Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Frugality at it's Finest

The title would more accurately read "Frugality at it's Ghettoest" it just didn't have quite the same ring to it.  Best part of this post is I actually have pictures.  Not only that, but there are even horses in some of them!  Unfortunately there are no pictures of horses with people on them but baby steps right?!

I first must apologize to those of you who entered my Higher Standards give away.  I did not forget about you, I was just surprised at how few people entered so I was planning to extend it out.  Then I got crazy busy with Thanksgiving and didn't get around to letting everyone know what was going on.  I will be extending the give away but need to create it's own post.  Just know I have not forgotten about you!

Now on to the ridiculousness that is my mind.  Have any of you ever taken a pile of money, lit a match and thrown it in and watched your money burn?  Yeah, me either but I imagine it feels much like purchasing a high quality, grass and alfalfa mix 1000lb round bale.  Then you watch as your horses within hours rip it apart.  Strewing pile after perfectly good, healthy pile of hay all around them.  Then proceed to see them not just refuse to eat the strewn hay but use it as their personal horse bathroom and bedding.  They roll and poop and pee and deem anything that touches the ground pretty much inedible.  One horse and two ponies can tear apart a massive 1000 lb round bale in about a week and a half.  Wasting, in my inexpert guesstimation, about 1/3 of the round bale.  That is about 333 lbs of hay that is pretty much composted back into the earth.  It hurts, it really really hurts to watch your money be wasted right before your eyes.  But when temperatures get at and below freezing I feel it is important to their health to have constant access to forage so though it is sad to see the waste I do it for my beloveds health.

You also run into the problem that once the bale has been pulled apart and much of it is exposed once it rains much more is even wasted because it gets soaked. 
Now there are round bale feeders that can keep horses from climbing in the bale which is a good option.  But they can still pull it apart then it get rained on and thus wasted.  Instead I came up with my own invention to conserve my hay.  I have done it for about a year now and it takes very little time and effort and no extra money because I had everything I use on hand.  It keeps them from tearing the bale apart and it makes it easy to cover when the weather man is calling for rain.  It is a cheap method but it probably is pretty ghetto.  So here it is the Amy Round Bale Preserver.



It takes two ratchet straps and two tarps and a couple minutes a day.  Cheap, ghetto but functional.  For the most part it makes the horses work a hole down the center.  At the end of the day I will even go collect any dry good hay that does happen do get strewn on the ground and take it to the barn to feed when the are in their stalls.  The waste is extremely minimal.  So there it is in all it's glory!  Then when they call for rain the horses go in their stalls and one more tarp goes over the top and I use two pieces of wood to weigh down the tarp and viola!  Water proof!

And for your enjoyment a photo dump of what happens when I try to go out to the pasture to get a picture of my lovely beasts actually utilizing my ghettorific invench!
Steady- Hey guys!  It's Mom!

Hank- We should go say hi!

Lily: That's a great idea!



Penny- SWEET!  I get the bale to myself!!!!

Where did the pony head go???  Entire head and neck lost to the hay monster!

Steady- Whacha got Mom?!

Meh that's a camera, did you drop the good stuff?


Uhhh there was nuthin' down there.

Here let me check it out.

mmmm...tastes like camera.  Not my favorite but I am not picky.

Lily back off she is mine.


Dirty, Sexy Butt...hmmm that comment might attract some undesirable traffic to my blog.


Steady- Lily I am not kidding, back off.

Ok, we friends.

Ha! He fell for it!


Now hurry give me all your foods!

Oh he is dashing...

so dashing...

and he is mine, all mine.


Thursday, November 14, 2013

Just for fun.

I thought this might be a lighter and more fun post than getting all overly philosophical like I can sometime do.  Don't worry we will get back to our regularly scheduled programming soon enough.


1. Favorite thing about riding? I just love riding horses.

2. Draft horse or pony? Being 5'9" tall I am not the ideal pony rider.  I do love ponies though and the fact that I own two of them and have small children I often get to jump on naughty ponies and teach them a lesson.  I think drafts are beautiful and cool horses but they #1 are not athletic enough for my liking and #2 they eat too much.  So for my personal riding horse I guess my answer would be neither.  Though I love all horses and can appreciate almost all breeds.

3. English or western? English

4. Dressage or Hunter/Equitation? I rode Hunter/Equitation for 10 years but now am fascinated and enthralled in the depths of dressage and think if done correctly can help any rider and horse become better in any discipline.

5.Green horse or trained horse? Not that I know what it would be like to own a trained horse but to me it just seems kinda boring. So green.

6. Worst fall? In a show when I was about 12 years old.  I went head first into a stone wall jump and was knocked unconscious.  Though back in those days things like concussions were not considered injuries.  When I came to I was immediately thrown back up on the horse to finish the round.

7. First fall, what happened? Not sure if I can remember my first fall but my first very memorable fall was when I was about 8 years old.  I was in a jump lesson on a 17hh half Clydesdale whom had just had his mane roached.  I found it terrifying to jump with no mane for a security blanket.  I lost my balance over the jump and slowly made my way to the ground.  All the while hearing my leather skinned trainer yelling, "you better not fall off that horse!  I did NOT tell you that you could get off!"  I was far more terrified of my trainer than falling from the giant horse.  I was put right back on and you can be sure that the lesson was not finished until I was successfully jumping with no mane.

8. Have you ever wanted to quit riding? No but I did quit for about 15 years.  It was not by choice it was just life circumstances that kept me from horses.  One being the fact that I spent several years in a religious reform school in the middle of the Ozark Mountains that was surrounded by 30ft chain link fence topped with barbed wire.  Needless to say we were not aloud to ride horses.  There are times though that I feel like I suck so bad I should quit.

9. Favorite thing about your horse? His sheer athleticism.

10. Least favorite thing about riding? How expensive it is.

11. What does the fox say? I do not know what this means because I am an old fuddy duddy.

12. Do you prefer to ride inside or outside? Outside hands down.

13. Do you show? I love to show and it keeps me focused and motivated.  Wish I could do it more.

14. How long have you been riding? Since long before I can remember.  This is me on our horse in my back yard.  I was always obsessed.  But with a long break in between about 18 years.



 15. Why did you start riding? It just always was, not really a reason why.  I started lessons at 6 in a hunter barn because well my parents put me in them because I was obsessed.

16. How many times a week do you ride? 3-5x's a week.

17. Have you ever fallen off at a show? How? Yup more than once.  One time I explained above(the whole stone wall thing).  Most recent was last year in the show jumping phase at a recognized event because of poor riding.

18. Ever fallen onto a jump?
 Haha yes both falls I have already described were into jumps and having jumped for my entire riding career I have fallen into many jumps.

19. Ever been bucked off? Oh my gosh, yes.  More times than I can probably count.  Do people that ride for as many years and a ton of horses really not fall off?  Cause I thought that was a given.

20. Do you have a private or group lesson? Almost always private.

21. In your opinion does it make you less of a rider if you don't own a horse? I actually think if you don't own a horse and still ride to me it makes me think you are probably a more dedicated rider than I am .

22. Trick riding or eventing? Eventing!  It is the BEST!

23. What discipline do you want to try? Why? I don't really have any desire to change disciplines at this point in time.  Really would like to get to Training level in Eventing maybe once I get there I will get bored with it and look into something else but I don't really see that happening.

