Reading everyone’s goals and ideas for the year (can’t use that dreaded “p” word! lol) has me really stoked. I can’t wait to see how everyone’s year turns out! I’m so excited for you all, and am glad I get to tag along for the journey.
I was originally planning to post this yesterday, but my horse must’ve heard the “p” word that I commented on Emily’s post. Because we had to have the vet out AGAIN because her face swelled sometime mid-morning.
Not bad swelling, only a bit more than has been there in the past few weeks, but she was pretty sensitive. A different vet was still able to travel to our place to see her thankfully because Dr. W was unavailable, and she was great with Amber and seemed to really like her. Verdict is: the packing just came loose and it seemed as if she’d gotten a little food in there. A flush and new packing and she looked good. The only possible unfortunate thing is that perhaps the tooth behind the fractured one may need to be pulled. It too has a bit of degeneration, so a few of the vets are thinking that perhaps because she’s got more swelling that the other tooth is now infected. Ah….let’s hope that’s not it lol. At least the original tooth spot is healing well!
Now that that’s done, we will get back on course with my goals/plans/suggestions-ish for the year haha. Since Amber decided she’d start off the new year with a bang, my suggestions have sort of changed. But not really cause I’m still sort of hoping lol.
Figure out what’s going on with Amber. Now, this may be a slightly unachievable goal since I know that sometimes things happen with horses and we may never know what’s truly going on. But, I’d like to see and figure out what’s going on in her stifle, and we’ll peel the rest of the layers from there.
Get back to work riding. Yeah this is one of those “if the stars align and it’s only as bad as I’m hoping and not worse and her prognosis is super good” goals haha. For her sake and happiness, I’m desperately hoping it’s not my worst imaginings. For my sake, too let’s be honest lol. But I’d love to get back to riding her.
Keep Amber healthy and happy and healing. At least healthy and healing I can really help out with – I’m just hoping I can also keep her brain happy as we play the waiting game.
Unfortunately, those are my only horsey goals for the year. In the meantime I can ride my mom’s horse and help Whisper and my mom get back to the showing scene. I’m very glad and lucky to have another wonderful horse to ride while Amber’s down for the count, and Whisper, though much different from Amber, is a lot of fun. She’s a more finished ride, but still allows me to train and play around with different fun things I couldn’t yet with Amber – like western riding and lead changes and trail. So you guys may be hearing more about Whisper in the near future!
I didn’t add these last year, and I’m slightly hesitant to add them this year, but I’m keeping them vague on purpose. As I mentioned before in a post, I don’t have as many other activities or responsibilities pulling my time, energy and brainpower away from the things that really need it, so already I feel a lot more relaxed.
Put even more/better energy into work. While yes, it’s vague, I’d always find myself needing to do so many other things that many times I’d be worried about all the after work things and not what I truly needed to get done at work. I have some great opportunities potentially coming my way, opportunities to move up, so I need to pull myself together and just do it.
To be a better/fitter person/rider: I definitely want to stay fit, but not at the expense of enjoying life. I have ideas of how I’ll stay fit and mixing things up a lot; I’m just not going to specify what since I’m not sure yet. I want to keep up with the 2 pt work I do when I can occasionally mosey around on Amber. Other than that, though, it’s whatever comes up. I hate running (and it really stresses my already weak knees and ankles) and I don’t like just hitting a gym for some weight training, so I’m going to keep it interesting for myself. Plus, food is amazing, and I’m not giving up carbs haha!
Funds permitting, have 2-3 jump lessons a month – or if funds not permitting, at least 1 a month: My vet bills will end up coming up fast. I definitely want at least 1 a month for sure – I know I could handle that. But 2-3 may be beyond my projected budget at the moment, so I’d rather give myself a bit of cushion now and then do more if I can later. Plus life, so yeah haha.
Spend more time with friends: I definitely have some great friends surrounding me – some horsey and some not, so I want to take most of the new free time I have to hang out with my sister and my other friends and really make my relationships count.
So there we go! That’s my plan as of right now for the year. Not much, but I think it’s definitely feasible for me to accomplish and also within reason of everything that’s been going on. I’m still excited for this new year, despite it being a bit up in the air.
Oh, wait I said the “p” word… Amber don’t listen!!
It’s officially the 2nd day of 2018, and unfortunately, the end of my time off as well. But Amber and I are enjoying the fine weather, and hanging out! While she’s not sure what to do in turn out, I can tell she enjoys getting out, and I’m glad. I was able to go to a great New Year’s Eve party with a few good friends, played some fun games and toasted to the new year. I’m also excited to start tackling some of my personal goals.
Happy New Year everyone!
Yesterday, I saddled Amber up and decided we were going to do a quick jaunt around outside the arena. She absolutely was so excited. She’d learned I’d use the rope halter from last time, so had no nasty faces as I tacked her up, but was a bit agitated when I put polos on all 4 legs. But when she realized we wouldn’t be going in the arena, she was shaking with excitement. Well, for her anyway, which is just not standing as still as she usually does when I try to tighten up her girth haha.
It was so great to be on her like that again. Not just bareback toodles, but saddling up and going on a purposeful walk-about. The beginning she felt good – even and reaching, if still a little heavy on that leg. Sometimes the leg would bother her, but then she’d seem to walk out of it before it’d bother her again. By the end of 15 minutes she still wanted to go, but I could tell it wasn’t too comfortable for her anymore. So I hopped off, and she had such a pleased expression on her face. I know she certainly missed that!
She was not please – however – for my decision of an impromptu mane/tail wash. Grain plus her apple treats more than made up for it lol.
Today we went on another trail ride with my mom, and she was better, but still a little sore when we were done. I was just so happy that she was so happy to be out doing things. She was an absolute angel even in her halter, and even though I knew she’s generally good about that, I hadn’t ridden her out in a halter in a long time. She was definitely looky, but just so excited to be out there with Whisper.
It feels strange to close out another year. This year has definitely been….different from many in the past for me. But it’s also been a good year, and this time off has been instrumental to me resting and regrouping. I’ve been able to have more time to hang out with friends, deepen relationships with those around me, and have more non-horsey fun. And with a few other responsibilities this year that I won’t have next year, I’ll be able to keep that going, and still have plenty of time with Amber.
There’s been a lot of soul searching this year, a lot of tough decisions, and a lot of waking up out of a “funk” if you will. I will still have tough decisions to make next year, be it personal or for Amber, but I’ve found the excuses I’ve made for myself personally are no longer valid. Time to strap on my Wonder Woman armor, and do it. And I think, in a way, starting this blog and knowing you guys are here with me has been a huge help in a lot of it.
So again, I am so thankful to those of you that have followed me, and I look forward to another year of following all of you guys on your adventures!
HAPPY NEW YEAR!!
So this isn’t necessarily necessary, but I find these types of things interesting. Mine will probably not be as put together as many people’s, but it’s still interesting information! So let’s see what interests you guys the most, where all my readers come from, and all the other stuff lol.
Top 5 popular posts:
Okay, guys I hear you! Even down the list, reviews were 3 more placings and vet visits and my least favorite apparel/trend rounded out the top 10. So lots of reviews, a bit more about the Hankie’s Tankie, and a teensy bit about me. I’ll start scrounging around my recent purchases to start getting in more reviews!
Next to referrers. I have to give a huge, ginormous, extremely grateful THANK YOU to Emma at fraidy cat eventing, because I think most of my readers have found my blog through her. So again, a giant THANK YOU out to Emma. After Emma though, we have:
Has anyone else heard of duck duck go? I have not, and it looks like a regular search engine, but the name is still hilarious lol.
So, where are all my readers coming from? This is one of my favorite parts. It is so cool with the internet these days how people from all over the world can come together and have so many things in common (or just one – horses). I absolutely love it.
Wow look at that! That is so amazing to me. I love it! How cool! I am just floored that people from so many places wanted to read my blog – even if it was only once! And even if they accidentally hit a wrong link lol.
I also now have 25 followers (so awesome!) and I’m just so thankful for everyone that even has an interest in reading anything about Amber and I. I truly appreciate you guys that come back and read, even though I haven’t been doing this long. You guys rock!
Wow. So much has happened already this year. It feels like just yesterday it was the middle of March and I was dying for Rolex to come as fast as possible. This has been a really great year for me, despite Amber’s hip and her knee being injected and the other problems that have popped up.
Just this year:
I feel like while it’s been a challenging year in terms of taking up a new discipline (or 3), it’s also been challenging for me personally and getting over several humps for myself as well. However, it’s probably been one of my best years in a while. So, let’s see how I’ve done so far.
For the first year making goals for myself, I’m glad I did more than half of them. It’s been nice to cross off goals and feel accomplished at the end of the year. We’ve ended 2017 differently than I was hoping or expecting, but that’s horses. Things happen. They aren’t machines and neither are we. It’ll be different coming up with goals for next year since things are a bit up in the air, but I’ll come up with something!
Meanwhile, Amber’s mouth seems to be doing fine. She ended her SMZs on Saturday, but is eating and being a regular chubs on the daily. She still has swelling, but she’s let me push on it a few times and it doesn’t seem to hurt her. Unlike before she doesn’t pull away, and I’m putting a fair amount of pressure on it. So yay! Her recovery seems to be going well so far.
I haven’t been blogging much since there’s just not really much for me to talk about, unfortunately. My plans to assess Amber and tack her up and feel like we’re riding even though we’re not haven’t happened. I’ve turned her out a lot and then hopped on without tack to just mosey – she’s unfortunately not up for much else. I did try one day, and not only was her trot atrocious, when she walked she was no doubt bobbing her head and neck to help pull that leg forward. She still wants to play, and I can tell she wants to ride, but the other day she gave me the first negative reaction I’ve ever gotten from her when I put on her saddle. She seemed a little irritated even after that, so I’ve been wondering if perhaps she was expecting the bridle after the saddle since she seemed a little confused when I just left her rope halter on. We’ll try again soon and see how that turns out.
So poor girl wants to be out and ride, she just is hurting. It’s difficult to wait, because I want her to feel better! But I want to make sure she’s nearly recovered from her tooth before she has to go back to the vet. The last thing we want is an infection! Right now though she sort of enjoys her turnout time, but only if there’s food down lol. Otherwise she’s an idiot and stands at the gate haha! I do wish we had grass pastures, but unfortunately not. So she gets grass hay scattered around the arena lol.
Otherwise Christmas was great! We went to my sister and her boyfriend’s house for Christmas lunch/dinner, and got to exchange more gifts which was fun. I got almost my whole family Hamer & Clay gifts for Christmas this year. I got my mom one of her and Whisper, and my sisters one of their dogs. They were a hit! Definitely using Kelsey again – especially for a few of my own! I got luggage, bakeware and a dachshund sweater – all things that were needed lol.
I hope everyone had a good Christmas!
So today officially starts my vacation! I’m off work until the 2nd, so I have plenty of time now to catch up on all the things I haven’t done yet. Like cleaning. And riding a little more. Or at least bareback rides. I wanted to ride Wednesday but the winds were gusting up to 50mph. It’s the time of year for Vegas to be windy, but at least it’s not frigid here, too. It did actually get pretty low last night – 30 degrees! Amber still has very little winter coat, so she got her heavier blanket last night.
Her check up for her tooth is in about 5-6 weeks. She looks good – she’s eating well, still slurping up her grain with 15 SMZs in it which makes me infinitely happy. She’s been head shy though, and a bit stand off-ish. I completely understand why, especially if they were spending the better part of an hour getting her tooth out and she wasn’t completely anesthetized. But she’s definitely more like herself now; I think she’s just still mad at me for not only leaving her at the vet to get that done but also for not being able to spend much time with her recently. She still demands her scratches and blanket treats, though, so she’s not really hurting for attention. She’ll eventually not be mad at me lol.
