Wednesday, April 16, 2014

So... Happy Birthday to meeee!! That day- the day I officially became closer to 30 than 25, was Saturday. And the loverly loverly mare gave me one of the most memorable presents ever- an emergency vet call, surgery in the form of 5 stitches and 3 staples, and... more of my budget than I care to think of.

What have I not written since then to tell you of such news? Well- It's really only gotten better from there! She refuses to eat her antibiotics. At all. So... No grain, either. For 4 days. I haven't noticed a ton of progress in her wound: her knee is a beach ball- legit, you could easily fit a softball x 1.5 in the space of her knee; today, she's limping on it, and it looks like swelling around the stitches. Which to me says infection.. And I can't even say she's been on Abx, because Miss Mare refused to eat them. She got one half of a syringed dose last night. The other half was on me. See? Better and better.

So, I called the vet last night- who got back to me today, and who I asked to come out tomorrow because I think it's hit critical mass and she now needs IM Abx. Only consolation is that I know I have done EVERYTHING in my power to get this girl to eat her meds and take care of her leg. I made carrot paste(raw carrots blended), I made baby food carrot paste (steamed carrots mashed), I tried molasses w/ and w/o carrots, then I went straight to the syringe and she flung it everywhere.

I am so frustrated and stressed out and exhausted, all I want to do is cry. And sleep. But I don't sleep bc I wake up every 2 hours thinking of how tight her wraps are, or how I didn't take her temp tonight, or... any number of things I have done wrong because I am a first-time owner without anyone around to really guide me, just trying to use my God-given brain to make a stubborn mare better. So I think I'm just going to go cry now. Again.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

We went to the park yesterday- trailered her in and out, lunged, and rode. She was Highhh!! LoL Just wouldn't settle in consistently, nearly got me off when she leapt up, forward, and sideways going into the ring. Over nothing, of course- just because she could. haha

I won't lie. I love my mare to pieces. She's really pretty special- a big baby, a huge lovebug, but such a brat sometimes.

And something that's been bothering me a little- her funky head!! She's got this beautiful petite little cob size head (on a 16.1 TB) with a horse size brow. It's ridiculous. Cob bridles fit perfectly everywhere but her forehead! LoL She's definitely the Sakura of the barn. And if you get that reference, give yourself 2 pts! haha

So... today, I decided I was going to take this as a blessing in disguise. I have always wanted to buy those pretty decorated browbands, but refused to spend the money for something I didn't really need. Well... I need one. haha My first purchase? A Vespucci hunter browband- horse sized- perhaps with some brass clincher action. I LOVE that look. Pearls and crystals are gorgeous, don't get me wrong, but clinchers are understated elegance. With that big perfect star of hers? She will look gorgeous in a sweetheart browband. Oh my, she will have more browbands than I know what to do with by the time I'm done. LoL And her birthday was Monday, so I think maybe we should get her one for her bday, yah?

In any case, went to the IHA Bohemia cleanup today and... made friends!! Or at least will know some people when I go to shows this summer. It's so exciting! I worked with Phil, Gage and Gavin most of the day, but got to chat with some english and western pleasure people and hang out with the James' and Zackmans' gymkhana friends. It was a lot of fun, even though I was definitely sweating at a couple points! haha And the riding center looks SOOOOO much better. We did a great job!

Friday, April 4, 2014

SWung by the barn today- what a miserable day!! Cold, wet, windy! Ugh! Think back to yesterday, I am kind of pleased about one thing. So, Tuesday, I noticed Sher was... off. Just not acting right. In no real discernible, could-put-my-finger-on-it way, Bet you it's because she's in heat. Or was just going into it, huh? And it pleases me that I know my girl well enough now to pick up on subtle clues like that. Pretty sweet, huh?

Also got her into some lessons with a jump-maker, so we will be well-exposed to craaazzzzyy jumps. This will be good for us!

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Sherwood's in heat! So that added a little excitement to the day- what with Bandit trying to mount her, Texas biting the crap out of her tail and flanks, and me ready to KILL Dennis for letting her out there while she's in HEAT!

