Monday, December 28, 2015

Horses are Powerful Medicine

I am an introvert.

Surprising to some, as I don't mind speaking in front of groups, teaching or being involved with some activities.

But still, truly an introvert.  This has kept me from expending the extra energy to be involved with many equestrian clubs, meetings, and the such.  

I also have this irrational fear that individuals will continue to pass judgement for my disability.  I have a bilateral hearing loss.  Certainly not a crushing issue, but one that many have done their best to infer that I am an inferior human being.

But over the past few years, I have been steadily involved in a friend's therapeutic program.  I enjoy riding and showing horses.  I enjoy grooming and lunging and generally hanging out with my horses.

But I've found I have truly enjoyed giving back in a different way. 

Horses are certainly powerful medicine.  I have seen the changes in the students.  The veteran's quietly working with the honest horse.  Horses cannot lie and to this, I see reflected in the interactions between student and horse.

So, I am excited that I was asked to be on the board of directors for the therapeutic organization.  As a disabled equestrian, in addition to being married to a veteran, I am hoping to bring some insight to the organization.

Introvert, aside, I am looking forward to being more involved in the equine community.

After all, shouldn't everyone be able to be involved and have a taste of equine therapy, if they need it too?

Friday, December 25, 2015

Happy Holidays

Whatever you celebrate or don't celebrate, happy holidays from the semi ferals and I

Sunday, November 22, 2015

The Auction

It is fairly unusual for my husband and I to both have days off together, but this weekend, stars aligned and we were both off.

Unfortunately, it was the first major snow in the frozen tundra this past Friday.  We were planning on going to an auction Saturday morning and found out that the auction was postponed.

But hurrah, it was just postponed until Sunday, so we hoofed it out there today (Sunday).

The crowd wasn't very large.  It was cold: about 8 degrees Fahrenheit when we got there.  We were standing in various garages and pole buildings and I was dressed in typical Midwestern winter gear: thermals, jeans, insulated boots, SmartWool socks, heavy jacket, and a not-so-fashionable hat.

The Frozen Tundra isn't exactly known for its fine style.  It wasn't cold enough to wear the insulated coveralls yet.  I dig those out when it's subzero or so.  

 But I digress.  The major interest in this auction was that there was random horse items.  I wasn't sure because auctions have a tendency of running up prices over useless pieces of garbage like forty year old stiff bridles and aluminum bits.

But there was several new(er?) looking western saddles, some ancient cutback English saddles, a beautifully restored Doctor's Buggy, and an adorable easy entry cart.

I told my husband maybe if something went cheap enough.

Well, we came home with a truckload of items.  

-Easy Entry Cart
-Western Saddle
-Three huge water troughs
-A heavy old wooden show trunk filled with horse items
-Park style benches and planters
-Buckets with new grooming brushes

This was all around $100.  The saddle and the cart were the bulk of the purchase price.  I've always envisioned being able to drive Chili filly, so I guess I have another new project to work on.

The western saddle is new.  About a 7.5" gullet, 17" seat with no name.  Certainly seems like it will be able to find a new home easy enough. 

The trunk was filled with showing antiques.  What a blast from the past, including some old mice nests.

It included Saddlebred show shoes, Absorbine liniment from the 1970s, various bicycle chain bits(!), halters, lead ropes, and all kinds of various other things.  Considering we paid a dollar for the show trunk, it was well worth that just to dig around and see what we found. 

So have you ever gone to an auction and come home with treasures?

Sunday, November 15, 2015


I have been negligent I know in updating the blog.

So, I am working on changing that, because I know everyone really needs to hear the daily life and account of a slightly feral person and two underworked, overstimulated horses.

I may also be overstimulated.  It depends on the day and the level of coffee I've consumed.

Regardless, let's go back on track.

A couple weeks ago, we had a bloom of lovely fall weather in the 70s.  It's the midwest.  It really shouldn't be 70, but it was.  

So I've been taking baby steps in getting the baby horse out on the trails.  OK, she's four, but still, small steps.

