Monday, January 30, 2012

Mission Accomplished.

I've had a secret goal to reach thirty followers by the end of January. Done. I am so pumped. The fact that anyone wants to read my blather on a regular basis is outstanding, but thirty of you? Woo hoo! I promise to keep posting poor quality pictures and ranting and raving about all walks of pony life.

I also finally got around to doing a little research on Jade. Her JC name is Precious Jane. 71 (!) starts, 5 wins, 11 seconds, 15 thirds. $204,469 in earnings. Would it surprise you to hear that her ankles have some rounding to them?!

I gotta say, I have a little more respect for her now. She raced in all claiming races in PA. She's by Cope With Peace out of Pok Ta Pok mare What A Commotion.

i'll pull her mane in the next day or two, i swear.
She didn't get ridden yesterday, but I didn't feel like longing so she was a little wiggly to start out. We worked on some cavaletti, then moved on to learning how to do a real circle. This was incredibly difficult for me because even with my stirrups shortened, she's so tiny and my legs are so long, I have a really hard time reaching her sides. I can get her to move forward, and she's getting great at half halts from my seat, but inside leg to outside rein for bending is really tricky. We finished with her best trot work yet, a really relaxed lap of the arena to the left with no ear pinning at imaginary monsters.

I rode her back to the barn, taking a slow tour of the facilties first. She looked around a bit, but she was relaxed and she always had an ear pointed back at me.

the big galump.
Getting on Bobby afterwards was a change! I actually had to spread my legs (haha) to ride. I also didn't have my spurs on from riding Jade, so it was all leg leg leg to keep the donkey forward. I didn't have any real game plan headed in, but it's Bobby so of course things to work on popped up.

I warmed him up on a loose rein, working only on keeping a forward, consistent rhythm. He got settled down pretty quickly and started swinging along at a good clip. I was making a conserted effort to use my hands as little as possible, so I slowed him down with a few (or sometimes lots) of strides of sitting trot. He responded really well to that tactic. I was actually really, really happy with our work today. We both worked super hard to keep going without rushing, and Bobby made an awesome effort to streeeetch down and out. His back was so loose when we were done, his whole body was swinging along. It. Was. Awesome.

We also stuck in a few runs over the cavaletti, but Bobby was feeling so good, he thought it would be best if he cantered over all four poles at once instead of trotting through them. I know I should have been mad, but I was giggling because he was so proud of himself for his effort. We did get through them normally once, so I left them alone.

Someone enjoyed their neck massage before riding.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

In which Bobby growls at me.

There is literally no other way to describe the noise that came out of him. Sarah and I went on a trail ride today (Finally! No ice or snow or rain!) and as we began trotting up our first big hill, Bobby wanted to canter.

Me: Bobby, you can't canter. You have to trot. It's good for your stifles.


Sarah immediately whipped Blackberry around and was like, "What was that noise?!?!" I, meanwhile, am laughing so hard I'm sobbing and can't say a single thing. It wasn't a snort or a cough or a choked neigh or anything else. Bobby growled at me!

The rest of the ride was fairly uneventful. Loads of huge hills that the boys had to half run, half leap up, and lots and lots of trotting. We finished with a fun blow out. Bobby wasn't too impressed with the kind of sticky footing, but he got some sillies out and settled into a slow gallop. Blackberry promptly took off on Sarah and hauled ass down the path--a testament to Sir Robert's good brain when he completely ignored his friend bolting away from him. We went out for about an hour and a half and when we came back, neither of them was even damp. They sweated on the trail, but they recovered and cooled out so quickly, it took no time flat to groom them when we got back.

visiting with kidd before untacking.
I also fooled around with Jade. I was grooming her and went to brush off her RH and saw that it was super swollen. She held it up in the air as I groped it, but she did the same thing when I felt her other hind, too. After inspection, I found a cut up by her hock, but on the inside of the leg. It wasn't super fresh, but it wasn't there yesterday so she must have gotten it overnight at some point.

