Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Back to Once a Week

This time of year is tough with rides coming down to once a week, if I'm lucky. I've been trying to keep busy and pass the time, but I can say that I'm excited the days are getting longer from here on out. I really can't believe it's already January, and we just have to get through February after that... I mean March, too (but hopefully we'll get some warm days). So far, this winter has been brutal and it looks like it'll only be getting colder.

He's certainly thrilled
I was happy to get in a ride in the sun on Saturday before all of our rain Sunday. I don't even want to know what the paddock looks like since we got about 2" in just a day. I was lucky to get to the barn during feeding time so Spyder came right to the gate, and I gave him a good brushing which he really needed because his coat wasn't able to fluff with the weather. It was caked with mud, poop, and sand. This is as cold of a time of year as it is dirty! I hadn't ridden for a week, but I decided to head out to the big jumping ring since it seemed to be mostly dried up.

Warming up around the perimeter was really nice, and there was a whole family of deer to watch our great ride. W/t/c were all good so I did a little bit of jumping. I was looking to keep the pace and sit back so that we didn't rush the fences like last time which worked out nicely. We did some cross rails and verticals. I want to up the jumps, but riding alone doesn't make for a good first try for anything. I am a bit nervous that if I fell and got hurt, I'd be out there a while. I created a group on Facebook for the barn, but it doesn't seem like people want to contribute much. I thought it'd be nice to post about items for sale, events, benefits, riding times, etc, but people aren't interested. I'd like to be able to find a riding partner as it's just getting old riding alone and doing the same old things. I'm hoping people start to participate.

I ended the ride with two-point up and down the track as well as getting Spyder past a cone that he didn't like at first. We've been working through things, and it makes me so happy. My only issue is where to start with cantering straight since we go so nicely in a circle. The leaning and bending really helps him find his balance to pick it up, but when we go straight, we fall apart. I am thinking "BIG circles" where Spyder is kept bent will push out into being straighter. We're no where near ready for a canter class, and I wonder if we ever will be.

I'm excited for this new year, the trailer, and all that is going to come of traveling on the horse end of things! 2013 has been such a wonderful year, and I hope that 2014 brings that same cheer!
This close to a deer.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

I Love the 60's!

This weekend FINALLY warmed up from the 30's and was in the 60's! It's crazy for this time of year, and I swear the weather keeps getting more and more strange. They are calling for a lot of snow this winter, and I'll take that over rain any day. It was drying up in the field this weekend, and then, the rain came for Sunday night into Monday! I don't even want to go out this week because 1) it'll be cold 2) it'll be disgusting. The weekend should warm up to 40's - 50's, and I hope the forecast stays that way.

I did get to ride Saturday and Sunday before the rain! Saturday I got to the farm to find Spyder like this...
Oh hey, come get me.
Poop face
He LOVES to come for treats, but there was no getting him up in the sun. He looked at me and knew what I wanted, but he didn't want to get up (and he decided he should roll when I got to him). Between him and the puppy, I have pets with the most personality I have ever had before (and I've had my fair share). I got him out of the pen to find poop all over his halter and ears, too! Thanks, Spyder. Our ride was so great that working through his disgusting hair was worth it. We did a lot of w/t since he was breathing heavy from the strange weather and being out of shape, and I did a lot of two-point and sitting trot before cooling down around the barn. I could see the white on his feet again, and then I put him back in his paddock to get it covered in mud. :(

Sunday, I rode w/t/c and worked on jumps, but I felt bad working him too hard because it was so hot. I left the house around 11:30 - 12 and the barn is about a half hour away (and I was having people for Christmas dinner at 2). I know, I know, it's irresponsible and crazy to try to squeeze it in, but I did! I didn't get to shower prior to everyone getting there, but hey, it's just family! When I grabbed him to tack up, he called to me which was adorable. I tried him by the gate with the treats, but he had hay so he didn't want to come. I walked near him to bribe him to the gate which worked nicely because I did not want to repeat what I did the day before! He was rushing the jumps a bit so we worked on rhythm and working through a good pace over them, and we added the canter after jumps to make it a little more interesting. I'm hoping the spring will bring more "straight line" cantering as we're still just moving in circles. I gave him a super loose rein and let him go. It was amazing!

I gave the stable hand a card with cash in it since he works hard, and I feel like he deserved something extra this Christmas. He was SO happy to have gotten a gift, and I felt like he really appreciated it which was nice! I was so happy to find a card from April in the mail yesterday, too! Thank you! SOOOO very excited for Christmas!
Cutest card!

