Thursday, October 31, 2013

The Horses In My House Part I: Evie's Room

I thought it might be fun to share all the ways I've found to incorporate horses in my interior decorating. Believe me I've found a lot of ways (unicorns totally count!). Fair warning I am not necessarily a talented decorator nor am I a super talented artist but, I love all my horsey stuff and I figured if anyone would appreciate it you guys would. :)

So first up is My eldest daughter's room. When I found out I was pregnant with Evie I decided that I would explore my more creative side. So I made my first ever quilt and did some of my first ever paintings. I also found some old furniture and stripped and painted everything. I can't say I created any master pieces (I did manage to give myself a good case of carpel tunnel) but it turned out fairly well and when Evie is finally old enough to not want unicorns anymore I will box everything up and save it for when she, maybe, has a daughter someday. At least that is my plan.

Her baby quilt is now hanging over her bed.
Little wood plaques that I painted
Another plaque as well as some stuffed animals and some unicorn figurines that were mine from when I was a little.
Her furniture turned out super cute.
This is a puzzle hanging over her dresser. My husband and I put it together while I was pregnant. It was a lot of fun.
I sewed some pillows to go with the quilt.
Many of my old Breyers sit in her closet awaiting a little girl to come play with them.
Next Up: Elaina's Room

Oh and Happy Halloween!

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

A Contest and I Seriously Love My Horse!

So to get an extra entry I have to tell you about this contest. But, I really don't want you to go look b/c I REALLY WANT TO WIN! Ha! No, seriously this is a cool contest over at Sprinkler Bandits. Don't miss it.

I really want these boots in black leather with a red lining. If I don't win these are going on my wish list anyways.
The Calypso Boot
If you haven't checked out Dream Horse Studios yet you really should. They have some really neat stuff.

Also, today sort of on a whim I went XC SCHOOLING!!! For the first time since July Loki and I got out and jumped ALL THE THINGS! Okay, not really ALL the things but we did jump quite a few things and it was AMAZING! Sorry, if it seems like I'm shouting at y'all but I'm really excited.

I had only one goal for the day and that was to live up to our name. That's right, just KEEP IT LOW KEY for Pete's sake. And guess what? We did it, absolutely 100% we managed to stay nice and relaxed.

It started out well from the very beginning. I could tell Loki was not too concerned with what was going on when he decided to try and graze as I was trying to get on. In the past whenever we've gone XC schooling (there is only one place close to us) Loki has gotten keyed up from the very beginning. Today he started out relaxed and stayed relaxed.

We were able to trot and canter on our own and then we started jumping. We kept to the small stuff. After my fall I haven't done that much jumping and I really wanted to just work on building our confidence again and it definitely worked. I did start off a little stiff. Whenever I get nervous my joints seem to lock up which makes jumping a little more challenging. But, after a few jumps to warm up things just kept getting better and better. I found out my horse really does have a good, uphill canter in him. I felt it today several times. We don't have it all the time but we do have it!

The biggest feat of the day (for me) was jumping a log that was on the top of a hill. This log couldn't have been much more than 2 feet high if that but it was set on, basically, a mound so that you had to trot uphill to it and you landed and then went straight back downhill. I'm not sure I've ever mentioned my irrational fear of down banks but when my trainer asked me to jump it I said no at first. She finally talked me into just walking over it. Yes, that is how small the little log was, Loki could actually just take a big step over it. Then we progressed to trotting over it and by the end I was having fun and laughing at myself for being so afraid of something so insignificant.
This is what I saw in my mind. Now picture this with no ditch in front and a teeny weeny little log sitting at the top (slightly smaller hill probably as well) and that is pretty much what we jumped. Once I got used to it it was no different than trotting up and down a hill. This is the Normandy Bank at KHP
Loki's best jump is ditches. He could care less about them. I've decided I need to get the t-shirt that says "99 problems but a ditch ain't one of them."

