Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Saddle pads

One of my major pet peeves: When people ride in shaped white pads and do not fit them properly under their saddles! I mean this is just a mess all around, but you can't even dump the saddle in the CENTER of the pad? Here's the ad for those that want a really tolerant pony. I've seen a ton of hunter riders do this as well and I always want to tug it into place. Shaped white pads are classy; make them stay that way!

Red got off pretty easy riding today. I warmed him up on the buckle at all three gaits and he happily cruised around with his nose on the ground, stretching out his back. I didn't want much--just energetic gaits and a chance to stretch his legs. For the last ten minutes, we worked at the walk and trot trying to perfect our halt on the centerline. He has a tendancy to take two or three strides at a walk before halting, but he did a few really nice, really square halts at the end.

I only rode for about 35 minutes, and I'm debating on what I want to do tomorrow and Friday. I always give my horses the day before a show off. I figure if they haven't learned it by then, they at least better be rested with a fresh mind instead of rank and mad at me.

Off to go close all the windows and bar the doors. We got three and a half inches of rain yesterday and it's pouring like hell again right now. Hopefully BH doesn't cancel because of flooding. Stupid weather.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

I love Morgan Freeman.

I'm watching Regis and Kelly while drinking my morning peppermint tea and Morgan Freeman is on. Let's face it. He's the coolest, classiest actor out there. Plus, he has horses. Does he need to do anything else?

But anyway.

Yesterday was canter drill team for Red. His warm up went well and we ran through our dressage test directly afterwards while we had the momentum flowing. Trot work was good, his changes of directions were sharp, his free walk was forward, but there were two problems. 1) When I turned in to do the 20m circle to the left, he got tense and his head shot up, anticipating the canter. So we did a full lap of the arena and when we came around again, he was more focused. But 2) When I did go to ask him to canter, he picked up his right lead! Twice! I've made a monster out of him! He was still anticipating a little when we turned in, and I was giving him a touch too much spur with my inside leg which works perfect to the right, but only to the right! He got it the third time and picked it up the right lead when tracking right the first time (Yay!) and we finished the test well enough.

I let him take a breather, then we got down to business. We cantered to the left first and he got his lead each time. I worked him on circles, the full length of the arena, and lengthening and shortening his stride, doing several downward transitions. He was a bit of a beast. His lengthenings were like barely controlled hand gallops the first couple of times, and his shortenings were like a normal big canter. But we got ourselves sorted out and put in some good work at the end.

To the right, he got his lead about 85% of the time. I let him canter for a little longer after each transition than to the right so that he knew the right lead is fabulous and fun to canter on. He pulled a little this way too, buuuut he was actually like a big monster dressage horse canter! No dumping his weight into my hands and onto his forehand--it was all back end, baby.

Here's what I've discovered about myself and not working with a trainer: I can't always tell when we're doing something wrong until we do it right and then the difference is amazing. Obviously that's not the best way to go, but as the pieces are coming together, I'm  taking stock of what I need to do differently to get that better feeling.

I'll also say that we've come farther this past month in our dressage and jump work than we have all year. It's probably mostly due to the fact that Red is getting turnout every day and getting fed what he's supposed to so he's feeling like a real horse, but I also think just the few things I pick up from the BO and being in a real horse barn again have made the wheels start spinning.

In other news, look what arrived at the barn yesterday:


her babysitter, fuzzy.
She's a five month old POA filly. I don't really know the story behind her because BO and I were too busy swooning over how adorable she is, but I'll find out.

in case you were in the market.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

The saga continues

So much for the Micklem. For now at least. Cob size was way too tiny for Red's head, even though no regular horse sized bridle has ever fit him. I couldn't even get the throat latch/cheek piece thing into the first hole. So I'm sending it back tomorrow for the Standard Horse size and praying that Dover gets it to me by Saturday. Bummer.

But in other saga news, Red picked up his canter the first time I asked for it again! We went a few circles and around the entire arena once before quiting for the day. Yahoo!! Tomorrow I'll start to ask him to do it a few more times from the trot, but I wanted to remind him that I can be nice and reward him for doing good things instead of just fighting with him.

