Wednesday, October 26, 2016

October Questions

YAY bloghop because no riveting content....yet. Thanks VivaCarlos!

Sidenote, not sure why the formatting is weird, but sorry.

1. What do you consider jumping high for yourself?

Well, that depends. If we are talking XC, anything over 2ft. LULZ what happened to me. 

If we are talking difficulty level, I say anything above 3'6 really really starts to test me as a rider and thats where mistakes and glaring issues (ahem, jumping ahead) come out. So I consider that high for me. But not scary.

If we are talking scare me shitless, that would be anything above 5ft. I jumped Yankee 5ft and almost peed myself. I might have a little on landing. It was awesome, but not something I will likely do again. Jackie ended up jumping him 5' fucking way was I doing that. Those 3 inches are a LOT. Def high. Too high, no thanks. 

never. again.

2. What are your short-term goals for riding?  Do you think youll reach them?

Short term, I would like to get back into riding shape. Right now I'm about 10lbs heavier than normal and a little floppy. Muscle memory still there, but mostly floppy. I will absolutely reach them now that my back is 100% better. 

3. Long term goals for riding? Do you think you’ll reach them?

Long many, such evolving. I think right now, I would really like to become a better dressage rider. I think getting a bronze would be sick. Also, in the jumper realm, competing at HITS is a huge goal of mine. Also not at piddly 2'9, something like 3'6, 3'9, 4ft+ would also be sick. 

So, bronze medal and HITS.

If I will reach them? I'm not sure. Showing involves money, not something I have right now. But you can be damn sure that I am going to bust my ass trying to get better so when the money is available I'm ready.

4. How many barns have you been at in your riding career?

Considering I didn't start boarding until I went to college (kept my horses on my parents farm) I have only been at 4. First was at She Who Must Not Be Named's barn in MO. Then I moved to Stony Hill in MO with the sweetest BO in the entire world. She's quite old but still rides her 4th level dressage horse everyday. He's equally as old and they are ADORABLE. Then I move home back to my parents farm. After a year  I realized B hated it there so I moved to Ends Meet Eventing and haven't left. I don't ever want to actually, BO is perfection.

5. How many different trainers have you been with in your riding career?

LAWD. This is hard. I first started riding at a hunter barn (gag) when I was a wee child, and until I realized what that was about (sorry hunters), I stayed. I was there for about 6 years. Then, I started training with Mann O Mann Eventing Stables and Jurgen Gohler. 

This was Jurgen/Wonder Pony days, I think I was about 13 here

He was TOUGH but he made me the rider I am today. After that I moved to Janice Holmes. BY FAR my favorite trainer of all time. I absolutely loved her methods, knowledge and get it done attitude. She molded what Jurgen created. I was so so sad when I had to leave her for school. In MO I lessoned regularly with She Who Must Not Be Named, along with a lot of other randos like Brian Sabo, Stony Hill BO, etc. But I never took regular lessons. When I moved back to OH and to EME I started training with BO there who is an actual eventing god. 

6. Ever worked at a barn?

Yep! Several. In high school I was a groom for an Arab trainer (bleh), and also worked on some Paso Fino breeding farms (so random). When I moved to MO I worked for Stony Hill and became their Barn Manager. I loved it, but it was a tough job. Its so hard to please everyone! I always applaud boarding farm owners and managers--its hard.

Some of my SH friends

7.Scariest thing that has happened at your barn?

Does Yankee getting surgery count, because I am pretty sure I was legally dead from numerous heart attacks that day.

Or one time at SH an old horse fell down and broke her hip and had to be put down on the spot. Scary and sad.

8. Have you ever given a lesson? What level was the rider?

Yes, I used to actually work a lot with kids. Apparently I'm good with them even though I don't like them. I did make money doing that. You could call them beginners. Here and there I helped friends out and now I lesson with V every Friday. But I am no pro and I don't ask for money. 

9. What is your opinion on the accuracy of critiquing riders online?

First, I loathe online "critiques" with a fiery passion. I know I am guilty sometimes of judging people/horses/things by one moment in time (a picture), but it is SO unfair. I know my horses can have a moment and look awful but get over it in 5 seconds and go around the rest of the ride looking perfect, but if someone managed to snap a pic of said "moment" it would look awful. Pics are awful. If you want to critique, look at videos.

People online are nasty, brutal things and I think its quite awful and they really like to hide behind their keyboards. Also, most people on the internet are CLUELESS. I think is hilarious when teenagers critique people. Like, you know nothing. So the accuracy is sometimes laughable. 

10. What is the ideal height of a horse for you?

For me, because Amazon, anything taller than 17 hands with well sprung ribs is chill. I literally look like an obese tree on Yankee and he's 16.1 and small. B is 17.1 and thicker around and I still look slightly awkward on him. Ideally, I would love an 18h horse, but they tend to be clumsy. 

this horse was 18.1 I think. And MASSIVE. Half perch/half TB

so, 17h.

C'mon ya'll jump in! Its fun.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Tuesday Tiredness

Yankee is my spirit animal. This is literally how I feel after staying awake until 2:30AM completing my final paper then getting up at 5AM for work.

literally this

Seriously, I'm a piece of shit that can't ever get it done unless super under pressure at 1AM. How to Grad School 101: by Monica

my feelings exactly

Monday, October 24, 2016

Monday Morning Minutes

I had a bit of an emotional weekend, which I will eventually share all over the internet when the time is right...but it was also a good one.

