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

Advertisements

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.

Terrible Weather

It rained and then immediately froze. Everything is covered in ice.
You scoffed at the poop piles left in the pasture, but those were really traction bumps to prevent slipping. This is good equine management practices.
What really annoys me is that exactly half of the pasture (straight down the middle) is completely ice and snow free. Not a spot of anything remotely treacherous on that side of the pasture.
Guess which side the barn is on? That’s right, the side utterly covered in ice!
My idea of leaving the water tank in the large pasture rather then placing it in the paddock is working like a freaking charm. Now instead of the tank being readily available for Joy and Jessie mere steps from their stalls, they have to traverse an ice rink.
Which means I’m stuck hauling water to their stalls twice a day (if not more).
This is good human management practices. Ensuring the human gets adequate full body exercise in winter is important.
Last night I’m hauling water, sloshing it all over myself, and the darn dog decides that I’m doing all this to bring him water. The 140lb lab places himself directly in front of me, as I’m walking on ice, and plunges his head into the buckets to drink. It’s not as if he doesn’t have fresh water inside, where we JUST came from. He must drink from these buckets immediately or die of dehydration!
The entire time I’m thinking “I’m sure the horses will appreciate dog slobbered water”…
Last night we stripped and cleaned all three stalls while the horses munched hay outside. Hubby and I are standing in the barn, appreciating the freshly bedded stalls and clean barn when one by one, the horses walk in and immediately pee and poop.
StanFrustrated.jpg
Then, last night, I find Joy standing next to the water tank in the big pasture, refusing to move.  Just a bit o’ wisdom, but putting shavings on top of ice results in slick ice, covered with shavings. Utter failure.
Anyway, I thought pulling Joy through the yard would be the best course of action. The footing seemed okay to me, but Joy felt it was absolutely no better. She slipped and skidded her way to the barn like a drunk on ice skates.
I finally got her in the barn safely and made sure everyone had water in their stalls and extra hay.
I am so over winter.
Frozen.jpg

Show Names & Poop

What if…. what if Joy’s show name was…

SeaGoat!

“Now entering at A, SeaGoat!”

What are some preposterous, funny, show names that would reflect a grown adult riding a pony into a show ring, surrounded by people who feel white pants and a tux jacket are appropriate attire?

I was thinking about calling the farm “Dancing Dwarves”. I was going to call it “Midgets are Us”, but I thought that might be insensitive toward little people. I don’t think I qualify as a little person yet. I need to lose 2 more inches. Should be there in another year or so.

I have instituted my new cardio routine. So far so good, but my cookie intact has increased three fold. I was pleasantly surprised I am still capable of walking after each workout. For as much pain and wanting to die during the workouts, I was positive that I was going to be massively sore afterward. So far, no issues. That’s a positive. I’ll probably end up weighing 300lbs by the time spring comes, but I won’t be winded walking up the stairs.

What about Whiskey.Tango.FoxTrot?

This post is a diversion from cleaning stalls in temps that have a “feel like” of -2. It’s really 12 degrees (Fahrenheit). The poop sounds like gunfire when it hits the bucket. You could brain someone with one of those poop balls. They’ll trip you too. They escape and roll around on the floor like hard little marbles. When you’re not expecting it, they’ll slide under foot and you’ll go rolling for an instant. It’s annoying.

Hubby says at least the poop doesn’t smell.

Not sure if you can see this video, but I thought it was hilarious.
You need FB access to view it.  It reflects my hubby’s views on poop to a T!

https://www.facebook.com/plugins/video.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2Fdarren.dawes.39%2Fvideos%2F10153817573096358%2F&show_text=0&width=560

How about show name: “Napoleon Complex”? Ha!

Off to clean stalls. Wish me luck!

Left Lead Canter

I had the best left lead canter depart I’ve ever had on Joy before!  It was almost like a grown up canter depart!!  Not only was she correctly bent,  but she stepped into it from the right hind.  It was awesome! 

The right lead canter depart was very good too,  but that one has been coming along fairly well.  This is the first time for the left lead.  First time off a straight leg aid canter cue (no voice cue),  first time with correct bend,  first time not launching herself from the forehand…

It was so good I just halted her and got off.  

She’s getting stronger!! 

Pics of Joy,  ’cause she’s cute. 

Not so cute here…


My two second braid job… Wanted to see if a running braid would stay in while working. Worked okay. 

Felt Like The First time

Yesterday I rode Joy over to the neighbors so we could go for a trail ride. 

Let me back up a minute…

I weedled,  begged,  and harrassed my neighbors until they caved and agreed to go for a trail ride with me (they are not winter riders) . It took me a few days,  and a guilt trip,  but I finally had them tacking up and ready to go.

