Holiday Wrap Up

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas. I know the ponies and I all did. I spend Christmas Eve up at my parents so I could wake up there Christmas morning. It was pretty low key that morning, just the three of us. Mom and Dad got me a new carry on suitcase which I desperately needed. I also got a set of these awesome fleece sheets and flamingo slippers. Plus the usual candy, Forge ornaments and lottery tickets in my stocking. Then we all got dressed and started getting ready for rest of the family to arrive. It's kinda funny, now that we're all getting older opening presents Christmas morning certainly takes a lot less time! Everyone cut back this year, and the girls didn't get as much as they used to. Some clothes, books for Lexy and some goofy doll for Kailee, and then gift cards for them both. I got my new pretty pink netbook! I love, love, love it! That was a big surprise. I really wasn't expecting that, but it was a joint gift from Aunt Sandy and Uncle Ralph and my parents. After we opened presents we had lunch and everyone just hung around for a while. That evening I did end up going to my grandparents with Dad. I figured it was better to get it out of the way with him than to have to go by myself later. Of course Aunt Karen and Uncle Randy were there with Matt. And my grandmother kept going on about Matt being deployed. She acted like he was in some war zone. He's deployed to Gulfport! Hotbed of terrorist activity down there I tell you. Luckily I didn't have to stay too long.

Saturday was a busy day. Got up early to go to the barn. Cleaned some stalls and worked with the younger kids. Then I rode Kaye in a lesson with Katie/Naughtie. Kaye was so good for me! We had a great lesson and even did a little bit of jumping. The best part was after my lesson though. Astrid was going to ride Kaye, so I was waiting for her to get her helmet and everything. Well I had to leave shortly to help Aunt Sandy get ready for her open house and I wanted to give Kaye a treat before I left. So I pulled off her bridle, gave her a couple treats. And then just to see if I could do it, I got on and rode her bridleless. We just walked at first. Then when she was good walking I asked for a trot. She just picked up a nice, easy trot. Bonnie came out then with Katie and Astrid. Then just to see if we could do it I asked her for a canter. We just cantered around the arena, she stayed right on the rail for me. Bonnie wanted me to try jumping her, and I will admit it took me a little bit to work up the nerve. But after a few minutes I popped her over a little crossbar. It was so much fun. Kaye was kind of unsure when I asked her to come off the rail, steering was a bit of an issue. To get her to the jump I was pulling on her mane with my right hand and pushing on her neck with my left. I think next time I will try putting an old stirrup leather or something around her neck to help steer.

After I left the barn I quickly headed home and got cleaned up so I could go help Aunt Sandy and Uncle Ralph get ready for their open house. So I helped get things ready down there, ran some errands for Aunt Sandy. And then it was a quick trip back home so I could get changed and pick Mom up to go back. Mom and I pretty much spent the entire party in the kitchen. We try to take care of getting the food ready so that Aunt Sandy can mingle and be hostess. Actually I only stayed for about 2 hours of the party before I had to go back to the barn. It was time to go pick up Buddy and little Cuddles. Like I said long, busy day.

Astrid was already at the barn when I got there. So we finished laying out extra hay for Kezia to feed in the morning, hooked up the trailer and we were on our way. Bonnie drove until we reached the first rest stop on the turnpike and then I got to drive the rest of the way. And such a nice drive it was. Especially we I realized that Bonnie, Astrid and the dog were all snoring away. Thanks guys for keeping me company! We drove till about 4 and then we pulled into the Sheetz in Fredrick and slept in the truck for a couple hours. Well Bonnie and Astrid slept, I listened to my iPod and dozed for a bit. Finally at about 6:30 we got up, got food and coffee and drove the last half hour to Sandy's. We got Buddy and Cuddles loaded on the trailer pretty easily and we headed back home. Luckily for me Bonnie drove home, and I did manage to fall asleep for about an hour before Mom called and woke me up. Once we got home, we got the ponies settled in their stalls, fed everyone and I got to go home. Only I didn't go to sleep like I wanted to. Blair called and we headed out to the Waterfront to see New Moon. So obviously by the time I did finally get home I crashed!

Monday I ended up sleeping in till like 1. It was so nice! Been forever since I've been able to do that. Afterwards I picked up Blair and we head out to Monaca for an afternoon of movie theater roulette. Ended up seeing It's Complicated. Oh my god it was hysterical. Everyone needs to go out and see it. So good, I was laughing so hard I was in tears at some points. We stopped on the way home and picked up some D&G pizza and then watched The Hangover at Blair's house. Again hysterically funny. Plus Bradley Cooper is just YUMMY!

Tuesday night I got to introduce Blair to Wooley Bully's. We met the family down there and shared some pizza. Blair got to try all the good ones, Italian Stallion, Spinach and Feta, and then we both got to try the Mexican. Have to say, I'm not really a fan of the Mexican pizza. Much too spicy for me. Then tonight, Jeff and Dana invited me to join them at the Cheesecake Factory for dinner. After that I had to make it an early night as I still had to finish packing for my trip. And my flight is leaving at the asscrack of dawn. Already I miss my Blair. These trips are just much too short. But I'm leaving in the morning for Texas, so that will be a good time.


Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

From X, Kaye, Bugs, Miss, Naughtie and myself, wishing you all a very merry Christmas! We hope you all have a day filled with family, friends and the true meaning of Christmas.

Happy Holidays!


Dear Santa

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Dear Santa Claus,

Mom says that I have to be a good boy so that you'll bring me all the presents I want. I really did try to be good this year, and I didn't buck Mom off at all. I really did try not to get too dirty for her either. So I really was good, and you should bring me all the treats on my list.

Thank you Santa!



Something I've been thinking about a lot lately are the goals I have, both long-term(2010 as a whole) and the more immediate ones.

2010 goals:

  • Successfully compete at Beginner Novice with Naughtie
  • Work to overcome my own fears and confidence issues ( I know this will be something I struggle with my entire life, but if I can honestly make progress I will be happy)
  • Get X out to a schooling show
  • Consistently be able to jump 3' courses
  • Move up to Novice by the end of the year
  • Become solid at First Level with Kaye
  • Work with Twinkie both on the flat and over fences
January/February Goals:
  • Work on my laterals, especially off my left leg
  • Start jumping again
  • Work to get Kaye cadenced at the canter
  • Work with Naughtie to get her supple through the back and to lighten her sides
I really think they are all within my reach this year. If I work hard, I can definitely achieve what I want to. It's just a matter of putting the work in.


So this is Christmas, and what have you done? Another year older, a new one just begun...

Monday, December 21, 2009

Christmas is in four days!! I am so not ready!!! But only two more days of work (yay!) And Blair will be home in two days!!!!!! Can't wait!!!!

Anyway, made it out to the barn Friday after work. Bonnie was just heading up to the house, but Taryn was out in the ring on Bugsy, along wiht Katie on Naughtie and Astrid was on Kaye. But Astrid had said I could have Kaye and she'd get on Fanny bareback. So I quickly changed into riding clothes and put my saddle on Kaye and we headed out to the arena. Taryn was actually pretty much finished with Bugs, so she headed inside soon after I got there, but Katie stayed out and was still working Naughtie some. Kaye gave me a really good ride, she was on the bit and working up in a pretty decent frame without even trying. I was pretty pleased with that. We worked on some laterals, leg yields and shoulder ins. Plus we did the shoulder in, 10 meter circle, haunches in exercise a few times. Then I asked her for some canter work. I have to say, I really regret teaching her to do flying changes. I was trying to do the three loop serpentine of the arena with the middle loop at a counter canter. Well she kept trying to change on me. I was really getting mad at her!! Other than that we had a really good ride though.

Saturday morning I was looking forward to getting out to the barn to ride. But when I woke up I was in a winter wonderland! It snowed overnight. Goody. Roads were terrible in New Brighton, I didn't even try to get anywhere. It was almost 2:00 by the time the got my roads cleared. By that time I didn't think there was any point to me going out to the barn. I figured Bonnie would be heading up to the house soon. Plus it wouldn't give me much time before I'd have to come home and get ready for the holiday party. So I just stayed home until I went to Astrid's at 6:00 for the party.

