Saturday, May 31, 2014

Goal Review for May 2014

Personal Goals:

  • Study through the book of Hebrews.  This went mostly okay. I didn't finish, but I tried.
  • Post 2 blog posts (other writing blog).  Got one posted and the other outlined.
  • Keep to a workout routine.  Yup, for the most part. Health still bothering me some though.
  • Proofread my novel and hand it off to someone else. Proofread, yes. Hand off, not yet.
  • Read The Horse Riding Manual, After Diana, and The Garden of Eden.  Yes, plus about four other shorter novels.
  • Play the violin again. Uhh.... I got it out and never tuned it, so no.
  • Practice the piano 3x per week for at least 30 minutes each time.  I play every day, just don't practice. Also, I want to re-polish and memorize at least two pieces (from the following).  Done.

    • Movement 3 (Allegro con brio) from Sonatina #3 by Denes Agay. Mostly done.
    • Waltz in A-flat Major (Opus 69, No. 1) by Frederic Chopin. Needs a bit more work, but yes.
    • Important Event (Opus 15, No. 6) by Robert Schumann. Completed again.
  • Taekwondo.
    • Memorize the complete purple belt form.  Done, and done! :)
    • Put together a sword form.  No, but I got a lot of cool tips in class this morning!

Equestrian Goals:
  • Film. <sad face> still didn't happen. Pretty upset at myself about it.
  • Get The Pony comfortable with being touched and caught. Yes! See my post from Wednesday...
  • Trot every time I ride.  Yes, this did happen! I didn't get help with it, but it got SO much better.
  • Really get the trot change of direction and general transitions (in-hand).  Change of direction is better, but not completely solid. Transitions are beautiful now though!
  • Lead by a hind leg. Done :)
  • Play with tarps.   No....
  • Start riding comfortably around the driveway. Going much better. :)
  • Work on leg aids.  This one is definitely improved. Happy!
  • Set up my arena and make jumps.  Another no, sadly.
  • Have a Spring photo shoot.  This one didn't happen because I never had a chance to get help.

Overall, it was a fairly successful month. More successful than I thought until I wrote this post out. Tomorrow I'll have goals for June...

Friday, May 30, 2014


I've been trying so hard to make progress every time I play with Lady over the last while instead of just doing stuff for an hour and then being done.

Well, last night it finally hit me that we have made a lot of progress - lots more than I thought!  I don't have pictures to show you exactly what I'm talking about, but I have older pictures and I'll get newer ones as soon as I can. Things just really dawned one me last night while working with her.

August 2012
Lady is definitely a lot more trim now. See those wrinkles in her neck? They're not there anymore, and even though she could stand to lose a few more pounds, she is carrying herself so much better and a lot of that weight is muscle now instead of just fat. She is a big horse by nature though.

Not sure about the date, but at least 3 years back.
Here her trot looks quite rushed and hollow. Her belly is dropped and overall she looks tense. We had trouble with this up until pretty recently. Yesterday is when I really noticed that she is consistently more round now. She tracks up nicely, her neck is rounder and she is much more relaxed and bent properly. Yes, she still has moments where she goes back to old habits, but overall, SO much improved.

These things have also translated to riding. The Lady has become so much calmer and more responsive. She is still herd/home bound, but is starting to listen more instead of always having to go her way. For the longest time, even a simple trot was out of reach because she would tense and hollow and get out of control. Now, we are actually connecting at the trot and thinking about the canter. Success!!

Same session as photo above.
Speaking of the canter, it is also much better. She is finally able to hold it  with a decent form and stay relaxed and it shouldn't be long before we can start doing it under saddle. Really excited for that! :)

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Update on the Pony

One of my goals for the month of May was to get The Pony (aka Tempest) more comfortable with  being touched and caught. 

To give a little background, Tempest has had some previous work and came close to being started, but then was put out to pasture again and has reverted back to some wild horse habits, mainly being hard to touch and even harder to catch.

With lots of slow and persistent work, we've progressed to being able to feed treats in the pasture without her running away and now I can most often greet her and give her a scratching whenever I come out to catch Lady. Even more lately, I started getting her to sniff the ropes before I haltered Lady and she has gotten extremely better.

Old picture, but a good one.

