Sunday, December 28, 2014

Getting Older

Success comes one day at a time.

Unfortunately, each day, with that success, age is creeping up too!

Brief school update
Ended up with A's in all of my classes.  Not too bad considering I am working [more than] full time and full time class.  Let's hope that next semester goes as well. 


The girls were good this weekend.  I rode both Friday and Saturday.  Friday, the gal that's been riding The Semi Feral Mare wanted to know more about mounting bareback.  I tried to coach her through the process, but not too much success.  It takes a large amount of upper body strength and figuring out a different center of gravity than many women have.  Men seem to have a better center of gravity and can swing up more easily.

As for myself, I could never swing up well.  I dislocated my left shoulder and had some other shoulder injuries from swimming in my former life.  ;)  I have just used the "belly up" method of mounting a horse bareback.

The mare was a good sport for all of these shenanigans. 

Besides trying to feel out of shape, I just worked with the basics with both girls. 

The Mare had some great trot sets with an easy consistent pace.  When her trot was going well, it was a joy to ask her to canter and I ended up with her very smooth, happy rocking horse canter. 

A far cry from the running away, bulging shoulder scramble she used to do.

The filly, I worked on trying to forget about the head and worry more about the bend, going straight, and being consistent.

I also asked her to canter from a particular point...trying to give her enough of a cue/warning with my body to prepare her and to let her carry herself easily around the arena.  It's hard sometimes with a smaller, maneuverable horse to try and ask her to turn more sharply than I ought to.  She falls out of the canter and gets frustrated.  I get frustrated because she stopped cantering.

Rule number one should be set the horse up for success.  Duly noted.  Let the little horse figure out how to carry my weight, easily canter, just ask for a proper bend while cantering and everything else comes together.  Amazing how that works.  

Unlock the jaw while cantering and her head would come down.  Give her a big smooth circle and she is more comfortable lifting and carrying through in the canter.

Perhaps there are good things about getting older.  Maybe I'll eventually figure out how to be the rider my horses deserve.

Or maybe I'll die from these sore ribs and my very sore back from trying to be 18 again and vaulting onto my horse!

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Happy Holidays

I am looking forward to a few quiet days.  I worked yesterday and today, which is fine.

But a cool thing that occurred was that I submitted a couple photos online to a photo contest on the Arabian Horse Times.

The Arabian Horse Times shared this picture

Last time I looked it has over 1,000 shares and 35,000 likes.

Who knew?

Too bad it doesn't count towards the actual contest, but still neat to see.  

This handsome gentleman gelding is a purebred Arabian gelding with a national top ten title in reining and lots of other titles in sidesaddle, western, hunter pleasure, and more.  A truly versatile Arabian.

If anyone wants to take a peek and vote in the actual contest, please click here.

Hope everyone else is having a wonderful time

Saturday, December 20, 2014

The Quarter Sheet Story

Quarter Sheets

Nothing too exciting right?  A piece of fabric that goes over your horse's rump and if you're lucky, over your legs so if you live in the Arctic tundra like I do (or mostly how I feel), you won't immediately die from freezing temperatures in the riding arena.

I decided to introduce one to the filly.  Now she's pretty chill about new things.  There's a little tail cord on my quarter sheet to keep it from sliding too far forward.  After all, a naked horse rump without a quarter sheet isn't so cute, is it?

I put the quarter sheet on and mounted.  One ear flick.  Another ear flick.  She took a step forward.

What is this thing under my tail?  

You've worn a crupper.  You've done this before.

This is under my tail.  And you're on me.  When I'm stepping forward, it's going to crawl up my butt and I will die.

You will not die.

OK, I won't die.  But I'm not happy.

I'm fine with that.

I'm still not happy.

Just go work.  

OK, but every time it moves while I am trotting, I'm going to let you know about it. 

And she did.  It was just a ear flick and a couple pinned ears when it really jostled around.  By the end of the ride, it was a non issue, but this horse is so expressive about new things, she has to make a point to you about her opinions on things.

Good grief horse. I'm trying to keep your butt from freezing off and look fashionable at the same time.  Life isn't that hard, is it?   

Thursday, December 18, 2014

The Filly and the Obstacles

If people haven't noticed, my posting schedule has been a little bit more erratic.

My apologies.  My recent class schedule has been insane.  I have class twice a week and each class I was having four assignments, several lab reports, online practice quizzes, and a powerpoint presentation on some random immunology topic to present.

