Monday, May 23, 2016

XC Blast

First cross country school of the year is in the books! We had a blast. The weather was rainy when I headed over and I was worried that it was going to be a miserable ride. Luckily though, I pulled up to the barn and it had stopped raining. We rode around the property and the sun even came out.

Misty refusing to pose and be cute
"No more photos plz"

Misty was SO good. I was worried she wouldn't be very good after over 6 months of no jumping, not to mention 8 months since we went cross country. But she was on her best behavior. I put a running martingale on her just in case because of her bad habits she learned from her lessor though I was slightly nervous it'd backfire. It was actually pretty good idea though because Misty was in attack mode. She'd lock onto the  jumps and it was a really great feeling since usually she has to be pushed over the jumps and I wasn't sure how it was going to work out since I didn't have a crop or spurs. But she was in the cross country mode!

She will lock on to stadium jumps but she's never done that with a cross country jump. She was game for everything I pointed her at, though for the most part we kept to to small stuff. She only spooked at one natural log on the ground that for some reason was scary, but eventually she got over it.

It was such a good ride, I had a lot of fun! We went with a friend from school and her horse was super excited to be on cross country too. It was really great to find a new horse friend, not to mention one that does eventing (although she's wayyy better at it than I am) so I probably talked her ear off the entire time I was so excited.

Telling Misty to watch and learn from PR's awesome pony

Afterwards we let the ponies graze and had some ciders. It was a perfect way to spend a great day.

Monday, May 16, 2016


Apparently pink is our color! It kind of makes me laugh to say that, because when I first got Misty, someone commented that she was a pink horse!

Misty did very, very well at the show this weekend and I couldn't be happier with her.

We ended up getting really late (to me) ride times so I miraculously got to sleep in, go to the barn and wash Misty, leave to get lunch, then return, load Misty up and head to the show with plenty of time to let her graze, braid, get dressed/tacked up and warm-up. I could get used to ride times like that!

Cruising around the grounds... with our new sparkly whip!

I tied Misty up and immediately thought that I might have an energetic little horse on my hands. I had lunged her before her bath and she seemed fine, but she was pawing and swinging her butt back and forth obnoxiously, trying to get a look at everything at once. I let her graze for about 20 minutes while I memorized my test. I had First level test 1 and after reading through the test... I didn't remember it at all. In fact I used my phone to double check several different versions online... yep they were all the same. It didn't seem like the one that I had ridden a couple months ago, but I finally got it memorized. Or so I thought.

After grazing Misty seemed much more settled down and in warm up she was very good. I was worried she was going to be really spooky since she has been that way a lot recently but after giving the little pasture at the end of the arena a good hard stare, she was fine. She wasn't feeling hot at all, so after a short warm-up we went and watched people go for a while.

When it was our turn, I was very proud of Misty. I thought our ride was SO improved from our last outing. She wasn't tense at all, she didn't spook at a single thing (despite scary puddles, hose reels and water tanks). She listened to everything I asked her, I thought we were very accurate in everything... except when we were supposed to be trotting, preparing for our lengthened trot across the diagonal after the stretchy trot circle aaaaand I thought it was time to walk and do a free walk. As I asked Misty to walk I was like "Huh, that was a really weird transition to go from stretchy trot to walk right there... oh wait. This looks backwards... And we should be trotting". Oops.

Overall, the only thing I could say for that test was that by the end I was thinking that I was using way too much leg to get her going, but I should have recognized that earlier and given her a little tap with the whip. But other than my little memory loss blip, I was thrilled with my roany paint pony!

After our last ride

Sadly, I didn't think our score reflected how well Misty did. Especially after watching a couple other horses go and both had lots of issues with accuracy. We scored a 58.15% landing us in 5th. I was pretty bummed with that as my goal was to get a 60% in both classes.  And while I do like the color pink, I'm tired of getting pink ribbons!

Most notable scores: a 6 for our stretchy trot with a "could stretch more" comment. Stretchy trot and free walk I think will always be difficult for us. We got a 5 when I accidentally walked, "slightly quick" was the comment I got for the lengthened trot. Boo, she really didn't like any of our lengthenings... we got a 5.5 on free walk, a 6 on our first canter lengthening, a 5.5 on the second canter lengthening and a 5 on our second trot lengthening. The comments consisted of "quick" and "some length shown". I was pretty bummed about that because I thought they felt good and the lengthen trot was even better than our last show. We did get a 7 for our medium walk (surprising since Misty has a hard time swinging her back in the walk), a 7 for our right 10 m circle (yay! hard work pays off) and a 7 for our final halt.

Our collective marks weren't very encouraging either. 5.5 for impulsion, which I guess was slightly warranted, and a 5.5 for submission. I hate to be that person that complains "the judge didn't like my horse" but I definitely got that feeling... every single comment on our sheet was negative. Abrupt, quick, overbent, against hand, not much length, slightly hollow. Literally nothing positive.

