Tuesday, March 31, 2015

TOABH: Introspection

I've missed a few of Beka's blog hops, but I'm back on it for this one!


Introspection
What would your horse change about you?

Bobby basically functions with the thought process that he is always right.

Always.

when a bobby says it's time to leave, it's time to leave.

Therefore, I think if he could change one thing about me, it would be that I got on the bandwagon and just let him do his thing. His daily routine would be adjusted so it resembled something like this:

Come in from turnout, eat breakfast, pee, lay down for a snugly nap in said pee.

always time for napping.

Wake up from nap, eat hay if it's up to your high standards, demand different hay if it's not. If BM refuses to give you brand new hay, drag old hay into middle of stall, pee on it, and take another nap.

Cookie Lady is here. Demand cookies. All of them. No, you need more. Lick favorite mare's blankets while getting tacked up. 

Go for trail ride that involves lots of running for warm up. Come back to barn and jump some cross country jumps. 

If the ground isn't good cross country jumping ground, jump around in the outdoor. Jumps must be at least 3'. They're too boring otherwise, and you'll have to put extra effort into racing over them instead of actually jumping them. 

ignore cookie lady when she makes these stupid faces at you.
it's time to do the jumping.

Go for another trail ride with another gallop when you're done jumping. Pause for lots of snack breaks without getting yelled at for eating on a trail ride. Cookie Lady is going to clean your bit anyway. What's a little extra slobber?

No post ride grooming. Bobbys do not like the brushing. Baths are okay though. Make sure to demand extra cookies after the ride. Refuse to drink any water until you've gotten at least one. 

Make horrible mean faces about getting your blanket put on. Have Cookie Lady leave it off.

If BM has not replaced the hay you've deemed unacceptable, tell Cookie Lady all about it. That bitch is a sucker. She'll switch it out for you. Eat said hay until dinner time. If it was an early morning ride, probably take another nap.

Eat dinner, get turned out with best friends, boss best friends around because they're amazingly even bigger losers than you, and you somehow found yourself the coolest horse in the herd.

Take best friends up to graze and/or eat hay that's been put out.

Repeat.

Monday, March 30, 2015

Boo, Hiss.

First of all, I just want to say a huge thank you to everyone that reached out to me following my tragic news over the weekend. Is it really that tragic? Am I being a little melodramatic?

NO.

Worst. News. Ever.

almost as bad as it being 25* at the end of march. da fuq.

The deal is that Hubby, who works for one of the top Ag companies in the country, got a call on Thursday afternoon to drive up to New York for a meeting first thing Friday morning. The company is buying a new plant in Marion, and Hubby is going to step in as the manager.

Now, yay, so happy and proud of Hubby because being manager was why we moved in the first place. But I told him that once he got promoted, we could move literally anywhere in the country as long as it wasn't back to New York. So I haven't been taking this very well.

On top of that, they want him up there by April 8th. That's less than two weeks to relocate all our shit four hours away. Not cool, guys. Not cool at all.

We have a horse, horse trailer, a truck to haul the horse trailer, my car, Hubby's company truck, a boat, two dogs--one of whom is extra large sized--and two cats to find a home for in that time period. Essentially my stress level is through the roof, and I may just set up a box somewhere down here and refuse to come out of it....ever.

more flat pictures? sure thing.

I told my BO and best barn bud Sarah on Saturday, and it was pretty much the worst ever. Sarah and I spent our ride bemoaning all the things I'm going to miss by moving--having someone calmly change course when Bobby is about to fly backwards into them, someone to commiserate with when my fat roll gets pinched in my belt, no more swimming in the creek with water horses, no one to talk shit with, no shared locker to plunder when you need to steal borrow something, and on and on.

who am i going to beat my horse with?!

Bobby and I did get a little jumping in, but half the standards were still in storage, so it was only over a few verticals. Bobby had a minor case of the stupids for most of the ride, and did a lot of his favorite rocking horse canter-in-place nonsense before the jumps, but he was in a bit of a mood the whole day.

