Friday, December 30, 2011

Happy New Year! 2012 Edition

I'm going to be away, and I probably won't have access to the internet, so here's my New Years Eve blog post just a wee bit early.
Hello, and welcome to the end of the universe.  Well, not yet I suppose.  I was extremely disappointed to learn that the end of the universe wouldn't be until NEXT December.  Wholly unfair, if you ask me.  I had my hopes up thinking it'd come sooner than that... I never have been the patient sort.
Alas I digress; the intent of this post was not to discuss the end of life, the universe, and everything (Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, anyone?) but to discuss goals and resolutions.  Oh, and in case anyone's wondering, in the world of Kate, a goal is something to be completed, and a resolution is something to do continuously throughout the year.

2011 Resolutions:
My 2011 new years resolution: Drink more water
Success? Sort of... it's hard thing to quantify/qualify.  I did put in a concerted effort to drink more water.  However, it was more of a here & there kind of thing.

2011 Goals:
1)Ride in at least one sanctioned horse trial: Success, I rode in 2!  However, Miss Cadence and I didn't OFFICIALLY complete any.  Ah well.
2)Ride in one Dressage show: Check.  Cadence and I got first and third, with scores of 59% in Walk/trot test A (she would NOT go near the end of the arena; there was a scary car there) and 69% in w/t test B.
3)Get 4/10 rider levels: Fail.  I didn't get any of my rider levels...  I was never too serious about this one, but I think I'd still like to get them.  Eventually.
4) I had an 'unofficial goal' to get a horse.  Horse goal? Major success!
5)Keep RFTGU going until 2012: Success!

I've been putting a lot of thought into my goals and resolutions for 2012.  More so my goals than my resolutions.  Its not something I generally put a lot of validity into, but I found that looking back on my 2011 year, and the goals I created for it, was a lot of fun and quite helpful.  With that in mind, here's what I've come up with:

2012 Resolutions:
1)I'd like to continue on with the 'drink more water' resolution from 2011, but this time make it more quantifiable.  I'd like to drink two glasses of water/day.  Yeulch.
2)Work out 2x per week.  I think I can manage this one, and I think it'll be helpful in regards to both my riding and my overall health.  This may sound odd coming from a 5'9 105lb girl, but health isn't just about weight, and while I may be thin I also eat awfully which brings me to my 3rd resolution
3)Stop being such a mooch.  I'm an awful mooch; I jus see food and have this uncontrolable desire to eat it!!! It doesn't really matter whose it is, so long as it ends up in my mouth.  I have poor impulse control; this is my attempt to correct it and do something for society as a whole simultaneously.
4)Eat healthier.  Another one of those unquantifiable/unqualifiable resolutions.  MAYBE I can make it quantifiable by 2013 ;)  I seem to have a penchant for goals that area easy to say 'yeah, I totally did that' without REALLY doing it...

2012 Goals:
1) Compete at 1st level.  A challenge? Yes.  Doable? I think so.
2) COMPLETE an event, and hopefully pick up some ribbons.  I'd like to be successfully going Entry by the end of the season, and MAYBE try a PT.  Maybe.  That's not a goal, just an 'outline'.
3) Go camping with Cadence, or go on a fox hunt (or training hunt) with Cadence
4) Get a car... it would make my life oh so much easier.
4) Keep RFTGU going until 2013!  What an odd thought... 2013.  How time flies when you're having a good time.

I hope everyone has a wonderful new year, and I'll see you all on the other side.  Cheers!

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Dressage Clinic Video: Part 1

Here's the first part of the clinic back in November.  This was Cadence's second ride of the day, as we'd participated in a demonstration earlier on.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

The Culprit & Vet Photos

I was going to post a video from the Belinda Trussell clinic back in November (way back when I stil lhad a ridable horse) but I think this'll be far more interesting.

