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.

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...


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.