Sunday, February 27, 2011

Days 16 and 17

Took Bobby on a hack yesterday. Left at the same time another woman was getting on her horse to ride around the field. Bobby was watching her, but he was totally unconcerned about leaving and going off on his own. We did have a minor breakdown when an amish buggy trotted by. His heart was slamming out of his chest, and he kept trying to spin around to go back home, but I won in the end, and once the buggy disappeared around the corner, he totally forgot about it. Trotted almost all the way down the trail a mile, then turned around and trotted the whole mile back. He was only a little sweaty by his girth when we got back, but I did let him have a long walk back to cool out.

Today, Hubby got on Red and I got on Bobby and we went out for a hack together. Both boys were really good, even when Hubby and I had a lack of communication and both went different ways; neither horse had a problem walking away from the other. Bobby had no problem falling behind Red, even though he likes to be the trail blazer, but I think it was mostly becaue he couldn't keep up. Red maaaybe sticks at 16hh, and Bobby's a pretty solid 17hh, but Red has a monster stride and he can easily out walk anyone. I think Bobby got more work just stretching his legs at the walk trying to keep Red in sight than yesterday when he was trotting. I made him trot through a big puddle, which he willingly did, and we trotted next to Red for a little bit without trying to race, which was a relief.

                                            Bobby says, "Wait for me!"

Went back and Hubby wanted to ride a little in the arena, so we went out there.

                                            The boys headed to the arena.

Red was being a princess about doing more work than he wanted, so Hubby stopped and I popped Bobby over the fences a few times. I STILL have to keep reminding myself that he's green, green, green! He got quick the first time to the x-rail and he jumped huge, which I wasn't ready for. So I rode a little too slow the next couple times around and he pretty much just cantered over them. After knocking over a pole for the second time, I knew he needed to pick up his feet, so I put him to the vertical. He got a little close to it the first time, but went over pretty well. Second time he jumped huuuuged, but cantered off great, so I let him leave it at that. I think he was tired anyway.

                                              First time over vertical.

Thursday, February 24, 2011


"My!" you say. "You must have been overachieving to get back from the barn my 9:30 today!" Eh. Not really. While I do get up at 5:30 every morning thanks to Hubby's job, but I don't usually even get to the barn until 10:30. However, it's supposed to rain starting this afternoon and not quit for a week so I was going to head out early, get a good dressage schooling in on Bobby and poke around on Red, and let that be that. I got dressed, tamed the hair into a braid that would fit under my helmet, threw on the muck boots, and promptly remembered I had almost no gas left. Uggghhhh. Yet another no-gas-the-day-before-payday day.

I checked the guage thinking I might have enough to get away with it, but it takes me almost to-the-dot a quarter tank of gas to get to the barn and back and I had just under a quarter. And yesterday I emptied the House Fund enevelope to get there. Of course, there was only $42 in it to begin with, but it's still a bummer.

Our lease on our house now runs out in June, and as long as our landlady doesn't fill the "apartment"/"house"/"shed" that's probably 15' from our back door, we'll probably renew the lease anyway. It's an awesome remodeled school house, the dogs and cats are allowed, she stays out of our way, BUT she hasn't sent us our electric since the first one in October. Running arout $100-$120/mo. I can't imagine why. She better know she's not getting paid all those months in bulk. We've even asked her to send them to us! Whatever. Her loss, certainly not ours.

Which brings us to the question: WHY did you decide to event? Well, if you only knew how far up we've moved over the past couple of years, anything seems like an attainable goal now. Hubby and I just have to plan and budget waaaay ahead of time. Which means we have to sit down this weekend and figure out how to pay for/get to Bobby's first x-country schooling next month, and get to the Equine Affaire the month after that.

Best Hubby ever, if nothing else goes right. At least he understands all free money must go to ponies!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Day 15

Short, chill rides on both caballos today. Worked on flying changes again with Red, and he was doing those pretty well. He needs some lateral work work, since I think he's getting a little stiff at his leg yields and sticking a little bit. But overall not bad. Hubby pulled in just as I was getting done and stopped by to say hi for a few minutes.  He had the intern with him... setting a good work ethic example, as always. ; ]

Debated on whether or not to put the draw reins on Bobby and get another dressage schooling in, or try a little jumping. Decided to go for the jumping--just wasn't in the mood for more going around and around in circles. I used Red's elevator bit today because of how unresponsive he was to the slow twist yesterday. No standing martingale. I'm a little at-odds of going up with his bit again because I don't want to make his mouth hard, but I guess the elevator is still pretty kind, just leverage when you need it. He responded a lot better to the elevator for adjustments. I only tried lengthening and shortening at the trot once each way, but he was doing it pretty well. One canter circle each way, and he nailed it the first time each way, so I left it at that.

