Thursday, July 31, 2014

July Goal Review

July was actually not a very exciting month, and by the looks of my goals list, not a very productive one either. Whoops.
I was really motivated the first week, and then gave Lady a week off while I prepared for Worlds-taekwondo-stuff, and then got sick and gave Lady almost another full week off, and then started work, and never really got all the way better, and then my dear grandmother got sick and everything that wasn't absolutely pressing went out the window. July feels like it has lasted forever and a day, and yet not a whole lot of exciting things happened.

Original link HERE.

Horse-Related Goals:

  • Set up a health records system.  Yes, and a training one as well.
  • Film 1 sesson.  No.
  • Keep Lady happy and sound with proper management, supplements, and exercise.  Yes, other than the saddle fit thing going on right now.
  • Work on getting and keeping a calm trot.  Not enough riding happened, so no.
Original link HERE.
Riding Goals:
  • Neither of these got done because I only rode maybe 4-5 times and at least half of those were bareback/bridleless rides in the pasture just to hang out.
Original link HERE.
Personal Goals:
  • Blogs:
    • Outline 4 posts for writer's blog.  No, I set up a different plan instead.
    • Update 3x per week on this one.  I averaged 2.75 posts per week. Close enough! :-)
  • Sketch cover ideas for Rebellion (my novel).  No... it kept getting pushed back on my to-do list. Sigh... I really do need to get onto this publishing plan in earnest.
  • Schedule a lesson with my piano teacher.  We are still working out a day/time, but yes, this is done.
  • Win July Camp NanoWrimo.  As of this posting, I am still working on this goal, but with less than 2000 words, this is almost certainly happening!
  • Make an A in geology class.  The class isn't over, but I should be able to make this work.
  • Taekwondo: World Expo: Stay positive the entire time.  I only got grumpy on the way home, but it was late and I was sick. Did good the rest of the time though, I think.
  • Admit mistakes calmly.  I believe I did better on this, need to check with a few people though.
Original link HERE.
August should go much more smoothly, but we'll see. Hope everyone else had a terrific month of July!!  :D

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

SSS Bloghop: Favorite Breed

Discovered a new blog hop this week!

"What is your favorite breed of horse, and why?"

My favorite breed of horse is the Arabian. Warmbloods, Thoroughbreds, and any Spanish horses come really close, but I will always choose the Arabian.
I might be a little biased because I own one, yes.... but I've always been impressed by their beauty and history and just everything about them.

Their movement is so fancy. It isn't big or anything like a sporthorse or a Warmblood, but it has this thing about it that is so... haughty? confident? independent, definitely.

Their profiles have always inspired me. Something about their dished faces and arched necks appeals to me. I love their high-set tails and their silky coat and the way they are built - shorter backs and even though they look fragile, they are so sturdy and hardy.

A lot of the time they get a bad rap for being "hot" or flighty or high-strung or aloof. And they can be, sure, but they are also the most careful horses that I have ever been around. I can put kids on Lady and take them for rides at almost any time (except when she is in heat, but that is a subject for another post!).

They are also some of the most bonding horses I have ever met. They remind me of introvert people in a way - they seem distant and shy and sometimes snobbish but if they bond with you they are exceedingly loyal.
Arabs do have that distant aura about them and sometimes that means they are harder to get to focus or work. I can understand how that frustrates some people and gives them a bad reputation, but I could not love that part of them more. They almost belong to a different reality, a magical one like the ones I write about in my novels! Maybe I click with them because I find similarities between myself and them. Either way, they remain my favorite breed of horse. I have no clue what my next horse will be, but I like to imagine another Arabian filling that spot. :-)

My own beautiful Arabian.  
Totally unrelated to this blog-hop, but just wanted to "advertise" a horsemanship challenge that I plan to participate in over the next 2-3 months.
Link HERE.
The description says that between August 1st and October 24th, you should try to log 40 horsemanship hours, ride 30 times, and attend 1 event with your horse.
I think it is going to be plenty doable and lots of fun! :-)

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Back on my Feet

Well... mostly. I won't go on about it, but suffice it to say that I am capable of being up and about and doing most things. Like working with my horse.

This past week didn't go completely as planned, but I did ride several times and got out to handwalk Lady the other days.

She did get a bath too. That was lovely. Particularly since she is quite irritable about the water hose and the shampoo bottle. Seriously, the spookiest I have ever seen my horse was about the shampoo bottle - quite odd!

On the issue of saddle fit, it is going to be a difficult process, but at least I know that both me and her are capable of riding bareback a lot, so it shouldn't be too big a deal.

