Viva Carlos Magical Blog Hop: Do Over

VCBH

Yay, my first ever blog hop! I’ve been wanting to do one ever since I got “serious” about blogging. This one was a must-do for me because well.. you’ll see…

There will always be times you wish you could go back and maybe ride straighter or better (or not circling in your class because you would have placed better..) sometimes they are brain dead mistakes, sometimes well intentioned mistakes. If you could have 1 do-over in your horse life, what would it be? (or you can list a handful of do-overs because I totally did).

If you’ve read my About page and have thought at all about why my blog is titled Back in The Tack, then you realize that I am just now (beginning at the end of 2013) getting back into what I would call serious horsemanship. I’ve been riding for more than fifteen years but it hasn’t been weekly lessons and a show every month. Sure, there were times where it was that. But I’d be lying if I said my riding career (ha) has had a straight line trajectory.

RegionXIV

That’s where it began. That grey mare changed my life. In under a year of riding, we were Region XIV champions. Her story deserves its own blog post someday but suffice it to say she was 17 in that photo and died in my arms ten years later. I’ll never forget that night. As the vet, my family and I walked away from her body, the vet offered her condolences. I was 18. From where the wisdom came I do not know, but without hesitation I told her that Morkie changed my life and showed me the force of joy that horses could be. And that although she was gone, she will live forever because I will try to share that joy with others for the rest of my life.

That is not something I want to do over.

After Morkie died, my path with horses because much fuzzier. I stopped working with my long-time trainer due to a personal falling out and I bought a young mare, the mare I am now selling. I actually bought the younger mare almost a month before Morkie died, as though Mork knew it was time. Sheesh! Stay on topic, Rebecca. Anyway, my do-overs primarily have to do with that younger mare, Sara. If I could have a redo button, I’d press it to find a new trainer and stick with them from my early work with Sara. I bought Sara very late in her four year old year with no training. I backed her, she contracted strangles, and then had to move barns shortly after she was cleared. Commence more lack of focus. I took my time backing her which, while that isn’t a bad thing, I know I took too long. I was busy with college at the time. I also worked. And then my family bought – and lost – a farm of our own.

Just before she contracted strangles, winning her first show

Just before she contracted strangles, winning her first show

This year, Sara is nine-years old. She is still very much green broke. She’s a wonderfully smart horse but she is very sensitive and needs someone to work with her 5+ days/week. If I could go back, I would want to realize this sooner and either make the decision to sell her while she was younger and her greeness was seen as “appropriate” or…sent her to a trainer, something. Now, I have a nine-year old green broke mare who I can’t seem to sell (not for lack of trying) but I also can’t seem to find time to work with (as my slim time is spent on the horse I’m not selling, Nibbles). I most certainly can’t afford to send her to a trainer, unless we worked out a deal. If I could do it all over again, I would have been more realistic with myself about my goals, my abilities, and my time. That’s something I’m still wrestling with but that I feel like I’m making positive progress towards.

This mare has so much talent.

This mare has so much talent.

That being said, I have my first lesson in years tomorrow. I can’t change the past but I’m committed to being the best rider and horsewoman I can be today and in the future. Cue excitement and anxiety and a blog post to come!

Best Laid Plans

Not bad for my first braid in a few years

Not bad for my first braid in a few years

For anyone friends with me on Facebook, you may have watched as the events leading up to Sunday’s show unfolded. On Friday, my truck broke down. The mechanic says it needs more than $1,600 of work on the brakes to be safe again (cue second opinion time!). We’re talking hydroboost, master cylinder, rotors and pads. I guess it’s a blessing in disguise that it decided to croak before it was hauling my horse! Anyway, I paid to rent a truck for the weekend.

I went to Rolex on Saturday (post forthcoming!) and then came back to the barn and spent several hours scouring every inch of Nibbles with my sister. Everything got bathed twice. Like I have done for years with other horses, I used a whitening shampoo on her three white socks/stockings. The truck was hooked up, everything was checked, everything was packed, and Nibbles went into her stall for the night.

Leah and I arrived at the barn a little over three hours before the show to touch her up, wrap and load her. I opened up her stall door to say good morning and did a double take. Her three white legs were twice their normal size! Nibbles had an allergic reaction to the whitening shampoo! Her one dark leg was unchanged. Commence panicked cold hosing and hand walking. The swelling actually went down quite a bit but with an hour left, it still wasn’t enough and I had to cancel our plans. The judge would have sent us right back out. Talk about a bummer.

Poor baby

Some banamine, sweat wraps, more cold hosing and hand walking later and Nibbles was back to her normal/beautiful self. This was of course that evening, long after the show was over. To add insult to injury, I had already paid to rent the truck and I cannot get a refund on my show fees. Ouch.

I snapped these photos that morning to offer myself condolences and at least remember how nice she looked, all ready to go.

I did however have a spot of sunshine this morning! I received my socks from Forging Fiction‘s contest in the mail! I can’t wait to wear them in my (first) lesson (in years) on Thursday night.

Thanks, Fiction!

Thanks, Fiction!

Balance & Rhythm in the Young Horse

From ManoloMendezDressage.com

One of the purposes of this blog is for me to be able to keep training information and articles in one place. As Nibbles gets more and more rides under her belt, I’m interested in developing her in a way that is both correct and sympathetic. Manolo Mendez is a trainer with just such an approach. He was the first Head Rider at the Royal Andalusian School of Equestrian Art which is one of only four classical schools, including the Spanish Riding School in Vienna.

So without further ado, here is there article I am mulling over. I’ve read it twice nice and get more from it with each pass. I think it’s extremely timely for where Nibbles is in her training. The biggest issue for me now is finding a place where I can safely canter Nibbles as OTI is not going to cut it by a long shot.

