEWWW!!  To say it was dirty was an understatement.
So clean!!
At the beginning of the year, I ordered 4 new tires with galvanized wheels.  After tax time, I bought 2 sets of brakes, hubs, hardware for it all, trailer jack (the one I bought last winter sucked badly), new rear door locks and a breakaway battery kit.  Phew, that's a lot of stuff!  etrailer.com should really be giving multi-customer discounts for realz.

Brakes in progress, steel not cleaned/painted
Brakes after, steel scraped/painted
Last weekend we were only able to do one set of brakes due to the pouring rain so we finished it all this weekend.  Despite being an all aluminum trailer, it does have a few steel beams so I crawled under the trailer and got all of the flaking paint/rust off with the air tool.  Next I put on 2 coats of paint via spray paint, I had bought some good Rustoleum Professional paint but SO had me use up virtually all of our old paint so my trailer beams were grey, white, blue, orange, bright orange and black.  Ha!

New wheels and powerwashed
Sunday after it dried, I put on a 3rd coat of paint using my good black paint so it wasn't multi colored any longer.  I would strongly recommend that Professional paint over regular or other paint, after using 5 different brands putting the 1st and 2nd coat on, wow that Professional paint went on SO easily.  One coat coverage to get great color, it sprayed so much better and was much easier to work with.  Whodathunk?!
New jack and breakaway box
After the paint dried, we applied a new undercoating called Fluid Film.  It is a fantastic lubrication and is apparently used in Canada as a rust protectant on cars and has very good reviews.  The ease in which this stuff applied was amazing, I was expecting a huge mess and there really wasn't.  Super easy to apply, within 20 minutes I was done!  Am really curious to see how well it works as we have enough to put on all of our vehicles this summer.

New rear locks, no longer need to literally assault the lock to open it!
SO tore all of the wiring apart at the hitch and replaced all of the scotch locks with real butt connectors and hooked up the breakaway battery with the trickle charger.  Apparently, my breakaway wouldn't have worked even with a charge, one of the posts on the battery had broken completely off!  We tested the new setup and it works, and now we won't have to worry about the battery being dead.  I was even able to get the fender LED light to work again with some cleaning and TLC, I didn't have to replace it.

New 2nd tire rack on the right
After the wiring was done, the new wheels were slapped on and the trailer lowered to the ground, it was time for deep cleaning.  The mats got drug out (ewww, do NOT skip a year on this folks.  For real) and power washed, the inside got a good cleaning as did the outside.  I power washed the pinstriping off because it was very cracked/faded/peeling and the trailer looked good.  I cleaned up the adhesive on one side without problems but when I did the passenger side, it was taking paint off!?! OMG.  New pinstriping is now ordered to cover THAT up.  The difference in one side vs the other?  Who knows.
New saddle racks, cost $8 total!
Lastly, I added 3 new hanging saddle blanket racks and a second spare tire carrier.  SO insists I carry 2 spares and now both are wall mounted instead of one laying on the floor.  Woohoo!  All hinges got a good squirt of lubrication and the only thing left to do is to wash the windows and load everything back up into the trailer.  We should be all ready for our show on the 25th!

Monday, June 5, 2017

In which I fall....out of a plane....and other updates

I am so glad things are starting to slow down, hopefully in the next week I can actually breathe.  Memorial weekend was the (car) race and it went really well considering it was a brand new build.  We do endurance racing so it is not necessarily how fast you are going, but if you can go and not break down.  Both Saturday and Sunday had a 7 hour (nonstop) race, for a total of 14 hours over the weekend.  It went well!  Saturday we had rain and wet to contend with but we placed in the top third of competitors.  Sunday we were doing very well (top 20 out of 90!) until we had a suspension part break so we had to fix that and ended up just better than half of the field.  We then came home Monday and unpacked (omg all the things...) and rested.

On Tuesday I simply free lunged Mia because she had SO MUCH energy, despite being out on actual pasture.  I expected she would be a little more sedate with all of the extra walking around and having a non-broken pasture mate (Mia and App are currently in different fields) but apparently not!  Lots of head flinging, bucking and galloping was to be had lol.  Wednesday I rode for fitness, Mia is good and solid at 3 min canter sets so it is time to bump that up to 4 min sets.  Myself, I can do 3 minute sets while standing in my dressage saddle but I need to really start focusing on two point because I don't think I can hit the 4 minute mark right now.  Well, maybe....but certainly not the first try haha.