Friday, December 20, 2013

Muddy Paddock

The girl that feeds sent me this of Spyder this morning. It's so warm compared to where we've been, and I can't wait to ride this weekend! Poor baby in the mud! :(

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Ride on Sunday - Winter Blues

Sunday we did some running around the finish up Christmas shopping. It was COLD but warmer than it's been, and the sun was out! We (Chris and I) headed to the farm from shopping so I could get on for a ride even if it was for just 15 minutes. The farm was SUPER soggy, and Spyder's field was being rested (which I didn't know because it was close to 3 weeks of being off). My last ride was the one before the trip to Jamaica which was November 26, and this was now December 15. Whomp, whomp, whomp.

I grabbed Spyder from his DISGUSTING temporary field and he was covered in mud. His tail is long which I love, but it doesn't work in this field. I didn't have to go in because he was close to the gate and he called to me and walked over. How cute! Good thing he did because he's in the "field of bays" and I wouldn't have been able to pick him out since his white matched his black points. I was too lazy to get to really brushing his legs since they were soaked, but I wanted to make sure his feet were good. Instead of grabbing by his hoof, I clucked and asked him by tapping on his upper leg to resist the mud, and it worked perfectly!

I tacked up and rode to the track since it's sand and has decent drainage. There was a huge puddle that we went through to clean off which was perfect for our after-ride cleaning (right back to mud as soon as he went back). Spyder's super fuzzy and was not even phased by having off for so long. The walk was slow, the trot was slow (but nice), and the canter we saved for when we're both back in shape. I did a lot of posting, two-point, and sitting trot since I need to get it back from having off, as well. I decided [for whatever reason] that it was a good idea to trot without stirrups. Chris got some video which is horrible, but I may decide to share. It depends on how bad it is when I get it to YouTube.

Spyder was happy to have a bit of work, attention, and most of all, TREATS! This weekend is supposed to be "nice" in comparison to all of this snow and below freezing stuff, and it might be in the 60's!!! I hope to ride both days if at all possible, but I have a lot of work to get done on the house for our guests coming on Sunday for our Christmas get together with family.

Fuzzy muddy baby standing weird... and I look thrilled!

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Why I Haven't Been Riding

I feel like it's just been cold and soggy forever. I haven't ridden since the Tuesday before Thanksgiving. :(

The lack of posts is a reflection of this terrible weather pattern.

Monday, December 9, 2013


Anyone else on Instagram?

That's where I end up posting most of my horse and puppy pictures with all of my adventures from the NJ pine barrens.

Follow me!

Friday, December 6, 2013

XC Schooling

I'm back from Jamaica... meant to post this before Thanksgiving, but I left it a draft.

XC schooling was canceled for Sunday (last week) because it was FREEZING! The high was in the 30's, but we were getting wind gusts of up to 25 mph. When I woke up, it was in the 20's, but it said that it felt like 10 degrees. YIKES! I know this winter is predicted to be a bad one, and I'm not coping with it very well. My youngest sister moved to Alaska on base in Anchorage, and I'm not quite sure how she takes her dog out... ever. I give her a lot of credit for committing to a dog with the weather they get as I have rethought this puppy in the cold! Right now, he's still in the phase of us having to make sure that he goes outside for praise and reinforcement of the habit, and boy was it cold waiting with him yesterday. I'm SO glad we didn't go, but I do wish it was nicer as I was excited for the trip out of state.

I wasn't sure how Sunday would fair, but I knew I needed to get to the farm either way on Sunday. It was in the 40's... maybe 50's... and it was still COLD! Yes, my cold is 80 and below. I told my husband that I got the trailer to take myself and Spyder down to Florida like the rest of New Jersey. I sound like an old person, but it's practical, right? I figured since I hadn't ridden since Sunday, it was a good idea to get out so Spyder didn't sit another week. I was the only person at the farm since it was a bit cloudy, but I knew I had to suck it up because this week is cold.

From Saturday, looks nice, but it's so cold!
I did get in cantering with some grunting, but no kicking out! The w/t was lovely, and holding my crop gave me additional leverage for his attitude. I didn't even have to use it because he knew I had it, and he was giving me what I asked for with little trouble. I decided to get to jumping with choosing directions, and got really nice cantering after a few jumps, as well. He was all hyped up, and I had asked for a lot so we cooled out down the track and around the farm.

I decided to go to the farm Tuesday night because it was warm in relation to what it's been as it was in the 40's. I was going to head to the indoor, but I figured by the time I got there in the dark (and in the rain), my saddle would be just as wet as it would be if I rode in the round pen. I used the spot light to get in w/t, and AMAZING movement off of my leg. I pushed into the canter which resulted in pushing into the bit, and it was a round canter. What? My horse? Cantering nicely? I decided to work on this sitting trot thing that we suck at doing. I should have ridden in the dressage saddle since I got my jumping one wet (and it bleeds a bit). I was wearing full seat breeches so they helped, and it was AMAZING, too! I did what others suggested to slow the trot to almost a walk, but then, I would push back to the trot. It was hard to do bouncing around without yanking on his mouth, but I got him controlled enough to give him a break on the bit without running through it and speeding up.

