Thursday, December 9, 2010

Winter Has Arrived

So winter is here and has definitely made an entrance. It's been in the low thirties during the day and low twenties at night this whole week and let's not forget the brutally cold winds. Honestly, it wouldn't be that bad without the wind. Of course with wnter comes the depression at the thought of cold weather riding and chores. But, as always the Showtime Stables crew is bundling up and braving the elements like all other true horse people. With no indoor winter riding is tough, but we make it work. It has put a damper on things though.

The days I have my late classes it is hard to get riding in as by the time I get there it is not only dark but frozen. It gets really hard to motivate to ride and sometimes I can't because it's just to cold and the ground is hard. The old mare deserves an easy winter though so its okay.

We had a great lesson with R last week. Thank God for her indoor! We did more cavaletti work and it went well for the most part. I took Satin to a local farm that is having an indoorn winter fun show series last weekend. We had fun albeit the cold, but Satin was a bit lazy. I knew she wouldn't run full out in the indoor. I don't know why but I could just tell this about her.

Satin is easy to ride and handle in any weather. Hotty, on the other hand, being the typical sensitive, nervous Thoroughbred is not. I don't ride him on very windy days, even when its not freezing. So the freezing temps and wind alone put us out of commission all of last week. The beginning of last week though he gave me a difficult time at the end of our ride. Then the next two days he gave me a hard time coming in from the field. He would plant his feet and refuse to go forward no matter what I did. It took me forever to coax him in a few steps at a time. When I got him the first day I discovered her was very stiff in the hocks and short stepping in the front, so this issue put us off too, but was resolved in a few days. The second day I had to use bribery to lure him in. He has been better coming up, at feeding time at least. Though the wind and cold has made him frisky and he spent part of the walk in flying sideways and backwards earlier this week at feed time. We are in for a warmer weekend so I hope to get him back on track before a very cold week next week.

In other news we are nearing the end of a semester, a joyous and painful time. I am happy for it to be almost over, but with the end comes lots of work between final papers, projects, and exams. I am forging my way through a little at a time, but wont be free until my last exam which is of course the day before Christmas Eve.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Hotty Update

Okay, so a while back I wrote about Hotty, my friend's OTTB I had been riding. Well I have more bragging to do. He has just been doing AWESOME! He gets better and better every week.

He has become even more of a pleasure pony than when I last wrote. His jog is amazing. It just gets better every ride. I now have him neck reining like a champ. When his ADD isnt acting up and he concentrates on me he moves completely off my seat which makes neck reining a breeze. I have him figure eighting and serpentining all around on a loose rein at the jog. We haven't been doing much canter work lately because I have been focusing on developing his jog and neck reining, but I plan to get back to it soon.

He has also become a wonder trail horse, meaning trail obstacles. I started each obstacle on the ground with some treats and he took to them right away. He works the mailbox like a champ. Once he found out there were treats hidden there he decided he loved it. LOL I also have him walking calmly and willingly over the bridge, our bridge being a flat piece of plywood. He will even back over it and stand on it. We have also practiced knocking a pole down off 2 barrels and walking over it, which he was completely unfazed by. Most recently we began working with picking up a jacket off one standard and moving it to another. I started practice on this on a breezy day taking off my jacket which I flapped all over his neck and head without so much as a flinch. Then put it on the jump, picked it up, moved it, etc, no issue at all! Afterwards I even put it over his face when on the ground and he didnt care. We also began practicing the rope gate on the ground which didnt faze him at all.

I am so proud of the progress he has been making so quickly. I just grow more attached to him by the day. He is so smart, talented, and willing.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Catch up

Okay so now I will try to sum the past 6 weeks up for you.

Let's start with the most important topic...Satin. Okay so since we last spoke we had our last horse show which went pretty well. Her barrel run wasn't her best but she woke up for the last two events and we ended up reserve for the show and for the year. Our banquet is tomorrow where we will receive our trophies.

About two weeks ago i broke down and decided to have an english lesson with some encouragement from R. The monday before the lesson I had my jumper friend S give me some pointers. I switched Sat from a snaffle to pelham to help with the getting too strong problem and she was better. We did some nice lines, jumped our first oxer, jumped hay bales, and did some jumper turns and rollbacks plus a mini course. My lesson with R went the total opposite. I went in too confident and determined to impress R. Well to make a long story short I had several refusals and I say I because it was me not Satin. Once she had gotten a few stops she just kept going with it. Then we had one jump I went over without her. All in all it was just bad. R was her usual wonderful, patient self doing her best to help me through. That Saturday K and I had planned a Halloween show at our farm which would benefit my cousin's cancer fund. There was a Gambler's Choice class and I planned to ride in it. R suggested I jump her very lightly Friday to get my confidence back. I enlisted S's help again and we just jumped a simple line I was confident on. I had one stop but got it together and ended well. The day of the show I pulled Sat out to find her shoulder was a bit blown up. She was sound but S suggested not jumping her or using her for the speed that day and I agreed. I decided Sat's jumping career was ending before it started. That week had just been too much jumping for her, much more than she was used to and the inflamation was due to the fact she was using muscles she didnt normally use, but she is going to be 22 years old and I don't feel the need to push her into something she doesnt need to do. I will still learn and I will still jump her on occassion just for fun.

Anyway the horse show went very well. All our planning had paid off and it was a very successful day. We raised almost $900! I won the in hand class with JB aka boyfriend. We are currently 3 for 3 in in hand wins. A kid from my old barn named Shyanne rode Sat in 2 gait pleasure and took a 5th having to ride the class with no stirrups because she can't reach mine. Sat and I took a 4th in the 3 gait pleasure. The two jumping classes went very well with my friend winnning Gambler's Choice on a 25 year old semi retired Qh! I pulled my adopted child and Satin's pasture mate Jewel out for the speed. The mare is quite the bullet even for being extremely out of shape. She bolted into the arena and was so excited I couldnt bring her back quick enough so our first barrel turn was wide but we fixed it in the end though took 4th because of it. We were ready for the dash and took first in that. We then teamed up with my barnmates K, E, and L for the relay in which we took 2nd. In the command it came down to K and I and Satin humbled me when I got a bit cocky saying I could counter canter all day long after which she promptly changed herself to the correct lead getting us 2nd in that class. Our final class was ride a buck in which we took 5th. My little cousin rode her in the costume class dressed in pink breast cancer stuff as the breast cancer awareness team as that was what we were raising money for. We are going to do another charity show in the spring as everyone had such a good time.

We just had another lesson with the wonderful R yesterday which went very well. Satin's changes were flawless and we did a difficult but very good cavaletti excercise.

In other news, school as been hectic with papers, exams, scheduling next semester, etc. I got a great schedule though and the next thing is looking into grad schools and the GREs.

I had a big photo job a few weeks ago for a local barn. I did 45 minute sessions for 20 boarders. The shoot took the whole weekend and was a lot of fun and a big success all around. I am still editing the over 3000 pictures I took but the customers were very happy and want to do it again in the spring!

I'm Alive, Really! (WEG catchup)

I have been an absolutely horrible blogger these days. I left you guys on a huge cliff hanger with WEG and then fell off the face of the Earth. I am still here though, I promise! Things have just been super hectic lately with school, the horse, work, etc, etc etc.

WEG was absolutely AMAZING. Best experience of my life. If you remember I was going down with my Standardbred friends who would be giving several breed demos. My friend E from Maine drove down with her mare and her friend T on the Thursday and we all spent the night at H's. Early the next morning we loaded E's mare Dreamy and H's horse boyfriend on the trailer and started the trek to Lexington. It was quite the road trip to say the least. We expected it to take about 12 hours pulling the trailer and it took 14! We left in the dark and pouring rain. Luckily the rain let up within the first hour or two and was done by the time we made our way into PA. The next problem was when we drove through West VA because it is full of hills and mountains causing us to have to drive very slowly with a large rig. To make West VA even more fun E accidently locked the keys in the truck when we stopped for lunch. Luckily she has Onstar though so we were back in in a matter of minutes. It may have taken a while but we made it to our friend L's house about 20 minutes outside of Lexington about 8 pm without any major incidents. Both horses traveled well and settled in nicely in L's barn.

The Harbour Inn as we referred to L's place would be our home away from home for the next week but the horses would only spend two nights there before going to WEG. We found waiting for us a hot, home cooked meal, hot shower, and warm beds, just what we needed. The next morning we got the horses all cleaned up and ready to go to the Red Mile, a harness racing track, where we would have the first and only team practice. First we all went to lunch at a nearby restaurant and got to meet the rest of the demo team who had traveled form FLA, CA, PA, and another friend from NJ. We headed back to the barns were the horses were outfitted with the halters and blankets provided by Finn Tack for a photoshoot which was turned over to me to run by the USTA rep heading up the demo team. We took group and individual shots then got ready for the practice run in the in field. Practice went pretty well and we headed back to the harbour inn to get ourselves and the horses bedded down for the night.

