Monday, April 30, 2012

Baby Jetta

Wow, you have to love the internet sometimes. It's great for connecting with people. It's how I found the new owner of the first horse I ever sold, Patch and it has proved itself great again.

Remember that post where I talked about Jetta's dam and full brother? I was wondering what had happened to them. Anyways, Jetta's mom (Step Away)'s owner found me! And she sent me a baby pictures of Jetta! (Then called Punky). How awesome is that?! No, I am not excited. Not the slightest bit ;)

Ahhh! She's so cute! Even in that gawky baby stage with her butt a mile high. But I can still recognize her adorable face, that nice shoulder and neck. D'aww ♥

I'm glad that Step Away found what sounds to be a great home with someone that loves her, especially since I love my baby so much. Thanks again!

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Puppy Pictures

Well since I was a slacker this weekend and I have no photos to show of anything, I thought I'd share these. It was a gorgeous day on Saturday and I couldn't resist taking a quick nap in the sun. Plus, I thought I'd work with my new camera some to see if I can figure some more of it out so I took some pictures of our family dog, Glory. She's a German Shepherd-Border Collie mix and she'll be 11 years old this year, though you couldn't tell by looking at her!

It took me a while to get the right setting so some of the pictures are a bit overexposed, but I just couldn't resist posting some of her faces! Silly dog.

Our old laydee :)

This picture cracks me up with her drool flying

Where'd it go?

Shaking the stick to death.

Stalking something

I gots my stick!

My stick!

Such a dork.

Awful exposure, but her expression was too cute not to post.

Flyaway ears!

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Finally the Weekend

This post was supposed to be Finally Friday but I never got around to posting it yesterday!

Jetta doesn't seem any worse for wear from our hectic ride on Thursday - the one that was supposed to be laid back but definitely wasn't. I finally dug out her fly mask and put it on since the flies were out in force today, I'm glad I splurged on a Cashel mask last year, it fits so well and has lasted well so far, plus it's neat to have her name embroidered on it :)

She still looks just barely, slightly off at the trot, but I'm not sure if it's because I'm expecting her to be or not. I have so little experience with lamenesses that I'm pretty bad at being able to tell. Maybe next week I'll get a video up, I plan on sending a video to my farrier so I can share it with you too and get some opinions.

I went home today and groomed Grady and Colton. Didn't really feel like riding much so I just lunged Colton and sat on his back for a minute. I found my furminator and it works so well for getting all that hair off. Grady is so close to being done with shedding. Colton on the other hand still has a ton of hair. I'm still considering doing a strip clip on him to help him keep cool since he gets so sweaty, poor thing. If only he would shed faster!

Other than that, no news. Hopefully I'll be able to escape out to the barn on Monday, but if not, I definitely plan on riding on Tuesday. Hopefully it all goes well and Jetta continues to improve!

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Early Release

In a rare treat today I got out of my Organic Chemistry lab several hours earlier. Usually it's a four hour lab, but today it only took me an hour and a half. What to do with my free time? See the pony of course :)

The weather was extremely bi-polar today. Windy/pouring down rain one minute then sunshine-y and warm the next. I rescued Jetta hiding under a tree in the pasture during a downpour and as soon as we made it into the barn the sun came out again. Figures.

Jetta got a good grooming to get some of her shedding hair off. She looks a little silly. The hair on her neck and hip is growing back in from her trace clip, but her belly hair... isn't. Oh well, I just hope it comes back eventually.

I saddled Jetta up to go lunge with the intention of just seeing how she was feeling and maybe not riding. She looked good so I put some trot poles out and then got on with just the rope halter. It was interesting. I haven't ridden her in the rope halter since she was first started under saddle in the round pen, otherwise if I want to go bitless we just use the hackamore. I expected her not to be very good and she wasn't. She wasn't necessarily bad, but with one rein (I can't find my 12' lead rope) there ended up being a lot of circles.

It's amazing though how much she pays attention to my body cues for directionality. Now if she'd only listen to body cues to slow her down too, I'd be in heaven. But in trying to get her to go over the poles at the trot, she'd decide that she could easily get out of it by turning towards whatever side I had the rein on. But if I angled my body in the opposite direction and only put the tiniest bit of leg (so she wouldn't decide to canter) she'd go that way. Sweet! But of course all of this was at Mach 10 and it was difficult to get her to slow down. Pony was wire-d. But we were able to finish on a good note when she trotted over the poles and wasn't going as fast. I wouldn't call it the ideal speed, but it was better. We'll see how sore she is tomorrow :(

Apparently earless and buttless horse.

What are we doing??


Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Happening Stuff

Well, it's not really happening over here. Nothing's really going on unfortunately. Sorry I've been so bad at blogging! I just have a bit of writer's block I guess. Well, make that a block for everything, I've just been struggling to find motivation for pretty much everything. Here's a bit of an update though.

While this term is certainly easier than last term, my schedule is way crazier so I feel like I have zero time, especially with the huge amount of homework on top. I don't feel like I have that much time to spend with Jetta, but I end up having to make time to go see her which then infringes on homework time. I've been having to go out more often than I would like (not that I don't want to see Jetta!) but because I need to go out.

On Sunday I got a text from the BO that Jetta was limping again. Ugh. I thought we were done with this whole thing. I finally got to the barn on Tuesday and she was just slightly off, but enough that I didn't feel like riding her. Today, was better but still just a little off so we just lunged in side reins and worked up a bit of a sweat.

I think there's probably bruising going on but I'm not sure because there haven't been any events for bruising unless it's just residual soreness from the abscess. But the abscess ruptured two weeks ago. I have called my farrier for her opinion and am waiting to hear back since I know there is such a spectrum of opinions on this matter. As it is right now, Jetta is getting turned out, worked on soft surfaces only, thrush treatment and I'm applying some of the Hooflex all natural dressing which contains arnica (that I won from Kristen!) as well as some coconut oil to see if we can't get this bruising to go away if that's what this is. We'll have to see what ideas my farrier has to offer too.

It's amazing how dry the pastures have gotten recently after a week with no rain. Jetta's pasture which was absolutely liquid soup all winter has almost completely dried except for a little bit around the gate. Plus the BO made some huge mangers for hay to keep it off of the mud and prevent the ponies from spreading it around, so the pastures are looking pretty great right now! I really do like my BO because she really is helpful and thinks of the horses first. But I have to say that I'm looking for a new barn right now. This winter was really rough with the soupy pastures, no washrack (still not working), no cross ties, a dirt aisle that got muddy and an arena that got slightly flooded. Not enough to make me immediately move out or never consider boarding here again, but I'd prefer a slightly nicer barn. But this barn is definitely better than the other barn I was at. At least Jetta gets turned out, she never has to stay in a filthy stall, her water is always sparkling clean among other awesome things.

Hoping to go on a trail ride sometime next week. The new vet that I work with Dr. P (I may have mentioned her before) is super nice and she's leasing her baby warmblood to ML. She invited us both over for a trail ride so either I'm going to take Jetta if she's feeling up to it or ride Dr. P's fat and out-of-shape yet completely adorable drafty horse, Bubba. I'm very excited since I haven't done anything "fun", horse-related or not, for what seems like ages. Plus I've been dying to get out of the arena.

The problem is of course whether Jetta will be too sore on rocks. Which I still can't believe I'm saying about my Thoroughbred's formerly rock-crunching hooves. Yes, I have my Old Macs, but they're just so clunky that I feel bad making Jetta trot or canter in them. Yes, she can do it and doesn't fuss about it, but I still feel bad. I was planning on ordering some Easyboot gloves since I found out they now come in wide sizes making them almost perfect for Jetta's big ol' feet, but the place I was going to order them through at a considerable discount only carries them up to size 2.5. I need a size 3. Phooey. My other option is to order them in another style that I don't like as well, but they probably wouldn't get here by the time our trail ride happens :(

So that's life right now! I'll try to get back on track with posting, but honestly nothing interesting enough is happening to post abouy right now. But I will prevail over this slump! I hope :)

Monday, April 23, 2012

New and Old

Saturday was just an awesome, awesome day. Not only was it amazingly gorgeous out, but I had absolutely nothing planned except horsey stuff. My favorite. 

What. Why is there a saddle on me?
First up was a ride on Grady. I decided that this summer I'm going to get him a bit in shape so he can be a trail pony. He is doing great even being an old man at 26 years old this year! I can't believe he's so old, lol. 

I tacked him up in a saddle for the first time in almost two years, though we still didn't bother with a bit. I've ridden him plenty in those two years, but we always just go bareback. Because I'm lazy, I know he's not going to dump me unless I do something stupid and he's comfy to sit on.

Who you calling an old man?
Grady just cracks me up. He has mild arthritis, but other than that he is completely sound and feeling good! His arthritis is managed very well at this point with just a feed through joint supplement. Boy did he feel good. Colton and the neighbor's new horse insisted on galloping back and forth while I rode and Grady wanted to join! I did let him open up and gallop once but then insisted on a nice collected canter. Mostly though we just walked and did a little bit of jogging. At one point he threw a complete fit about not being allowed to canter, which I thought was amusing. Especially because his idea of a fit is to take a couple jig steps and toss his head.

