Tuesday, September 30, 2008

pics at the show....

For anyone interested and wanting to do a little work you can see some of the pics on a photographers website of Possum and I.

Go to www.harnessracingphotography.com

Then select the Maine Medals gallery.

After that go to the outdoor section

The to the modified adult Medal and modified adult equitation.

You can't miss us, he's the whitesh appy with his earls always pinned back. SOme are so so and some are just bad. Tell me what you think. You can also see from the pics how rainy and gross out it was that day.

Medal Finals Re-Cap

The word of the day this past sunday was WET. It literally poured the entire day. Everyone and everything was soaked. All of the squeaky clean horses were covered and mud and rain. Braids wee dripping wet and my helmet was draining rain down my front. I have to admit that it was miserable show weather. All I wanted to do was get dry and snuggle in my bed at home.

There were a ton of riders despite the weather. I believe our barn had 9 riders or so. Everyone did really well. Possum and I had a judged warm-up first of all (in the pouring rain) we did pretty well and got 8th out of like 20. Then in the equitation class I thought that we had a pretty solid course, nothing to win the class or anything but we didn't get pinned which I was a little bummed about. I took Possum for a little walk around the grounds to get my composure and game face on. I then went in the ring for the first round of the medal and I was too concentrated and fierce that I just couldn't find the right pace. I ended with a dismal score of 66. It we tense to see if I would even make the call back with a score like that, well I barely squeaked into the second round. I was determined todo better. Possum and I went in there and put in a really solid round and earned a score of 76 whick is good, not spectacular, but solid. We ended up placing 7th in the Medal which I was OK with.

"G" came to watch and support me Sunday afternoon in the rain. It was nice to have him there. He wiped off my boots and gave me leg ups. He then left before they pinned the class to go home and let the dogs out.

After we left the show grounds we were all exhausted. We raced home, unpacked, unloaded the horses and went home and literally collapsed. I still have a pile of clothes and stuff laying on my bedroom floor. My roomie and I passed out. Iwoke up yesterday morning with a fever and feeling like shit. My head was spinning and all I wanted to do was sleep some more. I seriously think something is wrong with me and am seriously considering having a blood test done or something because I am so tired all the time.

I called into work and literally spent the entire day in bed. I slept until noon, watched TV for like an hour and went back to bedfor the rest of the day. I got up this morning still feeling like crap but atleast didn't have a fever. I know I'm sick from spending over 12 hrs in the rain Sunday. SO I'm back i nthe office finishing up work stuff.

I do have an interview tomorow for a job so I'm looking forward to that. Gonna get home tonight, have some soup and then go to bed and hope that tomorrow I feel better.

I do have to say that I was very proud of Possum. Despite the mistakes and things that I made he did really well. He wasn't rushing, and he was listening and did really well. I know we were both miserable in the weather but for our last year in the modified adult I think we did OK despite all the things going on. Will check in tomorrow, but am tired and need to get work done now. Hope everyone had a good weekend and I'm going to rustle up some pics from the rainy finals and someone even got videos of us so when I get them hopefully I can figure out how to do it.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Ahhhh, now we're talking...

These pics are not of me (I wish) but their a good portrayal of moring at horse shows, and the one with the little dog was just too cute.

There is nothing like a good ride on your horse to make the world a better place. I rushed out of work last night, scooped up the dogs and went to the barn to ride my horse. I was actually not looking forward to it as it seemed like just one more thing to do on my list. I gave Possum a good brushing and tacked him up as it is the time of year that daylight is fading and pretty sooon it'll be dark when I get out of work.

Anyways so I did a nice long warm-up and others were riding in the ring so I was able to rubber neck and watch all the excitement. Possum was very quiet and responsive. Our warm-up went great and then we started trotting jumps, his and mine's least favorite thing. Usually after a trot jump he will take the momentum and try and canter after, even if I ask him to break down he will insit. Last night he calmly trotted jumps and came back down easily to trot the next jump in the line. He was quiet and steady as could be. I was able to just sit up and work on my position.

The we started cantering courses and working onour flying changes. He was wonderful. I gave him lots of praise and pats. His canter was a steady 1,2, rhythm making it oh so easy to see spots and make every striding in a line. I couldn't wipe the smile off my face. After only 30 minutes of riding I let him end because everything was literally perfect. I stripped off his saddle and boots and let him loose to eat in the yard as a reward. It really ended the day on a good note. If we have a canter and courses like that at the Medals, we definately have a chance of doing very well. I then watched my roomie ride and they also did very well. She is working on getting her horse more steady and not so hot and excited. Her horse loves to go and jump and slowing it all down and making it look like figure skating instead of ice hockey has been a challenge. Her horse is an excellent jumper, but lacks some on style and grace, all of the aspects of a good hunter. But last night they were on and it just flowed. I love that feeling. SO we both left the barn in good moods and renewed fait in our riding ability and our horses.

I met up with "G" at a little diner place and had chicken fingers for dinner. I went home and took a nice long hot shower and got in bed with the dogs and watched Animal PLanet until 11P. We have visiting hrs at the funeral home today at 4 so I dropped the dogs off at "G's" this morning before going to work. We also have more visiting hrs tomorrow from 12-4 so I have to make sure we're not around for that, which won't be hard since we'll be at the barn getting ready for Sunday.

