Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Wedding and More Rides

This weekend was my girl Jenny's wedding. Okay, so in all honesty, I was worried. But let me tell you, the day was amazing. Beautiful bridesmaids, beautiful roses, beautiful cars, and a beautiful bride. Plus, best DJ and congo line EVER! There was a photo booth and awesome white wine (says the non-wine drinker). It was a wonderful day... And I didn't fall down.

I didn't get to ride Sunday or Monday... But Monday night Mr. Brantley did get new kicks! YIPPEEE! Best farrier in the world we have. He put some platforms on my boy until he gets a bit more foot growth. No one else seems to see it but I see a little more weight coming on him. Yay!

I rode Tuesday, a little nervous with him having two days off but he was great. WOOHHOOOOO!

We're just starting to work on going straight and tipping his nose a bit more. He doesn't like to spend a hell of a lot trotting, he picks up the canter like a champ and just goes and goes and goes... Not that I'm complaining. Need more videos! Check out our YouTube!

Today before work I brought Chevy home after feeding then headed back to ride. I tacked up B and headed to the indoor only to hear a familiar voice with an accent. Wish I had known Niall was going to be in the ring! He invited me in to ride during L's lesson but I had never ridden with them before and I needed to go through my routine... I watched her lesson and as she was cooling down I said F it and got on... No warm up off line... No stirrup driving... Just a quick mount on the off side and then on I went. Walked around the arena, B a little curious of Rajah, and then down came C and Dustin from the main barn... Two horses? We walk, trot, cantered during L's cool down and C's warm up with no issues. Even with a bit of a traffic jam at one time, I slid my hand down, pointed his nose, and across the arena we went, no problem. We received some nice compliments when I dismounted. It felt great... Definitely needed a pick me up after the last week. Can't wait for CB's call so I can go on and on about how awesome Brantley is... Wether he goes straight or not.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Rides 4, 5, 6 and A Sad Goodbye

Dublin wanted in on the photo shoot.
Worked on Tuesday until 6 and then met K and the boys at my mother's for our photo shoot with Mama Bear. Roxie, collar and leashless, trotted up to the barn I used to ride at and we planted ourselves with the other pups in a buttercup filled pasture (complete with Dublin and Star, two of my childhood ponies). This was the result:


K did an amazing job. I am so lucky to have a friend like her. She came with me to the barn after while the boys babysat Chevy so I could have my Ride #4 - Went great. I rode in that side pull I purchased a while ago and a rope rein. I had a hard time getting on (come to find out it was because I never lengthened my stirrups after S used my saddle... Dumbie) and my reins were too short, but it was still a good ride. (Did I mention it was during a lightning/thunder storm?)

Wednesday I went into work, keeping a smile on my face, I went through the day and checked in pet after pet. I brought munchkins and bought myself a coffee and a bacon, egg, and cheese sandwich. Things were going well and 5pm came around. I checked in two of the cutest siamese kittens I've ever seen. After the appointment, one of my coworkers came in and said, "I'm switching out with you. Roxie is here." My heart stopped has I handed her the carrier and the vet I was working with looked down. I walked out into the hallway and there was Mikhail, my hero, standing in the hall. I walked towards him and he opened his arms. Once again, as I did almost two years ago, I collapsed in his arms and cried. The heart was hanging on the door and shades pulled, I walked in with him and there she was wagging her tail, smile on her face. My step father and youngest brother were there and we waited for my Dad. I walked out of the hallway to discuss the steps after the appointment and received encouraging hugs from people I have only known a few months. It meant so much to me. They asked if I wanted them to be in the room but I told them I would be the tech for the appointment. My favorite doctor met us in the room, my father showed up red-eyed and tired from his travels. We laughed and talked about all our favorite things about her and all the things she loved to do. My Dad made me cry when he said her favorite thing was being with us. It was so hard but I knew it was the right decision... I cried all the way home.

Mason came to the barn with me and I rode Brantley. It was exactly what I needed. He played DJ and B took me around and around. It was exactly what I needed. He took some video:

I accidently deleted the 2nd video buuuuut I won't complain. Looks pretty good to me.
After that Mason and I went and got Awful Awfuls... Yum.

Dropped Mason off before heading out to meet J & J, the deck was empty. I burst out in tears. Roxie is always sitting there waiting for us on the back porch, ears perked, tail wagging. Always trying to race me up and down the driveway...

I met the girls for a drink (aka: water) and sang a few songs... Definitely helped.

Today I got to work and the girls left me a card with Roxie's paw print on it... It was the sweetest thing and I'm fighting the urge to get a tattoo of it. I got through the day, scolded for a mistake that I don't think I made but I took the blame. Why not? My initials were on it, may as well. Just have to look at it a little closer next time...

