Friday, February 20, 2015

300th post!!!!! A look back at my journey

It is hard to believe I have been doing this for 300 posts.  Three hundred!!  I have 29 followers and have semi-regular comments on most of my posts.  How awesome is that!  I figured in celebration of my 300th post I would do a recap of my time in blog world.  This is very link heavy :)  Once upon a time, a lady moved to Michigan with her 2 horses and it all began….

In January 2011 I got a donkey to rehab because I wanted a companion for the horses and I felt sorry for her.  I gave her until August and if she wasn’t better I was going to let her go to be pain free. February 2011 I found a riding buddy in RB1 and also decided to give up on showing dressage shows with TWH and focus on eventing.  Stupid politics.  In April TWH and I went XC schooling for the first time and it was a success, in May TWH jumped 3’6” for the first time ever and figured out that refusing isn't an option.  It also made me realize just how hard 3'6" is for TWH.   Appy went XC in super wet conditions and TWH went to our first hunter/jumper show and we won ribbons!  In June TWH had our first ever real eventing show and placed 2nd!!  He was going to become an eventer and it made me so happy.

We celebrated the donkey's 6 month anniversary and her successful rehab.  In July I met RB3 and in August TWH went to our second ever hunter/jumper show and won ribbons again.  September came around and App and I went to our last eventing show though I didn't know it at the time.  I wish we could go again, maybe at a lower level.  Someday.  

TWH went to his second eventing show and we got our first ever 3 and 4 in dressage (for pacing) but still placed in the ribbons because TWH is a rockstar in jumping.  In October I got my first blogger award and also determined what kind of bedding I really did NOT like.  In November I posted some videos of the App jumping and then I determined the bedding I really DID like.  And still love.
February 2012 I met RB4 and she has been an awesome friend ever since, she is my right hand gal at shows and I love it.  Come March my awesome vet alerts me to App’s declining vision and I started training a horse for RB3.  We also get chickens (of which, only 2 are left L) and our farm becomes a real farm now that there are chickens.  In April I pick up a new boarder/training horse and things start going badly, a precursor for the rest of the year.  I tear my calf muscle in May which causes App’s last eventing show  (though I didn't know it at the time) to be done with someone else but he still placed first cause he is awesome.

I get bronchitis and still help sell the horse I had in training for RB3 because breathing is just a minor detail.  In June I have my first fall in Michigan but I don't call it a REAL fall and I am done with the training horse after he re-tore ligaments in my knee which forces me to fire my first customer, which almost severs my friendship with RB4.  I enjoyed my last ride before I went in for surgery and had to wait until August to finally get back in the saddle.  In September I started teaching the donkey to drive which quickly progressed to teaching her to drag poles.  Cause I wanted my ass to pull my ass around in a cart!!

2013 started well with TWH working with COWS and he didn't freak out!  I finally had the dentist out for the first time since late 2010 (cause I am a bad horse mom) but there wasn't any serious problems because of the delay.  March gave me my second jumping session since surgery and in April I shared that I had to rehome the donkey (who is still doing very well!) which was/is sad but then I went to ROLEX and had a great time!!

In May TWH and I had our first show of the year and it was a success as was our second show in June.  TWh and I went to our first ever clinic in July and we also finished the HUGE project of fencing in our property as pasture.   September started off amazingly with a great show and TWH and I started to go Novice level.  That success was immediately tempered with the realization that TWH was hurt and that App was also lame.  2 broken horses in a 2 horse home is not a good balance.  We went to the equine hospital for ultrasounds and that realization was enough for me to realize TWH wouldn't make it through the higher levels.  They say everything happens for a reason, if TWH hadn't been hurt and App hadn't been going blind, I wouldn't have considered Mia.  

Thankfully come October things started going better.  I started Mia from the ground back up and in November started cantering.  December had the Blogger gift exchange hosted by Tracy and I got TWH’s most favorite treat in the mail, he really appreciated it!  

2014 though, 2014 was a whirlwind of activity.  As Mia jumped for the first time, I realized I may have a superstar on my hands and I finally had sound horses again.  In February I had my first bareback ride on Mia which was nerve wracking and finally got the courage to canter outside of an arena (big girl panties!).  It shouldn't have been that hard but I really think I was scarred from the 2nd training horse more than I realized.  Thankfully all better now.

Mia had her first ever cross country schooling and I sprained my finger (which still hasn’t recovered almost a year later) and then went to her first ever clinic where we met our current trainer M.  TWH’s season opener show was in the Novice division and we started rocking the season.  The second show in June went just as well and we were moving up in points.  

Mia’s first ever judged trail ride was in July and I learned she does NOT like bridges but her first real show was in August and she was awesome with a 2nd place in both classes.  TWH dealt with my stupidity in dressage and again placed at the Novice level in spite of it and ended the season sound.  September had Mia’s eventing debut at the Beginner Novice level and October had results that were good for her experience level and we learned a LOT.  TWH got a new leaseee K and showed in the 18" division.

November had me ordering my first ever new vehicle and it is S-E-X-Y.  We also found out TWH and I won reserve champion in our division for year end awards.  YAY!!  I finally participated in No Stirrup November and was pleased with the results, going to have to keep doing that and not slack off.  SO and I ended 2014 huge and I went on the best vacation ever.  