I went down to see if BO had any saran wrap laying around so I could sweat it, and she said to stick a dry wrap on it and bring her down to see if she was lame on it. ....Okay. I rode her at the w/t for fifteen minutes and she was totally sound. I sweated her after and she'll stay inside tonight so she doesn't lose my wraps in the field.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Two rides today.


Bobby: Once more, Bobby was being a bit of a douche to warm up. BO was in the arena riding her horse at the time (fortunately no lesson!) and I told her I'd been having difficulties with him all week. She watched us go for a bit, then said it looked to her like he was just being a brat, but did I feel like he was off or anxious? No. Definitely not. Not at all like the other day when he was a nervous wreck. This time he was like, "lalalala, not listening!!"

So she said to send him forward. "No, more forward! RIDE HIM FORWARD!" So we cantered a bit in light-seat on a loose rein. Then we came back to the trot, and guess what? He was back to his normal self--swinging trot, back up, head relaxed. Bobby says, "Ride me better, you silly woman, and maybe I'll go better for you." Dick. How dare you not compensate for my lack of skillz? (Juust kidding. No one get into a tiff!)

So we continued our trot work without further fuss, ran through the BN A test , did a little sitting trot, then let him romp in the arena for a few minutes. Not a perfect, happy ride by any means, but at least not a total throw away.


Jade: Ahh, the return of Jade. This means that yes, she is still here. Sigh. I really don't like mares. She hasn't been worked with since my last post since I've been feeling like total shit and barely getting work done on Bobby. However, I'm feeling pretty good today so I took the plunge and got her out.

There were three utility trucks working on telephone poles literally right outside the indoor and the wind was blowing like crazy causing the two horses turned out in the paddock on the other side of the indoor to be sillykins. None of this bothered her any more than just taking it all in. She is allll mare attitude in the worst way, but she has a great brain and really just watches things and thinks thorugh what she sees instead of seeing and hearing really scary things and blowing up about them.

Ignore her complete unresponsiveness to my voice cues. Camera in one hand and loose longe line in the other don't really work well for communication.

I got on her (with the mirrors shut--I didn't feel like arguing about that today) and once I we started working, she was all business. She's still really green on the flat, but she actually settled into a pretty nice rhythm today and I even got a tiny smidgum of bend on a circle.

Olivia came in with Kidd and I got off to help her set up some ground poles. Jade followed along without fuss while I hauled poles, let me mount without moving a step, then had a loooong hard look at the scary colored poles in front of her before deciding she wanted nothing to do with them. I had Olivia give us a lead and Jade followed along, then went by herself from both directions before doing it at the trot. She was a little legs-all-over the first time through at the trot, then the next two times, she went right through.

We ended by hanging out in the middle with Kidd and Memphis for about five minutes. Legs out of the stirrups, reins at the buckle, both of us totally relaxed and unconcerned that is was feeding time, horses were being brought in and turned out, it was really windy, and big trucks were doing scary things outside. I still don't really like her, but I think she'll make someone a nice horse. And for reeeallllllyyyyy cheap!!! Hint, hint. Wink, wink.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Checking in on the canter.

I would love to say that Bobby magically got over his meltdown yesterday, but I can't. He wasn't ready to explosivo as soon as I got on him, and I actually had to work on keeping him going at a steady forward pace, but his head still wanted to remain pointing skyward at all costs. I got off after ten minutes of trot work with zero improvement despite my best efforts and checked his saddle. It was exactly where it was when I had BO check it over Sunday (I measure by how much space there is between his elbow and the girth when he's standing square). I checked his bridle--fine. I checked his legs--fine. I finally took the plunge and retrieved my draw reins.

