Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Snow Rides and WEG!

Still not much excitement around here. LOL! :D The past weekend was fairly warm and sunny, so I was able to ride. Unfortunately I felt under the weather so only rode on Sunday. I had time (and had planned) to ride all three mares. I rode Dreamy first and still felt icky, so I ended up just grooming Reva and Sparky. Truthfully, I don't think they mind hanging out. :D I did do more in-hand training with Reva, and I must say I am proud at how quickly the big mare has figured out how to stand square. :) Smart girl. Sparky pretty much just wanted the cookies, though she does like a good curry session. LOL!

Anyway, the sun was out and there was fresh snow in the field, but the footing was still excellent. It was deep, so I limited our ride to about 25 mins. We walked, trotted, and cantered with only a bit of "energy" when first cantering to the left. ha ha ha ;-D Dreamy was obedient and easy to ride, which was nice. Her canter was bouncy and SLOW. I know much of it is because of the snow, but even when on the "track" which is flat, her canter is really excellent. I am excited and hope this continues!!! :) Such a well trained mare! And her neck reining is just about perfect now........!!!!!! ;-D

I really hate this time of year, with the cold temps and no indoor. :( Every year we make it through, but man, it gets old. The worst part is that even if I had an indoor, there are many days where I would not even want to ride.....as I have said in the past, there is no use riding a horse with COPD in sub freezing temps! I know others may do it, but I just don't take chances like that. We can both just be stir crazy together. :P

I am so looking forward to the return of warmer weather and more daylight in the afternoons. If I can just get through February, the long and slow miles of conditioning will begin in earnest in March! :) That should not be too hard. February is a short month anyway, and will be full of fun things. This coming weekend is the Maine Dressage Society banquet, which is always a good time. I have two good friends coming with me, which makes me super happy! :) Dreamy and I have two horse shows to attend (part of a winter series, yay!) as long as the weather is cooperative for those two Sundays.....here's hoping! There is also a full week vacation for me from work! Yay! There are a few perks of being a teacher....LOL! And there is the long awaited weekend trip to New Jersey for the SPHO-NJ banquet! I am so excited for this trip! Good friends, good times. :)

Dreamy gets her first influenza shot for WEG this coming Monday. We had to reschedule twice already because of the weather. UGGG! :( Thankfully my vet has FEI horses in his practice, so is familiar with the routine of doing international show shot requirements. Plus his assistant is possible more organized than me, if that is possible! LOL! She has already typed up a full outline of what we need to do and we have already scheduled appointments. I fully expected the extreme regiment of shots, etc from WEG, being an international event and all, but the one funny part was the deworming requirements! LOL! My vet said this was a first for him, too. He actually has to deworm my horse and make record of it. Sounds silly but it is to prevent the spread of ticks, which does make sense. At least Dreamy did not need an FEI passport.....that would have been $300 I would NOT have wanted to spend! :P~ Luckily the WEG equine village folks realized that asking the demo horses for passports would be kind of stupid. Thank god people do use their brains at times! LOL!

Things for WEG are coming along well. I am very excited about this event, of course! We have an exciting idea for the jumping demo, and I have found Jessica from the USTA to be very easy to work with. :) Yay for promoting the breed! :)

We got a TON of rain yesterday, but thankfully most of the ice is gone because of good sanding (thank you husband!) and some warm weather/wind today. I hope the field is still in good shape to ride. Right now it looks OK, but who knows how it might hold up to horse hooves. :( Now if I can get through February, life will be good! Even when we get snow in March, it melts pretty fast. LOL!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

HOLY SMALL WORLD!

So, just printed out Dreamy's Pathways report at USTA. I have never actually printed out a report for her before. So much to share.......which I will do later.

But how crazy is this........my friend Helene's husband, Jeff Gregory, drove her in July 1993 in the New York Sire Stakes at Saratoga! LOL!!!!!!!!!!!!

Winter BLAHS!

