Wednesday, April 30, 2014

The Blue Ribbon You Do Not Want To Win

We had the Chiro visit today. Here are words you'd rather not hear from your Equine Chiropractor: "You win the blue ribbon for most f'd up horse in the barn." Yeah, really didn't want that one. But on the bright side everything seems to have been put back in place. The Chiro thought it was a result of the hard winter more than anything else. He says that at least part of our feet issues can be attributed to him being out in several places.

You know I don't know how much these kinds of things really help in the long run. I mean, I've seen a chiro myself once and I did get some good relief in the moment but I don't know how much long term good it did/does. But I don't think it hurt anything.

Loki got the day off to recoup and we'll be taking it easy tomorrow and Friday. Things have been insanely busy right now. It's hard enough planning to show one horse but for this weekend we are bringing 4 FFI horses because it is a TB show. So I'm trying to get things organized for all of us plus get my daughter ready for girl scout camp and my husband is leaving to to go out of town for a couple of days and my cat tried to rip half of his ear off... there may be more but my head is spinning at this point. Needless to say I'm a little stressed. But it's all good.

Loki and I spent 25 minutes walking after his adjustment.
Gimli came in like this. Poor baby!

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Partnership In Motion

I had a wonderful lesson today. It wasn't perfect we still have tons of stuff to work on but I still say wonderful because I feel like every time we ride we improve. I wanted to do an actual jump course since we'll be showing this weekend so that was the plan. We put some pretty tight turns and bending lines in it and Loki and I actually got it done! (Granted it did take us two tries to get one especially tight turn done but we did get it.) It wasn't the prettiest round on the planet but honestly I think if I had tried some of these tight turns a year ago it wouldn't have happened. And once again we did it all in just our plain snaffle!

As we were walking back to the barn I was just thinking about how much riding Loki has become a partnership. Partnerships or friendships don't just happen overnight. They take time and investment but it seems like there comes a point where things just take off. A partnership is almost always in motion going forward, getting stronger or weakening depending on the time, effort and emotions we put into them. I feel like Loki and I have definitely hit that point where our partnership is solid and now we are just working on moving it forward.

Ha! Sorry to be so poetical but really it is the after effects of such a great ride! (My trainer would probably remind me of all the things we/I still need to work on at this point such as keeping him together and waiting for the jump but for now I'm just celebrating the small victories. :))

No pictures from today. I know I know that is getting old! Believe me I know! But the good news is we'll have a photographer at the show so hopefully I will at least get pictures for this weekend! Yay! But here are some from a couple of weeks ago:
Pondering whether or not to go...
or stay...
Go it is. See ya later, Mom.


Monday, April 28, 2014

Spring Cleaning & A Contest

I spent all day today cleaning stuff because we have our first horse show this weekend! We are going to an all Thoroughbred Show at the Kentucky Horse Park on Sunday and hopefully staying over to school on Monday. I say hopefully because the weather is always a question. But either way exciting stuff in the future!

So far I've washed
  • Blankets
  • Brushes and Grooming Supplies
  • All my leather equipment and
  • Cleaning Rags
I've also re-organized all my tack boxes and put stuff in the trailer that I won't be using on a regular basis.

I just need to track down a couple of things and then I think I'll be ready.

Sorry, no pictures again. I swear I'm still recovering from Rolex!

So as a consolation prize check out this awesome contest!

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Having Fun Is Exhausting!

Rolex 2014 is over for another year. It was so much fun! I took a friend of mine around for her very first trip and that made it even better. I don't think I've ever walked that much in one day. We walked the entire course and then some and through the trade fair again of course. Sadly I missed seeing any fellow bloggers but maybe next year.

I finally got my new bridle, a Micklem. I've really wanted to try one for a while and I finally broke down and bought one when I was actually able to pick it up and feel it at the SmartPak booth. It's not the highest quality leather in the world but it didn't offend me like it seems to do others and it fits nicely. I really like the way it looks even though any "magical" properties remain to be seen.


I also found the saddle I want. I'm not sure when I will be able to get it but when the money comes through I am going to get a Black Country Vinici. I sat in one, actually I sat it a large number of saddles, and I was super impressed with it. The price range is more reasonable than the French saddles and yet the quality seems equal. We have a saddle rep in our area so whenever I'm ready he will come out and take measurements. Oh I want so badly!