Speaking of Sunday, the weather report is not good. We're supposed to get 5inches of rain this weekend and the more as time goes by, the more rain we're getting on Sunday. There are 2 rings going on at the finaks, one in the indoor and on outside, this year they switched my division to riding outside, oh joy! So pack the goloshes and rain gear cause it's gonna be a wet one. Please wish us luck and hope that I can keep my spirits up. SHowing is supposed to be fun right??? JUst too much stress going on in my life right now. I'm gonna go to the show Sunday, watch everyone else and cheer them on, hang out with my horsey friends and then put in a good round in my class. Those are my goals. Also, this is the facility that the show is being held at, this is the Medals website and you can click on Pine Land to see the place. It's goreous! http://www.mainemedalfinals.com/

Have a great weekend everyone and be safe.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Another day close to joblessness

OK, I know the title sounds all doom and gloom, but really I'm OK with it. The more I think about it and the more I finish things up at work here, the more I realize that I have been burning myself out in this line of work and a break is what I need. I did get a job prospect yesterday from Sexual Assault Crisis Center as an educator position going into the schools and local collages and doing presentations and talking about sexual assault. SOmething that I would love to do. I love doing presentations and talking to people. SO I need to get on the ball with that this week because they are scheduling interviews for next week.

I did not ride last night as I posted yesterday. I went to the little jewelry party and it was short and fun, just the way I like it. I went home after and played with the dogs and let them all out and then "G" came and we went out locally for a quick dinner. I just had a greek salad since I felt like I had been grazing on snacks all day. We went back home and loved on the dogs. I went and got my cat inside for his nightly curfew and we all curled up together (literally) and went to sleep. HAving three dogs, one cat and one man in the bed with me is quite a squeeze, but we all love it.

Hated getting up this morning. The dogs helped me to get out of bed, take a quick shower and let them outside to do their thing. Tonight I am riding. I must get a good ride in. I just heard the weather it we're supposed to have torrential downpours all day tomorrow and Saturday with some clearning Sunday. It's gonna be a wet and soggy show Sunday and getting ready Saturday is going to be a pain. I think I might douse Possum with shampoo and then just let him loose to hang out in the rain, like a shower to wash the shampoo off, yea right! Somehow he would get dirty and my plan would backfire.

Update on Jetta. She is doing wonderful. No accidents in the house, she does not need to be crated or confined, she has free roam of the house as do my other dogs. She is a bit snappy when it comes to eating. She is definately a big dog trapped in a little dogs body, but she loves "G" and I. I can see she is going to be a daddy's girl for sure.

My life right now is just consumed with finishing up this job and looking for another. I am so tired all the time. I'll be glad when this show is over on Sunday because that marks the end of your show season until January.

So I went to Walmart last night to buy dog food. I have alwaya fed my dogs Iams and had really good luck with it. A trainer once told me that Iams has gone downhill a little, especially when they struck a deal with Walmart. I just bought the new food they have out and it is more expensive than normal and I look at the ingredients and still the first things is chicken meal. Not chicken or any other real thing, but meal. I have looked into the past of making my own dog food from meat and chicken and pasta and veggies, but just didn't have the time to do that. What does everyone else feed for dog food. As a treat I will buy the Beneful bowls and let them have some wet food which they devour.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Ramblings on a Wednesday

Pic of dogs running through tall grass. Not my dogs and not as tall as the grass last night, but you get the picture.

I have to admit that I had a tough day yesterday. I was in the office the entire day and working onthe compputer. My neck started to hurt, my back ached and then I started to get a head ache. The words began to swirl on the screen and I was quickly running out of steam. I left work at about 5P and went to "G's" house to pick up the dogs. I really wasn't feeling well and my chest was all tight and the back of my head ached. When I got to his house the dogs wre happy to see me as always and we went for a long walk through the woods exploring sose of the new logging trails and coming out to a field. The field was quite large and had not been mowed all summer. The grass and golden rods were taller than me. I laughed outloud as I saw the dogs bounding through the grass like deer and trying to see where they were going. Eventually we followed some of the many deer paths and came to the edge of the woods to "G"s" house. The dogs had fun and I didn't feel so guilty about not going to the barn since they got some time to run and play and go to the bathroom. I still wasn't feeling well but it was good to be outside. I drove back home and basically plopped on the bed and watched TV. My roomie came home shortly and I really was shaky and started to spin and my palms were sweating. I was actually afraid that I was going to faint. "G" was also concerned and I told him it was probably just my reaction to all the stress. My roomie was great and went out and bought me a bowl of soup and a dessert. I ate it all and started to feel better.

I took the dogs out again to pee and do their thing and felt like I had more energy. I went and brushed my teeth and got ready for bed and just watched animal planet until about 10:30 and fell asleep.

I feel better today. I don't know what my problem was, I'm sure it's just being overwhelmed from being stressed. That's why I'm glad that I have my dogs to cheer me up and make me laugh. They really are the greatest. Tonight I HAVE to ride after work. My roomate is also coming up after she gets out. "G" has also offered to take me out to eat when I'm done riding and I think I might take him up on the offer. It's just hard going to a job that I know will end Oct. 10th. Just weird for me to think about. SO hope everyone is having a good day. I really need to get focused on this weekend and prepare for the big show. I think Possum and I will be ready although it's supposed to rain all day Saturday so getting ready and bathing in the rain is going to suck, especially since I left my rain coat at the fair racetrack and now I don't have one. I'll get by. I just hope to resport on Monday morning on a good show and our good placing. One step at a time Molly.

