Category Archives: Uncategorized

The Sensitive Baby

A few posts back I mentioned that somehow, despite my best efforts, I had ended up with a sensitive horse. And, surprising even myself, I am really enjoying the problem solving that goes along with starting a sensitive horse.

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I have little applicable media, so enjoy pics of when my Dad visited last week and met June for the first time

Now, here’s what I mean by problem solving, and sensitive:

This weekend, I hopped on June and she was feeling good. In front of the leg, and ready to work. I wanted to work on bend, especially going right, but I noticed she kept breaking to the canter instead of bending in the trot.

So, we did some trot/walk transitions. But, lo and behold, she continued to want to canter rather than bend.

In the past, I probably would have found this really annoying. But during this particular ride, I tried to figure out why she was breaking to the canter and how to “fix” it.

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I put my Dad to work adjusting her new blanket liner. It’s purple of course. Also, I need to do a review of the Porta Grazer!

At first, I attributed it to anxiousness. But, while she was forward and wanting to work, she was also fine to just walk, so “being anxious” or trying to anticipate the canter, didn’t totally seem to make sense to me.

I decided to really think about what my body was doing when I asked her to bend right.

My leg went on, and I asked for some right flexion.

Wait. My leg went on.Why wasn’t it on before?

I soon realized, I was asking for bend with my calf. Which prior to asking, was not on. I was putting my calf on, pretty forcibly, when I wanted to ask for bend.

So, I stopped doing that.

I asked for bend from my thigh and knee, and kept my calf from pushing into her.

And guess what? She gave me bend without breaking into the canter.

I’m a genius.

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I have zero idea why I was posing like this except that I must have known I would need an “I’m a genius” picture

So, my sensitive mare understands the difference between asking from my calf and asking from my thigh. Which means I need to get better at asking from different parts of my leg.

And despite the fact that this took a good part of our ride to figure out, she tolerated me confusing her. She tolerated the fact that I kept asking her to canter with my calf and then immediately asking her to trot. She was a very good sport about all of it. Which is all I can ask of her. My hope is, she’ll continue to be patient with me.

Although it does worry me that my horse is already teaching me things. Even though she is supposed to be the green baby… lol.

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Macy gave my Dad her typical super friendly greeting. I closed my eyes and prayed she wouldn’t bite him

So much learning with this youngster. Every ride I learn something new, and I can’t even describe how fun it is!

 

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Best Yet

I was really really excited to write a recap on my most recent jump lesson. But work has been busy, and I have family coming into town tomorrow and I just can’t settle down enough to write a thoughtful play by play.

So, instead, you’re getting a recap through pictures. But just know this. It was super fun, and left me with so much homework. But I am so incredibly excited about June’s potential.

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We cantered over two poles to a jump. I had to work really hard to maintain rhythm. June was like a torpedo to the jumps

At first it was just a simple crossrail. But June wanted to pull me along to it, so I had to work really hard on keeping the uphill balance and not letting her take over.

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She was just like “easy, peasy, yawn, what’s next?” Meanwhile I was trying to remember how to jump and do a million other things

We had to work off the left and right, and our right lead canter has been, well, less than stellar, or consistent, but I was really happy with how we were able to work within the canter in this lesson and actually make some changes. Progress!

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Sometimes June took the long spot. Especially when she would take over and drag me down the line

But I worked and worked on getting this to improve. I wasn’t making changes quick enough, or insisting soon enough, but it got better as the lesson progressed.

And then, the crossrail became a vertical (yes it’s a vertical in the last photo but ignore that). June and I have never jumped a vertical before! So exciting!!

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Lets just say it was no problem for her

Going left I could get a fairly adjustable canter. Going right, well, we had to go right a few more times than left, but in the end it was far better than in the beginning.

And June just kept jumping out of her skin!

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I think she likes jumping.

June is just a natural jumper. It was so easy for her. Which meant I had to work hard on getting her to the first pole and not letting her drag me past our distance. I had to work on keeping her in an uphill frame. I had to keep my elbows moving and my leg from clamping (less successful with this..). My take away was that I can expect more from her than I was. I need to instill what I want from the get go, cause June is pretty sure she doesn’t need any help from me.

At the end I asked Sarah how high the jump was. 2′? 2’3? She paused and got the measuring stick. Almost 2’6! What??? We went from jumping crossrails to jumping 2’6 and I had zero fear, zero trepidation and it was SO FUN.

