Monday, October 25, 2010

Rockstar should be her new name

So... about that x-country ride... IT WENT SOOOOOO WELL!!! I am so happy and proud and hopeful for the future. I feel like giving her a report card, so here goes:

Trailer Ride: It has been several months (I'm pretty sure March was the last time) since Bijou's been in a trailer. We walked up to the door after Wyatt had claimed his spot, took a sniff, backed one step, got reprimanded, and jumped right in. She stood quietly the whole ride up, even when us sleepy girls went to grab some coffee :D. All in all I say that deserves a A-

Tacking up: We got out of the trailer, she backed out like a champ, and took one tiny look around before I 'tied' to the trailer. This basically means that I loop the lead rope once through the tie on the trailer and tell her "whoa" in a stern voice. She stood. stock. still. even while girthing! We got all spiffed up, with my lilac bell boots, white splints all around, lilac reins, lilac pad and I wore black... oops oh well. No nervous energy at the trailer, just game for whatever was coming her way. A+

5, 4, 3, 2, 1, Have a great ride!: we went out and warmed up in the dressage rings, which was good because Bijou has never seen a judge stand before. She definitely looked at it, but overall wasn't too concerned. We did some circles, etc and then went out in the big open warm up area and I just let her pick up a canter to see how fresh she'd get. She came right back to me after a good hand gallop with only a change in my position. At this point I'm getting a very good feeling about the day :D. So we head out to the course. I love Twin Rivers because they have the big big big stuff, and they also have baby x-rails sized stuff too. So we start off by being Wyatt's decoy. He does this thing where he really doesn't want to go straight out of the box if there's another horse behind him, so S worked on that a lot and I got to teach the Jou Jou about how to stay behind. This was something she used to have a lot of trouble with, but she's mostly gotten over it it seems. A for effort

The Course: I pointed her at the first jump once it was our turn to use the start box, and she didn't even hesitate, just popped right over it. I love how close she gets to the fences, my other mare always took a GIANT leap over everything, so taking the little ones at a close spot again is so nice! We cantered happily away to the next little 18" log and hopped right over that one too. We messed around like this for a bit, until we got to the first water complex. It was really full this time since it had been raining. She didn't like the look of it at first, but with three or four good kicks she finally leapt in. We went sloshing back and forth through it a few times until it only took one good kick to get her in and called that one a success. Next we went over to the banks. S and Wyatt took off up the set of novice obstacles to encourage Jou to follow up, and we took the Beginner Novice bank up along them. She stopped right at the bank, I had a supporting leg, and between her momentum and my leg we jumbled up the thing. Now was the hard part, the down bank, so much fun on a horse that loves it, but very hard on one that doesn't. Again we had Wyatt lead us down a few strides ahead, but Bijou knew just what to do and took a playful leap off the bank with very very little hesitation! Superstar pony! She did the happy headtoss to show how proud of herself she was and we went to do the last big question that I'll probably ever answer on an x-country course, the ditch. S and Wyatt schooled it first, then I walked Bijou up to it. She had her usual reluctance to get close to something that I wanted her to get close to, but got a good look at it without going over. I thought we needed lots more momentum, so I circled around at a trot. She stopped right at the base, I kicked and meant it, and she reared, and somehow got her hind legs across the ditch. At least that's what it felt like. I had grabbed mane, and I was glad, and I cantered away petting her. We did that one a few more times, and then put it together with a few other little baby jumps and called it good. Lastly, S wanted to go do her whole course, just to make sure she was up to it, so I told her I would just canter along behind her and pick off fences here and there. This was the only part that Jou had a problem with. Once Wyatt went out of sight, we had a little neighing melt down. She still got to work, but she seriously refused the ditch when I tried to take it again. I let it go and rode around a bit waiting for them to get back, and then re-schooled the ditch and called it a day. Overall A for answering all the tough questions on her first day out.

I wish I would have taken the day off of work and learned the dressage test because I could have totally kicked butt at the One Day Horse Trials they had the next weekend, but that's what I get for not planning. Next year we will be SO ready! Phew!

