Thursday, December 21, 2017

Goals for 2018

I'm terrible at goals. I always make them but I never write them down and then I forget about them and remember them after the fact or never remember them at all. My memory in general just plain sucks. I've tried writing them down in a journal, but that doesn't seem to work either. So, maybe having them written in this blog will help, and I'll be able to look at them throughout the year and remind myself what I want to do.

Goal 1: Complete a pre-training event (novice) with Lily.
Lily upgraded to entry level (beginner novice) in July 2017 with good success. What my friend and I thought would be a good upgrade course for our horses turned out to be a really hard course where half our division got eliminated. Lily got around clear xc with time, and although she was really brave and was trying so hard, it wasn't our best round. She finished off this year nice and brave, riding forward over a lovely course in horrible weather. She has come SO far from our first event where she was looking at EVERYTHING (omg a bird. And a squirrel. Where did that jump come from? THERE'S A PERSON SITTING THERE!), and is turning into a great horse. I'm looking forward to kicking butt this year and hopefully we can move up to pre-training towards the end of the season.
Lily schooling at Abydos this past summer

Goal 2: Get Zippy out to his first event
This was a goal for Zippy last year, and I fully intended to take him to an event in September, when he came down with another abscess. And then another. And another.  He ended up having half the season off rehabbing abscesses and only made it to one show in July (where he was perfect, let me tell you). There is a super baby-friendly event in July at Glen Oro, and I'm really hoping to take him there. Or, I will settle for unsanctioned, at this point I really don't care. I just want to get him out and about; nor do I care how we place, I just want to finish. He is such a cool little horse.
Zippy at a clinic in May, jumping his first course *baby brain exploding*
Goal 3: Run a short course event
I've picked a date (July 8) and advertising has begun. I have lots of jumps to build, lots of jumps to paint, and lots of sponsors to find. And ribbons to order. And judges to find. And a whole bunch of other things I really don't want to think about right now. BUT IT'S GOING TO HAPPEN, DAMMIT!

Please come back summer
Goal 4: Become more confident with myself 
This is pretty self explanatory. I want to lose some weight, eat better, enjoy life a little more.

Goal 5: Take more lessons
I generally take a monthly dressage lesson, but this year I only took about 3, maybe 4, jump lessons. I want Lily's dressage to get stronger and our jumping to become more confident (my jumping, Lily is plenty confident). 


Monday, December 18, 2017

Clinic recap- Brandon McMechan

Yesterday, my friend, Tori, and I went to a clinic at a local facility to ride with CCI** rider Brandon McMechan. Brandon is originally from the Belleville area, but now lives in the GTA and rides with 4* rider Kendal Lehari.

The clinic was at Windhill Equestrian Center in Belleville, a beautiful new facility with a lovely indoor. I have ridden here before as I have had horses on consignment for the owner, and Brenda is great to deal with and opened her barn up to our horses when the weather turned out to be brutally cold (-15 C, or 5 F for the Americans).

I was also very lucky that a friend of mine loaned me her trailer for the day, as my family puts ours away for the winter, and otherwise I would have been unable to go. I'm lucky to have such great friends.

Tori and I arrived and brought our horses in the barn to tack up. I could not believe how cold it was, and stupid me forgot my quarter sheet, so I ended up folding a square cooler Tori lent me and using it instead. It actually worked quite well. I got on Lily and she was obviously cold as well, I have never felt her back so tight, so we walked around until she warmed up and seemed to be feeling better. I haven't ridden her all week but she went right to work like she always does, no silliness at all.
We warmed up w/t/c and then began cantering a 20m circle over a pole, a few times each way, focusing on keeping the rhythm the same and letting the horses figure out how to get over the pole. A few times each way and then it was raised to a small vertical, which we cantered over as well.

After that, we began cantering the verticle on the circle and incorporating a 10m circle before the vertical, focusing on turning off the outside aids and keeping the canter 'up' and off the haunch. Lily did great to the left and had some trouble to the right, which is to be expected, the right is her harder side. She is not as fit as normal so I know some of it was lack of fitness as well, and she was being quite lazy and not really jumping off my aids. After we did this both ways, we did the same thing but with a few steps of walk at the beginning of the 10m circle. This really got Lily off my leg and she was jumping into the canter very nicely.

We then did a figure 8 over 3 low verticals, again focusing on turning off the outside aids and really riding through the turns, followed by adding in a vertical and an oxer on the diagonal. The turns after the diagonal fences were quite short and sharp, so it really made me sit up and ride through them. Being so tall, I am constantly fighting against my upper body to really sit up tall and not let myself get forward, so this was a great exercise.

After this we added a 2 stride line of verticals. Lily crashed through them the first time, but the second time she sat up and jumped up more. Lily is a big mare with a very powerful hind end, so I'm constantly reminding her to keep her weight on her haunch and really sit up, so these exercises were great for her.

We finished with a course, and Lily jumped out of her skin over the two oxers. We jumped some of the biggest jumps I've ever done with Lily, about 3'6", and she had no issues with them. It has been really cool to see her get confidence in herself and really understand what I'm asking. She just amazes me every time I ride her, so tries to hard.

Photo from Touch A Rainbow HT last summer. Lily just giving the fence an extra two feet of clearance.

Saturday, December 16, 2017

Snowy Saturday

We got a big dump of snow last night, and the boys have been getting really bored lately. We've had ridiculously cold temperatures this week, -20 plus windchill, so I haven't been riding. I don't deal well with cold.
Enjoy some pictures of Zippy and Tom in the snow!

Zippy just wanted to walk around. No silliness at all.

