Well, it has been busy. October through February seems to be the busiest times of the year, then it dies down again until it begins to build steam around September. It’s been busy here, but more for the fact that I have work and then most of my free time is riding, buying more shavings/food/vet bills for the horse, blogging, and getting errands and phone calls and everything else done that I couldn’t while I was at work.
So, because it is busy, next week you may not hear from me much. It’ll be getting darker sooner, and people at the office will be gone, so I have the 10 hour shift for 4 days in a row. But, that means 3 day weekend so yay. It’ll also work out since Amber had injections yesterday.
But first – after the show. I was pleased with how she came back from the show and that she didn’t look as sore as I feared she’d be. I could tell from some of the videos where her hips were bothering her, and I’ve been keeping in mind a few videos my mom took for me where she looked extremely sharp in the way she’d lift her right hind. Kind of like snapping her hock up. It’s the only time I’ve seen her do that, and she felt weird that day, so I’m thinking it’s still her hip but I’m going to watch and see.
Tuesday we went for a nice 20 minute bareback hack around the arena, and she was good. Learning that even in a halter she needs to keep her walk consistent with clear 4 beats instead of fast and stabby. So Wednesday I pulled her out, saddled her up with the intention of working just a little and then trying to get in some 2pt times (spoiler alert – I was not very successful in those times lol).
Oddly enough, though I could tell she was a bit stiff when we started walking, her trot work was some of the best I’ve ever gotten from her. I’ve mostly left her head alone, letting her find the right place as I use leg to remind her to pick her shoulders up, but she reeeeaaalllly wants to be lazy and not go into the bridle like I know she can (and I know part of that is her hip). So I was a little more insistent that she place her head where I’d like it to be, and she did really well. At times it was too low, but I was also glad that she maintained really nice pace through it and didn’t seem to lose her forward. Her left canter was nice, her right one choppy but she really tried, and I left it at that and proceeded to attempt a really good 2pt time. Aaaaand only did slightly better, but we’re working at it though!
However, it was also so weird because before and after the ride, she tripped and went down on her knees – outside the arena. The first was because (I’m 99% certain) there was a hump in the ground, she hit it with her right leg and then her knee just couldn’t lock and she went down. I checked her out and walked her out a bit. She seemed to buckle slightly again, like she hit a rock or something. It was a bit strange, but she seemed okay, so we rode and no tripping in the arena. After the ride it looked like she stepped on some pretty sharp rocks by the gate and almost went down again.
Her knees have buckled before – both of them while riding (especially on trail if she hits a sharp rock) but only ever at a walk. Never when she’s trotting or cantering in all the years since her knee injury. And she’s never gone down like this before. I do know that sometimes she’s not the brightest about where she’s putting her feet. She’s just not paying attention, and that’s usually when the buckle happens; it also happens when the arena sand gives way a little too much. But it was just extremely strange, and it does worry me.
So, since Thursday I drove her to the vet for an appointment to get her SI injected, I talked to the vet about it. Thankfully, he didn’t seem worried about the stumbling. Said he couldn’t notice anything in her front end that would suggest a problem, but did agree with me that she was really sore in her hips. He actually saw a bit of “off-ness” in her left hind, but said that the SI for right now was a good place to start and we’d go from there.
For about 2 weeks now she’s got some very light work ahead of her, but like I said above it works out perfectly since all I’ll probably be able to do next week is walk anyway, so that’s a plus. Nothing stood out to him for me to really watch in the next few weeks, so we’re crossing our fingers that it’s just general soreness and this injection really helps!
It also turned out super productive because the vet’s assistant does training and lessons as well, and trains out of the same barn that the dressage trainer I’d like to see does. She was really nice, and really seemed to love Amber, so I’m thinking of starting lessons with her. She also knows another vet’s wife who loves eventing, and has a huge field full of xc jumps. That’s only, like, 40 minutes away. Um, YES!! So I grabbed her number, and hopefully after the show and a bit of rest, we’ll grab a few lessons! A very productive day indeed.
Another blog hop! These are pretty fun! Today, we’ll be going over 10 questions blogger In Omnia Paratus shared with us about fall.
