Sunday, December 30, 2012

Skijoring.

Hubby and I had a game plan this morning, and we set out for the barn ready to make some bad questionable awesome decisions. Hubby has been bugging me to try skijoring for forever. We never got around to trying it with Red, and Storm would have kicked Hubby's head off, but Bobby is the perfect candidate.

"uhhh, i guess i'm ready?"
There were no jumps and no mad galloping as the only flat, safe spot to attempt this was the outdoor, but I am still counting it as skijoring. Hubby was on skis being pulled by a wild mustang.



We started off with Hubby skiing behind and around Bobby as Bobby paid zero attention to him. After half a lap of this, we said "Screw it" and looped the rope around the saddle horn. We moved up slowly from the walk to trot to canter, and Bobby just stepped out with zero hesitation. He could have cared less. He was frolicing in the snow and he was totally happy.





Granted Bobby is a pretty chill dude all around, but I think most horses would have no problem doing this. He was definitley having to pull, but the skis are so quiet he probably didn't even realize what he was doing. So everyone should try it!!



After Hubby had had his fill, Bobby and I cantered around on our own a bit, complete with a flying change. Sneaky bastard. I knew you knew them!



Such a good dude. I can't wait for my helmet camera to get here so we can do this again.

Friday, December 28, 2012

Snow Days

For once, we actually got hit with the Mega Storm that everyone usually overreacts to. Snow wasn't supposed to start on Wednesday until 3pm at the earliest, so I went out to the barn around 11:30. There was a make-up lesson going on so I was kind of limited in what I got to do, but we jumped around 2'6 a bit on a circle and coming off the rail on an angle. Olivia and I were tooling around, making fun of Kidd and Bobby, and we looked out of the arena and commented on how pretty the flurries were. Well, by the time I got done riding, the little flurries were an inch of snow and they were coming down like crazy.

"stop trying to take my picture, you nut job, and put me back in my stall."
I quickly took care of Bobby and got in my car. The driveway out of the barn is uphill and I have to make a left uphill to get home. The Saturn made it out of the driveway....and then slid allll the way over into the side of the hill and started going backwards. Awesome. Saturn, you are such an off-roader! I spun the wheel and just let the poor piece of shit slide right back into the barn drive.

I ran up to the house to use BO's phone (because of course I have no service anywhere) and put in an S.O.S. to Hubby. He was kind of, sort of, not really close, but he would still come get me. Really, he had no choice. I wandered back down to the barn to help BM with chores to keep myself amused. I mucked out the nine stalls that needed to get done in the time it took her to turn horses in and out. Then we spent five minutes throwing hay in stalls, dumping buckets, and sweeping. And then there was nothing left to do, and it was only 3pm. So we amused ourselves waiting for Hubby to get there (an hour and a half after I called him and he wasn't anywhere close).

Me: Let's clean the tack room.

BM: Let's put a blanket on this horse. Hmm. She's wet.
Me: That's okay! We'll towel her dry!

BM:We can give the horses in the hole some more hay...

nom nom.
Me: We should get a sled and pull people around the outdoor with one of the horses.

BM: I wonder who that girl was.

Me: How long do you think it will take Hubby to get here?

BM: LOL, look at Cielo play with her tongue.

lolz.
Me: So what did you get for Christmas?

BM: Let's put blankets on all the horses!

Me: Hey, what are in all these boxes?

Me: Does this look like driving tack?

So. Bored. Finally, around 4:30, Hubby pulled in and we spent the next hour driving home at 20mph. Yay, winter!

poor little car.
Hubby dropped me off yesterday afternoon and I pulled Bobby out of his paddock for a quick dressage school. He was a bit of a brat warming up, but he's a bit of a brat warming up 99.9% of the time. He finally settled into work and we had some fun cantering 10 meter circles and avoiding collisions with people that were paying no attention to where they were going.

Today, the arena was free of jumps, poles, and people so I had to take advantage and do another dressage school. Also, it was cold and I didn't feel like setting anything up. So. Lazy.

This was a bad idea. Bobby has appreciated his "no repeats" rides and he was not feeling another dressage work out. Sorry, dude. I didn't even mess with really getting him going like a dressage horse. We ran through some relatively fun exercises at all three gaits, and while tooling around at the canter, I decided to test his flying changes. Every now and then I get the urge because I know they exist inside his giant buffoon body. Today, they were there for the taking! He got five out of the five I asked for without a late change behind or anything. Yay, Robert! Of course, his canter afterwards was atrocious, but we'll get there.

