Monday, November 21, 2011

Some Random Things...

Random thing #1:

Ben sliced his right hind open yesterday. This is it all cleaned up, it was a lot worse before I hosed it off. Its a little puffy today, so far he's still sound, seems like its sore though. I'm supposed to have a dressage lesson later this afternoon but we'll see how he feels about it a little later.

Random thing #2:

I may or may not have bought this shirt that came in the mail the other day. And I may or may not have experienced one or more of the incidences noted on it.

But come on, it's perfect right?
And those are both of the random thoughts that I have time for at the moment.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Apparently, I Don't Own A Horse, I Own A Kangaroo

Thought it'd be fun today to do a little gridwork. Set up a double bounce, two strides to a vertical. Kept the bounces super tiny, and started the vertical at 2 ft, then 2'6", then 3 ft, then 3'3", then 3'6". He didn't touch the rail once!

I didn't use groundlines today because Jim Wofford said not to at the Equine Affaire last weekend, and I'm not about to argue with Jim Wofford ;-).

He was SO good! I only got the 3'6" on video and I ran through it at that height twice. I'm just going to post the videos now because I don't have much battery left on my laptop:

And here's a still I took from one of the videos, ignore my complete lack of folding at the hip, I need to shorten my stirrups a hole or two which means I need to punch more holes in my stirrups which is a pain in the butt when you have double stitched leathers with nylon in between. I think I just won the award for longest run-on sentence ever...

Anyway, here it is:

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Equine Affaire!

This past weekend was the Equine Affaire in Springfield, Massachusetts. For anyone who doesn't know what it is, it is a 4-day horse trade show with 4 different buildings full of horse vendors. There are also tons of clinicians representing every discipline doing clinics. Jim Wofford was there for eventing this year and he was really fun to watch.

We went Saturday and stayed over to go Sunday too. Long story short I bought way too much stuff!

This is off the top of my head so I'm sure I'm forgetting something but things I bought:
  • A really nice, white squishy saddle pad
  • Braideez braiding wire (tried these last night and they are so cool!) -
  • A waterproof quarter sheet to ride in the snow and rain with this winter
  • Ordered a custom embroidered jacket with Ben's show name on the back
  • Ordered a custom figure eight bridle from PinkEquine with neon green padding for cross country (SO EXCITED!)
  • A new neon green lunge whip that is awesome!
  • A plain black fly veil for the summer
  • New show gloves
  • A new grooming brush
  • A new dressage girth from Lettia. The pins are spring loaded so you only need one hand to tighten. Used it yesterday and I love it!
  • New black dressage pad. It has white and black striped piping along the edge and looks SO nice on Ben.
  • Jim Wofford's "Training the Three Day Event Horse and Rider." Already started reading it and have already learned so much.
  • A new black leather halter originally $105 on sale for $35. It's so nice and is going to be his new show halter.
  • Himalayan salt blocks for 50% off because Ben goes through one a month...
  • I earned myself a cute free pink Smartpak hat by checking in to their booth on Facebook
  • A waterproof helmet cover for riding in the rain with
  • New hay bags for the trailer
  • Anti-static blanket spray because Ben gets so static-y and he freaks out everytime I take his blanket off, poor thing!
  • I got all my wormer for the year on sale too which is great!

I am convinced that there is more but that's all I can remember for now. And for the most exciting news of all:

I won a Facebook contest to win a Point Two Air Vest for 50% off! So instead of $675 it's only going to cost about $330! Still a lot of money, but I would never be able to find a deal like that anywhere else so I am very excited. I will probably get it in a couple of weeks.

I rode Ben yesterday. It's been getting dark here earlier and earlier so by 3:30 the sun was already beginning to set and thats when Ben gets really spooky. That combined with having two days off, he wasn't the greatest but we had a decent flat school. It's a little rainy today and it's going to pour tomorrow. I don't know what I should do in terms of jumping/dressage work over the next couple of days. I will probably jump today, flat tomorrow. Then I have a dressage lesson Thursday and a jumping lesson Saturday. This month is going to be relatively quiet for us. Next month we're doing the Suzi Gornall clinic the first weekend in December, then heading out to the first jumper show of the season on the 11th. I'm really nervous for that because I have NO clue what I'm doing when it comes to the jumper thing... Better start reading the rulebook!

Monday, November 7, 2011


This past weekend tested my trust in my horse so much. 

Saturday morning I went to my lesson and we did some cross country stuff. First we just trotted back and forth over the ditch and Ben went, first time, with just a little peek:

Then we put a couple of little courses together and as I was turning to the ditch, I just decided to suck it up and canter it and let whatever was gonna happen, happen. And you know what? Nothing happened!

First course:

Second course:

The courses were not exactly beautiful, there was quite a few short spots, some long spots, he needed more leg in a few places, a couple of times I half-halted too strongly and he broke, but I was just so thrilled with how good he was!

