Thursday, May 31, 2012

Worst. Luck. Ever.

I had the absolute worst luck EVER yesterday. Geez.

So first of all we went to school cross country. No, I didn't get dumped again. But it was still awful. Ok, maybe it wasn't THAT bad...

#1 - I lunged Jetta over some jumps. Yes, I will always be that "crazy girl" who does weird stuff like that. But it helped. We lunged over all the BN and a lot of N jumps, even a trakhener! She was super good. But, of course, last jump, a large roll top, she jumps over it and canters away and keeps going, and going, and going... The lunge line pops right out of my hand. I was just thinking of how mortified I would be if that happened. And it did. Jetta goes galloping away, lunge line flapping in the breeze. Sigh. She gallops straight through a group of pony clubbers walking out for a lesson, past all of the moms walking up to watch them, past the barn and down the driveway with me running behind. Luckily someone caught her before she ran all the way home. I was absolutely mortified (and about ready to keel over from overheating). Then we had to make the walk of shame all the way back to where I left my stuff in the field, back to the group of pony clubbers. Luckily the trainer didn't make a big deal out of it like some people would have. I have before gotten lectured on the "dangers" of lunging my horse, at least the pony clubbers got a good example of what "not to do" a la crazy me, right? Glad I could be such a wonderful example.

#2 - I had a meeting at 6 pm so I wanted to leave the cross country course by 4:30 pm so I could walk back to my barn (it takes half an hour) and then have time to go home and change (oh the joys of not having a truck and trailer). Buuuuut I lost track of time and before I knew it, it was already 5 pm. Shoot. So I packed up my stuff really fast and off we went, power walking back to the barn. I was carrying a  bag of stuff (water, lunge line, halter, purse, crop, etc.) and my lunge whip (giant purple, over-sized stick). So of course that made me look even more crazy than my previous antics. Halfway home I decided to ditch my stuff in the tall grass on the side of the gravel road so I could use both hands to ride and we could actually trot. I pulled my phone and purse out of the bag and trotted back to the barn. I was planning on coming back to get my stuff with the car. I get back, untack Jetta super fast and put her in the pasture. And go to my car. And I can't find my keys. Guess where they were? Back in the bag I had hidden on the side of the road. &$*@*# The barn owner was not there, my one friend who actually has a car wasn't answering her phone... So I walked. All the way back to where I had left my bag. I took me a good 45 minutes to get all the way out there and back. In the hot sun. In my riding clothes and boots.

So obviously I missed my meeting. I now have three blisters. I am sun burnt because of course I forgot to put sunscreen on. I'm exhausted and I'm pretty sure that everyone thinks I'm crazy. But at least I feel like our little schooling session was worth it, despite my newfound (continued?) status as the crazy lady and the other awful things that happened.

Jetta was pretty good under saddle after her little escape act. I tacked her up and we went and jumped all the BN jumps. We only had one or two refusals and they weren't dirty stops like they had been before. We even jumped a jump that looked suspiciously like the one the she dumped me over, except I think it may have been smaller. Anyways, it was a productive yet awful day all wrapped into one.

So, can anyone top my day in terms of awfulness?


Wednesday, May 30, 2012

The Plan

Sorry for being so quiet... There's just so much going on right now and I can't tell you how much I want it to be summer right now! I have two and a half weeks left of school so I just need to survive the rest of this term...

Anyways, on top of school and preparing for finals (yuck) I am also trying to ride Jetta a bunch. You might remember that I was having a hard time with school and horse so Jetta was only getting ridden once or twice a week. Needless to say, riding her four or five times a week nearly triples my stress level, but I want to be prepared for the HT in three and a half weeks. Can you believe that I'll only have a week from the time I get out of school till the HT?! That's too soon! I had two weeks last year.

So here is The Plan in preparation for the HT. Today we are going to go school cross country yet again. Poor Jetta will likely be sick of it by the time the actual HT rolls around. But I plan on making it so that the xc jumps are no big deal like they used to be. Since I don't have access to a truck today, we are walking down the road which won't be too bad save for the fact that I am going to lug my lunge line, halter and carrot stick along with me too. I'm sure we'll be an interesting sight.

Then on Saturday we entered a one-day horse trial at the same location. Really nervous about it (I don't want to make a fool of myself and get eliminated on xc) but I just have to think of it as what it really is - a schooling show. I entered Novice but after getting dumped I realized that there's no way Jetta's going to jump the Novice xc jumps so I emailed the secretary and she was super great about moving me down to Beginner Novice. I felt like Intro would be too small, so hopefully I made the right decision. The goal is to increase Jetta's confidence.

