Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Big Doings!

Haven't had time to post in a while. Been working 7 hour shifts at a peds office and running to the barn in any spare time because it's beautiful out! Sherwood was lame for a week with what I thought was a stone bruise and now know to be a skillful faking-lame act.

Dennis and I got her on a trailer and buckled in, now we need to do it again.

I found her a trainer! One i can afford to have come by and ride more than once a week... And be a friend. NICOLE!! We went for our first trail ride today and she was fantastic. We encountered deer, other riders on horses, walkers, dogs behind fences, and there was some snorting, some head-tossing, so jigging, but... No spooking, bolting, bucking, rearing, etc. She was a dream! Love my mare!

Thursday, August 22, 2013

It's been insane- just finished up a 4-week whirlwind in the Brooklyn Emergency Department and although I'm excited to get back to a schedule where I Can get to the barn on a regular basis, it's a little sad to leave behind all the new people I've met. C'est la vie...

In light of the insane schedule I was keeping, Sherwood has actually been sitting around and I've seen the full extent of... Bored Mare Behavior. I hopped on after a week or so of not getting there and should have known better from the antics in the aisle and on the lunge. We're still lunging for 15 minutes before every ride, but I think she may be getting balanced enough to hold a controlled canter in both directions under saddle! So, next ride, I will update you on that. I was going to try on Sunday, but between the Car Show down the street- think loudspeakers, blaring carnival rides, and growling muscle car engines- and the Bouncy House for a Christening party next door, I figured maybe we'd wait.

Her topline is really starting to fill out, and although she's still not engaged on the bit even half the time, steering and halting has become much more dependable (always a good thing!). She's even starting to get the idea of bending around corners and going long and low at the trot- on the straightaway OR with direction changes.

She is truly a great mare- every day I deal with her, I thank the Big Guy in the Sky for watching out for me because she is just fantastic. The bouncy House? One look and it's not a big deal. The muscle cars burning rubber down the street? A quick flinch but then onto other work. I don't know many four year olds who are as relaxed as she is. I just bought my trail and ring pass to Bohemia!! So now, as soon as I figure out how to get her to walk on and stay on a trailer (she gets on fine but backs right off immediately... grr), we can go play in the park! Which is really exciting because I've been getting trailer driving lessons and have use of a truck and trailer when I need it. So... yay for fall trail rides!

Friday, July 19, 2013

Sherwood has been coming along nicely! I even managed to get some glamour shots of my lovely girl after her bath. It was getting later in the day, but she'd had a hard workout and received a lovely bath, and was all squeaky clean and shiny. Perfect time to hang around and get some pretty sweet shots in an ugly barnyard.

I've been riding her about 2-3 times a week and working on the lunge the other 1-2 times. She hasn't had one act-up under saddle (knock on wood, KNOCK ON WOOD!!), but we haven't progressed to a canter yet. I figure, if it's not steady on the lunge, it's not ready under saddle. Not in a rocky, uneven arena filled with stuff that... should I hit it, it's going to leave a mark. No bueno. We have been doing lots of circles, figure-8s, serpentines, patterns, and we're starting over cavalettis. We're now up to stride poles followed by a double stride. I think we're going to work on 2 and 3-stride combinations tomorrow... Depending on how she is after today and yesterday's days off.

The schedule we'd finally worked out through this past 7 weeks of my Internal Medicine rotation was to go T, W, F, S, Sun. Lunge on T/F and Ride W/S/Sun, when I have the time and energy to be more patient and cognizant of her shortcomings and areas she needs to work on. Most of the time on the lunge is review work- H<-->W<-->T transitions, pick up the canter, let her sort through her balance, do a couple T<-->C transitions, change direction and do it all over again, then slip on the side reins and do it all over again in both directions. Overall about a 30 minute workout, maybe 45 if I get involved in something, with lots of walking breaks and halt transitions because... she sucks at them. I can't seem to figure out how to teach her to halt gently- ask her nicely, she blows right through it. Ask her more forcefully and the head comes up, the back drops, and it's a super awkward, uglyness. Bah.

Loki wanted to do his part in supporting the team effort, so he offered to wear team colors. Sadly, they were a bit large for him.
And he looked like Frankenstein when he tried to walk... slash hobble.

We did not make it to the Young Horse Show, but our in-hand work was pretty sweet by the time we figured out we weren't going to make it. I spoke to the JC this week about sorting out her ownership transfer. It turns out that since her old owner could care less about me getting her papers at this point, I need to apply for a duplicate foal registration and get a notary to sign off on my reason that her papers were lost in shipping. Lovely, right? So, we're working on that while we also work on all the stuff necessary for the end of this clinical- next Thursday is my last day! AHH! Then we got to Brookdale. And get scared of gunshot wounds and knife stabbings. A far shot from the opulent north shore office I've been in... Wish me luck!!

