Friday, 31 August 2012

Absurd Helmet Excuses

This is an article i found here i was laughing out loud while sitting at my desk... Just thought i would share.

Absurd Helmet Excuses

By: Anna Blake

- This week there was a photo of Queen Elizabeth riding at age 85. Bless her heart; she has always been a lover of horses. She was wearing her usual outdoor head wear – a scarf. There was some internet banter about the missing helmet.
I notice her family members wearing helmets for polo; perhaps she falls into that category of riders who think that some equine events require helmets, but not others. It is the ‘Sometimes Dangerous’ argument. I used to use it myself.

But that’s an absurd helmet excuse. And now I am making excuses for the Queen! It’s silly because there are no excuses. The research is in and the potential danger is undeniable. Everyone agrees: the NFL, UCI, NHL, Nascar, Motocross- the professionals wear helmets. And last year, the USEF, although some of us lag behind. Helmet wear has to be considered common sense at this point, right?
“Common sense is very uncommon.” – Horace Greeley.
The Queen gets a wry smile from me, riding at 85. Old habits die hard; at this point, she isn’t likely to give up riding or take up helmet wearing. And just like the Queen, lots of us don’t respond well to being told what to do. I am a bit protective of her and I cringe whenever I see a rider with a naked head. If the Queen wore a helmet, I guess I would be more comfortable.
I think the gold medal absurd helmet excuse is fear of helmet hair. Really? Bad hair? Have you checked your jacket for horse dander and spit? And what’s that green stuff on your boot?
Do you really think an attractive single man is going to (#1) wander into the barn and (#2) decide to not marry you because of helmet hair? Really?
Stop making women look simple and foolish! Horsemanship is not about lounging in the barn in expensive breeches, sipping chardonnay, and having a good hair day.
If I am brought down by tough judging, then I will take my lumps and work harder. If I am brought down by helmet hair, I should get a new hobby. Like shopping.
At the risk of being called sexist for picking on women, I’ll also challenge men who think their manhood is defined by a cowboy hat.
Just for one minute- can we get past our own surface vanity and take some pride in what we are doing- rather than how we look doing it? Better to strap one on, ride well, and grow some character. Accomplish something you can be proud of.
People who are long term relationship material love a helmet, so if you actually do ride horses to attract a date (?), at the very least- you will attract someone worthy of you. And at the most…you will raise common sense above debates about beauty and fashion. I applaud that!
And because I am an equal opportunity blame-pointer, let’s talk about me. I don’t think I further the pro-helmet cause if I am sitting on my High Horse and judging others. It’s a barn version of racial profiling. I admit it. My heart jumps into my throat when I see a kid riding without a helmet. I am not proud to admit that when I see a professional without a helmet, it changes how I think them as well. Again, my bad.
Every year the excuses for not wearing a helmet sound a bit more lame. The groundless debate continues; we are a stubborn crowd. I do wish we respected horses more, and our work with them. Mostly, I wish common sense was more common.

Anna Blake
Infinity Farm

Working on the core + legs

As anyone who reads my blog knows im a great big wuss when it comes to the canter because i am so unbalanced in the saddle last night i went out determined to work on some of my canter motivated to at least get a little bit of canter down so i am more prepared for my lesson on Sunday.... but that didnt happen.

I got out to the barn last night fed and cleaned G's stall since i was going to leave him in over night, prepared his mash for after the ride and sanitized his water bucket (very productive if you ask me). Tacked him all up and we went into the arena to start our usual routine.

First i lunged him as usual trying to really work on his transitions up and down and not allowing him to transition without my request. Then we worked on the same thing with the side reins which went very well he is still hesitant to canter in the side reins but when he does you can see that it is a lot less flaily (yes flaily the term used to describe a young unbalance horse trying to canter usually involves a crazy head toss and a really fast not very pretty to watch canter) i was pleased with how he was doing so i changed his tack over to my riding gear and got ready to ride.

I would like to mention here that my horse has , for the last 2 rides, not been a pain in the ass at the mounting block he does walk off when i get on but at least now he stands still while i mount WIN!

I got on him last night and we started out at a nice swinging walk around both sides of the arena i went to start to ask him for contact and i hear "DOOR!" *sigh* some people came into the arena for a lesson and one girl with a horse that is being taught the basics. So right there cantering was out. I was able to get G to take up contact and engage his hind end at a walk but he was so focused on the other horses that he would slow down and stop quite frequently. We did have a bit of a break through, my room mate suggested counter flexing him at the trot when he attempted to drop his shoulder and i started trying in in the spots he would usually drop his shoulder and viola! it worked!