I moved on to cantering him in and out of a spiraling circle which he was doing very well with. We went to go across the diagnol with a simple change and I felt something bump my leg.

minor tack malfunction. no bigs.
What the fuck, right?!

Apparently I need to check my girth five times, and not the four times I check it before doing any sort of work. I mean, really. That's just ridiculous. I ended up just cooling him out bareback.

Here is the beast one month ago, after a month of vacation:


Here he is today, after a month of being back in work:

best clip job ever.
I don't know why he looks ribby. He's not. He has, however, lost the hay belly.

"pretty sure i heard a cookie. no? pretty sure you
should give me one anyway."

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Loot.

Despite spending Christmas alone this year, I still managed to pull in some good loot. So here's my completely pointless, selfish post-Christmas present list:

As I wrote before, my mom paid for Bobby's ulcer meds over Thanksgiving and they arrived Christmas Eve. It was perfect timing, making it feel like a true Christmas present.



Also from my mom, I got a Kindle. Not a fancy one, so don't get too jealous. I didn't think I'd like it or even use it, but I'm a little bit obsessed with it now.



From Hubby, I got my first pair of new breeches since I was thirteen. Thirteen! I have no fucking clue how my ass still fits in my early teenage years breeches, but they do. They're Horze brand, they're awesome, and they're grown up sized. Whaaat! Also, they're black because next year we are classing shit up and changing my colors to black and white. My six year old blue and gold racing vest is getting retired (probably sold) and a black Tipperary is on the list.



From my padre, I ordered a helmet cam! I am taking your media experience to a whole new level next year, readers! It's currently back ordered, but I cannot wait to get my hands on it and play with it.



And finally, from my Granny and Paw Paw (I grew up in the south, and they're from Texas. Don't hate.), I got enough money to schedule my first driving lesson. I still want to teach Bobby to drive. Just because. BO and I talked about it Sunday and set a game plan, money permitting. First lesson will hopefully be some time next week and she'll run through the basics with me and teach me how to drive Star. Yesssss!

So what did you guys get? Or should I ask, what did your horses get?

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Bobby Magee: A History

Merry Christmas, everyone! Your Christmas present is the story of baby Jesus Bobby. I'm still bugging people for more baby pictures of him since all of mine were eaten by the Laptop of Doom. One day...

Bobby was born March 9th, 2005. He was bred, born, raised, trained, and retired at the college I went to. He's by the now deceased Cobleskill stallion Mighty Magee out of one of the school's also now deceased broodmares Nobody's Angel. Angel had five foals, including Bobby. The first two, He's A Ray and Lion at the Gate, coincidentally ended up in the barn of the trainer I worked for at Saratoga. Bobby was next, and then another bay colt by Oratory who broke down in his first and only start, and a chestnut filly by Ten Most Wanted who disappeared off the radar after being too accident prone to make it to the yearling sales. I'm sure she's still around somewhere, but I have no clue where.

Bobby's family:

Mighty Magee

Nobdoy's Angel

lion at the gate (lion hearted/ nobody's angel)
man talk (oratory/nodoby's angel)
alexa raven (ten most wanted/nobody's angel)
Bobby was pretty much the same horse as a baby as he is now. Dopey, kind of stupid looking and friendly, but a total brat to work with. He was famous for taking students mud skiing when they turned him out. He was one of the only yearlings that had to be led with a chain on at all times.

he still loves to play with rubber buckets.
He was finally gelded and became a respectable citizen.

of course i have pictures of his castration!
Bobby was one of the horses that was used for the Thoroughbred Training class that I TA'ed. He was longed, ground driven, ponied, and longed some more.

getting ponied off of jackson.
Finally, the teacher of the class/my advisor/my favorite college professor ever took the majority of the students down to Timmonium to work the sales for a week. He told my roomie and I to keep Bobby going while they were gone. Well, Simone and I being the enterprising young women that we were, decided it was past time Bobby got backed. The same day everyone left, Simone tossed me up. (Making me the first person to ever sit on my horse!) By the time the class got back, Bobby was doing w/t/c in the outdoor.

a slightly different ride back in the day.
Of course, being Bobby, we had to chase him around with a longe whip while the other person was riding him to get him to canter. This "conviently" always seemed to happen when the BM was on break and he'd stand at the fence and laugh at us. We did not have high hopes for Racehorse Magee.

