Sunday, June 28, 2020

Trust Your Training

Roscoe and I worked really hard this year to take on First Level. Luckily I did not lose training time due to Covid, but I did have a UC flare that derailed me a bit. New medicine helped get that somewhat worked out, so I made the leap and signed up for a show. Little did I know my wheels were about to fall off.
Losing Rosemary knocked me back health wise. I started to feel hungry, but then eating would make me want to throw up. Ugh and the cramps were the worst. My energy level dipped and Mom started doing more of the work. I was still determined to do my show. It changed from a Sunday to an evening Saturday, which gave me a day to recover before work.

My only worries were what I would wear and if I would be able to do Roscoe justice. I did have a moment of maybe I should back out, maybe ask Kelly if she could ride, but Roscoe and I have done our 'firsts' together and this was one of the biggest. I did find some pants that were a little big and some boots that were not falling off.  The other worry would have to wait and see at the show.

My Mom was my hero. She pulled his mane, bathed him and loaded the trailer. Roscoe was his normal drama king self which I am used to. Sadly he popped a rivet on his name plate, so I had to duct tape it so he did not catch on anything. We loaded him saddled for the short drive and Mom bridled him before unloading. We were set.
As the first rider, I had the arena to myself for warm up. Roscoe, not having been ridden in ten days, was full of it. I had to work hard at redirecting his energy into a more productive gait. When I had him working, we played with our lengthening and our canter. He felt amazing! If we could have gone in the show right then, it would have been great. Sadly we still had ten minutes to kill and a big fancy horse had come into the ring. His rider ran into us at times. He did not seem very aware of who was in the ring. Well when I went to put Roscoe together for our test, the big fancy horse came up fast behind us and scared Roscoe. After that warm up was a battle to avoid the other two horses who were now out to eat little pony stallions. I called uncle since I had limited energy.

Unfortunately that meant that the horrible shoulder bulge which is Roscoe's default came out. We lost our bend. Our test was tough, but we pulled it together enough to not have to hide our faces. The sun came out and I was zapped. Roscoe saved us by remembering his training. I knew the test was not our best effort, but considering the circumstances, I was happy to have finished. We did not get comments at the end due to Covid. I made Roscoe carry me all the way back to the trailer because, I was done. The heat and lack of energy did me in. We sponged him off and loaded him up. I did not know if my test would be ready, but decided to walk over and check on our way out. Turned out it was ready and had a score I could not believe, 68.44%. The judge saw our lack of bend, but also took into account his energy and gaits. My tiredness effected my position, so I lost a bit there. I watched the test and decided that as bad as it felt, it came out better than that. I was not crazy to trust our training and make this debut. If we can do this when I am not all there, just imagine what we will have when we are both ready.

We would not know placings until Sunday, but I won just by doing the show. There were six others doing first level tests. I nearly fell out of bed this morning when the results posted. Roscoe and I won the TOC First Level and had the high score of the show. I thought my score was because it was a judge that likes Roscoe, she gave us our tens two years ago, but maybe just maybe we are doing better than I thought. Roscoe does not get the recognition he deserves for being the amazing pony he is since I am not a well connected person in the horse world. But how many ponies can you ask this of and they deliver big time? I love my boy drama and all.



Thursday, June 25, 2020

It's a Colt for Chanel

This morning my phone pinged with a live video notification and I found this handsome boy had arrived.






The breeder really wanted one of Roscoe's illusive fillies, but this boy is pretty fantastic. He has a super cute head and a great shoulder. He has three stockings and one sock, with a nice blaze.

Being born is hard work
So how did the Pool turn out...a tie.


To break the tie, I did a random draw. The winner is Betsy! Let me know if I send your gift card to the same email address as two years ago.
Keep your guesses coming for Tawe!

Wednesday, June 24, 2020

Fun Exercise

I see recommended exercises all the time while skimming FaceBook and other sites, but I don't always try them. For some reason this exercise from USDF Exercise of the day drew my attention. Maybe because we have been working on Roscoe's lengthening. The exercise consisted of Medium Trot/ Walk Pirouette submitted by Eliza Sydnor Romm.  Here is her description from the article.

