Thursday, February 27, 2014

Bobby's better side.

I cannot wait for next week. Like, srsly. I'll finally have enough money available to restock a few equestrian staples....like new paddock boots:

legit dead.
(beka, i tried to find my german eyeball socks, but they must be in the wash.
i hope these suffice.)

Bobby continues to step up to the plate for his flat work. I almost feel like I should instigate something just for better blog content. I put him through his warm up longe until he's moving freely forward and stretching down. And not being naughty, as he can still show a bit of half-assed sass when the feeling overtakes him.

he always stops to say hello to memphis on our way out.

For the past week, once I get on him he just goes right to work. It's a weird feeling, riding a well trained horse that doesn't give you any attitude. He keeps getting lighter in the bridle and sharper off my leg, and when he needs a correction, I give it to him and he does what I ask with no dramatics.

and on our way back to his stall he says hello to the palomino twins.

What's caused this earth shattering breakthrough?

Dunno.

I've changed his warm up routine to include a longe. I take the time to heap praise on him after everything he does. "You halted when I asked? Clever pony!" "You didn't impersonate a llama for more than two strides when I picked up the reins? Brilliant!" "You trotted a twenty meter circle with the correct bend and maintained rhythm? Goooooood boy!"

And that's literally it. Who knew the Bad Ass Bobby switch was so easy to flip?

I finished our ride today with a run-through of Novice A and Training A. He was so good. So, so good. If he can stay focused (because simple things like trucks driving through the driveway still require a good stare) and relaxed, we're going to dominate the dressage at shows this year.

look! i almost made him look good!
now he just needs some help from lauren for a better butt.

He gets tomorrow off because it's not supposed to break into the twenties (sad face), but hopefully I can get some video this weekend when it's thirty five. Such warmth!

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Hoof Pictures

It's been too long since the last post filled with pictures of my horse's hooves. I am so, so sorry. I know how stimulating all of you find them.

Fuck you. I know you don't find them interesting at all, but it's a good record for me so here they are.

LF

LF
RF

RF
LH

LH
RH

RH

Like all Bobby things, his feet look better in person than they do in pictures. They're still not great though. His toes need to keep creeping back and his heels need to keep creeping up. I've only been doing him every three weeks, but after BM looked at them she told I needed to be doing them once a week--mostly because I'm not aggressive enough when I trim.

He is sound walking on the gravel driveway right now despite a winter spent walking only on snow, but a large part of me is really dissatisfied with how slowly he's coming along. He's been barefoot for seven months, and it just seems like they should have a better shape. I want pretty hooves! However, I know he's come a long way from where he was so I should be grateful for what we're working with.

But still. I want the pretty.

In riding news, Bobby was a complete tool on the longe line, but an absolute gem under saddle. So light and fluffy and cooperative. He's a little heavier tracking right, but according to the chiro that's his bad side. He made up for it by being a total boss to the left and trying really hard to the right. Yay, fluffy marshmallow pony with the ugly feet! I'll make a real dressage horse out of you yet.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Some Random Title

I think there's something wrong with the fact that everyone is becoming so blase about these fucking "polar vortexes". Or as I like to call them, "Fuck you, winter is never ending shit storms". I was at the barn early this morning and after an excellent trimming tutorial from BM (fascinating updated hoof pictures will come tomorrow), I started undressing Bobby and getting him tacked up.

this horse. he is so...not attractive.

BM was finishing with the barn and was musing out loud whether she wanted to fill the afternoon horses water buckets or wait until later to keep them from potentially freezing.

Me: It doesn't even feel cold outside today.

BM: No, it doesn't. Check the temperature for me.

Me: It's just over twenty.

BM: Oh, then I'll definitely fill them!

Since when is twenty degrees considered warm?! It should NEVER be considered warm!

ninety degrees and playing in the creek is warm

Bobby was fresh to death on the longe. He was leaping around at the canter and tossing his head every time I said anything to him. It wasn't a naughty fresh, just a naked horse in the cold fresh--he never even pulled the line taut.