As with most racing-bound Thoroughbreds, Bobby was in full work by the time he was two. He was ridden by probably half a dozen people in that time. However, when the semester long class ended, he kind of fell by the wayside. After seeing him ridden pretty poorly by another girl, I threw up my hands and signed him on as my special project--the same way I ended up with Red. I taught him his leads and later installed his flying changes in preperation of making him fit in on the track. (Flying changes on the track not being quite as subtle as in the dressage ring--Dressage Queens tend to frown upon changes being asked with a boot to the ribs and a sharp tug on the reins.)

ready to be shipped off to be a racehorse.
Bobby was sent to Fingerlakes as a 3yo. He did not behave himself on the track and was shipped off to get some more education at Quiet Woman Farm where he was also sold. From there, he made his first start at the end of November at Aqueduct. As a racehorse, he made $18,705 in 7 starts. He never won, but he had a very good second and third.

durrhhh....

pulling up from a 3f breeze.
He was sent back to his home base of Stonebridge Farm after bleeding heavily in his last two starts. I won't go into specifics because I'm not one hundred percent sure on the details, but he was put up for private sale to collect on unpaid training and board bills. When he didn't sell, he was donated to the school so the owner could cut his losses.

In December of 2009, I offered to buy him for $2,000. My wonderful advisor was not so wonderful and turned down my offer saying he was going to teach off of Bobby forever. Well, that didn't work out. As with a lot of horses that went through the Coby equine program, he didn't stay sound and he wasn't ridden regularly when he was sound. My friend rode him the most, but he was never integrated into the lesson program.

crazy magee.

In late November 2010, my friend gave me the heads up that a handful of now useless TBs were headed to auction. Bobby, the "forever" lesson horse, was on the list. This article caused an uproar because this article was a much more accurate description of what went down. I immediately called the director of the equine program and after a week of phone tag, I finally got in touch with her. She wanted $1,000 for Bobby, but knowing how much I was going to have to pay someone to ship him down to our new state of PA, I told her $600. On December 6th, Bobby joined the herd.

red, bobby, and storm.
He walked off the trailer completely crippled. He had one shoe missing--his foot shredded--and the other shoe barely hanging on. I pulled the loose shoe and Bobby tried going barefoot all the way through April 2011. He failed miserably at it.

coby's farrier: the start of bobby's horrendous feet.
(this is his foot the day he came off the trailer. he'd lost the shoe two days before.)
 In January 2011, I sold Storm and moved Red and Bobby to Laurel Ridge Farm after the owner of the pasture and barn I was leasing started stealing hay and grain. I started the blog around this time, but since most of you came in around 2012, I'll do a brief 2011 recap.

LRF allowed no turnout during winter--paddocks were locked. In summer, you had to turn your horse out yourself in one of the two tiny paddocks with no form of shelter. Hay was fed off a roundbale at 4am and 4pm. No extra hay was allowed despite the alloted amount not being nearly enough. Any extra hay that was fed was pulled out by the BO. The barn grain was a mostly-oats mill grain. Bobby and Red dropped a ton of weight so I started buying my own grain. After a lot more weight loss where I kept buying more grain and more supplements, I finally discovered that the BO wasn't feeding my horses their grain. I tried to turn a blind eye on this for a long time, but I finally decided I had to move barns.

I couldn't afford two horses anywhere else, so I made the tough choice to rehome Bobby. I listed him on the COTH giveaways and within a week, a wonderful CoTHer named Lillian agreed to take him home with her.

bobby and wendell.
Lillian rode him some and stuffed him full of groceries until he was downright fat. When Red died, she contacted me and offered him back, no strings attached.

porker.

From there, you've already read what happened!

