Friday, 30 March 2018

First Adventures

The plan for today was to sort out ponying off Bridget. But, Bridget was having a busy holiday Friday:




So, I opted to lead out baby Sovie/Sophie without Bridget's help. G came with, so he brought the barn owner's mini along for a walk just in case we needed some moral support. 

And, the new pony was fantastic! She didn't need a buddy at all, and was quite content to lead the way and explore all the things.


We did about a 30min loop through some trails, around the equestrian club ground and the farmers market site, then up the road. She was definitely looky, but didn't put a foot wrong.

I think we got a good one!




Wednesday, 28 March 2018

Reprioritizing/Goals Check In

I made my goals this year and feel like I have been doing quite well at keeping to plan, especially given the fact I'm working and living in two separate places and the horses are living in hometown where we are a ferry ride away from coaching.

Until now! When I set out my plan for the year I didn't adequately think through the consequences of some of my goals and choices the past few months. For example, buying and keeping another horse does not still equal a bank account capable of funding all the shows and training I'd like. Nor does rebalancing work/life, resulting in a lot more free time, but also a smaller paycheque.

Oh yeah, and then there's the whole "you probably need 2 new saddles' thing. Yes, I can sell the old ones to fund new ones, but I can't bank on that happening tomorrow. (Also, why am I always looking for important pieces of tack DURING show season? I think it's a pony conspiracy!)

So, while 2018 has had some HUGE wins so far (I love, love, love the new pony, and I can't wait for my new and improved work schedule to kick in) we've had some recent setbacks too (trailer repairs, saddle fitting, lack of interest in local clinics, pony 'tude)

Green = Done, Red = Failing, Yellow = Some progress, and Blue = Planned for later in the season. I love how the two seemingly most difficult things on my list are the ones I'm checking off in Q1.
So, moving forward...eventing/jumping is the first thing getting put on the back burner. I'm going to prioritize selling my jump saddle in order to fund a nicer replacement dressage saddle, and only then sell my sort-of-fits-with-huge-shims-dressage saddle and use that money for a jump saddle for B. 

Weekly lessons/Audrey lessons remain a fail - I simply can't justify the expense to ride other people's horses in lessons, no matter how wonderful they are.

Horse trailers...maybe I will drop this plan completely, maybe I won't. Since I spent money on a new pony,  trailer buying this year for me would involve borrowing money, which I'm not overly crazy about. It kind of sucks spending money for repairs and maintenance on someone else's trailer, but overall I know it's cheaper than owning and we're very lucky to have the opportunity to borrow. Still...we were discussing how nice it would be to have the peace of mind of our own trailer on our own maintenance schedule, and it would be something G would be willing to purchase because he's wonderful like that. 

She's kind of going thru an awkward stage, but I really think the new girl is going to be special and I am so excited to see what the future brings with her. Tried calling her Sovie (short for  her registered name of Sovanna) and everyone heard Sophie. So...maybe that's what will stick?  She's too serious and sweet for a funny name, so luckily I'm not even tempted to call her Banana. If Bridget was a palomino, however, she'd suit Banana to a T ;)

Show schedule: this is the huge unknown for me right now. Shows are very very expensive for me to attend (min $500 in trailering and ferries from our current location to Vancouver), so I'm tempted to just pick one mid summer and funnel the money saved from the rest I'd planned to attend into lesson boot camps and tack and trailer funds. We can still work hard and aim for second level at our local % day this fall...I know it's not the same, but it's still something!  Surprisingly I can honestly say our recent not so great showing isn't factoring in to this decision - I still had so much fun at that show, learned so much, and Bridget is just Bridget...just my bad luck that naughty Bridget showed up on a show day. Yes, I'd be happier to put things on hold after a bit of a high, but meh, that's life.

In short....I plan to keep working my butt off...but progress just might be slower than anticipated this year and you will likely be reading a bit more about baby pony adventures and training than the next big show recap.

Tuesday, 27 March 2018

Not So Great Dressage

Time to recap our tests this past weekend!

I think I mentioned Bridget's saddle was out getting new billets and being reflocked for many months. Enough months that when the fitter showed up the morning of the show, it did not fit. At all. It's way too wide now that B has lost weight and changed shape. A quick look at my jump saddle confirmed it's not as bad, but not ideal anymore either. Ughhh, did not like paying $500 to get a saddle back that didn't fit, but particularly didn't like hearing neither saddle fit.
Anyone looking for a County Competitor in super good shape? 17.5", XW tree, short flap. For sale or trade for similar in a wide tree.

