Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Christmas Fun

Eventing Nation is having a contest for Point 2 air vests about which I am really excited! All you have to do is dress your horse up in some Christmas-y way and send them the pic to enter. Oh boy am I going to have fun with this! I can already see it... Oh Colton!

Wouldn't something akin to the picture below be fun? Any one else planning on entering? Once I dress up my torture project *cough* I mean willing partner in crime, I'll post the pics on here, but you'll have to vote for me on Eventing Nation!

Entries need to be sent in by December 12th!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

No Good Very Bad Day

It began with a nasty email and ended with a flood.



Oh, you want more? The whole story? Ok, well you have to promise not to laugh at me. Promise? And this is going to be really, really long since I just want to complain about everything. Be prepared.

I got a nasty email from someone this morning that was totally uncalled for. I guess some people just can't be civil. I won't go into details unless you're absolutely dying to know but it pissed me off. Amazing how one little email can darken your whole morning. I steamed all the way to my first class.

Class went as usual, nothing exciting there. I'm feeling incredibly stressed right now since all my final projects are due this week and finals are next week. I finally get out to the barn to ride my pony. Her stall is filthy. I have never seen it this bad. There is not one scrap of clean, dry bedding. It is wet, it is nasty. There is a puddle of pee in the corner. Hmph.

Ab-sol-ute-ly disgusting!

The water bucket. It should never look
 like this. I don't want to make my horse have to
 drink out of something that looks like this.
 Why am I so upset? Because I've talked to the BO about it several times. I've offered to pay for extra bags of pellets and I buy Stall Dry to help with the wetness. I get it, Jetta is really messy, but why would they ever let it get that bad?! It is bad for so many reasons:
  1. The ammonia in urine breaks down proteins in the hoof wall and sole, softening and weaking those structures.
  2. "Harmful effects of ammonia inhalation include burning of the delicate tissues of the lungs and eyes, narrowing of the throat and bronchi, fluid in the lungs, airway hyperactivity and COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease)." Quote
  3. What horse would ever want to lay down in pee-soaked bedding?? I was always taught that a stall should be clean enough that you would lay down in it yourself. Pony club anyone?
  4. It reflects poorly on the barn because quality barns uphold a higher level of horse care.
Not only that, but there is a sign with bright red letters saying that she bites! And that her gate must stay up, so she can't stick her head out and see what's going on or talk to the horses next to her. My first thought was "What did they do to make her bite?" Because she doesn't bite. Sure, maybe when I pull her mane she bites or she'll bite other horses out in the pasture, but never another person. She's too much of an attention hog for that. So I hmphed about that too.


I fumed my whole ride, so it's not surprising I didn't have that stellar of a ride. But she was still pretty good and I got off no more upset than I was when I had gotten on.

By that time, all the horses had been fed and the hired hand left without cleaning the stall. Hmph. So I untacked Miss Jetta and cleaned her stall. I stripped the filthy nasty thing and dragged her filthy water bucket out to empty it (I need more adjectives that mean the same thing as filthy) and gave it a good scrub. I'm still stunned at how bad they let it get. I left the water bucket filling while I ran and got some bedding pellets. I figured that we might be out of pellets, which is why Jetta's stall is just as filthy as it was yesterday, but nope, two whole pallets of pellets. I marked down the two I took on the chart and headed to the stall.

No shortages of pellets here.
Ok. You promised you wouldn't laugh: As I'm walking back, I hear the unmistakable sound of the water bucket running over so I drop the two bags of pellets I'm carrying and sprint to the hose and turn it off. The stall is flooded with about a half inch of water. Cue beating head against wall.

FINE, you can laugh now. I admit I was chuckling as I beat my head against the wall. Now, if that isn't a sure sign of insanity, I don't know what is...