OOps, I just realized that I have a little party to go to tonight after work to a co workers house. Shit! I totally forgot that today was Wednesday. Ohwell, the barn can wait. It's not like Possum is going to forget how to jump. Oh darn, I hate when I forget about things and feel totally disorganized. I need to somehow get my brain in gear and get focused. Anyways, at;east I'll be all dressed and ready to eat after the mini-party. OK check in tomorrow gang. Have a good day.
Possum and I at the Maine Medal Finals 2 years ago. We got 11th place. Last year we got 6th in the Medal and 4th in the equitation. So hopefully this year we can end it with a bang.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008


I just wanted to thank everyone for all of their well wishes and positive thoughts. This weekend was kinda tough letting the reality of losing the job set in and my future financial stress. I did manage to ride Saturday and Sunday. Possum was absolutely perfect on Ssaturday so I ended our ring session and we went with another woman on the trails. She is an accomplished horsewoman and had no issues with keeping up with us. She goes fox hunting regularly and is just a great person. We even did a good gallop session and had a ton of fun. Due to all of the stress lately I wasn't really feeling the greatest this weekend but did manage to get another ride in Sunday before I rested for the rest of the day. Possum was pretty good and then we went out to the little cross country course to jump some of the stone walls and tires etc...

Fall is definately here in Maine. We have been having frosts at night and I have been putting a sheet on Possum to try and keep the hair and fuzz down atleast until the Medal Finals this coming weekend. Talk about another stresser. The finals are a few days away and my brain and is not even able to focus on it. I have a lot of work to do in terms of riding and getting my tack all washed and oiled again and my game plan down. I know we'll do alright as long as I can keep it together. We have a good chance of doing well.

Work is tough to be at right now. Finishing with cases and families and putting my messy folders in some kind of order. I find myself zoning at the computer and day dreaming. I did complete my updated resume and sent a couple out to my dream jobs www.msspa.org and www.pinelandfarms.org with no real expectations since they have not advertised any openings but worth a shot none the less. I also printed out some prospects and need to send some more info out this week. Things are just happening so fast. Also called unemployment about how much I can get and trying to work out a possible budget on that short term. Things are gonna be tight, but I should be OK.

Now onto good things. "G" is being wonderful and supportive through all this. He has been a shoulder to cry on and someone to talk to. He has been making and getting me dinners and offering to let the dogs out and very affectionate. But I know what everyone is saying, this has been a roller coaster ride or epic proportions and could just be another good followed by some bad, but I'm taking advantage of it right now.

Little Jetta has also been great. She is officially off a leash in the yard and at the barn and is excellent. She is good with the other dogs and definately does most of the pushing if there is an issue. She comes when she's called which is a huge milestone since she would look at me before and turn the other way. She is an official bed hog and loves to curl up where it's warm. My parents are not happy at all about the new addition and practically ordered me to bring her back to the shelter. I had to put my foot down on that one. They just don't understand what makes me and tick and what makes me happy. None of my friends or "G" would ever let any of my animals go without or myself for that matter. This is merely a bump in the road and hopefully it will bring better and bigger things with it. SOme things you just can't plan and and this was one of those things.

So I'm trying to get through the week, get my work stuff done and figure out my future plans but also focusing on the biggest show of the year. I feel like everything is coming to a head at once. But I just couldn't not go to this show, it's something that we've worked so hard for all year to do and we have a really good shot of placing high. I have to make it work. "G" will also be there to help me after his tuff truck competition so that will help since I don't ride now until late in the afternoon. And I promise to update all of my blogger friends on everything that goes on. SO please keep thinking of me. I really rely on my internet friends for strength and support. You guys know what it's like being a horse and animal person and trying to balance that with real life responsibilities. SO keep your blog updated so I have some good reading material and as always feel free to comment.

Friday, September 19, 2008

It is With a Heavy Heart..............

I have some good news and bad news. I'm going to start with the bad because that's what's on my mind for the moment. Yesterday I was in my office working when the program director knocked on my door which is highly unusual and very quietly asked me to come see her and my direct supervisor. My first thought was "Oh God, what did I do?" So instinctively I grabbed my schedule book and a pad and pen and followed her down the hall. I could have been walking to a firing squad or the green mile. It all went in slow motion and almost like an out of body experience. The office door closed with a soft click. My supervisor was sitting back to and she slowly turned to look at me and give a weak smile. Her eyes were red and swollen and she followed me with her eyes to where I sat alone in the chair. Things were really a blur to me. I heard "your a valuable employee" and "budget cuts". And then the kicker, "we're sorry to say that you are being laid off". I words rang in my ears. They reassured me that this was not a disciplinary action and that they needed to cut hours and that myself and another co-worker were getting the ax.