My husband, my best friend, her significant other, and I all went out to the barn on one of these lovely days.  My friend rode Ms Donni and I had the Chili filly.  Chili lead most of the way on the trails, but was quite suspicious of the different colored leaves.  Really?  Leaves?

The trails behind the barn aren't very long, but there are some small sloping paths.  Chili went down part of one of the paths, but then wasn't sure how to go down and up a big dip. 

My husband had to go ahead and "lead" the trail ride on foot.  Quite amusing, but he's such a good guy for doing so.

Chili, of course, has known him since birth, so happily followed him along.  What a dork horse.

I took advantage of the next nice days and we worked on waddling out on the trails alone.  I am quite proud of Chili.  She still is hesitant and not quite confident, but she did it.  We even masters going up and down the dips.

On the way home, she seemed happy enough to do a light trot.  I am not sure if that helps manage her anxiety, but going into a nice working trot on the bit, but I'll take it.

So little Chili, time to keep growing up!

Thursday, November 12, 2015

And the Horse Spoke

Life has been busy for the past while.

But I had an experience, I wanted to share.  I'm not a person that usually believes in animal communication and extra-sensory perception and all that.  I wish I could, but I am a scientist.  I like reason and order.

Two weeks ago, I had the stunning news that a horse friend of mine was going into hospice.  I had known for some time that she had ovarian cancer, but it took a turn for the worse.

I volunteered to stop by her farm and pick up her trailer, so we could bring her horses to hospice to see her one last time. 

One of her beloved geldings was living at home, so she could have a horse to see while at home.  The other two had been moved to and were being cared for at another farm.

I saw the gelding Dash in his stall.  Dash had never lived alone and is a highly intelligent Morab gelding.

I raised my fingers up through the bars of the stall to say hello.  Dash raised his head, rolled his eyes back, and looked straight at me.

It sent a shiver down my spine.

His anxiety was evident and shook my soul. 

I have never felt something so connected in that instant.  He said, "Help me."

I felt guilty.  I felt horrible.  I hooked up the trailer and told my friend who was caring for the other two horses about my experience. 

It sounds ridiculous.  It sounds absolutely all kinds of crazy, but Dash spoke to me.  He wanted to leave.

The following day, we did bring the horses to hospice.  We went and picked up Dash and I think he knew. He saw his "mother" in her debilitated state and seemed at ease with visiting her.

We took him back to my friend's farm, where he stepped off the trailer and immediately was at ease, the anxiety leaving his body in waves.  He settled in and went right about nosing around quietly in his turnout.

I have never quite had an experience like that.  I realize it sounds ridiculous, but had to share.  I am a rational person, but this moment has left an imprint on my being.

Thank you Dash.  I was listening.

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Random Act of Kindness

 Practice random acts of kindness, as you never know when you may be the recipient of such kindness.

Occasionally I like to email people and ask questions or give them my thoughts.  After all, I am a scientifically minded person and I enjoy working through problems, reading more information and seeing how the process goes.

I'd say less than 25% of the time I get a response.

A local gal I know posted online about her positive experiences with a trainer Ray Ainsworth.  

From his website, a brief description.

Ray does not train horses; he teaches them in a way that makes him one of the world’s most unique horsemen. He has found that through communication and non-violence, horses learn faster and retain the information longer. Ray’s approach is based on the fact that horses have their own language and are capable of communicating a wide variety of messages. All horses know it. So does Ray. And so can you.

 So basically, he is a colt starter, problem solver type person.  So I emailed him, because one thing with Chili is usually quite impossible and that is ear clipping.  We have drugged her until her head was to her knees and then had to twitch her to get them done.  Certainly not pretty.

I had tried the advance and retreat issue to get it done.

I had even tried clicker training.

Not successful.

So I emailed Ray. I  figured it couldn't hurt.  

Within 24 hours he emailed me back.  He later called me to try and talk me through is process.  He then asked where I was at.  Turns out, I was nearby where he was giving a clinic.

He told me he would stop the next day and show me.

