2013 Memories

2013 Memories

Friday, March 28, 2014

Pictures!

I am currently on vacation but have gotten good reports from back home about Pony :) here are some pictures from last weekend at the Expo, they came out super good!







Sunday, March 23, 2014

Perfect Weekend!

This is going to be a long one, but here we go! What a great weekend we had at the Horse Expo! After a long day at the barn yesterday getting him all bathed and packed we hauled out to the fair ground last night. Both ponies settled in great and after setting up his stall and getting situated I took him for a nice walk in the arena just to let him stretch his legs after standing in the wash rack all afternoon. As usual, there were no issues and both ponies were happily munching their hay and had drank water. Horse like these two making traveling and showing so much less stressful!
All settled in!
This morning I headed out and took him for another walk around the place where he of course had many fans watching him. He is usually a personable guy but he was all about being right by me and just hanging out all day. He even wasnt munching on they hay in his stall because he was pretty sure the longer he looking at me all cute the better chance he had of coming out to hang with us, adorable! Just before 1 our favorite helper showed up with some braiding string that I had forgotten and she got to work putting up his forelock while I re braided his mane. We tacked up, hopped on, and walked the ponies around outside since the the warm up arena was super crowded and figured that Dolly would probably warm us up anyways. While we were walking around Dolly actually came out and introduced herself so we got to chat with her a little. She was very complimentary of our horses already and said that all of them already go on the bit (the topic of this session) so asked us what we would like to work on. Mary (our wonderful trainer) also pointed out to me that Dolly will actually be one of our judges at Heart of the Valley in May, it will be fun to show her our progress.

Because when we had talked to Dolly prior to our session she had noted that all of us had mentioned some struggles with, or involving, lateral work that was a main focus of our session. The cool part about our group of horses was that we had Mary and Rheiny (showing 4th level), me and Pony (showing 2nd level), and a western dressage lady (I think showing 1st?) so between all of us we were able to show the audience the different stages of of movements such as the half pass and flying/simple changes. We started with all 3 of us on a circle, with Dolly in the middle, turned in facing her and had to leg yield our horse on the circle. She was very complimentary of Pony and kept telling everyone that he was just showing off! One big point that I took away from today was that I need to be more in tune with my position in our lateral work, well in general too but really in lateral work. The horses want to follow your weight and if you are asking your horse to move off your left leg but are also sitting to the left you are making your horses job much harder. After moving into the trot we did some shoulder in where she noted that tracking right she would like to see more bend (already know that!) but tracking left she was pleased. After showing the audience going down the long side she had turn in to face them and do each movement so that they could really tell the difference between them. We then moved on to the travers along with the half pass. Pony pretty much has solid travers and Dolly loved that right off the bat I was really riding him on 4 tracks and made a special point to say that is exactly how I should ride it. Next up was the half pass, Pony and I haven't done much of it but recently have really improved on it at home. We didnt get nearly as nice of a half pass today as we do at home but because of how we were having to show the audience we were coming onto it at an awkward angle (and not how it would be in a test). Dolly still said that we have a good start and although we didnt have enough bend to put in a solid 3rd level half pass she said she has no question that we will. Along with making sure we sat straight, or slightly towards the direction we were asking our horse to go, she also got onto us about keeping our eyes up. She said it is a super common habit that people who ride alone get because in her words "People think staring at their horses head will make them go around better!". I didnt realize how much I try to look down until she kept saying to look at her. It is definitely something I will try to pay attention to more and make a better effort at not doing. After doing our lateral work we got to move into the canter. She said he has a nice rhythmic canter but that she would like to see him moving more uphill and knew that it was a constant battle for us and said to just keep working on it. To end the session we did a few changes of lead across the diagonal. Mary got to lead the way with her pretty flying changes and the first time across Dolly had us just do a change through the trot where she complimented our nice steady transitions. For the second time across we did a simple change where we had a nice canter to walk but I didnt set him up well for the walk to canter and ended up getting the wrong lead before correcting it. Our final time through she wanted us to do two simple changes across the diagonal. We have never done this before and I was super impressed that Pony laid down 2 seriously nice ones! Dolly was very impressed and said we had beautiful simple changes that would have scored really nicely! Our hard work is paying off!

Waiting to get braided, he loved checking out his sign.
At the end she complimented all three of us and said we were all very nice balanced, coachable riders and she wanted to take us all home with her :) She told me that Mystic is a very nice horse and will do very well at 2nd level. Everyone loved him of course and he had fun at the end walking along the outside fence stopping and saying hi to all the kids sticking their arms up. We actually had quite the crowd watching our session by the end with the stands full and many more standing. Alanna texted me and told me she got 700+ pictures of today so I am sure there will be many to follow once she can go through all of them!

