Sunday, May 29, 2016

The Best Laid Plans

Friday night I hacked out with Finn to the Grounds with a friend and yet again, he had issues walking over the rocky service road that winds over towards the arena. We had walked this road once in the past and he had some issues - just very ouchy on the rocks. Suzie was also slightly ouchy that day (when we had hacked them together) and a friend of mine also commented on how the rocks on this road were much larger than in previous years.

On Friday, I ended up getting off of him and just hand-walking down the road after our ride. Despite the rock issues, we had a pretty decent school that mostly consisted of walk and trot - he felt pretty dead to the leg and I didn't want to leech any excess energy out of him since I had planned to take Finn to the Percentage/Clear Round Days the very next morning.

Finn, avoiding walking on the road.
The following morning I headed out to catch and load Finn (I had hitched up the trailer the previous night) just after 8 in the morning. He was a bit frustrating to load, as he kept loading up onto the ramp and into the trailer but would be out just enough that I couldn't do up the butt-bar. He would quietly decline my requests to budge forwards so I could clip it in, and several times just backed (very politely) out of the trailer. I managed  to get him loaded after several minutes and we were well on our way.

We had to make one stop to pick up a friend and her horse, then we were rolling into the grounds just before 10am. Finn unloaded well and settled into the grounds like he had been there his entire life (which, he has been there tons of times before!).

I tacked up and headed over to the Dressage arena to warm up before they started. Finn was reallllly sluggish - he tripped and crawled verrrry slowly over the rocks in the parking lot and in the arena he struggled to go forwards. I ended up dismounting and headed back to the trailer to retrieve my spurs. I had only planned on running through 2 tests and possibly 2 x-rail courses.

With the spurs on, his lack of energy didn't change much so I just decided to head over to the arena and figured what would be, would be. I didn't want to drill anything into his head because he was just tired - there was no cure for that and to spur the crap out of him would not be fair at all. We had done our stretching and flexion exercises and that was enough.

 A snapshot from our test.
 I was fourth to enter the arena and our test was OK - we certainly didn't school as well as we should have given Finn's lack of energy. Regardless, it was a very respectable test (in my opinion) and although there was a lot to work on, it didn't feel bad or discombobulated which is fantastic since this would be Finn's fourth "real ride" of the year.

The "judge" who sat in and scored the tests certainly thought it was a respectable test and we earned a 67.9% for our efforts. I felt it was quite generous, given some of the transitions we had, but it was also a pretty fair judgement of Finn's abilities. He has second level movements, so putting him in a training level test is easy as pie. Ironically, once we trotted down center-line, he woke up a bit more and I didn't have to nag him much. (Will attach picture of dressage scores later on... it's at a friend's house where I left my hoodie).

I felt pretty good after the test and decided to just watch the next few horses go instead of schooling more. As the rider before me was half-done her test, I hopped back on and started to walk around on the grass and Finn felt weird.... But then it went away... and then he felt weird again...

He still rocks it, sway back and all.
I halted him for a second, then asked him to walk. He stumbled and kind of hopped on his front leg weirdly... I continued to ask him to move forwards and that's when Finn's owner (who was there with her show horse) called out to me and told me that she could see something weird too. I dismounted and started pulling his bell boots and dressage boots off as another rider voiced it could be rubbing from the bells. There was no rubbing, no sores... nothing.

I walked him forwards and he stumbled, and then halted and he hung his front left up in the air. My mind started to race and I scoured over every inch of his leg and hoof - nothing seemed out of place. The owner told me to head back to the trailer and pick out his feet - perhaps there was a rock stuck somewhere. So I did just that and found a small rock stuck near his toe, but it didn't seem like it would cause that level of pain.

So I pushed and prodded on his frog with a hoofpick - IMMEDIATE reaction.

This boy had bruised frogs.

I immediately felt bad and stripped the rest of his tack before going and reporting the findings to his owner. We chatted for a bit about his hooves, and she confirmed that he had been barefoot his whole life, including throughout his competitive career. With that information locked away, we both agreed that bruising was a large possibility, as Finn has been pastured in a grass paddock for the last three years and has been ridden minimally for the last two years. We both feel as though Finn isn't used to walking over gravel/rocks and me riding him over the rocks on Friday night, plus being ridden quite a bit this week, his soles were just weak and painful.

