Sunday, June 30, 2013

Nonfreakingstop...but it has been SO fun..Leg up

Life.  It. just. does. not. want. to slow. down.  Fair week = madness.  I was beyond proud of my daughter and Lily.  Lily stayed completely sound the entire week.  Yay!  Then they proceeded to do so well.  English day she won the hunter under saddle 56" and under class!  She won her dressage division!  She got second in the beginner cross rail class and had an absolutely perfect round!  Sixth in the equitation class, cause she did the pattern completely wrong, LOL.  She got two fourths but we can't remember in what LOL. And on Trail night she did a phenomenal job completing all but two obstacles.  She got 5th but that was only because she used to hands.  What can I say we don't work on neck reining much, or at all.

In fact our pony clubbers won all three dressage divisions!  SO proud!  Hard work and dedication is starting to pay off.  There is video and pictures but those will be uploaded at a later date.

By the way Steady and I did an one day Horse Trial yesterday!  Not keeping you out of the loop on purpose it has just been too busy.  We had a fantastic XC lesson on Wednesday with Laz.  It was awesome and I think if I could just do that on a regular basis I could live without competing.  Laz made several good points but two I really took hold of was, "make sure it is MY trot/canter/gallop".  And, "help him understand that XC isn't just going out there and running off.  That training is in our near future and don't be afraid of time penalties to get it right".

There are some side stories that need be told because it wouldn't be my life if it was boring so bear with me. I get home from the fair at 11:30 pm on Thursday night with the trailer full of Lily and Elaina's stuff.  Friday I wake up to a messy house, no food in the house and needing to not only prepare for the show but unpack from the fair.  Phew finally get out of the house at 3:30 with a two hour drive ahead of me.  Arriving realizing I forgot shavings, a muck bucket and oats.  Not bad for an exhausted show Mom turned Eventer overnight.  I had 4 things needing to get done.  One being time sensitive, getting to Rural King before they close.  I needed to walk the XC course, get in a ride and braid.  First was course walk.  I was very grateful I know the HHP very well and had each jump memorized and visualized after one walk.  Back to barn to ride.  Got to the warm up arena and the fire breathing dragon that consistently shows up at HHP was there true to form.  I was not trying to fix anything but was getting frustrated that the only thing he had on his mind was getting the HE!! out of the arena back to the barn.  Then the rain came and we got soaked and he didn't like that.  I got off thinking fine enough is enough I will just be done and walk him back to the barn.  But then he was being a bully on the ground still trying to get out of the arena and not paying attention to running me over.  So he got a punch in the side for being a jerk and I remounted.  Pretty much just trying to stay alive until we arrived at the barn walking/prancing back on the wet slippery concrete.  We made it back and I left for the store with only 30 minutes to find it.  I was not excited about what that ride meant for tomorrow.

All three kiddos were accompanying me and Ryan even came down.  He came for the near by poker tournaments but still he came :).   I ran to Rural King getting lost only a few times stopping in the ghetto Twice for directions and was given directions by a pretty shady shirtless fellow but still he got me on the right track.  I walk through the door at 9:02pm (they close at 9) and received several dirty looks.  I couldn't tell if they were looking at me that way because I was soaking wet wearing baby blue half chaps with helmet hair or because they had forgotten to lock the door. 

Then it was back to the Horse Park to braid.  Found out that the fireworks were being set off right across from the barn.  I had my concerns about what that meant for the horses stress levels.  Steady seemed unphased.  Even gazing out of his stall, watching them.  It was great entertainment for the kids while I got the braiding started.  Finished up about 11:30pm then headed to the hotel.  Husband was waiting there for us.  I will again may or may not have tried to get an adorable fuzzy corgi into the room just to sleep for the night.  But in my attempt to nonchalantly get him in the room he escapes, runs right up to the front door where the manager happened to be standing there having a cigarette then proceeded to RUN through the front door.  Just about then I caught up to him and grabbed his fuzzy little butt and made a break for it.  Sheeesh.  In the process I bent my pinky nail back about a third of the way down and it stuck that way.  Groooooossss.  I couldn't get it to go back and it hurt like a B.  Husband dug some surgical scissors so I could straighten things out.  But really through the front door Hank?  Nice!