This post details the events of our second visit to Milton Equine, but beware: I took pictures. Like, pictures of blood, puss, and other fun stuff running down Cadence's leg... It doesn't bother me, but I thought I'd at least give people the option to not loose their lunch if they aren't much for blood and such.  It's nothing to terrible, honest.  Some just don't like that stuff though, so I figured I should give the option
Here's a sneak preview to entice you into reading further:

Monday, December 26, 2011

Merry Christmas & Cadence Update

I hope everyone had a safe and happy christmas, and for those who don`t celebrate the holiday rest assured it`ll soon be over!
I was away for a few days (getting home late Christmas eve) so yesterday was the first time I saw my pony since her  vet appointment & the change up in her bandaging routine.  She`s been on a few hours of arena turnout, and has had her bandages off for a few hours each day too.  Her leg looked... big.  And she was dead hopping lame on it too when I trotted her out.  Oh mare.  Later when I cleaned the wound, the lameness made sense.  I scrubbed it with chlorhexadine as per the vet`s orders, and it began oozing puss.  Oozing isn`t intense enough... it was like somebody had turned on the faucet and puss was running from the wound.  The buildup in pressure would (I`d imagine) be responsible for quite a bit of pain, so at least her lameness made sense.  Unfortunately though this means that the pocket hasn`t been draining as we`d hoped so Cadence is back up to Milton tomorrow for another appointment with them. (the previous 2 have been with our local vet clinic)

Thursday, December 22, 2011

The Return of the Vet

First off, my sincere apologies for not being diligent about my updates.  Until the end of Janruary, I'm not quite sure how this blog will fare in terms of update frequency.  Ah, to be in school.  Those days of whipping out two essays, studying for two tests, memorizing lines for a dramatization, and popping together a quick project all in a day's work.
In regards to the pony, the vet's coming out today to do a follow up.  Hopefully the bandages can come off, and MAYBE she can even get some turnout.  Poor girl; she's handling it so well

Monday, December 19, 2011

On The Weekend...

... I had a lesson on Z, discovered that Cadence is freakishly balanced, and pulled a muscle in my back.
The lesson went well.  Z was amazing, and (in spite of my difficulty adjusting to her) I think it was really helpful for me to ride her.  She's gotten to the point where she carries herself perfectly now, and riding a horse who had absolutely nothing in your hand was a wonderful feeling.  Totally weightless, carrying herself perfectly, a light and elastic contact, and working back to front.  It showed me where Cadence will need to go once she's truly straightened out.  We did some medium and extended trots, leg yield and shoulder in, and had some fun with that  beautiful canter of hers.  I wish my riding had been a bit better, but Z was fantastic about putting up with me.
On the Cadence front, she's been absolutely wonderful.  Yesterday, I knotted her lead around her neck and she followed me around the arena for 10 minutes, walking circles, serpentines, shallow loops, and over a small cavaletti.  Unfortunately, she's still SO Sensitive about anything touching her leg.  To change the bandage, it takes one person holding up her front right leg, one person changing the bandage on her right hind and attempting to not be kicked (thankfully, she always kicks straihgt back & away from us... but it's amazing how well she can kick her RH with her RF being held up!), and one person holding her head with a lip chain.  We've tried just about everything else, but you CAN NOT keep a hold of her without the lip chain.  What a mare.  I had no idea a horse could stand on two legs on the SAME side of their body for that long.  She defies physics.
After riding Z, I was sore.  Like 'ouch, I can't walk!' sore.  However, today I woke up in twice as much pain. It apepars I've pulled some weird obscure muscle in my back that hurts like the dickens when I move in a certain way, pick up certain things, or push in certain spots.  Add that to my still aching muscles, and I'm a bit of a mess.
Oh, and Christmas seems to have snuck up on me this year.  I swear it wasn't there last week, but now it's looming just around the corner and I'm not prepared in the least.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Cadence Update

My apologies for the lack of posts; things have been busy.  My semester is drawing to a close with but 3 weeks of school left.  Naturally, this means lots of projects, tests, and then once all that's over and done with... exams!  I can hardly wait.
Cadence had her drain out on Wednesday, and while she did fuss about quite a bit (she continued to kick out behind her... graciously kicking away from all of us humans... for well over 5 minutes after they'd removed the drain) she showed less hesitancy to put weight on her leg than before.  She's sound walking on it, and most of the time she'll put weight on it. She's been off any pain medication since Sunday.  As of Wednesday, she's on 10 - 15 minutes of hand walking / day, and bandage changes once every other day.  In about a week, she'll have a follow up appointment with the veterinary assistant to ensure she's still on the right track, and recovering properly.
In regards to my riding, I'll be taking two or three lesson's on my coach's mare Z.  Miss Z is now working on shoulder and haunches in, as well as counter canter, walk-canters, and all sorts of fun stuff.  So different form the mare who couldn't walk straight down the long wall last winter!  It'll be lovely to ride her again, and to brush up on my dressage skills.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Back Home

