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.