Friday, October 5, 2018

Birthday Ride

My birthday was on Wednesday and since I was still off of school this week, everyone else was either working, traveling or in clinics. So I loaded up my pony by myself and headed to the trails. I finally got a new hoof boot to replace the one that broke so we were back in action!

Pretty leaves
I decided to go to Chip Ross, it's a park that's pretty close to me but for some reason I haven't been there in years. I really have no idea why, it's been almost 3 or 4 years since I've been there but the trails are really lovely and I used to ride there a bunch!

Cool fallen tree

Jetta was on her best behavior though we mostly just walked, which was good because we rounded a corner and came upon a gaggle of children sitting in a circle directly on the trail. I'm really glad we weren't going any faster or we would have crashed through them like a bowling ball. Jetta loves little kids though and obligingly lowered her head after they all came running over to pet her.

Overall, it was just what I needed! I've been really stressed this week as I prepare to go back to rotations (I will be on small animal surgery for the next two weeks) and also trying to study for the board exam which is in just over a month. Scary!

A lady at my barn offered to take a "birthday picture because you both look nice". Jetta was unenthusiastic

Also, my birthday is October 3rd, which is also a Wednesday so I had to wear my pink(ish) shirt

Monday, October 1, 2018

Media Monday

Finally bought a couple pictures from our recognized dressage show! I was so excited for these pictures, but I really didn't like a lot of them surprisingly. The photographer is very talented and I always love her pictures, but I was leaning forward and Jetta wasn't moving as nicely as I know she can so that combined just made the pictures pretty meh. I do really like the two that I bought and in a way it's for the best that there weren't more pictures that I liked because they're quite expensive and I can never afford more than two. Two of my favorite pictures of Misty are by the same photographer.

Maybe someday I'll sit like a dressage rider and look where I'm going

While I will always try to support show photographers, it's hard to spend over $100 just for two pictures. Especially when you don't get the complete file. I paid $25 for her to take pictures of me at the show on one day, then I paid $45 for each of the pictures to get an 8x10" print and a tiny digital file that is only good for social media sites. Then I had to pay almost $10 for shipping the two prints. I tried making one of them my computer background and it was terribly pixelated, so that was a bummer.

I was a show photographer for several years so I understand how hard it would be to make a living from that. It takes me forever and ever to edit photos so you have to put a lot of time into these things and photography equipment is not cheap!

Regardless, I love these two pictures. I was so proud of Jetta at the show and I'm happy to finally have some really lovely show pictures of the two of us!

And I'm curious - what do you typically pay in your area for show photos?

Thursday, September 20, 2018

WEG Part 2

Like I mentioned in the last post, everything on Sunday got moved to Monday so there was nothing for us to do that day. We had a lazy morning and ordered pizza to our room for lunch (a novelty for us because we both live out in the country where food doesn't deliver to). We tried to buy wine at the grocery store down the street but discovered we couldn't because it was Sunday. Crushed, we decided to do some exploring even though very few businesses were open on a Sunday.

We ended up finding Overmountain Winery pretty much right down the street from the TIEC. The owner was super nice and she had tents erected for the rain so that people could sit outside. We had a nice time wine tasting there, talking with the owner and eating brussel sprouts from the food truck on-site. One thing I love about the Carolinas - you can get brussel sprouts EVERYWHERE and they're delicious. If I could only pick one veggie for the rest of my life it would be brussel sprouts lol.


After that we made it out to Farmhouse Tack. They had a nice store with a great variety of tack. I didn't find anything I had to have, but it was nice to see it in person. On the way back to our hotel we passed a little shop called Horse of Course (I think) and it was adorable. I almost bought some artwork but that would have required I ship it home which would have been a little bit too much work for me.
Everything horse themed
We went to a great taco place for dinner - Willy Taco. Highly recommend for people in the area this week!