I couldn't hold it anymore. My eyes filled with tears and they spilled over onto my cheeks. I felt my face flushing and snot in my nose. I kept trying to say through gasps of air that I wasn't mad and I understand the economy and blah blah blah. The truth of the matter is that I have learned more in this job in 2 years than I have ever learned in 4 yrs of college. This has been the kind of job that you either shape up or ship out. It's fast paced, packed with anxiety and stress and to top it off like the cherry on top the documentation is overwhelming. But I feel like I'm taking so much from this job. I have my Licensed Social Worker, I have my drug and alcohol counselor and am still attending the DEEP training in November to be certified in that. It was a sad day all and all and they understood totally that I just couldn't stay at work. I packed up my things and left for the day.

Now on to thepositive. See all of my past counseling and work has really paid off for the fact that I'm able to see a positive in all of this crap. On Wednesday one of my home visits didn't show up so I decided to go to the animal shelter on my lunch break which is something I do often. I was walking down the isle of dogs and didn't even get to the end when I saw THE ONE. She was small, but a spit fire, she was happy and loud and begging me to take her. I asked the staff if I could take her in a seperate rpoom tog et to know her. I was looking for some kind of excuse of why this little girl wouldn't be a good fit for me or my animal family. I couldn't find sone single thing wrong. She's a major tom boy, all tough and gruff but not afraid to give kisses and cuddle. The staff convinced me to fill out an application and I reluctantly did so but also grumbling that I really didn't need another animal. The next morning first thing I get a call from the shelter asking me to do a meet and greet with Phin and Abby and if it all went well I could take her home that afternoon after she was spayed. It was all happening so fast. I didn't even have time to plan and hem and haw and even talk to "G" about it. I briefly mentioned it last night to him and he quickly reminded me of reality and the added stress of a 3rd dog. I called the shelter back and said that I may have time tomorrow but I was working all day today. Then I went to work and the bomb got dropped and I left work around 10AM. I talked to a few friends about this crazy idea of getting another dog and I called the shelter and informed them that my dayhas opened up and I could do the meet and greet in about an hr. They agreed and said that they would wait to spay her intil I showed up.

I brought the dogs and had Phin meet her first. He would be the one to tell me if he liked her or not. He is my baby and would never lead me wrong. He was fine with her. The little female was actually trying to be dominant over him and he was just ignoring her antics. It all went so smooth and they told me to pick her up at 4P and then left to go back inside. I was left outside standing with both my dogs on the leash wondering what had just happened.

When I got home my wonderful roomie wanted to take me out to lunch to cheer me up and we went on her bike to a favorite restaurant of ours. We had a good time and when we got back she went with me to the shelter to pick up the new family member. When we got there she was spry and as sassy as could be. You would never guess she went under the knife a few hrs earlier. I picked out a new collar and leash and then paid the $90 adoption fee. I looked around for my roomie and found her in the cat room looking and petting cats. She decided to adopt one and take him home today. So away we drove with two girls, a dag and a cat going back to the funeral home. We stopped at a one of my co-workers house to show her the new dog and cat and then we headed home to the funeral home. "G" as well has been incredibly supportive through all this work stuff. He called me several times to check up on me and even said that he wanted to buy the new dog for me as a gift.

When we got home it was getting all the animals accustomed to each other. It actually went much smoother than I thought and everyone settled in well. We crooned and cuddled over the new pets and still spent time with our other animals so they didn't feel left out. "G" then came over to bring some pizza and the dog crate. For those of you wondering, this is JETTA, she was called Demi at the shelter but I hated it. Here is her bio that was taped to her kennel door:

Two year old female Shiba Inu/Cattle Dog mix.
I am a foxy medium sized pooch that is compact and well- muscled and is slightly longer than I am tall.
I am an extremely independent girl with a propensity to wander. I would do well with an active owner that has a fenced in yard or the ability to leash walk me several times a day.
I am full of personality as well as sass. I enjoy being a part of something. Hiking, traveling, playing, gardening...you name it. I want to be doing it. Forgive the fact that I am easily distracted though. I find everything entertaining and utterly fascinating.
I love to run, jump and play as much as possible. I would not be a good pick for a home with small children. I an suspicious of new things and require and adjustment period before I discover whether I am comfortable or not. Teens and adults preferred.
I find cats interesting and I am willing to say "hello" to other dogs.

She is a sweet as they come. She snuggled with "G" and I all night sleeping in between up with Phin at his usual position, spread across the whole foot of the bed. Shadow the cat was curled up in my arm pit and Abby slept on her dog bed by the fan. Jetta made me happy and she adjusted so quickly that I didn't even crate her this morning before going to work. She is potty trained and only barks when a stranger comes and makes a wonderful guard dog. I can't wait to go home and see her. I have a little less than 3 weeks left here at work. CLosing cases and catching up on everything. I need to start the job search and figure out my finances. It's going to be tough but I know I'll survive. I just hate to leave all of the great frienships that I have made at my work. I may hate the work itself a lot of the time and be busy as hell, but everyine here has always been supportive and wonderful and I feel like I am leaving my family. It'll take time to let everything sink in. SO I have my blog family to rely on and get support from. S o that's the news of the past 2 days. Pretty heavy and tough to swallow but I'll get through and as the old addage goes "when one door closes, another window opens." SO send your positive thoughts my way. I need money and finances to work out in my favor. Here is another pic that my roomie took of Jetta and I laying on the couch last night.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

I'm an Andalusian or a Quarter Horse

I was reading some blogs today and saw a thing to take a test to see which breed of horse I would be. One of the tests said that I would be a quarter horse. Steady, reliable, strong, and versatile blah blah. All some traits that I can see in myself.

