December 30, 2012

She did it! Finally! I cannot believe it!

Over the years I have tried just about everything to get Rose to roll. The most extreme case was when I got her soaking wet and a very hot day, after a very good ride, and left her in a dirt arena dripping. She just stood their staring at me...for a long time. After a while I just accepted that I had a weird horse that would not roll. This actually became rather nice, since she would never roll in mud she'd stay immaculately clean most of the time and I also never had to worry about her rolling on my tack if she was loose in the arena. As much as I knew that it was good for her back to roll, I got rather used to the convenience of her not rolling, and just grimaced at the though of the cost of future chiropractic care. In one way lack of rolling is not convenient...cooling her out with her winter coat takes a long time. It would be nice to have a bit of a roll to speed up the process.

After the past couple rides on Rose, it became apparent to me that if I'm going to be riding her more than once a week this winter I needed to put and Irish clip on her. It was taking over an hour for her to dry with the thick winter coat she's learned to grow in Montana. So, I toddled off to the barn this morning, my Mom in tow for company, and with a plan to clip her and then ride. I doubt I need to tell you that was a lofty goal.

Rose was still in heat today. Not as bad as yesterday, but enough so that she was a wiggly ninny in the cross ties. So, I took her out of the cross ties and tied her up to go about clipping her. The clipping went well. It's been two years since I last body clipped her and she had no issues with the clippers at all. Actually she liked the vibration and calmed down enough to enjoy a little massage and for me to put her back in the cross ties. Due to her wiggles it took longer than I'd hoped and I was not able to ride. Instead I went ahead an longed her in preparation for our lesson tomorrow.

Despite the clip job, after a good twenty minute longe session she was rather sweaty and wet from the arena humidity. I decided to let her walk around the arena loose and cool off. Whilst chit chatting with my Mom, I noticed Rose start pawing at the arena. I could not believe my eyes. All of a sudden she started circling with her nose to the ground and began to roll. I barely had enough time to pull my camera out of my pocket. Poor thing hasn't figured out how to roll all the way over yet, and wasn't confident enough to go down on her other side, although it did seem like she was trying to figure it out for a while. I'm sure she's probably rolled in the pasture at some point before, but this is the first time ever that I or anyone has witnessed her roll.

video

Happy trails and swooshing tails!
•DS•

December 29, 2012

Winter heat???

Posing for the relatives, post ride.
I am taking advantage of my family being in town and getting out to ride Rose as much as possible. I was looking forward to having an even better ride today (day three in a row) only to discover she is in raging heat! We still rode of course, as she is actually quite good under saddle when in heat, but she was definitely distracted. I ended up gaining her full attention though and I am hoping tomorrow is a more focused less in-heat day. How does a mare come into heat at the end of December? Gesh!

Happy trails and swooshing tails!
•DS•

December 27, 2012

Tough decisions...

Three years ago, when I first started out on my adventure with Rose I didn't know where it would lead. At the very least I figured I could start her and then sell her. She grew on me, and I decided to keep her and see where we would go. Time has passed. She is an amazing horse, with far more talent than I need. That doesn't bother me though, because she is also happy doing what I enjoy under saddle. However, time and time again it has hit home that she and I have to vastly different personalities. She is a saint for EB, and pretty much anyone else that I have ever had ride her or work with her. She knows me too well. We are like to boss mares always fighting over the hay pile. As much as I love riding her, and greatly enjoy her elastic gates and amazing athletic abilities, it is time for Rose to move on and to find a new owner that loves and enjoys her and vis a vis.

Rose will continue to progress and make a terrific show horse, in dressage or hunters (or even eventing), and I can't wait to see where she goes. It has been a great experience starting her, and I look forward to my next project. But you'll have to wait until she finds a new home to hear all about my next adventure in colt starting...in the mean time, I will continue Rose's training and my plans to show her this spring/summer. It is going to be a fun one!

Happy trails and swooshing tails!
•DS•

December 26, 2012

Santa did good this year...

It took a few years, but my wishlist is finally paying off. For some reason people have a really hard time grasping that yes, all I want for Christmas/birthday/anniversary/gift-giving-holidays are horse related items. My friends and family seem to be getting the idea at long last! So...what did Santa bring me this year?

BOOTS! Not just any boots, but the Ariat bromont tall winter boots. Yea warm winter riding toes. Now I can school and show in the the winter without freezing my toes off (winter lasts until May here). Get this, Hubs noticed the 20% winter sale post card that arrived in the mail a few weeks ago for our local tack shop and ran down there to snatch a pair up! He gets gold stars for a year!


SHOW SHIRT! I haven't had a new show shirt since college. I also weigh 30lbs less than I did in college, so this is a very welcomed addition to my wardrobe.

BOOK! The Complete Equine Veterinary Manual by Tony Pavord. I've wanted a copy of this book for an eternity. Now I can finally check that off my list.