I set out a wide, tall cross rail with a barrel between the poles for a remedial jumping exercise. Because of my lower leg being a swinging mcswingerson, I finally tried the age-old "glove under the calf" exercise to try to keep it in place. I kept the stupid things under there, but my leg still felt like it wasn't super secure. Hmph.

Bobby was a rocket cantering right so we kept the few jumping efforts that way to a trot. However, his canter to the left was AMAZE BALLS. I even changed the cross rail to a vertical with the barrel under it (using the other barrels as standards because they're so much lighter and easier to tote around the arena), and he kept the same fabulous canter over 3'6". I don't know what ju ju got into him, but I hope it stays.

And I hope it invades his right lead canter, too.

i forgot to include this video from two weekends ago.
he was way better today. 

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Weekend Flatting

I tried to resist it, but Hubby got me sick this weekend. Boo on you, Hubby. To pay him back, when he asked if I wanted him to go to the barn with me, I told him no. How's that for punishment?

Actually, I just couldn't bring myself to watch another video of me doing circles in a dusty indoor with a fuzzy camera. I don't think anyone else has said it so I will: I'm ready for winter to be over now, k thanx.

When I got to the barn Saturday, Bobby was passed out--like totally committed to his nap and nothing was going to rouse him. I thought that was weird since he usually takes his "My God, is that horse dead?! Oh, he's just snoring." Nap right after he comes inside in the morning. Turns out the farm was so iced over again that it had taken J all morning to get the hill cleared enough to bring the horses down and Bobby had only been in for an hour. As such, during his longe he was a complete slug and just wanted to snuggle in hopes it would convince me to let him go back to bed. Sorry, Bobby.

all you guys get is random pictures from this weekend, like this one.
my chickens were freed from their house for the first time this winter today.

Once I got on, he was his usual self. Slightly uncooperative, but not in a malicious way. He has picked up this awful new habit of leaning on my left rein no matter what direction we're going in. I finally ended up grabbing the edge of my saddle pad with my left hand and letting him fight against himself. After about three laps he got the idea and lightened right up. Clever pony.

He only had one moment of throwback Bobby when I asked for shoulder in, and he deemed it too hard so he went flying backwards. How I missed that evasion! I told him we'd do some stretchy trot instead and we ended up trotting around forever because he was so lovely.

the kelpie shows off her extended trot.

Despite a sinus headache and free flowing snot this morning (you're welcome for that visual), I went to the barn anyway. It was almost fifty again, and it's going to go back to the twenties all this week--I want to get in my rides in warm weather!

Bobby had another warm up longe which I'm really falling in love with. I get to see what kind of working mood he's in, I can look for any shortness, and it really is helping him with his strength. He wasn't able to hold the canter for more than a few steps when we started, and then that went to constantly changing behind, and now he just cruises along until I ask for the trot. I know it's also coming from the under saddle work, but the low stress longe work gets thumbs up from both of us.

the pig dog helps hubby with a project.

Our flat work was pretty boring and short. More lightening of that left rein and really going balls to the wall forward at the trot. We finished with a fabuloso canter that was so dreamy and soft. His canter can be tough to sit because he can get really big and jumpy up front, but he was so soft in the contact and forward flowing that it was kick ass today.

BO was in the barn when I got done and she asked if I wanted to ride another horse. I was all, "I feel like my face is trying to blow out of my skin." and sneezed a thousand times in a row. She was like, "I'll take that as a no." Then we debated about what blanket to put Bobby in since the cold snap is supposed to start tomorrow. I finally decided to go with a no-neck one more night which means I'll have to go to the barn tomorrow to do another switch. Hopefully I haven't drowned in my own mucus by then.

bobby finally got his own ribbon rack!

Friday, February 21, 2014

Please keep your feet in the stirrups and both hands on the reins

Because when fifty degrees meets two feet of snow on a metal roof, things are bound to get hairy.


