Thursday, July 31, 2008

Sailing On

I am happy to announce that I am a recipient of a blog award!! More info on this soon...

Well, today was my last day working at the barn. I am happy to be done and I think life will be alot less stressful now. I am kind of sad that I wont be seeing the horses over there much anymore... Being a horse person, I enjoy all the horses over there. They were certainly not the cause of any of my problems. Now we'll see what life has in store for me...

Grady was turned out in the pasture this morning. He is doing well and made instant friends with Toadspit. If you click on the blog link about XC you will see pictures of Toad. He is Tess's horse. They were standing together with their muzzles touching and getting along just fine. The horses get grain twice a day in a barn that has about 20 tie stalls. The barn is wide open and the horses can go in whenever they want. There is also a very extended roof to make a large loafing area, as well as another loafing shed a distance away. Plenty of shelter for everyone! Grady was having a hard time figuring out the grain routine this morning and was scared to walk into one of the tie stalls. I'm sure he'll figure it out in a day or two!

Sail on silver girl
Sail on by
Your time has come to shine
All your dreams are on their way
See how they shine...

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Grady has Moved

This afternoon I told my current trainer that I am switching trainers. I would love to not spare any details on the conversation, but I feel that would be inappropriate as I am not trying to embaress anyone. You probably get the idea from that comment anyways.

Moving Grady went very well this evening. He loads by himself quite nicely now, so he waltzed in and I drove off into the sunset. Well, tomorrow is actually my last day working. Anyways, he is currently in the round pen at Birchbury. I'm not sure when he will be moved into the pasture, but hopefully soon. I'm excited and nervous all at once... Wish me luck!!

Here are some pictures of Grady in the round pen. Birchbury isn't exactly a fancy barn but it's very functional and I really like it.

he he, I guess he's not feeling too stressed out!!

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Quick Notes

GRADY IS GOING TO BIRCHBURY TOMORROW EVENING!!! WOOO!! I've also been teaching him to self load, a handy skill that makes life alot easier. I'll take pictures of him going into the trailer all by himself tonight. We had a few frank exchanges of opinion while discussing the topic, but he's doing quite well and now smartly walks into the trailer all by himself. He can be so smart, I just wish he was easier to ride!!

I am going to tell my current trainer the news tomorrow. Wish me luck, I doubt she'll take it well.

In other news, Mike, my coworker at the library, is quitting. It was pretty unexpected. There are only three of us that work here, the branch librarian Diana, Mike, and me. It's a bummer because now Diana and I are scrambling to figure out covering hours for after Mike is gone, getting the new person trained in etc. The GOOD news is that I have been able to reajust my hours so that I get more and I get the hours that I want. So I think this will all work out nicely in the long run, although I'm sad to have Mike leave because he's tons of fun. Very cool guy. He walks/talks/dresses like a rap loving gangsta but he's really a huge softy with a love for philosophy and politics.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

My Tag!

1. I got tendanitis from Lion King. It was my favorite movie ever when I was little so I crawled around on my hands and feet CONSTANTLY because I was pretending to be a lion. My wrists are totally ruined now, and I have trouble writing, gripping, or doing any repetative tasks with my hands.

2. KDWB is my favorite radio station. They play the current hits.

3. I used to be allergic to dairy. I would throw up, get ear infections, and get really sick. It was a bummer because I LOVED dairy products... Yogurt, pizza, ice cream... Then around 7 I suddenly lost my allergy and I eat it like crazy now!

4. I love ancient Egypt. I've read volumes about ancient Egypt that most people would never wade through. If a job with horses doesn't work out I'll probably go into Egyptology. Thutmosis III is my favorite Pharoah!!

5. Calvin and Hobbes is my all time favorite comic strip.

6. I used to be a HUGE Star Wars freak. From like age 7 to 11ish. I read so many books that I finally got Star Warsed out.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

D3 Rating

I know that I was tagged but I will be giving my answers to that tomorrow. Today I want to talk about my rating!!

It went really really well. I had to demonstrate basic dressage (walk/trot/canter) and jump a 2'6" XC and Stadium course. Basically demonstrate that I can do Beginner Novice eventing. I also had to answer lots of questions on horse health/care/etc. Anyways, Sackett was a complete angel the whole time and seemed to enjoy himself. My stadium course was AWESOME. Absolutely smooth from start to finish, and the rater was like "WOW, that was flawless!!" She wrote lots of nice comments about my stadium jumping on my test sheet. XC also went really really well. Sackett LIVES for XC so he really ate up the turf. It was lots of fun!!

