January 30, 2013

Flatwork Video

I really think that I need to take more video of my horses in general, not just when they are for sale. I've been having so much fun watching CR work with Rose and it's great to be able to watch her video over and over again! Who knows, maybe she won't end up ever selling and frequent training video's will just become a new happy habit.


Happy trails and swooshing tails!

Wordless Wednesday

Happy trails and swooshing tails!

January 27, 2013

Free Jumping

Rose jumping 3'6"

My good friend BA was in town visiting us this weekend, so I couldn't resist the opportunity to have her help and set up a jump shoot. Behold the fun...

I tried something new with the shoot design, since at my current barn we have a small quantity of standards and poles. Instead of using poles for the side of the shoot I grabbed a roll of engineer's tape and prayed that she would think it is a solid object. However, just in case she ran through it it would be soft enough to easily break without getting caught around a leg. Luckily she respected it and it worked like a charm. I think it is rather non-invasive to look at as well! As for the layout of the jump shoot, or the "course", I set up a canter pole, 9' to a 2' vertical, then 21' to the oxer. To begin, we started with both jumps set as ex's. After she completed the shoot she got a treat at the end of the arena. I like doing this because it teaches the horse to stop after the jump shoot and not just keep running around the arena. Once we had her happily running through the shoot jumping just ex's we put up the vertical and then started the oxer at 2' 6" and went up from there until she got tired, which was at 3'6". She definitely shows scope to go higher though, so I think as she keeps getting back into shape I'll free jump her some more.

Happy trails and swooshing tails!

January 19, 2013

Beauty Parlor Day

Rose has been in boot camp the last week with my trainer CR. I decided that perhaps it would be a good idea to put her in training for the month to whip her into shape. CR reports that Rose has been great all week and is a lot of fun to work with. I'm delighted that she's enjoying her so much.

As CR has been working with Rose, I haven't been to the barn all week. I've been hoping that the temperature would go up so that I could start cleaning Rose up, sans gloves. Her yack mane has been in desperate need of being pulled for a while, and doing just a little bit here and there wasn't getting us anywhere fast. After yesterday high temp of 45ºF, and today's high predicted high to be 40ºF, I decided that today would be the day that we got it done.

Since Rose's mane was so over grown I actually decided to cheat a bit and use scissors to do the bulk of the mane "pulling". I know this doesn't help thin it at all, but it cleans it up rather quickly. I must say this is only the second time in my life that I've taken scissors to a mane. The first time was right after I purchased Rose. That 18" long mess had to go, and in a hurry! But I digress. Given that I'm more of a classic mane pulling person I decided to apply some more refined hair cutting techniques to today's beauty session. I just cannot stand the look of a blunt cut mane.

Instead of just cutting across the mane, what I did was comb the mane down with my pulling comb, holding the comb in place about 1" above the length of where I wanted the mane to terminate. Then using my scissors, I angled them up and cut the hair at an angle just slightly past vertical. Just like when I pull a mane I constantly stepped back, re-assessed my work, looked for any areas that needed adjustment and touch ups.

Finally, a respectable looking mane!

Finally, after all that, I did a tiny (about 5min) of pulling where there was an odd long hair here and there. I also brushed out her tail, and cleaned up her fetlocks, bridle path, goat chin hairs and ears.

Rose, all spruced up.
Now I plan to keep up on her mane on a regular basis as I used to. Unfortunately I got in a bad habit when I was pregnant of letting it go due to the delicacy of balancing on a stool and having a beach ball between us.
"Cookie for me? I was a good girl, I was." - Rose

Happy trails and swooshing tails!

January 16, 2013

Tack sale SCORE!

Last summer the flies were BAD and Rose's tail lost a good amount of hair from the swatting. I briefly put her old fly sheet on her, which rubbed the heck out of her shoulder. It was the Schneider's Dura-Mesh Original Fly Sheet in size 81" that I got cheap at a tack swap years ago. I will give it to Schneider's that the material is pretty durable. It is also very stiff and like I mentioned above, in one day it rubbed her shoulder bare. She'd also out grown it a bit too, so that may have been part of the problem. Regardless, I decided that if I needed to get a new sheet for her, it was time to do some research, get one that won't rub, will be durable yet comfortable, and last more than one summer.