I'm pretty savvy and quick to pick up on things, but it was a little difficult to make non existent time come out of nowhere to finish all these things.

Sorry blog.  Small break until that madness was over.  Technically it's over tomorrow morning after my final.  The ponies have also been on a more-limited-schedule hiatus because of those shenanigans.

But without much adieus, onto the filly!

I rode her Monday evening.  I wasn't feeling very ambitious at first, but decided to set up some obstacles.  I had a raised pole, the bridge, two weave poles, and a blue barrel.

The long and short of it is that I decided to teach the filly to push barrels.  She used to do this on the ground, but a little bit different undersaddle.  What's the point?  Not sure if there is one. But in case there are any rogue barrels out there, we'll be sure to get them.

But it is nice instilling confidence in a young horse to handle various obstacles.  Plus, it's pretty fun that my filly is learning how to "neckrein" as in moving off my leg to kind of understand where I am now trying to steer her.  Also, a third cool point is that I can use my camera phone on my young horse, take video, and be mostly certain I am not going to die doing this.

What are some more obstacles I should work on for next time?  :)  Any favorites for you and your horse?

Friday, December 12, 2014

Saving Cents: Calf Manna and Max-E-Glo

While browsing, I discovered a $5 off coupon for Calf Manna.

Calf Manna is often used by horsemen to add a bit of weight on a horse or more finish and bloom.  If you or a friend are Calf Manna fans, then here you go

MannaPro is also offering another coupon for Max-E-Glo.

This supplement is stabilized rice brain, which is ideal for adding more fat to a horse's diet.  If winter is getting your horse down, give it a try.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Tides of Change

Sometimes change comes when it's least expected.

I really do enjoy my boarding barn.  There are lots of cool women (and some men!) that board there and I usually spend quite a bit of time chatting while riding and hanging out with the horses.

However, I have made a big leap and put in my thirty day notice to move boarding barns.  A gentleman my husband was talking to on the phone about buying beef ended up mentioning something about horses.  One thing lead to another and we ended up viewing the boarding barn.

 Less than five miles from home
No barn hours
Cheaper board cost
Fewer horses
Dressage sized, sand outdoor

Missing all of my barn friends :(
Smaller indoor arena
Fewer trails to ride on

So hopefully this will work out!  It will certainly be beneficial to have the girls closer to home while I am working on finishing up my second semester in my accelerated program.  Currently, it's about 30 minutes to drive from home in good weather and in slippery ice & snow, the roads are pretty twisty and dangerous.  It will be nice to be able to pop out before work in the morning and check on them or even get a quick ride in.

Wish me luck.  I've never really left a barn for "non essential" reasons like the barn closing or that I was moving to a different city, so this is a different ball of wax for me!

Saturday, December 6, 2014


High quality derpy looks there.  Good thing we're not supermodels.

Lots of new updates coming soon.

Rode both horses tonight.  I am truly lucky.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

The Arabian Archives: *Bask

While I am certainly not an expert, I do love the Arabian horse and sharing information about them.

So with this, I thought I would start a new subsection of "Arabian Archives" talking about influential Arabians, whether in the show ring, the breeding shed, or both.

It does seem appropriate to introduce *Bask as the first horse in these archives.  The asterisk associated with *Bask's name denotes that he was imported from another country into the United States.

*Bask [Witraz x Balalajka]

Foaled Feb. 9th, 1956

Why is *Bask such a well known name?  It seems even people not very familiar with Arabians have heard of this stallion?  

He was imported from Poland to the US by one of the most well known farms in the industry: Lasma Arabians.  He was well promoted and proved himself to be an incredible show horse, winning national championships in halter and park, as well as titles in formal driving. 

But why is this stallion so well known today?  Many horses are champions, yet as the years pass are forgotten.

*Bask was heavily promoted by Lasma and subsequently was bred to some fantastic mares, both of American (and Crabbet) ancestry, as well as imported Polish Arabian mares. 

In my opinion, his offspring began to have a certain look.  Many were quite successful in the show ring.  In the breeding shed, *Bask fever took over.  Before the advent of shipped semen, breeding to a young up and coming son of *Bask was a good bet.

*Bask sired 196 National Champions.  An incredible number and not counting his offspring that were national producers.

His bloodlines can be found in every aspect of the breed.  High stepping English horses, reining horses, western horses, and halter horses can all be found with *Bask bloodlines.

In fact, both the Semi Feral Mare and the Semi Feral Filly trace to *Bask.  The mare has three lines and the filly has four.  

