Monday, September 4, 2017

Photo Dump

It's time for a photo dump!! Loooooooooooooong overdue. This will def be a picture heavy post.

He hates the fuzzy bloo halter. 

Old Pmare.

She doesn't love dogs.... 

Long lining Zoodle


Uma and Frank <3


Frank was soooooooooooo shiny

Uma, being a big grown up girl

Every. Day.

Too bad the bridle doesn't fit, it would be so cute

Pax and Cregga, 6 months old. Cregga is a full hand taller than Pax was at the same age.

Babies and a storm

Gee where does Cregga get her side eye from I wonder

Lady mares getting baths... P is looking so much better. 

Did I mention we adopted a pig of our own!? More on her later!

America's First Family

Cregga at 5 months old....
... and 6 months! SO BIG!

Having a run run party

Dylan as a young man, and an old man! 

Trying to trot the babe in hand.... but.....

She's putting all her growth effort into her ears. 6 months old!

I should just get my stepladder started now. 

Saturday, September 2, 2017

End of August Analysis; September Goals

I wrote almost nothing in August. To be completely honest with everyone, I've been really having a hard time emotionally lately, and just can't quite get myself together. I've barely ridden at all in the past two weeks, and haven't worked with any of the babies. The loss of Frank hit me hard, and the hurricane totally blew me out of the water. It just was a terrible month. Nothing important got done and I had no motivation to do anything but barely keep my head afloat. I hope September will be better... I got on Dylan and went for a walk hack today, and felt much better afterward. 

My goals have had to be altered since Hurricane Harvey happened. Harvey of course struck the Texas coast, and along with all the other devastation it caused, it also forced the cancellation of the Laborious Day show, with no refunds. All of that is completely fine, and totally trivial compared with the devastation other people have faced, so I'm in no way complaining. But because I missed my chance at my 4th level debut, and didn't have the ability to get in any other 3rd level tests before the closing days for Regionls and Nationals, I won't be going to Nationals. That makes me sad, and I feel disappointed that I won't be going out at 4th level at all this year. Regionals is the last dressage show, then we have Haras Cup and three other WE shows in Nov and Dec. Our wedding is coming up, and I don't have random money to throw around at dressage shows that won't count for anything much. HDS was kind enough to offer partial refunds, but I still have a budget I have to stick to. Looking over the whole year so far, I've accomplished so much! But it wasn't all of what I wanted to accomplish, not nearly. Nationals, the AWS show in Vegas, and going out at 4th level - all things I wanted to do, and all things I won't be doing this year.
But.... there is next year. 4th level will be waiting for us in January. Whether or not we go to Nationals or Vegas will depend of course on 1) where Nationals even is, and 2) finances, but... we will see. We will see. I'll be doing Intermediate B again next year for working eq as I am trying for my silver medal(s), and of course 4th level is the start to trying to get silver medal scores for USDF. Lots of silver things in my future, I hope. K just delivered her baby a few days ago (!!), which means I do still have Dylan for at least a couple more years! 


O-Ren August:

1) Continue being a good momma horse!
Success! But, of course, not hard. I really have been missing driving her.... I would like to do a little competing in the spring with her, but we will see.

Cregga August:

1) Continue learning about leading, brushing, feet handling, bathing, and clipping!
Success! And she's been led up and tied to the trailer grooming spot like a big girl too, which she hasn't been a huge fan about but she certainly hasn't killed anyone over it yet.

Dylan August:

1) Regular lessons and clinics! Both dressage and WE!
Success! I've been riding with Louisa regularly of course, and Tarrin too this month. I don't know when Tarrin will be up here next but I hope to get in with her again before Haras.

2) Continue working on pirouettes and 4-tempis as usual
Success! The tempis have been coming along well, and quarter pirouettes are easy. We're continuing to do more work with very collected canter vs just collected canter, as sometimes it feels to me like we're super collected but actually we're just going super slow. I can't always tell the difference, so Louisa's eyes on the ground really help.

3) Compete in the HDS Laborious Day I and II shows at the end of the month 
Well, that didn't happen... but, Mother Nature does whatever she wants. This is the third show in a row that has been cancelled due to weather and it's really starting to get old.

4) Get two more All Breed Awards scores for Third Level... and *gulp* try 4-1 for the first time!
It would have happened.... if Hurricane Harvey wouldn't have spoiled everything.

