Friday, March 31, 2017

Quarter 2 Goals

I set my goals this year with the possibility of moving in the back of my mind.  Quite honestly the only thing I care about this year is that he doesn't have an EPM relapse from the travel.  I am still formulating a plan on that front, but my vet feels confident that we will be able to minimize the risk.

Just to review my goals for the year are as follows

2017 Year Goals

  • Solid WTC (still working on this)
  • Travel new places (I haven't gotten him hauled as much as I wanted, but the last time he was quite well behaved despite all of our misadventures)
  • Schooling shows (I have done as many as I can, but it isn't as many as I was hoping for)
  • Happy and healthy (Despite his typical mishaps we have been doing well)
  • Improve my position (Changing my stirrups helped a lot, but I still need to keep my leg under me more)
  • Get my stress shopping under control (Realizing that you are moving to a place where housing costs 3x as much caused me to replace it with stress eating)
  • Improve my fitness (Ummmm unless you count lifting french fries to my mouth as fitness not so much)

Quarter 1 Goals

  • Keep up the steady progress (He has been pretty steady.  I have not, but sometimes you have to adult)
  • Focus on the trot (This has been very hit and miss because I bounce back and forth between yes we need to trot and no he needs more strength)
  • Keep doing ground poles (This has happened about once a week)
  • Keep working on breaking up the tension (This has also happened and he is slowly becoming more rideable)

I apparently thought that I needed to essentially repeat my year goals, which based on my progress I was not incorrect.  Whoops!  Here is to next quarter

Quarter 2 Goals

  • Maintain as much as possible despite having a nutty human
  • Keep him happy and healthy
  • Sanity (I have to be out of my house next month and don't move for another two months after that)
That is about all we can handle this quarter.  Hopefully, there will be big news on the moving front in the next couple of months.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017


Fairly frequently I have to find my horse in the pasture in the dark. His buddy is a paint, so he is fairly easy to spot. Right now Stinker's socks are very dirty so it is harder to find him. He lives in the dressage pasture which is the smallest one, but it is still large enough that it could easily hold three large dressage rings with room to spare.

The other evening I promptly found his buddy but there was no Stinker in sight. So I walked over to the trees along the fence line where he likes to sleep. He wasn't there, so I started walking around the pasture and by the time I made a lap I was starting to get nervous. Typically he is easy to find or he comes up to me.

You looking for me?

Finally I turned around and he was following along behind me. I hadn't heard him and I have no idea how long he was following along behind me while I grew increasingly worried about where he was. 

Monday, March 27, 2017


I have grounded (mostly) myself from riding.  I realized that my stress levels are just too high and it is making my horse nuts.  So our new approach is I am going to try to walk him for 15 minutes as a warm and to get him loose.  If at any point he starts feeding off me and getting anxious I will hop off and lunge him.

He still needs to tuck his belly and release the under neck, but I like this shot

Then to finish things off, I plan on popping him on the lunge line and doing work with transitions.  So far it has been interesting to see.  I filmed one down transition where he totally flopped from the canter into the trot.  I found it interesting that when he popped his head straight up in the air he finally stepped up underneath himself.  I am still puzzling over how what I am noticing on the lunge translates into what I need to do to get his body working correctly.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Pictorial Update

Things have been pretty quiet on the horse front.  Every other front seems to have blown up and been slamming me from all sides.  On the plus side his leg is looking much better.  There is a lump where the cut is, but all the swelling has disappeared.

I have even ridden him a couple times and that has been interesting.  He starts off really hot, but the settles and decides he can't bend either direction.  Eventually I can convince him that yes he can bend, and yes he can walk like a normal horse.  It is frustrating and my patience is in shorter supply than normal.  So far I have managed not to pick a fight out of frustration, so I am counting it as a win.

Friday, March 17, 2017

Luck Of The Irish

Despite my red hair and pale skin I am actually not Irish, but I will take the luck of the Irish when I get it.  Stinker is kind of a brat and likes to chew on his pasture mate.  He probably should get his butt kicked more than he does, but he is pretty nimble and tends to avoid the worst of the kicks.

Unfortunately, his luck ran out this week and it looked like he caught a kick on the outside of his right front leg.  I was pretty worried because it had heat and was swollen.  Stinker typically doesn't swell.  He was still sound (again I don't really trust him there because he has to be hurting really badly before he starts gimping), so I was trying to keep my worries in check.

After getting cold hosed twice a day without making any difference yesterday we tried doing standing wraps.  I had been hesitant to wrap him because he tends to pull things off his feet/legs and was worried he would cause more damage if he got hung up in the wraps.  He actually left them on all morning, which is longer than I expected.  In the afternoon he got bored and pulled them off, but was very considerate and left them in neat little piles.