25. Ever had barn drama? Sometimes I have to yell at my kids for not cleaning their stalls, does that count as barn drama???  haha I do understand barn drama though from being a barn rat in a hunter barn for a decade as a kid.

26. How many barns have you been too? Not sure how to answer this I have been to many many barns.  My dad bred and raised thoroughbreds when I was a kid and we were always going to barns I have also shown my whole life so been to many barns from that and then all the barns I have lessoned at there are too many to count.  But as far as horses I owned I have always been fortunate enough to have my horses in my own barn.  So 2, my barn at my house I grew up in and the other the barn I have about 100 feet from where I sit.

27. Do you plan on having horses in your life, for the rest of your life? I can't imagine it any other way.  Like I mentioned I had to live without horses for enough years of my life I hope I never have to do that again.

28. Favourite tumblr equestrian? Don't know what this is, remember, cause I am old.

29. Favourite tumblr horse? refer to above.

30. If you could ride any famous horse (dead or alive) who would it be? Why? I really have no idea.

31. Does winning ribbons matter to you? Yes!  To me it has less to do about winning or losing but more of a reflection of competing at the level that I belong in.  To me if I can't consistently ribbon at the level I am competing then I am probably not doing something right and need to back down.

32. Do you show? Yep

33. Worst riding experience? I think I can learn from every experience good or bad.  And I have never had anything exceptionally scary happen so I guess that I am grateful for.

34. Ever been on a trail ride? Yes it is GREAT for horses brains and I try to as often as I can.

35. Hunter or Jumper? I like both, jumpers are bit more relaxed and fun to me and hunters I like the accuracy and preciseness it requires.

36. Why did you start riding? I think I answered this already.

37. Ever wanted to buy a school horse? Yes, I loved a school horse that I regularly rode and showed as a kid named Heller.  She was never for sale and no way would my parents have bought her for me anyways.  Then she was leased by a friend so I didn't get to keep riding her.  I would have settled for just leasing her to have her for my own but that was never going to happen for me.

38. How many times a week do you ride? 3-5x's again I answered this already.

39. Ever ridden a horse 17hh+?  I currently do Steady is 17hh.

40. Ever ridden a horse 13hh or under?  Ha yes I am sure I rode several ponies that size as a kid and as an adult I have jumped on our large miniature horse once in a while and he was like 11 hands :)

41. If you have made it this far then you deserve a prize.  Due to an error in the shipping department you all have a chance to win a Higher Standards Saddle Soap.

It is the winter scent of Cinnamint it smells wonderful!  I have been told about these products from a good friend for quite a while now but I finally ran low on my current soap and decided to give it a try.  I personally bought a saddle soap and leather balm and am very excited to put it to use.
I received and extra and figured why not give it to one of you lovely ladies!  Just share about the contest on your blog and comment here that you did and you are entered.  I will randomly pick a winner Monday the 25th.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Feelings vs. Reality

What to cover first?  The thought of showing with my daughter was not the best one I have ever had.  I do not recommend it at all.  Then two more kids and a dog?!  You are just asking for trouble.  The day was completely insane.  From running through isle ways like a crazy person, "shouting, get on your pony your supposed to be in your test!"  To tacking up on the way to the class to arrive just in time to hear the bell ding.  It is not my definition of fun.  The over all frazzled feeling of the day was not a good thing.  It is hard to feel happy and satisfied with anything when you are stressed and rushing.  I am a low stress person and do not enjoy high stress situations so it made an atmosphere that did not set a good tone.

Feelings:

I have to be honest when I say that at the end of the day I felt crummy.  I did not feel good about how the day went.  I felt I rode poorly.  I made poor decisions.  I short changed my daughter.  I am a, give a 110% kind of person and when I was torn in that many directions I felt like I only gave any one thing 50% at best.

I was mentally drained and physically exhausted.  Everything hurt from my head to my feet.

I do understand that feelings are not something to base lasting decisions off of so don't get too worried when I share my true feelings with you.  I won't be jumping off any bridges or anything.

By the end of the day I felt as if I just am not cut out to do this.  I don't have enough time to dedicate to it.  I don't have enough money to pour into getting to a million competitions that would surely help me and my horse.  I just don't belong doing anything I can't give my 100%.  My horse would be far better off with a much better rider.

I made a decision that I feel was pretty much the undoing of the day.  I made SO many mistakes that contributed to not just poor riding on my part but an unfair environment for my daughter.

Mistake #1  I choose to braid my horse.  I don't know why I feel so compelled to do it all.   99% of the people at the show were not braided and I should have, especially on this day, just left his mane alone.  At the time I knew that I was choosing braiding over lunging.  There was only enough time for one.  Epic mistake!  I foolishly kept telling myself, "oh he is comfortable at CAF he will be fine".  Even if he is comfortable with Lee Ann's he is not so much used to it being wildly windy with 75 other horses and a ton of people buzzing around.  I found the system for him that worked like magic when we were down in Kenttucky.  Why I messed with that I have no idea.  The braids were not worth it.            
Scored a 40.0% so not terrible but he is capable of so much better.

Mistake #2 letting the excitement of the environment and my horse negatively affect the way I rode.  Warm up was actually quite nice.  Not because my horse was relaxed because he was not.  He was far better than some of the horrific warm ups we have had in the past.  But he was still being more reactive and sensitive than normal.  I would put on my leg and instead of lifting his back and coming round he would scoot forward.  Which is fine it just meant I had to put more effort into my ride than normal.  I was still getting some nice work out of him.  But then I enter at and all I have learned over the last year for whatever reason flies out the window and I HOOOOOLD onto my horses face and won't let go.  I felt myself doing it.  I saw what it was making my horse do but I JUST COULD. NOT. STOP.  My head was saying "that's not right".  But my body was all like, "hold mooooore!!"  Sigh...

After that was over with I made Mistake #3 completely forget I had a daughter that needed to be in her dressage test!  So I rushed to untack, rushed to tack her pony up.  Rushed to the arena and she had to go in about 2 minutes after getting on.  Not a good plan and not what I wanted to do to her.  She went in rode her test and they did a lovely job.  Was it her best riding?  No.  But who am I to talk.  She was at least relaxed and not holding her pony's face off.

Then it was off to tack up Steady again.  I go out to jump warm up and he is high.  Not at his worst but still just wanting to GOOOOOO.  I am realizing that I have a serious hang up with letting him go which just adds to his insistence that we must go.  I actually feel I made a few good decisions in warm up.  But I could have done better.  Since we haven't jumped 3 ft in I can't remember when and the last time we jumped at all was at KHP I did at least want to get him over some jumps before we went in so he would realize that he needed to pick up his feets a little more this time around.  He wanted to rush at the jump and rush off after.  I am sure there were some watching on say, "OMG they are crazy" but hey poop on them if they only knew what Steady's real crazy looked like.  It was not his worst but it was not the relaxed rhythmic jumping I wanted. 

