Goal Review

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Alright I know, at almost the end of March I'm a little behind on my goal review.  But in my own defense, since my goals weren't really all that exciting I kinda forgot.  Oh well, better late than never.

January/February Goals

  • Ride more!
    • Success!  I have been riding Miss every week, and riding Kaye fairly often again.
  • Begin to develop a show schedule
    • Success again!  Tentative 2011 Show Schedule is up!  Of course it will probably change many times before all is said and done.
  • Start to budget for said show schedule
    • Well, didn't so much happen.  Of course I don't really like to think about finances (or lack there of) so that's probably why I avoided this goal.
So the next logical step will be my March/April goals...

March/April Goals
  • Start jumping
  • Start riding Twinkie and Naughtie
  • Work on developing my own fitness
  • Budget for 2011 show season
  • Study for PHR certification
I know you all are reading this and going "huh?  PHR certification, what's that?"  I've talked on here before about my job at Pitt.  I'm basically in an entry level HR job in benefits and it's going nowhere.  With state budget appropriations the way they are things aren't going to get any better.  It's time to seriously look for other opportunities.  I like working for the University, really I do.  But I need to do what's best for me, and at this point I really think that's going to be in the private sector.  I need all the help I can get though.  And the Professional in Human Resources certification will do that for me.  And even better, Pitt will reimburse me for the cost if I pass on the first try.  Which will be a big help as it's a $300 exam.  I'm scheduled to take the exam on June 23rd.  So I've got some serious studying to do before then.  And I need to keep it on my goals list even if it is non-horsey to encourage me to keep up with the studying.  You know how much I like to cross those goals off my list!


Walk/Trot Challenge

Monday, March 28, 2011

Friday night the plan was to head down to Mountaineer for an evening with my camera and some fast ponies.  However when I woke up Friday morning and saw the weather that idea got scratched for a few weeks.  Ended up being way too cold and I know that on the river after the sun goes down I would be freezing.  Hard to take good photos when you can't move your fingers.  So Astrid asked me to take her out to the barn and give her a braiding lesson.  We headed out to the barn about 6:30-ish and pulled Miss out so Astrid could practice.  I showed her how to do a couple and then let her try the rest.  She didn't do too badly for her first time.  And really she just needs to practice.  Once she learns to get the braids light and even she'll be good.  Poor Miss though, I think she thought she would be going to an event.

Twinkie didn't want to be left out

Not too bad for her first time

Saturday morning I head out to the barn early and we started the day by cleaning a few stalls.  Started with Kaye and Miss since Bonnie had turned them out in the arena.  And of course the goofy mares were difficult when Tabby and Sarah went out to catch them.  Then we turned Buggers out to work off a bit of energy so Rachel could ride him later, and we cleaned his stall while he was out.  By the time we finished with Bugsy, Rachel, Katie and Ari had arrived.  So Rachel tacked up Kaye, Katie tacked up Mystic and I tacked up Miss for a lesson.  Jumping lesson with Miss wasn't so great, completely my fault.  And I really don't know what my issue was on Saturday, I just had a mental block for some reason.  And so i feel horrible, I gave Miss such a bad ride and it wasn't her fault at all.  I watched the rest of Katie and Rachel's lesson and then Bonnie told me to put Miss away and get on Fanny to straighten her out.

