Monday, July 30, 2012

Maladies Update.

Enjoy the Olympic cross country day today everyone! I plan on settling in for a long morning of tv and computer coverage before I do anything remotely productive.

Bobby didn't get another round of Bute yesterday because he walked out only slightly mincy on the gravel when I took his boots off. He got another shot of Thrush Buster and a good grooming before I antagonized him with a peppermint wrapper and made him take some pictures with me. Hoepfully we'll get in a walk ride in the indoor today and I'll check with BO to see if New Farrier will be out Friday or not.

Photo Spam:

not even a bad hair day. more like a bad hair life.

"there must be a cookie in there!!!"

trying to eat the wrapper.

big dope.
Sue ended up putting Gabby down Saturday night. I feel awful for her of course, but I'm glad she finally made the call. There was honestly nothing else that could have been done. RIP, Gabriella.

Gabby in April.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Various Maladies.

Whew, it's been awhile since I've been greeted with, "Your horse is dead lame." It was starting to make me a little nostalgic. Good thing PM BM broke the news to me first thing this afternoon.

Bobby pulled his RF shoe and then pulled his hoof boot off in the paddock so he was sore from that. His LF shoe was torqued so Hubby ended up yanking that so he didn't pull his whole foot off with it. Treated his ongoing thrush crack (Seriously. Who gets thrush in summer when we haven't had rain in two months?!) and checked for any bruising or potential abcesses before putting boots on both fronts. Fortunately there was no sign of either.

"check out my new kicks!"
I gave him a quick grooming while he ate his handful of grain doused with Bute and saw a few spots of developing hives. So I tossed in some HistALL that will get him started for the next five days to kick those in the butt. BM was surveying him in the crossties and commented, "You look rough, Bobby." So we agreed to up his grain a bit, though it won't do anything for his disgustingly bleached out and dyed buckskin coat.

"oh? i still get cookies even though i'm an ugly duckling?"
I caught BO as she was finishing up with a lesson and we chatted farriers. My supposed-to-be-new farrier didn't do Bobby last time because he was having back surgery. Bobby had to get done by someone so Old Farrier did him. Well, New Farrier came out the next week with his temporary substitute and of course Bobby didn't need to get done. So now everyone that NF does is caught up, and OF comes every Tuesday, so that's where my discussion with BO led. She said she'd call NF and see if he could come out Friday if I thought I could baby Bobby through some light rides in the indoor with boots on. I guess there are two other horses that need to get done whose owner doesn't want OF to do them anymore.

I can work with that as long as I get confirmation NF will be out for sure Friday. Bucks is only two weeks away, but Bobby's not going to lose too much fitness with a week off. He's only going BN and Bucks is lacking in any challenging terrain. Fingers crossed.

In other barn drama malady news, Gabby is not doing so well. The general consensus with everyone, vet included, is that she should be put down. She can't bear any weight on her bad leg, she has sores everywhere from laying down so much and banging into things trying to get up, she isn't drinking, she isn't eating, and she doesn't even try to stand on her own anymore. But her owner doesn't want to make the call so..... It really bothers me when people do this to their animals. Yes, she's your friend, your horse, your pet. Don't let her lay there dying slowly. Put her out of her misery because she can't do it herself.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Poor quality photos, ftw!

I decided to make up for my lack of interesting posts by taking lots of top-notch shots of Bobby. Unfortunately, Bobby is the most disproportiante, awkward looking, sometimes even downright ugly looking horse that there was nothing to be done. So here are some equally uninteresting pictures.

the most forward i could get his ears.
i miss my little 15.3hh compact red pony!
so long! so ugly!
majestic donkey.

i cringe looking at his feet.
He was being the biggest lazy pig longing so I tried to chase him around. He would trot just fast enough that he could reach down to snag some grass before I could get to him, and then he would amble off again. I ended up getting on him bareback and working his ass off for twenty minutes--w/t/c with forward being the only thing I focused on. Then I jumped a few jumps. Just because I ride better bareback than I do with no stirrups.

shwoing off his trail horse skillz while being lazy.
I finished off with some in-hand work. His turn on the forehands were phenomenal both ways. Leg yield to the left was decent, to the right was a battle but we did get it. A few steps of shoulder in and a few steps of straight backing and we headed down for a massage.

freeing up the beast's shoulder.
Booooring. I wish his shoes weren't clanking so we could do something exciting.

