Sunday, June 30, 2013

A Man, His Cows, and a Celebrity Ride

Started my Saturday morning off sleeping in until 630, then making my way to feed the ponies. Everyone was happy to get out, get some grass and I plowed through stalls and rode my pony. Brantley was great, I was a mess. Just one of those days and my boot coming completely untied didn't really help. I finished up with a lope around in each direction after doing some small circles and flexing side to side. Ended on a definite good note.

I awaited the phone call of Ed knowing he needed help unloading about 10-15,000lbs of grain. I wasn't feeling it but when I got the call he said that today's job was catching his cow "Pale Face" and her two babies. She had been dropping weight and he wanted to bring her home so he could fatten her up and keep the calves growing. I've seen owners with their dogs and cats, horses and maybe that one lawn ornament cow, but this man and his herd... I've never seen anything like it. He calls to them by name and then individually look up. They see his truck and although he doesn't drop grain or anything, they come running, surround him, and rub against him like your house pet would. It was incredible. I think we spent at least an hour just hanging out with the cows. He brushed the flies off by hand, responded to their calls, and rubbed their faces, each one of them just loving it. All I could think about was taking pictures of him with them and writing a book about it. I wanted to ask him so many questions but I couldn't help but just stand back and watch.

The calf would come up and "Pale Face" would be out back. He'd run when she came and then she'd call out to him, "She's calling for him, he'll come" Ed would say each time. Wouldn't you know it? There the little would come running. We finally got him up to the barn, luckily I was there because that little bull could move quick. The cow and and the older calf were easier to catch and load up. We put the rest of the herd out and made our way back to the homestead. Grain next weekend...

Even cows like to tailgate!
Patch the Prima-donna
Jeff was coming to do Lu's feet and I went out to check on them and saw B was missing some nails on his left front... He twisted his shoe. Lucky me, Jeff had some extra time. It's only been 4 weeks but B, Lucy, and Charlie's feet are growing like weeds. Miss Lucy was a mess but Jeff can fix anything! He said B's feet were looking so much better. Yippee!
The farrier is here! I must be getting coooookiiieeess!
Today I fed the horses then worked in boarding from 7-1. Maddy the boarding assistant! Let's just say I'm a bad ass boarding assistant. I love being a tech but I also love doing pedicures, bringing the dogs out, brushing them, and like this morning, giving baths. I was soaked by 10 after 3 of them. Plus, loving my coworkers.

After work I was going to go down to Cherry Croft for a lesson but I couldn't get Brantley down there. I went down the Sherry's new place instead. It's looking better and better every day! It's getting harder to say no to moving in... But there's still no place to ride and it's just too far right now. Plus, I'm loving what we have going in the rough board barn. And I don't know what I'd do without Ms. Kate...

When I pulled up to the barn, K was just putting Charlie away from her afternoon ride. I cleaned Sherry's stall for her and grabbed Brantley to ride. Lu looked bored so I told her I'd love to have them join us in the indoor. I was thinking about riding in the outdoor but there was a lot going on next door. After my ride yesterday I needed a really good ride, which I had. He kept wanting to pull into where Lucy was standing but we worked through it. He side passed along the wall in both directions! He's so smart. We flexed, a lot better than he has ever done, and small circles, w/t/c. I dismounted and called K over to get on. They looked fantastic! Lu stood with me and kept asking for me to rub her face, soooo I obviously did. K looked a lot more relaxed on him this time which is good for him and her... And me. I love celebrity rides!

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Busy Busy Busy

All last week I farm sat in Saunderstown. Made a few extra dollars which I'm definitely okay with. I worked in the hay fields with Ed all weekend, coworkers asked if I was tan because I went to the beach... HA! We moved about 800+ bales... 2 times. So technically like 1600 bales which honestly, can't complain. I got to spend the weekend with friends and out in the sun working. Saturday I gave Mason a hair cut and in return he came and helped out. Poor boy turned into a lobster, yes I'm an awful sister... Ed's wife brought us PB&J sandwiches. She's the dictionary definition of farmer's wife. She drove the tractor around while we stacked bales and then I ran Meep home so he could get some rest. After finishing up and loading the last couple of trailers into the hay loft, said my goodbyes and went to do my own barn chores. Sunday morning came and I made a few phone calls and Kate and my friend Ben came out to help us finish up at the pottery. We unloaded a trailer that we didn't get to the night before and then weeded the fields. After lunch we headed out and baled some hay. It really makes you appreciate hay and the farmers that make it when you're doing it yourself. I told Kate that if Lu doesn't eat it she now gets to say, "I MADE THIS WITH MY OWN TWO HANDS! YOU WILL EAT IT!" I didn't want to go back to work the next day.