Thurs/Fri is Mia's standard days off.  Saturday I went skydiving (for the 2nd time) and was even able to convince 2 others to join me.  I am nothing if not a bad influence and a good time ha!!  Not only did I skydive....OMG I was the COPILOT on the way up!!!!!!!!   I am not sure I can adequately convey my joy in this, I love to fly.  LOVE to fly.  The only thing stopping me from getting my pilot's license is the fact that I don't need a third, very expensive hobby.  I have loved to fly since I was a little girl and this was a wish came true.  It was so cool chatting with the pilot as we went up, listening to ground control and feeling the plane move around as he brought us up to 14,000 ft.  Dream came true people, dream came true.  When I am finally broken enough that I can't drive race cars or ride horses, I am totally getting my pilot license and a little plane to cruise around in.
Just hanging out, letting gravity do it's thing
 I enjoyed skydiving and will certainly do it again.  I liked my first experience better though, the instructor I had this time was a little off putting and I was simply tense on the trip down.  In an experience like that, the employee really does make or break the experience!  The freefall is probably my favorite part, with the twirling in the sky my next favorite. I am such an adrenaline junkie :)
Why yes, I do like jumping out of perfectly good airplanes!
Sunday I worked with SO and we blew apart my trailer for maintenance.  It is getting a new breakaway brake battery (mine stopped working, this one has a trickle charger on it), new brakes, new hubs, new door locks, powerwashed and a scrape/paint on the few pieces of steel frame underneath.  Unfortunately, the company that I ordered the parts from only sent one set of brakes, not two, so we didn't get the trailer done.  And then it rained for 3/4 of the day.  We have one axle left to put together, powerwash the trailer and then paint the few pieces of steel and it will be all done.

Finally, the saddle fitter came back out last night for the initial adjustment of my County saddle.  I have been trying to get her out since November, but she ended up in FL before she came back out for the adjustment and so I have had to wait for her to return.  At least she came back out!  She actually did a lot of adjustment, put more padding in the withers to raise the front up (my biggest complaint was that it sat way too low in the front), did a lot of adjustment to the left rear panel and smoothed out some of the right panel.  Wow, it fits so much better!  She said she suspects Mia had an injury to her right hind at one point in her life, she puts a lot more weight on her left hind and steps to her midline with her left but not her right.  She likely had an injury, walked this way to compensate and it simply became a habit.  Similar to how we walk funny after surgery/injury except we go to Physical Therapy to help us remember to walk properly again, only horses don't usually get that part.  As a result, it is likely why Mia's right shoulder is more developed and is also why the left side of the saddle moved more than the right.  All is adjusted now so we will see how it goes.

This week and next week is quiet, like really quiet with not a single thing written on my calendar!  I am excited to get back to riding.  We have our next show on the 25th and I want to be ready!

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Very busy but we did have a SHOW!

Things are so busy right now, I am so looking forward to June 1 when things are going from 100mph to about 20mph.  Last weekend was a horse show, a test and tune on the racecar, packing for the race this weekend and trying to do the household things like mow, weed whack, dishes, laundry, etc.  Add getting sick and it was fun.  UGH!!! 

No awesome photographer, but better than no media
So Mia's second Novice show was on Saturday.  Friday night I got horrible food poisoning and was so thankful for a 2p ride time on Saturday because otherwise I would have scratched.  Heck, at 9a on Saturday I would have scratched if I had to leave at that moment!  It was bad.  Really bad.  I took a double dose of pepto, immodium and some advil and finally went to the barn at 11a.  Barely.  While I hauled with MC and her 19yr old daughter, I was totally by myself and it was a time I really could have used help  Oh well, I have shown alone a lot and the quiet focus of not puking got me through.  Mia had been trimmed Friday am and unfortunately was a little footy on the outdoor substrate so she wasn't as awesome as she could have been in dressage, however we still got a 38.  Why is that a good thing?  Because the best score of the entire DAY for all divisions was a 33 so I don't feel so bad.  The judge really didn't like Mia's haunches falling in during the canter circles and docked us a 5 on those but everything else was a 6-7.  And she gave us NO feedback at the bottom.  Thanks, lady.

