Wednesday, 31 December 2014

Happy 2015!

I was going to write out a big goals post, but it was super boring and I'll do us all the favor of not bothering and just post some quarterly goals later. Instead, here's my take on how my horses would spend tonight's New Years party:


Ginger: A new year? For real? Is there a party? Can I bring my friends? Will there be boys? I can't wait!
I'm going to invite all my friends! Maybe there will be a huge pool and we'll stay up all night splashing in the water!!!! This is going to be so much fun!


Bridget: Party? Meh. I'm tired. Wait, there's food? OK, I guess I could come out for a bit.

If you need me, I'll be in the corner, eating all the food. Come get me when you need a ride home.

Tuesday, 30 December 2014

2014 In Review


Apologies in advance, I want to do a 2014 recap before the end of the month, but it's been a long day and I am feeling far too lazy to link back to my original posts. We're just going to keep this short and sweet!

January:
I was newly home from an 8 month work contract in Alberta and super excited to spend more time with my Ginger mare! Ginger arrived at the 'new' barn shortly before me, and was having trouble settling in.
White knuckle riding

February:
Uh oh..the reunion party was short lived. Struggling with confidence issues on the big mare, and I got another contract away from home that was too sweet to turn down. I left home again partway through the month, leaving wonderful Ginger behind to enjoy her 6 month all inclusive vacation in pony paradise and really unsure whether I even wanted to continue riding her at all beyond laid back trail rides.
Bye, Ginger. Enjoy the BC winter!


March:
New city, new job, homesick. Stress levels high. Missing my horse time. Sucked it up and decided to have another try at the wannabe eventer thing. Luckily, I found a barn to ride at super quickly and my sanity was restored! Barn was hunter/jumper rather than my then current 'safe' zone of dressage, but hey, you only live once, right? At least we started in the class with cross rails and 6 year olds?

The beginning of my love affair with Checkers the wonderhorse

April:
Continuing twice weekly lessons on the world's most saintly lesson horses, riding with little kids who kicked my butt on a regular basis. And I started jumping 'real' jumps for the first time in a very long time! Took advantage of living in the city and attended the Farm and Ranch show/College Rodeo Finals, as well as The Mane Event/Rob Gage clinic. Also put a PSA out there if anyone was looking for an adorable and sweet welsh cob that was newly for sale:
Baby Bridget :)


May:
Confidence levels were increasing, I was finding it a bit of a struggle physically and mentally playing musical ponies and riding a different horse every lesson, but sucked in up in the name of becoming a better rider. Riding was starting to become nothing but fun again, and I was super excited for riding days! I made it home for a visit with G and Ginger, and also went to a show in Edmonton and got inspired by the big jumper classes.



June:
Continued riding fun. Got to move 'up' into an adult lesson group from the crossrail kids crowd and gained the confidence to canter full (baby 2') courses and was having a blast! Had attempted to find a rider for Ginger starting earlier in the year, after multiple rider trials decided her stress/my sanity wasn't worth it and she could stay on extended vacation. Started looking at sale ads and considering a second horse...
Had some great lessons on Splash while Checkers was out for a few weeks lame.

July:
Due to the barn show schedule and the need for the lesson horses to have a bit of a break, scaled down to one ride a week on the ever wonderful Checkers. Still struggling a bit with how big she was and how big her jump felt, but overall feeling pretty confident and solid and pretty sure I wanted to steal her. Loved the idea of having a been-there-done-that 'safe' horse so much I started shopping for one of my own! After looking at multiple cobs, and not finding anything, I decided to maybe go with a different breed, After Ginger, who was advertised as on the quiet side for a welsh, I should have known safe/quiet/schoolmaster Welsh D's are like needles in haystacks :) Finally, I gave in and went on an epic road trip to try out the 'too small and plain' welsh cob Bridget.
Adorable, and temperament was perfect, but small and very very green.
August:
Who is this girl? Galloping 'jump off' mini courses in a lesson and left wanting more! A total jumping addict. Dressage, what's that?;) Spent a couple of weekends at the races and as always, wanted to take a TB home with me,
But, after much soul searching and budgeting, decided to take a chance on a super green but sensible pony and bring the lovely Bridget home! Transport was arranged, I finished work, and after a sad farewell to Checkers, was home with the Bridget, Ginger, and G by the last weekend in August.
Spoiling her with grazing as a goodbye treat, still miss Checkers so much!