This is how Finn feels about rocky roads.
Once back home - which was a bit disappointing since I had planned on doing so much more (what's that saying about the best laid plans?) - I unloaded Finn and set to work on fixing him up. He underwent a 20 minute cold hose, just to weed out any inflammation in his leg, a sore-no-more poultice to both front legs and a sore-no-more hoof packing to draw out the inflammation. I avoided giving him bute, since he wasn't four legged lame. He was painful, yes, but not hobbling along (save for when we walked on the gravel... he made his opinion known then).

This afternoon I headed out to check up on his hooves and he was much, much better. I hand-walked him over some gravel and he seemed normal again - he wasn't being super careful with his front leg like he had been the previous day and was stepping out normally. I also poked and prodded his frog like I had the day before and he gave no reaction. Just to be on the safe side, I packed both front hooves and wrapped them again and have started looking into hoof boots to help him out.

He'll be off until Wednesday to get the chance to heal from all the riding, as well as the bruising. Poor bubs <3.

With that being said, if anyone has a set of four hoofboots for sale (size to be determined... I have to remeasure tomorrow), let me know! I'd prefer a used set as opposed to new, since Finn isn't a permanent fixture in my life.

Friday, May 27, 2016

2016 Clinics, Fun Events, and Shows Schedule

Looking back at my previous post which outlined the fabulous year Suzie and I were going to have, I realized that a lot of the items I had put down would no longer be possible now. Some changes have been made, and as always, things are "up in the air" until I get the prize book and the classes are paid for.

Circa BVX 2014 on Tally

Horses keep us humble and you never know what may go wrong (Suzie proved that), so this is yet again, another tentative schedule for the 2016 riding season.

The "legend" will be as follows:
FUN EVENTS (This includes Percentage Days, Clear Rounds, Gymkhanas, etc). 

Percentage Day/ Clear Rounds
May 28th
Karen Clinic
June 6th – 10th
Kathy Stanley Driving Clinic (Terrace)
June 19th – 21st
Percentage Day/ Clear Rounds
June 25th
June 26th
Kathy Stanley Driving Clinic (Smithers)
July 8th – 10th
Totem Saddle Club Schooling Show
July 10th
Percentage Day/ Clear Rounds
July 16th
July 17th
Kathy Stanley Driving Clinic (Smithers)
August 19th - 21st 
Percentage Day/ Clear Rounds
August 20th
August 21st
Nechako Valley Exhibition Fall Fair
August 19th – 21st
Bulkley Valley Exhibition
August 25th -  28th
Finn/ Spud
Totem Saddle Club Schooling Show
September 2nd – 4th
Percentage Day/ Clear Round
September 11th
Kathy Stanley Driving Clinic (Smithers)
September 23rd – 25th

The Gymkhanas aren't a priority, but would be fun to attend with Spud, as there are classes for barrels, keyhole, and poles for driving horses in the year end shows. In addition, the clinician for Finn comes up once a month as circumstances allow, so there may be additional days to get lessons. I'm not too concerned at the moment, as I'll most likely chase down some lessons in July and August once Finn has some fitness and we're ready to refine everything.

You will notice there are a heck of a lot of date conflicts for the end of August - I haven't really decided if I will be going the "Fun Event" route, the "Show" route, or the "Clinic" route just yet. And all of that depends on how well Spud is going. If Spud is NOT ready for the Nechako Valley Exhibition (NVE) I will have to decide if I'd rather clinic him or just putz Finn around at a fun day working on Dressage and Jumping. The same goes for mid July - assuming the Totem Saddle Club schooling show is a-go.

Sharing showing tips, perhaps?

The list above is more for me than anything - to reflect on dates and see where I want to be heading. I did nix off the IPE for this year, as it's a long ways to go and show and the class prices are considerable - especially if I am going to be showing a green driving horse. 

Fingers crossed things work out and I can get to as many events as I can this year - I won't need to borrow a trailer anymore so that's a huge plus (and advantage)!

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Two Rides In

Thus far I've put two consecutive rides on Sir Finnegan (has a nice ring to it, right?) and I've been blown away by his sheer honesty each time. Be prepared for some serious word vomit. #sorrynotsorry.

Our selfie game is strong.

