Tuesday, March 31, 2015

TOABH - Introspection

My first blog hop. I am still learning all the fun things I can do when writing my blogs. I'm an amateur. I started blogging because I loved sharing my horsey life and reading about everyone else's. And because my non-horsey Facebook peeps were getting annoyed at my 10 page long statuses about how well my horse did on such and such day, etc.
If my horse could change one thing about me, what would it be?
If Twister could change ONE thing about me I am almost positive he'd make me be gutsier. This horse doesn't balk at anything. He'd jump 4 feet if I pointed him at it and though he may not be sure of a jump, he'd never stop. He might launch so that the scary, horse-eating jump doesn't get him or he might chip. But he'd never chicken out. Me, I am a chickenshit rider sometimes. Which is why I don't ride a lot of different horses. I like riding one horse I have a great bond with and that I can trust to get me from A to B without dying. I was never this big of a wuss in highschool. I rode all the horses I could. I got mad when the jumps were 2ft or under. I wanted to jump all the BIG thingz all the time and go for high speed gallops through the orchard and play musical horses on a trail ride (which I got in serious trouble for when some other girl came off Stewart in the middle of a Chinese fire drill, equine style).

I look like shit. Probably almost fell off.
Wasn't scared at all. (I was 17 or 18)

And then I didn't ride half as much for the next 4 or 5 years. And suddenly I had no balls. Not even sure why. I've fallen off a bunch, but nothing terrifying life changing or that even hurt THAT bad.(sliding across the gravel driveway DID hurt A LOT). But I know Twister would want me to get my balls back. To have my nerves be a little chillier. To sit back and let happen what will happen. He's the best horse and does whatever job you ask. I get in his way too much by being a gutless wonder. He isn't even a spooker! Stewart used to walk by the same thing 100 times and the 101 time it was going to eat him alive and next thing you know I'm hanging on for dear life/flipping over his head.

why so serious? why you grab so much mane?! you're not going anywhere...

There is a meme that says "Your horse can only be as brave as you are" or some shit. But honestly, Twister makes me braver. And the more I ride him, the less I worry. The less I get in his way. The less pissy he gets at me.

Relaxed and having a great time, galloping in a
big open hay field because he's AWESOME
This horse constantly reminds me there is nothing to worry about and goes above and beyond what I ask. You'd have thunk I would have learned by now.....

Parade through town. LOTS of scary things. Not ONCE did
he spook or balk at ANYTHING and he led the way like a pro
even though this was his first parade and some of these
horses had been a couple times

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Twister Got a Micklem!

Ok well, mommy got a Micklem for Twister. And I'm telling you he LOVES it. I never thought of him as a super sensitive horse. But he did awesome in the Micklem. All the bits I've tried and the figure 8s and the flash's..... he's done best in this after only 2 rides. Today we jumped in it and did a lot more work in it. He was great. Light in my hands and not once did he grab the bit and try to pull me out of the saddle. And our breaks were awesome!! So glad it was dry enough to canter a few jumps. After it rains again tonight I'll work on transition in the barn. Very impressed with this bridle and how well Twister is going in it. And yesterday he was all hyped up but did didn't  drag me. So I'm happy! I know it won't be awesome every ride, but I'm happy I found a bridle that fits him so well and that I feel that HE is really happy in. He was a very happy pony pants. My friends that have seen him jump in the hack that watched him jump in this bridle says he looks a lot happier in his. If he's happy, I'M happy.

Day 1

Day 2 (drier, but still to wet to jump anything decent)

Having SO much fun!!!

Friday, March 27, 2015

Product Review: SleekEZ

So I'm scrolling through my news feed a few weeks ago and see and ad for this product called the SleekEZ. I could see there was a video of it deshedding a horse. I was interested. While I had planned to shave Twister, our clippers bit the dust and have not yet been fixed. And a shed blade only does so much. I watched all the video action of it getting buckets of hair off dogs, cats and horses. It lifts the dander and everything. They had a special offer where I could get 1 of each size for less than $50. I felt like my mom with that As Seen On TV crap or HSN, and I HAD to buy them.

The first night after it came in the mail, I used it on the puppies. It was very very cold out so I though I'd use it in the kitchen where the hair would be easy to contain and clean up after. OMG. Hair EVERYWHERE. I got a small cat's worth of hair off Ranger and Roader and then I brought a couple cats in the house and worked on them. SO. MUCH. HAIR. And my kitties loved it the most. Pedro (the horse-riding, badass) was purring and rolling his back and got mad when I stopped.

