Friday, October 10, 2014

Changes in latitude

By this time you're used to me not posting very often, yes?

So we are in Tennessee!  People, dogs, cats, and horse too.   The barn I'd planned to keep Apollo at turned out to be a lemon, so I went with Plan B and am boarding with the teacher I chose.  She happened to have a stall slot open up right when I needed one, and I'm really glad she did.  All her horses (small barn - 7 horses total) are healthy, happy, and in good shape, which wasn't necessarily true for the horses at the other barn.  So I'm pleased with where I am, even though it's more expensive.  Apollo is safer there, and I'm secure in knowing he'll get good care when I'm not there.

The barn at the top of the hill

The new place is on a hill (like so much of Chattanooga ...).  The barn with the stalls and the tack/hay/feed area is most of the way to the top of the hill.

Halfway down the hill is a secondary barn, not used for horses at the moment, that has the office, wash rack, and small indoor arena.  Sorry; no photo.

Down at the bottom of the hill is the jump field and the dressage court field.  It's not huge, but it's plenty for jumping.

Teacher and her husband setting some jumps

Teacher getting ready to video a different horse for sale

I hopped on for a flat ride on Saturday while teacher's daughter rode over some jumps - Apollo was excellent, of course.  :)   No big deal to be in a totally new place with another horse doing all kinds of things right there.  Just business as usual.  See?

I didn't really even need to longe him.

EARS!  Love this view.

So ... we jumping the colored poles or what, mom?
I also got to take Apollo off on his first little trail ride!  Suddenly I remembered what's awesome about TN, from the saddle.  The scenery was gorgeous, even just in the little area we were in.  Apollo was a star, too, especially for not having a lot of exposure to this kind of forest.  He just calmly followed the little mare in front of him and didn't freak about anything.  See?

Tired of Apollo's ears yet?  TOO BAD!

I adore this photo.  Gorgeous scenery, gorgeous horse.

Seriously, we had a great ride.  Sunday we jumped a little.  Horse and rider both need to get back in the swing of this jumping thing.  ;)  It went better when I remembered how to use my leg, for sure.  New teacher's approach is different from MT's, but there is a lot of good stuff to learn there.  She pointed out that Apollo needs to relax better, be more comfortable, etc - we'll start doing some little things on the ground to help him out with that, and I'm incorporating more bending and flexing into our warmup.

I'm seriously grateful to everyone at the Mitts' for the base of learning that I have.  I feel like I have a really useful toolbox to work from, as well as an eye for what other tools will be useful and what won't be.  (Not that I have found any that aren't since moving here, you understand.)  

Can't wait to keep on riding and jumping and learning - there's a little schooling show coming up mid-November that I'm planning on tagging along to, and that should be fun.  :)

So anyway, further updates as things progress, but yeah.  Life is fine.  More to tell.

Looking forward to the future

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Up again

So I have managed to recover my soul from the depths of the soul-sucking job.  I think those depths are in the dreamlands, because recovering it seems to have involved a lot of sleep.  Alas.  Anyway, soul recovered, which means riding time!

I am always amazed when I get back on after a while off.  It's not that Apollo is the same horse, fitness-wise, because of course he's not.  It's that he goes back to work so happily!  He brings his neck round and tries to lift his back - only tries, and only manages it for a few steps at a time because fitness - and is generally pleased to do whatever I want to do.  Kind of a "see, human? see how awesome I am for you? come ride more!" feeling.  :)

I decided today, after riding on the flat yesterday, that I wanted to start him back under side reins today.  I'd like to start encouraging his back to come up and his neck to come round, and side reins every few days can help strengthen those muscles.  Obviously riding him correctly is a much bigger part of that, but this is kind of like a different workout for him.  Like doing a day of abs or whatever for a human.  :)  

And at the same time that he's getting back to fitness for being ridden, I'm getting back to fitness for riding!   My core is a little sore today after riding yesterday and then hopping on quickly today before turning Apollo over to M to ride.  So that's good; sore core muscles = I was using my core!

So for the next week, I'm going to focus on riding him forward and active, which leads to better roundness.  And while I do that, I'll work on transitions, especially down transitions, getting them smoother and more pleasant.

Oh - I did get to hop on the legendary Courage, too!  He is a very sweet fellow, and once we figured out how to talk to each other, he was a good sport, too.  Apparently my accent is funny, according to his reaction when I would ask him to come into the outside rein.  ;)  But we figured it out, and it was a fun ride!  Thanks to the Sprinkler Bandit for the chance .... and she'll get a chance to get on Apollo sometime this week too.  Only fair, right?

