Friday, May 30, 2014

Jump Crew

Did I ever tell you guys my husband is the best!!!

We had some broken jumps at the barn and I brought them home and my hubby fixed them and painted them up for us.  What a good husband!




Love him!

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Refreshmint - users beware!

I have always loved the product Refreshment by Absorbine.


I used this product all the time on my last horse, Kal.  I really liked how it cooled him down and removed all the sweat gunk from his coat.  I would put about 2 tablespoons in a bucket of water and after hosing Kal off I would sponge him down with the refreshmint water mixture. 

I was ordering my supplement refill for Liam from Smartpak a few weeks ago and my supplement order comes about $15 short of free shipping.  Good excuse for me to order extra stuff when ordering supplements, no?  So, I ordered a bottle of refreshmint last order remembering that I really liked the product.

Well, I used it for the first time on Liam on Monday after the hunter pace.  All in all the product did exactly what I remembered.  It was cooling and removed all the sweat gunk from Liam's coat.  But, according to Liam the product was not up to Liam standards.  While sponging him off he literally started going nuts.  Dramatic pawing, dancing, rearing, leaping, etc... I finished sponging him off and and at this point he was really agitated.  I had no idea what was going on...  I tired to let him graze, but he was almost to the point of being dangerous.  I turned him out dripping wet and he threw himself on the ground and rolled 4 times.  Then galloped around the field and rolled again. 

The only thing I can think of is the refreshmint irritated his sensitive skin?  Later, I was talking with a friend and she was saying that she can't use anything peppermint or spearmint scented as it burns her skin.  I hope it didn't sting him, I feel awful if it did.  I will never use this product again on Liam.

So users beware, if you have a sensitive skinned horse, refreshmint can really bother their skin.

What do you all use after a really hard workout where your horse got really sweaty that is gentle on the skin?


Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Catch up

Playing a little catch up, but not too much to share as I was away the weekend.

My ribbon finally came in the mail from the Essex County Hunter Pace.  Woohoo!

 

I had a friend ride Liam while I was away for the weekend in order to attend the Bucks County Hunter Pace on Monday, Memorial Day.

We arrived at the pace and signed in.  It was a beautiful day!



Liam seemed calm.  I shipped Liam down to the pace with my friends pony mare and we were meeting another friend to ride out in a group of 3.  Well, Liam got off the trailer ok, but as I was tacking him up, he became more and more anxious.  I don't know what is up with him lately.  Same thing happened at the horse show.  At one point I reprimanded him, not bad, just gave him a pull on the lead and this led to rearing.  I know better then to really reprimand him, he is very sensitive. 

Got him settled a little, but not really, and hopped on.  He was very protective over the pony mare.  He didn't want my friends gelding to get close to her at all.  We jigged all the way to the start and my friends thought it was best if I went into the ring for a little bit.  I headed to the ring and trotted like 2 circles and said lets just go and I will deal with him out on the trial.  I knew he wasn't going to settle down quickly and I didn't want to make him too tired before the 9 mile hunter pace.

We started out in the pace just walking for a bit and then did some trotting.  My friend's gelding was getting anxious in the back as Liam was leading, so I let her lead for a little bit.  Liam was anxious, but ok with not being out front.  Never did anything bad.  Then my friends gelding got tired and Liam led some more.   He did settle a bit on the pace.  At one point I had a lose rein walking and trotting.  When we started getting closer to the finish he was settled but not quite relaxed.  The finish went trough the course county course and some people were out there schooling, but we made it to the end.  The last mile was practically torture.  My legs were tired of being in the stirrups and throbbing.  We headed out to the cross county field and walked around a bit after we were all done with the pace.  I should have just called it quits at the end of the pace, but I just followed everyone else and Liam became nervous again.  I should just trust my gut.  We walked the corn field and headed back to the trailers.

All in all, Liam didn't do anything super bad.  Just jigged a bit and felt tucked up in a ball, but we finished and I didn't fall off!  That is all that matters.  Sorry I didn't get really any pictures!  I didn't feel like I could take my hand off the reins to snap a shot.   

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Pro-ride and Short Video

I brought Liam down to my friends for a pro-ride yesterday.  I am going to have my friend ride him over the bigger sticks at the Princeton Horse Show this summer and I thought it would be nice to let her ride him at least once before then.