We entered and off in a canter.  He locked on to the first jump and starts to take off running at it.  I did not want the round to start off on bad foot.  I was always taught in the hunter world "if you make the first and last jumps nice the rest in between almost always go well" and I believe that to be true.  So I start trying to pull him back to a trot and he opens his mouth, throws his head in the air and starts to fling his head and neck around like a dying fish.  Low and behold the jump shows up in the middle of this argument and he doesn't even see it with his head going every direction and we kind of just fall out to the right.  Dammit refusal on our first jump.  I was not happy and it definitely threw me off my mental game.  We came back around to it and jumped it.  Jump two I was so distracted in my head that I spaced it and realized that I needed to get my head out of my ass and finish what I started.  I pulled my head out late for the hard turn back to 2, a max plank oxer, and made an ugly turn but but the jump was ok.  That, unlike jump #1, was not Steady's fault.  Jump 3,(max airy vertical) was a on a 3 stride bending again he jumped it ok, then it was off to the XC field.  We fought on the way to jump 4.  He just wanted to go so fast.  The course was clean minus the refusal on jump #1.  We jumped true Novice fences both stadium and XC and damn the horse loves to go very very fast and jump.  When I got off course I was nothing but disappointed.  I don't think I have ever come off a XC course with that feeling before.  Especially one that besided the one silly refusal was clear.  I felt like I fought with Steady the entire way about how fast we should be going.  Then I felt crappy because I really think that it is more my fear of going too fast is why I am trying to hold him back not because he couldn't do just fine if I let him go faster.  I was disappointed and the fact that I didn't know if I should be disappointed in myself, my horse, my inability to properly train him, or my inability to correctly ride him.  Even now I still have not figured this answer out.

Then it hit me that "SHIT, Elaina needs to be in her second test in 2 minutes!!"  Thankfully a friend was willing to hold Steady still fully tacked up, while I ran to the barn and threw together my daughter and her pony and ran out to her test.  Pretty much as soon as we walked up she had to go in.  No warm up no prep and oh yeah she hadn't looked over her test to get it right.  I begged to borrow the previous readers test to read to her so that she wouldn't forget and she went in and did it.  I was proud of her and the way she handled it all.  The judge is always so great and gives immediate feed back and explained to her that if she just was more accurate in her figures that she would have gotten several more points.  It is a bummer to loose points for that but for what her and her pony have been through I think its easy homework in comparison.  This is also her second dressage show, she is 10 years old she never gets to ride in an actual arena let alone a dressage arena and has worked hard to get her pony to where she is.  There was a split second where Lily contemplated stepping out of the arena and I saw Elaina feel it and stop it from happening.  That right there was progress.

Reality:
  • Eventers are, once again the most awesome people.  Letting me borrow the test to read.  Holding my horse so I could help my daughter.
  • The jumps in stadium or XC didn't look big at all and they were serious max Novice fences!
  • It was a successful move up a level.
  • Our dressage score was higher than it should have been but there are two big contributing factors one never neglect lunging, which is easy enough, and 2 I need more dressage arena time to not freeze up in a test.
  • Our higher dressage score could not be blamed on my horse at all. 
  • If I would have been able to stop holding his face he would have done exactly what I have been working so hard to train him to do which means we have made incredible progress in the dressage department
  • Our bad day dressage scores are FAR better than our bad day dressage score of just a year ago!
  • We ended with a ribbon and we weren't even last!
  • I feel validated that we were 100% ready and prepared to move to Novice.
  • Though it may have taken longer then planned to get to this point but to do it with just one minor error shows me that I have done the right thing by taking it slow.
  • Though yes my horse locks onto jumps and gets excited and wants to go fast which can be seen as a negative but on the other side of that he is SO incredibly bold and brave and LOVES his job so much that he just wants to do it!
  • After I had some time to think about all of it and begin to separate my feelings from the facts I was able to better put into perspective the event. 
  • And I am quite pleased with my horse. 
  • I need a lot of work!
  • I again completely failed at taking pictures and I am very sorry.  There was a photographer on the grounds and I have been waiting to post this in hopes that I could find some pictures of us on her site but she still has not posted the pictures online.  If I find some I will be sure to share!

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Blog fail....but that's my reality.

I just finished reading Sprinklerbandits very good and accurate post about what makes up a good horse-y blog.  I now have this overwhelming feeling that I suck at this thing.  Oooooffff, I am pretty sure that I met absolutely none of those criteria.  I have NO idea why any of you come back and read this mess.  I guess I may have possibly met one, I am usually brutally honest.

Not that I don't love and value you all, my enduring blog readers it's just that if I get to the end of any day and I am on speaking terms with my husband, my children have been fed, clothed and educated, my horses haven't bucked me, or any of my children off, I'll settle for no broken bones then it has been a wildly successful day in my world.  I am beginning to think that it isn't even worth entertaining the idea that I might ever actually remember to have a camera handy, then to remember to take a picture, not forget I took those pictures, not loose the camera, the battery on my phone not being too low to take pictures.  Then to find the time to upload those pictures? To write about those pictures?  To make it all coherent?  Then reread to make sure it really is not written in Pig Latin or some other language my semi-conscious mind made up.

You are long suffering few that return time after time.  So thank you!

BTW I entered an event derby this weekend at Novice.  Is it true?  Will Steady and I finally emerge from the ranks of Beginner Novice?  Well I guess we will find out this weekend.  There is a good possibility that we will completely crash and burn.  Elaina and Lily are coming too and doing a couple dressage tests! My first time showing at the same show as my daughter!  Can you comprehend showing and being show Mom all at the same time?  I sure can't, this may get interesting.  Ok and I am taking my two youngest along too so don't forget to add keeping two more kids alive, fed and happy Mom duty to my list of hats to wear this weekend. It is sure to be a fun weekend!!  Ha, and you all think I will remember to take a picture, isn't that sweet...;)

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Surprises

I have been unable to come on here and update much at all.  Now I feel life slowing down a bit and I am looking forward to that.  The snow on the ground outside my window has me feeling much like staying in bed all day today.  I have still to unpack anything from Team Challenge.  But I got a new laptop last night so I need to test it out right?  So here I am. 

I have yet to post about some exciting news.  My youngest daughter just turned 7 years old about two weeks ago.  She is a fairly unique child in that she is so young yet very responsible and determined.  Very Type A personality.  We just had teacher conferences last night and her report card she received all A+'s.  It is one thing to get all A's but all A+'s how does that even happen??  But with her I believe it.  She just does not get anything wrong.  It is almost like she won't let herself.  I am NOT this type of person so I do no know where she gets it from.  Maybe she is that way in spite of me, I don't know but it is who she is.  I can only remember having to really correct her one time and that was recently and only because I was trying to make a point about how important it is to pay careful attention when caring for the horses.  It nearly devastated her to have to be corrected and I had to spend more time telling her that it is OK to not be perfect than I did explaining my point so that she would not be crushed.  When she gets it in her head that she wants to do something and if she has asked for permission she will do it 100%.  That she may get from me.  Well all that to say that about 2 months ago she got it in her head that she wanted to start riding.  That was the beginning of the end.  EVERY SINGLE DAY since I have heard the words, "Mom, can I ride?".  If I say no we are busy she will then say, "well then can I ride later?".  Again if the answer is "no", then she asks, "can I ride tomorrow?".  She is relentless, or determined, or obsessed or all of the above, I don't know but it became a DAILY thing.  Well I don't have a real beginner kid safe horse.  So she was content that I was only comfortable with leading her on Lily.  But it made it hard to really teach her anything.  She needs to learn how to post and well pretty much everything. She does have decent balance on a horse because she has ridden quite a bit but only usually for short periods of time and a couple months for fair time.

