Monday, January 27, 2014

Winter Series Week II

The past 4 days have been a bit of a blur and I am beyond exhausted.  The craziness started Thursday when Tank twisted his hind shoe and then stepped on it so that the clip was inserted in his foot.  Thankfully I am good friends with my farrier and he lives a mile away so he was nice enough to come remove the shoe Thursday night.  We decided to leave the shoe off for a few days and wrap it in case he abscessed.

After getting little sleep Thursday night, Friday morning Poppy, Mini Nugget, and I loaded up and headed to the show.  We walked into the 1.10m Training Jumpers.  The jumps were pretty airy and spooky. Poppy was sticky and looking hard but jumped everything.

Saturday we did the 1.10m Adult Amateur Jumpers.  
3ab was a tight two stride to 4 long strides to jump 4.  I must have inadvertently goosed her over the b element because she sort of scooted and pulled a rail.  Bummer.  We ended up 7th with our 4 fault round.  She was overall fantastic and it was a smooth round so we let her be done.

Sunday was Classic Day.  
We had a great round.  Trainer N even said it was my best ride yet.  Unfortunately we had a rail at jump 10.  N thinks she was distracted as it was jumping toward the VIP tents because she just doesn't have careless rails like that.  We came in 7th and just out of the money.  

Overall I am beyond pleased with my horse.  She jumped everything and tried hard.  We smoothed out our rounds from week I.  I feel confident going into the final week where the jumps will be bigger and courses more difficult.  We don't see a need to show her Friday so we will start with our division class on Saturday then the $10k Classic Sunday!  Woohoo!!

Does your jumper tie to the trailer?  Hehehe
A friend of mine holding Mini Nugget.  How ridiculous is she?

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Horse Show Eve

Tomorrow morning Poppy and I head over to the show for a 1.10m Training Jumper class.  My focus will be a nice confident ride to move on from last Sunday's jump off snafu.  Oh and to stay warm!!

Wednesday, January 22, 2014


I got home last evening expecting to ride Tank and instead spent the evening repairing the divider fence between Tank and Ketel's paddocks.  By the looks of it Ketel is the culprit.  This did not make me happy.  By the time I was done it was too late to ride as I knew it would take me forever to get everyone bundled up for the freeze last night.

Got everyone bundled up and fed a bran mash mixed with feed, water, & mineral oil then turned out.  And once again Ketel   tried pulling the divider fence down.  How he pulled down the hot wire too I do not know.  So there I was in the cold, dark, and wind fixing the fence for the second time and telling him if there was a third time he would be tied to the front gate with a sign on him.

I have got to get him going so both he and Tank can be sold.  I am overwhelmed and exhausted and I am not sure how long I can continue like this.  It was 10pm before I got to try to grab a shower and some dinner.  This current schedule I have is kicking my ass.

This morning Poppy came in with a cut on her front leg.  Nothing gets your attention more than a white leg turned red.  It doesn't seem bad but sure bled a lot.  I cleaned it up and treated it and will get a better look this evening.

I'm trying to just get thought this day and not fall asleep at my desk.  Hopefully I can hack Poppy tonight.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Boring Monday

Monday I had off from work but it was errand day and by the time I finished my farriers showed up so no riding last night as it was late by the time they finished.  Despite our awful wet weather everyone's feet look good.  I swear by daily cleaning, Kopertox, and no bathing unless for a show.

I planned to give Poppy off Monday and Tuesday.  Hopefully tonight I will get home in time to work with Tank and Ketel. 

We have a big weather change tonight.  A high of 69 today and low of 30.  So tonight will be important to ensure that the horses are drinking.

Here is a good article that reiterates the things I was always taught.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Winter Series Week I, Day 3

Sometimes in the world of showing we get ribbons that aren't well deserved.  Yesterday I had that happen in my Classic Round.

I was 5th in the order of go.  We were clean in the first round.  It was a smooth ride, a little deep to fence 4 but overall I was happy.