September:
Loving being home! Enjoyed wonderful weather and lots of fun hacks with friends. For Bridget's 5th or 6th ride, went to an 'extreme trail' clinic, learned Bridget is a sensible pony indeed, but easily bored and very opinionated! Riding nearly every morning, and enjoying life to it's fullest!

October:
Found a nice local girl to take lessons with and continued taking both ponies all over the countryside. Poor ponies probably didn't know what hit them - life of leisure in August then near daily outings all of September/October! Bridget's training continued to progress, she tackled her first 'jump', and I went on a girls weekend away and watched 3 full days of George Morris to keep me motivated.

November:
The weather and a bad case of pneumonia started to impact my riding plans, but we still got out for regular rides on the trails and in the ring. Lots of posts recapping Bridget's progress and training - I do find the babies fascinating, and she does have her moments!

December:
Monumentally bad weather and flooding, along with a new job, affected my riding time and I scaled back to two or three rides a week and lots of pony spa days in the comfort of the (warm and dry!) barn. Christmas brought some drier weather and some fun holiday rides.


Looking back, while this year was a pretty difficult one on a personal level, riding wise I'm really happy with things and am proud of how hard I worked to get things turned around mentally. The confidence issues are mostly a thing of the past - I would have never in a million years bet that I would buy another green horse to bring along, let alone start over jumps! It's so nice to be back in my happy place riding wise...I hadn't realized how far I strayed over the past few years and feel like the luckiest person ever to have the opportunities to gain back confidence and be back in the saddle having fun!



Monday, 29 December 2014

More Holiday Fun

I signed up for our local Backcountry Horsemen 'Birthday' trail ride yesterday afternoon. Before you ask, I never did find out whose birthday(s) we were celebrating, only that they didn't actually show up for the ride. Still, any excuse for a few of us to get together for an outing over the holidays.

Once again, the sun was shining (thank you so much Santa!). Ginger really wanted to come along, but I wasn't sure exactly who (or how many) were attending the ride or where we were going, or even how long we were going for, so bypassed her in favor Bridget. Ginger has been out with a group a few times and done fine, but there are a couple of 'bad apples' in this particular club that can keep things interesting, so I didn't want to take a chance they'd be in attendance and Ginger (and I) would have a not so great outing. Midge is pretty good with just about anything and is the safer choice when there's a bit of unknown.
Ginger: Put me in coach, I'm ready! 

The temps were slightly below freezing and our hack up the road to meet the group was interesting - the road is in the shade mostly and was a solid sheet of ice. Poor Bridget was sliding down the hill on all four feet at one point when she ventured from the safety of the grassy shoulder and onto the slick pavement. Lets just call that a training moment - I asked you to stay straight, Midge, you went through my leg, now you are sliding down the hill. Consequences :) Thank goodness she's not the panicky type so essentially was just "OK, you're right, that was dumb, I'll stay on the grass now". No further drama. Funny now, but kind of unnerving at the time, so I did get off and walk her the rest of the way to the trail head.
Winter! (Actually just lots of ice and frost)

 Baby horses crack me up, we walked around the corner where the parking lot is and she saw everyone (4 other horses) and instantly her mind was blown. Luckily for me Bridget's version of that is to act like a giraffe and run away with me....at a walk ;) No one told her there was a horse party, I guess. You can imagine how excited she was when her long lost friend, Arian came up the road too! He's a Section B from the same breeder as her, and she was so happy to see him. The power of facebook at work, since I had met his new owners years ago at a clinic, then she moved, and I moved and life happened. A year or so ago she got in touch because she'd seen my pictures of Ginger on facebook and wondered where I had found her. I put her in touch with the right people, and they took home Arian for their daughter. Fast forward a few months and I bought Bridget from the same breeder. Fast forward a few more months and we've both moved to the same town and brought our ponies with us. Small world.
My really crappy pic of the ride. Sigh. I hope someone else took some!

