Friday, January 29, 2016

Jankee 2016 goals & Update

Hello Bloggerinos. 
Jankee here, finally blogging about 2016 goals only a month late, new record for me. Quick little recap and a talk about my last ride: I was in Phoenix for XMAS for 11 days so good old man Yankee got about 2 weeks off work (finals week before I left) and honestly I think it was exactly what he needed. Our most recent ride was LOVELY to say the least. Yankee was putting in some solid work and was incredibly relaxed and willing for the entire ride (that’s a first since I’ve had him back). I tried him in a Micklem for the first time (wondering if a change would help him realize he can just freaking chill out) and he was surprisingly awesome in it. It’s only the first time working in it, so I won’t shell out the cash to get one quite yet, but at least it’s an option. Y

ankee has been a bit resistant in the bridle recently and will take any form of contact as an excuse to just stop working, so I’ve been just pushing him forward, forcing momentum and using his booty and then, once he’s moving forward freely, I’ll ask for a true contact, working in the bridle. So far, this has been helping his pony brain. Instead of getting anxious and resisting, he’s enjoying the freedom in his movement and when I ask for contact he willingly works in the bridle. We need to work on more action in his hind end in the canter, but one gait at a time. We only worked for 20 minutes, but he was completely awesome, beautiful downward transitions and lovely extensions and freedom in his trot. Very pleased with him. BTW Yankee got a new bridle, lever noseband and a black dressage breastplate (well technically I got these for my birthday because MONICA IS BAE) from Monica. He also got matching back Dalmar event boots, eskadron stadium boots, an ecogold saddle pad and a new pair of bell boots for shows, so he is SET.
HI, I am adorable, feed me cookies
Flicky toes

2016 Goals:
As you all know, Yankee is basically the most badass horse that has ever existed. Our 2016 goals are relatively small, since I haven’t XC schooled him in 3 years and I would like to see what I have before I set true goals.
Goal 1: Regain Yankee confidence on XC: this is self-explanatory but Yankee needs to learn he’s a BAMF again on XC. Goal 2: 3 Recognized Events: I would like to take Yankee to 3 events this summer, not sure what levels yet, will decided after XC schooling. Goal 3: Dressage score under 30: This is a pipe dream, but dammit I wanna do it. Goal 4: CLEAN XC ONLY: that’s all. Goal 5: Have 2 successful 3’6 schooling courses in the next 2 months (this is a small goal, I just wanna make myself build a 3’6 course and jump) Goal 6: First place at a Jumper Show: We have a few local jumper shows throughout the year and I want to put in 1 first place round before 2017. Goal 7: Successfully school a Prelim XC course: YEP Goal 8: Make Monica Proud: I’m a sap, but Yankee is her baby and I want to make sure she is proud of us and happy that I have him. I may not be the best rider ever or the most talented but I will try harder than anyone to get Yankee through a successful show season. 
Goal 9: Don't die while trying to balance all the things
I don’t have anything else going on with 3 jobs (1 full time) and grad school, so until next time bloggers. XOXO Jankee.

Monica again!

So there we have it! Goals for my beautiful BFF and my OG eventing horse Yankee. God I miss them.

Few updates since she wrote that post.

1, Jackie plans to move him here soon. Right now he lives outside on 60 acres full time, but there IS at least an indoor. However, its not *the best* situation for a person who has an extremely busy schedule and and *older* horse who needs maintenance medications.

2, Jackie has to text the BO at a certain time and hope she catches her in time to keep Yankee up in the feed lot versus turning out in the back 60. So if she misses the BO, no riding, since tromping through 60 acres to find your horse in a herd, in winter, at night, is not the best and most fun thing ever.

3, they will not feed supplements, or blanket. This is almost not an potion for Yankee. he is gettin up there in age now (14) and his joints are wearing down slightly. I prefer to keep him on maintenance supps for his joints, coat and hoof and I can't right now. This is a big deal to us.

