Monday, January 31, 2011

Hello Monday

"What are you looking at?"

It's the start of a new week.
Jazzy seems to be responding well to the new meds and her breathing has definitely improved. She hasn't coughed in two days and seems to have perked up. I'm relieved to say the least. It's still early, but we are all crossing our fingers.

I got Johnny out today. He came running the minute he heard me calling his name. I let him explore the arena and lunged him a little. He did really well and I feel comfortable enough that I'm going to saddle him tomorrow. Hopefully the weather holds out.

Johnny working it in the arena
We worked MayMay today, and Faith got to test out her new field boots. She realized they are not as comfy as her half chaps, but actually did great. She worked through walk, sit trot, posting trot, canter, and jumps. It took her a minute to get used to them, but she says she likes them and is excited to wear them in the shows. 
Faith rocking her new boots!
Faith's new boots

My mom also stopped by to show off her new puppy! He's a Boston Terrier. Not sure what she's named it yet, she hadn't come up with one the last time I talked to her, so if anyone has any suggestions shout 'em out!
He's so cute!

"You looking at me?"

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Heeeerrrre's Johnny!

Johnny exploring his new home:

Today was busy, in between doctoring Jazzy, moving round bales out into the fields, tons of lessons, and Faith riding, I had to go get Johnny. He is less than a mile from the farm so he wasn't far, and it takes awhile to load him since I haven't had much of an opportunity to trailer train him, so we decided to just walk him down. He came right up when called and walked calmly the whole way there. It took us less than 20 minutes and he was on the farm and feeling at home. He seems to have settled in quickly. Chuck walked him around the farm a bit, giving him a brief tour, before we took him back to the pasture he will be staying in. He has 40 acres and two pretty cool mares to hang out with. They all seem to get along well and the girls are excited to have a man around.

Jazzy is doing a little better today. Not great, but at least not staring down death. The Tri-hist seems to do a little something for her...either that or the steroids, because her breathing is better. Still coughing, but her breathing is back to almost normal.

Lessons all went well. Dwight even got a ride in on Billy. I finally got him to do more than a few steps of trot, and he did really well. He even said he would do more next time. Faith's ride started out bad, but improved. They started out attempting to practice some of their flat, focusing on making nice 20 meter circles at the trot and canter. Chip was being a butt and Faith was not completely listening which equaled everyone being frustrated with everyone. I decided a change of scenery was in order...we went out to the field and worked on some jumping and finished on a great note. Their flat out in the field was much better, and their jumping was fantastic. Apparently that was what we needed to work on today! I'm glad it ended well. Sometimes it's hard being mom and coach and trainer.

It was a beautiful day today....I wish there were more hours in the day so I could get some ride time too! I'm looking forward to getting Johnny back under saddle. He looks great! Tomorrow is Faith's birthday party...the big 8!

Friday, January 28, 2011

Sunshine and lollipops

And rainbows and was a pretty day, plenty of sunshine...not many lollipops or rainbows. My day almost completely stunk. First I got to the farm early so I would have plenty of time to ride Pilgrim. I brought him down to the arena and let him run and play for a minute. I started to groom him and pick his hooves and noticed both front shoes were loose. Afraid he would have a tendon issue I decided not to ride him. Unfortunately my farrier is out of town until no ride til then. Bummer.

The bright side of my day came next. I got MayMay out to work her and she had a nice lunge, then saddled up to go for a ride. She did great and I finally got more than a step or two of trot. We actually trotted down the long side of the arena! I'm so proud of her! Her owner has been coming and handling her and rode her last week at the walk so she could learn how to use the bosal. She will be riding her again tomorrow, so I won't be back on her until Monday....but we are shooting for a full circle around the arena both ways!

After MayMay I was in good spirits and Heather and I went out to see Johnny Cash and get his stuff together for the move back to the farm. We called to him and he came right to us...37 acres, 8 other horses, and that horse still comes running when I call him! He's a bit chubby and will need to go back on an exercise routine once back. I'm excited to have him join us. We had moved him out to where he is due to our old facility was only indoor and had very limited turnout....I'm talking 3 round pen size turnouts. Johnny's brain did not handle this well and after extended time there he eventually became very spooky and timid. He needed to get back outside and spend some time being a horse. It totally worked, he is mellow, happy, and back to his normal self. Our new location will suit him well and I'm looking forward to getting him back into work.

