Thursday, February 26, 2015

Need some sun

My apologies to those of you stuck in the snow!  In case you can get some vitamin D from pictures of the sun, let me help.  You guessed it, I'm back in Phoenix for a few days and the weather is fine.
Breaking you in slow with a black and white shot, this is the cute stud horse.
Baby Grunchie working that trot

Bingo the Birddog looking beautiful as always

Best hubby evah had a lead rope made in my colors!
BTW I'm sitting in the sun, by a fountain, typing on my laptop, don't kill me.
Random cute horse
The two left are Ten and the two right are Sogn, look like twins

Baby Grunchie likes to do crazy stuff with her tail #chestnutfilles
Proud Comet is a cool dude

Sogn the day before, love her dapples
I flew into LAX before catching the flight to Phoenix and we ended up flying right along the Sierra Nevadas and it was beautiful.
Lack of snow is worrisome
Lake Tahoe

Yosemite National Park

Different view
Farm ground through the central valley, somewhere near Fresno

Neat valley leading to the ocean, and an island
Downtown Los Angeles

Too many people

The OC, Santa Monica, and Malibu
Headed towards Long Beach
Well there you have it, some vitamin D via your computer screen.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

FMNM Blog Hop: The Fear

Alyssa over at Four Mares No Money is hosting a blog hop!
She wins at art!
She wants to know: What is the most fearful moment you have ever had with a horse?
Oh Lordy, as someone who struggles with fear this really may be an insurmountable challenge choosing one moment.  I've actually talked about my struggles with fear several times here on the blog.
Tooth and Nail
PSA: Trail Riding

If you have read those you know that I get scared at wacky nonsensical times.  I'm going to talk here about two actually very dangerous and scary times.  The first one actually took a very special horse (read Tooth and Nail) to help me recover from and the second I wasn't panicy, just very mindful of how bad it could have been.

I was riding this really rank paint mare for a while.  She could buck like none other, we could trot into a fence 3.5' tall and clear it with ease only to land in full on bronco style bucking.  Yes, she had been checked out by vets and such, she was so scopey that it seemed worth the effort to attempt to tame her.  One day we were doing a grid.  Did I mention that this mare had no withers?  Well we jumped the first element and then she stopped, I sat up to pull her to the side and try again when she suddenly leapt over the second element and then bolted towards the top of the arena.  The lack of withers and breastplate meant that the saddle had slid fully to her side and strange thing was I was still on.  Here we were full tilt up the arena and I'm hanging on her side staring at her churning feet unable to make myself let go.  I can hear my trainer yelling to let go let go and still I'm just clinging to her side.  Finally I look forward and realize she is either going to jump the arena fence or turn and bang my head off fence posts as she gallops.  At this point I finally get up the gumption to let go and manage to time it so that I fly between the rails of the fence and land in the paddock on the other side.  Don't even ask me how I didn't wrap myself around a rail, guardian angels doing overtime.  Funny conclusion, I'd landed in the paddock with a very aggressive horse so I quickly scrambled out, and then realized the air had been knocked out of me.  Yep that's it, I wasn't physically hurt, but mentally I was shattered for a long time to come.
Not scared of that rail
It was quite a while before I jumped again, though I did still get on one or more horses every day.  I actually ended up doing a lot of dressage work with that mare and eventually schooling her cross country, it was a good way to find closure and take back control of my life.
Favorite verse
This next story had no long term mental effects, but it was certainly nerve wracking when it happened.  Often in the early spring we train the racehorses at the .5 mile training track in the next town over.  I had been riding a two year old for a friend and she was one stubborn filly.  Seriously, if you could actually get her into the trot or canter you were fine, but most of the ride would end up just being fighting in the walk, and if you kicked too hard or smacked her with a whip she would just sull up more, she also hated other horses so following one didn't help either.  In fact one day someone jogged half way around the track (on their own two feet) with me just so she might get the idea that that was what we wanted.  Well we had some heavy snow fall and then some thaw freeze cycles and the stretch of the track in front of the grandstand that never saw the light of day turned into an ice rink.  The rest of the track was salted and fine, but this part was 4" thick ice.  We all trudged out there with shovels and chipped out a path about one horse width wide and then got to training.  Well here I am on this stubborn filly with her owner on his pony horse out in front and another friend on another young one behind me.  We are walking on our path through the ice rink when suddenly the stubborn filly spooks sideways onto the ice and stops.  It actually felt like the whole world stopped, we were all holding our breath.  It was so cold she didn't even crunch the ice, if she had pulled any of her normal moves we would certainly have fallen down.  The seconds ticked by as we waited for her to do something, I couldn't ask her to step back to the path because as a rule she would just do the opposite.  Well finally she has possibly the first moment of common sense in her life and she calmly stepped back onto the path and all was well.  It was like the colors came back into focus, breathing commenced and the sounds of the world returned to my ears.
There you have it, my two most fearful moments.

Ogilvy for sale *info update

So my amazing mom bought me an Ogilvy half pad but it doesn't fit.  It is too small for my saddle.  Before I pay to ship it back to Canada I thought I would see if any of you or your friends would be interested?  It is brand new, tag still attached, hasn't even been under a saddle girthed up.  I would like to get The full $198.00 but will pay for shipping.  It is the white hunter half pad, marked 17-17.5" but I think it fits better under a 16-16.5" saddle.  I will include a picture of it sitting under my 17.5" crosscountry style saddle for reference.  Send me a message at redheadlins at gmail dot com if you are interested! 