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Because I have the best friend ever, I asked her to stand next to the jump and look excited. And she did! And June just posed naturally, lol.

I think I have been grinning ear to ear ever since.

But OMG so much to work on. And I am SO EXCITED!!!

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Fraggle Friday: 2019 Plans

Can we all take a moment and realize that Stella has made it to 2019? I can honestly say I did not think this would happen. And while you’re all perhaps sick of me saying “Stella has made it to x” I am going to celebrate every single day like it is a huge milestone. Because to me, it is!

Especially since she continues to do SO WELL.

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Just out for a trot on a winter evening

Now, don’t get me wrong, she has some days that are harder than others. And when you’re a senior dog, the hard days are harder than they would be for a younger dog. For example, when Stella eats too much deliciousness at the barn while running around, her stomach pays the price the next day. History has shown that too much horse poop, horse grain and hoof trimmings, and a bellyache will ensue. With this bellyache comes a loss of appetite and sometimes vomiting. In the past, she wouldn’t eat for a day and by the second day she’d be back to normal. Despite not eating she’d still want to run around and acted normal. However, when she ate too much at the barn this past week, she didn’t want to move too much, had zero appetite and after 20 hours of not eating, she was shaky and visibly uncomfortable. I gave her some meds which fortunately helped and by 9:30 pm she was willing to eat some chicken and rice. By the next day she was back to normal, but having a bellyache was a lot harder on her than it had been in the past.

But, the good days are still good. And there are far more of those.

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Look at that extended trot!

Which makes me realize, I need to readjust how I think about the future. I don’t want to jinx anything, and I am more than aware that Stella isn’t going to be around forever. But instead of thinking about when her last day will be, for 2019, I am going to plan every day as if she will be in it. Seems like a far more positive attitude. Hopefully it works out well.

In 2018 I put a lot off because of Stella. Beyond canceling my trips to Ireland and New York, I put off some work trips as well. And don’t forget that leaving her in July left me with an ulcer that only cleared up after some serious meds. So, I want to be prepared for what traveling while I have Stella will entail. Because if I am prepared, I think I can avoid an ulcer as well as enjoy my time while I am gone.

My hope is she can travel on overnight work trips for me.  I think for one night, I can get her to settle in and I won’t have to burden someone with looking after her. Plus, she still really loves a car ride.

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Siri also has plans for 2019. They include running and playing with friends.

The hardest part about having someone stay  with Stella, is that she doesn’t always sleep through the night. I have a routine I try to stick to, and she does well with it, but I would say that 75% of the time I am waking up around 4am to let her out to potty.  I am so used to this that I can reliably fall back asleep but its a lot to ask for someone else to do. However, I think if I split her care up among a few people for longer trips, it won’t be too overwhelming for them. Also, most people probably go to bed later than I do, and I think this will get her sleeping in longer in the AM as well.

So, despite the odds, I’m planning a 2019 with Stella in it. How exciting is that??

 

Getting to Work on the Canter

I had my first lesson this weekend where we really worked in the canter. It was supposed to be a jump lesson, but we never got to jumping. We had so much work to do in the canter. For most of the lesson I felt utterly frustrated and defeated. Ninety percent of this comes from me just not having done much with June in the canter, and not feeling comfortable with her canter yet. And that’s totally ok, because that will come with time in the saddle. But it’s frustrating right now, and makes me feel like I have made no consistent progress with this horse.

But thank goodness for Sarah who literally said at the end of my lesson “You’re making forward progress, don’t worry, it’s just that things are constantly evolving.”

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She looked so cute here, I didn’t care that my head was chopped off. Also, I can just tell I wanted to drop my left hand. And I am pinching too much with my knee. But the rest is great…lol

So, I tried to remember that. And it inspired me to get working and try to canter June EVERY TIME I ride her. Even when there are other riders in the arena. Even if there is a jump lesson going on. I’ve got to feel comfortable with her canter, and feel comfortable asking different things of her in the canter.

