December 20, 2014

Gone Too Long

I know, I know I've been gone too long. I wish I could say I've been able to keep on blog reading in my absence but sadly I've been gone from that too. There is a lot to catch my blog world up on. Things like the new job, living in a totally different world and culture, the horses here, cats, etc. but that will take a lot of catching up. 

Two things however... Echo is doing well and being good overall in Kentucky. Secondly, Dakota is coming to Louisiana!!! He will be here Monday. He gets to ride and arrive on a giant semi trailer. Not sure how he's going to take that but he's always been a hauling champion. He's coming down with five horses the owners have in Kentucky so one big load of horses coming.

I finally feel ready for him to be here and have a horse again. Well, I've needed him for sanity for awhile, but I finally feel like I have sort of a routine to where I can actually go see him after work and still get home and not be exhausted the next day. 

The farm he'll be at is right on my route home so it's very convenient. 170 acres total, lots of land to just ride on. Has 3 round pens and a large lighted arena. No barn hours will make it nice when I start working nights soon for night watch on the mares. He'll be on full care board so I won't have the stress of having to stay after work for something and still getting to him every night. Looks like the barn is mostly Western riders but a few English and lots of hopeful trail riding buddies. 

Super scared to see how matted his mane and tail are, how fat he is, and how bad his hooves are. Hopefully I will have him sound and ridable pretty quickly... It might take a few trims though to get his hooves good and fingers crossed living outside in Kentucky on fall grass didn't do too much damage. Like I said, I'm scared. I'll do my best to post some updates on Dakota as he arrives and I start riding again, as well as catching up on some serious blog reading.

Poolside at my apartment.

September 9, 2014

Plans = Overrated

So much has changed and happened since I wrote my last blog post. 

Last Friday night I had my going away dinner at our favorite restaurant, Jalapenos with my favorite group of people. Lots of goodbyes but it was a fun night that ended with yours truly getting ketchup in their milkshake after drunkenly asking for a steak and shake at Steak n Shake. Gross. 

Sunday Dakota moved down to the owner's house where he'll stay outside 24/7 with a run-in until he ships down to Louisiana. 

Final hack with Dakota until he's in Louisiana.
My car is still not cleaned, my room where I'm living is only 75% packed and I'm running out of time, but oh well, I deserve it for being such a procrastinator. 

Lauren got a great opportunity to switch boarding to the farm she trains with. Echo isn't going. Which threw all the plans out the window we had previously hashed out. Luckily, April, who has been riding where the horses are boarded for about a month, was looking for a horse to potentially lease. Sunday Lauren and I met up with her at the barn to see how her and Echo would interact with each other. To my relief, they seem to have gotten along great. April has a lot of hunter / jumper experience and Echo did all of her quirks while jumping so she shouldn't pull any new tricks out after Lauren and I have both left the farm.  

Echo jumping a week and half ago with Lauren.
Way to jump the standards mare...
My last day of work is tomorrow and the it's show time. Getting the u-Haul loaded tomorrow and may or may not drive a few hours tomorrow night.

August 26, 2014

Two Weeks and Counting

I don't know if I should cry, laugh, be sad, be happy, be scared or anything. Today, I gave my two week notice at Equibase. I've accepted the job in Louisiana. I don't want to leave Kentucky, I don't want to leave my friends aka my real family. However, I never want to sit and wonder what if and regret an opportunity that passes by. 

My last day is September 10th and I'll be packing up and driving down on the 11th. First day working will be the 15th. Not 100% where I'll be living but I'll be staying at one of the owners house for the first few days until I seal the deal with an apartment - only so much I can do from here. 

Dakota is being shipped down but they are hauling him for me so I'm not 100% when he will be arriving but finding something official for him to live is second on the list. There's too many options right now and again, it's hard for me to make a final call from Kentucky. 
Solo riding with Dakota.
Echo... is staying in Kentucky. I will still own her obviously but I feel like she deserves a chance to continue training and compete with Lauren. One of the biggest factors was if Echo would handle me not around since everyone agrees that's partly why Texas with her was such a failure. However, Echo really loves Lauren and they get along great. The times I've been out of town, Lauren has continued to work with her and there doesn't seem to be any change in Echo's behavior these days if I'm not around while she's worked. Yippee for a mentally maturing Echo. Also instead of going to Aiken or Ocala for a few weeks over winter break, Lauren is considering coming to me instead since there are a few farms in the area that have places to cross country school etc.

