Monday, September 26, 2016

Getting Screwed

Literally I got all screwed back together.  I am doing fine.  I had surgery 2 weeks ago and all went well.  The first few days were really rough but after that the pain started to subside quickly.  At a week post-op I was pretty much pain free when I was resting with my foot elevated.  That’s a great thing after nearly 3 weeks of straight pain.  I am happy to be off of all narcotics and now take the occasional dose of acetametaphen.   I think I would be off of pain meds completely had a not had a minor set back by falling a few days ago.  I instinctually attempted to catch myself by putting weight on my leg.  Pain shot through my leg and I then face planted onto the ground skipping my phone across the pavement.  My leg has now started to ache again and some of the pain has returned but otherwise I believe I didn’t do any lasting damage.  No lasting damage to me.  My phone on the other had is a total loss.  I have had it a total of 6 weeks.  It’s not really been my month. The same evening of my fall my goats and kids were also attacked by a swarm of ground bees, getting stung several times.  Thankfully though there was no lasting damage was done.  But still universe you can stop now.  You win!
I guess I never mentioned we have goats now.  2 Nigerian Dwarf does.  They are entertaining to say the least.

The boredom is as awful and miserable as one might think and the fall just reemphasized my fears that if I don’t get my inability to sit still under control I am going to do more damage than good for myself.  Elaina has started riding Steady a bit here and there to keep him working at least minimally.  I have been considering leasing him out so he can stay in work.  But it’s not likely that I am going to find a 6 month lease over the worst months of the year.  I have potential interest in a year lease but then that just screws me over.  Ryan says I should share Lego with Elaina.  I am not sold on that idea.  And could I really trust anyone not to screw up my horse?  Doubtful.
The view from my spot on the couch.  She is like Snow White in the wooded forest :)

Summer, it was so much fun and a lot of chaos.  I am grateful we at least had a really good summer before I was grounded.  It can pretty much be summed up with Pony Club, boat and Jetski activities and all American family road trip vacation.  Can I really complain?  Ok yes I could actually complain for a good amount of time about how it’s not fair.  That I want to compete and after so many years of putting everything on hold finally everything was exactly where we needed it to be to have a really successful end of season at Novice level.  But who wants to read paragraph after paragraph of my pity party?

Thursday, September 8, 2016

The Winds Have Changed

Things were all going my way!  Finally after this long term plan of school and establishing my career to then be able to pursue my passion and fulfilling goals.  Just as soon as I finally burst out of the gate ready to conquer the world.  The area 8 Novice world at least.  We were ready.  Our dressage was balling our XC was on point and our Stadium was finally at a place where it was mostly controlled.  We hit our one schooling Event before we were to head into the fall ready for USEA events.  I even, for the first time in my life, joined USEA for myself and for Steady (talk about a wasted $130).  I had two entries filled out and ready to mail with coggins copies  printed and ready.  Then life decided to make my plans a great big joke and just laid me out.

I was not able to write about this until today.  The reality of all of it was just too much for me to bear emotionally.  But I've been doing my best to work through the emotion and get down the practical reality of what my life will look like for the next several months.  So what is it that has set me back?  Well here is the story:(get some snacks, its a long one)

Saturday late morning my 3 girls and I went on a trail ride.  I decided to ride in my dressage saddle because my stirrup leathers on my jump saddle were being borrowed by E.  This is relevant to the story that is why I point it out.  The weather was beautiful.  Such a perfect day.  When we entered the woods we heard a chain saw.  Figured the neighbor was downing some trees.  As we got farther into the trail we saw that was indeed the case.  There were a couple newly downed trees.  Which of course the horses were a little snorty at, but walked past completely uneventfully.  Everyone was well behaved.  We stopped over at the neighbors house for about 30 minutes to visit then started making our way back.  We came around the trail on a different route then we passed the first time around.  Steady stopped and froze when he saw the downed tree.  I let him look for minute and kicked him on he moved forward.  When we approached the tree I initially was going to walk around it.  At the last second I thought, "I want to jump that log".  I trotted a few strides.  Steady reluctantly popped over it then  upon landing came to a complete halt.  Being in my dressage saddle I had no forward stability like I would in my jump saddle. I fell forward onto his neck and he balked at that a little.  I knew I was coming off immediately because of my loss of stability when falling forward.  I got myself upright he bounced left and I did a flying dismount off his right side.  I say flying dismount because I knew I couldn't help coming off but I also knew it was slow enough I could control it.  I came down landed on my feet but mostly on my left foot.  As soon as my feet hit the ground I heard a snap and saw my left leg just above the ankle go completely 90 degrees.  I knew immediately I had just broke my leg.  From that moment forward it was like an out of body experience.  I am sure it was the shock of it all that kept me going.

First thing I said was, "No way I just broke my leg"  I then quickly grabbed my foot and put it back straight.  I could not stomach looking at it sideways.  I then said, "girls you need to get my phone, call your dad and tell him I just broke my leg and I need help fast."  I guess it was the fact that I knew I needed to get myself and the girls out of there before I could let the reality set in of the amount of pain I was in.  Because I kept thinking, wow this is really bad and I knew in my head that it hurt like hell but I didn't actually physically feel very much pain. I was extremely calm.  Macy pointed out that I am the one with my phone.  Elaina had immediately dismounted and grabbed Steady.  Steady BTW was just as shocked as all of us that I had come off.  Last time I actually came off of Steady was over 4 years ago and only 2 times in 7 years have a come off of him.  Then for something so completely uneventful he did not see that coming.  He didn't really do much of anything.  Definitely not anything that should typically warrant a fall and by no means a fall bad enough for that kind of injury.  Anyways, I get the phone and decided to call Ryan myself then there couldn't be any miscommunication about the problem or location.  My words on the phone were, "Ryan I broke my leg really bad.  You need to come get me as fast as you can.  I am down at the shooting range.  I am  not joking.  Are you going to come?"  He said yes and I hung up.

