Our First Show Together

In the week leading up to the schooling show I was going to with Macy there was a big part of me that was nervous about how it was going to go. But there was also a smaller part of me that was like “eh, just stay on and try to have fun.” As the week wore on, I concentrated more on that smaller feeling until it basically took over my thoughts.

Our trip over was uneventful and Macy settled into her stall and was pretty well-behaved except when I was wrapping her for the night and she refused to stand still. There was a lot of cursing going on. Macy just isn’t the type of horse who is at all concerned about you and what you’re doing. If she wants to move she is going to move.

IMG_5168

Checking things out.

Dressage warm up was in a large grassy field which gave us plenty of space to stay away from other horses. She was mostly calm and relaxed and I felt like we would have a pretty good test. She stood still while we took video of Sarah’s ride and meandered over to the arena. I was like “Oh we’ve got this. This is the new Macy!”

We literally turned to enter the arena at A and Macy turned into a fire-breathing dragon. She cantered up centerline. She was so tense and was taking these teensy tiny trot steps as we approached our first 15 meter circle. I was completely caught off guard and was thinking “Wait, what is going on??” At about our first lengthen (we did the Training A test) I was like ” So THIS is what Sarah was talking about.”

I spent the rest of the test smiling and laughing while trying to get Macy to listen to me a little. Her head was above my shoulders during any transition and for the entire canter lengthen. Yeah, it was a shit show. But, whatever.

IMG_5162

I brought Stella and she and Smokey could have taught Macy a thing or two about relaxation

When I got over to Sarah she said “You stayed in the arena!” Which is what every instructor says when they have absolutely nothing else positive to say. We laughed about it and she gave me some advice and we have some things to work on (get her DEEP so she can’t pull that shit with her head!!) I feel like I got the true Macy dressage experience and I am going to be far better prepared for it next time.

My jump time was soon after dressage- I was doing 3′ since Macy hadn’t been jumping much. Warm up went ok… There was WAY more head tossing than there had been at home and I felt like Macy would suck back at the corner and then take off when we landed.

IMG_5167

But I wore my new lucky socks L gave me for secret Santa!! I love them!!

Luckily Sarah came over before I had to go over to the course and I asked her for pointers. Keep my elbows moving and have a plan for when I land. Don’t just do nothing. Great tips, and they helped. We had one final lovely jump before I headed over to the course.

So, no one I know actually watched my ride, but in my head, here’s how it went: Macy was ready to JUMP. She listened to my aids, I don’t remember a lot of head tossing, I let her go as fast as she wanted, I was uncomfortable with how fast we were going but didn’t feel unsafe, I dropped my hands a couple of times when we got in a little short to the jumps, but basically she was a rockstar and I had a lot of fun. A LOT of fun. I need to get more comfortable with her speed and power, but the nice thing about Macy is she knows her job and takes it seriously so I know she is going to take care of herself and since I’m on her back, will take care of me, too. Mare loves to jump. No jump faults but I forgot to wear my number so our time wasn’t recorded. I like to think we were in the ribbons 😉

18118879_1148122471960562_6302269364709300331_n

Some kind stranger snapped this photo of us!

So, it was fun. I had fun with Macy. We have a LOT to work on. Especially since Sarah and I agree that we can compete at a recognized show together. So, I got my entry in today, and hopefully we will be doing our first three day event together! This mare has already taught me so much, and I think that if I just keep an attitude that is laid back and eager to have fun, we should have a great season together.

Tagged , , , , ,

Fraggle Friday- My 5 Heart Dogs

I’m taking a cue from She Moved to Texas and this Fraggle Friday am participating in a blog hop of My 5 Heart Dogs!

I’m going chronologically, not in order of importance, as all 5 dogs hold a very special place in my heart, obviously.

  1. Montana
    221954_7568598250_2778_n

    The one that started it all

    Montana was the first dog who was all mine. I adopted her from the SPCA while I was in college. Unlike most college students who adopt dogs, I was OBSESSED with her care. She went on a million walks a day, and soon became a fixture at my friend’s homes and when I had to go out of town for sports tournaments, my friends would fight over who got to petsit her. She was so easy and well behaved and the perfect dog for a college student. I adopted her when she was about 3 years old and had her for ten years. She started my interest in animal sheltering and I credit her with my career of helping people and pets.