Sitting trot was awesome, cantering was awesome, jumping's been awesome. We need to get spring back!

Please take a look at my wish list and let me know if you have any of the items on it. I'd love to help out another "horse person" that needs to sell some of the items I'm looking for.
Fat and fluffy

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Weekend of Riding

Tacking Up
OK, I did other things, too... like took the dog to Petsmart, completed homework, rented two movies (which never happens), cleaned up around the house, and raked the whole yard (Chris did most), BUT I ACTUALLY rode both days of the weekend for once! I decided against the combined event at the farm, but instead, I went trail riding with a friend. We went back to the same place where the hunter pace was. It was a bit foggy in the morning and it rained a bit, but it ended up being a decent day to ride less the dampness that made it feel colder than it was. The ride was great, but there were a few spots that were a bit mucky and slippery due to the rain. We rode about 8 miles in two-hours and it was great to get out. Spyder was an angel (and wasn't ridden for a week), and the two got along nicely!

One of the wider trails
I got up early to ride on Sunday because it was set to be almost 70! I think it got up to about 60 during my ride, and Spyder had a little bit of a sweat going for once. We rode about an hour with w/t to warm up (after we went up and down the long side of the track with me in two-point... ouch!) and moved to canter with a crop. Man is my life easier just holding it! We had two kicking out episodes which were controllable with the smack of the crop, and it seemed that he was more responsive throughout the ride because of it... take that! We moved to jumping, and it was decent (except he hit his toe once). We started with just an x-rail turning left then taking the same x-rail and turning right. It's AMAZING thinking back to when we could hardly steer. Now, we're steering over jumps... I'd say it's a plus! From that jump, we kept going right to go over a small vertical - from there, we went left, then right. We added a third jump - right over x-rail, left over vertical, small white fence. We took this jump to the left, and so there was a fourth added that was in that direction the next time around. X-rail, vertical, fence, brush box thing. We weren't all that straight going to the brush box so we went over that a few more times until it was nice. Finally, some jumping!

I am almost positive that I'm going to school xc in Maryland this coming weekend, and I am both excited and nervous being that we haven't done many xc jumps yet. They have elementary jumps so we'll start there, but the facility is beautiful in itself to even work on water and banks if all else fails. Oh, and I finally snapped a photo of the stall name plaque that Chris's dad made me for Christmas last year. We stopped by the farm with the pup and Chris put it up for me. It looks great on his stall!

Following the leader

New name sign

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

What the Heck?

What have I been up to? I don't even know sometimes. After the wedding, I just wanted to relax a bit. I was riding a lot when the weather was good and fall hit. It's been cold (for me, anything below 60 is cold), and this end of daylight savings doesn't make it better. It's dark before I even leave work, and I haven't adjusted well to the cold. Once I get to the farm, I'm fine, but it takes a lot for me to get there. I am going to have to use the lights like I did last year to get me through winter and the weekends better be nice! Hopefully I can get days to work from home and break up my day with some time outside (and with sunlight) to keep my sanity.

When he was a lot smaller in foster care.
We also got a dog/puppy! We adopted one that is about 6 months old, and he's a ton of fun. I get up early in the morning to get him fed and get him out so I've been getting a lot accomplished in the morning. I was riding before work some days last year, but this year, it's not an option with "morning dog duty." We have no idea what Kaiden is, but your guess is as good as ours. He's a great dog with all of the smarts and personality. I can see some terrier, they said hound mix, either way, he's just fun so we'll go with that for a breed.

On top of the dog, I started my second grad course. It's a great program, but it's so rushed with classes being 8 weeks. Right now, I'm on week 4, and it does not feel like I'm half way there because it flies by. My next course begins in March so I'm hoping that I don't feel the winter depression and "boredom" with a break in class. Skiing is set to keep my busy for yet another winter. I don't really enjoy it beyond getting me through winter, but it really does help pass the time. I say that because I don't have an urge to get out on a mountain in the summer like most people that love the sport would. Between the puppy, Spyder, and the pool, I can't wait for summer!
Yes, he chose to sleep right here. He's so cuddly.
Back to horses, I got back on last week and Spyder was decent w/t, but I was worried to canter and totally out of shape from not getting on since I had fallen. I was pretty sore for about 3 days, but my chiropractor appointment couldn't have already been scheduled at a better time. It was mainly my neck hurting from hitting my head, and it still is a bit stiff. The trot was consistent so I was pushing into a faster speed going straight and taking corners in a slower and collected trot by slowing my post. He needs to get speeds that I control vs. speeds he decides to set.

I got on Saturday this past weekend and decided to give the canter a go. I got a few kicking out fits, but we worked through it, (or I got very lucky) and they stopped. I didn't push too hard because we always end up having to work through something even worse than where we were. I trotted around the field and then went into the dressage ring to end the ride practicing the Intro A test to see if I could remember it. I think I did?