Well she proved to me that this was very important to her.  She would feed, water, clean stalls, groom, saddle and any other brunt work happily with absolutely no complaints.  I don't just let my kids do the fun parts if they are serious about it they need to prove it and learn all aspects.  My 10 year old eagerly took her on as her project and started teaching her how to groom and saddle the Lily.

Well I require much of my kids.  They are very well behaved and kind children because they are not aloud to be any different.  Some people disagree with my type of parenting but I strongly believe I am trying to not raise children but the goal is to raise independent, confident, strong, intelligent, helpful, kind and well balanced adults.  So I do probably expect more from my kids than many parents (but those parents are usually asking me how I raised such well behaved children) but I am careful to balance those expectations with praise, love and acceptance for the strengths, weaknesses, successes and failures.  And if they want something in life and prove it is not just an emotional whim then I will move heaven and earth to give it to them.  Understanding that it can just as easily be taken away if it is not appreciated and respected by their words, behavior and actions.  And you know what I found is that when you expect and give these things children are capable of being and doing SO much more than adults who want to say, "but they are just children" think that they can.

Kelcie proved every bit of what I ask when it came to really wanting to start riding.  Enter Mom moving heaven and earth.......and this is what appeared in our back yard on Kelcie's 7th Birthday.

Meet Penny!
The perfect Kelcie size pony.
And she is the happiest little girl in the world!
Surprise Kelcie!  Being such and awesome kid does have it's benefits.

 
We are just leasing this little cutie for an indefinite amount of time.  Kelcie does understand that but it doesn't make it less special to have your own pony to love and care for and learn how to ride on.  And since Kelcie has made great progress on her posting and Penny is loving having her own kid  to take care of again.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Checking boxes.

Spoiler alert!  Not without it's bumps but it went well, to say the least!
Boxes from my bucket list that is!  This is a doozey!  But I am not a fan of cliff hangers so I will leave the choice to you.  If you can't make it through the entire post in one sitting you can get bored and leave or you can even come back later and finish on your own time but this will be the entire coverage of my experience at Hagyard Midsouth Horse Trial and Team Challenge.  Kentucky Horse park was on my list.




 On my list for this year actually.  There are things that I thought I might accomplish this year that haven't happened but this amazing experience makes all of that completely irrelevant at this point.  Competing at Kentucky Horse Park was what I hoped to do.  Who would have thunk it would become so much better than that?!

This place IS all it is cracked up to be.  Horse Heaven
I am not sure where to start.  This event has been the culmination of years of work and you never know if that day will be your day.  Steady previously has always been excessivly tense in dressage.  We have been unable for quite a while to get scores better than the 40's.  Then straightness and steering in stadium have also been questionable for us.  Being at beginner novice height it didn't usually make an effect on our score because he could jump those jumps sideways.  Which is what often would happen.

I had not even realized until arriving at the Horse Park what kind of caliber event this was.  It was unlike anything I had ever been to.  We are not in Indiana anymore Toto, I mean, Steady.  Checking the forecast earlier in the week I was happy to see it was going to be sunny and in the 60's.  Great Eventing weather! 

The drive down was uneventful.  We arrived, unloaded and settled in.  I went on a short ride.  Steady was a little distracted but mostly quiet and obedient.  Two of my awesome eventer friends sweetly offered for me to share a room with them.  Yay for not sleeping in my truck!!  We went out to dinner, chatted until we were too tired then drifted off to sleep with thoughts and nerves of the horse show kind.

7 am arrived before I knew it.  With a 4:07 ride time you have time to have a leisurely start to your day.  But seriously no matter how late I ride I am always behind and rushing the last 20 minutes. This needs to change. It is too stressful.  Eventing prep alone is a sport in and of itself.  Wear this, change that, switch this for every dang phase.  4:07 dressage time and stadium jumping at 6 pm.  I meant to buy a stock tie pin at one of the tack trailers, didn't happen.  I was supposed to sew a button on my show coat, never happened.  Oh well we will make due I guess.  So much for that amazing weather report.  It was cold and rainy and cold.  Just the type of weather perfect for making horses high as a kite.  I took him down to the dressage area to lunge and I am sure glad I did because all of the action down there he was high as a kite.  I eventually got control of his feet and that was my goal.

After a whirl wind of getting ready and down to the warm up with about 20 minutes to warm up which was my goal.  Thankfully the rain had at least stopped but once you rounded that last corner of the barn to walk down to the warm up you were immediately struck by a fierce brisk wind.  Down in the arenas the warm ups were down right sloppy.  Soaking wet and soup like. Conditions were far from perfect to create a relaxed environment.  To my pleasant surprise Steady got right to work.  Listening, obedient and we even had some nice bending (for us) to the right which is our bad side.  Walk, trot, canter in both directions and lots of relaxed stretchy walking.  If all went to hell in a hand basket for out test I was still pleased because it was officially the best warm up we have ever had.  Then the bell rings and it is time to enter at A.  The test felt good.  NO really it felt REALLY good!!!  The only blip we had was he switched canter leads on our circle but he switched then switch back all without so much as coming above the bit.  I felt it during the test that though I had improved a great deal that I still get tense during a test and get weird with my hands which really scarified some of our bend in both directions but mostly to the right.  Still need to keep working at that.  I halted and G and tears welled up in my eyes.  I was SO proud of my boy for staying relaxed and doing his job.  I felt like a just came off cross country I was so damn excited.  I jumped off his back and praised him.  It was awesome!  But you never know how a judge will see your test and judge it so I was apprehensively excited to find out my score.
Dressage arenas.  Pipes in front are to fill the watering truck to keep the arenas waters.  No watering was needed Saturday.  They were a sloppy mess.


 But I must wait because scores won't be posted until later so I was to hear my score as I entered my stadium round.  Remember this is a team challenge  I will explain how it works.  A team consists of 3-4 riders.  Our team was on of 5? that was put together by the Indiana Evening Association.  There were several of us from IN down there.  I knew one of the members of our team KC and her pony Pablo Picasso she even is a blogger and knew of the other two and have seen them around different events but had never officially met.  Dressage your team members ride all at the same time, Stadium and cross country you go one right after another.  You are scored individually just like a regular event.  Each member being in a separate division.  There were 4 Beginner Novice division with about 25 per division.  And 25 teams. So that makes about 100 competitors just in the BN level!!  The event was huge!  I think there was something like 475 competitors! Team scores are figured using the best 3 scores from each team then add the scores together and the lowest score wins.  So you are rewarded as individuals and as teams.