So I spend the next thirty minutes scooping water out of the stall with a shovel into the wheel barrow. It took about two half-full wheelbarrows to get it moderately emptied. Luckily, bedding pellets are made to be watered down a bit (though not as much as I did!), so once I put the pellets in the stall, they fluffed up and were pretty dry. Jetta's hay was soaked, but I don't think she minded as she happily slurped it down later on.

One of the wheelbarrows full of water...
The moral of this story: Keep your eye on the #?*!%@/~ bucket while you're filling it! Ahem. And please excuse my language. It's been a long day.

Jetta had been standing in the cross ties while I cleaned her stall, so she was quite antsy with anticipation for her dinner and I had yet to clean out her feet. I picked her hooves with some difficulty since she wasn't wanting to stand still, managing to get ThrushBuster all over my hands. If you haven't experienced Thrush Buster, then you don't know that it's a nasty smelling (not as bad as Coppertox though) dark purple liquid that stains your hands for weeks. By the time I turned the pony back into her stall (with the gate down so she could stick her head out), I was covered in horse slobber, nasty filthy stall material, dirty water, Thrush Buster, and arena dirt from Jetta's hooves. There was no way I was still going to the grocery store like that.

So that was my day. Pretty rotten. I feel (and I'm sure I also sound) like a Scrooge today. It's a good thing I'm not also suffering from hormonal mood swings because then I'd also be sobbing right now. But I'm not, luckily.

After I cleaned it. The stall should look like this at least half the time IMO!

Fresh clean water is a must in my books.
 The nasty dirty stall was a last straw kind of thing, so I've notified the BO that I am switching to partial care and will be cleaning my own stall from now on. I probably should have done it earlier, but I was hoping it would improve. I pay $50 extra for full care, but I'm not really getting anything out of it, so at least my poor horse won't stay in a gross stall 24/7. I've also decided to switch barns. It's probably no secret to regular readers that I don't really like the current barn I'm at. It does have a lot of nice amenities, but they're not worth it if my horse isn't being cared for properly. Of course no one has any openings right now, but I've gotten on the waitlist for another barn that I adore. I probably won't move until the next school year, but at least I'm feeling better since deciding to move and I'll look into a few other places around.

Sorry for talking your ear off writing your eyeballs out but I just needed to vent. I seem to do a lot of that, but well, that's my life I guess.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Full Weekend

I had a wonderful weekend at home eating lots of food, watching a ton of holiday movies, making christmas cookies, shopping and of course hanging with the horses. Poor Jetta has had the longest break ever - a whole 5 days - which I feel terrible about her just hanging in her stall. But I promised her I'd ride her on Monday! She was definitely a fun little fire ball today, but surprisingly not bad. But I did get to have some fun with my project pony over the weekend.

Here's The Stats

Age: 3 years old
Height: Between 16 and 16.1 hh
Breed: Gypsy Vanner x Clydesdale PMU
Weight: approx. 1400 pounds

I was very pleased with how quickly he learned. The first day I had a 30 minute training session on how to lead. Obviously he's halter broke, but he stops and starts when he walks for no reason. He'll freeze and not budge, he invades your space and lags far behind you. So, step 1 - Leading with his ear parallel to my shoulder. He did very good with this, though there were quite a few "OH MY GOSH SHE'S TRYING TO KILL ME" moments when I tapped him on the butt with my whip to get him to step up. But he learned that while I do go mud skiing fairly well, it's not acceptable to haul me around and in reality, it's much easier to walk forward when I say so :) He caught on to the whole leading thing very quickly. I was amazed - it's going to be tough to stick to my schedule of slow and steady with this guy!

Since he had mastered the leading thing well, I practiced having him stop with me, back up when I do, as well as yeilding his shoulders and hindquarters. He definitely has a little bit of sass! We were walking past the pond when he just decided to "notice" it, sidestepping his shoulder onto me. I stopped him and made him yeild the shoulder away from me and he started shaking his head at me like he was going to whack me with it. Naughty boy! But within a circle or two of making him move his shoulder, crossing over in front, I felt like I could have entered him in a showmanship class he was doing so well!