Unless, of course, you own a magical fairy princess horse who never spooks at anything because he was raised by a wild group of college kids who had nothing better to do with their time than drag baby horses all over an expansive ag school all day every day and therefore falling snow doesn't even warrant an ear flick.

"oh, hai. that's me."

I set up a jump school despite the constant avalanche crashing around the indoor because I knew Bobby isn't fazed by such nonsense. He might refuse to walk over a ground pole every now and then, but he's not spooky. I set up a two stride line--vertical to oxer--a 2' vertical on the centerline at X, and a big X on the quarter line at M.

drawn to scale.

We warmed up at the trot over the 2' vertical on the center line. He was a gem tracking right, but once we switched to the left, he trotted it once, got to a long spot from the canter (My first of many times grabbing mane this ride. I'm starting to become a really good mane grabber. I'm not sure that's a good thing or not.), and then he decided that was enough of that jump. I went to turn him and he just kept on trucking down the rail.

Me: Uh, Bobby. What happened to turning there?

Bobby: Say what? Oh, that. No, we've done that one enough. Let's do something more exciting.

Me: Bobby, you don't get to dictate what order we do the exercises in. Do it again.

Bobby: FINE. P.S. I HATE YOU.

Next up was the big X which he started out fine over, but got bored with that one quickly too and started bombing over it despite the ground pole. We moved on to the two stride line that started out as a cross rail to a cross rail oxer. He was also quick to show his disdain for how boring that was so I quickly knocked the X up to a 2'6" vertical and the oxer up to an ascending 2'6".

Things finally got interesting. Bobby tripped on landing over the vertical and almost face planted. He caught himself like a boss though. I kicked him on and grabbed mane, and he jumped the oxer like nothing had happened.

After that it was just a matter of sitting there and picking jumps and remaining zen about the fact that I had no brakes. At one point, I was all, "You think it's so easy to jump while running around like a freight train, Robert? Fine. Keep your speed, and turn, and jump this. And turn and jump THIS. And THIS AND THIS!"

And Bobby was all, "Okay."

Bobby wants to be a professional show jumper. Someone buy him for that.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

One February goal crossed off.

Yesterday was supposed to be the big unveiling of our long-awaited spring weather.

"It will be fifty degrees!" they said.

"It will rain and melt all the snow away!" they said.

So I was obviously expecting warmth and rain when I woke up that morning. Instead I looked out my bedroom window and saw this:


Hmm, Mr Weather Man. That doesn't look like rain to me. That looks like MORE FUCKING SNOW.

We got another inch before it stopped falling...and then it did get up to 50*, but why even bother at that point, stupid bitch weather? I had a long frolic in our woods with the dogs while wearing a t-shirt (because weather above 20* is summer in my mind at this point) before deciding I was just going to go ahead and get my car stuck in the driveway on my return home--again--because we really needed groceries, and I wanted to ride my ponito.

also, the heatwave caused this massive icicle to fall off the roof and kill the trash can.

Unfortunately, because I had to wait for the roads to get plowed so my stupid Saturn had a chance to navigate us into town without dying, I got to the barn just before a wave of lessons started. I got Bobby speed tacked and hustled down to the arena. I let him have a good stretchy walk before sending him off into a forward canter on the buckle while in half seat; forget trying to canter when there's lesson of geriatric beginners (and I really do mean no offense there) who don't know how to steer.

By the time the three lessoners came down, Bobby was trotting lovely. He was relaxed, forward, and comfortably on the bit and round. We continued on our 20 meter circle to give the newcomers enough room to roam around randomly while preparing to mount when suddenly I hear this nasty crack and look over to see the woman lessoner flat out on the ground. She's in her mid-sixties and has MS so she needs help mounting, but apparently something went wrong and she ended up on the other side of the horse.

I got off to hold the three horses while the two lesson men helped lesson woman sit up and catch her breath (she'd knocked the wind out of herself). Once she'd recovered, she actually got back on and took her lesson, albeit with a lot more walking than usual. I was impressed.

