Friday, May 29, 2015

Friday Fotos: Totally Random Shit!

my super smart dogs freaking out about a turtle

like, seriously freaking out.

this nasty, nappy, long hair is why robert has to get a summer clip

so he's all shiny and cool afterwards!

sadly the pink princess mask didn't hold up for long.
i'll be keeping the extra diamonds for sure though.

weird squishy lump. do you see it? do you?? squish it!!

why my clippers weren't working, i guess it's a good excuse.

i asked my best former-barn bud sarah what variety of this new
dog food she was feeding her dog so i could switch pig over. her answer?
"chicken and...something else. the one with a corgi on it." sort of a corgi?

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Don't Do Drugs

I am allergic to Spring.

Blooming flowers and budding trees make me cry. Literally. My eyes get so swollen they start leaking. Fresh cut grass? Fuck everyone that mows their lawn.

go ahead and graze, bobby.
i'll just curl up in a little ball beside you and slowly die.

I try to stay away from drugs because even the ones that say they're non-drowsy wipe me out. But while walking my dogs along the canal the other day, I was brutally attacked by something that I hope was eaten later on. It stung the inside of my ear causing it to swell to Elephant Man proportions, leak pus, and burn and itch horribly.

Flesh eating flying demon? Probably.

The day after I finally caved and popped a Benadryl. I stayed home all morning waiting for it to hit me, but aside from being a little woozy, I wasn't beset by my usual coma status. So I went to the barn for a flat ride.

with candy in hand, bobby has completely given up his walking away game

I've kind of let Bobby's feet get away from me since I don't have a hoof stand of my own (waiting for the birthday money to start rolling in!), and trimming feet without one seriously blows. They were looking so ratchet yesterday that I was determined to make them fabulous again or die trying.

I think I almost died trying.

I got done with his fronts (and they do look fabulous now), straightened my legs to stand up, and promptly sat the fuck down. Unintentionally. That Benadryl came in like a fucking wrecking ball, let me tell you. I put the hinds off for another day (they're now looking fabulous again, too) and got Bobby tacked up. How hard is a w/t/c ride anyway, right?

It felt like posting the trot was the most epic thing I've done in my entire life.

I got twenty minutes in with significantly more sitting trot and canter than I'd planned on because my thighs were quivering so badly. I'm very thankful I'd finally moved my knee blocks back on my dressage saddle over the weekend or I probably would have tipped forward and fallen off, but not even known it because I would have been sleeping. Drugged out weakling for the win. I went home and passed out on the couch for the next three hours.

The good news is that my ear feels much better today!

ricky and bobby. shake and bake.

There's been no give on the allergy side of things unfortunately. I'm walking around not really sure where my legs are and feeling like my head weighs a million pounds but is also floating somewhere above me. With the first horse trials of the season next weekend though, I've got to keep chugging along.

I started to set up Allison's latest jumping exercise, but after dropping six poles in a diamond shape, pulling out any more poles and all those standards was a monumental task I wasn't up to. So I left one line as ground rails, and made the other line an X and a 3' vertical. There's never a bad time for ground poles!

We did the most half-assed warm up ever before beginning to figure eight through the exercise. Bobby loped through the three strides over the jumps, but then went full on Rambo over the ground poles. We did three or four passes from each direction before calling it quits. There was nothing to fix over the actual jumps, and I wasn't going to fight him over galloping and leaping the poles.

this face for ground poles.

I'm going to give him tomorrow off in an attempt to let my legs rest. They just feel so tired. Getting around a five minute cross country course in two point sounds completely impossible right now. I should, however, have my broken clipper part by then so I can finish clipping him!

because that is not a good look

The rocker block in my German made clippers finally wore enough that it sheared in half while I was clipping Monday. It's a minuscule part, but it's what makes the blade go back and forth making it pretty vital for use. I went on an hour long internet search trying to find a replacement in the US (there were plenty overseas!) before finally stumbling across a store in MD that sold them. Hallelujah!

something is not right with these things...