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Cantering

I did not want to go to the barn today. I didn't go to the barn Thursday or Friday. I felt sure the apocolypse was upon us with the crazy wind we've been getting. Wind and rain and cold and miserable grey skies make me have zero motivation to do outside things. However, Hubby left for NY for Christmas this morning and I ran out of things to do at home.

the chickens out for a stroll this morning.
There were a few jumps set up in the ring and right away Bobby was focused on them. Forget the fact that we were set for a dressage school. He was set for another jump school. I did a lot of transitions with him for warm up to bring his brain back. After about ten minutes, he started tuning in, although I did have to work every step of the way to keep him straight--he kept drifting in towards jumps.

I wanted to work on the counter canter a bit today. His canter today was really lofty. He's got a big, bouncy stride, but today felt like he was sitting down and going up instead of just bouncing around rushing with his giant dinosaur body. Saying that, he still needs to really work on maintaining the contact during a canter depart. It will probably become smoother as he gets stronger, but right now he's throwing his head up. He's also gaping with his mouth quite a bit during our rides lately. It's about time for teeth again.

Anyway. The counter canter!

I started working with him on this in October. He was getting about halfway around the arena correctly before either breaking to the trot or switching leads. Because he's so easily frazzled when he doesn't understand what you're asking him, I don't correct him when he breaks. I simply move on to something else to give him a mental break and then try again. He did half a lap to the right pretty well, and half a lap to the left really well. I ended it there because I could tell he was starting to overthink things and get a little anxious. Again, it will come with strength.

We worked for another ten minutes at the trot to begin reinforcing the fact that he has to work on other things than the canter... even after we've cantered. Ohhh, the horrors! I snuggled him into his cooler for fifteen minutes to dry when we were done. He's already got a super thick layer of fuzz growing back in. Next year, he's getting a blanket with a hood. He's sweats way too much to have his clip grow in so fast.

things we are not afraid of:
whipping, snapping, blowing tarps.
things we are afraid of:
when the tarp makes horse noises. (cielo nickered from the run in)
"cookie?"

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

R-E-S-P-E-C-T

Dear Bobby,

I'll show you some.


Three things to note:
  1. I measured the distances! I need you guys to follow me around to keep me honest. I pulled out my 100' measuring tape wheel thing and all. Bobby thanks you.
  2. In regards to cantering into the bounces: I don't know if that's frowned upon or not. I tried to trot in. Bobby ended up in between the first and second bounces at a halt. And then he walked/ hopped over the next two before calmly trotting out over the oxer that was, at that point, still just poles at the ground. I sat there trying to figure out what the hell he was doing. So we stuck to cantering. He did fine.
  3. You may be wondering what happened to 3'3 in the video. I'll tell you. I accidently put two 3' jumps in and I could only figure out how to delete the second 3'. I couldn't stick the 3'3 in the middle like I wanted; it only wanted to go at the end. In the throes of surfing the crimson wave (Come on! I know some of you have seen Clueless!), I stopped trying so that my computer was saved from being thrown across the room.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Please Vote!

Please go vote on Eventing Nation for the name "Hershey"! If I win the gift certificate, I will think of you all as I buy things. Not going to promise that I'll share, but we'll see.

Please vote!

Catching Up.

Urhg, I guess I should write some sort of update eventually. Those posts on the year in review and goals? Scheduled. This week will be better!

On Friday, Sarah and I set up a mid-morning riding date. I speed tacked Bobby and was just walking out of the barn when the farrier told me he was going to get done. Balls! Fortunately, he said he had another horse to do so I promised I'd make it a quick ride. We set up three bounces and an X to warm up over.

Bobby left out an entire stride over the X the first time and pulled the reins literally right out of my hands. Note to self: If you're going to jump in the Micklem, switch reins. My jumping reins are about ten times longer. We trotted it a few times, then cantered a few times before doing the bounces.


It was my first time doing bouinces with him, but I do believe Lillian has done them with him before. Regardless, he was a good pony. Maybe this week I'll set up a jump at the end of them. Anything to stop the rushing! I only rode for about twenty minutes before we called it quits and headed in for new toes.

waiting for our turn.
This is the first time I've actually been able to talk to the NF since the first time he did Robert. He said he hoped by spring Bobby would have a better foot to work with, and maybe in a year or two, he'd have a really good foot. Poor princess toes. We talked about him slipping and how he's been off and on about changing behind at the canter. NF thought the swapping might be because of how crushed his heels are behind and in the deep footing of our arenas, he's having trouble keeping up with himself. He also drilled for studs in the front. (He has borium behind.) So Bobby got some bling up front:


On Saturday, I convinced Hubby to stick around for a dressage school video shoot. Bobby had some good moments, but our ride was mostly stop and go for various reasons, and Bobby does not do well with that kind of work. He got progressively tenser as we went on, but overall it wasn't a bad ride.