On the flip side, she was dead under saddle. Barely wanted to trot, was practically dragging her nose on the ground and toes in the sand through the entire "workout". Poor baby. Needless to say, we didn't accomplish a whole lot. But we did walk around the neighborhood and go exploring the outside world a bit!

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Show got cancelled... Boo hiss. Damned March showers!

So, remember how I mentioned that Sher ran out after a couple fences because Nicole was carrying a whip? Well, those are the only videos that came out of that day. So... when I went to the tack swap Tuesday night...

Long story short, one of the people I know from around town made a comment to me- you know, those snotty little, "I saw that video- ooohh.." with that face that just screams, "Ohh, that was so unfortunate!" Yah. So, fighting back the instant urge to either snarl at her (Um... 2nd time over fences EVER??) or come back with some snarky comment ("I'm sorry, when you decide to train your own 4yo OTTB instead of buying a dead broke 17 yo, get back to me."), instead I just blamed the whip.
Which was the problem.
And which she obviously didn't believe because she's a friend of Renee's, who blames me for "ruining" her horse by training him to be forward, fit, supple, and a lover of cross-country jumping.

Sucks when you tell someone you'll sell them your horse and back out after they've been training it for 9 months like it will be theirs... And can't ride. ;)

I guess long story long, huh?

In any case, back to Sherwood. She's coming along so nicely! I took her to the park today, taking advantage of the glorious wind-blown rainstorm weather (hah! Take that, Mother Nature! You can't stop me!!!) to get her on the trailer, to a new place, and work in relative peace. Honest to God, she was a dream. Took about 15 minute to settle, but then we W/T/C around that place like we owned it. Switched rings halfway through without a hitch, got soaking wet, did some patterns, and worked on long and low through all three gaits successfully. A beautiful day in the neighborhood. Will you be mine? Will you be mine? Now- what TV show is that from??

Sunday, March 23, 2014

There will be pictures, I just have to make them.

At some point.

In any case, there was a full crew at the barn yesterday! I got done with chores and breakfast in time to work with Fred a bit in anticipation of his "trial" with a girl who responded to Dennis's free lease ad. Call me skeptical at the time, but I figured I better get in some groundwork so she stood a better chance of not getting killed. So... we did that, it went well, and Fred thinks I'm the Blonde Beotch from Hell, who only shows up to make him work. Eh, it is what it is.

Then I had some spare time, so I worked Jovi on the lunge bc his mom works a lot and asked me to ride him. Mind you, this horse hasn't been ridden in over a year, so I'm still not sure where his tack is.. and I felt bad working him under saddle when he has such poor muscle tone. Poor boy. So... we worked on the lunge for 20 minutes at a walk and trot. I found out he doesn't have a walk, so we worked on W/T transitions- even better for building muscle than just trotting around and less strain on his joints! He's such a good boy!

THEN Fred's rider (Kelly) showed up, and Jeannie, and Nicole and Corey! Full house! While Dennis told Kelly all about the Muley One, Nicole and I tacked him up, and she did some more groundwork with him. (She's the Brunette Beotch from Hell. LoL), then hopped on and she warmed him up W/T, while I threw down some cavaletti for Sherwood's future workout. Mind you, Nicole and I together are kind of... a bad idea. We just egg each other on to do more and more stuff. Watch the progression.

Nicole: "Oh, I'll just trot him around a bit and make sure his steering is still there from when we last worked him (last summer)."
Me: "Okay!"
Me after watching her trot him around for a bit: "So... cavaletti?"
Nicole (pondering): "Yeah, okay!"
Me: "I'll just put 2 down."
They go over it a couple times, he gets the hang of it, and...
Me: "Three?"
Nicole: "Sure! why not??"
And there we had Fred going over three cavaletti for the first time ever, on his first ride of the year. Lovely!


Me: "Hey Nicole, while Fred's busy with Kelly- she's doing great with him!- wanna hop on Sher?"
N: "Hells yes! I wanna see what you're bringing to the show grounds next weekend!"
A(me) after tacking up, Nicole warming her up, and watching them trot around: " So... we've been working on crossrails... Wanna try?"
N: "Sure!"
Long story short, because I'm sick of typing Ns and As and quotation marks!