Took him at the trot to the x-rail and for the first time ever he refused! It was my fault. I had the crop in my hand, but just wasn't in the mindset yet. He died right before it, I didn't use my leg or stick, and I was staring right at the jump. Circled him quickly, sent him back to it. He almost died again, but I gave him a smack and he crashed over it--first time taking a rail down! Ugh. Put the rail back up and sent him to it again. Really big, disorganized jump, but we got over. Sent him again. Finally got it right! Went once more at the trot and he was good, so I decided to try at the canter. He cantered up until about 2 strides out, fell into a trot, and went over. Tried approaching at the canter again, but he fell out of it turning towards the jump so I let him trot up to it. Went a little lazy and caught a rail again, so I moved on to the vertical so I wouldn't have to get off and on again.

The vertical is only around 2'. He popped over it the first time, but brought the rail down. Again my fault because of not enough leg, but I was proud he went over it without a question. Put the rail back up and sent him at it again from the other direction. Gave him a good squeeze with my legs and really sent him to it, and he jumped it beautifully!! Left it at that, with lots of cookies afterwards.

I need to remember that this is a green baby who doesn't know what jumping is and I have to ride him like that. It's been several years since I retrained Red to jump so it's just got to be hammered back into my head. It's nice I have such a willing, understanding baby to work with.

Equine we come!

Bobby and I are headed to Ohio! We got selected as one of the 12 pairs to participate in the Breed Demo at the Ohio Equine Affair, courtesy of New Vocations. Woo hoo!! Now to find us a ride.....

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Day 14

Great ride on both ponies today. It started with cleaning poop out of Bobby's feed bucket so I could give him his mineral block and lunch, so it could really only go up from there.

I brought the camera to get some video of Red jumping. Had a great w/t/c warmup on him, and was really nailing flying changes. Gosh, I love how that horse goes. Especially when struggling with dressage on Bobby. I set up the camera and did about 10 jumps with Red at trot and canter. He almost crashed into the x-rail the first time we went up to it; I think it was part not enough leg from me, part he wasn't sure about jumping in the snow. But we got over, and the rest of the trot went well. One monster take-off for the vertical, but pretty flawless overall. So I grabbed the camera to watch as I cooled him out, only to discover that it hadn't recorded! Grrrrrr. I need a camera man to just follow me around.

So I took him around again at trot and canter, both gaits one time each way over each jump. He want perfectly, mostly because he was pissed he had to do it again, and there was no rushing. But I wasn't fooled! He wasn't even warm when we were done. Pooooor Red! I abuse you sooooo much! Brat.

Snow Jumping Red

I was up in airs about whether to hack out on Bobby or do some dressage schooling, but I know I really need to work on his canter, so I sucked it up and took him out to the arena. Man, do I have alot of work to do, and I was really dying for a trainer. I was working on lengthening and shortening the stride at the trot, and guaranteed my shoulders are going to be dead tomorrow; he was just blowing right through me. But I got a little here and there and moved on to the canter before I fought with him too much.

His canter to the left was a little wonky and weak, and he was having trouble holding it. He also kept looking around because I could hear what sounded like the chain on a flagpole banging. Hello, Carly. There is no flagpole nearby. That should have been a red flag. We get to the end of the short side, and he takes off. He gives a little buck and stumbles, I fall on his neck, but we both recover pretty quickly, he gives some more sideways naughtiness, and I finally yank his head around into the fence. I turn around to see wtf the issue was, and up the field come four Belgians pulling a manure spreading and the clanking was it being drawn. They finally head off out of eyesight and I get a semi-resonable canter to the left on the other end of the arena. He drifts in across the arena to the left though. Just another thing to fix.

I took him down to the side he spooked at to go to the right because I know he's stronger that way. He struggled a little bit maintaining the canter, but I got one awesome (for a really big, really green TB) circle in, and let him end it at that.

Lots more work to do on the Bobby front, but by the time I have enough money to actually do anything, he should be Olympic material. ::sigh:: Oh, and the event barn just 10 minutes from me? $400/mo/horse. Not a ridiculous amount of money for the caliber of barn it looked to be, but way out of my league.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Flurries? I don't think so.

The weather man said flurries with a chance of some rain. Uh...there are four inches of snow in my yard. I don't count that as flurries!

