Monday, October 31, 2011

Running on borrowed time.

We have no power. We haven't had power since Saturday morning. Instead, we have six inches of snow. I've got the ole genny running to power the fridge and electric space heater for awhile. Maybe I'll stop being able to see my breath soon. Fingers crossed.

I don't have much to report as I've been living under blankets like a blonde, frozen troll except for the few times I sneak out to exercise the dogs and get my blood unfrozen for a few hours. I have some pictures of Red Pony from early Saturday when we ran up to the barn on our way to lunch since we have an electric everything, rendering our full cupboards useless. His BFF Spyder was in for a lesson so he was standing in the run-in shed by his lonesome until we came up the hill, at which point he came galloping out expecting us to save him. Instead, we fed him some cookies and left him up there as he was due to come in in an hour anyway. However, when we went to leave, BM said we could bring his sorry princess self in if we wanted to. Red was pumped.

"I will take your cookies and then you can bring me in."

"No more cookies!! I want to go inside!"

"See how terrible this is??"

"Look, I'll even show you where the gate is."

"But...but...where are you going?"

"Here's another gate you can bring me in from! I'm not picky!"

Such a princess.

Thursday, October 27, 2011


Red got his turnout sheet today just in time. It's 39 degrees and pouring out, with the rain expected to turn to snow this evening. I'm glad I kept putting off buying a sheet because I got a serious friggin' deal on this baby. It's Horze brand--a European company--marked on their website for £82, marked on the bag for £62 or $90. I got it off of for $23 on their Midnight Madness sale a few days ago. Sweet.

Honestly, it's a weird cut as you can see, with the neck being cut back really far making it tight around his shoulders. The website said they ran large so I decided to take a gamble with a 75" (He usually goes in a 78" or 80") and even then it's still a touch big. However, I had a nice surprise when I got to the barn. BM's horse passed away a year ago and she still had his Weatherbeeta t/o sheet and decided to donate it to Red. It's fits him perfectly so we figured it'd be a nice sheet for daily turnout and his black sheet can be his night sheet while he's in his stall and then take it to the shows.

Speaking of shows.... the weather for Plantation Saturday? High of 46, Rain/Snow. Yeahhh.... I really hope they let us use their fancy shmancy new facilities so we're not doing dressage and stadium on wet, muddy, hilly grass. Here's a teaser for what we're going to look like:

Blech. As you can see, I pulled out the big guns and strapped on the draw reins. I figured I'd try to get one final hardcore dressage school in and just do a relaxed, forward, stretchy ride tomorrow. I can't say I really noticed a difference. Which is a good thing! That means he's going as well without the draw reins as with them.

His canter leads weren't quite so fabulous though. He got them perfectly in warm up, then I went through my dressage test. And again. And again. And again. We ended up running through it three and a half times before he got both leads. He gets so tense about picking up his right lead that he picks it up going to the left, then I bring him back down to make him pick up the left, and he gets flustered and picks up the left going to the right. He is a Thoroughbred. And a red head. Sometimes he just can't help it.

I finally gave him one solid crack that made his head come so far up it lifted up his front feet. Which was a little over-dramatic. I smacked him on the rump. Even if I was so inclined to smack him between the ears--which I'm not--there's no point. The only thing between them is floating thoughts of peppermints. It finally got through to him that "Mom is pissed. I better get my shit together." and he picked up both leads beautifully. So we went back to the barn and shared half a bag of peppermints. Hmm....maybe that's why that's all he thinks about?

Also, for a funny story, one of the barn workers was dropping hay while I was tacking Red up. Hay gets dropped down from the hay loft into the aisle and stacked in the hay stall. Red was seriously impressed. Who knew dinner came from the sky?


Wednesday, October 26, 2011

New baby and more dressage

The barn got in yet another baby, this one a five month old paint colt. I don't know the scoop on him yet besides that he was a trade-in for an older QH. Also don't know what's wrong with his leg, but he seemed completely fine wandering around his paddock so maybe they're just trying to fix something cosmetic. I think he's kind of fugly myself.

Red and I made some more progress in our dressage work today, though we both fought hard for it--or against it in Red's case. I rode in the indoor so we could go through our dressage test and after a good, positive warm up, we got down to business.

I had my spurs on today to try to get more bend on Red's circles and it turned into an excerise of when to use a half halt and when to pop him with the spurs. He was going really well through the whole test until we got to the right canter. I asked him way too much for the transistion and he exploded onto the left lead, his head went right into the air, and we lost everything for the next ten minutes while I got him going well again. Sorry, Red. My fault, but you probably overreacted just a touch. I gave him a few small half halts before asking again, then veeeery quietly asked for it and I got it the first time.

