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. :)



Monday, June 8, 2009

Kaye here, hijacking Jen's blog for a moment. I just want to say that yes the cross country schooling was fun. But she didn't let me run! Jen kept making me come back to the trot after everything. It just wasn't fair. She better not make me go that slow at Lost Hounds, we'll never make time. It would be so insulting not to make time on a beginner novice course there.


Two Weeks and Counting!

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Two weeks to go until Lost Hounds! Woot! Can you tell I'm excited? I had a couple of great lessons with Kaye this weekend. I'm really trying to think when I ride her and not just freeze up and hope to get around. I think I'm improving, Really I feel like I've come such a long way.

Anyways, I had to feed for Tom while he's at the Eastern Classic with Dalal. Luckily his horses are easy. Only three there and the boy stayed in last night. Dumped feed, brought Ivan and Amira in, topped off water tubs and tossed out some hay, and then kicked them all out for the day. Then it was off to Bonnie's for the day. Heather got there shortly after I did with Ari and Elena. So I tacked up Fanny for them and gave Elena a lesson while everyone else cleaned the arena. I'm really pretty proud of Elena, she's come a long way the couple of months she's been coming out. Ari's the one who really wants to ride. Elena was kinda scared of the horses at first. She's only stay on Fanny for maybe five minutes. Today she rode for about 20 minutes, went both directions and asked if she could ride with her hands on her hips! Just two weeks ago she wouldn't take her hands off the saddle no matter how much we begged (and bribed her) too. That was really a big moment for her. She's still only walking, not ready to try a trot yet. But she's come such a long way already, she'll get there eventually. After Elena was done, Ari got on for a lunge lesson from Bonnie. While she was riding Rachel came with her Mom so we starting getting our horses tacked up. Katie brings Tru in to ride with us and Bonnie has Astrid tack up Naughtie. This could be interesting.

The line of fences down the middle of the arena was still set up from my lesson last Sunday. Bonnie turned one of the verticals into a crossbar and we started by jumping that one fence, stopping at the wall and then continuing on. Did that a bit and then it was jump the crossbar, halt at the wall, turn on the haunches, back over the crossbar, halt at the wall. Do that a few times and then progress to jumping the first fence and then half circle to the fourth fence. Eventually we did three fences, turning the first and last into verticals and the middle one into an oxer with the barrel in the middle. I was super proud of Astrid because she jumped the whole exercise with Naughtie. Now she only jumped the fences as crossbars and trotted the whole thing. But still that's a hard exercise and she really did a good job with Naughtie. I told her she definitely got a gold star. To finish off the day Bonnie had me bring the sawhorse and blue outdoor carpet. We replaced the last vertical with the sawhorse/carpet and Rachel and I jumped that. We did a figure 8 starting and ending with the sawhorse. All in all it was a pretty good day.

Of course I could have done without Katie in the group. At one point she almost jumped on top of Kaye and I. We had just jumped the one fence and were halting at the rail. Next thing I know she jumps the fences and comes to a stop right next to me. Our stirrups were practically touching! Another time Astrid had called the jump and Katie just ignores her and goes over it instead. She always hogs the rail, making everyone else go around her. Eventually Bonnie had to give us a jumping order. Me, then Rachel, then Astrid and finally Katie.

Victoria had a mini meltdown when she was told that she couldn't ride Kaye. Of course she didn't want to ride Naughtie even though she's always complaining that she wants to ride different horses. I was almost to the point of telling her she wasn't going to ride then when she finally got on the horse. She just would not understand that I'm taking Kaye to a show in two weeks, therefore she's mine horse until then. I don't need Victoria or anyone else on her screwing things up between now and then.

Sunday Rachel came out again and we went outside for a little bit of cross country schooling. Bonnie and I cleaned up around the log at the bottom of the driveway. We then emptied the water trough from the arena and flipped it upside down on the grass about half way up the driveway. The sawhorse/blue carpet was put in the outdoor ring. We also put two blue barrels on their side at the other end of the ring. The old purple picnic table was set on it's side at the top of the driveway and finally we carried a small log over to the giant water puddle in the middle of the driveway.