Tabby and Sarah had tacked up Fanny to ride and well Fanny was being a snot.  Ari got on her first just to give her a little reminder about going into corners and things.  And then she put Tabby up for her lesson.  Well Fanny dumped Tabby.  So Ari got back on and Fanny did her best to get Ari off as well.  Didn't manage it, although she came pretty close.  But Ari just wasn't up to dealing with her crap.  Bonnie wanted me to get on her and make her listen, basically make her miserable if I had to until she started acting like the good little pony she should be.  I quickly switched saddles, put a martingale on her and hopped up.  I carried a dressage whip but actually never even had to use it on her.  I sent her right to the rail at a walk and in the first corner she thought about cutting it short, but she got a swift heel in the side and thought better about it.  Plus as soon as I got on her I shortened my reins up and actually took a hold of her mouth.  Which the kids never do, we keep telling them all to shorten their reins so they have contact, but the reins are always flapping with a big old loop.  Fanny and I came to an understanding a long time ago that she didn't intimidate me.  And it didn't take long for her to remember that.  After that she was so good.  We trotted around the arena with her ears perked and then followed Carlee and Kaye through the cavaletti.  First couple of times she tried to rush through because she's so used to the kids grabbing her with their legs, but after two or three times she realized that I wasn't putting any leg on at all and she didn't need to run through them.  Then Bonnie set up a tiny little crossbar for us to pop over.  It was so funny because I really didn't know what to do with myself.  Between the fence being so small and Fanny being so small (I felt like I was practically sitting on the ground after riding my big TBs) I was afraid if I got to far forward I would be on her ears.  So I just barely lifted myself out of the saddle and leaned forward just enough to get my weight off her back.  And Fanny responded with the cutest little hop over the jump.  Bonnie raised the fence a couple of times, nothing too big, but about 18 inches or so.  Bonnie made the comment about me setting the standard for all the kids to beat in the walk/trot division with Fanny.  So who knows maybe I'll be showing Fanny walk/trot this summer to challenge the kids to improve their own rides.  Could be fun.  If I ride Fanny again next weekend I'll have to have Astrid or someone take pictures.  It's got to be funny seeing me ride her.


Catching Up

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Alright, I know.  It's been crazy and I haven't had a chance to catch up on the barn/riding activities.  So that means this is gonna be a long one!  lol

Going back 3 (!) weekends ago, I had a great ride on Miss.  I started tacking her up when Rachel headed out to the arena.  That meant they were just starting jumping when Miss and I made our way out there.  So I did have a somewhat distracted Miss, but we handled it pretty well.  She's still not bending really great, somewhat stiff, so i know that's something we need to work on, but other than that she continues to amaze me.  She was forward and willing.  When I asked for the trot, she easily moved into a swinging trot.  And she was moving very straight, woohoo!  So we warmed up at the walk and trot while Rachel finished her lesson.  We did a lot of transitions, changes in direction and laterals.  And then it was time to jump.  I was actually riding in my Collegiate saddle so it would be easier on me to jump this time around.  I hiked up my stirrups while Bonnie lowered the fence back down and we were ready to go.  We got to jump a small vertical this time.  And Miss loved it.  First time through was pretty crappy on my part (as usual) but Miss was a rock star.  She's using herself so well over fences and she's just loving it.  We jumped that about half a dozen times or so and Bonnie bumped the fence up.  Which of course made Miss even more excited.  After jumping that several times, Bonnie bumped it up again.  But unfortunately I had one of my moments and we had a stop.  Rather than risk hurting Miss, we just dropped the fence back down and finished with that a few times.  After we finished Sarah measured the fence and we had been jumping 2'8" so just over beginner novice height.  Woohoo!  So pleased with my baby girl!  Of course by the time I took care of Miss and put her away I pretty much had to leave to get ready for work, so I didn't get any other riding in that day.

The following Friday I had off work for Spring Break, so of course that meant I headed out to the barn.  the plan was to clean some stalls, but mother nature had other ideas.  Between the snow and the rain, everything was pretty much mud behind the barn.  It was so bad trying to get the wheelbarrows through the mud to dump them.  So Kaye's stall got cleaned and then I gave up on stalls.  That's ok though, cause it was time for Spa Day.  Since Kaye was already in the cross ties I started with her.  She got a thorough grooming and then I pulled the clippers out and she got her bridle path clipped and all her whiskers trimmed as well.  That darned mare knows that it's getting close to show season and she's getting excited for it.

While I was working on Kaye, I was interrupted by a phone call from Sandy and I figured that since her ponies were going home in a week I better start to clean them up a bit.  So I pulled Buddy's blanket off, and first we headed out to the arena to exercise a bit on the lunge line.  I let him work off a bit of energy and then brought him back in the barn and started giving him a good grooming.  Which involved using all of my Cowboy Magic to untangle his mane.  GRRRR!  A while later he was groomed, clipped, braided and re-blanketed and back in his stall.

