Sunday, July 31, 2011

Toe Trim.

Yesterday morning, the farrier was out to trim Moon's hooves. I was getting a little apprehensive of their condition, with the dry hot weather and number of flies (aka. lots of stomping).

He was starting to get some vertical striations that are indicative of future splitting, along with some chips coming out of his heel area. I'm a little hoof-obesssed, and knew that based on the amount of hoof wall showing, he was due for a trim.

It had been just 5 weeks since his last one.

Sure enough, the farrier agreed that he could have been done at 4 weeks instead (as I had guessed). She trimmed off the excess growth, and was pretty pleased with their condition compared to a lot she had seen recently.

He showed SOME bruising on his sole, though it was pretty mild. Because of the stomping, any little bit of growth winds up taking chunks out of the hoof and causing splaying. She trimmed out most of those missing chunks (yeah!), and overall said they're looking good and solid still.

She suggested I start putting hoof dressing on his hooves 2-3 times/week until it starts getting moist again, to prevent splitting. Other then that, not much can be done. Oh, and putting him onto a 4-week rotation for trims! Ike.

The only downside of the whole thing was what a BRAT Moon was during his trim. She normally LOVES him and his quiet behavior, but this time he was just cranky. Pulling his hooves away from her, refusing to lift his feet for her, standing stupid. Just being a brat.

Despite 2 rounds of fly-spray the bugs kept coming too. Finally (after he had a bit of a fit), I crouched down and waved the flies off his belly and legs. No surprise, he settled down and didn't budge an inch during the entire trim of his last foot. my boy THAT much of a princess?

It's too hot for his fly sheet, so I just left him with his mask on. I REALLY want him in a sheet as he's COVERED with fight marks, since he moved back to the larger herd. Have to say, I almost prefer him being ignored to being picked-on at this point. : (

I even had to put some Blue-Spray on one wound yesterday which had some exposed flesh that the flies were going after. sigh. So many little cuts and scratches. At least a sheet would protect him a bit. : (

Anyway, maybe I'll manage to get out there tomorrow to go for a ride and see what he remembers...

Friday, July 29, 2011

Now a few words from Mr. Moon

It is with great sorrow, that I, Mr. Sox, have been forced to hack into my dearest Sand's blogger account. I must tell you a tale of great truth, hopefully before she can tell you, I mean, before she can spout off any fables of what 'really happened'...

I feel that it is my responsiblity, dare I say my burden to be the loyal protector of my lady. You see, I take great pains to protect her from the dangerous things that wander this earth, and whilest I spend many a day in training in the far fields (I have some of the most well developed jaw muscles this side of the fence), I remain forever aware of those that might threaten her safety.

Yesterday, concerned for her safety, I loaded myself and my squire 'Chico' into our speed transport vehicle, and we chased diligently after my lady (and the "Great Giver of Feedstuffs", who was accompanying her on her futile and foolish mission).

We arrived at the forest some time later, and I quickly donned my leather armor (I felt no need to wear the heavier metal kind, as my prowress and aptitude is far beyond any creature I've had to combat thus far), and ensured my trusty squire was equally outfitted (though I placed the horned saddle on him, for I knew he could use the extra protection).

I, concerned for my lady's well-being (and needing the "Giver of Food" to return with us to ensure I didn't have to start cutting my own food...which is below a horse of my status), lifted her onto my back and set off for home. Likewise, I instructed Chico to do the same.

We traversed many miles, up and down hills, through deep boggy sand and by steep, treacherous ledges. The ladies, they clung to us in fear, chattering on as woman tend to do when scared out of their wits.

This continued on for some time, until, my greatest fears came true...

...we were attacked.

Yes, it's true. I still am comforted by my own quick reaction to the situation (my squire was not so quick on his feet, no surprise), and despite the subsequent series of events, know that it was my speed and deft movements that saved my Sand.

You see, as we rounded a corner, my lady was twisted in the saddle, pointing fearfully out into the bush as warning "The Giver" of the dangers she knew existed in those wilds (and no, don't believe her lies of she claims she was talking about the beauty of it all. She lies. She tells people she spoils me, yet she only gives me 6 peppermint treats/visit. Unbelievable.).

So as she was pointing to the dangers, I realized that a GIANT (I mean, this thing was bigger then a house! It was bigger then...two houses! No, THREE houses!) ROCK MONSTER had LEAPT out of the bushes at us!

I did the only thing a hero could do.

I SPRUNG dexterously to the side, narrowly avoiding its first attack. But, it managed to GRAB Sand, and pull her from my grasp despite my best efforts. Determined to save her, I stood fast, with my four feet planted firmly on the ground, putting myself between her and the GIANT ROCK MONSTER. It may have plucked her from me, but I would NOT allow it to get her while she lay on the ground!

Standing there, my strong brown chest heaving, nostrils flared and muscles rippling, the monster deflated in fear and ran off back into the bushes, realizing it did not stand a chance in battle against a horse as fearsome as myself.

And thus, I saved Sand from the horrible creature, protecting her as a loyal knight-in-shining-armor should. I stood prepared for future attacks while she climbed back aboard my strong, steady back. For good measure, I then threw in a couple of good solid bucks and spins to ward off any future attempts at attack.

And THAT my friends, is EXACTLY how I saved my lady from a horrible untimely death. It is difficult being a hero as I am, but I remain humble and modest despite it.

Roses and medals can be forwarded to Sand's house, as I have enough in my paddock already.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Oh sweet lesson day; what magic you make of my pony


Let me say, that this was our best lesson yet. I think I've FINALLY broken free of spending all my time worrying about screwing up and I'm just LOVING riding. Loving just feeling my horse and reacting.

We had a stellar lesson. No, sadly no canter this week (sad face), but hopefully next. W had us working on our flexion again as he was pretty stiff coming into today, especially with the week or so off. Before long he was doing great and she had us spiraling in and out on a 20m circle at a trot.

She said to me, "Just go as small as you can; you don't have to spiral all the way in. Just keep it controlled and where YOU want it".

I looked at her and laughed, "W, there's NO way Moon can trot 10 m. Trust me, we'll be pretty big".

And then he amazed me. He reached, he got his shoulders under him, he flexed and POW, we spiralled in to a beautiful, slow and upright 10m circle. It was INCREDIBLE. Not the circle size, but how well he was not only carrying himself, but how well he was LISTENING to me, and how much I could manipulate him with my seat, legs and hands.

I was flabbergasted. There is NO way back in May he could have done this. He has NEVER felt like this in the entire time I've owned him. I can promise you, this is a different horse when I bring him to W's for his lesson.

I've taken a LOT of lessons, and I've NEVER felt as close in contact to a horse as I did today with Moon. I mean, I felt like I could PLACE his every limb. I felt like I could finally just manipulate little things, and CREATE the change I was looking for.

It WAS a breakthrough day. It was incredible. One of those moments that you relive long after it's ended.

