Wednesday, October 5, 2016

What Do Wednesday: Tack Theft

Staying with the tack theme, this week is slightly reminiscent and also relevant to current times.

So, story time. Apparently people like to steal my shit. I think I am cursed with a sign on my forehead that says “please, take all my shit, its not like I can afford replacements” and everything that I own that says, “please, take me!!!”, but I have gotten my tack and apparel stolen from me on the regular.

The first incident was a while ago. I don’t know if any of you remember this, but ALL my tack (yes all of it) was stolen out of my barn and horse trailer. This was about 6 years ago when I was home on summer break.

I know you’re thinking, ‘well, that was stupid, why didn’t you keep it locked up or something?

You’re so right.

I was incredibly naïve, thinking we lived far enough away in the country that NO ONE would know I had thousands of dollars worth of tack hiding in my shitty run down barn and horse trailer, but god bless it someone did. What pissed me off more is that it HAD to have been a friend, because no one else would know a) where I live b) that my tack was worth that much and c)see my shitty barn and think, “I’m gonna ramsack that dump”.

Bunch o’ bitches!!

Once I got over my anger from that, I was more sad than anything. I had worked so hard to save money to buy nice things and ALL of it got taken from me in one night. I’m talking bridles, breastplates, saddles (THREE OF THEM) and girths. ALL. OF. IT.

I was devastated and rebuilding my collection was so slow. I “luckily” had one saddle leftover; because I NEVER used it (too small) it was stored in the garage and missed the thievery.

a 16 inch saddle does not fit this 18 inch ass
 I used that jump saddle (Crosby) for literal years, and just replaced it this year with a properly fitting saddle. It actually was my favorite, but never fit me past age 12. Along the way I also acquired a Burney Bro’s saddle that I adored; I purchased this because the Crosby fit neither Yankee, nor myself. It was also very cheap (in the, I-paid-600-dollars-for-this-dead-cow cheap), did not fit me and bought from an ex-boyfriend (LOL) so I got a good deal.  Anyone who rides in it loves it, and it is awesome, just too small for me. 

Le Burney Bros

Still did not fit me

However, did not fit B at all, wheras the Crosby did…but that saddle fit me even less than the 17in Burney. NOTHING FITS ME, its a curse. Enter the ETT steal, a 18.5 Marcel Toulouse I got for less than half the retail price this January. WIN.

Backing up.

Then, there was replacing my Isabelle Werth dressage saddle that got stolen—my love. God, I was heartbroken. Luckily, I found a County saddle on Ebay that fit the bill and it was like Christmas getting it in the mail. I never had the luxury of testing and trying saddles or spending thousands on a nice saddle, so I always just crossed my fingers and hoped the second hand things I found would work. THANKFULLY it fit the horse, because this was small fortune for me in college (still is).

the only unmounted pic I could find of it
Along the way I also acquired several very nice bridles and breastplates through gifts, tack scrounging and mostly recently, ETT. Girths are easy to come by too.

However, through all these years since the first incident, I have lived absolutely paranoid my shit will get stolen again. I literally never let saddles leave my sight at shows, and used to always take them home from the barn in MO, until my house was robbed (HAHAHA YES THIS HAPPENED, what is my life). Luckily, the thieves did not recognize the worth of my tack and left it, but took all the electronics and whatnot. Whatever. I will never have nice things again.

I also never thought that someone would steal clothes, until my ENTIRE set of show clothes including my helmet, XC vest, boots, coat etc was taken at Champagne Run 2 years ago and I haven’t gotten around to replacing most of it because money. They must have seen it all in the garment bag and though, ‘omg how nice of this person, gathering it all up for me in one convenient package, imma take it, BYEEE’. Literally while I as in the bathroom….I cannot watch my shit at all times and keep eyes on everyone. God I hate people. IN BROAD DAYLIGHT. AT A SHOW. Easily about $1,800 right there, gone. Fuckers.


After that, I got my shit insured, like, all of it. It was easy to put on my renters insurance, which is attached as a rider to my car insurance.  I should have done this ages ago, and I generally do not fear leaving it all at the barn anymore.

Until recently….

Things have been disappearing from my tack box…

 First it was a martingale attachment. I thought nothing of it, and it was easy and cheap to replace. Whatever. Then it was a girth. Okay, maybe someone confused it with theirs but it was a TSF girth and I was HIGHLY annoyed. No one owned up to it when I asked. THEN a nathe bit I borrowed and ended up having to pay for because someone took it, even though B didn't like it. Worst was, it was stolen right off my bridle. I. WAS. PISSED. Lastly, some schooling boots I had. Not the worst loss ever, but, um, still mine.