No barn today. I don't feel like dealing with the snow today, and I still feel rather peeved about the whole barn situation. Instead, I took the emergency Tractor Supply credit card and went on a shopping spree. The dogs and cats both needed to be wormed (The dogs have been itching and chewing non-stop for the past week now. If worming and the flea baths don't help, they're going to the vet.) and the horses are due soon, too. Plus, I had a list of pony things I needed. I got Bobby a mineral block (Red has a 50lb one. He really likes to lick things.) and a set of standing wraps (not the quilts because they didn't have any) in navy which wasn't a number one choice of color, but they were on sale. I also got shampoo, show sheen, poultice, and hoof oil, all of which I ran out of awhile ago. And wormer of course.

I think that makes me pretty much set on basic supply needs. Sa-weet! Now for the vet soon as a few extra hundred rolls around. Ugh.

P.S. Anyone want to sponsor their SmartPaks? Bobby's is only $98 a month and Red's is $42. That is, if I could afford to order them. Bobby's is Smart Repair (for stifles), U-Gard (ulcers), and Biotin Plus (feet). Red's is Fluid Action HA (legs) and Grow and Gleam or something (to put some weight back on him. He's looking really ribby lately. Grrr.). Bobby's already on the Biotin Plus, and that's only $60 every two months or so! What a deal. ::eyerollhere:: Bobby also needs shoes.

Wait, I thought I was crossing things off here!

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Day 13

Good and bad today. Actually, not bad rides on the boys, but other factors made it kind of a crappy day.

The arena was finally good enough to ride in, and jump in! I gave Red a great warmup with spurs on while doing a big circle and talking to Fran. Got him to leg yield both ways (still a little bratty to the R) at the walk and trot, and got a great 15m canter circle in to the left. Had to reset my two little jumps since yesterdays 50mph winds knocked everything over. Red jumped like a pro, as always. He was even fairly sane as far as not taking off 10ft away. Also his first jump over a vertical in a long time, so he popped over that kind of big (it was only around 2'3). Let him canter to both fences, which I have not done in a loooong time because of the rushing. He jumped like a bear--not strong or too rushing (well, maybe a teeny bit), but HUGE. He jumps better the bigger they get. I had him going 3', so these are like big canter strides to him. We'll get there, Red! Just wait for me!

Took Bobby out with Fran while the neighbor's kids (whose yards is right against the arena) were out playing on the swing set and trampoline. I figure he's going to have to get used to outside distractions eventually and might as well go for it. He was totally unconcerned with Pick Off being in the arena, but a little worried about that swing set. Spooked a little once (Bobby's spooking=cantering 2 strides and throwing his head), but otherwise just looked at it. Not a bad w/t warm-up. Certainly nothing great. His dressage needs to come a long way. That's where I need the lessons. More to that later. Cantered a couple laps to the left. His head was tilted out to the rail with his butt swinging in--more of a canter you would do around the arena. I need to do more canter circles with him, but he's so damn unbalanced because of the stifles. It just takes time, Carly! Be patient!

Took him over the X-rail with the cones several times. I had it set up so he had to go over facing the swing set, which definitely didn't help. He was far more interested in watching the kids play than picking up his feet. To his credit though, he never refused and didn't knock it down. I got 2 good, real jumps in when I tapped him with my spurs. The second time he jumped me right out of the tack! Ahh, so he can lift those feet up!!

Crappiness: I have a wicked cold with a cough, so I'm taking Robitussin which is making me feel kind of nauseaous and loopy, and I'm PMSing on top of that. Not a great day physically. I was getting really tired and cramping, so the riding was kind of miserable. Glad to get something productive done though.

Also, this barn thing is really starting to bother me. Fran said that the Barn Owner was really annoyed that the wash stall was dirty after I used it, and that I'd ripped up his paddock from turning the horses out. Now, I'm going to rant and make excues here because it's my blog and I get to do what I want:

A) When I left, the wash stall was wet. Of course it was wet, since I had just given both horses baths! I rinsed down all the water to the drain and cleared it so the rest could finish draining. And I left when it was wet. Should I have waited until the entire wash stall was dry to leave so I could have swept it or something? I guess so. Seems a little silly to me, but it must have been really dirty. I didn't think it was going to be. I can understand getting annoyed at that. My bad. I'll do my best next time.

B) I am not the only person that turns my horses out. BO does not turn any of the horses out. I don't remember if I mentioned this before, but he told Fran he doesn't put horses out in the summer because of the heat and the bugs and boarders complaining about horses not getting along. Several solutions to that, obviously: work out a t/o schedule where you have horses that get along turned out together, turn horses out at night when too hot, put on fly spray and fly masks. Regardless, if I had torn up his pasture so much, it doesn't really matter since the horses won't be using it!

