Happiness is owning a chestnut mare.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

GARG!

So, Taters and have had 2 lovely weeks of riding and just doing random ground work. There was only one day that made me mad, and that was last Saturday when the snow started melting.

Taters is a very reactive mare, and though I love every piece of her, the fact that she will spook at something random and stupid and then refuse to get over it for 10 minutes is really annoying.  As much as I hate to give into her occasional stupidity, I think I am going to avoid riding her on those winter "transition days." You know, the days when the snow comes flying off the roof and sends your horse flying across the ring. Yeah, I don't feel like dealing with that. Anyway, we had an excellent ride on Thursday even though her feet are getting long and she really needs a trim.


Sunday, January 6, 2013

OH MY GOSH IT LET ME SIGN IN!

I have been struggling to sign in to this sucker for months. Suddenly it decided to work again! Yay!

Anyway, Tots has had a boring winter thus far. First she was contagious. Then she got trimmed too short. Then I pulled her shoes for the winter and she was sore for literally another month. Then she was sound for a few days but I couldn't come out because of work...Then the ground froze and she got sore from walking on the pointy frozen mud outside on and off for a few weeks. Then there was Christmas and I was up in Buffalo and she was down in Mayville for 10 days.

AAAAANNNNDDD that is my update since October. LAME.

BUT now we have snow, and her feet are happy and I am starting to ignore some of my work responsibilities and we are back in action!

She has been excellent too. She is maturing into such a lovely young lady. She is already so much better than she was last winter. Still a bit too spooky, but my dressage saddle helps me stick.

My plan is to bring out a radio to distract her from winter noises. Unfortunately I live in east bumfuck, so we cannot get any radio signal in the barn. Maybe I will get speakers for my ipod? I dunno.


OH and the Syracuse PHA banquet last night was so much fun. Someday Taters will win something :)

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Contagious Tots

Oh Lordy.

It has been a super long time since I updated. Mainly because I am a teacher and the first month literally kicked my ass. Things are started to quiet down at work so I am able to spend more time with my Tots again. Upon close inspection of said mare I discovered something horrendous: fungi!!!!!!!!!!!

It all began 3 weeks ago. I went out to ride and her entire left side was covered in what I thought were hives. She did not seem upset by them and they did not seem to be by her saddle area, so I rode her anyway. We gave her some benadryl and they were gone in a few days...

In their wake she was covered in crusty, dry, flakey nastiness on her shoulder, barrel and hindquarter. I have been told that my description is forms quite the mental picture that is much worse than it actually looks, but still I was peeved. I was especially peeved because it seemed to now be centered around her girth area..so I was grounded.

I spent 4-5 days currying and betadining. I thought it was looking better and I was just about to ride again when I GOT THE G.D. FLU!!!!! I ended up not coming out to the barn for 4 days. Which is crazy for me. I might miss 2 days because I go to see my family on a weekend but 4 days?! OYE!

So I come back after my 4 day hiatus and now the fungus that I thought was cleared up was over on the other side and even worse!!!!!! along with 2 open sores on her girth area. serves me right for staying home when I feel sick instead of going to the barn in 50 degree rain. ugh.

So my quest has continued over the past week. New fungal treatments and sulfer baths. So annoying. I haven't ridden in 2 1/2 weeks and I am sure she is going to be a peach when I get back on. I have been working her on the longe and free longing her over some jumps. She isn't lame or hurting, she just has contagious shit all over her saddle area.

I have lysoled/bleached/disinfected all of my tack, pads, blankets and grooming stuff and it was a HUGE PAIN IN MY ASS. Because of what a huge pain in the ass this was I am going to continue working her on the ground until it is cleared up because I don't want to go through all this shit again. Plus I doubt the other boarders are interested in having my contagious tack all over the tackroom.

What a horrible fall thus far.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Oh Summer, where did you go?

Taters is in heat and therefore acting unworthy of a post devoted to her today :)

Today is Friday, August 24th. My last real day of summer. Summer camp is over. Taters has 6 more days of boot camp, and then we go back to our "real life." I feel like this is my real life though. I am never happier than I am at the barn teaching and hugging ponies. That is when I am home, that is my real life. I do like my job, but common people! So many people say do not do horses as a job because then it wont be fun anymore. I have worked full time at barns at different points in my life and the time outside (well maybe not cleaning stalls in Feb, but still) is the best time of my life. Oh to win the lottery so that Taters and I can live happily ever after.

