Wednesday, May 28, 2014

VCBH: Sperm Donor

If that title alone doesn't get me a crap ton of random searches/views I don't know what will.
 
 
Anyways, yet another blog hop from Viva Carlos because she is the reigning blog hop grand master.  Girl should have a badge just for that. 
 
 
"If you could/were so inclined to breed your horse, who would you breed her to and why?"
 
 
Seeing as I have owned a mare for 13+ years, a great deal of thought has gone into who I would hypothetically breed her to.  My lists of wants has changed quite a bit over the years, probably for the better, as I have gotten more knowledgable about horses and what I would want out of a foal.
 
 
List of Must Haves:
- Uphill build... because uh, Mollie is built like a slide
- Dressage training/showing/potential... because I am a glorified DQ
- Expressive, high quality gaits with suspension and "lift"... again, because Mollie has none
- Good temperment.... while I love Mollie's sassy attitude, a bit of compliance could go a long way
- Size.... probably different from the average person, but I am 4'11 and Mollie is 15 hands, and I want nothing larger.  Ponies from here on out y'all
- Color... I mean, it's not that important but if we're going to play this game I may as well go all out
 
So that leaves us with this beautiful little nugget of a stud:
 
 
 He's a 2011 German Riding pony, and I'm in love.
 
 
Eat your heart out, I already did.

 
 
 
I love his movement, his color, his little face, and I think he and Molls would make beautiful pony babies.
 
 



Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Long Weekend

Got out to the barn plenty this weekend thanks to an extra day off!!  Molls was actually in a very good mood this weekend, and while I have no idea why I certainly am not going to question it.  She was a bit better (lighter and softer) on Saturday so naturally I have no evidence :)  My friend C was able to get some video on Sunday though, and while I'm waiting for the rest of it I do have one clip.  

I think the video is very indicative of where Mollie and I are right now.  We have a little argument, she gets nice and soft, we continue for a short while, she decides this is no fun, she protests, and we repeat.  We are in desperate need of a lesson (mostly me) and a more regular riding schedule.  Sigh.  Until summer (just 18 school days left!) it is what it is and I'm just enjoying her when I can.





Friday, May 23, 2014

Forelock Friday

Meet Gobi, a teensy tiny pony that I have made my new project.  And while you're here, check out his forelock.  Much more on him later!



Thursday, May 22, 2014

VCBH: Hardware, Mouth Edition

Time for yet another blog hop courtesy of L. Williams.  This week she asks for us to tell her about the bit we ride our monsters in, and why.

I've liked reading everyone's responses so far, because there are so many different bits/disciplines/schools of thought represented.  I've always operated under the "no need to be harsh, but I need it to work" mind frame and it's worked for me so far.  I do try to use "soft" bits however if a horse is blowing through me, the happy mouth has gotta go.  Since Molls has a few different set ups I figured I'd share them all :)

Main Schooling Bits

Dressage: 


Our main dressage bit is a single jointed Baucher.  I forget what the exact brand is, I've had it for so long, but Molls likes it, and so do I so that's good enough for us.  It allows a slight amount of leverage so I'm able to get her to a lighter place than I can with a plain old D/eggbut yet we're still being dressage legal.


Hunter Pony Flatting:


This is one of my favorite bits to hack almost any horse in.  The slow twist gives a little more "hey, I'm up here" than a smooth snaffle yet it's still a very mild bit, especially in soft hands.  I also find horses have a harder time hanging on this bit, which is always good.


Wild Horse Activities:


This is Mollie's XC/going off property/I think she's going to be bad bit.  Again, when I ride with soft hands with slack in the curb rein it's essentially a plain old snaffle.  But when Molls decides she doesn't have to slow down when approaching a large XC fence I have a little leverage on my side and can sit that heifer on her ass.  I also use this bit frequently when going off property (ahem, long trail rides) where Mollie is certain she's in a race.


Serious "Get Shit Done" Bits

So anyone familiar with this blog knows that I sometimes ride Molls in a double.  Once I have her back in regular work (only 20 school days left!!) she'll probably go in the double more often than not, but for now I reserve it for clinics/more serious dressage schools.  Our current bit situation is a plain eggbut snaffle and a Weymouth bit with a wide port because Mollie seems to be more comfortable with that fit.

Wide Port Weymouth:


Molls in her Get-Up: 



That about sums it up!  I guess it looks like a lot of bits, but considering I've had her for 13 years I think it's a pretty minimalist list. 

