Friday, October 16, 2015

No Comment (s)

I try to be a regular commenter on all the blogs I read.
Even though I do not post as often as I used to, I still read everyone's blogs daily.
 
I'm out here... lurking.
One thing you may have noticed (or maybe not, because I give myself too much credit that ya'll are giving any thought to my comments at all) is that I haven't been able to comment as often on other people's blogs. :(
 
The browser on my laptop is no longer supported and thus has disabled most comment boxes on people's blogs. I get a greyed out box that I can't click on. They easy answer would be to upgrade my browser, but because it is company property (ahem, cough, cough), I don't have administrative rights to download. Wah, wah.
 
That is not the only issue. The other issue is that I can't get on Smartpak's website at all! Quelle Horror!!! #FirstWorldProblems
 
Other than that, life is pretty fine.
 
Boca and I are entering the next chapter of our training, in which we are trying to develop an adjustable canter and can actually find some distances.
 
 
Of course, it would be nice if I had some actual new media since June.
#BloggerFail.
 
As we hit the next stage of our development, I promise I will try to be better at capturing some of it on film or video. I swear.
 
Happy Friday Everyone!


Thursday, October 15, 2015

The Significance of Ribbons

 
Over the years, my ideas on the significance of ribbons has changed.
I was your typical kid with the ribbon wall in my bedroom at home.
The blues, reds and yellows had significantly more importance than the browns, greens and pinks. The circumstances surrounding their aquisition meant nothing at all.
 
Now that  I am older, it is less about the ribbons and more about the milestones and achievements. In fact, I don't usually even pick up my ribbons, unless they have some meaning to me. I know events are costly to put on, so I figure if I leave them to be recycled for the next event, I am doing a good thing.
 
But sometimes ribbons DO have significance, and these days, they're likely to be completely divorced from what color they are.
 
Take, for instance, the ribbons below:
 
 
These are two sixth place ribbons, in a class full of six entries.
Some people might shove them down at the bottom of a tack box or in a drawer at home.
 
But I will hang on to these ribbons, and what they mean to me.
One perk is that they are beautiful ribbons. I love the unique teal offset color, in place of the more traditional white. But more importantly, these ribbons represent our first time jumping a 2'3" course. Not only did we both jump our first 2'3" course, but in my eyes, we did a damn good job.
 
In our first round, we had no rails and 1 refusal. And you know why we had a refusal? Because I took my leg off and stared at the jump. Boca did his part, and I learned something very important. The next round, we went back in, I kept my eyes up and my leg on, and we had Zero refusals and Zero rails. We still finished last. And I couldn't be prouder.
 
2 Weeks ago, we did a schooling show on our farm. I had taked a few weeks off from actively jumping, and had been working on the flat. I hadn't jumped a course in weeks, but I figured it was a good opportunity to practice and it would support the farm. The weather forecast had been questionable, so the turnout for the show didn't end up being big.
 
I entered Boca in the 2'-2'3" Puddle Jumpers class. It was kind of rough. We're at a point right now where we're trying to figure out and improve some training issues. There were only 2 entries in the class. The first round, we had a few rails, some funky distances and some flyers. But, we didn't go off course, so we earned second place.
 
Our second trip was pretty much the same, with only 1 rail this time. The girl I was competing again was having a lovely round, and I was about to resign myself to another second place, when she saw one distance to the last fence, her horse saw another and she ended up coming off. It was an unfortunate end to an otherwise great round, but that is horse showing. By default, Boca and I ended up with the blue ribbon.
 
If you only look at the picture, of me grinning and Boca proudly wearing his 1st and 2nd place ribbons, you might draw some entirely different conclusion. We were not the best on this day, despite what the ribbons said.
 
One additional takeaway was that the girl I was competing against was on a seasoned show horse, one that had experience over many courses, at many shows, for many years. I was proud of the fact that Boca and I represented ourselves well, in what is the very beginning of our journey.
 