This week's schedule.
Sunday:  OFF
Monday:  Work in-hand over poles for 20 minutes.
Tuesday:  Lungeing and Liberty.
Wednesday:  OFF
Thursday:  Riding in the Arena.
Friday:  Fitness. Walk for 30 minutes.
Saturday:  OFF

Busy week, and not just with ponies either, but with other things as well.
Happy Sunday!

Thursday, July 24, 2014

One Step at a Time

So far, I've kept on top of Lady's exercise this week. She did not get her bath on Tuesday like I had planned and she does need it, but I will do that tomorrow or Saturday. Hopefully.
Handwalking does not give anything much exciting to talk about, but we have done three days worth of that for at least 30 minutes at a time.
On Monday, I rode for at least half an hour. I gave Lady permission to go wherever she wanted (provided she didn't scrape me against fences or under trees) but she had to continue moving. I can deal with the forward horse. I have more trouble dealing with the one who stops all the time. Not that Lady isn't forward... you can try riding her on a trail ride if you think that is the case. Ha!

I still have an irritating sinus infection that just won't let me get "well" again, and it makes it hard to breathe while doing a lot of stuff.
Besides that, I am sadly having trouble with saddle fit again. Lady's back muscles have changed lately and it is making her back sore.  Sad day since it is going to be very hard to replace what I have.
I'll be riding again tomorrow and seeing what I can do in way of adjustment to get it to fit better.

These eyes keep me going.  <3

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Kind of an Update...

I would love to write a whole blog post about everything I've done with Lady this week! That would be so much fun and I would (hopefully) have lots of pictures, and exciting news!

But I don't. Frustratingly enough, I have still been sick and while it doesn't feel that bad exactly, I keep falling back again every time I go to exert energy.

So... um.

Lady did not get a workout this week.
Which means she has gotten two weeks off instead of one.
Definitely not my plan.

Good news! She does seem to be feeling better from the time off and even though she has put on a bit more weight again (got to get that off before it affects her joints) her energy level has soared and she is starting to look bored out in the pasture.
I did get her out once this week and handwalked her for a while. We both thoroughly enjoyed that... She absolutely LOVES handwalking sessions, and I have a lot of fun when she acts like a "hot Arab" because it makes me laugh.
Despite being sick, I do plan to have her worked this week. I'm thinking about convincing someone else to do it for me until I'm well, but if all else fails, I will manage. It needs to be done. And I haven't even touched my riding goals for this month yet.  :-(

The schedule I want to put her through this week will hopefully be as follows...
Sunday (Today) - Handwalk for at least 30 minutes.
Monday - Light ride. Lots of walking with a few trotting bits.
Tuesday - Groundwork/Lunging, plus she needs a bath!
Wednesday - Walking and Grazing in hand. (Technically, off.)
Thursday - Same as Wednesday
Friday - Dressage work (transitions plus test), and a gallop if she is up to it.
Saturday - Light ride. Lots and lots of walking. Slow, easy conditioning.

Picture of the girl from our walk. That neck. o.O

Thursday, July 17, 2014

20 Things for the Second Time

No, I'm not going to inundate you with pictures again! But since I was still in bed half the day yesterday, I decided to write down 20 things that I would like to do in this year at this age and share it with you. Some of these are smaller bucket list items, others are just life lessons I would like to put in practice.  :-)

  1. Make new friends. I'm bad about this and really want to do it more.
  2. Complete Level 3 Freestyle (Parelli) with Lady and make it solid.
  3. Act on stage. I have sung on stage, but I really want to act again.

4.  Laugh every day.
5.  Write my third novel. I want to try a different genre, but who knows.
6.  Pay for a drink for the person behind me in a drive-thru. Always wanted to do this!
7.  Try out a new instrument. Just try it, learn a little something, etc.
8.  Learn how to dance.
9.  Get my health back!

10.  Visit Europe as planned in the spring.
11.  Take riding lessons, and possibly jumping lessons.
12.  Eat vegetarian for 28 days.
13.  Have a party.

14.  Try out a new language and learn basic phrases. I think it would be fun to learn some French. :)
15.  Go for a day of live horse racing
16.  Go to the beach.
17.  Help/Volunteer at a horse show or event.

18.  Find/Create/Take opportunities to ride and work with as many different horses as possible.
19.  Have 1-3 pen pals and at least sort of keep up with writing.
20.  Try a new art medium. (I've done acrylics, charcoal, graphite, watercolors, what else?)

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

20 Things Wish List

Today is my birthday and I am turning 20.  *gasp*
Just for fun, I decided to surf through several horse equipment store sites and find 20 things that I would just love to have. Not that I'm expecting any of them though, but it was so much fun to skim and just dream. I think its just a horse owner's thing. Maybe.
Anyways, here you go! :)

Tall Boots. I've never had tall boots and would about die to have a pair!

