April 30, 2013

Quick Update - 4/30

Just thought I'd post a fast update. Nothing major to report however.

Still packing away... got most of my office / desk / school supplies packed today leaving most of everything I need / want in the basement packed. Nine more sleeps until its departure day! Things are more set in stone for horses being shipped and getting them set. All my tack is in my car ready to go. What I'm not taking in the start is at my Dad's house ready to be put on a moving truck in June.

I saw the ponies briefly today. I tagged along to K's riding lesson with her dressage instructor. We got back to the barn and walked the trail area to see what best area would be to excavate to make a dressage arena. I picked a few handfuls of grass and fed them to both Dakota and Echo. 

Echo is back to her swimming in water tanks. The cover that was built for the tank is now broken, in many many pieces. I was putting water back into the tank tonight and sprayed her down with the hose since it's warm enough finally to do so. She stood there and if she was a dog, would have been drooling. I'm glad at least one of my horses will always enjoy a bath.

I'm planning a contest for my blog followers. Once I hit 15 followers I will open the contest and will have a lovely prize for those that enter.

Tomorrow, more packing!

April 27, 2013

Packing Time

Farrier came out yesterday morning at 11, which really he was suppose to be there at 10, but that is a typical farrier move right? So no big deal, I had Dakota inside and decided to groom the hairy beast. His winter coat is never very long, but very dense and thick coat. Echo, just looks like a woolly mammoth with her long hair. Anyways, I'm grooming Dakota and realized how long his mane was. Since someone despises mane pulling and has to be tranq'd to do it, I just grabbed a pair of scissors and decided to hack it off like I always do. Also I'm fairly positive my grooming actually made him dirtier with the shedding and being caked in mud, it was a battle I was not going to win.

Farrier came and trimmed both horses while they were just tied to the wall - both were extremely well behaved - shocking. Dakota is usually terrible every other time and now twice in a row he's behaved to be trimmed. MAYBE he's maturing into his soon to be 13 year old brain? Doubtful but one can wish. Echo almost fell asleep while she was being trimmed. Such a well behaved girl. 

My older 'sister' Amanda was in Michigan from Texas for the weekend so she came to meet her niece Echo and pick up some stuff I bought her at the tack sale back in March. It was great to see her since we talk all the time but rarely get to see her. I free lunged Echo around a few times so she could see her movement in person. I got her A+ approval and agreed with me about eventually presenting her to RPSI to get her into a mare book for future breeding. She was a bit short on her front left from being trimmed - he had to take a bit more off in one area on her so I didn't push it too much with her, but got an ok walk, trot, and canter out of her.

I started the packing process finally. Thursday I took over two hours and cleaned my car out. Such a dreadful thing when your car looks the way mine did. It still needs to be vacuumed but I'll do that by the end of the weekend. Maybe I'll convince my dad to do that - surely he will be happy to help since he's all for me moving. Yesterday I pulled boxes out of storage that were in good shape from my last move that I kept. My goal is to fill the boxes I have already by end of weekend. Then Tuesday I'm going to go to the local liquor stores and take their boxes since they're perfect for packing. 

I also got my replacement screws for the Wintec saddle in the mail so tomorrow I plan on doing gullet surgery and putting the Wintec together finally. I just need to find a pair of irons to use on it and I'll be set to take it for my first ride in it - can't wait!

I mean.... he has muscle development issues already because of  PSSM but he really looks like there's no neck to the horse!
There's his neck! After being chopped and before I cleaned it up. Of course I didn't take a post clean up picture. I'll get one today or tomorrow to prove his mane really isn't a disaster.
In other exciting news, my friend George in Kentucky welcomed the addition of a healthy filly at 12:44am on Friday. The dam is Slewcy's Gale, who is by Slew City Slew and is a rare bridle thoroughbred. The sire is Into Mischief who has two runners in this year's Kentucky Derby. Happy day of birth sweet filly! Can't wait to meet you <3 My other friend Colleen in Kentucky has a foal due in the next two weeks so lots of baby pictures to come after I'm around the two little ones! Okay really three... there is a saddlebred filly at the barn too that's about 3 weeks old now. Click the images for bigger photos of George's girl!