Finally I got to pull Miss out and give her a serious grooming.  It's been a while since she's had pre-show season day like this and she was loving every minute of it.  Started off with some serious time with the curry comb, and the hair was a flyin'!  So glad to see that, as she has been one of the last horses to shed the past few years.  Then she got her bridle path clipped and her whiskers trimmed.  And then finally I got out the pulling comb to work on her mane.  It still needs pulled some more to look respectable, but it's a start at least.  

Got to love how white that sock stays

Saturday, well that's when everything with Tru started, so it wasn't really a good day.  I did get a good lesson on Kaye though.  We had some great moments on the flat and some pretty good fences as well.

And then finally this brings me to this past weekend.  I took the day off on Friday so that we could head down to Frederick, MD in the morning and take Cuddles and Buddy home.  I got to the barn early so I could grain and water before Bonnie got home from work.  She stopped to pick up Astrid and then the trailer from Tammy's so it was about 8:30 by the time they got there.  Astrid and I groom the two ponies a bit while Bonnie was haying everyone and then we hosed their legs clean and loaded them in the trailer.  It ended up being around 10 by the time we left, a little later than I would have liked but not too bad.  Bonnie drove until we got our toll ticket on the turnpike and then we switched drivers so she could sleep a bit.  It was a gorgeous day for a drive.  We had the windows down and my iPod was plugged in the radio.  We stopped at Somerset for lunch, and of course I had to get Chloe lunch too.  lol  Finally we stopped at Hagerstown for fuel and bonnie took over the driving duties, which was fine with me.  I don't particularly want to drive the back roads to Sandy's place.  It was about 3 when we pulled into Sandy's.  After getting the ponies settled in their stalls we had a nice (brief) visit with Sandy before we piled back in the truck and headed home.  Bonnie drove for a bit in Maryland and then turned driving back over to me as she started getting tired again and I drove the bulk of the trip home.  We stopped on the turnpike for fuel and dinner and ended up making it home about 9:00.  Of course by the time we took care of the horses and I drove home it was after 11:00.  Oh and to make it even better.  When I went to get in my car, my right front tire was low, like majorly low.  Stopped at Kwik Fill and put air in it, and at that time I found the huge nail in the tire.  

So Saturday morning I had to first wait around until Smallwood's opened at 9:00 to have my tire fixed.  I was there early so I was the first one in.  And luckily they were able to patch my tire.  Which is good, I would have been pissed if I had to replace it.  That tire is only 2 months old!  It was going on 10:00 by the time I finally made it out to the barn.  We were running low on hay so first order of the day was to move some hay down from the upper building.  Since we didn't have Jim to put it in the hay loft we just put some in the barn.  X lucked out as Bonnie wanted to put a bale down by the arena doors, but she needed someone in that stall who wouldn't balloon out eating hay nonstop.  So Repo got moved and X went into that stall.

He's in heaven with the new arrangement.  So after we finished with the hay it was time to tack Kaye up.  I got on first to work out her spookiness.  And man was she feeling GOOD!  lol  As I was walking to loosen her up, we had to spook at the doors, all of them, every time we went past.  We had to spook at the very scary hay bales sitting at the far end of the arena.  Oh my god, how could I possibly expect her to work in such scary conditions.  Eventually I just pushed her into a trot, getting to work usually settles her down.  It was successful for the most part, Kaye moved into a forward, swinging trot.  She was relaxing and on the bit. We did some trot work, throwing in some laterals every so often and then asked for the canter.  As usual, she did pick her head up a bit at the canter, but she came back down on the bit when I asked, so I was pleased with that.  And she did a couple of really nice, responsive simple lead changes.  Then it was time to jump.  Bonnie had me shorten my stirrups even more than normal.  Usually I dressage with my stirrups on the 9th hole (give or take a hole depending on the horse) then for jumping I shorten them 3 half holes.  Bonnie had me shorten them 2 more half holes.  That's a big difference for me, a big difference for my knee really.  At that point I could definitely tell it was time for another cortisone shot.  Guess I better call Dr. Yakish.  