Thursday, July 26, 2012


I want to apologize for my lack of interesting posts lately. Not that I ever do anything ground breaking or hanging by the seat of your pants crazy (well, there have been exceptions), but trot sets and flat work are hardly fascinating news. But this is more a training blog for me to follow my progress and the progress of my horse, so even if it makes us all yawn, at least I can go back in a year and be like, "Psh, getting ready for another BN? So glad I'm doing Prelim now."

Ok, let's not get ahead of ourselves here....

Today's boring blog post is on a long (1hr) dressage school. I wanted to go on a 30 minute walk trail ride to warm the beastie up, but I checked his shoes as I was picking his feet and both are just a smidgum loose. I also nipped a nail off from his left shoe that was starting to come out. Jeeze, it has been four whole weeks since he got done! Knock on wood, at least they're still on there at all. He's on the list to get done Tuesday.

We headed to the indoor and put in fifteen minutes of walk work--counter bend, leg yielding, and a few baby steps of shoulder in. He started out with a really nice trot, but then Sue and Sunny came down to join us and we had to go back to the walk to regain some focus and try again. His trot never came back to where we started, but he did throw in a few good moments when we worked on trot-halt-trot transitions.

There was a square set up in the middle of the ring (8'X8') so I stuck him in there to practice turns on the forehand. He was okay to the right, but to the left his hind end got stuck. He could turn his head all the way to his hip (yay, carrot stretches!), but his butt did not want to move. Even with several sharp jabs with my spur, he was adamant he couldn't do it. Probably time for another chiro or massage session, but it will have to wait until the next paycheck.

We were getting ready to canter and five campers came into the indoor to ride. Why they didn't go to the empty, giant outdoor I don't know. We managed to sneak in a really kick ass canter to the left as they got their horses ready, then had to pull up multiple times cantering to the right to avoid collisions with the oblivious "riders". BO finally pulled in and kicked them out to the outdoor so we finished our right canter then headed up to, unfortunately, join them when the barn help needed to get to the quarantine stall with the tractor. I put in another fifteen minutes of trot and canter work with my stirrups pulled. Canter work was awesome, trot work left a lot to be desired. I know he's great at shows where it counts, but I really wish I could get some consistently good trot work out of this horse.

helping clean up trip's hay while waiting for his turn in the wash stall.
I think tomorrow will be a ground work day. Longing, lateral work in-hand, and general manners. I'll throw in my own try at a good massage while I'm at it. This Sunday is two weeks until Bucks so once Bobby gets new shoes on, we'll hopefully start doing more exciting things.

my horse knows the way to carry the sleigh...
err, or the way to his paddock with no lead rope.
In not so boring news, some good vibes are needed for Sue's other horse, Gabby. She's currently battling vasculitis in her RH for the second time in a year and things are not looking good this time around. She's 22yo. this year and this might be her undoing.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

This means war.

Dear fleas,

I will defeat you.


Woman wielding arm-loads of flea bombs.

We have set off eighteen flea bombs since we've been home. Between them and the newly blacktopped road, things are smelling pretty awful around here. Hubby and I got out of the house for a couple hours last night to take a visit to the ER to get a Prednisone shot and a week's prescription of pills for my poisin ivy. My throat was starting to burn and I knew I couldn't get by with Benadryl and Coritsone anymore. There's nothing quite like itching inside and out while battling fleas in your house to make you feel like taking on the world!

rejected. the mares didn't lift their heads once.
Wednesday has officially been designated Trot Sets Day. I got out to the barn at 8:30 and it was an awesome 75 degrees out. Bobby was being a monster the whole time--in a good way. The loop I took last week that I timed at five minutes only took us four today. He was in the bridle and pushing off like a downright beast. I actually had to give him a few half halts to keep him from getting too quick. Next week I'll add in another set of trotting. This week I added in another set of canter just to see if I could get him to breathe hard because the trotting wasn't doing it.

I don't know what it is, but these past two times I've felt so secure in my half seat when cantering, whether going uphill or even downhill. I feel like I'm levitating above my saddle and if I wanted to drop my reins and stick my arms out, I wouldn't be able to tell the difference. I have no clue where this awesomeness has come from, but I'm not going to analyze it too much in fear of it going away! I did have a few moments where I had to remind myself to pull my shoulders back to keep myself balanced when going downhill, but overall Bobby and I both had a good rhythm with little effort.

