Thursday, November 19, 2009

A little tharapy


As any college student will tell you there are three "crunch times". First: at mid terms. Second: right before thanksgiving. And last: right before finals. Guess where I am right now? In crunch time numero deux.
I'm in the final stages of three projects, had one test, and two presentations this week. Yikes.
So amid all of this and juggling the group meetings, I had a choice. I could either a) take a nap and catch up on sleep or b) go for a ride, and spend four hours thinking about horses. Guess what I went with? Yep. B.
And yet again, I have reaffirmed how important horses are to me. Yes, I could have blissfully fallen into a four hour nap (or coma). But after riding I felt relieved and revitalized. Even if RC was a little buck-master.
So, Happy holidays everyone! I hope your holidays are filled with food, family and fun!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Championships Update



I know, it's nearly been a month since the region 2 championships in Wayne, IL but here is a little sneak into my championship experience. All in all I think that it was a wonderful show. Other then the cold and the rain and all the walking... It was amazing. Both of my boys did well. They handled the 8 hour drive to get there without a problem. My first mistake (though it wasn't all my fault) was getting there too late to have a warm up ride on Wednesday. As it turns out, Lamplight Equestrian Center does not have any lit arenas to allow for evening/night riding. My plan was to leave by 6 am, BUT I got an interview with NavAir at 8 am, which pushed my planned arrival time back about four hours. I got to the show grounds about an hour before my mom and sister showed up, so I got some stalls bedded, my boys unloaded and checked in before seeing Courtney and the Buckmeister. And Mr Scott, of course. Anyway, other then a few rider errors (some severe)I felt that my rides all went pretty well. On my third level open show ride, I totally forgot the test I was riding, and since I was without a reader, just continued on as best as I could. I knew I was off course by about the second move, but the judge did not ring the bell, so I just continued on. What I did was track right instead of left in the second move of the test, so my whole trot work was backwards. The judge rang the bell right before the second extended trot and just had me come down the centerline after the half pass word and track the other way. So pretty much the judges only saw the trot work to one direction. I don't know if they were as confused as I was... But my score was not so hot. Oh well, you live and you learn. My other sub par test was a first level open show test with RC. Mr. RC was a tad opinionated in that test (read: bucky). It was one of the most frustrating tests I have ever ridden, but the judges comments were pretty funny after the fact.
"Capable pair. Try to not let horse be so vocal in his opinions"
In hindsight, I probably would have done better in region 4, but it was worth it the spend a few days with Courtney (even if my ribbons aren't as pretty). There will always be another championships....
Anyway.Enjoy the video. It was fun to make, and I feel that it kind of captures the championships experience.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Hell Week

Hi all,
So this week is kind of hellish. Midterm presentations, group meetings, etc.
I promise that I'll do a write up about the championships eventually... it's just been so busy for me! Wish me luck on this week....

Monday, September 28, 2009

Starting out on the right lead...

All i can say is that I hope that the rest of the week is as good as Sunday. I tagged along with Terri and Anna to a Mid-Rivers Saddle Club open show. It was supposed to be last week, but it got rained out otherwise I wouldn't have gone to a show so close to the championships.
That being said, I'm glad I did. It was alot of fun, and I did pretty well, if I may say so myself. RC was a trooper, slogging through 8 classes through the day. I entered Novice walk trot (english), adult walk trot, adult english pleasure, novice english equitation, adult english equitation, novice horsemanship, adult horsemanship and adult trail. By adult trail, RC was pretty worn out. He had decided that this was not the kind of shows he likes. Evidently he prefers the shows where he goes back to the stall and eats for a few hours between classes. At the end of the show we had three championship ribbons and one reserve. RC does like big ribbons (a la AT style). I wish I had a picture. RC and I were nearly too sequined to look at. It was great.
Next month they have a costume class (and I'm so doing it)... so ideas anyone?

Now on to the championships. The ride times are up, and I have less then three days... The count down has begun.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Things that piss me off...

All right, I finally have some spare time for an update.
So, where to start? Oh yes... Topic today: Things That Piss Me Off
So where to start. Oh yes. Why I couldn't go riding today. Evidently there was some silly fraternity/sorority thing-y going on. Which would all be well and good, I mean no harm no foul, right? Well, major harm, major foul. I have less then a week before i have to go to the championships, and I couldn't go out riding today because some douchebag frat boys don't know how to part their little toy cars without scratching the hell out of Larry. It put me in a rather foul mood. I NEEDED to ride today... Damn.
Number two: Comments from non-dressage people. Yep. It only took two months to get to me again. And I thought I had thick skin... I guess it's gonna take some more practice. I wish that I could give everyone who tells me how "lucky I am to have a horse who 'just does that stuff'" an hour long lesson on either of my boys. Feel the burn, people, feel the burn. Neither London, nor RC for that matter, are born doing "that stuff". It takes hours of pain, tears and misery to get eight minutes of show able work! While I appreciate that people think that London is "pretty", I doubt that anyone realizes how much work went into making him that pretty.
Number three: A $300 offer for RC. Yeah. Right. His accessories cost more then that. I'm just insulted.

Alright... I'm done with my bitching and moaning... Have a good week.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Horses and Homework...


I know! I know! Long time no post.... I'm back at school now and have my first project presentation due tomorrow. Back to the real world for me, I guess.
Anyway, I went to the Centerline Dressage Show in Springfield, IL two weeks ago. While it was not RC's best show, it was London's/ We qualified at 2nd level in tow rides, and got our final third level qualifying score with a 65%. MMy show boy is back!
Well, I have to get back to practicing this presentation...wish me luck!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Where it all began


So, I've been back in Houston since Sunday morning. And it is even more humid thenI remember. Ew.
Deli and RC are living out at Pattison with London, Opie, and Sonnet. The introduction did not go smoothly. Go figure, that right when I want to introduce new horses to the herd all three mares are in heat. What are the odds? On the plus side, it'll only be another few days before Opie quites being so bitchy to the new comers.
So for now Deli and Sonnet are in the little pasture while RC, London and Opie are in the big pasture. RC is in much better shape then the other two, so they don't chase him around too much. They have been in this arrangement for two days now and the only one who is truely disturbed by the change is Sonnet. I figured that having the two year olds together would be ok, but Sonnet is not a big fan of change.

Today I went out there alone since Mom worked last night (I seem to spend quite a bit of time alone now that I'm home). I took Opie for a little trail ride, which made me think (thus the title of this post). Isn't it odd that this one fat little orange horse is the reason that I have all these other horses too? I've had Opie for 12 years now, and we've dabbled in just about everything. I've tried Katy Cowgirls, western clases, barrel racing, trail rides, dressage, carting, swimming and all sorts of other things that a silly teenager would do with a horse she thought was perfect.
I know that my riding has pregressed by leaps and bounds fromthe day that we brought Opie into our lives, but she doesn't care that I learned all about riding and horse care, using her as my guinea pig. Honestly, she's probably the only horse who could be expected to clamly go trail riding one day, then win a barrel race the next.

Friday, July 31, 2009

All Good Things...

...Must come to an end.

We all knew that this day was fast approaching, but now that I'm sitting in "my" living area for the last evening with all of my belongings in boxes and bags piled by the door (with the exception of Tempi's squeaky ball), it's kind of hit me. I have had a great summer experience. I do believe that I have learned a great deal, and have progressed by leaps and bounds (even if it's just little leaps, I'm more then happy). I showed up knowing that something was wrong, but not knowing quite what or how to fix it. Now I know what and where it's going wrong, and even how to fix it. I might not quite catch my mistakes before they happen, but at least I can catch it withing a stride or two. That's major progress!!!
So my homework from my last lesson was: Work in a second level frame and stick to second level work through the championships, then on to third!! Lift the shoulders, and don't drop the haunches in the lengthenings/mediums/extensions.

So now for one of my infamous lists... starting with a few of the things I'm not so sure I'll miss...
1) The sand. Everywhere. It's going to take me a month to feel non-gritty...
2) All the barking. Not that I'll get a reprieve in Houston, but I'll be in MO sooner then I think
3) The unfortunate number of vet visits accumulated during my stay. But I should be set as bad things are only supposed to come in 3.
4) The triple digit temperatures. It's killing me slowly...

And now the things that I know I'm going to miss...
1) The friends I've made here.
2) The daily lessons with the nearly tangible improvement
3) The scenery has grown on me. I find myself thinking that this is a really pretty place at times.
4) Living a stones throw from my horses. I love it, and it has now become a future goal of mine.
5) Having a fellow dressage rider to work with. Yes, horse people are crazy and dressage people are doubly so, but it's a huge motivator to ride with someone much better then I. I'll miss it when I go back to Missouri.

Well... That's all for me. Tempi and I are riding off into the proverbial sunset....