This is just another case of BO not knowing how to deal with boarders at a boarding barn. You've got to work with horses and horse owners, dude. Horses need t/o. Period. People want their horses outside on nice days. Do it.

I'm actively looking for a new barn. I have a couple written down to check out, one closer to home that's an english show barn that does.....EVENTING! I doubt I can afford it, but it doesn't hurt to call and find out. I need an arena, and preferably jumps. I hope I can find something. I'm driving too far and spending too much money to not like the barn I'm at.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Day 12

65 outside today. Only supposed to be 30 tomorrow--which I actually am looking forward to! I hope it firms up the arena footing so I can finally get a good schooling in, jumping or otherwise. I cleaned out my tack trunk while waiting for Bobby to finish eating because I knew it would be pointless to bother with Red without an arena.

Talked to Rude Woman about one of her daughter's using Bobby for a w/t lesson once a week while one of her stupid babies finishes with training. She'll pay me for it, so as long as it stays at w/t and once a week, I'm willing to scrap up any sort of money I can, even if it's ten extra bucks a week. It won't be until April-ish anyway when the weather sorts itself out for good. Her trainer will get on him first to see how he goes, and I'll be there to watch that, and I'll watch her daughter ride first before I make a final decision, but I really need any sort of extra money to help with showing, supplements, shipping, vet, etc.

Took Bobby on a longer trail ride today, and he was a little quick first going out, but calmed down once he figured out what was going on. Took him on all different trails today and he never once balked. Pretty slick from the mud, but for being Bobby he handled himself fairly well. Best of all, he was a PRO for water. He could have cared less if I made him walk through ankle-deep water the whole way or on soild dry ground. I got some good trotting in, totally relaxed, and we headed back with no problems. Still can't wait to use the arena though!

Hubby is on a semi-paid-for ski trip to Vermont this weekend. One of the guys that works with the company Hubby works for is paying for lif tickets and hotel room for him a bunch of other CPS guys, but Hubby still has to fill up his behemoth of a truck to drive the 7 hours up there and funds from both checking accounts are rapidly approaching the two digit marks and payday isn't until next Friday.

                                                    Far more interested in eating than spooking.

Barn rant

Ugh. I am so in the mood for a barn rant--a barn managemnt rant. Let me start by saying that I have never been in a boarding barn where I agree 100% with the practices. I really just need my own place again where I can do what I think needs done.

First, I talked to the barn owner about giving Bobby hay at noon and upping his grain during his two feedings. No big deal, I figured, since the horse across from him is a rescue and is incredibly thin so he was getting hay at noon anyway. Well, that went well for a week or two; he wasn't always getting fed at noon on-the-dot, but usually after 11 and before 1. Then I noticed that Red was getting ribby, so I left a note for BO to give Red hay at noon too, and to up his grain at feeding time. The next day, BO swung in and he said he was already giving him hay at noon, which I'd never seen sign of, and that he was also giving Bobby a noon grain feeding. I'm ok with that, I think it's a good idea, but it needs to be consistent!

Anyway, for the past week or so, neither my two horses or the rescue horse have been getting any feedings, hay or grain. I've been able to get out to the barn every day during the week and feed them myselves, but I really can't justify driving up to the barn in bad weather when I know I won't be able to ride because I can't afford the extra gas money. So what happens on weekends or week days when I can't get out there? They just won't get fed? The most annoying thing is that neither one of them is looking better. I think Bobby has ulcers, but I doubt Red does, so I think it's the feeding management.

It's just a complete lack of communication and personal involvement with boarders that annoys me, and overall lack of interest in running a boarding barn and having horses. I understand he used to be a dairy farmer, and has definitely made out well with the barn being converted for horses, but why did you do it and make yourself the go-to person for any problems if you don't really care?

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Day 11

Another be-yutiful day outside! Unfortunately, all the snow melt is finally starting to take its toll on the ground. I fed the boys their hay and gave Bobby his grain while I went out to set up jumps in the arena. I figured since most of the snow was cleared out and melted, I could get a good jump school in for both the boys. Nope.

First, I had to rearrange the standards and poles about a million times. I mean, this was worse than my mount-dismount video taping session with Bobby. The problem was that half the holes in the standards for the jump pins don't go all the way through. So I was trying to figure out how I wanted to set up the jumps and trying to match standard with standard on whose holes were even so the jump wasn't crooked. I really wanted to set up barrels under one for Red, but I couldn't get the jump cups to go up high enough to get a pole over them. I finally ended up with a small vertical and a good sized cross-rail with cones in front of it. I also reset the trot poles since they'd been buried in the snow for so long.

