Friday, February 28, 2014

20 Questions (I am a Thief)

Totally stealing this from Hillary who stole it from The Daily Horse because I still haven't been out to the barn this week.  I just can't get excited about riding in the teens anymore.  Wah.

1. What discipline do you ride? Dressage Queen for the win.
2. If you had to switch your discipline what would you choose? Western Pleasure.  I've always had a closet obsession with the bling and the silver and the conches... I just think it's super cool.  And I may have also recently ordered this belt to help with the closet western fetish.



3. Who is your equestrian idol? I honestly don't have one... in all honesty I don't really follow any of the big time riders.  I love watching the competitions whenever I can but don't have anyone that I "idolize" per say.
4. Who is your least favorite equestrian? No one in particular but I tend to lose respect for equestrians pretty quickly if I hear they don't respect their animals as they should.  Anyone who uses questionable methods is out in my book.
5. Describe your dream horse.  I own her.

Knoopdawg Photography

6. Post a picture of the horse you ride. 

Knoopdawg Photography

7. What would you do if you were forced to stop riding? I don't think I'd ever be totally without horses.  But I would honestly be ok with having Molls in my backyard and just hanging out with her, even if I couldn't ride for one reason or another.

8. What was your best score at a show? a 68.5% with Mollie, First Level Test 1

9. What is your favorite horse blog? I have a few favorites.  Including but not limited to: Viva CarlosEquestrian at Hart, and She Moved to Texas.

10. Group lesson or private? For dressage definitely private, for jumping I prefer group.

11. How high do you jump? Not sure the highest I've ever jumped... I'd say around 3ft? 


12. What level dressage do you do? Awesome question.  The highest I've ever shown was 1st Level (years ago) and since I haven't showed much recently I really can't say.  We school parts of 2nd and 3rd Level regularly but we'd have to work to get a test together smoothly.  It's just not something that's hugely important to me right now.

13. What level eventing do you do? When I did eventing we competed Elementary level.  Schooling I don't even know... we'd basically jump anything I wasn't *too* terrified of.

14. Cross country colors?  What are they?  Either purple or teal... or both :)

15. What colors look good on your horse?  I love her in teal.


16. Opinions on Rolkur? Oh I love it.  Not.  Who made this question?

17. Last time you rode? Was it great?  Last Sunday (eek!!) And yes, Molls was very good.

18. If you could spend a day with any equestrian, who would it be? Not quite an equestrian, but I've always wanted to ride along with our vet for a day.

19. Helmet or no helmet? Opinions? Always a helmet, unless I'm doing a photo shoot or something... but even then it feels super weird.

20. Who was/is your first horse?  He was an Arabian gelding named Red.  Super flashy chestnut, no pictures handy though.




Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Christmas

So promptly after I hit the little orange "Publish" button on yesterday's post a wondrous brown UPS truck pulled up to my house with a package from Smartpak.  Seriously, just over 24 hours after I placed the order?  Nice work SP, nice work.  I happily ripped open the box faster than I unwrap presents on Christmas and then promptly took pictures of everything.

They look a little bit bigger than I expected.... I ordered a Medium which is pretty standard for Mollie sizes, so fingers crossed they fit.




Then of course I tried them on myself because I'm a fool.  Right over my work pants.


I left it on my knee for about half an hour, just to see what happened, and I could definitely feel a difference in temperature... that leg was really warm when I took it off!! I'm so excited to get to the barn this weekend and try them out.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

All the New

Because I haven't been able to make it out to the barn since this weekend I will enthrall bore all of you with my recent farrier saga.  Because what horse person doesn't love one of those, right?

Now I have owned Mollie for nearly thirteen years and have used the same farrier the whoooole time.  He was the farrier for the barn I was riding at so naturally we began using him, he's always done her feet well, and we've never had a reason not to use him.  Even after moving the barn he serviced he dutifully came out to do Mollie's feet-sies wherever we moved.  Several years ago when we had some lameness issues with Mollie and confirmed that her feet were to blame he talked to my vet, made corrections, and shoes her the way she needs to be shod, not the way he "shoes" which I've always appreciated.