Sunday, August 24, 2014

To catch up

So.  The big news, and why I was thinking about New Barn showers, is that Apollo and I are moving to Chattanooga, Tennessee next month!   It's actually me, Apollo, both corgis, and both cats.  I'm sad that I have to leave the barn I'm at, because there's nothing like it near where I'm going.  I've been both blessed and spoiled by the Mitts - they've been in the property for 30 years, and it's been their only job for many of those years.  I don't know where else I could get such incredible instruction from such wonderful people ... I am truly going to miss them.  I chalk up any and all skill I have right now to MT being patient with me and teaching me, and any and all knowledge I have right now to TW being willing to talk and show me things.

It's going to be an adjustment, for sure, but ... there are lots of positives to this.  I'm moving for a really great reason (*wave*  Hi!), and there are lots and lots of great facilities for eventing near Chattanooga.  Poplar Place is right there, Chattahoochee Hills is close, all kinds of stuff.  I have decided on a place to keep Apollo for the moment - J&S Equestrian Farm.  He'll be on pasture board there, which is ideal for him, I think.  I also decided I really like the way Kelly Stoochnoff teaches, and I really like that her horses are healthy, happy, and well cared for, so I'll be riding with Kelly, even though she's not based at the same barn.  

So that's the future!

In the present, I'm packing and sorting and cleaning and packing and packing.  I need to make sure I have everything sorted from my tack locker, too, so I can sell anything I don't need or use.  Then I can organize the blankets/sheets, wraps, tack, and all and figure out whether I need a Stanley trunk (most likely) or what.

I've been riding a little, and now that my job has accepted my resignation early, I have some time to ride a LOT!  Maybe I can get Apollo's topline and muscle restored at least a little bit before he gets on the trailer for 8 days and loses it all again ... sigh.  :)   All in all, I am happy for the chance to spend more time with him.

Tomorrow I get to head over to hang out with The Sprinkler Bandit and meet Courage - maybe hop on him if she wants me to or will let me, and then I hope she can come out and hang out with Apollo, though she's still working.  What, the whole world doesn't operate on MY schedule?  Come on!   ;)  Alas.  Anyway, very much looking forward to that.

So big adventures coming up - lots of opportunity for shows and schooling and whatnot, and new things to learn!  Don't be looking for me in the hunter ring, though.  I ain't got a hunter ring ass, for one, and for two, I just don't love hunter riding.  Jumpers, sure!  And I'm sure I'll do jumpers, since there's a lot of that available.  But I want to event, even if my highest aspiration is just a T3D.  So yeah.  Look out Area ... um, III - one more BN rider coming your way.  :)

Friday, August 22, 2014


I managed to score a keyboard for my iPad on the very very cheap, so ...soon. Entry soon. Much to tell.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

VCBH: Chock full of advice!

Another Magical Blog Hop by Viva Carlos!   What *would* I do without them?   :)   I suppose I could write about my riding life - which is fairly slim pickins these days, given I'm working 10 hour days - but there's not much to report.  My horse is amazing, outstanding in his field (wokka wokka), and charms me to death every time I see him.  :)

Meanwhile, Viva Carlos asks: What is the best advice you've ever gotten from a trainer or another rider?  What is the worst advice you've ever gotten from a trainer or another rider?

The answers are pretty easy, at least for the Best Advice column:

* Keep your chin and eyes up - MT and ORE.  I didn't realize this applies to dressage as well - but omg.  When I stopped looking at Apollo's head and neck while practicing dressage, things got WAY better, WAY faster.  Huh.  Talk about your simple mind-blowers!

* Don't give up/you give up too easily - MT, TW, everyone!  This is self-explanatory, really.  I have to accept that I'm not in a position to be a high-level rider right now.  Especially right specifically now. Big changes coming, and trying to work as much as I can to get caught up on and out ahead of my bills, which means I don't have a lot of time.  The best time for riding right now is early morning, and having to be at work at 8 makes that almost impossible for me.   Anyway, I'm not giving up.  I'm getting out as much as I can, riding on the weekends, etc., and I know this won't last forever.

* "Get your spurs."

Worst Advice?

Try Parelli.  ;)  That, or any jumping advice that doesn't start with "keep your leg on, and keep it securely under you - don't let your lower leg slip back at all.  Keep your weight over your hip and leg."  (Unless it's into water or down a bank, in which case the advice is sit WAY in the back seat.)

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

VCBH: Interested Parties

What made you interested in your current horse that led you to buying them in the first place?

What would we do without Viva Carlos' Blog Hop?!  :)   Good question!

Honestly, I saw Apollo's ad a couple of times before I responded to it.  The picture was of his owner at the time riding in a nice dressage seat in a Western saddle, and the terrain was kind of rough.  Apollo looked nice, but he was maybe a little tall, and I wasn't sold on it immediately.   However ... the thing that attracted me to him was his kind expression, lovely neck, and relaxed trot.   That plus the fact that he'd gone Novice once before with redheadlins spurred me to email about him.