What makes Diamonds special? Are they inherently more valuable than rubies? Than emeralds? Than pearls? Diamonds are valueable entirely because of the significance we attribute to them. In my mind, horse show ribbons are the same.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Not What I Signed Up For.

In my quest to do 'All The Things', I signed Boca and I up for a hunter pace last Sunday. It was hosted by our local hunt club, and it lauded spectacular views, ridden on land only open to riders 1 time per year.

Boca and I went on a hunter pace last year, a different one held at a local farm, and it was pretty much the highlight of our year. So I was very excited to go try out a new venue.

World's Best Pony
The week leading into the hunter pace did not bode well for me. Usually, I manage to strike a pretty good life balance between work, riding, husband, dog, family and friends. The areas that I usually fail hardest in are cooking (what is wrong with living on microwave popcorn and peanut butter?) and my share of dog-duty. My husband works less hours than me a week, so he usually picks up a lot of the slack, household-wise. He's a pretty good sport about it, but occasionally it wears a little thin on him.

Last week, I completely over-committed myself, and it was my undoing. I wedged a night with my best friends from high school, as well dinner plans with my mom and cousin into the mix. Add a dollop of PMS, and I was not on my A game. Probably not on my B game either.


By Saturday, the day before the hunter pace, I was exhausted. It was all I could do to get the trailer packed for Sunday morning.

The hunter pace offered First and Second flight, listed as 8-10 miles over 20 or more fences and stone walls, not to exceed 3' 6" in height. For the first time, the hunter pace offered a third division, called Third Flight, listed as a shortened course of 5 miles.

Originally, my plan was to ride the shortened course of 5 miles. The issue was that, of the riders going from my barn, the ones doing the Third Flight were doing walk/trot only. I definitely didn't want to miss out on cantering and jumping, so I arranged to go with the only other rider from my barn that was doing Second flight. I figured it would be ok, as Boca and I are probably the fittest we've ever been. Boy was I wrong.


I have to say, the first few miles were glorious. There ended up being 3 of us on the team. We had some really nice canters through open fields, and a few nice jumping efforts.

video

At that point, Boca and I were really pleased. And ready to go home. That is when my fellow riders informed me that we were not at the halfway point yet, and what started as a nice ride turned into what felt like a death-march from hell.

This is probably a good point to mention that I didn't eat -- not anything -- before the hunter pace. I had gone out to dinner the night before and still felt pretty full, so I reasoned that a cup of coffee was a sufficient breakfast for 8-10 miles of riding and jumping. Sometimes my own stupidity and bad choices take my breath away.

Shortly thereafter, Boca and I started fading. We went from leading the group to the back of the group. Our power walk became a shuffle. My knees started to ache. I feel like we looked something like this:


I briefly considered trying to make my way back to the trailers on my own, but quickly abandoned the idea. The other riders on the team, J and T, didn't seem too bothered by the duration of the ride. I felt like a negative Nancy, but in my head I really was worried about over-doing it and making Boca back-sore or crabby. In reality, he was probably fine and the only sore, crabby one was me.

We passed through a number of loops, through fields and grounds I swear we had seen before. At this point, it felt like my knees were on fire, and I was sure that when I ever did eventually get down from the saddle, my knees would buckle and I would crumple to the ground.

I was also pretty sure I was the lamest person ever and J was internally cursing that she allowed me to be on her team, and would avoid me like the plague ever after. Jury's still out on that one.

We eventually made our way back to the trailer. I swear I have never, ever been as happy to jump down from the saddle. My knees did not give out, and I was spared the embarrassment of landing on my ass in front of everyone.

I will, however, share a horribly embarrassing story that I am greatly ashamed of.

It is no secret that I make a lot of dumb mistakes, that I get away with because my horse is a saint. Most of those mistakes are unintentional, and are made because, although I have years of experience in the horse world in general, I am in fact a newbie to horse ownership. Also, I am occasionally incredibly stupid.

