Monday, February 19, 2018

The Plan

Of course, I feel like whenever you post Plans (yes, with a capital P) into the blog-o-sphere, something will magically come up that makes your plans moot.

But I'm gonna do it anyways, my Plans are currently very nebulous and up in the air at this point due to vet school, especially with the onset of 4th year clinics, but we're going to try anyways!

I already decided we're not going to make it to any shows in February, so we're looking at March for our first show. Of course, before then we need to figure out our downward transitions because at this point in time, they don't exist. Why would we ever need to come back down from a canter? Jetta things that there are no reasons for that nonsense.

March 2nd is an eventing derby show I was thinking of attending. However, we are over half way through the month at this point and we haven't jumped at all... plus no brakes... I don't think this one is going to happen. Plus it is pretty spendy for what it actually offers, so I think we might save our money and stay home from this one. 

It's been so long since we've done this!


There is a schooling show March 18th not too far away so that is the first on our list. It would be a nice, laid-back reintroduction to showing for Jetta and allow us to stretch our legs and see how it goes. I typically dislike schooling shows (I want awards!) except for baby horses, but it's been a really long time since I've showed Jetta so it would be worth it. The only problem is that it's the weekend before finals so that is very irresponsible of me... but I'm doing extremely well in all my classes this term (so far) and we have a pretty laid back finals week. So... maybe we'll try it. After all, what better study break is there?!

April 13th is another derby, so we might aim to be jumping by this point. Again with the cost, so we'll see what happens with this one. 

The first league show that I am most definitely planning on going to is April 29th. This is one of my favorite shows - laid back and at a familiar and close venue.

May 6th is a H/J show that I think we might try to make. 

June 2-3rd is the two one-day HT that I love attending every year. They are really well run, very affordable, laid back, and a lot of fun! We'll see if I can attend at least one day, since I have clinics during this time, but I am not on call.



June 10th is a dressage schooling show. I'm not sure I want to spend the money on another schooling show, I'd prefer a league show, but if we're bored or want to attempt Second Level, maybe we'll try it.

Another league show (finally) is July 7th. I'm not sure I'm going to be able to do this one due to clinics, but I really want to!

I mentioned in our yearly goals, that I really, really want to get our First Level scores for our Bronze medal. I think it's totally doable, it's just the cost of showing that is the issue. But, I still want to aim for it. There are a few options for this show. I can only attend one. August 3rd-5th is one at a facility that we've been to before, but it's a fair drive. It seems to be pretty laid back, though I've never attended this one. August 18th-19th is a new recognized show at the facility that hosts a lot of other league and schooling shows. It would be fun to attend, but I'm not sure on how the dates coordinate with my clinic schedule. October 6th-7th is a fun one that I have friends who always attend, so it might be a nice support system to go together. I also don't have clinics at this time.

October 21st is another League Show. I'm not a huge fan of this venue (it's got awful footing) but if I need to fit another league show in to get my little award plate, and maybe at this point we'd be ready to try Second Level.

Sometime in the fall there is usually another of the two one-day HT so I'd like to attend that if possible. 


I'm really hoping at least to make it to a couple league shows and the one-day horse trials. But otherwise, not a ton of pressure to do all the shows. I'd also like to fit some clinics in, but we'll see how that pans out. I don't think we're at a point yet where we can participate in a clinic and get anything new out of it (we're really just doing basics right now to get Jetta fit and back to where we were before baby) but I'd really like to do at least one clinic with JW who comes down fairly often and I've heard great things about her!

Fingers crossed I get a little bit of showing in this year!

Friday, February 16, 2018

What Horses Teach Us

I've been thinking about what all of the horses in my life have taught me. I've had a fair amount of horses and I feel like each one of them imprinted something important on me and have shaped me into the rider and person I am today.

Just wanted to reflect on them and I'm curious, if you could narrow it down to one word or phrase, what do you think the biggest thing your horse(s) have taught you?

Grady



Like a lot of little girls, he was my first horse and my first love. He taught me SO much. If I had to pick one thing that he taught me, it would be resilience. He bucked me off many, many times. I learned to get back on and try again and again. I also credit him with my desire and love of training. He was the worst horse to begin with and became the best horse I have had thus far, and likely will ever have.