To say the least, I passed with flying colors. Infact, the rater said that I could probably take my C1 right now and do just fine. BUT I don't have all the book work done for it yet. I'm hoping that I might be able to take my C1 later this fall...

Discussing our dressage. I'm on the right.
2'6" oxer

Right after a coop. I jumped the small and medium, the medium is 2'6".

Fun picture!!

Thursday, July 24, 2008

He's an A hole

This saturday is my D3 Pony Club rating, so this morning I practiced my stable wraps and "suppling exercises" on Isis. Isis is a very nice horse to practice on because she's more than happy to stand still. It was probably the easiest training session she's ever had - All I wanted her to do was stand still for me!! She came through in spades. What a sweetie.

Then I went for my jumping lesson. We did XC. Jill, Heidi, and Patty all came out with me so we all did XC together. It's so much fun when you're in a group, it's like an encouragment party. Jill was riding her off-track Thoroughbred mare and it was only her 2nd time on the XC course. She hadn't really done any XC jumping though, and when Jill tried the roll top her horse refused probably 10 times atleast. But then suddenly she made a flying leap, leaped over it several more times, and then it was like *click*! She got it!! And suddenly Jill was jumping 2'6" and 2'9" roll tops, banks, tires, drops, logs, tables... I am so happy for her! Jill is a great rider though too. The lesson started out well for me but we had some glitches over a table. For some reason we were jumping to the right on the jumps and it was quite awful. He kept doing it so Rocky finally was like "RIDE LEFT, GET ON HIS CASE!!" So I got on his case and then we were jumping straight for the rest of the lesson. We were having so much fun together we rode for 2 hours!!

This evening I rode Grady and he was ok. Not the best he's been but certainly not the worst. No major spooks or mishaps, he actually worked quite nicely but it took some time to get him to relax at the canter. This morning while we were tacking up for our ride I was telling Patty (who is Rocky's mom by the way) about the issues I have with Grady. When I was done describing how he gets spookier the more familiar with an area he gets, Patty just simply said "he sounds like an a**hole. We had a horse here like that once, he was just a mean a**hole." She described that horse and he sounded aLOT like Grady. To be honest I've been thinking this for quite awhile now, but it was nice to hear an experienced horse woman give the same diagnosis, even if she's never met Grady before. I really think it's true... I really think Grady IS just an a**hole. So I'm looking forward to Lindsay's and Rocky's opinions on him.

SO... EX.... CITED!!!!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Show Story

First off, I want to apologize for yesterday's post. It was inappropriate and I really shouldn't have said what I did. I meant every word of it, but I realize that it is not public blog material.


I really did mean everything I said though.


ANYWAYZ, so I promised I tell the story of the show this past weekend. It was the Midsummer Dressage show, but it sure didn't feel like midsummer. The show was Friday, Saturday, and Sunday but I only went Saturday. Going for more than one day with just my mom and dad is hard because they don't really want to go for more than one day. I feel bad dragging them to shows when there is so much other stuff they need to do. (Another reason why I'm excited to be switching to a barn that actually GOES TO SHOWS!! WOOT!!!) My ride times were late in the day, not until 4:01 and 5:03. It was kind of nice though because I didn't have to get Grady ready until that morning and I didn't get up until 7 AM, so I felt well rested and I wasn't stressed out.

My mom and I gave Grady his bath and I got him braided. We left at 11 and picked up my bestest friend Rebekah on the way. Rebekah wanted to come to one of my shows and she was very nice to have along. She doesn't have horses but she's taken lessons before and she has "horse sense", so she was a big help. We got there a little before 1, settled Grady in, checked in, watched some tests and ate lunch.

This past week I somehow threw my back out. I actually woke up Wednesday morning with the WORST kink in it. Friday night it was so bad I was laying on the floor and couldn't even get up. So what a blessing it was when we got to the show and there was a chiropractor there!! Kyla Awes, one of the regular competitors in our region is apparently also a chiropractor and she was giving ajustments. I got one and it felt SO good. My neck is still nice and loose. My back still had the kink in it but it's been getting better ever since. She said I had a couple ribs out of place and the base of my spine was rotated. My neck was also pretty messed up. My soon to be trainer Lindsay also got an ajustment. She brought three baby horses to the show; all showing at Training level in their first show seasons. It was her show to concentrate on the young ones. Oh, and you would not BELIEVE the huge rig Lindsay's got. It's like an 8 horse and it has HUGE Pferde Farm logos on the sides. Pretty sweet. I am SO excited to be part of that soon!