Took Red out, and did a little w/t, but the ground was DISGUISTING. Jumping definitely out of the question. I took him out to the field, hoping I could maybe get in some canter sets (I opened both gates off his back. He's such a good beast.), but the field was almost as bad as the arena. I took him around the paddock, using my crop several times when he decided first that the discolored snow was too scary to walk over, and second that there was obviously a monster hiding in that pine tree. Oh, Red. This is why you'll never be an eventer, pro jumper/ dressage horse that you are. He's a champion in the arena, but out on the trail by himself, he's just too worried about everything.

Took Bobby out to the arena, and just as I got on, who should pull in but Rude Woman. SURPRISE!! Fortunately, she deemed the paddocks too wet to turn her precious babies out in and I was able to do some walk work with Bobby. Considered taking him on a trail ride--excuse me, a hack: I have to speak in eventing lingo now--but since everything was so wet, I didn't want him slip-sliding on unfamiliar ground.

Put both the beasties out to roll in the mud while I took the dogs for a romp in the gamelands, then came back to give them serious baths. Red is a world-champion roller.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Day 10

60 and sunny outside today! I got on Red and meandered around the field with Pick Off and Fran for awhile, then got in two trot laps and a solid gallop on the homestretch. Nothing too crazy since the ground was still a little slick. I gave him a bath took him outside to graze and dry out a little while Bobby had lunch.

I decided since the arena was still a little rough and the ground in the field was still a little slick, and since Bobby doesn't know how to use his feet sometimes, I'd give him phase one of the future eventer test: trail riding by himself. And he totally passed; he was such a good boy!

I took him on the road, the grass on the side, and off into the gamelands a little. He had no problem going up and down the steep sides of the road to get from one place to another and he scrambled up a pretty steep, really narrow deer path like a pro. His only little naughtiness was when a car passed us in the other lane and a truck pulled out of the driveway in front of us at the same time. I had asked him to stand still so the truck could pull out and he spun around slowly when it did, but he turned right back around and went on with no problem. He was a little snorty when he heard what sounded like really big dogs barking, but he turned off onto the gamelands trail and totally ignored them.

He was so relaxed, and he kept his ears forward or turned back towards me, and even walking back to the barn he wasn't rushing or anything. Now I'm a little more optimistic about taking him schooling, and on the eventing picture as a whole.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Day 9

Another pretty useless day. I can't wait for real spring. I got to the barn really early so I wouldn't be disturbed by anyone. Checked on the arena, but because of the thaw yesterday and the 17 degrees last night, it was all ice. The field still looked pretty good though, so I tacked up Bobby and took him out hoping to get a solid fitness work in.

Mr Princess Feet is going to need shoes after all. I was hoping I'd be able to get away with him being barefoot for elementary eventing, but definitely not. Even with the grass a little frozen he was mincing around. Took him for one winding walk lap around the field (about ten minutes) to avoid the patches of ice and half-melting snow. He had one tiny tantrum where he spun around in slow motion and tried to trot, but I gave him a kick and he resigned himself to walking the rest of the way. He needs some turnout and a good workout, but it's one thing or another.

Took Red out next since he has mustang feet (seriously the best feet I've ever seen in a TB) and I knew the harder ground wouldn't bother him. He's my good ole trusty, trusting steed and he let me steer him in and out of ice and snow with zero contact. Got a little bit of trot in and put him away.

Bring me my hay!

They're still both looking a little ribby, and I wish the barn owner would give them more hay. He's feeding just a mill grain, but I've got both of them on quite a bit of it, including a lunch graining for Bobby. Hopefully they get some serious pasture turnout in summer and the beef up. I wish I had enough money to buy my own grain because I'd put them on something with a little more fat, but I just can't afford it right now.

I'm trying to put one of my student loans in forebearance and the other on an interest-only payment because I seriously cannot afford the $400/month payments. If I could knock them out for a year and use any extra money towards eventing to see if it's something I can do and figure out a plan over the winter.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Day 8

Had an awesome Valentine's Day weekend with hubby out in Cook Forest PA. Glad to be back to my ponies and own house, though.

It finally warmed up to almost 50, but the winds were around 50 mph, too. I gave Bobby a bath first thing, figuring I'd let him dry while I rode Red. Bobby was DISGUISTING. He was covered in dirt and pee and dandruff and gross. But he loved his bath and he got to chill with his stall door open, munching on hay, while he watched Pick Off get his bath.

I took Red out to the field because all the snow was melted off of it, but we managed to trot the length of one side once and trot through some puddles a few times before I called it quits. I was literally getting blown off the saddle.