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

There's been big doings in my life, so I haven't been to the barn or updating. I'm currently at the family casa in RI because 1) I'm on vacation and 2) my dad had a heart attack scare early last weekend that got me up here Saturday morning. It turns out the chest pain wasn't a heart attack, but probably a complication of a previous car accident that left him with an intermittent esophageal motility impairment. Phew!

For an update, I have a video of Sherwood out in the arena with her first buddy! Dennis and I talked about which horse of the boys to first introduce her to, and Bandit won- hands down. An alpha who's old enough to know and teach manners, but not so aggressive that he'll pursue her into a breaking point of beat the snot out of her for kicks. He's also fast enough on his feet to get out of the way of her unskilled but pretty powerful kicks.

As you can see on the video, he doesn't put up with her shenanigans, but also lets her think about the stupid things she's done and how to NOT do them again. After the video is over, they stayed together in the arena for another 2 hours and there was no further trouble. I threw them some hay and they peacefully ate out of the same pile- with Jovi (the dark bay in the background) keeping watch.

Earlier that day, she proved she may be similar to another mare I used to ride- and loved to bits. Dan, a 15h gray Polish Arab mare, would have hissy fits if I didn't show up to ride/work with her every other day- minimum. Miss a week? You better buckle your helmet down tight because you were going for a RIDE! Although she never bit, kicked, dumped, or stomped me- as she did to many other people- if I didn't show up, she'd threaten to do so with mock bites, pinned ears, a half-hearted strike that missed by inches... Did I mention she was a horse that no one else wanted to deal with?

In any case, Sherwood was giving me some trouble when I got there Thursday - crankiness, pinning her ears, over-reacting to any input, incessant pawing on the crossties, yah de dah- and I marked it off to her getting more comfortable and now starting to show her true mareish colors. I mean, honestly, no mare is a much of a peach as this girl has been, right?? But, as soon as we went out and lunged for our standard 15 minutes and worked on some in-hand stuff in preparation for the show, she was back to being her peachy self. Even to the point of standing quietly for bug spray and grooming in the arena versus the aisle for prep to meet her Senor Bandito. Methinks it's a classic sign of the "Mare Work Bug."

Monday, May 13, 2013

I'm so disappointed- it been beautiful out yesterday and today, and... I'm stuck inside studying for finals this week. Grrr... This is my morning break for breakfast and to vent my frustration.

I checked in with Dennis and Sherwood hasn't had an ounce of soreness from taking the back shoes off- yay!- so it would be reasonable to get over there and lunge her for 15 minutes, have some grooming time, and maybe work on my newest idea... Want to hear it??

In view of her pretty awesome ground skills and manners, I got the idea of showing her in-hand and getting her used to shows from the ground before even asking her to behave under saddle. Unfortunately, after looking about at the shows for this season, most of them are either breed specific- aka inspections- or straight hunter shows where there are no in-hand classes. Boo Hiss. EXCEPT for one. The Young Horse Show in mid-June. Which... is kind of a big deal in the land of rich folks and warmbloods. And fairly soon. Eep.

First problem is my insecurity and blue-collar background rearing its ugly head. I don't belong there. My horse is "just" a giveaway OTTB with fairly poor leg conformation, although admittedly nice movement and brain. I'm just a schooling level rider who's out of her league in taking on an OTTB to begin with, nevermind dreaming that she can show at anything other than backyard shows. It's an ugly place in my head, isn't it?

EXCEPT. If I want to break out of this circle of insecurity in my head, maybe an in-hand class is a good place to do it. I've always felt a little bit more secure on the ground, and yes, my mare does have some pretty good conformation faults, but we're not there to do anything but learn. Winning is a nice goal, but keeping our heads in the game, doing our best, and proving that OTTBs aren't the crazy lunatics everyone on LI seems to think they are- those are our true goals.

I'd also like to point this out- she won just about $90k in 30 races and never had an unsound day (Knock on wood, KNOCK ON WOOD!!!). So... suck it, conformationalists.