Then we have a while until school gets out. Jetta will move home on the 15th or 16th which I'm actually super excited about. I know some people don't like all the work that goes into caring for your horses - feeding, watering, cleaning stalls, etc. but I enjoy having that control over my horses care and I get to walk basically 10 steps out of my house to the barn.

We have entered a clinic on the 19th where we will do a dressage Ride-A-Test for a trainer. Basically we ride the test we'll be doing at the HT and the trainer will give us a score. Then the trainer gives us some pointers in a mini-lesson and then we ride the test again and hopefully improve our score. I've never ridden with this trainer before but it will be nice to get some insight into how our dressage is looking since we never got a chance to go to a dressage show. KO will also be giving jumping/cross country lessons as well. I'm considering asking her to ride Jetta over the course for me since I'm lacking the confidence to give Jetta confidence to jump the scary jumps. Plus, KO has legs and abs of steel so if anyone can make Jetta jump something she doesn't want to it will be her!

Then the 24th through the 26th is the Inavale Horse Trials! I'm super excited but also slightly nervous. I don't care how we place as long as we don't get eliminated so I hope all this stuff that we're doing in advance will help. I almost thought about not entering, but I think I'm still going to. It really is a lot of fun no matter how well we do and I think I'd be disappointed if we didn't do it. The deadline for entries is the 5th so I'm probably going to wait up until that day to send my form in, just in case I decide to back out...

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Successful

Yesterday was successful for several reasons: 1) I didn't fall off! 2) Jetta tried really hard and we actually improved in several areas and 3) We actually managed to garner some compliments! So successful all around. Sadly, I did not get anyone to be my paparazzi so no pictures :(

Now successful doesn't mean that everything went well, but I was happy with what we did do. Here's a recap of the day:

Our show jumping lesson was at 11:15 am so we arrived and watched a bit of the lesson before us. Jetta was pretty wired at first, really being heavy in my hands - pretty sure she was solely feeding off my nervousness though. I had entered Novice and got grouped with two Training level riders. Ah! I'm not ready to jump that high! Was what I was thinking. I was super nervous that we'd be pushed too far out of our comfort zone and have another accident like last weekend.

Luckily though, even though the trainer, KH, did push us farther than I would have thought possible for our level, Jetta stepped up to the challenge nicely! While Novice is 2'11" max height, I haven't really jumped that high... mostly at all. We've been doing a lot of 2'9" jumps. Anyways, ended up doing a huge long 3' course. Way to go pony! I was so proud of her, these were some pretty big verticals and oxers, all around 2'11" to 3'0" tall. Of course it wasn't perfect, there was a triple combination that was quite hairy. I told KH that we had trouble with combinations so this was great practice. Jetta repeatedly ran out or refused at fence 2, a little (large) picket fence. But by landing super straight and "staying close to the horse" I was able to get Jetta through the line, a little rough, but we ended up doing it twice. Success! At one point when I was going through the combination KH yelled Sit up! SIT UP! And I did! It's nice to have someone to yell at you :)

And to top it off, we rode our first fence at an angle! She did so good, not even trying to refuse, although you could tell she was a little confused - do I jump it or not? And then riding a bending line to another fence on a diagonal. Such a pro. And we jumped a swedish oxer (love!) and although she took a good hard look at it, she went over. I was so happy with her by the end. It was rough and unpolished, but she tried really hard.

Homework: Sit up! Use the outside rein to turn the shoulder. Land straighter.

Ready to do some xc!

Then we had three hours until cross country. So I took a nap :) Jetta is very well behaved with being tied to the trailer as long as she had hay. What I love about her is that every time I offered her water throughout the day, she'd drink it. Jazz would never drink at a show unless she spent the night, so it makes me feel better when they actually drink!

Cross country came, this time with another trainer, DR. She was the more experienced trainer and obviously very knowledgeable, so I learned a lot. Another proud moment - Jetta jumped down a bank! And we cantered into and through the water! And we jumped down into the water! The only thing that we didn't get to do that I wanted was working on ditches, so that will have to be next time. Otherwise, this first part was awesome! It took quite a bit of convincing to get her to go down the banks, she did not want to. But another rider with an awesome flea-bitten gray pony let us tail her super close so Jetta just followed her off the edge. Once she did it once, she was like Oh! This is actually kind of fun! I can do this!! She was super proud of herself afterwards.

The jumps however, were still not very good. She's still afraid of them :( I wish we had never gone schooling last weekend, because up until that one jump that I fell at, she was doing amazingly. So we schooled the same set of jumps over and over and over again until the roll top wasn't quite as scary.

Homework: Again, sit up! Work on riding softly and forward to the jumps. Collect six strides out, then ride forward the last three strides with giving hands.

