Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Pony Riders Brighten Everyone's Day

Who can resist a little pony rider? Especially one ready to pass out a blue ribbon?

These little tots from KMT made my day with their enthusiasm and energy (the little one in the middle was in her show coat and helmet two hours before her class).

Ah to be young again!

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

My Little Duckling

I thought I'd share out a few more pics from my recent Wilbur visit. I emailed Marlene about some of my concerns and got a nice, long response back which left no doubt that he is getting excellent care!

Love his sweet face!

Monday, May 26, 2014

Memorial Weekend

Ellie and I had a fun Memorial Weekend together!
We had a great time with Kelly in our Friday lesson- working on a pole grid- a line of two 5 strides that really helped me feel her strides and also worked on her adjustability as we had to collect quite a bit in the second.

Saturday we hacked for a bit over that same line and joined in the flat portion of the 11 o'clock and did some no stirrups and two point. Much needed!

Sunday Jillian was subbing for Emma and patiently listened while I described all of Ellie's (read my) "issues" and then we proceeded to canter a few crossrails! Yeah!

Lexi and Jinx joined in my Sunday lesson (we amateurs having a little joke about hazing but I didn't actually make her lie on the ground while Ellie jumped over her) and we relaxed after the lesson on our short loop! Good for the mind and soul!

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Work Trip to Sonoma Horse Park

Last Friday I selflessly volunteered to spend the day at Sonoma Horse Park with a few coworkers who had not been to a horse show before.

They asked a ton of great questions and got to meet Ben, my old faithful.

A fun field trip day horse show spectating with the team!
Sienna was the perfect companion- yipping at the horses in the Grand Prix ring

Ben and Christopher get to know one another

#TBT Ben and I at Sonoma in 2012

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Blog Hop: Bit it Up

Another fun blog hop from Viva Carlos- what bit I use and why!

Ellie and Wilbur have a few things in common:
* both babies so I'm not having the deal with corrections
* both have soft mouths and I've got fairly quiet hands
* both are lazy so it's more about getting them to actually go forward than any need for control

Wilbur has gone in a Loose Ring Copper Slow Twist and a Loose Ring Happy Mouth. Ellie goes in a basic curved D- we started her in a Happy Mouth but we wanted her to have some metal in her mouth for her to pull on (she had a habit of over-collecting in the beginning and we wanted her to stretch out and take the bit).

Polly has been the biggest pain in the bit-butt. She chews through her Happy Mouth D in a matter of weeks and those things are not cheap! I threw my Sprenger on her bridle and she HATED it. I almost put the Happy Mouth on Smartpak auto-ship.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

A Little Hug Never Hurt

Sometimes at the end of a long, hard day a little horse hugging can go a long way (as can admiring a pretty ribbon)!

Monday, May 19, 2014

KMT Horse Show at Robertson Park- Sportsmanship (Again)

I realized after dissecting my horse show day that I'd never been to a one day show before as a rider and not a volunteer.
I would call the day productive in the sense that I learned, as I usually do at shows, what we need to work on at home! But it was certainly not an easy day by any stretch of the imagination.

I arrived at the barn at 5:30am to help where needed, which wasn't much help at all considering I don't know how to wrap. So I packed up my car with everything I and everyone else could possibly need and headed out to Robertson Park in Livermore- about 40 minutes from the barn.

Our two schooling volunteers were unfortunately absent do to sickness and pulled shoulders so I quickly tacked up Ellie and hopped on to give her a chance to look around. While this wasn't quite part of the plan it was certainly a good exercise in bucking up and getting the job done. Doesn't everyone love to school their baby horse at their first away show?
And of course Ellie was totally fine with being in a new place so I just ended up feeling a bit foolish.

Without a few extra sets of hands I was more than happy to pitch in and rotate water buckets, hay, and raise fences while catching a few jumper rounds (a lot of jumper rounds).

There were a ton of entries and my most wonderful husband Paul was on the way out to see my class. Which was unfortunately running far behind due to the gaggle of walk/trot poles that was so large it was split into two groups.
I absolutely love that my husband is game to come to a show but the timing is ALWAYS a challenge. And I get it- he doesn't want to show up two hours before my division and have to sit around. But inevitably that's exactly what happens- which adds another layer of stress on to the day. Entertaining the husbands. I finally sent him off to move his car and by the time he returned I was already tacked up and waiting to go into the ring.

