Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Transformation Tuesday: Blog Hop Style

Niamh over at Life of Riley has started an impromptu blog hop, so I was happy to jump on that band wagon.  I contemplated going allllllll the way back to 2001, when I first got Molls, but that would have required a trip to my grandmothers, fishing through photos, and scanning some oldies.  A project for another day.  Therefore I've gone back till 2009 because evidently that was when I started clogging up my Facebook with pony photos :)

First up, jumping photos.  These are fun because I started Mollie over fences right around 2009 anyways, so this really takes her from her first experiences till a few years ago, when I "retired" her from jumping due to arthritis.

April 2009

June 2010

May 2011

October 2011

And then there are flatting photos, which really end up being dressage photos.  Looking at these really is amazing... there are certainly times where I don't think we've come all that far in the 13+ years spent together, but when I look at these show photos from 2009 I'm blown away.  I remember seeing these pictures and thinking we looked fan-freaking-tastic!! And we did, based on where we'd come from!  Comparing them to now is like no other feeling :)


May 2009

Fall 2010

Fall 2011

January 2012

Winter 2014


May 2009
Fall 2010

May 2013

Winter 2014

Monday, August 25, 2014

MM: The Naughties

Here we are for another segment of Montana Monday.  After riding him almost every day a few weeks ago I was so excited to keep up the positive work with him.  Then life got in the way, I was unable to ride him last week, as was his owner, and therefore Montana had 7 whole days off.  Ugh.  Seriously not the best for a horse who really needs consistency, but whatcha gonna do.

All that said I wasn't realllllly surprised when I got on him last Saturday and he was a total turd.  Unfortunately I don't have any of his antics on video (my slave sister was putting her horse away at the beginning of my ride) but it was complete with rushing, then slamming on the brakes, and refusing to go forward.  He even threatened to rear which I am not a huge fan of.  Naughty Tana.  After a swift arse kicking he was in a much better mindset however, and we ended on a decent note.

A few things to note:

- Any time I lean forward the tiniest bit, Montana slams on the brakes.  Every.  Single.  Time.
- I need to be using core nonstop on this horse.
- Leg.  Always leg.
- Whenever Montana loses his balance he slips into a pace.  My experience with gaited horses is admittedly limited, but he DOES have a distinct trot, pace, and canter.  It's just deciphering between the three, and keeping them separate.
- This is an apparent issue when changing direction, especially from left to right where he almost always slips into a pace for a few strides.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

That Time Prednisone made my horse a Cracked out Dragon

I apologize for the long ass title of this post.  I also apologize that there will not be a single horse-y photo in this post, because I have none, but I swear I have a life and will share pictures of that.

Ok, one horsey photo because I went to polo.

Also, Cole Swindell.  Jeans be so tight.

On to prednisone and my cracked out dragon horse.  Mollie is super level headed, and really doesn't spook at much.  She's always alarmed by large rocks, and will become derailed if she's with another horse who loses their shit, but it's a rare occurrence that she spooks.  Ever.  Therefore I was a little surprised when she took a good look/spook at the door in the indoor that is open every. single. day. a few days ago.  Then today while leading her inside she gawked at a water bucket (yup) and was very antsy on the cross ties.  I got on and within 5 minutes she'd spooked at the door, and a tablecloth on the table of the viewing room that was hardly visible from the indoor.

With all these little things in the back of my head I'm starting to think the prednisone is making her a little edgy.  I did some preliminary research about the side effects online and couldn't find much, but I don't know what else to attribute it to.  I'm just going to let it be for the time being and see what happens, but it's kind of funny in the meantime.  She's so NOT a spooker she's been entertaining everyone at the barn.

The plus side to all of this is that when I could channel all her nervous energy it made for some great trot work :)  I swear there were a few moments when we were so close to piaffe and it was so fricken cool!!

Now for more photos to prove I have a real life.

Boyfriend and I had date night.  I <3 wine.

I almost licked my plate.  Almost.

Lastly, does anyone else share my obsession with beautiful cowgirl boots?  I'm a total dressage queen but cannot resist gorgeous boots, so these guys snuck their way into my collection this week.  Whoops.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Not Buying It

I've been thinking about the idea of this post for a while now, and some of Sprinkler Bandits recent "Teach me Tuesday" posts really pushed me into writing it.

I'm not sure if this happens in other sports, since I admittedly have only "played" equestrian for the majority of my life, but what is it about equestrians and fads?  I mean I understand that when everyone else has something new and shiny you want it too, but I always wonder if those things actually help?  Ever?  I have a few examples and would love to hear your thoughts :)

First up is something I feel like every blogger must have heard of by this point.... the Ogilvy.  This seems to have taken the equestrian world by storm, and there have been tons of posts related to this half pad with supposed mythical properties, but I cannot imagine ever using one.  I've always worked closely with a saddle fitter who is so anti extra pads of any sort that I've always opted to have a properly fitting saddle than to shove unnecessary pads on my horse.  Now I understand that not everyone has that "perfectly fitting saddle" but for those who do use the Ogilvy, do you actually think it's better than a proper fit?

