Monday, September 30, 2013

Dressage, and a bear, and hair down my bra--Oh my!


still my favorite horse meme ever.

This will come as a shock to most of you everyone: Bobby was amazeballs on Sunday doing straight dressage.

I warmed him up on a loose rein at w/t/c, sneaking in a flying change across the diagonal each way. We were joined by J and went to work on transition. I didn't worry about head set or geometry (something I also never worried about in school), focusing only on the quality of the transitions between all three gaits with lots of halting and backing thrown in and varying between posting and sitting work. Obvi that got him moving like a large, fancy dinosaur instead of like the large, angry dinosaur he likes to impersonate for about half of our flat rides.

Since he was being so cooperative, I asked him for the counter canter from the walk--which he stepped right into--and we continued around for two laps of the arena before J called out that she was going to circle at one end. To stay out of her way, I planned on doing my own circle, but didn't want to do it at the counter canter since we haven't worked on it in months. So, just before the corner, I got greedy and asked Bobby to switch over to the correct lead--which he did quietly and correctly and carried on like he performs flying changes from counter canter to true canter every day of his life.

I don't know what magical fairy trains my horse while I'm not there, but she can stick around.

A Bear

Hubby was at a NASCAR race in DE all day yesterday, so I was home by my lonesome. I was sitting on the couch watching football when I heard Pig Dog sound the Invader! alarm. Since I hadn't heard anyone pull into the driveway, I figured the neighbor's dog had wandered back into the yard again. I yelled at her to be quiet as I strolled out of the house to collect her. She wouldn't come when I called her, but she was standing in the yard with her hair raised barking her brains out. I stomped over to her and grabbed her collar before the thought slowly trickled into my brain: "Why isn't the other dog barking?" At which point I look over and see this:

not our bear, but literally the exact same pose. it even looks like our yard!

Standing in our yard, on the other side of the driveway (the length of my Saturn and Hubby's truck away), was a black bear. I scooped up my vicious guard dog and hauled ass into the house (meanwhile, my other vicious guard dog was snoring away inside).

About an hour later, I was sitting on the front porch talking to my mom on the phone and the bear went hauling ass out of our yard, across the road, and down the steep embankment where there's a creek and crop fields. I figured that was the last I was going to see of it, but no. Around 7:30, I let the dogs out, and as soon as they rounded the corner of the house they went ballistic. I peeked around the corner from the safety of the porch and caught the back end of this fucking bear crashing back into the hedgerow on the opposite side of our giant yard from where it had been before!

Of course, Hubby didn't get home until 11 so I got to freak out by myself for four hours. I haven't seen any sign of it today and it didn't go near Hubby's bee hives, so hopefully it's moved on to creep on someone else.  Oh, the joys of living just down the road from the state land where the nuisance bears get released!

Hair Down My Bra

One of the reasons Bobby isn't currently pulling a cart for the Amish is, that while we have our differences under saddle, his ground manners are impeccable. I did a quick bib clip on him yesterday before riding and he stood quietly in the wash stall without his halter or lead rope on while I fucked around with my blades. He had a hind leg cocked and he was so relaxed he was dropped.

just chilling while the jet engine clippers go off around him. 

He was absolutely soaked after our ride so I went ahead and gave him a blanket clip this morning.

like so.

He ground tied in the aisle as I crouched underneath him to get his belly, and then hung out while I tidied up his feet.

Speaking of feet, here are some truly poor quality pictures from my cell phone of how they're looking at the moment:




the fronts



They're not great by any means, but they're not completely horrible either. Just a little horrible. I'll try to get better pictures with a real camera in the next couple of days. Eventually I'll even have someone come out and do a real trim on him.

Saturday, September 28, 2013


Ho-ly, things have been cray at the barn!

On Wednesday, BO went in for extensive back surgery so the vibe around the barn was kind of weird to begin with. Not that BO hangs out all the time in the barn (she's usually down in the arena teaching), but still. She's the BO. Not even having her available was strange.

Anyway, BM was bringing horses in and out from turnout so I and another girl were grooming our horses in their stalls to stay out of the way. Bobby's stall is in the main barn and K's horse's stall opens out into the court yard, and all of the sudden I heard this massive bang and Memphis comes prancing into the main barn all by his lonesome. A few seconds later, I hear K yell, "Memphis, you asshole!" as BM leads her in.

