Thursday, June 30, 2011

Rant follow up

So last week a guy really peev'd me off by seriously low balling me on my garden tractor and by being a general prick.  So on Monday after reposting it with a slightly lower price and with a video, I got a couple of emails and had one person say they would come out in about an hour to take a look.  They came out, looked at it and put half down as a deposit and would pick it up on Thursday.

Sure enough, today they came with their trailer and picked it up and had the full balance in cash.  He didn't try to barter any further with the price and thought he was getting a pretty good deal.  I kinda agree with him.  So a big shove it to the prick who seriously low balled me and then had the nerve to say I was over pricing my item.  If I never hear from him again I will be happy, it wouldn't have been so bad if he hadn't been such a prick.

Long story short, I sold my garden tractor and I sold it for only $100 less than my original asking price and $50 more than my "won't go any lower, I'll keep it as a yard ornament before I sell it that low" price.  Still several hundred more than what the low ball offer was.  If you feel the need to low ball someone to see if they will take your ridiculous offer and they refuse, don't try to "convince" them that selling their item at your low ball price is the best idea.  You are just likely to tick someone off and they will tell your story on the internet.  The decent thing to do, if you must low ball someone, is to offer a more reasonable price or say no thank you. So in conclusion, yay me for selling the item and yay to the decent people in the world! 

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Daisy's 6 month update!

So I realized today that I have had Daisy for 6 months and a week.  I realized this because I received an email from former owner asking how she was doing and to ask for the number of my farrier because his "donkeys really need to be trimmed bad".  Ugh, I don't even want to know what those poor donkey's look like.  I called my farrier and passed the numbers along to everyone and sent the previous owner pics of Daisy to show that yes I can in fact "fix" the mess he made.  As a result I was looking at old pictures and comparing them to the new ones, what a difference!

Here a pic from when she first arrived, 12.21.

How here is picture from yesterday, 6.27

Front feet from 12.21

Front feet from 6.27

Comparison pic, second picture is the best I could get with her being as close to the same position as possible

I think she has definitely had some body changes, her shoulder is pretty significant IMO.  The slope of her dark line is shows significant direction change as she has developed muscle.  She doesn't have the little wormy belly and has a lot more muscling along her hindquarters.  And while it doesn't make much sense, she looks taller.  It seems confirmed by the wood along the back of the stall, I thought maybe I have more sawdust in then previously but in thinking about it the opposite would be true.  I really think she looks taller even without the wood reference.

Her fat pad along her back is nice and cushy and she now has a roundish barrel.  When she came she was truly flat from her shoulder clear to her haunches, there wasn't a single curve about her.  You will have excuse her coat, she is still shedding and is about 75% done but still has a lot of very long hairs that won't come off yet so she looks funny.  I am very happy with her progress and am pleased with the success I have had in rehabbing her.  Here's to another 6 months!

Monday, June 27, 2011

No marshmallows here

As always the weekend went by wayyy too fast but it wasn't too bad.  Saturday was taken up by a spontaneous decision by SO to attempt to purchase a vehicle at an auction.  The vehicle "ran" but wasn't drivable and he wanted it just for parts for one of his "toys" that he has.  Thus bright and early Saturday I was awoken from a great slumber and off we went.  It was an hour away and required a lot of phone calls on our way down to have things lined up.  Alas, despite waking up early and getting down there, the bid went higher than he was willing to go and we walked away empty handed.  He then decided to go to a flea market and Salvation Army to walk around and be "out and about", let me "see people and get my fill in".  We had a nice day about it but didn't get much of anything done here at the house.  Boooo.

Sunday morning I awoke nice and early, before the alarm even, and got ready for the show.  As I feared I didn't get a single picture but it was because SO got really sick Sat night and needed to stay home.  Oh well.  I mixed things up and threw hay in the stalls and wrapped the App in the stall.  He gets so anxious when going in the trailer that he poos 4-8 times while getting ready which is normally within 30-60 mins.  My hope was that if I kept him quiet he would be an easy ride.  Got him loaded before he started to be anxious and when we got to the show he seemed to relax.  We were in classes 15, 17 and 20, the show started at 8a and they were all flat classes.  We showed up at 830 expecting to show about 930a, right?  About 5-10 mins per class should be just fine right?  Pfft, goes to show what I know.