Jasmine



My second horse, Jazz is the horse I credit with my love of competition, specifically dressage and jumping. She taught me about precision. She was an amazing horse to compete and we did it all. She was another very special horse.


Patches



My first training project, I bought a mangy little paint horse from a pasture in the middle of nowhere. She wasn't much to look at but she turned into a wonderful little horse. She taught me the importance of consistency.

Katy and Tux



I also trained Katy and Tux from the beginning. They were super fun and such easy, easy horses. I would work with Gypsy or Draft crosses again in a heart beat! They taught me the importance of having fun. From riding them everywhere bareback, going swimming, splashing in the waves on the beach and more, they were such a blast.

Misty



This little mare taught me balance. It was a fine line between making her too sensitive or too dull, too forward or too lazy. Partly because we switched back and forth between western and english, but she was a great all-around horse and we had a lot of fun dabbling in different things.

Trask






This guy taught me patience. He was such a tough horse for me. Smart, but could not deal with simple things like gentle pressure when he was stressed. He really was one of those horses that this quote was talking about:

Image result for emotions in the saddle quote

Jetta 



Jetta has taught me to always keep learning. She is always coming up with new evasions when she gets bored and there is never a dull moment with her. She's a wonderful, complicated horse and she keeps me on my toes. I'm constantly trying to figure out new ways of keeping her engaged and interested in learning.




I can't wait to see what this little one teaches me in the future!



Thursday, February 1, 2018

Always Trying to Catch-Up

I have so many blog posts in my head that I want to write, but no time to write them! As usual, vet school owns my soul this term and this term started off extremely quickly. So quickly that by Wednesday of week 1 we were already stressed out, to the point that one of the teachers asked us why we were already stressed, "It's only day 3, how are you all so stressed already??". Answer: cause vet school.

Always tired


It's been an extremely fun term so far though. I can't believe I'm getting to the point where I can accurately diagnose things off of radiograph, ultrasound or ECG (echocardiograms are a whole 'nother story which I'm happy to leave to the cardiologists though!). We have surgery ponies for our large animal surgery class which has been really adorable and fun. They are a TON of work outside of class, especially since they came in feral, not halter broke, with some health problems. But I love our little pony and it's going to be so sad when he goes home.

This term has however, not left hardly any time for things outside of school, especially when you add in boring life stuff - like the washing machine, dryer, and dishwasher all breaking within a week of eachother. #adultingsucks

The little amount of time I have spent with my own horses has been great though! I took Jetta for a short trail ride the other day. It was SO great to be back on my own horse. While I really liked Trask and he was a fun (if frustrating) challenge for me, it was so nice to walk down the driveway not worrying if my horse was going to spook at the garbage cans, the neighbor horses, a puddle, etc. Jetta was extremely happy to be on the trails too - she's still not very in shape and I thought the hills would slow her down, but I thought wrong! She just wanted to go go go the entire time.




Side note, I bought a cheap black 5-point breastcollar used and nothing humbles you more than trying to assemble a piece of tack you've never used before and having it take FOREVER to get on correctly. I felt like an idiot because the straps that attach to the saddle's D-rings came attached to the lower ring (where the straps attach to the girth) and I could not figure out why I couldn't get the straps to stretch to the D-rings, especially because Jetta is solidly a horse-size breastplate and even runs on the smaller size. Duh.

A good 20-30 minutes later...

I'm trying to adjust to my new riding schedule - I get to ride Friday, Saturday, Sunday, Monday. It's a good amount of days to ride and I feel good about managing 3-4 days a week. It just feels weird not to go to the barn in the middle of the week.



I had a fantastic ride on Jetta Monday. It's also nice to have the ability to ride with other horses without worrying about if my horse is going to bolt and have a meltdown into another horse! We have a new boarder with a GORGEOUS black/very dark bay warmblood gelding. He is quite stunning and I think Jetta has a crush (I'm also insanely jealous of his tail... I need Jetta's to hurry up and grow faster!). He came into the arena during our ride yesterday and it almost felt like Jetta was trying to show off, she got more uphill and just a little more lofty in her gaits.

Someday we'll get this trot under saddle


Currently we're doing a lot of shoulder-in and haunches-in to get Jetta off her forehand, listening to my aids and engaging with me. She's doing super well with it and already I think her muscles are starting to fill in and she no longer looks quite as terrible as she did, but we still have a ways to go. I'm hoping by the end of February/beginning of March we'll be ready to hit some schooling shows.

