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.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

And the winner is.....

Thank you to all who shared and entered my contest. My blog went from 98 to 110 followers through the contest!  I really enjoyed it and will do it again when we hit 150 followers.  There is one more catch to winning the contest.  You must share with us what you purchased from SmartPak!  That way I can live vicariously through you!

Congratulations to TBA Thoroughbred Adventures with a splash of Paint you were selected from the 16 entrants with  I just need your email address so I can email you your $50 SmartPak gift card!!

I didn't get around last week to telling you how Steady really wanted to kill me during our ride on Thurday at S's house.  We warmed up with a short trail ride through her trails then went to 'jump' but the only jumping we did was when all four feet left the ground during several bucks and twists and all sorts of silly games. 
Pretty much how it went.  Except less smiling and more curse words on the monkey's part.

Elaina's ride went nicely on Lily though.  They even got to work through some exciting times while the tractor was moving round bales all around the fields around the arena.  They both did great.  I had I nice ride yesterday at home.  Today I am supposed to be jumping with S again at her place.  I am trying to figure out how to fit that in to my schedule today.
Trail riding at the State Park tommorow, ride at home on Friday then off to Kentucky Horse Park on Saturday morning.  I am picking up a complete stranger and her horse in Cinncinati on the way down.  She was asking for a ride to school xc on a FB site I am a part of.  Always an adventure right. 
I also got news that I am officially on team Veterans & Vixens for Team Challenge!!!   I cannot express how excited I am about this.  IEA has several teams going.  I have a feeling it will be some GOOD times!!