Thursday, April 27, 2017

Clinic Prep

AKA, how not to prepare for your first clinic ever.

C'mon Vermont give me some of this! 

Step 1) Sign up horse that hasn't been ridden since last summer and had lameness issues.
Step 2) Ride him a few times and decide he is to be retired.
Pls canter like normal horse
Step 3) Beg to borrow another horse so you aren't out clinic money
Step 4) Acquire TB that was a brat to ride last year and hasn't been saddled since last fall.

What is this foreign language

Step 5) Accidentally perform the rain dance for Mother Nature securing the fact that you can't even ride the dumb horse before the clinic
Step 6) Attempt to calm yourself two days before the clinic by telling yourself he will surprise you and be a saint
Pls be good

Step 7) Pray to clinic gods that it will get rained out and you won't have to tempt fate on sassy TB

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Throwing in the Towel

I've spent the last two weeks trying to bring Riesling back into work. And while he stays sound on the lunge for a short period of time, after 15 minutes under saddle he goes lame. The damage has been done to his fetlock and as much as I want to fight to keep him sound and showing, it isn't fair to him. 

I've poured an enormous amount of money in him last year between injections, supplements, body work, x-rays, nerve blocking, new tack and the rest. He had all winter off. However he damaged his fetlock last spring, it's effects are here to stay. The silver lining is that he is pasture sound and will be able to live out his retirement happy and spoiled rotten in my backyard. 

I came to this decision yesterday and consoled myself between endless red wine and crying. I love this horse. I've had him for 8 years this year. I know I can hop on him and he will melt all my stress away. I know him so well. Despite his shark fin, I loved spending hours riding him bareback. 

Its not that I still can't hop on him in pasture and toodle around, but I'm going to miss the challenge of figuring this whole dressage thing out with him. I selfishly wanted one more year out of him, but after consulting with my team, I don't need to invest myself financially and emotionally into a horse that has done his job for me for the past 8 years. It is time to let him just be a horse.  

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