This handsome chestnut stallion is a son of *Bask named Zodiac Matador.  He is the filly's grandsire.

This is *Gdansk, another *Bask son.  The mare is a granddaughter of this handsome park horse.

So here is a very brief overview of one of most influential stallions in the Arabian breed.  Any specific questions about Arabians you would like to see answered?

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Freebie Tonight

Some people have experience with commercially marketed pheromones like Feliway.

ConfidenceEQ is a new equine related pheromone that's now on the market.  Pheromones are chemicals secreted and can be received externally.

The advertising spiel is that ConfidenceEQ is using the soothing pheromones that a dam secretes to her foal.

It's to be applied 30 minutes before a stressful situation.

In the life of a semi feral mare, most situations are at least semi stressful.

So, if you're curious like I am, head over to sign up for a free sample.

I'm curious for others input on how it works for them.  I'll update after I find the perfect situation in which to try it.  :) 

But for free, it may be worth a shot for horses that do get a bit anxious in particular situations. 

Friday, November 21, 2014

Saving Cents

Horses are expensive.

Just ask my husband.

But as it is heading into winter, in many parts of my area, we are deworming as the frost hits for tapeworms.

I use Equimax in the fall.  There have been oral irritation and ulcers associated with Zimecterin Gold, so that isn't my cup of tea.

If anyone else out there is into saving a couple cents at a time with horses, then feel free to look at these rebates below.

If you are into Zimecterin Gold, here is a rebate for them, but it requires a minimum of 6 tubes, so find some friends.
Zimecterin Gold

I'll try and share more savings with you as I find them.  :) 

Feel free to share any that you find as well and I'll try and share them regularly.

Monday, November 17, 2014

The Filly and the Lesson

I take lessons infrequently due to my schedule and lack of finances at times. 

I had hoped to have a lesson with the filly for some time now, so finally got one on board just to get some input on how the filly is doing.  I think she's pretty cute, but I am a little barn blind.  ;)

The arena was crazy.

Really, really crazy.

There was a pony club meeting most of the day so it seems that most of the boarders came out right when pony club ended.  I had posted the lesson on the online calendar, but not sure how many people know to check the calendar and/or know how to ride in traffic with lessons in progress.

But we survived.  My friend also had a lesson going on with the SFM (I'll see if she will let me share or if she'll kill me for talking about her.   ;) ) and so we more or less switched off between mare and filly working at a time.

The filly was great.  Handled the traffic well.  Had a good idea on what to work on.

I do like to micromanage things, so some good ideas about how to let her make a mistake and then correct it, ie when I ask for the bend, let her pick up the bend and hold it.  If she loses the bend, then correct that and go again instead of pick, pick, pick, pick which is simply annoying to the horse.

Did some brief canter work encouraging her to just move forward to maintain tempo and to not quit, which she does like to do at times.  ;)

Basic work on how to have the filly go straight up the quarterlines.  It is enjoyable and fun to be working on lateral work, but this is the first horse I've had with a blank slate that it is good to have input on what needs to be the foundation before continuing onwards.

Straight, then more lateral work.  ;)

It was of course, pleasing to hear that the instructor loved the filly's movement and thinks she has a lot of quality and that I should show on the USDF circuit with her.  Time will tell.  I would love to do so.  :)

All in all, a pleasing evening topped off with a margarita at a local Mexican restaurant.  Can't beat that with a stick.  :)

SFM said she worked too and was really hot, so she got two coolers.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Pony Time

Barn time tonight. 

I went ahead and saddled up and then realized that someone had a beginner riding lesson, which was fine.  I am happy to share the arena, but it gets more complicated when the novice rider is being lunged, so I went ahead and stopped my regular circles/whatever type riding and stood and chatted with another boarder tonight.

Then the owners of the two weanlings brought their babies into the arena for some more socialization.  The SFM is actually turned out with both, so she didn't really care.  I used that time to do some easy trot work and a brief canter.

Look an actual picture of me riding the other day. 

The babies were pretty adorable.  They were a little concerned about their field mate now having something strange going on and why on Earth was she running??  They skittered around a little bit and I stood and talked to them and tried to convince them that I really wasn't terrorizing the Semi Feral Mare, although there are plenty of days that the Mare thinks that too.  ;)

I ended up talking about ponying young horses and then voila--ended up with the first little weanling who needed some exercise.  Recently gelded, he needed to move around a bit and here I was.  For his first ponying experience, he was great.  Responsive to following and seemed happy go lucky to get along with the program.  He had to do a cute little lope to keep up with the Mare's obnoxiously huge trot, but that was all good.