Full Seat Breeches. Not everyone likes these, but I love the extra grip. And yes, I want ALL the colors.  :-)

New Helmet! Without trying anything on and based just on looks, this would be my pick.

Fly Sheet w/Neck. Poor Lady has been reacting worse and worse to bugs and I would love to wrap her up in something to keep the welts down.

Winter Turnout. Again, Lady has been having more difficult winters lately and I really want one by the time this winter rolls around.

Back on Track. I would actually take any of their products since I've heard such good things about them.

Fly Bonnet.  So cute, and my little Lady gets midges in her ears, not fun while riding!

Gloves. Especially for winter, but I ought to get used to them in summer too. I love the feel of wearing gloves and patting your horse. :D

New girth. I really think a more anatomical girth would help Lady because she rubs so easy and is sensitive to the pressure.

Bits. This one is actually on the priority list of things to buy as I do not currently own a bit that Lady likes or will work in.

Saddle Pads. I just want more because... well, there are colors!! And I love colors...  :-)

Saddle. Yes, I have a new and awesome saddle, but if we're dreaming, I might as well!
Oglivy. This won't happen unless I truthfully have extra money laying around, but I want a half pad SO badly now after reading about them....

Fancy Leather Halter. Because it would be so fun to take pictures with and look so pretty on Lady. I do need to find an Arab halter for her though...
Fleece Cooler. Because they look so professional and fancy, not because I need one at all!
Training Surcingle. I can think of far too many things I could do with this.
Bridle!  Because there is no such thing as too many, and I don't like the buckles on my current one.
Jumps! In no way anything I'm getting because Lady doesn't jump, but I want to jump!
Tack Trunk! No explanation...
Flatwork Wraps! I like feeling as though I'm supporting Lady's legs and giving some sort of protection.

That was way too much fun! :)

Monday, July 14, 2014

Picking Up the Reins

No, actually I did not pick up the reins today.  :-(
But I made it home from Worlds, managed to snag a few fancy medals for my effort, and had fun at the same time. So that was fun. :)

Lady had more of last week off than I meant for her to have. We did several longer walks together, but I did not do as much grooming as I had planned and she did not get bathed. So... I intended to bathe her today and get back in the saddle tomorrow.

And I got sick. Nasty cold/allergy thing means I feel like I have coughed up more than could possibly fit inside me.  O.o

So I have been in bed most of today, catching up on my word count for my novel, and being sad about not getting to pamper Lady. I did get out there to fill up their water and loved on them for a few minutes, but that was all.

*insert teary-eyed sad face*  I miss riding.  :'(

Doggie pic to break up this flow of text.  :)
Now that I have told my woes, I guess I should say what I had planned to say in this post.

I did do one thing I had planned to do last week, and that was contemplate what my goals with Lady are. Not my overall horse goals, but the goals I have specifically with my lovely mare, especially since she has been unable to work five or six days out of the week with discomfort. I set high goals unconsciously sometimes and I do not want to expect more of her than she can give me. So here are the highest goals I am setting for Lady and myself together.

  • Stay mostly comfortable and happy enough to remain in light-medium work for the next 5-8 years.
  • Be able to perform all USDF Introductory tests well enough for competition.
  • Keep her happy enough where if she wants to pop over a jump, I can let her. She does this every so often, even though I have slowly stopped asking for jumps in the past weeks. If she offers, I will just be super happy.  :)
  • Remain fit enough to do several hour long trail rides at the walk and trot.
She has her bad days where trotting is painful and she has her good days where she can buck and gallop to her heart's content. I just want her to stay happy and I want to keep her even just as a light riding horse throughout the rest of my time in college (another 3-5 years) before I look at retiring her permanently.

I feel a lot more relaxed about going out to ride her now, having set these "parameters" up in my mind, because I can't be upset if she isn't as limber as a 4 year old and we aren't jumping everything in sight.

It's always the the horse's health and safety first. If not, you shouldn't own a horse.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Lady's Supplements

For most of the last three years I have purchased Lady's supplements either through SmartPak or through a tack/feed store locally. But since I am always trying to understand health better and always strive for the most natural option, I did more than a few days worth of research last summer and decided to switch to herbal supplements. I also decided to purchase herbs in bulk and do all that fun "measuring" stuff myself. It took me quite a while to choose which herbs I wanted to start off with, but I've been doing this for well over 8 months now and it seems to be working.
So here is a little overview of what I give Lady and The Pony in way of supplementing.

Little bowls in the front are Tempest's. Big ones in the back are Lady's.

