Wednesday, March 26, 2014

2014 - How Exciting

So it's March and how much have I gotten done for 2014? Probably nothing. I can't complain too much because I can get on my horse right? But I want more. I want him to really start to get soft now. That is probably the most important thing. I've always been told I the feel and the timing to get a horse soft, but apparently Brantley's issue is that he just can't get enough of his hind-end under himself.

One big thing is his "lope". It's dreamy, and comfortable, and his stride his huge... Although his head is low, his nose sticks out and he flattens out like he's on the track and just... Goes. Don't get me wrong, I love it. But I also love asking for a little more contact, tipping his nose, and have him bend around my leg in a nice circle... Not a shoulder in, nose out, race around the barrel spin. I want to be able to rate the SIZE of the circle. It's either tight... Or half the ring.

Recently I got in contact with a friend who swapped lessons for pet sitting way back when I had LB. She was a dream for us and helped me get him back to where we were BEFORE the move to the-middle-of-nowhere. We had our first lesson last week and it was definitely different for B. Lots of contact, English saddle, but same snaffle. I noticed how he falls apart when I ask him to come into my hand. Not like he loses his mind but he just... Stops. It was interesting to see how off balance both of us were because we've been doing the same thing for so long. I am so out of shape in my "Hunter Princess" ways. It doesn't help that every saddle I try for me and him just don't work for either of us. K's probably works the best out of what I've tried but he just doesn't want to move under it. I feel so far away from him though (weird because I hear that when people hop in a western saddle with all the leather).

We had a ride last night that I called, "the ride that never happened". He's been worse than he was last night, but I was just completely all over the place (blame the weather) and we just couldn't connect. We loped around the arena until I finally had to PUSH him into it and called it a night. Gave him a day off today and maybe tomorrow we'll hit the trails. We really need it... Get back in the zone, for me and him.

Thinking about life today... And how much I love my job... But asking myself if it's really the right fit for me. I know you'll find the B.S. anywhere you go, but it's getting kind of ridiculous. Doing a big project tomorrow with the boss that if I screw up, it may make or break me... Maybe if it breaks me it'll be for the better.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Wordless Tuesday?

Okay so fine, it's not Wednesday... But there are no words.

Today was an amazing day but I will leave the Adventures of Lucy to explain at some point.

So instead? An amazing video of Lucy... Yes...

Loose-Rein Loping Lucy... LOPING LUCY!!!! She knew it was a special day.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Day Off... Sleepover!

So when I say day off, obviously that doesn't mean me not having to work my 12-hour shift... Of course I had to. Luckily (because of Dad leaving), one of my amazing brothers stopped by to take care of Chevy in the afternoon. I hate leaving him that long but I have to do what I have to do to feed him... And pay for his vet bills... And Mitch's.

Honestly today's shift didn't seem so long. Helped in boarding in the AM, checked in a few pets, and went through my day. Did a few X-rays... Clipped a few nails. The usual. Let's just say, I was a happy camper today and kept thinking positive thoughts to get me through the day. Done!

Finally escaped and came home to an excited puppy and a hungry kitty. An earlier conversation turned into the pup's sleep over being one night early! All I had to do is say Cairo and he was bouncing off the walls... I mean. CRAZY LAB MODE! We got in the car and made our way over to the bridge. He got excited coming up to my Mom's... but laid down when we passed... Then got excited for the barn... And laid down when we passed... Then he realized where he was going and started FREAKING OUT! This dog never whines unless we go one of two places; 1) Dog park or 2) Cairo's house. I got out of the car and he quickly jumped in the front seat... Still whining.

The surprising part was when I called Cairo she came SHOOTING out of the house like it was on fire. Not only that but she was very VERY vocal and jumped up and down then ran out to the Jeep knowing her Prince was waiting for her. I opened the car door, Chevy jumped out, and she jumped in with him quickly following.

They haven't stopped playing since. She sneaks up on him and bites at his ear, he throws the ball at her. She is very intrigued with Mitch as always. They've finally calmed down... Time for bed!

Tomorrow is a pony day, hopefully getting out earlier than 5. The clinic is pretty slow so they may not need me which would be nice. Brantley and I are on a roll and I have a lesson plan for Lucy... They both got a date off today! Lucky them... Oh to be a horse.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Good Work

Nana got me a hat... Brantley loves it...
Visit to FIVE GUYS with Deb.
Chevy was so happy to have me home!
So I went back to work today. Started at 7am and continued in boarding until about 1pm. Not too bad and at least being a boarding assistant is a little less stressful than teching upstairs. Easing my way back into work after this "vacation" week. Craziness! Usually I check in upstairs but honestly, I just wanted to get in, do my job, and then get out. It was beautiful today (if you didn't notice). First stop was home and a 1hr run around with my pup who has missed me all week. He won't leave my side now... Except to say hello to the neighbor dog and try to steal is ball. He's an ANIMAL! He gave it back and came back to play fetch. Love him.