And now for the photo dump from our time at Rolex!
Meeting Dom and Jimmie Schramm!
Not sure who this rider is but they were very lucky through the Normandy Bank!
Allison Springer and Arthur. (So disappointed for them)
Buck Davidson and the last jump on course for the day
Rolex is just so much fun!! It's no wonder I'm so stinkin' tired today! But until next year...

Friday, April 25, 2014

Rolex is Fun! and Hoof Update

First a quick hoof update. The vet agrees with the farrier and my trainer. What we have here is a failure to use our hiney! No, seriously, she checked him over and didn't feel like there were any underlying issues other than he just needs to strengthen his hind end. His stifles felt great and she gave the clear to get back to work.

What I need to remember is "jump first then slow!" What I mean by that is I got ahead of myself and got Loki going nice and slow, which felt great, but in so doing I lost the jump to our canter. He just isn't quite ready for that amount of collection. So today I rode him for just a short time and I made sure we had good jump in the canter and reminded myself what that feels like. He was faster but balanced. And of course we will try to find some hills to work on as well as some poles and if possible cavalletti. It's tempting to be mad at myself for this but fear not I have decided that as an amateur I'm simply going to learn from it and move on. :)

Oh and again thank you for all the comments on my last post! I am a bit behind with all the Rolex excitement, the vet visit and a bunch of grant apps I'm working on at the moment but I will try to get caught up as soon as I can!

Now on to the fun stuff!

I don't normally do stuff like this but I asked P. Dutty if he would mind if I got a picture with him. My exact words were, "I know I'm not a kid but... would you mind?" Ha! It was fun and since I never got to do any of this kind of stuff as a kid I'm telling myself it is okay to have a few fangirl moments. 
 Checking out the scoreboard in some new Rolex gear:
Hubby checking out some tractors/mowers:
As we were leaving we stopped by the main arena and watched some riders schooling:

Arthur and Allison Springer (In 1st place after Dressage! Go USA!)
 Caitlin Silliman and Catch a Star just as they were starting to warm up:
 I don't know who this rider is but I was trying to figure out what the yellow stripe is on the horse's neck. Unfortunately they never came close enough to get a good picture or view.
Conclusion: We had a blast. I am so excited for XC tomorrow! Coming up will hopefully be several posts reviewing new and fun things!

Go Eventing!

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Dragging Stifles

That is the opinion of the farrier on what is going on with Loki's feet. He came out and touched them up and is coming out on Monday again to redo his fronts and he'll touch them up even more.

The good news is that Loki is not tangibly sore anywhere as far as both my trainer and the farrier could tell. The more good news is that this is something completely fixable.

The bad news is I haven't been riding him from back to front enough. He is letting his hind end drag instead of pushing with it. This is extremely frustrating because I've been working so hard on this. I can't help but wonder if I pushed him a little too far and he got sore and tried to compensate or if he was just evading the hard work and I wasn't catching it?

The good news is that in my last two lessons he was cantering correctly and was very much so when we went XC schooling so he can do it I just need to make sure he does every time we ride. I will be scheduling several more lessons to make sure we're on the right track. We'll also be incorporating more pole work as well.

The vet is still coming out on Friday and I will have her check him out to see if she has a different opinion. If she agrees with the farriers assessment then we'll get back to work with a little more awareness of what the rear end is doing.

Thank you for all the comments on my last post. I'm sorry I haven't responded-I may or may not have been indulging in a little pouting/pity party. I really do appreciate all the kind words and advice, though. It is definitely one of those things that I have come to love about blogging, that is the support from you guys.

I did get to ride a super cute pony today and I rode Mote, Loki's brother from a different mother. I'll write about that soon. Right now I'm getting ready to go to bed because ROLEX IS TOMORROW!

Oh and be sure to check out Hilary's contest over on Equestrian At Hart!

Monday, April 21, 2014

Storm Clouds

" There comes a point in every rider's life when he wonders if it's all worth it. Then one look at the horse, and he realizes - it is."  - Kelly Stewart
As horse people I feel like we should know better than most that life just can't always be rainbows and unicorns. Well, today we hit our storm cloud and I'm afraid it is a big one. (Yes, I am freaking out a bit!)