That is all well and good, until it isn't.  When we moved Mollie to the new barn that put her about an hour and a half/two hours from where our farrier lives.  He never minded traveling a little ways but I had a feeling this would be much to far for just one horse.  And who could blame him?  He assured us though that he would come out at least once, see how far it was, and then decide if he would be able to continue.  He came out, right when scheduled, and said the distance was no problem and he would continue doing Mollie's feet.  Awesome, right?  Not awesome.

Our farrier was always very good about just "showing up" and doing Mollie when he could fit her in. She's very easy to trim/shoe/handle so he thought nothing of coming out to do her at the crack of dawn, getting her from her stall, doing her feet, and putting her away and just sticking a bill on her stall door.  Very rarely did I have to call him to ask him to come out.  Therefore it was a solid 7ish weeks (she's a very easy keeper) before I realized Mollie needed to be done, and I hadn't heard from him.  No biggie, I figured since he wasn't in our "area" anymore he just hadn't thought of it.  I called him, left a message, and waited.

Then a week went by.

So unlike him.  I called again, daily, and texted more than once before hearing back from him.  He was having a family emergency and apparently that was why he hadn't returned any of my calls.  Well that's fine, it happens to everyone.  I asked when he could come out and he said he "didn't know."  Sigh.  In the back of my head I had a feeling he wasn't coming again... ever.  And I was right.  Lots more phone tag ensued, I waited and waited, and finally gave up.  Mollie was ridiculously overdue and I couldn't wait any longer.

A few phone calls to our barn's main farrier later and he came out today to do Mollie's feet.  I was bummed I couldn't get there because I'd like to meet the man who is now shoeing my horse but there's that work thing I'm obligated to go to.  Luckily everyone in the barn uses him and has rave reviews, I was able to tell him over the phone what Mollie's needs are, and she's also one of the easiest keepers ever.  Hallelujah.  Definitely excited to get out to the barn later this week and see how they look!

I am also proud to report that we have a pair of Back on Track Hock Boots on the way!! I ordered them yesterday and can't wait for them to get here and try them out.

Now please enjoy this video of Mollie begging for a banana.

video


Monday, February 24, 2014

Not the Journey you Wanted

So I posted about the ride I had on Sunday, but I didn't post about the hour long conversation I had with a very good friend after that.  We got on the topic of doing what is right for your horse and how so few people in the horse world actually do that.  Now, don't get me wrong, we weren't poo-poo-ing on horse people, we have both made plenty of mistakes when it comes to our horses, I think everyone does.  Instead we were talking about people who don't trust themselves, and don't listen to their horses.


Not everyone knows this, but when I got Mollie things weren't always pretty.  In fact, the first year or two... (or maybe even 3?) was somewhat scary.  When I got Mollie she was on the cusp of her 5th birthday and I was 11 (almost 12).  I had been riding for about four years but probably had no business owning a (very) green 5 year old.  When we tried Mollie she was sensible enough and I had a great first summer with her.  Around the fall of the first year we had her however, everything changed.  Looking back there were many reasons for this, but at the time it wasn't always clear.

- She moved from the 24/7 turnout she had grown accustomed to her whole life to being stalled overnight
- We moved her to a barn with an indoor where she had previously been ridden mostly outdoors
- She got significantly less exercise when I was in school than she did in the summer
- She got a little older, a lot wiser, and realized she could be bad.


When we bought Mollie my main goals were to compete in 4H shows, and maybe do some pony club.  I knew that getting her as a 4/5 year old would mean it would be a little while before we were ready, but I was ok with that.  Little did I know it would be years, and years, and years before I could confidently take her to a show.  In fact, it was years before I could confidently ride her at home.  We faced tons of struggles and there were plenty of times I was downright terrified of my own horse.  But for one reason or another, I kept her, and kept working.