As stated many times before, I don't have anything against draw reins and I've used them a few times on Bobby before, but I feel like I'm not riding right if I have to put them on and check it off as a fail on my skills as a rider (which are few, but still). As soon as I stuck them on and we walked off, Bobby curled right up behind the bit. I hadn't even gathered my normal reins yet, let alone the draw reins. Fortunately, Red's favorite daily activity was to fall face-down on his forehand and curl under the bit when asked to work, so I knew how to deal with this much better than head in air like a giraffe.

He got going really nicely with just a few wiggles on the draw rein when wanted to revert to giraffe horse and he finally relaxed to where I didn't have to touch them at all. Hopefully he'll remember how fun being chill and going nicely is on Friday.

I got ambitious and decided to see where his canter was. Wooooow. But kind of in a good way! I think the draw reins kind of helped bundle him up more than usual and he wasn't careening around like a camel on crack in iceskates like he is wont to do. Instead, while still a very green and discoordinated canter, I was able to get another peek at what a fancy schmany dressage pony Robert has the potential to be. His whole front end rocks up, levitates for a second, then bounds off again. It's sooo uphill and big and powerful, and even if he can only hold it for a few circles right now, I am so excited for him to be strong and sound enough to flaunt it in the ring. To the left, of course, it was not quite so good as he had a lot of trouble staying straight, but after all the trot and lateral work we've been plugging slooowly away at, it's really starting to come along.

I'm hoping one day I'm going to ask for it and he's just going to produce this amazing gait. Fat chance, but one can dream! Also, one day I hope to walk into the barn and see that his tail has grown longer than two inches.

Bobby's alter ego! For realz.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Bonding time? Kind of?

Something was up Bobby's hind end today. Perhaps a rocket ship? I got on him as usual, but quickly realized that his brain was not on yet. Asking for a circle meant runreallyfastwithyourheadintheair. So I got off and put him on the longe. Insta-blowupandbuckandnotlistentoanythingmomistellingme. So I said Fuck That, ran up his stirrups, took off the reins, and let him loose.

You can't fully appreciate his cuh-raaazies since this is a teeny sucky video of my teeny suck phone, but he was going nutso.

He finally got it out of his system and trotted around a bit before coming over, blowing like crazy and a hot, sweaty mess. One thing I learned from this: Bobby has one fancy suspended trot when being a looney. Sooo fancy!

I got on him and walked him around until he stopped blowing, then asked for the trot. His head immediately went straight in the air--and not just a greenie head up stance, a nose pointed directly at the ceiling stance. I held onto his mouth just enough so that he could feel my hands, but I really focused on keeping him forward. It took a really, really long time, but he slooowly slooooooowly figured out that going forward would be more fun if he dropped his head. As soon as he relaxed, brought his head down, and picked his back up off the ground, I immediately stopped and let him cool out on the buckle.

It wasn't even a "I'm being crazy because this is fun!" ride. It was a really tense, anxious ride like he was expecting me to rip his face off and throw a tantrum. But I've never, ever done that with him before, and I've been riding him since he was 18 months old. He turned into a really difficult horse to gallop when he was sent to Fingerlakes and I have a feeling he got beat up on for it.

I'm hoping that with each little lesson/problem we have to work through, we'll start trusting each other more. I spent a long time with him afterwards while he dried off in his cooler, giving him cookies, doing stretches, and spending some general one-on-one time together. I've always felt like Bobby has been everybody else's horse because all my friends has played a part in him growing up, but I need to accept that I own him, I'm the only one riding him, and I'm the only one that he needs to be BFFs with.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Does NO ONE know how to longe?!

Rant to follow. In the meantime:

bobby, spyder, and memphis stuck at the top of the hill.

Hubby and I took the ATV up to get Bobby so we didn't have to trudge all the way up the hill in the snow, but we got to the top and didn't see Bobby anywhere! After cruising around the whole paddock, we finally noticed him hidden in the trees with his BFF Memphis and Red's BFF Spyder. And they were not inclined to move as all three have shoes on and it was slippery work for me to even getting up this hill in my boots. Hubby grabbed Bobby and went careening down the hill as Bobby sat on his butt and slid down beside him. I grabbed Spyder by the blanket and we slooowly crept down together. Memphis decided he was going to be brave and took off at his fancy Dutch canter--sometimes thousands of dollars worth of training serves you well.

we're coming!
What they were doing up there in the first place, who knows.

