Friday, April 14, 2017

WTF Friday

What. Is. This. 

Where am I?

Thats Riesling down there. I feel like that scene in Wizard of Oz.."Ries...we aren't in Idaho anymore.."

EXCEPT WE ARE. I'm so so confused. WHAT IS LIFE. I'm going back to bed.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

March Lookback

You know..only halfway through April. Actually I've managed to misplace my planner and it is driving me nuts.

So here is what my march looked like. I rode 7 times and worked out 7 times. Not awful but not what I want. On my week look I like to write about how lessons went and how workouts went. But again...misplaced planner soo I will feverishly look at it and hopefully April's post will be more thorough.

Looking back at my yearly goals, I'm definitely making progress towards them. I haven't even ridden Ries since last year still but that situation just changed. More fun things on the horizon for April! Gotta keep hustling!

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Which way is left?

I had a super intense lesson last night. I have this problem when I'm focusing so hard on riding I lose my sense of direction. I'm pretty sure my trainer wants to throw tomatoes at me when this happens, but I sometimes forget which way is which. 

"Ok now left bed. Left bend. LEFT. LEFT LEFT LEFT" And it is at this point that I realize that I'm clearly doing something wrong and I'm using my right leg and still trying to bend right more.Whoops. Here is my quick lesson recap;

We warmed up with a nice stretchy trot and CJ had to remind me to A) not let her fall in with her shoulder, B) I control the tempo, and C) Evita is not a canoe and I need to bend. 

I managed to get myself under control pretty well and she didn't have to spend a lot of time getting me to actually ride. From here we criss-crossed my stirrups over the pommel and began some real trot work. The past few lessons we have worked on serpentines to keep her body supple. The main issues we have are I brace too much with my leg and bounce at the sitting trot instead of absorbing the movement through my core and letting my legs relax. Also, around the turns we tend to get to canoe form again and Evita will dive in with her shoulders. I had to work on maintaining bend and wrapping her barrel around my inside leg and holding her shoulder up through the turn. We actually managed to perform this really well after a few tries! Occasionally I'd go across the diagonal and shoot for a medium trot. 

Up until this point Evita remained pretty soft on the bit. CJ reminded me that as soon as we loose bend and malleability in her body, she takes the bit and runs on the forehand with it. And then we steer into the fence to stop. And it isn't fun. 

We moved on to the most difficult canter work I've ever done. The canter work really stresses E out and when she is susceptible to becoming a freight train. We focused on walk canter transitions and spaghetti circles. I've done plenty of spaghetti circles at the walk but the canter was tricky. Basically the idea is just doing random changes of bend. However this was through a change of gait. We would canter on a left bend circle then transition back to a walk for a stride or two, change bend and immediate canter transition. I totally got reamed the first time because I didn't listen to CJ when she asked me to canter. Instead I didn't feel like I was ready so I waited a few strides. And what do you know, it completely fell apart. From then on I listened to her right away and every transition was on the aids and beautiful. 

We actually were able to do twenty meter circles and laps around the arena on a super soft and light rein. It felt amazing! I can't lie that Evita was extremely intimidating to want to move forward at first because I was worried about the freight train and my arms getting ripped out of my sockets. But yesterday's ride was super nice and confidence building. I love this mare! 

Monday, April 10, 2017

Czoltar's Spa Day

I'm pretty sure he thought he was being harassed. Such is life for baby horses. Z has been nothing short of an ugly yak this spring and after I played with Riesling, I decided it was time to spruce him up. 

He is still learning the basics of everything but I decided he just has to be treated like he knows his job to some extent. He is still reluctant to be haltered but doesn't fight and attempts to run away. But he makes it about five steps before he turns his head to look at me and I pat my thigh and tell him to come and he happily obliges. This must just be his weird baby horse game. 

We have only worked on tying twice but experience is the name of the game. I looped the leadrope around the panel twice to provide enough "you are supposed to stay here"-ness but allows him to not break his neck or freak out if he spooked and tried to pull away. There was a few times he wanted to pull back and leave but he felt the pressure on his poll and was like "oh I have to stop going backwards" and then stood still as I brought him forward again with no issues.