It went so well, that I made him work through his bad figure 8 three times, each time improving. No, W hadn't told me told, but as I said when I finished, "I just KNEW that if I asked him again, he'd do it better for me. So I thought, why don't I just ask then?".

The lesson ended, and I'm still in euphoria. W said my take home assignment for the next week is to start expecting MORE bend and suppling of him when we practice. He's ready to give it, so it's time for me to ask for it. : )

So, now for the downside. I'll load pics in the morning, but (sad face), the Courbette doesn't fit. Despite being a 'medium', it's too narrow for him, with the gullet points driving into his back. (more sad face). It's beautiful and the color looks great on him, and I love how nicely it fits everywhere else, but it's just not going to happen. : (

Oh sigh.

So tomorrow I'll probably put it up for sale online. : ( Probably won't get what I paid for it back after shipping and gas, but such is life. Live and learn and all that, right?

On the other hand, W tried her Wintec Isabell Dressage saddle on him, and it fits wonderfully. And apparently they're clearing out the old stock at Apple Saddlery. I cave? Moon IS becoming a little dressage star ; )

Oh mr.bugs, what a mess you make of pony hooves...

Finally, a lesson day!

Wow, has there ever been HUGE gaps between my lessons lately, thanks to the hot summer we're having. I'm pretty happy that the current forecast sees the temperature hovering right around 30 degrees today, so I'm game to go out.

HOPEFULLY tonight we might get a chance to canter (oh please, oh please!), and just try to get back into our groove. After our 'learning' trail ride on Saturday, I'm just wanting to get him working and used to the requests I make of him, so that we have consistency when riding with other horses. I had a post on HGS and pretty much came to the conclusion that the fellow galloping around and standing so close to my horse afterwards did NOT help matters (and apparently is bad trail etiquette), but that Moon needs to learn to focus on me, and trust me. Someone actually went so far as to call it a 'hole in our training', but realistically, it takes time to bond and get a horse to trust you. Beyond 8 weeks of lessons over 3 months, and averaging 2 visits/week since Christmas when I got him.

Personally, while progress is slow, I'm quite proud of him and myself. We're not going to be perfect right out of the gate, and all of this stacks up to being better the next time we're out. I actually think I FINALLY am starting to stop focusing on the 'ugly' moments, and instead are focussing on how they improve us. I WANT more ugly moments, as I really do feel like we can tackle anything. And THAT to me is the best part. Anyone can buy a push button horse, trained to the 9's and ride perfectly, everywhere. And I just don't see the fun in that. You can never stand back and say "Look what WE did!", "Look what I taught him!". And man I love those moments.

So tonight, we lesson. We learn. We have fun! (Aurgh, it's amazing how excited you can be after not having a lesson for 2 weeks! I'm giddy!).

Tonight, I ALSO get to FINALLY try on my new Courbette. I KNOW. You guys are all as excited as I am! I'm putting my camera in my purse RIGHT now. I was speaking with someone who owned a very similar dressage saddle, and had it on a horse with similar body structure as Moon. Apparently it worked GREAT for them, so I'm remaining really hopefully.

Rick Payne is going to be in my neighbourhood in a couple of weeks, and I'm contemplating doing a saddle fit with him. My only issue is that I'm not really in a position to purchase yet, and don't want to mislead him or anything. Then again, maybe we can just figure out an intermediate option...hmmmm....someone convince me to do this, even though I have to shell out big $$ on my sister's wedding in 2 weeks (don't get me started!).

Tomorrow, we're booked for our first regularly scheduled trail ride with Teresa. : ) I'm THRILLED at the thought, and super excited to go riding at BHP with her. The trails are gorgeous, it gets us out and about, more experience, and just fun fun fun with a good friend! Maybe even on the new saddle...

Oh new saddle we will fit, oh new saddle we will fit. Hi-ho the dairy-o, the new saddle we will fit.

....and anyone have a good way of shining up a saddle? I'm using "Leather CPR", which seemed to work well to clean the leather, but it's not suppling it overmuch (there's some minor cracking, not through, but topical on one of the flaps), and I'd really like to try and supple it up and add some shine. The CPR-stuff seems to almost leave a bit of a film, and you can see your rub marks...hmmmm...

Aside!!! I received my letter of acceptance as an occasional student into the U of M's Community Health Sciences program! Yes, that's my first step towards a longtime goal of getting my Master's degree, something that while I dreamed of pursuing, never really seemed that possible.

While I had a B.Sc. in Animal Sciences, I knew that I definitely wanted to investigate a different field of study. But nothing seemed to interest me, nor did it seem suitable. I didn't want a Master's just to have one. I wanted one because I was serious about acquiring more knowledge to put to use. I also had this HORRIBLE feeling that my grades wouldn't cut it (like even make the minimum cut-off). After a year in my current job, I started to REALLY enjoy doing epidemiology (the study of health-event, health-characteristic, or health- determinant patterns in a society) as well as health policy and international health relations.

After some investigation, I realized there's a whole Master's program surrounding the field. I put off actually pursuing it, convinced I couldn't get in, and convinced I didn't have the time or money for it. Until our Summer Student applied for his masters, and when talking, encouraged me to apply as well. He was soooo convinced that my grades were fine (apparently I'm too hard on myself), and that clearly I was passionate about the subject, that I couldn't help but go along.

Not knowing how it'll all work out, and not sure if I'd even get in, I just applied to be an occasional student to start. Man was I surprise on Friday to get a letter of acceptance!

So starting September 8th, I'll be in class 1 morning/week, doing Epidemiology Concepts I. : ) Luckily, the University medical campus is across the street, and my class is there. : ) I hope to do one more term in the winter as an occasional student, and then apply to admission next Fall. : ) Finger's crossed.

Yay to learning!

Last thing, I promise!

I won a free banner design from Mare, over at Simply Horse Crazy ! I love reading her blog (she's an uber hard working young lady who has a very awesome horse), and I'm beyond excited that I get to send her some pics of me and Moon for a new banner on our blog. I love theirs, and know that it'll liven things up around here. The prize was a result of her 300th post, imagine 300 posts! Wonder how many more Moon and I need...hmmm...we're just shy of 100 posts! In 6 months...I'm addicted ; )

Anyway, keep your eyes open for it! I'm going to be gathering my pictures this weekend!

Saturday, July 23, 2011

A tale of two countries

So yesterday I headed off to the states yesterday afternoon to pick up my 'new' saddle. I left work at 2, and thought, "I can make it".

First, UPS wasn't showing my package as delivered, which made me uneasy that I'd drive all the way down there, only to find it wasn't there. So I tried calling the parcel service, who informed me to call back in 30 minutes because they were having computer issues.

Not wanting to be delayed 30 minutes (tight was time as it was; needed to get to my folks for dinner at 5:30), I left without calling. I needed gas so I went to the closest gas station...only to discover there was construction and no right turn into it.