I learned this exercise from Conrad Schumacher. Medium trot down the long side, walk before the corner, walk pirouette in the corner, back to medium trot, repeat, repeat, repeat! The walk pirouette engages the horse for a better medium trot. And the medium gets the horse active and in front of the leg for a better walk pirouette. When repeated, the horse begins to anticipate the medium trot while still in the pirouette, making them think forward. And they begin to anticipate the walk pirouette at the end of the medium trot, making them bring themselves back without the rider pulling too much!

Video of three levels of horses doing the exercise included in the article.




When I played with Roscoe, he responded immediately and the anticipation was there. He is sticky turning to the left, but he still did a engaged trot. I was pretty impressed with him. I did this as a warm up and it helped the rest of his work. His front end lightened up and he had some great push from behind. The exercise could be adapted for a lower level horse by using a turn on the haunches into a gradual lengthening. This is how I started with Roscoe. It is a simple yet effective exercise. And it was fun too. I enjoyed seeing his progress.

I even tried it a bit with Comrade. He decided canter was an easier option then a big trot, but even he eventually settled with repetition.

 Happy foamy mouthes for both boys!


And the foal countdown continues! There are a few more days for Chanel's pool and another week for Tawe's. 
Bottom pick is the most recent...

Thursday, June 18, 2020

Foal Pool Reminder

Hey, only two weeks left to enter. The breeder posted a picture of Chanel a day apart and she may go sooner. I don't have any idea of her history.
So her pool may end early, guesses can be made/adjusted until next Friday.

PS thank you all for your comments about Rosemary. The vet called Tuesday night and said her culture came back negative for bacteria. So nothing would have helped and we did make the right decision. Mom and I still hurt, but are lighter with that knowledge.

Monday, June 15, 2020

A Fall From Hope, Farewell Rosemary

Life can change in a moment especially when you own horses. A couple weeks ago Rosemary had some swelling between her front legs. It looked like what happens when a kick to the chest drops down. I decided not to ride her in case it bothered her. As the weekend progressed I noticed she also had fluid retention on her belly. I had a niggle of worry. DaVinci has that on his belly from his heart mummur. Rosemary had a cough, but with her history of breathing issues, we took that in stride. Then Sunday into Monday she had labored breathing. On Tuesday she received PEMF treatment and seemed to feel a bit better. But on Wednesday she stumbled into the stall for breakfast. Mom could actually video her breathing it was so bad. The vet said he would come after he saw the video. I was totally stressed at work as I waited.

It turned into almost full blown panic when Mom said she had to go to the vets because she had a temperature and fluid around her lungs. Of course thanks to Covid, Mom could not be with her at the vets. They came back with plural pneumonia and a 50% survival rate. We had to wait for labs to determine the cause/type. Mom and I both kicked ourselves for not calling for help sooner and worrying that we caused it with her nebulizer. The vets continued to battle her temperature, ice her feet to prevent laminitis and monitor the drain tube. That first day they took off four liters of fluid, which helped her breathe easier. The tech would bring her bananas for a treat. They were leaning towards bacterial and we began to hope.





Thursday the check up call began positive, but guarded. Our biggest worry was how to pay for the $12000 treatment. I began to research borrowing against my 401K. Then there was a fall from hope with one phone call. What seemed treatable, became devastating with the diagnosis of cancer. Trying to drive home while crying with Mom on the phone was a trial. So not fair to lose our just turned 13 yr old fun and sassy girl. Of course now we wonder if all her issues over the last year  or two has been this brewing.We had to wait for the vet to call on Friday. It was a long tearful wait.
Peggy and I took Roscoe to a collection in the morning. It was touch and go as to whether Roscoe would let me catch him in the stall. He did not know why I was so upset. But he had the best collection to date. The vet even asked if I switched stallions.  I had to distract Peggy with politic talk to keep her from crying all the way home. One of us needed to be able to drive. It was heartbreaking to pull up to the barn and hear Dottie call, thinking Rosemary had come home.
Mom finally got the call from the vets in the afternoon. We would get no miracle. Rosemary had mesothelioma and treatment was not an option. Plus our cob girl was losing her appetite. We arranged a time to go be with her. Rosemary was burning up and the swelling was increased. She was so uncomfortable. We spent over an hour grazing her and giving her treats. She did relax a little, but could not really stand still. We knew it was time. This was honestly the hardest  to watch because of her discomfort. She went quickly almost even before the second syringe. Nearly 10 years of sassy pony girl lost in a moment.  We had no other choice. but it hurt. I could not handle her going in the ground so I pushed for cremation. She comes home on Tuesday. On top of the vet bill, it is not the cheapest option, but it was the one that worked. We will figure out finances later.
The barn does not feel right without her. So much of how we ran the barn revolved around her. So hug your ponies tight. Life can change so quickly. Off to cry some more.