Once we managed to make a few circles and laps around the arena i figured it was time to pick up at least the trot, so we started trotting and i couldnt for the life of me get him to engage or anything, he was trying to drop his shoulder he was ignoring my leg it took every muscle in my body to keep him at a trot which was extremely frusterating.

FINALLY they finished in the arena and i had a little time to myself, i was completely exhausted. I have been running to get my cardio up on the days that i dont ride and have lost about 10lbs recently which is awesome im only 14.6lbs from my goal at this point (yay me!) but i didnt have enough energy to work at the canter which is bad i know how will i ever get over my irrational fear of the canter if i never canter.

So i did the next best thing i noticed that when i attempted to sit the trot i could get G into a beautiful frame and he would hold it the entire time, i also noticed that my abs felt like they were on fire and after a couple minutes i could feel my legs burning as well... I was starting to hold myself in the saddle with my lower body... go figure.

So i am going to canter this weekend most likely with my trainer on sunday but until then im going to velcro my arse to that saddle at the sitting trot and build up those hold me in the saddle muscles. Tonight is another ride night so im sure i will have more on this topic tomorrow.

Thursday, 30 August 2012

whats that a new coach you say?!

Monday night my room mate N and i had a phone "interview" with a lady who is willing to come to our barn to coach us through out the winter. She sounds great and is very excited so hopefully it all goes well... we meet with her on Sunday for an assessment she would be working with G and i mostly on our flat work and dressage getting us ready for competition next spring and we will most likely start G over fences to make him happy and give him something fun to do in between the dressage lessons.

Just need to be brave.... i have jumped before... not much though... time for no more excuses... Forward and Onward... we got this!

This is long over due, for some reason it is just so hard to get someone out to our barn to work with us because there isnt enough interest or we are to "out of the way".

Im going out tonight to see G and the clock is not going fast enough i feel like a 5 year old waiting for birthday presents.

Ill have more to post about tomorrow after our ride... i think im going to try to do some canter work... maybe.... i know i need to stop being suck a baby about it and canter my horse, hopefully im still feeling brave tonight and dont manage to talk myself out of it.

If any of you are on Twitter i am too follow me :) Horse2Jump.

G is also doing much better, the hair is not growing back on his chest and although he is not happy about to say the least he is starting to look more like a regular horse again.

Wednesday, 22 August 2012

Wordless Wednesday Orphaned horse

well kind of.....

This is Lilly, hard to see but on her 2 hind legs she has mud rot? mud fever? Im not sure what the vet called it since i was not there for the vet appointment Lilly's original owner was the one who dealt with the vet all i know is it is contageous and needs to be scrubbed daily and have ointment put onto it.

She is getting much better this was last night you can see kinda were it is all red and were there is no hair and a bit of a scab on the one leg. It looks a thousand times better now that she is getting treated properly and consistantly not when ever is convenient for the other members.

Her hooves were also cracking very badly almost all the way up to the band. The other members were using this crappy super watery hoof moisturizer which i threw out so no one would be tempted to use it because it is doing NOTHING for her feet. I have been using my own Rain Maker hoof stuff (which i love its amazing) and the cracks are closing up beautifully and they are not moving any further up her hoof thank fully.

Now just to get it into my head that i cannot afford 2 horses lol!

Tuesday, 21 August 2012

Things are looking up! Orphaned horse update

I had a great weekend with my horse, he feels fantastic very forward.

I have been starting each of our rides by lunging him, then lunging him with side reins. When i use side reins i do not tighten them so that they pull on the bit they are basically as loose as they can go but G is very receptive to this he will slow his walk and focus on pushing forward with his hind end not pulling with his front. He will play with the bit a lot more while in this frame, he does great at a walk the trot he is still very high headed but thats ok i love how you can see the wheels turning in his head when he is walking with the side reins. Such a smart boy.

Our rides were pretty good as well he is very forward and not stiff at all from his "owie" as my 4 year old calls it, mostly due to the stretched we do prior to most rides. He was very quick to respond to my cues to take up contact witht he bit at the walk and the trot which was a pleasant surprise.

However, he is dropping his shoulder again. We will be riding at one end of the arena and he will just drop his shoulder and cut in which makes me crazy there is no amount of leg that i can put on him to push him back over. I dont know how to fix it which makes me sad and even more anxious to get working with a new coach. We will get it eventually.

His injuries are healing up great everything is healed and the hair is slowly starting to come back in that area i dont think there will be any scar tissue or any discoloration of his hair.