We did have one moment passing between the banks downhill that I was focusing on staying back and quiet while keeping my leg on because last week Bobby broke to a trot to get down the same part of the hill. Well, this week he was determined to canter and I was determined to stay in my newfound solid position and neither one of us noticed the pile of sand that Bobby then tripped over and fell flat on his face. I muttered a "Dammit" at missing the stupid pile and Bobby hopped back up and carried on like nothing happened. This is a huge improvement from when I first started riding when I probably would have pulled him up to puke down his shoulder.

I let the beastly boy pick his own pace up the last hill on our last set and he galloped up it like the Thoroughbred he sometimes is. That finally got him blowing, but by the time we'd mosied on down to the bottom of the hill (a five minute walk), he was in fine form again. I'm curious to know what his heart rate is during this conditioning work because he's really not breathing hard at all--especially for a very mild roarer that had to be retired for bleeding so heavily. Add a HR monitor to my wish list....

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

How NOT to go on vacation.

Warning: Below is a long, whining, mostly not horse related post. Look at the pictures and move on if you don't want to read it.

I mentioned before I went off the grid that Hubby and I were headed for a four day vacation. We left Friday, had the Hubby Family Reunion on Saturday, stayed Sunday, and came home Monday. But first, let's rewind all the way back to last Thursday/


I had my final ride on Robert before leaving for "vacation". We did a dressage school in the indoor with the main focus on canter. Bobby was feeling good in general after his conditioning Wednesday. Forward but relaxed, and focused on me during warm up. After doing circles in every spot possible in the canter, I started working on his simple changes. He started anticipating way too much and would break to the trot as soon as I turned him on the diagnol, and then he'd trotreallyfast before falling into the canter. No thank you!

After a few times of doing this and completely ignoring me, I sat him on his rump as soon as he turned in and made him walk across the diagnol before picking up the canter again. It only took four times of this exercise before he decided it would be much easier and nicer for the both of us if he just listened to me and trotted when I asked.

I ran through the Novice A dressage test with the hopes of ending there, but instead had to deal with a "cantercantercanter!!!" brain every three strides. We struggled with control throughout the entire easy test and I made him trot for another ten minutes without trying to canter before calling it quits.

not thursday. but still cute!
Hubby got home a little early that afternoon and helped me finish packing for the camping. We decided to take the canoe out to the river which would have been more fun if we weren't battling knee-deep water with giant boulders potruding and a current that made us feeling like we weren't moving at all trying to go against it. It was a good workout at least.

We were on our way home when Hubby had to swerve to miss two kittens sitting in the middle of the road just past the subdivision where civiliztion ends on the way to our house. I had seen one of the kittens on the side of the road that morning on my way to the barn, but since I already have two cats and we were leaving the next day, I shrugged it off and told myself I couldn't stop to bring it home. Of course, this time I couldn't leave both of them there to be hit!

Hubby turned around and waved down a driver headed towards them. The woman pulled over just as the town cop pulled up behind us. He was nice enough to put on his lights and help us wrangle the two kittens while directing traffic. I agreed to take them for the night (it was almost 9pm) on the assumption that I would take them down to the SPCA in the morning and leave from there.


The SPCA doesn't open until 11:30 so Hubby and I take our time packing and running last minute errands. We get our two cats squared away, leave feeding instructions for the rabbit and chickens, get the dogs in the truck, and load up the kittens. We get to the SPCA and manage to find someone without their head up the news crew's ass.

Me: I picked these kittens up in the middle of the road yesterday. I'm on my way to NY for four days and I can't leave them behind.

SPCA: Well, we're a non-profit agency and these kittens probably need medical attention so there's nothing we can do.

Me: ......

SPCA: And we're full so we can't take them.

Me: So.....what do you want me to do with them? Put them back in the road?

SPCA: Well......we can't take them. Call the vet and see if they will.

I called my vet and they pretty much told me they had no clue what to do with them. So back to the house Hubby and I went to rig together a vacation home for the kittens until we got back. We put them in the rabbit's winter cage which is a big wire crate with cedar shavings on the bottom and big bowls of food and water. Sorry, kittens. At least you won't be in the rain or the road.

tiny kitten one.

freaked out tiny kitten two.