The first ride I put on him was the day after he arrived at the barn and I actually wasn't the first to ride him - gasp!. A non-horsey friend and I had planned on a little trail ride together and she was actually supposed to ride Suzie. However, Suzie acted like a fucking moron whilst being tied (because omg Finn is closer to Spud than me and Spud is my baby!!!11!) and I decided I liked my friend enough that I didn't want her to die should Suzie act a fool.

So after tacking up and helping my friend up onto Finn, I swung a leg up onto Suzie. It would be my first ride on the red mare in nearly a month and as much as I was excited to ride Finn, I was totally smitten to be on my Suz again. My friend voiced that she felt bad that she was riding Finn, but I was actually SO happy to be on my little demon mare, even if we were just walking.

Finn was trying to be friends with Suzie, but she
gave him a pretty good mare-stare.
In truth, Suzie didn't do anything bad - but a beginner rider would have just amped up her antics. I don't play into her little petty bullshit, so she settled almost instantly but I didn't want my friend to have to deal with the quirks.

And Finn? Finn was a saintly creature. He packed my friend like the good pony he is without any objection or any rude behavior. We walked through the subdivision over to the Fairgrounds where the riding arena is. We passed several trucks, garbage cans, the garbage truck itself, and a tractor - all evoked no response from Finn (Suzie gave a slight side-eye at the tractor, but she was also well-behaved).

She is smiling with mixed emotions: fear and happiness, I think.
His first ride in a new place, with new people, and a total beginner on his back to boot? No problem for this guy.

Once at the grounds, which was a mere 15 minute walk away (which is why Suzie tagged along... it wasn't too far and I felt confident she'd be ok for a little trail ride) I jogged Suzie half a lap and loped a few strides before tying her to the fence. She felt pretty good - still slightly lame - and her ears perked while she loped on a loose rein. It made my heart hurt a little bit, and I itched to do more than just putter around. But instead I tied her up, gave her some pats, and adjusted my stirrups to get on Finn.

Once mounted, I just did some quick work of w/t/c. He was malleable and supple in my hands, but I found that he was really behind the leg in some instances. In the canter, for example, I really had to support him with my outside leg - but I suppose being out of shape and lacking fitness would do that. Still, I had an excellent and productive ride. It was quite short (about 25 - 30 minutes) because my friend was sitting watching and I felt bad, and also because this was Finn's third ride in an entire year, so I didn't want to push it.

A video still of one of our better moments.

He had a tendency to cross-brace to the left, so I really over-played the inside bend and he got better as we continued. The basis of everything is there, it's just more or less uncovering that fitness to get everything refined - 'cause in case you didn't notice, Finn's got a pretty big barrel at the moment (lol)!

After I had finished a light schooling, my friend popped back on and wanted to try trotting him. So while I gave her some instruction, she went for it and she also managed to get a hang of rising trot! I was pretty ecstatic for her considering the last time she rode was on one of my lease horses who sadly passed away (nearly six years ago).

We meandered back to the barn, wherein Suzie turned into a fire-breathing dragon of fucking rage. Her head was in my lap for the first half of the walk because damnit, mare wanted to walk as fast as she could to get home. Finn, however, was slower than molasses so it was a bit frustrating trying to keep them going the same pace.

My friend shot video to help me look back and review on and while I am pleased with it, I am also a bit disappointed. A horsey friend of mine keyed in that riding him conservatively isn't necessarily a bad thing, as I don't know him very well so it's not "bad" for a first ride together. As we start to figure eachother out and form more of a relationship, it'll piece together quite nicely.

But still, I wanted to amp up the expectations a little more for our second ride. I made sure that I had more of a game plan in my mind of what I wanted to accomplish with him vs just prancing around the arena. I still am figuring out what needs work, what buttons to push, and how hard to push (for now).

For the purpose of achieving some semblance of real schooling work, I had gone out with the intent to school more forward, more connected, and more bend. All relatively "beginner" things, but with Finn being out of work for so long and being so new to me, I didn't want to over-complicate it or push him too hard. I wanted to get a rough cut Dressage test put together and a feel for how manipulative he'd be and how willing he'd be to dig in and get the work done. We won't be schooling anything like lengthenings, collection, lead changes, or the like for some time so it'll be boring (but important) stuff for a while. Forging a working relationship is the basis of a good Dressage test, and the more complicated things will come later on.

