Miso and Piper

I am on a blogging role today! I have had plenty of time off lately and now feel like doing blogging/internet stuff while sipping on my yummy caffeinated beverage this morning.ย 
The problem is that I don’t have a whole lot to write about at this moment so I think its appropriate to share some photos instead, yay!
The kitties have been unaccounted for in many of my posts and they have let me know that they are upset about this! I have quite a few photos from several weeks ago that I just now got around to uploading to my computer so Piper is quite a bit bigger now ๐Ÿ™‚

First up, my sweetest cat and dear friend Miso. I found this little brass mouse trinket at a garage sale and picked it up for a quarter, I thought it was cute and apparently so did she. It has since become Miso’s hobby to move it around and I frequently find it under the armoire or in one of the bookcase shelves.ย 

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Image Piper has to come and see what Miso has and do a breathalyzer test

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Piper on the other hand has fun with basically anything…including her tail

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She finally caught her tail!

That’s about it, Im feeling “artsy” today and may go out and take some photos for the fun of it as I haven’t done that in quite some time.ย 
Tomorrow I plan on going out to the barn promptly after I get off of work, I normally have the day off but they desperately need by help in the morning so I will only be working a half day which is fine with me, forces me to get up early and then at noon I can take off and go riding. Also, I will take a little more video tomorrow and hopefully have a fun new compilation to upload.

Until tomorrow then, happy riding everyone!

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New Year New Horse?

I cannot believe that it is already 2014, wow the time flies when you’re having fun.
This year has been good and I don’t have any regrets but I am hoping to make 2014 even better, not New Years resolutions just trying to live simply and happily. If I can do both of those things then I will consider it a success.

Barn news has been the same-ish. Titan and I are at a point where things are just sort of “stuck.” Don’t get me wrong, its not really a bad thing because we are maintaining a certain level of training and he is finally out of that slump of a few weeks ago but every time lately it has been a struggle to get him listening to what I want…this usually involves slowing down or stopping. But that being said I have a ton of fun every time I ride him; its simply that our goals have been dramatically leveled down from technical riding skills to basics. But as I said, at least we aren’t going backwards.

I went out 3 times last week and all of our rides were very fun and left me a little breathless and giggling….Titan actually reared up while I was on him. While I was squealing like a baby on the inside I think I maintained a cool facade and everything turned out fine. He apparently saw a horse passing us on the inside (other horse at a canter, we were walking) and he wanted to catch up and tried to run off but I reined him in….and presto we were vertical. That happened Thursday night and luckily the rest of the ride was uneventful.
However, Saturday he was very spirited again and while walking him from an outdoor tie spot into the arena he decided to take off…..he didn’t spook, it was just him being an uppity jerk. He jerked my arm pretty good and managed to pull out of my grasp despite having my grippy riding gloves on. Luckily, he took off and ran right thru the open gate and into the arena where I was able to lock everything and catch him up. Needless to say we did a good amount of lunging that day as a reminder of who is leading who, he managed to pull the lunge out of my hands TWICE! before finally coming down a little, what a jerk! I guess he likes colder weather ๐Ÿ™‚

Furthermore, Saturday we (Rachel and I) had to share the indoor arena with no less than 4 other horses, that makes 6 horses in a relatively small space. It honestly wouldn’t be so bad except that all of the other riders were lesson riders and young…for the most part the horses just want to plod around and follow a leader. I noticed that no matter what I did I had all 4 horses bunching up behind me like little ducklings. Titan doesn’t get along well with other horses and was noticeably agitated so I tried doing half circles to put myself behind them but the kids just followed me. I tried to talk to them and tell them to stay on the rail but I think I could see the puff of my words going in one ear and coming out the other. I tried going faster, slower….it really didn’t matter what I did, those horses were driving and wanted to stay in a little herd right on Titan’s tail. Bleh.
Rachel and I decided to get off and head to the outdoor arena in spite of the freezing temperatures and high winds….we endured for awhile but the wind was literally whistling in my ears. Ah well, at least we got some riding in.

Speaking of riding, I have noticed a new trend at the barn and I am going to take it as flattery….I have had several people ask or offer to let me use their horse. Some want their horse to get a little refresher and some just offered but I take it as a compliment that someone actually wants me to ride their horse. I haven’t taken anybody up on their offer yet, one woman has offered multiple times, but perhaps the next time Titan is sore I will take someone else out for a dance.