Thanks to Aimee and Liz's comments on my last post, I went to tackle my dressage saddle with renewed vigor. (Of course I forgot my girth and pad at home and had to borrow both.)

robert's wonderful withers.

where the saddle wants to stop when i slide it back.
now, looking at it, clearly waaay too far forward.

where i rode in it today. better for my legs, better fit for him, no
longer looking like a jumping dressage saddle.
I spent about fifteen minutes inching it around until I found a spot I was happy with. I thought it was a smidgum too far back, but I had BO give it a once over, and she gave it to okay. I guess Bobby's lovely withers just made it seem like it should have been farther up.

We got down to the arena, went in, tightened my girth, dropped my stirrups...and douche bag barn help came in on the tractor to "grate the arena". This involved dropping the grate too far down and digging up rocks that probably haven't seen the light of day in years. Was he done then? Oh, no. Next he brought in SNOW to "drag around the arena to cut down on the dust." Really? Really. So now not only are there big rocks, but all big snow chunks all over. What. The. Fuck. Then he grates is again. And makes it even worse. BO came down with her two lessoners and was pissed. Understandly. Again: what the fuck?!

the boys waiting patiently outside the arena.
Now the rant: While we were walking around on a loose rein when I first got on, lessoner #1 was going to ride Dreamer (a fat paint pony), but she needed to be longed first. #1 didn't know how to longe, so #2 said she would do it. Well she didn't really know how to longe either and proceeded to chase the pony around in semi circles while completely ignoring BO who's trying to tell her what to do. #1, meanwhile, is talking to her friend holding #2's horse and completely ignoring longing session.

#1 gets on finally. #2 gets on her horse who is a young OTTB mare and is prancing around like a nervous wreck (which she is most of the time). #2 says she must be acting tense because she doesn't like the polos on her back legs and not that "I don't know when the last time I rode her was." BO says to get off and longe her. "No way. I'm not longing her. She's too crazy." Really? Isn't this why you longe in the first place?! So BO longed her, she was a little jumpy, but quickly calmed downed and went to work. BO then gave #2 a long talk about how if you have a horse in training, especially a young horse, it has to be consistently ridden and worked with or she's never going to retain anything.

Then! I get a text from Sarah who started riding as I was finishing up and said that someone came to ride Spyder, didn't know how to longe period, so decided to "free longe" him instead. Clearly this is an epidemic and a longing clinic needs to take place soon.

puppies in the snow, just because.
But anyway. Bobby hasn't been ridden in just under a week so he took awhile to get into the groove of things. So long of a while that I finally just asked him to trot since his walk was a most excellent impression of an ADD giraffe. He started to focus at the trot and eventually got to work. He got a little frazzled when Sarah and Memphis came in and there were three horses going around the arena with him, but I started to work at the sitting trot and it was enough of a change for him to bring his mind back to me and he didn't lose his cool this time. We finished off with some really nice sitting work from both of us. I must say, I love this dressage saddle for sitting work and trotting in general. It really minimized my movement in a good way. Bobby got a little stuck starting out and was lagging and curling behind the bit, but I gave up any thoughts of "framing", sent him forward, and he dropped his head by himself eventually and went along quite cutely.

Friday, January 20, 2012

No worries

lily, just because she looked cute.

Robert's leg: Cold and tight! Feeling it today, I can tell there had definitely been some heat and swelling it it Monday and Tuesday. But it felt great this afternoon so we did ten minutes of tack walking in the arena. No stiffness, no shortness, just awesomeness.

"yes, i do need my blanket washed."