On our way back to the farm, pulling in I saw Jazzy laying down. At first I thought she might just be soaking up some sun, but I had a bad feeling. Sure enough, I get close and see her heaving, gasping for breath. I'm trying not to panic but I'm afraid she may be dying. I call the vet, a different one from my normal vet since it was an emergency and I needed someone fast. I love my regular vet, but this may have been a blessing in disguise as I finally got a diagnosis for Jazzy. My regular vet always felt we were battling a bacteria infection that may be resistant to antibiotics. In order to calm her breathing today we had to inject her with steroids. All her symptoms and her immediate response to steroids strongly suggests COPD or RAO...whichever you prefer. This was something that was always in the back of our minds, but we had not approached yet. Definitely feel we are at least on the right track now! Although I had a moment of complete breakdown where I thought I might have to put her down. The vet reassured me that she was not suffering, and we can try to manage her symptoms pretty cost effectively. It's worth a shot...and like I said, at least we are heading in the right direction.

So after my nervous breakdown on the farm, I head home. Poor Faith didn't get to ride today due to all the drama, I had to send my mom to pick her up from school. Thank god I have family so close...I don't know what I would do without them! Chuck picked both the kids up from her house and came home to meet me. I had started dinner, Creamy Spinach Penne Pasta...yum! As I'm getting ready to pour my creamy spinach sauce over my penne noodles, the bottom comes off the blender and spills the sauce all over the counter, the front of the cabinets and the floor. So as I stand in the kitchen crying (my long and stressful day finally taking its toll), my husband puts his arm around me and says, "let's go out for dinner". Gotta love him! At the mexican restaurant I ordered Taquitos, in which the waiter asked me something in spanish (which I can't remember hardly any of my two years of high school spanish) and I just repeat "TAQUITOS" louder and husband informs me I may not be receiving any food tonight. I did....Tacos! I couldn't help but laugh....perfect ending to my day!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Yuck followed by Ick

That's right, a yucky day full of rain showers followed by and icky day of rain, then snow, then slush. Tomorrow is suppose to be nice again. In the mean time, not able to get a whole lot done the last two days. We were able to get everyone dewormed yesterday and the tack shed cleaned out and organized a bit. I'm bringing Johnny back this weekend. He's been out at pasture on a farm down the street since the barn we were at before had limited turnout, but new horses are moving in so it's time for him to come join the group. We are excited to have him come and I plan to start riding him this spring. I've been so busy with Pilgrim, lessons, and horses in training, he's kind of been put on a back burner for a bit. Chuck is especially excited as they seem to have bonded. 

Favorite quote of the day:
"If you're looking for something dead broke, don't look at my horses, just look at me!" Ain't that the truth!

Check out this video....look closely because YES that is a mule! Are you watching this Pilgrim? If he can do it so can you!

Monday, January 24, 2011

Another Beautiful Day

Sunny and 51! Can it stay this way until summer...doubtful as I saw snow again in the forecast, but a girl can always dream. I took full advantage of the nice weather this morning and rode Pilgrim, lunged Jazzy, and did hill work with MayMay. Pilgrim had another really nice day and is keeping his frame longer every time I ride. We had a nice long ride this morning, just short of an hour. Lots of walk breaks to keep him loose and from anticipating all the time. We did more canter work to try to help strengthen and balance him. He is still struggling, but much better today. I ended up just doing canter circle, starting at about 15 meters and leg yielding him out to 20 meters. This seemed to work well for him. I'll probably do a lunge day tomorrow with side reins to help strengthen his back.

