Monday, 24 September 2012

Saucy Saturdays + Saddle Sold

As many of you know i have been battling with a Giraffe the last couple rides so i decided that obviously something that i am doing is causing him discomfort because its not like G to flat out refuse to do what i asked. Some people asked if it was maybe his teeth so we ruled that out, then it was his saddle... to be honest i am not completely sure what it is that might be causing him to act so out of sorts but i have been working at eliminating different things.

Saturday i went out to work with G i was planning for it to be a nice easy ride since it is our last weekend at EGSC. One of the guys at the barn suggested that maybe my issues stem from my saddle fit, but there are no points were my saddle pinches my horses back the saddle fits perfect and G doesnt swish his tail or get girthy. Either way i figured i would take the advise i was given on my previous post and lunge him first... i asked him to walk off and he went into a bucking and kicking fit.... with my saddle on... so i stopped him took all my tack off and we started again same thing... i was really nervous to ride him but i lunged him both sides until he was calm relaxed then we walked all the way back to the barn to get my helmet (yes i know i should ALWAYS ride with a helmet, but i dont and i understand what could happen and all that but its a choice that i make as an adult when i get on my horse.) today was definitely a helmet kind of day. This time when i tacked up i left the girth a lot loser i checked how tight it was at the sternum and not the sides.

I prepared for a bit of a fight at the mounting chair since i figured it would be a nice change to ride in the outdoor since we still are having great weather, but it only took 2x to get him back were he should be at the chair so i could get on... he then waited for me to ask him to walk on... i was shocked.. this is the horse i know. So we did some nice relaxing loops around the arena did a little bit of trot on the lose rein, a few trot rails. Then it was off down the road to see how he would do out on a bit of a hack just the two of us.. he was very nervous as he is when ever we do something new and i am not standing beside him but he did great we even crossed the highway and did some trot circles in the neighbores feild. I didnt ask for contact all i wanted was forward and to enjoy our ride. I did however focus a lot more on my position and keeping myself straight. He did great even when a car flew past us on the highway while we were on the shoulder, he didnt panic or bolt he just kept going.

Sunday i went out again for a quick ride again in the out door, i lunged him quick just to make sure that if he had any bucking or kicking to get out it was on there and not while i was on his back... put on my helmet (2 days in a row look at me go lol) tighten his girth the same as i did the day before (at the sternum) this time there was no fighting at the mounting chair he stood still and it was nice and easy to hop on. We did some walk and some trot as well as walking over a few cross rails that were set up in the arena it was a great way to end my experience at EGSC.

Last night i also sold my Paris tack dressage saddle which couldnt come at a better time... AND i got to ride a standard bred... which felt like riding a llama.... Pretty neat feeling...

Have a great week everyone!

Monday, 17 September 2012

Finding my Patience

Anyone who knows me knows that generally i have no patience, its something that i have been trying to learn especially when it comes to my child and my animals.

I rode 3x this weekend, Saturday was a scratch because i worked both jobs and in between had to go out to Deworm G with the special vet dewormer because a horse in the heard turned up with wormer resistant worms.

Fridays ride was the same as Thursdays like riding a Giraffe again the big plus was that he was forward which is great. We tried at a walk to get some contact on the bit which resulted in a battle were i only gave when he did which took quite some time. It was also a bit of a fight to keep him on a 20m circle he kept trying to cut in or wander out to far. So to prevent him from being able to think about all the ways he could NOT do what i was asking i started asking him at a trot on a circle. We probably trotted for a good 30 minutes on a circle in both directions the reason we didnt carry on longer was that he FINALLY put his head down and relaxed a little. Both of us were quite sweaty at the end of the ride and exhausted, unfortunatly i had to hang out around the barn for a while because there were some young girls there riding with me who cannot be riding without adult supervision.

Sunday was a fairly short ride again starting out at the walk riding my Giraffe asking for straight forward and a 20m circle again all things that were not on G's list of what he wanted to do that day. I figured that we would try to mix it up a little bit and did some sitting trot work, some trotting without stirrups, some figure 8's and some serpentines before going back to a 20m circle he was a little bit quicker to relax today so the ride was a little bit easier on my hands but he definitely was not as forward as the other days. Most likely due to the fact that this weekend is the hardest i have ridden him and the most work he has had to do in a long time. How ever at the end of the ride while i was walking him out with no stirrups he finally brought his head down and took a little bit of contact with the bit for a few steps anyways so at that moment we called it a day and a win for the weekend.