Two more new photos from the jumper show back in July. 
She's not competing this weekend as originally planned. Her hooves have been chipping with all the rain. The hind hoof she injured while she's sound on it and the structure of the hoof is fine, everyone agrees if she hit it just right it'd probably not be a good situation. One of those deals I had to step back and realize it's only been 6 months since she injured the hoof. 
Hoof peeling and chipping... Yay....
Hopefully I get opportunities to visit Kentucky with work and if not, I get vacation time to use for things like Rolex, racing stuff and Echo showing. 

Ice bucket challenge at work. Such a production.

August 8, 2014

Post Trip Hangover

I haven't had an ounce of energy to type a post since coming home Tuesday evening so I apologize. I swear I cannot leave work for more than my normal 2 days off without coming back to a pile of things to do. Anyways.

It's not much of a secret at this point because I'm terrible at keeping secrets when it comes to my own life happenings. Another person's deep dark secrets never leave me but my own stuff... not so much. Anyways, I'm exploring the possibility of a job at a thoroughbred farm. The farm however, is in Louisiana. Nothing is certain yet but I'll update more as it progresses.

I headed to the airport Friday after work and arrived in Houston for my layover without problem. However, a cancelled connecting flight, airport food vouchers and a free night in a hotel I got to Louisiana on Saturday morning. 

As soon as I got there we got on the road to travel another 3 hours north to Shreveport / Louisiana Downs. The owners/trainer I was visiting had three horses in stakes races so it was a good chance to see Louisiana Downs. I'll say this, the track was very... small and quaint. Even the small tracks I've visited before have the tv screens in the in-field for you to watch the race unfold. Not there, you had to go high enough to see over the tote board and watch them run from there or go inside to watch on a small tv. Still exciting as always to watch races though and the gelding that's my favorite of theirs ran 2nd in his stakes race. 

Lion before running 2nd in his race.
Sunday I got the chance to go around and see the farm(s) and more of the area. There's the horse farm portion being built, cattle farm, training farm where yearlings and racehorses go and a golf course. 

Cottage & pond at the cattle farm.
Cow. Moo.
Sleepy filly!

I spent rest of my time getting to know the owners and helping out at the golf course which is getting ready to reopen after renovations. 

Home. Seeing a equine airline cheers me up after another close call of flight status changes.

July 30, 2014

Legs, You Suck

Why mare oh why?

Saturday I got off work super late. The horses were in because of insane thunderstorms. Lauren had rode Echo earlier in the day and said she wasn't a happy horse - which usually all is good in Echo world. When I was out cleaning stalls at 10 pm I noticed how grumpy she was. I brushed it off figuring it was because of being stuck inside and all the horses were a little edgy. Lauren had however said she felt a little off in her right hind leg - the leg with the hoof injury so she didn't do much with her. Attributed it to the fact they were due to have their hooves done. 

Sunday I just wanted to be done at the barn. It was my only day off in-between work weeks and I needed some R&R from last week at work. 

Monday however, Lauren was done early at the barn so I thought I figured I'd lunge Echo to see how her soundness was before the farrier coming out Tuesday (yesterday). I go to pull her out of her stall and notice she's not putting weight on the leg - #%*$. Put her in the wash stall and just start cold hosing all four legs. Start running my hands all over her just to make sure I'm not missing anything else before I bother looking at the right hind, nothing. So running hands down her leg I feel medium amount of heat, not hot but not great and slight swelling. I also feel a scab, can't see because the lighting sucks in wash stalls to see legs sometimes. I don't think too much of it because it felt pretty scabbed over and thought it was an older thing that we just missed. Liniment and bute I go take her out for the evening. I stood letting her eat some grass before putting her in her paddock and I see this... 
1) That's not small! 2) WTF mare?! 3) It's time for bubble wrap. 

Yesterday morning I gave her a tiny bit more bute (like 1/4 gram...) in her feed. Lauren lunged her before farrier, dead lame. More cold hose, less heat than Monday so I felt comfortable sweating the leg. Another gram of bute, and turned her out. I knew if I kept her in she'd do potentially just as many stupid things. 