Take away from that - need to get her more engaged, I shouldn't be afraid to give her a little brush with the whip to get her a little more in front of my leg (a tap would be too much, but I think she could handle a light touch!).

The second class went much better. I actually remembered my test! I like the flow of the First level test 2 much better. And I gave her a little tap right before we entered which is all she needed to communicate that she needed to be in front of my leg for the duration of the test. Overall, I felt like this test rode really well, I was bummed that Misty broke to a canter in our first trot lengthen, especially because we have schooled that so much that knows not to canter in the lengthen trot, so there must have been a bit of a communication fail there. Also, she lengthened her canter beautifully but then I didn't bring her back enough to show the difference between the lengthened canter and working canter. But I was over the moon with her.

And it showed! We finally broke into 61%! Landing us a second place. I was so happy with ourselves.

Notable scores: 4.5 in the lengthened trot where we broke to a canter, bummer. 5 in our free walk "diving, not stretching", sigh. Stretchy trot 5.5 :( But! We got a 7 on our right leg yield (our harder direction!), a 7 on our right 10 m half circle, a 7.5 on our left leg yield!!, a 7 on our right lead canter upward transition, and a 7 on our final halt. Again with the negative comments, even on our 7 leg yield (overbent), all our lengthens got 6's which I was disappointed about, especially our last lengthen because I was smiling when we were doing it she felt so uphill and rolling along with a long stride, just like they tell you it's supposed to feel and the comment we got: "some length but on forehand". I don't think Misty could canter on her forehand if she tried. Hmph.

But all complainy-ness aside, I was extremely happy with Misty. Extremely happy we pulled off at least one 60+% and I had a really good time at the show.

Random thoughts on our show outfit, but I finally rode in my navy Pikeur coat! I actually got this coat a couple years ago off ebay for cheap but it was a little bit too big and I always meant to get it tailored. Fast forward to gaining weight... I guess the plus side is that it fits perfectly now? I think the navy looks really great with Misty. The downside of our outfit... my show boots no longer fit :( I absolutely love my DeNiro Leuca boots. I saved up for them forever and they are the most expensive thing I have ever worn, but my calves are now too big for them. It was really embarrassing to have to ride with them halfway zipped up. I don't think they'd even be able to stretch as much as I need them to. I've come to the extremely sad conclusion that they need to find a new home. Anyone in the market for a lightly used size pair of 39 size foot, medium height, medium calf boots?

I wish I had gotten some media of us riding, but unfortunately there is none :( No one that was supposed to come help me showed up but I was lucky enough that one of my classmates made it in time to see our last ride and take some cute ribbon pictures of Misty!

How cute is she?!

I love this horse

Friday, May 6, 2016

She's back

My awesome pony has made a reappearance! I lunged her on Tuesday to make sure she was sound, then yesterday actually rode.

I'm thinking more and more that she might have been/be in heat which is why her lumbar area is a little sore. Maybe she has a big ouchy follicle on her right ovary.

Anyways, she was really quiet coming in the pasture and I was tentatively hopeful she'd be a perfect pony again. Crosstied without issue (though there's only one crosstie currently because someone pulled the other one out of the wall... cough, Misty, so I just tied her lead rope to the other side).

We had the barn allll to ourselves

We had an AWESOME ride. I was over the moon. We've been working on developing a big, swingy walk since she tends to be tight in her back, especially in the walk and walk-to-trot transition. It's coming along quite nicely. Transitions were good, her lengthened trot is so much fun. I haven't videoed it, but it feels like she's really stretching and maybe even getting a little toe flick in there. I can't wait to ride it in the show next weekend. If anything, the only thing we need to fine tune in the lengthened trot is just getting it a little earlier. It takes her about a quarter of the way across the diagonal to really gear up for it, so we need to work on getting it a little earlier.

My mini warmblood

We worked on our 15 meter canter circles and she was doing really well, she was listening to me and being very adjustable while not getting offended at my suggestions to keep her on the smaller circle and staying on the bit the whole time. Even our 10 meter half circles at the trot were balanced for once in both directions.

The most exciting part though... we did a canter loop! I never thought she'd be able to do it because she's so hard-wired to do a flying change but she did two of them and for the most part, she was really relaxed about it. It made me wish we had signed up to do First Level test 3 because it looks like a really fun, technical test which I feel like doesn't usually show up until Second level. Gah, the more we train and the better she gets the more I want to keep her because she is just a tiny warmblood in a flashy paint body. And I think she could easily show at second level too.

We finished it off with a cherry on top - a balanced and STRAIGHT halt at x. This is the bane of our existence because while we seem to always do well at shows for the most part, we cannot school it correctly to save our lives. I was just super pleased with Misty. It was a really nice ride.