We tried a shimmable half pad, but yeah, with worst dressage test ever happening with that set up I'm going to go out on a limb and say B did not approve. Not that I'm totally blaming the saddle, B was certainly in a mood and I ended up not having enough warm up due to a last minute boot zipper malfunction. I also could find a place to sit with the saddle tipping so far forward, so it was all a bit struggle bus.  Our score was 57% if you're curious...lots of 5.5's and 6's due to B being very up and braced throughout. I think the highest score was my 6.5 for rider.
B about 5 min after I put her away. Arguing is exhausting! :)

EC lent me her lovely saddle for test 2, and also gave us a pretty intense lesson after test 1. I'm glad she was there because honestly I was pretty frustrated with B and the sadde  situation, so left to my own devices would have probably just called it a day. EC is genius at acknowledging where things went wrong, but also at giving me the belief I can fix those things independently and that it's always worth trying again.

Another 17.5" XW County for sale or trade

So, test 2 went WAY better. B was still in a really grumpy mood, but I felt like I rode to the very best of my ability and got the most out of her I was going to. A solid test with a well behaved B and no errors was good for 63%. Lots of 6's and 6.5's and I get the feeling the judge was just wanting a little "more" from B, although I got a "well ridden" and a nice rider score :) In this very competitive area, that's still good for last place tho, lol.
Never in my life worked so hard for 63% or to be 6/6...so this ribbon goes proudly in the jar with all the rest

I scratched Sunday, because I just wasn't having fun, and I'm sure B wasn't either. And, life is too short not to enjoy it! Instead of showing, I called tests (OMG, calling upper level tests might be a skill in itself - so much happening, so quickly!) and took the new pony for a walk around the grounds.

B looking cute today

Moving forward, I'd be lying if I said I didn't consider giving up dressage with Bridget. She's miserable to deal with when she's in a mood. But then EC and I started talking about that, and I was like "oh wait, she gets like this with jumping, cross country...even trail riding some times. Its kind of just who she is." So EC talked me off the ledge, and lent me her dressage saddle while I get appropriate tack sorted. Worst case, B is a great project for me to keep picking away at in preparation for moving up with another horse. I know this sounds bad, particularly  with the saddle situation, but I'm still really feeling like she let me down. The reality in this moment though is that I love her, she's the horse I have, and it's on me to unlock the puzzle pieces if I want to show her more successfully at this level. The challenging horses are the ones that make us better riders, right? :)

Monday, 26 March 2018

Baby Superstar

Apologies in advance as my phone kept dying all weekend and so I got very limited media.

We'll discuss my dressage tests, saddle and trailer woes at a later date (oh, and my tall boot zipper packed it in about 10 min before my first test too, talk about a weird week!) For now, I just want to talk about how pleased and excited I am about the new girl! And no, I haven't settled on a barn name yet...so forgive me calling her New Pony for the short term.

My coach picked her up Friday afternoon and immediately fell in love. "She's a mini Audrey!" (Audrey being her up and coming dressage star and my very favorite horse in the barn to ride - they won their Fourth level classes and the high score this weekend  - go team!) Coach's 10 year old son also fell in love, naming her "Sass" and begging me to keep her at their barn :)

I met her for the first time and fell on love with her too. She's really sweet and inquisitive, and also very sensible. She's really well mannered, leads nicely, and is super with feet and grooming. She LOVES being brushed! On a practical note, she thinks and investigates things before reacting, which I much appreciate!

Anyway, a short list of things new pony did this week without any drama:

-Trailering. Trailered in the shipper's big rig, my coach's step up 4 horse, and our little borrowed 2 horse with absolutely no fuss. Stood quietly on the trailer for 2 ferry rides!

-Hanging out at a show. Some of the horses in surrounding stalls were a bit rambunctious (Audrey, I'm looking at you!), and while she was certainly aware of the atmosphere, she ate and drank well, and rested quietly. I was pleased she didn't scream for her new buddies as they came and went from their classes.

One day, that'll be you in the big ring, baby pony!

-Explored TBird pretty much in it's entirety. I handwalked her everyhere and she was great! The odd baby moment where she wasn't sure and wanted to "snuggle" or rush but generally she was super about personal space and not pulling. Loved that the default for everything scary was to want to walk up and look at it closer, also she wasnt worried about leaving the other horses.
She came with the cutest pony halter.

