Friday, April 28, 2017

Wine About It

I actually rode my horse.  It was for 20 minutes and we only walked, but it was more than I had done with him in about three weeks, so I will take it.  In other news, I did something really really dumb.  I left a bottle of wine in my car.

I was leaving work and started to drive.  I heard liquid sloshing and thought it was weird and then the smell of alcohol hit me.  I remembered that there had been wine in my car.  I stopped and looked in my back seat, and the bottle of wine had gotten too hot, blew the cork out of the bottle, and proceeded to spill all over my backseat.

There was maybe 1/3 of a bottle left (which got poured out in the parking lot) and the rest was marinating in the backseat of my car.  Luckily, I had three part rolls of paper towels in my car, so I immediately started trying to soak up as much wine as I could.  My car reeks of alcohol and every time I drive I am hoping I don't get pulled over.

Red wine paper towels anyone?

I am still getting red wine to soak up in paper towels two days later, but so far it doesn't look like it is staining too badly.  It is such a mess, but hopefully I will get it all soaked up and my car won't smell like a frat house anymore (the combo of horse and wine is awful).

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Still Alive (Barely)

My life has basically been a demonstration of how not to try to move.  First up, my house sold more quickly than I really wanted (not really a bad thing but it was inconvenient).  That meant I had to find temporary housing for the last couple of months before I actually move.  Next up, my bosses decided that I needed to go do a training course in California for a week.  Third, I decided I need to go look at a place which meant I was out of town for another three days.  Finally, when I did get back home the week before I had to be out of my house I got super sick.

Exploding kitchen

Like I didn't leave my house for four days and could barely walk sick.  Which led to trying to pack everything in about two days while still sick enough my bosses didn't want me anywhere near work.  And to make things even more fun, I had to talk on the phone and everyone thought that they needed to tell me I sounded horrible.  Yes I realize that, but I can't delay making these phone calls anymore.

Finally packed

But I managed to get out of my house and into my temporary housing and actually saw my horse.  I haven't ridden yet.  I was going to, but I rode him bareback from his pasture to the barn and was exhausted and decided actually trying to ride was probably a horrible idea.  Thankfully S has been riding him, so he hasn't had three weeks off.  She has reported that he has been good for her.

He wouldn't cooperate for the cute picture

He also got moved into a new pasture and so far has only had a couple bite marks and one kick (none of which are serious), so I am keeping my fingers crossed that he will continue to behave and not cause any trouble.  Stinker has zero social skills and just wants to play all the time.  Of course his idea of playing is chewing on his "buddies" so it isn't well received.  I am excited to get back to riding this week and my favorite dressage judge is in town this weekend, so hopefully we will be able to have a good lesson.

Monday, April 17, 2017

Extended Vacation

Stinker got an extended vacation while I was out of town looking at housing/barn/training for work.  Then right before I finally got home I got sick, so he is still on vacation.  And considering nothing is packed and I have to be out of my house next week, it is probably going to continue.

I was in California for a week for work training

On the plus side he did get two rides from S and was actually really well behaved.  That is a huge step for him.  He used to immediately revert back to OMG panicked with anyone new.  Granted S isn't new new, but it has been quite sometime since she has ridden him.  And even longer since she rode him when I wasn't there.

I was super excited to see him.  He wasn't nearly as interested in me

Hopefully, he won't object to the extended time off and we can pick things back up where we left off. I am hoping to do a couple more schooling shows/maybe a trip to my favorite dressage judge's place prior to the move.  Either way I am just hoping to maintain through this fall and keeping my fingers crossed that by then I will have been able to settle into some kind of a routine.

Friday, April 7, 2017

Spoiled Pony

Stinker got acupuncture again yesterday.  And by acupuncture I mean she stuck two needles in his feet and then did moxa over all of the spots she wanted to do needles.  Being sensitive is rough for the Stinker pony.

So hard being sensitive

The vet was pleased with the way his hind end is developing and he was very well behaved.  The first couple of times were rough before she started using the moxa, but since then he has chilled out and enjoys the treatment.  Interestingly enough (maybe only to me) he was more sore on his left hind vs the right hind.  Typically the right, which is weaker, has more soreness.

