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


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.
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!