Friday, October 21, 2016

Friday Feels

FINALLY fall is back! Aka torrential downpour and cold temps, but honestly I am OK with it. Weird summer temps at the end of October is not okay in my book.

ALSO, I got to ride Yankee again last night! (yes Emma I got a 2pointTober time :D)

Might be my new fav recent pic of hims
Its always kind of funny when I say "got to ride" my own horse, but thats kind of how it works with a lease. I could be a dick and just tell V whenever thats she's SOL and I am riding, but I try to be nice and work around her.

Considering they leave for Team Challenge today, I am really happy I got to get one more school in on him before the show--kind of like a tune-up.

Due to rain, we were sequestered indoors and had to dodge approximately 4 other riders. Our indoor at New Farm EME is so much smaller than at old EME, so I stuck to a ton of walking warm-up and basic 20m trot circles until the arena cleared. Once it was just me and my favorite other boarder, we got to work.

I wanted to work on the canter a little bit more, but as I said yesterday, his trot was mostly garbage the entire ride so I focused on that a lot more before we got to the fancy stuff (lateral work). I spent about 20 minutes really asking for collection and straightness and with a ton of give and take, finally getting his 14 year old self to participate again like the Yankee I know and love.

Ahh, on the forehand trudging. Such bad habits Yankee

After some intense and better trot work than yesterday (see above LULZ) I wanted to close the ride with some fun lateral stuff and brief canter work.

Of course, his right lead was now the more troublesome, as he took to the shoulder popping corrections on the left lead quite easily yesterday. Hard to describe was was going on with his right lead, but it almost felt like his hind end just wasn't stepping up and it was then pushing him into crookedness. Yanks gave me some sass (how dare I ask him to work properly) but eventually worked through it as well. Good boy!

so behind the vertical I can't even. Classic Yankee evasion. 
Thats the fun thing about older horses that just get into bad habits--so much easier to "fix"!

The lateral work was such a joy. I love the fact that Yankee just knows his shit and executes things with such lightness. I barely have to touch his sides, move an inch or ask for more and he just responds. He's amazing.

I forgot, even after almost 12 years together, how connected we are as a pair and it was magical.

I barely thought about anything during our ride, especially in the end playing with lateral work. Renver, travel, side-pass and half-pass it all had me feeling euphoric and relaxed.

trot work

Super confusing canter work, Essentially, halt to canter then serpentine with changes of lead through walk, then half pass to halt, to canter to halt; switch sides and repeat
There's something incredible about familiarity that gives me joy. I love Bacardi, I really do,  but often I leave the barn more worked up than satisfied because he is so dang impossible sometimes. Nothing is ever really easy with him, and while I adore training and working with him, sometimes I really need a ride on my OG to remind me WHY I'm working with such a brat of an OTTB. Yankee used to be a brat too, and now he's an angel. I know that B will get there someday too, and thats pretty cool.

Sidenote--RRP is coming up and I got a press pass (yeah Blogging!), so I will absolutely be there! Duty calls for work, so I can only come down Saturday, but thats when the fun stuff is anyways. So if any of you will be in KY for RRP next weekend, hit me up! I know I am stoked to meet Lindsey and Slider, so if anyone else will be there....

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Booty Werk

First off, I am super pleased with the blogging community right now. Turns out, most of us aren't horrible assholes to animals and actually care about animal welfare (speaking in regards to the ML incident), unlike a certain blogger who wrote literally the shittiest post I've ever read (I was going to link it, but then realized that garbage doesn't even deserve a name drop). We might be jerks to each other every now and again, but at least we give a damn abut our horses and I think that's the point most people were trying to make. Laughing that the witch hunt terminology got thrown around again. I'm sorry, but if one creates an image and a pattern for themselves, they damn well better answer to it and officials should stop sweeping it under the rug like its NBD.

Second, responses to my post yesterday were incredible! I didn't have time to respond to everyone, but know I did read them all! Very insightful information. Guess I need to hop to writing a will.

In other news, I rode a horse! And it was mine!

Sadly, was not Bacardi, but I do always enjoy hopping Yankee every now and again even if I am rather riding unfit.