This is what Loki's hind feet look like right now:


 I've been researching since I "discovered" this and let me just warn you do NOT google hoof diseases and abnormalities unless you have a very strong stomach. There are some things that just can't be unseen!

From my research it seems as though Loki's hind feet are bullnosed. There was a lot written about the angles of certain bones but to be perfectly honest while I have a very rough understanding of what I read it was mostly all Greek to me.

So the farrier comes out on Wednesday and the Vet is coming on Friday and I am trying to stay calm in the mean time and of course Loki will be on vacation until we figure out what needs to be done.

My biggest issue aside from the worry is this: How the hell did I not notice this before now? That question has been replaying over and over and over in my mind all night. My trainer actually noticed it today because she happened to be sitting on the ground and got a good look at Loki's hooves at eye level instead of from above. But Loki is my horse and I handle him everyday. I pick his dang feet out every freaking day! How did I not notice that something was really amiss. I truly doubt that this happened over night.

And in fact I can't even say that I didn't notice anything. I remember thinking on two separate occasions that Loki's toes looked really short/strange and thinking I needed to ask my trainer about it. But, she wasn't around and then I got distracted and he's never been off despite the funkiness so I guess it just didn't register as urgent. Hello, bad horse owner! His hooves were really hot to the touch today which is a new development but he still seems totally sound. He stands square, he doesn't seem to rest one leg more than the other, he picks all four feet up without complaining. He was sound when I walked/trotted him out. I mean either he has a REALLY high pain thresh hold or something strange is going on.

And just to add a little more thunder to the storm a certain little puppy named Pixel who was spayed on Thursday and has been a very poor patient (read running and jumping instead of resting)  has suddenly decided to develop a fever and possibly an infection. So I see possibly even more vet visits in our future.

Stay tuned...

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Click Click Clickity Click

I've been afraid to come out and say this but after yesterday's XC schooling I'm just going to take the chance. Something has finally clicked into place for Loki and me. Somewhere throughout this long winter of boring indoor flat work and the very few jump schools we've had Loki and I just turned a corner. Are we at the finish line yet? Heck no! But holy cow are we miles from where we started.
XC schooling was amazing to put it simply. I did ride him in the combination bit and I think it was a good choice. I had brakes but he was still very forward. We started by warming up in one of the dressage arenas on the grounds. We had a big group of us, 8 horses in all. One of those horses goes out in the same field with Loki and that horse also was left at the trailers because he was just there to "get used to" getting out again. Luckily as soon as we moved away he started hollering which Loki felt obliged to answer. There was also a pony club rally going on so there were lots of distractions. It was good practice for us sort of simulating a show environment but without the nerves for me. Loki stayed with me for the most part but it was challenging to keep his mind on me and not on everything else going on around us. Once we got out to the actual course he was much better.

And we jumped! We jumped lots of stuff and lots of bigger stuff that we haven't jumped before. We were on it! Not every single jump was perfect. But I learned a lot. I'm starting to recognize what I'm doing when I screw up so that I can actually fix it the second time. Most of the time when I screw up it is simply me not riding through the fence but simply riding to it and then mentally throwing my hands in the air and praying we make it over. Loki's answer to that is to just charge, get flat and fling himself over. When I ride through the fence he stays compacted and flies over it. I have no idea what we look like since I'm never blessed with a photographer but it felt amazing when we got it right.
Sadly no pictures of the day so here is an old one just for the heck of it.
We did have two refusals. Both of them were at fences that we jumped going downhill and I know both refusals were totally on me. I just froze and stopped riding and it was enough that Loki basically said, "I'm not going over without you!" But on the second approach both times I managed to put my big girl pants on and we got over. Another good learning experience. I'm hoping we get a chance to repeat those types of fences again before our first event so that I can be more mentally prepared.

All in all it was simply an amazing day and I sure hope we are able to repeat it. Ideally with some photographic evidence the next time!

Friday, April 18, 2014

Some Days Are Just Better Than Others

I'm going to have to be quick because I'm tired and my brain feels like it is slowly sliding to the floor but I wanted to put my thoughts down about my past lesson before I forget. So, here goes:

When I got to the barn my trainer was no where around so I took my time tacking up and just messin' with stuff. When it was getting past the time we had decided on for our lesson I figured Lori had just forgotten so I decided to just tack up and ride on my own. Just as I was getting on Lori showed up and we headed down to the outdoor.