I didn't get to ride on my split, but I left work about 8pm and made it to the barn by 830-845pm. Had an awesome ride. He was more willing to go to the left and I shortened his mental build routine. Walk, trot, canter. I worked on tipping his nose enough to prepare for doing small serpentines. I opened my hand, waited for the nose, then released as soon as he relaxed. Ride 6 complete... 

My prayers go out to Oklahoma and for all those lost, take care of my girl and she'll take care of you.
I miss you Roxie. <3

Monday, May 20, 2013

Day 3... Success

Brantley and his friends at Cherry Croft... Yes I feel bad.
On Sunday I made my way to Cherry Croft again and as I was stuck in URI Graduation traffic, I thought about how excited I was to bring him home. I made my way up the path once I got the farm and brought B down to the indoor. I jumped all over his back, then brought him to the Jeep to tack him up. I got to use my own saddle which I was happy about (although CB's saddle is way more comfy). Latching the round pen gate behind me, I went into my pony-mode where I look really serious but I'm just focused. I stepped up in the stirrup a few times on both sides, rubbed his shoulder, the saddle, moved the stirrup, scratched his hindquarters, then got down. Saw K pull up in the corner of my eye which was exciting. I needed a cheerleader and she is probably the best.

Going through Brantley's routine, I started to feel more comfortable. I had to tighten the cinch more than twice since he's lost a bit of weight (not something I can't fix). We flexed on both sides, I sent him around the pen, got up on the wall and stood in the saddle. Then it was time to ride. It was just as good as the day before and I felt even higher. On a scale of 1-10, I'm a 13.5. K took some awesome pictures as always.

After my ride I went to CT with S to look at another Arab. I got the whole western saddle glare (tested her out for S) and not enough contact. Blah blah blah, horse was calm and quiet and listened to my cues. I was happy and I loved her. We'll see in a couple of months when S is ready to bring ponies to her new place.

Met up with K and we trucked over to Jamestown to get the trailer and then towards Cherry Croft. We thought maybe, just maybe the traffic on 138 wouldn't be as crazy... But an hour later we turned around in the college farm and took off through S. Kingstown and raced to Charlestown. Loaded my pony up in the rain and made our way home.

Today I was on a spit shift at work so I had about 3 hours to get all my chores done and ride Brantley. Of course, there wasn't enough time to walk over to Tavern to use their round pen so I pulled on my cowgirl jeans and worked him in the indoor. I went through all of our routine that I could do, missing out on standing on him which is kind of a rush as you're staring at the ground. Halter and lead in hand, I finally mounted. We loped around most of the time and going in one direction other than right was difficult but it didn't matter to me. As long as he was calm, cool, and mentally collected, I didn't care where he went. A boarder was making a ruckus out in her trailer which he was kind of weary about, but I just pushed him back up into a lope and we were good. Day 3 complete. We'll see what tomorrow brings!

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Day 1, a Lifetime to Go!

Guess what I did yesterday... RODE MY PONY!

Cloud 9 can't touch what I'm feeling right now.

They let me out 5 minutes early and I trucked my way down to Cherry Croft. I gathered my pony, sat on Donut the lesson horse to check stirrup size (CB wanted me to use his saddle), and started B's routine.

I tried about 3 times to jump up on him from the ground... Luckily there was a step stool!

This was a balancing act that I really needed to prepare for. I finally got my legs square over his hind end without teetering into a face plant.

Knowing that I could use the step stool and he just stood there really made me feel good about the whole situation. I think I may get one of those instead of using a mounting block. They're sooooo much lighter and easy to move.

After doing this 3-4 times on either side and getting him to flex, we brushed him down and tacked him up. Walking him to the round pen I was a little nervous, but butterfly nervous. I'm not sure if I said this in yesterday's post but it was like a second 1st date. What I mean by that is the conversation you have with a person you tried to date in the past and it just didn't work out. I felt like I was saying to him, "Hey, I know you've worked on some things, and I've know we've done this before and it didn't work. But maybe we should try it again." In real life, that never works, but with Brantley, I'm ready to give it another go.

CB had me go through the same steps that he does with B every time he rides. First get him to flex, put my foot up in the stirrup, stand up, pat his shoulder, slap the saddle, swing the stirrup, pull the rear cinch, rub his hindquarters, rock back and forth, knee in the saddle, get down. I did that a few times on both sides. Let me tell you, getting my right foot up in the saddle was harder than I thought. It'd been so long since I mounted on the "off" side since I stopped riding Kid. After the 2nd or 3rd time, it got easier.

