Thursday, April 28, 2011

I was mugged!


It was just another day at work, just doing my thing. Working quietly, thinking about this and that.

And then i was attacked! It was terrifying! I didn't hear him at all, he just snuck up behind me and grabbed me, I couldn't move, and he wouldn't let go. I tried to wiggle out of his grasp, but to no avail.

When I hollored for help he finally let me go and ran away, but I thought for sure there I was a gonner!!

Thankfully I was able to snatch a quick picture to indentify him....

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

4/27/11 Conditioning Ride


Yeah, couldn't think of a title, just some quick notes on how the ride on Callie went today.

Decided to do trot sets, and I didn't lunge her prior. I had considered going outside, but it was blowing like no tomorrow, and since she is so spooky in the outdoor as-is, I decided I better save that endeavor for another day.

Walked for 10 minutes to warm up, doing lots of suppleing, getting her forward first and then to give to the bit both directions. Also did some leg yeilding out on the circle. 

Then we did 3x 6:00minute trots. A light contact on the bit, almost bordering on long and low, and just really encouraging her to move. She felt great, she felt loose, forward, and free in her gait. Didn't feel sucked back at all, and (for her) felt really focused the entire time. Only a few moments of ears-back-mare-witcheyness. For the first half of the last trot set I picked up the reins a little more and asked for a little more connection, just to remind her that she still has to do what I want when we ride, she fussed about that for about 5 strides then put her ears forward and marched into the bridle. Good girl.

Cooled off with 15 minutes or so of walking. 

And she hardly broke a sweat, despite the indoor arena always being a good 10-15* warmer than outside. The thing is going to be awful in mid summer... yikes!

Tomorrow she gets off, Friday might be a lunge only day with emphasis on canter transitions, and Saturday I think I'll do trot sets again, this time outside. That should be interesting!

Anyway, i'm off to bed, here's to hoping ya'll have better weather than the first day of Rolex got today!!!

Sunday, April 24, 2011

You know it's a slow day at work...


... when your supervisors tell you to go into Meetings so that you can do the Hokey Pokey, putting one foot  in, putting one foot out... LOL!!!

Other than that, it's been a horribly slow and boring day here at work, I think we should have been closed today, more than once I just sat around for an hour poking around on the internet wasting time. I guess really, I don't mind... I'm getting paid to look at pretty horsies and read badminton updates. Then I get annoyed when I do get a call and it interrupts me!!

I rode little crazy mare on Friday, and she was awesome. Took her to the indoor, amazing how much better she is when there are no visual distractions. She was a little stick under saddle at first, but I just told her forward-forward-forward and once she got into front of my leg and was really working into the bridle we had an awesome ride (it also helped that I lunged her first). I didn't ride her yesterday as it was miserably cold, snowing (!!!!) in the morning, and just... well yeah, miserable. I went out to dinner and a movie with my mom instead :)

Dunno if I'll ride her today, I have a butt ton of Chemistry homework to sift through, well... more like I have a whole procedure for a lab to come up with and I have no idea where to start... yikes!

In other news, Mark Todd leads the leaderboard at Badminton!!! WOOHOO! So amazing to see him back at the top of his game again, what an amazing rider.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Crazy mare!


It's been raining here, off and on moisture, not a torrential downpour, but off and on showers with patches of sunshine inbetween. It's been nice, things had been getting waaaay too dry here, so the moisture is much desired. Last night we had our first real thunderstorm, hurray!!! Today dawned clear as a bell with the sun shining brightly, they are calling for more thunderstorms this afternoon. Everything is getting green now with the rain, and it's lovely.

A beautiful evening on the farm from a few days ago
 Yesterday evening I decided to put in a quick ride on Callie mare, my plan was to do trot sets... that didn't exactly go as planned!! For starters I forgot my watch, oh well, I figured I'd just do X number of trot laps around the arena instead of timing my trot sets. Well, yeah... the ride ended up turning into a "You listen to me or else, and you go FORWARD or else!" lesson. Oy vey!