As for the actual ride, we went for about 3 hours and ended up with 8 riders total. Since the ground is a little tricky this time of year, we ended up walking most of the way, which was a bit of a struggle for overexcited little Bridget. Don't get me wrong, she was pretty good, but burning off a bit of that nervous energy would have made us both a little happier. She seems to think she needs to power walk everywhere and hates waiting when she's 'on', so I made her bring up the rear and keep her distance most of the ride. If you've ever been to one of those trail ride places where the horses just follow one another at whatever pace, nose to tail, ignoring their riders, that's what she's attempting to do. Annoying for the rider to have to constantly ask her to wait, but not bad or disruptive, per say. The bit of trot we did was a high speed giraffe show until she realized that I was right, she needed to slow down and listen since she was trotting way faster than everyone else and the footing was a bit trappy. I think she must have thought it was her big moment to pass everyone on the home stretch and be the leader, sadly for her I wasn't into it and no one was moving out of her way, so the head in the air crazy trot was just making her stumble and trip over everything. Luckily she's smart and the hamsters returned in short order :) Just baby horse stuff and with more miles I'm sure she'll relax and not be so worried about what every one else is doing. I really can't really complain though, for less than four months under saddle and only her second ride with more than one other horse she did really, really well. I'm so grateful to have a horse I can pull out for a ride on short notice, with zero prep, and with only a vague idea of what the day will bring, and still know that we'll likely have a good time.
The one picture I did get sent. Homeward bound, Bridget and Ginger live just across the street where the board fence is. That's why she looks slightly put out at having to stop and pose!

Sunday, 28 December 2014

TOABH: I'm A Loser, Baby


Another excellent blog hop topic - this one is right up my alley!
I’m A Loser, Baby
Let’s talk about your horse’s biggest fail.  What did Thunderhooves do that embarrassed you, scared you, shocked you or just annoyed the hell out of you?


Bridget hasn't actually done too much. There's her fondness for holding up traffic so she can pee in the middle of the street, or I guess I could say the baby horse testing moods she can get, or that clinic where she just decided she was D-O-N-E with the whole thing, but really she's pretty quiet and low key about her drama and doesn't tend to cause an embarrassing scene. It's more of a quiet frustration :)

Ginger, on the other hand. Where do I start? So much embarrassing and annoying failure. She picks the best moments to attempt to convince the world she's either: 

A: Wild and Untamed (not true)
B: Beaten Down and Abused (not true)
C: Shamelessly looking to hook up (true)

The time she had a complete meltdown when I rode her in the same indoor as a kids walk/trot lesson. She was 'terrified' of the other horses slowly plodding around, ignoring her. Thanks, Ginger, for making me look like an irresponsible idiot riding the untrained horse with tiny children in the vicinity.

Every time the vet or farrier comes. She tries to tell them she's either been badly beaten by a vet/farrier and/or no one has ever handled her or picked out her feet. Only slightly embarrassing to be fired by your farrier!

To this day, she's still scared of her saddle pad. You know, the one I've put on her hundreds of times? I tried the whole sacking out thing way back when and it only served to confirm her worst fears, that the saddle pad has a life of it own and may at any time decide to attack. So, we agree to disagree and I toss it on normally and ignore her antics. Her gesture of good faith is to stop being 'scared' after it actually touches her. Until my next ride, that is. Or, heaven forbid, it's in the wash and I pull out a slightly different one. We're cool with tarps and blankets and things, so obviously a farrier must have beat her with a saddle pad when she was a wee little baby and caused PTSD, right? ;)
Poor downtrodden pony

