The Loot

I snuck off to the local 4H tack sale Monday night to try to find shipping boots for a pony.

This specific annual tack sale is the mother of all tack sales. It’s 40,000 square feet of space that is utterly jam packed with horse related items being sold. There’s stuff piled on top of other stuff and every inch is filled.

When you first enter, it feels like Christmas just came. You want to dive in and never resurface. But… after walking around for a while it starts to feel a bit… overwhelming. Eventually your eyes can’t even focus anymore, and you randomly start bumping into people and merchandise. The throngs of people moving and milling about make it difficult to even walk down the aisles. It’s too hot and that winter sweater you’re wearing is making you sweat like a Michigander in a Florida summer. You see people you know, but all you can do is shout a hurried “hello” as the crowd pushes you down the aisle.

It’s crazy. Awesome, but crazy.

I had two items I really wanted. Shipping boots and a head guard for Joy. I want to pad her up for our first hauling journey this year. I walked the ENTIRE 40,000 sq feet before finding either of the items. Oodles and oodles of bridles, stirrups, saddles, halters, etc. There were cart harnesses, carts, itty-bitty saddles for little kids, clothes galore, jewelry, horse snacks, bits, spurs, more bits, and even girl scout cookies. I found one pair of shipping boots, and two choices in head guards. Slim pickings for the items I was there to purchase.

Shipping boots = $10.00
Head guard = $5.00

All of my shaving forks were missing tines, so I bought a new head.

Shavings fork head thingy = $8.00

I was winding my way back out of the throngs of people and tables when I stumbled on a polo wrap holder! I have wanted one of these for two years now. I thought it was display only at first. I was about to walk on when I realized someone was saying my name.

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I look up and there’s a friend behind the table. This was her polo wrap rack! She sold it to me for $10. I was joking about how the polo’s needed to go with the rack, so she sold me those too for $10.

Polo wrap rack = $10.00
Polo wraps = $10.00

Total cost for all my loot = $43.00 + $1.00 to enter the tack sale.

Not too shabby and it satisfied my tack shopping cravings (for a while at least).  I did succumb to the impulse purchase of the polo wrap holder, but I really  wanted one of these. Currently all my wraps are strewn across the floor of the tack room in haphazard piles. This’ll be nice to keep things more organized!

 

Now that I have shipping boots and a head guard for Joy, we can begin the hauling adventures!

I may just buy a roll of bubble wrap, wrap that sucker up into a giant ball and roll her on to the trailer for shipping. Hahaha

Snubbed

I went to two different clinics this weekend.  

The first clinic was a western dressage clinic. Quite interesting to hear about the differences in tack and attire.  There was a lecture by an r judge (I think little r). The fundamentals stressed were similar to regular dressage.  They had demo rides of the tests while the judge explained what they were looking for and what we were looking at.  There were some astonishingly great movers in that clinic. 

The whole atmosphere was laid back.  People laughed and clapped,  and there was an overall sense of comradery. I was almost a convert by the end.  If only I didn’t hate western saddles so much. 

It was very well run and I had a lot of fun,  even if I did freeze solid. 

Oh,  did you know bitless is allowed in western dressage?  Now my neighbor has no excuse not to try it.  Haha  

The second clinic I went to was a normal dressage clinic.  I had asked the owner a month ago if I could audit. She had sent me “all” the  info,  but neglected to mention that there was a cost to audit.  They approached me two rides in and said it was $20 for all day,  or $5 per ride.  I was already on the hook for $10 by then,  so i paid for the whole day.   I was a little taken aback by the situation. Nothing posted anywhere.  No one by the door. They acted like I snuck in and tried to “steal”  something from them. Why is it so difficult for people to post/share this information up front? 

The ladies sitting next to me were friendly.  The clinician was good.  I was freezing.  Several riders appeared to have never heard of the idea of moving away from leg pressure.  It was interesting to see how the clinician helped the rider and horse without the rider ever needing to actually move the horse off an inside leg aid.  Some really nice moving horses.  Appeared to be mainly students of the barn owner riding in the clinic. 

I got some great ideas for Joy’s training that I think will help her with her tension.  A lot of hot,  nervous horses in the clinic,  which is what I expect joy will be like when I take her somewhere.  So hopefully this gives me a few more tools to use. 

There was a heavy draft horse working toward flying changes,  and it was quite interesting to see how different the horse looked when truly energized and rider controlled the energy.  It went from plow horse to more of a second level looking horse in seconds.  Quite neat.  

During a break,  I walked up to the barn owner and clinician and asked if they were going to have any more clinics this year. The barn is near my house and I thought he’d be a great clinician to take Joy to.  But when I asked if they would be having another clinic this year all they did was shrug.  Literally shrugged. And then they ignored me.  So I walked away.

