Sunday, 30 October 2016

Henry Lesson #4

I’m happy to report that Henry and I finally had another lesson last Saturday!  I hadn't been able to lesson the previous two weekends (one because of scheduling and one because I was sick). 

Henry loves "jumping"

I told ST that I feel like we are ready to canter soon.  Henry didn’t do a ton of canter work with RK, but I honestly don’t think he’ll be silly about it.  I suspect it will be a fair of work to get him/keep him cantering.  ST suggested I do some canter work on the lunge line with him and we will hopefully try for a canter next lesson.  

We mainly worked on going forward (ongoing life theme for Henry), precision/timing of my aids and transitions.  We trotted for almost the whole lesson. 

Tired pony

ST worked us pretty hard!  Henry doesn’t usually get super sweaty but he was drenched!

Our homework is as follows:

1)      WTC on the lunge line 
2)      Forward forward forward
3)      No more halting allowed when Kate needs a break, we must walk.  Forward.  ST recommended that I not stop him at all until I’m ready to get off.

I feel like my spin classes really saved my butt in this lesson.  My legs weren’t as tired and I wasn’t as out of breath as I usually feel when I ride Henry (he is also doing more of the work than me now, but it’s still a lot more work for me than my other two).  

Henry and I are currently working on finding him a saddle that fits better.  The one I’m using isn’t causing pain (confirmed by a saddle fitter and his chiro/massage people) but it’s not great.  For a while it seemed to fit pretty well but with this latest growth spurt …. It’s not as good as I would like.  I am hoping to try the following saddle soon:

Equipe Expression 

*grabby hands*  I am creepily in love with this saddle.

Anyone have any thoughts or experience with Equipe?  I will have a saddle fitter to assist me (she might be able to make some minor tweaks also if needed).  She also will bring some other used options for me to try out.

Saturday, 29 October 2016

Between the Ears Results/Answers!

Thanks so much everyone who submitted ears or joined in on the guessing.  I think it was a fairly challenging guessing game right? I found myself getting pretty confused as I put the photos together.

So first off, I made a few errors (bad blogger lady!) that I have to confess....

There are no photos of O (Olive) from A Gift Horse, only Deedee.  So I gave marks to anyone who guessed O or Deedee for the two photos submitted.  That was totally my bad, I thought I knew and I was completely wrong.

Also, Renate pointed out to me that there is no letter "Y".  So not sure what's up with that.  Y doesn't feel like a real letter to me for some reason.

I also wanted to apologize to Grace from the Horseback Artist, as somehow her ears submission did not make it... I'm sure I either clicked something by accident on my phone or the issues with my e-mail caused it.  So her name was still entered into the draw for those who submitted pictures.

The grand prize winner is (with a grand total of 31 correctly guessed ears): Carly of Poor Woman Showing

Actually we had two people score 31!  Both Carly and Renate of Grain Before Groceries did.  I did a draw between the two and Carly's name was drawn.  I have a few goodies for you too Renate, so please contact me also ;)

The random ear submission draw goes to: Katherine W. of Rodney's Saga

If the winners could contact me at kateroseduncan (at)  gmail  (dot) com I will coordinate getting prizes sent out to you!

I think it was a pretty fun contest!  Now I'm off to celebrate my bday - which is today :)

Here are the answers!:

A- Frosty  B- Savvy  C- Henry#1  D - Ramone

E- Georgie  F- Griffin  G - Carmen  H - Georgie

I - Kachina  J - Charlie  K - Iggy  L- Rio  

M- Ramone  N - Estella  O- Romey  P - Dee

Q - Dee  R- Bridget  S - Dreamy  T - Whinney

U - Jampy  V-Bobby  W - Dreamy  X - Deedee

Z - Snappy  1 - Sundance 2 - Paige 3 - Cosmo

4 - Cosmo (from L!) 5 - William 6 - Copper 7 - Stinker

8 - Deedee  9 - Mystic  10 - Henry (#2 - my Henry)  11 - Apollo

Friday, 28 October 2016

BTE Reminder!

The Between the Ears contest closes tonight at midnight! :)

Get your entries in here if you haven't yet!

Also a little flash back Friday...

Thursday, 27 October 2016

A Different Kind of Saddle

Thank you everyone for your kind words on my post yesterday... I am feeling a bit better about things... I hope to have a happy ride report about Mystic soon. <3

Now for something totally different!

I have to confess - I sort of hate exercise.  One of my best friends and I have been trying to be more active lately.  We decided to try a spin class about three weeks ago.

And I freaking loved it.

