Friday, November 28, 2014

Forget the Budget

I went shopping with my family this morning. And convinced them to go to the local tack shop.  Ooops.

Lady finally got a blanket. Not sure if I'll have to exchange it for a smaller size or not, but it definitely looks good on her! I love the hunter green and black.  :)

And I got a new saddle pad. I know that white is going to be a huge pain to keep clean and so on, but it looks so fancy, and has the hunter green trim.

I totally splurged today, but I'm kind of glad for it this once. I might be making a few more sale purchases today online, but I guess we'll see.....

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Holiday Ride 1

I spent most of yesterday being lazy and recovering from my Texas trek. But after being away from home for four days, I was quite ready to get back out with the horses.  :)

The best girl.  <3

 She actually has not had a halter on in over a week... just a bridle. My horse is a breeze to catch, peoples, and she bridles in the field just as easily. Love it!
We walked around together and then I saddled her and we walked around again while I tightened the girth in stages.

Our ride went basically like this...
- Mount up on the third try.
- Grumble at my lack of flexibility and ability to mount smoothly.
- Walk around on a loose rein. Avoid the hay shed.
- Poke The Pony so that she gets out of the way.
- Urge horse into a trot.
- Lament the fact that I have a wimpy phase 4 and resolve again to buy a crop.
- Trot around the arena.

- Stop horse and cry about the fact that my legs are shaking.
- Trot again. I. Can. Do. This.
- Kick myself for being a wimp and decide to work on the canter.
- Flail in the canter for more than few strides before finally figuring it out.
- Settle into the canter and do several figure 8s. A first for both of us!!!
- Make a really awkward transition back to the trot.
- Stop and watch The Pony buck and flail around. (She loves being with us)
- Get off and finally adjust stirrups so that they are even.
- Get back onto a grumpy horse who thought she was done being ridden.
- Ride around at the walk/trot and realize my right leg is being a jerk.
- Try to correct said jerk while working on leg aids with horse.
- Get a few nice responses to the leg aids.
- Fail miserably at correcting the leg.
- Dismount and cool off.

That was the looong cliff notes version. Overall it was a good ride, but that right leg of mine was definitely being a jerk and I got frustrated about it. And Lady's "go button" is a little broken right now, which is my fault because I've stopped getting after her when she misbehaves and then I just nag. I need to get something a little longer than a crop for riding so that she remembers what she is supposed to do.

Cooling off bareback.
Depending on my work schedule tomorrow, I plan to work with both of the girls on the ground. They both need to sweat.  ;)

40 minute ride at W/T/C.  Lady was warm but not sweaty and did not feel sore.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Road Trip & Horse Racing

I spent the weekend trekking across Texas with my brother for a Thanksgiving dinner with extended family this past weekend. I look at these trips with a whole different perspective nowadays since this area (West Texas) is where I will be moving Lady and myself to next summer so that I can go to university.
But I digress... it was a fun weekend, and the best horse-related part of all? I made a trip to see horse racing live!

Friday we left after lunch and made it to an aunt's house at 10:30pm. Long day of driving, so not much to be interested in there.
Saturday I was reminded by my awesome friend from Beyond the Stretch that I just happened to be staying 30 minutes from Zia Park. Therefore, after spending some time baking with my grandma and having lunch with a dear cousin, I headed out to see horse racing for the first time!

Ensue photo dump (made up of not-too-great quality pictures)....
Paddock area.

Devilish Beast, horse number 6 in race 7, by Diabolical

Winner of race 7, number 4, Later Dude,  by Golden Ransom

Proud Ruben, number 1 in race 7, by Proud Irish

Perfect Style, winner of the 8th race,  by Majesticperfection.

Stealyndeewin, number 2, winner of race 9, by Roll Hennessy Roll

Stealyndeewin, from above, in another picture.

Post parade for race 10, horse numbers 2 and 3.

Post Parade for race number 10, horses numbers 4 and 5.

