Thursday, December 3, 2015

The Dragon Has Risen

If you all have been following our story long, you are quite familiar with the firebreathing dragon that my horse morphs into when the thermometer drops below freezing.

Last winter, it was a training rut we could not climb out of even when the mercury rose. “Irreparable damage” to his gray matter is the wrong term, but there was definitely some temporary loss in  brain function on how to horse regarding my precious angel Bacardi.

TBT Fav of us

Not only did I almost give up on him because of his strange and unexplained behavior, I most likely & miraculously avoided serious injury by the stroke of God’s hands. Seriously. He was dangerous.

While less ferocious than last year, it seems the Dragon has arisen again.

Trying to recover from a bolting fit
Yesterday I rode the beast in 28* weather and he was…special.

Disclaimer being that they haven’t been turned out, besides the indoor in supervised groups, in over a week, because of the insane amount of mud we have right now in the pastures. Since all of our OTTBs are especially brain dead when turned out together, BO made the smart decision to keep them confined until the pastures look a little better. Not sure if they will, ever, this winter, since frozen mud is also dangerous, but I actually appreciate her efforts in preventing broken legs.

I also have not ridden or worked him in over a week. I am the WORST parent. Yes, I feel very guilty.

Quick aside; the reason I had been absent is due to my shoulder injury. First I was trying to diagnose the issue, second, we’ve been trying to relieve the pain. Its been a long (expensive) road trying to figure this out. I now see how/why  vets have such a hard time diagnosing lameness in horses. I’m a person and can say “it hurts here, please fix me” and they still ran multiple tests and I saw multiple specialists and spent multiple dollars… finally, after  X-rays (didn’t show anything), an MRI (inconclusive), cortisone shot (didn’t work, also OUCH), & narcotic drugs (masked the pain), I was still in the same situation. Exasperated, I visited my adoptive mother, Amy and she literally fixed me in one session. She found the muscle that was causing me such trouble in like 15 minutes, did some magic and I felt loads better almost immediately. She thinks it was a small tear, or severe muscle pull, creating extreme tension throughout my rotator cuff and entire shoulder into my neck. After that, I also received dry needling treatment from my PT as well, bruised spectacularly and have felt mildly fantastic since then. I’m still in PT and can barely lift any weights (we’ve been doing a whole 3lbs overhead for now) and feel extremely weak, but its on the mend. Unfortunately will most likely be a lifelong issue, but I’m hopeful. AS of now I can move my arm again, but the muscles are very tender. Storytime, over.

I also justified giving him time off (again) because the last time I rode he was still NQR (remember back when he got his feet trimmed last?) but now in the hips. I contemplated calling a chiro but apparently there are none on call here and I have to (find time to) haul to one. Le sigh.

Hopefully now though, I can fully return us to work together. Again.

Story of my life apparently. Finally move to an indoor and become riddled with health issues! Alas, it is all OK.

Back to yesterday’s ride.

He seemed rather dead in the crossties while I was tacking up. Seemed promising.

Unfortunately, I ALWAYS  catch a lesson as its beginning and have to share the arena. Generally it’s a jump lesson too so theres always jumps to dodge and other horses careening around to avoid. I don’t mind though, just grateful for an indoor and it *helps* Bacardi get desensitized to bustle and hustle.

I knew it was going to be a day when he danced around while I was trying to mount. Not something he usually does.

And from there he took it upon himself to spook at anything and everything. This includes but was not limited to, arena sand, divets in the arena sand, arena sand hitting wall, groundpoles, jumps, other horses moving, me moving any limb, the reins, my helmet cover falling off (ok he gets  a pass on that), riders falling off (happened 3 times), people standing in the doorway, spooky corner at the end of arena, arena door, the wind, me breathing.

This is what I imagine Bacardi would be in human form
His spooks weren’t horrible or on any level comparatively to last years spooks, but still annoying.

Inbetween wild sidestepping and headtossing, he was actually phenomenal. But exceptionally bipolar. We would get maybe one or two good circles before a spook occurred, but then he would get right back to being an angel within 3-5 strides. It was confusing, but I couldn’t really be mad. He was really trying to be good. He was.

Canter transitions resembled that of a bucking bronc star with wings, and nearly unseated me a few times, but I actually laughed out loud at his exuberance. Poor guy was prolly dying to run. His leaps and bucks were happy leaps and bucks and he stopped after a few pretty rowdy transitions.