Get across the city, driving through 4 construction zones, and one old man who didn't want to go over 40 kmph.

Gas station, fill-up. I'm on my way.

But there's construction on the main highway down. Traffic slows from 110 kmph to 60. Time keeps dissapearing.

Make it to the US border crossing. I've crossed the border plenty, this was nothing new. I pulled into the left lane and then thought the right one was moving better. So I moved over...

...and discovered that it actually had MORE cars.

Time ticks away...

...I get up to the border guard. Doesn't worry me, this is nothing new. I've nothing to hide. Just heading to the states to pick up a saddle I bought off a girl online.

I guess that wasn't the right answer.

They haul me in to have my entire car searched. They ask me to leave the keys in the ignition; take away my nexus card ("trusted traveller" card that you have to be fingerprinted, iris scanned and background checked by the US government in order to recieve...more difficult to obtain then a passport).

I go to the counter where they search my purse. Of course, all I can think about is the fact that now I'm DEFINATELY going to be late home for dinner...and I had forgotten to charge my cellphone, which was dead, which meant I couldn't just call to tell them to go ahead without me.

Questions start. They like asking you the same question multiple times to see if you change your answer. The standard questions: Where you from, where do you work, do you own a horse, what breed, etc.

Ask me if I've ever been fingerprinted. Well, once for Child Find purposes at the mall...apparently that doesn't count.

Sent to the waiting room while the search the remainder of my car. Of course, I didn't clean it before I left home, so there's all kinds of crap in there. Sweaters, pony helmets (strange they didn't ask why I have THREE...should probably give those to the girls at the barn before I head back to the states!), dog food, boxes and mcdonalds bags.

Yes, I'm messy. The BF would say it's my own fault.

They ask me if I have a dog. Yip. Explains the multitude of white hair all over my car. Probably looked like I hunt small white bunnies or something based on how much is in there...

...I finally get out. It took awhile and now I'm definately late. No doubts there.

Get to Pembina, pick up my parcel. Open the box to make sure that the saddle is there, and *just* to be certain there's nothing suspicious that will land me in jail when I cross back over to Canada. No offence to the seller, she seems great, but I DID just have my entire car and purse searched. I'm a little on edge. And LATE. Being late makes me sooo anxious.

Get to the Canadian border at 10 to 5 pm. It's an hour and 20 minutes home. NO way I'm getting home on time. AND there's no surprise, a line up at the border. Longest one I'd ever seen. That's what happens when the dollar reaches 1.06/USD. time, maybe I'll try this during the day. On a Wednesday. Or I'll just pay the dang UPS charges and save myself the hassel.

Get to the Canadian Border at 5:05. THANKFULLY, the guard was really nice, no searches. Sends me on my way.

I drive to the Welcome Centre to call home on the payphone to get the BF to leave now without me. He'd still be on-time.

...except it's $5 to make the phone call. And I only have $3 in change.

Get back in the car. Drive to the next small town.

Find a payphone...with no dial tone. AURGH.

Next town...$4.75 to use the pay phone.

Next town...$3.75 to use the phone.

Drive to the perimeter of the city. Payphone: $0.50.

Call BF, apologize and tell him to call the folks. Get onto the perimeter, it's already 5:40 pm, and I'm anxious, stressed and miserable. I SERIOUSLY HATE being late.

There's a construction sign up on the perimeter warning of sudden stops do to construction (yes, it's that season here). And traffic slows.

Then I notice the fire trucks. And police cars.

People are taking to the service road to go around. I decide that things have been going wrong enough, I'm just going to stay on the highway.

When I get close enough, I realize that a car had rear-ended a van. COME ON people. It WARNED you of sudden stops. Back off!

...and as I get past the van, I realize he TOO had rear-ended someone...

...and him someone, and that someone someone...

7-car pile-up. That's pretty rare in Manitoba; even more rare to NOT happen during a snowstorm or in the winter. I mean, the weather was PERFECT. Clear, warm and dry.


I finally get home, it's 6:10 pm.

The rest is history.

It was seriously NOT the adventure I had wanted nor expected. I'm really rethinking this whole US Parcel pick-up thing...

To make things better? Last night we were awoken at 4:30 am by drunken partiers up the street getting physical with one another. I hate violence. Scares the crap out of me. And we don't even live in a dangerous neighbourhood. Feels like it's getting everywhere. Alcohol does such horrible things to people. By 5 am, we heard police sirens and suddenly all was silent. Wonder if it'll make the news...

Awoke late because of all of that. Wound up late out to T's for the trail ride. : (

Moon got a pretty half-a$$ grooming. Into the trailer and out to the park.

He was NERVOUS. I mean, I was NERVOUS. I'm sure it was more me then him. I was determined to NOT let him get his way. So we fought. The whole first hour and a half. THEN some fellow starts galloping his horse around. Moon gets right worked up and suddenly we're in a big fight over what speed we're going.

The 'galloping guy' comes over and the next thing I know, Moon's connected with him.

Put his rear hoof right into the guy's cowboy boot. I think he was aiming for the other horse, but who knows. Thankfully, neither was hurt thanks to steel shanks and our close proximity.

Moon was a devil for a bit there. Never seen a nicer spin on him...hmmm, should we switch disciplines? Get into barrel racing or something? : P

He didn't settle down all the way back to the trailer. Was DETERMINED to kick that other horse again, though the fellow finally buggered off to the front of the group. No idea what go into Moon, since he was fine with all the other horses there.

After a quick lunch, we went back out onto the trails and I kept him at the rear. Suddenly, he was MY horse again. I even rode without stirrups and could clamber all over him without worry. He hung out with the other horses, stayed back when I asked and only protested when I would circle him away from the others. He even started to soften and come into the bit.

Went great until towards the end when the same fellow starts trotting and cantering again. Suddenly he was back to Mr. Irritable. It's times like that that I'm reminded that his father and grandfather were top QH race horses. He REALLY seems to want to challenge a run...

No kicking, and behaved with the other horses, but I could tell he was on edge. sigh. We'll keep working on it. Bound and determined. He'll get more exposure and with that, be less of a brat.

Got back to the trailer and I was sore. That ride was a lot of work.

Did meet another lady with a horse named 'Moon'. Which was pretty cool. White face too, but an appy.

When we got back to the barn, we were all content and happy. T had a wonderful time, and we both loved getting out and riding together. Her horse was COMPLETELY relaxed the whole time and an awesome little trail fellow. Just easy going.

Moon'er, well, he DID untie himself and walk away twice after we got back. And refused his treat. I think he was a little displeased with all the nagging and pulling and circling I put him through.

Oh well. He NEEDS more time like this. He's AMAZING alone on the trail and it's not spooking or 'objects' that are his problem. It's other horses. And if we're going to show, we're going to have to get him over that.

