Friday, September 27, 2013

Clinic starts tomorrow!


He's been going pretty well.  I think we've probably improved at least a little since last year, so hopefully we won't be too embarrassed.  We cantered Wednesday!  Just a circle and once around the ring to make sure we can do it, although I'd probably prefer to not canter in the clinic, or at least not the first day.  Maybe the trainer will be willing to get on him *fingers crossed*.

I didn't ride yesterday.... grrr.  I meant to, but just didn't have time.  How I don't find time to ride on my day off is a mystery..  But it's just as well, he was ridden Monday-Wednesday, and will be ridden today, Saturday, and Sunday, so he kind of needed a day off.

Tonight will be a good long ride, and I might get on him briefly tomorrow before we ship to the clinic.

The real concern is.. what to wear?  Not me, Riv.  Do I go conservative with a white pad (pink embroidery!) and either white polos or black boots?  Go crazy with a fun pad (my black and pink with glitter perhaps) and bright pink polos or boots?  White pad and Woof boots with pink velcro?  Is it weird to use open fronts and ankle boots for a dressage clinic?  I could use my pink set one day and the light purple set the other, so he's not wearing the same thing two days in a row.

Here are our options... keep in mind his bridle has a pink crystal browband.

PADS (all square)
  • White, burgundy trim, pink embroidery (TB logo and his name)
  • White, burgundy trim, silver "recycle" symbol and his name in pink
  • Bright pink with black piping
  • Black and pink print with glitter and pink border
  • Multicolor polka dot print with glitter and purple border
  • Bright pink batik print with pink border
  • Black and white print with pink border
  • Black Woof Wear boots with pink velcro
  • Light pink polos
  • Bright pink polos
  • White polos
  • Lime green polos (just throwing it out there....)
  • Bright pink open front and ankle boots
  • Light purple open front and ankle boots
  • Raspberry (dark pink/burgundy) open front and ankle boots with light tan neoprene
  • Black Woof Wear boots with lime green velcro (again, just throwing it out there)
  • Black Stretch 'n' Flex Flatwork Wraps by Equilibrium (they're low-profile, hard to notice on black legs)
  • Lime green knock-off Dressage Sport Boots
  • Brown fake leather (but real looking!) open fronts and ankle boots
  • Brown leather brushing boots with brass buckles
Shut up, there's nothing weird about how many sets of boots I have!!!!!

Any suggestions?

I have to see if I can find a pink polo shirt for me somewhere.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

River is a jerk.

The vet came out Friday night to take a look at his randomly swollen leg.  Diagnosis?  Nothing.  No lameness, no indication that there is anything actually wrong with him.  Vet said to go ahead and turn him out and ride him and see how he does.  I rode last night and he was fine.  Maybe a wee bit pokey, but not terrible.

He was salivating!

Friday, September 20, 2013

I want to punch Princess in the face.

Clinic next weekend.

This past Monday, mysteriously swollen leg.

Wednesday night, rewrapped his legs and it looked good.  Thursday morning, took the wraps off, good as new.  I put him in the indoor so he could get the sillies out, then put him outside...

Last night I stop by the barn on my way home, just to check on them.

His other bleeping leg is swollen!  Grrrrr!  I want to punch him!  (Except not really, don't call the SPCA on me.)

I called the vet, she'll try to stop by tonight and look at him.

Grrrrr.  I might have to ride The Mare a few times just in case Princess isn't ready for the clinic.  That'll be a hoot.  Good thing I decided to skip the show tomorrow, we'd've had to scratch anyway.

Also... Tuesday noonish, I got a couple texts and a call that my old guy was shaking and acting weird, so I ran out of work to check on him.  Grabbed my purse, said I had to go, and called my boss on the way to the car to let her know I had to go to the barn and could she go into the office to cover for me?  He had a fever, but once the banamine kicked in he was much more comfortable.  Vet came out Tuesday evening and he was bright and cheerful, and has continued to be just fine.  So apparently he just wanted to scare the living crap out of me

Vet and I were chatting Tuesday and she said she had to get going because it was the finals of America's Got Talent.  I haven't been watching, but she said there's this really funny comedian and I should watch because I'll like him.  Okay, sure.  So I watched.  Oh my gosh I love him.  Wednesday, as soon as the vet got to the barn, I'm like you were right, he's amazing.

Watch his audition.  And then watch his other appearances.  And then buy his album on iTunes. 

If you don't think he's funny... you're weird.  Then again, this is my favorite joke of all time:  Two penguins are sitting in a bathtub.  One says to the other "would you pass me the soap?"  The other one says "what do I look like, a typewriter?"

