Tuesday, September 6, 2011
Jay has been so ON lately. It's like I blinked and he's fit again! Sure need to catch myself up with him. He has such a personality and seems happy in his work. We haven't had a lesson in a couple of weeks due to car trouble and then C was out of town, but our rides have been great.
He's also learned that our new routine at this barn means he gets cookies as I'm on my way out if he's in his stall. If I take too long gathering my stuff up after I've put him away he is VERTY vocal about needing his cookies and peppermints NOW!
I'm going to try to be better about keeping track of our rides on here. Easier said than done, but I think I can steal some time away during lunch at work to write about the night before's ride.
We the outskirts of Lee come through last night so I'm hoping the barn has power so I can get a ride in tonight!
Monday, August 22, 2011
Thursday, August 18, 2011
There is a schooling show in the middle of September that we are looking at possibly doing Second-1 at. A bit nervous about that, but C thinks we can be ready. Just from my first lesson to the second, I can feel a huge improvement in both mine and Jay's strength. We are working on him really working his booty and being straight... need to clean up our leg yields and shoulder in this week. And I have found my horse has quite the promising medium canter! What an amazing feeling.
My bestie Ryan () was here last weekend and got some pictures and videos of us. Have to figure out how to post videos another time. She also rode Jay and it was great to see him ridden... they looked great together!!
Pics! Need to shed some lbs to get into shape with my boy.
Thursday, July 14, 2011
Ride of course! Storms were rolling through last night as I was leaving work. Usually I am home for about 2 hours before leaving to go to the barn, and the stormy weather had me wanting to stay in my nice dry apartment. I am sure glad I didn't. The indoor footing was recently redone, so even though it's small and still kind of dusty, we had a very nice ride. Clinic is this Saturday! I also got an email from a trainer who will be coming a couple times a month to teach myself and 2 other ladies. We will be discussing the details and when we will start this weekend!
Hopefully I have some good stuff to write about this weekend!
Tuesday, July 5, 2011
I've been riding 5 days a week, with the exception of being out of town for a few days and then having a friend in town for this past weekend. We have our good days, and not so great days, but overall things seem to be progressing back towards that First-pushing-Second Level horse and rider. Jay got new shoes this past Friday, and our new farrier is great so far. There is a group of ladies who ride dressage who I really enjoy and usually see on weekend mornings.
Apparently there are also some really cool trails... didn't think I cared about that when I was looking for a barn, but now I'm so glad we have them! Went put with one lady a few weeks ago for the first time and Jay was GREAT. He even had to lead the way at one point when our new friend's horse decided he didn't wanna go. We even trotted and cantered out in a field. Haven't been out since then, but a few times I have cooled him off walking him through the entrances to the trails. So far no problems walking into the new areas, away from the barn and his friends. Maybe this weekend we will venture out a little farther, there are a couple of big fields to ride in that I'd love to ride to.
The Birmingham Dressage and Combined Training Association is hosting a clinic at our barn in a couple weeks to benefit 2 local Young Riders. Sending my entry in tomorrow! This will be my first clinic ever, and I haven't had a dressage lesson on Jay in 3 years, so I am a bit nervous, but also excited to get feedback and make sure we are on track. Lot's of exciting happenings here in the Bham!
Sunday, June 12, 2011
Our first full week at the new barn was great. After our ride on Monday, I was looking forward to riding again on Wednesday and Friday (giving us 2 weekdays off). Got there on Wednesday and Jay had a big ole boo-boo right on the side of his withers. Nothing bad, not sensitive to touch, not hot and only some hair missing in one small spot. No big deal and just comes with the territory of turning out in a group However, below the missing hair was swollen, so no saddle on there until it went down. By Friday, it was 95% gone but it was thunderstorming and I didn't want our first ride in the indoor to be extra scary. It would have been fine, I'm just a chicken.
Wasn't sure what I'd have on my hands Saturday morning. They didn't get turned out the night before due to storms and that used to make for a crazy pony. Not this weekend though. He stood like a gentleman for grooming and tacking, even when the tractor drove through the barn, right in front of him. Didn't even budge. Good Pony!! We had a nice ride in the jumping ring again. I don't feel like we're ready to ride in the dressage ring yet, we need the bigger, open feel of the jump ring (and no square corners yet).
