Shenanigans, Maintenance, and a little Jumping update

Are you a good news or bad news first kind of a person? Actually, no “real” bad news but let’s start with a laugh today anyhow. 20180823_1111526905890497022580135.jpg

So, of course, I had to walk my happy ass out into his paddock to find them. Two of which were in nice solid grassy areas but the third was dead smack in the middle of a mud pit! At one point I actually lost my shoe and had to reach in to find it!

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Luckily, I did find them though. How does he do these things???

The not so great has been my jumping. I am still on the struggle bus and mess up at least one jump a lesson. And I don’t mean “oh that spot could have been smoother” mess up I mean we just crashed that fence mess up! This past lesson it was only one though. We were doing a figure 8 pattern and stumbled over the jump headed home cause he got quick, I thought he was taking off so I tipped a bit, he said no, but we somehow still ended on the other side of the fence. TS yelled at me not to stop so I immediately picked up my canter and continued doing 2 more figure 8s. He was, of course, wanting to run even more at them now but we handled our shit. TS proclaimed that new strategy is when something goes wrong DO NOT STOP because when I stop I think and when I think I crash.

Even though he was a turd and wanted to run after that, because I didn’t stop and over analyze like I do we didn’t flub the rest of the jumps. We then moved on to our actual course which had a skinny end fence. We jumped that first so he could see it before being on course. It was like the skies opened and angels sang down. He approached it with a great consistently paced canter, the spot was perfection, and his jump was beautifully rounded. WHY CAN’T HE JUMP LIKE THAT EVERY TIME?!?!?!!?!  Our course was pretty simple. Outside line, single on the diagonal out of the turn so it wasn’t a long approach, the other outside line which was technically a broken line but really more of a curve, skinny on the end, long approach to another single oxer on the diagonal. The broken line was either a straight 5 stride or a shaped 6. TS and I decided to do the 6 so that he didn’t get too amped because the skinny was not long after the out. Winifred really wanted to do the 5 but I was able to sneak a last second short stride in. TS reminded me how when I sit back, pull, but also squeeze with my leg there is no question that he will jump. So many things to do at once though! Lol.

The last two jumps went well. He really liked the skinny and backed off of it nicely again. He wanted to run at the last oxer but as TS said I did my homework on the approach and it rode pretty smoothly. We did however almost die after! He landed very excited, not bad but at a pretty speedy pace. It had rained all day and the footing wasn’t the greatest so I didn’t want to pull on him too much or turn him too fast in that corner so we went to make our circle bigger than normal when a fellow lessoner just kept walking towards us. Don’t walk towards a freight train! We actually still would have been fine cause baby boy can turn fast and the ground was good there but when I asked him to turn he shot his head down and started to cough! We all ended fine and it was basically a swipe by of the other horse but it was a close one. Lol. Survive the course and die on the curtesy circle. LOL

TS and I had a little discussion on some maintenance for Winifred. While he doesn’t act it he is 18 and TS feels that if I am going to continue to jump bigger I need to get his hocks done next year. I need to keep baby boy happy and healthy so I need to put that in the budget for next spring.

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Winifred says “I need maintenance cookies too!”

Luther has been basically chilling this summer. He has been a little off but I can’t quite pinpoint it. He is 22 and has a LOT of miles under him so he has earned his chill life. Poor guy though is under a little current maintenance for fungus. I swear it hit him overnight! I came out Monday and his hind right was pretty swollen and I could see the fungus from quite a distance. Since then I have been bathing him in some Dermavet, scraping the fungus, and wrapping him. He is still a little swollen but MUCH better than Monday.

Luther batgh
Luther is pretty happy with a groom and graze kind of life.
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Camp Ponies

Our barn does camps throughout the summer and boys got in on the action! Ok, Winifred and Lucifer were not used as camp ponies (cause frankly I don’t want to kill any children!) but they did get a fun visit from my friends’ kids. I finally convinced my friends, N and J, to enroll their 3 kids and I, of course, had to come out to see them and introduce them to the boys.

This was my absolute favorite picture!! LOL!
Luher says, “If they don’t have cookies I don’t have time for them”

The camp was a 4-day camp where the kids get to ride every day, learn to groom, do fun crafts, and on the last day they participate in a horse show. For the 3 of them it was their first time riding and, wow, was I impressed by them! I missed their 1st day but I was there for their 2nd and I would not have guessed that it was their 2nd time in the saddle. I thought I might have been biased but even TS commented that she was impressed too!

