Monday, December 4, 2017

Lesson 11/30

 I've been doing weekly jump lessons on a lesson horse at a local barn for a few months now. While sometimes the lessons get canceled for various reasons, I generally do them at least twice a month if not all four. 

I think I explained in an earlier post why I was taking these lessons with lesson horses rather than my own but I'll reiterate. Basically, I love jumping, haven't done it in years, suck at it, and want my green horses to not have such a green rider over fences. 


This guy, Bing, dumped me the first two lessons I had on him. And in the words of the assistant trainer "don't be a crappy rider and you won't fall off", I guess I am no longer that crappy because I haven't fallen off since (knock on wood). 

Anyway, back to this lesson. It had been three weeks since I rode last (I did ride Mae once but we just walked for 20 min) and I was a little nervous about riding like a sack of potatoes. Much to my horror, I did in fact ride like a sack of potatoes. This is how it went:

The girl I ride with is almost always late due to work troubles (but trainer doesn't care and I don't really either) so I had about 15 min to warm up on my own. Bing is an ex-eventer so he knows how to do flatwork. But with all the jumping kids on him he likes to pretend he doesn't know. I try and convince him to stretch down over his back and start to get an inkling by the time the other girl shows up. 
SG (jumper trainer) had us start by doing a four loop serpentine but we were in the smaller ring and I just couldn't so I did a three loop and no one noticed. She wanted me to work on getting him to bend and stay in my outside rein. It worked pretty nicely and SG then had us resume on the rail while holding a two point for ta few laps. Surprisingly, my two point game was solid and I held it like a boss. We immediately went up into canter at the two point and while Bing broke to trot a few times because he is a lazy mofo, we did manage to keep up a decent pace.

During the last lesson, I magically found a perfect rein hold that allowed me to keep him up in his poll and my upper body up as well. I tried to get this again but probably because I was so out of shape it ended up with me just balancing on his mouth with my hands (poop). 

Lol my paint skills suck
We moved on to jumping a cavaletti (green) in the middle of the arena and I couldn't get a good pace, but it was small enough he went over anyway. For whatever reason though, I was totally a statue and could not move with him for the life of me. I'd get popped out of the tack and then fall down on his neck and just couldn't. I apologized to trainer and told her idk wtf my body was doing. She said it was ok and to keep breathing and follow with my elbows. 

The course then turned twisty turny and the cavelleti went up to an oxer. We then made a right hand turn over the red vertical (about 2'9" yay!). I lost all my power in the right hand turn to the vertical and had a blow out. Womp womp. SG brought it down to a cross rail anticipating I was having some mental issues (I was) and that made it much easier and smoother for me. At this time my right ankle was starting to collapse in on me. I couldn't figure out why but when we continued the course and I made the left hand turn I only got half way to the purple vertical before I had to pull him to a stop. 

I apologized profusely to SG and told her I didn't know what was up but my ankle was breaking on me and it felt like knives. I took a little bit of a walk break and knew I couldn't keep riding. I decided instead to just drop my right stirrup (lol) and finish my course. When I told SG she kind of gave me a blank stare and I have a feeling this is what she wanted to say "Micaylah you are already riding like shit and now you want to ride with only one stirrup?!?!" but she just said ok wearily and let me try it. 

The purple was a super hard fence to come up to because in the middle on that short side of the arena was the opening to the indoor in which there was a lesson happening. Bing did not like this and kept bulging to the inside, not helping me set him up to get a good approach to the fence. SG told me I onlny needed one stride of straightness and just apply leg. This fence was only about 2'6 (which is still big for me) and sure enough I had my one stride of straightness and he went over. 

Because I'm really dumb I totally forgot about continuing the line and just went past the other vertical. Even with one stirrup I actually rode pretty decent! SG was thrilled. My lesson buddy did the course again and SG wanted me to do it again as well. I thought maybe lowering my stirrups a hole would help my ankle from collapsing and after I dropped the right one hole SG gloriously enlightened me. "You just put it up a hole. " "No I went down." "Oh..well it is still shorter than the left" "hirosehioresiohri I KNEW IT!" "....why didn't you ask me to look at them?" "..pride." And that is probably why my ankle was collapsing was because I was riding with my stirrup two holes shorter on the right. I is smart. 

My ankle still wanted to collapse but the angle of the collapse wasn't nearly as acute and therefore less painful. I went around the course with all the fences up and totally nailed the last vertical! I was thrilled and gave Bing a big pat. I nailed my flatwork, started jumping like a bump on a log, but ended up redeeming myself! I was super exhausted after this lesson and haven't been able to walk since. Omg so sore (but yay building muscle!).