Turns out it was not a small po-dunk show but a show that you can even earn points with the Paint Association.  There were some pretty quality horses there and here I am with my App which still hasn't received a bath since September.  Thankfully I made the last minute decision to throw my real "show" clothes in the truck "just in case" else I would have had to run home and get them.  Jacket?  Check.  Show shirt?  Check.  HAIR NET?!?  Check, good thing I bought one for that rated show, sheesh. 

Finally at 1030a there was a 15 min break for the show ring (no warm up ring, just grassy areas) so I had the App ready and hopped on.  He had been pretty quiet and relaxed the entire morning, good ride right?  Wrong.  I found I had the App I know and don't always love.  Very forward, very fast, very unrelaxed.  I switched over to the waterford bit and while it eliminated the pulling (my shoulders love that bit) it did not slow him down at all.  He looked like one of the contesting horses instead of a pleasure horse.  As the show continued I dug through my trailer to realize I didn't have my slow twist with me, it was taken out during the first cross country ride when the instructor wanted me to try the full cheek snaffle and I must not have put it back, argh!!  The only bit left was the pelham, not a bit I wanted to show in since it has two sets of reins but a girl has to do what a girl has to do.  With it I was able to get him to slow down and back off and we hopped into our first class at 1115a. 

The first class was english equitation, something I am very good at.  And what does this "po-dunk" show do?  Have a pattern.  With a flying lead change and a hand gallop.  Whaaaa???  This is obviously not the fun, easy show I thought it was to be.  I was a bit nervous, sitting on the rail awaiting my turn, when I realized the lead change I had been practicing was backwards.  It was a left lead to right lead and I had been practicing right lead to left.  Doh!  Our turn was up so we trotted of cone A and stopped at cone B pretty well.  The pivot on the forehand didn't go super smooth but was pretty good, good halt to canter transition that bobbled a little when we started the counter canter.  Thankfully our lead change went super smooth and the hand gallop became a slightly extended canter but it was a nice stop.  Yay Appy for not being stupid!  I was quite impressed when they read that out of a class of 14 I got 3rd!  Made me quite happy as I showed against some nice horses.

The other two classes bombed, they were pleasure classes and that was not going to be the App's strong suit that day.  Forget being slow, relaxed and on soft on the reins, he was forward and heavy.  I was able to contain him the best I could only because of my nice curb rein.  We didn't place in any of the other classes and I wasn't surprised but I am very happy with our equitation, especially when it wasn't at all what was expected.  And the App?  Yeah, he isn't fooling me.  He is NOT that out of shape and he will not be quiet under saddle just because he was at the trailer.  He had no problem fighting me to go faster and longer despite being ridden for over an hour.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Blech, you suck - a rant

I really don't have much of a problem when it comes to selling things, I am a heck of a sales lady when I want to be and I am pretty good at weeding out the "tire kickers" before letting them come to my place.  I encountered one today and he just has me all fired up.  Since my SO encounters this all of the time (he claims which is why I do any selling), I can't just go ranting off to him b/c he won't have any sympathy.  Thus I turn to the ears of blog followers who, if bored, can simply click off my rant.

I am trying to sell a garden tractor.  Not a lawn mower, there is a big difference and I have been schooled hard by SO for getting them confused with each other.  A riding lawn mower has a light duty frame, axles, transmission, etc.  It can have can have all the horse power and bells and whistles it wants but it can't be used and abused like a garden tractor is meant to be. A lawn mower can't pull a10 cubic foot trailer that is full of wet poo across the yard very often before the tranny gives out.  A tell tale sign of a riding lawn mower vs garden tractor is the front wheel hubs, does the wheel have lug bolts or is there a single bolt in the center of the wheel?  A tractor has to have lug bolts, a lawn mower will have a single bolt.  Even the $2000 Cub Cadets at TSC have this, a sign it is not meant for heavy duty work.  Anyway, I got off track.