I guess that is about it. Unfortunately I have no photographic evidence of our feat. :( I wonder if I could find someone to just start following me around at the barn and on these outings to just be my personal photographer. Oh well, maybe next time.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Sunshine Award

The Sunshine Award is for people who "positively and creatively inspire others in the blogosphere." The nominee must do the following: thank the person who nominated her, nominate ten bloggers of her own, answer the ten questions given to her, and post them and the Sunshine Award button to her blog.

Thanks American Girl for nominating me as well as Bakersfield Dressage
Here are the questions: 

  1. Mares or Geldings?: I have really come to dislike this question b/c it often seems to turn in to a debate on which is better. I think mares and geldings can be different and also quite the same and it really depends on the individual horse. That said I've always owned geldings and I've done really well with them. My first horse was/is a gelding and he had/has a huge sense of humor and I love that quality about him. (Could a mare have that quality? I haven't personally met one but I'm sure it is possible. Just as a gelding can try his heart out for you - the argument I hear most for mares. Again it just depends on the individual. Some qualities may lean more towards one sex or the other but that doesn't mean they've cornered the market on said quality!) Ghazal never seems to take life too seriously and he's never held a grudge when I made mistakes. He has always felt like my friend and not just my partner or pet.
  2. English or Western?: I have always ridden english and I prefer these disciplines but there are several western disciplines that I think I would enjoy. (Just not western pleasure!)
  3. Do you prefer younger or older horses?: I've had Ghazal since he was a 2 year old and he is now getting ready to turn 25. I think the best age for us was right around 10 years old. He was still very playful and "fun" but had matured into quite a trustworthy beast.
  4. Have you trained a horse from ground zero?: Yep, for the first many years of Ghazal's life I was the only person who had ever ridden him or done anything with him other than lead. I had no idea what I was doing but he turned out to be a pretty nice, all-around guy.
  5. Do you prefer riding or groundwork?: I have come to appreciate ground work very much. It lays the foundation for everything else but for the simple pleasure of doing I would always prefer to ride.
  6. Do you board your horse or keep it at home?: Board. Someday I would love to be able to keep my boys at home but that probably won't happen for many more years.
  7. Do you use all natural products or commercial?: I'm not sure I understand this question. I use products I buy from stores, the vet, etc, so I would say whether they are "all natural" or not they are still commercialized. I don't think I've ever made my own product from scratch.
  8. All tacked up or bareback?: Bareback was fun on Ghazal because he had a nice wide back, not so much on Loki with his high, sharp withers. As I've gotten older I definitely prefer the security of tack.
  9. Equestrian model?: I really don't know. I have always enjoyed watching and listening and reading anything from George Morris but I also really enjoy Jimmy Wooford and Denny Emmerson. My trainer from Washington is also a huge role model for me and if I could ride even half as well as she does someday I would be very happy.
  10. What's your one main goal while being in the horse world?: To be a better horseman and rider every single day. To never stop learning. 

This award has already been making the rounds in blogosphere so many of the people I will nominate have likely already been nominated. But here they are:

The Longest Format
Confessions of an AA Event Rider and Convicted Over Thinker
Cash's Steppin' Up
Fly On Over
Pampered Ponies
Viva Carlos
All In
Sprinkler Bandits
She Moved to Texas
Alchemy Eventing

Friday, October 25, 2013

Slowing Down

I had a FANTABULOUS ride today! I'm not sure what it was exactly but just one of those rides where everything feels just right.
Random photo from this summer. I really wish I had a photographer at the barn!
It has been ca-ca-ca-ca-cold these past couple of days, though. On Tuesday the hubs and I headed up to Quarter horse congress to do a little shopping. I got some generic carharts for working around the barn when it gets really cold as well as some real winter riding gloves and a vest. The trade show at congress is pretty good but it is definitely more geared towards the western rider so there weren't too many things to tempt me.  (Well, except the thousands of trailers you can walk through!)

