Thursday, December 23, 2010

Merry Christmas Eve Eve!

We've recently gotten all the rain my county will get for the next year, a quarter of our arena was washed away to nothing but base, and the barn was inaccessible to cars that don't have four wheel drive for like 3 days because there was so much water. I don't have much to report on Bijou except that she's happy and mostly dry. I checked on her and gave her a good scratch on the withers, but other than that there's no news.

So much for riding a LOT during Christmas break :(

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Rain rain go away!

Hello again! So, updates. I haven't gotten all the cookies packaged yet... but it will happen soon. I'm a little worried because I might not get a chance to go out to the barn since it will be so wet. It's supposed to rain for 7 consecutive days!!! That's a TON of water!

Updates: Thursday I re-clipped the hairy beast because 1) I had a ton of time to play with her, but her shoe was loose so I couldn't ride and 2) because I had finally had a warm day to rinse her off the day before so she was actually VERY clean! I gave her a real trace clip this time, and I think I did an ok job, if I do say so myself. I got a B+ from the CI** rider at my barn... so I think I'm doing ok.

So, she also was unshod and trimmed on Friday. I figured I would keep it easy and de-worm her that day too. She was not stoked about it, but we got it done. I did it with SafeGuard this time. I rode her Friday too. We warmed up at the walk just working on keeping a long low cadenced walk, and then I picked up a trot right as the BM started working putting more sand in the runs for the stalls, which are all along one side of the arena. He was about 6 feet from the arena fence dumping buckets full of sand and we rode calmly past like it was nothing, again after not being ridden in a few days. So we worked at a trot, and I really lifted with my inside hand, but kept it gentle and spongy. She liked this kind of contact and came nicely into the bridle. She's still fussy through transitions, and I didn't work them as much as I should have. She was nice and forward off my leg and felt really good for being just trimmed and unshod. I did a fun little easy exercise. I trotted two large (30 meter?) circles at the end of the arena, one right after the other. Then I would change bend over the center line and ask for a canter. She seemed to really get it and picked up a nice balanced canter both directions! The right lead canter is coming along which I'm really happy about. I was worried I was going to have a big fight on my hands with it, but she seems to be picking it up well.

So then, because all the jumps were at perfect little 18" x-rails, I decided to practice a 'course'! I picked off the second fence of the outside line, and kinda just wandered around picking off fences until I had done each of them at least once. Then I let her walk and gave her a good long pat. She's finally getting brave to the fences. No more almost stopping to look at them before daring to put her feet over. She doesn't rush, just pricks her ears and gets all bouncy! So I picked up my trot and did our first combo, a 4 stride line. She was PERFECT!! trotted in, pick up a nice balanced canter, and got a really nice modest distance to the second fence. I love my little mare! I think I'm going to start working more on combos and pole to fence combos to make sure that she understands what a bounce vs. two stride vs, three stride is etc. I'm also thinking that after the rain clears up I'll put up a vertical! My little baby is growing up! I hope to be jumping 2'-2'3" so that I can show at 18" this show season with confidence. I'd love ideas for gymnastic exercises you've found helpful, or websites with helpful hints or whatever!

Phew that was a long post

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Christmas Horse Cookies

For the past few years I have enjoyed making delicious home made impromptu cookies for all the deserving horses out at whatever barn I happen to be boarding at. It's my way of saying thanks to everyone for catching my horse when she decides to run away, or for yelling out which jumps they were going for, or just for smiling and asking how my ride went. This year I tried to perfect last years recipe. I used only four ingredients:

Oats, molasses, carrots, and water

I kinda just guesstimated but I think it was about 1.5 cups of oats that I put through a food processor to make them more like flour, two whole carrots put through the same process, and probably about .5 cup of molasses. I sprinkled about 2 tablespoons of water in, just enough to get everything moist and mixed together. Then I formed little balls, tiny really... but I like having lots of little treats.