-Tolerated EC's son. He's a 10 year old boy, sometimes he's a bit loud and enthusiastic for some horses. She loved him though, and was quite content to let him groom her and generally make a big fuss of her. So cute!

-Visited EC's on our way home. Marched into the barn like she owned it, trotted around the round pen maybe twice before settling in for dinner and a rest.

The other horses at EC's were so excited to meet her, but this was about the extent of her interest in them, lol

-Finally, settled in to home very quietly and easily. 

Our weather has been awful, so she got a new rainsheet today. She's so teeny, I ended up buying her a 63" blanket! 

And her one big baby moment so far? Somehow, at the show, her water bucket exploded into a million pieces. I don't know if she dumped it and stepped in it or what, but yeah...it lasted like 30min. So, I bought her a heavy duty bucket with that new rainsheet ;)

Sunday, 25 March 2018

Quick Updates

I'm just sitting in the ferry line up, waiting to head home after a very busy weekend!

New pony arrived, and was a superstar all weekend. She is such a good baby, and so brave!

As I worried might happen, Bridget pretty much opted out of dressage on Saturday, and so EC and I were both pretty disappointed. Our first test was absolutely awful, and scored accordingly, our second test was much better but still not great. I scratched Sunday, because Saturday's rides weren't at all fun for either of us. Life's too short for that, so I'm going to think on things a bit.

In other news, the saddle fitter came out and my dressage saddle does not fit Bridget now that she lost weight. No words for that, 6 months of waiting for it to be reflocked and new billets put on, and it turns out I need a new one. Oh, and a new jump saddle...ughh my luck is a little stinky right now!

On a happier note, my coach and barn mates all had a super weekend, and despite the saddle saga and the bad rides, it was a lot of fun to be there. I'm super inspired by all the great riding and gorgeous horses we were surrounded with. I also met tons of lovely people! Shout out to the super nice lady who reads this blog! I'm so sorry I didn't get your name and was so busy. Next time? :)

Anyway, lots to think on, and lots of details to come, I'm sure. Hope everyone had a great weekend!

Friday, 23 March 2018

Boot Camp Days 3&4

I seem to be on a post a day program right now...trying to distract myself from the absolutely stupid anxiety I am having re: all things new horses and first horse show of the season. It's half excitement - half feeling I'm-so-not-ready for any of it/cannot adult! 


Wednesday:

Spent some time catching up with fave working student - she just got back from two weeks in the UK working and riding with some big names. Super fun to hear all the details, and I'm so excited for her - she's going to go back semi permanently and is 100% sure of her future career choice now. So inspiring and fun to see people work hard for their dreams and make big strides in achieving them. And, no worries, we had our big catch up on horseback, with poor Bridget struggling to keep up on the hills. It seems I've been slacking off on the hill work at home :) I finished up with a quick walking cool out in the ring, using the time to remind her that she can be rounder and still go forward, wiggling and backing off being an evasion that she reverted back to trying during our Tuesday lesson.


Thursday:

Another lesson. I had plenty of forward, but as we kept asking for rounder Bridget kept saying 'no'. Ughh, I get that that is where we're at...that weird spot between first and second, and that I need to be way more disciplined about insisting she stay where I put her if we want to do a nice second level test this year. We were doing OK at home, but being at EC's seems to have Bridget thinking the rules don't apply anymore. I feel like boot camp has caused a full on pony revolt...just in time for our show tomorrow. Long term, yep it's a conversation that needed to happen and we'll work through it, short term, oops, we've lost the relaxation and soft feel we had going on at home. I hope they don't mind angry llamas at first level tomorrow :) (I'm being a little dramatic - there were plenty of nice moments and B understands what we wanted...she's just not overly happy about it, but yes, she'll probably be holding a grudge and I'm not expecting any great tests. EC says to look at it as an opportunity - school her at the show as needed so she understands the rules apply the same everywhere we go).

A few years ago, we went to TBird to watch some jumper classes and I set a goal of wanting to show there one day. So...no matter what, we're checking off a bucket list item this weekend!

Things discussed:

After the ride - I expressed concerns about how fussy and opinionated B continues to be. The opting out of work thing especially. What am I doing wrong? Will I be able to start the new pony and not end up with similar issues?