I got on Grady around 3:15. Friday evening I had had a lesson and we worked on the quality of his gaits. He was working very nicely by the end of the lesson and Grady picked up right where we left off. However, the weather was getting pretty iffy. The wind was blowing, the rain was falling, and the tornado sirens were going off through practically my whole warm up and test. The show announcer kept saying that the severe weather was going to miss us so the show plowed on. I was very surprised at how happily Grady worked during our warm up; the conditions were unbelievably awful.

Lindsay was warming up a nice looking chestnut mare at the same time. She is such an elegant rider and the horse was working in a perfect Training level frame. What really impressed me was that Lindsay looked elegant even when the horse decided to buck!! She did very well with all her horses that day.

The ring that we were showing in was the ring Grady had dumped and dragged me a month ago. (Yeah, remember that story?) The show was running 20 minutes early so we only warmed up for 25 minutes, but I felt that there was nothing else I could ask for in the warm up so I went in to ride my test. Well, I tried to go in. The bit checker had a white chair set up by the in gait and Grady has issues with white objects. (That's why he spooks at the letters in dressage arenas, *sigh*) I asked the bit checker if he would be willing to sit in it and once he did Grady walked past it. Grady was quite tense going around the arena and he spooked several times. We rode the test, I can say that much. I was riding with all my might, through spook and testiness. It was NOT easy riding. Grady was not happy about being in that ring and he let me know it. I hit all the transitions, did all the work, but he was so tense that the test was really just a load of junk. I was happy that I got him through it and that I was able to maintain enough control to get our transitions where they should be. That's about all I can say we accomplished.

They called the show after my test. It started to POUR. I didn't get to ride my second test and I still don't know what I got for my first one. It's supposed to be mailed out to me. Probably not a great score though.

So we hung out in the barn, waiting for the rain to stop. Rebekah and I made a dash to the office to ask about scoring. The office had a four inch puddle stretching about 10 feet around it in all directions so our shoes were quite soggy afterwards. We reverted back to our child hood and pretended that we were on a grand adventure. We lept puddles and had as good of a time as you can in a monsoon rain storm. I don't know why I didn't think to have dad take pictures of us, they would have been classic. Dang it!! I'll keep that in mind for the future. Take pictures of the "other stuff" too!!

After the rain let up we loaded the trailer and headed home. I'm happy that I atleast got Grady out and made it through another test. Thus far this year every other show has been great and every other show has been horrid, so if we follow the pattern the next show should be a huge success!! AND the next show will be with my new barn. Woohoo!!

This picture gives a good idea of what the weather was like during my test.
Grady was pretty tense

I actually like this picture, but my hair came out and I didn't know it!! How embaressing.

This picture gives you a good idea of what the test was like and how difficult it was to ride. Yuck, what an awful picture!!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

A Confession

One of my goals of having this blog is to be honest on my feelings no matter what they are. I realize that this can be accessed by many people, but I want this to be a genuine representation of my life. Having said this, I have something rather shocking to confess....


*giggling* I can't even describe the gitty feeling of excitment I have for next month. I am so happy to be almost out of the awful work situation I'm in, I am so happy to have my horse at a place like Birchbury, and I am SO excited to have a new coach!! Yay!!! I get excited and happy and gitty just thinking about it. I feel the way I did when I was little and it was Christmas, or my birthday, or the day before a vacation. Unbridled (no pun intended) excitement!!!

The other day my soon to be ex-coach asked me if I wanted to go to a schooling show on August 3rd. Well, I had already decided that I wasn't going to go because I will have just moved Grady to Birchbury and I don't need to have a show to think about for that same weekend. But it was the WAY she asked me. Something like this: "Are you going to the show on the 3rd or are you only going to Class A shows now?" Sarcastic emphasis on the "are you only going to Class A shows now." I assume that emphasis means that I must be a big pompous snot who thinks I'm too good for schooling shows. She doesn't know that I'm moving him to Birchbury. When I confided this information to my coach's best friend, she said "I wouldn't even tell her. Just cancel your lesson and never show up again!" (Yes, her best friend said this... We all are dealing with some issues) I don't want to do this because I love alot of people at the barn and am not interested in breaking my connection with the barn. It would be utterly unreasonable for my coach to get angry at me for switching barns, but she isn't always the most reasonable person. I figure I can take anything she throws my way, but I really have no interest in breaking bonds with the barn. Anyways, when my coach asked me if I was going to go I just said that I wasn't because I would have just moved Grady (didn't say where, she assumes to my home) and that I don't want to deal with a show that weekend too. So she asked me if I could do chores for them so THEY could go. Keep in mind that I said I was quitting at the END OF JULY.