Overall, I was very pleased with Jetta. She worked hard and I'm so excited about doing the banks and also about how awesome our show jumping was. Can't wait to enter a jumper show :)

Friday, May 25, 2012

Free Jumping Beast

Jetta was so good for our ride last night! I started out by free lunging her. First she jumped 3'3" a couple times, then I added some jump blocks until it was about 3'9". She was so good! It was pretty cute - after jumping it she'd trot around a bit with her tail in the air and snorting and prancing like she was all that and she knew it. Then she'd trot over to me and stop, heaving a big sigh - "Did I do good mom??" Adorable.

After that we just had a quick ride. I did lots of two point (getting better!) and I set the jumps down small, roughly 2'3" or somewhere around there and jumped them only a couple times in each direction. Jetta was very good, and although she was a bit too excited to jump, she still listened well and payed attention to all my half halts. I mostly got to work on my position, because at that height Jetta doesn't need hardly any direction from me. Of course once I finally got the "sit up!" part through my head, my heels would then come up. Annoying. I think I finally nailed it on our last jump - sitting up, shoulders back, nice release, leg on, heels down. Too much at once!

I'm excited to have someone to yell at me about what I need to fix over fences this weekend and am trying to find someone to video/photograph... My mom won't come because she doesn't like watching me jump and ML doesn't really want to do it, so we'll see. It's great when you have someone to tell you what you need to work on, but it helps it sink in even more when you can see what you're doing wrong yourself on film.

 I got some of our free-jumps on my cell phone, beware that it's really, really dark but it's proof!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Lawn Darts

What's one way to cheer yourself up after your horse decides to turn xc schooling into a game of lawn darts? Watch other people who have also proved their lawn dart-worthiness :)

Thanks to Horse Nation I can do just that with their Oh $h!t: Your most humiliating moments, captured on film weekly post.

I imagine I looked just like this, insert a jump behind the horse's front legs and voila! That's me.
http://www.horsenation.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/03/000000031-1024x739.jpg
Or maybe I looked more like this... I guess I'm just glad I didn't fall off in the water!


And the grand finale....




Haha, there's just something great about watching other people eat dirt after you just had the same experience...

Wednesday, May 23, 2012


I finally rode Jetta today. She was pretty good, though I think still a little bit sore from our cross country experience over the weekend. We just rode in dressage tack and she was just a little bit stiff, especially in her back, she wasn't as willing to swing and engage over her back thus our trot was a little bit quick and choppy, so we worked on our transitions, did lots of long and low work and some 3-loop serpentines across the arena to help stretch and get a little more supple.

We got our schedule for the eventing clinic this Saturday. I entered as a Novice pair, but I'm slightly worried about that. I guess it's just a lesson, but my lesson group is made up of half Novice riders and half Training level riders. I really hope that they don't want us to attempt some of the training stuff - show jumping yes, but not cross country!

I was thinking about some of the training jumps that were on the cross country course that we did over the weekend, and of course the ones that scare me most - the trakehner and the corner. For some reason, I just really, really don't like corners. They just seem like way too easy to have a run out on and whenever I watch upper level eventing, it always seems like I see a fall at a corner. The trakhener - I'm not really afraid of them like a lot of people I know, I just don't think Jetta's ready to attempt one, especially since my fall. I'd be happy for the trainers to get on and jump her over a trakhener, but I certainly don't plan on doing one anytime soon! I remember looking at the trakehner when we were jumping and thinking - "Oh, that's not very big, I bet we could do that" but once we got closer my thinking was more "Holy cow that thing's scary! Nope, not for us today!".

Hopefully we're not asked to do anything that far out of our comfort zone this weekend and I get some good pointers!

Tomorrow I'm planning on riding and again on Friday. I plan on doing some small jumps tomorrow and then an easy ride on Friday - probably some dressage or maybe a trail ride. Hopefully I get to give her a quick bath as well so my mud-loving pony doesn't look quite so gross - the rain has unfortunately made a reappearance much to Jetta's joy and my chagrin. I just want it to be summer. At least this weekend is 3 days long!

I think Jetta should be a bridle model :) Such a pretty face!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Spa Day

No ride today, though luckily it's not because I'm still sore, lol. I feel almost completely back to normal after the crazy weekend.

Instead, I just lunged Jetta, cleaned some tack and she got her toes trimmed and mane pulled. Horses must think we are the weirdest creatures ever to call something like that a "spa" day when "torture" might be a better description. Poor Jetta's mane just did not want me to pull it today, even trying to get the smallest clumps of hair out was difficult and Jetta was not pleased with me. It looks much better now, although it keeps trying to switch sides and since I won't let it, it has contented itself with sticking straight up.