Then the next test I took said that I was an andalusian. I'm a beauty but also gentle. I'm intelligent and open to new things but my passivity leaves me vulnerable. I can agree on some of those qualities. but I'm certainly not as fancy as an andalusian I think.

However if I were to label myself I would probably say that I'm an appendix quarter horse. I'm athletic, highly competitive and love to do things fast. I love games but can also get high strung and a little crazy. I am also hard working and reliable. I know my place and job in life and stick to whetever I put my mind to. I'm not really skinny, but athletic in nature but can carry a few extra pounds without looking like a blob. I'm pretty status quo meaming I can get along with most people even if I don't reallyl like them. I can be stong minded but like to think that I'm also intelligent. All qualities that I believe an appendix holds. I myself like appendixes. You have the speed of both the QH and the TB. A little more refined than a straight up TB but some bulk and muscle. Can get a little crazy but likes to play and go fast. Typically good jumpers and can calm down when necessary. Below are a few examples of what an appendix means to me. Sporty but not fancy. Usually well put together if bred right. Pretty sounds mind, likes to have fun, very game, can get hot. Not too small with usually a decent price tag. The all around horse to me that you can do anything with and have fun.

So what do you all think you are without taking some stupid test and just based on your knowledge of the breeds?

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Tuesday morning ramblings

Well it's Tuesday of a work week. I'm already tired and wishing I was hanging with my horse then stuck in the office with tons of work! As I mentioned yesterday, I had a blast last week. I met some awesome people and gained the respect of fellow horse men on a job well done at the races. The ony thing to even put a black mark in the week was "G".

He has this problem when I'm with my roomate. He says I act totally different and treat him like crap and "try and act all cool", Honestly I don't really see it. Sure I admit that when Holli and I get going I can be pretty immature, and add in a bag of cotton candy and exhaustion on top of that I can be downright obnoxious at times. But usually we're just laughing and joking around. For some reason he got a bee in his bonnet about that and refused to talk to me for over 3 days. Ignoring my calls and texts and making me worry that he was dead or even worse, CHEATING!! Well it turned out that he was just keeping himself busy working on his jeep for an upcoming competition and tipping back a few beers while trying to keep his mind off me. But it really made me feel like crap especially with all of the male attention I received at the fair. Don't get me wrong, I wasn't interested at all, but guys were being so nice to me and talking and stuff and it just made me questions why "G" doesn't treat me like this. If all these other guys will talk and want to spend time with me, what is "G's" problem? Too much water under the bridge perhaps, or too much ugly history. I don't know.

But there is a positive to all of this. I basically put my foot down to him and told him if he was trying to teach me some kind of warped lesson, it wasn't working. I told him to communicate with me and discuss his feelings other then just calling me names and lashing out. He actually started coming around and warming up much faster then he has in the past. I laid it all out on the line again with his drinking and how much of a problem it is. It was just basically flowing out of me, I talked aobut all of my feelings and everything was put on the table. I even talked about the fact that it would be so much easier to wash my hands of all of this and forget it, but for some reason I can't, maybe love I don't know. But I did tell him that I was quickly becoming fed up with the immaturity.

SO to make a long story slightly shorter he started talking to me and asking to see me. I was still a little bitter about the week at the fair and having zero of his support, but I did see some growth in him, soemthing that wouldn't have been there a year ago. So for the last 2 days we hung out some. We have a funeral at the apartment tomorrow and visiting hrs today so the dogs are staying with him to make sure their quiet. But to tell you all the truth, I'm sick of the up and down shit. The roller coaster ride that my life has become. I want off before I toss my cookies! I want to be happy, appreciated, loved and respected and that's it! That's my goal.

SO last night after work I took all the dogs to the barn to run around and just watched lessons and people riding. It was a beautiful fall night and I even had to wear and sweatshirt it was so chilly. Possum looked like he was recooperating and I let him out loose to graze for a few hours. I'll probably ride him tonight and do a little jumping since the Medal Finals are less than 2 weeks away. I also did get "G" to promise to come and help and support me again this year. He has a Tuff Truck competition locally and then is coming after since I don't ride till the afternoon this year. I'm really excited and want to do well. At the races on the straight aways I was practicing my flying changes with Possum and he was doing really well. As long as he doesn't rush and listens to me at the finals we have a really good shot of dong well. My position is stronger that it ever has been before. My legs are solid and my upper body is doing well. I would love to end my modified adult career with a bang. Next year we will be showing the adult amateurs at 2'9", this year we are only jumping 2'3" for the last time. There will be over 30 entries this year so the competition will be tough. I'll keep ypu all updated.

As for pics form the fair, no one has sent me any. I don't own a camera so I don't have any of my own. There were a lot of people taking pics at the track so hopefully I can scrounge some up.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Quick Week Re-Cap

I don't have a lot of time since I came back from vacation to literally a mountain of work. I had a great time at the fair with Possum. I'm still looking to track down some pictures so I can post them on here, I'll let ya know if I get my hands on any.