I got some helmet cam footage, which would have been even better if the moment where I smacked myself in the face with my reins over a fence had actually showed up, but sadly it didn't.



I brought up a couple of usable standards the next day since J hadn't actually fixed any of the ones he'd brought down over the winter and made a couple of the verticals into oxers. Sadly the outdoor's footing was frozen fucking solid, so we couldn't ride up there.

We were forced down to the indoor where I had zero ambition to do anything. We jumped a little 18" vertical a few times, but that wasn't even fun.

prepping for a training move up.
lolz.

Before too long, we wrapped it up and went outside to take some sad goodbye pictures with Sarah and Memphy.

my poneh is handsome sometimes!

Today I wanted to make use of the jumps I had set up yesterday, but Bobby quickly picked up on my bad mood and threw a pissy fit over pretty much everything. He kept locking onto the wrong jumps, throwing a tantrum when I'd pull him off of them, and then throw another tantrum when I'd point him at a different fence.

So I got off, knocked everything down to itty, bitty, baby jumps, and we spent forty five minutes walking jumps. I was feeling more than a little pissy myself by the time we were done.

On the plus side, my BM made me this most amazing painting ever:

complete with bobby tail hair.
way more bad ass in person.


Saturday, March 28, 2015

I do NOT heart New York

In fact, I really fucking hate New York.

But it looks like we're being relocated rather promptly. So does anyone have any leads on good barns, show venues, and, oh I don't know, a fucking house to live in in the area of Marion?

That's all I can manage right now. I'll give a long, ranting, detailed, expletive-filled post in a day or two. In the meantime, please tell me there's at least one blogger in the area that wants to be friends.

Anyone? Anyone at all?

"where i am going to go that drag is accepted?"

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Spring Sillies

Bobby had the past two days off while I took care of some things at home (like a freshly spayed puppy who didn't want to eat her food for three days) and generally hid inside from the 30* temps. I did stop in the barn once on my way to the vet to turn him loose for some rumpus time in the ring and give him some carrots.

Carrots are his fave snack EVAR, so he felt it was totally justified that when he was hanging out in his stall with the door open and I wasn't paying attention to him/feeding him said carrots, he flung my grooming tote across the barn aisle to uncover the half-hidden bag.

"hellooooo. where are the cookies?"

He was equally obnoxious fun today so he got a speed tack in his jump saddle and his own snaffle bridle I finally dug out for him. I think I've settled on a slow twist for his hunter outfit. I only have a loose ring with that mouthpiece, but I'm sure I'll be able to dig a dee up at the tack swap next weekend.

Then we went up to the outdoor because it was finally free of snow!!! YAY!!!

the noseband needs to come up, but that can be done when the nose of the horse isn't
stuffed in your face because it's sooo hungryyy.

Bobby's warm up flat work wasn't quite as focused as it is in the indoor, but that's par for the course when we ride outside. His jumping, however, was on point. Outdoor jumping > indoor jumping any day of the week.

We warmed up over the single barrel a few times each way because Bobby loves him a good skinny. Then we headed for the coop which looks decidedly small and not at all scary this year. I actually looked down at it in disdain as we flatted by it. 2'7" cross country jump, you don't impress us. My horse is ten now. We're too grown up to be afraid of you anymore.

I actually had to add some substantial leg to get Bobby to jump the thing from a good distance because he wasn't impressed with it either. Bobbys lope such silly fences now. Gone are the days of this:

me: look, naughty baby horse. we can approach it without it eating you.
bobby: NOT SURE THAT'S THE TRUTH.

We only did that a few times from the left before I got bored and wandered out of the ring with the hopes of doing a mini trail ride. Bobby proceeded to "spook" (His spooks involve much snorting and sometimes a sideways head--very serious stuff.) at pretty much everything we passed. The tarp that's been on the ground since last summer. The shavings in the outdoor bay that have lived in that spot longer than he's been at this barn. Hay. The port-a-pottie. A snake stick. My car. His reflection in the door to the warming room. A pile of snow.

