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.

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Marathon weekend post #1

This may feel like a marathon of a post.  As it also felt like a marathon of a weekend.  I will squeeze all Friday and Saturday horse activities into this post and save  Sunday for another.  Because so much adorable media for Sunday.  I am severely lacking in media from the show.  My phone has no memory left.

SO we've got a lot to cover and not a lot of time to do it.  It's pretty much nonstop in my life so documenting it all is tough.  This past weekend was a busy one.  It was exhausting.  A bunch of running and not much sleep.  And I am taking the advice of many of you to heart about not worrying about cleaning and just focus on making memories because that is what really matters.  I completely agree.  So long laundry pile! We've more fun stuff to do.  Though you are not allowed to be offended if you ever come visit and there is no where to sit due to laundry covering the surface of all my couches!  Deal?  Deal!

It all started Friday evening with a  Pony Club tack cleaning party.  Not much to cover there.  Pretty much self explanatory.  Haul massive amounts of tack to someone else's house so the kids can sit together and clean tack.  It is far too much work to haul everything around but it did get the kids to clean their and MY tack while I drank sangrias so that's not so bad.

Saturday we slowly got moving to head out to a little show that had a few jumper classes mixed into the  combined tests.  We were meeting Monica and B out there which was the most exciting part!  I like the fact that there were times given for the jumper classes.  Showing up to do our classes at 11?  Not bad at all. The plan was to take myself, Steady, Elaina and Lego to do the 2ft, 2'3" and 2'6" classes.  Kelcie was watching us pack up and asked if she could go.  I wasn't planning to take her because she was to go to her games practice that evening but who can resist my sweet adorable Kelcie wanting to jump?  Not me.  So she too loaded up all her stuff and off we went.  I think Monica thought we were crazy rolling in 15 min. before the first class opened.  But I am probably one of he least likely people to get stressed out that you'll ever meet.  Like stress is not in my constitution.  I'm pretty sure that is the only way one could survive the hectic life I lead.  If I easily stressed I would be the most miserable person on the planet.  I work best under pressure and everything must be done quickly but NEVER rushed.  I got on Steady and he was, well, Steady at cold, windy spring show.  Not awful, not mean just his high energy can't stand still self.  6 years into this with him I think it's time to accept that is just who he is.  This behavior used to stress me and frustrate me.  I used to think I could train him out of it,  or he would grow out of it.  Nope it is just him.

Dis horse, Dis face, Dos eyes

I didn't want to jump in the warm up before the first class.  A) I could feel the ball of energy under me that I did not want to unleash.  B) it was a sloppy wet day and the footing was questionable.  And C) we were going to jump 10 2 ft jumps in the class.  That kind of sounds like a warm up if you ask me.  My trainer convinced me to take him out and jump a couple things in warm up.  Well it was interesting and I'm glad there weren't too many people out there with us.  Less people to mow down with my wild horse.  I tried slowing him down without hauling in his face.  I mean that's an actual goal of mine right now in my riding. Yes I set goals that ridiculous because I really ride that bad.

Anyways I'm dragging this out and there is no need or time for that.

2 ft class:
  • Amy and Steady - really fast,  he has no respect for 2 ft jumps.  I circled him in front of jump 8 because it was a tight turn and he was barreling a bit out of control by that point.  But otherwise an uneventful round.
    closest thing to media I have. It cut out right at jump 6 where he really started ignoring me and getting fast.
  • Elaina and Lego - They were prefect.  Of course.
  • Kelcie and Penny - Kelcie asked if she should trot or canter.  I told her it's up to her. If she felt penny wad listening then canter or if she was getting too fast then trot. I could tell when she picked up the canter and jumped jump 1 that penny was going the, too fast, route and Kelcie made the right decision and trotted the rest of the course.  As always penny is very obedient and the sweetest pony but she vang easily barrel around at ridiculous speeds which is no good for jumping.

1st  Elaina and Lego
3rd Kelcie and penny
4th Amy and steady

They actually told me Kelcie got 4th and me 3rd but I'm not completely positive the correct way to score jumpers but if Kelcie is a slower time yet I circle in front of a jump then I should be counted a refusal and Kelcie should beat me out.  The kid deserved a better placing than me.  She rode better and her pony behaved better.