Monday, July 27, 2009

Baldy



So, the funny episode of the day was, once again, presented by RC.
As I was lunging then riding Deli, MD and I noticed RC squatting on his hocks (cutting horse style), knees bent, r-e-a-c-h-i-n-g under his fence trying to reach the seed pods that fall off the trees every night. At least now I know why he has an 8" bald spot...
Anyway, I took Deli out ona little trail ride, and MD commented that RC was on the wrong side of the fence. I misunderstood, so I untacked, washed and put Deli away all the while RC was gorging himself on seed pods. Great.
When I did walk over there, lead rope in hand, he kinda gave me a look and went back to eating. Only when I led him past the hay barn to put him back in his pen did he realize what could have been.... Poor RC.
Since he couldtn seem to figure out the proper combination of poor coordination and voodoo magic to make a repeat performance. Not to say he didnt try, but he spent the rest of the afternoon in a seedless state... Poor guy.
And since this fun little quote cam up to day, It'll be my parting quote:
"So what are we going to do tomorrow night, Brain?"
"The same thing we do every night, Pinky.... Try to take over the world!"
It's Pinky! It's Pinky! It's Pinky and the Brain, Brain, Brain....

Monday, July 20, 2009

Back at it...

Well... I'm starting to count down my days here... It's weird to think that I'll only be here for two more weeks. Where did the summer go? I'm not ready to leave! I'm not good enough yet!
Although ego boost of the day: I was taking Sonnet on a trailride, when we crossed paths with one of the racehorses. He was nice enough to stop, since Sonnet spooked a little, and we introduced ourselves. He said "it's really nice to see you ride everyday", then his horse cnatered off with him... So I'm going to interprety it as I don't look as clumsy on a horse as I tend to feel sometimes.
On the bright side, Mr. Cster was back in working form today. To keephim from totally locking his back (which makes for a very uncomfortable sitting trot), i warmed him up without his head. Well, not literally, but I pulled his head in to the inside of the circle in an extreme over bend, and just rode his shoulders straight (or in the direction of which ever figure I was on). This way he cant use his big fat quarter horse neck against me. As we got more warmed up and more together, obviously i didn't use the over flexion unless he tried to get too straight and braced in his underneck. Stupid underneck...
The other thing we workd on today was RC's canter. we did two main things in the canter (again using the over bending), we worked on getting RC to leave his legs on the ground a little longer, and flying lead changes. You would think that the two concepts are notrelated, but you'd be wrong. And anyone who knows RC knows that it's a dangerous proposition to try to make him do fancy shit with his legs at any speed... It remains true. He made it through the change alright, but when we went back on the 20m circle to concentrate on making the canter a little better balanced, BAM. He got all tangled up in his feet. We didnt go down, but it was close. Silly, silly horse.
After RC, it was Deli. And even though she was a little bit of a turn on friday (and I had to beat her for biting me), she still came ambling up when she saw me carying a halter. It's little traits like that that give me hope that I'll really like this horse in 2 years...
Anywho, I got Deli all tacked up, and had to pause to admire her new bridle yet again. I got it from Dover's sale catalogue... It looks stunning on her. It's black (duh) with metallic blue piping on the browband and nose band. It's actually really well madefor the price too... but I digress. The point I'm trying to make is that it looks amazing on Deli.
So when I lunged her (still admiring the bridle in the sun), imagine my suprise when she didnt even buck. She usually kicks out at least once after two days off... I was a little leery that she was setting a trap for me when I got on her (she's a smart little pony), but she just walked around the outside of the arena, then we started working. Now, admittedly "work" is only 20 min with her, but still... She walked and trotted, changing directions and doings three loop serpentines, not a single balk. We had a little buckingwhen I asked for the canter (she's still not really a fan of being touched by my legs... especially when I move them back a little), but when i didnt use leg aids, and just usedseat aids, she popped right into it and we cantered a longside before going back to trot. We did it to both directions before I took her out on a little trail ride to wrap it up. I figure that if she's ever goingto compete with RC, she'll have to start working on her bombproofing now. She's not naturally spooky, but she definatly notices more then RC does... Poor guy.

And now.... Since I'm bored and have this thing from Facebook. Enjoy
*YOUR HORSE*


1. Show Name:
London (KWPN).
Rohos Classic (AQHA)
Irish Delight (Wesser-EMS)

2. Barn Name:
MD Equine Center
RedWind Farm

3. Any nicknames?
London-poodles, Poodles, Londy-poo, Londy
RC, C-Meister, WonderPony, Red Fury, Mr C-ster, Mr Chompers
Deli, Deli-princess, Miss Priss

4. Goes english or western:
London only does english (how would I throw a western saddle 8" above my head?)
RC does english, western and bareback... He's an all around pony. As all ponies should be.
Deli only does english at this point of her trinaing... but it's only been 45 days more or less..

5. Sex?
London: Gelding (but he loves the babies)
RC: Gelding (but thinks he's hot stuff)
Deli: filly (and reinforcing my love of mares)

6. Age?
London: 16
RC: 5
Deli: 2

7. Primary Discipline:
Dressage. It makes all of that quarterhorse stuff seem soooooo easy!

8. Show experience:
London: Shown through fourth level, was reserver champion at second and third levels at the regional championships
RC: Shown through first level with median scores of 65% at first and 67% at training level. Has also shown in the Mid-Missouri Stock Horse Association, where he was year end high point in english equitation, reserve high point in engligh pleasure, 5th place showmanship, 3rd place in horsemanship and reserve hish point in trail (all year end placings)
Deli: Has done one in hand show with her previous owner, where she won in a class of

9. Good on the trail:
London: Yes. He'll let you know when he sees something, but he's careful not to scare his rider
RC: Of course. He's Mr Steady. All the time.
Deli: She's getting there. She's starting to enjoy our daily mini trail rides, so there's hope.

10. Did you train this horse yourself?
London: No. I have progressed wth him (he was a second level horse when we bought him)
RC: Yes. I take all credit for the fact that he no longer falls on his face or canters sideways.
Deli: No one but me has ever been on her. It's really cool to ride a horse that you broke...

11. Vices?
London: None! He's the perfect loving guy... except for pawing in the cross ties. Thats annoying
RC: Well, we don't call him Mr. Chompers for nothing. Give him an inch and he'll take a mile...
Deli: She's got a little nip in her, but we're workingon that.

12. Spooky?
London: occasionally, but only if he's working hard
RC: No. He is mr oblivious. Well, other then his first level test at the championships when he lept into the arena when the judge flapped a blanket.... But then he continued like nothing had happened.
Deli: Nope. She has yet to spook with me on her. She'll let you know that she sees somethgin, but she won't spook. Not bad for 2, huh?

13. Is your horse able to be ridden bareback:
London: That's how I broke my finger.... sad.
RC: Hell yeah. He's amazing.
Deli: I haven't tried it. Nor will I for at least another year.

14. Does your horse come when you call?
London: Yes, he's too eager to please not to.
RC: Sometimes. Especially when he's competing for my attention with London. I have needy boys...
Deli: She's there before I call. She thrives on attention.

15. Is your horse good with children and other horses:
London: He loves everyone, but i wouldn't let ANY KID ride him withot dressage lessons. He's great with other horses, especially young ones.
RC: He does not need to be around kids yet (Mr. Chompers), but in a year or two, he'd be a great lesson horse. He loves being with London, but is a total jerk to anyone he thinks he can get away with...
Deli: I would NOT put a kid on her. She's two! But she's been good with every horse I put out with her. She's really submissive.

16. Is your horse worked regularly:
London: I'm not sure. He's summering with my mom. But I hope he is....
RC: Yep. He works HARD for an hour a day, five days a week.
Deli: Yep, she works 45 min a day, five days a week.

17. Ever a lesson horse?
London: Only if you count the millions of lessons I've taken on him...
RC: Nope. He'd be a nasty lesson horse... Too easy to get away with stuff. Maybe in a few years
Deli: Nope. She's two....

18. Does your horse like treats?
Do catholics like guilt? YES! they will do all kinds of humbling things for a treat.

19. Do you take lessons on your horse?
Yep... Thus why Im in El Paso for the summer.... Cramming in two years worth of lessons. And I really think that they are starting to sink in for me.

20. Is your horse easy to work around?
London: Yes, he tries not to be inthe way or pushy. He's a gentleman.
RC: No. He stole the tools the guys were using to build his shed and ran off. He's kind of a jerk.
Deli: Usually. Shedoes some dumb two year old stuff, but is pretty polite around people.

21. Has your horse ever escaped from its stall?
London: Once... At a horse show... how embarassing.
RC: He wishes. He's currently trying to tunnel under the fence of his pen. It's not working out.
Deli: Yeah. She opened the latch with her nose, and ran over the see the little pony stallion. I had to give her a lecture on how to act coy...

