Fraggle Friday

This past weekend I went over to Boise and ran a 10k with SprinklerBandits, and while dogs were not allowed to run with us, I had to bring Stella along for support.

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I swear this is her happy face

She was an excellent cheerleader and was happy when we got home and she got to go for her own run!

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Meanwhile, to make up for not coming along, I got Siri a new toy. Which clearly she loves very much.

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Best toy EVER

And Siri has made it clear that with the cooler weather, she’s totally happy just hanging out in bed until it’s warmed up a bit and time to go for a run

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Happy Fraggle Friday!

xoxo

Stella and Siri!

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June: 3 Weeks Into Training

June has been down with Trainer Dana for 3 full weeks now, and she is learning SO much. I’ve been down to see her as much as I can and am trying to soak up all the knowledge Dana is throwing at both of us!

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She’d happily stand up here for hours

One of the big things Dana is working on with June are coping skills. Mare has strong opinions when she doesn’t like things. Which is ok, but she needs to express those opinions in ways other than kicking out or bucking 🙂

She has made HUGE progress on this and Dana even called her a “legit citizen” the other day, so that’s cool!

June loves the “pedestal of knowledge”, as I call it, and she’ll happily come over and get a nice stretch on it as this video shows:

And while she has been learning to soften, to yield, and how to cope, she’s also been exposed to kids, cats, ducks, tractors and all sorts of other things, which I absolutely love.

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She’s been ground driven, gotten used to a saddle on her back, and basically has a great foundation now.

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And she is still totally adorable

In the beginning of November she will head up north to live the winter in a pasture, hopefully thinking about all she has learned so that when she comes back home in April she is ready to make some more progress! I’m so excited wth how this baby is coming along!

 

 

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Fraggle Friday: Foster Edition

My dogs took a bit of a back seat this week. A chaotic schedule left me wondering how they would do for hours at a time alone at home. They did fine.

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Always dorks, these two.

And they happily accepted a temporary member to our pack. Welcome, foster dog Brian!Brian

Brian is an ancient, blind and mostly deaf Dachshund who sadly was given up to our Shelter because his owner had terminal cancer and had to be placed in hospice.

Brian is pretty cute. He’s been struggling with some rotten teeth for a while so our veterinarian removed them and he seems to feel much better!

There was a small tear in one of my dog beds, and Brian did what Dachshunds do best- he used it as a place to burrow!

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It’s now a much larger tear, but as long as he’s happy, I’m happy

I’ve enjoyed fostering him, but am ready for him to find a forever home. Ya know, so I can foster another needy dog!

If you know of anyone looking for a super mellow and sweet small dog, send them my way!

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Halloween FUN show

This show definitely had an emphasis on fun. All sorts of riders came from all different backgrounds, and once we got through the jumper classes, I decided to have some fun of my own.

And because I can’t just ride one horse and then spend my day cleaning my house or just enjoying a day off, I signed up to ride three horses. Three very different horses.

And while I have already chronicled my ride on Macy, here is a video of us doing our first ever 3’6 course together. Mare helped me out a couple times. Thanks Macy!

My next ride was Georgie. Making her re-entry to eventing at the groundpoles level! I love this mare. She was so excited to be at a show, but also so laid back.

I decided to make things a bit more interesting by entering her with my friend and his horse Max. Tandem ground poles! We killed it.

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Max was actually the horse dressed as a ghost but his head was no longer covered making everyone happy, especially Max.

We all know how much I love Georgie, and how happy she makes me, but this candid photo just proves it. (Also, I totally love this coat from Kerrits).

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Groundpoles was a big deal for Georgie and I, but then I really pushed the envelope by entering Sarah’s current competition horse, Rapid, in “Ride a Buck” and  barrel racing.

Ride a buck is a bareback competition where you place a dollar bill under your thigh. Whomever still has the buck when all others have flown away are the winners!

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Holy lovely canter, batman!

We were not the winners, but were probably 3rd or 4th, which was cool since I haven’t ridden bareback in forever and haven’t ever ridden Rapid bareback.

Why I did barrels I do not know. But Sarah was so excited for us to do it. I now know it was so she could scream at us to go faster from the judges booth.

I was HORRIBLE at barrels. But we tried. And at one point I gave Rapid a big kick to go faster, and she responded with a big buck.