EC's opinion: Yes, some of Bridget's opinions can be attributed to the fact I am/was learning on her so she got away with a few things to start, and now the rules have changed as I have become more effective. And B is not a pony who likes that sort of thing. Although she is quiet, she is not especially forgiving under saddle, and she is always looking for the easy way out. She is also quite sensitive. Basically, "She's a pony. She does not want to work harder and has her own ideas."

Cue pep talk about how much better she continues to get, how much progress I have been making with her even on my own when she's not especially easy.

So no, she thinks there is no reason to think any of the things I am unhappy with will follow me to future projects (or cannot be fixed in the current one!) Besides, I will have help and I will have more knowledge when the time comes for starting the baby Banana (who I get to meet in 5 hours! Eeek!)

Thursday, 22 March 2018

Motivation, Lesson Plans, and Big Picture Goals

Yesterday, I had an impromptu goal setting chat with EC. 

First order of business? How to ensure I am getting the help I need. I've not been having very much luck getting riders local to me motivated for regular clinics. We started out great, but all the things everyone warned me about are starting to come into play - last minute cancellations for dubious reasons, people's cheques bouncing, etc. I hate to sound defeatist, but I'm not sure what I can do from an organizing perspective...I've had nothing but good feedback from those who do participate, and the word is out...but it's a tough community to crack. I could get into a whole ranty rant on the ignorant and in some cases downright weird and mean things directed my way as "the new-not-really-a-local person" and as people try to mark their territory but meh, let's just focus energy on the positive and always learning and moving forward.

The barn owner where I board up there is hilarious tho :)

EC floated the idea of coming up a few times for an evening this summer with her son for a 'road trip' on their motorcycle. The good thing about the motorcycle is it's cheap to take on the ferry. To teach one lesson, the time such a trip requires makes zero sense financially, but if we frame it from a "summer motorcycle road trip is paid for" it could work :) I have a feeling I could round up one or two more regulars too, to make it slightly profitable. So...fingers crossed.

We'll alternate that with me doing what I am now, where I travel down sometime the week before shows and have a boot camp.

Flashback pics of Ginger today. Slightly relevant as I'm considering boarding Ms Sovanna at the same beautiful farm while she grows up a bit.

And, as always, EC is great about giving me homework I can chip away at and I am quite resourceful with reading and finding online resources to increase my knowledge.

As for actual big picture goals - honestly mine haven't changed at all...I want to do the novice three day at Rebecca Farm (on my own horse), and I want to move up the levels in dressage as far as I can go. Midge agrees with neither of those goals, but I'm just going to keep picking away at things with her in an effort to be a better rider/trainer when the time comes to start the new pony. I have no idea how far I'll get with Midge (she's been telling me dressage is not her favorite thing for quite some time, kind of sad when she's actually pretty good at it when she's in the mood), so my goal with her is to just be the best team we can be and see where that takes us.

Flashback to when Ginger was new-ish under saddle
Anyway, dreams of fulfilling those bigger picture goals are why I've bought another pony. Who knows where that particular journey will actually take us, but the journey really is the best part anyway. If I 'just' wanted to ride dressage at a higher level or go to Rebecca, EC always has a horse for me to learn on (and it still would be a huge challenge for me)...but I really am attached to the idea of making it happen through my own work and on my own horse. :)

Wednesday, 21 March 2018

Boot Camp Days 1&2

Monday:

Honestly I was drained from Sunday's adventures. I haven't felt that rough emotionally in a very long time. So, while Monday still involved a long, tough day at work and some minor worries about new pony's arrival, I also gave Bridget a spa day and managed to get to bed early with a good book. Boot Camp was a bit of a bust, I needed the time out :)

Tuesday:

-EC took the trailer for a checkup while I was having another tough day at work. The trailer definitely needs new tires ASAP due to their age, but they repaired the valve stems and gave it the green light for short hauls. Phew. Also, is EC the best, or what?! I'm not sure what the trailer's owner is going to want to do re: the tires. Thinking this may be an opportune time to just offer to buy the trailer and get the necessary work done, but obviously in purchasing a new pony I blew about 2 years worth of extra horse budget/savings, so we'll see :)

More random pictures from this month again, sorry.

-I got good news in that I signed the "official" papers for my new job/promotion (at the same company) and schedule. Work is still going to be a bit tough temporarily, but hopefully by May my schedule will be improved and I can nearly see the light at the end of the tunnel. My pay rate improves immediately, though. Yay!

-"Sovanna Banana" is now a Canadian horse citizen and arrived safely early Tuesday morning in Vancouver. Latest report is she trailered well and has settled into her temporary home just fine. I don't feel that great about how the timing worked out, but I know she's getting great care until we can pick her up on Friday. I'm really excited to meet her!


