Thursday, September 26, 2013

Some nice rides

So the excitement that was back to back horse show weekends has died down.  I have been enjoying the fall weather and getting rides in on my ponies.  Diva is feeling great again and if we did a walk trot test tomorrow I think she would get a solid 35.  Her flat work is progressing leaps and bounds with each ride, I also predict that the next time we jump she will feel super as well.
Yes those are jeans

First ride since the show

If only I was sitting up

Elegant princess horse
Bridger has also been doing awesome, if I keep him in his comfort zone with a little pushing of the limits here and there he does well.
His canter is getting more balenced

Fun times

He will be fancy too!
And then there is Mojito.  I had a few very pleasant rides on him after his teeth got done.  Then the other night a friend came out and rode him while I rode Bridger, every time she would try to pick up the trot he would do a tiny hop/buck and stop.  He was fine in the walk so we cruised around all over and then got off pulled his saddle and I lunged him and he was fine, strange.  So we put them away and I thought about it on the way home.  Suddenly it hit me, that was his first ride with someone other than me in the irons!  Problem solved; not.  I went out to ride him two days later and he started doing the same thing with me in the walk!?  I wondered if his back was hurting, I stood in the stirrups with my weight more over his withers and he stepped right out, sat down and he slowed up and got pissy.  So I pulled tack again and went over his back with a fine tooth comb and it feels like he has a vertebrae out of place.   I hopped on bareback (a first for him) and he went around no problem.  Without a saddle my weight was in front of the misalignment.  So now to fiddle around with my wallet and find some cash to give to the chiropractor, fun times.
sleepy boy

Sunday, September 22, 2013

The Show

So I'm finally writing about the show, it has to be short as I have got to do the finishing touches on a group project that I am presenting tomorrow.  Leave it to my verbal diarrhea to leave me in charge of presenting, I was thinking 'shut up shut up shut up' and my mouth just kept on spewing words.

I arrived to the show neither late or early Diva was pretty chill and the wind was howling.  I checked in, bridled her up (yes we trailered to the show with the saddle on) and warmed up.  She started with her head up and with some gnashing of the bit and with in about 5 minutes chilled out and went to work.
With Squaw Butte in the background
She followed my mom over to the dressage arena, there were many many distractions and a leader helps.  Then it was around the edge and in we went.  The first half was super crooked, I think she wanted me to check out the tiny white fence and the second half was great.  It scored 40 points, all 6's with two 5's and two 7's.  I was so pleased as this was the first time she had even seen a dressage arena.
I love the cocked hind leg
Then we stood around for 4 hours waiting for jumping, she grazed and ate hay the entire time.  Finally it was time to tack up, and then I waited a little more. Ground poles take forever and we had entered the cross rail division.
My big tall mare
I mounted up and headed to warmup.  She was unperturbed by the warm up, not even the crowded conditions.  That is until I tried to jump.  She did not want to play.  I think it was a combo of the long long wait and her somewhat sore body from swapping fields all on her own two days before.  I didn't want to get in a fight about it as I know that she really does seem to like jumping, just not that afternoon.  I headed out to  the field and the start box, I figured we would try the first jump and if she said no than we would just go for a nice trot around the course next to the jumps.  She walked in and out of the start box like a pro and trotted right up to, but not over the first jump.  I walked a circle and came back and she really didn't want to, so trotting around it was.  She was still great though, she went on the bit and went right around no spooks or anything.
So elegant

So calm except for the nervous bit chewing
Overall it was a great day, she got several days off afterwards and then went back to work like she missed it.  After a few more rides we will go back to baby jumps and I'm pretty confidant that they won't be a problem.

On the way to and from the show she hopped right into the trailer after looking in for a moment and one gentle tap from a dressage whip held by mom.  The half hour of schooling in hand the day before must have made a difference.

Friday, September 20, 2013

And the Clinic

First of all go check out The Life of Riley, epic contest over there, Diva and Mojito are so entered.  This is a great blog about the cutest of cute OTTB's, seriously, his nose, I want to kiss it!

Let me start out the clinic post by saying that Courage and Diva are two of the most unflappable OTTB's I have ever been around.  There is calm and then there is unload horse, bridle, get on, random loose arabian goes running past lead rope flapping, meh whatever calm.  Win! *I got on Diva from an overturned bucket, this was quite the feat on a 17hh horse.
After the loose horse was caught we ambled on over to join the lesson

Before the lesson got too far underway we paused to sign a release form.  Win number 2, OTTB stood perfectly still.  After that it was back to work.
Stand still and chat? No prob!
By work I mean walking on a soft rein, trotting on a soft rein and cantering on a (you got it) soft rein.  I had gone to the clinic a bit worried about being on the nube horse of the group; nope.  Turns out the two of us (sprinklerbandit and I) were light years ahead of the other two participants.
Head started a bit high
But it quickly came down
In fact we were the only ones who got to trot/walk a course of cross rails.  Diva was great.
Like a boss