Pangea/Pax/Uma August:

1) Grooming/trimming every 2 weeks 
Success! Pax has been saddled a few more times too, with no issues.

2) Uma: Start to do a bit more learning about lunging!
Success! She's starting to learn the idea. But again, the last two weeks I've done nothing with anyone. I've just been too out of it.

Zu July:
1) More long lining! If I have help! 
2) Lunging with harness
3) Wearing bridle - full bridle with noseband

Sriracha July:
1) Lunging - walk and trot
2) Wearing bridle
3) Wearing harness
4) All of course contingent on catching her feral little ass again!

I didn't even bother putting any of the goals for the other two babies up - I just didn't do much with them this month except groom them and do feet. I've been too out of it and miserable to really focus on anything.


O-Ren September:
1) Continue being a good momma horse!

Cregga September:
1) Continue learning about leading, brushing, feet handling, bathing, and clipping!

Dylan September:
1) Regular lessons as usual!
2) Continue working on pirouettes and 4-tempis as usual
3) Start prep work for Regionals and for HARAS CUP! 
4) Trailer out not only to WD, but to the arena in Decatur with obstacles, to start doing more obstacle work in prep for Haras 

Pangea/Pax/Uma/Sriracha/Zoodle August:
1) Grooming/trimming every 2 weeks 
2) Uma: Start to do a bit more learning about lunging!
3) Sriracha - Catch that little bugger again! She's been loose and feral and mean for two months now and I can't get hands on her. I'll have to run her into a chute to get her. 
4) Zoodle - lunging and long lining, and wearing full bridle with noseband! He is probably going with the Zorseman this month too to get broke to drive - Boyd is doing his preliminary breaking for me!


Baby Pax, wearing  a saddle like a grown up! Yes... she is still tiny. But, she is looking more and more grown up. 

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Tarrin Teaches, Louisa Lessons, and Hurricane Harvey

Tarrin came up for lessons the weekend of August 4th. I had an early morning lesson with her on the 4th, right before Frank tanked. I love my lessons with Tarrin - they are always SO helpful. She really has helped me with Dylan more than I can say. She is always able to isolate the exact body problems that Dylan needs to have finessed out.

The arena was too wet to use, and all the obstacles had been set up in the grass outside of the arena. Tarrin has set up some ground poles in an exercise that looked like this:

So, the exercise started out with cantering up to the L shaped pole (going either left, or right), transitioning to a walk, and sidepassing over the L. It was clear that Dylan preferred one side over the other - instead of crossing over going to the right, he quick steps and shuffles over. This translated over into his lead changes, which is interesting because it seems to switch sides for me. When I'm doing exercises like the double slalom, my changes from left to right are way easier. During everything else, my changes from right to left are easier. I'm not quite sure why that is, but I guarantee it's all me.

Once we started the L exercise, Tarrin had me straighten him more, which almost felt like haunches leading to me. She assured me they weren't, and that straightening him actually made him cross over better. We then moved to something much more complicated - I would walk up to the L shaped poles and enter between the two of them (see orange arrows), then halt. We would back up, then trot directly off, leg yield either to the left or right about three or four strides, then go through the other pole corridor and change bend. When we had that more organized, we would enter at the walk, halt, back up, then canter off in either the left or right lead, half pass about three steps left or right (depending on what lead we were on), straighten through the pole corridor, and do a lead change between them. That was CRAZY hard. It was almost no time at all to prepare, and I had to be super precise, but by the end we were getting it. The half passes really engaged him right before the changes, and the pole corridor insisted that we do it straight and accurately, both things that count enormously in WE. The pole corridor was maybe two and a half feet wide, so there was no ability for him to move sideways in any kind of evasion. It was super hard, but super helpful. Accuracy is everything in WE.

It was a great lesson. Of course, Frank's death completely ruined any kind of enjoyment I had gotten out of the morning. But, I won't forget the day, ever, that's for sure.

Whoa wild stallion!! I got him a broodmare collar recently, and he has been living in that instead of in a halter. I love that I can leave the halter off him, but can still catch him. He can be INCREDIBLY hard to catch!

