Monday, February 24, 2014

Time to Pull On the Big Girl Breeches

So, I had a special delivery the other day.

Mister Sambuca Extra was delivered to my doorstep, hot and sweaty and fresh from Pennsylvania.

My sister has most graciously shipped me her Grand Prix horse so that she can focus on her younger pony as her 'real' job gets hectic. I have the chance to earn my silver this year, and possibly even my gold.

First we tried putting him out with the only sweet horse we have (he does not do well solo), and lo and behold, he kicked Tilly right above the knee. Now I'm without a show pony and he's without a pasture buddy.

Enter the Blackfish, aka Delight. Evidently what Bucky really wanted was a cranky alpha mare who wants nothing to do with him and violently rebuffs his repeated attempts to live in his personal space.
Well that solves one problem.

Now I just need to learn how to ride this behemoth.
My first ride on him, I felt about as effective as a ragdoll tied to a boarder collie. Not a great feeling. Fortunatly, it's been a week and I have had several good rides on him. I am starting to figure him out and our rides are going better and better. Not that I am not in dire need of our lesson this week.... I cannot wait.

Eye Heart Tempi

Good Golly it's been a while, right?
Where in the hell have I been?

Oh, here and there. I have plenty of valid, and a few not-so-valid, excuses. Some will crop up as future blog posts. I promise a few days of rapid fire posting. Unless I get busy again. Or lazy. But I'll try. Promise

Perfectly valid excuse #1: Tempi went under the knife

As most of you know, Tempi went completely blind in her right eye in September and her left eye has only 40% vision left. So she's pretty much a blind little poodle. Or at least she was...
Last Thursday, Tempi went under the knife for cataract surgery.
Sleepy Post-Op Poodle

Now it's been a few days, we have our second post op recheck on Friday. She's looking better and pretty happy about life. Except for that collar. And her contact lens to keep the tiny stitches on her eyelid from rubbing.
Cone of Shame and a Contact Lens

Yep. She's got her very own cone of shame to keep her from itching or rubbing her eye. She really only messes with it (or tries) after she gets her eye drops (and we have a whole ICU chart of daily meds) or before bed. She's not allowed to join us out at the barn or spend any extra time outside. A restriction she's rebelling against by chewing her loudest squeaky toy with gusto.

Side note: There is nothing quite as funny as playing catch with a poodle in a cone. Hilarious.

Fingers crossed for a 100% fit and happy check up on Friday.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Marathon Weekend

What a marathon...
Friday, Saturday and sunday were rough for me, but in a totally good way. The kind of weekend that makes me secretly happy that today and tomorrow are supposed to be cold and rainy. The kind of weekend where I trailered a billion miles, took a ton of lessons, and I ended up much more tired than any of my horses.
The best kind of weekends.

First there was my Friday lesson. I felt like I was just getting too competent at this riding thing, so in an effort to knock myself down and unearth a whole new realm of areas in need of improvement, I'm trying to take one jump lesson per week.
There happens to be a wonderful hunter/jumper trainer less than ten miles from me, so Deli and I loaded up on a cold, windy, rainy afternoon and showed up ready to leap tall buildings and possibly sample some arena sand.
"Ready? I was born ready!"

Shortening those stirrups
 Yes, I showed up with a 'hony' (god I hate that word), with a roached mane in dressage tack. To the trainer's credit, she didn't even flinch even though we had an audience for most of our lesson.
 It started well, leaping over the ground poles with way more power than necessary.
 The more we hopped, lept and jumped, the looser Delight's back became.
Weee... Trainer then started introducing us to gymnastics since Pony was obviously neither intimidated nor overfaced by the 12" jumps. I didn't even fall off. I got really really close when Trainer added a solid box under the middle gymnastic and Delight gave it her best 'WTF?' look and duck. As I was comtemplating how embarrassing it would be to fall off my horse in the first lesson with Trainer, while riding her neck with no stirrups around the jump, it occurred to me that maybe, just maybe, I could save myself. All I had to do was sit up and push myself back into the saddle before the jumps came up again and voila!

An hour and a half later, a very tired me and a happy, energized pony untacked and headed home. Now for another attempt next week...

Saturday's event: Dressage lessons north of Houston for me and both ponies.
I trailered both Tilly (who's trailer loading technique has much improved) and a hopefully relaxed and tired Delight in for two lessons. We ended up spending the night and taking four.
Tilly and I worked on really reaching under with her little pony hind end while maintaining a contact. She gave one launch into the air in protest before quietly resuming her work.
Pony Says 'WHAT!?!?'
Delight was a champ.
 I guess that all the leaping and allowing her to figure things out for her own gave her a nice calm mind and back for out dressage lesson. We did a lot of lateral stuff, focusing on the counter canter in the shoulder in to prevent anticipation for a lead change. Delight can be such a fun pony when she's calm and relaxed.

Day two of dressage lessons was actually a day of cavelettis for both ponies. Delight loved it (even though we had some excessively exuberant canter poles). In contrast, Tilly thought that ground poles were on the same level as water boarding. She was NOT a fan when confronted with a 4" obstacle on the ground. Her face was a picture of long suffering betrayal every time I asked her to trot or canter over those poles. Poor Ponita.
After those lessons, I had to rush the tired Ponitas out to the barn, unload the mares, catch and load RC to bring him to Cowgirls practice for picture day and dress rehearsals...
For those who don't know, Katy Cowgirls is a mounted drill team composed of KISD students who carry flags before the rodeo and perform for the National Anthem. I did it for 12 years with Opie, and RC has done it for two years with a friend of ours. This year, a neighbor/student is borrowing him and doing a great job with him.
After dress rehearsals, RC did a few practice runs around the barrels. Adorable! He really looked like his mother there for a minute. I cannot wait until the rodeo to watch RC carry flags and run in Jr Barrels. It may not be his forte, but that little quarter horse can do it all!
But for today, I just want a nap!
(That's a poodle, under the covers, sleeping with a toy in her mouth)

Sunday, February 2, 2014

10 Things to Do Before Thirty

So, this weekend, not much riding got done. Saturday, I went to a friend's bridal shower in Houston, so there went that day and today I rode Tilly until we were hit by walls of cold water. It rained.
Then I went out to lunch with afore-mentioned friend... And came home to let the horses out for an hour while I cleaned stalls then bring everyone back in for dinner.
Now here I am.
Not watching the super bowl.

Because I've already seen the Clydesdale commercial. It was adorable.

Mom's at work and the guys are out at a bar watching the super bowl, so I was making lists.
"Things to Do This Week"
"Things to Do This Winter"

And in the light that E and I came to the shocking realization that it's our 10 year reunion next year (gawd, are we old!)... Here's my latest and greatest, published for posterity:

Ten Things To Do Before Thirty
  1.  Show Delight in an open jumper class. I'll be taking her to our first jumping lesson next week some time, so why not? I'll add 'Open Jumper' to her list of accomplishments.
  2. Show at Devon. I don't care in what, I just want to show there.
  3. Go to the WEG. Hopefully the one in Vegas, since that would be easiest on my checkbook and my friends would be going too. How much trouble could we possibly get into? Really?
  4. Sell a horse. I really hope it doesn't take until I turn thirty for that to happen.
  5. Buy brown schooling boots, just to shake things up.
  6. Take dance lessons. Ballroom, swing, salsa... doesn't matter.
  7. Attend a yoga class... regularly. (Whoops)
  8. Run a 10K. With Bacon
  9. Write a book. Or short story. Or hell, even a poem.
  10. Find a sponsor.
How easy is that?
I only have a few years left, so I had better get to work on that. Yikes!