Fingers crossed for less heat tonight and a better looking scab. It's completely superficial with no puncture wound so I'm fairly certain she put her leg through the fence and then pulled it through scrapping it like she did. Why it's so swollen, I have no idea, it's Echo.

July 28, 2014

Week of Plans

It's going to be a crazy week. I had yesterday off but today on what would be my 'Sunday', I'm working. This way when I leave town Friday evening I don't have to use a vacation day at work. 

I can't deny I'm nervous to be flying with all the terrible world news involving planes. Self medication will help, I hope. My plane takes off 5:50ish on Friday and I'll be back mid-day Tuesday from my trip. I hope more than anything that I get answers while I'm gone and can make some adult life decisions. 

Since I'm at work, I won't be able to be there, but the farrier is there to trim both horses this afternoon. Echo has continued to do ok barefoot (despite the hard dry ground), so we're proceeding to Kentucky Classique barefoot all around. Her hind hoof that sustained the injury continues to grow out and I now have to work to find signs of the injury. Dakota has been ok in the two times I've rode him barefoot so we're going to have a go at it for another 6 weeks. His leg he had bowed his tendon in years ago is having a few problems with swelling and tiny tiny bit of heat. He has worked through it both times I've gotten on him so who knows what the leg is doing. 
Koda Ride!
Echo has jumping homework after her lesson last week. She can do a course but when it comes to jumping basics she needs to still learn those. She doesn't seem to be a huge fan of having to use her feet, body and brain. It'd be super easy to bypass it all at this point since she can go clear and loves to jump bigger and bigger - but I'm sure it would haunt us later on.

Unhappy horses waiting inside during a storm while I cleaned stalls.

July 25, 2014

Scheffelridge Jumper Show Photos

Thanks to my friend Audrey who got up to just tag along to the show and take pictures! She was running on almost no sleep since she had switched work shifts with me the night before. Otherwise I would of had less than 4 hours of sleep. Still some other photos I'm waiting for from people but so happy to see these!

First ones there!
White Prince aka Poodle showing those cross rails who's boss!
Where did my friend go?!
Our makeshift halter fixing... 
Waiting... Lauren's face says it all. 

Home with her ribbon!

July 22, 2014

First Show Results!

It may have bee a non rated schooling KHJA jumper show but her first show is in the books! Video and photo's will be available ASAP. Waiting for everyone to get me the pictures they got of the day so I can make one post. 

We were first to arrive at the show of those trailering in - great parking! White Prince was in the first two classes of the day so Lauren got him saddle quickly while Echo stayed in the trailer until he was off for warm up. After a mini melt down from being tied to the trailer and breaking her halter - it was smooth sailing. Except the classes took longer than expected so we had a ton of time to burn between White Prince and Echo showing. 

The day also coined two new phrases to apply to Echo. "Honey Badger It" and "Echoing". Pretty self explanatory but really the mare could give two shits about anything. Announcer? No. Truck and trailers almost hitting her while parking? No. Children? No. Dogs? Intrigued but no. Standing ringside for your class forever? No thats just nap time. So now we just assume when she goes into a new environment or is asked to do something new she's going to 'honey badger it'.

Secondly we know why she's the opposite of a honey badger time to time. She goes into her own world and does as she's told but her brain isn't 'on'. She made this very clear in her first class Sunday. She entered the ring and couldn't care less about all the jumps, I'm pretty sure she was in a 'look at me I'm pretty' phase and just wanted to be told it. I saw her heading to the first jump like that and of course it was the only rail she pulled all day. Really she didn't even pull a rail, she just plowed through. Then about 3-4 jumps in Lauren said she felt her brain kick in and we could all see it from the side of arena where mid air she looks down and had a moment of 'wait... we're jumping?!'. She came out of the arena proud of herself and we were all proud of her but laughing at her mentality. The memo that she had to go in the arena and jump was just delayed in delivery to her. 

Since she was the first horse to go in the first of her two classes, we had lots of wait time for her next round. AKA time for Lauren to remember the next course and time for Echo to sleep and take in all the admiration. 

Time for second class and there was no echoing in the brain. I couldn't be more proud of her. She jumped clear on everything and took a 6th place in the class (which was 2'3"-2'6" Speed) out of at least 12 horses. We counted and Sunday was only her 9th day of jumping. Plus she trotted a little on course so speed and time wasn't something Lauren or I was worried about, just the experience. 
Showing her ribbon off back at home.
I think the plan now is to start some grid work and more schooling at home as far as jumping. Depending on farrier schedule, we may go to Masterson Station next Monday and figure out a Wednesday evening to the dressage show series. I think she's ready to rock Kentucky Classique in 5 weeks. 