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All the western kids came out and kicked our butts on their speedy Quarter Horses, but none of them laughed as hard as I did.

Overall it was a hysterical and fun day and hopefully next year June will be participating with me. Although, I think Rapid is my go to horse for barrel racing (in a dressage saddle) here on out!

 

Considering History

Ask me 8 months ago if I thought I’d ever be singing the praises of Macy and I would have looked at you like you were crazy. But, Macy and I have certainly figured each other out. In a good way.

This weekend was our barn’s annual Halloween fun show. It included barrel racing, bareback jumping and regular jumper classes, you could do all of it in costume, which I clearly declined, seeing as I loathe Halloween. (I’m super fun, I swear.) Fun post of the show coming soon!

Anyway, despite not jumping Macy for a month or 6 weeks, and having ridden her 3-4 times in the last month, I thought I’d sign up for a couple 3’3 jumper classes. It’s my home barn, how bad could it be?

I brought Macy into the indoor arena and she immediately saw a ghost-  pulled back and proceeded to gallop around the arena. The thing is, she really did see a ghost. A horse dressed up as a ghost, sheet over his head and all.

I realized this show may be too much for her, but threw her out to gallop around and figured we would give this saddling thing one more shot.

Warm up was chaotic. No, it was crazy. There were first time show people, barrel racers, kids with parents and then like two of us, just trying to jump over the jumps in the middle of all of it for warm up. Macy was a rockstar and only bolted once, when her mom’s voice came over the very loud, very crackly, speakers, letting us know it was 10 minutes until start time.

She kept her shit together way better than I could have ever anticipated and we went into the jump arena with probably more confidence than ever, despite our lack of preparedness in the past month.

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Um, we kinda nailed it. Our rides werent flawless but they felt amazing and we walked away with a blue ribbon. I asked Sarah if I could enter her 3’6 and she paused, to which I said “No, no, it’s ok, we don’t need to push her that hard.”

But Sarah thought she’d actually love it and we agreed that I’d enter once and not do the jump off with tight turns should we get to that.

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She doesn’t care that my leg position is bascially non functional

It wasn’t as seamless and fluid as 3’3, but we got it done. And not a rail was dropped. Macy is still a fantastic and super fun jumper. And maybe even a tolerable horse in warm up these days. I totally get why she was Sarah’s heart horse despite her quirks and how difficult she can be. When she’s in that arena, she’s FUN. She’s the most fun horse I’ve ever jumped just because of her talent and experience. And this is her when she is far from her prime.

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Here she is at her prime. Going Intermediate for the first time, at Rebecca and ending up in first place.

I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about Macy lately. Or rather, about Sarah and Macy. Macy was a homebred and Sarah has known her her entire life. Her hope was for Macy to one day be a prelim horse. But Macy exceeded everyone’s expectations as she climbed up the levels, making easy work of Intermediate and the 2* level. They were consistently in the top 5 at events, proving that eventing is not a dressage show. While Advanced was on the table, Sarah knew there was more work to be done to make sure they had a safe, confident ride at the level. And then one day, running cross country, Macy felt off.

She began to stop at fences.

And Sarah knew something was wrong.

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Macy at 1 day old! Those ears though!

A visit to the equine veterinary specialists confirmed her biggest fears. Macy had injured her stifle and her upper level days were behind her.

We’ve heard this story time and time again, and there really isn’t anything “special” about Macy’s story. But I’ve been thinking lately about how tough it must be to continue on after your once in a lifetime horse ends it’s career.

I didn’t have to bring Macy along. I didn’t teach her lead changes, or how to be straight, or how to do haunches in or pirouettes. I just get to enjoy all those things because of Sarah’s hard work with her. So, imagine getting to the point where jumping Intermediate jumps on the horse you have put so much work into is fun. And kinda easy, in the sense that your horse is prepared for it and can make light work of it. And how FINALLY you can enjoy your horse and get out of the minutia of training and do some of the more fun and “fancy” things. This is what you’ve been working towards for SO MANY YEARS. And this horse could be the one. The one that takes you to a level you’ll maybe never again achieve.

And then it’s over.

And she’s your only horse.

And because you chose to be an eventing trainer, you’re expected to move on. Find another horse and chase that upper level once again.