Early this morning, she managed to escape from the pasture and usually that means I have to use food or other "undesirable" means to get her back in. Today, I got some hay cubes and a halter and caught her in five minutes. Quite surprising, actually....

I had extra time this evening, so I decided to bring both horses out to graze for a little. Lady got to go loose, but I caught The Pony again and brought her out. She was quite the good girl and even got to get off the lead for a while. She wasn't so thrilled about being caught again to go back in for the night, but when she realized I would leave her out and serve dinner without her, she cooperated again pretty quick. 

Quite proud of the little pony.  :)

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Blog Hop: Let's Have a Baby!!

I love this blog hop from Viva Carlos! Way too much imagination involved.....

If you were so inclined to breed your horse (1. let's not get into the issues of backyard breeding, and 2.  let's pretend your horse is a mare if its not) then WHO would you breed to and why?

My horse is a mare, so I have most certainly thought about the possibility of breeding before and would very much love to have a foal from her. That being said, this post will be purely an indulgence of my dreams, and I made the decision quite some time ago that Lady will not be bred again (she did have a colt before I bought her).

In breeding Lady, I would really like to improve on her hind end and back especially. I also have a very soft spot in my heart for Arabians. I couldn't pick one and so here are my two choices.

1)  Tuxedo Thyme ABA +++/
He is black, and Arabian, and has lovely movement.
He is a champion Sport Horse and FEI Dressage winner.

He has power behind and his foals do too, so I really think he would be a good match for Lady.

For my second choice, I would leave the Arabian side and go to bigger horses.

2)  Mintse 384 Sport

Friesian/Arab cross - yes, yes, yes! :)  He is mostly on the dressage side, but if I could do dressage with one of this horse's offspring, I would do it all day long....

Power, looks and hair! Love him :)

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Thunder and Rain

It has been raining again, which is wonderful!  I really like the shorter, more regular rains that we have been getting lately.  :)

Anyways, besides that, Lady did not get much time over the weekend... seems to be a trend!  o.O

Monday:  I cleaned out her feet and got a knife in there to look at how everything is. I need to rasp the walls down yet this week (last week, actually)....

Today, I didn't do nearly as much as I had planned, but I might be glad of it since I turned the horses out and got my tack inside before the rain started again.

Since we skipped the jumping on Friday, I introduced her to that a little on the ground. She was less than thrilled with my trot planks and hay-bale-jumps and felt a lot like she might bolt. I chocked it down to her being nervous with the dark clouds and impending doom of rain and let it go after she went mostly straight down the center of both trot planks and actually jumped the hay bales, and didn't run me over or explode around me.

Tacked up, and thoroughly reconsidered my decision to ride. Her head was high and while she was sort of doing everything I asked, it wasn't really with much mental attention or any sort of suppleness. I decided to hand walk her up to the arena and see how she did. It was okay, so I finished tightening the girth and moved her away from the shed, which she found particularly terrifying.... due to the odd wind and weird storm pressure in the air.

Since I have been wanting to get better at calming and controlling her from the saddle instead of bailing every time something goes wrong, I went ahead and mounted. After a lengthy check of her obedience to bending her head and listening to the reins. Of course.

I also shortened my stirrups one hole as an experiment. Based on a little research and studying pictures from my ride last week, I determined that I could go a little shorter without losing communication. In fact, the only thing that was lost was some of the ease of mounting. Maybe I don't want a bigger horse!  O.o

Anyways, we walked off and did a big loop of the arena. On the way, we encountered the resident killdeer mother who has been rather upset lately about our presence.

The loop went well... she was fairly responsive and we even had decent corners!  From there we maneuvered through some cones and other bendy lines and she was still good, so I decided to go ahead and do the trot. I'm still trying to stay on the rail with the trot so that I can work on my balance without having to worry too much about her. She was quite lovely, and I even managed to post for about 10-12 strides without bumping her. Success!!
She kept on with her wonderful-ness, and my posting just got worse. Sigh. But I could not have been more pleased with her behavior.  :)

Since I really have been wanting to gallop her again, and we need to start on it anyways, I decided to go out on a limb (figuratively!) and ask for a canter. The result was good and bad.
Bad: canter did not happen. Instead, we trotted super super fast, and I bounced along for the ride.
Good: no bolting, bucking, craziness, nothing from her! She listened to my confused rein aids and came back down to a nice walk as soon as I asked.