To make a long story short, K was opening her stall door right as Memphis walked by and for whatever reason, Memphis was supremely offended by this and nailed her in the forearm with a hind leg, breaking both the bones in her arm and sending her in for surgery. K was crushed because she's now going to miss out on her entire season of her senior year of field hockey--a sport that she was expecting to get a huge scholarship out of. I feel so badly for her. K is literally the nicest person on the planet, and she didn't deserve to be the recipient of a completely freak accident.

Bobby got ground driven around the outdoor and all around the barn after K had been whisked off to the hospital. He was totally fab and he's totally going to get hitched again either this week or next weekend. Sucker!

Thursday I didn't make it to the barn, but Friday I was out early to hear that we were getting a new horse in. Dan is a 30yo Quarter Horse stallion that just spent three weeks on a trailer from Alaska. He spent his entire 30 years in his owner's back yard by himself, only leaving her property a few times to breed.

Somehow it seemed like a good idea to ship him down here to PA where he attempted to stay at his owner's sister's house with a mare and shoddy fencing. Clearly that didn't work out, and he's now isolated in the quarantine pen where he can't see any other horses because if he does, he goes ballistic. Bobby was the test dummy to see how Dan would react, and while Bobby hung out with a hind leg cocked and ears flopped over sideways, Dan screamed his brains out and ran the length of his gate like a nutter.

We didn't get much accomplished riding-wise because of the distraction, but Bobby was being a complete tool bag anyway.

Saturday, Bobby tied on his sneaks and we went up to the outdoor to try jumping. We both started off with our pretty typical Durh attitude and somehow managed to throw in chips to cross rails that were all of 18" high.

yep. my poor horse jumping despite the dip shit in the driver's seat.

We jumped around a bit, kept missing distances and feeling discombobulated, and generally just being the hot mess the two of us usually are.

although admittedly it does take talent to jump like this.

Finally, Bobby was all, "I hate how tiny these jumps are! I don't even need to really jump them." and I was all, "I hate that you won't pick up your fucking feet over these tiny little jumps!" and gave him a spank and a boot with my legs. Bobby went forward. Very forward. Forward like we could have been on a xcountry course forward. Forward like how we should always be going forward.


I wonder how often you'd find that word in my posts in the past two years when jumping with Bobby. I can guarantee you they'd all be things like, "We weren't forward" or, "We needed to be more forward" or, "Why can't I just get it through my stupid as shit brain to ride forward?!"

But Bobby went today, and I didn't choke him back down. In fact, I was having fun careening around the arena. Why? Because Bobby was jumping out of stride (when deigning to jump at all, and not just putting in a bigger canter stride) and it made life so fucking easy for me. All I had to do was sit there and steer. I wasn't floundering around trying to maintain my fetal position, picking at my reins, and falling on Bobby's neck. I certainly wasn't perfect--as if that would ever happen--but it was fun to jump for once.

I'll hopefully be clipping him tomorrow if my blades are sharp enough, and he'll either get ridden again or ground driven again. Yay sound horse again!

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Someone needs to sync Blogger's dictionary with my own.

I've ridden twice in the past two days. To be honest, I haven't really set out to the barn with a goal in mind, or even really with the thought that Bobby needs to get ridden. Fuck knows he doesn't think so! It's more that contractors have been swarming the house the past week basically rebuilding our front porch that was supposed to only be a paint job and, as previously alluded to, my social skills ability to function around other people is limited. So Bobby has suffered.

To make up for the inhuman treatment of my horse (or, at least according to him I'm sure), I've tried to keep the rides interesting. Monday's exercise was a set of four canter poles on one long side, and on the opposite side were four trot poles to an X.

The most exciting development? No sneakers on Robert's feet! I put them on him to walk him down the gravel driveway, but once in the cushion-y (Blogger, Y U No Like My Words?!) indoor, I pulled them off and he was totes perfect. E-high five, everyone!

