Thursday, March 19, 2015

That Escalated Quickly

We all came to blogland for different reasons, I'm assuming.

I know I came here to find other equestrians, branch out, connect, share experiences & keep an archive of my riding success and difficulties.  Its grown to be one my favorite things about my life actually. I've made real life friendships through blogging and its connected me with some intelligent, respectful, wonderful & talented people all across America (& Europe!)

Color matching on fleek
When anyone signs up for social media, they should know what they're getting into. Its open. Its social, and everyone is entitled to free speech & their opinion. I know this and express it often. One should also be aware of the possibility of disagreements or even horribly rude & abrasive backlash. Another thing I am very aware of, thanks to my snark, sarcasm and opinionated nature. I accept it and move on.

To a point.

Yesterday's post brought to light some VERY helpful tips (thank you everyone!), which I will share momentarily.

But it also brought about some fierce drama that I was not expecting, and frankly, was seriously offended by.

I'm not pointing ANYONE out, and this spanned my facebook, instagram and blog account, but by no means do I find it OK for anyone to come onto someone else's page (or PM that person) and TELL them what they NEED to do with their horse.

I welcome suggestions. Always always always. I literally ask for them sometimes because I LOVE all of my readers and value their knowledgeable help highly. The connections are a wealth of information!

What I do NOT welcome and do  not take kindly to is people telling me what I need to do with mMY horse and my life. Informing me I need a coach, or need to take him to training, or need to do this or that is slightly overstepping boundaries. I am VERY aware of those things. But it comes down to resources. I am a person who has never and most likely will never, have an abundance of free time and money to throw at a problem. Don't you think if I did, I would have already sent him to training, boarded him somewhere with better facilities or put him in more consistent work?

Yes. I would have.

Also, I believe that any rider with a pulse knows coaches are a wonderful asset. I literally said I need one in the last post. I also have stated previously that I intend to take him to bi-weekly lessons with the woman who owns the barn I was hoping to board with. Not sure how the lines got crossed or missed but I have NEVER considered myself above average or above needing coaching. I just flat out can't afford it on a regular basis. Welcome to the real world.

Money would solve a lot of problems for a lot of people. But I think it takes a little more grit and determination to solve problems with less resources available to you & I am wildly offended by anyone who thinks otherwise.

Sure, I post about frustrations on here. Thats why I blog. But I am doing the best I can with what I have available. For those who are wondering, thats about an hour and 20 minutes "free time" after a 45 minute one way commute/8 hour workday, to cram any sort of barn time in before the sun sets. Not to mention other household/life chores and activities. I have to work, really hard, to pay for my horse and I take pride in that, & I don't come here to be judged on my skill and competence as a rider, trainer and owner of a difficult horse when I dont have enough time in the day/week/month to ride my horse on a consistent 5 day basis. I think we all know how hard it is to admit difficulty or failure on a public forum, but here we all are! I shouldn't be told thats wrong. I shouldn't be shamed for my availability and I definitely shouldn't be told I'm not allowed to enjoy my horse when I can.

All of that being said, I feel like I know my horse better than anyone and I absolutely believe the field is the root issue here. Sure, there are others sprinkled about, as any OTTB would have, but I stand by the fact that it is a night and day difference between off property/road work and riding in the back field.

whew...eq NOT on fleek

For example. Today was a windy, cold and slightly rainy day & my neighbors were shooting off their ridiculously loud guns and yet I still tacked up my horse because it was day 3 out of 7 I had the time to even consider riding.

To test my theory, we set off down the road. Guns roaring, wind blowing, he took it all in stride like a champ. He was a little tense at first, but with the hint someone posted (half halting UP not back) he immediately and visibly relaxed and STAYED that way. Even when Levi scared up 3 MASSIVE scavenger birds and they flapped in his face.. he jumped a little, snorted at them and thought real hard about bolting....and didnt.

I want to believe its the footing. Plain and simple. That field just is not kosher with him anymore.

It fully explains why for SEVEN whole months, he was 100% perfection in that field and then as soon as the wet cold season rolled around it was no longer Gucci with him. Makes perfect sense to me.

I just wish I would've thought about it long before I made myself sick with anxiety worrying about ulcers, diseases, lameness, tack and a mirade of other things.

I literally do not have any other explanation for the 180* turns. 3 magical rides on the road vs 2 horrible rides in the field are pretty solid stats in my book & I'm going to close the case for now. I realize he is not perfect in any of these photos...but htey show a MUCH more relaxed way of going and he is beginning to move FORWARD again, I wish y'all could have felt the difference in his entire body. He was willing to go, his back was relaxed, he followed the bit through the contact and he was a complete joy. If that doesn't say something, I don't know what does.

Hoping to get into the lesson program around the 28th and go on a relatively steady bi-weekly basis.

All of this being said y'all, I appreciate and adore those of you who show your support. Again, I am not pointing fingers at anyone who even reads this blog and commented. Just making general statements about the treatment I received throughout social media yesterday.

Hover horse & derp dog

Peace & love y'all. I leave you with a very derp picture of  the Levi.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Consistently Inconsistent

I am going to dance past the fact that I am so sore and tired from trying to adult all the things and focus directly on my ride today which was terrible if you didn't deduce from the title.

It was not  the caliber of fuckery that my winter rides morphed into...its just that when it was bad it was REALLY bad.....

This is mild

The worst of it was not on film
....And when it was good, its was REALLY good....

