2013 Memories

2013 Memories

Monday, January 27, 2014

The lessons we ride for

Although we never really have a 'bad' lesson, our lesson tonight was extra fabulous! It was our first one back after our month and a half unplanned vacation due to abscess issues and we both agreed that it was some of the best work we have ever gotten. I have felt that over the last week our work has been getting really nice and to me it seemed like we were making good forward progress but I never really know until I have someone knowledgeable on the ground telling me, especially with the newish stuff we have started working on.

We started off by trying on our trainers old dressage saddle to see how it fit Pony and it seems to fit really nicely and unlike my current saddle it sits nice and even on his back (mine tips forward). An even bigger bonus to it fitting Pony really well is that it fits my leg so, so much better. Pony definitely showed up to play tonight and gave me some awesome work! One key thing that I need to really be conscious of is really making sure I get him carrying himself instead of me holding, or trying to, him up with my reins. Once I get him carrying himself he uses his hind end much better and doesnt try to swing it around every which way. Although I have gotten much better I still have the tendency to want take up on the inside rein to 'fix' our issue, when I am really just making it worse. The really fun part about tonight was that I could really feel the differences in everything we worked on and could really tell when we had everything put together just right!

He got a big gold star from his favorite teacher and I am already looking forward to our next lesson in 2 weeks! I have been online looking up show entry dates and such. Maybe we will be able to squeeze in a recognized dressage show before Heart of the Valley in May? So excited to show Pony 2nd level this year!

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Spa Day!

Pony got a much needed partial spa day tonight! He was staying nice and clean (except for his pee stains... dont even get me started on those!) while on stall rest but once he was released from jail it of course decided to pour down rain for several days straight. That means the pastures, especially by the gate, got muddy which in turn gave me a nice brown horse instead of white. Not only does his feather get nasty but the bottom half of his tail does also. I know it will just get all nasty again tomorrow but the more often I can wash and condition it the nicer, and less stained, it will stay. It actually cleaned up pretty decently for how bad it all was!

He has been working really nicely the last few rides. A few things are harder for him to do but overall I think we are improving. That being said I am so ready for a lesson so I get some thoughts on how to work through some harder stuff and make sure everything else is going as it should be! I have noticed how some old bad habits have come back since coming back to riding (such as pulling with my left rein too much) so I have been working hard to be conscious about that. It is hard to make your body do everything opposite of what it wants to do! But I think I am doing a good job. One big thing I have noticed is how the knee rolls on my saddle are really starting to interfere with my leg position and how effective they are, especially with all the new buttons we are getting. My legs are SO long its ridiculous. To all you normal sized people out there, be thankful! I have never had a saddle that fit my legs perfectly, someday...

Monday, January 20, 2014

He is the cutest

I had a nice relaxed bareback ride on Pony this afternoon. It was a gorgeous day here with the sun out and everything, an amazing January day! We hopped on and walked around the hay field a couple times with some barn buddies before hitting the arena to do a little work (I stress the word little because we really didnt do much). We did do a cute flying change and it was pretty easy too!

Lola is one of my favorite mares ever, and just happens to be a gorgeous blanket appy that has an amazing tail (for any horse let alone an appy!), and is a fellow boarder at NDF with us. Her mom and I ride together a lot and generally keep the barn fun and a little crazy haha. Anyways, we want to do a pas de duex this year together! Talk about a flashy pair. They may not match very well but they sure will catch the eye of a lot of people! We will see if we get around to doing one but I have always thought it would be fun. Not to mention we could have some pretty good music!

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Back in the swing of things

Finally I had a great ride yesterday where I actually felt like I knew how to ride! Pony was on fire and we got some really nice work (perfect timing since it was my birthday!). And there were foamy green lips involved by the end (him not me haha) which is really hard to get with him. We even played a little with some collected canter, simple changes, and even got a few flying changes. We have slowly started doing more and more work and he is coming back really nicely. He is also officially back out in the big pasture and is loving it.

"Did you say COOKIES?!"

