Monday, October 27, 2014

Hillbilly Desensitizing edited

Edited.  OMG mobile blogger is not my friend.  I originally posted this from my phone then the next day read it from a computer and the ridiculous amount of typos.  I am quite sorry.

That is what we did tonight.   See all you need do do this is for a hillbilly family with their like 35 hillbilly children to move in next door and viola, your horse is desensitized to chainsaws,  lawnmowers,  bonfires,  screaming, screeching, running children, shouting adults.   Prefect. Well almost.  Except for the idea that living out in the country is supposed to be relaxing and peaceful. Despite the chaos next door we had a super super fun night.   I challenged my daughter to a bareback jumping challenge.  She accepted the challenge.   It was a fabulous post surgery first ride.  And E had never jumped bareback before so she was having a blast.
Just a cute picture of these two because, cute.  And jumping bareback and taking pictures or video at the same time is probably a bad idea.

We started with a bitty x.  She asked how this challenge worked.   She gave me a funny look when my response was,  "well you just keep raising the jumps and who ever falls off first loses".  What?  Do you mean that is not some thing that all mothers say to their children?   This is why I am winning at parenting.  Ok there was no falling but lots of fun.  We put up an 18 in vertical.  Once we both got our bearings then it got real.   2 ft then 2'3" then 2'6" then skinny log and we were tired.   We both were equally successful clearing all the jumps.   I then said she won it all if she jumped the 2'3" 3 log stack that has a decent spread.   She again accepted the challenge and like the badass in the making that she is it was no problemo.

Jumping 2'6 bareback for E the first time ever and she was bomb and I surprisingly had to talk myself into the last one on my first ride back.  I wasn't concerned about the no saddle jumping thing but had more to do with my sometimes over exuberant horse and the hillbilly chaos going on just feet away.   But I'm glad I talked myself into it.  The first distance could have been better.   We got a bit of a long one so I needed to do it again.   The next was great and Steady was a saint. E thought the whole challenge was crazy fun and her and Lily were rock solid every time.  All the while the littlest on Penny was having her very first bareback ride.   She mostly walked and then decided she was brave enough to try trotting.   She did awesome.   It isn't easy on a quick strided pony.   She couldn't resist watching Mom and big Sis jumping and stated trotting poles and baby logs.  Badass kids have I.
And the littlest.  Not you just need to imagine these two trotting around saddles and you get the idea.


I am working on the post recapping the crazy awesome Team Challenge weekend.  It is a lot of work to put such an amazing experience into words but I am trying. Promise.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Cheering Up

Just a little eye candy for your viewing pleasure.
I hope not to sound whiney, first world , spoiled here.  That is not my goal.  But for the sake of full disclosure I will be plain old honest.  I need you all to vent to because you are the minuscule population that can relate to my feelings.  Because to own horses is to know disappointment. Because you have the non horse people that are trying to be kind but just don't get it saying "awww that is a bummer you don't get to ride in your horse show this weekend.  I know it is hard not getting to do something you want to do."  Really?  You understand what it's like to spend thousands of dollars,  hundreds of hours working, training, planning, preparing for the culmination of one single event then have it disappear for a ridiculous reason?  Oh wait, you meant like you didn't get to go to the mall one time and you were sad.  OK never mind. 
I WANT TO RIDE MY HORSE AT TEAM CHALLENGE!  Actually I want to ride my horse focus on goals,  show regularly and move up levels altogether.   So this isn't just about TC.  I am eternally grateful that Yankee and Bicardi's mom was so super rad, awesome, crazy brave to pull this off with my horse.  So that is not to be confused with my simultaneous pity party.   It's gonna be fun and it is going to be cool to see my horse do each phase from a new persective.  That I am looking forward to.  I hope he is on his best behavior like last year and these two even come home with a kick as story.  I really would not be surprised if they end up in the ribbons.  I have that much confidence in both of them to pull it off.  plus I will be armed with all sorts of cameras to capture every moment.  So there is that. 
But is it possible to be completely grateful and sort of sad and jealous at the same time?  This was it for us for this entire year.  I hate to play the money card but we really just don't have the disposable income for this right now and I was really pushing the envelope entering but I did. The roller coaster ride I feel like I've been on for the last two weeks has drained me emotionally.  I'm over it. To get my head out of thus place my next posts I plan to look forward.   Look to goals for the big horse and the little horse.  Next year there will be no big as school payment and I will be working.   Can you say money to play!!!!????

Ok I got that out of my system.   Now it's on to prepping and packing to go down to team challenge to have an awesome time!   Hang out with awesome people and cheer on Monica and Steady as they kick ass and take names!!!!!!  Meet my weekend drinking buddy and consume copious amounts of alcohol. Go Eventing!

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Revamp

This blog is in need of a revamp.  So many things have changed since I started writing this blog and I feel it has become this anticlimactic unending story with little foundation on which to build.  For a good story you need a background,  key players, a climax and an end. Blogs are weird in that they don't really have the ending part.  I have been going back and reading some of the very first writings on this blog and WOW is all I can say.  Where we started was crazy and where we are now is both cool and disapointing.

My guess is very few have been here from the very begining.  Nor do you really know our (as in Steady and my) stories.  I write here as if everyone already has a basic understanding of the background story.  That is another strange thing about blogs.  Sometimes it can feel like you are jumping in on a trilogy in the middle of the second movie and nothing really makes much sense.  So I will be in the process of rethinking and revamping this blog. In my post a few days ago about where the readers have gone it took me all of about 3 comments to whole heartedly agree with Karen and Sprinklerbandit that, this blog, for me, right now, just isn't that high on the priority list. I just don't have the time and energy to put in the effort it takes to make this blog really great.  I don't like that because I love this blog.  I love the blogs that I read.  I love the people and connections I have because of this blog. So the idea of it dying out scares me.  I am afraid that if I let it slip at some point it may slip away all together.  I don't want that to happen. I guess I am so surprised I even stuck with this for a year not to mention 4. It would not be surprised at all if it ended up just one of those things I did one time that was cool while it lasted.

So the revamp is my attempt to not let this blog slowly die with my increasingly packed full world.  I have some ideas in the works and one of them involves a cute little kid and her cute haflinger adding guest blogs about their journey together. And few background posts bringing those new to Slow and Steady Wins the Race up to speed with who we are where we came from and where we are going.

