Friday, November 18, 2016

No Stirrup November

Look! I got to participate in no stirrup November!   Such a happy day!

It's been a long time since I've had this view. 
I also received the go ahead from the surgeon that it's time to start walking again!   2 months post op this is fabulous.  So I am weaning myself off of the crutches.  The light at the end of the tunnel is getting brighter by the day!

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Ch-ch-changes: the tack room

I have a decent enough sized tack room.  It could stand to be a bit bigger but it is workable with some creative space saving ideas.  Ideas I've been kicking around for going on our 2 years here.  My plan is to ask for the tack room remodel for Christmas.  I am not sure how that will go over or if it will work.  But seeing how it was going to be my fall project this year and that didn't happen for reasons we all know by now  Then maybe I can work those sympathy points one last time to get this project done.  I have decided to offer a contest for the best tack room design.  This is not an easy task so a measly $20 gift card may not be worth it and I get like 0 entries.  But if you're into that sort of thing, have some creative space saving brain, have had some tack room envy in your life then have at it!

There will be several requirements of what needs to fit in the space.  You all pretty much know all the things you have and need space for?  Multiply that by 4.  That's what has got to fit in this space.

Things to keep in mind in your design. 

I am a everything has it's place and every place has it's thing kinda person. Also kids work better when they know exactly where something goes. 

Everything is on the table.  I will not buy fancy items just for the sake of being fancy but I am not against spending on items that are helpful, organizational and attractive.

There are 4 people that need their own space for each item of tack for their horse/pony.  Saddle or 2, saddle pads, girth, bridle, whip, helmet, gloves, boots/horse and human, wraps, grooming kit and extra tack box stuff, etc.

I am fine with a communal space for things like saddle pads but ideally I would like each person to have a spot for each thing they have. Not sure if it's realistic but that is the goal.

Your favorite organizational products for the tack room.

What you have to work with:  12 Ft long, 6 Ft wide and 8 Ft high.  With a door at each end.

It can be in any format..  If you are computer savvy or would rather hand draw.  Links to items, picture examples even better for this visual learner.

So please blog land I need you show me what you've got!

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Oversharing; post op recap

My little oversharing series continues.  I realized I never shared all the fun post op photos and X-rays with all my new hardware.

Recovery is coming along. PT was a bitch yesterday.  New Therapist was way rougher on the ankle.  I'd actually like to give her a swift kick, with the good leg of course.  I got scolded for taking steps in my walking boot with out crutches...oops.
When I first saw the repair job at 2 weeks post op.

I am 8 weeks post surgery going on 10 post injury. 

Here is a photo from today.  Remarkable, right?

My surgery actually went very well.  It was longer than expected and they did end up putting 2 plates and 12 screws.

  Geesh!  I kinda feel like they put my leg back together like my husband would have done a remodling project...just one more screw ought to hold it!
Yeah and throw a couple long ones in there for good mearsure.

But I cannot actually complain I have had no issues and am healing as quick as can be expected. 

Getting that dorsiflexion back like it's my job.
Gotta get those heals down again!
Aaaand  just because you sat through another post about my goddam leg here are some photos of the most adorable little creatures ever.

Started with 4 all but 1 found homes and his new Mom is coming this evening to get him.

I really wish I could keep them but I already have 3 cats don't need a 4th.

Mr Moley or Cindy.

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Oversharing; clinic recap

Thank you all who are sticking with me through this crappy time.  I most likely over share online and question myself on that regularly.  One thing I realized I hadn't shared with you all is the Clinic I rode in, in August.  Get ready for some retro postings!

The Cathy Weischhoff clinic

I got to ride one day and Elaina's trainer gave her the opportunity to ride both days.  It was quite a while back so I can't recall every little detail but can expound on the take-aways.

It started with grid work.  Grid work is amazing, and a fabulous training tool.  Unless your horse absolutely hates anything that appears to be a grid.  Yes that horse is Steady.  He hates them.  He gets very frazzled.  He has a huge stride so making 1 or 2 stride bounces generally set him off.  And they did.  He rushed, he flailed, he bucked after going through.  Then for the course work he was all worked up and was very rushy.  Cathy was at a bit of a loss as to what to do with us.  Like literally said those words, "hmmm I'm not sure what to do with you two so wait for a while".  I love the 

Still in our snaffle.  Mr. Toad's wild ride but nothing I haven't gotten used to. 
Cathy had the silly idea that I should actually have a bit more control whilst jumping.

She then puts a bubble elevator bit with a curb strap on him. I use the most very mild bit you can imagine on him, a loose ring, French link snaffle.  I use it for everything, dressage, XC and Stadium.  The strongest bit I've used to ride him in is an egg butt snaffle..haha.
This is after the bit change.  I can actually see the look of confusion
in his eye.  "WTH do you want from me lady?  I thought we had an understanding.
I run around and jump all the things and you hang on for dear life."

I've tried out stronger bits in the past and have gotten adverse reactions so I was a bit skeptical.  But it actually helped a great deal.  It backed him off a little more than what either of us desired but at least I found something that will back him off, this is a first after 7 years.  He didn't throw any fits but was a little confused as to what I wanted. "do you want me to go forward and jump the things or stop?" 