Some quick notes... the head raising is strictly an evading manouver that he has picked up (again i allowed him to learn this), the martingale is not new and he has never done this before with the martingale had i not had it on him this weekend i most likely would have ended up with a broken nose. G has had his teeth done and i check them regularily to make sure that he is still good with his mouth. If this issue continues i may consider a different bit but this one was doing just fine before so i think i will just have to wait his stubborness out.

At this point i am also open to suggestions.

Friday, 14 September 2012

Could have sworn i bought a horse....

And not a Giraffe...

Last night I went out to ride and something crazy happened I went out to the field and I saw G look under another horse at me then started walking towards me only a step or two but I will take that over walking away from me any day.

He was great while tacking up as usual, the battle at the mounting block was shorter than I was expecting it to be then it was go time.

As soon as I got on he had his head as high as he could possibly get it with his standing martingale on and he was walking a really fast awkward pace.... hey at least we had forward right? We had forward but we definitely did not have straight I could feel him wiggling underneath me and he was constantly tripping over himself it was like riding a two year old good thing I put boots on him.

We continued to ride around at this awkward pace I would slow him down then start to ask for contact then right back into the crazy fast Giraffe walk he would go in to. At one point he was stepping so high I could feel the elevation in his front end I wish I would have video taped this whole thing I’m sure it looked absolutely ridiculous and I know it is his attempt to try and find a way to get out of working since now all his other ways are not working.

We got into one of the scary corners of the arena and he started to lean on my leg so I gave him a tap with the whip to get him to stop ignoring my leg, he also ignored the whip and started going backwards so I gave him another tap which resulted..... In him rearing... not an all out YEEHAAWW kind of rear but enough that his front legs were where his chest should have been while standing. I was shocked he had never tried to rear on me before I was also pretty proud of myself because when he came down I was still on his back and not barely I was planted pretty firmly in the saddle I think he was quite disappointed because I pushed him forward as soon as his hooves touched the ground.

I took him back to a walk, which he kept very forward, and asked for just the slightest big of contact which he eventually gave to me and we did some trot at the awkward Giraffe pace/style and called it a day.

Positives of the ride... I stayed on when he reared... I haven’t laughed more during a ride than I did last night.... eventually he gave me just a little bit of what I wanted so all in all a win.

I love my horse and all his shenanigans <3

**and yes this post was spell checked**

Thursday, 13 September 2012

100th Post + Barn Move

Wow 100 posts, i usually struggle to commit to things like this! I just wanted to thank everyone who follows my blog and reads my posts and some times drops a comment. I know the posts are poorly written because they are thrown together quickly while im at work, but it means a lot to me all the knowledge that i get from the comments as well as reading all your blogs as well.

This blog has helped to keep me sane and has made it very easy for me to see my progress and to see how much closer i get to my goals every time i go out and work with my horse. How ever injury is a reminder of how delicate life can be and how important it is to spend every day smiling and with the things we love.

This year has been crazy and im sure it wont slow down but things are looking up for me thankfully. Thanks again everyone!

I thought I'd take the opportunity to post the website for the barn i am moving too.... i have arranged transportation we move September 29 2012. Cant wait!

Gallifrey Equestrian

Girls weekend! at Spruce Meadows!

Last weekend was the 2nd annual girls weekend away to Spruce Meadows for the Masters. This year we managed to get 3 days in instead of the 2 we managed last year. My best friend and coach drove down from B.C with another one of our friends. It was so amazing i will only touch on some of the highlights... i have photos but im going to have to try to figure out a way to get some up on here.