They didn't go out again last night due to storms, but I had the same horse this morning. So chill! Down to the jump ring again. He was nice and forward into my contact. We did some baby leg yields and shoulder ins to get him through and keep him from getting too bored. Right now the biggest thing that I need to concentrate on is out left side. I tend to collapse my entire left side, which keeps me always slighty turned right. In turn, he doesn't bend correctly to the left and falls in on the inside shoulder. When I actively think about pulling my inside shoulder back and opening my inside rein, its much better. Just a matter of really thinking about it everytime at this point until its a habit again.
During the week nights, its pretty quiet at the barn, but on the weekend mornings it's a little busier. I like that mix of being able to get in, get my ride in, and get out during the week, and meeting everyone, chatting a bit on the weekends. Haven't had to share the arena during any rides yet, but sure I will soon.
I think we will be back in shape and moving right along in now time at all! Looking forward to another good week!
Monday, June 6, 2011
Shipping Jay down was a bit of a fiasco that included my dad and I driving back up to Lville and the truck not getting to us until midnight (after getting lost once). Once the truck did get there and got the ramp dropped at the edge of the property, it was all good. Jay got right on the truck and the drivers were very professional and obviously horse savvy. Once he was on the truck I had no worries. The new BM was in contact with the truck drivers and would get Jay off the truck in the morning.
He got to Bham around 6 am, but by the time I got there and ran a few necessary errands, I didn't get down to the barn until early evening. The new BM had said he was settling in nicely and he was exactly right. Jay was just chilling in his stall despite all but a few horses being turned out for the night (new horses have to stay in for a day before going out with the others). Groomed him up a bit and moved the rest of my stuff into the tack room.
Went down Saturday morning to throw him on the lunge and take him for a hand walk. He had thrown a shoe and loosened another the day before he was scheduled to leave. My farrier was able to get down that night to fix it thankfully, but he was a bit sore from whatever shenanigans he had pulled while throwing the shoe. By the time I lunged him in the indoor, he was sound. He behaved perfectly, w/t on the lunge and for a little handwalk around the indoor and barn.
That night he went out with the group of geldings. No drama and once he had explored the field and sniffed every single pile of poop, he settled right in. Sunday morning I decided that since he'd been so god, I'd get on and just ride around the property to the arenas. We went down to the jump ring, back up to the barn, then down to the dressage arena. I was so proud of him, he was interested in everything, but super brave. Stood perfectly in the cross-ties and in the wash stall after our ride.
This evening, I went down to get a another short ride in. He was already turned out for the night, but was still perfectly behaved. We rode in the jump arena and he was great. We are both terribly out of shape, but as long as we keep our work consistent and correct, we will get there. More on the boarders I've met and pictures tomorrow!
Monday, April 25, 2011
Before the Blue Barn, we were at the barn from hell. Didn't realize it was bad when I first saw it and then decided to bring Jay there. That's what scares me... but the barn in Bham has so many things that that one didn't... it's going to be fine. B had a good point tonight at the barn, I picture it being a certain way, it won't likely be exactly as I picture it, but that doesn't mean it will be bad, in fact it can be better!
So.. the barn. My mom and I had narrowed down the apartment search to 2 or 3 options. We had seen one barn the day before... they apologized for the tiny bit of shavings outside a stall in the aisle... I'm surprised my mother held it together until we got into the car. Not my style. I like to groom my own horse thank you very much.
We had an appointment first thing on Saturday morning. The barn is actually located in a gated community/country club. It is not affiliated with them... just located on the property. Got there as they were finishing morning turnout. The nice young man cleaning stalls got the BM as he finished turning a horse out. BM had a folder of paperwork ready for me. In it is a boarding contract, contacts sheet, list of required vaccines, and the list of rules. He showed us around, answering our questions. Seems very down to earth and knowledgable. The horses all looked good and the few that were still inside were friendly.