Another whirl wind of getting on my horse and into warm up.  Warm up was a MAD house.  two different levels with stadium going on at the same time in different arenas are sharing one warm up arena.  People and horses are flying everywhere.  I was ran up on, cut off and I even thought we might kill a little pony because I clearly called the oxer and during our last stride person on pony cuts in front of the landing side of the jump.  Luckily our steering had improved greatly since last year and the pony was spared.  It was nearly time and our team headed over.  I was in division D so I was last to go on our team.  One by one each went clear!  Pablo the pony got bit rambunctious and even threw in a couple bucks for KC before the 2 stride. Each of my team members went double clear.  Then it was my time.  I had my plan in my head and was ready to execute!  I salute the judge and the buzzer sounds and I hear the announcer announce our names and our score of 33.3!!  Alright Steady we rocked that now let's do this.  We canter off and the first jump is a line Oxer and six strides to a vertical.  Smooth sailing.  Right turn to another oxer, good.  Left to the two stride combination(remember this has been a big mental obstacle for me) NO problemo.  Then a pretty tight left to a natural colored vertical.  Right at the our turn to the fence Steady thought that the fact we were headed back toward the gate must mean we were going out.  We had a moment. He wriggled, he scooted sideways and flipped his head I even lost a stirrup but I wasn't going out like this so stirrups or not we are getting this done, Dude!  I kicked on and kicked on and he caught sight of the next jump and took off to it.  Then a tight turn back to the left to a jump set on an angle which was necessary to get right to set up for the next jump an airy natural obstacle hard to the right.  Then it was right to number 9 and I remembered to sit up and ride to the last jump.  No quiting until we pass through the flags.  The last jump was beautiful and we were double clear.

After Dressage we were 5th in our division and our team was in 3rd!!!  4 double clear stadium rounds put Steady and I in 4th and our team in 1st!!!  Wooo fricken hoooo!  Team Veterans & Vixens is kicken butt!!!  Everyone from IEA was so supportive and congratulations were flying everywhere.  People who have seen Steady and I in the past were extremely impressed with our progress.  And Steady gets compliments left and right because he has turned into such a dashing, impressive gentleman.  His color is amazing right now.  Deep chocolaty brown with a sleek coat.  It was just an incredible feeling that I don't get to enjoy often in my world of housework and kids and wife duty.  I may have been a bit on the annoyingly excited side.  We went out to dinner at a great pizza place then wine and chatting into the night again.  Going over the cross country course in our heads and the excited nerves that come along with the most favorite phase of all eventers.

The team ringer score was by the amazing Squiggie owned by fellow Indiana eventer and blogger, Rachel.  Squiggie is the queen off all eventing awesomeness in the world.  Taking blue ribbons at every event she attends is a given.  Rachel was not in the irons the time as she has a bambino growing in the oven.  But she offered her up to a fellow eventer.  Their score was sumthin' ridiculous like 28.6.  Then Steady and I had the other anchor score with our 33.3.  The other two scores were a 39 and 44.  As we were riding in the bed of the truck to go out to walk the XC course they grabbed my leg so as to not let me fall out of the truck.  Not for fear of loosing my life but more so of loosing my score...lol.  I can't lie it felt good to feel important.  But it did also add a strange extra pressure to the all ready high pressure sport.  Knowing that I would not just be letting myself down if I failed but my whole team.

It is such a mental game.  I can't help but feel confident going into XC but then I know how quickly the tables can turn and you can land flat on your face when they do.  One day maybe I can take it all a little less serious but I guess I don't feel I have that luxury when I get out to one recognized HT a year.  I put all my eggs in one basket so to speak and I just want to do it the best I possibly can.  So far I felt that is exactly what we have been able to accomplish.  Perfect?  NO.  But our best we have to give right now?  YES.

XC ride was at 3:34 pm so another pretty leisurely day.  I walked the XC course 3 times and was able to watch several Novice horses go.  Then I went out to watch a fellow IEA team go.  Before they came through we saw several horses come through in BN out of at least 6 and I maybe saw 1 clear round.  That was not the best to build the confidence in how the course was going to ride.  It was a strange course I thought.  No flagged water question.  No flagged ditch question.  No jump in particular stood out as looky.  Maybe the squirel at jump #1 but I wasn't too concerned about that.  But the real questions on the course were the terrain.  You had several ditches to go through.  We went down into the Rolex Hollow then up two strides to a coop.  A lot of hills, an A B combination on a 45 degree angle.  And #4 proved challenging for many and it looked like it would.  It was a stone wall and after was a steep incline at the top was a large arbor complete with winding vines.  The arbor was distracting but I felt more than anything for the horses that steep incline right after didn't give them a clear view out.  Then if you didn't swing wide after 3 and instead cut a little of the corner the horses just did not get a change to comprehend the question before it was upon them.

As my friends started to go they, one after the other, just rocked the course and made it look like cake.  That was all I needed to see.  They had amazing rides and they rode it like they should have and it looked very ridable.  Now it is game on!  We headed back to the barns to get ready to take our spot in the start box.  On our way out to the warm up Steady was little by little becoming more and more overwhelmed.  I could NOT get him to stop looking out into the distance.  He was getting ancier and ancier.  By the time we made it all the way out there he was in full blown melt down.  I couldn't get him to walk.  He was putting his nose to his chest and prancing left and right and any way but straight.  Until the moment that the explosion started going upward.  I couldn't get forward motion and he started bouncing up front and I felt a scary moment coming so I emergency dismounted.  I didn't know what to do.  I moved his feet for a few minutes from the ground trying to get his attention on me.  For what ever reason he COULD NOT stop gazing out into the distance.  Yes we were on the top of rolling hills and you could see very far out.  No he is not used to anything but flat ground but I did not see this coming AT ALL.  So I am not even on my horse 10 minutes until I need to be in the start box.  Not to mention gone over any jumps.  Rachel convinces me I need to get on and let him gallop.  Hahaha ok I may trot but not convinced galloping is going to happen.  Trotting helped, a little.  I did get over two itty bitty cross rails before another melt down began.  They said I was next and I headed over just as my team mate was heading out of the box.  Steady did NOT like that at all!  He wanted to go too.  I was desperately hoping someone that was close by could just hold him for the few seconds we need to wait.  This is a casualty of eventing alone.  I need a team!  Or even one support person would be nice. The start box people seemed terrified of him.  I mean yes he was acting like a loony bin but anyone who has ever evented can hold a horse acting like that.  Then the fit got bouncy again up front and I hoped off again before I got that infamous Steady rear that I felt coming.  He wasn't being mean he just had mentally checked out.  He was honestly overwhelmed and his answer to that is move his feet and the faster the better.  Serious thought of withdrawing were running through my head.  And I think there was a good chance if my team wasn't counting on my that I would have.  So start box people again no help say, "well if he can't handle this maybe you shouldn't be doing this sport."  Lady can you just shut the F up an hold my horse.  Well no I can't hold a horse but I will give you unsolicited advice on your riding discipline.  "well you need to go" says the lady.  Don't get me wrong I am eternally grateful to the volunteers but at that moment she was not my favorite.  I desperately needed someone to hold him one second, that is all I needed so I could jump on and GO.  Mounting a 17 hand horse in jumping length stirrups from the ground as he is dancing around in circles is just not possible for me or anyone I doubt.  But if I could have 1 second of stillness I could be on.  Finally some lady appeared out of nowhere she may have been an angel and unfortunately in that moment I did not get to properly thank her though I did say thank you.  She came up held him I swung a leg over and I was through the start box.  We trotted the first jump I was really still concerned what was about to happen.  I thought he would exploded on landing, it has happened before when he was far less excited than this.  But upon landing he just galloped off steady and ready for action.  I was struggling a bit to get him back to me in front of the jumps but he was not out of control by any means.  Jump two no problem.  Down hill long gallop over the roadway to jump 3 we had some crookedness in my attempts to hold him back.  But in hindsight I feel my biggest fault this whole XC course was holding him back too much.  #1 lesson to take home and work on is I need galloping lessons.  That is where pretty much my only fear on horse back lies is speed.  I took the wide turn around to 4 which gave us plenty of sight to what was coming.  It was like he wasn't even thinking about the jumps at all.  Just sailing over them.  We went up the steep hill to 5 then you had to go down the other side through a little stream then over a brush fence to the left.  Next jump 6 little blue house then a good galloping stretch up a slow incline.  This was the first place I actually let him go and it felt really good and it also made him so much easier to pull up to balance for jump 7 and I think it was just more effective because he didn't feel like he had to fight me all the way to the jump.  Take this lesson home, think on it, work on it, change it, Amy!  Stop making your horse think he has to fight you on XC. Over the log at 8 then on to the hollow.  He got to the top and was like, "whoa, where did the ground go?".  He immediately slowed to a walk then we trotted through the hollow but I knew I needed momentum up and out to the jump so I kicked on and he cantered forward and he weaseled just a little at the top but went over with no issues.  Down a long decline to jump 9.  He took a pretty long spot to it but since these jumps are pretty much another canter stride to him it was not an issue.  10 was a table down another hill through a ditch to 11 A&B  A was a roll top with a hard right to a log pile to the left.  He pulled up to a trot when I  forced the turn then off to 12.  A big green roll top the a pretty sharp turn to the left through a low area.  Steady is well known by those who know him by thinking he knows more than I do at times or all the time.  He thought we should go straight and I had to give a bit of rude awakening that no indeed we were going to go left.  He does listen and he is not being belligerent he just gets on a roll and thinks he knows what he is supposed to do next. He happily does what I ask next it just takes a second for him to get on the same page.  And by this time my upper body is really getting tired from holding him so much and my riding is not it's best.  My hands are way too high and I doubt I am communicating with my body properly.  To the left through a low spot then to the right to another log.  Through another ditch and to jump 14 the last one on course.  And the screaming began.  I was inexplicably happy and relieved that it went so amazing.  In less than 6 minutes I went from thinking my horse might just kill me in warm up and I should withdraw to sweeping through the XC country course like it was a walk in the park. The extremes were great and made it all so much more exhilarating.  Normally after a XC run horses even Steady is calm and quite proud of their accomplishment.  And I knew I had purposefully not conditioned steady at all for any of it because too much condition on him makes him high strung.  So between the high energy warm up and the course I thought he would be tired out at least a little.  Ha, silly me!  I seriously think he thought that was his warm up because he was not done.  he was still waiting for the real jumps to come along.  He was so dancey and prancy on the way back I had to get off and walk him to the barns which was a long haul.  Oh Steady you are amazing and crazy and highly intelligent and pig headed all at once. 