The next morning we rose early for move in to WEG. This was a long and physically straining process, but we got everything in and the horses settled into their stalls for the next few days. That night our demo was 5:30 so we then had some time to explore the grounds and enjoy WEG. L, T, and I discovered in our search for a bathroom that our passes that allowed us access to the barn, also allowed us access into the stadium for the show jumping! We got a great view of some of the famous show jumpers in the world. I also got some great pictures! The first demo went well though due to rainy weather and the late time there was not much of a crowd. That night the Harbour Inn was hosting a bbq for all the STB team members. It was a nice gathering with good food though we were all tired.

The next day we took the opporutnity to sleep in a bit since our demo was even later at 6 pm. L took us to Walmart because 1) we were all freezing and wanted to buy gloves and hats and 2) they sold WEG apparel there. We then made our way to the Park and spent the afternoon exploring more of WEG and doing some shopping. The demo again went smoothly though still no crowd due to the late start.

Tuesday was my last day at WEG since I had to return to classes. We got there early and did some more exploring and of course a little more shopping. We took a pic of the Fab 5 as we called ourselves with the Secretariat statue and dressed in Swedish gear at the Swana booth because you know everyone wants to be Swedish! We also watched a great Clinton Anderson clinic after T and I had talked to him not even knowing it was him! We had been walking the barns that morning because our horses were stabled right next to Lynn Palm's Rugged Painted Lark, Clinton Anderson's horses, John Lyon's barn and all the great clinicians, so we wanted to explore. During our walk we saw John Lyons just sitting on a bench grazing his horse and walked past a man leading a horse who said good morning to us wearing A Down Under Horsemanship jacket, Anderson's company. We just assumed it was someone who worked for him, but found out later it was the man himself! The demo that day was slightly earlier at 4pm which brought out some more people including our friend Lella from home who was in Lexington. As soon as the demo ended T and I rushed to the car to get me off to the airport. We couldnt find the car for almost 20 minutes but luckily it was smooth sailing from there and we made it to the small Bluegrass airport with time to spare. My flight went well and I arrived home late that evening.

So suffice to say I had the time of my life and am so glad I had the opportunity to go.

Monday, September 27, 2010

WEG Here I Come!

On Friday I leave for the World Equestrian Games in Lexington, KY. I can't wait!

Okay so here is the back story. My friend H with the horse I call boyfriend was one of the horse and rider teams chosen by the USTA to be part of the Standardbred versatility demos at the games. She was chosen to demo show jumping. Our friend L from Maine was chosen as well, and so was our friend LH from Lexington. Well being I am H's show mommy and offical photographer where she and boyfriend go I travel! L will be driving down with her mare Thursday and then bright and early Friday morning we will all be traveling to Kentucky. They begin demos on Sunday and unfortunately I fly home Tuesday night while they stay til Thursday because I can't miss that much school.

I plan on taking tons of photos of the games and maybe even doing some writing as well. The trip will also be well documented on this blog as I will be making an effort to constantly update with a play by play of our trip and of course ad pictures.

WEG Here we come!


Okay so updates since we last spoke. Satin has been wonderful as always. We had a show two weeks ago and it went well. Her turns were great and she had good times. We were reserve and Kayla was grand as always, so I was happy. We also had a lesson last week which went well. We did more work on lead changes teaching Lexie and refreshing Satin. Satin was extra quiet and lazy. I think this was due to the unusual 90 degree heat. She is usually very forward on her changes but sleeping and loping along making the changes either not happen or only happen in the front. R changed up the excercise and we gave Sat a pole to help her out. We started doing it in a figure eight with a change down the middle then moved to getting them on the diagnonal. By the end we had nice changes at a slow collected pace which was even better!

We worked on our homework yesterday that R designed to help improve her lead changes especially at a collected gait. I brought her up into her really collected canter which she is becoming quite good at it. It is getting easier and easier to bring her into it and hold her there. At the collected canter I bent her to the inside for a few strides then the outside, inside then outside, etc. I did this in both directions. Then I brought her into a semi-collected counter canter and asked her to bend to the inside. R said to hold her there until she wanted to change to the correct lead. I did and once I got her whole body bent to the inside she wanted to change and would do a simple change to do so. Though I will say I was proud of how good her counter canter has gotten that she was able to keep a nice pace and hold the counter canter even when I had her head bent to the inside and was circling her and she even held it a little when I first got her body bent inward.

We were hoping to go barrel racing tomorrow, but its been raining since last night and it is supposed to continue into tomorrow so its not looking good unfortunately :( Especially since I had R talked into coming. Well hopefully in two weeks we can go.

Now I have to brag about Hotty. I believe I mentioned I had begun riding my friend's Thoroughbred gelding. Well he has come such a long way in the short time I have been riding him. First off he thinks he is a western pleasure horse. He jogs like a champ with his head in the perfect headset. He has a gorgeous comfortable trot. We had a little issue trotting around to the left in one part of the ring which we quickly got over. We have been doing canter work and yesterday for the first time he was able to hold left lead twice around the ring instead of just half way around! Then we worked on right lead which is his weak direction (probably from being off the track) and after a few tries we actually got a few strides of right lead! I was so proud of him!! We also recently started going for walks around the property after we finish working and he has been an angel. I am also getting him more used to riding with other horses and yesterday my friend was jumping, doing lead changes, and cantering around right by him and he didn't even flinch. Also when I first started riding him he didn't want to back up at all and now he loves backing up. He does it like its his job and I have him backing through shoots. He is so ready for trail LOL This doesn't sound like much, but for this horse this is amazing progress in a short amount of times. I couldn't be prouder. He is such an AWESOME horse with so much potential. Now that he trusts me he is so eager to please and do anything for me. I just love him and hope to be able to continue working with him for a while. His owner is looking for a new home for him but I hope that doesn't happen anytime soon. I want to show him in the beginner western next year. Fingers crossed!

In other news, I have my big photo shoot job coming up for a local barn. And I also leave for Kentucky this week, but I am going to make a separate post writing all about that.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Since we last spoke...

So I have been slacking yet again, but I promise it is with good reason. I have just been super busy since school started, plus fall is the end of show season so its jam packed with events. Basically every weekend of September and October is booked, including my trip to WEG, so excited!!!

Anyway, since we last spoke I have had two fabulous lessons one working on flying changes to teach Lexie and help Satin. Her changes started off a little rusty and ended great. What I was most impressed with that lesson was actually how great her counter canter has gotten. It is actually a counter lope now! The lesson before that we worked A LOT on collection and extension at the trot and canter. I had her doing the cutest little jog and nice floaty trot. She also had a nice extended canter working right off my seat and a the most collected canter EVER! She was basically cantering in place. It was awesome! Renee was very happy with it as well. And it was all off seat and legs no hand usage at all. Dressage ring here we come! LOL

We have also gone barrel racing at Curry a few weeks and Satin has had some very nice runs. Her turns around the barrels have been awesome. The only thing we need to work on is getting up her speed in the pattern between barrels. She runs to the first barrel and home but does not like to run in the pattern. Knowing Satin its basically a "Fine, Mom. If you are going to make me slow down for every turn, why should I bother to run in the pattern". We did some work on fixing that today and she did well. She has also become quite the poles horse. It seems to be her new favorite thing. She has been running them really well.

We also finally went team penning for the first time in a while last week. K and I went with Satin and Smokey and my friend J who has been dying to try penning came along. We also brought along Satin's field mate Jewel as an extra horse. J rode Sat since she is better for a first time penner than Jewel. Jewel is a great penning horse, but she is so good she turns very quick and once you point her to the cow you want she goes for it before you know it. Satin is much easier to handle in the penning ring and took good care of J. She knows her job and they got it done. I rode Jewel in a few times that night and she did very well as did Sat in our runs together. K and Smokey were our partners for most run and we had some really nice ones nothing too fast though. I think our best time of the night was 30 seconds but that was okay.

Also, last week my friends L and S and I were involved in a 9/11 ceremony at our local harness racing track. S and her Standardbred Indy rode down the track carrying a flag L and I lead her Standardbred Lexie who was the riderless horse with the backward boots. We were dressed in dressage clothes and the ceremony went well and we got many compliments. The track treated us to lunch after which was very nice.

This weekend I am busy, busy with showing. Saturday we have the Jersey Bred show. Originally I was just showing my friend H's horse which you all know as boyfriend in the in hand class. After our impressive showing at the National Show she asked me to do it again at this show. Then today she asked me if I would ride our friend JM's horse Don in the two gait adult class. He is a nice western horse and I am looking forward to it. We also volunteered K to assist and she will be showing him in the junior in hand and junior 2 gait also western. Then Sunday we have our local schooling show where Satin and I will be doing the speed division.

Other than horses, I have been busy with the start of school. Classes are going well but keeping me busy with a full course load, 6 classes. Also have a few photo and freelance jobs coming up so that will be nice.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Pics from the National

Here are a few pics of me with Larry and Jb from the National

National Standardbred Show and latest lesson

So last weekend was the National Standardbred Show at the Horsepark which is one of my favorite shows to attend each year even though I own a Quarter Horse! LOL I am friends with many of the organizers and competitors so I help with the setup, the show itself, and the clean up and usually end up showing something in between.