Such good tacos

Monday we got to the TIEC early again since it worked out so well last time with zero wait time to get on a shuttle and into the grounds. They moved the parking so we didn't have to worry about our tiny rental car having to get towed out of the mud at the original parking site.  The organization was a little better - they had the metal detectors set up and were screening people but still not checking tickets. Again, no one was open even at 9 o'clock so we headed to the arena to get our seats for jumping. We were crushed that musical freestyle was canceled, especially my mom who is not a horse person and really only wanted to see the "dancing ponies". But luckily stadium was just as fun to watch!

Love when riders are so excited about their rounds

My friend PR was doing a vet externship at the games so she met up with me to hang out and watch jumping
Horses were pulling poles left and right, time penalties everywhere, there was a refusal, one horse took off and his rider could not pull him up - he jumped some greenery decoration and plowed into the next rider's horse who was entering the arena. Oops. I was so crushed for Ingrid Klimke when she pulled a rail at the final fence but Ros Carter had a gorgeous round so she definitely deserved it.

My haul - PR even managed to snag me an autographed picture of Lynn Symansky and Donner - go TB's!
Monday was an absolutely gorgeous day

We FINALLY got to do our shopping after stadium was over. Pro tip - park your mom at a shady table and feed her alcoholic beverages so you can get all your shopping in. I managed to not do too much damage - Arista had some great sale items, including a whole rack of tops at $30 each so I got one of those, I got a non-official WEG shirt, a cool belt, a wine glass, and a hat. I drooled over the La Mundial boots and found out they have a rep in my area which is awesome! Now that they have supposedly fixed their production issues, I really want a pair, but we will see...

Yes please
*grabby hands*

Pretty new Le Mieux
I talked to Dubarry about my boots. They recently sprung a leak in the bottom of the boot somewhere which is a huge bummer. I was hoping these boots would last me forever. They're at least 6 years old at this point. Basically they told me that they couldn't fix it, it wasn't a defect that was their fault, the Goretex is still intact so it really is the bond between the rubber sole at the Goretex liner that is coming apart, and it was time to throw them away which made me sad. I was really hopeful for such an expensive product they would have something they could do for me since I really don't have any desire to drop $500 on a pair of non-riding boots, especially when I take care of them really well and they don't last me at least 10 years (I'm cheap and I want things to live forever!)

Otherwise I just had fun looking at cool products - I'm not a huge shopper because I want everything to be on sale but it's nice to feel things in person. I decided on which boots I want to buy Maisie now that I got to compare them all in person at the Dover store, I found some gorgeous new Tredstep boots that I want, etc.
So pretty

It was a really fun day and we ended it by going to a fancy restaurant called Level 10 overlooking the town from the 10th floor of a hotel. Then I dragged my mom to a brewery because that's what I do and it was really good! I always think it's hard to find good IPA's outside of my state but I loved all the ones I tried on this trip.

Gorgeous area

I had a great time at WEG - it was definitely a different experience than in 2010 but it was a gorgeous area and besides musical freestyle, everything worked out perfectly. I'm glad the hurricane weather didn't dampen our experience (pun intended) even if we did get a little wet. I did end up coming home with a sunburn after all.

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Pure Chaos - WEG Part 1

Despite all of the hurricane warnings and drama surrounding the World Equestrian Games, we decided to brave the rain. My parents surprised me with tickets for my birthday, though my mom would be traveling with me. I'm not sure if I ever blogged about it but I went to WEG in 2010 in Kentucky by myself because my friend flaked out after I bought tickets. Long story short I got stranded downtown after midnight half an hour from my hotel, I couldn't flag a taxi down, my cell phone died, and they kicked me out of the bus station which was the only place with a pay phone.

As the title suggests, the best descriptors of WEG 2018 in Tryon, NC was pure chaos. It was incredibly unorganized in some ways and the facility was still obviously half built. But I still had a great time.