I gave Nicole a whip because Sher was just being so.. Sherwood, which did the trick on the ground but prompted her to run out after her fences- Gah!! So Nicole got off and I hopped on with the whip, and immediately felt the difference in the Marish One- jet fuel!- so promptly dropped the whip and tried the fence (loose term for a 12-18" crossrail). No more running out, but still plenty forward on the flat. Yay!

Then we raised it to a 18" vertical, which was actually 2' bc whatever idiot made the fences (*whistles, looks away*) made the 18" mark at 22". Now, who can't use a ruler these days?? Honestly. We need to hire better help.
And... lo and behold, Sher likes her fences bigger! There's a bascule hiding in there! Who'd a thunk?

And onto today- we started with a crossrail, then put up one in a line, then raised one of them to a vertical for the last 2 jumps. Probably a total of 10 cross rails and 2 verticals. And you want to know who was an ANGEL through all of it? That's right. That'd be MY Sherwoodigans. I may have to stop calling her that... Hah. Let's not jump the gun!

Who we then promptly asked to step her front feet onto our makeshift mounting block (4'x4'x16" tall) and leapt on top of it, then fell/stumbled off sideways. (I made her do it again the right way after that. Damn these groundwork people making me think my horse is a mountain goat! See what happens?!)

Yes. I want to take this mare cross country.

I think.

Wish us luck in our Cross Rail Hunter classes next weekend!!

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

I've been sooo sick!! I took off the weekend after that last post, and then was horribly sick all last week- to the point that my mom picked me and Loki up at the ferry to take care of me. Ugh. In any case, I feel much better this week, and have a nice shiny schedule for my new rotation that worked out pretty well with daylight savings time today!

No pictures, and she was a BEAST to start off with. My sand-skiing techniques are getting really impressive. I'm pretty sure I could get a date just by showing up at Jones Beach and letting everyone see my skillz. I mean.. How many people can ski without any water, right??

So we lunged, then we worked on that damnable drain cover, then some more lunging, some bending- basically, we just kept going over the basics until she was giving in nicely- then... back to the drain cover! And back and forth it went! Until we finally were doing half-moon lunging and making the distance between a tire and the drain cover smaller and smaller until she actually was trotting over it. Still not touching it, but... I called it success and quit for the day.

Funny story? I walked into the barn to find my horse in another horse's stall, in yet a 3rd horse's blanket- which, to show how well-trained I am, I didn't even think twice about it. Oh, okay... That's interesting, but not even close to alarming... Where is her blanket? Then I saw that the horse in her stall was wearing it. So that was that. Then Dennis walked in and asked me why I was taking Jovi out for a ride. I just blinked at him for a moment, before chuckling as I realized he was joking (obvi!), "Dennis, I haven't been -that- sick! Quit fucking around... The blankets were a good effort!" And then realized he hadn't been joking.

Yup, we sat there for a good couple minutes arguing about which horse was mine- and i will take pictures of Sher and Jovi so you can see the ridiculousness of this conversation- until finally, I told him to check beneath the hood. WHich one has a package?! Yah. It wasn't the one in the aisle. LoL I'm thinking quitting carbs may have affected his brain.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

So, I've worked Sherwood Tuesday and yesterday, and I have pictures I'd love to show off. See??
How gorgeous is she??
I can't seem to get anyone to take picture of us riding, and I barely managed to get these (because I was also holding a lunge line!), but after a good warmup, we lunged over some cavaletti, then added a 12" vertical after a couple times. The first time, she powered through it like a green horse, so I made her do it 2 more times (total of 3-4 in each direction), until she relaxed and started looking at them and not just flying through them haphazardly. Then we added the 12" bump, and she looked at it the first time, but was quiet and cool throughout. Good girl, right?

So... yesterday, we did the 4 trot poles, then 2 trot poles to a 12" cross rail under saddle. Again, she didn't even blink at it. Today, we're going to try doing the 2 poles to a 18"cross rail, then switch it to an 18" vertical.