Two red-heads are better than one.

Due to the fact that I was having a young autistic girl coming out for another little ride around on Suzie (I swear Suzie is safe. She just has serious opinions and melodramatic antics that only other red mare owners can appreciate), I hooked up the trailer after work and loaded Finn and Suzie to help cut down on time hacking over to the Grounds. Finn loaded great - as did Suzie (but I expect that from her) and the funny part was when I unloaded Suzie (my thinking was that if I unloaded Suzie first, it may "show" Finn how to unload) and Finn stood there... stock still. He neighed and whinnied for Suzie who was tied to the trailer, but protested to stepping back and out. It took about 5 minutes of convincing him that he was not dying, there really WAS nowhere to turn around (he kept looking around and at me like "I AM TOO BIG FOR THIS STALL LADY", and Suzie really didn't care about him.

He finally unloaded and his face when he cleared the ramp was full of rainbows and sunshine. "I backed out and NOW I CAN SEE THINGS!!11!"

The world is amazing, dude.

I rode Finn first, as Suzie's little rider would be arriving a bit later.

We schooled a decent 40 minutes with numerous breaks in between and it was a much more productive ride than on Tuesday. I found that shortening my stirrups by a hole really helped my leg connect solidly with his barrel and I was able to keep my heels down much better.

Real geldings have curves.
When your boyfriend has a rockin' beer gut.
After a warm up which involved stretching out his topline and trotting a few circles, I started to introduce serpentines with walking steps in the center of the arena to refine a bit more of our transitions. In fact, the entire schooling session was about transitions. He lacks a bit of balance to the left, which is also MY bad way so it doesn't make for a good combo. I could feel when I asked him to transition from canter - trot that I kind of just dumped him and he fell into a bracey, rigid trot instead of just coming back lightly. We re-schooled it where I vocally reminded myself what I wanted to achieve and it came out much, much better.

The walk - trot transitions are still a work in progress, as Finn was starting to figure out the exercise and would brace against me once I started to take up contact at the walk and bounce into a trot. So we played around with walking quiet and me taking up slack gradually with him still obeying and walking on.

I also ran through a mock-Dressage test and I found that the down transitions are really our enemy at the moment - altho again, Finn hasn't been ridden outside of trail rides and little jaunts down the road in about a year so that fitness is not there. He can't physically support himself just yet and as a rider, even with trying to help him balance and support him, it isn't 100% yet. BUT, we will get there.

Media from our ride the day before.
Note how I was struggling with my stirrups -
putting them up a hole helped tremendously.
In doing the mock-Dressage test, I also ran through "entering at A, halting at X" a few times and he was pretty good in that area. He did want to pop up in his poll during the walk - halt, but I schooled that separately and it improved quite nicely. I did find that when things started to get tough for him (ie. he needed a break) he would duck behind the contact quite badly and breathe like a dragon, so we took breaks as necessary but once or twice I pushed him through that habit, as I didn't want him to think that he can just duck behind me when he's tired. He responded quite well, as I just closed my legs on and loosened my reins more to encourage him to stretch his topline forwards and down instead of curling up and hollowing. A few steps of stretchy trot and then I brought him back into the contact, came down to a walk, and patted him.

All in all, I am VERY pleased with him. I'm still figuring him out and he's still figuring me out, so it'll be a bit messy, but I already feel 10 steps ahead and excited for our prospective future.

This weekend I have decided to enter us into a Percentage Day/ Clear Round fun day at the Fairgrounds in the next town. It's a very casual, low pressure event and would be great to get us out and see how we can manage ourselves with a crowd watching. It also means that I'll be jumping him for the first time (nothing big - just trot poles and small x-rails).

OH, and for anyone wondering? Suzie was the perfect angel during the therapeutic ride she gave - even whilst another horse was in the arena running a barrel pattern.

A guy friend of mine asked "Why does the little
one have a little mouthy no-no?"
Both horses loaded and unloaded just fine (Finn is really starting to get the hang of it) and Spud was more than relieved to see his BFF's home for the evening.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Spud Slays Another Trail

I had meant to post about Spud's killer conditioning drive back on Sunday, but I was too excited about Sir Finnegan joining the herd. Sorry, Spud.