I decided to slowly introduce everything to him because its been about a year since I last brushed him (and he was loose in his stall at the time). He was apprehensive at first but just stood there and accepted his fate after ten seconds. I also wanted to trim his dread locked mane and while he thought scissors were super scary at first he just kind of got over it. I even brushed his poor butchered mane and again, he was not a fan at first, but then I think he started to like this whole pampering thing. 
He's only had his feet picked up for practice and for the farrier and I decided today we would step up the game and I'd pick out all four feet. 3 feet he was super on but his right hind he was being an ass about. I had to encourage him that polite ponies are good ponies and after a few minutes he got with the program. 

I decided he had enough torture for the day so I put him away with lots of pats and good boys. Hopefully none of the other horses make fun of him for his atrocious hair cut. Sorry Z.

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Treat 'yo self...Thursday?

I only waited like a month before sharing my finds from the consignment store in San Diego. I got the leather halter above for $30 and it had a brand new crown piece from Mary's Tack with a tag still attached! I ordered new plates from and everyone needs to use them. I was an idiot and didn't measure correctly so the tags I got were too small but I told them my dilemma and they sent me a larger set for free! Definitely using them in the future. 

This bonnet was $8 and obviously meant to be. I figured it can be Merlot's new hat. I dig it. 

I've been wanting DSB's for awhile now but haven't bit the bullet. I found this pair for only $22 and figured why not. SPEND ALL THE MONEY, HOARD ALL THE THINGS. 
Anyway, that was my recent treat yo self. I'm itching to shop again. 

Feat. giant wine bottle from Costco

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Meet Evita!

This is Viva Evita! She is one of my new partners in the dressage arena. Here is her story:

CJ (my trainer) was her original breeder 15 years ago. Her mom, Argentina, is happily retired at my house. She is registered RPSI but half Oldenburg and half Shire (Cowerslane Nomination). My friend/CJ's old student, J, rode her and later purchased her 7-8 years ago. She trained and showed her in dressage up to 3rd level last year. However, E was struggling with changes. J wanted to move up in her dressage career but didn't want to sell E because of the bond she had with her. 

Re-enter CJ into the scene. CJ bought her back to keep her in the family but allow J more capital to buy her next horse. CJ wanted something for me to learn on but she also is planning on breeding her. Win-win for everyone. 

I've officially leased her for a month now and have taken a hefty amount of lessons on her (basically I'm leasing/doing full training in one affordable bundle). My first ride I was extremely intimidated. I deeply admire J and her riding and felt that I wasn't a capable rider to ride this quality of horse. Luckily my trainer knows better and she has given me great confidence over the past month. 
We can reliably do a lot of fun movements but have yet to run through any tests. I guess that is next on the agenda! 

Obviously I still want to ride and show Riesling but we will see if he stays sound! Don't worry, he still gets most of the attention and is kingdom of the land at my house haha

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Idaho Horse Rescue

A few weeks ago my trainer was contacted in regards to a local horse rescue needing more volunteers and a trainer/farm manager. My trainer passed the info on to me and because I can't say no to help out horses, I found myself spending all last weekend over at the rescue. 

The owner had been rescuing horses for 27 years but always only had a handful at a time. He was just recently contacted to assist in rescuing 27 horses from a neglect situation. When he got the horses they all had a body condition score of 2. At this time they all look to be at a nearly healthy weight. 

But they all have some serious other issues. The undernourishment really messed with their coats and they all suffer from lice or sweet itch. The poor horses are also almost all slightly lame from a lack of farrier care (as is obvious in these pictures). 

The goal this weekend was to catch each horse and vaccinate and worm them. If they were friendly and compliant they were also to get their feet trimmed. The goal is to get everyone's feet normal asap but a lack of handlers certainly slows that down. I assure you the extreme cases are definitely taking priority, but only so many horses can get trimmed a day. 

These poor horses are definitely weary of people but truly so sweet and forgiving. It is so sad to see how people can be so cruel but also relief to know that there are people out there looking out for these horses. I totally wanted to take them all home and just spend my days hanging out in the pasture with them, indulging their desires for scratches and pets whenever they wanted. 

While I hope they all find loving homes as quickly as possible, I'll enjoy spending my extra free time hanging out and loving on them. 