We just walked around the pasture, one loop. The pasture is pretty hilly and about 3 acres, but it wasn't a very tough workout but he was still pretty hot by the end. Oh, BlubberBoy I've got my work cut out with you!!

On Sunday I worked on leading again, just the same loop around the pasture. It was much easier this time and after a brief reminder to keep up, I barely had to correct him and no more hauling on the lead rope! It is an absolute pet peeve of mine when horses don't lead properly and their owners allow them to walk all over them. I won't allow that to be the case here, lol!

Of course, both days to mix it up and make it fun and interesting, we took some breaks, particularly around the apple trees ;)

You called?

Tree full of apples


Grady: Delicately takes small bites out of his apple.

Colton: Nom, I will eat this big apple in one bite!!

Of course the bad part about being a dorky baby is that he did put the whole giant apple in his mouth and after watching him for a minute, hoping he wasn't going to choke on it while he rolled it around his mouth trying to decide how in the world he was going to eat it, I opened his mouth and took it out, holding it for him so he could take a smaller bite. I do not want him to get an apple lodged in his throat the first month he's at my house! Silly pony...

Friday, November 25, 2011


I was saving my pictures from my laptop to my external hard drive, so I don't lose them all again, and I came across some old pictures that I'd forgotten about.

These are some pictures from when I first got Grady, 10 years ago, and took him to a couple local schooling shows. We didn't do so well, being two green beans not exactly sure what we were doing, but it was fun. Enjoy!

So cute :)

Wednesday, November 23, 2011


Bleh. I think I have finally succumbed to the first round of the nasty sickness going around. Unfortunately, I really wanted to ride tonight, but I don't think I will since even just walking quickly made me feel winded and even more ill. Sadness. My throat hurts, I have zero energy, and just want to sleep. This sucks.

Last night Jetta and I jumped. She was really good except for three nasty refusals at first. Weird horse. After that though, she was absolutely perfect both ways over the jump and even cantering over it. That makes me so happy! I was going to have one last jump over it so we could finish on a good note, but then two girls getting on for their lesson came into the arena and stopped directly in front of my jump to mount up. I circled at the trot, figuring they'd hop on, I'd pop over the jump and then cool out. I circled, and circled, and circled while they adjusted their girth, their stirrups, their bridles, then got on and sat there and talked to the trainer. By the time they had moved off I had slown to a walk and given up on one last jump. Sigh. It was still a semi-good note to end on, but I really wanted that last jump!

I had hoped to set up a mini-course today since I got out of class early and no one would be at the barn. I'm so bummed that I don't feel good! I feel like if I ride, it's going to make me feel a lot worse even if I don't jump as planned.

Oh yes, definitely one of these.
No ham on Thanksgiving for me!
I can't tell you how much I'm looking forward to Thanksgiving though! A four day weekend, at home, with no homework (I crammed it all in this week) and a lot of good food. I'm excited. I've been looking forward to this for weeks. I probably won't be on much this weekend because 1) I'll be sleeping or 2) I'll be hanging with my family, so I just want to wish everyone a happy Thanksgiving! I hope everyone has a good time with family and gets to eat lots of good food - Mmm... Turkey for me :) I'm so thankful to have such a wonderful horse, great friends, to be able to go to college, my crazy family and not to mention all you wonderful people who read this blog and brighten my day every time you comment! (Well, when at least when they're nice comments, lol!)

I'll leave you wish a contest blurb from my newest internet addiction, which has a contest every week. This week is a beautiful Sanswill Designs ear bonnet that I love. Look, this one is in my colors! And I could get crystals on it, ooh... So if you're interested, stop over there and enter the contest!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Curse You Smartpak!

First off, I love SmartPak. How could a tack whore connoisseur like me not love them? Their great products, their attractive marketing, the good prices, the sales, the customer service, the free shipping, the.... you get the idea.

