Monday, December 30, 2013

Kicks for Christmas

Finally! My Christmas post. Not that it was very interesting, I was sick. Like last year. Dad has been in Alabama since the 23rd so it's just been me and the pup at the house, didn't really bother getting a Christmas tree. Definitely happy I didn't because when Chevy and I went to Mom's Christmas morning... He marked hers. Yes, I giggled and gave him a cookie. I'm a horrible daughter I know! 

My first pair of fun riding boots!
Dad got me an early gift this year (Mom chipped in some) before he left.

Let me just tell you, Dublin Pinnacle boots? Love them. I've had them for at least a month now and have ridden in them. Once again? Love them. Trying my darndest not to use them like crazy doing barn work so I bought myself a pair of $20 rubber boots from Tractor Supply (my second favorite place). I will not post what they look like, kind of embarrassing... But fun for the barn. :)

Mom bought some clothes I picked out at Kohl's about a month ago and asked if she could wrap them for me for Christmas. I said sure... But I'm still expected to pay her back. That's an interesting story. But anyway! I honestly didn't really ask for anything this year because I know how it goes and well... It's just not worth it in the end. If there's something I need I'd rather just grab it myself. Better that way.

But! I did post one day about how I would love a tool set and be able to use my own stuff instead of borrowing everyone else's and what did Dad surprise me with under my mother's Christmas Tree? TOOOOOOOLLLSSS!! And then my aunt and uncle bought me more. Wrench set? Check. Plier set? Check. Just need the drill and a cool hammer. ALLLLLL SET! Very excited. Now I just need the truck and a tool box to go with it.

K gave me the gift of caffeine and A bought our little barn a Keureg. SCORE! But then K surprised me yesterday with the cutest gift of all, handmade (my favorite).

It's a little Brantley! Probably the most adorable thing I've ever gotten before... <3

Kids watching me while sick!
I didn't make it to my family Christmas later Christmas Day because of illness... Or hear from my family at all. But honestly, it was okay. Christmas Eve we had a mini-orphan Christmas dinner with my friend Heather and Matt. I cooked (yes me...) chicken parmesan, and it was delicious if I do say so myself. Christmas movie this year was the newest Batman movie (that I think came out like a year ago). It was great. We did have a little barn holiday party which was a lot of fun and K won Secret Santa gift of the year by far. I think Natalie cried :)

Melody Farm Crew!
Okay so anyway, Christmas was pretty lame but B got the best gift of all. His hind kicks back!

Completely different pony. Tail up, happy ears, lowered head, relaxed back, easy transitions. Just a happier pony in general. The farrier said that he had plenty of foot go barefoot but definitely agreed he just didn't look as confident as he usually does. I'll take less traction for a happier horse. He doesn't bomb around his paddock anyway.

Soon we'll be back to this! BUT WITH SNOW!

Our goal list for 2014 is being set in motion, especially after working B today and seeing his attitude. I really wanted to ride but after my visit with Kid I'm afraid I left my breastcollar and cinch at CC. Hopefully I'll get it back this weekend but honestly, it gives me an excuse to use the one that the Taylor's got me for my birthday this past year. I don't want to ruin it!!! But I guess it's tack... Use it :) It's probably my favorite piece of tack that I own...

A list of goals for 2014 will be posted... It's our year, I know it is. Versatility competition? BOO-YAH!

I am missing my little red head though. She's happy at her new place and I'm happy for her and Sherry. I will admit that before Christmas things weren't going very well and I almost packed up B and headed for her place. Then I realized about the family I have at the barn I'm at now... I've never been so happy at a place before and had so much support. Lots of new people in my life, can't ruin it now!

I got to play with Comet and Lucy this week which is always fun and a learning experience. They're two completely different horses. Lucy is an athlete with all this pent up energy and doesn't really know how to handle it. Explosion of emotion? I think so. I find taking things slow and low with her and letting her think with every step instead of sending her around like a retard trying to "dispense the energy" works better. The more you make her run? The hotter she tends to get. I don't think this horse could get tired. She had an episode the other day just walking with A that scared all of us. Her and I had a little "talk" and she calmed down after thrashing and bucking and rearing at all of us. I didn't get mad, didn't get frustrated, just waited for her to find the answer no matter how many tantrums it took. She got it. Definitely saw it in her eye yesterday when she worked. A worked her today and said she was good so I'm happy.