A.M. Saturday.  9:22 dressage ride.  Get to warm up and Steady is chill!  Relaxed and attentive to me.  Whaaa?  Could it be true?  We had about 20 minutes and spent most of it walking.  I little bit of trotting and establishing some bend.  One canter transition each direction and it was go time.  We entered at A in a perfectly straight line (got 8 on that!)  It was nice.  Really nice.  I was able to think about things and put in some effort.  Most of the time in dressage I am just trying to hold him together long enough to get to the halt.  Free walk was Ahhmazing (8!)  he anticipated the w/t transition there and I got a couple lower numbers for silly technical things like waiting to long to ask for canter.  Not getting close enough to the rail in one spot.  Stuffs that are pretty easy fixes.  Over all our score was 35.2 in 4th place and only 3.5 points away from the leader who was Nadeem Noon I might add.

My goal for this event was to win some moneh!  So I didn't really care if I was 1st just top thoroughbred score.   I knew two of the people in front of me were not TB's so I had a good chance! 

 Cross country was at 11:04.  A nice relaxing hour and we were back at it.  I took about 15 minutes to warm up.  I went over about 5 jumps and then headed over.  I took Lee Ann's ideas about not letting it be a race for him and we trotted to the first jump.  And we were off.  Jump two was smooth sailing.  He peeked at a palisade hiding in the  Then jump 3 was "mary's sunrise".  this is the only fence that I have ever had to use a whip on.  Others had come back saying a lot of horses were looking at it today.  We were about 30 ft out and he saw it and put on the brakes.  Weird?  I thought the long approach would be good for him to take a look at it.  Wrong.  It took some convincing and little spank, a bit of talking and he moved forward.  Once he got within 15 feet of it he locked on and took off for it.  That's my boy!  #4 through the woods #5, 6.  Out of the woods, up and over the little hill.  He eyeballed the prelim corner..  Ahhh no Steady not yet!  Canter through the water, out and over 8,  took the ditch option for 9.  10 was a straw jump, 11 a&b rolltops sailed through.  I pulled him up some before 12 because it was a itty bitty jump and then a quick turn to a drop.  I knew the jump wouldn't slow him any so I wanted to be able to have some steering on the other side.  I did and it was great.  He launched a tiny bit off the drop at 13 and I needed to collect my reins and get him back on track quickly to the final jump at 14.  Then through the finish flags. What an awesome run!  I felt like I held him back quite a bit because I wanted to be sure I had the controls and that he wasn't running the show.  After seeing that I got .8 penalties for being over time I feel that I did a nice job and rating the speed for BN and that maybe it may just be ok to let him open up a bit now that we have some better communication. After XC we were an even 36 standing in 3rd.  Behing Nad and K.C. at My Eventing Addiction.  I was playing with the big dogs and keeping up!  Felt good, real good.  Ok K.C. was competing with her pony but he is a bad ass pony.

Staium was at 1pm.  Down pours made the afternoon a bit more exciting.  I got rained on for a few minutes, just enough to get nice and wet then it cleared up by the time I made it to the warm up.  So funny thing I popped over the cross rail.  Then went over it one more time and as we approached Steady lost more and more steam.  Until he totally unenthusiastically stumbled his feet halfway over it.  Knocking it down.  Bwahahahaha OK Steady I get it, it is boring.  I am not used to having to ask for more go and it just made me laugh.  The ring steward was shouting for someone to GO right now.  I jumped the vertical, the oxer once then figured well I guess I will go if it will calm her down a bit ;)  Kidding I totally appreciate each and every volunteer.  The course was windy and turny with two bending lines, a rollback and a 90 degree turn in about 5 strides.  My husband made it to the park just before I went out to ride.  I was telling him where we were in the standings and that we only had stadium left.  He said, well you guys are good at that right?  My response was, well last time I was here I fell off in stadium!  LOL  But really it was a fun course to ride and Steady was fun to ride it on.  Usually I get turning anxiety because our turning in the past has been bad.  But I am happy to say all the work we have been doing has payed off.  He was amazing.  To the point that I maybe decided to nit pick a little.  I decided that I he could take a deeper spot so I held him at jump 5 and on the good side he was intuned and listened perfectly.  He took MY spot and well, took a rail.  I decided at that point to let him do his job cause he can obviously do it better than me and the rest of the course was smooth sailing.  I finally figured out how to ride a two stride combiniation without choking and I was on top of the moon about how the day went.  I thought I had come away with no photographic or video evidence but I found this really rockin picture on facebook taken by My Horse Loves Eventing.  So thanks to her you at least have this to look at...I hate to sound narcissistic but dayum we look good.
After the rail that gave us a 40 that had us in a tie for third.  I wasn't sure how the person I was tied with got his points but I did know that with getting time penalties on XC that most likely meant that puts me in 4th.   I was right.  So our score was good enough for 3rd but inevitabley put us in 4th but non of the others were OTTB.  SO that made us the high point TB for our division!!!  Winning monnies is fun!!