Next is yet another item that most of the Bloggy World is probably familiar with... the oh so coveted Tailored Sportsmans.  Now I've been riding for over 16 years and am familiar with the TS craze, but for my whole life I have never found a pair that fits.  Ever!  They're tight in the wrong places, baggy in other places, and no matter what size/fit/rise I try they just never work.  With so many brands of breeches out there, why are these supposedly the end all be all?

And just incase all you hunter jumpers thought I was picking on just you, don't fear! I'm mystified by my own kind just as much ;)  For all the dressage queens out there, I have never gotten into the humongous knee block/deep seat fad.  This has been around for a few years so to be completely honest, I'm not even sure if it's as relevant now, but it just seems crazy to me.  In a discipline where I want to be able to manipulate every movement my horse makes, why on earth would I stuff a bunch of saddle between me and my horse?  Granted, I've had my dressage saddle for about 7 or 8 years now and it does have a slight knee roll, and a deeper seat than say, a huntseat saddle, but if I had my choice I'd be swapping that out for something way more minimalistic.

Hopefully I haven't totally offended anyone with this post, as it wasn't the point at all.  I'm just genuinely curious as to whether or not people feel they've benefited or gained anything from "buying in" to these fads, or if they feel like it wasn't worth it?

Monday, August 18, 2014

Montana Monday

It's been a while since I updated on Montana, my favorite red headed gelding.  He's definitely been an interesting guy this summer and is developing just as I would expect a total green bean to.... with one step forward and two steps back.

Doug Foscale Equine Photography

The problem with this "typical" progression is explaining it to Montana's dad :)  This is the first horse he has ever brought along, and while totally capable of doing a wonderful job with Montana he sometimes questions himself.  Typical of all ammies out there, and exactly why I need to introduce him to the world of blogging.

That being said, after a few less than stellar lessons (Montana is the king of evasions!) D asked me to give Montana a week of boot camp.

And I had a BLAST.

Seriously guys, I love this horse.  He is so, so hard to ride because he's just so darn quick in all his "moves" but once you assure him that you're in charge and not falling for his sheeeeeet he's such a pleasure.  I have so much to relay to D and am confident that I know where Montana is now, and where he needs to go.

PS, the answer is circles.  Lots of circles.  Constant circles.

Possibly the best part of this week was the day I expected to be the absolute worst.  I planned on riding Montana on Wednesday and when I woke up it was pouring.  This already didn't bode well with me because Montana hates the indoor and is notoriously better outdoors.  Oh well, winter is coming anyways so I better work on it.  Then I got to the barn and realized there were two other instructors teaching a lesson at the same time.  If you remember, the last time I rode Montana with another horse he lost all of his pony marbles and it was a total fail.

Needles to say I was very surprised and pleased that this was the result :)

I really wish I had video from the other days as well, as this wasn't even his best.  Just really, really, good given everything that was going on.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Clinic Recap: Day 2

First off, thank you so much for your warm thoughts and comments on my last Mollie related post.  It's amazing how much better absolute strangers can make you feel in a not-so-great situation.

Secondly, I realized I never recapped about the second day of my clinic with Jean Luc Cornille. However I just read Beka's blog post about a seminar she recently attended, where she learned some of the teachings of JLC too!  Super cool to think other people are becoming familiar with him, and liking what he has to say.

I could give you a super boring recap of the clinic, but I've already mentioned most of the high points here.  So instead I'll give you boring video of me walking and trotting super slowly... buuuuut we're in perfect (ish) balance!  It was torrentially down pouring the second day of the clinic but I left the volume on because in between the static noise that is rain on the indoor roof you can make out some of what he is saying.

What I really love about these clips is that you can visibly see Mollie lifting up through her shoulders, and at a few points I swear she grows a whole inch.  When she gets super light and collected she really brings her front legs up, like a pogo stick, as opposed to dragging her toes along in her preferred way of going.

And in case that wasn't enough painfully slow dressage-ing for all of you, here's another video of her from yesterday.  You guessed it, we're still trotting slowly.  All of this technical work has been amazing for her though.  She's feeling incredibly sound and strong, and is extremely happy to work.  That says a lot, seeing as she's a red headed mare and all :)

I've really been thinking about keeping her slow, straight, and keeping my position just right.  It's not perfect all the time but I feel like we're going better than we ever have, and the sky is honestly the limit.  It amazes me that this horse just keeps getting better and is a testament to how important it is to continuously educate yourself in this sport.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

E@H Blog Hop: Threads

Woohoo for Hillary over at Equestrian at Hart starting up her own blog hop now that L has retired hers.  I've been seriously slacking on blogging lately so hopefully this will get me back on track with some predetermined topics.