I met the girls down there late Thursday and we went to the horse show all day friday to do some shopping and get it out of the way. I didnt have much money to go down with so i was holding out for a different store. But as usual Spruce always impresses with all the vendors and the great deals they have on everything. We watched the 6 bar which had 2 first place winners the finishing height was 6"5! The French team were the nicest of all they were done doing autographs at their booth when we came up and after the 3 of us looking rather sad they stopped and signed some cards for us.We watched the Strathcona's do their musical ride and saw the last couple riders that day. Then it was off to the bar for some drinks and dancing with a few of our Strat friends. We went two stepping it was so much fun i had a BLAST!

Saturday was good the girls were a little crabby due to the lack of sleep but we hit up my favorite place on earth The Tack Collector If you are ever in the Calgary AB area go and check this place out amazing deals! I was in heaven when i realised that again we came down on a blow out weekend which ment 50% off everything lol. So i bought myself a paid of really nice long reins with the rope $10 (i wanna say rope reins but they are not the western kind?) a cute orange Anky dressage polo $5 (sleeveless) which im wearing to work and a pair of Breeches $10 AND AND best find of the weekend 1 pair of white TailorSportsmans show breeches for $10 and another paid of brand new Tailor Sportsmans in baby blue with the tags still on them showing the original sale price of $198 and i paid.... drum roll...... $15. Couldnt have been happier i fricken love that place! We made it just in time for the International to see the Canadian favorites ride, unfortunatly Tiffany Foster had a real hard time her horse ran right through one of the jumps and then the second time flat out refused it. There were also a few riders that retired.

Saturday night was more partying but unfortunatly we were one girl short due to a huge migraine. We managed to get into ranchmans VIP because my Grandpa is an old Rodeo Clown and they love him in there so we managed to get stamps after our free dinner so we could get back in without line or cover. But it was packed so we decided to hit up a little pub accross the street which was a much better environment.

Sunday was an early day because i had to leave from the event to Edmonton right after to pick my little guy up. The Masters were amazing! Everyone did great. We were all a little sad with Eric Lamaze's withdraw from the masters but it was understandable they should have held the memorial for hickstead after i guess he was a little to choked up to compete and with good cause. Only one major fall and i cant remember for the life of me who it was at this point. No jump off required either. I love going to watch stuff like this but i have a hard time following as well as my friends did them being jumpers and all.

It was a great girls weekend all in all filled with shopping horses and free samples (i left with bags and bags of horse food) i cant wait until next year to do it all over again. I highly recommend making it to Spruce Meadows I could go on and on forever about the great weekend we had the funny conversations and the new friends made but no one wants to read that.

Get your butt to Spruce Next year! see you guys there!

Thursday, 6 September 2012

Lesson #11New Trainer

On Sunday almost a week ago i had an assessment lesson with Stacey T to possibly start having lessons with her i was pretty nervous she had a lot of experience and was managing to fit us into a tight schedule.

So i went out and got G all ready to go tacked up and was about to lunge when SURPRISE she was there early and the arena was being watered so i was not able to lunge. Usually this is not a big deal but it was very windy outside so there were a lot of big sounds in the arena which G is usually pretty skittish around.

So Stacey asked me to hop on and warm up how i usually would so i went to get on and wouldnt you know it G decided to pick today to NOT stand at the mounting block, after a couple minutes of fighting with him Stacey came over and held him for me to get the ball rolling.

I hopped on and started our usually walk around the arena in both directions... we made it down the long wall and thats about it G started his freak out in the corner that he usually finds scarey. He was backing and going sideways trying to change direction, he tried everything and was very successful to pull me out of my seat. I was always taught you dont change direction you dont allow them to get out of what you are asking them to do but Stacey requested i try from the other side... same thing spaz attack in the corner.

I tried to carry on and trot him out but he was dropping his shoulder as he has started doing and counter flexing was only helping so much. So Stacey stopped us and asked if she could try, so back to the mounting block we went were again i had to hold him so she could get on.

One in the saddle he immediatly walked off and wouldnt take any sort of contact with the bit, he tried the same stuff he did with me but couldnt get her out of the saddle which of course did not make him very happy at all.

I watched for about 15 minutes as she fought with my horse to get contact and to get him moving forward, he did everything in his power to evade her to ignore her leg. Stacey just went with the flow at some points i felt kinda bad for my horse he is so used to getting away with murder from me and now he is being schooled by a rider that knows what she is doing and is able to make him do what she wants.... eventually.