The new saddle: It fit Robert amazingly well. Not a perfect, halos shining out of the tree fit, but even with me sitting on it, no pinching or crushing that I could feel. Certainly no worse than the one I've had on him since I got him, and he's never shown any soreness from that. I was afraid it might be a hair narrow when I set it on him without a pad, but once I got it slid down to where it wanted to sit, it looked pretty durned good. However, the seat is actually only a 17" so it's still a smidgum small for me. Also, here's what I know about dressage saddles: Nothing. It felt like it cranked my leg into a really weird position too far forward, and I certainly don't need any help in that department.

this is where my leg hung naturally. it looks wrong to me.

I'll ask BO next time I'm out. It may be perfectly normal for all I know.

Buying stuff!

To stay true to the name of this blog, buying stuff does not happen often. When it does, it's cheap stuff that I miraculously stumble upon. I know the theory behind buying quality used items that will last you forever, but buying a used saddle for anything over....oh, $300 is so far out of the realm of my possibilities, I won't even look at such things. So yesterday, when I was browsing the Williamsport craigslist, I saw two things that made me gasp a little. An all purpose saddle for $75 and a dressage saddle for $50. Whaaa?

The AP saddle was only a 15" seat so that was moot, but the dressage saddle was 17.5". I emailed on it immediately, got pictures, and said dibs! It's got some wear where the stirrups were, it's a no-name, it's missing a d-ring (which I'm assuming an Amish can tack on for next to nothing), but I think it's lovely and it was fucking $50! The catch? The lady selling it boards at my old barn--the barn where Red and Bobby both lost over 100lbs after not getting fed the grain I was buying them, or really any grain or hay at all. Fortunately, the lady was fine with meeting elsewhere. I missed out on a free pad (no big), but I did get a fancy sheepskin lined saddle bag thrown in with it.

If it doesn't fit Bobby I'll cry. I'll also probaby mold it with my bare hands made stronger by despair and anger so that it will fit him. Take that, poverty! Now I just need a dressage girth and pad and...

Also, because it went from being so warm to so cold, the poor pupitos have no winter coats so I took advantage of SmartPak's super sale and ordered them fleece blankets for 50% off. They're an ugly royal blue and they're a little big, but for $8 a piece, they don't care that they look like they're wearing nurse's capes. At least now I can get them to go outside without having to use brute force.

you look a fool, dizzly dog.

I am soooo sick right now, I don't know if I'm going to get off of the couch ever again. I plan on chugging as much Robitussin as possible, but depending on how soon it starts snowing I might make my way to the barn at some point. BM said Bobby's leg felt fine when she turned him out yesterday, so hopefully he's either mended or well on the mend.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012


And not like, "Gee, you're lame." Like, "You're a Thoroughbred so of course you're lame!"

Robert's SmartPaks got here yesterday afternoon and since the weather had gone from twenty and icy to almost 50 and foggy by the early evening, I packed Hubby and the dogs in the car and headed up to the barn to drop of his stuff and check Bobby's princess self to see if he was still a touch off.

As soon as we pulled in, BO corralled me into the arena. "You have to watch this mare jump! She is going to be an eventing superstar!" The mare is a coming 9yo TB named Jade. She's about 15.2, super brave, super quiet, super green on the flat, and very much a mare. She came to the BO in hopes that she could use her for her lesson program, but she's too small and green so BO sent her back. However, her owner said, "Nope. Can't take her. You have to keep her." So now BO is trying to sell her for literally almost nothing, and she has her eyes glued to me as the buyer. I don't like mares. I'm almost 6' tall. I have one horse that I can afford and that's my limit. This is not a good match at all. But hot damn, this little horsie can jump! Knees to eyeballs, doesn't think twice about anything she's pointed at (and she's only jumped half a dozen times since coming off the track about 6 weeks ago). If you're looking for a small jumper or eventer for dirt cheap (like, mid-to low three figures), lemme know.

to give you a size hint, she wears a 40" girth easily.

