Sunday, November 30, 2014

Basement Redo: Part 1

My phone was in off mode all weekend and snuggled in a Wigwam sock waiting for the VERY exciting appointment tomorrow to get a brand new screen. While it was nice to be unplugged for a bit I didn't get any horse snaps from the weekend.

What we did get was photos of me wire brushing and sanding our basement as it gets ready for a new coat of paint and new doors to keep the kitties organized. Yes. Those are swimming goggles. 

I've gotten absolutely hooked to the podcast Serial so we listened with rapt attention while spending LOTS of time spend in that basement this weekend. Whew!

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving!!!!

So very much to be Thankful for this year!
VERY happy to be spending this day with my new niece Siena!

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Shattered Screen

Even furry Polly can't make me feel better about dropping my new work iPhone 6 on the barn floor tonight. Suggestions for shattered screens welcome!

Monday, November 24, 2014

Dogs of Ariat

Felix is not terribly particular about what kind of curtain it is. Window? Shower? Doesn't matter. He climbs!
And both he and Linus gave me a guilty look when I came home to find a bag of cookies strewn across the floor.
So it was a welcome treat to have not only a lovely new coworker start last week but also to have her adorable pup, Zoe, join us in the office today! Finally a dog for my very own cube!

Sunday, November 23, 2014


IEA stands for Interscholastic Equestrian Association which was "formed and organized to promote and improve the quality of equestrian competition and instruction available to middle and secondary school students."

KMT has an IEA team and held their annual Regional show today! It was a LONG day but a lot of great energy and fun!

I was assigned the role of rider/ handler of one of our awesome lesson horses Cocoa. As a handler I needed to make sure Cocoa was tacked up and ready for his classes, help assigned rider get on, and retrieve him when the classes were over.

As I rider I got to hop on this morning and "show" him to all the IEA riders. Horses are drawn for classes and the assigned rider gets two warm up fences and then goes into the ring and does a show round that is judged. Keep in mind that most of these riders have not ridden the horse before and are then being asked to jump a course of 8 fences- talk about intimidating!

So before the classes begin, the horses go in by division height and are ridden through the course so the riders can see how the horse goes. Cocoa was participating in the two foot division- so I, having never ridden him myself, had the delightful task of cantering a course in front of a gaggle of teenagers.
Most embarrassing moment? Forgetting to pull my right stirrup down, conveniently the side facing the crowd, so that when I mounted I had to awkwardly pull it down while pretending that I was just super en vogue.

Anyway- Cocoa was a superstar the whole day- from making me look like an awesome rider through our warm up course to accommodating me when I tacked him up on three different occasions!
Cocoa and Rolex say "not again!"

My bud for the day!

Cocoa and I- in action!

Waiting to draw horses- a sea of black and tan!

Ellie enjoyed rolling in the mud!

This video pretty much sums up how the day felt!

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Is it Over?

A frustrating end to what has been a very long and exhausting week.

Finding a sunny way to end the day looking through the lesson photos that my stepmother-in-law took a few weeks ago. LOVE!
Happy Ears!

Love her facial expressions!

She's in the zone and I'm like "oh shit"

Moments later I turn around and see that rein dragging on the ground. Oh Paul. 

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

The Many Ears of Ellie

Wilbur threw a shoe sometime between last Monday and Sunday. With our first real rainy day of the season I scooted out of the office during a (lucky) break in the rain to meet the farrier for a new shoe! Wilbur spends every moment outside of the pasture snorting like a freight train. I was just like, "Here. have a treat and be quiet." He likes to flop his tongue around after a snack so it helps keep him distracted.
Rather than drive all over the planet (i.e. back to the office then back to the barn), I just stopped by KMT and did my requisite ride on El Camino. She was less snarky than last night but I'm not ruling out the fact that Emma remained directly in her line of sight the entire ride while schooling another horse in the same arena. It is a known fact that Ellie loves Emma.

We worked on our "happy ears" in the crossties.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Who is the Favorite?

I really appreciate all of the thoughtful comments on yesterday's post. I didn't actually read any until just now- it was one of those entries that you fling up, add a photo, delete a photo in disgust, and never want to acknowledge that you wrote.