I also picked him up some new grain (actually my brother bought it for him how cute is that) that I was recommended to try by my vet. It is low in starch and sugar but high in protein. It is expensive ($30/bag) but they only get 1-2 pounds a day so it lasts all month. He is still getting his 1 flake soaked hay at night, now has his new grain, and I need to order him another grazing muzzle since his last one bit the dust. Operation make fat pony skinnier has begun!
Chub a lub no longer

Last night was my 21st birthday so needless to say he will get today off work :) He desperately needs his hair done so I may just go do that. It amazing how much being outside in the Oregon mud for a few days can ruin a guys hair!

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Getting Back on Track

We are now 6 days back into work, 2 days back out in turnout, and all is looking good! Well Im sure that the riding part isn't looking so great. You dont really realize how much a month and a half of no real riding (I do ride an AQHA for a guy once a week but its western and is nothing like how Pony and I were working) does to you and your horse until you get back on. Talk about UGLY! Ok, he goes around fine and Im sure he looks worlds better than he feels but I feel like I have never ridden a dressage test in my life. You know, like those gamers that just flop around on top of their horse? Yeah thats how I imagine what I look like riding at the moment. We are both out of shape for the work so I try to keep the work hard enough that we are working for it but with lots of little walk breaks in between. Honestly its so bad that our down transitions are crap, he is throwing his body every which way, and he tries rooting the reins out of my hands so there are plenty of 'easy' things to be working on without worrying about pushing him back into work soon. It really is amazing how much correct dressage work can improve a horses gaits, it will be really nice once I have the same horse back pre-month and a half off!
A nice bareback hack

He gets serious hang time being so wide haha

He has been doing great with turnout also which I have been semi worried about. On Tuesday I turned him out loose in the arena after our ride so that he could have a little run/roll if he wanted. He is so cute, if I start right next to him and run he will canter behind me all around the arena. I was even doing roll backs and such and he stuck with me, adorable. Then just to be careful I asked if he could be turned out alone in a smaller pasture. The boys pasture tends to get rowdy and Mystic always get picked on/bugged by the other boys and is total low man in the group so I didnt want to risk just turning him straight back out with them. He will stay in the smaller pasture alone for a couple of days before going back out in the big pasture. One thing I have enjoyed about the stall rest is how clean he stays, for the most part! Its amazing how muddy he can get even in his full body armor blanket!
All dressed up to play in his Christmas new black dressage pad

I am hoping to get a lesson on the last Monday of the month to start helping us get back on track. Hopefully our rides until then will keep improving! Applications to be a demo rider at the Horse Expo for the dressage clinic are due mid February and we have to send in a video of us doing all our 2nd level work so we need to be back up to speed before then if we want to have a chance to go. Who knows if we would even get picked but it is worth a shot for a free clinic spot!

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Feels like home

Today was the day! It felt so good to get back in the saddle and in true Pony form he acted like we hadn't missed a day. We spent the majority of the time walking (mostly because Alanna came to ride and we were talking haha) but I figured that it wasnt bad to take it nice and slow for our first day back. We of course did some trot work also and I was impressed with how forward he wanted to be, for him, and seemed super happy to be back in work. I didnt push too much but worked on moving his body around at the walk by doing leg yields, travers, and working on keeping him in shoulder fore. He was super willing and was moving right off my leg.
That face though! And his gorgeous brow band. I already have my eyes on the next bead strands I definitely NEED!

I was very happy with how he felt and after our little bit of trot work we walked again for some time. I was probably on him for 45 minutes but we were walking for probably 35 minutes. Can I just say how much I love this horse? He has been in a stall for 1.5 months and I just hopped on and walked on the buckle until we were done talking, picked up the trot with no attitude or sillyness, then proceeded to cool out on the buckle. Not that I would expect anything less from him, but it is so nice to have a horse that I trust 100 %! What a good pony!

Saturday, January 11, 2014

The beast has been tamed!

