Thursday, March 27, 2014

Lesson Day!

Today was grey. And humid. And spitting rain at times. Perfect day for a lesson in a covered arena, right?

So glad I planned ahead like that.
Yeah, like you can even start to take credit for that stroke of luck.

Whatever. I'm still going to count it since so far this week: Delight has had a meltdown, I got stomped on so hard I was worried I broke my metatarsals, and I fell off a horse. Shit assed week.
I need this win.

Fine. Keep it.

Anywhoo, since I was wallowing in self pity about how sucky I am and why do I even try to ride this lesson day came at exactly the right time.
Using the hind end?
Hell to the no.
 I rode Tilly first because I've discovered that riding Tilly right after Bucky makes one feel like you're riding a splinter. It's way less of a shock to your hip flexors to go little to big than vice versa.
Little Pony is not amused. Not at all.
 Today we worked on getting that hind end under. The Pony was not a fan. Fortunately this Ponita doesn't invite me to go fuck myself (like some pony I could name) when asked to work harder, instead she tosses legs around before doing what is asked in a more or less pleasant manner. Life is hard for a pony.

Evidently I was in barn uniform today
 As an interesting side note: Both AG and I wore a grey Under Armor short paired with our navy blue breeches. Who knew we were actually long lost twins? Sure, I bought my shirt from Goodwill for $5, but I'm all for team uniforms!

And next up was the Buca-Tee...
 I've mastered the trot! I can actually get my free-leased Grand Prix horse to trot! In a circle! and sometime down long sides! Why isn't everyone else as excited as I am by this revelation??!?!?!
We pretty much schooled the half-passes asking for less trot and more sideways to keep the quality of bend. At the trot. And the canter. I even nailed my fours (shut it. Counting is hard).
After some satisfactory work, we moved on to improving the trot.
Oh, sure. Don't just let me sit up there and enjoy the fact that I am actually trotting. Nooo that would be to easy....
And I'm pretty sure that I nearly died. How is it so hard to sit the trot on Bucky when it's so easy to sit the trot on Tilly? Gawd, I wish I had longer legs!
 Look at those itty bitty legs on that big fat horse.
And now the countdown begins. This time next week, I'll be schooling in Tyler, Texas at the Texas Dressage Classic.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014


Leapy Pony 
Well.. You know how sometimes a horse is just not on board with training today?
The Blackfish was not on board yesterday.

So not on board that our ride can be summed up with a rear and a beating. Don't worry, it ended well, but sheesh are horses frustrating. Is it too much to ask my soon-to-be seven year old to get her shit together! There are seven year olds schooling PSG for Christ sake.

Yes. Yes, it s too much to ask.


So, what does one do when Ponita says not just no, but "Hell no"?

We jump.

Knees Up!
Dammit. I am not a jumper.

But Deli is.  As a matter of fact, she ceases being The Blackfish and returns to Delight. Guess I need to stop fighting it.
Over jump, much?
To make things worse. My mom watched. And took pictures as I slid around on that slick little stubben. Why don't I have one of those saddles that are padded all to hell and back? And when did my Tailored Sportsmans get so slippery?

Even her canter got better
However much I love my dressage, the sad fact seems to exist: Delight enjoys jumping. And since I can't see myself selling Delight in the near future; she's too much like my Opie to ditch her for not loving dressage (yet). So over fences I went. And she got happier and happier.
The only silver lining of this situation that I can see is that I walked through the vendors area at the Pin Oak Charity Horse Show over the weekend, and I saw something that I needed to own. And the dressage ring would have a collective stroke if I wore these boots down the centerline....
Oh. My. God. Am I right?
I NEED these! So beautiful!
So, there you have it. sexy boots and adorable tail braids. The only perk of Delight's jumper dream. 

Saturday, March 22, 2014


"If you don't like it, don't read it. Dammit"
Warning: This post contains adult content. Those sensitive to adult language or white girls whining about how fucking hard riding their Grand Prix horse is should turn away now.


I warned you....

Well, on my fourth lesson with Mr. Bucky, I astounded AG with my vocabulary. This may come as a shock to many of you, seeing how I am normally pretty mild mannered and my mother was sitting at the end of the arena.

To set the scene, I had just had a stellar lesson on Tilly. Everything we tried, she aced. I was riding that high. Then I got on Bucky.