Furry eared Chili
Well, I was surprised because, indeed he did show up. 

And within twenty minutes, he had Chili's ears clipped.  Seriously.  I was so very surprised.

It was a mixture of pressure and release.  Basically, he worked her in hand for a few minutes, establishing body control and to see what she knew.

He had a pair of cordless clippers and got as far up her neck as he could.  When she started getting claustrophobic and fighting, he had her back up.  Initially, the backing confused me.  It seemed that she was getting a reward, ie escaping from the pressure of the clippers, but as Ray explained it, she was still working hard backing up, but it was giving her a chance to decompress and feel that she could still regain some control over her fears.  Restraining her would have caused her fear to increase.

So when she wanted to quit backing up, back to the clippers.  When she showed signs of relaxing (dropping head, licking and chewing) with the clippers, he removed the pressure of the clippers.  

He also suggested on how to ease the vibration of the clippers by holding my thumb on the bottom of the blade and firmly holding the base of her ear to kind of puff the ear fuzz out.  In doing so, it made her less ticklish and anxious about the situation.

Even more incredible, was that Ray never asked anything from me.  He just happened to stop by and I am so grateful for his help.  I certainly couldn't afford to pay a large sum for a typical problem solver to help work through my issues.  He certainly seemed in it to help the horse.

So thank you Ray for the keys to try and advance my horsemanship and understanding of how to work through a snag in our relationship.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Close but No Cigar (or Trailer!)

I have been on the hunt for a new (to me) trailer.

My husband sold my very ancient, but well cared for tiny two horse-70s style trailer a month or so ago.

So we've been on the prowl since.  The hunt has been narrowed down to catering to The Princess's preference of a slant load, ramp trailer. 

The Princess, would be Chili.  Donni loads just fine.  Chili decides that she doesn't like tiny step up trailers, but happily loads at minute in any ramp & slant load. Who do she think she is?  ;)

So, my husband in usual fashion was cruising Craigslist.  We found a trailer about an hour and a half way that seemed to tick all of the boxes: well cared for, slant load, dressing room!, and a ramp in our price range.

Called & scheduled an appointment and drove there with cash and truck in hand.  Only, we then found out that there was a couple of people that showed up minutes before we did.

They decided to buy the trailer while we were standing there awkwardly.  Oops.  I don't have enough social skill to figure out what to do or say in these situations.

So, I suppose, close, but not yet.  Hopefully our trailer searching adventure will end someday.

On a slightly different note, Chili's leg is healing well.  It has gone past looking absolutely gnarly, to just mostly missing skin and is granulating and growing back well.  OK Chili, time to relax on the vet bills for a while!

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

The Unlucky Horse

There are some weeks, I feel like I own a Very Unlucky Horse.

This is one of those weeks.  Last week was too. 

It's never a good sign when your barn owner calls you at work.  Fortunately, Chili will be OK, but the summary of the situation is in some Mysterious Horse Fashion she managed to take a chunk out of the medial (inside) part of her stifle area.  Fortunately, she missed the stifle proper.

I've decided not to post the before picture.  It's kind of gross, unless you enjoy those types of photos.  I have a lot of these photos on my  phone, but I'm slowly learning it's not polite to share these images with the average person.

Chili ended up on a few days of stall rest.  For an exuberant four year old, it was moderately painful.  But she made it through it.  She's back outside on turnout, as long as she behaves...

Now a week into this ordeal, it looks like my horse's leg won't fall off at any moment, which I would say is a major plus.  ;) 

But it's certainly isn't Chili's summer.  She's had a dog attack, a kick to the face, and this Mysterious Horse Injury within three months. 

Poor horse.  Maybe bad luck for horses comes in threes as well.

As for me, I'm hoping this emergency vet bill will also come in under a "three" too.  ;)  

Monday, September 21, 2015

Whirlwind Part II

After my arrival in Raleigh, my main objective was finding a place to sleep.

