Thursday, February 27, 2014

Dead Legs

I've finally started getting back on the band wagon, the running/workout bandwagon that is and today my legs are feeling a little dead. But, it's that good kind of sore that reminds you that you can do things even when you are getting a little older (not that I would know anything about that, ha!). I was kind of surprised that I ran as well as I did my first time back in longer than I want to think about. Honestly I enjoy running but sometimes right before I start I think how nice it would be to just sit down and relax and maybe watch a movie or something. What helps me to get going is the thought that this is one thing I can control about my riding. I might not quite be able to keep my balance perfect or react correctly to some evasion Loki throws out at me but I can make sure that I am in the best shape possible. I do think it does make a difference and me a better rider and I'm going with it.

In other news I feel like I got very lucky at the tack store yesterday. I was checking out their consignment area when I found a pair of tan Fits breeches that look like they've never even been worn before and they were in my size! So I got a pair of Fits breeches for well over 50% off. I've always wanted a pair but no way was I going to pay full price for them.
And there have been some positive developments on the saddle front. I'm afraid to say too much because I don't want to jinx anything but I did find an independent saddle fitter to work with and it is very promising that we're going to find something that will work for me. *fingers crossed!*

The farrier is scheduled for tomorrow afternoon. I'm going to try and run again in the morning and then after Loki's feet are done hopefully we'll be able to get a ride in and get back to work.
Trying on my new Fits breeches. (Surely I'm not the only person who has to try on my breeches with my boots and show shirt? Just to get the full effect you know.) Oh, and sorry for the slightly inappropriate undergarment, obviously that's not what I would wear under the shirt for real!

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Boot Polish Yay or Nay?

I was polishing my boots today and got to thinking that I've never once seen my trainer polish her boots. That's not to say she doesn't do it when I'm not around but at shows I've only ever seen her clean them or put conditioner of some sort on them. I never thought to ask her about it but today as I was polishing my boots I started to wonder. Is this not the normal thing to do anymore? With all the new, fancy leather care products out there do people still polish their boots the old fashioned way?
Messy hands a necessary side effect of the polished boot
Being prior military polishing boots is not a new concept for me. It's not just about making my boots look nice but also about protecting the leather. I actually get a certain satisfaction from polishing my boots. But I wonder do any of you polish your boots or have you found an easier/better way to care for yours?
Halfway finished and already starting to shine.
On the Loki front I trotted him out and he looked perfectly fine which makes you wonder if you just imagined anything but I decided to still give him a few more days off just in case. We will ride again on Friday, hopefully, if not then Saturday.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Old Doc Miller

Happiness is a consequence of the circumstances of life. The episodes that we live through each day determine our state of happiness, but joy is a product of the indwelling Christ. It does not depend upon the things of life that make us happy. Joy can overcome the situations that make us unhappy. ~ Old Doc Miller from Prayers and Prescriptions
Have you ever been deeply impacted by someone's life? So much so that you know it has changed you in some way that maybe you can't even fathom? This is how I feel about old Doc Miller. I wrote about his passing nearly two years ago here. Forgive me if this post is a little religious in nature but Dr. Steve was a devout Christian and it is impossible to share about him without sharing some of his faith.

Dr. Steve's son, Dr. Josh is my small animal vet so I still go to Dr. Steve's old clinic from time to time and I still see his widow who works as a receptionist. I was there yesterday and saw that they were selling a book in Dr. Steve's honor and I bought a copy. I read it in one day and cried the entire time. I can't really explain why his life touched me so deeply but I have to share that it did.

At the end of the book his wife writes about how many lives he touched how over 2,000 people attended his viewing some waiting well over 3 hours to pay their respects and to tell his family how much he meant to them or helped them. (I know because I was one of them.) It made me think about my life and what I want it to be and I realized more than anything I want to touch other people's lives the way he did. I'm not a vet and I don't feel like I have any super important skills to share but everyday I want to do my best to see the needs in front of me and try to meet them as best I can. I want my life to be about more than just my own desires and dreams.

Sounds sappy I guess and believe me I don't need thousands of people at my funeral but I just want to honor Dr. Steve by living my life a little better than before. I share his faith and I want it to be more real to me because of him. So this is just my way of writing that goal down publicly.

You all know I love horses about as much as anything but sometimes I have to be reminded what is truly important in life, family, friends and a world in need. I am very thankful for the privilege of having horses in my life but I don't want them to become so important that they block out other important things. It can be a struggle to maintain that healthy balance and I'm glad I got this reminder.