Monday, May 19, 2014

VCBH: Why?

This week, L from Viva Carlos asks the question: "Why do you continue to ride?"



I've enjoyed reading everyone else's responses and while everyone has a slightly different twist, I think we all have the same underlying tone... there is something so incredibly addictive about this sport that no one can quite put into words.  There's just something that always pulls you back, no matter where life takes you.

For me, I've always been drawn to horses.  Ever since I was a little girl and could identify animals I've been told I favored horses.  I drew horses, read about horses, watched horses whenever I could on TV, and begged my parents to take me anywhere there may be horses.  I was lucky enough to have a grandmother who shared my passion, and she was the one who took me to lessons and eventually bought me my horse.


It doesn't seem to matter how long I have Mollie, there's always something I need to learn.  I love that.  As well as I know her, there are always days that she surprises me.  I love that too.  I think those are parts of the reason I continue to ride.  I will never learn all there is, yet somehow I'm driven to learn as much as I can.

Then there's the actual bond you have with your horse.  The way all horses have that horse smell, yet your horse smells different to you.  Or the way they probably know more about you than anyone else on this planet.  They way they trust you even when they have every ability not to, because you've taught them that you're trustworthy.  The way that they become reflective of you, and people could learn a heck of a lot about you just by riding your horse.

It's funny how I rarely seem to think about the negatives with horses.  I know my horse is expensive, yet just this weekend I spent over a hundred dollars on her at Dover in 5 minutes.  I have to budget my money carefully, but every penny spent on her is worth it.  I know my horse could dump me, and believe me she has, but that's never a thought when I swing my leg over the saddle.  My horse frustrates me weekly, yet I spend all week waiting for my rides.


There's just something addictive about horses.  And that's why I go back.

 

Photo credit to Knoopdawg Photography

Sunday, May 18, 2014

No Words

I'm too tired to write words, but I think the pictures will suffice.



I hate rising trot photos, but meh.


Love her little face 


Mollie pre-jumping a ditch she could have easily walked through.


Date night :)


Sunday night.  Happy weekend everyone.


Green Bean

Here we are again at the weekend, it's unreal how fast these weeks are going by!  I feel like school always drags from September-April and once April vacation passes the weeks just fly by.  I went and rode Molls early this morning, and we just had an easy hack because her mouth still seems a little sore.  I have some photos but I'll save them till tomorrow :)

Instead I have a photo of my sister on Blaze

Then it was over to lesson barn where I taught three lessons and then rode Montana, who I've posted about a few times on this blog.  His dad, D, is away for work this weekend so Montana is all mine, and I plan on taking full advantage.  D willingly let me ride him today and I was very excited to get a schooling in on him.

Sent a photo of Montana tacked up in English tack to D, who replied, "He looks like he's wearing a man purse".  I die.


I am by no means a green horse "trainer" but I've worked with a number of green horses in the past and really enjoy the process.  It also taught me so much about Montana that I hope to transfer to D in his next lesson.

I had the BO take a video to send to D, and also to see how Montana looked.  Evidently I thought locking my elbows was a good idea...


video


D was happy with what he saw and now I can't wait to teach him again because I feel like I have so much to tell him!






Thursday, May 15, 2014

Wishful Thinking

Several weeks ago Mollie became very fussy anytime I touched the left side of her mouth.  If we were just cruising around with little to no contact she was fine, but the second I took any sort of hold on the left rein she would really brace into it/contort her body.  While I chalked it up to Red-Headed-Mare-Syndrome the first time or two, I started to think it could be something else.  While Molls is certainly opinionated it wasn't a typical evasion for her, and the triggers seemed very consistent.

Our vet was out two weeks ago for her second round of spring shots, so I brought the issues up then, and she agreed it would be a good idea to have her teeth done.  So by 9:05 am yesterday, Molls looked like this:

Drunk pony is drunk.
The good news is, Mollie's teeth are in great shape.  The bad news is, this doesn't solve any problems.  Granted, she is a super sensitive horse and the vet did find a few "points" that could have been irritating her, but nothing crazy alarming.  On the plus side, the vet manipulated her jaw before and after the floating to see how her teeth moved against each other, etc. and Mollie had a much better range of motion after the float, despite the vet not thinking anything drastic was going on.  While Molls was drugged up she also got her up-the-nose strangles vaccine because she hates it so much. 