Finally - I bought my cat's ThunderShirt's to help with stress of moving and stress in general with Abu. Has anyone used them on their cats or dogs? Abu really doesn't mind his, which is surprising with how finicky the cat is. He almost struts around in his shirt doing his 'look at me' routine. Holly on the other hand can't figure out how to walk normal in her's and has a 'omg it's squeezing me' look. I'll update on how well they worked when I use them for the first time traveling.

ThunderShirt to the rescue!

April 24, 2013

Ole Kentucky Home

When I posted last Friday, I expected this post to be completely different. I planned on making the title "Sun, Sun, Sun, Here We Come" - indicating I was moving to Florida. More specifically, Ft Lauderdale / Miami area and working at Calder Race Course.

Change of plans.

Yesterday I got a phone call from Equibase (The Jockey Club) in Lexington Ky, where I previously worked, with a job offer. It took a 10 minute phone call with one of the VP's to make me completely change my course of plan.

I'm planning leaving Michigan on May 9th, 10th or 11th. Start working on the 13th. The horses have a trailer booked to Lexington mid-June.

Stay tuned for updates!!! I can't wait to get settled in and get Echo into training again and restart the blog and all our exciting bluegrass times.

Dakota hanging out in his stall at Waterwild Farm in 2009, where Echo and him will be residing.

April 19, 2013


Since I've had friends breathing down my neck, threatening me to post on here *ahem* Erin *ahem* - I figured I'd give a brief life update.

I'm still *living* at my grandparents house, helping out with basically everything. My grandpa's surgery has temporarily been cancelled. As long as he can stay stable where he's at, they are going to postpone the surgery. They hope by waiting he can gain strength. He had a heart attack February 27th and the longer he can go without having to go under for surgery the less risky his surgery will be. His attitude, appetite and spirits have all improved. My grandma and I are still threatening him with duct tape restraints and leaving him in the hospital.

The horses are good. I have barely seen them, last time I saw them was last Sunday. I had to feed all the horses so S and I did chores. Free lunged both for a few minutes but nothing overly exciting. 

Living in Michigan is sucking. My allergies have turned into a cold. Speaking of cold, it's snowing today. 

With that said, it's a good time to say that I have a potential job offer that will have me moving. Moving to a much much warmer climate. I'm trying not to jinx it by saying too much, but things are still moving along on the possibility so keep your fingers crossed and I'll post details as soon as things are official.

April 3, 2013

Trotting On - A Lengthy Update

I'm getting a little time on a faster internet by linking my iPhone to laptop. Yay. Not so yay for my data plan on my phone service.

I'm still basically living at my grandparents house. My grandpa under goes surgery on April 25th so I will be here at least until then. Most likely longer since he will be in hospital a few days post surgery and is going to have at least a week of healing time at home that will be risky. I'm happy I'm able to help out and be here for my family and I'm at a point in my life where I'm able to help out.

Being jobless (yes I'm applying for lots of jobs) and being farther from the barn, I'm not able to get out there daily because of the price of gas spiking again in this lovely state. So I'm down to 1-3 visits a week with the ponies.

Echo's Fifth Ride
March 22nd - I was staying the night with K since her parents were out of town. On my way over I picked up S since K and I were planning on going for a ride.

S rode Dakota, K on her new horse Fusion and myself on Echo. 

Echo was amazing as usual. Did lots of walk to halt and halt to walk transitions. Did circles both directions. She flinched when K had to use her crop but her flinch was more of a WHAT WAS THAT arch her neck and then go back to her 'whatever' attitude. Our plan was to attempt riding outside when we were done so before we headed out, K got on Echo for me. 