Also, we've been cantering every day- no issues, no complaints. Just working on getting her to relax and focus in the canter, go around with her head nice and low on a loose rein.

I think we may have hit a breakthrough in attitude, too. Although initially she turns tail and heads away from me when I go out to get her, it's more like a- "Do you -really- want me? Really really?? Oh, okay then!" Because after about 5 steps, she turns and looks at me and if I stop coming towards her, she turns around and walks over and follows me into the barn without a leadrope or halter. No carrots involved. Swear! Yup. I think Sherwood and I have turned a corner for the better, and I couldn't be happier.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

As promised, we headed to Parkview for our 2nd lesson. This time, Girly showed the trainer what I'd meant by- "she's usually really good". Laura gave me some nice new shiny tools to get her focusing and relaxed, and a cool new steering technique- "with my stirrups". As soon as she explained it- put your weight into the stirrup you want her to head toward, and even push her over if she's not getting the message, a light clicked on in my head. You know those moments where you want to take your leg off and kick yourself with it? Yeah, this was one of them. Sounds kind of like teaching lateral direction, huh? Just way more blunt.

PS. We learned all these things because parkview is crazy. Let me paint you a picture. 10 acres- maybe more?- with 50+ horses stacked here there and everywhere, tractors, workers, riders w/ and without horses who may or may not be working/acting up/washing/etc., cars, SUVs, trailers, mounds of manure/shavings, feed silos... Needless to say, it's more similar to a racetrack than the backyard barn Sherwood lives at. And she react accordingly- out comes the high headed stomping-pawing-spinning horse everyone loves to meet. BUT. This time, although she started that way, we worked outside, lunged, she came back to me a bit more focused, and laura and I decided to work outside. Picture all of that, but at least we're not trapped in an indoor with little kids on ponies. Literally.

And this mare was... golden. Once Laura showed me my new refocusing techniques- change the bend right left right left- Sherwood relaxed and floated. By the end, we had worked both directions W/T/C and Laura was telling me how impressed she was with me and my mare. "It's not everyone who can make a green horse look good, and this girl looks like a million bucks when she's with you. Great job."

Overall, an actually useful lesson, and one I can't wait to apply later this week!

Saturday, March 1, 2014

It has been a busy week! Got to hop on She-Beast a couple times, so took her to the reining barn indoor today. I was fully expecting a crazy girl when she got off the trailer after her 15 minute ride to the place in a dripping sweat- literally, sweated through her medium blanket and was dripping on the ground. But... I walked her out in the arena, let her calm down a bit, then took her back out to the trailer, tacked her up, and lunged her in the arena. It gave her a chance to look around a little, get out some of her energy, and re-focus back on me. Until she found the lounge window- and THEN she decided she'd rather check herself out. Too funny. LoL

She was a really good girl- the first time a horse spun near us, I thought she was going to act up, but we stopped and watched for a moment, walked around them in both direction, and... Nothing. So anticlimactic. Same with the taking off at a gallop from behind us and skidding to a halt in front/beside us. Notta. The only issue she had was when she thought she was done and I asked her to walk past the arena gate. Then she tried some of her tricks, but a quick spin headed her off and got her back on track. What a good girl!

Although she's been trying to fake her way out of the trailer on the way to places, she got right back in without any issues on the way back.. I couldn't ask for a better experience for her at a strange new place. So- what do we do now? Scare the shit out of her at Parkview tomorrow!!

Monday, February 17, 2014

A ride! And a hangout!

So, Friday was an awful day of weather. I didn't go into work because... The roads sucked. Instead, I went back to bed, then got up snd went to the barn. It was now 40+ out and lovely, so after mucking, I decided to work the girl in the hopes that she would be better for her lesson the next day. Lunged her for 20 minutes so she could get the kinks out, then hopped on for another 30min. Surprise surprise, she was an angel. Walked and trotted around like a doll, stopped, turned, gave me some minor head-tossing when i asked her to trot away frrom the herd, but it was easily quelched with a spin and next time, no issues. 

