Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Some pics

My blog posts seem to get further and further apart, but I can assure you that I am still here and plugging along. I'm busy with work and yes, believe it or not a semi-social life haha. The weather here in the state of Maine has been off and on, first we will have sub zero temps and snow, and just this week it got up to 40 degrees and we got 2 inches of rain almost melting all of the snow we had on the ground, it's very weird. Possum and all the other animals have been doing great. Possum continues to get better with every ride we do, his pace is much slower and he is listening much better. Now I just need to work on my equitation which has been lacking as of late. Everyone is happy and healthy which is all you can ask for.
I have had some questions about MN guy. Due to his situation we have started to talk less and less, I just think that it is better for me. If and when his situation changes things may be different, but I can't out myself in a place to be set up for failure. However, on a good note I have just started casually chatting with someone from ALASKA, I know I'm crazy, I can almost see everyone's eyes roll. It's actually all quite innocent and we have really hit it off. The other crazy part to this story is that he and his family have a TV show!!! I know, it's crazy. They have a neat show on RFD-TV called R5 Sons Alaska. It's about a lodge they they run for tourists and hunters and such and they also have 17 horses out there. The only way to get to the lodge is by bush plane usually from Anchorage. I enjoy the show very much, and the one I am talking to is Steve, the oldest son. He seems so sweet, he's my age, he loves the outdoors and horses and dogs and has no kids and never been married :) We are actually in the process of figuring out a time and place to meet sometime, I would love to go and check out Alaska, but we'll see how that goes. I have been heisitant in telling people that we talk cause it sounds a little corny and all, but we have been talking for over 2 months now and we're still not sick of each other which is a plus. Anyways, check out the show R5 Sons Alaska, they have a website for the show and they also have a fan page on Facebook, their a great family and I like supporting their show.

Here are a few pics that someone at the barn took of Possum and I jumping the other day. We don't look that great but we were jumping around 3'6" and he was doing great so that's all that matters. And yes, I was not wearing a helmet, it was my choice.

Monday, January 11, 2010

We actually got a compliment!!

Despite the fridgid temps and my car about to fall apart and being stressed about getting the money to fix it, I managed to get my bum to the barn yesterday and ride my pony. Ofcourse it was only about 15 degrees and the wind was whipping. Luckily it was about 10 degrees warmer in the indoor with no wind. I went about my usual routine. Since Possum's paddock is on the side of the driveway, I pull over and park and whistle to him and he comes over to the fence. I open the gate and let him out loose and then get back in my car and drive to the parking lot. This gives my horse time to pick up loose scraps of hay around the outside of the paddock while I go and set up the brushes, maybe visit with some people and then grab his halter and go get him. I always like to give him a few minutes of free time before I go and get him to ride, I think it just makes him happier, or maybe just me, who knows.

So I groomed and tacked him up in record time in the main barn since it was soooo cold. So e made our way to the indoor and refuge from the wind. I hopped right on and away we went at a walk. When I first get on my horse is the time of when I asess how he's feeling and his energy level, I can tell at once how the ride is going to be based on those factors. He had a spring in is step and was well in front of my leg so I was happy that this looked to be a promising ride. After our normal warm-up routine, walking for 10 min or so and then trotting in both directions for another 10 min and then cantering both directions for another 10 min or so. During the warm-up I worked on some shoulder in and leg yielding just to get his body warmed up and more pliable, as much as possum can be. We then trotted a few crossrails and went right into the meat of our work out. I asked him to trot some fences that were around 2'9 or 3ft, asking him to get in deep to them and really making an effort to snap his knees up and using his neck and back for a nice clean jump. Only once did he knock it down and I really think he just misjudged the height of the fence and knocked it a good one so much so that he tripped on the landing. No need to reprimand him on that one because I think he got the hint and the next time we jumped it he made sure to clear it by a large margin.

As were were cantering some fences and putting mini courses together, a boarder at our barn was riding her QH mare at the same time. On a walk break both Possum and I were puffing and the woman made the comment that it looked like I wasn't having to work as hard keeping him at a normal pace and put together. My eyes about bugged out of my head when she said that. You have no idea how much that means even for one person to say that. Possum is not an easy horse to ride and make it look pretty. He's hard to keep packaged together and moving in a balanced manner. I usually use the analogy that he's like driving a dump truck on a highway of sleek moving Mercedes and Audi's. Hearing that comment was nice because it meant that all the hard work we'er been putting in lately is starting to pay off, even if one person notices it, it's working. We finished up by jumping a small course of about 6 jumps and then cooled out. After a few walk laps around the arena I had the bright idea of walking around outside along the paddocks and making a loop back to the main barn to untack. Big mistake, when we made it back to the barn my feet were frozen, I couldn't feel my ears and my face was wind burnt. I untacked Possum and gave him a few treats for a job well done and then bundled him back up in his blankets and threw him outside.