Monday, May 25, 2015

#bigearsmakeyoufly

Having a significant other that works in the agriculture industry is the absolute worst during the spring season.

The. Worst.

It's torture trying to get new blog media when the only person you ever interact with is never home. Serious equestrian problems right here, guys. Really fucking serious.

for instance, i've been waiting ages to debut this shirt on the blog. it pairs perfectly
with my resting bitch face.

I was finally able to drag Hubby out to the barn Sunday morning and get some new jumping pictures. We didn't get a ton because we also really wanted to play with the slow-mo feature on my new phone, but the ones we got are pretty fucking epic.


Bobby was too sleepy to handle warming up. He had four days off and then two easy dressage rides before our jump school, so he had absolutely no reason to be such a slug. He couldn't believe I actually wanted him to canter of all things, and since I wanted a strong hand gallop to warm up with and not a canter at all, Mr Spanky (thank you, Allison, for introducing me to the best name for a crop ever) payed his bum a quick visit.

He woke up after that, and we worked on a figure eight around the arena while Hubby slow mo-ed our flying changes. I haven't edited and uploaded those off my phone yet, but if you follow me on instagram you should be seeing them sometime this week. (P.S. be my friend. I will spam you with puppy pictures.)

bouncing 

For our jumping exercise, I set up a simple grid because standards are in short order around this place even with dragging some out of the indoor; it was a bounce, two strides to an oxer. I left the oxer as a pile of poles while we warmed up over the bounce a few times off of each lead.

The first time through with the oxer set, Bobby's brain accidentally fell out of his head and rolled around in the sand, and I had to pull him out of the line right after the bounce because I only had one rein and we were about to die.

why, yes. my boobs were harmed in this photo shoot. yay for a bit change that got
my horse up off his forehand? or maybe stop folding quite so much...

We made it through on the second try, but I felt like he just wasn't getting a read on the bounce anymore. I don't know if he was too focused on the oxer to pay attention to the bounce or what, but there's not much room for error when jumping into a 9' space. I had Hubby drop one end on both verticals and that took care of the problem.


After jumping through a few times without issue, I had Hubby crank the oxer right up. I made him pull out the pair of 5' standards from the indoor because the best part about this grid is getting to end on one monster jump. Hubby was questioning my sanity and my horse's ability, but I was all, "Hubby. Please remember mule jumping. Mules can jump 5'+ from practically a standstill. Bobby can surely clear this. Mule pride for lyfe."

mule ears sighted in on the jump raising.
or just creeping on a horse being brought in.

We came in a little under-powered the first time and Bobby was all:

"uh, for real? this is huge!"

But then he was all:

"mule pride for lyfe! we're doing this!"

Meanwhile I was like:

ohholyshit

He ended up just rubbing the back rail with a hind foot, but since we had pretty much loped in and the cups are super shallow, I wasn't disappointed at all. I heaped the praise on him and we came back around with a much stronger canter.

now we're cooking with mule power

Bobby coasted right over and didn't get near the rails. I gave him tons of pats between giggling at how fun this horse can be when not being a colossal asshole.

that moment when your horse might actually be a little bit more badass than another horse.
i don't experience those often.

We came through once more so that Hubby could get it on the phone in slow motion.

This is the whole line:


You can see that I was really driving him forward to eat up those two strides and have enough power to get over the jump. I promise I try to be a little more quiet with my seat most days.

And if a full minute of the slowest grid ever doesn't interest you, here's the oxer by itself:


Which is just downright gangster, I don't care who you are. Fuck yeah, technology.

what you're missing is the next second where grouchy mc lazy pants reached forward
and knocked the jump down. bobby ain't got no time for stupid posing.

We didn't pull out the tape, but since I know for a fact the purple standards are 4' and the white standards are 5', I'm calling it 4'6" on the assumption that the top hole is 4'9". I so do not miss the days when this horse refused to go over a ground pole.

In quick barn search news, I'm going to look at Barn Six this evening. They don't currently have a stall available, but the trainer said come down anyway, watch a lesson, look around, and see what I think. That alone is more than any other barn has given me, so fingers crossed it turns out to be a good situation!