When I met him, I watched his owner tack up and ride, and he was just a cool, calm customer.  I got up in the saddle myself, and I just had this feeling that we spoke the same language.  It wasn't just astonishing love at first sight, though it was click at first sight.  His attitude and willingness and general ... well, self-ness attracted me to him, and I asked to take him on a week's trial to see how he jumped. (There were no jumps at his owner's place.)

After that first jumping lesson when I forgot how to heels down and ended up on his neck, I was sold on him -- he didn't flinch at my mistake.  That was it - I quoted TSB and said "Yup, she's not getting this horse back.  I'm buying him."  :D

And the rest is history ... and love.  :)

Monday, June 30, 2014

VCBH: The Simple Life

Other than money, what would make your horsey life easier?

Other than money ... well, it all comes down to money in the end, doesn't it?   

A truck and trailer would solve a LOT of my immediate and near-future problems; but that's a matter of money!  I'd have one if I had the money.

More time to ride and take lessons - time that's currently taken up working to make money to support myself, time that I could spend if I were independently wealthy.

A new saddle - which would be purchased with money.

I think if there's anything intangible I could use, it would be better self-discipline.  I could use it to work out and get fitter, break through the tiredness, yank myself out of emotional/mental black holes, etc.  That would solve a lot of problems!!   So yes. If you find any self-discipline at a garage sale or anything, let me know!

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

OMG! Prairie's Mom is a GENIUS!

Side note, why don't we get to register for new horses??? New horse owners are JUST as inundated with endless gear... plus the cost is also crazy.. I vote we start having "horse showers" and registering for things!

This is one of the single best ideas I've heard in a LONG time!  We could register for new horses, big barn moves, and our first big shows.  :)

So -- maybe L. Williams wants to make this a blog hop!  I know for sure that I'd register for at least two of those occasions, and here's what I'd register for:


* Monogram stickers from Personally Preppy.   Just so my stuff doesn't go walkabout.
* A new Ovation schooler helmet to put said monogram on; just seems like a good time, since I've fallen a few times, even though I haven't hit my head much at all.
* Shirts with the Mittleider Eventing logo so I can rep my roots.  Um, yo?  ;)   Long sleeve technical material for cross-country, t-shirts or polos for lessons!


* Woof Molded Galloping Boots, white, front and hind, unless someone wanted to get me Dalmar boots in white.  ;)
* Show coat that's actually in my size.
* FITS show shirt
* Handy caddy for carrying show things
* A portable chair
* Extra armband and insert
* Rulebook
* Yknow, funny first-big-show stuff like that.

Let's totally start a registration revolution!

Monday, June 16, 2014

Little and less - ALSO: Father's Day for Apollo!

Not much to report, honestly - life can get in the way sometimes, as we all know, and letting people yell at me all day can sometimes sap my energy by the time I get home.

However -- I did get out on Saturday for a completely amusing and relaxing ride.  I had intended to just longe, check to see how his scratches were doing, but when I saw he was going well, I just couldn't stand not getting in the saddle.  On the other hand, I just wasn't up to Work, either.  I just kind of wanted to hang out with my horse.

So that's what we did! I gave him a long rein and just ... let him pick the direction.  He advised me that he'd really like to go west, please, preferably to the fillies' pasture where the grass is REALLY REALLY green and oh by the way the hay barn is there too.

I replied that even though he could pick the direction of our ride, I reserved the right to veto things I deemed unsafe, like trying to ride through the hay barn to get to the green green pasture, like going too far down the road to the well machinery, and going down the paved road off the property.  Not that the paved road itself is dangerous, but I hadn't told anyone I was leaving the property or when I would be back, I haven't wandered far out that way yet, and I was alone.  All of that adds up to "Not right now" in my mind.

So poor Apollo didn't get to go very far west, but maybe someone will want to walk down the road with us next weekend, and Apollo can find out what lies in the lands to the west.   :)

Meanwhile, I'm planning to get back to Work as of this evening, back to the dressage.

Also?  The Sprinkler Bandit is super awesome.  :)  Also also, I have more of her secondhand stuff than anyone else's.  I know FITS aren't for everyone, but I admit to being baffled by it ... *grin*

ALSO!   Happy Father's Day to Apollo, the stallion that sired Apollo's Double:

Apollo Pensioned

Monday, June 9, 2014

VCBH: Fess up to your mistakes

Says Viva Carlos, "Horse ownership is kind of like trial by fire. I for one am all about transparency, I own up to my humanity so today I am gonna fess up to one of my biggest horse care mistakes. Will you fess up to yours?"

Other than not riding as often as I should?  Because that's a mistake.

