Thursday, November 20, 2014

What is happening

I apologize for my absence lately...  I have some big news to share, but I am not at the point where I feel like sharing yet.  I don't want to jinx it!  Hopefully the light is at the end of the tunnel...

I have been visiting Liam about twice a week and giving him good grooms.   Mentally, I am just not there to ride or have the time to ride consistently.  That just isn't fair to Liam and I decided that I should just let him have some time off instead of inconsistent mental block rides... 

Liam is loving his "retirement" and is just happy being loved on twice a week.  He is really cute about it.  We will see what the next couple of weeks/months bring.

Sorry, I just can't write fluff pieces right now to fill in the gaps of riding... 

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Warm Weather Ride

Last Tuesday the temperature was well over 70 degrees when I arrived at the barn.  I wanted to get a ride out in the field thinking that it is going to be one of the last warm days.  The weather man is calling for possible winter mix on Saturday.  Not looking forward to this...

Liam had his light sheet on (no fill) because it was cold over the weekend and Monday.  I figured he would be hot but felt super bad when I pulled off his sheet and saw this.


I am a horrible mommy...

These are the times I wish I didn't live 35 minutes (really more like 40 minutes, but 35 sounds so much better, no?) away from the barn.  Then, I could have swung by the barn on my way to work and pull his sheet for warm weather days.

Anyway, I cooled him down and tacked up.  Liam was great in the field, he really has come a long way this summer/fall about hacking out.

The big news was I was able to canter a lovey canter through the field.

video

First, I know it isn't the best video, but I am not sure any of you are aware how big of a deal this video is for me.  When I first bought Liam, I wouldn't even consider taking this video, heck I wouldn't of taken it in the spring.  To do this I had to trust Liam enough to take my one hand off the reins and video.  This is how far we have come to trust each other.  I trust that this horse will take care of me.  Don't get me wrong, he is still a horse, but our relationship has grown so much this summer and fall, and I believe it has completely to do with all the trail riding and hunter paces we have been on.  You need to trust each other to do those things!!!

It was really a great day!

Monday, October 27, 2014

RTA Jeopardy Trail Ride


Yesterday, Liam and I with our friends attended the Readington Trail Association Jeopardy Trail Ride. The ride was held at Round Valley Reservoir. They were offering a short course (3 miles) or a long course (7 miles). We were planning on doing the long course.

I wasn't able to ride Saturday, so Sunday morning I arrived at the barn bright and early and was able to spin Liam on the lunge to get the sillys out. Lunging him before we went worked really well. When we arrived at the trial ride he was more relaxed than ever before.

We signed up and after talking with the registration people decided to do the short course twice. They said the long course was really rocky and hilly. They suggested to either have shoes or boots on your horse. Pony has four shoes, but Liam only has front shoes. That wasn't even the deciding factor, I figured Liam would be fine without hind shoes, but the pony is 24 and can get really sore on steep downhills. She will hop on them like it hurts her. My friend will get off her on every downhill and the pony is fine, but since they said we could do the short course twice we figured that was the way to go...

This time after registration I swung by the start and let them know that my horse can misbehave a little at the start. They completely understood and told us they will not make us stop and wait to start... We headed back to the trailer and before we knew it were tacked up and on the trail.




We did get lost a few times...  I am not sure how that happened, but I am sure it was because we were gabbing away.

We passed this weird looking jump on our way into the first round of jeopardy questions.




It looked like they took the fire pits from the campgrounds and stacked them up to make a jump. Maybe it wasn't meant to be a jump, but sure looked like one and in my opinion a dangerous one. I hope nobody actually jumped this. We walked around. Liam thought it was very scary the first time around.

The jeopardy questions were a lot of fun. The first round was general knowledge. You had to answer the question with a question, just like you do in jeopardy. My friend was asked the largest height of a pony. Come on, how easy is that??? What is 14.2 hands. I was asked in my opinion a much harder and broader question. When training a young horse what needs to be consistent? That could be anything, I said handling, the correct response was what is signals or cues... Such a broad question. I pouted away.

Next up was Liam's first view of the reservoir.


What is that?