Baby number two was a little less happy with the endeavor.  He desperately wants to be friends with the Mare, but is still very subdued and a bit terrified of her.  He is also a bit sulky.  But I was very happy and pleased with him too as by the end, he finally figured out how to come along quietly at both the walk and the trot.  

Sorry no babies.  This was Saturday doing bending work ;)

Yay babies.  :) 

The Mare did great too dealing with the slight chaos of the occasional baby skittering around or stopping dead or whatever random hijinks they did.  I think her biggest concern was dealing with the mixed signals when I was wrestling a baby with one hand and inadvertently shifting my weight in the dressage saddle, as it's a bit harder than my typical ponying in the western saddle--less leverage.  The Mare was like...weight?  Leg?  OK, we can move away from this pressure too.  

Lots of laps later the final tally was:
1 Tired Not-As-Feral Mare
2 Tired Babies
1 Human who realizes how sore her biceps now are

But it's funny how just simple baby wrestling made me happy tonight.  No idea why.

Either that or the drugs are working too.  ;)

Anyone else ever have the pleasure/joy of ponying a less than cooperative steed?

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Through the Meadows

Of course, horses are good for the soul. 

We know this.  But sometimes, it's imperative to experience this.

Ridiculously cute barn cat napping on hay in the stalls
Friday was my day off from major obligations.  No work, no class.  I had two exams Saturday, so I had that looming, but no actual deadlines to be in one place or another. 

A friend is working to place some horses that a boarder can no longer afford.  I am a horse enabler so I was meeting up with another gal I know to see if she might be interested in one.

When this was done, the clouds had parted, the sun peaked through.  The drab Midwestern weather had seemed to lift for just a moment.

I was at a facility where Alex, the amazing Arabian had landed.  I seized the moment.  Let's ride!
Another person saddled up with me and we headed into the arena briefly to warm our old mounts up.  Alex is 25 although from his sassy, cheeky behavior, he resembles more of a five year old gelding.  Cass, an twenty year old Paint, also seemed particularly full of P&V. 

We headed out, the horse's heads tossing with enthusiasm. 

With each footstep, I felt a bit of happiness and peace returning.  Carrying so much anxiety and stress causes me to shut down and compartmentalize things, but this didn't matter at that moment.  Just the breeze in the trees, the sweet smell of autumn, and two joyous horses.

We picked up a gentle trot.  I collected Alex up and he quietly obliged, a season veteran.  His trot was jarring, but I have ridden him hundreds of times.  No major deal today to sit and hang out with an old friend once more. 

I looked back and Cass and his rider.  A canter?  Yes please.  Such power as they moved forward out into the cut hayfield.  The sweet smell of grass and smooth footing as the horses continued onwards.

How could someone not find joy in this?  Muscles rippling underneath the saddle, a responsive horse, beautiful weather, a good companion.

Thank you dear Alex for bringing my safely through the meadows and once again, back on a path of happiness. 

Sunday, November 2, 2014

10 Things I Didn't Know

10 Things I Didn't Know 10 Years Ago

(Keep in mind my background was primarily just trail riding, riding western, and working problem horses).  :)

1.  I had no idea how to ride the correct diagonal
2.  Wrapping polos was a major mystery.  I am still not fantastic, but at least I mostly get it.
3.  The hunter/jumper world.  I didn't really understand how jumping could have a style.
4. I didn't know on an English bridle if the cavesson went over or under the cheek pieces. 
5.  Counting strides.  Still not something I can say I can do well, but at least I understand the point of them.
6.  How to do basic lateral movements on a horse.  The extent of my previous life was a sidepass.  Now there are too many buttons to try and address. 
7.  How to blanket a horse.  Seriously.  So many questions I had to answer like crossing leg straps, what denier, what type of turnout?
8.  The difference between all purpose, dressage, close contact saddles, etc.  It was a bit confusing until I actually rode in all of them.  Sometimes the light bulb takes a bit to warm up & turn on.
9.  Two point was also a foreign concept
10.  How or why to clip a bridle path. 

So how about you?  What things did you not know 10 years, 5 years, or last year? 

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Out of the Darkness

Life is busy, but that's how it goes.

Survived the internship, so that's good.  There was a minor car accident, a compromised bank account, and some fun hospital internship drama, but that's in the past, so onwards and upwards.