Some take aways from this past lesson that were really helpful to me, and I need to remember, so am writing them down here:

  1. Don’t mistake curling for connection. June needs to be accepting contact through her body, it has to come back to front. Otherwise she just curls and gets behind the bridle and it’s not true contact. I need to let her nose out a bit more, and have her step into the contact.
  2. Keep my hands quiet. This is a horse who does not need me messing with her mouth. Ask with my seat, not my hands.
  3. June gets anxious and quick because I get anxious and stiff. We were having some trouble getting the correct lead going right. And once we did get the correct lead, June was rushing and our canter was not productive. I thought the canter was rushed because June just felt like rushing. But Sarah mentioned there was a direct correlation between me stiffening and not following and June rushing. So, her rushing is a reaction to me. Therefore I need to always be light in my seat with following elbows. I need to do this while also doing a bunch of other things, but if I can get even this, I think we’re going to have a much better time in the canter, and be able to accomplish so much more.
  4. Just keep your leg on. And use it.
  5. June is sensitive. I have a sensitive horse. Which one year down the road, will be lovely. But right now, is foreign to me. I don’t ride sensitive particularly well. So, I need to change that. By doing all of the aforementioned things.

I am learning so much on this mare, and she was so game and so good during our lesson. Do I wish she were broke and we could jump over jumps instead of work over ground poles? Yes. I do. But at the same time, I was the one leaning forward as we approached the ground pole. I was the one who didn’t help in any way when she got an awkward distance to it. So, really, I’m no more experienced than she is currently, and we both need to work on executing the basics well, together.

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I think we both look pretty happy here. Again with my damn knee. But at least I’m happier with my hands

So, I can bitch and whine and wish we were “further along,” or I can take it for what it is and move forward. This is the first horse I have ever started on my own, without another trainer getting her “ready” for me under saddle. So, things are going to take a little longer. But in the end, we’re going to know each other so well. And I am going to have learned so much. And I’ll be able to ride a sensitive horse. And I have a feeling I will finally understand why people love starting youngsters.

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How I really feel about her

 

Plans for 2019

The fact that I have a horse, that I am riding, and able to compete with, it’s beyond exciting for me. Considering the last two seasons, I either had a horse who was semi retired and not really sound enough to make plans with, or I had a horse who was too young to ride. But this year, even if none of these plans come to fruition, the fact that I have a horse I can go out and do things with? OMG I am so excited.

So, what’s the plan for the baby monkey? Well, I’ve been giving this a lot of thought. I feel like this past summer and fall we worked hard to get her out and about so that this year, we hopefully can have a horse who is comfortable in new places and understands we are there to work. I plan on getting her out as much as possible this spring to new places as well. More trail riding (to help with fitness too), more small schooling shows, and hopefully lots more time out on xc.

But, because I am a Planner with a capital P, I’ve started working through 2019 month by month. Which seems like testing fate, right? But see first paragraph in this post. I am fully aware much of this might not happen. I just want to PLAN it, because that is SO MUCH FUN. Plus, she’s a green bean. Things might change drastically if she can’t handle the work I am asking of her or if she progresses faster than expected.

So, while I apologize that this post may be more for me than my readers, hopefully you’ll enjoy getting a glimpse into how I’ll be handling June’s first competition season! I also, (more for me, but maybe interesting to you?) added some notes on how I want to prepare and some expectations for each event listed.

January 2019:

1/26: Our first mounted lesson with a different instructor! We have a jump clinic/lesson scheduled with Gary Mittleider at our barn.

Prep: I’ve scheduled a few more lessons in December and January than normal so that hopefully we can go into this lesson ready for what’s asked of us. I hope to work on our steering and keeping the same rhythm to the base of the jump. Also, we should work on cantering to a jump a bit more…

February 2019

2/2: NWWJS Jumper Show I’ve had to scratch from this low key jumper show twice already. Once because of June’s ulcers (it was two days after they were diagnosed and I didn’t want to make her travel) and again in January because my family are coming to visit. So, I am REALLY hopeful we will go in February. It’s about 2.5 hours away, so in the winter, weather is a variable as well.

Prep: See prep for Gary Mittleider clinic. At this point I want to be comfortable cantering fences. I’d also like to be jumping 2′? Also, I want to remember to use this jump show as a schooling experience. If she gets fast and unresponsive, it’s not above me to ask her to walk during parts of the course. Must remember this is a teaching experience.

2/9: Test of Choice Dressage Show Another in barn experience. I am hoping to sign up for BN A test. But, that means cantering. And right now, while I write this, all I can picture is how braced, disconnected and horrible our canter feels. So, we’ve got a lot of work!

