Monday, 18 May 2015

The Long Way Around

Since May 2014 Apollo and I have endured the following issues (sort of in this order):

- On and off lameness last summer

- Lameness resolved by Apollo being less fat

- Move to eventing barn

- Soundness issues return

- Hind fetlock injections and saddle re-flock

- Soundness remains hit and miss 

- Apollo becomes very disobedient under saddle

- I give up on eventing a move back to previous barn

- Realize that re-flocked saddle was hurting Apollo

- Have dressage saddle adjusted and re-flocked adjusted, and accept that DK saddle will never fit

- Focus energy on dressage and take lessons on a school horse

- Apollo sees two body workers and is treated for ulcers 

- Ride in bareback pad for two months waiting for dressage saddle to be ready

- Dressage saddle returns and doesn't fit properly (resulting in extreme disobedience under sadddle from Apollo)

- Buy fugly saddle

- School out the crowhop

What a long strange trip it's been!  Things are not perfect now either - but I have a saddle that fits and I'm starting to feel like we're getting somewhere. 

I bought a new bridle because half of mine went missing in my last barn move (I've been riding in my bitless bridle since the move).  I bought a new cheapie one from kijiji.  It's black with orange/brownish piping.  I wasn't a huge fan of the piping but since my saddle is so ugly...who cares.  It's actually not very noticeable once it's on.  It just barely fits Apollo's head, I might have to swap out the browband for my old one.  The leather quality is pretty good, although it could use a good cleaning.

"What is this "ground tie...?" (his feelings were so hurt by me shoo-ing him to get this photo)

Pumpkin-detailing and my cool band-aid

I've been wracking my brain for ideas on where we should set goals now!

I had a dream about cantering Apollo through an open field last week.  When I woke up I thought: "A competitive trail ride!".  So I'm gearing our training towards that at the moment. He's at his happiest when he is being ridden outside.  I don't expect to be competitive (he's probably as against type as you can get for a competitive trail ride).

The more I think about it the more it sounds like a good idea. 

I have lots of other exciting horse news/plans to share so I will likely be posting a lot this week!

Also, will you still be my friend if I have purple hair like this?  Another hare-brained idea floating around my brain this week.

Saturday, 16 May 2015

One Year

I have all kinds of exciting horse-related news to share...but today I am celebrating my one year anniversary with my wonderful husband.  So I'm sharing a huge collection of photos from our big day instead. :)

It's been a great year :)

Sunday, 10 May 2015

FCE Blog Hop

Okay so technically the 'Fraidy Cat Eventing Blog Hop is over...but it has taken me from April 20th until now to find the box where my favorite ribbon was! 

So here it is.  A lovely tri-color from when I was a young girl riding a lesson pony named Lucy.  I felt pretty darn proud of myself that day. 

One day I hope to have more satin to add to my small collection :)

Saturday, 9 May 2015

Incidents of Concern

I’ve essentially been saddle-less for two months.  Apollo has been lunged a few times a week and I’ve ridden bareback a few times at the walk.  I’ve been playing it very safe since the crow-hoppy ride in the overflocked saddle early in April …which was followed by a crow-hoppy ride in the bareback pad.  I know the fugly saddle fits him like a glove and he has no excuse to behave like a crow-hopping idiot…and if he does - at least I have some goddamn stirrups now.

After a quick pre-flight check on the lunge line I finally had a proper ride in the fugly saddle on Monday.

Yeah...he farted as I took this pic.  Classy clydesdale.

It did not start off well.  I put a foot in the stirrup and started to swing my leg over his back…the stirrup snapped.  I fell back onto the mounting block and somehow the stirrup iron hit me square in the chest. I didn’t hook up one of my fugly stirrups properly.  *face palm

Apollo is used to my clumsiness so he pretty much stood there rolling his eyes.  I will admit that it unnerved me a bit.  I reattached it and proceeded to mount my horse like a normal human being.

He picked up a nice forward walk and seemed genuinely pleased to be ridden in his favourite saddle again.  When I asked for the trot the crow-hopping demon returned.   I just kept thinking about riding forward, ignoring the leaping horse tantrum occurring beneath me.  Then all of sudden it was like he realized that the saddle felt great and he wanted to RUN.  Like the mother effing wind.  Good lord.         

I decided to do a lot of walk-trot transitions and only allowing a few strides of trot until he started actually listening to me.  There were quite a few dodgey moments in this ride but we did end on a good note.  Eventually I was actually able to do a few nice 20 metre circles of trot where he was very cooperative.  

I have been doing a fair bit of riding in the bitless bridle but I will be putting a bit in his mouth next ride for sure!  Just in case the OTTFC (off the track flailing Clydesdale) returns.  I'm planning to do quite a bit of riding this weekend so I will have an update on the behavior under saddle soon.

So my sketchy ride was incident of concern #1.  There was an incident in the field that involves Henry that is #2.

Henry's usual state of being...

The barn owner’s son was catching horses for the farrier last week.  As he caught them he was tying them up to the fence (but still inside the pen with other horses).  I was grazing Apollo on the other side of the barn but I could see what was going on. All of sudden Henry approached one of the mares that was tied.  He started playing with her rope and making grumpy faces at her.  She was completely ignoring him.  

Out of nowhere he started double barrel kicking her and generally going berserk.  I quickly put Apollo in a catch pen and ran over.  I untied the mare and shooed Henry.  The barn owner’s son ran over to help.  I asked him if she was in heat and he said “No, she’s pregnant”.  

I felt sick.  Henry random attacked a pregnant mare for no reason. I know that keeping pregnant mares with a herd of other horses is a small risk and tying a horse in a pen with other horses isn’t the safest idea….but still.  I feel terrible and guilty about the whole thing.  I honestly had no idea that any of the mares with the herd were pregnant.  

I spent a few days/nights in a panic because I was afraid I would be asked to leave the barn.   Is my horse a sociopath?!

I waited to write this post because I was pretty sure I was going to get kicked out of the barn, since it's been a week since this occurred I feel safe from eviction but still very guilty. :(

Mystic hasn't done anything wild or rude lately. #maresforthewin

Sunday, 3 May 2015

Apollo's Bday & Saddle Update

My big pony is now 16 years old!  He was spoiled today with a massage from my good friend and many many carrots.  Technically his birthday was on Friday but I've been pretty slow on the birthdays this year. 

<3 !

A wonderful gift to both of us is that we finally have a saddle that fits!  It isn't exactly what I had in mind but I'm happy.  After our follow-up appointment with the saddle fitter on April 28 we were kind of left in limbo.  The re-flock of the cloud saddle was not a success.  It was overflocked and the saddle fitter couldn't seem to get the fit right.  After much tinkering she recommended I get something custom for him.

A custom saddle is not an option.  Particularly after a year of questionable soundness.... and uncertain future plans.  There is also no way that I could afford it right now.  I felt really stuck and frustrated. 

In 2013 (pre-blogging) I borrowed a saddle for about 6 months.  It was a barefoot treeless saddle.  I kind of thought it was ugly and found riding in it to be so-so.  But Apollo LOVED it.  The owner of the saddle didn't have a horse to ride anymore so she let me use it.  My DK saddle was for sale and I told her that when it sold I would be interested to purchase it.

Well my DK never sold and after 6 months I felt guilty so I gave it back to her.  I mostly rode bareback but I rode in it about once a week while I had it.  For some reason it popped into my mind and I decided to e-mail the saddle's owner.  She still had it and I decided to purchase it.  It offends my eyes but my horse is happy!  At least we have something to get him into shape. 

It looks like of like this.  Feast your eyes...or cover your eyes.  Whatever!