Today's ride was the first of the week unfortunately but at least it was a good one. We mainly just worked on transitions, transitions, transitions. The up transitions are great the down transitions are okay mostly. Then I decided to take a note from all of you October two-pointers and do some work in two point. I realized we nearly never ever work on 2 point. I was exhausted quickly but still managed to get quite a bit in.

I had Loki just trot over two cross rails while I stayed in 2 point. It was really good for me, I think. I could imagine my trainer hollering at me that Loki was flat and I should sit up and kick him forward and all that kind of stuff but I just ignored that imaginary voice and kept working. I don't know if this is right or wrong or good or bad but I feel like I need to work on staying quiet over fences. Cross rails are so small that it really doesn't make a difference whether or not he gets a little flat as long as he goes over willingly. I was so pleased today because he maintained a constant rhythm and not one time did he grab the bit or pull on me! So, I guess for a while we are going to go back to some of our basics and solidify them. I'm still going to work on his canter and getting him more uphill but we can do that during our flat work. For jumping my goal is to just stay as quiet as I can so that he can learn to trust me. Whenever I start thinking about him being flat or rushing or anything else before a jump I just start pick, pick, picking and I think it has led to him being overly defensive. Today was just fun. he was able to go over each jump without any nuisance from me at all. I don't know I just feel like that is what he and I need right now.

Once again I apologize for not updating regularly. I swear I don't know how some of you guys do it! I was reading one of Lauren's posts over on She Moved to Texas and holy crap! she reads like over 300 blogs!!! as well as maintaining a pretty awesome blog herself. I think some of y'all must have some super powers or something. ;)

Also, I was awarded The Sunshine Award from American Girl and I just wanted to say thanks. I can't read 300 some blogs but I really enjoy the ones I am able to read. Who knew blogging could be so cathartic? It's like having a diary that can talk back and commiserate with you. So thanks all of you who read and write! I will work on the Sunshine post as soon as I can.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Guess Who's Back!

They look yucky but they are healing.
I am finally able to ride!!! WooHoo!!! I saddled up on Sunday for a test ride to see if Loki's back would tolerate a saddle. We only rode for about 20 minutes at mostly a walk and some trot but he didn't act sore at all. On Monday I rode again for a bit longer and this time I got some walk, trot and canter in. We're definitely rusty to say the least but he's sound and moving pretty good. I rode again yesterday. It was a few degrees colder and the wind was blowing decently and my normally not spooky horse found plenty of scary things in the arena. He gave me a real, honest to goodness spook at one point, springing forward and into the canter. Honestly, I just had to laugh at him. Silly horse, don't you know I grew up riding Arabs that spook at everything all the time! I'm hoping he was just feeling a little extra good.

He is done with his EPM meds. We will be returning to full work and just see how it goes. I'm not going to have him retested. #1 it is an expensive test and #2 there really isn't any need unless symptoms return. Since he was mostly asymptomatic to begin with this just means I'm going to have to be a little extra observant. But so far I'm pretty happy with how he is going. We will start jumping again here very soon!

My trainer and some others from my barn are going to a show this weekend. It's an all TB show with a little bit of everything including hunter classes, jumpers and some combined tests. I would so love to go!! Maybe someday we'll be ready again. I think I need to make a list of goals to work on over the rest of fall and through the winter. I really want to make it to an actual event next year! I have to say I'm super glad to be home but this has been kind of a crappy year. Here's hoping 2014 will be much better!

At least the stings were limited to his body. With the saddle on he mostly looks normal and I have to say gorgeous. :) And maybe someday I'll actually get some riding/action photos. Who knows?

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Day 16

Today was Loki's 16th day on the EPM meds. We are more than halfway through the regimen. I would say it has been uneventful but the last two weeks have seemed very eventful. I'm just not sure how much if any of it has to do with his meds.
After our lunge line session. He certainly doesn't look any worse for wear!

