Fraggle Friday: Sick as a Dog

This week I suffered some vertigo, which made me dizzy, nauseous and relegated to my bed.

As someone who lives alone, when I get sick, my first thought is usually “Who is going to walk the dogs?” Fortunately I don’t get sick often, and typically can still get the dogs out. But when I can’t stand up without wanting to vomit, I can’t walk the dogs.

So, I called on a work pal to see if she could come get Siri and take her to doggie daycare. She picked her up within 30 minutes and off Siri went. I even got updates!

Stella got to spend the day with me. She is hands down the best dog to have by your side when you’re feeling sick. She laid in her bed and quietly snored away, a soothing sound which lulled me to sleep. She was fine with being let out to potty and coming back inside and to her bed. She seemed to know I wasn’t feeling great as she asked nothing of me and was as perfectly behaved as possible. I actually think she enjoyed the break from Siri…

Not sure I’ve posted this picture of Stella in her raincoat but it’s one of my favorites.

It was a less than exciting day, but I was thankful to have my best buddy by my side. And when, at 5:30, Siri returned, I was happy to see her too!

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Prix Caprilli Champion of the World

Our barn runs a schooling dressage test of choice series each winter which is super fun and laid back. Last month I entered Macy in the Modified A test and Georgie in Intro B.

This time I entered both mares in the Prix Caprilli class. For those of you unfamiliar with Prix Caprilli, it is literally dressage over fences. You have a dressage test, but some directives have you hopping over fences on your way from one end of the arena to the other. It’s super duper fun.

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Georgie less thrilled at the previous show. PC: M.Graves

But, since, ya know, Macy and I are regulated to groundpoles currently, I scratched her from the show. I thought about just entering a regular dressage test, but realized that wasn’t going to be much fun either.

I was the last rider of the day, at 5:15pm.. So, I went for a run, cleaned my house and chicken coop, and did as much as could before heading to the barn, but was still there two hours early. I watched a couple of riders and then brought Georgie in to get ready.

There are two tests offered in the Prix Caprilli at our barn. One with 2′ jumps and one with 2’6 jumps. The tests are difficult. They’re not  easy to learn and you often have a jump you need to avoid in a 20m circle, so they take some thought. I was the only adult entered, for which I felt a little silly, but I got over it when I realized Georgie literally isn’t allowed to jump 2’6, and we have literally jumped 2 single jumps in the past year.

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When I jumped her once this year…

Plus, I did not prepare for the test at all. I ran through it once with Macy, sans jumps obvi, and have been asking nothing of Georgie in our rides together other than come round and move off my leg. And while she was by far the most experienced horse in the class, I was ready to have fun, and really didn’t care about anything else.

It was the sloppiest test I’ve ridden in years. I forgot to steer and Georgie almost hopped over one of the fences before I yanked her off of it. During the free walk and stretchy trot it became apparent I had not asked Georgie to do any of those things in over a year.

But none of that mattered. Mare was her usual rockstar self. She was obedient and perfect and this seemed to be her kind of dressage test. Sure she totally stumbled over the last fence (it was a cross rail keep in mind) but ya know, its ok, mare hasn’t jumped in a while.

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Has it become obvious I have no media from the show?

This was the perfect break my brain needed. It was awesome to ride Georgie again and just be able to enjoy the ride the entire time. Plus, we came out as the champions of the class. So, maybe not champions of the world, but that’s how it felt in my mind

We’ll see what her future brings, but I’m thankful she can still make me smile so much.

 

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Rollercoasting Along

Anyone who has read this blog while I have been riding Macy knows it has been a bit of a rollercoaster. But for the past few months, it’s kinda been smooth sailing. At least in the head tossing, bolting, spooking department. We have had some really nice, relaxed, rides.

Well, don’t worry, the Macy we had fallen in love reading about is back.

I’m actually not sure I can completely blame this round on her. See, I’ve been a bit lackadaisical in my riding. I am riding both she and Georgie 4x/week, and riding 8 times in a week on top of a full time job that frazzles my brain at times, and trying to run every day makes it so that sometimes, I just don’t want to have to ride a horse like Macy and so I don’t. Or, I ride half heartedly, not really working on anything other than staying in the arena.