Bobby was super happy to be jumping, even if it was only a tiny cross rail. In fact, he was so happy that he somehow managed to canter over the 4.5' trot poles to get to the jump without so much as tapping a toe against a pole or getting in an awkward distance to the jump. I'm still not sure how he managed such a feat, especially since he's the size of a large, awkward dinosaur.

"i'm not a dinosaur!"
bobby, please. no one is fooled.
He surprised me with some really nice stretchy trot--something we've pretty much never been able to accomplish--and I was pleased to think that the five bajillion bows that he's done over the past month has helped him stretch his back out more.

I finished the ride with some no stirrup work. Quite frankly, I wasn't expecting myself to even be able to get my ass out of the saddle enough for one posting trot stride. I managed two whole laps! (Hush, L. Williams. We lesser riders have to start somewhere.) I did some canter work as well which was much easier, then got off and sort of floated to the barn. I only knew I was walking because I was making forward progress up the driveway, but I couldn't feel my legs. So. Sore.

Today was more trot poles--3 poles set at 4' and a couple of strides to 3 poles set at 6'. We only went few them a few times before I was all, "I'm going to become so good at no stirrup work! Just watch me!" and yanked my stirrups off my saddle. And then I wanted to have a little cry. I did some posting trot, but not much. I finally gave up and just did some dressage work so I could justify sitting the trot.

On the plus side, the dressage work was pretty much fab. His leg yields were flow-y and correct, his canter didn't look like his body stretches out for ten miles, and the shoulder in didn't take almost the entire long side to establish.

I may not have the ability to walk tomorrow, but hopefully by next spring I'll be able to ride at least at the level I was riding Red and Bobby will be able to ride places besides the indoor arena with his naked tootsies.

"i'm sorry, what? you're not making plans, are you?"

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Sunday Media Dump

Because I have nothing interesting to say, for once I'll do you all a favor and keep the word spewage (Fuck you, Blogger. That is a word.) to a minimum.

Friday, Bobby went a fifteen minute trail ride! Then I pulled Pilot out of his paddock, failed at trying to get him to react to poking his newly lumpy LH, rode him for five minutes, deemed him lame, treated him with some Surpass, and put him back out. BM and BO said he and Blackberry were running around like complete nutters the day before and he probably tweaked it then.

Saturday, Bobby had off as Hubby and I went to the fair.

All that text and still no media!!

Today, I dragged Hubby out to the barn and Bobby and I did a little jumping:

And a little dressaging:

And attempted to do a little posing:

But I've given up on trying to make this horse look intelligent:

The jumping was a little loosey goosey on both our parts:

But for being in a bit, with no martingale, not having jumped in nearly two months, and being off for about a month, we both really could have been much worse:

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Same old shit!

In the spirit of persevering in the face of adversity boring rides, I bring you another boring ride post.

But then I think to myself, these posts aren't really all that different from the rest of my usual posts, and yet people still occasionally check in. It's like blog brainwashing.

I like it.

turnout attempt 2: bobby and new arrival mojo.

I rode Bobby yesterday. It went like this:

Me: How do your tootsies feel naked?


Me: No problem. I'll put a boot on your RF.

Bobby: Ughhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh.

Me: Look at this ground pole I set out for you! Now I can practice my two point over a "jump"!

Bobby: OMG, we're jumping! It's like a six foot jump! I just cleared that six foot jump! *buck, buck* I'm a jumping horse! *head snake. buck*

Me: Whenever you're ready to walk again, Bobby....

And so on for most of the ride. I eventually made his ground pole into a 18" X and he decided he could jump that like a relatively sane horse. Once the boot was on, he didn't take a short step. His feet are like rocks right now with the exception of his front heels. I'm really surprised with how good they're looking at just four weeks out.

literally ten times fatter in person.

Pilot's been on the longe in side reins the past two days (including this morning). Yesterday he was a complete punk. I've been working him in the round pen which abuts one of the paddocks, and Ranger was turned out by himself as his pasture mates finished up with lessons. Ranger kept calling to Pilot and Pilot thought it would be best to respond by spinning in the opposite direction and taking off bucking. That was rewarded with him getting to canter. A lot. Shit head.

On the plus side, he's really a very cute mover when skipping along.

"i want to be an eventing pony."

