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Friday, 23 October 2015

Apollo's Son

I'm sure at some point in my blog I've mentioned that Apollo was a stallion (and only halterbroke) until he was 8 years old. 

The whole reason that he was gelded and sent for training is that he jumped out of his stallion paddock and bred a mare.  His owners, who were also his original breeders, always intended to geld him and ride him but were very intimidated by his size.  I am forever grateful that he jumped out of his pen like a wild man because that started a chain of events that lead him to me.  The lady, T, who put 30 days on him was the niece of the original owners and is still a good friend of mine (and I have left Apollo to her in my will).

His one time tryst in the pasture actually produced a colt, named Strydor. 




Strydor ended up having a somewhat similar story to Apollo.  Gelded and sent for training with T at 8 years old. Strydor came up for sale about a month after I bought Mystic and Henry.  He didn't really grab me the way Apollo did when I first saw his pictures.  But I was pretty distracted by my adorable new youngsters at that point.


Big daddy Apollo




Mr. Strydor
 

It's lucky that I didn't buy Strydor because he turned out to be quite a bucker.  After a few months for sale and injuring T he was sent back to be a pasture pet.  Which is where he is currently.  I think if I had property I might offer to take him, but at this point that's not going to happen.





Apollo has something weird wrong with his hind end.   He gets kinked up when a farrier works on his hind legs.  I have had this investigated by at least 5 vets, osteopaths, chiropractors, and massage therapists.  He's totally sound to ride but this has always bothered me.  No one has ever been able to find anything.  Sometimes I wonder if he passed on a more severe version of this issue to Strydor (my guess has always been that it's in his hip joints) and that caused him to buck. 




I want to kiss that cute pink nose!



Strydor is pretty stinkin' cute!  It's so weird that my horse has a son.  Every once in a while T sends me an update on him and maybe one day he can be my pasture pet :)

Tuesday, 20 October 2015

Still Standing

First off - thank you everyone for your kind words about Blue.  <3

I've been fighting a terrible cold that left me feeling pretty brain dead lately.  When I do have the mental faculties to read anything I’ve been having the same issue as Shauna. I have an expired browser on my work computer and so I'm not able to comment.   Hopefully that will be sorted out soon.  

Life has been a bit of a whirlwind lately.  The cold left me in kind of a mental fog (which prevented a lot of reading/writing) but a lot of wonderful things have been happening.

This is pretty much me right now.



I can’t believe I’m actually enjoying taking lessons.  Particularly my lessons with eventing coach D.  I actually have fun.  And learn things!  It’s so strange to not dread lessons.   I don’t remember ever looking forward to lessons and now I really do.  I ride a paintxdraft cross mare named Betty and I freaking love her.



Poor quality dark photo from my first lesson!  Awkward moment for both of us but I love this mare <3 



Coach D told me at my last lesson that my position is nearly perfect (not as displayed in the above picture obviously hah!).  She says it’s fun to teach someone who can work on exercises rather than nitpicking their position all the time (*swoon*).  My only big issue is that I still struggle with keeping my hands closed but she says I’m already improving on that on my own.   The exercises she gives me are challenging but doable.  At my first lesson with her I felt uneasy trotting around an outdoor arena on a strange horse.  Now I’m doing patterns with serpentines, cantering, raised poles and other obstacles.  Pretty amazing changes for a month!  I couldn’t ask for anything better from my lessons with her.  

My lessons at the dressage barn are going awesome as well.  Coach B says I haven’t missed a beat from where I left off with her.  

Dressage superpony Jazz enjoys after our rides...snacktime.

 

Mystic leaves for training in 10 days (training starts in 12 days).  AHHHHH!!!!  I have more time this week to work with her so I hope to put all the finishing touches on before she leaves.  I am still perfecting her lunging work and would like to start putting weight on her back soon.
 
Speaking of Mystic... she has a saddle now!  The DK fits her quite well after a small adjustment.  It might need further adjusting once she’s working more but for the moment it looks pretty perfect.  Thank goodness I didn’t sell it after all! 

