Friday, June 19, 2009

Busy Week

Ok, so I have been a bit of a slacker this week so I apologize for that, but I have been super busy.

So lets recap the events of the week starting with the horse stuff of course. Monday I gave Satin off a took a trip to the local tack shop, but Tuesday we had a great ride. We did some schooling and she was very good and then we did some practicing for our demos at the open house coming up in July (will write more on that another time). We are doing a reining freestyle and bridleless freestyle. She was very good during our bridleless practicing. We even jumped a crossrail and she was perfect. Wednesday was the first nice day of the week so we had another games day and again she was great and more behaved then usual during games. Yesterday it was rainy and gross but we did a short 20 minute workout around the paddocks where the footing was the least messy. Today was nice so we had a schooling session in the ring and again she was great. Her jog and lope were perfect. She jumped nicely and quietly. Her sidepass was nice and she was better about the canter poles too. Tomorrow we are hoping for a trail ride.

On Wednesday I also went out and rode a horse for a friend we will call D. D just bought another horse for her daughters. The mare is a 5 year old QH who was trained for reining and D and her daughters and primarily english riders so she asked me if I would come out and try her out and help them better understand how to push her buttons so to speak. Since she sounded very much like my mare plus I love reining I jumped at the chance. The mare was nice and very comfortable. She is green, but does have a nice spin, sidepass, and rollback. It was the first time she had been ridden in the field in which I rode her so she was a little nervous, but settled down. She seems like a solid mare that just needs some more riding and experience. D asked me if I would continue to come out and work with the mare and her daughters and I agreed so now I have a second little job going.

Speaking of jobs, I finally started my internship! I spoke to the lady yesterday and worked out the details and received the rest of the information. It looks like it will be a fun and interesting project.

In other news, I got to see one of my close friends KK yesterday, which was nice and am seeing one of my other very close friends who is coming home from Boston tomorrow night.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

I <3 Trail Rides

The quote, "There is nothing like the feeling you get after a good gallop", is pretty much my motto Lol! The best place for a good gallop is on a trail ride. I am one of those equestrians who is a big believer that trails are important for both horse and rider. It gets boring for you and your horse if all you do is ring work everyday, plus it makes for a good, dependable mount. There is nothing I crave more than a good gallop through the woods or across a meadow.

Anyway, today I went on a trail ride with my usual group. The four of us go out together often and always have a great time. We went out for about 2 and 1/2 hours. It was pretty dreary, but thankfully remained dry. We had a great time, probably one of our best trail rides yet. We went all over, and had time to explore some trails we had never been on and/or had not been on in a while. We did some jumping over downed branches and man made log/branch jumps along the trails. We also went through quite a few water crossings and one mini river so to speak. We had two great gallops and just a lot of fun and laughs in general. The only downside to our outing was that we pulled about 5 or 6 ticks off each horse and, just like pretty much everyone else, I can't stand ticks. Hopefully I found all the ones on her so I don't find any nasty tick bites tomorrow and luckily I found none on me.

Saturday was less exciting. I just rode in the ring for about 30 minutes, but she was great. We just did walk, jog, lope and then we did a few rollbacks, which were awesome! I <3 my pony. Then I had a chance to play with my new camera, since we actually had some sun during the afternoon and I got some great jumping pictures.

On the job front, the internship lady e-mail last week apologizing for taking so long to get back to me and saying she got caught up with the magazine's deadline and would e-mail me the info the next day. She never did and that was last Monday, so I sent her an e-mail a little while ago to remind her because the parentals are on my back about it, plus I do need to start making money.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Helmet Safety

So I am one of those equestrians who always wears her helmet, with the exception of the show ring, since in western pleasure it is traditional that you wear a cowboy hat. I am now of the age where a helmet is not required, but I continue to wear one anyway because I really do believe and have heard many stories of how they have saved lives. This week I experienced for myself the importance of wearing a helmet. On Wednesday I was riding a friend's horse around the farm bareback with another friend. All was well until on our last canter before we were going to cool out, the horse I was riding threw a nice buck out of nowhere. He has been so good the whole time I was not expecting it and was thrown onto his neck. He started to lift his head and I thought I might be able to get back in position but he threw another buck and I popped over his head. I have fallen off quite a few times before, as has every rider, but this was the first time I landed on my head. I hit the ground head first then went onto my side. Thankfully I was wearing my helmet which absorbed the impact of the ground instead of my head. I have a bump on my head and my neck is totally out of whack, but that's the worst of it. If I wasn't wearing my helmet I would definitely have a concussion and maybe even have broken my neck at the angle in which I fell. It wasn't the horse's fault he was just feeling frisky, but every time I touch the bump on my head I thank God for my helmet. I hope those equestrians out there who don't wear helmets will consider their heads and necks next time they mount up.