Friday, June 21, 2013

A day in the life.

I want to post more often.  I have so much to say and that seems to be my undoing.  I get on start typing and everythng gets so wordy trying to put into words the training progress we have been having.  It has been good.  Mostly good at least.  As with anything with horses there are ups and downs but it is all heading in the right direction.  I do want you all to know I am reading your blogs and thoroughly enjoying them but since I am always on the move it is from my phone and for whatever reason my phone does not think I should be commenting on blogs because it just won't let me.  For all who read this I love reading about your awesome horses and I am reading!  I want to give a special shout out to an amazing horse and rider team Moose Tracks and Amy.  It broke my heart when I heard the news that she had to let her amazingly sweet and willing partner and friend go.  Thoughts go out to you Amy and Moose you will be missed by many.  I have the priviledge of knowing both Amy and Moose in real life and my hear hurts for Amy.

 This will be a bit more of a light hearted post. A day in the life...
You grab your chore buddy after he does his morning yoga and head outside.  In your pajamas mind you.
Hank greets Mama Kitty.  She makes it clear she did not miss him overnight the way he missed her.

You take a deep breath of fresh morning air and soak in the sun and notice someone peaking over the fence at you.

Pay no attention to the dork behing the fly mask.  I am boarding this guy for a friend for a few weeks.  He is letting me know he has finished his breakfast and is ready to return to his regularly scheduled grazing.

You greet this wonderfully adorable pony and appologize that she only gets a bite of grain so as to not ruin that lovely haflinger figure of hers.  She says, "fatz is the new skinnees"


"But looks Moms Imz wasting away.  Even you says I'm only a Half-linger, I needs to be a Whole-linger"

Good morning handsome how was your night?

"skewz me can yous get dems bugzz offff"

Puppy completes his mission of being the most annoying baby brother dog on earth and I appologize to Garfield the kitty for his uncontrolable enthusiasum for life.  Garfeild thinks, "maybe if I play dead he will leave me alone?"

"me, never..."

"ok maybe just a little"  Playing dead didn't work.

Haul Steady to a friends house to take dressage lesson.  Here is half of a practice test.  Camera died but see effort was made for you all.  Steady leaped at the wrestling dogs.  Note dressagy progress in the wild steed?  He is capable of lifting the poll a bit now without dropping his back!

Teach a lesson, cook salmon for dinner...
Help the little people prepare for a long week of horse and pony 4-H.  At least they are excited about it!

Walk out the back door and breath in the fresh country night air.  Enjoy the colors in the sky.  Check on all the lovelies.  Feel sorry for the "Half"-linger and give her a little more food.

