Monday, February 29, 2016

Spooky Show

Well, it was an interesting show.

It started with my truck not starting on Friday. That was a bummer. I haven't used it since November and when I went to start it on Friday I got nothing. Wouldn't even turn over, it was dead, dead, dead.

So I bought a new battery and the amazing, awesome bf replaced it on Saturday. Except now the hood of the truck decided it no longer wanted to close or open, really, anymore. The center is latched, but the sides aren't closed all the way and kinda flaps. I was terrified the entire drive that it was going to fly up in my face, especially crossing the rail road tracks (all 7 of them... each way).

Anyways, everything else went smoothly. Woke up at an awful hour, loaded the pony up with no problem and hit the road. Got there perfectly on time, braided and attempted to remove the new manure stains that Misty of course accumulated since her bath on Friday.

Bubble wrapped pony!

I don't know why I always end up at this show, because I always say I'm never coming back. The show management is awesome, it's not too far away, there's actually heated bleachers! But the footing SUCKS. Plus the judge they had for Sunday I really don't like. I usually won't go to shows that she judges.

So I went into it knowing that there was a harsh judge, at an arena with awful footing and it was the first show of the year doing a test that Misty hasn't done yet.

That said, I was really happy with Misty. We had some not so pretty moments and some really good efforts.

We were the second ride of the morning, the first of our class for Training 3. We didn't get a chance to go in the arena beforehand which was a bummer. They had the tractor in there and once the tractor left, it was showtime. Misty thought the judge's hay bales looked delicious, the camera was a little nerve wracking, and the far end of the arena terrifying. It was super windy and the far end of the arena would shudder periodically. Not helpful.

Our test was super tense. Misty was doing her best drama llama impression but despite that, she was still very obedient. We had a very exuberant canter transition at the scary end of the arena when Misty decided she had to kick out at the wind noises. It amusingly got the comment of "wild". Luckily, most of the horses were being spooky too. I was pretty bummed with how tense Misty was so I wasn't looking forward to seeing our score. I had two and a half hours before the next test, so I plopped Misty in front of her hay net and took a nap.

The next test went better. Misty was very energetic, rare for her. I didn't want to tire her out before our First level test 1, but she kept trying to trot or canter when I didn't ask, so we ended up doing a lot of trotting. The warm-up arena was super rocky so I was nervous she'd get a stone bruise. The footing started very deep, but by the time the afternoon rolled around, the outside tract was rock hard.

The arena was still scary so there were still lots of drama llama moments. I wish I had had my spurs to really push her forward and get her more over her back. But I was super happy with our first level debut. Our first trot lengthening didn't really happen ("showed some lengthening") but she was better with her stretchy trot and free walk. The canter lengthenings felt a little rushed, but I just went for it, at least trying to show a nice difference between the lengthened and working canter. Surprisingly we got a 7 for both of them! That's pretty awesome for not practicing. The comment was "Bold" which made me laugh.

I was really pleased to finish with a really good effort for her last trot lengthening. We got a better score on this one (6.5 vs. 5.5). It felt really good, still needs work but in the video you could even see her flicking her toes a little bit! I was excited.

We ended up with the abysmal scores of 59%. I haven't scored in the 50's in like... 10 years at least. It was depressing. But, she scored over half the participants around that range, so I placed 5th out of 9 for Training 3 and 5th out of 10 for First 1. I'll take it. Next time we'll do better!

But we got some HOT pink ribbons!

To work on: Stretchy trot and free walk - Inconsistent.
Left 10 m circles - I sit crooked, she doesn't turn nicely (it wasn't helped by the inconsistently deep footing in the arena, but still. Bad)
Trot lengthenings - they're 50/50 so we need to get them more confirmed.
Travel more - we need to go more places so they aren't that scary!

Overall, pleased with the pony despite the drama llama impersonations. Now to find more shows that I'm able to attend!

Friday, February 26, 2016

New Show Clothes

I'm getting all ready for the show this weekend. Lots of stuff to do getting ready since I work Saturday and I literally have almost the first ride on Sunday morning. 8:07am. Ugh. They're running the classes really out of order so Intro goes last and training 3 basically goes first. Sigh.

Today is clean and pack the truck and trailer day. My little checklist:
  • Fill gas in truck
  • Fill air in trailer tires
  • Clean back of trailer
  • Fill hay bag
  • Load tack in trailer
  • Clean tack
  • Ride Misty
  • Wash Misty
  • Print out my tests (Training 3 and First 1)
The only thing I've done so for is get all my show clothes cleaned and ready. So thinking about show clothes... what are your favorite breeches/shirts/coats for showing?