After being schooled, repeatedly, by my motor loving SO we purchased an older John Deere garden tractor before we bought our property in Michigan.  Many hours were spent "tuning" this bad boy, spending hours and hours driving to different John Deere dealerships to get official parts, finding "deals" on spare parts whatever.  Fixed the mower deck, bought a snowblower for it, extra tires, you name it.  Get it to Michigan and find it is absolutely the wrong tool for the job we need it to do.  Its only practical job we can use it for is one thing, pulling.  And it pulls extremely well.  We do not, however, need this tractor with all of its accessories just to pull stuff when we have a new tractor that does the job just as well and is much more effective at all of the tasks we originally had planned for the John Deere.

Alas I was given the task to sell the beast.  Despite not liking selling on Craigslist, I did so because it is cheaper than selling on eBay.  Ebay's fees are starting to get pretty high for the Joe Blow seller.  After a couple of weeks I got a response asking for more pics which were sent.  Received an email today stating that the garden tractor is in very good condition and comes with some nice looking (not rusted) accessories but he bought an older tractor cheaper so would I take only half of my asking price.  Uh, yeah no?  The price you gave was barely enough to cover the original cost of the tractor let alone the cost of the snowblower, repairs and extras that will come with it.  I refused, obviously, and advised there was no way I would part with it for that price and have a good day.  He then has the nerve to advise my asking price is way too high and good luck selling my items, I should have instead counter offered him.  Whatever dude, you are being a condescending prick and I will not sell you my garden tractor.  Go low ball offer someone else, my ad specifically stated I do not entertain low ball offers.  I don't go up to people and say "Hey!  You are asking $100 for your item that is in good condition, I'll give you $45 and you're lucky to get that.  You're overpricing your widget!".  Stupid people, you suck and you will not get my stuff.

Rant over.

Gonna do it, why not right?

So despite my tubby, flabby Appy being fairly out of shape, I am going to make him suffer and bring him to the horse show this weekend.  Mostly because I've been showing the TWH and I don't want to play favorites but also because the TWH rubbed in pine tree sap all over his neck and it looks horrible.  It is going to require some serious bathing to get that out anytime soon.  Or bring out some alcohol, I've been told it works too.  Blech, I am so lazy.

Is the App really THAT out of shape that I would show him when he isn't fit?  Eh, not really I guess but he's definitely not where I would want him to be.  I've ridden him a few times this week and he hasn't been winded or exhausted after our 30-45 min rides that involve mostly trotting/cantering so I don't feel that guilty.  He is better than pasture puff fit, not yet eventer fit.  Good trail ride fit?  Anyway, I have been riding him in the waterford bit this week and am still pretty pleased with the results.  I am looking forward to this weekend to see if the App stays settled and soft instead of the insane freak he can become.  Ahhhh, appytude, the reason I have a slow twist and now a waterford bit.  Everything else is a smooth snaffle of some sort and that just doesn't hold all the appytude sometimes. 

The show is just a local association show with classes that are only $6.  I will go in only 3 classes - 2 pleasure classes and an equitation class, alas no jumping.  He's not fit for jumping anyway.  It is set up so the classes I will be in are classes 15, 17 and 20, how awesome is that?  Get in around 830a, be gone by 11a have plenty of time to use the day.  I love those kind of shows, I hate the kind that you have to stick around ALL DAY LONG.  I am just not competitive enough for an all day/multi day show.  I have stuff to do!

Stay tuned, not sure if I will have pictures of this weekend but I should have stories!  Next weekend is a big hoopla/to-do with us having close to a dozen relatives over.  The SO's aunt/uncle are moving to the area to be around the cousin that fell off a couple of weeks ago so it is a moving/4th of July party with 2 cars filled with people coming up from Ohio to visit/help.  Hoping for the best and expecting a circus, wonder who will bring the elephant and camels?

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Vacation is being planned already

Ok, I am very excited, I am all giddy and everything.  I have finally locked down a date to go to the Quarter Horse Congress in October.  Submitted my time off and everything!  Shopping extravaganza, I better start saving now!  I also sent a message to about 3 dozen people letting them know I will be down and I am already getting messages back saying they would like to visit with me and are marking it down.  Great deals, lots of horse people and the ability to see people I haven't seen in a long time.  In one case, it will have been over 10 years.  EEeeeeee, October now can't come soon enough lol!