Of course I got plenty of non-horse related gifts, and they all rock as well. So it was a fairly good horsey Christmas for me. Now I just need to get out to the barn to see Rose so that I can start breaking in my new boots. Oh joy.

Merry Christmas (or happy whatever holiday or lack there of you celebrate) everyone. I hope you are all having a wonderful time with friends and family, and just plain enjoying the holiday season.

Happy trails and swooshing tails!
•DS•

December 16, 2012

Where we were and where we are going.

I am having so much fun with Rose in my dressage tack as of late. As much as I love jumping and recognize that my hunt tack is necessary for that, sitting in my dressage saddle feels like home to me. It's warm and cozy and I know where every inch of my seat and leg are. So, I'm happy to be focusing on our dressage work again, and will continue to jump her once a week until spring/summer when I can haul over to Livingston and take jumping lessons with Laura Love. At that point I'll start seriously focusing on her jumping.

For the winter though, I will be taking dressage lessons when I can from our barn trainer CR. Our next lesson will be on the last day of the year, and I cannot wait. Right now I'm taking a mental note of what I want to work on and where I want our riding to go. This will be the first lesson we've had in over a year, and she's actually come a very long way since then, even with the minimal amount she's been ridden. I imagine CR won't even recognize us.

Before I stopped riding at the end of 2011 we were working on:
  • Developing and even tempo (she used to rush, rush, rush, and fall on her forehand all the time).
  • Learning to properly half halt and halt through the seat.
  • Stand square.
  • Downward and upward transitions (she used to run into the canter from the trot). 
  • Simple changes.
  • Going through the people door. The garage door was not an option because she was scared of it if standing too close, and darn it I want her to walk through a scary little people door if I ask.
  • Asking her to look for and accept contact, rather than force it on her (she was behind the vertical a lot)
  • Jumping 2' courses.
 In 2012 we accomplished the following:
  • Maintain tempo at all gates.
  • Execute a square halt down from any gate, even the canter.
  • Halt/canter & canter/halt transitions.
  • Half halt.
  • Recently begun executing flying lead changes on cue.
  • Shoulder in.
  • Haunches in.
  • Half pass.
  • Wait for me to open the garage door while tacked up and being held (I gave up on the people door).
  • Stretches down looking for contact with the bit, staying just in front of the vertical.
  • Jumping 18" verticals and exes (yes...we went back to the start with jumping). No course work.
Dressage goals for 2013:
  • Work towards first level movements and tests.
  • Balance: Rose at times still falls-in noticeable at the canter.
  • Improve responsiveness to leg yields and half passes.
  • Collection/extension.
  • Improve flying lead changes.
  • Show training level to start, and move up to first level at at schooling shows and least one recognized show.
Jumping goals for 2013:
  • Schooling 2'9' by September if she's ready.
  • Take her over a cross country course at least once.
  • Jump logs on a trail ride.
  • Attend a hunt in the fall.
  • Jump a 2'6" course well at schooling shows and at least one recognized show.
That's all I can think of for now. I cannot wait until the 31st for my lesson. It will be nice to have some direction once again. Yea!

Happy trails and swooshing tails!
•DS•

December 10, 2012

Potential baby daddy at long last!

Every year around this time I start thinking about who I would breed Rose to if I were to breed her, and generally I come up with some okay options, since most the one's I like reside over seas. However, for the first time, I've found a stallion in the USA that meets all my requirements and that I would actually want to breed Rose to. So much so that it's sending delusional ideas through my head that maybe I should breed her. I'm not going to. Not now anyway. I won't do that until the day that I have my own land so that I'm not paying board on a pregnant mare and then a foal...in addition to the third horse I'll need to buy or lease so that I can keep riding. But, since this is all hypothetical meet:

For Enjoy Ask Z (I hate the name and hope that this is just a really bad translation from German, that or someone had a terrible sense of naming a foal). He seems to have a second name, Enska, which I like much better but assume is just his barn name. He is listed as For Enjoy Ask Z with isr/oldenburg NA.
Something I'm picky about in terms of confirmation is the stallion's topline. I think Rose's back is a tad long, so I definitely want a stallion that has a shorter back. Check! Height. I don't want something to big since Rose is already big herself. This guy is 16.2h. Perfect! I also want to know that they are equally talented in jumping and dressage. Check & check!
After I've checked out those issues, then it comes down to pedigree. This is where potential stallion matches come up short. If I'm going to invest in the money, time, and stress to breed my own horse then I am going to have the best bred foal I can possibly produce. One would argue that I should breed a different mare if that's my stance, but to some extent I can only afford so much, so I have to work with what I got, and Rose is actually pretty good broodmare candidate.