But she has been dashing, a bit literally, around. My friend visiting made an interesting point – her OTTB had ended up needing a year to just be a horse. A 7 yr old turning 3. Which, after racing for so long, I agreed with her that “turning 3” wasn’t bad – in certain ways he still had a baby brain. But what really struck me was that she said she tried riding him, but he would keep injuring himself. And I wonder about Amber. She’s moved a lot in her life, following me from Colorado to Vegas for a year then to Texas for a year before having to move back to Vegas and subsequently 3 different barns. Not counting the year and a half that she was injured and I didn’t ride her, she’s been in work since she was about a year and a half. She hated the last barn (and I think she hated everything about it) and I almost never turned her out because the ground was so hard and slick and she’d slip constantly. I was so afraid she’d injure something. Now, after one last move for a long while, she’s super comfortable at our place, and loves the arena. I’ve asked my mom to turn her out a few times, and when she has, Amber has finally done what I’ve wanted to see her do for a while – run and jump and buck and play and have a blast. Dashing through the sand and enjoying being a horse that is so excited about the cooler weather.
Interestingly enough, in all the videos my mom has sent me, her stifle actually hasn’t looked bad. A bit short here and there, but not like before. She’s also had “injuries” in the past few months – all very close together, and I wonder if she needs to be a horse again. If I need to turn her out every day and let her play, then just start by doing very simple rides – no frame, no expectations, just w/t/c and have fun. All with a neck rope, btw, no bit. Perhaps as excited as I am to get into eventing, she’s trying to tell me she needs a break. Which is fine with me. We’ll go back to when our days were low key, calm hacks, but we’d just ride and do something. Perhaps she needs that, and perhaps I do, too.
So that’s my plan for my time off. Spending time with my pony. Sitting out there on the mounting block as I watch her play and run and then letting her stay out there and lay flat out napping in the sun. Then go out there, tack up (or no tack) and just go w/t/c or wherever we want. I’m just so glad that in turning her out, she actually does want to run and play. She hasn’t done that in a while, and I’ve always desired her to be a horse above all else, and a competition partner next. So we’ll see how this ends up.
I’m going to ride a bit – easy things, but to assess how she does and get more information while her jaw heals before she goes in for the arthroscopy. But we’ll see how taking things easy goes. She’s doing well – fat and happy and still loving food. She unfortunately doesn’t get anything for Christmas except a pulled tooth, but shhhh don’t tell her lol.
Probably the only thing I’ll get for myself this Christmas is the helmet cam. I’m hoping the Cambox goes on a Christmas sale, but we’ll see. I unfortunately got all turned around on the Black Friday sale so I missed out, but I’d like this cam to help with my lessons. It’ll be from my perspective instead of a full visual for me to see, but I’ll still be able to catch Trainer G’s words and mine to rewatch and listen to. Also media for you guys lol.
What about you? What did you guys get your horses for Christmas? Did you get yourself anything for Christmas?
Merry Christmas everyone!
So Friday after dropping Amber off at the vet, I headed ten minutes down the street to Trainer G’s place. I was able to ride Liam again, which was a blast but he REALLY made me work for it that day. It was because I didn’t start the ride with a whip lol. Lazy ole man who pretends not to want to work but looooves to jump lol.
Trainer G set up a lot more jumps that day (okay only 2 more but it felt like a lot lol) and was a little harder on me with more expectation which I was happy about. Get me in there and let’s dig up what really needs work! You know what didn’t come up? The left hand being weird! Yay! But you know what did come up? My right hand being weird. Ugh. Hold on, I just gotta fix all my parts individually…..
But it was a very fun lesson while still being very challenging and really making me think – like a lot. I’m good at multi-tasking but then she added in counting strides and I was lost for a few sets until I got it back together haha. Which is funny because it’s one reason why rundowns to sliding stops were so difficult for me because I’d count strides and the horses could feel it.
We started off with leg yields, and it’s definitely different coming from western to english. The same phrase could mean two different things, and Trainer G seems to understand well that for me I know how to do what she wants me to do, but I just have to familiarize myself again with the english meanings. Liam was definitely not in the mood to do flatwork, not with the jumps there, but I was able to get some good moves.
The exercise for the rest of the lesson was bending lines and coming out of the corners. I was okay on the bending lines, but she’d have me trot that first fence and good lord I was a fail at that like the whole lesson. Every time I’d feel Liam stall in front of the jump so I’d end up leading with my shoulders to help him over the jump and then felt like I had to really get him moving to get the good canter and strides to the next fence. There was only one instance where we got a very good, forward 6 bending line that actually felt really good – other than that we hit the seven strides.
I did a number of bending lines – the crossrail to the peach, then to the blue. The crossrail to blue and then peach. Then all together (crossrail to vertical, to vertical to crossrail). I was meh at this. My bending lines were actually okay, but I didn’t feel as attacking or fluid to the jumps as I’d felt the first lesson. Which I know happens all the time! But one thing I do to get Liam going is dig in my seat – really rely on that and let my heels creep up as I squeeze him viciously. Which is…not good lol. Which is so funny to me because Amber needs none of that haha! So it’s good for me to be doing this on Liam.
A couple times I felt the exercise was good and I did well. Then we switched it up and she had me jump the crossrail to the coop and then a nice arcing turn to the peach (or turning right to do the blue). While the first attempt felt messy, I definitely think it was a moment of progress for me. I was only 13 when I quit jumping, so I don’t remember actively pushing horses to jumps or really making the decisions on a course. I just steered. But Liam smacked his hind feet good on the landing after the coop and lost his footing a bit, but I kept him going, circled to the left, and just as we reach center he hit a weird patch of dirt and his hind legs slipped again. I wasn’t able to completely judge the distance, but after pushing him through the rough patch I could see that to continue pushing would be way too long. So I sort of muddled a slow-down, which I think I just sat up a bit and quieted my seat but I can’t be completely sure. Either way I did something and we ended up at the base and hopped over it well.
I’m used to just letting horses jump. It’s what I’ve known and done. Air Myles would always just take me to the jumps, and I think Liam is so good for me because while he’ll jump anything, I have to be proactive, I have to tell him we are doing this. I still don’t completely make decisions and just kind of let him jump, but it is my second lesson lol. Baby steps! So for my brain to be able to take that info and so so quickly make a decision – even if I muddled through it – I think is definitely my favorite moment of the day. It’s a start, and that’s what’s important.
Because then Trainer G said the dreaded words – next lesson is no stirrups. Oi. I will die. But when she said that and I immediately said “okay, yeah, sure” she laughed. Yes, I will die lol. But I know I need it. She said it’ll help me get everything sorted a little better so I didn’t have the crutch of stirrups. While I my poor legs are not happy, I know that she’s totally right. It’ll really help my position and I do look forward to it.
So, I’m hoping for another lesson after Christmas – I have that whole week off so I’m planning on nice long walks with Amber and hopefully another lesson!
So, I’m sorry, guys. I totally left you hanging for the weekend. Truth is since Thursday morning I’ve been going nonstop and there really has been no time for blogging, so I’m going to try to catch up with next week. As I mentioned before I had friends come to town, so they wanted the Vegas experience, and seeing as I’ve never actually done that, these were the friends that I’d count on to party with no matter what.
But first – Amber’s vet visit! My lesson was cancelled for Thursday morning since the infernal wind decided to come back, but luckily we were able to reschedule for Friday. Amber’s vet visit went well, and it also didn’t. Luckily, the weird bump on her chin was pretty easy to figure out – she had an abscess in the root of her tooth. It looked like there was some root degeneration that seemed to be the cause, and while there were other things we could do, it wouldn’t help the abscess stay away. So I concurred with the vet to have the tooth pulled.
He blocked her stifle to ensure that indeed it was the stifle giving her the problem, and it was definitely her stifle that was still bothering her. He gave me a few options, one being arthroscopy to actually go in live and see the joint and see if there’s anything else going on in there since she didn’t respond well to the initial injection. There could be fraying in the joint which is causing discomfort and they can clean that up in arthroscopy (which I’m secretly hoping is all that’s seriously wrong with it), and she and I have had success with arthroscopy, so I wanted to go with that option. That will be in January though.
He took a look at the swelling on her knee, and thankfully the actual tendon looked absolutely fine. It was only the sheath that filled with swelling. He suggested it seemed like some trauma had befallen it, but wasn’t too sure, but to just let it take care of itself. We made a plan to bring Amber back on Friday for her tooth extraction which coincided perfectly with my lesson. So poor thing got dragged up to the vet again. She wasn’t too happy with me. More so for the fact that mother left me there; how dare she lol. But they were able to get the tooth out successfully without too much trouble.
So, what caused the abscessing? Yeah, not normal tooth degeneration. Nope. No, she FRACTURED the root of her tooth. Enough so that the nerve was most likely exposed and causing her a lot of pain. I am legit amazed that she never once refused the bit or contact when I rode her and that lump was bigger. All she did was a slight ouchie when I put on her halter.
Coincidentally, my mom noticed that Amber no longer threw a fit when Whisper would leave her to go out on trail. Not so coincidentally (I know, I’m sorry; I keep saying that word lol) that happened on Monday when my mom heard the giant bang but hadn’t seen what happened, and then Tuesday is when I noticed the lump on her leg. The tooth bump popped up around the exact same time. Pretty sure that supports my theory of she did something traumatic to herself SOMEHOW. I never know how she manages to do this to herself. But for her to swell up and be hot it has to be something very ouchie.
Good to figure that out, but damn. Thank you mare. She was extremely upset at me when I came to get her. She even turned her head away from me! I’m so sorry, sweetie. But really, you’ll feel better. And I think she does. She’s on some meds for a good week, but this also gives her time to recover from this before I drag her back to the vet to go under anesthesia for her arthroscopy. She’s been sleeping A LOT and laying down which I am so happy about – I bet while she’s still sore, she’s absolutely not in as much pain as that exposed nerve, and she’s catching up on all the sleep she missed, which is probably why she was getting grumpy by the time her vet visit rolled around. She’s eating well, and thankfully lapping up all her grain – even with a gram of bute and 15 tabs of SMZs. Good girl!
But this obviously sets us back. First with about 5 weeks of tooth recovery, then about 4 weeks of recovery from the arthroscopy, and during those 4 weeks figuring out what to do depending on the prognosis. And Amber may not be up to the challenge of eventing when all is said and done. But I don’t want to give up yet. We’re looking at 2-3 months at least of time off, and then we don’t generally see joint change until 6-9 months away, so I plan to nab some pentosan and start doing that while she’s “off” – I’ll still be riding, we’ll just be walking again. Which we all know she just adores lol. Hopefully, while that may not improve her joint, it’ll stop the degeneration when we go to take a look again in a few months. So, good news and bad news, but as I said I’m still hopeful. I am hoping that a debridement of her joint will be all we’ll need.
I won’t stop taking lessons. Which I see this as a good chance for me to really get back in the swing of jumping and at least be more confident before going at it with her. But geez what a vet visit lol. Up next – the lesson!
I definitely miss time spent with my pony. I’m worried about her, and I want to get her out a bit and walk around on her bareback and continue assessing but I’ve been working long days so it’s definitely difficult. I am taking a few days off since I have an eventer friend visiting Vegas and I wanted to spend time with her so I have a promising 4 day weekend haha. Thankfully, that means I was able to get Amber an appointment on Thursday.
Hopefully all will go well but with the NFR here now the vets are definitely taxed with the influx of horses so I was grateful I could schedule a visit so soon! I was also able to schedule a lesson for Thursday, so hopefully I can drag Amber along to that and then we’ll just be extremely early to the vet appointment haha. But that way I only make 1 trip up north since a trip to the vet or G is 40+ minutes and then hauling a trailer makes that longer. But, the lesson also may need to be cancelled because winds are supposed to be 40+ mph and nobody wants to ride in that so the winds may deter my lesson again. But hopefully I’ll still be able to have one this weekend.
Media will probably (and unfortunately) be scarce for the lesson, but I’m excited to jump again! If I do get to drag Amber along she will probably be very upset about the fact that I’m riding a different horse that’s not her but she’ll live haha.
I’m super nervous but crossing my fingers for a good verdict! It’s been a rollercoaster past few months that’s for sure!
Which means two things – Saturday and Sunday were super chill days, and I had to chill out after Saturday lol.