1. Most equestrians quote fall as their favorite season to ride. Are you one of those that does? Or maybe not; what is your favorite season to ride, if so?
It’s 2-fold. I absolutely love fall and the leaves changing and the new nip in the air, (you know, for those climates that actually have trees and cold weather), but it’s also bittersweet because that means winter is coming. Spring is my favorite season to ride. The days get longer and it’s the promise of summer.
2. Do you clip your horse in the fall? Or maybe you wait a little longer?
I have actually never clipped a horse lol. This year, though I’m considering it. Amber doesn’t and probably won’t need much of a trim because she only grows enough hair to be warm, but my mom’s mare Whisper grows hair like she’s in the arctic. Now that she’s at home and it’s easier to blanket, we’ll probably have to clip her this year so she’ll stay more comfortable during the day.
3. Have any costume riding events in October on/near/around Halloween? What will your horse be dressed as? What about yourself? What would you dress as if money/time were absolutely no issue?
Ha, we just had a show with this! I was a pirate. Amber was…..a sort of pirate lol. If money were no issue I’d be a knight. With Amber dressed in battle armor. That or the Amazons and their horses from Wonder Woman lol.
4. Is your horse afraid of any autumn colors? Or maybe has a certain quirk that appears only in the autumn?
No, not really. She’s only wary of dusk. She’s not afraid of much.
5. Pumpkin spice. It’s everywhere right now. Find any natural pumpkin [squash] spice-esque recipes for your horse?
I haven’t! I actually don’t even know if she’d like pumpkin. She gets picky about carrots lol. Apples are one of the only things she’ll eat no question. And butterscotch.
6. We’re getting to the end of the calendar year, any final few “big-bang” shows to look forward to?
Our last show is in November, and it’s the cumulative show to win a buckle! Looking forward to seeing who can win!
7. Winter is coming. What are you doing to winterize your trailer/rig/car?
Even when I was in a snowy climate, I didn’t do anything. I mostly just went to a parking lot with my car, swerved it around a bit to test it, and then continued. Then I’ve had trucks, so snow isn’t a problem, and then here in Vegas we usually don’t get any snow so….yeah.
8. Do you have any autumn traditions you/your horse follow?
Unfortunately not. We’re pretty boring lol.
9. October in many places marks the beginning of deer hunting season. Does this affect your riding at all? Do you wear blaze orange or modify your schedule to accommodate the season?
No deer in Vegas, so no worrying about that!
10. What are you most looking forward to goal-wise as the final months of the calendar year approach?
I’m looking forward to that last show, but really looking forward to crossing off the dressage and jumping lesson goals. I’m super excited to start diving head-long into eventing!
The morning was bright and crisp, and unfortunately, again, I hooked up truck and trailer and Amber proceeded to buck and kick and smash and let me know that she was not up for another trailer ride. Well, too bad, pony. We’re going. Aside from that, though, she loaded right in and we were off!
I got there with enough time this time (thank god), and walked around with her a bit and “lunged” her with just her lead rope to assess her and see how she was. She baby jogged around twice (and looked okay) and then stopped and faced me. Okay, then. That’s always a good sign that she’s ready to get to the work and won’t pull any shenanigans (though, really when does she ever?)
So we geared up for our first class – ranch riding. I took her around a bit, loped a circle, and stopped. She felt good. Relaxed, not completely listening with so many things to look at, but she was really steady. So I repeated last time and stood around waiting. She seemed just so much more relaxed this show day, and I was thinking all that standing around and relaxing helped. I want her to think when we come to shows, she’ll get tired because it’s an all morning thing, but that it’s actually easier at shows. We sit and do nothing. Relax. At home we work really hard. And she was very much up for the “relax” portion of this show.
Since I focused a lot on relaxing, when we did our pattern, it wasn’t our best. She got a bit excited and distracted so missed a few cues, but I thought we did okay and got fourth! Out of 5 or 6 I think. So when back in the warm up ring I worked a little more on the canter, played around with a few lead changes to get her thinking about them for the reining, and then sat again to wait.