Trimmed their noses and fetlocks, gave Bobby a bridlepath, and left them alone. Nothing was going to get done today. Red will get his bath tomorrow and I'll take Bobby out to the field to see how he feels about going through water.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Day 7

I made up my mind to ride Red first today because whenever I ride Bobby first, I'm always either too tired from carrying him around a bend or urging him forward, or trying to convince him that he's smarter than he's acting, I don't want to ride another horse. So I jumped on Red and he was faaaabulous!

W/T/C warm-up in his new bit--the elevator--and he went around like a pro. A little naughty trying to leg yield, but I was perhaps not wearing the most...appropriate....foot wear. Unless you count muck boots as good riding gear! I had a little cross rail set up for Bobby the other day and decided to pop him over it since it was going so well. Now, usually with Red it's a big fighting galloping battle over a fence. But I read that the less the better with a rusher, and while dubious simply because of his tendency to GALLOP over jumps no matter what, I tried it. It was like a giant angelic beam shone down on us! I had jut enough contact that I could feel his mouth, but I wasn't pulling in the slightest, didn't speed up my trot, didn't even let myself think he was going to rush it. And he didn't!!! Of course, he jumped the ground pole set 7' out in front of it, but he did it slowly. Landed at the canter, correct lead, head not glued to his chest, perfect! I took him over it a few more times just to revel in a good jump from him once and let him go back to his hay. Hopefully this carries over to 3' because his scope is unlimited, it's just been the rushing that's been holding us back.

Red 3 years ago.

Bobby's ride, not so good. I was going to start him in the standing martingale, then take it off at the end for a few minutes just so he knew he could live without it, but I was having so much trouble girthing him because he was being a grouch, that I girthed him without putting it on! Needless to say, I wasn't going to go through another ten minutes of trying to do him up, so I just went out without it. I sent him right off to the trot so he knew I meant business, and for about the first five minutes he went really well...for him. Then the head came up, the trot got rushed, the bend was lost, and it all went to hades.

THEN, this woman who always seems to show up whenever I'm trying to ride no matter what time I come, pulls in. So I let him walk to cool off, knowing our ride was probably going to be done soon since she turns her four babies out in the paddock RIGHT NEXT TO the arena, even though there is another paddock who's gate is two steps away and drops off into a hill so you're not distrubing anyone in the arena. GRRRRR. I wanted to shake her!! You know I'm on a young ex-racer who obviously is not paying attention to me in the first place, and yet you turn them out anyway, without even asking if it's alright! You couldn't have waited ten more minutes?! Not only is that RUDE and disrespectful, it's also unsafe! Ohhhh my gosh, I was furious. I couldn't even end the ride on a good note, because as soon as she put the one baby out, Bobby was done for. He was spinning and hopping and trying to snatch the bit, so I just jumped off and put him away. Moron. Who does that?!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Day 6

No barn today. Pay day is tomorrow and I have no more gas left in my car and no more money left in the bank thanks to my dentist appointment. Hopefully I'll get in a good ride tomorrow because we rented a cabin a couple hours away for Valentines Day weekend to do some skiing.

It's really frustrating not having money to do the things I need to do. Sometimes it sounds like there's money to burn: a weekend away? You must be loaded! Well, no. Last year was hubby's last year as a farmer, so we used part of a grain check to book the vacation since we never get to do anything together, and certainly no vacations. He also just sold the last of our hay from last year, so I'm hoping I can use some of that to get the vet out and get everything done in one fell swoop--coggins, rabies, shots, and Red needs his teeth floated.

What really sucks about having no money and trying to compete is the lack of a trainer. It's like a sin not to have a trainer anymore! Well, I know what I'm doing by myself, and I know where to ask for help, and I read my ass off, and Red is an incredible mover and jumper and I tought him everything he knows all on my own. Bobby's got a much more willing attitude so hopefully he'll turn out even better.

It also sucks not having a trailer. Or a truck. Hubby has a truck, but it's a company truck so when he's got to work Saturdays during the spring and summer, he won't be able to haul for me. And Wayne, the barn owner, seems super willing to let people use his trailer for free or really chep, but what good is it if there's no truck to haul it? So how am I supposed to get to shows? Hire someone to haul me down. Which hopefully there will be other people around up here that want to go down there for events. If I can afford shipping costs on top of entrance fees and everything else!

Grr. It's really frustrating. Of course, I had to go and pick one of the most expensive sports to compete in.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Day 5

Made it to the barn today in frigid weather. Umm, I thought the wind was supposed to die down today? Lie! It was only 6 degrees when I woke up this morning, and it was probably about 20 when I got to the barn.