It was all fair game.

"alert! i sense grass ahead! might be deadly!"

Unfortunately we didn't make it far because of a tree down over the entire trail, but at least we were out of the ring for a few minutes.

I took him out for his monthly conformation picture which he stood like a gem for and proceeded to follow me back into the barn at his usual ambling pace. That is until SOMETHING VERY SCARY HAPPENED (possibly there was air in the....air....) and he took a flying leap forward, spun around to face me, and had a snort fest.

Once I assured him I was very impressed with how crazy he is, he plodded the rest of the way back to his stall.

on high alert for all the things.
even the imaginary things.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

WW: Progression

Dressage

May 2012

August 2012

May 2013

June 2013
(and then i pulled his shoes and he was lame for most of the rest of the year)

May 2014

June 2014

Cross Country

May 2012

September 2012

May 2013

July 2013

May 2014

September 2014

Stadium

May 2012

October 2012

May 2013

June 2013

May 2014

August 2014

Monday, March 23, 2015

Cannot Brain

I had one of those weekends where I feel like I did a lot, but upon reflection, I might have just wasted two days of my life driving around not really accomplishing much.

I kicked things off with a bang by blowing the brakes out of my truck while displaying the most amazing ninja driving moves to avoid ramming into this fucking asshole in a minivan who decided he didn't need to listen to stop signs or me laying on my horn, and then sped away as I went flying into a hay field. But like I said--fucking ninja skills. Aside from losing my brakes, I was able to land that fucker on a strip of grass without killing anyone.

AAA towed the truck down to one of the two garages in town for me, and Hubby and I went over to the other garage where my car has been sitting for the past two weeks waiting to get its clutch replaced. The guy had originally quoted us three more weeks for the fix which made me seriously homicidal (Mechanics are a lot like farriers, amirite? Pretty fucking useless.), but after telling him my truck was down, he was all, "Well, I'll see if I can fit it in."

here, have a picture of piggy as a frog princess to break up text

The next day both my car and truck were fixed.

Of course, with speedy repair service inevitably comes more problems. I got in my truck, and to keep the wheels straight I have to hold my steering wheel cranked to the left after the garage replaced my sway bar. Yeah, guys. You will be fixing that on your own dime.

The moral of the story is: If you have a couple grand laying around that you have nothing better to do with, just let me drive your vehicle. I'll get that shit spent for you.

I did manage to get a couple rides in on my horse though.

Saturday morning I clipped all the hair off Bobby. Really, I blame this on people not knowing me well enough to tell me "Don't do that, Carly. No. Really. Don't." I asked BM if there was any trick to clipping legs, and she was all, "Nope! It's just a pain in the ass because of all the bony and knobby parts." Then I turned to Aimee for some face clipping tips, and instead of seeing warning lights when I asked her how not to gouge my horse's eyes out, she actually gave me some good tips.

I'll take that as a green light!

he actually looks quite alright from a distance with a shitty cell phone!

He might have zebra stripes down his legs because he was pretty much done with my existence by the time I got to them. I thought about touching them up the next day, but then I was like, "Meh. He has no dignity left anyway. They'll grow out."

zebra stripes!
and some lovely exposed pin firing.

I came back that afternoon once lessons were done and had a flat ride where Bobby tried to express to me what a sassy, sassy horse he is by snaking his head and striking out with his front legs as we trotted around. I was too busy overcome by giggling to take him seriously. Feeling that his efforts were not being rewarded, he quit doing that. He attempted to take off with me a few times at the canter as well, but Sassy Fresh Bobby is so silly that I can't even sometimes. I just let him do his thing and we spent most of the ride cantering.

