This blog is about my life, a 28 yr old filly; working in the city, balancing her career, passion for horses, dogs, and the life they deserve. Following my dreams, and getting there takes a lot of patience and a sense of humour. This is my take on life, and the amazing and stupid things in it.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Video Break! Penny and Mia Cross Country Schooling at Glen Oro

  The last few weeks have been insane to say the least.  After my last event of the year which I am still waiting to recap - came the massive prep for our third annual Short Course Event at our farm.  This means no riding - no nothing other than sprucing the place up, painting jumps, making flags, ordering ribbons, doing ride times, etc etc.  The show went off with a bang on Saturday and it was an absolutely great day.  I have lots to share about the show but for now, enjoy the video footage from Jess and I taking Penny and Mia schooling at Glen Oro Farm in September.  What a feeling.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Woodwind Horse Trials Training Level Cross Country Course Preview

  We are here, just walked the course and tacking up for dressage.  Course looks big and trappy! Going to take it one fence at a time.

big max table at the bottom of a hill

3 stride left up the bank

this drops to an epic steep hill descent

quarter mark power up

Friday, October 10, 2014

Dirk Confo Shots 18 Months

  Dirk has settled into life at Catori Lane very well.  He has his own stall, his own collection of fancy Rambo stable rugs, and is filling out nicely.  He borrowed this fancy halter from Mia though ;)

  His temperament is quiet but mischievous like any yearling.  He is steadily growing taller and wider.  His baby warts have all fallen off and I am left with this striking Golden baby.  Of course I am super biased because I love Palominos, and Thoroughbreds.  He really is a joy to have around.  Going to be a long 3 years waiting on this guy!

Thursday, October 9, 2014

STFS Blog Hop: Why I Do What I Do

  Stories from the Saddle has offered up a timely blog hop - "Why I do what I do", entertaining stories of how you found "your" discipline of choice.  I say this is timely for me because I am at an emotional cross roads with my riding right now.  Things are going great under saddle, that isn't the issue.  The issue is that I feel confused as to what I want to be doing with my horses right now, and if I want to continue on with my current preferred discipline.

 It all started with this woman.  Who has loved horses forever - and gave up riding and horse ownership when she had my sister and me.  When I was 6 years old my mom asked me if I wanted to take riding lessons - something which had never entered my mind.  I wasn't one of those kids who was born horse crazy.  I didn't really have an interest in horses at all...until my first lesson.  I will save you long horse ridden trip down memory lane but that was all it took.  After my first lesson I was one hundred percent totally horse crazy.

my first show with Esther
  It wasn't long after that I got my first pony Esther.  Esther was pretty much the Devil incarnate but she sure taught me how to ride.  She was pregnant when bought her - much to our surprise and so the search was on for another pony for me - and that is how we found Snapple.  You can read about her through that link.  With Snapple I did everything.  Hunter, jumper, dressage, western gaming, western pleasure - you name it.  She was a super pony, totally versatile and very talented.  Through Pony Club I learned about Touch A Rainbow Horse Trials and we referred to it as - "THE Event".  As if there were only one in the world.  I guess in my 11 year old brain and before the Internet I had no idea what this land of "eventing" was all about.

  I took Snapple to Touch A Rainbow for the first time when I was 11.  I think we placed 2nd, and the year after I took her again and this time we won.  We won this awesome wool cooler and a nice big ribbon.  I remember driving home from the event and saying to my mom that I wished there were more shows like "the event" around.  So much better than hunter and jumper shows.  She said there probably were and if I wanted to do just that type of show I could.

  And that is how it all started.  My mom found out about the OHTA and I started solely eventing Snapple.  I became the eventing enthusiast I am today.  From then on I read all the eventing books, watched all the movies, and was completely obsessed with it.  Things were different back then.  There was no internet and no way to connect with the sport or upper level riders.  Watching the Training level riders I always admired them so much and hoped some day I could be there.  They seemed so out of reach and I was just longing to be that good day one day.  I met a girl who also had an Appaloosa as she was stabling at my friends house for Hawkridge Horse Trials.  We went to watch her, she was going Training level.  I remember thinking this was the coolest chick and horse on the planet and my new goal in life was to event at Hawkridge.

water at Hawkridge

Stadium at Hawkridge
  Luckily enough, I did get to event there - Pre- Training level several years later.  It ended up being the last year they had the event but we spent a lot of time at Hawkridge with the Pony Club.   The absolute most amazing place to event.  When I outgrew Snapple I moved onto my first "horse" Westy.  It was eventing Westy that really sealed the deal for me.  The horse was absolute cross country machine and went from Entry level to Training in one season.  We upgraded to Prelim after two years and he carried me around safely and clear in my first Prelim and it was a day I will never forget.

