Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Welcome Oso!!!

SO EXCITED to welcome Jen's new horse, Oso to Shiloh West! 

What a handsome feller! Doesn't he look dashing in blue? Can't wait to see what these two do together! Certainly the makings of a great team!

Monday, March 30, 2015

Cheers to Emma

I can hardly say that I went around the courses this weekend of my own volition. So who held the proverbial gun to my head? Well that was Emma.

This was her last weekend at the barn. I've known that she was leaving for about a month but have had a severe case of denial. So when Emma told me that I was going to jump around on Saturday I said, "how high?"

I am so incredibly sad to see her leave. For the past eight weeks or so we've made so much progress in such a short amount of time. I've loved that I'm in the saddle more often thanks to our 7am schedule and that we've focused on working through our problem areas through private lesson time.

I've been so fortunate to have Emma be the primary Elle rider during training rides and then translate their work into our lessons. She knows exactly how to push Ellie's buttons so to speak.

I trust Emma implicitly- both in Ellie's care and training- but also into our lessons. I trust that when Emma says we can do something, we probably can. That was certainly proven true this weekend.

My regret would be that I didn't take advantage sooner.

Cheers to Emma!

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Air Time

Ellie and I got a little bit of a wild hair this weekend and jumped around Saturday AND Sunday. Boy did we jump! No crossrails for us- we did some 2' warm up and moved right on up from there topping out at a rollback to a 2'9" oxer.
There were some hairy moments to be sure- mostly over the smaller stuff actually- but we bit the bullet and kept right on going.

I had to grab some stills from the video Jen got this morning. Certainly some elbows to tame- but Ells is jumping as cute as ever regardless of what I'm up to!
Great feeling!

Thursday, March 26, 2015


A 7am ride on Ellie. A 7pm Wilbur check. Work in between and work after- finally done with a glass of wine and a salad from Farmer Joes.
Wilbur still has a bit of a temperature so I've been giving him some fancy grain and fancy electrolytes and checking the thermometer. Feet were done today and vaccinations scheduled for Tuesday. Whew!

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Someone is Feeling Better

I can't quite think of more pleasant way to start the day!

Monday, March 23, 2015

Case of the Mondays: Spring Vaccination Edition

Usually a Monday optimist, today was no exception. In fact- it was a special Monday- Wilbur was scheduled for his Spring vaccinations!
I had lined up the farrier to shoe in the morning so he would be ready for a nice jog when the vet arrived at 11.

Arriving shortly before our scheduled time I was disappointed to find my farrier check still at the barn but before I even had to follow up, received a text that there was a scheduling conflict and was Thursday ok? There's good and bad here. The good being that my farrier does a great job and he can shoe Wilbur without me being there. Seriously huge. The bad is that lately there have been a few scheduling conflicts and we're stretching out our 6 week cycle much longer than I'd prefer.

I sat in my car ruminating over how sad I felt for Wilbur's feet while there were intermittent burst of tiny rainstorms- the idea of standing the rain during is vet visit is less than thrilling. Making matters worse- a very vocal orange cat kept meowing and scratching at my drivers side door.

11:30 rolled around and I tried to call my vet and then called Pioneer Equine Hospital. I certainly don't mind waiting I just wanted to make sure I hadn't mistaken the day or time. Nope- she should be there in a few I was told.
Noon rolls around and I text the vet for an ETA. Between 1:30/2? Apparently I was down on her schedule for a 1pm- a miscommunication from the office. Such is life- I was just glad I got to leave and grab a little lunch. So long productive work day.

My vet and tech arrive and we troop out to grab Wilbur (it is now sunny and warm). She says he's looking great- good weight- that he's a special guy. Have I mentioned I love my vet?
She checks his heartbeat, runs his temp. Whoops- running a fever at 103. Looking really concerned, she recommends some blood work and gives him some Banamine. By this point I'm also very concerned and I ask what in the world this could mean? Nothing- just a virus going around the herd. But unfortunately he can't get his vaccinations today so she's going to have to come back out.

Le sigh. So I will be out taking temps, dosing Banamine, and feeding electrolytes until his fever goes down. I have called in horsey husband favors and Paul will be accompanying me to the barn tomorrow for my first visit. Nurse Emily to the rescue!

I lurv getting shots Mum! 

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Seconds Please!

I've enjoyed riding a few "seconds" this week. My time in the irons has increased dramatically- riding five days a week- and this week two of those five rides I had two horses!

I regularly hack Jinx on Fridays- his owner work in San Fran and has trouble getting to the barn at a reasonable time. In addition to our usual ride, Lex had a major Tuesday deadline so I was able to pick up a last minute night ride after my lesson. I had to laugh, as the last KMT riders still in the ring Brook had forgotten about me and put Ellie's bridle in the lost and found box. Classic. I could picture her grumbling under her breath about messy kids.

This morning I happened to be in earshot of Brook and working student, Rouie, when Brook mentioned that Kelly's baby, Albert, needed a hack. Rouie had not brought her gear and without hesitation I piped up and said I could hack him. It wasn't until after I'd offered my "services" did I realize that Albert had been in pasture for 6 months and back at the barn for less than a week.
With that I hesitated for just a moment, but had ridden him before so felt like I had some baseline, and we had a really lovely time.
I think I need to add another baby to my flock.