We started with some flat work. Loki had had two days off and Lori commented that he looked really good for having had two days off. We still need to work on slowing the rhythm of his trot down but he is getting so much steadier in the bridle and at least trying to start using himself. He still gets on his forehand but so much better. Lori had me circling, changing directions, slowing down, speeding up, transitioning, etc just to keep Loki's mind busy and the more we did that the softer he got.

Finally we moved on to some jumping. We warmed up over a cross rail and Loki stayed nice and quiet. We moved to a small gymnastic line and Loki stayed quiet. We started raising the poles and... Loki stayed quiet. (There is a theme here!) Finally we put a little course together that incorporated the gymnastic line and a couple of other fences and guess what, Loki stayed quiet! (Oh, and as a side note my horse absolutely refuses to jump the liverpool you can see in the photo below. He literally just runs right through it! I guess he really is an event horse!)
This picture is actually from the day before. Sadly no pictures of the awesome lesson.
The absolute best feeling was when we did an outside line that consisted of a cross rail and then four strides to some barrels. We got the four strides easy, not rushed but just right. Then Lori told me to come back around and get it in five. What? Doesn't she know my horse? He is much more ready to leave out a stride then to add one but okay. It did take us two tries but OMG! we didn't just get the five strides we got it smoothly. It wasn't 4 1/2 strides but five actual strides.

I know I know this probably sounds silly to be so excited about but holy cow, dare I say it? We might actually have a little bit of a.d.j.u.s.t.a.b.i.l.i.t.y. in our canter! We came around a couple more times and were able to repeat the five strides then we put the whole course together again and Lori asked me how many strides I was going to get on that outside line. I said five. She thought I was being optimistic because it was coming towards the end of our course but we did it! We got the five strides.

And another "best part" about this is that because I had thought my trainer wasn't coming when I tacked Loki up all I had dressed him in was our myler comfort snaffle. We did all of this without even our running martingale. I do think this is progress!

XC schooling tomorrow morning! Rolex next weekend! Our first horse show the weekend after!

Summer is finally here!

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Blog Hop: Immediate Inspiration

 

Most of us take lessons, whether its a couple times a week or a couple times a month. Some of us have more then one instructor. Why do you train with your trainer? If okay or possible, share a picture of your trainer riding.

Moving around as much as I have I've worked with several different trainers but I rarely get the chance to stick with one trainer for very long. I've actually been with my current trainer the longest aside from the very first person who taught me to ride. Why do I ride with her? I guess there are more than just one answer to that question. I started riding with her mainly out of convenience. My sister knew her and recommended her and that is how it started.

But from there it was pretty easy to stay. My trainer is pretty laid back and not the most organized person you'll ever meet. You certainly have to be a pretty flexible person, I think, when riding with her but she is a very talented rider and trainer. She has helped me find confidence which is a big deal and she has given me so many opportunities to ride green horses, horses straight off the track and taught me a lot of the basics of taking a horse from the track and turning it into a solid citizen more or less. I mean most of the work with Loki I have done on my own under her guidance. And now that we are becoming a better team it is such a great feeling! She is also an active rider and when she can she takes lessons from different upper level riders/trainers which often trickles down into my lessons.

She's not perfect of course but who is? She is affordable which like it or not does play a factor in our choices but I will be sad to leave next summer; sad and nervous to strike out on my own not knowing who or even if I will be able to ride with another trainer. So I'm definitely trying to enjoy the time I have.
My trainer riding Loki at his first event while I was still in Japan.
Speaking of my trainer, I had the most awesomest lesson yesterday. I will try to write about it tomorrow because I don't want to forget these good things that happen.

And ONE WEEK to Rolex!!

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

I Don't Understand!?!

How does it go from the 70's to this:
 In less than 2 days! Thankfully it is supposed to be back in the 50's by tomorrow and the 60's by the end of the week. But, I do believe Mother Winter is flipping us the bird, giggling on her way back to the North. Right back at ya, Winter!

I'm going to try and not bury my head in the sand uh, that is my bed today and go do something somewhat useful like go to the gym and go check on Loki. I don't think I can make myself ride, though but I do have a lesson tomorrow so there is hope. Now if you'll excuse me I'm going to go cheer myself up with this little one:
Stay warm people!