I think we all get there a lot – what is wrong with my horse and why won’t they tell me what’s wrong and hopefully this is the last of it and omg something is still not right!! be it with injuries or training. And I was no different – worried about my girl after Saturday’s ride.
But I’ve been giving Amber a lot of time, first with the stifle and then with that front leg and she seemed to be doing better. It was hard to tell, though, so Saturday with a plan of still taking it very easy and letting things heal up nicely because sometimes joint injections take longer to really kick in. And boy was she ready. She walking with a purpose, very ready to get the show on the road and get going. So this was a big improvement from the last week so well hey let’s do a teensy bit of trotting and see how you feel before quitting and going on a trail ride with Whisper.
So we trotted, and wow she felt nice. Very smooth. Very into the contact. Switched directions and I tried that left hand exercise G had me doing – holding the rein away from the neck and pushing the shoulder into the outside rein. Huh. Totally opposite western, and it didn’t work the best for lazy ol’ Liam, but holy crap Amber responded perfectly when I did it with her. And the trot felt so promising! And then she took a misstep. And the rhythm was gone. No head bobbing – almost no change of frame – but something absolutely wasn’t right. I walked her immediately, checked out the shadow and sure enough she wasn’t bringing that right hind forward at all. So I walked a little, and she started to feel better after a bit, but I hopped off.
It hadn’t even been 20 minutes, and it broke my heart because she kept nosing me and following every step I took like “but wait, how are we done yet? We shouldn’t be done yet, ma.” And it was very unlike her to stand in an arena and rest the right hind leg almost immediately after stopping. We still took a very easy, short trail ride, and she was so excited and happy for that – I think her brain needed it – but I was worrying the rest of the day.
Sunday I turned her out in the arena and let her wander while I picked up leaves (sometimes neighboring oleander dead leaves blow into the arena). She mostly followed me, but when she didn’t I could just observe her. Most of the time she walked okay if a slight hitch in her step occasionally. She had a few wee! moments and gave a few bucks. She was definitely off the first time she had a few trot steps after the buck, then seemed okay walking. Her second buck she seemed okay, but something is just still not quite right.
So after wracking my brain and trying to think of everything, I’ve been beginning to wonder if it wasn’t her stifle at all that was giving her the problem. After her SI injection, she was feeling marvelous. Leading up to English show day on the 11th she felt fantastic, absolutely superb. Her right lead even was feeling magical. And at that show was when she kicked out. Now we did find things in her stifle which was good to know. But I’m wondering if she pulled/tore/strained a ligament or muscle in that area when she kicked out. With rest, she gets better. A nice walk/trot ride Tuesday, a canter one Wednesday and she was still kind of flat and iffy, 2 days off and then feeling great before it goes bad again….I’m thinking it’s something like that. Also, considering how well she responded to her knee and SI injections, I find it puzzling that her stifle would still be this bad after almost 4 weeks if that were the true problem.
This poor vet lol. He got saddled with me when he did such a great job on her SI and his assistant ended up being awesome and is now my instructor lol. So I’m hoping I can schedule an appointment here soon and hopefully ultrasound the area (though that might be really difficult), and then check out that crazy lump on her foreleg that’s still there. The only silver lining I can see is that I’m REALLY getting to know my vets haha!
Amber was really good Wednesday. She still felt kinda stiff and just a little blah, so I think that right front leg is still bothering her a bit. I do think her stifle is feeling better, though. My mom got some good video so I could assess what she looked like, and she’s pulling that right hind up which is excellent. But it does seemed marred by her right front potentially still being sore. The video allowed for some super cool shots, though.
It was such a blast to really ride her again, though I’ve forgotten how to dressage lol. I was leaning forward and my lower leg was slipping forward so I think we had more of a hunter ride, but I was super pleased with how she actually really seemed to want to hunt the bit down into my hands, but still holding herself just off of it for a bit of self carriage. She was so consistent with it, too.
I think with the shows and going back and forth english to western, I think she was expecting that as soon as she was really learning the concept of dressage and what I wanted then we’d switch to western. And I think that has something to do with the change of pace I’ve been seeing in her the past few rides. Because really while she’d ideally like to not work too hard, she truly enjoys being ridden and being taught new things and getting praised, so I know it isn’t because she’s just being lazy. She feels more content in the work, and while not as “on it” as in past rides, she felt a lot more confident with things and understanding that when I praise her to just wait for me a bit. The canter WILL come haha.
Yesterday I thought my eyes were crazy but there is a growing lump on her lower jaw – the right side. So I’m thinking that when she smacked her right front, she must’ve smacked her jaw somehow. They popped up around the same time. I’m also really confused because that swelling on the leg hasn’t gone down. And I ice it, and she was on bute for 3 days but been off it ever since so…..? Ugh, this horse. But I think after working hard for that buckle in all 3 shows, it’s okay we’re mucking through a few things now. I think the rest is needed, and I always love just being on her.
Well, on a super fun note – I had my first lesson in 13 years! It was actually super cool to see the footage. While I’m out of shape and lost my eye for distance, it’s good to see my muscle memory trying to remember how to jump haha. I rode her old schoolmaster Liam, who is an opinionated, super lazy guy. I love him.
He was an absolute saint, bailing me out with 2 near falls for me (which I’m so sad my mom didn’t get those on camera!), taking the long distances I put him to, bailing me when I couldn’t make a stride decision, and showing me some sass on our lead changes. He required so much more leg than Amber, and it was learning curve at first because “what do you mean I need to keep his pace going? Amber just….goes” haha. With a few pointed whip taps and lots of spur, though, he was up and going. I was so glad he wasn’t bouncier – I would not have been able to sit that! lol. But he was the perfect saint, and I trusted him from the beginning.
We did walk/trot work first, Trainer G first assessing how I rode and what were my issues. She immediately latched on to my left hand – which really does need a lot of help! It likes to do random things by itself lol. Also that my left heel likes to stay up after I use my spur. I’ve been trying to fix that since Amber rides so much better when I lengthen my left leg, but second set of eyes is best! Then we moved on to canter work, the work getting more challenging as I passed initial exercises. Her 3 main thoughts for my lesson was position, track and pace. And I did okay on body position and the horse’s track, buuuuut was lax on pace haha.
My fails were trotting the fences – that’s so hard! My biggest fail one was when I got too in my head with “crap I stopped riding right before the jump and didn’t help him at all – my mind just went blank and I just need to help him and ride him” and he took off early, left me behind so he pulled me forward when my arms didn’t reach far enough, tripped on landing, sending me forward and the only thing that saved me was his big thick neck going up like “the fuck are you doing, lady?!” lol. I even managed an “oh shit!” as his neck hit my chest lol. So Trainer G (I like saying that!) brought me in to ask what happened, agreed with where I’d made the mistakes, but it was so nice because I never once felt like I was really being criticized and I didn’t feel like a huge failure and frustrated after that near fall, just laughed it off and came back ready to try again. Which speaks volumes that for such a new situation I felt very comfortable with G and also that I’m growing as a rider and being able to put mistakes behind me and try again without holding on to that mistake. Win!
My favorite part of the whole ride was actually when Trainer G said “I don’t know who made that decision but it was the right one.” Hahaha! It was mostly Liam. For sure. Going to the jump I was trying to rate him a bit unsuccessfully, half heartedly attempted to slow the pace a bit, but then gave up and he was gracious enough to chip in a stride and save my butt haha! He got so many pats that ride for putting up with me lol. The last set was absolutely the best, rounding off the jumps at around 2’3″ or maybe 2’6″. We didn’t measure lol. But it was good to know height since they didn’t look overly big to me (could be that I trust Liam completely lol) and also I think that’s around BN height and I think Amber could do that.
But the ride was an absolute blast, and I really loved riding with Trainer G. We seemed to get along really well, and all my fears of berating trainers and ones who may treat me like a kid were gone. Which is why I picked her in the first place since I got a really great feeling from G when I first met her. So, success! I have the 14th off and she’ll be gone this weekend, so I’m definitely scheduling another lesson soon! And in the meantime waiting until I can haul Amber up there!
So I got my lesson rescheduled to Thursday afternoon – yay! I’m very excited, and plan to pack all that is needed so I can leave straight from work to get up there to have time to acquaint myself with the lesson horse and have time to groom and tack up. It took me a while (honestly I was kinda embarrassed) to remember that “uhh, Mandy, the lesson is AT a certain time. That means you must be EARLY to TACK THE FREAKING HORSE. Remember?” Well, I almost didn’t haha. After 13 years of no lessons there will probably be other things I’ve forgotten, but as of yet I haven’t thought of them.
I do feel bad for my pony – because it’s gotten colder I’ve fed her about the same, but her work no longer reflects the food she’s given. Which….is my fault. But, really guys me and my horse match so much. We love food. We just do. I mean, I mostly try to eat at least healthily – I have Blue Apron delivered to my house for dinners and lunch if extra – but recently I’ve noticed the lack of riding and eating more than usual has caught up to the both of us.
I’ve had pizza for like lunch and dinner for 3 days in a row, then I had sushi, that huge meal for the Christmas party, lots of cheese and quiches, and more pizza. Needless to say, this is my reaction every time someone talks about dieting or “oh I’ve had plenty of desserts today”. Because really, there’s no such thing as too many desserts. Or cheese. Or just food in general.
But, Amber’s got her hay belly back, so it’s going to be fun the both of us getting in better shape lol not. I need to do more 2pt and just riding in general if I want to keep up with all that food I’m eating too. Hence a ride yesterday. I started it with 2pt because if I don’t my legs are too tired. I’m doing 5 minutes every ride to start with since I also need to get stronger for jumping. Soon, I’ll probably up that to trotting 5 minutes instead of walking, but baby steps lol.
Amber was great. She was absolutely ready to go by the time I hopped on. She looked not so ecstatic when I was tacking her up, but she felt good walking out for our 5 minute 2pt warm up. She felt very nice in the trot, settling in to a nice stretchy trot before she seemed ready for a little more contact. She was a little lower headed and shouldered than I’d like, but she was actually super consistent in the contact, really willing to really try to work from behind so I let it go and gave her lots of quick scratches as we trotted.
At one point she seemed a little close to how she’d been when she hurt her front leg, but this time she wasn’t tensing a lot – she was just being a little too resistant when I’d try to even up her left shoulder. After a subtle reminder from the spur, she tried, and when I praised her she settled. She definitely was expecting me to ask her canter, but I just asked her to move her haunches and she was right on it. A little switch of direction, some more walk and trot, then asked her to canter on her right lead. The transition wasn’t beautiful by any means, but she was nice and relaxed.
Her right lead felt really nice. I could tell that one long side that she was still tilting her hip to the inside so I just decided to see if it’d work and asked Amber to do a very mild haunches out. I could feel her confusion for a moment before she guessed if haunches out was what I wanted, and I praised her and could immediately feel her canter get better. I can’t quite describe it, but it felt great. So we quit there!
Today, I plan for another ride, and then Thursday lesson! Now the wind needs to stay away….
Everything away, including my lesson. I was very disappointed. The lady did have Sunday open, but by the time we rushed in the car to drive up there because the wind had died down….. It started back up again. So the lesson was cancelled, which was probably for the best anyway. It’s not fun to ride in sustained 20-30 mph winds with gusts up to 50 mph. So boo no lesson, but we’re planning another one when our schedules sync so I’m excited.
There are many days where I wish I didn’t work in an office, or that my job was a little more exciting, but the people are why it’s seriously the best job. Because honestly, my Friday consisted of wrapping presents for our Christmas party and figuring out our new office buddy – Poo-nicorn.
Yup. That’s what I did Friday. Wrapped presents and then a coworker and I bought 3 new Poo-nicorns. One for her, one for me, and one for my boss’s daughter. I mean, isn’t that just the funniest thing you’ve ever seen? We had this huge discussion on the Poo-nicorn, too – we are now the Poo-nicorn Tribe, we are going to get shirts with Poo-nicorn on it and the back will say “it’s hard to be unhappy when you’re farting rainbows”, and we are making Poo-nicorn his own Instagram page. Definitely best. Friday. Ever haha.