In more recent news, the arena's been closed a lot due to rain, Bijou is losing weight :(, I had a lesson with a CCI** rider who boards where I do which went well, aaaaand I've been busy. I bought a pair of clippers, so I'm stoked to clip some horses this winter, and now it's time for bed :D

Thursday, October 21, 2010


ahhh, so finally I figured out how to get these darned pictures up. Here's the fun story!

We started out on a lovely warm day, and Bijou had been enjoying working mostly like this:

She's had been very simple with relatively little head tossing, wanting to stretch down, almost plodding along at times?! This was our nice happy pace and she has been happy to take longer and longer stretches to get a really nice trot. It's so much fun to ride, and I have a feeling that it is largely due to the fact that I'm getting her out more with the help of MM.

I just love her little face! And then we started jumping. This was the first time she had approached anything with standards with the intent to go over it in about 7 weeks, due to losing a shoe and my lack of gung-ho-ness to make her do it. So, MM suggests that she would like to see what she does when she jumps so that she'll know what to expect. I told her that she hasn't jumped in a while (not really realizing at the time how long it had been) but we set everything to what I thought would be almost too easy heights and trotted up to the first jump set on a diagonal:

I tried to make a caption "Oh! You want me to JUMP that thing?!" but I think I failed. Next time I'll do it in photoshop instead of being lazy and doing it in paint :P. So ya, I think she just didn't even expect that to show up in front of her. She wasn't totally paying attention, but I gave her enough space to see it, I think she was in denial. Oh well. Despite how off balance I look, I actually stayed on and it didn't ever feel like I was really going to come off, although after looking at the photographic evidence I have to say it looks pretty dramatic. So one dirty refusal down, we go around and take it again, now that we're paying attention:

And we jump it a little big, with a funny spot, which is why I'm perched atop her like a bird. It really does show you how good your position is over fences when the horse has NO CLUE what she's supposed to be doing. I did it a few more times, along with a few other x-rails in the arena, and we called it good on a last good note:

Hooray! that was... 10.8.10 and we're now at 10.21.10 phew. I have taken her around and raised the x-rails to 18" and even cantered one or two when she gave me a beautiful controllable canter. Not bad progress in 2 weeks if I do say so myself. I even trotted her across a 'liverpool' made out of blue astro-turf :P So basically we are learning that things near the feet don't eat the feet, but we have to pick up the feet. I really need to get some flowers and a gate to put up in the arena to get used to how those look too.

In more current news... Phew, there's a lot of that too. I have my first x-country schooling day planned on Sunday!!! I'm nervous but excited but nervous. I've taken Bijou elsewhere than our own property, and she's usually done just fine. I just hope it stays that way. She was also in a lot worse shape physically and I think she didn't have the calories to allow her mind to do that crazy TB thing that TB's just love to do. I'm just going to go into it with the idea that if we walk around on x-country for a bit, look at scary jumps, maybe even touch one?! then we'll consider it a success. It's hard because I'm going with S, who's had her horse for 4 years, and has gone through all this stuff with him. He's always been a super champ about not getting spooked by anything... so she doesn't really get it (or know how to deal with it) when Bijou is. I'm hoping that she'll be understanding but not really expecting the best when I just want to take things slow for my first time out. I've gotten a serious dose of caution since I broke my ankle, I don't want to do something STUPID again and get hurt and hate my life. But I'm still excited and hoping for the best :D

In other recent events, Bijou choked on her beet pulp last night. I went out late after running around finishing up some errands and rode pretty much until dark. I walked her around several times, trying to take extra care to cool down. I guess it wasn't enough, because she was still really hot when I finally felt under her chest. All that hair (even after a low trace clip) is making her retain a ton of heat. I really wanted to try this new calming supplement, its SmartB1 from smartpaks. I thought, oh give her a handful of beet pulp (which I wetted like always) and let her eat it. Well, I don't know if it was because she was hot, or just a fluke, but she got some stuck. It was the strangest thing I've seen in a horse in a while. She picked up her head, did the Flehmen thing where they flip up their upper lip, and then with every muscle in her body she heaved like she was trying to puke, but couldn't. There were two other girls I know out at the barn, so I took her over to them like "what is this?!" and one of the girls used to have her horse at a place they fed cubes, and the horses would choke all the time. So I called the vet out and had him pass a tube to unblock it. She got some anti-inflammatory and antibacterial stuff just in case she aspirated anything and went off to the medical layup pens because she couldn't eat for a few hours. I checked on her today and she's fine. I wish that I would have taken video or something because it was just so weird.