I tried my best to stay with my plan of relaxation and not jerking back or reacting in any way to the spooks and shenanigans and that seemed to mitigate his responses. Hashtag proud of us.

I was still annoyed with him for not being a perfect gentleman the whole ride, but he eventually settled (probably got tired, fatty) and we ended on a good note.

To add to that, I’ve been really concentrating on perfect square halts EVERYTIME and hes been nailing them. Also, turns on the forehand/backing have been exceptionally stressful for him, which I cant figure out (always have been), but hes been making giant steps in his progress. I think that’s another blogpost entirely. Small victories right?

Overall, even though he was rather naughty, we still had some quality work put in and he tried hard. I cant blame the poor dude for being confined and not exercised either. Hopefully this winter with actual walls to work within, we can make progress instead of sliding backwards!

UPDATE: I rode this evening as well and minus one giant meltdown that included a sideways bolt and bucking fit, he was amazing. We discussed his inability to bend left or move his ribcage over, for more than an hour, but we came to terms. It was a productive and lovely ride as well despite the jump lesson going on around us!

I was good, now give me cookiez
To end with that, I am taking him to a jumper show next Saturday the 12th. I doubt we will be competing, if anything maybe X-rails, but its only 30 min away so I would really like to go just to go. Finger crossed he doesnt lose his mind while there.

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

In With the New, Out With the "Old"

Since I spent a mini fortune on updating a few things in my tack box, I decided it was only logical to clean out my barn and get rid of a few pretty nice things I never use anymore. 

I posted on English Tack Trader from Facebook already and have been overrun with questions and messages today, but I figured why not extend the feelers on blog land. I really have no use for some of these things and truly just hope someone else can get some use of of them...making a few dollars is just a perk. 

From the listing on Tack Traders;

Sorry for the ugly screenshots, I'm at work and wanted to do this before I forgot!

Pictures of items in no particular order (though I tried, sorry!) are as follows!

Again, sorry for the horrendous pictures, formatting etc. 

I MAY decide to sell my super nice HDR 5 way, but I'm not sure. Will update. 

I also will be selling some breeches that no longer fit me and two helmets that are still good, but I no longer use. Don't worry, not listing the bashed up CO II 

I'm a little leery of putting my email out online for everyone to see, so if any of you want anything, comment below or message me on Facebook or text me! 

No pressure ;)

Monday, November 30, 2015

Deals on Deals on Deals

This entire post I blame on Amanda from the $900 Facebook Pony. It's all her fault. 

I spent all the monies. 

That's not true actually. I spent some of the monies and saved a lot of it, and in turn- got all the things. 

I like things.

And this paycheck had a lovely (LOVELY!!) bonus that came with it and coincided with Black Friday. Funny how that works out...

Unlike most tack whores that I know, I don't actually buy things. Like, ever. Almost everything I own I've accumulated over the last 12 years, mostly from my late middle school and high school years. But in those years I accumulated a LOT of stuff. Mostly because I owned a giant menagerie of horses during that time and got everything from eBay or consignment. 

That being said, I've splurged on a few things and paid full price for them (5 way breastplate, XC boots, a few bits) but most other things I've accumulated from really solid deals from eBay (saddle pads, martingales, girths), random rich friends cleaning out rack trunks (thinline pad, assorted reins) or sales at Rolex (See; Stubben gear, BOT gear). Even my saddles I got from a friend and eBay. 

Meaning, I utilize thrift at all costs. It physically hurts me to pay full price for anything and I generally don't get things "just for fun", even though I'm very wanty and have a list a mile long of upgrades that would be chill. 

Lately though, my list of "things I could really use an update of, but can get away with using the old shit" has really grown. This is a separate list from the "wanty" list. 

To name a few, a saddle (barely fits me), half chaps (held together w duct tape), new girths (lost or stolen somehow), dressage bridle that fits B (kinda small), new helmet (7 years old, fallen w it four times), etc etc

But nothing I desperately needed or had to replace immediately. Well, the helmet actually really needed to be replaced. Oops. I can use the saddle I have, for now, like I always have..but one day I would really like to replace it and get one that for ONCE fits me & the horse. The girths I've been using as replacements are old AF and slightly too small for B. And the dressage bridle I've been using is also slightly too small. Just barely. 