I stirrup drove him around, that was something I was good at. We worked on it a lot but CB had me really push him because he was getting lazy... Brantley... Lazy.

He then had me climb up on the side of the pen, easy you'd think. Not for this bone-y ass. I need more padding... Anyway, of course Brantley had a thorn on his neck so I stabbed him with that by accident and he spooked. Then I rubbed down by his withers and got my hands tangled in his mane... I thought most guys liked that! ... Kidding. But after it all, I leaned over on one leg, rubbed his shoulder, patted the saddle, rubbed his butt, then through my other foot up on the saddle. Waiting for the face plant and it never happened!

Once that was over I jumped down, of course slicing me wrist on the wood but it's okay, only Deb saw, and took off his halter to send him around. I pushed him up into a trot, then a canter, and really went after him to move his feet. AND AGAIN! NO FACE PLANTING! YAY!

Then it was time to get on. Mounted on the off-side, rubbed him down, slid down to the ground, gathered up my lead on the other side and on I went. Walk, trot, canter... Threw the rope over his head... Walk, trot, canter. 

I breathed for the first time on this horse... I smiled. I laughed. But no, I didn't cry. 
(Who says I didn't want to)

Saturday, May 18, 2013

An Exciting Phone Call

Last night after an interesting "Rabies Suspect" filled day, I received a phone call from CB about Brantley. Yesterday for their ride (I think we're on 4, today will be 5), he put a bit in B's mouth and went along in the round pen. Mr. Lazy Pants "troped" (trot/lope) around the pen lazily, even with CB trying to push him on. He decided to take him out to the outdoor arena and see how he'd be. He was a little reserved at first and trotted around the arena then decided he'd rather do large circles by the gate. CB let him do a few circles and then loped off around the whole of the arena, then let him do a few more circles at a trot and loped him off again. All-in-all CB said it was a great day and asked if I was excited about tomorrow. I'm excited, nervous excited. To the point my stomach hurts. I'm not scared nervous like I was the first time I got on him after my fall, more like a 1st date nervous. Butterflies and everything. Question is: Am I more worried about riding Brantley or people watching, especially CB.

After I was let out of work I met K at the barn and we went to go see Tess. I pushed her a little more this time and let her out on the 20' line right off the bat. A few more rears and a nasty face here and there, but she came down and remembered the things we did the day before. I only worked her for about a half hour and we got to the point where I could toss a rope over her head both directions, slap the ground with the lead, and throw the lead up over her back and flanks. She's still sensitive to being brushed and gives us the nasty "bitch" mare face but we got to brush her face, neck, and front legs. I think that's a good start. She's picked up a lot on my quiet cues and I think appreciates that I don't demand things out of her, more ask out of respect. I want her to like me, but I'm not looking for her to rub up on me and want to be with me all the time. More just respect what I'm there for. We will see.

I'm excited to ride B today. CB said he's going to start me in the round pen with a halter and lead which I'm completely comfortable with. I even want to suggest for him just to send me around without anything on Brantley's face but we'll see what he has to say.

Jen's Bachelorette Party is tonight... Should be interesting.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Almost There!

Just a quick shout out to my OTTB LB who would've been 17 today. I miss you buddy!

So for my day off, it was pretty busy but definitely good. I got my new scrub top in the mail today! Mossy Oak pink <3 - Can't wait to wear it to work! ... Oh and that's Mitch.

My new Mossy Oak Pink scrub top!
Spent some time with Roxie in the morning after barn chores and let the pups run around. She's moving around really well which is making our decision harder but I know it's the right thing to do. Her and I split a cinnamon bun while the other two dogs stared and drooled... I am so mean.

Roxie & Chevy
Phone call from the vet lead me to Cherry Croft early and Brantley got the rest of his spring shots! He was so well behaved and although I must start him on doxy for 10 days, he all around looks good. Definitely needs to put his weight back on but it'll be worth it. Went for a walk with Deb and Kid out on the trails, B dragging along. When we got back CB was ready to work with him. Let me just tell you, I really need my own camera so I can put these pictures up that I've been taking. But it's my Dad's camera so I have to wait for him to come back from Louisiana. Brantley was so good and so calm, not too supple in his flexing, but I can't ask for much more. CB rode him around with a halter and a lead (his 4th ride) and flipped the rope over his head to change direction. If we had done that back when we were riding B would've had a massive heart attack. I have seen a definite difference in my boy, I get to ride him on Saturday and home on Sunday! I can't wait!

Went with K to see a pony she's been riding and she reminded me a lot of Ms. Pretty. Oh, I definitely have a soft spot for crazies...