Whenever I ride with a new coach, be it a local lesson or in a clinic. She's 'scared' of them (read: knows they're going to make her work and attempts to run far, far away). She convinces them I've been lying about actually doing things like, you know, riding her. Until the next lesson. Then we're all friends and it's all good. But I still resent that wasted $50+ lesson fee, Ginger. That's a lot of horse treats, just sayin' ;)
This awesome display of the killer jumper instinct she has is a bit of a lowlight too. Maybe a tiny win since she's just showing us how she theoretically could have owned that thing (if she wasn't scared of it), not actually attempting the jump itself or anything
She's so sweet, and so pretty/innocent looking with her big eyes that people totally buy in and feel all sorry for her and I look like I'm either a big meanie or just totally clueless. Thank goodness anyone that actually knows us knows her love of drama and has seen the 'magical' transformation to nicely trained pony once she knows the game's up.  These days, I tend to be somewhat cynical of some of the poor abused ponies' stories and suspect they may, in fact, just be trying to take over the world :)
Older pic and I've long forgotten the context, but not too much of a stretch to imagine I was re-telling some embarrassing Ginger moment from my ride while she innocently avoids direct eye contact


Saturday, 27 December 2014

Ingenuity

There were some odd noises coming from Ginger's stall this morning. Yet when I walked over to investigate, nothing seemed amiss. There she was, hanging over her door, happy to say hi, contentedly muching on some hay. I walked away a few steps before I realized the eating hay thing was certainly not normal for that time of the morning - breakfast should have been long finished. Back I went, wondering why she had hay left and hoping she was alright. Again, everything seemed fine, so I assumed she'd found a bit in her bedding or behind her hay net and that was that.
Nothing to see here

I went back to grooming Bridget, when the noises started again. Some groaning, some scraping, a little bit of banging. Not what a horse owner really wants to hear coming from their horses stall!

Again, all was fine. Time for some undercover surveillence. La la la, here I am over here cleaning tack in the corner and petting the cat, NOT paying attention to you at all Ginger....

Seems pony has been rearing/climbing up the side of her stall in order to be able to reach into the feed stall next door! It was actually super funny to see because she is very careful and quiet about the whole thing. First, she attempted just standing on her tiptoes on the bank of shavings on the edge of her stall. She as super methodical about it, inching along the length of her stall trying to find the perfect spot. When that failed, she'd reach up with a foreleg and lean her knee into the wall, using it to balance herself and gain a little extra height. When that failed, she did a levade type thing and reached over and grabbed hay that way. I'm thinking that's what the grunting noises were about - looked like it would have been hard to balance like that for long and when she looses her balance she ends us leaning on the wall with both knees!

Unfortunately no pics of the crazier moves because I suspect she knows she's being bad and won't really do it if you're obvious about watching. Also, I may have told her she is a greedy pig and I think she takes such things to heart ;) I did get a couple of pictures to give you the general idea though:


So hungry and sad, hay so very close. She's right up on the wall standing on her tip toes here

How it looks from the other side when she's standing normally - no way can she reach the hay on the other side - it's only stacked 2 bales high in there. Reminds me of how 6'5" G hides all the junk food  up in the cupboard above the fridge grrr Ginger. trust me,  I know the struggle is real.
Yet with a little ingenuity the problem is solved. Wish I could have got better pics, but I had to be  really sneaky to even get the ones I got. She gave up with a big sigh and a foot stamp and went out in her paddock to sulk when she figured out I was really and truly on to her.

I'm not super worried about her hurting herself doing it - the walls are smooth, very sturdy and high enough that she shouldn't get a leg over. We will be installing another big board to make her thieving (theoretically) impossible and the temptation less. These cobs are ridiculously food motivated, this is all taking place about 30 minutes after breakfast and with only a few more minutes to wait before she goes out in the pasture! Dieting is HARD :)

Thursday, 25 December 2014

Holiday Ride

Guess what, guys? Santa came a day early and brought me the sunshine and warmer temperatures I asked for! I KNEW I'd been good. Or, perhaps it's a Festivus Miracle!!  :)

Lets go get a head start working off some Xmas treats! Both Midge and I are looking too round for my liking. 
The ground is still so soggy. She'd better never be concerned about water or ditches on the x country course!