Thursday, March 23, 2017

SD Blog Hop: Feed

I keep having things I want to talk about but I'm lacking new media and I keep forgetting what I wanted to talk about...anyway I saw this blog hop a while ago and wanted to participate! Better late than never?

AM: 2 flakes alfalfa + 1 flake orchard
PM: 2 flakes alfalfa + 1 flake orchard
Grain: 1 lb Renew Gold + 1 scoop Cosequin + 1 scoop Biotin Daily + 1 scoop MSM

AM: 1 flake alfalfa + 1 flake orchard
PM: 1 flake alfalfa + 1 flake orchard
Grain: 1 cup LMF Super Supplement

Riesling is a hard keeper and I've finally found the recipe for success (or maybe he is just getting old and fat?) I've struggled at nearly every boarding barn up until the last one. I couldn't ever get anyone to feed him enough. I've also gone through a whole mess of different grains from various Purina Senior blends, to Triple Crown, to alfalfa pellets and rice bran. I'm in love with Renew Gold.

I've also used a mess of joint supplements. My favorites have been Tight Joints plus and Exceed 6 way. After I had to get Riesling's hocks injected 2-3 ish years ago I was determined to avoid continuing it. The original vet at Idaho Equine Hospital anticipated Riesling needing injections every 6 months to one year. At his six month check up, he didn't need them. Nor at his year check up. Maybe his hocks fused but I choose to believe the joint supplements did the trick.

Thank god that white has turned into green! 

Last year you may remember us having lameness issues. After blocking and x-rays it was determined that last spring Riesling broke his left rear fetlock and had severe arthritis and bone chips in the area. The vet was shocked by the x-rays but made a comment that if he wasn't on such good joint supplements he should have been dead lame. Since then I put him on Pentosan injections. I read that Cosequin worked well paired with the Pentosan and I wanted to prolong Riesling's career as much as possible. Since I've started the injections he is perfectly sound. The Cosequin is relatively cheap ($45 for 80 scoops on Amazon) so I don't mind paying for extra piece of mind. Riesling also has notoriously bad feet and Biotin Daily is also inexpensive. The MSM is so cheap it is thrown in for good measure.

LMF Supper Supplement on the other hand is what my trainer swears by and has all her horses on. It's cheap and I think it is a good over-all supplement to have any horse on. Not like a baby really needs any supplements or grain anyways, but it definitely doesn't hurt.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

All Ponies, All the Time

I've been doing so much riding lately, it is awesome! I've had 6 lessons on Evita now. Evita has shown up to 3rd level (1 test) and was giving her owner (my old friend!) issues with changes. She didn't really want to sell her but she wanted to develop her personal future in dressage, so she sold her back to my trainer. 
Praying this is just ugly growing phase, at least he is sweet

My trainer actually was her breeder. Tina (Oldenburg who is retired and lives at my house) is her mom and her sire is Cowerslain Nomination, a shire. She is 15 years old and I am leasing her to learn on. My trainer will be breeding her next month, but I'll be able to ride her in between. She is very well trained but that doesn't make her easy at all. 

She is also extremely wide. I've been neglecting my yoga and my gym workouts are mostly cardio, so I managed to pull something in my groin. I went to get on for my lesson yesterday and was struggling to get on. Walking around was ok, but as soon as we went to trot I felt like I was being stabbed with a hot knife. 

Luckily I live close to my body worker (who also does Ries) and she squeezed me in last night. I put off seeing her for so long. Especially with my broken foot, I was so crooked. I learned my lesson and as I continue to push myself in and out of the saddle, seeing her needs to be more of a priority. 

The two goofs who aren't getting ridden are Czoltar (obvi) and Ries. I'm starting Ries slow back into work since he has had so much time off. I also finally broke out my BOT blanket I bought six months ago. He is super sound and ready to work so I'm going to start under saddle next week. 
More fun pony adventures in the coming week! I'm on spring break now so I'll be getting a lot more blog posts up. 

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Ride Recap: 3/2/17 Bullwinkle

 Right before my San Diego trip I wanted to snag another ride on Bullwinkle and try and get my balance back before we jumped in the next lesson (still yet to happen, booo rain). Now my second ride in my jump saddle in two years, I felt so much more comfortable. I was able to swiftly get on instead of scrambling, and I felt comfy nearly right away. 

