Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Piloting Flitzen

I got to ride my barnmate's mare, Flitzen. After checking the brakes, I channeled my inner dressage and worked on getting her to stop flipping her head in the air during up transitions. It took several laps, but she was starting to catch on. I rev'd her engines so she would push from the rear and unlike my guy, I could really feel her push.

Her canter was like a riding a double washing machine. It was crazy movement - and fast. So I decided not to jump her as she's known for her loooong departs and I didn't feel confident at the speeds she was going.

I felt really proud of applying my dressage knowledge with immediate results. It was definitely a good experience and I totally appreciate my friend letting me fly around on her horse.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Pony Rides!

Sam gave 2 different pony rides this week.
First to my eldest child who does not ride:

Then to her friend for her birthday, two days later:

He was such a silly boy. I had to walk in front so he would just follow me wherever I went and often trying to put his nose on my pants pocket. <3

Thursday, July 25, 2013

A different ride and chicken wings

Last week I was offered to twice ride another horse while his owner was away for the week. I rode 'Oly' in 2 lessons with our jump trainer. Oly is like 17.2hh and a Perch or Shire/TB cross. He's HUGE.

After I use a lot of leg to get him going (he rider uses spurs) everything is like in slow motion. I feel very much like I'm riding what a racking horse looks like. The posting trot is slow and deliberate. The canter is all about the front end coming up and the back end super smooth. I felt like I was using a lot less energy (aside from my legs keeping him going) then when I ride Sam. It was super weird and an excellent opportunity to try something new.

We also popped a few 12" jumps (Oly jumps 2'6" with his rider) and that was interesting too. My buddy Amy snapped a shot of us for his owner.

Riding Oly
The next day, I brought my older daughter to the barn and she took some video and photos of me riding Sam. Happened to snap the same jump as the photo with Oly, just with the oxer rail up with Sam.
Hello.... can you say chicken wings?! UGH.

Riding Sam
So today, I jumped Sam again and specifically worked on keeping my elbows in, letting my hips do the angle work and and releasing forward with again, elbows in. Let this be a reminder to me to take a photo/video every few weeks so I can correct any bad habits that creep back into my riding. Esp since my lessons will be very limited.

After riding Oly, barnmate Amy offered to let me ride her mare, Flitzen, this weekend while she's away. Flitzen is a lovely 26yo Holsteiner mare who thinks she's 14. The biggest difference between Flitzen and Sam is Sam will add add add (which I'm very used to) and Flitzen leaves long 99% of the time... like very long (which I'm not use to at all). It will be good for me :)

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

This or That

She Moved to Texas asked:

Appaloosas or Pintos: Appys!
Palomino or Buckskin: Buckskin - all time fav
Bay or Chestnut: Bay
Star or Stripe: Wide stripe
Mare or Gelding: Gelding

Quarter Horses or Arabians: Quarter Horse
Fjord or Haflinger: Fjord
Clydesdale or Percheron: Percheron
Thoroughbred or Warmblood: Thoroughbred
Saddlebreds or Tennessee Walkers: neither
Connemara or Welsh Pony: Connemara

Cross Country or Fox Hunting: Fox Hunting (never tried it!)
Equitation Under Saddle or Hunter Under Saddle: Hunter Under Saddle, Sam outscores me :)
Hunters or Jumpers: Hunters
Dressage or Cross Country: Dressage
Local or Rated Shows: Local
One Day or Weekend Shows: Weekends

County or Antares: Antares
Flash or Figure 8: Neither, french cavesson for everything
Polo Wraps or Boots: Boots!
Standing Wraps or Shipping Boots: Standing wraps, but neither for trailering
Square Pads or Baby Pads: BOTH, Lettia <3
Standing or Running Martingale: Neither

Ariat or Tailored Sportsman: FITS!!
Traditional or Technical Fabric Jackets: Technical Fabric
Field Boots or Dress Boots: Field Boots
Black Jacket or Navy Jacket: Navy for my black horse
Spurs or no Spurs: No Spurs
Crop or no Crop: Crop at home, nothing at shows
Charles Owen or GPA: Charles Owen

Saturday, July 20, 2013

20 Questions

Stolen from Karley @ All In ;)

1. What's your horse's name and how did he come by it?
Poplar's Samoa Star is his registered name. I call him Sam. He came named as Samson but just seemed like a mouthful to me. Poplar's is his breeder's farm (of Curly Horses) and my theory is that Samoa is like the Girl Scout cookie because his Dam's name is Col's Carmel Candy and Samoa's have caramel. And he has a nice star - but it's not in the shape of the Samoa Islands (I did think about that). I show him as Samoa Star though his prior owner showed him as Teacher's Pet (she is a teacher).