Then it was Colton's turn. First up on the list of things to do was  a bath since he was quite filthy. Apparently it was his first bath ever since he thought it was quite terrifying. I turned on the hose (note that I wasn't even aiming at him yet) and he lost his poor baby brain. But with some patience he got over it. Just calmly spraying him, waiting for him to stop moving, then turning the hose off and praising him immensely for being such a brave boy. Eventually he was almost 100% fine with it. Plus it helped that he got to graze on the knee high grass that has overtaken my "bathing area".

Afterwards he was so nice looking! This picture doesn't quite capture his cleanliness. He looked like a fancy show pony!


Looking like a fancy show pony

It's white!!
And then guess what we got to do?? First real ride! Well, not the "real, real" first ride since I introduce everything in steps and will add in the saddle and bridle later. But Colton walked and trotted with me on his back in the round pen and he was such a good boy. I was so excited. I thought I'd just walk around at first, since all I've done is just sit on him. But he was being so great - accepting my leg, walking when I bumped with my leg, turning away from leg pressure, bending nicely and steering/stopping nicely in the halter for such a green bean that I couldn't resist a trot. Just lifting the end of the lead rope like I was going to swing it was enough to send him forward and he has the same, easy to sit trot that Katy has. Even when he got going a little faster and I started bouncing along a bit (must do more work without stirrups!) he didn't get hardly worried at all - just flicked an ear back. I was so proud of him!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Brief Study Break

Well, not much news since I'm studying for my first midterm tomorrow (and it's only week three!?!?!). It's in Domestic Animal Reproduction and while I'm really liking this class, right now I'm pretty much going WHY IS THERE SO MUCH INFORMATION ON ONE EXAM!! Sigh. I'm sure it won't be too bad, but I'm stressing right now.

I went and saw the pony briefly and she seems to be doing perfectly fine. Happy to be back outside. I used the last of my White Lightening for one last hoof soak and pulled her mane a bit. She definitely did not think that this was an appropriate award for being such a good horse the past few days, but she put up with it, only giving me nasty faces a couple times, lol.

I'm super excited for the weekend because it's supposed to be sunny and 77 degrees on Saturday! Sure it's only one day, but I plan on making the most of it. Colton will hopefully be getting a bath and I'm planning on taking Grady for a short trail ride.

That's unfortunately fortunately (?) all the news I have. I guess it's true when they say no news is good news! I'll leave you with this image of why mare's ovaries are weird:

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

I Feel Pathetic...

After watching this video. Wow. I think I need some a ton more stirrupless work in my future... This is quite impressive.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Back in the Swing of Things

Well, I think everything is getting back to normal. At least I hope. Jetta was pretty good for our ride today. I didn't ride yesterday, just lunged because Monday's are when I have class all day till 7:30pm so I just didn't feel like it.

Of course she was bratty once I got on. She ignored my leg, completely dropping her shoulder on the inside around the corner, then when I tapped her with the whip, she exploded. Sigh. A few turns on the haunches and forehand, then some leg yields and shoulder ins got her paying better attention and from there on it was smooth sailing. She was a bit distracted with a group of horses outside having fun, squealing and snorting and running around, but for the most part she worked pretty hard.

Our canter departs are pretty ugly still, but she put in a good effort for slowing down the canter. This is some of our homework from our last ride with TS, because at this point, with a forward canter I can have her coming over her back nicely, but it's just too fast. Once we slow it down though, she gets a bit disconnected from front to back so we're going to be working on that.

Almost no limping today except for when I'm guessing she stepped on a rock or something. She gave a few "I'm dying here!!" limp steps and then was fine. I'm thinking she was exaggerating just a bit, lol. The boots are off now (I didn't ride in them today) and she gets to go outside tomorrow. I just really hope that this is the last of this episode. The pastures are still super muddy even though we've been having less rain. Come to think of it, they'll probably be muddy until June, ugh. But I'm just hoping there's no more injuries!

Finally putting all this stuff away!

Our next outing will hopefully be May 26th. There's an eventing clinic that I think will be good for Jetta. Of course the next day is a combined  test that I really, really want to participate in, but of course the week before I'm asking to work Saturday instead of Sunday for the dressage team show we're putting on, so I don't think I'll push it and ask for not only a change of day, but also a weekend off. That just never ends well unfortunately. At least we'll get some experience on cross country if the course is dry enough! Come on sunshine :)

Monday, April 16, 2012

Horsey Weekend

Well, even though I'm still super bummed about not being able to make the show (and grumpy because I've called/emailed multiple times about getting a refund with no response) Saturday still ended up being a fun, horse-filled day.