I'm super excited to use my new show coat and shirt this weekend. Amanda (she gets allll the blame for making me blow my budgeting) posted about a Luxe Eq sale and I ended up buying a new coat and shirt. My super nice black show coat is too tight now, no sports bra could squish me enough to fit in it nicely even though everything else fits perfectly :(

So new show coat it was. I got an Esperado Parade jacket in black with a cream trim on the collar. I was super nervous about buying this because I'd never heard of this brand, I couldn't find ANY  information whatsoever about sizing, so I just went for a large. After I bought it, I searched a bit more and then got even more nervous when I found them on ebay (new) for not much more than the sale price I paid. I was worried it wouldn't be very nice quality - all I ever seem to like are show coats in the $300-700 range (which is way, way out of my budget).

But I must say I'm super in love with it. It fits perfectly and is very nice quality. And for $99, I could not have gone wrong. Plus the cute bit accent is adorable and unique.

It even goes perfectly with the shirt I bought. I got the Equiline Fae show shirt. I've always admired the shirt but the price tag was ridiculous for my budget for just a shirt. I was, again, tentative about the sizing (a 46 = XL) and really a large would've been better. It's a tad bit large, but also it's going under a coat and I didn't want it to be too fitted anyways. I was also nervous about the coloring - it's an "off-white" - but it actually works out perfect because of the cream stripe on my show coat plus the fact that I wear light grey breeches instead of white. The collar's a bit loose and was a bit stained (it was a demo item I believe) but washed up perfectly. The material is super silky and I'm so in love with the mesh floral design. And it couldn't have been at a better price than $50.

So for the normal price of $597, I got them for $150 total = a saving of $447. Not too shabby if I do say so myself.

Dang. Spendy

Then these will go perfectly with my favorite show breeches, my dove gray FITS full seats. I love, love, love them. Also another sale price purchase on a demo pair for $90. What can I say, I really do love some sale prices!

FITS Breeches

Good excuse to share old pictures!

Other favorite show clothes include:

Pikeur Skarlett show shirt - navy with black velvet collar. I love how this jacket fits except for the shoulder pads are excessive and I may end up getting it tailored to remove those. Yay for yet another cheap ebay purchase.

Romfh Tempo short sleeve show shirt. I love this shirt and it is definitely my favorite. Again, bought off a sale rack for $30 (it's on sale at Smartpak currently!) in the white/mint, since the mint is close to my favorite color of aqua blue. It's a nice material, not thick and heavy, not too thin and see through. While it's certainly not as silky as the Equiline shirt, it's still a nice quality for the price. And I'm in love with the magnetic collar. I love magnets. (Dunno why I do, but I also have a horse cooler with a magnet closure and a raincoat with magnet buttons. Love magnets).

I have some various other show shirts that I use on occasion (RHC, tailored sportsman, essex classics) but they don't get used too often.

TS breeches

I have two other pairs of show breeches that I love. My pewter Tailored Sportsman for cross country and tan Ariat Olympias for H/J shows.

Ariat Olympia breeches

And then all of my polo shirts are from Aeropostale. They only have teen sizing, but if you can fit in them, you can get them usually for a few dollars a piece when they go on sale (which happens often).

What are your favorite show clothes?

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Cram Time

I don't know what possessed me, but I entered a dressage show for Sunday. Not only did I decide to do Training test 3, I also thought it would be fantastic to make our debut at First level. Oy.

I haven't really been riding lately, so this will definitely be interesting.

I pulled Misty out of her stall yesterday and gave her a good grooming since it is now officially shedding season. She sheds the most of any horse that I have ever met... especially because she barely even grows a winter coat. I tacked her up and gave her one last brush over, and found a swollen hock with all the hair scraped off the inside. Sigh.

Scraped hock - nasty, dirty, swollen hock. White mares, ugh.

"It's snowing!"

I lunged her and she was a little bit off, but I figured she was being a delicate flower and it wouldn't really hurt her to ride since it was just superficial inflammation due to the scrape on her sensitive skin.

She warmed up really well and didn't feel off and we did most work at the walk and trot, working on our bending lines and 10 meter half circles. The half circles will be interesting. It is still pretty rare that we hit them right on, most of the time we miss centerline, she drops her shoulder or swings her butt out, decides to canter (because 10 meter canter circles are obviously way easier...) or just resists doing the circle all together. But it's coming along. Every so often we'd get it just right, so it'll happen eventually.

