Thursday, April 30, 2015

I Can't Think of a Title

My blog silence is purposeful.  It's one thing to have things with the horse going crappy whether it be training issues, lameness, or colic.  I can write about those things.  What I am currently sad about I can't blog about.  Maybe down the road but not now.  

This doesn't mean I am done blogging.  Maybe I am pausing.  Maybe a break.  I don't know.  When I can write something more meaningful than "everything sucks right now" I will.

Life has a funny way of working out so I'm sure I will be back and better than before.

For now here are some photos from Poppy's last show.

Warm up ring

Thursday, April 23, 2015

When It Rains, It Pours

I appreciate all of your encouraging comments about my horse show last weekend.  I was looking forward to moving on this week and getting to ride the baby Monster.  Tuesday he came in from his paddock with some puffiness in his front left leg.  By the time I got home from work it was puffier, had heat, and he was lame.  I cold hosed it,  poulticed it, and turned him out.  Since he was just a bit off I wanted him moving around to keep the swelling down.  

While I re-poulticed it Wednesday morning I noticed Poppy wasn't eating.  She didn't touch her feed or hay.  The Marshmallow never turns down food!  Sometimes she will eat a little grain then devour her hay and finish the grain later.  Not this morning.  She just stood quietly in the back of her stall.  I texted my vet and she told me to go ahead and give her Banamine.  I took away her grain and hay and gave her the meds.  She wasn't distressed or acting like she was in pain.  She would even take a treat.  My vet told me after awhile to give her an oily bran mash.  She ate that and pooped shortly after.  That was it for poop for the rest of the day though.  That afternoon my vet said to turn her out on the grass and see if she would drink while out.  She did and she happily grazed.  For dinner she got another oily bran mash and I kept an eye on her all night to make sure she didn't make a turn for the worse.  On a more positive note, Monster's leg was improving.

This morning Poppy was still alert and nickering for breakfast.  She got another oily bran mash and pooped so my vet said she could have a little hay.  She ate her hay and continued to have normal bowels all day.  She didn't drink as much as I would like though.  Another oily bran mash for dinner, out on the grass, and a little hay.  I will watch her again tonight but thankfully she is much better.

It is heartbreaking to see our fur babies hurt or not feeling well.  This week was a double whammy but I am thankful both horses seem to be on the mend.  

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Where Do We Go From Here?

I probably could have gone into far more detail in yeaterday's post and even given more insight but I chose not to.  I truly want to move on.  I don't see the point of dissecting a bad show to pieces when we have had tons of good shows.  Amazing shows.  What I do want to do is take what I learned and fix it.

What did I learn?  My mare can jump 1.20m with room to spare.  I also learned she isn't confident enough yet at that height to jump anyway when something is spooky.  At the lower heights she was confident enough to way over jump the scary liverpool.

So how do I fix this?  I give her confidence.  If you guessed that every one of my jumps at home will likely have a liverpool or liverpoolish thing under it you are correct.  Will I drill her?  No.  I will simply expose her to lots of things so they aren't a big deal and then we will practice them at the bigger heights.  Will she stop again at a show?  Possibly. At our next show (which is in May) I will ride her like she might stop.  If I am confident she will learn to be too.  And that's it.  We won't dwell.  

She finally will take a treat from me again.  Like I said yesterday we are both beat up emotionally.  It's been a long time since I've had to play the bad guy with her.  I haven't needed to and I got too comfortable.  

Poppy will have part of this week off so we can both have a break and then we will get back at it.  In the meantime baby has a clinic to get ready for!

Monday, April 20, 2015

The Learning Experience

Well we survived the show and moving up to the Low Amateur Owner Jumpers.  We are a little banged up.  A little frustrated.  A little wiser.

We started out Friday with using the 1.15m as our warm up.  It was a combined $500 1.15 or 1.20m class.  I didn't want to start at the 1.20 yet and chose the 1.15 to get in the ring after a month off from showing. 

 Poppy was perfect.  The first round 80 second time allowed was tight and even as fast as she is we finished just under that.  Many did not.  In the jump off I practiced my speed and tightening up my turns.  We ended up winning the class and I was thrilled.  It felt like a great way to set the tone for moving up on Saturday.