Monday, February 24, 2014

My Turn

It seems like I've read a lot of NQR posts of late. I always feel bad when I read them but also grateful that Loki has been okay. Well, apparently it is our turn to be not quite right. I got Loki out to ride today and he was perfectly fine at the walk but when we started to trot I noticed every time we turned to the left he felt gimpy. At first I wasn't sure if I was imagining it or if he just happened to take a bad step but after a couple more turns it was pretty consistent so I hopped down.

I untacked him, felt his legs and everything felt and looked just fine, no heat no obvious swelling. I had him trot out again without me riding him and he looked just fine going straight but again slightly off to the left.

My trainer came by after that and I trotted him out again for her but where we were I couldn't turn him so all she saw was that he looked fine. She said they were crazy when turned out last time, bucking and carrying on so it is likely he just tweaked or pulled something in turn out. I'm not super worried about it. I gave him some bute and figured I'll check on him tomorrow.

And just when I thought pictures of my horse laying in his stall were getting boring this happened:

Hello Toes the barn cat
Love this face!

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Riding Outside

We had two wonderful, glorious days of (mostly) sun and (some) warmth! It was so wonderful to ride outside especially knowing it is going back down to the 20's and 30's for the next 10 days at least. Please winter go away!

My first day back from being sick I decided, quite wisely, it turned out to lunge Loki before riding. I was still not feeling 100% and the wind was kicking and he hadn't been out for 24 hours due to the storms the day/night before. Normally Loki is pretty respectful on the lunge line and he wasn't horrible but he pretty much raced around as fast as he could for a few minutes in each direction. He slipped twice which made me cringe but since I'm standing there doing nothing to encourage this behavior other than to say "easy" a thousand times I figure if he's sore it's definitely his own fault.

But after that we had a really nice ride. The trot/canter transitions are starting to make a difference. I feel like we are starting to have more than one speed when we canter and he is so so close to really using his hind end and coming all the way through. My trainer commented that he frustrates her to no end b/c the way he is built it should be so easy for him but still he resists. I look at it as we're making progress and I can't/don't want to force him that last little bit. I'll take what he is giving me and continue to praise him and wait for his strength to build whether that be mentally or physically or both I'm not sure. Hopefully we'll get there someday.

Unfortunately we weren't able to jump even though we were able to ride outside in just a sweatshirt. The ground was just not quite thawed enough, squishy on top but still packed underneath does not make ideal jumping conditions for sure. But it was still nice to ride outside and we even went around the trails for the first time in a couple of weeks. Spring is oh so close but just not quite within our reach so hopefully I can have the same patience for spring to get here as I'm trying to have for my horse.

Sadly, no riding photos to show but here is a series from yesterday morning when I found him napping in his stall:
Oh it's you Mom
Go away I'm sleeping
Did you bring me any treats?
Okay I guess I'll get up.
 

Friday, February 21, 2014

14 (and I'm still alive)

I'm still feeling like crud but I am alive. I haven't had the flu in a long time and this wasn't the worst case I've ever had but man I'd forgotten all about how your whole body just aches when you run a fever. But, I was well enough to ride today so I am definitely on the road to recovery.

I don't have much to write about at the moment, though so I figured I'd finally do the 14 photos post that has been going around. It took me a while to gather all these.

1. Your horse's stall.
Oh hey Mom
2. Favorite saddle pad(s).
My new Ecogold XC pad and Thinline half pad
3. Barn cat, barn dog, barn_____?
Barn chicken loves Loki's stall when he isn't in it
4. Favorite area to ride at your facility.
Our arena when it isn't frozen and covered in snow
5. Between the ears shot out on a trail ride.
The rusty barrel is there to help desensitize spooky horses
6. The bottom of your horse's hoof.
Not too bad
7. The hay stack at your barn.
Barn dogs and cat chillin' in the hay
8. Favorite grooming thing.
Okay, I cheated I forgot to take the pic of mine.
9. Your horse's best friend or significant other.
Monte, Loki's half-brother gettin' nekkid.
10. A snapshot from your commute to the barn (be careful).
I got a ride so no dangerous picture taking for me
11. Between the ears shot at random location at your facility.
FFI horse Ralph on a trail ride
12. The cutest or most attractive part of your barn.
Just one part of the driveway to the barn which is very scenic
13. Favorite piece of tack.
For now... hopefully soon a new saddle
14. Selfie with your horse.
Does this count?
Hopefully this means a return to routine. I am planning on riding tomorrow and it should be beautiful. I might even get to ride in the outdoor and there might even be some jumping!

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

I Had A Little Bird...

...It's name was Enza
I opened the window,
and in-flu-enza
                                       -children's skipping rhyme, 1918
Yep I have the flu. The weather was so nice today, into the 50's and I couldn't even enjoy it. Isn't that the way it goes? Ugh!