I only rode Bobby today because I was making a video by myself of Bobby under saddle to send in to New Vocations to see if I could get us a spot in the Equine Affaire Breed Parade. How seriously cool would that be? But anyway, by the time I got the frigging camera to work, set up on the fence post, I had gotten on and off the poor dummy half a dozen times. But I got a walk/trot video finally and jumped off yet again to assess the x-rail situation.

The snow was a little deep where the jump was originally set up, so I was going to swing it over to the middle of the arena instead of off to the side. Well, I got one standard (6') up out of the frozen ground, but I couldn't get the other one to swing around. And, of course, the jump cups were frozen in place. So I put the standard back in place, dug up the ground pole, and set the camera up at the other end of the arena on another fence post. Jumped back on, and sent him on his way.

He fizzled out to a walk the first time because he was a little unsure of his footing, but I let him walk over it. He knocked one of the rails down with a back foot, so I got off, set it back up, and got back on. Sent him to it again, and he trotted over perfectly and confidently. He drifted out on landing, and it took a couple more times to get him straight after the fence, but he finally got it. He's also learning about cantering after the jump. He hasn't picked up the correct lead yet, but I want him to know that cantering is a good thing, so we'll work on the leads later.

I left it at that for him and untacked him so he could play in the snow bank--his favorite thing in the world; he loves to run through them and dig in them. I brought Red out (who was barely awake) so he didn't feel left out. Red did a rolly and bit Bobby in the butt a few times, and then they were done, ready to come in for their hay.

I should call this the mount-dismount video.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Racehorses! Once upon a time...

A couple of pictures of the boys back when they were on the track! Picture of Bobby was taken by Jeff Deet.

                                                     Red's win photo!

                                                Bobby galloping at Saratoga.

Day 4

No barn today. It dropped to the low 20s and it is craaazy windy outside. Which is a bummer because it's really sunny and it looks like it should be nice to go outside; I hate days like this--they're such a tease. Last night also dropped an inch of snow on top of the melted, churned up, and then refrozen slush we had yesterday, so there just wouldn't have been anything to do. At least not when you're trying to save on gas money!

It's supposed to still be cold for the rest of the week, but no wind, so maybe I'll be able to get up to the barn and hack down the road if the arena is still covered in ice. I'll probably also check out the field to see what the footing there is like.

I have a dentist appointment today, which would have cut my riding time short anyway since it's at a weird time. I hate the dentist. Hopefuly it's short and sweet.....and cheap. I don't have insurance!

Monday, February 7, 2011

Day 3

Finally able to ride! YES!!

I let the boys outside first, figuring since it was almost 40 degress out and the ice/snow was mostly just slush they'd like to get some crazies out after being inside for 5 days. Nope. Red rolled, Bobby trotted five steps and started eating snow, then they both came and stood by the gate. Good job, boys. They were out for all of ten minutes just standing around while i cleaned some tack and put hay in their stalls. Brought them in and fed Bobby his lunch while I got Red ready.

I went outside with the intention of just lunging today since I wasn't sure of the footing in the arena, but it actually wasn't too bad. Lunged Red in "side reins" (my draw reins double as side reins when passed through the girth and bit and then doubled back to tie to the girth again) and he was fabulous. He's got an awesome natural headset, and it's so refreshing to watch him go when you're used to seeing Bobby lunge with his head in the air and tipped to the outside and his choppy little strides.

I decided to get on him since I was dying to ride, and man, a week off from riding makes a fool out of me. I would have been kicked out of any equitation class; forget last place! I was tipping forward and my leg was swinging around and...yuck. It doesn't help that Red has a monster of a stride that's hard to trot when you're not used to it. But I got my groove back pretty quickly and we did lots of circles and figure eights at the trot. We even got a few circles of canter each way.

Bobby got the lunge/"side reins" treatment, too. He's definitely starting to learn what the side reins are and he's accepting them and using them pretty well. He'll definitely never make a hunter, but I don't want him to! He's on his way to a fab dressage headset. He's also learning to stretch out his stride without rushing, which I hope means he's becoming more balanced.

Jumped on him and did a TON of bending circles with him, just trying to get him to stay at a steady rhythm. I was really happy with this part of the ride. He was carrying his head really nicely, really listening to my cues and wrapping himself around my leg without over-bending and falling in on his shoulder. This was my first time riding him in the new slow twist loose ring snaffle and I think it made a big difference. At the canter, however...blech. I think it's because his stifles are still weak, but he cannot balance himself at a canter in a circle. Definitely need to work on that, probably more on the ground than anything. I'm going to start doing some stifle strengthening exercises I got from the Jec Ballou Equine Fitness book.

Still trying to figure out where I'm going with this show season. I keep getting lots of great ideas right when I think I have one course of action figured out. I need to make a budget and plan from there.