I had been up extremely early that morning, worked a full day, nearly missed a flight, and sleep seemed like the thing to do.  My husband was confused why I wasn't doing backflips on his plan to surprise me in Raleigh.  I was surprised and pleased of course.  I was just more tired.  Poor guy.  :(

Next morning, important things came first: search for caffeine.  The hotel ran out of coffee.  What kind of hotel runs out of coffee?

So, we went through the drive-through next to the hotel and got the obligatory-almost-fall drink: pumpkin spice latte.  OK, I am now matching 95% of college aged girls out there drinking coffee this morning.

An awesome internet horse gal who lives in Raleigh messaged me and planned to meet me at the showgrounds.  Awesome.  I can have photographic proof of my epic fails in life.  Just kidding.  I was trying to stay positive.

The Raleigh show grounds are pretty condensed.  There were a lot of horses in a very small space.  I was just showing one class in-hand, so we had Thunder, the horse I was showing, all prepped and then was told that the judges were taking a break.

I almost look like a normal person here. 


So we went back to lazing around.  I went and bought an obligatory show t-shirt since I couldn't bring myself to pay $78 for a hoodie that another vendor wanted.  Seriously?  Good grief.

Back to showing.  The sport-horse in hand class is basically set up like many warmblood inspections.  There's two triangles.  There's a smaller triangle and a larger one connected to it.

The smaller triangle is for the walk away, across the top, and towards the judges and the trot triangle is the same, but a longer distance for trotting.

The horse is stood up before and after the class at the apex of the triangle.

After much anxiety, it was finally my turn to show.  My friend handled him first in the open class and he was pretty well behaved.  She just warmed him up for me.  Or so she said.

Thunder loves one thing most in the world after hanging out in his stall with his young stallion buddy: liberty.

Sorry dude, not liberty time. 

He was fine.  A little unhappy about me nitpicking him while standing him up for the judges, but one was very picky.  "One foot forward."  "Another foot forward please."  "Wait there."

Or that's what I'm imagining she said.  I couldn't really hear most of it due to being hard-of-hearing, but that's the gist I got of it.  But at least, I did get a cursory nod to walk the horse.

Thunder decided that walking was for the birds on part of the long side.  He did a wonderful passage though.  Oops.

But when it came time to trot, he really did have a great time.  He loves to trot.  And I love to run the trot with him.

Photos taken 10 years apart.  Top photo was me last week.  Bottom photo is not me.  :)

I was really anxious when I left the ring.  Anxiety is pretty normal thing for me though.  I really didn't think we would place well because of Thunder's exuberance.

But we knew we had a National Top 10 title, so after endless waiting, I took Thunder into the ring and waited some more.  They announced the top 10 winners and had the top 10 winners photos taken.

More waiting.

Then while I was standing there on the rail, I heard Thunder's name mentioned.  I, of course, never heard my name, but dang am I attuned to the name of a horse, I don't even own!

I was absolutely stunned.  Too bad, photographers didn't catch my jaw on the floor.

Ten years apart, Thunder managed to win two reserve national champion titles.  Very cool!  

So thank you Thunder.  You made an incredibly crazy less-than-24 hour trip to Raleigh worth it.  Even though, I almost managed to miss flights on the way home too. 

Maybe it's time to stay out of airports for a little while.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Whirlwind Part I

Last week was an incredible whirlwind.

I am still working on getting the ropes at my new job.  I do various functions in the laboratory.  The most recent department I trained in is blood banking, which is responsible for matching and issuing blood products like blood, plasma, and platelets. 

Sounds simple?

Some days.  But my luck isn't very lucky.  Some people have antibodies that like to attack other red blood cells, so it basically turns a short easy test into a long endeavor which reminds me of a mixture of a crossword puzzle and a Sudoku puzzle.  

Tuesday was mostly a quiet day at work until about half an hour before I needed to leave to catch my flight.  Then the problems began...

Fortunately, I was able to get most of the things wrapped up and my awesome co-workers stepped in so I could drive like a slightly mad hatter to catch my flight.

Then, there's the whole luck thing again.