He's proven to me a lot, that with experience and clear direction, he comes around wonderfully. So that's the goal!

I've got pics, but will load them a little later. Didn't have a chance to try on the new saddle, but I can say that it's in wonderful condition and beautifully made. And LIGHT! Probably 1/3 of the weight of my Blackburn, which is a lot.

Maybe Tuesday I'll get out to try it on him...

We also moved him back with the big herd because he's getting left out and picked on by the other horses he's with. Not sure what I think as I like him in the back paddock better (more room and fewer horses), but I think he'd benefit from hanging out with the others...hmm...

Well, I'm off to go oil my new saddle!!

Friday, July 22, 2011

Border Crossing Craziness!

Yes, there's a story here. Yes, I have my courbette. Yes, it took me over 4 hours. Yes, it was entertaining in the least enjoyable way : P

But to bed I go, for tomorrow, the rain is supposed to hold off, and I should be trail riding with T. The tale shall wait till tomorrow, but I promise, it's entertaining...

Sleep well bloggers.

Journey: Present and Past

Unfortunately yesterday, which was cool, was not meant for pony-riding, as family friends came home to find the fire department on their lawn, after their hydro lines caused a grass fire. Thankfully it was extinguished and while close to the house, did not cause any serious damage. The BF and I however, spent last night lending them a hand in tracing the cause of the fire.

Tonight, we'll be out helping again, which means that I won't get in another ride. : (

What I will do, is since my new saddle is still moving on time across North Dakota, is head to Pembina to pick it up. I'm uber excited, since it is non-gussetted (thanks Kiirsten for explaining that to me), and may fit better then my current. I also get to ride it tomorrow (hopefully).

On a weird note, I came across an advertisement for a barn worker online the other day. They were on the way out to my barn and I was thinking "Hey, this would be a great way to cover some pony expenses AND make sure I'm headed out to the barn each day". So I shot the person an email and soon discovered that they knew some polo people in the area. They asked who I used to work for...

And shortly thereafter, I discovered it was the wife of the City officer who was driving the horse trailer up the driveway when my head was cracked open by the polo horse 6 years ago. Of course she still remembered me, and I still remembered them, but at the end of the day, it would take a bit to get me back in that place. Plus our schedules didn't align, so it looks like that won't be happening. Sucks too, as it would have been a sweet deal that included indoor winter board...sigh.

Now I just wait and hope for nice weather tomorrow for our trail ride. In the mean time, I'm trying to find 'something' for the BF to do while I ride horses all the time, as it's clear he gets tired of being alone in the house while I'm off gallivanting. Funny, as where I previously thought this was unique to our relationship, I've recently learned T has the same thing with her significant other. Anyone else suffer from 'boyfriend neglect' while pursuing their passion for horses?

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Saddles, Heat and FINALLY, some pics.

I finally made it out to the barn last night, and somehow in the heat managed a long conversation with T about life and work. As much as I love riding and pony-time, there's something to be said for hanging out and sharing with close horse friends. Just makes the time extra special.

After she had headed home, the skies were starting to darken and I figured there was no point in attempting to ride, as Moon was already sweating just standing there. I did take the time to get some half decent saddle fit pictures, though I'm still new to this, and just sort of gave it a go. T had been to a Rick Payne clinic on Sunday, plus Kiirsten over at Prairie Nerd gave him high recommendations to me, I've come to realize that late this fall (hopefully), I'll try to have him out to do some scoping work regarding a new dressage saddle for MoonSox.

In the mean time, I'm awaiting the arrival of my CC saddle (delivery still on track), and have come to the decision that I'll pick it up on Friday after work and then be able to test ride at the group trail ride on Saturday. T and I are going together, and confirmed yesterday to be ready to haul out around 9 am. I'm really looking forward to the morning ride, the beautiful trails and the opportunity to ride with her. It's been way too long (actually, it's been never), and it just sounds like a wonderful summer adventure.

So my goal after picking it up is to get it all conditioned, switch my stirrups over (it did come with leathers), and swap him to his brown bridle. : ) Hopefully everything fits the way it should...

After getting my saddle pics to post on the Horse, Grooming, Supplies forum, I gave him his vitamin supplement, groomed him down, and then took him for a nice hosing. At first he was less then impressed, but when I started hosing his 'man bits' (what he has left anyways), he suddenly dropped his head, sighed and lifted his back leg. Yip, that MUST feel awesome!

Scraped him down, spoiled him with a few more treats and then put on his fly mask. He's got a big white nose, and while I'm wishing I had gotten the extended one to help with sunburn, I do like the thought of protecting his eyes from the UV, what white I can from burning, and all the while protecting him from bugs. I was hesitant before to use it when I wasn't checking on him every day, but I've learned he's more then capable of taking it off, and feel pretty confident he won't get into any bad situations.

Tonight I'm still scheduled for my lesson with Coach W, however the forecast tells me the hottest part of the day is when I'm scheduled to ride. : ( So we'll see how that pans out.

T and I are also making plans to go out to meet two possible new hunter/jumper horses for her niece, and I'm pretty excited about the older mare. She seems very capable, has a great and talented history and is bold enough for a young rider. I seriously think I would consider purchasing 'Willow' myself if I had the room for two horses!

Last thing, for anyone interested in the group trail ride with IRC, here's the details:
REMINDER: THIS SATURDAY July 23rd is the upcoming Bird Hill’s Park Trail Ride.

PLEASE NOTE and spread the word - Due to the forecast of HOT (remember winter we can’t complain! lol lol) the ride will start earlier (10 am!) to beat the heat!!!

The plan is to meet at the Equestrian center (polo fields) but to be In the saddle and READY TO RIDE OUT in the morning at 10:00 sharp. Please plan to arrive at the Park well before that so you are ready to go on time, so we can avoid the late afternoon heat.

I will not be there for this ride so please Call Pres. Michael Moore with questions/concerns re: ride cancellation due to weather, etc. at 482-4182 or 782-9743.

And – MARK THOSE CALENDARS for the IRC Fun Show #2 on August 7th – in Teulon, Green Acres Park Rodeo Ring! Start time 10:00 am, with small lunch canteen, and wrapping up approx 3 pm’ish. $10 all day unlimited fun adults, $5 all day unlimited for under 18 – or $2 per class.

REMEMBER it’s all FUN, casual day, for young & old alike!! ALL INCLUSIVE, non-competitive yet safe & educational games! Please join us!!!

Watch for email re: cancellation or if in doubt as to weather or ring conditions call Holly 886-2505 or cell 513-0505 or Heidi 389-3401 or 641-4455, Michael at above numbers or any other IRC Exec member.

My Saddle Fit Pics:

Where the saddle naturally wants to sit.

How high it sits off his back:

Positioned behind the shoulder??

Looking down his wither:

Moving it back a bit, it seems too far back:

Would love people's comments/thoughts on this saddle fit. It has a changeable gullet, and I'm wondering if he needs a wide...