*ahem* So another confession... I took great delight in saying "NO!!!" I have a Pony Club meeting that day and I want to go. And that's that. She got angry and said some things to me, but for the first time EVER I didn't care!! Afterwards I felt like leaping and whooping and hollering for joy.

I would not wish this situation on ANYone. It has taught me alot about life, but God forbid anyone have to go through the hell I've gone through.

*he he he* *ha ha ha* I feel gitty and excited right now!!!

Monday, July 21, 2008

Dark Knight

This past weekend I was at a horse show. Details on that later this week... When I have time to get the pictures up and sorted through! I went to see the new Batman movie last night. I am a HUGE fan of the movies. Let me just say that this movie was very very awesome. I'll be seeing it again soon, I want to make sure I got the plot right. Heath Ledger was amazing, it's too bad he isn't around to see his success. The movie gets four stars in my book!!

Friday, July 18, 2008

Two Day Break Down

I have been so incredibly busy!!! This past wednesday was my birthday. Yeah, 18 years old! I can sign my own show papers now! Woohoo! I didn't do much for excitment though. Actually on Tuesday my boss at the library gave me cupcakes and a $20 gift card to Subway. Then we all went and got Subways and had cupcakes after! That was nice. But on my actual birthday I just worked, took Grady on a trail ride, and then rode Isis in the late afternoon. We worked on our canter to walk transitions. We rode for a good hour and we were both hot and sweaty afterwards so we went for a swim! Dad's hobby is raising fish in ponds so we've got swimming holes right on our property. I always go in the shallowist one which is about 4 to 5 feet deep. Isis never rolls with me on her, so we always wade into the middle (the water goes up to the middle of my thighs or almost to Isis's withers), Isis splashes around for awhile, dunks her head under water once or twice, walks around a bit, splashes a bit, then when she's done she walks out. I just let her do whatever she wants in the pond. It's the most fun that way. I'll have to get pictures next time!

That evening I cleaned tack and watched the Spongebob Squarepants Movie. Mike, my co-worker at the library, insisted that I must see it once in my life. Ok, it was kind of funny.

Yesterday I rode Isis in the morning, then went for my jumping lesson. Sackett had a kick mark on his back right gaskin and was a little stiff, so I ended up not taking a lesson. Came back home and went to work. I rode Grady after I got my work done and he did pretty good. I did the Parelli "Pushing Passenger" exercise for twenty minutes or so, I think that really helps him. It's almost like when HE gets to choose when to go past something it's not scary anymore. I don't know, it's weird. Then I just worked on basic walk/trot/canter. No major mishaps. At the end I worked on stretchy chewy circles. Then in the late evening my dad and I stacked 100 bales of hay - We're done with hay for the year!! Yay! There's no better feeling than a barn full of hay.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Pics from my Aunt

On the day of my grad pary my aunt and cousin came out to meet my horses. My aunt took pictures and sent me some printed copies in the mail. I thought some of them were cute so I scanned them. The quality is obviously not very good because of the scan, but I hope you enjoy the pictures anyways.

My cousin Natalie and Grady
Isis and I bonding
Grady LOVES to have his face scratched. And I don't mean just a stroke or two, he likes it when you take both hands, dig in, and push as hard as you can. He pushes back and tries to rub his face up and down, which I think he thinks is supposed to help, but it actually makes it alot harder! He likes his lips, forehead, cheeks, eyes, and chin to be scratched, scratched, scratched! HARD!

Speaking of scratching Grady, this evening I put my hand up his sheath to check how things were going down there. The gnats crawl up and bite him in there, so I started to scratch around. His neck stretched out, his lips curled and he started to weave back and forth in total enjoyment of this private parts scratching. What was REALLY funny was after a few minutes he lifted up one of his back legs and held it up so I could get in at a better angle!! What a goof!

Monday, July 14, 2008


Lindsay (hopefully my new trainer) was at Birchbury giving a lesson this morning, so I was able to speak with her. I told her my situation and that I hoped to start taking lessons in August. She said that August would be fine. I also told her that I would also like to take lessons on a horse trained at higher levels and she said that an upper level lesson horse would be available at the end of August, so everything sounds like it's going to work out!! I am going to bring Grady down to Birchbury at the beginning of August and lessons will begin right away. Yay!!