There was a massive car accident in the city between my workplace and the airport.  I decided to wing it to figure out how to go around.  My GPS was very unhappy, protesting every half mile that I needed to "make a U-Turn". 

Sorry GPS.  I have a flight to catch.

I parked at the airport, ran like a madperson and made it to the terminal with ten minutes to spare.  Hurray!  Problem one solved.

I soon arrived in Raleigh.  I was still in my work and un-lucky haze wandering through the airport when someone grabbed me.  I was a little confused and then realized that my best friend and husband were standing there.

They decided to purchase ridiculously cheap airfare ($50, seriously?) and surprise me.  Surprised I was!

So, after working a full day, dashing through various airports and across a state, I started the beginning of my 24 hour trip to Raleigh...

Stay tuned for Part II

Friday, September 18, 2015

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Looking Back

Shows are sometimes a good time to look back and see the progress that's been made and what still lays ahead.

I took Chili to a local open show this past weekend.  Unlike many open shows, this show attracts a lot of horses that do show on the breed and rated circuits, so it's nice to have beautiful, high caliber horses.

It's also run by a friend of mine, so that's a perk.  Sort of.  It also means running interference, dealing with crazy people, and trying to overcome the major introvert personality to help manage the show.

But it was a good experience.

However, back to reflecting.  See, I'm off topic already.

In my weekend of reflections, I realized that I am lucky to have a nice horse that puts up with my shenanigans on dragging her to a show when I have not properly ridden in the past four weeks.  She puts up with my unstable aids as I am obviously not fit from not riding, but also struggling to keep my grip even on the side with the injured shoulder.

I also poorly planned things, so that meant that I just tacked up and rode my horse right before the class.  Good thing, she's my semi feral little four year old chestnut Arabian mare.  

We've had a summer of setbacks, that's for sure.  But as I finished my last class on Sunday, which was an open sporthorse under saddle class, I realized that I am truly lucky to have my little mare who was game to try, despite both of our setbacks.  She really wanted to do what I asked her to do and for that, I need to see how far we've come, versus how far we have yet to go.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

An Incredible Adventure

At the show that I injured myself, I missed my chance to show my friend's very handsome Half Arabian stallion.

I was devastated.  I was really looking forward to showing him.

But I have been given a second chance.  At the last show, he qualified to show at Sport Horse Nationals in Raleigh, North Carolina.

I was asked to come and show "Thunder" in the amateur-to-handle Sport Horse in Hand class. 

This is tricky, as I could only get one day off of I am flying out after work in the evening, showing the following morning then flying out that same afternoon! 

But it's bound to be a wonderful adventure and hopefully Thunder will wear roses.

Thunder was reserve champion once at Nationals before!

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Back in the Saddle

For a few weeks, I was laying pretty low.  Having a shoulder injury, of course, is unfortunate.  Probably not high on the list of unfortunate events to ever occur to humankind, but still, moderately more annoying than a hangnail.

Chili and Donni have been sitting on the back burner.  Donni is back home, after leaving the farm to see if she could be bred.  Unfortunately, she did not cooperate, so no cute little foals next year.  Sad, but probably not hangnail pain worthy.

Another gal at the barn said that she wouldn't mind riding Chili in an upcoming show that I really would like to go too, even if I just show in hand.  So the other day, we dusted off the now semi feral four year old and decided to see what she could do.  She was really quite good and quiet for a four year old with almost four weeks off.  So I think that of course, deserves one or two cookies.

Tuesday, I decided it was time to ride the Chili myself.  The gal was back at the barn and was exercising her beyond adorable Fjord mare, so I had company in case something stupid happened. I doubt it would, but considering I have approximately a pound or less of strength in my right arm, who knows.  

This is the really adorable Fjord. 
Chili was really well behaved.  She also picked up her canter leads with great delight, having shown me that perhaps, dumping what seems to be endless amounts of money into things like chiropractics and bodywork, do sometimes seem to accomplish things.  :)

Adorable Fjord and Chili also had a lovely short jaunt through the wooded trails.  Chili was mildly sidetracked by a very menacing looking rock, but let's be honest: there are some pretty terrifying rocks out there.