 *Update: I spoke with the tack store this pad is from and she explained how this hunter pad is supposed to fit vs. the jumper pad.  It is supposed to be nearly invisible when under the saddle so that it is legal for competition.  While I still want the jumper cut, some of you may be more interested in this as with that info I know now that it really will fit under a 17" saddle.  It makes for a much cleaner/neater look that the jumper cut.*
Ogilvy hunter memory foam half pad
See still has the tag attached
So purdy
I guess I have it too far forward for how it is designed to fit
Would fit great under a slightly more compact saddle, this 17.5" xc type model is just to big for the pad

Saturday, February 21, 2015

On a Saturday

Another person is coming to look at miss Diva today, fingers crossed again, seriously someone has to fall in love with her.  She finally got her feet done yesterday as my farrier has been out of town off and on for the last ten days.  Good news though, if the lady looking today doesn't like her, farrier is pretty sure he has a buyer for her!  How cool would that be!?
Watching the sunset with her last night
I rode Prisoner yesterday after his well earned day off post lesson amazingness.  Suprise (not a surprise) he was perfection.  I have video, but no I don't have it uploaded yet.  You guys, he could have scored in the 60's on a training level dressage test, no joke.  His trot was divine and adjustable, his canter was soft rhythmic and not too fast.  That new header is from yesterday!
ottb, dressage, stubben,
That trot, those clouds!
Gah, dressage saddle in my sights as soon as a horse sells!  Dream brands: CWD, Devoucoux, Amerigo, etc etc.  Used obviously!  I watched Gunner do a lesson with his owner yesterday at the fancy dressage barn and the trainer/owner invited me to ride in the (closed to public) Arthur Kottas clinic there in May!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  Probably it will be cost prohibitive, but if there is any way I will totally be there, can't win events with mediocre dressage, and I truly love dressage in and of itself.  Even if I can't afford to ride in it, I will definitely go watch and take lots of notes.  Maybe someday Prisoner will have an extension like this:
Andalusian, dressage, baroque,
Favorite picture of Aero and I (yay sprinklerbandit for getting it!)
Well, looks like this post is going back to my roots of the more random stuff I can squeeze in the better.  I will finish up with a couple pictures from the lesson (thank you Alyssa) that I forgot to use.
All the smiles and check out that shiny horse!
Cutest face in the world

Thursday, February 19, 2015

I've got that feeling

Wednesday saw Prisoner and I hauling to another lesson.  He really, really, really stepped up to the plate.
Not to scale
In addition to what I have drawn were caveletti set on a S curve, one stride, bounce, one stride.
Only did this twice, he was perfect
We warmed up and then started out with the trot fence.  It was a cross rail oxer of sorts and then gradually went up to a real oxer.  The first couple times Prisoner really wanted to know why there were placing poles on both sides of the jump.  He never wavered, but we jumped way high in the air so he could take a look.  It was a great exercise for him to learn about not jumping so far out from the jumps.

What he started like
and progressed to this
and then this
After going back and forth over this, turning both ways and then halting afterwards, we added the other elements in the arena.  Trot jump, canter to middle jump in S line and then loop over the caveletti.  That rode very well so we added in the canter five stride to five stride S line.  I was worried that he would struggle with the turns and he didn't really at all.  We swung super wide that first time and it rode a 6 to a 7, but after that I tightened up the turns and got the 5 to 5 every time.  Once coming from the other way he went all 'to infinity and beyond' and we totally missed the middle jump.
First jump 

Middle jump
We really worked on me asking him for enough pace well before the jumps so that he wouldn't feel under powered and then rush.  In his greenness it is a little like a pendulum.  We swing back and forth between too much and too little speed and power, each ride we find that sweet spot more and more often though.

Not through enough

That's a bit better
I also can't let him trick me into fussing with him, if he wants to get uppity and strange in front of jumps it is my job to sit up, sit still, and keep my leg on.  I feel like we are really making progress on this, but as always there is room for improvement.
Love the shadow

The first time saw that shadow on the ground he said WTF, really I could hear him

Don't touch those poles

Look mom no feet.
Towards the end of the lesson we added in the very narrow brick walls.  I came around the turn at the walk and when we were nice and straight picked up the trot.  He was hesitant and then went for it and for some unknown reason I apparently thought that the best option would be to fling myself at his neck and be all sorts of awkward.  Poor horse.  Then he informed me that the walls must be dangerous considering that I forgot how to ride over them.  I let him walk up and sniff them and then re presented.  He was wobbly, but went and after a few tries was feeling very solid.  We never did them in the canter or in a row, but we were able to solidly trot them one at a time.  I was very pleased considering the confirmed 3' and 3'3" horses in the lesson had struggles with the walls.
Getting better but still tense

Yay forward and bold

Even miss Zida needed a little help, we were equine wings
I was super pleased with the progress throughout the lesson.  There were some real challenges and he just kept trying the whole time!
Lets go do some cross country!!

Trotting into the oxer, need more pace
Landing gear
Rocking the oxer 

Love how soft this is

Love my horse
Huge thanks to Alyssa for the photos!  Go check out her bloghop!