On another note I also had one of the western riders approach me for some english lessons, she is a very sweet and funny lady so I offered to stick her up on Titan for fun as long as she was willing to remove her huge western spurs….she decided on a raincheck lol. Maybe I can convince her to try it out on Thursday.

Speaking of western riding, I have been reminded of two things. First and most exciting Rachel’s family is looking into purchasing a horse for Rachel as they are having problems with the lease they have on Chance. They love Chance to death but everyone else does as well. Case in point they went to the barn last week and were told that Chance was on a trail ride and would be back shortly. They had to wait for 3 hours before the lady that had taken him out showed-up on the trailhead. As their lease horse they have an understanding that he can be used by others for lessons and what not but that he should be available for Rache to ride him at any time, basically they are supposed to ask her if she is planning on coming out before they let him be taken out on the trails. Furthermore, several times while Rachel was riding him she would hop off to go get some water/restroom/etc and upon coming back her tack was removed and he was being ridden by someone else. Everyone understands that he is a lease horse but they have lost respect for that fact. He is a beautiful paint and pretty sweet to boot so he is a barn favorite but that doesn’t excuse the disregard for Rachel’s lease on him.
In any case, they tried to discuss their concern with the BO and he basically shut them down with non-sensical threats about terminating their lease on Chance himself etc etc. ย A sad situation but they have decided to start looking at other options and buying their own horse so that they don’t have to deal with sharing a horse and having someone constantly critique the way Rachel rides, trains, etc.
And this brings me to the second thing I was reminded of when I mentioned western riding……what the heck is up with western riding?! And before you all get mad I am not talking about gymkhana, barrels, roping, sorting, working, pleasure…..I am talking about the retarded western pleasure lope!!! It is ridiculous. I have seen those nice western pleasure jogs and western pleasure lopes and although it isn’t my thing I can appreciate that they are well trained horses that someone has invested a lot of time into. However, while looking at horse adds for potential new horses for Rachel I have come to the realization that I have gotten a little out of touch with the world of western pleasure. I remember it completely different and I found myself on a corner of youtube full of western horses for sale that were being put thru their paces and boy were they ugly!! The Lope….oh my gosh…can it even be called that? It was slow before but now it honestly looks as if the horse is half lame and hobbling along. Who decided that was how it should be done? All of these horses just look so heavy on the forehand and its just unnatural looking…..literally made me cringe.

I typed in western pleasure and found so many awful examples of what I am talking about….try it yourself on youtube, you will be shocked

I am not saying western riders are bad or that western is bad….I used to ride western and about 90% of my friends are western riders….its just that this particular trend is slightly insane lol.

In any case the horses are gorgeous and I am enjoying the thrill of horse shopping even though it isn’t for myself just yet ๐Ÿ˜‰

On that note, in 2014 I have decided I will also aspire to be less judgmental lol ๐Ÿ˜›

Night everyone, have a great year ahead!

Sunshine award

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Oh thank you so much Sparrowgrassย for the award!ย I have decided to ring in the new year by choosing not to procrastinate and get this out as soon as possible.

1. Use the logo in your post. โœ“
2. Link to whoever nominated you.โœ“
3. Write ten pieces of information about yourself.โœ“
4. Nominate ten fellow bloggers who positively and creatively inspire others in the blogosphere.โœ“
5. Leave a comment on the nomineesโ€™ blogs to tell them of the award

Ten things about me:
1. I have two cats, one is helping me write this post in a decidedly unhelpful way
2. I love yogurt, I mean LOVE it. I eat that greek stuff by the carton.
3. I often doubt myself
4. I work in an animal rehabilitation center
5. I really don’t like mustang cars and feel obligated to pretend I do when talking to others
6. I wear a sterling silver bracelet cuff, I have worn it for about 7 years now
7. I love an ice cream sold at Rite Aid called chocolate malted crunch
8. Sometimes I sleep on the dog bed because its in front of the fire, the dog sleeps on the leather couch ๐Ÿ˜›
9. I have to wear tights under my breeches because nearly all of my pairs have holes in them
10. I have an extraordinary fascination with saddle pads, I can never have enough!