Like the weatherman predicted, it was a beautiful, glorious sunny day. Just like it was taunting me - don't get to go to a horse show = beautiful day. All other days = gloomy and rainy. Anyways, I didn't feel like riding (still depressed) but instead worked with Jetta on the ground. She was super good, even though she was in raging heat, trying to flirt with all the boys outside.

Someone left a crossrail up in the arena so I worked on trying to get Jetta to jump it at liberty. It was about 4' off the wall, and generally, even if on a lunge line, if it's not on the wall, Jetta will not jump it. Why work so hard when you can go around it right? But with a little manipulation and body cues I got her to jump it twice. Boo ya. Because she'll make a small circle around me, instead of using the whole arena, I could draw her in on the side of the arena where the jump was so she was conveniently perfectly lined up to take the jump. Of course she could avoid it if she wanted to with one of her very athletic "drop shoulder and run the opposite way" but she ended up taking the jump a couple times! Awesome. Of course she'd only jump it in one direction, but it still made me happy.

Then we broke out the bouncy ball, one of Jetta's favorite things. Usually we play with it when in the saddle, not on the ground, so she wasn't too sure about it at first. I got some pics and a little video so you can get an idea of the cuteness. Much easier when someone else is videotaping and I am riding, but at least you get to see the cuteness!

"Wat is dis?"

"My ball."

"I nudge it with my nose"

"Then I chased it"

"Then I kicks it"

"And then I watches it roll away"

Then I headed home for the weekend. There's nothing like a long drive in the sunshine with the windows rolled down and radio blasting to cheer you up a bit :)

Once home I went and groomed the boys. I was planning on removing Grady's blanket, but I guess he couldn't wait for me and did it himself. He broke the front snap and wiggled out of it, leaving me to go fetch it in the far corner of the pasture. Both boys got a good grooming. Grady's so close to being done shedding and he looks great without all the fur. Colton got his ginormous tail brushed out. Gosh it's huge. I feel like I might go through and try to thin it out a bit. Next week, I hope to give him a bath and try to make his tail look white-ish.

My neighbor, LC, with the fancy barn behind me just got a new horse on trial so she came over to chat while I was grooming. Turns out that TS, the trainer I've been taking lessons with through the dressage team at school, trained this horse so she was coming out to give LC a lesson on this horse and invited me over to watch and meet the new horse Wes. I had a fun time watching and I really like this horse (though I still think she should have bought Jazz but she doesn't like mares...) and he's trained to 3rd level. LC has no interest beyond training/first level but she said that I can come over and play with him to keep him tuned up :) I love third level work, I hope she keeps this horse! A bunch of LC's friends came over too to see the new horse so I had a fun time chatting and TS is just so nice. I guess she's going to come over during the summer and give lessons, so I'm going to join in on a lesson group of about 5 or so people. Can't wait!

So overall, not a bad weekend.

Friday, April 13, 2012

No Shows...

Well, there's not going to be a show for us this weekend. While I tried not to hope too much, after our sound ride on Thursday, I got all my tack cleaned and show clothes ready. But it apparently was not to be. Today Jetta was just slightly sore again so it's just too soon. Regardless of trying to prepare myself for a let down, I'm still super bummed. I kind of put all my eggs in one basket with this show. It was the only dressage league show I was planning on going to and without it I don't qualify for year-end awards which I love getting. And it was all set to be perfect: 1) it's less than 30 minutes from where I board Jetta, 2) it was super cheap, 3) the weather was set to be great and 4) I'm just super ready for a show right now, Jetta's doing great under saddle, when she is sound, and I want a chance to show that off!

Yesterday we rode for 15 minutes about and Jetta was great. Today after lunging, Jetta looked fine, so I hopped on and I rode for about 30 minutes. She was pretty good, save for a few moments of trying to get on her forehand, trying to canter when I wasn't asking for it and not picking up the correct lead a few times - the usual stuff - but just every so often she'd limp. Ugh. I felt like she was about 85% fine, but the other 15% slightly ouchy. She's just take one or two limp-y steps and then she was back to normal. I did ride her without boots, but I felt like she would have done the same thing in them. No to mention she was so happy when I took them off. She kept kicking out with her front feet, lol. Plus I just wouldn't want to ride with them in the show. They're just ugly and I feel like they inhibit her movement just the slightest bit.