It was warm yesterday and Liam was being a slug-a-bug on the flat.  She flatted him beautifully though.  Then she started jumping him over a solid 2'6" course.  Liam looked great!  I suck, and forgot to video.  I was too busy watching. LOL!  I was excited for this pro-ride because I thought, finally I will be able to share video with all you because I will be on the ground to video.  Opps.

We raised the jumps to a solid 3' for her next go.  I did happen to halfway through the first course remember to take a video of a few jumps.  This is the first time Liam has ever jumped a solid 3' course.   He has jumped a 3' fence here or there, but never an entire course of jumps.

video

I was very proud of my boy.  She did the course over a second time and they worked everything out.  He looked great and 3' was easy for him! Again, sorry, I'll be a better blogger next time and get more video when I am on the ground, I promise...

Blog Hop: Bit It Up

Thanks Viva Carlos for starting another great blog hop!


Liam has a very soft mouth.  I used to jump and flat him in the same bit.  It is a copper mouth loose ring with oval link.


I actually still flat him in this bit to this day.  He generally likes and accepts it, but I found it didn't give me enough control over jumps with steering.

So for jumping I now jump him in a full cheek center oval link french link. 


I would love to find a copper mouth full cheek, but the price tag on a copper mouth is a little out of my budget.  Maybe one day, but my luck, I will buy the expensive bit and he won't like it.

So there you have it, Liam's bit hardware is pretty simple...









Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Birthday Fun

Yesterday was my 29th birthday.  My last year of youth according to my boss, lol!

I had a wonderful birthday this year.  My husband got me a very generous gift certificate to Dover Saddlery.  I am lucky enough that a Dover Saddlery store is about 20 minutes from my home.  So, of course, I run right over there to spend my birthday money.

The loot

I desperately needed a new helmet.  My old helmet is about 5 years old and all the cleaning in the world will not get it clean.  When I would sweat dirt drips would run down the sides of my face, how embarrassing.  I am going to keep the new helmet in my trailer and only use it for lessons and shows to keep it nice.  The charles owen helmet came with a nice bag.  I am not sure what I am going to use  the bag for, but I am sure it will come in handy.  I don't think I will keep my helmet in the bag as I like my helmet to air out after use.  Do you all keep your helmets in helmet bags and do the dry after you use them?  I am a big sweater.

I also purchased Liam a stay on the horse trailer girth too.  My plan is to only use this girth for shows and lessons as well.  My other girths are well, used, is the nicest way to put it, but they still work so I can't part with them. 

I have a little money left over, how did that happen...?  I am probably going to go back and buy a sun protecting shirt or something clothing wise to wear schooling at the princeton horse show this summer.  Or maybe another pair of schooling breeches.  I haven't decided yet...

A bonus on my birthday was that I did get to enjoy a nice trail ride on Liam yesterday after a flat in the ring. 


Tonight I am heading down the mountain for Liam to get a pro-ride.  I am going to have my friend, that is the pro, show him in some bigger classes this summer at the Princeton horse show, so I figured I should let her ride/jump him at least once before then.  Haha.  She is a wonderful rider and I know she won't have a problem.  I am hoping to get some video, since I will be on the ground.




Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Picture!

Wow, the photographer is amazing and already posted pictures from the show yesterday!!!  Big shout out to Paws and Rewind Photography for getting the pictures up so fast!

I did purchase one download picture. 


I thought it came out pretty good!  What do you all think? 

There are some funny naughty Liam pictures too!  If the downloads weren't so expensive I would have bought them all!!!  You can click on the link above and check them out.  Look for the chestnut with the rider in the blue jacket.


Monday, May 19, 2014

The Ridge Schooling Show - quick recap <>

Quick recap of the show.  I am very jealous of all you other bloggers out there that get amazing pictures at horse shows.  I do not have a personal photographer like you all seem to have!!!  Lucky ducks!  I am hoping the show photographer will post the photos soon and I will purchase a few and share with you all.

We arrived bright and early in the morning.