Faith rode this afternoon, also for an hour. The original plan was to work on her jumping some more, but instead after her warm up we decided to try the new Intro Test C with the canter work. Her canter with Chip is going so nicely and her seat is really beautiful for such a little's hard not to pop out of the saddle when they are that small, but she keeps her back loose and somehow manages to stick like glue! Gotta give the girl her props, I've rode her pony and he's hard to get to pick up correct leads and has a big movement at the canter! She makes it look easy! The test went really nicely...needs to work on the shape of her circles more but at least they now resemble circles, and are the right size. Her canter in the test was perfect and she had really great transitions. She tends to go into her hunter seat during the canter, but I'm not going to stress about it, I can't see them docking too many points over it. I think they are going to be ready to show before Pilgrim and I! =)

Partners in crime
Check out that pretty posting trot
More Canter
Still cantering...Pony has way more endurance than Pilgrim!
Nothing cuter than little girls and ponies!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Importance of Patience

What a pretty day yesterday ended up being! Normally our Saturdays are packed with lessons, but due to illnesses and students out of town, Heather and I found we had a relatively free afternoon. So we all saddled up and were able to put in some much needed saddle time. Faith went first, riding Chip and doing a long flat warm up, really concentrating on a good seat and clear cues...really making Chip listen right away. She finished up with doing a few practice jumps, then working over a small course. Chip was more excited today, but Faith took it in stride and had a really nice ride today. Chuck was suppose to take pictures of her coursing out in the field, but got distracted watching her and we figured we would put one up of her practicing in the arena over a small crossrail the other day. They make such a good team!
Afterwards Heather and I got our boys out and saddled up. I had Chuck take some pics and video, since I needed to see what he looked like from the ground so I knew what all I need to focus on during our workouts. I also just wanted some pictures of me and my boy together! I found myself during our ride together pleasantly surprised by Pilgrims willingness to move forward and starting to accept the contact of my hands. Patience has never been much of a virtue of mine, although with horses it's one of the most important things you must possess. All too often I have seen horses where there training has been rushed by people who felt the horse "should be able to perform this by now", instead of focusing on whether the horse is ready to perform a maneuver. With Pilgrim, I knew I had a challenge in front of me. Not only just in conformation (he has very classical stock QH conformation and build slightly downhill....perfect for western pleasure and hence why I bought him, but a curse in dressage), but I started Pilgrim's training in western pleasure. For those unfamiliar, I ask the horse to stretch down into the bit, but their reward is my release of contact. The horse is rode with little bit contact and is primarily ridden with your seat and legs. So while many of these things will benefit us in the dressage world, I needed to teach Pilgrim to accept the contact with the bit as a constant. From my research, I've found other QH people struggle with this very thing and often caution you not to get frustrated and try to rush or force it. So I've been keeping my contact light and soft and reminding myself every time he braces and is stiff that we are not failing, just taking our time. It appears that Pilgrim decided to remind me that if you have patience, it will pay off....even more so because I know I didn't force him. So, while he kept dying out at the canter today, I'm not complaining. For the first time I had a focused horse that was driving forward and soft and supple enough to actually start accepting contact! Was he still bracing at times? Absolutely! But it's very hard work once they start lifting their back, and we took lots of walk breaks, worked lots of stretching frame, and he got lots of treats when we were done! For the first time I feel like I might actually be doing something right and we may have a future in the sport!

Heather worked CJ's butt today! Isn't he good looking? CJ is short for Chocolate Jasper, he is a Sport Horse of Color born and bred in California out of Chocolate Freckles. He holds a special place in my heart as he babysat me through fine tuning my seat and aides and through my first dressage tests last year while Pilgrim was recovering from a bowed tendon. 
Heather working CJ
Heather and CJ

CJ and me at a show...He's a good teacher!
Heather coaching me

Friday, January 21, 2011


Cali Cat assisting me in driving around the farm....always helpful!
Today was a cold one. Heather and I spent the day trying to find the sunniest places on the farm to work in all day. Every time we would finally start to thaw out, the sun would move! Just a reminder, no matter how many layers you have on, if it doesn't get above freezing, the saddle is still cold when you sit in it! At least the horses seemed to enjoy the soaking up the rays, despite the chilly weather!
Ponies enjoying the morning sunshine
"You want to take my blanket off now? I just got comfy!"