I showed my friend H's horse Jb (who I often refer to as boyfriend and have mentioned here before) in the halter classes. He looked absolutely stunning in my western show halter. He could have passed for a QH. We won the geldings in hand class! They then take the top two of each in hand class and they go on to the championship class where they choose a grand and reserve champion. We ended up reserve! H and I were super excited! The horse that got grand was a very nice looking stallion so there was no shame coming reserve to him.

I rode my friend R's horse Larry in the western walk jog and western walk jog pattern classes. He was much better then last time we competed at this show but we did not pin in our first class as something outside the ring caught his eye and caused him to go along sideways half the class. He truly surprised me in the pattern class though. We had a pattern that was more difficult in previous years at this show but something that would be typical at the schooling show or breed show. He did it very well and then the judge had us go on the rail and do rail work which again is typical for a horsemanship class but no judge had ever asked that of us at that show. The kicker was she had us do it with no stirrups! Larry was really good though and actually stayed in his jog the entire time and was very cooperative. We ended up pinning 4th out of about 11.

The rest of my friends all did well and the show ran very smoothly. There was a great turn out and it really showed the versatility of the breed.

Last week I had a fabulous lesson as always. R really made both L and I and our horses work. We did work on very collected jog and extended trot. Sat was great she had the slowest roundest jog she has ever done. We did the same at the canter. We worked on extending the canter strictly using our seat and collecting the canter through the seat and legs and holding her there with that rather than my hands. She was absolutely AWESOME. Her collected canter was so so collected she was basically cantering in place and when I sat back she came up and really worked off her butt, she was a small step away from piaffe. Dressage may be her next calling! R was very happy with us both as well. We then did work on flying changes which after a little warm up finished off flawlessly. We also did some sidepass work which she did nicely.

Tonight we are going barrel racing for my last night of summer

Monday, August 16, 2010

I'm Alive I Swear!

Okay, so I have been slacking worse then ever, but I swear it's with good reason. I have just been so incredibly busy this summer it's ridiculous! I am hardly ever home and when I am home it's basically just to sleep.

I will catch you up with the condensed version. My pony has been great for the most part. We had a little issue around the middle of July where her back left leg swelled up like a balloon to about twice normal size. I cold hosed and walked her for a two days basically and the swelling went down. We also did sweat wraps and poultice. She was never lame on it which was good, but still had me worried. We have had some awesome lessons and are having another one this week. Our last show wasn't great though. We both had an off day. She wasn't running the way she usually runs speed wise or otherwise. Our barrel run was not good. Her turns were sloppy and we touched every barrel though luckily we didn't knock any over. Our poles run was actually pretty good but we knocked the last pole. Our keyhole turn was good but she didnt run her fastest.

As far as interning it went really well. My editor let me do a little bit of everything, writing, pics, layout, editing, etc. I realy liked it and now its over but she is keeping me on as a free lancer. Yay! My Paint Journal and Hoofbeats articles came out and I got paid for the Hoofbeats one! My photo business is also doing pretty well. I did the dressage show shoot which lead to one of the riders or really two hiring me privately. I have also gotten print orders from CJHA and Curry.

That's basically been my life lately other than spending a week in Vegas with my family out there which was a lot of fun. I promise to try and be better about my posting from now on.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Okay So I have been a slacker

I'm sorry guys. I have been a bit of a slacker these days. I have just been incredibly busy!

Okay so last show Satin and I were reserve champions. Kayla brought Smokey back so they were grand. We were a full second faster in each of our events. Our barrel run wasn't our best turn wise. It was a little rough, but we got a 19 where last time we got a 20. Our pole run was good and a full second faster. Last time we got a 27, this time a 26. Our keyhole was good, probably our best this season. We went from a ten to a 9 and ended up third. We were second in the first two events and reserve overall.

It's been very hot lately so I have mostly been riding bareback in the shade. On Sunday we rode bareback in our bathing suits through the sprinkler. It was a lot of fun.

Internship is going well. I had pictures and articles in the last issue and my article in Paint Horse Journal came out. My photography business is also doing well. I have gotten some print orders and a few more jobs.

Well that's the short version for now but I will write more soon!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

I'm Here I Promise!

Don't worry guys I am still here! I have just been super, super busy between interning, riding, showing, etc, etc. But, today I had an absolutely fantastic lesson so I had to come on and write about it.

We went over to our fabulous trainer R's farm as usual and once again had our lesson partners back. We did a lot of figure eight work to warm up at the jog, trot, collected and extended canter and combination of them all with halt, walk, and trot transitions in between. Then I decided to through the flying changes into the mix after a few simple ones for warm up and she was PERFECT. She got her changes in both directions first shot, perfectly. No rushing, no cutting sideways across the ring, no forgetting to swap the back. They were textbook perfect changes which usually on the first try she forgets the back or what not, but we were both perfectly in sync and they were flawless. I was very happy especially because we haven't practiced our changes in a while.

The rest of the lesson went along just as great as it started. We had done our warm up in the indoor where it was a bit cooler and moved outside so L could do a course and we had more room for pattern work or whatever R had in store for us. She decided to have us run the barrel pattern around invisible barrels LOL. She didn't have any barrels over there so we just had to pretend. It was a little hard at first especially with crossrails kind of in our way, but then we figured out the right approach. The practice runs of the pattern went great. Her turns were AWESOME. They were all tight and smooth, no getting stuck or having to dig herself out as R says. Both R and I were very happy with the way she ran the pattern by the last couple of tries. We ran both her good and bad way to strengthen both. R said my focus was much better as was my position. So I ready to go and looking forward to the show Sunday!

In other news, the internship is going well. I really like it. I get to do a little of everything, photos, writing, editing, research,etc. I have 3 article ideas she sent me to work on right now. My photo website is up and I am shooting a dressage show on Saturday. So I have a very busy weekend ahead. I promise to fill you guys in on it asap.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Some Show Pics

Grand Champions!

So if you could not tell from the title of this post the horse show went great. Satin and I were grand champions in speed!!!! We didn't show pleasure this time as I mentioned before because when its hot like that it is too long a day to keep the poor mare there waiting between divisions. We had a good show in the morning, she got to go home, and I returned to the show to help out and take pictures. So we both were much happier and had a great day. I watched the tape the next day and her barrel run was just perfect, her turns were absolutley awesome! So proud of my girl!

Our great lesson on Wednesday helped with our success. Our wonderful trainer R gave us some barrel excercises that really helped make our turns perfect. She had me count my strides out loud all the way to the barrel which was placed a few feet off the wall, then I had to circle around it canter to the next wall stop, rollback, and do the same thing in the opposite direction. We worked on sitting back and dricing with my seat, and getting tight turns without getting "stuck". We did some rollback practice without the barrel in between and got her listening and going in the direction I wanted so at the show we both went the same way this time LOL.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Busy, busy, busy

Last week I started my internship with Horse News and it is going really well. I am getting to do and experience a lot. I got to read through and edit the newest edition before it went to print, write a few articles, edit press releases, and take photos of a show. Also my photography website is up and running! Hoping to get some photo shoots soon. I am scheduled to shoot a dressage show at the end of the month already.

Last week was very hot so I rode bareback under the trees most of the week. We had some fun rides despite the intense heat. This week we are in show prep mode for our next show Sunday. I think we will just be doing games instead of games and pleasure as it is supposed to be very hot and last time we stood there in the heat all day between divisions we were both very cranky LOL. Today the princess is getting her feet done and tomorrow we have a lesson so we will be ready to go for sunday.

There is a short update for now. Will post more later this week.

Monday, May 31, 2010

I'm Back!

Hey everyone, I'm back! So as I mentioned I was away on vacation and returned earlier this week, but have been super busy since I got back catching up on things. I was very happy to see my wonderful pony who I missed oh so much. While I was gone she shedded out the resrt of her winter coat and her head healed up, now just have to wait for the hair to grow back.

So my first day back after a week of no riding was a lesson with my wonderful trainer R. Luckily L had written Satin a couple of times during the week for me so she was feeling good for our lesson. She got her teeth done while I was away so she was feeling much better in that department as well. She jogged and loped nicely right from the start then we did some work on horsemanship patterns using my one from the last show for practice. R had me do it one handed as I would in the show and we got some really nice ones. We had a few problems here and there with sloppy transitions or halts or Satin getting too rushy, but in the end we had some nice smooth ones that R and I were very happy with. The pattern included a 180 to the right which is Satin's weaked spinning direction and she did some really great ones, so I was very happy about that as was R.