Manolo Mendez Blog Article on Balance & Rhythm in the Young Horse

Third Ride

photo (6)

After four days of not getting on her, Nibbles got ridden again last night. That makes it her third ride. She did get worked on the line on one of those four days but I wanted to let the puffiness go down (it did) and I needed to work with my other mare (we did).

Nibbles was more distracted than normal last night. Part of me considered not getting on. She wasn’t actually doing anything bad, was just jittery and kept wanting to look out OTI (Our Tiny Indoor) doors. I decided I felt confident in my ability to handle if she bucked or bolted and my sister was on the same page. So I hopped on and she didn’t do anything wrong. She was still looky and I felt like she was holding her pelvis up as though she had to pee. I hopped off and tried to see if she’d go but no success. So got back on and we set to work. The trot was more rushed with a little more tension than last time (the first time) but it was there in both directions on the lunge. I sort of laughed to myself because she’s done exceptionally well so far that I sort of forgot how green she really is. How she was last night is how I’d expect a greenie to be.

photo (7)

When we untacked, she dropped the bridle completely calmly. That was an issue just two weeks ago. She’s progressing by leaps and bounds in so many little details. I’m immensely proud of her. After we brushed her off, we went to practice trailer loading. This has been a goal for us as the last time she loaded, it took over an hour. She had a bad experience loading two times before (as in flipped herself over backwards).

Strategically, I brought her dinner to feed to her on the trailer. Before we even shook the bucket, she walked straight on the dang thing after maybe 2 seconds of looking at it. I’ll take it! So we praised her and rubbed her and let her eat.

Wouldn’t you know it: while she was standing quietly on the trailer, she peed. I knew she was holding it in! It explained what I was feeling what I was on her. After that, she got to go back out with her friends with a little unwrapped poultice on her back legs for good measure.

The Other Mare

I actually own several horses, although I focus on Nibbles in this blog. I mentioned taking video of  a mare I have for sale this past weekend and thought you might like to see it. I totally forgot about the sound so sorry for the extremely loud wind. This mare is a full-blooded Shagya whereas Nibbles is half so you might enjoy seeing the different types.

Happy Easter!

 

Nibbles says Happy Easter!

Nibbles says Happy Easter!

Happy Easter from Nibbles! Not an actual Easter photo. This one was taken on Friday when I tried her new dress sheet on her. I couldn’t get her ears so enjoy the tongue action. I did, however, go to the barn this morning but not for a particularly good reason. Explanation to follow.

On Friday, following the first arena ride, I spent maybe 40 minutes clipping the poor beastie. I meant to just do the outside of her ears and she pulled and I slipped…and took out a chunk on the inside. So off it all came. She was not particularly thrilled about having her ears done but she really wasn’t that bad. I also did her face/nose and bridle path. After that, we tacked up and headed back to Our Tiny Indoor: hereafter, OTI. Because of how small her circles have to be in OTI, I only lunged her for maybe 5 minutes then hopped on.

photo-17

Leah walked next to us like the day before. Then with a little guidance from me, we sent her out on the circle while Leah stood in the center and “lunged” us. I use this term loosely because Nibbles doesn’t require much micro-management. She’s a pretty forward horse naturally so when you send her out, she goes until you change something, whether it’s speed, gait or direction. She felt good at the walk so after discussing with Leah what to do if Nibbles freezes, explodes, bolts, rears, or otherwise panics, she asked her to trot.

Baby’s first trot was…uneventful. Unlike many greenies I’ve been the first on, she didn’t need much encouragement to move out and after one circle, she seemed to have a relatively good feel for how to balance me (for a greenie, that is). I don’t have pictures or video because the humans were preoccupied but YAY! We got a few circles to the left, then a a few circles to the right. Asked for a couple laps then back to the walk and much praising. Very little tension, no blips – what a good girl! So we called it a day and pumped her with sugar cubes.

That’s not entirely true. Her show is a week from today so we washed her mane and tail out for the first time in…6 months? I don’t do it often. Oh, and before the ride, we snapped a couple of shots. I didn’t realize my trailer was in this until after the fact. Oops!

I can't decide which I like better. This one...

I can’t decide which I like better. This one…

Or this one?

Or this one?

Leah and I went to the barn again yesterday with the intent of getting some new photos and video of my other mare who is for sale. Perhaps I’ll do a post on her? Anyway, the plan was to groom and give Nibs the day off. I caught her (aka grabbed her from the gate where she was waiting) and saw that the slight puffiness in her LH was now slightly more than slight puffiness. How’s that technical jargon for ya? To me, it looks like minor edema in the suspensory. I’m wondering if the circles in OTI are too small and making her sore? But then she’s only coming-6 and I’m careful to keep them to a minimum and never more than a medium trot.

As you read in my Tack Haul, I just bought a new jar of Sore No-More so I slapped a poultice on both back legs and put standing wraps on. Nibbles isn’t off and this was the first time there was any heat whatsoever in that LH. I kept her in overnight and I went out at 5am this morning to rinse off the poultice. I don’t have before pictures (go me) but these are after the rinse. It looks pretty much the same as it did yesterday. It seems slightly tender (like yesterday) but again, she doesn’t seem off on it so I turned her back out for the day. Another boarder is checking her for me tonight. Anyone see anything that I don’t below? Just a little swelling on the outside above her fetlock.

photo 3 photo 1-5 photo 2-4

More Pictures, You Say?

 

More pictures from the weekend of April 12th. These are from a real camera as opposed to just my iPhone. Baby horse baby lunges on baby hills.

Disclaimer: In the last photo, my hands look like it is in a tight loop but it is not. The wind was really blowing and moving my line – I made sure my hand was never in danger.

4.12.14 HeadIMG_2844trot2trot1