Monday, June 12, 2017

Spread Thin

This last week has been so busy and I have some fun stuff to share!

Trask is now officially my lease horse and we moved to a new barn! I'm so, so excited to be at this place, it's AMAZING. When Alanna moved Emi home, I stole her place at NDF. I've boarded at the last barn (we'll call it SS) for over three years and it was time to move on. While I'm excited to have Trask at NDF I cannot wait to move Jetta here. She's gonna love it!

It is so beautiful here

I'm still spread pretty thin though. Jetta is still at the old barn until I'm done with finals (exactly one week until I'm 1/2 of a vet!) then I am moving her home to my parent's barn to foal. She'll have a nice big 12x30' stall with an attached run and a big paddock to hang out in. Once baby is born we can turn them out in the big 3 acre pasture where there's lots of room and hills for baby to roam.

I'm still riding Vante a bit just cause I enjoy it, not that I really have the time for it with finals approaching, but oh well.

Things I'm not gonna miss about the old barn:
  • Struggling to get the hay in the loft, especially since the hay elevator is permanently broken
  • Having to buy hay because I don't want my horse to eat straw
  • Parking my trailer in a swamp underneath an awful tree where birds nest and poop on my truck and the beetles breed and infest my truck and trailer. And I have to use 4-wheel drive to park and pull my trailer out of the swamp
Swamp after a couple days of "drying out". Mud up to my ankles... Vs. my new parking spot!

  • A wash rack with no warm water
  • The slickly lined poop mountain (aka manure pile)
  • A stall that I pay to get cleaned daily that often looks like it hasn't been cleaned in 3 days

  • Not being told my horse is out of her supplement
  • An open tack room where all of my tack is covered in a thick layer of dust and my things regularly walk away
  • An arena where it is deemed a miracle when the ground gets worked
  • Passive-agressive text messages from the barn owner
  • When my horse gets turned out in 80+ degree weather with a blanket on and no shade
  • Not being allowed at the barn before 9am or after 9pm
  • Not being able to see a dang thing when it's dark out because the barn lights are so dim... you know it's bad when the farrier has to use a headlamp and you basically never really get to see your horse in the light for months at a time during winter 
  • Tiny grass-less "turnout" paddocks
  • Not a single pitchfork is missing less than 2 tines

Things I'm going to miss about the old barn:
  • Outdoor arena (though new barn has a big pasture we can ride in and set jumps in once hay is cut!!)
  • Round pen
  • Absolutely nothing else 
I can't decide what I'm most excited about at the new barn... the fact that I can ride before class some days or get to the barn late when I have a busy day? How absolutely beautiful and well-kept everything is? The fact that I get to park my trailer on actual gravel? That I can access trails right off the property?

Trask learning to pose
We get individual tack lockers at NDF so I'm still figuring out how to organize mine. I pulled out an old saddle blanket rack I have for saddle pads, but I'm not sure if I'm gonna keep it. It only has one saddle rack, but I have a free-standing saddle rack that will hopefully fit. I got some awesome aqua-colored plastic bins at Target that I'm going to use to store boots/polos and other random things. Plus I have my plastic drawer thing and a bin of sheets that I think will fit. I still have a ton of stuff to move from the old barn, but the new barn has a storage room where I can stash my bin of winter blankets and other odds-and-ends.

Current configuration of my tack locker... still need to cram a bunch of stuff in!

I cannot convey how perfect this new barn is and how excited I am to be there! I was reaching my breaking point at the old barn so this was amazing timing.

Happy boy

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Baby Boys

I've got two young boys in my life these past couple weeks and I'm having so much fun!  I love riding babies.

Matchy matchy game is strong

Cute speckly ears
I rode Vante the first time in a week yesterday and he was great. Last week I introduced the vienna reins to him. I really think they'll help him learn to stretch down since he still has a really hard time grasping that concept. His neck is coming along but he still has upside-down muscling going on, so it'll help with that, and I think it'll help him grasp that he can maintain contact for more than a handful of strides before becoming a giraffe again! We're not going to use it too often, but already that one time made a lot of difference!

After I lunged him in it last week and hopped on, he was so much softer and accepting of contact. We just had a short ride since he really was so good. I was putting him away and his owner came out and told me how she rode him the day before after not riding him in over a week. She said he was really good and that whatever I'm doing with him has made him be a perfect gentleman under saddle for her! I was so happy he was good for her and that she noticed a difference.