So all in all, I consider that a success.  It does feel good from an emotional perspective to be back in the saddle.  My back and shoulders are definitely complaining about it, but I'll put this in the physical therapy category and say that the pain will be worth it.  ;)  

Happy Trails (or Tails...your pick)

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Chili & the Peeps

My husband gave me a camcorder yesterday for my birthday.  I obviously need a lot of help to learn how to use it, but here is Chili & the Peeps

Hopefully first of many videos to come ;)

Saturday, August 8, 2015

One Armed Bandit

So my work has begun to call me the one armed bandit.

I'm not really sure where the bandit part is coming from.  But now, the back story.

As promised, Chili and I trucked off to a horse show last week Thursday.  I'll fill in more of those details later.  I also showed a couple horses for a few other friends.  Two of these horses were young, very enthusiastic yearlings. 

The weather was also tricky, with a storm heavy on the horizon and extremely brisk winds, making it difficult to even see in the arena at times.  

It kind of felt like we were going to be joining Dorothy in some far off adventure

Unfortunately, the yearlings were spending a bit of time whirling around and not generally cooperating.  While I was showing the last one for the second time, I felt something pop in my shoulder.

I turned the yearling back over to his owner and then realized that the pain I was experiencing was incredible.

Oh crap.

So, long story short, is must to my embarrassment, the EMT came over to the ring and examined me.  I bawled.  I hopped in a friend's husband's car for a ride to the ER (because the idea of an ambulance was more than I could bear), and then I sat and waited.

And waited.

The ER experience wasn't particularly a positive one.  The examination was fine, but I ended up feeling quite sick from the pain meds and it was very cold and poor care.

But I survived.  

I also have the best friends.  Little did I realize, but everyone was figuring things out back at the fairgrounds.  My horse had been scratched from her remaining classes and loaded up and taken home, where she was fully sheeted up and turned out, despite the fact that my friends hadn't ever actually been in her stable there!

My stuff was all packed up.  My husband was called and talked too.  Another friend drove my truck and camper back home with my friend Katie following to take her back to the show grounds.  And so forth.

I am so very lucky that things worked out the way they did.  It doesn't seem like this will be a horrific injury.  They think it's just a shoulder sprain for now and unlikely it is a rotator cuff tear, so that's optimistic. 

So there you go.  I went, I showed, I survived.  I have wonderful friends that are willing to bail me out when I do stupid things.

Life is good.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Life in General

Things change so rapidly.

Just a few weeks ago, I was working full time as a microbiologist and also completing my internship in a laboratory at a hospital.

In a fortuitous twist of fate, the laboratory manager where I was doing my internship attended a meeting and met another director who had an open position.  One thing lead to another and I was finally able to give my two weeks notice at my microbiology job.

I am now working in a laboratory at a medium sized hospital.  It's a novel thing having an eight hour shift.  I've never been able to know when I start and when I end work, so I am having a bit of a difficult time adjusting.  Mostly, I keep forgetting to take my breaks!  One kind worker keeps chastising me and chasing me out to the break room.

More pony time now!  Hurray!

Danny, a Morgan stallion I know
 Chili's leg is still healing up well and the proud flesh has drastically cut down.  We are still aiming at a horse show at the end of July, but we definitely have our work cut out for us.  We need a lot more work with trot to canter transitions.  She keeps trying to throw herself and run into the canter, instead of picking it cleanly up.

My list of things to work on:

  • Quite trying to crouch forward (sit back!) to enable her to sit and carry properly
  • Work on figuring out how to give her more efficient half halts before the canter transition
  • Reinforce my leg with the whip if she is ignoring that aspect of my canter cueing.
Any other suggestions?

Monday, July 13, 2015

Chili Update

Chili is healing well post dog attack.

Unfortunately, some proud flesh is trying to creep up and form on the lower part of her leg injury, so we are working on nipping that in the bud.