This is literally the only photo I got all day

Got Liam ready and headed to the ring.  Liam was nice and relaxed by the trailer, but as we got closer to the ring, further away from the trailer we were waking up.  By the time I got to the ring Liam was prancing and I said to my husband to go to the show office and check in and get my number and that I need to get on...

I decided not to lunge.  Liam needs to be a grown up horse and deal.  There wasn't a good place to lunge anyway.  As soon as I swung my leg over the saddle Liam started to trot off.  We trotted around for a while.  Liam was being spooky and fresh.  But I do have to say, he never did anything super bad.  This show was the biggest show Liam and I have ever attended.  It was busy, there were people and horses everywhere.  There really was a lot to look at.  I flatted Liam for a while and he started to relax a bit.  I hopped off and learned my first course.  Got back on flatted some more, jumped a few warm up jumps, and before you know it was heading into the ring.

The courses were really great!  Pretty much straight forward and not tricky at all.  This is the first show that Liam was not able to flat in the show ring.  All other shows, we were able to flat in the ring in the morning before the show started, so this was really the first time we headed in truely cold. 

The first course was a power and speed class.  Liam was a bit peaky at the first jump in the first class, but jumped it, and he acted up, bucking/leaping rocking horse nonsense, between jumps 2 and 3 and was pretty bold the entire course, but all in all I was pleased.  He jumped all the jumps, was clear, and got all his lead changes.  I made the mistake and turned before the timers and was almost out of the ring before the announcer said that I didn't go through the timers and I had to turn around a trot back through them.  Opps.

The second course was a speed/timed first round class and it went good too.  Again, Liam jumped all the jumps, no nonsense in between jumps this time, just a little bold again.  I could steer, but really didn't have brakes or was able to balance.  All in all I was pleased again and we were clear.

The last class I was determined to have brakes.  It probably was our best course of the day except for one jump, which we had the rail.  I didn't make a decision to the jump and I should have rode to the add up distance, but just kind of sat there and threw my body at him and he hit the rail with his front legs.  Oh well.  The rest of the course was nice.  I had much better control.

All in all it was a good first show this year.  It was Liam's 5th show ever and I am really happy with him.  What I took away is we need to work on balanced open canter. 

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Prep for Day Show

Tomorrow Liam and I are heading to a schooling show at Nona Garson's farm, The Ridge in Riverview.  It really is a great venue to horse show at.  It has a huge flat jumper ring with simple but beautiful jumps.  My only complaint about the show, and I haven't shown there in awhile, is you have to park your trailer far away from the ring, and the little old man that parks you is a bit grumpy.  Everything else is great though. The show is a reasonable price, has good footing, great courses, and all & all usually a fun day.

I don't know about the rest of you, but the day before a day show is a process.  I am sure everyone has there own way of doing things put I figured I would share with you what I do the day before a day show.

I fetch Liam from the field:

Why is Liam always the furthest one away?  See the red head way in the back???

Pull his mane to make sure it is sharp.  I actually never let it get that long, but I find I always need to do a few touch ups the day before a show.  I only like to pull a mane when it is dirty.  I find that I get more grip and it is just easier.

Then I will trim his whiskers.  I never trim whiskers unless I am showing.  Liam lives outside 24/7 and I want him to get all the insect protection he can get.  I clean up under his chin with the clippers too.  Also, I clip off the outside hair sticking out of his ears.  I do not clip the inside of his ears, again he lives out and I want him to have all the protection he can.  I don't want ugly old man hair sticking out of his ears though, so they get trimmed.  I am fortunate that Liam is good about clipping and I can literally stand on the ground and clip everything.

Next I usually give Liam a good flat school.  Get him listening to go and stop.

Now it is bath time.  I scrub every part from head to tail.  I don't have a favorite product to shampoo with.  I find when I am low I just pick up a bottle of something new.  I guess one day I will find a favorite.  I am very interested in trying lucky braid's shampoo.  I have heard it is really good.

While Liam is drying, I clean all my tack and polish my boots and pack the trailer with everything.  I really don't have much packing.  I pretty much keep the trailer packed.  I have my show pads in there, show bridle, Liam's show boots, towels, water bucket, first aid supplies, fly spray, and grooming supplies.  All I need to usually add is my schooling bridle (you never know), half pad, girth, helmet, and boots for me.  I have a pair of gloves, spurs, and a stick that I only use for shows/lessons already in the trailer too, since I ship out for all my lessons they never come out.