 All the races were claiming and allowance and the last two were Quarter Horse races, which was exciting too. I actually decided to bet on the last race and my horse came in second, which was awesome! :)  For those interested in horses and racing, I bet on A Full Dynasty, but sadly didn't get a picture of him.  :(

We had a lot of fun with family yet on Sunday and got home Monday evening. I also finally got to stop and snap a picture of the statue in front of the super famous 6666 Ranch. One day I'll stop and get a tour!

How was your weekend? What do you have planned for the Thanksgiving holidays?

Friday, November 21, 2014

I Went Riding!!!

I will have to write about my sporadic-ness of late at some point... but since I actually went riding this week, there is something to talk about! Well... if you enjoy reading about normal flat rides.

The last few times I've ridden its been in the arena (which is doubling as the girls' pasture right now) with The Pony tagging along. Tuesday however, I decided to get her out of there and do a little bit of exploring.

Fuzzy pony is rarin' to go. Can't you tell?

She was a good girl about tacking up, even though I didn't do such a great job with the girth. I'm still getting used to the fancy new Total Saddle Fit one that I have.
Anyways, I hopped on and for once she had a lovely walk right from the start. Usually we have a plodding walk and I have to try really hard not to nag. But she was great today and I decided to pick up the trot pretty quickly just  because it gets her energy up. Which it did.
We walked and trotted alternately up and down the driveway a few times and then ventured off down the road a little ways in both directions. My brain really wanted to go on a trail ride, but I ignored it! We only did a little bit before coming back. We'll get to trail riding eventually, but right now keeping her mentally happy and calm is what I want.

Heading home. Taking pictures while trotting is difficult.
We then headed into the side pasture and had a discussion about whether or not she could eat grass.  (hint: no)
I went straight for the canter once we had finished our discussion and while the canter itself wasn't all that wonderful, the transition into it was fairly good and the transition back down was lovely. Still working on transitioning down into a trot instead of a halt though. Either way, it was much softer and calmer.

We had another discussion about what speed she was going to trot at. She wanted to go super fast after I had let her canter, but since I want the canter to be something that goes well right now, I really focused on making her trot rhythmic. Oh, and posting at different speeds while she figured it out. That was interesting!

We had several very good points where she really softened and listened to me, so I changed it up a little and worked on a little bit of contact in both the walk and the trot. We had not done this in the trot, so it was new, but she did lovely and I was pretty happy with my hands if I do say so myself. ;)

I took her back down to where we cantered earlier and had another canter, which was a little bit better. The transition back down wasn't as smooth, but since she didn't hit the brakes, I called it good. We walked back down the stretch we had just cantered so she didn't get the wrong idea and then this happened.....

My legs hurt just thinking about it.
I'm a wimp when it comes to No-Stirrup November, so I only dropped them for the walk back to the barn. Even so... I think I prefer 2-point!

Overall, she was a lovely girl and I was really pleased. So often I get frustrated because it feels like I'm training a 16-year-old green horse, but quite honestly, I am. Most of the things we're working on she didn't learn as a young horse. She was a rodeo horse, so cantering/running fast and coming to a hard stop are natural to her. We've done more canter work in the last six months than I think I did in all the other years we've been together. We've made terrific progress. Yes, I get frustrated, but deep down I'm really proud.  :)

Not planning or anything, but Lady has been feeling pretty great lately, and I have my fingers crossed that she will be up for a small jump school next week. I would be so thrilled!!!!

Thursday, November 20, 2014

November's 10 Questions

I love these questions... thanks so much to L. Williams from Viva Carlos for putting them out there. :)

1)  Have you ever owned a horse?  Yup, I've owned 4 horses in my lifetime.

2)  What is your favorite aspect of your discipline?  I don't show (yet) so I don't have a set discipline, but I really am focusing on dressage right now. My favorite aspect is probably the hard work that goes into it. Not that horses are ever easy but there are so many little nuances that go into dressage and I just love that part of it.

3)  What pet peeves do you have concerning your discipline?  In the showing world, I really don't like that judges often seem to reward everything except true classical training and that people use so many gadgets and "quick-fix" training methods. I see it all the time.  :(

4)  Do you do barn chores?  Yes. All of them.  Every day.