So, I have gotten in the habit of occasionally tieing Boca to the trailer with the chain over his nose. I KNOW. I KNOW THIS VIOLATES EVERY RULE OF HORSEMANSHIP 101.
But, I have justified it to myself because 1) He never pulls back, ever and 2) I only use the chain because he drags me around like a giant human kite in search of grass and 3) isn't a rope halter pretty much the same thing, and people tie horses all the time with those on, right?

Well, you don't have to tell me that the Rules of Horsemanship 101 exist for a reason, and that I am a HORRIBLE HORSE OWNER because, at the end of the hunter pace, I tied Boca (chain over nose) while I was attempting to rip tack off of him at warp speed. At some point in the process, he started pawing, because he was starving and wanted to reach the grass. At that point, on the verge of delirium myself, from a combo of exhaustion, hunger and PMS, I reached down to swat him for pawing, and he exploded backwards like was I the devil himself. And proceeded to hit the chain over his nose and panic.

Because I am the luckiest person ever, nothing bad happened. The leadshank didn't break, Boca quickly stopped panicking, I was able to reach up and un-clip his lead rope and clip it to a more appropriate place under his chin.  And my Barn Owner proceeded to yell and me and berate me in front of our group, but I truly was embarrassed enough already, and felt awful for my poor saint of a horse.

Sainthood. This creature is deserving of sainthood.
Thus ended my never-ending day of hunter pacing. I proceeded to go home and have a fight with my husband when he innocently asked me what I was cooking for dinner, after having been gone from the house for 12 hours straight while he was on the couch watching football. Which he didn't deserve because I had *told* him I would cook for him after a long day of hunter pacing.

Thus ended a week of bad choices all around.
It was most definitely, Not What I Signed Up For.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Sea Horses

 
One of the reasons that my blog went silent is that my barn recently went through a cycle of barn drama so epic that it turned me into a massive ball of nerves and anxiety.
 
When your happy place suddenly and unexpectedly becomes the cause of a gut-churning, cramping malestrom of anxiety, it doesn't exactly inspire you to write happy posts about how awesome your horse is going.
 
All I have to say on the topic is: Women... B*tches be cray-cray for realz.
 
I was not the actual target or center of the controversy, more like collateral damage.
 
During the height of the barn-drama, I suggested to H that we load up the ponies and get the heck out of dodge for the day. We loaded up and headed an hour south to a state park in Rhode Island that boasts miles of equestrian trails, plus access to the beach.

In my head, I've always held on to a bucket list experience of galloping bareback down the beach a la 'The Black Stallion'


However, I weighed the thought of riding miles and miles of trails bareback on my significant-size-withered horse, and opted to saddle up, for the sake of my lady parts.

We did get to play and splash in the ocean, but I was not about to swim out to parts unknown in my new-to-me french saddle.


Boca and Piglet seemed more than willing to enter into the surf, and probably would have swum out to visit the pleasure crafts bobbing in the sea, but we restricted them to the shallows, where they still managed to get themselves and us as wet as possible while splashing around.

Piglet plays dressage horse.
 
Someday I will have my Black Stallion moment, but this was a pretty good filler, until that day comes. 
 
 


Monday, September 14, 2015

Personal Best


The Bestest Pony
This past Saturday, in keeping with trying to get off property every weekend, Boca and I went with H and Piglet to a schooling jumper show.
 
My plan was to seek redemption in the 2' division which had psyched me out at the last show. The show was at a very nice venue, which hosts USEF A- and B- Rated shows, in addition to unrated hunter and jumper schooling shows. We got the benefit of "A" level footing and jumps, at a fraction of the price.  I call that a WIN.

Unlike the last show, this show was running 2 rings concurrently. Ring 1 started at 2'3" and went to 3'. Ring 2 started at Ground Poles and went to 2'.

H planned to go in 2'3" and I planned to go in 2', which was going to make for a very long evening. Until H convinced me to enter 2'3".