Still no riding today. The blisters/hives that "peeled" yesterday are looking much better today. The ones that haven't peeled are still very tender. My trainer who just got back from her vacation looked at him and she thinks he must've gotten into a nest of some kind, maybe hornets or wasps. It makes sense with the placement of the sores. If so that means that Loki managed to cut his leg on a poisonous branch and get caught up in a nest of angry bugs of some kind all at the same time. This was all while he was foot sore from having to go a week without shoes. Sheesh! Poor boy had a bad day!!

He is still perfectly sound, though, and his feet seem to be feeling fine. I am really itching to ride him. I think he'll probably need at least another few days for these sores to heal but hopefully by next week we can finally be riding again.

I'm supposed to be moving him on the first of November to my sister's but I'm really thinking about postponing the move for just a little while longer. I want to be able to ride! But, we'll see.

Also today was my youngest daughter's birthday. Elaina Lucille was born on 10-09-08. Happy Birthday Laina Lu!

Monday, October 7, 2013

Brrrr

It was seriously cold this morning! That is to say it was somewhere in the 40s. It struck me as I was grooming Loki that I'm woefully unprepared for winter. I'm looking forward to a lot of it but it has been a long long long time since I've had to go through a "real" winter.
Seriously, this is how I felt this morning. I may be in trouble this winter!
It makes me wonder, for those of you that experience "real winter" what do you find is your can't live without gear? Right now I have a very good winter coat and my Dubarry's that have winter inserts for warmth and that is about it. Yikes!! Loki is at least prepared with all his blankets but I do think I'd like to get him some kind of quarter sheet but at this point I don't think I'm going to clip him so it might not be necessary.

Speaking of Loki, I went to the barn today and his "hives" were still there, only now I'm not so sure they really are hives because they are shedding. It's sort of like blisters where the skin is already dead and just waiting to peel off. They are itchy and a little sore I think. I tried to ride hoping the saddle pad would be sufficient to keep them from hurting. He was fine at the walk but immediately let me know that trotting was not o.k. So I untacked and lunged him. He is definitely sound and seems to be feeling okay except for these hive/blister things. Where they have peeled the hair is gone but the skin underneath seems fine so I'm hoping that once he "sheds" them all we'll be back to normal. Seriously weird!


Friday, October 4, 2013

Derby Party!

This is what I'm going to be doing at least part of my day tomorrow. We are going to have a booth at Indiana Downs for the Indiana Derby. We'll be giving away some fun stuff such as these:
I helped put a slide show together to show off all of our current horses and some of our success stories. Hopefully we'll be able to raise a little extra funds.

We just added three new horses into the program. Meet Right to War (Ralph), Critical Strike (Gordon) and Fantastic Madam (Vivian).

Ralph. His head and neck are connected a little awkwardly but he seems like an alright guy.
Gordon has a beautiful face. My trainer is in love with him already and he seems to have some real upper level potential. He is very high energy!
Vivian. This photo doesn't really do her justice. She is actually quite pretty and seems very athletic
And for the BEST news: Loki is doing much, much better. All the swelling is gone and he is sound. He does still have some hives left but the vet looked at him today and she wasn't worried. She said it can take some time for them to go away completely. I'll let her know if they aren't gone by Monday but otherwise he seems to finally be ready to work again. I plan to ride on Monday and I can't wait!

Just a quick snapshot and not great but I promise the swelling is gone. You can still see the hives, though.
So things seem to be looking up, for us at least. I sure hope the people in Washington pull their heads out of their butts soon but otherwise okay.

I didn't sign up for the 2 point challenge on Viva Carlos and Equestrian at Hart. I was afraid I just wouldn't be able to ride consistently with so much going on. But if you haven't already you should.

Happy Weekend!

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Check Out This Contest

I just entered an awesome contest on She Moved to Texas. You need to check it out if you haven't already. Check it out here.

Nothing new to report on the Loki front. I had a super busy day so the barn manager fed him his meds and checked on him for me. She didn't have any thing to report so I'm assuming he's about the same. I will check tomorrow.