Heather and I got a phone call today asking if we would like to be featured instructors at this years 4-H clinic. We were asked last year, but it was snowed out and never rescheduled. We were again very honored and of course said yes. I myself am a big supporter of the 4-H programs, as that's where I got my start. This clinic is always a great way to give back and possibly pick up some new students. It's open to any 4-H members anywhere and often draws crowds from 3-4 surrounding states as well as throughout Tennessee. Again, it's a great honor. Heather will be teaching a class on jumping, I will be teaching one on Showmanship and one on Western Pleasure. They will also be having someone in to demonstrate a new class called Cattle Boxing. We are just as excited to see it!

For those of you avid Quarter Horse in Dressage supporters, check out February's issue of Dressage Today, where you will find the American Quarter Horse featured in an article covering the AQHA's dressage program and the new opportunities it's creating for the breed and their riders. It's a great article and showcases many horses and riders already competing, including my personal hero Lynn Palm who has worked for more than a decade to help make dressage a recognized discipline within the AQHA. Being a lifetime AQHA member myself, I hope I can make my mark in the sport and help positively shape this program that's still in its infancy!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Bad Day Gone Good

So have your ever had one of those days where you just know everything was going to go wrong? I woke up early this morning to my shoulder (which due to a previous injury...thanks Johnny Cash... acts up on occasion) was screaming in pain. I had trouble getting back to sleep and when I finally drug myself out of bed I found my back was also hurting...I'm hating this whole getting older thing! I managed to get going and get the kids to school and convince myself to "suck it up" and head out to the farm. After morning feeding and chores, I got Pilgrim out for our workout. He played on the lunge, acted up, reared and generally made a fool of himself. Needless to say, I was not looking forward to our ride. And then something happened...Our ride went great! Pilgrim was trying and listening and learning. He had really great soft, round moments. We did tons of trot work and I could really start to feel him reach underneath me with his hind legs to push forward and round his back. We also introduced some simple lead changes which he seems to understand and picked up quickly. I was so impressed with him and it completely turned my mood around for the entire day...which was good since I still had MayMay to ride! Once again I was reminded why I love these critters so much. It even motivated me to work extra hard so I could get in some extra workouts, so after MayMay and broke out Jazzy for some lunge time and groundwork. Lessons kept me busy all afternoon until rushing home so Dwight could get to Karate.

I have to brag on Faith for a minute...actually both my kids really. Faith has been volunteering to help around the house and farm a bunch. She's been so helpful that I agreed to give her a weekly allowance as long as she continued to help. She's been saving the money so she can buy her own pink of course. Since I like the idea of her learning to save money and taking on more responsibility, Chuck and I have been really supportive. She's enjoyed helping so much and proud to be earning the money, she talks about it all the time. So yesterday, Dwight approaches me and informs he wants to start helping around the house and the farm so he can start earning extra money. So last night, while Faith cleaned the kitty litter box and washed the dishes, Dwight helped pack their school lunches for the next day and wiped off the kitchen table. Today he swept the tack shed while I taught lessons. Some days they make you proud to say "Yep, they are really good kids!"
Although my favorite comment generated from all of this came from Faith : "With all this extra help Mommy, soon you'll have nothing left to do!"     LOL

Wednesday, January 19, 2011


Don't get me wrong...I'm very excited the kids are back at school after all the snow days, but my sleep schedule is screwed up and I'm not getting to sleep until late. Pile on that the whole getting up early and running until just an hour or so before bed....I'm wiped. I may need a direct IV line of coffee for the rest of the week to keep me going until I get back into the groove. Although snow is back in the who knows!

Pilgrim had a good ride this morning...a little hyper from his time off still, but making a valiant effort to listen. He had some really nice moments of lateral. His stretching frame is soooo nice and his free walk is great! Now if only we can get everything else going so well! Didn't get to do much canter because of the arena still being mushy, but it is definitely improving...much more balanced.