You see those horse eating goblins? Do you SEE them?!
RIGHT THERE! Horse eating!!!
Right from the git-go she was spooking at that... that stupid metal trough-turned-flower-planter. Spun on me walking down the drive, and then we walked past it one way inside the arena and she was fine, went to go walk past it the other way, and all hell broke loose! She spooked and spun, nearly unseating me. Then she just flat out refused to go anywhere near it undersaddle. I'd kick, she'd pin her ears, toss her head, swish her tail and try and spin again. Bad girl!! I was sooooo wishing I had a riding crop to reinforce my point. It went something like this:

Me: Kick, kick, kick. "Get over there"
Callie: "Nooooooo!!"
Callie: "But it's SCAAARRY"

I finally got off and dragged her over to the fence and made her STAND by the thing. Then I got on and walked teeny tiny circles, hurray for bending. Lots and lots of leg, a couple butt smacks, and she was finally in front of my leg. I think a lot of these spooking issues with her is that she is just not forward, cuz I know she's not scared, she'll walk by something just fine with me leading her, under saddle it's another story. I eventually progressed to larger walk and trot circles, my goal was to trot a nice quiet circle on a longer rein and lower frame, aka relaxed!

That was not to be, once she figured out I didn't have much rein contact she took advantage of it, spooking out of nowhere and spinning, she nearly got me off!!! I thought for sure I was going to eat dirt, not only did she spin but she started doing this hoppy thing with her front end, bouncing back and forth throwing a major hissy fit over the whole ordeal. Once I regained my balance it was back to trotting, this time with a much shorter rein, a very forward trot, and an incredible amount of flexion to the inside clearly telling her "you pay attention to me!"

Managed to end on a good note, and I hopped off her right away and hand-walked her to cool her out. Looking back, I guess I deserved it. She'd had the day off prior, and I decided to try riding her without lunging first... on a hot little mare, not such a good idea lol. Oh well, it was a good lesson, and the forward one that must be learned. I swear though, I sound like a pirate when I ride this mare LOL, I growl at her a lot when she feels like she's starting to do something, combined with a strong leg, it normally works.

Silly mare, we'll figure each out soon... hopefully
 So, I'll leave you with that for now. Have a good day, on Good Friday :)

Monday, April 18, 2011

A Must Read


If you read nothing else today, you should read this: Eventing Etiquette For Dummies

Anybody and everybody who has anything to do with horse showing, even if you don't event, should read that blog. Thankfully in Eventing, stuck-up and rude people are few and far between, but I unfortunately know that in other disciplines that is not the case.

If more people got off their high horse and put a smile on their face and made an effort to help someone ELSE out instead of themselves... the entire horse show world would be a much happier place.

In other news...

Little miss Callie mare threw a shoe, her left hind. And get this. She took it off while leaving every single nail behind. ???? Don't ask me how she did it, it looks like there should be a shoe there, the nails are there, but, the shoe just isn't! I found it in her paddock, flat as can be, she didn't bend it or anything. I have NO idea how she managed that. I took a picture of her foot, I'll see if I can't get it posted, it shows the nails still left in her foot. Thank goodness she had a farrier appointment for this Tuesday. On the downside, so much for getting to ride her, we went for a stroll down the road instead and she got to munch on some grass for awhile. It was relaxing :)

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Now back to the reguarly scheduled programming


Ok, I'll drag my mind back outta LOTR geekieness and update on horsey things.

Good day yesterday, I love my Saturday afternoons, get to ride multiple horses, clean pens, do what I want. My barn owner has asked me to do some training with one of her horses, an older QH mare named Magic. They use her for pony lessons to beginner riders and she's started to get a little sour with the kids, not wanting to stand still, not wanting to trot, etc. So I'm going to work with her 1-2 times a week to sort out the kinks. Fun stuff.