Yesterday the vet finally gave the OK to bring Cadence home.  She made the trip safe and sound, and is now enjoying chilling in her stall.... for the next two weeks.  You heard me right, two weeks. She'll have the drain taken out Friday, and until then her bandages have to be changed daily.  After Friday, they need to be done every other day.  She's on 15 minutes of hand walking/day, and stall rest until the wound heals.  Additionally, she gets 38cc of antibiotics 1x/day.
Last time we were in a similar situation (when we put her on stall rest till the vet could check out her leg) she managed to break out of her stall and gallop into the arena, tear a metal ring out of its concrete base, kick another horse in the chest (although he DID stick his nose in her butt) and just be a general pain in the arse.  I love her dearly, but if she was that bonkers after  4 days, I have no idea how we're going to get through 15 :(  The poor thing, she's going to be bored to tears.  Anyone have good suggestions for mental stimulation whilst on stall rest?
Oh, and while at the vets they noticed her manure was dry, so they gave her 2L of oil via a gastronasal tube to prevent colic.  Yet another thing to worry about.  Please send the Mare your love and positive thoughts... and perhaps send me some of those positive vibes while your at it. I think I may need it more than her if either of us want to make it to christmas!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

They've haad to put a tube in to help Cadence's wound drain (there's some fancy medical name, but I can't remember it...) and are going to be keeping her at least until tomorrow.  I know she's in good hands and its the right place for her to be, but I want my baby back.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Updates on Miss Cadence

First off, thank you all for your lovely comments; it means a lot.  Now onto Miss Mare:
Cadence appears to be doing well.  Unfortunately, tey had to do a small I and D (incision and drain) just below her wound, but the vet says she'll probably still be able to go home tomorrow.  Cross your fingers and hope for the best please!

Friday, December 9, 2011

Mare Emergencies

Cadence somehow got a nice puncture wound in her RH, and at first was fine but within a few minutes was rolling on the ground in pain.  Had the vet out, she said to take her to the OVC or Milton, so we went to milton.  X-ray & ultrasound came back good, tendon and sheath both fine and all bones are clean.  Keeping her till Sunday am to monitor infection; she'll get injection antibiotics then wean her onto oral Sun.  Longer post once I have time.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Contact, Frame, Collection, and Bend

First off, to understand this post it would probably be helpful to read horsemom's post from Of horses and boys... and everytihng in between.

Personally, I agree with everything she's said, but I've found that when a rider has contact (Note: contact does not mean pressure; the rider should be able to give both reins and have the horse maintain the same position.  Otherwise they don't have contact and but are simply holding.  Contact is simply referring to not having loops in your reins) and asks a horse to bend, the horse will (at least many of the horses that I've ridden... not all, but many) bend and end up in frame.  There are two key points to this:
1) The bend I'm referring to does not mean that the horse can turn their head and neck to the inside, or to whichever direction you're asking them to bend, though that is a part of it. Instead, bend is referring to suppleness through the jaw, poll, neck, and body, and allowing the rider to direct/manipulate this into straightness.  After all, bend really isn't about bending, so much as staying straight.
2)This 'frame' (at least in a young/green horse) will (and should not) be poll high.  A young horse will not naturally come with the muscle to carry that.  As time goes on and the horse learns to carry him/herself, the neck should naturally come up as the horse begins to transfer weight from their forehand onto their haunches, thus beginning collection.
I personally don't believe that you can say something is right or wrong based on where the highest point in the horses neck is.  I may very well be wrong, and if someone would like to educate me on the physiology behind this, I'd really appreciate it.  (Personally, I'd like to learn more about it from a structural musculoskeletal perspective.  What allows a horse to engage their haunches and lift their back?  When a horse is engaged, (sans rider) where is their natural headset?  How loose is the horse's neck during this time?) However, I've found that many people seem to focus largely on the high point in the neck (yes, other things do come with this , but I'm saying overall, not specifically... if that makes any sense) and forget about the rest of it.  They're just as focused on the 'look' as the rest of the world, their reasoning behind it is just a bit different.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Jump, Whoa, Wait, Repeat

