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A Gift Horse by Admin - 1d ago

In the past week and a half it has rained pretty much every day. All day. Except for (thank god) the two days I was moving houses.

So you could say that things have been weird. Both incredibly exciting, and incredibly boring. There are only so many times you can hack around to the mind numbing din of rain pounding on the indoor arenas roof before it’s not fun anymore. I keep reminding myself that we are just keeping fit and keeping the message going….for the day that it might stop and we can really work? Maybe?

Okie has been a champ, and I’m still enjoying the heck out of our rides. But man, this weather is a real mood kill.

Who else has been hit by all these big storms?

I plan to spend tomorrow forcing my body to remember that it can stay straight and making sure Okie knows he needs to do the same. Lesson is on Monday and I’m so ready! Fingers crossed the weather calms down!

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A Gift Horse by Admin - 1w ago

Me: 0

WordPress scheduler: 1

Sorry ya’ll this is from last week. Still applicable, just wrong timeline. Anyway….

I was stark raving mad last night. I had this really stellar plan, packed all my crap, had my parents bring them kids and I was going to squeeze in some riding time before the crappy weather rolls back in.

Instead, I spent over an hour sitting in traffic, almost ran out of gas getting to the barn, my daughter frolicked in the muddy sand at the barn then refused to wear her shoes again. Oh and throw in my son who is feeling rough this week with some other cold.

Because my timeline got screwed up, all I really had time to do was to turn Okie out in the indoor for a good roll, give him some grooming and cuddles and a quick lunge. And honestly I was super disappointed. We’d had such a causally great lesson this weekend that I really wanted to build on things.

But.

Real life. And sometimes plans have to change.

When I was closing up Okie’s stall before I left the barn, my son, who I was holding, reached out and gave the horse a few good natured smacks/pets. Okie responded by giving me and baby some very deep breath woofs and a few nose bumps. Then neatly tried to steal my necklace off my person. Because that’s who he is.

Not only did it make me smile, but was also a big reality check. 6 months ago I had no idea what I was going to be riding. Maybe my night didn’t go according to plan, but the fact is that I’m just so glad to have the time at the barn I do get. It’s human to be sad when plans change, but still…I have it pretty great.

Those canter transitions will have to wait until this weekend.

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Alright people.

I lied to you.

I am not leasing a horse, but rather a large hippo who exists only to life in as much mud, dirt or poo as possible.  I usually prefer my mounts to be the color of dirt, for this very reason, but lo and behold, here I am leasing a flea bitten grey.  And let’s just be honest…Okie is a disgusting poo sleeper.  Since he is the perfect shade of grey, his artistry is quite noticeable.  A little poo splash here, some mud blobs there.  You get it, he’s a stinky, dirty mess. And very happy that way.

Cute but so smelly.

Due to the roller coaster weather, we haven’t had a chance to do more than a few quick rinses, but we are headed (hopefully) towards full on bath season.  Not to mention horse show opportunities right down the line…a giant brown splotch alongside my ride isn’t welcome in any class I know of.

I’ve heard of ivory shampoo, or blueing shampoo for shows.  But I’m also searching for daily care type of stuff.  Anyone who has had greys in the past, or horses with lots of chrome.  I’m begging.  Sprays?  Shampoos?  Favorites?  Tips and tricks welcome.

The first bath of the year.  Assisted by the mini me.

Tell me what your favorite products are.  How do you keep your hippos clean?

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A Gift Horse by Admin - 1M ago

I’m a little crooked, physically.  I suppose everyone has a little bit of a certain way of moving, and compensating for things, however, I seem to be putting this crookness right to work in my rides with Okie.  How do I know this?  Because this boy is a tattletale.

He doesn’t love me like his momma or my trainer, but we are working on it!

Really, he is just transparent about wanting you to ask him correctly.  He knows his job.  However it isn’t his concern that I can’t canter him straight for more than half a lap around the arena.  That is alllllll me.  He’s cool to just toddle around and get pets.

So today in my lesson we trotted, and trotted, and trotted around; trying different methods to unlock my lean to the left, and my need to basically twist my body every step of the way.  It makes my inside leg weak, and causes confusion between me and the horse.  I mean, it would be awfully confusing to be asked one thing, while doing something else.

Has a deep need for foods.

We tried no stirrups, we tried one stirrup, we tried circles, sitting trot.  Finally the right combination seems to be my right stirrup up a hole (most likely was too long/too stretched out to begin with), and focusing on actually my left hip up and forward with every post.  And in the canter, actually holding that left seatbone up and in the saddle.

In short?  I have about 100 years of homework to do.  Thank you to the big grey tattletale for showing me what I was doing wrong.  And for tolerating me while I relearn how to ride.  Why is this torture so fun?

Thank god for bath season.

Who else is lopsided?  What worked for you?

Homework time.
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A Gift Horse by Admin - 1M ago

2019 got off to a rough start.  It sucked.  A lot some days.

  • I fell down the stairs during the ice storm.
  • I fell off of Orion.
  • My daughter broke her foot.
  • The same foot had major complications.
  • I got a speeding ticket for the first time in 10 years.
  • I threw my back out.
  • Work was insane.

However, some times the bad just has to get out of the way before the good stuff can show up.

Meet Okie.  He’s a big part of that good stuff showing up.

Hard to selfie – too tall.

Okie’s Momma is really talented teen at my barn who recently went off to college (same school as my alma mater too – whoop). He ventured off for a lease for a George Morris clinic this fall, and just got back. He started his career on the quarter horse world, before spending time in all three rings with his girl.