Jetta's punk mane. I think she likes it, her baby name was Punky after all ;)

Jetta got two small scrapes on the back of both of her knees from climbing off the jump on Saturday. The scrape on her right leg is a little swollen and tender so I put some more wound salve on it. She didn't seem off at all on the lunge line, but my trimmer AC thought she was off at the walk. At first she thought she was still off from the abscess since she wasn't weighting her heel as much on that RF, but when I showed her the scrape she thought that it explained it. Silly horse, that's what you get for pulling stupid stunts like that!

It has started raining again :( I thought for sure that summer had arrived a bit early, but it's chilly, windy and very, very damp out. I don't think Jetta minds at least - she was just happy hanging out with her giant manger full of hay!

What do you want?

Noms - Jetta at her happiest

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Horse Show Hangover

I think most horse people that show know the feeling. I feel like I've been run over by a truck this past weekend.

Saturday was a tough day. Though at the time when I fell off, it didn't hurt, now every part of my body aches. Thinking back though - I haven't fallen off a horse for over a year and a half since Jetta slipped and fell on top of me in my worst horse-related injury ever when she was just started under saddle. I guess I was kind of "due" for a fall, though I hope it doesn't happen again for at least another year and a half or more!

Sunday actually went really, really well. I was the show manager for a dressage league show that our university dressage team was putting on. It was causing me so much stress over the past month so I'm just ecstatic that it's over and done with! I had the most awful nightmare the night before that the judge didn't show up... But everything ran very well. We had quite a few scratches the day of due to bad horsey behavior, lamenesses and rider illnesses, but still had a great turnout. The weather wasn't as nice as it was supposed to be, it drizzled a bit in the morning, but we're used to wet weather around here and it soon went away, though still didn't get very warm.



We ran on schedule all day and actually finished a bit ahead of time. All of the riders were super nice, no one fell off or got hurt (though there were some close calls!) and we packed up in record time! We only had one little blip when I left to get lunch and another member was helping score tests and she accidentally calculated the scoring wrong, but we got it fixed and I don't think it harmed anything.

One of the things I love about running the show (once the show day actually arrives, mind you) is getting to socialize with all these horse people, hang out with my teammates and getting to see all the different horses and riding styles. My favorite for the day was actually a Perchron/Paint/Warmblood cross - seriously looked like a Sempatico baby. She was a young bay pinto and she just had the calmest demeanor and lovely movement. I offered the owner to let her horse go home with me, but she declined :) Her horse ended up getting high overall percentage with a 74%!

Overall, this weekend was... interesting, but mostly in a good way. Now I'm just ready to get some sleep, rehydrate and stop stressing so much!

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Completely Drained, Slightly Discouraged, but still Very Determined

We went cross country schooling today. I think the title sums it up very well...


I'm exhausted. Like so exhausted I had trouble driving over 40 mph on the way home and am having difficulties typing this, lol.

Our ride was good and bad. In true Jetta fashion she was a jerk for the majority of the time, but I shouldn't be surprised. So I'll start from the beginning.

At noon we tacked up and headed over to the cross country course. It's not too far away and since I don't have a truck or trailer this weekend, I just walked there on Jetta. Let's discuss the most terrifying things ever: 1) Three horses (full-sized mind you) turned out in a big pasture. SO TERRIFYING! 2) Barking dogs that are in an enclosed yard. Ok, I'll admit it was slightly scary since they were snarling and being very aggressive, but come on, they're separated by a fence! 3) Mini ponies. We all know these things are very scary little mutants that suck big horses' blood right? So it was an interesting ride over, though not too bad. The trucks weren't troubling at all (go figure) even when a big old diesel flew past us, not even bothering to slow down a bit.

Once there we had to just hang out and wait for the rest of the gang to show up since they were trailering in. Lots of lessons were going on so I stayed out of the arenas and just tried to hang out on the grass. Ha. Jetta and the phrase "stand still" do not go together. So we waited, and we waited, and we waited. Finally, 40 minutes later the group was ready to go. I don't understand how horse people take so long to get ready?! Geez. Jetta was thoroughly upset at this point so we did some trotting, cantering and galloping around the field - she was a pro! She came back to me very nicely when I asked and was very adjustable. Once she was finally a bit tired out, we headed onto the course. It hasn't completely been mowed yet so we just wandered around a little until we came to the giant field full of jumps. Let the fun begin!

First off we popped over the BN and N quarter rounds at the top of the hill. Perfect. We trotted down the hill and with some convincing popped over the ditch both ways, then cantered up the hill and took the BN quarter round at the canter. Trotted back down the hill and went over the little BN barn coop and a roll top that was either a small N jump or large BN. From there we joined everyone in the water. It took a little convincing, but Jetta eventually got in the water "Oh. This isn't that bad." We walked in and out a few times, trotted around in the water and got up enough momentum to jump the tiny ledge out of the water. We went over the BN and N raised log fences, jumped up the banks, cantered across the field, popped over a few more BN logs. She was being soooo good.