I actually really loved that go round we had. At the first lope off, she could hear someone kissing to their horse from elsewhere and got really upset because she thought it was me, but then settled so nicely. Our stops are….not really stops, and not nice at all, but she’s doing a try-slide-but-missing-it-and-collapsing thing, and I know that without slides we’re not going to score too well. Her spins could’ve been better, but I was actually quite happy with our circles. She felt really solid in those the whole way round, even though we missed our first change. I knew it probably wouldn’t happen because she was still a bit sore and she’s not good left to right, but we got the right to left one! She surprised me in her right rollback by jumping into the canter, and while it wasn’t really nice, I was very happy how hard she was trying for me. It earned us a tie for 4th in reining!
After that I hopped off and let her grab some water and munch on food. She was really doing well with the show that day, and I felt that our work for 2-4 minutes and rest for a while at the previous show really helped her this time. Like I said she wasn’t as on target with cues, but I’d rather start relaxed and work up to that since I can get worked up at shows and would rather she not take that cue from me lol.
Next was our horsemanship pattern. We walked around and chatted, got her a little warmed up with a jog, then popped into the ring to stand some more. She was much more responsive and calm in the thru-way walking into the arena. Before she was a bundle of nerves, but today it worked out! I really liked our horsemanship pattern better than the one last show, she was just a little touchy for the spin, and not quite on it for the simple change, and there was some tough competition but we still got 3rd!
We walked back to the trailer, got all of her tack off and then I was changing for the fun class which for October was the costume class! I had forgotten a bit of my costume, didn’t have any time prior to the show to get Amber anything really good to wear, and so we ended up with this:
All in all though, we had a blast. There was a hippy girl and horse, a faery and her unicorn, the evil queen and Grumpy, and Harley Quinn (who I couldn’t get a pick of). And of course, the winner – this little girl and her mini! Coincidentally, the pony’s name was Oreo lol.
Forty-five minutes later and we were ready for western dressage. My mom called for me again even though I’d wanted to have the pattern memorized; I’d just had a lot going on that I didn’t have it fully memorized. One of the board members took the video for me, and it’s a little choppy, but I’m glad she got video! Amber was really good, and you have an option to go one or two-handed, and for this one, I decided on two. Partially to practice my hand/arm/body position, but it just seems to flow a little better with two (which seemed to pay off since the judge really seemed to like my position – a 7.5. Wow 0.0).
I was….a little confused by this test. I thought the judge last show echoed my thoughts on the ride, but this one was a bit confusing. She was a USEF judge, but some things just didn’t make sense. Something that I thought she’d ding me for and even commented on it, she gave me a 7. And then one where I thought we’d get a slightly better score based on her previous notes she gave me a 6. I mean, even still I got a 35 and won the class (thankfully I wasn’t the only one lol), but what are your thoughts? I am not very verse at all yet with interpreting tests, so what do you guys think? Was it probably judge’s preferences or is it pretty common to see a test like that?
Either way, we were done! And silly, stupid Amber – I don’t know what it is about mares – or at least our mares – but she refused to poop or pee until she stepped into the trailer. She just HAD to hold it. I really don’t understand that lol. Just pee where you are, mare! But, I was very happy with our day. We got more points towards the buckle, Amber felt much better and the work in the walk was paying off! She was still a little short, but much smoother and cadenced.
We still have things to work on for the next show, but we get to relax a little since we’ve got 4 weeks until the one in November. And now, we have an appointment at the vet tomorrow to look at and inject her SI. So hopefully, she’ll be really ready to go for November!
Friday I got home from work, talked to my mom, and decided to scratch the show for Saturday. She told me that Amber was super reactive in her back and hips, and when I went out to feel how she was I could see the same thing. Plus, with my sister here, and not taking a day off of work, I’d had very limited time with her and Kayley up to that point, and I just decided to scratch. It allowed me another day to really focus on getting Amber stretched out as well as spend some time with my sis and my niece.