I attempted a jump school Sunday with Sarah, but immediately had a minor meltdown over laced reins. I seriously almost cried out of frustration because I just could not brain. Sarah tried to talk me off the ledge by going over every tack change I've made for Bobby's hunter outfit, but I was just like, "I hate these reins I can't ride or do anything I hate them they've ruined my life I can't ride this is so hardddddddd!!!"


Don't you wish you had me as a friend?

I sat down and really thought about it afterwards though. I hate laced reins, yes, but they weren't making me lean forward and lose my balance (As Sarah so aptly pointed out when she yelled at me, "Stop thinking about the reins! Ride the jump!"). I got new leathers and irons with my new saddle. I hate the leathers, so I decided I was going to go back to my old HDR leathers. Since I already had my jointed stirrups on those, and the new composite irons on the Teknas, I went back to my jointed irons as well.

I still hate the laced reins, but no surprise that getting my base of support back with leathers that weren't yanking my leg around and irons I could weight my heel more heavily in kept me in a good position and I was able to jump just fine.

This morning we worked on this exercise:


I had the verticals set at 18" and the one stride distance set at 24' like the exercise says to do. If you want to replicate this exercise, don't set the distance so far apart. Bobby has a huge stride and likes to rush anyway, and he was really having to reach for the one stride with the jumps set so low. I'd go for 21' at the most instead.

Thanks to the long distance, tiny jumps, and tinier arena, we not only struggled with the technical aspect of this, but also with the "JUMPZ ARE TOO SMALL JUST CANTER THEM NO NEED TO PICK UP MY FRONT END I ALMOST DID A HEADSTAND." Nothing like a strung out horse on a long distance to make you wonder if you're going to face plant upon landing.


I changed our objective pretty quickly and practiced walking the jumps instead.

We finished with some lateral work at the sitting trot and counter canter both directions which are both hard to do with jumping length stirrups. Bobby was a star though and went around and did his thing without any fuss so that I was able to focus solely on me.

And that ends a post that probably could have been split at least in two. You're welcome.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Jump Jump

After a week of dressage rides, albeit really good dressage rides, it was finally time to return to some jumping.

dressage rides with silly hats on...

I contemplated putting Bobby's ever-changing hunter outfit on to try out a slow twist snaffle this time around since he gave a big old NOPE to the pelham when I tried it last week, but with a week off from jumping, no ride yesterday, and being generally super fucking insanely fit, I wanted the comfort of our usual tack.

So on went the Micklem and running martingale, and I set up a very non-hunter fake corner and a 3' vertical to warm up over on the diagonal.

well....at least his mane is nice and tidy?
he's so unattractive.

As is becoming the norm with Mr Grown Up Pony Britches, his warm up was very correct and super nice to ride. There's a fancy horse hidden beneath that fugly brown wrapper. I shortened my stirrups up two holes to jump, got my fat rubber reins nice and short, and had a small moment of rejoicing in how much more I like my eventing tack than the hunter tack, instead of taking a small moment to freak out about starting to jump.

See? Trying hunters is already working, and we haven't even been in a show ring yet!

It makes sense in my head. Don't judge.

Bobby was definitely on fire right from the get-go, so I channeled his exuberance into a more packaged but still very forward canter, and all our jumps were bang fucking on. We did both jumps twice from each direction, and we didn't get a bad spot once. I was sitting up and pushing forward, and Bobby was uphill and bouncy and just generally a boss.

one sloppy outdoor

We finished on that note because you can't get much better than perfect--and I was about to choke to death on all the dust in the ring--and hacked up to the outdoor to see how the melting was going. There was almost no snow left on it (yay!), but we're supposed to get 3" tomorrow, so it doesn't even matter (boo!).

I made Bobby trot around a little anyway. He poked his nose out to the ground and amused himself by splashing water onto his face as we went along. Event horses have to get their cross country fix however they can, even if it means creating your own imaginary water jump.

I also popped him over the single barrel once just because, and he hopped right over it without so much as a blink.