Break's over. Back to studying.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Farrier has been out, and now I'm reporting- see, Mom? I'm not an errant child, I do give you updates on the grandbaby. :)

First picture is of her waiting for her food- real crazy TB I brought home, standing there and waiting patiently for her hay cubes to soak while everyone around her gets fed. Watch out, she might rub on you!
 And then... the farrier came! First, we did Fred. She was, quite frankly, amazed with his progress. No cross ties, just his halter and lead rope, and half the time, Dennis wandered away from him, leaving the lead on the ground and no one holding him. He stood like a stone, gave his feet like a gentleman without any antics, kicking, or uneasiness. He stepped over when she needed to switch sides with a quick hope, but didn't jump or throw his head too high, and not even a leap forward. All of which were commonplace events in the past. It was really amazing to hear her version of what he was like even up to the last visit and the difference in him now. I informed her that he liked it better when you verbally asked him to "lift" before tugging on his fetlock or squeezing his tendons, and she joked, "Oh, he needs to give you permission?" but then she did it and was visually surprised and pleased at how much easier he picked up his hoof for her. She joked around, "You should have taped him before and after- you could hang your sign up and have people pay you to be their trainer!" I just laughed- can you see it now? School, pup, pony, and side business! Like I don't have enough stuff on my plate!

Then Bandit, who was just a good ole boy- like he is for everything. Love that old man.

And then... Sherwood. Who also was just great. Stood like a stone on crossties while the farrier did her shoes, stepped over easily and without any antics, and... here are the pictures to prove it!
What a good girl!!

Pulling the nails out...
Removing the shoe itself!
The farrier asked me what I was planning to do with her after commenting on her conformational deficits. I acknowledged them- I mean, we know she's got super long pasterns and she's over at the knee, and... I could probably find other issues as well, but those are the biggies. So when I told her I was hoping to do baby eventing, she gave me this look like I was nuts, and who knows, I might be. But I amended that statement with my plan to basically use her as my project horse, learn the basics of retraining, horse care, and whatnot, do as much with her as she can and wants to do, then retire her to trails and hubby horse status once I'm making more money and can afford a competition partner to go beyond what she is able. Not that I truly care what anyone thinks, but I believe some of her "This girl is a loon," look subsided. Honestly- do you think I would get a free horse from a nasty track to be in denial about her issues? And then plan to take up a hard sport without any reality check on her suitability? Oy.

Baby's back shoes are off!!
Yay!! Free back feet!!
In any case, on the way out, she made a comment on how amazing Fred's behavioral changes were, and that my new mare was super quiet and well behaved. The look on her face when she asked me Sherwod's age and when I got her was awesome. "Oh yeah, she's four, and I got her off the track last Thursday." "Oh, so when was her last race?" "Mmm... I think Equinline said April 13th." "OH! So you mean you just got her off the track!"

On the way out, I paid what I owed after she packed up her stuff, while Dennis and she were chatting about Fred's amazing turnaround. She said something about how incredibly well behaved Sherwood was, before she turned to me with this serious look. I thought I'd given her the wrong amount, but instead she just said, "You have a gift," and grinned, and got in her car.

Very nice to hear, and a far cry from the claims that I "ruined" a horse earlier this year. Honestly, it made my day. I feel like I've come far in the past year or so with my horsemanship, but most days, I go out to work with the two of them and feel like I never have any idea what I'm doing. I watch Youtube videos, read up on retraining exers and ground work, so those help, but watching someone else and doing it are very different, and you never want to screw up your or someone else's animal. I just go out and do the best I can with what I know and how the situation feels, and it's really awesome that a stranger who's never met me before and has no preconceived notions, can see the difference in one animal and appreciate the status of another. Means I must be doing something right. Now, I must get on with studying. Wheeee!!

Friday, May 10, 2013

It's been raining for the past three day, with today being a slight exception and tomorrow looking to be the rule. So.. I went over and worked Fred and Sherwood today, and ended up showing Dennis that maybe, just maybe, us English people know something about something, and that maybe everything we do isn't because our horses are well trained by professionals. We started showing Fred how to lunge a couple weeks ago and worked on it some more today, after I played with him and some of the basic groundwork principles- giving me his head when I apply pressure to the cheeks of his halter without swinging his whole body... I think he's finally starting to understand that he can bend his neck, he's not stuck being straight, and that maybe it won't kill him to trust us just a little bit.

Dennis even lunged him a little bit, and was amazed at how difficult it was to stay in the "v" when your mule is super reactive to every move, sound, and breath you make. Poor thing, he must've been beat on so badly.. And he is really sweet when he relaxes. We got him walking, trotting, and whoa'ing on command today on the lunge, with minimal jumps, fly-aways, and panting. We even got some chewing and licking, so.. We're doing something right. He'll even let you approach and catch him in the paddock now! I'm so proud of him!