For any of you that have ever endured the torture that is the 'circle exercise' (4 jumps dividing the four quadrants of the circle) then you understand the dread I felt when I was informed of this lesson's jumping exercise.  Two jumps is bad enough, four is... just not fun.  It's a wonderful exercise, especially in training the forward or hard to turn horse.
For those that haven't done it, the goal is to jump the jump, rock the horse back (or bring them back to trot to start), turn a nice square turn (effectively spinning them on their haunches when they balance back), release, and jump the next jump.  Rinse, repeat.
Cadence and my last jumping experience didn't go too well (mostly due to bad planning on my part) but her warm up was good and she was nice and responsive, especially considering the two other horses in the ring (one of which is a very green horse/rider combination)  She had a nice long canter warm up in which we concentrated on maintaining her nice calm canter, without too much fuss.  I was especially proud of the fact that she maintained that nice bannana bend to the right!
Anywho, we started the jumping exercise with one jump and three poles.  After trotting this a few times each direction, we popped up two cross rails.  Starting with just the two jumps allowed me to instill the immediate 'back' after the fences (coming right back to a WAITING trot before going to each pole/fence) and then when we added the other two fences, it wasn't all that difficult.  It took her a few tries to find her legs, but she remembered enough that we were able to jump, come back to trot, and then head to the fence with her rocked back and waiting, not galloping like a bulldozer.  There were one or two 'oopsies' each direction, but I just corrected her, (not heading for the next jump) and then continued on with the exercise.  When we tried it in the canter, I was surprized with how amazing she was!  So good and calm.  Better to the right than the left; it was easier to get her to bend right than it was to keep her fromgoing through that right shoulder.  However, she picked up on a very difficult exercise perfectly her first try.  I was so pleased.  Her jumping and dressage are now both at or above the level of Bailey's when I stopped riding him, they far surpass Arty's, and well none of the other horses I ride/have ridden really compare.
On an interesting note, we tried her in a 5" loose ring (no hooks or anything harsh like that) myler and she seemed to do pretty well with it.  I think the action's good (especially to help with her right side bend issues) but I think they're a little too thin for her... she was still a wee bit fussy with it.  I'll either ride in the myler or her regular snaffle tonight; still not sure.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Attention Shoppers....

... we now carry a right bend!  Yes, yoou heard me correctly.  Not only can we actually get a true right bend, but we can carry ourselves too.
To start at the beginning, Cadence was better last night but not perfect.  I could get some bend/give to the right, but she never totally gave it.  Its like she wasn't really moving through that right side.  Make sense?  I hope so... it's a little difficult to put into words.  Today my lesson started off in much the same manner, except that we had a little more give to the right than previously.  Then, about a third of the way through the lesson, she was grabbign and laying so we halted and rattled her off it, then asked for the bend.  Bam!  We had a right bend.  Like a true I will give and bend my nose to your stirrup if you want me to right bend. Even better?  We were able to keep it through the rest of the ride without much fuss (there was a little resistance after the canter) AND she was now carrying herself and not laying on me.  What an awesome mare :)
We'd started off the ride with the clammer in (wrapped in vetwrap to make it softer for her!  The things people come up with...) and took it off at the end of the ride to make sure we still had the bend.  She was totally loose and jiggly in a way that I've never seen her before.  We also were able to get a little more push from behind once that neck (and subsequently back) unlocked for me.  I could truly get her working back to front!  Honestly, I don't think she's ever been so free and bendable as she was today.  It was a lovely feeling.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Well, it's not the saddle...

... its just mare-itude.

