Saturday, September 25, 2010

Didn't Notice My 300th post...and thus, 301.

 So I can't figure out how to write above the top picture... :-/ 
Anyway...this was quite the eventful show. The picture above and below are from the show on September 12th with Laddie :) Love that boy.
I look so silly in the above picture...but it's such a cute, typical Ladd-face, I had to share. :P
 And the next two pictures are from today's show. Daisy was excellent. Truly. Now on to sharing my exciting stories. :)

A short time into the show, we had an accident. The father of one of the 4H kids from our county went out to do a run on his Percheron. He'd barely crossed the timer before the Percheron swerved and started bucking...after 2 or 3 bucks, he fell. It was scary to watch (after all, Percherons aren't small; it's a long way down). once he landed, he was on his stomach, face in the dirt. There was this big climactic second where I was just thinking "Come on...he's going to sit up...he's going to be fine"...but then it passed and he was still completely still, lying there. Everyone started running into the ring, and he was still still, and Jean ran in, with the shout that she was a nurse (which she is). It was so scary to watch. I felt sick to my stomach watching. His daughter went screaming to the ring. I didn't notice, but Jean got over and she says he was seizing; moaning and mumbling. He had dirt in his nose and mouth, and she insisted they flip him over so he could breathe.
They did, and he came to. Once he did, he wanted to get up, but they wouldn't let him. They had called an ambulance, and it seemed to take forever to come. It finally did and drove right in the arena, and picked him up. His vitals were off though and the emergency technicians thought they felt something wrong in his spine though, so they called Mercy Flight, which is the helicopter ambulance. It landed just 2 minutes later in the field next to the grounds. (That is how I got the second picture of joke: it's so hard to get her ears forward for a picture, you have to land a helicopter in front of her).
He's still in the hospital now, getting CT scans done. He had a helmet on. This is yet another reason we wear helmets.

Daisy was great at the show. I borrowed western spurs from Oliver and used them...something I have never done. I chose to do it though because at the mounted meeting Friday, she was completely ignoring my leg and rammed me into a barrel with my leg twice. And that hurts.
The spurs made a big difference. She turned barrels much tighter because of them, and had a tiny bit more speed coming home. Our times were closer to the winning ones...Despite the fact that we still only got two fourths and two fifths (but hey--we placed in all the classes! and never last!)

I was thrilled with how she did. I really really was. Twice we were just milliseconds away from a third instead of a fourth or a fourth instead of a fifth.
 On Friday after the mounted meeting I had a 4Her ride Daisy (If you wanna know who, you can spot her in the above picture, in the bottom corner :) This is because...I'm planning ahead. Inevitably, I will be out of high school in 3 years, so God will. At that point, I may go to college and not be able to take Daisy with me. Or I may want to take a different horse. Or choose to ride a college horse, for whatever reason. Or I won't go to college and I'll go somewhere where Daisy can't come along. I love Daisy...with all my heart. I cannot describe the bond between us, she is simply the greatest thing that has ever happened to me (Besides my relationship with God...and being born into my family..blah blah blah ;) :P). I'm so proud of her, and so want to see her go to a good home. I don't think I could ever sell her, partly because I don't think there's anyone who would be willing to pay for a horse that's so angry all the time. But I would be interested in full-leasing her. And so I'm putting my feelers out. This winter, I plan on having some of the other kids ride her and see if any of them like her. So Friday was my first attempt. It went well.  Whether Daisy was tired, or she was testing her rider, or she wasn't sure her rider could handle speed, I don't know, but she was on the lazy side. But said rider did get her to canter in the end for a few laps around the ring, and said she liked her. Good start :)

Onto my last topic. I witnessed someone at the show today using spurs in a way that I've never seen them used. Have any of you ever used spurs so hard that you knowingly made your horse bleed? This said horse went into the ring and, just after crossing the start line, refused to move a single inch. What would you do? Spur your horse so hard it bled(I only saw the aftermath. but apparently it was dripping blood....)? Maybe I'm just naive and I don't have enough experience to know that when a horse is stupid like that, you have to "beat them" like that. But somehow I feel like that's wrong. I was later chastened for taking it too hard and being angry about it. Am I wrong? What are your takes? I've been riding for 11 years now. And I can think of better ways to make the horse go. Yes, the horse did do the next pattern without hesitation, but...did it really need to happen like that? Also...hate to be a know-it-all, or point it out, but said rider hadn't ridden this horse very much coming up to the show. 

The way I see it...why should a horse work for you, or how can you expect so much from a horse, when you have barely ridden it coming up to the show? Shouldn't they have done something different to work the horse through the pattern? 