Then they come out with their "Look Books". They had a fall one and I just got an email today with their Winter Look Book. What is wrong with these? Well, nothing at first. You flip through it and see all the beautiful and stylish outfits. What you might not recognize right away is that every single outfit is at least $500 or more. There was one that was $400 and I think I counted three that were over a $1000.

Oh SmartPak, why do you do this to me? You entice me with these wonderful outfits and beautiful clothing items. And then I realize that I could never afford any of these outfits...

Of course, there are a few items that I can afford. Namely socks and gloves. But at least they're nice to look at!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Feeling Fancy

Well, not too much excitement going on. Jetta was good today, we just worked on stuff at the walk and trot, I decided just to keep it simple today, though it was so hard not to canter when Jetta was being so good and I didn't want to blow it. Her trot is just getting better and better. I've been working on collecting and extending her, really asking her to lighten up her forehand and it shows! I got a compliment last week on how good she was looking which made me really happy. Her trot is getting that "bounce" in it with a little more suspension but not a lot of rushing or speediness!

Plus I'm feeling a little bit fancier with my newly clipped horse. She looks like a ''real'' show horse now! (Though in reality, a "real" show horse would be fully body clipped, but nevermind...) With her being clipped, this gave me the excuse to pull out my new quarter sheet. I've wanted one for a long time but they can be so expensive for such a small scrap of fabric! But, with my newfound addiction to ebay, I found one at a great price. It's a tad bit large, so I think I'm going to take it in just a tiny bit in the area where it connects over the withers, but otherwise, it makes me feel fancy. And warm.

Modeling :)

"I is sooo tired I can't pose for pictures."

Lookin' stylish.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Yoga for Equestrians

In school, we're required to take one physical activity course (PAC) so I chose Yoga. I thought it would be a good, slow kind of introduction into actually exercising. Ahaha. I was expecting something easy and relaxing... how wrong was I! But I actually am really enjoying this class and I think I would like to join one of the free classes at the gym next term.

It's pretty incredible watching how flexible and strong my teacher is. She can do the splits, completely fold over at the waist, do a headstand, and hold herself an inch from the ground with her arms for ages (think hold a push up for thirty seconds with your chest an inch above the ground). It's really tough, especially when you see a lot of guys really struggling to hold a position! It makes me feel a little bit better about myself :)

There's all sorts of things for horses + yoga
This is a picture from a cowgirl's retreat

 I have really tight hamstrings and old injuries meaning that my knees can't bend all the way, but all of these problems have improved over the past few weeks along with core strength. I hadn't worked a lot on two-point in a while but the other day I decided to do some sitting trot and two-point work and it felt so easy. No wonder that yoga has become so popular for equestrians!

In my Equine Science, we had a massage therapist come and show us what she does as well as some stretches for what she calls "horse yoga". Really, it was just some basic stretches for the horse, so not all that new and exciting, lol. But it makes you think about how much yoga is helping you, why could some stretches not help your horse? Two things that the massage therapist stressed - one was that the horse must already be warmed up prior to stretching and two that you must also be relaxed while doing the stretches so the horse doesn't feed off your tension.

Might be good book to read.

Yoga for equestrians has become increasing popular in recent years, with books, dvds, classes and retreats all focused around yoga for people who ride horses. I have to say that I am really enjoying my class and it's one of the classes that I look forward to every day. It lets me get rid of a little bit of tension by trying these difficult positions, plus I get to laugh at myself when I tie myself into a knot trying to do the Eagle position and then fall over because I'm stuck or I get to laugh at the "fire breathing" because it sounds like when my mom's dog has a reverse sneeze going on!

Recently I heard of several barns (not local unfortunately) that are hosting a weekly session of yoga at the barn for people that want to participate. How cool is that?! I'd be all over that in a second.