My coach rode lil miss Cadence yesterday, in her saddle, and had the same experience with her that I did.  Great w/c, NO right bend in the trot though.  The only difference is that when she couldn't get it, she got off and long lined her.  The fact that my coach couldn't get her to bend makes me both disappointed and happy.  It pleases me because if a former Canadian Olympic team member who's ridden at the FEI level in both dressage and eventing can't get her to give, then I shouldn't feel bad about not getting it. Its displeasing because, well, she won't bend!  After a 45 minute long line session, Cadence did give in and release that right side.
Apparemtly this 'new development' is solely attitude based.  My job is to be more firm and demanding.  I think I deal quite well with nervous horses, as I can keep my calm, but I know when to push.  The bossy ones however are a little bit of a new experience, and more of a challenge.  I'm not exactly submissive, but I am not 100% comfortable with asserting dominance.  However, the observations my coach made did strike a bit of a chord, so I guess I'm going to have to toughen up a bit.

On another note, I have a blog rec: If you want to have a laugh, go check out The Dressage Curmudgeon.  Read it from the start, and enjoy; you can thank me later.  Have a great weekend!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Saddles & Hooves

First off, Cadence got her hind shoes off yesterday when she got her toes trimmed.  I put hind shoes on for the summer when her feet began to break up in the spring.  Ultimately I'd like to have her go barefoot, and am contemplating pulling her front shoes in another month.  We'll see... I really like the concepts of natural hoof care, I just worry that it won't work for Cadence.  Her comfort is my top priority here, and that brings me to my next point.
On Tuesday when I rode, Cadence was... interesting.  She wasn't interested in bending to the right at ALL in the trot; like throw her right shoulder in and swing her body all over when I asked for bend not interested.  I could get bend in the walk and canter, but he trot eluded us. I contemplated back soreness( which was a no) and saddle fit, or a non-pain related issue, like hse just didn't want to do the work.  Cadence is really willing though, and (from my experience) seems to enjoy what we do, so the lasto ne didn't really fit.  After talking with my coach, I learned that she'd ridden Cadence in her saddle, not in mine.  She agreed that saddle fit may be an issue, as Cadence has bulked up so much in recent months.  She's going to ride Cadence again today, and I'll ride her in my coach's saddle tomorrow.  Then Saturday, we'll reconvene and discuss what we've found.
There is one other possibility. On the second day of the clinic (which I WILL get around to writing about... I swear) I used a clammer (sp?) on Cadence.  I've been able to find out absolutely nothing about them through the interweb, other than a post that Pia's Mom wrote about it.  It works sort of like a double bridle, but without the two sets of reins.  Apparently (from what I've been told) they're good for horses who lay on the bit, as they bump into the clammer and come off it.  It also works a little like a copper roller, giving them something to play with/concentrate on.  My coach used it again on her when she rode her (while I was in NYC) and it was after that ride that she said Cadence was wonderful, so perhaps the clammer's working really well when its being used, but having negative repercussions when its not?    This seems unlikely, for several reasons, but is still worth noting. Reasons I'm doubtful:
1) I doubt she's being vengeful and laying on the bit when she doesn't ahve the clammer, as she doesn't really strike me as a vengeful character...
2) She's only been worked in it twice
3) That's a pretty major repercussion...

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Year in Review: 2010/2011

I really like Andrea's way of recapping her year... very handy to look back on!  So, I decided I'd steal the idea.  Here goes:

November 2010
In November, I was still part boarding Bailey, and leasing Arty.  Bailey had some issues when he attempted the barefoot lifestyle, and we slapped some front shoes back on him.  I would still go out and school Arty before school (should have thought of a better word), and life was good.  All in all, nothing of consequence happened.

December 2010
December was slightly more eventful than November.  I stopped 'officially' leasing the pony (unless I'm mistaken... but I don't think I am), and about mid-month Bailey injured his back (we suspect he slipped out in the field) and started his time off.  My friend Megan was given the mare she had spent the last year and a half leasing for Christmas, and I wasn't given the indoor arena I asked for ;)  I met Cadence's mom at my coaches Christmas party, and was in awe of Cadence's impressively scopey free jumping in the video I was shown.  Seriously, that mare was jumping 6' in her hind end... over a 4' jump.  Thank god she doesn't jump like that under saddle.  I ride Z for the first time, and have issues with insomnia.  My attempts to brave the cold to school Arty (since we have no indoor arena) fail a little, and his training falls by the way-side.

