Tuesday, January 26, 2016

BLOG HOP! And updates. (TL;DR, I know.)

BLOG HOP TIME!! woop woop

I liked the questions a couple of you answered - apparently from Fly On Over - so I thought I'd play too.

1. Most influential person on your riding?

On my riding?  Gary Mittleider.  Before I moved back to Idaho with Reveille in tow, I thought I could ride reasonably well.  Not wonderfully, but competently.  How very, very wrong I was.  Gary took the hot mess I (and Reveille) was and did his very best to help me and her learn to ride and be ridden.  I sort of learned how, and then I got Apollo.  Things started to change quickly at that point.  I still hear Gary's voice in my head when I ride, even 16 months after I left Idaho.  Even yesterday: "Okay, what happens when you soften?"  "He softens."  "Right.  So soften."  :)

2. Piece of tack you would love to splurge on?

Does it have to be tack?  Because I pretty much have the tack I need now.  (teaser!)  What I would really like to splurge on is a trailer.  Aluminum, 2 horse straight load, dressing room, closeable windows, etc.

Alternatively, I could use a new pair of tall boots.  I love my Mountain Horse boots, but they're too big, both in the foot and in the calf.  I am much smaller than I was when I bought them, and I can slip them on and off without unzipping them.  I could also use a new pair of paddock boots; my Dublins (which I do like) have come apart at the heel seams.

3. Top 5 riding playlist?

Uh.  I don't ride with music very often any more.  Sometimes, but rarely.  I like to use it to keep rhythm during trot sets or other "working on rhythm" workouts.  Let's see ... my Ride playlist, on random:

Where Did You Sleep Last Night - Nirvana
Spanish Ladies - Celticopia
The Obvious Child - Paul Simon (excellent for trot sets!)
Fiction (Dreams in Digital) - Orgy
Baby Did A Bad Bad Thing - Chris Isaak

4. Most important aspect of your barn?

Not sure what this is asking for.  The most important to me?  It's my enterprise.  I'm not the owner, but I'm the manager of horse care.  So the things I'm picky about are stalls and keeping things tidy and organized.  I want to be able to lay my hands on a thing the moment I want it, not have to look around.  I want my stuff to stay clean if I put it away clean.  Like feed-soaking buckets.  How damn hard is it to rinse the things once you've used them?  You don't even need to use much water - just a little, swish it around to get the stuff that sticks to the sides out, and then you can even dump that water in the next bucket!  Imagine!

Ahem.  Yes.  Also?  The arena.  I so want to get it sorted and fixed.  And then eventually covered.  This "no riding when rain" sucks.

5. Three winter riding goals?

Well ... easy.  Ride, ride, and ride.  In all seriousness, there are a couple things that have held me back this winter.  First, the arena.  Long story short, the toe boards didn't go in correctly the first time, which caused the footing to wash out.  Now we need to take up all the toe boards, install heavy-duty landscape fabric, reinstall the toe boards correctly, replace the footing, and then get and spread a bunch more footing to replace the stuff that washed out.

The arena in question.  See how the toe boards are floated on top of the footing instead of down at the base?  That's what we're fixing.

Second, Apollo himself.  He's been very, very bitchy about engaging and loading his hocks. It's understandable - he did race, and he's done some jumping since, and he did get that nasty wound right after I got him.  Still, engaging and carrying through the hocks is really required for the things we want to do, and it's made life difficult for us both over fences and in dressage.  So - he's having his hocks injected on Friday, hallelujah.  Then a bunch of days of stall rest, then back to work.

We can do many things. Plus, I'm pretty sure I look better than this now.

Last, I went through a tough spell there for a while, emotionally and physically.  Work got done, but no riding.

So yes.  My goals are to ride, to ride, and to ride.  My eventual goal is to get to just one recognized event this year - if not more.  Preferably more.  So I need to get on the stick and work on getting us fit and ready to go!  We're missing a few shows already because of the hock and arena issues.  My teacher and I were discussing goals, and she said that I should shoot for AECs next year, because my "horse is a winner."  I melt - someone believes in my horse!  :D

My own, personal goal for me and Apollo is to complete the BN3DE at Heart of the Carolinas in 2017.  Maybe we'll be ready for a Novice by then, but for our first full long format, let's not push it, eh?


So, as mentioned, Apollo hasn't had to do much lately, mostly because he is really uncomfortable through those hocks when I ask him to work them.  I'm sure that a more committed person or a better disciplined person would have found a way, but ... as mentioned, I was having some emotional issues.  The vet comes out Friday to do the hock injections, and I am really, really excited.