Basically he was a very good jump jump horse today, and finished off half a bag of peppermints accordingly.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Stock Tie Shopping

March is my month of show gear restocking. I compile all the lists I made last season and over the winter when there's nothing better to do than makes lists of all the horse things you want, and then I make one grand master list.

I start with all the boring basics that I used up: liniment, vet wrap, electrolytes, probiotics, bute, shampoo, show sheen, inevitably a new sponge because I've lost mine or Bobby has "played" with it to the point where I can't ignore the chunks he's eaten any longer, and any braiding products I've accidentally thrown away.

Then I move on to the fun things: breeches, bridles, saddle pads, gloves, boots, helmets, ALL THE SHOW THINGS.

I usually narrow this list down to one or two things that I really need want and splurge on that. This year brings about dabbling in a new discipline, so I actually got to expand  my list instead of narrow it. Yay, MOAR SHOW THINGS! I was able to finally buy my new show coat I wanted over Christmas but couldn't afford at the time which will cross over to every discipline I show in. I also picked up some nice tan breeches that don't have bleach stains or tears in the legs like mine do, and a really nice show shirt that Lauren approved for the hunter ring.

I crossed my custom cross country saddle pad off the list (Hurry up and get here! I want to play with you!), made a mini list of some little things I'm sure I can pick up at our local tack swap in a couple weeks, and found myself left with only one thing.

My current stock tie is small, boring, ugly, and chokes me out. Obviously it had to go. I took to etsy and plugged in "stock tie". Wowwww. So much pretty. Such sparkles. So expensive for cheapskates.

These are some of my favorites, with links to their etsy pages in case you want to buy one (or all of them) yourself:

Bad Habit Stock Ties

EquestrianPzazz

Lasting Impressions

Dressage Stock Ties

Dara James Designs
Dara James Designs

I really need to figure out how to do more with my sewing machine than sew a semi-straight line over a rip in my horse blankets so I can make my own.

For the record, I ended up going the cheapest route, but still picking up a little bling.

from ebay

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Least Favorite Things: A Rant

I have a bone to pick. I'm not really sure what that expression means, but I guess it will work here.

There are a few things that drive me absolutely fucking bat shit crazy in the blogosphere. I've read them in the comments on others' blogs. I've read them in the content of people I follow. And fuck knows I've dealt with them here in my own little piece of cyberspace.

I've sat on this post for a couple of weeks, and usually when something sits there that long, it ends up just getting deleted for good. But this shit has been bothering me lately, so I'm going to go ahead and make it public. Maybe some of you can relate. Certainly some of you will take offense.

#sorrynotsorry

1. U BEATZ UR HORSE. Let me clear this up right from the get go: I do not beat my fucking horse.

Look, I know I use the word "beat" all the time in my posts. I'm constantly saying I had to beat some sense into Bobby, I beat him for misbehaving, I beat him for not doing what I wanted, yada yada.

No horses have ever been beaten in the making of this blog.

I have taken my whip and spanked my horse behind my leg before. I've used it on his shoulder more than once in a row. I've smacked him on his chest with my hand  plenty of times. I don't consider that beating.

Bobby's favorite evasion is running backwards and sideways as fast as he can. Sometimes he does it for a reason. Sometimes he gets over-faced. Sometimes I ask wrong.  And sometimes he melts down just because he can. When he falls back on this, no matter the why, I always react in the same way: leg, leg, leg, kick, leg, here's my spur, more leg. The instant he goes forward again, I release all pressure from my seat to my reins and especially from my leg.

I don't consider that beating. I don't think any part of that is wrong. I'm not going to change my response. He goes backwards, I get after him to go forward. He goes forward, he gets rewarded by being left alone.

I'm not going to pet his neck and tell him he's a good boy as he slams his body into jump standards. I'm not going to sit there and philosophize on what I could have done differently to not hurt his delicate horsey ego while he pins my leg against the wall.