Prep: Beginning yesterday, start working on the canter. Just ask for forward to begin with. After you get forward, work on some connection in addition to forward. Work the canter in lessons so you can feel more and more comfortable with what you are asking of June. Also keep working on connection and June working into the bridle. She loves to jump, so dressage takes some serious patience. BE PATIENT.

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She can do dressage, it’s just a question of if she wants to

March 2019

3/9: NWWJS Jumper Show Again, lets hope we can go. If we can, maybe we are jumping 2′ and 2’3? Or two very well executed 2′ classes.

Prep: Lots of work over jumps and approaching jumps and maintaining rhythm.

3/23: Wasatch Ice Breaker Show One of my favorite schooling shows for the mere fact that it is well run and super laid back. I’m hoping to hop into the dressage arena for a BN test as well as do a couple of stadium rounds. I may be there by myself, so will probably ride conservatively.

Prep:  Start working on movements within the test and trying to refine them. Take what I’ve learned from the schooling shows this winter and apply that knowledge to these rounds. This will be a much larger arena, so I need to work on maintaining rhythm and keeping June in front of my leg for longer periods of time.

April 2019

4/20&4/21 Wasatch Spring Fling Show Same venue as in March, but this time they add a xc element. So, dressage and SJ on Saturday and xc rounds on Sunday. From what I remember you can mix and match, so you can jump levels higher than your dressage test etc. If you want to compete in one division, like a true derby, you can also do that. I think I will probably mix and match? I’m not sure yet where we’ll be

Prep: Well somehow, in Idaho, I’m going to have to go get out on cross country prior to this show. Luckily we have a local schooling facility. Unfortunately the footing isn’t always great in early April. So, we’ll have to figure something out. Otherwise I can enter groundpoles and just use the experience to get June out the start box and into water.

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She needs to get used to all that water splashing around

May 2019 (where things start to go full steam ahead)

5/3-5/5 Skyline Horse Trials This is a recognized event at a very inviting facility about 6 hours away. I would be going Intro. I’m not sure I want to drive 6 hours and pay to go Intro at a recognized event. On the other hand, it could be a great experience for June. On the other, other hand, schooling shows are also great experiences and I should probably re-route to those. This is really early in the year.

Prep: Everything I have been doing x 10

5/25 Chicken Event This is probably the wiser choice. A one day, unrecognized event that is about 3.5-4 hours away. Totally appropriate for us.

Prep: Feel comfortable on xc. Know what I need to work on when June and I are out there. Feel polished and prepared for SJ and Dressage. Figure out our show outfit.

5/31-6/2 Equestrian’s Institute Horse Trials If for some reason the Chicken Event doesn’t pan out time wise, I can re-route to this event. About 7 hours away, also a recognized event, would also be going Intro. But gives me more time to feel prepared.

Prep: Save my money and work my ass off. I am not going to a recognized event this far away only to have it not go great (i.e not get around xc or have June jump out of dressage arena). So, if I go, I need to feel really prepared and ready.

June 2019

6/8-6/9 Hawley Bennett Clinic Deposit has been placed and I am really hopeful we will go to this SJ clinic. It’s about 4 hours away, so another road trip for June which means I will be spending a lot of money on Ulcergard. I’ll have to see how she is feeling in May- it probably isn’t a wise choice to do a recognized HT the weekend before a clinic.

Prep: I want to be polished and prepared. Ideally, we’d be in a BN group. Which means I can jump courses at a canter, our steering is on point, and we look like a BN worthy team.

6/15-6/16 Golden Spike Recognized Event This is only on the table if the clinic and the recognized event prior to it didn’t happen. Otherwise, that’s way too much traveling for June. But, it is at the same location as the Chicken Event (this time just a USEA event) so it would be nice to come back and see how it goes a second time.

Prep: If I come to this event it means others didn’t happen. So, I need to reassess why those didn’t happen and have a good plan going into this one.

6/28-6/30 Inavale Horse Trials This one’s a pipe dream. But Inavale is my most favorite event in the entire world. So, to be able to go back and compete would make me so happy. But, it’s a 12 hour drive, and there ain’t no way I’m taking June 12 hours to go Intro. So, unless we’re rocking BN, this ain’t happening. So sad.

Prep: Um, well, in order to go to this we will have exceeded all expectations up to this point. So, keep doing what we are doing.