Alanna sent me a few to tide me over :)

Getting some love after a great, hard ride!


All hosed off and ready to be braided for turnout. He was hamming it up for cookies :)


Friday, March 21, 2014

Back to normal and just in time

Let just say that our rides this week have been less than stellar and has had me just a little worried about this weekend. And when I say less than stellar I mean the worst rides we have potentially ever had and all in a row. I was beyond frustrated and was at a loss as to why all the sudden we were having so many issues doing basically anything. Some friends asked if maybe he was hurting but he didnt feel different and was happy to go on a stroll down the road but after train wreck ride #3 I started to question things. I even stuck him on the longe line just to make sure and he was totally fine, ears perked and doing his normal pokey I dont want to move act. On that note I decided to just have a nice easy and relaxed bareback ride yesterday as I was really not feeling up to really riding and obviously I needed to change something (and soon) that I was doing.

This morning I headed to the Expo with Alanna and some more friends to hang out! We did some shopping (the sales are getting pretty lame there but I picked up a new dressage whip, some bit wipes, and some boot polish for my new tall boots) and some watching, it was super fun! If anyone ever has a chance to go watch Chris Cox, DO IT! We saw him here last year also and no matter what discipline you ride he is super fun to watch and you really see results in just a short amount of time. I could never do what he does as he deals with some pretty crazy people (and their just as crazy horses). Along with showing dramatic results he is also super hilarious. He is one cowboy I would put on any of my horses!

After going to the Expo (and work... ewww) I headed out to ride Pony, praying all the way there that we would have a decent ride. And... we finally did! Although he is a really good boy, he definitely knows when I am frustrated and then he tries to throw all of his new found dance moves at me at once which is even more frustrating! It is something I need to work on and be mindful of but sometimes I forget that because rarely do we ever have rides like we were having. Underneath his fat boy exterior he is just a big sensitive teddy bear :) I am excited to hear what Dolly has to say about us on Sunday. Then early Monday morning I am off for a family spring break trip and his Auntie Alanna will take the reins for a few rides while I am gone!

Monday, March 17, 2014

5 Weeks Straight

Yes, starting at DevonWood in the Spring Pony will have 5 straight weekends of something to do/somewhere to go! Or more importantly I will have to wash him 5 straight weekends haha. Here is a brief layout of our next couple months:

March:
Expo this weekend!

April:
DevonWood in the Spring recognized show
Professional photo shoot
Welsh Pony Open show (going to be babysitter for Emi and will do the few english classes they have)

May:
Adult team competition dressage show
Heart of the Valley recognized dressage show

June:
One day event (@ BN)
Inavale (@BN)

And between all that finding time to hit the beach, haul out to different trails, and going XC schooling (though we may be winging the one day without ever schooling this year.. uh oh!). Its going to be one busy beginning of our show season!

Saturday, March 15, 2014

One Week

One week left till the Expo and Pony is feeling great! Yesterday we had a great dressage ride and I could really feel when we were getting correct work and when I knew for sure we would get a nice change or lengthening. Our changes from right to left are definitely harder than left to right but once we got a decent one I called it a day. We had one gorgeous (it felt anyways!) change out of a super nice canter going from left lead to right. Our lengthenings are coming along, now that we have more speed/collection control in our canter I can really feel the power of him pushing off when I first ask him to lengthen. His bend in our shoulder in is continuing to improve and our trot half passes are really coming along now that he is starting to understand what I am asking of him. He is a horse that really tries super hard for you, which is really nice until you install all these different buttons and he starts throwing all his new found skills at you while trying to figure out what you are asking! He really enjoys throwing his haunches every which way to avoid really sitting and pushing with his hind end, not that I can blame him it is hard work!

Todays set up (my advanced computer skills show up just about now.....)

                                                                                                                         
____Vertical______   


___Crossrail_________







___Vertical_______





_____Crossrail__________


Today we did our once a week jumping day which was a blast, as usual. We set a 2 stride down the long side, a cross rail right down the center line, and a cross rail on the opposite side of the 2 stride on the far end. We played with some pretty tricky stuff, and stuff Pony has never done, and I was happy with how he handled it especially since it is our 2nd time back jumping! Obviously we kept the fences small but what it lacked in height it made up in technicality. We started off trotting the cross rails and progressed to jumping the line. Pony was really strong and excited today which is both really nice and really not so nice. That being said we had quite a few nasty spots and ignored half halts ;) I love having him so ready to jump but would love it even more if he paid attention just a little bit more HA! After going through the line we did some pretty decent bending lines from cross rail (on opposite long side of the 2 stride) to a vertical in the 2 stride and advanced to a too-short-to-be-bending-line where we completely sliced both the cross rail (set down the centerline) and the vertical from the 2 stride. He was confused the first time through and I didnt ride it well but we got it the next time. We have not done any type of jump work like that so it was nice to feel him thinking about what I wanted and figuring it out. After jumping we walked the ponies out down the road to enjoy the beautiful weather we have been having!
Please note his awesome camo vet wrap!