As far as my own wee babe, she is starting to feel good! Still not the crazy mare I thought I'd have, but pretty good! We taped her the day after she came in, and yesterday- almost an exact week and... I'm not sure if we did it right, but it looks like she went from just under 900 lbs to 942! She doesn't act like she has ulcers and we figured out- after careful weighing in the kitchen with Roseanne- that we'd been gypping her about half the recommended food per day! I've been reading "Off the track: From racehorse to riding horse," and they recommend giving 8-10lbs of grain and about 15-20 lbs of hay per day to a retired racer so they don't lose weight, and after weighing her portions, we'd only been giving her 4 lbs a day! So... We fixed that. Now she gets 4 lbs of grain and 6 qts worth of hay cubes per feeding, as well as free choice hay all day long.

We've been working on grooming on cross ties, leading and basic giving-to-pressure lead line work, as well as lunging. We started cross-tying in her stall, so when there was no problem, I tried cross-tying her in the aisle today and... She was fine. Someone has done a nice job teaching this mare the basics, and I'm reaping the benefits. Yay for me! She dragged me across the arena yesterday, my boots left little skid marks from where I "skied" across the wet sand! Haha I was trying to get her to stop coming in on the lunge, so I pointed the whip at her shoulder and... Well... I went skiing! Today, I worked on desensitizing her to the whip, and I think she's now getting the idea of "out" as a command. Oh yeah! She also comes on command now, too! I wouldn't trust her to do it across the arena, but she's solid across 15-20 feet. I screwed it up once today when she made it almost to me and then stopped to sniff and I tried to pressure her- which then promptly scared her away, but lucky me, she's forgiving. So we got it twice more and called it a day. I let her loose for another 20 minutes then grabbed her for some grooming and dinner.

Already her coat is clearing up, some of the scabs coming off and looking much better. I keep applying vet cream every day and it seems to be working. I can also show sheen her tail without her flinching and jumping everywhere, so it looks like when it grows out too longer length, she's going to be one of those few TBs with a very nice tail- her mane is much thicker than most TBs I've worked with. Yay! Tomorrow we have the farrier out to check out her feet and recommend a course of action,  I'll make sure to take video and pictures for the record.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Sherwood got rave reviews yesterday from Kristin, who posted on Facebook immediately after, "Quietest off the track mare I have ever met! Sooo sweet!"

Kristin thinks she's good to go to work since she's happily adjusting to her new home, so we started on 10 minutes of lunging today- W/T and whoa commands. Our homework is 10 minutes of lunging to solidify those commands, as well as working on leading skills and cross-tying. I need to get legit cross-ties bc the ones in the aisle are scary. Who uses chains as cross ties? Don't get me started!

She was so cute when I crept into her paddock today- playing beached whale in the sand and pretending she didn't see me walk in and sit down with some homework.
She lay there for another 15 minutes before getting up- seriously, what happened to spooky, crazy racehorses? I don't know. But I'll take it! It was kind of fun watching her puff sand everywhere and obviously just love her life of leisure. Then she proceeded to come over and snuffle all around me eating her hay while we wait for Kristin to show up.
Here, you can see Kristin after she evaluated Sherwood and came to the decision that... this horse is settled in, calm and content, her ankles and legs look awesome- cool, tight and without swelling- and... let's keep her going while she's got a work ethic! So... we tested out her lunging skills. And.. this is about 2 minutes after starting. Kristin was impressed and I was ecstatic.

Update: We put her on one chain crosstie and I had Dennis hold the lunge from her other side while I curried, picked feet, and sprayed some bug spray around her. She was fine with everything. No hysterics, no sidling, a little bit of front and back during bug spraying, but... I'm thinking she's either a dream come true or just waiting for her moment.

We also did our 10 minutes of lunging today, and she's voice command solid W/T to the left, solid W on the right, and a bit more sticky with T, but honestly. It's our second day. What do you expect? Perfection?? She is really starting to understand about disengaging her hindquarters in both directions, and flexing her neck, and backing up is getting pretty solid. She still mows you down if she's not paying attention, but it's already improving!

We also found out that I had a sheet for her- so when it rains tomorrow, if it gets cool, she's all set! Thanks Danielle!! We also threw down some ground poles in the arena so she could check them out while she's in it and... she leapt over the two I put down, but then gave us a GORGEOUS trot over three!

Yay! I have an awesome mare!

Monday, May 6, 2013

A bit overdue, but... I was home all weekend and not wasting time on my computer that I could spend with friends and family!

Friday, Dennis and I decided to let her out of her little paddock, since she was doing so well, and explore the big arena. We roped all the boys into the other side paddock and let her go with her new cob-size royal blue halter and... were greatly disappointed at the antics that went on. None. She sedately walked about, sniffing everything, looking over the fences, checking out the trees in the rear portion, the manure pile, the water buckets, and the other stuff that can be found. She hasn't kicked the fences in a while and she's still sound, so... yay!