Of course after I set him up for the rest of the afternoon, made my way to the barn. Nat was cleaning her paddock with her son and I grabbed her horse (that was running around frantically freaking out at the neighbor kids playing baseball). K had called to announce the outdoor looked fantastic and was ready for a christening. What better way than to take a spastic OTTB down and make him run around until he starts thinking about me and NOT the kids. Honestly, there were no issues. He cantered and cantered... and cantered... and cantered... And finally started to relax and listen. I pushed him on every time he got comfortable to make him "get up" a little bit more. I don't do this a lot, but for a horse who likes to get a little excited and kick out/crow hop, I try to entice the behavior. For once there was no issue... At all. Time to ride? I think so.

We had a really nice under saddle session. Serpentines, spirals, and some cantering. We only stayed on one side of the ring. Less to think about in one session. A little at a time doesn't do any harm. At least we're working outside! I started to really try and get him soft and we had a few good back ups so I thought I'd throw it together with the canter. Introduction to rollbacks? Yes please. We'd canter a few strides in a circle, back up a few steps, push his shoulder over to the outside, turn, canter off. For a 13-year-old thoroughbred who is very out of shape, he wasn't bad at all! Very impressed and hope his mom gets on tomorrow and has a good ride. We did more on-line work together last night. Good things to come!

Our new "Thinking Tree"
Amanda came out today (YAY!) and we ventured outside. Both slightly unsure about how they'd be, we started on the line. Brantley had his tail flagged and head held high. Lucy? Looked great. After a good work out we both grabbed rein, some mane, and threw our legs over. Good ride? How about great ride. B and I worked on our softness, Lu and A worked on their awesome-ness. Western jog? Western DRESSAGE job is more like it. I was really happy that Kate was there to watch. I yelled out, "Let's see your balls Amanda!" and cantered away they went. Awesome? Yes... Awesome awesome awesome! Couldn't say enough. Brantley and I had an awesome canter session as well. I thought he'd be a little more up and I held a little tight on the reins but as I realized that he wasn't going anywhere, I let go and we did a couple rollbacks. Yay B!

We took advantage of the light and hand-walked down the trail. How did that turn out? Well, my legs got tired and A's hands got tired... So we rode back. Hopefully we'll get out there tomorrow again.

What I missed today; my Dad playing the bagpipes in the Newport St. Patrick's Day parade, getting completely wasted with friends and people from work... Cons: I missed my Dad. Pros: Awesome day at the barn. Definitely happy with my choice (minus missing my Dad)... What he doesn't know? I hear him play ALL THE TIME AND HE'S AWESOME! Just wish I could've seen him in his kilt. 

So proud!

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Damn Horse Shoes

So I think Brantley was upset I didn't ride him yesterday and worked with Comic before him because him being the amazing horse he is... Pulled a shoe. Yes, he is way overdue but hopefully the farrier can make a little extra time for him tomorrow. Unfortunately our trusty Jeff is on bed rest due to surgery but he gave us a good reference for this round of shoes. It's a little more expensive but if Jeff says he's good, then I'll trust his judgement. Just as long as he's patient with our ponies I'll be happy. Hopefully snow shoes will no longer be necessary because that's a few extra bucks I don't have.

Worked with Comic again today. He was very good, started on the lunge again but he really had nothing to show me which I'm not complaining about. I was going to wait for Nat to come and ride but A was riding Lucy and I wanted to put Comic in the ring with another horse since that's a concern sometimes. He tends to get a little over excited especially if the other horse is... a little excited. Both horses had no Airs Above Ground moves to be seen. After Lucy's short schooling, A jumped on Comic and had a little go around. It's nice that we can play musical horses.

Tonight is my last night pet-sitting and I love it and the dogs are great, but I honestly can't wait to get home to cuddle with my own pup. He's been down and out every time I come home because he knows I'm going to leave again. He sits in the window with his nose resting on the windowsill watching me back out of the driveway. It's pretty pathetic. The next two sitting gigs I've got coming I can bring him with me which is great because I have a feeling Dad will be out of state again for work and having to leave Chevy at home would be TERRIBLE. He's actually taking off I think this weekend for work so luckily I think it's slow in boarding so the lab can probably come with me to work *fingers crossed*. Need to fix his collar so we can hit the trails with B. I can tell they miss it just as much as I do.

Unfortunately no pictures or videos for this post. But I will leave a copy of an article that I posted on our "Back to Pony Basics" wall on Facebook. It was an article I saw a while ago about body control for barrel racers with Clinton Anderson that I really found interesting and educational. I've worked on stuff like this with the Old Cowboy at Freedom and it really helped my thoroughbred. And let's be honest, who doesn't want to be able to control their WHOLE horse just not parts of them.