Monday, February 17, 2014

And the Conclussion Is...

... don't be short. Just don't because it stinks. The Prestige was a definite no go. Mainly the back roll was hitting me right on my calf forcing my legs forward and making it very hard to use them. It looked okay on Loki, though.
Maybe just a little bit wide but not bad
Again! Mom?

So it is back to the drawing board... again. Don't worry, though, I'm sick of this subject so I probably won't be writing much about it unless I find an actual solution.

But to cheer us all up I have some pictures to share of something super cute:

 This is Pixel. Someday I will write all about her but not today.
I will say she is about 4 months old and the last time she went to the vet she only weighed 4.4lbs. She is a tiny, bouncing ball of fluff. And just looking at her makes me very happy.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

My Valentine

I know this is a day late but a friend posted this last night and I had to share:
Ralph on the left and Loki on the right.
I know a lot of people hate this holiday and I can't say that it is my favorite but I'm pretty lucky in the love department, not just a wonderful husband but three great kids and a loving family so I don't mind taking a day to express how much they all mean to me. And of course Loki and my other furry friends, too!

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Gravity

It gets us all eventually.

So the saddle was a bust, sadly. I tried very hard to make it work. I wanted it to work because quite frankly it is, so far, the most comfortable saddle I have ever sat in. When they say "buttery" soft leather they aren't kidding. Unfortunately I knew within about five minutes that it just wasn't going to work. Even with fiddling with padding I was being pitched forward in the saddle causing me to ride in a chair seat, something I struggle with under the best of circumstances. Insert big ol' frowny face here.

However, not to be kept down long (take that gravity!) I found my way to a local tack store. I really don't know why I haven't done this a long time ago. I think having lived out of the country for two years I just got very used to buying online and didn't even think about it. The owner was extremely helpful and they had several used saddles to look at. Of course none of them were perfect but there is one I brought home to try. It's a Prestige. The flaps are still a little too long but the angles fit right and it is a medium and looks like it could be a good fit for Loki. And, the nice thing about trying a saddle from the local tack trunk: I don't have to pay any shipping fees! <SCORE!>
Not this exact saddle but very similar.
If this saddle doesn't work then the tack shop owner and I came up with some alternative plans to try. So... hopefully in the near future I will have a saddle that fits!

This was an expensive learning experience but at least I did learn some things. I have a better idea of what it is I really need and I've also realized that I need to be more open to other brands of saddles that might not be as "in" or, sadly, maybe not as buttery soft :( but that could work really well for me and still be in my price range. So hopefully more updates on this in the future.

Oh and Happy Valentine's Day tomorrow.
Horses really make every holiday better.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Something Funny

I'm going to take a brief moment to make fun of myself here. I actually received one more new item. It is a show coat that my Mom bought me for Christmas. She got the wrong size and had to exchange it and I'm only now getting the one that actually fits. Anyways, it is the Horseware Competition Jacket in black.

So why is this funny?

Well let me show you a picture of my previous show coat:
Seriously, I look like a kid playing dress up. The thing is I knew it was a little big, a little long but I really didn't realize it was that big/long until I saw some of these pictures. Most pictures I have from shows are of me riding or at least on my horse which sort of hid how big that coat was on me. I pretty much took my coat off as soon as my class was over so I think somewhere deep down I knew how silly it looked.

Here is my new coat: (sorry for the grainy iphoto pic.)
Much better! It is still just a little big around my waist but still 1000x's better. It's one less thing to be embarrassed about when we show which is a good good thing. :)

And if you are curious I LOVE this jacket! It is super lightweight and comfortable. It is a much different material than your traditional show coat but I really like it. My only complaint is the sizing is a little strange for me. I originally got the XS and it fit really well except through the shoulders. It was really tight through the shoulders and biceps so my Mom exchanged it for the small. The small fits nicely through the shoulders but now it is just a tiny bit too roomy around the waist. So basically if you have any sort of muscle in your shoulders or arms the fit might be a little problematic. But other than that it is a great coat. I can't wait to get to wear it in our first competition!

I'll post about the saddle sometime tomorrow or Friday. I wasn't able to ride in it today but will definitely get to tomorrow.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

It's In The Air!

Spring!! Okay, technically it is still only 17 degrees outside but I just happened to glance at the ten day forecast for our area and got super excited!
Starting tomorrow things are definitely looking UP! I know, I know I'm probably seriously jinxing all of us but I just can't seem to help myself. 56 degrees next Thursday!! That's practically shorts weather at this point! I can handle that, heck, I'm excited for being in the 40s. That means our outdoor might finally thaw out and we can start riding outside again. Yippee!