So let's move on to the Crossrail Division. Two flat classes first- Hunter and Eq. Frankly I really dislike flat classes and dislike them even more before jumping. And god bless this judge, she had us trotting in circles forever.
The big win of the flats- we got our right lead every time! Whoop! The takeway- I'm still learning her rhythms. At the trot I've learned that she can be slow, medium, and fast. At the canter I still have my driving leg- so rather than just encouraging I tend to drive her along in an upwards frame. It doesn't help that her stride is a million miles long so we're constantly trying to find a spot on the rail.
Where is the medium canter? Apparently somewhere between a trot and a gallop.

I had decided that we were going to trot our first course, the Hunter course. And good thing too because it was a hot, hot mess. I chased her down every line and managed to get ahead at almost every fence.
Emma gave me some awesome advise for the Eq round- to literally crawl-trot into the lines. Worked like a charm! She had the perfect stride to manage the adds. Over the single crossrail she managed to trot in and trot out- little Ellie was getting tired!
The final course, the Medal, I came very close to missing my rollback turn, tried to encourage her towards that little single crossrail and she took that as a sign to canter, and almost missed my halt at the end.
I had decided not to canter the courses for a few reasons. The indoor ring was pretty tight and there were a few fences that would have required a lot of balancing to make work. I would not have been organized enough to manage simple changes and make them look nice. And I just wasn't in the mindset- it had already been a long day.

Paul and I walked back to the corrals right after the class and I did have a good cry on his shoulder. I didn't feel like I gave her very goods rides, and even though she was awesome I was disappointed in myself. Also I was sad that I wasn't going to get any ribbons. Seriously? Not a reason to cry.

We untacked and walked back over to the ring to listen for the ribbons that I wasn't going to get. Two Seconds and a Third over fences- Reserve Champion. I felt like a little bit of a jerk. A happier jerk.

Paul left to go grab (much needed) beers with his friend and I got to pass out ribbons for the remainder of the day. Best job ever.
Horses and stuff back at the barn and home by 6:30pm.

Ellie was great all day- super duper awesome. I could not have been happier and I think we're ready to start tackling more in our lessons.

I was a bit of a mess. I overheard something in the early part of the day that wasn't meant for me to hear, wasn't directed towards me, but something I took very personally. Rather than brush the comments off I internalized and let them take over and ruin what was supposed to be a fun day. That attitude resulted in snapping (wrongfully) at my trainer, being mean to Paul, and needlessly crying over ribbons.
Lesson learned. I'm in charge of my own feelings and happiness. Riding makes me happy. Going out and trying new and different things, like showing, makes me happy. Regardless of how others around me are behaving I can still have fun and enjoy what I love to do!

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Ellie Sends a Text

I know Kelly was super happy with her ride on Ellie on Friday because I got the following video along with a text about her 2'6" course (with one 2'9" fence).

Home after a LONG day at the show. Ready to relax and recap the events tomorrow! We did get a few ribbons, cried a little bit, and had a lot of fun. Par for the horse show course.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Why I Ride: Part Two

I was sharing with a friend at the barn (also named Emily) about the blog hop- and while after reading through everyone's posts and writing my own I realized that I wasn't being entirely truthful about why I ride. Hence part Two.

Me: Everyone is blogging about their relationship with the horse and I did too but most of the time I'm terrified and hoping I don't have to canter a jump.

Emily: Me too! It's not like any one has a gun to my head making me go to a show- why do I do it? I'm queasy most of the day. Why do I compete? I've actually been analyzing it quite a bit. For the envy of others? My own self worth? What's even the ultimate objective in riding?

Me: I envy those people who have trail horses and go and just ride. What a life!

Emily and Emily agreed- it's a compulsion. Plain and simple. And we love our horses. When we're not terrified to ride them.
If you want to see the landing to that fall......why DOES anyone ride? Ouch!

Wish me luck in the crossrails on Sunday! I MAY be cantering!

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Why I Ride

Thanks to L. over at Viva Carlos for putting together a great blog hop idea! Why do I ride?

For me, and I imagine most riders, horseback riding is more than a sport or hobby, it's a lifestyle. Living an equestrian lifestyle means....