Last night I turned him out with poultice on and this morning there was less heat finally and some of the swelling had gone down.  Hopefully, it will continue to look better this evening and maybe just maybe he won't do anything else to make me crazy.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Eventing Bingo: Adventures at Rolex

In case you somehow have found my blog without following Emma, which I believe gives you true cave troll status. She is running a contest and this is my entry for it. (PS Emma, I am using Card G column N).

Anyone that knows me knows, I adore Michael Jung and probably have a weird obsession with his horses, especially FischerRocana FST.  Sadly, she looks nothing like Stinker, so I had to make due with FischerTakinou.  Armed with some red face paint to fix his blaze I came up with a scheme to swap Stinker and Takinou at Rolex.  What can go wrong with that plan?

Totally the same thing

Per usual, it was pouring down the rain at Rolex, but it provided a nice cover to sneak into the stabling and make the swap while the groom was busy with Rocana.  Unfortunately, my luck didn't last long and the alarm was sounded.  I tried to casually trot him towards the cross country course, but we soon had police in pursuit.

The golf carts were rapidly closing in on us, so I decided to try and jump the smallest fence I could find.  He refused it and took off in a gallop.  As we tore around the course, I couldn't see because of the down pouring rain, but I finally got him back to a trot.  Unfortunately, we were headed straight towards the head of the lake at a trot.

via GIPHY (like this, but without the excuse of a second jump)

Takinou was beautiful over the fence, I was not so lucky and ended up in the water.  He took off for the stabling, and some how everyone missed me laying in the water.  Thankfully, I was able to sneak away and avoid being arrested, because I am a true tack ho at heart.

Monday, March 13, 2017

The Boarding Hunt

I am struggling to find a suitable place to board Stinker.  Not for a lack of nice places, but because I want my horse to have a brain.  I am discovering the area, is much like California in the sense that they don't do turnout.  And the places that have turnout, only do it for a few hours and it is in small paddocks.  I have found one place that has pasture board, but they won't allow him to have hind shoes so that won't work.

Wanted:  Place to be sassy

I don't think my wishlist is unreasonable.  Right now it is basically do you take care of the horses?  Will my horse have room to self exercise?  Are the people sane/nice?

What is the best way to find the smaller not advertised barns in an area you are unfamiliar with?

So far, I have contacted numerous trainer.  Pestered any bloggers I could think of that might have contacts in that area.  Called feed stores/tack shops.  My next step is to ask on Facebook, but I am struggling to find local horse groups in that area.  Googled extensively.

Not amused

This is my first time shopping for a place to board and I am doing it from a very far distance.  I will make a trip out there to visit places, so I am not going totally blind.  But so far I am not having any luck finding a large paddock, pasture board, or all day turnout.

Friday, March 10, 2017

High On Moxa

Stinker has been really tight in his right poll lately.  He wants to twist his nose and not actually let the poll release, so when the acupuncture vet was coming back to the barn I jumped on the chance to have her look at him.


She didn't even do any needles this time around.  She started off with some adjustments and he regarded her very suspiciously.  Then she moved onto the moxa.  I actually remembered to take some pictures/video so enjoy the Friday GIFs of my horse acting like a horse instead of a caffeinated deer.

Still suspicious

So relaxed

I thought he was going to be sassy

Wednesday, March 8, 2017


I am officially moving out west, which is exciting and terrifying all at once.  As far as work is concerned it is an excellent move.  As far as Stinker is concerned, it is completely and totally terrifying.

Stolen from the internet

The possibility of him having an EPM relapse is a real concern.  The face my vet pulled when I told him was not confidence boosting.  Stinker is going to have to be hauled nearly 3,000 miles which is less than ideal.  His boarding situation is going to change, which is another stressor for him.  We are working on a plan to lessen the risk, but it is stressful at best.

No stress from this one

If anyone has tips for a long distance move I would love to hear them.  While I have moved multiple states three times now, this will be the first time with a horse in tow.  I am currently working on some other posts about this whole process, but I would greatly appreciate any and all input.

Monday, March 6, 2017

Rocking Intro A

We had a ton of entries for the show, so some people rode dressage Saturday afternoon.  I requested to be in that group, so I could scribe on Sunday.  Saturday morning I was frantically trying to finish the dressage clipboard so I could go clean all of my tack and have extra time to pull his bell boots off and blah blah blah.