I'll stop now, since I've rambled on long enough, but suffice it to say that I was super impressed and pleased with both her and me. More her than me. :)  And since I didn't get pictures, you have to tell me what your favorite color is.


Monday, May 26, 2014

The Secret Magpie - Bling and Elegance

Who doesn't like glitter and sparkles? Okay, I'll be honest, I have my limits about that kind of thing because I tend to prefer elegant and sleek to anything else. But when I came across The Secret Magpie's line of horse and rider fashion, I realized that bling and glitter can be fun. And elegant! Double win!

From what I've seen so far, I'm not sure there is anything The Secret Magpie cannot customize and sparkle up for you. My favorite thing right now would have to be a combination of sparkly stirrups, reins, and browbands. Pretty and fancy for my little Arabian! Since I have always been quite choosy about bling, its no surprise that if I'm going to go for it, it has to be well-made, good quality, and not over-the-top-covered. For most of The Secret Magpie's products, you can either buy it directly from them, or send in your own helmet, reins, or whatever to be decorated and glitter-ized, and since they only use fine Swarovski crystals, the work is sure to be well done and full of quality every time. Every design that I have seen is smooth and carefully done so that it is flashy and yet elegant enough to be perfect for shows.

Besides the bling and glitter, The Secret Magpie also offers commissioned pastel drawings, various ladies' fashion, and other pretty sparkly things. Helmets, reins, stirrups, gloves, phone cases, wall decals, jewelry, and even Equidiscs for showing.
Their website will be up and running soon, but for now they are running through Facebook and Twitter, and are Paypal verified for all purchases. Go and look at what they have to offer!  Visit them HERE!

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Shoulders Back!

Yesterday (Wednesday) was our first real fitness session so far this year. I meant to start sooner, but time just kept slipping away from me. That being said, doing it yesterday in the heat of the afternoon was not the smartest idea I ever had. I did not ride, since I'm not confident or fit enough to ride at more than a walk for very long yet. So we did everything in hand, moving around the property to keep her interested. 
10 minutes of walk to warm up - a little sluggish in the heat.
Four 5-minute trot sets, separated by 2-minute walking periods for rest.
2 minutes of canter.
And 10 more minutes of walking to cool down.

I was pretty impressed with how she did. Me? I got overheated and nearly collapsed, but she was quite good! She was pretty sweaty and breathing hard, but still had her head up and could likely have gone on a little longer, if I had asked her to.
We won't do "fitness" until next week (Tuesday and Friday are scheduled) but I'm very happy with where we are at. Well... mostly. Her fitness level still surpasses mine, which is why my personal exercise schedule is as difficult as it is. Yup. :)

Today. It was dressage day and the focus in my head was on bending and transitions. I set up some cones in a bendy shape and used that for part of it. Lady was distracted and not totally present for most of the time, but overall she was obedient and willing. I'm not sure yet what to do to keep her from drifting so much or respond when I ask her to bend away the object of interest. She will bend her head/neck usually (although I have to hold it there fairly strongly) but will not yield her shoulder away from home, person, whatever.
Anyways, she was pretty good overall and I finally got pictures so I can look at how my position is. 
Yay! Sort of...

My shoulders need to come back. I've gotten better lately about keeping my lower back aligned correctly, but I need to build more strength in my shoulders and upper/middle back.

Don't really like this picture, although Lady's face is cute :)  Anyways, good example of how my right hip tends to drop and I go crooked. So does my saddle. And my shoulders.

Not a bad workout by any means. Mostly my takeaways are that I need to get my shoulders back and relaxed. And I need to remember not to lock out my elbows. I think I also need to bring my legs back, but not sure on that one.
What do you think?  :)

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Keeping It Simple

Lady got the weekend off because me was rather sick, starting on Saturday.  :(  

I finally felt good enough to get out and play with her today and we had a light groundwork session. She didn't want to approach me when I went to catch her, so I sat down a little ways away and practiced my singing. I tried a few different songs, but it took a "heart-felt" rendition of Reflection from Disney's Mulan and then both of them were nosing me all over. Tehe.

Dad had pulled out a chest freezer from the shop to clean and Lady was quite curious about it so we went over to check it out and she decided it wasn't as interesting close up as it had been far away. Silly horsie.