Thursday I hacked Satin around the farm and we did the barrel once or twice as the mare was dying to stretch her legs. Then Friday when I got her out and started riding she felt funny at the trot. She was taking a weird step in the back so I brought over my barn manager D to take a look and she said she was dragging the back right toe. She said it was probably her arthritis acting up as that is the hock she has it in. Plus she is used to getting worked 5-6 times a week which helps her from getting stiff and while i was away she got about half that. So I walked her for about 20 minutes, cold hosed her leg for about 20 minutes, and then put linament on both hind legs. The next day she was feeling good and back to normal. We hacked around the farm starting with 15 minutes of walking to stretch her out then another 15 minutes of trotting and light canter as next day I planned to take her on a hunter pace.

So the following day which was Sunday we went on the SPHO pleasure pace. K and Smokey were our partners. L and Lexie were supposed to be but Lexie's hock issues was flaring up and she had to have injections during the week so she couldnt attend the pace. We always have fun with K and Smokey on the trails though so it worked out. We had wanted to do the ten mile course but since Satin had been bit off only a couple of days before I decided not to push my luck and we did the shorter 6 mile course. Our friend S did not have a partner and just rode along with K and I. It was hot day but we got to the pace early and had a lot of fun. We had one little problem getting lost where some of the markers had been taken down. The organizers had had to remark several times because of that. They had said the footing was a bit muddy, but that wa sonly true in a few places and we were able to walk, trot, canter, and even get in a short gallop or two. Satin was feeling good to say the least. She was her usual self prancing and dancing and chomping at the bit the whole way. We ended up first in our division and 4 minutes off the optimal time which was pretty good.

After the pace E, L's mom M, and I went to the track where our friend B's race filly was running in her second race. It was a very exciting with B's mare leading to the wire. From our angle we thought she had it, but it ended in a photofinish and she got 2nd by a nose. It ended up being better though so now she can stay at these conditions, but boy did she run great! I also got some great pics.

Monday, May 17, 2010

I know, I know ...slacking

I know I have been slacking again, just been busy busy. I will give you the short catch up instead of the play by play.

So last I left off I was going team penning. It was fun, I missed it. The cows were fresh and tough, really made us work. My usual partner (my barn manager D) and I had one good 40 second run and another with a tough cow we didnt get. Then I did a few with my friend E and we got one in 40 something and another in a minute. As the season goes on the cows will get into the swing of things. That weekend I went to the Jersey Fresh CCI event at the horse park. It was fun as always and extra fun that I had my good camera this year and got some great shots! Saturday was cross country and Sunday was show jumping. They had dressage Friday but I didn't get to go to that.

Last Wednesday we had a lesson...finally! It was a tough one. R gave both Satin and I a workout, but it ended well. We hadn't had any real working rides since the show just out of laziness really, so Satin was a bit rambly and her transitions were lacking. She was also a bit quicker than she had been, of course. We mostly focused on her headset for pleasure classes. She was sticking her head and neck up even more than usual. Both R and I think she needs her teeth done as she also resisted bit contact more than usual. She never likes a lot of contact due to her western training, but that day she was more unhappy about it than usual. We did some work on rollbacks which went pretty well. Then R got on to work on the head set issue and figure out the right fix as she is so good at. After about 10 or 15 minutes she found what worked and we got Satin stretching her neck out and down at the jog and then a bit at the lope. She instucted me to do half halts left, right, left, right in time with the stride as well as adding inside leg pressure every other stride. It's a lot of work and focus, but it gets results. She had me bring her head down lower than I actually need it so that when I do that in my show warm up she will keep her head in the exact spot I need it during the classes. So my homework was to work on that everyday.

Thursday I did my R homework then went on a nice trail ride with L and S. Satin and I had not been out in a while so it was a welcome break for both of us. We wanted to go team penning again Friday but we were unfortunately rained out :( Saturday we did our homework again, but Satin was a bit resistive again. Afterwards we did some bridleless work and she was great! (especially since we had not practiced in a while)

Saturday afternoon I went upstate to Jill's as we were supposed to go on a hunter pace Sunday but Jill ended up being sick and we didn't go. I rode at her place though first on her friend's draft then on the filly Flo and had a nice relaxing time. Flo is doing really well. She jogged off perfectly, head nice and low. Her canter was a bit quick but I got her to collect, lower her head, and slow down. I even cantered her through the poles that were set up and she flipped her front lead every time not always the back though. Then we did some flying lead changes and she did them perfectly. She reminds me of Satin as every time you take her down the middle to circle she thinks you are going to ask for a change and anticipates it LOL!

Tomorrow I leave for vaca so I will be slacking on posting for a little bit. Oh forgot to mention that on the way to team penning the princess cut her head in the trailer. We later found a bees nest in the light above her head and figured that was the cause since she always trailers perfectly. My ride upon my return will be a lesson with R so that will be interesting. K and L will be riding Sat in my absence, but I won't be riding at all unfortunately

Friday, May 7, 2010

Taking a little time for R&R

This week since the horse show Satin and I have been just having some playtime and relax time. She did plenty of work up until the show so I felt she and I both deserved some rides that were just for fun not for work.

Monday of course she got the day off from the show and I took her out to graze on the nice spring grass. Tuesday we rode bareback in the back of the property under the trees where its cool. We just did walk, trot, canter and one of the log jumps. Wednesday we rode bareback again and I put her in a D ring snaffle. I jumped her over some of the stuff set up in the ring and I feel bad to always be jumping her in that heavy western bit, which is why I switched to the snaffle for the day. She did really well. She used to jump really high and take off to and after the jump. We cantered a line of two crossrails and she did it nice and slow and jumped them at normal height. I was quite proud. We also did a smalle vertical, probably about 2 foot and a combination of a crossrail and 2'6ish vertical which she also did well if not maybe too slow. Yesterday we put the tack back on and rode under the trees again where it was nice and cool. We just hacked around, a light walk, trot, canter.

Today we are going team penning which we haven't done since the fall so I am looking forward to it. And in other good news classes are done and I am 2 exams away from freedom!

Monday, May 3, 2010

First Show of the Season

Yesterday was my first show of the season and it went very well. Satin and I started with speed in the morning and were reserve champion! We were 2nd in barrels and poles with K winning 1st. Being 2nd to K and Smokey I basically consider a win since Satin is not as fast as Smokey and beat some horses she competed against before that have beaten us. We came 4th in keyhole because Satin and I had a miscommunication error. I planned to rollback her to the left and she decided she was going to rollback to the right causing me to almost come right out of the saddle. This cost us a little on time, but we still came in 4th, so it was okay. So we came in reserve and K came grand.

Then like four hours later after standing in the horrible heat all day with a mare in heat we had our pleasure division. In the future if the show day is that hot I will only do speed and then let Satin go home, but R and I wanted to see how she would be doing speed and pleasure in the same day with speed first so this was our test show. We pinned much better than I expected. By the time we got to the pleasure we were both hot, tired, etc, etc. Satin wanted nothing more than to get it over with and be done and I can't blame her. She was quicker than she should be in pleasure, but that is not unusual for her. She was as quick as she usually is when we go to the show for pleasure, which of course kills me because she jogs and lopes so beautifully at home. Anyway, the point is I don't think doing speed in the morning affected her for the pleasure. I think it was just the heat and all that.

All in all though we pinned better than I thought we would. The horsemanship pattern was not hard, but was set very tight and Satin was not giving me the sharp precise transitions she usually does. The judge we had is also a stickler on the patterns being perfect. If your horse takes a step backwards because he is antsy or something he considers that going of course. Anyway my pattern was a bit quick and sloppy so I was not very happy with it. Before the pinning was announced the judge came over and said that three out of the six of us had not done the pattern correctly and should be more careful when checking our patterns. I thought "Oh great that must mean me" Then they pinned the class and we got 2nd! Needless to say I was surprised but very happy.

In the pleasure class the judge's sheet somehow got marked wrong and only said walk - jog so he had us all walk - jog and then called us in to pin. Then the ring steward told him how we are supposed to lope and after they conferred a few minutes he sent us back out for the lope. I didn't even feel like he was looking at us that much as I had a lot of chances to correct and slow her, but in the end we pinned a 3rd! Then we went on to command which I was confident about since it is usually her strongest class due to her reining roots and the fact that it doesn't matter how slow you are. It unfortunately ended up being our worst class. The first thing the judge asked was lope then halt, which tends to get people out quickly because the horse will fidget and take a step or two. I practice this with Satin all the time because of that and what happens she gets antsy and moves and we pin 5th. The trail class, which is our other strong class, was our last class. By the time we hit that class Satin had had enough. She was rushing through the obstacles which makes her sloppy, but I was able to rein her in and make her take her time. As my old trainer used to say there is not time limit so stop and fix her and make her wait if you have to. She blasted off on the two parts of the pattern that required a lope and tried to canter the trot parts and trot some of the walk parts. When we went to the mailbox I set her up over the pole and she started sidepassing before I asked which was okay. We ended up pinning 2nd though which is what we usually pin since my friend J who competes us against has a been there done that WP horse that usually is grand for the division. So all in all I was pretty happy with that division.

Everyone else from the barn had a good day as well so Showtime came home hot and tired, but successful.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Show Week!