The goal - MY goal - is to get the arena fixed by the time Apollo's off stall rest.  This requires cooperation and assistance from WC, the husband of the property owner couple, and that the Rototiller be fixed.  He took it to the shop, so with any luck, it'll be done soon.

I did take Apollo out for a hack yesterday, thinking a calm walk would be good for him, get him moving without having to really load the hocks or anything.  Just ... walk.  Long, slow miles, to quote Denny.  Alas ...

Don't be fooled.  This is the face of a rotten beast.  A naughty pony.

The other boarder and I took the TBs out to the pasture and commenced the walk.  Her guy was a little up, Apollo was rather nervous; I thought I had Apollo pretty well in hand.  I was tense, though, and apparently that was all it took for the recycling pick-up truck to turn into a TERRIBLE MONSTER.   Apollo bucked, he crowhopped ... I said "fuck" and went over his shoulder.  Bad, bad rider; that shouldn't have gotten me off.  I decided I wasn't going to salvage it and let myself fall.  Not the least bit of damage, but ... Apollo wasn't getting off that easy.  We went and worked in the teeny-tiny arena by the barn.  We might have just walked, but by God it was the walk I dictated, with bend, and carrying as best he could in the mud with ouchy hocks.  The other boarder came back too, also dismounted - I said "Oh no!  Not you too?!"   She hadn't gotten dumped, but it was apparently a near thing.

So ... either walks around his pasture or in the tiny arena only.  If it isn't raining.  And even then I worry a bit.  Meh.  Must not let fear take over.  Mindkiller and all, yknow?

Also ...  I have done it.  I have en-saddled myself!  I had thought I would be able to buy a friend's saddle, but as it turned out, hay, vet bills, etc. ate up the money I had.  I had thought to maybe buy Nicku's old saddle; Nicku, did your friend buy it?  :)

Anyway, as it turned out ... I found the saddle I wanted at a price I couldn't have beaten if I'd tried.  It's a Wolfgang Solo by Custom Saddlery; it's the smooth leather Signature one.  Obviously not new, either, but new enough.  I am so stupid excited, I can't even tell you.  I can show you:

Black leather love!

Okay, that sounded weird.  You know what I meant.

I am so going to plop it on Apollo tomorrow and see how it fits - I have an appointment pending with my lovely saddle fitter, English Saddle Fit in TN, and she'll fit it perfectly to him.  Meanwhile, I dunno if I can stay out of it!  I have stirrup leathers coming tomorrow, and Compositi Reflex stirrups soon:

I might end up putting these on the jump saddle and using the flex stirrups on the dressage saddle; we'll see.  But for a day, who cares if my leathers are brown and the saddle is black??  Must ... ride ... new ... saddle ...

And last topic: Apollo is looking way better.  No ribs (in this photo he's holding himself a bit oddly, not actually ribby), starting to come back with a topline - although I know he needs a lot more work, he's coming back.

January 25, 2016

As a comparison, this is what he looked like in May.  Ribby, too bony in the spine, not shiny.

I thought he had a jumper's bump, but no - indeed not.  That's something else entirely.  He just needed updated feed (to Healthy Edge for pelleted feed and alfalfa added to his hay routine) and work.  Hooray! I'll check in on his progress again in May.  :)

Saturday, January 2, 2016

Calling All Tack Hos!

Hey!  I know I have friends out there who are devoted tack hos, and I know for sure I have friends of friends who are!  Y'all are bargain tack hunters extraordinaire, so I'm hoping you can help me out.

I'm looking for a few things used, in good condition, for good prices.  I'm not as awesome at finding the deals, so I thought I'd throw this out there.

What I need most of all is a black, monocrown, cob size, Five Star Tack headstall.  I'd buy the whole bridle for the right price, but what I really need is the headstall.  My dressage bridle has a torn keeper on the throatlatch from where I had it ensmallened (totally a word!) for Apollo's delicate little head, and it's not going to be an easy fix.  Plus, a smaller headstall would be fantastic.   

The next thing I'm looking for is a 22-24", black, leather, elastic on both ends, anatomic, dressage girth.  I'd prefer the Total Saddle Fit one, but I'm open to suggestion.

Can anybody out there help me work some magic?  I've checked ebay, of course, and struck out there.  Where else should I be looking?  Do you have any lines on either of these things?

Help me, internet tack hos.  You're my only hope.