Thursday, June 21, 2018

Hot and Cold

Hey look, I finally have time to write! Do you want to know why? Because my arena is currently a wee bit too damp to ride in without being dragged, and DH doesn't have time to drag it. Why is it a little damp? IT FINALLY RAINED! And there is more rain in the forecast! WHEEEE!
My level of excitement over seeing this radar was probably a little over-the-top haha. 
So because I can't ride, now I actually have time to sit down and catch up a little. As expected, last weekend's GMO show was STUPID HOT -- but the show manager was able to start the rides at 8 am, and we whipped through 30 or so rides to be done by like 1 pm. It actually worked out super well! I had a great time seeing friends, photographing rides, and helping run the check-in table. I even managed to sell a few photos, so I may or may not have a treat yo'self post coming.
Hey-o. What's that? Is it an Eponia bridle? MAYBE. 
Sunday I bailed on the idea of taking more pictures at the following day's jumping show and DH and I escaped to the river. We decided to go out alone and take Cici, one of my dachshunds, with us. I've been wanting to take her out on the water (mostly to play with her dachshund-sized life vest, let's be real) but I was apprehensive about taking her out in a big group or with other dogs, since she has some fear issues and can quickly get defensive. I thought taking her out alone would be the easiest way to help her acclimate, and I think I was right! She started out tense and shaky, but gradually got more confident in the boat, and she even had a blast running around the sandbar. She was not wild about her life vest or actually swimming in the river, but I think she'll come around gradually.
She spent most of the ride out to the sandbar glued to my side. This was actually on the way back once she'd relaxed a little. 
Exploring the boat.
On the sandbar. 
Not quite as sure about the water. 
Or the life jacket. It had a handy handle to use to put her in and out of the water. 
More boat exploring. 
Tired teeny on her way home after a few hours on the river. 
Sunday night was actually the goat shenanigans in the video I set up to post Monday, and Monday was actually even funnier (although not on video). I headed out to ride Ruby, and the minute I walked into the arena, both bucklings got back on the roof and started leaping around. I was a little concerned about what Ruby would think of that, so I tossed her out on the lunge first (because I like being alive). I let her walk around in circles loosening up while I giggled at the goats -- at one point one of last fall's doelings (Riesling) decided to get in on the action, and when she was about halfway up one of the bucklings slid down into her like a bowling ball into a pin and they both went tumbling to the ground.
Thankfully, Ruby didn't care at all about the noises and flailing goats, so I was able to get on pretty quickly and have a nice ride. She was very quick off my leg and I was able to move her back and forth on and off the rail at will. She also picked up the right lead every time, no problem, so I think we're slowly making progress in that area! She also let me do a lot of influencing the tempo of the canter, sending her out and bringing her back (probably not to the point of an actual lengthening, but we had several distinct tempos at the canter).
Is there anything more zen than a freshly raked arena at 6 am on a Monday?
Unamused Ruby. 
I feel like the look on her face at this point was solidly in the "Are you fucking kidding me?" category, haha. 

It was pretty muggy, so we both ended up soaked in sweat quickly. Periodically I would look over to check on the baby goats, but they were still on the roof. I actually started to get a little concerned they were stuck, but as I climbed off and headed out of the arena, they finally got down. Ruby enjoyed a good hose-down, and then I actually moved the big fan in to blow on her to dry her off -- with as humid as it was and with her being wet, I wasn't sure her stall fan would cut it.
She didn't seem to mind the additional fan. 
The rest of the week hasn't been quite as fun, between some adulting (got half our round bales for winter, bai money!), and the aforementioned rain (although I have 0 complaints, we needed it VERY BADLY). DH has had a wacky work schedule this week, working both his usual hours and then having to return to work around 9 for a few more hours, meaning my sleep schedule (and therefore my morning schedules) have been a little flexible this week. But at least it coincided with the rain, so I don't feel like I'm really missing out on any work with the girls. Today is the first day of summer, and our high temp is only in the mid-70s (apparently Mother Nature confused spring and summer, because it's been 90+ for like 3 weeks haha) so even though everything is soggy, I fully plan to enjoy lots of time outside over the next few days! Maybe this weekend if the weather is nice enough, I can even trail ride :)





Monday, June 18, 2018

Maniac Mondays

This pretty much sums up Mondays around here.... (Sorry for some mumbled profanity towards the end!)