E was only able to come for 2 days of the camp because he had basketball camp that overlapped so he missed the horse show. 😦 J and A did great though! J won best posting trot and A won best 2-point! The girls did SO good!

I am trying to convince N and J to get the girls in lessons! I am even enticing them with Margarita Mondays during the beginner lesson! I know that I don’t have any kids in the lesson but I love the parents (and that lesson has some of my favorite kiddos in it) so I go and hang out. Stef makes the BEST margaritas! Hey, don’t judge me! LOL

Rachel finally got her head out of her ass

Yes, this title is an exact quote from one of my friends regarding the show this weekend. This show definitely had some low points but O-M-G it has some high points!

I signed up to do both the Primary and Intermediate divisions. Just like the last show, the weather was supposed to monsoon on us so I was super excited about that!

I got drenched while flatting but it cleared up right as I started jumping, YAY! I can’t believe the luck I had with the ring all to myself! Our jumping was good but not spectacular. We had one scary moment on our last line. It was headed home and 2 strides out from the in Winifred grabbed the bit and even though I had a Thor-like grip my reins slipped out of my hands. TS even heard me exclaim….”SHIT!” It was a 5 but Winifred really saw the 4. By the grace of God, he must have felt me flailing up there to get my grip cause at the last second, he added a short stride to make the 5. Whew! Because of this I had a friend ringside the whole weekend with rubber reins in case I needed to switch out. God smiled down though and just gave us overcast weather! Yay!

Saturday my day started with Primary hunters. Our first round was really good. Win was nice and responsive which earned us a second. We only had 3 in our class, so it doesn’t sound impressive, but it was a great hunter round for Win. Our second course was not so great. Winifred decided that he wanted to run through everything. It was going alright until I whoa’ed a little too hard and we got stuck on a half stride. I asked him to take the long spot and he said, “nope.” Luckily, I stayed on and we finished the course, but, crap it was ugly. Intermediates went ok. After my flub on the outside line from Primary, I got a little heavy with my leg asking him to jump the out that I ended up lighting Winifred up a bit. Lol. Looking at the video it doesn’t look as bad as I thought it did. Our 2nd hunter course went eh. I have said it a million times and I will say it a million more, Winifred is NOT a hunter so I am happy with eh.

Sunday, again started with Primary. I had one hunter course and one eq. Our hunter course was ugly with a refusal and honestly, I still don’t understand what happened. I thought we were good then all of the sudden we weren’t. TS said that it looked like he was jumping up, but when he hesitated, I sat back so I would not go over his neck but then he started to jump again. This back and forth ended with us on the other side of the demolished fence. I took a deep breath and finished.

I was super excited about our eq O/F class since there as only 1 straight line. Rollbacks are Winifred’s jam! Too bad he locked on the out and our first rollback was ugly. The rest of the course was alright. Our eq OTF went well and we got 2nd.

For Intermediates, we had a hunter course, eq O/F, and our medal. TS and I decided to scratch the hunter class because we didn’t want him to get back on straight line courses again. Our eq O/F course was the same as our Primary course and all I have to say is “Why, Why, WHY DID NO ONE GET A VIDEO OF THIS COURSE?!?!!?!?!?!?!” Not even slightly joking it was the BEST course Winifred and I have ever done together!!! It was B-U-T-T-E-R!!!! Even TS was excited and said that we would be high in the placings. Much to our surprise, we didn’t even place! TD ended up telling me I got marked down for talking to him on course. For real?!?! I won’t even get year-end points for what was my best round! I thought we would do well in our eq OTF because he was so relaxed. We ended up 5th.

The medal course was even more fun than the eq course. There was not a single straight line!! It was tailormade for Winifred! It went great! Since he was in eq mode he listened to me for direction instead of locking on where he thought we should go. We got a score of 74 which put us 3 points behind 1st. Our test was weird. We lined up in the center of the ring, post trotted out of line to the judge who was standing in a pavilion, she asked us which bit we were using, then sit trot back to the line. I am surprised we didn’t move down in our placing since he did not want to trot to the scary lady! At one point his so straight up in the air that it completely blocked my view of the judge. Lol.

So that was my weekend. We had some not so great moments but the silver lining is that I didn’t let it get to me. I took a deep breath and finished my courses without letting my nerves take over and then transfer down to Winifred. With each course I got more and more confident which translated to 2 of my best courses. Hopefully, I can keep my head out of my ass! LOL

Gawking instead of grazing. Lol

Happy 2nd Gotcha Day Finnley!!