 

My nominations: Okay, a little less than 10 but many of the blogs in my reader have already been nominated so I picked a select few rather than trying to toss in some random choices.
http://anythingforhorseandrider.wordpress.com
http://neilirving73.wordpress.com
http://thesugarlump.com
http://www.wingandaprayerfarm.com
http://thedancingrider.wordpress.com

Christmas horse

No, I didn’t get a horse of my very own for christmas unfortunately ๐Ÿ˜› However, I am now officially on winter break and have a week off of work as well so I am well and truly on vacation. I have spent a good deal of time riding at the barn and enjoying spending time with some of the other horsey gals.ย 
This past week we had a very fun barn party that basically involved a lot of food, gifts and of course horses. I ate way too much, it was a lot of snacking food (we had 3 large tables covered) with some main courses and so I ate a regular meal and then proceeded to snack away. I very suddenly started feeling a bit gross and realized that I had done way too much snacking on the variety of very rich and unhealthy foods…so I went home and put on some sweat pants so I could digest ๐Ÿ˜›
Titan has been in rare form lately….I am not sure if it is the cold weather but he just has a bug up his butt and wants to GO all the time. We did so much cantering the last time I was riding that it was ridiculous! I was trying to talk with one of the other riders as we walked along side by side and Titan repeatedly cantered off and didn’t want to come back down. I decided to make him come back into a walk but then ask for a canter and let him get it out of his system…and all that energy even after I lunged him for at a good clip for a fairly long time.ย 
We didn’t really work on anything last time except trying to get him to listen and slow down and do some work in the trot or walk. Its amazing how dramatically the goals for the day can change depending on the attitude of the horse lol.ย 
I do have some exciting news, I got some new tack from my family for christmas. They did end up giving it to me before christmas because they wanted to make sure that everything fit and worked out so that they would have time to return it and reorder if necessary.ย 

I am in love with everything I got but I especially love the browband on the new bridle as it has a row of crystals which really pop in the arena lighting….speaking of lighting our barn was outfitted with new bright lights that don’t leave dark spots like the previous lights did, its the small things I suppose ๐Ÿ™‚

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New saddle!

The other thing that I absolutely love are my new reins…the bridle came with some very pretty braided reins but they had that annoying hook type buckle that takes no less than 10 years to remove. So I went to the local tack store and picked up a pair of english/endurance reins that have quick release clips as you can see in the photo. Love them, makes it very easy to unclip them and tie him or lunge without worrying about them getting in the way or getting caught.ย 

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New bridle

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Mandatory Tacky Christmas photo

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I plan on going back out to the barn tonight to meet up with R to do a gift exchange just between the two of us and of course go riding. I bought her a nice fleece covered english girth (a great gift for a western rider :P) that has elastic on both ends to make girthing up easier and more comfortable for Chance. I also got her a ginormous bag of small bite sized horse treats and a bottle of showsheen.ย 

I will hopefully remember to charge my camera (plugging in now) so that I can get enough video to make a small christmas themed clip…maybe lol.ย 

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Ready for vacation!

Yes, I am going to complain in this post because I feel like it, the last two weeks have been more than a little hectic. I will admit I found myself blubbering (to clarify these are the ugly kind of tears with the added allure of snot) several times due to complete and severe exhaustion and because I have been feeling just plain yucky. I have unfortunately found myself suffering from a sinus infection, a charming sore throat, the flu and a pulled back simultaneously…it has just been miserable. The sinus infection has been brewing for some time and I was expecting it but the others have literally knocked me on my bum and left me wondering what I did to deserve it lol ๐Ÿ˜› In better news the flu symptoms have subsided and my back which I strained Monday night is finally starting to feel a tad bit better. I have a feeling that all of this mess is a result of lack of sleep and stress so let me back up a bit and explain.

First and most importantly, my poor dog Ben has had a rough time of it for the last two months and his health was deteriorating and we couldn’t quite figure out why. It had gotten to the point where he was basically comatose, walking him outside to go potty involved carrying him out and holding him up and hoping he would go. 80% of the time he couldn’t even hold his head up, it would just hang down limp. Yeah, needless to say it freaked me out and was a major source of stress and a strain on me physically and emotionally.