Looks like a postcard

The only issue in the first part of the lesson was a super uncoordinated canter that I believe was due in part to uneven footing and in part to being a little sore from her pasture hopping shenanigans.  After the clinician asked me about why my usually solid lower leg was flailing around (I had no good answer other than that on cloud 9 where I was residing on my calm princess I had forgotten that there were indeed legs attached to my body), I put my heels back down.  The other thing she had me do was sit down at the canter and really make Diva carry me instead of cruising around in two point.
But I like galloping position pictures better

I had to keep squashing my 'I've only ridden crazy horses for so many years' self preservation response, Diva was stupendous, nary an ear flick at other horses.  Even when one horse continued to aim for/narrowly avoid us while they cantered, she just stood with a hind leg cocked.  In case you noticed the mention of walking a cross rail course above, here is the explanation.  I set out across the field to the first cross rail when suddenly the trucks and trailers for the next group started pulling in.  Diva was all, 'woah, jumps on hold, check out these new rigs, who is in them, what are they doing, am I still the best, does this rider make my butt look big, yeah yeah whatever forget the cross rail what if there is a cute gelding over there.....'  finally I got her attention back and we walked around the course, trotting seemed to add too much to her lack of concentration.
First poles for the lesson

and then the camera died so no walking xrail shots (I think this is a good thing)
After that we headed to the back field where we had to go through a sort of ditch, Ohemgee!  Diva thought that we had found the edge of the earth, after all three of the others made it through there we were still not stepping in.  The ever patient clinician hung out with us and with lots of kind words and coaxing Diva made it across.  I was impressed that she walked all the way across and didn't go leaping through.  Out in the big field things were still pretty chill, but Diva's baby brain had had about enough so again following our tireless clinician we walked around a course of baby logs and called it a day.  Back through the ditch no problem and back to the trailer without on jig step.
Just standin' around

Again let me mention not quite all fun and games.  It took half an hour to get Miss Priss back in the trailer.  It reinforced what we had discussed in the lesson, Diva needs a go button.  Riding at home where there are minimal distractions I hadn't yet discovered this deficit, but put us in a new spot where maybe she doesn't want to listen and we literally get stuck like a mule.  Yeah for projects.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Prepping for the Clinic

So I'm going through the last week and writing posts. This one encompasses the day diva and her buddy c-rage jumped jumps in the fields.  She was lovely.  We cantered all around the bigger field with a 'hill' and she had no qualms about the footing or terrain.  Then I added in some poles and then some jumps.  It was all very chill and the biggest thing we need to work on is her hind legs not wiping the jump out.  This will be solved by pushing her to canter on landing so that she starts to jump with more impulsion.

As my mom said, 'Divas.'

rocking the cross rail
Video of our course:

When the excitement was over we hacked around and I love the pictures!
OTTB's on the buckle

still on the buckle
Later that day I went and rode a client's horse.  She is a massive Hanoverian and we had to go up to the outdoor as the indoor was being worked up.  She isn't really one for change, but she held it together and we got some great work as evidenced by mom.
Love the view
Incase you were thinking that life was going by uneventfully, no worries.  Diva decided to mix it up, literally.  Friday, the day after our jumps in the field and the day before the baby xc clinic in the next town over she got bored in her turnout and decided to join c-rage.  How?  By jumping the wood fence.  She didn't take the fence out, but she did scrape up her stifles and legs, dufus.  She isn't lame and we continued on with the planned weekend....Horses.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

So many posts needed

Oh my, it has been quite the week!  I am way behind on sharing and really want to head to bed, so just a readers digest update and then more photo heavy posts to follow.  Diva has decided that with her new jumping skills she can jump between pastures over a three rail wood fence, hmm.  So she is back to a field with a hot wire around the top and that seems to help her stay put.  She is trotting and cantering on the bit and is just lovely.

out braving the big field 
We rocked the clinic and did well at the show.  Mojito is also coming back into work well.
always cute

 I have a dressage lesson at the fancy barn tomorrow, fun!

Then, last but not least go vote for the sprinkler bandit and I in the Eventing Nation contest.  It is the 'Aimee Towell' entry where we are both in the picture with success spelt with jumps!  Pleeaaassseee do it:)

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Miss Legs

*not me*  Diva on the other hand seems to have suddenly figured out where all her legs go.  Yesterday while riding around with sprinklerbandit she caught a few pics of Diva looking great.  While on her back I was thinking that things were better than passable.  You know, improvement, but nothing to write home about.  Then I saw the pictures, wow, Diva may in fact do very nice dressage down the road when her butt is more muscley.


It was rather windy and made for the awkward tail
Her canter is feeling pretty good too, but can get downhill.  I'm not stressed about this currently as she is only 4, keeps growing, is low on muscle, etc.  I think as she get more strong and mature the canter will right itself, she is a thoroughbred after all and they are bred to have a balanced canter/gallop.
The most uphill shot we got.
Pretty frame lets just tip it up
So no complaints here, probably some jumps tomorrow, lots of school, rides on Mojito and Bridger...and Mom comes to town.  Be ready for tales of more adventures!