I loaded up the horse trailer and the Boyfriend and I hauled into town with Spud, parking at one of the recreational facilities which backs onto a myriad of quad and vehicle trails. The goal was simple - get some good conditioning work in. I didn't care to have any kind of bend, perfect head carriage, or anything of that sort. I wanted Spud to put in some decent mileage, be cautious of his footing, and be able to make his own decisions when I couldn't provide him with a concrete answer.

And he didn't disappoint.

Not bad considering both the Boyfriend and myself were in the cart. (I do realize some people are going to say "That's so mean, omg, minis are only meant to carry one person at a time in the cart... blah blah blah". I will preface by saying that Spud's trainer, the one who broke him to cart was a large lady. He had no issues pulling her around safely. And in addition, Spud is not a small miniature - a lot of "A" style minis are 28" or so while Spud is a towering 36".) /endrant

Spud did really well - we covered a lot of different ground, including sand, some water crossings, and rocky terrain. He did have more of an issue on the rocks, which made my decision to get him some booties a bit more solidified.

Other than that, he was game for whatever I threw at him - including one of the largest water crossings I've ever asked him to drive across. Pony plunged in and didn't look back - good boy.

He trucked along at a trot for most of the drive, save for some instances where he came down to a walk when the trail got a bit tricky and he needed to be a bit more refined. There were some parts of the trail where he chose the best route and I allowed him to. It was refreshing to see him figuring it out and calculating the distance he'd need for the cart - he was such a shy little thing that he's now blossoming into a pony who can make his own decisions. #don'tneednoman

It was also quite windy during the day, so Spud didn't sweat much save for his ears, a bit on his chest, and under the tack. Since the Boyfriend and I didn't complete the loop and instead, veered off trail to finish at the MIL's house, I fed the pony carrots while waiting for the Boyfriend and the MIL to return with the truck and trailer from the recreation facility.

Insert carrots here pls.
We finished off the inpromptu drive in town with going up to my Grandma's house and having Spud climb up the stairs onto her deck while she fed him apples. She cooed over him and told him how handsome he was and then she immediately decided he was filthy and gross when he slobbered apple juice all over her deck. Sorry, grandma. 

Oh, and since the Bad Horse Lunging Session the other night, I haven't had an issue catching him since. In fact, he has even been walking up to me and patiently waits to be haltered. Good little pony. Maybe now we can focus on refining our turning and working on a mock cones course like I had planned a few days ago.

Monday, May 23, 2016

He's Hereeee! (Picture spam!)

I do have some Spud blogging-media to share, but it'll have to wait because Finn is here!!


 The boyfriend and I went to pick him up late this afternoon and Finn was great loading up into the trailer, even considering Finn's owner wasn't sure if he had ever hauled in a straight haul. It took a bit of convincing that the ramp was not floor-lava, but it wasn't anything particularly malicious - mostly a "Uh...what is this for?" He hopped on without much of a protest, however, and hauled great.

He unloaded alright - he was a bit confused about the whole backing out thing but I popped open the emergency escape door and pushed on his chest saying "back" and he figured it out.

Meeting The Red Mare

Finn's stallion neck and Suzie playing coy.

Suzie is like "MOM OMG ITS A BOY"

There isn't much to report - the meeting between Finn, Suzie and Spud was melodramatic at best, and didn't involve anything exciting. Spud is fascinated by Finn and followed him around like a lost puppy. Poor Finn wasn't quite sure what to do with the small tumor he had following him around, but managed to nibble some hay and find the water.

The Red Trio
(Don't worry, the halter was removed)

"Wait for me, friend!"

Suzie wasn't very happy with her BFF Spud becoming a BFF
with Finn.

Spud seriously would NOT leave Finn alone.
Also yes, Finn is tubby, haha. He's been "off"
for a over a year.

Finn and Suzie are just chilling and Spud is just being super annoying.

Tomorrow will be a riding day, so I'll have more exciting news to share. For now, enjoy the photos!

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Spud Has Opinionz.

Much like the mad mooles featured on Andrea's blog the other day and the ever-expressive Courage, Spud decided to have some srs opinionz yesterday afternoon.

I had bathed both horses to get the rest of winter fluff, dirt and grime washed away (and also because I will be clipping Spud later today). Since I didn't want to turn either of them back into the paddock where there is fantastic rolling-size patches of dirt, I temporarily fenced them into the front yard.