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Too Hot to Handle.

: ( Tonight's ride on W's 2nd level-schooled dressage horse has been cancelled due to the heat. She gave me a little hope about tomorrow (apparently we're supposed to get a big storm to cool things off), though I remain skeptical.

I'm beyond bummed about tonight, as it's near impossible to ride in this heat, meaning Moon and I are making zero forward progress. Today I found myself wishing for cool and buggy, over hot and humid. Right now, for my US friends, it's 94 F, 111 F with the humidex. Apparently Canada is not so cold; surprise.

According to an interesting formula, today's temperature and humidity is the still comfortable for the horses...I raise an eyebrow, as it sure isn't comfortable to me. And I feel awful working Moon when I wouldn't work myself.

Bummed, I figure I'll still go out to visit him later this evening. Give him a nice shower with the garden hose and a little bit more of his vitamins. Baby him up a bit and all that.

Yesterday, I did make him a new saddle pad, just cause. It didn't turn out perfect, but it'll be good for hacking, as it's not too thick. Lime green with cute pony embroidery. I'll try to get a pic. I also watched the Spruce Meadows Derby from the weekend, and was less then amused when the BF commented "How come your horse doesn't look like THAT?" as greats like Lamaze came out on their perfectly muscled, perfect confirmation, shiny horses. Should I point out that his saddle costs at least 5 times that of Moon?! (insert eye roll)

On a happy note, my new CC saddle was shipped this morning, and is scheduled to arrive on Friday afternoon in Pembina. So I'm contemplating going down to get it, as T and I are a go for the Interlake Riding Club's trail ride at Birds Hill Park. If I pick it up on Friday, I can do a test ride in it on Saturday. Nice opportunity to see how it fit Moon'er and see how he performs in it.

I'm really excited about both things. Maybe I'll bring my brown bridle home tonight to oil up for the weekend...I'm soo intent on buying a nice merino 1/2 pad to go with it, but am quickly realizing that it'll have to wait.

So it looks like 2 goals of the year will be completed in a couple days. I suppose that's ONE highlight of this crazy hot week.

On the down-side, the heat means I spend too much time dreaming in front of my computer, attempting to spend money I shouldn't! Thankfully, I've managed to leave everything in the 'cart' and not actually make any purchases.

As a personal aside, my manager approached me and my co-workers to ask if we'd be interested in taking on the role of manager while he's on a shortened Mat. leave in October (just a couple weeks in the position each). I have until Friday to give my answer, but am fairly certain I'll do it just for the experience. And it doesn't hurt that it comes with acting pay! Maybe Mr. Moon can get that 1/2 pad a little sooner... ; )

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Ugh. Hot.

It's crazy hot out. 34 degrees C, which is something like a billion F, plus the humidity. Sticky and gross.

I've looked over the weather forecast for the week, and it's not cooling down. : ( Which makes me terribly sad since Moon'er and I won't get any practice in this week unless it cools down (just don't feel right doing it, and it's crazy hot even in the evenings when I have a chance to ride. Doesn't cool till well past my bedtime). Even worse, that means our lesson where we're supposed to CANTER for the first time in lessons will be cancelled. : ( AND we'll miss out on riding Coach W's impressive dressage horse on Tuesday. : ( Bummer weather...

What else? Well, we hit Fargo yesterday to do some shopping, and while the BF was NOT into me going to a bunch of tack stores (yes, I have a lot of tack already), he did let me do some shopping at Fleetfarm for Moon'er. Which meant a BIG bag of treats, plus some black braiding elastics (it's our thing), a new feeding pail, AND I sprung for a pail of Vita Plus. I realize a lot of people say that there's cheaper vitamin supplements with MORE in them, however current research into equine nutrition does not go into all of the micronutrients (note that micronutrients are not small nutrients, but rather nutrients that are needed in small quantities). Hence, I'm not too worried about them.

The pail calls for 1 ounce/feeding, for 2 ounces per day. Unfortunately, I don't get out there every day, let alone every 2nd day. So we'll have to see if we have any improvement on just this occassional feeding. I really do think that it should alleviate some problems he's having (ground licking), and help him feel better.

Today, since the BF and I went out to drop off the new supplies, we gave him his one ounce, plus a little bit of grain and some apple pommace to go with it. He scarfed it down, so it looks like it'll be the start of our routine.

Now I'm waiting for the Buckeye rep to email me back, since it's been three days already...

So it looks like it'll be a rather un-horsey week. I DID just get the backing for my new lime green saddle pad, so I guess I can sew that up for next week.

I also officially purchased the Courbette saddle, and the shipper is sending it my way on Monday. I suspect next week I'll be able to head to North Dakota to pick it up, though I wish there was another tack store close-by to get the rest of the stuff I'm wanting. Oh if only I was rich.

Lastly, I've decided to get an Engel pad (unless someone gives me a smoking deal on another), as soon as I have a little extra pony $$...

Oh, and T and I apparently both found the Interlake Riding Club, and hope to join. They have a trail ride at Birds Hill Park next Sunday, so if I can hitch a ride with T, it looks like I'll get to knock 2 things off my to-do list...

: ) Come-on weather, don't dissapoint!!!

Friday, July 15, 2011


I'm just waiting on confirmation of the purchase of my hopefully new used German CC saddle, which I'm pretty excited about. Unfortunately, we have to head to Fargo this weekend to make a sale, which means I'll have to make a special to pick it up next week or so when it arrives. Oh well, the shipping is still reasonable.

Thursday, July 14, 2011


So yesterday I hopped on Moon'er for the first time in almost 2 weeks. Which is a LONG time for us lately, and I severely missed being in the saddle and working with him. Where I once thought we had a close bond, it's even tighter now, and I never realize how tense and stressed I get when I haven't had a chance to spend time with him for awhile.

Our lesson went great, working on lots of leg yielding, shoulder fore, figure 8's and the like. Those went relatively well, though Coach W made two big points: 1. Stop being a suck. I'm terrible for letting him get away with bad things, and focus too much on the 'ugly' moments, rather then correcting them and making them better. I'm also hesitant to be strong when he's resisting work, which lets him get away with murder. Yes, there apparently is such a thing as too soft of hands!

2. Stop beating myself up. I apparently spend too much time focusing on the negatives and all I'm doing wrong, then be proud of what we have accomplished and focus on what we're doing well. Funny, because both my spanish language teacher and work mentor have said the same thing. Hmmm...

The end of the ride was really awesome, as we started doing a ton of up-down walk-trot transition work. FAST. With lots of outside rein, where suddenly I had this slow, steady, straight horse! And RESPONSIVE. It was truly awesome and now I just want to go around practicing it all day.