What would YOU DO? I'd really like to know. This has thrown me off a bit...I'm not sure what to think, but I'm willing to accept that maybe I'm wrong. I know we all have different training techniques, but...that would not be one I'd choose.
P.S. thank you all SO. MUCH for your comments! 5 comments?! That's so cool. Thanks. :) Glad to know people read... :))
Trail Trial tomorrow! :)

Thursday, September 23, 2010

I'm Still Alive...

 So I'm trying this new blogger post thing right far unimpressed. Only upload one pic at a time now?! They should at least allow the "Ctrl" option so you can choose a lot at once...but anyway.
I haven't posted in a bit, school has been keeping my incredibly busy. I also don't feel very motivated due to the fact that I never get comments anymore...I'm doing this for myself now, I guess. I happen to know that people still read, and if you wouldn't mind commenting once in a while, that'd be great. No need to linger in the shadows.

Daisy and I have two events this upcoming weekend. Our last game show of the year is Saturday, and our first ever Trail Trial is on Sunday, to benefit Happiness House. Our club's ride time is around 10 o'clock. We'll also be there all day to run concessions and food...should be fun!
In an effort to prepare for the ride, I set up a vine obstacle like I once saw Lisa from Laughing Orca Ranch do. Daisy was definitely skeptical about it...after a few days of working on it, she went through relatively easily. I both walked her through and rode her.

I got Daisy's snaffle a few weeks ago. It's a loose ring double joined snaffle. I honestly have only ridden in it about 5 times because I've been riding more western to prepare for this coming weekend, which I'm riding all western. The few times I took her out in it went well though. There were one or two times where she tried to take off, but I simply pulled her in a circle and stopped her. The last couple days I've been working on her stop more. Going away from home, she can be going at a good canter, and with me simply sitting back and saying "whoa" she'll go to a dead stop from a canter. Unfortunately, going toward home she's not this good. Not at all. So I've been working with her on it, as well as asking her for different leads from a standstill like I did with Ladd at the show. She's good. :)

Lastly...I made the sweatshirt above on You like it? :) I love it.

I also want to, at this point, reiterate how important it is to ride with a helmet for all you riders out there who think you're above it. A couple weeks ago, Jean's sister-in-law was on a horse simply walking without a helmet, and she blacked out, fell off, and fell on her head. She now can no longer be left alone at home and isn't herself at all. A week later, Jean was out with a woman on a trail ride, the woman on Bubba, and Bubba tripped, somersaulted, and the women came off. She was out for 3 mintues, and now has "paralysis" (sort of) in her right hand and it doesn't function correctly anymore. Granted, she had a helmet, and this all happened, but...if she hadn't had the helmet, more than just her spine could have been hurt. I know when I go to the game show Saturday everyone besides me who's over 15 and no longer legally needs to wear a helmet won't be wearing one because it looks stupid
You know what else looks stupid? Brain injury for not wearing one. So invest in a helmet people.

I've only had time to post today because I'm home from school with a bad cold.
Until I find time to post again,

Sunday, September 12, 2010

First Show on Laddie!

Yesterday I had my first show on Ladd.
I rode him 3 times last week, all in my own wintec, and he was pretty good with it, and with the riding. Friday we had a club mounted meeting in prep for the show, and suddenly Ladd pulled some funny stunts...Like bucking when a horse passed at the canter...! What's up with that?! He wasn't doing that the other days!

Ladd is an OTTB. Having been a racehorse, it seems he had his ear twitched at least once or twice...and so is incredibly head-shy normally. On a small horse, this isn't such a big deal, but on Ladd...well, if he doesn't want you to touch his ears, chances are you won't get to. So he had some burrs in his forelock from probably July. I had to get those out for the show! Luckily I'm not short. I rubbed baby oil in with one hand, and then standing on tip-toes I reached up and slowly but surely got those nasty burrs out (all the while he acted like I was pulling teeth or something!). Of course, once they were out, his forelock was a greasy mess. Somehow, he seemed to admit defeat at that point, and obligingly put his head down to get his forelock braided...a miracle. :)

We unloaded rather badly at the show grounds...Bubba and Ladd were together on Jean's two-horse trailer, and when Bubba was taken off to get tacked, I wasn't ready to take Ladd off yet. Of course, once Bubba got off, Ladd immediately strained against the trailer ties to get out...on with the lead, off came the butt-strap, and he shot out of the end of the trailer. oops.
There are cows across the street of these showgrounds. Of course they fascinated him :P. I got on him and lowered my stirrups a hole, to get more leg around him, at least until I knew he wouldn't do something silly. I took him in the arena (alone) to warm up. He was just fine going left, and then had to spook at everything going right. Figures. :P The advertisements on the sides of the ring and some paint stripes threw him off.

Time came for first class, English Pleasure. I thought before I came that, if Ladd held it together, we could be in the ribbons. I think he would have been first class, but that at one point he broke to a trot from the canter, and I asked for it again right away, and he got it, but while moving back to the rail he did a flying change. I had to go back to the trot and pick it up again, and by that time it was a pretty noticeable break of stride, and so we didn't ribbon in pleasure. That was ok-I was happy that he held it together as well as he did.