I had the chance last week to take the little filly on a short trail ride.  It was dusk, but beautiful weather in the high 60s at the time. 

The filly was perfect.  Happy to lead or follow.  Another mare got a little bit antsy and squirrely, so I helped out by sort of body blocking her a bit to quiet her jigging down.

It was pretty much just dark when I got back up to the barn.  Good thing she doesn't mind the flash on my cell phone.

Onwards and upwards, one good ride at a time.  Horses are good for the soul.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Everyone's Smiling

Last week Friday, I had the vet out to do a dental on the filly.  I was a bit concerned as she had a few issues with just seeming "off" and a bit uncomfortable.

Turns out she had a loose cap that was just stuck enough to not leave her mouth, but was obviously bothering and irritating her for quite some time based on the wear pattern that was occurring in her mouth.

So cap was removed, a quick peek through to lightly balance the rest of the mouth and the filly was on her way.

Still a little hazy...whoa man, what happened?

Saturday, I had my final exam.  It went fine.  Wasn't spectacular, but wasn't terrible either, so there you go.  I think my overall marks in the class are still about 91% more or less, so I'll take it. 

I was called into work on Saturday.  Thursday & Friday had some issues (ie the days were longer than 14 hours!), so I went in Saturday for about five hours to do some damage control.  I suppose more money to pay for the horses and school, right?

Today was my first day off from my real job to go play in the hospital, drawing blood.  I am not an easy draw, so I get pretty anxious drawing other people.  I suppose I associate my pain with drawing onto other people. 

But, I survived my first day working on people besides my hapless classmates.  The patients were good natured (always a plus) and slowly developing confidence.

But in so many ways, it's like schooling a horse.  Break down the steps, set up for success, practice until it gets easier, don't dwell on the mistakes.

So wish me luck.  My internship is only for this week and & I need 100 draws.  

I think horses are sometimes a bit easier to draw.  Giant jugular vein.
But after a (short) eight hour day in the hospital, I had the luxury of visiting my girls tonight.  It was pouring rain, miserable and dark, but I didn't mind.  I rode the filly and she seemed happy to be back at work. 

What a good little girl.

I am looking forward to getting more hours in the saddle this week!  If I am taking time from the real job, I might as well be smiling and doing something else I love during this time.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Remembering Cigar


April 1990-October 7th, 2014

As I am sure many horse people know, hall of fame racehorse Cigar died yesterday after surgery.

I was lucky enough to meet the handsome stallion at the Kentucky Horse Park several times over the years.  The first time I believe I was 14 or so.  I would have to look back at my old photos, but I even had the chance to have my picture taken with him.

The last few times was in 2009 and then last year (2013).

Godspeed Cigar.  
Such a magnificent athlete and awesome ambassador at the Kentucky Horse Park.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Memory Monday: The Show

I ordered a couple of photos from the show I took the filly to in June from the photographer.

She is kind of derpy in the photo, but I thought it shows how sweet and how much I think she enjoys being with me....or maybe she's just in it for the treats.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Cell by Cell

I thought I'd share once again what I've been up to...

I can now differentiate a blood smear in under ten minutes.  I think I'm planning on counting white blood cells in my sleep.  

Did you know there are red blood cells that are "bizarre", as in not weird, but that's actually a descriptor.  I didn't originally, but as of the last quiz, I do now.  ;)

The above image is supposed to be red blood cells.  I would aptly call of the above cells "bizarre."  ;)  FYI, often associated in people with severe iron anemia.  Keep that fun factoid tucked away for the next excuse at trivia.

Besides that, the Mare seems to be back in action.  

I am always surprised when more people haven't asked about the hat yet.  There are quite a few new boarders, so I am sure they are still trying to feel me out to see if I really am nutty enough to put a hat on my horse for no reason.

If anyone is interested, it's a Back on Track poll cap.  I really think it's nice and helps horses with cervical type arthritis and that are stiffer.  I think the Mare warms up better in it and is a lot more happy to accept being on the bit.  So there's my half penny review on it.  :)

Work filly work

The filly is still having time off until the vet comes out again, but I decided to go again and lunge her and she seemed to be moving out well.  I put some some baby trot poles and she trotted over them happily a few times and then decided to see if she could just walk over them instead...or try and canter and that didn't especially work. 

I think the filly just likes to have a variety of things to do.  I am looking forward to dragging out some different objects this winter.  We have a bicycle at the barn, tinsel, and some other random objects.  As much as I don't really want winter to be here, it is a nice time to reinforce (or in my case) introduce some different objects to build up her confidence in strange situations.