The wait:

To add to it Lego got a big horse fly on his butt.  He was panicked and started spinning in circles.  Elaina tried to stop him but she was also holding Steady.  Lego came inches from trampling me and wasn't calming down.  I knew I need to move.  So I grabbed my leg with one arm and drug it while I army crawled to a log safely away from Lego.  I told Elaina to let go of Steady and get the horse fly.  She did and of course Steady wasn't going any where.  I waited what felt like 2 hours but was more likely about 30 minutes.  The whole time I was just in disbelief that this was actually happening.  I could not wrap my head around it.  There was a moment that I started to black out.  I explained to the girls that I might pass out. That if I do do not panic.  That it isn't a huge deal if I do and that it will be fine.  That I was going to lay down just in case I do I don't fall over. Thankfully I never fully lost consciousness. It was wild to me that I was so calm and in control in those moments.  Ryan showed up with the neighbors Gator, two pieces of wood and some ace bandage for a splint.  I was freaking out about my boot.  I knew the swelling was getting worse.  I knew as soon as I showed up to the hospital that they were going to want to cut it off.  I kept saying I need to get my boot off.  Ryan refused to oblige my request assuring me that it was a terrible idea.  I finally conceded and he held the wood while Elaina wrapped.  Those Pony Club wrapping skills sure came in handy! The nurses were impressed with their splint job. Our neighbor came down with Ryan and took the girls and the horses back to the house to get them settle back at home.  Thank God for amazing neighbors.

The drive:
The trip there was wretched.  We don't live close to anything and I am usually grateful for that fact.  But taking a trip to the ER in that much pain I wished we were closer.  Ryan was my complete and total hero.  He drove as fast as he possibly could.  Running red lights when he could and determinded to get me help as quickly as he could.  He never once mentioned anything negative as he well could have in that situation given his feeling towards the whole horse thing.  He just kept reassuring me that he would get me help as fast as he could and that he is just grateful it was only my leg and that I was OK otherwise.  I was angry.  Very angry at myself for doing it.  I knew anger at myself wasn't rational but I felt really stupid for letting it happen and I think that is where the anger came from.

The Hopital:
They got me in immediately and I'd say within 15 minutes of arrival were administering Fentenal.  It didn't do a whole lot for the pain.  They then gave me a double dose of Fentenal.  That finally knocked off the edge.  It was time to address the leg.  I asked them to try to pull off my boot first.  They said they didn't think it was good idea but would try it if I wanted to.  BAD IDEA.   OMG  Mind you we didn't know exatly what was wrong with my leg at this point but as soon as he tugged a little it felt like he was ripping my foot off.  I screamed and cried from that moment on.  I was out of my mind in pain.  He felt awful for even trying.  He cut my boot as fast as he could.

RIP my lovelies

  And that was that.  I couldn't bring myself to look at my leg so I do not know what it looked like.  I just couldn't handle that image in my head.  I am glad I didn't because the flash backs of the sound of the snap and seeing my leg at 90 degree angle haunt me over and over.
Nope NOT supposed to look like that.

But I knew from how it felt what it most likely looked like.  They told me it was mildly deformed and obviously broken.  I was still hoping for good news at that point but the more and more I was realizing there was very little hope to be had.  But to be honest I knew it was as bad as it was the second it happened.  I just hoped I was over reacting.  I got xrays and then the Doc came in to explain my injuries and the immediate plan.   First off my foot was dislocated badly and that has to be put back into place.  Secondly you have a fracture of your fibula and Tibia.  The piece on the Tibia is floating and we are a bit concerned about where it will go after the dislocation reduction.  Of course I asked, "how realistic is it that I would be able to ride in a competition in 4 weeks?"  He laughed and said, "You could be looking at 6 months before you are back on a horse."  That was the moment I realized the actual severity of it all and it was crushing.  He said it so flippantly like he almost thought I was joking.  I guess I can't blame him pretty much no one on earth understands how serious we take this thing that we do.  That it's not just a hobby we do to pass that time.  They can't fathom the commitment and effort put into the "hobby" we do.  It's not his fault he doesn't get it but damn if it doesn't sting my heart with equal amounts of pain that a pretty much severed leg does my body.  The best news I heard since arriving was that they are going to put me under to put it all back into place and splint it.  I as terrified to let anyone touch me so I was relieved I wouldn't remember any of it.  And that was that.  They put it back and we were on our way home shortly after that with a referral to the Orthopedic DR. 

We won't get into the last several days I've been at home writhing in pain and waiting to get into the ortho.  But I am extremely blessed to have a doting husband and children that have done everything humanly possible to make this as easy as anyone could possibly make it.  The kids are on full barn chore duty and Husband has taken over the running of the place. 

And Hank don't forget the miraculous healing powers that the Corgi possesses.