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So puurrtttyyyy

July 2019

I have ZERO on the table for July. Which is ok. My pony and wallet can probably use a break

August 2019

8/10-8/11 Sizzling Summer Show Same as the derby style show in April at the same venue

Prep: This will be my final show prep before what I hope is my debut at BN at a recognized show. So, we better be rocking it at this level. Or, at least feel confident that throwing money and travel time at this level is a good idea.

September 2019

9/7 Pumpkin Event  If I am going to this one day unrecognized event, it means things did not go as planned, and I am sad.

Prep: Well, clearly we had a hitch in our plans and I just need to keep working hard

9/13-15 Skyline Horse Trials Back to Utah for our first foray into BN at a recognized event. This event is fun because they have just about every type of jump on xc so you really get the xc experience. I don’t want to drive 6 hours and just jump a bunch of logs. Or maybe I do? It’ll be fun to freak out at jumping BN jumps.

Prep: We had better be: consistent (ish) in the bridle, making lovely 20 meter circles. I need to have a brave horse who has spent time on xc and understands what is being asked of her. And she needs to be listening to my aids, and I better be executing them well, in the SJ arena.

October 2019

10/13 Sawtooth Pony Club Jumper Show Another low key, home barn jumper show. I hope to have some smooth rounds and may even participate in the costume contest?

Prep: An organized round where I’m thinking ahead and feeling good in the SJ ring can only be attained if we have done our homework up to this point.

10/20 IRELAND!! After canceling the trip in 2018 because of, well, Stella, we’re headed back in 2019! Foxhunting and jumping cross country jumps to my heart’s delight!! Plus, June will enjoy some time off!

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Dublin, the original Irish horse in my life

November and December 2019

Not much on the books for these months yet. I’ll have to see where we are at and what is going on. It may be a nice time to just bring June back from a mini vacation (since she isn’t going to Ireland..) and get to work on all the holes in our training.

Looks like it’s going to be a fun year!!

 

 

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Fraggle Friday: The Year in Pictures

This year was a roller coaster with the dogs for sure. While Siri grew up, Stella grew old. But, despite how some moments along the way were looking, I still have the two of them with me, which is really what’s most important.

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This picture brings a smile to my face. Stella looks like little yellow riding hood running through the woods

The year started off pretty well, walks in the woods and hikes with family.

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Wow. There really was no snow here in February last year.

We got out for plenty of adventures and then we added foster dog Picabo (now Lucy) who in May drove all the way to NY with me where she is happily living with my Dad on his farm!

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Lucy and Siri were fast friends

And then in April, Stella, at 14, went in for back surgery. Those weeks immediately before and after her surgery were definitely the worst of the year. Not knowing if I had made an incredibly selfish decision gnawed at me constantly.

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Franken puppy

Siri, on the other hand, thought the visit to the vet was the best thing ever, as Stella’s surgeon had adopted her brother when I adopted her. (He wanted a dog like Stella, I have apologized profusely that he did NOT get a Stella…) So, they got to have a reunion.

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Two dorks. But he is a MUCH bigger dork

I was still on pins and needles with Stella and her recovery but man she recovered well. Each week she got stronger. She never had an accident in the house, and that dog was determined to run again. And she definitely has spent lots of time run hopping to her heart’s content.

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And so much swimming this summer!!!  This was at a derby where she finally could run and stay upright. I couldn’t keep her out of the water.

The month of  June, the seizures started. And I thought I would lose Stella. But, um, again, this dog doesn’t give up that easily. I was told we had anywhere from 1-6 months. We just passed the 6.5 month mark, and she is as happy as ever.

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After she climbed to the top of this mountain she told me I need to relax and not worry so much.

And Siri. While she has definitely grown up, and proven herself to be an overall great dog, she has still had some moments.

Like the time she had to go to the vet because she ate something “edible.”

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It wasn’t me, I swear.

I won’t get into what happened here, but lets just say Siri’s trip cost me about $300. I hope she had a really good time.

And then there was this, most recent destruction, also to the tune of over $300:

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Thanks Siri!

But really, when it comes down to it, there isn’t a canine family I could possibly love more. The highs far make up for the lows. Having two dogs who make me laugh and remind me how precious life is, is more than I can ask for.

So, here’s to another year with them, and all the adventures that ensue!