It actually made sense, as Ring 1 was a much bigger ring, with plenty of room in between fences. Ring 2 was much smaller and tighter, with more distractions.

The fences at the jumper show were much more inviting than the hunter show. Or maybe I just grew some balls, I'm not sure which. There was only one fence that gave me pause - a green fence with vertical wooden planks at the base that made the fence look much higher than 2'3", but H assured me it was an optical illusion.

I decided to enter the 2'3" division, but didn't mention to H that I've actually never shown at that height, hunters or jumpers. Obviously, neither had Boca.

Also, my only experience riding in a jumper class was circa 2009, where I got nervous, got lost on course, and promptly disqualified.

Dorothy, I don't think we're in Hunters anymore...
Add to that, the show was scheduled to start at 4:00 PM. We got a late start and arrived at 3:30 PM. H threw on her tack and got to the ring in time to school, as did all the other participants in our division. I, however, fumbled around with my tack and arrived at the ring just as they announced warm-ups were closed and I couldn't jump any schooling fences - not even the bogey green fence that intimidated the crap out of me.

I was pretty confident that Boca would jump all the jumps. He is a pretty bold dude over fences. My primary concern was my ability to remember the course and to actually ride it with, ya'know, a plan and some organization.

The first round was a bit exciting. Boca was jumping each jump as though his feet were on fire. We did pick up a refusal at fence #3, the bogey green fence of death. Apparently, if you stare down at a jump in holy terror, your game little horse may actually refuse it. When I re-presented, I remembered to lift my eyes up and put my leg on, and wonder of wonders, he went right over.

The rest of the trip was without incident. I remembered the whole course, we jumped our first skinny, and basically Boca was a rockstar. He may have wiggled once or twice approaching a fence, but I put my leg on and committed and he didn't hesitate.

The second trip was even better. I thought about things like breathing, saying 'whoa', keeping my eyes up, and my leg on. We didn't touch a single rail and nailed the whole course.

I was super, super excited. Jumping at 2'3" in competition was a personal best for me. I always hoped it was something I could do 'someday'. I never assumed someday would be so soon. The scary thing was that Boca made it feel easy.

H and Piglet also did really well, and ended up Reserve Champion for the division.

Not bad for a 4 year old baby horse

H and I were really excited about our awesome rides.


H made me this awesome meme for our special brand of crazy.


Because H has some of the best ideas ever, we decided to celebrate our horse show personal victories with some steamers and fried clams, New England Style. Because who doesn't drive their horse trailer to The Lobster Pot for some fresh seafood?
 
 





Friday, September 11, 2015

What have we been up to???

Never fear, Boca and I have not disappeared off the planet. We were not eaten by flying spaghetti monsters. I just suddenly and completely lost the urge to blog. Mea Culpa.
 
But, I am back and I have pictures!
 
 
 
On Aug 30th Boca and I made our debut over fences at a schooling show. For all our off property adventures, Boca and I have only been to one other show, where we showed in Green Horse W/T. The day was interesting and highlighted some areas where we need mileage.
 
My plan was to do the 2' Hopeful Hunter division. I like hunter classes because 1) I get to use my black composite stirrups (hey, it's the little things) and 2) the courses are simple and do not short-circuit my horse show brain.
 
The first change in plan came when I saw how the 2' course was set.  It was set really, really solid with a lot of fill. Height normally doesn't get to me, but for our first out, this course was intimidating . For reference, here is H and Piglet in the 2' Hopeful Hunter class.
 
 
Because it was our first time showing over fences, I didn't want to overface Boca or I. I made the decision to drop us down to the crossrail division.
 
One of the interesting things I learned from the show is that, although Boca and I have a lot of miles trail riding, hunter pacing and cross-country schooling, one thing we do not have down is horse showing. I learned that Boca thinks we get off the trailer, saddle up and GO.
He was very confused by getting off the trailer and hanging around.
 