4, they won't blanket. So for the first time in 11 years Yankee has been completely hairy and looks like a goat.

I am goat.
Naturalists will high five us, but for real this is actually no-good. Yankee has ALWAYS been a severe sweater, in summer and winter. Not only does he run the risk of overheating in winter, he then takes ages to cool out and runs the risk of catching a cold on the tail end. For a horse in hard work, just not good. He needs a good buzz clip, but living outside in MO with no blanketing makes that impossible.

Hopefully here soon she can move him if it works for her schedule and budget!

Also, a couple days ago it warmed up nicely and Jackie took the opportunity to school some XC (on her bday too!)

The videos were on snapchat, so I didn't get to save them, but he looked damn good. Jackie said he was on point and I could tell he was diggin it! It was a little mucky so they kept it short, but I think it was a good warm-up for times to come this summer!

Also, to cap it off, here's a short vid of some movements. As she mentioned, his canter needs some work, but that transition and trot and HALT were amazing. Enjoy!

B gets his massage today, so I will for sure update y'all on that and I hope to jump a little Sunday. Until then <3 p="">

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

What Do Wednesday: Gadgets & Other Shit

Another lovely week, another lovely episode of me asking my readers, What Do?

This week, I wanted to address an issue that swirls around the equestrian world constantly.

And having just written about feeling very judged, this post may seem very judgey. But whatever.

Much like blanketing, turnout, shoeing, etc...everyone has an opinion about everything all the time. If there's one thing you can count on internet trolls for, its creating drama on every site known to man on any issues or subject. So why not add to it here, I'm not afraid of a little fire.

What sparked my interest in this topic was a FB acquaintance who posted a photo of herself jumping herself in draw reins.




Y THO (not her photo)
I am sorry, but I was completely baffled by this, as "I have always been told" that this is NO NO NO. Just no.

Even if I had never been told by trusted trainers and other horse people that this practice was frowned upon, generally, I STILL would double take if I saw a person jump a horse in draw reins.

Just looks downright dangerous and restrictive.

not natural
I held my tongue on her photo, as she generally rides western and I hear draw reins are a thing over there, but still. Jumping in draw reins….

This lead me to some pondering about “training aids” in general.

“In general” at first I thought I was a complete snob about them, instantly judging anyone who uses them to get their horse to do what they want. That was then, this is now.

 I have considered training aids to be anything that forcibly requires a horse to carry himself in a certain manner; aka, draw reins, german martingales, tie downs, neck stretcher etc. To me, training should take place over time with encouragement and support rather than force and demand. But that’s just me.

Then I thought a little bit more.

What exactly is considered a training aid? Do I use them?

Is it martingales? Is it neck stretchers? Is it draw reins, sidereins, chambons, bits, spurs, whips, bridles, saddles??

If a naturalist were to answer this, they would probably say anything but a rider on a horses' bare back is considered a training aid, and I could see their point. Bridles and saddles aren't natural and they do “aid” us in riding a horse.

However, it still takes WORK to get a horse trained well. Hard work. Not shortcuts, and most "aids" are shortcuts.

THIS article is pretty great regarding draw-reins and highlights everything I could ever say about them.

Do not like them, for any purpose & will never use them. Will DEF judge you if you use them.

That does not mean though that I am opposed to martingales though.

But, aren’t martingales a “training aid”, you say?

Technically, I suppose yes. But they are an aid a horse can reasonably escape from and are difficult to misuse, unlike draw reins.


For example

 I’ve seen them misused ^, but it is much more difficult to do so and usually done by over-tightening

THIS article does a nice job explaining things about martingales.

I personally do not like standing martingales. They’re kinder to the horse in the sense the attachment doesn’t have a direct line to the bit, but, in the event that a horse would trip and fall, I think its incredibly dangerous. My trainer suggested I ride in one for a ride or two so B learns that flipping one’s head is unacceptable, but I still haven’t done it. I prefer to try and find other ways around it, vs tying the head down.