2. Maya

222978_6473638250_4174_n

Ridic

Maya was given up to the vet school where I was working because she couldn’t walk. The neurologist diagnosed her with myasthenia gravis and her prognosis was grim. About 10% of dogs with this disease recover. To everyone’s surprise, Maya made a full recovery… and then they needed to find her a home. I have always loved Springers, so I stepped up to the plate. Maya was the SWEETEST puppy. My Dad, who was going through a divorce and feeling quite lonely met her and fell in love. Not giving him Maya would have been cruel. They were constant companions for 12 years. She was the easiest dog- we never trained her, she just knew what was expected of her. She loved everyone she met and a nicer dog could not be found.

3. Stella

12232920_10153328108348251_1209683766105644720_o

I cannot describe how happy she makes me

My fiancee at the time got Stella to be his hunting dog. And she was a hunting MACHINE. She was also a running and hiking machine. She was my first foray into high energy hunting dogs, and she made me WORK for any affection. But, when we broke up, and Stella was a crazy 2 year old, the thought of giving her to him forever wasn’t an option. So, I eneded up making him very angry and kept Stella. My ex and I don’t speak, but I don’t care. She would have been hit by a car, or discarded by him, shortly after he had her full time. She was one of the toughest dogs I’ve ever had in terms of energy requirements and training. But it was worth every minute. She’s always had a friendly and social personality and I have never had to worry about her around kids, strangers or other animals. Now 13, Stella is easy. She still goes for 3 mile runs, and hikes with me, but is also happy to spend the day lounging. She has always been my heart dog- I have worried about her every day for 13 years. I cannot express how much I love this dog and she had better be with me for a lot longer.

4. Sassy

222733_6473673250_9605_n

Also ridic

I had Stella and Montana, and was contacted by someone giving away their dog. They needed it gone IMMEDIATELY. She wouldn’t hunt and was basically worthless to these folks. I wasn’t looking for a third dog, but once I met her I couldn’t say no. Sassy and Stella became best friends. Sassy was ridiculously easy for a puppy. I ended up driving her from Idaho to NY for my Dad who had been looking for a second dog. Sassy still lives with him, she’s about 12 years old now, and my Dad mentions every day how much he loves her. In fact, she has turned him into a lover of bearded dogs as well. Sassy is the sweetest. I love how happy she’s made my Dad and also love that every time I go back home, she remembers me and immediately ditches my Dad to come sleep in my room 🙂

5. Squirrel

13872889_10153883239083251_9119019166846943762_n

That’s Squirrel on the right when we drove from Idaho to NY and attended the Millbrook Horse Trials

Squirrel was another dog who I didn’t expect to get. A hunting facility was closing down and getting rid of their dogs. There was one dog left. A 7 year old, unspayed, female. She had never lived inside, and when I went to go meet her, her pen was DISGUSTING. I literally said I would take her before even letting her out of the kennel. The guy thanked me, and was relieved he wouldn’t have to shoot her. Such a lovely man. Turns out Squirrel is Sassy’s mom.  She had Sassy when she was just over a year (good breeders). One of my favorite moments is when I drove Squirrel back to NY and she and Sassy were reunited. They may not have remembered each other, but they were fast friends and poor Stella lost both her best friends on that trip as Sassy and Squirrel refused to do anything without each other. Squirrel passed away from mammary cancer just over two years ago. I had her spayed when I got her, but it wasn’t enough to keep the cancer away. I loved Squirrel so much. She was naughty, and quirky, and a total dork, but considering what her life had been before I met her, she acclimated to life with me incredibly quickly. She and Stella were absolute besties. I think Stella still misses her.

You may notice a certain monkey dog who isn’t on this list. I have no doubt Siri will one day be one of my heart dogs, but for now, I wanted to honor the dogs who have had a lasting impact on me already.

Tagged , ,

Keeping the Sanity

While I would love to give myself credit for how amazingly sane Macy has been acting lately, I don’t think that’s giving the full picture of what’s going on.

Sure, I think Macy tolerates me. Maybe even kinda likes me. She definitely likes that I let her get away with things Sarah NEVER let her get away with. And while I don’t always push her to her potential, or ask more and more of her, I do work her hard and expect her to work when I am on her back. Some days she is fine with that, most days in fact, but she does still let me know her opinions. But to be honest, her opinions have been far less dramatic recently, and today I rode her without draw reins. While I have ridden her without draw reins jumping, or hacking out, the thought of leaving them in the tack room for dressage seemed a bit risky.

But. She was perfect.

So, I’m going to give a shout out to some pharmaceuticals that I think are helping with her brain. And helping me enjoy this mare as much as I have.