Our lengthened trots are kinda there. Sometimes they feel really awesome and then others they're just really meh. It's about 50/50. I haven't worked much on lengthening the canter because I didn't want to deal with her anticipating it, etc. But I tried one out and it actually felt really good. We'll still need to do some work on lengthening her frame and not just speeding up, but she was really attentive and gave me a good effort and politely came back to a nice working canter afterwards. I was impressed!

Our halt is still the thing that drives me insane. She acts like she HAS to stop crooked and when you correct her she gets offended. We schooled that for a while before I took her over to the wall to work on straightness with the support of a straight surface. I got a little irritated and gave her a tap on the hip to remind her that it's not necessary to pop it off the wall... and I got the most adorable little piaffe ever! And now I just want to teach her half steps and work on teaching her to piaffe.

Overall, it was a really productive and good ride. Hopefully we'll be able to pull off a first level test on Sunday!

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Pokes and Prods

Well Friday was an interesting day. I still can't decide whether it was good or bad, but overall very interesting.

First off, the girls got their hooves done. Misty's fronts were pretty long so I definitely didn't want to deal with them and Jetta recently started chipping, so it was time.

Secondly, my vet friend came out to do some check-ups. The plan was to do Jetta's teeth, but for some odd reason, there's nowhere to do it inside (no head support areas) and it was absolutely pouring outside and neither of us really thought getting electrocuted would be fun.

Misty got flexed, which was the good part. Overall, she said that I didn't really have anything to worry about. She wasn't sore anywhere though she did have a slight decrease in range of motion in her hocks. But not consistent with a lameness score of 1/5 like the last vet gave. No soreness in her hocks though. She might be in the process of fusing, but her hocks aren't "square" looking so likely not completely fused yet. She said her stifles were really excellent and front legs were fine. No navicular issues (which she's always really tentative about in stock type horses). I definitely trust this vet more than the other one. She's very pragmatic and not likely to sugar coat anything, so I really appreciate her "diagnosis" so to speak. Yay, my horse isn't broken! Well, not broken, but not needing any maintenance of any sort.

The bad part. Jetta. She didn't get her teeth done, but she had another problem. She popped her splints on not one, but BOTH hind legs. Oh, mare. What am I going to do with you. I came out to the barn on Thursday and she had a lump on her left hind. I lunged her and she was sound, so I didn't worry about it too much. Friday, I came out and both hind legs were swollen. So I wrapped them and then today, unwrapped and lunged her again. She looked great so I wasn't too worried about it, but had the vet look at them. She thinks its definitely a splint. So now she has to be wrapped for three weeks and stay inside. Which sucks. Hopefully they'll heal ok. Since she's not lame it doesn't appear that there's any involvement of the suspensory ligament. Fingers crossed!

Has anyone dealt with splints and have any advice? Also, I'm thinking she'll need to have turnout boots on her back legs, what do people use? I don't have anything that isn't fleecy or neoprene so I need something to prevent her from hurting herself that's breathable and will stay clean.

Well at least she's pretty?

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Blog Hop: The little things

Blog hop from the $900 Facebook Pony!


It's been pretty crazy with school right now so I haven't been riding much or blogging obviously. But a blog hop is a pretty good excuse!

What are the “little things” about your horse that you’re so fond of?

Cuddles. My all time favorite pony torture is giving my girls a face hug or kissing them on the nose. Both are very patient about it (Jetta gets a little impatient after a while, but I can always count on a minute or two of snuggles). Misty hates nose kisses, but I do it to her anyways and she doesn't hold it against me. Jetta will stick her nose through the stall bars and let me kiss her muzzle with no fuss.

Kisses go here

I love their easy-going personalities. Yes, Jetta can be difficult, but when I step back and look at it, she is not super complicated. She is easy to trailer, I can ride her out on the trails alone, she will stand tied at a horse show all day long, I can clip her all over. Misty is obviously the most easy going horse of all time. Ground tying? Done. Wash rack? No problem. Trailer loading? She loads herself. Trails? We can do some scary competitive trail stuff even!

Plus, adorable-ness

Curious. I love both of their curious natures. One of the first things I loved when I met Jetta was her curious nature as a baby. She licked my shoes when I first met her and I fell in love, lol. Introducing new things can be scary, but I love the pricked ears and tentative sniffs when I introduce something new. Extra adorable when it happens to be a yoga ball and they trot after it and nose it around.

And lastly, playful. Nothing brings a smile to my face more than seeing them run and buck and just generally be ridiculous when I turn them out to free lunge. Even on my bad days, just watching them prance around like idiots cheers me up.

I have no idea what is happening here

My prancy little unicorn - her horn is blinding ;)