The barn is a good size. 35 stalls and there were about 5 open when we were there. There is an indoor that has a little covered walkway from the barn, a dressage ring and a jumping ring. The indoor has sand/rubber footing and the jumping ring has sand. The indoor has mirrors. The stalls are matted (although the contract states boarder buys them, not a problem since I know ahead of time) and bedded with shavings. Crept in some and they were quite satisfactory. Horses are out all day or all night depending on the season. They are mostly small groups.. the largest is the big gelding field which had, I believe, 7 or so horses... in a nice big field. The fencing is all that white PVC looking stuff. Fields are nice sizes and grass. Very well maintained. I don't remember if there were run-ins in all the fields, or just the pasture board field. The horses are also turned out with no halters, which I like. Boots and blankets on/off is included.
It was fairly early on a Saturday when we were there and no boarders were there yet. I believe there are boarders from a variety of disciplines. There are definitely other dressage riders there, with a few trainers that already come in to teach/train. I can also bring whoever I want as long as they are insured. There are also a number of farriers who come in. Jay gets shoes a week before he leaves, so there should be plenty of time for researching that. There are also some trails we can ride on throughout the comminity. Just can't ride on the golf course! I feel like I remember the property having a lot of nice shady trees.
The tack room is not huge and there are rules about space. Every boarder gets 2 saddle racks, 2 bridle racks and space for one trunk. Just about what I have going right now, so that's perfect. When I looked in the tack room, it was neat but definitely "lived in" and seemed like everyone was abiding by the rule. There is no cross tie-ing in the aisle way. There are 2 or 3 grooming stalls and 2 wash stalls. The wash stalls have hot and cold water, as well as heat lamps.
The barn was obviously well maintained, but not in that "sorry there are shavings in a horse barn" way. Seems just right. The stalls all have sliding doors, with blanket bars on the front. Also had info sheets on the horse/notes regarding blankets on the stalls. The few horses who were still in had their sliders open with stall guards up. I like that option.
They feed timothy hay, amount depending on the time of year (how much grass). I talked about the feed options already, but one thing that stood out, was when the BM mentioned he carried one feed (forget what) "because a few people were asking for it". I like that. They also feed electrolytes to everyone in the warmer months, which is nice, I can take that out of his SmartPak. Did I mention the feed room was nice and organized? And they even have a barn buddies shipping code for SmartPak!
In the information folder that I got, there are specific requirements in terms of worming, vaccines, protocols when new horses come in. It is also specifically outlined about care of any injuries which may (will?) occur. Initial wound care is free, after that it's a reasonable charge if help is needed. Any medication prescribed by a vet (that would have to be specially given ie not in feed), is given for free. I got a really good feeling from all the information I was given. The seem on top of things and reasonable. I like that it's not a dressage only barn, and I like that there are trails that we can play on without the stress we have now about NEEDING to do it to get to an arena.
And last but definitely not least, I can bring my pup! She has to stay on a leash, so we have been working on behaving while tied and I'll get her a harness to tie her, which I think will be comfier for her. She's so good and just lies there and watches when I ride in the paddock.
Now I remember why I picked it... and I'm excited again!!
Wednesday, April 20, 2011
It's cold out tonight, and Jay has shed quite a bit so far, so he got his sheet on at dinner. He seemed unconcerned about the storms last night. Too scary for me!
Monday, April 18, 2011
So today I got to the barn and went to bring Jay in for a ride. His left front shoe was clanging the whole way to the gate. Great. Called K on the way into the barn and left a message... Jay's shoe was loose, only held on by 2 nails and those 2 nails were too tight for me to get it off myself without messing his foot up. Got a call back within 20 minutes. Luckily, he was at a barn that could put him past us on his way home. Less than 2 hours after I had called him, Jay's shoe was back on nice and tight, no charge. K told Jay to keep his shoes on this time. Certainly wouldn't have gotten it fixed this quickly if he hadn't been close, but REALLY appreciated the effort to stop by on his way home to fix my pony. Now I don't have to worry about the bootie I was going to rig up staying on tonight!
Saturday, April 16, 2011
I also have recently realized that my horse is terrible at being a pasture horse in inclement weather. He loves his turnout, but has been a pampered racehorse then showhorse his whole life. He never had to figure out what to do in bad weather I guess. A few weeks ago, I got to the barn on a windy, rainy, stormy day. My doofus horse was not in his nice, big, dry shed, he was standing at the gate waiting to be brought in. When I got him in he was so cold that his entire body was shaking and he was so soaked to the skin that he was trying his best to itch the water off his body by throwing himself into the walls in his stall. Threw his anti-sweat sheet and his turnout sheet on and he eventually warmed up and calmed down. I'd like to say I realized that he was just wet and cold and was calm and efficient in getting him taken care of. In reality, I had a call in to the vet and was texting and calling B like nobodies business. Felt pretty dumb when the vet called and I told him I had just over reacted.
