A Horse is a Horse

A Horse is a Horse

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

2 Years

So 2 years ago, post baby#1 I decided that the money taking up space in our savings account needed to manifest into a horse. I wasn't satisfied with my lease horse (boy was I naive I was) and off I went on the hunt.

Enter Holly stage left.

Fresh 5 year old

She was pretty, she was smart, and she was the right price. Her owners were super nice, and I still talk to them. She just needed to stop playing WP pony, and learn to be a hunter...

How did I miss those overly perked ears?
Oh yeah, she's pretty...
So where do we stand today, 2 years later?

I think since I take more lessons than hack, I sometimes get too caught up in all the kinks that still need straightening. But really, like my hair, horses never get perfectly smooth, there will always be little issues.

Oct 2013
-She can be spooky. She has gone from running from the devil to stomping, and often she doesn't jump til I do, so its kinda fair.
-She still is downhill, but I can't fight genetics too much, its her build.
-She is hard to frame up. That's more me being weak legged than her at this point because she does it fine for trainer and WS.
-She needs someone to help her with distances to jumps. Um.. yeah so do I....

I swear I can fit one more stride mom...

 It wasn't until I was idly horse shopping on my 3am lunch break one day that I realized how far we had come.When my trainer gave me a price she'd start her at if I did sell, I thought she was off her rocker. Then I started reading ads in our area... Turns out I'm the one out of touch...

Holly can work in a frame (if you remind her that she's not a WP horse anymore),

June 2014
-she knows her leads, almost to a fault, she auto changes (when asked properly)
- she's picking up counter-canter easily  (ok, well typed that too soon, but she gets the idea anyway).
 -She leg yields, haunches/shoulders in at WTC, also turn on the fore/haunches (beautiful turn on the fore)
- She has a great, adjustable stride, and only I can't sit her canter well ;) (Seriously, everyone loves her canter but me)
-Her trot is smooth, and for us weenies, she's a push horse, she doesn't drag her rider.
March 2015
-She went from doing superman long or worlds tiniest chip to being able to consistently jump nice, Hunter-like jumps up to 3' (and a little schooling at 3'3"-3'6" with rider help). She even humors me by jumping over the little stuff we all know she could canter over.
Summer 2015
-She does all the ground stuff with decent manners, even when I throw new things like the vacuum at her.

Really when you add it all up, despite being owned by a crooked, nervous, semi-detached owner, she's a great horse.

As much as I often feel we don't quite match up (she needs a more confident, firm rider like our WS), the thought of selling her and starting again is daunting to say the least.

Now remind me to re-read this ny the end of the month when it's cold and windy and she's clipped and she's acting a fool.

Friday, October 23, 2015

I'm Baaaaaack......

So moving with small children (especially when you're a packrat) is well....just plain nuts...Seriously my worst idea ever...
My fingers go in these little holes right mom?

 But now we are over the biggest hurdle and slowly settling in. And we love our new neighborhood, and have great new neighbors (bonus!). House pics when it's not embarrassingly messy and the computer decides to work again (argh).

Ok back to horses. I'm barely making it to the barn once to twice a week, so really it isn't a lot to say. I've turned into a bigger weenie from being out of practice. Just in time for winter, yay.

Why hello, strange lady
Then on a whim while hacking with a few barnmates I tried a friend's saddle...

I could almost believe that I really don't want to jump anymore because I totally loved the dressage saddle. Holy easy two-point. I felt so balanced, and it's not even a great fit of a saddle for me. Holly was a bit confused but I liked how connected I felt with her....
But then I watch others jump, and I think well... When I got past the nausea and heart palpitations, it was kinda fun.... Kinda....

So despite my trainer's opinion that I'll be back to jumping soon, I'm on indefinite leave from jumping. Winter craziness sounds like enough to handle right now.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Those Lessons Learned...

.. The hard way....always the hard way.

So right after my last post I had a few flat lessons. Challenging (read hot-mess awful) lessons where my horse reminded me quickly that staying on the flat isn't easier. 

We were alone with trainer on a windy day, and there was horse eating monsters everywhere. Holly was sure we were going to die. Homegirl has some serious self-preservation issues.