We had a pretty good time. Everyone was there except for Taryn. She was worried about the roads since her car doesn't handle the snow too well. But there was lots of good food and the kids all had fun with the gift exchange. And then we sat down to watch the cheesy Zac Efron horse movie. Great movie to mock. But Astrid's DVD player isn't working right and so we got about halfway into the movie and then it froze. We didn't even get to the good mocking parts. Well Astrid wanted to try again. And the remote for the DVD player doesn't work, so you couldn't fast forward to the part it had stopped at. So we watched the whole first half again. And then it stopped at the same part. By that time it was after 9:00 and I was ready to head home. It was still snowing a little bit and I wanted to get home before the roads got too bad. So everyone pretty much headed out at that time.

Luckily by Sunday morning it had stopped snowing and the roads were fine so I was able to make it out to the barn. Bonnie and I worked on some stalls and then Taryn came out. So she and I had a dressage lesson on Bugs and Kaye. Worked on some leg yeilds first and then moved on to half-passes. Which both of us pretty much sucked at. Bonnie had us do this half-pass exercise. We only used half the arena, so the quarterline was out centerline. We turned down the centerline and half-passed left to the rail and then half-pass right to the other rail, then half-pass left back to the other rail and then half-pass right to the centerline. It was so hard! Neither of us did it real great, but it's something to work on. We gave the horses a break then and let them stretch for a few minutes. Then we did some canter work. First Bonnie had us do simple changes through the walk both ways. And then the counter-canter serpentine. Kaye was wanting to change her leads, but I was able to keep her from doing it. So that was an improvement. Then Bonnie had us canter a 20 meter circle on the correct lead, halt at the gate, counter-canter a 20 meter circle, halt at the gate and then canter another circle on the correct lead. Kaye is so used to doing things for the little kids that when I asked for the counter-canter she just ignored me and picked up the correct lead. It was like she was saying "Jen that's wrong, but don't worry I'll fix it for you" So I brought her back to a stop and asked for the counter-canter again. That time she picked it up. Good lesson, lots of new things to work on. I'm really having a lot of fun trying out some new dressage things with Kaye this winter. And I think she's actually enjoying herself too. As much as she likes the kids, I think she gets a little bored. And so she likes learning some more advanced things, even if it is dressage.

The new Winter/Spring USEA Omnibus is out. And so I started thinking about eventing this summer. I really wnat to get out as much as I can possibly afford. And I talked to Bonnie about horses to event. Don't get me wrong, I love my horse dearly and I'd love to be able to event him. And someday I will hopefully. But right now, he's still green over fences and he tends to get very exurberant. And that scares me a little bit. He really needs Bonnie to take him out a few times to get some experience. But I can't afford to pay for that and still be able to event myself. So X will not be my event horse this year. Now, Kaye, again I love her dearly. I'm having so much fun doing upper level dressage with her. And I love to jump her at home and in stadium. I just really don't feel like another wild cross country ride liek we had at Erie. So she's out. So then I thought what about Naughtie? It weird because I feel just as comfortable jumping her as I do Kaye and Miss. And I know Naughtie is pretty calm, so I think she'll be a good, solid horse for me to event. So I talked to Bonnie about it and she thought it sounded good, so Naughtie and I will be headed out this summer. I'd like, if I can afford it, to do about 1 HT a month. Lost Hounds in June, South Farm the beginning of July, possibly Gemwood the end of July, EHSC in August and then South Farm in September. I'd like to start in May at Greater Dayton but I'm not too fond of the officials there and I don't think I'd get a fair shot, so it's not really worth spending the money. So hopefully it will work out. If I get the new job I applied for I should be able to event with the pay increase. So fingers crossed.


I don't want a lot for Christmas, there is just one thing I need...

Friday, December 18, 2009

Well the holidays are fast approaching and like every other year, I'm frantically trying to get ready. Case in point I just took my Christmas photos last weekend. Friday night I stopped at the barn and spent an hour groom the pony, I put his sheet and jammies on him, cleaned his stall so he'd stay nice and clean for Saturday. I headed out to the barn in the morning with my Nikon camera and appropriately dressed in red for our pictures. Helped out with the kids in the morning and then in the afternoon Katie and I headed outside to take the pictures. Stupid, goofball pony decided he had to act like an idiot outside. He was dancing around and managed to slip in some mud and went down on his side. He was covered in mud. I was so pissed at him. So X went back in his stall and I brought Kaye out. Ended up taking her up on the driveway by the pine trees and we got some really cute pictures.

So Sunday Mom and I made plans to go out and do some of our Christmas shopping. The plan was to go up to Mom's about 8:00, we'd get Dad up and then head out like 8:30 or 9:00. Well I went to leave at 8:00 and everything was a sheet of ice! No way was I driving on that. Called Mom to let her know, and I headed back upstairs to cuddle with Squalor for a while. Finally about 9:30 I heard the salt trucks go by and I decided to try getting up to Mom and Dad's. I managed to get up there and I only slid once, but no way was I ready to try and get to Cranberry. So I just chilled there and watched some tv for a while. Finally about 1:00 Mom and I headed out. We actually did manage to get a lot of shopping done. I got both of the girls done, something for Dad and part of Uncle Ralph's present. Mom got some stuff for the girls, plus somethings for Dad, and I few things for me. All in all pretty productive shopping day. But man was I tired after just a couple hours of shopping! Way more than I would have been had I spent the whole day mucking stalls at the barn. Well, now I'll I have to do is pick up a couple of gift cards for Todd and Kris and Uncle Bill and Aunt Debbie, pick up the rest of Dad's gift and Uncle Ralph's. And then figure out what to get my Mom and Aunt Sandy. Always the hard ones!


The End of an Era

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

So I made an offer on the house last week. Spent two hours over at Northwood's offices Wednesday night filling out the gazillion forms that it involved. Seller was supposed to give us an answer on Thursday. I'm on edge all day waiting to hear, finally Lynn calls me at like 8:00. Apparently the seller (who like almost 60) was working as an extra on the new Denzel Washington movie in Pittsburgh all day and wasn't able to give her an answer. So it's another day of playing the waiting game. Finally Lynn calls Friday evening. Of course it's bad news. Apparently, he was contacted by one of the people who couldn't get financing two months ago. They are still interested in buying the house. And so he's going to give them another month or so to come up with the money. He basically told Lynn that he didn't want to pay her commission so he wouldn't even consider any offers she brought him. Well thanks Asshole!

So I was supposed to do something with Mattykins Friday night, but honestly by that time I didn't really feel like going out at all. So I went up to Mom's and we watched some TV for a while. Saturday morning I was out to the barn early. Took a lesson on Naughtie before the kids all rode. Bonnie had me tack her up with the draw reins and I rode in my little spurs. She was pretty good, Taryn had been riding her a bit and you could tell. She wasn't quite as stiff bending and her sides were better. Then Rachel and I took lunge lessons on X. It was a short day at the barn, I had to get out early so I could make it home in time to get ready to go to Pegasus. It was the last weekend for the downtown location and so Mattykins and I had made plans to go.

Luckily we stayed away from any and all deer on the way into the city. Joni and her friend Jamie ended up going with us and we met Crystal and her boyfriend Antonio there. It was a good time. We found out Pegasus wasn't completely closing, just the downtown location. Thursday and Friday nights at the Eagle will be 18 and over Pegasus nights. But it just won't be the same. We danced the night away and closed down the place at 2:00. It was fun to be there again and see some of the regulars from before. Plus a lot of new, different people. And it was just a lot of fun to go dancing again. It's been so long since I've been able to do that, I really missed it.

Sunday morning I slept in a little bit and then headed out to the barn. Bonnie and I got some stalls done and then I tacked up Kaye for a dressage lesson. I had a really good ride, worked on my laterals. I'm finally really getting the hang of the half-pass. We worked some more on doing a shoulder in to a small circle and then haunches in. I still have some trouble with the haunches in. For some reason I just can't get the correct feel for it. But I'm getting better. I had to laugh though, next summer I'll be the only beginner novice rider warming up for dressage with upper level movements!


There is no secret so close as that between a rider and his horse -Robert Smith Surtees

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Thanksgiving weekend was nice, very relaxing which is something that I don’t get all that often. Tom and Maryann had gone to New York so I was feeding his ponies Wednesday evening through Friday evening. They are super easy to care for of course. Thanksgiving itself really ended up being a lazy day. I got up and fed at Tom’s in the morning and then I came home, put the PJ’s back on and crawled in bed with Squalor. It was great. Squalie-cat loved it as well. As soon as a laid down again he was immediately on my shoulder, almost like he was trying to keep me in bed. Anyway I ended up not getting up again until it was time to get ready to go to Aunt Sandy’s.