Feeling lucky to get the extra ride time this week!!!

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Makings of a Good Pupil

Occasionally I'll take a step back and ask myself, "Am I a good student? Am I someone that my trainers enjoy giving lessons to? What can I do to be a better pupil?"

And every time I do this exercise there are always a few specific constructive criticisms. But before I shame myself- I'll sandwich in a few areas where I feel I excel.

Timeliness: I am always on time for my rides and am conscientious of my trainer's time.

Listening Skills: I think that I'm good at listening to my trainer's feedback and employing their suggestions in my rides. They may think differently based on the number of times they've told me to close my fingers.

Polite: Generally speaking I am pleasant to be around. I often answer with a yes or no ma'am (I picked  up the ma'am chatting with old timey Western folks.....also why I am now using the word folks... and it's usually reserved for when when I'm trying not to shriek a string of swear words). And always say thanks for the time.

Areas for improvement.....

Just do it already!!!: Currently a typical jump or canter convo with me would go like this...
Trainer: Let's do this exercise at a canter.
Me: Can we just trot it?
Trainer: I'd really prefer you canter it. But you can trot it the first time.
Me: Fine. I'll just go canter it.

Really? I might have just gotten annoyed with myself as I was typing. Yet this is verbatim from our lesson this morning.
Just do it. Don't talk back. Just do what they want you to do. You're going to do it anyway.

Stop Over Sharing: When it comes to horses I feel as if I have the maturity level of a 10 year old. Coupled with a 31 year old brain I tend to wax poetic to my poor trainers ad nauseam about my philosophies as to where we are in our training.
For example....
Trainer: I think you have a great eye, you just worry about distances to fences. This exercise will help with that.
Me: Well *stop to stand around*.... really I think I'm not jumping because we really haven't connected on the flat, we haven't been cantering much, I can't get her medium canter down in flatwork, it seems counter productive to jump, blah blah blah blah blah
Trainer: Nods head (and I imagine is saying a nonverbal "shut up")
Me: Good. You agree. I'm glad to be doing these poles.

Then after the lesson I think to myself, "Why couldn't you just keep it to yourself and shut the f up?"

Sometimes I have the forethought to coach myself before lessons- which should not be that challenging. Because it's really just "be quiet and do what they ask."

I'm curious- what would you consider to be your strengths and weaknesses as a student?
Ellie says, "Shut up about the medium canter please." 

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Big Yawns

We're both yawning after a lovely group lesson that kept us working hard- and I was very pleased that we were also able to keep up!
That, plus a last minute catch ride on Jinx, has me ready for bed!

Monday, March 16, 2015

Group Lesson!

Group Lesson tomorrow night! Usually I get a little stressed in groups- all that pressure to perform and horses cantering around. There's a small adult ammy group at 6pm on Tuesday nights that I'm going to join and I'm super excited to be riding with my adult ammy friend, Dawn! She has been rehabbing her friend, Pepper, and seem to be having the same challenges getting our fabulous horses to canter for us. I am not alone!
Dawn and Pepper!

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Stay Cool Wilbur

More often than not Wilbur is happy to accept his treats and promptly wander off to hang with friends and graze. Saturday I found him staying cool in the shelter and when he spotted me, walked right up to the gate. I grabbed his halter and decided today was a good day for a walk around the farm.

Poor Wilbur ends up getting very little of my time. I check on him at least once on the weekend, usually twice, before heading over to ride Ellie. He's such a "people" horse I know he does enjoy the visits- however short they might be. One of the trainers is lined up to start working with him in April which makes me happy- I'm looking forward to getting him back under saddle. Paul is going to start stopping out after work maybe once a week or every other on his way home. Plus there's a gal who comes after school and does odd jobs so I may pay her to groom/ hand walk him here and there. Big plans in store for this guy- he's not going to know what hit him!

But back to our Saturday walk. Short and sweet. My newfound confidence with Ellie has translated to Wilbur as well. While he doesn't bolt, buck, or rear- when something startles him, like a random girl walking out of a barn for example, he gets this really worried look on his face and then jumps a little on all fours and plants his feet, snorting like a freight train to boot. It's challenging to not have some level of anxiety when clearly your horse is anxious about all the things.
Saturday I said, "just keep on walking buddy."
And he was fine and I was fine and we had a fun time!

Thursday, March 12, 2015

I Smiled All Day

I realized after my last post that I hadn't provided much context outside of the fact that I was SUPER nervous about jumping.

While I don't keep a daily training journal here I did look back through some old posts and realized I actually haven't jumped Ellie since somewhere around mid-October. Why? A number of reasons really- work and work travel playing a huge role in the amount of saddle time I was getting. But beyond that we were going to battle in our flatwork on every ride. As we all know, with great flat comes great jumping. So it seemed a little counter intuitive to carry on over fences when we couldn't produce a nice collected trot or a flowing medium canter.