I think the Micklem Bridle is working well as far as helping Red "get" what I'm asking. He's answering my questions much quicker and accepting the bit right away when we get to work. However, that's not necessarily working in our favor quite yet. Because he's working so much harder, he's getting kind of pissy about it and grinding his teeth when he really gets down to business. If there's one thing Red really doesn't like, it's having to expend a lot of effort on what he considers meaningless flat work. "Go around in circles?" Red asks. "Why not make it fun by adding jumps? This is boring!" The way our dressage has been going the past two days though, I'm actually starting to look forward to Satuday. Just don't tell Red!

Speaking of, ride times for Plantation are up. Remember how I said I always get the best ride times? I lied. Plantation is three and a half hours away from me. The barn is half an hour from my house. I ride dressage at 9:20am. Ughhhh. Stadium at 10:54 and xcountry at 11:04. At least we'll be home early! Ughhhh.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011


red likes to lick things after he gets cookies.

fortunately spyder is obliging.

Red and I knuckled down on some serious dressage work today. At the walk, it was all about moving forward with purpose. We do not drag our toes, Red. We march! And march we did. We kicked off the ride on a good note and kept on rolling from there.

At the trot we worked on shortening and lengthening his stride with half halts. I brought him down to a teeny tiny jog that a western pleasure horse would have been able to blow past, then back out to a big bouncy trot. We also worked on trot-halt-trot transitions to get him really going UP and forward instead of just forward. And it worked. He felt so big finally. I asked him for a spiraling circle in and out at each end of the arena to work on our bend, and he was amaaaazing to the right. As we spiraled out on the second cirlce, I asked him for the canter. And he picked it up from the right lead right away!! And it was an amazing uphill canter. I liken it to a big show jumping canter, but I think it's actually what a really nice dressage canter should look like too. Either way, I felt so ON riding it and Red felt so ON giving it to me.

To the left, he was a little counter...flexed? in his head--just sort of tipped out a little. I think it's time for another massage and to find a chiro. Sigh. Put it on the list. Hopefully next month.

His trot and canter work weren't quite so good to the left. He kind of fell apart at the canter, so I went back to trot work and practiced more transistions. The canter got better after that, but it still wasn't quite as fancy as to the right. Go figure.

We ended working on trotting down the centerline and halting straight, which Red can never get enough work in. The whole ride was really fun for once though! It was like Red finally was saying, "Oh, ok. I understand what you're asking. I can do that." Instead of, "What do you want?! I can't do anything! Aghblerghblargh." Now to keep him in that mind frame....

Monday, October 24, 2011

One Word: Fancy.

I am a fancy freak. It's actually probably a good thing I have no money to spend on frivilous items because I would probably end up like one of the people on A&E's Hoarders that I've been watching for the past few hours (I have no life. Don't hate.).

De La Coeur is giving away a FANCY ear bonnet through this kick ass website.

imagine this with royal blue thread....
Just saying.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Fun time at Burgundy Hollow!

I'll keep the write up brief so you can enjoy pictures!

Red got company for his cross country schooling today. Sarah and her 19yo. Quarter Horse Blackberry came along as Sarah is dying to get back into eventing. Blackberry has jumped about two other times in the past year--at the least--and he was a total rockstar today. We walked from jump to jump and kept the cantering to a minimum and both horses were barely sweaty under their saddles by the time we were done. Sarah did mostly BN jumps, but a few N ones as well. They both definitely had fun and you could tell Blackberry was enjoying himself.

Red was equally awesome. I think I've finally gotten it through my thick head that the key to a clear round on Red is to ride him with lots of forward momentum so he doesn't have time to let his naughty little brain wander and start worrying. He was an absolute champion over the Novice jumps and, minus a few blunders from my lack of riding, he looked and felt like an old pro. I feel really confident going into Plantation now; I'm really glad I got the chance to go out today.

sorry red.

my face tells you exactly how brave i am for drops.

sarah and blackberry showing us how it's done.

"excuse me. this is my pond."

red secretly loves water. he just likes to be a diva sometimes.

bn oxer.

novice oxer!

sarah and blackberry over the bn oxer.

it only took us a year, but we finally look like real eventers!

blackberry's infamous tail.

first time over the novice coop. whoops.
another novice coop, first try!

red, you can share the water!

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Tah Dah!

it came! and it fits!

Red went really well in it. He came into the contact much faster and he was much improved at the canter. I did a brief w/t/c, probably twenty minutes max, before calling it quits but I was really pleased.

Tomorrow is xcountry schooling at Burgundy Hollow with Sarah and Blackberry, so expect a much more interesting post then.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

I wish I had a cow.

What is it about horse vets that make them charge twice as much as any other vet for any other animal? If Red was a cow, what gone done today would have been $75. Of course, if Red was a cow, he would probably be dumped in the back forty by now. But Red is not a cow (at least not literally) so after a 105 degree fever this morning, I dished out $250 for a pile of medicine and the prognosis of "He'll be fine tomorrow."

barn kitty supervising red's grazing.