Final exam on class #4 this Saturday.  Crazy to believe that since August, I've completed four classes already.  The program is accelerated, but sometimes it's hard to keep up with even what I'm doing.

Monday, September 29, 2014


One of those weekends.

Friday, I had a busy day scheduled.  I have an upcoming clinical internship for the program I'm currently in, so I am taking vacation time from my real job to go on the unpaid internship.  However, there are a lot of hoops to jump through to verify vaccination status, have a varicella (chicken pox) titer drawn, and so forth.  I also needed to be certified in a specific type of CPR as well.

So Friday, I had CPR training.  No worries, I am now prepared to hang out and help direct people in times of a crisis.  ;)

After CPR class, I had to stop by the hospital clinic to get another tuberculosis skin test done.  

Post skin test, it was time to go to a work related event.  OK, it was a baseball game, but the thing is that I really don't understand it.  I know it's a popular sport, but it ended up being a mandatory type evening of taking with clients that didn't really want to be talking to me either, I think.  But at least with the talking, there wasn't so much baseball watching expected.

Saturday was class for most of the day.  It was the start of another class, so that was fine.  We practiced drawing blood off of our classmates again and I was thankful I can still find a vein.

My poor classmate managed to miss mine though, but at least the hematomas aren't too bad.  ;) 

After class, I went home to weigh and bag up horse grain for the coming week when I got a call that the Semi Feral Mare wasn't looking well.

Good grief.

So my weekend stretched even longer.  The vet came out and she was colicing.  Banamine reduced her pain, but she had a lot of gas in her cecum.  Instead of poor gut sounds (like her last colic episode), she had hypermotility.  There is medication that can be administered to slow down hypermotility, however, with excessive gas, there are some risks. 

So I ended up waiting it out during the night with her to see how she responded as the banamine wore off and if she would drink and help move some of the gas along and to watch if she had additional issues if she displaced.

A little before one, I finally went home after she was looking more comfortable. 

My barn owner was kind enough to go and check on her a few hours later and so did the barn manager when she got in.  My husband even went and sent me a photo while I was up and at work early Sunday morning.

Sunday morning was painful with the lack of sleep.  Horses.  They drive us crazy with or without them.

SFM looked chipper tonight.  There was a sudden weather swing, which I think lead to the filly being a little off.  Good grief.  I think I am going to give her a bit of time off until the vet comes out for the fall dentals/vaccinations as she needs her teeth floated and there is no purpose besides my own ego in pushing a young horse and developing habits I can't undo.

But, I ended up lunging the filly for a few minutes after some banamine to see if she perked up.  Fortunately, after a period of time she did, completing her lunging routine with some gazelle leaps.  Leaping isn't really encouraged in my world, but I was glad to see her perking up again.

I ended up riding the mare instead.  There were a lot more horses riding in the indoor arena and it's hard to lunge with other people around, so I wanted to go out for a slow waddle.  Mare was full of P&V so we ended up having a short work out with a bunch of trot circles and even some nice walk-canter transitions.  I really didn't mean to ask her for much, but she held herself together and worked well for a few minutes, so I called it quits.

Demon eyed filly tonight

It can be hard in the fall with the changes in the weather (it dropped almost forty degrees in less than an hour), the grass sugar changes, and hay changes.  It kind of has lead to a bit of sleepless paranoia at times.  How on Earth do horses manage to not kill themselves everywhere else on planet? 

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Life in the Fast Lane

Still hanging in there!  Getting some help and some meds here, so let's see how this goes.

Last weekend, I went up to camp.  I was hoping to trail ride and evaluate the herd.  I did take a look at the herd, but the heavy rain made the trails pretty slippery, so instead I spent a few hours chopping burdock and doing lead line pony rides.

I did, however, take a few videos of horses for some people I know that were possibly interested in leasing horses.  The camp has winter facilities for their horses, but does lease them out in the off season to good homes, which is usually a win for the horse and a win for the camp.  

As I stood, I went back up to camp today with a person to look at one of the horses for lease.   I think it will work out, so very exciting for horse and human!

Besides that, life keeps running.  It is hard to keep going sometimes, but not too much choice.  I had a final exam Thursday, so I was hoping my job would be semi-humane and be out by 9 or so (my end time is 6), so I could have a few minutes to look at my notes. Unfortunately, I ended up getting out after 10 pm and had to go in early Thursday morning, so not so much time to study before work.