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When a Pony Ride Cures What Ails You

I had a really craptastic day Tuesday. After getting some really bad news about a family member, I went out to my car and found this:

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God Damn you, Siri. I had started letting her out of her crate when she was in the car because she had been doing SO WELL. We were about 6 months post crate when she decided the passenger seat of my Subaru was really tasty. I about lost it and considered just leaving her in the parking lot and driving away.

But, instead, I put her in her crate in my car and drove to the barn. Being sad while also fuming is a weird emotion to try to describe. I tried my best to let it all go, as I had a jump lesson on June in 60 minutes.

Thirty minutes later, as I was tacking up June, I was still a bit of a sad/angry mess. So, before starting to lunge June, I asked Sarah if one of two things would be possible. I explained my current state and how I really didn’t want to get on June and have an explosion of emotion. So, would she consider riding June? And if that wasn’t ideal, could we just jump a grid or something simple where I didn’t have to think “turn here, remember your course?”

Sarah was game to ride June, but also game to set up a straightforward jump exercise. Since June has been feeling great, and I really, really, wanted to ride, I decided to hop on her.

And I am so glad I did.

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So happy with herself

We’re almost three weeks into the Gastrogard and for the last couple of rides, June has felt like a different horse. She is calm on the lunge line, but really forward under saddle. It’s really lovely. She used to be a bit of a kick ride, but recently I’m having to execute half halts and do lots and lots of transitions to get her to listen to me and not just trot as fast as she can. I never knew I would enjoy a forward horse this much, but it’s been really fun. Also, the buck, while I am sure it is still in there, seems to have gone on vacation. I ask for the canter and she canters. Our transitions are smooth and just not an issue.

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We even worked on cantering a circle over this pole all on our own!

Excited to do some jumping in our lesson, we started by working on maintaining a nice rhythm as well as staying straight through a set of poles on the ground. Sarah brought two flower boxes out and set them up at the third pole in the line. She asked me to walk up and over it. June’s ears shot forward as we approached it but she didn’t waiver. After doing this a couple of times in each direction we then approached it at the trot. She gave it some room as she jumped over, but it was calm and lovely. She landed in the canter and was easy to bring back to the trot.

As the lesson progressed, June got a bit stronger in the bridle. She began to anticipate the jump and would quicken through the turn and hollow as we approached. So, as often happens with green horses, we stopped worrying about a jump lesson, and instead worked on remaining calm with a consistent rhythm. And while I love that June appears to love jumping, the last thing I want is a horse who is like “WE JUMP NOW! MUST GET TO THE JUMP!” And moderately loses its mind. Instead, I want a horse who thinks “We’re jumping? YAY! Ok, fine, I’ll maintain this rhythm, ok, I’m adjustable, ok, fine, your way works.” That’s the hope, right? We worked a bunch on approaching the line of poles to the jump in a walk, trot, circling, and just asking her to relax and listen to what I was asking. In the end, I have to say, she was really great and I am loving this forward horse I have, especially as she begins to listen to my aids and understand what I am asking of her.

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I’m also loving how she just voluntarily stands for a conformation shot

Our second to last time over the flower boxes she did this funny little hop on the backside. I wouldn’t call it a buck, or even a kick, it was more like she was trying to swap leads and just hopped. Instead of pulling and clamping  I laughed and just kept going. Guys, I didn’t freak out that she was going to buck. Sarah, asked me to come through the line one more time. So, we came back to the trot, appoached the line calmly without having to circle first,  jumped the flower boxes, and cantered on the back side without issue. It’s like if I stay calm, she stays calm.

This ride, although simple, was the highlight of my day. If I can ride June this calmly even when my mind is racing, it must mean that she makes me happy. Because even when we had to work through her hollowing and quickening, nothing escalated. We just slowly worked on understanding what was expected. She never got pissy or naughty. She just acted like a green horse. And I reacted kindly and fairly. And it was SO FUN.

Sometimes, a ride on your pony really is what helps.

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Blogger Secret Santa

I love the Blogger Secret Santa gift exchange hosted by the wonderful Tracy at The Printable Pony. And while I love love love giving gifts, receiving them is equally as fun when you’re working with a bunch of horse lovers.

Probably the best part of this gift exchange, besides it being with a bunch of horse lovers, is that you fill out some information about yourself, and get to say what you like and what you may want. I’m pretty sure I said something like “I REALLY LIKE PURPLE.” Because, let’s be honest, I don’t want to get something in navy or hot pink. I am lucky enough to always get amazing Secret Santas. Both years were new to me bloggers, but they nailed it, and now I not only have great gifts that remind me of them, but I also have two blogs that I love to read.