My riding buddy #2 was very nice and was a good rider.  She used to play polo back in college and when she graduated and got married she became a teacher and stopped riding.  She hadn't been on a horse in over 4 years but it didn't look like it.  She had a great time riding the App around and really liked his little canter.  Of course since we were in the boring arena the App did have a nice slow collected canter, try that outside ha!  She is very excited to come ride more often and is going to come out next Thurs to ride again.  Yay, another good thing!

Also debating on whether to go to a fun show this weekend, I wasn't going to go but my July show may now be off the table so why not right?  The show is literally 5 mins away from my house and would only be $20 to go in 3 classes.  It is Sunday morning and I don't think I have anything going on, have to determine who I would bring and see if I can get them "ready" in time.  Not that it would be hard, it would just an equitation class and 2 pleasure classes but I do need tune them back up and such.  Decisions, decisions. Most likely be a last minute thing, go figure.

Also ecstatic over my new followers, I suddenly jumped up 3 followers almost overnight.  I have no idea how you found me, if it is a fun story feel free to share! 

Monday, June 20, 2011

Weekend recap

So this weekend was, as normal, quite hectic.  Wish I didn't have to work 40+ hours a week so I could actually get some things done around here.  Ah the unfortunate fact of life that you have to work to afford the things you want but as a result have almost no time to enjoy them.  Ugh.  On a side note, hurrah for my new follower Nuzz Muzz!  I have followed her privately for well over a year, year and a half maybe, and am astonished she found/followed me!  This makes me very happy so thank you Nuzz Muzz and I hope things go smoother for you really soon.

Saturday consisted of getting hay, finally.  I was planning on emailing someone from the tack store that had closed and ask them for their hay guy's name on Friday and lo and behold my hay guy called and said he had some available.  I was expecting his call on, say Tuesday but I was happy to have hay none the less.  A quick scramble to the bank and I had 173 bales of hay delivered in a hay wagon Friday night.  Saturday we were able to get one of SO's coworkers to help and we unloaded it all in about an hour. I discovered that yes I am still allergic to hay, no surprise there as I wear long sleeve shirts, long pants and gloves when I move hay, and when it is super fresh my allergy induced asthma will fire up when I am about 10 feet in the air on top of the hay I am stacking.  Super fun times, thankfully I was able to talk someone into getting my inhaler so I could breathe again, I sounded like a dying animal I was so pathetic.  I rarely have to use the inhaler, maybe 3-4 times a year but am very thankful when I have it.

We spent most of the Saturday over to another coworkers house entertaining some other coworkers that were in from Italy.  They were fun and friendly, they spoke some english but not a huge amount so there was some language issues but we had a good time.  I got to play in some water and see the pontoon boat that Kid Rock owns and shows up on regularly.  It had some pretty crazy partying going on so our group steered clear but it was an interesting sight to behold.

Sunday we tore out 140 feet of the existing/bad fencing of the original pasture and connected the pasture to the arena.  This will serve two purposes, one being now the horses can weed eat instead of me and two we can now open the arena door and let the arena serve as a run-in if needed.  Currently there is no shelter in the main pasture, now there can be.  Will make things much easier when we go away, the horses won't have to be brought into the stalls for the night if the "help" we get isn't comfortable with horses.  Like the in-laws and such.

Tonight I will meet a new riding buddy, it is a friend of the riding buddy that occasionally comes out.  I am hoping she works out and between the two of them maybe I will have someone to ride with at least once a week.  I like riding buddy #1 but she is busy/sick a lot so she only comes out once every few weeks anymore.  I have finally come to admit that the App is out of shape and isn't ready to be in a show even if I wanted to do so.   The TWH is only partially in shape and would require 2 weeks of solid riding to be ready for any show again.  I hate not having time to enjoy life.  Maybe if I can get someone to come out more regularly I will ride more and things will get better.  Crossing fingers.  Again.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Daisy update

So the donkey has been making progress, she is finally shedding her winter coat.  Very slowly and in ugly patches but she is shedding and is getting a pretty nice gray coat with a nice shine to it.  She enjoys being brushed and has no issues with brushes or the shedding blade which is nice.  She enjoys having her ears scratched still and is very content to stand around if you have a desire to exercise your fingers around her head. 