Then there was the jump off.    The plan was to be tight, straight, and fast and do the inside turns.  The turn from 14 to 8ab was tight (turning inside fence 9) and I kept thinking about it.  Can you see where this is going?  I jumped 1 to 2 and as I turned to 14 I tried to slice it so I could make that turn.  I ended up parallel to the jump so she stopped.  And then I SHOULD have gotten nice and straight to it the second attempt but didn't so she stopped.  Even being eliminated from the jump off, only 3 of us jumped clean so I was 3rd place.  Afterward my trainer and I worked on some jumps with Poppy in the schooling ring to make sure I didn't hurt her confidence.  She was good but I am so mad at myself.  I think it is so important to give green horses a good experience to build their confidence and I am mad at myself for jeopardizing that.  I will admit I didn't want to post this but it happened and it is an experience to learn from.  So here is how NOT to ride a jump off...

What I should have done was jumped this fence straight and if that tight turn wasn't there when I landed, then I could have gone around fence 9.  I learned from this and we will hopefully move on from it in Week II.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Winter Series Week I, Day 2

Today started a bit hectic as I overslept and was rushing to get horses fed, dressed, wrap, and load Poppy.  Fortunately shows never run on time and I got there in plenty of time and even got to watch my friend ride in the low adult jumpers.

The course was a bit tricky with distances walking long in a few places and a difficult inside turn option in the jump off.
Our first round was good.  Here is a video.  Unfortunately with it being enclosed it is dark and hard to see.

I took some risks in the jump off.  I took the inside turn from 13 to 9 and got deep.  I should have kept kicking through the turn.  Good Poppy for keeping the jump up.  Then the last line I tried to leave out a stride and again should have kicked more and it would have worked out.  Good Poppy for patting the ground.  She got extra treats for bailing me out and keeping the jumps up too.  My trainer "N" and I discussed how I need to trust myself (and Poppy) more when I take those risks and be a bit more bold and Poppy will follow.

Tomorrow we are just doing the classic.  I know she is tired so hopefully she gets a good rest tonight.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Winter Series Week I Day 1

We had a good start to the show weekend today.  It was low 30s early this morning when Poppy, Mini Nugget and I loaded up and headed to the show.

We did the 1m and 1.10 Training Jumpers.  They are blue/red ribbon rounds.  Blue ribbon if you are fault free and red if not.  No jump offs.
It was a nice course and Poppy was clean in both.  She jumped around great and I am very happy with her.  I know the jumper judge and when I was walking the course and chatting with him he told me a lot of horses were spooking at 5ab to 6 as the sun was peeking through and casting funny shadows.  She didn't bat an eye (maybe dusk riding helped??).

We might be the only ones out in "day parking" tied to the trailer but we sure do look cute!

Tomorrow if she is good we will just do one High Adult Jumper class.  It's going to be another early and cold day!

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Horse Show Weekend

The day before a horse show is always hectic.  After work I will have the mad dash to get home, ride, hook up the trailer, clean all my tack, load trailer with all my stuff, clean the golf cart, etc.  It is supposed to be in the 30s tonight so I really don't want to bathe Poppy in the morning.  I might just try to towel off her stains and wash her tail.  I didn't get a stall at the show.  I plan to just trailer her in since it is close and then she will get to come home and relax.  It also saves a large amount of money (stalls are $200 per week not including shavings which would run about $50).  I have to drive home anyway each day so I'm not spending anymore on fuel by taking her back and forth.

I hacked Poppy last  night and jumped a couple small jumps.  I'm hoping to get home earlier today and jump a little bigger.  Since I haven't been able to do much jumping I plan to do 2 training classes Friday.  1m and 1.10m

If I have a chance I will try to update about the show over the weekend.

As promised here is the picture of Poppy in her sleazy.  I think she looks like the hamburgler although a friend said a ninja.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

It's Humpday

Fortunately the monsoon stopped about midday yesterday.  Although everything was still very wet I was able to hack Poppy in my small sand "pasture" I have.  It is going to take awhile before the grass area I ride in dries up.  It is supposed to be sunny today so I am hoping the sand dries up enough to jump a little.

Tonight we are supposed to have a big temperature drop to low 30s.  I know this is nothing for my northern friends, but it is shocking in FL.  I am sure Poppy will be thrilled (not) to wear her slinky tonight since she is now clipped.  I will be sure to take pictures as she looks like the hamburgler.