Possum was a star as usual. He never blinked at the carts, the horses, water trucks, harrows or anything else. He went about his job like he was born to do it. We wore different colors every day and we got a lot of compliments from trainers, owners and even drivers on what a good job we did. I even had to help a couple of horses to the gate and turn some of then around that wouldn't turn on their own.

I averaged it out that Sunday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday all combined I rode a total of 24 hours. Possum and I were both tired at the end of Saturday and are taking a few days to relax and recover from that amount of riding.

Possum did great living at the fair for the week. He settled right in and had hay in front of him at all times. We made friends with some of the puller guys and talked about different horse sports. He was the only saddle horse in a barn full of belgians and percherons. Having an appy really makes him stand out. I was also a little suprised about how little the general public knows about horses. It's really quite alarming especially when I hear kids whining for a horse and they don't even know if their a boy or a girl and when you say the word gelding it's like your talking in a different language. Many people just don't have a clue. But lot of my friends and family stopped by to see us and went to the races. The weather was great for the most part and it only really showered for a few hrs one day. I'll update more later this week, as I said earlier I have a ton to do.

Oh, I almost forgot about the "men" part of this blog. "G" is kinda on my shit list right now. He has decided to be an ass and treat me like crap for most of the week. I don't know how much more I can take of his bi polar issues. It really hurt me that he couldn't have even been bothered to see me at the fair even once. Plus the fact that many nice young men were hitting on me hard and being all nice and polite to me, it really made me miss being treated right by my partner. I don't know, we kinda had a talk last night but I was in a bad space and nothing realy got accomplished. I just want to put it on the back burner for now. I have the Maine Medal Finals coming up soon in 2 weeks that I need to prepare for. That's all for today, I promise to write more later and catth up on everyone's blogs

Friday, September 5, 2008

So long..... Farewell.....

Until we meet again next week that is. The race is gonna be on as soon as I step foot out of work today. I'm excited and already in vacation and work free mode. Last night my roomate and I went for a ride on her motorcycle (crotch rocket) It felt so nice since it was hot and muggy. We stopped at a new barn to ask and look around and no one was there. We snooped around some. The place was gorgrous! Views of the mountains, everything was clean and sparkling, almost too clean for a barn. There was white vinyl fencing everywhere and the indoor was gorgeous with landscaping and windows and varnished wood inside and out, mirrors and nice footing. I did notice that there were no jumps, have a good idea that this is a dressage barn. One of the things that I noticed though was that there wasn't a horse in sight. Holli and I looked high and low. We saw clean stalls with name plates, we saw a grain room, and a horse trailer. But nothing in the fields, not even so much as a poop. There were a few tracks in the indoor that said horses or a horse had been there before, but we couldn't hear or even smell anything horse related. There were a few ribbons and pictures in the barn, but that was it. The barn was stuffed with hay as well. Strange. I looked on the grain list and it had 3 horses listed.

Now I'm used to a busy barn with horses everywhere, 61 to be exact. Always something going on, always someone around. Arena full of jumps and dressage letters, dragging fields, haying, cars buzzing in and out of the parking lot and dogs scattered everywhere. Laughing kids, neighing horses, hoof prints everywhere wash rack usually wet from a recent bath. This place looked like all the people and horses just up and left all of a sudden. Very strange. Holli and I made a note to check it out again when someone was home.

So I stopped by the barn to pick up the rest of the pads I'll use for the fair to bring home and wash. I went out to say hi to Possum and scrathch him in his favorite spots. He basically ignored me because it was dinner time but he did manage to make a face when I found thr right itchy spot and stop eating for a minute to stick his neck out and droop his lower lip. His feet also looked great with a trim and new shoes and my farrier even buffed his white feet so they shined. I need to remember tomorrow to put a clear coat on it to keep it clean cause we have rain expected for the weekend. I gave him a pat and said goodnight and off we went back home. I washed the pads and even my sheepskin half pad. Everything is neatly stacked in my room and all polo wraps wrapped correctly. Couldn't really sleep last night cause I kept planning in my head.

Tonight I will get more of my stuff organized, bring home Possum's rain sheet to be washed and then try and track down someone to sell me 4 square bales since all we have at the farm now are round bales and that would be a pain.

SO have a great weekend and week everyone. May check in if I get near a computer, but don't hold your breath. I'm planning on having a great time and meeting new people. "G" will be there some helping me. He comes home from Ford school tonight. Have a good one everyone and wish us luck!

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Stats Thursday

About Possum:

He's 15.3H

He's just turned 13.

He is unregistered to my knowledge.

I never even got a bill of sale from the owner that I never met.

He came from a dealer in Vermont before I met him.

He was barefoot when I met him and extremely uncomfortable.

He was approximately 220 lbs less when we met than he is right now.

He was extremely green and could be sat on but was clueless about anything else.

I've had him for 5 years next week.

My dentist and dental hygeniest each paid $700 to buy him as the owner wanted to ship him to Canada for slaughter unless he got $1,400 FIRM.

I paid back my dental hygeniest in a year and my dentist told me that the money was a gift for saving the horse.

Possum lives at a barn with 61 other horses.