So time to jump in the deep end and wing it!

It ended up being OK.  I don't have the lab grade back, but I ended up with an 88% or so on the written final, so not too bad, I think.  I'd rather perfection, but sometimes, have to go with what I got.  ;)

I had a few good rides on The Mare this week.  She had been a little stiff after the show, so I let her have some time off, but she seemed happy to be back in work. 

I rode the filly once too.  I think she does need a bit of an adjustment, as her posture and her ability to go on her left lead is a lot more sticky right now.  It's on the "to do" list.  Good question is whether to do massage or chiro first?  Any input?

Another class done in my program.  Keep on swimming.  Only nine more months or so to go.  

Thursday, September 11, 2014


I do try to be fairly positive and optimistic on this blog. 

However, I have been doing a lot of thinking and thought about putting forth something honest (not that my other posts aren't honest, but they don't disclose the full picture).

Ever notice how many people involved in horses are either involved for the ribbons (self satisfaction) or to fulfill a missing need?

I ended up being drawn towards horses I think because of my fragmented childhood.  To put it briefly, there was a good deal of abuse in various formats.  I also (as previously mentioned) have a hearing loss, so I endured (and still do occasionally) deal with that discrimination and lack of understanding from other people I am around.

Horses have always given me the equality I have craved.  On a horse, she doesn't particularly care if I am a broken child or have issues with social stigmas.

But sometimes the past keeps intercepting us.  I have had issues in the past with depression and anxiety, stemming from childhood issues.  Horses (and my past hobbies) have always been good therapy with progressing and keeping things at bay.  Occasionally, things rear up their ugly head.

The past short while, I have realized that some issues are resurfacing again, so I have a Dr appointment to see if I can get things back on track again. 

Given time to sit and reflect, I'd like to thank the people that are willing to be supportive in these times.  The people that are patient at the barn when I am a little more withdrawn or flighty.  My husband who really doesn't understand, but has told me to go out and ride.  My friends that come and push me to go ride anyway.

For you see, it's hard to get over that hurdle to get out there and do something.  Once I am in the barn, I can feel the anxiety reduce, but to get over that hurdle is something hard to describe to people.  So to those that push others along in similar circumstances, thank you.

And be kind to those barn friends, horse friends, or what not that may be in similar circumstances.  That erratic behavior isn't easy for them either and the kind patience needed is often more important than one can know. 

Sorry if this isn't the typical sunshine and roses post that I like to share, but since depression and mental disorders are a very real issue that are often closeted, I'd like to provide support and friendship to anyone else in a similar circumstance.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Alternate Reality: Swimming

This was inspired by a post that She Moved To Texas made quite some time ago.

If you hadn't been involved in horses, what was your "alternate reality"?

Mine was swimming.

I am not sure for how many years, but it was quite a few through elementary school, middle school, high school, and part of college that I swam competitively.

I have lots of stories of course.  

For instance, in high school, I had pretty much been pegged as swimming freestyle as I am not especially great at swimming butterfly and we had a couple of great backstrokers.  I liked swimming breaststroke, but hadn't competed in it for some years.  One meet, the top two breaststrokers were going to be gone due to a church retreat, so my coach wanted to do time trials to determine who would hold the breaststroke leg of the medley relay (in which there is one person apiece doing each of the 4 strokes: backstroke, breaststroke, butterfly, and freestyle). 

The coach had rounded up a few people for these time trials and I suggested I wanted to go ahead and try.  He looked at me pretty sceptically, but I wanted to give it a whirl anyway.  Surprise, surprise, that I almost caught up with champion breaststroker on the team. 

My coach, the of course, gave me the spot and wanted to know why I had never told him I could swim breaststroke.  The relay went well at that meet.  We came home with a second in stiff competition and was an incredible moment.

But of course, this is a horse blog, not a swimming blog.  But swimming did consume a large portion of my life for so many years.  It had major benefits towards riding of course.  I was extremely fit and had a much better seat/body balance as my core was incredibly tight. 

I am a tall, willowy built equestrian and a downside now that I struggle with is my lack of time between work, school, commuting, horses, back pain, and emotional struggles towards dedicating to finding that physical fitness that I need to be a better rider again.  Couple the hyperflexibility (gumby syndrome I call it!) and it seems to be an uphill fight.

But when I have a more stablized schedule, it is on my plan to join the Master's Swimming again.  Part of me is hesitant about doing this, because of course, I'm not going to be 17 and cranking out good times again.  But, it's about redefining my current realities and realizing that I really just miss the feeling of being part of a team in a solitary sport. 