Then I set my sights on a N coop, that instead of being the inviting round shape Jetta's used to, it had squared corners. We had a nice trot full of impulsion up to the base of the jump and Jetta started to jump it... then stopped. Yep, my horse decided to halfway jump the jump and then stop. Her front feet were on the other side and she put the brakes on. I of course went flying over her shoulder (what? We were supposed to be jumping!) and summer-saulted onto the ground. Luckily I had my helmet on and vest - my chest landed on the jump, head in the grass. I got a wonderful mouthful of vegetation. I quickly rolled to the side since I was convinced Jetta was going to finish the jump and land on top of me. Jetta backed off the jump, wandered off a few strides, stepped on her reins and waited for me to come help her.

Stupid, stupid horse. That is literally the stupidest thing a horse has ever done with me - who decides to jump and then stops halfway? Of course it wasn't completely her fault. There's usually always something the rider does "wrong" that helps along the situation - I wasn't exactly jumping ahead since we were in fact mid-jump, but I could have had a stronger leg on her and I'm sure my eyes weren't up. I got immediately back on and tried to go over it, but Jetta was convinced that to jump that fence would mean death, so after another "half jump" I gave up. I probably could have gotten her to go over it, but my confidence was a little shaken so I thought we'd quit while we were ahead (aka still alive).

After that, Jetta was convinced that all jumps were death. So when she refused a small log multiple times, I made her jump it from a standstill since it was all of maybe 12" tall. Really Jetta? After that she got a little more confident but we stuck to the BN stuff. I think part of the reason she didn't want to go over that one jump was because she couldn't see very well over it.

The walk home.
We finished on a good note - put in one more gallop, worked on trotting into the water and jumped some more small stuff then made our way back to the trailers before I keeled over from dehydration.

It was an interesting day - good because we did work on some important stuff (water, jumping up banks, galloping, etc) and it showed us some important places we needed to work on stuff. Like jumping down banks and that one terrifying coup. It made me realize that while Jetta has no problem with the Novice jumps and they aren't really that big, we need to stick with Beginner Novice until we have the confidence we need. After all, this is going to be her first horse trials and today was only our 3rd time schooling cross country. We are going to school cross country at least two times before the big horse trials and then school at least once at another course, so I think we will probably have time to work on everything we want. Next time, I'm planning on bringing a halter, lunge line and carrot stick and Jetta is going to jump that jump! Without me on her though :)

So I am completely drained after today, cross country really takes it out of you! I'm slightly discouraged - I've never fallen over a jump before today and I'm disappointed that I couldn't get Jetta to go over a measly N coop. But I'm determined that our first HT is going to be a positive experience. I don't care if we come in dead last, as long as we have fun and Jetta tries hard, I'll be good.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Stress'n Me Out

This is turning into a very stressful week! On Sunday, the dressage team that I'm president of is putting on a dressage league show. I was thinking that it was going to be a relatively low stress event this time around (I think this is the fourth one I've helped with?) but of course I jinxed it when I mentioned that to the show secretary. Sigh. We're having some issues on getting the contract with the judge (since we're a university club we have to do it all by their rules and there's a ton of paperwork involved) and it's a pain in the butt. Especially when I can't get a hold of her... It's tough to be show manager and do school on top! I also am still working on securing a sponsorship for the show, prizes still have to be picked up, score sheets to be printed, and I have to ensure that we actually have enough members to help (we have a tiny club of 7 people and people are already trying to flake on me - we need at least 7 people to run a show!). Then I have a huge midterm on Friday in addition to two lab reports that need to be typed up and I don't know how I'm going to manage to do all these things at once. Remind me why I keep piling stuff onto my plate and have decided that volunteering at a cultural event on Friday night was a good idea?

Luckily I managed to have a great ride on Jetta today. She was near perfect - just what I needed! I haven't seen her in 4 days (I hate this whole focusing on school therefore no pony time) so I was expecting a challenging ride but I got just the opposite! Of course she did kick the wall once when she got ticked that I wouldn't let her canter on the wrong lead and was pulling a bunch of nasty mare-wolf faces at the gelding we were riding with, but those are all old hat in Jetta's "Book of Bad Behavior" so it wasn't a huge deal. What was great though was that she was responsive to all my aids, she was light and on the bit, hardly tried to rush at all, great transitions, beautiful canter and we even popped over a tiny cavaletti that was set up and there was no rushing or leaning before or after the jump. Now if only this would continue...