Possum lives outside 24/7 with a run in shelter.

His nick name at the barn is Brick Shit House.

Possum wears all 4 shoes and even shoes with borium in the winter.

He requires his teeth to be floated every 6 months.

He's an easy keeper.

We currently show in the 2'9"-3' hunter and equitation divisions.

Possum's show name is Sidetracked.

He does not crib, chew, paw and also respects fencing.

If you jump up and down in front of him he will rear and try to kill you.

His favorite treats are grain and sugar.

Last summer he beat a TB mare who won over $600,000 in racing career at a galloping race and pulled away.

Possum loves traile and will never bite, kick or act nasty towards another horse even if you run into him.

In the arena he will follow me everywhere on foot at any gait. If I jump jumps on foot he will follow. We have running races and usually wins.

We're basically best friends!

Anyone else feel free to post stats on your own horse(s).

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Jumping Clinic *edited for clarity*

First an update: Went to the barn last night after work. Let Possum out to graze and proceded to go through my endless pit of horse paraphanilia called a tack trunk. I didn't even realize how much stuff I had and owned. I swept out the back of where the trunk was and organized all of my stuff putting it in their respective piles. I then proceded to drag every piece of leather that I own outside and began to clean, oil and weather proof it all. When I was finished everything was sparkling and new looking. I put everything in their garment bags to stay clean, grained and then put Possum back out in his paddock and went to "G"s for a nice dinner of cheeseburgers and pasta saled. This morning I washed all of my polo wraps that I'm going to use next week and tonight will go to the barn and collect all of my saddle pads to be washed and sorted out by color days. It feels good being organized and ahead of the 8 ball. I also fixed Possum's new leather halter that he hasn't been able to wear since the throat snap broke last winter, so I did some tinkering and it's like new. He's gonna be all decked out and snazzy at the fair. I'll have to make sure people take pics that I can post here after.

Now the Jumping Clinic.

This pic was sent to me by a member of my barn, So I happen to know this rider and horse very well but will be as fair and honest as possible. The rider here has great posture and her head is up and her back arched. Her release is appropriate although at her level she could start practicint the automatic release. This will cause her to have a more independent seat from hand and increase the strength of her body to maintain posture and balance while not using her hands to help her. She is jumping ahead some but still looks to be balanced. Her leg is in a fairly good spot, but due to her jumping ahead it has slipped a little behind the girth, but still looks to be strong. Her heel could be a little more flexed, but it's still pretty solid. The horse is showing a nice and even powerful jump and is taking off evenly behind. AT this point in her training she could use a lot of trot work and trotting deep into fences to get her knees up more and clean. The mare is using her neck and back properly though and looks to be quite powerful. Over all a nice picture and goood effort by horse and rider.

This next pic was also sent to me by a member of my barn, but again I will be as honest and non biased as I can. Although it does help to know the horse and rider combination. Let me start off by saying that the turnout of this team is excellent. The horses coat shines with care and grooming. The rider is neat and clean in appearance from the shine to her boots and the horses hooves polished. This is a great example of a hunter turnout. Now this pic is hard to judge for the fact that the horse is already over the crest of the jump and starting to land. The riders position is solid and correct. Her back is arched and not forced looking, her head and eyes are up. Her leg is right at the girst with a lowered heel and she is using an appropriate crest release. My suggesttion to this rider would be to have a little more toe out angle. The way the stirrup is makes it hard to achieve this. Reposition the stirrup slightly so that you can maximize your heel depth and calf on the horses side. The horses legs are uneven due to his landing soon and he is merely cantering over this fence. Trotting bigger verticals and cantering spreads will get the horse to maximize his body and use his head and neck to achieve that nice bascule that we look for un hunters. As for equitation the pair look great and ready to take some ribbons in the show arena.

Lastly this is a pic that I found that I really like. I love this woman's equitation for the most part. Her leg is nearly perfect with the correct knee and toe angle. Her body is right over the saddle and she is not jumping ahead or getting left behind. Her back is flat and her head and eyes are up. She could make the picture even better by using an automatic release instead of a crest release so that she could have straight line from bit to hand instead of the broken angle we see here. She looks to be more than capable of doing an automatic release. The horses knees are up and together and this seems to be a fairly large jump. The rider looks strong, focused and balanced which is what I like to see. The horse has an awful expression with ears pinned and eyes squinting which takes away some from the picture. I can't talk, my Possum has his ears flat all the time while jumping. It's because he is very serious and jumps with ferocity. But I just wanted to point out this rider and how nice she looks. She is in conseravatice attire perhaps schooling in a warm-up arena or lesson. One thing that she could do is square her shoulders a little more and lengthen her neck slightly to get a little more arch in her back and have a longer frame, but hos eare mostly style points. She is very effective the way she is right now.

I was asked to clarify more the proper releases, her is a short explanation and some pics to help.