The other cool thing? He's starting to break naturally into a canter, so W thinks next week....CANTER work! OMG, I'm excited! I know it sounds dorky, but I've been avoiding his canter because I want to make sure he relearns it as slow and rhythmic. And round. W says that the fact he's starting to move into the gait naturally means he's developing the muscle and finesse to do so. Yay us! : )

He was of course, a wonderful ride, though full of spunk. W said she'd never seen so much energy in him, and that he look amazing on the ground. : ) That's my boy.

Probably helps that he was sporting a braid again, this time a sweeping french braid in his mane. Unfortunately no camera, but it looked AWESOME! He's so pretty. ; )

We have tons of homework, are doing great, and next week I'm doing a Me lesson on Tuesday (5 pm) and a Moon lesson on Wednesday (6:30 pm). : ) This is going to be awesome!

In other news, while his float has not alleviated his gapping, he was chewing the bit and stretching down a ton more. Part of me wonders if he's eating better and in turn feeling better, which is making him a happier, more energetic horse...

I did catch him licking the ground the other day, and yesterday, another horse in the paddock was doing the same thing. Up went the red flags, and now I'm trying to get a Buckeye rep. out to discuss mineral supplements. I'd love to get him on a feed that's not going to add weight, just supplement some nutrients, give him a glossier coat and help him build muscle. Now to find a day to set that up...

Other stuff? T and I both discovered (individually) the Interlake Riding Club, and are keen to join and get involved. She's headed to their trail ride at Birds Hill next weekend, and I might just join her. Plus there's a fall fun show, that I think will be Mr. Moon's first non-competitive competition, thereby meeting one of our goals for the year! : ) Actually, BHP would meet two goals for the year!

Moon's feet are less then wonderful looking, thanks to the bugs and all of the stomping he's been doing lately. He's getting some significant vertical striations, some mild vertical cracking and there's some small chunks taken out of his toes and hinds. I added a coat of hoof conditioner in hopes of keeping them moist (been so dry lately), and just have to hope that the Cylence fly repellent is working properly. Which is hard to judge since it's been so windy lately.

Kiirsten also sent me her pics of her Wintec dressage saddle she has up for sale, as she just got herself an Exselle Debut. I now find myself in a tight spot...

I'm doing dressage and loving it. I don't predict Moon and I will do much jumping in the next while, in part because I can't afford 2 coaches (W only does dressage) and the other part is how crazy competitive Hunter/Jumpers are. W told me the last show used both barns at our provincial competition grounds, PLUS they made a bunch of temporary stalls. Add that to my sincere belief that jumping requires a good dressage base, it's unlikely we'll make that transition away from dressage in the next 2 years (yes, I can't believe I committed to two solid years of dressage!).

That being said, I LOVE working on gymnastic jumping on our own and while we'll probably never be competitive, it's something we're always going to do.

I also have a potentially awesome deal on a close contact, that's probably not going to come around again any time soon. Of course, I've a limited budget, I'm trying to make the best decision on what to get...

My one sticking point, is that since I'm a lot more serious about dressage, I'd like to get a great dressage saddle. THAT is the sort of thing I either save up for, or convince the BF makes an excellent christmas/birthday present. A beautiful used Stubben or something...

So my thought is, if I'm not going to be competing in jumping any time soon, and since I won't be riding it a ton, I should put my money towards a dressage. BUT maybe I should put this small sum towards the Courbette, and then save up for a fancier dressage saddle that will carry me to the competitions next summer. While Kiirsten's saddle is in great shape and a well-known reputable brand (Wintec) and a good price, I'm probably not going to be showing in it very long. Granted, everyone needs a practice saddle, but with horse-money tight, I can only keep a certain number.


Why can't we have them all??!

It seems that my decision is to go ahead on the Courbette if I can get the shipping costs reasonable, and then search for my dream dressage saddle this Christmas. But if anyone is looking for a great practice saddle, head over to Kiirsten's page to check her's out (she's got an uber cute CC for sale as well!).

Now I'm off to the library to pick up a collection of horse training/jumping books!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Happy Mouth.

Well, it was a first. Moon'ers first vet visit, which I would like to say, was a success.

I showed up early to the barn, got everything prepped and then sat down to wait. It was disgustingly hot and humid, so I sat on a small rock in the shade of some big spruce trees. Much to my surprise, Mr. Moon came over to whuph in my hair for awhile, nuzzling me in the most gentle way, which was just weird to me. It seriously felt like pony affection, something that felt so much deeper then what I've ever had with a horse in the past. our relationship growing?

I wandered off later to look at the other horses, and when I returned to the front paddock where I had left Moon...he was gone! I had a quick heart attack, running out to the road, which runs along a 4-lane highway. A very busy highway. Looking both ways, no Moon. When I didn't see him there, my head reminded me that he cares more about chowing down on grass then sprinting for freedom. Returning to the property, I found he had managed to step under some rope fencing in the front and get himself with the other herd of horses. And then wander off to check out their pasture. : P Silly Moon.

The clinic called to say the vet would be late, so I waited an extra 30 minutes for them to show up. Dr. S and her summer student both greeted me and went right to work. She gave Moon an examination, checking his heart, lungs and other vitals. The first question she asked me? "Does your horse have heaves?" Um, NO. ???! Concern??!!! What's wrong???!

She doesn't answer. So I ask again, if she hears or sees anything that would make her ask. "Oh no. He sounds perfectly healthy. Good strong lungs and heart."

??! Then why ask ??!

I still don't have an answer, and just have to accept her word on that one. Made me a little cautionary of her, though he's never shown any signs that are indicative of heaves, so I don't know what that was all about.

She drew up her first syringe of sedative and struggled to find his neck vein. After a couple of pokes, there it was and we tried to get him a little sleepy. He wasn't.

Second dose...

There it was. He was FINALLY starting to head droop, thanks to the flies acting as stimulation. They put his head in a special halter and tied it up in the roundpen so she could start the float. After a couple of flushes to clean all of the grass out of his cheeks (chipmunk!), she got out the power float.

We had a good look in his mouth, and it wasn't nearly as bad as I expected. He had some large hooks in the front, and a few along the left side of his mouth. While they were 'bad', they weren't awful, and he was free of any lesions or ulcerations on both sides. PHEW!

She filed them down, cleaned them up (just a little bit of blood, since he was a bit of pain to get his big ol'tongue out of the way) and he was ALREADY pretty much out of the sedation. Not even 40 minutes since the first shot. That's my Moon!

And that was it. Untied him, and let him go. No longer having his tongue pulled or his teeth filed his head lulled back down, so I thought I'd start gathering up the extension cords...and he started to follow me around, head droopy, swaying slightly. He just wouldn't leave my side. It was adorable. He didn't follow the vet, didn't follow the student, but followed me around like a puppy dog, touching his head to my arm like he was using it to help guide and steady himself. Soooo cute that my heart melted.

