Off the List

What an interesting year it has been! I’d like to thank all of you for making it though my various pity parties, meltdowns, and emotional rollar coaster moments. Seriously…I wrote those posts, and I don’t even want to read them.

However, I truly do appreciate all the support that was given! You guys are awesome.

I may have mentioned I love lists. Especially crossing things off of lists. Too bad I started this blog on a whim and had basically no aspirations for it at the time. Case in point-no goals.

Dang.

Well, I guess I had one. That will come later.

Anyway, I thought I might take a minute to highlight the good parts of things I needed to accomplish with O in 2013 that got us to (our next post) where we need to start in 2014 goal-wise.
Balanced-and-Beautiful-Hooves

Biggest and baddest first:
SOUNDNESS. After months of vets and conditioning, we think (knock on wood) that we may have found a way to keep O in work, sound, and happy. Success!
Olivier Guillon

Other goals included:
Getting a lead change (accomplished but not prettily)
Jumping a full course (woot-check that off the list)
Riding 4-5 times a week (most of the time this is a success)
Show O in anything (epic fail)
Switch farriers to my preferred (I’m sure the other farriers hate me now, but I love my guy)
Find a bit that works for O (rubber snaffle-success)

On a personal side of goals:
I managed to stay married through all those vet bills (ouch)

My one goal for the year, which came out of my growing attachment to this blog, was to reach 100 followers by 2014. As of today, O pony and I have exactly 100 followers. And with a whole day to spare! Ha!
100-followers

Once again thank you to all the readers out there; you are fantastic. I would love to put together a giveaway to celebrate reaching 100, so stay tuned for that in the next few weeks!

Hose-1 Us-0

O is not excited to be ridden.

O is not excited to be ridden.


This week O and I have been on two very different pages. With the weather we struggled to find time and arena space to really do much. We managed a few lunge outings, and one so-so ride. Yesterday I only had a few minutes and thought, how cute would it be to just bareback it around. Maybe we just need a cuddly ride, and less pushing for a day.

Fuzzy pony was very herd sour on this particular morning, so I dragged her in and threw her bridle on her. She was totally chill and agreeable when I hopped on. We walked and trotted around a bit. She’s really pretty comfy bareback minus her hideous canter.

One of the trainers came in to water the indoor for the lessons that day and we struck up some conversation while she moved the hose in. O continued to be a sloth and jog around the ring quietly. However, once the big green hose had been uncurled she wanted to take a look and blow through her nose at it a bit, but that was that. We even managed to stand by it. I gave her a big ole pat on the neck, and told her she was such a good girl. My trainer walked a few feet away and connected the hoses.

And the big green hose we were standing on…yeah well…it flung itself at us, spraying water and mud.

O’s heart must’ve stopped.

Her front legs completely splayed out and her front end practically dropped to the ground. I sort of remember pulling on the reins to drag her back up. No luck. Hose continued slithering around, and O decided she would get us the hell out of there. Or rather she would get herself out of there. Because at that point she threw my butt on the ground and high tailed it across the ring.

My trainer ducked back in, and seeing the situation quickly grabbed the hose and helped me wrangle my distraught beast. Pony was still pretty hysterical, but seemed almost bashful about dumping me. She followed me back across the ring, her head at my lower back as we reintroduced the hose to her. This time it just got the stink eye over my shoulder a few times. Then me and my sore butt climbed back up on my beast and did more walk/trot work and made her trot around, over, and even through the hose. She kind of giraffed around a bit, but I was still proud there was no more meltdowns.

I have some pretty sweet rein “burn” from attempted to stick on, and a nice bruise on my backside, but other than that it was pretty funny.

My first fall since high school.
Hose-1
O and I-0

The enemy!!

The enemy!!

Stolen 30 Questions Second Half….

16. What’s a moment with horses you wished you caught on camera?
I wish I had more photos of shows and such when I was younger! Also, I’d be interested in seeing my falls (I’d want to learn from them)!

17. How old was the youngest horse you’ve met?
One day old. We had a lovely broodmare at one of my hunter/jumper barns and she had the prettiest babies. We met hubby’s baby horse when he was a week old or so. These pictures were taken later, but he’s freaking adorable.

What a sweetie.

What a sweetie.

18. Hold old was the oldest horse you’ve met?
I’ve met some dinosaurs, but couldn’t tell you their exact age. Well over 30.

19. Opinion on colorful tack?
I like colorful baby pads, saddle pads and the occasional polo wrap. That’s about as far as I go though, and never at shows. I’m boring.

No thank you.

No thank you.

20. Have you ever tried horse treats? Hay?
Only ones I’ve made myself. I didn’t like them!

21. Have you ever felt like giving up on a horse?
I have. This past year O had quite literally been the most frustrating part of my life. Her mysterious lameness and the inability to diagnose her led to lots of “big” comments. AKA….she’ll never do what you want, maybe you should retire her, have you considered selling her etc. Thank god for amazing chiropractic work!