Looking back, our journey wasn't what I thought it would be.  But it was my journey for a reason.  Through owning Mollie I learned more about myself and grew more as a person than I think I could have with any other horse.  She taught me that no matter how bad things get, they always get better.  Granted, it's only a matter of time before something else goes wrong, but things tend to work themselves out eventually.


She also taught me to trust myself.  I've owned Mollie for almost thirteen years.  I know that horse so well and I know there are people out there who could critique our riding up and down.  But you know what?  There's a reason I don't do certain things with her, and a reason I won't ask certain things of her.  But no one else would know that, because she only has me.  As horse owners it's our job to stick up for our horses, to advocate for them.  So many of us think of our horses as our children, yet we don't trust ourselves to make decisions for them.  Of course I don't suggest making major medical decisions without consult from a vet, but trust yourselves people!! You know your horses better than anyone else, and don't let anyone convince you otherwise.


I was recently talking to someone I used to ride with who has fallen into a place of questioning herself and not trusting her instincts.  This woman loves her horse so much and their relationship is absolutely adorable.  She would never in a million years do anything to compromise his health or well being.  But right now?  She kind of is.  She has this horse in a "program" where many of her decisions about the horse are dictated by her trainer.  This is fine... except when it isn't.  Without getting into too many details she confessed to me that her horse has been NQR for quite some time.  Trainer and vet passed it off as an abcess, and given time it should pass.  She seemed unsure however and mentioned that it seemed like he's been off for too long, and she thinks something else is wrong.  When I asked how long he's been off she said seven weeks.  That was so absurd to me!! It seriously made me so upset to think that this woman who knows there is something more going on is afraid to act on her gut because a trainer has convinced her she doesn't know best.


I mostly bit my tongue, gave my (very humble) opinion that she should go with her gut and get another opinion if she felt it was needed, and walked away very happy that I trusted myself to make the right decisions for my horse.  I'm so glad she has taught me to listen to her, because if I don't, who will?

Note: It is not my intention to come off as "preach-y".  Goodness knows I have plenty to learn about horses and horse ownership.  These are simply my thoughts on what my horse has taught me over the last 13 years and what I wish I would have told that friend who doesn't trust herself.  As of tomorrow we go back to my regular program of screw-ups.


Sunday, February 23, 2014

Hide your Jackets

This weekend was so warm.  Like, so warm I didn't even wear a jacket to a barn.  Just my vest.  Therefore I totally got spring fever, gave my horse a ridiculous grooming, got hair all over my recently chapstick-ed lips, and spent the rest of the day trying to remove it.

And I also rode.

Saturday's ride was nothing to write home about.  Molls felt good, probably from her Sore-No-More-ing on Thursday and day off on Friday.  She was decent under saddle but again, nothing stellar.  I was however impressed that there was a new horse in the ring (truck-in) who was young and while obedient he was the epitome of green.  And gargantuan.  I'm not even kidding he had to be over 18 hands.  Usually Mollie is not a fan of:

A) horses
B) boy horses
C) horses bigger than her
D) horses who don't know what the eff they're doing.

He was all of these things.  Despite this she was totally fine with him, walked beside him as we cooled down, and didn't even pin her ears.  It's the little things.

How Molls usually feels.

Today I got to the barn, tacked Molls up, and we rode with aforementioned big giant horse for a little while before he left and we had the ring to ourselves.  One of the plusses of the snow still cracking off of the side of the barn and onto the ground is that most horses disapprove and I've spent lots of time with the ring to myself lately.

Mollie was actually really, really, good today.  I also should have mentioned that after the disastrous ride of February 20th I've decided to ride in our snaffle for a while.  She's clearly not happy in the double and for once I don't think it's behavioral, we're just not at a place where we're fit enough and working enough to actually use it.  If I'm going to have arguments in my horse I'm not going to add fuel to the fire by shoving two bits in her mouth.  I definitely think she has appreciated this decision and rewarded me with a wonderful ride today.

She was so incredibly soft in my hand and we had several moments of absolutely no weight on the bit.  This was also because maybe I was focused and paying attention and actually present in my riding.  Her shoulder-ins were phenomenal today instead of the half assed attempts she's been making lately and her canters were the best I've had in a really long time.