So this was July 16th but apparently, I never hit publish. Oops!

I can’t believe that it has been 2 years since I drove 5 hours south to go pick up this handsome young man! He has certainly given me a few challenges (and still does!) but the joy he brings me has been immeasurable!

June HR B Show

I know that I have said it before and I will say it again, I am a terrible blogger! It has been since May that I last posted and wow a lot of things have happened since then. I get so busy with life that I forget to sit and write but then I read blogs like HelloMyOlivia and I get inspired. (If you don’t follow her you should! Some might call me a stalker but in my mind she and I are great friends. Lol)

Quick and dirty before I get into details of the real fun stuff of our last show. At last I left you I had a small redemption from my shit-show. Since then we have been progressing in our lessons. I only fell off once (knock on wood!!!!) and it really was not dramatic. It has rained like crazy and our arena was pretty muddy. Winifred is a bit more cautious in the mud, we were doing great on our course came to the last line and he got super soft so I gave a little with my hands and BAM he slammed on the breaks! My history of falling on him has been because I tipped but this time all I did was soften my hands. I came SO close to saving it but in the end I came down, landed on my feet but then my calves cramped and I fell to my knees……..in the mud! Lol.

I then spent 2 weeks in Shanghai and had to miss a couple shows because of it. 😦 He didn’t get ridden much while I was gone so when I came back it took us a minute in our first lesson to get it together but it was mostly me.

Jump forward to last month and we had our first outdoor show. This show didn’t have my divisions but it did have 2’6″ and 2’3″ classes that we planned on going in. The 2’6″ division I was signed up for was open to professionals but I was not in it to win. I just wanted to see how Winifred would be in an outdoor show.

Thursday my TS and I planned on schooling over fences at 7:30pm so I got on to flat around 6:45. We passed the horses coming off the trailer, people unloading tack trunks, and giant white and yellow striped tents fine but OMFG the jumps in the field for Saturday’s derby were legit going to KILL him!! He was so bad that eventually, a friend suggested that I leave because he was getting dangerous. I walked out of the ring and waited for TS to arrive. When she did arrive I got the “wth are you doing on the ground look” until I mentioned the field jumps her face instantly dropped in that “oh yeah” look.

For the first time in my life, I asked my trainer to get on my horse. She agreed but I had to promise to get on him after. He was not happy to have her even get on him and she had to jump from the mounting block. He then would not move down the driveway but she finally got him in the ring and immediately went to a jump. She got him around the course. Her only words of wisdom was that he was nervous but once he is focused on him job he was fine. Our turn to go around and the jumps looked huge (turns out she put them a little bigger than 2’6″). We got around but we did have one moment over an oxer that I fought in my head over my spot. Winifred took over (thank God) and we survived but it was not pretty. I collected myself and we finished. TS was not happy with me that I was being indecisive about my spot so we decided to scratch my morning 2’6″ classes and just do the 2’3″ classes.

Friday we had 2 classes and I will admit that I was nervous. Our first course started on the quarter line headed right towards the field. I honestly was scared that we were going to crash through the fence because his sole focus was on the field jumps. We actually did jump it but then he instantly dived to the left. I circled, came down the outside 4 stride line towards home and he was great, then we did the diagonal headed to the field but the corner without jumps and that went well until we turned to the right and he saw the field jumps again. His entire body tensed. It was insane how different his body felt on the field end of the ring from the entrance end. We finished up but it was not pretty. Second course started on the diagonal towards the field jumps. He was focused on the jump so that was good but again as soon as we landed he dived left to get away from them causing me to have to circle again. We came down the 4 stride again and he was fantastic. He softened and relaxed and then my next move really pissed off TS. I stopped. I knew we were headed right towards the field again on the next line and having him at the entrance end so relaxed I wanted to end it on a good note. TS was NOT happy with me and I got a lecture about getting out of my head.

