Friday, June 29, 2018

Rain Delay

Well I originally had like 2/3 of a post typed up yesterday morning, and then Blogger glitched out and ate it, and I was too annoyed to try again. But today is a new day, so let's go over a quick recap of this week!
A storm rolling in over the church we got married in :)
Monday and Tuesday morning were reasonably nice weather-wise, and I was able to fit in rides on both girls. For Cinna's ride on Monday, I was particularly motivated, and I busted my butt to get through chores quickly. My plan was to set up the Pixio and get some updated footage of how she's going in the new bit. Of course, like most of my plans, things didn't quite work out. The Pixio was feeling uncooperative, and after fighting with it for 20 minutes I threw my hands up in defeat and grumpily got on my horse. News flash -- grumpy and annoyed is not a frame of mind I can be in when I get on my baby horse and have a productive ride.
Matchy matchy for the nonexistent media *sobs*
I had to let her walk on a loose rein for a few laps while I focused on readjusting my attitude, and then we went on to have a nice ride. She was much freer in the base of her neck than she had been for the last few rides, so we got right into the day's work of bending and working on lots of random figures (which keeps her from anticipating what we're doing). We had a handful of regressions in steering from time to time, and my stirrup clipped the gate once (spooking her away from the very loud noise), but it was a good ride. Just gotta keep putting in those wet saddle blankets to turn her into a productive member of society!
Not interested in posing for post-ride photos. 
So um. All those white things? That's chunks of deer hair. After I found a large piece of hide in the goat's pen over the weekend O.o
Monday also involved buying the dollar store out of teal organizational items for my tack room. 
I initially wasn't sure I'd be able to ride Tuesday, because the forecast called for rain overnight Monday and then all day Tuesday. But thankfully the overnight rain didn't materialize, and the all day rain didn't start until after I left for work, so I squeezed in a ride anyway! Aside from getting so excited about cantering to the right and flailing around so much she was swapping leads and having to break down and start over, the rest of the ride was great. I didn't ride super long (because Tuesdays I have an exercise class so I try not to murder my legs lol) but when we finished I was smiling ear to ear -- and that happy feeling helped me not get too depressed the rest of the day during the torrential storms! I apparently neglected to actually take any photos of Ruby, but I did get some other interesting photos.... 
The tiny skull I found in the arena Tuesday. Not far from a tiny pelvis and some leg bones. My arena is officially haunted and I think I need an exorcism? 
I giggled about this for HOURS.
Unfortunately, all that rain meant there was standing water in my arena when I got home Tuesday night, and it was too soggy to drag Wednesday. No complaints! The grass needed the rain, so I just spent my mornings doing other things besides riding. I was kind of hopeful about riding yesterday morning, but we got clipped by another storm so it rained during the time I usually ride, then was ridiculously hot the rest of the day. Typical Missouri summer!
Alien eyeballs!
The skies have been lovely this week. 
We have a heat advisory through the weekend (and possibly into next week!) so we'll see how much I'll be able to get done riding-wise. We got some new fans installed last week for the horses and they seem to be much more comfortable in the extreme temps.
Upgraded fans!
The only other notable thing this week was that my Eponia bridle FINALLY arrived. I dithered between ordering cob and full, hoping that since Cinna and Ruby are reasonably close in head size that I might be able to let them share it. After measuring all my bridles and comparing them to the Eponia size chart, I finally went with full. Once it arrived, I realized I probably could have made cob work :-/ ughhhhh. But dealing with Eponia has been such a PITA (I still don't have the browband I ordered, apparently despite saying it was "in stock", it wasn't, so I'm waiting for it to be shipped from Sweden to Connecticut and repackaged and then shipped to me) that I don't think it's worth the headache of trying to exchange it (or trying to swap out the noseband, which is really the only thing that's too big). So that was a bit of a letdown. But it's a lovely bridle and it might replace the PS knockoff and make it into Ruby's daily rotation. 
On the smallest hole the noseband is still woefully loose -- but I don't tighten the crank down that much anyway, so I'm sure we can make it work if I need to. 
The horses were super annoyed I interrupted their dinner for this and I was struggling to get the leather through some of the keepers, so nice photos will have to wait until I'm actually using it haha. 
More pretty skies!
At any rate, things are clipping along at about the usual rate here. Nothing really big on my radar, just working along on the daily grind :)

Monday, June 25, 2018

Winner Winner Chicken Dinner

Oh my GOSH YOU GUYS I'M SO EXCITED. I normally wouldn't consider myself a really lucky person -- I don't win a lot of contests or drawings. And I enter them A LOT. But apparently 2018 is my year??
First there was the Horse of Course Valentine's Day giveaway -- my horses LOVE these cookies!
Then there was the Amateur at Large giveaway -- thank you Stacie!!! I wear the wrap bracelets several times a week, I LOVE them. 
Then there was this tack cleaner from KJ Creations that I won because Clover Ledge Farm tagged me in a giveaway :) bloggers are seriously the best, ya know?
And I really didn't think it could get any better -- all that stuff is SUPER COOL and I love it and I use it basically daily (especially the HOC halter, that's Jack's daily halter now!). But ya know, as a confirmed tack ho, I still enter contests for tack or attire that I'd love to have. Like a Walsh halter giveaway last week (spoiler alert: didn't win that one, damn). But a little over a week ago, Majyk Equipe kicked off their Summer of Giveaways with something that had my name written all over it.......
Of course, my fantastic friends, well aware of my teal-themed life, tagged me to enter (actually I got more than one tag and several PMs lol). And I think I really need to go back even further to tell you why I was so excited about this contest -- About 18 months ago, I saw a pair of these on an event horse in my state, and through some internet sleuthing, I discovered they were a prototype. Naturally, when I was at Rolex at the ME booth, I immediately starting quizzing them about these boots (multiple sources can confirm, lol). Unfortunately, they said they were limited to sponsored riders... boooo. So naturally, this contest was VERY EXCITING for me! The criteria was to follow ME on all social media platforms (already done), tag two friends (easy peasy), and then write about why your horse is a limited edition. I picked Cinna and wrote something suitably sappy, and then held my breath for a week. Last Friday they were supposed to announce the winner, and I clicked over to their page every half an hour or so -- I was having a not-so-great day and was kind of in a mood, so I was hoping against hope that maybe I'd win the contest. I'm sure you know where this is going?
I'm not going to lie, when Amanda tagged me (because she saw their post like 3 seconds after they posted it I guess haha) and I clicked over to read the photo caption, I might have started shaking like a leaf and screaming in my office. 
Ahhhhhh much excite. So I emailed my deets over to ME as requested, and hopefully the new boots will arrive sometime relatively soon? Or whatever, I'm just excited to get them! And to celebrate my love of ME products, enjoy some gratuitous recycled old shots of my girls wearing ME dressage sport boots and bell boots.

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.