Once I am done packing, Liam is typically dry, so I throw on a head to tail fly sheet, in hopes to keep some dirt off him overnight, and throw him back outside.  So far I have only had to wash his legs again in the morning.

I get home a prepare all my clothes and paperwork for the show and there you have it.  My day before show prep.

Friday, May 16, 2014

Learning to Love Mr. Fresh - Jump School 5/15/14

Yesterday I headed down the mountain, white knuckled (don't trust my truck yet), for another jump school.

Arrived safely and tacked up.  The weather has been a bit weird here in NJ.  When we arrived it was sunny, just really humid.  When we were walking out to the ring it turned very dark and the wind was whipping.  I could see Liam's eyes get a bit wide.  I hopped on and Liam turned into Liam the giraffe looking all around.  Warmed up.  Probably not the best warm up, I could have easily picked a fight with him about the left drift and listening to my left leg, but decided to not do that right before we start jumping, needless to say the left drift problem didn't just go away jumping.  He settled a little, but never completely relaxed flatting.

We started jumping circling the blue in each direction:





Liam was fresh and when he is fresh he likes to land and play rocking horse after the jumps.  It literally feels like a rocking horse.  Not once was I unseated, but geez... I do actually like the feel of him underneath me when he is fresh.  I feel like we have so much power to the jumps, but I can do without rocking horse Liam.

Next exercise was figure eights over the orange and lime green jump:


He was good, just more rocking horse nonsense...  I am strong enough now to ride it out and actually make him stop.  Thank you core training!  Our left drift was showing up here a bit.  He is a smart horse though.  As soon as I would really block the left he would go right, grrrr.  We did get some really good straight jumps though.

We moved on to our first short course:

Started out over the blue, with a right roll back to the lime green, with a left roll back to the orange bending line (6 or 7 depending on how you ride it) to the light grey (white).  Around the end of the ring up the 5 stride dark grey.  The first time around the blue came up beautiful with a lovely left to right change and then a big fat trip with more rocking horse after, really Liam...!  Had to circle before the lime.  Lime was good and the roll back to the orange was great really concentrating on blocking the left drift through the roll back all the way to the jump.  Bending line was great, I did it in 7 strides.  Landed and we had more rocking horse all the way turning to the 5 stride.  Decided to add in 6 instead of run in 5 strides.  What I noticed is when Liam is this much up and down our stride doesn't open up, it just goes up and down.  My friend said that he is just jumping the crap out of everything and landing really shallow and staying round and never really opening up.  So we need to figure out how to stay nice and round with power, the power I like to feel, but open our stride up.  Homework for home this coming week.  Only correction was I was to sit up better from the light grey to the dark gray line and hopefully that will correct the rocking horse a little.

Did the entire short course again.  1, 2, 3 to 4 came up beautiful.  I did a more direct 6 strides from 3 to 4 this time.  Really concentrated on sitting up after 4 and minimal rocking horse this time.  But because I was sitting up so nicely Liam really sat down and collected and we found a tighter (not chip) distance in to the grey line, so I decided not to run in 5 and just add up in 6 strides.  All in all it was better the second time around.

Final course was as followed:

Started out over the green vertical bending to the natural oxer in again 6 or 7 strides depending how you rode it.  Then up over the true 3 stride line bending to to blue.  I wanted 4 up the line to make sure I can bend nicely to the blue.  Then right into the short course from above with a right roll back to lime, left roll back to orange bending line to light gray.  Up the 5 stride dark gray.  1 to 2 was lovey in 7 strides, 3 to 4 was good, drifting a little left,  I really opened my inside left rein making a beautiful turn to the blue.  Roll back to lime was nice and roll back to orange was good.  Drifted out in the bending, so did the 7 to the light gray.  Sat up with leg on this time after the light grey to the dark grey line and just floated up the line in 5.

We finished with correcting jump 3 to 4 to 5 by just really blocking the left side and it came out great.