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Poor White Guy

We had our first cook-out of the year over the weekend. 70+ degrees and it was beautiful despite a very strong wind. We were at my sister's place and a friend of mine that I used to ride with as a teen came over and my sister, she and I all got lots of horsey time while the guys cooked and did whatever else they were doing.

It seems as though my white guy got some rain rot over the past couple of weeks. I guess it has been at least five weeks since I had been able to make it out to check on him (bad Mom!) but in that time frame this happened:
It was crazy. His hair just came out as I was brushing him but it doesn't seem to hurt so I'm not positive that it is rain rot but I think it is or was at least. This was the only spot. I swear this poor old man gets every skin gunk there is. His sweet itch hasn't started up yet but I'm sure that is right around the corner. I've got some stuff coming to try and combat it but we'll see how it goes.

After a pretty thorough grooming which ended in Ghazal looking about 40% better and me looking like I took a bath in white hair we decided to give all the kids pony rides. Unfortunately the only pictures I have are from a friend from facebook and they are extremely poor quality.
Evie on my sister's mare, Sharea
Elaina on the Zel Bel
Weston on Zel
We had so much fun! My friend, sister and I are all planning on doing much trail riding together this summer, just like old times, I really hope it works out!

Friday, April 11, 2014

Equine Affaire 2014

We had a blast at EA yesterday! My favorite part this year was definitely watching the Jimmy Wooford clinics. I missed the beginning of the first one but still got a lot out of it and my trainer road in the second which was fun to watch. Her horse really didn't want to play but his nickname is "the devil" for a reason. He kept things entertaining. And I completely forgot to take pictures so you'll have to make due with this fuzzy picture I borrowed from a friend on facebook:
I was such a good girl about shopping I can't even begin to tell you... The only thing I bought aside from food was a Wooford book. I got that because he was available for signing and I really wanted to meet him. I bought his gymnastics book. I figure this is stuff Loki and I could definitely work on more.
I was wearing one of my Rolex t-shirts which inspired his message:
It took me a sec to decipher his handwriting. It says "with best wishes. See you at Rolex 2014"
There was so much stuff to look at but I have to admit I really wasn't very tempted to buy anything in particular. There was tons of artwork and "fun" non essential things I would have loved to get a hold of but knowing I was saving my money for shows and other things I really, sort of need made it easier to say no.

I was thinking about going back up on Saturday as my trainer is riding her other horse (Loki's half-brother) in the Bernie Traurig clinic but unfortunately I don't think that is going to happen. Parking is $6 and it is $15 to get in plus once you factor in gas and food it is more than I want to spend at the moment.

But next up ROLEX 2014!! I must admit I will probably be much more tempted to buy things at Rolex because the stuff there is much more eventing specific instead of the more general horsey things you see at Equine Affaire.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Blog Hop: Our Commercial Moment

Honestly with Equine Affaire tomorrow (eeeee- can't wait) this particular blog hop comes at a great time. My funds are really limited right now due to wanting to show and I need some help reminding myself why I shouldn't be spending money on things unless I really need them! (Need of course being a sometimes subjective word!)
Our Commercial Moment
What are you buying next? Not your "Wish I could" list but your actual practical pony shopping list. And if its a high ticket item you are saving for what is it and when do you expect to order/get it?

The things I have on my "to buy as soon as I can" list are:
  1. A new myler combination bit. I've been borrowing my trainer's bit for jump schooling but eventually I need to get my own. I've been waiting, though, to make sure I really 'need' this particular bit (it is pricey!). I'm still on the fence, though, because lately I've had some fabulous jump schools just riding in our plain old snaffle. 
  2. A Micklem bridle. If I do end up using a different bit for jumping then I really need to invest in a new bridle. Switching the bit out all the time is a pain in the rear. Plus I just really need another bridle. I know most of you all understand!
  3. MTG and sweet itch products for Ghazal. Really this should be my biggest priority. Spring is here and if I don't get on it my poor pony will have no mane and tail again all summer. I'm not sure if I will be able to make a whole lot of difference but I'm determined to try.
  4. Things for the trailer such as a muckbucket cart. This isn't necessarily a priority but since I will be taking my sister's trailer to most of my shows it would be nice to be self-sufficient and not need to borrow a bunch of stuff from my trainer all the time. 
For the long term I am saving up or at least I have plans to save up for a custom saddle. And finally, sometime next year before we move I will be making the very large purchase of a new-to-me trailer. With as much as we move having my own trailer just makes sense