After much deliberation between Dover's Rider's International Hug Fly Sheet and the Rambo Fly Protector, I decided to go with the Rambo. The Hug sheet is more affordable, but I also figured that it would likely die sooner. In addition, anytime I've worked at a barn and had to deal with blanking horses I've always found the Hug style to be a pain to put on and take off. Ever since the end of the fly season, I've been keeping an eye on internet Rambo fly sheet sales for months. Then my Ariat Bromont Tall Winter Boots arrived at our tack shop. Since it is a half hour drive and a bit of trouble (packing up baby, organizing day around nap time, etc.) to get there, I of course did a bit of browsing while there.

Then I saw it.  The clearance table!

There was the usual amount of random nicknacks and curios scattered about the top of the table on 75% off. Most of that stuff you would have to pay me to walk out of the store with. I still gave it a good amount of scrutiny, as you never know what you might find. Then I noticed bags of fly sheets and turnout sheets on the floor under the table. Next I noticed a 40% off sign for said sheets. I quickly glanced around and noticed some big block letters on a brownish fly sheet that said Rambo.


I frantically sifted through the pile of sheet bags.

Sure enough there was a 84" Rambo Fly Protector sheet on sale. Quite happy with my find, I quickly snatched it up and cannot wait to use it this summer! Oh the joys of getting a good deal at the tack store.

P.S. There are a lot of fly sheets still on sale at Four Corner's Saddlery if any Montana's are in the area and in need. I recommend stopping in for a look.

Happy trails and swooshing tails!

January 14, 2013

Party like it's 1999

The other day I arrived to the barn to ride only to realize I had taken all my saddle pads home to wash and  forgot to bring them with me. Doh! What to do. My half pad was there so at least I could use that...but then I remembered. I have an old Navajo pad protecting the top of my trunk! So we busted it out and partied rode like it was 1999.

Rose rockin' the Navajo pad.

 I was just thankful that no one was present to see us ride in our fabulous get up. Back in the late 90's when I was in college, riding hunt seat with Navajo pads was the norm, but it is a fashion trend that seems to have all but vanished. In addition, I've never seen anyone use one with a dressage saddle! These days my little old Navajo pad has no use other than to protect the top of my tack trunk. A job it does quite well...

Happy trails and swooshing tails!

January 12, 2013

Riding Boot Fashion Trend - update & review

I guess you could call this boot week!

You might remember that following my black Friday purchase of skinny jeans this past fall, I couldn't get the idea of purchasing a pair of fashionably practical brown "riding boots" out of my head. I had it narrowed down to a few pair that I liked, and eventually I found sometime between naps, grocery shopping, and riding to run off to REI and try them on. I decided on the Keen Bern Baby Bern boots. The only hitch? The $160 price tag. Yes I am an REI member, but getting 10% back on the purchase still didn't make them affordable. So I decided to wait. Painfully wait. When I make up my mind on something, after much deliberation, waiting is not my forte. But I did it. I waited. Then last week the price on the internet dropped to $90! They were still full price at REI, so I decided to get online and snatch up a pair before my all to common shoe size and color preference was gone*. They arrived yesterday and I cannot be more please with my purchase.

Sporting my new "tall boots"

Like most keen footwear the soles and arch support are wonderfully supportive and comfortable. I haven't worn them outside yet, but the soles seem nice a thick and insulating in terms of the snow. Jr. is sleeping right now, but I think we will have to venture out in the sub-zero (oh yeah, hello -1ºF) temps just so that I can break them in. Who doesn't like to play with a new toy?

*Mind you, I still had to explain to my Huby why I needed a pair of tall boots that I can't ride in. I don't think he quite got it, but he did mention to me this morning (after a thorough inspection of them in our closet) that they look much better in person than online. Heh. Men. Gotta love 'em.

As for Rose, she's gotten the last couple days off due to the extreme cold weather. Insulated indoor arena or not, I can't in good mind make her work, build up her body temp, and then throw her back out into the arctic. Call me a softy. Whatever!

Happy trails and swooshing tails!

January 11, 2013

Product Review: Ariat Bromont Tall Winter Boots

Usually I wait until I've used a product a couple time before doing a review, but I felt that just after one use these boots already deserved a review, because...

They are fabulous!

Stylin' in our winter wear!