My Mojito

His Teeth: finally done!  His attitude: fabulous!  My Mr. Mojito is back in action.  The humorous part about this is that I finally did the last few rides I still owed his old owner on her horse and so officially got his papers on Sunday, the first day I have worked him in so long.  Sublime.
Pre mane trim, looking like a fatty

Truly never thought I would have a horse with one of these

Such a snuggle bug
So Sunday I lunged him so he could get the feel of the bit without any pain from his pointy teeth.  He was good, checking things out, realizing it felt fine.  Then he threw a fit (I was all seriously!?), finally we stopped and I looked him over and noticed that the bit seemed really tight for no good reason.  WTF are there bit imps pulling it around in his mouth?  No just my oraly fixated horse sticking his tongue over the top of the bit for grins and giggles.  I fixed it, life continued on in a normal manner.
awkward angle here
Check it out a nice frame even without side reins attached.  He is a lovely.

Then today I rode him.  He stood still to mount, walked nicely and there was none of the don't you dare touch my mouth attitude.  He gave to the bit, trotted around (after some swift kicks saying yes you do have to go) and that was it.  Side note: the wind was howling.  He is gonna be fun.
Lookin at the world

Post ride bliss
Oh and he ground ties.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Great Weekend

Diva is a champ!  We arrived about an hour before we thought we would ride, as per the inside scoop text I'd gotten the day before.  Well I would say the epic part of the show was that 30 people had pre-entered and 40 more showed up day of.  Woah!  Our perfect timing ended up being painfully early, as in stand around for 3.5 hours early.  It was good though, the OTTB's got to learn rule number one for shows...patience.  Diva stood with a hind leg cocked, grazed a bit, watched cute ponies, and got compliments for being pretty.  She even stood in line with to get a delicious acai bowl, yum!
She liked the purple bumper and mirrors on the tiny bus.
And getting there so early meant we got to watch all the higher classes, usually local shows peter out at about 3'3", but this one went to 3'9" and there were some great riders.  The craziest thing was this family with a trillion kids that all rode like they lived on horse back.  It was a good slap to the mentality to want all the right 'things' because they had handmedowns (the oldest daughter went through 3'6" with tights and cowboy boots), rope halters (seriously one little arab did the 3'3" in a rope halter), and random breeds (arabs, ponies, a saddlebred, a random brown horse).  They rode the pants off most of the people there, I didn't even get a picture due to being slack jawed the whole time.  I did get to see some of my favorite horses that I used to ride.
Cowboy: an OTTB I rode a few years ago

Reveille: a warmblood/TB mare I rode several years ago
So finally it was time to get on.  We went back to the trailer, put on helmets and bridles and climbed aboard.  A leisurely walk back to the field by the show ring and a quiet walk around until it was nearly our turn and then we braved the edge of the warm-up.  We were entered in ground poles and par for the course warm up was insane so I mostly stayed away.  Finally our number was called and into the big ring we went.
So brave, all by herself in the ring

Not one spook!
She was calm and sensible the first time around and then we waited for the second ground poles class.  Her attention span was shot by that point and she was a bit goofy between the jumps.  That said, the moment I aimed her at her 'jumps' she put her head down and it was all business!  Yes!  I absolutely love a horse who thinks of the jumps as the safe zone, makes showing a blast.
Heels down anyone?

So fancy
Careful now don't want to touch that pole.
Flowers? No problem!
It was a great time...except that I forgot sunscreen...and my face looks like a lobster.  So, I didn't cry as expected, but that may have been due to all moisture evaporating from my body during the long long wait.

Friday, September 6, 2013

Everyday is the Best Day

Tomorrow is the Boise Pony Club Schooling Jumper Show, it will be epic.  Why, you ask. How, you ask.  It will be because it is the first show I have done on a horse of my own since 2010, the first show over fences (yes I'm calling ground poles and cross rails fences, go with me) since 2009.  Yes, you read those dates right.  Warning: if Diva makes any attempt at good behavior there may be tears from me; this pretty much guarantees some wet eyes.
omg her head is down

She just goes

and goes

added perk, she also stands still

In love with the princess
In other news: Mojito finally finally finally got his teeth done!  What does that mean?  The namesake of the blog will be returning with riding and adventures.  The other day he rolled his eyes at me and said I should change the name to My Diva.  I was pleased in a perverse way that he had some major points and hooks going on, I'm glad my diagnosis was correct.  The teeth issues going on certainly didn't trim his waistline any.  
We have had some insane weather here the last few days, but it has cleaned the air and gifted my eyes stupendous sunsets and sunrises, they may even need their own post.

Ok I'm off to choose what color polo to wear tomorrow and other important things (because in equine blog land political issues like Syria don't exist).

Thanks to Alyssa for the great photos.