He never actually stopped but got sticky in front and took some deep spots.  I really enjoyed my experience in the clinic and was glad to find that this bit was a successful training tool.

Still hard for me to believe that in just a few short weeks we went from this...

To this.

Elaina's rides were great.

Not enough <3 emojis in the world for this. 
Thinking of getting it printed on a canvas for her
bedroom for Xmas.  What do you think?

She and Lego are making great progress as a team and when they aren't perfect I have to remind myself that she just got him in April and they are progressing so quickly.

Great team, indeed!

I wasn't there for their XC ride the second day but it sounds like it went even better than the stadium lesson.

 Ahhh I love those two together!

Saturday, November 5, 2016


Remembering the good ole days.
WinJan, my first horse.  We had some good, slightly dangerous times together.  But even at 8 months my 2 point was on point.

In all seriousness though I am healing quite well.  I haven't had any setbacks.  It's just a slow going process when you snap your leg in two.   I am %50 weight bearing which means I can get around most places on crutches alone which is HUGE!  Tough I am still quite limited in the things I can do because I am still on crutches.  I am now in Physical Therapy twice a week for the next couple months.  The Therapist is actually surprised at my range of motion.  I have only lost a few degrees in all directions.  Her comment was, "you know most people would love to have this range of motion."  Um, well I am not most people.  But while I do have a pretty good range of motion considering, the stiffness and pain is still present so it's not comfortable to do it.  It is ridiculous the size of my injured calf.  It has to be a good 3 inches smaller than my other.  Ugh, so ugly.

The good ole days when my left heel went down like a boss.

This was at the Cathy Weischoff clinic I rode in 2 short weeks before the big accident.  God I miss this!  Think my horse has scope?

I was doing some interneting the other day and was looking up injuries in the professional eventing world.  After a little bit  I realized I am in some good company.  Odd as it may be reading and hearing about other's injuries is strangely comforting.  I have spoken to many ammy's with similar injuries.  I have met others who had nothing to do with horses and have same injury by silly things like taking a bad step.  But when you hear that those at the top of the sport at sometimes the peak of their career had the same thing happen.  It just makes my problems seem smaller and it helps.  I think we can all remember Boyd's bad couple years.  In particular the time the he broke his leg just weeks after Silva's major brain injury and weeks before he was set to ride in Rolex.  Ok, Ok yes my problems seem quite small.  Then Peter Atkins already traveled to Europe with Henry and in training to compete in Burghley in just a few weeks and on a hack had a silly fall and had the exactly injury I have.  He was in top shape riding at the highest level and was determined to still ride in Burghley but ultimately when it drew closer had to withdraw because he knew he couldn't safely make it happen.  Then at his six week recovery mark signed up to compete at Luhmuhlen.  After dressage decided to withdraw since he wasn't quite ready and with their dressage score the risk didn't seem worth it.  It is a tough really shitty injury that is recoverable in otherwise healthy individuals but it is just a bitch.  Life just goes on hold for many months and there is nothing anyone can do about it.

I mostly appreciate comments of sympathy.  The I'm sorry's and get well's are uplifting to the spirit.  But one comment I had another mother make to me in a conversation that she was explaining how busy and hectic her life is says, "I could never do it".  Referring to being sidelined for  a couple months.  What  dumb remark.  Believe me if you dislocated your ankle broke both bones in your leg and had to have surgery to repair it with 2 plates and 12 screws you "could" do it.  Not that I was given a choice on the matter.  Again why I stick with animals.

Speaking of animals, all of them are doing well.  The girls are riding and I am even getting out to the field to teach them.  Elaina has been riding Steady in preparation for her to ride him in a lesson next week with a big time show jump trainer.  It is good for him and great for her.  Wild as it may sound he is more like a school master and is teaching her how to ride correctly.  Haha my Steady teaching someone the ropes.  Lego, Penny, Lily are all fat happy and fluffy with their winter coats.  The goats are pretty much always finding trouble and simultaneously providing entertainment.  Not many things in life can be so bad but so funny at the same time.  Hank is great.  Still begging any unsuspecting newcomer to play fetch.  And the cats, they keep procreating.  Yes I know get them fixed.  I plan to but unless you have a farm in the country you will never understand the frustration of people dumping cats and me automatically getting more vet bills  because if I don't take them to the vet and get someon else's  cat fixed then I end up with a million cats.  The end product  is adorable and I usually don't have much trouble finding the kittens homes.  Two are getting picked up today.

You have to admit they are pretty hard to resist.

We took one last trip around the lake on the boat to look at all the fall colors.  I am grateful I was able to get out and do that at least once before the year is over.

I have much to be grateful for.

Monday, September 26, 2016

Getting Screwed

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

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

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

Thursday, September 8, 2016

The Winds Have Changed

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

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

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

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

The wait:

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

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

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

RIP my lovelies

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

We're baaaaack....

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

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

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

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

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

Our Stadium round

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

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

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

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Marathon Weekend Post #3

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

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

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

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

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

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

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Marathon weekend post #2

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Me and "other mom".

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

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

The rest of the ride went great!

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

But ditches with friends is a blast!

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

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

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

I can't even.

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


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