I am really please with Liam and my riding.  He was fresh, but I was able to ride through it.  I year ago the rocking horse would of turned into bucking and me hitting the dirt.   The rocking horse doesn't intimidate me anymore and I am strong enough to be able to sit up and correct it now.  What I took away from the lesson is that we need to work on forward power canter at home and left drift.  I love the fresh canter he gave me yesterday, I feel like I can jump the moon with it and I don't miss with it!

My friend was also saying when I was worried about the strides yesterday, she said that I am doing the jumpers, just ride the jumps and don't worry about the strides.  I really thought about that and when I just rode the jumps yesterday it was perfection, who cares about the numbers.  All the bending lines, I just rode what I had and it came out great each time.

Well this is my plan on Sunday at the horse show.  I am just going to ride the jumps and the horse I have. 

Liam will have off today as we are getting dumped on with rain.   I will give him a good flat tomorrow and HORSE SHOW Sunday!!! Wish me luck!


Thursday, May 15, 2014

Saturday's Trial Ride Fun!

Last Saturday (5/10/11), I decided to skip out on the gym and instead go on a fun trail ride with my friend and her pony again.

We trailered over to Christie Hoffman Park again, this time with my friend's truck and trailer.  I was a little nervous about trailering with my truck being that the last time I did it was disastrous, read this. My hubby decided to take the truck over to the shop and have it fully checked out.

I was a little nervous about Liam loading on my friend's trailer.  The last time I tried to put him on a different trailer he was a little naughty about it.  He is such a routine horse...  I pointed him at the trailer and to my surprise he walked right on, no issue. 

We got to the park and quickly got on.  Liam was very relaxed right off the bat.

Floppy ears!

 
 

 We led a little bit.


We followed for a bit.


We even went through the water complex again.


I really love this park.  We mostly walked.  Every time we tried to trot the my friend's pony would start coughing.  My friend thinks the pony has allergies and is going to start her on an anti-histamine.  Apparently the pony had this last year in the spring too.  We did get to jump a log though...  Liam was perfect.

When we got back to the barn I gave Liam a bath and he proceeded to do this when I turned him back out. 


He didn't even wait for me to walk away...

















Blog Hop: Continuation School



Thanks Viva Carlos for starting another blog hop and giving me some inspiration on posting!!!

Why do I continue riding?

I actually stopped riding for almost two years before I purchased Liam.  At first, I was okay with not riding.  I really needed a break to get my life in order.  After about a year I missed it.  I had all this extra free time that I didn't know what to do with...!

I started occasionally riding a friend's OTTB and really realized I missed horses.  But, what I realized, it wasn't only riding that I missed, I missed horse ownership too.  While it was fun riding a friend's horse and having no responsibility, the control freak in me couldn't stand it either.  I needed complete control of the horse's care.  I missed the bond that an owner and their horse has.  I like to be very hands on with my horse's care and making decisions on what to do. 

So I jumped back in, after discussing it with my husband, and purchased Liam.  Horses just complete my life and learned that I can't live without them...

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Busy Blogger - Jump School 5/7/14

Sorry it has taken me this long to write this post.  I have been really busy the last couple of days.

After my terrifying experience driving to my jump school, I slowly tacked up and got on.  I got to the ring and saw that a new course was set up outside.  How exciting! Liam felt great warming up.  Relaxed, soft, listening, all the good stuff. 

The new course was set up as followed:




We started out by circling the dark green vertical off the left, which was set probably at about 2':

 
We circled it about 3 times.  The first time to it, I came around the blue and kept my leg on and Liam and I was able to move up beautiful to it.  Usually the first time heading to a jump he likes to back off and find the conservative distance.  I like that he is feeling this confident right off the bat.  Next two times around he was great too!

Next we did a small exercise like so:


We started down over another dark green vertical off the left slicing the vertical on an angle.  Liam pulled me past the distance a little again, but it worked out.  Then doing a roll back up over the other dark green vertical off the right.  Slicing this vertical again and making another roll back down over the dark green oxer.  All was set at about 2'6" and the oxer was wide (eeek)!  Liam was great over the verticals and jumped the oxer very hard the first time over.  My position is definitely getting stronger.  A year ago he would of jumped me out of the tack, but I was able to stay with him land and close my leg and he just cantered away.  Good boy!