Gave her lots of pats and turned her back out to hang with her donkey friends.

The cute.  I cannot take it.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Drumroll Please.....

Today marks the last day of my contest so I rounded up all the entries, assigned each one a number, and had my sister pick a number from 1-15 (very scientific, I know).

And the winner is......

Lauren from She Moved to Texas!!!

Congrats Lauren and thank you to everyone who entered.  I definitely think TRM's first contest was a success, and I look forward to having more :)  And keep your eyes peeled for photos of the Mini-Simon I'm sure I'll be making in the very near future!


Just envision a little bay instead :)


Thursday, February 20, 2014

Self-Destruction

Let us start this lovely, uplifting post with yesterday.  Because yesterday wasn't so bad.  I got to the barn and was informed there was an avalanche lot of snow coming off the roof of the indoor.  No one else was riding (because it was that bad) but luckily Molls has nerves of steel and I don't mind.  Tacked her up, got in the ring, and sure enough it was terrifying.  Now we've been dealing with snow coming off the roof for some time now.  It's a minimal deal.  But it was so warm yesterday (41*!!!) that the layer of ice that had formed on the roof was melting.  I could literally hear it breaking off (lots of cracking) and then rolling off the roof (crashing right above our heads and taking the whole roof down with it).  Then, since the indoor has super awesome windows all along the long sides we got to watch it come crashing to the ground.  Have I mentioned my horse is a saint? She seriously only spooked one time and while it wasn't our best ride (she was definitely tense) she got tons and tons of pats and cookies for not killing me.

I even got video!! It's not the greatest but it's some baby half pass to the left and then right and then a square halt.  I was even impressed watching it.  It could have been a little prompter and I would have loved for her not to walk off like a straight up llama but oh well.  Square halts.

video


Then there was today.  Got to the barn and it was SUPER warm (49 degrees people. Forty.  Nine.  Degrees).  This brings us some great news.  Mollie is shedding.

Hairy shoulder

Evidence the days MUST be getting longer.
 
I decided to put Mollie back in the double because she's been getting heavy and rush-y lately and I'm sick of it.  Put the ghetto-double back together but something was definitely off... I want to say the curb was too low in her mouth but wasn't entirely sure.  Either way she was being super fussy and pissy, so I took the curb off and figured I'd just deal with her in the snaffle.

I probably should have just gotten off then.

I got back on her and practically cried.  She was SO.  HEAVY.  It was like riding a lead block around the ring.  You know how your horses have bad habits that sometimes you just let go, because in the grand scheme of things they're not that bad?  Well today I decided I was going to fix ALL of Mollie's problems.  I was just so fed up with her being heavy, not truly accepting contact, rushing off, etc., etc.  The problem is when I decided to "fix" these things I typically go about it in the worst way possible.  I was so frustrated because for the life of me I just could not get her to go around nicely.

I tried going faster.  Fail.
I went slower.  Fail.
I put no pressure on the reins.  Fail.
I put pressure on the reins.  Fail.
I went left.  Fail.
I went right.  Fail.

Sensing a pattern?

I finally found a halfway decent spot to stop and just got off, frustrated in myself mostly.  Most of the time I think we get on without a trainer or program just fine but days like today I really hate not having a trainer.  I've been feeling rather incompetent riding wise lately and today definitely didn't help.  I just know that I can and have ridden better and am annoyed that I can't seem to get back to that place.

I did feel badly for taking my frustrations out on my horse though so she got an awesome curry afterwards and I sore-no-more-ed her whole body.  On the way home I went over the multiple reasons why our riding could be suck-ish lately and this is what I came up with:

1. We haven't had a lesson in over a month, and the one before that was in November.
2. I haven't ridden consistently up until this week since I'm off from work.
3. Molls is coming up on her 17th birthday... she's always been a healthy (knock on wood), sound horse but when the vet was out for fall shots she did a lameness work up, which she does once a year.  She mentioned that Mollie's hocks were not in great shape yet considering she's almost 17 and has had arthritis for several years they're not awful.  She did mention the 'I' word however and I've been dwelling on it ever since.