Sadly a less reactive rider would have this crap all fixed by now. Because she isn't like this with others. Sigh.

Then trainer put me back at baby jump height.

I could so be a 2' Long-Stirrup Hunter Princess. Excluding this last lesson, I've been calm, relaxed, and mostly confident.... 

So I guess it was the height. Sadly I'm just not mentally a jumper. I tense up whether I consciously know it or not. I will probably get myself up to the 2'6" or so range again, but I'm going to stretch Long-Stirrup Princess thing as long as I am happy and trainer lets me.

Last night I wasn't feeling great and after us nearly tumbling into the ghetto rope arena divider, we did some mediocre jumping. 

This included us getting really discombobulated and going crooked, long and me clicking heels over Holly's back. Then I rode her neck for awhile into that non-existent core strength kicked in.

Wish you could see more of my splendid neck-riding
(now I know how to make .gif's let the games begin)

Glad English saddle don't have horns and that Holly isn't prone to bucking. Because she thought about it. She's so tolerant of me, she will be such a packer... eventually.

Figured ourselves out
Bad pic, but better my elbows aren't out like a chicken for once

On the housing front, our house is sold as of tomorrow (yay for rent-back). The first house we fell for went for like $23K over asking. Um, yeah no. So just when I was at total despair, praying for a sign that I hadn't seriously messed everything up by uprooting the family, our realtor called after digging around and finding an off-market house that she knew wanted to sell last year but hadn't. All goes well, we should be moving in a month. Yay.

Also my 6 month old decided she needs to stand and try to cruise a bit already. Um, no, mommy's not ready for that yet!

Tuesday, July 21, 2015


So obviously I haven't updated in awhile. Really conflicted and it makes updating hard.

I may just be a little overwhelmed. Or I may be having another ADHD life moment and ready to mix things up a bit. I tend to do that. Dramatic hair style changes, car shopping, house buying... The last one being my current large headache.

Um, so if you haven't ever had to stage a house to sell it, don't. Tell your realtor to use their awesome powers of persuasion to sell it, because if you have lots of hobbies and/ or kids, it really sucks. I currently have people cleaning my windows, cleaning up the yard, and coming to do a deep clean of the house later. We already had the why the hell does this take a week  house painting event.

Bright side, I've found a lot of stuff that I don't care enough to save, and will likely find plenty more to throw out as it comes back out of boxes too. Damn packrat gene runs strong in both our families.

On the horse front,  I'm having a mid-30's crisis. I seriously don't want to jump anymore. Which is kinda lame, because I've actually been doing well.

Of course I tell trainer I don't wanna jump and she says tough, she says she'll make it easy. One 2'6" oxer, yeah, totally cake for weenies like me. Then I do well and its back to rollbacks to the skinny wall and bending lines that makes us fall on our forehand. 

At least this oxer was small
Not wanting to jump is like a 90% truth for me, cause a little part of me likes that I conquered that fear enough to even try it, and feels kinda badass when coworkers give me props for hurdling 1000lb animals over large wooden poles for fun.

Jumping really isnt scary at 2'3" and below, and Holly isn't super happy to exert effort over such insulting jumps, but I've figured a lot out on her recently making it a lot easier. 

Sitting up and keeping my hands higher like I'm jumping bigger jumps keeps her off the forehand and me in control of our pace. Like waaaay better. 

Right now I just wanna be putzing bareback or hacking nice shady trails... Two things that really aren't an option with Holly and my current barn.

Trying to not make any rash decisions while doing the whole house selling thing. Because really I need to see where my finances and feelings land when life stops being quite so turbulent.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Topsy-Turvy kinda life

Well, guess I'm a bit behind. Its been so long, my update drafts need updates, so here I am starting fresh...

Lets just hit the bullets:

 1. I missed Holly's Birthday. I'm a bad horse mommy. It was April 25th and I totally had May in my head. I now have a 7 year old. Such a big girl.

Happy Birthday Holly
2. I had one of my best lessons ever a few weeks ago. Actually saw distances and nailed them. Nailed them. In the indoor. In the like 40mph wind (which is now a new norm around here) making crap blow around.

Holly happy her bf Henry is with her
3. Then I got all into my head and had a series of crappy, land on neck, barely squeak over the jump, just plain in your head crap-tastic lessons because I told myself my riding well was a fluke. D'oh.