After that, we jumped the 18 ft one stride boxes to the blue vertical alternating directions (I tried to show you both ways in the two below diagrams, we kept cantering alternation directions):



Liam was looking at the boxes while warming up, so I knew he was going to be really peaky going to them.  Well he sure did "peak".  He stopped about two strides away.  I let him walk up to the box and sniff it.  Picked up my right lead canter and he jumped the first box, no problem, but stopped at the second box.  I let him sniff the second box.  Went back at it off the right and he jumped right through the one stride, no problem.  Cantered to the blue, turning left after, and went all the way around to the boxes off the left and Liam jumped them again without issue.  Good boy!  Cantered the blue off the left, he took me a little too much to the blue the first time and we got a little underneath the jump, but Liam baled us out.  Good boy AGAIN!  We did this a couple of times alternating the direction and he was being great!

Then, we decided to go back and jump the dark green line both directions which was set as a 3 to 3 true 12' stride line:


I wanted to do the add in 4 up the line, jumping the orange to change directions.  Then doing the 3 to 3 down the line.  I found a nice conservative jump in and the 4 to 4 worked out beautiful.  Reversed over the orange.  Wow, the dark green vertical comes up out of the corner fast, but I found a good medium distance in and was able to close my leg and get the 3 to 3 down the line.  Liam landed a little quick and I had to give him a sharp half halt before the corner, but he did come back and listened.

We decided to add onto that with the following course:



It started out with the same 7 jumps.  The 4 to 4 up the green line went great, nice and soft.  reversed over the orange.  I found a better jump into the dark green line for the 3 to 3.  I was ready for the vertical this time quick out of the corner.  Up the natural oxer in the middle.  This oxer has a natural wall on one side and a roll top on the other.  It is very wide.  Liam decided to jump the standards over this.  I am really proud of my position.  All this core training at the gym is really helping me, I am much stronger.  I was able to stay with him and get inside the dark green vertical like planned rolling back to the blue.   I need to work on continuing on to the blue.  I didn't see a distance rolling back to it and Liam just kept collecting up.  It worked out, but when the jumps get bigger I am going to run into trouble here.  I needed to close my leg and keep coming to the blue.  Around the dark grey oxer and up over the white oxer (light grey above), turning to the lime green oxer.  Both the white and lime green came up on the money beautiful.  I was pretty much done after this, Liam was being such a good boy, but my friend thought I should do one more different course.

It went as followed:


We did the first half of the dark green line in the add in 4 bending to the add in 8 to the lime green.  We wanted the add because the turn to jump 4 was TIGHT!!!  Liam was great.  Really listened for jump 1 and 2 in the add in 4 and came back nicely for the add in 8 to the lime green.   The tight turn worked out great.  I did swing a little wide, but not bad.  Then we were to do the dark green vertical in 6 strides (regular strides) to the natural oxer.  This worked out beautiful.  Around the end of the ring up over the dark grey line which was 5 strides.  I closed my leg out of the corner and the in oxer came up a tad long, but ok, sat up and the 5 was lovely.  Then we were to roll back to the orange in 7 strides to the white (light grey) oxer.  Again the roll back was tight.  I really concentrated on sitting up tall, but the orange came up a little sideways, about a stride away I wasn't sure if we were going to make it, but Liam locked on to the jump and said I got this.  Jumped the orange and the 7 strides to the white was beautiful.

We called it quits after that.  Liam was just plain old listening to me.  I am so proud of my boy, we really have come so far!!!!  Hopefully this continues...

The truck was fixed by the time we ready to head home!  Thank you hubby!

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Disaster, but great jump school!

Long Wordy Post - you have been warned


So, yesterday I headed down the mountain for another jump school and disaster struck.  When I say I am heading down the mountain, I am literally heading down a mountain on a very twisty turney road.  As I was coming to the sharpest curves I heard a high pitch noise coming from the truck.  It was loud enough for me to turn the radio off to see if it was the radio, but quiet enough that I thought it might be the radio.  Well, I turned off the radio and it wasn't the radio.  I said, hmmm, maybe it is one of those weird diesel truck noises and just flipped the radio back on. 