Also, it appears Boca and I share the same brain. Or maybe my neuroses just manifest themselves in him. When it was time to get on and school, it was like there was a three-ring circus going on in both our brains. Neither of us were nervous - it was more like we were both amped up and distracted.  "Ooooh food trucks!  Ooooh look at that flag!  Hey, did you see those horses over there?  Hey look there is S and her trainer!" H had to come straighten us out as it was clear that neither one of us could put our brains back in our heads long enough to focus on silly things like pace, rhythm, straightness, etc. We were both in run-and-gun mode.
 
The unfortunate thing about changing divisions was that it moved us from the first class of the day in Ring 1, to the last class of the day in Ring 2. Which meant that long-suffering horse hubby, who drove 45 minutes to come watch us show, arrived just in time to be told we'd be showing in about 6 hours from the appointed time. Sadly, he didn't get to see us ride, but we did get to spend some quality horse-show bonding time.
 
 
By the time our classes rolled around, it was the end of a long, hot day.
I was pretty pleased with our performance. We accomplished our goals of staying organized and making good decisions. We didn't have any funky distances or take any flyers. I trotted where I needed to trot, and got leads where I needed to get leads.
 
Super cute horse is super cute.
Overall, it was a solid first out, even if we did get the pants beat off of us by a bunch of short stirrup kids on their adorable ponies!
 
This kid beat the pants off us.  Horse showing... it's humiliating.
 
My goal is to do something with Boca off-property every weekend until the miserable cold and dark of winter desends. This weekend, we go to a schooling jumper show to see if we can redeem ourselves in the 2' division. Hopefully all the pony kids stay home!
 



Thursday, August 20, 2015

Hound Schooling July 2015

Photo Credits: KMDavenport Photography



 Back in July, Boca and I were finally able to attend a Hound Exercise session with our local hunt club. I have always been curious about going out with a hunt club, but have never been quite sure how to get involved, plus was never really in circumstances which would allow me to participate.

This summer, one of my fellow co-op boarders mentioned Hound Exercise to me.
Turns out, it is a great way to gain exposure to foxhunting, in a low-key setting.

In July, our local hunt club held Hound Exercise sessions open to existing members and non-members. Attire was informal, the pace was slow, and there would be current Masters on hand to answer questions and assist newcomers.

Boca and his new BFF
As it turned out, at the last minute H and Piglet were not able to go, which meant Boca and I made the trip solo.  I can honestly say it was a real bonding experience for us, going off-property alone into a new experience.

I got there early, to make sure we had time to take it all in, meet some members, and be prepared. My first impression was surprise at how loud it was. The hounds are encourgaged to be vocal, unlike most dogs, so there was quite a racket coming from the kennel.

Thankfully, Boca was his A++ stellar self, and unloaded quietly, looked around and started munching grass. I get the strong feeling he trusts me, so although the situation was questionable, he has faith that I was not putting him in danger.

Immediately, a member came over and introduced herself. She was friendly, knowledgeable and very willing share whatever she thought would be helpful information, especially when I told her it was our first time and I wasn't sure what to expect.


About 20+ riders and horses turned out for the session and it was a mix of male and female riders, on horses of all shapes, sizes and breeds. A good hunt horse has to be athletic enough to be able to keep pace across varied terrain and footing, but sane enough to go at speed, in company, with horses and hounds. My guess is that if you were mounted on a jigging, sweating, frantic mess, it was going to be a long day in the saddle for you.


 
The masters all encouraged safety, and staying within the level you were comfortable at.
Many people chose to flat only, and went in a smaller group at a slower pace.
 
I wasn't entirely sure which group I would go with, but Boca was such a rockstar and was handling everything with such aplomb, I decided to go with the jumping group.
 
 
I remember this jump in particular feeling perfect.
 
It was a slight uphill incline that we took out of a balanced canter. We hit a good distance and I had one of those perfect moments we all seek when we are riding. I felt like we were flying and in tune and all was right with the world. It is one of those moments that we chase forever, the one that makes all the sweat, the dirt, the tears, the time, the money and the compromises worth it.
 