Now on to Lilly. Lilly was Jens horse the girl who passed away last week, well she has mud fever or mud rash or what ever you want to call it on her 2 hind legs. Lilly is a big horse and she is not a fan of people scrubbing the scabs off of  her legs, and it has not been getting done properly so i volunteered to step in and go out every day to scrub her legs and put the ointment on them. First time i did her legs we couldnt even finish because i was far to exhausted from trying to dodge her tail and kicks aimed for my face as well as attempting to hold her leg. The second time wasnt so bad she was kicking out but not so much at me and i was able to get almost ALL of her scabs off. Last night when i went out the 3rd time i was out there by myself so i was going to try to do it if she was irritable i was not going to push it and put myself in harms way, so i went out and caught her and put her in the cross ties. She was AMAZING i want this horse she is so calm most of the time and really wants to make you happy... when shes not kicking at your face lol. She let me scrub her legs and put the ointment on with barely a tail swish.

Lilly makes me sad though it really makes you see how cruel some race horse owners could be... Lilly cannot neigh she cannot nicker she cannot make any sound other than a heart breaking deep breathing/raspy throat sound, her vocal cords were cut when she was on the track. It was explained to me that some owners do that to their horses so you cannot hear them scream if they fall on the track. That is discusting, and something i WILL be doing more research on.

Anyways i wont be doing much riding now until the weekend

Saturday, 18 August 2012

Saddles for sale

Im trying to sell 2 saddles not that i think they will sell on here but it is worth a shot.

$350 Canadian OBO **SOLD**
17.5 Black Leather Paris Tack Dressage Saddle *like new*

Owned for less than a year in great shape. Wide Tree (fits more like MW to me). Super comfy deep seat . Great saddle just no more room for it in my tack locker.

$500 Canadian OBO
18inch Dark Brown Leather Wintec Saddle

This saddle is in great shape it has been reflocked and had 2 billets replaced. It has been cleaned oiled weekly. Extremly comfortable. Currently has the Wide Gullet in it but i have the entire bar system which will come with it. Again, LOVE this saddle best saddle i have ridden in but alas i have no room in the tack locker and i dont plan on doing very much jumping.

**sorry for the crappy quality photo's they are off of my cell phone**
I will ship the saddles.

If interested please reply to the post or e-mail me;

Blissful Evening

Dispite the events of the week i spent the entire evening last night out at the barn and it felt amazing.

**Did i mention that on Thursday i had to take my 4 year old to get 4 stitches**

I brought G in and brushed him all out, did a little clean up of his man parts and cleaned and moisturized his feet. I wasnt sure if i was going to ride because i had brought my dog out with me and G still isnt 100% recovered from last week but i figured we would give it a try and have a short ride to kinda gauge how the weekend was going to go.

I tacked him up and hopped on he was fantastic all the grooming made him nice and relaxed so our work at the walk was great he even took contact with the bit with very little fighting.

The trot was not so pretty he was really hanging off of my inside leg and dropping that shoulder to the inside.

I cannot wait to have lessons again to help refresh G's memory a little and to help get me back to were i was.

All in all a great night... even thought the barn feels really eerie being there at night alone now.

Thursday, 16 August 2012

Missing my Trainer

My Trainer moved back to British Columbia end of July and we stopped our lessons begining of July and now i feel like i am stuck.... like my direction is lacking. I go out and try to work on perfecting the things we had worked on in my last few lessons but i dont feel like im getting any where. I miss having her yell at me to get it right.

I have been searching for a new trainer that is reasonably priced the dressage coach that currently comes out charges $60 for a 45 minute lesson at that rate i cant afford weekly lessons like i would like.

I have contacted numerous coaches in my area and usually i end up getting back snotty responses like "your barn doesnt have a heated indoor arena from what i hear and i wont do lessons in the winter in the cold" well Lady you are horribly mistaken we have a big Olympic dressage sized heated arena bigger and nicer than most professional riders ride in but if your going to be a bi*** then i dont really want to take lessons with you anyways.

Then i got one "well its not worth my while to do lessons there unless i have 3 students" well one of the "students" is no longer walking the earth so you are out besides we DONT want group lessons either.

Most people didnt even bother to e-mail me back, some flat out refused to come to our barn. I do however have 1 trainer that will be calling me on Sunday to discuss details we will see how it goes with her im hoping she is reasonably priced and has days available that would work with us.

I also FINALLY recieved a call back from a gentleman whose sister used to train my old Trainer Phillip Ross, he sounds amazing and very flexible i have to call him back end of this month to set up something with him the only down side is he knows nothing about dressage... so he will work great for my room mate but not so great for me, But he did mention that if i found that i wasnt learning from him he would find a dressage trainer that would work for me that would be willing to come out to the barn.

*sigh* i need lessons i need a kick in the a** my horse is fat im putting on some weight as well... its easier to put him on a diet than it is myself.

After this winter im moving to a dressage barn.... im going crazy.