It was so beautiful! We walked this path right next to reservoir for a little while with only a small tree line in between. Then back into the woods for our next jeopardy questions. This question was about breeds. My friend was asked what breed of horses live right off the coast of Virginia and Maryland. Duh!!! OMG easy, what is Chincoteague. Of course my friend got is easily!!! I was asked, again in my opinion, a much harder question. What elegant breed of horse is native to Portugal. Ummmmm, who knows.... The answer was what is an Andalusian... Again I pouted away...

Next up was the first time we saw a little part of the reservoir up close and personal.


 






Did I tell you that the ride had a costume class? We met a fellow rider on the trail dressed up as a medieval horse and rider.



Liam was frightened by this unknown rider and horse in their getup. His eyes got really big... The woman and I both laughed at Liam and his silliness. We let the woman pass us and continued on our way.

Next was the final jeopardy question. The topic was horse care. Again, my friend got the easier question, no fair... My friends question was: when a horse grabs onto a solid surface with their teeth and sucks in air, answer: what is cribbing. She got it easily... My question was: the proper way to pick a horse's foot with a hoof pick, I said: what is along the frog, correct answer: what is toe to heel... Broad question.

I was 0 for 3 with the questions, my friend was 3 for 3... I guess I need to increase my knowledge...

We were back at the start before we knew it and around the trail again for a second time. We had a ton of fun and both Liam and pony were fabulous. Got back to the trailer, untacked and loaded up and headed home without any difficulty...


















 

Friday, October 24, 2014

Hobble Hobble


Nothing really interesting to report on the Liam front. He has been really good all week.

I let my kitty in from outside this morning and she came in hobbling by not putting any weight on her front right leg. She wasn't even outside that long, I don't know what she did...  I am just imagining super kitty flying through the air. She really does some crazy things... My mom has nicknamed her the bullet, because she runs every...

I was able to look at her leg between her trying to bite me and swat at me and it all seemed ok... After about 30 minutes of hemming and hawing on what to do I decided to wait it out. My reasoning is that she came in, ate food and drank, then curled up in her bed. If she was in that much pain she wouldn't have eaten or drank... She was also licking her leg in her bed and as I was leaving she got up and used the leg a little to readjust herself. I don't think she is in constant pain or anything... Here's hoping I made the correct decision when I get home later...

Ouch...

The culprit paw...

Monday, October 20, 2014

Whoa Pony...

I was able to ride Liam on Friday afternoon and had a pretty successful ride.  He was nice and relaxed and I worked on making him go forward and move his hiney around...

Saturday I arrived at the barn in the afternoon.  It was a very windy day.  I could tell Liam was up the moment I pulled him out of the field.  I could see whites around his eyeballs... I tacked up and headed to the ring with the lunge line in tow.  He seemed alright as soon as I got to the ring and decieded to just hop on... We did our normal walk warm up, but as soon as I picked up the trot, I knew I had a wild horse underneath me.  In my earlier days I would have just rode it out, but now I am a little cautious.  I decided to hop down and put him on the lunge. 

HE WAS WILD.  Really galloping around me.  Hoping in the air...  We lunged for about 15 minutes in both directions.  I got back on and had a much more relaxed horse underneath me.  I am really proud of him though... He could of been really bad the first time I got on, and years ago I think he would have, but now he just gives me the warning signs and I trust myself to listen to them...  If he needs a lunge to get out a few bucks, it is ok to lunge him.  We had a more productive ride after the lunge then we would have if I tried to ride it out. 

He did get a bit sweaty, so I am now reconsidering the not clipping him idea I had for this year and thinking I might have to do something.  He really is a big sweater. 

I really like Saiph's  clip pattern, and might copy...

Because I hate posts without pictures, you all get some of my crazy cat drinking out of the toilet. When you flush the toilet you best get out of her way as she wants in to get a drink of fresh water... Crazy cat...


Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Met the neighboring farm!!!

It wasn't a very exciting riding weekend...  It was a very dreary weekend in New Jersey...

Liam was scheduled for his fall shots on Friday.  I got stuck at work late and didnt have time to ride him before the vet got there.  I was able to throw him on the lunge for about 15 minutes though. 

