Monday, 29 September 2014

The Big Move

Moving day was a success!  My pick-up time was moved to 1pm so I had to shuffle my schedule around a bit.  Apollo was filthy when I arrived so I brought him in for a quick brush while I waited for the hauler.  I gave him a little bit of beet pulp while I walked out to grab Mystic.  I planned to load Apollo first because he loads well and Mystic hasn’t loaded since she was 6 months old (almost 2 years ago!).  I was hoping Apollo would set a good example!  When the hauler arrived I was just bringing Mystic in from the field so I changed my mind and decided to try her first.  

She strolled in without a moment of hesitation.  I’m so proud of her!  Apollo hopped on afterwards just as cooperatively.  I have dealt with hard loaders in the past and I feel pretty blessed that I ended up with such good loaders (HORSE MOM BRAG!).  I don’t have a trailer to practice on so I can’t really take credit!

I am always kind of a nervous wreck whenever any of my horses is in a trailer.  I totally trust Greg (the hauler); I just don’t trust the other yahoos on the road.  The horse convoy followed me out on the trek out to my new barn and it was hard for me to look at the road in front of me instead of staring at the trailer in my rear-view mirror!    

There was a bit of confusion when I arrived about where the ponies needed to go but it was all sorted out.  Mystic is living in the mare pasture with my sweet lesson horse from last week.  And Apollo is in the gelding pasture on the other side of the property.  I actually thought they were going to be living together but I think this is better.  I always feel kind of bad when I catch one and not the other, this way neither one of them can see what I’m doing with the other one!  The mare pasture is gorgeous, lots of trees and it’s huge.  The gelding pasture is huge too and has one tree-lined fenceline.  Bonus about the gelding pasture is that it has the outdoor area on one side of it and the road (which I plan to ride down this week) on the other.  So Apollo will be pretty used to his surroundings in the outdoor arena and down the road when we start using them.

I hung out and watched both horses for a bit.  Mystic was a bit apprehensive to go make friends so I walked to Sienna (my lesson horse buddy) and gave her an apple.  She followed me over to Mystic and they made friends.  Mystic had a big drink from the waterer and then followed Sienna back to the herd.  They trotted around a bit but it was more standing around and sniffing eachother.  Apollo’s herd mates wanted to run around so badly.  Apollo...not so much.  He tried to participate in the running around at a slow trot with his head down so he could graze.  It was a pretty weak multi-tasking attempt.  After about 10 minutes they were all together eating.  I’ve never seen him fit in with a herd so quickly!  

Mystic debates meeting new friends

 Beautiful road to my new barn, can't wait to ride down this!

I decided to take off because I had a couple of errands to run in town and I wanted to try Henry’s new coats on.   The amigo was on sale for 50% in vegas, it’s a bit big but I think he will grow into it.  It will also make a good top layer under the other the other blanket that fits him better.  The amigo is a 78 but apparently this style fits a bit small.  The premiere blanket is a 77 and is a pretty good fit.  Henry is probably more of a 75/76 but I’ve had a heck of a time finding those sizes.  Henry and Mystic can share the 78s this year at least.  I think she’ll end up in an 80 eventually but I wouldn’t be shocked if he stayed around a 78...even if he does get taller!

Here’s winterized Henry.

I went back out later to check on Mystic and Apollo.  Apollo was still grazing, right in the middle of the herd.  Mystic was near the other horses and came galloping when I called her.  I brought her in for a snack and brush.  

I’m happy the day went so smoothly.  Hopefully Mystic and Apollo like their new home :)

Friday, 26 September 2014

Lesson :)

I was definitely nervous leading up to my lesson on Wednesday  I haven’t ridden a horse besides Apollo in probably 5 years.  I haven’t ridden had any riding instruction in almost 4 years.

And it was awesome!

I rode a lovely TB mare who was very quiet and forgiving.  We did lots of rider stretches to start off with.  My instructor, SP, gave me a lot of positive feedback about my riding.  My position is correct and she even said my two-point was good.  My two-point probably had cobwebs on it….the last time I actually jumped Apollo in a serious way was probably 2008.  My stirrups were a lot shorter than usual so I kept putting my heels down too much, I think I probably have been riding with my stirrups too long for years.   The instructor was positive and fun, but gave me lots of things to work on.  She also told me that I’m waaaay too hard on myself. 

I did lots of two-point practice in the trot and then popped over 5 fences (*gasp*).  And I didn’t die.  I also didn’t lose my balance or catch my lovely lesson horse in the mouth, which I was pleased about.  My instructor left and told me to cool out the mare outside.  It was nice to have a little preview of the outdoor riding at my new digs.  I’m also a bit in love with the mare I rode!