We started off doing some circles at the walk. I've been really focusing on getting her to change direction smoothly at the trot lately. At the walk, she was very good today and I made sure she would turn towards me and not stop, but keep moving. When she was feeling pretty solid in that, I moved it up to a gentle, slow trot and insisted only that she not stop when I asked for the direction change. She still broke down to a walk, but kept moving, which is an improvement. Pretty happy about that! :)

I had some work planned on simulating leg pressure when in the saddle while on the ground (not sure if that made sense). I did this by using a hand and/or stick in the area where my leg would be and played with both moving sideways and doing hindquarter/forequarter yields with just small amounts of pressure. I really want her to respond to my legs without constant reminding from the reins and I figured this would be an ideal way to kickstart those responses. :)  She did quite well and I am pleased with her.

Lady felt a little tense, so I rubbed on her neck a little. On a whim, I decided to pull off the halter completely and have a little fun at liberty. We did some draw and then went on to circles, which she was absolutely perfect about!! Circles at the walk and trot, transitions between those gaits, lovely walk change of directions, relaxed head and neck, swinging stride, and some nice tracking up, all there! And completely loose in the field and she never once thought about leaving. SO proud of her! :)

Love this face <3

In other news, I've been really trying to set up a good schedule/routine thing so that she can settle into regular work/schooling/stuff and we can really start learning things and improving consistently. Therefore, here is my plan for the rest of May, starting tomorrow. I'm not fancy enough to put a calender together or anything for the blog, so you've got a list :)

Wednesday:  Fitness, aka trot sets. Possibly a bath. Maybe :)

Thursday:  Arena time. Focus on bending around things and doing transitions. Hack out afterwards.

Friday:  Jumping, possibly free jumping. Mostly poles and some low crossrails.

Saturday:  Planning to take off. Might do something fun, just because. :)

Sunday:  Either a rest day or a fun day, depending on Saturday.

Monday:  Dressage work. Practice Movement 1 from USDF Intro Test A. Also work on going through corners properly and focus on practicing my posting trot along the rail of the arena.

Tuesday:  Fitness Day. 10-15 minutes on the hills and possibly trot sets. Considering trying a gallop too, just because I want to! Tehe.

Wednesday:  Dressage work. Work with transitions, Figure8 and Serpentines. Focus on the trot-walk downward transition.

Thursday:  Jump Day! School on the ground over crossrails and ride some poles. Also focus on completing goals for May.

Friday:  Fitness - Trot Sets, possibly at liberty. Also 10 minutes of hills, first ridden fitness segment. Hack out again.

Some people don't like to plan sessions out with much detail, but I've found that if I don't have a plan in mind, I try to make everything perfect and that never turns out well. Not to say that I won't change my plan if its not working, but helps me mentally, and we usually get more accomplished this way.  We'll see how this one turns out!

Friday, May 16, 2014

The Week's Schooling Log

This post is more for me than anyone else, but maybe you want to read it anyways.  :-)

Sunday:  Work in-hand at the walk and trot. Walked on gravel for several short periods of time and Lady was much, much better already - just a little tender and much less resistant than two days ago. We worked on leading from her off side, because I am stiff through my left shoulder and have trouble with blocking her with my body (transfers to riding too). We also practiced some HQ/FQ yields, focusing on moving the correct feet and keeping the weight balanced properly. Approximately 30 minutes.

Monday:  It rained. :(  I mean... yay! sort of...

Tuesday:  Some more basic work in hand, working on her staying in the correct position (nose at my shoulder). We crossed the gravel driveway twice and she did fine, just wanted to slow down quite a lot so I think she is still a little tender. She started getting much better about not pushing ahead of me during leading time. She was sound at the trot, so we did circles on the 12-foot line. 10 laps of the trot in each direction - good start! :D At the end, I hopped on with just the halter and lead for a short bareback ride and it was quite nice. She was mostly well-behaved and cooperated well. Approximately 30 minutes.

Wednesday:  No work. Mostly life and a mental block from me.

Thursday:  Warmed up, tacked up, and mounted up! Went on one big loop of the arena at the walk, avoiding the enormous puddle in one corner of course. Changed directions and trotted most of the way around again. A challenge, but a good one! Got off and had her stay ground-tied while I pulled out a hay bale and a barrel as guidelines for the Figure 8 pattern. Did several rounds of that, then unsaddled and took her for a walk. We hung out in the tall grass for a treat afterwards. She was happy to be back in work.  Approximately 1 hour.