I most of all love my few very faithful readers!  You all do not go over looked!  I am thankful you keep coming back for more.  I feel that you are all interested and invested parties in my journey and have been moral support and advisors along the way.  I know it may be weird to feel so connected to many of you whom I've never met (some I have met and are super cool) but truth is that even if I can't explain it you really do mean a lot to me.  So here is to the next phase in this crazy crazy thing I call my life!

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Home horse keeping costs, written on morphine.

Edited to add that this post was written entirely under the influence of morphine.  If it makes little sense now you know why.

Well plans are made to be broken or something like that, so they say.  With the minus 9 days until Team Challenge my appendix decided it did not care to spend anymore time with me.  So just a little major surgery to test your true eventing blood.  I am in conversation with the surgeon about whether or not I am going to pull it off.  Right now I have to play it by ear.And I need to dedefinitely find a stronger bit for XC before then.  There is no way I can relay on pure brute strength to keep Steady under control out there.  So give me your best slow the 'F' down bits. But the real trick is it can't be so harsh it makes him reactive.  LAZ mentioned slow twist last week but i wonder if that will be enough in my condition.  Anyone out there riding a over exuberant, insanely fast OTTB XC horse who is also reactive and easily pissed off?  I need help here.

enough about the crap that has totally ruined my week.  I wanted a distraction and thought i would go over the cheap horse keepers budget.  I am the farthest thing from an equestrian diva you could meet.  I require quite little.  I actually take a bit of pride of taking very little and making a lot out of it.  No fancy barns, no plush arena, oh wait no arena at all.  But what I do have is happiness and 3 very healthy happy equines.  I know others do require much more to make their equestrian dreams come true and if someone was handing out million dollar equestrian facilities I by no means would turn that down and reality is when we movewe will be moving 'up' and a nicer barn and arena are high on the priority list. So i am not saying it is perfect and best way i am only saying it can be done.

So here it is. And i have been told that i need to take into account home costs to be fair since they are on my property. Which i don't completely agree with because even if you board you still have to pay rent or mortgage.  unless you sleep in your horses stall then you are paying to live sonewhere.  But my mortgage for a 2700 Sq ft home with 15 acres with taxes and insurance include is $1050 a month. We wouldn't have a lower Morgane if we lived in a subdivision so I am comfortable not including that cost.

Steady

Feed $100 mo. progressive nutrition diet balancer, fat supplement and oats
hay $30 mo.
shavings $10 mo.
vet $200 yr
farrier $35 6 x yr
deworming $15 3× yr

Total for the year for Steady is $2120 that is $176.66 a month.

The ponies are far cheaper.  They eat very little and don't have shoes.

2 ponies

feed $25 mo.
hay $60 mo.
Shavings $10 mo.
vet $400
Farrier $35 6 yr
deworming $15 3 yr


Total for a year for 2 ponies is $1895 and monthly $157.91.

With a grand total for 3 equines $334.57 a month.

This is solely horse care.  There is obviously more expenses when it comes to horses when you actively train and compete.  Tack, equipment, truck, trailer, fuel, lesson/clinic fees, show fees, hotel costs.  But that is a whole other ball game and also not basic necessities of everyday care.
Keep in mind I live in a low cost of living area.  Happen to have an awesome Amish farrier that completely under charges for his work. Rent 9 acres of our land to a farmer and trade for hay and only stall horses in inclimate weather.
I am not usually honest with people who are wanting to get into horses about my expenses because I believe I am an exception to the ruke.  I made the mistake of being honest with someone once and they assumed they could do the same bought themselves a horse and cut corners to save money.  Now THAT pissed me off.  Cutting corners is absolutely, positively unacceptable.  I would never sacrifice any of my animal's care to save a dime, ever.  And if I couldn't provide them with the utmost care then I would give them to some one who could before they went without anything.  Period.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

4 year-versary

So this in particular is not horse related but for the few of you who still read this blog I have some questions. I have been at this for four years now!  Wow.  Unfortunately readership has never been lower and commenting even lower.  Now I know the right thing to say here is that, 'I don't care who reads or comments on my blog because I do this solely for me not for who reads it'.  At least that is what I hear a lot.  But the reality is if we wright a blog we do it for others to read and give feedback or why would we not just get a journal and then it would truly be for our eyes only. I know it makes us feel like less of an attention whore but I am here to say I have no shame.   I want attention!   I look forward to comments and am happy when what I have taken the time to write down is actually read.   Now my question is,  what happened? Is it my lack of presence as of late that keeps people away?   Is it that my repulsive grammer has finally sent everyone running with their eyes bleeding?  (see how right there(I did it again! ) I used their in the correct form?) Or is it simpler than that?  Am I posting at the wrong day and time to maximize people seeing my posts?  Is it my lack of time to comment on others blogs and karma is just getting me back?  Come on you blogger geniuses help a girl out. Please tell me how my blog sucks, what I need to do to improve it.  It's OK be brutal, I can take it.  If you need to be anonymous to let me have it then feel free.  And one last question where in the 'F' did this Spanish soccer blog come from that is completely filling up my feed????? WTF? And how the hell do I get rid of it?

I will give you some horse related news to tease you until I can see if there I s possible photographic evidence.   I took the big horse Xc schooling yesterday and he may have made it his mission to see if he could catapult me. And the haffie and elaina schooled too and well you'll just have to come back to find out how it all went. See what I did there?  I just  left a cliffhanger to create suspense.   Hehehe....

Friday, October 3, 2014

15 days and counting

15 days until what could be the most interesting attempt at a Horse Trial we have made yet!  I am going with no plan what-so-ever a whole new strategy. The strategy in which you go to no schooling shows, have like 3 lessons in 12 months, ride a total of like 1 day a week then show up at a hugemongus Horse Trial and watch it all unfold.  Mwahahahahahahaha 15 dayzzz.......