So I rode her yesterday, first thing, almost right off the bat, I noticed that her saddle didn't fit right, it was a little too wide. When I mounted up she was not happy. I jumped off and added an extra pad to fill in the space behind her withers, muuuuccch happier horse! Worked on standing still while mounting, transitions (she was surprisingly responsive to very subtle cues!) and on keeping a steady rhythm at the trot. It was fun, it'll be a great way to earn a little extra cash :)

Callie is looking AWESOME, she has really put on a lot of weight and I'm finally getting pleased with how she's looking. Now we just need to build strength. She's still fussy under saddle at the canter and just throws a fit about it, keeps trying to stop, etc. Lunge line canter however looks beautiful. Weird mare. Got the owner of the barn across the street to watch her go, he's a rather skilled dressage rider, and he thinks it's just a strength issue. So I'm gonna just do lots of long and low trot work for awhile, do some cavaletti, and lunge her as much as I can when I don't have time to ride with side reins to help build back strength. So, that's my plan for the next two weeks, and re-evaluate the canter under saddle on May 1st.

My birthday is tomorrow, I have nothing planned, lol, just work and a Chemistry lab. And to attempt to ride/lunge my horse.

Umm... oh, I did want to comment on the recomentation of David O'Connor by the Elligible Atheletes commitee to the USEF as the next Eventing Coach.

While I have nothing against David, I think he's a fabulous rider, a fabulous coach (look at what he did for the Canadians? I mean really, their Eventing team has improved in leaps and bounds!!!) , and all in all, a great representative of our sport. My gripe in this whole thing has been the process, I was sooooo excited when I first saw the list of applicants, Leslie Law, Jimmy Wofford, Phillip and Bobby, etc. And then only Leslie and David got picked to move along, which at that point it was obvious to all that David would get the job, and that the High Performance commitee only added Leslie so as not to make it toooo biased. I mean, really, David is literally on celebrity status here in United States Eventing.

What it comes down to for me is this: Do I think David is a good choice? Yes. Do I think the process for selecting the next coach was fair? No. I felt it was very biased, and while they did give out reasons for their lack of recommending certain applicants (such as Jimmy Wofford, I'm a huge wofford fan, love his writings), I just think from the git-go everybody wanted David and that was that.

That said, I truly hope that he is able to do for our team what he has done for the Canadians, we sure need it, our results as a team from the Beijing Olympics and the WEG were truly dissapointing.

Ok, I think that's it, I'm bored at work and could ramble on for awhile, but I think I'll close things up for the afternoon and go do something else... like read up on Hobbit movie goodness!!

Saturday, April 16, 2011

I interrupt your horsey news for a geek alert!


They have started filming on The Hobbit!!!

Just... *jumps up and down excitedly* :D I looooooove the Lord of the Rings. I have been a huge fan of it since I was a child and my mom read to me the first chapter of The Hobbit in order to convince me to read the series. We used to quiz each other on LOTR knowledge and trivia LOOONG before the movies were even thought of! So, needless to say when The Fellowship of the Ring was announced, we were excited but slightly optimistic, worried that Hollywood wouldn't stay true to Tolkien's epic story. But, these doubts were soon soundly laid to rest (with the exception of the exclusion of Tom Bombadil, that is my ONLY complaint about the movies really). I now own and cherish the extended edition of the trillogy (12 hours of tolkien goodness, yeeeesssss!!! <3)

So, I've known for awhile that they were planning on doing The Hobbit, then I heard that Peter Jackson (who directed the trillogy) wasn't going to direct The Hobbit. WHAT?! But, I guess things or whatever was worked out, and he is indeed back at the reins for another tolkien masterpiece.


And they are doing blog videos (which is the purpose of this blog, to share this), *does a fangirl squee* Enjoy!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Pony pictures


Finally dragged some photos off my phone to share!

First we have Mr. Pie, who is doing just fine in his new home, I'm so happy, I couldn't have asked for a more loving home for him to live out his days in. I will miss his personality though, he is most certainly one of a kind! If I could have kept him I would've, but my budget said otherwise, that's ok, what I wanted to do and what he could do physically just weren't the same. It's a perfect situation really. I'm happy.
Taking one last spin on my boy the day before he left. <3 him!