The pouring rain ended just as we pulled into our campsite and Hubby and I went to grab dinner while we waited for Hubby's mom and SIL to show up. They finally pull in four hours later than they said they would and within ten minutes of getting out of the car, SIL is shoving pictures of her first sonogram in my face. Fuck that. I don't want to see your uterus, nor hear all the gritty details of what's going on inside of it.


Saturday was the reunion at Buttermilk Falls in Ithaca. We went for a really pretty hike down the Gorge Trail. I forgot my camera and phone so sadly there aren't any pictures from it. I did get my workout for the day in climbing up and down the crazily steep broken "stairs" both ways. That night, I noticed new red spots on my arm, legs, and neck. I am extremely allergic to poisin ivy and I can get it just by thinking the words. By the time I went to bed, I could feel my face start to burn and my eyes swelling.


I woke up with my right eye completely swollen shut and my legs, arms, neck and face (including my fucking lips!) covered in poisin ivy. What an awesome way to start the day. I took Advil for the swelling, Benadryl for the itching and general nastiness, lathered myself in Cortizone, and passed out for another hour with an ice pack on my eye. The swelling went down enough that I vaguely resembled a Neandrathal, but I could at least see. We spent the rest of the day doing more hiking and having to listen to SIL moan about how she needed a rest and she was feeling queasy and she needed to sit down. SIL is three months pregnant. Get the fuck over yourself. Why don't you share some of my weeping pus wounds? We can bitch itch together.


I just wanted to be in my own house by this point. I itched like crazy and, for those of you who have had real poisin ivy know, I was looking like a leper as the nasty stuff started healing (in which the teeny tiny little swollen dots that covered what just looks like a red sore area start to leak yellow-ish liquid.). If you think I was looking incredibly attractive, you are so right! Hack, gag.

We got home after a long, but uneventful three hour drive to open the door to the house and find a carpet of fleas. It was like the Black Plague in our kitchen. We had started finding fleas on the dogs so we did an all-purpose deep clean before we left: Advantix for the dogs, flea bombs in the house, and spray for the outside of the house. Well, apparently the highly toxic shit Hubby brought home from work for outside far outweighed the little flea bombs inside the house and all the fleas took refuge inside. Just what you want to come home to! We ran down to PetSmart and grabbed two cases of bombs and set them off, deciding to spend our two hours at the barn.

When we went up to get Bobby out of the field, we found the final three pairs (yes, pairs) of his missing bell boots. One pair was even salvagable! I threw on my dressage tack and draw reins for a quick, painless schooling in the outdoor with no fuss. I jumped on and found he was a little foot sore. Not lame, just kind of ouchy. I got off and checked his shoes, but nothing seemed out of place so I got back on and he suffered through it for the twenty minutes I rode.

I fell back into my bad habits easy peasy and had droopy shoulders and lazy hands pretty much the whole ride.

like, srsly. what am i doing?
Overall though, nothing ground-breaking. Just a quick ride to blow some time.

I went into the feed room to grab a gram of Bute for his toes and I checked on my supplements. Monday's hadn't been fed. I was too tired to even call up to the house and tell BO about it. It's not like it won't still be there the next time I see her! Arghghgrhbvkdnlgkd.

So that was how I spent my time away from the barn. This morning I hung out outside for two hours while I bombed the house again because last night's bombing only took the edge off. Hubby and I are going on a vaccuming rampage tonight and I'll bomb the house again tomorrow, hopefully for the last time. I would like to move back in at some point this week.... Hopefully I can find these kittens homes pretty quickly, too.

tiny kitten sleeping.

sleeping in her food dish.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Trot sets.

can you spot the newest battle scars?
There's nothing like sticking your horse on the crossties and finding fresh wounds on his already torn up side. The two newest members were so thin that I actually scoured his stall for a nail poking out. Nothing. So I caved and asked BM if she'd noticed anything. (The same BM who has such issues feeding my SmartPaks, though that's been remedied for the time being.) "Oh, the new bite marks? Yeah, Bennie was biting everyone as they made their way down this morning."

So....what do I do? Keep applying Blue Kote and Swat? Throw up my hands in disgust? I've already incited a barn-wide turnout scheduling change. Am I supposed to ask for another one to move one horse out of the field? And who moves? Bobby or Bennie? Bobby just stands there and takes it. He doesn't bite back, he doesn't kick out, he won't even pin his ears back. He has no sense of self-preservation. I guess I can ask BO's opinion on it tomorrow. I hate feeling like such a pain in the ass all the time.