Notes and Thoughts (mostly from Thursday's ride):

  • I weight my stirrups unevenly, but I can't figure out which one it is. O.o
  • Working out regularly has helped my shoulder! It was much less stiff this week.
  • Why do I have trouble with my foot tipping, especially the right one? It ends up falling to the outside of the stirrup and twisting my ankle. It could be my hip - need to work on that.
  • Lady really liked me keeping my hands low and wide. Her head stayed lower and she actually accepted a little bit of contact for a while.
  • I need to do more big school movements.
  • I need to stop making her move perfectly every time. Shorter increments of specific work interspersed with easier things. At least until she can focus without panicking for longer periods of time.
  • Keep my spine tall and my seat deep. HUGE difference in her movement and our harmony.
  • Keep the legs on, but keep them soft too.
  • Try not to stop every time she deserves a reward. Learn to reward and pat and keep riding (i.e. walk on the buckle as a treat?). Teach her that she can keep moving forward too.
At this moment, it is really hard not to go jump back on and try all kinds of new stuff that I've been reading about, but somehow I don't think that is the best strategy. I also have to remember that what movements worked yesterday may not work tomorrow. I did loops and figure 8s on Thursday. Today I need to find something new so that she doesn't get bored or naughty.  :-) 
Here's to hoping Lady stays sound and healthy!

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Blog Hop - Continuation School

I love pony noses :-)

So the wonderful Viva Carlos put up another horrible wonderful blog hop this week. It is only horrible because everyone's responses have been making me tear up. Too close to the heart. *sniff*
Go to Forging Fiction, Equestrian at Hart, She Moved to Texas, Wilbur, Ellie, and Emily, and Fly On Over to see what I mean.......

Why do you continue to ride?

I could repeat what everyone else has said, but I wanted to write my own words....
It is very true that there is every reason in the world not to ride, not to own horses...
 - They are demanding. Feeding them 2-4x per day is not easy. Building and moving fences is painful. When you're sick, there isn't a choice. They still need food and care.
 - They are expensive. And they have a bad habit of getting injured, or contracting diseases. And let's not talk about tack. Yeah.
 - They will break your heart. I love all the animals I have ever had, but the horses are the hardest to lose.

And yet, there is no way for me to give them up. Like I say a lot, I would be very rich if it weren't for those silly 4-legged creatures. But I would not have the purpose in life that I do with them.

I am a pretty extreme introvert. Having a relationship with an animal means a lot to me in a different way that a human-human relationship does. People mess up. Not my horse.

There is something to be said about  being known as the girl who owns horses. People assume things, and they're not always bad. ;-)

Having and riding a horse makes me a stronger and better person. If I don't do it right, Lady will tell me so, and if I don't work to get it right, she continues to tell me. Horses are so honest.

I hate going out to the pasture like I did two weeks ago and finding my horse lame. I hate that she has welts right now from the flies. I hate that sometimes usually I can't buy the things that I want.

But none of that really matters because in the end, the good things make up for it.

I love walking out to the pasture and seeing the Lady and the Pony come over to get a treat.
I love the gleam of a bay coat in the sunlight.
I love the smell of good hay and I love watching it get eaten.
I love the feeling when you get all your aids and signals just right and your horse knows it too and responds, and for a moment, its heaven on earth.
I love putting my foot in the stirrup to mount and just at that moment my horse turns her head around and gives me a nudge and I know she is telling me to get on with it so that we can fly.

I love having the ability to get away from the bad things in life so easily.
Some people run away because its all that they feel they can do.
All I have to do is get out my saddle.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Doggie Pictures!

It has been raining a lot the past few days, so Lady-news has been very sparse. So! I decided it was time to introduce my other 4-legged critter! 

This is my adorable doggie named Major. He was full-grown when he showed up 7ish years ago and is starting to show his age. I wish I could find some older pictures when he wasn't gray, but they were not to be found on my computer today, so you'll have to make do with these.

He is so cute :D

Picture from his odd illness in the spring of 2013.

He lives outside 24/7 and loves it!

His "pointer" pose!

Guarding the door from all intruders.