Looking pretty in pink, lol.

Handsome boy :)
 Only one of Callie, she could still use another 100lbs before I'm satisfied, that and she is not the most photogenic creature in the world, ha! Happy to say no more running away at the canter under saddle, now we just need to get those darn walk-trot transitions down without her being witchy about it. Mares.
She may look innocent enough!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Sunday afternoon ramblings


It's super slow at work this afternoon, and I'm super bored. It's the kind of day where you only get about 1 call an hour, and it's a "I want to cancel my account." call.... c'mon people!

So, I'm getting back into teaching lessons, for the lady at my barn, and now for a local Pony Club. Fun stuff. I much prefer teaching the lady at my barn tho... she listens and really tries hard, and really shows significant improvement from lesson to lesson. That's the best kind of student, you only have to teach them something once, and they'll go and apply it.

Whereas the pony club kids... oy vey, I taught that bunch last fall, crazyness!!! Only two kids were really serious about even remotely listening to me, they were playing with each other, goofing off, being kids LOL. Hopefully they've grown up a little over the winter and are ready to focus for lessons, gotta get them ready for ratings, and hopefully Rally :)

Aaaahh... there was something else I was going to chat about. *thinks* it was something else about horses... or people, or... work? I dunno now, and my shift is over anyways, so I'm outta here! Maybe the wind will have quit and I can ride (most likely not, but it's worth a thought eh?)

Saturday, April 9, 2011



Ya know what I'm talking about, you've been fighting with an issue for days, weeks, months, trying to find a solution to it, and all of a sudden you stumble upon the answer. Most often on accident. Depending on the degree of the discovery, I classify it as either "lightbulb" or "ah-ha" moments. Lightbulb being the best! Lol.

Today though, was an "ah-ha" moment :)

Been having an issue with Callie and her canter, she has been throwing a fit on the right canter lead, major resistance, head in the air, running away on the lunge line, wanting to stop and not move, etc. In general not wanting to maintain a quiet, relaxed canter. Either on the lunge or under saddle. Left head has been fine. Both her owner and I decided that perhaps it was that her feet needed to be done, ok great, we'll get that done and go from there. The farrier is currently scheduled for sometime this coming week.

Well today, I decided to get her out and see what happened. I saddled her up and put her on the lunge, no side reins. Same thing, fine to the left, but horrible to the right. But, today she threw in bucking as well, obviously not happy. My gut told me that it was the saddle, so I took it off and asked her to canter again, perfectly fine, no running away, no bucking, a little tense still, but a reasonable canter. Then I tried the saddle on without the thick fleecy half-pad I have normally been using with her. And voila, she cantered just fine! See, she was a lot thinner last month, so the half-pad was fine, but now that's shes putting on weight and filling out its no longer needed. So I'm going to give it a try for a little bit with no extra padding, see how she does. I'll start cantering her under saddle again once her feet get done.

That said, here is a pic of how she is looking now! I'm finally happy with her now to show ya'll, and yes... I know, her head is behind the pole, silly mare being shy!

Callie mare
I then also rode another mare today, she is a 21 year old TB mare named Baby, owned by another boarder. I'm giving her owner lessons in exchange for me getting to ride Baby as much as I want. Cool, will work perfectly when I quit leasing Callie and won't have a horse for awhile. Baby is funny, she's got some good training on her, through 3rd level, she knows how to do all the lateral work, and she responds to those aids easily. She's a perfect lower level schoolmaster. She's just horribly out of shape and very stiff. So i'm working to get her fit and limbered up, I know she has a trot in there besides her little western pleasure jog!! I'm also getting to JUMP her! Wooohoo! Callie isn't yet to the point where I can jump, but Baby can definitely go over a few little things, which at this point is about 18" LOL. But hey, it's a jump, right??? And I haven't jumped in like 10 months..... so needless to say, it felt wonderful to be jumping her over that little fence today. I am definitely out of practice though, oh my.