 


I gave him off Saturday as it was practically raining all day and Liam can get sore from his shots.

I went out to the barn early Sunday morning and was able to ride.  Friend and I decided to walk down to the hay field and follow that little path that I found a month or so ago.  When we came out to the field that I always turned around on we saw a lady driving her cart out.  We were able to catch up to her and she said she owns the horse farm that is below the hay field and we are more then welcome to ride on any of her property.  She does rent out some of the fields to farmers but we are allowed to ride the perimeters... This is very exciting!

Old picture of the soy bean field I used to turn around at, now I can use the perimeter and into the next field!!!
 


Thursday, October 9, 2014

Never Make Plans and Unknown Black Dog...

I had another crazy exhausting weekend and one of my plans was to attend the Amwell Valley Trail Association's hunter pace last Sunday (10/5).  I prepared Liam all week for the pace and even gave him a mane pull to make sure he looks his best. 

It all started to go south and exhausting Friday night.  I wanted to get Liam's winter blankets to the laundry mat to wash and water proof them.  My husband tagged along with me to help.

Pile of dirty blankets

The dental office that my husband's aunt works at is right next to the laundry mat.  I can't believe a dental office is open till 9:30pm on a Friday night.  Just crazy in my opinion, but this is a little off topic... After I was done cleaning blankets, my husband and I grabbed pizza in the same strip mall and I we sent a text to my husband's aunt to see if she was working to stop in and say hello.  She was and we ended up talking in the parking lot until after midnight.

I had to work a full day the next day (Saturday) and be at work at 6am.  To say I got up tired is an understatement.  I got out to the barn late Saturday afternoon to ride Liam lightly and pack my tack in the trailer.  Saturday night I had a party with my husband's family that I was looking forward too.  Hense what we were talking about in the parking lot with my husband's aunt way too late the night before.  We ended up again staying out way too late at the party and not getting home till 11:30pm. 

I was already running on no sleep from the night before.  I need atleast 6 hours of sleep to function, I just need it.  When we got home I still had to get myself organized for the hunter pace.  Get my clothes together, pack a lunch, etc...  By the time I got into bed it was after 1am.  The alarm went off way too early at 6am the Sunday morning.  I rolled out of bed not happy at all, but got myself together.  The temperatures really dropped saturday night and Sunday morning was COLD!!!  ugh...

I arrived at the barn to wide eyed cold Liam.  He was actually shaking.  I brought him into the barn and he was wild!!! Spooking at things we walk past everyday.  We came around the corner and the pony was standing there and he spooked at her by rearing straight up in the air.  Okay Liam, you are going on the lunge line...  He was wild!!! Throwing the biggest bucks I have ever seen him do.

The bucks looked similar to this! 

By the time I got Liam down to planet earth and paying attention to me, also warmed him up, it was just too late for me to go to the hunter pace.  The pace was almost 1 hour drive away, and by the time we rode the pace, and drove back it would be too late for me to get anything else done that day that I had to do, like laundry and grocery shop,  boring mundane tasks, I know, but someone has to do them.  Also, I wanted to be done with everything at a decent hour, because I was just exhausted...  I asked my friend if she was ok with skipping the hunter pace and just going over the park.  Of course she said yes.

We had a lovey ride through the park until this unknown strange black dog just showed up along side of us.

Not the actual dog, but he looked very similar to this one. 

We had no idea where he came from.  We looked around for owners or someone trying to catch up to him and no one was around.  We went a little ways and he just went along with us.  My friend got off her pony to try to catch him but didn't have much luck.  He did have a collar on with tags.  She got back on and we continued on our way and the unknown black dog just stuck right with us.  Our best guess was that where he caught up to us was at the back of the park that has several boarding barns boardering the park.  We are guessing he came from one of those farms because he seemed to know the park and the trails and how to trail ride with the horses.  We came to the open field that had benches that I could use to get back on Liam.  No, I can't mount my beast from the ground.  Both my friend and I got off and tried to catch the black dog.  He would not come to us.  I really wish I had dog treats or something, but I didn't.  And then, all of a sudden, it was like he realized we weren't his people and took off in the direction we just came from.  Maybe heading home?  I don't know...  But we never did catch up to him or see him again.  I hope he made it back to his owner...