Well Katie of course showed up when she heard we were going to school cross country, even though she hadn't been invited. So we all tacked up. I just have to say that I find it hysterical that Katie hurried up and brought her horse in as soon as I went with Bonnie to fix the jumps. She had to hurry up and get the cross ties before I could. I really thought of kicking her out of them since she wasn't invited to school with us, but I was nice instead. I used my new (to me at least) overgirth on Kaye, and I rode in my vest. Partly to make my mother happy, but also because I need to ride in it a few times and get used to it again.

We headed down to the log to start with and jumped that several times. Then we headed up to the water trough. I wasn't so sure about it coming down the first time and we had a stop. Completely my fault. Turned around and tried it again. Kaye of course was just like hold on and went flying over it. Jumped it a few times and then we had to give Rachel and Airy a lead over it. Bonnie eventually had to put an upright barrel next to it as a standard for Rachel and Katie. So then we head down to the bottom and jump the log and then up to the trough. Kaye and I come trotting up the driveway, I try to steer her to the water trough, she however sees the barrel next to it which was maybe a foot higher and goes "Goody the fence is bigger!" and she jumps the barrel. I was pretty much just holding on. Bonnie has us cross the driveway and do the sawhorse. Of course I have problems, even though I jumped it the day before I freak out a bit because it's outside now. Takes us a couple of times but we finally go over it. Of course by that time Kaye was a bit fed up with me stopping her and so she flew over it. She must have cleared it by at least a foot. We head back down to the start and tell Rachel and Katie to go. When it's my turn again, we got he first three jumps nicely and then do the barrels followed by the picnic table. I was a little nervous about the picnic table but I just held on and went with Kaye. Of course she got so into it that we overshot the water and had to turn back. In the end we jumped everything and I felt very comfortable with it all. So good day schooling.


This and That

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

I know, I know, I've like disappeared of the face of the earth. Well not really, just been extremely busy. Rolex was a blast. It was incredible to get to see so many great riders. Not only Phillip Dutton and Becky Holder, but also Bettina Hoy, Lucinda Fredericks and Nicolas Touzaint. Tons of photos up on my photobucket page, so go check those out.

All winter I was planning to take Miss out and event her this summer. However she hasn't been doing to well lately. We weren't really sure what was wrong with her, she wasn't having the respiratory problems she had last summer. I think we finally have an answer though. The blacksmith was out this past week and Bonnie had him trim Miss. He thinks her back is out and she needs adjusted by a chiropractor. So we're going to give that a shot. Hopefully that will help her out. I'm really just not ready to let go of her yet.

So I thought that this was going to scrap my eventing plans for the summer. Unfortunately X just isn't quite ready for me to event him yet. Bonnie needs to take him out a bit first to some schooling shows. But I've been riding Kaye some again. And then I had an idea. Kaye and I discussed it. And she thought it was good. So we just had to get Bonnie to agree, which she did. Anyways what all this means is Kaye and I are going beginner novice at Lost Hounds June 20! WOOT! I'm so excited. Kaye has just been a superstar for me lately. Bonnie had us jumping some courses she set at 2'10". And then last week she set up a line of 8 jumps going down the center of the arena. And we had to jump every other one, landing on alternating leads to jump the next fence. I finally figured out how to land on the lead I want and not just hope I get it.

In other news X went out in the pasture with his girlfriends for the first time last weekend. He's still not all that happy about the great outdoors. If a bug is within like 5 feet of him he wigs. But he's getting used to it. And having "his mares" out there helps. Miss and Kaye the hussies that they are make him feel very loved by sticking their butts in his face. Yes I know we have a couple of whores for mares. X well he doesn't really enjoy being outside, he doesn't cause any trouble. He stays away from the fence, doesn't try to escape or run anyone else through the fence.

Anyways feeding the arabs this weekend while Tom's at the Eastern Classic in Little Valley, NY. So I'll be getting up early to feed there before heading out to Bonnie's. I'll probably lunge on X and then lesson with Kaye. As of this week she's mine exclusively until Lost Hounds. Well mine and Bonnie's. She really does need a dressage tune up before the show.