Tuesday, April 22, 2014


Can I just teleport to the farm so I can get home and get to my school work? I completed my final, and now it's just my final project, BUT courses start for the summer session start right after this. I get no break for riding in any sort of pattern, but I do have the hunter pace coming up. Remind me why I signed up for school again? I've been enjoying pushing through, but I find it hard to get everything I need to get done and what I want to get accomplished taken care of. The reward has certainly been the farm time I've had.

I'm certainly no where near reaching my March mileage due to the lack of motivation and Spyder's bad attitude. Honestly, there has been nothing to rave about. I rode 2 days last week which were OK. I can't even remember what I did because it was that uneventful. I remember being frustrated and making my broken finger ache again due to Spyder deciding it was a good idea to rear/spook for no reason other than seeing another horse. Ok, maybe there was something eventful now that I'm recalling last week.

I rode out to the big ring and started in the dressage area when the trainer at the farm rode by on the track with a TWH. She ended up coming around the track by us and going up a small hill by the cross country jumps and Spyder spazzed! He stood up on his back feet with a nice rear, and she shouted. "Oh, wow! Are you OK?" and came in the ring so I could settle Spyder. Yes, the horse gaits different and it's a "different" color, but it's similar to a horse in his field and I am sick of the spook/excitement over NOTHING! This is exactly the reason I broke my finger from the "scary" deer that we see all the time. Once I got him calmed down, 30 minutes was more than enough fun for me.

The other day I rode I went out to the same ring to make sure I could tackle the attitude he gave me before. I could tell he was bored since he was listening for w/t/c so we jumped a bit. There were deer all over the place and he was jumping a higher placed cross rail like it was 3 feet so I hopped over the jump until he calmed down and jumped it like the size it was. It's been feeding time after work when I get to the farm so I'm sure we'll begin to get those issues back. JOY! He always gets a little more pumped when he hears the grain bins going so I have been feeding him a little before we ride so he thinks he's had his grain.

This week I rode once so far. I hope to get out again, but this project is stressing me out! I went out to the big ring after warming up on the track to get a feel for Spyder's attitude. There was no argument with my leg so we went out and did some trotting while giving the deer looks. Cantering was decent in a circle and he was moving off my leg, but he was gearing up for some bad behavior. He did throw some rocking horse squealy bucky/reary/whatever the heck he does moves in there so we came back to the trot until he decided to go nicely once again. On the way back to the barn, I practiced moving him off of my leg. We went all the way to each edge of the track using each leg to push him over then we worked on stop, walk, trot, walk, stop, trot, back type exercises. I kept turning back towards the ring then heading back to the barn with some spins (moving off leg with the front of his body and not the back) in either direction so he had to listen and take his focus off of feeding time.

It's really getting old having to dance around his buttons and moods, but I hope to get him under control and move forward. The hunter pace should go smoothly, and hopefully we'll get back to putting in miles.

Life updates in picture form:
We made a fire pit for the back yard Saturday

The grass is getting green and Spdyer has a big butt.

I swept and organized my tack area at the barn

Kaiden sun bathes in his fluffy mess of toy destruction.

Kaiden killed the Easter lamb.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Quick Ride

I have words for this Wednesday ... and I haven't ridden since last Tuesday. I hope to ride tonight if it's dry enough after our April ice/hail/snow storm ordeal last night...

Last week I went to the farm for the 4-H meeting and had a little bit of time to ride before the meeting. It's been spring out (finally.. but not really after last night), and I was worried about Spyder listening since he's been so out of it lately. We went out to the big ring because there was another rider, and Spyder couldn't get over the other horse being out there the whole time. We worked on going towards them, away from them, and listening when that horse left. Oh, poor Spyder, he has to work when another horse is not. Before the other ride left, I decided to work on the canter transition. Since I haven't been riding much, I wanted to make sure that we were safe if something bad was to happen. He was SO GOOD except for the fact that he kept his ears back and kept pulling on the reins. He hasn't been wanting to work lately, but there was no buck. I can say that was an accomplishment? Ugh, what is the deal?

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Finally, a Nice Weekend

Sunny Saturday with the pup
Finally - the 50's! The temperature has been a little bit more consistent, but the nights still feel like winter at times. It's just so damp which makes things so much worse (and soggy). Saturday and Sunday were busy for me with running around and making plans so I didn't get in much riding time. The dryer decided to break right when I was going to leave so I had to hang everything which took up more of the time I had to ride. It's always something, right? For whatever reason, I found the motivation, and I'll say it was the sun. The goal was just to have Spyder cooperate and not give in to his fussiness. I'm not sure why he's been so sour, but I have been, too. It seems when you put in more riding time, that mood always turns around.