So, after Amber got a good massage, we got dressed and headed to the fair! I’ve never been to one before, and neither had most of my family, but my oldest sister is an amazing seamstress and had sewn a costume for herself and Kayley to match. Apparently, the one here in town was pretty extensive. There were first the shops and everything to browse through, and they had some pretty amazing things like a pressed paper, leather-bound notebook (which I almost bought but know I won’t ever use) and some good, super sharp Game of Thrones looking knives.
Kayley very much enjoyed browsing around and looking at everything.
Just about as many people that were dressed up were also in regular clothes, so a good mix of half and half. Many of the people were dressed in the more revealing costumes I suppose you could call it, but my absolute favorites were the people dressed traditionally in those time periods.
It was also really cool to see that with all the tents around, that was where most of these vendors slept – and even had their laundry out! Whether it was for show or they really did their laundry, I still thought it was a good touch.
They had jousting and knights fighting, and other knights dressed in great armor with fake blood walking around… It was really a lot of fun. They had sections where the people walked around and didn’t interact with the crowd too much but (I forget what it’s called) were there to show the day-to-day life of the people of that era. They had what looked to be soldiers’ tents with a long banquet table, and some areas of gypsies with a real Gypsy Vanner horse – complete with mustache (can you believe that I DIDN’T get a picture of the horse?!).
There was an enchanted forest with faeries and mermaids. There was one very very nice lady dressed as a mermaid that was so sweet to entertain Kayley’s desire to come give her a hug and sit on her lap for a bit. It was very sweet.
My favorite part were the singers that sang little ditties for the crowd. It was pretty damn hilarious, and I’m glad I got video instead of just stills! Also the people were so nice. Most of the stuff that we were able to do was free, and at most other places it would have cost for you to do that.
All in all, though, it was a blast.
Saturday saw Amber and I doing a quick ride which did seem to ease her muscles a bit when I massaged and stretched her before and after. After she was all clean I decided to have some fun since I had the time to braid her mane as I’d seen in one picture before.
I have to admit, it turned out well. After packing everything in the trailer, we were all ready to go to the show bright and early!
I had every intention to post yesterday…. That didn’t happen. I had some great rides, got great pictures, but Wednesday my sister came to town with her daughter, who’s now walking and talking a bit, so of course I’m spending time with them. We have an inspection at work coming up (though the final day hasn’t been decided) so I’m trying to get everything sorted for that EARLY since everyone at the office tends to be last minute procrastinators like me.
Not to mention we’re all going to the Ren Fair (Age of Chivalry) today, and then tomorrow and Sunday Amber and I show, and I’m looking at work and my afternoons and just trying to nod and say “I can do it” lol. Amber got ridden yesterday, may or may not get ridden today, and we’ll see how that’s going to go for the show. Probably the same as last time. But, for today’s post, let’s recap and start at Tuesday, shall we?
We took our usual hack after a tough jumping day, and after massaging her again (did a bit the previous evening) and doing a few stretches we headed out. This was probably the best she’s ever been going around the desert. She’s never been bad before, but this time she kept up that long, easy walk I’ve been working towards in the arena. She just sauntered out there, and I think she’s realizing it’s becoming a routine and that she also really likes going out there. She wants something to focus on, and this time we did the itsy bitsy ditch the other way. She looked down, was confused for perhaps a second, then seemed to shrug and did this teensy arc over the ditch and then settled right back down like we’d been doing it all week.
We went a little farther than normal but came back through familiar territory, and she took everything in wonderfully, and I could tell our last time out working on steering had helped. She was much more willing to take direction from me this time, and it was a really really pleasant ride on Tuesday.
Wednesday she was great. Walked out as calmly as she had the previous day, keeping that long, sweeping walk in mind. She got a little stabby in her walk at times, but was much quicker to settle into that pace. She was a teensy bit slow in the start of her trot, but she actually came around really nicely and again didn’t have that downhill dive she did before (YAAAASSSS thank god). She got tense waiting for those transitions, but now that I’m usually asking for the canter from the trot, she’s getting less touchy about them. Learning that she doesn’t have to do it that instant, but within a stride or so. Waiting is always the best game with her. If I work at home making things slow and asking her to wait on me, at shows when she’s fired up she responds much faster, so it works out in the end.