However, I ALWAYS ride outside with a running martingale, or jump with one. Properly adjusted, the martingale is self correcting and is effective. It also can add a bit of leverage to whatever bit you are using. (Yes yes I realize this is an "aid") Also, can prevent a horse from whacking you in the face though. 

Horse about to flip head in my lap and bolt, you can see running martingale about to be activated

Properly adjusted, B can still move, gallop, jump, etc but if he were to fling his face, the martingale would activate
This HAS happened to me, thanks B! Therefore, I have one on at all times during these situations, just as a “just in case” since my horse had (crosses fingers this is a thing of the past) a tendency to fling head, root, then bolt, but in no way does a running martingale hold his head in place or overbend him.

Additionally & recently, I've gotten rid of my sidereins completely. I just felt that even though I had them adjusted loose enough that he could stretch down, it still looked restrictive. 

loose, but I still do not like

With a horse that is anxious already, restrictive tools do no good. Incredibly, he responds well to only the lunge line and will lunge beautifully without sidereins. On occasion I borrow a pair if he’s truly being awful, lunge for 5 min in them, and take them off, just as a reminder. Generally though, I’m done with them.

lunging only with lunge line
I ESPECIALLY dislike the pessoa system or whatever its called where the reins run behind the hindquarters to the other side of the bit. In every video I’ve watched this leads the horse to being jammed in the mouth every stride, and going about horribly behind the verticle. Um, no thanks. Very incorrect and invasive.

Don't even get me started on bits & how people choose to use them. I can't.

Now, I don’t want anyone to get in a complete uproar. Yes, my horse sometimes goes behind the verticle. Yes I use a running martingale sometimes. Yes, he’s green AF. But YES I am training him and trying to do it patiently and correctly. That does not mean that I am judging others for THEIR choices (unless its drawreins), I just prefer not to do it (training aids) that way and don’t think its correct. That my opinion.

So what I want to know (without judgment) is what my dear readers do? Do you use training aids? Why or why not? Feed me your secrets, I must know!

Monday, January 25, 2016

Bloghop; 5 Questions

Thanks to one of my most favorite blogettes, Alyssa, at Four Mares, No Money posted a blogshop that  I am going to just hop right in on since no riding is happening in my neck of the woods until at least tomorrow.

Five questions AND GO...

1.  Most influential person in my riding career. This is kind of funny because I literally just posted about this HERE. My most influential person would have to be Cheryl Holekamp. She owns Windfall, Darren Chiacchia's Olympic eventing mount and taught me more about dressage in 6 months than anyone has in my entire life. I would read the post ;)  That being said, I've had some pretty amazing instructors over the years, including Connie Patrick who introduced me to classical dressage, Janice Holmes who was my gutsy eventing coach & OTTB whisperer, and of course, my current Supertrainer at EME, also an OTTB whisperer.

2.  Tack you would love to splurge. I am sure my followers are all aware my current obsession is a Voltaire saddle. One day.

I currently ride in a size 16 Crosby because  can't afford a new saddle and it fits B still. Its about 2 1/2 inches too small (legit a big deal in saddle terms) and I barely squeeze into it. 

If it *barely* fits I sits
I've looked at several saddles in hopes of being able to purchase, but none have fit me quite like the voltaire's. ONE DAY IT WILL BE MINE.  Here's to hoping this year at Rolex....

Hello Handsome
3. Riding playlists? Those exist? I just put my giant playlist on shuffle... I did just buy the entire Justin Beiber album thought. Not sure what that says about me.

Top 10 songs on most recently played would be:
Get Ugly (Jason Derulo)
Boom (Major Lazer)
WTF (Missy Elliot
Sorry (Justin Bieber)
Booty (Jennifer Lopez) 
Beast (Rob Bailey)
Watch me Whip (Silento)
Often (The Weeknd)
Don't (Ed Sheeran)
This Corner (Denaun)

WOW....what a collection. I am a 15 year old boy.