And that isn't the only reason I'm excited today. I went to get the mail this afternoon and I found this waiting for me:


And inside:

I got a gift card for Smartpak from my Dad for Christmas but only just now got around to using it. I wasn't sure what I needed and there are just so many things I want but then I kept thinking what if I use it and then end up really needing something later... Well, I finally broke down and bought a pair of Kerrits Sit Tight Supreme breeches.

So far I really like them. They fit fairly well. I am short so things are always just a little bit long on me but not horrible and so far very comfortable. The material is very lightweight so I imagine these will be wonderful for showing in the summer. I won't get a chance to ride in them for a while, though, because it is just too cold... well maybe next Thursday I'll get a chance. ;)
Yes, my wonderful selfie self! ha!
And just because that isn't enough to be excited about I am also currently waiting for one more package. The saddle is somewhere near here on a UPS truck just waiting to be delivered.

Seriously, it's like Christmas in February!

Sunday, February 9, 2014

I'm Dreaming of Some Warm Weather

I know you all have got to be as tired of all this horrible weather as I am, or for those of you in the warmer parts of the world you are probably, at least, tired of hearing about it. (Super glad to hear California is getting some much needed rain, though.)

It snowed all day today and it is back into the teens tomorrow and Tuesday but I think there might be some light at the end of the tunnel. (Knock on wood!) Starting on Wednesday it seems like the temps are going up and so far in the 10 day forecast look promising. Maybe we'll be able to rediscover our outdoor arena before the end of the month. That would be great!

I did go on a little trail ride with a friend from the barn a couple of days ago. By trail ride I just mean the small perimeter trail around our farm. We just went around as a cool down after riding in the arena.

Elle is the FFI intern and she was riding Ralph (Right To War). Ralph is an FFI horse and he is doing really well. We have a couple of nice horses right now but the problem is this weather is keeping us from being able to show them at the moment. But I suspect we'll have some adopted soon. I'm hoping at least!

Ralph would make a pretty darn nice hunter but we think he could be an eventer too.   

Well, sorry for the boring posts lately. I am waiting on two packages this week. So hopefully there will be some more exciting things to write about soon!

Friday, February 7, 2014

40 Days

...until Spring. I wrote on facebook that I'm not sure if that makes me happy or really depressed. It's so close and yet... so so far...
Remembering Spring and warmth and horse shows...
I think the horses are starting to get pretty sick of all this snow and bitter cold, too. I rode Loki yesterday and he was pretty up, at least for him. He's gone from just shaking his head to occasionally attempting a small buck here or there. Nothing super naughty, just sort of a "this energy has to go somewhere!" move. I have a feeling I might have my hands full come spring. It's hard to blame him, though, as I'm pretty sure the only chance he gets to really move around is during our rides.

But despite the friskiness we had a really great ride. Unfortunately a really great ride does not translate to anything super interesting to write about. We are continuing on our plan of lots and lots of transitions. The best thing that I'm noticing with this so far is how much better Loki is paying attention to me. I will still occasionally lose him as we pass the entrance to the arena but for the most part he is listening to figure out what we are going to do next and sometimes trying to anticipate. It's hard to keep it mixed up in such a small arena but I'm doing my best.

What I am looking forward to the most is getting back on the trails. Please, please Spring... HURRY UP!
Getting ready to hit the trails last summer.
I haven't gotten a message yet that the saddle has shipped, so I wait. But, I did get an estimate for the repair and it was very favorable so that is a huge plus!

Thursday, February 6, 2014

On Trial

I can't decide if I'm excited or not, I mean I think I'm excited but I'm also so nervous because what if it doesn't fit and I have to send it back??? (It wouldn't be the first time and it's just money down the drain!)

What, you ask?

This:


Squeee!! (I think)

It's a Devoucoux Chiberta used, of course, and the first one I've seen in my size like ever. It has a small hole in the leather on one of the knee rolls that is cosmetic but I'll want to have repaired. The seller estimated $100 for the repair and supposedly took $200 off the price. I'm trying to get my own estimate now. Otherwise it seems to be in very good condition.

So I guess I'll let you know how it goes. (Wish us luck!)

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Yep, It's Still A Winter Wonderland

This is what it looked like out our front door last night after about a half hour of snowing:
And this afternoon:
I know it isn't a lot of snow for parts of the country but it is quite a bit for this area. Needless to say there was no school again today. The temps are going down again tonight but the high is still in the teens tomorrow (19) and a high of 16 on Friday. I guess we should be glad that we are at least above 0.

Truth be told I like the snow, though. I will be glad when it finally warms up and we can all ride regularly but I'm going to enjoy it while it is here.