Love our winters - everything is still so green and cheery when the sun pops out
We just went for an hour spin around the neighbourhood and said hi to everyone,  just enjoying the day after a week of rainy training rides in the ring. Fingers crossed, both girls are in a pretty good place at the moment, as am I :) Hope everyone has a great holiday, whether it's hanging out with loved ones or just enjoying a mid week sleep in and a Netflix marathon. (I'll let you guess which I'd enjoy most lol!)
One more ears shot :)

Wednesday, 24 December 2014

Welcoming Committee

Most of the time, this is what I see when I get out of my truck:
Love her
The odd day when she's further away and doesn't hear me, I might have to wander out in the field, but she immediately comes to me once she knows I'm there. There's a bit of a routine - even if I'm actually there to catch Midge, Ginger comes running so she can say hi first, and Midge hangs back and waits til she's done. Best pony status has it's privileges apparently :)

Hanging out with me, That's a pasture buddy lined up behind her waiting to say hi as well, not Ginger's bum - she's long, but not that long lol As always, impossible to take nice photos cause she's always right next to you
Ginger will happily stand there free in the field without halter or lead while I give her a good grooming and even pick out her feet. She's the dominant mare out there so the other horses leave us alone and let us hang out unbothered, Ginger enjoys her 'spa' time so much she stands like a rock even if everyone else is running around being silly,  It's a special treat for both of us because I know she'd prefer to be outside with her friends than in the barn alone, and I appreciate the convenience of not having to bring her in every day.

Bye Ginger!
See you next time :)

Tuesday, 23 December 2014

TOABH: Shining Star



Shining Star
Let's talk about the biggest achievements your horse has accomplished.  I'm not talking about you as a rider - I want to know what your ponykins has done to make you proud.  Is there a glorious satin collection, did he/she figure out some dressage movement that took months to learn, or are is it just a great day when your butt stays in the saddle?  

Ginger's biggest achievement to date is just being so 100% commited to giving me the best she can. I'm choosing her work ethic since she's always been very sweet and kind, but her default is to be very mistrustful and not overly generous so the work ethic was really something she needed to develop.  That she's decided to trust some of us and develop and bring the most amazing work ethic I've ever experienced to the table every time I ride is a gift and testament to what a special girl she is. It means the world to me.

Midget's biggest achievement is eating approximately 10 tons of peppermint horse treats and still wanting more. Just kidding. What I really love about Bridget is that even though she has an opinion about everything, she's game to try anything and always up for adventure. I know I can put her in any situation and she'll handle it like a pro.

I talk a lot here about Ginger's flighty nature and Bridget's very mare-y attitude, but ultimately both are super friendly, generous, just plain nice horses to have around. They both are always very loyal and have my back no matter what - that's a really nice feeling and a bond I am super proud of. Everyone that knows them in real life comments on how nice they are and how well mannered. That's not all on me, they are both just inherently kind and people oriented, particularly with little kids. For two such different horses on the surface, I think they are eerily similar when it comes down to the stuff that really matters.

I know none of this is a real concrete achievement, but they are the things that really make me proud on a daily basis and the stuff that matters more to me than any ribbons or passing milestones.

Monday, 22 December 2014

Solstice Ride

In celebration of the darkest day of the year my little fear monster chose to come out of hiding. I was feeling stressed and overwhelmed on the drive to the barn, but chalked it up to all the general stress that's in my life and figured the horses would make it better, as always. Except the thought of riding Ginger made me feel almost a little nauseous, and the thought of riding Bridget wasn't much better. Weird, especially as I've been having nothing but good rides, and had nothing out of the ordinary planned - just our regular weekly lesson followed by a short trail ride. I tacked up Bridget once again in a nod to my little scaredy friend, and figured once I got on I'd be fine. Except I wasn't. I was all tense and weird. Fear monsters suck.