Now some of you may be thinking, "This is the fancy dressage work you've been talking about?! My horse rides like that in his sleep." Well, let me remind you all of what we were working with this spring:


He looks downright fancy now, doesn't he? (Although I look like I'm dancing a jig at the canter.) Of course, no Bobby ride would ever be complete without a little bit of this:

drama llama.
On Sunday, we went on our weekly trail ride. I think the main issue with Robert's hind end is that it's weak again. He was having a lot of diffuculty trotting uphill, much like he was at the beginning of the year when his fitness level was negative zero. He gets turned out on the side of a big hill, but the month off of him not toting my ass up and down such things did him no favors. So now we're back at square one, but I now I have something to work on. More butt work!

We took a different route on the way home that involved some longer hills and a little bit of road riding, and Bobby was a champ. I went out determined to have a quiet, drama free ride and Bobby fed off of that and marched along. That is until we got to the final path home where he had his temper tantrum with Tyler last weekend.

I let him canter up super steep hills, so he tried to take advantage of that and canter up the little ledge that he usually walks up. I said no so he came back to the walk for about three steps before spinning around to face the opposite direction. I just sat there without doing anything and he stopped and looked back at me like, "Aren't you going to try to turn me around?" Nope. We can stand here allll day if you want to. After a few minutes of gnawing on the bit and giving me the dirty eye, he started running backwards. "Fine. Let's play this game instead!" Go ahead Bobby. We can walk backwards all the way to the barn. He took about 6 or 7 steps before realizing I wasn't going to rise to that naughtiness either. He heaved a massive sigh and turned himself around and we walked back on the buckle. Nipped that in the bud, brat.

twinsies.

Friday, December 14, 2012

2013 Goals

Competition Goals:

1. Complete a Training CT. I don't have any real drive to compete at Training by the end of the year, but I do want to start taking steps towards getting there at some point in 2014. There should be one at BCHP in July or August where we can also school xcountry afterwards. We'll need to be schooling a triple line of fences (a Training level staple) and a triple bar (always on the Training course at BCHP).

2. Get a medal of any color for Novice. I debated about even making this a written goal. In the end, I won't be slayed if we don't cross it off. It is going to be tricky, and it's going to take a lot of forethought to get there only because of the requirement that it has to be at 3 different venues. I can only afford one days right now, and until August-ish, I can only do Sundays because Hubby works Saturdays during planting season. The medal requirements are:
    • Bronze Medal - Must finish on a score of 45 or less three times - scores must be obtained at two different venues
    • Silver Medal - Must finish on a score of 40 or less three times - scores must be obtained at three different venues
    • Gold Medal - Must finish on a score of 35 or less three times - scores must be obtained at three different venues
3. Show First Level. Obviously a schooling show. I have no desire to spend extra money for recognized dressage shows. I like doing one a year to get feedback, but I'd rather spend my money on events. We're going to need to work on trot and canter lengthenings (which we started in October-ish), solidifying the trot leg yields, and strengthen his counter canter (he can only do it correctly for about half the arena currently).

Personal/ Schooling Goals:

I want to be a more confident, serene sort of rider in general. I'm so easily flustered when something goes wrong that I just throw up my hands and quit riding. I want to be able to go around a stadium course positively, thinking ahead to the next jump, riding forward, knowing my lines, being an active rider. More than likely, it will probably be more like this.

I want to be confident and thoughtful on xcountry, thinking more about how to ride each jump and what's coming up ahead instead of worrying about the ways things could go wrong. I've never been a nervous rider when showing, but landing on my head really rattled me. The fall broke my balls, I guess. Hopefully this will be pretty easy to cross off the list.

Needless to say, way loftier goals than last year. We are going BIG in 2013, bitches! 2012 was about sorting out the basics, dealing with the baby temper tantrums, and seeing what was going to come easily to us and what we were going to have to really work on. However, I think Bobby's going to really be able to step up this year. Last year was a good learning and exploring experience for me, and now I know how to manage Mr Magee to make him happy and full of himself. Most of the time.