Friday, May 22, 2015

PWS and the Ten Bajillion Barns

Kind of like Goldilocks, only with horse people instead of bears.

So way more terrifying!

i wish my horse was this cute.
and always came up to me for face rubs.

First off, thank you all for your comments on my post about my horse hating me. It's reassuring to read that some of your horses hate you too you also deal with bratty children as pets. I went out to check on Bobby Wednesday and Thursday which included pulling him out of the field to groom and look over. Both times he halfheartedly played "Catch me if you can!", but in slow motion and without much feeling.

Today I went in armed with crinkling candy wrappers, and while he didn't so much as lift his head at my arrival, at least he stayed put.

large pink-headed mule spotted in the distance
and it's still there when i get to it!

I did an easy w/t/c dressage ride followed by a short walk around on the trails before heading home and furthering my barn search.

UGH, I HATE BARN SHOPPING.

I started with a list of six barns and slowly began crossing them off.

Barn One

The exact same distance from my house as my current barn. More jumps, trainer on-site, website says they go to shows, looks like a pretty active place. I'd actually tried to get in contact with them when we were moving up here, but never heard anything back. I called again and left a message. Then I remembered that the girl I met at the CT said she used to board there so I messaged her to ask about it.

Turns out the news on the DL is that the owner/trainer is "downsizing" and most of the boarders are being asked to leave. So strike that one off the list.

text break of the pony with gorgeous skies.

Barn Two

Website looks great. Looks like they're on the same road as Barn One, and then a further google map looksie shows that it's the same address. Uh, what? Same phone number, too. I email them instead and ask about boarding because the facility really does look nice, but haven't heard back from them yet. Also, not sure I want to get caught up in whatever drama is going on with two barns in the same place and one leaving, and who knows what else.

Barn Three

Too expensive, but totally gorgeous. Bummer.

Barn Four

A local event trainer's gorgeous new facility. Not too much farther than current barn. A touch more than I'm willing to pay, but possibly could have made it work if he'd had room. Sadly he's full.

Barn Five

Website looks amazing. Barn online looks amazing. I set up an appointment for this evening, and then drove by it this morning to get a gauge on distance (twice as far as current barn) and to make sure I knew where it was. Facility not quite as pretty as pictured, though the outdoor is filled with a full set of super nice stadium fences. Tons of paddocks, but only three horses turned out as far as I could see--which was pretty much the entire property.

I get home and do a review search out of curiosity.

Uh, no thanks. From lack of care, to lying about farrier appointments and supplements fed, and mostly about how much they never, ever turn horses out, I quickly nixed that idea.

the excuse i gave them for cancelling.

Barn Six

$50 more than current barn, and maybe five to ten minutes further down the road. I've driven by it a few times while on my way to shows or the tack store, but all you can really see from the road is the front paddock--which just so happens to be filled with little cross country jumps. Indoor, outdoor, jumps, they hold a mini hunter pace there a few times a year so I assume plenty of trails, and an on-site trainer.

So I'm waiting for a call back from them to go look this weekend. And hopefully they're not too terribly crazy.

ohhh, robert. those ears.

It's not that I have to be out by the end of the month to protect my horse or anything. Like I've said, there's really nothing wrong with the barn I'm at now--it's just not the right fit for me. Is it so wrong to want pony friends?!

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Costume Creations: Pretty, pretty princess

I should have done this on a Wednesday because it needs no words. I'll only say that it took me longer than you would think to hand make that fucking fabulous princess hat, and it was worth every second.

why my old barn is the best: i posted on our fb page if anyone had
a wig i could use for this photo shoot, and had one in my hands the next day.

that flowing tutu-like skirt was a bitch to sew.

he maybe didn't like this costume quite so much as the others

ears only go up for cookies. lots of cookies.

"give me moar princess cookies!"

that hair though

full princess sparkle

This lady horse shoot didn't come out quite as well as his epic RuPaul dress up, but it still gets crossed off the list. The fact that he's sporting a wig is good enough for me!

