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!

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Another Week in Review

Okay so last I left you it was snowing....AGAIN! Well it snowed into Friday and the only benefit was a second day off of school. Saturday I spent the day at the PA Horse Expo with friends from the barn. And I met ..... wait for it ...... STACY WESTFALL!!!!!!!!!!!!!. She is pretty much my idol. Seeing her championship bareback and bridleless run on Roxy to "Live Like You're Dying" was inspiring. It was why I started bridleless. I met her and got to talk to her a little bit and got her autograph on a poster of her and Roxy from their big run! Of course I went home and immediately hung it on my wall. LOL! I got to watch her do a bareback and bridleless clinic on the infamous Roxy. It was awesome! She is a fabulous clinician. I learned some great stuff that I can use to improve my bridleless with Miss Satin. She talked about the different "buttons" on the horse's side, as well as, adjusting and building speed and steering. She also said that taking the tack off was really about getting people to take notice. She doesnt need to take it off for her or Roxy, they know how good their relationship is. But no one would have gave it a second glance, never mind say it moved them to tears, if she had been fully tacked. And its so true. But, it still makes me want to perfect my bridleless, especially after watching her clinic.

Anyway so Sunday I went H's farm and took photos of her boyfriend and their tons of awards. Then I stuck around and got some jumping shows of them and some of H's barnmates. Then I went and rode the princess bareback for a bit, but the ring was still a bit slushy and snowy. Monday I actually got a real ride in as more of the ring had melted. We were able to do some walk, trot, canter work and her canter was better, not as quick as it was in our lesson. We also did some work on quarter turns and practiced some keyhole. Her stops were AWESOME and she did some good roll backs once she got going. Her canter transitions are back up to par as well, which I knew they would be once she got back into working regularly. Afterwards I rode L's stb mare Lexie. We did 25 min of walk, trot, canter. She was good except for trying to take off on the first canter which is unusual for her, but they are all a bit fresh from not working regularly.

Tuesday we did walk, trot/jog, and canter work again. She was a bit quick in spots because we also did some work cantering over polls, which always makes her a bit quick. In the end I got her under control and focused and she did pretty good. Wednesday we did walk, trot, jog, and actual lope. She did very well so I decided it was a good day to practice some bridleless. Well you could tell she had done it in a while when we began loping. In the beginning she did okay listened to me bending and turning at the walk. She was a bit quicker at the trot than I would like, but ok. I asked her to lope in a circle around a jump. The first direction she was great -- nice and slow and stayed in the circle. The other direction was a different story. She started aong the circle then took off down the straight away and across the ring until I was able to turn her into the fence with the neck rope and stop her. So I brought her back to her circle again and asked her to lope, and again she took off, but I was able to stop her much quickly and sent her into a spin. Her spin was quite nice I have to say. Anyway so I again brought her back to where we had been working asked for the lope. She thought about tearing off again, but I quickly reminded her that was a bad idea and got her to lope in a nice controllable manner around the jump once or twice than stopped her there on a good note. We finished up working on sidepassing bridleless which she did pretty good as well.

Today we again did walk, trot, jog, and lope work. Her pace at the lope was pretty good. She got a bit quick and points and a little rambly, but I got her back engaged in the hindend and into a nicer pace. We did work on lowering her head at the jog as R showed us. She put it down a little, but not much really. She is not really a fan of a low head, but she can put it level when she wants to. Then we popped over a few crossrails which she, as usual, did a bit quickly and high, but after a few settled just fine. Then we did one or two slow barrel turns, which she did pretty well.

As far as school, next week will be hell because I have three midterms Mon., Tues., Wed. But at least I have spring break the week after :) The weather has been nicer too in the low 40s and supposed to be low 50s this weekend into next week. Can't wait to hit the trails!