We finished up our ride and brought the horses home.  It was a really cold morning...  I was able to do the errands and things I needed to get done and still get to bed at a decent hour...

Lesson learned, I NEED TO STOP OVER BOOKING MYSELF.. 1 activity per weekend... That is it...


Wednesday, October 1, 2014

TTA Hunter Pace (Part 2)

This post is the second half of the Tewksbury Trail Association Hunter Pace. 

I left you off at the half way hold.  With 5 miles already under my belt, I felt pretty good and ready to go after our 2 minute hold.  I was able to get a quick drink of water at the hold and Liam just stood around for the 2 minutes completely relaxed.  Off we went for our second half of the hunter pace which was another 5 miles.

We headed up the hill through the park's corn field and out the side of the park to more private properties.  This part of the hunter pace was really hilly.  One that goes up, must come down...  Liam was felling pretty good and energetic still, but not at all fresh anymore.  We were able to trot up all the hills and walk down them on the other sides.  The pony started acting funny about down hills.  It was almost like she would hop down them... My friend decided that she would get off on every down hill and hand walk the pony down.  She said that down hills were always hard for the pony, especially because it was the first pace out for the fall season.  I give credit to this pony.  She is 23 years old, going on 24, and still sound and happily chugging along. 

Because my friend was getting on and off for every down hill we were getting passed a ton.  I was really happy with how Liam was behaving about this.  He just happily waited while other horses were passing by...  We were even passed by the pair that we went in front of at the start.  The pair that the starting guy told us to go ahead of.  I pulled Liam off to the side of the trail to let them go by.  I thanked them for letting us go first at the start.  I was shocked by their response. The older lady said very rudely that we could have asked to go in front...  My mouth dropped wide open and I was horrified.  I never meant to be rude and I guess I can kind of see it from their prospective that I was rude, but in all honesty I didn't want to die.  The starting guy could clearly see that Liam was becoming a handful and told us to go ahead.  Trying to make Liam wait can really be bad, he will start rearing and hopping around putting on a real show.  It can be very dangerous...  Next hunter pace I think I am going to go to the start of the hunter pace and talk to the starting person before I even tack Liam up.  This way I won't be "rude" when I get there with Liam, trying to keep him relaxed, but assertively letting the starting person know that this could get ugly. 

After they passed we had a lovey ride to the finish.  My hips were getting really sore though... I have never had this happen to me.  It was always my feet in the stirrups, but never my hips.  I jumped off right after the finish line and hand walked Liam back to the trailer.

Finished through the water!!!

We ended up second to last in the hunter pace.  We really made good time in the beginning, but with all the stopping and starting at the end we really had no chance.  We loaded the horses and headed home with any difficulty.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

TTA Hunter Pace (Part 1)

(I am breaking this post into 2 posts.  It has literally taken me 2 weeks to get this all down...)



Tewksbury Trail Association every fall hosts a hunter pace at Christy Hoffmen's park.  The same park that I always ride at.  The hunter pace also includes private properties around the park, which is always exciting. 

What else is new though, the morning of the hunter pace I was running late.  Well according to me I was on time until I realized I was running late and, like always, I was on a very tight time schedule for the day.  My friend and I planned to be one of the first groups out.  Liam gets very nervous at the starts and I believe it has to do with all the horses and commotion that is going on.  I have found he just doesn't like waiting and things can escalate quickly with him.  The hunter pace started at 8:00am.  The park is approximately a 5 minute trailer drive over.  We figured we would tack the horses up at home, like we normally do when trailer over to this park, except for their bridles, and head over at about 7:45am to be there by 7:50am.  Quickly sign up and away we go.  Well I don't know what really happened. The only thing I can think of is that I had it in my head that the hunter pace started at 9am and not 8am.  I got up early (5:30am), walked the dog, caught up on a few blogs, and the next thing I knew I was pulling out of the driveway at 7:45am thinking how on time I am going to be, proud of my bad ass self.  I'll be to the barn by 8:15am, leaving me enough time to hook up the trailer, get Liam from the field, groom, tack up, and be on the road by 8:45am (tight, I know, but I am efficient).  As I was driving down my road, still 30 minutes away from the barn, I realized we were supposed to be pulling out of the barn at 7:45am, not 8:45am, how did I screw this up so badly?  Sent a quick text to my friend that I am on my way, and I will be there shortly.  I felt horrible the entire drive to the barn, but as it turned out she was running late as well.

