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