While I do feel bad for poor Mr Magee, he was oblivious to my ministrations to the area so after applying a healthy dose of Swat, I tacked him up anyway and we headed up to the xcountry field to begin our forrey into organized, timed trot sets.

Once, long ago, I learned all about conditioning event horses and how to carry that over into conditioning racehorses. For some reason, it seemed like a good thing to go to school for.

conditioning work started on future racer and eventer:
18 mo. old bobby!
Somewhere there's a big packet I have of how to properly work your way into trot sets and then canter sets. I will find it, I promise. But for today I made up a plan that sounded good in my head: four sets of five minutes of trot with two minute walk breaks in between, followed by a five minute canter. Bobby took it all in stride and got progressively stronger as we went through sets. By the time we did our canter, he was moving right along. You tell me, all-knowing eventing gurus. Is this a good place to start? We were both happy with it regardless.

half of the xcountry field.
I guess there's not really all that much to say about trot sets. You trot up and down hills, trying not to die of boredom, and trying to keep your horse in some semblance of a nice frame without either one of you falling on your face. I will say though that I felt fucking solid during our canter--totally balanced and in control. Take that, killer baby hills! I'm mostly not afraid of you!

eyeing up the mares who didn't bother to leave the run-in the
whole time we were in their field.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Sitting chilly.

Unfortunately I don't mean that in a literal sense as it was in the 90s today, but I made it my goal to be a quiet rider for our dressage school. Dang, did it ever pay off!

Bobby's dressage work is always better in the indoor. It's a smaller area and there are less things to be distracted by. I also put my Ecogold pad back on under my dressage saddle. The saddle fits him fine--not pinching anywhere, not leaving any marks, and he doesn't react to his back being poked at--but I think he likes the extra padding. It does look a little foolish since it's a jumping pad and the flaps are made for a forward flap saddle and they stick a good six inches out. I do believe the dressage version will be going on my christmas list this year.

yes, please.
I spent thirty five minutes schooling in the arena. With two exceptions, Bobby was amazing. In fact, we were both amazing. My contact was consistent without pulling on him and his head and neck were right where they should be. I wasn't nagging him with my leg, instead telling him what I wanted and when he did it, I was done with leg pressure. He halted right off my seat across the diagnol from the walk and trot, and he was so in-tune with my seat that my normal half halts were enough to drop him from the trot to the walk when they usually just slow him down for a stride.

The absolute best part of the whole ride was coming back into the trot after a walk break. My reins were a little long and he offered to stretch down. I let my reins out just a hair and he reached a whole new level of fanciness. His back came up, his neck stretched down, his head stayed in "frame", and his legs were motoring along underneath him with a big, swinging trot. I had serious air time between posts, but at no time did I feel like he was rushing or we were out of rhythm. So effing fancy, it wasn't even funny. Now I know why you dressage riders are okay with no jumping. If he went like that all the time, I'd be okay with it too!

His first blooper came immediately after the fancy as shit trot. I asked him to start to collect up again and he got very tense in his neck and jaw. It took a few minutes to get him sorted out again, but he did do it. We cantered both directions, and his second disobediance was taking a whole circle to come back to the trot. He didn't even react to my half halts and I resorted to a very firm, "Whoa!" which took him by surprise. Well hello, dude. Where were you for those twenty meters I was trying to get you to listen? Other than that, the ride was pretty much flawless. His canter was actually balanced for once and we didn't feel like we were about to tip over on our sides (though I had to work hard to keep us upright). He was focused, he was willing, and he was moving like a real dressage horse. Fuck yeah!

We finished with a thirty minute trail ride. Twenty five minutes walking, five minutes trotting. We trotted on the only semi-flat ground. We don't have mountains, per se, but our hills are big enough that walking up and down them is plenty of work. Plus, they're so ridiculously rocky (the not so great perks of boarding in coal country) I feel bad asking him to trot in most of the spots. We also jumped the above newly downed tree to get to the trail. It's probably 2'6 where we jumped it. Bobby only had about five strides of trot to get over it and the ground is super rocky, but he hopped right over and carried on like it was no big deal. What a good Pony Face.

Monday, July 16, 2012


Sunday's ride was a let down for me. Not because Bobby was naughty or because anything went horribly wrong, but more because I felt like I made some bad decisions and took advantage of Bobby's (generally) good nature. He was being such a love the whole time. He wanted snuggles in his stall while tacking up, and he warmed up on the flat so well. I really took the time to focus on bending at the walk before moving on to anything else and he was much more flexible the rest of the ride. Since Hubby was on hand again I decided to do another jump school, but I didn't really have a game plan going in.