But the kind words and thoughtful advice did sink in and I came to a realization. Wait for it......

I am actually Ellie's most favorite person! I give her treats, take her out to graze, let her lick my arms before I put her bridle on. But best of all? When she cops an attitude to get out of work I usually end up giving in. She has got my number on a silver platter.

It was helpful to hear how others had been through similar situations with their mares (and geldings!) and have ended up just fine!

Onwards and upwards!

Monday, November 17, 2014

Longe Lesson Woes

Kelly and I talked about a few adjustments to my riding during my Saturday lesson to see if we can't get Ellie to like me a little more under saddle. She and I get along just fine on the ground but we need to connect during the ride, which we're just not doing right now. 

To kick things off I'm going to start riding MORE. Ellie will still get her training rides but I'll be out after work to do 10-20 minutes of hack. Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Saturday, and Sunday.  Working on no stirrups to build up the old legs. 

Kelly also suggested some longe line lessons, bringing things back to basics to focus on balance and leg aids. So I was SUPER excited to see that Brook had Rouie and Winslow on the longe before my Sunday lesson. Of course I asked if I could have a go and Ellie and I trotted around for the entirety of our private lesson working on moving haunches and shoulders with legs and not hands. 

I asked Rouie to take a few photos during the lesson for this blog and that's where things went a bit south. Ellie just looked so upset in every. single. photo. Ears pinned, back/ neck inverted. To see her so frustrated was just disheartening. I can understand when she gets snarky about too much inside rein, too much wiggling in the canter depart, too much nagging forward leg. I get it. I can be annoying. 

But she's just being asked to go around in a circle at the trot. We were working specifically on a NON-nagging leg. I was trying to be light in my seat, down in my heels, and guide with quiet aids. 

I am sure we will work through this once we figure out what she needs from me, but it's challenging to ride a horse that clearly wants nothing to do with you. 

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Used Tack Sale Blog Reader Run In!

I had forgotten that there was going to be a used tack sale going on Saturday at Brown Ranch so it was a lucky coincidence that Wilbur was the first stop of the day so I popped in when the gettin' was good!

A gal running the sale was super helpful in answering my questions (how exactly do you USE that mane puller?) and through some idle chit chat realized that she was the winner of the Ariat polo from my 31x31 contest! Based on her shipping address I knew that my winner lived in the Bay but talk about a small world!
It was awesome to meet a reader of the blog!!!

I picked up some pillow/ standing wraps for Wilbur- good to have on hand just in case! I also have a thing for mint condition baby pads. An odd thing to collect, and I rarely ever use them, but they're just so soft. A Hunter Green Beval for $5? Yes please!

Best of all 100% of the proceeds go to Horses Healing Hearts, a nonprofit rescue located right at Brown Ranch!

All the goodies!

Wilbur and Disel check out the action from afar

Love finding great deals!

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

The Prodigal CWD Returns!

The panels were made, I shipped the CWD to a Burbank address, and a week later it ships home complete!
A little shocked- I thought that in addition to the panels being made in France that the saddle was also shipped there to be assembled. In fact I questioned the poor CWD customer service gal heartily about who exactly put those panels on when she made the mistake of calling to confirm my address.

Apparently local CA saddle repair people who trained under the CWD masters in France. And for all you East Coasters there's a saddle repair center in NY.

So now we'll just have to wait and see if Princess Ellie likes her new panels. It feels very "Princess and the Pea"- esque.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Happy News!!!!

Dr. Natasha from Pioneer Equine Hospital came out to Brown Ranch today to take care of Wilbur's annual vaccinations, teeth floating, sheath cleaning (yes I wussed out), and worming.

Firstly- I am a little obsessed with Natasha (in a non-creepy way). She really took the time to walk me through everything that went on with Wilbur last November, invested the time to learn a little bit about him, and keeps saying what a good horse he is (which I am sure she says about every horse but still). Natasha did the vet on Ellie and I really trust her opinion- which I think is obviously an important quality to look for in your vet.
And it's not terrible that her horse, Dougie, is stalled at a barn on the Shiloh West property and we get to trail ride together.