Today, it snowed/flurried for a bit, and it's just damp, dark, and cold! I wanted to ride since I try to get out there on Tuesdays, but I'll have to pick another night this week to get on in the dark and hope it warms up. This weekend looks beautiful so I plan on riding both days, if possible. Both days means I'll get out there one, but it'll be worth it since it looks mid to upper 50's for a change. There is a combined test (show jumping and dressage) with an optional cross country course at the farm this weekend. I'm not thinking I'm going to do it since I won't get to practice much which is a total bummer. If you couldn't tell by this post, the lack of riding is really bumming me out, and I worry that the canter isn't going to come along because it just doesn't seem to be working. Sigh, bring back warmth and sun.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Tuesday's Fall

This is the last week before daylight saving time ends to ride after work with some light. I didn't want to ride, but I forced myself to the barn because I know it always is fine when I get there. I tacked up after getting Spyder fed, and was ready for an adventure since it was cool out and I gave him off a few days after the hunter pace. He is always good with time off, and he seemed to be happy to move. We worked on the bit and pushing him into it and off my leg which was easy at the trot. I thought, great, let's move to canter!

To the left, he kept breaking gait. He was being lazy and didn't want to keep going so he kept stopping himself and trotting. The first few times I asked him to get back up to canter, he was fine. Kissing sounds weren't making him happy and my leg wasn't either. I gave him his head instead of trying to canter in a frame just to get him moving, and he kicked out! He startled me a little, but he kept moving. We moved on to the right lead to see if that way was any better. He was fine! Back around the circle to the left, he did the same thing in the same place and came down to trot. I asked him to move back up, and he didn't listen. I TOLD him to move back up, and he had a big buck waiting for me. I lost my balance because he decided to STOP immediately after. Had he been moving forward, I would have been fine as I almost always catch my balance. I'm quite good at staying on in times that I should bail!

I went over his neck, and I think it was almost a front flip. For whatever reason I ALWAYS hold my reins when I fall, and I remember looking up thinking, "I hope I don't pull you on me." I hit my left elbow first as I tried to catch myself, and then my head (with helmet) hit soon after. Spyder decided it was a great time to eat some grass since he had his head. I got back up and got right back on, but I did feel dizzy for a moment. I continued the canter to the left with two circles and no bucking. He rode off like nothing happened! I believe this is fall number four from Spyder in the 2+ years I've had him. This was probably the worst fall I've had from him, and I'm not too happy about his new buck that I've never seen/felt before. Hopefully this can be put behind us, and we can keep moving forward. I'm glad I already had a chiropractor appointment scheduled for Wednesday. It's like Spyder knew I could get fixed the following day. I feel a bit sore still!

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

The Results!

We got the results from the pace, and we won for our division! The win isn't so much having earned anything being that it's luck, but I CAN say that Spyder and I EARNED trust. He's so brave, and I stuck with him. For that, we are winners! We trotted as much of the course as we could while giving them room to catch their breath, and we even stopped for some chatting and photos. Had we gone a tad faster, we would have gotten the fastest time, too! The person that rode the course did it quickly as the time was 1 hour and 11 minutes!

 Below are photos the organizers took of the day.

Some shots from last week's show from the photographer.

Getting this one printed!

Monday, October 28, 2013

Our First Hunter Pace

Omg, was it fun! Spyder trailred on a slant load in the back and was perfectly happy munching his hay the 20 minute ride there (Yes, it's close enough to go back.. often!). He tied to the trailer like a champ, and he didn't get the hay bag thing. He kept taking it from the top and stuffing his face in there to get more (and getting stuck). Hello, silly, there's a hole in the front! I tacked up after getting registered and they had such a great setup of treats included in the package. Spyder got carrots, treats, and mints.. and after the pace, he even got an apple! Mr. Piggy would glady do it again for those rewards! There was frost on the ground when we got there, but it warmed up quickly and ended up being a BEAUTIFUL day! After the pace, I headed to the animal shelter to adopt a puppy (more to follow)!

I ended up riding with another horse instead of Tobi that we had worked with because he is recovering from rain rot where the saddle goes. The nice girl that trailered me had a horse for my teammate to borrow, and I was happy to find out he was a seasoned 22 year old gem that doesn't spook at a thing! We got tacked up, and were told we could go first! We let two gaited horses (walkers?) in front of us because I was worried about Spyder being first, but we ended up passing them on the first part of the ride. First? Me, and Spyder? He was beyond brave, and he was dragging me through the trails... ears up, game on.