Sigh. Still love her most days
4. Despite still being a weenie, and unmotivated to jump big, I have been back up to the 2'3" and maybe just 2'6" ... slightly less weenie height.

Big girl panties... big girl panties...

5. Our first adventures in NQR land.  It was always once she was a few laps into trotting, where you spend like two laps trying to figure out if its real or in your head. It started after a rough trainer ride 2 Tuesdays ago, she was so slightly off that night.  And the next day. And the next week.

She earned herself some bute, and new shoes all around, and a mini vacation. Then it was gone.

NQR but still pretty

6. Hives. Because being NQR wasn't enough for the month, Holly now has hives. Mainly on her neck and belly. More bute and a shot of dex and more time off. Sigh.

Really mom, pictures now?!

Then there's all that non-horsey filler life stuff:

-I'm now a mother of two.
-We are trying to clean our house to sell it. Good lord, I'm a packrat I have a lot of hobbies.
-We are house shopping in a very competitive area. Which will mean paying more per month to live in a better area (I do that for my horse-child, I kinda owe the human ones the same).
-I'm back to working nights. Ugh. Actually I missed many coworkers, and that whole using my brain for more than measuring how much milk the baby is drinking, but still, Ugh.

Future pony clubber :)

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Rough rides and Redemption

After Thursday's lesson, Holly was in the dog house. She had been spooky, and bratty, and I'm way too outa shape to fight all that. By the end, we had circled everything that might kill her a million times, jumped until we didn't totally suck at our distance and lead changes finally smoothed out (that one I take most of blame for), and if I hadn't watched one of the toughest little girls I know come off not once but twice, I would have been really bummed at my lesson.

But I had stayed on, and stayed with it. Back spasms galore, but as much as I wanted to hang up my spurs as soon as she revealed her Sassy side, I put on the big girl panties and rode it out. Small victory. Friday WS rode her and she was again a beast, refusing jumps (albeit a skinny ramp looks scary to me too) and general springtime shenanigans.

Feeling the burn
Yes Holly, this height is insulting
 Apparently she was thoroughly worked through her issues and today she was pretty mellow. WS hopped on first and warmed her up and jumped her over the respectably tall stuff. Then I got on and after some more trot and canter laps did some baby jumps. I find old habits are quick to resurface. She goes long, I sit up too fast and hit her mouth, then she's cranky and gives me nasty changes.
Need to work on my release
Thank you for flying Backseat Airlines...
Luckily since the height of the jump isn't scary I can recover myself and did ok most of the time. I even asked for a few more so I could get a little video. Immediately jumped horribly, because that's how it goes, but hey, I did ask for more.

(shout out to my hubby who got pics/video while holding 
a small infant and watching a 3 year old).

Hopefully, my broken car isn't too broken and I can put her back into full training for a month for a tune up. I don't have the time/energy/stamina right now to put in more than 3 days/wk.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Jumping on the crazy train

Wind+ 2 data off + stall life = Hairy-eyed giraffe horse.

Miss Holly was kinda a pill to ride. Despite plenty of other horses being present and not dying  by trotting by the open and of the arena, Holly was pretty sure there were horse eating monsters lurking in the corners. Sigh. This was not helped by the gusting wind, and shoer who was banging things around and playing heavy metal music right in the corner by the arena.

I need to find my inner zen and not react. Going into fetal crouch and getting in your mares face only leads to fun things like feeling her get light up front (no m'am, not OK) and lots of getting yelled at by trainer. When I did succeed on getting my horse's butt and shoulders and head properly aligned, our ride wasn't bad (at least for 3/4 of the ring every lap).

Then Karley and I warmed up over a little cross rail on a figure 8 back and forth. Then I had to do a bunch more laps alone til I fixed... Well if you can hear the plethora of things I get yelled at for in the video.

Enjoy the awesome audio cause I'm too lazy to edit ;)

Big thanks to a friend for getting me video. Amazing how much faster it all feels in the saddle. When I didn't hold her until we were near chipping in and let her figure it out, she was getting great distances. 

Its not pretty but its progress. 