Dinner was small this year. Todd, Kris and the girls were at her family’s for dinner and Daddy had to work. But the food was delicious as always. And then Sheri and Joe stopped by after dinner. I did have to get up and leave to go feed at Tom’s. But I had filled water and laid out hay in the morning so I only had to dump grain in the stalls and bring the ponies inside. Didn’t take very long at all. Then when I got back to Aunt Sandy’s Todd and crew had arrived. And Todd had found a job for me to apply for. It’s at Heritage Valley, it’s an HR Consultant job. The primary location is at the HR Offices in Moon Twp, but some travel would be required to the two hospitals. And the best part is that it would be a pretty significant pay increase. Even just the starting rate is about $7 an hour more than I make now. And hopefully with my experience I would start somewhere in the middle. The mid point of the salary range is about double what I make now. Plus it would almost be like even more of a raise since I wouldn’t be spending $92 a month to park, and I wouldn’t be spending as much in gas. Moon Twp is a lot closer than Oakland, plus not nearly as much of a hassle to get there. Aunt Sandy of course is helping me out and got Dr. Yakish to give me a reference. And she talked to the COO of the hospital to put in a good word for me. And Aunt Sandy knows the CEO of the hospital. So fingers crossed. I’m hoping Aunt Sandy’s help will at least get me the interview and then I just need to dazzle them and get the job.

Friday morning I had to feed both at Tom’s and Bonnie’s. Got all the ponies fed and then started cleaning some stalls while I waited for Bonnie, Astrid and Ethan. We got a lot done that day. I picked horsechild’s stall and then the kids and I cleaned the four stallions. Buster and Mystic weren’t too bad. And Ethan and Astrid had cleaned M-N-M on Wednesday, so he only needed picked out. Spot of course, was the worst. It took all afternoon to dig it out and clean it. But it was nice to get that side cleaned. Now we just need to get some of the empty stalls over there cleaned out so the outside horses can come in. Before we left Astrid and I took turns lunging on X. He’s such a good boy on the lunge line. Astrid though, I couldn’t believe that she shortened the stirrups on my saddle to ride. She’s taller than me, if anything she should have to lengthen them! Feed Tom’s horses on my way home and then I quickly got cleaned up and over to Aunt Sandy’s for leftovers. Watched the Pitt-WVU game, which was enough to drive me to drink. Don’t really want to talk about it.

Saturday I slept in a bit and didn’t make it to the barn until later. Rode on the lunge first with Astrid on Naughtie. Astrid’s trying, I know she is, but she has that horse so dead sided. And not bending at all. I would end up pounding my inside leg on her just to get her to move over, only she would just speed up. She has no concept now of independent leg. So that means she’s going to be getting lots of lessons with spurs and draw reins. I did have to laugh because once I put Astrid on her, she didn’t dare cut her circle short. Not because Astrid was keeping her out, but because she knew she wasn’t allowed to do that with me. Then I rode X with the group. Rachel rode Airy, Astrid on Kaye and Katie on Naughtie. We did the cavaletti’s with them, but bowed out of the jumping. Now quite ready to jump my own beastie yet, he tends to get a little too exuberant over fences, especially when he hasn’t jumped in a while. After the kids finished jumping I did some canter work with him. He started out being a jerk. But we did the exercise where we canter a circle, stop at the wall, turn on the haunches and canter the other direction. Rinse and repeat. After we did that a few times he was cantering very nicely.

Sunday of course I was back out at the barn. Bonnie and I got a lot done. Twinkie, X, Bugs, Cuddles, Miss and Kaye’s stalls all got cleaned. Heather brought Ari and Elaina out, along with their friends, another Elaina and Jenna. The kids all rode Fanny and then Ari and Jenna went to go interview Lisa Culver for their Girl Scout project. After they finished there, Heather dropped the two of them off to help clean stalls. It was nice to have their help with things like getting sawdust and whatnot. Anyway Bonnie and I were just starting to feed when Taryn and her Mom showed up. So Bonnie finished feeding and Taryn and I rode. Taryn got Bugs, who was not all that happy to have been ignored for a few days. And I rode Naughtie. I wanted to spend some time with her in draw reins and with spurs. She really needed the work on bending and lightening her sides. After we worked on the flat for a while I popped her over a few jumps. First cross-bar she just tried to stop at it. After that I really got after her going down to the fence. Of course though I ended up having to turn the fence intoa small oxer before she's even bother to jump it. Silly TBs have to make everything so difficult.


Happy Turkey Day!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Just a quick post today. Today is Turkey Day, I just wanted to take the opportunity to reflect on everything that I have to be thankful for.

I am thankful for my amazing family and friends. They have supported me through everything, helping me out and just being there.

I am thankful for my best friend who knows me better than I know myself.

I am thankful for an awesome BO/trainer who takes wonderful care of my horsechild. And let's me ride her horses whenever I want.

I am thankful for my amazing horses. X-Tra, who loves me unconditionally (as long as I keep the food coming) Kaye, who gives me 210% every single ride.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone.


Dangerous Riding

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Sparked by a post on the Chronicle of the Horse forums regarding dangerous riding. IN that particular thread a video was linked and the question put forth was if that particular ride would be considered dangerous riding. Here's the video in question: Annette Lewis at the 1986 Hickstead Derby

Many people on the forum picked on her bad leg position, the extreme swinging back over every fence. I certainly don't like her leg and body position, but more worrisome to me is the way she cranks his head back. And her lack of control. I'd like present a second video for consideration, the same event, with the same horse two years later: Hickstead Derby 1988 Watch carefully and notice the bit she has in that horses mouth: double twisted wire. A very harsh bit, and the whole course she is fighting with him and sawing on his mouth. She keeps such a strangle hold on him that he has no chance to use his head and neck properly over a fence. And then right about 3:15 she yanks and yanks on him so much that her rein breaks. And she has no control over the horse. Someone tries to stop the horse and he runs the guy over. And yet people don't think this is dangerous. He just has an unconventional jumping style. He was excited and that's why he wouldn't stop. It's called training. Annette has done nothing but hang on that horse's mouth, all he wants to do is get away from her hands.

So let's throw up some other examples. How about this photo of the winner of Poplar Place CCI**. Dangerous riding? Look at the rider's position, straight up and down, and sitting on the horse's back over a solid cross country obstacle. Look at the horse's jumping style, head up in the air, hollow back. To me that's a pair waiting for an accident. Yet she won the event. Now how about this photo. That's Hilda Hick Donahue who was just eliminated at Pau, three fences from the end of cross country for dangerous riding, because of the way her horse jumps. Jumping style looks pretty much the same to me. So how is one dangerous riding, but the other wins an event?

Consistency in judging is obviously not there. Unfortunately dangerous riding is subjective as many things in our sport are. And it's something that can be misused. How about this video? Watch closely at :58. Someone tried to call dangerous riding. That the horse had been chested into the jump. However the horse had pulled both front shoes earlier in the course and he slid downhill. I'd like to know how he could have been chested into the jump when the rider was sitting back and slowing him down.

How about this? Right on the horse' s back over the middle of the jump, hands in her lap and the horse's chin tucked to his chest. If I felt like searching I could find more at other events to prove it's not a one time bad photo.

I'm sure I could find many more examples of dangerous riding. I just found it very interesting how people refused to see the obviously dangerous riding of the video. However I know that some of the people involved are of the run and jump mentality in eventing. The people that think dressage is just that thing you have to suffer through. I'm sure they will change their tune when they hurt themselves or their horse in the future.


2010 Eventing Dressage Tests

Monday, November 23, 2009

So the new 2010 Dressage tests for Eventing came out earlier this month. I didn't really have a chance to look at them until just this past week. And I have to say so far I am not a fan. Beginner Novice Test A has the goofy center line from the Young Event Horse Tests. I didn't like it then, and I don't like it now. It's just awkward to ride. Plus the two changes in bend are rather difficult in that amount of space with either a green horse or an inexperienced rider. I don't really get the reasoning behind the change. I've heard it's because making the 10 meter half circle off the center line at C is too difficult. Well that argument is lost because you have to do 10 meter half circle to the center line at the end of the test. Others say it's because riding straight down to a trailer (where many judges sit in lower level HTs) is scary to a green horse. Again you have to ride down that center line at the end of the test. And my thought is this. You know that judges sit in trailers. Park your trailer in the ring and ride your horse up to it like you would in a test. Have someone else sit in the trailer, jump up and down in it, generally make lots of noise. I bet if you do that at home your horse won't bat an eye at an event. The USDF Introductory Tests have regular center lines and I haven't heard any problems. Beginner Novice Test B, well I don't really get why we can't do a full circle at the canter. I mean half of a 20 meter circle at the canter, that's hardly any time to show the gait. Oh and suddenly in Test B green horses can ride proper center lines? They don't need to veer off to the rail because a 10 meter half circle is too difficult?