Watching K ride I contemplated getting on Pretty, it's been a fews days. So glad she talked me into it!
Jumped for the 1st time this season!
Thanks for the pictures Kate!

Honestly couldn't believe this was me and Pretty.

Zoomed in to see if I had the look of death. NOPE!
Little cross-country log.
It's amazing have someone pushing your limits.
Such a good girl.

I went to Hoofprint Farm with K after my little jumping adventure to work with a thoroughbred named "Tess". We heard warning after warning about her and her "bitchiness". I was expecting a teeth-baring, striking, rearing, covered in sweat (me I mean), workout. She responded to everything I did perfectly. She had a couple of mini-tantrums but I let her work it out and would ask again, no WWF throw-downs. There was a moment where she cow-kicked at me when I tested out her flank area, she was not happy. We went back to the things that she seemed to like and she was blinking, linking, and chewing again. I got the angry face a few times and realized if LB and K's LuLu had a baby, it would be Tess. She's very willing and can be soft as long as you don't demand her to make a move. Little has possible, hard as I have to be. There were a few times I had to get after her and she came right back. I made sure not to push too much sending her around me on a 20' line at first. Lots of walking and backing exercises and then sending her out walk, trot, canter. Back to the 12' line and more calm, quiet exercises. I think she really appreciated me not chasing her around to wahoo. Timing and respect is everything. I didn't try to be her friend, or her boss. More of a coworker. We'll see how this goes. I really like her and already know she's got a ton of potential and she has really honest and willing owner. Plus, bay thoroughbred with an attitude problem? Didn't I already mention in the post, "I like the crazies"?

Here's a couple of extra pictures just for fun. Mason caught this adorable picture of me and Chevy the other night. Honestly, not staged. I just wanted him to sit next to me and he had his head sitting on my leg. Right before my brother snapped the shot, Chev put his paw on my knee and picked up his ears as if to say "CHEESE!"

A couple of weeks ago our little Facebook group got together for dinner at K's house with the dogs. SO much fun! It was great seeing everyone that came and those who couldn't come were there in spirit :) Definitely a repeat situation.


Monday, May 13, 2013

1st's for Dog n Pony

Chevy's Happy Face!
If only he had known...
What are you doing to me?!
Today was Chevy's first trip to the vet. He was so well behaved for the doctor and the techs (AKA: my coworkers). We received lots of compliments AND a prescription for Doxy for Anaplasmosis... Two pets on Doxy? Great!
Do you have Animal Crackers? Can I have one?!
After dropping Chev off at home (and a quick trip to Petco), I went to see the old girl. She looks really good which makes it harder for my mom knowing we made her an appointment next week. She's getting all the cookies/crackers/and pizza crusts she can get. Plus lots of one-on-one time with none other than me. I think she appreciates it. I know I do.

For some happy news, Brantley had his first ride today with CB at Cherry Croft... I stayed calm and cool through the whole thing but if you know me, really know me, you know I was jumping, dancing, and squealing on the inside like a 10-year-old school girl. I'm so pathetic. Plan is home Sunday afternoon and I get to ride Saturday. WOOHOOOOOO! Can't wait!

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Bad Blogger... Good Excuse

I am a bad blogger! I haven't posted anything about the progress Brantley has made... Which he's made a ton. News! I have tomorrow off from work (which is very well needed) and it will be Brantley's first ride. I am ecstatic! Then home Thursday! I can't wait... Here's a recent video:

So, in other news. I went to give my brothers a ride to school this past Wednesday and expected my old girl to come barrel-assing into the living room. She didn't come. Instead I heard a slip, slide, and a crash. She looked at me, laying down, ears down, frustration in her eyes. My heart broke as she struggled to get her back legs up and she couldn't. I carried her outside, all 90lbs of her, and sat her on the grass. She didn't even try to stand up, she just laid there. That "look" people talk about their pets give them that they wait for, for the first time I got it. I thought about it all morning after the boys and after getting to work, my heart finally sank. I called my Dad and asked him to pick her up and bring her in for an early appointment and after a good exam, the vet (my favorite) and I had the QOL talk. That's short of quality of life. He left the room to get a steroid injection and Dad put his hand on my shoulder. I lost it. Doctor came in, gave her the injection, and we were on our way. Sent her home with some prednisone and now she can get up on her own and go out to the bathroom, but she's still not the same. For once my mother gave me complete control over the situation and after some discussion with my brothers, we made a date. It hurts and it sucks but we decided that it's better to quit while she can get up and walk without our help than have to wait until she can't walk and have to carry her into the vet's office. She deserves more than that... She's my Roo and I owe her everything. Tear Drop Winken: May 2013

Tear Drop Winken