Both days, I worked on the track since I wanted to remind Spyder of our exercises. I started Saturday with a dressage whip, and he was already a better listener just holding it. Another boarder that hasn't been out in a while was riding her trail horse on the track, and she was having some listening and "up" issues. I wished I had time to ride with her, but I had to get home to get ready for beer fest - priorities. We did a lot of walk, halt, trot, halt, back, and I felt like I had to really lay into his mouth to get him going backwards. I feel bad having to go back to these basic commands, but it's best to "start over" until the baby horse's mind can catch up to his adolescent self once again. We also did a lot of open rein turns in both directions and some were even in a tight canter. He certainly kept his feet moving with the whip in hand! I find it funny because he acted like he couldn't do it in our lesson earlier in the week. He knew I meant business that ride. I had about 30 minutes of really testing him before I had to cool out and head back.

Smoke over blueberry fields
Sunday, I had a very short ride because I had breakfast with my parents, sister, and her boyfriend and was heading into Philly for lunch. The sun was shining, but like the day before, the wind made it feel cooler. Spyder wanted to buck SO bad, and so we turned and turned until he decided to chill out. I had 20 minutes in total so we worked on transitions again. I did get in some cantering with angry ears, but no buck! I wasn't feeling my finest since I was running off little sleep and even less hydration so I took it easy and ended it when he was nice and calm. We cooled out, and I snapped a photo of the green grass. It's finally starting to grow and makes life feel so much happier. On the way home from Philly, there was a HUGE fire which I found out burned what they think was 1,500 acres. They were working on controlling it through Monday. It was in a remote part of the forest which took 35 minutes for fire crews to get to, and they still don't know what caused the fire. It was back behind Batsto where there are no homes, but it is still devastating to the area.

In total, Saturday was just .75 miles because of all of the stopping and standing that was nearly 40 minutes of boring! Sunday was a bit more exciting with 1.5 miles in 20 minutes. I really want to surpass my March count for miles, but I feel like this month has so much going on that I won't be able to do as many long rides. I do need to keep conditioning for our hunter pace the first weekend in May but not nearly what I thought I had to do for the 30 that didn't happen. Hopefully in the fall, I can get back in gear and do a 15 or 25, but horse life will depend on the trailer status for the time being. The picture for miles is for both riding and a few shorter dog walks. We've been taking the dog to the lake by our house and to Bass River State Park so he can get some off-leash running time. It wears him out fast!

He watches TV
Few weeks ago at the lake by our house
Older shot of Kaiden being "free" in Bass River.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Rabbit Run!

This was nothing on the way in
And so it didn't work out, but volunteering was so wonderful! I got up early on Saturday and put on my snow pants, yes, snow pants! It was on the chilly side, and I didn't have anything else to wear for pants that were waterproof. I had a wind breaker which did nothing for warmth, but it was going to get to 55. 55 degrees with rain wasn't very warm, and it was SO nice that the NJTRA group had lunch and SOUP! Soups galore and COFFEE and tea! Wow, what a treat! I had no idea that they did all of that for the riders. The drive up to the place was sketchy with the cranberry bogs, mud, and rain, and it was AWFUL coming out after the long day of constant rain that never let up. I was sliding all over the place with the real wheel drive truck - not fun!

I worked as a timer for the pulse down area. Everyone that was there to check pulses was super nice, and they all had a lot of great advice for me. I was happy that I wasn't riding in the bad weather, but I was also disappointed because it makes me want to do this SO BAD! It is a beautiful area to ride in, and a few of the volunteers want to ride with me. The vet gave me some great input on what she was looking for so I could plan ahead in any future rides. I can't wait to participate in my first ride, my horse or not. I have a feeling I'll like it and be exploring all new gear so the weather won't be an issue on the tack.

I didn't ride Sunday because of more rain, and I felt so bad for the Bunny Hop riders.Since it rained all day Saturday and trailers were in and out on the muddy road, I can only imagine what their day was like. I did get to the farm on April fool's day after work which hasn't happened in a while. It was a short ride, and I was in a bad mood. Spyder was a grump, and I ended being happy after the ride because we worked through a buck and him being a jerk until he was calm and would stop and stand still when I asked (especially by the gate headed back). As soon as he was listening, I decided to end it before I went back to having an even worse day. When I got to farm, the tack area was cleaned out from the other person's stuff. The woman I trail rode with a few times left so now I have a 3 stall area, tack room, and cross ties all to myself!