I handled a colic episode as wrongly as can possibly be.  I was operating on old information and was freaked right the hell out to boot, and things went to utter shit.   It's the biggest and most painful regret of my adult life.

So maybe you'll forgive me if I don't go into detail.

Monday, June 2, 2014

First BN under our belts!

So the derby and clinic was this weekend.  TSB will have photos, I know, but I am camera and picture-taking challenged, so you'll have to wait for her photos and her show story.  :)

BUT!   My show story is this, perhaps abbreviated ...

Hawley Bennett came up on Friday to teach two days of clinics at our barn prior to the clinic.  I am entirely impressed with her teaching style, very positive in her critique: very helpful without being harsh.  She clearly understands how to teach riders as well as ride her own horses, and she clearly understands the ideas behind the ICP training.  Everyone came out of the clinics feeling like they'd learned something and progressed, and everyone came out with a smile.   Personally, she's very pleasant, too.  She's friendly and workmanlike and entirely nice to talk and listen to!  I would ride with her without hesitation.

I wasn't able to clinic with Hawley, though -- I have champagne taste on a Faygo budget -- but I did manage to get into a group with MT on Saturday.  Apollo was a little bit up and excited, having been penned up all day watching horses do all kinds of crazy things around him.  That plus my sudden inability to jump made our first 15 minutes a little tough -- somehow I managed to forget to not exactly release over the fences, but keep steady contact, and I was catching my poor pony in the mouth.  Sigh.  Cardinal sin. I did manage to get it sorted, though, and the next 30-40 minutes went well.

I'd looked at the full Beginner Novice cross-country course the day before.  It was a nice course, flowy but with some lines that I knew I had to ride very carefully in order to set myself up for problem-free jumping.  There were a few jumps on course that we hadn't jumped before, including a few big table/coop thingies (slant front, flat top) that were close to max height for the level, and a hanging log with brush under it that was max height.  I figured Apollo would take a hard look at the log with brush, and I knew I would give the coopie thingies a look, even though we've jumped one of them before.  I didn't think the definitely max height cabin would be an issue at all. I mean, we've jumped it a lot!  How bad can it be?

Oh, silly, silly me.

Apollo didn't think twice about the log jump.  It was nothing to him, not a worry, nothing.  The cabin?  HOLY CRAP WE CANNOT JUMP THAT!  BREAK RIGHT!

Honestly, I just didn't have a good enough line or enough motivation for him, so he did indeed break right, just in front of the fence.  I hit the ground.  Sigh.  Not hard, so I picked myself up and got back on (getting on the cabin to mount was harder than mounting the horse!).   Came at it again.   He ducked right again.   I stayed on; MT said line and straightness.   Came at it again.  He ducked right again.  I fell again.   This time, once I picked myself up again, MT said "Go get your spurs."

Heh.  I've never ridden Apollo in spurs before, or if I have, only once or twice.  I got back out to the field, after some atta-girls from some friends (much needed encouragement!), and went back to it.  We did the loop on that field again - blue barrels, kind of small; coopy thing, large for the level; log, not big; coopy thing, large; cabin, max.

Before the cabin, I put my leg on HARD and poked him with the spur, and damned if he didn't go.  :)   I lost my balance a little, but all was well, and we continued on our merry way.  Hooray!

After the lesson, MT had a bit of advice or kudos for each rider - to me, he just said, "tomorrow, wear your spurs."  

So that was Saturday.  It took me several hours to realize that OW, I bruised my elbow something fierce, but other than that, all was well.

To be continued ...

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Creeping out from under the covers

Best decision I've made all week: refill brain medicine and take some before riding tonight.  The world is a MUCH better place when I don't have head zaps and don't feel like the world is ending.  Seriously, I wasn't sure after the last few flat rides whether I needed a pep talk or wanted to be left alone for the rest of my life; wasn't sure if I wanted to cry or go catatonic; etc.  Our resident European deserves a lot of credit for being patient with me and encouraging me - heh, welcome to what it's like to be my teacher, ORE!  Good moments separated by baffling incompetence. ;)

Anyway, all joking aside, I am mentally and physically ready to rock again.  Whew. I am still having to talk myself down from wanting to win, telling myself that all I care about is doing our best on that day, going forward and positive on course and staying smooth and obedient in dressage. If I don't get a ribbon, so be it - just do my best.  And keep up on the brain medicine and the sinus/breathing medicine!


Tuesday, May 27, 2014

VCBH: Makin' babies

Viva Carlos, our excellent bloghopper, asks:  If you could/were inclined to breed your horse (assuming the horse were a mare AND no backyard breeding qualms existed), who would you breed to and WHY?