So to's rare that Possum and I get compliments of any kind, but when it happens around a specific area that I have been working so hard on, it feels like I just won the lottery. Even though this year it looks like we will be doing very few shows because of finances, it's nice to know that we are still working towards a goal and slowly taking small bites towards that goal. It was like a breath of fresh air blew on us and filled our tanks of otivation so that we can keep going in our education.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Snow and Horses = More Work= Less Ambition

So I don't if any of you follow the weather here in Maine, but we are digging out from a fairly decent size snow storm that lasted for 3 days. We didn't get as much snow as they first predicted, but we got a fair amount. Basically the whole state was in a panic that it was going to be some huge super storm with feet upon feet of snow, and I have to say that the hysteria was a little contagious. Thursday which was New Year's Eve was great. The roomie and I went to a friends house to stay for the night since were were indulging in adult beverages. We left the doggies at home and promised them that no metter how much snow we got over night, we would be back in the morning to let them out, we kept our promise. But back to that night; I have never laughed so hard in my life, sure I was a little intoxicated but we were playing Mad Libs. That ame we have all played as kids on long car rides or rainy days. But oh my goodness when you put an adult spin on things, it gets downright hilarious!!! I was almost peeing in my pants.

So when we woke up early Friday morning it was snowing at a good clip and we rished to get home to let the dogs out. We also had all intentions of going to the barn that afternoon, but we were both so tired that we went back to bed and didn't wake up until it was nearly dark out and by then our motivation was shot. But my roomie did manage to sneak in my room when I had passed out and caught a pic of me spooning my dog Abby. I was out like a light.

So the roomie and I lounged around the house for most of the weekend expecting enormous amounts of snow which did not come, but it kept snowing so it scared us into staying home. Yesterday I woke up and was determined to make it to the barn. I look out my window and finally the blizzard has arrived! SO I pick the snowiest day to go to the barn. I got dressed in snow pants and jacket and mittens and hat and herded the dogs into the car. Away we went, down the road at a snails pace. We arrived at the barn a half hour later when it's usually a 15 min drive. It was snowing and blowing so hard that it was coming down sideways and pelting my face. I grabbed Possum's halter and headed for his paddock. It took about 10 minutes of digging out his gate so that I could open it enough for him to squeeze through. We were both squinting our eyes against the driving snow. I'm pretty sure both of us were happy to finally make it to the barn. I stripped off his blankets and gave him a good grooming, one to get the dirt out and two, to stimulate some blood flow in both of us. I tacked him up and we headed for the arena. I could tell he had some pent up enrgy since it had been just a eek since i ride him last, i felt like a bad horse mom.

We took a while warming up since it was cold and snowy and both of us were kinda stiff. He was moving nicely off my leg and I didn't even have spurs on. I worked a lot on stretching. Getting him to reach down and out and stretch his neck and back. Possum is a pretty stiff horse generally so it always takes a little to get him to stretch, but he was actually doing well. After we had warmed up in both directions at the walk, trot and canter I decided to refresh us by doing some flying changes across the diagonal. As usual, his good side was a piece of cake, but to my suprise his "bad" side was also really good. He didn't rush or twist his body and he did nice clean changes both front and back in unison each time. I was so happy!

We just fiddled around with jumping. There were some pretty big holes and soft sport in tne arena from having some slightly frozen ground and being chewed up. So my plan was to warm-up and then just put one jump up to around 2'9" or 3ft and just keep working over that one jump focusing on my position, rhythmn, pace and straightness. I noticed that going to the right he has a tendency to drft towards the rail over the jump, since the jmp was set about 8 ft off the rail. So we worked a lot on keeping him between my legs and straight and even. I also had to work on not leaning in on the corners especially in my "bad" direction which happens to be to the right. All in all it was a good work out and I think we were both happy with it. I cooled him out and brought him back to the barn. I kicked myelf in the ass for forgetting a whole bag of carrots that I has bought special just for him the last time I went shopping. I gave him his grain for dinner and then we made the long trek back to his paddock where I had to do some more digging to get the gate so that I could squeeze him through. I was all out of breath afterwards and my ears no longer had any feeling. I really don't mind the snow, it's actually very peaceful looking and sounding, but snow just makes everything 10 times harder to do. Harder to push a wheelbarrow, harder to drive, harder to ride at fast speeds etc... But the good news is that the snow has stopped and I'm waiting for the sun to shine. I hope to get out and ride my horse more this week, but again that depends on the temps and the weather. Unfortunately I don't get put of work until after 4 and it's waaay dark when I get to the barn so the temps have dropped a lot. Ohwell, suck it up, I live in Maine and I should be used to this by now.