Can I have a snack??  Pretty please?  I'm cute :)

He is getting pretty old now, and I have to keep him on joint supplements and good food so that he doesn't limp or drop weight. But he continues to run all over our property (and beyond!) and warns us if anyone tries to come down the driveway.

Sorry for the picture dump... ;)

Sunday, May 11, 2014

The Next Phase

It is now summer! Finals week is past and I attended graduation this last Friday, where I had to say farewells to several friends. I will be taking one summer course so that I can graduate at the end of the fall semester, but that does not start until the middle of July, which means I have close to two months free of schooling.

Well... I signed up for two low-intensity courses on One starts next week and another starts the week after. I guess there is no such thing as escaping new things to learn, but I'm not sure I really  mind.

This summer has little on the calender so far. There is the World Expo - American Taekwondo Association that I will be attending in early July for competition. I also have my 20th birthday in July - that sounds scary!  O.o

I am attempting to search for a job that will help me pay for school and prepare for both a planned trip to Europe next spring and the big move to university (with Lady!) next summer. Landing a decent job seems to be rather difficult, however.


On the equine front, we have had a little good news. Lady is still tender, but not outright sore or anything. I am keeping her on grass for the moment as I simply cannot justify taking her off of it as it does not seem natural to me. So for now, both horses stay on pasture, which is now much shorter and not so rich anyways.

Instead of one bucket a day, I decided to divide her feed into two smaller meals. I only give her soaked timothy/alfalfa cubes mixed with a bit of oats, and only enough to mix her supplements in and make her happy. She is getting her regular supplements in the morning along with epsom salts and aloe vera (this week only). In the evening, she'll get her apple cider vineger, garlic, vitamin C, vitamin E (when I get it), and some extra comfrey, nettle and willow. I also plan to have activated charcoal on hand if she takes a turn for the worst and I'm offering her Himalayan salt and kelp daily.

Since she is doing better again, the best thing I feel I can do for her is keep her in light exercise. Right now, that is going to be at least 20 or 30 minutes of hand walking and trotting. She will also get a small amount of walking on gravel every day, and depending on how she continues to feel, I'll start going back to our regular work.

Hopefully, we can have a ride before this week is over.  *fingers crossed!*

Friday, May 9, 2014

The Mountain

Poor, muddy, and not-so-happy horsie.....

So the trimmer was out today and Lady is definitely laminitic, probably chronic. She was also quite certain that we had an episode of founder pretty recently, which would definitely explain the last week.

<lots of sad faces>

I have not had a vet out to look at her, but since I won't get as close to conventional vet medicine as a single minute dose of Bute anymore, there doesn't seem to be much point. I'll get a diagnosis at best, and spend way too much money, at worst.

So, there won't be any magical, fast cures happening, but we will get through this one too.

Since Lady now has a set of 4 lovely manicured feet, I plan to keep my tools close at hand so that those hooves stay pretty and don't grow out too far. I cannot use nippers on her feet because she has thick and rock-hard hoof wall and I'm just not strong enough.

I don't completely agree with the practice of pulling laminitic horses off of grass because it just doesn't seem right or natural. Limiting grass intake is another matter, and I probably will do that by taking both the girls into the small paddocks for 8-10/12 hours per day. We'll see.

Exercise is going to be another part of recovery, as well as lots of herbal and vitamin/mineral supplementing.

Fingers crossed that the plan in my head works out and we are back to regular work again soon.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Rain!! + Blog Hop: Right Here, Right Now

This week, Viva Carlos asked "What are you currently working on in your rides or lessons?"

I have not been taking lessons, at least not from a specific trainer. I've just been studying on my own, which isn't always the best route, but its the most I can afford at the moment.

So, ummm... I am currently working on keeping my horse sound. It's been over a week since I actually rode. But besides that, we are working on rhythm, relaxation, and responsiveness, and being consistent in those three areas.

We were working on this without much structure, but because of the lame horse this week, I've done some more reading and contemplating and I've realized that I need to allow and encourage more forward motion. I think that big school movements will be good for both Lady and for me. She has not been very forward lately, and I know that my position and unconfidence don't help that.

I'm really happy to say that Lady seems to be doing much better. The girls are still separated to keep the horse off of grass, so there is some tension, but it is nicer to see Lady trotting back and forth along the fence instead of standing in one spot and sweating with anxiety, but not willing to move a foot.