I just get to sit and heal.  Well not healing yet because I am not officially put back together yet.  I finally got into the ortho today and got the run down of how to get me on my road to recovery.  It all starts with surgery that is scheduled for Tuesday.  They will put in a plate and several screws.  They are not sure exactly how they will put it all together until they get in there but they may just leave the Tibia piece to do its own thing because they don't feel it will make me any less stable if they leave it alone.  The bad part is surgery means full recovery will take significantly longer but the good news is that once the surgery is complete my leg will be much more stable than it is now.  It looks like 10-12 weeks before I can even consider starting up normal tasks or getting back on a horse.  I am happy to find out they do not plan to permantely cast it at any point and most of my recovery will be spent in a boot.  I can't walk on it at all for 8 weeks but at least with a boot I will have more movement and less loss of function that I will have to regain after recovery.  And I can take it off and itch my leg if I need to :)   I will be completely couch bound for another 2-3 weeks.  I forsee the mental game of all of it being a bigger struggle for me than the physical one.  Thanks all for reading and am sorry there will be no horse content on this blog for quite some time.  Maybe I can do some fill in's with the kids stuff?

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

We're baaaaack....

Here we are again.  At a place where there is  vast gap in blogging.  In that gap sits hundreds of stories and experiences that were fully lived, fully enjoyed yet completely undocumented.  Yes that is ok.  Life does actually happen whether the internet knows about it or not.  But I like to lay it out on here.  I still have not decided why.  But mostly it is therapeutic for me to think out life this way.  I really look forward to comments but don't typically get many and I understand why.  I haven't decided if I am to just start in as if the last 3 months didn't happen or go back and try to cover it all in retroposting.   Still undecided on that one.  For now I am going to cover this past Sunday. 

I re-became an eventer again!  I think I had even gotten to a point where I wondered if I would ever actually get out there and do it again.  But it happened.  It wasn't a recognized event but a one day horse trial.  Oh and I think it was our first real Novice experience in all 3 phases!  So I guess it was a re-intro to eventing and a move up!

I was a bit apprehensive going in.  I knew we could do it but it was a matter of, would we?  You know all the, what ifs, and I'm too old, and I'm too out of shape, what if Steady doesn't want to play todays ran through my head as I am driving on the open roads at 4am on my way to Spring Run Farm Near Louisville, KY.  I decided not to over night the night before and hoped for a later ride time.  Lo and behold when ride times came out I was the first rider of the day.  Of course!  So it was an early morning.  The other part of this story is that Elaina and Lego were also competing in their first full beginner novice event!  The two littles came along too to help out.  And of course Hank the wonder Corgi came along.  2 Horses, 3 kids, 1 Corgi, 1 adult and 6 ride times in 5 hours!  Talk about hectic!

The day started with me in dressage.  It has rained an ungodly amount in this part of the country last week.  Dressage warm up was out side on not awful but kinda sloppy footing and morning dew.  I decided to go with the unconventional dressage warm up.  The only advantage I have sometimes with Steady is that I know him very well.  And I know if I even attempted to canter in that mess he would slip and ultimately begin a downward spiral into his stressed out frenzy he does so well.  All I need is relaxation out of him and we can figure the rest out. Perfect and ideal?  No but nothing in this sport ever is.  I walked for %95 of my 20 minute warm up and trotted around once both directions and called it good then made my way to the indoor where my test was.  I didn't like the indoor one bit.  It was a tight space.  Steady was relaxed, behaved and obedient.  I ask nothing else from this horse ever.  I could have rode better.  Like usual I get put off in a test and ride with less leg than normal but one big improvement I have made is that I didn't ride with too much hands.  That has been a big fault of mine in the past when I get nervous in a dressage test.  I felt my shapes left much to be desired.  Steady had one bobble in the canter to the left he broke but picked right back up.  Just a miscommunication on our parts.  I knew he was getting behind the vertical in places (read lack of use of leg) but not too excessive.  And if the horse can do nothing else he can kill a free walk.  Over all I was happy with the test.  To my surprise when I checked scores my test was better than I imagined.  We started the day out with a 27.3 and in first place!

There is something about starting in 1st that puts the pressure on.  Like don't screw this up!  But I did my best to shake those thoughts.  I really just wanted myself and my daughter to make it around safe and go home with some experience and learning under out belts.  Stadium was shortly after.  Again my unconventional warm up for my unconventional event horse.  Jump warm up was Sloppy, sloppy sloppy.  Far worse than dressage.  So my plan was as little as possible to know that he knew it was time to jump the sticks.  After so many years of all of this it is nice to be on a horse that you know knows his job.  He doesn't always want to listen to me but he does like his job and knows how to do it.  We trotted the X the cantered the Oxer.  First time over he ran off a bit after so we did the oxer once more he was polite enough for me and that was it.  Then it was to stand around at the gate to get him relaxed.  I am pretty much a, do as I say not as I do person when it comes to this.  I would not do this on any other horse but this one.  But I know that for Steady the, Picking up your feet and jump the things is the easy part.  Keeping your head in the damn game is the hard part.  Life goals with him; keep his head in the damn game, nothing else matters.  We went in and did our thing.  We don't really go for the hunter round but we do typically go in and jump all the things.  That's what we did.  He got fast in really only one spot after the 6a-b combo to 7.  A couple arrogant head tosses in tight turns but clean and clear.  We are holding steady on our dressage score.