Today we start show week. Satin and I have our first show of the season this Sunday so we are coming down the to the wire. I am very intense about my show week filling it with prep and practice. Though Satin has been schooling so well lately and we had such a good day at Curry last week I am not as crazed about prepping as I usually am. I am feeling much more calm and confident, though lets see if that holds out til Sunday. Usually this disgusting, rainy weather would annoy me much more than usual on show week by disturbing my practice time and creating lots of mud making it hard to keep the pony clean. But this time I am no more bothered by the rain than the normal and just checked the weather to see we have a lovely forecast for the rest of the week and over the weekend. There will be showers tomorrow only in the morning then it will be sunny and 60 and the rest of the week will be high 60s-low 70s with Sunday being sunny and 77! So after tomorrow morning we will have a beautiful show week and a gorgeous show day.

For those of you that don't know at this local show series I have been attending for the past few years I always do the pleasure division which include, horsemanship with pattern, western pleasure, command, and trail. This year they brought back their speed division so I will also be competing in barrels, poles, and keyhole. The speed is first which I am hoping will make her a little tired and slow her down for the pleasure in the afternoon rather than have the opposite effect. We will see what happens Sunday.

Anyway so on Wednesday I have a lesson with R which will give me more confidence for the show to have her advise before we go. She is a very calming influence. I will also on my own be practicing all the stuff for my pleasure division including transitions, lope and jog one handed (I have been lazy riding 2 handed lately), sidepassing, spins (only slow ones are required), lead changes (not always required but good practice), counter canter (usually seen in command), etc. I will also probably have one day of games practice as well. I hope to get my clipping done Thursday or Friday so I have less to do Saturday. It won't be too bad since I did a lot of clipping earlier this month, so just have to do cleanup. Saturday is the big final prep day. I will be of course riding then bathing and grooming (since hopefully clipping will be done), and I will have tack to clean. I am going to try and get an early start on this because we have 6 or 7 new boarders coming that day as well from a barn down the street that is is changing ownership. This will make prep day even crazier than normal so I hope to get an early start.

So to wrap up the riding log of last week, on Wednesday we had a schooling session in the ring. Satin's jog and lope were very nice and did some work one handed. Her transitions were clean and perfect both one and two handed. We did some sidepassing which was nice as well as counter canter which she did nicely as well. I had to go to 2 hands to ask for it but she picked it up and held it as long as I asked without going at full speed. Thursday we did some schooling again and her jog and lope were very nice. We also did some figure eights with simple changes which were perfect and ended with quarter turns. Friday K and I rode Satin and Smokey bareback and jumped. Satin has been jumping very nice. She has stayed quiet and jumped at normal heights instead of rushing through and jumping everything huge. We jumped crossrails, boards, gates, and flowerboxes. Jumping her bareback used to be especially painful due to her bony spine and the fact she would rush and overjump, but on Thursday it was a pleasure. K then got on because she wanted to jump her over the barrels set on their sides. Since she was jumping lazy that day and sometimes hangs her feet I figured she would trip or hit the barrel, plus it was wider than anything else she had jumped, but K insisted on trying it so I told her go right ahead. She made it over but it was quite funny to watch. Satin jumped it like a bunny going way up then down since she had not jumped it before and was unsure how to handle it. She did it a little better the second time but still looked like a bunny of a deer hopping over it. K did a few other jumps with her which she did nicely. I rode Smokey for a bit and did a few jumps with him. I had not been on him in a while since last year at this time I was riding him regularly while K was in her cast after fracturing her ankle. He is a nice horse and fun to ride, very smooth and comfortable.

Saturday I gave Satin a well deserved day off and rode Patty around bareback after returning from a fair at my school. I also rode Patty bareback Friday night when L arrived to keep her company. She was good both times as usual and is getting better with her right lead which I used to have to fight her to give. Yesterday K and I rode Satin and Jewel bareback. We jus did a quick 20 minute ride walk, trot, canter since it was drizzling and had been rainign on and off all day. Plus, we were short on time as we had spent the greater part of the day with my friends from HFF at breakfast than at her farm. Both mares were good as usual. Today it is raining again and all the horses got their spring shots so Satin will get the day off again and start into show week prep tomorrow. Today I will go over and give her a really good grooming to get all that hair off we still have left over from winter.

I also have a new project. I may have mentioned my friend D bought another horse for her daughters last year. She is a QH and bred to death for reining. D asked me for help with her as she was not sure how best to ride a western horse since both her daughters and herself ride english. I went over once or twice and enjoyed the young mare who sidepassed, spun, and rollbacked quite nicely. I gave them some tips on the best ways to ride her and helped them try the reining moves. D had asked me to begin working with her younger daughter and the mare (peppy) on western pleasure as the daughter wants to show that in our local show series. We have not had a chance to do that yet as our schedules keep conflicting, but we have time so we will work it out. Her older daughter rides the mare english but keeps her slow and has started her over crossrails which she is doing well at. The older daughter contacted me yesterday asking if I could come and work with her and peppy on reining as she shows 4H and would like to do at the 4H shows. So I will probably start going over this week and working on that which will be fun. I will let you guys know how it goes.

In other news this is the last week of classes! yay! Unfortunately it will be filled with studying and papers, but the end is near. After that I have to come in 3 more times for exams so I am officially done May 12. This summer I will be interning at Horse News which I think I mentioned, but now its official!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

The Mare is Ready and Rarin' to Go!

Last night the local farm where we go for 3D jackpot barrels, dash, and poles opened for the season. I went out with Satin joined by our friends K and Smokey. We had a GREAT night. Satin was AWESOME! As you can probably tell I was very happy with our performance, especially being our first outing of the season. It was a great way to start off the year.

We went in for a warm up run and Satin was raring and ready to GO! She was hopping up and down and fighting for me to give her her head. When we went in for the real barrel run she was very good. Her turns were awesome which was really more my focus than the time and we put in a 19.5 run, which is a great barrel time for her and she really could have gone a bit faster.

In the dash (which is Satin's best event) she did awesome clocking in at 8.7. She shot forward the second I let her go and got a great turn around the barrel. She put in a great showing in the poles too. We had not done poles since they last time we had been at that farm in the fall, but she knew what she was doing. She slowed a little too much on the last pole or two going back up, but otherwise her run was perfect. She clocked in at a 26.5, which is an awesome time especially for her. So as you can see I was quite a happy camper and hope this is a sign of how the rest of the season will go.

K and Smokey did great as well getting a 17.5 in barrels, 8.5 in dash, and 24.9 in poles which are some of Smokey's best times. K was very happy as well with the evening.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Trying to Be Better

I am trying to be better in my posting since I have been a bit of a slacker lately. So the big news of the week is .......... I am interning at Horse News this summer!!!! I am really excited and looking forward to it. Of course, I will let you all know how it goes.

Anyway in other news, when we left off last post I was going to have my first lesson in what felt like forever. I went over to my fabulous trainer R's and of course had a great lesson. For those of you who read this blog regularly, you know I absolutely love R and can not sing her praises enough. Anyway, this lesson we had some company for the first time in a while and no it was not our usual lesson partner L. We were joined by my barn manager D on R's husband's QH gelding Taz. Taz is a chestnut QH with white blaze and short stocky build. Like Satin he has a great jog and can do some reining maneuvers like spins and sidepass. D rides for R every Wednesday to help her out and Taz is one of her usual rides. She gets a lesson with R every week but usually takes it in the morning while she is there riding on R's horse Jordan, a chestnut TB gelding that is quite the little spitfire and a great jumper. She decided to join me in a western lesson aboard Taz instead, though she had to use an english saddle since Taz's western saddle does not fit him properly right now.

We started off with the warm up of course and walk to canter back to walk transitions. Satin's walk to canter transitions have been perfect lately and her downward ones were equally nice. R had a grid of 5 crossrails set up very close together creating bounce after bounce. No, we did not jump them for those of you thinking that, LOL. R had us jog serpentines through them first every other one then making it harder by going through every one which created very tight turns. Then of course R said ok lets do it at the canter with simple changes in between. Again we were allowed ot start with every other one then move up to every one. It was hard to keep the canter making those tight turns and in that short time. The first time or two was a bit rough because as R said I needed Satin to have more impulsion and come more from behind. Once we got that down the pattern went much more smoothly. After that we did what I call a sidepass duel. D and I faced each other standing a few feet apart and had to sidepass together first one direction than the other staying together and in stride with each other. Of course Taz's bad sidepassing direction was Satin's stronger one and vice versa making it a little more difficult, but we made it work. After that we did our stair cases, making quarter turns at the jog. D stopped after that excercise as her old hip injury had been bothering her all day and had had more than enough at that point and Satin and I finished up with work on spins. We have not done spins in quite some time and R ended up getting on to give her a little refresher since she always has a much easier time getting a correct spin our of her than I do. Guess that comes with the job description. Anyway, after a few minutes R was able to get her back doing correct spins and I got back on. She pulled a flower out of the jump near by and said here wave this by her shoulder and keep your as I have taught you. I laughed spinning my flower around asking what the judge would think if we brought it in the show ring. Anyway it worked and we were able to get some good spins in. They need to be a little more peppy if we want to get back in the reining ring at QH this summer, but for the pleasure ring at CJHA we will be just fine. Luckily we also have one more lesson the week of the show which is fast approaching on May 2nd!