But really, speaking of these boots (they're Old Macs) they are actually pretty handy. They're great for rehabbing a horse not in work, medications (like my poultice) and I think they'd be great for going on trails for just walking, but I don't really like them all that much for arena work. Even with having them on for several days in a row, they haven't rubbed one bit! And I kind of like the closure system, not too difficult to use and absolutely no worries about it coming off. I still want a pair of Easyboots or Renegades though...

Once I realized that the show wasn't going to happen I started looking for other league shows. But guess what? There are none. At least no shows that are league shows - of course there's plenty of schooling shows, and we may go to at least one of those, and a few recognized shows, but I don't think we're ready to do recognized, not to mention that I don't want to spend around $200 for one day of showing in only two classes. And if I'm going to show, I want my points to count for something!

The league shows that are happening are either way too far away, on a Sunday when I work (we all know how well that works trying to get a day off, just a disaster waiting to happen with my workplace). I'm definitely not willing to drive over two hours away. Just not gonna happen.

So where are all the shows!?!?!? I don't understand. Ok, well I guess I sort of do with the economy and all that but really? Nothing? I'm actually a little ticked at this right now. Childlike or not, I'm feeling pouty about this hitch in my show season get-up. At least I did find several combined tests we're hoping to go to and a couple h/j shows. Still though.

Must resist urge for retail therapy. I guess I'll just finish off my supply of Easter candy chocolate eggs....

ETA - This part is for Kelly, who asked how I find shows. It depends on what shows you're looking for. For me, I am more than happy to ride in basically any show. Dressage, hunter, jumper, eventing, flat classes, trail, you name it I'll do it. I love horse shows.
  • So for dressage shows, I keep an eye on my state's dressage society website - they list all of the league, recognized and schooling shows as well as the prize lists and entry forms. 
  • Also look at your states's H/J association website and region's eventing website if that's something you're interested in. (If you don't know what region you're in, google it). 
  • Check breed associations. There's a Thoroughbred Exhibitor group in my state that has some schooling shows and the state Quarter Horse association that also holds some good shows in my area.
  • Some areas will have other websites for groups that hold shows all over the area/state. 
  • Since I'm part of my state's dressage society, that membership earns me a subscription to a magazine, Flying Changes, that is distributed in the NW and has a list of events in the back for eventing, dressage, combined driving and jumping. There are also ads for some shows in there.
  • Another source, free magazines, for example in my area, I think NW Rider is one of them, often has the show entry forms for local all-around schooling shows in the area.
  • For everything else though, I have several barns that I know of that hold shows that I always like to go to. Every so often I check their website calendars for what events are going to be happening and for several barns I am on their email list (they don't have a website) so I get notified of upcoming events. 
  • And lastly, a lot small shows will list their events on craigslist, so it can't hurt checking every so often on their, as well as scanning bulletin boards at feed and tack stores.
  • Everyone else, please feel free to add to my list!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Belated Birthday

Dear Jetta,

In the past week with all the stress and excitement going on with your lameness and abscess, it completely slipped my mind that it was your birthday! On April 6th you turned 6 years old. Unforgivable I know, but I hope I've made it up to you with your "spa week" and of course the apple I brought you today.

Thank you for being so good today for our ride, even after being pent up in a stall for the past week. I know you'd love to be outside flirting with your boyfriend, but I also know that you enjoy being pampered with as much hay as you can eat, multiple groomings per day when I have to come see you twice in twenty four hours, and of course not having to get your hooves muddy in the pasture.

I have to say that you've been the most challenging and stressful horse I've ever owned. Yes, I know you are a princess so of course you can't avoid it when your delicate body gets hurt. I just wish I could bubble wrap you! Of course you would find that quite worrisome, being swathed in a crackly fabric that "pops" whenever you touch something, so that of course would cause even more injuries but you get the idea.

I can't believe we've been together for almost four years, two of which you've been under saddle. How time has flown! It seems like you're still a baby under saddle still, while most other horses your age are seemingly old pros under saddle. But I know you'll get there. I'm hoping you're just a late bloomer that will turn into that rock steady wonderful horse around 9 years old. But you know, I wouldn't mind it being earlier :)

I certainly can't wait to see what the future holds for us. I'm really looking forward to starting the show season because I know that you can sure strut your stuff when you want to. Just please, no more illnesses, lamenesses or injuries for a very long time, ok? I just can't take all this stress :)


Your devoted, loving and sometimes frustrated owner.

The day I decided to buy you.
Just recently started under saddle

First snow together!

Just recently started over jumps.
First h/j schooling show

First dressage show

I just love this goofy face!

My girl :)

First time at the beach = pro

First time cross country schooling! I don't think you can tell that I was having a blast :)

Tired pony face.

Playing on the trail course.

Moved to the new barn = happiest pony ever