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Trip to SD

Friday my mom and I took a trip out to South Dakota to visit my Uncle Marc and cousins. The last time I was there was for my aunt's funeral. We went out to visit and to check out the South Dakota State University campus as long as we were in Brookings. I worked all day at the library friday so we left around 7:15 friday night. We drove through a 15 minute downpour and then it was smooth sailing from there. We took my car because it gets good gas mileage. I have an awesome little Saturn that gets 36 mpg. We stopped for supper and coffee, but otherwise drove the 5 hour drive straight through. I drove most of the way and it was quite a pleasent trip. The weather was cool and the driving was easy. We got to my uncle's house a little after midnight. My uncle lives out in the country about 20 minutes from Brookings, my cousins Kelly and Wendy share an apartment in Brookings, and my cousin Kari came up from Kanses City, Missouri for the weekend. The girls stayed at their dad's house for the weekend.

When we got there we snuck into the house quietly, thinking we'd sneak to bed. We were just taking off our shoes when Kari came speeding out from the bed room. (All three of them were sharing their mom's bed) Wendy came soon after, and Kelly came out right behind her. Understand that my cousins are extremely jolly, upbeat people so there was lots of squealing, hugging, kissing, giggling, and laughing. We chatted for awhile and then went in to see if we'd all fit on my aunt's bed. Of course we didn't, but we had fun piling on top of eachother. We were up for about 45 minutes and then we went to bed.

The next morning we had a light breakfast. The weather was BEAUTIFUL and I took a stroll around the property and took some pictures. The entire place is landscaped just beautifully, with gardens, paths, ponds, bridges, etc. I took a couple pictures. Here is one, but it really doesn't give it any justice at all.

Then we went into Brookings for the annuel Art in the Park festival. It has hundreds of booths with artisans both local and from around the country. Plus lots of fair food and entertainment!! We bee-lined for the food where we got cheese curds and gyros. Then we began our tour around the booths. Wendy got a strand of hair wrapped with string in a very colorful, pretty design with a fairy charm hanging off the bottom. Then we watched a juggling show, which was very entertaining. The jugglers were very funny and really got the crowd laughing.

We continued to tour the fair after that, checking out the booths. I'm not a particularly artsy person so it wasn't a huge thrill for me, but I do like to browse. I actually did buy a t-shirt that says "Looking for a Cowboy (Must see horse first)" It's very cool. We also got cotton candy and fried Snickers bars. Yum!! We stopped into Uncle Marc's sister Karen's booth. She sold bright, colorfully decorated hand made furniture for kid's rooms. They had some really nice stuff.
This picture is one of my Art in the Park "atmosphere" pictures.
From left to right: Mom, me, and Kelly.

From left to right: Wendy, Kari, Mom.

Wendy and I got henna art done on our hands. They draw the design you pick on your hand with this ground up henna goo. It's brown and smells like cloves. You leave the goo on for several hours and it dyes your skin. The dye lasts for about a week. After we were done we went to Wendy and Kelly's apartment where we took this picture of our henna art.

Then we went to Shade' Winery where we did wine tasting (yes, me too!!) and bought a couple cases of wine. Most of it was pretty good, but some of it was pretty gross too.
Then we went back to Marc's house where we relaxed for a couple hours, tooled around on four wheelers, and drank iced tea. Kelly, Wendy, and Kari had gone through their mom's closet on friday and compiled a fabulously frumpy outfit. Kelly kindly modeled it for me!!
Then we drove down to Sioux Falls to eat at the Brazilian Festival Grill. It was quite the experience!! It had a wonderful, upscale atmosphere. We started off the meal with Brazillion pop and champagne, and then hit the salad bar. Most of the food wasn't that appealing to me, as much of it was sea food and I don't like sea food. (Octupus? Yuck!) I had a nice salad though. The rest of the meal was the interesting part. Each person had a dial by their plate with red and green sides. If your dial was on green then these guys dressed in some kind of Brazilian outfits came to you, each carrying a sword with hunks of meat on them. They would offer the meat to you and if you wanted some they would slice some off the hunk of meat on the sword. They had all sorts of styles of beef, pork, chicken, and sea food. I ate WAY more meat than I normally would (I'm not a big meat sort of person) but it was very excellent. Afterwards we got two desserts and split them. It was a VERY fun, VERY filling meal!!

Here's a picture of my cousins, Uncle Marc, and one of the many sword servers.

That evening we took a walk around the property. When mom suggested the walk and Kari, who was very hyper, started leaping around and yelling "YES, LET'S DO IT, LET'S DO IT, DO IT, DO IT!!" Afterwards we hit the sack.

