Thursday, 27 February 2014

Proud Horsemom!

I decided to complete the February Interdressage Practical Horsemanship test with Mystic.  And Mystic and I decided to tackle it last night, with our helpful cameraman Todd!  For this competition you pick 5 out of a list of 20 obstacles challenges and complete them on camera.  For Mystic I chose: rubbing her all over with a plastic bag, leading her while I pull a wheelbarrow, backing through poles, twirling an umbrella on either side of her and walking across a tarp.  You also have to do walk/trot in both directions.  Mystic was an absolute rock star!  Especially for walking across the tarp.  Some horses take years to do that, others never will.  When I was unfolding it and laying it out she stood on it and wouldn't get off!  There were some minor handler errors, but overall it was pretty awesome.  I couldn’t get a trot in-hand but was able to do a few strides on a lunge.  She blew me away with how brave and sensible she is.  I’m feeling pretty proud and lucky today.

We’re booked in to attend a trail obstacle clinic at the end of April and I think she will do great!


Thursday, 20 February 2014

Henry from February 15/2014

February Update

I have temporarily abandoned my February Challenge.  Some additional shifts became available at work and I’m not exactly in a financial position to turn down work!  I am still hanging on to getting 28 rides in February, even if they aren’t consecutive.   I might give the 30 days of riding a go again in March, as I will be working less and will no longer be sharing a vehicle (another tricky obstacle this month). 

I will be completing my Interdressage test next week (sometime on or before February 26!).  I’m extremely nervous about it.  Even though only about 5 people will ever see my test… I am already working myself into a frenzy about what might go wrong.  I’m excited about the challenge of the practical horsemanship tests I’ve signed up for with Mystic and Apollo.  I wish I had a bit more time but we will do our best!

I took Henry’s registration shots and pulled some mane for DNA testing.  Perhaps after owning him for 14 months I could finally finish up his Canadian Warmblood registration!  He is having another growth spurt and still has his fuzzy teddy bear coat on.  I can’t wait for him to be shed out!  He is looking much healthier with the oil added to his diet.

I’ve been thinking through a couple of conundrums lately.  I’ve been debating moving Henry back to where Apollo and Mystic are.  I’d like all the horses to be in the wedding photos in May, and it is easier having everyone in one location.  Also, Henry’s barn is for sale and I worry a bit about him having enough room as his pen is a bit small for the amount of horses.  On the other hand I feel badly moving him again.  Henry has moved twice since he arrived from Ontario last year.  I suspect I will give notice at the end of February and bring him back home for April 1st

My other conundrum is more in the work/life balance area.  I have a permanent part-time position at AHS (20 hours a week).  I work both weekend mornings at Henry’s barn, 8-12 (8 hours a week).  I usually just work Saturday nights at the gym 3pm-10pm (8 hours a week).  I also work 4 hours a week as a privacy officer.  Previously I had an additional part-time position at AHS (an additional 20 hours a week – so full-time hours).  It ended December 31.  I hoped a full-time position would turn up between August 1 – December 31st, but I wasn’t able to get any of the positions posted.  So now I am scrounging for any shifts I can get at the gym and at AHS.  I’ve been getting a lot of shifts from both.  In my state of limbo I am afraid to turn any shifts down (as perhaps next month there won’t be any extra shifts).  I am so stressed and exhausted from being in this state of limbo!  I hope something will turn up soon.  I applied for a permanent barn job during the week, which would be a blast.  It’s a lot of weight on my shoulders to pay for three horses, a mortgage and a wedding.  Of course I have a lot of help from my fiancé on the mortgage and wedding front but I want to contribute my fair share.  Was that even a conundrum or just whining?!  Haha.  I am just in limbo and don’t know what else I can do to resolve it.  I haven’t had any days off in February and I am looking and feeling kind of ragged! I am being treated to spa weekend (leaving tomorrow!) by my friends as my stagette.  I am soooo looking forward to it!

I'm hoping to get a few pony snuggles in tomorrow before I leave :)

Friday, 14 February 2014

Our Test!

Well...I fell off the horse.  Not literally!  But I have kind of lost my groove.  Between a bit of a flu bug and a crazy week at work I've missed a few rides.  Hoping to get back into it starting tomorrow and do some make-up rides for those I've missed. 