July 17, 2014

Life... Why Me?

All I want is to have nothing exciting happen. It's too much to ask for though, I know.

My last post was that it was my birthday and I was going to Michigan so lets start there. My time home was great. Seeing my friends and family was the highlight but not far behind was all the time I spent swimming and enjoying the outdoors. Sadly the last two days of being home I got a stomach flu which I had to drive home with (not fun!) so my time seeing my grandparents was cut short - not happy about that.

Hanging out in South Haven with my Dad on my birthday. Lunch at my favorite restaurant. Fun fact - if anyone has read the book Time Traveler's Wife it's one of the places in the book.

Hanging out on the lake at my grandparents. 
Sunset at Lake Michigan on 4th of July aka my favorite holiday. 
Also while I was home my best friend Erin who lives in Michigan welcomed home the horse she grew up with. She's a 21 year old standardbred. The mare, Silver (yes she's bay and named Silver) was owned by Erin's aunt who passed away earlier this summer. Erin had her shipped to Michigan from Kentucky so she could stay in the family, Erin could have her childhood horse and give her a home to have rest of her life. Me being me... I had a scale to use on hay and grain in my car so I helped Erin figure out a good diet plan for her since she needs to gain a few pounds but not as much as expected. Silver also had a hoof injury right before Echo so it's been 'fun' to watch their hooves progress. Erin is 6' 2" so Silver really isn't that tiny of a standardbred - her owner is just that tall (sorry Erin).

Echo got over her withdraw problems with me fairly well while I was in Michigan. She went to a jump lesson with Lauren while I was gone and has had a flat lesson since. This past Sunday we planned to take the horses to Masterson Station again for more cross country schooling but we realized the park was full of carnival rides for the fair going. Instead Lauren jumped her outside on the grass. The ground was super hard due to lack of rain but she handled it like a pro, jumping her first oxer, barrel jump and lots of first time questions. After her jumping I gave her a much needed and deserved bath, head to toe. I rubbed her legs down in liniment and after some hand grazing to dry her off, let her take her afternoon nap in her stall. 

Off to her flat lesson.

Shiny after her Sunday bath.
Dakota's version of working hard. 
Monday Lauren texted me that her leg was swollen with lots of heat. Thankfully she was completely sound on it. So I cold hosed her, we poulticed the leg, wrapped it and turned her out for the night. Good news is the leg was tight with no heat the next day. The bad news was she had a reaction to the poultice. 
And then she had an allergic reaction to poultice. 
She's been lightly ridden with her weird rash / burn / whatever from the poultice and is sound so we are still planning on taking her to the jumping schooling show Sunday. 

In other life news, I might be moving. I will know more in 2 1/2 weeks when I meet with people and and figure out logistics. I can't say too much but hopefully it would be a good opportunity for myself and the situation would be something fitting for my four creatures. 

June 29, 2014

26 Non-Horse Things About ME!

I'm 26 today. Since I'm driving to Michigan for the week to spend the week and holiday with family and friends I figured I'd leave you with a list of 26 random facts about me. 