Our Stadium round

XC got a bit exciting before it even started.  I asked for permission to ride out of turn because Elaina's dressage time was 5 minutes before my scheduled xc time.  I had to coach Elaina and get her through her test before I could head out on XC.  I was completely ready and holding my horse while walking her to her test so I could jump on and go once she was done.  There should have be enough time.  Buuut they were running ahead and apparently were calling for me over and over on the loud speaker.  I got scolded by several people and tried to get the message through that I was riding out of turn with permission.  I made sure Lego didn't do his signature jump out of the arena on the canter circles. I told the ring steward to tell E that, I love her, she did awesome but I had to go.  The start box was a bit of a trek so I decided that would be my warm up.  I trotted down the path, yelling excuse me to the pedestrians then cantered the up the hill.  Told the warm up steward I just need to jump one jump and then I'll go to the start box.  But the first jump was a mess.  I am sure Steady was like what the hell is going on here, oh shit we're jumping again.  I lost my stirrup and the thought crossed my mind, shit I'm gonna fall.  Thankfully I didn't.  I kept on cantering and thankfully the organizer saw the awful jump and said I could do it more.  I was like, sweet because that was shit.  He sailed the second time and I cantered to the start box.  I have to tell you that after over 2 years not hearing them, it felt amazing to hear these words again.  "One minute!  30 Seconds! 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2 Have a good ride!!!"  They are music to an eventers ears!  We are BACK Steady let's do this!

He started off great.  He was adjustable yet still in his Steady fashion of attack mode on XC.  WHAAA my horse adjustable on xc?  This was a first! Yes he still got fast in a few places and I had to brake check him but he was listening!  He was thoughtful and careful on the slippery hill down to the water.  There was a decent galloping distance up a hill and he was cantering along nicely I thought.  Hey this is a change, I'm going to ask for more just to let him know he can go when I ask.  That I am not Always the party pooper.  I said the phrase, "Git it, Steady!"  and holy shite!  It was likened unto hitting a nitrous button in a race car.  Mid steep hill he just accelerated like lighting.  God he is a effing cool horse.  The power he has is mind blowing.  But before you know it we were at the next and I had to do some break  But he did come back and that is all I ask.  I even got the trot step before the down bank that I wanted.  I most likely can't properly convey what it is like to ride XC on this horse.  He just swallows the jumps whole.  Never takes a second to
look at them.  I say go and he just goes, no questions asked.  There is nothing like it.  18 jumps later and we were on that XC high just passed the finish flags.  Double Clear for the win!

That's the way a 36 year old mother of 3 makes her way back into eventing!  With a fucking BANG!

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Marathon Weekend Post #3

Thanks to those who comment.  I love reading your comments and knowing that taking all this time putting this stuff out there that people are actually reading and enjoying it despite my typo and grammatical errors.  So thanks!

There was a lesson between K and E so it was a couple hours later before it was E's turn to go out. She was supposed to be in a group of three pony clubbers but one didn't come.  The trainer had two of her older students ride out with them. On their REALLY hot horses. Great,  sweet and capable riders but their horses were hot AF. I thought Steady was hot?  He looked like 30 year old trail blazer next to them.   I was not a fan on how she structured the lesson.  She basically had all the horses follow her student over each jump.  That's fine if we were in a fox hunting clinic because that is essentially what a fox hunt is.  But this is XC schooling to prepare for rally in a month where you do not get a lead over any jump so you better know that you and your horse can get over them.  Alone. The following soon  turned into chasing. I've never seen Lego get worked up over anything but chasing hot AF horses apparently does it for him.  Elaina had no brakes.  She rides in an egg butt snaffle.  Used to ride in a Pelham jumping but he has always been so perfect we decided that it was unnecessary.   Well we may reevaluate that decision.  He wasn't awful or out of control at any point but it is not a good feeling when you are on a horse and feel like you have no brakes.  She handled it well but I could tell she was a bit rattled which is unusual for her.  I told her she needed to speak up to the trainer for herself and her horses sake.  So I know what it feels like when you speak up to a trainer about something that isn't going well or you aren't comfortable with and they blow you off like you are chicken or ignorant.  It is frustrating at least and demoralizing at most.  You already are scared, nervous, don't want to speak up.  Then they  treat you like your opinion doesn't matter.  I am sorry if I am the one on the 1000lb animal then my opinion matters most.  If you want to take over the ride and then tell me I don't know what I am talking about then that's fine with me.  It is just as frustrating watching your shy daughter build up the courage to speak up to an adult and get blown off.  But I didn't step in at all because honestly that is a lesson she has to learn on her own.  It will happen and she is old enough to have to figure out how to deal with it.  I know speaking up is really really hard for her.  It is hard to do when you aren't shy. Then add in that you are super shy and never like to be the center of attention.  This can be crippling for some.  But that is why horses are far more than just a hobby or extra curricular activity.  Because while it may be ok to not speak up for yourself when you are a horse owner it is your sole responsibility to be that animal's advocate.  No one else will make sure your horse is being thought of and they can't speak up for themselves.  She has been taught that it is her sole responsibility to be the voice for her mount.  Huge life lessons in there, huge.

So I watched as she told the trainer that following the other horses was getting her horse too excited.  I watched as the trainer blew her off.  Mind you I am not upset or offended that the trainer reacted that way. Clinicians have it hard.  I do not envy their position.  It happens and it is ultimately our responsibility to handle the situation for ourselves and our equine partners.  At the next jump the trainer told her to follow the horses and I watched as she made the right decision and waited.  Waited until the other horse got far enough in front of her that they were no longer chasing.  I saw how when the trainer said, "GO, go now.  I told you to go."  She just waited.  Waited until she knew it was safe for her and her horse to proceed.  She wasn't being rude.  She wasn't purposely ignoring the trainer.  She was being responsible.  She was advocating for her horse when words weren't working.  She was making the best decision for herself and her horse despite what was going on around her.  I watched as she was growing up before my eyes.