Thursday I decided to give Satin a fun day after all the work in the lesson the day before. We did walk, trot, canter letting her go at whatever pace she wanted instead of bugging her for a working jog or lope. Then we jumped a few of the jumps in the ring: a crossrail, a gait, some boards, and a flowerbox jump. I was really happy with her jumping. She stayed at a nice even pace, no rushing or galloping, and jumped the jumps at normal heights. She tends to jump things a foot taller than they are and rush through, but I guess now she is getting the idea and calming it down. We also did a few dashes in the ring and ended up with some good turns once I got her focused.

I did not ride Friday or Saturday as I was away upstate for the weekend visiting friends at their college and my friend J at her ranch.

Yesterday I came home cravign a good ride. I was just going to hack around the farm after I got the ten pounds of hair my horse was deciding to shed that day. But, E came out and asked if I wanted to do some work around the barrel. Of course I agreed and off we went. Satin was feeling a bit frisky from having 2 days off and the day being windy and was jumping and flailing around the barrel. The first time I let her actually run she was dying to buck but I did not allow it. It took a while, but I finally got her in gear and we ended up with a few nice runs and some decent turns though not her best ones.

I just found out the local farm we go to for jackout poles, barrels, and dash is opening tomorrow so K and I are dying to go, hopefully we have the chance. I will let you all know how it goes!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

I LOVE Spring

Spring is making me really happy. I love these 60 degree days. They are absolutely wonderful and almost make me forget about the horrible winter we had. I am enjoying day after day of bright sunshine, cool breezes, and t-shirt temperatures. Let's just hope it is here to stay for a while! (Knock on wood)

Anyway, as always I will start with the weekly riding catch up. So we left off last Wednesday which was another very hot day so I rode bareback in the back of the property under the trees. Thursday night we were on a time crunch so we bareback again but in the ring this time. Friday was rainy and Satin was due for a day off anyway so she got one.

Then Saturday we went on a trail ride. It was perfect trail weather at about 60 degrees and sunny. I had brought my friend J over to ride with us. She rides with my friend H over at her farm, but her thoroughbred is quite silly on the trails so i invited her over for a fun trail ride on a safe QH. I let her ride the wonderful Miss Satin and I rode Satin's paddock mate (who is pretty much my step child) the also Jewel. K accompanied us aboard Smokey of course. This was only J's 2nd or 3rd time riding western and my stirrups did not go any shorter, but she made it work. This was only Jewel's second trail in quite a while, but she was behaved as always just a little energetic. J had thought we were only going for a quite stroll. She did not realize what K and I had in my mind or what our typical trail rides entailed. We did it all...jumped, cantered, galloped, did the hills, and rode in the development. J was unsure about jumping in a western saddle but she figured it out. After we did our medium canter and got to the spot we usually run she said, "Wait that wasn't the run?" K and I shook our heads and laughed and I kept checking back over my shoulder at J as we raced down the sandy stretch as Satin can sometimes be a handful, but I knew J could handle her easily. She had no problems and held Satin back a bit since she was unsure and it was her first time riding her. On the second shorter run however she realized she could trust her and let her go, easily keeping up with K and I. After the first run she said how she had never done that before and it was so fun. We laughed since we already knew that. Personally a good gallop is the best rush I can think of. Jewel was quite energetic and ready to go at the canter, never mind the gallop. Once she got her head thought she settled in and listened to me as I knew she would.

All in all we had a very fun trail ride. Satin and J got along well and J absolutely loved it. The rest of the day all she could talk about was how much fun it was and how she had never gone that fast before. And of course she said over and over how much she loves Satin. But, then again who doesn't LOL! She now refers to her as our horse and is making plans to expand her talents into an english career, haha! I told her I don't think Satin will appreciate a noseband keeping her tongue in her mouth as she likes to let it flop about when we are riding. Lol.

Sunday I went to visit H and J a the their farm and take some pictures outside. H's horse who I refer to on here and in person as Boyfriend was just recovering from an abcess, but luckily was looking good enough for light riding. J of course rode Mr. Bob. We got some gorgeous pictures. They rode in the grass field which made for a beautiful background. I will post some here later. Then I headed over to my farm and did some light walk, jog, lope work in the back grass field.

Monday,when I brought Satin in I found the crest of her neck and the back of her head by her ears swollen and puffed it. This was strange to me and K and I checked her over looking for tick bites or splinters. We found nothing. I called my barn manager D in and had her look. She could find nothing either and suggested taking her temperature to make sure it wasn't limes or something like it, since Satin had been getting a lot of tick bites lately. I took her temperature, which if any of you have not had the pleasure of taking your horse's temperature believe me you are lucky. Since I am squeamish and grossed out by these things (hence why I gave up dreams of being a vet a t a veyr young age) holding the thermometer in my horse's butt was definitely the grossest 2 minutes of my life, especially when she got some gross stuff on me, need I say more. Anyway her temperature was normal thankfully. D pressed all over it and she did not act as if she was in any pain. She said she could have sprained her neck playing or hit it on something and to just ride her and see how she was. K and I were planning to do some barrel work so I tacked her up and headed out. She was perfectly normal the entire ride, not acting lethargic or in pain even when I turned and bent her neck. We did the barrel slowly at first and then some faster ones and again she was perfectly normal. She was eager to get to the barrel trying to go before I asked and not acting in pain at all as she turned around it. Her turns were pretty good, but not her best because I was afraid to turn her neck too hard or too much. When I finished riding I felt that her neck looked better, like the swelling had done down. D said just to watch it over the next few days and keep taking her temperature.

That night I was talking to my friend H who has been around the standardbred tracks her whole life so I decided to ask her if she had any ideas on the cause of this unusual swelling. When I told her where it was she said right away "I know exactly what it is and you have no need to worry". She went on to tell me her horse and some horses she knows have get that to and it is an air buildup from grazing and is seen especially at this time of year when grazing season starts. She said it can be released when they whinny. I told her how I thought it looked better after riding and she said yes that helps release it too. She had asked her regular vet about it who had had no clue and then asked Dr. Patty Hogan, who anyone from NJ, and the East Coast pretty much, knows as a leading equine vet and surgeon. It was Dr. Hogan that told her what it was from and that it was nothing to worry about and did not hurt them in any way. H said boyfriend gets it so big sometimes he looks like a chipmunk. This put me very much at ease.

Tuesday was rainy, but when it finally stopped K and I hacked around the ring bareback as it was already after 7 pm, but I wanted Satin to at least stretch her legs so she was not sitff for my lesson today. She had some slight swelling again, but not as bad as the previous day and again acted normal and not in any pain.

Today I am finally having a lesson! My lessons had been canceled several times in the past month as my trainer R's mom has been sick and in the hospital, so of course I understand that she had to cancel. I am glad to be getting back on schedule though especially with show season right around the corner. The first show is May 1 since the April 11 one was canceled due to the EHV-1 outbreak. This weekend I am going on a judged trail ride with L, K, and S. It looks like a lot of fun. It is 6 miles and has various obstacles along the way like log jumps and gates. You get 2 minutes per obstacle and are judged on how well you and your horse handle it. I expect Satin will be an all star at this since she is great on trail rides and hunter paces and does very well in the trail classes at shows, as well.

Also this weekend I am going up to visit some friends at their college upstate and may visit J at her ranch as well. So looking forward to fun filled weekend.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Summer has Arrived

It seems we have skipped right over spring and have gone directly from winter to summer. As I write to you today it is 90 degrees! In April! It's crazy, but I'm not complaining. I feel bad for my poor pony who has been shedding but is still quite hairy.

Anyway now for the riding log catch up. So last Monday and Tuesday it rained so I did not get any riding in. Wednesday though I had a nice working ride on Satin. Thursday we had a barrel day and she was GREAT. Her turns were awesome. I was quite pleased. Friday we hacked around the farm and did some of the log jumps. She did them quite well jumping at a normal height and pace instead of rushing through and overjumping. She sometimes thinks she is a cross country jumper :)

Over the weekend I was upstate at my friend Jill's place so Satin got the weekend over. Saturday Jill and I went on a three hour trail ride all over the place, through neighbor's properties and on roads and what not. I rode a friend's paint gelding Nitro who was very good except for one minor freak out at I don't even know what. Jill rode Miss Flo who was also very good. Sunday Dad and I went on a shorter trail ride. He rode Max and I rode Flo. Flo was an all star. Max was a bit hyper from lack of riding and she remained calm and cool the whole time. She is 3 and was the babysitter to the ten year old! She is growing up so much. I rode her in the ring a little first and hse jogged along perfectly and her canter is coming along quite nicely. I wish I lived closer and could ride her more often. I am trying to convince my father' friend's C who owns Max to send him to me for the summer. He could be such a nice horse if he got worked with more often. He would make a great barrel horse and reiner.