Bobby was back to his usual charming self by the time I remounted. We were tracking right, and he decided he was quite incapable of softening or even really listening. It was frustrating because despite BO's attempts to help me out and keep her students on the rail so I could work around them, I just couldn't make it work. I almost gave up and quit, but we switched directions and Bobby deigned to focus again. We even got a "He looks good" from BO.

Today I did this:

he is so awkward and ugly in pictures. i swear he looked cute in person.

Pulled mane! Bridle path! No more goat beard! LOVE NAKED HORSES!

I had two pairs of fresh blades to work with, and I needed both of them to their dying breath to finish the job. I'm actually sending them back out first thing tomorrow so I can go over any lines (mostly on his bum). The clinic I'm doing at the end of March is hosted by the local pony club, and I don't want them to kick us out because my horse looks like a shaggy donkey.

The best part is that I was planning on buying a neck cover that I could technically afford but not really, but BM was all, "Go get the filly's blanket! It doesn't fit her and no one else is going to use it." So now Bobby is outfitted with a heavy weight Weatherbeeta with attached neck to use when it drops back down to the teens next week, and I didn't have to spend a dime. Yay!

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Bobby: King of the mountain, mountain, mountain....

Did anyone get the Out Cold reference? Anyone at all?

Whatevs.

Have some Bobby in the snow picture spam:

he angles towards this snow bank every time we walk by it,
so i finally let him explore.
he got halfway in and started digging himself a giant hole.
it was very serious work.
and then he stuck his entire face in the hole and pawed snow all over himself.
#noregrets

And from Monday, a video of him eating iced dumped out of frozen buckets. You know, because he's never given any food or water, and he must scavenge for himself what little nourishment he can.


Sunday, February 16, 2014

Jumping, with video

I lied to you. Hubby and I did eventually make it to the barn on Saturday. As I said wrote, as soon as we got home from our aborted attempt (Thank god for auto spell check, by the way. My fingers are apparently dyslexic today and can't make letters come out right. I spell real good, derp derp.), it stopped snowing. Hubby attacked the driveway with the snow blower while the puppies and I stood around staring at Hubby's sideways truck that didn't have the cajones to climb all the way up the driveway and instead almost went sliding off into the abyss.

But with my man muscles I've acquired from shoveling so much mother fucking snow this winter, I was able to dig the stupid thing out and stood in the middle of our road to "watch for traffic"--as if we have traffic on our backwoods road--as Hubby went blasting out into the road for driveway ascent number two.

And like a magical anti-snow fairy wand, the roads were cleared to nothing more than wet within the hour and I forced Hubby back behind the driver's seat to spirit me off to the barn where I promptly face planted while walking up the hill to retrieve Bobby from his paddock.

With Hubby there, I was feeling rushed for a warm up because I didn't want to bore the poor dude too badly. So I cut the longe session short and didn't take as much time at the walk as I usually do. As such, Bobby and I never really got on the same page. It wasn't bad, it just wasn't a particularly productive ride.

Hubby did attempt to take video, but he blamed the camera for going in and out of focus....and wobbling all over the place. Really, Hubby, I think the camera blames you. I'm going to spare you half a dozen videos of me trotting in circles where you'll be gripping your seat to try to keep your balance and will constantly be checking your face to see if you're wearing beer goggles. Have a shoddy video still instead:


Holy fucking word vomit! How did that get so out of hand?!

Don't worry. I'll reward you with jumping video from today!

A cross rail:


A two stride line (Where he looks very fancy in the video still. My goodness.):


The two stride line with the 3'6" vertical thrown in at the end, and where Bobby proves that he only stops at fences when his brain is ready to explode, even if he should say, "No, thank you":


And the 3'6" vertical on its own:


We'd actually gone over the big vertical several times before sticking it on the end of the line, and neither one of us had any issues with it. I don't know how those didn't get videoed. They just don't exist; I'm not withholding them, I swear! After the deer leap over it, we came around again and got in a little long causing him to tap the rail down with his hind legs. I started to psych myself out over it after that, so when we came around in the above video, even though it wasn't perfect, I was okay with ending it there.