Such a majestic dork
My awkward donkey

I also got her a new saddle pad. I'm going to sell our plum Le Mieux set because we don't need two plum sets, but I just love this pad from Equestrian Stockholm and I got it on sale. It's so pretty and I love all the little details - double silver piping, square corners, velcro girth strap, etc. In response to Amanda's post the other day, yes some DQ's (aka me: tack hoarder) need several matching colorful sets. Just because. And where do I store it all? In many different boxes... I have a problem. I have tack in my trailer, in the storage room at the barn, in my tack locker, and in my office at home.
 
It's the same exact color as the Le Mieux plum, just a little different!




Miss Maisie is just continuing to grow up and explore the world. I ordered her some new stall toys so hopefully that will continue to discourage her cribbing. I had a discussion with an equine behaviorist about her cribbing and the conclusion is that her cribbing is genetic since everything else in her life doesn't have any predisposing factors. We're also going to try some acupuncture since there is a small amount of research showing that it can stop their cribbing in up to 60% of cases. I figure it can't hurt!

our mini menagerie

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Firsts

I rode Jetta for the first time in about 8 months!! It wasn't too bad. Definitely had to remind her how to stand at the mounting block, not pull on me and get off my leg. Kinda like starting all over again, but hopefully in a month it'll be like we never took a break!

It was so nice to sit on my own horse again. She is a difficult horse to ride, but I still love her. We mostly walked and trotted, worked on shoulder-in and getting her off her front end. I wasn't going to canter but towards the end of the ride I decided to ask for it and she cantered off down the long side of the arena like it was the most fun thing she'd done all week. I missed her!



Baby had some firsts too! She got tied for the first time and didn't care one bit. While leading has been a lot better now that she's weaned and doesn't have mom distracting her, I wasn't really sure she really understood pressure 100%. She definitely has learned more than I gave her credit for! It's so fun to see the gears turning in her head. I "tied" her (I was holding the end of the lead rope and it was just through the tie ring) and she pulled a little backwards, realized she couldn't so she stopped. Pulled a little to the left and realized she couldn't so she stopped. Pulled to the right and realized she couldn't. So she stood there super quietly and explored the lead rope and tie ring with her mouth. Then I snapped the tie ring closed (it's a Blocker tie ring) and went and swept the barn with no peeps out of Miss Maisie. That was easy!

She also learned a little about ground tying. I need to add that to my goals this year for her. She was quite offended about being told not to move when I was not near her head and we were not in her stall, but she eventually figured it out and stood perfectly.

"What iz this??"



Babies are fun! Minus the stress that you're going to ruin them completely ;)

Saturday, January 6, 2018

The C Word

A bad equestrian word - cribbing.

Maisie has been cribbing for a couple weeks now. I catch her at it in the morning when I go down to feed. This started before she was weaned. I have no idea why she started - she's had no stress in her life, she lives in a big paddock with a good sized pasture. Gets fed lots of quality food and rarely has an empty stomach. She's never been around horses that crib.



I couldn't find much about foals cribbing on the internet, but there's some discussions on the COTH forum about foals cribbing due to ulcers or just being genetically predisposed. We are currently a little over halfway through a course of omeprazole (byeeee money!) but so far nothing has changed. I went ahead and just treated for ulcers because if she has them, foal ulcers like to perforate which is terrifying. Foals also tend to get ulcers very easily for no particular reason.

She's not interested in toys. She has a goat and sheep as companions and horses in the paddocks next to her. She was doing this even when she was with her mom. In the morning, I'll see her outside grazing and by the time I head down to feed her I often find her cribbing on the fence inside her paddock.



It's not the end of the world. I've had a horse that cribs before. My first horse Grady was a relentless cribber. He was never stalled because he got very upset, so he lived in a three acre pasture. He'd stop grazing just to go crib on the fence. We never found a cribbing collar that worked on him and it didn't really bother me so we just let him go for it. It didn't seem to negatively affect him - his teeth were fine, he never colicked, the only thing we attributed to his cribbing was his inability to hold weight in the winter.

I was pretty upset the first time I found her cribbing. While I do plan on keeping her, if my plans ever change, people don't want to buy a cribber and some barns are reluctant to board cribbers. It's just a huge bummer. I'm hoping the omeprazole will make her feel better - the idea being that her tummy doesn't feel good so she's trying to relieve the discomfort through cribbing.

