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!

Friday, May 5, 2017

Rolex Recap

Rolex was such a good time, BESTWEEKENDALLYEAR for sure!   It started back in November when I bought tickets the minute they went on sale and scored some amazing stadium seats for Sunday.  I had K coming down with her BF and dad as well as a group of 5 from the barn, plus meeting 3 people that the barn people knew.  Group pricing for the win!

On Wednesday we started our long drive after work (5p) and drove until 730p before spending the night in a hotel and continuing on Thursday.  Nothing like a good 12 hour drive head of you to want to get a few hour head start the day before.  We got to Lexington at 430p on Thursday and met up with everyone at the hotel before going out to Roosters for dinner.  Roosters is a chain of wing themed restaurants, like Buffalo Wild Wings but so much better.  Wings are much larger and they aren't nearly as stingy with their sauces.  <3  Their cinnipuff dessert?  OMG that was beyond amazing!

Friday we left the hotel at 8a and went to Rolex.  My original plan was to scope the shopping before watching dressage warmup as I hadn't bought stadium seating.  I bought stadium seating in 2013 and felt it was a waste so didn't bother this time.  People had other plans and the barn group bought me a stadium seat for dressage as a thank you for organizing the shindig.  Not wanting to appear ungrateful, I left K to watch warmup and I watched a couple of hours of dressage in stadium after doing some preliminary browsing.

There were a few coursewalks I was interested in but K really wanted to go on the Smarkpak hosted one with Boyd Martin.  I told her it would be super crowded but she persisted so we went to it. And regretted it.  There was easily 200-300 people, likely more.  Enough people that you couldn't see the jumps as Boyd talked about them due to the crowd.  After the 2nd jump (13), where we couldn't see anything but people, I suggested going off on our own and K was very eager to do that.  I think she learned to not pick the course walks with the top riders ha!  You can get good info, but you are swarmed with crowds and can't see anything.  The smaller course walks are the ones to do.  As we left the 2nd jump and was almost to 18ABC, Boyd said that is where they were headed next.  I kid you not, at least 75 people literally ran down the hill to get to the jump "first".  It was crazy!!  At this point, we had walked to the far side of 18ABC and didn't have a crowd so we got to listen to the commentary and see things lol.  He announced he was going to the hollow (I think) and, again, a large segment of people literally ran off.  SMH.  I can't run very well anymore, I will pass.  So K and I walked the fences 8-19 and had a good time.

On Saturday, K didn't stick to me like I expected and so I did my own thing most of the day.  The men set up "camp" at Head of the Lake while everyone else wandered around.  I went with one of the barn ladies to jump 3 and then 5/23 and then 6 before going to Head of the Lake to sit and relax.  SO was quite impressed, he knew things were big but was impressed at how well the horses handled such big obstacles.  After an hour or so we packed up their "camp" and went to the Land Rover area to see more jumps and watch the jumbotron.  We met up with the rest of the clan and watched Michael Jung over the corner jump of 13.  That night we met up with the instructors (M and B from 2015) from MI that I had really enjoyed and had dinner with them and a small group of people.  Really enjoyed catching up with them!

Sunday was stadium and was the only day we didn't get to park right next the camping area, we had to walk (The horror haha!) a small distance, much closer than 80% of people though.  Makes sure you arrive between 8-830a if you want good parking spots peoples!  It fills up FAST.  We did another round of shopping/browsing/chatting before heading to stadium to watch the Double Dan Horsemanship presentation.  Dude, sitting 2nd row from the arena is AWESOME.  We were literally in front of the final jump/timer and had a great view of everything.  Love!

After that, there was the long drive back to PA.  The barn people drove straight through, we broke it up by staying in WV for the night and arrived home at 4p on Monday.  Not bad at all!  I am a terrible tack ho though, I had went through things before I left and found NOTHING I needed.  Saddle pads?  NO.  Bridles?  NO.  Halters?  NO.  The only things I could have used were consumables, poultice/fly spray/liniment.  Anything and everything I tried to pick up I talked myself out of because I have multiples of.  I have almost a dozen bridles and one horse....I have 24 (? low estimate) saddle pads, 5 half pads, a show halter, a backup halter, 2 rope halters, 4 new breeches, more tshirts than can fit in my drawers, 4 Kasteel sun shirts, blah!  A girl doesn't need anything, it is a waste!  What did I buy at Rolex?  One measly pair of schooling gloves.  Yep.  That is how pathetic I am.  I did, however, get a bunch of free stuff.  1.5 months of HA powder, 2 medium bottles of fly spray, a fabulous, large canvas tote, a Smartpak Coursewalk tshirt, 10 day supply of the new Buteless Performance pellets, 5lb bag of treats, several treat samples, a hat, a Yeti tumbler and a County saddle keychain.  So happy!

So I have a ton of media and plan on posting most/all of it!!  Lots of video clips of cross country fences and of course pictures.  I will work on getting them uploaded, keep an eye out!

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!