It's incredibly hard and I sweat a lot (and I actually hate sweating).  But with the amazing beats and fun lighting/disco balls I actually found myself enjoying exercise.  Since that first class I've been hooked!

My spin studio <3

I've noticed a few fringe benefits in my riding too!  My legs are feeling a lot stronger in the saddle.  And my cardiovascular health has improved too (I'm less out of breath riding Henry).  I also ran a 5k last weekend, even with my incredibly sporadic running training, felt easier than it ever had.

Random pinterest horse bike #1

I also have learned how to push myself when things start to get uncomfortable (which is always the moment I quit - in exercise/riding/life).  This sounds crazy but something about spin class has made me feel stronger and braver in other areas of my life.

I actually asked Coach D if we could jump last week during my lesson on Mighty Mare.  Usually she coerces me into doing a few small fences, but I never request jumping.  MM has a gigantic jump, even over tiny jumps and it scares the crap out of me.  I usually do dressage stuff when I ride her.  But I decided that even though I was nervous - I would be fine.  And it was probably my best lesson ever.  Coach D said she had never seen me ride better.

Random pinterest horse bike #2

Since spinning has helped me so much with my riding I have to recommend that other equestrians hop into the spinning saddle too! :)

Has anyone else tried spinning?  Did you love it as much as I do? 

Also... reminder!  My BTE contest closes Friday at midnight - get your guesses in here!

Wednesday, 26 October 2016

Unhappy Trails

I'm still very shaken up as I write this, so I apologize if it makes little to no sense.

Let me back up a little...

I had a wonderful trail ride with Mystic and my friend, C, on Saturday.   I opted to ride in my bareback pad because my back was bothering me and the idea of hauling Mystic's new western saddle in and out of my car didn't exactly thrill me.  I actually have been riding her bareback quite a bit and haven't actually tried her new saddle on her yet (for shame).  It's on my to-do list for sure.  Anyway, we had a short ride down the road and my mare was foot perfect. 

Perfect mare is perfect

In sharp contrast to my ride on her last night, which was utterly terrifying.

There was a new horse added to the herd yesterday and everyone was a bit more excited than usual.  Mystic didn't really seem too bothered by any of the excitement on the ground. 

I had Apollo's verhan in my car, which Mystic has borrowed a few times.  The fit is decent but not perfect.  I'm hoping once I get everything squared away with her new saddle (I need to buy a pad and cinch for it still also) that she won't really be using it at all.  I decided to ride in it last night, just in case some of the other horses galloping around got her a bit jazzed up under saddle.

I tacked her up and walked over to the mounting block.  She was a bit more hesitant to stand still so we worked on that for a few minutes and got that sorted out.

C and I decided to start our ride by cutting through the hay field.  We do this regularly and it's not a big deal.  There is part of the field that gets a bit mucky and that's the only part that Mystic has ever had issue with (and the issue was pretty minor, she just was a bit tentative about walking through the muckier bits...fair enough).  Last night Mystic felt good at first, a little more forward than usual but nothing major.  C's horse has a slower walk so we had to stop and wait a few times for her to catch up.  This is kind of where things started to unravel.

Mystic would not stand still to wait for C and her horse to catch up.  She would dramatically flail to one side or the other, or start backing up.  I tried to calm her with my voice and checked in with myself (was I doing something different? was I not breathing/being relaxed in my body?).  I did a few circles and got a few mediocre stops.  She started to settle a bit as we got closer to the exit of the hay field.  Then she started spooking and scooting.  I could not figure out what she was looking at.  Sometimes she'd be fixated on staring back at the other horses and sometimes she was staring off into a section of trees across the road.  She spooked so hard a few times that she almost fell down the slight bank into the muckier area. 

I tried really hard to stay relaxed in my body and to calm her down with my voice.  C was pretty concerned for me as Mystic was really not acting like herself at all.  But neither of us could figure out the issue.  I had a very stressful day at the office so I wrote it off as Mystic feeding off my bad vibes at that point.

C and I decided to do a shorter ride (to prevent my imminent death).  We followed the exact path we took on Saturday to play it safe.  I was able to get some more obedient halts and half halts out of Mystic on the way out.  C thought maybe she saw some wildlife or something we couldn't see.  Or perhaps riding when it was a bit darker outside had thrown a wrench into her baby brain.  The sun was just starting to go down and it was very cloudly.  But she lives outside.... so..... ??

On the road out she was ok.  She was better than in the hay field but not quite her usual self.  We saw some deer so Mystic had a small spook at them (they did kind of pop out, to be fair).  When we turned around and headed back towards home... shit completely hit the fan.