Look at that sweet face (she is also for sale, this is from her ad)

I am so happy with my decision to move to this barn!   I feel confident with lots of help from my awesome new instructor, SP, Apollo and I will be ready to event next summer :)  

I have a new phone (that doesn’t have a horrible cracked screen) and I hope to get some pictures and videos to share from future lessons.

Wednesday, 24 September 2014

Adventure in the Desert

I got home on Monday night at about 1am from my desert adventure.  I left last Friday and it was an absolute whirlwind.  My husband has competed 3 times in the Silver State Classic (in Ely, Nevada) as a driver with his dad as his navigator.  His dad couldn’t make it this time so he asked me.  The navigator job is pretty simple, you really just keep track of the times to make sure you are on pace.  Todd and his dad did well in the past but never made it into the top 3 (if you do, you get a trophy).  I don’t really like to drive fast, I’m kind of bad at math and I tend to get a bit frazzled under pressure.  I feel like I’m kind of a poor navigator choice - but....I decided to go for it.  We did the 105 mph class.

Our wheels

There were a lot of delays the morning of the race.  Sadly there was a fatality in one of the higher speed classes.  The weather was a bit iffy as well.  Todd drove the course perfectly and we worked well as a team adjusting meeting our time targets.  By my stopwatch our finishing time was 51.25.82 (51 minutes, 25 seconds and 82 milliseconds) and our goal time was 51.25.7.  I thought that was pretty darn good but I had no concept of how close other teams usually get.  

Off we went to the awards banquet in Las Vegas.  And drum roll....

We won!

Me and my first place navigator plate!

My dad won his class too, along with many others on our team.  For the first time ever the team won first place as well – which is awesome!

The next day Todd treated me to some horse shopping at WC Equestrian.  It’s a huge store with some great sale items and also some higher end stuff.  I got a winter blanket for Henry (50% off booyah), a groovy new mane comb, a cute key chain and t-shirt. 

I’m happy to be home and back into my routine (because I am a giant square).  

I have my first lesson at my new barn today :)

SFTS Blog Hop: Why I Do What I Do

This is such a cool blog hop topic.  I’m going to try to do more blog hops; they’re so fun and get me thinking.:)

So, why do I do what I do?

Well, I don’t do much at the moment but in 4 days I am moving two of my horses to an eventing barn.  I’m not sure I officially “do” eventing yet but it’s the discipline I have decided to focus my energy on.  I haven’t done any cross-country work since Pony Club but I have recently rediscovered my love for riding in the great outdoors.  I think the variety that eventing provides helps create well-rounded horses and riders.  I’m looking forward to working on my dressage, x-country and showjumping skills.  I focused on dressage the last time I seriously took lessons and although I really did enjoy it, I need to have some other stuff to work on.  I seem to become a nit-picking perfectionist when I focus solely on dressage.

I have a facebook friend who competes in eventing (at quite a high level) and seeing her pictures really inspired me.  We took our first riding lesson together at age 7 and it’s been so cool to follow her on her eventing journey.  

My background is English lessons (at a jumping focused barn) from age 7-12 and then Pony Club from age 15-17.  After that it’s been kind of all over the place.  I never really had a set discipline and only ever did two pony club shows and a barn schooling show.  I’m interested in eventually dabbling in the following disciplines as well: hunters/jumpers, competitive trail and driving.     

Thanks for the great blog hop SFTS! :)

Wednesday, 17 September 2014

Surprise Vet Day & Other Goings On

Well... I had planned to have Mystic and Henry's teeth checked in about 6 months.  But when Mystic had a sunburn on her nose on Sunday (after not burning all summer), I was kind of worried.  I had flashbacks to Apollo's alsike clover toxicity episode so I thought I'd rather be safe than sorry.  Apollo burned his face so badly when that happened that the vets weren't sure the hair on his face would ever grow back.  So I'm a bit trigger happy about random sunburns.

Here it is:

Poor pony :(

The vet said she's seen a lot of these types of burns after the recent snowstorm and she can't figure out why.  She said to treat like a sunburn (I am expert level 115 at treating/preventing equine sunburns usually) and assured me she was pretty certain it wasn't alsike toxicity.  I also couldn't find any alsike clover in their pasture.

I had to cancel my first lesson at my new barn for my vet appointment today but I have rescheduled it to next week.  I'm a combination of excited/nervous about that!

On the weekend Henry wore a saddle and walked over a tarp like it was no big deal.  He's gotten a bit pushy lately and we've been having some "conversations" about that.  I'm starting to brainstorm how to help him have a better winter this year, he seems to have a heck of time not looking like a skeleton in the winter!

I got a few good rides in on Apollo too!

Note the snow!  A little different from my last outdoor ride!

I forgot my lungeline outside, somewhere under this snowpile....