Tuesday, June 2, 2020

Status Check

Well things are beginning to open up again... including shows. So I began to think about finally making our First Level debut. I wanted to do a status check. In April I had a UC flare up, that scarely escalated enough I called the doctor. Since I know how bad it can get, I wanted to get this figured out. I could not afford to pay for the lab work to immediately tell if the medicine was working, so the doctor put me on two more medicines. So far they seem to be helping, but the down time knocked me off my riding schedule and exercise time.
I was really pleased when I rode Roscoe and found he was ready to work. I glanced at First 1 and did a light warm up. Then we rode the test. I still have to think hard about where the letter RSVP are in the arena, but we did an okay test. I will need more warm up to wake him up and pick him up a bit more in the front. I am a bit more confident about possibly doing a show in June.




The fence helped video the test.


The next day Roscoe asked to work again. I love that he wants to play. This time after we did our long and low warm up, I picked him up to work canter. We have been trying to work on straight and stepping under. He tries for me and sometimes we get some really nice movement. Mom worked with us on our lengthenings. She had me do shoulder fore around the bend and breathe into the diagonal. Then I let him go long and low before picking him up again. Our last pass he stretched and used his engine.  Big difference.



I also managed to get some leg yields on video. We just might actually be able to do first level.
Don't forget to get your guesses in for the foal pool!

Thursday, April 30, 2020

Adventures With Ember

Mom has had more time off at the same time as me during this time. So we have taken the time to put some work into Ember. Ember has redeemed himself since the bucking bronc impression. We started by opening up the arena so he had more room. Before each ride I lunged him, with a butt strap and with side reins. It was fun to watch him figure out how to carry himself.


Then I would ride him for about ten minutes. As he has improved and become more comfortable, I have been able to put the dressage saddle on him and attach the reins to the bit. He was quick to bulge out his shoulder, which made working on turns difficult. Finally one day my Mom told me to drop my inside rein. Well Ember had nothing to pull against and he actually stopped bulging. So he will teach me to let go of the inside rein. Our turns are getting better since we figured out that trick.
The only other change we have made is we put a straight happy full cheek on his bridle instead of the three piece. He seems to be happy in it and it is a little clearer to him.

We have expanded his riding to include another horse in the ring. First we did Rosemary, who keeps him honest out in the field. Ember quickly figured out that what grandma does, does not effect what he does. He was better about her moving quicker than he was and did not try to "play."


Comrade was the next to ride with Ember and that was a bit tougher for him. He really could not understand why he could not follow Comrade. Unfortunately Comrade was NQR, so we ended the ride pretty quick.

Ember has also branched out to the trail. He did a solo walk with Mom walking with us first. Surprisingly he was really brave until we came across some roots sticking up off a down tree. But he settled quickly and I hopped off while he was good. Next we followed Rosemary. Again Ember was great and having a horse did not change anything. Then we went with Comrade. Can you believe it was the 15yr old that was the problem child? Ember took the lead and did not tell me Comrade was doing anything behind us. I made sure to get off him earlier after he was really good. I looked up to see Comrade acting like he did as a 5yr old, jigging away. The closer we got to the hill leading to the barn the more wound up Comrade got. Mom had to turn him away and then we put him behind Ember so he would not pull his "buck n run" trick he used on Peggy way back.
Overall Ember has been improving with each ride. We still have not attempted canter again. I would like him to be less spooky about the jumps before I ask. Well on Tuesday he decided he would canter off down the long side. I finally stopped him after the curve of the short end. Once I got my breath back, I put him to work. We worked a little on opening and closing his trot. And I even got a little side step out of him at the walk.



So our adventures with Ember have only impressed us. He is just like Roscoe and such fun to watch grow. He is almost to the point where I can ride him alone. Not bad for the pony we thought would need a pro to start.