That asshole.

He was perky and totally unperturbed to be in a new place, per usual. He called for his pony once or twice during the walk warm up while AG and I joked about whatever.
Then we moved on to our warm up transitions; we've been warming up with trot-halt-trot transitions to keep those cart horse legs from cycling out behind him as he becomes as long as a barge. I had had a great ride on him the day before; all of our shit was finally coming together.
The trot-halt-trot transitions were going well. Too well. AG upped the ante to the Trot-Half Halt- Trot transitions.
Pssssh, I've totally got this. I can ride this horse, I said to myself.
Trot, half-halt... Full halt.


Let's try this again.
Trot, half-halt... Nearly full halt, passage.
And again.
Trot- half halt - passage.
Passage- full halt
God damn it!
Trot- passage. Passage- halt. Passage- passage. Piaffe-Passage
Passage. Passage. Passage. Halt. Passage
Te-He Te-He, mere mortal.

Extended trot (while being chased by AG with a lunge whip).
At this point I was too out of breath of even curse. I'm pretty sure that Bucky was giggling. He was completely happy and unapologetic about the whole episode.

After the walk break, I started the canter work. Medium-collected.
Check! Finally something I can do!
Half pass right?
Oh, yeah. Rocked it!
Half pass left?
We've done worse. I'll take it.
Turn on the diagonal for the four tempis?
Try again.
And again.
Fuck it all and this damn smart aleck horse!

Te-he from Bucky.
Stupid Grand Prix horses and all of their fancy tricks.
Oh, and three weeks until I have to canter down the centerline in front of a judge on this beast. With any luck, I will learn how to ride him by then.

At least someone had a good day


Sunday, March 16, 2014

Off The Injured- Reserved List

Well, this weekend I attended a show right here in town. To spectate.
Let's let that sink in.
I went to go spectate at a dressage show.
What??!!?? Who does that??

Well, I do, I guess. I had origionally planned on taking Tilly. It was held at the Great Southwest Equestrian Center, less than an hour from the barn. It literally could not have been easier to get her out and about at a 'big' venue without being at a big show.

But it was not to be.

You see, I've had two - maybe three- rides on Tilly since Bucky arrived.
Not because I don't have time, but because the first thing Bucky did when turned out with the sweetest pony I own was to kick her in the knee.
I know, I know... He didn't mean to. He was squealing across the fence at RC, who thinks he's the hot stuff in town now that ATs gone, and lashed out behind him in a little sissy kick and unfortunately connected right with Tillys knee.

Tilly immediately went three legged lame and her knee swelled up like a balloon, which resulted in several weeks off and a course of bute.

Poor Tilly

Good news: I brought her to the vet (along with Tini and RC) for an X-ray and lameness exam incase there was a chip or something in there that might cause a long term issue. Her x-ray was clean as a whistle with just a  little fuzziness over the kicked area from swelling. She flexed sound and trotted off like a she was doing the triangle at Devon. The vet gave me a look (you know the one; god the dressage divas worry about everything look) and declared that she was just fine to return to work.

Better news: Tini loaded up on the trailer to go to the vet and back home in unter three minutes each time. My little mare is growing up!

Tini's first float
Best: My little formerly-blind poodle, Tempi has made a full recovery. She's receiving eye drops three times a day, but is back to her happy very active self. I hadn't realized how much she had slowed down in the past year, but it's in stark contrast to how she acts now. The fetchaholic is back!

And Bacon is happy hunting, as usual

Saturday, March 15, 2014

I feel Crafty! Oh, So Crafty!

So what's been happening in my world?
Oh, you know, the usual. Taking some lessons, signing up for shows, and reading internet DIY sites.

Wait, wait, wait... Shows? What shows?
Well, I officially signed up for the Texas Dressage Classic in early April. It already promises to be a party of old dressage friends (Win!). I'll be sleeping in my trailer (well, actually my mom's trailer. It has a TV and AC unit. And a fridge for my horse show adult beverages and a shower.... ) making my very own red neck trailer park with AG, a former YR from my high school days. This will not be our first red neck trailer park... And now we can drink. This can only end well.
I bit the bullet and entered two horses: Tilly at T-3 and 1-3 (oh god, I hope we qualify in one weekend) and Bucky at 4-3 with hopes of earning the first scores towards my silver. Maybe next show we'll suck it up and go PSG... but not yet, young grasshopper. Not yet.