When I first got it, the horses hadn't quite started shedding yet, but I got to work anyways. Curtis, who normally looks like a woolly mammoth with all his hair (I like to think of his hair when he's out in a breeze as amber waves of grain rolling in the wind), looked a lot better. I've had more time to work on Twister with it though and if I keep up with it every day until next weekend, I'll only need to clean up his legs for the show. No clipping necessary. He looks super good already. I pulled a shit ton of hair off him last night and again this afternoon. I was kneeling under him raking his belly with it and I was covered in little clouds of sorrel fluff. His favorite is when I do his girth area and his chest. He stretches his head out and fwaps his lips. I was even  getting between his back legs and around his sheath and down his legs to his knees/hocks (which I wouldn't probably do unless you have a horse that just doesn't give a shit like Twister.... he's pretty immune to any and all handling of any part of him at all times). If I used the SleekEZ on Curtis the same way I used it on Twister I'd probably get kicked in the face. Twister doesn't have a super thick winter coat so it doesn't look as dramatic as the video when I use it on him, but it works. I love it and I totally recommend it!

I needed to do his belly fuz but he had to go run the fence in the mud so he's all wet from a belly/leg bath....
But! Look how shiny he is! Almost all the hair is gone!
The dog-sized one works well on their legs too.

This weekend I'm going to attack Curtis with it when I'm at the track. My person says that he's not really shedding a lot yet, but we just put him on supplements for his coat so I'm hoping maybe he'll start soon.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

TBT: First Rides on Twister

I was basically Facebook stalking myself and came across some photos of Twister when I first rode him ever and one of our first "English" rides. He was 7 the first time I rode him and full of piss and vinegar. I thought he was awesome from day 1. Then again I've always been a sucker a big sorrel gelding.

CAN Dressage Afterall

Another dry day, and a day in the 70s! I was super super tempted to jump again but in the end, it had to be a dressage day. Our flat work/dressage helps our jumping anyways. And I wanted to see if we could WTC in control.

He got sweaty and lathered.
Going to get shaved this weekend!

Twister was a lot more relaxed then on Tuesday. Tacked him up and started warming up. I don't know why he warms up so stiff anymore. He always works out of it but he feels so choppy for the first few minutes. He's on joint supports and cocosoya and a multi vitamin. Not sure what else I can do, or if being 11 just makes him feel old..... it shouldn't but then again some days I get out of bed and I feel old and I'm not old at all. ANYWHO. So after I felt him moving out more freely I started asking him to ride up into my hands. He knows the drill now. He starts to lift his back and step under himself, he comes off his forehand and gets into a nice frame. He can carry himself that way for longer periods of time each time I ask and he realizes he can't get away with only 30 seconds of it and as his muscles get used to it.

Walk and trot, great. Last year I worked every day on walking in a frame and had the worst time. Now we have a great, forward walk, lots of impulsion without breaking gate while maintaining his frame. I call that progression!

The biggest issue we have right now is downward transitions. He's not as bad from the walk to the halt (although we are still working on halting square in behind), as soon as I ask him to go from a trot to a walk he hollows his back, sticks his nose out and pulls into the walk. Bad bad bad bad. I only ever transition now on a circle, thinking if he's bendy and round he'll have a better chance staying that way in a circle. But to no avail. I am very open to suggestions btw :)

The other thing we need to work on is cantering. We got our leads but he was very speedy, on the forehand and half the time his back was hollowed. Not good. But we haven't done much dressage work at the canter because the we've only done intro level tests at shows. I was hoping if he got a good canter yesterday I could try training level test 1, but I don't think we're quite ready for that. I think we'd probably jump the ring...... When he gets all strung out like that I can't keep him in a 20m circle to save my life. Going to schedule a lesson for after Easter some time.

The fact that I can WTC at all in a plain o-ring copper bit is amazing. He used to get ridden in this scary-looking Spanish bit and now I can have a nice, controlled, non-scary pony in a snaffle. And in a hackamore. That makes me happy!

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Hyper Twister

Got in another jump school after work! I was super excited..... until the new horse showed up (this horse makes my horse look small and my horse makes most horses look small). There was yelling and screaming and fence running and Twister got super edgy.