Wish list

I've compiled a wish list (wishful thinking, I know) of the things that I'm going to need to do any sort of showing this year.

* Show coat: My old coat is a size 12. *gasp!* To think my chest used to be that small. It was a small coat to start with, but I've gained some weight and unfortunately (or fortunately, I guess. The weight could go to worse places.) whenever I gain weight, it goes right to my boobs. So I need to move up, because I consider being able to button my coat and moving my shoulders to be two important factors.

*Another set of standing wraps: Probably not a neccessity, but I'd like to have a pair for both accident-prone Red and hopefully-world-traveler Bobby.

*Another bridle: I bought a cheap-o saddle set off of ebay for $200 and while I adore the saddle and fittings, the bridle is the cheapest thing I have ever seen in my life and it rubs right against Red's knobby eye socket, and the leather is so big and stiff you can hardly buckle anything.

*Galloping boots: For sure for x-country, I have a pair of frayed and chewed on (thanks, Red) boots, but they retain water like crazy, and are honestly an embarrassment to take into public.

* Running martingale: For Bobby.

* Side reins: Also probably not necessary, but I think they'd be a great help for my giraffe necked Bobby to learn to stretch and bend.

*Gloves: I lost my gloves several years ago and have never gotten around to buying new ones.

I can pretty much guarantee you that all of this will come from ebay, or craigslist, or any other usde tack site I can find. The coat and bridle are probably the two biggest things I want. Fortunately, I alread have the expensive stuff: vest, helmets, tall boots, saddle.

                                           Red's cheap, crappy bridle.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Day 2

Grrr....a day of riding was ruined by a nervous, inexperienced boyfriend. Weekend hubby time is no longer going to involve hubby at the barn time. It was still a little icey over the snow, so I planned on going for a ride down the road since the roads were completely clear and there's very little traffic on the barn road. I put hubby on Bobby in his western saddle and I got on Red.

First, hubby was being a brat about even getting on because he didn't want to use the mounting block, even to get on 17hh Bobby. Then he did get on but the girth was too loose, and when I offered to tighten it for him since I was still on the ground, Bobby bit Red and Red kicked Bobby and hubby got scared and jumped off to do the girth up himself. At this point, I offered to let him put Bobby away and go take the dogs to the gamelands down the road while i rode. But ohhh no. Don't get in the way of hubby when he's trying to prove a point; and don't ask him what the point is.

Then we set off down the road and got just past the 300' arena when Bobby spotted amish kids sledding down the hill. So he started prancing and hubby got even more nervous and turned him around right into Red, who was having his own issues with a wet spot in the road. (Sidenote: Red is allergic to concrete; at least, he thinks he is. He can't be crosstied because he lays down on the cement, and he can't stand on it for very long. I have no idea why. He's just special in that way.) Hubby then got off and led Bobby back to the barn, which of course wasn't very far away.

We went into the arena, hubby got back on Bobby, but Bobby was still feeling prancy so he got back off. Of course, he was probably feeling prancy because he hadn't been outside in four days. So I got off too because I was mad that my ride had been ruined because hubby was being naughty.

The moral of the story is: ride by yourself when you're trying to accomplish your own goals if you've got a non-horseperson at your side.

Speaking of goals, I've set my first ever competition goal. I'm aiming Bobby towards the Plantation Field Horse Trials October 29th event. They're offering an elementary division event with little baby jumps and a w/t dressage test. Hopefully he'll be more advanced than that by October, but this will definitely be his first real event, so start small and be safe!

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Day 1...kind of

It's hovering around 30 degrees all day today and raining steadily (good ole Pennsylvania - if this were New York, we'd be getting 2 feet of snow!) so I didn't get out to the barn today. I could have gone, as I have for the past 3 days, and groomed Red and Bobby, and cleaned tack, and shoved pounds of peppermints down their throats, but the weekend is my "hubby time", and we only hit the barn when we can ride.

We did, however, make it to the tackstore for the first time since we moved down here in September and got a new bit for Red. Truthfully, I could have walked away with armloads of stuff, but I narrowed it down to something I really needed and was relatively cheap. The bit is a "sweet iron dutch gag" (so the tag says), also known as a one ring elevator. I'm hoping it can help pick him up off his forehand because although he's got a great round, bouncy canter, it's allll downhill.

I also got a new bit for Bobby off of ebay the other day, a slow twist loose ring snaffle, that I haven't been able to try out yet because of the ice and lack of indoor.

Hopefully this friggin half-assed just-enough-to-ruin-riding weather clears out soon. I can't wait to ride already!