Finnley Friday Birthday Edition!

I can’t believe he is 2!! My little man is growing up and maturing. We do a group walk every Sunday but this week we went to an event at a nice restaurant where he had to sit quietly. He did amazing! So proud of him!


For more Finnley fun follow him on Instagram @finnley.the.cata_whattt

Advertisements

How Rachel Got Her Groove Back

I have had 3 jumping lessons since my last riding post. Each one has had little victories leading up to a major one last night!

**Side note on how I am reporting my trainers names. My barn is owned by sisters so they are both technically the barn owners and they both are trainers but I tend to ride more with trainer S so I have called her “trainer” and the other one the BO. But then it gets confusing when I do have a lesson with BO so I am just calling them TS for trainer S and TD for trainer D.**

Two weeks ago TS was out of town so TD gave my lesson. I love TS but sometimes it is nice to have a lesson with TD because she sees me with fresh eyes and picks up on different things. Winifred was SO dead on the flat! I had to push the crap out of him but I knew he was just saving his energy for jumping. The second I asked him to pick up his trot for our warm up fence holy shit did he wake up! My fellow lessoner laughed and said, “you called it!” He really was not horrible but there was NO way he was doing the adds. Victory at this lesson was that I nailed the long approach to the single that I have been completely flubbing on (and almost fell off at during the show). Literally in the air I let out a “YE-AH!” to which TD gave me a puzzled look. Lol

Last week I did not do much jumping. I had been having weird waves of not feeling well all day. We did out warm up x and line then did a two stride. The first time I did not have enough canter going in but Winifred being as amazing as he is made up for it and stretched his strides out like you would not believe to make the 2 strides. Good Boy! I am blaming my lack of leg on the fact that I have never had to leg this horse into a fence. Lol. We came back around to do it again and nailed it but when I landed I got very light headed, major hot flash, and thought I was going to vomit. Friend, K, told me my face was bright red. I told TS that I was done.

Last night I came into the barn to see that one of Winifred’s pasture mates tried to rip his throat out! I should have gotten a picture! He is ok and while it looked ugly it didn’t seem to bother him. The boys in his pasture like to play a little too much. Lol. K’s horse keeps losing halters, Winifred’s blanket is swiss cheese with the filling literally hanging out of it, C’s horse has nicks all over, and D’s horse’s throat has looked a lot like Win’s. I do not know when they do all this because anytime we ever see them they are all happily hanging out with each other. Boys will be boys I guess but I am off topic. Back to the lesson. Our flat was good. Win was a little up but in a happy way not his nervous way. We were the only one to jump so it was kind of a private lesson. Did our normal trot X and he was good. He was excited but not bad. The warm up line was a 6 trotting in and while we have been focusing on doing the adds TS said to do the 6 cause it was a tight 6. That rode beautifully.

TS had some fun jumps set up so next warm up pattern trot the X, roll back to a skinny (red) this was at the end of the arena so the right turn that came after was pretty tight, then long approach to the square oxer (purple). If you have been reading my blog you will know that recently long approaches and I have NOT gotten along but it is amazing things that happen when you sit up tall and trust yourself to see the correct spot! After warm up we usually do a hunter course then an eq course. The hunter course was to canter into the outside line, orange diagonal, long approach to the purple oxer, then blue diagonal. TS gave me the option of doing the adds if I wanted but I was feeling confident after I nailed the mini course so I planned on doing the steps which were 5, 4, and 4. O-M-G the course rode PERFECTLY!!!Presentation1

Seriously, I am not normally one to be egotistical but my God did it feel good to have such a great round again! Not once did I question my spots and Winifred and I flowed again! He wasn’t fighting me to go faster. He played a little in the corners but he always does and he came right back to me as we headed to the next line. I need to remember to talk to him. He LOVES to be talked to! A little “easy bub” and he generally calms down. The only thing that could have been improved was after the last fence I kind of collapsed on him to pat him and say thank you and he took that as invite to cut our turn and go fast. Lol. This caused TS to have to yell at me to sit up but to Win a good turn and burn is a reward. Lol. I looked over at TS and she had a huge smile on her face. She told me that was the best she has seen me jump in a long time and told me she could see that my confidence was back. I was very conflicted cause I wanted to jump more but at the same time that was so amazing and with the issues I had been having TS and I decided to end on that very high note. It feels so good to be back!

I am hoping that I can slide into the lesson on Saturday since I leave for Shanghai on Tuesday. I hate missing out on pony time!

20180203_123041868548911.jpg
Cookies for this perfect pony!

Finnley Friday

It has been a long day for baby Finn. As I have mentioned before he can be a bit naughty and today that had some major consequences.