I tried to warm him up but he didn't even know I was up there until I got after him a bit. Then I set up a couple more low jumps and tried to trot and canter over. He was beastly. Over jumping and when I asked him to canter he took off like he was breaking out of the gate..... this isn't me thinking he's fast when he's not. He was a total ass. But..... I guess this is ok. We mostly-ish worked through it and got a couple good jumps in and then I wanted him to do a couple rounds in a canter on each lead. I started with the hard one first. Picked up the right lead first try. BAM! Super excited especially after he's been stiff on that side. After I got the left lead and cantered one more jump I called it a day. He might have been super strong and kinda pushy still but at least he was paying attention. Which he was doing in no way shape or form when I got on him.

Sorry for the terrible pics.... pics i took w/ my tablet 
off my crappy camera's crappy screen

I don't think I look too terrible. Twister will OverJump

Proof of a right lead. B/c it definitely needs proof

My horse smiles :)
The next few days will be rainy so I don't even know if I'll get to jump again before the show. This could be really bad or really good. Twister and I are good at stepping it up when needed. But while it's rainy we can work on muscles and his top line.

I have been really working hard to get the hair off him!

Monday, March 23, 2015

Jump School!

The ground was dry enough today to pop over some low jumps and even canter over  a few times! So happy!!!!! Twister and I haven't jumped in MONTHSSSS and I forgot what a powerhouse he can be. So much power over even tiny jumps (which he doesn't really  like or respect but jumped well today because well.... it was jumping and we haven't done that in far too long) and I have spaghetti legs. You need lots of leg to sit this horse over jumps. He's so much fun!

He was a little stiff warming up but worked out of it and when I felt him jogging nice and loose we took the first x-rail. My new barn buddy, who is moving in her Fresian-Gypsy cross in for a few months has Rail Razors and those stackable blocks for jumping. SO cool! Even days in the shedrow can now be a fun time with Rail Razors and a zillion poles to trot over.

One thing I forget when I'm on Twister is that although I FEEL like he's moving 100mph he's really not going that fast. He has a nice long stride and I have to re-get used to it every year. After 4 months of walk trot his canter feels HUGE. But then I go watch a replay and I'm like HEY! That looks nice, in control and upright! Woooo! Just so happy to have such a fantastic first jump school of the year.

Hopefully next time it will be dry enough to set up some grid work and some bigger jumps!!!


Let me know if Facebook will let you watch this :)

Sunday, March 22, 2015

FINALLY a Decent Ride!!

I've been busy racehorse-ing and taking care of my broken puppy (who is super happy all the time despite everything!) to ride. The other day I had time but I also had a migraine and the migraine won. Porkchop didn't finish well in his race yesterday but he might have a bit of upper respiratory infection. And I've been to the track a couple times to help with little Curtis.

new silks!!!!!

my fiance and porkchop

baby curtis! notice how MY horse is the one behaving :P

Today though, I rode!!! My neighbor and I went down the road a ways. Not a long ride but definately one of the best rides I've had on Twister in probably close to a month. He was so relaxed. And whatever he pulled in his right hind is better and he was jogging and stretching out at the walk nicely. Which means now I have no excuse to not be jogging him again. If rain can hold off until after work tomorrow I might even be able to go outside and canter a bit. My "arena" is almost dried out enough. *Almost*.

maybe we weren't working very hard but he was so very behaved and we had a fantastic ride!

And whatever topline Twister and I were working on is gone. He worried off a few pounds in his 3 days all alone. 3 whole days. He is unbelievable relieved to have buddies here. And before his buddies leave again he will have a new semi-permanent buddy move in.

Twister has a buddy!

I worked on his feet.....again. A work in progress as always but coming along. They are pretty tough too for feet that look like shit.

somedays i just want to hack his feet off and start over.... obviously i
can't really do that... but one can dream
And I just picked out my first show. Schooling show in Lexington in 2 weeks. I'm going to do a combined test. Intro test A and 2ft arena round. I'll probably do an extra jumper round at 2ft as well. If I feel like we can't handle it after all I'm only out 10 bucks.....