Lucy and her thinking face... "Did I do it right?"
I worked with Comet yesterday and just took him out and made him trot and trot and trot and trot... Change direction... Trot some more. I walked the circle with him so he wasn't just doing one tiny circle around me. Made him stretch his legs, through his back, down his neck. He was a little hot at first but like I said, completely different than Lucy. He needs to work, move, get his body going. That's when he starts to think. He's a fast learner, just has space respect issues and is pushy with his head in a non-cute way. I saw a difference in him when I worked him tonight, the explosions into the canter were non-existent (maybe 1-2 vs. 20). He even respected my presence with another horse in the ring which is hard for him usually. Another pony walks in the ring and you may as well get off or just walk the rest of your ride. I can't wait to see how he is for N tomorrow.

Ok, I'm good, you can get on now.
My next post other than goals, I really want to get into emotions and training. I read an article on Stacy Westfall's blog: ... Read it? Think about it? Discuss it? I think so.

Hope everyone enjoyed their Christmas!
Start off the New Year right!
Merry Christmas from Sammy & Santa Chevy!
Maybe I'll start my New Year off with these...

Friday, December 27, 2013

Re: Shoes It Is

This is just a follow-up post for "Shoes It Is" to get through until my Christmas post (which is not all that interesting). Appointment tomorrow with the pony pedlar! We'll see how it goes...

Had a few comments about tying B's tail to his emotions/physical demeanor were raised after this post. Of course to follow, an "article" popped up on Facebook I would love to share. Wanted to research it more but didn't find much more. Here it is! Enjoy!

Some pictures of Brantley and his "happy tail". Couldn't find any good ones of his not so happy tail before he went to CC.

Copied from: Manolo Mendez Dressage's Facebook.

Does your horse's tail swing?

If a horse's tail gets caught between his hind legs he is not using his body properly. If the tail lays flat and listless these are clues that energy, messages and feedback from the brain to the body and back may not be traveling up and down his spine properly. If the tail is clamped down, the horse may be in fear or in pain, closing the hindquarters down. This is something to discuss with your veterinarian.

If your horse's tail swishes constantly and more so during transitions, changes, or anytime you make a request, your aids may be too loud or he may be frustrated with the work. A little swishing when asked to do something demanding for a short time is different from constant swishing. We must observe and know our horse to figure out what is concentration and what is upset.

The tail reflects the health of our horse's spine. As the spine undulates in a slightly serpentine pattern through our horses' body, his tail should carry through this motion.

As our horse uses his back and body better and better, as his balance changes and improves, he will use his tail differently. We want to keep an eye on it and note improvements or set backs as they tell us how well the training is progressing or is stalling.

We look for a tail that is carried in a soft arch slightly away from the body with the mass of hair rhythmically moving from hock to hock in a 
pendulum motion.

Touching your horse's tail, gently lifting it and rotating it, combing the hair with your fingers, taking segments and gently pulling them in a circular motion while observing your horse will give you feedback about how he feels in his back and body. This should be done easily with no resistance, the tail should have a good weight in your hands and feel alive, not dead. 

PLEASE PROCEED WITH CAUTION. Stand to the side at first and stay close to the croup. If your horse reflexively clamps down or threatens to kick, do not try to force the issue or become aggressive. Reassure your horse with a neutral touch and your voice. If the problem persist, contact your health care pro, do not insist as you and your horse may get hurt.

UPDATE: For additional insights into crooked tail and detailed and extremely well illustrated massage recommendations please check this pdf article which was shared by Debranne Pattillo of

Please read the article! It's very very interesting! :) Let me know what you think. Comments are more than welcome.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Shoes It Is

A little over a week ago the kids all got trims and new kicks to get them ready for the winter. I'm a less is more kind of girl so I agreed with the farrier that we should pull B's back shoes. He was fine with just the front before and I didn't put shoes on him until he had the abscesses and came up lame anyway.