Types of releases:

Differenent releases are used depending on circumstances. However, all riders should strive to readily be able to use each one as needed, and should practice them all.
Basic release: the rider grabs the mane of the horse. This allows the rider to avoid falling back and hitting the horse in the mouth or back, or try to use the mouth for balance. It is used by beginning riders who do not yet have the position and balance to do more advanced releases without risking hitting their horse in the mouth. It is also used by more advanced riders on green horses, who tend to overjump, or when a rider for some reason loses position due to an awkward jump. Riders should not think it is reserved for novices, and all good riders will grab mane to save their horse's mouth. However, it provides the least amount of control. It should therefore not be used if it is not required.
Short crest release: the rider slides the hands up the crest as the horse takes off, not before (which "drops" the horse). The hands should not slide far up the crest, only a couple inches, as needed. It provides support for the rider's upper body, while still providing a good amount of control because the rider did not release any more than needed. Best used on verticals, when the rider needs to turn mid-air, or when going down drop fences. An intermediate release.
Long crest release: Similar to the short crest release, in that the rider slides his hands up the crest, but the hands are pushed much further along the neck. Gives a great deal of freedom, but fairly little control. Best for very wide oxers, to allow the horse to really stretch across, or for green horses that may jump large or awkwardly, for gymnastics grids, and for use on horses that have been hit in the mouth over fences and are reluctant to jump or stretch down over a fence. The rider should be careful not to associate a large movement forward with the hands and elbows to mean a movement forward with the hips. The hip angle should still close backward. Many riders get into the habit of jumping ahead with this release. Critics say this release is overused and exaggerated by hunter riders; in the hunter ring it is often used by experienced and/or professional riders on well-trained horses over jumps of relatively modest size. Proponents say that this shows off a talented hunter by proving the horse needs little assistance from the rider to jump in good form.
Automatic release: The most advanced release, where the rider maintains a soft, elastic, steady rein contact with a straight line from elbow to bit as the horse jumps. This release results in a great deal of control and communication between horse and rider, allowing the rider to signal to the horse what to do on landing. It allows the rider to better turn while in the air, to correct horses that jump crookedly, and to provide the support that some horses prefer over fences. It is also good on horses that need lots of control after landing. However, the automatic release requires perfect balance from the rider to be executed correctly. An unsteady rider will catch the horse in the mouth, and an incorrect automatic release will spoil a horse's jump and confidence. However, if a rider is able to perform it correctly, it is often best to use this release whenever possible. Very useful in show jumping and eventing, where control is very important.

Pictures here is the short crest release. Usually about where the martingale is on the horses neck. Grabbing mane for balance is also acceptable and encouraged especially for beginner and intermediate riders to prevent them from losing their balance, landing in the saddle over the jump or pulling the horse in the mouth.

Next here we have an example of a long crest release. Being used for a large oxer to allow the horse more freedom. Some common mistakes using the long release is over jumping, or jumping ahead of your horse. This rider in the picture demonstrates that she can use the long release but still maintain her center of balance.

Lastly here is an example of an appropriate automatic release. The rider has a straight line from bit to elbow and maintains a soft elastic contact with the horses mouth

I have posted this before but this is me attempting the automatic release with Possum over a 3'6" oxer this spring. Hope this further explanation helped to clear things up for folks.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Long Weekend Update

*note: These are not pics of me or Possum, but they were the best representation I could find*

Had a wonderful 3 days off from work. The weather was absolutely perfect, not too hot, but completely sunny and perfect for doing things outside. I did a lot of sleeping in, hangig at home with the dogs and lots of riding! Saturday my roomate and I rode to the pond bareback and went swimming. Literally swimming, over the horsees heads all the way out and then back to shore. It was such a blast and what power horses have. My favorite part is when we're getting so they can just touch and they do a little run rear thing. It feels like a carousel horse, and you better hold on or your coming off. Since Possum doesn't have a mane I took an old stirrup leather and put it around his neck to hold onto. He was a perfect angel and was such a sport. I think they liked the feeling of the water in a hot day.

Sunday I gave him the day off but let him out to graze and groomed him in the yard while I watched others ride and hung out. Also ground some flax seed with the new grinder out on the picnic table until dark, that was interestering doing 20lbs of it. We all took turns and just goofed around.

Yesterday I went out on a trail ride with a bunch of others because they wanted to see the pond. Again, I rode bareback and away we went. Everyone got in the water a little, but a woman who boards but is leaving to go home to Ohio soon brought her 5yo Quarter Horse Joe into the water. She stripped off her saddle and pad and away we went. She had a blast and couldn't stop talking about it the while way home. It was just a perfect weekend as a whole.

My plan is to work Possum only lightly this week in preparation for the fair next week. I'm gonna clean my tack and get all of my clothes and colors organized for the fair. He'll be trailered over to the fair this coming Sunday and stay there until Saturday. I am just so excited to have the time off from work and to ride all week.

Things with "G" are holding steady. I had it out with him about his drinking and it seemed to sink in. He has been drinking everyday, not to get drunk, but it could easily get that way. He's trying to keep his nose clean and out of trouble and when he does that he's a whole lot nicer to me in return. I'm gonna miss him some this week. He has Ford school in Massachusettes from Wed-Fri so he'll be out of town. I'll have a chance to get all my horse stuff done and get everything done that I need to for work. So just an update today.

Tomorrow I will hold another jumping clinic by popular request, I had a few photos sent in so will do another round. If anyone has any pics of themself or anyone else they want to share of jumping go ahead and email me at possum8781@yahoo.com and I'll add them to the blog tomorrrow.