Salt.  They both live outdoors 24/7 and I have never had luck with having a salt block or rock lasting very long. Therefore they get a dose of salt every day.
Flax Seed. I am out of this at the moment, but it is one of the things I always try to put in, for both of them. It has the correct balance of oils and omegas. They eat it whole.
Nettle Leaf.  Awesome for their coats, really brings out the dapples. Contains vitamin C, iron, and some other vitamins. Also helps to relieve arthritis pain, so Lady gets a maintenance dose of this and Tempest gets a smaller dose every few days.
Comfrey Leaf.  Some people feed the root, some feed the leaf. I have the leaf at the moment and it works well. It is historically called "bone-knit" and it is the best thing to take when healing a broken bone. Also good as a wash, or even to pack in wounds. Highly healing. Tempest only gets this every so often, but Lady gets a smallish dose of it almost every day. Not really meant for daily feeding though, but for injuries.

Nettle, Comfrey, and Salt
Kelp Powder.  Tempest gets this, Lady does not. It is just an overall health tonic with all the trace minerals you could ask for. I wish I could feed this free-choice to the girls, but it hasn't happened yet.
White Willow Bark.  I take this myself. Awesome pain reliever. Lady gets just enough of it to keep her from being too miserable. Better than any bute, in my opinion.
Mare Magic - or Red Raspberry.  Again, I take this myself, except that I have my own tea, not Mare Magic! Lady has issues with hormones at times and I just like having this balancer in her system.
Celery Seed.  This is one of the most important supplements I give Lady for her joints. It is super good at controlling inflammation. Enough said.  
All ready for the week! :-)
There are other herbs that I have used in the past but these are the ones that I have used the most and really stick to right now. The awesome thing about herbs is that its not going to overdose fast at all. It's a plant... its going to go through their digestive tract the same as grass does, without negative effects. They do have to be fed regularly to really see the benefits though. I think White Willow Bark is the only one that will work without being in one's system first.

Random fact - did I mention that we jumped the other week? Yep, Lady and I jumped!

It was only like 18 inches tall, maybe, but we jumped it.  It was awesome. :-)

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Taking a Breath

I've been silent for a few days again.  Ooops.

This month has already been here for almost a week. I've enjoyed family time, fireworks, too much food, not enough sleep, and definitely not enough writing to keep up with Camp NanoWrimo. I am almost 2000 words behind on that.  Oooops again.  :-(

I've had two (three?) rides so far this month. Actually had a fairly decent one playing with going off the property without throwing a fit which turned out okay. Had another on the 4th - just playing with some basic yields and having her listen to me instead of having tantrums just because The Pony was having them.
The other ride was just random. I went to hang out in the pasture and ended up hopping on bareback and bridle-less. Turned into the best ride ever. I had my dressage whip to use if she decided to get out of hand, but mostly just kept her moving without worrying about gait or direction. I got lots of sitting trot practice (ouch.... I was SO sore) and two of the most beautiful canter sets ever. Loved it.  :)

There hasn't been any work in the arena in over a week. Part of this is because the ponies are currently living up there for the grass and Lady thoroughly dislikes working in the place she lives. Strange pony.  O.o

And now... we are taking a break. I've decided to give both Lady and me the week off. Physically and mentally I think she needs it. And I want the chance to step back and re-assess the bigger picture. I'll probably elaborate on both of those reasons during this week. I plan to do a lot of hand-walking and grooming and pampering and dressing up and pretty pictures and so forth.
And of course, there is a certain huge taekwondo competition next weekend. Can't forget that. Must. Practice.

Grumpy pony after being hosed down. :-)

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

July Goals

Here I go again... setting lots of goals for the month!

Stolen from Pinterest. :)

Horse-Related Goals
  • Set up a health records system and get a good set of conformation pictures.
  • Film 1 session.
  • Keep Lady happy and sound with proper management, supplements and exercises.
  • Work on getting and keeping a calm trot.
Also stolen from Pinterest. Oops ;)

Riding Goals
  • Work on my 2-point position (at walk, maybe trot).
  • Practice trotting diagonals, recognizing and riding them correctly.

Personal Life Goals
  • Blogs: outline 4 posts for writers blog, update 3x a week on here
  • Sketch cover ideas for Rebellion (my novel)
  • Schedule a lesson with my piano teacher
  • Win July Camp NanoWrimo
  • Make an A in geology (this class won't be over until mid-August though)
  • Taekwondo: World Expo: Remain positive the entire time, regardless of what happens
  • Admit my mistakes calmly and without getting upset with anyone else

I'm really looking forward to July and hope to enjoy it a lot!  What are your plans?