In other news, I gave Satin off on Monday since we showed Sunday and Tuesday we had games day so she could have a fun day. We did pole bending, barrel dash, and a little keyhole. She was beastly, but she was loving it and so was I. Wednesday we did a little schooling and she was quick, but that was probably because she got to gallop around the day before doing games. On Thursday we had a lesson. It was good for the most part. We did some work cantering over poles during which she got a bit racy and tried jumping the poles as I knew she would. We also worked on her flying changes which were a bit sloppy in the beginning but she had some really awesome ones in the end. Her jumping was nice also. She did not over jump or race through. Her spins and sidepass were awesome. Today I did a short schooling session with her because it was really hot and she was great. I also rode the horse I fell off. He is a Kentucky Mountain Pleasure Horse named Hezzie. We just rode around for fun and played with the poles. Yesterday my friend who I will call K and I rode Bobby who is our Standardbred sort of rescue. His owner had to move back to Sweden and we could not get him into SRF in time so we are fostering him until SRF takes him or we find him a home. He has been ridden before and he did pretty good, but is still figuring things out.

The weather has been horrible, raining all week. This afternoon got nice and sunny and I hear the weekend is supposed to be nice as well, so fingers crossed. I also got my new fancy camera this week so tested that out on Tuesday and love it. I can't wait to use it more.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Yesterday's Horse Show

Here are a couple of pics from yesterday's show:

So as I said in my previous posts I had a horse show yesterday and it went pretty well. It was a beautiful day, but it was hot especially in show clothes. It is technically a schooling show, but it is pretty tough for an unrated, non-breed show. Anyway she warmed up nicely, a little quick at the lope, but still pretty good. Plus, I lost a day of schooling Friday after my session with my trainer because it rained the whole day, but I did what she told me to on Saturday and Sunday.

The first class of the afternoon for us was horsemanship pattern and rail work. The pattern wasn't bad and definitely doable, but unfortunately it did not work out that way. She was very quick and antsy, and she flew through the pattern. The jog from A to B was okay, but she picked up the wrong lead with the lope around and stop equal to C then would not halt at C. She was fidgeting and flying sideways. I stopped and tried to calm her before moving to the next part of the pattern. That part required a lope which was equally quick, but on the correct lead at least, but again she was flying around at that halt and just would not settle so I excused myself without doing the last part of the pattern. Her rail work in that class was much better, but we took 6th due to our poor pattern performance.

The second class was western pleasure which went much better than the first. She was still quicker at both the jog and lope than I would like, but much better than before. Her jog to lope transitions need work. We were right in front of the judge when we were asked for it and she shot into the lope and by the time she settled we were being asked to walk, but again a much better performance than the first class though not her best. We ended up taking a 4th though, which was good especially since pleasure isn't her best class. She is much better in trail and command and usually pattern.

The command class was our next class and my favorite because it doesnt matter how pretty it looks or how slow, you just have to do it. This is one of Satin's best classes because of her reining past. The class started out alright, but when asked to go from the lope to the halt (again right in front of the judge) she was super antsy and just would not stand still so we were called in, but we again took home a 4th.

Our last class was trail which is my 2nd favorite class and one of Satin's best events. The pattern wasn't too difficult and started out great. It started with knocking down the pole and then sidepassing and working the mailbox, which went beautifully. Then we had to jog a set of cavalettis, which she did a little quick but they were tight so you kind of had to. Then we had to pick a bucket up off a barrel and jog it to the next barrel. She was a little late picking up her jog and wouldn't stop straight next to the 2nd barrel. She got ansty and spun around it, but I was able to put it down. The next part was to jog a serpentine around a set of cones, which went fine. Then we had to lope to the bridge, which again she did pretty quickly and then got antsy and would not go over the bridge nicely, so I had to stop, turn her around and get her straight, and then ask her to walk over, which she did nicely. The last part of the pattern was to back a serpentine through a set of 3 cones, which also went well. She got a little crooked and almost knocked one of the cones, but I was able to fix her in time and we took 2nd in that class, which I was very happy about!