So stirrups shortened I was ready to go.  Bonnie had set up a smallish oxer for us (2'6"-ish)  And I was all over the place.  It was bad.  I was leaning on her neck, pinching with my knees so my lower leg was swinging waaay back, and then grabbing with my legs for balance so Kaye was taking off after the fence.  Time to try fixing this.  Reins tied in a knot and next time we go with no hands.  I'll admit it took me a couple of fences to get comfortable jumping with no hands again, I'm so rusty at jumping now, going so long without any lessons is not what I need at all.  After several times with no hands, I did get better with my upper body position, and my lower leg wasn't swinging quite so much.  So progress was made, not as much as I would like though.  I really need to step up here if I'm going to go training at South Farm in May.


Truth Be Told

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Not the post I wanted to be writing tonight.  X-Tra Pony and Windhurst Farm had to say goodbye to another dear friend today.  The past year has not been a good one in that respect.

Tru had been doing so much better lately.  With the regular acupuncture from Dr Maro he was improving.  His leg had been staying normal, well normal for that leg anyway.  And Katie was back to riding him.   He wasn't in work per say, but she was doing some walk/trot under saddle and he looked really good.  He was moving well, completely sound.  He was happy and enjoying life.

Thursday morning I guess the leg blew up again, although not as much swelling this time as in the past.  But Tru wouldn't put any weight on it.  He wouldn't really move at all.  He spent all day Thursday and all that night out in the arena with Pele and Annie.  When I got to the barn Friday morning, the leg was still swollen but he was moving better.  He was hobbling but he would move at least.  Before I left Friday afternoon, we fed and brought him in his stall.  When I left he was happily munching on his hay.

Saturday morning, he was fine when Bonnie fed.  But then about an hour later Sarah and I went over to that side to grab wheelbarrows, I found him sweating and shaking.  Called Bonnie over.  She called Dr Maro while I got a cooler on him and heated up some water (his water bucket was empty)  He was guzzling the water as soon as I poured it in his bucket which is very unlike him.  Sarah got him another bucket of water, and he wouldn't even let me pour it in his big bucket, he drank right from the smaller one.  He ended up drinking like 2 whole buckets of water then.  Dr. Maro was going to come out and see him, and in the meantime Bonnie went upstairs to throw him some hay.  Nothing wrong with Tru's appetite, he perked up as soon as he heard her walking across the hayloft.  Anyways, we figured the best thing for him then was just to leave him alone and see if he would calm down any.  So we got started on the barn chores.  Cleaned Airy's stall first thing so we could move Tru over there.  The stall itself is more level, plus we can keep a better eye on him.  Of course though it was slow going cleaning stalls, we could only fill the wheelbarrows about half full because the ground is so wet and muddy, anything more than that and you get stuck.  So I checked on Tru frequently, he wasn't getting any worse, so that was a good sign at least.  He was very unsteady on his feet, but he was smart enough to use the wall to support himself.  Which is good because I don't think there's anyway we could have gotten him up if he had gone down.  We got Tru moved over to Airy's stall, changed his cooler and gave him some more hay.  He seemed, content at least.  He was obviously in distress and uncomfortable.  But he still had a bright eye, and his ears were perked.  He looked for attention when we went in his stall.

I had to leave before Dr Maro got there.  But I did get updates.  Dr Maro diagnosed him with an infection in his leg and I guess he was doing a little better on Sunday.  But today he started deteriorating.  And Katie made the very difficult decision to let him go.  It was the right decision, as hard as it was to make.  She was with him, he was happy, and eating peppermints right to the end.  He was reunited last night with his girlfriend Jade, and know Vinny and Fatty were waiting for him as he crossed the Rainbow Bridge.

Good-bye Tru, you will be missed.

By the edge of a woods, at the foot of a hill,
is a lush, green meadow where time stands still.
Where the friends of man and woman do run,
when their time on earth is over and done.

For here, between this world and the next,
is a place where beloved creatures find rest.
On this golden land, they wait and they play,
til The Rainbow Bridge they cross over one day.

No more do they suffer, in pain or in sadness,
for here they are whole, their lives filled with gladness.
Their limbs are restored, their health renewed.
Their bodies have healed with strength imbued.