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Crossrails FTW


So trainer deemed me ready to get back to jumping last Tuesday. I was a little late getting down to the barn so everyone else had pretty much finished by the time I was warming up.

Did some ok WTC. Miss Crooked Butt and I had to work at not cantering down the side like a car with a bent frame.

Then we went back and forth over a tiny x-rail. Karley stayed to watch while cooling Henry out and cheer me on. Holly was awesome,  gave me great distances, (I will take no credit in helping her decide anything) I was just trying to hoist myself into a half seat without falling on her neck ;)

Thursday I came early with the "kids" (really one Beginner+ adult and one awesome but tiny 8 year old).  It was stupid windy out so we stayed in the dreaded indoor. Ran Holly around in the round pen before getting on. She was surprisingly chill which usually I take to mean she wants to lose her shiznit later while I'm on her back for more fun.

Since I was last on, I kinda got lucky and missed the dreaded drop your stirrup laps at the trot and got some lovely frame from my girl when I could keep us together.

From funny wiki article on jumping
Then trainer set up two jumps, maybe 18"-2' cross rail and vertical. Oh they're small, this wont be too bad. Ahem, never doubt my trainer's ability to push you as a rider one way or another.

Basically it was canter the x-rail towards the closed end, then a quick tight left turn/ rollback to the vertical, into the open side/corner where your horse can watch another horse going ape-crazy in the round pen and Dorothy's house flying by in the wind, then do a dirty lead change as she drops her shoulder into the turn. At least that's how it felt. Turns came fast, and it took lots of times for me to just sit back and let her change her lead etc.

The three of us riding were all huffing and puffing by the end, so at least I didn't feel completely out of shape comparatively. After I was done, remembered 8 year olds mom was there and totally would have video-d for me if I'd asked, D'oh!

I'm sure jump heights will quickly rise over next week or two. But when Holly was actually putting forth a good effort over the jumps, and I had a few jumps I felt myself settle into the perfect balance over your stirrup where you just feel right (even got a few "nice" from the trainer) and I remembered why I like all this torture so much.

Friday, March 27, 2015

Murieta Classic I and II

So by now, odds are you've read either Karley or L's blogs about the show. If you haven't yet, you should, they have great blogs ;)

I didn't really know what to expect from Holly, she's done a couple little shows with her last owner and one schooling show with me. That said she was 6 going on 16 at her first big B/C rated show. I was certainly overwhelmed, like 6 arenas (just the ones being used) all with awesome footing, like 3 different offices (thank goodness other's knew where to point me for things), several barns, and all levels of horses and adorable ponies.

Holly was incredible. Luckily she was nearly completely shed out so she was shiny and I totally fell in love all over again when I saw her in fresh braids. She held her own with some pricey horses.

Thanks to mostly hard work by our awesome WS, J, we got a few of every color but blue. There were a few barns with like 14 horses, most being ridden by a trainer, so stiff competition.

J makes any horse look better
There was no spooking or shenanigans, yes a few not so nice lead changes and transitions, but some moments of true awesomeness too. Nothing makes a horse mommy proud like hearing bystanders compliment your horse.
Hubby was more than happy to use his new camera

Official standings:

(With WS)
Warm Up 2'3"-2'6" - 2nd
Warm Up 2'6-2'9" - 4th
2'6"-2'9" - 1= 5th  
                  2= 6th 
                  3= 7th 
                  4= 3rd
              U/S= 3rd

(With me)
CWD Eq 18&O Flat= 8th (out of 9)
Low Child/ AA Hunter U/S= 5th (out of 9)
AA Hunters 18&O U/S = 6th (out of 6-my bad picked up wrong diagonal on bad transition)

SO that means on my first ride, in the eq class, with only 5 rides under my belt since having a baby 6 weeks ago, I beat someone! I was super proud of that ugly colored 8th ribbon.  I really wish I had still had her braided for my classes, but just couldn't pay another $55 for me to do 3 flat classes. That said most of the other horses were in my second two classes.

Of course yesterday Holly was all sorts of a pill back in our hard, dusty outdoor. She spooked at the piles of jumps, and gave me grief when I asked her to do things like collect.

Do I worry so much? Not anymore, because now I've seen what she can do and the satin we can acquire. And I want more.