Yes! Today was the first day that Pony has looked 99% sound on the lunge line! He is maybe a touch sore with his right front is on the inside, but if you didnt know him you might think he was fine, but boy was he feeling good. I also heard back from our vet and nothing major is going on! I think I forgot to mention this before but when she originally came out and was checking him out she noted to me that he might have side bone and that was confirmed with the X-rays. I guess it is super common in the draft/cob breeds and majority of the time does not cause any further problems. It is yet another reason to get his weight down (which is hard to do when you are sitting in a stall all day everyday). It is, however, a good thing to know about.

In the picture on the left you can see the abscess on the right side (darker portion). And in the picture on the right you can see the side bone on the upper right hand corner, it is pretty easy to spot especially if you compare it side to side.

 Im not really quite sure why there are cones set up in our arena but I was lunging him on a circle around them and as he trotted by one he got all sassy and kicked at it and got all excited. Normally I dont take too kindly to be drug around the arena, actually I dont take kindly to it at all, but he got a short pass today considering his circumstances. He tried pulling that trick again the other direction before I hard core shut him down and told him if I was going to let him stretch his legs he better not make me regret it! 

Currently we have super high winds (like blowing you over winds!) along with nasty rain and he was super good about all the commotion for it all despite all that pent up energy he had. Tomorrow I get to ride! We will just keep it to walking and trotting, after all he is super out of shape, but I plan on sharpening him up to my aids as after long periods of time off he gets really lazy and super heavy in the bridle. So he will be reminded that he does in fact know how to be a dressage pony!

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Since there is nothing new...

Since we are still in our beginning stages of getting Pony sound again I stole this from Karley at All In!

1: If your horse could talk what would they say? What would they be like?

He would be that pushover husband that doesnt really agree or want to do a lot of the stuff but does it just to keep the peace. He was definitely be the fat kid that only likes a select few people and generally rolls his eyes at all the stupid stuff people do haha

2: If you were a horse, what would you look like (color, markings, etc), what discipline would you do, and what would you be like to ride?

I would be a huge chromed out Warmblood that really stands out in a crowd (afterall I am 6' tall myself and get starred at all the time!). I would be a really competitive eventer (at prelim and below, I mean who needs to be an over achiever!) for the right person but personally I would not want to own me in horse form!

3: How many barns have you ridden at?

In my life? Im not sure, like 8 or 9?

4: What kind of bay do you prefer? (bright bay, blood bay, etc)

Dark bay all the way! Not the biggest fan of bright bays

5: Can you braid a horse's mane? Tail?

My braiding skills are getting pretty advanced... but I would never braid a horse for the hunter show.

6: Do you believe that you have to fall off in order to be a good rider? If you never fall off im not sure how you are having fun! I fall off mainly doing stupid stuff these days

7: What do you think is more important: eq or effective riding?
Effective riding. It would be really hard to have awful equitation if you are being effecting.

8: Are there any "horse couples" at your barn?

Barn owners... but the husband doesnt ride, just does chores. 

9: Favorite treat to feed your horse?Whatever he wants :)

10: Silly quirks your horse has. 

Ummm.... he unties himself? 

11: Strangest thing you've fed your horse.I dont know. I offer him anything that I am eating. 

12: Have you ever made any horse friends through the internet?
Yes especially "met" a lot of people when I was more into the feedlot rescues

13: Would you buy horse furniture?
Not sure. I wouldnt deck my whole house out in horse stuff but I would totally make a little girls room horsey

14: Funniest horsey moment

Too many. Like I said earlier, I do a lot of stupid stuff!

15: Post a picture of your horse (or any horse) making a silly face that you got on camera!

When I taught Tolo to smile!
16: What's a moment with horses that you wished you caught on camera?
Also too many to name. I have gotten pretty lucky with some moments with Alanna and her horses. I usually leave it up to her to entertain me.

17: How old was the youngest horse you've met?