I think it fits a little too tight around his ears, and the noseband sits oddly on his face. It just doesn't work work for him. But is all I had. And I LOVE it. It was my sweet 16 gift and is from GER. 10 years old almost, but still beautiful. Unfortunately, just doesn't fit B. So I've taken to riding him flat in his jump bridle and B has advised me that he really likes it. Something about the figure 8, methinks. 

So where am I going with all this? 

The deals. 

I had set out to take advantage of Black Friday deals and to find a jump girth and a new helmet, minimum. If I found a dressage girth, bridle, and half chaps, cool. 

I actually found everything but even with the bonus, still have limited budget (dammit). 

Thanks to Amanda's list, smartpak gave me a 15% off deal on a new Charles Owen II helmet. I toyed with a new helmet (not a CO) but couldn't bring myself to spend $400 on one. I don't care hat much, and CO has always been my fav. Score on a new helmet for $175! Also, since Smartpak is amazing and magical, since my order was over $75, FREE shipping. 

Next up was a girth. I actually needed this since my emergency girth is barely big enough for B.  I really wanted to get a Stubbben to match the rest of our gear. If not a stubben, at least a tobacco colored girth, because matching. 

See; saddle and breastplate. Who knew I would like orange on orange so much. I don't care if anyone else likes it, I think it looks smashing. 

Sadly too, this saddle that currently fits B is not a monoflap. Jankee currently have my monoflap, since that one fits The Pants. 

Cue, Riding Warehouse. 

I found not only a tobacco colored girth, but a fucking Stubben. It was already on sale from the retail price of almost $200, for about $64 

THEN, the Black Friday deal was an ADDITIONAL 10% off (I think?) and I got the damn girth for $51 even...which meant I qualified for FREE shipping by $1. Um, score??

I also found half chaps on Dover for $60 but decided to leave those for the Christmas/birthday list since I already felt really guilty for spending money and my half chaps might make it a little longer. 

That being said, I DID find some winter riding boots on eBay, totally unrelated to Black Friday, but still, only $20 shipped. 

Score. Half chaps will last through the winter if I never use them, haha! Hoping these bad boys keep my feets warm!

After that I got distracted while clicking through the list with things I could NEVER afford ($400 breeches) and found something I could afford. BOGO C4 belts! 

See; belt. I ADORE C4 and had a 20% off coupon just chillen in my wallet for a rainy day. Amanda's list goaded me into buying yet another belt, and sharing the BOGO deal with my bestie and lessee extraordinaire.  I had been thinking how I could use a more neutral belt, since I had a very bright mint belt AND an American flag belt. Can't pass up BOGO and a 20% off coupon. Hell no.. 

With a little mint, since you always need a little color in your life. And I can always exchange the mint for the white or silver buckles I already have. ALSO got free shipping on this order. What what!

Then, because I'm terrible and by this time had caught the shopping fever, spent a few hours (it seemed like) continuing to peruse the net for deals. 

Then I found it. 

A stubben, tobacco colored, figure 8 bridle for 70% off retail price of $350. 

I had to have it. My mind was racing. I was calculating bills vs the amount of bonus I had leftover for wiggle room. Farrier was coming in two weeks, but I had the majority of my non-equestrian gifts taken care of already and plenty of money left (for once, what). 

Texted a few horse friends (S/O to you guys for being enablers), and within the hour it was mine. 

I would take the jump bridle and transform that into my flat bridle. The leather is dark enough it could pass for black, but if I wanted to, Amanda (yes, her again) wrote a very awesome post on how to dye leather. Could always do that if I was feeling squirrelly.

 I doubt I'll ever sell the black and white dressage bridle, since it was a gift, but I could if I wanted to. 

I also already have orange Stubben reins, since the bridle didn't come with them. 

The most important thing to me is the fit. I'm hoping that it's big enough for his mule ears. 

There's this super soft looking leather by the ears so I'm hoping the princess will find it satisfactory. 

I can't believe I spent that much on a bridle ($100), BUT as a friend pointed out, I can sell it in a pinch of neededsince it's a Stubben. But I doubt I'll need to do that ;)

Finally Bacardi gets a bridle of his own instead of a hand me down! Now all he needs is a bridle tag!

I'm literally so excited I could pee. 

Now to play the waiting game!