It was an extremely good outing and I was bursting with pride for my little red horse.
He tried so hard and was so good and so willing. We rode in company, with horses and hounds, with blowing horns, trotting and cantering in single file and jumping and cantering in a field, all in a happy mouth snaffle.
 
It really was a very cool experience and unlike any other world I have been in.



Monday, August 10, 2015

Learning to Fly

We're Alive! I swear!

I know we seem to have fallen off the face of the earth.
It seems as I get busier actually riding, I have less time to blog.

I also really wanted to get media to do a recap on our Hound Exercise outing, but it seems even begging, pleading and offering money is not going to get the professional photographer to hurry up and post the photos anytime soon. I've actually kind of given up. I assume they'll pop up online someday down the road when the memory of actually going is in the distant past.

What has been going on, you might ask?
Boca has been learning to horse.

I can't even tell you how awesome he has been. We've been learning so much with the help of my awesome friend H, who I think I have finally convinced to turn Pro and save us aspiring Ammies from ourselves.

We've come so far in such a short time. The back injections and training with H have been what helped us turn the corner. We even have a show on our upcoming schedule.

H set up a grid on Saturday which taught me just how much I need to support Boca.
One thing is for sure, he is a game little horse and seems to love jumping.
He never says no, never loses his patience, bears no grudges when I make mistakes or flail. We're learning together and it's a pretty cool thing.

Last week, we went to a local barn and did a cross country school.
We didn't go with H, which was kind of a mistake, as we (both Boca and I) saw all the jumps and our brains kind of fell out of our heads.

I scrapped doing an actual warm up, doing transitions and getting him balanced and listening to me. Something happens when I get out on a cross country course. My brain dribbles out my ears and I hear the clarion call of my Irish ancestors yelling "Jump All The Things!!!"  I don't want to teach him that jumping means run madly and fling yourself over with maxium enthusiasm.

But, I remembered my fellow blogger's habits of looking at the positives, I will say, we refused nothing and I stayed with him on his most maxium of efforts.




 

 

I think we can all agree, Pony's got Hops.


Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Sales Ad

No, I am not selling Boca.  But I made you look, didn't I?

I was always disappointed that I didn't save the webpage for Boca's sales ad, the one that originally caught my eye and made me go look at him.

Luckily, nothing ever truly disappears from the internet (scary thought) and last week, H stumbled upon the photo from Boca's sales ad on the stable's Facebook page.

H posted the picture to my timeline with the comment "Nice Tennessee Walker!"

May 11, 2014

I know the difference might not seem that great to most people.
Clearly he is recognizable as Boca. But when I saw the picture, I couldn't believe how far he has come.
 
One of the things I disliked most about Boca when I first got him was his horrible upside-down neck and his bulging under-neck muscle that he was NOT afraid to use against you.
I really think it was the strongest muscle he had in his body at that time.
 
Just look at my boy a year later:
 


June 28, 2014
 
I'm so glad H found that picture. It may not look like much to anyone else, but it was a real reality check for me.
 
Yes, we are making progress. And no, I do not own a Tennessee Walker.


Monday, July 20, 2015

Tally-NO

Saturday was to be Boca's and my debut with the local hunt club.
To say I was excited was a gross understatement.
The plan was to go with H and her mare Piglet for Hound Exercise and a potluck cookout afterwards.

First off, I needed to move 8 bales of hay that I had been storing in my trailer up to my hay loft. That may not sound like a big deal, unless you know our barn set up. The hayloft is accessable from the ground floor only by a set of wooden stairs. To move hay up to the loft, you have to hoist the 50lb bale on your knees, hold onto it by the baling twine, and march it straight up the steepest, narrowest staircase God ever created, while trying not to slip on loose hay and tumble over backwards to your death. It is a kind of like the worst form of barn-fit workout you can imagine. Hence storing spare hay in my trailer.
Sort of like this, but steeper.
I decided to do this Friday night before my lesson, when it was 89 degrees with a hundred percent humidity. To say I rode in my lesson like a limp noodle would be optimistic at best.
 
