Saturday, 26 July 2014

Horse Books

I had date night with my husband last night.  We had a tasty dinner (OM NOM NOM PASTA) and went to a used book store afterwards. 

I bought this book:

And this book:

I started reading Saddled last night and couldn't put it down.  It's quite sad/interesting so far.  I've been meaning to read The Eighty Dollar Champion for quite a while so I was happy to find a copy for five bucks!  Any horse book recommendations from my fellow bloggers?

In horse news....
I've had a wonderful couple of rides on my big guy.  They weren't super productive but they were quite fun!  We've been bareback for three days now as I'm waiting for that bug bite/girth spot to heal up.

Mr. Henry keeps beating himself up and has yet another injury on his face.  They are all fairly minor but there seems to be a new one each time I go out there.  I don't know how to teach him to be careful with his own head!

I hope everyone has a great weekend! 

Edited to add: A bit of happy news, I'm happy to report I was able to lose a couple of pounds over the last few weeks.  Now sitting at 144.6 :)  Haven't been there in a while!

Thursday, 24 July 2014

Naked Dressage

So tonight I’ll be practicing my dressage test….bitless….with no saddle (hence my scandalous title!).  Not exactly my plan “A” but we will muddle through it.

I’ve been riding him in my sidepull (bitless) because his whole muzzle is kind of filthy/tender because of the sun.  He gets coated in sunscreen and zinc oxide (and occasionally cooperates in wearing his flymask) but he rubs a lot of it off so he still gets a bit burned sometimes.  I decided that I’m cool with riding in the sidepull for the time being as it gives him a break from carrying the bit and my bridle won’t get so filthy.  Probably about a week before our show (23 days!) I’ll do some rides in the bridle…as my sidepull isn’t allowed in competition.  He goes about the same in either!

On Tuesday night I realized that one of his large bug bites had been rubbed by the girth. :(  His hair was gone from that area and it looked like it was just starting to rub his skin.  I goobed it with SWAT (love that stuff) and gave him last night off.  The rub/bite is in such an awkward spot…. I’m going to have to ride bareback to avoid doing any further damage.  I’m on the hunt for a fuzzy girth cover in the meantime.

I have been feeling much better after my “off” Saturday barn visit.  I think the heat has drained all of Apollo’s  “misbehavior” energy (bonus).  I haven’t decided yet if I will attempt the riding test for interdressage now that I may be temporarily saddle-less.  It would be great to get a judges input before I step into the show ring.

Here’s my handsome man after our Tuesday night ride:

Sunday, 20 July 2014

Wonderful/Scary Barn Day

I had a mostly wonderful day at the barn yesterday.  It got a little scary at the end. :(

Here's the wonderful: 

- I've been taking care of a friend's mare while she's in Italy (jealous!) and FINALLY her pastern laceration is looking like it's improving.  My instructions were just to clean it and it put various types of goop on it but it just kept getting so dirty and looking infected so I decided to wrap it.  Now it's starting to close up nicely, wooohoo!

- A friend of mine came to look at the barn as a potential boarder.  I'm not sure that it's the right fit for her but it was nice to catch up with her.  

- I didn't have to rush because I had nothing else going on!

- Henry came in and was a perfect gentleman with his hooves.  He's been testing me on this lately for some reason.  We also practiced going over tarps and pulling the wheelbarrow while he was lead for our practical horsemanship test we're going to do this month.  He was tentative but braver than I expected, especially with the tarp.

Here's the scary:

- After Henry was finished his practice exercises I started to feel very dizzy.  I figured I overheated a bit and just needed to sit down.  As soon as I sat I started having excruciating cramps in my stomach.  I started thinking: "OK this is not good.  I need to get Henry back out to his pasture and get home." But every time I stood up I started to pass out (my vision went black).  I don't get reception at the barn and I was alone at that time; so I had to wait until the pain subsided a bit.  With about a million stops and starts Henry made it back to his pasture and I came back into the barn.  I laid down on the ground for about 30 minutes and tried to get some texts through to my husband because I didn't feel safe to drive.  After a while I slowly walked to my car and called him as soon as I got reception.  He rushed out and picked me up.  By the time he got there I was feeling dizzy but back to normal.  It was a very strange scary feeling and I plan to see a doctor this week.  I think I likely just had heatstroke combined with an upset stomach.