He's been getting carrots before and after his rides the past two days, so maybe I've found the real secret cure. Off to go buy more!

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Fabulous Pony Day

it's here!!!!
It didn't get here until after we got back from the barn, but my Micklem Bridle has arrived. Thank you, Dover, for having it in stock and for getting it to me two days after it was ordered. Woo hoo! I can't wait to try it out tomorrow.

Red warmed up superbly at the w/t and canter to the left. I was working on parts of our dressage test and lots of transitions. The time finally came to attempt the dreaded right lead. I did what BO suggested and asked for it right as I came off the wall into my circle at B and.....he picked it up the first time! And sustained it for the whole circle and down the long side before I asked for the trot. Yessss!!!!! Of course, I had to end the battle there with a huge hug and a million pats.

We moved on to some fun instead of drilling the dressage again. I used the jumps that were from the lesson before us, but hiked them up a few holes. There was an X that I set the cups at 3' three strides to a 2'6 vertical, and an oxer that was 2'9 in front and 3' (though Hubby measured the top of the pole at 3'3", I measured from the hole the cup was in) in back. We were having difficulties getting the turn right for the line, but it rode ok. He picked up his right lead the second time I asked for it the first time through, but because he was not being particularly cooperative with the turn coming to the X, I rode it from the trot the next two times.

Then, we did the oxer. The first time we went over, I might have little out a little yelp. But then it was pure fun. Red only had one "Hm. Should we be doing this?" moment where he ducked a little to the left (which you can see in our awkwardness in the second photo), but I kept my legs on, gave him a little tug with my right rein, and he went over fine.

zomg, it looks a million feet tall.

over here is the center, red!


Yay, Red Pony!

At the end of the ride, I even started to seriously toss around the idea of moving up to Novice at Plantation. Maybe....

Friday, September 23, 2011

Ohhh, Micklem Bridle...where are you?

The Micklem Saga: On the 14th, SmartPak said shipping would be delayed until the 16th. No big. Then they said it'd be delayed until Oct. 10th. Not going to work. I'll have done Burgundy Hollow and Bucks by then. So my dad cancelled that one and tried Bit of Britain. They said at checkout they had it in stock. Next day, it will be delayed until further notice. Cancel there. I emailed Dover and Adams Pet Supply asking if they had one ready to be put in a box and send out. Adams said Nope. They might get a shipment in in a week or so. Dover, however, said they had nine cob sized left! I have never had an issue with Dover before. Their shipping prices are absolutely ridiculous, but they've never given me any trouble with anything. I wouldn't priase them for their exemplary service, but if they can send me the bridle in a week, I don't care! So hopefully that's on its way.

Update: Just got an email from Dover....Bridle shipped yesterday via FedEx, currently in transit, expected to arrive 9/27. Woo hoo!

A note on the Ecogold pad: I ordered ivory, which in the picture and in my mind means an off white, but it's actually grey with a black underside. I don't mind so I didn't demand a return, but just a note to double check for anyone else that wants to order one and really wants white. I used it yesterday and after forty minutes of dressage work, I took the saddle off and there wasn't any dent in it at all. I can't say Red went miraculously better in it, but it was only day one and he certainly wasn't against it.

I shared the arena with one other girl getting a lesson from BO and BO was able to throw a couple comments out at me. I feel kind of guilty since I'm not paying her, but I do appreciate the help. Hopefully this paycheck can afford a lesson; if not, I can the next one.

At the trot, to the right no less, BO said that Red is nice and square and that it's nice to see a horse go so straight. That's good! Just don't ask him to bend into the canter.

At the canter, she said to use a really strong inside leg to ask for the canter because I have to hold his shoulder up and anything with the outside leg is just going to let him get away with leaning over to the inside. And it worked! But then he fell into the trot as we came off the circle and I let go with my leg. BO also said to ask for the canter just as we come off the rail  headed to X instead of closer. The comment will be "Early" for the movement, but that will be better than fighting over the wrong lead. Something to work on, for sure. I ended early for a lunch date with Hubby (Note: When you buy things, make sure you read the label. Honey Roasted Peanuts are not Honey Roasted Peanuts when the label says Buffalo Peanuts. Just saying.).