Quick sidetone on B; he IS healing and I am grateful for that! He is 100% weight bearing at this point and a lot less miserable, and 100% sound at the walk. I of course got excited, and tossed him on the lunge with just a halter and within 2 seconds of trotting I could easily see that he was still 90% lame at the trot. WHOMP WHOMP. Though soundness at the walk is good. It means we can increase his turnout to all night in the paddock and he can finally get out of prison. He's been wonderful this last week, and has actually enjoyed getting groomed and loved on, since thats all I can do with him right now. He also is saint for bandaging and I am grateful for that too since the hole has not filled in yet and he will have to stay bandaged. Pretty sure I spent over a $100 on gauze and duct tape in the last two weeks though....

This weekend V is heading to Team Challenge with EME and I am super stoked for her! I actually rode two years ago in this on Amy's horse Steady, since she had just had surgery. It was so much fun and I had never catch rode before! It is one of my favorites and over the years I have always had a blast on Yankee.

We came together yesterday to work on some last minute flatwork before they head out, since her scores are still not where they could be. Part of this is due to her greenness at this level, which is 100% OK, and the other is due most likely to his colic surgery. V has primarily been riding him since then and he's been allowed to skimp on things like energy and straightness for quite some time. Scores in the 30s are possible, we just need to figure out how to get them there together!

I am actually thoroughly impressed with V, don't think otherwise. She has been working really hard and has gotten much better about putting everything together to get the package. For one, she can actually get all her transitions, and for the most part have a round horse. When she doesn't she knows what she has to do and does it before I can correct her--which is huge! The only thing I really have to remind her on is her inside hand creeping, which I also do.

If you have four minutes, here's a clip of us working on the trot, which is is worst gait. The first minute or so is actually pretty entertaining, but otherwise its mostly the same things--ask ask, correct, get for a few strides, lose, repeat. You know, training stuff.

From the ground I have noticed that he has taken to two particularly bad habits recently...
1. Diving on the forehand when he doesn't feel like working 
2. Popping his right shoulder out to tracking left

classic shoulder pop

For now, I don't think V can correct those things swiftly, but she is getting better at asking for more energy, which is the beginning of working on things. Ultimately, as long as he's not shuffling along, his trot is acceptable and I am pleased with her progression and learning :) Dressage is hard yo.

Afterwards, I hopped on to try and figure out the shoulder popping and serious straightness issues, especially at the canter. 

First off, I give V mad props for progressing how she has; Yankee is THE wiggliest horse on the planet right now and getting him to simply trot with energy was like asking him to jump the moon. Not sure if he's just gotten away with laziness, but damn, I was huffing by the end of my ride.

Booty werk
Secondly, I essentially had to ride a VERY strong counterbend to get any semblance of correct left lead canter, so this is something I will be trying to work on weekly I think. I would counterbend for half a revolution then release my inside hand as a reward and repeat. Eventually I got him to lift his shoulders a little and actually work that inside hind.. but DAMN, he is weak and CROOKED.

Struggle bus to be correct. Note the reward release here

Easier this direction, but a little flat

That explains the diving down a little bit.

I then tried to get some semblance of correct trot (using the butt, rounding, energy) but was met with tension and I conceded. I knew I wasn't going to ride well enough to work on his worst gait, so I left it for another day and ended taking him for a walk.

Still a bit on the forehand

I was super happy to ride at least--its been over 3 weeks! I also got to try out my ew half chaps (my old ones were SO dead) and the Roeckls I bought. I now see why everyone loves them...they're amazing.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

What Do Wednesday: Dead and Gone

Today's topic is a little morbid, but definitely necessary to think about at some point in one's life. If you're me, its at random times while driving on the highway, or while laying awake at night, or in the middle of a workout. Because crazy.

No but really
Often, though very randomly and without reason especially, I am totally gripped by fear while driving; knowing that I could die in the next few minutes with one blink of an eye or careless mistake by another driver. I then usually spend the next few minutes trying to calm myself down, but those fears are legit. Cars are giant speeding death bullets and the risk is very real.

I also frequently have moments where I am positive I have cancer, because my elbow is hurting, or that  I am dying of some unknown disease because my ankles hurt in the morning--because thats just my luck. Doom and gloom seems to follow me, so I honestly wouldn't be surprised if something simple kills me. I've somehow managed to escape near death  several times in my life, so I have a feeling I will die by like accidentally chopping off my finger cooking, passing out at the sight of blood and then dying from blood loss...I know, I'm a lunatic.