Today was a pretty layed back day. Wendy, a paramedic, went into Brookings because she was on call. Kari had to leave to get back to work (she manages a Starbucks). So we went with Kelly into town and she took us for a tour of Brookings and the SDSU campus, which is VERY nice. What a beautiful, fun place!! We stopped at Subway for lunch and then went out to the horse facility, a massive complex of barns. The university owns hundreds of acres dedicated to horses. They have several indoor arenas, probably 6 barns with stalls, lots of pasture, and they are in the process of building a new multi-million dollar riding and boarding complex. The competitions are in an enormous stadium called the Swiftel Center. I met with the SDSU equestrian coach, a very nice lady who is also an FEI technical deligate, eventer, and Prix St. George dressage rider. She told me all about the equestrian team, try out process, and how the competitions worked. I asked specifically about dressage opportunities in SD, which are not exactly abundent. If I were to make it on the team and if I worked hard for the team, she said she would give private dressage lessons. There are also clinicians that come in regularly. Most people on the team get athletic scholarships, which would be a nice thing to get. My problem is that most of the riding I would be doing is NOT dressage. NCAA English competition is equitation over fences and on the flat. I have no experience in either, so I'm not sure if I could get on the team. And even if I did, I'm not sure if it's the route I want to take. SD isn't a big dressage area, and I'm not sure if college is the route I want to go right now anyways. I'd really like to take a couple years to concentrate on my dressage. I suppose once my Young Rider and Pony Club years are over I could go back to school if no horse opportunities crop up. I just really don't want to put a hold on my dressage right when it's the prime time for me to be persuing it.

But other wise I LOVE the town of Brookings and think it would be a fabulous place to live and go to school. Plus, as my cousins pointed out, I have "built in friends" there!! I'm a little torn over it, being as I love the area so much and would love to get an athletic scholarship. But like I said, I'm by no means garunteed a spot on the team and dressage IS my passion. I guess I'll wait to see how life unfolds through the next year.

After our tour we left town and had a pleasent drive home. We're now home and I was very happy to see Isis. I think she missed me too!

Thursday, July 10, 2008


I rode Grady today. He was NOT a good boy. I don't know what to do with him... He can be so brilliant, but that's the exception, not the rule. He has been down right dangerous lately. He was pretty good at the show, but the trick about Grady is that the MORE familiar he is with a place the spookier he gets. This is why I don't believe he's actually scared of things, but instead perhaps bored and annoyed with work. I don't know what to do with him. He's not just "sort of naughty", he is DANGEROUS. I'm sick of fudging through my rides on him, forcing him through his paces while I'm desperatly attempting to prevent him from leaping, bolting, or rearing.

I bought Grady because he was a gorgeous, but challenged horse. I have done everything I know to do. I did several months of interactive ground work (NOT just longeing), have maintained that ground work, trail ride, show, and work him 5 or 6 days a week. All our work has been heavily supervised by a trainer. Grady has greatly improved, but it's been a year and ahalf. I believe his tendency to get jumpy and obnoxious in FAMILIAR areas is a *quirk* of his and I don't think it can be fixed. I can change things up, make things interesting, but in the end I need a horse that I can do consistent dressage on. I love him besides that, but I'm starting to wonder if he's worth my effort...

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Lesson on Isis

I brought Isis to a lesson today. It was a very encouraging lesson. I take a lesson on Isis at the MOST twice a year. She is a wonderful, wonderful horse - but not especially fancy. For that reason I keep her at home where I ride her faithfully, just plugging along with the knowledge that I have. I wanted to bring her over and have our work evaluated, figure out where we are. I was pretty confident that all our 1st Level work is good. I demonstrated all the movements in 1st Level - including the leg yield! - and it all went very well. I got what I wanted, which was confirmation that our 1st Level work is good, correct, and well done. I also demonstrated the shoulder-in, which was also good. At the end of the lesson we discussed the 2nd Level work I need to be doing. I am excited to continue my work with Isis, she is my best friend. And she's about 500 times more fun to ride than Grady!!

When I ride Isis I tend to ride her with a longer, looser rein. Isis does not work well on a short rein, she gets tight and upset. Also, because she's built like a Quarter Horse, I really have to continually encourage her to stretch and work over her back because it's so easy for her to get blocked up in her body. For that reason I ride her a little more "strung out" with a few minutes of more collected work here and there. I REALLY have to be cautious of how much and how long I ask her to shorten her frame.

You'll have to forgive my rather pathetic appearance, at this point of the day I'd been at the barn for 10 hours and Isis was my 5th horse.

He he, this is my favorite picture!!
Long and low (Isis's favorite)
I think this is a leg yield, but the pic is at a bad angle
Counter Canter
Warm up canter (notice how long the frame is)

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Did the math...