He electrocuted himself. I am re-doing my home office so in the meantime my office is in my dining room. He chewed on the plug part of an extension cord for my monitor an docking station. I could hear him chewing but when he laid down next to me he had a bene bone he was chewing on so I didn’t even think about the cord.

He was shaking for a while but I am sure that was nerves too. His gums were grey and 2 of his teeth were black. I of coursed ran him to the ER immediately which was slow because of the massive amount of snow we got last night.

Vet couldn’t see any burns so that is good. She said the big fear is fluid in the lungs. She said it is usually immediate and she can’t hear anything but it can show up later so I need to make sure I monitor his breathing. She said that his tooth will die but the big concern is what it will do to the bone. Need to bring him back in 4 weeks to go under anesthesia to get full mouth x-rays. But if he is drooling, having a hard time eating, or his breath gets bad I need to bring him in right away. His neuro check was good. She said that it must not have been that bad since it didn’t leave a burn.  😢

20180208_212613789645416.jpg

On a happier note earlier this week his beginner’s agility course came in this week and we worked on his tunnel.

Finnley Friday!

I am stealing an idea from Draft Mare who does Wynston Wednesday and I am starting Finnley Friday. You can also follow him on Instagram at Finnley.the.cata_whattt

20180110_062657.jpg
About time I got some respect around here!
20180107_194255.jpg
You are cooking that food for me right?!?!
20180107_091742.jpg
Yet another “very durable” toy dead. This lasted about 2 minutes.  So glad I spent $13 on it. 

Winter Woos

Can this winter be over already???? I know that I just posted on my clinic but that was back in mid-November. Recently the weather has been FRIGID and riding has been tough!

Luther

Luther has been enjoying what I am calling his winter of bareback! I have not actually put a saddle on him since October. In the last couple of weeks it has just been walking and maybe a little trotting because the weather has been below zero. He is just too stiff in this weather but he needs to get out and move a bit. It has warmed up a little today and I will be out to ride him. We may do a little canter but we shall see how he is feeling. Side note: my trainer saw me cantering him bareback for the first time a couple weeks ago and her response……. “You canter him bareback???? I would never trust him to do that….. but I mean good for you!” Told you he is Lucifer! Lol

Tried to do a nice photo shoot with him but he had other ideas. Oh Lu….

20180107_175510.jpg
Temper tantrum when I did not get his cookies to him quick enough

Winifred

Winifred has done a little more than Luther but not too much more. We have not been able to jump in a few weeks but we have done some flat work. Win needs to be in a steady program or else all of his pent up energy turns into nervous energy. Even though he has lived in our barn for 3 years his nervous energy makes the indoor seem like a house of horrors to him. This past week I rode him Monday and he was not terrible but Tuesday through Thursday was far too cold to ride. I did get him out for some hand walking and on Thursday I let him run around the indoor with my friend KD’s horse Charlie. Charlie is actually Luther’s pasture mate but I had a brain freeze and thought he was Winifred’s. Oops! The boys did great together though. I expected Winifred to be the crazy one but Charlie took on that roll. Charlie was running around with his tail straight up like an Arabian and would stop to do a guttural snort every so often. Lol! Win just followed him around a little distance behind him. The best part was watching Winifred jump on his own. Why was not I not videoing that?!?!

20180104_181419.jpg
Are we going to be friends????? YES!

I rode him on Friday and everything concerned him! For some reason his “concern” gets a lot worse going to the right. Saturday we did a flat lesson and he was phenomenal! He was totally relaxed and we went around on a nice loose rein then Sunday he went back to thinking that Pennywise was going to jump out and get him. Oh Win……

Since we aren’t doing much we have been focusing on lateral movement and transitions. His transitions up are great but his downward transitions need a lot of work. This boy just wants to canter, canter, canter! He has been doing good with this lateral movement except for Sunday for some reason. We have been doing lots of circles including spiraling in and out, moving off the wall then back to it, just going around with his head in or out, and walking triangles. Always open to any other ideas if anyone has any. I have been way too lazy to dissemble jumps to do our ground pole exercise since I would then have to reassemble them and nobody wants to do that in this cold!

20171225_112058.jpg
How does this happen????

Finnley

This cold has really been affecting Finnley too. He is already a SUPER energetic dog and that is with regular bike riding. It has been too dangerous to spend too much time outside even with his coat on but I have forced myself to take him out for a little bit when it was safe. He has gone on a couple of short walks and has gotten to play with his friends Gus and Cleo. Our barn owner was so nice and let us bring the three of them into the indoor when it was empty. They had so much fun and even jumped a few of the jumps! Finn got to meet the new barn dog Gypsy. She is a super cute beagle basset hound mix. She was not too sure of him at first but it was a little overwhelming to her to have 3 new dogs on her turf looking to meet her. Once we walked her and Finn together away from everyone they settled down and it seems like they are going to be friends. 🙂

Frozen whiskers!