Monday I got back on my girl and went on a 2 hour trail ride accompanied by E and Patty. We had a great ride and a lot of fun. Miss Satin was raring to go. We got some nice gallops in, did the jumping trail, and hit all of out other favorite spots. Yesterday I did some work in the back grass ring since it is cooler there. We just did some walk, jog, lope. Nothing major as it was hot and I figured she deserved an easy day after the long trail ride the day before.

And in other news, I had my first freelance article published. It's in Horse News this month on page 42 so check it out!!

That's about it for now will give you guys a better update later in the week, just short on time right now.

Monday, March 29, 2010

This Week's Update

Once again I am writing on a rainy and gross Monday morning. Ugh, I feel like I need to build an ark! This is getting a little ridiculous. We are supposed to get 6 inches of rain between today and tomorrow. Just greaaaaaat. Anyway that's my rant on the weather, but the good thing is Thursday to Saturday is supposed to be in the 70s and they say it may hit 80 on Easter Sunday. Woohoo! Unfortunately I won't be home Saturday-Sunday as I will be upstate, but it will be a great weekend to be riding upstate, so works out. Hopefully the weather holds through the following week and weekend as April 11th is the first horse show of the season for Satin and I.

Anyway so let's start with our rewind/recap of last week. It rained last Monday, but the rain let up a little in the afternoon and I was able to sneak a ride in. Though of course it started drizzling the second I got on and continued in a pretty steady rain throughout my short ride, then began to let up as soon as I got off. Typical. But, my horse jogged and loped beautifully on a loose rain so it was a good ride. Tuesday rained as well so I did not get to ride at all.

On Wednesday I was supposed to have a lesson, but it got canceled because my trainer's mom was in the hospital, so I rode at home instead. I put in a good working ride on Satin. Her jog and lope were nice and stayed that way even when I went to one hand on a loose rein which she sometimes she tries to take advantage of, especially when we have not done it in a while. We also did some work on transitions which again were very nice. Then we did work on lead changes. We started with some simple ones as a warm up before moving on to flying. The first few flying were sloppy as she either got rushy or did the back and no the front due to lack of proper preparation from me most likely and maybe a little bit of laziness from her. Anyway we ended with nice clean changes in each direction. Then we did some quarter turns to finish up.

Thursday we had another working ride. Again the jog and lope were nice. We practiced counter canter which we have not done in a while and she picked it up perfectly in both directions and held it as long as I asked. We finished up with some sidepass work which was pretty nice. Friday Satin had the day off as I only had a short amount of barn time since I was going away for the weekend. K rode her for me Sunday since I was away and knew it would rain today and tomorrow and my lesson is rescheduled for Thursday.

The princess pony is always finding some kind of trouble, especially when its close to or during show season. Again, typical. Wednesday I find a gooey, gross thing on her leg which turns out to be a tick bite. Of course, my horse would get a tick bite in March LOL. So I spent the week putting Furazone on it and getting the goo out. Then Thursday I was currying what I thought was a patch of hair crusty from sweat. Then a chunk of the hair came off revealing a lovely wound underneath, which lead to pulling more hair/scabby stuff off. It looks like she must have gotten bit, most likely by the gelding in the field next to her as her paddock mate never bites her. Luckily the rest of her hair is long enough that it pretty much covers it right now. Hopefully the hair grows back before the show and that she sheds more!

In other news, still working on getting an internship set up, though I have one lined up. Also working on the website, which I really need to get moving on. I spent the weekend upstate visiting friends that go to school up there. Another friend I will call M-E drove up with me and our friend LC took the train down from her school to meet us. So we had a very fun weekend catching up with old friends.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Spring Break Sadly Comes to an End

The reason I was slacking on my blogging last week was because I was on spring break and I made it jam packed!

So let's rewind to last Monday which unfortunately rained so I did not get to ride. I did get to catch up with my friend J from high school though which was nice. On Tuesday I had some more high school nostalgia by going down to my high school and visiting two teachers I became very close with and keep in constant contact with. I had a nice time catching up with both of them, just wish it had been longer. Tuesday was beautiful though, being sunny and almost 60 degrees. I got to ride the princess thankfully. We just rode around in the ring with K stretching Satin's legs. She was pretty stiff from 4 days of rain and no work, so we just spent the ride stretching her out. We ended with some hacking around the farm and were both feeling good afterwards.

Wednesday was a pony filled day. I went to visit Boxwoods Farm which is owned by a friend of mine's family. They are a big breeding farm, breeding and foaling the future harness racers. It is pretty much all Standardbreds, though in the past they have had some others. So I went over to visit and take pictures of the babies. They have 4 colts so far and they are absolutely ADORABLE! They even have one chestnut and he is just so cute. Then I had lunch with my friend and another mutual friend of ours we both go way back with, so that was very nice. After that I stopped and saw another old friend that I know through horses then headed off to my barn. K and I had a barrel day and Satin did some very nice dashes. Her turns are just getting better and better thanks to R's guidance. That night I slept at K's house and the next morning got up early to go with her mom (my barn manager) D to our friend DN's race farm. As you all may remember DN is a Thoroughbred racing trainer along with his twin brother and is also an ex jockey. D goes over and rides for him a few mornings a week so off I went camera in hand to capture some behind the scenes shots of the racers in training. It was fun and interesting to see as I have been to mand Standardbred racing farm, but never a Thoroughbred one. I got some great shots and got to meet DN's horses as well as his brothers which include a very sweet filly who happenes to be DN's big stakes horse. Hopefully I will see her bring in soem wins this summer.

Thursday afternoon I went to NY to attend a cancer benefit that my cousin, who is a breast cancer survivor, was an organizer was. It was a nice event and great to spend time with my aunt and some of my cousins. Friday we returned home and I headed to the barn to enjoy the almost 70 degree weather. L and I went on a trail ride and were later joined by our friend S. We had a very nice ride with both the girls being very well behaved. L's mare had been a bit full of it on our last trail ride, but she had not been on a trail in some time and is always better when it is just her and Satin. We did the jumping trail, the hills, and had some nice canters, and a good run. Most of the mud had dried up so it was easily negotiated and only one downed branch in the way. The storm definitely reeked havoc though. All around us there were trees bent over, branches and trees down, etc. Then Friday night I spent some more time catching up with J again.

Saturday was beautiful and almost 75 degrees!!!! I went to the sale at my local tack shop then stopped by H's farm HFF to pick up my camera battery I had forgotten there the previous weekend. H was working, our friend J was on vacation, and her trainer had gone to Florida to help ship home the horses showing there. Another friend JS was around though with a full list of horses to ride since no one was there. Our friend A showed up and asked me if I would like to ride her mare Annabelle so she could help JS ride some of the ones on the list their trainer had left. Of course I said yes. Annabelle is a PMU rescue and very good girl. She is half clydesdale and half TB, but has the big drafty look. I even rode her english to top it all off LOL. She was a very good girl and is a comfy couch. Then I headed over to my farm and hacked around the princess. She was lazy, probably tired from our trail ride the day before. I let one of the students EB ride her a little too. Then Saturday night went to R's farm to visit Larry. They had a gymkhana going on and I saw several friends and acquaintances in attendance either riding or watching. I wished I had brought my horse, but it was fun to hang out.

Yesterday we went on another trail this time with K and E. E rode Hezzie who was her trail mount for a long time before Patty came. Patty had to do a lesson though so E had to go back to Hez. We went out for about 40 minutes or so and had a nice ride taking advantage of the nice weather before the rain moved in today. Then I had some of my aunts come over for my other aunts birthday so enjoyed an evening with my family.

So as I said today it is raining :( This reflects my feelings about starting back at class LOL I am hoping is right about letting up this afternoon so I can squeeze a ride in. I need at least one working ride before my lesson Wednesday since I have been doing a lot of playing hehe.

Thats it for now but later I will try to put some of the pics up :)

Monday, March 15, 2010

HFF Pics!

Some pictures from the HFF weekend photo shoot

Rain, Rain, Go Away

First it was endless snow, now it is endless rain! It has been raining four days straight since Friday. Saturday was the worst with intense winds and rain so hard we could not see out of the windows. Tons of trees and powerlines went down and some people will be without power until later this week.

Saturday I went up to Hay Fever Farm where my friend H boards her gelding known on this blog as boyfriend. I have become a frequent visitor and everyone there is very nice. I enjoy going over and visiting with everyone and getting some great photos. So Saturday I spent the day there. I watched Hs lesson then watched her trainer L and some of the other girls ride and took some pics. Later on we went to our friend A's house for take our. They did regular wine and pizza nights usually at the farm, but A had to stay home for her step-daughter's birthday party. We all made our way over there which took twice the amount of time it should because of tons of road closures due to flooding, downed trees, and downed power lines. But we did make it. A had no power but luckily had a generator going. The pizza place closed due to no power, but the Chinese place stayed open and we made it work. We had a nice evening. At home though my basement was flooding and we had no power. My father did not want me driving with the roads such a mess, so H kindly took me in and I spent the night at her house.