Lessons all afternoon before home and helping with homework before crashing!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011


I missed out on my update yesterday! Chuck's 2 boys, Ethan and Nathan, were both in town with their girlfriends and came over for dinner. So I ran to the store from the barn and picked up enough food to feed a small army and spent my evening cooking and baking. It was hectic, but nice to have a full house. We ate and ate, and ate some more, then played games ( a family ritual, typically Scrabble, Scattegories, Guesstures, or Trivial Pursuit). Good times were had by all, but after cleaning up and getting things ready for kids to go to school, I was wiped out! So after all those's my update:

Faith was finally feeling better, so I let her take Chip for a spin. The jump field was dry (about the only part of the farm that is), so after warming up we decided to work on her jumping. Faith took a bad spill a few months ago while jumping, so we have been working on rebuilding her confidence. She's been doing great with it and felt ready to try to do a small course. I set up a mini course (4 jumps) of 18" crossrails with a 2' crossrail as the last jump. After warming up over one of the crossrails, I reminded her to "think boring" to help relax and keep her pony chill. They both did great....I'm so proud! But more importantly Faith was proud of herself!
Faith and Cali hang out in the tack shed
 Jazzy's leg is all better and we moved the girls to a different pasture while it's slick. Pilgrim has pulled a chest muscle, and also seems to have some general yuck in his sheath....poor boy!

As for today, I tried to beat the rain and get to the farm shortly after dropping the kids off for school. After taking care of all the critters I had time to lunge Pilgrim, clean his boy parts, and check his muscle, which is doing better but the edema drained and he now looks like he has a boob growing in his armpit! He's not off though and seemed to enjoy getting to do some work. We worked on introducing extension in the canter, after realizing this doesn't mean...WOOHOO I GET TO RUN...he actually has a beautiful extension! All in all it was pretty easy to teach since Pilgrim seems to think it's pretty fun! That was about all we got in before the skies opened up on us. I have a new student starting this weekend....she's just turned 4....I love them at that age!

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Is spring here yet?

I was able to finally teach a few lessons today. We taught out in the field as it is melting. Everything else is pretty much either still snow covered or turning into mud. Jazzy slid in some of the mud in her paddock today and is a little stocked up on her right front and right rear so I'm having to deal with that.With the sun out this afternoon, it was actually a really pretty day...I can't complain too much. I even decided to take Chip out for a workout in the field...he needed the hill work and work on his right lead at the canter. He's been doing better in the arena but out in the field it's like he forgets he has it! The best part is I rode in Heather's Albion jumping saddle, which I'm in love's soooo comfy! It looks like the arena is finally starting to thaw a bit. I'm crossing my fingers that I can use it in the next day or two.

Cindy and Jane came by today and surprised Heather and I with a late Christmas gift...winter coats with Creekside Stables embroidered on it! I'm so excited! They told us to pretend the Walking Horse on the front was a Dressage horse...LOL! Just another reminder what a great decision it was for us to move here!

Faith has been running a fever the last few days and stuck at the house. She seems to be doing better today, but is definitely missing her pony. They are out of school Monday for the holiday, and my husband is home! I'm hoping the weather holds out and maybe everyone can get some ride time in!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Finally Out!

Our arena completely covered still!
Junie and Jazzy

So I was able to get out today....but as you can see from the pictures, not really able to do much else. Faith and Dwight helped me break ice, check water, give buckets. I took Pilgrim's stitches out today finally. He was so excited to see me it was hard to get him to stand still, but we worked it out. It's healing up really nicely, go Dr. Laws! Poor guy, I'm having to explain to him why he's not doing any work. I need it to melt!!!!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Snow, Snow, Go Away

Looking out my front door!
It may be pretty, but right now it's been a real pain in my butt! I've been snowed in for the last few days. That means no money! Thank god for Heather, Cindy, and Jane....all keeping check on the critters on the farm while I'm stuck at home, going a little stir crazy.

The kids have been really good, but apparently will be in school until July at the rate it's going. They have been doing okay being stuck at the house, Faith especially has actually been really helpful around the house.