We had two shady boarders that ended up getting kicked out and I am hoping it was them, because I can’t foresee any of our original boarder gang doing such a thing. BUT STILL. I am out items and I am not happy.

I am also worried with 40 extra boarders now that things might…disappear. I don’t know everyone and all our things are in very close quarters, easily mixed up, etc.

For the most part right now, half my things live in my parents old barn (winter blankets, spare wraps, polos, saddle pads etc) and the spare leather goods (boots, martingales, breastplates, the 7 nosebands I somehow hoarded) live in my car until our tack room is completed. BUT. I am anxious again about things possibly disappearing. Not just because of boarders; the new barn is off a slightly busier country road and the driveway is so long its mistaken by drivers as an actual road sometimes, and then they see horses and drive all the way down and get out and WANDER AROUND, oh my lort, it scares me. Not just because of our leather goods but because horses!! What if someone fed them something or tried to steal them, or our tack or OUR TRAILERS.

God, it gives me anxiety. Luckily my boys are in the far pasture and good luck to anyone trying to steal B, he will probably kill you. Yankee would follow anyone though….

Yankee, in dog form

So, I  took to getting a trailer lock for my trailer, and I also put name tags on literally everything I own, leather and blankets. Also both boys got microchips. Not sure what to do about large pieces of tack, but at least its all insured and I can just hope no one--boarder or stranger, steals it.

I want to suggest to BO maybe putting a code on the tack room door, or gate at our driveway…but with 60 boarders I can see that never actually staying closed/people sharing passwords with friends and family defeating the purpose.

I am paranoid. Help.

So what I want to know this week is what all of you do to keep your horses, tack and equipment safe and locked down. Do you keep it/them at home, locked away in the house? Do you insure it/them? Does it live at the barn in a locked tack room? Do you do nothing and hope for the best? Tell me dear readers, what do?

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Mixed Bag

Yesterday's ride has me feeling' some typa' way.

I've never had a ride where he was both equally brilliant and horrible at the same time, and very inconsistently.

We are back in bit land, since the hackamore was giving him fits with the tear duct issue, but god bless...he just does not like bits. This is the main reason we have YET to dabble in dressage land, because he spends the entire time fussing and chomping and in general resisting the bit. I have tried EVERYTHING. Everything. He hates them, plain and simple. The ONLY bit he halfway tolerates is 100% illegal in dressage.

Miracle bit 

I've known 3 horses in my life, not including B that cannot even with metal in their mouth. One was a GP dressage horse hopeful but when it came to UL movements, she was horribly inconsistent. Had the talent, hated the bit. This is where I wish bitless was legal. FUCK you dressage.

So, the ride.

For the most part we played around at the walk and trot. Mostly the walk. Because its hard apparently. We did not canter once, but the way he was going round like a giraffe meant we were not ready for any semblance of a canter yesterday.

Granted, part of the problem is me. As I mentioned a few posts back I have a horrible habit of grabby hands, ESPECIALLY the possessed inside hand and that is not conducive to getting a horse to accepting contact. It takes all of my will power to not hang on the inside rein when he is determined to giraffe.

I am a firm believer of classical dressage and attempt to train this beast with those ideals but god bless he tests my patience. Maybe dressage will never be a thing of ours, because horse needs to accept the bit and work on it. Lately (aka last two weeks) he's taken to DIVING on the forehand, and or giraffing horribly. Neither of which are pretty or effective for good training and we spend the majority of our time walking and trying to relax. Pretty much fighting a losing battle.

Adding all the leg to push up into the contact helps, but he spends many many laps twisting and resisting and trying to spit the bit out that it never remains consistent. Its like, "trit trot, I am lovely, I am dressage I am OMG SQUIRREL GIRAFFE LEAP TWIST TROT IN PLACE" and thats how the entire ride goes. Two years I've tried. And two years he's told me bits are not his thing.


Want this back *cries a little*
Regardless, we did get some really really nice walk work (LULZ) after about 30 minutes of simply trying to walk free and relax through the neck and shoulders. He seems to really enjoy lateral work now (huge improvement from a year ago) and that helps him to relax/keeps his brain working and not flailing/thinking about how much he hates metal in his mouth.

When it was good it was BRILLIANT but when it was bad it was FUGLY.

We played with a fun exercise at the walk, really working on pushing from behind and walking with a march and free and loose.