Ok, this post is long enough now I'm going to bed :D

Friday, October 15, 2010

Pictures coming!

So MM took pictures on her super nice camera, and I'm going to get them tonight! Which means that I'll probably put them up soon. I'll also have lots to update about, but it's more fun with pictures.

Friday, October 8, 2010


Today was a good day, and I just have that feeling like I can sigh with relief. I only worked a few hours, so that was nice, only had one class, so that was easy, and then I came home and got to get a few things done. I picked out some stuff to donate to goodwill, and that got me thinking about any/all the horse stuff I have to sell. I think I'll be putting some things up on Craigslist soon. Then I headed out to the barn where Mavericks mom was going to meet me. I ended up helping S clip Wyatt and doing a pretty darned good job if I do say so myself. I'm going to have to get pics so you can see just how darn good of a job I did. I can't wait to do Jou because she got SWEATY today. I'm going to save you the story until I get pics, because I'm pretty sure they illustrate things perfectly! Lets just say we ended up cantering our first x-rail!!! Ok, so it was only like 10" tall, but she cantered it in stride and everything! I was really proud of her. Then MM got on and I took pictures of her, but I'll do a discussion of that later, again so I can illustrate with pictures.

I'm feeding beet pulp, MSM, smartjoint thingy maintenance and a vitamin supplement. I'm trying to do that most days I get out there, so that way she gets some in her most days. I'm going to get her some HA for joint health, and some more MTG for the winter season when I plan on putting her tail up for most of the mud. She's also going to get a really spiffy purple plaid blanket to keep her dry and hopefully mostly clean...

Monday, October 4, 2010

Winds of Change

So... I'm not moving barns like everyone else seems to be doing, but I feel other momentous things moving. Most of this has to do with me being almost a big girl in the big girl world and figuring out how to get a big girl job. Some of it has to do with a change in who I'll be riding since I finally sold my other mare! This means I can focus on Bijou and her progress. I'm also going to be getting help from one of my good friends who I met my first week in college. Her horse Maverick popped a rear splint and will be rehabbing for two months and she needs a way to stay fit so that she can deal with her crazy pony when he's ready to be dealt with again :D

She came out today to try her out and had all sorts of positive things to say about her! She couldn't stop talking about how cute she was, how well put together she was, how much of a big mover she is... etc. It's nice because I haven't exactly been getting the most positive of comments about her and was starting to feel down on her in general. Bijou was AWESOME today. She hasn't been ridden since Thursday, when I just did a light ride in the dressage arena. I took her out, tacked her up, and lunged her for about 4 times around at a trot and 4 times around at a canter. She was really good, not a lot of head tossing or anything, and then hopped on. It was WINDY!!! and she didn't care one bit that stuff was blowing around (mostly huge dust clouds and debris, not like jumps falling over or anything) or that all the horses in the vicinity were playing/bucking/galloping around the pastures. She didn't bat an eye. I kept her mostly in circles and we trotted/cantered around for a bit to show Mavericks mom how she ticks, and then she hopped on, Bijou went right into a nice (if very inconsistent) 'frame' type thing, where she started lifting in her back and using herself. It was so nice to see someone else riding my pony mare, she looks so big from the ground! Mavericks mom looked small on her! But I guess that's good because it means I probably look pretty normal :D. She also did a really good job working with a young TB, which is so nice. I just love people who can ride!

I've been really busy with homework. I'll be glad when all my English classes have a check mark next to them because all this reading just takes too much time! Blogging is not higher on my list than homework, so I might get a little sporadic. I'll try to keep up :)