On a bright note my house is clean and laundry is caught up. Enjoy it now family! I have also been cooking up a storm...trying new recipes and revisiting old favorites. I thought I would share one of our family favorites that us adults find super yummy, the kids like too, and it's under 300 calories! (Important for my "After the holidays I have to get my butt back in shape for this year's show season" diet)

These are easy to make, delicious, healthy, and look impressive enough to serve to company and make them say Ooohhhhh! For the kids I give them either some mac and cheese or applesauce while the husband and I eat them with a side of steamed veggies to keep it healthy.

1/4 cup chopped onion
1/4 cup chopped green pepper
2 tablespoon butter
3/4 cup corn bread stuffing mix
1/2 cup frozen corn, thawed
1 small jar diced pimientos
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon ground cumin
1/8 teaspoon pepper
4 bone-in pork rib chops (also the butterfly cut pork chops work well too, just fold over to fill...I sometimes substitute when the store doesn't have thick cut bone-in chops.)

1) In a large skillet, saute onion and green pepper in butter for 3-4 minutes or until tender. Stir in corn, stuffing mix, corn, pimientos, salt, cumin, and pepper. Cook 1-2 more minutes.

2) Cut a pocket in each pork chop by making a horizontal slice almost to the bone; fill with stuffing, secure with toothpicks if necessary. (If any stuffing is left over I like to spread over the top of the porkchops)

3) Place in large baking dish coated with cooking spray. Bake, uncovered, at 375 for 35-40 minutes or until juices run clear. Discard toothpicks before serving.

1 porkchop is 297 calories! Enjoy!

Saturday, January 8, 2011

For All You Naysayers

I'm sure other Quarter Horse owners have heard the same thing at one point or another once they announce they are training for dressage, "Well they are fine for the lower levels, but you'll never advance any higher." Well, I've never really done well with someone telling me I  can't do something. So for all you naysayers out there, I would like to introduce you to Honey Bright Dream.
Patrick Marley on Honey Bright Dream
While perusing the internet I found this wonderfully uplifting know, one of those that brings a tear to your Quarter Horse loving eye. Honey is a lot like Pilgrim, a stock looking Quarter Horse, no Thoroughbred in her lines, a little older at first start of training, it's very inspirational for those of us who sometimes wonder if we are crazy and maybe should throw away all those high hopes. You can read more about this incredible pair here:

Thursday, January 6, 2011

A Day in the Life of Cali Cat

"Oh good, your here, now get out and feed me!"
We spent most of the day waiting for the farm to defrost, so not much to report other than able to get in some afternoon lessons. So I thought I would introduce you to Cali, Farm Cat Extrordinaire!
Grumpy Cali
Happy Cali

I rescued Cali from the animal shelter. She was semi-feral and sick with URI (upper respiratory infection). I needed a barn cat so asked for one that was going to be euthanized. I had to give her medication for the first week. She in turn repayed me for my kindness by spending the next year biting me as often as she could. Even rubbing on me to get me to pet her, then turning to bite me. She also would sneak up behind me and bite me in the leg. But she follows us everywhere and has been with us for 4 years now and really settled in. We have worked through our issues and, for the most part, she has stopped biting me. I usually only receive one if she is laying on me and I disturb her royal highness by actually doing something as ridiculous as try to get up! She can usually be seen working hard around the farm, assisting with lessons, supervising pony nap time, sunbathing, helping schedule lessons, etc... It's a rough life....but some kitty has got to do it. Here are some pics of Cali working hard around the farm:
Scheduling lessons

"Puddle, puddle, in the arena..."

"...whose the prettiest kitty in the world?"

"I'll just ride back here"

"Oooh, I'll drive!"

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Snow Day!

Heather taking a test ride on MayMay
We were able to get feeding done and work MayMay before the snow began. It was suppose to be chilly with afternoon light showers. Instead, it was downright cold and started snowing! MayMay had a good ride despite spooking at our resident farm cat, and even Heather tried her hand at riding in the bosal (she had never used one before). It was nice to be able to see her from the ground. She is amazingly quiet and relaxed! Still very nervous about the trot, so still working on just getting her to step forward more in the walk off the leg pressure, then rewards!

I could only get one lesson in before the snow started really sticking. Chip was none too happy about it but talk about student dedication! Ahhh to be  young again....go girly go!

