Jumping Helicopters

Monday, March 29, 2010

Kaye and I tried something new this weekend. Bonnie set up a helicopter fence. It's one that Lucinda Green uses in her clinics a lot. It's basically two fences set up to look like a plus sign if you looked at it from directly above. You jump it in the middle where the two poles cross. Of course I had some mental issues and we had a couple of stops first. But I tried again and we got over it. Then we jumped it from the other direction and didn't have any problems that way. So good ride.

I wasn't able to stay at the barn very long. Ethan's older brother had his Eagle Scout ceremony in the afternoon and Bonnie volunteered me to be the photographer. So I had to leave the barn about noon so I could go home and get cleaned up. I also had to make sure the camera was ready, battery charged and an empty memory card and all that. It was a nice ceremony at their church in Harmony. And there was good food, so really I didn't mind doing it all that much. I just hate that it cuts into my riding time.

After the Eagle Scout ceremony, I intended to run up to Best Buy. But before I went there I decided I was in the mood for a Black & White Frappalatte at the Beanery. So I headed into the mall for that. And of course I couldn't go to the mall without stopping by the bookstore to see who was working. That ended up being Pami and Matt. Which of course meant that I ended up spending my entire evening in the bookstore. It was good to see both of them and spend the evening catching up. I always really enjoyed working with Pami, we have always gotten along well and I really should make an effort to do something with her outside of the bookstore.

Sunday I was back to the barn. Tacked Naughtie up for Bonnie to ride first thing. And then I rode Kaye with Tricia and Pele. It was an okay ride. I mean I was pretty good with my position, but we were just jumping little stuff. Of course riding with Tricia we could only do little stuff. She's only been on Pele a handful of time since she had the baby and this was only her second time jumping since then. So not going to make her jump 3 foot fences. :)

In other news, Buddy shocked Sandie Sunday morning. He was out in his pasture and something must have scared him. And so he jumped the pasture fence to get back in his stall. Four and a half foot pasture fence. I always said Sandie should have let us take him prelim. :) Buddy was ok, a little off. But Sandie doesn't have much grass around the outside of her pastures, the gravel driveway pretty much is right up against the fence. So he's just a little sore from landing on the gravel. Otherwise he's just fine, didn't hit the fence at all.


Getting Better...

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Well things are looking up slightly from earlier in the week. Still really upset about not getting the job. But a few good rides on the Marsie have helped a lot. I went out to the barn again last night after work. I had a really good ride on Kaye. Work on some canter transitions, plus the counter canter work that's in the prelim tests. And then we worked on our laterals. I got a couple of really nice half passes. Woohoo!

Katie was out as well last night and we were talking about ways to raise money to buy the new truck and trailer we need. And we now have a plan. :) We're going to get Boyd Martin to come and give clinics at the farm. We'll charge people like $400 to ride with him. Plus we'll charge people to audit. Of course we'll fill the clinics because well he's Boyd Martin and people will come just to look at him. We'll have the money for a new truck in no time! Of course we don't have the money to pay him to come clinic, so I guess I'll have to take one for team and find something else for him in exchange. :)

So things are looking up, well at least I'm not on the verge of crying at work anymore. Hopefully the weekend will do more to improve my mood.


Rough Week

Monday, March 22, 2010

Well it's been a rough week. On top of my lack luster performance over the weekend, Monday afternoon I found out that I didn't get the job at Heritage Valley. I sort of ended up having a little meltdown in the middle of work. Luckily Chris was the only one to witness it. I just need out of this job. I hate getting up in the morning and coming into work. I have never felt that way about a job before in my life but I do now. Sunday nights I'm actually making myself sick because I dread going back to work Monday mornings. I really think that this job is the reason I had that ulcer last fall. I mean really why else would a healthy 27 year old end up with an ulcer? I'm just so sick of coming into work here and getting a ton of crap dumped on me while certain other people do absolutely nothing. And then like I don't have enough to do already I get all kind of other work dumped on me. I don't have time to do it all!

It's just all getting to be too much for me. I hate this job, I make no money. I get no recognition for any of the work I do. And of course we're not getting raises again this year. But everything is going to go up. Benefits are going to cost more. So basically as off July 1st I'll be taking a pay cut. I just can't do it. I'm barely getting by as it is. I can't do it on less money. And like I'm looking for other jobs, but there's nothing out there that I can do. All the HR jobs are either director of HR or HR secretary. I'm either not qualified or way over qualified. Not to mention HR secretary jobs pay next to nothing. It's all just so frustrating!

