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. 

Monday, May 21, 2018

Spring 2.0?

Apparently the secret to getting both some rain and a return to spring-like temperatures was just to complain about it, who knew? ;) I'm kidding. Kind of? Haha at any rate, no complaints about the weather now!
Glorious, beautiful soaking rain this weekend. Just what we needed!
Friday was Cinna's turn to work (I'm really digging the alternating days for the girls, it's nice!), and I was pretty excited to try out a new bit for her. Wayyyy back when she first got started under saddle, she did the normal baby bit chomping. I assumed it would get better with time, and to an extent, it has, but she still is more active with the bit than I'm truly comfortable with. Over the winter, I was hoping it was just a sign her teeth were ready to be done, but I took care of that in March and the behavior hasn't changed much. I've tried her in a wide variety of 3-piece snaffles (because I own approximately 13498743534 of them), but I finally decided to expand my search a little. After doing some reading and studying and discussing options with some friends, I finally decided to try her in a Mullen mouth. I had a Mullen mouth eggbutt happy mouth, but I loaned it to my mom, so I kept searching.
I ended up with this -- loose ring, small port for some tongue relief, and it's the blue alloy (reminiscent of the Bombers bits, just without the price tag!). I swapped it out on one of her bridles when it arrived Thursday night, and then Friday morning I tossed her out on the lunge first to make sure she was acclimated to the new piece of metal in her mouth before I climbed aboard. She was perfectly quiet in the mouth on the line (although more than willing to canter, and less than willing to transition back down into the trot, haha), which I found encouraging! We ended up having a really good ride -- she listened well to the bit and seemed markedly more comfortable, although obviously it will take more than one ride to make a full judgement on it.
Maiden voyage rocking these AMAZING floral boots from Stacie!
She also murdered a bell boot in the last 5 minutes of the ride when I was letting her hack out in the yard. It was on it's last legs anyway, but RIP fluffy boot!
The face of an innocent pony who did not mean to murder said boot! ;)
As I mentioned in Friday's post, I also got to attend a PEMF demo on Friday night hosted by my GMO. It was really awesome! I, of course, volunteered to be "pulsed", so I got to sit in the chair and it was definitely an interesting feeling. Not only did I sit in the human chair for a while, but then when the presenter pulled out the big loops to use on a horse, I also held them for a bit, hoping to see if it made a different for the residual soreness in my thumb -- and it did! Someone more local to me recently got a machine, so we'll see if that makes an appearance in any future posts ;)
A picture from the demo -- isn't he just about the cutest thing you've ever seen? I wanted to put him in my pocket and take him home <3
I also had a SUPER busy weekend, so more to talk about there, but I think I'll save that for tomorrow! Did you have a pleasant, horse-filled weekend? Have you ever had any personal experience with PEMF? 

Friday, May 18, 2018

All Thumbs

Poor Ruby had her scheduled ride yesterday shortchanged slightly, not that I think she minded. For whatever reason, when I woke up, I was completely unable to bend or move my right thumb without excruciating pain. Trying to accomplish things without using it went from mildly annoying to seriously inconvenient over the course of the day, but luckily it seems to be back to normal today. No idea what that was about, but glad it was short-lived!
Cinna really enjoyed her birthday cookies, haha.
Since I didn't think I would be able to manage reins very well, I opted for a lunge session instead, which was pretty illuminating. Since I brought Ruby home this winter, we haven't worked too much on the lunge. If the weather, footing, and time were cooperating, usually I'd just opt to ride instead.
While all the upward transitions were prompt (fairly normal), she decided that any and all downward transitions were totally optional. Um. Nope. That's not actually how it works Ruby!
Zoom zoom!
So we did transitions, transitions, and then, you guessed it, MOAR TRANSITIONS! It didn't actually take long for her to remember that she is, in fact, fairly trained, and return to being her normal obedient self.
At the end of her workout, I decided to climb on bareback and hack her out to cool off. She was a superstar, and hacked out in the back field on a loose rein. Good girl! We also looped down the drive a few times before it was time to untack, hose her off, and park her back in front of her fan.
Since the internet is coming apart at the seems over the audio clip, I chuckled when I saw this. 
Tonight my GMO is hosting a PEMF demo, which I'm really looking forward to watching. Maybe I'll get some cool media and info so I can write about it! Maybe if my horses stay in regular work, I'll even shell out for some pampering for them ;)