I need to stop feeling such sorrow. Anyway, here is a video from todays summer camp festivities. No, Taters isn't in it. Maybe next year she will be ready for egg and spoon...or maybe she and I will never be ready-she is way too bouncy, I would loose immediately. So instead of riding my Tots, I rode my other bff HB, aka the best pony ever born. Honeybear doesn't like everyone. She is downright sassy to some people. For whatever reason she and I are good friends (yes, I consider horses my friends). She lets me ride her even though in reality I most likely exceed her weight limit by about 50 lbs (they should only carry 10% of their weight right? or is it 20%? I feel like either way I still am not ok haha).


Anyway, enjoy...


Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Quote

There are a few quotes in my life that I have seen and really felt like they meant something to me at a particular point in my life. Last week for example, I was quoting "The Burbs" as my mother and I snuck over to my neighbors front yard to try and figure out why they have been missing all summer.

On a more meaningful note I saw this quote on facebook, and I really liked it. I am posting it here so that I never forget. It is a quote by Eddie Sweat, who happened to be the groom for one of the most famous horses in racing history, Secretariat. It goes as follows:

"Only way that horses win is if you sit there and spend time with 'em. Show 'em that you're tryin' to help 'em. Love 'em. Talk to 'em. Get to know 'em. That's what you gotta do. You love 'em and they'll love you, too. People might call me crazy, but that's the way it is."

There were some additional parts to this quote, but I took the first section. I love this quote because it is the truth. I think back to my one and only "win" thus far and I think that it really came from spending time with Taters, loving her, getting to know everything about her, helping her understand her new job, and of course spending countless hours talking to her like she understands every word I say.

Anyone from my barn who is reading this (shout out to Erica, since I know she likes to stay on top of these things) knows that I talk to the horses. I talk to them a lot. In a serious voice, in a silly voice, in an angry voice...you name it, I probably use it. In all reality I am pretty sure I spend more time talking to animals than I do people.

I love talking to people too, but I love to talk to animals, especially Taters. She is a very expressive horse and shows a ton of emotions in her eyes and nostrils. It reminds me of when I watched "Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron" for the first time.I just laughed and cried because of the horse conversations. No, there weren't very many actual words spoken, but the horse expressions were priceless. In parts of the movie, the horses told a wonderful story without speaking a word.

Anyway, I digress. The purpose of this post was to point out that this man is really smart, and this quote hits close to home. The quote was finished when he added:

"I been on the racetrack 34 years, and I ain't never gonna give up. I think they'll take me to my grave with a pitchfork in my hand and a rub rag in my back pocket."

I can't help but think that is the way I will head to my grave, though I will probably also have a treat or two in there-I'm a sucker for that.


Monday, August 6, 2012

Blue Ribbon Tots

Yesterday Taters had her first horse show. I had two goals going in 1) To not fall off and 2) To not injure small children. Fortunately I accomplished both of those goals, and so much more :)

Our day began with me getting to the barn at 7 instead of 6:30. I got on and schooled a little bit. She was pretty calm, we even went and cantered around the big ring twice right before the schooling ring closed but everyone had already exited. She was going pretty slow and I was feeling positive.

Then I brought her back into the barn to braid her. After half an hour I was ready to kill myself for deciding that braiding would be a good idea. Lets just say THANK GOD it was a local show, because those are the worst braids I have ever put into a mane in my life. I thought that I had pulled it enough, but that was not the case, the middle was still so thick it was nearly impossible to braid and I didn't have  the patience to do 50 braids (mainly because she didn't have the patience for me to do 50 braids). Additionally she must have rubbed it because there were shorter hairs all over the place.

Things were going good and she was pretty calm until the announcements started and people started clapping and cheering after rounds. At that point, seeing that she is Taters, she had to know what was going on. She got very upset, not in a bad way, but in her nosey/curious always needing to be in the center of everything kind of way. I took her out and we walked around the whole barn, we went over and walked through the trailers, walked around the indoor and ate some grass ring side. She loved being in the middle of everything.