As I was entering the first minor curve the steering felt really stiff.  Oh no!  No power steering and that makes me look down at the dash and I see a big old flashing red battery light and the digital screen said "battery not charging."  Now I am entering into the next curve and immediately call my husband.  Mind you, this is a narrow road going down a mountain with no shoulder and nowhere to pull over. I think the conversation went something like this with my husband:

As the phone is ringing (me): You better f'ing answer the damn phone right now, I am going to kill you if you don't answer the f'ing phone.

Husband: Hello

Me: (pretty calm) I am driving down the mountain with the horse trailer, Liam in tow, and I have no power steering, a red battery light is flashing and dash says battery not charging.  What do I do?

Husband: Where are you?

Me: (Not so calm anymore) DRIVING DOWN THE SIDE OF THE MOUNTAIN!!!!

Husband: How close are you to B* R* Farm?

Me: (calm again) maybe 5 miles 8-10 minutes at most

Husband: Keep going and get there

Me: (still calm) Ok

Now I am white knuckled on the steering wheel.  Decide to call my friend that helps me with the jumps schools.  Conversation goes like this:

Friend: Hello

Me: On my way, my truck is breaking down, I have no power steering with flashing battery lights, etc...

Friend: Oh no, do you need to turn around or do you need me to get my truck and come get you?

Me:  I am still moving and I am closer to you then turning around. I just want to get Liam somewhere safe.

Friend: Ok, we will figure it out when you get here.

Now I am coming into the last big curve and go to step on the brakes, still on the phone with friend, and the brake pedal is rock hard and barely slowing down the truck. 

Me: (not calm anymore) I GOT TO GO, I DON'T HAVE BRAKES!!!

I hang up the phone and reach down to use the trailer brakes and they are not working.  I think I scream out at this point, "OH SHIT!!!".  Then I start thinking, I can use the transmission to slow me down.  Thank goodness for Allison transmissions in Chevy trucks.  When in tow mode the transmission automatically slows you down going down hill by just not being on the gas.  I was already going slow, just coasting, and I was able to put the transmission into 3 and it slowed me down more, and then into 2 to get me around the big curve all while stepping as hard as I could on the rock hard brake pedal.  I got around the curve.  I made a huge sigh with relief.

Then I thought, Ok, it is a straight road from here with a left turn up ahead (about 1 mile), right turn onto the farm's road, and left into the farm driveway.  I can do this!!!

Got to the light with the left turn, and someone must have been looking over me, the light was green and no one was coming.  I was able to slow the truck down with the transmission and make the left.  That wasn't too bad. 

A half mile later I was able to slow the truck down again and make the right, this was a bit harder but I did it.  Then I creeped up the road and made the left into the barn driveway.

I immediately called my husband and said I made it.  He said he was on his way and about 5 minutes away.

I parked the truck and got out shaking, went back to the trailer and whipped open the door and gave Liam a huge hug.  My husband arrived 2 minutes later.  I got Liam off the trailer and into the barn while husband inspected the truck and discovered the belt broke that powers the power steering and power brakes, its called the serpentine belt.  That was probably the scariest 10 minutes of driving in my entire life.

I was able to tack up and jump school while my husband ran to the auto parts store and put a new belt on the truck.  He was finished by the time I was ready to head home.  What a good hubby!!!  Oh and the clip was (has been) broken where I plug my electric in from the trailer to the truck and for whatever reason yesterday I didn't push it all the way in and that is why I didn't have trailer brakes (of all the days).  That is fixed now too!

Stay tuned for the entire post on the jump school, but I will give you that it was AWESOME!!!
 

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Essex Hounds Hunter Pace

I was holding this post in hopes that the photographer would post the pictures from the hunter pace, but they have not yet.  I will post them as soon as they are available.
 
 

Last Sunday a friend with her 23 year old pony and I went on the Essex Hounds Hunter Pace.  It was an okay day.  A bit chilly and super windy.

 


Liam was wide awake when we arrived at the hunter pace.  He had very loose green stool (just what you wanted to know) and was more nervous then he has been in awhile.  He is the type of horse that is really effected by the spring sugar grass.  It makes him very high.  I was a bit worried, but decided to just hop on and see what I have.