I've been riding B regularly but the indoor is really buggy and I can tell he's getting a little board. We can only go around in circles so many times. I'd love to take him out on the trails but I don't think either of us are ready for that and honestly, I don't want to push it. He's been good, keeping his head up a little more so I put down some ground poles for him to look and focus on. I placed four down slightly off the rail so that if he didn't want to go over them, he'd have to move out on the outside. We trotted and loped over them. Lucky for me, he tripped a couple of times with no spaz out. YAY! I really need to focus on getting him to drop his head and tip his nose. Flex flex flex! He'll do it on the ground but he's still kind of nervous with me bending his neck in the saddle. More fence work will solve that! Smaller circles, one-rein stops. We got this.

It's been an argument trying to find good places for me to ride him around the farm, aka... Just the indoor. So I finally said screw it, even if I can just walk, I need to ride in the grass paddocks. He needs a fence to follow, both of us do. Today we just worked on walking and flexing. Some fence work, and small circles. It was a nice break for him and I think he appreciated it. He really started to bend and we even went under a few branches (another reason I wanted to ride in the paddock) and he twitched an ear and got tight but I bent him down into a circle and he went on his way. By the end of the ride he was staying against the rail and not hesitating.

Last night I went with Bonnie down to Cherry Croft and rode Gigi again. She's looking for good songs that matches her gate for a project she's working on. Let's just say, "Billionaire" worked perfectly for the both of us. We worked in the indoor and next time I definitely have to bring my radio. Trying to ride with an iPod in my ears? WEIRD! Especially when other people came in to ride. I think we worked for about 1.5 hours? Didn't leave until about 9 haha. It was great. Ben's giving a lesson on her today and I wanted to check it out but I told Ed I'd work with him again today. I'm really hoping to get Brantley down there sometime soon for a lesson but trailering is an issue as always, especially when my schedule is all over the place. If he was okay getting in a step up trailer then problems would be solved. Ben said we could work on it, downside... He doesn't have the time to come to my barn and get him up. Oh well, it'll all work out in the end I'll get there.

Here's some words of wisdom:

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

So You Wanna Trot Now?

A great weekend with new friends. First my Gigi adventure. Her owner asked if I would come up this past Sunday and ride her again. Of course I said "YES!" and was all excited. Come to find out the RI NBHA was being hosted by Cherry Croft so I ran into some old friends as well as making new ones such as Mr. Raymond Dowaliby who is a photographer that they snatched for the runs. They had novice divisions and jackpot barrels where anything goes so Gigi and I got to sign up. We trotted in the warm up and then trotted in the actual run for barrels then cantered back. She loved it! ... And so did I. Then poles came and let me tell you, that filly has a motor! We cantered up the poles, trotted through, then when we spun the last pole I turned her loose with a "Ha!" Everyone started cheering, I could feel how excited she was because I knew it wasn't just me. Her mom loved every minute of it and I think seeing her move like that and be responsible for herself make a confidence boost for when she starts riding again. I can't wait to see them go!

Rounding the pole for the 2nd time through at the trot.
Run it home baby!

Brantley and I have been having really good rides as usual. I don't think that I bad ride could happen at this point only because... I'm riding. That's all that really matters to me. Bre came and took pictures of us again while she was down for a shoot from Maine. I have to get her website, I know she has a - Redin Photography. She came and watched me ride the day before yesterday after the races with Gigi and I really let Brantley get up and go. I'll post pictures down below!

Yesterday our new roomie L and her pony Charlie got on in the indoor for the first time since she's moved in. I didn't get to watch her ride but the smile on her face when she came back meant it was a great ride. She's had quite the journey with Charlie and it was awesome to see how happy she was.