This is the dressage test I have to video tape and complete with Apollo by February 26th:


1A enter at working trot. X to M working trot. 10

2M C H working trot. H to X working trot. 10

3Proceed down centre line to A working trot. A track right working trot to E. 10

4E medium walk. H C M free walk on a long rein. M medium walk 20

5B turn right. E track left. K working trot. 10

6A commence 3 loop serpentine in working trot to C touching the track on each loop. 10

7H X F change the rein working trot – give and retake the reins over X. 10

8K X M change the rein working trot with transition to walk over X 3- 5 steps immediately followed y transition to working trot. 10

9CHEK working trot 10

10A down the centre line. D walk. 10

11Between X and G halt, immobility, salute. Leave arena free walk on along rein where convenient. 10

12Regularity and rhythm of paces. 20

13Impulsion and desire to move forwards, elasticity of steps and suppleness of back. 20

14Submission, acceptance of aids, confidence, balance, lightness and ease of movements. 20

15Position of rider, correctness and effectiveness of aids. 20

16Total 200

Tips and advice:
SCORING EXPLAINED; 0=Not performed. 1=Very bad. 2=Fairly bad. 3=bad. 4=Insufficient. 5=Sufficient 6=Satisfactory. 7= Fairly good. 8= Good. 9=Very good. 10= Excellent.
Half marks may be used.

It's more challenging that I expected for a walk/trot test to be honest.  Lots of direction changes.  It will be interesting for sure!  I would feel a little more confident if I hadn't missed 5 days of riding.  But we will get it figured it.  It's a place to start anyhow!  I'm also doing the practical horsemanship freestyle test with Apollo & Mystic.  Because I am a crazy person

I'm not too worried with anything for Mystic, that girl is pretty fearless!  I'm not sure if I can get her to trot though!  Apollo might be a little wary of the tarp and the umbrella.  I worked on their individual routines (just to figure out the order of operations).  Some practice is in order soon! :)

Saturday, 8 February 2014

Day Off!

After some thought...

I have decided to give Apollo the day off today.  He has earned it!  I will make up for today by riding twice later in the month.  I have lots of time to ride tomorrow.  Today would have been another rushed one, so I think it's best to delay it.

I'm a little sad and missing him today but he was feeling a bit sluggish yesterday and I'm hoping a rest day will help a bit.


Friday, 7 February 2014

Day 7!

Date of Ride: February 7, 2014

Length of Ride: Well... about 2 minutes!

Location of Ride:  Arena

Notes on Ride:  My "ride" barely counted today but I am pretty over the moon.  I put the bareback pad on and was trying to wait out the sprinklers (they were still dripping and drizzling).  Apollo is not a water man at all.... I saw that ending badly. 

They were still dripping a little when I hopped on.  And here is what I'm so happy about - he stood like an absolute ROCK.  He didn't move a muscle.  I was so proud!  He can be impatient at the mounting block (totally my fault for not spending more time on it).  Some of the sprinklers started dripping more and I decided to hugely praise him and hop off!

He seemed a little sluggish today.  I think maybe he was a little too warm in his coat or maybe a little stiff.  I will see how he feels tomorrow and go from there.  I had planned a massage with Kathy around the 17th but maybe he needs a tune-up a little sooner. 

I had a pretty emotionally frazzling roller coaster of a day.  I was proud of myself for getting out there and sitting on him.  I hope he enjoys a bit of a "night off" and is feeling 100% tomorrow.

Notes for Next time:  I need to find out when my next farrier appt is.  I've noticed Apollo has a few cracks and I wonder if there's something I can do to help that.

 Sadly I have no cute horsey photos to share today :(

Day 6!

In the wee hours of the morning I'm posting my day 6 entry! :) 

Date of Ride: February 6th, 2014

Length of Ride: 25/30minutes

Location of Ride: Arena

Notes on Ride: Another nice ride! I had a bit of stressful day and evening (trying to get the house ready for contractors and run a few errands).  I didn't get a halter on my horse until 8:45.  We had a really nice ride tonight.  Lots of trotting and transitions.  I was more mindful of going both directions.  Most of our ride was on a fairly long rein. 