For the sake of making this post shorter I'm just going to talk about my summer riding attire, because living in New England means I have entirely different wardrobes for each season, and all the random weather in-between.  I'll start from the top and work my way down.

For as long as I can remember I've been an IRH fan.  They are hands down the best fit for my head, and I think they're classy enough for what I want to do (a whole lot of schooling).  It keeps my head fairly cool and I've had my current helmet for 2 years without it starting to "funk" yet.

In the past I've always worn random T-shirts (usually of the tie-dye variety) to the barn but since moving to a "classier" barn in the fall I figured I should at least attempt to dress the part.  Fluorescent solid fitted-ish shirts was the best I could do ;)  Target had a bunch of these shirts for sale this spring and I think I bought 5 of them in different colors.  They're all solids and pretty much match all my breeches, along with being super lightweight yet not see through.  Win all around for me.

I've blogged a time or two about my favorite breeches before, and I basically stick to two kinds... Tredstep and Kerrits (but the newer kerrits, not the tights).  I might be the only person in the whole entire world who likes Tredsteps, because everyone else I know has hated them, but they fit my random proportions perfectly.  They look very nice in my opinion, I love the material, the fact that they come in full seats, and the sock bottom.  My only complaint is that they don't have more colors :(

One thing that I'm not a snob at all about are tall boots.  I've always bought cheap-o boots, taken good care of them, and they do the job.  I've had these Ariats (from the children's department.... muahaha) for a few years and they're still chugging along.

As far as accessories go, I like functionality and I like to have fun.  I used to be a die-hard crochet gloves fan, but when they stopped making them in velcro closures I made the switch to the Noble Equine gloves posted above.  So far I really like them, and am hoping they hold up!!  Zocks are definitely my favorite socks for riding.  I haaaate thick socks in general, never mind under tall boots so I have a wide variety of Zocks to choose from.

And now for some photos of the outfits in action ;)

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Breathing Through Straws

I suck suck double suck at posting.  Again.

So remember that time I said Mollies heaves was making an appearance?  But it wasn't that bad so we were just going to wait and see?  Well it got that bad.  Real fast.

Unrelated pano of the fields.

The first day of our clinic this past weekend Mollie was coughing and wheezing quite a bit, which was disheartening.  The next day though (which I just realized I haven't even posted about!!) she was much better, coughing was at a minimum and she only wheezed a few times.  This whole bad/not so bad pattern was how I had observed her the last few weeks, so it seemed par for the course.  I rode again on Tuesday and she only coughed once, and had no wheezing.  I really thought the Freeway I had started her on was starting to kick in, and we'd found a miracle cure.

Then I got to the barn Friday and as I walked out to Mollie's field I realized I could hear her breathing.  From her field.  At rest.  From about 100 yards away.  F@*#*ck.

I haltered her, and realized her nostrils were flared out so far they were perfect circles, and they were staying there.  So I obviously started crying immediately and brought her up to the barn.  I decided to give her a bath (it was also a thousand degrees) and called the vet, while doing my best not to strangle the secretary through the phone.  I absolutely adore my vet, but speaking with her secretary is painful.  As I stood there explaining that MY HORSE COULDN'T BREATHE she proceeded to tell me the vet could come out to see us on Tuesday.  IT WAS FRIDAY.  I did my best to kindly ask that the vet call me directly when she could, and then proceeded to keep freaking out.

After I hung up and freaked out to everyone in sight I was then informed another vet was coming out to look at another horse and maybe I should calm the eff down and call them to see if they could look at Molls as well.  Luckily they could, and 20 minutes later they were there.  I gave the vet the run down, she looked at Mollie, listened to her trachea, and immediately motioned her vet student over and said, "You've got to come listen, you'll never hear anything like this again."


It was determined that Mollie has severe horse-y asthma/COPD.  After a physical exam and a lung wash (read: the most heart breaking and sad thing I've ever watched) the vet prescribed Molls some prednazone for the foreseeable future, and based on the results of the lung wash (which I should get back today) we'll either stick with that or make some adjustments to her treatment.

So. Much. Prednazone.

Each day Mollie has sounded a little better and today I even hopped on for a 10 minute walk.  Her nostrils flared just the tiniest bit after I got off but her wheezing wasn't audible, which is a huge improvement.  Fingers crossed she keeps getting better, because seeing my little girl that sick sucked.