After that the lesson went great  well for Elaina at least.  They jumped all sorts of fun stuff ranging from Starter- Beginner Novice.  They too ended up at the water and the trainer did the same thing that she did with the little ones.  Which was far more ok. Elaina has done banks plenty enough times to add in a couple challenges.  The other girl I don't know all she has done but she is a good rider and super brave.  She asked who wanted to go first and the other girl volunteered.  She said trot up, turn around and canter down.  I was still thinking really?  See I have never seen banks, let alone banks into water schooled this way.  Any time I have seen it done you start walking then build up to each gait.  To make sure the horses are understanding the question and you are riding it correctly.  And for the other little girl in our lesson it ended quite the same as it did for Kelcie.  Scraped up and in the water.  It was warmer out by then which was a bonus.  But she had a point two air vest on which is what I think had her the most upset because it scared her when it went off.  Her horse stayed close by and was adorably concerned about what just happened to his little girl.  After a good cry and a "I'm not getting back on" before she got back up and continued on like a badass.  By the next jump she was composed and ready for action again.  Moral of the story?  Why the push to canter down the banks?  Who knows.  I still trot off banks at events and a bank into water.  They don't ask that question until Training and typically any bank that is a jump down into water there is a significant ground line to help them jump it well.  None of which were things we had in this situation.  Elaina actually never got to do this because once we got N back on she moved on to something different.

They did, ditches, banks, strung together little courses going away from the group and coming back.  Covered how to do each of those things.  Jumped a cool brick wall.  TROTTED, thank God! off the training level banks. 

Practiced what different speeds of gallop feel, sound like.  It was all great and fun learning experience after the rocky start.  But I always tell my kids that every experience is a learning experience.  One way or another you will learn something.  Sometimes we learn what not to do.

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Marathon weekend post #2

We left off Saturday at the games lesson.  Well that evening we got home and still had birthday parties and school projects to deal with.  Monica at one point asked how I do it and if there was copious amounts of coffee involved.  I'm not a big coffee drinker so that's not it.  Really the trick is to never slow down.  Slowing down is when you run into problems and under no circumstance must you sit down!  You will never get back up! Even if you try your body will just say no.  And while I did have to sit down while I drove the trailer that doesn't count because I'm never really relaxed hauling horses.
But some things are just worth it.

That evening when I did sit down at 1 am I was dead to the world.  But only for a few hours because we had to be back up by 6:30 to be back on the road hauling to go XC schooling.  This was for  Kelcie and E. I thought about brining Steady but if anything went wrong or he was having "a day" I didn't have the energy to deal with all of that.  K was up first.  It is actually really hard to explain how painfully cute this whole thing was.  There aren't enough synonyms for cute in the thesaurus.  K and Penny schooling XC is already one of the cutest things on the planet. But when we show up and a girl was riding a tiny white pony too!  Oh my!
a matched pair.

Then they decided they were going to do a pairs class at the Hunter trials in the fall so they better practice everything side by side.  Ok now I'm just dead from the adorable. The pictures,  yes there are pictures, will do most of the explaining.

 Even though they are the cutest pictures it's still nothing like watching this in person. Literally every single jump everyone spectating simultaneously sigh with a, "that is so cute".


Recap of the lesson.  This is tough because I am Mom but I am also trainer for my kids.  So having someone else teach my kids can be hard for me.  But really most of the time I can behave and keep my mouth shut but at times it is hard.  I know those kids and those ponies inside and out.  Some may think I'm a helicopter mom when it comes to my kids and riding and maybe they're right but in the end I don't give a shit what they think.  Because  "they" weren't given the responsibility of keeping these kids alive to adulthood.  Nor do they have to pay the medical bills.   And 9 times out 10 when I see something that I think will not go well with them/their pony, guess what?  I'm right.  Then I get to watch as my kid comes flying off.  I'm not against falling off and for the most part I'm not phased when it happens.  Buuuut what I'm not for?  My kids (or anyone for that matter) being put into situations where they are bound to have a bad experience.  All that to get to the actual happenings of the day.
Really ponies?  Stop with the cute already.

The day started nicely.  A bit chilly but hopes of 70 as a high and there were even random rays of sunshine.  Something we haven't seen in ohio in a few weeks.  Another mom brought her horse along so I decided to ride along with her and the kids on Lego. There were also the other moms who walked on the 2 feet.  There were 4 girls in her group.  All on varying sized ponies all equally fun to watch.  And all pretty much game for everything.  The trainer is a hunt rider.  I do really like her. I do have some strong opinions on a couple things she did as you will hear but let me first point out the things I really liked about her and that are pretty indicative of a typical hunt rider.  She is straight up balls to the wall.  Get the kids out there and make them do shit.
Yes! do all the shit because my kid is badass!

I do appreciate that mindset. Because most people are so cautious, especially when it comes to kids that it can take some of the thrill out of it.  I want my kids to get that rush of pure adreneline.  And the satisfaction of overcoming something you thought was too hard for you.  I also think you should allow them take risks.  Let them find their own boundaries and sometimes when appropriate push them out of them.  Teach them not to be afraid of the risk.  Even if that risk doesn't turn out right don't be afraid to take it again.
Go Ponies go!

What I'm not for?  Sending the sheep to slaughter.  Forcing them into a situation that a) they aren't comfortable with and b) that you KNOW they cannot do with their skill set.   Alllll that to get to the start of the day.  They started out warming up in a big field.  K and Penny cantering around warming up in a big XC field like a big person.  Yep guess what?  Adorable. And with the other white pony.   They jumped a couple little logs.