I started off the same as Saturday with just individual fences. Bobby was tired. He wasn't forward, and while he never once said no, he wasn't in it. We couldn't find a distance to save our lives and he started his bad habit of drifting to the right again. I had Hubby set out placement poles for us and that seemed to help us out some, but we were still struggling.

Our huge issue of the day was the oxer which rode so well for us the whole time Saturday. Things got worse with the placement pole. We just couldn't figure things out. I finally had Hubby do away with the stupid pole completely, lower the poles to 2', and make the spread 3'. We came around from the other direction and went over it twice without incident (minus landing on the wrong lead). I finished a pretty short ride there with nothing really accomplished.

Hubby had to give me a bit of a pep talk halfway through because I was getting really discouraged about....everything. I feel like we should be farther along than we are now and that we shouldn't be having days like Sunday where I felt like we weren't actually doing anything. Hubby pointed out that you can't have a good day every day. You have to keep working on things and tweaking and fixing the issues as they come up. That's what training is for--training to get better.

He also made me go down memory lane to where we were last year. Red had been eliminated at our very first forrey into eventing during stadium, Bobby had done one horse trial at Starter (2') where he finished sixth after an abysmal walk-trot test and clobbering a xrail during stadium, and Bobby had also finished fourth (and dead last) in Intro B. So far this year? 1st in our very first horse trial of the year, second at his first BN at a very competitive Plantation with a sub-30 dressage score, and a 1st and 3rd at Training level dressage with two (arguably undeserved) 10s. So what if he needs the poles set out for him sometimes? We've still got just under four weeks until our next show. There's a sign up at the church by our house: If the going is easy, you're going downhill.

I hate thinking that I'm going down the path of souring Bobby on working again by putting my own crazies before his best interests. So the game plan for the rest of the week? Tomorrow a dressage school in the indoor followed by a trail ride, Wednesday a conditioning ride in the xcountry field, Thursday another dressage/trail ride, and then he'll have a four day vacation to chill out and regroup while Hubby and I are camping with his family.

At the end of our ride, after I was done hosing off Bobby, rubbing his legs, and moisturizing his hooves, he was still all snuggles. I gave him a few extra cookies and all was forgiven. I can't forget to have fun and enjoy my horse, even during show season!


I finally got my car back Saturday after dropping it off on Wednesday. Hoorah! Not so hoorah? They had to rewire all sorts of things and I had to paid an extra $110 dollars on top of the $350 for the original mess. Not very hoorah at all. Fortunately, even though there's never any extra "rainy day" money, I am the most anal budgeter ever and I was able to fit the stupid repairs in since I ever so patiently disconnected the battery cable to turn my car off for two weeks until I could afford it. And then I set a bill aside to pay by phone so it would get paid in time and forgot to pay it. Oh friggin' well. Better late than never.

But pony things!

I decided to bring out the running martingale again in hopes that it would help Mr Magee focus a little more and bring his periscoping head down while working in the outdoor. That worked out so-so. He definitely wasn't as bad as usual, but he wasn't the focused dressage horse he is when working in the indoor.

This plan ended up backfiring when we got to jumping and he reverted to "I'm an OTTB wearing rings and therefore have every excuse to not pick my head up". So I took it off and it's back in retirement in the bottom of my tack box. BO had moved a couple of the newly painted jumps up from the indoor and set up a course. It looked like it flowed really long as you didn't want to change directions, which I certianly did. So I made up my own course that rode a little awkwardly, but it mostly worked.

But first we worked on single fences and then two or three together.

Bobby did his first real run-out in a looong time the first time up to the blue and white X. He wasn't entirely sure it wasn't going to eat him, even when represented at the trot.

After a few more times through, though, he decided it was safe.

He also took a peak at the oxer the first time over, but after that, everything went pretty durned well. He was finding his distances and listening to me when I saw a spot instead of just running into the base of the fence and springing/puking awkwardly over.