The first few times he saw trees that were down and cut, he was NOT ok. He did spook a few times, but he got over it, and I kept on him to move forward. His spooks are just quick hops and he spreads out all fours. It's very easy to deal with, and the hops became moving to the opposite side of the trail as the logs in no time! He was so happy to be in front and set the pace for my teammate. He didn't mind being the leader or following, but he was giving me an attitude about some of the turns when he had to do them first (and he felt like he had to go when the other horse didn't... LAZY). This goes back to the show and having to do patterns on our own without the group. Spyder knows they aren't moving so why does he have to go? Again, we REALLY need to work on that!

The ride was beautiful with the leaves changing and falling, and there are a lot of old buildings and foundations to look at in the park. Spyder didn't spook at things like tall reeds blowing in the wind, birds popping out of no where, or walking over water on what is like a bridge of dirt. He looked, but didn't spool. There were huge concrete walls and stumps that were fallen over from the storms we have had, but of course, cut logs were the worst! I'm glad we made it through, and I hope one of the teams in our group wins! The costumes throughout the ride were great, and Spyder wasn't scared of them, either (We didn't have time to get anything together). I want to do paces all the time, and I think Spyder would agree! He seemed to really enjoy himself and didn't even break a sweat like all of the other horses. He's made for endurance so we're going to look into it! This ride was just 6 miles, and he was ready for more!

He looks the same after as he did before, a little girth sweat is all!

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Sitting Trot...Ouch

How the heck does ANYONE sit a sitting trot... on a standardbred?

At the show, I tried to slow him enough to sit it as you read about last post, but it was a running walk/pacey kind of stance that was just weird. Yesterday, I worked on the exercise from last week... posting at the trot then two-point, and added in sitting trot (to get better for the next opportunity to make fools of ourselves). YIKES, OUCH, and SLOPPY! We kept the speed instead of slowing down, but it's just terrible.

Suggestions for an insanely uncomfortable sitting trot exercise?

Monday, October 21, 2013

Sunday's Schooling Show

Sunday's show was a ton of fun! I was up bright and early to get to the barn and get my car packed with tack. The BO trailered me over in the last load, and it was something like 18 horses from the barn at the show. It was a BEAUTIFUL day, and I'm really hoping it's not one of the last nice days before winter. I need sunny and warm again! I have freckles on the bottom half of my face again and sunburn on my lips.

Waiting for our class. His tail is way too long.
Our first class was equitation on the flat. We HAD 1st (the judge told me even though she shouldn't have.. it was at the end and no one was around - she LOVED Spyder), but Spyder decided to canter the last part of our pattern. OOPS! We did the w/t only division "older and bolder." Haha. We ended up with a 4th because of that. First, we did the flat portion, and when it's a show, my eq is ON! I'm glad I could prove that to the judge. For the pattern, we went second to last, and we walked to cone A (3 cones in a line). We had to do a sitting trot to B (we had a sitting pace/running walk which I could actually sit - his/our? sitting trot is awful). The judge said that she gave me extra points for sitting whatever gait he did. That helped us make out 4th with our fight of a circle to the right. He didn't want to move! We got back to cone B and circled to the left (towards the judge) where Spyder wanted to canter... and DID (only one stride and we came back down which was better than before, too)! We trotted from B to C, and his halt was PERFECT. Backing 4 steps was not the easiest, but now, I have some things to work on. I thought it went perfectly!

Heels down, eyes up. Wish we didn't canter for the w/t division!
Hunter under saddle, we got another 4th. I had Spyder too far into the bit, and I should have let him go more. He does laps around all the other "normal horses" so I was holding him back which is the ONLY reason the judge said I didn't get 1st, again. This time, it was my fault! I need to get better at giving Spyder control as he's not going anywhere, but I held him back from lapping the horses. Next time, we'll do laps!
Cute baby horse.
Pleasure on the flat, we got 2nd. Yes, SECOND! Spyder, pleasure? What? He was so calm and relaxed and was stretching into the bit like he was showing off. This was too much for me because this is not something I get when he's so excited and ready to go. Mr. Lazy (he was ALL day, but got excited at moments) performed like a champ. He got himself that second for finally calming down a bit. I guess that canter stride was too much work!

The brand that no one can figure out the breed from.
Hunter hack, we had a flat portion, and I let him have his face and pushed him forward. It was what the judge was looking for in the hunter under saddle which I didn't give her. Spyder was moving great, and he wasn't in his doing laps mode. He was calm, but moving forward and going towards the bit (instead of me forcing him into it). We did have a jumping pattern at the end where we had to walk towards a cone from our line up, trot at it and over two cross rails, and then end at that cone, halt, and let the reins down. Spyder didn't want to MOVE at the cone because we went away from all of the other horses. He bulged into my leg, RUDE, and made it so the judge had to call out how to handle the situation. I knew, but she was trying to help. I got him moving, did the first jump, paced a step, brought him back to trot (our fault last hunter hack class - he cantered in between), then had a few steps of pace, and I got him back to a trot before the perfect halt and let the reins down. It was WAY better than I could have imagined as my mind was on not cantering like last time. We accomplished that so I was thrilled! At the end of this class (and my last), everyone that I showed with all day was like, "what is he?" They had no idea he was a gaited horse until they saw that move and they all were interested. It goes to show they are no different (and pacers CAN trot).