I grabbed Liam out of the field and he had fun rolling in the mud over night.  New Jersey's ground has been very dry and hard because we haven't had much rain and it just happened to rain the night before the hunter pace to make the footing perfect, which was awesome, but Liam found the wettest spot in the field and had a good roll.  Thanks buddy...  I finished grooming him up and making him shine for the hunter pace.  Loaded Liam and the pony up and away we went without any difficulty.  We arrived at the park and it wasn't packed yet.  Thank goodness.  There was maybe 10 trailers there so far.  We were able to snag a great parking spot right in the front with an easy exit.  My friend and I signed up got the horses off the trailer and finished tacking up (putting their bridles on) and before we knew it we were walking down to the starting tent.  Liam was really relaxed, which suprised me, but as we got closer and closer to the start, I could feel him tense up.  The starting guy was giving 2 women in front of us the typical trail speech as we approched.  I politly said excuse me and I just wanted to let the starting guy know that my horse can misbehave at the starts.  My goal was to be able to listen along to the speech with the other 2 people that were there first.  Liam was litterly jigging around them.  You can clearly see he was ready to go.   I didn't mean to be rude or anything, but I also needed to get going before Liam became a handful.  The starting guy looked at us and said that we could go first.  Thank goodness, I thought Liam was going to jump out of his skin.

We started out slow, by walking out a little ways and then picked up the trot.  We trotted up a huge hill and made a sharp turn into the woods and came out to another field where a photographer stood taking pictures.  Liam thought the photographer was a horse eating monster.  We kept trotting along and Liam was actually being quite spooky.  Spooking at logs on the ground, blowing trees, just really silly stuff.  Then, we got to our first road crossing.  The road we were crossing is a pretty busy road and there were people there waiting to stop traffic.  Again, I politly said that my horse doesn't wait well.  I felt Liam instantly get tense at the road crossing.  We really need to work on this waiting...

Finally, I said the the gentleman, I don't mean to be rude, but my horse doesn't wait well, would you mind stopping the traffic.  I hate to be like this.  It actually really bothers me to say anything like that, but I just don't understand people.  I tell them my horse can be naughty waiting and they can clearly see him starting to act up.  Stop the darn traffice and let me continue on my way.  Yes, it isn't their fault my horse is bad, and I do need to work on it, but milage and experience is what Liam needs not being forced into the situation.

After crossing the road, Liam started to relax a little bit, but he was still really up.  He was showing off his most elastic trot.  It is actually very uncomforable.  My friend even commented on it.  We let the pony lead for a little before she started misbehaving.  The pony, who is a hunter pace master, was fresh too!  We trotted where we could and walked where we had too.  This side of the road was mostly big fields connecting properties.  There was one cool spot where we walked on top of a ridgeline and the hills were steep on both sides, we walked in this section... We actually passed a few groups and before we knew it we were crossing the busy road again.  This road crossing went much smoother.  Liam was getting a little tired.

We crossed the road and were walking through beautiful old estates.  It was incredible to see.  I never knew these homes existed back there.  I wish I remembered my phone to be able to take pictures, but in the mad rush in the morning I forgot it at the barn.  We finally ended up back in christy hoffmen's park, through the back.  It was funny.  The horses knew imidiately that we were back in the park and completely relaxed.  We went down a huge field and through a stream and ended up at the half way point hold. 



Second half of the hunter pace to follow...

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Critters in all Shapes and Sizes


Meet Anne, aka: 4 paws with claws!  Saiph posted this adorable story about how she adopted Zombie, her new tripod kitty, and this gave me the idea of posting about how I adopted Anne, my very own little kitty.  To be honest, I am NOT a cat person.  Luckily Anne doesn't have any traits that a normal cat has. 