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Weaning the Big Grown-up Horse

Curtis loaded up and hauled off to the racetrack today! He walked right on to the trailer, in the dark, with just a rope like a big horse! Before he was even all the way up the ramp, Twister began to lose his shit. I gave him some good hay, hay that he's not supposed to get because it's for the racehorses, and locked him in his stall while I got ready for work. He screamed bloody murder and I could hear him running circles in his stall. An hour later and all was quiet. So I tried to turn him out. As long as I was standing right by the fence he was quiet. When I tried to walk back to the barn to drive off he started flipping out, galloping the length of the fence, bucking. After 10 minutes I just brought him back in the stall. At least I know he won't climb his stall door or anything. He's not that dumb.

So how long will it take him to chill out?! I've never weaned an adult before. Jeesh. I'd rather wean foals. They are better behaved! Twister has a new buddy coming to the farm in 2 or 3 days and after Porkchop's race Saturday he'll come home to hang out for a bit too. But I'm not sure I can handle 2 or 3 days of separation anxiety, screaming, pathetic ponypants. He seriously  needs to put on his big boy pants and deal with it. He has kitties and Roader and they'll hang out with him as soon as they're not afraid of getting trampled!

"where did you take my buddy???????"

Side note: Ranger came through surgery well yesterday. They did his left hip first. I can bring him home Friday!!

Monday, March 16, 2015

Can't Dressage Today

It was 80 here in KY today! I rushed home early from work.... on a MONDAY no less..... and after taking the dogs for a swim I busted out that ol' dressage saddle, all pumped to work on bendiness and suppleness and half passes and the like. Well I get on and ask for Twister to jog on a loose rein to warm up and loosen up. I can tell he's a little stiff from his work out Saturday. We even stretched first. Well, he's sore in his right hind. Probably he was playing with the 3 year old like he's also a 3 year old and slipped in the mud and pulled something. He's not super sore, but he didn't work out of it either.

I tried my best to work on everything at the walk then. He was mister opposites today. If I said please step up under yourself and bend he said I'm going to be a giraffe limo. I ask him to half pass to the right and he kicks out and threatens to buck and goes left instead. I even had spurs and a dressage whip. Could I have been any more prepared for a difficult horse??!!

It was kind of a let down for a sneak out of work early and go riding while it's 80* ride. I finally got Twister to half pass on a loose rein left and right, But mostly just to the right. And when I asked for him to half pass in a frame (this is ALL at the walk btw....) he was fine to the right. Actually it probably looked half-pretty. But we had a big fight about going to the left in a frame. He'd stay round and under himself until I asked for a half and we halted like a giraffe. I called it a day. Will probably give him the next day off and try again Wednesday.... I'm hoping he's worked out whatever funk he's in....

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Spring is HERE!!

So nice and warm this weekend!! 70 today!!!! I didn't ride Friday but I rode Saturday. A good workout for both me and ponypants. Had to jog in the shedrow but we both sweat. Today I SHOULD have ridden but both horses went in the machine to jog instead. My bestie and I rehabbed my jumps today instead and this morning we went to the track with my person to set up our stalls. Baby Curtis is going to the track tomorrow or Wednesday. I'm so excited to see what he can do!!!! BTW, our tack room at the track was so freaking nasty. 2 5 gallon buckets of pine sol and hot water later.......

And puppy did more retrieving... this time in an actual pond. Surgery is Tuesday. I'm very nervous for him :(

And already Twister is looking fitter. 30 minutes jogging in the shedrow made him sound like he'd just breezed 3/8.... but he's tucking up and his top line looks better. He looked like shit there for a while. He gets a little frisky and naughty. But after he's warmed up he starts to put himself in a frame without a lot of asking from me. We're working on holding it for more than a half a round or a round. It's all about the muscles. And it's like me with my pudding legs..... takes time to be able to hold it steady. Seriously I can only get 4 rounds in half seat without dying.
his ass isn't as small as it looks in this pic. he has a big bum. 
this is NOT my favorite color blue.... work with what ya got!

Puppy spent the last 2 days retrieving in our neighbor's pond. He's a total FISH
stalls and tack room ready! time to bring the horses in!!!

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Spring = mud, shedding, bad hooves and frisky ponies

Monday I shed-rowed Twister. We did trot sets and toward the end of each set I asked him to do a few rounds in a nice frame. He needs to build up his dressage muscles or what will happen is I'll go take a dressage lesson and his muscles won't be used to it and he'll be off for a week just like last time. He's actually been pretty good and is even somewhat bendy. Monday was also his bday so he got extra treats and loving and got groomed really well. So did Curtis. Can't have Curtis going to the track looking like a pony!