Well, as you can imagine with a horse like Macy, this lack of work and purpose doesn’t really make things better. And then, when you decide to take a jump lesson with a friend, even though Macy doesn’t exactly thrive in group lessons on a good day, it can all go to shit.

And it did.

Jump lesson was supposed to be fun. But I had a cold and was exhausted and about 70 minutes into Trainer Sarah telling me (yelling at me) to do the same thing over and over to TRY and get Macy to be less reactive, and me unable to do it, I was DONE. The lesson went on for another 10-15 minutes, at which time Trainer Sarah agreed it was so bad there was no hope of making it better and she hopped on Macy and schooled the poop out of her. It took her approximately 7 minutes to get the result I couldn’t achieve in an 80 minute lesson.

Macy was being a bitch, there’s no denying that. She was rushing to jumps, not listening to my aids, so so tense and throwing her head high in the air in protest 2 strides before the jump. She’d grab the bit and throw me out of balance and while I didn’t fall off, it was more reminiscent of this:

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Than this:

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In fact, it was so horrible that my friend got like, no instruction, the entire lesson as Trainer Sarah had to break it down to the basics and all Macy and I were allowed to do was jump a 2′ vertical on a circle. And we literally couldn’t even do that without theatrics.

I was DONE with this mare. I don’t need a horse that makes me feel like I don’t know how to ride at the most elementary level. I don’t mind a horse that has to throw a hissy fit in order to figure something out. But I couldn’t handle a horse that is being a bitch just to be a bitch.

So, I did what any adult amateur does and I went home and cried. (Right? We all do that, right? I blamed it on work stress and my cold, as I am sure they contributed to all the feels)

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Interestingly, because of busy schedules, Trainer Sarah and I didn’t mention this lesson for days. Until I mentioned I would be down to ride Macy on Monday. To which she sent me an email working through the past lesson. We agreed to meet and talk through it all.

And so we did. And I explained my situation, and how riding HAS to be fun or I am not going to spend what little extra time and money I have on it, and she explained that a group lesson was a bad idea and things shouldn’t have spiraled as far as they did before she hopped on Macy.

And then she helped me successfully canter over a ground pole with minimal fuss and Macy was an angel again. Ok, no she wasn’t. I just had the tools to shut her down and she was like “FINE, I won’t bolt after the groundpole.”

And then we had ANOTHER lesson where things went even BETTER over a groundpole even though there was another horse being ridden in the arena.

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So, basically, I’m like the champion of groundpoles (I can go over two on a circle without a Macy reaction like 76% of the time).

While I will say that riding Macy isn’t my favorite thing in the world, I really think she is going to make a baby horse with strong opinions way more manageable.

So here’s to getting Macy to be loose and relaxed and rideable over a groundpole. It should be a super fun winter.

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My High School Self

I don’t particularly love who I was in high school. I wasn’t a horrible person, but I was your typical high school teen.

I had major mood swings.

I wasn’t a good communicator.

I was overly worried about what was going on around me instead of just being confident with who I was.

And while I was a good athlete and student, it didn’t come naturally to me. I had to work hard to gain All American honors in lacrosse and I worked incredibly hard to make it into AP classes. I resented those who made light work of both academics and sports.

So…

I was riding Macy the other day when it struck me. Macy is my high school self.

Lets explore this a bit further.

On the day I was riding her a lesson was going on. Macy was so preoccupied with this other horse in the arena. Every time it got near us she would pin her ears and throw her head threatening to bite the horse.

Just SLIGHTLY preoccupied with others.  Just SLIGHTLY worried about what was going on around her instead of just doing her thing.

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Always worried about what’s going on around her…

And while Macy is an above average athlete (and way more talented than I was in high school), dressage does not come naturally to her. She’s not built to make any of this easy. She’s downhill with this huge barrel, and she doesn’t exactly scream light on her feet. And yet, with hard work and determination, she makes it happen. It’s not easy, but she’ll be damned if any horse thinks she isn’t serious competition. And so, she refuses to make friends with the competition and instead keeps them at bay and keeps working at it, proving them all wrong.