 

World’s Worst Blogger

I am legit the world’s worst blogger! I tend to do really well posting regularly until something major happens (back surgery and then Oscar passing away) and then I take a hiatus. I am kind of superstitious and wonder if I should even start blogging again for fear that something majorly bad will happen again but I am taking that risk. I am taking this risk because I am using this blog as a way to keep track of where I am in my riding, how far I have come, and how far I need to go. Since my last blog was May of 2016 there have clearly been a LOT of changes in my life.

I still miss Oscar every day (literally tearing up right now). He was a once in a lifetime dog that no one could ever replace. With that said, my house was far too quiet and empty without a four-legged child in it so enter my terrorist also known as Finnley (or Finnie the Foo, Foo-fur-son, Fooer, Finsta, Block Head, Honey Bear, psycho-pants, and of course just Finn). I wanted to stay with a Catahoula but my family begged me not to. They loved Oscar too much and thought that a dog that looked like him would be too painful for them until I showed them that Catahoula come in red leopard too. It was an instant “we need to find you one of those moments”!  Not sure if I ever mentioned that I had been looking for the last 2 years of Oscar’s life for another Catahoula to rescue. I don’t want to get too much into this because it still upsets me but I found lots of them in the southern chapter of the Catahoula Rescue group but I was told that since I was from Michigan that I had to adopt through the northern chapter. Well in the 2 years that I looked the northern chapter had never once had a single dog. I hoped that I could just have a representative from the northern chapter come and do a home check and I offered to drive to Texas so that they could meet Oscar and see Oz interact with the dogs but they told me no! I found a few (non-Catahoula) dogs up around me that I liked and applied to 4 different rescues. Of those four, two of them I never even heard from, one called one of my references but then I never heard back from them (I swear my reference was good!), and one did come through completely. They approved me and I met the dog, Asher, that I was interested in. Unfortunately, it didn’t work out. He nipped at me when I touched his ear. If it was truly just me I would work with him on that but I have nephews that come over and I could not risk them. Good news on Asher though. I saw him about a year later at a random dog event and he was adopted by a woman who adores him and he looked so happy!

I finally gave up and started searching for reputable breeders. I found one in Corinth, Kentucky which is about 6 hours south of me. From the first time that I talked to N I knew that she was who I was going to get my puppy from. Not only was she a horse person but she really cares for her dogs, doesn’t over breed, and keeps in touch with you after. I also liked that her husband made sure that I had experience with Catahoulas because they are not a breed for everyone! A couple more things that drew me to them was that they require that if you cannot for any reason keep your dog you must give it back to them (while I understand that is not really enforceable it was in the contract and I liked that they thought about it) and I thought it was cool that the KY state police reserve dogs from them to use for the KY state K-9 unit.

Finnley was born on 5/17/16 and I brought him home on 7/17/16. He is NOTHING like Oscar!!! This is good because Oscar was a one of a kind but sometimes I wish Finn would settle down a bit. He is such a clown! He literally makes me laugh every day and you can see that he makes himself laugh too. I do still struggle with his boundaries, such as this week he stole the tv remote off the table and chewed it, but I love him anyway. He is lucky he is cute! Lol

Luckily and completely unplanned, three of my friends from the barn got puppies at the same time and they were all born within a week and a half of each other! One of them my friend, J, got is a German Short Haired pointer named Gus. He is truly Finnley’s bestest friend! The other two are Ibizan Hound sisters, Cleo and Callie, adopted by C and T. Finn has every man’s dream of twins as his girlfriends. The girls LOVE him. Don’t get me wrong they love to play with Gus too but Finnley is the apple of their eyes (especially Callie’s). We call them the HR Puppy Squad and got matching collars. (For those of you who didn’t know I ride at Hunter’s Run hence “HR”.) Below is a picture from their Halloween party. To solidify their three-some relationship Finnley was a hotdog and the girls with ketchup and mustard. LOL! Gus was a super cute Superman.

24993068_10210992946765251_300025602_o.png

Oh by the way you can follow all of Finnley’s shenanigans on his Instagram page, Finnley.the.cata_whattt

Well this is running long and I have so much more to update on like ponies. Yes I said that plural! I have two handsome ponies in my life right now. I know, lucky girl! I will give them each their own posts soon. My goal is to post at least once a month but for now I will post a bit more just to catch up and so that you can meet my new men.