Today I put out some ground poles and after a quick lunge I got on. He was again, really good. He's obviously used to ground poles so he trotted politely over them, except for when he stepped on each and every one. Dork. We worked a lot on the canter because it wants to be four beats and he needs to build up the muscle to hold it together. His trot-canter transitions are much better and I only had to get after him once today, the rest of the times he transitioned softly just with my leg and maybe a light tap of the whip. He did break a lot to the right, but he just needs time to get fit. The left is a lot more difficult for him, he has a really hard time maintaining an inside bend, not falling in, and not being a giraffe. Multi-tasking is tough guys! But he's getting it. He's already so much more maneuverable. I can ask him to move his shoulders and his around much more easily.

Sweaty boy
He got a bath and this is 5 seconds before he rolled... right before his owner showed up

The highlight of our ride as when he maintained a nice forward working trot (he wants to do a little western trot a lot of the time) and maintained contact without chewing on the bit excessively and he was coming over his back and using the correct muscles in his neck. He's really good at faking contact using the muscles on the underside of his neck. It felt amazing and he held it for all the ways down one long side and one short side of the arena before I asked him to walk and gave him the reins. He learns so quickly! I've been riding him only occasionally and he's starting to really get the concepts I'm trying to teach him. Even on the lunge line he doesn't go around like a big gray giraffe as often any more.

He tries to eat EVERYTHING - he's got my whip here

So more about the new man in my life:

Trask is an almost 4 year old registered Swedish Warmblood gelding. I believe he's half Trakehner and half Thoroughbred. He's small, probably 15.2hh at the moment. He's actually the first horse that I've ever castrated (don't tell him that, he doesn't remember me luckily!). He's owned by my friend/roommate/vet KP. The plan is to lease him until Jetta's baby is weaned. He's had almost a year of dressage training supposedly but is still really lacking in some areas. We're going to try and fill those holes in, start him over fences and turn him into a well rounded individual with lots of trail riding and such!

I'm really excited. I've ridden him a grand total of 3 times and he's a total sweetheart. He's gonna be so much fun! I really do love riding babies. If this whole vet thing doesn't work out, I'll just go start horses for people...

He really didn't want to get out of bed on Monday

"Make me"
I rode him on Sunday and Monday and he's going to be a lot of fun. I love how he's built, super compact and I think he's going to be a fun jumper. We did our first little crossrail the other day and after walking over awkwardly a couple times, he trotted right over it and cantered away like it was nothing. Now if he could just not whinny every 5 seconds when horses are getting turned out...

We jumped!

He moves to the new barn (more on that exciting news soon!) on Sunday. I'm so excited to have a horse that's a little more "mine" for the summer.

 And lest everyone forget who the real star of this show is...  Jetta is now officially past her 9 month mark! She got a nice bath the other day (which she did not appreciate, as per usual). Her belly has gotten so big!

Shiny girl, who also rolled in 5 seconds
 Also, don't forget to enter our baby contest I wrote about in my last post!

Monday, May 29, 2017

Baby Contest

I always think it's fun for foal contests, so here's my own! Jetta is now 63 days away from her "foaling date".

The baby is going to be buckskin, so we don't have to guess on color. Instead, let's have some guesses on markings, gender and foaling date!

Here's how it works. Comment your guess for the foal's markings and gender (for instance colt with a blaze and two hind socks) and/or pick the foaling date and time. I will pick a winner from each category (marking/gender and foaling date) and you can enter both if you want.

I honestly don't care whether the foal is a filly or colt, but I'm really hoping it's got a blaze and at least one sock!

For reference, Jetta has a blaze and one hind sock and a white spot on her other hind coronet. Mirabeau has a star and two hind socks. Jetta was bred August 26th, so if her pregnancy is exactly 342 days, then she is due August 1st.

For example, my guess:
August 4th at 3am. Colt, with one hind sock and a blaze. Basically what I'm hoping for: (pictures stolen shamelessly off google)

Also, any name ideas are welcome. I've already picked out it's registered name (Merely Gold = Mirabeau x Gold Jet Away), but I need a barn name that starts with "M". I was thinking Midas or Milo if it's a colt and maybe Mira if it's a filly, but I'm not sure. Ideas?

Guesses are due by the time of foaling (obviously) so you have lots of time to make your bet! I will pick two winners, each will win a $15 gift card to your tack shop of choice (Dover, Smartpak, or Riding Warehouse).

Let the games begin!

(and let's all just keep our fingers crossed for an easy foaling with a healthy foal!)

Friday, May 19, 2017

Weekly Update

You may recall in January how I posted I was going to use some christmas money to buy some awesome aqua colored leather gloves. I was super excited to get them... well it only took 5 months but they finally arrived!

Seriously the worst experience I have ever had buying something. Ever. I cannot believe the poor customer service, but I'm just happy I finally got them!