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Training stuffs

I am adding a training update.  There has be SO many this year because SO much training has been happening in my and my horses lives.  If you didn't pick up on it I am being incredibly sarcastic here.  Training has been lacking on the Steady and Amy front this year.  We, for the most part have just been staying acquainted in the saddle.  You know like the long breaks in between any riding happens and then you get in the saddle and you both are like, "oh yeah, I remember this" and Steady thinks, "yeah this is that thing when that lady climbs on my back and flops about and I put up with her flopping long enough and she tells me I'm super awesome and feeds me"  and I'm like, "um my brain remembers where things should be but my body seems to protest every moment and then we are done".  YUP that's what we do peps.  It's incredible. 

There has essentially been one thing I have been working to accomplish all season.  My horse, over time, has come up with this new skill.  The skill is tuck my nose completely against my chest when I do my trots and canters.  I had one trainer make the assumption that, "oh I can see this horse has been trained in draw reins".  Excuse meeeee?!  AH NO.  Never not once, ever, never, ever thank you very much!  Unless the track trainers thought their horses could run faster by adding draw reins to them during a race I am 100% certain this horse has never been ridden in any thing other than an egg butt snaffle bit since the day he came off the track. I haven't used ANY training aides whatsoever.  No side reins, no nothing. I have been the only person to ever ride this horse so it makes it real easy to know what has happened in his training.  So excuse me Miss trainer lady, it has been good old fashioned shitty riding that has fucked this horse up. SO THERE!

Really she wasn't being rude and she gave me some tips to try to get his head up.  Once we cleared up that the problem was not cause by draw reins she then  said she thinks he is just a "submissive peer".  I think that is a good description of him.  Steady is an over achiever, AT EVERYTHING.  He thinks you want something?  Well he'll just go the extra mile.  So you say please bring your head down, and he takes that as, ok if that is what you want and proceeds to put his nose on his chest.  Jumping, Steady jump that.  OK I can jump it higher and faster than everyone, seeeeeeeee! There is a pattern here.  Anyways we went home and tried to work on the homework, unsuccessfully.  So I went to my usual trainer and she gave me some body mechanics stuff to use to get him up, up, up.  Tips like, maybe if you don't ride like complete garbage your horse will go nicely.  And it has help greatly.  I think we are getting an edge over the nose tucking thing beautifully.  It is still a work in progress because now the steady contact is not 100% yet.  But it is close and he has never moved better than he is now.  Here are some stills of a video my daughter took.  I would post the video but even at 11 my daughter has the videography skills of a seizing cat.






Monday, September 15, 2014

Super, awesome, Jerk.

Recap of the last week in horses.

Ok ride,
Steady was good and compliant.  Did some flat work jump a few smallish jumps.  All was good.  I rode in my jump saddle for the first time in a few weeks and I felt insecure.  I hated that feeling.  Because that saddle always makes me feel so safe. I have been working so hard to figure out how to ride in a dressage saddle I guess it messed with my jump position.

Jerk
Jerk face bucked then started pitching a fit.  Then since I was home alone and not really wanting to get hurt battling sir jerk face I made him regret being a jerk but did it from the ground.  It took a bit of time but I did finally win that battle.  In turn making me run late for school but hey I had to finish what I started.  The only picture I have is of when I was lunging him for bucking.

It takes talent to look this good while being a complete a-hole!


Super awesome ride
I went and had a lesson with LAZ on Thursday because school was closed for an in-service, yay!  My thoughts going into this was to figure out if It was going to be beneficial to my health to show up at Team Challenge in a few weeks.  We have not gotten out to one show this year so far and I am apprehensive to say the least.  Well Steady was a complete rock star.  It was amazing!  He didn't put a foot wrong.  I guess he had one rail the entire lesson but it was a "lazy rail".  My horse had a fricken LAZY rail.  No joke.  He was quiet at quiet could be.  I focused big time on my breathing. Which is something they talk quite a bit about at school for massage.  It was phenomenal.  I could literally feel him down shift the moment that I took a deep cleansing breath.  LAZ made it clear that I need to keep my shoulders back hands down and no pulling upon landing. 

Horse shopping
Yes we are on the look out for a new horse for Elaina.  She got her season with the bitty Pony and now we need to find a better fit for her.  She went a tried out a little gelding that might be "the one".  Still working out details with owners so not deats about him quite yet.

No riding for 4 days
This makes my heart hurt.  Life needs to slow down just a little so I can get into the saddle more than 2-3 x's a week.  Seriously, I'm not kidding my butt needs more saddle time.  My butt misses my horse.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

What we've been up to...

I'd love to do an individual write up of each fun thing we've done but it just isn't realistic right now in my life.  Steady has been fantastic every ride lately.  I have to say it is pretty cool to get on a horse that feels like an actual trained horse.  It has been years and years since that has been the case for me.  Like since probably 20 years ago.  YIKES! That makes me feel old.  Elaina and I got to go out and hit the trails a couple weeks ago and that was a blast.  The weather has been amazing all summer.  Not too hot not too humid.  Perfect for riding.  I signed up for Team Challenge in October.  It was a funny feeling having multiple people wanting you to be on their team.  Haha I guess that is what getting 3rd individual and 1st team will do that for you.  I had a hard time deciding which team and even whether or not I should even sign up at all.  I just have not had the time to train and condition this year what so ever.  My riding has been sporadic at best.  Steady lost all fitness and I have lost any fitness I had.  Did we have time to build back fitness?  Did we have time and money for the lessons we needed?  Did I have the time and money to hit a schooling show before had since we had not been out even once this year for a show?  I still don't know all the answers to those questions and sure hope I can pull it off.  Poor people that thought it was a good idea to have me on their team!!

Some more exciting news that after all these years I finally have a dressage saddle.  Not just a dressage saddle but I found one that fits me, my horse, it was an incredible deal and my very favorite brand.  Albion!

There isn't much else to announce riding wise.  School is going great and I am getting more and more experience each week.  I am also researching the best equine body work programs out there.  I have some traveling, classes and an internship in the works for the equine training.

I'm just doing my best to hold it all together. Oh wait and since insanity seems to be my sanity I was asked to take on the Regional Secretary position for our Pony Club region.  Regional Secretary is basically the leader for the entire region.  Yeah, why not, I'd love to.  Ha!