  1. I have a phobia of clowns. Full blown phobia, not just a dislike. Mimes and things in mask / costumes are a not so far behind, but I can tolerate them. Halloween is not my favorite holiday. 
  2. My mother put me in the lake my grandparents live at for first time at 6 days old. Needless to say I have zero fear of water and feel at home in a lake or pool.
  3. I use to think that when my family told me I was going to one day go to Notre Dame University it meant I had to play football. Clearly I was a brain washed 3-4 year old. 
  4. Favorites: Color = Green. Number = 6. Food = Really anything Italian or Mexican. Dessert = Ice Cream. Green Bay Packers, Detroit Red Wings, Yankees or Tigers. 
  5. Only child for 15 years. Now have a half sister that's 15 years younger than me.
  6. Youngest of 3 cousins on Dad's side of family, oldest of 11 on Mom's side of family. Dad's side did screw it up by my only uncle having a kid 5 years ago, but that's ok, he doesn't count. Still determined to be the baby of the family on that side. My next oldest cousin on Mom's side is more like a brother to me, we're just under a year apart and always were a force vs the other cousins.
  7. I can convert time and time-zones in my head way too easily. Standard to military and vice-versa to knowing whats what time zone wise and have a pretty good understanding of who is in what time zone and can convert it to whatever necessary in my head. My co workers love me when we do Japan and South America racing. 
  8. I love technology. It kills me to not have the most current electronics available. My laptop, iPad, iPhone, iPod all need updating. 
  9. I've never had a tooth cavity and never needed braces. Both my parents have terrible teeth. I'm convinced their bad teeth genetics cancelled each other out.
  10. Backstreet Boys > N*Sync, Justin Timberlake Solo > Backstreet Boys. Backstreet Boys + New Kids on the Block Tour > Anything. That shit was epic, enough said.
  11. I've been told I could be a celebrity's best friend. Unless you were in a boy band or part of the cast of Grey's Anatomy, Friends, or How I Met Your Mother, I'm probably not going to recognize you from a lineup of 10 people, let alone know your name.
  12. I love a cheesy romantic comedy movie. They all have the same story and outcome, but regardless I still watch them. I'm hopeless on my movie taste.
  13. If I didn't have horses, my spare time and $ would be all dedicated to traveling. My dream is to be able to travel AND have horses but so far that hasn't gone so well in life. I'd probably be the top rank for airline miles if I had the chance. 
  14. As a kid I use to love watching bowling on TV. Which was probably started by my grandpa and mom being in a Friday night bowling league and tagging along. I was on a Saturday bowling team when I was 9. That did't last long.
  15. I made the 7th grade basketball team. However my parents forced me to choose between riding lessons and basketball. I chose horses and got Dakota months later. One of my biggest regrets in life is not going for basketball because I love the sport and it was fall / riding lessons were ending for the winter so I probably could have done both if I had pushed my parents hard enough. 
  16. I was suppose to play tennis in high school starting in 10th grade after going to camps etc. Then I tore my ACL ending my tennis run in high school. Still love to play though! Also nothing beats a Sunday afternoon of watching a round of a particular series. 
  17. I was THAT kid in high school. That one that 'overachieved' in community service stuff. I was part of SADD and PALs and was head of 2-3 mini-committees for SADD my junior/senior year. All 4 years of high school I had 100+ hours of SADD community service hours. 
  18. Never missed a high school varsity football game from 7th grade on.
  19. I love HTML.
  20. I hate odd numbers. I'm all about symmetry, I don't like things uneven. Odd numbers can't be split in half into a whole number and it annoys me.
  21. I was tested for MS at the age of 16 - super early for symptoms to display but I had multiple. Test came back negative but I've been tested an additional 3 times by various doctors since. One of my biggest fears is for the day the test comes back positive. 
  22. Love to cook. Baking is ok but I love testing new combinations of seasonings / spices / flavors!
  23. Super shy and quiet. I'm a much better listener than talker. Unless you successfully pry me out of my shell, then I don't shut up.
  24. I'm not a fan (putting it lightly) of clothes shopping or shoe shopping. Anti-girly in this way. I'll go clothes shopping if it's for riding clothes though!
  25. I can sorta sew and use a sewing machine. I can knit too. Put them together it makes me sound super old! Thankfully both have come in hand for horse things. 
  26. Procrastination is my best friend. 

June 26, 2014

Spurs and Video

Yesterday Lauren didn't work so she took Echo out without me there. Something we're trying out for many different reasons. The other times I've not been there she looks for me and isn't completely focused. We all know how attached she is to me so we're trying to break the umbilical cord a little when it comes to riding at least. I can't be there throughout an entire cross country course so she needs to know it's ok to leave me. However by the sounds of it, yesterday she was much better about my absence. 

Lauren also added spurs and said she became much more responsive to her leg. For a horse that likes to be pushed around and usually pushes into pressure, it's 0% shock to me that she does better with the spurs. Glad she switched to using them now rather than later, especially if it's going to help. 

As promised, here's additional video from our schooling day on Monday.

June 25, 2014

Cross Country School - Round 1

Monday = no work day for me and Lauren got out of work fairly early so we decided to take Echo and Dakota to Masterson Station. Masterson = free access to hundreds of acres to ride on. They hold events so there are jumps everywhere, arenas to use, etc. Neither horse had gone before and it was my first time riding there so I had no clue what to expect. 