Sarah has tried some calming supplements in the past. Nothing had really worked. In fact, the calming supplement from SmartPak “SmartCalm” made Macy even crazier. When she called SmartPak, they mentioned that yeah, that could happen in like 1% of horses. Oh Macy.

IMG_5139

Sarah telling Macy that if she doesn’t behave she’ll be getting draw reins again.

But something about having a baby and hormones changing seemed to make Macy more receptive to drugs.

IMG_5142

Macy on drugs that work

Sarah started her out on Regumate. It hadn’t worked in the past, but this time around it seemed to take the edge off. She was still a bit whackadoodle, but better. Because there was a positive difference, Sarah switched to the injectable regumate. There is some controversy over this drug, and how it affects horses, but so far Sarah is happy with it. And should it become banned from horses competing in recognized events we can deal with that.

Because what seems to have made the biggest difference is Quiessence.

36981_L_vvs_000

It’s like a miracle drug.

It has completely taken the edge off.

And while Macy will always be Macy, (today she wouldn’t let me groom her, so I had to let her gallop around for about 10 minutes) once she gets the ya yas out, she is ready to go to work. And doesn’t pull any of her crap. It’s not like being all wound up lasts for the entire lesson like it used to.

Um. Amazing wonder drug.

Now, we’re headed to a schooling show this weekend. And to be honest, I 100% expect Macy to be tense and slighty crazy. It’s who she is. But even if she is, the fact that I can enjoy her at home, safely, means the world to me.

So here’s to sanity for both of us, and enjoying the use of safe and legal pharmaceuticals!

Tagged , , , ,

Fraggle Friday

Spring in Idaho can be a cruel season.

We go from this:

#gwp #griffon #idaho

So pretty and warm

To this, two days later:

IMG_5107

Same view, different day. I didn’t think I should make them pose this time…

Regardless, Stella and Siri still enjoyed themselves and thought I was silly for wearing a hat, gloves and jacket.

IMG_5108

This is Stella’s “you’re ridiculous” look. You’ll see it a lot…

Siri is still adorable, don’t worry. Her birthday is right around the corner! Can’t believe she is going to be a year old! Wow that went fast.

IMG_5094

Hoping you’re enjoying better weather than we are!

Happy Fraggle Friday!

xoxo

Stella and Siri

Tagged , ,

Meeting Junebug

As I alluded to in earlier posts, I have been considering adding a young horse to my life. There was one in particular that I have known about for a while, but never thought would be for me, as I already had a horse.

“Junebug” is a half sister to Sarah’s mare, Rapid. You know, the one I coveted after riding, and had so much fun on back in March? You can read all about my love affair here: Rapid!

Junebug shares a Daddy with Rapid- the USEF eventing sire of 2015, Riverman. Standing at Hilltop Farm, Riverman is a Holsteiner who has gone on to produce a lot of really lovely eventing offspring. You can read about him here: Whose Your Daddy?

001-riverman

But where Rapid and Junebug part ways is with their momma. Rapid is out of a Connemara/TB cross and Junebug has a Quarterhorse momma. Now, at first, you may think, who breeds a Holsteiner to a QH? And I would be right there with you. Except that this mare had already shown to produce some really nice jumpers. And so, she was bred to a fancy Holsteiner.

And what resulted was a really lovely baby (or two! The bay is her full brother).

jandr

Junebug was super sweet and well-mannered when I met her (considering she’s a baby) and I love her build. A bit stocky with a QH butt and AMAZING forelock and tail. (Which is equally as important as a good brain, lol).

IMG_5054

And she knows how to pose for the camera, also important

My first instinct was “YES.” And it still is. But with age comes patience. And since this would be the first youngster I’ve ever purchased, I wanted a second opinion. So, plan is for Sarah to head back up with me the end of May and we’ll play around with her a bit. And then, hopefully take her home. Her breeder is a good friend of Sarah’s and also wants to make sure this is a good match.

j body

In the meantime, while I think Junebug could certainly be the right horse for me, she is coming 3, so it would be a while before we did more than groundwork. And while Macy is also getting better and better, I just can’t help myself and am also looking into a couple of other going horses. What’s that called? Weighing your options? Or maybe just being impatient and indecisive…

Anyway, I’m glad you all got to see the adorableness that is Junebug and hopefully you’ll be seeing lots more of her!

 

 

Tagged , , , ,

Making It Work

I’ve been so wrapped up in who my next horse will be, and what I can afford and want, that I’ve been missing out on what’s been going on right under my nose. That mare I was kinda scared of a few weeks back is turning out to be an amazing partner.