They trot through the grass without even a care, 
til one day they whinny and sniff at the air.
All ears prick forward, eyes sharp and alert.
Then all of a sudden, one breaks from the herd.

For just at that second, there's no room for remorse.
As they see each other...one person...one horse.
So they run to each other, these friends from long past
The time of their parting is over at last.

The sadness they felt while they were apart
has turned to joy once more in each heart.
They nuzzle with a love that will last forever.
And then, side-by-side, they cross over...together.

~Author Unknown


Eventing Chef d'Equipe

Monday, March 7, 2011

In 2013 Captain Mark Phillips will step down at the US Eventing Chef d'Equipe and Technical Advisor.  At the beginning of the year it was announced that applications were being accepted for the position and a lot of talk was made that the people most impacted by this choice would have a say in who the new Chef was was.  In other words, the riders would be able to have their say.  Well, as applications started arriving, I for one got very excited by the prospect of the new ideas that we would be hearing.  I know that I am not a rider who will be affected by this choice.  I'm just feeling my way around beginner novice and novice, I'm not a team rider.  But I am a member of the USEA and I am an eventer. I have always supported our teams, no matter who was named or how they placed.  However, I won't lie and say that I wouldn't love to be able to speak proudly about my medal winning team.  And let's be honest, lately we have not had a team that was competitive on the international stage.  Hong Kong was pretty much a disaster for our eventing team, other than the outstanding performance of Gina Miles and McKinlaigh.  At the World Equestrian Games, held right here in the United States for the first time ever, the team placed a disappointing 4th.  Boyd Martin was the highest placing US rider in 10th place.  And he only just became an American citizen a few years ago.  That should tell us something.  In 2010, William Fox-Pitt of Great Britain won the Rolex Kentucky 4* event, the year before it was Lucinda Fredericks of Australia.  The year before that it was Phillip Dutton, who although he rides for the US now, he originally rode for Australia.  Before that it was Clayton Fredericks from Australia, and the year before that it was Andrew Hoy also from Australia.  What is that telling you about the US eventing program?  To me, it says something is not working.  And I have many ideas on what that might be.  But that's for a later blog post.

So I was excited as news of who was throwing their hat into the ring began to spread.  David O'Connor, joint application of Phillip Dutton and Bobby Costello, Leslie Law, Jimmy Wofford, Andrew and Bettina Hoy.  The possibilities!  To have Bettina Hoy's dressage expertise for our team.  That is the one area that I feel our riders have always lacked.  We cannot compete (for the most part) in the dressage phase.  Or Phillip Dutton who has consistently produced top results, from both his horses and his riders.  Not to mention that he has many top horses going at the upper levels for years.  Obviously he knows how to keep horses in top competitive shape.  I knew all the applicants would have great ideas for the team and the future of this sport we all love so much.

And yet, last week, after so much talk of how the riders would get to choose, we were told that the short list had been narrowed to David O'Connor and Leslie Law.  Out of the nine applicants only the ideas of those two people will be heard by the Athletes Committee.  It's very disappointing.  Not that I have anything against the two applicants.  I am sure that both David and Leslie have great ideas.  And maybe they one of them would have been the rider's ultimate choice in the end.  But I firmly believe that if this was going to be the rider's choice, then the rider's should get to hear everything before making their choice.

I don't know.  I just know that we have the talent out there.  We have the riders and the horses that can compete on the international stage and be successful.  And I just feel that we are somehow settings ourselves up for failure by not giving a fair shot to all the options out there.


Pony Profiles: Special K, Part 1

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

When Maura started riding Miss I needed a new mount.  In came Kaye.  Kaye had been in our barn for a while at this point.  She had been competed through prelim previously and then came to us after an injury.  Kaye had a couple foals for Bonnie, and her last foal (Twinkie) had been pretty hard on her.  After we weaned Twinks, Kaye was sort of a mess, she had no muscle, needed weight, the whole nine yards.  So Bonnie had us start riding her a bit to try and build up her muscle.  At first it was...interesting.  I can remember one ride where Kaye literally tried to lay down with me on her back.  She just stopped in the arena and started to go down.  But even as she was learning to be a riding horse again, and a beginners horse at that, she always had that same 'mom' trait that Miss has.  She wants to take care of her rider.  And speaking as someone who has been plagued with confidence issues my entire life, this was so important to me.  Even when we were still figuring things out, keeping me safe was always her first priority.