We've been having issues getting back into the swing of things but every time I worked with him on the ground on the line or even under saddle, he got quieter and quieter and back to himself. Sending him around the arena though was another story. He'd pick up a trot and tuck his tail and scoot under himself. I thought maybe he's cold and just needs to warm up. Then I'd ask him to come into me and change direction and pick up a lope. Kissing to him and pointing, I got a couple of strides and his back feet straight in the air over his head... (**So THAT'S why I fell off**) It happened again tonight but he'd move down to a jog then walk and turn in to say, "I'm done." He'd jog around fine but as soon as he started to pick up any speed he'd get really heavy on the forehand kick up his back legs then scoot when he landed. FOOTNOTE: I also noticed that his back was a bit sore when tacking up which was the first sign of an issue. END FOOTNOTE.

I think the biggest thing that gave it away that his feet were hurting was the tail tuck... He did this before when he was tight, tense, and uncomfortable before I sent him to CC to work with the Cowboy. I moved all the poles and standards out of the arena and got on with a halter and a lead rope thinking maybe he just needs to drop his head and free ride around the ring without me asking him to do anything but move forward. He did just that, jogged a bit, and even listened to me when I asked him to change direction with my leg. It was when he started to pick up speed into a working trot that he started to scoot and lift his head and just get short all together. Little R came into the ring and watched him and confirmed the feeling I got... Sore back feet... Fml...

I ended on a good note at the walk and decided to get off and call it a night. You could see the complete change when I got off and he just hung out while N was riding. He was comfy just not to move or do anything. His tail even unlocked from it's tucked position, yay!

As soon as I got home I decided to text the farrier. He asked if I rode today and I said yeah, he's pretty sore still in the hind end. I left out the soreness in his back and the tail tuck... I didn't want to stress him out to rush out because he's got a lot going on. B and I can just walk now that I know what's going on with his body.

The reason I like pulling the back shoes if not all is because of traction on the ice. Yeah, I could put snow shoes with studs and the works but it's easier just for everyone if they can go barefoot. So I'll lose the traction on the ice, but I'll keep a sound horse and that's what counts!

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Looking Up

Things are looking up I guess you could say. I've still got some things on my mind that I've been thinking about and unsure how to deal with but as always, you just have to go with the flow and see where the path leads.

I had a great ride on Brantley last night which was definitely a pick me up from the last few times I worked with him. We did some ground warm up and then I got on (with my side-pull) and worked on just getting him back to where he had been. Nothing drastic just trotting, direction changing, listening to my legs and not my hands. He scooted a couple of times but he was NOTHING like he has been, thank god. Luckily I don't get frustrated easily when it comes to the ponies (except when I wasn't riding him).

Speaking about frustration... Yes, I have patience, and yes, I don't get frustrated easily... But lately my threshold as been HORRIBLE. Like tiny little things just set me off and I guess that's from just holding all the big stuff back. I just remind myself, it could be worse. I could not have the things that I have, even though living in a cardboard box seems much simpler than my life right now. I could learn to deal with the cold... People throw comforters out all the time (unless you're me and donate them to your dog).

Back to the pony. We had a good w/t ride, I tried to pick up a canter but N's horse Comet was a little jumpy so I didn't want to push it and upset him. N's a good rider and could handle a naughty pony, but she's working on building a relationship with her horse and I am not one to hold her back. She was having a hard time keeping his pace at the trot and he really wanted to rush. She was asking questions like what she was doing wrong, does he look okay, what can I do to slow him down... So me being myself, "Do you want me to hop on so you can see?"

B stood quiet and gentleman-like for her while I jumped on Comet. Already I saw a difference with him at the mounting block which I was impressed with. They were having an issue in the beginning but I showed her some tricks and I guess it helped! He was quick and we walked a bit so I could get comfortable. I told her that I wasn't going to try and ride him like I ride B but more like how she was trained to ride, "All fancy like". She laughed and I picked up a trot. LB moment, he was bouncy and forward and total OTTB. LOVED IT! N was right, for an old guy he's quick and wants to move. I took advantage of that and welcomed his stride, not holding him back, but letting him stretch through his legs with my seat. He wanted to trot, THEN BY GOD TROT!

I told her that you can work his brain more at the trot than the canter. There are so many things that you can do with that one gait! Slow, sitting, working, extended, direction changes, circles... All at the trot. And he wants to do it. I did the same thing with Pretty in the beginning. I didn't ask her to lope for at least a month until I knew I could control the trot. He framed up nice and got under himself and was just really a pleasure to ride, when he worked it. Trot until he can't trot anymore, then ask him to trot some more. I hope I gave her some good advice and she seemed really happy with the rest of the ride. We'll see how it goes!