Sunday morning I went to the farm with H again and took some more pictures. Then in the afternoon I ventured out to my farm to see Satin. A tree had gone down in her field the day before taking out part of the fence. Luckily she was far from it when it happened. There were two trees in Smokey and Hezzie's field which is right next to Satin's that were about to fall down. They could not take them down until morning though which meant the 2 gelding could not spend the night in their paddock. My barn manager D figured Satin and her paddock mate Jewel would be better behaved in a stall than Smokey and Hezzie so Satin spent her first night in a stall in 15 years. They said she behaved just fine, probably only because she had Jewel for company and same with Jewel because she is not fond of confinement herself.

This week I am on spring break and today it is once again raining. Ugh so gross, but its better than snow! The rest of the week is supposed to be beautiful though so that makes me happy. I will spend it riding, catching up with old friends, and probably doing a photo shoot or two, starting with H's racehorse.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Trail Ride Interrupted

Monday we decided to go on a trail ride. FINALLY!!! Both Satin and I have been itching to get out on the trails. We were joined of course by K and Smokey, as well as, E and Patty. It started out all well and good except for Patty being a little rambunctious, which K and I found quite entertaining. There was some downed trees and excess water from all the snow, but we made our way around them with no issues.

When we got out onto the main trail we ran into a group of middle school boys in the woods that K and I had seen before. They were building some kind of ramp for biking or skating. This part of the trails is behind a development so I assume at least some of the boys live there. Anyway they were cutting down a thin trunked tree with a hand saw and did they stop when they saw horses approaching? Noooooooo! Luckily these three horses are not spooky. We went down a small loop trail the we call the jumping trail as it is set with logs of varying sizes along it. The tree the boys were cutting down were right at the exit of the jumping trail. They called "Watch out its coming down" in between fits of giggles. K was in the lead and did the only thing we could do canter out back onto the main trail quickly. E and I followed suit. The tree had been starting to bend, but luckily was not ready to fall quite yet. I sighed and shook my head at the stupidty of teenage boys. The boys were adding stupid comments just as they had made last time K and I came across them. I just ignored them, but K and E being younger felt the need to call back some replies.

Anyway so we continued along out trail ride hitting all our usual spots. We had some nice canters and gallops and I spent the ride in short sleeves, something I missed! We had a great time laughing as we went and splashing through puddles trying to get each other wet and goofing around. We made our way back along the main trail and went to one of other favorite spots. It large, circular, grassy area behind some of the houses. It has backyards on one side and scattered trees on the other creating an almost track. The middle dips down and has some storm drains in it. Anyway K and I decided to have some fun with E as we often do. Patty had been good during our earlier canters and gallop so we were not worried. K immediately started off into a hand gallop which I knew was coming and was ready for. Then she let Smokey go and I had no choice but to let Satin follow suit as she was dying to do. We raced down the straightaway of sorts and began to pull up as we approached the curve. Satin slowed but did not stop as we took the turn and scraped my arm on a nearby tree before I finally brought her to halt. E and Patty were just coming in behind us as I turned back to where K stood. We enjoyed a few more good laughs at the exasperated E and went on our way back to the main path towards home.

As we walked down the main trail the tree the boys had been cutting was now down and blocking our path. Its branches stuck out with pointy pine like needles. Part of the trunk not covered by branches was showing, but we would have to go a bit off the path and into the brush to get over it. So that is exactly what K and I did. E decided to walk down the jumping path and go around that way. K and I stood at the end of the short path waiting for her to get out. The boys thought this obstacle they had created for us was quite funny and continued to laugh and make obnoxious comments as we stood there. I kept my back to them just ignoring them and rolling my eyes at K. Finally E made it out and back onto the main path and we turned to walk towards home with Satin and I in the lead this time. As we began to walk along E called "Peace Out!" to the boys.

And that is when I heard "Go! Go! Go!". I turned in the saddle to look behind us and saw one of the boys run down out of the woods and onto the path. He began running towards us with a large branch in his hand. I don't know if he planned to chase us waving it or throw it, but either way his intentions were not good. Now I was angry. He probably figured we would run away or at least keep walking towards home because he was definitely not prepared for what I did next. I stopped dead in my tracks told K and E to watch out then I spun my mare around and began cantering right at the kid. I wish I had it on video just for the look on his face. His eyes widened and he cried out "Oh shit!" before turning on his heel and running back in the direction he came. He tried to run back up into the brush, but by this time I had already caught him. As I had figured Patty and Smokey had came following after Satin and by this time had caught up to us. I asked the boy if he thought it was funny to try and spook horses because I definitely didnt. He replied with a mumbled "Ugh ugh I wasn't trying to scare them". I replied with "Oh really than what was the purpose of chasing with us a branch waving" I then continued to tell him he was lucky these three horses were bombproof because with the wrong horse out there he could have gotten someone seriously hurt. I also warned him not to attempt such a stupid stunt in the future because if I had to come after him again I wasn't going to be polite enough to stop!

With that I turned around and walked back towards home with K and E following along behind after calling some comments to back up my statement. I think the boys learned their lesson. K and E went on a trail the next day and saw two of the boys one of whom K knew. They apologized and said they didn't like that kid anyway. Typica 8th grade boy reply when the rest of the crew wasn't around. I told them not to let the boys fool them because only one boy came running after us but several were calling for him to go. I don't care what stupid obnoxious comments they make. That doesn't bother me and I ignore it. But running after us with a branch was dangerous and could get someone seriously hurt. Luckily for them we had 3 bombproof horses out there, but we are not the only ones or or only farm that rides out there. But I think they learned their lesson for the future!

Anybody else have any similar run ins with stupid people?

Spring is in the air!

I am very happy with mother nature this week because spring is definitely in the air. It has been in the mid 50s to low 60s and sunny all week. It has been beautiful riding weather. I love it!

So first I will give you my usual weekly riding update. Last Saturday was the first of the nice days so we just hacked around the farm and did some of the log jumps in the back with E and Patty. Then Sunday we had a games day. We went in the back cranked up the radio and did some barrels with K and E. Satin and I practiced our turns the way R showed us a few lessons ago. We started at the trot and lope doing some dashes and she was great. So I decided to let her do some fast ones. Her turns were awesome. The only issue was she got a little over excited and tried to buck a couple of times, but other than that she was great. LOL! So then I decided to trot the full pattern since that is one of our weaker events. She did it nicely at the trot than I did a few at the lope and her turns were beautiful, so I let her do one faster one which she did nicely. If she keeps this up we will be unstoppable come barrel season!

Monday we went on a trail ride...FINALLY! We had an interesting mishap which I feel deserves a seperate post so I will write that up after this one. Anyway fast forward to Tuesday. Satin and I just did a short workout in the ring. She jogged and loped nicely and had some nice quarter turns and sidepass, so I decided not to push my luck and just ended it there, plus she had two long workouts Sunday and Monday.

Yesterday we had a lesson and I must say Satin was absolutely FABULOUS! We finally got to ride in R's outdoor ring as the weather was nice. The jog started our a bit quick and she was very busy looking around and taking in all the sites of the outdoor. She is a very curious pony. So we did some warm up work at the posting trot while she settled in. We did circles, bending, and weaving in and out of jumps. When I asked her to lope she picked it up right on the spot as she usually does (except for last lesson) and stayed in slow steady pace, even when I went to one hand, which we have not done in quite a while. We did a lot of transition work, with R putting me through a pseudo command class you could say. We went lope to jog, halt to lope, lope to walk, lope to halt, etc etc. And all of her transitions were absolutely flawless. She was totally on the ball. R also added circles, backing, reversing, etc and Satin was ready and waiting each and every time. She is very a smart mare, always anticipating the next step which is not always a good thing, but most of the time it works for us. She reads my mind, knowing exactly what I am going to ask before I ask it. Anyway we then did some pattern work. We did figure eights at the jog, lope, and extended lope with simple and flying changes. Her flying changes were a bit rusty in the beginning though part of it was my fault in cueing and set up. In the end though we got beautiful and flawless changes! Then we did some sidepass work, which ended nicely and finished up with quarter turns. We did them first at the jog which went well then did some loping, halting and asking. Those were a bit harder, but in the end we got some nice ones. Overall I was very happy with our lesson and hope she stays this perfect through show season, which is just around the corner!

This weekend I am going upstate to J's ranch so Satin will have a well deserved few days off, though I hear it is going to be raining all weekend anway, at least here have to check on up there. In other news, I am in the process of getting an actual website for my photography so will be up and running soon and hopefully it will lead o some jobs. I also met with the internship guy at school to get the ball rolling there. I am hoping to intern at Horse News but I have to check on a few things first. Anyway that's about it for now. Not looking forward to rain, wish it would stay nice. Hopefully it is nice next week for my spring break. I can't wait because this week has been stressful with midterms. Hope you all are enjoying this springtime weather with your horses and look out for my trail ride post later today!