Mine, all mine!
On Thursday, April 3, the trainer at the farm sent me a text about a last minute lesson. She was on the track with a Tennessee walker that she rides for the owner and was available for a lesson if I wanted. I didn't plan it, but it's just been awful as far as motivation goes for riding so I committed. Spyder bucked because I handed it to him for not listening whatsoever so we worked on that. I had to turn him with an open rein every time he did something bad. It was a lot of putting his head down to get leverage, putting his head up to evade the bit, or trying to figure out a way he could kick or get his head back.

His signature move is cantering when he's angry because he thinks he's not allowed from on the track. It's hilarious that it's his defense, but we pushed and just kept going with it. Within a very short (but felt like FOREVER) five minutes or so, he was back to listening (soft of). In ten minutes or so he was responding to my leg and cooperating better. We stuck to w/t and canter when he felt like it until we got back to listening. I wish I packed my crop because my legs were on fire. Next ride, take the crop! I knew that I had to get out to the barn and work him on the weekend because he has some serious "I don't want to do what you say" issues so I made some time both days (next post).

Friday, April 4, 2014

The Next Week

I went under the trailer to find part numbers for the axle because it could use new rubber fittings. What did I see? Well, I saw what I thought was a crack in the frame, but I wasn't positive so I took a picture. I was so upset I felt sick to my stomach because 1) This is what I spent money on? 2) How did I not see this? 3) It was "back together" 4) What a nightmare! It's not in a place that you would EVER notice at just a glance, and it's in a bad spot right behind the axle where it bolts to the frame. All that I could tell myself to feel better is, "Well, at least you didn't put your horse in there." I don't know how I didn't see this, and now the ride was in jeopardy. GREAT! I need to figure out what decisions I have to make from here.

To top it off, I got home to open a package that i was waiting for (shocks to help lift ramp). I didn't need them, but thought I'd replace the ones on there to make it easier. What do you know? I got an empty box! It's like this thing is one big joke, a huge mistake, and a shoot in the foot. School has been overwhelming and I just haven't been in the mood to ride. I kept my head up and knew that things would get better, but now what? I trained for 30 miles for nothing? Why yes, yes I did! I contacted a shipper that didn't get back to me, the owner of the farm said she could take me if I needed it, no one responded to my "are you passing by me on the way to the ride" post in EVERY endurance group on Facebook, and the girl I was going to ride with said she'd get me (I just needed to find a way back). I looked at the weather, and it looked like rain all weekend. AHH! I decided to weigh the options. I still had some times to decide.

That weekend, I got invited to go to Batsto with the trainer's trailer, her new horse, and another girl. I decided it was a great opportunity to get off the farm and practice for this ride if I was going to end up doing it. We did
Relaxed for Friday
A LOT more water, cantering,  pacing (yikes), and a lot of working through some problem areas. We came up to campsites that were for boy scouts and a college course, and it was like a clown show. The horses saw tarps, tents, poles, wind, and every other imaginary object. Spyder was the calmest, but he didn't want to move ahead of the others. We stayed in the back most of the ride to pace since he likes to zoom past everyone. I did hold him back when they cantered ahead to see what would happen, and he just wanted to GO! I didn't feel like I had a whole lot of control so we took our time and caught up when we needed to. It was AWESOME, and we were the highlight of many people's pictures for the weekend on their hikes.

I ended up deciding to volunteer for the ride, and I pulled before the refund period was up. The coordinator said that I could get the other $25 they hold back if worked the event. I wasn't concerned with the money, but that was really nice of them and meant they needed volunteers. Since the weather was going to be awful, I stuck to volunteering with the thought that others would bail because of the rain.  I wanted to get the experience, see the location,and feel out the group that I'd been longing to meet.

I kept my half day that Friday that I would have used to trailer to the ride and rode. I didn't get to do too much because the vet gave him a tranq for his sheath cleaning. I did get a funny video of him being unable to control his muzzle. I have more of him flopping his head around on the cross ties because he was getting so annoyed he couldn't control it. I took it easy and did a lot of walking since he was out of it a bit. I was happy to have at least gotten on before the MONSOON for the Rabbit Run and I'm happy that I wasn't hauling out a 1/2 asleep/drugged horse. All things happen for a reason, right?