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

It's a good thing Red can jump.

Yesterday started off just as poorly as the day before. I ended up in tears again after trying relentlessly to get the right lead. I finally gave up after ten minutes of trying to get the canter from the walk and the trot from anywhere in the arena. He wouldn't have it. Instead, I had Hubby do jump patrol. Unfortunately, my camera sat in the truck and I was too nice to make Hubby hike back down to get it. I worked Red over the jumps mostly to the right, using the double stacked tires to get him to change his lead to the correct one. He got it without fail each time after, without fail, picking up the left each time at the depart. Whatever. We did a big cross rail, a picket fence (2'3), and a vertical that went up a hole each time I went over until it was 3'. We jumped that twice, rolled the rail out of the cups when I put him in a really awkward spot and he chipped in a stride and touched it with his back hooves, then jumped it one last time to finish on a good not. A really good note, in fact.

Today, I drove myself to the barn at noon with borrowed money from the account that wasn't really there even though it said it was. I did a little massage (back and hips), tail pulls, and some releases (TMJ and myofacial tongue pulls) before I tacked the beast up.

"what are you doing back there?"
I put side reins on him and put him on the longe to the right only. For fifteen minutes, we worked on transition after transition. Only half to one circle per gait, going from walk to trot to canter to walk to canter to trot to halt, and so on.

I finally got on, did several walk to trot and trot to walk transistions, then asked for the canter. He got it wrong the first time, but got it right the second time. The trick was--though obviously not the entire factor here of course--I asked him verbally for every transistion. I decided to take the plunge and run through our dressage test.

He did it really well. He was really sharp in the changes of directions, his energy was great without being crazy, aaaand.....he picked up the right lead the second time! That's waaay better than eight tries later, or not at all. The only gripe is that he was a little tense and expecting me to fight him.

BO also found me a saddle to use until I can buy my own. Out of fourteen english saddles she owns, five we tried on and one fit both of us. It's an older Stubben which just so happens to be the first saddle I ever owned. I love them, but I forgot how hard the seats are on them! I'll try it out tomorrow. Hopefully it works some magic!

I also got my Ecogold halp pad today!!!! You can jump up and down on this thing and it wouldn't even notice. Swoon.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Halt, Salute, Burst into tears

I had one of those horrible, no good, rotten, shitty rides last night that ended with me trying to hold back uncontrolable sobbing at G.

It started off reasonably well.

hubby leads the naughty boy to the arena.

One of the weakest points of our dressage test are the changes of directions. There are four in this test instead of the one in BN A and I'm having a really hard time getting Red to turn at the letter because he keeps throwing out his shoulder and leaving his hindquarters behind so he's not turning and going across straight. I had mostly sorted him out at the walk and trot warming up, focusing more on pushing his back end over with my outside leg (which would become my inside leg once we changed) instead and pulling his front end around. He was going straighter and I thought I'd figured out the secret. So I moved on to cantering.

He was fine to the left, as always.

To the right, I could. not. get him to pick up his correct lead. And I know why! Not that this is any real revelation, but I was talking myself through it as I tried to correct it, and I was trying to explain what was going on to Hubby to see if he could throw out any words of wisdom.

Firstly, the movement is, from the trot, "Approaching X, canter." So we're kind of hung out in limbo in the middle of the ring without the comfort of a corner to pick it up in. But that's the least of it. Secondly, because of my old knee injury, I have a really hard time keeping my weight evenly in both stirrups. I tried without stirrups, but that only lead to reinforcing what was really going on: Red's stupid shoulder dropping was throwing us both off balance. I would try to center my seat by shifting my weight more to the inside where it needed to be for me to be sitting in the middle of my saddle, but because his shoulder was collapsed on the inside, he wasn't in a great position to pick up his right lead--maybe an all but impossible posititon.

I almost started crying at this point after trying again and again to get him to pick up the right lead. Hubby came in and momentarily saved the day. He suggested putting Red on the longe to see if he was hurting and really couldn't pick it up. So I put a pair of BO's side reins on, put the longe on, and sent him on his way. He was fine. He picked it up four times in a row with no problems.