I've been hacking him regularly, riding him at Willow Draw, and now have also started taking him to the local Aquatread to try and get some pounds off of him. There are several ATs in our area, and this one is closest - it's one I hadn't been to before. Dylan was absolutely stupid the first two times he went into the corridor - he got down into the water without issue, but then folded up his legs and sank. Once he realized he was sinking, he started thrashing around, and had to be taken out and put back in a few times before he started to understand that he could actually *touch* the bottom. The third time he finally started to get it, and walked on the treadmill for about 10 minutes. From here, the time will go up, and the speed will increase to high speed trotting. He has to work up to it though, of course! I hope it will help his fitness level, which has been really hard to maintain in this weather. It's been SO hot and humid, and he really struggles with that. Not to mention he's a fat lard.... but, details.

Yes, he looks like a beluga in the water

Staring at me. "This is definitely YOUR fault lady."

We've also only been able to fit in one lesson with Louisa this month so far, which is fine although I would prefer to do two a month. Normally her lessons are on Tues and Thurs, but I recently realized she also does Sundays. I usually work on Sundays, but I managed to fit in a morning lesson last Sunday, and then worked in the afternoon. I don't usually like to do that, but sometimes you do what you have to! We had signed up for the HDS Laborious Day I and II shows this coming weekend in Houston (or well, Katy, which is basically in Houston), as another All Breed Awards score at Third level. We also signed up for our first time at Fourth level, giving 4-1 a try on each day. I told Louisa I wanted to try running through the test to iron out any of our problems, and she agreed. First though, we warmed up with some trot and canter work, doing some 10m circles at the trot and canter before switching directions (and leads). The changes all came clean, so we moved onto test work before Dylan ran out of steam, and the test actually ran great. I need to make sure I pay particular attention to geometry, especially in the first few trot movements - aside from the mediums and extensions, there is half pass to a 10m circles and then a shoulder in down the centerline. That's all good and fine, but if you're not precise with it, you'll not only overshoot the 10m circle but you'll completely lose your track on the shoulder in. Which is the point of it really, to prove you can be precise in every way.... which is hard.
Everything else ran off very smoothly. The canter mediums are good, the canter extensions are not great yet. We just haven't worked on them that much. If they don't get rushy, they also don't show a whole lot of difference between the mediums. The line of three changes also went very well, although I can't always guarantee a perfectly counted amount of strides between them. We're not ready really for 4-3, but 4-1 shouldn't be a problem, and 4-2 probably wouldn't go off poorly.

Whoa wild stallion!

When he's clean... he GLOWS!

Like father... like child. 

Hacking with no hands.... because he's the coolest. 

Dylan telling Cregga that he's DONE with her nonsense. 

So this weekend was supposed to be the HDS show right? I was excited, because not only was I going to see my friend Sarah from college who has recently moved to Houston, but JenJ was going to be there and I haven't seen her in a good long while, and some other friends were going to be there too.

Ride times were posted early in the week. We were excited! We all were texting back and forth our plans for the weekend, and were busy prepping to leave on Friday.

Then we noticed something questionable on the radar. A small tropical depression was over Mexico, and there was some talk that it might become a tropical storm over the weekend.

Whatever, we though. We laughed, and bought a lot of beer. Beer makes everything fun right?

Yesterday, there was some talk that the storm, called Harvey, would probably make landfall as a tropical storm, and we would probably get pretty wet at the showgrounds. We talked about it some, as I had also agreed to move Sarah's horses to a new facility for her while I was there. I wasn't too worried about it. What's a little rain?

Then today happened. Harvey suddenly exploded in the Gulf of Mexico. This is common enough during this time of year - the Gulf is hot as bathwater. What isn't common is the fact that two low pressure systems are going to collide with and then squeeze Harvey once it hits land. It went from tropical storm with a possible landfall as a weak Category 1 hurricane to a strong Category 3 and maybe even Category 4 hurricane. This will be the first major hurricane to strike the US in almost 12 years, and the first hurricane at all to hit Texas in 9. For reference, the last hurricane to hit Texas was Ike - if you remember, I have a little story about Ike!!

Not surprisingly, the show cancelled. Harvey is going to bring potentially devastating and life threatening conditions to the state, and so we're all staying home. They are trying to reschedule for next weekend, which I could absolutely make happen - but we will have to see. In the meantime, keep everyone on the coast in your thoughts - there have been mandetory evacuations in several areas, but for those who are staying in the non-mandatory areas, it's going to be one rough weekend.