She was very forward and started to tune me out.  I tried to keep a sense of humor it and was hoping she would start pacing (which she does randomly when she's jazzed) so C could see how it looks, so I was joking with C about that.  I added some circles and some stops.  I even turned back and headed the other direction a few times.  I had a few obedient moments but I could feel I was losing her brain. 

Then a few vehicles passed by.  This is not new/scary for us usually but I definitely felt a bit unnerved.  I tried to get her to stop as they passed.  She went sideways so hard that we almost hit a barbwire fence.  Then she spooked hard and flew back onto the road...directly in the path of large white van.   The driver was able to stop (obviously, as I am not writing this post from a hospital bed or from beyond the grave) but it was incredibly dangerous.  In that moment I had zero control.  It was probably one of the most terrifying moments I've had in my life.  My hands are shaking as I write about it.

Pic from Saturday, same spot as we were almost hit by a fucking van last night

I dismounted and walked her home.  I'm not going to say that I spoke calmly to her after that.  I was fucking pissed off.  We had a moment where she tried to drag me home...but after some choice words (read: beating) she was fine.  She seemed a lot calmer after I dismounted. 

I am honestly still in shock.  I can't figure out what went wrong.  Was it the excitement of the new horse?  Was the verhan uncomfortable?  Was I carrying more bad vibes after a stressful day than I realized?  I feel like if I could figure out what went wrong, I could fix it.... but I have absolutely no idea.

I held it together well enough to untack her and put her out.  I said goodbye to C and hopped in my car. And then proceeded to cry almost the entire drive from Mystic's place to Henry and Apollo's place.  I was planning to ride Henry but decided that I was too rattled.  I just brushed his tail (aka my zen garden) for a really long time and gave him his dinner.

I've been struggling with a lot of guilt lately about sharing my time between three horses.  Mystic is (was?) my favorite horse to ride.  She carried me so kindly and carefully when I was struggling with anxiety/depression issues in the summer.  I felt like being a horse in regular lessons at a busy barn was a bit stressful for her (although maybe I was projecting! because it was stressful for me) so I planned for her to take over Henry's trail pony gig.  I thought it would be a fun break for us.  But I knew it would be hard for me in some ways - because I wouldn't see her or ride her as much.  I find now that our bond isn't quite as close as when I saw her almost every day.  She is a lot more bonded to other horses than she ever has been before.  But she has been completely awesome for me so far on the trail, up until last night anyhow.

I don't really know where to go from here. I'm definitely going to work on getting her western outfit all set up and she is due for a trim soon.  I'll probably spend a bit more time on some ground work stuff.  I am really hoping this is a one-off ride and I don't need to be afraid to ride my favorite horse.

If we have any more rides like that one, she is going down the road to meet trainer RK (Henry's trainer) if he'll take her or she's coming to the property where the boys live for some Coach D rides/lessons.


Monday, 24 October 2016

Between the Ears Contest!

I am SO excited about this contest!!!  In total there are 36 (!) pairs to identify. Wow!  I posted info about the prizes last night check out the post - here. :)

These are the ears you are looking for:

Jampy, Romey and Rio - submitted by Stacie S. of Amateur at Large

Ramone & Cosmo - submitted by L. Williams of Viva Carlos

Cosmo - submitted by Carey of Me Jump Pretty One Day (so for sure at least two pairs of Cosmo ears!)

Dreamy & Snappy - submitted by Elizabeth of Clover Ledge Farm

Copper & Paige - submitted by Sarah of A Soft Spot for Stars

Dee & William - submitted by Renate of Grain Before Groceries

Stinker - submitted by Teresa of Eventing Saddlebred Style

Sundance - submitted by Emma of Walk, Trot, Canter and Banter

Griffin - submitted by Liz S. of In Omnia Paratus 

Bobby - submitted by Carly of Poor Woman Showing

Whinney - submitted by Lola of The Green Horse Blog

Frosty - submitted by Christa R. of Trail Horses of a Different Color

Bridget - submitted by T of Oh Gingersnap!