I managed to get everything done and was on my horse about 50 minutes before my ride time.  My plan was to walk for 30 minutes then trot a little and see what I was dealing with.  It would still give me about 15 minutes to either trot more and get him put together or put his brain back in his head if his mind got blown.  About the time I was going to start trotting, we got word the judge was stuck in traffic.

All done with the clipboard

This isn't that uncommon, so we assumed the judge would be about 30 minutes late.  So I kept walking him.  I decided to go ahead and trot after awhile because he was getting restless with just walking.  He was pretty good, minimal invert and fling legs and he gave me some really nice moments.  After some more walking and another round of trotting, we then got another update on the judge and discovered that a semi had overturned on the interstate and the judge was stuck as in not moving at all with no exit in sight.

I decided to get off him, and see how he did standing around.  Newsflash, standing around is his least favorite thing and he was pretty restless.  And on top of it he had to pee.  He hates peeing while tacked up, so he kept getting more and more antsy until he finally gave up and just peed.  He was a little better about standing, but he still kept circling me.

Finally, we got word that the judge had managed to get off the interstate and was going a different way, and was going to be there in about 30 minutes.  I got back on and started walking and trotting him again.  He was still trying, but I could tell his right hind (the weaker one) was getting fatigued. So I just kept walking him until the judge got there.  Thankfully, I was only the second rider so once the judge got there we didn't have much of a wait.

Are we still walking???

Our test was pretty much what I expected.  The trot work was very inconsistent and we had some jigging in the walk and not much of a free walk.  But we had some nice moments.  I was a little irritated with myself, because I blanked out a couple of times and forgot to ride in a few place which led to wonky geometry and we lost a point here and there because of me.  But I was so proud of my horse.  We were done with our test just a little over three hours after I got on him the first time.  He kept it together and walked out of the ring on a loose rein.

Of course as soon as I got off him, he started spinning around me like a wind up toy.  But the poor guy was just freaking done and he kept it together until his work was done.  I really can't ask for more than that.  Initially, I was super pleased with my scores because they were all 5s and 6s.  After I scribed I discovered that the judge just about won't give below a five.  There was only one 4 given for the whole show.  I missed what happened but I saw a horse buck an entire canter circle, and multiple people botched leads and they still got 5s.

Matching outfits for the win

I ended up with a third place ribbon because one person scratched.  Our score did improve over our previous show, but I am not really counting it as such since 5 was essentially as low as the judge would go.  I didn't learn anything earth shattering which is nice, because it means I do have a fairly accurate handle on where things are as far as his progress goes.  Plus this was a testament at how far he has come mentally to handle being tacked up ridden then standing then ridden again in the span of three hours.

Friday, March 3, 2017


I impulsively signed up for the schooling show at my barn, and then realized it had been quite some time since I trotted my horse under saddle.  For my lesson on Thursday I decided that it might be good to test out where the trot was at (my other option was warmup for the show which seemed extra dumb, even for me).

We started off pretty caffeinated deer like (thanks for that one SB) and I got annoyed because he lost all of his ride ability.  You know, that thing I have been working really hard on at the walk and there is zero reason for it not to carry over.  I cued for shoulder in and felt him puff up and plow through my aids.  So I shoved (great dressage here) him into it with the assistance of my spur.  It was magical, he resisted for a stride and then immediately softened into it.

Magic bonnet still has the magic

He stepped up with his hind, the swing came back in his back and his head immediately dropped.  He can't hold it for very long, but we actually had a shoulder in I am not ashamed of.  The trot is still very inconsistent, but there was a lot of improvement and he felt quite a bit stronger.

I'm trying

I do need to make sure I have a well established half halt to help with balancing him.  He likes to get strung out and zippy.  And keep using the lateral work to slow him and step up underneath himself.  But overall, we are making progress.  It was a very pleasant surprise.  Of course trotting him made him quite excited and he lost a bit of his walk, but I think it will be fine with time (and that whole half halt thing).

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

A Year In Work

I slacked on the conformation pictures over the winter, mostly because I was at the barn when it was dark all the time.  This weekend I snapped some conformation photos and compared them to last March.  It is interesting how he has changed.

2017 on top 2016 on bottom

His back has changed a lot, but his shoulder are still quite uneven.  I still have a long ways to go to get him more even and working correctly.  But he has made quite a bit of progress in the last year.

He likes to fall through the left shoulder a lot and I find it interesting that it sits so much lower than the right.  When he has had acupuncture done, she has done several adjustments on his shoulders.  I also really need him lifting more up front to get the dips behind his withers to fill in.  They are quite pronounced still, but I do think he has bulked up overall.