So overall we had a pretty good day and have some things to work on before the next show, but that isn't until August so we have plenty of time. The rest of my friends did good as well. My friend whose has the STBD mare I wrote about in my last post, lets call her L (she is also the one I take lessons with) was grand champion in her division with three 1sts and two 2nds. The other girls from the barn all got in between 1st-4th. I have a lesson Thursday so I can talk to my trainer about the show and work on some things. They are calling for bad weather this week, but hopefully they are wrong (knock on wood).

Oh also last Friday I was able to go into the paddock at the local STBD track since my friend is a groom in a race barn. It was a pretty cool experience and the horse ended up winning so I got to be in the winner's circle picture. My friend's boss also said he may have me paddock for him in the future when he has several horses running the same day especially if they are at different tracks so that would be cool too.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Rain, Rain Go Away. Come Again NEVER!

I absolutely HATE this gross, rainy weather and it's supposed to be like this again tomorrow. Luckily its supposed to be a gorgeous weekend for the horse show, 80's and sunny! I can't wait! Tuesday (which of course was the last nice day this week) I could not ride because I had my brother's high school graduation, which was an all day affair.

I did get to ride yesterday however. It was dreary and misting on and off, but the sun did come out for a little bit and it was warm so it wasn't bad. Satin and I had did some more schooling since show prep is now kicking into high gear with the show only a few days away. It was pretty good for the most part. She was a still a bit quicker at the jog and the lope than I would like, but I made her a do a lot of circles and really work, especially at the lope. We did some more sidepassing, which she did nicely. We also jumped a little, not too much, just a crossrail, but she did it beautifully. She did not rush or bomb it at all like she did in our last lesson. She trotted to it nicely, jumped it perfectly, then came right back to the trot after when asked, which I was very happy about compared to our speed racer jumping we had last week.

Last night I also had a meeting for the horse show association since I am on the board. It was actually pretty good for us. There was no arguing and it ended in less than two hours, which is a miracle in itself. Before the meeting my barn owner had to check out a pony at the barn that was hosting the meeting for us to use for summer camp. She asked me to ride him so she could get a look at him. He was a cute little flea bitten grey medium size pony. He was very sweet and all around a good boy. I probably looked funny on this little 13 hand pony and riding English, especially since the other two girls in the ring were riding huge thoroughbreds Lol. He was a cute jumper too and after one of the jumps I lost my stirrup and he just eased to a stop and waited for me to fix it instead of taking off or what not as other horses might.

Today I saw one of my best friends from high school that I haven't seen in like 6 months so that was nice and had lunch with a high school teacher I was and still am very close with. Then I went out to the barn to ride in the rain of course. It was only drizzling, so it wasn't that bad. I ended up riding Satin for over an hour and half. She was a bit quick at the jog and lope again especially one handed. Luckily for me and Satin though, my trainer was at the barn today riding Spice (my barn owner's mom's horse) who she is riding once a week to do some training for his owner. Since I only take my lesson every other week my last lesson before the show was last week so I was glad I had an opportunity to talk to her again before the show. She asked me if I needed help with anything so of course I took her up on it. She gave me some excercises to try at the jog and we did not receive as much of a response from Satin as we would have liked, so after she finished with Spice she asked to get on for a few minutes to see what I was talking about. She rode Satin for about 15 minutes and saw immediately what I meant since she had been having me do a give and release to slow her down and as soon as you released she sped up again, especially if you went from two hands to one. She showed me some other things to do that helped a lot and then had me get on and worked with me a few minutes. She suggested I ride her two handed doing a combination of half halts and give-release exercises she showed me all the way up until the show, including in my warm-up at the show, but to also do 15 minutes of one hand work using another technique she showed me, then end with two hands. This is one of the reasons I LOVE my trainer. She took time to help me out and give me a mini lesson really when she was out there to work another horse and took the time to get on the horse herself to get a better understanding of what was going on. She is also super detailed in her instructions and explanations which is really helpful. Also, getting to see her ride my mare and do the exercises helps me know what I am looking for when I do it, such as the specific arch in her neck, etc. Anyway, if she continues to be responsive to these techniques then we will be ready to go on Sunday. Tomorrow I will school her again and clip her then clean my tack, which I hate doing, but has to be done.