Not interested in taking cute pics with me
She got to graze a bit for her reward and then I lunged Miss Jetta. Jetta's looking really nice right now, albeit a tad chubby and I really need to start riding her again. I'm such a bad mom to her. She got some fancy new dressage boots from Smartpak so I had to test them out. I actually chose the right size since I had to send nearly everything else I got back because I got the wrong sizes... fail. Apparently I forgot that fly masks have to be Arab sized to fit my girls' delicate faces and my dressage girth is a 26" NOT a 28". So at least one thing fit. I may have to do a couple reviews though... I also got a pair of the new higher rise Piper breeches.

Big lazy stretchy trot

Oh! And congrats to L for reaching 1500 posts! She's running a contest so if you haven't heard about it, go enter (by the 9th)!

Monday, May 2, 2016

Demon Changeling Pony

I don't know who replaced my unicorn pony with a demon changeling pony, but I want my unicorn back and I want her back right now!

She hates selfies = the only normal behavior lately

These past two days have been completely AWFUL and so unusual for Misty! It's been bizarre.

It first started with our trail ride on Saturday. It had been rainy and gross weather all week, but Saturday was supposed to be nice. I hadn't ridden pretty much the entire week and Misty had been inside because of the rain. I trailered her out to one of my favorite trails, Willamette Mission State Park. It's about an hour long trailer ride there, so we pulled in around 11 am.

To my dismay, the extremely large field used for parking at the equestrian trial head was PACKED. There were 2 different events going on and there were a ton of people. I tacked Misty up and as I was about to get on, the park ranger pulled up and told me that all the runners from one of the events were done and off the trails. Perfect timing!

I hopped on Misty and we headed off to the trail. She felt on edge because of the huge pack of people with the loud speaker. Plus there was some sort of kid camping thing going on? And a group of kids were throwing knives at dead trees and Misty was very curious about the thunks and noises coming from them. This all culminated in approaching a huge log to the side of the trail and Misty just bolted upon seeing it, which is not like her at all. We tried approaching it several times, all with the same outcome = spinning and bolting. I got off because I almost fell off several times and had the image of Misty galloping away through crowds of people while I did the walk of shame trying to catch my horse. Once on the ground, she tried to spook backwards several times but finally I got her to walk up to the log and sniff it, then stand quietly while I got back on.

muddy trails


reading the map with me


water pony
Off we went on the trail. We didn't have any more big spooks, but Misty was tense and on high alert the whole time. We still rode on a loose rein, but it was just very atypical for her. We went about 6 miles and it was really nice for the most part. There's a lot of agricultural land that the park kind of envelops, lots of room for big gallops, fun little trails, an area to get in the river, etc. The weather never really got as nice as it was supposed to, but the clouds finally cleared, the sun peeked out and I was finally able to take off my jacket.

The return to the trailer we had to pass the scary log again. Again, we had a stop and spook sideways before she just stood there snorting at it. I got her to walk up and touch it without losing it and then went back to the trailer. (Our "game" for scary objects is that if she spooks at it, she has to touch it before we can move on. If she spooks, then we have to dance around it until she touches it, then she can walk away). We were playing the touch game all the way down the trail any time she gave logs the side eye.

Overall though, it wasn't a bad day. Nice to get into a new environment, enjoy some nice gallops and appreciate how fit Misty has actually become! Though that may be a reason for her poor behavior currently...
so shiny! post bath
mad because I wouldn't let her roll
cute stuff
aaand she rolled anyways

no longer clean...

Then the second mishap was yesterday literally minutes before I had potential buyers show up to see Misty. I had her all groomed and in the cross ties and I was sitting in the tack room on my phone waiting for the buyers. All of a sudden I heard a commotion and looked up to see Misty sitting down against the crossties. Before I could get to her, she had pulled one cross tie out OF THE WALL and fell down. I tried to disconnect the panic snap, but it was so rusty I couldn't get it to come off and Misty hopped back onto her feet, reared up and hit her head on the low ceiling (I hate this barn's low ceiling). She paused for a second then started pulling back again, for no apparent reason, but luckily I had finally gotten the panic snap to finally work.

It was so bizarre and unlike her. Of course I wasn't watching what happened, but I'm assuming she must've been bitten by a bug or something because that was so unlike her. I will leave her in the crossties for up to 30 minutes at a time, often without supervision. She has never, ever, ever pulled back in the cross ties.

I explained this to the buyers and they still liked Misty and commented that they don't have crossties so it wouldn't be an issue at their barn. Unfortunately, once I got on Misty felt short-strided but soon worked out of it. The wife rode and Misty was very good. Then the (very tall) husband got on from the ground, which I think aggravated an already sore back with the additional weight (he was thin, but very tall!) and she was lame again. Ugh, mare. Why do you do these things right before people come to see you??!

I palpated her back after the wife walked Misty around the property. She was very chill, even with the turned out horses galloping around and being silly. Her right lumbar region was sore, so hopefully with a few days off it'll be back to normal.

Here's to hoping this demon changeling pony will go away and my perfect unicorn pony will return!