Saturday I entered the Low Amateur Owner Jumpers which were set at 1.20m.  I don't have the course for that because after I walked the course they changed it and I had to learn my new course standing at the in gate.  It was a power and speed class (table IIc).  I felt ready.  She jumped the power phase beautifully. The first jump of the speed phase was a liverpool.  Apparently we don't jump liverpools anymore and she said hell no complete with rearing.  2 refusals and we were excused.  I had to get her around.  There was a 1.10m class later so we entered that.  Trainer got me a bigger whip and we practiced in the warm up ring with a cooler under an oxer.  Poppy turned into the fire breathing dragon.  Rearing, leaping, etc.  My apologies to those I about ran over as she ran around out of control in the warm up ring.  I emphasized the point to her that refusing was not allowed and we went in the 1.10m. She stopped again.  Second try I gave her the option of over or through and she smartly chose over and we finished the course.  We have been jumping liverpools for a couple of years now.  This was not ok.  Poppy and I went back to the barn both exhausted and frustrated.  In all her antics she also stepped on her heel and cut it open.  I doctored that, cleaned her up, and went back to the drawing board.  She also barely touched her dinner that night.  

Trainer and I concluded that she is being her difficult self.  We had these issues when we first moved up to the Adult Jumpers.  I have to not trust her and over ride.  There was no way I was going to do the Classic Sunday at 1.25m.  Thankfully they added a 1.15m class and I did that.  

Again she stopped out at the liverpool.  I didn't want to try again and trainer didn't give me the option.  This show does red/blue rounds so I could go back in for that.  Again out to the warm up ring to emphasize no stopping.  Over or through.  We went in and I let her know I was pissed.  Spurs in her side and off we went.  The line with the Liverpool was a 6 stride.  We did 5.  I rode hard to every fucking jump.  We finished clear.  We felt defeated but we finished.  

Back at the barn she wouldn't eat her treats and also didn't finish breakfast.  We are off our game but we will fix this.  The height was not an issue for her.  She is scopey and 1.20m is easy for her.  I will work on building her confidence though so she believes that.  She feels great but I will also have my vet check her and make sure she isn't sore anywhere and need some maintenance.  We will work through this.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Ready....Ok Maybe Not!

It's been a hectic week. Work has been crazy so I have been frantic in the evenings to ride before sunset and it is leaving time for little else.  Like blogging.  I appreciate your feedback on my Horse Showing series and will continue to do those.

So you know how I've whined about wanting to move up and why am I not moving up??  Trainer said I can move up this weekend and now I want to throw up and I am completely panicked.  I am having a case of the "I can'ts."  I can't jump 1.25m!  How do I go from 1.15m (3'9'') to 1.25 (4'1'').  4 inches doesn't sound like much but fucking sounds ridiculous to me right now.  And the oxer spreads get wider.   

I wasn't planning to show Friday but now I am.  So here I sit stuck at work, trailer isn't packed or even hooked up.  I have a shitload of stuff to do when I get home and now I am freaking about moving up.

So stayed tuned to see what happens with this shit storm.  I'll try to update on IG (luvjumperlife)!  If it does not go well the pics might be of wine.  In mass quantities!

Monday, April 13, 2015

Horse Showing: USEF Attire Rules in the Jumpers

There seems to be the assumption that in jumperland it's anything goes.  It's where  you take the hot crazy horses that can't make it as a hunter, you run around the ring like you are on fire (because it's timed yah know), and you can wear whatever you want.  If you show on the A rated circuit you know this is not true.  There is a skill level needed in the jumpers which gets tougher as the jumps go up and USEF clearly states what is acceptable attire.

Some of you may be like me and actually read the rule book when it comes out each year.  I like to know about the rule changes, and there are often many.  I've been doing this a really long time so I've seen the evolvement of rules and sometimes it does get confusing on what's allowed these days.  In addition to checking USEF website the prize lists for the show will also print the attire allowed.

Here is what USEF a states:
9. Attire
a. Formal Jumper Attire. Dark, muted or similar colored, or red (scarlet) coats are required; team or sponsored coats of different colors are also permitted; white or fawn breeches; a white tie, choker (unless the shirt, by design, has the chocker built in for its intended use) or hunting stock, and a white or lightly colored shirt must be worn. Shirts must have a white collar and white cuffs. Shirts must be fastened at the neck and tucked into breeches. Boots are required. Half chaps are permitted as long as the color matches the paddock boots being worn.Members of the Armed Services or the police may wear the service dress uniform with protective head- gear. (See General Rules, GR801.2)
b. Proper Jumper Attire. Coats of any color are required. Breeches must be light color (white, fawn or canary). Pastel and dark colored breeches are not allowed. Shirts, light in color, must be tucked into breeches and fastened at the top of the neck. Ties or chokers of any color must be worn (unless the shirt, by design, has the choker built in for its intended use). Boots are required. Half chaps are permitted as long as the color matches the paddock boots being worn.
c. Standard Jumper Attire. Coats are not required. Breeches of any color are permitted. Shirts (polo shirts are permitted) must have collars and sleeves (sleeves may be either long or short), and must be tucked into breeches. Sleeveless shirts and shirts with exposed hoods are prohibited. Boots are required. Half chaps are per- mitted as long as the color matches the paddock boots being worn.
d. In extreme weather conditions, the use of jackets, sweaters or raincoats can be allowed by management and/or permission from the Jumper Judge/s. Permission must be granted before entering the competition ring.
e. In cases where the above requirements are not followed, the penalty will be either a possible warning (for the first offence) or elimination. BOD 1/12/14 Effective 12/1/14

