Thursday, December 31, 2009

Goodbye '09, Hello 2010

So tonight being New Year's Eve with only an hour and half left of 2009 I figured I would write my New Years Resolutions, horsey and otherwise. Now I have never before made a resolution, but I figured its never too late, right? So here it goes:

1. Bring my mare back to her reining roots and compete in the Amateur reining class at an AQHA show or in the new grassroots program started by NRHA. I would also like to compete in trail and/or barrels at the QH show as well.

2. Ride in a clinic

3. Watch more clinics at the expos I go to.

4. Spend more time practicing techniques my trainer shows me in lessons

5. Keep in mind its just for fun when I am stressed or frustrated at a western pleasure show

6. Hit the trails as much as possible!!!!

7. Mix in as much fun, easy rides as I did last year into my schooling ride schedule

8. Do more hunter paces

9, Take even more pictures everywhere I go

10. Write/Blog more about everything and anything that come to mind.

So these are some of my goals for the coming year 2010. I will keep you updated on how things go in accomplishing them. Every equestrian out there should set at least one goal for the New Year in their horsey life. Most equestrians resolutions seem to be to spend more time with or ride their horse more. I think that is a great resolution, but fortunately I got that one down. And I guess an 11th resolution would be to enjoy every moment of my supermare's senior years :)

Monday, December 28, 2009

Snow is Gone!

So the only upside of the horrendous downpour all day Saturday is that it washed all the snow away. Yay! Then Sunday turned out to be beautiful and 50 degrees! So of course I went out and rode the pony. We rode around the back of the farm since it was too nice a day to ride in the ring (at least in my opinion) and the trails were going to be gross. She was very good and not stiff for having most of last week just walked and then the rain. She was a little beasty when jumping the logs but settled down nicely. We ran the barrel a couple of times and she did it nicely though was not as headstrong as I expected.

Today I went to the barn early in order to babysit for D since she had an important meeting with a rescue group that may bring a few horses to us. So I spent an hour or two watching her 2 year old who I adore and cleaning first barn before the new client saw it. It is probably the most used barn with the biggest tack up area since that is where the lesson kids tack up, as well as, those of us who have horses living out in the front field 24/7 which include D and her daughter K. So of course this makes it the most dirty. With the help of the toddler and D's 11 year old son A we had everything away and the barn sweeped and perfectly clean in an hour. Now the challenge is keeping it that way!

Anyway so when D returned home my friend L arrived and we rode our mares in the ring. We did an excercise our trainer R showed us where you try to trot beside each other staying stirrup to stirrup and you circle, do extended and sitting trot, canter, etc. We had not done it in a while and were swapping stories so we did our walk and trot warm up side by side. This excercise is extremely hard when one is riding a 16 hand Standardbred and the other a 15 hand QH LOL! She loped nicely both directions after and we did some work on quarter turns, rollbacks, and spins which were okay. They need more work in our next lesson with R. We also did a little sidepass which was lazy but overall okay.

Anyway so tomorrow my friend M and I are going to NY overnight to visit relatives of mine so pony will get one maybe two days off, but tomorrow is supposed to be freezing anyway so I dont think either of us will mind lol!

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Winter Break is Finally Here!

Fall semester is finally over and winter break is here! Finals and the holidays have been keeping me quite busy, but now I will have some more time to write and keep things updated. Anyway this year Rutgers decided they hated us apparantly and had finals right up until the day before the Christmas Eve, so of coure who had exams on the last 2 exam days? Me. One last Monday and one Wednesday. I survived and now I can rest until Spring semester starts in mid-January. I have lots of fun things planned for break though that I am looking forward to like catching up with family and friends and a few short trips, plus the MD Horse Expo is always the weekend before I go back to school and is one of my favorite trips of the year.

Anyway so on the horsey front I will give you the weekly riding update as always. So last Friday my friend K and I went on a trail ride. They had been predicting a heavy load of snow for the weekend so we figured it would be quite some time before we got out on the trails once that happened. I was of course aboard my trusty steed Satin, but K rode a friend's pony Cindy instead of her pony Smokey since he just got his shoes pulled. We couldn't do too much since it was cold and there was a lot of ice. We had to navigate around the ice which was pretty gross, but we made it and did some exploring. We found the back of this semi-abandoned farm I guess you would call it. It is part of or at least used to be part of the farm of someone who trains Standardbreds. They had no horses and the barns were falling apart a bit or it so it looked. We got onto the track and I wanted to take a little canter around at least part of it, but then K spotted someone and said we should turn back, so we did. We picked up a trot which turned into a canter, but Miss Satin of course was not content to just do that and was chomping at the bit...literally! I had to hold her back to keep her at a fast canter rather than gallop, though I guess it was really more of a hand gallop LOL! She was hopping up and down as she often does when I hold her back. She is quite energetic for a so called old lady haha. On the way back we did the jumping trail and when we came around the bend after Satin spooked left which was unusual for her since she very rarely spooks and I heard and saw nothing. As we progressed though I saw the source which was a group of middle school aged boys hanging out in the woods behind someone's house on this big pile of wood and next to this rather large hole in the ground. It was kind of strange and like typical adolescent boys they started cracking dumb jokes and making fun of us for riding horses. I got that all the time when I was that age, but as I got older people and boys included started to think of it as cool more than strange. K was calling back to their comments as she is younger, older than the boys but only a couple of years. I ignored it knowing it was not worth it and would go away eventually. Anyway all in all we had a nice ride.