Swimming was such a good part of my life.  I never set any records and was certainly never going to go beyond the local divisions, but even the small victories were sweet.

Sixth in this conference in 50 yard freestyle.  Pretty fun.
So if you weren't an equestrian, what's your "alternate reality"?  What sport or lifestyle did you live or what would you want to live?

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Show Photos

 I went ahead and bought two pictures from the show photographer.  I was a little disappointed that the show photographer got so few photos considering the number of classes, but that's life I suppose!  There were quite a few horses in each class, so maybe that was part of the issue.

So, here you go.  I don't often have people out at the barn with me to take pictures, so I guess there isn't much proof online that I can ride a horse.  ;)

There is a story on the boots too.  I bought a nice pair of Ariat dress boots, but the calf ended up being a little too tight.  I thought I could have them stretched, but the cobbler I took them too said I couldn't.  I ended up running out of time to decide what to do with them, so out of desperation, I ordered a cheap pair of dress boots from Horze.  They sent the wrong side.  The boots were so tiny that I think they may have fit me when I was approximately 8 years old.

So, my choices were either to wear my suede half chaps and paddock boots or to wear my winter tall boots.  I ended up going with the winter boots.  So if you are wonder, "What the heck?" that is that part. 

And it was an open show, so I wasn't as concerned about having everything put together after all of the chaos that was going on.  I know, pretty lazy on my part, but there's probably a reason I don't make a good equestrian princess.  ;) 

Chili with her rider.  Not me.  ;) 

 This is me below.  Oh dear.  ;)  But on the plus side, the SFM was very domesticated looking!  Lots to work on, but there you go.  Not bad for pretty much having boots issues, borrowing a close contact saddle, and everything else and pretending to be a hunter pleasure horse. 

SFM wants to just be a babysitter instead.

This job is much easier and much preferred, K thanks. 
Update on the injured rider.  Sounds like she is stable, but will be hospitalized for an extended period of time.  Much improved situation, I think.  :)

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Horse Show: Part Three

This two year old stallion I showed, kept doing this.  What a dweeb.

I'm sure there's maybe one or two people out there wondering, what gives?  Why do I keep dragging this out?

Well, OK...let's progress to Sunday.

Sunday morning brought about a couple of halter placings for the filly.  The Sunday judge was much more efficient and was done judging halter in a very reasonable hour with even enough time for people to take lunch.  Amazing.

My friends and I tacked up the Filly and the Mare.  The filly's typical rider was around and was able to ride her in a couple of classes and I entered the Mare in a couple walk/trot classes.  Nothing very exciting, but her canter needs work on any given day, plus the fact that cantering is harder on her since doing the splits on the ice and injuring herself a few years ago...

The first walk/trot class seemed fairly uneventful. 

Outside of the ring, there was an older lady mounting on her daughter's horse.  I am still not sure of a lot of the details, but while she was reaching down for her reins, the horse started going back towards the barn.  I don't know how it all happened, but she ended up going over the horse's shoulder.  She was just wearing one of those hunt style caps without a chin strap, so she ended up injuring herself on the hard packed gravel outside of the ring.

There happened to be an ER doctor in the ring with us at the time, who flew out of the ring to assist the fallen rider.  The loose horse was caught.  Time seemed to stand still for a period of time.

The show was halted as EMS was called.  Horses had to be moved inside as they called for a helicopter to move her. 

We tried to stay busy.  I helped look for her purse and cell phone in her tack stall.  Others began to take down their stall drapes and pack up the items as it was clear this was not an easy fall.  Together, the horse show family at the show came together.

Drivers volunteered to help take the horses home.  Family was called.  The helicopter landed and she was moved safely.

And all we can do is hope.

She survived the night and had bad contusions on the brain.  I believe she also had bleeds on the brain as well.  I am hoping for a favorable update.  When our equestrian family hurts, we all hurt.

So in amidst this chaos and confusion, the show continued.

The SFM ended up with a few ribbons in the large walk/trot classes.  I can occasionally pretend to even ride a horse.  Who knew?

A good surprise was that the Filly ended up with a 2nd place ribbon out of 10 horses in one of her classes!  She also had a few 3rds in her canter classes, but is still working out her transitions.  But her behavior was excellent.  Good beginnings to her undersaddle career.

So, now I think of one family who in a brief moment had their life turned upside down.  Good thoughts and prayers for Sue and her family.