Trying to eat my face
She's just too cute

Anyone have any advice or insight?

In other news, she's almost grown out of her foal blanket! The largest size is a 60" so I need to decide what size to buy her to last her through the rest of winter hopefully! She's also gotten a lot more friendly as she's gotten older. She comes over to greet people and wants to be scratched. She also likes to give kisses! Pretty adorable. I installed a tie ring in her stall so that's the next fun thing that she gets to learn. Baby is growing up!

Let the baby training begin!

Thursday, January 4, 2018

2018 Goals

This years goals were pretty simple:

  • My main goal is to have a healthy, happy little foal. I am trying so hard to keep my hopes down since I have seen anything and everything go wrong with foaling. I am so nervous!
    • Success! Maisie was born textbook perfectly with no complications! Now to continue to keep her happy and healthy.

  • I am hoping to find a horse to ride in some capacity during the spring and early summer. This is my last free summer so I want to make the most of it. The goal is to find a green horse that needs miles or someone who just doesn't have the time for their horse. And maybe even get to show said horse. Free is the name of the game.
    • Also a success. I got to lease Trask for 6 months. He ended up being my most challenging project thus far, but he was also really fun and taught me a lot of patience! We went to a handful of shows, both dressage and eventing.

  • Once my (hopefully) bouncing baby buckskin is born, I aim to take it to get approved with RPSI since there will be another inspection at the same barn as last year. Also, get the baby its lifetime registration with USEF.
    • Also a success! RPSI is now Westfalen so baby got branded and registered. Lifetime registration with USEF was included with registration

I'm not really sure where to set goals for this coming year. It's going to be very busy with school, so I might get very little horse time in.

  • My far off goal is for Jetta and I to get our First level scores for our Bronze medal. I've wanted to work towards this for a while and I think it's definitely doable, I just need to hurry up and get started! This is far off since I start clinics in June and I'm really poor so hopefully I can save and have enough for a recognized show!
  • Take Jetta for trail rides! I'd really like to go to the beach since it has been years! 

  • Baby needs to learn lots of things
    • Tying
    • The beginnings of lunging
    • Ponying
    • Trailering by herself
    • Teach her to self load in the trailer
    • Take her on a handful of field trips
    • Bathing
    • Maybe wear a surcingle and bit


Wednesday, January 3, 2018

New Normal


All Maisie probably wanted for Christmas is her mom back. Poor girl got weaned for Christmas/her 5 month birthday.


It's gone pretty painlessly, it was probably sadder for me than for them. I separated them out for two days. The great thing about this property is that there's gates EVERYWHERE so I could divide the stall/run and the paddock from each other so the girls could still see each other and eat next to each other but not nurse. That didn't seem to affect either of them, Maisie was definitely a little sad - she dejectedly ate her hay. But there was no panicking or anything though.



Then I loaded Jetta up on the trailer and took her to the new barn! Thank goodness for having such a great horse. My trailer doesn't have any inside lights and because it is winter and dark ALL THE TIME she had to load up into a pitch black trailer, which she did without hesitation. Jetta whinnied maybe 5 times between loading up and unloading at the new barn. Then she had her hay in front of her and she didn't care anymore.

So sad

Maisie wasn't quite as unbothered. She whinnied a bunch, but was quiet unless I was around. She's been a little sad and not sure what to do, but luckily she has a goat and a sheep for company (yeah, they randomly live on the property - Marge and Sparkles) plus the roommate's horses. She's buddy-buddy with the 3 year old Appy, Kestrel.

Eating like a big girl by herself

Super helpful animals...


Jetta looks plain AWFUL right now. It's embarrassing. She was obsese for a while so we cut her grain back a bit and she's back to a better weight, but she's ribby right now with no muscle. Ugh. The plan right now is a couple weeks of lunging, gradually building up time and adding side reins and trot poles.

Today was the first day both of them seemed perky and 100% back to normal. Maisie hasn't been eating very well which stresses me out, but today she actually greeted me with an "I'm hungry" whinny instead of a "where's my mom, I don't want your stupid hay" whinny. Jetta was kind of naughty on the lunge line which means she's feeling like her usual self too!

At least she's shiny?

Missed working with this girl