This year, I was lucky again! Michelle from Fat Buckskin in a Little Suit   a blog I already read and love, was my Secret Santa! And once again, I got SO MUCH PURPLE.

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I was like a little kid, squealing with excitement when it arrived. First off, the main attraction, is the beautiful grooming tote bag that is not only purple, but IT HAS JUNE’S NAME ON IT!! I mean, love love love.

I didn’t own a purple brush, which is just not right, but now I do! It’s already neatly placed in the new purple tote. The purple bag of Hershey’s Kisses?  Purple AND Chocolate? Yeah, that’s not going to last long!

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Already made a dent

Along with some relaxing Ylang-Ylang lotion, there was also a box of Irish Breakfast Tea. Because I am pretty sure along with “I LOVE PURPLE” I also probably said “I LOVE EVERYTHING IRISH.” And like a good Irish lass, I am a huge tea drinker, so this will probably last as long as the Kisses…

So, thank you Michelle! And thank you Tracy! This is always such a fun part of the year! My Secret Santa gift is in the mail to its recipient and I can only hope they enjoy it as much as I enjoyed getting it together for them!

 

 

Fraggle Friday: Highs and Lows

Sometimes Fraggle Friday posts are hard for me to write. While they are supposed to be a celebration of the dogs I love so much, sometimes they just remind me of the reality of having a 15 year old dog who has seizures.

And when your 15 year old dog has a seizure after not having had one for 6 months and 4 days, it can be hard to think about much else. And while you want to write a post celebrating your dogs, you know you’re just going to write a post re hashing the seizure.

So, let’s pepper the post with cute Stella pics of the last week to remind me that really, this stoic little monkey dog is doing really, really, well.

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While she can’t run or hike with me like she used to, she does get to come along for the ride.

The day prior to the seizure Stella came to Boise with me and then ended the day literally bombing around the barn. Eating hoof trimmings and galloping around like a racehorse.

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And looking damn adorable

So, clearly, when at 7:45am the following morning I heard her fall in the kitchen, I dropped the laundry I was folding in the bedroom and ran to her side. The seizure didn’t last long, I held her head until her body stopped convulsing. She came out of it fairly quickly, and laid in my arms for a minute or two afterwards. She always vomits afterwards, and this time she vomited up her anti seizure pill. ‘Cause it clearly wasn’t doing its job.

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Post seizure Siri immediately went to lay with her

Previously, post seizure Stella would sleep, have a loss of appetite and feel generally blah. This time, she was ready to go for a walk and wolfed down her breakfast. Per the veterinarian’s advice I gave her another anti seizure pill and she acted normal and happy for the rest of the day. And continues to do so as I write this.

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Just out for another walk in the Idaho weather

As for me, I actually recovered really well too. 🙂

I was freaked out when it happened, but it didn’t consume me. I think because it was less of a surprise- I’ve seen her have seizures before, I knew there was a possibility she would have another one. And she did. And now we need to see if she continues to have them and if anything else changes before I go ahead and become all dramatic

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So many smiles

Ironically, I was supposed to be back east this week, visiting family. But, I cancelled the trip and decided to stay home with Stella. I just didn’t feel right leaving her, especially since the trip would be at exactly 6 months since she had her first seizure, and I couldn’t believe Stella was still with me 6 months later. (If she has a brain tumor, which I still believe she does, they are typically fast growing, and there is a life expectancy of about 4-6 months). It didn’t seem right leaving her with someone else, especially for a trip that I could reschedule. Lets just say, I’m glad I stayed. I wouldn’t want anyone else to have to watch her have a seizure and I don’t envy the person who has to call me and tell me she had a seizure. Plus, a staycation is such a great thing and I highly recommend everyone take a few days just to stay home and relax. Always travelling for vacation doesn’t seem to give me the same reboot.

So, there we have it. The highs and lows of senior pets. I’m hoping for more running and smiling pics in our future.

 

 

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What’s in a Name?

I take show names VERY seriously. I’m always thinking of good names and forgetting to write them down for the future. Ever since I was a kid, I’ve tried to think of clever names for our horses, even if I was the only one in my family who thought our horses needed anything beyond the name we used in the barn. One year I even went so far as to save up my money and get a stall plaque for our horse Mouse with the name I had given him- Frequent Flyer. My Dad was kind enough to put it up on his stall, not even questioning the fact that I had renamed his horse.