Saturday was a good ride day. Amber and I only did walk/trot, but I was super pleased with her. She’s been doing very well, but it’s a little hard because I think the fact that she bucked and smacked her front leg hasn’t helped the stifle recovery as much as we’d like. But, we’ve been playing with haunches out/in and a teensy bit of shoulder work at the walk so that we’re not UBER BORING since Amber thinks walking just to walk around in an arena is silly lol. So, I figured it was time to start working on haunches in/out at the trot. She has a tendency to tilt her butt to the right both ways – which I think is latent from my riding since she’s never been ridden by other people – but I’ve been working on getting my hips as even as I can and it’s helped her right canter a lot and I think it’s all coming together to help the both of us have a better ride.
I do think she felt much better that ride. There was no rushing, and the few times that she thought perhaps I’d ask for one thing (canter), but I just said “easy” and kept the pressure, and it took her a second but then she went I know this! and really tried to perform it. We practiced on the straight first, letting her get used to the feeling – especially down one long side where she really tends to tilt her hip inside so we practiced pushing it out. Going into a circle was much harder for her, but she was on it and kept her shoulders pretty straight as I pushed her hip out and then in, then matched her shoulders to her hip track. To the right she was a bit sticky (I’m not too surprised) and I think that was mostly just a lack of understanding until the light bulb clicked, but to the left she felt confident and knew what I wanted the first time.
We did all of the 30 minute ride in a stretchy trot, just asking her to reach down a little, but still maintain some energy and getting back into the lift I’d like. As the injections really take effect, I think doing this work is helping her realize that she really is more supple, it’s easier for her to do these things, and that I will help her as much as I can to be confident in what I’m asking. She was definitely much calmer this ride, and I think it’s becoming easier and clearer for me to recognize the difference from her being excited to go and her going faster because she’s uncomfortable.
For the rest of the afternoon my friend and I hung around, visited my sister, and watched some Netflix before getting ready for the party. It was a blast. And unfortunately, I was a bad blogger and didn’t get pictures of hardly anything there. As for the menu, course 1 was lobster bisque or veggie soup (3 guesses which one I picked) accompanied by rolls, then course 2 a house or Caesar salad (I chose the Caesar), and then course 3 you could choose the steak with cheesy potatoes, the salmon with cheesy potatoes or the grilled chicken. Again, 3 guesses which one I chose (omg YES steak lol)
The party was at the very top of the Stratosphere, so you could occasionally feel the rides bumping around (ps I did NOT go on those rides. Heck no. Nothing is slingshotting me off the side of a giant tower). But it was a good party, I helped give out all the presents and definitely enjoyed my 2 free drink tickets. And I had to very quickly eat my dessert since I handed out presents at that time and we had to get out in 10 minutes of me finishing. So, here’s a picture of my half-eaten dessert lol. It involved a very good cake pop, some delicious mousse, and my fav – blueberries and raspberries topped with cream and served in a white chocolate bowl. So yummy!
By 8 am Sunday the wind was horrible and no one really wanted to be out in that so Amber didn’t get out nor did I have my lesson. But I worked later this morning, so I had time to get Amber out and at least lunge her. She had a blast, ran a bit too fast (I still worry about the leg, the knee, the stifle, the SI – stop giving me a heart attack, Amber!), but otherwise walked and jogged fine after she had fun running around so that eased the worry a bit lol. She’s still looking good, and I’m excited to get her out all this week. The swelling on her front leg has yet to go down even though I’ve iced it and gave her bute for a few days, so that puzzles me, but it’s feeling harder so I’m still thinking she has a bad muscle bruise.
She also thought she was sooooo sassy again when we started lunging. Then she REALLY gets into it, but at first, it’s like she has to work herself into it lol. And then she was like “it’s 40 degrees and breezy and omg I AM RUNNING HOW AMAZING” lol. But like I said, she looked okay, so we’ll continue the gradual work back into fitness and hopefully jumping her soon and not just a lesson horse!
Amber continues to be a little ouchy on her leg, and was still a little down yesterday, but either she’s forgiven me for leaving or is just hurting a little still when she moves but she’s herself on everything else. So, good and bad.
My friend is moving to town and come in yesterday, so we had some great sushi (which I unfortunately didn’t get any pictures of) but it meant I didn’t have too much time if I wanted to ride, which I decided I didn’t since Amber did seem uncomfortable. But I did have to get her out because girl has packed on a belly again. Whoops lol.
So I lunged her. Amber tends to lunge herself – she listens very well to voice cues and I usually let her play as much as she wants both directions, and then when she’s done she stops and comes into me. I could tell she still wasn’t feeling all herself, but she was shaking her head before cantering so I knew she felt excited and wanted to play a bit. She had a buck each way, much head shaking, and then turned to face me and stuck her face in my stomach to let me know she was done. She thought she was sooooooo sassy lol.
It’s a little hard to see how her stifle is doing because her right front leg is still ouchy, but over all I think it feels better. It looks like she’s more okay with bringing it forward and it doesn’t hurt much if at all. So yay a plus!
This weekend may not involve much horses (I hope it will, though!) but I will hopefully be taking my first lesson since I was 13! (I am usually THAT PERSON that thinks they texted someone and hasn’t actually texted them lol) So I’ve contacted the lady and hopefully I can get a lesson. I really want to start into that and get to it, even if Miss Thang has other ideas lol. I also have my company Christmas party over the weekend, so I will try to be a good blogger and gets pics of the food and the view from the top of the Stratosphere. The rollercoaster on the top WILL NOT get ANY pictures because I hate heights and I’d die if I went on that ride. Just NO lol.
So, cross your fingers I’ll nab a lesson, and have a good weekend everyone!
Last one everyone! The future with horses.
I think it is absolutely safe to say that for as long as I can ride and have some type of money, horses are going to be a part of me. They are just a huge aspect of my life and I love them dearly, so I’m going to have a future with horses. Now what that future will be exactly I’m not sure. I have a feeling after Amber may not be able to event anymore that I’ll step away from eventing for a bit until perhaps I can nab another horse and then go for it again. Either way, Amber will be with me and I’ll do whatever she can do.
Although to be quite honest I probably won’t get a second horse for a while. Because little girl gets SO JEALOUS if I even touch another horse and she would get so mad at me when she’d be in a pasture by an arena and see me riding other horses. She’s so funny lol.
So there you have it. If I can even just afford lessons but not a horse when I’m 70, so be it lol. But for now, Amber and I will enjoy eventing, I’d love to start competing next year, and I can’t wait to go on the journey and see what the future will hold.
As for Amber, we FINALLY had our official ride on Tuesday since her injection and the show. I feel like I haven’t been riding in FOREVER, and turns out I sort of haven’t lol. I counted back and we had our last official ride on the 12th so it’s been a good 2 and 1/2 weeks. And as I’m brushing her off I see this:
Here’s the left knee for comparison.
I mean, REALLY mare.
Our hack Sunday hadn’t completely felt like her usual self, but still good even if we had a bit of a rough patch in there, but when I hopped on Tuesday, she really didn’t feel like herself. Just sort of….down. And what was she doing? Nothing. I know. Soooo descriptive. But really. Usually she’s bugging me a bit, nosing me as I pass her face or at least moving her feet a bit, and she was just…still. Plus, she liked her scratches, just didn’t seem as into it as before. I’d mashed on that bit on swelling pretty good beforehand, and she wasn’t off and she wasn’t touchy on it, so I still hopped on.
She felt fine at the walk, but when I got to the trot she felt very flat. So I thought of a few things, like if she didn’t want to work, was not feeling well, or if it was the leg, went down to the walk and then trotted again. She was good, wanting to go into the contact so we cantered a teensy bit, and it was so crazy because I could feel her picking up that right hind. Never felt that before.
I had my mom come out to take a video, and once we trotted again, she was sort of all over the place. Both shoulders were falling, she wanted nothing to do with contact, and was quick stepping and felt a bit worried. Like she had when her hip was really hurting her. And before the stifle injection. Hmm.
So I let go of the reins and let her canter to the right a bit, then picked up the reins and I could feel her really trying to tuck her butt, and it felt much easier for her. So we walked, and yep she felt uncomfortable. I was happy the stifle injection seemed to work very well, but she was obviously in discomfort. So I walked a teensy bit more and hopped off. I was happy tho to see in the video that she was picking up that right hind nicely instead of dragging it a bit like she had before.
So, what the hell did she do? Well, we think that she might have banged her leg somehow. Probably early Tuesday because the bump was warm to the touch, but just felt filled with edema. And I think if she’d injured soft tissue she’d have been a little more lame. So perhaps a muscle bruise? I dunno. So I iced her up.
She was not amused lol.
She liked the addition of grain + bute tho lol.
I met up with a friend on Wednesday, so that shortened my ride time, but I decided to leave it and not ride. However, when I went out to see her she looked/felt much more herself. It’s so great to be able to be able to notice when she’s not herself. Wednesday she looked like she had her usual energy back up, that excited light to her eyes and was also uber excited to see me again. The bump was not hot at all, but a little harder this time, and she still seemed a might bit uncomfortable on it. So my rides are postponed AGAIN but like I said I’m not in a rush. Just PLEASE stop hurting yourself horse. I’d appreciate that.
This one’s a little difficult for me since I don’t necessarily have a “style” I tend to like – I just like matching things. Other than matching, I like what I like and it goes along with my general style I wear every day. Classic, practical and function pieces.
So when (a WHILE ago, like 2015) Amanda C posted about lace show shirts….. I just don’t really get it.
I mean, yeah they’re really pretty, but I am honestly not a fan. Now don’t get me wrong – I really like me some lace just….not with horses. I’d snag that on legit everything lol. Not to mention you would probably have issues with sports bras, and I don’t know about you, but I sweat a lot between my shoulder blades, and even if I don’t sweat a lot near my collarbone, that lace would probably itch like the dickens for me. My whole chest and back would be red from itching. Plus, I feel that the lace may not hold up to the rigors of washing horse clothing. Especially if it starts to discolor from sweat and sloughed skin…. Ick. It just is not for me.
Now if someone were to be showing in the lace – I don’t care. You spend your money on what you want and if it makes you happy, then you buy as many lacey show shirts as you want. I just won’t lol. Now that last one – the navy shirt – I might go for. It looks like the lace is over the shirt, which I could probably do. And I do like the very very subtle lace on that stock tie. But the lace is just not for me.
Next up are some….interestingly patterned breeches. As you guys know, I like plaid. I bought a plaid pair of breeches. I don’t think plaid is bad on breeches, but these are perhaps a little much for me.
Leopard….Floral….Paisley….I get cross-eyed trying to find the pattern lol Well, except those light blue ones with flowers. And maybe I’m being a little hypocritical since I like plaid but really not these other colors lol. But it’s just like the shirts – you love and want to buy them then power to you lol.
I think that’s it. There are other trends that are happening, like crazy colored tall boots or horse onesies – oooohhh forgot about those! srsly, what are those all about?! – and other things, but honestly, I don’t care about any of them. Yeah, they’re around, and those people who like them will get them and enjoy them. They’re fun, and they allow people to express their style. So while I may not like them, I’m glad there’s an option for those that might love them!
If you’d asked me this even just a year ago, I’d say it depended on what you were doing. Riding an old, safe horse in a schooling ring? Optional. Going out on trail (rocky, long or endurance)? Yes. Jumping or cross country? Absolutely. Dressage? Rider’s choice. Western pleasure? Nope, no need. But, that has since changed – gone back to when I was younger and was sure that helmets were necessary.
One thing solidified my slow acceptance that I needed one. It was my second ever fall off of Amber. And neither of these falls were really bad. The first one, I couldn’t sit her canter bareback at the time and slipped off and hit the ground. She was 2 and a bit shorter then. This last time, there was a very quick start/leap/stop that jarred me and I slipped once again. That time, the ground was much harder, and my left hip was bruised and very sore for nearly 6 weeks. I hadn’t been wearing a helmet. I hadn’t hit my head – but I could have.