Ha.  This is an EASY one for me.  In this ideal world, my mare is a Knabstrupper mare from Cedar Creek Stables, probably Paula. I love the athleticism, the disposition, and the SPOTS!

The stallion?  Tzigane PB, of course.  We have a lot of Taz babies and grandbabies at our barn, and he stamps his foals with amazing athletic ability, willing and trainable dispositions, and a certain presence -- not to mention the adorable floppy Trakehner ears!

I know enough foals out of the Taz line that I would feel entirely confident breeding a nice mare to Taz.  There are also some Knabstrupper/Trakehner (Taz in particular) babies out there already, eventing and dressaging and jumping and succeeding.  I very nearly bought one sight unseen when I was looking for Apollo, but I'm mostly glad I didn't - the mare would have been too young and green for me, and Apollo is exactly what I need.

Now, granted, I didn't quite answer the question - I think the idea was "if your horse were a mare, who would you breed to and why?"   If Apollo were a mare, I wouldn't have bought him.  BUT.  If everything were the same, disposition and ability and all, I would absolutely breed her (Apollonia, natch!).  Temperament and ability that nice would definitely bear passing on, especially in a mare.  So I might breed to Taz, just because I love that line, but maybe another Thoroughbred - maybe A Fine Romance - or maybe Taz's son Semper Fi (Snapper), who we have on site and has thrown some VERY nice babies.

So ideally I would have a spotted Taz baby.   :)  One day.  I even have names picked out for the potential foal, although one of them is rather unpronounceable unless you know anything about a particular roleplaying game, so it'd probably be the other.  Which, being a Mesoamerican native word, isn't much better, but more than the other ... heh.  :)

Monday, May 26, 2014

Weekend, with video!

A wonderful and horsey long weekend - just the way I like it. :)

Saturday's jump lesson was a lot of fun and very instructive ... At the same time, ME and P and I invented a new sport/artistic pursuit: Interpretive Showjumping. It's like interpretive dance, just with jumping. Kind of the same way that dressage is like ballet with a horse. 

Starring MT as the patient, long-suffering teacher; ME and Grayson as Hay Grower and Hay Eater; P and Quest as Pragmatic and Quixotic, and RR and Apollo as Baffled and Rather-Put-Upon. 

MT: "Okay, ladies. I want you to jump this little vertical three times, then on the third time, turn left to do the bending line, then come back around this way and jump this little line, then come back up the vertical and jump the other bending line. Got it?"

ALL, INCLUDING HORSES: "Yes, MT! We get it!  We will jump those jumps in that order!" 

MT: "Okay!  ME, you're first?"

ME: "Yes, I am!  I shall show you my anti-rain interpretation!  Watch how I leap and turn to hold off the rain!"  *does nothing like what MT described*

MT: ... um ... next rider?

RR: "I present to you the conundrum of sexism and pickles in the twenty-third century! Yoiks and away!"  *does nothing like what ME did OR what MT described*

MT: well ... okay; next rider?  *winces in anticipation*

P: "¡Viva la revolución!  ¡Gerónimo!  Ice cream!"  *does something completely different from either previous rider and from original instruction*

MT: *facepalm*


All very fun and rather Dada.

Sunday's lesson was precluded by the sudden and unpleasant intrusion of life. Ah well. I ended up cleaning a lot and mending Apollo's winter blanket, the nice one, that the rotten paint horse tore all the way through not two weeks after I got it. 

And then today was dressage with our resident European.  Poor Apollo - not only did he have to do the hard stuff with me, but he had to do it with ORE too!  And he makes Apollo work harder than I can. So when I got back on after ORE schooled him a bit, Apollo was very quick off my leg but also quite annoyed that we weren't done. Boyfriend kicked out at my leg, then threw a tiny, pissy little buck!  Gasp!  It wasn't enough to even interrupt the ride, but ORE and I were both surprised and amused by it. It was quite clear that Apollo was d.o.n.e., done, and thinking of his pasture!  We finished on a good trot-canter transition to the left, on the correct lead and everything, y'all, and then a nice down transition, and we called it good. Sheesh. Bucking. ;)

And now, the time on sprockets when we laugh at the author!

Well. Here is the video of us jumping 3'3. Wanna see me get popped out of the tack and not do it right?  Here you go:

I promise, when we did it again this weekend, it went WAY better. :) I actually kept my leg on and my seat down and didn't pop my poor horse in the mouth. No video, though.  You'll just have to believe me when I tell you we did well. :)

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Bit verdict

The decision is made: smaller dee, slightly thicker and more curved mouthpiece on the dressage bridle. Large dee, thinner and straighter mouthpiece on the jump bridle. 

And by thicker, I mean only a leetle bit. Noticeably more curved, though - it's actually more like the other is remarkably and unusually straight, I think. 