I want to breed to a stallion that compliments Gatsby's pedigree (obviously I'm not looking to put more strength on Rose's unknown quarter horse/percheron genes). Enska definitely does. He has great G and F Hanoverian lines (which is what I'm looking for), which when combined with Rose's pedigree offers some nice fourth and fifth generation linebreeding that shows strength for jumping. Then the last thing that I think about, which isn't a deciding factor at all but is totally icing on the cake, is color and chrome. This guy has it all. I love dark horses black or dark bay, and of course chrome is always nice.

At this point I think I'll be dreaming about what a For Enjoy Ask Z x Rose/Gatsby colt might look like.

If anyone is curious here is a link to his American (current) website: http://www.camelotstables.ca/enska.html and here is his old website with many more photos: http://www.anneniemi.fi/forenjoyaskzeng.htm


Happy trails and swooshing tails!
•DS•

December 7, 2012

Riding boot fashion trend

Every few years "riding boots" become a fashion trend. I've always thought this was silly since they look nothing like riding boots most of the time and there is no way you could ride in most of them, but that's me nit picking I guess. This year however I've started scouring the internet for a pair of brown boots. Why? Well I went black Friday shopping for the first time in years. Years!

It was great. MIL was still here and babysat. I got to be all alone with a million sale crazed holiday shoppers. Well, I could have done without all the other people, but it was nice to have some "me" time. Whilst shopping I found a great deal on a pair of skinny jeans. Yes, Hubs, you read that right. I bought skinny jeans! They are already washed and the tags cut...so no returns. Fret not Hubs: I'm not turning into a hipster. Hubs is not a fan of the hipster look.

Hubs: hipster - not your wife
I purchased said skinny jeans to wear when the weather requires me to don my cute fluffy pack boots around town. Stuffing boot cut jeans into calf-knee high boots looks silly to me, and has always bothered me. Unfortunately most the time it's too cold to throw on tights and a skirt...so skinny jeans it is.
Hubs: not hipster - that's what I'm talking about

However, thinking about wearing them with my pack boots got me re-thinking the "riding boot" fashion trend. I want brown boots. For some reason I love brown leather and blue jeans. I am also obsessed with red zippers too, but I think I'll have to forgo that fashion point since I need boots that are good quality, made of real leather, waterproof and warm for living in snow country and red zippered boots don't seem to accompany any of those other requirements.

I was surprised to see that Merrill, Keen, and North Face all have nice leather tall boots. Now I just need to figure out which ones I want. I'm leaning toward these options:

Merrell Captiva Launch Waterproof

Keen Bern Baby Bern Boots

Keen Laken High Waterproof Boots
Now, I just need to justify the cost...

Happy trails and swooshing tails!
•DS•

December 5, 2012

Backing a trailer? No problem...

My trailer had been living at my house for a while as I practiced hauling it around town. However, it is against our HOA covenants to have trailers parked in driveways, and since we are on the HOA board, we figured that we were kinda pushing it. Also, we needed our driveway space back. So the trailer needed to go back to the barn now that I'm done hauling horses around town for the semester. Hubs of course was trying to figure out when he would have time to do it. HA! No need for that. I happily boasted that I would simply haul it back to the barn on my next trip out. With much relief, Hubs happily accepted my offer. Then we both simultaneously remembered that I haven't had any, none, zero, zilch experience backing the trailer. I do however take direction well and have good visualization skills. Hubs walked me through the fundamentals and I was out the door.

Back where she belongs.
For some reason backing the trailer never concerned me. I had zero anxiety about it. I just hauled the trailer to the barn (whilst drinking coffee and going the speed limit through a windy canyon...booyah), pulled in the lot, did a five million point turn to inch over to my space and avoid all sorts of random logs and various questionable items scattered about and parked the darn thing. It did take some concentration and thought, but overall I succeeded with very little trouble. I am quite proud of myself and very much looking forward to a summer full of trail rides and shows.


Happy trails and swooshing tails!
•DS•

December 2, 2012

Back to jumping basics.

My goal for today was simple; to get Rose willingly over an ex. It has been a few weeks since I last jumped Miss Thing, so I thought it was best to have low expectations. As per usual, she walked and trotted over the trot poles with no hesitation. I put up the ex. She trotted the ex just fine, again no hesitation. Again, as per usual, we come around a second time and she does her best to run out. I'm a little perplexed as to why she runs out on the second attempt, not the first. Regardless, I was expecting it and she did not like the resulting reprimand and proceeded to jump the ex from the walk. We came again, and she attempted to run out but with no success, and then she halfheartedly tried again.

Finally, Rose trotted and cantered the ex with no refusal. We changed direction and repeated the same process, ending on a very nice note of willingly cantering the ex, albeit a bit rushed on the forehand. I'll take it, as it is improvement. Hopefully soon this non-sense of running out will be behind us.

Happy trails and swooshing tails!
•DS•

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