The spring of 2003 another girl and I were sharing Kaye.  She took her to the first event in Maryland in March (I think)  Kaye was a mess that weekend.  We discovered that picky eater Kaye would not eat when away from home.  The same grain that we gave her Friday evening was still in her bucket Sunday morning.  She was also shedding her winter coat in the worst possible way.  She had huge splotches of missing hair.  She looked terrible.  We also discovered her inability to trailer without horses on both sides of her that weekend.  The show grounds did not have any stabling on grounds.  So we were stabled at a fairgrounds/racetrack about 30 minutes away.  The HT was set up to have all 3 phases of training and prelim run on Saturday and then beginner novice and novice on Sunday.  So Sunday morning we left Vinnie and Airy at the fairgrounds since they had both run the day before, and only took Kaye and Winston to the show.  We were being nice and gave Kaye the bigger first stall in the trailer.  Well she threw a fit not have another horse on both sides.  We could feel her kicking the trailer the whole way there.  When we got to the show, we had to remove the partition before we could unload her.  She had managed to give herself multiple cuts and scrapes in the trailer, all superficial luckily.  So we couldn't leave her on the trailer by herself, so I was hand walking her around the show grounds while Maura was riding Winston.

May 2003 was my turn to show Kaye.  And I made my recognized horse trial debut at Mayfest Horse Trails.   It was such a great experience for me.  Maura was running Vinnie in the training 3 day, so we were there on Tuesday I think.  Lots of time to get used to the show grounds and relax and everything.  I really feel so lucky that my first experience eventing was at the Kentucky Horse Park, it's such a gorgeous facility.  In between Maura's jog ups and other seminars I had a chance to do a lot of riding before the show started.  We hauled over to Masterson one day where I was able to school some cross country fences.  And I got several dressage rides in the rings at the Park.  I also got to hack Kaye around the Park in the evenings.  To this day I still count those hacks as some of the best rides of my life.  Just Kaye and I by ourselves, wandering along the roads and tracks course.  Finally Saturday rolled around and it was time to compete.  Our dressage test was pretty 'eh' all around.  I was way too tense and that translated to Kaye.  We did stadium in the afternoon.  And I got to ride in the Rolex arena!  Still one of the coolest things I've gotten to do.  At the time, they only used that ring for Rolex and Mayfest.  I was riding in the same ring that just a month previously hosted riders such as Pippa Funnell, Buck Davidson, Karen and David O'Connor, William Fox-Pitt, Kim Severson.  It was inspiring.  Of course, Kaye could have cared less about any of that.  All she knew was it was time to jump.  And apparently Kaye was missing her days as a prelim horse because she was adding imaginary rails to the fences and way overjumping everything.  But we had a double clear round.  Sunday morning was cross country day.  And unfortunately it had started to rain.  So I was a little nervous about running cross country in the rain as Kaye was not drilled for studs.  We still ran cross country, but I took my time and we had major time penalties.  But we jumped cleanly and Kaye took good care of me.  So in my book, it was a success!

We didn't do any other horse trials that year, my finances weren't quite up to it as I was a poor college student at the time.  But we practiced a lot through the rest of the summer and over the winter.  And in early spring we were ready to have at it again.  We started off the year in March at Middletown Horse Trials in Maryland.  They didn't have a beginner novice division so we were attempting novice for the first time.  Dressage was pretty 'eh' as usual.  And Kaye was pretty pumped for stadium.  But we had a good round, double clear.  Thank you rockstar mare!  The next day we headed out for cross country.  It was sort of a miserable day, very cold and windy.  And I'll admit I was a little bit nervous about running novice cross country.  Unfortunately we had a stop at the first fence.  Completely my fault.  Kaye is awesome and amazing but even she can't jump a fence sideways.  Circled around and did it right the second time.  After about the fifth fence, I realized 'hey this is pretty fun' and started to really ride.  By the time we crossed the finish line I had a huge grin on my face, and I think we only had a few time penalties.