We ended and made our way up to 3rd individually in a solid competetive field of 25 and 1st out of 25 teams!  Veterans & Vixens dominate Beginner Novice Team Challenge.  We ended on our dressage score of 33.3! 

Hey guys I've got good news!  Even in all the excitement I managed to not only start my watch but also the helmet cam!  So here it is..fair warning I talk on XC A LOT so if you don't want to hear my annoying chatter turn down the volume.  And after the rainbow jump beware the screaming may blow your speakers.
And please after about the 6 minute mark and the course is finished hit stop because I forgot to turn it off and trust me you don't want to hear me hyperactively gabbing halfway back to the barns.  I tried to trim it on youtube but it is taking forever.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Evolution

When it comes to the type of horse person I am I hope to always be evolving.  Never think that I have arrived or 'now I've got it'.  If the day comes that that happens that is the day that I need to move on and find a new passion in life.  Because these creatures deserve more than an arrogant human on their side.  We ask them to be flexible, forgiving and teachable I think that is the least we can offer them. A goal: to not use terms like, "yeah I know that", "I've done that" even if I think I have.  Strive to listen more than I talk and understand that everyone one has something to teach me.  Sometimes even if it is what not to do.

So to write off someone or something because of the way it comes across or the way it is presented is not wise.  I have to say it is something I have been guilty of and now have to publicly state that "I was wrong" about the Clinton Anderson method of training.  Not wrong because I openly disagreed with it because I didn't.  I never said his method was not helpful nor that it didn't work for some people.  I just looked at it more as, oh thats great I am glad it worked for YOU.  But this is what works for me.  It was more of the, 'wrong' like when I tell my kids to eat their vegetables and they, before even taking a bit say, "I don't like ____."  I just had decided it wasn't for me before I had ever given it a fair shot. 

There are several reasons why I didn't ever give it a go.
  • I don't really like lunging
  • I strongly dislike commercialism and Clinton Anderson is exsessivly commercialized.
  • I don't love "playing" with my horses I like riding them.  And I sort of felt it was for people who were just too afraid to ride their horses.
  • I felt like I saw too much "become a trainer in a day" type people who resulted from such systems.
Buuut nothing changes your mind than having some pretty serious issues and needing to seek out a way to correct them because all your "old tricks" aren't cutting it.  I had a friend recently introduce me to a trainer who is gung-ho Clinton Anderson.  Said friend had already implemented similar techniques into her training but was renewed when she sent a "problem child" to this trainer and saw dramatic results in a typically stressed and reactive horse.  Even still I looked at it more as Oh that will help Lily and didn't really accept it as useful with Steady.  I mean much of it is about gaining respect and becoming the leader and them submiting.  And in my mind Steady was submissive enough and respectful enough.

Enter bucking problem.  A new evasion tactic on the part of my "submissive" beast.  Whaaaa...we are going to the only recognized event I could pull off this year in a matter of days and my horse decides that bucking during every ride is his new 'thing'?  That instead of complying with a canter transition when asked that a buck(or two, or a buck and twist and flip your head) is a more suitable response.  I went down the list, is he in pain?, Is he uncomfortable?, Am I doing something wrong?.  When the list was exhausted it pretty much boiled down to, there is nothing wrong except jerk knob doesn't want to do it and he is going to let me know.  Things you don't want to hear in your lesson the week before a big Horse Trial, "you rode that well, I am sorry he tried to buck you off."  And yes in this lesson last week it happened several times.

Since this is awfully wordy already I won't go into specifics but I just started the begining stages with him and only been at it 3 days and the difference is night and day the attitude I am getting. He has still been having his "F U" moments but they have been from the ground where I can deal with them without any fear of being catapulted through the air and I can have a far quicker and more accurate response which in turn he very quickly gets through his brain and his entire demeanor changes and becomes submissive and he starts to give proper responses instead of over reactive knee jerk ones.  I am beyond excited about it and when I get on his back he gets to work.  More on the subject later but here's to getting through Team Challenge with NO bucking and having the ultimate horse/eventing/friend weekend ever!!!  Is the really my life??!  Can't wait!  Now can someone please come clean my tack and pack for me?!  Cause I haven't quite figured out how I am going to fit that into my quickly disappearing week.

Monday, September 30, 2013

Everything from A to Z

Just so much to catch up on and I don't want to over do it in the word department so I will do my best.