I really don't want to inject her but when I look at rides like today I wonder if there's a physical reason she isn't as easy under saddle as she used to be.  Not that I ever would describe her as easy but something has definitely changed.  My current plan is to finally purchase some Back on Track hock boots, start using those, and see where we are when the vet comes out next month for Spring shots.


Finally, for anyone who made it to the end, this is a reminder to enter my contest!! I'll be choosing a winner tomorrow :)


Tuesday, February 18, 2014

More Winter

I rode yesterday (Monday) and can't think of a single thing to say about it.  I'm sure we were super productive.

So last night when I went to bed the news was all "It's going to snow tomorrow but not till noon and only 3 inches."  So I was all yeah, ok.  And I went to bed.  Then I woke up at 9 (hell yes school vacation) and it was snowing.  A lot.  Seriously, do I need to bring back the winter memes?  So I was all sad and laid around in bed depressed-like and then said screw snow.  I mean, I bought a car with all wheel drive this year, I may as well use it.  So I got my act together, got dressed, and drove to the barn.  It may or may not have taken 20 minutes longer than usual, and there's a chance I slid right past the entrance.... but I made it.

At least the barn entrance is all winter-y and cute.  When I'm not sliding by it.



So after skiing down the driveway and parking I went to get Molls, contemplated putting a saddle on, and figured why bother.  I mean I rode with a saddle yesterday AND Saturday so we were due for a bareback ride anyways.  Molls was good, despite winning ALL THE RACES.

Note: there weren't actually any races going on.

All in all she was a good girl though and didn't even flick an ear at the snow falling off the roof.  Then again it's now such a common occurrence I think they're all immune to said noise.  She was strong and I really need to put her back in the double (I've been slacking) but oh well.  We can deal with that tomorrow.  One good thing is that I really think I ride better bareback when I do with a saddle... mostly because I'm forced to actually ride and not just sit there and wait for a miracle to put my horse together.

After the ride Molls was obviously really exhausted.


Then she realized I brought her jelly munchkins.  Molls loves jelly munchkins.



Don't forget to enter my contest!! Thanks to all who have entered already, I'm so excited to find out who wins :) Also if you have mentioned the contest on your blog don't forget to add a link so I can count you for an extra entry.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Rockstar

Disclaimer: This post should probably be rated PG-13.  Maybe even R.  For expletive language of course.

That said, I fricken rocked at riding today.  Don't get me wrong, I am not the best rider in the world.  Not even close.  All it takes is reading a few of my other blog posts to realize I have my fair share of shortcomings.  But today?  Today I was a freaking rockstar.  I seriously don't know where it came from but I just really, really, had my shit together today and it was awesome.  Molls didn't even know what to do with herself.

I got on and granted, I have not ridden my horse with a saddle on for like.... two weeks.  Obviously, she was pissed.  Whatever.  We walked for a while and when I asked her to trot the conversation went a little like this:

Molls: I'm gonna stick my nose out.
Me: Well here's my leg.
Molls: Ok I'll pull hunter pony BS and tuck my head between my knees.  Oh, and my shoulders will now drop a full 6 inches.
Me: Oh helllllllll no.

Molls was promptly halted on her ass.

The ride went on, and on, and on, and Molls seriously had her resisting-pants on.  Too bad, so sad sassy pants.  No matter what she did, what gait we were going, or what direction we were traveling in I refused to touch her face.  Some days I'm ok at this, other days I like to pull even though I know it's the worst idea in the whole entire world.  But today? My arms were like buttah.  The rest of the rides conversation sounded like this:

Me: Please lift your shoulders.
Molls: Pull on my face.  Go ahead, I dare ya.
Me: Nah I'm good, move your shoulders over.
Molls: PLEAAAAASE! Pull on it, just a little tug.
Me: Nah, here are my hands, see, all yours.
Molls: OMG PUH-LEASE PULL ON MY FACE RIGHT NAO!!
Me: Not gonna happen, lets half pass instead.