Friday, June 15, 2018

Left is Right

I'm starting to think our weather for all of 2018 is going to be wretched. We started off ridiculously cold, then it rained incessantly, then we skipped spring entirely and jumped right to summer and it completely stopped raining (well, we got a little yesterday but it's still way too dry). Today's high is upper 90s with a triple digit heat index, and we have a heat advisory all weekend -- which should make tomorrow's GMO schooling show a great time (/heavy sarcasm). This is like August weather, I'm not mentally prepared for August in June.
Alright, I know, I'll stop bellyaching about the weather. But for real, Mother Nature needs to take her meds. Maybe this means our August will be tolerable? A girl can dream. 
At any rate, between putting up hay and working on a grant proposal for a GMO clinic, my evenings this week have been very busy, and my mornings were frequently too manic to squeeze in a ride. Thankfully this morning I finally had enough checked off my to-do list that I could tack Cinna up without worrying about any other obligations!  
Even with a week off, she was a dream. I love how mature she's getting, and how she shows up every day, ready to work. She's getting so much more trustworthy in basically every area. And I really think she likes the new bit, we had some really good moments this morning.
I didn't think I could love this view more than I did, but I was wrong. The roached mane absolutely makes it better! 
In the past, all of the green horses that I've brought along (3 in the last 8 years or so)  struggled tracking right -- obviously meaning that *I* was doing something to cause the issues. If all your horses have the same problem, the problem is you, haha, a lesson I learned early on! I think I'm making progress in correcting my right-track issues, since I've been noticing a trend with Cinna -- she struggles to the left. 
Cinna would like you to know all her "struggles" are my fault. Which is 100% accurate. 
It was super apparent in last week's ride when she came out super stiff and braced, because she could not turn left AT ALL. Today we definitely had more flexibility and ability to bend tracking left at the walk and trot, but the first time I asked her to canter, she picked up the right (aka wrong) lead. I didn't let it fluster me, just brought her back down to trot and asked again, but boy will she have an easy time with counter canter eventually, haha. And it was somewhat reassuring to realize that even when I feel like my progress as a rider is completely at a standstill while I continually bring along greenies, maybe I'm not entirely correct. Inching along is better than nothing, right? :) Still hoping to jump start our progress this summer with lessons, but that's pretty much always on my to-do list, and my lack of follow through is a significant issue in that area... Ugh. 
DH found an itchy spot.
At any rate, it was a productive session, and I'm a little sad I had to forgo entering tomorrow's GMO show (although I'm glad I don't have to trailer her when it's a billionty degrees). But there will always be more shows, right? And as she continues to act like a grown up horse, maybe we can have fun show outings where I'm not tempted to dump her at an auction on the way home (I'm mostly kidding, lol). 

Monday, June 11, 2018

Struggle Bus

All aboard the struggle bus! Not for riding, thankfully, that's going well. But the writing about riding... Well... Like I said. Struggle bus. I'll give you deets about the last rides on each mare (since those are the ones I remember) then try to get back on board for the future.
This mouse was also on the struggle bus -- or in his case, the struggle boat. He hitched a ride with us to the river yesterday and then really regretted his life choices haha.
Overall, both girls are working really well. Summer hours means they're getting much more regular work, and actually making some fitness gains. I rode Cinna last week in what was intended to be a mostly walk ride -- she had come out quite stiff and tense so I was focusing on trying to unlock the base of her neck. I was really pleased with her after about 25 minutes of walk and trot so I was going to call it quits when suddenly she absolutely LOST HER FUCKING MIND about walking through the corner of the arena by the pasture... You know, the corner we'd already walked through like 15 times? After the second time she slammed on the brakes, giraffed, ran backwards, then tried to bolt sideways across the arena, we went to the far end and WORKED.
The face of a very tired baby horse who made poor life choices.
I'm 100% certain Cinna thought she was going to die from all the cantering but funny enough, once I had her attention focused on moving her feet at the speed I dictated, she had much less energy to waste on spooking at imaginary pasture monsters. We ended the ride walking on a loose rein through the scary corner a few times. Of course, being the hippo that she is, that much work had her completely drenched, so she got to have a nice bath after (which is actually when the idea of shaving her mane off occurred to me, so I did it the next day, lol).
Still love it.
"Cookies plz?"
Everybody got the day off Friday, since it was my birthday and I decided to be lazy, and then they got this weekend off because both days I slept in a little so by the time I finished chores it was already too muggy for me to want to ride.
Birthday beignets 😍😍
Wooden Andalusian Breyer keychain from a friend!
Gorgeous painting from my SIL of one of my favorite photos of Topaz!
She also made me to-die-for UNICORN cupcakes.
Iberian pendant from Greylock Silver (cannot recommend her work highly enough, I need to blog about it).
This morning I rode Ruby and holy cow, the canter was ON FIRE. I seriously wanted to ride it all day. She still struggled a little bit to the right, but to the left it was fantastic. She was so light and uphill and round, and so adjustable to everything I asked. She got a little dive-y in the trot, so I think I'm going to go back to the eggbutt snaffle on her other bridle (I rode her in the Verbindend today). It was disgustingly humid even at 6 am, so she also got a good scrubbing post-ride, and I cleaned up her tail a bit. Now I just need my friend to come out and shorten her mane so she looks like a real dressage horse again! ;)
Looking a little feral. Although I did at least give everyone a bridle path again? 
Whew! So there you have it, and now you're mostly caught up on what we've been up to lately.