My parents came with their dog for the first class I did, and my dad got some pictures which was nice. My dad didn't think that I had won anything because they called my married name (I figured I'd switch it up and write that even though it's not officially changed). He was happy to realize that it was me that got 4th! They watched the equitation course, and my dad even said to my mom, "They broke gait." Pretty good for a guy that didn't really know what I was supposed to be doing. I was happy that he came to meet Spyder because he hadn't in the two years I've owned him, and he's the reason I've been into horses my whole life. Their dog was SO scared of Spyder that she was shaking so she got to wait in the car for my class they watched. Spyder loves dogs, but Lily probably would have bit him if I let him sniff her. It's the little ones that are sneaky!
Need to fix his horrible mane job I did. I let him eat grass while I chopped away.

I also learned that Spyder is afraid of wheelchairs! For a horse, it must be, "WHAT THE HECK IS THAT?!?!?!" We walked towards it, but he was so worked up so I decided to make him stop and stand while "it" (a person with a broken foot in a wheelchair.. the it is the wheelchair, not the person) moved towards us. He was OK with it, and I'm glad it got past us without the typical fire breathing dragon sounds. I was so happy that he kept himself hydrated with an entire bucket of water throughout the day. I was wondering when he'd ever pee because he had so much, and for the first time in two years, I've seen Spyder pee (weird, I know). It was with me on his back, too. Spyder was so well behaved and everyone kept asking about his brand...he showed everyone just how awesome and versatile the breed is. I'm so excited for our hunter pace this weekend. I should have more pictures from the show, but a lot are on Facebook so find me!

Oh, and Spyder was on the trailer going back with the mini - terrifying! He was looking over the divider to see him and was not happy. I'm not sure what his thing is with mini's, but he loves to stare at them like they are going to kill him, and there were a few at the show. Once the mini got out at Barn 1, Spyder had to ride solo to Barn 2 (two doors down) and was apparently upset that Eddie the mini left. Does he look at them with fear? or excitement? Hahaha

Friday, October 18, 2013

Group Ride Wednesday

I did the treat trick again to save my boots from the mud. It look 1 minute and 30 seconds to get Spyder walking from the back corner to the gate... not bad. I'll take the little wait for the clean shoes!

I rushed to the barn to tack up since I had plans to ride with one of the girls that trailers in (the one I talked about prior that also feeds most nights) I ended up riding with the 2 K's at the barn: the other that I'm doing the pace with. We're all going to the hunter pace so it was great to ride together. We had another little girl from the other farm ride over with the K that trailered in to the farm next door. We rode out to the big ring to get in some riding time, and it was a ton of fun!

At first, it was like a circus. We didn't have rhythm and we were just riding all over the field. We were all jumping different jumps and turning towards each other so it made for some paying attention. What better practice for the show this weekend? Spyder and I did some of the jumps that we don't normally do since we were in the company of others - the stone wall jumps that are beat up (and are missing the top so they are extra scary), the wishing well, a bunch of cross rails, and the brush box thing without the brush. Spyder had no idea what was going on as we don't ride with anyone rather than 3 other horses, and he behaved so well!

Spyder's behavior was so great so K that feeds decided to get on him. She always wanted to ride a stb, and I got on Sassy, the pony she rides (last post talk). Sassy is a fun little pony, but I'm not really sure how K deals with her feisty attitude and endless need to canter everywhere. Her trot is so cute, but she tosses her head a lot. You almost feel like she might rear she gets it up and back so far. K is brave for jumping a pony like that! Her "going round" is backing up to no end. I do think she'll do that all day before she gives to the bit. They are going to get her teeth checked because she's not into the bit AT ALL! She loves riding her so much, and you really get used to the horse you are on.. this was proof! I then traded ponies with the girl that followed K over to get on the one I used to lease/lesson on in college and right before I found Spyder. He's AMAZING and I cantered him for a circle just to be on a "normal" horse.

Pony I used to lease with his owner & the brush/box jump
K that feeds
K on my hunter pace team
Once we got through jumping and trading ponies, we headed back, and Spyder was so happy to eat. For once, he didn't act out in rage because everyone else was getting fed. Again, no spurs called for some great riding, and K even got him to canter for her (and jump a cross rail). I'm excited to be getting my happy horse back. :) The hubby and I picked up the trailer last night, but either the wiring is wrong, the bulbs, or something is up with the truck. The parking lights stay on, but we drove 1.5-2 hours without blinkers and brake lights (through some rain), and it was not fun at all! I'm glad that it's home safe for us to work on the lights, and I think that we might fix the one part that could be reinforced to know it's over with and 100% safe. I can't wait to use it!