Then I got treated to a trip into Manhattan to hang out with Chris and his german business partners in town for the you know what germans like to do when they get to nyc? Go see a broadway play? No. Museums? No. Chic restaurants? No. They like to Shop. Macy's. DSW. I'm like... Really? Shopping. I HATE shopping. So, to sweeten the pot, Chris bought me a couple pairs of boots- one knee-high velvety soft brown leather, and three short boots, all awesome in their own right. And It did make things more tolerable. Lol 

Saturday morning, I'm thoroughly prepared to hop a train back to the island for Sher's lesson, but get a call from the barn saying they cancelled it because, essentially, my horse is too crazy for the amount of people in the arena. I was like... Fine. I get it. That sucks. And rescheduled for three weeks later, when hopefully, it would be quieter. And then proceeded to pout for a good hour or so. My horse is too crazy to be ridden with other horses? Damn. Kristin would just about die laughing if she heard that. And Nicole. And just about anyone else who had ever seen her before that lesson. Ugh..

So... I went in search of an indoor to go practice in in the meantime, and found a semi-private one owned by a guy who breeds reining horses- right up the road! I explained what I was looking for, and he said he thought we could work something out. So... We're headed up there Saturday next weekend to go check it out. Who knows? Maybe we'll throw some reining lessons under our belt! Haha

Thursday, February 6, 2014

A preview of what's to come..?

I'm so excited! Girly showed off her new trot today! Granted, all it took was 7 inches of snow, a crust of ice, and a week in her paddock, BUT!! It was a loverly trot. Can we say -extension-? I tried to get pictures of it, but my camera is also my phone and well... it leaves something to be desired when said subject is 200 feet away from you at all times of action.

That is all. Minor crowing. Until next time!

Monday, February 3, 2014

Update!! Sherwood is... horrifying in an indoor. After our amazingness on the trailer three weekends ago, we made an appointment to bring her for a lesson in an indoor in the quest to get her off the property and ready for showing this summer. So, two Mondays ago, we loaded her up (without an issue!) and drove her 5 minutes down the road to the H/J barn. They had me "try out" on a young TB lesson horse before they'd allow me to bring Sherwood to their normally busy indoor, in order to gauge my ability to handle a young scared athletic mare. Well, good call, peeps!

This fricking mare was... controlled chaos in motion! She wanted out of that place so bad. Wouldn't stand for the mounting block, trying to run me over everywhere, refusing to turn away from the gate by threatening to rear and shake me off, kicking at the instructor! I'm pretty sure my instructor either thought I was a moron or a pathological liar. All I had to fall back on was that she'd watched me ride the horse she trained (my tryout horse) and do a fair job of it. At the end, she left it at, "Well, you handle her well and you're well matched. She's fast, you're faster, she's tricky, and you've shown up to learn tools. I think you'll be okay with her, but she definitely needs more miles." And then Sherwood tried to kick her. Again. And all I could say, as I'd been saying the entire 45 minute lesson was, "I'm so sorry, she's never done that before." SNAFU, much? LoL

In retrospect, Sherwood was totally manageable- she never reared, she never did anything but shake her head and stomp her feet and slam on the brakes. I've ridden through far FAR worse than that. And by the end, we actually got a full half-round of the arena at a trot. So... progress was made.

AND I dragged her butt onto the trailer this weekend to ride in the outdoor at Bohemia, which was much more slick than I thought it would be, so we didn't do much, but she trailered there very well, she stood for a VERY awkward ground mounting (OMG, if I was her, I'd have run away), and walked and trotted around like a pro. After a minor blow-out in the parking lot about her being ADD and me asking her to pay attention.

Fantastic Miss Mare. We had to cancel our 2nd lesson in the indoor this afternoon due to 7 inches of snow, but we can't wait to get back there ASAP!

Thursday, January 16, 2014

So, I'm getting a little obsessed with my Clinton Anderson videos- it's a little amazing how well it works in getting Sherwood to focus, pay attention, and not be so pushy. It's almost amusing how he refers to horses like her as big, dumb, fat, lazy horses- unathletic and old. Have we seen Sherwood? Tall, leggy, fairly successful racehorse... 4 years old? It cracks me up every time he says it.