-And...Bridget and I had a lesson! It was a tough one. B was really tight and braced and generally felt not so great. It would have been just great if she was a llama, but no... Part of it was due to me bringing some work stresses into the ride, part of it I think was Bridget being distracted by the new/old surroundings and mentally opting out of work. So, neither of us was on our best game. There were moments where our hard work over the winter showed, and many more where we regressed a year in training. We did end on a good note, where she was getting her neck out in front of her and using her back, but meh, our best moments felt average compared to the work I've been getting at home, and there was a worrying trend of me being unable to keep her in front of my leg any time we asked for anything different. Very unlike the Bridget of the last few months, but oh so familiar to me as one of her old tricks I thought we'd finally solved. I hate the sucking back more than anything, because if you can't keep an honest forward, as the rider you're pretty helpless to work on anything else. And B, being a smart pony, knows this well. Discouraging that we brought on boot camp, and B's initial response is a big "NOPE!" because recently her work ethic has improved and been giving me hope, but I am learning to just take the horse I have on the day and not get too emotionally caught up in it.

  So, homework for Wednesday is basically for me to be Mean Lady and be unrelenting about holding Bridget accountable about paying attention to me and putting in an honest work effort in every moment, in every environment. I love the pony dearly, but she sure does know how to keep life interesting.




Monday, 19 March 2018

More Reasons

Why I'm incredibly lucky to have my husband, G, and best pony Bridget in my life. Also, a day in which I pretty much fail at being an adult.

Plan A this week was for G, Bridget and I to travel down to the south coast. I was going to EC's for a week of boot camp, followed by a show next weekend and new pony pickup. G was coming along for some vacation and to meet the new girl.

This blog post brought to you by peaceful, zen, local scenery pictures. Because I really need to chill the f out this week ;)

Then, yesterday, G had his vacation cancelled because his work is weird like that. Honestly,  I didn' t handle that news that well. I went from "Yay, fun week ahead!" to "But I can't do it all on my own!!!" (insert embarrassing tears here) in about half a second. I mean, logically I know I am a strong independent woman and all that and it will stil be fun, but yeah, emotionally I threw myself a little pity party because G is my best friend, and I really wanted him to be there for our show and to meet our new pony with me.
Zen battleships ;)

So, there may have been a couple more tears Sunday morning, and I might have kind of dragged my butt around a little and I might have made us run a teensy bit late for the ferry. (In my defense, first time ever...of the two of us I'm always the one who's organized and on time - and I never cry?! What a weird day)

So, we got to the barn and then Bridget might have been "Hey crazy lady, I'm not going for a ride on your drama train with you" and first the first time ever, opted out of loading on the trailer. But then, because she is Bridget, she was like "Fine. You're crazy today but we are besties and we always go to fun places and you feed me so I will hop in this trailer before we are really, definitely not making the ferry late." Thank you, Bridget!
Sunshiney Bridget

Me, on the ferry: "Hey G, I have a weird feeling about the trailer. I know we checked the lights, doors, hitch, etc, but did we check the tires? We were in such a rush....and its not our trailer."

G: (teasing) "Way to go, now you've jinxed us!"

Me: "I'm sorry I'm being weird about this, but I'm feeling strangely anxious about it."

G: "We'll stop at the next gas station and check the tires if you want."

Pull into the gas station, I go inside, come back out and the look on G's face is not good. B also looks moderately interested, which in the absence of treats, obviously means something Not Good is happening. I guess G went to put air in one of the tires and the valve stem on the tire snapped. So, yeah..the tire is rapidly deflating and making hissy tire noises. I covertly look at the other tires and note the valve on one other definitely has a crack too. Cue sick feeling in my stomach, because we're an hour from anywhere on a Sunday, with a best pony in the trailer, and although I said the tire iron, etc was in the truck, I might have actually forgotten to verify that.
Lake with a rainbow

Because G is a responsible adult, he has roadside assistance, and because we were lucky, there was a repair guy 10 min away. Yes, we can change a tire ourselves,and yes, the roadside kit was where it's supposed to be in the truck (no thanks to me, ughhh I was embarrassingly bad at adulting today:( ), but I really wanted some peace of mind over the state of the other tires too.

Cue tire change, and me thanking the universe for best pony ever, who quietly stayed eating hay in the trailer as tow truck guy jacked it up and used loud air tools on it.