We got in on Thursday night around midnight resulting in my first experience with Waffle House. They were the only place open and we were starving, I found it entertaining that they didn't have french fries, just hashbrowns.

Our hotel... was not ideal. We stayed in Spartanburg as they were the only place I could find a hotel for the dates that we were there. I am a really cheap person, hence I picked a really cheap hotel even though my parents were paying. It was too cheap it turns out - there was mold on the walls, the air conditioner had some sort of terrible smell coming from it, the swimming pool was bright green, etc. My mom ended up sleeping in her clothes on the bed and she decided we needed to switch hotels the next day. Oops!

Friday we spent the day finding a new hotel, then touring around and figuring out where things were. There are some great restaurants in Spartanburg - Friday we ate at the Crepe Factory for brunch and Cribb's Kitchen for dinner - both were amazing.

Saturday dawned bright and early and in our excitement to make it to the equestrian center before the crowds we ended up at the spectator parking at 7:30am. The WEG website said that shuttles would begin 2.5 hours before the start of competition for the day, which with an 11am start time for cross country meant that we still had to wait 2 hours. But, that proved not to be true. The shuttles were up and running so we took one from the parking lot to the equestrian center (there was also one taking people to the xc course, but I wanted to look around the equestrian center and maybe do some shopping first).

We got dropped of at the Tryon International Equestrian Center (TIEC) and just sort of followed people in since there were no signs where to go, no one to check tickets or bags. We wandered into the vendor village after 8am (when it was supposed to be open) and it was a ghost town. There were no vendors open and just lots of trucks and golf carts flying every which way through the courtyard. We sat around and waited for the shops to slowly open then decided we should get to the xc course. There were lots of signs and we had read online the day before that shuttles would be taking spectators from the end of vendor village down to the xc course. We followed the signs and reached a volunteer who said that there were no shuttles, we'd have to walk. Come to find out later in the day that they were only doing shuttles from the parking lot to the course. Even though the signs said otherwise. Fail.

Hawley and Jollybo!

It was a long walk downhill and we followed the course backwards. We got to the main area where a lot of the fences were and someone finally looked at our tickets but pretty much if you didn't want to pay you would not have had to. You could have been in the TIEC, shopping, watching the end of the cross country course without repercussions. It was ridiculous and weird. We ended up sitting by the Longines water complex with our cheap Walmart folding chairs we bought the day before - it was perfect. I loved getting to watch the competitors walk the course (it was hilarious how many people walked the course barefoot!). And I got excited when Hawley Bennett-Awad walked by and said hi, commenting on what great seats we had.

It was so much fun watching everyone go in person - interesting to see how tired some horses were half-way through the course, which riders took the option to go around the water, how someone almost whacked their head on the bottom of the bridge they were going under, etc. SO many horses refused the waterfall jump (the "cascades") so it seemed like the smart people were taking the option around it. I was also really impressed with the Japanese team. I just love eventer people - everyone is rooting for all the riders, regardless of country. When someone retired after 2 refusals, everyone cheered for her making a good decision. 

Bummed I didn't get to watch combined driving this year!
The weather held out perfectly, only a couple light showers throughout the day. However, after xc was done we headed back to do some shopping only to find all of the vendors were closed for the day at 3pm. That was a huge bummer.

Overall, it was a great day! Cross country was fun to watch, we got to walk around the course and see these amazing horses and riders (while carrying around our $11 wine!) and neat to be right on the front lines.

Of course, everything got cancelled for Sunday because of the rain, but I'll write more on that in my next post!

Will Coleman and Tight Lines

Monday, September 10, 2018

It's Always Something

I had some really great rides on Jetta in the past week, including a lovely fall-feeling trail ride. Of course, I've been excited to start schooling second level and hopefully squeeze in a schooling show before the end of the year, but as always, horses have better plans.

Here's our recap since I'm a bad blogger:

We had a fun day with the pup
She's becoming a great little barn dog!