So Monday after work I headed out to the barn. Always good for cheering me up. I had a nice ride on X. He must have know I wasn't in the best mood cause he was a perfect gentleman for me. I still wasn't feeling really great so I tacked Kaye up and rode her a little bit as well. I have to say there's something very calming about a dressage ride in the near dark. It was after 7 at this point, and it was getting pretty dark, but I didn't really feel like turning the arena lights on. I wasn't jumping and I know where everything is, so I wasn't worried about running into anything. Jade and Annie were happily munching away on hay so they left us alone. Kaye was so good for me. We had a great dressage ride, worked on some canter transitions and attempted to work on lengthening the canter (as needed in the Training A test) It was just all very calming and made me feel a whole lot better.

Of course that was all ruined when I got out to my car and checked my voice mail. I called my mom back, big mistake! I tried to explain things to her. And she was basically just like well keep looking. And then she tells me that I can't quit my job until I have another one. No shit Mother! Like I don't know that! I'm trying to tell her how unhappy I am. I'm making myself sick with the thought of going to work every week and it's just like she doesn't care! Seriously I should have known better than to try talking to her.

Hopefully things will get better this week.


One Step Forward, Two Steps Back

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Well as good as last weekend had been, this weekend was decidedly less so. Stopped out to the barn Friday after work. Astrid and Ethan were still there bathing Jade. I spent some time with my ponies, cleaned Kaye's stall and gave her a good grooming.

Saturday morning I was back to the barn early. Tacked Bugs up for Bonnie to ride, but then before she could get on him the kids all started showing up. I lunged Rachel on Naughtie and then the two of us had a jumping lesson. I don't know what happened, but I just fell apart. I couldn't get things together. So we were back to jumping crossbars. That just sucked! And I felt bad for Kaye, I know she was looking forward to jumping big fences again. She did however get a nice bath. So Marsie is all sparkling clean. Which she quite enjoyed, she's smart enough to know that when she starts getting baths it's almost show season. I then started to fix the front pasture fence so we could begin turning horses out, but I only got about halfway around before I had to leave.

Sunday I was back out fairly early. Bonnie gave me a lunge lesson on Naughtie which was badly needed. I haven't had one in a while and I know my position was suffering. And I did ok until after we cantered the second direction Bonnie asked me to post without stirrups. I don't know what it was but something made my knee start to hurt like you wouldn't believe. I guess that means it's time to call Dr. Yakish for an appointment. Maybe time to try another Cortisone injection. We'll have to see.


Goals Update

Friday, March 19, 2010

Ok so I thought it would be a good idea to take a look at the goals I set earlier this year. See how I did on the January/February ones and then set ones for March/April.

January/February Goals:

1. Work on my laterals, especially off my left leg.

Well, I didn't do a whole lot of dressage work. In fact I wasn't able to ride for quite some time in February because of the massive amounts of snow that was dumped on us. That being said I am working on improving my own fitness and strengthening my legs. I'm taking a pilates class this semester and I began running again. I feel that will help to improve my laterals. We'll see. This goal will be going forward to March.
2. Start jumping again.
Needless to say this goal was a huge success. I think I can check it off the list!
3. Work to get Kaye cadenced at the canter.
As I am riding better and I have a better seat I think this is coming along. However I haven't specifically worked on it. So this will be another goal that moves forward to March.
4. Work with Naughtie to get her supply through the back and to lighten her sides.
I'm somewhat ashamed to admit that I haven't worked with Naughtie all that much this year yet. So no really progress on this goal.
Ok so going forward

March/April/May goals:
  • Work on my laterals, especially off my left leg
  • Work to get Kaye cadenced at the canter
  • Work with Naughtie to get her supply through the back and to lighten her sides
  • Continue to improve my jumping
After the last few lessons I've had I think I need to re-evaluate what my 2010 goals are as well.
  • 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) - Already making huge strides towards this
  • Get X out to a schooling show - Little bugger is going to Canfield in May
  • Consistently be able to jump 3' courses - Done! Feeling comfortable jumping one stride combinations at 3'+ Going to change this to 3'6"
  • Move up to Novice by the end of the year - very doable. Actually thinking of changing this to training by the end of the year.
  • Become solid at First Level with Kaye
  • Work with Twinkie both on the flat and over fences