Thursday, May 17, 2018

On a Roll

Whew! It’s been less than a week, but I’m so pumped about the switch to summer hours. It’s totally given a rocket boost to my motivation ❤ love it!
Also watching these sassy little munchkins frolic keeps me smiling any time I'm outside. 
Tuesday morning everything was a bit soggy from some unexpected (but very welcome!) rain on Monday afternoon/evening, so I opted not to ride. Instead, I focused on making some progress on Cinna’s very, very pathetic and dingy tail. For a Spanish horse, she’s a bit lacking in the tail department – mostly because she is forever stepping on it and ripping out chunks…. Ugh! I spent some quality time with purple shampoo, heavy-duty conditioner, and then some Gleam, while she stuffed her face with clover. It’s not instantly white-bright overnight, but it does look quite a bit better. I wasn’t going to undo six years of neglect with one wash, so this will be an ongoing project this summer, haha.
Real funky angle but someone was being a good girl for her scrubbing. 
Tuesday night I ended up checking out a Zumba class offered by our local parks and rec department, which ended up being pretty fun! It was hard, but not so hard that it was discouraging – I’m not super coordinated, so I could either follow the instructor’s feet, OR her arms, but not both at once. It was definitely a good workout though, so I think I’m going to sign up for the 9-week course they’re offering this summer. Clearly just chores and riding (not that I was doing much of that this winter and spring) just aren’t cutting it in the exercise department, and I hope that paying for a class will keep me motivated to go, lol. We’ll see how that works out for me!
You don't get to see the horrific sweaty post-Zumba selfie I sent to my friends as a joke haha. 
Wednesday morning was Cinna’s turn to get ridden. I will admit to being a little apprehensive when I made the switch to summer hours about always riding when no one is home – it doesn’t bother me as much with Ruby, but Cinna can be a bit of a wild card. Earlier this week I set up a system with my two closest coworkers where if I don’t make it to work by a certain time, they’ll call DH. That won’t help if I get dumped and break my neck and actually die (except they’ll find the body earlier? Haha) but if I’m lying unconscious in the arena, finding me in the morning vs. the evening will be helpful from a medical standpoint, right? #safetyfirst
The face of a mare who can't believe I don't trust her! ;)
I debated about setting up the Pixio – I knew I had time, but the sky looked a little sketch and I could hear thunder. But my weather app said 0% chance of rain for hours, so I risked it. I also decided to get everything set up and dialed in while I still had Cinna in cross ties, that way I could just turn on the watch and get on, vs. my previous bumbling attempts to get everything set up while I also held the horse. It worked MUCH better, with one small glitch – the camera automatically shuts off if you don’t start recording within a certain time (to preserve battery) which is fine, but I didn’t realize I needed to “wake it up” when I attempted to start recording. So the entire first half of my ride I thought it was recording, but it was not. Womp womp. Totally user error though, hopefully once I get more used to riding with it every day I’ll be less likely to make these kind of silly mistakes!
Which is actually kind of okay, because the first half of the ride was an absolute shit show, lol. Cinna was LIT and there was lots of jigging, breaking to the trot, being reminded she did in fact know how to walk, and then when I was finally ready to trot, lots of zooming around flailing her head like a giraffe. During a walk break to try to reset her brain, I finally figured out the Pixio wasn’t actually recording me, so I hopped off, fixed that problem, and then climbed back on. (little did I know there was a bigger problem, haha).
Sweaty mare #postride
When I got back on for the second time, she was much improved. Much more willing to let me set the tempo, and not rooting quite so much. I actually remember to ride with a whip yesterday, which came in handy for two minor corrections (when my leg was ignored), but then she was good as gold. We did a lot of trotting, and by the time I asked for the canter, she was pretty tired. She made a valiant effort, but our canter transition was rushy, and then she really struggled to hold it. Once I got one circle each direction, I quit. We had a nice long coolout, then I hosed her off and finished up chores. I started the video uploading to YouTube while I got ready, but I was really disappointed to review it and see that most of it looked like this.
Hey look, most of us in the frame!
Nope, gone again. 
Clearly I had my beacons set funky/camera not correctly lined up, so I’ll have to try again. Lest anyone be discouraged about how much trouble I am having with my Pixio usage, I’m 99.9999% sure that it’s just a lot of little random user errors – the system is only as good as the person using it, and clearly I’m not patient or thorough enough to be good at this the first few times. Hopefully it will get better :)
Today is Ruby's turn to work, but also Cinna's birthday! We're not going to go all out like last year, mostly because I don't think I'll be able to strongarm DH into helping me, and I also can't remember where I stashed all the birthday decorations? But anyway, happy 6th birthday Cinnamonster! Where has the time gone??