A lot of these exercises I've been working with Lucy on trying to get her desentized to leg aids a little because she's so reactive. You'd think we'd want her sensitive right? As I mentioned yesterday, there's a difference between giving and reacting to pressure. She's definitely in the reactive mode. Comic is the opposite where we need to be a little bit more sensitive and supple. Brantley... He just needs to be a bit more supple in his neck and on the bit, the body control will come with that.

Here's the article! Enjoy! (And change barrel racing terms to your discipline, trust me it'll make sense!)

Disclaimer: I'm not too crazy about how flexed CA has his horses but it's the body control concepts I'm looking at.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014


Things are on the up and I feel great! Mini vacation this week other than pet-sitting. Sunday and Monday off, half days yesterday and today, then Thursday and Friday off. I can't complain too much. Was going to try to surprise my friend Bre and show up to Maine (I know she reads this) this weekend but a lot to catch up on come the weekend and it'd be cutting it close to get back to work on Sunday.

Otis the Mini-Mutt

So as my title states, I've been in total pony-vision mode. FINALLY! I don't want to kill anyone and everyone or even myself anymore. This week is exactly what my non-existing doctor ordered... I should probably get one of those. A girl at work even told me today that I looked normal and less... What's a good word... Homicidal? Yeah, that's perfect. I guess my threshold for B.S. finally started to crumble but woohoo! I made it through!

Saunders the Old Man

Let's start with Ms. Lucy... Talk about getting right back into the game. This mare has completely done a 180 this week. I got back on her for the first time this weekend, A has been coming and working with her again which is great. We did a lot of ground work as always and long story short, this pony got schooled on the ground and under saddle. The next day we brought up the whole canter thing again and she took it quietly and without a fight. I really got to loosen the reins and let her do her thing a few times which was nice, we only had one little "bump" but we got over it quickly. Monday and Tuesday? Amanda rode and let me tell you, she was smiles from ear to ear. They finally broke through the wall they've been fighting and they cantered. Yes you heard me, cantered. Not bolt around the ring running through the bit in a half-seat hand gallop. I'm talking head quiet 1-2-3 canter. It was a little rough in the beginning but as soon as A got her seat you could see them click. I was so happy. Of course Tuesday was show-and-tell and K got to see what her Princess has been up to. Impressed? I think she was.

I did a little lunge work and today before I got on her. Some loping (LOPING) around before I got on. She was pretty quiet which was good since the temperature was dropping and the rain started. I've been working with her on leg pressure and releasing to the bit. Lots of short serpentines and circle spirals. Also some lateral work (if you can call it that). Asking her to follow my hand and leg into the beginning of a rollback. I'll back her up and ask her to drop at the pole then open my hand and move her shoulders over with the opposite leg. Piece of cake for this one. She's becoming more tolerant of the leg pressure which is great. Instead of taking away the pressure when she gives, I leave it, only to desensitize her. There's sensitive and then there's ridiculously reactive. Definite difference. A will ride tomorrow, fingers crossed for consistency!

Oh Mr. Brantley. I can't tell you how amazing he was to get back into work. We had a great ride Sunday (had to skip Saturday do to not being able to share the ring) and even better Monday and Tuesday. I worked with Comic and Natalie tonight so B got the day off which I really wasn't too concerned about. I've been doing a lot of lateral work with him. We started doing some spiral work but he is not as light on the bit as Lucy is. He tends to lean on the bit and although he gets better the more I work with him, I sometimes think about switching to a little stronger bit. Only thing I worry about is if he does panic and I want to break him down a bit, I don't want to snap him in the mouth. I could use a square snaffle versus smooth instead of going right to a twisted bit, it's a little more bite but less chance of tearing out his mouth. I'm familiar with a twisted snaffle when I was riding with the Old Cowboy at Freedom. There was one draft that was just so heavy and within about 1 week, we had him back to the smooth snaffle. My hands are light enough, but I just don't think B is ready for something like that.

So something that B witnessed yesterday was Comic having an issue that ended up with Natalie on the ground. Now we haven't been introduced to this whole watching another horse crow-hop/buck their rider off especially in such close quarters. I couldn't have been more proud/impressed with either Brantley or Lucy. Right away I moved Brantley over by the door to cut off Comic just incase he headed for it not thinking what I'd do if he shot towards B. I dismounted and B walked with me to catch Comic. Old school master in the making? I think so.