Repair guy (basically) "well you should make it to your destination. Worst case, you can drive on 3 tires. Worst, worse case, that seems like a good horse, so you can always ride the rest of the way :)" Ughhh, no, don't tell me that, too soon, not feeling the funny.
Ocean with a rainbow

So the next 60min were spent with me staring silently and obsessively in the rearview watching trailer tires...fun times, lol. We made it to EC's just fine, G made it back home in time for work, and B settled in to her old paddock like she'd never left.

So, in short...G is basically best ever for offering to come with for the day, even though he had to go back up to work and can't stay. Also, he rocks for having 24hr roadside assistance :) Also super bonus points because I wasn't overly fun to deal with and yet he still willingly got in a truck for 4 hours with me.

Coach EC is taking the trailer to the tire place tomorrow morning because I have to work (Yet another awesome person in my life!) Fingers crossed so hard it gets a clean bill of health!
More zen beach time

And, I can't end without a quick Ginger update. She was SO excited to see Bridget again, it was so sweet. I put Bridget in her paddock and was walking back when it became apparent Ginger was even more excited to see me! All the good feelings, because I am always so happy to see her too :)

Whew, all that, and we haven't even started riding boot camp yet. Bring it on, because I'm strong and tough and I've got this...right?;) I have lessons scheduled Tues and Thursday at EC's, and then Friday at the show.

***Final, Final update for the day: New pony loaded on the trailer this afternoon to start her journey here. Eek, so exciting! I've got so many emotions right now!***

Forest trail zen

Friday, 16 March 2018

Getting Closer

I''m half excited, half completely overwhelmed right now...I have so much on my plate. I've been joking to my coworker who does project management about hiring her to simplify and manage my life for the next few weeks :)

Re: importing a horse. The shipper I'm using seems amazing - they are taking care of all the border paperwork. Still, there are many forms to be signed, papers to be forwarded, people to coordinate. I got an email from customs today, and this part struck me as funny for some reason:

This brings my units of horses to 3. All alive, too. Ginger may be the only one weighing anywhere near 544.32 kilos, tho.

In super good news - if this can all get coordinated for Mon/Tues, pony will be shipped to a barn about 10 minutes from where we'll be showing for the 23rd-25th. I have to work next Friday, but my coach is going to go pick her up and bring her to the show grounds with us. If all goes to plan, I'll zip down to Vancouver and meet her Friday night at the show!

Here's another baby pic of her :)

I waffled a little over whether it was fair to bring her along - she's likely never been anywhere too exciting, and this will be her first long trailer ride. I thought perhaps leaving her at the other barn for the weekend might be less stressful for her, but then reconsidered and am thinking it will be good for her to hang out with Bridget with the weekend. The show is going to be pretty low key, so low key that the stabling is in the permanent 'international' barn, ie no temporary stalls for us and a bit of a homier feel. The shipper's barn will have horses transported in and out and is also a very busy boarding barn as well. I'll also feel better having her closer to keep an eye on how she's adjusting after stage 1 of her big adventure.
Cool rainbow as I was waiting for the ferry home Wednesday night.

As for Ms Bridget...the saddle saga is scheduled to be over soon! My dressage saddle has been MIA since November, but the fitter is planning to meet us the morning of the show to drop it off and tweak it. I said I needed it back before the show..and it looks like we'll be down to the wire, lol.

So many random pics today. Trying to take nice pics of B, but as always, she'd rather just hang out.

As far as riding actual dressage tests goes - I'm feeling completely unprepared. I was supposed to sign up to ride 1-3, but instead scaled back to 1-1 twice on the Saturday, and 1-2 twice on the Sunday. Less to worry about, because I've been hitting the trails and riding with friends far too often lately. I'm actually feeling quite negative about how our rides are going to go :(. I really need to fix that - I'm cool with having a bad day after feeling like we gave it our best, but it would be a shame for the rides to go badly simply because I couldn't shut up my inner Debbie Downer!

"Shut up, Debbie!" Says Bridget. (And yes, IRL, she is yawning, NOT biting my head, lol)

This Sunday,we hook up the trailer and take Bridget to boot camp at EC's for the week. I'm working down there for the week too, so it will be a good chance to fit in some lessons and catch up with the barn crew there. Hopefully, I'll feel a bit more prepared afterwards, too!

I've been 'round penning' on busy nights (in quotes because there is no science or technique - I just make her move and stretch her legs. We are both so lazy right now.)