I beat Lauren to the barn by maybe 20 minutes so I was able to get both horses groomed. Lauren got there as I was ready to tack up so she took over Echo and I got Dakota ready. We decided to tack up and trailer over instead of tacking at the park because we didn't know what kind of traffic would be at the park and how the horses would behave. Both horses loaded like pros and we were on the road by 5pm. 

20 minutes later we were parked, and unloaded. After Lauren made me go hug a tree when I made a rather stupid comment about falling off, we bridled the horses and off we went. Both horses stood to be mounted - no catastrophes.

We rode around one of the fields letting the horses settle in and Dakota and I trotted and did our own thing while Echo and Lauren warmed up. We regrouped and Lauren took Echo over the tiny fences to get her use to the idea of the jumps not being just standards and poles. Second time around they tried some additional fences and jumped the mid height ones. Echo seemed to love it, and had zero stop to her. If Lauren pointed her to a fence, no questions asked, Echo went over. 

Next we wandered our way to a different field where there were ditch jumps. We encountered a bike group and both horses minds were blown by all the bicycles but remained calm in their confusion. Echo jumped the ditch the first couple of times without hesitation but then began to question it and had a few moments of hell no, but got over it and jumped the ditches again without problem. While trying to film ditch jumping, Dakota decided a full body shake was necessary and my crop and phone went flying. I had to dismount, recollect my items and find a place to get back on. The unsteady pile of mulch didn't work so I led him into a covered pavilion and lined him up to the picnic tables.

Onto the next field. This required going through a creek. Dakota had conquered a creek once before but it was sandy on both sides and he leaped over it mostly. Echo had never been through it. Lauren ended up dismounting and leading her through. Once she realized it was water though, she didn't bat another eye at going through water. Dakota took some encouragement, but got through without leaping like a special horse. 

Echo's initial reaction to going through water and the creek. 
In the field were mostly training and prelim options for jumping but the water jump still was great to school both horses on. Echo walk, trot and cantered through the water like a pro. I held my breath the first couple of times because she started wanting to play in the water and knowing how much she loves to swim in water tanks I was afraid of her laying down in it. After watching Echo play, I decided to try Dakota in it, he actually went in! Proof is below!

Finally Lauren took Echo for a gallop and I decided to try cantering Dakota - something that doesn't happen often. After one more jump round, we headed back to the trailer, riding over a Dakota eating bridge that Echo had be his security blanket for. 

Tired ponies, ready to go home. 
I'll have more video of Echo on cross country by the end of the week. It's just taking me longer than I planned to get it uploaded. Dakota pulled a shoe yesterday after going to Masterson so he bought himself a few days off until I can get it back on. 

June 20, 2014

Pony Grow Up

Getting off work for a half day could have easily turned out to be the best part of my day. Echo could have been a complete nightmare refusing to load on trailer, been a mess to tack up, spooked at unknown horses, and lost her mind over a new arena. However she did none of these things, instead she was perfect, maybe too perfect.

I got to barn about 12:35 and headed over to find Lauren after a quick hello to both horses. Plan was to be loaded and ready to leave at 1:15 so I took Echo to the arena to groom since our wash stalls were both in use. She was a little confused by her early afternoon attention but wasn't about to refuse it. Lauren went off to hook the trailer up, I finished grooming MareFace and took her out toward the trailer in perfect timing since Lauren had just finished hooking everything up. 

Now I half expected Echo to not load in her normal well behaved fashion. Her last trailer experience was rather horrifying. After having her front hooves on the ramp and taking approximately 30 seconds to sniff the trailer divider, she walked right on and munched on hay while we secured her for the short trip. On the road, no problems so far, and on time. 
Snacking before loading.
Arrived to Team CEO, unloaded just as uneventfully as loading, took her into the grass and after letting her look around for a minute or two, tacked her up. We walked her over to the arena, the 'scariest' thing was a bush by a creaking gate. I say scary because Echo's nostrils flared once... She definitely was looking around, taking in all the new sights and sounds but was far from reacting to anything she saw. Got to the arena, which is huge with all weather footing, giant windows, and fans I was in heaven to get out of the sun and be able to watch the lesson. On a 90+ degree day I was worried about the heat but it was much cooler in the arena. Lauren got on and started introducing MareFace to the arena. Other than a quick WTF moment at the coiled up hose, which lasted about 90 seconds, she didn't blink twice at a thing. 