This continued for some time and wouldn't you know as soon as my horse stopped begging me to pull on her she got SO freaking soft!! She was so bouncy in her front end it made the nonsense worth it.  Our canters kinda sucked and I'm in serious need of some video to see what's happening when I turn her down the centerline to half pass (I'm losing something, just not sure what) but all in all I was really happy with the ride.

Usually I'd be all excited to ride tomorrow because I have no lessons but the sky is doing this again:

From my ride home from the barn.

Snow out the window.  yes I was too lazy to get off the couch and take a better one.

I don't even hate winter, I just don't like when it interferes with riding.  Luckily I'm on February vacation (hallelujah!!) so I should be able to ride all week.  

Don't forget to enter my contest!! Thanks for everyone who has and has blogged about it :)

Friday, February 14, 2014

TRM's First Contest Spectacular

I felt that the title of this post was necessary for several two reasons:
1. I am about to kick off my 9 day vacation (school vacations are SO much better as a teacher)
2. The is my first contest, of course it is spectacular

I am hosting my first (hopefully of many!) contests on The Redheaded Mare!!  A little while ago I blogged about the crocheted ponies that I make and shared a few pictures:




Well with a whole week of vacation in front of me and few actual orders on my plate I thought I may as well hold a contest, with the prize being a mini pony of your very own :)

To Enter:
Leave a comment on this blog post with your favorite thing so far on this blog.  Whether it's a particular post, picture, or feature that I've had so far just let me know what you've liked the best.

That's it!! To earn an extra entry you can share a link to this post on your blog (and include a link in your comment so I know where to find it!)  A winner will be randomly selected and I will contact you to discuss details.

The contest will end a week from today (February 21st) which should give you plenty of time to enter and share.  Hopefully the first contest is a success!!



Thursday, February 13, 2014

Horse? What horse?

So since Rhode Island just wants to keep snowing I haven't gotten out to the barn since the weekend.  Today I have another snow day (yay for no work!) but it means we're pretty much stuck in the house because nothing around here has been plowed.  So instead of posting about anything remotely horsey, I'll post winter funnies.

But actually... this is true.


How I feel every morning as I'm late for work.

Approaching this stage.

Earlier today my mother told my siblings and I to get outside and shovel the driveway.  So we made this snowman instead.  He's about 6'5 and his name is Bauer.



Stay warm friends!

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Favorites

Well I did the bloggy challenge for a day... time for a break!! I feel like people have been posting lots of reviews lately so I figured I'd do a round up of all my Mollie's favorite things.  I'll probably break this up into a few different posts, and today will focus on winter riding apparel since everyone seems to be in the throes of the Polar Vortex of 2014.


Breeches

 I have several different pairs of breeches and they're almost all different brands/styles.  The one pair that I recently bought a "second" of however are the Kerrits Crossover Full Seats.  I've mentioned them in another post and these are seriously my favorite breeches EVER.  They're so comfy, I love the material, and I think they look pretty classy too (I have them in gray in black).  People ask me alllllll the time if they're FITS but my first year teacher salary doesn't quite cover those ;)


Price: $109 from Dover.  Can probably find them cheaper/on sale elsewhere however.
Biggest Pro: I think they look like higher quality breeches than what people usually expect from Kerrits.
Biggest Con: Instead of coming in regular waist sizes they come in S, M, L.  Not so much a problem for me, but possibly a problem for someone in between sizes.

Outerwear

This vest isn't necessarily "equestrian related" but it is my favorite thing to wear to the barn in the winter.  I'm all about layers and this is the warmest vest ever.  It's kind puffy but isn't bulky or inhibiting to movement at all.  Also I'm not sure what fabric it's made out of (probably magic) but it NEVER SMELLS LIKE A BARN.  Whoever invented it is a genius because it is the one article of clothing that I can wear to the barn that doesn't ooze winter horse smell from every fiber.