So there is not much going on around here, hence the lack of posts. It is tough to blog about riding and training when you are not doing much of either! :( The temps have been just too cold to ride. I am sort of wimpy about cold, to tell the truth, but really I cannot justify riding a horse with COPD in below freezing temps. If my "normal" lungs hurt, I cannot imagine what her COPD lungs might feel like. So the last three weeks have been pretty much cleaning stalls, checking blankets, feeding, and running like hell back into the warm house. :P When the day starts a -2 degrees and warms up to 18, why bother doing anything??

But thankfully it finally got about freezing (yay, it was 33 degrees!) on Friday. And then yesterday (Saturday) was GORGEOUS. It was around 45 with the bright sun out, which made it that much warmer. Dreamy and Reva got to go NAKED for the day once the sun started its climb! Yay! I love being able to take off blankets and let them roll in the snow. (Sparky is not blanketed because, seriously, have you seen her fur? She is very warm with that coat and blankets would simply flatten her hair and make her cold. Her own coat is better than anything I could blanket her with.

I got to ride finally on Saturday as well. It was such a nice day to ride. Dreamy did her typical "OMG-we-are-riding-and-I-am-SO-excited" routine. In the winter if she has more than a week off, she becomes VERY bouncy to ride. She is always obedient, but becomes a little firecracker. Like huge power trots and bounding canters. LOL! The footing is actually very good, with not much snow but enough to make a good track, so I was able to do some trotting and a little canter. I kept the canter very short, as in one time around, because not only is she out of shape but she was just winding herself up by cantering. So I let her work for a while between long and low walk, to a medium walk, to a working walk, etc. It was much more productive to do some work on connection at the walk, rather than get her all sweaty and excited under saddle when she is so out of shape.

Today's ride was so much different. All she needs is that one crazy day and then she is back into perfect mare work mode. We had some lovely trot work, although I kept it short and took lots of walk breaks. Her canter was lovely to the left as usual, springy and light, even having been out of work for two months. But of course, her right canter is weaker and being out of shape does not help. So instead of allowing her to rush to the right, I asked her to canter just inside of the track of packed snow. Snow is the BEST TRAINING TOOL EVER. All of a sudden, her canter becomes UP instead of OUT and flat. She slowed way down and actually pushed from behind exactly how she is supposed to. It was wonderful! After about 10 strides of a bouncy balanced canter, I slowly yielded her back to the track. And lo and behold, she maintained the perfect canter for about 5 strides. She may have gone longer, but I decided to not push it. The transition to the trot was lovely as well. It was just a NICE ride. I am pleased that she has maintained so much over her winter break and I am confident that with spring conditioning we will have a fun year!

I have started teaching Dreamy how to neck rein and I must say she is a quick learner. Today was the second try and she was nearly perfect. I took her out in the flat plowed driveway and did a few circles and turns at the end of the ride. All told, it was probably 10 minutes of training over the past two days. Nothing much, just the last few minutes before I dismount. But I want her to understand how to not only direct rein, but also indirect rein. Time to start being even MORE versatile than we already are. And if we are going to team pen this year (LOL) then we better be ready to go. She likes the looser contact and is very happy to move like a QH. Too funny!! ;-P

Sparky and Reva are just chilling. They both were brushed and babied, but no time to ride more than one horse this weekend, sadly. Oh well. I am pretty sure neither one really cares that much. Reva did get a new bit and a new browband. Seems as though baby is growing....her new bit is a 5-3/4" french link loose ring snaffle and her browband is OVERSIZE! LOL! She is still in a regular horse size bridle, but seems her brains are growing! She got a very nice new fancy bridle right after Christmas (Thank you Dad for the tack shop gift card!) and I tried it on her right away of course. It had been a few weeks since she had a bridle on and oops, had to swap out the browband! LOL!

Speaking of browbands, Dreamy just got a beautiful new green browband as well. I ought to take some photos.....I love buying new tack! :D

And totally random, but I am up to 24 blog followers! Very cool! :D

Friday, January 8, 2010

2010 Goals

I am super excited for 2010! I have a lot of fun things planned, and I am looking forward to being able to use my own truck this year for lessons, shows, etc! I have many goals and ideas for what I want to accomplish this year. I am just writing down the basic equine goals.....that is really all I want to share here on the blog. :) It seems like a TON now that I write it down. I have to remember that not all goals HAVE to be met by December. LOL! There is always next year!