Getting there.  That TAIL though. 
I went and changed tack and waited for jumping.  It was supposed to be a Combined Test (dressage/stadium) but the show set it up as a derby (dressage/xc/stadium jumps) so that was cool.  I had known ahead of time and had jumped over some xc fences last Weds to prepare and Mia couldn't have cared.  She loves to jump.  We popped over the xc warmup jumps a half dozen times before simply waiting for our turn.  We went in and Mia just ate it up, the height is so easy for her.  As we came around to fence 6, I looked at fence 10 before I realized CRAP!!  That is fence 10, not 7!!  I pulled off of it about 5 strides out and ended up jumping 7 at a very severe angle to get over it.  Mia was all "Angles?  NBD.  Crazy human has me do these ALL THE TIME".  The 6 people hanging over by the in-gate were extremely impressed. Haha!  As I was leaving, I was asked to stay as there was one other horse and it was going nuts because it was being "left behind".  No worries, I stayed and just delayed my departure home for about 30 mins.  It was fun though because several people came up to me and said hi and that they really liked Mia's jumping and flexibility.  HAHA!!!  Mare is a beast.  We ended up first....out of our division one LOL!  Oh well, I was much more happy with her jumping than the fact I was the only one in the division.  Yet another show in the books where we did not have a rail in stadium!

Let's see if you can see my Fence 7 near miss HA!

She gets this week off because of the prep that is being required for our race, but next week we are hitting the training hard.  The barn has cut the fitness paths and it is dry enough to use them so starting next week, fitness is becoming a focus again.  Lots of hill work and two point will be had, I have 4 weeks to be fit as a fiddle for our first Novice HT!  Here's to keeping fingers crossed I can maintain life until then.

Saturday, May 13, 2017

So what else is going on?

I know, I know.  Rolex is AWESOME!  I suck because I got to have all the fun and you may not have, get on with it lady.  Fine, I know, you want to read about my horses.  Not listen to me brag about my vacation. Okay, okay, fine.

I didn't get to ride last week after getting back from...well you know where :).  Tuesday the horses looked horrible with their half shedded coats so they each got a thorough grooming day.  App even got a full on spring bath, with two wash cycles.  He is SO soft now, still!  Nothing like a good bath to make a crappy coat feel so much better.  SO made me a knockoff Slick EZ after seeing someone use one at the barn and it works so well!  It really is a hacksaw blade in a piece of wood.  One piece of 2x4, about a half dozen swipes with a hand saw, tap in a 24 or 32 tooth per inch blade, voila.  It works so very well on loose hair!  If the horse is groomed daily and isn't having a heavy shed day, it isn't worth it but if you skip a few days it is awesome.
Who wants grainy cell phone video screencaps?!  
Wednesday I tried to ride but didn't get a chance to because there were people who showed up and they wanted to catch up with me so instead I groomed horses again, organized stuff and was social.  Sunday I went out to ride and it was crazy there.  I knew that the barn was throwing a birthday/pony party at 2p so I went out at 11a and it was crazy how many people were there.  On a busy day, there are 4-5 people there at once.  This Sunday there were 11?!  People working on fencing, people cleaning stalls, people setting up for the party.  On top of that, Mia was flipping out because App had been put in an "old mans" temporary pasture to eat grass without her and even after running around on a lunge line she had too much energy so I just called that day a pass too.

I finally got to ride on Monday and Mia was again all crazy.  I threw the jump saddle on and we did fitness, what better way to burn energy!  We are both terribly out of shape (unless you count round?), it is funny how quickly trot/canter sets will settle a mare down haha!  After the 4th 3 minute canter set she was tired and finally soft.  We stayed mostly on a circle that had a 12-18" jump at each end and I worked on forcing her to stay in a collected canter, to politely jump the cross rail and canter off without antics the entire canter set.  There were some antics, but not many.  It was a success!
Better than no media, right?
Tuesday was really amusing.  First, apparently, my lame, broken App who doesn't walk well decided to leave his grassy, flat area with a buddy and water and go brush whacking through some dense briars, up a small hill and over a fallen tree to "escape" and meander around the farm by himself.  What a dork.  They had a "fenceline" (just a strand of tape, not even hot) on 3 sides and used this tree/brush line as the 4th line.  Apparently App wanted to walk around and let himself out.  I told them he is crafty, just because he is old doesn't mean he isn't trouble.  There is a reason his nickname was Captain Asshole by SO in OH and MI!
But look at how consistent she is in her frame!
The other amusing thing was I rode Mia.  She was not happy.  The horses were fed late so she hadn't eaten yet and App hadn't been returned to her pasture (still in the old man pasture from the day) so she was head flinging, whinnying and sassing all about.  We started a dressage ride and she was very much "Oh leg?  Do I need to do anything about that?  Okay.....I guess....if you insist...." and extremely slow off of my leg aids.  After a good 10 mins I borrowed a dressage whip and gave her one tap.  One.  Suddenly her quarters would shoot off in any direction at the slightest hint of leg pressure.  Okay mare, you know there is there a middle ground?  Then she was all "I have no idea what this 'canter to trot' thing is that you talk about, have you taught me that?" and "I must pull you out of the saddle, my head is heavy, hold me up".  After a good 20 minutes of her pulling HARD and being a general pain, I hopped off and switched bridles to the pelham that I hadn't bothered to bring home.