But I hesitated a lot to actually make the change to wearing a helmet full time also because I’ve had such issues with heat. My heat stroke was not good, and with me not knowing and not getting to the hospital – I was very lucky it wasn’t much worse. I had an issue with my Troxel helmet and almost had heat exhaustion here even though I’d taken plenty of water and food. I felt such relief when I saw that Ovation schooler helmet – cheap, it came in a light color to help reflect the sun, had tons of air vents, and would do in a pinch.
And it’s been great in the heat. It’s really wonderful getting back into English, because the apparel and tack has come such a long way from what I remember that it’s like going into something unknown, and I like it.
I had a couple other falls, ones that made me determined even when I got made fun of to wear a helmet when breaking the babies. Once they were more broke I’d nix the helmet, but no more. (I also don’t have to ride babies anymore lol) After that fall on Amber, though, I knew I had to always wear a helmet even with her. Helmets keep you as safe as they can, in a sport where nothing is ever guaranteed. And not just eventing sport, but the sport of horseback riding. Whether you’re a leisure trail rider or the world’s best endurance rider, a western pleasure rider or top reining rider, helmets keep you safer. Any horse can trip anywhere at any time, and it can be game over for you. It’s not just subject to “faster” or “more intense’ horse sport. It’s horse sport as a whole, and I think everyone should wear a helmet.
There’s really not too much to recap in horsey terms. I hope all of you had a great Thanksgiving! My Thanksgiving was good, especially with my little niece. There was great food, good company and we had an all around good time.
What was especially precious was that after sitting on my lap watching me play my horsey game (and interacting as well as Kaylee understood how to press the space bar to make the horse jump) with such intensity Friday morning, when I opened my computer to transfer music for my drive Saturday, Kaylee immediately trotted over to me and said “up peas!”. My sister and brother-in-law laughed quite a bit. Kaylee knew that when Auntie Mandy opened her computer, she had the horsey game! Just so precious lol.
Sunday morning Amber and I went for a nice hack, which wasn’t as nice as I’d planned lol. She got extremely herd bound to the point where she kept looking back for Whisper, jigging, and at one point getting worked up enough to hump her back. No feet even lifted off the ground, but it was to a point where if she hasn’t been out in a while, she can get like this. It was never as bad as it had been Sunday, so I just hopped off and we did a little groundwork there. She worked herself up pretty well before she settled, and while it wasn’t more than five minutes, her worrying got her working up a sweat.
I was lucky enough to find a bucket out in the nothingness to step on so I could hop back on, but while she was definitely not as explosive, she was absolutely really pulling towards home. So whenever she trotted I did a semi one-rein stop, just to get her bending and then circling around bushes and everything and only when she calmed down did we walk straight again. She got that message really fast, and walked fast but no more jigging. She FINALLY let out this big whinny, and when another horse answered she snorted back, and then was totally fine. Silly, silly girl. We jumped the ditch, and sauntered home. Not our best hack, but all in all still a good ride. Even though she got out over Thanksgiving and my other sister rode her for me, I know she was happy to be back under saddle, and I was happy to be on her.
Day 26: Your biggest riding pet peeve
Hmm. I have a few. I guess one of my biggest ones is warm up arena etiquette. Like people watch where you’re going! I’ve almost been run into dozens of times because people suddenly looked up and OMG there was a horse in their way! Also, be observant in the warm up arena. Trust me, it pays off.
But probably my biggest riding pet peeve would be trainers shouting to their students in the warm up ring at a show. Stuff like “make them go slower; pull back with your reins” or “reprimand the horse harshly in here but not in the show arena; we don’t want the judges to see that” or “what are you doing?! we practiced this at home!” or “don’t let up for a second; just make them keep trotting until they get all that energy out” and the horse will be in around 5-6 classes. The students don’t actually know how to ride, merely how to take instruction. Although honestly, who am I to actually judge? But I dunno, I think you can see those that know how to ride and are constantly working on things, or those that don’t. But, those types of things that trainers shout are probably my top peeves.
Day 27: You know you’re an equestrian when….
I really thought a lot about these, and maybe they’re not TOO original, I think they’re mostly lol. I did think it so funny though because for #2 I really did find an old magazine, Young Rider, that I used to subscribe to and just loved, and I found that horse owner list, and I answered all the choices and legitimately got that I should not own a horse yet LOL. I worked around them in flip flops, I didn’t always wear a helmet (at the time), and quite a few others I can’t quite remember, but I just remember I got ALL of the questions wrong haha.
It was definitely a good laugh, tho. And really, who needs leggings when you have super warm breeches/tights that can also be leggings? lol
Day 22 – The importance of riding in your life
Riding is definitely the most important thing in my life. I have always felt a lot more at ease with animals than people, but I have always been drawn to horses. The little moments are the ones I love – grooming, groundwork, spending time with the horses, loving on them. But even as much as I love the little moments and just being around horses, I feel a huge need to ride. There’s just something about hopping on a horse that is soothing to the soul for me. Be it bareback or with tack I feel the best when I’m with horses.
I love their beauty, their grace, their giving spirits, their try and their bravery, and I always feel at peace with horses. I found this quote a bit ago from Buck Branaman, and it really articulates the way I feel about horses.
“Horses don’t think the same way as humans. Some things that are most unique about the horse, that I love, is not what he possesses, but what he doesn’t possess. And that is greed, spite, hate jealousy, envy and prejudice. The horse doesn’t possess any of those things.”
That just about sums it up lol. Horses are what I love most about life, and I’m so glad I have my special one.
Day 23: Critique a famous/well known equestrian jumping round
So…….I am just going to say: they look great. I can’t do that at all, sooooooo…..yeah lol.
Day 24: Your best riding friend
I would have to say that so far, my best riding friend is my mom. I have had many riding friends, and still do that I used to ride with from my previous barns, including great friends Kayley and her husband and Tatia and Susan – all that I had a blast riding with weekends and some weekdays all last year. But throughout all of the years, my mom has always been there on pretty much every lesson, every show of mine and has been super supportive. In turn, I’ve helped her at shows and been her support as well. I’ve been able to share everything horsey with her, and it’s been great to always be able to have someone to talk to about that.
Day 25: Your dream trailer
My dream trailer would definitely be on the new list – as in a new trailer. But what I think would would be a super cool dream trailer would be a 3-4 horse reverse load trailer with living quarters. I like the idea of the reverse load perhaps helping horses with balance versus the traditional slant loads. I also like the fact that with a reverse load allows for a huge tack room in the back, so it doesn’t take away room from the living quarters. I’d ideally like 13ft LQ or larger because hey we’re dreaming here lol.
I’m sure most of us will have these posts – Emma already had her gratitude post and L. Williams has what she’s thankful for each day. As this is my first year blogging, and my first year of having a huge, set goal since I was fifteen, this is a bit of a reflective post.
I have to admit when I saw that little divot in Amber’s stifle joint on the x-ray, my heart sunk. My dreams and goals of entering eventing started fizzling before me. But I knew, even before I asked the vet what he thought, that if he said no jumping, that’s what I’d do. I’d do lessons for myself, but I’d find something else for Amber and I to do. I’d continue english, perhaps mosey into dressage, but I wouldn’t jump her.
Relief was part of it when we were talking about management plans and when he said jumping was okay – but honestly, I was just determined that while we could, we’d make the most of it and be sound and healthy while we were at it. I want my first eventing experiences on Amber. She’s game, smart, extremely sensible, she likes jumping, and I trust her with my life. There’s really no other horse I’d rather start new things on than her.
So I’m extremely thankful the diagnosis while a bit jarring is still very promising.
Strange as it may sound, it was a weird feeling to bring my western saddle inside, place my bridle next to it and give it a “till next time” nod. I’ve ridden western since 2004 and have loved it (still do), so to put it away almost felt like closing a chapter. Like I was putting a part of myself away. Yet as sad as I felt, I also didn’t feel sad. I wasn’t putting it away to forget about it, or to not want anything to do with it anymore. It was just…a pause. After feeling lost for quite a few years, this year I had the goal to event. I haven’t had a goal like this since I decided I wanted to be a horse trainer when I was fifteen. The past few years have been a never-ending question of where now? And suddenly I was watching Rolex, and the idea to event festered in my brain almost all of last year. I read blogs, I followed along with people’s quiet adventures, and I realized I could do this, too. So I decided to start a completely different discipline, and in doing so I rediscovered my passion for horses and the horse people around me. I rediscovered what it felt like to have an all-encompassing goal and to go headlong into it. I’ve rediscovered the partnership Amber and I have – growing and competing together – when we had quite a few years where she was on the back burner.
I’m inexplicably thankful that finding eventing, finding this blogger community, and putting myself out there to overcome my fears has been integral to my healing process.
While I am of course thankful for my horsey mom, my family, my friends who have all been supportive of me in everything, it’s really been a generic thankfulness every day. Just thankfulness for life, for new purpose, for everything.
Happy Thanksgiving, everyone.
As we make the drive to Reno for Thanksgiving, I thought I might as well write this lovely post.
There’s really only 4 horsey things I want to get for Christmas (usually it’s like 10 things so I’m doing good this year lol) – that doesn’t include the breeches I got on an SP sale, or the breeches, maybe boots and earmuffs I’m going to get Black Friday should RW have a giant sale. These are Christmas fun things, because two of them I just want and probably won’t be getting any time soon, and the other two I’m going (one’s a maybe) to get anyway, but they’re still just a want at this point lol.
The first one is pure want. I don’t need a hackamore because Amber does fine in a bit on our hacking trail days. But I dunno it’d be fun/nice if she didn’t have to wear a bit. I probably could ride her in a halter no problem, but add rocks and trains and the predatory Condor birds that came back to our neighborhood for the winter, and I feel that a halter is a little unsafe if something goes wrong. She’s a little meh in a halter and doesn’t respect it as much as I wish (tho I probably just need to stick her back in a rope one). I’d be a little more comfortable in a hackamore. So enter this beauty.
Yup. The PS of Sweden hackamore. Unfortunately, this thing retails for $275. I really don’t want to pay that much. I checked out Eponia because I’ve been wanting to try one of their bridles, but…I dunno I just like the look of the PS better. I like that on the PS you have that extra piece of leather that keeps the bridle straps from potentially hitting the eyes (although I don’t think I’ll be pulling hard enough ever for the bridle to do that). Also like the look of the metal piece on the PS one better, too. Just…smoother? Cleaner lines? Like I said, this is a purely want item, but I am really considering getting at least the nose part. Any one of you guys have ideas? What hackamore do you have? I’d love to know! Most of the ones I found had bad reviews lol. Also, I’d ideally like to spend less money than that haha.
My next want: Merlot matchy matchiness. Would it look good on Amber? Eh, maybe not, but I’m really into merlot at the moment lol. I’ve always loved that color scheme, and at the moment I don’t really care if it doesn’t really “go” with Amber’s color. The merlot color is just so pretty and gorgeous to me lol. Who knows. I’ll probably get them anyway someday, not only for the color but also because I just really like the fit of the gulf breeches lol.
Next on the list is this lovely helmet. I tried it on on a whim at my local tack shop. It was a small, and holy crap it fit my head like it was made for it. It didn’t look big and bulky on my head, and the visor didn’t come down too low on my forehead. Because my head is small (6 7/8 so buying head stuff is a pain), usually even smalls in helmets are too big and hit the tops of my ears. This one doesn’t. AND IT’S NAVY. I really like my Ovation schooler helmet – it’s a light color that helps reflect the sun and keeps me cool, but this helmet just looks sooooo pretty….
It just fits my small head beautifully, and with the visor also being higher, it has plenty of room for what’s next on my list….
This bad boy: Cambox Isis2 helmet camera. I will be getting this hopefully soon. Ish. Maybe around Christmas if they go on sale. I definitely want a helmet cam, and this one seemed much less bulky than the GoPro. Ultimately, I’d like to be able to buy this before our first cross country school. My mom has volunteered to get media for me at my jump lessons so no need for helmet cam on that, and we’ll be learning jumping in the arena first so I probably won’t xc school until January or February. So, this one is a someday purchase, but definitely still a want lol. I have started to tell my family that if they come up with nothing to give me for Christmas, or if it would be easier for them, just give me money that I can put towards this thing lol. We’re all adults anyway – nobody really needs the “I must surprise/be surprised!” Christmas anymore so it works.