Tonight, it's chilly and rainy and windy again, and, on my way to Starbucks to get some of the last schoolwork of my career (yay!!) done, G calls. I had already fed Jay earlier in the evening. She tells me that as she was putting one of the other horses back out in the field, Jay was at the gate wanting in and had his tail and haunches all hunkered down. Now Jay will rarely do that once he's been fed, especially since the grass is coming in. Luckily, G remembered my story from a few weeks ago and is very good at noticing when the horses act differently than usual. She called and was nice enough to offer to put his sheet on him for me. So of course I'm sitting in Starbucks hoping he is ok and blogging instead of working on this presentation!
In less stressful news, we had really nice rides on Thursday and Friday which I will write about tomorrow after the morning feeding and hopefully another ride.
Monday, April 11, 2011
Sunday, April 3, 2011
Friday, March 4, 2011
Thursday is our lunging day, so I brought him straight into the paddock for a quick lunging session before feeding and putting him up for the night. I lunged to the left first which is generally his weaker direction, but since I had grabbed him straight from the pasture with the lunge line, that's how he was set up to go. I was also using a whip even though I usually don't. He started out fine, a little rushy, but not pulling out on the line or anything. At one point as I was asking him to walk from the trot I dropped the whip (quietly so I thought!). This for some reason led to him scooting forward, turning toward me and backing up fairly quickly. I told him to "whoa" and started to calmly walk towards him so I could start him out on the circle again. Well, the goober was snorting at me and acting like he was scared of me. He also kicked out with his left hind 2 or 3 times, not at me (I was in front of him), but towards nothing. Once the snorting ceased with did a couple of walk, whoa transitions in hand then started out on the circle again. I kept it a little smaller and just did some walk/trot transition to get him listening since I wasn't sure what his deal was, but he kept trying to stop and turn towards me. Now I have NEVER allowed this... when he halts on the lunge he is supposed to stay on the circle, not turning to face me.
When we switched to the right, he was lovely... listening to voice commands, stretching down, no turning towards me. Since he was so good, I made the mistake of going back to the left to see if he was listening better. Nope, he was pulling the same stuff. Got him listening well enough then took him in to groom. He was his usual sweet, goofy self.
Now to try and figure out why the antics. When I got Jay, he did not lunge. He had been off the track for about a year, with mostly turn out and a tiny bit of under saddle work. I taught him myself and he learned off voice commands, I rarely have to use a whip of any sorts with him (surprising but true). If he's lazy, a little fling of the end of the lunge usually will suffice. He has always lunged GREAT. So anyway, what's going on here?
-Lunging left first? I'm not sure about this, I think I usually lunge him left first, but I don't lunge him often these days.
-At one point I thought maybe using the whip right off the bat had him out of sorts, but for him to be so good to the right, then bad again to the left wouldn't make sense.
- It must be some sort of pain/discomfort thing. Wondering if it's his stifle, which gets sticky once in a while, but has never really caused much of an issue. He was moving totally fine though, so I don't know. I would have liked to free lunge him in there, to see how he did on a bigger cirlce, but it was a little wet and I didn't want him to slip if he got too carried away. I'm going to plan on riding him tonight to see what I have and take it from there.
Monday, February 28, 2011
Not much to report on the riding front, as it has been rainy and cold. But late this afternoon, the sun came out and Jay had some shedding going on when I groomed him. The forecast this week looks good, let's hope it stays that way! Planning to ride before class tomorrow, let's hope the pony remembers his stuff!
Tuesday, February 22, 2011
I recently found out that I will be moving to Birmingham in June for my externship, which will be my last year of grad school. I never would have thought that I would go from Long Island to Louisville to Birmingham, but am extremely excited for this new adventure. Fortunately, this postion is paid, which means I will be able to keep Jay-R at a nice facility and start lessons again!! I truly love my little barn that I'm at now but am looking forward to not doing partial self care for a while. It's not the work I mind, it's the time it takes away from riding and "regular" life. There are also many little things that bug the heck out of me there.. if not for B it would be very hard some days. But oh well! Jay is safe and happy and healthy.. and we only have a few more months until we are back in a more training centered atmosphere.