Defensive riding makes bad photos

But the consistency of good was greatly equaled by the consistency of the bad and I'm continued to be perplexed with the root cause of the explosive, ridiculous, unwarranted spooking thats occuring in an alarming pattern and frequency in the field.

1. I treated him for ulcers
2. He's on maintenance meds for ulcers
3. He's on a very strong calming supp
4. Nutrition is on point
5. Tack fits
6. We now have brakes
7. I took his tail down

Today he literally spooked at the exact same spot every single time and it made no sense. I know he is not kosher with barrels but he would be nowhere near them during the time of the spook and they were not in his line of sight. And I mean they were HARD bolting spooks. Every. damn. time. in the same spot. He was worse to the left, surprisingly. And cantering was out of the question (ask me how I know).

I did my best to remain calm with all body parts, because apparently moving an inch of any limb was highly offensive, and would engage one-rein stops at each spook, in which he would respectfully stop, breathe and move on. And take about half a lap and do it all over again.

Essentially we would regroup for about 30 seconds, gets 2 good steps, and then fall apart again.

I was really at a loss with what to move forward with regarding training. Do I work his ass off until hes tired? Do I try and ignore the bad behavior and work through it without regrouping? Or do I regroup so far as to bring back to a free walk at every spook?

I really had no idea where to go and I wished at that moment that I had a coach or a friend or SOMEONE to help me.

I ended up having a 3 way with solutions.

Every spook would warrant an emergency halt, pat, regroup, breathe and pick right back up at the trot. If there immediate shenanigans (likely), repeat and begin back at the WALK. Arrive at a nice walk---> permitted to trot. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat until rider is completely spent (like, entire body shaking with exhaustion). Dont worry, horse will be, and was, fine. Because thoroughbred.

Eventually, I got 2 laps of relaxed trot to the right and called it a day. To the left was just not possible today. Walked on a loose rein and tried to end it there.

Personal fav and good effort from the babe

I say try, because the second I turn to go home the neighbor lets his dogs out and Bacardi goes absolutely BESERK. I mean, it was a full fledged dip out bolt. I almost fell off until I remembered I had a neck strap. Which literally saved me from what most likely would've been broken body parts.

Not his fault, but still HIGHLY annoying that a spook is that violent. Its literally like his brain falls out of his skull. I've never met a horse with such a high flight instinct & such violent reactions.

So I'm beginning to wonder if the field is just out of the question. Permanently. Theres just something about it that he cannot tolerate anymore.

Either that or he's just not chill with being ridden in open spaces this fresh.

Highly aggravating considering its my ONLY space TO ride.

I walked him out on the road and he was absolutely, 100% perfection. Not even a twitch of a spook and we walked about half a mile on the buckle.

So that leaves me very disgruntled. For one, I know my horse behaves well on the road now (yay). BUT roadwork is not exactly conducive on a repetitive, daily basis and for sure not useful for jumping or dressage work. So yeah, I have ONE outlet, but utilizing the larger space in the field for dressage test movements and jumping seems very very out of the question right meow.

Which leads me to...uhhhh, where do I ride?

I know I'm a broken record & this is forst world problems, but srsly, riding...need it.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Yankee Update

For those of you that are new followers, you may not be too familiar with Yankee's story and how much this wonderful thoroughbred means to me. Longtime followers know him as the main star of the show for almost 5 years running now, as Bacardi is still a rather new addition to the team. I keep the blog banner with Yankee in it because he is as much a part of my life as B, just in a different way! If you want a little backstory on the Yankee, his "story" can be viewed up in the tabs section!

I haven't been doing a very good job of keeping everyone in the loop on The Pants, but he's doing really, really well in Kansas! I literally could not have found a better lease situation if I tried.

A Doodle selfie
Dashing as always, and his signature dark coat finally starting to come in nicely! What a sexual event horse.

The ladies in KS send me snapchats of him almost daily, and recently, Yankee has found himself very very naked in prep for his FIRST event of 2015!!


I wish I had a better photo available than a screenshot, but I forgot to crop it and here we are.

As you can see, very nekked, and up to his normal tricks and cuteness!

Recently (this past weekend) , Lauren took The Yankster XC schooling for the FIRST time together, and this year.

I think he really looks like a seasoned old man horse here
Treats plz
Doodlepants of course, rocked out and dominated all the jumps from Novice to Prelim. I can only imagine how fun that was to take him out for the first time and was actually really jealous! I bet he' truly enjoying himself over those open fences.

In addition to XC, they worked all winter, weekly, on dressage and stadium. It took a minute for the two to mesh, but now I think they are really ready for this event in 2 weeks!

Corners aint but a thang
Preppin' for a rollback
My favorite thing about Lauren is that she really took my tack suggestions to heart. She kept him bitless for stadium and even bought a lever noseband and waterford for XC. That means a lot to me that she didnt just stick him in whatever she wanted and took my word, as his owner, for it! It took me almost 8 years to figure out his fav combo for all 3 phases and it makes my heart happy that they're being so accommodating, even at such a distance.

I've been pestering them for some flatwork video or photos like the super annoying faraway owner that I am, but I hope they know that I appreciate every photo, update and video that I receive!

For now, the schedule looks to be Novice level at Texas Rose next weekend (27th-29th Mar) and then Training at Holly Hill (weekend of April 18th). I also know theyre doing a show in CO in Aug, which I am flying out for and a ton others inbetween!

As soon as I know anything about Texas Rose I will be sure to update you guys as well...and if you're going to that event, find my boy and give him an extra rub on the nose and a peppermint from me <3 p="">