And yes... I am missing my Pretty roley-poley arab...

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

A Few Moments

So as some of you may know, I haven't ridden my horse since the show. Yes, we did well, but I really doubted my horsemanship for a moment or two which means we kind of fell apart. I tacked up and did some round pen exercises in the indoor (way too big) and he was nutty. Let's just say it was at least an hour of cool out when we were done and he was still sweaty. Yay for my Rockin' SP cooler! I didn't ride, I said I'd wait till I saw my pony in those eyes again.

Monday... He was better. Still head up and hot, but he had calmer gaits and a calmer eye. What do I do after Merlot walks in the ring? Jump on my horse with a halter and a lead rope... Yeah, that's me. Stupid girl with the halter and lead rope. He wouldn't let me swing the rope over his head to change direction but luckily we had been working on all leg no reins so he followed my leg pretty well. We had a bit of a jog around the ring and he was great. Yay pony! Merlot on the other hand, hot tamale. He was bolting around the ring spooking at corners and such. B handled it very well with his face in my face going AAAHHHHHH!!! So we did a few more things and I got off. The girl riding stated she thought he had a lot more energy he needed to work out so she would walk while I worked if I wanted. My response was, "I work for brains, not for sweat." I've been a little snappy and bitter lately with some stuff that's been going on but I smiled at her and wished her a good ride. I hope she didn't take it personally/to heart...

Time to get back to work before I get yelled at. Riding tonight... I hope!

Friday, December 13, 2013

Mitch the Cat

So things are slowly getting back to normal. We had an excellent ground work session with Amanda and Lucy on Sunday like I said, but of course Monday I definitely woke up on the WRONG side of the bed. I was okay in the morning but for some reason everything was just rubbing me the wrong way. I worked a split shift so started the morning one way and ended up in one of those, "Don't even try to look at me" kind of moods. I've realized when I'm having a bad day, you get one of two things. 1) Hug me... Please just hug me... I might cry... But do it anyway. Then there's 2) Homicidal. Luckily the people that really matter to me have realized this such as K and my friend Heather. Worked it out at the gym... Much needed.
Brantley and his new hat!
Tuesday B and I had another ground work session in the snow/sleet. It was nice for it to just be us, even though I do love company and using him as an example. Especially when he proves me wrong and makes me work harder. I still have yet to get back on him. Hopefully tomorrow it'll be me, a saddle, and a rope halter. Start from scratch again? I think so! Anyway. Wednesday had a half day at work (proceeding an awkward nightmare about maggots Tuesday night) and spent the rest of the afternoon fighting with the electric fence. Started to get in that mood again, feeling like I couldn't do anything right, until I realized that the old mom and pop hardware store around the corner was open and figured out how to do it myself. Winning? I think so.

Got a little Christmas shopping done. Dad ended up with a waffle maker... That makes ZOO ANIMALS! Yes I said it, a zoo animal waffle maker? I couldn't wait to give it to him. I'm a horrible gift giver because I can't wait... Plus he'll be in Alabama for Christmas so I guess it wasn't a bad idea to do things early for him.

For Mom... Pictures. I don't have a lot of money, obviously. And usually I can't get anything really good so I thought hey, she has no pictures of me and the boy hanging up around the house, just LB.

I have a feeling she doesn't read this so HERE!
Check out the picture all the way to the right! Kate took that. She's AMAZING!

In other news, we all know I have a puppy... Chevy... Cutest little white lab EVER! But I don't know if anyone knows that I have a cat who I've had longer than both Chevy and B. His name is Mitch AKA: "Bitch" "Mitchell" "Cat"... I picked him up while working at Allie's from the little kitten adoption cage we used to keep by the counter. I went 5 years and 100+ kittens without wanting to take one home until I saw this little tiger kitten who was half the size of his ORANGE brother and sister. He's been Mitch ever since, and the only animal I have never had to worry about. He's been an outdoor/indoor cat for about 5-6 years now and he just does his own thing and he's happy that way. Deals with Chevy, loves my Dad, picks on me while I'm sleeping.