I was blown away when I sat down and did the math. It is CHEAPER for me to board Grady at Birchbury then it is to keep Grady at home and trailor down for lessons. WOW!!!! I counted everything, gas, horse care costs, lesson costs... I couldn't believe it!! I'll update more later - I still have to figure out the details.

Monday, July 7, 2008

New Trainer?

I just wrote a huge comment to someone else about this, so I decided I'd just post about it. I am thinking of switching trainers. I met Taylor's trainer yesterday and she seems like a wonderful person. She is a USDF Bronze, Silver, and Gold medalist and has several FEI level horses. I spoke to her about the possibility of taking lessons both on an upper level horse and on Grady. I need to regain the feel for mid to upper level movements for Grady's sake, plus I just want to regain and learn more feel! I've been more or less stuck at Training and 1st Level for the last couple of years. Isis is working at 2nd Level, but it's hard when I'm not actively riding a horse that understands what I'm asking for when I'm not 100% confident in what I'm asking for. Her name is Lindsay Fuchs and at this point I'm not finding a website for her barn. I can't really remember the name of it!!

Anyways, I'd want to take lessons both on upper level horses and Grady. The barn is within a mile of Birchbury so I'm almost contemplating the idea of boarding Grady AT Birchbury. It's $250 cheaper than Lindsay's barn and not much more then what I'm paying for board now. That has yet to be decided though. I will be getting information about the barn shortly and hope to check it out soon. I probably wont make any switches until August, so we'll see what happens!! It sounds like a great opportunity and I want to look into it. There aren't many Grand Prix riders around here - I'd never heard of Lindsay before and here I've been looking for a trainer with upper level horses for HOW long? I am very blessed to find this opportunity!! I hope it works out, it sounds expensive, but I'm going to do what it takes. It would be a GREAT opportunity to (finally) get a leg up!

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Parkside Dressage

*phew* Life keeps trucking. On the 4th we went with some extended family members to see fire works. The place we go has some of the best in the state - they are always awesome and they get better every year. I am so thankful for my country, where else would I have the opportunties that I have here? I always get teary eyed during fireworks!

I had another show this weekend. Yesterday I worked and then spent the rest of the day getting ready. I only went today (the 6th) because of the 4th of July being Friday. Tradition does not make room for horse shows!! Family time is very important to me.

The show grounds were absolutely wonderful, and the rings were wonderful. Grady was very comfortable in them (amazing!) and didn't even spook once, although he did several times during the warm up. The warm up wasn't so great, it was in a big indoor arena that was really dark and dismal. Grady didn't like it in there at all. But like I said, he was quite comfy in the show rings which I was SO thankful for. Another exciting part of the show was having people there that I know!! My friend Taylor was there with her trainer, so she was a HUGE help to me with getting ready and warming up. Thank you, thank you Taylor!!!

I did Training 2 and 4 again. Our first test, Training 2, was quite nice and I am very pleased with it. We got 62.5% and 5th place. Understand that while 62.5% isn't something most people would be too impressed with, (normally I wouldn't be either) and even though my test was nothing to make anyone else jealouse, being able to go into the ring with Grady and have him work without any major mishaps was SUCH a huge step for us!! I'll never forget reading an article by Jane Savoie in Dressage Today where she talked about making goals for yourself instead of just trying to get great scores or beat everyone else. Then you can be happy when you meet them - and I'm very happy! My goal was to go in, ride a respectable test and not have Grady do anything naughty. I met that goal.

It was EXtremely hot today (coats were waved). It got well above 90 degrees. The show did not provide stalls for those of us that were showing for just one day, so I had to show out of the trailor. Not exactly the most pleasent thing in the world let me tell ya. It was a good experience for Grady though and he did quite well. He did get really really warm though. I rinsed him off with cold water several times, but he really was pretty miserable. I don't feel too badly about it though being as I want him to have as many "life experiences" as possible. The show was such a great show though, I am planning on going both days next year.

He was hot, tired, and unhappy for the second test. BUT he was never naughty, and for that I am so proud of him. Our test was quite lacking. We didn't have any major errors and we didn't have any spooks, but it just lacked pizzazz. The judge even commented that Grady looked really tired. Our lackluster, somewhat pathetic (but not incorrect) test only got 56%. I thought I deserved a little more then that being as there were no major errors, but what can I say? I know it lacked energy, I know Grady was tired, and I refuse to gripe about the judging.