Daisy is doing very well with leading, we haven't had a "parking brake" issue or a "take off" issue for a good while now.  A couple of months ago she slammed me into a wall in an effort to break free and eat grass, something she had been getting worse about.  Walking along without a care in the world and then suddenly taking off to the front or side in an effort to break loose. Then it became body bumping me while taking off.  Then she made the mistake of slamming me into a wall while doing it.  I got a good nail puncture on my thigh, ripped pants and was scraped up but didn't let go of her.  I decided that months of being diplomatic weren't working so out came Mr Stud Chain.  After two weeks all issues seem to have been resolved and Daisy has been leading like a good, behaved donkey ever since!  So nice considering I remember the times I fought and fought with her. 

The farrier was out on Thursday and trimmed everyone and I have the pics I promised. First is the right front, the worst foot.  This is the one that had the "blowout" and had all of the old frog taken off.  If you look, there is a tiny little frog growing in there.  Showing heel height and new hoof shape.

Right front
Right front
Right front hoof shape
Only picture I seemed to have saved for the left front, showing heel height

Left front
 Left rear, showing how much little heel we now have, nice trimmed frog.

Left rear
Left rear
Right rear that has also been trimmed up pretty extensively.   Showing heel reduction and nice trimmed frog

Right rear
Right rear
So I realize my pictures really kind of suck, unfortunately these were done at 6a all by myself with a donkey who is afraid of cameras.  She doesn't like the click or the flash, go figure, so it was an interesting adventure.  Mr Stud Chain made a brief visit when Daisy thought it would be acceptable to pseudo-kick at the camera and reminded her that it is absolutely, positively unacceptable to kick for any reason.  Especially when I am holding her foot!  Will try to get some pictures of how she looks overall now that she is brushed but she looks so goofy with her patched, shaggy coat.  

All in all Donkey is doing very well and I am very pleased with her progress.  I am very happy that I have a donkey that is easy to catch, easy to lead, easy to brush and can be handled easily.  We are still working on  accepting fly spray and have given up on hoof soaking for a while, maybe I will try trailer loading as the next project.  That may be interesting.

Monday, June 13, 2011

No time, quick update

Hopefully sometime soon things will slow down and I will have time to do something fun on a regular basis.  Like ride.  Or sit out in the sun.  This past week has been crazy, my lesson was cancelled at the last minute and cancelled again on the make up day.  Did ride the App once last week in pseudo-dressage/reconditioning, I am trying my new waterford bit and it really is making a big difference.  At the end I even threw in a couple of flying changes and he didn't try to pull and take off.  I'm happy, it will go in the cross-country/need control now pile.

Saturday proved to be fun, but nothing got done.  We went to a company gathering and had fun, saw a lot of cool things but didn't get anything done here.  Sunday was okay, a relative of the SO fell of the TWH when the TWH freaked out when she tried to trot on him.  UGH.  Scratch him off of the lesson horse list.  We did get our veggies planted, finally, and cleaned up a small amount of brush around the barn.

This morning I awoke at 530a to ride only to find the dog had a messy accident in the bedroom.  On the rug.  And on a sorted pile of dirty clothes that was slated to go in the wash. And on the heated mattress pad that was taken off for the season, he had pulled it down at some point during the night to burrow and then poo'ed on it.  There went a nice 30 minutes cleaning the mess up and then no time to ride.  Maybe tomorrow?

On the plus side the farrier was out on Thursday and Daisy's feet are looking really nice.  Like real hooves not only on the top but now the bottom!  We cut the heels down due to the frogs being exfoliated/shedding and she is now about an inch shorter.  It's funny how much of a difference I notice in her height.  We worked to not change the angles too much and she isn't as lame as before the trim so all is good.  Need to get pictures, will make a note to do that.  Maybe I will have a hoof post this week? 