Hunter derbies?  “Sure,” he says.

Cuddles in the crossties? “Yes please.”

Jumper class?  “If you insist (the boy is quiet).”

Boop along the trails around the barn? “Off we go.”

Bonus: He loves my kids (and the treats they bring), is an adorable 17 hand 2006 model appendix unicorn, and comes pre-installed with lots of fun buttons. He’s super cool.  And as it turns out I get spend some time getting to know him better, because we’ve been able to work out a fantastic lease.

The minute I sat on this big guy I couldn’t stop smiling. He’s sensitive, smart, honest and a little complex. He will swap his leads at the shift of a hip…so needless to say I have to work on being more subtle and supportive.

You mean you didn’t want 20 lead changes down the long side?

He’s is going to teach me so much.

He holds no grudges, and happily saves my butt as I try to do crazy amateur things like cram 6 big horse strides in a 4 stride line. He takes the long spot, the tight spot…and he’s stupid brave.

And I’m stupid lucky.

Thank you so much to Okie’s awesome family, my trainer, and my family for making this all happen.

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A Gift Horse by Admin - 1M ago

A little over a week ago I flew south to attend some work events, cram myself full of great seafood, and see some coworkers. I did not plan on getting a text from my Mom that while my daughter was playing with her cousin she stared to drag her broken foot (already in a cast). By mid-afternoon she was refusing to stand or out any weight on it. When we asked what hurt she seemed confused and didn’t know where to point.

The doctors opted to cut the cast off, and I was honestly shocked. An overlap of the inner cast wrapping had created a flap, and over time cut deeply into the skin around her foot and ankle.

Needless to say this week has been an exercise in patience. Not only was the cut deep and gross looking, but the infection/cellulitis spread redness all the way up to her thigh. Every day we’ve gone through bandage changes, big doses of antibiotics and a kid too scared to use her leg. She finally stood on her own a few days after her new boot was on, and that was a huge relief.

Now we have back to almost normal 3 year old again. The wound has to stay perfectly clean, and since she can’t wear a normal cast we now have a new boot. We have 2 more days that we have to be sure there is no fever or returning infection…then hopefully it’s just a waiting game to get this closed up.

So no horses really this last week. I was pretty much useless to anything other than her. Now that things are really looking up, I’m excited for all of us to get back into things.

Again, good news to follow as we get our lives back on track!

One tough kid.

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I’ve got so much news to share, but I had to start with a rave review over my recent helmet update.  So let’s start there. Since I had only owned my One K Defender (with chrome stripe) for a few months before my fall in February, I was really hoping to use the One K replacement policy.

I had really liked my One K, and wanted exactly the same helmet again.  So I fit the profile for the policy to a T.  In case you aren’t familiar, here is the jest of it (stolen from One K’s website – you can read the whole thing here if you are interested):

English Riding Supply will replace your helmet involved in an accident for up to 3 years after purchase for a cost listed below.

In short? I get a new helmet at a discounted rate if I follow their directions. My new helmet would now cost just $129.98; instead of the $240ish I paid for it.  A huge win (and savings) in my book.  So I brought the sad, now-retired helmet to work one day, filled out my form (link to download here), and tossed it all in the mail.

Crunched helmet.

I did not have my original receipt to include, but hoped that they would honor the replacement wanyway.  It left our building on a Thursday via USPS.  Well Tuesday of the next week, a brand new helmet arrived at my desk.  I was shocked, and so excited! That’s only 2 working days later; really impressive.

Based on all of this, I find myself recommending One K even more.  They definitely wow-ed me in this circumstance.  I also have to say that I feel this helmet fits even better than my past one. Odd, but fantastic.

 Anyone else been able to use One K’s replacement policy? Did you have the same experience as I did?

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Ca De Song is a barn staple; a big grey appendix who has done everything from jumper finals to 2 foot hunters. He’s cute, smart, particular and what every amateur dreams of…a true professional. We call him Sky.  And he’s the best.

Looking for the full sized rider he assumes will be riding him.

This past weekend, after another round of influnza wrecked havoc on my household…my daughter and I managed to sneak away to a local-ish horse show. Where they happened to have a lead line class.

You probably see where this is going.

It was very last minute so things were a little thrown together, but the bottom line was that my trainer thought Sky would be a really cute match for lead line. We arrived nice and early, so we could watch barn friends ride, then it was time to introduce the two of them.

I still make this face when I see horses.

Well, it was true love on my daughters end. She loves grey horses and immediately wanted to brush and feed him. Sky seemed a little befuddled by this whole plan, but went with it.

As per his usual self, he marched around with my little 3 year old on his back, in a place she had never been, like the champion he was that weekend (legit-ribbons to prove it).

And my little girl? She had one moment when she first walked in the big ring where she got a little crazy eyed, but we took some big breaths and focused on telling Sky what a good boy he was. The rest of the little class was easy. She even remembered to tell me when she got off it was my turn (how barn trips usually go).

<3

Of course pink stirrups.

I was so proud.

So thank you, again, to the amazing Ca De Song, for your endless kind nature. Whenever you decide to step down in a few years, I have a feeling this little girl will be ready to toddle around with you in short stirrup!

More thanks go to my trainer who had plenty to do that day, but still made this happen. And to both Sky’s owners, his rider, and a barn friend who lead the big guy so I could be supportive.

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