By the time you get to Novice Test A the horse most have really gotten over that whole center line thing as you do two center lines right at the beginning of the test. I actually don't mind Novice A all that much. The canter work is different. Half circle E-B, picking up the canter as your approach B. But at least you still do a full circle at the canter. Novice Test B doesn't bother me until you get to the end. Dressage tests should be symmetrical, and so the walk should split up the trot and canter work. Not in Novice B, the walk doesn't come until the very end of the test. C medium walk. MXK free walk. K medium walk, A turn down center line, D working trot. G halt and salute. I don't like the fact the you begin your center line at the walk. By the time you ask for the trot, you are pretty much immediately stopping him again.

Training Test A isn't a bad test. I've never particulary cared for the stretching circles, but that's just me. Starts to ask for the lengthening at the trot, and even a little at the canter. Overall not a bad test for the level. Now on the other hand, Training Test B I have some issues with. Mainly the fact that it asks for a stretching circle just strides after you have done canter work!

I haven't looked to closely at the Prelim, Intermediate and Advanced tests. And I will mention that I haven't riden any of the tests completely yet. That will happen this weekend after we clear jump standards out of the arena so I can set up the dressage ring. But just from looking at the tests and my own personal knowledge of dressage moevements I have to say I think I prefered the old 2006 tests.


Dressage is striving for the equation 1+1=One -Author Unknown

Some personal news to share. I went to look at a house this week! It's small, just three rooms and a bathroom. But since it's just me and the cat I don't need a lot of space. It's in pretty good shape structurally, it just needs some updating. So, we're working on the financing stuff and hopefully I'll be putting an offer on the place. Keep your fingers crossed!

Had some good ride this weekend. Both Taryn and I took lunge lessons on X Saturday morning. Of course he had to decide to be a bit of a jerk at first. But he settled down after a few laps. First lunge lesson since before my surgery, and I'll admit I was a little sore afterwards. Need to do lots more lunging, I'm out of shape now! Then it was Taryn's turn, and I was just cracking up. She kept saying that her outside arm (not even the one she was holding on with) was tired. I was just waiting for her to do the YMCA the way she was waving her arms all over the place!

Taryn had to leave early so I rode with Rachel on Airy. Now Airy had kicked Kaye the day before in the hock, so we were taking it a bit easy on her. The two of us had a fun dressage lesson. Worked on leg yields and half-passes. And then moved on to shoulder in and haunches in. Bonnie had us coming out of the corner and doing a shoulder in for half a dozen strides, then a small circle and shoulder in again. Rachel was having some trouble with that, Airy's not the easiest to do laterals with, so they stopped there. Then Bonnie had me try doing a shoulder in from the corner, small circle and then haunches in, which is a movement in the Intermediate dressage test.

Sunday, Bonnie and I worked on cleaning stalls all morning. I was waiting around to see if Taryn was going to come so I could ride with her. After a while though I tacked up Kaye and we had another dressage lesson. Started out working on center lines. And then Bonnie had me try riding the center line in the new beginner novice test A. Which is AXMC. I have to say it's very awkward to ride. I don't know if it's just because I'm used to riding a straight center line. We rode that a few times first going to the right and then to the left. Finally we finished with some canter work. Good lesson.


Crazy times

Friday, November 13, 2009

Well, it's been insane lately. On my first day back to work after my medical leave, I was rear-ended on my way to Pittsburgh. About $1000 to fix the back of my car. Then two weeks later, on a Friday night I was on my way to Pittsburgh with Mattykins and Joni for a night of dancing at Pegs. And we hit a fucking deer on 60. Almost $5000 worth of damage to the front of my car. I just can't win! So now I'm stuck driving the CRV while my car is currently in pieces at Cartek.

Good news is, the riding has been going pretty well. I've been working a lot on my dressage with Kaye. I've been riding with Taryn, working on laterals and things like that. Had fun the one day doing a half pass left to the rail and then half pass right to the centerline. We also did a fun counter canter exercise the one day. Three loop serpentine at the canter with no lead change. Of course now that Kaye has learned how to do a flying change, she wanted to change leads. I had to work to keep her on the counter canter.

Last week was a gorgeous weekend for November in Western PA. So X and I loaded up in the trailer and went trail riding with Tom and Dalal at Crooked Creek. I had a good time, not sure how much X enjoyed it. I figure we rode about 20 miles or so between the two days. It was unlike anything my pony had ever seen before. We were going up and down hills, through creek beds. All over the place. X was a bit unsure at first, but after a while he settle in and he was actually pretty good. We'll probably do some more trail riding next year, it was nice to get out of the ring a little.


Getting back to normal

Sunday, October 18, 2009

I finally had my follow up appointment last week and I am cleared for normal activities. I can drive again and I go back to work tomorrow, not that I'm terribly excited about that but I do need the money. I'm not supposed to ride for another week and a half, but of course I haven't exactly listened to that completely. Only light riding though I promise!

So of course, once I had wheels again first thing to do was go to the barn. And I got there just in time. Little Boo Boo hasn't been doing well all summer. He got an infection he just couldn't quite shake. He's been on antibiotics off and on for most of the summer. Wednesday he really just went downhill and so Thursday morning Bonnie called the vet and said it was time. I pulled up to the barn just as she was putting him in the struck to go to the vet. Luckily I did have a chance to say goodbye. Afterwords Bonnie brought him home and we buried him under the weeping willow in the front yard. R.I.P. Boo, we miss you already.

Taryn had come to the barn while Bonnie was at the vet and I kept her company while she cleaned some stalls. I'm still not allowed to lift anything too heavy, so no stall cleaning for me yet. After Bonnie came home we went to lunch at Pizza Hut and then it was time to ride. Taryn had a lesson on Bugs and I was dying to get on a horse. No riding for three weeks and I was going crazy. Bonnie suggested that I get on Naughtie as she is pretty smooth and easy to ride. I just walked her, I was taking it easy. I just had to actually ride though. It was so good to get back in the saddle!

Friday morning I was at the barn early. We were headed to Pedro, OH to deliver Tramp to his new home. Taryn tagged along and of course Astrid had to see the pony off, so it was a full truck for the trip. It took us about 6 hours to get there. We got off 71 just south of Columbus and it was two hours on back roads. And boy was it pretty redneck there! The place Tramp went to was literally on top of a mountain. The driveway was about 1/2 mile straight up. The house and barn were absolutely gorgeous. But it was on top of a mountain. I think Tramp will have a good home there. The family was very nice. They have four kids, the oldest is 9. All the kids were very kind to the dogs and cats, so I think they'll be good with the pony. Astrid did not want to leave him. We practically had to drag her out of the stall when it was time to leave. And then we had another 6 hours to drive home. Bonnie got us off the mountain and then I got to drive the rest of the way home. In the rain. Why do I always get to drive the trailer in the rain? We didn't get home until 10:30, still had to feed the horses and then I had to take Astrid home. I didn't get home until midnight. Long, long day!

And then of course I was back at the barn Saturday morning. It was kinda nice though cause we didn't have too many of the kids. Only Astrid, Henry, Ethan and Maeve. Kids all had lessons, and then while Astrid and Henry were riding I took Miss out to the arena for lots and lots of walking. We're hoping that getting some exercise will help her out. We did some cavalettis, getting her to pick up her feet and really build up her muscles. Then after the kids all rode, we went out for a short trail ride up and down the driveway a couple of times. Miss had a ball. As soon as I went into her stall with the saddle she perked right up. She barely even let me get her bridle on, she just wanted to charge right out of the stall. And then she perked up even more when we went outside. She was really enjoying herself as we splashed through all the puddles on the drive.