Price: Usually $49, currently on sale for $19.99.  Fricken SCORE.
Biggest Pro: Doesn't smell like a barn and dirt/hair brushes off SO easily.
Biggest Con: I know some people prefer barn outerwear to be a little longer to cover more of their butt, and this vest definitely won't do that for most people.  However if you're child sized like me that won't be a concern ;)

Accessory

I'm not the kind of girl to accessorize with much of anything at the barn.  I wear a plain brown belt that I got from Old Navy, my socks are hardly ever riding socks, etc.  The one thing I do insist upon is gloves however.  And not just regular riding gloves, I mean New England winter riding gloves.  When your fingers literally hurt just from walking outside it's essential to do everything to keep them warm and I feel that once my fingers are cold, it's all over.  I absolutely love these gloves for keeping my hands warm, yet not being too bulky (read: I can still hold the reins).


Price: $9.99 (can I get a "BARGAIN!"?)
Biggest Pro: These are the only winter gloves that I've owned where I can actually buckle bridles/hold reins/not feel like I'm wearing oversized mittens.
Biggest Con: They're not waterproof.


Well there you have all my favorite winter riding things!! Next up will be horsey products, I'll be asking Mollie for all of her recommendations of course.








Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Day 15 (because I like skipping days)

So I seriously suck at sticking to... well anything.  I'm the queen of starting a work out regimen and doing it for two whole days.  Then proverbially hang up my sneakers and never do it again.  It's really no surprise I've stunk at keeping up with this bloggy challenge but the last two topics were just uninteresting to me so I'm going ahead to day 15.

Today's topic is 'If you could speak to any horse, dead or alive, what would you tell them?'

Well while there are a few horses I'd love to be able to say something to I really wish I could talk to Mollie.  Just for a day.

And if I could tell her anything, I'd tell her thank you.



Thank you for loving me all those years ago when I first got you.  Loving me so much that even though I was terrified of you at times I couldn't even think of selling you because I didn't think anything else could love me that much.


Thank you for letting me snuggle with you (sometimes).  I know you hate it but somehow you know when I need it the most.


Thank you for reminding me that I'm not always right.  Reminding me that you make mistakes and so do I, neither of us are perfect and I shouldn't ever think we are.  You prove me wrong every time, and I'm so grateful for that.


Thank you for not dumping my ass every time I was so afraid coming up to a cross country fence I literally closed my eyes and held on.  I'd feel you snatch the bit, speed up, and knew you'd always figure out how to get us over.


Thank you for being sensible.  You've never been the fanciest horse but being able to canter you around a strange field and knowing you'll keep me safe is all I could ever ask for.


Thank you for being there through college.  Thank you for being ok when I couldn't make it out to the barn 5 days in a row and still behaving for me despite the time off.  Thank you for putting up with my emotional highs and lows as I transitioned (and continue to transition) to adult hood.


Thank you for telling me it was time to stop jumping.  Letting me know your body can't do it anymore.  Thank you for building a strong enough relationship with me that I knew exactly what you wanted me to hear.



Thank you for staying with me almost 13 years later.  I can't believe how far we've come, and how many people we've proved wrong along the way.  I love hearing people say "I can't believe you still have her."  I can't believe they ever doubted I'd keep you.


Thank you for letting me ride you places like this on Sunday mornings.  Thank you for reminding me that the best memories are rarely made in an arena.



Thank you Mollie.  
You have no idea how much you've done for me.




Many photos courtesy of Knoopdawg Photography and Polar Square Designs.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Laziness, Part II

Sunday brought me another day of lessons and then going to Mollie's barn... Unsurprisingly, I just didn't feel like tacking up.

I'm sure this had nothing to do with going to a PBR/Line Dancing the night before until 3am....