Not wanting Spud to eat much grass, I waited until he was mostly dry and then kicked him back into the dry-lot and left Suzie to munch away. After putting away the bathing supplies and picking poo, I decided to do some cone-work with Spud in the back pasture.

And this is where the games started.

Spud decided he did NOT want to be caught. Like - at all. I'd LOOK at him and he'd take off galloping and grunting.

If any readers remember my previous post about pet peeves, unwillingness to be caught is high on that list. Previously, Spud has been a bit more difficult to catch but it usually takes no more than 2 minutes to get him haltered. Yesterday, however, was the worst I have ever seen him.

In truth, I was starting to get seriously pissed off about 10 minutes into chasing him so I figured I'd better grab the lungeline because hooking him up to the cart while I was in a bad mood would do neither of us any favors.

Note the bucket on the far left...
I had set them up to drive thru them as cones...
That plan obv did not come to fruition.
After 30 fucking minutes, I caught him. And only because he went down along the dead-end of the fence-line and had nowhere to go.

He was immediately thrown out onto a large circle and for the next 30 minutes, lunged quite vigorously.

And ironically enough? The fucker wasn't even tired. He could have trotted for days, I think. His eyelids, chest, and ears were sweaty, but he didn't seem too lathered.

I finished walking him out and then tied him to the barn while I groomed Suzie and fly-sprayed her down. He cocked a leg and started to snooze, which immediately made me feel bad about making him work that hard.

Hopefully this is the last of whatever kind of rebellion he chalked up in his head, because I prefer to have productive work rather than arguments and the like.


At least Suzie is cute?

Thursday, May 19, 2016

And There Were Three

Blog-land, meet Finnegan.

Pls do not pet me.
I'll have to crush all of your dreams though and declare that Finn is only a lease situation. He is the definition of school master and a girl I know through riding has been gracious enough to offer him to me for the next several months. 

I haven't really advertised it on the blog, but I did go and look at a horse a few weeks ago and had some "prospective buyers guilt" and it brought up a lot of unanswered questions, remorse, and sadness over the whole Suzie retiring thing. It felt weird, but I couldn't get away from the thought of buying a horse fast enough... And there was a second horse I was looking into who is a province away. Unfortunately, he was out of my price range to begin with and I just didn't feel like it was the right time to pursue a new horse. 

Everything is still so fresh with Suzie and I think adding a new horse to the mix would just be a bad idea. 

So I decided on the next best thing; a free lease situation.

In his younger years.
 It wouldn't damper my expenses (and save for a prospective new horse), would allow me the ability to continue to ride, and would allow me to continue to ease my aching heart a bit. 

I posted a Facebook blurb a few nights ago and didn't really get many 'hits' until Finn's owner messaged me stating she would consider leasing him out. I explained my riding plan for the rest of the year and Finn's owner figured we'd be a good fit. 

I went out and rode him lastnight and despite being very out of shape (he hasn't been ridden in a year and a half), he is SO honest and willing. He is a very quiet guy (and by quiet I mean sleeping in the cross-ties quiet). His owner did mention he has extensive training, so all of the "buttons" are there, but it will take some serious fitness to uncover them. 

Shortly before he was retired to the life of leisure!
He seems like a really, really cool dude that I could learn a lot from. He is well travelled and has shown quite a bit. Also, he has the biggest ears ever.

He is older (21) so will require a careful and meticulous plan to bring him back into work safely and appropriately. 

And that's fine by me. I'm just ecstatic to have something to ride.

The details of the lease and such have to be solidified and Finn's owner is going out of town for a few days, so once all of that is out of the way, Finn will be "coming home".

I'm excited.

So excited.

Can you imagine?

Three RED HEADS in the same pasture?!

That's the dream, people.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

We Do The Water

Post-ride and post-rain storm.
I've noticed that I only really drive Spud when the weather is good - meaning sunny, warm, and dry. There isn't much wrong with that other than the fact that it doesn't really prepare Spud for hacking out in the rain. You'd think that it wouldn't make much of a difference to most horses, but some take great offense to getting hot and sweaty when it's raining and having water droplets drizzle into their ears. I figured it would be a fantastic schooling opportunity to get him out in the rain, as well as schooling some water hazard practice. With it being so hot and dry lately, there isn't much out there for water crossings or puddles.