Finally, I'm taking barn name suggestions for the new girl. Her registered name is Sovanna, seller is calling her Vanna (which G loves!) but I'm worried that knowing me, Vanna --> Banna -->Banana :)
So, if you have an idea, please share...no guarantees I'll change it, but now is the window of opportunity - once she arrives and everyone meets her, her name is set in stone (and I'll potentially be trying not to call her Banana for the next 25 years :)



Thursday, 15 March 2018

3 Words Blog Hop

I liked this concept from 3 Day Adventures With Horses, put the draft blog hop post in my drafts folder, and promptly forgot about it. Oops.

So...blog content thanks also go to LWilliams for posting her version a few weeks ago and reminding me :)

From Nadia: "Earlier this week I was riding Macy and was thinking, “I wonder what 3 words I would use to describe this horse.” And then I thought, hey, this could be a fun blog hop, or at least a fun blog post. Aren’t we all looking for blog ideas in dreary February?"

Ginger:

Sweet.

Ginger genuinely wants to be a good girl. She wants to be friends with you. She's mid to high level in the herd, and yet I've never seen her kick or bite anyone. She's very cute and affectionate with those she likes.

Social.

She's the first to notice your car in the driveway, the first to come say hi. While she's not herd bound, she's always very aware of everyone around her. Left to her own devices, spends all her time hanging out and chatting with her friends, horses and human.

Impulsive.

Ginger acts first, and thinks later. She's a very, very smart girl, but she's constantly thinking and worrying. Perhaps some of her seemingly 'out of the blue' reactions are based on this, but honestly, it seems to me like she lives and acts very much in the moment, sometimes with unintended consequences. Luckily, everyone loves her so she is forgiven for her moments of silliness and drama.



Bridget:



Quiet.

B is just as smart as Ginger, and has all the opinions in the world, but you don't know that unless you really get to know her. She's the introvert of the crowd. Doesn't really have friends, spends a lot of time by herself, and is very shy about expressing herself unless she knows you well. The difference between B being miserable or having the best day of her life is almost undetectable to an outsider.

Reliable.

B is very much the type to think things over before acting. Sometimes this is frustrating to me when I want to get on with things already, but it makes her reliable in pretty much any situation. The other day we rode past a weird situation. There was an old fridge balanced precariously on this guy's forklift, in the middle of the road 10 feet from us. Surely he'll wait, surely he's not going to just drop that into the dump truck full of other scrap metal, while it's adjacent to us on the road? Yep, he did. By the time B decided that was exceptionally loud and weird, we were another km down the road, so she spooked at the dump truck as it drove past. Pony logic.

Stubborn.

The result of the quiet, thinking pony who really doesn't care too much what anyone thinks! Once B decides something, it's her way or no way. She's incredibly tenacious when it comes to her ideas of 'how it should be'. Observing her in the herd, I'm pretty sure this particular trait is the main reason she has no friends. She's completely disrespectful of herd dynamics, totally cool with taking a beating, and wears everyone down to the point they just ignore her and hope she goes away :)

Sunday, 11 March 2018

Spring Cleaning

For the time being, I'm still working 3 days away, then 2 remotely from home with weekends off. Hopefully by June, I'll move to my new schedule of 2 days away and 2 at home. Only being away two days a week is going to be amazing, and 3 days off a week will be wonderful - so much time with G and so much pony time!

Did you bring food?

This weekend though, I have to admit to kind of slacking off riding wise. My work week dragged and I was pretty tired Thurs/Fri nights so I just mucked, groomed, and fed the pony. We trailer down to EC's next weekend and have a few lessons scheduled there before the show the following weekend (and planned Barbie Dream Pony arrival!) so a good part of me is feeling like the next little while will be pretty horse crazy so maybe it was best to have a weekend a little lighter on horse content!

With that in mind, I skipped drill team practice on Saturday morning and went for an epic hike with G instead. Then I spent the better part of the afternoon picking poo from Bridget's turnout field and her paddock and shelter (our boarding digs aren't fancy, but I love that she has her own big sacrifice paddock and shelter on rainy days, plus her own grass turnout when it's drier. That's a lot of square footage for poo picking though!) We got out for a short ride that basically was for both of us to stretch and enjoy the sunshine.
Helping

Sunday's ride was a little more intense, just focused on sharper transitions and moving her around in the canter. She was great, but the energy wasn't quite there no matter how I asked. That's the thing with Bridget...she's a bit of a heartbreaker in that she's actually a nicer mover than our new girl. She can be super fancy when she's "on" and potentially quite talented, but the work ethic and energy are usually not quite there. I get the odd ride where she's showing off and absolutely amazing and clinicians are excited and talking PSG goals, then the next where they're impressed we've got to First Level :) She gets dull and uninterested so easily.