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I mean.. it’s just not that pretty a picture. Love ya May! (most days)

Oh and the mood swings. Do we even need to go there? She is the moodiest mare there ever was. And instead of just communicating in a normal, rational way, instead she takes EVERYTHING to the max. Talk about a drama queen. It’s exhausting.

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It’s all or nothing with this horse

So, maybe Macy is stuck forever being a teenager. I feel for her, that is NOT a fun place to be. And while I want to comfort her, another part of me just wants to slap her and tell her to grow up. Being a perpetual teenager isn’t fun for any of us.

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New Year’s Shenanigans

I’ve been worried about the fact that we have no snow. It’s just not normal. But, rather than worry about what may happen this summer with so little water, I decided to take advantage of the fact that we can still ride outside when the temps allow it.

On New Year’s Eve day, Sarah and I decided to head out into the hills and enjoy a trail ride. I was fully prepared to take Georgie, since I wanted to enjoy myself, but last minute decided to take Macy, since poor mare really hasn’t gotten outside lately.

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The ride ended up being a terrific climb. We went up and up and up (at which point I realized this would be way too much for Georgie right now) and when we got to the top, we tried to find a way to loop back around to the trailer. When we realized that wasn’t going to happen we began the descent.

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About halfway to the top where we turned around

Macy was actually phenomenal. Sure, she spooked at Siri every time she saw her, but the spooks were minor and no big deal. She worked hard to get up the mountain and proved to me she was a great trail horse. Because there were really steep parts on the way down I ended up hopping off May and walking alongside her. The old girl was having some trouble, and having me on her back wasn’t helping anything.

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She and Rapid have a serious love affair going on.

It was a super fun day, but I knew Macy would be tired, which had me concerned because we had BIG plans on New Years Day.

It has become a tradition for Sarah and I to ride horses New Years Day. Either in a lesson with her trainer Gary Mittleider, or with each other, just goofing around. This year, we decided to have a lot of fun with the ride. We made a trivia game of sorts. One person asks a trivia question and if the other person gets the answer correctly, they get to jump whichever jump they want. If they get the answer wrong, the person asking the question  decides what they jump. You get a point for every question answered correctly as well as for every jump completed successfully. Winner gets bragging rights for an entire month.

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What the arena looked like when I arrived

Sarah had set up all sorts of fun jumps. A bounce set on a fan, a 3 or 4 stride line, a corner, a skinny, and a vertical with a tarp over it.

She also had one more surprise in my cubby….

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A mimosa!!

The ride was incredibly fun and we laughed a lot. I was impressed that Sarah was getting my trivia questions right, especially since I was asking questions like “What was the name Dublin had when he first came to my family?” Ok, so she didn’t get THAT one right, (it was Beau), but she really listens to MOST of what I say when I rattle on about my life, which was impressive.

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This corner was my favorite jump

Macy was for sure a bit stiff and sore from the previous day, but she saw the jumps and was ready to play. We kept them all 3′ and below except the skinny, so I knew we wouldn’t be asking too much of the horses.

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I liked it so much, we jumped it both ways….

In the end, Sarah and I tied. We each had one jump boo boo (Macy hit the rail on the skinny and Rapid thought the skinny was to be avoided), and got an equal number of the trivia questions correctly. So, in the end we were both winners. Which meant, time to celebrate!

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Macy was a winner as well, but she didn’t want the mimosa which was fine with me…

A super fun way to start the year. Horses and friends, life is good!IMG_7712

I hope you had an equally great start to what is undoubtedly going to be a great year!

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2018 Goals

As we head into the New Year, I’ve decided to make some goals, even though I have NO IDEA what the year will bring. I don’t even know if I will have a horse to ride, so that’s fun. But hey, let’s be optimistic and pretend all will go swimmingly!

HORSE GOALS

1) Take Georgie Intro or BN at an event. I like to call this one my sanity goal. It makes absolutely no sense to take her to an event. Especially since events aren’t less than 5 hours away. But, I have a feeling I will be wanting to do this so badly. Especially after dealing with a baby horse and a Macy horse. Sometimes I just need Georgie to remind me of how fun all of this can be. Plus, seeing her ears on XC and feeling her excitement will be totally worth it. Obviously this goal is 100% dependent on her soundness and her owner allowing me to take her. But we’ll make it a goal so I can remain sane.