Usually later though I muse at my weirdness and untimely anxiety attacks, but my brain always brings up a good point. You are not guaranteed tomorrow. What happens then?

As an unmarried, childless young adult with no house, and very few assets, a will is not something that is considered standard. However, I will very soon have student loans (thanks grad school), eventually a car payment because The Boss is slowly dying, my bank account, medical bill debt, all  my random shit, like paintings and whatnot, the dog and two gorgeous Thoroughbreds.

What happens to them if I die?

Legally, per the state, it would all go to my parents, including the horses.


Love them, but I know what would happen. They would pay BO to care for them and keep them in work and then list them for sale. Not being horse people, I doubt they would vet the prospective owners much, and or car where they end up, then donate the money from their sales to charity. Mom might donate Yankee to a therapy program, but they would ultimately get sold and that eeks me out.

Also, as I am sure you all are aware by now, B is a delicate flower princess with so many opinions. Granted, he is world's better than when he came to me two years ago, but he is not for everyone. He is quirky. He is spooky. He snorts a lot. He is energetic and strong. He has opinions. And he is ACCIDENT PRONE. Finding someone with the patience for him would be tricky,.....and the main reason I have put off listing him for sale. Plus, I'm attached and all now. (yes, I bought him as a re-sale).

So much sass.
Thinking of where they might end up if I died tomorrow is scary, and it leads me to wanting to draft a will right meow.

I have a few people in mind (and they are aware of it) that I know would agree to be their "guardians" until a sale is final. I am actually positive Yankee would never get sold because he is an literal saint and perfect gentleman and everyone loves he might stay with whomever I choose. It would take a special person to accept ownership of B, and I doubt that would ever happen. Just knowing someone would have his best interest at heart if I die though is reassuring to my brain though.

However, I legit have zero clue how to go through with these ideas, since horses aren't children and are more considered property, so of course I'm coming to the internet for advice like any normal blogger would.

This week I am very curious to know if any of you have your horses written in your will, if you even have one at all, and how you went about "dividing" them up. Obviously a lawyer probably helped with the legal jargon, but did you turn over ownership to someone, or appoint them a "guardian"?; did you leave them money to cover expenses until sale, or did the appointed owners agree to cover costs?

Seriously curious about this one...

Monday, October 17, 2016

Monday Morning Minutes

I hope all of you had wonderful weekends! Mine was relaxing and productive in the ways of gym, school and work. Yay for never resting even when you're resting.

Quick catch up on weekend activities and things of note;

1. Unless you live under an actual rock, or in the middle of the boondocks with no internet or cell service, you know the shit show that erupted after this (and so.many.others) photo showed up shortly after ML Xc round at Fair Hill.

Yep. Thats blood. Again.

Sweet Jesus, again? This is the 4th documented occasion from ML in a short amount of time (a year or so I think, someone fact check me here), second on this particular horse and its extra.

My favorite comments so far have been one special looney who said all the photos were photoshopped (impossible, considering it would have to have been done in real time, from a camera, LULZ--obvs a conspiracy amirite), SEVERAL people who still call us all "haters" for jumping her throat--pleading an "accident"-- LULZ OKAY, and the others who say "the procedures were followed and the rules were enforced"...HAHAHAHA. Okay, fair enough, but IF 'the rules were followed' then there was ALSO a coverup involved...not to mention her groom who wiped the blood away with a black towel immediately following the XC round. I smell something fishy. Thinking certain organizations don't want to mar their image or their special ML with scandal, but the scandal is here and we are furious. 

I honestly hope Amanda uses her loud blogging voice and rallies the people, again. Almost fruitless last time (JESUS, why was there a last time?? Enough already ML!), but we need a rallying point and I now she can get it done. There's no "witch hunt" here this time either. Its a goddamn protest and it needs to be loud. How can someone get away with this, REPEATEDLY? The worst part? She won on this horse. ABHORRENT.

Lets let our voices be heard on this one.

On a lighter and more positive note....

2. V and Yankee competed this weekend and it went well! A farm near us was holding some fun CT's and riders were allowed to enter 2 divisions if they wanted, or do 1-3 dressage tests and one SJ round. V chose to enter the BN and N CT in preparation for Novice Team Challenge next weekend. 