Last Friday, a wonderful equine chiropractor came out to adjust her.  She was pretty out and uncomfortable from where she fell on her hip.  It was affecting the way she was tracking up, so it was a great relief to see her being more comfortable post adjustment.

My husband brought out our Labrador a couple days after the "incident" to see what Chili thought of a dog.  Apparently, our happy-go-lucky, mostly-an-idiot dog wasn't very threatening.

Good news indeed.

Well Chili...there's a show at the end of the month.  Who knows if we'll be able to go and how she'll be.

Wish us luck.

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Call Me Lucky

Of course, life has been crazy.

But I'll keep this brief. 

Thursday, I was called at work and told that a pitbull had attacked Chili and another horse and I needed to come.  She had an injured hind leg.

I of course, immediately went to the worse extremes and picture my poor, sweet little filly laying on the ground eviscerated or a tendon severed, or what have you.

We were extraordinarily lucky.  The dog was persistent, despite my barn owner's father being present the entire time.  She attacked and harassed and chased the horses for more than an hour. 

The horses were wet, scared, and upset, but extremely lucky.  Chili, because she is a sensitive princess, was wearing her heavy duty Kensington sheet.  I think it certainly helped save her from worse injuries.  It has teeth mark, claw marks, and blood from the dog on it.

Chili just has a laceration on her left hind and abrasions on her nose, along with various small nicks and scrapes from flying around the paddock at warp speed.  She is so lucky indeed.

Lucky Girl
In my state,the owners are liable for damages.  I doubt they are going to willingly pay the vet bills, so we will see how this progresses.  I am dogged and relentless though.

So sad for the dog, that she had an owner that was improperly supervising her and couldn't handle her appropriately.  The dog is currently in rabies quarantine and hopefully will not be returned to the owners.

Keep tuned, I am sure for more dog drama updates...

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

We Came, We Saw, We Survived

I am not wearing white breeches.  I figured that white was not a smart idea in the rain and mud.  Good thing.

 The show was quite interesting.  The positives included the fact that Chili hopped right on my friend's trailer at 10pm at night and traveled like a boss.  Another positive is that no one died.

Downsides was that it rained.  It was wet.  It was windy.  It was really, really cold.

I had the first ride of the day and Chili did well in her warmup.  Unfortunately, due to the first ride, I didn't have much time to expose her to the full sized dressage court and the scary judge's house at the end of the ring.  When I was trying to school her down there before I went into the ring, a runner shooed me off and told me I couldn't be down there.  OK...

So, we went into the ring and the geometry wasn't very good on the far end of the ring.  The halt was a bit of a sprawl and stare.

But, we went and survived.  :) 

I then rode another mare Madison who was also not especially thrilled with the subpar weather conditions I was riding in, however, she did do her best to oblige.

She has been schooled in a more typical Arabian fashion with a tightly curled neck and martingale.  Whenever she got a bit anxious at the show, she would curl back and get tense.

However, I think she has great potential since she had a great attitude and a lot of try.  :)

After my two dressage classes in the morning, I retreated back under some shelter, trying to burrow under every blanket, sheet, and cooler I could find.

There was a tiny indoor about 60' x 60' (maybe) present on the property.  The management decided to move some of the later classes in this indoor because several of the classes were therapeutic classes and it didn't seem appropriate to subject those individuals to the miserable weather outside.

They also decided to move dressage trail, equitation, and suitability inside. 


I rode Madison, the other mare, in equitation and suitability.  She did wonderfully and the judge kindly talked to us after the fact about my equitation flaws, namely the fact that I turn my toes out.  Not sure where I picked that up along the way, but feedback is very useful indeed!

I then rode Chili in dressage trail.  It was a bit tricky because there were supposed to be 20 meter circles and such, which wasn't particularly easy in that small of an indoor, complete with obstacles. 

A couple of our halts took place right over the trot poles.

But I'll say that Chili handled all of the obstacles well.  There were trot poles, an "L", turns on the forehand/haunches, halts, and variations within gaits.  A nice introductory for sure and she got third with some positive comments. 