Hopefully we'll have nice weather tomorrow so I can ride my boy. That whole having to earn money thing can really get in the way of your personal ride time!

By the time I got home my backyard was almost covered!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Farriers, Boots, and Lessons

So my farrier braved the cold morning and came out to fix Pilgrim's shoe. Pilgrim hates this! Him and my farrier usually exchange a few words, my farrier trying to explain that this is for his good, and Pilgrim trying to steal his hat and pull on his zipper. I was able to lunge him a bit after words to make sure he was sound and moving well. So far, so good. Hopefully I can get on him tomorrow so we can get back to work.

In the mean boots came in!
They fit and everything! They got their first test run today...I'm loving them so far. I trudged through a small pond to get to the back 40 acres and my feet are still dry. They also stayed warm and comfortable. They were a little bulky in the stirrups, both western and english. It'll take a little getting used to, but I definitely think they are worth it! No more wet feet in my holey paddock boots, no more ruining my dress boots, and no more freezing to death in my cowboy boots. Life is good!

I worked with the MayMay today. After letting her free lunge and play, I lunged her and saddled up to ride. I have her comfortably walking around with me riding her in the bosal. Walking, turning, stopping (gotta love knowing you have brakes!), and moving laterally off my leg. Today we attempted the trot. I could only get a few steps out her here and there, so I gave her big rewards and called it a day. She seems really nervous to move forward, so I'm taking it slow. Her owners got her from a horse rescue and are new to horses and it was for their daughter who had never ridden. MayMay was 4, had had a baby that died and had never been ridden. The rescue had just started her with ground work and sat on her a few times with a hackamore on. Needless to say not a great fit for the family, she sat on their farm for awhile with the daughter being led around on her by her dad once in awhile. A friend came over to ride her for them. He put a bit in her mouth and jumped on and kicked. MayMay took off...ran through a barbed wire fence injuring both herself and rider and scaring her family permanently. After she healed they brought her to us. I should mention this is not something I would normally take on. Heather and I both focus on finish work and show prep...we have a strict "no crazy" policy as neither of us can afford to get seriously hurt. We took on the daughter for lessons while MayMay was recovering. After, they asked us to come evaluate the horse. Heather went out, called me and said I needed to take on this horse. She's a beautiful bay Quarter Horse who is extremely intelligent. Heather said she listened and caught on quick....just never had anyone really tell her what to do. So I agreed....on my terms, at my pace, and here she is.

The afternoon brought sunny skies and warmer weather. I did my afternoon lessons soaking up some much needed sun. One of my girls got riding pants, paddock boots, and a helmet for Christmas. She looked so cute! Faith rode Chip for a bit. The arena is still pretty mushy and the field is still a little slick, so I just had her stick with her flat work in the arena. Then off to home to get dinner in us and Dwight to Karate!

Nothing but cold weather the rest of the week. Brrrrrrrrr

Monday, January 3, 2011

Back Into The Routine

The kids have been on break for over two weeks, and school started back today. Which means no more sleeping in for Mommy! I've had the luxury of sleeping until 7:30 and 8:00 and not going into the farm until it starts to warm up a few degrees, but back to up at 6:00. After a direct IV of coffee, I actually fell pretty easily back into the routine of our mornings, and the kids were tired but good. I had a 9:30 appointment with my Farrier for Pilgrim's loose shoe, but he called and rescheduled to tomorrow morning. It gave me some extra time which is always a help.
A frosty start to the morning
Pilgrim and CJ enjoy some sun! Ready for the blankets to come off for awhile!
The horses were all sunbathing, enjoying some much needed time out of there blankets. I was able to do some hill work with MayMay, and tried to clean up my mud muffin, Jazzy! She got lunged and some showmanship/halter work. I can't work Pilgrim much until the shoe is fixed, so other than some brief hand walking and his bucket, he got the day off.
On a bright note, my Christmas present should arrive today! My wonderful husband ordered me the Dublin River Boots, but unfortunately they were the wrong size. My replacement pair is suppose to arrive today. I asked for these partially because they were pretty, and like walking on a cloud (no break in required!), but also because they are waterproof. My paddock boots have seen better days and I believe the homeless may have boots with less holes. I was tired of risking ruining my dress boots just to have dry feet, plus after walking in them for awhile my feet are usually screaming! My cowboy boots are nice, but call me vain, I can't ride in an English saddle with them. I can however ride in a western saddle in dress boots I've recently discovered. How that works, I have no idea!
I'm crossing my fingers they are waiting for me at the house....the walkway between the arena and the back 40 acres is a lake....and no more wet feet on a 20 degree morning! What more could a girl ask for?