Today, I was back to the barn. Rode Miss again, and we actually trotted a little bit. The work the day before did her a lot of good. She had such a good appetite. I could tell she was a little tired when I tacked her up today, but she was still excited to go to work. She really likes being ridden. She is not happy just standing around in her stall. So I think getting her back to work a bit will be so good for her. Then after I rode Miss, I got on Kaye. Astrid's been riding her a lot and well, Astrid doesn't make her bend she just kinda lets Kaye go where she will. And Kaye has a tendency to lead with her shoulder on circles and bends if you let her. But Astrid's still learning so it's not really her fault. So we just had a walking lesson where we did lots of bending and circles and laterals. Kaye didn't care for it one bit, she's not so patient with the walking. But it was a good lesson for her. I had to lighten up her sides again. As soon as I put any leg at all on her she just started trotting. No Kaye, inside legs means more over not trot. I spent a good 45 minutes just doing laterals and spiraling circles with her. She was going very nicely by the end though. I can't wait till I can really start riding again. X was starting to go so well and now he's done nothing for a month. And I'm really looking forward to working hardcore on my dressage with Kaye this winter.

Anyways, back to work in the morning. Looking forward to life getting back to normal. But I will admit I'd really like some more time off. Oh well, can't afford it so I guess I'll go to work.



Thursday, October 8, 2009

Well, the last two weeks have been fun. The weekend of the 26th I had the weekend planned out. X was getting his new shoes and so I could really start to put him back to work. Saturday I was going to have a jumping lesson on Kaye to get ready for the jumper derby on the 4th. And then Sunday I was taking X on a trail ride with Tom. Well nothing went according to plan. I woke up early Saturday morning with this really sharp pain in my lower right side. And of course me not wanting to admit that something might be wrong, I figure if I ignore it, it will go away. I go the barn as usual. Hurts to clean stalls, hurts to sit down, hurts to really do anything, not that I let that stop me. I cleaned X's stall, took me forever to do. Then Bonnie had me get on Kaye to ride with Taryn. God did that hurt! But I pushed through it and rode. I was even jumping fences, although it hurt like crazy to do so. Eventually though I had to stop, I actually almost fell off because of the pain. Finally I called Aunt Sandy. She and Uncle Ralph drove out to the barn to pick me up and while Uncle Ralph drove my car home, she took me to the Urgent Care place in Beaver. Mom and Dad met us there. I was examined by a PA there and she sent us to the ER for a CT scan to rule out appendicitis. We go to the ER, wait around forever for someone to finally see me. The guy was basically like I don't think you're in enough pain for it to be anything serious. you probably have a ruptured ovarian cyst. He kept saying he didn't think that I needed a CT. Mainly becuase it was a lot of radiation and if I was worse the next day they would have to do another one. Which ok, thank you for not wanting to subject me to that much radiation when it might not be necessary at that time. But then he was like asking me if I wanted one. Aunt Sandy finally got pissed and told him off. He's asking someone with no medically knowledge to basically order her own tests. Helllo! You're the doctor you tell me what tests should be done. Don't leave it up to me to decide. So he just ended up sending me home with an Rx for Percocet and instructions to come back if it got worse.

So we go home. I do start to feel better after taking the pain meds, but then as soon as they start to wear off it hurts again. I talk to Aunt Sandy late Sunday morning and she says to go back to the ER. And she calls Dr Burke, the surgeon before we get there. So Dr. Burke sees me right away and he orders the CT. I have to drink this really gross stuff before they can do the CT and of course it starts to make me sick. So I get some stuff for the nausea and they give me some good drugs for the pain. I get the CT, wait around for a bit longer and Dr. Burke comes back to tell us that my appendix looks ok, but there is some inflamation in the secum. But he doens't know what it's from. He recomends that I be admitted overnight for further testing and observation. Yay, just what I want to do. So get admitted Sunday night. Monday they do an ultrasound, still not exactly sure what the problem is. So they schedule me for a colonoscopy Tuesday. Had that done Tuesday afternoon, and it turns out that a have an acute secul ulcer. I pretty much go straight to surgery.

So long story short I was in the hospital for 8 days. I'm off work for at leat another two weeks, which really sucks. I'm using up all my time off. And if I can't go back after my appointment on the 15th, I'll be off unpaid until STD kicks in after 31 days. Even then I'll only get paid at 60% so I really can't afford to be off that long. And then even worse, no riding for at least 4-6 weeks. Probably longer! This sucks! And now I'm hoursebound at my parents. I can't drive, so I can't go anywhere. It's driving me crazy, I'm so bored! So don't expect too much here in the next few weeks. I'm not really doing much of anything but watching TV and reading. And I won't bore you with those details.


End of the Season

Monday, September 21, 2009

Well, it looks like the horse show season has finally come to an end. I went with Tom to the Pink Ribbon Horse Show in Meadville the second weekend of the month. I had a lot of fun there, even if we didn't place all that well. The ring was pretty crappy, the footing at the rail was so deep. Dalal did not like going through that stuff, so I was staying about 5 or 6 feet off the rail, and I guess the judge didn't like it. We ended up 4th in both the Arabian Western Pleasure and the Adult Western Equitation. And then we were 5th in the Arabian Western Pleasure Championship. I blew a lead in the championship class and so that put us at the end. Oh well, we had a good time.

Then last weekend we went to Randolph Classic Charity Horse Show. Nikki took Image and KC, and she also brought her friend Kelly, and her horse Lark. Now I love Nikki dearly but I have to say, it's so much more relaxing to show without her! She takes it all so seriously! So Friday we didn't have any classes. Nikki and KC had the Half-Arabian Halter in the evening session, but no performance classes. I went to work Friday and just left early so I could make it there in time for KC's class. They ended up 3 out of 3 in the class. She was pretty pissed though because according to the show rules, you couldn't show in the Open Halter if you showed in Breed Halter class. Tom and I tacked up Dalal and I rode him a bit in the warm-up ring. Tom asked if I was willing to ride without stirrups. He asks me this like it's something that I wouldn't be able to do. Like Bonnie doesn't torture me with things like that all the time, like I don't jump without stirrups. Anyways, Dalal and I had a good ride that evening, made me feel pretty good about the show.

Saturday morning I had the first class, Adult Equitation and Nikki was in my class. We had an okay ride in the class. Only when we went to lope the first direction, I was a little too close to Dr. Holly and Dalal picked up the lope before I asked for it and we got the wrong lead. It was a big class, and it was a good class so that was enough to keep us out of the ribbons. Then in the afternoon we had the Arabian Western Pleasure class. Again it was a good class, Nikki & Image, Emily & Tony, Tom C, Paul C, and then the other Tom with his untrained horse. The untrained horse won the class with Nikki second. It was pretty bad, I don't think the judge really knew what he was looking at. Tom ended up taking Dalal back in for the Arabian Championship that evening. Again the untrained horse won and Nikki was second.

Sunday morning Tom had the first class with the Open Western Pleasure, they had a decent ride and were third behind the untrained horse and Nikki. Then I went back for the Western Equitation Championship. Of course Nikki won and then Shelley and her QH mare were second. Dalal and I ended up third. Then we were 4th in the Ladies Western Pleasure that afternoon. Actually that one really pissed me off. We had a good ride, except right as we were jogging down the far rail some people under this one canopy squirted some baby powder, like they use to get the saddlebreds up and showing. Dalal saw it an shied off the rail. Then the next time around he shied at the same spot. Then when we lined up at the end of the class, one lady brought her mare right next to Dalal. So of course his attention was on the mare all throughout the line up. She ended up second in the class. And I later found out that the people under the canopy were with her barn. Kinda makes me wonder if the powder was an accident or was on purpose to help her place better. Oh well, what can you do.

And so ends the 2009 show season. At least for us. I'm pretty sad that it's over. I know Bonnie didn't like me going to so many shows with Tom, but I really had a good time. It was always a lot of fun. And I really enjoyed hanging out with Tina, the Kims, Mary Lou and Bill. Really was a lot of fun and I'm definitely looking forward to next season. And I'm going to put some time in to really work for it next year. I want to do well, more so than just hoping on for the class and not really practicing at all. Plus I think next year X is going to go out as a hunter pony. As long as I'm going I might as well see if Tom will haul him too. Make X go out an do some work. I'm sure he'll love that!