Anyway, Bobby! I put his bridle on and jumped on him bareback really quick to see if I could feel any funkiness. Yep. At the walk to the left right off the bat. I trotted him a little, but except for the first few strides, he didn't seem bothered at all. Of course, he was trying to be silly with the other horses in the arena and doing his Bobby snake neck, so he might have just been too distracted to remember he was off.

I brought him back to his stall and poked at his legs and feet for awhile before telling myself I might have felt a little heat in the LF. I asked Hubby and BO to check and they both said there was a teeny tiny bit around his ankle. So he got wrapped with a healthy dose of linament and chili powder (because "I Eat Wraps Like It's My Job" is his middle name), and a gram of Bute for the night. He got another gram this morning and he's staying in for at least today. My guess is that he either tweaked himself in the bad footing section of the arena, or did it outside at some point.

This morning, I took Bobby's wraps off and let him chill in his stall while I rode Jade. I feel really big on her, but she does hold my leg well. She paddles with both fronts, but tracks really straight, even across diagnols and down the centerline--Bobby still has issues with this. Her canter is nonexistent at this point, but she carries herself in a cute little frame once she gets moving.

Her one main flaw: SHE IS A herself! She HATES seeing herself in the mirrors.

I longed her for a good long while before I got on since I didn't know how she'd go (she probably would have been totally fine without longing at all), then walked and trotted her for a bit, attempted a canter, quickly shut down that fight, and spent the next twenty minutes teaching her to walk by the fucking mirror without trying to maul herself. I tried every trick I could think of (bad manners are not tolerated by me, and if that makes me sound like an abusive bitch, oh well.) before she figured out that walking by the mirrors were no issue and she was being a silly whore to make such a fuss out of it.

Bobby's legs didn't seem any different from last night--which only means that I still couldn't be sure I was feeling anything. Since he was going to stay in for the rest of the day anyway, I figured I might as well wrap him again and have the BM check him in the morning and make the decision to turn him out or not. He'll get the rest of the week and weekend off regardless, but hopefully he can go right back to work Monday.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Photo Puke.

Because I can! (And because the roads are icy so I don't want to go anywhere.)

red meets derby his first day home from highcliff.

red's fave game: douse yourself in mud and run like crazy.

red's "i'm about to go crazy" look.

proof that my 16.5" saddle used to fit like a dream.

fjord in training! sometimes i got conned into working
with "the others" at school. this is lily. she was a learning
to be a riding horse after years of driving. she was a whore.

training for our 25 mi. competitive trail ride! me (on right) on lu,
other carly on (on left) on paso fino armonico.

she was a 19yo. mustang, many times over endurance champion.
she barely tolerated me.

haha, photo bombed! i don't know whatever become of this colt.
he was registered as "iamwhatiplay" when we had him in for training.

sir robert in training!

bobby as a long yearling, already broke to ride. welcome to the
tb racing industry!

cheesing with my roomies as a 2yo.

evil fjord lily's better half: hannibal. he was a lover.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Grid jumping.

I saw this on a friend's facebook this morning, and it made me anticipation of this year's first dressage test.
A. -- Enter in working trot.
X. -- Halt.
G. -- Try to halt again.
C. -- Freeze in horror at judge's ferocious glare. Salute hurriedly. Track left.
H. -- Rustle of spectator's crisp packet.
H.X.F. -- Extended bolt.
F. -- Track right. (Just.)
F.A.K.E. -- Working gallop right.
E. -- Circle right 20 metres strange polyhedron.
E. -- Freestyle pirhouette, change rein.
E.K.A.F.B. -- Counter canter, cross canter, camel canter.
B. -- Medium bird shuffling in bush.
B.X. -- Working spook left.
X. -- Freestyle piaffe.
X.K. -- Freestyle half pass (backwards).
K.E.H.C.M.B.F.A. -- Working trot (bouncing).
A. -- Veer right.
A.D.X.G. -- Extended walk.
G. -- Halt. Attempted immobility. Trembling salute. 