I got a job helping my friend out at her barn exercising and helping her training her young sale sport horses.  It has been a decade or two since I have ridden 3-5 horses a day and my body isn't used to it.  It has been a blast though and so good for me to learn to ride other horses besides mine again.  It is amazing how different it can be riding one horse to another.  Here are all the youngsters.
Schitzen Giggles 5 year old TB/NSH
AKA; Giggles or her gangster name 'Shitty Gigs'


Pop Secret


Pop, 15 hh I believe TB/arab
All her horses are just lovely
Oldenburg Gelding

Rex Bibendi





Steady has definitely been off.  I had my friend help me try to pin point where it was originating.  Closest we got was definite stiffness in right rear hock.  Could be stemming from a back issue or could actually be in the hock.  He had his body worked on and received some acupuncture yesterday.  She found soreness and heat in his right hip...sigh...It is a watch and see game at this point.  We will keep in light work.  I also started him on a joint supplement.  Oct. 18th is fast approaching I can only hope and pray it all sorts out in time for Team Challenge.  I had someone who just got their first horse in recent months say to me the other day, "We keep doing all of this exhausting work and I keep thinking soon we will be able to finally sit back and enjoy it".  HAHAHAHA, I said well I have had horses for 25 years and I am still waiting for that moment!  She was NOT amused but it is reality.  We don't do it because it is easy and it is gonna be fun.  We do it because it is who we are, we can't do life without them, they give us their all and we give them that right back.  It is definitely not easy and often times not even fun but it is complete satisfaction.

Elaina went to a show over the weekend and Lily bucked her off in her first class.  She was fine and finished out the day even taking home a few ribbons but man that pony is getting on my last nerve.  Elaina is adamant that she loves her to death and doesn't care that she is naughty.  I am not so in love right now.  But damn if she isn't the cutest pony and she is so darn sweet and doesn't have a mean bone in her body.  She is just young and testing her boundaries I just am still on the fence as to whether I want those boundaries tested with my child on her back.  She also rode in a dressage clinic yesterday and the clinician was great.  Got right to the heart of the issues we have been working on and she honed in on some position issues.  She taught Elaina the correct way to win Lily's "tug-o-war" games by keeping her elbows back, shoulders back and upper body strong.  It was great and she really got Lily traveling uphill and using her hind end.  I believe that is why when asked to canter Lily would not pick up the canter.  She not used to having to sit back on her butt and pick up the canter.  It is usually more of a fall on the forehand type of transition.  They were both looking fabulous by the end.  And I got to see my daughter from a 3rd hand point of view and admire what a lovely rider she is and how hard she works to get it right.  The lesson of course was not without a couple Lily moments.  Trying to exit stage right and refusing to pick up the canter but over all I loved the homework she/we left with.

That's it, that is the update.





Wednesday, September 18, 2013

I do ride. Here is proof.

Still no word from Team Challenge, ugh the suspense is nerve wracking.  I've been spending a lot of time working with Elaina and Lily.  They had a break through the other day that has helped both of them tremendously which is awesome.  I have come to realize that my horse is impossible to ride when Lily is also being ridden.  So I have ended our 'riding together', bummer.

I don't want to mention this for 1) saying it out loud makes it seem like a real thing and 2) I am really hoping it is not a real thing.  Something with Steady seems NQR.  He seems stuck? way behind my leg? hitchy?  IDK what it is, where it is coming from a leg? his back? a joint? a foot? or just being a royal pain in the ass?  I have lunged him, can't see anything, riding I definitely feel something but don't know what it is or if it is something.  I don't know.  Body lady is coming on the 29th and I am supposed to be out of town, sigh.  Thinking I could leave Steady at my friends where the body worker comes to?

Now I said that out loud on to less depressing things and maybe you can see something off for yourself.  But here is proof that I do ride my horse.  Here we are yesterday riding in my front yard that I only got half mowed, lol.  And for those of you not familiar with my world I only have the wee ones who are tolerant enough to video tape for us so it is a wiggly and a jiggly.  And NO I am not referring to my ASS though that would equally qualify.






And here is bit of Steady's strong suit his stretchy walk.


And let's not even get into today's ride.  Spooking at everything that did and didn't move yet still incapable of going forward freely.  We jumped and he jumped everything I pointed him at with the least amount of effort possible without falling over himself.  Though at moments I was worried he was going to fall over himself. I guess the ride would be considered OK but really it was so very meh...what is going on Steady?  Do I need to ride with a whip?  Oye.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Luck of the Draw

There Were An Unprecedented Number Of Entries For Team Challenge So Today There Will  Be A Draw.  our Entries Were Sent On Opening Day So here's Hoping We Make It In!  Wish Team Veterans & Vixens Luck!  Impatiently Keeping An Eye here For The List.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Tack/Equipment review: Majyk Equipe X Country boots



When I first purchased these boots at Rolex I promised a review on them down the road once I really got to use them.  It has been nearly 4 months of regular use.  In every situation from schooling cross country, horse trials, in water, mud, stadium jumping, trail riding and everything else I can think of.   Having heard of plenty of peoples issues when it comes to boots and owning a sensitive skinned horse I dreaded a trial and error process.  Boots slipping, holding heat, holding water, holding dirt, rubbing ect.  I am happy to report there was only trial and no error.


When I say I tested them....

 
I mean I realllly tested them.



My hunt for the perfect boot had this list of requirements:
  • Non heat holding matierials
  • Tendon guard-preferably not a solid piece of plastic
  • Comfortable
  • Don't hold water

I am a lover of minimalism, I think in most situations the least amount of intereference possible the better.   So when taking on the idea of needing to start riding my horse in boots I didn't love the thought but knew it was best for his protection and the longevity of our partnership. Walking around Rolex I as able to look at all sorts of boots from the newly popular Dalmar to long time favorites Eskadron and everything in between Professinal Choice, PE, Woof and have never been convinced I wasn't trading one problem for another.  A fabric that insisted did not hold water but I wasn't sold.  I know fabric holds water, not to mention any fabric is going to hold in heat, a boot with no tendon gaurd, but I want to protect tendons.  Tendon gaurds that are a solid piece of hard material yet wrapped tightly around a body part that I require the utmost flexibility and movement in order to do the job I am asking.  Not saying any of the boots like this are bad or not functional.  I am just saying that I could not wrap my little mind around it and thus never felt compled to hand over my dollars to hope it works.  I mean would I be willing to wrap the same boot around my leg and run?



Call it what you want, hype, gymic or such like when I heard the technology and study behind Majyk Equipe X Country boots I was sold.  You can read about the studies and research behind them here.   The biggest selling point for me when considering these boots was the flexible strike guard.  They also have documentation of third party testing on their boots along side of the most popular and most expensive names in boots.  Like Roma and Eskadron and they far exceeded their protection.

From Majyk Equipe website

"The Boyd Martin X Country boot has been developed in partnership with Boyd Martin, World Class Eventer and Olympic Athlete (2012 US Equestrian Team Member.) The boots have a revolutionary conical design providing excellent coverage and a true fit for your horse. The TPU mesh material is lightweight, features 'rip stop' technology for longer wear, and is breathable. The boots are designed to repel moisture (especially important over water jumps!) and the proprietary material and design helps prevent heat build up.

Inside the boot is an armored strike guard. The flexible shape of the strike guard creates a reverse response feature whereby impact from outside in is met with a rigid protective wall, but the accordion- like construction is soft enough to flex with the horse's movement during it's natural stride. In short - this means your horse's legs are given the ultimate protection throughout the course without a constrictive boot construction. Designed to withstand dirt and prevent rubbing, the boots come in two sizes. The medium size fits horses 15 hands - 17 hands and the large size fits horses 17+ hands."
 