22. Do you feel safe on your horse?
Of course.

23. Is your horse hard to worm?
Nope. Anything for a cookie, remember?

24. Is your horse good for the farrier/vet?
London: He's a perfect gentleman.
RC better be, he's had enough practice.
Deli is getting better. She's not perfect yet.. But give her time.

25. Have you ever won a class with your horse?
When does RC NOT win a class? :)

26. Have you ever had a moment where you feel really connected to your horse?
Sure. If I didn't have those moments often enough, I would have picked up water polo....

27. Does your horse like hay?
Yes, but they prefer it liberally sprinkled with alphalfa....or sweet feed!

28. Does your horse have special feed or supplement?
RC used to be on farriers secret.... But now they are just being horses

29. Does your horse often have a very messy stall?
London is neat...
RC is a mess. Total pig sty.
Deli is a neat freak.

30. Does your horse use any special tack?
London rides with woof boots every time, and a fluffy pad with his custom saddle.
RC rides with the worlds tinyest woof boots and a fluffy pad with his custom saddle.
Deli uses RC's stuff.

31. Do you use a whip and spurs?
Yes. Even if i don't need them, I feel naked without them.

32. Does your horse like to run?
London: in the pastuer, when the weather is nice. He's too much of a gentleman undersaddle to play up like that.
RC: No. Not in any circumstance. Though he always watches the barrel horses in awe when at the QH shows.
Deli: I'm not sure yet. She'll play with her pasture buddy, but doesnt really run.

33. How many times a week do you ride your horse?
5. the weekends are Me Time. Well, and Tempi Time.

34. Does your horse have markings?
London: two hind stockings, one front cornet band. A star/stripe, no snip. He's shedding out into a nice purple/burgandy color.
RC: 4 high white socks, a star, stripe and snip. A little splash of white on his lower lip. Two white marks on his nose where he broke his halter (he looks like a total goober!).
Deli: Snip on her nose, tiny star (not that you can see it under her poofy forelock), three little white socks

35. Do you braid your horse for shows?
Of course!!! Julie would die if we didnt!
RC gets banded at the qh shows. He's too cute!

36. What color is your horse's halter?
RC and London wear black leather halters. Deli hasa brown one.

37. Does your horse follow you?
Always. And if one follows, the other runs up to not be left out...

38. Can your horse backup?
Of course... thats a third level movement, isnt it?

39. Is your horse's trot easier to sit to or post to?
London: it depends on how through he wants to be
RC: he's great either way... and his wp trot is unpostable
Deli: I only post the trot.

40. Have you ever dressed your horse up for halloween?
Yes!!! Remember that horse camp at Karins?

41. Describe your horse in one word:
London: Lovely.
RC: WonderPony
Deli: Princess

42. Has your horse ever given a pony ride?
Yes... and they liked it.
Deli: no

43. How many people owned this horse before you?
London: 3?
RC: None. I owned his mother...
Deli: 3

44. Does your horse get dirty easily?
London: stays pretty clean
RC: He's a wallower!
Deli: She's dark, so you cant tell

45. What's your favorite horsey memory?
Ooh, so many! Most recently, it was field riding with Mom and Courtney (on AT and Bucky). We were riding through the treed area, and AT stepped on a stick (you could see him planning on it) so that it rattled in front of London and Bucky. Courtney the rode Bucky over the branch, then AT maliciously hit the stick, so it rattled under Bucky. Bucky sunk down about three feet (i swear Courtneys head was even with my knee!) and ALL of his muscles quivered for a minute, like he didnt know where to run, or what to do, but didnt want to run and look like a pansy.
Mom and I were laughing so hard we were crying. And the harder we laughed, the pissier Bucky got. It was hilarious.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Too Hot

Ok, so the title says it all. The thermometer yesterday afternoon said 116. And I believe it. It's like standing in an oven with a hairdryer pointed right at your face. Not pleasant.
So, Let's just asay that today hasn't been super productive for me. I accompanied MD to the vet to have four mares checked for pregnancy. Three were pregnant, and the one that we weren't sure about was assumed to be open, but the dr was not positive of it. So congrats to Ruby, Gigi and Ami on (hopfully) impending motherhood.
The down side of taking four to the vet is that it took forever. We didn't make it back to the farm til 10a. And it was already hot, hot, hot by then. I rode RC, but I think that it was counterproductive, since he didnt want to work, and I was too hot to think straight. We ended up getting into a big fight... Go figure. This concludes my hypothesis that as the temperature increases, my patience decreases. Not a good trait, but a helpful thing to know about myself, to be sure.
Anyway, that's pretty much been my day. Too hot to think. Pleasant.
(Get me out of here!)

Monday, July 13, 2009

Hell Paso


Ok, I know it's been a while. It's kinda difficult to stay motivated to write when i never get any feed back (other then my mother)... So leave a comment!
Anyway, I have officially figured out why they call it Hell Paso. It is hot as hell, and has been for the last week. MD originally told me that this was the "monsoon" season, but I'm just not seeing it. I have yet to see any rain in July, and it keeps getting hotter. Today I know I must have downed a bottle of water after every horse I worked. The worst thing is that I don't even notice the sweat... As soon as it pops up, it evaporates. RC looked like a roan after his work out because all that remained was the salt...
So, as it turns out, RC needs to work on connection, connection, connection. He's figured out how to sit (which is pretty fun to play with), so now he needs to figure out that it's easier for him if he pushes from his big ol but through his short little back and out his round neck instead of sitting way down and locking in his rib cage then lifting through his neck. Where is London when I need him to tell RC that the under neck is an ugly, ugly thing?
Today was not our best day, but then I changed things up since I didnthave a lesson and worked Deli this morning and RC around 1-2pm. RC is not a fan of the heat, as it turns out. He was really really stiff through his ribcage, and I was cranky from working horses in the heat, so we got into a little fight. But after ten minutes of cantering 10 meter circles, he relented and allowed me to move his shoulders anywhere I darn well pleased. Small victory, but a victory none the less. After that break through, he was allowed to go on a trail ride, which just made him mad. Turns out he can hear the hay cart form half mile away and was convinced that he was going to miss lunch...
Contrary to her red counterpart, Deli was very good today. There were a few balks, but she offered the right lead canter today. Though I was only trotting her around at that point, I allowed her to canter for a few strides before asking for the trot again, since that's the lead that she's been sticky on. Last time I let her quit after she got that lead, so now I suppose she figures that if she does it in the beginning, she only has to work for five minutes. Wrong, but good effort. Even though I only work Deli for about half an hour at a time, she's really fun to play with since the progress is readily visible. I mean two weeks ago, she was leaning into corners, and now she is much better balanced under the rider. Three weeks ago she balked when touched by the leg, and now it only happens once or twice a ride. Tangible progress.... So rare for dressage.
So that's all I've got for now.. Leave a comment :)

Monday, July 6, 2009

Horses Unlimited Fiesta de Dressage

Yes... I made it back from yet another show in yet another region. This one was in Albuquerque, New Mexico. I made it in to the show after a few glitches, so it's a good thing that MD knows the show manager. He called her with a scheduling conflict, and she asked about my ride times to see if I could tack a horse up for her. As it turns out, the show manager had forgotten to enter me in the show at all. He had stapled my entries to the back of MD's and just neglected to add RC to the show. But it was all fixed by the time I arrived.
Just getting six horses to a show is quite an ordeal. We brought two trailers; MD's had Lorraine's two horses and MD's two horses, while I trailered to Gail's then moved RC into her trailer. Her truck is newer, so it was voted that she got to bring the trailer. It worked out since RC really doesn't care where he's put, as long as there is food in front of him he's happy as a clam. (Jennifer, if you are reading this, Gail says hi)

The show was the Fiesta de Dressage, sponsored by Horses Unlimited. RC was entered in first level test one and first level test four, qualifying on Saturday and training level test four stakes and first level test four stakes on Sunday. The stakes classes were money back classes, so they put the open, AA and YRs all in one class for those. though, I think I only saw one Jr/YR at the whole show, maybe there were more then that, but they were sure in the minority. More then usual for a dressage show.
And now since you are my captive audience and have no say, I'll run through my test highlights.

Saturday:

First Level Test One: 58.333% (I was really disappointed with that)
We got a 7 for our freewalk, but the rest of the test was pretty dismal. Which sucks, because other then being a little stiff in the shoulders, RC was really pushing through his butt and back. It was so much better then any of his tests last year, but I guess Solyntjes did not agree... He nailed RC's lengthenings because I let his nose out. Even with quite an overstride (for a quarter horse), I only got 5's on them. Better luck next time.