Good thing we went because the next day it snowed 20 inches! I went out to the barn to help with the Christmas cookie baking we do every year. We made like 4 or 5 different kinds of cookies including gingerbread men. I ended up getting snowed in there over night and stayed at my barn manager's house. We had fun baking and watching movies and what not and at night went out in the snow a little to check on the horses and see its progress. The next morning when we went out the snow had finally stopped it came past my knees and I'm 5'5" The horses were all up to or past their knees as well. I figured we would be leaving them in, but D was determined to get them out. She and Da our barn maintenance guy plowed out the gates so we could open and close them. Da had been plowing the driveway and farm all night so we could get around a bit. It was still deep in parts though. Anyway then D decided we would ride out whatever horses we could as to avoid having to walk through the very deep snow a million times. She rode out one gelding who had not been ridden in a year and a half due to advanced uviitis (sp?) in both eyes and is going blind. He was good as gold though. We had fun riding a bunch of them out bareback. Then I took a bunch of pictures of them all running and playing in the snow. They were very cute and I will try and put some of them up a little later.

So this week we have pretty much just been riding bareback in the snow since we can't do much of anything else. We have kept it pretty much to a walk since its icey where its plowed down and deep everywhere else. Christmas Eve we did some trotting and cantering in the snow which was fun and I gave Satin a nice hot Christmas mash. Then I rode this mare Patty around for a little bit.

Right now its pouring rain, but at least its melting the snow! Hopefully tomorrow it will be better and I can finally ride. As always I will keep you updated!

Friday, December 18, 2009

Some Pics

I wanted to add in a few cute pics I got on Tuesday. When I got to the barn I found Satin and Jewel laying down together in their paddock and it was just so cute! Lucky for me I had my camera with me.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Finals Week :(

Sorry I have been slacking once again. I had no classes this week, but I have finals Monday and Wednesday of next week plus Christmas is coming faster than ever so I have been super busy between studying and preparing for the holidays.

Let's start with the recap of this week's riding. Saturday we had a short hack in the back grass field as the ring was frozen. Sunday unfortunately it poured all day so the pony had the day off. Monday I went to ride ride her bareback in her halter and lead out of the back of her muddy paddock as I do almost every day when her paddock mate decided to come running up behind us bucking so Satin proceeded to do the same. With only a lead to stop her I quickly pulled her head right and did an emergency dismount at the same time before things escalated especially because I was helmetless which is something I rarely do. When I got to the ground I was able to get her to a walk while her paddock mate Jewel continued to run around like a nut. This made things difficult to get Satin out as she would trot forward as Jewel tried to play chase which she never does. Anyway after all that I bring her inside to find she has a lost a shoe so I couldn't ride her. I walked her around the farm to stretch her legs and Tuesday she got her shoe back on. Thank God for my wonderful farrier who is always quick in responding to lost shoes. Luckily this is something that rarely happens with my mare (knock on wood). Anyway so Tuesday we had a schooling session since we had a lesson the following day. She jogged and loped beautifully and we worked on the excercises R wanted us to do while riding one handed. She was very good, but I could feel she wanted to go. Since she behaved so well I decided to reward her by letting her get it out of her system. So I pointed her towards the barrel to do a dash and she loped very slow to the barrel practically walked around it then all of a sudden sat down, launched, and took off like she was shot out of a cannon across the ring. She sounded like a stampede crow hopping and all. It was quite hilarious. So I ran it one more time with the same result except a little faster towards the barrel. Silly girl :) Then we hacked around the property with K and did one or two log jumps which she beasted lol.