5)  What is your least favorite barn chore?  Hmm... cleaning up the tack room. There is a reason why all my tack is now in my room instead of outside.  :P

6)  What do you consider the worst vice in a horse?  Rearing is my least favorite. I can deal with and work to correct biting and kicking, but rearing is another challenge altogether.

7)  What saddle brand is your favorite?  This is a hard one for me since I have not had enough experience or sat in enough saddles, but I do adore the Parelli Saddles company. And I have sat in an Antares and nearly swooned. If I could just get either of those brands onto my horse......

8)  Do you ride with a quarter sheet in the winter?  No, never have, although I have considered it. I definitely will if I ever clip my horse in the winter.

9)  Does your horse wear boots? What kind?  She doesn't always wear boots, but when she does she either has splint boots or bell boots on her front legs. Or both. She also has polo wraps for the winter for warmth.  I made the wraps and the others are the local brand.

10)  Full seat or knee patch breeches?  Again, I don't have enough experience, but I would go with full seat whenever I buy a pair.

Thanks again L for giving me some questions to answer! My favorite :)

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Love & Horses Blog Hop

Love & Horses asks:  Other than your horse, what pets do you have?

This one is easy for me because besides Lady, I only have one puppy-dog. Unless you count The Pony, since she is kind of a pet too. But I won't talk about her today.

Meet Major....

He's an adorable mutt that was dropped off near our house and became mine.  I've had him for 8 years and he's getting quite old now (he was full grown when I got him).

He's always lived outdoors and this is his first winter that I'm bringing him in at nights because he just gets so cold and miserable outside.

He's super cute and friendly and barks at anyone coming down the driveway until they bend down and pet him and then he is their best friend.
Seriously.... best dog ever. :)

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

WW: Loving It

New girth from Total Saddle Fit.  Love it.

Ignore the chubby look. It is now winter.

Her quirk... holding water in her mouth and sticking her tongue out.

Everyone's favorite pony.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Trying to Breathe

After such a successful blogging month in October, I now have not written anything since Sunday.  Whoops.

Because I have no new pictures.  :(
The really bad part is that I have almost nothing to write about. I've been so busy between going to rehearsals, getting to class, studying for exams and working on the weekend that whenever I have some time off all I want to do is collapse in bed, not drag a saddle out and ride.  (Not that I don't love riding... it just seems like more work when I'm tired.)  Add to that the fact that the place is a muddy mess right now from the rain.
Thusly, Lady has not been worked or ridden since last Sunday. The girls have been fed and snuggled a little bit, but that's all.

I guess it was time for a little break, but I need to get back "in the saddle" before Lady gets herself all stiff from the cold and wet and we struggle all winter.

I have to say, I love this weather though!  Perfect for hot cocoa and hoodies.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

October Review/November Goals

I'm totally freaking out about the fact that it is November already. Ouch.

October General Goals:

  • Read another 6 novels. 
  • Complete my novel's cover and put the final touches on my publishing plan.
  • Write daily using My 500 Words.  This was a fail. I ran out of time.
  • Put in my university application and start planning for that huge change.
  • Be at the piano 2 hours a day, 6 days a week.  I did okay, but can't cross it out.
  • Don't drown in homework!
  • Exercise or stretch every day.
  • Get 3 people's Christmas gifts finished.
October Horse Goals!
  • Have fun at the Parelli event next week!  Yes!
  • Pull enough money together to have Lady's teeth done and get her a winter blanket.  Other money priorities came first. Post about this later.
  • Ride 2x per week and do groundwork 2x per week.  Time ran away.
  • Riding goal for myself: 2pointober! My lower leg needs boot camp!  Worked on this! Not as much improvement as I would have liked, but oh well. I think I went from 1 minute, 20 seconds to 2 full minutes? :/
  • Riding goal for Lady: Improve focus/attention span/concentration.
  • Groundwork goal: Refresh ground manners and lunge the canter. Did pretty good!

November Horse Goals!

  • Keep up with horse chores.
  • Purchase an anatomical girth for Lady.
  • Film USDF Introductory Test A.
November Personal Goals!
  • Plank challenge.
  • Follow schedules and various plans.
  • Slide into winter successfully, continuing to be productive and staying away from depressive thoughts.