Remarks: "Some Good moments when strides get free but then they get quick-you need to be able to keep better balance-try to ride more accurately + transition need more support from your lower leg Try not to [illegible]"


First Level Test Four, Q: 65.263% (my first first level qualifying score!)
We got 8's on our initial halt, final halt, and left lead canter depart. I'm pretty excited every time I get an 8, so three of them put me over the moon. We got 5's again in the lengthenings, with the comments "strides need to be longer". RC has little stumpy QH legs! It's not easy for us! Oh well, I guess we need to keep working on it.
Remarks: "Obedient horse but needs more suppleness throughout"

Sunday

First Level Test Four: 64.737% (Came in 4th place, after three open riders, so I'm happy)
Again, RC scored 8's on his initial and final halts. He must look pretty solid when he stops, to keep getting 8's. This time from Solyntjes, I got a 7 and a 6 on my lengthenings. The only real difference was that I held RC a little more in (like a medium), so he didn't get to overstep so much but stayed more in the frame. Evidently that's the preferred look. Although check out that 7 for gaits!

Remarks: "Good Halt. try not to lean back in L trots- rein get too wide + horse could not bend. Do not head wag-horse loses rhythm in L canter due to problem with aid and submission"

Training Level Test Four: 66.800% (again, happy with this score)
This was my last test of the weekend, so I was pretty tired by then. RC was a little stiffer through his ribs, but it felt like a very smooth test with no serious bobbles. This time I had an 8 for my first halt and my stretchy trot and 9 for my final halt! I shit you not, check it out!

Remarks: Well ridden, obedient horse. Try to improve suppleness for longer strides"

So all in all it was a good show, though now I'm exhausted. So is Mr. Cster Pants. He's been laying down all morning while I was cleaning stalls/pens this morning. Poor little guy. It's not easy being a dressage horse.
All I had to do today was empty out the trailers, clean out the trailers, clean the pens and then work Deli. Deli was pretty pleased to be chosen again after three days off. She was a bucking mess on the lunge line. Some of them were pretty big bucks coming from such a little pony, but she was a good girl when I got on her. We only worked on the walk and trot, though she offered a few canter transitions. She's starting to understand the concept of contact and that just because I touch her reins, she does not get to slam on the breaks. I still love that pony, and I cant wait to start showing her. Everything is going to be so much easier for her naturally then RC, and look at some of the scores that RC is bringing home.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Swine Flu


Ok, I have (a few) real and valid excuses for not posting.
First and foremost, I've been sick. For Friday and Saturday, my throught hurt so bad, that I went out and bought soup, cough drops, pop cicles, and hagen daaz. The ice cream is really what got me through.... I'm doing better now, i can eat and drink without wishing I was dead. I do feel a little stuffed up in my ears, but I figure I'm on the road to recovery. Swine flu-0, Alison-1
Next, we had an epic storm on Sunday. It kind of screwed with my social plans, since I wasn't going anywhere in that rain, not to mention that I'm not sure I could have made it out of the unpaved driveway. During this storm, I lost power in the apartment for about three hours. It felt like I was camping, until I realized that I was playing chess on my laptop and using my cell phone as a flash light and to text people because I was bored. Not quite roughing it...
But anyway, I'm here now to bring you a shiny new post. There is no video, but I figured I would drown you in picture I've taken. Turns out the wildlife comes out to play after a storm.
Anyway, RC was good again today. I think that we might be ready for the show, but probably not. MD said that I tend to throw him away when riding the tests. Great. At least I'm learning this now instead of after I show.
Deli keeps getting better and better. She's still got that balking habit, but it's not nearly as bad as it was. Now it's more of a thought then a plan or avoidance. As it turns out, she's best if I only lunge her a little bit, then ride for 20 minutes, or so. That was she's not too tired to walk/trot/canter with me on her. I've said it before (every time, actually), but I freaking love this horse.
Now for the pictures:

There were probably 5 butterflies around this plant....

This little guy was sitting next to me today while I was watching MD work a horse and tossing a piece of hoof for Tempi... It's not easy sneaking up on a lizard. Just call me Naturalist #1...

And the final picture is of freshly clipped... kinda... Tempi

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

A Real Dressage Horse

For all of you who have been following, you should know that RC has a love/hate relationship with what I'm trying to accomplish this summer, and as such, I have a love/hate relationship with RC (but mostly love). Yesterday RC was definitely hating it. We worked on canter pirouettes to get him to sit on his rump through his canter/walk transitions. Turns out, transitions are MUCH easier then pirouettes, as RC found out. He was doing everything his little mind could come up with to avoid sitting and actually (gasp!) using his butt, which mostly consisted of throwing his head. Once he figured out (and I actually did it) that every time he started to be fussy with his face, he had to go forward yet back. Not forward AND beck, forward YET back. Which means that he had all of the power and energy of a medium, but was sitting like a collected canter (no wonder RC hates me). So that was yesterday. I was expecting an angry Mr. Chompers to emerge today. Especially since I didn't work him first. Since MD was at the vet with Ami (she has a good feeling about this time...), I pulled Diva's mane then RC's mane then I rode RC. I was just warming up when MD pulled in, so RC and I didn't get to avoid a lesson. RC was Mr. Fabulous today! I have no idea where it came from, but he was like "you want me to sit, ok" and "you want a trot and canter half pass, ok". Now there is the work ethic that has been missing. I guess the answer is to really work him hard and ask for the advanced stuff one day, then he's more then happy to be a first level horse the next day. RC's good attitude prompted MD to tell me that "Now you have a first level horse" with the potential to show second THIS YEAR and maybe third next year! Obviously, I won't show him in second level this year since I'm trying to qualify at training and first but it's still cool to hear that RC is making so much progress from someone who isn't emotionally invested in the brat. After RC's wonder-ride, I took him for a little ride down the road. Because it seemed like it would be fun, I ran him down the racehorse track for a little while, maybe a quarter or half mile. it was so much fun! And he loved it, which I did not expect. He didn't set any land speed records, but he wasn't doing a little tiny canter either. I may have to do that again... Unbeknownst to me, I had a tail during my trail ride. Tempi followed me out this morning. Usually she turns around at the end of the driveway so imagine my surprise when I turned around and there was a little sand colored poodle meerkating about 100 yards back. I'm not sure what's worse, that I didn't know that my poodle was following me, or that RC only got a 100 yard lead while cantering out... Anyway, her tongue was nearly dragging the ground, and she laid down, belly up when I approached her. I felt bad so I dismounted and picked her up. Do you have any idea how difficult it is to mount a horse while holding a poodle? It's a good thing that RC is quiet and Tempi was dead tired... She sat like a little person in front of me, taking stock of the whole situation during the ride. I wish I had a picture of it.... After RC, I rode Diva for MD's sales video. I had her all fixed up: mane pulled, tail brushed out and conditioned, coat polished, white polos, the works. Evidently MD isn't as picky as Lyndon about turnout in sales videos, because she was actually surprised at how I had Diva prepared. Anyway, the video is attached (hopefully) so feel free to check it out. It's not MD's official video, I just played around with a few things on my computer. I hope you like it! After Diva, it was the cremello. She's starting to turn a corner. The progress is slooooooow but still there. She isn't trying to kill me anymore, so I'm counting it as a plus. She's letting my lay over the addle and awkwardly steer her and ask her to walk-whoa-walk-whoa without throwing a fit, so MD asked me to sit up on her without walking (since that's when she blew up last time). Evidently she can handle the weight, but looking back and seeing a person up above her really freaks her out. She's no Deli, but she's getting closer.... Then it was Deli. When i went out after lunch, I was actually worried that it was going to rain, since Deli doesn't do well in the rain (she has big ears that she doesn't like to get wet), but all it did was rumble. So the ride was all good to go. And she was very good. She had a major spook-jump-buck while I was lunging her and a mastoodle ran out from under the horse trailer, but other then that, I think that she didn't want to use up any more energy then necessary in this weather. Under saddle, she has developed a slight balking habit, which is usually corrected with a slap on the neck or shoulder. If I tap her butt, she wants to buck, so there is no sense in doing that. Yesterday the balking was so bad tha I got off her to lunge her again, so that she didn't get to stop working just because she was balky. Then MD saw what I was doing and stood in the center of the circle while I worked Deli holding a lunge whip and moving towards Deli every time she wanted to balk. Today, balking was much less of an issue. It's still there (which is why I bought a wonderful crop with my birthday money, I cant wait until it gets here!), but she is less likely to prop and buck then she is to give in and go forward. After cantering her both directions, I let her finish for the day. Even if she is being bratty, she is much further along then RC was at two (sorry Mom). She is even starting to drop her head to the contact and can trot in a straight line and change directions through a circle. Not bad for a two year old, huh? In other news... Deli and RC were both wormed today... MD was amazed that RC would be begging for peppermints with his moth full of wormer. That horse couldnt care less what you feed him, he just swallows it whole anyway.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Good Start...