The trimmer will be out tomorrow at noon and hopefully we can find some answer to this puzzle and some way to keep it in check without making my poor horse too unhappy.

In other news, it has rained ALL DAY here today! Some areas nearby have been reporting up to 5 inches of rain! It feels SO good! :D

Tuesday, May 6, 2014


I'm a bit wary of saying this, but I think Lady is doing somewhat better today.

<checks to make sure nothing bad happened....>

I'm quite certain she was doing better today. :)  Definitely not right yet, but better. She has been a bit awkward with her hind legs over the last 36ish hours, but not really lame or sore on them. I can't seem to figure out which front leg is actually bothering her the most (maybe its both. sigh.) but she looks a lot more normal at the walk.
I was most impressed that she was able to trot again. She was visibly lame at the trot, but actually doing it is already improvement! Still anxiously waiting for the trimmer to come and give me her opinion on Friday. There hasn't been any heat or swelling or funky stuff like that, so I'm really not sure what is wrong.

Cute picture of the Lady-girl. :)

She is still being kept off of grass as much as possible and I'm checking/cleaning her hooves 3+ times per day, or as often as I can. Since I only have evening plans for tomorrow, I want to spend extra time with both the ponies - something I neglect to do far too often.

Personal Life Good News - I completed the last of my finals today and am done with the spring semester! I have one summer course which starts in July, and then the fall semester before I graduate in December. :)

Other Exciting Thing - Over the last two days, I have mowed the entire front "arena" so that I can begin to turn it into a workable area. I plan to put several obstacles and jumps in. Hopefully, I can get it completed soon and keep it maintained.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Bad and Good

Really, really wanted to see improvement today, but it seems that is not going to happen quite yet.

Lady is still sore. And now I know for sure its not just my mind playing tricks, or a little stiffness. She was clearly sore on both front feet and very reluctant to walk. Yesterday she was still willing to do a little trot and even a tiny bit of canter. Today she could not even trot a full stride.  :(

Pretty horsie. How I love her.....

I got in touch with my old barefoot trimmer, but she won't make it out until Friday, which leaves me with another four days. Hopefully she's not hurting that long though.

My research isn't pulling much up either. Since she does not seem to have any shoulder issues going on, I really think its her hooves. She keeps shifting her weight back and forth (besides stomping flies) and picking up her feet alternately, but so far I have found no heat or high pulses, which doesn't follow the usual pattern of laminitis/founder. I'm a bit stumped, but I cut off their access to the lushes part of the pasture and I think I'll pull Lady out to the front pasture again where there is less grass.

One bit of good news that I am quite pleased about. It has been two and a half weeks since I put the horses out on the smaller pasture with the pond and all the hills. I noticed this last week that even though they have both put on weight from the grass, Lady has already built a really nice lot of muscle along her back and hindquarters. Very happy about this!  :)

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Catching Up and Concerns

So, I haven't been keeping up this week... with anything. Finals are this coming week, which is actually not that big of a deal, but does add a bit of stress. Yup... life just keeps coming on, whether I keep up or not.

Cute pony picture for your enjoyment. :)

Monday. Everything else took up so much time, but we had a lovely little bareback/bridleless ride in the dark. We didn't do anything very challenging, just worked on some basic yields.

Tuesday. No groundwork or riding.

Wednesday.  Again, no groundwork or riding. Writing took up a lot of time!

Thursday.  Did some basic groundwork.

Friday.  Got half-way saddled, and Lady just did not look right, so I cleaned her feet and loved on her instead of riding.

Saturday.  Still didn't feel quite right, but after getting her out two different times to check on her, I finally saddled up and rode for a little bit. And it felt worse from her back than it looked on the ground.