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

My Horse Hates Me

I'm going to go all Negative Nancy here.

Boo hoo, it's me, Debbie Downer.

Hello. My name is Pessimistic Patty, and this is my sad face.

have some "pro"/nice volunteer show pics to cancel out the whining

My horse hates me, which really just brings this whole move full circle because I hate everything about the last two months.

For the past week, my horse hasn't wanted to be caught. He sees me pull into the parking area and makes haste to the far end of the paddock. When I go to get him from the corner he's stuffed himself in, hiding behind other horses, he plays Keep Away and walks out of reach.

It doesn't take too long to get hold of him, but the fact that he moves at all makes my already depressed and anxiety ridden psyche crumble to pieces. Bobby's never been the type of horse to come when called, but he's never taken so much as a step away from me when loose.


We've been working hard, but I make sure to stuff half a bag of treats down his throat before, during, and after every ride. I certainly don't beat him when he's in my possession, and aside from the one ride last week, there have been zero dramatics going on while in the saddle.

He just hates my stupid face, and quite frankly I hate this stupid place we're boarding at.


The facilities are great. The rings are beautiful and well maintained. There's plenty of turn out, the hay quality is exceptional, there's plenty of grain options, and I don't worry about the care of my horse at all.

But I'm not happy here. The "trails" seem to be perpetually under water and while you can walk down most of them, I have an event horse that needs real conditioning work. BO said there are more trails at the retirement barn, but my trailer isn't the easiest thing in the world to hook up by myself, and I don't think I'm capable of slotting it into its parking spot alone without smashing into one of the other trailers.


And I am pretty much always alone there. I'm not really a social person, but I miss having a barn family so much. The only people I've really interacted with are the BO who honestly kind of creeps me out, and the new BM who is....not someone I want to hang with.

So I've started the search for a new barn. Which I hate. I hate vetting facilities, and I hate having to get settled in to a new place. But I don't even want to go see my horse right now, even if he didn't hate me. I just don't want to be at the barn.


Had enough whining? Me too. I'm just going to google my little heart out and hope I find a way back to PA a suitable new place.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

What I think of you

I think everyone's first foray into a new discipline eventually comes with one of these posts--the "What the hell just happened to me?"/"Did I really survive that?" type post. Since Robert is off doing pony things by himself for several more days, you get mine right off the bat.

Fuck yeah, son.


Hunter Hair

I think hunter hair on hunter riders is lovely. I think that when you put all of your hair up under your helmet, you should certainly do it the correct hunter-y way or you end up looking like a man. I ended up looking like a man. I watched about ten different tutorials the day before my show. I practiced over and over at home, and then got to the show and tried to replicate it three different times.

My hair is long and thick without having the ability to actually hold itself in place. I'd pull it over my ears and it'd just be like, "I'm faaaalllinnnggggg....." and would consequently annoy the shit out of me so much that I'd yank it out and try it again. I probably need to invest in a new hair net to help matters.

Or just invest in new hair.

Speaking of looking like a man...

My coat is not the most flattering thing in the world. Sunday was the first time I wore it, and while there's no hiding that I have the shoulder span of a fucking Olympic swimmer--a male one at that--I didn't really enjoy the fact that the possibility of that looking sexy (if I was a man) just turned weird when the coat turned me into a fully padded linebacker.


One more outfit thing

Because fashion is what hunters are all about, right? It is if you read the COTH forum. My new helmet was "Meh", but I wasn't going to shell out the money for another CO. I learned Sunday that tan breeches do not become me. There's a reason you see me only in black pants. Although I think even my white full seats give me less of an "Are you hiding something down there?" look.

Coaching ringside

When Hubby and I first walked up to watch some of the first divisions, we heard a coach calling out instructions as the rider went around and instantly looked at each other with matching startled expressions. Hubby whispered, "Don't you get eliminated for that?!" But I was all, "Hubby. This is hunterland. That's allowed!"

Every time I heard it though, it made me get a little hairy eyed. However, I ended up taking advantage of it by asking one of the coaches to call out the handy course if it looked like I was starting to wander in the wrong direction.