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Yup, this is the unicorn that makes me happy…

 

2) Get June out and about April and May. June comes back the beginning of April and I plan on getting her right to work. Work, meaning refreshing her baby brain on all the ground work we did. I also am really really really hoping I can pony her off of Georgie. There’s no better horse to learn about trail riding with and I think June will love getting out there with a friend.

3) Get a bit more serious with June come June. Hopefully in June, June will start to get some nice under saddle rides. And by nice I mean we can work on moving from the leg, steering, stopping and you know, the basics of riding. Because… my big goal is….

4) Enter June in a FEH 4 year old class. This class was new last year. From what I’ve read it is a FEH class, not YEH, so no jumping under saddle. It’s walk, trot, canter, conformation and free jumping. They are held at a couple of events we go to, and I would LOVE to get June to one this year. She’s built well, and has some nice movement in the trot, so I think it won’t be a total waste of time. Plus, it gives me a riding goal to work towards. If we hit roadblocks, or she just isn’t ready, totally fine. I’m not going to push it with her.

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Yes please to this gallop.

No real Macy goals as I am not sure where she’ll be in my life when June returns. Plus, some days I really just want to call it quits with her, and other days I am in love with her, so I feel like setting goals will only add more stress I don’t need. I hope to still have her in my life to ride and learn from, we’ll just have to see where she fits in and what she’s up for doing.

Personal Goals

  1. Become a better rider. I know, duh. BUT, before Macy I wasn’t able to ride horses like Macy. And now I kinda can. And I have learned so much and have become a much stronger rider. But man, there are still things I need to work on. Really simple things, and minutia things, and I want to work on them. I want to take each ride seriously (except for when I am ponying June from Georgie. I just want to enjoy that and hopefully giggle a lot), and be more focused in my free rides. I feel like June will make me do that, just as Macy has, so that will help.
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Thanks May!

  1. Go back to Ireland. This one is happening in 2018. I cannot wait to jump those Irish beasts again!!
  2. Keep running and continue to make fitness a priority.
  3. Enjoy where I live and get out there. I really need to continue doing this.

So, there we have it. Come on 2018, show me what you’ve got!

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Fraggle Friday: How Siri Proved Me Wrong

My young dog, Siri, is a German Wirehaired Pointer who I adopted at the young age of 8-10 weeks old. I was super reluctant to adopt her not only because she was a puppy, but also because if I am being totally honest, I wasn’t sure I wanted a GWP.

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But who wouldn’t want this???

See, I was a Griffon snob. GWPs in my opinion, were the lesser breed. Originally bred with terriers, in my opinion, they were more independent, aggressive, and not as magical as a Griffon. The ones we got in at the Shelter seemed to always be really nice dogs, but I kept with my snobery and refused to believe anything else.

But then I met Siri. And I figured I would give it a shot. And while I cannot speak to the breed as a whole, I can admit that my bias of the breed appears to have been unfounded.

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Having grown up with horses, she learned about how delicious horse poop is at a young age

Siri is a very submissive dog. In fact, she is a bit of a target for other dogs, which makes me feel very protective of her. But, I’d rather she be omega than alpha. I never need to worry that she’ll be the fun police. In fact, she is ALWAYS looking for someone to play with.

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Stella isn’t the playmate Siri was hoping for in a sister, but she has taught her tons about how to be a good dog.

Siri is great with everyone. I got a chance to meet her mom, and get regular check ins from her brother, and both are equally friendly and happy dogs.

I definitely think Siri has good genes in the temperament department.

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Siri’s first collage

So, the GWP. They’re actually really nice dogs. And while they maybe aren’t as mellow as a Griff, and may be more prone to chasing cats and livestock (I still can’t trust Siri with the chickens despite having grown up with them), they’re actually a wonderful companion. Thanks Siri for proving me wrong!

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I’m lucky to have both of these fun fraggles in my life!

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