Our first event together - Entry level, that we won

in the warm up at Fiddlers Green
  These moments, the thrill, the time spent training, the memories or events come and gone - and the rush of a clear round are what keeps me engulfed in the world of eventing.  It has been a good ride....we will have to see what the future holds for myself and the world of eventing.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Glen Oro Horse Trials Recap

  A bit behind on this one, but it was quite the day of eventing so I wanted to be sure I had the time to write this out.  This will be a long one so grab a coffee or a glass of wine depending what time of the day you are reading!

  The drama started on Friday night while I was cleaning tack and packing the trailer.  Jessica came out to ride Mia before her event on Sunday (the one she ran away at).  She was riding her outside under the lights - and Penny can see this out her window.  Penny never sees anyone get ridden at night - she is usually the one being ridden.  For some reason this stressed her right out, she spun around in her stall and somehow ripped her back shoe half way off.  It was still attached but shifted sideways.  I went in and ripped it off. UGH.  I took her out, cleaned the foot, poulticed it, and check her soundness.  She was completely sound.  At this point it was 9:30 pm and we were leaving at 8am.  I decided to go ahead and leave and get her shoe put on at the show.

 My ride times were decent - no dressage until 2pm which made the 4 hour drive more pleasant.  We left at 8:30 am and had a nice uneventful drive up.  My husband came with me to groom which was a nice change for me.  I had decided I would bring Mia along for the ride as it is such a long trailer ride up there.  Penny doesn't love to travel alone so I thought if she had someone with her she would be more relaxed at the event.  I don't think any plan I have ever had has come to bite me in the ass harder than that decision.

  We arrived with plenty of time to walk courses and get settled.  After course walks we found the farrier and said he could tack the shoe on no problem.  Sweet.   I went and grabbed Penny off the trailer and set Mia up with her hay net and water.  Then the fun really began.  Penny was fine until Mia called to her - Penny called back.  Once that started, Mia screamed incessantly the entire time we were gone.  This in turn - set Penny off and she was jiggy jogging down to the barn like she has just won the Kentucky derby.  She grew about 2 hands and was bulging all over with veins and muscles protruding.  The farrier tried to grab her leg and she kicked out at him.  She kicked out about 5 more times and we were giving her smacks, and I had the chain wrapped around her nose and still could not hold her.

  Finally he grabbed her leg and didn't let go and got the shoe on.  She screamed her face off the entire time.  I threw him the $40 and apologized many times for my horses ridiculous actions.  She is never like this!  We show with other horses all the time and never have an issue with calling or getting all riled up.  I can only guess whatever Mia was screaming to her was making her extremely upset.  Jesse and I looked at each other and were just like - ya this should make for an interesting dressage test.

  Back at the trailer to tack up, Penny was instantly relaxed again.  Ok, this might not be so bad after all.  Once I was in my whites and ready to head off it started all over again.  Penny and I walked down the hill towards the rings and Mia called.  Then Penny called - then they screamed to each other non stop for the entirety of my warm up and dressage test.  There was absolutely no hope.  The thought had crossed my mind to just scratch but I had paid all the money and figured at the very least I can school the cross country.

  Our dressage test was an epic failure to say the least.  We cantered down the centreline and trotted at C.  We cantered half our test and jiggy jogged the rest.  We did have a really nice stretchy trot (go figure).  We were obviously last (15th) - with a 73 (48 US).  There was a lot of ground to make up.  Did I think I had a chance to move up? No, not at all.  My focus at this point was trying to figure out a way to get through the rest of the day with at least screaming as possible.  We decided to bring Mia down to the stadium ring with us to see if that helped.

  Nope.  No different.  This time Mia just screamed right beside Penny but Penny was more focused being able to see her.  Feeling completely unprepared, and seeing lots of rails flying my confidence wasn't at its peak but it was do or die time and I was ready to do either as long as it stopped the crazy mares from screeching.  I saw the lines were riding forward and long 12 strides which suits Penny perfectly.  I went in and just let Penny take the wheel - she cruised around that course and other than a really lucky rub at the center of the triple - we had a foot perfect clear round.  We did pick up 3/4 of a time penalty due to some huuuge turns, but they were necessary at the time.  Turning is something we need to continue to work away at.  Regardless - I am thrilled with this round.  Penny has not had a rail at an event in a long time, and none this year.  This is a talent in her that I cherish, after having a horse that was extremely careless before, I feel very blessed.