They are actually a brand of golfing gloves, called GFore, not made for horses so I'm not sure how long they're going to last since they're not actually made for the demand of riding. But I'm still in love with them! They're kind of difficult to get - if you order them from a golfing store (NOT the equestrian store I went through), you have to find a left and a right glove and order them individually. Pretty much no store had both a left and a right, in a size small, in the aqua color. Hence why I impatiently waited 5 months for them to come from the place I ordered them.

I can't recommend them yet since I've only ridden in them twice and I'm kinda just waiting for them to unravel... but they are butter soft and the most beautiful and perfect color. I love them!

Perfect #rootd

In other news, just a PSA. I found this super cute Joules Welly boot bag for over half off and it seemed about the right size to fit my Dubarry boots, so I bought it... and they fit inside perfectly! It is the cutest bag with a nice wide opening, so if you ever find yourself wanting a cute boot bag for your Dubarry or Faux-berry's these are perfect!

In other news, Jetta is still very pregnant and I have baby fever. My roommates' horse just had her baby on Tuesday and she is PRECIOUS. I love her. I sure hope Jetta doesn't make me wait that long though... she was at 361 days pregnant. Holy smokes, I might die if she is pregnant for that long!

Hard to get a non-blurry picture of the little ginger

Baby belly!

Fresh out of the oven

And finally, I have still been riding Vante three days a week. He has been a little fireball the past three rides. I pulled him out on Friday and tacked him up. He was a little hyper, but nothing unusual. I got him to the arena and went to tighten the girth and he exploded and reared and tried to take off. So we went and got a lunge line and he had a grand time leaping and bucking and rearing and running around. I had never seen him so full of it! He was very good for our ride, especially being in front of my leg.

I ordered some cob-sized cheek pieces (it was super hard to find one with rounded buckles to match my bridle) that arrived last week and now my bridle fits him perfectly. So much better.

Monday and Tuesday I rode him and he was still a little fireball but not as bad. We lunged first and he was ok under saddle. Monday was incredibly windy and the entire barn rattled and he was quite on edge the whole time. Tuesday he just couldn't handle the distractions - one other horse being ridden and a person on the ground watering the arena. He wanted to stop and say hi to everyone! And the left lead canter was just non-existant. He wouldn't bend to the inside, he wouldn't give to the bit and just wanted to be a giraffe, and he didn't want to go at a normal speed, more of a hand-gallop. So that was a bit frustrating. Overall though, he's still learning very quickly and he's still fun!

Maybe we can get these neck muscles developed correctly one day!

Thursday, May 18, 2017

All the Sparkles

If you know me, then you know that I looooove sparkles. I love them. So when I ran across this brand of browband called Equiture on instagram, I fell in love. They are blindingly sparkly. And extremely well made. And they are not crazy expensive! It's a miracle.

I had been wanting a sparkly browband for my PS of Sweden bridle, but I didn't want to spend a $100 on a PS browband. Yeah, the quick disconnect for the browbands is cool, but not $110 cool. These browbands look almost identical to the PS browbands (without the quick-change part) and some of them are almost half the price. Plus they have a ton more options. I seriously have 3 more browbands on my want list right now. No, I do not have 3 more bridles to put them on, but you know... I can rotate them or something!

Like I said, blinding:


I recently bought a second one as a gift for a friend and it's just as beautiful as the one I got. I was going for something a bit more subtle than my iridescent AB crytals, so I went with montana blue and black diamonds - so basically it's navy and grey. I think it looks awesome.

While they do come from the UK, shipping is still very fast and affordable. Plus they come in a cute little bag with extra crystals should you lose a few. The price range varies - you can spend $100 if you want to, but most of the browbands are around $60. Not cheap, but not outrageous. They don't really do returns, but you can exchange them for a different size within 14 days if you need to.

I just really love these browbands and I haven't seen them around that much! Of course I feel like everyone has their favorite brand, but I just wanted to share mine!


Thursday, May 11, 2017

Weekly Update

It's been awhile and I'm excited to write about Vante!

He's such a fun little guy. I love working with baby horses cause they learn so fast and there's always such a huge difference in where you started and where you end up. Vante is such a sponge, he has soaked up a lot in a short period of time.

We have 5 rides so far under our belts and he's been great.

He's such a character!

He started out being pretty naughty - I guess one day he decided that the barrels that sit in the corner and never ever move were scary and he spooked pretty hard, slamming his owners foot into the wall and breaking it. Ouch.

The next time I rode, he was fine going to the right, but as soon as he saw the barrels to the left, he spooked and froze, refusing to go forward. I tapped him with the whip (I specifically rode with it for this reason!) and he reared and back pedaled across the arena. We worked on it a few minutes, with every time he threatened to rear, I turned his head and made him move his hind end around to get unstuck. Eventually we got back across the arena to the barrels and he sniffed them and took a break. After that, he was much better, though he still wanted to spook really hard, he held it together with just some counter-bending and trying to run his inside shoulder through my inside leg.