Luckily, because of where I work I was able to do every kind of diagnostic test under the sun for very little money and we figured out that basically his body was toxic, many of his blood levels were off in a scary way. So we decided to put him on an IV drip and flush out his system for 3 days….3 very long days. I have an excellent discount but of course I have to do the treatments myself…meaning that I got to schlep home the IV pump and all of its trappings, needles, extra flush, syringes, etc etc and babysit the darn machine all night. And let me say that machine is the devil…it is so finicky and it gets crazy ideas that its blocked when it really isn’t…I think sometimes the alarm on the thing would go off just to taunt me. I enjoyed sleeping on blankets on the floor in the family room so I could be available at the slightest sound….even worse I got assigned farm care for that week which means I had to leave even earlier for school….and therefore I had to get up at 3am to get Ben and all of the equipment back to the clinic so someone could watch him while I was at school.ย  Even worse, the hospital doesn’t open up until 8 so I had to get everything in front of the door, unlock the front, and quickly shuffle everything into the lobby to avoid being accosted by “bad” people. I am probably imagining the “bad” people but being anywhere by yourself at 3:30 is creepy.

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Ben is all tucked in and im ready to head off to school

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El Diablo the machine

After getting him set-up I would have to rush out to school and do farm work on about 2 hours of sleep and I wouldn’t get-off until around 5:30pm then I would go back to the clinic to pick-up Ben and all of the equipment for another fun night at home. The good news is that he is doing better, he is now aware of his surroundings and able to walk on his own as long as I help him to initially stand-up. He even comes in and pushes my hands for pets which he hasn’t been able to do in a long time. So yeah, that whole situation has been stressful for me!

And as if that wasn’t enough, its that lovely FINALS time! Oh joy!! Ah well, on Tuesday of next week I will be done with school for a month and I can finally take it easy and gain back some of this sleep I have missed out on.

In other news the Thanksgiving holiday was nice, I ate way too much and then sat around feeling gross. However, I didn’t feel too bad about all of the calories as again, I was selected for farm duty ON thanksgiving. Poo! But it was kind of nice to get out and work hard in the cold and then come home and eat myself silly. I did do some of the traditional black friday shopping and found that going around 3pm equated to very little crowds and almost zero lines.

Thanksgiving at the farm:

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Alpaca stares, look at those hairdos!

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This little goat wanted a sample of the medicine I just gave to the alpaca….silly goat

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Finally a picture of Levi the percheron!

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Is this food? A nosey alpaca.

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Dirty boots at the farm! I never get out of there without looking like I have had a roll in the mud!

I have also been privy to the news that I am getting a new saddle and bridle for christmas….naturally for my non-horsey family I had to provide some guidance on what to purchase. I can’t wait until it gets delivered but of course I have been instructed that I will have to wait until Christmas and that I will have to act surprised when I open it. It’s nothing super fancy but it is nice and its leather and it will suit me perfectly for the time being. Finally I will no longer have to fight over saddles at the barn ๐Ÿ™‚ I also know that I am getting a nice crystal browband and maybe some other trappings but those truly will be a surprise.

And now I will finally get around to talking about Titan…I have decided that he is probably ready to start working on some classical dressage training in hand. It will take time and I don’t expect immediate results but it will be a fun challenge and a new chapter. I haven’t ridden in a week! ๐Ÿ˜ฆ But hopefully I will get out next week after finals for some much needed horsey time! Stay warm in this cold weather everyone!!!

Lame Horse

Well, as the title suggests Titan had a small bout of lameness a week ago that luckily only lasted for the week. The reason is fairly obvious to me, we have a new farrier at the barn and he took his hooves way too short and he was so very painful. For some reason he was more reactive to his right front hoof and wouldn’t even put weight on it, poor guy! Luckily, the day before we ran all around the outdoor arena for about 4 hours without any kind of incidence with the exception of one thing: I changed Titans bit from a kimberwicke to an eggbutt snaffle bit.

I had noticed that he was really trying to avoid the bit a lot recently so thought I might try a snaffle out and see how he went in it. Let me just say that he loved it…didn’t have to fight with him to get it in his mouth BUT I did have to fight him while riding. He is very responsive but if I am being honest I would have to say that he doesn’t have a “snaffle mouth,” we did several unintentional gallops simply because I didn’t have the leverage to stop his BIG canter from turning into a gallop. Ah well, I survived and was laughing somewhat manically.

In the following week while Titan was on rest I rode Chance and popped over a few jumps because he is more than happy to jump like a normal horse rather than the odd and unpredictable method of jumping that Titan employs. Not that I am complaining too much as jumping isn’t where my heart is but it is still fun to do from time to time.