 

I can tell you that through personal experience every claim they make is absolutely true and functions exactly the way they say it does.  Then to feel them. They are lined with a butter soft memory foam material that is soft on the skin and conforms to the body.  They have ventilation holes with the outer material being strong but with a honey comb shaped hole design through out that makes them extemely ventialted.  Not holding heat, perfect!  These boots have exceeded my expectations. After all of my use I must say that I would absolutely purchase them again. I am sold on them. I cannot say one thing negative about them. They protect where I have needed them to protect. They are light weight. Extremely ventilated. Not bulky at all. Form fitting. They absolutely do not hold water I mean I have soaked them in a bucket of water and besides dripping water off the exterior they did not soak up any water. The durability is fantastic I cannot see any appearant wear on them.  The fact that I can throw them in the washing machine is just bonus!

So if you are in the market for new XC boots or are unhappy with the pair you own then I 100% recommend Majyk Equipe boots!

  

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Star Struck

I have never been one to have interest in following celebrities.  I really could care less about 'famous' folks.  Just not drawn to it.  But I tell you what I absolutely get all ridiculously giddy about a BNT in eventing.  One that has big time medals under her belt.  I just want to latch on and never let go.  But thankfully my mother taught me better social skills than to be a total creep so I keep my creepiness at bay.  For example while tacking up to go out and school XC Dorothy spots my husband standing by my trailer and says she needs his muscles.  He helped her do something in her trailer.  We were sitting and talking a few minutes after and I said "that's awesome you just got to help Dorothy Crowell".  His response was, "so, I got horse shit on my pants".  "yeah but it's Dorothy Crowell's horses shit!!"  He was not nearly as impressed with it as I.  Though don't get me wrong he gladly helped that is just Ryan being, well, Ryan.  Now on to the days events.

Days earlier I had responded to someones request on Facebook in Cincinnati wanting a ride down to Kentucky Horse Park to school on Saturday.  I drive right through Cincy to get there so I offered to pick her up along the way.  I stalked her profile just to be sure she wasn't a serial killer or anything.  And all checked out just fine.  She appeared to be like what I think of all of the eventers I have ever meet, horse loving, passionate and nice people.  Low and behold she was all of those and she brought along her husband and student whom where just as great.  She had a beautiful and lovely horse Luna.  We stopped in picked them all up and were on our way.



The day was all I had hoped it would be.  I think I may have found a trick to keeping Steady calm at a new location(alfalfa, alfalfa and more alfalfa).  He was quite wonderful.  He stood tied to the trailer calmly and was even eating.  This is a miracle in and of itself. Horses coming, horses going standing tied all alone happy as can be.  Whaaa??  Yup!  It happened.   KHP is what it is, KHP.  It is everything every horse person could want.  Beauty in all directions whether it be the rolling green hills, miles and miles of white board fences, beautiful horses grazing in nearby pastures, beautiful horses competing in dressage and jumping in nearby arenas, beautiful horses galloping those same hills and fields that we see the greatest riders alive ride on. 

It is just simply KHP.


 The only difference this time showing up to KHP was that I had my amazing horse along with me which just took heaven to a new level.  Not to mention having my best friend (my husband) along who didn't seem to act like he hated every minute!  That is great news people, there is hope!



I wasn't sure who I would be riding with for my lesson and it ended up I went out with Dorothy who was riding a young project and John her husband who was riding his Novice/Training horse.  It was great fun!  Steady got a tiny bit excitable but not at the level he has been in the past and that was a relief.  I wasn't sure how he would handle the biggness and the busyness that was KHP on a schooling day.  Between jumps he was walking on the buckle.  He was in true Steady fashion a bit too eager to jump all of the things and through out the lesson I was shown that I just hold him too much and don't give him a chance to  do the right thing on his own.  Our jumps stayed small.  I mean I don't even think we jumped a Novice jump but I was ok with it.  My entire goal in going was to make it a relaxed and positive experience.  I had one shot at making this happen at KHP before showing up to compete there in October.  I say it was what Steady needed but in all reality it was exactly what I needed too.  I have to admit I was nervous about competing there.  I mean the only time I have ever seen someone ride at KHP is at Rolex which just makes the whole place seem huge.



  But going out and riding the 'real' jumps did make it seem like just another venue and that helped me more than anything to wrap my mind around it.


My biggest lesson learned was to LET GO!  Don't hold him before and after I need to give him 2-3 strides for him to choose the correct pace before I first ask politely and if that doesn't work then ask rudely.  What a practical and perfect lesson that fits right into our training.  Low and behold when I would remember to do that it was almost like I could feel a sigh of relief from Steady.  Like, "ahhhh she isn't going to grab my face so I don't have to drag her along and run.!"  It was a big light bulb for both of us.  He was quite lovely.  We kept the jumps small and though I do love to jump myself some big jumps that is not what we needed.  We jumped the jumps that we will be asked to jump at Team Challenge and made it a great experience.  There is no doubt in my mind the he will jump any size jump I ask him to but in building on his training in the best way possible we have to work on the plain and simple basics and that is exactly what we did.

 Steady obviously never hesitated at any jump I pointed him at of course, the horse loves to jump too much for that.  The only thing we did that we have never gotten to do before was jump a jump in the middle of water.  SO much FUN!  I just love the canter that water produces and then to jump in it was awesome.  It's like a little kid jumping in a mud puddle for the first time and realizing how fun it is.  Hey and the log in the water was decent size so maybe we did jump a couple bigger things.  I think it is just that my definition of what is "big" is changing and hey that is a good thing! 

Never fear we can't possibly get through any experience without some excitement though!  There was  rainbowish beginner novice size bench and we jumped it going one way then turned around and jumped it the other that was toward the open field.  I can't know exactly what caused this but upon landing it felt a little funny.  Maybe a little slip or maybe it was belligerence but he took about two strides upon landing and kind of hopped then a huge stride and produced a huge buck and again leaping and bucking.  I stayed very calm and pulled him up and smacked him.  Dorothy then said, "wow I can see why you don't want to let go".  Which from her stand point I can see what it appeared but honestly that has NEVER happened before.  Don't get me wrong he does plenty of other things that can be terrifying if you don't know him but buck upon landing is not one that he has pulled until Saturday.  At this point I have to give him the benefit of the doubt and that something was just off about it.  Whether it be the way I rode it, the way he landed or a lapse in mental stability but I surely won't hold that against him.  But can we please talk about my bronc riding ability?  I am sorry but I wish it was on video because I would think it would have been quite the display of athleticism on his part.  But I rode it like it was no big deal chastised him and we went on like it was nothing.  When in reality is wasn't "nothing".  Though I must admit when she said, "ok go back and canter that jump again" I was like, "really?  canter it?  going that direction?".  It was of course fine but I did second guess wanting to repeat.  The only other thing that could have been better was one of the ditches that we jumped.  I don't even like mentioning it because I had a momentary lapse on this one and rode it as if I was asking him to just stumble down into the ditch instead of actually go over it.  It was clearly not my horses fault on that one.

The rest was jumping logs, down banks, up banks, houses, over ditches, little half coffins and coffins, through the water, tables, rolltops etc.  All things that now to us are just more everyday type stuff which if I think about it that in and of itself is pretty awesome!

Huge appology for now media to accompany the trip but they day was full and living in the moment of the wonderful day I didn't take out my camera.