So today has been a good day. Scorching, but good. I think that it was the hottest day that I've experienced since I've been here. Just when I thought I couldn't stand it any more, the clouds rolled in, and I think it's going to storm tonight. The day started with RC, once again. He was a little champ. He started out stiff, but I think I'm figuring out how to move him off my leg and hold my hand (with out wagging his nose side to side trying to make him feel less stiff...) when we warm up so that he uses his back. His feet are way long, so he was tripping left and right today. Even with that, I think that today was one of his better days. If I can get days like this for a few days in a row, then I'll have a great little dressage pony. After RC, it was the Cremello's turn. She's becoming less of a nut, but she still has major issues with people sitting on her back. She went into total flip-out mode when i was sitting on her and MD asked her to take a step... It was a total choice to leap off that horse. Anyway, now I'm just laying across the saddle while she walks; trying to work on steering and halting while hanging like a sack of potatoes is not an easy task. Then it was the pony's turn. Deli really does like to work. She enjoys being lunged (except when she hits a deep spot, then the Diva in her rebels). She's working on the riding aspect. She can be a little balk-y, wanting to stop and kick out at the leg in the trot, but we're working on it. It's still uber cool to ride her... And finally... Shady had 8 puppies on Saturday morning! They are going to be huge dogs!

Friday, June 19, 2009

Getting in the Swing

So, now that I've been here for about a month, every day is getting much more predictable. I usually work with 5-7 horses a day (depending on who MD doesn't want to works with), Take a lesson, scarf down lunch and sleep... Because let's face it, but 7 pm, I'm beat. But for the updates that my small but loyal group of followers are asking for... Tempi: She's all better. Tempi is up and running around, playing fetch, doing tricks and being all around adorable on all counts. (PS: Court, you need a poodle) MD, Dan and I all yell at her if she's even remotely near a horse though. I dont think that she remembers being squished, because she just looks at all of us like we're being paranoid mothers or something. She's settled into the life here now though. She walks to the arena, watches me work, walks back to the tack room, naps, rinse and repeat. I still think that it's nifty to have a dog that shadows me, even if I do get exasperated at her... RC: Well, today we worked on long and low, but he's been really developing his hind end and his back. His lengthenings are becoming mediums and he's actually getting a collected canter. Miracles DO happen, evidently. I suppose I shouldn't be feeling too confident, after all there are only two weeks til the show... And I'm still swinging between "I suck" and "I'm getting this shit!". We'll have to see which side wins out at the show, but I'm more confident about it then I was at lamplight. Deli: Well, I;m going to start this one by saying that you have no idea how COOL it is to be able to say that you broke your own horse. I mean, two weeks ago, I couldn't ride her, and how I lunge her for a few minutes, then I can walk trot and canter (not for long, but still) in the arena! Her steering is still kind of iffy, and she's not totally sure that she likes the concept of contact, but it is so amazing to be trotting around, doing 20 m circles, on a horse that has never been ridden by anyone else. I do believe that buying Deli was a great great thing!
I'll leave you with a little video of me on Sonnet (its NOT RC!) on a particularly windy ride...
And now I'm off to nurture my newly found social life in El Paso...

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Lag...

Sorry about the lack of posts! I've been suffering from spotty internet access and entirely too much weekend fun.
Honestly, absolutly nothing of interrest happened today, so this is going to be the worlds shortest post. RC is working his little heart out and Deli is coming along. She's not perfect (yet) but she's getting there.

As for my uber fun weekend, El Paso is looking better and better with the more people I meet who are my age. It's really nice to have some non-horse, twenty somethings to talk to... Now I'm out.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Wind

So today was much like yesterday. I worked with six horses, and everything went really smoothly, except for the wind. Evidently El Paso gets pretty windy, which wouldn't be bad, except for the sand. It stings! Anyway, RC was pretty good. Today was much like yesterday. I did figure out that he swings out when going to the left because of me. Yep. My fault. So, I need to physically bring my left hip forward since I want to drop it back and push with the right. Turns out I'm one sided too. But now that I know the problem, I am acutely aware of every time my right hip is leading... After RC, it was the cremello's turn. She was much much better on the lunge today. She still won't canter without pulling back and shying, but we got the walk and trot just fine. MD even laid across the saddle today and the mare didn't spook or fidget even when I walked her forward a few steps. Slowly but surely... The it was Deli. After warming up at the walk, trot and canter to both directions, I got on her. She was a little worker pony on the lunge, so I didn't think anything of it. She even gets her leads nearly every time now. After that warm up, MD lunged me on Deli. I walked, trotted and cantered (both directions!) on Deli! After working on transitions for a moment to make sure I could stop her, MD unclipped the lunge line, and I walked and trotted Deli around the arena. Turning was interesting, but it was way cool trotting her around. Evidently to turn her, I need to give the inside rein a few tugs, then let go (like a lunge line). Tomorrow I'll walk and trot her again, and maybe on Friday, I'll be brave enough to canter her off the line... We shall see. After lunch, the wind started. I worked with the baby pony first. He bit me. There isn't much of a bruise, but it sure hurt. I was brushing all of that fuzzy baby coat off of him, not fully paying attention (obviously) and he got me right in the ribs. I should have known better, having been around RC at that age... After a quick walk around, It was the stallion's turn. MD helped me tack up the little Welsh stallion in his carting finery. He's awfully cute in his harness. I lunged him around, like yesterday, over the trot poles and even over a little jump. He's a cute little jumper, so I asked him to do it a few times. I felt kind of bad when he was huffing and puffing by the end of it. I wrapped up my day with Sonnet. She and I are reaching an accord. I'm learning to ride with my body more then my hands, but it's a slow process...
Tempi Update: She's made another leap forward. Today she's trotting when we go outside, and was even playing with her toy tonight. Keep sending her your good thoughts, I think they are working!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

First Ride


So today I worked with 6 horses. 6. And it was hot. I must have downed at least 6 bottles of water. I swear it's like all the water gets sucked out of my body around here...
Anyway, I started the day with Dive, since MD was at the vet getting some mares checked. She was good. Much better then she has been for me in the past. I think that I'm getting more confident with her.
After Diva, it was RC's turn. Unfortunately for him, MD returned in time to give me a lesson. Today's lesson was all about transitions while keeping RC soft through his neck without turning his nose to the outside. It's not easy, but I think that we're getting there... slowly. I need to stop twisting him to the outside. I know why I do it, and now I know that its wrong! Darn.
Well... After RC had his bath, it was the Cremello's turn. She's a little spastic. I can't quite wrap my head around it, she is a flinching nut on the ground, but on the lunge line, you nearly have to beat her into the trot. Weird little horse. I told MD that all the pretty ones are crazy...
After the cremello was Deli. And yet again, I broke new ground with Deli. After a little lunging to warm up at all three gaits to both directions, MD lunged me on Deli and the walk the trot and the canter!!!! That's right. I cantered on my little mare... After being lunged on all three gaits to each direction, MD unclipped the line and I rode Deli around the arena at a walk and a trot. MD thinks that possibly by the end of the week, we'll get a walk trot and canter out of Deli, off the lunge!! I'm not gonna lie, it is so much fun working with a horse from the ground up.
After lunch, I lunged the little pony stallion for a while. The poor little guy got a little sweaty, but then he trotted over cavelettis for a while... After the little Stallion, I rode Avril. She is still one of the most fun horses I have ridden, no wonder MD loves her. She makes you feel amazingly LIGHT. MD took a quick video of us, so I didn't get a complete lesson, but maybe I'll add video footage at some sort. Anyway, after MD was done taping me riding, she helped me work with Avril on the piaffe. That horse tries waaay harder then she needs to, but it still feels really cool.
Tempi Update: Ok, so Tempi is on the way to recovery. She was pretty lethargic this morning, but by lunch, she was up to trotting outside. She's still off of her food for the most part, but seems willing to eat cheese. She perks up after getting her pain meds too. She has one more day of house arrest, then we'll see if she can join me outside again. Thank you to everyone who's asked or expressed concern for Tempi!!

Monday, June 8, 2009

Signs of Life


Well, Thank you to everyone who has called/emailed to hope that Tempi makes it (above you can see a happier, fluffier Tempi then I have now...). Last night was pretty rough, her coordination was all but gone until 9 or so. Even after that she's heavily favoring her right side. I am going to hope that it is just muscle damage from the kick and not something neurological. I stayed up pretty much all night, just to make sure that Tempi hadn't slipped into some sort of coma. Fortunately, other then groaning all night, she made it through. This morning she even got up to ask to be let outside to pee. She's horrified that she peed in the house last night (one of the shots the vet gave her to slow or stop the swelling in her brain has that side effect). As of 6:30 this morning, Tempi was alert and moving around on her own (slowly, but still). She's going to be on house arrest for a few days or until I can't stand to keep her inside any more. At the moment she's content to sleep on the pillow I set up on the floor for her. So here's to hoping....