So things i learned:
           -My horse is not forward.... i finally know what this means... and he is not it
           -My horse is not straight.... i can feel it now how crooked he is

Are these things my fault? Yes and no.

Yes because i have allowed him to develop these bad habits, i have allowed him to get lazy because i am some what lazy and i am not challenging myself or him.

No because i am also very inexperienced and i dont think its fair to myself to beat myself up over something like this or get discouraged, i have a very forgiving horse that is going to help me learn and move past and correct all these habits.

Plan of Action:

I have found a new barn and am transfering by the end of the month, i then will try to have either a lesson every week or every other week with the trainer on site. Now that this barn is closer to my house i will be out there to ride minimum 4x a week. I will start getting over all my irrational fears, i will start jumping again, and i will CANTER MY HORSE. The new barn is very supportive and a lot more like the barn family i have been looking for it may be more expensive but we need to get our butts in gear if we ever want to get to where i want to go.

Wednesday, 5 September 2012

Eviction and now a Barn search

I spoke with the people that over see our barn yesterday and it would appear that my ex husband has cancelled our membership and the membership is now in arrears. I was told by our saddle club president that if i get the account cleared up that they would allow me to stay at the barn until my divorce was finalized, well that wasnt true.

After getting off the phone with the management company i cannot stay at the barn under any circumstance they will not make an exception for me. My husband has removed me from all work paper work and unless he adds me again i will be getting notice to get my horse off of the premises.

Long story short im refusing to pay his outstanding debts to them so now i get to start the barn search yet again and try to budget to find a way to be able to manage the more expensive board at other places.

I panicked last night a little bit and went to look at a barn that was "close" to were i live... yeah it was about a 40 minute drive. The arena was a small wet sand box type thing, no outdoor arena and the tack room was a good walking distance away from the stalls... it was an odd place.

I have a few more places to look at over the next week or so. Im going to be very happy when life slows down for me if that ever happens lol.

On the up side.... Spruce Meadows this weekend with my best friend this is exactly what i need a girls weekend. 

Tuesday, 4 September 2012

Update on Barn Tragedy

A few weeks ago we had one of our barn members take her own life, it was a bit of a shock to the entire barn because it was so random. It was under investigation because the entire circumstance seemed a little odd but i never heard anything else after that.

Her boyfriend came out a few times right after it happened with his family to bath Lilly and feed her treats but other than that there hasnt been many visitors.

Basically because the horse was not in the will the horse and all the tack must be settled with the estate so we have to wait around to see what the result is, which is hard because this horse needs to be ridden and needs that one on one time with people but due to our barn rules and regulations we are not really allowed to handle other peoples horses without permission from that person specifically. We are all stuck between a rock and a hard place.

Lilly had mud rot or mud fever what ever you want to call it for a few weeks and myself and another lady went out every day to scrub this mares legs and put the ointment on her at first she hated it and i almost needed a face mask with all the strikes she had aimed at my head but she did settle down as it got better which was excellent.

We were also able to put Lilly in with out heard so she was not alone and everyone who went to the feild could sneak some grain and treats out to her when no one was watching.

Sunday the BF was out to spend a little time with Lilly, there was no one at the barn and i couldnt reach anyone to verify if he was allowed to be there so i just left it alone it wasnt really my place to meddle more than i have been as it is.... so the BF went out to get Lilly and do what ever it is he did with her.

Monday Lilly turned up lame she was found in the feild first thing in the morning hobbling around with extreme pain in her front left leg/shoulder/foot, she was immediatly given some bute to help keep the pain down and is not again seperated from the herd left to attempt to whinny at the herd as she watches them run around in the pasture in her sad "death call" as my friend calls it.(She under went vocal cord surgery when she was on the track, its a very depressing sound if you have ever heard it). I havnt heard if the vet has come out or what is going on with that... again rock and a hard place because our club is now footing all of the bills for this horse.

The horses all seem to feel the change in energy at the barn, i dont like being there at night alone anymore its not as peaceful and the horses seem very stressed out at night... not sure what is causing that but it is not very pleasant.