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Goings on.

I know, I know my blog has been kind of off the radar and super depressing and boring lately. But that is kind of how my life is going. My semester is starting to wrap up and mentally I'm getting back to a new normal.  

I'm staying in my once a week jump lessons and those have been going well. I haven't been riding my own horses like at all. They still get plenty of love and attention and get turned out all the time though-don't worry. But now that I'm slowly getting to a better place mentally I can bring my horses back into the mix and really work hard on my riding goals. 

As I'm sure you all saw (because I went with L and shes way better than I am and already posted) I went to the Friday of Breeder's Cup. That was super fun and I want to get more involved in spectating large equestrian events. 

Other large things that have been happening is that I'm now 2 weekends in to the USDF "L" program. If you have even a chance to audit I would highly recommend it. I'm not fooling anyone by saying I'm an active candidate to graduate (have to have 3 scores at 3rd level) but the first half of the program is "good" for 5 years so it is a major goal of mine to graduate entirely from the program. I have access to some really nicely trained horses so this isn't too far of a stretch if I work really hard on getting riding in whenever possible. 

My goals for the rest of the year include catching up on reading blogs (I'm refusing to skip ahead because I'm no cheater lol), catching up on writing my own posts, and getting back into regular riding. Winter is coming and I'm refusing to let the threat of bad weather to ruin my chances of riding.

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Last Pictures

Sometime last year on one of my local facebook pages a lady had offered an equine photography package at a discounted price to grow her business. We set up a date and then I broke my foot. That kind of killed the plans until spring for my glorious photos. I found out in spring I would be moving to a nicer place that would make for better photos so then we held off even further. Between busy schedules we finally made it work, about a week before Riesling passed. At that time I knew that goodbye was coming close and will always treasure these photos. 

Side note: kind of want to pay someone to photoshop my jamberry back on my pointer finger in this pic.

Overall I've been coping better but it took me some time before I could even look at these photos. They are beautiful but they make my heart hurt. 

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Blanket Weather

Idk wtf hes doing with his hind legs but that isn't how he normally stands lol
Pats for good babeh!

While Merlot is significantly older than Czoltar, his lack of consistent training  always make me question how they each will respond to something "new".

For example: because I've had Czoltar nearly his whole life and have maintained his farrier care hes nearly reliable to be trimmed and isn't too fussy. On the other hand, because I just got Merlot and finally brought him home, his past farrier care has not been regular his whole life. So when the farrier came out to trim him, he acted like Z did at 6 months old and was a spooky hot mess. 

For the most part, my training with Z has been pretty lax. In a large part because I'm so busy, but also because he only turned 2 in June. I want him to just worry about being a horse while he grows up, but I have worked to make him easy to catch, easy to halter, easy to lead, and easy to load. Besides that, there isn't much more I would want him to be able to do as a 2 y/o. Since hes largely just been turned out on pasture his whole life until we moved to the new RWF, I've never worried about a blanket. But now that hes in the barn and goes out every day for group turnout, I thought getting him desensitized to a blanket would only be beneficial for his future training. 

Merlot on the other hand spent most of his life (to my understanding) in a dry lot with no blanket or no cover. Hes a tough little dude. But hes always been on the ribby side and I want him to be a healthy weight and not have to spend all my money feeding him to keep his weight up. 

So last week when I knew it would be cold at night, I brought out Riesling's old blankets (because I'm too lazy to measure them to buy their own) to try them on the boys. Because Merlot is broke to ride, I thought he would be good to put a blanket on, but hes also been super spooky so I wasn't 100% sure. Like a champ, he snorted at the trash bag containing the blanket, snorted at the blanket, but stood like a rock for me to put it on and let out a long sigh after everything was adjusted to fit. 

I decided for Czoltar's first meeting with the blanket I'd try it on in his paddock where he would be more comfortable rather than the cross ties. He also snorted at the blanket and was a little noodly to rub it on his shoulders but really he was behaving pretty well. I was able to drape the blanket folded up on his back and he didn't seem to mind. As soon as I began unfolding the blanket and pulling it across his back though, he went bug eyed and "ran" forward (mostly like a strong power walk). I had my BF holding him for me at the time (I know I'm mean) and advised him to just walk him in circles until he relaxed. This happened rather quick and then I began to buckle the chest straps and rub my hands on top of the blanket all over him. He rushed forward to avoid the pressure again, but after a seconds of walking determined everything was ok. 