In the meantime, I'll be working to get the pony back in shape and ready to start up the serious stuff again! I'd love to look at doing some small shows this summer/fall at First Level. Totally doable I think. Jay is going to be looking the part as well! He will get a body clip soon, has his mane pulled and got his back shoes put back on. Although tonight he's a muddy mess. Look out Bham! ; )
Tuesday, February 1, 2011
Our friend B has an OTTB (Salty) who she has had for about a year. She has done a ton of groundwork with him and has recently started riding him herself consistently (up until now he has been ridden by her trainer, Ry and P but not super consistent recently). B and Salty have no problem with actually getting across to SP, but she was more worried with the actual riding once we got there part. So we decided to do horsey stuff together when we can to help each other out.
Thanks to B, I have had a big mental breakthrough with the whole getting Jay across the street alone thing. We decided to take our boys across the street to graze in the field. Jay was grazing quietly even with loud scary trucks going by. B says lets go past "checkpoint 1". As I ask Jay to walk on, he throws a mini fit. For no reason other than not wanting to move. This is what made me realize how much of our "problem" is Jay's behavior, not him being "scared" or nervous or whatever. He is just being an ass. This is nothing new, Jay needs to be kept in line or he can get pushy and be kind of a jerk. He keeps me on my toes whenever I get too comfortable. As long as I stand my ground and make him behave with little things, he is a pleasure. Even though it's nothing new, we have never had to deal with something like a mile walk in an open field, so I think it just got out of hand.
From then on "checkpoints" didn't exist anymore. Jay has to be tuned in and listening and I have to chill out and stop worrying about spooking and "checkpoints". The next day we hand walked them, and made them MARCH, to the SP driveway and back (about halfway to the arenas). Good behavior for both boys. B wasn't able to be there with us the next day, so I hand walked Jay to the SP driveway again, alone this time, and he was very good again. No spooks. Then B and I decide to just bring them over and ride. They were both perfectly behaved. That was on Saturday. The most surprising part for me was that we went first thing in the morning. Jay hadn't been turned out yet and with him having been on pasture board for so long I thought he'd be a little up. Not the case, I lunged him quickly to check before we went and he was calm as can be.
So on Sunday we are on our own again. I tacked him up and threw on his halter over his bridle. I like having a longer than my reins lead so that if he acts up I have more room without worrying about him getting away from me. Off we went. It was warmish out but a bit windy. Jay was very well behaved on the way over and he was made to march the whole way.. no ambling (amazing how this translated once I got on! duh!). While I was riding him he tried to pull 2 "bolt and bucks" that were so half-assed that I don't know why he bothered (first time he got about 4 strides in slo mo, second time didn't even really count). Otherwise he was nicely forward and relaxed into my contact. On the way back, he had some tense moments. Whenever he felt tense I realized that I was also tense, and relaxing my own arm immediately relaxed him. He did not have one spook and didn't try to run home.
The one time I thought for sure we were going to have a spook was as we were heading home and approaching the "scary trees". There were 2 big ole geese about 15 feet in front of us on the path. Not really anyway to go around them. At first they weren't moving but suddenly they spread their big ugly wings and flew off. How on earth this did not scare my horse, I have no idea... but it made for a very proud mom!!
So our plan for now is to get over to SP whenever the weather and daylight allows. Mondays are our hack days and yesterday we just walked up and down our driveway keeping him responsive to my leg (and not his herd). Today was pouring so all we did was a blanket change.
Jay really seems to be happy to finally be doing something again. Even though every time I bring him in from the pasture, he gets worked and then put in his stall, he usually comes right up to me when he sees me walking to the gate. If I happen to get there later than usual, he trots to me and does that deep voice nicker. If that doesn't make me feel good, I don't know what can!! Must be doing something right!
So my goal for February is just to get into a consistent work schedule. Once we get that down, more specific goals will come. Maybe if I blog more often, they won't end up so long. Hopefully that will be easier now that we are finally working again.