 Spud was really great during the hack out - I played a bit more with his collected trot and lengthen. He really doesn't understand the concept of collecting, or why he has to keep pushing off his hocks but go slow. He figured it out pretty well, though. I also found he was starting to settle more into the contact - he'll fight it for a few strides and if I just stay constant and soft, he stays with me.

We trekked through a few puddles, at both the walk AND trot... GO PONY GO! The first few puddles he stopped, lowered his head and snuffled at the water before walking on. With the trot, he'd lower his head and let his lips touch the water while he trotted through.

It did start to pour on us, and he seemed pretty unphased by it, which is good. I have noticed that he shakes his head during the trotting and wasn't sure if it was due to his hair - which is why he got a stylin' do for the hack. It didn't seem to improve or worsen, so I've ordered a ear net to see if that will help him. It isn't disturbing to him and it isn't violent - in fact, no one really notices it but me. Just one of those quirks, but I'd like to see if I can help him out a bit. He is quite sensitive about his ears being touched regardless, so perhaps the wind and such floating down his ear canals bothers him.

The rest of the hack was uneventful, save for when we started to head home. Spud decided it'd be a great time to keep breaking into trot despite me wanting him to walk. He got a great dose of "NO" from me, and he worked quite well after a very minor hissy fit. He did, however, become a bit of a piss-head while we were trotting back home.... He likes to try and evade the contact when he gets pissy and will literally curl his head into his knees and cock his head to the right. I did a lot of "give and take" with him to get his head unfurled but also keeping his pace even.

It took a little while, but he settled back to me and I was able to work with him again. He kind of floated between that "I'm DONE" and "Ok fine I'll work with you" mode. I realize he is green, but it's time that the ante is upped. Unfortunately for him, it's time to grow up and that includes becoming more of a "Yes ma'am" pony. Sorry, bud!

Also, Soooozie says "Hi"!

Sunday, May 15, 2016

When You Haven't Jumped In Years...

...and a friend asks if you want to jump her semi-neurotic jumping-machine of an Arab who hasn't jumped in months, remember to really *think* about your answer.

It started out harmless, but Fly isn't very adjustable between the jumps and being a very nervous ammy, I certainly didn't help him out. I haven't ridden anything as large as him (16.2) in the past five years, so adjusting myself to his HUGE gaits was a change in itself. 

So while I haven't jumped anything serious in about five years, I somehow got a gigantic set of lady balls and agreed to play around with a xrail to a two stride oxer.

Admittedly, I did have a lot of fun when they were itty bitty crossrails. Fly was quite disappointed and decided to over-jump pretty much everything. Note my defensive riding because I wasn't sure what he'd be like for me.

I played around a bit, trying to get some adjustability between the fences and get him listening but he would flat out just fine and then see the jumps and immediately BOOK IT to them.


"Hold on, lady"


And then... I decided to try and get him a bit more obedient to the fence. He would literally power down the fences, cantering two strides and just powering over the little 2' fence.

Unfortunately, this resulted in Fly getting massively pissed off with me instructing him to jump over the first jump, circle out and back to the second jump. He decided that the next time we went down the line to brace into the contact and take the two stride in ONE stride and LAUNCH HIS FUCKING ASS over the second jump.

We have a situation...
After landing, he threw his head down and pranced up with his front end in a half-hearted buck. And if you can guess, I stuck it out for a few strides before I popped over his shoulder and stupidly clung onto the reins and as I fell, I yanked Fly off balance and he stepped on my left leg.

The bruise isn't as impressive as it was the day after it happened. Perhaps I'll stick to quieter mounts during my foray back into the jumping world?

Friday, May 13, 2016

Happy 23rd Birthday, Suzie

Queen Mare <3
I had intended to celebrate by showcasing photos of her wearing a party hat, but apparently nowhere in town sells anything like that anymore. Her actual birthday was yesterday, but due to not being able to find a party hat and the Boy's Brother's bday being on the same day... I wasn't able to get the pictures done.

So today, I figured I'd make her into the proper Queen she already is.

The Boy being was my photographer <3

After a month, I clambered on up and it was heaven.
Even if we were just standing there.

Happy Birthday, sweet old mare. Wishing you many, many more <3