A marriage, 3 young kids, a farm, 3 horses, sell a house, move states, buy a new house, go to school full time and clinics to fulfill and now PC responsibilities, oh my.  I can't say I'm doing it alone though.  My husband has been an absolute invaluable support system.  He has stepped up to the plate in every way needed.  Even making sure I have time to ride and completely happy with me taking lessons and competing.  Proof that miracles can happen!  Getting massages multiple times a week may be some compensation for him.  Maybe I need to write an inspirational book titled, "How I won over my reluctant horse husband and how you can too!"  LOL!

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Sacrifices

Sacrificing sounds all good and fine until it comes down to the nitty gritty and you actually have to give things up.  Real things.  Things you love.  Things that make you happy.

I write for a variety of reasons.  Sometimes I write for you.  To keep in connection with my virtual, yet very real blogger community.

Sometimes I write for my horses.  You know cause they read this blog too and I don't want them to feel neglected!  No really, I write for my horses when I work through training issues and document it here to help me improve for their betterment.

Then other times I write for me.  To get things out that otherwise kept in might just make me spontaneously combust.  Now is one of THOSE times.  I am having a hard time sorting out all that is inside of me right now and getting it black and white does help me. 

My question is; what would you be willing to sacrifice?

Sacrifice for a time, not forever but even a short time relatively speaking.  Could you give up riding?  Could you give up spending the quantity and quality time with your equine partner, lets say for a year?  Give up competing? 

If it was for something that you KNEW would better your life, your families life and also provide more time and money in the long run so that you could ride and compete more than you have been able to in the past.  Then could you?

I think most would say yes, that makes logical sense to give up something you love for a short time to allow you to pursue it more passionately in the future.  That of course makes logical sense, but it does not make it easy.

I rode today.  Like I did last week and the week before.  For like an hour one time a week.  My horse is lacking the incredibly muscular specimen he was this time last year and I hate seeing that.  I see my horses multiple times a day.  Mostly just as I am walking up to the back door  but when I look at him and don't see him ripped with gorgeous shiny muscle it makes me sad.

I want to keep up with it all but it just hasn't happened.  I say about every other week that I am going to ride 5 days a week no matter what.  And every time I have more homework, more house projects or more responsibilities that suck my time and energy away.

Like I said I rode today and not 5 minutes in both me and my horse were huffing and puffing.  It's sad.  It makes me sad.  And today I again committed to start riding every day.  And it wasn't a second later it occurred to me that I will be out of town the next 3 days.  There goes that plan.  I will check back in and let you know if my determination continues when we return Monday.  I hope so.  I know these really are not real "problems" but they are my thoughts and feelings and it is where I am.  And the problem is real to me. 

Sunday, July 13, 2014

I used to think I was pretty bad ass.

There is nothing like small children jumping large fences on small ponies to make you feel like a chicken shit.  Seriously saw some bad ass riders this week and they were all 14 years old or younger with the average age being 10 at Pony Club D camp.  I love pony club!  Really every young aspiring riders parents could do them no favor greater than joining pony club.
I saw them with looks of concern, when asked to jump something new yet take it on any way with boldness and land with smiles from ear to ear and more confidence in themselves than they've ever had.  Kids who last year were struggling over poles on the ground who worked all year and came back this year and now jumping beginner novice and novice jumps with ease.  These are the cream of the crop.  The future of our horse sports and I am proud to be along for the ride to watch them grow and learn.

These are no ordinary kids.  They work hard, they don't complain, they may weigh less than the manure bucket they are trying to empty but they figure out a way to do it.  Because they understand that their teammate is the most important one in their partnership and deserve the best care no matter how hard.  Each kid willing to help the other.

I saw some take spills and refuse to take a break and more determined to ride better and get it right.  Not one get angry with their horse but instead heeded instruction to give a better ride.  You truly get to see these kids grow in so many ways over the 5 days of camp.  Now here are some pictures to make you too feel like a chicken shit.


 First is Elaina on Penny.  My 7 year old daughters pony who Elaina has been having some fun with this summer.  She is some where around 12 hands and jump all the beginner novice like is was no big thang.  Adorbs!  Mind you Elaina has never jumped XC jumps of this size and has really only ever schooled XC twice over some itty bitty stuff.  But she to made it all look like no big thang.









 Then the last XC day they did a switch ride and Elaina rode another girls pony Sheldon.  Who after watching him the first day everyone who knew him said he was a "dick of a pony".  He proved to be just that but Elaina gave him some great rides and she did great with him.

 Jumping the double bank down beautifully.




Canter through the water and up and over the Novice rolltop.



Big stuff! 

Ahhhh perfection

He was acting squirlly to this jump but Elaina rode it well and she is learning young the benefits of "staying in the backseat!" 

Again he got squirlly and she rode it out with success.
And here are a couple of the other kiddos at camp.  Really amazing little riders.  Both of these young riders are 10.




The smile!




Tuesday morning we leave bright and early with two other girls from our club(one of them being the one riding the big bay above) for Kentucky Horse Park for Pony Club National Championships and Festival.  Where they will be competing in Pony Club Quiz.  Wish them luck!!!  Go Pony Club!

Saturday, July 12, 2014

If I died today...

If I accomplish nothing else in life I can die feeling like I've succeeded and accomplished more than I ever thought I would or could when starting out on this journey over 4 years ago.  This is my horse, whom I've trained from his first day off the track and my young rider whom I've birthed and instructed from her first day in the saddle.  If I had a dream about what my life could be this beauty of a video would sum up all of those dreams.

So much has gone into this moment. Time, money and sacrifice being a few.  All the struggle and challenge that I have dealt with and worked through to make this life a reality not just for me but for my children have all been worth it to see this.

I'm telling you it hasn't been easy and some of you that have been around this blog from the beginning may remember some of those struggles.  There have been money struggles, marriage struggles, guilt struggles and let's not forget to mention the seemingly endless training struggles with this giant 17 hand athletic, intelligent ball of fire.  Then there is the chance that your children won't even want to ride horses and even if they do not with the same passion you have for it.  To work their butt off and over come difficulties to keep at it to become great.  There are so many variables and if and when they fall into place you just never know, until they just do.  And they all did for me this week.