Samoas (refrigerated) and Thin Mints (freezer) are my fav GS cookies

2. What are your favorite breeches?
FITS Beka for schooling & shows.

3. Tall boots or paddock boots and half chaps?
Ariat zip paddocks & Grand Prix leather half chaps. Haven't really broken in my tall boots yet, but probably will keep them just for showing unless they provide some sort of miracle advantage.

4. What brand of tall boots do you have(if you wear them)? If you had an unlimited budget what would you get?
I have Tredstep Donatellos. Apparently I have a very short fibula but a wide calf so I have to get what fits and there aren't a lot of choices. These are my first tall boots and not fully broken in (I'm such a baby) so I really don't know what I'm missing.

5. Favorite Helmet 
Charles Owens AYR8 fit and look the best on me. Love the venting.

6. Shows or no shows?
Shows all the way. It's really what keeps me motivated and not just lolling around on my horse everyday. Plus I didn't get to do many sports and stuff as a kid, and I sure didn't ride as a kid. So this is my inner child having fun now.
Our first hunter show in spring 2012

7. Jumping or flat work?
Jumping all the way. I started in dressage but now that I have some basics, it's so BORING. My horse hates it too. He immediately starts grinding whenever we start any lateral work - the precursor to either flatwork or dressage. But I see the value of flatwork/dressage so I force myself to do it.

8. Hunters, Jumpers, Cross Country or Derby's?
Hunters, but rather be judged like a jumper. Just don't want to go that fast/high yet. I tried xcountry, too chicken for that. A Derby might be fun. Just enough mix without being scary.

9.  What other disciplines have you ridden?

Dressage show in Oct 2011

10. Dressed to the nine or whatever you can find when riding?
I purposely pick out what I wear. I have several breeches and LOTS of shirts. Kerrits & FITS for summer, Under Armour long sleeve compression (I have the whole rainbow) with coordinating vests for winter. I always coordinate or match. I have a TON of tall socks from Target ($2/ea) so those always coordinate too. Often my saddle pads/bell boots/crop match too. But no shirts tucked in or a belt because I shouldn't emphasis my widest area ;)  Someday I'd love to do solid polos and fun belts.

11. Where do you shop the most for you? Your horse?
Online. I buy from everywhere and have a list of over 50 online tack shops. I probably buy from SmartPak the most, easy returns. Same goes for my horse. I buy where ever is cheapest unless I'm really unsure then I'll SmartPak it because the little higher price will counterbalance any returns.

12. When was the last time you rode and what did you do?
I rode today in a lesson. I ride 3-5 days a week.

13. What tack do you use every ride/day?
Bridle: SmartPak Harwich padded fancy stitch with laced reins
Saddle: Black Country Ricochet
Stirrup Leathers: Arc De Triomphe calfskin half holes
Stirrups: MDC Jumper Classics (just switched to these from MDC Ultimates)
Halfpad: Fleeceworks FXK, white or brown
AP pad: Lettia baby pads, variety of colors/patterns, the new wither relief ones are the da bomb!
Jump Boots: Veredus Olympus open fronts (when jumping only)
Bell Boots: Davis traditional bell boots (when jumping only)
I don't ride dressage everyday, so not listing that tack.

14. What are your horses color(s)?
Royal Blue but we do a lot of navy/white/black because it's more commonly found like all his Horseware Newmarket blankets in Navy.

15. How often do you clean your tack? 
About twice a month I thoroughly clean with Effax cleaner. Every few months I condition with Passier Leaderbasalm or oil with Hydrophane. Our barn isn't super dusty and def not most of the year (wet ground all the time).

16. What kind of bit do you use?
For the last year I've been using the Pessoa SS Magic Copper Moon Dee Bit. They are very hard to find in a dee - which is why I have 2. :)  Obviously I don't use this for dressage, since it's not legal, so Happy Mouth Mullen Loose Ring for dressage.

Pessoa SS Magic Copper Moon Dee Bit

17. Mares or Geldings?
Geldings forever. Tho I've owned more mares then geldings.

18. What is something you want to improve on in your riding?
Cardio. I don't have as much cardio as someone at my level should have.

19. Favorite horse themed quote?
No hoof, no horse.

20. What was your most recent equestrian purchase?
MDC Jumper Classics - I heard they are good for not having your toes fall asleep and my knees like the flex of my MDC Ultimates - I just wasn't using the 90degree part of my Ultimates for jumping.