4. Most important aspect of your barn is a tough one. Like, obviously I love that they feed him an he's happy. But the selfish me is always so excited to have an indoor to ride in finally. 

Indoor, we loves its
I've gone YEARS without one (save for my brief 5 year stint in MO at college) here in OH and it has sucked royally. Some of you feel my pain. So I would have to say a well maintained, indoor arena is most important to me, save the actual important things like keeping my horse alive and well.

5. 3 riding goals for the winter is much easier with aforementioned barn perk. My goals are hard to pinpoint considering a lot of them flow into my yearly goals and I generally don't break them up by season. 

Whee winter outside riding!
However with work and grad school I would say #1 is to maintain riding 3-4 times a week minimum. I've actually been really good on this so far. 2. Lateral movements. As in, stop being a spaz when asked. 3. Gridwork. See goal #2 description.

I love bloghops!!

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Winter Storm Rant

Unless you live under a rock, you know half the US has experienced some pretty gnarly winter storm weather in the last few days.

My state was extremely lucky to have been missed by it completely and it actually *warmed* up to a balmy 30* in the last few days. Incredibly grateful, as I could not imagine digging myself out like a few of you currently are doing.

And I want to live in Denver why?

However, I have been sick (again, WHY?) the last few days and have felt incredibly bored and gross and have spent the majority of my time bopping between actually doing homework, and not doing homework and scrolling the interwebs instead. So much internet.

Like any complete horse nerd, it really just been me trolling ETT, COTH, and other blogs...but I've seen a few posts from several different people on social media, some I know and some I don't know, seemingly bragging about taking care of their horses in the storm. I don't mean just complaining (rightfully so, its shit out there) but actually BRAGGING that "no matter what, they trudge through anything, to take care of their own horses and don't pay anyone else to, blah blah blah".

I was just baffled by this. Like who really cares? Honestly? Are people begging for compliments these days, because it really seems like it.

It might be because I'm sick and crabby and bored, but this just irked me, so of course I'm blogging about it.

Being my bored, crabby self I of course commented on one such post asking what was so bad about boarding and was met with some hate about it.



I'm a "bad" horse owner because I pay someone ELSE to take care of my horse now and instead of piling on the layers an trudging out there myself?

Okay, random person. I am sorry I even said anything.

I'm sorry I spent 15 years feeding and caring for my own horses in the cold, the heat, the rain and the wind. I'm sorry I sweat my ass off doing stalls, fixing fence, building fence, scrubbing water buckets and leveling the manure pile. I'm sorry I spent every week picking up my own grain and bedding. I'm sorry I took off work to meet the farrier and vet  whenever it was needed. I'm sorry I froze my fingers off doing stalls, changing blankets, chopping ice, hauling hay and taking care of my horses in the winter. I'm sorry that for 15 years I  gave up nights and weekends to care for my animals. I'm sorry I rarely made plans to leave and go on vacation.

And I am the most sorry now for gleefully signing that board check every month, now that my hard earned money can pay for it. I literally do not miss any of that. I did my time, and I wouldn't take it back for the world. I spent 15 years of my life learning responsibility, patience, and what hard work actually meant. But it sucked. It was worth it at the end of the day, but it still sucked. As long as I can afford it, I will continue to board my horses.

I'm sorry I'm a "terrible" horse owner for not cleaning up my own horses' shit anymore. But I did that everyday, for a very long time. Why is it such a crime to board my horse? Why are people so fucking nasty on the internet?

No one knows the whole story, ever. Its ridiculous to judge someone and call them "terrible" for something that isn't even terrible.

My horse is well cared for, fat, shiny and happy. Who cares who actually cleans his stall and fills his water buckets?

I take pride that I can afford to board him now. He's happy there and my schedule is now free to pursue my masters degree, work on myself and actually have time to ride again.

Forgive me, internet, for I am a terrible horse owner.