This was a purely experimental experience.  I put Elaina on Steady in one of her lessons at pony club camp just to see how they got along.  I thought maybe they would go over a few single x's at a trot.  But over the course of the warm up it started to become clear that she was riding him perfectly.  She was nervous.  You could see it on her face but she never once rode like she was.  She never gripped the reins and held his face and instinctively made every right decision.  She was a very quiet rider.  If he got quick she didn't react she just sat up and half halted.  If she need him to slow down more she circled.  I was floored. Of course I do think my daughter is a good rider for an 11 year old but I NEVER expected her to have those instincts.  I then had to tell her that she is a better rider than she thinks she is while she was up there.  Because she kept looking to me and the instructor with this look of "help me, what do I do" all while doing exactly what she was supposed to be doing.  So we had nothing to instruct her on except for to realize she has got this!  The humility in her abilities makes the whole thing even sweeter.

Here it is folks my 11 year old daughter showing us how to ride a beginner novice height show jump course.  She has not jumped a course that high on any horse let alone on a tough to ride 17 hand OTTB for her very first time ever over fences, like she was born doing it.



Someone said the other day, "some Mom's have to worry about their daughters stealing their clothes as they get older, but I have to worry about my daughter stealing my horse."
The problem is real people!  I also have to worry about the day that her abilities pass up mine and then she will start bossing me around.  I am not quite ready to let my spot in the saddle go yet but I do believe I can share.


Thursday, June 26, 2014

It's happening

I am actually writing something on my blog.  Don't get to used to it because the way things are going it seems it will be few and far between.  I am reading my favorite blogs but even then rarely have the time or stamina to actually comment.  I am so very sorry for that.  Here is a catch up post.

Riding seems scarce.  Someone thought entering into an accelerated college program with 3 kids, 3 horses, 15 acre farm, 2700 sq ft house and a husband whilst trying to prepare to move to another state was a good idea?  I have to admit though I am LOVING learning about massage therapy.  It is the perfect fit for me and I am so excited about what it means for my future.  I am massaging people on a regular basis and even worked on my first horse with much success last week.  I just love getting my hands on peoples angry, stressed muscles.

I did get to take a XC lesson last weekend on Steady along with Elaina on Penny Pincher.  That experience was like an amazing out of body experience.  Not only did I get to have a ton of fun soaring over jumps on my kick ass horse but in between I got to watch my daughter and her adorable pony navigate XC for the first time and see her face after each jump.  It does NOT get better than this people, I am telling you!  I believe she is officially hooked on the adrenaline rush and jumped a ditch, banks, coops, roll tops, water, banks out of water.  It was awesome to watch!  If there was video you would all collectively go, awwwww after each jump because oh my, that pony!

Steady was pretty great considering the insane amounts of rain we have been getting have kept me off of him for a good couple weeks.  He was really quite chill besides a few "steady" moments.  I Lee Ann reinforced and worked on not snatching him up upon landing.  Instead letting go a bit and adding leeeeg and half halting and just "waiting him out".  Now I need about 100 more lessons on this point to develop new neural pathways from my brain to my motor neurons so that out on a XC course I can do this without thinking and instead it becomes an acquired reflex. (you can thank A & P for the medical terms)  Because we all know that thinking on XC for me is not necessarily in the cards.

This week has also been the 4-H fair for us.  Kelcie is still a mini 4-h'er and showed Hank and Penny.  7 year old on most adorable pony on earth!


 Macy showed Hank for the first year in obedience and agility and they did awesome!  They got a 4th in obedience and 6th in agility.  Corgi on agility course=adorable.

 Elaina decided not to do the 4-H norm and enter every single class but instead just show in the things that really mattered to her.  So we skipped all the pleasure stuff.  Thank God cause that stuff makes my eyes bleed.  And just hauled in for Dressage and over fences day.  And then again on contesting night.  She got 1st in her dressage class doing intro test C, 2nd in Hunter Hack, 1st in Eq over fences and 1st in Hunter O/F.
They had their picture in the paper the next day.  Friggen adorable!


 They had the absolute best round of the day including all the Sr. 4-H kids and I am not just saying that because I am her mother.  Most of those kids were down right terrifying over fences and the couple rounds that weren't had rails down.  She ended up wining Jr. High Point Champion for the day! 
Happy kid, tired pony.


Contesting night was rainy and we decided to do the crazy horse people thing and go anyways and ride in the rain.  We only stayed for the first two events because contesting always goes until the wee hours in the morning and having school in the morning it just wasn't happening.  Elaina, the good sport she is, was just grateful that she got to go at all.  She ran poles getting 2nd and barrels taking 1st Oh em ge can we again collectively say adorable perfect pony?!  Then we left with 2 more event to go.
Did I mention we do contesting in full on English?  In an egg butt snaffle, no whip, no spurs, no flailing body parts but instead excellent equitation.  Showin' the big ass bit, tight ass tie downs, giant saddles and monster spur folk how it's done with class!!!!


  The next day I heard word that her name was announced at the end of the night for Jr. High Point Reserve Champion!

The kid won more swag this week than I have my entire life.  She was also nominated for the sportsmanship award, that's what that plaque is.

 What a fun rewarding week for her.  I won't get any more sappy over it all but I'm telling you it couldn't have happened to a more deserving, humble kid who never cared about winning anything just that she did a good job and that her pony was happy and healthy.

That is it on the family farm front.  Everyone is happy, healthy and enjoying life!

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Finding Center

What do the words Balanced, Centered mean to you?  They have been on my mind quite a bit lately.  To me they mean to me is when life is changing, the world changing, gravity, obligations, reality pulling at you. That you being so centered, focused and balanced that nothing moves you.  That your strength is so concentrated in the right areas that you don't start to shift, and change with your surroundings.  You don't have to reach for something to grab on to.  You just stay.  You cannot be moved.  It is beautiful.  It is strong.  It is healthy.  It is comfort. It is happiness, peace, contentment, progress, evolving, forward.  Pretty much everything.  There is so much changing around me.  My entire world for the most part is moving shifting and going in many directions that are new.  That can be unnerving and uneasy.  My time, my schedule, where I live, what I do, when I do it.  All of this can shift my feelings but they do not shake my center.  I am kept together and remain in balance.  In life I have my center, my core kept in balance with God, my husband, my children, my animals.