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Just flying around the Galway CCI**

But really, you just want to mourn for what you lost. You don’t want to have to start over. With the minutia. With the endless 20 meter circles and desperately trying to get your horse to come out of a corner straight. You don’t want to buy a “made” horse because you want the horse to be made by you. But really, deep down you don’t want to have to put those years back into training because it was finally fun. And thrilling. You just want that back.

In Sarah’s case it took her a while to find a new horse and get serious about it. And the horse she found is the polar opposite of Macy. (She saw the ghost at the show and was unfazed.) And it took Sarah a while to realize that it’s ok that the horse is nothing like Macy. She’s still a good horse. She’s still got talent and heart, two of the most important things.

I think it must be tough for Sarah to watch me ride her horse as an amateur who pulls on her mouth and bounces on her back. As someone who used to be so frightened around her and unable to get past that for many months in order to see what the horse is actually capable of.

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Look ma! From far away it looks like I know what I’m doing!

But I also know, that when she sees Macy make light of a 3’3 and 3’6 jumper course, despite the rider on her back not always seeing her distances, and sometimes riding backwards (it happens, I’m working on it…) I think it makes her happy. Happy that this talented, tough, mare, can have a second career.

And that it’s ok for both of them to move forward, even if they’re on different paths.

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Fraggle Friday: Oregon Coast Edition

When Macy and I had to scratch from our eventing debut I was determined not to stay home and mope about it. I called up a friend and asked if she’d want to go to the Oregon Coast with me. Luckily she was game!

So the dogs and I hopped in the car and headed to Portland! We picked up my friend and headed to the ocean.

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If you haven’t been to the Oregon coast, you really should go. It’s stunning, and quiet, and super duper dog friendly. Siri ran the length of 3 different beaches and both dogs had an absolute blast.

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Pure Siri joy

We ate some amazing seafood, I got to run on the beach, and was constantly walking around saying “look how pretty that is.” While it wasn’t the same feeling as running cross country on horseback, it was really great.

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Our last night in Portland we went to Stella Taco, a fun street taco joint and honored my favorite dog by eating delicious tacos and drinking margaritas.

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It was a great trip all around and definitely made not going to an event bearable.

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Three Greys and a Chestnut

September was one of the craziest months I have had in a long time. I knew it would be, and prepared as best I could, but I still felt stretched too thin and as if I couldn’t enjoy any of it. Just constantly running from one thing to another. There were some real highs- I secured funding for my job for 3 years, I schooled prelim on Macy, family came to town, I did a TED talk, but I honestly just couldn’t wait for the month to be over.

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We’ve all been there- frazzled and unable to catch up. And I swore to myself that I wasn’t going to let life continue to do that to me. It is easy for me to get sucked into horses and riding and not enjoy anything else. Even without a competition horse this summer I still found myself not going for as many hikes or adventures. I’m the type of person who can’t do things half way. I’m all in, or I’m out. Hence, I was all in with Macy even though we didn’t know how that would go.

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She makes me awfully happy most days

The good news is, Macy is sound. Georgie is back at our barn. Tiegan has been more and more fun to ride, and June is progressing beautifully with Trainer D.

And while having 3-4 horses to ride and play with is every 6 year olds dream, I can see myself getting overwhelmed very easily. And getting back to that frantic state of mind.

So, I’ve set a bit of a schedule for myself. I don’t want to give up rides on any of these horses. (Typical of my personality..) So, I need to be realistic about what I can and cannot do so that I can still enjoy winter activities away from the barn (I signed up for a curling team after all…)

I’ve committed to Macy 2 days a week, Georgie 2 days a week and Tiegan 3 days a week. That will get me to the barn 5 days a week, which is totally manageable. I think. I hope… Macy will no longer be just my ride, but that’s ok. We’ve realized she can’t handle intense work, so we’re hoping to get her out 3-4 days a week and just keep her sound and happy.

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Having Georgie back is the best!

June is off to winter pastures come November so she will be off my list until the spring. At which time Georgie will sadly probably be off my list. (We’re hopeful she will be part of a lesson program for young kids). So, we’ll see. As lovely as it is having all these different horses to ride, and as thankful as I am, and as much as I have learned, I’m really looking forward to the day when it’s me and June, galloping around Rebecca Farm, knowing each other so well and having an absolute blast.

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So excited to ride this one day!!!

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