My friend and I walked down to the start just as a group was cantering in from the finish.  Liam saw that and his head when straight up (think giraffe) and started grinding his teeth in a very nervous way.  As we were waiting to start I could feel Liam's back getting tight and he felt like he was going to explode underneath me.  I was about to call over to the start guy and say that we better get going before my horse explodes, but Liam decided he couldn't wait anymore and put on a show leaping in the air and showing off his best circus tricks.  Thank goodness the start guy looked over (I don't know how you could not of) and said "I guess you guys should get going".  Well, yes thank you.

As soon as we started moving Liam settled a little.  The course was set on a ton of gravel roads, My guess, they did this because of the footing.  My friend and I thought it was best if we walked the gravel roads as we didn't want to make our pony's feet sore.

The course had some great water crossings.  Some of them had big steep banks and some of them were really flat.  Because of all the recent rain, the streams were all moving water.  Liam was very brave and led through all the crossings except for one.  In hind sight, he would of led through that one too, but I picked the wrong side to go down the bank and his front feet went into a pretty deep hole.   He just backed out and went to the other side and followed the pony through.  Good boy.

By the half way point he was pretty relaxed and we were on a long rein.  The only time he got nervous again was when 2 groups caught up to us and passed us, but all in all he was a really good boy.

We did trot wherever we could and we did canter up a big hill.  All and all it was a ton of fun and good experience for Liam.  I can't wait to go on another one, hopefully this Saturday (depending on weather, supposed to rain).  This time maybe we can start out a little more relaxed.

I emailed the hunt club yesterday and found out that we ended up 5th in the hunter pace, being 6.62 minutes over ideal time.   That is pretty impressive since we didn't really canter much.


Yay for ribbon!

Jump school tonight.  Liam was okay yesterday for our flat, I didn't have much time and was a little rushed, so hopefully I didn't set myself up for failure tonight.

Monday, May 5, 2014

Partial last week recap

Life never goes as planned...

Rode Liam Monday and Tuesday and had great rides.  Wednesday it was raining like crazy and when I arrived at the barn the indoor was starting to flood.  The drainage that goes along the side of the ring was clogged. 

I sent this picture to my friend:



Caption said: Not able to ride today, won't make jump school tomorrow. Can I come Friday?

I was really bummed, but I new the weather was going to be better on Friday anyway and figured it was a win win situation.

Had an epic flat school on Liam on Thursday.  He was the best he has been in a while or ever.  We were really in tune with each other.

Called my husband on my way home from the barn and he said that Diesel (my jack russell terrior) needs to go to the emergency vet when I get home.  I new it was bad, my husband is not one to say the dog NEEDS to go to the vet.  He said that he couldn't walk and every time he went to touch him he yelped in pain.  This is the 3rd episode that this has happened to my poor dog.  The last two times the vet diagnosed him with Lyme Disease.  Both times we treated him with antibiotics and after a few days he was better.  He literally just finished his last treatment 3 weeks ago.  I raced home as fast as I could.  We got to the emergency vet and they quickly examined Diesel.  Now the entire diagnoses changed to intervertebral disc disease (slipped disc).  My regular vet did mention this last time when we treated him for lymes.  Finally left the emergency vet's office with a bunch of heavy duty medication, strict bed rest for Diesel, and a referral for a neurology consult.  UGH, animals!!!

I probably got about an hour of sleep Thursday night.  Every time Diesel would move he would yelp.  I kept waking up that night to check on him.  I was very worried about him.

Finally fell asleep at probably 4am and the alarm went off at 6am.  Friday was such a blur.  I was an emotional mess, and probably more emotional then normal because I was so tired.

Called my friend and we both decided it was probably best for me not to have a jump school that night as I wouldn't ride well because I was very tired.  I just went straight home from work and slept on the couch with Diesel curled up next to me following doctors orders of strict bed rest!!!!  



A friend rode Liam for me on Saturday as I had a ton going on that day.

Sunday I took Liam on the Essex Hounds Hunter Pace.  Stay tuned for a full recap on the hunter pace...

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Short update, more to come!

Well, I didn't make it to my jump school again this week, but I did go on a fun Essex Hounds Hunter Pace today.

Full post and pictures to come...