Comic got a little schooling today as well. He was pretty dopey since his lunging session last night after the "incident", but there was no excuse. We cantered along a circle on the lunge line for about 10 minutes, 5 in each direction. As soon as he started to get comfortable and quiet I'd push him on from behind with the rope and ask him to move up. He finally gave in and didn't want to "react" to me getting after him. I put the bridle on, hopped on, walked in each direction, then went to work. We trotted, did some teardrop changes, serpentines, and then I asked him to canter all on a loose rein. He only got jiggy once and I broke him down, nose to my toe, bumped him with my leg with enough force to get his hind-end around, then back out to the rail at a canter. A few hours later N came to the barn and we tacked him back up and I had he do some seat work on the line. She felt a lot better after my vulgar balance "lesson". Hoping for the best tomorrow!

Captions Please?

K spent 1 hour grooming yesterday... Lucy was so proud.

Saturday, March 8, 2014


Finally rode my horse! I think he needed it as much as I did. As I haltered him I was preparing for all the stuff I'd have to run through before getting on but there was something in his eye that said, "Just get the f*@? on me already." I sent him around a couple times, swapped his lead at the canter, and came to halt looking at me. Famous words out of my mouth, "F@#* it..." and I got on. Perfect? I think so. Off-balance and out-of-shape? The both of us... At least I know we can get back what we had though. It was definitely a good ride. Especially after cantering and asking for a one-rein stop, my reins (that I've been waiting to break) finally snapped. What'd he do? Nothing. Just waited. Luckily with all the halter work we've done we trotted around the ring again with one rein attached and I called it a night. Big hug, big cry (oh the depression), and put him away for the night (with cookies). Lunged Comic for a bit afterwards. Then went decided to stop by my mom's. Oh how eventful.

After spending about 45 minutes there I needed a beer. Hmm... Thursday? KB? KARAOKE! I love that there are some places I can just go by myself and chill without getting weird looks. Between there and Gillian's I know mostly everyone and if I don't, I say hi and get to know them. Free beer is good too, especially when you sing for it. Some nights I go I stay quiet and sing my usual tunes, but Thursday night I really grabbed life by the balls and cranked out some stuff I've A) Never done... and B) Never thought I could pull of. Leaving the bar with people shaking your hand and patting you on the back? I don't care if I'll never be in a band or do it professionally, I just like making people happy and have a good time. If only I was funny, I'd be a comedian.

Can't wait to head to the barn. Pony love.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Winter Blues

How is it that it's March and I've still got the winter blues. I don't think I'm alone here.

Missing my pony time with Brantley & Ms. Lucy. Been working non-stop at the hospital plus all these pet-sitting jobs I've been getting. Can't really complain about that but I really need more pony time. The temperatures started to drop again and the fact that the weather is not helping with the kids and their... energy level... I really don't want to get them out, sweating, and trying to work their brain. And it's not like I can stop in the middle of a battle and say, we'll try again tomorrow. That's against everything I stand for. Fix it now so you don't have to fix it later. Luckily, for both horses it's getting quicker to get them back on the ground and into reality (even Lucy), so I know once we start again we'll be okay. Amanda started Lucy back which is great. Can't wait to get some riding time in with her and Natalie come Spring (and Kate once she's ready). Hopefully once we stay in the 30's (or even 20's) I'll get back into horse-mode.

A lot of stuff has been going on with myself and I keep toying with the thought of moving B to Sherry's. This isn't a secret at all. I continuously write my pros and cons list. Cons... No ring... But there are trails and stuff and supposedly they'll put up a ring once the ground thaws. Pros? Save money... Lots of money. Maybe pick up a second job. Cons... Kate, Amanda, Natalie... Cross-country... Trails... Pros... Main barn bologna... Did I mention saving money? But I don't want to take the chance of losing Brantley like I did when Lucky moved far away. Okay, it's not that far. It's an extra 15-20 minutes. Maybe I'll wait until fall and we'll get all the fencing up. Plus, Chevy can run around free at Sherry's and I don't have to worry about him taking off when I ride and running into the middle of the road. Or at least he won't get yelled at. Another pro? Pretty! But I've completely fallen in love with Ms. Lucy. Oh the joys of owning a horse.

I didn't make it past the 2nd round of Wakefield Idol, but I DID make everyone cry, including my mother. Yes, my mother did come. Even one of the judge's mother came up to me told me how amazing it was and how touched she felt. It was really hard to keep it together throughout the song because it's one that really gets to me probably every time I sing it. Kate took a video... I shall post it... ^.^ This means I'll take a break and go back to my regular karaoke nights. Take a break from all the fame *sarcasm*. I do miss performing though.

Nothing much else going on. I keep saying "once I get out of this funk" I'll get shit done. Now it's just a waiting game. I keep trying but obviously not hard enough. I'll get there. Thinking positively starting today. Done feeling like crap and waiting for nothing to happen.

Out at 5 tonight (yes I'm at work right now) so barn it is! Maybe I'll even make my way to the gym and show up to karaoke covered in sweat... Sexy! Tear Drop Winken: March 2014

Tear Drop Winken