The vet for some reason was starting at his nether regions at this point, and decided it was the perfect opportunity to 'bean' search. I love horses, I love caring for animals, but I have to admit, the whole thing makes me squirm. Hence, no discussion here, other then to say that she pulled on her gloves and cleaned out 3 beans for me. Don't care if I wind up paying for that service, completely worth it. The look on Moon'ers face said otherwise, but she assured me he'd appreciate it when it goes to pee. Awesome. Not looking forward to that bit of ownership...

She also offered me a test run of an off-label usage of a cattle fly repellent. "Cylence". So far I think it's actually doing a great job, and I'll blog more about that later.

That concluded our visit, and while I've only stopped by to hand him two treats once this week, I'm really happy with our vet visit. He's healthy, happy and important to me. And tomorrow, we'll know if he's any better on the bit...

: )

Friday, July 8, 2011

Saddle Dreams.

I'm about >this< close to buying a new used saddle. It's true. I'm a little surprised by myself, since I haven't been seriously looking, but the brand, quality and price are perfect. Time to spoil myself a little bit?

Let me start by saying I'm less then thrilled with my Blackburn. It was an excellent saddle to start out with, before I had my own horse. It has the changeable gullet, it's all-purpose, very deep seated and comfortable. It was also a reasonable price for the whole package, though not uber cheap. It's a mix of synthetic and leather and has held up really well.

That being said, it's a starter saddle. It puts me in a bad riding position, with my legs too far forward. Yes, part of it is me, but part of it is definitely the saddle, as I've learned from other Blackburn owners. Overall, it just isn't what I want to be riding in long term.

I've been casually looking at new saddles, wanting to eventually get a really good quality dressage and close contact saddle. While browsing, I came across this older Courbette. Specifically, it's a german-made: Sattlerei Beim Kloster Schonthal, made just prior to the sale of the Courbette brand. The leather looks soft and supple, and despite its age it's in great condition. The tree size seems about right for my boy, and I love the coloring. It'll match my brown bridle just perfect. Sadly my schooling bridle is starting to wear out with all the use it's finally getting and I know I'll need to retire it soon.

The Sattlerei is a close contact and while I'd rather get a dressage saddle first, it's still something I eventually wanted. Courbette is a great saddlery, especially back when this saddle was made. I know with a little conditioner and some loving, it'll be a beautiful show saddle.

If unfortunately it doesn't fit Moon (seems right but until I get it home), then I'm fairly certain I can sell it here for at least what I paid for it.

Apparently, the Kloster Schonthal saddles have a reputation of wearing like iron while still having that “sweet spot” in the seat.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

The unfortunate truth.

The unfortunate truth is:

...I haven't been riding in over a week. Yes, once again the sad truth is my pony is sitting neglected in a field. I haven't even visited him, and it makes me pretty sad. I feel like I'm sitting here undoing all my hard work these past couple of weeks on him, and there's nothing I can do.

Why am I not riding my fur-beast? My weekends are engulfed in renovations and yardwork to the point where I wake at 7 am and work until sundown. Considering I'm not getting paid and for some crazy reason I consider this a 'hobby', I have come to the conclusion that I'm nuts. Monday was *supposed* to be my lesson day on one of W's horses, but the heat and humidity were unbearable. We wound up cancelling, and I ended up grocery shopping and making a gift basket for a close friend who recently lost her home in a house fire (our hearts are still with them, though all the furbeasts also made it out safe and sound).

Tuesday I was off to my sisters to get fitted for a bridesmaid dress, which took an unbelievable 3 hours. Then the BF's mom came out to drop off her dog who we'll be looking after for the next 7 days.

Yesterday? I got my first initiation into Horse-Sitting. Close friends are off on holidays, and we'll be looking after their horses, boarders, dogs, cat and house for 5 days. It's going to be a lot of fun, especially getting to wake up in the morning and feed ponies, or wander outside and go for a horseback ride. And be closer to Moon, though I don't think I'll have a chance.

Tonight I'm going to TRY desperately to get out to Moon, as I need to find a place to hang a horse head.

Yes, you heard me correctly.

I finally got ahold of his trial vet (she's very nice based on our phone conversation, but it took 3 days to call me back...actually, 3 days of me calling to get her on the phone), and she let me know that they like to use a rope throw over a rafter, overhead gate, etc. to tie the horse's head up at a good working height, rather then try and hold it up by hand. Makes sense I suppose.

She assured me that he doesn't need to be kept off food before hand, though until the sedation wears off, he should avoid hay to prevent choking.

She also said she'd give him a thorough exam before she sedated him, so I should get a sense of "how he is". The foreboding question, as a horse owner who bought without any professional opinion. I truly suspect it will be rather uneventful, as he's solid, dependable and hasn't given me any trouble in the time I've known him. Who knows for sure though, right?

If I can manage it and the weather is cool, I might put him through his figure-8 paces tonight, and then try and get a short ride in tomorrow before his teeth as well. We have a crazy busy weekend planned at home (more work) straight through our Monday off. Tuesday I'm consigned to a bridal shower for my sister, which unfortunately means I won't be on Moon again until next Wednesday's lesson. I *might* see if I could squeeze two lessons in next week, and maybe get back in the pace of things. Who knows...

Stay cool my friends; it's hot out there!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

My Story: ALWAYS Wear a Helmet...

This was supposed to be Day 9 of the 30-Day Challenge, but I realized that most days, I had nothing to say. This one though, is very serious. This is my story, honest and true, of why I believe so passionately in helmet usage.

So many of my fellow bloggers right now are recovering from serious injuries and it reminds me of my own. The past has faded away, for me, I was lucky.

My story:

Day 09- Any Injuries that Occurred from Riding

My only ‘real’ injury?

When I worked for the polo club and was holding an OTTB (off-the-track-thoroughbred) that was having its mane shaved. It was a rainy, stormy day, lightening crashing in the sky, rain pouring down from the dark clouds. I had spent the day in the barn cleaning and prepping tack, driving it over to the trailer to pack up for our first road trip of the season. We were headed to Calgary for a big competition and I was beyond excited.

When my boss showed up later that day, we went to the ‘new’ facility to roach the ponies’ manes. We had done the boys at the old barn the day before, and it went great. No biggie at all.

We caught ‘Danny’ and I was holding him in a lip twitch in the new barn. He was nervous but not unmanageable, and I remember standing at his head talking to him about my life, baring my soul. The rain was drumming down on the tin roof, and I really adored this horse. He was a wonderful ride, and I had spent the last two months babysitting him since he had polysaccharide storage myopathy (sugar storage issues leading to muscle cramping and spasms) and tended to tie-up after hard riding; he also was anorexic and needed a lot of attention in order to eat and keep weight on.

I don’t remember much, beyond looking through the open barn door as the City Police horse trailer rolled up the driveway. One of their new recruits was standing beside the door, out of the rain watching it come in…

…a crack of thunder. Hard rain on the metal roof. Crunching gravel below the horse trailer. The spark of lightening in the sky. The roar of the clippers near his ears…

…that’s it.

