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)
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?

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Long Miles

Whew, ready to write about my weekend! Saturday dawned cool and cloudy, a blessed change from some of the blazing hot cloudless days we'd experienced in the week leading up to it. DH was anxious to get out and about. I was less anxious (because my default setting on weekends is couch potato, haha), but amenable to doing something. His vote was riding bikes. My vote was riding horses. We compromised by going to a trail that caters to both! 
DH was off on his ride before we even finished tacking up, so I neglected to get a photo of him. 
Naturally Ruby and I couldn't keep up with him (and he usually does 15-30 mile rides when he goes out on his bike), and while I was totes fine with riding alone, my mom was also jonesin' to get out and about. So I tossed Trigger in the trailer for her, and she met us at the trailhead. This was Trigger's first big outing of the year, and the goal was to get him some long, slow trail miles. With his recent (mild) COPD diagnosis, I wanted to see how his management changes (soaking his hay, a supplement, and switching to night turnout on grass) might have helped his ability to work without coughing. We ended up riding a little over 7 miles, 90% at the walk, and he only coughed once -- when we were trotting by someone mowing grass, throwing lots of dust up in the air. He and Ruby were both puffing a little by the end of the ride (we got sprinkled on, and the humidity had gone up exponentially), but I was pleased to see how well he handled the ride.
Plotting about how to grab snacks on the road. 
Ruby was also a total rock star (which is her default setting). She powered down the trail, crossed wooden bridges, didn't bat an eyelash at the dogs/bicyclists/tractors/weird things on the side of the trail. She gave one particular mailbox the hairy eyeball (IDK what the issue with it was, it looked like every other mailbox, maybe it was haunted by a demon?), and she was tentative across some pavement (most of the trail is gravel), but nothing particularly sassy. She was super excited to trot, and some of the external stimuli got her worked up enough that the trot was UP. The hang time was incredible, and I just giggled like a child as she fancy pranced down the trail.
A ladybug hitching a ride on Trigger's head.  
We saw plenty of wildlife, including a fox running down the trail, and a turtle!
Turtle friend. We very carefully walked around it, haha. 
Excited about, something? Maybe the lawnmower? haha. 
Eventually we ran into DH on his way back to the trailhead, so we reluctantly turned around and let the horses walk back. They both worked up a good sweat, and enjoyed getting hosed off at home. It was a good outing to get a baseline for both horses, and put in some relaxing miles. Now we need to get out to the more fun trails!
After we got the horses settled, we headed over to my mom's for some chores around the house she needed help with, then back home for chores at our own house. It was a super long day, and Sunday I was a bit sore, so I was glad the rainy day gave me an excuse to bum around. It was the perfect kind of rain, super slow and steady, soaking into our dry, dry ground. My grass was so excited! The horses were also super tired, which was entertaining, as I got multiple pictures of yawning and sleepy ponies. 
Fired up the smoker for the first time this year, and made some EXCELLENT pulled pork. Yum. 

Also tired. Barn cat life is ROUGH. 
So much napping. 
All the napping. 
Sundays are for sleeping.
Worn out. 
She's beauty, she's grace.... haha. 
These two are always grooming each other but any time I get close enough for pics, they stop and come over for attention. So enjoy this super grainy zoomed in video, lol.