Anyway, today's adventure started while I was brushing my teeth. Cat hi-tailed it into the litter box and squatted for about 30 seconds. Usual Mitch, blowin' it up while I'm getting ready to leave. Except there was nothing in the box. I looked closer as he scooted out and saw a little spot of blood. Between the bathtub and the litterbox for the next 5 minutes, he left 4-5 small drops of urine/blood. Straining to go and getting pissed (no pun intended) he attacked the shower curtain. I went to the barn, fed the horses, came home, threw him in the carrier, and took him to work. I always think the worst, my young, male, verge of overweight cat is blocked. FML!

After being examined and kept through the day, we came to the conclusion that no, he was not blocked, but he has feline lower urinary tract disease. Basically that means that he may not be blocked, but there's a 99% chance that if I hadn't brought him in, he would be. Plus, not only does he have the makes of a blockage but also a RAGING UTI which is very rare in cats. Long story short, he has to be on a prescription diet and a load of medications, plus I have to keep a close eye on him.

Close enough?
Glad he's getting wet food now!
Not sure if anyone is familiar with blocked cats but it could be an ongoing issue and cost THOUSANDS of dollars... I know I'm a vet tech and yes I get a discount but let's be honest. I don't have that kind of money. So Dad and I had the conversation that I dreaded. I promised myself that I would never get caught in a situation like LB again without a plan of attack. How far am I going to go? I know I sound like a horrible pet owner and there are people willing to spend that kind of money, but in reality? I can't do it. I'll keep him healthy and blockage free as long as possible but I always have to think the worst and hope for the best!

Happy to be back with his puppy.
Cleaning up after a nice meal.
Of course as I walked in my front door with the cat, the food, and the bag of meds... I broke down.
It sucks... It really does. And I know there are worse things in the world but my animals make me, me.
And Mitch? He's my star child who I never have to worry about... Guess it's the quiet ones...

H had a not so good day either so we hit the gym and worked it out. I started running again and I know the treadmill isn't the best thing for you, but it makes me feel better and gets me going. If I could run outside I would but there are no street likes and black ice? Not my friend.

Monday, December 9, 2013


It made me feel pretty good to get all those comments from my last post about my mini-hiatus. It's been a rough couple of weeks from Thanksgiving to the show on Sunday. I really just needed a break from it all which luckily, I got with no issue. Honestly, it was fantastic to get back in hand with Brantley today and was nice to have some company thanks to Lucy and Ms. Amanda.

Long story short, Brantley and I have been having some... Issues. He just hasn't been himself and more sassy than I'd like. I knew this was coming I just didn't know when. It got to the point where the night before the horse show I got a huge, "Go fuck yourself" from him where he bucked and I messaged Kate saying I didn't want to go. I don't know whether I was pushing him, which honestly I don't think I was, or he was getting bored with what we were doing. I'd like to tell you that he hates jumping and refuses everything and that's why he was being a pill... But it's definitely not. He PULLS to the jumps, wants to go over them looking for a release. I really feel as if my horsemanship was slowly slipping out of the window. I was pulling his mouth more. Trying to control his every move. Micromanaging. Something I know he's not ready for and neither am I. Seeing the was he reacted in his classes I decided to give him the week off. 

He wasn't bad, wasn't mean, just uncomfortable and unsure of himself and me. It hurt, but we worked through it with a smile. A lot of auditors as well as friends and the judge looked at him saying he was burnt out and I said, "No. We need to get through this." He's like me, he needs to push until he prevails. He needs to know it's okay, you've got this, just do it, get it done. If I gave up on him in that one moment, he would've given up on me all together. 

My reward? A clean class over fences outside and a happy horse that just needed a break.

B is NOT a pony fan...

My new pony family <3 >> Where you WOOD go if you wanted to meet other shavings <3
This is what I'm all about.
Moral of the story is. We all need a break sometime. 
As long as we can come back stronger than ever and ready to battle the world.

Friday, December 6, 2013

Small Hiatus

Hey all, I hit a small mental bump and needed to take a hiatus. Of course right when I have show stuff to talk about. We made it through but definitely need to take step back. I'll post this weekend if I get a chance. Started back at the gym to see if it'd help get me out of my funk. Of course I haven't read anyone's blogs... I'm horrible I know... All 12... 13? of my followers think I'm dead (**sarcasm**). Tear Drop Winken: December 2013

Tear Drop Winken