*For anyone else out there struggling a little, I came across THIS article while I was looking for a  picture re: fear and horses to insert in this space. It's a good read!*


Nothing to see here, we're not creeping you! Don't be afraid! ha ha. They're all so friendly it's a bit of an adventure trying to leave the pasture unnoticed.

"My" little ring is becoming slightly more popular these days, which is sort of nice. A lady I know was there having a lesson before me and suggested she'd wait around and we'd go for a quick ride together after I was done. Perfect! Lately the Midge and I have been kind of loners - no one is interested in riding in the awful weather we've had, so it's a novelty to have company and I thought a good training opportunity since Midge is pretty green still at proper trail etiquette with other horses.

Doesn't mind waiting her turn because I have no discipline and let her graze.

Actual lesson was ok but not as good as last weeks. Bridget was predictably a bit distracted by the strange horse hanging around, although not in a terrible way. As mentioned, I was feeling pretty uptight and I think that my body language was making her feel uptight and 'stuck' as well. Still, the hour flew by, and most of my little fear monster was locked back away in short order. I know he was there, though, because I'm a bit sore today which must mean I was tensed up for part of my ride, and also because I feel like I didn't ever really get Bridget 'unlocked' for any length of time.

 The coolest moment of the lesson for me was something I didn't even really ask for. We're playing with adjusting the tempo a bit within the trot, so I asked for a bit bigger trot across the diagonal and baby pony opted to really sit her bum down and give me a few strides of a real medium trot - so cool! As a "not so sporty type" cob, she surprises everyone when she gets to work and deems us worthy of seeing her moves! As the lesson 'lowlight', haunches in are her nemesis, and by extension, when we asked for a turn on the forehand later baby pony got so muddled she just about fell over. We laughed at her, and she was not amused. Shifting the weight off her bum and moving it is hard for her right now- I see a lot more variations of haunches in in our future!
Your obligatory ears shot.

Our trail ride after was a bit weird, and I don't think I can overstate how happy I am with little Bridget's brain. She was not concerned about what the other horse was doing at all, was happy to lead or follow or even walk beside, and I was particularly pleased that she stayed completely in tune with her rider. If the other horse took off at a trot or canter, she was quite content to walk on and fall behind until I asked for a trot too. She was not in a rush to play catch up, or interested in racing him or playing along with his antics. She's not slow or disinterested/lazy either, she was just being really good about leaving the decisions up to me and got a lot of scratches and praise for that. We ended up riding the last bit alone in the dark and I was super grateful to have such a sensible ride. While she may not be the most talented or motivated girl, her mind is truly exceptional, particularly in one so young and green still.

Apologies once more for the crappy pics. One of these days the stars will align and G will be off work (and willing to take photos!) while I ride

Also don't forget tomorrow morning is the deadline for the Horse Junkies United/Mac Rider saddle giveaway contest!

Saturday, 20 December 2014

December's 10

Thanks again to L Williams for the fun set of questions!


1. What size horse do you prefer to ride? Giant ponies! If I could be super picky my ideal horse would be somewhere between 14.2 hh  and 15.1 hh and of a medium to 'solid' build.
Ginger is 15.3hh, and a bit big for me. I like how long my stirrups are here so I can pretend my leg is long enough to be useful. Also no clue why I am ghostly pale in both these winter pictures. I promise I am not a vampire in real life, and sadly my ponies socks are not that white either :)


Bridget is14.0hh and a bit too small. I keep my leathers slightly on the short side so my heels aren't at an awkward spot, and weight wise I wouldn't want to weigh much more on her.


2. Do you school in tall boots or half chaps and paddock boots? I school in the oldest pair of Mountain Horse tall boots ever. They are kind of a riding/barn boot cross style and about 10 years old and so beat up, but they won't die! I even used them for several years of barn managing/mucking stalls. Sadly, my new pair of 'nice/show' MH boots are awful, so I won't be using them regularly if I can help it! I tried the half chaps thing and never found any that fit well and lasted. Also I'm OCD about them matching my boots, which is hard to do when they wear out at different times.