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Two-Point: Feel the Burn

Last night, I rode figuring I'd get things in order for the 4-h open show Sunday. Spyder had a decent consistent pace at the trot, but wanted to keep stopping and being lazy (until two-point came). Again, no spurs, but he was moving off of leg, and he was forced to listen per my "I'm not putting up with this" attitude. We did circles until he wanted to stay in "go", and then we moved on to two-point exercises (go is exciting to him here). I REALLY need to work on my leg as my right leg is SO must weaker. If I ride and tell myself to step down in to it, it can come close to my left heel, but it's still a bit off.

Trotting in two-point helped a lot and proved to me that I am out of shape. Trotting for three strides posting then two-point for three strides is not the most fun, but it's a great way to get your heels down. You would think that Spyder was a TB in his previous life because every time I would get in two-point, he would canter. I'm not sure if that's because he was like, "Oh, you're doing something different, I guess this is what I do?" OR if he was just like, "Yay, you're off my face, let me go." He was VERY good about his canter, and it was quite controlled. I would sit up in two-point to get him to slow rather than pulling on the reins, and it worked well! He figured out that I wasn't asking him to canter and was very happy to keep on trotting. That transition is definitely coming along, but I wish the canter was better so we didn't have to stick to walk/trot classes. We'll get there, I just have to be patient.

Tonight, I am going to ride with a girl that feeds at the barn that trailers in to ride. She borrows a pony from the woman that helped me get the equestrian club going at college, and I even looked at the pony to free lease out for a while. She's a cute little thing that will jump the moon. I rode her in a judged trail ride (last year? maybe the year before?), and her name, Sassy, fits her attitude at times. We might be swapping so that K can ride a standardbred and I can canter on a "normal horse." I'm excited that it seems to be working out for me in terms of getting new types of rides in, and this trailer is going to really open a whole new window of fun.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Keeping on Track

Saturday, because of the rain, the fields were muddy so I decided to try the treat trick again. I had my riding boots on prior to getting there so I didn't want to get them muddy and wet. I was hoping Spyder would hear the treats from the gate and come, but I had to walk along the fence line to the back of his paddock for him to hear. In the beginning of the video, you see the horse he's grazing with take off (because he's scared), then Spyder runs over to me because he knows EXACTLY what I have. TREATTTTSSSSS! He walked all the way down the fence line and hesitated across the mud (you see him try to stay on the little sliver of dry land). I'm glad I have a horse that doesn't like getting dirty, and he did his best with coming to the gate for me. Dry boots are worth picking his muddy feet.

I met up with a girl at the barn (the one I'm doing the hunter pace with) because we wanted to make sure that the horses would be good together. We set out on the track, and it was BEAUTIFUL! It was supposed to rain and pour all day, but it held out until after we got home which was great. There wasn't supposed to be any sun, but I put a picture of the barn below. Some rainy day, right? We walked on the track and chatted as we got our horses closer and closer to make sure they would be good on a narrow trail together. We have yet to get on a trail, but we hope to do that prior to the event. We rode for about an hour, and did a lap of trot/canter. It was SO funny asking Spyder to canter on a straight away. He thought he was on the track, and put his head up, and did a pace/fast trot thing. We can keep up with Tobi's canter in that gait. Once we walked again, I had Spyder pick up his canter (again, no spurs) to make sure he knew that's what we should be doing. He can do it great on the circle, but trying to "gallop" the straight part of the track is another story. He tried and was SO well behaved. What more could I ask for?

Right before it poured
Spyder was fine with Tobi until the end of the ride, and he kept pinning his ears and giving him looks. I'm glad he didn't act on his expressions, and I was really worried about it because Spyder is the alpha horse in the field. He pushes everyone around, and Tobi is very low so he gets picked on.I feel bad because he's got all kinda of bumps, bites, and missing hair, and they keep adding horses to the field. Spyder used to be a biter, but now, he's in a place where he can put his ears back, flick his head, and they move away. There are a few in there that get their feet off the ground and go for the kill, and you know who those are because they don't have one patch of missing hair (Spyder included less his cuts from being young and stupid still). Sometimes I wonder why they are together in the paddocks how they are, and I am happy that I don't have to question it per Spyder.