There were a couple of problems we ran into that are going to the top of the To Do list:

* Fitness. Pony was tired after forty minutes of flatting, jumping, and doing a full course. I wanted to run him through the course once more after the first time and he just didn't quite have as much natural umph as he did the first time through. A little slower and not quite as quick with his feet. So, weather permitting, I'm going to tack on a trail ride at the end of every dressage ride along with at least an hour trail ride once a week on top of a conditioning day in the xcountry field. He'll easily survive a fifteen minute warm up and a four minute dressage test followed by a two hour break and a max of thirty more minutes of work that is a horse show, but I want him to be able to work long and hard at home easily.

* Leads. The dreaded leads, I should say. He's been so good about picking up his correct leads from the walk and trot when we start cantering, and he's getting better about his simple changes, but he is by no means good about getting the correct lead on landing and I'm not being half as attentive as I should be about correcting him and he's obviously struggling to jump well because of it. The next time we jump, it's going to be all small xrails and we're going to nail down correct leads after jumps. How exciting.

Here's the course:

* Dang those leads....I really should have corrected it after the gate, made a circle, and brought him back around to the coop. * The blue vertical that fell only has three feet on its standards so it's super tipsy. It was set at 2' in the video and Hubby kicked it up to 2'6 for our second time and he cleared it easily. * The "bending line" of the green vertical to the tires was not actually set as a line which is why it rode so incredibly awful. * Isn't he being such a good boy about distances?????
(Sorry the formatting is so fucking annoying! Blogger, I hate you!)

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Fun in the field.

Gosh, good thing that massive thunderstorm didn't make the xcountry field too wet. Oh, wait. That massive thunderstorm only yielded one-tenth of an inch of rain.

Sarah and I did our good dead for the day and did a make-over on Olivia's horse Kidd. Olivia has been in Chile for the past three months and Kidd had turned into a bit of a pregnant wild beast. I pulled his mane (which you can barely tell, but I took a good six inches off!) while Sarah trimmed his face, ears, and legs. Then we scrubbed down his big white stockings and posed him up for some pictures to get Olivia through the week until she's home again.


how can you not love that face?

We headed up to the field with Blackberry and Bobby and marveled that the new worker had finally spread the dirt for the banks! This guy is amazing! Unfortunately, he ran out and didn't get any more footing in until today so he only had the landing sides done. They still look so much better though. Sarah got to work on some of the jumps while Bobby and I made big loops at the trot around the bottom half of the field up and down the hill. The xcountry field is perfect for terrain work. It's a 12 acre field that's mostly flat at the top of the hill before it drops to good size slope that, depending on which part you go up/down, has undulating terrain or flat footing.


We took a break from trotting and did a little point-to-pointing (jumping at the same time) with Sarah and Blackberry over a couple logs. It's a good thing the two Bs are BFFs because they tolerate our bad questionable decisions really well.

mr magee.
Bobby and I took a break to snap some pictures of Sarah jumping.

feeling fresh after doing the ditch.
I tricked her into jumping the 3' trakhener I have yet to get brave enough to try Bobby over. She asked me how tall it was and I told her I'd tell her once she jumped it. As she cantered up to it, I called out that she'd better ride him pretty forward in case he took a peak at the ditch under it, to which she responded with, "There's a ditch?!" But they beasted it and were quite proud of themselves.

21yo. Quarter Pony. Bad ass all the way.
She let Blackberry walk around to catch his breath while Bobby and I did two canter laps around the whole field. It took about seven minutes to complete, but Bobby was in his western lope mode. I didn't want to ask for too much speed because I'm still a chicken about going downhill at a walk sometimes so it was a big step for me to keep him at the canter down a real hill. I had to tell myself that when he started dropping his head not to follow him with my arms and upper body and send us both onto our forehands. Instead, I made use of the elevator bit and asked him to pick his front end up. In return, I kept my upper body more balanced above him and we both felt pretty secure going down. Huge win!

Just for fun, and because we're both down with a good race, we lined the boys up for a final sprint up the hill. Blackberry, being a Quarter Horse, won yet again, but Bobby put in a good show and wasn't miles behind for once. Plus, even after cantering for almost ten minutes straight with a blow out up a steep hill, he barely took a deep breath and was back to breathing normally in no time. Thoroughbreds for the win!

And in chicken news to finish you off, four of the six chickens have been named. The brown leghorn below is the great Kevin (which Hubby took some convincing on since they're all girls), and the gold comet beside her is Helga because, according to Hubby, she looks like a fat Swede. The two red comets were named Big Bertha and Bernice.

kevin and helga.

big bertha.