Red stayed on the longe and I got on, got into halfseat, and let Hubby longe us at the trot to canter. He was fine. He picked it up three times in a row with no problem.

We stayed on the circle with Hubby in the middle with the longe whip but without the line attached. I had him snap the whip when I verbally and physically asked for the canter. He was better. He picked it up correctly the first time, wrong the second time, right the third time.

What this boils down to is, I suck as a rider. Horribly.

Since I had only ridden through the entire BN B test twice, I tried to do it once more. Probably a mistake, but things could only get worse so why not, right? This also boils down to, I am an idiot. Clearly.

The test was AWFUL. Hubby videoed it, but I'm not even going to post it, it was soooo bad. Red's head was up, his energy level was down, his attention was elsewhere, and his right lead canter was nonexistent. Our changes of directions were blown. My riding was all over the place, my legs wouldn't stay in place, my hands were inconsistent, and I was pitched forward. By the time I turned at B to come in and halt, I was barely holding back tears. When I did halt, I started crying. I'm a crier anyway, much to my chagrin, but I was so disappointed and so frustrated I couldn't help it.

A few minutes later, when I had barely pulled myself together, BO came in with another boarder to ride their horses. BO pointed out that my saddle is much too small for my butt. I've known this, of course, but she said the fit is probably the biggest reason I'm having so many issues. Because my butt is so far back--pretty much on the cantel--I a) am pitching forward whether I try to sit back or not, b) am therefore having a huge problem finding and staying in the center of my seat, and c) my whole position is falling apart because my seat is getting screwed up.

She offered to let me try her dressage saddle that she never uses, and offered to watch me ride to see if she could give any pointers. I ditched my saddle and jumped on bareback. I touched Red with the spurs in the corner from the walk, and off he went on his merry right lead way. Ok, it wasn't at X and it wasn't from the trot, but at least we ended on a good note. BO said my position looked great and she saw nothing wrong with what I was doing.

I guess I've just ignore the saddle as an issue because 1) it fits Red really well, though probably a touch wide at this point from lack of topline (Speaking of, my Ecogold pad should be here any day now!), and 2) I don't have the money to buy an new saddle right now anyway so ohh friggin' well. Hopefully BO's saddle will show me if my saddle is really the root of all evils. If it is, I'm going to have to find a way to budget in something else. I'm also going to budget in a lesson before Burgundy Hollow to run through my dressage test with BO. Hopefully I'll get my shiz together soon.

sharing the love with artie after my ride. if that face doesn't make
you feel better, i don't know what will!

the smiling kelpie helping with this post.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Cross Country School #2

I can't believe I've only actually done two real cross country schools thus far. No wonder we've been sucking. (Though we've really only been sucking in stadium and dressage, so I guess that's not much of an excuse.) Pictures:

having a snooze while waiting for his bit to get switched

hubby working on a new jump

in the process of losing my stirrup

when in doubt, just jump it three feet bigger than necessary

red quickly discovered which jumps required zero effort

"whoaa, stallion!"

fearless ditch pony!

yikes! there's some interesting equitation.
hose whore

hubby's first new jump

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Now we're getting somewhere

I was finally able to use the almost dry indoor all by myself today! I was debating trying the field again, but since I've only gone through our dressage test two full times, and forgot a movement both times, I figured I better throw in a cram session while I could.

Red warmed up really well and was giving me some really fabulous trot work. I don't know why, but all the sudden he's figured out what I'm asking of him at the trot. His leg yields aren't great and we really need to work on our lateral work, but he's going so much softer in his head and neck. He's actually bringing his chin in, but I can feel him lifting his back up, too, and really pushing off with each step now. Before, he would get tense and dump his whole body forward, dragging his toes and clenching his teeth. Maybe my riding has gotten better (One can hope!), but I also think it's more that he's trudging up huge hills every day in turnout and he's learning that using his hind end makes getting ridden pretty frickin' easy.