This and That

Monday, August 31, 2009

I know, I know, I kinda disappeared of the internet for a while. Sorry bout that! Anyways, lots has happened in the last few weeks. I went up to New York for the Cattaraugus County Fair Horse Show in the beginning of August. And I was getting paid for it! Judi had hired me to groom her horse and get her ready for classes. Angel was a dream to groom. So easy to work with, and she was super neat in her stall. She was bathed before we got there Thursday and Saturday I only had to hose her off, no second bath. Judi kicked butt that weekend. Won many of her classes including both the Open Western Pleasure Championship and the Half-Arabian Western Pleasure Championship. In addition to grooming for Judi I got to ride Dalal in a few classes. First up was the Arabian Western Pleasure Ladies to Ride. We had a decent ride and ended up placing 2nd out of 4. Not too bad considering that we were beat by Emily Kidd. Then in the evening session I had the Open Western Pleasure Ladies to Ride. There were 10 horses in the class, including Judi and Angel. We had such a good ride! It also helped that Judi blew a lead :) We ended up winning the class, my first blue ribbon in a Western Pleasure class! Tom was supposed to then take Dalal in the Arabian Western Pleasure Open just three classes later, but he decided that since it was raining and I was already dressed and wet that I could take him in that class. Paul and Tom C gave me some grief about Tom hiring a ringer to ride his horse while we were waiting in the warm up. Now the Catt County Horse Show is held in conjunction with the Cattaraugus County Fair, which plays a part in this next class. We had just jogged into the ring to start the class and from over at the grandstand I hear people counting down. And then.....BOOM!! Huge explosion to kick of the school bus demolition derby. Scared the crap out of me. All the horses in the ring just stopped dead. I had an ok ride after that. I was a bit rattled and Dalal was too. We ended up 3rd. Sunday were the championship classes. Because of a little confusion with class numbers I ended up riding both the championships. We finished 3rd in the one and 4th in the other. No too bad all in all.

The weekend after Catt Co, Katie took Tru up to Erie for the August horse trials in beginner novice. She had a decent dressage ride. Except Tru spooked at the trailer the judge was sitting in as they rode the center line and Katie cracked him with her whip. Right in front of the judge. Bad move. Other than that it was ok, not great, but pretty good for Katie. After that we had a couple of hours so we walked the stadium course and then the cross country. Cross country was the exact same course Kaye and I did in June only reversed. Pretty easy and straightforward. Stadium was pretty easy too. Time for stadium warm up. Katie warmed up pretty good. She borrowed my long spurs and made him go over the fence. However when she gets in the ring, she freezes. Three stops at the first fence and they're eliminated. Katie talks to the president of the ground jury and gets permission to ride her cross country. Again warms up nicely. Out of the start box, down to the first fence and stop. So ends Katie's trip to Erie.

The next day I went to a one day show at Brookfield with Tom. Rode Dalal in a few classes. We ended up winning the Arabian/Half-Arabian Western Pleasure, beating both Paul and Tom C. And then we were second in the Adult Western Equitation. So that was pretty cool.


3'8" Baby!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Saturday was the normal day of utter confusion at the barn. Tru had one of his cellulitis attacks and his hind leg swelled up again. I had to dig out the ice boots, where we needed both of them to fit around one hind leg. Katie just stands there with only a cotton lead rope and of course Tru jerks back. Come on Katie, at least put a chain over his nose! So Bonnie puts the lip chain on him and we try again. We get the ice in and Katie stands there holding him while I take Elena out for her lesson. Well Katie lets the lip chain get slack and Tru flips out again. Kicks the wall, breaks one of the muck buckets and manages to spook Fanny. She didn't really do anything, just trotted off a few steps, but Elena wasn't expecting it and she was scared. Although she was scared Elena rode through it like a trooper. We were finally able to start her lesson again. And eventually I got her to put both her hands on her hips. Fanny had another beginner lesson in the morning and then Ari tacked up Kaye for her lunge lesson. After Ari rode I got on Kaye for my lesson. Well a certain someone rode Kaye the day before since her horse was out of commission. And she rode like she rides her own horse, death grip with her legs and hauling on the reins. So when I started to canter, Kaye would not stop. I ended up spending my whole lesson putting a stop on the mare again. So I didn't get to work on anything else. Oh well.

Sunday I was back to the barn. I had to leave early since we had Karla's baby shower at 2:00. Kezia was home for the weekend so I rode with her and Airy. Kaye was such a good girl. We did some jumping, just started with a low crossbar as Kezia hadn't jumped in a while. Of course Kaye quickly got bored with that. Bonnie raised the fence to a 3'-ish vertical. We jumped that several times before Bonnie added a second pole, making it like 3'6"-ish. Jumped that a few times and then Bonnie added a back pole to turn it into an oxer. 3'8" baby!!! I love that mare. She sailed over it like it was nothing, which for her it really was. But I stayed with her and didn't freak about the jump height increasing. All in all good day!


Where Kaye and I learn to do flying changes

Monday, July 13, 2009

It was quiet at the barn on Saturday. Astrid had been at camp all week and didn't come home till Saturday. So the von Rintalin clan wasn't out. It was just Katie and I, then Ari and Elena came a little later. Katie gave Elena a lesson while I cleaned some stalls. And then Ari was going to ride Twinkie on the lunge after Katie. But she got a little intimidated by how quickly Twinkie trots. So we ended up tacking up Kaye for her to ride on the lunge. Ari's actually doing very well. She has a great seat, and all the right instincts. Kaye did a little spook with her, and Ari just sat up tall and kept her legs long and rode through it beautifully.

Once Ari finished her lunge lesson, Katie and I had a dressage lesson. After we warmed up Bonnie wanted us to try doing canter departs on the centerline. Very difficult to do on a straight line. I was having problems getting the left lead for some reason. We were at least getting three canter departs on the centerline, even if it was only the right lead. Which is better than Katie managed. She could get one. So then Bonnie had the idea to try flying changes. So she dragged a ground pole out and set it down along the rail one the far side of the arena. Now Kaye has never been taught to do a flying change, mainly because of her stringhalt. And I have never done a flying change before, so this could be interesting. The idea was to go along the rail towards the back of the arena, pick up the left canter lead and ride a teardrop back to the ground pole, and then change leads over the ground pole. Well we tried it a few times and didn't get anything. But then I realized that I was just expecting Kaye to do it on her own. So we tried it again and I actually asked Kaye to change her lead...and she did it!! I was so pleased with her. We did a few more times going from the left to right lead. Katie could quite get it. She actually was bring Tru down to a trot before she even got to the pole. Then Bonnie took the pole over to the other side of the arena and we tried going from the right to left lead. I knew Kaye would struggle with that. The left hind leg is the one she has problems with. We tried a few times and we managed to switch in front but she could get her hind legs untangled to switch behind. We ended up calling it a day then, Kaye wasn't getting it and I knew it was hard for her. Bonnie even said she would have been very surprised if she would have changed that direction.

After I took care of Kaye and hosed her off, there was a surprise waiting for us. Puppies! Lee had brought Saber's litter out to the barn, as she had someone coming to buy one. After they picked their puppy and left she brought the others out for us to play with.

They were all too cute! Chloe kept trying to get them to play with her, but they couldn't quite get it yet. We all had fun with the puppies though.

Sunday, Bonnie and I worked in the fence first thing. We restrung it and wired the whole way around. So now we can hook it up to the charger again and give Airy a nice little shock when she tries to run through it next time. Then the two Tammy's showed up to ride, so I tacked Kaye up and joined them.

Kaye and I worked on flying changes again. Since the pole was already over there we just started with the right to left lead. We were still having trouble get the change. I could get her to change in front but not behind. Tried several times and then we took a break while Tammy was working Sugar. When Tammy finished I decided to try it again. First time she switched in front but not behind. But then we tried again and she did it! Switch in front and behind! I was so proud of my baby girl. The Tammys were laughing at me as I dropped my reins and we cantered around the ring while I was hugging her neck. Kaye was pretty pleased with herself, she knew she had done well. We picked it up a few more times and then we tried the left to right lead change without the pole. We got the change on the first try. I loff my pony! As it turns out, Kaye doesn't think dressage is so horrible when you get to do fun stuff like that.


Holiday Weekend

Monday, July 6, 2009

I love holiday weekends! Ron was kind enough to let us out at 3:00 on Thursday and then we had Friday off since the 4th fell on a Saturday. Well, Thursday evening I had an appointment with my eye doctor, so I ended up missing out on Wooley Bully's. Kinda upset about that, it's been a few weeks since I've been there now. But I got the eye appointment out of the way and I could concentrate on more important things.