 
Friday night was tack cleaning, because H decreed that we were going to go looking presentable, and not like some hillbilly hayseed Noobs. Much to my husband's dismay, I hauled home my bridle, girth and new 3-point breastplate to clean in front of the t.v. I hand-washed my ear bonnet, lint-rolled my saddle-pad and polished my bit while watching HBO's True Detective.
 
 
Anyone who knows me at all knows that I am no Domestic Goddess. Any event which involves cooking or bringing food of any kind throws me into a tailspin and stresses me out to no end. Saturday morning I got up early, and tried to keep it simple, deciding on bringing sliced watermellon and baking cookies for the potluck portion of the event. I bought disposable tin trays, sliced the melon, baked the cookies, and I was golden.
 
 
I loaded up Hub's truck, with my change of clothes for that afternoon and headed to the barn. On the way, I gassed up the truck and got ice for the cooler. I was PREPARED.
 
 
I got to the barn two hours before the time we planned to load up. I opened all the windows in the trailer, bagged and hung the haynets, filled the water container. I packed the wash bucket, the sponge and the scraper, plus an extra bucket for drinking water.
 
 
I did mine and H's stalls, set up grain for the night, and set up outside hay and water for the next day. At this point, I was sweating so heavily, my waterproof mascara was running.
 
 
About this time, my fellow boarder Chris pointed to the ever darkening sky and said "It looks like rain". NO. No Chris, it does not. I steadfastly refused to conceed it looked like rain, even as the lessons being held in the outdoor packed up shop and fled to the indoor.
 
 
About this time I got a call from H, who was 35 miles away, and close to where the location for the hunt club is. It was pouring.
 
 
At this point, I was still not convinced our plans would be thwarted. I called the hunt club stables, and was told hound exercise was still being held.
 
 
H and I decided to wait until the very last minute to call it. I really didn't want our first outing to be in questionable weather. H's mare Piglet had some sizeable cuts on her legs from getting cast a few weeks ago, and was going in wraps. Not to mention, I am not the most experienced horse trailer driver yet, and didn't want to be hauling 8,000lbs of trailer + horses through questionable weather.
 
 
By the time it was the appointed hour to load up, the sky looked like this:

 
I was so disappointed, but we made the decision not to go, and live to fight another day.
I was so, so bummed, but knew we were making the right choice.
 
 
I drove home through a rainstorm that was so bad, people were pulling over to the side of the road to wait for it to pass. Of course, 20 minutes after I got home, the sun was out.
 
 
So, that is the story of how our Tally-Ho ended up as a Tally-No.
 :(



Friday, July 17, 2015

#EquestrianWife Fail

From time to time, I like to document the funny things my non-horsey husband comes up with. I swear, I should do a series. This one might take the cake. Poor hubby!
 
Tomorrow is Boca's and My first introduction to Foxhunting.
It is called 'Hound Exercise' and is a good way to introduce your horse to riding in a group with hounds. It is very slow paced (walk/trot) and there are experienced fox hunters to help you along. H and I are taking our two inexperienced mounts. H has decided we need to make a good first impression, and has informed me we will be cleaning all our tack and polishing our boots, etc.
 
With that in mind, I decided to bring home my black & gold fly bonnet that matches my black & gold embroidered square pad. This bonnet has been in heavy rotation and needs a good hand-washing to be presentable for tomorrow.
 
 
I left it on the counter in the kitchen, next to the sink so that I wouldn't forget to wash it when I get home later tonight. (where else would a dirty ear bonnet go, besides on your kitchen counter next to the sink?)
 
This morning, hubby goes down to the kitchen and discovers something on the counter. It is black. It is stringy. It is only a little bit of cloth and some flashy gold trim. Hubby thinks I brought home a sexy present for him. Then, he picks it up and detects the faint eau de horse eminating from it. And realises this is not, in fact, anything from Victoria's Secret.
It is just another smelly horse artifact that I brough home to litter our house with.
 