After about an hour or so of watching her and marvelling at her sanity- "I really was not expecting you to bring home such a nice horse, Abs." "Me neither, Dennis." - we decided to try to get her to perform some antics, like.... trotting. I learned a very valuable lesson- she definitely did NOT want to be a racehorse anymore.

Then we snapped a leadline on her and while Dennis held her head by the fence, I took the soft curry, some showsheen, and some vet cream, and groomed her. She didn't seem to mind the curry, although she didn't lean into it at any time, but I did her hind end and she stood like a rock even while I did her lower legs- she has some skin issues going on so I think maybe we'll try a medicated wash on one of the warmer days coming up. Then I ointmented all the scrapes she'd accumulated in the last several days and again, she stood like a rock while I fiddled with her legs, girth area, belly, all those sensitive spots horses generally will act up about. As we were getting onto about 20 minutes of standing, I decided to try one last thing- Showsheen. She was very calm about it, allowing me to spray her forelegs and shoulder, but getting past the girthline she showed some uneasiness, so we called it a day. I gave her some good patting and let her roam for another 20 minutes before we put her back in her paddock.

All in all, a good session. I hope for a lot more like it in the future. Oh, and... my hip is fine, too. A giant horseshoe shaped bruise, but I think she pulled her punch bc it really wasn't as bad as it looked.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Miss Sherwood came home today!! I've uploaded the video I asked Dennis to record of her getting off the trailer and being settled into her new place. Looking it over again, I'm amazed at how well-behaved she is- and she only continued to leave me stunned from there.

We had 4 people arrive at the barn about fifteen minutes after she got there, and proceed to gather round and admire her beauty, charm, wit, and... temper. While we were standing around, I stupidly got too close and when she decided to kick out at the fence because one of the boys annoyed her, my hip was in the way. Holy crap, OW! What a way to start a relationship, right?? Eh, I evidently needed the reminder that yes, although she's mine and I'm wicked excited, she is a strange horse in a new situation and... Well, I had a blonde moment and paid for it. It could have been way worse.

Anyway, about 5 minutes later, we watched (from outside the fence) as she proceeded to double barrel the fence so hard, she stunned herself into limping. I couldn't help but think, "What the HELL have I brought home?" while watching to make sure she hadn't seriously hurt herself- she's fine, thankfully, and learned a valuable lesson for about... 3 hours. At which point, she did it again and got her right hind between the rails and I thought for sure I would be saying hi and bye to my racehorse in the same day- when she broke her leg trying to get it out of the fence. Yelling calmly (or trying to, anyway) for Dennis to get out there, I watched in awe as she jerked on her leg- hanging from the fence at hock height- twice, then carefully extracted it back through without any hysterics at all and... went back to eating her hay. Sane? Or well practiced? Guess we'll find out..

Fred the Mule tried to steal her hay by sticking his nose through the fence and pulling her bucket closer to the fence. Well, he got about two bites from it before she marched over from the opposite fence, yanked her bucket away from the fence, and pushed it into the middle of her paddock. Feisty mare. 

I also found out she's going to be that horse- you know which one I'm talking about- at the show whose head is too small for its body. I bought her a full size halter and... it doesn't fit! 16.1 hands and she needs a cob size halter! We'll call it "dainty" for now, later we can discuss body proportions. :)

On the good side, we had a moment where I brought her some alfalfa cubes and my new brush- a super soft curry to get out the remains of her winter coat- and we stood there eating and brushing. I think she's going to be very sweet when she settles in- but I think she's going to be handful no matter which way you cut it.

In any case, I'm home now sitting with Loki bug with an ice pack on my hip and aloe on my sunburnt arms, thinking that... All in all, this was a good day. Tomorrow? We'll have to see when it gets here. I think working in them AM then driving to RI is going to be a bitch with this bruise. Serves me right, a lesson I won't forget for a while!

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Yesterday, worked out the arrangements with the shipper- she'll probably be delivered Thursday mid-day, to Dennis's barn, because Katie took Cammy out of the barn with 12 hours notice on Sunday. Probably being the word because... evidently, she's a tagalong on some other horse's race card, so if he doesn't race, she may or may not be coming up. In either case, she might be here someday for less than $750- is what I got out of the conversation. Insanity, right? Originally, she was coming here last night at night and would be here at about 5-6am this morning. I almost lost my mind trying to figure out what needed to be done before that happened, but have to admit I was a little disappointed, although VERY relieved, to hear the pushed back date. So, yesterday, I dragged Dennis to the grain store, where I promptly pissed off the grain person by telling her I wasn't going with her recommendations and would be going with what I thought best. Thank you, but no thank you. The barn and store owner agreed with me when the grain lady got her on the phone, but it didn't make her any happier toward me. Sherwood- the name in itself is beginning to grow on me- is going to be on Fibre Max, a high fiber and fat but low starch diet, as well as alfalfa/timothy cubes and omeprazole granules from Abler.