He was much better this morning, but I still felt like he wasn't getting the whole side reins concept so I ended up getting on him bareback. He stood like a rock as I climbed on him from the side of the round pen and almost right away dropped his head with a squeeze of my fingers. Someone really put a great foundation on him. He just needs to be back in consistent work. We walked around for a few minutes and then quit with lots and lots of praise.

No barn tomorrow. Hopefully I can drag Hubby out this weekend for some semblance of riding pictures.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Bad feet and good feet.

I gave my foot Sunday off from riding due to some discomfort, but I went out the barn anyway and had some bonding time with Robert.

Bobby's not big on going out in his paddock by himself. There's not really any grass left in there, so I took his giant pile of hay that he'd spread around (fatty) and made him a couple of piles outside. It was gorgeous weather outside and there was no reason for him to be pouting in his pen. He was happy to come outside with me and munch on hay, but as soon as I went inside to pick poop, he was right back in there with me.

"i'm not coming back out unless you promise to stay with me."

I finally got him groomed, his feet treated, his pen cleaned, his hay and water sorted, and buried a bunch of apples in his hay outside. Once he figured that sneaky treat out, I made a run for it and left him munching in the sun.

Today, I planned on riding both Spyder and Pilot. Sarah was out grazing Memphis when I pulled in, so we turned him out with Bobby and let them have a Lame Horse romp for a few minutes. Sarah blew out her knee running this weekend and Memph is still recovering from having a clip buried in his foot, so Bobby and I are looking like Iron Men at this point. Go us?

I pulled Spyder out of his stall, and as I was leading him to the crossties I checked to make sure all his shoes were on. Well they were all on, but the LH was torqued and, upon further inspection, he also had a clip buried in his foot. What is with horse shoes this year?! I managed to get the nails out on that side, pry the clip out, and hammer it back over so the clip was on the outside of his foot. I wrapped it in duct tape and stuck him back in his stall to wait for BM's expertise to pull the rest of the nails out. 

With Spyder out, I got on Pilot. I made him up a bridle with a hunter dee with a french link. He was so quiet and steady in the contact with it. That was an easy fix! He also definitely remembered his mounting block lesson. I only had to ask him to stand still twice before I swung aboard and he continued to stand like a rock. He got major praise for that.

After an uneventful w/t/c, he started to get tired so he got a little fussy, but we were able to finish off working on a circle at the walk with pretty good bend. He needs some time in side reins, and just general fitness, but he's a pretty good boy.

I finished barn time off with having BM inspect Bobby's feet. She gave him two thumbs up and said they were looking really good. Yay!! She pointed out a few minor fixes I could do with the rasp to make them a little more balanced, but overall she was really happy with how they've turned out. Once the crack in his heel bulb finishes healing, we'll try putting him back on a regular stall/turnout schedule.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Oh, hey. I rode a horse.

Alright, he's really almost a pony, but it was real riding!

I got on Bobby Thursday and Friday and he happily doped along in his Boa boots on a loopy rein as I whimpered to myself about how out of shape I am. Guys, I used to be an exercise rider. I used to be able to keep my ass out of the saddle from 5am to 10am. Now? I am holding onto mane and bemoaning how much my ankles hurt. It helps to remind myself that holding onto mane and having my legs shake from exhaustion was exactly how I started, and I haven't been in half seat in over a month (or really even a saddle), but sheesh. The good news is, after my twenty minutes of torture on Friday, my foot only ached a little bit.

But anyway.

I stopped by the barn this morning to take off Bobby's sheet (hello 40* after a 90* week) and BO was like, "Feel free to ride Pilot or Spyder whenever you want." So I took advantage of her generosity and had my first ride on Pilot.

looking pregnant at the moment.

He's a cool little dude. Four years old, green broke, has been to a couple shows, and gets ridden pretty sporadically. About the same as Spyder, but two hands shorter and not a mean bone in his body.

We spent several minutes at the mounting block having a discussion about standing still when someone puts their foot in the stirrup. He was all "Hurh?" until he got distracted by by a jump standard and I took advantage and swung aboard, at which point he was like "Derp" and stood there while I patted him. Not sure he knew what he was being praised for, but he'll figure it out eventually.