I spent the rest of the day on the couch with this fellow, who took good care of me.

Thursday, 17 July 2014


I've been starting and stopping writing this entry for the last few days.  Before I write the next...understand that I know I sound like a jerk.

I have been so pissed off at Apollo. 

He's a very high maintenance horse in the following ways:

1) He has pink skin all over his face, it burns pretty easily.

2) He is very sensitive to flies also.  He has gone through 4 fly masks just this spring/summer - and we're not done yet!  The latest one has lasted a month.

3) He has the most filthy sheath ever (I have to clean it almost monthly because it smells disgusting.  He doesn't take it out all the way to pee.) which leads to further bug attacks in that area because of the stinky-ness.  See #2 for how sensitive he is to bugs.

4) If I don't catch him and work him hard very frequently he will be hard to catch the next time.  He also pulls the hard to catch routine if he sees me walking towards him holding sunscreen/fly mask etc.

So he is high maintenance and non-cooperative!  A great mix!  He ripped his fly mask off for the second time this week when I was catching Henry on Tuesday.  When I picked it up he galloped off into the sunset.  SCREW YOU HORSE.  I decided to leave him alone for a few days because I was so mad at him.  I know....so rational...being mad at a horse.  I went to the barn last night to work with my young horses but let him be. 

And today I realized I was being a big whiner.  I'm so lucky to have him as my horse.  He is sound and sane undersaddle.  He is absolutely worth all of frustration he causes me sometimes.  Instead of eating my lunch at work I drove out and coated him in SWAT near his eyes and sheath, fly spray, and sunscreen.  He seemed slightly appreciative...maybe.  I needed to give myself some tough love and remind myself the kind of commitment I signed up for when I decided to be a horseperson (especially Apollo).

We're signed up for 4 interdressage classes this month so I need to get to work and stop it with the whining! :)


Tuesday, 15 July 2014

Grown Ups

The young horses have been practicing wearing my bareback pad this week....they are looking so grown up! :)


Dat tail 

       Henry!  He thought the bareback pad was pretty weird.  He's looking very shiny in these photos :)

Happy time

New gloves....so ridiculous!

Friday, 11 July 2014

RtR Blog Hop: The Support Group

I’m excited to participate in my first ever blog hop! Thanks RtR :)

What person/people are you most grateful to for helping your riding career and why? 

I have been very lucky over the years to have quite a bit of support from friends and family. But the person who has been my biggest fan and supporter has always been my mom.  

My mom didn’t grow up with horses.  I’m not even sure that she’d ever ridden before we got our first family horse, Deputy.  But she dove in and learned right along with me.  She wasn’t a passive observer of my horse obsession.  She was right in there holding horses, helping me tack up and brush, and scooping poop.

She learned how to haul a trailer and dutifully hauled me to Pony Club lessons and events.  We bonded especially over the care of Blue.  He was a hard keeper with a bit of a crabby personality and various quirks.  We opted not to clip him in the winter because he just couldn’t keep decent weight on.  So when I had a lesson we would blow-dry him afterwards.  Yep.  With one hair dryer on each side of him.  We usually had a race to see who could get their side dry faster, who knew blow-drying a horse could be so much fun?! 

Of course my parents provided financial support (lessons, board, vet etc) until I finished high school – which I am forever grateful for. But my mom pushed me to be a better horseperson (actually probably just a better person in general).  I remember her reminding me to pick Blue’s hooves out after a ride.  We were riding in a bark chip arena so I figured I didn’t really need to.  After further “encouragement” I did, and I found a huge bark chip wedged under his shoe.  Now I religiously pick out hooves every time I see my horses.  She kept detailed records on Blue and made sure he was on time for farrier, deworming, vaccines etc.  She also has a gift for photography made sure to take lots of photos of me riding, which I treasure so much now.