But the best news is that Titan is all good to ride again so I went out and rode him for for about 3 hours today. I was a little worried that our normal workout might be too much for him after being on stall rest but he was ready to go and I had trouble keeping him in the walk…go go go, that was the mode he was in. We rode outside for awhile and worked on lead changes at the canter, riding a huge figure 8 that was larger than I wanted it to be but his canter was also very large and I got tired of fighting with him and decided to let him get it out of his system. We did several successful flying lead changes without losing the canter or the rhythm…. and the moment I could feel him swap leads my smile was huge..which is unfortunate because there were a lot of little gnats out tonight and I think I got a few in my mouth. I know a lot of horses do flying lead changes in their sleep but it felt so nice to get him working and thinking, in the past he has been more than happy to plow on in a counter canter.

About an hour into my ride I was joined by the new trainer Alex whose company I have really come to enjoy….after I talked to her a bit I felt like the air had been cleared and I could get to know her and it turns out she is such a sweet person. She has offered to let me use her $3,000 dressage saddle which quite frankly scares me a little. At my hesitation to use it she then offered to let me use her wool seat cover after I complained of the saddle I was using being hard. Just a nice and generous person. She was attempting to mount Maggie the friesian and she started to rear and strike out and buck…and she was relentless. After a few minutes of Maggie being an idiot I offered to join her in the indoor arena since she seemed to be spooked or excited by something and Alex seemed grateful for that. However, as we were walking down to the indoor arena Maggie lost it and was rearing and refusing to walk in. Alex asked me if I could grab her halter and a lunge line which I was more than happy to do. Poor Titan, I quickly tied him in a tie and left him but I don’t think he minded too much.
When I was walking back out I saw Maggie rearing and running circles around poor Alex. I came up and tried calming her and it seemed to work….she settled and I was able to put her bridle on. However, the moment I stepped back she starting acting up and striking at Alex. I think Alex was at a loss of what to do and asked if I wouldn’t mind holding her since she seemed calmer with me, it must have taken a lot to admit that since Alex is now Maggie’s primary rider and handler and we all like to think that the horse has a special bond to us.

When I took Maggie’s lead she was a little goofy but basically she was being good. I led her down into the barn with minimal corrections…mostly she was just crowding into my space too much, perhaps looking for reassurance.

Alex was a little hesitant to ride, I don’t blame her after the show I witnessed, so instead she decided to lunge her and make her work hard. Maggie looked like a rodeo horse with the amount of bucking and refusing she did but Alex finally got her going good after awhile.

After Alex was done lunging I got back on and rode for awhile and then cooled him out before finally putting him up for the night. All in all a good night of riding.

And of course some video clips of riding from the last couple of weeks, in the indoor shots I am riding Chance the paint and in the outdoor shots I am riding Titan. ๐Ÿ™‚

Feeling like a shut in

This past week has felt busy, but when I actually think about what I’ve accomplished there isn’t a whole lot on my list besides going to work and classes and managing to drag my bum out of bed in the insanely early mornings. I think it must be because of the whole time change thing? Why do we do it anyways, silly little thing it is.
I had planned to go out riding Tuesday night but ended up with cramps, oh the joys of being a woman…I decided I would rather just curl up around a heating pad, moan loudly and watch some trashy t.v. while snacking on anything and everything. Thursday I had also planned on riding but R cancelled on me and I just didn’t have the energy to go out riding…bah. I wish I had. It is now looking like I won’t get out until Tuesday.
I did manage to get out long enough on Friday to do some damage to my wallet. I bought some new polo wraps and also some over the knee stripey and very obnoxious socks that I will have fun wearing when I ride…the more outlandish the better!

The last time I rode (Sunday) I made a quick video of all the random barn chores I do when I am out plus I put in some blooper moments that include one where I managed to dump dirty bedding into my shoe and another where the girl I ride with is trying to lead her horse that is balking at walking across the rocks. If you watch the video you will also notice a flea bitten gray horse that I am handling who I am in LOVE with, the sweetest horse ever! You can just love on him and hug and squeeze his big head and he soaks it up. His owner comes out about twice a year hence the huge rats nest you will notice in his tail. She had mentioned in the past that maybe I could try him english for her….and I think I just might. I will have to contact her to make sure the offer still stands just to be sure. That is about it…hopefully I will have more exciting news for you all next week….although at the school farm we have just had the first calf (cows) born and just last week we acquired a new horse….a percheron named Levi.ย 

Until next time, enjoy the video and be sure to watch in 1080! Happy riding everyone!!!

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