Honestly I think that is it. There are a ton of things I'd love of course but for the first time in a long time I really don't need anything. It's a good thing, too because, I might have mentioned this before but, eventing is freaking expensive and these entry fees are going to kill me!! I'm not really complaining, though, because I am way too busy feeling thankful for the opportunity to actually show this year! Seriously, sometimes I do need to remind myself how lucky I am just to have horses in my life as much as I do, really lucky and blessed and I hope I never, ever take it for granted!

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Plans

I am so exhausted you all for no real good reason but this post may suffer for it, we'll see.

Loki is doing well. It's weird but good (I think?). His splint is almost completely gone. You can still feel a bit of a bump but no heat and it appears set already. I dunno that seems really fast to me but my trainer looked at him and felt he was fine. He's still sound and was never lame on it to begin with but I'm still a little nervous about it so while I have started riding him again I'm trying to take it easy and just have a few quiet rides then see how it goes.

Equine Affaire is almost hear! I will be going up with some friends on Thursday. I'm mainly looking forward to the Jimmy clinic as my trainer is riding "the devil" in it but I love window shopping at EA. I'm hoping to not spend too much money, though because...

EVENTING IS EXPENSIVE YO!

Ugh, I just sent in my entry for Greater Dayton which I'm super excited about but I think we are going to have to skip May Daze because holy crap it is just so darn expensive to compete! Two events on back to back weekends is just too much unfortunately. So instead we are going to go to Midsouth Pony Club Rally in June. I think it is at the KHP as well at least part of it is so at least we'll get a chance to ride there some.

But our first show will be the All Thoroughbred Show at the KHP the first Sunday in May. We will be doing the beginner novice combined test and then sticking around to go to XC schooling days at the park that following Monday. So excited! We are also bringing a bunch of the FFI horses with us to get them some exposure to the show world as well as expose them to potential adopters. I really hope it as fun as I'm envisioning in my head!

My husband and I also have plans to go to Chicago with my parents for a mini-vacation right afterwards. It's going to be a busy couple of months so things might be a little quiet around here. I'm not sure what the rest of the summer will look like but there are a ton of schooling shows so hopefully we'll have plenty on our plate.

From when I turned Loki out a couple of days ago.

Bye Mom

Monday, April 7, 2014

Junk In Your Trunk Blog Hop

Hey all, I can tell that Spring really has sprung because all the sudden I am super busy. I do have some stuff to share but I wanted to get in on this blog hop and time is almost up! So here goes:
For some reason I forgot to take a picture of some of my tack trunks closed but my main one is this Burlingham Saddle Trunk seen here on Smartpak.

The main compartment holds two saddles comfortably if a bit tight, my main bridle, halters, breastplate, girths and whips.
 In the door is my main bridle with two shelves of stuff like shampoos, betadine, etc. For the winter I have a lot of my stuff in a bag that I carry back and forth from my house so that I can keep certain things from freezing so it looks a little bare right now. 
 In the top I have my clippers and an extension cord, some vet wrap and various odds and ends including some ribbons that just got put there and never moved.
 Next to my main trunk I have a blanket bag.
 It has standing wraps, polos and bandages as well as my coolers.
I also have my Stanley Trunk:
It has some extra saddle pads in it but it is mostly empty. I use it for hauling stuff to shows.  Oh, and my show helmet is in there, too.
And finally I have a blue Tupperware box that has a bunch of miscellaneous things such as my half pad, an extra bridle, my shipping boots and other horse boots.
Seeing everybody else's tack trunks has made me realize I really need to work on getting better organized. At the moment I have a lot of room for all my stuff but when I move in a year+ time that might not be the case. I know I probably could combine the Stanley box and the blue Tupperware at the very least. Not pictured is one other smaller Tupperware box that I store my winter blankets in over the summer. 

However, this is all of my horse stuff. I don't keep anything at home except my actual riding clothes. That makes it better, right?