What about you guys? What are your wants this Christmas?
Day 18: Your grooming routine
I am not the world’s best groomer. I used to be more into grooming, but since Amber stays pretty clean and only likes to be scratched, I’m a little meh on grooming lol. I don’t have any special brushes. If Amber seems particularly itchy I’ll grab her generic rubber curry and give her a good scratch, but most days I take her stiff-bristled plastic brush and she lurves that thing. It’s kind of a two for one – gets out the itch and flicks away a lot of dust. She’s dirt colored but not sand colored, so she usually looks ashy on one side.
If I really want to get her semi-non-dust-ridden I will use a soft plastic flicker brush and then two natural brushes in each hand – one horsehair and one goat hair. I’ll work in sequence with both arms, the horsehair first and goat hair as a finisher, and the quick strokes but soft bristles seem to bring up the worst of the sand dust and bring up the oils in her coat. (Somedays tho that dust just does NOT come out lol). I really never pick her feet. She doesn’t step in her poop, does not appreciate smelling like poop or pee, and the sand is dry and not going to pack in her feet unless it’s super wet and cold. Which it generally isn’t in Vegas. However, since it is so dry here, after a ride I will liberally coat the underside of her hooves and her heels with rainmaker – she has amazing feet that have never needed any special treatment, but since we use sand for bedding and that’s drying, she needs the moisture rainmaker offers. I can only use it on her coronary band though. If I put the Rainmaker over the nails, her feet will be too soft and she’ll pull her shoes.
Her face is either the first or last thing I’ll groom, and generally with only the horsehair or goat hair brushes. I give her many nose kisses when brushing her face. She gives me the mare glare, but she secretly loves the kisses lol. I do put Mane & Tail detangler in her mane and it seems to help it grow but to also keep it from getting in knots and her being able to pull it out easier. Other than that, I throw the tack on and go.
Lots more currying is involved when she’s shedding, but most days, that’s it.
Day 19: A discipline you’ve never done that you want to do
Well, I’m going to say top of my list is eventing. I may be doing a bit of dressage and mini jumping, but I’ve never even schooled xc or properly schooled jumps, so I feel that I have yet to do it! And so excited that Amber and I can now jump into eventing with all six feet!
The other discipline I really want to try is endurance actually. Riding all day on horseback with somewhere to go and a keen horse? I think that’d be awesome. Now, me needing to get in shape for that….eehhhhh that’s something else entirely lol. But I think endurance would actually be a lot of fun. Very difficult and challenging, but when in college I went on a trail riding trip with my class and was assigned the one-eyed Quarab mare. If you think that’s a combination…well, it was lol. But I’ll tell you that mare was so sure-footed, despite the fact that she decided to Man from Snowy River jump this huge log on a downhill slope and petrified me at the time lol. But man, she wanted to go, and she could go and go and go all day. It was that Arab in her for sure. So having that experience, I think endurance on a similar horse would be a lot of fun.
Day 20: Your favorite horse show
This is a hard one! I’ve loved all my shows with Amber, but I have to say my favorite show was a little bitty show in North Texas I believe. I was riding a seasoned show mare that I’d been practicing on, Chica Whiz (LOVE that mare) and I was about to loose my head with nerves before going into the show pen. I even drank a beer before hand and that helped lol. But Chica was calm as could be, and it was a canter-in reining pattern that I’d never done before, so I started off timid. Chica went in there like “okay, if you want to go that slow” and just gave me this amazing boost of confidence. So I said “okay Chica let’s go!” And she took off. We did three amazing sliding stops, our spins were pretty good, and I felt confident in the circles. It was just such an awesome feeling for her to give me such confidence that we were going to slay my own expectations. And we did! No win, but sooooo close to my goal of 70 – a 69.5. She was such a great mare and taught me so much about horse personalities.
Day 21: Your perfect schooling outfit
I love these! My perfect schooling outfit are my Ovation Aqua-X breeches, my Kerrits shirts and the sleeves, my Ovation schooling helmet and my Ariat paddock boots and Harwich half chaps. I wear that combination all summer and love it. My breeches and shirts will differ for the winter, but since it’s my perfect schooling outfit, I should move somewhere where it’s summer all year long. Yup, I like the sound of that lol.
And now the Lund bridle! I think it looks FABULOUS. I can’t wait to ride with it! Everything is so soft but definitely sturdy and I thought the raised and laced reins would be stiff – not out of the box! The lace is a little squeaky, but with how soft everything is and how I plan to darken them, I think they’ll be perfect!
It’s slow here in Amberland, getting colder but still staying nice during the day. I wasn’t able to ride Amber at all last week – mostly because I didn’t want to stress whatever was wrong with her leg, and then because of her injection Thursday, and long work day Friday. So when I got her out Saturday, she was almost pulling me to the mounting block. She wanted to GO! Which manifested itself in walking faster lol. Wild thang this one is for sure.
I asked my mom to watch and did a small half circle of slow trotting, just wanting to see how she felt. She felt a little strange at first, but then after a few very slow jog steps, she picked up pace and I could feel some float there. Not as much float as when I got her SI done, but the float and softness was definitely there and she felt really good. So I brought her down to a walk, she felt a little disappointed, but ready and anticipating for when I was going to ask again. I just worked on the walk, and at the end of our 20 minute walk she almost stopped, and I swear her ears flicked back like “OH we’re doing this walk-all-the-time-shit again? Ugh” lol. And was then content to really mosey her way around. She really doesn’t think walking has any purpose haha.
Sunday was a good mix ride. We kept it to a walk once again, but she felt smoother and her footfalls sounded softer. Throughout Saturday I’d kept an eye on her, and noticed both days that she wasn’t dragging that right hind anymore. Sometimes she’d just stick her toe in the dirt, like she couldn’t get her leg up. Other times she’d just drag it along if she was walking slowly. Now, she really looks like she’s picking that leg up and it feels much better.
So we walked for about fifteen minutes in the ring, then I decided to take her on a nice walkabout but only on the street or just to the side of it. I didn’t want to stress it by making her go up and down on uneven terrain, so we kept it at that. She was a bit looky, as she is I’m finding when I can’t get her out sooner than 2 weeks apart. Not that she’s horrible, she just focuses on everything – stop, look, walk fast, look, stop, walk behind your leg, walk very fast, look, stop, stop and look and then walk fast lol. Which don’t get me wrong I LOVE about her because I’d much rather have that than one that takes off, but I was wary on Sunday since our only outing for a week was Saturday and I really didn’t want to get dumped since she has a mean leap-to-the-side lol.
She’s really never pulled that with me (only time was when she was 2 and got startled, whirled around so fast I’m surprised I didn’t come off), and even when she really wants to go she is able to focus on work (cause she knows we’ll work lol). But, I really love that even when she’s a little lit, she controls it well. Of course I couldn’t stick her on a lunge line and let her play even though I wanted to, but like I said she was fine.
Towards the end of the ride, she knew when we were headed home and really started walking, being a little barn sour, so I took that as a mwahahaha opportunity that she had to work and so I gathered contact to work on the walk. And dammit if she didn’t do it immediately. And pretty well. Well, nuts lol. But, we still worked on it, and it was good doing it without a fence because I could still feel her curve to the right, and even without spurs, wanting to go home, she said “well, sure ma, I will move my hip a little left, walk straight and lift my shoulders, and I’ll even get it for five steps until you release”. I love this little horse. She’s just so willing, and on any other horse, it may have been an issue, but it was even a little difficult to keep her actually moving forward when I took contact! After she’d been almost power walking to get home. She’s just the best.
Since we’re stuck at the walk for a bit, I’ve been trying to make it a little less boring by practicing contact, circles, asking her for a haunches in (I hope I’m doing it right), matching the shoulders up and then pushing them back out and lining the haunches up (again I hope I’m doing it right. It feels good so I think so lol). She’s been really developing in the contact, learning that I want her push forward, but not so much that she’s leaning. And she’s really coming around to me asking her these new lateral things – like she sees them as a challenge and is bound and determined to do it right.
But the injection and the small step back came at a really opportune time. Wednesday the fam and I will be driving up to Reno to spend Thanksgiving with my sister, brother-in-law and niece. I’ll be missing my horsey time, but my other sister who couldn’t make it up there is taking care of the horses for us. By then, Amber will be cleared to start back into light work, and we’ll both be very happy about that.
Also, my Lund bridle is supposed to come today. I’m so excited! I’m a little worried the 57″ laced reins might be a little short, but they will be used for jumping for now (the 60″ dressage reins I have sometimes feel short lol) until I can try a pair of their eventer series rubber ones. Can you tell I’m excited? lol
So first, Day 17: Your equestrian idol
I’m not usually a “oh this person is my idol or inspiration” type of person – most professionals I’ve found in every field I see something I like and equally dislike about them. I think sometimes people get into trouble by idolizing professionals too much to where they can’t look at something objectively and decide if that person is in the right or not ( be it horse care, a questionable decision in a bad situation, or similar things).
But one of the professional riders who has not let me down so far to where I can say that I respect and admire the hell out of them is Michael Jung.
I got to see him in Kentucky this past April. And the atmosphere I got from him was an all around kind person. It’s a little weird to say, but sometimes you can just feel it from a person, you know? And while walking around the tents I kept looking over at the giant line to get his signature, and you know what? For every person he had a smile. He was soft spoken, took pictures with them, and it never looked like he was getting annoyed how I felt like a few others were. He always seemed ready and willing, a smile and kind words always present for those in line.
That to me is important, in all honesty, the way he treats people. And while I bet a lot of these are fans, and pros want to be good to their fans, he just felt like he genuinely enjoyed being there with those eager faces. The pros that I’ve met have generally been the opposite (which for sure could be different in eventing – I haven’t met many eventing pros).
But the most important to me is how he rides, how he handles challenges and disappointments, and a big one came when Sam had his first ever xc penalty. Michael’s response? He didn’t point the horse at the jump correctly, and Sam had nothing to prove. So he opted to retire. Then another big show and he pulled Sam because he felt off. Some people were using that to say the course was too hard so that’s why Michael pulled Sam. But for me, looking at the record Sam has and the way he goes xc, that horse would’ve eaten the course for breakfast. So whether or not that’s true that he pulled him for the course, I like that he pulled the horse, and is making sure he’s okay.
And don’t get me wrong – there are other pros I like, too – ones that make great decisions and do things very much like Michael. It’s not that I dislike a lot about them, it’s just that the one that automatically comes to mind first is Michael Jung lol.
The vet visit
It’s been cloudy recently more than sunny – which is slightly depressing because it means that here pretty soon the winter weather will hit. Which is really not THAT cold but I am a cold weather weenie. When I was in Texas I would no joke have on a ski mask, a beanie, my polyfill suede jacket with warm long sleeved shirt and vest on underneath, with under armour leggings under ski pants and then my normal leather western boots. I love being warm lol.
Well, the vet consult turned out to be a vet visit because the vet was going to be on that side of town anyway. So, why not? Come view the pony, sir. I got off of work early and met him at home for a windy assessment (WHY does it always have to be windy when something important is going on?).
And it was a good thing he did come to view the pony. Though she was definitely moving better Thursday than Sunday night or Monday, she was still off, and definitely not wanting to bring that leg forward. I agreed to have a couple radiographs done since we definitely wanted to make sure we weren’t missing something. Also, it has been about time she gets a new set of pictures. I have only had her checked a few times, and I really need an updated baseline of her joints. So he took a radiograph of both stifles.
Unfortunately, it looks like she has a bit of reconstruction and degeneration in her right stifle. He did say it’s been developing for a while, so she might have actually injured her stifle when she twisted her hip back in February, or she could have fallen on that stifle when she injured her knee, and when she twisted her hip in February further aggravated it. But, either way, it seems that kick really brought it to light.
In a way, I think that’s good. I’m glad I’m FINALLY able to get to the bottom of what this problem really is. And we’re keeping her healthy and sound, and it’s soon enough that we’re not past the point of no return. I asked him about Pentosan, and he thinks that’s a great additive to what we’re doing so I’ll be doing that. She got an injection to stop the inflammation to help slow the progression of the degeneration as quickly as possible. But, the big question:
What does this mean about Amber and I doing eventing?