Jetta's looking pretty good. I was getting worried about her dropping weight. She is a hard keeper and loses weight a bit every winter but usually spring is when she bounces back. But she hasn't been, so I talked with the barn owner and instead of upping her grain (she's already at 6 pounds, plus a large amount of fat supplement) we decided to add beet pulp a couple weeks ago and I think I'm starting to see her ribs fill in just a little bit, so let's hope this continues and if so, it will remain a constant in her diet.

Hopefully I'll manage to fit more rides in this week and all drama will resolve itself. I could use some good thoughts though for our show this weekend!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Dressage Bridles

I'm currently looking for a new dressage bridle and have had absolutely no luck at tack sales or on ebay. Probably because my budget is ridiculously small, but still! My current bridle is no longer show worthy as all of the black has rubbed off on the cheeks and throatlatch... I've looked at buying just a new crown piece with cheeks, but some of them run as much as a new bridle would!

My ideal budget is under $100. Then my other requirements are that it have a padded crown and buckle ends (no hook studs) and no crank. I might be willing to drop a requirement if it's the perfect bridle, because it is ridiculously hard to find any black bridle with all of these requirements. Obviously there's not a whole lot out there in this price range, but here's what I did find:


Plymouth Elite Dressage Bridle by Smartpak
$89.95
This has the padded crown, buckle ends and no crank noseband. I think this is probably the best fit into my requirements of all the bridles, but I'm dragging my feet because I would prefer something even cheaper. Go figure, right?











Horze Diamond Bridle
$65.00 + shipping
This bridle also has it all (plus a pretty browband!) and it's the perfect price. But I'm slightly worried about leather quality. I have a browband by Horze that I love and it's held up beautifully, but I'm not sure what the whole bridle would be like...














Tekna Padded Dressage Bridle
$58.00 + shipping
I actually kind of like this option. It's not real leather but it sure does look like it and it would cut down on maintenance and the worry about leather quality, but I have no experience with Tekna - better than leather or worse? It's a pretty perfect price though.












On the slightly above my budget level, we have these:



Harwich Padded Dressage Bridle by Smartpak
$109.95
This bridle has everything but the buckle ends, it has hook studs instead. But knowing Smartpak it's a beautiful bridle with really nice leather, so it might be worth it to splurge just a bit on this one.





Dressage Bridle with Web Reins Opulent Series Paris Tack




Paris Tack Opulent Series Dressage Bridle
$109.00 + shipping
This bridle is on sale, so it's a plus that I get a more expensive bridle for less. I don't think it has the padded crown but it seems to have everything else, and I like the small touch of having the buckles be rounded instead of squared. I also like that the noseband is a little chunkier because I think  it looks better on Jetta's long nose.








What would I buy if money was no option?



Antares Snaffle Bridle
$510.00
I'm in love with this bridle. Well make that all Antares products, but anyways - this bridle has stunning leather, a wide padded crown, buckle ends (with the rounded buckles that I like so much), no crank and I love the subtle fancy stitching detail on the browband and noseband. Sigh... when I win the lottery some day!







So what would be your pick out of these bridles? What is your favorite dressage bridle that you've ever had? And what would you buy if money was no option?




Monday, May 14, 2012

Entered!

Well, let's hope that these next two shows don't end the way my last one did... aka not happening (and with no refund either!) I just entered two events - an eventing clinic and a one day horse trial.

They're both at Inavale where we'll be competing at the "real" horse trial at the end of June so I thought it would be a great chance to get Jetta a little bit used to the venue, though it will look a lot different at the horse trials! The eventing clinic is on May 26th giving us plenty of time to work on our brakes. This Saturday we may be going to school cross country which will give me a good practice run outside.

The one-day horse trial is on June 2nd and I reluctantly entered Novice. That's what I would like to do at the "real" HT but I'm still a little unsure about it. I have no doubt that Jetta will easily and willingly be able to clear the fences, but more worried about the rider part of the whole equation :) Right now we're super comfortable and doing well at 2'9" so 2'11" is pushing our comfort zone just a bit. I'm pretty sure that Inavale doesn't usually have most of their fences at max height though, especially because in Beginner Novice last year the fences felt puny and I was wishing that I had entered Novice.

So anyways, that's my news! I'm really looking forward to these shows since I haven't showed in almost nine months I think? Too long!

First time cross country last summer!

Friday, May 11, 2012

Being a Bad Blogger

I have not yet perished from the disappointment of my organic chemistry class. Gosh, I can't wait to be rid of o chem! I blame my bad posting all on that class...

Anyways, updates. I've ridden Jetta twice this week - very sad. But both were very fun rides.