Thursday, June 7, 2018

I Did a Thing...

I need to get caught up on our rides lately (being so productive, summer hours FTW!), but in lieu of having time to truly devote to that, you get this instead!
Yesterday when I was scrubbing Cinna's tail out, I decided I was tired of all the hair I have to take care of. I can barely manage my own hair on a good day! I'm going to have Ruby's mane shortened again, but I didn't think that would be a good look on Cinna. So after some pondering, I got a wild hair (pun fully intended) and did this instead:
Bye bye uneven, coarse hair that refused to all lay nicely on one side of her neck! Hello traditional Spanish mare clip :) (well, minus shaving the tail bone, I think that's fugly haha). We'll see if I want to die of regret in a few days, but for now I think she'll be a lot cooler, I'll have less hair to deal with, and bonus -- I think it makes her look more mature!
She seemed a little bemused while I was working on it haha.
And now bonus, it will all grow out to the same length instead of looking like she got a haircut from a kindergartner with safety scissors in the dark... Haha. Or maybe I'll like this low-maintenance look so much I'll keep it forever!

Friday, May 25, 2018

Tech Rides

Whew, the week got away from me! That's okay, it was a bit on the slow side anyway, so I don't feel super behind on blogging. Monday it was still actively raining when I got up, so I let myself take a day off and have a relaxing morning before work. Tuesday it was still pretty soggy -- I made an attempt to ride Cinna, but the arena was too squishy to do anything but walk. I decided to give the Pixio another go, but I almost threw in the towel after another wildly unsuccessful attempt to get it to work. I was pretty grumpy for the start of my ride, but we ended up just walking for almost 20 minutes, which was actually really good for Cinna's brain. Her mind is usually going 1230923473248 miles a minute and she is always trying to figure out what I want next, but about halfway through our ride I could just feel her let out a deep breath and just relax. The second half of the ride was really pleasant -- I need to make a point to do some more just walking arena rides with her :)
No riding photos (too annoyed to take any, haha) from Tuesday, but this sunrise was lovely!
Wednesday morning I actually didn't ride either, because DH was getting ready to leave on a work trip, so things were a little manic. So I was determined to ride yesterday! (and spoiler alert, I did).
Look, my horse is wearing a saddle! And a fancy custom Ogilvy baby pad that I LOVE ;)
I had done some more playing with the Pixio Wednesday (not with the horses, just messing with it in general) so I decided to give it one more go before I just chucked the whole thing in a box to ignore. I'm glad I did, because it worked like a dream, and I got some really useful video of the ride. Apparently the secret (for me) is getting the Pixio synced up with the free app, because then I could actually check the battery levels! (since half my problem has been dead batteries or batteries dying mid-ride)
Score!
Ruby and I had a nice, laid back ride, where I used not only the Pixio, but also tracked my ride via Equilab and tried out SmartPak's Ride With Me app. I still enjoy Equilab for a general sense of how long I rode and in what gaits, and I was giving Ride With Me a chance as a backup safety app. So basically Thursday's ride was ALL THE TECH haha. Unfortunately I spent most of my time this morning reviewing video and pulling a few GIFs, so I kind of ran out of time (and brainpower) to write. Having this much media is cool, but it's also too much of a good thing sometimes! I barely had time to write before, now that I'm adding in reviewing all this video and trying to pull interesting bits for you to watch, I'm too fried to write... #firstworldmediahoproblems


Best girl <3
At any rate, I'm looking forward to a long weekend, and soaking up some sun! (and also trying to get rid of this AWFUL poison ivy I've got on my leg, I kind of want to cut my leg off ugh.) Any fun plans for the long weekend?