He vaguely understands the concept on contact, but his little baby brain processes it like so:

Rein pressure? Hm, following it....following....Hey, Bobby! What are you doing back there? Oops, rein again. Following....WHOA I'M IN THE MIRROR! Following...Oh, she's softening, head goes back up. Wait, what? More rein? Ok, following...

And so on.

bobby wanted to be in on the action so badly.

He was much better at the trot when his feet got moving a little faster. I rode him completely off the rail to help his straightness (or lack thereof)--on the quarterlines when going straight, and a slightly smaller than 20m circle when circling.

I let him have a little canter before really making him work. I put him on a circle and made him bend around my inside leg and go into that outside rein. He was such a good boy. He's out of shape, and he's green, but he was trying super hard. It was about a 30 minute ride and my foot still only hurts a little bit. Holla!

giant brown horse, little grey horse.

I'm looking forward to being able to get back into the saddle and rebuild my fitness. Not riding is a total fucking bore.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Sometimes my laid up horse does exciting things.

"Oh?" you ask. "What kind of exciting things has Bobby been doing that you haven't been blogging about?"


I'll tell you.

Sunday morning I met up with Sarah to check out Memphis's hoof that had a run-in with a clip on his shoe and was apparently spouting blood while I was enjoying the pleasures of SE PA. Poor dude was lame, but he'll live. He'll also be joining the barefoot bandwagon. Bobby was pleased to show him all the fun things you get to do while toughening up your tootsies.

You get to perfect your bow:

What? That's not exciting? Bobby disagrees:

really exciting.

You get to graze at choice spots around the barn you don't normally get to go:

"stop making me pose and go back to picking apples off the tree for me."

You get strange, quasi trims from your owner to help keep the chipping to a minimum:

hinds. no real trimming done, just knocking off of the worst of raggedy edges.

fronts. should have taken a before picture of the RF. it looked like a triangle.

Don't think that's particularly exciting either? It is when you're "rewarded for standing still" with the half a bag of peppermints you stole out of the grooming box and dumped in the puddle in the wash stall, effectively making them so sticky that the only choice was to eat them right then and there.

about ten seconds before peppermint ambush. i was too annoyed to get the
picture of them scattered EVERYWHERE.

Unfortunately, sometimes your owner does not find all this excitement enough for her thrill seeking self and she tacks you up and makes you cart her around the arena. Never fear. All you have to do is act like you've suddenly lost your foot (it doesn't matter which one) and you have no idea how to walk. When she calls you out on being completely sound in your unfortunate looking footwear both at the walk and trot on the longe, acquiesce to about five minutes of trotting, knowing that her attention span is short and she'll be happy with that. It's a bonus when she suddenly acts like she's lost her foot and you can hobble around together like friends.

If nothing else, at least she's not making you do this again any time soon:

Bobby Magee: A pimp's life.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Glen Willow CDE and....

A couple of weeks ago, a college friend gave me a heads up on the Glen Willow CDE taking place in Avondale this weekend. A CDE is basically eventing with a carriage (or three), only possibly even more bad ass and more expensive. Dressage was Friday, marathon was Saturday, and cones were today to finish it up. Since I'm not able to ride right now--my horse or any other--I'm getting pretty desperate for fun horse activities. I loaded the hounds and the hubby into my car and we headed south Saturday morning.

Anemone II Yes, owned and driven by Dirk Young

I can't even say enough good things about this show. Even Hubby had a really good time, though I'm sure the $5 for unlimited (adult) beverages helped. You had full access to all the hazards, and everyone had a dog with them. Why, yes. That does factor into how fun a show is, thank you. We spent most of our time on the bridge over the two water hazards where we also had a close view of the triangles. However, with the way the hazards were laid out, we could see all of them--and dang were they awesome.

back to school hazard.
these ponies were less than enthused about going through the water.

This was a big event with over sixty competitors, several of whom were trying to qualify for the World Combined Pony Championships in Pau next month. There was even a Castleberry pony there, Cob lovers! (Castleberry's Crakerjack in the Prelim Single Pony.) The fun thing to see was that when the earlier competitors were done, they came out to cheer on everyone else. The dogs thought this was the best game ever: galloping horses pulling carts through water with yelling drivers and cheering spectators. Does it get more bark-worthy than that? Probably not, but I didn't hear a single dog out of the dozens that were there do more than squeak out an overexcited whine. Pro show dogs all around.