End the day-Grateful

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Of vacation and lameness

It has been a very long time.  Even remembering all the things between then and now is not likely.  I spent two days volunteering at the Indiana Eventing Association Novice and Training 3 day and horse trial.  I had a nice jump school.  I went on my first long trial ride of the year and out of the group we were with Steady was the bravest.  So proud!  I went on a 9 day vacation to St. Augustine, FL and arrived back home at 7 am this morning.  Just in time to greet and feed the ponies then proceed to fall asleep until about noon.  The 3day and horse trial warrent their own post because I got to do very cool things and learned a bunch about 3 days.  The trail ride was lovely.  I went with 3 friends and when no one elses horses would go Steady bravely marched on.  He has come so far.  As the others struggled to navigate streams and jumped them. Steady boldy walked through.  Nothing really phased him.  Except of course when one friend decided to go out front and let her horse canter up a very long and large hill.  I prefer inclines and declines at a walk.  I am not opposed to an incline at a trot or canter but another horse cantering away up a hill is not something that this career race horse could handle.  I attemted to hold him back but quickly felt unsafe so I just let him go.  The gal in front put up a good effort but really with Steady there is no chance.  Even if she was an OTTB.  It was not a challenge for the old guy in the least and he was quite proud of himself when he reached the top first.

The day before we were to leave for Florida I went out to see Lily and quickly noticed she was head bobbing lame at the walk.  Yikes.  I poked, prodded and investigated to no avail.  There was no swelling, or heat in any legs.  All were lovely cold and tight.  Her hooves are black so with the sun shining I just could not tell if there was heat in her hooves or it was from the sun hitting them.  They all felt the same temperature.  So they were either all hot (boo) or one and I couldn't tell.  My initial thoughts went to founder (easy keeping pony so quite possible), or the best option abcess.  But could tell nothing.  It was her left front that was the offending foot.  Though the lameness was so severe that it made it hard to tell if there was soreness in any other areas.  Great, I have to leave town at the crack of dawn and I have a horse seriously lame.  I soaked her LF that night and waited to see what it looked like in the a.m.  I had a new girl caring for the animals and I had yet to test out her competency in caring for my animals.  I have had some bad experiences in the past and I get extremely nervous leaving town.  So the idea of leaving town with a known problem just made things worse.    I of course the started googling and by the time I was finished I was convinced of poor Lily's certain death.  Bad idea.
The morning of our departure Lily looked just as bad if not worse with still no visible signs.  BUT in the cool moring it made it obvious that there was definite heat in the LF hoof.  So I at least had the area narrowed down.  We had to leave so I nervously left my sweet pony in the hands of the new care taker. Caretaker soaked and wrapped it that evening.  She updated me every step of the way which made the biggest difference in the whole process.  She informed me that Lily was indeed worse and head to the ground bobbing the next morning.  Not really what you want to hear.  So I set up a date with the farrier for that day.  That alone takes some logistical planning.  My farrier is Amish and they don't answer their phones so I put a call in and waited.  Then I needed to work it out because Amish obviously don't drive so I needed the CT to drive to pick him up after she got off of work bring him to the house then take him home.  It all worked out and the farrier was able to find the offending spot that was soft and dead.  He dug it out a bit and hit a yucky spot(scientific name of course)

Next moring Lily was not noticebly better as I had hoped to hear and when CT was cleaning out the area it began pussing and bleeding.  So a call went into the vet.  He said to keep an eye on it for another 24 hours.  Thankfully the new Caretaker was simply amazing.  She cleaned, wrapped and did all the nitty gritty while also keeping me updated.  I can't imagine that I could have done a better job than she did with the whole thing.  After 24 hours she was slightly better!!!  It was really an up and down process but after about 4-5 days she finally started making consistent improvement.  Up to when I arrived today and she is sound at the walk and mostly sound at the trot!  It is one thing to deal with an ailing pet but from 1000 miles away was a new experience entirely and I don't care to do it again.  Though if I had to I couldn't have asked for better help.
to hopefully make up for lack of horse photos I leave you with a sandy corgi butt.

Vacation was wonderful.  St. Augustine is such a great place.  We have been there several times because my sister lives there.  I was completely spoiled once again by my amazing sister who got us a 2 bedroom condo on the beach for free.  She manages the condo complexes.  We spent our days going from beach, to nap, to pool, to eating amazing food.  With a little shopping, mani, pedi's and universal orlando thrown in here and there.  I was not ready to leave yesterday but of course I love coming home to my animals.  Hank the Corgi also made the trip with us and he added a little extra fun to the trip.