We warmed up a little bit over the jumps in the indoor, but not a lot. As soon as I got on I could tell she knew something was up and she couldn't stand still for a minute. Fortunately my friend was the only entry in the Adult HUS class. They asked me if I would do the class with her and I thought that was a great way of getting Taters into the ring for some extra schooling before my division. I went into it saying that I was going to take my time with transitions, not push her and do what I need to do to make it great for her and just plan on getting second (which is hard for me because I am extremely competitive haha). It worked out very well. She was definitely still hyped up and flying around the ring, but I just took my time, did circles when needed and stayed away from the other horse and rode through it. I was very proud of her.

I was really happy that I was able to get that canter out of her system because I really did not get much cantering in when I was schooling. After we came out of the ring she was much more relaxed and calm other than refusing to stand still. We kept walking laps around the barn while we were waiting for our turn in the ring because she just could not stand. At first I was annoyed and started getting tense thinking she was going to be nuts, but I somehow was able to calm down and tell myself that it is what it is. It really worked because though we never did stop pacing, I was much more relaxed.

Then we had our division. I decided to enter her in the trot crossrails division. We are fortunate enough to have a local summer show series that allows green horses and green riders in the crossrail divisons. It was the perfect division because we are not at the point of cantering courses yet, but I really wanted her to have her first show experience involve jumping. The only problem is that our indoor is incredibly small, especially for a 16 hh OTTB mare. We had one stride between the jump and the end of the ring.

Anyway she was more amazing than she has ever been in her life. Seriously. She went into the ring relaxed and happy and only wiggled a little! I honestly think she loved it! I almost cried when I left the ring after my first course because I was so proud of her. We were showing against 4 other people, so it wasn't a huge division by any means, but we were able to walk away champions! My mom video taped  my flat class and I just couldn't believe how wonderful she was and how nicely she was moving. Even with her slightly giraffe like stance, she definitely was the closest thing to a hunter in the class. Also we didn't have to canter right, which surprised me. My only guess is it was because it was the trot crossrails class so cantering wasn't even required for our jumping classes. I couldn't believe how great she was cantering in the group of horses. It was her first time in the situation of the person in front of her starting to canter at the same time she did. Again I took my time, waited for the girl in front of me to canter, then I asked for mine. She did trot/rush into it a bit, but it was still better than I was expecting.

Ok, this was super long, so here is the video and a picture of our loot! So exciting!! I guarantee that my grandma and papa were looking down and rooting us on! I know we did them proud!

video



Sunday, July 29, 2012

"I got this Mom"

Today I had another lesson on my Tots and she was still pretty good. By pretty good I mean she is definitely in heat and therefore annoyingly searching for anyone, or anything who wants to be her boyfriend. She also gets supersensitive, so her already thin TB mare skin becomes an even bigger nightmare.

So my lesson went well today (I can't believe the amount of positive things I have to say about our days together-it is simply amazing.) I also had a personal accomplishment. My instructor set up a jump to a pole...now I know I never explained in detail my concussion, but my concussion happened when I attempted to do a jump to a pole. We went over the jump (which she popped because it was her first vertical), then she looked and went "oh shit a pole!" and bounced sideways to avoid it, and I continued on the straight path and landed on the opposite side of the pole. Therefore some anxiety about doing it was reasonable.

So the first time wasn't pretty, but we did it! The funny (well, I guess not funny...) part is that she already is trying to tell me "I got this mom" whenever we start jumping. This works fine for the lines, because she just does them. She has the stride. When we start doing real courses at real horse shows I will never have to worry about getting down the lines, thats for sure.

The problem is, no Taters, you haven't "got this." You really don't know what you are doing yet. For example, landing off of a line of jumps, you don't get to decide what we do, I tell you what to do. If I want to stop on a straight line, you don't brace against me then continue to do whatever the hell you want. haha. oh the joys. We did have some great moments though I think. It is hard only getting to jump once a week...preferably I would be taking her over 5-10 small crossrails 2-3 times a week. I am not the type to start hiking up fences just to see how high she can go until she knows how to make it around a course of crossrails. She is super athletic though. I definitely have my next 3' horse on my hands, if not A/O horse (if I can ever bring myself to stop teaching riding).

I also believe that her intelligence and heart will allow me to have her teach my kids how to ride (when and if I do have kids) one day. Because when she really does know her job, it will be awesome when she says "I got this kid" and takes my kids around a course like a pro.