Saturday we scratched the 2’6″ again and just did the 2’3″ division. This division only had 1 class so I added a warm-up to get in the ring more. TS had offered to take him in a warm-up for me at the end of the day Friday but I told her that I was good. I changed my mind when I realized that on top of the jumps in the field the judge’s truck was now parked out there too because, oh yeah, it was raining! TS did her warm-up and when it was done I looked across to my friends under the tent and all I saw was their eyes wide and one even mouthed “I would not ride him!” To say that he was scary was quite an understatement! This did not calm my nerves. TS left me in the hands of our assistant trainer (AT), I am hoping because we had someone else in another ring but who knows it could have been cause she was that annoyed with me. Lol. I adore both TS and AT so I was not upset at all to be left in AT’s hands and to be honest it may have been the best thing for me. I love TS but sometimes I think I get worked up because I do not want to disappoint her, not that I want to disappoint AT but it is just a different sense. Our first course was to trot along the outside line toward the field then turn and jump the quarter line toward home. He was clearly still very nervous but we turned in a little early to the quarter line. Winifred kind of ran at the fence but I actually let it happen because I saw my spot about 4 strides out at that speed. The rest of our course went really well! I could still feel his muscles tense on the field end but I did my best to stop thinking and feel my horse. I received a lot of laughs from spectators with my multiple very boisterous “GOOD BOY!” as we went around the course. Lol. Even though I was the last one to go I had to come out after my warm-up so I could get a towel to dry my reins and gloves. Our actual class went well. We didn’t place great cause 1. there were two horses in our class that holy-shit-balls even on Winifred’s best day he was not going to beat them in a hunter class and 2. we did the strides down each line except one that he added on. I was doing my best to stay out of my head and I only wanted to have a smooth ride and hit my spots. The only thing I did not want was to drop a stride. Coming down our last line on the diagonal home he got so relaxed that his stride got huge! I realized about 4 strides in we weren’t going to make it to 6 if I didn’t do something and wow did he adjust and we made it! I don’t think my smile could have been bigger as we left the ring!

We got some great pictures from the show. I was close to buying a terrible one that I was close to buying just to document the struggle. Lol. The look on my face is teeth completely gritted, my back is arched, and you can see that I am pulling as hard as I can to turn him, his eyes are wide, neck is cocked, and his mouth is completely open. I do owe a HUGE thank you to TS (sorry I was “me”), AT for taking over and getting me through it, and a very special thank you to my barnmate (and friend) D. Honestly, I am not sure I would have gotten in the ring without her there to keep me as calm as I could be!

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Love the slobber flying from his mouth. Lol
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The rain is not fun to ride in but it makes for pretty pictures. I kind of feel like he is posing for this one. 

Haircuts, horse shoes, and hocks

I know that I haven’t written in a couple of weeks but non-horse life has been a little crazy. Life has been quite stressful but I like to keep this blog on the positive side of life so I don’t tend to post those things. When I get stressed this much I get severe headaches. By the time our lesson came along I had a headache for 2 days straight.

On one positive note, we had our first outside lesson!! Winifred was pretty good to start but once some deer came out he was pretty sure they were going to kill him and that there were more killer deer hiding all around the ring. He really was not that bad but having to work harder made my head pound more and more. The look on my face must have been noticeable cause trainer S (TS) asked if I was ok. I ended up not jumping much because every time we landed my head felt like it was going to explode! We just did the warm-up X and then one line. Between my head splitting and the fact that he was super calm on the line, I called it a day.

Mom, you brought cookies right?!

With big progress made on some work projects and great friends who helped me relax this weekend I am feeling much more like myself! It also helped to give Luther, the fluff ball, a haircut. That may sound like a weird thing to relax me but I have said it before, that horse is my rock and just being near him centers me.

I am working from home all week so I planned on plenty of pony rides! Winifred and I usually ride on Sunday and then he has Monday off but since I clipped Lou on Sunday I decided to change Winifred’s schedule and ride on Monday. Again, yay working from home! Came out Monday all ready to ride Winifred in the beautiful sunshine only to find that Win was missing a shoe 😦 Trainer D (TD) just shook her head and informed me that the farrier left maybe 20 minutes ago! He comes on Mondays and he is usually there when I get there but he came early this week so he finished early. He is not able to come out until next week so looks like Winifred has a week off.

***New contest: let’s see who can write my eulogy since next week I will lesson after he has had a week off. Lol.***

Still trying to remain positive and figured I would just plop around on Luther this week except that he get his hocks done. I thought it was next week but TS reminded me that the vet is coming out this week. So much for plenty of pony rides this week! Oh boys! Lol. Actually super happy that Lou is getting his hocks done this week. He has been pretty stiff lately and he is overdue. He will never go back to jumping courses but he deserves to be comfortable.

Stall rest after hock juice
Lots of grazing this week