I've been feeling so tired lately and I can't seem to sleep enough to feel rested.  So I apologize if this post makes no sense or if I leave nonsense comments on the blogs of others!  :P

Wednesday, 10 September 2014

Weird Week

We are having some seriously crazy weather here right now!  It went from 20 degrees on Sunday at the dressage show to 0 in two days.  Brr!  All the snow and wind have taken down lots of trees near me also.  My little car had a foot of snow on it this morning...gross!

My husband is in Columbia for work and since he's been gone our furnace broke.  Our house hasn't been too cold so far, which is a blessing.  I don't really trust myself to tinker with the furnace (that's his department...I'm too afraid to burn my eyebrows off).  I was kind of enjoying the "adventure" of the snow storm.  It does have a few perks.  1) The dog park is empty.  2) Picking up dog poop in snow is much easier/tidier.  3) Work is quieter.

But I got some bad news today.  My barefoot trimming course has been cancelled (too much snow at the facility and currently no power).  I'm pretty bummed out but I'm hoping I can be squeezed in for the October session.  I'm having major horse withdrawn right now.  The driveway at my barn can be a bit treacherous and I don't have my winter tires on yet so I haven't been able to visit my herd since Saturday.  Since I have nothing new on the horse front I will just share some weird (and sometimes borderline creepy) snow-related memes I found.

Well then....I hope to have something horsey to say soon! :)

Saturday, 6 September 2014

Leaving Our Comfort Zone + Goals

Lately I've been trying to push Apollo and I outside of our comfort zone.

I used to be this wild and crazy horsenut who schooled her green-as-grass horse (Apollo) on canter transitions in a bareback pad with a halter and no helmet.  After I hurt my back in my car accident I became kind of a weenie.  But I'm working on it!  I will never be that girl again but maybe I'm like...her cousin, her more demure helmet-wearing cousin.

I mentioned previously that one of my goals has been riding outside.  Which I have been doing, sort of.  I have been hopping on Apollo while he snacks on grass and sort of directing him around the small grassy area outside of his pasture.  Today I decided we were going to ride next to to road, in proper tack and out of the view of his herdmates.

And he was a rockstar.  We mostly walked...baby steps for the weenie outdoor pilot. We encountered two low-flying planes and a helicopter (my barn is nearby a small local airport), motorcyles, cyclists, trucks pulling boats/RVs, and the barn cats popping out randomly.  None of that stuff concerned him in the least.  He did give a large and odd looking mushroom the hairy eye for a few seconds but that's about it.

It was such a nice ride and I was so proud of my big pony.

I was trying come up with September goals on Thursday night and brainstormed that I needed to hop over a jump or two before I move to the eventing barn.  Rather than overthink it I found some ground poles and some weird cavelleti standards and popped over it that night.  It was the tiniest jump I've ever seen but Apollo was quite game and although I could tell he was excited about jumping (after a good 5 years off haha) he was very well-behaved.  I'll do a bit more jumping now that I have a new non-rubbing girth (so I can ride in my saddle and not my bareback pad).

WEG, here we come.

Here's a quick review of my August Goals:
1)      Baths for young horses -  Check! Henry had a real bath in the wash rack and Mystic had a bucket bath.
2)      Interdressage with herd  - Nope, I blew on horse budget this month on blankets for Apollo when he was in the diet pen. 
3)      20 rides on Apollo - Nope, Apollo as NQR for about two weeks.  I would say we maybe got more like 7ish rides.
4)      Make final decisions and a plan on the questions!  - Check!  See below*
5)      Take nice photos of the herd before they get their winter woollies on - Check! Here they are!: http://www.peaceandcarrotshorse.blogspot.ca/2014/08/weekend-photo-explosion.html

* These were the questions I was debating in early August
Should I leave my weekend barn job?  I was thrown for a loop when the other girl wanted my hours and then she left.  So I will continue working there after all.  Which is fine with me :)
Should I move Apollo for the winter to the eventing barn I’ve been eyeing?  Yes!  We move on September 28 at 9am.  I have decided to take Mystic also but will leave Henry at the closer barn so I can feed him regularly, for the convenience factor. 
Should I start my distance education in the fall?  I am doing a job shadow next week but will not be starting any school work until January at the earliest.

September Goals:
1) Ride as much as possible

Yep, I'm keeping it simple.  I have my barefoot trimming course next week and I go to Vegas the following weekend.  I will be focusing on doing my best to ride as much as I can! :)  I'm going to watch some of my friends compete in a dressage show tomorrow, should be fun.

Now for some other random pictures from the last few weeks:

Handsome Henry

Mystic munchin' 

Molly rolling at the barn with a captive audience

My favorite kind of afternoon