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Mouse. Man this horse was fun to jump!

When I got my first horse as adult I thought endlessly about what I wanted to name her. Her current name, Hillary, was the same as my sister’s, so I knew that had to go. Being obsessed with everything Irish, I named her Kilkee, after a small seaside village in Ireland. As for her registered show name? I knew I wanted it to be a nod to U2, the band I have loved since grade school. And so, Kilkee’s Beautiful Day became her registered name. I LOVED it. Even if it was a mouthful.

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This was Buttons. The Irish horse I did not bring home. But I decided that if I had his name would be Dartfield’s Dream Maker

The only bad part about leasing Georgie was I couldn’t change her name. And while I deemed her The Sweetest Thing (another U2 song) for unrecognized shows, her “show name” was always just.. Georgie.

And so, clearly, I’ve given a lot of thought to June’s show name.  And while I thought I had one all figured out, now I’m doubting myself.

Because June is a warmblood, and I got her from a breeder, her name comes with some contingencies. Apparently, in this new world to me, warmbloods are supposed to have names that begin with the letter of their sire.

So, June’s sire is Riverman, and therefore her name should start with an R.

And, her breeder, before I bought her, had already named and registered her with USEA as Riverine.

Which, if I am being honest, I don’t like at all.

But, June’s registered name is still Riverine and will be for a little while longer per an agreement with her breeder. And, that’s fine. Other than her 4yr old FEH class, I haven’t taken her to a recognized event.

Knowing that I don’t want her name to stay Riverine, yet wanting to stay with the U2 theme, I got to thinking. Here’s my choice of songs that start with R:

Raised By Wolves
Red Hill Mining Town
Red Light
The Refugee
Rejoice
A Room at the Heartbreak Hotel
Running To Stand Still

And while Raised By Wolves would actually be apretty funny show name, it may not be appreciated by those who raised her…And she’s actually far from feral. I LOVE the song Running to Stand Still, but it seems to be asking for a jump refusal?

So, I decided to stretch my scope a little bit and moved to an album name. Rattle and Hum. Not my favorite U2 album, but I liked the idea of the name. A little bit rough, a little bit smooth. I figured this characterized our relationship. So, currently, her unofficial show name is Rattle&Hum

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Her recognized name is Georgie, her barn name is Pig Pen

But there’s been something nagging away at me. One of my most favorite names for a horse, and one I have been DYING to name a horse, is: Clear Eyes, Full Hearts.

Any Friday Night Lights fans reading this blog? If there are, you’ll know that before running out onto the field, the football team would rally around each other and yell “Clear Eyes, Full Hearts, Can’t Lose!”

And, since that show gives me ALL the feels, I would get goosebumps every time. (Also, if you’ve never seen the show- give it a shot. It’s actually NOT about football, and is so incredibly well done.)

But, that name would not start with an R. So it went out of contention pretty quickly.

And then this happened:

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Taylor Kitsch, one of the stars from Friday Night Lights came and played hockey against our local semi pro (ish) team

And I totally fan girl’d. I went to the games and was the only one cheering for the Austin Wolves, our home team’s rival. And it was a blast.

And I started thinking about the show, and how much I loved it, and also, more importantly, how much I loved the message of Clear Eyes, Full Hearts, Can’t Lose.

Maybe it’s totally cheesy? Maybe I’m over thinking it? But besides most U2 songs, there’s not much else that gives me such strong feels as much as this show does. (Some seasons and story lines more than others..)

So, what’s a girl to do? How important is the whole sire thing? I guess the real question is, how important is it to me? And the answer is not very. I clearly root for the underdog, so I don’t care that everyone knows I have a Riverman baby (although I do name drop him here a lot- sorry about that.) I also don’t “owe” anything to anyone- I’m not campaigning this horse for anyone. I’m pretty sure people aren’t going to watch us go around and immediately try to find out who her sire is.

So, do I buck convention and go with my heart? I’m leaning that way.. but a part of me sometimes has a hard time bucking convention because I don’t want to upset anyone. Even people I don’t know. Sigh. It’s a problem.

And here are some more photos of Taylor Kitsch on the ice, because I hope I’ve got some fans reading this blog.

So, let me know your thoughts. And also if you’ve got some great names you’re dying to use.

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