Lesson started - some more warm up so the instructor could see what she was like on the ground and get a feel for her since this was their first introduction. She w/t/c both directions with doing trot transitions at the canter to switch leads. Lauren got some pointers on exercises to do with Echo at home and then it was time for jumping. After all the circles and new exercises, Echo was tired but still willing. 

Considering this was her third time going over any jumps, the general consensus was she was great. Just before the first cross rail, someone came through the arena with their dog. Echo's mind was completely elsewhere going 'over' the first jump, and it shows in the video below. The second time, she was more focused but the dog was over by me and she still seemed to be concerned that the dog was around or that I was giving something other than her attention. Regardless, she knocked a rail pretty hard the second time over which seemed to refocus her because the third time she was perfect going over. Next jump to try was the pink/purple straight rail, Echo's first time going over anything not a cross rail. She got lazy going up to it and knocked it by not picking her feet up high enough. Definitely getting more tired. Tried it again - knocked it with her hind. Third time was the charm and she went over without problem. Finally was time to try the green/yellow rail which she went over without touching a rail and it was followed up by one last successful hop over the cross rail. 

Finally to finish off the day the instructor had her do a series of three jumps in a row which by that time Echo was officially tired and lazy. Still, she jumped all three without touching a rail.

After all was said and done, I fully understand now why Lauren takes 30 minute lessons. They both looked exhausted. We walked back to the trailer, untacked and gave MareFace a well deserved cold hose off. We walked her around a few more minutes and then loaded back up just as effortlessly as when we came and drove back to our barn after a quick Diet Coke pit stop. The confusion on Echo's face when she got off the trailer and was back home was priceless. I've never seen her more confused. The concept of leaving and getting to come back home may take a while to set in but with her now weekly off-farm lessons and her first show coming up in July I'm sure she'll get use to it!

Tired mare...

June 18, 2014

Side by Side

So a few of you may know, but my two besties, Colleen & George have left the farm where I board for bigger and better things. Over this past weekend, all their horses were moved, leaving the barn empty in more ways than one. However, one of the bright side things is two stalls side by side opened up. Dakota and Echo have had another boarder's horses in between them so I took the opportunity to move stalls and have them back together. 

George also had been given a hand-me-down tack trunk. He didn't need it with where they moved to, so I now have two tack trunks after getting his hand-me down. 

I'm working a half day today because it is Echo's first off farm lesson with Lauren. When we first planned it we didn't know it was going to be an on going thing with the retirement of Lauren's horse. Anyways, I figure I may as well go to the first one to see how it goes and offer extra hands to help get her ready if needed. I already have my camera charging and memory card empty so I intend to have lots of video and photos to share!

June 17, 2014

Outdoor Jumping, Updates & Pictures

One day world... one day I will get back to near daily post! Catching up hoping that maybe this will be the week... 

Lauren had to unexpectedly retire her eventer last week. Echo is going to be taking over her normal Wednesday lessons that she was taking on her horse. Most likely she won't have another horse until August to focus on so Echo is about to get bumped up in priority standings. 

Last week I took Dakota out with Echo and Lauren and we set out to ride around the outdoor jump field. She jumped the barrel cross rail jump in the picture below. 


Called it a day, cooled her out and then Lauren and I switched horses. The switching was a struggle for both of us. Lauren... is tall and Dakota is short. Dakota is a jerk and only likes me... Myself... switching meant sitting in Lauren's Voltaire. Which means intense blocks and knee rolls. I didn't know what to do with myself. On positive / funny note... I decided I'd ride her at a trot to remind myself what her trot felt like. I was laughing because I couldn't remember how to post and kept saying 'what's wrong with her trot'? Apparently I've forgotten what a real trot feels like after these years of only riding Dakota...


In a last minute decision yesterday, I switched farriers for Echo only (for now). I may switch with Dakota too after the next reset. I used Lauren's farrier and FINALLY Echo's hooves look like well... hooves. No more boxes. Also her hind hoof has fully grown out!! The heart bar shoe is GONE!

Finally yesterday was Dakota's birthday! Happy 14th birthday to the worst best gelding of all time. Hopefully here's to another 14.