The decision was based on two things: first, the bridle size. The dressage bridle, a Five Star Waverly, is a full size, and the large dees were just a bit too large, making the bridle fit just that little bit poorly, just cockeyed enough to drive me bonkers, even if no one else would have noticed. The jump bridle, a Five Star Star bridle, is cob size and fits Apollo like a dream. (Someday when I have all the money, I will get a cob size black dressage bridle from Five Star!). Anyway, the cob size bridle has a lot more play in its sizing than the full, so the bigger dees won't be a problem on it. 

Second, the ride I got from Apollo this evening blew. me. away. He started stiff as usual, but then by the end I had light contact with him pushing from behind, stretching down and round, and generally being a joy to ride!  I told our resident European when he asked how the ride went, "if he can bust this same thing out when someone is watching, we are golden! ....or maybe if *I* can bust this same thing out, we'll be golden!"

So yes. Apollo chose, in the end. 

Tomorrow, a somewhat overdue vet visit!  Shots, only a month late, and a dental check, which I fully expect to result in floating, and evaluate to see if he needs hock injections sooner rather than later. Hey, I had a zero balance with the vet for three whole days!!

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

VCBH: Bit it up!

Says Viva Carlos, "For this week's blog hop, as I continue to struggle to find the right bitting situation for the Dinosaur Jr. I want to hear all about what bit you ride your current beastie in and why!"

Well!  I am SO glad you asked!  I just got one in the mail - the one I'd borrowed from Michele got to go back to her little guy, since she's cleared to start him back under saddle now. Since Apollo can hang on the bit, MT recommended I get a much narrower bit than the chunky lozenge/Dr. Bristol bits I'd been using (one each, dressage and jumping respectively), something that would be uncomfortable to hang on while not being too sharp. 

Thus entered the racing dee bits I have now!  The FLTS here didn't have the bit I wanted - all too thick and hang-on-able, so I had to order one from Amazon and one from Horze. The amazon bit has hurge dees on it, so I will probably swap that to his jumping bridle and use this new one from Horze on the dressage bridle, because it's much more conservative-looking.  The amazon bit is a little narrower, but ...ah, I dunno which would be more improved by not hanging, dressage or jumping. Decisions, decisions!  Any input, oh peanut gallery?

He does respect this bit more than the chunkier bits, I must admit. Not like he would a Waterford or a twisted wire, neither of which he needs, but he does pay more attention.

Without further ado, the bits!

The Horze bit:

And the amazon bit (and some earrings I bought with the same gift card) - you can see how hurge the dees are:

Monday, May 19, 2014

A quick note

We now know what it takes to get Apollo to bust out with the bascule: 3'3.

We have also figured out what it takes to make me go all weird in the saddle: 3'3. :) I am bound and determined to get it right here soon!

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

VCBH: Why we continue to ride

Viva Carlos really does put out some great questions! This one in particular motivated me, since I get this question sometimes. Why DO I continue to ride?

Well, it's both incredibly complex and very simple.

Simply put: I love to ride. I love my horse; I love horses in general. I love the feeling of partnership and zen that we get when we work hard together and are both on the same page. I love the rhythm of it, I love being outside, and I love just the feeling of riding. I joke that I keep my sanity in my saddles, and if I stay away from them too long I start to slip further away from sanity. :)

I also just love that everything else slips away when I ride. Work, life stress, pain (mostly; I couldn't fight through broken bones or recently torn cartilage), worry, etc. It all just goes away and my attention is on my horse, my ride, my friends, etc.

There's also, like SMTT mentioned, the social aspect. I love the people I've met through horses. We all tend to have some things in common: willingness to work (I don't know many hugely high-priced riders who don't work for their rides), appreciation for these wonderful animals, and at least in the eventing community, a love of the outdoors and being a little scrappy. :) I love the supportiveness of the eventing community, too. Need a girth/whip/shirt? Just ask! Sticky places on course? Of course you'll tell someone else before they leave the start box. Et cetera.

I love the impetus to get out and exercise, too. To echo SMTT again, if I slack off, Apollo tells on me. :)

The complicated part comes from the fact that I've been hurt, moderately severely, more than once, and I have taken my own sweet time really learning how to ride effectively ... and yet I stick with it. Somehow, I haven't managed to give it up in 30 years ... I had a long break after college, but I rode every chance I got and still loved horses and riding. Honestly, I think that one is either a horse person or not, and you can't really get away from it if you're a horse person. We ride because, on some level, we must. I am pretty sure that if the zombie apocalypse came and horses weren't zombified, I would still manage to find a horse to ride. :) I might not be great, but I would find one.

I'd bet my readers are the same.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Show that didn't.