Did I disturb nap time? 

As I've said before, we'll keep picking away at this dressage thing as long as I can keep her happy. I do appreciate how much she does try when her default truly is to want to be a sleepy trail pony, and I'm forever grateful for everything I'm learning. I think she's going to be the best teacher ever for her new blonde friend, too.

Spring weather means the blanket comes off! Bridget being her helpful self, of course.

I spent  the rest of the day getting the trailer a spring check up, and me getting mine and Bridget's  gear ready and organized for spring and summer away trips. Also, putting all that poo to good use in the garden. Ponies need their supply of carrots to grow!  Next, back to my crazy commute to work on Monday morning. Life may not ever be perfect, but it feels "right" just now and I'm happy with how all the things I've worked so hard for are starting to come together.

Sunrise view from the ferry commute



Saturday, 10 March 2018

The Details

...as I know them :)

Here's the thing, I haven't actually met the pony in real life yet!

She's from Oregon, and about a 12 hour drive from me (+ ferries). After a lot of thought, I decided not to spend the money to drive or fly and meet her in person. She's still really young, she's obviously not going under saddle yet, so I honestly didn't think I'd learn much beyond what I could see via the internet and a good PPE. Besides, it's an ongoing joke at the barn that I love every horse I deal with, so it's a pretty safe bet we'll get along just fine  :)

And so, I forwarded the media provided by the seller to my coach and riding buddies who know me and know horses, and after no one said I was crazy (to my face, at least), I arranged for a PPE, which as I mentioned, went just fine.

There is a lot of paperwork and fees required to get a pony from there to here, so shipping is not scheduled for a couple of weeks. She's tentatively scheduled to arrive in Vancouver when we are there for our dressage show.

Anyway, what I know.

- She's been inspected and has full Westfalen/GRP papers.
- She'll be 2 in May
- She's expected to mature 14.2-15hh
- She has two older full siblings, both gorgeous buckskins, 14.3 and 15hh. Both described as forward, but sensible.
- Her breeding is actually Swedish warmblood and Welsh B.
- The vet remarked she was super well mannered and easy to deal with.
- She should be a fairly easy keeper with good feet.

Her with her mama:


Sire:
Wedderlie Mardi Gras


Video:



For Erika, pic I was sent of older sister:


Honestly, this all still feels a little surreal at the moment. I feel so very lucky with Bridget that it feels a bit odd (and excessive) to be getting another pony, even though I know I will thank myself later (as will Bridget - she really doesn't love dressage as much as she loves trail rides and jumping :)

Thursday, 8 March 2018

Found One!

Potential new pony had the best kind of pre purchase vet check on Monday...the one where there is nothing overly interesting to report!

So, it looks like Bridget will have a friend coming to join her in a couple of weeks. Yay! :)

Here was my shopping wish list:

-Aptitude and temperament suited to taking Bridget's place as my dressage pony in the future.
-Sound. Healthy.
-Smaller in stature.
-Ability to jump and be a bit of an all arounder a bonus. I still haven't quite let go of the Novice @ Rebecca Farm dream.
-Priced within my small-ish budget.

Due to my budget, I knew I was probably going to end up with a baby, or at least something without much training.  And I'm cool with that - I like youngsters. I also was not in a hurry, which I hoped might work in my favor. Most of you know I seriously considered breeding, and have been half looking for a prospect for well over a year.

What I thought I would eventually find matching the above criteria:

-Another Welsh Cob, obviously!
-Or, a Welsh Cob/Warmblood cross.
-Or, a Welsh Cob/TB cross (seeing a theme here yet?)
-Preferably in bay. Fine, I'll admit it...basically I could only envision a Bridget in a sport package :)

How that panned out:

- It didn't. There were very few that we thought could really have potential to be a big move up from Bridget and they were all super nice, but priced well beyond my budget. Small warmbloods or other pony breeds that had potential to do the job and still checked all the boxes on my list were easier to find in my price range, and so,

 What I'm actually buying:

An almost 2 year old GRP filly that is not a bay. Details to follow...;)