It took all of 3 bumps with the curb chain before we went from uncooperative horse to wonderful partner.  HA!  We rode the Novice test A and the 2nd run through went beautifully.  All it took was one tap and 3 bumps, haha!  Ahh horses, you kill me.
And her canter is getting so good too! Though I have no proof
Just stare in awe of her trot and how far it has come.
Wednesday we had another dressage ride.  I started in the pelham but hopped off and switched to her eggbutt after about 15 minutes because I didn't need the pelham.  It wasn't a 100% perfect ride, but if I had to bring her to a dressage show tomorrow I wouldn't feel uncomfortable about it.  Win!  We ended with more fitness, 3 min sets for her, no stirrup during the sets for me.  We need to get our fitness back up and we can only do that with work.

We now have to get ready for our show on the 20th, plus learn Novice test B.  After this weekend things get crazy until June 1 so I am not sure how much I will be riding, esp after our show on the 20th.  I have a test day with the racecar on the 21st and then a race with the racecar on the 26-28.  It's going to be a crazy couple of weeks!  After June 1 my schedule is wide open so I am hopeful for XC schooling, we need to get on that!

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Who's ready for a Rolex Media dump? Part 2 - Videos of XC!

So yeah, I may have taken a lot of videos.  

But that means I was doing it for you, my followers
Andrea Baxter - Indy 500
Boyd Martin - Steady Eddie
Buck Davidson - Petite Flower
Sarah Cousins - Tsunami
Madeline Backus
Bunnie Sexton - Rise Aagainst
Clark Montgomery - Loughan Glen - Where he lost 1st place :(

Lisa Marie Fergusson - Honor Me
I enjoyed watching the corner jumps, it is where we ended the day
And of course Michael Jung
James Alliston - Parker
Jessica Phoenix - A Little Romance
Philip Dutton - I'm Sew Ready
Joe Meyer - Clip Clop
Joe Meyer - Clip Clop
William Coleman III - Obos OReilly
Katie Ruppel - Houdini
Be warned, this one has a fall
Buck Davidson - Park Trader
Boyd Martin - Cracker Jack
Katie Rupel - Houdini
Courtney Cooper - Whos a Star
Lillian Heard - Share Option

Be warned - This one has a fall
Allie Sacksen - Nio

I so enjoyed Rolex and got great views of the action.  It is also my 3rd Rolex, and the first in which I saw people fall off.  Thankfully no one was seriously hurt, I can't believe I hadn't seen people come off (well on the replays, but not in front of me).  Can't wait until next year, cause I am already planning on going!

Who's ready for a Rolex Media dump? Part 1 - PICS!

I hope it is you, because I actually went through the trouble of creating a YouTube account so everyone can see the videos!  Since, you know, apparently you can't see videos when they are uploaded into Blogger.  So this is pretty pic heavy, videos in the next post :)

1st part of dressage

Enjoying the shade of covered stadium

But then had to get up close and personal

My fav
Did anyone else go to the Champions Live seminar?  I did!
Hi Wofford, peeking around Philip there :)

Go go go!
Buck Davidson - Petite Flower

Ellen Doughty-Hume - Sir Oberon

Philip Dutton 

Maxime Livio - Qalao Des Mers

Michael Yung - fischerRocana FST

Michael Yung - fischerRocana FST

Michael Yung - fischerRocana FST
Seriously, our stadium seating was THE BEST.  Even if the sun made for hazy pics of it.   What a  great weekend indeed.  And I got a lot of video, like a LOT of video.  So I am breaking it up into two posts, never fear though because I am posting them BACK TO BACK!