1. Yankee and V did quite well this weekend at their Novice debut. I was worried about this being their move up show, considering it was a Team event and those can sometimes be a little bit more difficult, but they handled it well!

Thats his XC face
Dressage went better, according to V, and he was more relaxed with her this time around. His strength has never been dressage, despite being abel to lay down some good scores in the past. Judges tend to not like him because he is not flashy-- despite the fact that he has 3 solid gaits, but he is capable of high scores. I've seen it and ridden it! I doubt will ever be one of those low 20s type horses, but he sure can jump. Eventually they will get to the low 30s with them, but I thought a 39 was respectable for her level and considering they had gotten quite a few mid 40s together in the past, I thought this displayed how hard she has been working at this dressage game.

He has also been taking his nap game seriously

VERY seriously 
What really impressed me was her stadium round. The first few shows she had really buried him the to fences and he would chip or jump awkwardly almost every time. Additionally, he was not respecting her half halts whatsoever. They have worked tirelessly on stadium and I think it showed. Her round was wonderful and he jumped beautifully. I also have a theory that he jumps better over higher fences anyways, but they made me proud this weekend.

XC gave her some new questions, like a ditch, bank and corner (literally WTF, at novice? Since when?) and they tackled it brilliantly. I can't wait to see the pro pics!

Overall they ended 11th out of a large division of 25 at their first novice together and I couldn't be more proud and excited for the next year!

2. B is 100% sound. FINALLY. He was cleared for under saddle work and we've been going for long walks around the farm and working on fun things like lateral work, walking over poles and halts. Riveting stuff people. I had been holding back on trotting because he still felt a little off to me, but yesterday he felt 100% so I will slowly add in more work and eventually some jumping. Dare I say this, but I am feeling super lucky this wasn't a worse injury and it healed relatively quickly.

Hai, you have snax yes?

3. Hackabit. I've been playing with B's set up for a while. I  refused to admit for a while that he simply hates bits, but I've come to that conclusion along with others-- trusted folks like trainers, so please, keep your opinions to yourself. I hate that I even have to say that, but we all know people on the internet can be judgmental assholes. Something I'm working on too. ANYWAYS. I switched him to a hackamore  a while back after playing around with several different bits with no luck, settling on the hackamore. He went quite well in it and happily went around courses under 3ft quite well. I've never actually had a horse respond so well to a hackamore--the difference is night and day. He just hates bits of all kinds and never really relaxes with one in his mouth.

However, once the jumps go up, B starts to tune out the hackamore. I don't blame him at all, to be honest. If I was a big mean jumping bean machine I think I would tune out my plebe of a rider when the fences go up and attack with gusto too. Its not that I need more control  of him, or want to rip the shit out of his face, I just needs a little finesse. Its costly to have a horse not listen to a half halt when the fences are bigger, and I'm not willing to have that be an option.

I've debated trying the combo hack bits, but I tried one on Yankee once and it was WAY too much for him and he's a lot less sensitive than B. That, and the fact that they're usually $100+, I didn't want to drop that only to have B reject it 1000%.

Tired from an hour hack in "warmer" temps. Time for that coat to go!

Enter, my franken-hackabit creation. It looks ghastly, but honestly, I think its perfect. B really seemed to love it as well. This creation is simply a bridoon hanger added under the hackamore, with two reins. The bridoon is a super small straight bar snaffle--one I NEVER thought in a million years he would like. One rein attached to the small snaffle, and the other attached to the hackamore. Also, I added a standing martingale, because hot TB with 3 weeks indoors and hardy any turnout. This obviously had to be attached to a noseband since you can't out a standing on a hackamore, but it will eventually come off again once he settles back into a routine of work and isn't a giant ball of energy.

I played with this  set up a few times just to make sure his first test ride wasn't a fluke, and I have to say, this might be our solution. For one, his walk is his worst gait--pretty resistant to relaxation and giving with his jaw and poll. I know its resistance, and despite how soft my hands are or how mild the bit, he still is inconsistent with acceptance. With the hackabit, he was 100% relaxed.  Seriously. Even when he would shy at something or get lit about horses running around all it took was a half halt, and instead of flinging his head around and flailing, he simply came back to me and lifted his back and stepped under himself. Say what?! For two, I adore two reins. They act separately and each have their own purpose and I really feel a difference with each one. I luff it.

A happy B

I am curious to see how this transfers to jumping, but I can say that at the WTC, he has continued to show no objections. I am truly stunned because I stayed away from thinner bits, thinking he would hate them. In the wrong hands, thin bits can really be awful and are considered a little more severe than normal, fatter snaffles. But maybe, this whole time B has been trying to tell me that he has a small mouth and fat bits are not his jam? Interested to see if this transfers to dressage and their legal bits and whatnot--I will be trying this. Sidenote does anyone have a thin loose ring for sale, haha.

blurry proof
4. New blankets. I had a Dover gift card that I've been waiting to use for just the right time, and Dover's tent sale was the perfect opp. They had Amigo medium weights for FIFTY DOLLARS each, so I snagged two--one for Yanks and one for B. They look really sharp AND satisfied my type A by completing a full set of Amigo blankets for the babies--sheet, lightweight, medium weight and heavyweight. I can die happy now. Sadly got no pics, because I forgot, but they are quite nice.

Stock photo

I'm excited that this week we finally have normal fall temps and riding outside will be glorious and not sweaty. What are you all up to this week?