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


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

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.


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"


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.