Balance in riding is equally as important.  I don't just mean being able to stay balanced on a horse.  I have had that skill honed since I was a 10 year old kid.  But I mean both sides of your body weighted perfectly even.  Your weight evenly distributed across the entire surface area that touches the horse.  Your seat bones both with the same amount of pressure in your seat.  Your shoulders even.  Solid through your rib cage and equal on both sides.  No collapsing one way or another.

Having a long riding break can be discouraging but it can also be like pressing the rest button on your position.  When you start to fall into your bad habits and old muscle memory it can mean a world of difference.  I have been starting back slow this year.  And by slow I mean slower than you are probably thinking, nope even slower than that.  Although I have been frustrated by that I have also been using that to my advantage.  We work slow and I have just been paying attention to the small things.  I have been haunted by going to the right for so long now. Every time we go to the right we struggled.  He would fall to the inside, bulge his shoulder in, turning that direction was no fun when you are at full jumping speed on a tight course and in a dressage test it meant we always lacked right bend.  I have done it all to try to fix it.  I have been frustrated because I thought there was something wrong with my horse, that he was crooked and I need to fix it.  I have had instructor after instructor try to help me with this in a hundred different ways.  Finally after a culmination of all of the things I had an eye opening ride a few weeks back and have been progressing in that direction. I realized it was not my horse.  Ha go figure right. Don't get me wrong he is not perfect and has his issues but the going to the right thing was all me.  What was the aha moment you ask?  Finding my right seat bone and concentrating reeeaaally hard to not lose it.  Really, it's life changing those little bones.  Other things go along with this in finding the seat bone but with me essentially what was happening is when I would go right I would tighten up my right side in attempt to use my right leg.  Unintentionally scrunching up my leg, weighting my left seat bone and collapsing my rib cage to the right.  But in finding that seat bone and letting my weight down through it is has a chain reaction where my leg becomes longer, my rib cage opens back up and you see this instant change.  You have a horse moving braced, with his right shoulder bulging and having to steer to the right, I all the sudden see a change, his shoulder moves over, his neck becomes supple and you add leg and the bend around your leg happens.  In reality my horse was crooked but I needed not to fix him but fix me.  He was crooked because I was crooked.  So what does balance mean to me?  Everything.

Ride with Your Mind is life changing people and addicting.
I have heard a million times, "core, core, core, core, core" and while yes core is important you can have a very muscular core and all your muscles in your core tightened and still be completely crooked and sending your horse the complete wrong message.  You need so much more then "core" strength and all the sit ups in the world are not going to fix unevenness.

Balance has much to do with why I am starting school tomorrow morning.  I truly believe that the things I am going to school to learn about human and equine anatomy, physiology, kinesiology, are key in understanding how evenness in your body and your horses body will keep both horse and rider at their best.  Staying centered in your body will help keep you centered in your mind and it will help your riding in ways you never realized it could, it will help your horses comfort, soundness and over all health.  I am excited yet apprehensive.  This process is going to be a big sacrifice for myself and my family for the next 13 months.  If I didn't believe whole heartedly that it was that important and life changing for people then I wouldn't be doing it. I know I will have to remind myself many times over the next year about how important it is and not to get discouraged.

Here's to the world spinning around us but us being so balanced that we keep moving forward and not be lost in the unbalance of uncertainty.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Spinning

I feel like my head spins with all the info I want to share on here, but then there is too much that I don't post.  I want the posts to be interesting and not a ramble of all the things.  That is the reason I am so sporadic on here.  Here is me doing my best not to ramble. 

Remember that last post that I said something like, "Oh Novice, shmovice, yaaaawwwnn."?  Yeah well apparently cross rails are cause for melt downs so I may have gotten a bit ahead of myself.  Things this spring have gotten off to such a good start and silly me kind of expected them to keep heading in that direction.  I mean I jumped the Haffie pony the other day and she was kick ass awesome and sooooo fun!  Now I am thinking I should trade in my 17 hh fancy pants for a 14 hh tank of a pony.  Haffie jumped everything I pointed her at with excitement.  Fancy Pants  hemmed hawed and melted down about poles on the ground.  Stumbling over trot poles, planting his feet and flipping his head on the landing side of a cross rail.  For goodness sake!  I was going to jump a baby grid with a couple 2'3"-2'6" jumps but noooooo.  We never got passed lets get over one cross rail at time with out bolting off or spazzing out.  So that is what we did.  Jumped cross rails until Sir FP could jump them quietly and land in a nice collected, manageable canter.  Sheesh.  So we are going to be going back down to Green as Grass division this year and deferring back to I am 14 but act like I am 3 so I can't do big pony stuffs any more.  Kidding.  Kind of.  Dingus.

Here are some videos of adorbs pony jumping like it was what she was born to do.  (trying to get media ready for a sale ad for her :( )  Seriously, if I could just shrink or she could just grow about 1 more hand I would take her eventing, fox hunting, dressage shows, jumpers, hunters, everything!  She is so uncomplicated and  I mean she can literally do it all.  She loves jumping, she is super brave XC, she has won trophies in Western Pleasure, Hunters, she drives, I could seriously do combined driving on her in a heart beat and she is so darn cute. Le sigh, but she is not 1 hand taller and I don't plan on shrinking any time soon and she is not the best fit for an 11 year old kid so I must sell her.  So for now, enjoy the cuteness.
video






 

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Spring is for blooming

I feel like life has been breathed back into me.  My horses are slowly but surely loosing their winter coats and there is short shiny coats on the way!  Grass is growning, trees are turning green and I rode in a tank top today!  All the horses/ponies are getting worked.  This has been the first year since I have owned him that Steady has felt like he was a bonafide trained horse after so many months off.  I got on  and he got to work.  Doing the whole dressagey thing.  His canter is lovely but it has always been an issue when he is not super fit. I love that he comes back into fitness so quickly.  I swear I looked at him yesterday and I felt like he was an overweight middle aged hippy and today he is looking like a stud in his prime.