I have seen a few births including Apollo (who I was originally going to get over Mystic). Loved this guy! He was actually born over a month premature and wasnt expected to live. He got tons of plasma within the first 3 days and ended up making it without any further issues! My cousins and I got to name him
The first two are when he was about 2 years old. I cant find the baby pictures of him and I :(

Apollos sire Sligo! He was my first Gypsy love and was an amazing stallion. Ignore me in the picture (did I really ride like that?!) but I was 14 or 15. Some of my best memories were of cantering him on the BLM trails behind their house. Sadly he was sold and had to be euthanized not long due to breaking a leg during breeding. Although I loved him he was a bit of a rapist when it came to breeding and was hard to manage, especially with other stallions present. Unlike Pride (Mystics daddy), who is a perfect gentlemen with everyone, Sligo was known for getting out of even the super tall no climb stallion fencing.

18: How old was the oldest horse you've met?
Mid 20s?

19: Opinion on colorful tack? (like red or blue)
Saddle pads, polos, browbands? YES!

20: Have you ever tried horse treats? Hay? 

Im sure as a kid. Afterall I basically lived at the barn with my best friend (whos parents owned it) from like 5-10 aka: when you do stupid stuff.

21: Have you ever felt like giving up on a horse?

More like realized he wasnt going to do what I wanted to do. He wasnt a bad horse at all just wasnt interested in playing the game of eventing. I have never wanted to give up on one due to naughtyness or anything (thankfully!)

22: Tell the story about the horse that you first felt "click" immediately with you (and if you can't remember, most recent)
I havent ever felt an instant thing but more like a bond overtime.

23: Ever ridden side-saddle? How was it?
No, not unless you count riding one sitting sideways while bareback, and never plan to.

24: Most interesting place you've ridden at
I rode Tolo across the highway and through a drive through ice cream place :)

25: What kind of horse do you like? (sport, stock, endurance, etc)

Sport horse for sure!

26: Do you feel like you have more patience with horses than people?

I actually dont have much patience but it all depends on the situation

27: Is the horse you ride very vocal?
No and I HATE horses that scream all the time. Like to the point that I would sell the most amazing horse ever if it screamed at shows/away from friends/pretty much any time.

28: Ever ridden in the sunset?

29: How do you like a horse's mane? (roached, pulled, long, etc)
It completely depends. I think Mystic would look awful with a short pulled mane but I think lots of horses look awful with a long mane. Basically any TB/sport horse I get its mane is pulled and short. But I thoroughly enjoy not having to pull Mystics!

30: What is your dream name for a horse? 
Honestly have no idea. There are a ton of really cute names.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Keeping it Positive!

Pony had his appointment this morning with the vet. It was easily the most frustrating and most encouraging and mood lifting visit! The verdict (yet again)? an abscess in the same spot  (aka: the super frustrating part!). Basically my farrier didnt do enough digging thus costing us many, many weeks. It was pretty nasty and smelled disgusting. We didnt even block him as planned because she went right to digging around and found the abscess almost immediately. After digging it out we trotted him on the concrete and wouldnt you know... about a 90 % improvement! Basically the abscess is right under the bars on his hoof so everytime he would put it down his bars would hit the ground therefore putting even more pressure on the abscess. Poor Pony!

I opted to do a coulpe views of xrays just in case, afterall we have already lost going on two months of work! He was a perfect gentlemen and stood still without sedation. I have to say he is handling himself remarkably well for his lack of turnout/work/anything that involves moving around! He is on antibiotics and his hoof will be packed and wrapped to keep it clean. I am waiting to get the xray results back to make sure there is nothing more but he will go back into light work once we get the okay!

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Fingers Crossed

Thank you all for your thoughts and prayers for Pony (and my sanity!). A lot of people have been supporting me through this frustrating time and it really helps. I am a pretty laid back no worry type of person but when my horse is broken I tend to leap to the worst case and think my horse is never going to be ridden again so it is nice to have people telling me all will be fine! Sometimes it is just hard to see the positive when you feel like everything is working against you.

Tomorrow morning the vet is coming out to block and X-ray. I should know where the exact injury is by the end of our appt but my vet will have to run to a vets office to develop his xrays and I have to run to school but hopefully I will get the results sometime tomorrow. At this point I just want to know what needs to be done! Fingers crossed Pony and I will be trotting down the centerline come May.
So weird how he changes from white/black to white/bay from winter to summer!