  Only an hour between showjumping and cross meant I had time for a spongedown and then re tack up.  Headed out to cross and left Mia at the trailer again this time.  Penny was much happier leaving...that was, until we left Mias view, then the calling started again.  Penny was calling back but not as much as before.  You could tell she was getting tired from all the craziness and I was happy to feel this.  Soon enough I was being counted down in the box.  I was excited, nervous, and ready to give this course everything we had.  Penny cantered out of the box and was game on.  After the first fence she just took me cruising to the second.  I was half halting a lot already to make sure she wasn't getting too forward from the get go.  Over the second fence, down the hill and I see the jump judge standing and waiving his clip board before the 3rd fence.  Ughhh...slow down and attempt to stop we do...right before the third fence.

  The rider before me had a bad fall at fence 5, the cabin.  I am not sure on the details but by the time we were on course it was 5pm and the sun was GLARING down as it set.  My guess is the horse didn't see the top and hit the fence.  She was taken away by the ambulance on site.  The ambulance then has to take her to the highway, transfer her, and then the ambulance has to make its way back to the event.  Normally, this would not be a huge deal.  The fact that Penny was one hot monster this day made things a little more interesting.  She heard Mia calling from the hill and screamed to her the ENTIRE time we were held.  Not only that, she jiggy jogged.  Would not stand, would not walk on loose rein.  Of course, we were on the side of a hill so we jiggy jogged up and down that hill at least 50 times.  With screaming.  It was really special (insert eye rolling emoticon).

 An hour, yes an HOUR later - I was ok'd to restart on course.  The TD came out to start me.  I asked him if he knew my time to that place and he said the starter had it.  I asked what it was and he said the starter had that information.  I wanted to compare my watch because how am I to know where they stopped the clock?  Regardless I cantered a circle and we were back on course.  Penny was making light work of the fences.  As we cantered up to fence four - I could not see a DAMN thing.  The sun was setting so heavily I literally closed my eyes and aimed for the tree line to get some shade.  I had sunglasses on and I can't imagine what it was like for Penny.  I made sure to give her a "let's go" before each fence so she would know something was coming.

 After the big oxer at 7 and cordwood at 8 we headed for the steps down.  The steps are a decent size on the side of a hill.  I heard some others have issues there and I was definitely worried.  We didn't school them when we went there because they were overgrown and I assumed they weren't in use - wrong.  Thankfully all that prior schooling paid off, and Penny hopped right down them with no issue.   We had a nice big table then turn to the drop into water.  Again Penny just plopped right in like an old pro.  I was so relieved to have those fences done I let Penny power up the hill to the corner.

 It was here that all my unpreparedness came to light.  I was feeling extremely potato sack like for the entire course having just sat on this jiggy horse for an hour.  My mind and legs were useless.  We cantered up the hill and with the sun behind us, I just don't think Penny even saw the fence until the last minute.  She was gawking at something in the woods and I was trying to steer her toward the fence and we blew by at the last minute.  "UGHHHHHHHH FUCK" was all I could mutter.  The dreaded 20 penalties.  I turned her to re attempt then saw the option fence and popped over that.

Y U No jump Penny?
 A lesson for those course walking - I didn't even notice the option fence.  I thought the corner was a simple fence - we never have issues at these.  I walked the course with Jesse and we were watching the Intermediate riders go.  I was clearly distracted and had no plan.  That is totally MY fault.  The sun and being exhausted I blame on the hold on course though.  It was a calamity of shit that brought us this run out.  If you can't tell, I hate getting cross country penalties.  Nonetheless my job was now to bring it home with no more penalties.

  We headed to the second water and Penny jumped right in, then three strides across to the bank, one stride to a skinny. No issues.  Long gallop to a bank, a double of Trakehners, a bank and ditch and the final oxer and we were home.  Whooo! After my start time of 4:52 I got back to the trailer at 6:20pm.  A much deserves ice bath for Penny, poultice, and then when she was cooled out, her dinner.  We packed up and waited for results.  I was really annoyed to see 18 time faults.  Even with our stop, we were flying.  My watch said we were 4 seconds under and yet they had me for 45 seconds too slow.  I discussed with the TD and they couldn't give me an answer as to when they stop the clock.  I said I was slowing down for an entire field to stop so obviously that accounts.  They said they can only go by the stop watches they have so obviously I was screwed.

 I normally would suck it up but it was the difference between 8th and 12th, and 8th meant a ribbon.  For such a shit day, a ribbon to go home with would have been nice.  If I had of been thinking, I could have taken the option at the corner and come home clean and we would have moved up all the way to 4th.  These are the things eventers think when they drive home  for 4 hours.  I guess I just feel like I let Penny down because she was truly a beast around that course.  That being said, only 3 people of 15 jumped clear.  Either the course was very very tough, or the sun was really wreaking havoc on the rides.

  All in all it was a total shit day.  BUT - Penny jumped her heart out for me and the days I can ride Penny are never shit, regardless of what happens around us.  One more event this year - then it's a winter of fun ahead.


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