We got her stall and paddock all figured out, she's in Bandit's stall with a 30x30 paddock cleared out for her and baby-proofed. I went to Dover today and picked up a breakaway halter, a new groomy brush which is very soft, and a lead with shank. I went through Dennis's barn yesterday and there are no leads with shanks- and it occurred to me that he has no IDEA what's coming into his barn. I'm definitely skipping Peds if she comes during that time because... he may not be able to get her peacefully in the barn. What have to done to his sedate herd??

I'm so excited!! I could barely sleep last night, I was dreaming of sugar cubes and study buddies-  hanging out in the paddock like I used to with Dan and Mouse, but with Loki and Sherwood- and the sweet sweet things we will do together. Our first leading lesson, and our first lunging lesson. First day with the herd and off the property! So many firsts!! I'm so excited!! Anyway, must get to studying... Yeah... Right.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Went looking at ponies today- had three on the schedule when I left home, and ended up riding five and watching one, and now the only one I didn't ride is the one coming home. Meet Miss Sherwood, a 4 year old mare who caught my eye on the CANTER site and was the only horse I looked at without any retraining, the only one I couldn't ride to try, and the only one who is hopping on a trailer sometime this week and COMING HOME! TO ME!!!! *Jumps up and down, clapping hands and screeching happily* Oh my oh myohmy!!

Of course, because she was the only horse I wasn't serious about, I didn't take out the camcorder or take very serious pictures, so... here's what I got on my iPhone. Mind you, they wouldn't let me past the guard house so the owner had to bring her out front to unfamiliar territory on a day of BLOWING wind, and... she was a trooper.

Okay. For posterity. The scoop:
I went, looked at her, took some shoddy pics and video to show Kristin, then left. I couldn't get her off my mind- she is just so ridiculously cute- and her owner called me 10 minutes later to say there was another woman who'd asked about her. I told him that I liked her, but he shouldn't keep her waiting for me because I wasn't sure I liked her -that- much. He was very polite and agreeable, and hung up. Five minutes after that, he called me again- I remember thinking, "Dude. What do you want, -now-??"- to tell me he really didn't like the woman, he didn't get a good feeling off her, but he'd be willing to give me the mare because he'd liked me.

God, I hope that's what actually happened bc if I get a broken down nag with ulcers and ankle chips and suspensory ligament issues, I'm just going to cry. But enough of that, she's healthy, gorgeous, firey, and her nicknames are waiting to be found. I'm partial to Lox, personally- as in Sir Locksley of Sherwood Forest. Snappy, right? We'll see what she says.

Excuse me, I have a halter, OTTB retraining books, and omeprazole to buy. Muah!

Sunday, April 21, 2013

It's funny- I started this blog with the idea that I'd document the progress, trials, and tribulations of leasing, training, and eventually owning the grey TB gelding in the first entry. I've always wanted to write about some of my experiences, get down some of my stories, share the joys, triumphs, setbacks, and those temper tantrums we all have but no one likes to admit.

Now, I find myself horseless, with the only thing I'd ridden consistently in the last week being a scared, psychotically timid, probably abused mule. It's funny the way life works, right?

In any case, here's my latest update on the horse search. I'm kind of OCD when I am... serious about something. I do more research, make more lists, plots more graphs and make more databases than anyone I know. Earlier this week, I made an Excel sheet with the horse's name, height, price, age, location, and website, as well as columns for those I contacted and those I've visited (none yet).
Blue= Ones to go see, Pink= haven't responded yet. Oy.

Yesterday, I plotted out me and Kristin's plan of attack to go see the horses who's owners have responded to my inquiries for videos.  How do you plot out a plan of attack for horses all over the Northeast and mid-Atlantic, pray tell??