I'm pretty sure this is how Jetta view's herself
Wednesday we had a jump school. I have lunged Jetta over jumps a couple times since recouping from her abscess, so at least she's still used to jumping, although sans a rider. We finally decided to break out the jumps for real though after a very nice warm up on the flat. Jetta was quite good although there were still a few speed bump issues to smooth out. Overall though I'm pleased with her. She has a hard time jumping over the two barrels on the side, she just wants to go around them so we worked on really getting her to go over the middle. Lots of halting after the jump so she remembered that she couldn't zoom off afterwards. The other problem we were having was collecting before the jump. I try to establish a nice rhythm beforehand but Jetta would rocket over the jump once she was within a couple strides of it, so we worked on halting before the jump. Then she would have this mincy little trot up to the jump, then at the last second rocket over it so then we had to really establish a better, more forward pace. And then Jetta decided that she was going to lock on the jump and ignore all attempts to get her more balanced or collected, flinging her head in the air with her best "You can't make me!" toddler impression, resulting in us completely demolishing a jump. Oh pony. But that was short lived and our jump school went really well, ending with me raising two out of three jumps to 2'9" and popping over them once, with a cool, collected pace, no attempts at refusal and no rocket pony imitations! So proud :)

Then today we went on another trail ride with ML and Dr. P. They came to my barn (since they only have a two horse trailer and mine is currently being borrowed by the parents) and we went on a search for the trails that were supposedly close by. It ended up being 1.3 miles down the rode (I drove by first to check it out!) and it was much more my length of trail ride, only two and a half hours instead of four! And no scary stallion so it was even better. Jetta was such a naughty pony. I was really disappointed in her, though I guess I can't blame her too much since this is pretty much her first trail ride in maybe six months? She was looky at pretty much everything - the light splotches on the ground, fallen branches, mud puddles, logs, you name it she probably spooked at it. And when we did trot or canter she tried to run away with me, I had very little control and just had to attempt not to get my arms pulled out of their sockets. So we now know what we are going to work on - coming back to a reasonable speed and just because we're not within four walls does not mean we have to run pell-mell around with no listening skills.

I really liked the trails and I can't wait to go back. After you walked the 1+ mile down the gravel road to get to the forest trails, then trekked up the hill, the rest of the trails were all clay so I think next time we'll wear the boots for the first half of the trip, then when we reach the trails, ditch the boots. At one point one boot got completely twisted around so I had to get off and fix it, then Jetta decided she no longer would walk forward and didn't want to be lead pony any more. It was strange, though she did get over it. I was very disappointed in the gel pad I got for her sore hoof - it was pretty much shredded by the end and is not useable for another ride. I am still a little worried about her hooves. Even though the pasture is completely dried out (for the last couple weeks) and she's being turned out every day, I'm diligently treating the thrush and her hooves look awesome, her hind hooves were looking a little chewed up after our ride and she's just still not getting any more comfortable on gravel. I know it takes a while for their hooves to change but I'm just being impatient. I want my pony's rock-crunching bare hooves back! :(

So anyways, that has been my week! I'm not sure if my next week is going to get any better horse-wise (why do I keep signing up for more things?!) but I think Dr. P, ML and I are going to keep on doing the Friday ride thing and may go cross country schooling next week. Yes! At least there's one thing I get to look forward to :)

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

A Visit

I decided to put off studying for my organic chemistry midterm (that's tomorrow) and go see Jazz today! Why do today, what can be put off till tomorrow, right?

I was super excited to go see my baby, I really miss her and I haven't seen her in what feels like forever. Of course MC sends me pictures every month, but it's not the same. I practically skipped all the way from class to my car when I was time to go.

MC doesn't live too far away, about 50 minutes but I don't mind driving. It has been a gorgeous week, like somebody flipped a switch and it's magically summer! Jazz was happily grazing when I got there. MC set up a temporary paddock on the lawn so it could get mown down a bit. I guess Jazzy ripped her flysheet last week so MC bought her a new one. I got a Cashel fly mask for her with the long nose in hopes that it would help keep the bugs off her muzzle. Poor baby is just about covered head to toe, but you can tell that she's much happier this way - no switching her tail, stamping her hooves or nipping at the flies.

I just ended up chatting with MC, grooming Jazz and stuffing her full of carrots. I bought a bag of carrots for Jazz and planned to give her a few then leave the rest with MC but ended up feeding the whole bag. Oops. Oh well, I only get to spoil her every so often! We planned out some possible trail rides together for the summer and I talked to her about possibly coming to a dressage show and competing in some western dressage classes. I think they'd kick some butt in those classes so hopefully she'll give it a try!