Because it was Riesling's though, it was swimming on him and I didn't feel like it would be safe to keep on him so I began to pull it off his hind end towards his shoulders. Rush forward, circle, rinse, repeat. Once it was off I rubbed the blanket over him again and despite his bug eyes he stood to take his torture. Really a rather uneventful first meeting to the blanket despite how I made it sound.

Smaller rain sheets are now on order for both boys! No more nekky ponies in winter!

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Review: Equifit Hanging Boot Organizer

Terrible quality because my iPhone doesn't like to function
Price: $34.95
Purchased From: Riding Warehouse

Initial Thoughts:

When I first saw this online I thought it was a cool idea compared to getting a janky over the door shoe organizer and for $35 was worth a shot. There are 24 mesh pockets with elastic tops and it fits 12 pairs of boots. Or so it says, I wanted to test the claim and see how many I could actually stuff in there.

Final Thoughts:

The organizer seems durable and hangs from two metal loops. I think its kind of a dumb design but I'm not sure if I could personally come up with better. It does get the job done. I screwed some screws in my door for my tack room and hang it off of that.

The bottom row holds a set of 4 Dalmar cross country boots. I don't think these boots would double up well. Above that I have a set of Equifit open fronts and you can see I stacked the ankle boots on top of the fronts and that fits well. Medium DSBs can fit a pair per pocket but large or extra large requires each boot to have their own pocket. I currently have 11 pairs of boots shoved in there with 6 more empty pockets (which is good because I have more boots hiding somewhere). Overall this can hold more than 12 pairs if you are a hoarder like me. I think for the price this is a really great way to store boots. If I had a bigger door I'd probably buy 2 of these and hang them side by side that's how much I like this.

What storage items do you have for your tack room that you love?

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

The Storm

From left to right: Czoltar, Vermont, and Merlot!

Ever since I've started back at school I've just been in this overwhelming rush. Nothings been getting done and my to do list just keeps stacking up and I can't get it to go down. On top of all the Riesling depression, I just found out the hound dog has thyroid cancer. This time of year all my bad karma catches up to me.

So I've made a decision. Fuck it. I've gotten through life thus far on the seat of my pants I'm not going to worry about all the things I never got done.

Best view out my kitchen window

I'm taking each day at a time and really taking a step back. I'm dropping a class in school that I really don't need (while still graduating on time) and probably won't spend much time riding for the rest of the year. I haven't been able to take care of myself and that comes first.

My horses still get out and get loved every day. I'm still going to take my tests and pass my classes, just probably won't read any of my textbooks.

Skeptical doggo is skeptical. Need to introduce her still!

I just need to take care of myself for once. I normally can get going on a kick for 3 ish months before something happens and I'm doing the bare minimum. I want a high standard of self care to be my new bare minimum.

Also I really enjoy reading blogs and writing them, so I'm making that a bigger priority. With one of my classes gone I hope to use that time instead to read and write. What is it with fall that my life seems to always go haywire?

Monday, October 16, 2017


Wednesday I said goodbye to my best friend of 8 years. 

While I haven't been actively blogging lately, I think you all can see why it happened. After his weight started to decline and he was getting less and less sound, I brought him in to the equine hospital for a professional outlook. 

 I kind of already knew what was going on. He had many reasons to be lame, between his left hind fetlock, shitty thoroughbred feet, arthritic hocks, and beginning neurological symptoms starting last year with the seizure. 

The vet confirmed my thoughts and we both agreed he didn't deserve to be in pain any longer. 

 We put him in a cushy stall where I said my goodbyes, and Riesling really told me he was ready. In a stall with rubber mats and a foot deep of shavings Riesling tried so hard to roll. He went down on his front knees but despite his groans couldn't get his back end down. 

It was hard. I didn't watch him pass. 

Right now his body is resting on 100s of acres out in the country while his spirit is running up above.

Riesling was my stability growing up between my parents divorce and moving all the way to Idaho for college. He gave me a love for OTTBs that will never go away. 

He taught me about dressage but showed me that my true equestrian love is flying high over fences. While we never had the funds to compete all that much, he gave me some of my most treasured ribbons. 

I can't begin to explain the hurt. I so wanted to have him out in my backyard greeting me with a nicker wanting his daily cookies for the next 10 years. But I keep having to tell myself I did the right thing. 

Even though he was a princess and really not all that talented, every horse I ever get I will compare to him, and really, nothing will.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

The Fourth

You may have noticed in my last post I mentioned having four horses. But wait..I thought I only owned three? There is Riesling, Czoltar, and newly acquired green bean Merlot. 

And then there was four. 