After untacking I got to try Ponys new EquiFuse products on him! I just did his body, mane, and tail today but I have never had his hair feeling that amazing after washing. It was SO soft and nice! It didnt do much for his stains but I didnt really think it would, they are pretty set in at this point. I am going to pick up some Orvus this week to see if I cant get them all cleaned up for the expo. Overall I am really happy with how it worked and am hoping it will keep his hair better conditioned throughout the week so it isnt all dry by the time I re do it. So far it gets a gold star! While I was washing him one of my friends (who grew up in the hunter world) was horrified by Ponys ear hair so she clipped them for me. I am really bad at doing, like really bad, and she made them look so good! +1 for the hunter princesses, even though she events now!
Ignore his wonky stance but not to shabby considering I didnt wash his feather at all

More awesome camo 

The grass is always greener... you can see the strip they have grazed haha

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Sidelined

Monday night Pony and I were supposed to have a lesson but that plan quickly changed when I got taken out by a huge guy in my basketball class at school that morning. It isnt anything major, a seriously deep bruise across my whole thigh, but I knew that I wouldnt be able to use it like I would need to for my lesson so I opted to hand the reins over to our trainer. It is always fun to watch him go around like a dressage pony, he is so cute! I was back on him yesterday but just bareback stuff to get him out after a hard ride on Monday. Hopefully we will be back in business tonight!

That hair needs help!

I bit the bullet this morning and bought him a starter pack of EquiFuse, a whole hair product collection that all my Gypsy friends swear by. A trainer that brought some horses up from Cali to attend the State Fair breed show last year sell it and were having a 20% off spring sale so I figured I would give it a try. I also just sold my pair of breeches that didnt fit so that money was already sitting in my paypal begging to be used, obviously :) It was definitely a lot to be spending on shampoo but I have seen the result first hand and it is supposed to last for quite a few washes. It is supposed to be a 'must have' for people who have horses with lots of hair. Plus I am pulling my hair out dealing with getting him all cleaned up. I dont think it will help with his deep stains that he thought would be fun to give himself but who knows? It will be fun to see how well it works, now here is to hoping we get it in time for the Expo!

Saturday, March 8, 2014

The return of the jumping pony

Today was Ponys first day back jumping since probably around September when we had our bee incident in the field. I am totally for not over jumping him and giving him the winter off from it to focus on our dressage. If you think about the long run he only has so many courses and dressage tests left (hopefully we have a lot still!) and anything I can do to help make those numbers higher, I will. He has taken to jumping SO well that I dont feel like we need to school it hard all winter either. I was interested to see what he would do today and like usual he didnt disappoint. It is actually perfect because one of my friends at the barn is just starting to bring her mare back into jumping after a long break due to an injury so we set up our cute little baby jumps and hopped over them together. Both horses were amazing considering the circumstances! We were all a little rusty (us riders were way worse) but after a couple times over the cross rails we all started getting back into the swing of things. We just set a 4 stride line down the long side with a cross rail and a baby oxer along with a cross rail on the diagonal that we could also use as a bending line back to the other cross rail. The jumps were small, simply set, and very underwhelming for our first time back but it was nice to have both of them act like they have been doing it all along. Pony even brought his changes out and everything! I could tell that he was happy to change it up and get back to jumping as he got more and more excited as we jumped. I kept it short and sweet to make sure not to over do it.


We are planning to jump at least every other weekend, if not once a week, together which should really help Ponys fitness. The nice part is that we are both starting over and are in no rush to raise the fences so we can jump together without jump height changes at all. We know that our horses are totally capable of jumping BN fences quite easily so now we just focus on bringing them back slowly and safely until they are in better shape! Tomorrow will be a nice easy bareback ride to give him a day off before our lesson on Monday! Only 2 weeks till we ride with Dolly at the Expo!

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Temperament over talent

I was just feeling extremely thankful tonight (actually it is every night!) for Pony and how honest and consistent he is. I never have to worry about that cooler on the chair in the corner of the arena that wasnt there yesterday, or the discolored spot on the wall, or even the dogs running around the corner across the side with only a half wall. Every ride I know what to expect from the minute I take him out of his stall. And let me tell you that Pony has been on fire recently! He feels amazing and continues to feel better and better everyday. It really is amazing how much good training can do to a horses gaits. The difference between his movement when I am riding bareback/bridleless versus doing dressage is amazing.