He also picked up his right lead at the canter correctly both times in warm up. Yee haw! We were interrupted halway through our test by a beginner lesson. Fortunately only one girl, and she was beginnger beginner--like, "Here is how you make horsey go to the left. Here is how you make horsey stop. Whoaa, horsey!" So she stayed to one end of the arena and I decided to drill Red in getting his right lead on the other end.

Well, it was a drilling, no doubt about it. He would not pick up his right lead!


ME: "Thank you for that, but I WANT YOU TO CANTER ON THE RIGHT LEAD!"

I got it once. Out of fifteen straight minutes of trot a circle, pick up canter on left lead, come back down to trot, pick up canter on left lead, trot, canter, trot....You get the point. I tried to situate myself a million different ways to get it. He just would not give it to me. I was finally getting so frustrated, I felt like I was going to cry, so I let him walk for five minutes so we could both regroup.

Beginner girl moved on to walking around the entire arena, so I decided to give it another go on the other side of the arean--at A/X where we have to pick it up in the test. And he did it. Perfectly. The first time. Really? Just who is in charge of reading the dressage test here, buddy?!

I left it at that with tons of pats and "Good Pony!!". The best part of it was, even though his veins were popping in his shoulder while we were working at that canter, by the time I let him have his little walk break and cool out a little bit, he wasn't sweaty at all. Not even under his girth. We probably only worked for forty minutes, but it was an intense work and was fine with it! Yay!

No pictures today as Hubby is helping our neighbor chop corn, but they're Mennonites so that won't be working tomorrow. Maybe a little cross country school is in order?

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

I am Event Poneh. Hear me roar!

Feeling bored with the arena and inspired by the nice weather, I decided it was high time to take Red out to the cross country field. No to jump, but to walk and trot the rolly terrain and start to ask him to use his patootie a little more aggressively. He clearly thought I should be doing the same and I had to hike my own patootie all the way to the top of the field to get him this morning.

that's a long, steep way back down, jerk.

red's new bff, another ottb named spyder.
After a long search for my half chaps that I tossed to the side and promptly forgot about after riding yesterday, I finally got Red booted, breastplated, and tacked to head up to the field.

Red. Was. Nuts.

He was clearly as sick of the arena as I was, and was ready to rock and roll. Walking around the field consisted of jigging one way, then walking calmly, then trotting several steps, then spooking, then walking calmly again. We both decided it would be best if we stopped fighting and just let him trot, so after ten minutes of prancing, dancing feet, I let him go.

Red. Went. Crazy.

Forget trotting. He would trot for a few steps, then yank at the reins and canter. All my fancy pants equitation I try really hard to maintain went right out the window and I reverted to crazy dick head racehorse wrangling equitation. It was not pretty. But he did trot. Really fast.

I finally got him trotting in a semi-relaxed way going around and around in a big circle instead of the whole field. "What a good pony! I will let you trot this ground pole sized log."

Red. Jumped. BIG.

He snatched the bit about three strides out, galloped up to the jump, and launched himself over. This thing is literally the size of a ground pole. I almost ripped his face off as he started galloping towards the herd of wild horses (or fat school ponies) grazing innocently across the way. But he trotted again. I made him walk over it and while he still jumped it and cantered off, I got him back under control quickly this time and I decided to put his exuberance to good use and sent him off to the ditch.

He jumped the ditch really well. I think he was so excited to be out in the field being a cross country pony, he would have jumped a live tiger.

After literally only twenty minutes in the field, I decided I was not going to yank on him anymore (and vice versa), and we would go cool out and work on a nice, relaxed walk in the outdoor. So we speed walked barck to the barn, speed walked up to the arena, and poked around in the outdoor for ten minutes until he was cool.

We'll keep working in the field I think. Only next time in his elevator, running martingale, and rubber reins. The field can mean calm time too, Red Pony. The field is where you're going to do your dressage test over and over and over again, sucker. And maybe if you calm yourself by next weekend, you can do some jumping.

His leg looked fabulous today. A friend suggested wind puffs. Hm. I don't know. I cold hosed him and rubbed linament on it after we were done with bath time, but left it unwrapped tonight. Hopefully it still looks good tomorrow.

"what? i would never do anything naughty."