I want to say I briefly mentioned unicorn mare a few times in passing on my blog, but I'm also too lazy to go read back my posts. 

Back in early spring, Best Trainer CJ got bombarded with calls from an unknown number for days. Because her phone number is on the internet, she avoids calls from people she doesn't know and lets them leave her a voicemail if they want her to call them back. Normal. One day, CJ just couldn't take it anymore that this unknown person wouldn't stop calling so she answered. And who would it be? This mares old owner. She will be in my life a lot more so I will call her Horse Show Grandma (hey- she told me she wanted to be that to me!).

HSG got CJ's number from a friend and was contacting her to see if she wanted a horse. CJ had a history of getting horses that were injured and needed layup and rehab in the past. Well, HSG had this lovely young mare that had a suspensory injury, and despite having a 99% chance of full recovery and 4 months left of stall rest, decided that she herself was getting older and ultimately it was in the horses best interest to find a new home. 

HSG came to CJ's barn one day to check the facility out (and this is when I met her too!) and see if it would be an optimal home for the mare. You see, HSG had this mare custom made and didn't want money out of her, just really wanted to know she would have an amazing life. After some talk and HSG approving of CJ and her facilities, CJ would be receiving the mare for $1 and provide her a good home and also breed her (HSG didn't want to see her sit and do nothing so they both thought breeding her was a good alternative to her not being a riding horse right now). 

Magical mare came to CJ's  and I was instantly obsessed with her. This lady is drop dead gorgeous! Through CJ and HSG I learned more of her history. Her name is Meghan Leesha Moore. She is a 7 y/o Irish Draught mare that was bred in California for eventing. She did some YEH stuff and competed recognized Intro as well as schooling BN as a young mare. She got hurt while playing in pasture last year and HSG had done stem cell therapy, aqua therapy, and all sorts of other things to make sure she would have a full recovery. 

CJ told me that her plan was to sell her to me as my future forever horse next spring after she had her baby. The plan was perfect because Evita was to be bred at the same time and both of their babies would grow up together! 

But as luck would have it, neither of them took. At this point I was already leasing E so CJ wasn't super bummed that it didn't work out for a baby this year. But it left her with a mare just sitting around her farm and doing nothing. 

She spoke to HSG about her plans, and offered to have me buy Mae for a small price just so CJ would get some of the money back she put into her from shoeing, hay, ect. Of course I couldn't say no. But there was one condition. I wanted Mae to have another ultrasound confirming a full recovery of her suspensory and a vet's clear prognosis with no limitations or future soundness issues. 

Earlier in August I hauled her over to Idaho Equine Hospital where she was foot perfect in her manners from me taking her out of her stall to the ultrasound being performed. The vet I spoke with had studied her previous ultrasounds prior to our appointment and did a lameness evaluation first. 100% sound. Next he ultrasounded (because I don't care how cheap a horse is, I want to be damn sure I'm not getting a money pit) and showed me his findings. While the suspension wasn't "normal" per say, he told me it was 100% healed and having a normal suspensory didn't guarantee perfectly sound. He saw no evidence that there would be any future soundness issues caused by it down the road, and ultimately if she was slowly brought back into fitness, she had no limitations. 

I've paid for her and shes officially mine. Am I a little stupid to buy not only another horse but another horse that already had a major injury? Eh yeah..a little. But professional advice assured me she should be sound. So why not take a little risk? She could be my horse of a lifetime (I mean nothing comes above Riesy) or maybe shes just destined to be a broodmare. But I'd hate myself for not taking the time to find out.

Wednesday, August 30, 2017


Last Monday was my first day back at BSU where I continued to fall into the past habits I always do. I hadn't bought any books, nor a parking pass. I didn't know where my classes were or quite frankly, the names of half of them.

I sat down at my laptop an hour before I had to leave and decided I should probably buy a new parking pass. Much to my dismay, all the passes were sold out. This wasn't common compared to the past few years I have bought one. I called up to ask about the wait list and found out they were 200+ persons long.

Today I added an extra 25 minutes to my commute time and parked off campus. The air inside my building was disgustingly too cold and I wasn't prepared for the feeling of walking in an oven when I finally left my classes for the day. It was a frazzled to start my day, but at 2:45 pm I found myself leisurely strolling back to my car. I had time to think. I thought about where I was and I reminisced about what I would be doing if I was walking back to my old apartment or house instead of walking to my car to take a commute home.

I'd stroll home with an afternoon left to my day with no plans. Maybe I'd float the river. Maybe I'd play beer pong in my backyard with my roommate. Maybe I'd tan. Or maybe I'd decide it was too hot outside and I'd lay in bed and watch Netflix.