And then, when I thought that I couldn't trust my horse any more than I already did, we went on the hunter pace yesterday. One of the scariest things I have ever done. Ben was an angel, he didn't buck not one time, and only thought about it once. He was a little jumpy and spooked a couple of times but he was just so wonderful. We started out in some fields where we mostly walked and trotted a bit and popped over some low fences. Both horses were a little nervous and we figured we'd do more as we went on. But then came The Hill. The Hill that everyone told us about explaining it as "Its weird really. Just a really steep hill right in the beginning." So, we're thinking it's just a long, steep uphill. No. Try a twisty, turny, muddy, rocky, rooty, insane hill. The only way up was to gallop it was so steep. One of the scariest things I have ever done.

The footing in the woods was so awful I'm shocked my horse is sound and still has all of his shoes. Tons of uphill and downhill and all the downhills were disgustingly muddy. Tons of extremely soggy areas with standing water and mud up to their knees. At one point Ben fell on his knees it was so bad. So, needless to day we did a lot of walking, some trotting on the dry level parts, and no jumping in the woods because the footing was terrible. The fun part came when we got back out into the field at the end. That's when I galloped and jumped quite a bit. That was a lot of fun.

We were thrilled to be back, however, and I am sure we were very far over the optimum time. I would say that overall it was fun and Ben seemed to enjoy himself very much but I felt bad making him go through all that muck. But it was also great to realize I had my horse back. He was pulling me to every fence I pointed him at (and some that I didn't point him at!), and he was jumping fantastically. It was nice to end the season with a successful outing and I can't wait for next season!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Where Did This Dressage Horse Come From?

I had such a fabulous dressage lesson today!

Ben was just so on, so good, was so soft, light and relaxed, and was just listening so nicely. What a nice feeling. We worked a lot on our canter/walk/canters that we've been struggling with a bit and we pretty much mastered them today. We worked on schooling a lot of haunches-in. He's 100% confirmed in shoulder-in, about 65% confirmed haunches-in, and about 20% confirmed with renvers... We're going to work on the renvers more when he's totally confirmed haunches-in. We also did a lot of turn on the haunches work which has improved drastically. Not only does he actually get what I'm asking now, he does it too! What a concept...

We will be schooling a lot of counter canter through the end of fall because we're going to start schooling his changes this winter. He's got auto changes when we jump so I know they're there so it should be pretty easy to teach him eventually. 

I'm hoping that I will eventually be able to use all those fancy things in warm-up at shows to get him to chill out and focus on his work. That is definitely going to be a big goal for next year: relaxation at shows.

Also, while I did not manage to convince my mom to drive to King Oak for the hunter pace this weekend, I did manage to get her to drive to Ayer Mountain Farm for their hunter pace. A friend of mine and her new horse will be joining us this Sunday. I'm super excited because I've actually never done a hunter pace before. Crazy, right? I'm sure it will be super fun! We're doing the Hilltoppers division and we're just aiming on having a good time and playing around and enjoying our last outing for the year.

We ended our dressage lesson today with a short hack around the paddocks. It was such a beautiful day and such an awesome lesson. I really wish I had it on video but I had no one to video for me today! If I can remember, I may be able to beg someone to video for me tomorrow. 

Saturday we have a jump lesson and then Sunday we're off to the hunter pace!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Winter Wonderland?

Snow in October? Really? I just think the eventing gods hate me. They cancelled the event I was supposed to go to this past weekend because there was 6 inches of snow on the ground. A very good call on their part and we're even getting a partial refund but still very disappointing as that's it for the eventing for the year. Although I am seriously considering begging my mom to drive me to King Oak this weekend for their hunter pace... I just have to round up someone to come with me!

And there's always the jumper shows to look forward to! After I finish writing this I am going to update the Eventing Schedule for the (extremely!) tentative plan for next year. Okay it's probably not even tentative, it's probably my dream world! But, I figure as long as I am accepting of the fact that things will change, I think it's okay to dream a little big! I'm also going to add another page with our winter schedule so if anyone is interested in that you can take a peek.

Ben has been loving the snow, goofing off with his turnout buddy. We rode in the snow yesterday and he was really good! I'm keeping a big eye on his frogs though as they are starting to get very squishy. Yuck! No thrush sightings but with the wet and the cold, I've got the Venice Turpentine at the ready and my endless amounts of towels to dry his legs, heels, and feet whenever he comes in from outside. I've been going later to the barn so that when I come in from riding, I can dry him off and treat his hooves and then put him right into his stall. They're getting about 8 or 9 hours of turnout a day now although the fields are getting really muddy with the melting snow so we may need to cut that back a bit.

When I was riding yesterday I was thinking how nice it was to ride without any pressure from upcoming shows or anything. As much as I miss competing in the off season, it is definitely kind of enjoyable. That certainly doesn't stop me from dreaming about renting a house in Ocala and staying there until April, but it helps the off season feel a little less depressing, knowing that there isn't any pressure.

I also jumped Ben 3'3" the other day for the first time in a while and he was a superstar. Oh, and that ditch simulation: I still can't fool him. I certainly fooled my friends mare, but Ben? No way. He's too smart for his own good...

I'm off to make plans that never come true in the horse world!