I had a horse before Blue named Rusty, he was too much horse for me and I was very afraid of him.  But I loved him and refused to sell him.  My mom stepped in and found Blue, a much better fit for me.  She knew when she found that Blue that he would keep me safe.  She made the right decision when I wasn't strong enough to do it myself.  When the time came to put Blue down I think she was the only one who really understood how hard it was on me, because she loved him just as much as I did.  I’ve gotten some tears in my eyes writing this entry.  I feel truly blessed to have the mom I do.  

So here’s to my mom!  A woman who boldly went from a non-horseperson to a trailer haulin’, ridin’, poop scoopin’, horse blowdryin’ whiz! 

Thursday, 10 July 2014


I zipped out to the barn between jobs today.  Unfortunately I forgot my boots so I decided to ride Apollo in the bareback pad with my sneakers on.  It was such a good ride and really got me thinking about how I need to start mixing it up.  I would do an exercise one way and he would be anticipating doing the same exercise the other way before I could even get all my ducks in a row (10, 15, 20 meter circles, shoulder-in etc).  Clearly I am a very predictable rider!  (read: probably boring)

I also noticed a big mistake I have been making.  He is stiff to the right and I find myself fiddling around with him and losing forward momentum…when forward momentum is just we need to straighten out!    

I will be googling exercise ideas for Apollo and I for homework.  But I’m open to suggestions as well!  We really need to work on collection and rhythm if we’re going to be riding a dressage test in a month….eek.   I’m working on my RtR blog hop, just waiting on a few photos to get scanned in.

Anyway here are a few weird photos from tonight, followed by a few fairly recent shots of the babies.

Best view in the world... :)

 Those ears are saying: "WTF Mom." My horse is a saint.

Mystic and her donkey friends Dennis and Alistar
Henry hogging the horse selfie

Princess Mystic eating dinner

Tuesday, 8 July 2014


After encouragement from my friends (online and in real life –thank you!)I have decided to go to the small schooling school on August with Apollo.  I haven’t been to a show in about a million years.   Okay actually about 10 years.  I competed in Pony Club provincials.  I placed well in the dressage portion but went off course on my jumping....not my finest moment. I sent my entry fees in, no turning back now!  Apollo and I are going to a show (on August 16th)! 

We are signed up to do showmanship and a dressage test (I took a big leap and signed up for training level when I probably should have done walk/trot...but we'll roll with it).

I've been working on a checklist of things to do beforehand.... So far this is what I've got:

The Pre-Show Checklist
1)      Organize transport (check – hitching a ride with my friend)
2)      Bathe Apollo
3)      Book a stall the night before
4)      Clean all tack
5)      Get zipper put into new boots
6)      Break in new boots (ugh)
7)      Fill out entry form and pay (done!)
8)      Book Apollo a massage afterwards
9)      Figure out attire for myself
10)   Find black dressage pad with silver piping... and make sure it’s clean
11)   Learn to/practice button braids
12)   Find slinky for Apollo’s neck to keep braids in
13)   Book time off work
14)   Ride interdressage test by June 22/2014 so I have notes from a judge to work on and can ride it in my show clothes/boots
15)   Make sure husband will be there to help/take photos
16)   Mom is going to read dressage test (practice, practice, practice!)
17)   Organize show supplies into tote
18)   Relax

I feel like that’s a pretty comprehensive list.  Did I miss anything?  I'm taking suggestions for #18.... Anyone have some great coping skills for show nerves?

Right now I'm here....

Here's hoping this is me on August 17.....

Saturday, 5 July 2014

Sad Panda

First off, I have to correct my horse height measurements for my young horses:

When my barn owner saw me fiddling with my weight/height tape today he gave me his stick to measure the babies a bit more accurately.  I measured Apollo with my tape as a control (I know he is 16.2hh 1/2 by multiple sticks.  I refer to him as 16.3hh a lot but I am rounding up a bit!  I measured him at 17.2hh with the way I usually use the tape and with the stick he was 16.2hh and a bit.