Well, it would seem that Monday is going better then I had worried about. For one thing, I turned 22 today (yay me)

RC's lesson was less brutal then usual. We worked on transitions. As it turns out, I've been doing them wrong forever. I tend to pop him to the counterflexion, then pop him back to fake a softness, and that's not the MD approved method. So now I have to learn how to actually make him soft though the base of his stiff little neck. Darn, but doable...
And today I rode Deli, again today. I lunged her for about 30 minutes first, working on transitions to voice commands (which she's very good at). The only kink in that chain is that today she was not about to have anything to do with the whip at all. She bucked like a little hellion when I tapped her with it. So when I got on, we worked at the walk and trot, with MD lunging us for control. We opted out of the canter work today... it would have ended poorly for me. But I think that I'm going to like sitting Delis trot. It's amazingly smooth, not some choppy little pony trot. I think that I'm really going to like this little mare.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

The El Paso curse strikes again

So... The weekend. Well, saturday was ok, I didnt do a whole lot. I trail rode RC, to give him another mental breather day which he claims he sorely needed. And I RODE DELI. All by myself. It was only at the walk and we did some circles, but it was pretty cool to be up on my own mare, alone for the first time.

Ahm, and now for the Curse. I made it through the whole day until dinnertime. Then while MD was tossing out hay, Tempi got kicked. Or stepped on. Or something. She didnt move for about 2 minutes, she just layed there when I picked her up. She wasnt breathing ro blinking but her heart was beating, so I didnt think she was dead...yet.
So, MD drove me to the vet, who said she wasnt in any immediate danger, so that relieved my mind a little bit. She got some shots to control the swelling and the drooling. The only downside is that now she has to pee. All the time. I'll take it. If she's going to be better.... to be continued

Friday, June 5, 2009

Finally Friday


Yep. Friday.
So MD had to fly out this morning to head to Houston to whoop my mom and sister for a few lessons. Don't worry Court, I told MD that you really wanted to work hard....

So this morning, before she left, MD helped me with Deli. I walked and trotted on her! Yay! MD told me that while she thinks Deli isn't going t be the type who misbehaves out of fear, she might misbehave because it wasn't her idea. Just like Opie. It's so exciting to be starting her out.... Make me thinking about how she'll be once we start showing.
After Deli, it was RC's turn. We had a really really light day. I took him for a trot down the road. He liked having a trail ride day, it was a nice breather for him. This way he doesn't think that his back and butt are gonna be sore every time he gets saddles up.
And to wrap up my very easy day, I took Sonnet for a ride. For some reason, i just couldn't get the head flipping under control. It really didn't get any better until i just sat the trot and left her head alone. I didn't quite get everything to feel 'right', but I ended on a much better note then I started on. Always a plus.
Well, Now I have most of the day to myself... What to do, what to do....

Thursday, June 4, 2009

First Ride


Today was probably the best day this week so far. Deli's eyes are starting to look better and my riding was pretty fun, not pure torture....
RC was pretty good. It's amazing the difference it makes when I'm not pissed off at something else entirely. Who would have thought. It turns out that MD and I are planning on entering a show in July in New Mexico. I guess I need to get cracking on this first level stuff then.
After RC, I RODE DELI. Well, not actually, But I sat up on her while MD led her around. It was sort of fun, kind of scary. I kept waiting for her to lurch, or buck or run. I know she's not a fan of being poked in the belly, so I though that leg signals were going to be her undoing. Nope. She was a little hesitant about it, but she didn't kick out or buck and twist. She stopped and shook her head. The other thing that she might not be simple about is the rein contact. She did pull down and do a sort of head flippy thing. It was so much fun to just sit up on my little horse!
Well, I'm tired so it's brief today. Enjoy, and leave a comment!

Oh, and today's picture is of one of the resident mastoodles... Say hi to Latte.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Standing


So today was a definite improvement on yesterday and Monday. It started well, and pretty much stayed that way. Other than the laundry, but that's just because I hate laundry.
It all started pretty much the same as all the others, with the exception that I gave Deli her anti-histamine in her feed this morning and put that steroid goop in her eyes. It must be working because she looks tons better then she did yesterday or Monday. Whew. Now I can stop worrying that she's going to die....

Of course, I started my riding day with Mr. RC. Again, he was a turd. I rode some test for MD, after a long and low warm up. I thought that he would be happy since he didn't have to sit as much as we've been working on. But no. Mr. Chompers was not a happy camper today, not at all. After a slight hissy while I was riding first level test 4, we sorted things out. The lesson finished with work turning onto the center line. If RC is going to be able to compete at first level, he has got to be warming up like a second level horse. Damn... Oh well, we're getting there, one frustrating step at a time.
After RC, I got to ride Diva. I rather like riding her, especially after my lesson with MD. She has a lot of go, and is sometimes a little lacking on the whoa. But today, she even came back from the canter to the trot when I asked for it not just when ever she felt like it. Either I'm improving, or she is. Either way, it's fun.

Later, it was Deli's turn. Yep, now that Deli can see again, she's back at work. She stood like a champ for the saddling and bridling, as if she never had four days off for health reasons. I lunged her both directions at all three gaits with the stirrups down and flapping. She did take a little offense to being smacked in the sides by the irons in the canter, but other then that she acted as if she was an old hand at all of this. Even her "moments" were nothing that I haven't ridden on RC or Opie. I really like this little horse.
Anyway, after twenty minutes or so of lunging, MD and I decided that she was probably ready to hold some weight. We spent probably ten minutes, standing in the stirrup, holding myself up on her side, then dismounting, rinse and repeat. By the end of the session, I was laying across the saddle while MD held her. If Deli keeps this up, next week, MD will lunge me on her. The next step will be walking and trotting without the line. Yikes... I cant wait.
After Deli strutted her stuff, MD and I worked with the Cremello mare. In a case of competitive two year olds (or in this mare's case, three year olds), she did everything that Deli did, even though it was her first day to wear a saddle. I was surprised at how good the little mare was, given on how spastic she can be. There wasn't even a buck. I'm not going to lie, I was nearly disappointed. Everyone likes to watch other people's horses misbehave... Or maybe that's just me.
To wrap up the day, MD and I went on a trail ride. We disobeyed the posted signs and everything. So for an hour, I rode Sonnet who did not relax for the whole hour. If anything she grew steadily less confident in her surroundings. RC would have loved it. Maybe next time for him....

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Allergies....


So.... When will it end? That's all I want to know. To have something happy, I have added Tempi, Sand Dog as the picture of the day. She's loving it here; she runs all day, keeping up with the big dogs, then crashes hard as soon as we get inside.

Ok, day started the same as usual, except that Deli's eyes were no better. In fact both were now starting to swell. They started to swell yesterday mid morning. Not good.
But I went about my bussiness, figuring MD would think that it was nothing. SO i too my RC lesson. Boy was he bad at the end. I thought that he started out really well, I mean he was stretching forward and down and it felt like he was really swinging through. And that was the best we got all day... His trot work wasnt that bad, in all honesty. I did many leg yields, trying to keep the bend through his body and not letting him throw that hip in or out. The I did some shoulder-in to renvers, which really helped our straightness. The difference was amazing; turns out that I need to actually USE my outside leg. Damn it. But after those exercises, RC executed our best yet half-passes. The was wonderful. Then came the canter work... This is where it went down hill.
Instantly, RC locked his back, drove his shoulders down and popped his butt up into the air. Charming. It took me ten minuted to move his shoulders out in line with his hips. And then, since "No horse has EVER been able to do this!", according to RC, he started locking his neck and swpping behind. Finally he got so upset that he actually reared (it's ok, it was a mini rear) with me. Thats when MD got on him. He was awful for her! He was throwing body parts every which way, trying to fall when his feet weren't where he needed them and bucking up a storm. I felt kind of bad; I mean, if anyone is going to be bucked by RC it should probably be me. But as it turns out, loose 10 meter circles are only impossible in THAT spot. He could do them every where else but there. It was a cursed-horse-eating corner of the arena. When I got back on him, we did two 10 meter circles in THAT spot, and two canter-walk transitions, then called it a day and went for a trail ride. No race horses this time.
After I put RC in his new turn out(he's been moved for being a jerk to everyone), I went and worked with the cremello. I really wish she had a name. I've been calling her Sunny, but that's so generic. Awful. Anyway, Sunny was pretty goood. I mean she only freaked out three or four times while I put the bridle on her. She was fairly decent while lunging, but going clokwise was way scarrier for her then going to the left. She is the anti-Deli. Everythgn Deli takes in stride, scares the shit out of the cremello mare. Go figure, Blondes....
After Sunny was back up,I went out to catch the pony colt, Buttons. At least that's what he's being called for now. I brought him inside so that he could stand in the wask stall while I groomed him. MD sticked him at 11.3h. I thought he was smaller then that. Other then flirting with Diva and making an insane amount of noise, he was pretty well behaved. I think he was making the noise because MD was telling me about how much he's changed. Evidently he used to be all body with a little head and skinny legs, like a tick. I think that should be his nickname. It would stick about as well and the Galloping Sea Cow....