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Unexpected pictures!

So I was emailed this morning and told someone had taken a couple of pictures of me on our cross country phase of the show on Sunday.  Yay!  Only got a few pictures but I wanted to share them.

Picture was kinda small and made worse when I cropped it.
You can't accuse me of not having my heels down though lol

Galloping though the fields

Over fence nbr 2.  It's so small.

Monday, June 6, 2011

TWH can trot - show recap Pt 2

Sunday morning came much too early and in a surprising turn of events, I was nervous.  I don't often get "show nerves" anymore, and when they do they are fairly mild.  I was a practical wreck despite some breathing and relaxing exercises.  We got to the show a little later than hoped but got saddled up and we started warming up right away.  Unfortunately my show nerves stuck with me through the ride and TWH reacted off of them.  He was nervous, fast and randomly spooky.  I wasn't getting very good transitions and the canter/trot transitions that we had been working so hard on were gone.  Luckily I had a good 30 minutes to warm up before the class!

About a quarter of the way through the warm up, a couple of people I know showed up to watch me ride (Love an audience!!!!!) and after calling them over, talking to them helped me relax.  I finally started getting the transitions back and the canter/trot transitions started coming together again.  Finally it was time to ride the dressage test.

The dressage test didn't go as I hoped.  We entered at A and suddenly TWH was heavy in my hands.  He was rushing and was tense.  We had a nice trot/canter transition however and was successful in getting a canter/trot transition with 2 strides (!!!!).  We turned for our freewalk, which should be his strongest gait, and it bombed.  He was anticipating and didn't stretch out or forward, very short steps with some head jerks, ugh!  Too bad because the freewalk score is doubled, not a piece you want to bomb.  That was one of the things we didn't practice this morning, grrr.  After our trot transition he finally settled down and got a nice canter transition and a honestly good canter/trot transition, there was almost no pacing.  We went down the centerline and saluted and I was so glad it was over.

They wouldn't post the dressage scores until everyone jumped xc so after quick break at the trailer we tacked up for cross country.  Since it is over a true cross country course, unfortunately I don't have much in the way of pictures but the ride went extremely well.  TWH needed a kiss over the first (scary red) crossrail but didn't look at anything twice over the rest of the course.  We had so much fun galloping through the fields and over the hills!
We LOVE galloping!
Over jump nbr 5, from a long, long way away
We had a clear round so we had nothing to do but wait until everyone finished.  I had 10 people in our division and I was pretty nervous when they finally started announcing the placings over the loudspeaker.  I was happy to not have gotten 8th or 7th.  When I didn't get 6th I started getting nervous, nor did I get 5th.  Did I really have that bad of a dressage ride that I couldn't have even have gotten 4th?!?!  After 3rd place was read I gave up and figured we'd have to work harder on dressage and then they read the top two places.  My mouth hung open as I heard my name in 2nd place, I really can't believe it even now!  I can't believe my horse, that had to learn to trot, got 2nd out of 10 horses.

My dressage test was scored much better than I expected, I should have been docked much harder based on his bracing and being tense but we got 5 7's and 6 6's.  We got a couple of deserved 5's and a pitiful 4 for our freewalk.  I am beyond tickled that our canter/trot transitions both got 6's with a note that it needs better balance.  HAHAHA that makes me laugh, the lack of balance is actually his pacing before he picks up a trot but I will take it!  The last piece that made me smile was the judge's notes.  Her comment?  "Cute horse - beautiful and CLEAN!"  With capitalizing, 4 underline marks and an exclamation point.  It makes me smile because he only got a spot bath Sunday morning, he hasn't had an actual bath since our rated show 2 weeks ago lol.  My boy can clean up well.

Overall everything went so well, I am so happy with TWH's progress.  I am very happy that he is going to work for what I want to do and I don't have to find another career for him.  At the next show in Sept I will put him in the Beginner Novice division and see how things go, why not right?