Today I bought her a bit - a copper french link made by Stubben. Hopefully she likes it.  The trainer likes to start horses in a french link and the only one in her size that I could find was in copper (so it was extra expensive, only the best for my girl!).



Two lovely bridles arrived from my good blogging buddy Stacie last night, I'm so excited to try them on the youngsters!  Pics soon, I promise :)


Two-pointober time from last night...not as much improvement as I'd like but still getting better.  
Note to self - rubber boots are terrible for practicing two-point.





 

Tuesday, 6 October 2015

Tribute/Letter to Blue


I’ve tried multiple times to write a tribute to my gelding, Blue, on my blog.  Whenever I try to write anything I end up bursting into tears and then I completely scrap the idea.  Blue shaped who I am as a horsewoman (and probably a human being) and I’m determined to write him a proper tribute today. :)


 

In March 2008 I put down my saintly/quirky thoroughbred gelding, Blue, after 8 years together.  He was 22 years old and had an inoperable tear in his colon.  He carefully carried me through pony club, jumping & dressage lessons.  Many of my teenage secrets were whispered into his ears and many teenage tears were cried into his mane.  I jumped my biggest jumps on him and galloped my fastest gallops.  




After some mysterious lameness issues he was diagnosed with navicular at age 18.  I was eventually able to get him 100%  sound at age 20 but I decided not to jump him again.  I learned a lot about lameness care/management during his “off” years.  



He was kind of a crabby dude (ie you couldn’t touch him when he was eating or he would stop eating altogether) and he was the world’s hardest keeper.  He also was definitely was handled unkindly in his life.  But he had a heart of gold.  I have never met a horse with such a sense of try.  He was a wonderful gentleman under saddle and I think in our two years of jumping he only refused twice (both times when he was at the beginning of the navicular onset).  He was sometimes a bit of a “hot” ride and liked to be speedy around the jump course.  At first it scared me but once I trusted him we had a lot of fun together.  

High quality high school cell phone pic!



When I put him down I was completely devastated.  My boyfriend at the time (not my current husband) recommended I see a grief counsellor.  I agreed.  I went once and she recommended a write a letter to Blue to say goodbye.  I never did.  When I read other blogs and the wonderful tributes to beloved equines who have passed on - I wish I did.  So here goes.




Dear Blue,

If there is a horse heaven I know you are there.  Recently your good friend Nova joined you.  He stood next to you in your final moments and the idea of you two being together again makes my heart a bit happier.  I’m sure in horse heaven that no one touches you or looks at you when you’re eating. :P

I feel so lucky that I got to be your person.  I wish we had more time together but I cherish the time that we did have.  Every teenage girl should have a Blue.  I had so much fun with you, seeing you was always my favourite part of the day.  It wasn't always fun to be a teenager, riding was my escape.

Thank you for always taking care of me.  Even when I didn’t deserve it.  Even when I was being a reckless moron.  There are not enough words express how grateful I am.   You had a heart of gold. 

I know that humans were not always kind to you.  I saw the whites in your eyes every time I pulled the broom off the hook on the wall and saw scars on your body inflicted by poorly fitting saddles.  I did my best to take care of you.  I know I wasn’t perfect but I hope you know that I tried my hardest to make you happy.  I hope that your last 8 years were your happiest years.  You were so fiercely loved by a weird teenage girl/weird adult lady.  I hope you know how much you were loved.  I had a few strands of your mane in my wedding bouquet.  So I met the “old, borrowed, and Blue” requirements pretty easily!  I hoped that I would be able to ride you down the aisle but I know you were there in spirit.

I think about you every day and especially when I handle my young horses.  I try to remember to be kind and patient with them, even when they are driving me crazy.  I try to treat them the way I wish you were treated.  I try to show them the kindness and patience that you always showed me.

Mom and I still talk about you all the time.  We sure miss you.

I hope you heard me in your last few moments telling you what a good boy you were.  Thank you for everything.