Lets start from the beginning.  Back when my life was a mess, with no direction, I was working as a groom in a horse barn to make some cash money.  One day Anne, no name at the time, strutted her way down the aisle for the very first time and into my life.  We instantly bonded.  The barn owner never saw her before, but she became a staple in everyday life very quickly.  Every morning she would help me feed all the horses by following me from stall to stall.  She would sit on the ledge outside of the stall doors while I cleaned stalls.   Literally, she followed me everywhere.  The barn owner's kids named her Anne.

Anne did have a litter of kittens while she lived at the barn. 

 



I only have pictures of 2 of the 4 kittens, and the pictures were not taken when they were kittens (friends adopted these 2 cuties and I stole photos off their facebook, hehe).  The other 2 remaining kittens still live at the barn where I found Anne.  Soon after her litter, Anne was spayed to prevent that from happening again...

One day I was dropping hay out of the hay loft and there she was following me around like always.  I noticed her under the hay loft door just as I was letting go of the hay bale and splat.  The hay bale landed right on her.  I don't even know how I made it down the hay loft ladder as fast as I did, but I was by her side in no time.  She was hurt.  I scooped her up threw her in my car and off we went to the ER vet hospital. 

Without pulling out the hospital report to use medical terms, she basically broke her entire face.  She needed her nose reconstructed, to be able to breath (she still snores badly to this day).  Her jaw reconstructed to be able to eat.  And she broke whatever the bone is called under her left eye (cheek bone?).  Basically her entire face was smooshed in. She had many x-rays and even a kitty "cat" scan, lol...  We were thankful that it was only her face and not her neck.  Her scull looked to be fine as well.  I was worried about head injury, concussion, which she had, but the hospital took really great care of her.

After her surgeries, which I paid for, I brought her home to my house to recuperate figuring the barn isn't the best place for her to be and basically, she never left.  She has been with me and my husband for 5 years now and we couldn't imagine our life without her.


 
Diesel (my jack russell) and her became instant friends.  They both love sleeping in their beds next to each other.

 
Anne is very bonded with my husband and he can't sit on the couch without her on his lap.


She gets very jealous if Diesel tries to sit on my husbands lap and pushes her way in.


There is a water bowl stare down every night...  Hilarious, I have video on my old phone that I will have to dig up.


She also loves to play hide and seek on us...

Anne is a true character and we love her dearly!!!


Friday, September 12, 2014

Wasn't meant to be


Getting our itchy butt scratched and making itchy butt scratch faces...

Last Sunday I had a hunter pace planned at Lord Sterling Stables.  Lord Sterling is a county run stable and they usually host a great event.  The footing on the trails are always fabulous and the jumps are very inviting.  This would be the first hunter pace at Lord Sterling for Liam and I together.  I was always nervous about taking Liam to this pace because the start can get a bit crazy with people galloping through the field and there is often times two way traffic on the trails.  My friend and I decided that we would go early and be the first or second group out to reduce the starting nightmare.

Three days before the event I saw a post that due to unforeseen circumstances the hunter pace was cancelled.  Bummer... My friend and I talked and decided that we would go to the sanctuary instead.

I got up early Sunday morning and got dressed.  I was in the truck by 8:30am to drive out to the barn.  Turned the key to start the truck and got this really strange sound.  It was like the truck was trying to start, but would struggle.  Oh no, dead batteries.  Ran inside to get my hubby and he in fact confirmed that the batteries were dead.  Sent a quick text to my friend that the truck batteries were dead and that I am running to the auto store to see if they have any new batteries in stock.  You might be wondering why I keep saying batteries, as in plural.  Well, that is correct, the truck has 2 batteries and needs both of them to run. 

I went to 2 auto stores and it was just my luck that the batteries were not in stock, they had to be ordered.  At this point, my husband said he would make a call to a friend to barrow his truck, but I just said trail riding today was just not meant to be.

strupid broken truck


I got the batteries yesterday for a high price tag of $300 dollars.  Man those suckers are expensive and good bye new pair of breeches.  Gotta love diesel trucks and how expensive their parts are... 


Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Costs



 
Some major life changes are happening in my life right now and it made me examine my monthly horse budget.  I think my budget is pretty reasonable for the area I live in.