3. What do you do with your ribbons after shows? They hang on the fridge mostly. G's way too nice to ever directly say I can't have them on display but dislikes equestrian items as decor so it's turned into a bit of a joke where (the low placing) ribbons decorate the fridge and my horse pictures are moved to the (basement) bathroom. We are both giant children and find it amusing :) The ones that are important to me, like horse's first show or something I usually keep in a box with their papers and other stuff. The majority have been lost over the years (sorry L Williams!). 

4. Do you ride/board at a large show barn or a small private barn? I'm at a large old fashioned barn as far as the structure goes, but tiny as far as boarders - only 4 horses there, 2 of which are mine! There are 6 stalls and 12 acres of pastures fenced, but no ring and definitely no indoor on site. It's a private place and the owners like to keep it kind of low key rather than commercial

5. Have you ever seen a horse give birth? Just caught the end a couple of times, Too busy obsessing over cute baby than being all 'let's explore the placenta' with the vet, so it doesn't count at all - I might as well just show up a day later!


6. What is your favorite breed? Love my Welsh Cobs. Thoroughbreds a super close second,. Love some of the cob or draft x TB's as well, Irish Draughts, I guess the British or Irish hunter type, generally speaking. Much love for Connemaras and German Riding Ponies too, Arabians, OK, I love them all really!
British show hunter from Wikipedia


7. Favorite tack brand? I like my newer Stubben stuff (much softer than the old lol), I like County saddles, but really anything that is beautiful and well made, but 'tough' and seems like it's a bit old school/will last, if that makes sense. We get way too much rain and I/my horses am too hard on things to own anything super beautiful 

8. Would you ever buy used tack? Definitely, although I need to admit that most of my stuff has been bought new for whatever reason - I do enjoy knowing the history of my bridles and saddles. 

9. Ever been on a carriage ride? I don't think I've ever been, but would love to!

10. How often do you go to the tack store? Once a month maybe. I always need something, and am getting good at just buying that one thing as I need it. Thank goodness I've stopped going 'just to look'. That always ends badly!




Thursday, 18 December 2014

Productivity

I've started getting shifts at my new (part time) job, which is wonderful. Even better? I work 4:30 AM - 8:30 AM. I know, I know, that sounds like it should be a really sucky shift. But for an (anti social) horse person, it's actually kind of awesome. I just roll out of bed, go to work (in my riding /barn clothes even), have no interruptions and get a ton done, then still have all day to do other productive things play with the ponies!

I'm writing this at noon, and I've already:

-Worked half a day

-Been to the barn, groomed 2 horses, rode 1:
It rained. Pony was really spooky and hot. We got soaked and muddy. It was still fun.


-Ran some errands, including buying Bridget's Christmas present (evil laugh):




                                     

I got her the sparkly festive one at least? 


-Went for a run, had a shower, made lunch and caught up on all the blogs.

Granted, this is a small place so I spend almost zero time commuting anywhere, and I will be in bed by 8, but still...I think I could get used to this!

Wednesday, 17 December 2014

The Weather Outside is Frightful, The HJU Contest Delightful!

Here's a contest none of you out there should miss out on. One of my favorite websites, Horse Junkies United, currently has a contest for a gorgeous new saddle!

Like so:
Link to Mac Rider USA facebook page here

It's super easy to enter, especially if you're a regular reader of their site. You just need to comment each day with the answer to the trivia question in the video, 'like' the Mac Rider USA facebook page, and share the contest on social media as you see fit. Check out the contest page for all the details. (And don't worry, you can catch up on entries all the way up to the 23rd - it's not too late!) I'd love to see one of you wonderful readers win such an amazing prize!

As my blog title would suggest, we're mostly washing away in all the rain here so I'm staying indoors as much as possible today and dreaming of warm, sunny days and beautiful new saddles, possibly two of the very nicest things on earth :)

Good luck everyone! Remember to enter before Dec 23rd :)

(Nearly) WW: Wishlist

I really appreciate those nice quiet mornings at the barn, particularly when the sun is out!