Thankfully, he thinks it’ll be fine. He actually thinks the jumping will be less stressful on it than reining and certain aspects of ranch riding, and I agree. No big jumps, though. Which is totally fine with me because I don’t want to do anything big lol. But it’s a big sigh of relief that we can still do eventing. It’s just going to be a bit of a slower progression, which is okay. The biggest plus I think about all this though, is that the vet’s assistant is the lady that I want to take lessons from. So she’s seen the radiographs, she knows about Amber’s sore SI, she knows about Amber’s knee, and all the other things that might crop up, so I feel very comfortable that when we get to jumping and doing this that if Amber feels weird, she’ll believe me and understand our history.
It’s also great because she has this Connemara lesson pony that she said is very patient and forgiving, which I can lesson on and I think that’s a perfect idea. I definitely want to work on myself, get myself back in there and redevelop my jumping so that when Amber and I start she can have a better, more informed human on her back. So, while it’s definitely not the verdict I really wanted to hear, I think knowing is half the battle, and a lot of good has come out of this well.
Another good thing is that I’m not in a hurry with this. I was already planning on taking it a little easy after the show – lots of hacks and easy days to get her out since Amber doesn’t like days off. Not that she gets crazy. She wants to be out and doing something with her human lol. Her brain benefits but she’s always staring like “okay, can we go work now?” lol. But now we’ll really take it a bit slower, make sure she’s good and probably get some lessons mid to late December. We’ll see how it progresses.
Day 14: Your dream barn
So I had one that I’d been keeping tabs on for the past year or so, which I knew it wouldn’t be on the market forever and also that I’d never be able to afford it, but it looks like it was officially sold since I can’t find it (and can’t remember where exactly it was; stupid me for not writing it down). It had 2 small houses and garages, a small pool, a 25 stall barn with indoor arena, an outdoor arena, 5 or so fences pastures and ~31 fenced acres. All for the amazing total of $575,000. Like, whaaaat?! They didn’t have too many pictures of the place, but hey, that is damn affordable. I’d put xc jumps up there, invite people to stay or like pay a small fee to come school and overnight if they wanted…. (because I wouldn’t board many people if any and I can’t afford 25 horses lolol).
But I found this other one that’s a little more, but has more acreage. I’d need to repair some fencing because Amber would so get out of that, but the grassy arena looks big enough, the house is small, old-fashioned and quaint which I love, and it has tons of space to do a lot of xc. Yes lol. Plus it’s got fruit trees, tons of space, and looks pretty neat. It’s in Florence, looking a good distance north of Austin, but hey we can dream, right? lol
Other than that, though, I’m pretty darn content with our current dream home. I get to have Amber near me, see her every day, be in charge of her food intake, stall quality and happiness, and it’s pretty amazing!
Day 15: If you could speak to a horse dead or alive, what would you say?
Well, obviously I’d speak to Amber and ask her why she loves other horses and then decides to hate them when they so much as look at her (or not for that matter, she doesn’t discriminate lol). I’d ask her and Whisper what happened that day I brought her to Vegas. Whisper had never seen Amber before, never met her, and Whisper in all the years we’d had her (at that point it was 7 years) she’d never done this before. But she just glanced at Amber, and started whuffling up a storm. Amber, who I knew hadn’t been around or was best friends with a chestnut mare, responded in kind. My mom and I stood there dumbfounded as these two mares who had never met each other just seemed to be talking to each other like they knew the other was family or something. Like Whisper knew Amber was mine and that I was related to my mom or something. It was so wild and one of the coolest horse things I’ve witnessed.
This next one is sad, though. I’d talk to one of my favorite little guys. He had an “official” nickname, but I called him Snips and I thought it fit much better. He was a little orphan foal – his momma contracted strangles, had him early and didn’t have any milk for him, and rejected him. So he fell into my care. I’m not too sure how long it lasted, but I’d say about 3 to 4 days I bottle fed him every half hour to hour. I did the night shift and most of the afternoon until a surrogate momma was found for him. Unfortunately, he didn’t make it. He got a bone infection and that’s extremely hard to fight for a little foal. But I’d tell him I was sorry I couldn’t do more to help him, sorry that I knew so little and that even when I tried to make things better it didn’t work. I’d tell him that I miss his little face, and that I was sorry he wasn’t able to grow up to be big and strong like I knew he could be. RIP little Snips.
Day 16: Your favorite equine memory
On a happier note, my favorite equine memory is a few months in the summer of 2012 bunched together. I had just gotten Amber back from Steamboat Springs, she was in the back pasture and it was the first time I’d ever had a horse – much less my own and first one on top of that – so close to me. I loved seeing her, hopping on her, spending toodle and goofy time with her after such a serious first year of us together. It was when I first rode her bareback, when I first took her swimming, when for the first time I was a horse owner and fully enjoyed that. I went on tons of trail rides, rode her in the back pasture, and just had the greatest time with a new horse.
Western day dawned a bit cloudy and colder than I am ready for. But still, I was ready! So was she. Amber was much calmer Sunday, but still worried when faster horses would come too close. Every class on Sunday Amber did the patterns by herself, and she definitely seemed happier that way. The only class I was concerned about was reining. We hadn’t really worked on circles – just the quality of her canter – we only practiced spins once, hadn’t touched rollbacks or soft stopping, and didn’t really visit potential lead changes. Sooooo that was going to be interesting lol. But we had been practicing our left to right simple changes.
Ranch riding was first, and instead of poles, they used sticks of wood. Which makes total sense, and because other horses were freaking out a bit at them, I had the sudden apprehension that Amber would be like OMG WHAT IS THIS but no. She had seen these and walked over them before on plenty a hack at home! She was great. Tense at first in the pattern, but after realizing no more uber scary people on the other bleachers she went into her left lead so soft and nailed her left to right simple change! I let her out a little, and she sped up a bit, but felt so manageable that I knew I’d be able to collect her back up. I was smiling so big at the end of the pattern, and knew we’d done a solid one. And we did! We earned a 70! We were in the lead for a while until the last person got a 72, but still, second out of ten was great.
I may not ever get a 70 with her in reining to fulfill my goal, but I will gladly take a 70 in ranch riding instead! Goal fulfilled! Also, sorry I only got snippets of my first few patterns – I’m just glad I got snippets at all lol. Next up was reining. Her spins were cute but not amazing, but her right lope off into the slow circle felt very soft. She was a little reactive at the top of the arena next to the cattle chute, but short of letting her shoulder fall in and shaking her head a fraction she didn’t do anything. Such a good girl. I took a chance and asked for the right to left lead change, and we nailed it even going into a small slow! Which Super Good Girl, Amber, because we didn’t practice that at all lol. I went into 2 pt just like the right circles, and I felt her respond – a bit but just enough. You can see her ears flicking in the first large fast – it’s when I was smiling huge and telling her she was awesome and she had this. I tried the left to right lead change, and it was a nope so a penalty there but I figured we’d have one. And then our stops were a bit abrupt and our rollbacks a bit non-existent but I was over the moon with her for how little reining practice we’d actually done. We got a 62 which was enough to earn us 3rd out of 7 (not bad!).
I practiced trail then for a bit, loping over the lone pole. It’s hard for her to maintain pace and lope slowly AND go over poles – not to mention we have been jumping so that’s one thing lol. We schooled that for a bit then I hopped off for a quick rest before heading back out for our horsemanship pattern. I went to walk her up and she felt really odd for a moment. Then felt really odd again as we jogged off, as you can see on the video. Well, throughout the pattern and then more walking after, I didn’t feel it again. So that was weird. It was a hard pattern, starting without stirrups and then picking them back up in the walk, but the class was called, and we managed 2nd out of 7!
Then I hopped off and it was lunch time. She got all her tack off and we ate, then hopped on a little early to walk around for our western dressage test. Again, we were the only ones, so first place, but I wasn’t quite in agreement with the judge for this test. A couple things I think we should’ve scored lower on, but hey, it’s fine. The judge told me at the end of the test that she really liked Amber as a western dressage horse. Well, that was nice!
We had a bit of a wait for trail, so I hopped off again and Amber snoozed while I looked tired. We were both pretty tired lol.
She got a little tense before the start of our trail pattern, but was a Super Good Girl and responded so well to everything I asked. You can see the big smile on my face after the lope over, even though she sort of hopped it. I was just so pleased with her regardless. She tried so hard after such a weird previous day, and was with me in everything I asked her. I couldn’t have asked for more from this little Miss Thang that always gives me 110%.
Amber got to rest and eat at the trailer as we waited around for the buckle announcements, and I took that opportunity to speak to the judge and ask her what she liked, didn’t, and what I could do better. She asked my number, and I told her, and she said “Oh! God, I loved that mare.” I didn’t really hear much of what she said after that lol. Even after our hectic English day, it really made my heart soar that the judge could see just how special of a little mare she is. She said she absolutely loved her as a western dressage horse, better than an English dressage horse. Which Amber is very stock-type and is not your typical dressage horse, so I can very much see that. And who knows? Maybe after eventing we’ll do western dressage lol. But she explained the tension she’d see in Amber which caused her to be fast-legged, and she preferred a little slower-legged horse. Good to know.
Then, the buckle winners were announced, and we won! Which, you guys already know, but still it was really great. Amber and I won a buckle for one show in 2016 for walk/jog to get us back into a show mentality as well as getting Amber used to showing, but this was canter. Amber is not your winning western pleasure horse, though she is very nice to ride. It just meant a lot to me that I could showcase Amber’s true versatility, her “everything pony” attributes that I know she has and can succeed at many things.
Unfortunately, after we were back at the trailer and packing, it was clear that whatever hitch I’d felt in her step was bothering her. She was very careful with her leg, didn’t want to put undo pressure on it, and of course, my heart sank. Looking back at the videos, I can see in the western dressage, and a bit in the trail that she was short in that hind leg. Except for the beginning of the horsemanship pattern, I couldn’t feel that shortness. She was so responsive with everything, and unfortunately, perhaps I’m used to feeling her a little short on that leg since she twisted her hip that when she was a little off it felt normal.
Either way she was happy to be home, and I gave her some bute in case something was swelling. Just like Saturday with it being weird, my mom and I brainstormed what in the world she could’ve done to her hind leg to have such a reaction by the end of the show. After a few hours, video watching, and feeling around on Amber, I think it was her kick on Saturday. I went over and over our rides the previous week, how she felt Saturday morning, and I couldn’t find anything to suggest I’d missed something before/at the start of the show. But I might have felt something Saturday after she’d kicked. I brainstormed for Sunday, too, and she actually felt super that morning. But then, she had those few very jarring stops in reining. And her right spin was on her inside hind. Then, she’d tripped over a pole while practicing trail. Maybe her body compensated in a weird way to where then she was sore for horsemanship? Then after that, we kept moving, didn’t stop too much or for too long and every time I looked at her she was walking okay. So my mom and I think she strained something when she kicked. Because she kicked out hard, and I don’t think I’ve ever seen her do that. Kick at another horse, sure, but that was when she sidled to the fence and kicked the fence. Not too hard, but certainly not out to the side and with the acrobatics she displayed Saturday. So then after straining or pulling a muscle, it wasn’t worked too hard Saturday so after a bit of rest she was fine Sunday, but then the reining perhaps took it over the edge.
Which of course I feel terrible about continuing to ride her, but like I keep saying – she could have her hoof dangling or something and she’d be like “it’s just a flesh wound!”. Ugh, mare, I swear. Sometimes I do wish she was a special snowflake, but nooooooo. She has to be stoic about pain. I’m going to try to get a phone consult with the vet that saw her for her SI injection. I really like him, and if he’d like to see her maybe he can make a farm call since I really don’t want to trailer her again for a bit. It’s 45 minutes to an hour drive to the vet, and with her being uncomfortable I’d rather not restrain it after I might have restrained it by continuing riding lol. I’ll for sure keep you guys updated, but needless to say, we’re both exhausted!