22. Tell the story of the first horse that you first felt “click” with you immediately.
Hell hath no fury like a chestnut mare. And she was hell on four legs. Mean attitude, tendency to kick out and buck, and no one else liked her. I was in love within 5 minutes of being on her. She was fiery, beautiful and put her whole heart into everything. After months of careful love (she also bit), she finally started coming around. We were awesome together for years.

23. Ever ridden side-saddle? How was it?
Please no. I am not what you would want to call graceful, or really all the balanced.

24. Most interesting place you’ve ridden?
The ranch where my in-laws live. It’s gorgeous and I can never get enough of it.

From our engagment photo shoot at the ranch.

From our engagment photo shoot at the ranch.

25. What kind of horse do you like? (draft, sport, stock, endurance, etc)
I’m a sucker for sport horses, but always say I’d love a feathery draft to play with.
Specifically this draft. She’s gorgeous and belongs to my in-laws.

3 and a half years old and still growing!

3 and a half years old and still growing!

26. Do you feel like you have more patience with horses than people?
Probably horses, I tend to be a cynic sometimes with people.

27. Is the horse you ride very vocal?
Nope.

28. Ever ridden in the sunset?
Yes, I work until 5 which means lots of sunset rides for me.

29. How do you like a horse’s mane (roached, pulled, long, etc)
I think sport horses look great with the pulled mane. HOWEVER, I drool over all those gorgeous manes at reining shows and QH events. My hair isn’t that pretty, let alone O’s.

Gorgeous.

Gorgeous.

30. What is your dream name for a horse?
Keeping that to myself. 🙂

Finally got to go see O today! I just lunged her to see how she was moving. She was stiff, but seeing as she’s been standing in wet snow and ice for a week. Hopefully it’ll get better as if supposed to be decent (high 30’s-40’s) and we’ll get to do some real work.

Stolen 30 Questions

There is currently over an inch of ice on the ground, with several inches of snow on top of that. Therefore I am currently curled up under a blanket eating tons of christmas goodies as opposed to riding my horse. It’d be better for all if I could get to the barn, but that’s not going to happen today.

So I stole these 30 questions from Viva Carlos and thought I’d entertain you with the first half today. Enjoy the first half!!

1) If your horse could talk, what would they say? What would they be like?

O would definitely be a really chill girl, but I’d also see her wanting to be the teachers pet. She thrives on attention, and typically wants to make everyone happy. If we had a chance to talk ever, I think she’d want to gossip about the other horses and riders. She’s always into everything.

2) If you were a horse, what would you look like, what discipline would you do, and what would you be like to ride?

I’m pretty sure I’d end up being a jumper or something that lends itself towards short bursts of speed and quick thinking. I tend to be pretty forward thinking, but get distracted easily; so it’s probably better that the classes not take forever. I’d do much better with a quiet calm rider, as I can get a bit dramatic at times. I’m guessing I’d be part quarter or WB (I’ve got wide shoulders, and some junk in the trunk)…I don’t see my body type translating into a thoroughbred. 🙂 Just being honest!

3) How many barns have you ridden at?

This is my fourth stable, although I’ve been through several trainers within those facilities.

4) What kind of bay do you prefer?

Mine!

I love her back white socks and cute little snip.

I love her back white socks and cute little snip.

5) Can you braid a horse’s mane and/or tail?

I used to be super good at braiding manes. No idea if I’d be able to do it right this second though.

6) Do you believe you have to fall off to be a good rider?

Hmmm…I feel like if you are striving to be a great rider you are likely pushing yourself which tends to lean towards falls. But I don’t think it’s related that much.

7) What do you think is more important, equitation or effective riding?

This past year with O I have really had to focus more on effective riding, as she was a really different green ride for me. I hope to someday turn this effective into “pretty” effective riding and I can then call that equitation.

8) Are there any horse couples at your barn?

Not really, but lots of supportive husbands. My husband and I may be the closest as he is a fabulous rider in his own right but isn’t really interested in the english world.

9) Favourite treat to feed your horse?

I love to feed her peppermints. She gets super excited and then has great breath.

10) Silly quirks your horse has.

Dear lord this horse licks everything. I don’t understand it, but I’m assuming she’s just checking stuff out. Nothing is out of her range, she’ll go for people, concrete, cars, hoses, walls, saddles, anything. It’s usually just a lick or two but it’s still pretty goofy.

Licking the unsuspecting bench.

Licking the unsuspecting bench.


Tasting the wall...

Tasting the wall…


11) Strangest thing you’ve fed your horse.

I’m pretty boring, I haven’t given O anything all that odd. I did have a horse that loved potato chips and bananas before though.

12) Have you ever made any horse friends through the internet?

I hope so! I haven’t gotten to meet any of you in person, but it’s been great reading your stories and sharing mine.

13) Would you put horse furniture?

I don’t know how crazy I’d go with this, but I do love paintings of horses! I also have lots horseshoes around at the moment since we used them in the wedding and now have them randomly spread around. I like them!

14) Funniest horse moment.

Uhhh, pick one?
All I can think of right now is the show that I took this gorgeous chestnut hunter mare to, and we were ready to take on the world. However, she, as those who ride chestnut mares know, changed her mind by the time we got into the ring. She bucked over everything single jump. It was hysterical. Not mean bucks, just excited bucks and every single on of our pictures came back with her back feet all over the place. I laughed all the way around, and my trainer could barely talk by the time I walked out. Gotta love them mares.