*uncontrollable laughter*

(If you're thinking ".....I don't get it", that's the point.  It makes absolutely no sense and it's hilarious.)

Sadly, he did not win.  He came in second.  I was *this close* to calling my vet at 11PM to complain about the huge injustice.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Who thought horses were a good idea?

Last night I went to do my old guy's stall.  I finished and put him back to eat his dinner while I listened to the vet, who is out every day for another horse.  Then I noticed my beloved old man eating his hay really weird... he'd stretch out his neck and chew with his mouth really wide open.  A few times a half-chewed wad of hay fell out of his mouth, and twice he made a really weird sound through his nose, like a rattle-y groan sort of.  As the vet was standing about 4 feet away, I was like, um, can you look at him?  She looked at him briefly and didn't see anything.  His teeth just got done a month or two ago, so that's fine.  Vet said to take him out to graze and see how he handles that.... fine.  He ate grass totally normally.  Brought him back in and vet put the speculum on.... nothing. 

So basically he couldn't eat hay for no apparent reason.  He'd eaten breakfast and lunch, so either it's new or he can eat but it takes longer.  *shrug*  There are a few bales of really soft second cutting hay and he was eating that totally fine.  So I asked the feeder to give him the special hay today, and then give him one flake of the regular hay at dinner so I can see if he's able to eat it.  Vet said she'd make sure she had her scope today so if he's still being weird when she comes out tonight, she can scope him.

I'm not hugely worried because he ate all his grain and he can eat the special hay... but who knows if it's something that might get worse?  Okay, I'm going to stop that train of thought right now before I freak myself out.

Then I went to ride Princess.  Get him out of his stall and brush him, notice his right front is swollen.  Just above the fetlock on the outside.  Sore to touch.  No sign of injury.  He's sound, maybe a teeny tiny bit off, but that may have been imagined because we were looking for something.


At least I hadn't changed into my breeches yet.

I put epsom salt poultice on it and wrapped it.  I meant to go back out this morning but didn't have time...  Oh well.  I'll see how he is after work.

"Hey Mom, I heard we have a two-day clinic coming up, so I thought it would be a good idea to mysteriously injure myself!"

His punishment for being hurt was having his mane pulled.  That'll teach him a lesson!

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Poor Princess needs a day off!

I had two really good, long rides!  Well okay, each ride was like 25 minutes, so not really long, but for us...  More important, they were productive, working rides.  Friday night at about 20 minutes in, Riv kind of (figuratively) dropped out from under me.  He was still trying to do what I asked, but the energy was gone and he started tripping a little.  Poor boy was just plumb tuckered out.  We had been doing a lot of trotting, trot-halt-trot transitions, and 3 loop serpentines (first time we've done them!).  I eased up what I was asking him for so we could end on a good note.  We walked and just did a little bending, then I let him trot once around in each direction on a loose rein and we were done.  The great thing was, I still had plenty of energy!  And he wasn't even sweaty, thanks to the ~50 degree weather!

Last night it wasn't so obvious when he was done, it just got harder to keep him in front of me.  The ride was pretty similar to Friday in terms of what we did.  His transitions are really getting good, at least in terms of promptness, and I'm working hard to keep them smooth and easy, especially the down transitions so he doesn't stiffen or brace or toss his head up.  Is it weird that I love asking him to back?  I know I've talked about it before, but seriously, it's so fun and satisfying to get him to do something with very very little in the way of aids.  It's pretty cool, even if he doesn't respond right away (normal aids being closed fingers, sit deep, close thighs, and inside leg), I don't need to add any hand, all I have to do is tap with my inside calf/heel.  Which to me means that he understands all the "not forward" aids when lightly applied, he just sometimes needs a wee bit more "move somewhere" aid.

The dressage clinic is just under 2 weeks away and I'm reasonably optimistic that I'm not going to embarrass us.

His neck is looking pretty decent, although the pictures don't really do it justice.

(His neck actually looks short and thin while his head looks big in this one.  But back looks good!)

Princess will probably get today off... if I get super ambitious, I might longe him briefly, but that's pretty unlikely.  Poor baby needs a day to recover his strength!

Friday, September 13, 2013

Stuff for sale!

I have some stuff for sale listed over on Bits and Barter....  here is my post.  I'm also selling my dressage saddle.  *sad*  I really really like the saddle, I just don't feel balanced in it..  I'm like 98% sure I'm too fat for it--I can't sit deep in the middle because I don't have enough room.  Grrrrrr. Thankfully my close contact saddle is a much flatter seat, so I'm not held in as much.  Although, I've lost probably 20 pounds since I last rode in the dressage saddle, so maybe I should try it again! 