  • Amy and Steady - this class was better.  He started to relax after standing around at the gate for an hour.  I started to speed up 3/4 the way through and wasn't adjustable the way I'd like but he does know how to go out and jump all the things.  We went clear and went clear on the jump off.

  • Elaina and Lego - Do I need to say it? Besides them needing to fine tune and more tactful things of making a good horse and rider pair. They still go out with control and knock out a course.  Clear for them in both rounds.

  • Kelcie and Penny sat this out.  I thought she might be able to do this class also cause they can jump 2'3". But after seeing that they really jacked up all the jumps and put in like 5 oxers I asked if she wanted to and she said nope.  Which I was happy about. So Kelcie spent the next couple hours cantering around the warm up.  :) their adorable.  And at a really small low key show this isn't an issue so I let her have at it.

1st Amy and Steady
2nd Elaina and Lego

An dat tail make erryone jealous.  M and B in background <3

  • Amy and Steady - by this time Steady was chill and this round rode perfectly.  He was adjustable,  listening and I wish every round could go so well.  Clear in both the class and jump off.

  • Elaina and Lego - as if your doubted they were great.  Don't get me wrong he is not the easiest ride. But she is a good rider and can get him there.  Though I'd be happier if she got him there straighter but they have only been together a couple months and they will get there with the finesse. Both rounds double clear.

1st Amy and Steady
2nd Elaina and Lego

It was really fun competing against my kids.  We've never done that before.  And it was pretty awesome that my kids got to beat their mom.  At least in one class.  They deserved it. They were better.  But let's be clear I'm not the mom who will "let" their kid win.  If they want to beat me then they better work to earn it.  But I'm also truly happy when they do beat me fair and square.

We were not able to stick around until they placed the 2'6" class So the amazing M picked up our ribbons for us.  We had to quickly load up and head home.  Swap out horses for ponies and head to the games lesson.  K and M ride Penny and Lily and a Pony Club family brings and extra pony for E to ride.  I won't labor on about the games lesson.  I'll just say the kids love it.  They are starting to get the hang of some of the games and getting a bit more brave and adding a little speed into the mix.  My kids are pretty good riders but it adds a whole new element when you are talking about weaving poles with one hand holding an object and leaning halfway off your pony to set the object on a cone or into a bucket.  They are working on their running mounts and doing quite well.  M has a hard time with it though.  She is just not built for it right now.  But E can mount from a trot now and is working on the canter and K can actually now hop on from a stand still so next will be working on walking.  That is one of the most fun things to learn.  It's just cool to be able to run along side your pony and jump on. 


Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Horse Mom

I am going to wrap up into one post the many Lessons and clinics that I have been to lately.  No, not as a participant but as a chauffeur, brunt labor, hydrator and spectator.  It seems my life is becoming more and more of that and less and less of me actually getting to participate in the horse activities.  There is a sadness and a feeling of loss there.  But it is freaking amazing getting to do this with my kids and all my kids no less.  No being torn in different directions with different interests.  Nope we all just get to gorge ourselves to our hearts content on all things equine.  Some times probably a bit too much.  But it is hard to resist when it is so much fun!  Like the other night.  We set out for a "little" trail ride at about 6pm while hubby is cooking dinner(I know it's sickening how spoiled I am).  All 4 of us on our perfectly matched equine partners.  We got so engrossed in trails and fun and jumping things that we failed to return home until about 9:30!  Hubby was a tad irritated that dinner he had made was now cold.  I can't blame him but he quickly got over it because we all had smiles ear to ear.  I have concluded that I am probably the absolute worst at adulting.  I have a messy house, piles of laundry and so many chores to be done and an entire unscheduled weekend to do it.  Guess what I got done?  A boat ride, a trail ride, trip to a tack store, a hike, hanging out in the hot tub about 2 hours each day and that is pretty much it.

Well here is a run down of all the clinics and lessons that have kept me in the barn and got me out of the house chores!

All girls took a vaulting lesson.  It's a strange sport but fun.  I think all the kids liked running around the barn in socks just as much as flying around on horses.
Kelcie practices vaulting.

Macy's turn.

It's hard to see but that is K standing up.