I eventually got my butt in gear after lessons and took Molls out to groom her and throw her bridle on for day two of our bareback shenanigans.  We moseyed around at the walk for a while and then got going.  She was actually super soft in my hand and was going around nice and round and through the entire time, which definitely makes her easier to sit.  I even set my phone up on a post to video us doing trot/canter serpentines, then went to review it later and realized all it was pointed at was the ceiling.  Go me.
One thing that this bareback riding has been good for is that I can really feel what the heck is going on with her body.  I love my saddle and while it doesn't even have the humongous knee/thigh blocks that most dressage saddles do I still feel like it's "too much" sometimes.  But what kind of rider would I be if I didn't complain about my saddle periodically? ;)  Under saddle her left lead feels SO much better than her right, but bareback she's actually better right.... To the left her entire spine turns in towards the center of the ring (and resultingly stabs me in the left thigh.... fun stuff).  Definitely something to keep in mind when riding with a saddle.
Before leaving the ring I figured I'd get some conformation shots since I'm coming up on her 17th birthday and like to take them yearly.  Overall I'm not loving her top line right now but when I come to terms with the fact that she hasn't been ridden more than on the weekends since the Spring I guess it's not too awful.... She's never really had such a pronounced wither either and I'm not sure if that's just increasing with age or she's lost some muscling over it.  Anyways, here they are.



Not so thrilled with her muscling right now (or the fact that she appears so downhill... Eek! But at any rate I really really like her weight right now.

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Appreciate

Some things I'm appreciative of today.

- Lesson ponies and kids were great, I love seeing them make progress.  Letting a kid trot around the ring (off the lunge line) for the first time is hands down one of my favorite things to watch.  Such happiness.

- The fact that my horse is at a weight I really like for the first time in... ever.

Maybe the vet won't even call her obese this year....

- The fact that my horse has had 5 days off and today I got on her bareback and WTC-ed around and she was a perfect lady.  This is all despite snow falling off the indoor roof and crashing to the ground.  The equivalent of gun shots in my opinion.  I jumped every time, she didn't flinch.

- After our ride we hung out with 3 other people from the barn and their horses, just standing and chatting.  It was only 20ish degrees but the sun was beaming into the indoor and we were all standing in the light, just soaking it in and talking horsey things.

Happy Saturday.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Crochet + Pony = Adorable

So I have a confession.  I love to crochet.  Like love it.  Like I spend my nights sitting on the couch in front of crappy television crocheting at the speed of light.  Or an 80 year old crochet-er.  I love it.  I started humbly, making scarves and blankets and the like.  I started to feel really adventurous and took to Pinterest.  I found myself pinning away different patterns, and trying them all out, all while stock piling yarn and hoarding it in every place I could.  I whipped out tons of baby blankets, scarves, even an adorable pair of baby booties.  I was hooked.  And naturally, it was only a matter of time before this obsession turned horsey.  One day in my Pinterest perusing I saw little crocheted animals. They were tiny, and perfectly made, and downright adorable.  My inner child who lusted after every stuffed animal horse I laid eyes on was awakened immediately.  There must be a way to make a crocheted pony.

Enter Etsy.

I immediately searched for patterns and found an adorable one here.  For a mere $5 I bought the pattern, and got to work.  The pattern itself is not too difficult.  As long as you're familiar with crocheting in a round, single crochet, and adding/deleting stitches it's not too bad.  The downside?  It's pretty time consuming.  I started making these ponies and naturally shared them on social media.  After all, I love a good brag.  While I thought they were adorable I was pretty surprised at just how much everyone loved them and in turn, wanted one!  I made them for a few little girls I babysat for, and then Kate from The Adventures of Lucy asked for a Lucy pony.  How could I say no?

Then this happened.

Not only was Kate amazing enough to blog about it, she even posted about it on COTH.  To my disbelief, people from all over the US (and Canada!) were emailing me about them.  This made for a very busy pre-Christmas season, but I couldn't be happier.  I seriously love making these little guys and have loved modeling them after real life horses.


The first pony I made with this pattern.

A birthday present for a pony-obsessed girl I babysit.

This is Mini-Nash.  He was flea bitten gray and had a half an half mane.
My favorite color scheme thus far.  It screams little
girl and I wish I could carry it around myself.
I hope you like the ponies, please feel free to ask any questions about them!  And keep your eyes peeled for a contest regarding these little guys in the very near future :)