Screw it. I’ll find someone else to ride with. 

Maybe these clinics are only for her students.  Apparently the details are hush hush,  because no one except the Arab people sitting next to me would talk to me (they didn’t know either). 

I found it ironic the difference in atmosphere between the two clinics though.  I’m normally the first person trying to sell the “dressage people are friendly! ” speil,  but that second clinic sure didn’t feel like it to me.  I felt like an interloper who got caught stealing the tip jar or soemthing.  

The Ides of March

March always seems to bring false hopes and then crushes them! 

It’s spring.  It’s winter.  It’s spring.  It’s winter…  Ugh. 

It has been jumping 20 degree’s within 2 hours some days.  Then the winds came. Reports of 45 to 60 mph winds.  Tree’s are down all over.  Our power went out. Internet went out.

I got a bonus from work!!  Yay!  Money for hay,  and I promised the hubby he could spend a bit on himself this time.  He was happy! 

Then one of our barn kitties died.  My favorite one.  The snuggly one.  *sob*

Then Ava colicked.  You know how horses who are colicky will look at their flanks,  or kick at them.  Not Ava.  She curled her upper lip constantly.  When I put her grain in her bin,  she layed down.  Didn’t roll.  Never once looked at her sides.  She layed down and curled her lip up.  It was the weirdest thing. 

Lip curl

Of course we still had no power and it was 9:30 at night with 50mph winds.  Of course. 

I called the vet immediately.  Slight impaction.  Vet worked on her for about 2 hours (mainly because Ava is not a good patient). 

And poof… there went the bonus money.

Hubby no longer so happy.

I had money.  Now I have no money. 

*sigh*

The icing…  The vet had left,  it’s nearly midnight,  and I’m sitting in the barn watching Ava and the other horses when I hear loud cracking noises and a solid thump.  The kind of thump that shakes the ground.  Everyone jumps.

Tree fell. No biggie.  But I check fence lines anyway,  and yup,  big tree right across the fence.  Grrr…

Had to lock everyone in for the night.  Which I guess was good.  It kept Ava company.  But I had to drag the hose out and fill water buckets in the middle of the night in freezing temps. 

3 hours sleep and hubby and I are back up and clearing fallen trees in the morning light. 

I’m sore. 

And I look like the walking dead. 

It’s only the 10th of March.  I shudder to see what the rest of March looks like. 

Stay safe everyone! 

Senior Mares

Jessie lost a tooth. At the age of 32(ish) she’s now experienced her first tooth loss.  Dentist said the rest look good,  nothing else loose,  and that it’s a top molar so less risk of impaction.

I was going to wait on the dentist until spring was here (snow blocks the path to the barn),  but Jessie seemed to be chewing oddly.  Mainly,  she seemed to be chewing on the right side of her mouth,  and for a few days she seemed less enthused about the hay than normal.  After that she seemed normal. I got chastised a bit by the dentist for not having him out immediately to pull the tooth,  but I’m not sure I could identify the issue again even now.

I never found the tooth.

After everyone had their teeth done,  Jessie wasn’t eating her hay.   She kept pushing it around,  taking a few pieces in her mouth and spitting them out.  We also had a 20 degree drop in temps between 12 pm and 2 pm,  so i was a bit worried.  I bundled her up,  watered her grain down to mush,  checked on her often,  and hoped for the best.

Next day she was eating hay with gusto.

Hopefully she doesn’t lose any more teeth for a good long while.  She’s kind of a picky eater.  I guess I better get serious about researching diet options for senior horses.

 

Who Rode My Pony?!

I swear someone snuck in and trained my pony while I was gone. I don’t know who, but when I find out….

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I came home after a week away to a pony that canters.

AND I can steer at the canter.

AND she’s picking up the correct leads with correct bend both ways (most times)!

It was…. weird.

Happy! But, weird….

She cantered so well, that we actually tried our very first simple change of lead. It was awful, but we trotted when I asked, turned, and she tried really, really hard to offer up the new lead.

Overall, I was thrilled!

I had dreamed of this day! I thought it would never happen!

We have a CANTER!! WOOOOOOO HOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!

The rider relief is evident…. hahahaha

I think I may have even cried a bit…..

…………

Trot work was O.K. Not great. Not terrible. I need a bigger area to work on getting her connected.

We’re always turning. I tried pushing her forward, and she kept breaking to canter. I think I need a long, straight track to trot her on for awhile.

I love this pony’s walk. 🙂

Photo Bombed!!

I set up two ground poles to trot over. Joy apparently thought we were doing a different discipline instead.

She caught me off guard and I bumped her mouth. 😦

Our haunches-in is getting better!

And more jumping!