Nice trail ride day
Even though we busted a boot :(

Cooling off with a walk around the field
Pretty girl
She's looking really cute over fences

Jetta felt a little off on Thursday and she didn't work out of it under saddle. She didn't feel terrible, just NQR. She had Friday off and when I went to get her out of the pasture on Saturday she was definitely a little off on her right front, but everything in her leg palpated normally - no heat, swellings or thickening of any tendons - so I'm thinking it's an abscess. She got a hoof soak and a really good grooming, so we'll see how it goes from here.

Of course I don't have hoof testers which would be super helpful, but with how hard the ground has been and her inability to get any sole depth this year, I would not be surprised. It's been so many years since I've had a horse with an abscess, I think 6 years?! So I guess I was overdue. It isn't the worst timing because I'm heading to WEG on Thursday!! Is anyone else going to be there the 13th-18th that would like to meet up? I haven't heard of any blogger meet-ups so I assume everyone's just doing their own thing, but on the off-chance I would love to meet up!

So for now Maisie gets to be my focus! She hasn't been doing a whole lot, mostly just being a baby and growing up. She gets groomed almost daily and messed with a little bit. She recently learned how to trot in hand which was cute. The first couple of times it was like I was flying a little baby horse kite but by the third time she figured it out. We still really need to work on clipping, bathing and ponying, but otherwise I'm really happy with where she's at right now!

This mane is ridiculous

I measured her again and she just hit 14.3 hands at 13 months, she string tests to 16.2 hands which is PERFECT. I was worried she was going to get huge, but fingers crossed it's accurate! Our current project is pulling her mane - it is SUPER thick so I've been working on it bit by bit because Maisie hates it, so we've got a quarter of it done so far. She's definitely going to get a mohawk like her mother at some point because this is ridiculous. I thought it was funny today as I was scrolling instagram and someone made the comment that Warmbloods and Thoroughbreds can have their mane pulled easily since they don't grow thick hair... Um. I wish. Maisie's mane can rival that of any hairy breed!

Gorgeous day at the barn

So that's our life in a nutshell!

Thursday, August 23, 2018

Twin Rivers Classic - Day 2

Sunday dawned wayyyy too early for me. We had our ride at 7:30am so I had to be up at 4:30am to throw Jetta in the trailer and be on our way by 5am. Ugh. I am so not a morning person.

After I'd already been awake for far too long

I was super tired so Jetta got a minimal warm-up since she felt pretty much perfect. We went in and put in one of the best tests we've done recently! I was so, so happy with her effort and more than ok to end the show on that note. Previously I was bummed to not have 2 classes on each day, but I really couldn't afford it and it turns out that it worked out just fine! We ended up with a 67.8% which I was ecstatic about - last time this judge gave us a 64.8%. We got lots of 6.5's and 7's with several 8's - one for each halt, one for our free walk, and one for our canter-trot transition (AMAZING). We got a 5.5 on our right half circle because we didn't show any bend, and a 6 for our stretchy trot. We got all 6.5's on our collective marks with the comments "A bit stiff legged this morning, needs more suppleness and to bend right, obedient, just needs balance to relax muscles, rider needs shoulders more back and seat bones more forward to help balance." One of these days I'll get my equitation together.

And look up

Take aways from the show:
  • I still need to work on my position, but I'm happy with the improvement from the previous show
  • The stretchy trot it a huge weakness of ours, so we need to either fix it or hurry up and move to second level where we don't have to do it anymore! (jk... kind of)
  • The verbindend bit was a success - I felt like she was definitley not as over her back into contact as she could have been because of the bit, but I will take that over having my arms ripped out of the sockets
  • We need to figure out where our right bend went still
  • I'm thinking it might be time to do some flexions and see if it's time to think about joint injections or at least some Legend or Adequan. She doesn't look stiff to me in the video at all, but I'd like just to get an idea of if she's needing more joint management or not as she's never had the best hocks
  • We need to stop doing First 1 because no one else ever shows it, so it's cool to get first place ribbons and all, but it'd be nice to see how we stack up against other riders, so we need to work on our canter loop in order to show First 3!

