Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Letting go is So Hard To Do

It's a sad day here at chez Alison.
To day is the day.
I officially replaced my poor old Petries with a 'new' used pair of boots.
The poodles supervising the barn chores on this sad day for my boots
For those of you who don't know, I got my Petries when I was a sophomore in high school. That's, well... A long ass time ago. They have attended 82 recognized dressage shows with me. They have been with me for wonderful tests, runaways, disqualifications, and falls.They have been reheeled, resoled, patched and repaired.
My mother deemed them an "embarrassment in public"  two championships ago. Now they have reached such a state that even kiwi polish cannot hide.
But, didn't you get an awesome pair of Dehners, like, years ago?
Yes. What of it?
So... ?
As it would turn out, let me share a life lesson with all of you fellow riders out there:
Just don't do it.
I have a beautiful pair of now five year old Dehners, unworn, because I am now a lard-ass. I'm never going to fit back into those boots. I need to just face it and send them in for alterations. Why haven't I already? No clue. Hope for future anorexia? No one knows.
So what did I replace my poor old wonderful Petries with, you ask.
I sure cannot afford a pair of custom boots. You know that, I know that. Everyone knows that. 
I also will never waste money on a pair of Ariats (or similar brand) tall boots. You know, the <$100 boots that last about a month of hard use/real riding?
Not worth the price of shipping, I swear. Not to mention that I would be facing the same dilemma in six weeks and $150 poorer to boot (haha, no pun intended).
I managed to find a pair of ~10 year old Dehners from someone who must have had the same ordering issues as I did. They are the "off the shelf" variety without the Spanish tops or uber-stiff uppers.
But they fit (well, the tops of the feet are a tad tight, but they will stretch).
And they look like new.
And they were less than the price of quality paddock boots.
What's that?
Did I hear a hell yes? Even the cat was excited about the boots!
(Also, is that a ridiculous amount of poodles? Probably)

In other news, I took a poodle for a tractor ride.
It's ok. You can say it. That's a ridiculous poodle. Porkchop (my dad's poodle) loves everything that goes VROOOOM, and demands to ride on the tractor with you.
Here we are again, moving the manure pile. Like my goodwill hat? It was super cheap and I love it.

I may have a Goodwill problem.
Interesting tidbit: Rich neighborhoods' Goodwills ROCK!

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Where Alison Gets an Adrenaline Rush

Every so often, there comes a time in our equestrian careers where we feel good about ourselves. I had two good lessons on Saturday. Delight was awesome sauce today. Tini was good on the lunge. Everything was just peachy. My Sunday was going to be a win. I even enlisted my mother to snap a picture or two of me riding Tini.
And my reality was readjusted.
Nice and calm and listening
Look how good she was, walking on the lunge. She was nice and calm, and even pretty focused (for her).  We walked, trotted and even cantered to both directions.
I know, I should have done more transitions on the lunge, but c'mon folks... Lunging is the most boring form of horsemanship.

But helpful, evidently.

 So, since the Tini-Bopper was nice and calm I screw it. I mean, she was so good last week. She walked and kinda-sorta steered under saddle. We even trotted nice and calmly down the long sides. Before she had three days off...
 So I double checked my girth (I'm not totally stupid) and hopped on.  There's something truly special about a horse that you've trained yourself listening to you. Taking a raw green bean to a steerable relaxed pony is a fabulous feeling. Truly fabulous.
So we tried the trot without the use of a center person holding the lunge whip. Just to see if we could. The trot was slightly less focused then I remembered with a good bit of weaving, but I stayed in the middle and let Tini find her own balance. She was weaving like a drunk, but her back was nice and relaxed. Her ears were up, and she felt normal, if a tad more distracted than usual. At the end of our squirrely trot line, we made a 30 meter turn across the short side, where she unilaterally decided to kick it up a notch.

Completely without warning, and a totally tense back, Tini bolted.
My mom later told me that she was torn between taking pictures and watching the misadventure unfold. Anyone who's witnessed my mom in action knows that simply stopping taking pictures was a sign of concern for my safety. Remaining still and simply watching was her normal MO for when my sister and I were riding out naughty horse moments.
fortunately for me, she got off one shot before being overwhelmed by concern for my safety.

They say that a picture is worth a thousand words; this picture is a misdirection. Immediately after this shot, Tini proceeded to trot/canter/throw legs around randomly across the diagonal where she thought there would be other horses waiting for her. My steering and brakes were gone and I was in Do NOT fall of this horse mode. Fortunately, I shut it down in the corner and didn't curl up into the fetal position. Unfortunately, there is now yet another unflattering shot of me floating around the internet.
Story of my life.
But really, who doesn't like blooper pictures?

The rest of the story: I reattached the lunge and had Tini do transitions, with me aboard, while safely held on a  circle. She was a gem. I guess I really shouldn't expect a top notch young horse after three days off. Whoops.

Saturday, January 25, 2014


I know. Two posts a month, what the shit is this?
 Get your act together, Alison!

I'm trying! I've just been so busy... Being around horses all day everyday.
Tini is a walk-trot pony now!

Well, except for feeding the cows. Then I'm around cows.... There may or may not be a halter breaking post in my future, since the two calves- RoseEdda and Willimena - are soon going to be too big to halter break. And they are too cute not to tame up a bit.
Annabelle is excited about new hay bales
(Deduct and Willimena in the background)

RoseEdda is the bold calf

Ed, the resident bull. Laziest bull ever.