Next class was English Equitation-Equitation judges the rider, not the horse (which is judged in Pleasure). We had to do an extended trot in that class, and after my work on extensions at camp, I could tell that he was truly extending and not merely speeding up. I think at the end the judge even complimented us on our extension :)
The pattern for equitation was really nice: Canter the length of the ring in a straight line and do as many lead changes as possible, simple or flying. I tried to avoid getting in on either end of the line, but of course this particular judge started from the middle and picked me to go first.
That's my face when she said "You're right in the middle. Thanks for volunteering to go first!".
Oh dear :P
I chose to do simple changes with Ladd because I know he speeds up during flying ones and I wanted get at least three changes in. I did a few strides of canter, right to a stop, and then the new canter lead from a standstill, four times. He was so so good! :)
And...we got a first :)

By the time Hunter Hack came along we got in and it was pouring. Ladd jumped fine (they're tiny jumps) and it was decent, but we were all soaked at the end and the ring was we opted to go home. That was fine with me-I would have only taken him in the western classes, riding English, to school him anyway. Ladd and I got first in Hunter Hack as well! :)

In other news, I got Daisy's new snaffle and love it. More on that another time. :)
All photos by my mom :)
Until then,

Friday, September 3, 2010

Just Reflecting...

I've been watching other riders in our club ride lately, and it just makes me I feel like journaling about it.
These days, when I watch the other kids ride, I critique them in my mind...what they could be doing better on the flat, what can be improved jumping. It's making me realize, though, how far I've come, even in the past year. I will not claim to be the best rider...I'm most definitely still learning and improving.
I find it interesting, watching riders who are just starting to jump, to see them fold over small jumps, even ground poles. Just in the last couple weeks have I came to the point where I don't force myself to fold. I go over small stuff, but I stay basically upright; I know there's no need; it just throws the horse off balance when it's small anyway. I know in the past I was just like the other kids, folding over dinky stuff.
This was me at my first real cross country schooling last year (which was super fun):

I've critiqued my jump pics and videos a ton, practically over-analyzing. (Especially this video). In the picture above, I feel like I'm probably putting too much weight on Daisy's neck. My fold isn't very good...I'm sitting up too much but I'm completely forward out of the saddle (I know I used to be way worse but I can't find any pictures...)
Fast forward to this picture from July at county fair on Bubba.
When I jumped him there, I didn't try to fold, like I used to when I started out. I let his body push me into a fold, but not an extreme one.
Looking back on this photo, I think I definitely should have released more over the jump (although this is the second half of it...I may have released and moved my hands back, but that's still not right). I do like that my legs are really far back...I see that mistake a lot, but somehow I don't think I ever had a big problem with that.
And, as usual, I could definitely do to roll my shoulders back more :P

Anyway, I think about this all because I'm reminding myself not to be hard on the other kids (not that I say anything anyway... :P) . I was there once. They'll learn. We all learn, slowly.
I definitely think though that watching videos and looking at pictures helps-a lot.

On the Daisy-front, I took her riding on the neighbor's trails today, just walking because I bet the swimming made her sore. It was very relaxing :)

What do you see that I could be improving? Enlighten me :) I can always use it.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Swimming & Trailing & (Upcoming) Showing

Hellloooo blogger world!
I went swimming with Daisy in the lake again today! We dodged the paparazzi this time and headed to a privately owned beach. (We will not be making front cover of the paper this time. (Did I ever share that article? See here. The comments are pretty ridiculous there too :P) It's been in the high 80's, low 90's since it was necessary. Bubba [The Great] went in just fine like last time :) and Daisy reluctantly followed suit. Twice, I took her deep enough so that she had to truly swim...the second time, we swam a good bit out from land before turning around. It was CRAZY! It sounds silly, but it felt like what I imagine it would feel to ride a seahorse (if I was small enough to do so :P). She was plunging through the water, up and down and up and down...the first time, I was caught off guard. I grabbed her mane and just hung on, trying not to slide of the funny! I wanted to get her out a 3rd time to get it on video, but Daisy was adamant and refused to do it....Pictures to come.

I also received permission this week to ride on our one neighbor's property. I went there yesterday for a walking trailride (it was so hot out, but I really wanted to explore) in the cool woods and I'm thrilled with the land! There are a lot of nice wooded trails, and a meadow for nice gallops. Best of all, the start of the trails is very close to our house...just a short distance down the road.

And last but not least...there is a show September 12th. I will be riding in it. And I will not be riding Daisy. And I will not be riding Bubba....I'm taking...LADD! :D
Should be tons of, really fun. We're already tentatively talking about him being my county fair English mount next year....we shall see. :)


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