Thursday, March 30, 2017

Playing catch up via a photo dump

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

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

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

Rainbow spotted!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Eventing bingo fun!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Lesson cancelled, a blizzard hit and more shenanigans

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Blog hop: What do you feed?

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

App - 1994 App Gelding - Permanent retirement

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Some fun - Eventing Bingo bad backstories

Emma is having a fun sounding contest over on her page.  Eventing bingo!  How fun is this going to be!  As I am looking through her mock cards, I am cringing bc I have had so many of these happen and I really don't want them again.  I thought it may be fun to share some of my flub.  Yes?  No?  Eh, let's go with yes.  The good part? Several I have NOT yet done.  The big one, fall off?  I have yet to fall off at a show, jumping/dressage/otherwise.  Score!!  The rest?  Well.....

Your horse was "that" horse in warmup:
This is reserved for App.  We went to a dressage show in OH, one of the "big" shows we went to.  It may even have been rated, I don't remember, but it was a multi ring, non-schooling show type of show.  We got there, I was tacking up at my trailer and I slipped the halter over App's head as I prepared to put the bridle on.  He stepped back/to the side as he went to grab some hay and suddenly his halter randomly slipped off his neck and head.  I reached for the reins as he looked at me, I swear he winked, ducked his head to slip the reins and took OFF.  Ran all over the (very extensive) grounds, disrupted the warmup ring, someone's dressage test, it took over 5 mins for people to catch him.  After that, the show secretary gave us a stall at no charge to contain him (not really needed at that point, but didn't pass it up) and  yes the judge recognized him (I mean, how many spotted dressage horses are there at any given show) as the loose horse of the day.  To top it off?  We got "inattentive" several times as App just did not want to play in the ring that day.

So many penalties but not, somehow, eliminated:
Long time readers got to read about this one as it happened, Mia's first ever horse trial.  She gave us 3 refusals going xc.  Yeah.... how I got her clear over the rest of the course and THEN over stadium, I have no idea.  That was not an enjoyable day haha!  We had a score of like 90 or something HA!

No brakes/WAY too fast:
This is also a throwback to App, I think it was the first derby with App in Michigan.  The instructor at the time suggested a waterford bit bc App was so heavy and strong going xc, it would stop him from pulling.  Great!  Something new to try over our slow twist snaffle!  I rode in the waterford the week prior the show, including a small run over xc type stuff at our farm with no issues.  We went to the show and had no pulling whatsoever!  But also no brakes whatsoever.  I ended up dragging him to a halt in front of the farm owner and TD and a ton of spectators so we could try to walk/trot down a big ass hill so he didn't kill us as the grass was still wet.  We also went faster than every other single horse at that show, including training level, and WE were the reason they implemented minimum times for their derbies. are welcome y'all?

Got a 4 on movement:
Not only did I get that (at 2 different shows), I even beat it with a 3!  This is reserved for TWH and his pacing, back when our canter/trot transition was not strong and he paced instead of trotting for his last transition/turn up the center line.  Yeah....they really don't like when you pace if you are not riding in a gaited class!

Jumped a fence with no stirrups:
Oh geez, that is reserved for TWH.  We were at a horse trial and were 2 jumps from the finish.  We jumped out of the water and cantering along, TWH had one of his random spooks and I lost my stirrup about 3 strides from the jump.  Thankfully we practiced no stirrup jumping regularly but not something I wanted to do in a competition!  We finished without issue and I know we placed, so it was good in the end but talk about an Oh Crap moment!

Competed in heavy rain/mud EVERYWHERE:
OMG do you remember Mia's show?  That was the coldest and wettest I have ever been in my life.  It was our first 1st place finish though!  It was in the high 30's/low 40's, windy and poured rain down all day and yet they still held all 3 phases.  I wore my raincoat for all phases and even posted video of the dressage test to show the rain.  It was also the show in which I really decided I had to focus on position bc I rode soooooo poorly in stadium, pics are on the blog somewhere.  Then Mia could not be stopped for the first 3 XC fences (another nominee for no brakes/too fast?) and over half of the competitors dropped out after dressage.  We ended up driving the trailer to the road and load the horses on the road bc people were getting stuck left and right and tractors were pulling people out.  I had to literally wash everything that was touched.  Inside and out of the entire trailer, there was either 3 or 4 loads of horse laundry, inside and out of the entire truck, it took forever to recover from that show.

Missed a jump on XC:
Wow that was also TWH.  We jumped the BN fence instead of the N fence, as they were literally side by side.  I yelled out to the jump judge I jumped the wrong one and jumped the correct fence, but she still eliminated me for jumping the fence twice.  I had to chat with the TD after scoring was posted (and I found out I had been eliminated) to explain and thankfully they accepted my excuse and removed the elimination.  That is one mistake I hope to NEVER do again!

And yes, I did find even more on her list that had stories, haha!!  Hopefully these won't happen again, once is enough in my lifetime for sure!  Is anyone else participating in Bingo?  Does anyone else have stories about how bad things can get, even if they are kind of funny later?