As I put Buttons in his new pen, MD looked Deli over. She said to call the vet. So we did, and an hour later, Deli was loaded and on her way to see the vet. By the time the vet saw her, her left eye was nearly swollen closed (you can see in the pict, she is NOT blinking). That's the side that we thought had knocked into something. The right side was beginning to swell too. The vet, Dr. Garza I think, took one look at her in the trailer and said allergies. Evidently sometime yesterday, Deli was stung or bitten by something and voila. Here we are. So now I have to put some steroid paste in her eyes every 4 hours or so and feed her an anti-histamine twice a day. He said to call him back if she doesnt improve by tomorrow,so here's to hoping.
That was my Tuesday. Wow, huh?

Monday, June 1, 2009

Mondays Suck.


Yep. Read the title. Mondays Suck. Epicly. As anyone who bothers to read may know, last Monday I got bucked off and my pride was horribly bruised. How could anything top getting bucked off of a horse? Well, read on....
So MD had to take a mare to the vet to get checked for pregnancy (Amy isn't pregnant, so she stayed at the vet), so I did all of my morning chores, then rode RC, sans lesson.
I only worked him for about 35 minutes, then we both got a little bored (plus, he was being really really good), so we went on a trail ride down the path where the race horses exercise in the mornings. It was all gravy until there were the morning explosions, and a race horse came sprinting up behind us. I wouldn't let RC wheel around, so he just sat low and held it, in case I changed my mind and we did decide to flee. We didn't, so he just looked like a loser, but I got a smile and a laugh from the exercise rider. after about 10 minutes out, i decided it was time to turn around. This time when a new race horse came up behind him, he acted like he had never been afraid of anything in his life. I saw Martha's trailer pull into the deliveries drive as I made it back onto the property. Perfect timing.... or so I thought.
This is where my day went down hill, and down hill fast.
MD went inside to change into riding clothes, and while I'm untacking RC, I hear her yell. She grabbed a halter and rushed to Derringer. When I had turned him out this morning, he had a slightly higher then average (for him) temperature of 104.6, his heart rate was racing (per his usual) at around 75 bpm, and he was sort of panting. I wrote it up to not receiving his banamine injection in the morning, as MD wanted to talk to the vet before giving him anything more. His feet were finally not swollen, and he was eating his grass hay, so I turned hin out.
I rushed over to where MD had haltered Derringer, and he was sweating, but felt icy. Bad. Very very bad. When I checked his gums, they were white as a sheet. He was still panting and his heart rate was still high and erratic, but now he was pawing and reaching around and nosing not his stomach, but right in front of where the girth would be. MD and I tried to get him out of his pen, but he seized and collapsed before we made it. He fell and sort of rolled under the fence. He made it halfway under then he died. Right there. It took a few minutes, but when he left us, we both knew it. I doubt there was anything either of us could have done. He was buried this evening in the desert.

Wow. Great day, huh?

To top it off (for me) I didn't ride Deli today. RC ran her into the door, and her eye looks like she came out of a prize fight. So either flys mucked up her tear duct and I'll have to get the vet out to flush it, or RC is a major bully and beat the shit out of my poor Deli. But the poor little mare stood like a champ when I held an ice pack on her eye for ten minutes. The she didn't even flinch when I rubbed hot pink Swat fly repellent on it. It still looks like she was playing in her mom's make up.
On the riding front: I got my lesson of the day on Diva. I think that the lesson made me a whole lot more comfortable with riding her. This way I know what she does, how MD handles it and how much to expect of her. After Diva, I rode Sonnet (the one who bronced me). She was thinking about it again, especially since I was riding her while the back hoe was digging Derringers grave. She was decent until they started to move Derringer. Then it was get off or get thrown off. I opted to vacate the saddle by choice. After Derringer was out of sight, MD got on Sonnet to school her, then I got back on. It was really fun, again knowing how MD handled her and what to expect made a big difference to me.
Finally, last horse of the day, I got to ride Avril after MD. I got to do a 9 extension, play with her half passes and ride her passage. Awesome. Majorly awesome. Then MD wanted to school Avril's piaffe, with me as the pilot. It wasn't easy, but it sure was fun. I have never sat on a horse that moved so... springy. Sitting on Avril is like walking on the moon, I imagine. The hang time in the trot is amazing (and my abs are killing me just to prove it). It was pretty cool.
So the day ended much better then it began... But it still sucked.

Late night update: Boys suck..... (so do mondays.)

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Weekends....


So today I didn't really "work". I got to sleep in til eight! Then I cleaned some stalls... Then it was lesson time.
RC did NOT want to sit at all today. I think he might be a little sore from yesterday, but even on the 10m circle, he was really really stiff. It probably took the better part of 45 minutes to get him to relax through his back enough so that he wouldn't pop into the canter every time I close my outside leg. The one thing that I did learn is that the most obvious sign that RC's not really connected is that when I half halt through the outside rein, he tilts his nose to the outside, or wags his head. If the head is moving, the connection is lacking. By the end of the lesson, his canter work was really good. He did some swapping behind at the beginning, but once he figured out that I wasn't asking him to sit THAT much, he settled down and was a good boy.
Then I lunged Deli. I'll have to put a pict up of her in all her finery, but I don't have anyone to take it... Maybe I can talk MD into it. Today we lunged without the halter on over the bridle. I even left the irons on the saddle, and after an initial start that something had hit her in the sides, Deli just went about her business. It all comes down to Monday. I'm going to sit on her then... We shall see...

To at least act like it's a weekend, I went into El Paso today. I fount a Barnes & Nobel about 20 minutes from here, so I drove down and just perused through the books. There were a few that looked fun, and I wasted a whole afternoon there. Maybe I'll go to the museums next weekend. I should really try to do SOMETHING each weekend...
And finally, today's picture was taken out of the window of my truck. Sorry if it's kind of blurry, but I kinda took it on the fly. What possessed someone to build a house like this in El Paso? it's kind of goofy looking....

Friday, May 29, 2009

Half Day!


So, the title pretty much says it all. I only worked half a day today. I was done by three, which was a good good thing, since my feet were killing me. I am not used to wearing boots all day!
(To the right you can see the incoming rain... who would have thought that it would rain so much in El Paso?)
So, today starts like all the others: clean pens, groom Derringer and give him his shots, then get RC for a lesson.
Today, RC was really trying (I think). I am so sore in the left half of my body, I cant really honestly tell what was his stiffness and what was mine. After about 20 minutes of not being able move his ribs over, MD kicked me off of him and rode him straight for about five minutes. Then I got back on him, and RCs half-passes were MUCH MUCH better. As it turns out, I need to kick his middle to the outside, otherwise he can't go forward at all, and ends up turning a half-pass into a side pass. All in all, I think that both he and I were too sore to be much good today. So we're gonna do it again tomorrow!
Deli was a delight (no pun intended) as usual. She lunged, outside of the arena, in a saddle and a bridle. She was very very good. She walked, trotted and even picked up her leads on the first or second time. That was her issue yesterday, but she is a smart little mare. Her only objection (read: bucking) comes when I touched her with the lunge whip, but as long as i didn't touch her, she was more then willing to stay out on the circle at the gait I told her to. MD thinks that I can get on her on Monday... we shall see!!

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Click, Click, Boom!


So, today was not nearly as eventful as the beginning of the week. I rode a few horses, cleaned stalls, cleaned some tack... the eventful life of a working student.

<= The El Paso scenery. Evidently, the area near the mountains is government property.

I started the day with RC, as usual. Today we worked on getting those shoulders up and in line with his hips. It's really tough for him to lift those fat little shoulders, but by the end of the lesson, he was starting to get it. The other thing that MD thinks will really help him out at shows is to really nail those transitions. He CAN do it, he just needs to learn that hes HAS to do it EVERY time. Evidently MD thinks that's where RC can pick up the points that judges don't feel they can give him for not having the extravagant gaits of those big warmbloods. All he has to do is move forward in a consistent frame through both the up and down ward transitions.

On the plus side, MD thinks that thanks to RC's lack of self preservation instinct, he could be the perfect training project and might go farther then his build would suggest. That he lets the rider contort him into any unnatural shape is actually a good sign for his future training. MD thinks that he's practically a second level horse, and may just be learning the third level movements by the end of summer. She even told me that he might be able to go all the way to PSG, though I shouldn't expect 68% scores... that's ok, I'll take it!