Bully is pretty trained but gets most of the beginner lesson kids riding him. I took advantage of this and got him bending and using his whole body right away at the walk. I rewarded him with long rein breaks where I would focus on myself and try and hold a two-point. At the trot he was much more forward but still pretty stuck and not wanting to bend or come through his top line. We negotiated and I made forward the most important task. For the canter (that was a train wreck last time- I offered no help to him) I remembered how to ride for once and sat, half halted, and applied outside leg. He ran into the transition slightly the first time but I was able to re-balance him and we ended on a relaxed swinging canter. 

He got to dress up in Ogilvy!
I felt like I was able to ride much better and therefore got much better work out of him. I'm confident now with ground poles (lol celebrating the little things) and I'm excited for our jumping lesson this weekend!

Monday, March 13, 2017

Baby Horse Shenanigans

Here is a little update on Baby Z. Now that the ground is solid and sun is shining, we are back to baby bootcamp. He is coming 2 this year and while he isn't a snot, I want him to be a perfect gentleman before he gets broke. I've done 3 groundwork sessions over the past week. Last year he wasn't exactly fond of being caught and haltered and I'm happy to report that while he isn't an eager beaver to play, he does let me catch him and halter him easily. 

On the ground we've been going for walks. He is reasonable about the forward and stop and he understands backing up pretty well. We also did some turns on the forehand and yielding to pressure. He is pretty happy to just hang out with you but definitely lacks confidence in a new environment. The first time on our walk he was a little spooky and wanting to run me over if he was scared. I laid down the law that it is ok to be uncertain about something, but plowing over me isn't in his job description.  By the third walk he was very respectable and stopped and snorted at something and allowing me to reassure him rather than run me over. 

I played a lot with him last year and while he was pretty reliable with picking up his feet, this time he was pretty sure he could get around on three legs. He is also pretty sensitive about the lead rope so I did desensitizing with it. 

Next step is teaching him to tie so I can clean him up and he doesn't have to look like a muddy yak anymore!

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Pause in the Game

This past weekend I was able to go down to San Diego to visit friends and family! It was a welcome escape as I'm feeling overwhelmed with pre-season and school. I obviously lived here so I don't have any cool new things I learned, but I took BF down for the first time and I think he enjoyed it. Plus I was finally legal to drink! 

I definitely idolize all the bloggers I follow and took pictures of the seals at La Jolla because Lauren did when she was just there and I think shes pretty kick ass. Unfortunately, I don't think seal pictures make me kick ass but imitation is the best form of flattery and I think Lauren is the coolest. 

I did splurge a bit and have a Treat Yo Self post coming next week. I love consignment shops and it isn't fair we don't have any local to me anymore. Anyway, time to grind in school and pre-season. I keep having to remind myself you have to work hard for what you want. Just keep swimming. 

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Skin in the Game

As I come into this season fresh from a broken foot, I know I have a lot of big changes to make in my life. Not exercising at all for four months left me more than just a little "fluffy". It had me thinking. 

When I bring Riesling back into work this spring I will start slow from the ground up to make sure he is at peak physical fitness before I can ask of him what we trained last year. Shouldn't the same go for riders? 

As I'm dipping my toes in the water of pursuing my equestrian dreams, I picked up Denny Emerson's book How Good Riders Get Good. This book has spoken volumes to me, and I will be writing a full review. But as I'm a few weeks into my gym membership and 5k fitness app, this paragraph really shared exactly what I was thinking. 

Aside from the fact that I'm a long, long, way away from even being considered somewhere ready to tackle professional riding, this really is about the amateurs as well. How can I put Ries in fitness boot camp on the lunge and under saddle, yet spend my time out of the saddle loafing around? In what universe does that equal a fair and committed partnership? 

Maybe if I was already at a fit state and I spent enough time in the saddle to maintain that. But I'm not. I might be the only equestrian who failed to neglect this important part of the equation, but I can't ignore my responsibility to be a better rider anymore. I'm expecting my horses to be athletes, but how can they excel if they are doing more than their fair share of the work? I need to help my horse, not hinder its ability to execute movements because of my lack of core strength and independent seat. 

I know this will take time. And a lot of hard work and dedication on my part. But I can't pretend to be ignorant anymore. Even if I never get past training level dressage or ground poles, I'll be the best damn rider I can be at that level. 