Sigh. I'm quite worried right now. Lady has been sound and fairly solid for all of 2014 so far, and I really do not want to go through the process of trying to figure out and solve whatever might be wrong AGAIN. She looks and moves pretty stiff through her shoulder and especially her right front leg/foot. Nothing appears to be wrong with her shoulder and there is no heat or swelling. She does need her feet done pretty badly, so I'm hoping that is what is wrong. Really hoping. *weary sigh...*

Friday, May 2, 2014

May 2014 Goals

Internet photo. Didn't take it myself <sad face>

I'm entering May with a lot of hopes and dreams, and yet with a bit of a heavy heart. It feels like it has been years since I heard a piece of good news. Therefore, even though I have a lengthy list of goals for the month, I have been hesitating to post it because of that piece of fear inside me that says I can't do it. I have been thinking a lot about what my priorities really are because there are so many things that I love working on. With finals next week to mark the end of the semester, maybe I'll have more time, but I still need to search for work to support all my various hobbies.
Enough rambling. Here is my list.

Personal Goals:

  • Study through the book of Hebrews.
  • Post 2 blog posts (other blog - the writing one!)
  • Keep to the workout routine I set up in April.
  • Proofread Rebellion (my novel)  for the final time and pass it off to someone else for revision - scary!
  • Reading:
    • finish reading There's an Owl in The Shower - actually finished this today before writing this :)
    • finish studying through The Horse Riding Manual
    • After Diana (biographical novel about the Royal Family of England)
    • The Garden of Eden (by Hemingway)
  • Play the violin again. I have two short duets that I would like to work on.
  • Practice the piano 3x per week for at least 30 minutes each time.  I play every day, just don't practice. Also, I want to re-polish and memorize at least two pieces (from the following.
    • Movement 3 (Allegro con brio) from Sonatina #3 by Denes Agay
    • Waltz in A-flat Major (Opus 69, No. 1) by Frederic Chopin
    • Important Event (Opus 15, No. 6) by Robert Schumann
  • Taekwondo
    • Memorize the complete purple belt form.
    • Put together a sword form for the World Expo (needs to be done by mid-June).

Horse-Related Goals:
  • Film (at last!) I want one video of a groundwork session and 1 of a riding session.
  • Get The Pony comfortable with being caught.
  • Trot every time I ride. Get some assistance so it becomes more comfortable.
  • Really nail down our trot change of direction and all transitions (groundwork).
  • Lead by a hind leg (follow a feel practice).
  • Play with tarps.
  • Start riding comfortably past our driveway and off the property.
  • Work on leg aids - my timing and her responsiveness.
  • Set up my arena and make jumps for it.
  • Have a Spring photo shoot with my horses :)

My lists feel very long... :(  In a way I feel like I ought to cut some things out to make it easier on myself, but so many of the things would be so simple if I really focused on getting things done.

On another note - tomorrow is Kentucky Derby day!  Who watches the race? :)

Thursday, May 1, 2014

April's Goal Review

April 2014 Goals - Horse Related

  • Film 1 riding session.  Didn't happen. Was supposed to over one weekend when I had help, but got sick instead. :(
  • Practice riding the trot with help.  Did not happen for the same reasons as above.  :'(
  • Take The Pony out 4 times.  Not 4 times, but it did happen twice. She is no longer wearing a halter in the pasture and is doing so much better!
  • Complete a set of Online Level 3 tasks.
    • Work with a flag.  We worked on this twice and made some progress. Lady is still tense about it, but not scared.
    • Lead by one ear and backwards by a hind leg.  We did some leading backwards by the tail which went well, and played with the ear. Got her comfortable with the idea.
    • Back up and draw on a 22 and 45 foot rope. We never touched the 45 foot rope, but did work on the 22-foot. Got a little bit better.
    • Solid transitions and trot change of direction on the circle.  The change of direction has gotten better in one direction and not the other. Transitions are 10x better!! 
    • Move sideways from Zone 1 (in front). Gotten lots better. Still have to "hold her hand".
    • Play with tarps.  Nope. Never actually went to look for a tarp.
  • Separate the medium and free walk.  Not exactly, but we started to get some difference.

April 2014 Goals - Personal
  • Start a workout routine. Can't say this became a routine yet, but definitely started working out.
  • Go to Wednesday  night church.  Went twice out of five times. :P
  • Win Camp NanoWrimo with 30,000 words.  YES!!!  Finished and Won! :D
  • Record a video for my blog.  A little late, but doing that this morning.
  • Read four novels.  Finished two and a half. 
  • Practice piano 3x a week.  I didn't exactly practice, but have made a point to play every day.
  • Learn 2 new songs on the violin.  Bad me never picked up the violin.

Finals are next week and then I won't have school to worry about, so May goals should be happening much easier! :)