We had a second outing that spring at Winona Horse Trials in May at the beginner novice level.  Finally we actually had a halfway decent dressage ride!  I had found what works for me.  Get on and walk for like an hour before I even start to warm up.  I had enough time with just me and Kaye that I could relax and get focused to ride.  We had a double clear stadium.  And the second day, we were ready to take on the cross country course.  We picked up a nice easy canter out of the start box and never looked back.  Actually, at the end of the course we had to circle before the last fence for almost a minute so we finished close to optimum time.  Kaye has no problems making beginner novice time!

Unfortunately that spring was the year I graduated from college.  And immediately after graduation I started working two jobs which meant I had no time to ride at all.  I don't even think I saw the barn at all that summer.  One of the other kids started riding Kaye a bit, took her to a couple of training level events.  Then in the fall, I quit one of the jobs after I started full time at the other and finally I had more time to ride.  I continued to ride Kaye throughout the winter and the next summer.  About that same time is when Maura started to ride Kaye to event her at the upper levels.  They did their first prelim event at Winona and then the following weekend Kaye and I did the USPC Dressage Rally at Grandhaven.

Towards the end of summer and into the winter, Maura started riding Kaye more and more.  And so that meant I lost the ride on her.  But I got the chance to start riding a lot of different horses so I'm not going to complain.  Besides we all know that wasn't the end of my riding Kaye.



Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Ok, as you can probably tell, I had a great ride on Miss this weekend.  I got out to the barn a little late Saturday morning.  The kids were already there and get Kaye and Fanny tacked up to ride.  Astrid took Kaye out for a lesson and Victoria was on Fanny, so I figured I would tack up Miss and take her out to walk with them.  For the past few months, as I've been tack walking Miss, I've been tacking her up in the dressage saddle.  Saturday was no exception.  By the time I finished tacking up and getting myself dressed, Astrid and Victoria were almost done with their lesson.  But I hopped on and started walking Miss around.  The kids all switched horses, Carlee got on Kaye, and Henry got on Fanny.  I continued walking Miss and asked Bonnie to set up some ground poles for us to step over.  So we did that a few times.  And then Miss heard something that was apparently very scary and she decided to spook.  Which of course for Miss is just sort of humping her back and bouncing in place, and she thinks she's bucking.  And I just laughed.  So I got her settled down, and walking again.  Bonnie has the kids start trotting and tells them to go ahead and trot through the ground poles.  And Miss spooks again. At that point Bonnie just told me to put her in a trot and let her work off some of that energy.  Now I haven't really trotted Miss much in the past.  She would trot like 2 circles and get very wheezy with her breathing.  But I figured if she got too bad we would just go back to the walk.  So we trotted around a bit, through the ground poles.  And then after a while Bonnie set up a baby cross-bar and told the kids to go through.  I just kept trotting Miss on the rail and Bonnie told me to take her through too, see what she does.  First time she was sort of just figuring it out, it has been about a year since she jumped anything.  Next time through, she just attacked the fence, power trotted through the poles and then really over jumped the fence.  Normally, a baby jump like that she just steps over, she has to get up to 3 1/2 -4 feet before she really starts to use herself.  Well she was using herself over this little fence.  I could really feel her snapping her shoulders and back over it.  The whole time her ears were perked and she was eager to jump.  She loved it.  And I was just laughing pretty much the whole time, I was so happy she was jumping.  We jumped that about a dozen times or so before calling it a day.  And Miss wasn't breathing hard at all.  I'm amazed.

Needless to say, Miss got lots of treats after we headed back into the barn.  And she got a good grooming and her tail put up in her snazzy new tail bag.  Sheet back on and she was tucked into her freshly cleaned stall with another can of grain.  Of course by the time I left the barn she was sacked out in her stall.

Other than riding Miss, I didn't get much else done at the barn, cleaned some stalls and helped the kids a bit.  But with having to work at 5:00 I didn't have much time.  Looking forward to having the 11th off, so I can spend all day in the barn while the kids are at school.