But pretty much, Texas is awesome. It's been high sixties and sunny until this last Friday. And I rode two, three, four horses a day, taught a few lessons. Bliss. The poodles spend their days hunting gophers (Bacon) and sunbathing while I ride.
Who's a happy poodle?

Friday we had an "arctic event".
Schools closed. Work was canceled. People were cautioned not to travel if it could at all be avoided.
Lows hit the mid twenties. It rained a bit.
There was ice on the trucks. Until 9 am. Then it rained.

Then it was a nice, if chilly, day. Big frickin' deal, Texas.

So what's a girl to do when there's no riding to be done, and the barn is clean? Why go shopping!
GoodWill, here I come!
I found a horse book for 99 cents and an amazing blue leather purse for $2. Win!

Today it was back to the mid sixties. And I took two lessons at a friend's in College station. Both of my Ponitas got to go for a little trailer ride (shortest trailer ride of Tilly's life with me, I'm sure), do a little work, eat a little hay while I gossiped with old horse buddies, then loaded up to go home. Best day ever? Close.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

I Ride, therefore I Am

Hey guys, guess what!!!!

I rode my ponies today!!! Like, as in the first time that I have sat on those expensive hay burners since early November! Wooooooo!!!

Who's excited? This kid, right here!

Control yourself, Alison. You're getting obnoxious.

Sorry. I'm just so happy.

Anywhoo... Today, I rode my ponies. I know, I've been in Texas for five days now, so why the wait? Well, it rained like a sonofagun for three days, and today was the first time that it was actually dry enough to ride and sunny. So I took it. Like a rat.
Let me paint a picture...
It's 65 degrees.
The stalls are cleaned.
AT is tearing down fences.
I'm wearing short sleeves.
I get it now. You're an asshole. Stop bragging.

Ahm, sorry about that. Again. I'm just so happy.
It hasn't been easy introducing three ponies into the existing three horse herd. Well, introducing is the wrong word, since I am not trying to get the herds to intermingle. I just want everyone to stay safe and sound on their own side of the fence. Is that so much to ask for?

Evidently so. AT got so excited at the prospect of three new mares that he chased RC over a fence. Twice.
So now RC is in with the other red heads.

Delight could not stand the small pasture, so she let herself out (without taking any fencing down, or opening a gate) into the big pasture with the 'other' herd. Sonnet was not pleased, but AT is in love with his new mare.

I'm hoping that the peace is going to last...

But on to my rides: Tilly was distracted. She acted like a three year old, calling for her buddies and trying to rush off in front of the aids. Mares. In under half an hour, I worked her into a white frothing mess. Not because I'm some sort of meanie head, it was the combination of tension and fuzzy UP hair. But by the end of the ride (a whopping 35 minutes), she was at least listening to me enough to do some transitions. Good news: She's not ruined. Yet.
Delight, I lunged. I admit it. After watching her frolicking in the freedom of a snow free pasture, I wanted to get any 'playing' out of her system before I got on. We did two circles, one at the walk and one at the trot- before I said screw it and got on her. She was stiff (duh), but not terrible. I didn't push her too hard, just some suppling stuff  and transitions, but forty five minutes later I had one sweaty pony. Turns out that I can train a pleasant half-way decent horse. Success!
Tini just lunged for ten minutes. I ran out of time before my lessons for the evening... But tomorrow, the tack will come out and pony will actually have to work a little. No rest for the wicked, right?

And now to do it again. And again. And again.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

What a Trip...

Let me start this off by saying...Whew, what a long ass trip.

What kind of crazy person takes three dogs and three ponies on a 1600 mile drive in record cold "Polar Vortex" weather.
Let's get out of the UP!

Me, that's who.

It started out bad. I drove down with the Boyfriend. Boyfriend is not a morning person. Boyfriend was not up and at 'em when I was digging out the trailer, loading hay and loading all of my clothes. Boyfriend woke up a cranky-pants because I was 'rushing' him. Sorry, dude. It's a long drive to Texas and its even longer in the dark...

But since it was probably the only minimal snow day that we were going to have for a while, I soldiered on and we pulled out at 1pm. First trip fail.
The good news is that the ponies traveled like champs. The bad news is that due to our very very late departure, my travel plans were now moot, so the horses were going to spend 24 hours stuffing their little pony faces full of hay in the trailer.
First stop: Minnesota, MN.

After a puny 7 hours of driving through snowy, icy roads I called it quits and pulled into a Comfort Inn. The poodles were happy to be out of the car, I was relieved to be off the road.
Unfortunately that meant the ponies had a night in the parking lot. In sub zero weather.
After night one of tossing and turning- much to poodle chagrin- worrying about my horses in the cold, I got up at 6am (local time) to walk dogs and water horses.
Neat tip: Ponies are highly suspicious of warm water.

After the monstrous effort of rousing Boyfriend at a decent hour, we were off! For day two we made it to Kansas City, MO. The horses got a rest off the trailer, Boyfriend and I ate some local Barbeque and had a nice comfy hotel room. With three poodles.

Day three: We made it to the OK-TX boarder where the temperatures finally broke zero degrees. Finally! the warm southern temperatures that we were searching for! It was 16*F!

Day Four: We landed at our new home base before dark. The ponies were freed and allowed to race about the arena, rolling, bucking and playing. Chantilly and Tini were highly suspicious of the cows, but Delight had more important things to worry about. Like practicing her bucks.