If you are interested in improving your core strength out of the saddle, I would highly recommend you try yoga!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Naked Ponies

Well, they're not completely naked! Just partially :)

Yesterday I clipped Miss Katy. She was such a brat! Naughty girl, she's learning some bad habits... She was acting more like Jetta and just would not stand still in the cross ties. Though it was very bad timing to do it at dinner time... She got a semi-trace clip, sometimes called a chaser clip I believe? She looked pretty good and it only took me an hour and a half. She had such thick fur though! Of course I didn't get any pictures of it, but here's what it looks like.

Her owners were in a bit of a hurry so I didn't get to make it as nice as I'd like, but it still looked really good. She seriously lost a hundred pounds by getting clipped :)

My "after" picture. At least you can see all the hair
she lost! We could make a miniature pony out of all that!

Favoritest clippers ever!

The hardest part for me is definitely clipping the shoulder and the armpit. It just doesn't work very well! But I'm glad I was able to clip her, as it almost didn't work out. I showed up at their new barn (they moved, which was sad, but now I get to give them lessons!) and pulled out my clippers. The mom said that she didn't think that they were going to work, because they're not body clippers. I assured her that they'd be fine since I've used them the past two years to do body clips. I had charged both of the batteries the night before. I turn them on and put it to Katy... and it cuts a two inch square before refusing to do any thing else. Hm. This is not good. The mom kind of says "I told you so", but I switched batteries and tried again. Nada. So the last option is to switch the blades, luckily I had another set in my car. I put those on and voila! Who says these babies aren't body clippers???

So it all worked out and Katy got trimmed as planned.

Today, well, this morning, was Jetta's turn. I decided to leave her in her stall and tie her loosely so she could eat her hay while I trimmed. It would be harder to get her neck, but easier because she would actually stand still. I did a bit more of a clip on Jetta, though it still only took an hour and a half, probably because Jetta's hair isn't nearly as thick as Katy's, but it was almost a little bit harder because her skin was thinner and it got all wrinkled up more easily. Of course, I meant to do a high trace clip, but chickened out so she got a low trace clip. I like it though I may touch it up a bit tomorrow because I'm a bit of a perfectionist like that.

The worst "before" picture you have ever seen

"Why you do this to me?!"
"Ok, I'm going back to sleep now..."
But doesn't it look good?!
I think if I change anything, it will be that I clip about a blade's-width more higher along the whole length, and clip the hip portion so that it is more level on top instead of slanted. But not too shabby, if I do say so myself!

Afterwards, I put her other blanket on (she has two sets, spoiled pony) and it's the heavier of the two, plus it's actually clean so she should be nice and comfy tonight.


So today was nice and productive and I now have a shiny new clipped pony! I'm excited to see how it looks with the saddle on and how she sweats with it now.

Sidenote, what do you think of the blog theme changes? I decided I needed something a bit more cheery since it's so gray and cold oustide, but after having it the same for so long it looks a little strange to me now!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

DeNiro Boots

If you've been reading for a while, you might know that I'm hoping my next boots are by Voltaire Design. But with a $1500 price tag, that's most likely not going to happen for a very, very, very long time. There are several other boots that I've noticed in the SmartPak catalog and kind of liked, for instance the DeNiro Leuca Field Boots that have the same wrap-around zipper as the Voltaire Electre boots I've been drooling over.

Since my boots are currently in the shop and hey, Christmas is around the corner, I decided to do a little research on DeNiro boots. I. Am. In. Love.

This is the DeNiro Leuca Field boot that Smartpak carries

Another Leuca but in dress boot style.

I am loving all of their different and crazy styles, especially because they're all so beautiful! And keep in mind that they're all off the rack, not custom, thus they don't come with the custom price tag.

As a slightly related question - Do you think field boots are hunter/jumper ring only? Would it look out of place to wear field boots in the dressage ring or dress boots in the hunter ring?

I've always had dress boots because I hated the way that the fake laces on field boots looked, but now that the laces have been updated with the stretchy ones, I kind of like them, so I'm thinking of the Leuca boots and SmartPak only carries the field boot style. Thoughts?