Well, that's all for now folks! G'night from colorado.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

For once, I want an iPhone


I'm an avid Android user, I've shunned all things Apple for years, just didn't care to get caught up in it, besides... I think they are WAY too much $$ for what they can do. I think iPhones are over-prices, over-hyped phones, and I'm perfectly happy with my Droid. I also much prefer my Sansa mp3 player, it can play video, listen to radio, play music, all the same things an iPod can do, but at half the cost... and a longer battery life!!


The Badminton iPhone App has me reeeaaaally wishing, for the first time in my life, that I had an iPhone. I want that app so bad! But unfortunately it's only for iPhones, boooooo. It has live scores, rider profiles, virtual course walks, podcasts, the whole shebang. But... I can't have it!! Grrr.

I think there is a Rolex app I can get on my phone, want to say I got it last year, or... no, maybe that was for the WEG. I forget now. Life is too crazy to remember those little things. But... ROLEX! Coming up fast, weee! Sure wish I could be there, one day, I will!

I will be going down here in a few months to the Colorado Horse Park for the CCI* and CCI** to hang out and volunteer, I love jump judging. It gets me out, lets me enjoy the horse show atmosphere, the energy of the vent. I've been reading blogs about The Fork right now, and jogs, and horse show prep, and training sessions, and lessons. I miss that all so much!!! Can't help but day dreaming about when I'll get to do that again in like 5 years... lordy that is so far away! Maybe I can find a catch ride in the meantime *schemes*

Monday, April 4, 2011

Collective Marks


So, I've just discovered this morning that Doug Payne has a blog, hurray for getting to stalk more upper level eventers!! I was reading his most recent entry and had a fond giggle of remembrance when I saw his picture of collective marks (though, they aren't anything to sneeze at, a 10 for a rider is pretty damn impressive!).

While I've never gotten those kind of marks at a real dressage/eventing/combined test show of any kind, schooling or not, (normally end up with 8s and 7s) I have gotten those kinds of marks before.

I do, or well, have done Civil War Cavalry Reenacting. It's a ton of fun, and I've been a history buff since I was a little girl (my parents had to stop me from watching the civil war movie Gettysburg every day because they were worried about their little one watching so much violence), especially in regards to the Civil War. So I do reenacting to get to "relive" the past since, well, time travel hasn't been invented yet. It's an incredibly rewarding experience, especially when my regiment stands to horse as the color guard for the Memorial Day service at the cemetary at a veteran's center where many of the soldiers we portray are burried. It's an undescribable feeling.

I'm on the far right, the chestnut horse

Aaaanywho, now that's I'm getting all emotional about my hobby... as part of being in the Cavalry we hold mounted competitions that test horsemanship and skill at arms. It's a TON of fun. There are different phases, military horsemanship (aka dressage), mounted shooting, mounted saber targets, platoon and company drill. It's rough, it's dirty, it's a lot of action and loud noises. PERFECT place to desensitive an event horse! (I tell ya what, after riding my event horse at cavalry competitions, we'd go to a real USEA event and he'd be falling asleep the entire time LOL).

The first Cavalry Competition I participated in, I kicked everyone's butt in dressa... err, military horsemanship. Becuase, I was the only one who actually knew how to ride a dressage test... not to mention how to do a rising/posting trot! I ended up with almost all 9s and 10s across the test! Best score I've ever received, ever! Best collective marks ever too, HA!

Needless to say, I landed the job as Company instructor, had one guy come up to me after and go "What the hell does a rising trot mean? Stand in my stirrups?" Me: "sorta..."  I'm pleased to say that guy, our bugler, can do a very nice posting trot now. A few years later after that date he actually BEAT ME by 1 point in military horsemanship at the National Cavalry Competition... something he constantly reminds me of every time I see him.

Well, I gotta spend some time working on chemistry homework inbetween calls at work instead of this >.< but that was fun to write about! I miss the reenacting, don't get to do much of it since I'm in school, and especially since I'm currently without a horse! Speaking of which... we missed the mare's cycle this month, boo, so hopefully she'll get bred here in a couple of weeks when she comes back into heat. *crosses fingers*