No matter how much hair I get off him, there is almost MORE!

That's right, look as ugly as possible.....

Tuesday it was so freaking muddy and there was lot's of water. So I didn't ride, but took the dogs swimming instead. My puppy is a fish. Once I got him in the water I had a hard time getting him out again! He practiced retrieving in water for the first time and did great!

Yesterday I rode Twister to the neighbor's, jogging him down the road. Then when we got back to the farm I shed-rowed again. This time on a loose rein the whole time while I worked on my spaghetti legs. I forgot your ankles and lower calves have muscles. And they hurt. And my right knee hurts. But I don't know why. My left knee has always been the problematic one. Twister was a bit pissy and lazy all at the same time. Pissy when I smacked him or kicked him and told him to move his ass. And everything was scary. Turns out when my person brought Curtis in yesterday morning for his ride, Twister ran the fence for an hour. So he was pretty worn out already. Too bad. Horse needs to tighten up and there's nothing like running in mud to tuck up a hay belly! No wonder he was pissy though too. He was like "damn, Mom! I already worked my ass off once today!" I don't know what to do about him. I take Twister from Curtis and Curtis doesn't blink. Take Curtis from Twister and Twister loses his freaking mind. He's like a 3 month old foal that gets left in the stall while it's momma goes to the breeding shed. Friggen flips his shit. I wonder if we didn't have another horse on the farm this summer if he'd run through a fence or eventually get weaned???

He only does this when I want to ride....

Scary rock that wasn't there before...

Our trusty side kick

we both hate riding in the barn!

And I trimmed his feet, ALL 4 for once, and I'm not happy at all with his fronts. In 2 weeks they've gotten facacta again from the hard ground then mud ground then hard ground then mud ground again. I think it's time I call the natural trimmer guy that looked at him and see if he can at least trim his fronts for me and get them where they need to be so we can keep riding. . Other than a little white line that's come back in his right hind, I'm happy with how his hinds look. I've been trying to knock his heels back on the right front (black hoof) each time I trim. But no matter how much I take off I don't feel like it looks any different.... I've run out of Tomorrow so I've been putting Farrier Barrier up in those cracks again as maintenance until it's all grown out. Thrush looks and smells gone. Just have to make sure it doesn't come back and his frogs are filling in nicely again. But as I have quickly learned... it's always something with bare hooves.....

hard to see but each front hoof has a bumpy part
right behind the toe that he's never had before....

Monday, March 9, 2015

Happy Birthday, Twister!

Happy Birthday to Twister!!! He is 11 today! I'll be honest, I'm a terrible mother. This is the first year I've remembered his bday on time. It's always the end of March and I'm like oh yea Twister's bday was 3 weeks ago...... I can't take full blame though. Grad school was freaking nuts and I'm pretty sure I lost my mind instead of getting smarter.......

Well here's to you, best sorrel friend! We may not always get along, but we're always each other's favorite and mostly always a team. Not to mention he cracks me up. Like this am for example. He KNEW I didn't throw hay I his paddock so he wouldn't follow Curtis and I out and just stood in the hay pile and chowed down until I came to get him. He also loves kitty cats. Especially Pedro.

Just chillin'

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Another Snowday and Horse Race

Thursday it snowed cats and dogs. over 2 ft. And KY can't handle that. Snow day! I made my person go gallop around in the snow with me. Too much fun! Other than that, I haven't done much riding due to the swamp my arena now is..... That means I have to make time to shed row this week.

Let's play "i spy"

No pics of Roader. He hates snow as much as me.

my dashing man!

he kept bucking but of course we didn't get any on camera. stupid slow camera.

And today our  year old, Da Ladies Man, ran 2nd in his 2nd race. After his crappy performance a month ago we were super proud of him today! Added some blinkers and took him off lasix and BAM! And even after he got tired, he didn't give up! He'll win next time out. He is much better shape and now he knows what it's all about. And he totally was happy with himself back at the spit barn like "yeaaa bitches just watch out next time".  He's too cute! And I say this quite literally, no bragging at all, he was the best looking horse in the paddock.

And THIS is why he is nicknamed Porkchop.........