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

First Lesson of 2017!

Clearly I've been lacking in creative post titles...anyways..I had my first lesson! And it was a jump lesson (minus the jumping?). I literally haven't sat in my jump saddle in probably two years. Like holy crap. Jumping is really where my heart is (you know..the whole Two-Point part of my blog) and it kills me to not do it anymore. 

I've been teasing the idea of having a jump lesson for a long time now, and I finally put myself out there and made it happen. Neither of the first 3 trainers I had previously tried to lesson with worked out, so I went with whoever got back to me first! This trainer is located in my town so it is pretty convenient to get to her place. She also hosts some derbies and league dressage shows so I was glad to check the place out.

I rode an OTTB gelding named Bullwinkle, who is primarily used as a lesson horse for the kids. However, W (trainer) assured me he is a nice horse underneath the lesson pony exterior. I felt like a jockey when I first got on, and W informed me that my stirrups were about somewhere between flatting length and jump length, so the transition up to jump won't be as awkward as I anticipate.

We started out doing exercises at the walk just so I could get a feel for him. It was embarrassing how much I struggled at the beginner work. Once we started trotting I got some sort of groove back. He responded especially well to my seat and leg aids (besides the whole forward one) and put himself rather nicely on the bridle. Apparently I don't lose all of my riding skills when I shorten my stirrups! 

W didn't know what to expect of me as a rider and was excited to see how put together Bullwinkle became, compared to the normal plodding along he normally does. I was given a lovely compliment that she would love for me to ride him whenever I could, but I'm pretty sure she changed her mind once she saw how awkward I got at the canter haha. 

I'm already awkward enough trying to post the trot without feeling like I'm launching myself out of the stirrups, so getting a canter transition was...interesting. I couldn't just sit and use my outside leg and shift my weight to get a soft transition. It almost reminded me of riding Merlot. He ran into the canter and I stayed in half seat trying to sort everything out. I'm sure if I would have just ignored my awkward body and just forced myself to ride like I know how, I would have been fine. 

After that mess we went back to trotting and practiced two-pointing. I seriously was like "yeah I can totally hold a two-point no problem" and then I did and was like THIS IS SO MUCH HARDER THAN I REMEMBER. I kept falling (gently) back on my seat or needing to rest my hands on his neck. My thighs were burning. I have a feeling I know what I will be doing in lessons from now on. 

We ended by trotting some poles between standards. By this point, Bullwinkle was tired and me trying to both two-point, steer, and keep a forward trot stride left me exhausted too. Overall it was a really fun lesson! I felt like a total beginner but I'm sure I'll get some strength and muscle memory back and will progress forward. 

Friday, February 24, 2017

Viva Carlos Blog Hop: Naivete

What horse related or equestrian related piece of knowledge did you believe was true for an extended period of time that turned out to not be true?

I guess it's time I air my dirty laundry of stupid horse knowledge that isn't real. 
Riesy 003
I basically though Ries was the best most majykal hunter

When I first started riding "hunters" I was taught to see-saw to no end. "Get his head down! See-saw!". Also, slack in the reins was a good thing. Oh and to lunge a horse that wouldn't "get his head down" while under saddle, I was taught to take a western bridle, run the reins under the chest, bring them up and over the top of the withers, and tie them in a knot. Then lunge them until the sun sets. 

lala 074
This poor dude suffered my see-sawing and poor lunging skills

Luckily, my new dressage knowledge doesn't leave me like a hopeless freak. And seeing A rated hunters ride (instead of the unrated circuit I showed on as a kid) with contact, makes me happy that hunter rider's aren't actually dumb, I was just taught to be a dumb one. 

lala 099
Such a saint, hes still a happy pony today! I'll have to write more about him!
And my last ungodly stupid knowledge was related to bits. I was taught the more breaks in the bit the more severe it was. So basically, Waterfords were of the devil. When I first worked at a tack store here in Idaho, I cringed so hard at the first girl who bought one. I didn't understand why everyone wasn't buying a single jointed snaffle. Sorry girl I gave dirty looks to who bought that Waterford (in fact, this was Alyssa, and I was MORTIFIED when I found out that I was the stupidest judgmental Californian-turned Idahoan that existed when we became friends).