I just want to mention that we’ve been doing trot poles for over a year with no issues, but today… these were jumps! Haha

I’m really looking forward to starting lessons in another month or so.  I think the trainer can fix up my riding so Joy can do her job better.  And then, maybe, I can start thinking about entering a schooling show later this year (fingers crossed).

5 minute training video of ride:

VIP at a Grand Prix show

Visited my parents last week and my father surprised us with VIP tickets at the Fox Lea Farm “Under the Stars” $25,000 Grand Prix jumping show. Talk about fun!!

They let us walk the course (the jumps were huge). I’ve never been this close to jumps at this level. I can’t even imagine riding a horse over this. This jump is taller than both of my horses.

me

Our table was right of the middle in this covered area, and we had a great view of the entire course (picture taken from backside).

viptent

We got complimentary drinks and food for being VIP. Pictured below is just a very, very small sample of the goodies we were given. We also had fresh shrimp, a plethora of yummy appetizers to choose from, cookies and chocolate treats. You could also choose different types of beer or wine.

Needless to say, we were stuffed and drunk by the time the show ended.

loot

The riding was fantastic! I have nothing but blurry photos this time, but the horses were gorgeous and the riders were great.

jump

They gave us a score card so we could follow along with times and scoring.

We had dragged a couple of non-horsey friends with us and they had a blast too.

This was such an awesome experience. With five of us at the VIP table (which holds 6) the price was quite reasonable for what they gave us (free access to more food than you can possibly eat, more alcohol than you can drink, some of the best deserts I’ve had in a long time, and a great view of the action).

It was  a blast!!

This venue also hosts some high end dressage shows, but my visits never seem to coincide with those. Maybe next year I can get over to see the upper level dressage riders perform. 🙂

Inconsistent

I had to force myself to ride yesterday.  I’m always glad I rode when I’m done,  but getting geared up to go is sometimes a massive battle of willpower.  It’s difficult to want to ride when you can’t feel your fingers.

We were almost out of daylight by the time I got to Joy, so only a really short ride for her.

They were not the most productive rides.  A few trot circles in the “arena”  and done.  I would not call this “dressage training”.  This is what I call “survival” riding.

I have to say, I was very impressed with Joy. I haven’t actually ridden her in a month. I’ve lunged her some, and we’ve done some desensitization training, but no riding. I really expected a spazzed out, flighty pony on my hands. Instead, it was actually quite relaxing and pleasant. I was super impressed.

It snowed and snowed and snowed yesterday…

Ava was waiting on her treat.

I’m having a hard time riding consistently.  Between my lack of energy and the the bad weather/footing, I haven’t been able to do more then one or two rides a week (and those were short rides).

I can’t express how badly I envy people with indoor arenas right now.

. . .

My farrier was out last week to trim the mares.  Ava is a badly behaved,  evil beast when anyone unfamiliar is in the barn.  This time she was charging the stall door when the farrier was near it,  and then turning and double barrel kicking at him.  It’s not specific to him.  She does it to the vet,  the dentist,  pretty much anyone except my husband and I. She’s an indiscriminate a-hole.

Anyway… Farrier went after her (with my blessing). I gave him my whip and when she charged the door he burst into the stall and scared the bejesus out of her (he didn’t touch her,  just scared her).  I need to pay him more.  Poor guy.  Has to discipline my horses for me.  *sigh*

She used to do the same to me when I was handling Joy or Jessie, but after several “come to Jesus”  moments,  she no longer even thinks about it.  I think the issue now is that she knows I won’t get after her when strangers are around.  It’s hard to hold a horse for the vet and charge into a stall to put the fear of God into a horse.

She sure makes Joy seem like the happiest,  best behaved pony in the world.  🙂

Indian Summer

We had a brief glimpse of what spring may look like.  It was fantastic. I was running around in a t-shirt! I was marvelous! The sun even came out for the day.

The following day was the dreariest day in history.  Fog all day, and the worst chill. Blah!

dreariest day ever

All day with that fog.

We’ve had three days of sunshine in 2017.

Three!!

Screaming

Post-Ice Apocalypse 

I let the beast (Ava) out of her paddock for the first time in at least a week.  She was quite,  uh,  buck-y about it.  I don’t think she took a regular step for 5 minutes.  Just bucked her way up and down the pasture.

She’s beautiful when she’s expressing herself, but sure makes me glad she’s not like that under saddle. Whew!

I hadn’t let her out because the footing was trecherous. Finally melted.

I broke Joy’s stall door.  As a strong,  independent woman,  I delegated fixing it to hubby.  Heh.

The nut that holds the door up on Joy’s stall fell off.  I couldn’t find it.

I spent half an hour trying to find that darn nut. I was freaking out about not finding it.

…..

Hubby found it sitting on top of the stall door.

As usual, the solution was above my head.