But this post is not about dressage-ing, it's about jumping.

alone in the shade while everyone else grazes in the sunshine.
I set up a baby grid for Robert that I got from a HI article. Ground pole, 9' to xrail, 18' to veritical, one stride to oxer. If someone wants to explain the 18' to me, please do. I always thought a bounce "stride" was 12' and one stride is 24'. No? It rode like a bounce as long as he went over the xrail perfectly, which was hard for a greenie lacking in jumping skillz.

grid from the front.

from the back. look at that huge oxer!
We spent a long time warming up since it was fuh-reezing out. I wanted to steal Bobby's booty blanket and wrap it around my own butt. He seemed a little stiff starting out, but was going along as well as he usuallly does by the time I started feeling warm. He might have been cold, too. Standing in the shade at the top of a hill in the wind when its twenty degrees out can do that to you. Retard.

We started the grid with just the X set up and the other two jumps as poles. It took two tries for him to figure out his footing, then he bounced right through it. The tiny vertical went up next. The first few times we both had to figure out how to go through it. I had to find the balance between a strong half-halt coming to the X and then letting him out to a big canter over it so he could get over the vertical easily, and then half-halt a little again to make the one stride to the pole flow.

Once we got the hang of that, the baby oxer went up. This thing was literally a foot tall, but Bobby hasn't done much grid work and I wanted him to find it easy and not have to worry about big scary fences. The first time through, I gave him too big of a half-halt and he dropped to a trot and popped over it. The second time, I didn't give him any half-halt at all and he fell apart, rushed the jump, and went over awkwardly. Third time was the charm and he went through it pretty well. We finished off going through it one more time without too much fuss.

He definitely wanted to rush through the whole thing the whole time, but he was very responsive to my aids and it was all about me riding it well. I know grids are supposed to be about the horse figuring his own feet out, but I don't think this one was really set up for that. I think if I had just pointed him at the line, he would have crashed through all three fences and not learned anything. I also am trying to figure out how much jumping to do  with him at once. I get bored quickly of doing the same exercise over and over, but I don't want to short him on figuring things out by not being able to work through it lots of times.

That might be a moot point for a bit because as we were finishing up, I circled him at the far end of the arena and, without thinking, trotted him right through the half frozen, chopped up part where the hired "help" lost control of the hose to water down the arena and did a "wonderful" job cleaning it up. Bobby took a wonky step through it, head bobbed, and seemed a fraction wonky trotting out.

I spent a lot of time going over him back at the barn and didn't find any heat or ouchiness. I think the culprit was his princess feet. Now that the ground has finally frozen, he's been a little mincy out in the paddock. He's got front shoes on, but he has dreadfully tender toes. I gave him a little bute and ordered him Biotin (and MSM) Friday. I started him on Biotin when I first got him and yanked his shoes for the winter. It helped him out a lot and had his feet not started chipping up like crazy from all the road riding, I probably would have left him barefoot. Hopefully it will take out the tenderness this time around.

Saturday, January 14, 2012


Hubby got home Thursday afternoon from a week-long meeting in Harrisburg (where he didn't even go to the Farm Show. Fail.) and immediately got suckered into taking me to the barn to change Bobby's sheet for his heavy blanket. Good thing, too, because the weatherman was actually right and it was 20 degrees, snowing, and super windy yesterday morning. No more 50 degrees and half-assed rain. Could have I just called and asked the BM to change his blankets? Probably. But BO said something when we first got there that she charged for blanket changing (I know.) and I don't want to get into a situation where I owe anyone for anything. Been there, sooo done that and regretted it. So Bobby got a good grooming, lots of cookies, and snuggled into his blankey for the morning.

"can i have just one more peppermint? please??"
I was perusing old pictures of Bobby yesterday, and I noticed how much FOAM he had on the track in his Houghton bit. Now I don't feel so excited when he foams up a little tiny bit in his copper egg butt. Apparently he is just a Foamy Pony. Oh, well. At least it looks like he's trying to be a fancy Dressage Pony.