Take Me Home Country Roads

So last Friday I had the day off from work. Yay for Spring Break! Which really worked out perfectly so we could take Little Cuddles and Buddy home to Maryland. Picked up Astrid about 5 and headed out to the barn. Started feeding the horses while we waited for Bonnie. By the time we got the trailer hooked up and the horses loaded we were on the road by 7. Not too bad for Bonnie time really. Pretty much the usual long, boring drive down to Maryland. We got to Sandy's about 1, got the ponies unloaded quickly and were back on the road in no time. We ended up calling Lee and meeting up with her in Monroeville for dinner. So we didn't get back to the barn until about 8. All in all not a bad trip. And Cuddles and Buddy are gone till next winter. Yippee!

Saturday morning I was at the barn early. Bonnie was going to ride Bugsy before the kids got there and I wanted to ride with her. So we fed early and then tacked up Kaye and Bugs. Of course we had just gotten on and hadn't moved past walking when Jim showed up to put hay in the barn. Kaye and Bugs went back into the barn so we could move hay bales. Took us about half an hour to do hay and then we could go back to the ponies. Bonnie had a good ride on Bugs. And Kaye wasn't too bad on the flat. Of course we had to spook at the Door Monsters that were hiding behind every door in the arena. After Bonnie finished with Bugs, she put him away and came back out to give me a jumping lesson.

Started over the single fence and then eventually added a second fence as a two stride. Jumped the two oxers. And then we jumped the first and second fence of the diagonal triple followed by the oxer, which actually rode very nicely. Then Bonnie raised all the fences a few holes and I jumped the in and out and the diagonal triple and then finally I jumped the two oxers. When we went back and measured everything, most of the fences were about 3'-3'3" and the one oxer and vertical were 3'6"! Woohoo! And I felt good jumping it all. I was a little nervous when Bonnie raised the fences but I jumped them all. I never said I couldn't do it. I never asked her to lower the fence. It was amazing!

Sunday morning I was back out for an early lesson. I had to leave early as I was going shopping with Aunt Sandy, Uncle Ralph and the girls. Tacked up Kaye for another jumping lesson. You should have seen her! She knew she would get to jump big fences and she was ready for it. None of the usual screwing around, she was all business. So we started out over the oxers first. and then Bonnie had us try an exercise where she placed a raised cavaletti in front of one of the verticals. The idea was to get Kaye to pick up her knees more. Well we failed miserably at that exercise. Kaye thought the raised cavaletti was a jump and so she just rode it as a bounce. Then we did the one stride in and out and then finished with the first fence of the in and out to each of the oxers. I had some problems with that. It's not a lot of room, only one stride and I was trying to wait until after landing to begin turning and there's just not enough room. Eventually we got it.

The best part about all this, I started thinking that if I'm jumping like this at home, it's really not fair to Kaye to go beginner novice at South Farm. So I think the first South Farm CT we will be going novice. And then training for the second one. I can't believe I'm seriously thinking of doing training level this summer, even at a combined test. I seriously never thought I'd actually be able to do it. It's really just amazing that I'm actually there. Can't wait to get to the barn tomorrow to ride again.



Thursday, March 18, 2010

Joni uploaded some of the pictures from our photo shoot two weeks ago. Love this first one. I just love it!

Normally I wouldn't publish a photo where I almost fall off. However I think this is just hilarious! The look on my face, Chloe in the background, the whole thing. Plus looking at the picture I'm pretty impressed with myself that I did stay on. In fact I picked up my stirrup and trotted around to jump the triple again.


More Video

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Just wanted to add my stadium round at Lost Hounds HT last June. Special K and I placed 4th in the Open Beginner Novice. Double clear on stadium and no jumping penalties on cross country. Optimum time had been waived for beginner novice after the morning of rain we had. Thanks to Astrid for the video.