I took these balls and squashed them a bit, then placed on an ungreased baking sheet. I put the oven to 400 at first, but decided that 350 would probably get them drier without burning them. I baked them for quite a while, up to 25 minutes. I like my horse treats crunchy, I think they like them better that way. This was the only way to get them dry enough to feel crispy. This year I used no oil, no flour, just the above ingredients. I used dark corn syrup last year too, they didn't smell like real molasses, probably because they weren't. Overall I'm much happier with my product this year... Roxie (my roomates dog) was a willing tester. She loves carrots and thought they were delicious. Hopefully the horses think the same!

The finished and wrapped product!

Monday, December 13, 2010

The weather outside is... actually beautiful

Amidst all the postings of frozen ground and infinite inches of show/sleet/hail/other frozen precipitation, I rode yesterday in a tank top... it was 78 degrees. Yay California!!

So now that I'm done bragging (sorry guys! I know winter sucks!) I will tell you about that ride. It was just as pleasant as the weather. I haven't been out to ride since my last post... I know I'm a horrible mom. I had finals to study for, shifts to cover for other people who were studying for finals, and finals to take! This meant that last week was a bust as far as barn time went. Then I had this whole last weekend of my BFF's graduation!! She's so old (but I'm going to be doing the same thing in June, eek!) and it was a lot of exhausting fun. We went out to eat umpteen times, swam in indoor pools, played drinking games, and crashed. So it's been another 10 days. I went out, and feeling brave I just hopped on. I was expecting to just have to get off and lunge due to impeding crazy pony syndrome... but no, I had a sane and reliable mount. She didn't even really mind the large dark drainage ditches they just put in, or the scary picnic table or anything. We had one leap into the air spook when a flock of birds took flight directly behind us, but other than that we had a normal walk/trot/canter ride. I even tossed her over a fallen x-rail (one rail was up, one down) to make her pick up her feet. She was, dare I say, brave to it! She didn't get fast, she just ate the ground up to it like she was excited. No bucking or stupidness afterward, just a nice back to trot transition. She wasn't the absolute antithesis of a giraffe, ok maybe there were some genuine giraffe moments, but she worked on the bit and moved laterally when I asked. I didn't ask for much, suspecting that too much would blow a gasket, and it all turned out perfect. She even picked up perfect controlled canters on the correct lead both directions.

I know I'm oozing over some pretty simple things, but I just love that I have a sane horse. For a while there I was a little worried that I'd fallen prey to the typical Crazy with a capital C TB mare. *knock on wood* I think I was wrong!

Oh, I finally took her tail out of her tail bag... whoee! It's going to be so thick and delightful come show season. I can't wait!! She also got rinsed off because it was warm.

Stay tuned, next time I think I'm going to make a list of things to do over winter break. Any suggestions? I want to have accomplished some things in the next few months so that I'll be ready for show season. Everyone says that the shows are really won in January, not July.

Thursday, December 2, 2010


I hadn't ridden my mare in 12 days.... Yah, I was prepared for a mess. I took her into the round pen to see what she would do. She lunged like a normal horse, no tail flagging spiraling out of control, dragon snorting monster that I expected. So I went and put on her bridle and figured I'd cool her out by walking and doing some bending before they decided to feed her way out in her pasture. I hopped on and after being mildly annoyed with bit contact she settled right in. I even did a few really nice trot transitions just to get her thinking forward. I was so pleasantly surprised. I think my little mare might be starting to grow up!

I was worried that after 12 days of not seeing her I would go out and she would be a skeleton horse because I hadn't been out to feed her her extras. Nope. She's just as fat as she was at the beginning of winter, so I'm hoping that she stays a good weight if I feed her when I ride her. I weighed her with the weight tape and she read 1136. I think that's a really decent weight for her. Her feet are getting a little chipped, and that front left(?) crack never fully healed. I'm going to set up a shoeing appointment hopefully. I don't know whether I should pull shoes for winter or not? I just finally got her to keep her shoes... but I would rather let her feet do some natural growth and not spend the extra $30 or whatever.

Her clip is almost non-existent so I'll probably be doing that some time over winter break, depending on how cold it gets. I'm still planning on getting her a blanket liner for the colder days when she is clipped. My pampered little mare :)

I got to ride two horses at the barn back home when I was there for thanksgiving, a horse named Jackson, and a pony named Wall-e so CUTE!!