Since her trot is a little more established we worked on that a little more. This time there was a lot of new stuff to feel after western. With both hands and light contact, I could feel her leaning on my left rein. To the right she was leaning on that rein less, more pushing into it but understanding it was a barrier, and the trot work felt fantastic. To the right, I felt her fall into old habits, and as she fell into those so did I – letting all my weight sit to the outside and completely losing my left leg. I’ve been realizing that while I need to use that spur, I can’t let my weight shift like that and lose the support/boundary of my leg for her.
I tried the softest approach first, a little leg, but she seemed dead to that so then I just tightened that inside rein more and kept it at the base of her neck. With a little more spur added, I tried to be steady as I posted, and within a couple circles she was starting to lift back up to that outside rein. I think getting her teeth done has been exactly what she needed. She was super soft, and a little low headed, but I can work on that a little later.
Her right lead was still a little tougher, but after a bit of work and regrouping, she was cantering better. It’s been getting better as well the more I try to remember to keep my hips straighter. It feels like I’m so off and sitting so weird but I know I’m not because when I sit better, it’s allowing her to relax better and (I think and hope) push both hind legs underneath her instead of just tilting her hips to the inside.
I could tell the reining work we’ve been doing helped her left lead. In the more energetic trot she was reverting to old habits and yet in the canter I put my left leg on and instead of pushing into it she really tried to round out for me and stay relaxed and focused. She’s absolutely getting there, and I’m excited for the show.
Thursday I finally hopped on late afternoon as soon as I got home from work. And guess who came out to see the pony?! Yup, this cutest of nieces.
Amber absolutely adored her. Just wanted to sniff her and was like OMG LET ME HAVE THAT TINY HUMAN lol. Just loved her. Kaylee flittered around Amber’s legs and that mare kept both ears on her and barely moved a muscle the whole time Kaylee played around. I was so proud of Amber.
Kaylee was a little unsure of the horses at first, but it’s so cute because if she hasn’t seen you or the horses for longer than 30 seconds to a minute she’ll say “hi!” and wave. So adorable. She kept saying hi to both Whisper and Amber, and she brushed Amber a bit and good little pony stood stock still.
So then of course we had to put her on the pony! Kaylee was thrilled. Just loved it. I was a little worried she’d want down after we walked for a bit so I handed her back to my sister and Kaylee cried! She desperately wanted to be back on Amber, and when we’d ask if she wanted down she throw herself back into me and shake her head. We were all laughing so hard. It took her a bit to realize we weren’t leaving as I was riding around to say hi to her and she’d wave at me and watch Amber. Just the cutest niece ever.
As for the ride, Amber seemed a bit off, and my mom helped me by informing me she still seemed short in that right hind. And she felt more stabby today, and was very tight over her SI. Probably time for me to take her over to the vet and do her SI. So, in lieu of that I’m not sure how many classes I’ll do Saturday. I may keep it short and sweet with a jackpot class and dressage intro, but I’d like to have her feeling better for the western day. That counts towards the buckle and I’d like to compete for that but of course if she’s really not doing well then I’m scratching.
But her canter came around really well, and it was even really super both directions. Just needed a bit of lift as usual, but I wasn’t asking too much because of that leg. I just didn’t want to make things worse, and when she realized I wanted her to just relax, her trot got much better and softer to the left and she relaxed in the canter work so I’ll take it.
But today, on to the Ren Fair (of which we should get many pictures) and we’ll see how the weekend goes!
I was really excited to head on out and jump. Amber was decidedly less enthused we realized lol. I think she was just done with the wind. It was still blowing and she just felt a little done with the whole thing. She was a little “wild” in the beginning at the canter, but nothing bad at all.
There’s not really too much to tell for yesterday. She just felt sort of blah most of the time, and I do think it’s probably because neither one of us got enough sleep the previous night. In the beginning though, we had a few long shots. Part of it was me of course, but I think she was a little keyed up since she felt blah so she was sort of going a bit overboard.
She was feeling not quite like herself and sort of worked herself up a bit, started rushing a little, and not listening to my attempts to soften, so I worked on that momentarily before going to the trot and letting her step over it that way a few times so we relaxed.