Here goes:

Board - $325
Shoes - $130
Feed - $130
Supplements - $30
 
***Feed is just under $130 for 5 bags.  Liam eats more in the winter and goes through about 5 bags of feed a month and eats considerably less in the summer because of the grass and eats about 5 bags every month and a half or so.  Liam has front shoes only.  He gets shod every 6-7 weeks in the winter and 4-5 weeks in the summer.  I decided to round up on the high side for my budget purposes.
 
Yearly Costs:
 
Shots 2x/year: $500
Insurance: $600
Supplies: $500
 
Liam is on a bare bones budget and only gets things when absolutely needed.
 
Liam in total costs me on the high side $748/month... 
 
I hope my hubby doesn't read this...

Thursday, September 4, 2014

All The Rage - Love SmartPak

I finally jumped on the bandwagon and bought an Ogilvy half pad.  I really needed to replace my 10+ year old mattas pad.  I decided I couldn't wait the 6+ weeks it took to order the pad direct to get it in custom colors and to be completely honest I just couldn't decide on which custom colors to get.  I decided to order it from SmartPak in their stock colors - Black on Black. Shout out to SmartPak - when I order from them I typically have my order the very next day.  And you just can't beat their return policy.  Love SmartPak.  Since I never saw an Ogilvy pad in person I wanted to be able to return it easily if I didn't liked it.  Well that sort of is I lie, I saw the pad in passing this summer at the Princeton Horse Show, so the fact really is I never felt it in person...  I figured once I can finally decide on a custom color I will order another cover.

So far, I have ridden in the pad twice and have no complaints.  The fit is fabulous, although I am riding on one less hole with the girth.  I will update again after a few more rides, but so far I am very happy with my choice.


Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Park Days

Last Friday, after my adventurous Thursday, I had off of work to head out camping with the hubs.  Hubs ended up having to go into work Friday morning and we couldn't leave as early as we were hoping.  This left me just enough time to squeeze in a ride over at the park.  I sent a text to my friend to see if she was in with her pony.  I told her I was short on time and needed to be heading home no later then 12noon.

I arrived at the barn at 8am sharp and hooked up the trailer.  I had to do some maintenance on the trailer because the last time I used the trailer the cable snapped on the hay bag and cut Liam's face.  Luckily I board at a hay farmers and there are plenty of baling twine hanging around.  According to the hubs, baling twine and duct tape fixes everything.  I used the baling twine to reattach the hay bag.  I thought I had a picture, but I guess my phone ate it...

I helped my friend finish up her morning chores and off we went to the park.  We arrived and were on the horses by 9am.  Liam was very quiet.  We walked for awhile and Liam just couldn't be bothered to lead or care how far ahead the pony got.  This was really different for him...


Can you see the pony way up ahead.  We trotted a bunch on this trip to the park.  We trotted every uphill that was offered and trotted some of them several times.  The pony who is typically calm, cool, and collected really was up on this ride and Liam was the calm, cool, and collected one.  Weird?  At one point, the pony broke into a canter up a hill and I heard my friend yell back "are you okay?".  Liam was perfect.  All he did was shake his head once and transitioned up to a nice floaty canter.  I yelled back "I'm okay, keep going".  The pony picked up speed and Liam just put his head down and lenghtened his canter.  I got in my half seat and it was just lovely cantering behind the pony.  Liam never got upset about anything and just happily followed.  

I even jumped a few cross county jumps!  It was a fun morning with Liam and I am secretly glad my hubs had a morning meeting and I was able to go, even though he wasn't pleased!  




Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Getting Adventurous

Plans never go the way you want them to.  Last week after my rant about Liam's weakness I headed out to the barn with the plan of going down to the hay field and doing many walk/trot transitions and some trot/canter transitions to start to strengthen Liam's now weak hind end.  I arrived at the barn, quickly tacked up, sent my barn owner a text where I was heading, and hopped on Liam.  As I was walking down to the hay field I heard the tractors running. Oh no, they are cutting the field.  So much for those plans.  I heard my name being called from behind me and turned around to see my barn owner running after me to let me know they are cutting the field.  She said that I could go down, but Liam might find it to be spooky because when they cut the grass flies everywhere. 