Savvy - submitted by Wendy of Horse-Crazy Mom

Estella - submitted by Emily R. of The Exquisite Equine

Iggy - submitted by Katherine W. of Rodney's Saga

Georgie - submitted by Nadia of 3day Adventures With Horses 

Kachina - submitted by Sarah O of Autonomous Dressage

Carmen - submitted by Teresa of Journey with a Dancing Horse

Charlie - submitted by Emma of 'Fraidy Cat Eventing

O & DeeDee - submitted by Genny of A Gift Horse

Henry #1 (as my Henry's ears are here too) - submitted by Karly of All In

My herd is all here (Henry #2, Apollo and Mystic) :)

*Reminder: There are a few duplicates (ears that appear more than once, just to mess with you mwhaha)*

Thank you so much to everyone who submitted between the ears photos!  I had some trouble with my hotmail acting up so I apologize if any ears were missed (but I am like 99% sure I got 'em all). Please let me know if I made any typos or errors! :)

You can enter by commenting on this post or by e-mailing to my other (non-lousy hotmail) e-mail account which is kateroseduncan (at) gmail (dot) com.  

I have set my comments to "moderated" for this post and I won't approve any comments until the contest is over.  I know a lot of people who submitted ear photos will be guessing and showing the comments (ie N&Q- are my horse etc) would reveal some pony identities!  

Just to be clear - you don't need to have submitted ears to play along, everyone is welcome to take a stab at guessing! :)

Here we go....!

Good luck to everyone participating!  Guesses will be accepted until midnight on October 28th. Results will be announced on October 29th :)

Sunday, 23 October 2016

Prizes for BTE!

I guess I should update what the prizes are for my Between the Ears contest (that starts tomorrow!).

Grand Prize for Most Correctly Guessed Pairs of Ears:

One ridiculously loud pair of Zocks

These rad cookies from Olivia @ DIY Horse Ownership that KateRose will be attempting (they may not look exactly this pretty... :P)

Randomly Drawn Prize from Ears Submitted:

One ridiculously loud pair of Zocks

These rad cookies from Olivia @ DIY Horse Ownership 

Best of luck to everyone participating! :)

Friday, 21 October 2016

Contest Reminder!

Baby Mystic says don't forget to get your between the ears pics in for the contest!

I have lots submitted already and it's gonna be super fun :D

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, 20 October 2016

Ode to a Garbage Can

Yep.  That title just happened.  Welcome to my classy corner of the internet.

I just wanted to give a little update on my mounting block issues with Apollo.  If you missed my previous posts I'll give you the basics... my old man gelding dumped me twice in the summer after bolting at the mounting block and I have always been sort of fearful at the mounting block.

I think I tried all the suggestions left in the comments from this post.  (thank you thank you thank you)

The grab strap just didn't seem to work for me.  I felt almost more nervous because I was overthinking where my hands were *womp womp*

But I did have a lot of success with a taller mounting block.

Enter the love of my life...

I couldn't actually find a taller mounting block at any of the local tack shops but I did find this empty garbage can at the back of the barn.  I don't think I could use it outside but if I push it down into the sand footing in the indoor arena it's very secure.  I can hop onto Apollo without putting a foot in the stirrup.  Since my steed is a bit roly poly right now that is super helpful with saddle slipping too (when he's rounder it's easier to pull to one side when mounting, no matter how tight my girth is).

So the good news is that I have been feeling great about mounting/riding Apollo lately.  He's been a little stiffer (weather-related, extra chub doesn't help) so I know the exercise is good for him.

Wish the grass was still green!

My time spent standing on the "mounting block" (or handsome garbage can, if you will) has decreased significantly too.  The first time I stood up there shaking for about 5 minutes before I got on.  The next time I shook for about 3 minutes.  Then 2 minutes.  Then I stopped shaking but still made Apollo wait patiently for a minute or two.  Now I hop up after about 30 seconds tops.  Thanks garbage can!

So mostly wins in the mounting block front, woohoo! :)

There was a bit a fail though that I have to confess.  Coach D was really intent on getting me to take Apollo to a clinic last weekend.  I could have probably scraped together the money and figured out the trailer ride.  But I was kind of freaked out about mounting at the new venue.  Here is my brain trying to work on the logistics:

Could I bring my garbage can?  

Should I spray paint it black so it looks more legit?  

Who would hold my horse if I couldn't bring it?  

Should I ask my barn owner's permission? Should I buy it from them? (how weird of would that conversation be)

Should I do some aftermarket mods to the garbage can to make it heavier so I can use it outside?


I decided that I wasn't ready to go to a clinic.  And honestly now I'm sort of kicking myself about it.

Anyway, mostly happy news to report!  I welcome suggestions for taking my new "mounting system" on the road...   :S

Tuesday, 18 October 2016

Unplanned/Unplugged Weekend (plus Between the Ears Contest Update)

Last weekend I was house sitting at the property that Mystic lives at.  I planned to spend every waking moment with my pony (and brought two books to read when it got dark out).  I was also hoping to catch up on a bit of blog reading/writing.

