Thursday, January 15, 2015

New Beginnings & All That Shit

I guess I've put it off long enough. Its time. Its my birthday, which signifies January is half over and it really is a new year. Time to be an adult and do shit.

2015 goals.

Win all the blues.
I hate doing a goals list. A New Year does not magically freshen up your life and make things a brand new start.

Its simply a continuation of the same life, just with different numbers on your checks and bank statements.

I never make resolutions. I get annoyed when other people do. People rarely keep them. Like I'm glad they're all for bettering themselves but a New Year does not signify the start of that. I'm more along the line of thinking "Just try and keep your shit together, like, all the time".

keeping our shit together
That all sounds really negative and I'm not trying to make that impression. I just hate how frisky everyone gets over resolutions. Sure, I love watching the ball drop and popping champagne on NYE, but its still the same after that. THATS why I've been avoiding it.

But everyone actually needs goals. Especially if you have a seriously green OTTB on your hands.

future event horse right hurr
I also put it off because I really didn't know what 2015 had in store for us. I still don't really know, but I at least I have a real person job with reliable paychecks, and I don't think I'm moving. At least not within the next 6 to 8 months. I would love to go south & leave all this winter fuckery behind for good, but one needs a savings account first.

So with that, my tentative 2015 goals go a little like this....

But seriously. I can't afford more than probably 3 or 4 sanctioned events. maybe not even that considering they cost a cool grand for the whole weekend when its all said and done.

So my plan is to get B out to some local schooling shows early in the year. First show anywhere close to me is in April. So thats the first goal.

First first would actually be to like, RIDE.

Back when I actually showed 
I'm hoping in a few weeks the world will thaw and I can travel to the indoor a few times a week [lets be realistic, once a week] to get some solid jump schooling under our belts.

B is still SUPER UBER green over fences and I havent really done much jumping in oh, about a fucking year.

Once and IF that all happens, I will feel better about spending money on shows.

Hoping to do one schooling show every other weekend. Because who knows how he will behave off the property.

Then my next goal is to make our eventing debut at Midsouth HT. Its always been one of my favorites and its super close to me and at the end of June, so gives us plenty of time to prepare. If thats isn't disastrous, I was hoping to also compete at Champagne Run and Hagyard Team Challenge. I don't know if baby brain will be ready since those are end of the year shows, but I love those events. We might also hit up Jump Start, because also excellent.

With Bacardi, I just want him to stay in the ring and go over most of the jumps without mishap. Maybe later I can nail down more specific goals like, low 30s dressage tests and double clear XCs. But I'm trying to be realistic.

At home, it would be awesome if I could get some real lateral work down pat with him. Also, super clean canter departs. If I could nit pick his trot, it would be to work on maintaining proper carriage for more than half a lap- he tends to get heavy in my hands. I mean, have you seen the set of shoulders on that guy? I would also love to dabble more in his flying changes too.

So to recap
1. Lateral work
2. Proper carraige
3. Canter departs
4. Tentative flying changes

1a. April schooling show-don't die
2a. May schooling shows-more not dying
3a. June USEA show- stay in the ring, no refusals
4a. End of year sanctioned events.

Not a very decisive goals list, but its a start

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

What Do Wednesday: Vacations

I know what you're thinking. 

Beaches, skiis or other vacationing destinations in winter. But I'm not talking human vacations. Vacations of the equine variety.

Horses be like
I stumbled upon THIS article on FB while trying to distract my brain from not being able to ride and found it interesting and thought provoking and definitely worthy of picking my blogging friends brains.

If you don't feel like or can't for some reason or another (mobile app is weird sometimes) I shall sum it up for you...

Written by the all knowing and godlike, Denny Emerson, this article touches on his life in the earlier years and how its drastically changed for the worse (surprise surprise). Post WWII, apparently EVERYONE gave their horses the winter off because no one could afford to build indoors or travel south. In general, horses got about 2 months off, completely, a year. Northern riders gave their horses the worst parts of winter off. The Southerners would give their horses the worst part of summer off. Denny remarks on how nowadays, it seems most (especially top level horses) are shown 12 months a year, with no real big breaks, with southern migrations being a prominent factor. Obviously not the best thing for horses. He then highlights & generalizes 3 different types of riders and what they have to offer "vacation" wise for their horses and it brings up great points.

-->"There are enormous difference of opinion about what kinds of time off are most beneficial to equine athletes  Some advocate the old fashioned idea of "let him be a real horse..get muddy and dirty...pull his shoes and chuck him in a field for 2 months"
-->"Others advocate keeping horses in some form of constant work 12 months a year...if you were a human athlete in good shape would you go sit in a chair for months?"
--> There are other riders ..who advocate several mini-vacations a year. If a horse has been built up to a peak of fitness...the week following a race or show should be limited work to let the horse recover both physically and mentally, as a way of "recharging the batteries"

 I couldn't really tell if he was more for "mini" vacationing or larger breaks, but I know I formed an opinion based off my opinion and experiences in the sport.

As always, before I officially ask, I have to share my side of WDW.

I go with Option 3.