Then I actually sat my butt down in the saddle and let her feel that I was supporting her in the canter (thank you mom for firmly telling me to do that lol she’s my impromptu teacher lol). Once I sat down, she relaxed, and the jumps came up much nicer. Aaaaaand then she smacked them a few times and caused the pole to fall lol. But I liked how it flowed much better, and I was very pleased with her. Towards the end, you can start to see her ears popping back up as she goes over them. I think by the end she was beginning to have fun again.
A few of my favorites were when I’d start to circle her, and her little ears would prick like “oh are we going…! oh, we’re not. nevermind” lol.
She was good and despite her feeling uncomfortable she was very brave and willing. I think she may be starting to feel those sore muscles, so we’re going to take our usual hack today and do lots of stretches and massaging.
I’m my own worst enemy with that. Oh it’s looking better? Yay! And I stop doing all I need to. Poor baby girl. I just need to keep stretching and keep massaging and keep on it. Goodness knows she loves it!
But we still had some great jumps from today, so I’m really happy with her.
One thing that did get her keyed up in the beginning was this huge semi that had dropped something off, then decided to park right in the street and watch me ride. I had just started so we were warming up, and they were telling me what a lovely horse she was and all that. I really don’t know why but it pissed me off. Usually I really don’t care if someone wants to watch me ride or whatnot, but this just irritated me. It was probably the wind and the fact that I could hardly hear anything, either, but it was also probably because Amber just felt horrible when we’d near the truck. Not like her freaking out like before, but I don’t know how to describe it besides she felt like she despised that truck. Then they’d do something with the truck and it’d jolt and startle Amber as we’d canter by. I was so happy throughout the ride that she handled the wind like she used to – she would’ve been a basketcase in the enclosed arena, but whatever that truck did just set her on edge. Which set me on edge. Which made her worse, of course. She felt really coiled, and until they’d parked there, she’d been very relaxed and blah about everything. Then she just seemed irritated.
I know she’ll need to get over something like that, sure, but I guess neither one of us were in the mood to have that happen yesterday. Regardless, I’ll be lowering the stirrups, putting my spurs back on, and hitting the trails. Tomorrow, dressage!
Thankfully, I have today off. You know what that means? On our switch to English, we’re going to go…..JUMPING!!! (said like in White Chicks lol)
I, however, have yet to even ride today. I know. What’s wrong with me. But it’s kind of cold, and it was super windy last night and Amber is so exhausted that now she is snoozing in the sun. I’m gonna let her sleep lol.
So, we’re on to the weekend recap! There’s not too much to tell actually since I didn’t get to ride her Thursday or Friday. Saturday we continued with our plans for when we ride – focusing on her canter and she’s really coming along. She got touchy about her transitions, but she was really really good in her canter.
She’s getting a lot more confident in her left lead. I think with her leg getting stronger she’s finding it easier to center her shoulders. As I’ve been asking her to come off of that left rein to the right, it feels like her shoulder is falling a bit but I’m actually not very worried. It could even be that her ‘falling’ to the right is technically even because perhaps she’s been uneven for long enough that it feels even to me lol.
Sunday we played around with the patterns, and this show there’s a lot of switching leads. I’ve never pressed her for those, but it’s been on my mind as something to work towards.
So I played around with them, to her good side first, and she got really worried and really fast, but after a few times slowing her down, and going two handed, she really started to get it. Her left to right was harder, but I didn’t make it a big deal, and she was just fantastic. I could feel her get herself up, and was worried that she was going to get fast again, but she switched her leads and then stuck her head down and loped so quietly after that I was just tickled pink with her. She even got the lead changes from left to right twice!
I couldn’t have been more proud of her. To let her know it was good, we walked out of the arena and walked around outside the arena for a bit before calling it quits.
I’m still not sure if I’ll incorporate the lead changes for the show. It’s a budding concept for her – at least the fact that I’m actually asking for it – so I’ll probably go conservative for the show this weekend and perhaps only try the lead changes for the reining and do simple changes for the other patterns. We’ll see how it goes today. My mom’s going to take photos and videos for me, so I’ll have media for tomorrow!