Thursday, December 14, 2017

A year in review

The other day I was thinking about how my business has grown. 2017 was totally different from 2016 in terms of what the majority of my work involved, and I like to think things are working out well.

In 2016, I was riding A LOT of horses. Well, a lot for someone who also worked a part time job, lived half an hour away from her farm, and also had to do all the other normal farm chores. I have at least 2 horses in for training each month from March through to November. It was crazy. And as much as I love training, I found that it made me really tired and not as happy to ride my own horses. The nice thing about training horses is the extra income. It really helps.

2017 brought on hardly any training horses (two in total) but a ton of lesson students, while barely advertising. I had 12 regular lesson students through the year, with a few extra here and there. I taught 3 nights per week, which helped me still have time for everything else: riding my own horses, going to my hubby's baseball, and going to the kid's sports things. Bronco and Cross were quite fit and really stepped up to the plate to do a couple lessons (just w/t mostly) 3 nights a week. They really are the best ponies.

The spawn of satan herself (the pony, not the kid)

Like I said earlier, I really didn't advertise this year. I like to think that I've been around for long enough now that people just know where I am and what I do (wishful thinking, probably). I had no trouble filling boarding spots when boarders moved out for various reasons (bought their own farm, moved to an indoor for winter). And I mean no trouble, like the day I was given notice, I had people scheduled to move in, and in both occurrences, I actually had more horses move in then I was hoping for. There are 14 horses on the farm right now, 7 of my own and 7 boarders. I like to say I really only have 5 though, as the ponies are the kids'. It makes me feel better, so shush.

This year was pretty damn good at the farm; I'm happy with what I accomplished personally and professionally. I'm looking forward to next year, I have a great group of ladies and horses (and kids and ponies), and I'm really excited to grow and expand more.

Vinnie & Bella

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Stupid cold. Stupid winter.

Winter is here, and excuse the language, but it fucking sucks. I hate winter. I hate the cold, the frozen ground, having to wear so many layers that you can't move, not being able to ride because it's so cold, the fact that it gets dark by 4:30 pm. I could continue. I could write a whole page on why I hate winter.

I actually got in a few rides this last week, just hacking out with Lily, mostly walk with a bit of trot work, and Tom got longed last Monday as well. The weather was decent up until Friday, when the wind chill just made things miserable. Yesterday wasn't too bad, neither was today. Highs around 0, which I can work with. Though this Wednesday things are supposed to get disgusting, with a high of -11. I just have one more week to keep Lily in work, as we have a clinic next Sunday.

I don't generally do clinics over the winter, as I take my trailer off the road, but my friend Tori convinced me to go this one with a local 2* eventer, so I'm borrowing a friend's trailer. Super excited for it! It'll be nice to get my butt kicked once more before the end of the year.

My lovely SO and his friend did get a shelter finished for the ponies today, which is great, and just in time for the stupid weather this week! Super happy to finally have it done. It's not 100% finished, but at least they have a wall to block wind from the west and north, and a roof.

Friday, December 1, 2017

Fun-day Friday

Fridays are great. I love Fridays. Especially when I don't have to work at the office and I can spend my day with the ponies.
Started off this morning picking up an order of Buxton Equestrian gear. I had a jacket done, a saddle pad for Piper for Christmas, and some toques, hats and polos for clients! Everything looks great and I love that people want to rep the farm!

After the usual morning chores, my mom came down to take some pictures of Tom for me. I have him casually listed for sale, but he's impossible to take pictures of alone. He's lazy, so I have to chase him around and that means I can never been in a good spot to take pictures. My mom has a really nice camera and is learning to take nice shots, and she definitely got some good ones of him today. Mr. Fancy Pants sure is learning how to carry himself. Even my vet thought he was super cute.

He looks like such a chunker here!

I rode Zippy next. Unlike last week, where I rode everyone at least 3 times, this week has been crazy and I've hardly ridden at all. Zippy isn't the type that needs to be ridden daily to be able to work, however I've found that he is much more workmanlike if he is ridden at least every other day. This meant that today, he was really lazy. He still put in some really lovely flat work, and I was really happy with him. His canter is coming along nicely as he learns to stretch over his back, and he is learning to stay straighter through his body. I had set up a little gym line originally for Lily, so I thought I would let Zippy pop through it. He hasn't really jumped since before all his abscesses, so I really wasn't sure what to expect. This was a little more then he has done, though it was still simple: raised trot pole, 10 ft to tall x rail, 10 ft to raised trot pole. 

We trotted in the first time to let him figure out where to put his feet, something he is still learning, and he bounded right over, though after the first trot pole I could really feel him thinking and trying to figure out how to get his body over the x rail, which he knocked down. The second time through, he had it totally down, and had no problems. We did it a few times from canter each way, and he was just great. I love this horse. He has such a neat little jump and is quite powerful. I think he'll be really fun.

The vet came next to look at Lily's leg, which I was concerned about as she has been dealing with some fungus of some sort on the front of her hind left cannon, and the last week the leg has stocked up if not wrapped. My vet wasn't too concerned, gave me some antibiotics and said to make sure she gets worked every day, even if it's just chasing her around the sand ring for 10 min. I didn't have much after he left before I had to feed, so I threw her in the ring and let her run. Man, was she ever having fun. The trot that this horse has is amazing. She has so much suspension and can just really cover ground and flick her toes out. I'm sure the dog chasing her on the other side of the fence helped too!


Great day! Came home to the kids and hubby and decorated our tree for Christmas. I am so thankful for the warm weather this year!

25 Questions, stolen from The $900 Facebook Pony

I saw this blog post on The $900 Facebook Pony , and I love these things, and I haven't been blogging much, so I thought I would give i...