Well, I wish I had better news re: the little jumper show, but alas. ME and BE and LH and I decided, after we'd driven to the show grounds in increasingly heavy rain, that we didn't want to chance a confidence breaker.

Granted, we could have eventered up and jumped in the slop and the rain, but ... The rain had splats of ice in it, the warmup had moved to the indoor arena that had no jumps in it and would be seriously crowded, and the footing started sloppy and got progressively sloppier. I won't say that ME noped her way out of there, but I did. I knew I hadn't ridden enough that week to have it be a good idea for me to ride the show. The organizers insisted the weather would get better in half an hour, but again ...nope.

Nope nope nope nope nope ... nopetopus, nopeapotamus. :)

Kind of sad, because the jumps looked fun and I looked adorable in my casual show clothes, but there you have it.

In other news, I'm beginning to think that Apollo is going to need his hocks injected this year rather than next. He's been switching off behind in the canter lately, especially to the right and especially when jumping (you can see him do it in the video in the previous entry, for example), and that's just not like him. It could be rider related, as certainly my right side, SI joint and hip/knee joints, is pretty different from my left, but I think it's partly him too. He just seems a little odd on the inside right hind. Not off, just ...odd. I'll have one of the Mitts look when they get home.

If I need to get his hocks done, I want to either get them done NAO so he can have his five days off in time for is to ramp back up for the event derby on June 1 and the unrecognized horse trials on June 7-8. :D So looking forwRd to it - I hope my dressage is up to snuff! We'll be doing Intro and a jump round at BN in the derby and going full BN in the horse trials. Heee. :) exciting!

. Updates as events warrant ...

Saturday, May 10, 2014

I should SO be in bed

Show tomorrow, and I'm about to go to bed, but ... Just to prove we've been doing things, here are videos! I have another to upload, one of us doing this whole thing really well, with impulsion, but here are some good ones! My Thanks to ME and BE for the video!! jumping through the little course and doing okay

Monday, March 24, 2014

Drive-By Updating

Life is getting better. I don't have a computer at home, just an ipad, so that's why there have been no updates lately. :) So a brief update from work while I wait for a call to come in: Apollo is awesome. I need to ride more often - I'm back on it, but let's make this a habit. My Teacher is the bestest -- I had TWO lessons this last week, woohoo! The exercise was a difficult one, bounces on a curved line, and I learned a lot about keeping Apollo straight and on the line, using my eye very carefully and deliberately, and we decided that Apollo needs lots more grid work, preferably at a little bit of a height that will make him respect the fences. He sure sharpened up when MT put the barely-there rails up some! I need the work too, to learn exactly how to put him where I want him and what exactly the right position feels like. More more more! Show season is a-comin! There won't be much for me this year beyond local stuff, I think -- there's an outside chance I'll make Golden Spike, but only a small one. But definitely the horse trials and derby at home, and hopefully some jumper shows around here too. Moar satin for the satin god! Back to work -- love to all!!

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Blanket adventures

Working late again tonight, working early AND late tomorrow, then early again Thursday. It's almost painful, because it's a gorgeous day out there, warm and kind of soft, but then again ... work pays the pony bills, right? Plus, the job isn't bad. :)

A good horsey weekend, though! My friend/horse sharer Michele came out and had a lesson on Apollo on Saturday. That's the first lesson he's had in months. So hooray for that! We also discovered that Apollo had destroyed his last warm blanket. Sigh. The front t-buckle holder is bent beyond use, and the waterproofing had given up the ghost in the heavy cold rain we'd had. The waterproofing isn't a huge deal, but replacing the buckle in a way that he won't immediately rip it off is.

Or, I should say, the waterproofing wouldn't be a huge deal if he hadn't already destroyed his OTHER warm blanket by ripping it to bits and tearing the belly band t-buckle holder off the body of the blanket. :/ Again, that needs to be fixed in such a way that he won't immediately destroy it again. The only other blanket I have for him is too light for a clipped horse this time of year, so that was out.

THEN we discovered that he's trying to come down with rain rot, due to the lack of waterproofing.

Sigh. That horse has the most fungus-prone skin, I swear.

So. A new blanket of some stripe was required. Michele didn't have one in his size, so off we went to the closest FLTS. We ended up finding Just The Right Blanket -- it even had Apollo's name right on the package! It was even bright royal blue! In his size! It was more than Michele wanted to spend, but since it was the FriendlyLTS, we asked about any discounts. The woman at the counter said no, no sales or discounts, buuuuut ... she'd had the blanket in inventory since 2012, so she'd cut us a deal. :D

Apollo is now tucked into his nice warm blanket, with EquiDerma on his various spots that need it (this stuff is amazing, truly -- the spots we found on Saturday were all but gone on Sunday!). He got good rides on Saturday and Sunday both, from me and Michele, and I would be so excited to ride him tonight, but ... alas.