It will be a few weeks before I can really tell if the float made a difference, and in the meantime I'm also scheduling a visit from the chiropractor so she can be adjusted.  She does have a history of being tight in her poll/TMJ so the vet thought that might be playing a factor as well.  After Molls sobered up I hopped on with my super kewl clip on reins for a walk around the arena, and then outside.  Once again the WonderPony impressed everyone with her level headed-ness.  They all can't believe I can ride her around the "scary" woods in a halter, and then open/close gates from her back in the same contraption.  She's the best :)


Ugly neck is ugly.

And since I took the day off from work for this little appointment, I figured stopping at the beach before going home is in order.  I always forget just how lucky I am to have this view 10 minutes from my horse until I'm there in the middle of the day on a Wednesday in May and there's not a soul around.

 
 
I may or may not have forgotten a towel or chair, but luckily had a saddle pad in my trunk.  The epitome of equestrians getting shit done right here ;)
 

Monday, May 12, 2014

Weekend Warriors

Yet another weekend has flown by and I took zero horse related pictures.  Oops.

Saturday was lessons all morning that went well...  I think.  Somehow I can't remember but I feel like that means they must have been alright.  One of my students and I are friends on Facebook, so he noticed it was my birthday and brought me cupcakes.  Yay cake.

Went over to Mollie's barn and realized her gated community is becoming even more secure.  This horse.


Molls was the energizer freakin bunny during my ride, but I kind of didn't mind.  She was listening(ish) and wasn't really being naughty... just wanted to go go go.  At one point I was having XC flashbacks because she was getting so balled up at the canter it was reminiscent of how she used to get on the XC course.

Saturday night I went out to celebrate my birthday with some friends.  I found several interesting photos on my phone the next day, this gem included.  I have no idea how it got there ;)


Sunday was a (thankfully) short day of lessons (I may or may not have been feeling crappy) and then out for a birthday lunch with one of my students.  They really are the best :)  After not sleeping at all, then being in a food coma, I really did not feel like riding at all once I got to Mollie's barn.  It was an absolutely gorgeous day though and I thought to myself "How lucky am I to have a great horse just at my disposal" and made myself get on.

I was so, so glad I did.  It was just one of those rides where you realize just how lucky you are to ride horses period.  I put Mollie's flash back on kind of on a whim, and immediately wondered why I ever took it off.  She's always been fussy with her mouth and this seriously cuts down on that.

After my ride indoors I took her outside for a walk around the fields.  There's a small path around the field fence line that borders the woods and I hadn't been able to walk Mollie all the way around it by herself up until yesterday.  She was on alert, but super brave and listening to me the whole way.  She even bush-whacked through some fallen trees and climbed up a small bank billy-goat style.  And possibly the best part of all was when she let me hang halfway off her back to open the gate so we could walk down the chute back to the barn.  I'd like to see the other fancy dressage dumb-bloods do that ;)

Friday, May 9, 2014

Five on Friday

Five things I'm happy about this Friday.

1. This week is teacher appreciation week, so it's always nice to feel a little extra appreciated at work :)  Our principal provided us all with lunch today, but the thing that made me appreciate my job the most was something a student said yesterday.  I teach at the middle school level, and there is nothing middle school girls like to talk about more than boys.  Seeing as I'm the youngest teacher in the school, they find me most "relatable" (or something like that) so tell me all the various boy drama (oh to be in middle school again!).  One of my female students asked me if I had a boyfriend, to which I said no.  Then she replied, "Oh.  Really?  Because they're all missing out."

God sometimes I love my job :)

2. Tomorrow my sister makes a return to riding, and is taking a lesson with me!!  She hasn't ridden since the summer for a multitude of reasons and this will be the first time I've taught her outside of summer camp.  I'm super excited and hope it goes well!

I think this is two years ago... but there's the sister on Polly Pony.

3. Puppies.  I've been doggy-sitting some new pups all week and while I'll be sad to go back home tomorrow I'm very excited that I get to come stay with them again later this month.

Meet Oscar and Cookie Monster 


4. Friends.  My best/longest riding friend has moved home from South Carolina for good!  She spent a year there from school but decided she missed little Rhody too much and is finally home :)



5. Celebrations.  Tonight is my birthday and I'll be celebrating it by stuffing my face in a bunch of sushi and probably a large bowl/pitcher/goblet of liquor.