I awoke, sitting on the ground leaning against a stall door. When I opened my eyes, I was staring at a bare chest. Of a man.

Immediately the questioning began: “Who are you?” “What’s your name?” “Where are you?”

My eyes flew upward away from the shirtless man kneeling beside me over to my boss. “How’s Danny?” I asked, tears streaming down my face. “Is he hurt??! Are we going to miss the competition now?!” I felt horrible, like I let the whole team down, failed at my job, injured and scared poor Danny and now was going to miss out on the excitement.

The shirtless man I came to realize was the new recruit who had been in the doorway. He was shirtless because he was using his t-shirt as a compress on my head. Why? Because Danny, despite the twitch, had reared, clipping me with his front shod hooves three times in the head. I apparently had raised my hands to my head to protect myself before crumpling to the ground. I had been knocked out.

I still retain no memory of the actual accident. Just the rain pouring down as the trailer rolled in. I think it’s a good thing. I’m not sure otherwise I would still have the nerve to ride and work with horses. There’s no bad memory there when it comes to ponies; heck I still rode Danny, and may someday have the opportunity to adopt him.

What happened after I had my skull split open? The ambulance came. The whole ride made me feel like puking, which I’m told is the effect of a concussion. The closest hospital performed an MRI and discovered I had a severe hemorrhage in my brain. My skull had been cracked open and was split in three. I’m told the split resembled a horseshoe.

I was transferred to a more advanced hospital with a neurosurgeon. It was father’s day, and the neurosurgeon was called away from his family dinner to put my head back together. My parents drove in from home, terrified. My sisters now hate Zoolander because it was the only thing on the television in the waiting room.

I looked like crap. They cut off all my nice horse gear, and put me under. The top neurosurgeon in the province fixed up my head. He used a titanium plate to hold the three pieces of my skull together. I was lucky he was the one on-call, and he did such a nice job that the scar was hidden in my hairline. It’s a big scar, about 4” long.

I awoke the next day in the ICU. My face was swollen out past my ears, my eyes and cheeks were black and blue, my eyes bloodshot and my scalp partially shaved.

I healed quickly. My boss came with flowers, and the new recruit brought me a stuffed baby Eyore. He had no way of knowing he was my favorite Winnie the Pooh character. I told my boss to go to the competition without me, and they were very successful. By the end of the day I was in a semi-private room with ‘normal’ hospital folks. The girl I shared a room with, who was about my age, had just come out of a coma from encephalitis. She remembered little to nothing about her life, and had the most awful night terrors. Two nights of sleeping in the same room as her, with a splitting headache, lonely and homesick was the best push I knew of to get me out of there.

I passed my neurological exam three days after being admitted. They found no permanent damage as a result of the accident, and I left that afternoon for home. The recovery was painful, but after a few weeks I was back to normal and in two months, back on a horse.

To this day, other then a scar that’s hidden by my hair, I have no real damage. I have a slight blind spot in my right eye that was only noticed during a physical exam for work. I rarely notice it, and it’s pretty minor compared to what happens to a lot of people.

I always wore a helmet when riding, but after that experience, I wear one when doing groundwork that may be dangerous. I refuse to work with horses that use rearing as a tactic to avoid things they don’t like or are scared of. I don’t consider myself fearful, just cautious and aware of the dangers of horses. I advocate helmet usage in everyone, knowing very few are as lucky as I am. I have no memory of the horrible experience, no loss of love for riding and horses. Granted, I chose a big sturdy QH for my first horse, as I just can’t trust flighty horses anymore.

It’s my one injury, and I hope, my only serious injury. Ride safe my friends, and if my storey is a lesson to you, wear your helmet.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Anti-Pony Weather

It's storming outside. Lightening is crashing down, thunder is booming, and the rain is pelting the window outside my office. And I just got off the phone with Coach W, as it's wayyy too hot to put the horses through any work, let alone ourselves. It's about 30 degrees C, 37 with the humidex. Sticky weather!

Speaking of which, I left my sunroof open...

*pause while I run out in the hail and torrential rain to close it. My seats will dry, right?* I was saying, it's ridiculously hot out and we decided to spare the horses having to work. Which means I likely won't get any rides in this week since I'm HOPING the vet will be able to file down Moon's teeth on Friday, we have a dinner date on Wednesday, I have a bridesmaid dress fitting on Tuesday, and that only leaves Thursday. Which will likely be booked solid.

Day 4 - A Ride the Impacted your Life.

I'm bad at these things. I think I skipped a day or two, largely because I couldn't answer the questions, and then I was MIA for the weekend with no internet access. So here's Day #4...

Day 04- A ride that impacted your life

There’s one ride that stands out for me over all the rest. It’s not with Moon, it wasn’t my first ride, and to be honest, I can’t even remember the name of the horse anymore. Joker? Couldn’t tell you, not because he wasn’t important, but there’s been a lot of lesson horses over the years, and it’s the ride that stuck in my mind.

I was taking private lessons at a wonderful facility in the country, with an equally wonderful coach. She was a dream, not big into competition but big into making you into a competent and capable rider.

We were probably 2 months into our lessons, riding in the outdoor ring when she started to teach me how to collect a horse. Not only to get them on the bit, but to get them into that wonderful ball of energy that we all dream off. Completely off the forehand.

I remember before we started, she showed me what we were aiming for with her crop. She placed either end in each of her palms and then brought her arms together, bending the crop. “This is what you’re going to do” she said to me. We’re going to maintain the front end, then engage the hind end, driving it up and under, rounding out the movement.


I’d heard of it but never felt it. To be honest, I wasn’t even sure what all the hype was about.

We worked hard, cantering on the circle. So much remains a blur, but towards the end of the lesson there was a miracle moment. Somehow I managed to get the horse collected, and we had THE most amazing canter circle of my life.

I’m not exaggerating. I have spent every ride since then dreaming of that some experience. More then anything, I’d love to FEEL that on MoonSox, though I know unlike the horse I rode that day so long ago, Moon lacks the training and finesse to do it right now. But the feeling, of moving perfectly, of having a bundle of energy held lightly between your fingertips, responding to your slightest move. It was what horse dreams are made of.

It changed me. It was the first time in my entire riding career that I was truly riding a horse. That I realized how completely different it could be; how magical. I haven’t felt it again since (I had to drop out of private lessons shortly after that ride due to finances), but I dream of it. It is my number one goal, that I drive towards every time I mount up.


I actually wrote this post a week ago and was hanging onto it...
And now I can honestly say, I had my second *Oh WOW!* ride, this time with Moon. Last week's Leg Yielding exercise was the second time I really felt like I was actively engaging a horse and getting the most beautiful, responsive and artistic movement out of them. And this time on my Moon. What dreams are made of, I tell you!