On more.. important news, school has just amped up again. We have OSCES this week- all inclusive, summative exams that will test our knowledge of the lat two years of classes. I'm not super worried bc... I'm pretty sure this is a scare tactic, like most of the "exams" we've had this year- make us go crazy, study like mad, and then not have it count for a grade. Don't get me wrong, I'm studying. But... I just can't get excited about it. I'm nervous about clinicals, but I can't get excited over those, either. It's all going to work out one way or another. So I'll just keep studying and working my way through one day at a time, and things will be fine. Now, back to the powerpoints and EKG tutorials. I'll try to update you the next time I decide to be easily distractable.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Update on the horse search!:
 I went to see the mare in Carver, MA last weekend- she was pretty cool, but just not what I was looking for. She had some cow-hocking in the back and paddled with her right front... Overall, not great omens for holding up under the strains of eventing. I'll attach the video of her under saddle from my Youtube page- if anyone loves her, I heartily encourage you to go see her. She had a great brain- super willing to learn and please, even though she's been off for a while and previously used as a lesson horse with a woman who... well, I'm not completely sold on her teaching abilities if the student who showed me the mare was any indication. She probably has some dressage experience under her belt, and although her owner says she doesn't like it, she wasn't swishing her tail or showing any signs of irritation when I was messing with her. She had some tricks- pulling the reins out of my hands, a boost of go-power when all I asked for was a little more oomph, running into the canter... typical lesson pony tricks. Overall, I liked her brain and her willingness to please, but I can see how she might be a bit difficult to place- she'd tricky enough to need  an adv beginner or intermediate rider, but probably won't hold up to the demands of strenuous competition. Overall, she'd be great for someone who wants to trail ride and hunter pace and compete casually, have a great time on their pony, and fly around the countryside. Hell, I'd have bought her if I could take 2 horses. Well, maybe not. That second stall in my barn is reserved for Texas- I'm sure his owner will see our love and off him to me someday... ;).

On the other hand, today was my third day working with Fred the Mule (he's got a trailer dedicated to him... I must take pictures of this trailer- complete with twangy banjo background accompaniment) and second day riding him. For a mule that has refused to be seen in a stall with me for the past two years, jumps/flinches every time you get within 10 feet of him, and you have to corner in a stall to get a halter on, he was really excellent under saddle. Oh yeah- and the last time I saw him under saddle, he flung Dennis off like a ragdoll. It was pretty amazing. So I thoroughly impressed Dennis with my mule-taming abilities by walking him around, working on steering (English style... I don't how to friggin' steer with one hand... Thank God Fred doesn't either, it seems.), stopping, and groundwork. And now... he follows me around like a puppy dog, I can pet him without a halter on, and... I had a moment of "That's right- THIS is how my horses USUALLY act! Goddamn Remy."

And... here's some drama dirt. Don't we all love it? Just a little? Yes. Unless it's about you. Oy. Evidently, I'm a "clueless airhead" who ruined the horse I was leasing- he needs to be completely re-trained. Don't get me wrong... Looking back, NOT buying that horse is probably the best thing I've done in a while, but ruin him? I think not. I have learned a valuable lesson, though- if there's no connection, walk away. You can't make a connection happen no matter how you try. Fred and I will have a connection- mutual trust, respect, and quiet movements. Texas and I have the same connection, plus some bonding over our temper tantrums and sense of mischief. Remy and I? We might have had something, but he is so bonded to his owner, there's no room for anyone else. Whatcha gonna do, right? Live and learn. In any case, I'm now looking for the horse of my dreams- and the only criteria I have is that she be a mare. Because I -love- my mares. And all their drama.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

It's so exciting when spring comes around- flowers bloom, you're actually happy to get up and walk the dog in the morning because... it's light out!, and... prize lists start showing up on your doorstep. Got my first one today, and although I don't have a horse yet, I'm super confident that when I do, it will be so awesome, we will head to shows immediately and rock out.

 (And by that, I mean... we might go to a show this summer, we'll probably place if there are less than 8 riders, and... have a frickin fantastic time watching all the pretty ponies- with the knowledge that even if mine may never be amazing, she's mine and that's amazing all on its own. Yay for show season!!!)

Oh yeah- good luck everyone else. May you never meet me and my significant other in the ring because we will TOTALLY ROCK YOUR SOCKS!!! But as a consolation prize, I'm sure Loki will be glad to give you a hearty lick!
I don't think I have introduced my Wonder Mutt. Everyone meet Loki aka Bob Marley aka LambShark aka Loki Lovebug aka Dirty, Stinky Dog. haha He is my 70 lb Standard Poodle who enjoys long walks anywhere, hanging out with friendly ponies, and sleeping on the couch with his stuffed pony or skunk. Oh yes. And loving up anyone who comes near him- especially little kids.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

I am having minor panic attacks about clinicals and my ability to keep up with school while taking care of Loki, the apartment, and still getting to the barn. This probably isn't the absolute best time to buy a horse, knowing that I'm about to enter another stressful time in my life, but... when will it get better? I keep saying I'll do it next year, it'll be easier, I'll have more money, time, energy, etc. But the fact is.. none of that ever happens. If anything, I seem to have less of everything with every passing day.

And the more reality becomes: It's time to settle down, stop being such a dreamer, get that full-time job and find a guy you can stand, marry them, have 2.5 kids, buy the SUV, and... have your life revolve around everyone else but you. Chris trying to force me into that box was what made me wake up and realize I'm not ready to do any of that. It pushed me to forge ahead and work on me- my career, my dreams, the things I want to do before something/one comes along and sidetracks me again.