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Bad News Bears

Yup... starting the year off great with a lame pony. Although he had a grand time running around the other night with "his" baby he came out significantly more lame the next day. Xrays are being scheduled for this week, hopefully. With school starting and everything it might be a bit tricky but we will get them done soon to figure out exactly what we are dealing with. For now he will just stay on stall rest with no trotting at all. I havent even really hand walked him much, only bringing him out of his stall to hand graze and clean his stall. There has been some pretty scary stuff mentioned as the problem that I am praying is not the issue (such as fractured coffin bone aka: 6-12 months stall rest). With this kind of stuff I always think worst case scenario, which is usually totally off and im hoping it stays that way.

Missing this big time
It would SERIOUSLY suck to miss out on basically all of 2014 but I have kind of already prepared myself for it :/ Should he need a significant amount of time on stall rest im pretty sure I will just bring him home (pending my mothers approval) and keep him stalled here. It will save me money and I can keep a closer eye on him/do more with him. And since he wouldnt be allowed in a pasture I wouldnt have to worry setting anything up except his stall and a very small grazing area. Fingers crossed it is not, but it could be a very sad next 6 months for Pony and I.

Friday, January 3, 2014

Indy 500 Pony Style

Im not sure if I have mentioned her before but a good boarder friend is also currently dealing with a nasty abscess in her 9 month old filly leaving both our ponies jail bound. Mystic has been extremely good considering he has been in a stall for over a month now but he still loves to get a good roll in the arena after hand walking (I let him loose and he rolls). We have both turned our horses out in the arena alone to blow off some steam and Pony just rolls and hangs out by me. So last night I figured we could just turn them both out in the arena together and I was certain Pony would just roll and swore up and down that he wouldnt run, after all he is a fat out of shape pony! Boy did he prove me wrong! Mystic and Jolene ran like they were in the Indy 500 doing laps around the arena. I have never seen him play like that. It did make me nervous a little just because he is so much bigger than her but all was well. I finally caught him once he came running back to me because they had been running and running for quite a while and although I figured this would be a good soundness test I didnt really want to break him should it be something bigger. At this point if he comes up really lame today then I know I just need to have the vet back out for X-rays and if he isnt any worse then we will just keep on keeping on until it is all better. He got his whole fancy trot going on last night and he looked pretty good. Obviously it didnt hurt too bad with how he was running around!

Video evidence that Pony can run:
(Dont mind my commentary haha)

It was a good thing that I finished body clipping him just before we let them run! We then walked them around for about 20 minutes after that before calling it a night. Fingers crossed I dont have a lamer pony tonight.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

New look for the New Year

Even though he is still out of commission I started body clipping Pony again today so that when he is sound we are good to go! I first clipped him towards the beginning of November so we went just under 2 months, much better than last year when I had to redo him 3 weeks later because I clipped to early. I could definitely tell he had grown a decent amount but didnt realize how much he actually grew until I started shaving it off! I just did his neck and outlined all his legs so that I can just get to shaving tomorrow instead of worrying about how even he is, etc. Let me just tell you that clipping a fat horse is so much harder. I was happy to see that he hasnt been gaining too much but in the last week I have really noticed how fat he is again. It is so hard to deal with when he is on stall rest and cant be worked. His hay is getting soaked for all meals to reduce sugar/calorie intake but that is about all I can do for him at this point. Good news is I love my new clippers and they did a great job. I love how long they can go without getting hot and my horse doesnt look like a 50 lane highway! While clipping him I found these bumps he has just on one side by his withers and upper shoulder. They are obviously not from my saddle since that hasnt been on him at all. They dont bother him at all, its just strange.

He seems to be improving once again and is walking much more sound. Tomorrow will mark 1 week post fence jumping and I am so glad to finally be seeing improvement. Yesterday I even trotted him, after hand walking, to see if it would get worse as he went on or not. He is definitely still ouchie but it never got worse and he came out looking even better this afternoon. Maybe within the next week we will be good to go? I am having serious Pony riding withdrawals and need to ride him again SOON (you know its bad when you start having dreams about showing him).