Last weekend I worked with Ketel on the lunge line a bit so I can hopefully get him back into work soon.  As I was taking him out to lunge we stopped so I could attempt to take some pictures.  He is filling out and is less butt high.  He will be 4 yo in April.

Compared to the picture taken before I bought him 10 months ago.

He definitely needs a top line which will develop as he gets back into work. 

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Start Paddling

When I left this morning my barn was still there but it may float away before I get home.  We got so much rain last night everything is puddles and mud.

Thankfully I did get to hack Poppy last evening.  She was fussy and difficult however it was late and dark so I can't fault her too much.  She did eventually loosen up and start paying attention.  The storms were predicted to move in about midnight so I turned the horses out so they could get a few hours of turn out at least.  Then before bed I went out and brought everyone back in.  Maybe my blog should be called "So You Want to Keep Your Horses at Home: 100 Reasons to Keep Boarding."  

I hate when the horses are in at night because this means I have to do stalls before going to work.  I could leave them but I am meticulous about their stalls.  If they are not turned out I believe stalls should be cleaned twice a day.  I know some boarding facilities clean stalls 6 days a week.  I probably couldn't sleep knowing my horse was standing in a dirty stall for 24 hours.  The little things that bug me...

I wish...

Monday, January 13, 2014

Horse Show Week!!

This week kicks off 3 weeks of the Winter Series Circuit.  Poppy and I will be at all 3 and our first day of showing is Friday.  I am so excited.  It is one of my favorite series as it is home turf and showing 3 weeks in a row gets you in a good rhythm (or so we hope).

We had a nice jump school over the weekend.  My plan is to hack her as much as I can this week and get one more jump school in.  The temperatures are supposed to drop again so I anticipate a frisky horse.  This means it is even more important to keep her ridden and loose.

I finally body clipped Poppy.  I have to say that I can't think of anything that I dislike more than body clipping.  My back is still killing me.  She is so well behaved about it all but for some reason I have grown to detest it.

Finished product.  Can you tell she was over it too?  This was day 2.  We were both done with it day 1 so I left the little touch ups and hard to reach spots for day 2.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Never Enough

I don't own my "dream trailer" but the one I have is good enough.  It's a 4 horse, slant load, step up, all aluminum goose neck with a huge tack room.  What I don't like is that it is a step up (not all horses like unloading from one) and that it does not have fold down windows (makes life easier on long hauls where I need to water the horses).   I was perusing the Internet the other day and came across a used Featherlight, all aluminum gooseneck, 4 horse slant load, dressing room, ramp, and fold down windows.  Hot damn!!  I was so excited I couldn't wait to show my husband.  When I did his response was, "what is wrong with what you have?  Why is nothing ever good enough?"  Of course I attempted to explain why this trailer was better than mine and why I needed this trailer.  My attempts to justify only further annoyed him.  He's right though.  It always seems like when it comes to this sport I am always trying to "upgrade."  Whatever I have is fine but THIS would be even better (and more expensive).

So I asked myself, when is it good enough?  Is there such a thing in this sport?  Even if money were no object would I have everything I needed or would I always be trying for something better?  I say this is specific to horses because I don't find this to be the case in any other part of my life.  Do you have this problem or is it just me?

If you are wondering, no I'm not getting the trailer.  He's my mechanic so if I want him to work on things I need to have his blessing.  He is wonderful about making sure my truck and trailer are always ready to haul to shows so I try not to push my luck.

A quick update on the horses.  I did go home and ride Poppy last evening.  She was a bit up and had a nice hump in her back but eventually settled in and was stretching down and relaxed.  It was windy and we still had sheets covering all our plants so I was bracing myself for her to be spooky and was actually causing her to be so tense.  Although she looked at all the sheets she never spooked and when I relaxed so did she.  I need to give her more credit, she is not the mare I started with and has come a long way.  One of these days I will do a post on Poppy's story like I did with Tank.  Redheaded Step Child

I don't have any horsey pics to share but here is our rescued bloodhound who waited patiently for me to get out of my car when I got home from work.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Home Stretch

One more day.  One more day of colder temps and we warm back up to the Florida weather I know.  I am so excited to not have to layer the horses tonight I can hardly contain myself.  We all feel like Ralphie's brother from A Christmas Story.