So Wednesday we trailered over to my trainer's farm for a lesson. As always we had a great lesson. I can't say enough how much I love my trainer. She is awesome. Satin's walk, jog, lope was great. We worked on a bunch of simple changes doing different patterns, like serpentines, etc. Then we did flying changes, which she did BEAUTIFULLY! She has nice auto changes, but she tends get rushy with them which makes them sloppy and she sometimes doesn't get the back because of that. But, when we do the simple changes first it seems to help warm her up to get perfectly clean, beautiful flying changes. We also did some work with a L shoot that R set up for us and Satin did it perfectly. We then moved on to work on her spins which she has been sloppy on lately. We started with quarter turns and 180s then did a couple of full spins. To the left they were all beautiful, but as usual to the right they were a bit sloppy which I think could be due to the fact that in that direction she has to pivot off of her bad hock. R got on and worked with her a little bit and helped figure out the best way to get her to really pivot on her spins in both directions. She had her doing some really awesome spins! It was cool to get to see her work since I am usually on her. Then I got on and with R's guidance got some of the spins she was getting including some better ones to the right.

Today I just hacked her bareback in the ring for a little bit since she was probably worn out from yesterday's hour and half lesson. Then I rode my friends L's stb Lexie.

On Tuesday I went to visit my friend H and her stb gelding who I refer to as boyfriend. Her back was out so she asked me if I wanted to ride him and let me try him western which is pretty much the only discipline he hasn't done. He took to it as well as all the others and did very good.

Well time to get back to work I have a busy weekend ahead with a Christmas party tomorrow and a day in NY Saturday!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Brrr! Winter Has Arrived

I feel like it just became winter all of sudden. I mean we have had medium temperatures until Saturdays rain/snow storm then boom magically it was high 30s / low 40s and freezing. Sunday especially was frigid. I had to bust out my layers, which are my best friend this time of year (besides toe warmers of course!).

The only good thing about winter is getting to use all my winter supplies for Satin and I. Along with the layers and toe warmers came the bit warmer, riding the pony bareback in her blanket, her new cooler, and my embroidered "Satin" jacket. This year I plan to invest in two new winter tools. One is a winter helmet cover that wraps around your face. I had one about two years ago which somehow got lost in the shuffle, but I definitely miss it! Today in the blustery cold and wind I tied a scarf around my face to simulate that protection. It worked, but was much less efficient and more difficult to put in place and keep there. I also plan on getting a fleece seat cover for my saddle. My old trainer used to use one in the winter and said it helped keep her toasty (plus is comfy too!).

Though I would trade the use of fun winter supplies in for some warm weather any day! I am definitely not looking forward to the cold weather still to come. Yesterday was tease. It was rainy and gloomy all morning then around noon the sun came out and it was 60 degrees! I almost wasn't going to go out to the farm because of the morning forecast, but the afternoon turn changed my mind. And thank God! It was a gorgeous day to ride. I mean really, how many 60 degree days do you get in December? So K and I hacked around the farm and then did a few barrel dashes. Satin was very hyper and feeling her oats with the warm break in weather. She took off full force for the barrel, crow hopping all the way. Such a silly girl. She is always out to prove that 20 is the new 2!

So this weeks riding log includes a schooling ride on Sunday. Satin had a beautiful jog and lope, though I should have worked on one handed, as well as, two. Then we worked on quarter turns, 180s at the jog, and rollbacks as per Renee's instructions and she did well. The rest of the week we mostly hacked around the farm, including Wednesday as I already mentioned where we added some barrel work. Today we rode in the ring bareback in a halter. We also did some brideless work and she was pretty good. She got a little quick at the canter, as she usually does bridleless, but was otherwise very responsive. We even did some bridleless spins, which were very nice as usual. I hope she is hiding in her shed tonight as I can hear the wind blowing full force outside my window. Tomorrow she will get the day off to relax.

On Sunday I also my friend's STBD Larry. Larry as I may have mentioned has not been ridden in over a year pretty much until the week before when I climbed back on. Larry is a very nervous boy. I call him the boy in the bubble! So Sunday we head into the indoor with our friend M and her mare. We were unhappily surprised to find that there were three large hyper thoroughbreds having a jumping lesson and a fourth joined shortly after. Our two nervous greenies who had not been ridden in a week were obviously "hot" especially on such a chilly day. Larry was very nervous with horses cantering past in all directions and tried once or twice to go up. R fixed the situation asking for the horse turned out in the outdoor to be brought in. The outdoor arena was mucky, but parts were decent enough to ride in. It took a few minutes to get Lar settled in and in a work frame of mind, but once he did he was very good. He gave me a nice ten minutes worth of trot which is very good for an out of shape pony like him. He also backed beautifully and walked several times over a cavaletti with very little protest. I hope to ride him again this weekend as we are shooting to have him ready for April showing!

These last 2 weeks have been super busy at school with the semester ending. I have been buried under papers, projects, quizzes, etc. I am so glad that today was my last day of classes. I handed in my final creative writing piece, though I still have the portfolio to complete for next week. I did my group presentation for International Media too, which I think went well. Now besides for my portfolio I just have Astronomy and Women Writers finals to prepare for. Unfortunately my exams are on the last two exam days write before Christmas, but the only good thing is it gives me almost 2 weeks to study.