The prize list will indicate which attire is required for each class/division.  Typically the classics I enter are formal attire.

My division classes are standard attire.  For larger shows like HITS I will typically wear a coat and my tan breeches.

Sometimes I go a little more casual and wear a show shirt and no coat or a polo shirt.
This just made me realize I have a lot of pink shirts.

Or a sweater if it's cold.

And in Florida we consider cold weather to be extreme weather conditions so we wear a jacket.

All of these are acceptable outfits by USEF a standards.  Times have changed and although I do not believe showing in breeches other than white or tan, it is acceptable to now show in colored ones.  I also don't think it is ok to wear half chaps.  I might be thankful should I ever have a boot malfunction at a show and need to, however I feel if you are showing at the rated level you should invest in tall boots.  I am pretty certain my trainer would not allow this either.  Although I like blue and black coats I am a tad in love with the light blue ones.

Maybe if a get sponsored by a clothing company like Reed Kessler I will get one.

This is your basic run down of attire.  I will bring you some more break downs of jumper rules in the future.  I'm also open to suggestions of jumper topics if there are any rules you are confused on.

Friday, April 10, 2015

Horse Shows and a Clinic!

This pretty much sums up my week and explains my blog silence.  It's FRIDAY though!!  The weather has been perfection which means I have been doing lots of riding.

Next Friday Poppy and I head to an AA show for some jumper fun.  I don't know what we will be doing.  I assume the High Adults but I need to sit down with trainer and discuss why I am not moving up.  This is a good low key show for it too.  Poppy has been good this week and we have had a couple great jump schools.  I feel ready.

I have mailed off the check for Luxxx's first clinic on the 25th!  Woo hoo!  It is nearby and being taught by his breeder.  Since they have a division for greenies I figured why not?  It will be a good experience for him.  So this means we need to continue our hard work.  He is doing well with the latest consistent riding.  Of course he has days where he relapses and forgets stuff.  That's ok though.  I am finding he does best without breaks.  Typically I like to give babies lots of walking breaks to keep that brain from frying.  For him he totally loses focus and has trouble regaining it.  If I just continue working him and compensate with a shorter session he seems to thrive with this.  

Lots of rain on the forecast for next week so we will see how much riding I get in.  Happy Friday and Happy Riding!

Friday, April 3, 2015

TOABH: Introspection

What would your horse change about you?

Poppy would probably ask that I make decisions earlier to the jumps.  Something like "can you please not decide to whoa at the last minute so I have to pull a magic trick out of my ass to jump clean?"

I posted this photo recently and as usual Poppy looks great.  The reality of this jump is I had a really bad distance to it.  She covered it amazingly.  So I think she'd ask me to make my decision earlier just as my trainer preaches to me. She would also tell me to feed her more. Well she really does tell me this every evening as she gobbles up her 1/4 scoop of grain and proceeds to bang on her feed bucket.  I'm trying to keep the Marshmallow's roundness under control...

Luxxx would probably have a list of things to change around the barn but maybe not so much about me specifically yet as he is at the beginning of our riding journey. He likes to be ridden but I think just for the attention.  He might ask "can we just park and not work?  Maybe watch the dogs play, that's my favoritest."  So that's probably it, he would ask me for more attention and stop telling him no.  I do feel like on the ground I am always telling him no or correcting him.  So I am working on spending more time giving kisses and petting so all our interactions aren't "work."

That face though...

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Googly Eyes & TBT

I swear one of these days I will bribe someone to come over and help me take proper pictures and video of this boy!

Taken April 2015

Taken April 2014

I think he is such a baby until I look at photos from last year.  Still a baby, but getting less babyish.

And this is the photo that gives me googly eyes...

Soooo dapply!!!  Swoooon!