I got my tall boots in the mail today and I love them! Even with the tall height they are still too short but nothing less than custom boots would fix that. I rode in them tonight and really liked them. Now Pony and I are all outfitted and ready to hit the centerline. I am SO excited for show season to start and we are starting it with a few weekend shows in a row. I just found out tonight that we got a team together for the ODS Adult Team show which will be a total blast! Talk about a tired pony!

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Short Lived

Thank God that Mystics funkiness was short lived and he now seems back to normal. I am sure he just tweaked something while doing something he doesnt normally do. After all he is still a fat drafty pony!
He got spoiled for a few days with some lineament rubbed on his hind legs, his Back on Track hock boots, and tucked in his blanket in his stall with a big pile of hay. I got him out and walked him each day and threw him on the lunge line to see how he looked. He was not ever super obviously off, which made it really hard, but last night I got some new eyes and we both agreed he looked totally fine. He went out in a small pasture by him self today and when I came out to ride he felt great! We just kept it short and did a lot of walking to warm up/cool down but I think he is back to normal. SO thankful! I still think I will have his new acupuncturist out to see him as it cant hurt anything and I feel much better about acupuncture vs chiropractic work at this point.
You cant see it well but he is rocking his new red/white/blue brow band :)


I also got my new full seat breaches yesterday so I took them for a spin tonight! I have never ridden in full seats before and I even got the sit tights which are super sticky. I mean if you want your butt stuck in the saddle these are for you. I was not a fan when I first put them on and tried to get on my horse and promptly got stuck with my leg partially over the saddle but then they got stuck and Mystic started walking away and I quickly hit the dirt HA! Luckily I was in the arena alone, it was pretty embarrassing! Once I got riding they felt much better and I really liked them. I think after a few more rides they will be perfect! Now just waiting on my tall boots to arrive later this week :)

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Trouble in Paradise...



You can never be 'on top of the world' too long when you have horses, as you all know. Pony has been working really nicely and we have continued to have great rides all week! Sadly that ended today :/ I headed out earlier today to spend the morning doing a little hair care and was greeted by the barn owner saying how thankful she is for Mystic. She went on to tell me that she turned her horse (a 2 year old who when they turned him out in the big boys pasture last time got ran around until they put him in another pasture and called it quits) out with the big boys today, who are quite naughty and try to pick on Pony also, and one of the head honchos started making a beeline for her horse. Shockingly, to everyone as Pony is the total low man out there, Pony full on galloped to get between the mean horse and the 2 year pushed the 2 year old out of the way and proceeded to chase the mean horse away. The mean horse is very persistent and kept trying to get to the 2 year old but everytime Pony would fly backwards hooves flying to protect the youngster, how cute is that?! Mystic doesnt do as much as lift a hoof when they pick on him, but instead just tries to get away from them, and they had found their nice happy place where they were not bugging him as much but they must have really ticked him off this morning! Go Pony!

Sadly as I went to get on him this morning we knew something was wrong immediately. Right when I got on and asked him to walk he gave 2 little 'bucks' and clearly was not happy. We continued to walk on a long rein but he just didnt feel normal, nothing super obvious but he just wasnt happy and both Alanna and I could tell he was not comfortable. I hopped off, took his tack off, and through him on the lunge line to have a look. We both saw some weirdness in his hind end but couldnt pin point which hind it was. It definitely looked like something up higher rather than lower. Obviously I didnt work him but instead just walked him around on the ground for a little bit. I am really hoping he just pulled something while protecting Pants out in the pasture as it is muddy and he could have easily slipped. I tucked him in his stall with some hay, put some Sore No More on his hind end, and gave him some bute. Of course this would all happen the week after getting accepted to the Expo and sending in my show entry... fingers crossed for a quick recovery! Trying not to panic just yet!

We also got some conformation pictures today for my school project. These urine stains are the bane of my existence. Alanna found a potential fix online so that is on our list of things to try. Worst case I will resort to using the while horse spray paint stuff at shows until it goes away.


Pony is looking C.H.U.B.B.Y. Whoops! He actually is (or was) getting better and has been back into harder work until today. Also I am on the hunt for a new dressage girth as all the sudden he has a rub on one side under the girth area. I found a really nice one that is 50% off but still has a price tag of $75. Pony is a wreck right now! Doesnt he know that he has already spent all my money between show fees, membership fees, and tack so we are ready to show?!