2015 has been good so far.  I started taking lessons from an actual dressage instructor and am seeing really good changes and Mia and I actually jumped up to 3’9”.  How you ask?  Amazingly enough, if you refuse to look at the jump AT ALL, you can’t see  how big they are!  Who knew, right?  K is riding TWH several times a week and he is looking and acting great. 

Our plans for 2015 so far is to go to a clinic in April and our first show is the first and second weekend of May.  Thanks for joining me on this journey, it has been fun!  I hope that you decide to stick with me even though I don't post a lot of pictures and I don't post a whole lot.  Here is to the next 300 posts!!

Monday, February 16, 2015

Cold here? Yeah, it is cold.

Geez, when was I even able to ride last?  I know I rode on Monday.  I don't think I have been able to ride since.  I have had to cancel giving all of my lessons.  And this morning the tractor refused to even run so I could scoop poo.  Yep, it is cold.  -14 this morning.  Yesterday was a high of 3.  Yep.  3 degrees.  It isn't going to be even decent until at least Saturday.  It might possibly be kind of high enough to do SOMETHING tomorrow but most likely not.

So do I have anything of interest to post about?  Not really.  I rode Mia last week and actually had a good ride.  I rode with K (Sunday??) and Mia started out REALLY well but reverted back to being unable to function in the canter to the right.  Head high, unbalanced, refusing to bend, going super fast, etc.  I broke out the draw reins in an attempt to keep her a tiny bit together and despite a good fight, we did end on a good note.  On Monday I came out with a much better plan.  I KNOW that Mia can do this, she is just refusing for whatever reason.  So let me tip the tables in my favor and make her WANT to do what I want, I brought treats.  We had a really good warmup (our trot is coming along really well!) and then I worked on trot/canter transitions.  As soon as I was able to get her to be balanced I immediately stopped and shoved a treat in her mouth.  That took all of 3 times before she decided she could be balanced.  I repeated the process with her head and after 2 attempts she was cantering around balanced and with her head forward and down.  Yep, that's my mare.  Can't force her!

Since then I haven't been able to do anything.  With single digit or below zero temps at night and single digit highs on the weekends, I am sequestered to the house and the horses get to enjoy some cold time off.  Appy is super happy is his new(er) heavyweight Amigo blanket with hood.  Mia is snug in her Schneiders blanket and I even put TWH's blanket on.  I have bumped everyone's hay up to 15-18lbs per bag, 2x a day from 12-13lbs per bag, 2x a day and so far no one has wasted it.  Win!  Hopefully this Arctic blast decides to go back to the Arctic soon and I can ride my ponies.  Stay warm!

Saturday, February 7, 2015

So then this happened, OMG BIG

I haven't had too much ability to ride this past week thanks to the cold, I had to cancel 2 lessons thanks to it not even being 10 degrees out.  Ick. This weekend, however, it went all the way up to 40 degress so some riding needed to be one  Yeah, I know, it isn't that warm to a lot but it is really warm to someone who has been living in single digits for a good long while.  This morning was busy with non-horse stuff but this afternoon K came over with some friends and rode App and TWH.  I made it into a mini lesson so her friends can see some of TWH's fancier movements and they seemed to think it was cool that he could change how he moved so much.  They asked if I would hop on the App to show some of the things Kara has said he can do, no one else can really make him do it and they wanted to see his training.

I hopped on Appy and had a good ride.   It is funny, back when I rode him exclusively there were so many days that we would argue over basic stuff and now on the few times i hop on, he collects right up and tries really hard to do all of the fancy stuff that he can do but doesn't have really have the muscle to do anymore.  They were very impressed with his shoulders in, haunches in, half pass, flying changes, halt/canter transitions and 5-10m canter pirouettes.  Appy certainly tried really hard to do some of the movements but I could tell that he doesn't have the muscle for a lot of it.  One day I will have my fit horse again, ONE DAY!!

K's friends then asked if I would ride Mia, they had heard about my riding (?? nothing that special!) and really wanted to see Mia.  They then asked if I would jump, I mean I haven't jumped since around November so why not haha!  Especiallly after they offered to be my jump crew!?!  Deal sealed.  They set up a simple grid exercise with 3 trot poles to a crossrail to a one stride oxer per my instructions and we warmed up and went throught it.  Mia was a bit excited through the poles the first few times and I had to slow her up a lot until she finally decided that she did not need to canter through the poles and we then progressed pretty quickly.  With our first jump a 2' vertical, we progressed quickly to a 3' ascending vertical for the second jump.  Mia knocked the jump down with her hind toes a couple of times before some leg was added and she started clearning the jump again.

Feeling brave, I had K bump the jump up to 3'3" in an effort to challenge Mia.  With no issues whatsoever, we kept going up.  3'3" was the highest we have ever jumped and we obliterated that today.  What did Mia and I end up doing?  Well, I kept telling myself it was only 3'3" until we were done and I hopped off.  What did Mia easily clear?  Without knocking poles over?  Without a single refusal, run out or hesitation?  3 foot.  9 inches.  O. M.  G.  I have never, ever jumped that high before.  It looked SO big but I refused to look at it and it SO didn't feel huge as Mia just soared over it.  I am so impressed with her!!!!!!  And I am so impressed with myself!!!!!  Not a single pants-peeing occured in our new record-breaking ride!!!

My hope is that within the next few days I will have some pics and/or video of the monumental ride.  K got pics and video but wasn't able to send them to me on the phone.  Hopefully she will be able to transfer them onto a disk and I can post some. I am so excited :)  Happy days!!!!