Try not to think that thinks looks phallic AF and concentrate on the exercise. We started at the halt, then walked up the long side, "walk pirouette" back to the wall then halted and did either a turn on the forehand or haunches. I switched it up each pass and then also on the other rein as well.

Then, I added a little trot work. Just enough to switch it up and work on transitions. God forbid we go past the door of distraction because the squirrelgiraffe would lose focus again and I would have to get it all back.

This was similar but not quite. Started at halt, backed 4 steps then up into a walk, half halted at end and then did a turn on haunches or forehand (again switching it each pass) then straight into the trot, half 15m circle and back to the start and halt. It was effective and lovely for the most part.

Blah. I really am at a loss with what to do. Bitless we can do all of this easily and without resistance. With a bit he loses the beautiful contact and acceptance I work extremely hard to get within seconds if he gets slightly distracted or offended by something I ask him to do, like transition or some ungodly torturous shit.

Maybe dressage will never be a thing for us, and I'm honestly okay with it--but it would be fun to get a medal. ugh. We will see if he can ever work past this; at least bitless his flatwork is lovely.

Monday, October 3, 2016

Monday Morning Minutes

This weekend was super uneventful, per the trend of the week, but it was with good reason. As stated previously, I've mostly been toodling with B in order to keep him in work while he sorted out his issues, mentally and  physically. Fall is the worst for the Bacardi's, but he adjusted just in time for the heat wave this week--yay.

1. B got a massage and it was LIT. 

Massaging those ligaments and muscles

D worked on him for near two hours because he had several "problem" spots. Just like any athlete, he was showing some soreness and I was not surprised at all with his slight struggles on the right lead these days. 

She said he had some pretty sore hamstrings, definitely worse on the right, which explains his on and off issues with picking up the right lead. D also said she hasn't seen a reaction that strong to deep tissue massage in the hindquarters in a long while. I told her this makes sense because before he cut his hock last week, we were mostly doing long and low workouts with lots of poles to work that booty, in addition to conditioning work. Meaning, his ass has been WORKED, literally. She said its paying off big time and thinks he's put on about 50lbs of straight muscle since she' seen him last. I don't disagree. This does make for sore ponies though and he LOVED the massage. He leaned so hard into her for both sides of his hindquarters and his little nose was wiggling, it was cute.

Leaning into it
One area of slight concern for her is his C1 and C2 in his neck, especially to the left. I could see the difference when she bent him each way, and he truly did react more and not melt into the massage like his did to the right....but he's never been resistant to the left bend...always the right. Either way, I see a chiro in our future to see if its out of alignment, or he's just sore from carrying himself differently. 

D thinks going barefoot has changed him all over, for the better, but that doesn't come without some soreness which is presenting itself in his hindquarters and neck most prominently. We discussed more frequent massages, liniment after every ride on problem areas and hand massage in addition to Equitape in the future. I use Rocktape for myself and lifting and I'm a big believer, so it won't hurt to try it I think!

2. Depending how he does this week and next we MIGHT show rated on the 16th. V plans to take Yankee, so I will already be going, and it may work out. However, I don't know if I want to dive into the rated scene a whole month before I had planned. For one, I don't have a show coat because some asshole stole my wardrobe and I haven't gotten around to replacing it. For two, we haven't jumped in 2 weeks, but we do have two weeks to prepare.  I don't want to rush back into anything since we haven't jumped since the last show, but he's feeling great, especially after the massage.  Thinking we will stick to the baby baby jumpers, since it will be his first rated outing, if we even go. Hoping we can keep fall theatrics to a minimum, but overall he's feeling good despite the few days rest for hock healing (which by the way, surprised us ALL, and healed without issue) and is raring to get back in the full swing of work again. His tear duct looks better too, but we will still check tomorrow with vet.

Impromptu ride led to me riding in rainboots and leggings, lolz

Hover horse
3. V and Yankee are making HUGE improvements in the ways of dressage. (for new readers, V leases Yankee)  I don't update much on these two since V's life is hers and I don't want to broadcast every single thing they do together on here. But, I do want to brag a bit on her hard work and taking the initiative to really work at this. Dressage is her weakest phase and it finally seems to be clicking for her with Yankee. Friday she demonstrated things she learned at a clinic she rode in 2 weeks ago and I was quite impressed when she came out of the gate with him on the bit, forward and listening to her. This is big guys!

Getting it down pat!
And that's about that in our boring world. It pretty much rained all weekend too, but now its fixing' to get hot again (WTF FALL ITS OCTOBER) and dry up all the rain puddles. Looking forward to a busy week of training in the gym and the barn. 

Happy Monday ya'll!