Corrected heights for my two young monkeys:
Mystic: Just over 15hh (almost 15.1hh)
Henry: 14.3hh
Not way off but definitely not as accurate as I would have liked.  Oh well!  Now I know.

I had a very stressful day on Friday.  I made some mistakes at my job and I got into trouble.  I am not happy at my job but that isn't an excuse to perform so poorly.  I seem to have no energy and can't seem to wake up in the mornings.  I really need to smarten up and get myself into gear.  I don't know why I'm in such a funk.

Sigh. Please send me some hugs.

Anyway...enough moping!  I'm hoping to get a ride in tomorrow and get some cleaning/organizing done.  Oh and herd pictures with a real (read: non-phone) photos!

Thursday, 3 July 2014

June Goal Recap & July Goals

June Goal Recap:

1)  Try some groundwork techniques from the clinic with the ponies.
I certainly wasn’t able to do as much as I’d like but I did do a little bit.

2)  Get 15 rides in on Apollo (considering I have zero so far, that is a feat!) and update the new ride log I have created.
Sadly no, I would say it was a lot closer to 5.  Which makes me sad!  I’ve decided to scrap on the ride log on my blog and will be keeping notes on my phone to be posted at month’s end.

3)  Start running again.
I did!  I bumped my first 5km race to August 6th because I’m not quite ready yet.  Working out with the personal trainer has really helped my back so I hope to meet up with her once a month just to get some new exercises and get feedback on my form.

July Goals
1)       Complete the Interdressage Practical Horsemanship Test with all 3 horses (I’m so happy it’s back out!)
2)       Work on farrier manners for July 29th appointment.  Note on this:  I mentioned previously that I was considering learning to trim myself and had found a course.  This is still on my radar but is not in my budget at the moment.
3)       Complete the Interdressage Walk/Trot Test with Apollo
4)       Submit/pay for Henry’s warmblood paperwork
5)       Ride 20 times.  This is my huge goal that I think July is the perfect month for.  I will keep a little ride log on my phone and submit my notes at the end of July.

6)       Run 5km race (on August 5...slightly out of July but still sort a July goal).
7)       Ride outside
8)       Book massages for the whole herd
9)       Learn to braid 

Lots to do this month!  I've decided to do the show in August....eek! :)


Notes from the Horse Auction

Well....I didn't buy a horse!  That's a win in itself.

Certainly my experience this time was much better than my previous visit.  There weren't a ton of horses at this sale and there were a lot of attendees.  The prices were pretty decent I thought.  Some horses went for meat price (or south of it) but most horses seemed to go to individuals/families.  A few horses were a bit thin and/or had poor hooves but most seemed in good health. 

The good: 
- A mom and her kids bought a thin gray weanling...I was worried about that one. 
- Prices seemed cheap but fair.
- Most horses seemed in good health.

The bad:
-It broke my heart a little when two of the heavy horse teams were split up (they seemed so attached to eachother and glided around the sale ring together) and when some of the yearlings went for under 100 I was a bit sad.

The ugly:
-There was one seller who was clearly some kind of horse rustler/hustler.  He brought his "neighbours horses" to the sale and I didn't buy that for one second.

My friend, C, didn't buy a horse either.  I think she just wanted to get a sense for what a horse auction was like.  I am so glad I didn't get a bid card.  There was a little morgan stud colt who went for $150 who had a very Henry-ish vibe.... but I didn't go there. 

We might try again at next month's sale.  I actually kind of wish I had a bid card for one part.... they sold these awesome purple saddle stands just before the horses for about $10.

Here's a few pics from the sale ring of some of the nicer ponies:

I felt a little weird taking photos but I noticed others doing it as well.  I thought about Henry a lot at this sale.  He went through an auction and on to a feedlot (he was sold in Ontario in the winter).  I'm happy he ended up with me! :)