Monday, February 17, 2014

Have I Mentioned I Hate Winter?

Because I do! it hasn't even been that particularly bad of a winter. But winter means bad roads (which is no good when your horse is 1.5 hours away) and no riding outside!

I did manage to get a ride in last week, which was so nice! As I tried to explain to my decidedly non-horsie boyfriend, there's no happy like riding happy! Both Scarface and I are out of shape. This meant not-so-supple shoulders on his part and majorly sore legs the next day for me. We didn't ride that long or hard as Scarfie is an outside horse and I didn't want him to get too sweaty. We did some lead change exercises (diagram below that hopefully makes sense) that my dad suggested (I love coming from a horsie family), but no actual changes. Scarface was a good boy (he's always good the first ride after time off), although he got a bit confused in the sidepass portion of the exercise.
I'm going to try to keep up with my blogging and riding a bit better in the coming months. I mentioned last fall about looking for a stable nearby to board at, but I've decided not to move Scarface for now. It would be great to have him close by. But it's going to be really tight financially and any places within my budget were a 45 minute drive anyway, so what's another 45 minutes on top of that for the money I'd save? Plus I hope to move a lot closer to my parents' within the next couple years (hello mortgage!), so then it won't matter.

Someone is looking for his dinner!

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Two Things You Should Know About!

Just a quick note about a couple cool things going on in the horsie blogosphere!

First of all, the Two-Point Challenge! This is a great idea! Unfortunately, I'm not able to participate since I won't be able to make it out to ride until Tuesday or Wednesday at the earliest (deadline for your baseline time). And my riding will be limited this month, but I hope they run it again next year! So if you're going riding between now and Monday, be sure to join in!

The second thing is the chance to win a pretty spiffy Horze winter jacket on She Moved to Texas. Good luck!

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Let the Stable Search Begin

As I mentioned in my post yesterday, I'm starting my search for a stable to board Scarface at. I've actually never search for a boarding stable before. I've always either kept my horse at my parent's farm or had him boarded at a trainer where the boarding facility was secondary to the trainer's program. I'm honestly a bit nervous to find the right place! Here's my list of needs and wants:

Within budget (surprising difficult)
Indoor riding arena
Easy to access from my area of the city
Healthy, happy looking horses and boarders
A good feeling about the place

Hunter/jumper type trainer offering lessons

I don't think this list of requirements is too long or unrealistic! I've been scouting out stables online and prices have been really surprising! All I can afford is paddock board (Scarface has been living outside full time for a few years) and even then, some places ask upwards of $500 for paddock board (no stall). Yikes! I've found a couple stables I'm interested in checking out and have planned to do a tour of them next week when I'm off work. I'm working on a list of questions and I'd love some input on things I might be forgetting!

Questions to ask on tours:

1. Barn hours - I often work until 7pm, but I'd like to be able to come out after work, even if I don't have time to ride and just groom. I think 9pm would be okay.

2. Vet/Farrier used.

3. Tack storage options.

4. Trainers/lessons - availability and cost.

5. Feed - Scarface is sensitive to dry/dusty hay, so this one is quite important. Thanks Allison for reminding me about this one!

That's my list so far. Anything I'm missing? I am nervous to find the right place for both Scarface and me!

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

I'm Back!

You guys, I'm back! I've decided after an extended break to come back to my horsie blog. Please bear with me as the blog goes though some rebranding.

Scarface and I have both been pretty good. Although most of this summer he was laid up with a pretty bad hoof absess on his right front foot. But I rode him on Saturday and he's feeling much better, just a bit stiff to the right. I'm also looking at moving Scarface to a stable closer to where I'm living now, which would mean I can ride him way more. I'm so excited! Thank goodness for my new job!

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Canada Day Riding

I spent the morning of Canada Day doing what I love best: RIDING! Both of my parents rode with me and the bf even came along and agreed to take some photos. Here are my favourites!

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Olympic Excitement

Is anyone else getting really excited for the Olympics? I'm super excited. Expecting a few very early mornings to catch some of the equestrian events.

Also, hoping like crazy that my hero, Ian Miller, is chosen to be Canada's flag bearer. It's the man's 10th Olympic games! Unfortunately, he's been eliminated from CBC's fan's choice for flag bearer by a margin of 11 votes (lost to Simon Whitfield).
Ian Miller and Big Ben (my heroes)

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Back to Blogging

I took a bit of a break for Megan and Scarface for focus on school and for a few personal reasons, but I'm back again. I'm pretty sure I said that last time, but I guess I'm just an inconsistent blogger all around. Anyway, it's been nearly 3 months since my last post (yikes!), so there is a lot to catch up on!

In April I attended the Mane Event in Red Deer. As usual, it was really great! I got to audit some great clinics by Scott Hofstetter (hunter/jumper), Cindy Ishoy (dressage) and Michael Richardson (horsemanship). I got something great from all of these clinicians. Scott Hofstetter was really engaging and was a real pleasure to watch, listen and learn from. My biggest lesson from him was "be prepared." Don't show up to the clinic (and by extension, the practice pen or show ring) without your spurs and crop in case you need them (which I definitely do). And be prepared to think! Don't just do your course, then zone out. Watch the other competitors and learn from their mistakes so you don't have to make the same ones. Pretty basic advice, but always good to keep in mind.

It was a real honour to watch the Cindy Ishoy clinic, because she is the first Olympic rider I've had the opportunity to see in a clinic setting. She was really great and really emphasized the fitness required by the horse, especially at the higher levels. She also emphasized not to let your horse goof off when you're practicing at home because then you can't expect them not to goof off when you go to the show. For example, she was very adamant that riders not let their horse scratch his face on his leg while stopped and that the horse be paying attention, even when they are just walking to catch their breath. The biggest thing that I got is that I realized Scarface needs to be more forward in his downward transition. He was trained to completely shut down in downward transition, which results in comments like "Stop Very Abrupt" on our dressage test last year.

I also found the Michael Richardson clinics I attended interesting. Michael gained a very different perspective of riding after he became a paraplegic. Instead of being able to physically push horses to do what is needed, he now needs to rely on much more subtle seat cues. The biggest thing I took away from his clinics is how to use my seat cues to improve my free walk. It's about riding actively instead of just sitting there like a passenger!

Other than that, I've just been riding a bit when I can. I took three weeks off riding to prepare for my final exam last week, which definitely showed when I rode on Saturday. In fact, I fell off Scarface for the first time (not counting my 'hasty dismount' last year when I landed behind the saddle, scaring Scarface half to death). Completely my fault though. We had warmed up and Scarface was being pretty good (a bit stiff to the left, but I'm going to get his teeth done pretty quick to see if I can rule that out first before I consider changing bits or anything). Then we cantered up to our first little jump (a 12 inch X rail). Our canter turned into a gallop, then a dive right, correction, dive left, correction, hesitation, big jump and finally a big kick-out with the back end. I lasted through the jump, but by then I was so far out of position, when he kick-out his back end, I went sailing over his left shoulder. Luckily, the ground was freshly harrowed and I managed to land on my back and roll. Not even a bruise (except my ego)!