The real prognosis is anaplasmosis--a tick born pain in the ass. He'll be on Doxy for ten days and if his fever goes back up, he gets 2g of bute twice a day until it's kicked out the back door. But Vet said the fever usually runs its course after 48 hours max so hopefully by tomorrow he'll be golden.

his legs were hot and slightly stocked up when i got there.

By the time Vet got to the barn, two hours later than she said she was going to as vets are wont to do, Red's fever had dropped from 105 to 99.6 after 10ccs of banamine again. She had me jog him as BM said he was a little wobbly coming out of his stall this morning and he was pretty lethargic when I got there. However, now that the fever was gone, Red wanted nothing to do with any of us and threw a temper tantrum until I put him in his paddock where he promptly bit his BFF Spyder in the rump and herded him out to the grass to graze. Back to normal.

waiting patiently in the wash stall, still feeling crappy.

I asked Vet if she thought I should cancel the xcountry schooling Sunday, and she said absolutely not if he doesn't have a fever tomorrow. So we'll see how he feels, but we're still on at this point. We'll just take it nice and easy.

bm's dog burton seeing if i'll play with him.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Sick Red Pony

What a way to start the day. I get a call at eight this morning while I'm still in bed with a massive headache and a box of Kleenex next to me on the pillow froma sinus infection saying that Red has a fever of 104. Ughnghngh.

Apparently he didn't eat finish his hay from last night and didn't touch any this morning, but he ate his grain fine so BM put him out as usual. After doing stalls, she looked out at the pasture and he was laying down in the middle of the field. So she brought him back in, gave him 10ccs of Banamine and put a call in to the vet while BO called me.

I talked to the vet on my way up to the barn after cursing and stomping around the house looking for the checkbook for ten minutes. Vet said she's gotten a lot of calls the past few weeks with horses presenting the same way: high fever, stocked up behind, and general discomfort. Red wasn't stocked up though BM thought he was--he just has big fat racehorse back ankles and always looks a little swollen. Vet said she could come out if I wanted her to, but she recommended giving it 24 hours to see if the fever runs its course. Spyder had similar symptoms last week with a fever of 103.3 and he was totally fine the next day. She thinks it could be anaplasmosis from the ticks, but if his fever goes back to normal she doesn't recommend spending the money for a course of Doxy but to draw blood in 30 days to test for it.

When I got to the barn, the Banamine had brought his fever down to a touch under 101, but his body was still hot and he looked absolutely miserable. He was, however, eating his hay (from a different dealer--not as grassy as last night's), pooping, and he drank half a bucket of water. So at least colic isn't a worry.

I've been putting off getting him insured again until I have the money, but I might just beg and borrow from my mom to get it done now. I don't think he's in jeopardy or anything, but something like this does make me want to cover all my bases sooner rather than later.

BO said she would call me this afternoon after Red's dinner to say how he was doing, but in the meantime I left a blank check at the barn and gave the vet permission to treat him without me being there should his fever get worse.

So jingles for Red Pony. He's never had so much as a stomach ache since I've had him and it sucks seeing him look so miserable.

Feel better Red!


Tuesday, October 18, 2011

The Micklem Saga: Finally Resolved?

SO. After sending back the too small cob Micklem Bridle three weeks ago, being told by Dover that the order had been processed, then being told that it could take up to two weeks to send back out, then having Monday roll around and still no word on where-oh-where my bridle is, I finally got ahold of someone in their customer service department that actually had a brain instead of an attitude.

Abby: You are signed on to trial the bridle. (Uh, what?!) You're sixth on the list so it should be sent to you by mid-November.

Me: Whoa, whoa, whoa. I don't want to trial anything! I bought the bridle to use. As in, now. For keeps. Forever.

Abby: Oh. Well we can cancel the trial if you want.

Me: Yes! Super! Be gone mysterious, random trial! I have no want for you.

Abby: No problem. The bridle will be shipped no later than tomorrow.

Finally! I don't know why that was so difficult to figure out. I don't know how I even got signed on for the trial in the first place. I like Dover's products and I order from them a lot. I've never had a problem with exchanging or returning anything with them before. Hopefully this is a one time thing, but this definitely knocked Dover down a few holes on where I go to look for items in the future.

I'm hoping Red will be able to test his new bridle cross country schooling Sunday. I'm about 80% sure I'm going to go....I just have some bill rearranging to do, but I really want to make sure he's seen a Novice xcountry fence before we have another $90 down the drain Plantation run.

Monday, October 17, 2011


No, not that kind of fall. This kind of fall:

red and spyder

oh, you're so nice a clean!


red's opinion of crossties.

beautiful view from the top of the hill.

how could you not trail ride on a day like this?

"no, i don't think we should cross this. i sense monsters."

taking in the view.

bushwhacking through the weeds.

"where's the oats?"