I haven’t taken Joy on a trail ride in nearly a year.  Last time I walked her off the property,  Joy freaked and I barely had enough control to get her home again.  

But, she’s been so well-behaved,  and such a solid citizen under saddle the past few months that I felt we could do this confidently. 

I made sure to get on about 30 minutes prior to get Joy focused on me,  and resolve any tension if any existed.  But when I hopped on,  I had a very calm,  very wonderful pony beneath me.  We did some basic supplying exercises and then headed over to the neighbors. 

Everything was going great! Joy was relaxed,  the weather was nice,  the footing was decent (for winter) . 

We climbed the last small section of hill and as we climbed Joy became more and more tense.  By the time we crested the rise,  Joy was doing a spectacular rendition of passage.  Every fiber of her body felt like a live wire. 

We got to the neighbors barn and I slid off Joy.  She nervously circled around me,  her muscles shaking.

When the neighbors came out,  I asked if I could use their little dry lot to ride Joy in before we headed out.  I wasn’t sure I wanted to get back on the keg of dynamite I was holding. She was literally vibrating. 

I lead her into the paddock.  I tried getting on her,  but within seconds she’s rearing and bolting and whirling around me like an idiot.  I let her whirl for a short bit, and futilely tried to lead her around some.  Then I remembered a trick a trainer taught me about getting a nervous horse to cross their back legs to settle them down.  So while Joy circled around me,  I made her move her haunches out so she had to cross her hind legs.  

Took maybe 30 seconds,  and suddenly I had my Joy back! 

Took her back outside,  hopped on,  and we had a great,  very relaxed,  trail ride.  

I love that Joy is able to find her brain fairly quickly even when she’s hyped.  It’s like she needs 5 minutes to just get it out,  and then her brain comes back.  

After the trail ride I dropped the neighbors back at their barn,  and Joy and I rode home all by ourselves,  on a loose rein.  Whew!  Ended much better than I feared it was going to when I got there!! 

A few more of those,  and I think we’ll be good to tackle trails on our own again. 

Then next step is off property to a totally new location!

I’ve gotta get this pony out and about,  or all hopes of ever showing or going to clinics are pointless.  

We will conquer this! 

2016 Year in Review

I’ve been trying to figure out what to write as the”year in review” type of post that I normally do. I don’t feel like we made any progress toward anything. Not riding, not trailering, not showing, not toward lessons…

I was so gung-ho this spring. I had it all planned out. I was going to take lessons, start hauling Joy to new venues, hit a couple of shows…  but then it came to a grinding halt when she mysteriously came up lame in May. It took nearly three months to resolve that. After that, it was like starting over. I had a butter ball pony that had regressed back to a scaredy cat anywhere off the immediate property (even on the next-door neighbors property).

I spent the remainder of the year in a “Screw it” mentality. No expectations, no pressure, no goals that would drive me insane when I didn’t hit them. I focused on increasing Joy’s suppleness, attempted to get that hind end directly behind her instead of off to the left, and help her find a better balance.

I spent more time with Ava. Ava’s feet were finally grown out enough from the bout of laminitis that I could start working her again. I put my time into increasing Ava’s fitness to see if I could get her back into some semblance of “dressage” shape. And even if dressage wasn’t possible, we were still having fun crashing through trails and galloping around the fields.

Things were going swimmingly with Ava. She was getting more and more fit. She went from barely able to trot more than 100 yards in early spring, to galloping the entire length of the field by end of fall.

December hit and Ava went lame again. I thought it was laminitis, again… that weird stance.. but by day two it seemed to oddly be affecting only one leg.

Abscess.

 

So, overall, a rather unproductive year with lots of annoying problems. And I have the dubious honor of experiencing my first abscess. So there’s that.

Here’s hoping 2017 is a bit more productive!!

Joy’s Year in Review Video Recap (6:33 mins long):

 

Goals for 2017

  1. Lessons
    1. I have a line on a local instructor who has agreed to (try to) help me this spring.
    2. I’m going to go watch a friend take a few lessons this winter (better than nothing until I can haul the pony there).
  2. Fitness
    1. I’m going to work on increasing my overall fitness and decrease my weight.
    2. I need at least 30 minutes of cardio 5x a week.
    3. I need to increase my flexibility and symmetry (greatly) so that I stop falling to the right.
  3. Get Out and About
    1. Get Joy hauling safely.
    2. Start hauling Joy off property
    3. Start taking Joy to lessons.
    4. Take Joy to at least one small show
    5. Take Ava to one of the state parks for a group trail ride with friends.
  4. Tack Room
    1. Figure out how to prevent all my tack from molding!!!
  5. Arena
    1. Increase length of arena
    2. Continue work on making it somewhat level