My dad realized at the last minute that the camera didn't have a memory card in it, so he put a the little bitty card that came with the camera in. He only got a couple pictures, so here they are. Neither of them are anything special.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

XC Pics

This morning I rode Isis before heading off to my jumping lesson. It was really really cool this morning for July, only 45 degrees F. By the time I rode it was somewhere in the low 50s. Anyways, the bugs weren't bad so I decided to go for a trail ride. I rarely trail ride in the months of June and July because the bugs are SO bad at my house. But since they weren't, we went out. I wanted her to get some excercise so our "trail ride" was mostly trotting and cantering. Oddly enough, Isis really doesn't enjoy that. She can be very big and bold in an arena, but the minute I go out and canter on the trail she sucks back and gets pretty unmotivated. Maybe she's just nervous.

My mom came along to my lesson today because we were going to do some shopping afterwards. And I also had to go to the dentist. I'm actually really glad she came because her directions to the dentist would have been wrong and I would have been loster than lost. Our dentist is quite a ways from our house because that's what my dad's insurance covers. I'm not very familiar with the area, so being as my mom got us lost trying to get there, I'm sure as heck glad I didn't try myself!! (By the way, no cavaties (sp?). I've never had one!!)

My mom is camera impaired, and while she did try, she didn't get many good pictures of my lesson. I'll post the two that managed to have all of Sackett in them!!

This is the only picture my mom got of my jumping. I actually really don't like it, I'm behind the horse a little bit. This roll top is a Novice jump (2'9") and the approach was cantering through the water then two strides to the jump. We had had some balance issues through the water (I'm not great at water yet) so our approach to the jump was a little hairy. I wasn't prepared for the jump, I think that's why I got left behind a bit. But I had alot of awesome jumps where I was right with Sackett. (Why couldn't mom get a picture of THOSE??) Normally I grab mane so I can hold on, stay with him, and not sit back too soon. *shrug* It's ok though, I've only been jumping for three months. I've gotta learn somehow!

The picture is small, but it gives an idea of what Birchbury's cross country course is like. It's VERY nice. It has beginner novice through Prelim jumps with some Intermediates thrown in. The girl on the gray horse is Tess, we're about the same age (both graduated this year), and we're going to be taking lessons on Thursdays together now. She's evented through Prelim so she's quite a bit better than I, but her horse is recovering from some lameness issues so she isn't jumping very high right now. It works out great! Then I can watch a more experienced rider do things before I do them myself.

Anyways, I didn't work since I went to the dentist and did some shopping, but I had a lesson on Grady this evening. He started out lazy as always, but after the first five minutes I got on his case about it (I always let him go lazy for a bit since we're just warming up) and he was EXtremely nice after that. I love it when I can sit the trot and have this big, huge, powerful trot underneath me where the horse's back is up, round, and strong and the horse is absolutely solid on the bit. It's the best feeling! We worked on our leg yields again; I figured out that part of my problem is that I tend to grab onto my left rein and keep it too close to his neck. (When leg yielding off the right leg, my trouble leg) I FORCED myself to get my hand four inches out farther and then he leg yielded really nicely. *he he* *sheepish grin* It's by no means a natural inclination for me to hold my hand out, so it's going to take some work on my part. It felt SO awkward!! So Grady was just awesome, powering along. At the end I went back into posting trot to let him stretch out and he was going really nicely - then did his signature, no warning leap to the side. 90% of these leaps unseat me (it's like having the floor pulled out from underneath you, it's fast and there is NO warning signs from Grady) and this was no exception. But I actually landed on my feet so I got on his case quite severely, got back on, and rode him around that end of the arena again. He was quite good. That little punk.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Trail Ride!

Today was a pleasent day at the barn. Pat brought some "none-horsey" people over, that's always interesting. I like to watch them back away
whenever a horse walks up to them. Oh well, they're muggles. That's what I like to call none-horsey people. I'm a huge Harry Potter fan by the way.

Over lunch I attempted to help Val translate her L program material. Seriously, that stuff is worse than a text book! Whoever wrote that takes pride in their jargon. We're all very well educated dressage people and we were having trouble figuring half of it out! When you talk about the abducted angle of the hip vector or whatever, it just gets a wee bit overboard on the fancy language.

We went for a trail ride this afternoon and I brought the camera!! Val, Linda, Katrina, and I went out for a jaunt. The weather was just perfect today, sunny with a breeze just strong enough to keep the gnats away.

This evening my dad and I stacked hay. I kind of like stacking hay, but he hates it. Atleast he's willing to help... Couldn't do it without him.

Val is on Czar (horse I rode for the 1st time last week) and Linda is on Bert. They come out for a trail riding lesson once a week. Bert is one of the lesson horses. Notice Grady's ears!!
Val on Czar

Katrina is riding Corky, he's 28 or 29 and currently the oldest horse at the barn. Bert is shaking off a fly in this picture.