Penny was game all day and did all the things K asked of her.  Then they made their way to the water.  Which the trainer had paid to have filled.
Have I mentioned my kid is 9 and pretty much Boss?

They walked through,  trotted through then cantered through. Kids LOVE cantering through water.  They would do it all day if they could.

 Then they walked up the bank.  Then trotted up the bank.  They walked down the bank, trotted up.  All fun stuff.
She's got the going up, down.

 Then the trainer said, "canter up the bank turn around canter down".  I was like, wait, what!?!  Did she just tell these 9-11 year old kids to canter off a bank into water?  I looked at Kelcie from across the water and lipped,  "do NOT canter down that bank. "  Only one girl actually cantered down. Which was ugly and scary but she did make the save and stayed on. K wasn't that lucky.  With next to no instructions on how one rides a bank and stays on.  She rode it like she would any other jump.  How would she know any different?  She's never done it before.  So she made sure she only trotted down but in reality wasn't ready for even that. Naturally when you jump a bank the same way you'd jump a jump it doesn't end well.  She was too far forward and didn't know to let her reins slip.  So when she landed already too forward and then the reins yanked her hard.
Reins too short.  Too far forward.  Asking for trouble.  But Pony is perfect

 And that's how K took a nose dive into the water on a chilly morning.  I saw she was moving right away so nothing MAJOR was wrong.  I think it all scared Penny half to death.  She did everything K asked but where did her kid go?   And she ran for the hills.  The other mom on horse back suggested we go after her on our horses.  Good idea.

Me and "other mom".

 I knew there were ground people tending to K so we cantered away.  Or so I thought.  Lego was so good and just cantered off after the pony.  A minute later I look around and the other mom is no where to be seen.  Huh?  But I continued on after Penny. Imagining by the time I finally got to her all her tack would surely be in shambles and the thoughts of, I really hope Kelcie is ok are running through my head. P ran straight to the trailers and stood there facing the trailer like she was tied..lmao. And to my surprise the reins are still over neck and all tack is still entact. Win!  I'm still wondering what happened to the other mom but I reach over grab her reins and pony her back.  As I'm trotting along with P in tow the other mom is still no where to be seen.  We make it to the top of the hill and I see her still back by the water.  Huh?  We make it back and they are all still getting the water out of K. Pouring water out if her boots, water pours out of her helmet when she looks down.  And she is cold.  Poor thing.  Her lip was busted open and swollen. I thought she'd still be game to get back on and wanted it to be her decision to do so.  So I asked if she wanted to. Her reply was,  "no". Aww damn.  "Ok well it wasn't actually a choice honey.  I am sorry you are in pain and I am sorry you are cold BUT,  you HAVE to get back on and you have to go down that bank again.  You can walk it but you do have to do it."  She did get on.  She did go down the bank and about two jumps later the smile was back and we were back in business.   I won't get into details but just say this was preventable and was not good training.  IMNSHO.

Are you wondering what happened to the other mom on our heroic quest to save the pony?  Well when she went to canter off with me her horse said, NOPE. And bucked her off. Oh my!  The drama.  And so early. Thankfully she was fine and we all continued on.  

The rest of the ride went great!

They jumped a bunch of stuff, did the ditches and all had a blast.
Ditches alone are fun.

But ditches with friends is a blast!

She had them gallop hills and navigate terrain changes.  Canter the log on top of a little hill.

It may be hard to tell but this is actually a pretty cool/challenging element of terrain.

Fun, fun stuff.  K did tell me her front  teeth felt wiggly.  Holding back my real reaction I calmly tell my child.  "Don't worry honey I don't think they bled enough to do any lasting damage they will stop wiggling in couple days.  Now go jump the jumps."  File that under,  " the things you never thought you'd say as a parent", file.

I can't even.

The pictures can explain the rest.  Pure joy,  fun and excitement!


Now I was hoping the drama was done for the day but we wouldn't get that lucky.  Next up...Elaina and Lego.

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Marathon weekend post #1

This may feel like a marathon of a post.  As it also felt like a marathon of a weekend.  I will squeeze all Friday and Saturday horse activities into this post and save  Sunday for another.  Because so much adorable media for Sunday.  I am severely lacking in media from the show.  My phone has no memory left.

SO we've got a lot to cover and not a lot of time to do it.  It's pretty much nonstop in my life so documenting it all is tough.  This past weekend was a busy one.  It was exhausting.  A bunch of running and not much sleep.  And I am taking the advice of many of you to heart about not worrying about cleaning and just focus on making memories because that is what really matters.  I completely agree.  So long laundry pile! We've more fun stuff to do.  Though you are not allowed to be offended if you ever come visit and there is no where to sit due to laundry covering the surface of all my couches!  Deal?  Deal!

It all started Friday evening with a  Pony Club tack cleaning party.  Not much to cover there.  Pretty much self explanatory.  Haul massive amounts of tack to someone else's house so the kids can sit together and clean tack.  It is far too much work to haul everything around but it did get the kids to clean their and MY tack while I drank sangrias so that's not so bad.