Again I had some wonderful barn company to chat with!  A fellow DK saddle user.

I'm happy to report that I was able to do a quick sheath clean tonight, which produced two sizable beans...gross.  I will likely have to try again in a another few weeks as I couldn't get all the gunk I wanted to. 

Notes for Next time: Bring dressage test!  If I keep it in my pocket I can practice it at a walk and start to visualize it in my mind (did I mention I signed up for my interdressage test one month early? I was feeling optimistic!).

 Me and the big guy post ride!

Wednesday, 5 February 2014

Day 5!

Date of Ride: February 5th, 2014

Length of Ride: 15/20 minutes

Location of Ride: Arena

Notes on Ride: Had a lovely ride tonight!  Did at least 5 minutes of trotting tonight. I tried to practice my dressage test but I couldn't really remember it - oops!  The barn cat was running around a lot and Apollo barely noticed.  I wasn't in a rush today but because it was so cold outside I really didn't want him to be sweaty. 

I let Apollo have a roll afterwards, which he enjoyed!

Notes for Next time: I realized tonight that I always seem to end up going counter clockwise, I need to mindful of that and spend a little extra time going clockwise next time.

Here's my big man in his winter coat!

Tuesday, 4 February 2014

Updated Baby Pics from Tonight

Here are a few updates photos of my fuzzy girl Mystic:

 And Mr. Henry in his cute blanket:

Day 3 & Day 4!

I was slow getting my pictures from February 3rd onto the computer so I'm doing a combined entry today. :)

Date of Ride: February 3rd, 2014

Length of Ride: 10/15 minutes (approximately)

Location of Ride: Arena 

Notes on Ride: There were two other people at the barn when I arrived today. I had my dog, Molly, with me so I decided it wasn’t the best idea to ride. I can’t leave Molly in a stall or she freaks out, and I’m sure other riders don’t want my dog running around in the arena (although she is excellent at keeping the cat out!). I put the halter on Mystic and started doing it up when I saw Apollo. He was standing there staring at me. He started to walk over and I felt like he was telling me....”I thought you were riding me every day?”. So I gave Mystic some pats and a carrot and put the halter on the big guy. He’s been just a little squirrelly about being caught the last two days but today he came right up and put his face in the halter.

He was very patient at the mounting block. And get this – I rode with another rider in the arena! For the first time in years! And she’s a trainer so I felt a little extra self-conscious but it was really nice to have company. She was cooling her horse out and we chatted a bit. I put Molly in the still warm car (she had her coat on and wasn’t cold after she came back out after my ride). So although not ideal that solution it worked for today!

Apollo was amazing! It was a very brief ride but we did a bit of trot (that I asked for) and he was willing but not rushy and was actually on the bit! I’m so glad I decided to ride today. What a nice ride! 
Notes for Next time: More of the same! I hope to have time to brush and fuss on Mystic next time I’m out. And finally get Apollo’s sheath cleaned too. It’s supposed to be -34 with the wind chill today....not nice at all! Might put some coats on the ponies.

Here is a picture of big chunk someone bit out his left shoulder between (ouch!):

Cute boy:

Apollo and Molly:

On to my notes from today!
Date of Ride: February 4th, 2014

Length of Ride: 10 minutes

Location of Ride: Arena

Notes on Ride: Had a quick ride in the bareback pad today (so I could leave my cozy overalls on!).  It was -34 with the windchill tonight.  He burst into a trot after my not so grateful mount!  And was a little more "looky" and spooky but generally was quite good.

In regards to our time on the ground - he was very patient while I fiddled around with Mystic.  I was proud of him!  He can be a little wiggly sometimes and today he was a chill dude.  He was pretty relaxed when I was leading them in together too.  Made my life easier!

Notes for Next time: Definitely a lunge first would be good!  And if I could find more time that would be awesome.  I had to juggle getting blankets on all the horses today because of the cold, so that cut into my riding/Apollo time quite a bit. I only got one photo tonight with Mr. A in it!