After working RC to a panting lather (poor guy), I took him on a little trail ride around the property and down the road. He's liked exploring before, so I figured that he would enjoy it again. Imagine my surprise when i heard thunder. In the desert. Weird. then RC went stiff and spun, i nearly lost my stirrups! The I saw the clouds of dirt about 50 feet in the air. As it turns out, the land to the north of us is a military training establishment, and they were setting off blasts. Huh. That explains all of the helicopters....

After that excitement, I got to work with the cremello mare. She got to wear the bridle for the first time. As it turns out, she is not nearly as calm as she seemed yesterday. When I walked her around with a halter over her bridle, she was ok for about five minutes, then she went nuts. She reared and lunged away from me while MD was riding, and all I could think was "How embarrassing would it be to lose this horse right now". So I hung on... She dragged me about thirty feet, before she chilled out enough to just stand while I cooed at her. I got one hell of a rope burn for my efforts too. I think that she's going to be a tad harder to break then Deli seems to be.....

Later, I rode Diva. I really like riding that little mare. I just feel like I really need a lesson on her from MD. That way MD can tell me how to sit correctly. I fee that the whole issue is how I hold my hips... but who knows.

Finally, guess what Deli did today?

Deli lunged in a saddle and bridle! I introduced her to a bridle yesterday, and she has only learned to lunge in the last three days. As it turns out, she might have a few bucks in her as I bring her along, but she is really really eager to please. She just doesn't like it when either me or MD does something that she thought that she made clear she didn't like (like being touched with the lunge whip). Oh, I'm so excited. MD said that maybe on Monday I'll sit on her. We'll see.. We shall see....

Do you like fish sticks?
You must be a gay fish!!

OK, I'm done.... PS: leave a comment if you actually wasted time to read this! I wanna know!!!

Monday, May 25, 2009

Bucking Good Day


Happy Memorial Day, everyone! Thank you to all of the vets out there. You can see Deli and RC relaxing on the holiday>>
As everyone who has ever worked with horses knows, there are no days off, so today was my first OFFICIAL day working with MD. That's right. First day. So how did I impress my boss? Well, let me tell you....

Right off the bat, I cleaned pens then I swept the stalls out, turned everyone out and gave Derringer his shot (that poor horse must be an angle, he still likes me even after I poke him full of holes) then it was lesson time.

After my first lesson with MD, I have come to one conclusion: I need to learn how to ride. I mean, I have been riding dressage for a decade, and just plain riding longer then that. So, I learned that my hips are all wrong, my hands need to change and RC needs to be much more elastic-y. Great. But on the plus side, MD thinks that my little Mr. Chompers has the potential to go all the way to Prix St Georges, although she did add that he may only score in the low sixties while a horse with natural talent would score 68's with the same level of effort. It's ok. I'll take it; it's still good enough for a silver medal. Not bad for a little backyard bred quarter horse. >
Tempi, the wonder poodle, ran around the barn all morning. During my lesson she sat on the telephone poles that make up the arena fence. It was kinda cute until she decided that she had to go keep MD company, then Tempi got a little in the way. Later, Tempi helped MD's husband do some repairs. Now there is one more member of the Tempi fan club. I was pretty surprised that she kept up with everyone all day, she didn't lie around like the other dogs on the place, she was always where the action was (which could be a little annoying). Though it just goes to show that a mini poodle can in fact keep up with barn life. And to think, some doubted her. Tsk, Tsk.

Anyway, after my lesson on RC, I got to experience some of MD's horses, all of whom are four or under. MD rode a clients horse and told me to walk Sonnet around, and that Sonnet hasn't been ridden in about a month. Great.

"Oh, and she's a little humpy" was the parting comment. I was already a little nervous, since MD had mentioned while I was getting after RC for not standing while I was getting mounted that none of hers stand. I don't like it when the horses walk off, it just seems rude and it doesn't give me time to get settled. As it turned out, a little walking away would have been the least of my problems.

I adjusted my stirrups, climbed onto the block and started to swing my leg over this little mare's back and BAM! This horse did not just buck, she bronced. All I know is that at one point I could see all of the bird poop on the top of my trailer. I lasted probably four good straight legged, head down, back humped bucks before I came off. And did it ever hurt. I landed on my feet then rolled, getting the breath knocked out of me and bruising the hell out of my backside.

Keep in mind that this was the first horse I have ridden (that I don't own) for my new boss. Great first impression. I think that my definition of "a little humpy" and MD's might differ slightly. But I prevailed. I got back on, and walked Sonnet around until her back was more relaxed and she was listening more. We even trotted some circles for good measure.

After this I rode two more horses, both of which MD worked first, so that I could watch them move. The first little mare was steady as a rock, for being a 4 year old. She was quite fun to ride, and I didn't think that she was as plain or pony like as MD said. I had a blast on that mare. After her, MD and I spent half an hour trying to catch the final horse of the day. The aptly named Diva is a whole different package from any of the other horses. Diva has had some growing issues and is, according to MD "deformed". But she sure can move under saddle. Diva looks like a totally different horse under saddle then she does at liberty. I really liked riding this mare, and I feel that she might have to most to teach me in preparation for Deli.

I didn't work with Deli until before dinner time. I was chilling in MD's pool for a few hours, in honor of Memorial day, gossiping about barns we have known and crazy horse people. Deli was her usual lovely self when I pulled her out of her pasture instead of feeding her. She stood in the wash stall, and let me brush her while everyone else ate. She was quite interested in the mastiff walking about though. MD loved her neck, she said that it was exactly what she would look for in an FEI horse. It may be a tad early in Delis career to be talking FEI, but I still liked hearing that. I then proceeded to walk Deli around the property, just like I have for the last few days. She was actually pretty good, considering that everyone else was eating dinner.

After I put Deli away, and fed both Deli and poor starving Mr. Chompers, I wondered over to MD's house where her husband made dunner for us while we watched "Much Ado About Nothing", the Keanu Reeves version. Excellent.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Day 2

Well, I got up this morning around 6:00 am, local time. The last thing that I wanted to do was be the later sleeping college kid, you know? So I was up and at ‘em bright and early. I got my two fed (Martha doesn’t feed grain in the mornings). I then cleaned out my trailer and after Martha came outside, cleaned out the pens.
I brushed Deli. She didn’t really like being forced to stand in the cross ties, but she adored getting all of the attention. She may turn out to be a little attention whore. You never know. Other then being resistant to having her feet picked up, she handled it all pretty well. She let me use the summer spray and fly spray on her with no issues; she even let me brush out her tail. In a side note, she has one of the thickest tails that I have ever seen. She has Bucky beat out for sheer tail volume. And when it gets long, she’ll have those quarter horses beat out too… The down side to an impressive tail is that she also has a massively thick mane. It is going to be a pain in the ass to braid. I am not looking forward to pulling and thinning for shows.
The farrier showed up while I was brushing, and even trimmed the first horse outside since I was using up the wash stall. I felt kinda bad about that, so I kept the farrier company. She (yes, a woman farrier) was pretty funny. A real nice person with some good stories. She was even smiling when one of Martha’s mares used her farriers box as a manure bucket. Good aim, mare.
So then I was at a loss of what to do. So I went back to my room and took a nap. It wasn’t very peaceful considering that there were some construction workers walking around and I was paranoid that they were going to look in on me while I napped. And Tempi kept barking at every little sound. Where did that little habit come from? It needs to stop. After my nap was a fail, I brought in the last few things from the trailer and made my self a beautiful lunch of rice-a-roni, “the san Francisco treat!”. It was supprisingly good, If I do say so myself. Post lunch, I gained internet access (yay!) then went out to work RC.
RC was not so happy that everything is sand around here. The arena must be at least six inches deep. That poor little work horse was puffing away after just a warm up. I let him walk after everything we did, just to keep him happy. All in all he got better and better the longer I worked him. By the end, he was really starting to push off from behind. I didn’t get afer him too much for being lazy today, seeing as he did just complete a 1120 mile trip. I have some compassion for the little guy. After 40 min of walk/trot/canter, I untacked, gave him a bath, cleaned my tack (all of it) and then preceeded to try to back my trailer into position. That’s where it all went bad.
I was going to pull my trailer around on the chat area, so that I (hopefully) wouldn’t sink up to my axle. But as I was pulling the truck and trailer around, the heavens opened up. And I sunk. Damn it. I sure do hope that Dan can figure out a way to get me out of there… I have no idea how this is going to work. I can’t see any way out of it.
Update: With the use of a tractor and a chain around my rear trailer axle, we puller my truck backwards. And it got stuck again. So we pulled some more. And it got stuck again. So we tried a different tactic, then the havens opened up and it poured. I got soaked through to the skin for the second time in six hours… So the trailer remains stuck in the driveway. For now…