15) Post a picture of your horse making a silly face.

Sneaker.

She gets into everything.

She gets into everything.

Crossing my fingers that the nasty will melt off soon and I can get out to see my pony. Wishing everyone safe travels during the holidays!!

1st Anniversary

O has now been mine for a year now! I can’t remember the exact date the check was written, so I’ve decided to celebrate the whole month!

I’m planning to do anniversay pictures with my fuzzy girl once it warms up a bit, but until then I thought it best to do a recap of our first year together.

Winter 2012/2013:
Highlights: O and I continue to figure each other out. Her gaits are brutally uncomfortable (unbalanced), but she shows great natural form over fences. We discover her association with men riding her to running like a lunatic (trained by men, alway jockeyed by them). Poor hubby. We then work on lots of circles in field.

After I rode her in a trial.   I knew there would be lots of work ahead.

After I rode her in a trial. I knew there would be lots of work ahead.


Showing off our new skills.

Showing off our new skills.


Starting to figure each other out.

Starting to figure each other out.


Looking so much better in full time work!

Looking so much better in full time work!

Springtime:
I get married!! Come home from tropical honeymoon to a thrown shoe, followed by mystery lamness in the back right.
Macy 580

Injections happen after lots of testing and time off. Of course the midwest has one of the most gorgeous springs in years…I am hand walking.

Enjoying being fat and NQR all spring.

Enjoying being fat and NQR all spring.

Early summer: O shows off her fancy sound back end by being incredibly foot sore in the front. Pads go on, hind shoes follow. Soundness slowly returns.

O enjoying her new pads and shoes!

O enjoying her new pads and shoes!

O then steps on pebble and goes lame. More time off, soaking, wrapping, etc. I pull her from another small schooling show to give her more time to get back into things. Comes roaring back to action at the end of the month. Continues kicking butt and figuring her job out.

Back in work...maybe?

Back in work…maybe?

O starts to shows off how fit she is, and that she does have some attitude. Then pulls a 180 and pulls up lame on my birthday (thanks O) and one day before the 3rd show we have attempted this summer. We change her turnout location/type in an effort to stop her stupidity in the field.

One of seemingly dozens of vet visits this summer.

One of seemingly dozens of vet visits this summer.

O goes through one full round of Legend injections after she continues to be lame in various legs. Flexion tests, xrays, etc. show no signs of injury. She does not show any improvement. O goes to the chiropractor for the first time, they claim she has a badly “out” hip that could be causing her to be sore. Voices his concern that she may not come back to be a jumping horse.

Fall 2013:
With all 3 trainers, my family, husband, in-laws, and friends involved O goes into super reconditioning program. With her hip properly set, we attempt to strength her back end (always a weak spot) so that it holds the hip correctly and promotes healing. Essentially reteaching her how to use it. Lots of walks, hills, trotting, bonding, stretching, and praying. She also gets special shoeing meant to toughen the sole. By the end of the month, I’m tempted to call it a failure and tell my in-laws to come get her for a 6 month stay in their fields. FInally, in the last week in October, O trots out sound under tack.

Being cute in the last of the nice weather.

Being cute in the last of the nice weather.

For the first time since August, I am able to canter my horse (2 whole laps) under tack, and take a lesson on her. We even trot a baby x. Riding life is smoothing out, and she is a boss at her first serious training lesson.

Finally working like a sound horse again!

Finally working like a sound horse again!

After our last lesson, riding her around with zero lameness, ears pricked, and perfectly happy; I admit that I cried. I cried because I did almost give up on her, and would’ve missed the chance to spend the year with my amazing little bay mare. I’ve learned so much this year, and cannot wait to see what 2014 has in store for us.

She's my favorite.

She’s my favorite.


And I think she knows it!

And I think she knows it!

I like to move it.

So I think I’ve figurd out what O is getting for Christmas. And even though it’s not thing something edible I’m guessing she’ll be pretty happy.

We are moving!

Cannot wait to move!

Cannot wait to move!

I’m not sure exactly how much I’m mentioned this, but the stable I currently ride with doesn’t actually own the property we ride on. My trainer leases the space/land like many other riding groups in the area. Since my “stable” or riding group has grown, and added two other trainers (one as acting barn manager) and several dozens of students and horses, we have officially outgrown our facility.

Beautiful, but the same pond that took at least 3 shoes off last year.

Beautiful, but the same pond that took at least 3 shoes off last year.

The hunt for a new one was kept pretty quiet, it’s competitive market around here. But earlier this summer my head trainer announced that we are moving end of the year. The new place is lovely, and has not one, not two, but THREE rings, one of which is a fabulous indoor arena that dwarfs our current facilities. And the fields, turnouts and stalls are wonderful. Even the office space is better (AKA heated!)! And yes, there is heated water/indoor washstalls and everything. Ahhhh dream come true!

We weren’t sure when we would be able to make the leap to the new facility, but it turns out it will be right after New Years. I’m thrilled!