Sparky
  • Keep her healthy, happy, and sound
  • Ride/drive her lightly
Dreamy
  • Keep her healthy, happy, and sound
  • Continue to show at recognized dressage shows, a few of the MHA hunter shows, and perhaps a three phase event or two
  • Compete for the third year in a row at the Standardbred Nationals in August
  • Take at least 2 lessons per month with Judy, preferably more if possible
  • Attend as many clinics as financially possible
  • Marshal at the racetrack for MSBOA and SD as needed...maybe one day at Cumberland with Shel??
  • Go team penning and/or try cowboy mounted shooting (I am being serious!! LOL!)
  • Continue to work on the connection to the bit at the canter, the stretchy trot, and begin to ask for increased collection/impulsion
  • Score consistently in the 60's at Training level
  • Strengthen my core (This is obviously a goal for me, but I will be achieving it when riding Dreamy, so here it is.)
  • Have fun at WEG
Reva
  • Keep her healthy, happy, and sound
  • Continue the excellent under saddle work started last July-Oct
  • Work on balance while walking and trotting, reaching for the bit, and bending ribcage
  • Continue to work on in-hand cues (for showing in 2011)
  • Introduce canter in late summer/early fall (maybe)
  • Attend at least one clinic
  • Attend at least one SMDA schooling show, not to show, but to "school on the grounds"
  • Take her to a few lessons at Judy's, mostly just to get her off the farm
  • Be ready to compete in Intro level dressage and walk/trot hunter classes in 2011

Friday, January 1, 2010

Why, Hello 2010!

Wow, this past year went by so fast! All in all, despite some rough spots, 2009 was not a bad year. Dreamy and I made the leap to rated dressage shows, and while I was super nervous, I am very pleased with how we did. It was a huge step, and perhaps we were not quite ready for it, but I am glad we did it. If Dreamy's recent rides are any indication of our readiness for 2010, I would say we are going to do quite well.

My older mare Sparky had a wonderful year. She looks great and is feeling good. I rode her bareback on Christmas (as is our tradition...) and she was frisky and eager to be out in the snow. She bucked and played at the canter in the beginning, which tells me she feels good. Every time I look at her I am proud to have an older horse (she will be 28 in 2010!) who looks so good for her age. I know it is my careful husbandry and attention to detail that keeps her healthy.

And of course, 2009 brought the arrival of the Super Filly. I adore my big girl and she has found her place here at the farm. Reva is smart and willing, taking to under saddle work with wisdom beyond her years. She is sane and easygoing, and I know it will be fun to begin serious training with her this coming year. Her hooves are gorgeous. Her legs are rested. I know we have much to look forward to in the future!

And perhaps the biggest positive was an overall improvement in my personal relationships. My marriage is stronger (YAY!) and my friendships are MUCH healthier! I have NEVER been a person who likes drama, and have always prided myself in taking the high road. My mother taught me well, I must say. And events of this year have proven my unwillingness to be a drama queen time and TIME again. I am happy to say I am mentally stable and will no longer allow any of the CRAZIES to enter my life. WHEW!

Here are my wonderful mares. First comes Sparky, my first horse. <3

And Dreamy.
And of course, Reva.

Sparky is in great shape!


Hey girl!Enjoying her Dengie....

And here are stills from a short video of Ms. Reva enjoying the snow. It was a bit slippery and thankfully she did not fall! Silly filly!



As my friend Helene said, "I see some nice dressage moves in there!" LOL! :)

More later on my 2010 riding goals and a wrap up of 2009 accomplishments. It is hard to do 2009 accomplishments when I have not attended all of my banquets! I have Maine Dressage Society's banquet at the end of January and then SPHO-NJ's banquet in the middle of February.