My favorite restaurant in the whole world.




Wednesday, May 7, 2014

VCBH: Here and Now

Yay for L and her endless supply of blog topics since I am in the throes of hellish work weeks and haven't been riding much.  

"What are you currently working on in your rides or lessons?"


Well I think most people who ride mares will agree... it's absolute impossible (and laughable) to get on a mare with a plan, and then carry it out.  Mollie will 100% laugh in my face and not allow that to happen.  So my rides with her vary by day, and what we work on greatly depends on her mood.  So I've decided to break my ride up into different "sections" and talk about what I may do in each portion.  Keep in mind I don't do these all on the same day, but there's lots of picking and choosing from my toolbox each ride.

Warm Up
- Lots of walking on a long rein, doing lots of loopy, lateral work to get Molls moving.  This is probably our most usual warm up.  One of the easiest ways to get Mollie focused is to walk her on a long rein and leg yield away from and back to the wall.  I try to fit in four or five leg yields per long side (leg yield from quarter line to wall, switch bend, leg yield back to quarter line, change bend, leg yield back to the wall, etc.)
- Super collected walk on short reins with lots of technical exercises.  Sometimes I get on Molls and right off the bat her front end is six feet under.  She can be sooooo downhill at times that I really can't let her just plod around the ring like that so I put her right to work to get her forehand up.
- Human lunge line.  Then there are days I get on Mollie and she's a freight train with no brakes.  I've learned that there's no use fighting this, so I get up into a light seat, shorten up my reins, and sit on my horse while she basically lunges herself around the ring while I stay out of her way.  She will literally trot and canter herself until her hearts content and once she's done she brings herself back to a walk and we can actually be productive.

But first, let me take a selfie.


Body
I'm calling this section the "body" of our ride because I relate all things to school and this would be like the "body" of our essay.  If I was writing one.  Which I basically am.
- Straightness: Lately in my riding I've gotten away from practicing "tricks" and am working more on straight, correct, riding.  It's amazing how crooked most horses are when you actually get down to it and discipline yourself to correcting it.
- Collection: Mollie would be perfectly happy to cruise around in her hunter pony frame all. day. long.  That would be fine if she was a hunter pony, but I demand prancy dressage-ness.  It takes tons of abs/core strength and control over my entire body to get her in self carriage but it's totally worth it.
- Suppling exercises: Anything under my "Exercise of the Week" posts are things that I regularly work on.

Fancy Prancing.  Ish.

Cool Out
Long reins, all the time.  Either just loopy figures (like figure eight circles) in the indoor or going outside for hacks around the property.
Fat horse makes fatter shadows.


Monday, May 5, 2014

Unicorns

This weekend I schooled my favorite unicorn.  "Pit-Pat" is an lesson horse in her teens and of unknown breeding, at least to me.  But go ahead and tell me she isn't a unicorn...


She even flies.  Maybe she's actually a Pegasus.

Please excuse my lack of release/blatant checking of my lead.  She doesn't quite have her right lead canter right now, so I was trying to get her to land on it.  All equitation went straight out the window.



I've been hacking her about once a week just to help her get back in shape and she is seriously the coolest little horse.  She trail rides like a champ and is crazy brave/bold.  Nothing startles this girl.  She's also the kind of horse that I can throw on a lunge line with a dead beginner and she carts them around like a saint, and then in the next lesson I can throw a more advanced kid on her and she rises to the occasion.  She challenges you when she knows you can take it and is one of my favorite horses to ride at the moment.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

VCBH: Do-Over



From L. Williams : If you could have one do-over in your horse life, what would it be?

Looking back on Mollie and I's 13 years together, there are tons of things I would change.  I can't say I have any regrets, because I think everything we've been through has been instrumental in making us who we are today, but there are definitely things I would change.

The main one would likely be getting more serious about dressage sooner.  I absolutely loved my time dabbling in other disciplines like hunters, jumpers, and eventing, and Mollie adored it as well.  Looking back however, I feel like we basically got halfway decent at a bunch of things but never really great at anything.  While I love that I can hop on my horse and do almost whatever I want, I'd be lying if I said I didn't care that we weren't great at anything.

I think if I had buckled down harder, had a clearer path of what I wanted to do, and actually pursued getting help to get there, Mollie and I would be much farther along in our dressage careers.