TWH can jump - show recap Pt 1

This past weekend was the weekend of our first "real" eventing derby.  We had to ride dressage in a walk/trot/canter and ride an actual cross country course.  Our eventing derby last year was with our gaited dressage tests and was ridden in a 5 acre pasture with mostly stadium jumps, not even close in comparison to this.  I was wise enough to sign up for xc schooling on Saturday and so we went bright and early.  My goal was to go through the entire pre-beginner novice course and then go through the beginner novice course and see what the TWH would give us.  I wanted to see if he would jump what I put in front of him or if he would refuse when asked a hard question.

The ride started very well, we skipped the normal warmup of going over a stadium fence due to a bunch of riders in the warmup area and no one on course so we went on course.  The first couple of jumps over an 12" log were "off", it appears as though I was riding too defensively and getting left behind.  A quick acknowledgement of the issue helped me relax and try trusting TWH and we were able to have some nice jumps.

After going over the small logs in unison, we moved to the SUPER SCARY LOG that we had refusals at in April.  It was a beginner novice jump so I wouldn't have to jump it on Sunday but wanted to jump it anyway.  I rode hard to the log and we went over without a second thought!
This is easy, over on the first attempt!
Moving on through the course we found a coop with some straw.  I figured I was feeling brave and wanted to really push the TWH and see what he would do.  I figured if he would jump it I would keep going and jump a barn that was down over the hill.  I was so incredibly impressed when I didn't get a single refusal and we jumped both the coop and the barn without needing any additional encouragement!

Hands not forward/pulling on his mouth, attributing to the fact
I was riding so aggressively to ensure no refusals.
We played in the water a little and introduced bigger banks in and out of water which were taken in stride, we had a lot of fun.
We love water now!
We finished up with an off-course jump, a decent set of logs with a pretty decent sized spread.  While the App and I have gone over this jump a few times, the TWH hasn't really gone over jumps with any real spread.  We went for it and was disappointed in a refusal.  Twice.  TWH experienced an angry storm on his back in which he then decided it was much much easier to jump this scary jump!

Biggest xc jump ever for the TWH!
 We headed happily home for the day and rested in preparation for Sunday, our show!.

Friday, June 3, 2011

The big challenge, can he do it?

The TWH is at a pretty big turning point right now.  I've been training him to be an eventer even though he has fluff for brains and he doesn't naturally trot.  I've trained him how to trot.  I've trained him how to think about what he is going to do.  I've had progress and setbacks.  I've learned the TWH will refuse a jump, he can't go from a canter to a trot, he is still randomly spooky and his gaited gaits will pop up at inopportune times.  I've learned the TWH can think about how to get over jumps that he doubts, I've learned he can pick up a trot from a pace, that he will at least spook in place and that he tries really hard.

The only reason I brought him to Michigan is because he does try hard and he is honest.  With these qualities I am pretty certain I can mold him into what I want.  As a result we have our first eventing show this weekend.  On Saturday we will go cross country schooling and I will push him over as many jumps as I can.  I want to push him hard to make sure the work we've been doing since our last cross country fiasco will pay off.  I want to see progress.  I've had him jumping 3'6" on the lunge and I've jumped him 2'6" fairly regularly under saddle, I think he is prepared.  He is more prepared than he was last time, I am certain of that.

On Sunday we will attend our first eventing derby, this being more of a "real" eventing derby than the one we went to last fall.  This will have real cross country jumps on a real course.  I entered him in the pre-beginner novice division, with pitiful 18" jumps, as I want to see how he reacts.  If he does well like I expect, I will put him in the beginner novice division in September!

The only part that really has me worried is the dressage test.  Cue the doom and gloom music!  We have to do a standard w/t/c test and we still don't have a good canter to trot transition.  I've been riding every morning this week to get him tuned back up and ready for dressage, a discipline I have been ignoring since the dressage association wouldn't accept gaited tests.  Unfortunately he is anticipating and is not as sharp with transitions as I was hoping he would be at this point.  He also is picking up the trot from a pace after 2-4 strides instead of 1 or 2 when we come out of the canter.  Ugh, give me a trotting horse!

I can't prepare him any more now, hopefully I was able to do enough and this weekend will be GREAT instead of DISASTER.  Keep your fingers crossed, I'm not sure what to do with him if he can't event.