First water hazard:

Final hazard:

The triangles:

After getting what's hopefully my last sunburn of the year, I whipped out my flip phone, sent off a text, and then borrowed Hubby's iPhone to plug in the address of our next location. Which brings us to the "and":

Glen Willow CDE and....

Blogger meet up!

Since Hillary got to meet up with several west coast bloggers, fellow PA blogger Niamh and myself decided we ought to accept the challenge. We were all, "We can't let those tanned bitches outdo us. Throw down on the east coast, mother fuckers. Let's do this!" (Disclaimer: This may or may not be how the actual conversation went. Probably pretty close though.) 

Fifteen minutes later, the emus had been spotted and we pulled into a gorgeous farm. We went up to the gorgeous arena and were introduced to some gorgeous ponies.

riley is adorbs.
Niamh got on Riley after having her friend take him for a spin and I got to see her ride one full circle before Riley pulled a Bobby.

it was a very nice circle at least.

A mostly pulled shoed put the kibosh on further riding, so we went back to the barn where some true redneck ingenuity got the shoe off. Yay for hammers? Was that even a real hammer? On the plus side, Riley is too cute and was a total gentleman for it, and we were in the barn with some seriously snuggly equines.

i mean, look at that face.
no, really. look at it. zomg, the cuteness.

Niamh gave me the tour: dogs, goats, chickens, cats, more dogs, cross country jumps, more cats, and PUPPIES. I'm still not sure how we didn't come home with a puppy. I tried to make it happen, but Niamh and Hubby kept leading me away. We finished up watching a really nice looking mare get her first ride off the track (if I'm remembering that right).

Maybe one day Bobby will be sound again, and Riley will learn to keep his shoes on, and we can have ourselves a play date. Until then, I'm going to continue to covet all things Area II (because though I'm technically in Area II, it's more like Area Dead Zone up here) and keep my fingers crossed that Hubby will get transferred down there when he's done with his Management Training program. One can hope, right?

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

More really unexciting updates!

Unfortunately, Bobby's attempted relocation to stall/turnout was a failure. The BMs were really pampering him and leading him out the front gate of the barn, directly across the driveway to the grass bank surrounding his paddock, and into the back gate so his contact with gravel was absolutely minimal.

back on turnout.

I went to see him every day to apply his Farrier Barrier and give him a good grooming (and, of course, lots of cookies), but he only went from his stall to the crossties. Yesterday, I pulled him out, groomed him, and clipped the longe on him to take him to the indoor to see how he looked. He followed me into the courtyard of the barn and threw on the parking brake. Granted, he has the worst work ethic of any Thoroughbred I have ever known, but after beating him asking him nicely to walk all the way across the courtyard, I could tell he was genuinely sore.

So back to his pen and baby paddock he went.

and back to no turnout.

It's not a bad deal he's got going on back there. It's a huge pen with free access to a (albeit small) paddock, and he gets to coat himself in dirt in the indoor when that gate gets opened up after lessons. To make up for lack of grass (the paddock is mostly scrub), he's getting super green, super soft hay in copious amounts.

The culprit in all of this is the RF with its thrush. It's healing, and all his feet and definitely getting harder, but it's slow progress made even slower by one especially gimpy foot. His feet are in the "Whoa, those look awfully chipped up" phase, but at least they've left the "Holy shit! What is wrong with those things?!" phase.





Aside from constantly having his house changed, not much else has been going on in Bobby Magee land. He's shedding out his summer coat with a vengeance and has started looking like a respectable dark bay again as opposed to a dun.

not actually as fat as he looks. he's just filling out into his giant
Mighty Magee-inherited frame.

I am, however, a little excited that he's starting to show signs of dapples coming in. Eight years I've been with this horse and he's never shown any dappling!

use your imagination. they're coming in, i promise.
little baby dapples!

shiny horse.

because boredom had set in and i was taking pictures while leaning against
my horse's butt.

Stay tuned for.... things! I'm sure there will be.... things.

If not, continue having fun gizoogling your blogs.