Unfortunately I couldn't get any kind of reliable internet or cell reception all weekend, so blog reading/writing was pretty much out.  Even just being out there killed my phone's battery as it tried to find reception.

As for pony time... that was kind of a fail.  I was on the tail end of a cold when I got there and for some reason being away from all the fun distractions texting, instagram etc made me realize that I completely exhausted.  I had zero energy at all.  I did manage a quick ride on Sunday morning before I left. 

Got to hang out with this pup though! 


Apparently I am not juggling the three horses and two jobs thing as well as I thought.  I don't think normal people can sleep for 12 hours.

Definitely going to be adding some more time in my schedule for relaxation and extra sleep, as I apparently need that quite desperately!

So as I wasn't able to get a reminder up about the Between the Ears submission deadline, I've decided to extend the date for ear submission photos to this Friday at midnight (October 21).  I've gotten quite a few submissions so far and I think it's going to be super fun!  Link here for more info on submitting if you haven't done so yet!  Contest starts next Monday!

I also have two pretty cool prizes lined up.  Here's a sneak peak of one of them from Riders for Well Being. :)

Monday, 10 October 2016

Are you a single-horse or multi-horse person?

My family has owned a few horses over the years.  Some were shared between all of us, some were more my dads and some were more mine.  The first horse that I contributed to the bills on (in a small way) was Blue.  I was his primary rider, save the odd ride from my mom or a friend.   I was 15 when my parents bought him.

For about 6 years I was a single-horse person with Blue.  I really didn't understand people who had more than one horse.  I actually found them sort of ridiculous. How could anyone possibly work full-time and keep more than one horse in work...?  It seemed impossible to me.


After some NQR-ness in our 4th year together... Blue was diagnosed with navicular.  He was eventually sound again after a year of experimentation.  I decided not to jump him again. I was in college during that time so some light riding on the weekends was all I really had time for anyhow.  However, I had always wanted event (sound familiar?) and I didn't feel like it was fair to ask that of him.  So in my 6th year of ownership of Blue I started shopping.  I was just about to graduate college.

And then this big galoot stole my heart.

Apollo's sale ad pic.  Back when his name was "Booger" (cringe).

I actually didn't really like paints.  Or blue eyes.  But I decided to go and ride him anyway.  I kept talking myself out of him.  But after three test rides... I made an offer.  I think part of what appealed to me about Apollo was that he was the opposite of Blue.  He was young, sturdy looking and a bit cheeky. Apollo also cost exactly what remained on my student loan*

*that I am still paying for.  Because I am a multi-horse person.

So my journey into poverty multi-horse owning began.

Even though Blue was in a fairly light work I found managing both horses very challenging.  Financially and time-wise.  I was also in a very serious car accident that lead to me taking a lot of time off from riding.  I told myself that I would never own multiple horses again.  It was too hard.  Whenever Blue's time came, I would just keep Apollo and wouldn't get a second horse.

Sadly a year and half after I got Apollo, Blue had an irreparable tear in his colon.  It was his time. :(

And so I was back to single-horse life.  My heart was completely shattered after Blue died.  I didn't ride a lot.  I honestly think that if I didn't already own Apollo, I would have quit horses altogether. I was a single-horse person with Apollo for 4 years.  We had our ups and downs.  I struggled to find a good place to board him and proper instruction.  But we muddled through.

I have no idea what possessed me to decide that I wanted a second horse again.  I thought a draft cross filly would be a good addition.  So I got one.  And also a warmblood colt too...

Hello human!  We came to be cute and spend all your money!

In January 2017 I will have owned three horses for 4 years.  Wow.  I have spent a fair bit of time being a single-horse person and a multi-horse person.  They both have their own challenges.

The relationship sometimes feelsa bit closer when you only have one horse to work with.  But as someone who can get really stuck on one issue having other horses to ride really helps me.  With Apollo's mounting block issues lately I probably wouldn't be riding much at all.  Luckily I am still working away with Henry and Mystic while Apollo and I figure things out.

I've heard quite a few people say that even if they had all the time and money in the world they would still only have one horse.  I've also had people tell me that's it's not fair of me to have three horses, as how could I possibly give them all enough attention.  I honestly feel like I do a pretty good job managing all three.  But I am incredibly boring and don't really have much of a life outside of my horses and work.  I could see if I had other hobbies or a more active social life it would be pretty much impossible.

So what about you?  Are you a single-horse or multi-horse person? :)