Love always,

Your Girl
 




Thanks for reading this post!  Definitely a few tears fell as I wrote, I hope it makes sense.

I hope I was able to share a little bit about how wonderful my Blueboy was. I have added his picture to the sidebar of my blog also. :)  Hopefully I will scan some more photos onto the computer of him soon.  I know my mom took a million jumping pics of us!


Two-pointobering

I was able to get my time in for twopointober last night!  I also had to figure out how to take a screen shot with with my iphone.  Done and done!



My goal is to break into 10 minutes plus.  I'm going to practice twice a week.  I think my goal is pretty doable.  My legs could have gone on for a lot longer but my right ankle started hurting at the two minute mark.  Not sure what that was about. 


My official time!







The struggle was real...


 
 

I probably haven't ridden Apollo in a two-point since last October.  Apollo had a moment of OTTFC (off the track flailing clydesdale) at first so I made him walk for most of our first go-round.  I don't want to be a OTTFC jockey....just want to improve my two-point.

I'll be doing more running this month so I hope that will help improve my time (along with twice weekly practice) :)

Apollo Back on Track-ing before our ride :)



Post two-point power walk! 
 


Good luck to everyone participating!  There's still time to join if you haven't yet.  Check out L & Hillary's posts here and here.

Thursday, 1 October 2015

September Goal Review & October Goals

I think I did fairly well on my September goals.  Not perfect but made improvements in all areas. 

October is a big month.  It's Mystic's last month before she goes for training and it's my 30th birthday (on the 29th).  I also start weekly lessons with an eventing coach and at the dressage barn.








Here's a quick breakdown of how my September goals went:

Kate:
1)      Clean car.  (in desperate need) Started on this mountain of a task, hoping to finish off within the week.
2)      Buy/find a bit & bridle combination for Mystic. I was given a bridle and I do have a bit for her but I can’t find it.  But I’m still calling that a win.
3)      Lose 4 pounds. (ugh…wearing breeches instead of sweat pants would be swell) I made progress but got a bit derailed.  Was able to drop from 150.2 to 149.  1.2lbs is better than nothing.
4)      Make a proper to-do list for Mystic with assistance from potential trainer and “Making Not Breaking” by Cherry Hill Done!  Will be posted shortly.

Mystic:
1)      Lunge walk/trot/canter politely in both directions. I mentioned here that I tried to get help from a coach…and didn’t exactly get the results I was hoping for.  Definitely made improvements this month but not where I wanted us to be.
2)      Have a bath and be tidied (mane trim and tail banged). Done!
3)      Practice using hoof stand. Check!
4)      Wear a bridle.  She wore it without a bit…. Doesn’t quite count.

Henry:
1)      Improve ground manners.  Check!
2)      Be tidied (mane trim and tail banged). Check!
3)      Practice using hoof stand. Check!

Apollo:
1)      Be ridden 4 times a week.  Yes and no.  I was able to reach this goal for two weeks of the month.  The other two didn’t work out for various reasons.  Four times a week is really the amount that he needs (which I felt on the weeks that I didn’t!)
2)      Be tidied (mane trim and tail banged). Check!
3)      Practice using hoof stand. Check!
4)      Participate in photoshoot with Kate (done by Mr. Kate). Check!  See it here. :)

I ran another 5k in September which was rad!


Now moving onto my October goals. I kind of liked dividing up the goals by horse/human, so I'll continue with that.

Kate
1) Participate in Two Pointober (so happy it's back!
2) Create a fitness and nutrition plan and maintain consistency. I've decided to steer away from a specific weight loss goal.
3) Find a saddle that fits Mystic. The DK has an appointment for an adjustment on the 14th - fingers crossed it will work!
4) Have an adult pony ride on Mystic

Mystic
1) Continue to perfect lunging at the w/t/c.
2) Be ponied by Apollo.
3) Be sat on by Kate.

Henry
1) Continue to work on ground manners.

Apollo
1) Be ridden 4 times a week.
2) Pony Mystic politely.