I knew something was up on Saturday. It started pouring when I had Georgie out for a walk and I still had Macy to ride. There was a roping clinic going on in the indoor arena so my only option was to ride outside. It wasn’t going to happen in this weather. But, I’d been on a work trip Monday-Thursday and Macy had gotten vaccines on Friday so I hadn’t ridden her in a while. And I REALLY wanted to. So much so, that I made the 25 minute drive back down to the barn after the clinic ended just so I could ride her. WTF. I wouldn’t even do that for Georgie (ok, I would, but Georgie is my heart horse.)

IMG_5087

Love this mare. But man she is filthy these days

The next day I decided to do trot sets around the property. It was windy as f**k. That kind of wind where you can’t hear ANYTHING, but you turn your head and it’s silent and you can hear perfectly.

Macy was tense, I was tense, there were plastic bags flying around and tarps blowing twice their height, but I kept trotting her around. We got to one section of the property, where the footing is near perfect, where I always let Georgie gallop, and I was like “what the hell..” and I got into two point and urged her on. She was as happy as I was to gallop. We did it again just for fun and called it a day. I needed to know I could gallop her and enjoy it. And I can. It made me so happy to be out there galloping on a horse that enjoys it as much as I do.

IMG_5088

She’s full TB, but that head SCREAMS Irish

The following day we did some dressage work in the arena. I was super stressed and frazzled from work, and as we got started a horse got loose and was GALLOPING around the arena. I hopped off Macy and she got frightened by the horse and got away from me. So… now two horses GALLOPING around the arena. We caught Macy easily and had someone hold her outside the arena while we tried to catch the other horse. If nothing else I am AMAZING at catching horses. Yet, it still took some time.

I figured Macy’s brain was shot but Sarah said she would be fine. So I hopped on her and she was a really good girl considering all that had happened and the fact that the horse that had gotten loose was now being lunged like crazy in the arena with us. It was by no means a perfectly loose and relaxed ride, but still, I was really proud of her. She hasn’t pulled the hopping and throwing her head shenanigans in a while.

Then today. Jump lesson. We were going to string some jumps together in the hopes we could go to a jumper show next week. I was nervous as it was only the second time I had jumped her AND we’ve never done more than jump and halt.

Um. She was foot perfect. So easy and relaxed and FUN. It was a total blast.

And while I KNOW Macy can be a brat and I am SURE we are not done with that side of her, I have to say, I’m REALLY enjoying her. She tests me as a rider and pushes me to ride well. I can’t daydream when I am on her and I need to keep her working. And when I do, she is great. She will always be a TB. She’ll always be tense when it’s windy and plastic bags are blowing around us. But, if I can come to accept that, and have my expectations be realistic, I think this could really work out.

So, I’ve kinda put horse shopping (beyond Junebug) on hold. And I officially want to see if I can make it work with Macy, at least in the interim. She has surprised me and I can’t thank Sarah enough for trusting me with her.

IMG_5089

Now sure, I am fully prepared for a “Macy was the worst horse ever” post in the coming weeks, but for now, I’m just going to sit back and enjoy her. And learn as much as I can. As for the show, we’re going to give it a shot. She is renowned for being HORRIBLE at shows, super tense and impossible in warm up. But, we’ll see how it goes. And maybe we won’t warm up, lol.

I’m excited about this partnership and where is may go. I’m so glad I’ve stuck it out with her so far and hope we can continue to have fun together!

Tagged , , , , ,

Fraggle Friday

Work had me on a long road trip into Washington and northern Idaho. I took Stella along with me, as she is perhaps the best road trip companion ever known.

IMG_5016

She does a LOT of this

The first day she was happy to sleep the entire time. I got a little worried, and a little sad, thinking that my old dog was really OLD. But then, we got to Sandpoint Idaho, mid way through our second day, and she was JAZZED.

IMG_5033

Stella loves water

She basically dragged me down the bike path and wanted to go swimming despite it not being all that warm in northern Idaho…

IMG_5022

She also wanted to play fetch

I was happy to see her back to her usual antics.

And while I checked out baby horse (so exciting!) she and her buddy Warren had a good romp on the property.

IMG_5066

Of course she decided to run through the water…

Stella proves once again that age is just a number.

We got home and back to our regular routine, but she decided that perhaps, now that she got some Mommy and Me time, Siri can sorta/kinda be her friend.

FullSizeRender (5)

Only one of them is enjoying this arrangement

Have a great weekend!

Tagged , ,