Also, in a ZOMG, YAY! moment:

So I conned my parents into buying my Christmas list early. It was a short list, but expensive. So on its way is the Micklem Bridle, cob sized for Red's tiny head, and an Ecogold Half pad. Red will be riding dirrty!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011


Red's leg looked waaay better today after the sweat. There was a small amount of filling around the ankle, but none at all anywhere else. I scrubbed off all the furazone, cold hosed him for five minutes, then BM offered to rasp down Red's feet for me since they've gotten so chipped up on the rocky ground.

BM said that Farrier needed to rasp off the heels to give Red something to stand on, but she hasn't been doing that. What that's causing is a rocking motion, making his toes shoot out longer, and in the long run it would break down his pasterns. She said the swelling in his leg could very well have come from a combination of the mud, deep footing that he's not quite used to yet, and the super long toes.

I decided to get on him today to see how he was feeling and I booted him up and took him to the outdoor. We walked and walked and walked and walked--literally the whole time BO was giving a lesson. I worked on getting him to come up to the bridle, then stretching back out, then coming back up again without throwing a fuss. I thought he was going lovely, and he must have looked semi-fancy because one of the girl's in the lesson said, "I love your horse!" as she went by. BO also said, "I really like him. He seems like a really honest guy." Why thank you. I think he's rather fabulous myself.

I asked BO to watch him trot and canter to see if she saw anything, and she said he looked just fine. I certainly didn't feel anything. I worked him at the trot for about ten minutes total, taking walk breaks between another rider working on cantering her greenie, then cantered him three times around the arena to the left.

BM came up and said that the barn's farrier was there, and he only had one horse to shoe, so if I wanted him to do Red, he'd have the time. Well, I don't have the money. I didn't even have my checkbook to write him a check I hoped wouldn't bounce. However, BO offered to cover for me and since BM said he really needed to get done, and what she was saying made complete sense, I agreed.

I cold hosed Red's leg--which was back to 98% normal--while I waited for the farrier to finish with the other horse, then led him over to see what new farrier had to say.

Red got done August 30th, and that's how much he took off! He said he still thought they looked a little long, but I thought they looked short! Really short! I guess I'm just used to seeing them so long. He said with new farriers, they're told to be more conservative with how much they take off so the horse doesn't get sore and they lose a client. Well, for $30 for this guy, I think I'll take him over someone who leaves so much foot!

new front feet.
I sweat wrapped him one more time to hopefully get any last swelling out. Hopefully the new feet help too!

Monday, September 12, 2011


I am totally baffled by Red's leg. It didn't go down any after poulticing it yesterday (Poultice haters are all, "Duh. Poultice doesn't do anything." Well screw you, poultice haters. I learned legs on the track and we are poultice lovers!). In fact, it seems like there was more fluid in it today. It was also hot to the touch. That tells me wound. But I couldn't find anything and there's a bulge on the inside of his ankle. Like a tendon bulge, but he's not off at all! W/T/C, totally fine. He didn't even have the little short stride like I saw yesterday.

yikes, right?!

I hand walked him for ten minutes, cold hosed for ten minutes, then consulted with BM for several minutes. She said to turn him out because she thought quite a bit of swelling had gone down after walking him. So I booted him up and turned him out. He walked up to the top of the field with the other two horses and got down to grazing like it was no big deal. Huh?

I guess if there's still so much fluid in his leg tomorrow, I'm going to sweat him and see if that will make it go down at all. If that doesn't start to bring it down, I'll have to call the vet. Which I hate. Because I'm poor. Grr.

Update: Hubby took me to the barn after we got the trailer registered (finally!) to wrap Red's leg. I bought more Furazone because I was almost out, and restocked on vet wrap and DMSO. I also bought a pair of 16" standing wraps; all I had before was 12" and they were way too small for his hind legs.

I took his boots off and, being neoprene, they had made his legs sweat from being on in the heat for so long, and....the swelling had gone down! I don't know if it was from the walking around or the heat, but it looked a lot better! Still fluid in there, but no unseemly bulge by his ankle.

I sweated the leg anyway, and told BM to put him out tomorrow wraps on and all until I could get there to check it myself.