Friday was a day off of work, which was providence because I hadn’t gotten to ride Wednesday or Thursday. So, I made a point to practice a few things – a few goes over poles for trail, our left to right simple changes, and getting that sternum UP to the right. And she did all of them wonderfully. We rode for maybe an hour and fifteen minutes, but not much of that actual, hard work. Her left lead was on point, I got her sternum up at the right lead after a few circles (I have to admit the spurs did most of the work lol), but it’s more that it’s going to take a while for her to understand to replicate what she does to the left to what she does on the right. I put markers up for myself to help with the practice, and we practiced our western dressage pattern like 3 times. That’s actually what contributed to the ride being so freaking long – it takes FOREVER to ride a walk/jog pattern in a 125×187 arena lol.
But she felt ready to go. I didn’t think I needed an English prep day – our last English ride on Sunday felt great so I figured we’d be fine. But, Amber had her little tantrum again, thankfully not smashing the actual barn before we rolled on out to the show. We got there with enough time to warm up, and she was feeling good if a little tense. But her canter was so on point. Her left felt phenomenal, her right felt uphill and beautiful, and I could feel all our trot work really coming to the fore. I felt like the both of us were really getting this whole dressage thing, and I was so happy. There were a lot more people than usual, so a bit more atmosphere, but that doesn’t usually bother her.
We trotted in for our first class, and she got really tense before the gate because people weren’t clearing the way, but once we were in the ring she really started to settle in the trot. You can even see in the video how well her trot is coming – I think it’s been our best yet. Come the canter and she was just so great. I only focused on breathing because if I knew I said something she’d break gait and I had to tap her a few times with my inside leg to keep her going but it felt so soft and manageable and elastic and a culmination of the work we’ve done so far. I felt like we were doing awesome. Get to the walk and a trainer on the outside starts loudly clapping. Amber startled, but we regained it. And reversed. Aaaaaaand the class promptly went horrible. Here is video proof lol.
Right in front of the judge watching us lol. I finally talked to Amber, pet her, figured “well, there went the class” and she was nervous but once we trotted again felt like she was settling, getting it back. Aaaaaaand then it fell apart again. I was just mostly trying to keep it together at that point, and the last time around she really tried to be calmer, so I was telling her what a good girl she was. At the end after lining up I was just petting her and asking what was wrong since that’s so out of character for her. The judge was really nice and joked with me about Amber being silly, and we didn’t place but I had no expectation that we would. So I went to the warm up ring, got her relaxed and just walked a lot and she was okay.
Next class – jackpot – was worse.
We trotted in okay but she was super tense. Really looking and definitely stiff in her movements. Once we got away from the stands, she was okay, but unfortunately, the class was big, people and horses were in a bit of a crush and I don’t think she liked that at all. And at the canter she was near explosive. And then suddenly Amber full on bucked and kicked out. Probably the first real buck I have ever felt this horse do. A crow hop yes. But a buck? Never.
So I backed a bit, letting her know that was not okay, and then proceeded to canter again. She was still a little lit, but better after that. The right side was a bit better but still just ready to come out of her skin. I figured this class was also a bust so I did some schooling in the pen, trying to get her off of my hands since she felt like she was trying to pull my arms out of their sockets. She remembered, tried for a bit, broke gait but I cantered again for a second even after they called for a trot and to trot into the center. That was about the craziest ride I’ve ever had on her. We were both breathless by the time we were done.
And I’m not sure if the judge just didn’t see everything that happened, but we still got reserve (6th) out of 8 or so horses. Ones that didn’t have issues lol. So cue a lot more walking. She was wound like a spring when I’d take her to the short alley between warm up and main arena, and then was okay back in the warm up. It was just so strange for her. But when we went in the arena for our equitation pattern, she was just fine. Still pretty tense, but felt a lot more manageable. No crazies this time. And our pattern was good but not as crisp as the other horse, so we got second. At least no DQ and I didn’t fall off, right? lol.
So off her stuff went and she just looked a bit overwhelmed at the trailer. My mom and I went over what in the world happened because that was legit the weirdest thing. I worried that I missed something, that she was hurting and finally lashed out, but like I said, the beginning of that class was phenomenal. Discussing it more over the next few days though, and watching the video several times, I think it was just a lot of things. It was the clapping, the little kids roaming in the grandstands that she couldn’t see clearly, the extra people in the stands on the other side of the booth that startled her, the saddle seat horse, and that I personally think she felt too enclosed with all those horses.
In all the years I’ve had this horse, the only time she has ever done something similar to this was when she wasn’t mine yet, and another student had her for switch week. I am not too sure what the student did, but when I got her back Amber was scared as hell to canter. She would only crow hop. Poor thing was petrified. The only thing I can think of is that something in those classes was making her scared, petrified, frustrated, and then angry enough to lash out when she felt trapped. I mean, this horse just doesn’t do anything like that. I’ve felt when she’s a bit stubborn, or when she wants to say no, and this was not it. She was plain scared.
Even for dressage she was a little tense, but there were less people crowding around the fence, no saddle seat horse and we were on the other end of the arena. And she was fine except for a bit looky. It felt like our very best dressage test yet. And it even looks almost as good as it felt. And I memorized it like twenty minutes before I had to do it, and didn’t have a caller this time! Progress lol. We were the only ones in the class, so our only 1st of the day, but hey, I really didn’t care about that. I felt that was a progressive test, so points in my mind.
I very much agreed with a few of her sentiments – especially my left circles. Usually that’s my good side, and both days my left circles were so bad lol. It was like I couldn’t figure out the 20 meters at all lol. But those circles are Amber’s bad side anyway, and I was just pleased to see her trying to move into the contact on that left circle despite it’s weird shape. The judge forgot to do the collectives, so I have a weird test, but like I said, it felt better, so I’m not concerned about the score.
So while it sounds horrible, and looks bad, I was surprisingly not upset about Saturday. It helped that none of those classes counted towards our buckle we were working for, but even still I wasn’t even frustrated. Just really puzzled and determined to figure out what had happened to my poor girl. Which is a huge progressive step for me. Years ago, I would have been pissed at the horse or myself or both and just frustrated and upset, but this time I was just worried about her. And it was a really weird day for everyone. One person got bucked off, one kid’s horse ran off in response to that, my horse was wired, others were wired, too…. It was just an interesting day lol.
We got home and she promptly napped lol. And got a ton of treats. Poor girl deserved it. I fixed up the trailer with my western stuff, took out her braids and re-braided for western (so glad that I’m only going to have to braid ONCE now). She got lots of food, and I got an Epsom salt bath lol. Lots shenanigans for the day, right?
Next up: western day! Everything that actually counts towards the buckle!
Your fav horse color and a video of you and your horse riding.
So in a previous post I had talked about plain versus flashy horses, and while I’m currently in love with sorrels due to Amber, my all-time favorite horse color is buckskin. Sooty, dappled buckskin to be exact. Like this horse here.
Just….wow. I really love the contrast of color. I’m pretty artistic and arts and crafts creative, and I love how the black and gold and sooty brown all play together. For me, color is huge. It’s not too important to many people, I know, but I just love richness of color. Plus, buckskins can pretty much wear every single color on the rainbow so….free rein to be uber matchy matchy lol.
As for a video of me and my horse riding, I’ll stick with one I’ve shared before but still love because it’s one of my favorite things to do on her – riding bareback. Such a fun mare.
And, for you guys wondering about the show, shenanigans abounded (serious shenanigans; Amber had many opposing opinions to mine on English day), but in the end….
We pulled it off!
I also did a thing. Or really bought a thing. It’s coming to me soon. I have wanted one desperately for a while now and the new eventer series snaffle bridle and reins was on a slight sale since it was used in photos….so IT’S MINE. I didn’t really want the laced reins it came with (I’d prefer to try the Kris grip), but I don’t care. I now have an official jump bridle! (Though did I really need one? Not really. Not really)
So, obviously I’m not writing this uber early in the morning before the show. But, I really liked this prompt, so I have it posted for Saturday. Tomorrow I will not post, but will hopefully be able to get show media sorted by Monday. But we’ll see. If not, you’ll get days 12 and 13 on Monday lol.
This April, I browsed a lot through the LOR facebook page looking at the horses they had for sale. This girl was my top pick, being half TB and half QH so she should have some athleticism in there. She looks a little interesting confirmation wise – I’d have to actually see her – but she is only 2 so it’s understandable. Her description looked good, too, but of course, I am not buying another horse anytime soon. I do think I’ll end up buying a young one to bring up through eventing again instead of a “seasoned” horse because this journey with Amber so far is super fun. Plus I really liked her name lol.
However, my absolute favorite of the auction lot was this girl. Three guesses why.
Oh, hey! She does look like Amber! haha But as a 4 sixes horse she went for more than I could spend. And obviously the bay filly was sold, too. Since I’m really not looking and content with Amber and I in eventing, I scoured dreamhorse for something I might like. And unfortunately, found one I did. If money was no option, this is the horse I’d buy – One Divine Dream (I even love the name!).
He was on the first page, appendix, and while I’m not a fan of greys, looks pretty darn adorable. Turns out I really do want him lol Could I like win the lottery to buy him or something? I’d prefer a mare just because I love mares, but he’s only 4 and how adorable is his jump?! I mean, he’s going around that xc field so nonplussed about life. Also, kind of low maintenance and chill but with some go. I mean, that’s my kind of horse right there. You can tell he’s got some more oomph in him if you pushed, but he really looks like while he’s not super fast, he has a can-do, very forward attitude and wants to do it.
I mean look at how cute he is. He looks like he has good movement as well, and is probably a sweetheart. At least I hope so after how adorable he looks xc. With his airy jump. Heart pound. In love. Don’t tell Amber!
I’m very lucky that my mom has a horse of her own and is just as horse crazy as myself. After many, many years of jumping and hunters, she’s quieted down and enjoys the slow gaited, slow minded brain of Whisper. It is amusing because we seem to have switched disciplines. She did English forever and is now doing western, and I used to do western for a long while and now do English. I also have the more western looking horse lol. But she understands my horse crazy, and we talk for hours about horses.
The rest of my family isn’t into horses much. My dad not at all – he prefers airplanes (although he really does like Amber). One of my sisters is allergic to horses, but her daughter (the one that came to visit) seems to adore horses. She (my niece Kaylee) carries around her MLP Luna I got her while she was here all the time apparently. And of course, though horses are not my sisters favorite animal (she likes them like oh they’re cute and that’s it lol), I know she’d never deny her daughter should she want to ride. My other sister is on the fence. She may or may not have a horse and went pretty far riding but quit in her teens. None of my extended family is into horses either – just me and my mom.
Most of the friends I have are not horsey at all. I have a few horsey ones, but since moving barns I haven’t been able to talk to them much. My other friends though try to understand I can tell, but most of it goes over their heads. So I keep it simple, and don’t talk about horses much. I talk about Amber to them generally if we’re talking about pets and how they’re amusing, but as far as real horsey stuff I don’t talk about because you really have to be into horses to understand it lol. I’ve tried a few times and poor people are just like “uhhhh I am trying to understand but I reeeeaaaaallllyyyy don’t” lol.
My mom is the only one that really understands eventing, though my best friend is coming close. She loves horses and wants to know a lot about them but doesn’t ride and I don’t foresee her doing so. But I explained eventing to her and she thinks it’s super cool but also very scary lol. But she and my mom are the only ones worried about me with eventing. They’ve been gracious enough to let me ramble lol.
I have one friend at the moment that events – she has her own OTTB war horse, and though we can’t talk often, we share horse pics and messages. She unfortunately lives in Washington, so we can’t see each other much at all, but it’s really nice to be able to share eventing fun with her. And of course, you bloggers that do eventing and are kind enough to read my posts and comments. A great community!
Yesterday evening I was finally done dogsitting. Not that I didn’t love taking care of those pups. They were great and snuggly and I love them both.
But it is nice to finally be home again and relax. In show news, it’s tomorrow! We’re going to do some more practicing today, and I’m going to come up with a game plan for both days. It’ll be an early morning, but here we go!