The Lightbulb Has Clicked!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Saturday morning at the barn was the usual craziness. Got there early and cleaned the Pony's stall first thing. The kids started to arrive so I tacked up Kaye and warmed her up for them. Walk, trot and canter, she never put a foot out of place. We worked through our laterals, and she was just really good for me. Ari got on her then for a lesson. I ended up riding Miss later in the afternoon with Astrid/Mickey and Katie/True. We warmed up on the flat and then started through some cavalettis. After a while Bonnie set up a small vertical for us. After we jumped that a few times She added a second fence to do a one stride in and out. Miss's first combination in almost a year! And then we did the first fence to the offset vertical. Go Baby Girl! So now I'm definitely thinking that Miss needs to go to South Farm in May.

And then off course I rode X-tra before I went home as well. Little snot was not to happy about standing around tacked up while I rode Miss. Of well, he needs to learn to deal with that. He wasn't too bad for me. Very fussy with his head though. Not really sure what that was all about.

Sunday morning I picked up Joni and she came out to do a photo shoot. She was using Kaye and I as models for her final project for class at the Pittsburgh Art Institute. Now Bonnie had set up some new fences in the arena on Saturday. Like so:

The fences down the center are all one stride apart and then one stride from the third fence to each of the offset fences. The diagonal triple going across the arena was set up to be one stride as well.

So we start out over just a single fence, do pretty well with that. Then Bonnie has me jump the in and out. Eventually we work up to the diagonal triple. Kaye got a little too excited going through the diagonal triple heading towards the front of the arena. And she almost jumped me out of the saddle. Absolutely hilarious photo. The look on my face is completely just 'Oh shit!'

So Monday I had taken the day off to go to Blair's grandma's funeral in the afternoon. Of course the morning meant a trip to the barn. I tacked Kaye up for an early lesson. And that's when the light bulb clicked! The day before Bonnie had been after me to pick my hands up over fences. I really focused on getting my hands up off Kaye's neck, and everything else just fell into place. I was sitting deeper in the saddle, my leg was much more secure. Overall I just felt much more secure. And the best part was that I wasn't scared as Bonnie put the fences up. I had control after the fence, I was able to make tight turns to jump the offset fences. It was pretty amazing. By the time we finished we had the verticals up to 2'8" and the two offset oxers were 2'11"


Broadway ROCKS!

Monday, March 1, 2010

Well what can I say the weekend brought more snow! I am so sick of snow! Seriously can it not stop already? Anyway, Friday afternoon I left work early so I could get home in plenty of time to change for the Pittsburgh Pops Broadway Rocks concert with Aunt Sandy and Uncle Ralph. Well I later found out that it was only going to be Aunt Sandy and I as Uncle Ralph wasn't feeling too well. Of course it was snowing when we went to leave. Roads weren't terrible but they weren't the best either. Made it to Pittsburgh alright and into Heinz Hall. The concert was amazing. The soloists were incredible to listen to. The Symphony was fantastic as usual. And of course they did some of my favorite songs: Mama Mia/Dancing Queen from Mama Mia, You Can't Stop the Beat from Hairspray, The Wizard and I from Wicked, Oh What a Night from Jersey Boys, From This Moment from Jekyll and Hyde, On My Own from Les Mis, I am Telling You from Dreamgirls. And they finished the evening with Phantom of the Opera and Music of the Night. It was an incredible night and I'm so glad I got the chance to go.

No barn on Saturday as I had plans to go shopping with Mom and Dad since we had some coupons for New York & Company that were expiring. But Sunday morning I was back out to the barn early so I could ride with Taryn. We tacked up Bugs and Kaye and headed out to the arena for a jumping lesson. Kaye was feeling good, that's for sure. The evil Door Monster was hiding behind every door in the arena. And she just knew it was coming to get her. Or at least that was the excuse she used to try and spook at every single door. She actually only managed to get two spooks in, the rest I was able to talk her out of. Although I could feel she was just waiting for the chance. Every muscle in her body was trembling in anticipation. Getting to work helped to get rid of all that extra energy. Bonnie set up a one stride in and out for us. Then there was another fence set up to be taken as an offset two stride after the first part of the in and out. Unfortunately I let my nerves get the best of me. We watch Taryn go through it a few times and then Bonnie lowered the fences for me. After that we had a pretty decent lesson, I'm just mad at myself for letting me get to myself like that. I really was doing so well, and then that stupid surgery and time off really set me back.