She has REALLY been amazing the last 4 weeks, and has been working her butt off on the flat. We have a lesson together every Friday, and she also participated in a Dressage clinic a few weeks ago. Her scores unfortunately did not reflect her massive progress on the flat, as they were LITERALLY cutting trees down during her test. Like actually felling trees next to her ring. WTFFF, why?! I don't care how seasoned your horse is, thats bound to create some tension. Though I was proud her transition were smooth, it was more accurate than usual and well ridden... overall a large improvement from previous tests. Even the judge gave her condolences on the tests, which was at least nice of her to note. Regardless, she still placed well in both CT's, with double clear rounds in SJ and came out 2nd out of 3 in N and 4th out of 11 in BN. Good job guys, next weekend you'll kick butt :)

3. You might have noticed that Yankee is clipped too! YAS, its the best time of year--Clipping season!! Not only is it close to the actual best time of year (hallowthanksmas), but I generally get some additional income clipping horses and I ADORE coming up with designs for the boys. Also, the temps are skyrocketing into the 80s for this week (WHY) and their coats are heavy already because in normal circumstances it would be 40/50 instead of 80. Poor B was sweating in his stall today!

For this round, I keep it classy, since V has one more USEA show for the year and I don't know what design she wants anyways. Also, he kept stomping the flies like a total princess, even with fly spray, and even with a super steady hand....I made some mistakes. I simply cannot live with even one small nick in a perfect line so he got this weird swoopy, yet pretty high trace clip design. You could almost call it a blanket clip at this point...

majestic AF

B just got a very uninteresting low front bib trace, since he's stalled and not in work. Eventually he will get a high blanket clip with a super badass design. If any of you know what I'm planning, KEEP A LID ON IT.

4. B's foot.

He's enjoying his limited turnout time and stall rest like a gentlemen, and actually is about 75% sound at this time! No more awkward shuffling and limping, only a slight head bob! Progress. To keep him entertained I've been taking him on short walks, giving him short turnout and also getting back to trick training. He LOVES it, and it worked his brain. Win win. I also think he might have gained some weight thanks to barn staff stuffing his face full of hay 24/7 and not being in work. Not complaining.

Minus his evaporating topline, he looks damn good, AND weight-bearing!
I did mildly freak out yesterday when I changed his bandage to find a larger hole and some bloody discharge coming out of said hole. I immediately texted the farrier (sorry fam, I know its Sunday, ILY IM SORRY) with my typical ask-the-professional-a-million-questions and he calmly assured me all was well and on track to healing. Apparently leakage and blood is a good thing and shows its clearing up, sealing and healing?? Whatever you say farrier, I still am freaked out...

I don't know if you can see/are interested in the blood, but its there. Just kinda mixed with clear fluid. BLEH GROSS. Also I really hate how magic cushion over time stains the hoof black...looks like dried blood to me. ANYWAYS, he IS getting better but god bless, I miss riding. I've ridden once in 3 weeks thanks to previous mild injuries and now this...just wanna ride. The boot has seriously been a lifesaver though, mad props to whomever suggested that to me!

5. Gel nails. I got them done for the wedding I was in last weekend and HOLY MOLY. After 8 days of wrapping, grooming, clipping and other barn work plus the gym, they haven't even been damaged. Not one chip. What is this sorcery?? Even OPI and home gel nails only last 3-4 days...color me late to the party.

I know most of us barn girls are generally content to be....dirty? Unkempt? Whatever. For the most part, I am unkempt and essentially live in yoga pants and oversize t shirts. But I do LOVE doing my nails. Its one of the few girly things is consistent with me. Sure, I do my makeup for going out, and somehow my hair always looks awesome, when really I'm testing the limits of dry shampoo. but nails? Gotta be painted. No exceptions. For one, it covers the dirt that builds up at the barn and if I need to run to the grocery or out to eat right after and without be able to get them perfectly clean I am not totally embarrassed/grossed out because the polish hides it. Second, I  just really like my nails being done. Pretty. Colors. Sparkles. NEED.

These gel nails are legit. Too bad they cost the same as a 50lb bag of fat supp for the boys. Hope they last a little longer, I'm in love!


Here's to a new week and a happy Monday!