I asked her to try trotting Echo for the first time for me. I know she has a lot more upper body strength than me and can sit a buck way better as well if anything were to happen. It didn't happen. K asked for a trot, Echo went right into a working trot, head down almost into a perfect headset. K had her circle both ways and ride along the rail as well. Then without much direction from me other than telling K she looked fabulous, K asked her to canter. Again, perfect. Once circle each direction and we called it good.

Now I knew in my better judgement that this was enough for the night and we should end there because it was a lot to ask of her in one night. But I got back on her and walked around a few times then we started to head out of the barn. 

Rough sketch of how the property is laid out. I know most of it isn't to scale but gives you an idea.

Echo was hesitant but followed Dakota with a little encouragement and me talking to her. We ride out the end of the barn facing the fields - Echo was really confused but followed. She was great until we got to about where the arrow is. I felt her tense, I tried talking to her and reassuring her but she wasn't having it. I jumped off before she could spook, buck or do something stupid. I told K and S to go ahead and ride, and that I would lead Echo on foot behind them so that she still got out but I'd have better control on the ground.

She was a handful and didn't want anything to do with listening to me on the ground but I was able to keep control except when K asked fusion to open up into a gallop, Echo decided it was a good time to fly backwards and nearly break her bridle. 

It was getting dark, so we headed back to the barn. Not fully sure why, or what caused her problem both times, but as I lead Echo back, near where the arrow is again... She planted her hooves into the ground and bucked a good 10-15 times standing in place and did a pre-race jog the rest of the way back toward the barn. I through I was leading her to a race! But again, I never felt out of control with her, she just had never done any of it before and I saw a more energetic side to her outside.

Echo's Sixth Ride
March 31st - My Mom came in from North Carolina for her spring break and to visit my grandpa before he goes into surgery. I really wanted her to meet miss Echo so we headed to the barn after going to church for Easter and lunch we headed to the barn.

K and her boyfriend were riding in the arena while I was grooming and getting Echo ready. They headed outside to ride on the trails and in the outdoor arena so Echo and I headed to the arena. 

I was a bit nervous since the last time I was on her I esentially had to bail but we (ok -I-) relaxed. Did lots of circles, stopping and starting again. Previously I haven't been moving my hips a ton with her but I decided to open them up a bit and encourage her to walk on more than before. She put her head down a bit more, reached into the bit and lengthened her walk. She felt great and I got a chance to feel the size of her stride even at the walk.

Then I knew it was time for me to try asking her for a trot. I know how well she did with K so I wasn't nervous at all. I planned on going ahead and posting once I asked her, but as soon as she started, it was too smooth and I ended up sitting to it. My changing in balance and rhythm messed her up but she kept trotting until I asked for a walk. I did it a few more times, usually in a 1/2 point or 2 point so that I wasn't moving around on her back trying to figure out best way to ride her trot. Final time I did some big circles on her and lightly posted on her. She felt great the entire time! Such a good mare. 

Her confidence in the indoor arena and in riding in general still makes me think she had training at some point. After talking it over with my friend Colleen in Kentucky, we agree she may have had the very basics of yearling training when they break them in on the farms in September / October and then turn them back out. Clearly no race training, and the timeline of when she would of gone into more doesn't fit the rest of her story.
Post ride, I should of kept my helmet on with that hat hair.
I REALLY hate riding in jeans.
Things I learned from ride 5 and 6
  • As soon as weather is consistent we will be taking walks to graze, and explore the trails so Echo gets better acquainted with them.
  • Lots of lunge time ahead in the outdoor arena.
  • Echo dislikes dogs - must work on that too.
  • When I get on her, I can't be flaky and need to be confident from the start. 
  • I need to really get back to my walking / running. I stopped when I got the bronchitis and strep throat. I started walking again last week but I need to be way more focused on it.
Blog News
  • Clearly all series have taken a back seat. They will restart as soon as I can be online on a consistent basis.
  • I'll post updates as regularly as possible. Without going out to the barn on a consistant basis though my blog might be quiet for a little longer :(