You people are so nice

On the heels of that, almost everyone there was super friendly. No one seemed to mind when I asked stupid questions, and one of the coaches made sure to check in with me before every one of my classes to make sure I was on track.

That One Person

But it wouldn't be a hunter show (or really any show) without That One Person, would it? God, this girl was such a bitch. She'd loudly pull someone aside to talk about some incident while proclaiming that "This is just the surface of it. I don't want to get too heavily into details and gossip." Bitch, please. That's exactly what you're doing. I could tell you her story since I heard it at least four times, but let's just say that is unsurprisingly ended every time with, "But I beat her on the flat."

Look. Out.

Hello, where are you going?


This same girl was the one that seemed the most entitled to canter and jump around the warm up without ever calling out her line or where the fuck she was going. It was a bit of an epidemic. Next time I'm printing out my warm up ring etiquette and hanging it at the secretary's stand.


Coaching for forward

Maybe it's just me, but I came in with the preconceived notion that hunter riders and hunter horses live to go slow. It's probably just that their rounds are so smooth and polished you don't realize they're actually cruising right along. Of all the different coaching I heard throughout the day, "Go forward!" was the most consistent thing getting called out.

How do my stirrups always change length?

What is this fucking witchcraft?? My stirrups were easily at least one hole too long for jumping, but I didn't change them out of stubbornness because I hadn't adjusted them from the last time I jumped. I swear they change themselves. I fucking swear.

Monday, May 18, 2015

If Only Farm Hunter Show

This was so far out of the realm of my norm that I don't even know how to start this post. Bobby is getting the entire week off because we're both a little sick of seeing each other, so I'm going to split this post into two parts: the actual show with results, and then my impressions of hunterland. Yay for filler posts!

The show was slated to start at nine a.m., and my division wasn't until about midway through the schedule which meant I wanted to get there around 10:30-11 to give myself plenty of time to watch other courses go and make sure I knew what the fuck was going on without having too wait too many hours to ride. We ended up arriving just before 11. I went to sign up, and when I asked what division they were on, I was told, "Oh, we're still on the first one."

i didn't even end up getting on for another thirty minutes...

Perfect summary of a hunter show to start you off, amirite?!

Fortunately, that gave me plenty of time to sit ring-side and watch a hundred riders go while I obsessively looked over my notes from Lauren. That's right. I took notes. That is one helpful lady right there, let me tell you.

"i am the fastest horse in the whole ring!!!"
yeah, bobby....that's not the contest.

The lower divisions (2' and 2'3", so only lower for this show) finally wrapped up their flat classes and the jumps were put up. As they were getting set, the riders in my division started going into the ring. So this was the magical warm up time in hunterland where you get to jump your entire course and anything else you want before actually being judged!

faster than the camera can even keep up with

One of the trainers dropped the top rail off one of the jumps for her two students to warm up over first, and I asked if I could utilize it as well. Because I'm a nice person to warm up with and fucking call out where I'm going and what fucking fence I'm jumping. Oh, wait. Saving that diatribe for tomorrow.

Bobby was not the best to warm up. He was super fucking strong on the flat, and he kept rudely locking onto fences if we got even remotely near them--which was often. Once we started jumping, it immediately spiraled down to the shits. Suck back, charge the last few strides, dive down onto the forehand on landing and drag me with him.

I left the ring almost in tears and wondering just how pissed Hubby would be if I told him I wanted to scratch and go home. I was already planning on emailing the show secretary for my event next month to scratch that as well. No more showing ever, I hate this horse, I can't ride, we are never going to figure this out.

not totally incompetent.

However, I got re-hydrated, remembered Lauren's advice that there's no crying in hunterland, and had Hubby tell me to just beat the shit out of Bobby once he started getting rude and stopped listening to me. I adjusted my goal from not embarrassing myself to just improving upon each round.

