Tuesday, April 26, 2016

No Dice

(I wrote this post last week and forgot to post it... oops. So it's all about last week!)

Well we didn't make it into the show this weekend, which is a little bit of a bummer, but it was rainy all weekend, so I'm not too upset about it. Even though we've had some really great work under saddle!

Misty was nearly foot perfect for our ride on Tuesday. I almost got off after 20 minutes, she was being too good! I've been having some crazy late, long, hectic days but the late sunsets are really helping make rides happen in the evening, usually at 7 or 8pm. Tuesday I was worried I'd have a little too much spunk for our ride since I hadn't touched her all weekend. But I didn't lunge and hopped on... and she was quiet. Very quiet. I think it was because it was so hot out and she is not a hot weather horse. Jetta shows no effects of heat and is just as fire-breathing as usual.

She was verging on lazy, but I didn't even bring my whip and with just a little extra leg she was perfect. Our transitions were soft and attentive, especially downwards. Her lengthenings felt AWESOME.
Since I have zero new media... freshly washed pony about to roll
Last week I set out some poles diagonally across centerline on a very large stride to attempt to get Misty to lengthen her stride a little bit extra. At first she was super excited about poles being out. We were finishing up our warm-up at the canter and apparently it is impossible to canter a nice circle when there are poles out. It ended up looking more like a square.

Misty - Poles! Look, there's poles!
Me - Yes Misty. Now can we bend please?
Misty - But look at the poles!
Me - And we're bending
Misty - Fine, I'm bending... Poles!

The first few times through the poles were fairly disastrous. I was trying to push Misty into her lengthened trot, but she was pulling back looking at the poles and trying to figure out where to put her feet, then halfway through the poles she'd start cantering awkwardly over them so I'd halt her and we'd try again. By the end though, we were able to trot through the poles perfectly so after a couple of times through we quit

I think it really paid off though! Misty's lengthenings this week felt like we'd unlocked a little bit extra and it felt really nice.

For some reason I decided to relist Misty on Dreamhorse. I'm not really sure why I decided to do it now instead of waiting for summer like I had originally planned. I guess I didn't think I'd have much interest in her again, but I've already had two sets of people come out to try her with more scheduled in the next week. I'm actually really, really sad at the thought of selling her. Not to mention I had our show season planned out and was really looking forward to it, but I'm going to miss my little roany paint pony so much!

At least I'll still have this dork

Monday, April 18, 2016

Mare Crush Monday

Mare Crush Monday is something I've seen horse people do on instagram to make the #mcm (or Man Crush Monday) into an equestrian hashtag so I thought why not do it on the blog! Lol.

But I finally bought a photo from the little one day HT last fall. I decided on this one despite my awful position because Misty is jumping in the most adorable way possible. I can't wait to go xc schooling soon!

over jump much?

Friday, April 15, 2016

Horsing Around

Sorry for the awful title, but we've really just been playing around this week which is kind of bad considering that we were planning on going to a dressage show next weekend. So I guess that it's kind of good that I got waitlisted for the show? Since when does that ever happen for an unrecognized dressage show? I'm not too bummed about it though.

It's rare to catch her napping mid-day!

Monday we just goofed around in western tack. Don't ask me why, but for some reason I decided that Misty needed a completely new western set up. So she got new dark teal boots, a gray and turquoise/teal pad and a new headstall (of course with a turquoise buckle). I'm obsessed. It looks great on her. Now I just actually have to ride western more often?

So adorable

I've been searching for a pad these colors for forever!
The headstall is a little iffy since it's an orange-y light brown that doesn't match my saddle whatsoever. I gave it a few coats of Hydrophane darkening oil and there was only a marginal difference. I'm going to give it a bit more, then maybe think of ordering some actual stain since the leather isn't finished anyways and I just want it to match my saddle.

Anywho, any advice is appreciated on how to darken this awful color of leather without stain.

Then yesterday I lunged Misty and then we played around with a new yoga ball that was left in the "toy corner". I can't remember if I've ever introduced Misty to a yoga ball, but if I did it was over two years ago. She acted like she didn't remember it (if she had ever seen one) and while she wasn't scared of it, she definitely wasn't interested in touching it.

I kicked the ball around and we followed it around a bit to get her confidence up, then tried to get her to kick it. No luck. She got very good at avoiding it at any and all costs, still not scared of it, just not understanding. Eventually she realized it wasn't awful if the ball touched her legs and it was kind of neat that she could kick it around. By the end, I could direct her at the end of the lunge line towards it and she'd do a pretty good job of tracking it and kicking it by herself without too much input from myself.

We finished up by lunging over some barrels. I've been trying to do more lunging jumps to improve both her confidence and fitness. So it was a fun day! At least for me :)

Monday, April 11, 2016


Two trail rides in the course of two weeks?! It's a miracle. I've decided that since I have half days of school on Fridays that I'm going to try and make trail rides a regular thing. It won't always happen, but I'm hoping for at least 2-3 trail rides a month.

This last week we started at a different trail head. It's one of my favorite sections of trail minus the humongous hill you have to traverse first.