Never having owned winter riding boots before (or ones with zippers), I completely expected to have the same "break in" period that normal field boots have. After one ride though, it became apparent that there is no break in required. These boots are soft and comfortable right off the bat. I didn't notice the zipper at all. My feet stayed completely warm the entire time riding and on the ground. There is enough room in them for toes to wiggle and to wear smartwool socks. Yet they are still very supportive and look very nice. The sued inner calf is also a nice touch for extra saddle grip during no stirrup work. They are a bit bulkier than normal tall boots, but that is to be expected. So far I am one happy customer!
View from above. A little bulkier than summer boots
but not bad!
Happy trails and swooshing tails!

January 9, 2013

Navigating winter riding obsticals

Since I was very pregnant last winter, I didn't ride for most of it, which makes this the first year I've really delt with riding in a Montana winter. This is also the first time in a long time that I've had to ride at night. Between winter, snow, ice, and darkness, there are a few obsticals that I've recently had to overcome.

1. Frozen toes.
My feet actually stay above freezing with smart wool socks in my paddock boots while riding in the indoor arena. They get ice cold and frozen when I stand in the arena longeing Rose or waiting for her to roll. I am hopeful that the arrival of my new Ariat Bromont Tall Winter Boots (thanks to the ever fabulous Hubs) will fix this problem all together. I plan on venturing outside for a stroll in the snow upon their arrival as well!

2. Frozen doors.
You definately know that you live in a cold place the when inside of the door to your arena looks like this. Gloves solve the problem well.

Frozen door on the INSIDE of the arena.

3. Darkness.
We have no exterior lights at our barn aside from the main entrance light to the barn. In an area with little to no ambient lighting and clear nights, this means it gets very very dark. Pitch black dark...at 5pm. As I was bemoaning the lack of moonlight the second night I rode, I remembered that Hubs insists on keeping a headlamp in each of the vehicle's glove compartments. Salvation! Luckily, Rose appears to be unfazed by the random little light on my head. Bonus!

Rockin' the headlamp! Winter fashion trend
of 2013.
Now, I have always hated headlamps. Yes they function, but they are ugly. Coal minter ugly. Not a fashion statement I like making even on the grimiest of camping trips. Hubs has always thought I was ridiculous (probably rightly so) for my stance on headlamps and insistence on using good-ole flash lights. Well, now that I have a very good need for a headlamp (need light & don't have a spare hand) I have to say that this little beauty has won over a soft spot in my heart. I think I might have to see if there is a slightly more fashionable version on the market though. For now though, little greenie and I will get along just fine.

On a side note (ahem, note to Huby), it might behoove him to apply horse related uses to all sorts of random things that I don't like that he thinks I'm ridiculous about.

Happy trails and swooshing tails!

January 7, 2013

Moving forward...

Things are definitely getting back on track and moving forward with Rose and I both getting back in shape. After our lesson last week, Rose ended up with three days off. My plan was only two days off, but life has a tendency to get in the way. My current goal is to get to the barn four nights a week. So far I've been managing to make it happen. Hopefully it continues.

Regardless of three days off, Rose was a good girl and remembered everything from our lesson. That is one thing that I love about her. For better or worse, she is very smart and learns quickly. When it comes to under saddle work this is great. She was very accepting of contact, nicely moving laterally away from my leg and into the outside rein, and did a great job of maintaining a fairly smooth tempo and rhythm at both the trot and canter. This all added up to some of the most balanced movement that we've ever had. It felt wonderful!

Rose, post ride & post roll. Hanging out with her horse
friend reflection by the mirror.
On a side note, she continues to roll in the arena every opportunity I give her. She still hasn't managed to roll all the way over or to figure out how to roll on the other side, but I'm sure that will come soon enough.

Happy trails and swooshing tails!

January 2, 2013

Monday Lesson

We had a great lesson with CR on Monday. Lots of working on tempo, rhythm and contact for Rose, and position work for me. Apparently my dressage position has completely become over run my my old hunter eq position. Pregnancy apparently erased two years of dressage position work for me. So that's my big homework assignment, sit up and get my bum in the saddle!

After five days in a row of working, I decided that Rose would get yesterday and today off. I'll be back out to the barn tomorrow evening to attempt my goal of working her four days per week. Once EB gets back from winter break Miss Thing will be getting worked five days a week. This will be good for her and for me. I'm looking forward to working on our dressage homework this week and also popping her over some jumps. Hopefully after the last week she will be more focused. Regardless she won't be in heat anymore so that will also help with the focus!

Happy trails and swooshing tails!


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