Show jump lesson with David Beisel.  E and K both had a lesson with David.  It was Elaina's first outing with Lego and he was bit amped at the beginning. It didn't take long for his draft roots to show and he calmed nicely.  He did everything asked of him and E really liked David.  Kelcie had to spend most of the lesson slowing Penny down.  That is par for the course with those

K in the adorablest pony lesson evar!

So much blur but ermahgerd so much cute!

2 Games lessons for K and M and even E got to borrow a pony for one of the lessons.  These are always really fun for the girls.  If you are not familiar with games it is one of the Pony Club sports but it is also an international competitive sport.  The kids really enjoy it and it is a fun way to improve your balance, seat and stickability without even thinking about it because you are playing games.  They involve all sorts of props.  Too many to list but watch some you tube videos and I'm sure you'll be pulling out all kinds of barrels, poles,  coffee mugs,  cones,  tennis balls,  buckets, sticks etc wanting to get your game on. Watch these hard core gamers do running mounts.  It's super fun.  E has been perfecting her running mount on Lily.  No photos of games but here is a video of a badass girl and her pony and a gratuitous Corgi eating ice cream photo.
And M grazing L after a games lesson.

Watch this video to see how crazy fun Games looks!

Kelcie did her D2 Certification.  We hauled Penny to Twin Towers the local horse park and basically hung out while K was tested all day.  If you aren't familiar with a Pony Club Certification Test.  Well it's intense to say the least.  They are tested in every single aspect of horsemanship, horse management, veterinary care, riding on the flat, show jump and XC.  They and their horse must be impeccably turned out and know their stuff.  K passed with flying colors!  She studied and practiced hard to do so.

XCing like a badass

Nailed it!  Then braided her pony's mane with her friends.

Walking out to XC course.

Eventing clinic for all 3.  This was a one day clinic with each having a lesson in each phase over the one day.  OMG! Mom overload.  This day was exhausting.  The kids had fun and learned a lot and that was the point.  But dammit all if it did like to kill me!  Lego was perfect.  Lily was for flat and SJ but as per normal lost her shit a bit XC and unseated M. Then she did enough theatrics for  Mom to get to ride that day. I always make it a point that if I have to get on you because you are misbehaving for a child you better believe that you sure as hell will regret it.  Macy was able to get back on after Lily's time out with mom and Got to go over Couple things to end their otherwise great day!

Her quote of the day, "MOM I LOVE THIS HORSE!!!!"

Our pretty regular view.

K and her friends that all passed the Pony Club Certification the day before all rode in the clinic together.

These two <3

What you find at the end of 2 really long, tiring, fun horse filled days.  Smiling collapsed 9 year old in the trailer.

Does it get more perfect?

What does she do when she gets home?  Read a horse book of course.

Mah girls!

XC schooling for E and Lego.  That horse has not disappointed.  He has over and over proven to be the coolest horse I have ever owned.  Jumps anything and everything you point him at.  Is not lazy and never gets overly anxious about anything.  He is a dream.  We hadn't really seen him go XC before and again he proved to be a saint.  Jumped everything he was pointed at.  Popped over the ditches with no thought, up banks, down banks.  In the field completely alone? NBD.  Such a cool horse.  Damn lucky kid.

Damn lucky kid!

M jump lesson. It was a brisk, windy day and all 3 horses in the lesson were feeling it.  All being pretty green riders on enthusiastic horses they ended up doing a lot of flat work with a gymnastic line worked in at the end.  M and Lily did great!
Not from actual lesson but Macy and Lily <3

Coming up on the docket?  Me spending all my damn money on these kids.  I will keep complaining about it.  Even though I am still going to do it I just have to vent that to the universe once in a while.

Wednesday weekly lessons for me with M.
Kids having a tack cleaning party with PC Friday (think I can sneak my tack in on this party?)
Little jumper show Saturday for me and E with Monica and B!
XC schooling for K and E this weekend
E starts working for trainer at her barn 2 days a week and Lego over nighting and lessoning both days.  So excited for this opportunity for her.
Following week is Pony Club camp all 3 kids for 4 days
the next week a lesson M and K
the next week is Mega rally for all 3 girls at Kentucky horse park.  3 days for  M and K. 5 days for E. We will be camping there.  Maybe I will do the Midsouth horse trial that weekend.  Maybe?
That will take us through June and by then we will all need a break. My bank account included!