I haven't ridden since my last post, just haven't had time.  Maybe/hopefully/probably tonight?

Yesterday I turned River out in a grass pasture.  He spent like 5 minutes walking around sniffing before deciding to eat his hay.  I don't get it.  When he's on the other end of the lead rope, he's all OMG GRASS YUMMY FOOD!!  Turn him out on grass, he's like what is this crap I'm standing on, give me some hay!  Unfortunately, he only got to stay on grass for an hour or two because it started raining and the pasture doesn't have a run-in (yet), so then he got moved back to his normal turnout.  He was perfectly behaved walking to the new pasture and back to his old one!

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

I rode and I love my barn

I rode two nights in a row!  For a relatively long time, too.  It was nice and cool Monday, so great riding weather.  Riv spooked at the beginning, but then he was fine, even when he could see horses running around like idiots outside waiting to come in.  It was a pretty good ride, especially considering I haven't ridden him in *checks blog* over 2 weeks.  We didn't really accomplish much, just getting back to some semblance of work.  Yesterday was pretty warm and I surprised myself by actually riding.  Nothing very special, just a lot of transitions, including trot-halt-trot.  It's amazing how quickly a couple of those get him to lighten up and stop leaning on my hands!  He's been pretty nice and forward, too.  Last night he lost the forward a couple times, which just makes me appreciate how much better he is.  You don't realize how important forward is until you're riding around and it feels like the horse just dropped out from under you because there's no energy there.  To think that used to be his normal!

He's such a good boy... I couldn't have asked for a horse with more try in him.  He gets a little annoyed if I'm getting after him about something (usually either popping through his shoulder when circling to the right, or responding promptly to leg/whip), but he pretty much says "geez, woman, I'm working on it, stop nagging!" and that's it... he doesn't get an attitude about it.

I also just wanted to take a minute to say how much I love my barn.

I love my barn.   I feel like my horses and I hit the jackpot.  Let me count the ways.

1.  BO is young and therefore doesn't hold the standards from 30 years ago as the ideal (you know, things like "oats are a great horse feed!").  She's up to date on what the current recommendations are and is very knowledgeable (especially with feeding!).
2.  She's around all the time, so she's easy to talk to when you need to, and she's in the barn to see what's going on.  Not in the barn?  Call or text, expect a reply quickly.
3.  Number one priority:  Care of the horses.  Period.  No nickle-and-diming for anything "extra".  The horses get what they need to thrive, and that's that.  (Obviously there's a limit, but I have yet to actually see it.)
4.  Open to suggestions and easy to talk to.  Ever have one of those BOs who do things one way and that's it, and the thought of asking for something different makes you want to wet yourself?  Yeah, that's totally not how my barn is.  BO is happy to discuss options and ideas, and there's never a worry that she'll dismiss what the horse owner has to say or get annoyed.
5. BO is on top of things.  A while back, BO asked if I would be okay with switching Princess to a different grain.  I said sure, as long as he keeps weight on, so she switched him over.  Before I could mention that I felt he was losing weight, she had already changed his grain back.  How cool is that?
6.  No drama.
7.  It's small.  Only 14 stalls, so there's never a ton of people.
8.  I know that my horses will be taken care of.

The Mare:


Friday, September 6, 2013


Not much to post about..  I keep meaning to ride but haven't quite gotten around to it.  I decided to not go to the show this month.  It will be too expensive and too stressful for me to enjoy, and it's not like we NEED to show.

My lovely VW problems continue...  I picked up my car from the dealership last Friday after they replaced the ignition.  Saturday, I realized that my cruise control and horn were both broken.  As they were working before I took it in, and the cruise and horn are both in the steering column with the ignition, it was obviously something that happened during the service that broke them.  On the bright side, my 12v adapter is working for the first time ever--further proof that something else happened when they did the ignition.

I took it in yesterday to get it fixed.  They spent about an hour and a half opening it up and then said that it's not their fault the cruise and horn don't work.  It's just a great big coincidence that two things broke while they had the car, and that both broken parts are in the same area as what was worked on, so that'll be $552 to fix.  I don't think that even includes labor and tax.

No.  I didn't have $522 for the last repair but I had to do it so the car could be driven.  No way am I paying $552 to fix something THAT THEY BROKE.  Of course, I can't prove that they broke it and they insist that things break and it just so happened that they broke all by themselves while they dealership was working on the car...  I can accept some coincidences, but not this.  No. 

I am finished with the dealership.  I have never had a car come back from service with something new broken.