How does this tie into my addiction to DIY sites (Lowes, stop spamming my facebook feed with amazing garden projects!)? Well, I had to drop my Padre off at physical therapy this week, and spent his therapy hour in Hobby Lobby. I actively avoid that place.
Not because I hate it. Quite the opposite. I love it. I LOVE being crafty (I'm just not good at it). In college I was an avid scrap-booker... 'Cause, come on, who doesn't want a scrapbook of horse show pictures, ribbons and drug testing receipts? It was so much fun and frankly relaxing to this little nerdlette.
But now we're in the digital age and I don't scrap book anymore. I share all of my pictures on this blog and attempt to type something coherent to fill the empty space. What's a girl to do?
When I'm in the UP, I can expend all of that creative energy fixing up the place, making my little antique farm into a real horse property. Here? I'm at a loss and surrounded by craft stores.

So I made my own stall plates.
Step One: Let's get started
 So I spent waaaaay too much time in Hobby Lobby with only a very vague idea of what I wanted to create. And to be honest, the concept was pretty fluid and drastically changed by each and every cool steampunk detail that I stumbled across.
Oh, I forgot to mention that I am totally in love with all things steampunk? Lets face it, when you look at it, it makes total sense. What is steam punk? Gears, vintage metals and top hats. What other genre would appeal to an engineer/dressage trainer who lives on a turn of the century farm?
Makes total sense.
Before and After
 So I bought some vintage/antique-y themed scrapbook pages to use as the backdrop for my master plan: To create awesome and uniquely themed stall plates to take to this show. One page is sheet music on aged paper and the other is reminiscent of 1800's wall paper. I cut the pages to size, used some mode-podge and decoupaged the hell out of it. So fun!
Awesome Little Gear Details
 I found some nifty little totally non-functional gears and nailed them to the corner in an appealing pattern using little tiny finishing nails I rooted out of the garage. All while being privately miffed that the gear ratios didn't match. Who designed this?
 Obviously in order to have an awesome stall plate/show sign, one has to have a way to hang it up at shows. The eye hook and chain thing has been done. Over and over again. I found some cheap metal buckles at Hobby Lobby (on sale!) and screwed them to the back of my signs, again using hardware scrounged up from the depths of the garage.
Is this too classy?
I submit that it is
 I thought that it might be nice to subtly advertise my little micro-business. After all I am attempting to sell Tilly sometime in the distant future. So I printed out my little logo (in gray scale because the printer was out of colored ink), cut it to fit the itty bitty metal frames I found (on sale) and decoupaged the crap out of it. After it mostly dried (sue me, I'm impatient), I attached the mini frame again using scrounged up finishing nails.
Adorable? Why yes, it is.
Nearly done!
 I attached some patently steampunk door knobs and bookmark page holders so that I could add contact info or ride times on a card. One knob is a aged clock face (soooo steam punk) and the other is just a cool bronze looking thing. It totally works in a way that most of my outfits don't.
I used little metal picture corners to hold and index sized horse info card. I wanted to be able to swap out the cards if I brought different horses to the shows.

Attaching ribbon
 So since I opted out of the eyehook and chain hanging style, I got to choose some nifty ribbon.. And in the future when I get bored or no longer find it awesome, I can simply change it out since it's just buckled on with brads.

What do you think? Awesome, right?
Letting the Glue Dry

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Breaking into the Real Dressage

Ok, now for my second post to update you all of really the only other major occurrence in my equestrian life.

I got talked into signing up for a schooling show. No big deal, amiright? I mean, it's just a schooling show; it's cheap, close and you've got to practice taking Tillner out and about.
Except that I was informed by a friend who wanted company about it only a few days before. And Tilly suffered a realitively serious pasture accident. And Bucky and I ARE NOT READY to be seen in public together. Like, we're still working on turning and finding the passage off switch. Seriously Bucky, every little bobble on my part does not mean passage like a fool. FEI horses... sheesh.