He was perfect out on the track, his trot was awesome!
Tobi, Spyder's rag doll in the field.
Sunday, I decided to look at a trailer that happened to pop up online. I went to my sister's to hang out with my parents, and it was just an hour north from there. It's just over two hours from my house, so I went for it. The trailer looked to be in good shape, and I decided that I'm not looking for a project or something that is clunky or rusty so why not check it out? That rules out steel, and the price range I am looking in rules out most aluminum. I know with winter comes deals, but this deal came out of no where, and I knew I had to act on it as it fits what I had in mind. Well, I'm now the owner of a 2 horse Brenderup that has a newer floor and front end (they used to be made of wood, but changed the material so the owner upgraded it). People always have something to say about the brand: they are small, they are light, they sway, they are unsafe... I get it. Reading about them, I didn't see any evidence that supports they are less safe than others. I feel that if you get in a trailer accident, it's not going to be good... EVER. The trailer is small, light, and solid which is what I was looking for, and Spyder will get in anything. I don't plan on doing long distance hauling or highway driving with it, and let's hope I can tow it reasonably well at slow speeds on back roads (and in places I don't have to back out from). I'm practicing before any distance is in my future, and I'm THRILLED to have an area for tack (and the option to bring a friend). If it doesn't work out, I can always sell it. It's on to new adventures!
Picking it up soon!

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Rain Dance

I know we need the rain, but I'm dreading it! I got in another quick ride Wednesday before it came (and it's raining now and will for a few days), and it literally started the second I started untacking! I headed out to the xc field where we started with w/t. It was consistent, calm, and he wasn't arguing so I picked up the speed. It was windy since the "tropical storm" was coming (so far, it's just showers and patches of rain), and he had a lot more go than usual which was NICE! He was super looky, but he kept his cool even with the "new and scary" plastic chair... ahhh. We worked on transitions with NO SPURS! Spyder was happier and peppy, and I was super excited. He's getting the canter cue without question now.

I did feed before I rode, but he wasn't that grump coming out of the field so I figured I could push for the canter a bit. Once we would pick it up, I pushed through him wanting to stop. Our next step is going to be the "forward and go" as he doesn't want to hold it. This isn't because he can't, it's because he chooses not to. I decided to see what would happen if I changed directions with him, and I was spot on. He HAS to swap his lead because he can't be wrong. It was a very interesting swap with a head toss, but he tried his heart out. After his head toss, he did two steps of trot and was right back to canter, good horse! We did lots of cantering with no kicking out, AND he did everything I asked him to do! Since our transitions were awesome, I did the xc log jump and then trotted around the farm before cooling out.

I decided to reward Spyder with some grazing while I put my tack away, and I grabbed his treats. He is so focused on food so I can let him hang out and eat in peace while I clean up. I had to record this because he KNOWS the sound of the plastic they are in, and e looks at me, looks away, stuffs his face with as much grass as possible. He decides to come over to me because he's ready for them, in which case he chews on them WITH his mouth full of grass. I wish I could canter with a treat in front of his face, he'd keep going all day!

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Good News!

The vet was out yesterday for shots, and I got great news! The bumps are Spyder's back are just bug bites that got hardened from a reaction to them. Funny thing is, it could have been a spider, and they are just cosmetic. My 3 options are: 1) surgical removal 2) steroid injection 3) leave them alone. I think I'm going to leave them alone being that they don't bother him and they have shrunk on their own a bit. Why irritate him with procedures since everything seems to irritate him?

Spyder was Mr. Grumpy coming out of the field. He didn't want to be bothered with what work he might have to do or who might be poking him with needles. He's BEYOND easy to catch, but he's beyond grumpy when you get him (unless it's feeding time). The BO texted me about this and thought it was funny when she grabbed him for the vet! Yes, he hates to work so that's what we worked on! Walk and trot were nice (only because he ate his grain before I got on), and he didn't pull back towards the barn much. We rode in the xc field by the water where he had a head tossing fit, but he didn't flinch at the deer running through the water.

After his head tossing came to an end (very short because I was not having it), I got him back together and pushed forward. Forward was quite the issue for him so I kept moving him off of my leg in a circle. Since he was reacting well to getting off the leg and going, I asked for a canter. He was a happy horse about it which was good, but he didn't want to keep going. He responded negatively to leg pressure and was even more upset with kissing which made him walk. GREAT, Spyder... not at all what you're supposed to do. I  picked him back up to a trot, and he wanted to canter! I kept him trotting until he listened to my cues, and brought him back down to a walk, each time asking for something different to get him listening. He's going to need A LOT of transitions to keep him thinking and excited.

The ride was a quick 30 minutes, and it may be one of the last for some time as we have a storm rolling in. It looks like rain just about every day for the next week or so which will make for a fun time getting back on with him being out of shape. As long as it's not raining, I'll still do the trail ride on Saturday, and I just found out there is a 4-h open English show the week before the hunter pace. We always do the "older and bolder" classes since they are walk/trot, but it's a REALLY long show day as they spread out each age group and keep the classes together. I usually end up showing against people that have been riding for their whole lives 40+ years which is never fun. They are always so competitive and I just go for fun. Behaving is a win for us! IF it's nice out, and IF I have time, I'll do all 3 events! :) We'll hope for nicer weather!
The sun sets behind Spyder's paddock.
Hay time and this beautiful scenery as I looked for Spyder's missing halter!