Liam felt really quiet, so I decided to see how he felt about the flying grass.  I got down to the field and caught up to one of the workers and he said that I would have about 2 hours to ride because they were heading over to a neighboring farm to cut their field first.  Woohoo.  I picked up a trot and my plan was to trot the field once around then start doing transitions.  Again, I should just stop trying to make plans.  Liam was really quiet and I almost made it around the field before I noticed a path heading to an adjacent corn field. 





I never noticed the little opening before.  You can barely see it in the above picture.  I looked for signs that said private property, no trespassing, but there wasn't any.  So I decided to take the path...


We moseyed along and then found this nice wooded path on the opposite side of the corn field. 


This path weaved through the woods for a while and then opened up to another field.


To the right of the above picture is a path next to the crop that I am guessing is soy beans.  This is where I chickened out and turned around.  I did not see any signs but decided it was best to turn around and ask my barn owner about riding on that property before I just did it.

We headed back to the hay field and trotted the field again before heading back to the barn.  I decided to head to the ring for about 5-10 mintues and did some trot/canter transitions and Liam was fabulous. 

I am really excited to venture out further, but don't want to ride on private property that I am not allowed to ride on.  I am going to have to write the property owners letters to see if I am allowed...







 
 
 

 
 



Thursday, August 28, 2014

Liam's weak

Warning: I little bit of a whiney rant.

Liam has only been ridden about 3-4 times a week since I put him back to work in the beginning of August.  It is crazy how weak Liam's hind end got with 1 month off and 1 month of light work with mostly field riding. He was very fit and strong going into the Princeton Horse Shows mid-summer.  When asking him to step under now I am finding he is slipping a little.  Like his hind end, espcially stifles, are weak. 

***Now for my rant, I worked so hard to get Liam fit and using himself correctly this spring and early summer, it isn't fair that a little time off made such and impact on his fitness.  yes, I'll take some cheese with my whine.  I love cheese anyway, really, who can say they hate cheese...  Yes I know, life isn't fair, yada yada yada... Lol.  Done with rant...***

Now my plan going forward.  Since I can't stand riding in the ring right now, even though I tortured myself on Tuesday to ride in the ring for 20 minutes, I am going to do excersizes out in the hay field to strenghten him up.   The hay field doesn't have big hills, but it does have rolling hills that are really great.  I am also thinking about doing transitions out there. Not just trotting around the field.  Like trot/walk transitions.  Any other suggests to stenghten my now weak horse?

"Mom, I don't really care that my hind end is weak right now and I am fatter then I have ever been (pic doesn't do his fatness justice, I'll try to get a better one), I am still cute anyways and you shouldn't ride me, just bring me carrots and apples please."

Monday, August 25, 2014

Nothing Interesting to Report....

I was able to make arrangements this past weekend to get off the property, but ended up having to cancel in the end.  Work was crazy last week and I was only able to make it out to the barn on Tuesday during the week.  Headed up to the barn Saturday morning.  Liam was very wide eyed.  I decided to put him on the lunge before I hopped on and I am very glad I did.  He was wild. 

I let him slid on this though, he was only ridden twice during the week (once by me on Tuesday and once by my friend on Wednesday) and the weather dropped about 20 degrees.  As soon as I got on I felt rain drops.  By the time I walked around the ring once the skys opened up.  Our ride ended very quickly.

Liam has a bit of rain rot, darn sensitive skinned chestnut...  I was going to give him a bath to treat it, but in the end I decided not to.  I was actually really cold at the barn Saturday morning and we only have cold water.  I treated it the best I could with vetericyn.  Who knows if this stuff actually works, but I was given a bottle, so I decided I should use it. 

 
I can't believe this is the last week of summer.  I consider after labor day fall.  I am not looking forward to the picture below anytime soon...
 



Friday, August 22, 2014

June Family Photo Shoot

I never actully posted these photos from the professional photo shoot that I did with my "family" in June this year. I put family in quotes because my family consists of 4 legged kids.  I couldn't be anymore thrilled about how these photos came out.  Here is the photo dump of my favorites.