I am not sure what that means, but I did notice when I rode him yesterday morning that he was more tense to the left and wanted to get quick.  Hopefully, it is just a product of traveling and over compensating with the left and not anything serious.  I have become a big fan on the moxa plus a couple needles in helping to remove some of his tension and get things loose so he can work correctly.

Trot like that and he can have all the body work he wants

One of the down sides of moving is I will have to find new everything:  vet, farrier, saddle fitter, body work person.  It really sucks thinking about it considering it has taken me two years to get everything worked out and I am happy with the people I have.  On the plus side I think I am getting closer to having a living situation worked out for him.  Fingers crossed that he will continue to be the spoiled pony he is.

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Metamorphoses: Caffeinated Deer Finds His Inner Horse

This past weekend was the most my favorite dressage judge had seen me trot in awhile.  Typically in our lessons we don't get that far because she is too busy fixing us at the walk.  She rapidly pointed out a couple of major problems I have.  I like to ride with my hands in my lap, I don't know when this habit developed, but it causes me to ride very backwards.

Backwards riding

When my hands get in my lap and I start pulling backwards to maintain contact, we get the above picture.  As my favorite dressage judge said, I need to keep my reins short enough that I always feel like my hands are going forward.  It sounds quite simple, but the reality is Stinker has a very long neck and can retract it to a very short neck very very very rapidly.  I struggle with being quick enough to shorten my reins when his head pops up and then lengthen them again when he stretches out and so on as the cycle continues.  But when I do manage to get things right he looks good.  Like an actual dressage horse.

Dressage horse, when rider remembers to ride

Unfortunately those moments are few and far between right now.  But it is nice to know it is in there and I can find it under saddle.  I have seen it on the lunge line, but getting it when I am riding has been tough.  Hopefully, we can keep maintaining for the next month.  And there might be some promising news on the moving front soon.

Monday, April 3, 2017

Show Time

This weekend we went to another schooling show.  Two flats and a colic (not Stinker and the horse is doing much better) later we finally made it home.  Minus all of the adventures I was really happy with the show.  We did Intro A again and I had the added bonus of my favorite dressage judge (DJ) was riding her horse at the show.

Friday after we got up there, I had a lesson with DJ and she got after me for being too passive.  Once I was more demanding with my aids he improved so much.  She had us trot some and agreed with me about his right hind.  It is still weak and he struggles with it in the trot, but she had me post on the incorrect diagonal going to the right and that seemed to help quite a bit.  We also talked about my indecision about how to approach things with the trot and his weakness.  She wants me to do short bits of trot regularly and keep up the lunge work I have been doing, because he has been improving and it gives him a chance to think things own without me.

Saturday, I didn't have my ride until the afternoon and I was struggling with my nerves.  Once I got on the main warm up area was quite crowded and there was lots of cantering going on, so we went over to a secondary ring that had been set up for an FEI show previously.  We walked and trotted over there and he was going really nicely.  As it got closer to my ride time, we moved over to the main warm up area which had cleared out a bit and mostly had Intro riders (so no cantering).  He handled warm up quite well.

He did not like his back neighbor

We did have one spook when he realized there were riders out on XC and towards the end he was getting himself worked up a bit.  Next time I think I will cut my warm up a little shorter and see if I can avoid that. I was in the ring that is across the road from stadium.  Last time that resulted in lots of staring in that direction.  He didn't look at stadium at all this time.  He spooked at the judges stand (someone let the door slam right as he was approaching it) so I walked him by it multiple times and they were nice and talked to him.

Blurry picture from the test

The test was about as good as we could put together now.  It was a massive improvement from our first one, but he is still way too tense.  I did put a couple extra circles in to get him back together when he was getting really strung out and I think it helped a lot.  I had to laugh at the end, because the judge asked if I knew that I received an error each time I did an extra circle.  I said, "Yes I know." She looked shocked and said, "Really?"

Pretty blue participation ribbon

I was really pleased with the fact that we got a 7 on our halt.  Standing is not a strong point for him, standing square for 3 seconds is almost impossible for him.  Typically he will pause and then try to creep forward.  I do think he is starting to get the whole show thing.  And as an added bonus he loaded and unloaded really well.  We are not going to be Intro A champions any time soon, but we are making steady progress and he is learning that warm up and the show ring aren't terrifying.