So that leaves Delight, aka The Blackfish.
She and I have hit a tad of a stall... where I ask her to actually use her beautiful athletic self while moving into the contact while she ever so politely tells me where I can shove it. A woman and her pony, it's a beautiful thing really.
But I sucked it up and signed up at 1-3 and 2-1. Second level debut, what what!
So I woke up at the ass crack of dawn (actually well before that), got into my white clothes and off I went with BF/photog and my mother intow. Horses were fed and we were loaded and on the road by 6:30 for 8:45 and 9:10 ride times.
We were the first ones on the show grounds. It was 70 degrees with 90% humidity and a promise of thunderstorms that afternoon. So, the early ride times were no problem with me, at least it wasn't raining. Yet.
Not a counter canter to be seen
 My warm up was typical Delight. Not a counter canter to been seen as she attempted to intimidate old ladies on training level horses with her excessive flying changes. Great start for our second level debut, those counter canters aren't really required, right?
Maybe the judge will give us extra credit?
Sit the trot. Sit the trot!
 We started off the day as the first ride of the show. As it was a small show, and no one else had done it, I took Delight around the arena for the first time prior to her test. No investigating that scary liver pool in the corner beforehand... Fortunately for me, Deli is fearless. Or at least shows no fear, lest the other horses perceive weakness in her despite the Attila the Hun hairstyle.
In good news, her Mohawk is only about two weeks away from finally laying down. Silly pony hair.
Fearless Pony
 After an awful medium trot, we settled into the test. And guess what? It wasn't that bad.  Sure, we scored a dismal 63%, but I sat on her and she didn't turn her back into a clenched fist, so that's a win, right? Oh, and we didn't pop a single unasked for flying change. Score!
Unfortunately, I dare say that there is more work to be done before we debut in a real show again. There were minor issues like suppleness and bend. Oh and not letting her flip me the bird during half halts....
Suppleness issues
 Of course the first level ride was after the second level ride, so that was pretty much pressure free for me (love that no pressure show feeling!). I mean, we survived the more difficult test, what could possibly go wrong?
Look at that tense pony back
 Nothing. Nothing went wrong. I so love it when tests go right.
"Could have more oomph"
 Sure, we weren't perfect. In one single-loop-at-the-canter, our haunches were slightly in and her first canter depart was laxidasical.

7 for lengthening? I'll take it
 But we must have done something right. We earned a 74%.
Thank god I survived.
Get me out of this coat.

RC Rides Again

Whew! I know, I know... I am waaaaay behind on some of my posting. Or rather all of my posting. I mean, what else could I possibly have to do with all of this mild weather and a barn full of horses to work?
Oh, yeah.
Riding. Sorry peeps. Riding trumps all.

Anywhoo... Let's backtrack to late February. RC made his re-entry to the rodeo scene.

What, you say? Re-Entry? I thought he was a dressage horse???

Uh, yes. He is. And so much more.... As a bright eyed, bushy tailed two year old he made his first public outing in a parade, carrying a flag. Later that day he carried flags at the high school rodeo. His rodeo debut.

Now, he's back, carrying our neighbor's daughter... Let's call her L. L rode him in twice weekly practices for six weeks leading up to the three day event. L brushed, groomed, and glittered RC.
Look at all that glitter!

How I used to love the glitter!
24 horses and girls... and no meltdowns
 Now, for those of you who don't know... I was a member of the Katy Cowgirls for 9 years with RC's dam, Opie. Every year, the Katy Cowgirls carry flags at the beginning of the KISD Rodeo and Livestock Show each night. For those three nights, 24 girls get to show off their horses to all of their school friends, wear glitter and make-up (I was never a fan), and get asked to sign autographs and take pictures with little girls who wanted to grow up to be a Katy Cowgirl. Ah, the memories.
RC during the invocation
 Now, while I may have graduated and moved on, my dad is still a part of the group, running all the paperwork and such. In true Cowboy fashion, we have also lent a horse to a deserving horseless kid for the past ten years... First Opie, and now that she's gone, it's RC's turn to step up and shine.
RC at the edge of the pinwheel
 This years kid, L, has been riding less than a year.
RC running the flag between events
 She and RC had a blast together. I do believe that on either Thursday or Friday night, the pair ran flags (which means a sponsor flag or Texas flag) between 5 of the eight events of the rodeo.

The Katy Cowgirls before a sold out house
 It was an exhausting weekend, with late nights, early mornings, parades and carnival food. RC handled it like a champ... and even ran his first barrel race at a professional rodeo.
Watch it.