Jazz is pretty much all shed out and looking really nice. Hard to believe that she's 22 years old! She's not skinny in the slightest and has her typical hay belly for this time of year with all of the grass going on. MC had no complaints about her and plans on doing some trail competitions this summer so we talked about me coming to the competitions to help give her some pointers. I am definitely missing having Jazz right now since summer is when I'd have time to ride her, but at least I know she has a great home!

Some pics of Jazz from last summer






Monday, May 7, 2012

Just Keep Swimming

Just keep swimming, swimming. 

Gosh I love this movie, lol.

That's pretty much what I keep telling myself. I have a crazy, crazy week - today I was in classes from 9am until 7pm with only a 30 minute break for lunch. Holy moly. And it looks like tomorrow's going to be pretty much the same with class from 9am until 8pm but at least I have an hour this time for lunch. Sigh. I'm not sure if I am going to have time to get out to the barn (today was sadly pony-less) but I'm hoping that I'll get out of my lab class early enough tomorrow that I can run out for a quick ride on Jetta. Speaking of which - can I just drop out of college and ride ponies all day?? Pretty please? That's all I really want to do. I just have to keep telling myself that 1) I really do love the work a vet does (seriously) and 2) if I want to pay for my horsies, it would be better to have a better paying job than horse trainer. It's still tough though.

Anyways, the weather is gorgeous out. Today was actually hot for the first time this week. I think it might be time to break out the fly sheet once I get to the barn - the bugs have been out in force! That's definitely the worst part of summer for me. I think the flies bother me just as much if not more than the horses. The good weather is good and bad - good because gloomy days make me feel gloomy, thus I feel more upbeat when the sun is out. And bad because all I want to be doing is riding my horse outside. Hopefully (fingers crossed!) there's another trail ride in store this Friday. Dr. P and ML are thinking of hauling out to my barn so we can explore the trails that are supposed to be around somewhere... And no stallion this time!

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Hitting the Trails

And boy did we hit them hard :)

Friday was our trail ride with Dr. P. I ended up not taking Jetta since it would take me at least an hour to go to the barn, hook up the trailer, get my tack, load Jetta and get out to the trails to meet them, so I opted to ride Dr. P's draft cross Bubba. I love him! He's such a cutie (I have a major soft spot for bright chestnut geldings) and drafts tend to be such comfortable and dependable guys.

Our trail ride seemed like it lasted forever - I think that total time was four hours of going up the mountain and back down. When we finished Dr. P commented that we finished early! Geez people. I myself prefer trail rides around 2 hours, unless you stop for a picnic, then three hours would be fine. This was no stopping save for a couple minutes here and there to let the horses get a drink from a creek or look at the view or some such thing.

Not that I'm completely complaining. The weather was absolutely perfect. It poured all morning so I was afraid that we would have a miserable soaking ride, but the rain held off and the sun came out. Perfect! Despite being quite sore from an unfamiliar saddle whose pommel kept jamming into me on the way down the mountain (ouch!) I can't wait to go with them again. It was a fun group - ML went (despite still being ticked at the trainer, JM), Dr. P, another boarder and JM. JM is fun to hang out with when he's not trying to be all trainer-ly. Then he's just annoying and confusing. But it would be fun to go again.

I'm glad I didn't take Jetta because 1) the rocks on the way up the mountain were huge, even all of the shod horses were having a tough time navigating them and it obviously was not comfortable walking on them. I need some new hoof boots! And 2) JM's stallion is scary. Like terrifying. ML's mare was in heat (of course) so she was relegated to the back of the pack and her instructions were that she wasn't to get near the stallion and if he started snorting, she was to bail off the horse. Lovely, just lovely. He doesn't have very good manners instilled in him - at the barn, he has a stall all by himself in the far corner. The cross ties near him are not to be used by mares. And he doesn't walk him down the aisle to the trailer, but instead through the arena, or else all the horses must have the doors on their stalls shut. He's a pretty stallion, but I think temperament is just as much important as talent and conformation in a stallion, therefore no manners = gelding status. Just sayin'.

But that said, it's nice to see a bunch of fancy (like third level through PSG fancy) horses who regularly get out of the arena and are exposed to the bridges and water and log jumps, etc. And I had a great time! Though I will admit I was exhausted when I got back and almost immediately went to bed, lol.

Bubba and I warming up in the arena


Gorgeous view from the top

The group stopping for a snack.

Heading down the mountain. Finally!

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Let's Talk Trainers

Choosing trainers is always such a personal choice because people learn in different ways. For me, I want someone that's going to challenge me but at the same time be encouraging. I want some of the more complex ideas involving riding and training techniques, but delivered in a clear, easy to understand manner. I catch on to things pretty quickly and it doesn't take a lot to help me learn.