Since I've been home for now the third week straight I've been busy riding five times a week and noticing a huge difference in the strength of my leg. Having three private lessons a week certainly hasn't hurt us either and we've been able to achieve a lovely, collected trot. Cantering....well? It tends to be either bucking while she is trying to break to a trot or galloping at this point. She has my number in this gait but today when she bucked in order to break I spurred her on, rode like a cowgirl, and laughed about it. I take progress where I can get it.

Oh yes- and we jumped. Not a full course but 2'6" nonetheless. Actually just one trot fence (orange) and came around to the black at a canter. She was perfect and I felt great. So we called it quits there. And guess what? I'm excited to jump on Saturday!

I have been so enjoying my lessons, the progress we're making, and feeling accomplished!
Emma and Brook say they're 2'6" and I'm going to take them at their word here

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Just a Little Jump Around- NBD

Emma keeps "suggesting" that I just pretend that Ellie is Polly and go jump a fence already.

Sometime last week I told her that I thought it would be a really good idea if we jumped a course in our Thursday lesson. And let's not piddle around. Best if we skip a warm up fence and just do a nice 2'6"/ 2'9" hunter course.


On the eve of my supposed jump around I'm a bit of a wreck. And by wreck I mean- every time I think about it my palms and feet start to sweat! My heart might actually be racing as I write this post (it may also be the multiple cups of coffee consumed today).

I know that there will be one of three outcomes here. I will wuss out entirely and just work on my canter (frankly a legitimate need), that I'll panic riding up to the first fence and scare myself, or I will channel my nervous energy into a lovely course and then call it done.

I'm going to work on visualizing number three and hope for the best. And look at calming photos of Wilbur who lives in his field and who I hand walk around the property. Ah- the easy life devoid of all expectations.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015


My Dad will sometimes inadvertently type "selfish" when trying to caption his "selfies."

In this case I'm going to typo "shellfish" because we're both crabby. Ellie is not a morning person horse.

Monday, March 9, 2015

The Hip New "Do"

I don't know. I think Remy may be a bit of a trendsetter with his bouffant forelock.

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Probably the Most Awesome Pair of Socks

This community of bloggers has taught me that socks are to be enjoyed. That I can buy a sock that's not made specifically for riding and they suit my purpose just fine. In fact, they end up being worn all the time because they're just so fun! I have been favoring the Sock it to Me brand and when Paul and I were visiting our old neighborhood on Saturday I just had to stop into our local sock shop to check out the selection (I am patiently waiting for a pair of Gryffindor socks). Because yes, there is a local sock shop.
How do you beat Unicorns with rainbows coming out of their bottoms?

Enjoying an Old Fashioned and some nice weather!

Because she's pretty. 

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Real Person Furniture

After a year (has it really been a year?) of living in our house we finally bought some furniture. Seriously- our TV has been residing on an oversized tupperware.

Our chairs and sofa will be arriving in April however our new "thing that will sit below the TV when it's mounted on the wall" arrived. I wouldn't stretch to call it an entertainment center. I think it will hold some books, succulents, and perhaps a framed photo.

I call it "real people furniture" because this is the first thing I've bought that showed up on a truck preassembled. Like- here's your table. Thanks, that's all.

And I really, really like it. The table and the lack of required tools.

Monday, March 2, 2015

Jinxy Cat

Never fear. While Ellie was out of commission I had the good fortune to hack Jinx on Saturday and Sunday while Lexi was out of town.

What a fun horse to ride!

Sunday, March 1, 2015

31x31: Two Birds with One Stone

This would be one of those times where I'm crossing things off my 31x31 list out of necessity rather than just for the sake of education.

Ellie came up lame on the right front this Saturday. She knocked a jump pretty hard on Friday but trotted out sound- thinking it's either a little lingering soreness from that or a potential abscess.

We packed her hoof and poulticed- or I should say Emma did- while I watched and asked questions. And now we wait for a few days and see if she feels any better!
The 31x31 List
1. Body Clip
2. Give IM & IV Shots
3. Pull a Mane
4. Polo Wrap
5. Set a course (including gymnastic differences to trot poles, bounce, 1 stride)
6. Clean a stall
7. Sweat Wrap
8. Poultice
9. Braid- Mane and Tail
10. Name and find all tendons, ligaments, bones in the lower leg
11. Emergency response: choking, colic, etc- signs and treatment
12. Administer Bute, Banamine, Ace- circumstance and dosage
13. Hook up, drive, and back up a trailer
14. Pull a sprung shoe
15. Check vital signs- temperature, respiratory, pulse
16. Palpate major soft tissue structures in the leg
17. Clean a water trough
18. Tie a quick release knot and learn to ground tie
19. Pack and wrap feet
20. Learn identifiers of body condition scoring
21. Clean sheath/ teats
22. Basics of saddle fitting
23. Nutrition- what Ellie eats and why along with setting up grain for the barn
24. Properly fit a bridle
25. Groom at a show
26. Make up a basic first aid kit and understand basic shoeing tools
27. Learn anatomy of a horse and basic conformation
28. How to twitch- when to use and basic methods
29. Rasp a hoof
30. De-worm
31. Learn basic massage and stretch techniques