Friday, February 28, 2014

Screw TBT.....I throwback when I want!

Some pictures of me with some awesome horses I have had the privilege of riding in the past:

First off:  Wondermare!  Triple was the best of them all.  <3
This was us after doing the Junior Hunters and Medal classes in a snow storm in 2000

Boo and I at the Vermont Summer Festival, 2003


Lulu, Vermont Summer Festival 2002

Lulu, Vermont Summer Festival 2002

Lulu, Vermont Summer Festival 2002.  I loved riding this mare.

Mitch, North American League classic, 2002

Mogli, state medal finals, 2001
Rave, dressage warm up 2004
Hunting in VA on Sonny, 2007

Bobby Boy at Waredaca, 2007

Bobs in 2007
Henny, Working Hunters, IDHSNA Nationals 2006

So many more wonderful horses that I don't have the time to share right now.  I'm a better person to have known and loved every single one of them. 

Ribbon Jars!

I found a neat little craft project last weekend thanks to the suggestions of the COTH forums.  I have some of my year-end award and Finals ribbons hung up, but all my normal ribbons are stuffed in boxes these days.  But this is a classy way to display a crap ton of ribbons in a small amount of space!  Never would have thought of this on my own.  :)





It's so nice having these around the apartment, helps add some extra color, which makes me happy. :)

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Knees!

When Soon is impressed by a fence, he jumps like this:


Adorable, and I love the bascule too!  He can really use himself.  I don't suck, either (following hand still intact!).  That's always nice. 

But when he figures out exactly how high a fence is, he jumps exactly 2 inches over it and nothing more, because why waste energy?  He is smart, I will give him that.  ;)

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Trauma time

I forgot to mention that yesterday Soon came in with yet another wound from his antics outdoors.  He had gone months out in the big field without a scratch, but in the last three weeks or so, he has managed to scrape or cut himself up now five separate times.  I get it, horses get hurt.  I don't mind doing basic first aid, but it's been a frequent thing lately.  I'm hoping he's going to figure out how to play halter-less halter tag without getting his sweet ass kicked by pretty much everyone.

So yesterday, he ripped one of his chestnuts off....
Outstanding!

 ....yeah.  I don't know how he did that, I'm not sure I even care at this point.  I'm running out of 4x4's and I need more Betadine.  Come on, man.  I don't want to be the Debbie Downer mom, but he sucks at halter-less halter tag.  Go play, and come back without missing chunks of yo'self.

 At least he's a perfect patient. :)


Friday, February 14, 2014

The Coma Kid rides again!



That was him last night before our ride.  He was so deep asleep he was just about falling down, and couldn't be bothered to replace his left front.  On two legs and comatose.  Talent.  :)

So today was Valentine's Day, and I initially was "bah humbug"ing it (because I'm in my "I hate men" phase), but then someone brought up a good point, that Soonie was my Valentine.  Cheesy, sure, but true.  My awesome parents even sent me a Valentine card addressed to Soon and I, which was adorable.  So I went to the barn this afternoon, played with Bubby in the ring at liberty (just for fun, I have no idea what I'm doing, but dammit I'm going to learn!  And he doesn't seem to mind as long as I have many carrots), got pony kisses, and came home liking this horsey Valentine thing.

Top 10 Reasons Why Your Horse Should Be Your Valentine

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Clinic Synopsis

First off, Soonie was a SUPERSTAR for his first jumping clinic!  I am very happy with him and what we accomplished this weekend.  There was huge progress made in the jumping as we got to tackle some more technical questions and courses which we had not yet attempted.  The clinician was Joey Brumbaugh of Free Flight Farm.  He trained Sarah Milliren to the 2011 ASPCA Maclay title.  He's a lovely clinician, so if you have the chance to ride with him, I highly recommend him.  He's nice and super approachable, but is not afraid to call you out on your mistakes and explain how to fix them. 

Day One started out with Soonie and I in a group of five (for green horses or riders), and Joey's favorite exercise is fan poles (read about it in this Chronicle of the Horse article) at the canter in the corner.  The whole premise of the weekend was to work on lengthening and shortening of the horse's stride to help make them more rideable, and the fan poles at the canter is a great tool to help create a balanced, short canter to navigate tighter turns/rollbacks without losing the horse's inside shoulder, or allowing the horse to bulge through the outside shoulder.  Rider must create and maintain a short canter with energy, while holding the inside rein closer in toward the neck/wither, and the outside rein out slightly to help balance.  The trick is to ride the canter through the middle of the fan poles and on to whatever jumping question was next.

Day One:

The near corner had three fan poles, the far opposite corner had two fan poles then four quiet strides to a vertical, and five quiet strides on a bending line to an oxer.  It was Soon's first time over through that type of exercise, and he figured it out extremely fast.  Soon was complimented for being a very smart and nice, quality horse (coming from a trainer like Joey with his experience, that's great to hear).  Given that it can be difficult to get a lot of stuff done in a large group like that (with some pretty green combinations that kept things very simple), he invited us to do a private lesson the following morning so we could work on some additional things with Soon and challenge him a little more.