Life with less responsibilities. Life with seemingly more fun and more time to do what I want. Why did I give that all up to have so much on my plate and so much more stress?

But I thought long and hard and really remembered how I felt. Even though I look back now and think about how "easy" life was without everything going on that I do now, I still was stressed. I still was worried about money, worried about time, worried about my weight. I worried about saving up for the next show and about school and getting along with my roommates. I worried about boys and family and friends.

I decided stress is a state of mind. Even though I technically have more things in my life to be stressed about now than I did back then, I also have so much more positive and joyous things in them as well. While four horses is a lot to take care of and definitely more expensive, I have four horses! I mean, how kickass is that? Sure farm life and living in my own space has a lot more responsibility, but I'm living with the person I love and get to live the life I always dreamed of! I most certainly cannot say that my living arrangement was dream worthy when I lived with any of my roommates.

Maybe adulthood isn't all that its cracked up to be yet. I'm only transitioning. But I have no reason to keep holding on to the stresses that will always be. Live and let live.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

2 for 3

Well. Ive had 3 jump lessons. And guess what I managed to do in this last one? Fall off. Again. 

I'll start from the beginning. I was finally early for once for my lesson and was set to ride a new horse, Bing. He was a previous eventer. Getting ready I managed to yank my boot zippers too hard and busted them. Whoops. Black vet wrap to the rescue.

I got on and was told he had been hacked that morning so he was already pretty warmed up so I only spent a few minutes getting to know his gaits. We were going to work on a grid to a roll back that day. Mind you, I've never done a roll back and man they are hard!

The grid started with poles to cross rails and ended on 2'3 verticals with 2'6 oxers. Going through the grid set up at full height I felt Bing start to lose energy. He kind of gave me the middle finger to my leg encoragement and balked at the last oxer, from a bounce. I prompty flipped over (thankfully not hitting any poles.)

This sucked. I bounced up but mentally was pretty shaken. This is where my fear of jumping lies. The hard part is I was truely beaming with joy sailing over fences when I had a horse beneath me. 

I was a little shakey but got back on and tried to hold back the tears. I took a few laps of transitions and started crying. My trainer asked if I would be more comfortable just jumping a single vertical to get back in the groove. 

I took a deep breath, legged him up and got him very infront of my leg and kept my chest up and headed back to the grid. I had a small vendetta with this horse now. And by forcing myself to rise like I knew how, we completed the grid beautifully and I continued on the mini course and jumped a roll back to another figure 8 roll back. We ended going through the grid one final time. 

That fall really did some mental damage. Here's hoping the next ride goes smoother. 

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Getting my sea legs

My final for my last summer class is tomorrow! Wohoo! Anywho, something neat I've been up to is taking jumping lessons again!

Back in May I won a three lesson package as part of a silent auction. Finally this month I was able to put them to use! Because I haven't jumped in so long I wanted to ride some lesson ponies to get started. 

I fail at media but I've had two lessons thus far and have ridden a super kick-ride appy lesson pony. The first lesson was with a rider and her 9 month of the track, 4 year old tb. 

Now I'm obviously a rising olympic show jumping star and jumping a whopping 2' in these lessons. But I seriously have no lady balls and as I need more confidence this is the height that works for me. 

First lesson went really well and the thing I need to work on most is keeping a flat back and engaging my core. 

The second lesson I had just a few days ago and I was in a group lesson with some kids. The flatting was rough as we were trotting at the two-point. My thighs were burning so quick. We worked on jumping S curves and I was doing mostly ok at this. 

However, in the 100+ degree heat and some mild humidity; I was so tired toward the end of the lesson I was getting sloppy. My last course I couldn't stay straight and keep my lesson pony forward enough. We were getting burried to the fence and throwing in some super ugly chips. 

I was pushing myself super hard trying to keep going. After the last fence my trainer told me to keep going and do it again. Now I should have asked for a quick walk break to catch my breath, but bucked up instead. We made it over the first crossrail fine (because crossrail) but were so underpowered. At the next 18" cavaletti poor pony had to deerhop over the fence because I sucked at riding and I totally leaned. I was popped out of the tack and because I was leaning managed to fall off on the landing side of the fence.

Ouch, bruised ego. I got back on and saintly lesson pony managed to carry me over the line and it was called a day. I have a lot more stamina to improve upon but it was overall a good learning experience. 

One more lesson left, then I have to figure out how to scrape together my pennies so I can stay in the program!