Before we did the workup on Wilbur we got his baseline on hard ground, then threw him on a longe in the indoor ring to see where his lameness was at. I was feeling a little guilty- I hadn't actually taken Wilbs out of his pasture since he arrived and here we were dragging him around the property. He handled the stimulus like a champ and Brooke (the asst. vet) was expert horse wrangler.

What was I expecting? A much worse version of the below. After all- he'd been galloping around a pasture for a year playing hard with his buds. In fact- I was completely prepared to see a three legged horse and inject that coffin joint.

This video is from November 2013 after Wilbur had two months off in pasture.

What did we get? A sound horse. Yes! Totally sound!

No injections. Cleared for light work.

Still- I'm planning to stay my course. With irregular weather and pasture board I think that this winter will be spend focusing on ground work and some light conditioning via longe (Natasha recommended 15min 2-3 time a week). By Spring I'll be ready to throw a saddle on and start giving him some regular conditioning rides.

I think Dr. Natasha said it best today. "He looks better than we ever could have hoped for."
A little loopy during his teeth floating! Rightfully so- geez! 
I love drugs!

Sunday, November 9, 2014

In-Law Visit: Don and Anita

We hosted Don and Anita over the weekend and were excited to show them the new house and daily life in the C of A! In addition to drinking loads of rum and cokes we also spent time taking in the views at Muir Beach, the Vista Point over the Golden Gate, and gorging on Zachary's pizza.

Anita is a fantastic photographer (they just came back from a trip to Africa and the photos of the animals make me want to book a safari stat)- so I was tickled when she came to the barn today to catch Ellie and I in action! I managed to get a few adorable snaps of carrot treating as well!
Muir Beach

The crew. Ellie is all leggy Arabian there. I swear we feed her!

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Snug as a Bug

I had posted recently about my Thursday night ride challenges- primarily that I find it difficult to make the trek out after a long day and get along with Ellie.

I don't know what it was about this day, today, but I just had a great time! Despite leaving the office a little later than intended I didn't feel rushed, in fact I felt remarkably relaxed as a zoomed past what little traffic there was (a light traffic day is one to be enjoyed).

At the barn I watched the girls jump around while I casually zipped up my boots. All that working out must be paying off because rather than sweating and swearing like I usually do while manhandling the zipper over swollen end-of-day calves, the boots zipped right up!

Ellie and I did a light warm up and then Emma asked if we were ready to jump around. For a fleeting moment I had the urge to say no- but instead responded with a firm- SURE! We cantered back and forth over a few little verticals- no major mishaps and a few nice jumps. I really enjoyed Emma's instruction tonight- she always has good tips and adjustments to share and that coupled with a few "good jobs" left me feeling like we were taking steps (albeit small steps) forward and had an accomplished ride!

To end the evening I got Ellie snuggled in her blankets for the night- snug as a bug in a rug!

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

A Different Type of Ride

I'd been MIA over the past few days because I was busy flying to Vegas to surprise my Mom before she and my Aunt Linda took off on a week long bike trip through Death Valley. They are some hard core ladies I'll tell you what.

I zoomed over on Sunday early evening and after some frantic baggage claim texting Aunt Linda and I realized we were in different terminals and decided to meet at the hotel. More frantic texting. When the surprise finally happened it was pretty epic! The door opened, Aunt Linda screamed, and Mom looked a little confused for a few minutes before finally realizing what was going on. We had a fun time recapping the planning and so glad we pulled it off! Big props to Aunt Linda for keeping her cool.

Over to the strip for a yummy dinner at Caesars's Palace and to watch the volcano at the Mirage. Mom had never been to Vegas before so we had a great time exploring! Monday we did MORE exploring- taking the tram from spot to spot and I showed them that the Convention Center was not glam. At all.
Back at the hotel for a bike fitting, beers in the casino, and then on a plane home!

What a fun, special trip!
Resting our tooties between destinations!

Mom poses in front of the Statue of Liberty!

At the Chandelier Room in the Cosmopolitan 

Fitting some bikes! Zoom!

So much fun!