Sunday, 2 February 2014

Old Photos

I've found some older photos of Mr. Apollo and I.  Wanted to share them on my blog so I don't lose them again! :)

Here is the day I bought him, I had a little barn party and got a DQ cake with him on it!:

Here he is with Blue, they were never really friends but grew to tolerate each other!  Blue will be mentioned further in another post.  And below another cool picture from the same day.:

Riding at the Kerr's barn in the winter of 2008 (approximately):
Love this horse!  This photo makes me tear up a bit.  Here he is giving me a hug after Blue passed away. :

Day Two!

Date of Ride:  February 2nd, 2014

Length of Ride: 15 minutes
Location of Ride: Arena

Notes on Ride:  Apollo had a lot of pep today!  Yesterday he seemed to sense I was a little nervous at first and gave me a nice lazy walk.  Today... he really wanted to trot!  I tried to channel his energy into some circles and navigating little courses around the pylons I set up.  I did ask for a bit of trot towards the end.  We worked on transitions and standing still today also.  A really good ride.  He made me laugh a lot today!

I saw my friend Kathy today and it was nice to chat after our ride.  I'm almost always alone at the barn, it can get a bit lonely!

Notes for Next time:
Continue with transition work and "patience" work.  It might be a good idea to lunge him first next time haha.  He also really needs his sheath cleaned so I will work on that soon too.  I'm going to buy a few more saddle pads.  I like the shape of the "Roma Miller" pad I rode in today but one side is worn out and I hate the pattern.  I used it yesterday as well and I decided today that I'm due for a few more saddle pads. Woohoo for online shopping!  I'm thinking of buying him a Back on Track fleece cooler as well....when I get paid!

Here's a picture of him under his green fleece before our ride (looking so cute!):

Thumbs up for Day Two!:

Looking handsome:

Love my pony!:

Top of my saddle pad, hoping to find another similar one...in a different shade/pattern:

I think for a celebration after we complete our February Challenge...perhaps massages are in order for both of us!

Saturday, 1 February 2014

Day One!

Date of Ride:  February 1st, 2014

Length of Ride: Probably about 10 minutes.
Location of Ride: Arena

Notes on Ride:  I'm sad I didn't have time to ride longer.  It was a nice ride to start off my February Challenge.  I spent a lot of time at the mounting block.  Apollo was being quite obedient but I had to really get myself into the right frame of mind before I put my foot in the stirrup.  I was so nervous!  I was very pleased with him once I mounted.  He didn't spook/bolt or pull any other shenanigans.  He did pop in a few trot strides towards the end of our very brief ride but was easily brought down to a walk.  Ten minutes of walking was a nice place to start, I really didn't want to dismount!  I spent a lot of time praising him.  I find that I can be very nit-picky and I really want to make my riding time fun/positive for both of us.  I read this blog post by one of my favorite bloggers and was keeping in mind not to "ride like my mother" http://annablakeblog.com/2014/01/31/do-you-ride-like-your-mother/.

Notes for Next time:  Continue to give lots of praise.  I'll try to give myself more time next time.

Here's the big man after our little ride today!

Munching on a carrot:

Curious about what I'm doing my tack box....bringing another carrot hopefully:

February Challenge!

I’ve decided to challenge myself to ride Apollo every day in February.  I’ve fallen out of my routine lately and need to get back in the groove!  I will document my progress on this blog (with a few photos if Todd will help me out!).

My main hurdles will be waking up early and time management (actually planning my life for a change!).   I am getting so excited about the wedding and really need some stress relief and some help on the fitness front…considering I will be paying someone to take pictures of me and my fiancé!  And Apollo too!  In addition to my riding goal I’m planning to get to the gym 5 days a week. 

My March goal will be to compete in an interdressage competition.  So I can start riding a few tests and having that goal in mind.  I will look at the in-hand tests and see if Mystic and Henry can “play” too!  I'm also brainstorming monthly goals for the other upcoming months.  But I might just wait and see how these next two go.

In other news I have mailed my deposit to participate in the groundwork clinic at Wild Deuce.  The make-up clinic I had in mind was full but there was space in the May 18/19 clinic.  I'm so excited!  This will be our level 1, and our level 2 is in July - in the mountains! Yay!  It's going to be a little bit crazy as the wedding is May 16.  But my lovely supportive fiance has given me the green light!  We hope to head off to Portugal for our honeymoon when I'm finished with the clinic.