I also looked at his RH hoof. The farrier had showed me a spot where she said a piece had broken off of the sole (? I don't know feet.) from how hard the arena footing was at previous barn. Farrier said it wasn't anything to worry about and to just keep an eye on it. Well, Hubby has been hoof picker-outer when he takes me, so I haven't been watching it personally. I dug the spot out today and it looked a little thrushy, but otherwise not any deeper than it was and it didn't show any ouch to the hoof testers. I put some koppertox in there, and I'll be the one to pick out his feet from now on.

Fingers crossed this is just some wierd reaction to the mud (of which there is plenty), and it's just something cosmetic.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

3'....and lame.

Yesterday, we were finally able to make it to the barn. There were a million and a half people riding in the outdoor because the indoor took in a lot of rain over the past few days, so I decided to take my chances and work in a smaller space alone than try to deal with eight people at once and still try to get work done.

I broke apart my dressage test and worked on changes of directions with changes of bend, and the trot to canter at X circles each way. Red was really solid in his right lead canter, but his trot work was kind of tense. He was rushing with his head up each time we came back from the canter, and he was anticipating the canter each time we made a circle. I took it really slow and stayed patient, and whenever he started to rush, I brought him back down to the walk and waited until he was going on the bit again and was giving me a good walk before asking for the trot again. Then we'd work on getting the trot relaxed and rhythmical, then we'd go on to the canter.

I worked him on the flat for about 45 minutes after warming him up, then I jumped him over a vertical three times. But not just any vertical. A 3' vertical! Woo hoo! We haven't jumped 3' in three years!

ok, it looked more impressive in person.
He knocked the rail down the first time because he jumped from a loooong spot, but the final two times he went over really well and didn't touch it at all (true to form). Best of all, he was barely sweaty under his saddle when we were done! Thank God for Thoroughbreds. It's like it's their job to get fit in a week or less.

i swear it was 3'. i measured it.'s also like it's a Thoroughbred's job to be broken at all times. When I brought Red in from the paddock, his hind legs looked a little stocked up. No big deal. It's been gross and muddy out. No heat, he wasn't off in the slightest the whole time I rode him, and he was totally unconcerned with me poking at it. After I rode him though, there was a smidgum of heat in his right hind. Hmm. I rubbed him down with linament, then wrapped him and had him left in for Sunday (today).

"stop taking my picture and let me eat my hay!"
Today, there was definite swelling in the right hind only, and a little more heat. Urgh. I longed him to see what we were dealing with. He was fine at the walk, but striding a touch short at the trot with that leg. I cold hosed him for fifteen minutes (yawn), then poulticed and wrapped him again. If that doesn't do anything, I'll probably try for one more day, then switch to a sweat to see if there's not an invisible scratch from the mud that I can't see. He's also got a tab of bute that he ate like candy. Poor Red. He's used to being broken.

Friday, September 9, 2011


As much as I've been wanting to get to the barn these past few days, there is literally no way to get there. In case you live in another country, or on another planet, Central PA has been flooded. Hubby and I live in Danville, and we're very fortunately on top of a hill three miles out from the center of town, so it no longer looks like we got any rain up here. However, we drove down to play locals and to see the Susquehanna.

The flooding is insane down there, and Danville probably got off the easiest in the area because the river is usually so shallow in this area. The lower parts of town have been evacuated, and almost all the roads are closed. When we went down, the bridge over the river was still open, but the National Guard were warning people that they had one more foot to go before they shut it down. This is the only bridge open to get across the river for miles and miles.

Mahoning Creek, where my pictures of the dogs playing are always from (in knee deep on me water in the deep pools), has flooded its banks and is leaking through the levee system they put in place yesterday. The intersection of Rte 11 and Rte 54 is under water. Very eerie, and very surreal.

Here are some pictures from town:

garage under water

the garage next to the banks of the susquehanna

ferry st in danville

the danville park starting to go under

danville park

the bridge over the river

danville middle school

rte 54

cvs flooded by mahoning creek

the intersection of rte 11 and rte54

mahoning creek flooding

a different kind of traffic on rte 54