So, tomorrow we're going to work on yielding her front end, doing 1/2-circles- though I have my doubts about those because she's still young.. Do we want those tight circles on her joints?- and switching sides. These are such interesting videos in that I've been doing a LOT of it on my own since I was a teen. I was missing some basic building blocks, but it makes the reason why I could get some "troubled" horses just... be mine. They were the scared ones; I have issues with asserting myself, so I just stayed away from the pushy ones- which is why Sherwood is so difficult for me to deal with on some levels. I'm so glad I got these videos, they're filling in the gaps of the tools I do have, so I can now tackle pushy horses AND scared ones.

I'm also intrigued by this "rub to a halt" idea. I think it may work with Sherwood, I just need to figure out my timing.

Oh yeah- and trailer work. Woot. Maybe even hop on... Oh my.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Trailer. Check.

So, I've been watching the Clinton Anderson Groundwork series and although I recognized a lot of what we've been working on, they're really helping to kind of help me figure out the... thought process behind the teachings and refine my methods. And we saw some excellent results today!

We worked on flexing her head and neck, disengaging her hindquarters, and backing. Then we worked on one of the missing blocks Michelle hadn't worked with us on- I think she thought Sherwood knew it, since she's generally pretty good about her front feet. I found out she's not. Not really. So... we worked on that.

 The we desensitized her to the rope because I noticed she was getting pretty jumpy around it.

I set up a couple obstacles, one of which was a silver tarp held down on one side but left to flap around the other 3 sides. She's never had an issue with tarps, so I upped the ante by letting it flap around her legs in the wind. I'm pretty sure she laughed at me as she walked and trotted over it.

The next was a small gymnastics set along the fence- a 12" cross rail with a pole 9 feet beyond it, or vice versa. We started just going over the pole, yielding and going the opposite direction, then went over the jump, then over both. Back and forth 3 times each side. Next time, I'm upping that damn fence. I'm pretty sure she wasn't done chuckling from the tarp.

Then the tire, just walk over it once as the last refresher of the day. This one I got her attention with. Oy. In between each of these, we stepped away and did some lunging.

THEN we walked over to the trailer and point and shot on (first time ever!!), she turned around all on her own, and stood looking out. Then we played around the in the trailer- turning around, yielding hinds and fores, backing, and going forward, messing around with the rope, and giving feet. We even got one panicked back off, which promptly landed her in some lunging and yielding, and a rest back on the trailer. Overall, she's doing pretty fricking awesome. We called it a day at that.

It was so cute watching her yawn over and over on the crossties. Stress relief, much?

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Winter Wailings

It seems like I always have such good intentions to post on here, but I just never do. Maybe I should make that one of my New Year's resolutions. At the very least, post once per week. We'll work on that.

Sherwood is a trip. The longer I own her, the more I see and realize just how ridiculous she truly is. From picking Dennis's wood blocks out of her water and throwing them at him because she didn't like them, to pulling an attitude because of something I did and going over to threaten Loki, she is just... trippy. I am also re-realizing just how incredibly smart and bored she is- and how important it is so work her more regularly than I've been. Granted, it's been in the teens or below, or raining, or an ice rink here for the past month or so, but... we should work on that. (I'm beginning to see a trend here...)

The trailer issues are working themselves out! Yesterday, we worked on some groundwork in the morning, then came back and did an actual trailer session in the afternoon. It only took about 15 minutes and a monsoon, but she got in, turned around, and stood in the trailer with me for about 5 minutes while we waited for the rain to stop. The attitude she got when the rain really started coming down and she realized we weren't heading back to the barn or stopping was pretty hilarious. She went from working but getting kind of bored to PISSED!! in a matter of seconds. About 5 minutes later, she got in the trailer. haha All I needed was a little help from God. Who says he doesn't answer prayers?

We're going to work on that again today, and tomorrow take her to the local riding center where we had an epic failure last time and see if we can get her worked and reloaded in a reasonable time frame. Wish me luck!