It was a good jump school, and watching the videos gave me a few things to focus on:

  • Solidify the lower leg, as always.
  • Fold more over the fence. My upper body stays too upright because I've gotten very defensive thinking we're going to bite it over every jump.
  • Re-learn the auto release.
But there were a few good things, too:
  • We didn't die, fight, or have a melt down at any point.
  • Bobby looked super cute in his jumping boots that he's finally grown up enough to use--now that he won't clobber every pole with them on.
  • He liked his new leather curb strap better than his chain one that came with the hackamore-- I had that wrapped in vet wrap like the Ghetto Queen I am.
I have adorbs pictures of Bobby the Snow Monster as well, but those will have to wait. You've gotten enough media already, you spoiled children!

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Well, we tried.

The last time I rode was Wednesday, which in the grand scheme of things isn't too bad. Bobby started off pretty sassy on the longe line, and he was pretty quick under saddle, but he eventually settled down and we finished with another face of foam.

large, awkward head, but foam nonetheless.

And then we got seven inches of snow on Thursday. Friday was spent playing with our new snow blower. Love. I love the snow blower. The snow blower was my valentine. I also ate a shit ton of chocolate and mauled a burger the size of my face at Red Robin. But no barn.

i did make a snowman. does that count as productive?

Today, I woke up to two more inches of snow on my car and the snow coming down in earnest.

SO. OVER. IT.

Hubby did ask if I wanted him to take me to the barn despite the snow. I was like, "Heck yes! ....But not if we're going to die." So we played with dogs for awhile, and the snow finally seemed to slow.





We only live ten miles from the barn, and we'd probably traveled about eight of those miles before we slid off the road. After ten minutes of getting nowhere, one of Hubby's customer's appeared over the top of the hill like a fucking miraculous mirage equipped with a snow shovel and chain. He pulled us out and we carried on. We logged another mile before stopping to pull someone else out ourselves.

is that the road, or someone's field? who knows!

At that point, even though we were this close to the barn, we were all, "Fuck it." and turned around. Of course, as soon as we got home the snow stopped falling. But we gained another four or five inches on top of the thirteen we already had from this week.

OVER ITTTTTT.

Did I say that already?!

Hopefully I'll be able to make it to the barn tomorrow. In the meantime, I'll be making up for my lack of saddle time by working out at home.

Doing squats.

With Lucky Charms marshmallows on hand.

they're magically delicious. 

Thursday, February 13, 2014

TBT: Farm Life

Since the latest bout of fucking snow is coming down, BM and I have to cancel our Thursday dog sled team meeting. I can't get out of the driveway, and I'm certainly not driving down our unplowed road as it continues to snow its balls off.

Instead, I figured I'd do a post of some of my favorite pictures from when Hubby and I were farming in NY before we moved down here and became rural suburbanites. I swear that's a real thing.

we did a lot of relief milking for our fabulous neighbor.
the kelpie was always willing to help feed the calves.
my pygmy buck, napolean, ruled the homestead.
my exceptionally expensive pygmy mama and her twins.
just a goat in a truck.
hard working farm dogs.
baby goats with the wrong mamas.
checking the bee hives.
my brother on storm.
out of our entire raised bed, i grew one flower.
storm and napolean were besties. they were constantly harassing each other.
4' of snow in one day. bring it, pa.
proof we lived in the middle of nowhere: while we obviously had fencing,
storm and the goats had free rein of the entire property. 
storm helping bag and tag corn for the goats 
we bought him for me, but he liked men so much more. hubby rode him a lot.
my awesome pig barky drinking her morning goat milk.
she knew how to sit on command
the fat cat with his chickens and ducks.
baby goat out for a ride.