I'd rather be at the barn

My clothing, any clothing, is fair game for dirt and green horse slobber

I am perpetually broke but will scrape up enough to go to a show at the end of the year

When I fall off I get back on
Ouch! Yes- that's me!
I live for that second of flight over a perfect jump

There is nothing better than a perfect partnership with that one special horse
And my barn family knows exactly what I'm talking about
Friend Laura

Friend Sophia
*** For my photography readers. Yikes- the watermarks! These photos are very old and are no longer available for sale.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Heat Wave

The Bay is seeing a little heat wave and I have to say that I felt bad for the guys that had to drag our new bed up two flights of stairs this afternoon!

Before working at home for the rest of the day I stopped by the barn to do, what else?, write a check! Ellie and I are doing a little schooling show (IN LIVERMORE) on Sunday and I think, I think we might just get a wild hair and canter our crossrails this time.

Like a horse show is the best place to go bold and do something you've never done before right?
Despite my best attempts to stay in the shade...

The downstairs is gloriously cool yet he chooses to hang out in the upstairs bedroom- hottest room in the house- and look slightly put out

Monday, May 12, 2014

May Wilbur Visit

With PK out of town I thought it was the ideal time to swing out and pay Wilbur a long overdue visit on Saturday.

He looked....good. His weight looked great. Back feet looked like they needed a trim but since we'd taken his shoes off I'm hoping the farrier is just letting them grow out a bit. Fronts looked awesome.
He seems to have some sniffles- in addition to following up on his feet I'm also going to check in with Marlene on his breathing. Hoping it's a combination of dust and allergies.

I did email two local places today about their pasture board (and any Cali friends- please share recommendations). I think Marlene takes great care of her horses but it's hard to visit often when he's an hour and a half away.

Not visiting frequently makes me even more nit picky when I do see him. He's not the copper penny I dropped off but really, what do I expect?

He looks healthy and happy which is really all that matters!
Classic Wilbur pose

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Happy Mother's Day!

Paul always goes out of his way to make sure I feel special on Mother's Day. I do have 3 babies (albeit two of them are very large) and I managed to spend some quality time with each this weekend including a visit to see Wilbur on Saturday. 

Today I worked on some groundwork in my lesson with Ellie and came home to a lovely card "from" the critters. Paul treated me to lunch at Chevy's- complete with Lemonade Margarita- and then we went mattress shopping (upgrading from a Queen to a King). Pretty exciting stuff!

A nice walk with Paul and a trip to Farmer Joe's for salad fixin's (while Paul stayed home and vacuumed- he is officially a superstar) rounded out the day!

A perfect weekend with the "kids."
Ellie looking adorable as usual

Paul tests a Tempur-pedic- Slightly out of budget but I did enjoy the vibrating feature

Wilbur refusing to snuggle for any selfies

Linus helps his Dad build a bookshelf from Target

Card from my wonderful husband

Thursday, May 8, 2014

"Everything is Awesome"

Raise your hand if you've seen The Lego Movie.

Actually it's quite good and worth a watch. Of course I was sitting on an 11 hour flight sharing a communal TV- there was not much choice in the matter.

There's a fun song with lyrics that go....
"Everything is awesome! Everything is cool when you're part of a team. Everything is awesome, when we're living our dream."

Do NOT listen to it. It will get stuck in your head and you'll find yourself belting out "Everything is awesome" even when it is inappropriate to do so. Worse yet, when something is not actually awesome and the whole situation becomes misconstrued.

Although it is nice to be part of a team.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Extremely Good Customer Service- Equuleus Designs

I jumped on COTH for a second today and ran across a recent thread about a consumer who was disappointed in the Ogilvy customer service experience. And it had three hundred and fifteen responses!

Holy smokes! Certainly a good reminder about the power of web publicity! In my personal opinion, I would almost always rather shop from a retailer rather than directly from the manufacturer. The cost is the same,  it keeps the independents in business, plus there's a middle man to deal with any service issues for me.

Speaking of customer service, I recently had a lovely experience with Equuleus Designs. As you may recall I won a custom pillow from them in a Horse & Style Magazine contest over Holiday where I may or may not have run around my house shouting "I won, I won."

They asked me to send a photo in January that they could use for the design and I didn't manage to actually decide on anything until the middle of March. The pillow had crossed my mind a few times since but as it was a free gift I didn't want to be a bug.

When I returned from my vacation I opened the box and found not one but two pillows, the second au gratis for the time it took them! What a treat!