Saturday we slowly got moving to head out to a little show that had a few jumper classes mixed into the  combined tests.  We were meeting Monica and B out there which was the most exciting part!  I like the fact that there were times given for the jumper classes.  Showing up to do our classes at 11?  Not bad at all. The plan was to take myself, Steady, Elaina and Lego to do the 2ft, 2'3" and 2'6" classes.  Kelcie was watching us pack up and asked if she could go.  I wasn't planning to take her because she was to go to her games practice that evening but who can resist my sweet adorable Kelcie wanting to jump?  Not me.  So she too loaded up all her stuff and off we went.  I think Monica thought we were crazy rolling in 15 min. before the first class opened.  But I am probably one of he least likely people to get stressed out that you'll ever meet.  Like stress is not in my constitution.  I'm pretty sure that is the only way one could survive the hectic life I lead.  If I easily stressed I would be the most miserable person on the planet.  I work best under pressure and everything must be done quickly but NEVER rushed.  I got on Steady and he was, well, Steady at cold, windy spring show.  Not awful, not mean just his high energy can't stand still self.  6 years into this with him I think it's time to accept that is just who he is.  This behavior used to stress me and frustrate me.  I used to think I could train him out of it,  or he would grow out of it.  Nope it is just him.

Dis horse, Dis face, Dos eyes

I didn't want to jump in the warm up before the first class.  A) I could feel the ball of energy under me that I did not want to unleash.  B) it was a sloppy wet day and the footing was questionable.  And C) we were going to jump 10 2 ft jumps in the class.  That kind of sounds like a warm up if you ask me.  My trainer convinced me to take him out and jump a couple things in warm up.  Well it was interesting and I'm glad there weren't too many people out there with us.  Less people to mow down with my wild horse.  I tried slowing him down without hauling in his face.  I mean that's an actual goal of mine right now in my riding. Yes I set goals that ridiculous because I really ride that bad.

Anyways I'm dragging this out and there is no need or time for that.

2 ft class:
  • Amy and Steady - really fast,  he has no respect for 2 ft jumps.  I circled him in front of jump 8 because it was a tight turn and he was barreling a bit out of control by that point.  But otherwise an uneventful round.
    closest thing to media I have. It cut out right at jump 6 where he really started ignoring me and getting fast.
  • Elaina and Lego - They were prefect.  Of course.
  • Kelcie and Penny - Kelcie asked if she should trot or canter.  I told her it's up to her. If she felt penny wad listening then canter or if she was getting too fast then trot. I could tell when she picked up the canter and jumped jump 1 that penny was going the, too fast, route and Kelcie made the right decision and trotted the rest of the course.  As always penny is very obedient and the sweetest pony but she vang easily barrel around at ridiculous speeds which is no good for jumping.

1st  Elaina and Lego
3rd Kelcie and penny
4th Amy and steady

They actually told me Kelcie got 4th and me 3rd but I'm not completely positive the correct way to score jumpers but if Kelcie is a slower time yet I circle in front of a jump then I should be counted a refusal and Kelcie should beat me out.  The kid deserved a better placing than me.  She rode better and her pony behaved better.

  • Amy and Steady - this class was better.  He started to relax after standing around at the gate for an hour.  I started to speed up 3/4 the way through and wasn't adjustable the way I'd like but he does know how to go out and jump all the things.  We went clear and went clear on the jump off.

  • Elaina and Lego - Do I need to say it? Besides them needing to fine tune and more tactful things of making a good horse and rider pair. They still go out with control and knock out a course.  Clear for them in both rounds.

  • Kelcie and Penny sat this out.  I thought she might be able to do this class also cause they can jump 2'3". But after seeing that they really jacked up all the jumps and put in like 5 oxers I asked if she wanted to and she said nope.  Which I was happy about. So Kelcie spent the next couple hours cantering around the warm up.  :) their adorable.  And at a really small low key show this isn't an issue so I let her have at it.

1st Amy and Steady
2nd Elaina and Lego

An dat tail make erryone jealous.  M and B in background <3

  • Amy and Steady - by this time Steady was chill and this round rode perfectly.  He was adjustable,  listening and I wish every round could go so well.  Clear in both the class and jump off.

  • Elaina and Lego - as if your doubted they were great.  Don't get me wrong he is not the easiest ride. But she is a good rider and can get him there.  Though I'd be happier if she got him there straighter but they have only been together a couple months and they will get there with the finesse. Both rounds double clear.

1st Amy and Steady
2nd Elaina and Lego

It was really fun competing against my kids.  We've never done that before.  And it was pretty awesome that my kids got to beat their mom.  At least in one class.  They deserved it. They were better.  But let's be clear I'm not the mom who will "let" their kid win.  If they want to beat me then they better work to earn it.  But I'm also truly happy when they do beat me fair and square.

We were not able to stick around until they placed the 2'6" class So the amazing M picked up our ribbons for us.  We had to quickly load up and head home.  Swap out horses for ponies and head to the games lesson.  K and M ride Penny and Lily and a Pony Club family brings and extra pony for E to ride.  I won't labor on about the games lesson.  I'll just say the kids love it.  They are starting to get the hang of some of the games and getting a bit more brave and adding a little speed into the mix.  My kids are pretty good riders but it adds a whole new element when you are talking about weaving poles with one hand holding an object and leaning halfway off your pony to set the object on a cone or into a bucket.  They are working on their running mounts and doing quite well.  M has a hard time with it though.  She is just not built for it right now.  But E can mount from a trot now and is working on the canter and K can actually now hop on from a stand still so next will be working on walking.  That is one of the most fun things to learn.  It's just cool to be able to run along side your pony and jump on. 


Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Horse Mom

I am going to wrap up into one post the many Lessons and clinics that I have been to lately.  No, not as a participant but as a chauffeur, brunt labor, hydrator and spectator.  It seems my life is becoming more and more of that and less and less of me actually getting to participate in the horse activities.  There is a sadness and a feeling of loss there.  But it is freaking amazing getting to do this with my kids and all my kids no less.  No being torn in different directions with different interests.  Nope we all just get to gorge ourselves to our hearts content on all things equine.  Some times probably a bit too much.  But it is hard to resist when it is so much fun!  Like the other night.  We set out for a "little" trail ride at about 6pm while hubby is cooking dinner(I know it's sickening how spoiled I am).  All 4 of us on our perfectly matched equine partners.  We got so engrossed in trails and fun and jumping things that we failed to return home until about 9:30!  Hubby was a tad irritated that dinner he had made was now cold.  I can't blame him but he quickly got over it because we all had smiles ear to ear.  I have concluded that I am probably the absolute worst at adulting.  I have a messy house, piles of laundry and so many chores to be done and an entire unscheduled weekend to do it.  Guess what I got done?  A boat ride, a trail ride, trip to a tack store, a hike, hanging out in the hot tub about 2 hours each day and that is pretty much it.

Well here is a run down of all the clinics and lessons that have kept me in the barn and got me out of the house chores!

All girls took a vaulting lesson.  It's a strange sport but fun.  I think all the kids liked running around the barn in socks just as much as flying around on horses.
Kelcie practices vaulting.

Macy's turn.

It's hard to see but that is K standing up.

Show jump lesson with David Beisel.  E and K both had a lesson with David.  It was Elaina's first outing with Lego and he was bit amped at the beginning. It didn't take long for his draft roots to show and he calmed nicely.  He did everything asked of him and E really liked David.  Kelcie had to spend most of the lesson slowing Penny down.  That is par for the course with those

K in the adorablest pony lesson evar!

So much blur but ermahgerd so much cute!

2 Games lessons for K and M and even E got to borrow a pony for one of the lessons.  These are always really fun for the girls.  If you are not familiar with games it is one of the Pony Club sports but it is also an international competitive sport.  The kids really enjoy it and it is a fun way to improve your balance, seat and stickability without even thinking about it because you are playing games.  They involve all sorts of props.  Too many to list but watch some you tube videos and I'm sure you'll be pulling out all kinds of barrels, poles,  coffee mugs,  cones,  tennis balls,  buckets, sticks etc wanting to get your game on. Watch these hard core gamers do running mounts.  It's super fun.  E has been perfecting her running mount on Lily.  No photos of games but here is a video of a badass girl and her pony and a gratuitous Corgi eating ice cream photo.
And M grazing L after a games lesson.

Watch this video to see how crazy fun Games looks!

Kelcie did her D2 Certification.  We hauled Penny to Twin Towers the local horse park and basically hung out while K was tested all day.  If you aren't familiar with a Pony Club Certification Test.  Well it's intense to say the least.  They are tested in every single aspect of horsemanship, horse management, veterinary care, riding on the flat, show jump and XC.  They and their horse must be impeccably turned out and know their stuff.  K passed with flying colors!  She studied and practiced hard to do so.

XCing like a badass

Nailed it!  Then braided her pony's mane with her friends.

Walking out to XC course.

Eventing clinic for all 3.  This was a one day clinic with each having a lesson in each phase over the one day.  OMG! Mom overload.  This day was exhausting.  The kids had fun and learned a lot and that was the point.  But dammit all if it did like to kill me!  Lego was perfect.  Lily was for flat and SJ but as per normal lost her shit a bit XC and unseated M. Then she did enough theatrics for  Mom to get to ride that day. I always make it a point that if I have to get on you because you are misbehaving for a child you better believe that you sure as hell will regret it.  Macy was able to get back on after Lily's time out with mom and Got to go over Couple things to end their otherwise great day!

Her quote of the day, "MOM I LOVE THIS HORSE!!!!"

Our pretty regular view.

K and her friends that all passed the Pony Club Certification the day before all rode in the clinic together.

These two <3

What you find at the end of 2 really long, tiring, fun horse filled days.  Smiling collapsed 9 year old in the trailer.

Does it get more perfect?

What does she do when she gets home?  Read a horse book of course.

Mah girls!

XC schooling for E and Lego.  That horse has not disappointed.  He has over and over proven to be the coolest horse I have ever owned.  Jumps anything and everything you point him at.  Is not lazy and never gets overly anxious about anything.  He is a dream.  We hadn't really seen him go XC before and again he proved to be a saint.  Jumped everything he was pointed at.  Popped over the ditches with no thought, up banks, down banks.  In the field completely alone? NBD.  Such a cool horse.  Damn lucky kid.

Damn lucky kid!

M jump lesson. It was a brisk, windy day and all 3 horses in the lesson were feeling it.  All being pretty green riders on enthusiastic horses they ended up doing a lot of flat work with a gymnastic line worked in at the end.  M and Lily did great!
Not from actual lesson but Macy and Lily <3

Coming up on the docket?  Me spending all my damn money on these kids.  I will keep complaining about it.  Even though I am still going to do it I just have to vent that to the universe once in a while.

Wednesday weekly lessons for me with M.
Kids having a tack cleaning party with PC Friday (think I can sneak my tack in on this party?)
Little jumper show Saturday for me and E with Monica and B!
XC schooling for K and E this weekend
E starts working for trainer at her barn 2 days a week and Lego over nighting and lessoning both days.  So excited for this opportunity for her.
Following week is Pony Club camp all 3 kids for 4 days
the next week a lesson M and K
the next week is Mega rally for all 3 girls at Kentucky horse park.  3 days for  M and K. 5 days for E. We will be camping there.  Maybe I will do the Midsouth horse trial that weekend.  Maybe?
That will take us through June and by then we will all need a break. My bank account included!