Anyway, I have to say: the EOUS blanket rocks on toast. I love the way it fits Apollo, and I especially love the belly band buckle assembly. It's got the heavy duty webbing on the outside, a full loop for the t-buckle, and a shorter loop of heavy elastic inside the webbing loop. If the elastic stretches, the heavy webbing will catch it! Less chance of tear-age on those buckle ends! The stitching is tight, the manufacture is good, and overall, I would completely invest in more EOUS blankets if I needed a few more. Highly recommended. 1680 denier, too, which I hope will hold up to the hooligans in the pasture. :)

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Riding late again

Here I am, at work until 6:30 again tonight -- I better get used to it, because after a 4 week training session of 8-5, my schedule will be 10-6:30 indefinitely -- so I'll be getting out to see the Bad Horse again late tonight. That's all good, though; must get on horse. Well, actually, I'll just longe, because I don't want to be keeping the ME team up too late keeping an eye on things. Still, Bad Horse must be exercised.

I really want to get in the saddle, though ... tomorrow. When it's not so late. Watching these videos that redheadlins made right when she got Apollo off the track motivate me to get on him, get him nice and round and work on those muscles!

Anyway ... I probably need to find a way to ride before work, once my daily schedule goes to 10-6:30. It shouldn't be hard. Most people think a 10 AM start is way late and wonder how on earth I can't find time to ride in the morning. But. Most people aren't me. I looooooove sleep. I never get enough of it. I have Issues With Sleep (tm).

Seems like every time I get one thing under control -- diet, sleep, exercise, job, animals, relationship, money, mental health -- at least one other goes straight to hell. Right now I have just managed to get my mental health under control, and my diet got thrown off bigtime. Sleep and exercise are still labeled "pending/minimal," animals are at 85%, and job is labeled "soon."

Anyway again. Need to find out if it's workable for me to ride early, then, yknow, get up and do it. One crisis at a time, though. Let's get through this no full time job crisis first. :)

Tuesday, January 28, 2014


Apollo remains - knock on wood - sound!  And indeed, 15 minutes of work was way too conservative. Horse wants to motor!  I'm not doing a lot, mind you, but more like 20-25 minutes altogether, rather than 15.

He needs more, though, as evidenced by his shenanigans for my poor, long-suffering, beloved farrier today. How embarrassing. :/  I worked late tonight (yay overtime pay!), but I was bound and determined to go out and work the beast anyway. So I broke my own rules and went out into the pasture in the dark.

 I had been a little concerned that I would wander a bit, looking for him or trying to pick my bay horse out of the other bay horses (okay, not that hard; one paint colored, one black, one chestnut, and one other bay), but it became very easy. I had my tiny Eddie Bauer lantern-flashlight, for one, and for two, my horse is the one that starts walking toward me when I call.

For all that he'd been the Thoroughbred of Sin this morning, he was well-behaved tonight on the longe. Whew again. Looking forward to riding tomorrow, rather than longing!  I miss my guy's top line and muscles - time to claim them back.

Meanwhile, for a fun time and a throwback, go check out redheadlins' latest entry and see if you can spot a certain bay horse in the photos!

Friday, January 24, 2014

Finally, some good news

Good news, everyone! Apollo is back to sound, and his leg is back to cold and tight. Thank God, and thank you for all the good thoughts. I was worried, to say the least. So, back I go to the legging him back up plan! Saturday: 10 mins walk, 3 mins trot Sunday: 12 mins walk, 3 mins trot Monday: 15 mins walk, 4 mins trot Tuesday: 15 mins walk, 5 mins trot Wednesday: off Thursday: 15 mins walk, 7 mins trot Friday: 15 mins walk, 8 mins trot Conservative? Yep. Subject to change if he needs more or less? Yep!

I think we all

Wish for a way to check in with our horses when we can't be there with them.  I got caught up helping my Mom this evening so didn't make it to the barn, and I am fretting some.  I want to call Apollo up on his iPhone Equine and ask him how he feels. 

How's the left front doing?  Does it feel sore in the hoof or in the leg?  How sore?  Better or worse?  Are you warm enough?  Too warm?  Dry?  How're your hind pasterns feeling?  That little cut on your coronal band, how's that?  Eating and drinking enough?  Those other boys aren't playing too rough with you, are they?  Have you been thinking about being brave on XC and smooth in dressage?  

Apparently I turn into a stereotype when I fret!

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Super briefly:

I don't have much time, so: Apollo has been lame since Sunday on his LF. I hope it's not serious. Fill in his tendon area, no heat in the hoof ... I hope it's just an abscess or a strain. I am not uttering the words that rhyme with "flown buspensory." Pray for us. ;)