So overall, I consider that a win.  We came, we saw, we survived the coldest June horse show I've ever attended!

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Meet Madison & The Extra Horse

I enjoy Facebook like many people do.  I saw an ad posted for a safe, quiet Arabian mare and instantly thought that she might be wonderful for my friend's therapeutic riding center.

The horses there primarily are Arabians, Morgans, and Morabs (Arabian/Morgan), so another Arabian would fit in perfectly.

So my friend & I set a date, met up, and went to the farm to see Madison.

She was a doll to ride.  Went everywhere I posted her quietly and was just easy going about standing around while the trainer and I chatted.

The farm where Madison was kept is also a busy facility, both training show horses as well as foaling out mares.  Who could resist a trip to go see the foals?

So we wandered up to see the mares & foals.  We also went through the paddock to see a Quarter Horse gelding for sale that might be of possibly interest to my friend's lesson student.

While I was walking through the paddock, this older grey mare kept walking up and putting her head on my shoulder.  I scratched her, petted her, gave her some attention and tried looking at the Quarter Horse. 

She was relentless.  

She tried sucking up to my friend as well.

So, an offer was made and somehow two sweet Arabian mares made their way to the farm.  There is still a bit of a joke about the "extra" horse, since it certainly wasn't in the plan to buy a 20 year old (!), but sometimes horses pick you.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Setting the Bar

Lots of things to catch up on, but as always, I'm trying to set the bar high.

Also known as trying to eat an elephant.

I am scheduled to go to a dressage schooling show this weekend.  I am glad it is just a schooling show, as who knows how things will work out.

I am just bringing Chili.  However, I am planning on showing two horses owned by a friend.

One is Alex, the amazing auction horse who is previously mentioned on this blog.  I will try and link back to him. 

The other is Madison, a horse that deserves her own blog post.  Suffice it to say, I had an adventure a couple weeks ago, which culminated in a new horse for my friend's program.  She is very sweet and I hope it will be a great show!

Madison, Alex, and Symphony.  I will be showing Madison & Alex
So far this is my plan:

Show Schedule
Intro A (Chili & Madison)
Training Level (Chili)
Dressage Equitation (Chili)
Western Dressage Trail (Alex)

Doesn't look too bad on paper.  Too bad there are three patterns to memorize! 

Wish me luck as I keep setting the bar high!

Friday, May 8, 2015

Happy Birthday Chili!

Can't believe the little spunk is four already!

 New saddle seems to be working out well so far.  I had some minor spooks and awkward moments with Chili when the horses were running around outside throwing sand against the indoor arena.  Nice thing is that the saddle certainly seems to put me in a better place to sit out the spooks.  ;)

This is seriously how she looks while grazing all the time.  Not angry ears, but she is kind of a dork.

Hopefully will give a couple more test rides with the Filly and the Mare tomorrow to draw my final conclusions, but so far seems like a winner to me!

And Happy Birthday to the little troublemaker who has brought me on so many journeys so far.  From a major horse show as a a yearling to a regional champion as a three year old, I am excited to see what our future holds.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Crazy Days aka The New Saddle

Time is precious and so very fleeting these days.  And such is that, I spent my day off Wednesday being a crazy person, as always.

I met up with a friend and went to a tack store a few hours away.  I have known the owner for more than ten years and she has always been very kind to me.

A Haflinger a friend used to own

Well, I may have gone a little bit crazy and splurged for a new dressage saddle that finally fits my conformation.  I have always worried about the horses so much, that I haven't focused on what works for me as well.

When I was at an equine expo the other week, I tried several saddles and it became apparent on what was more comfortable for me.  It was easy to go into an easy two point, rising and falling in the center of the saddle, and just general lack of back pain, which I thought was a constant fixture in my life.

I unfortunately arrived home way too late last night to try it on the semi ferals, but I did get the chance to sit on a friend's lovely mare with it.  And yep, it feels nice!

Tomorrow is the big day to try it on both of the girls.  It has an interesting adjustable gullet that is super simple to adjust, so I'm anxious to post how the test rides go!