Poor Hubs. I laughed and laughed when I heard that one. That poor man!
 
I promise to have updates on Monday from our excursion, and hopefully some pictures too!
 
Have a great weekend!
 
 


Tuesday, July 14, 2015

In Which Boca Gets His Butt Skooled

Do you remember my friend H?
The one who showed A/O jumpers?
 
 
H has been helping me with Boca recently.
Now that his back is fixed, and we have a new saddle, it is time to get down to business.
 
Boca has to learn that going straight and carrying himself is part of his job and is not negotiable. That's where H comes in.
 
Boca isn't quite convinced that he should have to do these things. There have been tantrums. He is never dirty or mean. He just expresses his disagreement on the subject. H is a strong rider and will simply insist on forward and straight, and ignores all the flinging and flailing.
 
I present, for your viewing pleasure:
 
Having H teach Boca what his job is has helped me tremendously.
 
If you want to see our progress in the canter, skip to min 1:50 in the video below.

That is, to date, our best canter yet on his difficult lead! I'm so happy with our progress and so happy to have H on our team.
 
*Disclaimer - No red ponies were harmed in the making of this video. All flailing was voluntary and the cruel unusual punishment was in fact a happy mouth snaffle.
 
Postscript... wtf is up with my arms??? do I have elbows or no?


Thursday, July 9, 2015

Why Riding Has Changed

Every so often, I read a FB post or an article from some old fossil master of the sport or some upper upper upper level person pontificating on the tragedy that American riding and/or horsemanship has become. And I think to myself that they are really missing the bigger picture.
 
I think in order to understand where we are, we have to really look at how much society has changed, and how that has changed the face of riding and horses today.
 
I bet if you looked back on the demographics on riding and showing before 1970, they would look A LOT different then they do today. My guess would be the demographics would skew more towards the young, the rich and the male.
 
 
My reason for this is that LIFE looked a lot different for women prior to the late 1960s.
 
 
The majority of women were getting married early and raising large families on less money than most of us today. A few major developments in the 1950's, 60's and 70's led to seismic shifts in the roles now available to women. The invention and availability of Birth Control gave women greater choice over their reproductive destinies.
Greater opportunites for education and the introduction of women to the workplace meant greater financial freedom. 

 
 But what does that have to do with riding? Well to me it means that larger numbers of older women are free to pursue their dreams of achievement in horses and riding. For many of us, in order to do that, it has meant sacrifices - such as not having children or working 40 hours+ per week in order to afford poopykins.
 
You, too, can grow up to work 40+ hours a week in a cubicle under florescent lighting!
So the next time some BNT pontificates about the tragedy that is dimishing fence heights and classes over 3' no longer filling at local shows, I secretly laugh a little inside.
 
 
Because I will take this life ANY DAY:
 
 
Over this one:
 
 


Wednesday, July 8, 2015

What We've Been Up To

Boca and I have been chugging along, enjoying summer.
 
Most of our rides have been fun and productive. He's getting stronger and more willing.
We're having fun.
 
 
Boca enjoys being outside the ring. I can usually sneak in more work when we're out in the open.
 
 
Also, he loves to jump. I nicknamed him The Honey Badger, because Honey Badger don't care. Honey Badger jumps ALL the jumps.
 
Wheee
Admittedly, his style is, ahem, unorthodox.
But he enjoys it and tries his heart out, so who am I to complain?
 
We aren't going to win any prizes in the show ring at this point.
Which brings me to my next harebrained scheme...
 
We're going to try Foxhunting!
 
I contacted the local hunt club. Summer Hound Exercise starts this month.
It's a great way to introduce horses to riding with hounds in a slow and relaxed setting.
Attire is informal, and I can meet people and learn.
 
So, yay!  Look out Foxhunters... here we come!
 
 
Puppy naked and jumping for cheese. Because... cheese!