I've never competed at the peak level of any sport, so I have no real pull in any direction when it comes to a certain level of fitness and performance.

That being said, if I were at the top, I would still have the same opinion.

Even at the lower levels, horses/ riders are learning, schooling and drilling and at some point they need a rest. I know with OTTBs especially, their little brains can explode easily and little bits of downtime can be extremely beneficial in mitigating serious meltdowns. In addition, joint & muscle health is  serious concern at any level!

Even when I was showing pretty regularly (1-2 events a month and schooling shows every weekend) I would ALWAYS give my horse 2 FULL days off after a show, 1 easy day back and then school hard for 2.

I will say though I am NOT a fan of throwing horses out into a field to "just be a horse". I try my damndest in winter to continue some sort of "let down" work going (hacks, long and low flat sessions, trails) and same in winter when the temps soar. Like Denny's article said, you wouldn't take a human athlete and sit them down in a chair for 3 months and then bring them back. The yo-yo-ing of getting in peak form, letting down and coming back., I think is WORSE than staying in relatively good condition all year with "mini" breaks ( in the form of a few days off a week, or a week here and there off). Coming from someone who yo-yo's herself, I can tell you its not the greatest. I am either a fat turd or ripped.

While I wish and dream of GA or FL winters, I know its saving me oodles of cash in travel expenses and boarding costs. I could go on about this topic nd the direction that the sport of eventing is heading, but ya'll would get bored with all the words.

So dear readers, What Do? Specifically, you and your horses, or your general opinions on the 3 different general situations. Do you throw them in a field to chill? Do you try your best to battle mother nature and get some work done? Do you migrate?

Tell me your secrets!

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Twiddling Thumbs

Still no real movement over here on the Vollmer homestead. I'm still a fat turd doing nothing but watching Greys. If I didnt have horses to force me outside occasionally, I think I would literally hibernate and not come out till spring.

The weather situation has not improved. Temps rose above an Arctic howl and I was able to at least go outside without a full face mask (YAY POSITIVE SIDE). Also, my hose didnt freeze, thanks to adequate drainage techniques, and I was able to fill the water tank. My heater is in the fritz, but its just keeping me on my toes and in ice chopping shape. Barn door is still frozen shut, and all the cardio going around back, is at least keeping me from becoming a blob.

Still have not ridden.

Oh also Lilly slashed her face. So thats fucking inconvenient.

Plus side of that, did not get her eye. Very plus.

At first I panicked at the sight of it. Beacuse I'm Anxiety Girl. Thankfully Old Mare is quiet and let me examine it closer. She did not let me shave around it thought, and I think it needs stitches. Not sure. Many issues with that type of cut though. Not really sure the skin can be pulled close enough TO stitch. Also, I'm pretty positive everytime she moved her jaw to chew it would pop them anyways. Wounds in winter are very annoying. It doesn't seem to bother her much, which is also a plus. Luckily, I have vet friends that think it was OK to wait to call a vet out, so no emergency vet bill. First thing tomorrow though!

After tending to ancient horsebeast, I did manage to fill some part of my day re-clipping the baby horsebeast.

It was time.

I was reluctant to try, because of the hell we went through the first time. But he was really getting ratchet. I call the re-growth "onion hairs" because they remind me of the uneven and gross hairs that grow off of old onions. And grown out clipped coats are gross.

My hell with him is really nothing, I'm just spoiled with Yankee's behavior. Which is perfect, for the record.

To prevent wide eyed stares, nervous twitches and minor pulling back in the cross-ties I decided it was best to mitigate with food.


I also noticed that he visibly relaxed when I sang along to my ipod.

So I force fed him treats and rapped sang Lil Wayne to him for an hour and we got it done with no real melt-downs.

"I deserve all your cookiez"

He looks a little ridiculous with only half his face shaved but I cannot STAND goat hairs on the chin. SO I had to at least get the bottom. I really wanted to smooth it out a little more, or get all of his face. But I also do not want a 17.1hh Thoroughbred rearing into the rafters with me so I avoided it to remain alive. Also, with the weather we've ben having, I figured it was more protection for his Princess face.

I actually was very impressed that he was so calm and non spastic for face clipping. In general really, he acted like an adult for once. Perhaps he's learning how to horse after all.

And then he posed for pictures.

I swear to God this horse is THE best poser. I don't know if this had to do with his old owner using him as the subject of her art, or if he just loves the attention, but I can leave him alone, back away and he will strike poses all fucking day.

Majestic as fuck. 
You will notice the adorable bonnet he's modeling. We will eventually be rocking that over some sick stadium courses, but for now we will appreciate Jackie for giving it to me for my birthday.

Its in four days in case you were wondering.

Fresh and fabulous
The Boy has planned an amazing trip to TB for my birthday, and we depart Thurs for 4 days, so I think I will continue to not ride.

Considering its currently spitting ice outside and covering everything the light touches with slick surfaces, I do not think I will even be able to turnout, so riding is out of the question.

I will think of it as a mini vacation inside a vacation for the beast.

Consider that foreshadowing for our next episode of "What Do Wednesday" coming this Wednesday.

Also I hate all of you that have indoors.