Crossing the bridge at the beginning
Start of the trail

Misty wore her boots again and we had a wardrobe malfunction in the first few minutes of trotting up the hill. When Jetta and I did the LD endurance ride a couple years ago, somehow a metal piece on the hoof boot got bent so it didn't keep the cables in place. I've tried to fix it, but could never get it bent back (even with a hammer). It worked fine for the last ride so I wasn't even paying attention when all of the sudden Misty skittered sideways a couple steps and I realized that her boot had come off and was hanging off of her pastern. I hopped off (luckily she moved away from the cliff to our right) and tried to use a rock to bang the cable back into the bent metal area it was supposed to be. Super redneck feeling, but it actually worked!
Top of the hill/beginning of the cute trail

The rest of the ride was great. We didn't pass a single person the entire time. The hill will be great for Misty's fitness (she begs to differ, she definitely prefers flat ground) but the little trail that winds through the trees at the top of the hill is definitely worth the climb!

Favorite picture from the ride

We ended up riding for just over an hour and did about 4 miles. Misty was nice and dry by the time we got back down the hill (since it's so steep you have to walk the entire way down). I'd like to haul her to Willamette Mission State park since it's my favorite and Misty's never been there, but it's likely that this trail will become a regular.

You know you're an eventer when you're disappointed the tree didn't fall across the middle of the trail better

I really think Misty's starting to get at least a little bit fit (she is SO hard to get fitness on) but these hills will help! I want to feel like we are ready for the Inavale HT this summer. I have my sights set on competing at it so hopefully it works out! I can't wait for the xc courses to be open to go schooling, but I'll take the trails for now. Our next dressage show is coming up in a couple weeks, hopefully it will be good. It's not my favorite facility, but one of my favorite judges is there so I'm keeping my fingers crossed that we get her and I'm going with friends so it should be fun!

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Round 1 Part 3

Well Round 1 part 3 of vet school is underway (also known as the third term of my first year). I can't believe I'm already 1/6 of a vet and by the end of this term I'll be 1/4 of the way! And I've got lots to update (plus a huge photo dump)!

So far so good. All my classes seem really interesting but not overly difficult. We're finally starting large animal gross anatomy so I'm really excited for that. Plus immunology, pathology and physiology. Lots of -ology's! Plus I've got to do lots of fun veterinary-related horse stuff recently. I did my first dental, first castration and my first ultrasound of the tendons in the lower leg (lameness exam). So this term is off to a good start!

Spoiling Jetta by picking grass for her. And it's her mini-me!
Jetta's mini-me, Chester. I am going to steal this adorable pony

I'm loving the extra light, while the actual transition of time for Daylight Savings was rough, now I feel like I can get out of school and actually go ride before heading home to study. But then again the study load isn't that heavy yet, so we'll see how well I stick with my plan of riding at least 3 times a week.

Lots of riding outside

Love my new gloves
The ponies have been good and I've been getting a lot of good rides in on Misty. Jetta has seemed a tiny bit off, so I'm giving her some more time off and then we'll decide what we want to do about it. But Misty has been really fun! I think she's finally gaining some fitness. I'm set on competing her for reals this summer and am planning out our calendar. I want to show at First Level (probably just 1-1 and 1-2 for now) meaning we've got lots of work to do on our leg yields. 

She's doing well with the leg yields and we've even started doing them at the canter! I stole the fun idea for canter leg yields to flying changes from the Jumping Percheron. They're really fun! The main problem we're having is that our leg yields are too steep (I've never had this problem before) so I have a few new exercises I want to try and get a better angle to the leg yield.

We need to work on her posing skills. But she's cute!
Four off the floor!

This is the trot lengthening we need...
Show off
At least she's pretty
so sassy

I went to audit a clinic with Eric Smiley with a vet school friend over spring break and it was really fun. It was outdoors and the weather was quite bipolar (it's raining! now it's sunny! now it's cloudy and windy! and so forth) but I really enjoyed listening, he seemed like a great clinician to ride with and I definitely picked some things up and since then I have been torturing poor Misty with lots of trot poles. I think the main take away that we need to work on is that Misty needs to take ME to the jump, I shouldn't have to be pushing her over the jumps. If she's being lazy I can correct it and tell her to wake up and get it together, but I shouldn't be having to do the work of pushing her over every fence. That and he also told a couple riders that if the course didn't go like you wanted, then change something. I know I'm definitely guilty of this as well, riding the same pattern over and over and hoping that one of these times it'll work out correctly, but I'm not changing anything about it in order to help it work.

Other little tid-bits
  • If you know you're off of your striding, he advocates for pushing them forward (lengthening their stride) instead of holding them back 
  • Recognize if your striding is off when you're 3+ strides out. You shouldn't be changing your length of stride 1-2 strides before the jump
  • Don't ride corners, they're hard. He did a lot of circle work
  • He set up lots of narrow ground poles perpendicular to the jump to make the horses straight, he would even stand directly in front of the jump to the side a bit to make the horse jump through the middle (slightly nerve-wracking to watch!)
  • It's the horse's job to pick up their feet and pay attention, hence the trot poles
One of the riders in the clinic posted a great write up on COTH so you should go read that if you're interested!

And lastly, I finally got to go for a trail ride last Friday! First trail ride of the year and first trail ride in such a long time. It was gloriously nice weather, the trails were very empty and we had a short, fun ride. It was perfect!

While Misty's feet are awesome on gravel, I wanted to be extra careful not to throw a wrench in our plans this spring and get a stone bruise since it's still pretty wet out so Misty's hooves are a tad soft. So I discovered that Jetta's easy boots that go on her hind feet fit Misty's front hooves absolutely perfectly! They didn't rub her scar at all, though it was a little tight getting the gaiter to shut on her scarred foot. But they did perfectly even when we had ourselves a nice little gallop. 

Her "tennis shoes"