Finally confronting the scary barrels

The next ride had much less spooking and now he barely looks at them. We did try to ride outside one day to cool out since the weather has been so nice, but it didn't last very long. The horses in turnout started running when they saw him, and he grew several inches, arched neck, tail in the air, complete with snorting and prancing so I got off and walked him instead. Eventually we'll get there once we have better steering and listening skills :)

Such a different view with these ears!
A few of my favorite things - peach iced tea lemonade, sunshine, and horses!
Our last two rides have been absolutely fantastic though. He's picking up on taking contact. While he's still very inconsistent and he just doesn't understand why being a giraffe is not allowed, he's doing a lot better. While I haven't been insisting on it at the moment just because I'd rather have a forward horse who's steering appropriately, I've been having a steady light contact and he's really picking up on what it means. He's moving off my leg better, both laterally and in the forward direction, using the whip to reinforce it is helping a lot. Our circles and straight lines are more resembling what they should instead of odd jagged shapes.

While he does need to work on basically everything, our trot-canter transitions really need some help but once we start schooling them he does a lot better. He tends to die a lot in the downward transitions (but at least he stops well!), and I'd like our 20 meter circles to start resembling circles. He is going to have a hard time learning a free walk and stretchy trot, so we'll see how that goes. He's such an upright horse that stretching downward is so odd to him.

But I'm having such a blast with him!

And he's so handsome!

Jetta hasn't been forgotten, though I'm sure she wishes that she had been. She got a bath the other day, which she was very upset about, but it was very necessary. I've just been grooming her and lunging her, so she's been enjoying her pregnancy leave. Roughly 80ish days left!

In other news I got to go to my first derby party! It was super fun, I really enjoyed dressing up and making my fascinator and watching ponies.

My first mint julep aka adult snowcone

And my last kinda exciting piece of news... I did my first ever "surgery". Not real, just on a foam model, but it was really fun to go through all the steps of opening the different layers of skin, going through the linea alba, performing a bowel resection and anastamosis, then putting it all back together again. My sutures are getting better and better, though still not as "pretty" as I'd like them to be yet!

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Borrowed Steeds

First off, I am absolutely green with jealousy for everyone going to Rolex! It seems like so many bloggers are going this year and I'm so sad I couldn't make it. A classmate and I discussed trying to make it "school-related" to get excused absences to go, but it's right in the prime midterm time and it would just be too much hassle to rearrange midterms and too much $$ :( So have fun for me everyone! Maybe one year I'll make it.

But I finally have (somewhat) exciting things to blog about!

A different view

I haven't been riding Jetta at all lately and I've been BORED. I need a pony to ride. So when a fellow boarder was at the barn (one of the 3 people I actually like!) I asked if she would be interested in having me ride her horse since I know she's been super busy lately with her new baby and working as a nurse. She said yes!

Meet Vante (rhymes with Monty). He's a 5 year old spanish breed cross (not exactly sure what breeds). He's the sweetest, most curious guy ever and I've been eyeballing him forever. I'm so glad I can ride him!

He's normally ridden western, but I'm using my own tack. He looks quite wonderful in dressage tack I think. My bridle is a touch big, he's got a small head compared to Jetta so I think I need to get some cob sized cheek pieces for my bridle so it'll fit better. I think I also need a black breastplate to go with because he's so narrow my saddle slid back a good 3 or 4 inches.

I had a lot of fun riding him. He's more green than I thought he was, but he's very honest and listens very well to voice ques. We just need to work on steering, getting him to move off my leg and giving to the bit. His default mode of travel is giraffe-style and while he's soft to the bit, he doesn't want to seek contact and is quite fussy with the bit, which I can't blame him since he's normally ridden in a double twisted wire.

He has the most uphill canter ever though and it was so fun to ride him! The goal is to ride 3 days a week since his owner usually rides him twice a week (though only lightly).

Much uphill, so giraffe
I'm excited (obviously).

And then I got to ride a second pony! PR, my fellow eventer vet school buddy, is taking care of some horses at her barn for people going to Rolex, so she asked if I'd want to ride her horse Bailey while she rode another horse to save time.

I rode last night and I get to ride again tonight - Bailey is amazing. She's a prelim level eventer who loves her job and she's impeccably trained. I had such a fun time riding her, though I think by the end she was a little annoyed with me bouncing around since I'm so unfit. Plus I just had too much fun playing with her adjustability and she was just like "pick a speed and stick with it!".

So it was a great horse-y day. I might even be able to ride Bailey this summer since PR is doing several internships out of state.

I'm glad I have some opportunities to ride and keep my sanity!