Tragedy at the Barn

Recently we had a new girl named Jen join our barn she was early 30's i believe very tall beautiful confident woman. My trainer spent a few weeks helping her find the perfect horse for her considering she was new to get back into riding and hadnt ridden in years they did in a OTTB (off the track for about 5 years) named Lilly, a gorgeous dark brown horse very sweet disposition and wanting to please everyone.

I didnt know Jen very well i had met her a few times and my trainer spoke very highly of her so even though she had violated the quarantine i didnt let that affect how i was around her. Everyone else how ever were not as forgiving, i spoke with Jen on Sunday she seemed her usual cheery self she was interested in buying one of my saddles that i have for sale and we were making arrangements for later that week to ride together so she could try it out. We talked about the other members at the barn and how she shouldnt take it to heart and that she could ride with myself and my room mate anytime we would love for her to join us. We spoke about the breach of quarantine and how it was just a big misunderstanding everything seemed great no issues. Later that day i was planning on inviting her with us to Spruce Meadows for the Masters we go every year and this year theres is 4 girls going and we are going to make it a bit of a big deal and have a girls weekend away.

Monday i messaged her... no answer... i messaged again later that day... no answer....

Tuesday an e-mail went out to our club stating that Sunday in the middle of the night Jen had taken her life (this i am skeptical about i think there is a heck of a lot more going on here than thankfull it is under investigation). So now the barn is a quiet depressing place, Jen's family keeps coming to visit Lilly which is great... but Lilly is just sitting there in a feild waiting for her owner to come see her and bring her treats i wonder if she knows that shes not coming.

I feel extremely frusterated at the barn right now with everything that has happened with G and now this.... This was very out of character for Jen she was so happy she was making plans she went out and bought a horse... all things that you dont do when you are feeling how she would have had to feel to want to do that... to feel like what ever it was was bigger than her, a problem that couldnt be solved. Im also frusterated with people at the barn, one of the ladies i occasionally ride with said it perfectly "i hope people here realise that their actions and harsh words to Jen may have been the straw that broke the camels back"

Anyways that is enough of my depressing post i just needed to get off my chest, the funeral is on tuesday.. im not sure at this time if i am going to go, i know i should but this whole thing doesnt sit well with me....

Wednesday, 15 August 2012

Wordless Wednesday

first pic i got gave me a heart attack

Its looking so much better :) im glad he is healing there shouldnt be any sort of permanent damage thank fully.

Friday, 10 August 2012

Stressed to the max!

Sorry for the long absence I still have no computer so no way to post pics at this time and the new job is keeping me very busy. Last weekend I went out and rode 3 days trying to cut down some of G's fat. Our weight problem has gone from one extreme to the other now he is like riding a rain barrel very lazy and pokey thankfully this month the horses will be moved off of the summer pasture and back into the winter pasture no more hiking a mile to get my horse and a 30 minute walk back into the barn with a horse who does not want to come in.

I also picked up a new saddle, I got a great deal on a brand new Mondega Dante Dressage saddle that fits G perfect for now until I can afford something better I'm slowly upgrading all my tack it is a work in progress. G loves the new saddle he is so much more forward well as forward as he can be with his extra 200 lbs. now to sell my winter All Purpose and my Paris tack dressage saddle.

We got a new horse at the barn a big retired OTTB when I initially met the new owner I really liked her she seemed really nice and like she knew her stuff... So I thought. My barn has Very strict quarantine rules that have to be followed when you bring in a new horse you can read about some of them at the beginng of my blog, anyways the new lady at our barn handled her horse who is in quarantine then went out into the herd and touched all the other horses. So now no horses can leave or enter the barn for 2 weeks we are on lock down because someone felt the rules didn't apply to them.

*sigh* last weekend on Monday I put a fly sheet on G and sprayed him with his fly spray and put him out to pasture since for what ever reason MY horse cannot be moved off of pasture even though everyone else's horses can should they see fit. Any ways I got a call on my way out to calgary yesterday that G's blanket got stuck under his chest and rubbed all the skin off of his chest to the point it was bleeding in some spots. I'm sure about 20 people have gone into that field in the past 3 days and no one noticed him. My poor boy I feel terrible that I'm not there to take care of him. Almost in tears on the drive to Calgary I called the vet and got her recommendations unpasturized honey until the cut parts heal then dermagel until it heals up completely and swat to keep the bugs out. Luckily I have an amazing roommate who is taking care of him for me while I am gone, I am very lucky to have such a great friend but I am very unhappy with my barn, I just need to make it through the winter at this point then I'll move G in the spring.

Pictures to come its not as bad as it sounds but I felt so helpless. Hopefully the hair comes in properly and not white *fingers crossed* I can't wait to be done in Calgary and heading home to be with my horse .