Day Two:


This time we had two fan poles on the near corner (out of the shot), and two raised canter cavaletti (~8") in the opposite corner.  After the cavaletti, it was a very quiet three strides to a bounce, and then quiet four on a bending line to the oxer.  This was Soonie's first time through a bounce grid, and he took immediately to it.  As Joey explained, putting him through these exercises helps him to learn to "look through the bridle" (meaning, think ahead and be proactive) and to look at a question and say "Okay, how do I make this work?"  We also did the cavaletti and then a sharp right turn to a bending line later on, and he rode through that very well (especially the turn through/after the caveletti as that was not roomy by any means!).  Overall, Soon did remarkably well and listened beautifully.  He saw a lot of new types of jumps (first time over jumper style rails), did bending lines for the first time, did his first bounce, and we jumped nearly 3' at one point, which is the highest he's been.  He just steps over the little stuff, and the slightly larger fences were no issue for him, as he rode the same and felt the same.  He was very game and a willing participant.  Clinician and spectators alike all complimented him for being such a superstar.  I gave him probably about 554.37 carrots over the last two days for making life on Mommy easier.  :)

After each morning's session after he got cleaned up, while he was patient as ever, he was still eager to get turned out and be a horse, which makes me very happy.  Good boy Soonie!


Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Snow day!

Almost.

"Please please please bring me in I'm done"
We were released from work early due to a moderate blizzard making the roads hardly passable for the giant influx of non-northern native drivers.  So instead of curling up on the couch, I went to the barn.  Because if everyone's home thanks to the snow, then I get the ring to myself.  Nailed it.

Got to the barn as the guys were bringing the horses in, and Soonie was still outside.  I called to him, and Mr. Tough Turnout I Don't Need To Come In Early Anymore came trotting over.  TROTTING.  And nickering.  He had clearly had enough and was not impressed with snow and wind and not getting a spot at the round bale.

So I brought Bubba in and he went straight for his hay (do not pass go, do not stop to crib), so I figured he was eager to warm up.  I removed the snow/ice from his face and neck, covered his neck with a cooler, and let him eat hay for a little while.  After he had dried off a little bit, we tacked up and got in the ring for another walk/trot school.  Given that it was really cold, I figured we didn't need to do a whole lot, just get to a nice, soft, forward trot with good stretch (besides, canter work yesterday was superb!). 

Good boy! :)
We got there, and the tension that we've had in the last couple of rides early in the trot was much lesser today.  I was making too big a deal out of it - he gets to beautiful places in the trot,  but I can't expect too much in the first 5-10 minutes of that gait.  Something has changed in how I ride him during that time in the last couple of weeks (as opposed to the month or two before that, where he went into good, deep stretching almost immediately), and I need to figure out what so I can go back to the right ride.  Again, we get where I want to get (the cold didn't help either of us and we needed some time to get warm), it's just taking slightly longer as I can't force that type of correct movement.  I can only ask for what he can offer, and if it takes a few minutes longer than before, it's not anything to be upset about.  At the end of the day, he's still doing amazingly well on the flat and is a lovely ride.  I might try doing more focused lateral work at the walk only to see if that encourages a trot stretch more easily. The trot we had from about the middle of the ride to the end was really, really great, and he felt very loose, swinging, and got a fantastic, deep stretch. 

Soonie earned his two carrots tonight.   He's such a good sport to come out and try so hard on every single ride, even after looking like an equine popsicle for a couple of hours.  Since it's going to be cold again tonight (and one corner of his stall under the boarded up window is snow covered thanks to the wind), I tossed him some extra hay, gave him a big hug, and called it a night.  :)


Thawing after coming in from the frozen tundra

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Jump School and random gushing

Can't stand the cuteness.  So cute.

Have I mentioned lately how awesome this horse is and how much I wuv wuv wuv him??  :)

Jump school yesterday, he was such a superstar as always (after having been in the ring while another horse ran away with its rider and galloped around out of control...Soonie stood stock still like I asked him too).  He earned some great compliments from the trainer for his progress over fences, and from some folks who had not seen him since he arrived this summer.  They were floored at how quiet he was, and how well he was going.  No surprise to me, but I suppose if they only saw him in those first few days of "Whee!" then it is a pretty dramatic change.

We have a clinic with a BNT next weekend.  It should be a good experience for Bubba, jumping some fancier fences and putting up with some spectators.  I doubt he's going to care, but it's nice to have an opportunity do some extra things in the barn.

Tonight was Trot Night for us, and we had a nice little ride.  Toward the end of the ride, I tried sitting the trot for 3-5 strides with Soon in a deep stretch, per the suggestion from the Art2Ride critique.  He stayed forward, kept his back up, and stayed in a great stretch while I sat, which is a nice indicator of his progress.  I'll keep the sitting trot to that for the time being, just a couple strides at a time and allow his back to develop even more before I worry about it.  Good, good boy.  :)


I stand by mounting blocks with no encouragement