My 11 year old daughter has been having a blast on the little pony we are leasing.  And it has made her realize that riding is more fun when you don't have to fight a green pony every ride.  It has also made her agree that selling Lily is what is best for her right now.  So we will be getting Lily back into working mode then getting a sale ad together.  She WILL make a great pony for someone.  I jumped her today for the first time in over 7 months and it was like she never skipped a beat.  She loves jumping and her canter has improve SO much over this winter it is like riding a different animal.  She has amazing uphill transitions.  Like more uphill than I have ever felt on Steady.  She can still get down hill during the canter but for a pony that was incapable of cantering on a circle just months ago it is a whole new world.

I have my therapy back, being back on a horses back so all is right in my world.  I fear that competing, clinics and even lessons will suffer this year.  I start massage therapy school in just two weeks and I have no idea what to expect and how I am going to balance it all.  Also I will be paying a school bill each month which will mean less excess money for non essentials.  Though I tend to believe me competing is actually an essential expense, Ryan does not agree and I can see where he is coming from.  But what this does mean that in just over a year I will be making money and then this money issue will not stand in my way of getting where I want to go!

We will still get out this year you can be sure of that.  It just may not bet the 4-5 recognized events that I would love to do if life, money and responsibilities were not an issue.  And though it seems a bit strange the idea of competing Novice this year actually sound a bit boring.  Strange right!?  So we will be stepping up our game this year and move ourselves along.  Steady is game.  I am game.  Why not?!

Thursday, May 1, 2014

The Real Rolex Rockstar

I am telling you I am obsessed. 
When the obsession started: Nearly the end of the cross country day at Rolex. I had spent hours upon hours walking miles and miles.  Watching horse after horse, jump, jump after jump.  I saw great ones, scary ones, beautiful ones.   There really is nothing like XC day at Rolex.  And the weather, oh my lovely!  The day was nearly over.  Just two horses still on course and the day was over too soon.  My two wonderful daughters and my new super cool Rolex buddy M had migrated our way to jump 25,  The Kentucky Cabins.  I saw about 3 horses come through and each one though they made it through looked like they were happy to be closing in on the finish line. Two even giving the question a second look but in the end were obedient and cleared the combination.  Then there was Rocky!  Before this moment knew nothing of this horse and the only thing I knew of the rider was that her number was 74 and it was the girl that was surely just 12 years old that we noticed as we were at the Hollow earlier in the day, walking the course.  I think the conversation with M went something like, "Who is that walking on course?".  "Is she a competitor?".  "I don't know she looks like she is all of 12 years old."  "I guess she is since she is wearing a number."  "That is insane, she looks so young!".

As I watched the duo near the jump I saw something I hadn't yet seen this far into the course.  The horse fighting his rider to let him run faster.  Libby was obviously trying to set her horse up well to the combination. Others had come through and I had heard grunting.  Seen whips swatting but none having to say, hey dude chill out.  He flew over them just 2 question from the end of a 4* XC course.  Not to mention he was a little dude.  The next words out of my mouth after I picked up my jaw off the ground was, "That HAS to be a thoroughbred!"  That's it I was officially obsessed.

Fly little guy, fly!!


On the way to the vet box we were scouring the program to learn more of this tiny but mighty horse.  He was indeed a thoroughbred.  Only 15.1 hands, the shortest horse out there, 16 years old and his first Rolex.  The rider Libby Head was not 12 but was just 22 and her first 4* as well and she the youngest rider out there!  At the vet box the little guy stood next the great Arthur which made him look even smaller.  Though Arthur is truly a beautiful specimen I could not take my eyes off this amazing little ball of fire that was still doing a bit of dancing post Rolex XC run.  After Libby had taken Sir Rockstar back to the barns I asked the grooms if Libby owned him and they said  yes.

I have been searching the internet since and have found all I can on the feisty pair.  I have friended Libby on facebook and put in a request to Eventing Nation to interview Libby.  They told me they are "on it" so I am excited to see what they learn.  I have looked up his race record and have read and watched all I can find on them.

Rolex is amazing!  The riders are world class.  But so many at the top of the list are, yes, the best riders in the world but they have their pick of the litter.  Money, though often times not their own, to spare when it comes to what they ride and how they are brought along.  I do not mean to discount these riders because I too am in awe of them.  But when a story like Libby and Rocky comes along I think it gives hope that the sport, while an expensive one, is not entirely ruled by the one with the fattest checking account.  But a 22 year old with a rescued OTTB can bring her horse up the levels.  Surely a horse no one else ever saw 4* potential in and completely WOW a crowd of people with their presence and shine like stars. Proving to the world that they belong at the top!

They were one of only a small handful of people with a double clear show jumping round and ended their first Rolex experience 19th amidst some famous names.  They, in my eyes, were the true rock stars of Rolex 2014.  I am sure it is not the last we have heard of this dynamic duo!

If you, like me, love the thoroughbred and like to research stuffs like this here is his race record and pedigree.
USEA article about their run at Fair Hill
EN Intercollegiate article
EN Rolex Rookies article
Their XC at Rolex

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Eventers Descend

It's that time of year
Filled with equestrian cheer
Donned in their Dubarry's
t-shirts and hats
Eventers descend like predator cats

We watch as they dance
and gawk as they prance
There's corgis galore
and store after store
by Sunday each credit card sore

Take time off of work
get help with the chores
whatever you must
It's Rolex or bust



Ok I am no poet but in spirit of the Eventers Christmas, i.e. Rolex just a week away I couldn't help it.  I am quite excited and I think after the fog of horse show duties dissipates I will actually be able to enjoy the excitement.  OMG I never knew what it took to organize a horse show of this size but NOW I DO!  Lucky me!  Anyways that is a week of posts in and of its own that I will spare you.

Let's Meet up!!!

I'd like us to plan a blogger meet up.  I know there is always that creepy factor but hey we can choose a public place.  Not to mention the possibility of, "what if we don't get along well and it is just really awkward?"  Ok let's just make sure there is alcohol involved.  Every body is friendlier with a drink in them.  I am going to throw some ideas out there and those of you coming to Mecca next week respond and vote on an activity and a day.