I'm going to have to sit down with Hubby after making a potential schedule so we both know well ahead of time where we're going when. No more missing Jim Wofford clinics because he decided he couldn't get out of work the weekend before. We're also going to try to set out money for the entire season before the season even starts. Here are the shows, here's how much they cost, here's how much gas is going to cost, here's cash to be put away and drawn upon on opening day.

Overall, I feel confident while still feeling challenged. I think this is going to be one kick ass season.

Hopefully.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

2012 in review.

I think it goes without saying that 2012 has been miles better than 2011. No injuries, no sicknesses, no physical set backs. In fact, Bobby hardly took a lame step all year. He may be a big, ugly, poorly put together creature, but (knock on wood) he's solid and sound.

jan. 2nd: looking like some sort of strange warmlood mule cross.
I am happy to say we knocked out our goals for 2012 with ease. My plan going into the year was this:

I plan on doing a cross country schooling mid-April at Burgundy Hollow to see if he'll debut at Elementary or Beginner Novice there in May, then we'll push forward and do BN for the rest of the year. Maybe a Novice at Burgundy Hollow if he rolls right along.

With these specific goals:

1) Top 3 at an unrecognized event at BN.

2) Compete at one recognized event.

3) Get consistent 7s on trot work on dressage tests.
 
We did go schooling in April where Bobby continued his trend of being a complete drama queen about pretty much everything, and I resigned myself to debuting at Starter the next month. However, once we got out on course, something clicked in Bobby's brain and he decided to step up to the plate and put his Event Horse knickers on. We were one of only two pairs to finish our division, and Bobby came home with a blue in his first show of the year.


We continued our ass-kicking ways with a second at Plantation and a first and third doing Training dressage before starting off with a third in dressage at BCHP, miraculously moving to second after stadium, and fully prepared to cinch a win when I fell off at the second to last. Check off goal one! We actually weren't out of the top three all year.... that is, when we finished with a number and not a letter!

Despite some trepidation about making a fool out of myself at a recognized show, we headed back to BCHP in September and Bobby carted me around for a third place finish. Check off goal two!

We finished the season retiring on xcountry at our first Novice.

As far as goal number three, we averaged 6s and 7s, with 8s for our test at Plantation. For a horse that spiraled downhill in his dressage work this spring, I'm more pleased with his improvement than what his scores reflect. We have a lot of work to do next season with focusing in the ring. The jumping comes later, Baby Horsie. You still have to do the competitive prancing!


So what have I learned this year with Bobby?
  • When he learns something, move on. For lacking the look of eagles, or at least a look that shows he has brains between his mule ears, he's actually a very smart horse. Once he understands the concept, he knows it. Period. If you drill it into him, he gets mad. If you try to repeat it and you change some little part of it--like doing his newly learned exercise in a different part of the arena--he gets very anxious. I have to believe that he's got it under his belt, and find something else to work on.
vacancy.
  • Bobby internalizes everything. He has a breaking point and when he reaches it, he goes bonkers, but he really tries to behave himself in all situations. This doesn't just mean holding back the crazies, though. When he's excited about something, like going into stadium and he has to stand politely at the gate, you can physically feel him pumping himself up without moving a foot. He does his ready stance and ocassionally looks back and gives me the eye to let me know he thinks we should be moving now.
"i'm standing because you told me to, but i am READYYY!!!"
  • Most importantly, Bobby has taught me to trust him. At the beginning of the year, I think we were all ready to give up on him, but as he grew up, he really gained his own inner confidence. He got to the point where all I had to do was point him in the general direction of the next jump, and he took us up to it and over it without fuss. Where I was crippled with nerves doing BN in September after my fall, I left the start box for N confident, thinking, and prepared to see what Bobby could do. Riding is such a mind game, and jumping solid obstacles can really fuck with your head. Having a horse I can trust to get us around a course safely, no matter what I do, was not something I expected out of Bobby eight months ago. I think he's going to be able to wear the packer label at BN and N next year--at least out on the xcountry course. We'll see how far we get this winter in stadium.
Stayed tuned for 2013 goals. I'm still trying to organize my thoughts on what I want to accomplish. I'm also trying to contain my extreme excitement to get this show back on the road!