Friday morning I had to run a few errands, like get to the bank, since it's usually closed when I'm home. Got out to the barn about 10. Astrid, Ari and Vicky were there already and then Rachel and Kelsey got there shortly after. Rachel and I tacked up Airy and Kaye, and then Kelsey rode Bugs and Astrid rode Naughtie. We started doing some dressage. Rode the beginner novice test A. Kaye was being a pain with her head. She kept shaking it and flipping it up in the air. So after a pretty dismal test A I went and got the draw reins. Put those on and then did test B. Man was Kaye pissed! She did not like it that I was making her keep her head down. After we ran through that, I changed tack and we jumped a little. Only a small crossbar though. Bonnie was trying to keep the fences small so that Bugsy wouldn't bolt after them. So of course Kaye wasn't all that pleased with the baby fences. After we rode, Ari got on Kaye and Vicky on Naughtie for lunge lessons. Then Titus went home in the afternoon.

Saturday Katie and I rode together, jumping with no hands. Katie and Tru actually did pretty well they only had one or two stops I think, pretty good for them. Kaye of course had fun. We did a small bonfire in the afternoon for the fourth, but I couldn't stay long as mom was planning a picnic for the family and I had promised to help her. Everyone came over for the cookout at 5:00. Including my grandmother, joy. That aside it was nice to have everyone together. And nice to give my aunt a break from hosting the family gatherings. After everyone left and we had cleaned up, Mom and I had a nice time relaxing with coffee out in the gazebo, watching the fireworks.

Sunday I was back at the barn. Had another jumping lesson with Kaye. More jumping with no hands and then a little bit of no stirrups. Bonnie wanted me to do no stirrups and no hands, but I wasn't quite brave enough for that.


Home Again

Monday, June 29, 2009

Saturday was a busy day for me. Tom and Mary Ann were in Saratoga for the weekend so I was feeding his horses. Got his horses fed early so I could be out to Bonnie's about 7 or so. Miss had an appointment with a vet at 9 for a chiropractic check up so we had to leave by 8. Got all the horses fed at both places and on the road on time. Katie and Astrid both wanted to go with us, so they piled in the back of the truck. We found the vet clinic just in time for Miss' appointment. She was a mess all over. Her pelvis was twisted about three different ways. And then because she was compensating for that, her whole back was out of whack. He worked on her for about an hour, stretching her, and popping things back in place. As he worked you could see her relax and get more comfortable. When he finished I jogged her up and down the drive again, man was she moving better already. She climbed right up on the trailer, no hesitation at all on her part. He gave us some exercises to do with her at home, getting her to stretch through her back and lift her back up. When we got her home, I walked her in the arena for about 10 minutes. Of course Kaye had to come out with us. Miss was almost overstepping at the walk, which she hasn't done in a long time. She was in heat, and squatting and teasing Kaye, another thing she hasn't been able to do in a long time. I am amazed by the change in her already.

So after we got Miss settled in, Rachel and Beth came out for our lesson. I tacked Kaye up in the dressage saddle since we were going to work on dressage anyway. Plus I still wanted to go over my saddle with the Passier stuff after the soaking it got at Lost Hounds. So I got Kaye ready, Rachel had Airy and then Astrid joined us with Naughtie and Katie with Tru as well. We warm up and then rode some dressage tests. I rode the beginner novice test A once, and man was it good! Better even than I rode at the show. Then we ran through beginner novice test B a couple of times. It went pretty well, except Kaye started to get pissy at the end. She wanted to jump! So Bonnie had me change saddles. Which was a pain since I had to use the 16 1/2 which is just a tad too small for comfort. Bonnie set up a little course for us. We started out over the little crossbar in the middle. Kaye jumped it once and then she was not happy with that small of a jump. Eventually the jumps were raised. We ended up jumping the middle fence as a 2' oxer both ways, a 2'5" vertical and then a skinny that was about 2'8". Kaye had a blast and so did I. :) Katie actually did all the exercises as well and she only had two stops. That was a pretty good day for her as well. And she didn't get in my way to much, so yay for not annoying me!

In other news Spider was supposed to get gelded this week. Notice I said supposed to. Bonnie took him over to Tammy's on Wednesday, and both he and Titus were to get snipped. Well there were some complications with Titus. He started bleeding and they had to get him outside and finish it with him on the ground. He's okay now, but it ended up taking so long that they never got to Spider. So Spidey still has all his little manly bits. Titus came over to our barn to recover on Thursday. And so we've been having some fun training him. We taught him how to lunge and how to step over poles on the ground. We also taught him to step over the scary blue tarp. And then Sunday we saddle broke him. He was so good for it. I lunged him both directions first and then Bonnie brought out the pony saddle. We put that on him and just loosely did up the girth. Walked him around a bit, tightened the girth some. Walked some more and then tightened the girth a bit more. I lunged him then with the saddle. The only thing he did was a little cow kick when I went to lunge him, but he wasn't anywhere near me, and that was it. He was so good. Afterwards he went into the barn and was untacked in the aisle like the big horses. He's really liking all the attention he's getting. We put him back in his stall and he just looked at us like "hey where are you going? Aren't we going to learn something else now?" So cute. I wish he didn't have to go back to Tammy's.

Sunday I headed over to Crooked Creek Horse Park to see Nikki ride. Unfortunately, as I mentioned before, Tom was in Saratoga, otherwise I would have had a horse to ride. I got there just as Nikki was tacking up for the Open Western Pleasure. And she was going in the class in sidesaddle. She had a sidesaddle on trial and she was thinking about buying it, but she wanted to ride in a class in it first. And since the show didn't have a sidesaddle class she had to go in a regular western pleasure class in it. Image was being a snot, he was feeling pretty good. Actually though, even with him being a brat, Nikki still had a better ride than the other two in the class. Unfortunately the judge had no idea what to do with her in sidesaddle. So she ended up third. Really a shame because the woman on the quarter horse who was in second was two handing her horse every chance she got. She should have been disqualified, that's illegal!

Loping the first direction

In the line up

Apparently the judge really liked Courtney because he placed her ahead of Nikki in a couple other classes and then Nikki came back to win the Adult Western Equitation. She ended up not going in the Arabian Western Pleasure classes on Sunday as she was also working for C & G, helping Jody get horses ready for the other riders. I had a good time getting to spend the day with Nikki and catching up on things. I hadn't had a chance to talk to her about her week working for Gordon Potts in Fort Worth yet, so I got to hear all about that, including about the job he offered her. Lucky her, she gets to work with horses full time now. She'll be travelling to about one show a month with Gordon and then working for Jody and C & G Ranch. I'll admit it, I'm jealous. I'd love to be able to quit me job and be with horses all day. Well, maybe someday I'll be able to.


Lost Hounds HT

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Finally it was time for Lost Hounds this weekend. I spent the week practicing my braiding. Which I'd just like to mention how much I hate braiding.

Finished product

Rachel's lucky, no braiding for Airy

Thursday after work I headed out to the barn to clean my tack. I spent a couple hours taking apart the saddle and bridle and making sure it was spotless. Got home about 9, just in time to head to my mom's so we could watch the new epi of Royal Pains. Then I had to find a laundry place that was open all night. Luckily for me the Snowy White in Rochester is 24 hours, so I spent about an hour over there washing my green saddle pad for the show.

I took Friday off from work so I would have time to get everything done and get up to Edinboro to walk the cross country course. Got out the barn early and started feeding. Bonnie was picking up Astrid on her way home from work and they stopped at Tammy's to get the trailer. Bonnie had to get sawdust in the morning and Astrid and I stayed behind to get some stalls cleaned. Then when Bonnie came back she rode Kaye for me. Got her in the bridle and looking really good. Then Bonnie got on Airy while Astrid and I gave Kaye a good bath. We got Kaye nice and squeaky clean, picked her stall again and put her away. And then Astrid helped Rachel give Airy a bath. After lunch we all piled into Beth's car and headed up to Edinboro. We walked the cross country course, man was it a nice beginner novice course! Everything was straightforward, nothing too confusing back in the woods. Lots of room between fences. Just a really nice course. That's the way beginner novice courses should be set up. We walked the course twice and then headed home. Rachel grabbed Airy's tack to clean and she went home. We fed the ponies and I took Astrid home before getting to bed myself.