After L was done riding and I finished my chores, I tacked up B for a quick ride. K and her husband came over and watched. She took a little video which was great. Let me just say, after being able to ride Gigi and get back into my natural riding habits, B and I hauled ass around the indoor. It was great. I was asking him more with my legs and my seat. We did a few simple changes because I've noticed that he loves those. Did a little bit of turning into the fence work which gets him really going. We did minimal trotting, he'd rather lope because he seems to be a little off balance but I'm not going to really complain.

Today I went straight to the barn to ride and made that a priority before I had to rush and do stalls. Tacked him up with his sidepull and set up his fancy one-eared headstall and smooth snaffle over it. He took the bit like always, relaxed with his head down (taking it out was always an issue)... I have yet to ride him with a bit in his mouth and I know CB did it when he took him out to the big arena but after learning about his mouth issues and teeth, I've been kind of weary. Plus it's nice to know I don't HAVE to put a bit in my horse's mouth if I don't need to :) Always a plus. B finally spent time trotting around the ring, staying on the rail, dropping his head, and even rounding out a little when I picked up my inside rein. Any time he started to get quick and pick up his head into flight mode I sat a jog, opened my rein, applied leg pressure, and did a small circle sending him back on the rail. A few times in both directions, he was tipping his nose and relaxing like a champ. We did a few lope circles around the arena, keeping it slow unlike the last two days. A few simple changes, and then I brought him down to a walk and worked on sending his shoulders around until he came to a halt. From there I picked up my rein, applied some pressure behind the cinch, asked him to disengage. I popped my heel on him a couple of times and he finally figured out what I was asking for. I asked him to step over with his shoulder after getting him to step under a few times and he took a couple steps back which was of course my cue to start the backing up process.

Backing a horse is a HUGE tool. It can help you get your horse set up for any movement especially lateral as well as getting them to connect with the body behind them. I do a lot of backing on the ground, getting them to work there hind end and drop down to build their back. Plus it can be a really soothing thing to get their mind working. Something Lu loves to do!

I worked on a concept I learned from a Leslie Desmond DVD I rented (LOVING GIDDYUPFLIX.COM) where you learn to feel and ride the feet. This really makes you think about where the horse's feet are beneath you. I would pick up a rein, think back with my seat, but only focus on bringing one shoulder back. Then I'd pick up on the other rein, think back, and bring that shoulder back. Draw up, release, draw up release... I really need to get some video of this stuff. He started giving into pressure really well. A few more rides with the bit free in his mouth and then we'll take the next step. Now for your picture entertainment!


Brantley <3's Auntie Bre

Friday, June 14, 2013

Awkward Ride

So today was my first no so good ride on Brantley. I blame myself... I was lazy and didn't want to pick up the piles of ground poles and move the jumps off the rail. I was thinking to myself we could maneuver. Man I was wrong. Head comes up, but goes under, canter canter canter! Pops off the rail and over a pile of ground poles, spooks to the side, fall on his neck, I'm going to die. Guess what this wonderful pony did, NOTHING! It was great. I tried to get him moving again but he was popping on and off the rail and I was thinking about just getting off and riding tomorrow. No Maddy, you're going to pull through, get your seat back (I was all over the place) and kick it.

I jumped off B, moved the poles and standards off the rail (there was probably 3 feet between them and the wall, thanks guys!), and got back on. Right away he wanted to lope off so I let him. If that's where he's comfortable, I won't complain. He has LB's lope (when he wasn't in OTTB mode) and I get all warm and fuzzy inside. He kept his head up more than usual and was really fast at first. With the "old" Brantley I'd bring him down and try again, but with new Brantley I just grabbed the horn and rode. He finally dropped his head a little and relax after 3-4x on both leads. We did some simple changes and I asked him to come down to a trot. The transition was pretty rough and he picked up his head so I loped him off again until he wanted to stop but made him keep going. I'd rather have a lazy, tired horse than a spaz. He's more together and balanced at the lope anyway. He finally slowed down, did some pea-rolling on the ground, and I brought him down to a trot.