"iz i on the racetrack? howz did i get here?"

Yesterday, Bobby and I rode in the arena with Sarah and Memphis. He started off slooowly and not very productive, but he started to come around. We stayed at the walk for a long time working on halting calmly and walking off calmly. No problems. Same at the trot. Sarah wanted a thirty second tutorial on how to gallop a racehorse so we spent the next several minutes looking like idiots cantering around the arena on her Dutch Warmblood and my fat mule-like Thoroughbred. Bobby enjoyed curling behind the bit and being crooked as Hades for a bit. After all, that's not real work which means it's fun!

We ran through the BN A dressage test one and a half times. He got a little flustered being asked to canter to the left in a semi-real way so I brought him back to the walk and regrouped before starting over. He went to the left sort of laboriously but lovely (for him), missed the right lead the first time, trotted down the centerline going several different directions, halted crooked, got straightened, then spooked at Memphis doing a flying flying change behind him. Well....we finished?

like my "quarter sheet"? the cats will miss their bed....

Today, we he warmed up super well as long as I kept my leg on him; he wanted to be a little lazy. I got two halt, back two steps and walk off transisitons with no freak outs, and then we did something scary....canter! Two circles and one full lap around the arena both directions. He was amazingly coordinated. It was a tough ride and I really had to help him out, and he's still super green, but he didn't feel like he was about to explode into ten million pieces because none of his body parts were working with each other. We finished off "test riding" a bendy xrail line for BO. Robert was quite pleased with himself.

he's not a fat cow anymore! that's about all that can be said for him.

"'i iz hearing the horsez behind me."

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Baby Horsie.

Oh, wait. That's just Robert. Having a Baby Horsie moment.

It started off well enough. There were three older riders in the ring on two totally chill horses and one young but mostly chill horse. Bobby warmed up well, not paying attention to them, even with the young horse longing in the middle when we first got going. We walked for a good fifteen minutes, then I stood in the middle while they did an exercise on the quarter line for their lesson. We trotted on the rail alone, then with them. Bobby was going okay until he started anticipating backing up each time we stopped and started flying backwards sideways across the arena. I didn't even touch him. I asked for a halt and away he went--in reverse.

The riders took another break in the middle of the arena and I got to work on the rail constructively. I focused on keeping him going forward on kind of a loose rein and just sitting up and ignoring any offer he gave me to get into a fight. Eventually, he calmed down and started working. We were even able to do a few trot-halt-trot transitions without any spaz attacks.

i tried to get a picture of the FOAM beginning.
 Then the lessoners started back on the rail and I went to the middle of the ring to get off. Nope. Not going to happen. Baby Horsie went "ape shit" as Hubby would say. Baby rears, baby bucks, flying backwards, flying forwards, spinning in circles, total melt down mode. I kept trying to just get him walking calmly with my reins waaay loose and my legs waaay out to the side so he had no excuse to be nutty, but he was having none of it. BO finally suggested doing tiny figure eights until he got bored and wanted to stop on his own.

It took literally ten more minutes for him to go from jigging nervousness to fast walking to calm walking to offering to stop and stand for three seconds. I got off when he agreed to stop without immediately going back to a walk. BO said it looked like he was anticipating getting in trouble for being naughty the whole time, but that certainly wasn't coming from my end. My only move was a squeeze with my calves to try to get some forward motion then immediate release. I think he just got a little overwhelmed and had a "I'm a greenie and an OTTB and still a baby trying to learn being with all these other fast horses in a small arena ahhhhhh!" moment.

He'll learn eventually. Better in the arena at home than in the middle of warm up before having to go do a dressage test.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

One Month.

our first summer together.
me: anorexic.
red: total psychotic maniac.
true love.
red pony glowed in the summer.

he was always a little nutty in turnout. true tb style.

red's first winter off the track. needing reassurance from the 4'
of february snow.

must. find. cookies.