Activities
Course walk
Dinner
Lunch
Makers Mark tent
Suggestions

Days
Friday
Saturday



Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Melancholy

Though I doubt my absence from the blogging world has been all that missed, I shall return, nonetheless. I can spare all the excuses and just sum it up in that I have been pouting.  Let me clarify I have not been pouting when it come to regular life stuff.  As for horse things I have been too melancholy to muster up anything remotely interesting or positive to write about.  I don't care to come on here and whine and complain because that is not my over all attitude about my life but when you ask me about horse things that is the gist of how I come across.  Great things have been happening in my life none of which I will bore you with but also none of which have anything to do with horses.  It's all been more along the lines of remodeling, tropical vacations, amazing children and husband stuffs

I have been watching friends go off to clinics and lessons and south to ride.  Sending in entries to shows and planning out their show season.  Even being the secretary for the a large local CT and Dressage schooling show and processing and scheduling a couple hundred rides that a bunch of other people get to ride. All the while, I have not been able to do a damn thing with my horse.  I try not to let it get me down but every once in a while it does overwhelm me.

Pretty much the last 5 months and be summed up into freezing, gross weather that made riding impossible.  I have been feeding, carrying water buckets, breaking ice off of water buckets and that is pretty much it.  My horse, has slowly but surely lost all semblance of a topline and that makes me feel like crying when I see him.  He is a wooly mammoth.  I did get on once about two weeks ago when finally decent weather coincided with semi dry ground.   Most people in the Midwest lost much riding time and all had to deal with the treacherous winter we had so I don't think I am singled out as having a tough time with it all.  It has just sucked.  If I have to go one more winter without an arena I may loose my mind.

The one ride I did have I was highly impressed with the wooly beast.  He was a gentleman and work hard to stay in contact and use himself correctly.  It was tough for him and I only asked small amounts but when I did ask, he obliged.  I did not canter.  That would be cruel considering the lack of muscle tone he has.  My guess, if I ever get to ride consistently again in my whole entire life(dramatic much?) cantering is a few weeks off.  It may come in the near future but I don't want to get my hopes up.  The weather is finally decent and then came the flooding.  So daily I will be checking to see if the water subsides enough to not slip around like a slip n slide.  It is soon though, it has to be.  So to be continued with much more interesting reading that contain less whining and more riding!

And just because I have no picture involving horses I will add in this picture of me with an iguana wearing a hat, on my shoulder in San Juan, Puerto Rico last week.  Because, well....why not?

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Wrap up and look forward.

I am not motivated to get into lengthy posts on the past year nor the year coming.  I am not setting any goals at least as of this moment.  We are just going to keep moving forward and make progress the best we can.  Last year was a complete learning experience being the first year that my daughter's riding goals really took a good deal of effort.  I mean before it was learning the basics and a couple fun things here and there.  Now she has goals of her own and it requires, time, money and travel.  Which takes sacrificing each of those things on my part to make it happen.  I say sacrifice but it really isn't a sacrifice I happily give some of it up.  I rejoice just as much if not more to watch my daughters' progress and accomplish their goals and dreams.  It is especially cool when those dreams and goals involve horses.  It's a win, win! 

Awesome things happened this year and dreams of mine came to fruition!  It was quite amazing.  Top of the list was competing at KHP and killing it!!!!  Then there was Leg Up that we also killed it!  And then a successful move up to Novice at the end of the season.  I took several lessons and focused a great deal on dressage.

There were plenty of ups and downs when it came to Elaina and Lily.  Their progress was slow but sure.  They did awesome at the county fair.  They had a hiccup at Pony Club when she came home in a cast.  She rated up to a D-2!  She came off a fair amount of times, each time taking a year off my life.  And she proved herself by getting back on every single time without fear and never ever getting upset with her pony.

My youngest daughter Kelcie expressed interest in riding and got her first pony Penny.  She has been dedicated in caring for her and learning to ride.  She is rocking the post now!


Bottom line 2013 was a happy, healthy, progressing and blessed year.  I could not ask for more!

2014 holds possibilities and hope that we will keep continuing in that direction.

I want to kill Novice level at a schooling and recognized level.  I want to keep focusing on "real" dressage and possibly start doing some dressage shows.  Get to as many lessons and clinics as I possibly can.  And keep living this dream of a life that I am in.  Yes it is general but that is pretty much it.  I foresee 2014 as a year of change and I will keep my riding goals vague.  The first few years at this I was pushing,pushing,pushing to get better and better.  And though I fully intend to keep heading in that direction it will be at a more relaxed pace.  I am happy where my horse is I am happy where I am and who knows where the future may take us.  I plan to start Massage Therapy school in the fall.  The course will take a year and I will be certified in human Pfrimmer Deep Tissue massage therapy and also Deep Tissue Equine massage therapy.  We plan to put our house on the market in the spring and moving to the Dayton/Cincinnati area will be in our near future.  Yes if you are wondering we will be moving to another farm where the horses will be in our backyard.  That is just a given.

Elaina will have plenty of opportunity bringing Lily along but also being able to do some Eventing with Penny who is more seasoned.  Pony Club National Festival comes to Lexington and she
hopes to compete in the "quiz" competition on a national level with a team from our new club.  There is fair and Pony Club clinics, meeting, rallies and camps Oh My!  We will be busy.  I will be working hard to keep all the plates in the air and fixing them when they inevitably come crashing down at times.  It is all a part of the crazy, fun life of trying to "have it all".

Kelcie will be working towards getting off the lunge line and riding on her own.  Then we will start her over her first jumps!  Working towards next year getting to be a big PCer!

A few photo highlights from the year.
                                        Annual  trip to Rolex
             
I went all creepy stalker on WFP

I spent a shitton of money.

My daughter got a picture that she will be drooling over for many years to come.


This happened.
                                                               
Corgi goes to Florida.

                                                                     
This
 
and this.


Not to be outdone in the cuteness department these two had to go and do this.
This happened :(...
But it was no time until they were doing this again!

                                         
                                                 Oh yeah and this happened!

And they are just freaking cute cleaning boots.

We went here...

and this happened.

And collectively....awwwwww...this happened for Kelcie.
Happy 2014 to all of you, your families and your equine partners.  May we appreciate every day we get to have them in our lives.  May we not take for granted the time we have with them and the hearts they give so freely and honestly.  May we be open to learning and never react too harshly when things don't go as we had hoped.  May we be content with where the year takes us and make the year of the horse our best yet!!!