Don't get me wrong, he also pushed me to realize that one day, I probably wouldn't mind having a family, but... not today. Today, I want my life to revolve around Loki, Abbi, and... Miss Mare. Who shall remain unnamed.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Did I mention there would be stormy days ahead? Well... I called it right. An update on the shitstorm that hit just over a week ago.

A friend of Renee's called, congratulating me on my decision to purchase Remy this summer- I promptly went, "Huh? I'm buying him -next- summer!?" Which is when I found out that Renee needed him gone by June. So... I went on a frantic hunt for barns over the weekend, found a good dozen to interview, and went to see three of them. I found a nice out out in Calverton- which is further than I wanted to go, but as he's young, I figured it would be a good place for him to stretch his legs and be a horse for a year, and go trial riding on the weekends. We could postpone our eventing ambitions for one more year, right? Wrong.

Less than 5 days later, Renee texts me to tell me that she's cancelling my lease, "but I hope you enjoyed Remy while you could." I asked if I was still buying him that summer and she very snottily replied in the negative, and then refused to discuss why this decision was being made. Long story short, I'm horseless.

I promptly called my mom, who had a second of Tourette's on the phone, and then told me something I've been dying to hear for years, but has always been juuuuust out of reach- "So, are you going to look at CANTER?" YAH!!! I had my mom's blessing to go out, spend stupid amounts of money, and buy a hay-guzzling poop machine! YESSSS!!!!

I did a bunch of research, surfed on more sites for rescues and horses for sale, and now have a lovely 4 mares to look at. YAY! Kristin and I ran up to upstate NY this morning for the first, and... here's what we found:

Meet... I'm not telling you her name. She's got some issues to work on- a bit of head tossing, some right hind weakness, but for only being in work for 3 months after being a broodmare for 2 years? I'm kind of impressed. Not only that, but she's a nuclear powerhouse in disguise! This mare was uber responsive with that awesome feeling of power just waiting for a direction to go. HUGE 16.2 mare- nothing but bone for miles, and a kind eye and seemingly good mind to boot. She's going to be a tough one to beat!

Next is the chestnut in Carver, MA- bring on the mares!!

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Stormy Days Ahead. It's so ominous sounding, but I'm very hopeful there are a LOT of stormy days ahead- Remington Storm days! Welcome! I got this great idea to chronicle the adventures of the soon-to-be-mine 2008 grey Thoroughbred gelding I've been riding since August 2012.

A little about me- please don't run screaming from the chaos that is my life- so you have some background to work with. I'm a 26 year old Rhode Islander finishing her 2nd year of a 3 year Physician Assistant program on Long Island, in NY. I moved in with my fiancee in May 2011, we bought a house with a 1/2 acre lot in central Long Island in October, and I promptly brought home a beautiful Craigslist-rescue Standard Poodle pup- enter Loki! School has been everything I thought it was- grueling hours and no pay with so much frustration dotted by small, shining moments of utter satisfaction. I've never worked harder, been more permanently burnt out, and less mentally stable than I was that first year of school. So when May 2012 hit and I had the summer off... I slept. Upon awakening,  I puttered in the ruin of our backyard and with Chris's help, slowly transformed it into a respite of fresh vegetables, beautiful rosebushes and flowers, and a clear, cool swimming pool for when I got done sweating my ass off making those things happen! haha! In August of 2012, a chance happening put me at the same picnic table as a woman talking about her friend's new "horse with a french name- it's a huge draft horse!" and I asked if it was a "Brabant" (Hole in one!).  From there, she was excited to hear I was a displaced English rider who couldn't afford more than weekly lessons because she had an "amazing  4 year old Thoroughbred who had so much potential!!" (Double exclamation points because she really was that excited.)

Now, who hasn't heard that before?

Needless to say, it's a horse and I was desperate to ride. So I showed up at her house, prepared to keep my game face on when it turns out to be a rearing, bucking screaming maniac. Meet Remy- he's skinny and has no muscle tone, walks through you on the lead and walks endlessly around on the hitching post, doesn't cross-tie, can't do his back feet, etc. BUT... he's calmer than some I've seen, stands when you mount, and doesn't plunge around the small riding space if you ask him to walk and trot. By the way, he's only been cantered once. Maybe twice. But he's great on trails!

He's willing and eager to please. I like him. Welcome to the start of Stormy Days.

These are the earliest pictures I have of him, and they're taken about 4 weeks after I started playing with him. I think that's enough for one day- more tomorrow. I'm on spring break and can spend a 1/2 hour posting! YAY!