Saturday morning I was up at 3:30 to get ready. The plan was to leave about 5-ish, so I wanted to be at the barn by 4:00. Of course it was raining, and it rained the whole time I was at the barn. I was dashing out to the trailer between raindrops trying to load all my tack. I decided to tack Kaye up at home and haul her up with the saddle on since my ride time was at 8:30, and it makes me way to nervous when I'm rushed. Finally get everything done, get the ponies loaded and head up to the showgrounds. It poured the whole way there. We get there and park the trailer, it's still raining. Go to get my packet, still raining. I get dressed and finish bridling Kaye, still raining. I ended up not wearing my dressage coat because of the rain, instead I wore Bonnie's navy fleece pullover. I was soaked within minutes. But Kaye was so good! Our warm up was amazing. I asked for the trot she was flexed and on the bit. Picked up both canter leads and she stayed flexed. It was fantastic.

Free walk

I went into the ring and I had the best dressage test I have ever ridden. There were a few minor things that were my fault, but overall the test was great. Unfortunately I don't think the judge was watching my test. She gave me a 44.8 that put me in 10th place out of 11. And the comments she made don't even make sense. On almost every movement she said Kaye was resisting. Either she was watching something else or she has no clue what dressage is, because Kaye was not resisting! As much as it pissed me off, I just had to put it behind me. We'll make it up jumping. We had a couple of hours before stadium so my parents and Aunt Sandy and Uncle Ralph headed off to Erie for a bit and we went to walk the stadium course.


The stadium course looked so easy compared to what Bonnie has us do at home. It looked small after jumping training level too. There was lots of room to turn, the in and out was a two stride, nothing too hard at all. The third and fourth fences were set up that in order to jump them both head on you would have to do a sharp left turn after three to get 4. We decided to just jump them both on an angle so we could get a straight line between the two of them. Yeah, they were oxers, but beginner novice fences are small for both Kaye and Airy. We walked the course two times and then had to repeat it to Bonnie. Finally about noon we got the horses tacked up and headed up to stadium warm up. We started warming up and Kaye was a superstar. She very nicely jumped everything. Got her leads when I remembered to ask for them. She didn't try bolting at the fences or anything. Rachel and Airy had a few problems in warm up, but when they went into the ring they rode a great round. Soon after that it was my turn. Kaye was amazing!!! I love that mare. I wasn't nervous at all so I was able to actually ride her and not just hang on and hope for the best. We got in good to every fence, got all out leads. We rode the third and fourth fences just like we walked it. Kaye did exactly two strides in the in and out. It was perfect. Bonnie told me it was the best round she saw all day in beginner novice or novice. No one else but Rachel rode 3 and 4 in the straight line. Everyone else turned between them and there were a lot of problems.

Flower box just before the water

So then back to the trailer, change my clothes and over to cross country. Kaye knew that's what was next and so she jigged around the warm up. Bonnie just had us jump the oxer a couple of times and then she headed out to watch Rachel. They ended up waiving the optimum time for beginner novice because of how much rain we had. Well that ended up being a good thing. We were in the start box, I never even put my legs on her, Kaye heard the starter say "you're on course" and she took off! She locked onto the prelim/int fence and floored it. I fought her the whole way to get her to slow down and over to the beginner novice fence. And then when we landed she just flattened out and took off. We could have been in the Kentucky Derby! So I circled her to get her under control. We jumped the second fence and had to circle. We jumped the third fence and then three strides later she jumped the patch of dead grass from where a portable had sat all winter, and then we had to circle again. Jumped the up bank and circled. We had to circle after every fence until like fence 9 I think. After that she would come back for me. At least until the next to last fence, I had to circle after that one. When she jumped the last fence, she knew she was going home and I couldn't do anything to slow her down. I was just praying people would stay out of our way. We didn't have any jumping faults, and since there wasn't an optimum time, we didn't have any time faults either. So we moved up to fourth place. Not too bad. And as tired as I was after that cross country round, I think it was a good thing for me. I learned I can ride her through things like that. We did eventually work through our control issues. And I finished. I didn't let my nerves talk me into quitting, and that's important for me.


ICHA Double Points Show

Monday, June 15, 2009

So this weekend was the ICHA Double Points Show at Canfield, OH. Tom was of course taking Dalal and I had mentioned that I might be interested in riding him sometime. So they had a Ladies to ride class and the plan was that I would take Dalal in that. I had Friday off from work for a doctors appointment. After doing some stalls and riding Kaye I headed out to Canfield in the afternoon. I got there just in time to see Tom ride in the Amateur Arabian Western Pleasure. They had a beautiful ride, very consistent. We take Dalal back to the stall and untack him, send Nikki a picture of his blue ribbon to cause some trouble since she was in Fort Worth. And then we start to discuss who's going to ride what. Tom's suggestion is that I get on Dalal during the afternoon break and then if things go well ride him in the Registered Arabian Western Pleasure that evening. So we tack up Dalal during the break and head down to the main ring. It was a little bit weird to ride western I'll admit. And kinda funny, because Bonnie is always telling me that I don't ride with my legs tight enough. Well I ride with them way tighter than Dalal is used to! I asked for the jog and he took off. Lightened up my legs and we slowed down to an acceptable speed. It really pained me to pull his head to the outside though to ask for the lope. It's just so wrong!

So that evening I get ready to ride in the Registered Arabian Western Pleasure. I figure we'll just go in and have fun and kinda figure it out as we go. I had so much fun. It was an Arabian class so they did ask for the hand gallop. Man was that fun! Just put my hand forward and asked him to go. In the end we ended up 2nd. Not too bad, the horse that beat us was ridden by a professional trainer. As Tom said if she's not winning, she needs to find a new job. But we did beat a horse that has beaten Dalal in the past, so that was pretty cool.

I went home Friday night so I could go to Bonnie's Saturday morning for my lesson. As usual I was there early and ready to ride since I had other plans, and I never get to ride first! This really sort of annoys me. Elena and Ari both had their lessons first and then I finally got to tack up Kaye to ride. Bonnie has me put the draw reins on her again, which I hate. It's really just too much rein in my hands. We work on dressage for a while and then Rachel and Kelsey show up. They tack up Airy and Naughtie and join us in the arena. We work on centerlines for a while and then start practicing the dressage test. I ran through the test three times. The last one was pretty good, still some things I need to concentrate on, but overall not bad. At this point Bonnie tells us to head outside to school some more cross country. I just put Kaye away though. By then I had been on her back for 3 hours, it was 12:30 and I figured I had already missed the Adult Western Equitation class that I was going to ride in. Bonnie was a bit pissed at me I think, but quite frankly I don't care. I had other plans, excuse me if for once I'm not going to spend 12 hours a day there. No one else ever does.

I was right, I had missed the Adult Western Equitation by the time I got to Canfield. Tom had already rode both the Men's Western Pleasure and the Jack Benny, where he was first and fourth respectively. I did have the Ladies Western Pleasure in the evening session to ride. Of course it starts to rain by the time we go to tack up. And with the rain it got cold! So I get dressed while Tom takes care of Dalal. I put my zip up hoodie on over my show clothes and we head up to the ring. I find a tree to stand under for a while to try and keep a little dry. That at least saved me from getting too wet. Luckily by the time we went into the ring for our class it had stopped raining. There were 8 of us altogether in the Ladies class, pretty big class. I have to say I had a GOOD ride. Courtney was in this one again (she beat me in the Arabian WP the night before) She was my big competition but then her horse blew up on the lope depart. I felt pretty darn good about my ride when we lined up. But I ended up third, and no one could really explain why. Everyone was saying I should have won. But oh well. Tom ended up not feeling like getting dressed to ride in the Open Western Pleasure, so I rode that one as well. We placed 2nd in that class behind Courtney.

Ladies Western Pleasure

Sunday was the Championship classes. We decided that I would ride in the Arabian Western Pleasure Championship and Tom would go in the Open Western Pleasure Championship. I had a decent ride, some thing to work on though. Mainly Dalal was a little too much in front of the vertical. We ended up third behind Courtney and Tom C. Not too bad I'll take it for my first western pleasure show. So then Tom took him back in for the Open Championship. They had a perfect ride and won the Championship. Tom got to take home the trophy that Nikki won last year. So that's pretty cool that both their names will be on it. Back at the campsite there was some joking about who would be the first to get their name on it twice. My reply was that maybe Dalal would be the first to have his name on it twice, just with a different rider. :)