After checking the course map obsessively on my phone and watching two riders go before me, we went in for the first class of my division: 2'6" schooling hunters. The second Bobby stepped through the gap, he Lipizzaner leaped into the ring and immediately tried to take off with me. I already had a good grip on the reins, but I changed that to a choke hold and forced him back to a walk before letting him canter across the ring to start our course.

don't worry. we got the five strides. we almost even got a four. no problem with striding here!

Now you're probably waiting to read about how this quickly spiraled even further downhill and we demolished the entire course.

BUT NO.

YOU GUYS.

Guess what I did? I put my fucking leg on and told this mother fucker that he was going to go forward to these jumps without any of his stupid fucking yank and charge and yank again nonsense. AND HE DID!

We actually had a great trip until the second to last fence where my turn maybe wasn't the best and he got a touch close on the takeoff. No rubs, no rails down, pretty fucking consistent pace all the way around, and wherever Bobby didn't auto change (thank the baby Jesus for a horse with such good changes), I actually had the sense to ask for the change and he gave it to me with zero fuss.


I walked out like, "Hmph. That was actually pretty okay!" Way better than just surviving!

The jumps went up to 2'9" for the second and third courses (which one of the trainers tried to explain to me when she asked if I wanted them left at 2'6" or if I was okay with them going up for everyone else. I was just like, "You do your thing. I'll jump whatever. Please don't speak to me like I know what's happening right now.")

The second course wasn't as good as the first. I turned Bobby in for the first jump which was just past a tiny gap between two others and he locked on to the wrong fence. I had to quickly pull him off that one which made him pretty pissed. He switched leads behind in the corner heading into the outside line which threw us both off a bit and he got a little wiggly coming down the line.

He took more of a pull between fences than he did in the first course, but I managed to stuff in the proper strides everywhere so that was a bonus for me that I actually sat up on landing and took control of the situation.


Our last over fences class was 2'9" handy hunter. It was more like a jumper/equation course. There was a roll back, a tight turn to a skinny, hand gallop to the oxer, halt after the oxer, and finish on a trot fence.

We were going okay until the roll back where I got a little handsy and pulled Bobby around in air which made him pull the rail. Boo. Obviously we nailed the hand gallop, and got the halt just fine, too.

equitation? what is that?

He picked up the canter right from the halt because if nothing else he's a boss flat horse, got the next jump fine, came back to the trot fine, and then spied the last fence and was like, "JUMPING!" and burst back into the canter. Oh well.

We waited around for awhile for the last hunter over fences division to run before our flat class to finish out the division. While waiting, they announced the results. Second for our first o/f class, second for the second class, and another second for the third! Although, to be fair, there were only three people in the last class and the third placed rider had multiple refusals. I'll take that satin anyway! We definitely deserved it for the first round, but I'm not sure how we managed it for the second. There were other horses competing against us, I swear.

blurry but i still like it.

There was only one other rider in my division that came back for the flat class. I figured that meant we were going to get a clean sweep of second because Bobby walked back into the ring totally ready to jump some more. He settled down significantly once we started trotting though, and I was able to give him a long rein to stretch out on. Bobby can nail the hunter trot, let me tell you.


His canter left was also pretty good. I made full use of my corners where I could so I didn't decrease the distance between me and the other rider. Having to circle because you lapped the only other rider in the ring would have been bad.

bobby thought long and hard about whether or not he could get away with throwing in one more jump.

We reversed and immediately went from walk to canter right. Bobby launched onto the wrong lead, but within a stride I'd brought him back and quickly switched over. I must have lucked out and the judge missed it completely because we snagged first. With the other riders in the o/f classes getting varied results, our consistent second places and the first u/s was enough to get us champion.

Say whaaaat!

We even won a saddle pad. With pink piping. Because pink.

"get these ribbons off me and let me eat."

I have to say that I was super surprised at the results. Not the actual placings, but how the day went. I think this was exactly the type of show we need right now. Low key, easy courses, and tons of room to maneuver around the ring and let my brain get caught up so it can prepare for the next jump. Unless something small and local comes up, the next show won't be until our event in a couple weeks, but after that I will definitely be looking for more hunter shows.