Can't wait to see the proofs for the pro pictures, so I will post those when/if I decide to buy any!

We were the only one in 2 of our classes so we got cool stuff!

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Twin Rivers Classic - Day 1

Surprise! I went to a show. And not just any dressage show, but a recognized show. You might remember our lackluster last show and how I was really bummed and thinking that a recognized show was just not going to be worth it for us. I really didn't want to spend a bunch of money on a recognized show only to not get any scores towards our bronze medal.

But then, our rides at home were really good. And I remembered the "magic bit" (Neue Schule verbindend snaffle). And I thought about how we've been at first level forever and I have never done a recognized show on Jetta and I just keep pushing that goal further and further back... So I signed up.

I immediately had buyer's remorse. What if I just wasted all that money? I'm perfectly happy doing league shows forever pretty much. And of course my rotation this month took me 2 hours from home so I was only riding Saturdays and Sundays (maybe with the occasional Friday). Would we be ready?

Long story short, it worked out well for us!
(warning: the BF attempted to take pictures. Key word attempted, but I appreciate his effort!)

Beginning of our stretchy trot

Luckily my rides on Saturday were in the afternoon, the first one being at 2:30pm. I had packed for the most part the previous weekend and cleaned all my tack on Friday, so I was able to leisurely pack the rest of the trailer, lunge and bathe Jetta, then drive to the show.

Of course, when lunging Jetta, she was being an absolute psycho and galloping around the arena with her tail in the air and snorting, resulting in the most epic wipe-out I've seen her do. She got up and trotted off like it was no big deal, but I was really worried that after standing on a trailer for an hour and a half, she'd realize that she really did hurt herself and be lame.

Anyways, when I first got on her in the warm-up arena she definitely felt stiff. Not quite lame per se and I didn't really know anyone around the arena at the time to ask and see what they thought. She ended up working out of it, so I'm not sure if her leg that she landed on when she fell was sore or if she was just stiff in general and the warm-up arena footing is a little bit hard or if she was a little bit footsore, etc. Overall, she felt normal after we had warmed up.

My goals for this show were to get 60's. Pretty low standards for me lol. But I also wanted to get no comments about me leaning forward or having flat hands, like last time. I was really disappointed in myself for those comments!

Our first test at First 1 was ok. I did ride in the verbindend to see how it went and I had a lot more control, especially in the canter. She still braced in one of the lengthened trots, which is weird because she only does it when we're going one direction, but not the other (doesn't matter if it's towards or away from the door, just when we go left to right across the diagonal). Overall, I felt pretty good about it. We ended up with a 62.2% with mostly 6.5's and a couple 5.5's - one for our stretchy trot, one for a lengthened trot, and one for a lengthened canter, and a few 7.5's for both halts and the medium walk. Our collective marks were all 6's with one 6.5 for rider's position and her remarks were "Capable team, work to improve her steady stretch to contact and develop more swing over her back. Have fun!"

The next test I decided to be a little bit more bold in our lengthenings since I felt like she wasn't bracing as much and we had worked at home to reduce the rushing a little bit (judges still say that it's rushed or running, but it feels oodles better than it was). I liked this test a lot in how it went - still a few bobbles, but definitely improved. We scored a 64.7% which I was happy with, mostly 6.5's with a 7.5 for our first halt and free walk, a 7 for both half circles, medium walk, and one of our canter circles. Again, a 5.5 on our stretchy trot, so we definitely need to work on that. Collective marks were all 6.5's with the comments "Fun team with bright future. Work to improve stretch over topline to contact in all work".

I definitely didn't regret signing up for this show, it was super fun and laid back, and Jetta was on her best behavior!

Stay tuned for day 2...