I am a wimp.  I did not ride last evening.  I can tell you all the excuses I told myself to get out of riding but the reality is that I just didn't want to.  I wanted to get the horses and barn done and then snuggle with the pups in front of the fire.  That's exactly what I did.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Baby It's Cold Outside

I got home a little early from work yesterday and had a quick hack on Poppy.  She had a huge hump in her back and although she didn't, she felt like she would explode at any moment.  I feel lucky to have not been lawn darted.  I then began the preparations...

Everyone wore 3 layers (except Cotton who I'm lucky if he keeps his one blanket on) and got a warm soupy bran mash with mineral oil.  I threw them extra hay and turned out.  I had planned to lock barn kitty in my tack room but even at 12am my barn was still 40 degrees so she slept on the hay in the hay stall.  Not even interested in the bed or blankets I left.

I checked on everyone before bed and threw more hay.  All seemed ok and munching happily.  I followed my instinct despite everyone else I know keeping their horses in and I left everyone out.

I brought them in at 5am.  It was 30 degrees and again everyone was fine.  The barn was still 40.  I did another warm bran mash and oil, took off one of their layers, and headed to work.  Fingers crossed everyone drinks well today but at least they did get fluids with their breakfast.  One more night of cold then we warm back up.

I am hoping to hack again this evening despite the cold.  Body clipping is on the schedule for this weekend then off to show the17th!  I need to get lots of riding in!

Monday, January 6, 2014

The Artic Blast of '14

It is in the mid 60s here right now but they say this afternoon the "Artic Blast" is coming and the temps will drop.  A projected low of 25 tonight and a high of 40 tomorrow.  Go ahead and laugh my northern friends, but in FL this sends people into sheer panic mode.

My concern is only for my horses.  These drastic weather changes can cause horses to stop drinking and bring colic.  I added electrolytes and water to morning feed to encourage drinking.  Tonight and in the morning I will plan a warm bran mash and mineral oil.  My horses will go out tonight as usual and I will layer their blankets.  I believe in keeping them in a normal routine.  I plan to lock barn kitty in my feed room so she doesn't freeze.  Hopefully Cotton keeps his blanket on tonight.  He hates to wear one and tries to rip it off.

I am going to try to ride to tonight.  Hopefully I don't baby out because of the cold.  How did I ever live up north??

I am kind of looking forward to getting to use the fireplace since we hardly get weather cold enough to use it.

What are you doing to survive the Artic Blast? How cold is too cold for you to ride?

Friday, January 3, 2014

Winter Found Florida

We started 2014 with lots of rain.  It rained all day and night on the 1st so no riding and the horses had to stay in.  That sucks for me because it means cleaning stalls not only when I get home from work but again in the morning before I leave for work.  You want your horses at home you say?  This is one of the downsides...

More rain all day on the 2nd and into the evening which again meant no riding and also some stir crazy horses.  When I got home and took everyone out to groom and clean their stalls they all sort of forgot what manners meant.  They wanted out. 

At dinner time it was 60 degrees but the weather people were predicting the temps to drop to mid 30s at 3 am with a wind chill in the 20s.  Ok, so blanket them for 30s and have them sweat until 3am?  No of course not.  So the insane horse obsessed person I am stayed up until 11pm when they temps at least dropped to the 50s and rain had stopped, blanketed, and turned everyone out.  At least they were thrilled to get to go out.  Oh and the wind was crazy!  These weird weather drops are also a formula for colic so for dinner everyone got bran mash and then this morning electrolytes and water added to their feed.  Fingers crossed.  The awesome part about having a concrete block barn is that the temp in there this morning was 50.  And to ensure his nickname of The Blanket Destroyer lives on, Hobbs tore a strap off his blanket last night.  I have no more turn out blankets so that made me thrilled.

We will see if I ride today.  With the cold temps and insane wind I might just lunge.  I think the horses will be a bit WILD...

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

January 1st

Here it is a new year where we have all laid out our big goals for the new year and I am cuddled up on the couch with spoiled rotten hound dog not working toward any of them. It's a cool rainy day (again) which doesn't make for a good riding day.

I had a great New Year's Eve with great friends and stayed out way to late so I'm not complaining about doing nothing today. More rain tomorrow so probably no riding tomorrow either.

Hope everyone had a safe New Year's Eve!