Sunday, January 2, 2011

A New Year!

Welcome to 2011 and Happy New Year to all! The start of a new year always stirs up all those hopes and dream of what we want to achieve. I've never been much for resolutions, however I am an avid goal setter and compulsive list maker. So here is a list of my goals for 2011:

* Memorize the new tests!

*Compete in at least 3 rated shows with Pilgrim at Training Level

* Be schooling 1st Level by end of the year

* Remind Pilgrim he is not a motorcycle in the 10 meter circle, nor is haunches in a requirement at the canter.

* Survive a packed show season with our show team with my sanity and nerves still in tact

* Try not to have a heart attack as my daughter starts coursing 18" crossrails with Chip....who sometimes forgets we've been working on an easy steady pace and thinks he should be speeding around the course like an Olympic Show Jumper.

* Finish training MayMay with all my appendages still attached, turn her into a cute little pleasure horse, and try to teach her very timid owner to ride in a bosal and be firm enough to make MayMay listen. 

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Family Portrait

Heather's husband, Keith, is a professional photographer. The other day he asked if I would like to have a family photo done of all of us together on horseback. Of course I thought that was a great idea! How cute would that be! This of course turned out to be quite the adventure in itself!
First the weather turned yucky on the scheduled day of pictures. We decided to wait. The next day when I go to feed I see blood running down Pilgrims face. Him and his pasture bud CJ had been playing their favorite game "face bite" and apparently Pilgrim lost. I called my vet and had 6 stitches put in for cosmetic purposes. Almost $200 later, I frantically call Keith to see if he can photoshop Scarface in the pictures...which of course he can.

After rescheduling due to weather, we finally got a nice day yesterday. The sun was out, it was almost 60 degrees...absolutely beautiful! I got my son and daughter both saddled and up on the ponies while Heather helped get Chuck up on her Sport Horse of Color, CJ. I worked on getting Pilgrim polo wrapped and saddled. Keith wanted the photos taken out in the field....which makes sense. I hadn't factored this in.
I should explain, Pilgrim has been working in the arena only for the last couple months. I rode him out in the field only twice since he came off his latest injury, both times after a significant workout in the arena, and both times were spent with me reminding him he could not have a "born free moment" and run off. He also works ok with other horses, but loves his buddy CJ a little too much, and spends all his time trying to touch him.
So as I get ready to get on Pilgrim, I hear a clicking sound.....the inevitable loose shoe sound coming from his left front. Sure enough his shoe is loose from all the mud we've had lately, and he's managed to snag it just right and bend it funky. After a call to my farrier and an appointment set up for Monday morning, I can't ride him to settle him in, just have to jump on a moment before the photo and pray he stands still.
I hop on and we line up for our family photo, all the horses calm and quiet....oh wait...except mine who is now loosing his mind. We are loose in the glorious field, there are two ponies between him and CJ, and I expect him to stand still? After a few moments of jigging underneath me, Pilgrim is completely irritated and suddenly decides to lose his brain (a common occurrence for him) and rears up. At this point I'm completely frustrated, stringing a very creative slew of curse words together as Chuck reminds the kids not to talk like mommy! I decide it's probably best (so I don't kill Pilgrim or vise/versa) if I stand on the ground next to Pilgrim for our pictures. After, I take him in the arena so we both have a good experience, get on and find my well behaved sweetheart again...awww, I just can't be mad at him! Keith takes a few pictures of just me and him together. Not what we had in mind for our family picture...but then again, nothing ever seems to work out as planned with us!
Heather called this morning and said there were several really good pictures, so I'll put some up soon for everyone to see!