If that offends you, I'm sorry you also have a delicate horsey ego. I'm not sorry that's how I ride.

Guess what? I also always have a chain over my horse's nose when he goes off property, even if he's not misbehaving. I bet your delicate horsey ego is now really broken.

naughty horse.

2. SELLZ IT. I think this might be the one that drives me the battiest because the root of it, to me, is that people make assumptions based solely on the little information you're giving them via a blog post. And I get that. What else are you supposed to do?

You're not around the horse and rider pair on a daily basis. You don't see their daily interactions. You're not privy to how every single ride goes. You don't know if the two or three or ten posts you just read are a true reflection of how the blogger feels all the time. I've written posts immediately after I got home from a shit ride and tore my horse apart, only to change my attitude on what happened with a little more reflection.

For anyone that's followed this blog for a couple of years, you'll know that Bobby and I have hit more than one rough patch. We usually go through several rough months at a time before having a little success and then spiraling right back down again. He's even been downright dangerous at times.

I've gotten the whole "SELLZ HIM IT SHOULD BE FUN HE IS NOT A GOOD MATCH U R NOT HAPPY" spiel from multiple people multiple times over multiple years. In fact, I've contemplated selling him several times. I even set a firm timeline last year--if we didn't have the show season I wanted, I wasn't wasting any more time.

I have a long history with Bobby, and it was one of the main reasons I kept pushing forward. Honestly though, I didn't even really like this horse for a long time after Red died. The other reason I refused to give up on him was because when he was good, he was very good. And the perseverance has paid off. I now have the horse that I would go out and look to buy if I was in the market.

Selling might be the way to go. But that's not anybody else's business.

from left to right:
refusing to get near a 2' starter coop while xc schooling. hubby eventually had to lead us over.
the same coop two weeks later at his second ever event. a little looky, but no stopping.
confidently clearing the 3' novice coop a year later.

3. GETZ A TRAINER AND TAKE SOME LESSONZZZ. Sweet baby Jesus, if I had a dollar for every time I read this one...

I am not anti-lessons. It may comes across as that. I really think some of you out there believe that about me. I love a good lesson as much as the next person. But just because I have an instructor available doesn't mean I'm going to get a good lesson out of that person. It's my choice not to spend money where I don't think it's getting me a return.

It's taken my horse and I longer to move up the levels and get good at what we do because I don't take lessons or have a trainer. I'm willing to admit that. It's not rocket science. If I was riding to be ultra competitive, I'd make taking lessons a priority over having fun. But I'm not, so I don't.

I am, however, always trying to expand my education. I watch other riders all the time--online, at the barn, at shows. I read everything I can get my hands on. I ask for advice from other riders I respect all the time.

And most importantly, I try not to be stupid about what I do on my own. I'm not going to go out and school Prelim cross country just because my horse jumps 3'7" at home in the ring. I'm not going to enter the Level 3 jumpers because we can jump a 4' oxer out of a grid. I am going to muddle through dressage movements on my own, and slowly increase the height of jumps in a course as I get more comfortable.


everything he knows, he learned from me. #theslowkids

I think my writing style and general sarcastic, snarky attitude towards life are difficult for some people to process understand relate to whatever. I try to make my posts funny, but my sense of humor isn't for everyone. I tend to gloss over specific ride details, and I generalize a lot which I get can lead to some people taking offense to what they think I do.

The solution to that is pretty simple: don't follow my blog anymore. You won't hurt my feelings. I won't be insulted. I thin out my reading list a couple times a year, usually because the blog(s) I'm dropping makes me roll my eyes more than read the content. I'm sure my blog has elicited that response puh-lenty of times before.

Overall though, I really love the horse blogging community. I think there's so much out there that people have to offer, and I'm constantly asking my fellow bloggers questions and getting great responses.

Sometimes I think we just embrace our horse person side a little too much, and we bitches be cray.