I also rode my friend's Standardbred mare today since she was sick both today and yesterday and couldn't make it out to the farm. This mare has not been ridden by anyone other then her owner for the most part since my friend got her about 4 years ago. The only exceptions really being me or one of the other girls getting on for a few minutes when we are out playing around or the one time our trainer got on her. Those few times someone else did get on her she was not that happy about it, so I wasn't sure how that would go, but she was actually very good for me. We did walk, trot, and canter and she was nice and collected and listening. We also did some cavalettis and raised cavalettis, which she did very nicely. Then we rode around the paddocks a little bit also doing walk, trot, and canter and again she was great. I told my friend she is just a brat for other people when her Mommy is watching Lol.

Anyway, I have a busy weekend ahead with the horse show and my brother's graduation party, but looking forward to a fun-filled weekend with gorgeous weather. Tomorrow I am going to visit my Lar (my friends STBD gelding that I ride) and then going to the track with my friend (he is a groom in a STBD racing barn) because he has a horse racing, so that will be cool to see the behind the scenes of the track. I will let you all know how it is!

Monday, June 1, 2009

Trails, Pony Rides, and Show Prep

So since my last post horse-wise I went on a short trail ride on Friday. We just did walk-trot because one of the girl's took a horse that has never been out before and except for a few crow hops he was pretty good. Satin was not that happy about missing out on cantering / galloping so I took her for a short canter around the paddocks when we got back. Then Saturday we did some schooling in the ring because we have a horse show coming up on Sunday! She was a good girl except for being a bit speedy on her flying lead changes, but that is how she always is with her changes. There is something about flying changes that is apparantly extremely exciting, at least in Satin's world. After our schooling we went on a short walking trail to cool out with another girl who just had her horse at our farm for a month and was leaving the next day, but she used to board there a couple years ago and for most of her childhood so she knows our trails very well. She showed me this one path that used to be her favorite galloping path so I said, "Well let's go". I told her we had to send her off with bang, so why not? Plus makes up for our missed gallop on the trails the day before. So we had a nice little run which both Satin and I enjoyed very much.

On Sunday we had a short schooling session because I promised my barn owner I would go down about an hour south and help her give pony rides for the girl scouts. The pony rides went well, except they had us doing them in this unmowed field of very tall grass, so it was TICK CITY! I am not even kidding, it was horrible. I pulled at least 10 ticks off me throughout the day and one of the other girls that went with us pulled off like 15. My barn owner thinks we must have hit a nest because we had a lot of baby ones on us, as well as, the big ones. They even got into the truck which was parked in the field under some trees with the windows down. We sprayed just about the entire can of Deep Woods Off and half a can of horse fly spray all over ourselves several times and it still did nothing, though neither of the horses got any ticks on them, so go figure.

Anyway, today Satin and I had another schooling session. She was pretty good for the most part. Her lope was a bit quick, but got better in the end. Her jog was good, though she tried to speed up when I went to one hand. Her quarter turns were great. She is so smart, though I already knew that of course (Lol :) ). She now has the quarter turn idea down pat and is ready to do the next one before I even ask at all. Her spins were good as well, though she is beginning to anticipate too much between the quarter turns and spins. She tried to canter in her quarter turns and spin right the second I halt her to ask for the spin. Her sidepass was great and we even worked on some bridleless riding (a big interest of mine). We have done some bridleless in the past walk, jog, and lope and even bareback once. The girls at the farm and I started a little horse rescue and we are planning an open house to raise money in which we will have all kinds of demos and things (I will write more about this in another post later on). I am planning on a bridleless demo so I want to get Satin really good at it by then. We did some sidepassing and backing bridleless and she was good about it. Later on I rode Hezzie who is a Kentucky Mountain Walking Horse. We just played around for fun becuase some of the other girls came out to ride and he was a good boy as usual.

In other news I got the online paid internship I wanted! I am pretty excited about it. It is for a trail riding magazine looking to launch this huge website. I will be doing online research and data entry for a 4 week project for which I will paid at the end of the 4 weeks and if they like my work I will do another 4 week project. Its perfect for me. Its flexible because I do everything online from home, it pays, its great experience, and its horse related. What could be better?

On Saturday I had the opportunity to catch up with high school friends home from college and I am in the process of booking my trip to Vegas to see my aunts. It will be a busy week with my brother's graduation and a horse show coming up, but looking forward to it!