Hey Santa, can I have a few sunny mornings with nothing better to do than go riding this Christmas season? Big ask, I know, but I've been really good!

If the answer turns out to be no, I blame Midge. She's cute, but kind of naughty. There are days when I can almost understand why Santa uses reindeer to pull his sleigh instead of a team of cute bay cobs.



Tuesday, 16 December 2014

TOABH: Making of The Horse

Another Owl's Approve blog hop! Yay! 
This week's question: Last week, we talked about our babies.  This week, let's talk about our greenies.  Who trained your horse?  Is your ponykins still in the process of figuring out this whole monkey-on-my-back thing, did you send off for thirty or sixty or ninety days, or did you buy a horse with all the bells and whistles?  Who has helped your horse become what he or she is today?

Fun question! We'll start with Bridget because that's the shorter/simpler story. Bridget originally was sold as a driving prospect to a nice man about a year ago. I don't know the full story, but it didn't work out and she only stayed a couple of months. The video I saw of her driving wasn't super awesome, but that may have just been super green. opinionated pony stuff. Reading between the lines I think the issue was more she's simply not flashy or motivated enough to make a serious prospect. I love that she went out on the roads and trails with her cart though - it made the transition to trail rides pretty uneventful! After that, she returned to her breeders and advertised for sale for a few months. She wasn't being used at all or selling, so the breeder had a lady come out and do some ground work with her. By the time I entered the picture, I think Bridget had been ridden a couple of times. I had a fun ride on her that visit, and brought her home with me in the beginning of September. The rest is documented here on the blog. She's come a long way and has a solid 90 days under saddle with me. I have help in the form of a weekly lesson, and so far we've been to one clinic with a couple more scheduled in the next two months. I want to event her one day.
Driving pony video screenshot

Ginger is of course much more complicated. She came to me very mistrusting. She is Bridget's polar opposite -Bridget wants to be friends with everyone and explore everything, Ginger just wants to be left alone in her huge safe zone and hates strangers or new situations. Bridget is all plain and understated, Ginger is big and flashy and gets all the attention.They are both pretty smart, but I have to say Ginger is the smartest horse I've met. I spent the first summer just getting her ok with catching, grooming, leading, etc.  Come fall, I had ridden her a few times in the indoor and she was surprisingly simple and easy - I think because she'd decided by then I was 'safe'. I was working full time though and once the prairie winter set in it wasn't practical for me to be making the hour drive to the barn every evening. I had a reining trainer put 30 days on her and was pretty happy with that, although her progress was really slow due to Ginger's 'stranger danger' thing. Then, it was back to me riding a couple of times a week before I started to realize help would be a good thing. Nothing bad was happening, I was just at a loss as to how to progress with her. That spring we moved to a dressage barn and signed up for their full training program. Everything went really well at first, but we were both getting increasingly uptight as the months went on and looking back I feel like we'd been stalled out and even regressing for a few months by the time we left. We ended up moving home to BC with me and learned all about trail riding for a few months with much success. She loved it and was a completely different horse. The past couple of years have been sporadic at best with me leaving for work contracts and her having some soreness issues. She's very smart and athletic, so a lot farther along training wise than you'd expect, but obviously her inherent anxiety about the world in general and my lack of consistency brings it's own set of issues so most of my arena rides these days are spent just getting her to chill out and relax rather than fine tuning anything. That's all on me though - consistency and baby steps are everything with her if you want to do arena work and I've been slacking. I've tentatively got us both signed up for part training in the spring and we'll see if that leads us anywhere interesting now that she's more mature and I'm more confident. If not, I'm happy to call her my best trail pony, and let her little 'sister' Bridget be the outgoing one of the two and go to all the shows and events.
Cute Ginger waits her turn for a training ride at the dressage barn. I literally have no riding pics from her training that  I haven't shared here a few times before...I was heavier then and shunned the camera even more than I do now.