We had a good working trot going around and he finally, on his own, used the WHOLE ring. I did very very minimal slide down, point, back to the rail. I used a little more leg on him to move him over and wasn't afraid to get after him. He did really well going to the right, but was not interested in going left, go figure. Circle, circle, circle, jolt forward, fine we'll lope again. Lope, lope, lope, trot, trot, trot, lope, simple change, lope, simple change, halt, flex, dismount. A ride that could've gone really really bad went really really well. With these fancy lead changes I don't know whether I have a barrel horse or a jumper right now but I'll take our nice little rides as of this moment.

It's going to be a crazy busy weekend, especially tomorrow. House-sitting all week with 2 ponies, 1 cat, and 1 dog. Sunday is Father's Day, mine's coming back from a work trip tomorrow so I cleaned. What a good daughter... I try. And there's a barrel race for the RI NBHA at Cherry Croft. Gigi's mom wants me to come back and ride her which I'm excited for. Nice little buckskin that one is!

Thursday, June 13, 2013


First off, Pretty and I went for a jaunt in the woods today. Made it 5 minutes in and took my first fall off of her. It honestly couldn't even be considered a fall, more a series of unfortunate events. She side stepped on the trot to turn around, I (being asleep at 7am) slid to the side, she stepped more, landed on my feet, she pulled back, I stubbed my toe on a rock, dropped the reins, and off she went. I knew she'd go straight back to the barn so I pulled out my phone and started to walk. I don't usually panic... Okay, I don't think I ever panic. P finally picked up, panicked, and ran to our side of the barn only to find the Rollie Pollie arab munching on grass with her friends B and LuLu. I showed up, checked her up and down, pulled down the stirrups and received the response, "You're getting back on?" This coming from an eventer... I said yes and headed to the mounted block and went back out to enjoy a nice 30-min trail ride, at the walk. As always, better second time around.

K was at the barn when I got back and I told her the story of my little adventure and grabbed B to ride. A guy painting the house came and asked to feed him an apple and by the look in B's eye I couldn't say no. There were construction workers at the house next door knocking down an old barn but that wasn't going to stop my ride. I tacked up and walked B to the indoor, his ears almost touching. What's the worst he's going to do? Run? We've got that down AND I have the indoor. Unfortunately, a boarder and visiting rider were lunging a horse but I waited until they were done and started stirrup driving B to make sure he was at least a little sane, which he was. In the background I heard the visiting rider, "It's okay, I don't know what she's doing either." What-EVER! Everyone knows the story of Brantley there and they know he's fresh back from minimal training. I can get on, that was the deal. Steering and such? Need to know basis. Things need to be on his time, not mine.

Anywho! Got on and started working on circles at the walk and then turning into the fence to get his front end and hind end moving. He did really well and I definitely kept in mind the other rider. Wish I could say she did the same for me. I think she cut my off at least 2-3x. One of them while waving her dressage whip around. I nudged it off because Brantley was being so good that while they were standing and talking I got my loping in, did a simple change (gave me a flying lead change yesterday) and then when they started working again came back to my circles. I didn't mind splitting the ring but ended up squished in the back corner as they made their side bigger and bigger. There was no communication in what they were doing and although I respect her as a rider, ring etiquette. I get it, you were there first, but your horse can be ridden outside in the fenceless fancy dressage ring, mine can't. So just give me a break. It's frustrating because everyone wants me to ride and enjoy my horse, but no one is willing to give us time and space. Guess I should've left the trail ride for last and ridden B first at 7am when I know everyone is asleep. I'm glad I got to ride with another horse, while a building was being knocked down, and I didn't get hurt, and Pretty didn't get hit by a garbage truck. I'm very thankful for that. But I wouldn't mind a little bit of a break in the riding ring while my horse is still in the making.

It's better to do things right the first time, then rush for everyone else and regret it.

Chevy and I visiting Grandma before work.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Pictures of Cherry Croft's Clinic

Here are some pictures of the clinic. There are 100+ so for B's blog I picked a few! I did upload some pictures of Brantley's training with CB but I'll make a page with some pictures instead. Keep a look out!

 Tear Drop Winken: June 2013

Tear Drop Winken