MDC Jumper Classics

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Feeling Down

Today was day 5 in a row riding Sam. Some days jumping, others flatwork and sometimes just a quick hack. It's been nice.

Work has been very stressful for me. I was offered the other position at work, doing the same kind of work and a percentage of my time working the same team I will be let go from (now I'm a pay-as-you-go resource instead of dedicated). The crap part is I'll be making 54% less. It will barely cover my horse expenses and a few odds and ends after 401k & taxes. It really has me depressed and I feel overwhelmingly undervalued.

So I've been leaving my home office around 11am every day and going to see my favorite horse. I spend about 2 hours at the barn and come home in a better mood. Worth every penny.

Sam in the center with pasture mate, Otto, at left

I plan to keep looking for a new job in a more career focused direction, using skills I have but haven't been utilized. At least I'm not making $0 right now.

This Saturday I'll be taking my first lesson in over a month. For now I think I can muster once a month lessons - a huge drop from 2x/week. After a few paychecks I'll see where I'm at and maybe add in one more a month. I've been spending time at the barn during lesson hours and soaking in what I can. And riding with my buddy Amy will be very helpful as she's still taking weekly lessons and we'll work on homework together.

It's hard. I'm in a tough spot. I'm sad and want to feel sorry for myself, but I also know even though this is a rough patch for me, I still have it very, very good. But I'm going to take that moment and then move on. And every time I see Sam, it really helps make everything all better.

Keeping things in perspective

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Movin' on up!

2'3" baby!

Why yes, goal 2, CHECK!

Goals, 2nd half 2013

  1. Successfully show 2' hunters by end of season. (not counting the 2' show earlier this year when I fell off)
  2. School 2'3".
  3. Jump in bareback pad at any height.
  4. Lose inches off my hips and tummy - enough to nicely fit back into my size L FITS Bekas that where too tight this time last year. Still wearing the XL Bekas I bought after I saw photos of me in the larges o0.
  5. Break in my tall boots all the way so I can actually show in them.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Sad blanket story

A casualty while I was gone, super sad face
Apparently there was a rain day while I was away and the crew put Sam's lite turnout on instead of his flysheet as they should. Well, Melissa found Sam in the pasture later that day with the above Rambo Supreme ($$$) hanging around his neck and the tail piece elsewhere in the pasture. No, that's note designed to be a removable tail flap. I have no idea what happened. The elastic tail strap was pulled out of the clip on the other side. All the surcingles are in perfect condition, as is the chest and neck cover sections.

The horse he's normally out with doesn't usually touch Sam, as Sam is his alpha and I never had a problem all winter with the pasture buddy. So weird. Best part? Blanket was purchased March 1 this year. UGH. I totally love Horseware, but this is the 2nd Rambo Supreme I've had issues with - though only with lining getting small holes in really odd places on that one - it's a med fill I bought in Oct and had holes by Dec :/

I salvaged the neck section and the removable surcingles and tossed the rest in the trash.

This fall, totally going to look into the SmartPak Ultimate Ballistic Rug with their 10yr indestructible guarantee or they replace it. I guess they are coming out with a neck cover to match this spring. Bonus that it comes in royal blue piping (royal blue is Sam's color). Just not a fan of leg straps. :/

Back in the Tack!

I'm back from my way too long, but was fun regardless, vacation. :)

Yay, I'm home!
I missed my boy Sam, so much! I got home yesterday afternoon and because it was hot, waited a few hours for the temp to drop (84 instead of 89) and went to see my favorite guy. I bribed his love with a cold apple. :)

I spent extra time grooming, making sure all was well. He looked great, though his coat is getting thick again already. It's only been 2 months since his last full clip.

We rode inside first. He felt extra tall when I got on. We did some transitions, then canter work. He was his very good normal self. His shoulder fore work was very responsive and he really reached with his hind end. I know the riders worked on that :) The breeze picked up outside so we meandered out there.

We popped over a few 12" crossrails, but Sam was unimpressed and trotted them. So we moved to the 18" box to gate line at a canter. It was so super fun and we were in sync. When I rode again this morning with my buddy Amy, Sam and I had perfect timing and rhythm in the same sections. Less so with the 3 stride crossrail to 2' oxer, but I was solid and safe. :)

After today's ride, I told Amy that it was more fun then a trip to Europe. And that's true!

Schedule I created and posted on my tack locker
Getting fuzzy again!