January 2011
New years passes uneventfully.  I make a list of goals/resolutions, and on a whim, decide to add getting a horse to the list.  It can't hurt to dream, right?  My lessons on Z continue, (on a side note, that pony you see in the video [Z] is now schooling 2nd level... how time flies) and I end up riding her a little more than expected when my coach injures her back.  Arty gets a new bit, and I contemplate the awfulness of winter.  Not that any of that's relevant.  slightly more importantly, Bailey starts back under saddle after about a month off, and I meet and start riding Cadence!  I also get sick, but what else is new.  Cadence jumps her first gymnastic, and I ride Majik for the first time.

February 2011
I keep Cadence on a trial period (actually that happens in January), and when all seems to be going well she gets her vet check.  My whole world changes, when my wonderful parents who have been so supportive of my riding career buy Cadence for me, and call it a birthday present!  Best present I will ever get.  On a less up beat note, My time with Bailey comes to an end, and technically my 'official' time with Arty does too.  Last but not least, I go to England!  What a way to end the month.

March 2011
In MArch, Cadence started off the month by knocking the glass window out of her stall with her head, and then  colicing a week later.  Eventful start to the month.  We got a dressage saddle, and had bad luck attempting to get a close contact saddle.  We also switched her into an 18mm sprenger kk ultra, which she's been in ever since.  At the end of march, Ontario was still covered in snow.

April 2011
Through some good luck, a new saddle came into my life.  A beautiful (albeit used... they're over 3k new) Childeric CC saddel.  Can you say comfy?  The saddle search was over.  Show plans for the summer were drawn up, the barn got a set of three REAL standards (sorry bar stool jumps, the real standards take the cake)  and it was STILL SNOWING BY THE MIDDLE OF THE MONTH!  Mark Todd won Badminton (not that has ANY relevance whatsoever to my mare and I) Cadence got a YouTube channel, and I went to Rolex.  Perfect way to end off the month :)

May 2011
Cadence had a wee bit of an issue (I hesitate saying issue, as it really wasn't.  It was more of just an occurrence) with a little fill in her hind legs.  We revised her work schedule and did some more conditioning.  All of this occurred while I was away in Kentucky.  A bit of  a stressful start to the month, if I do say so myself.  Cadence had her first off property school, jumped her first course, and went to her first show!

June 2011
Cadence had her first ever cross country school!  She was awesome, and rocked the socks off of it.  Other than that, it was just the usual ups and downs of training a greenie.  I was also pretty lax in my blogging.

July 2011
Cadence and I did a little more showing.  We had our first combined training show (and the first show in which Cadence jumped... or at least tried to) in which we were__(think of word)__ by a terrifying bright red shed; an obstacle which proved insurmountable. Ah well.  As for the HT, two days before the competition, we signed up for an event (pullling some strings to get us in) and headed off to our first recognized (and first unrecognized) horse trial.  We did swimmingly in dressage, survived Stadium without a single refusal (though I'm sure it looked god awful) and got eliminated out XC.   Unfortunately, when your horse doesn't go near a jump... they can't really complete the course.  Those scary drops (or benches... don't know which really spooked her more)  To end off the month, I broke my finger out XC!  Yay!

(I love this picture!  Worst form ever, but she threw me a major loop on this one; I just tried my best to stick with her)
August 2011
We attended another HT, only to be foiled once again by those nasty sheds!  A different one this time, but apparently Cadence has a serious issue with outbuildings.  Other than that, we had some fun schooling at different places, and enjoyed the last few bits of my summer holiday.  Oh, and I started riding Launa for her owner on a bi-weekly basis.

September 2011
We attended a hunter show... that was not our finest moment.  Cadence was a bit too on the muscle for my liking.  There was also some awful form on my part :P  Other than that, the most exciting news would be that I started training Launa to jump (going NICE and slowly) and that Riding From the Ground Up hit 100 posts!  We also had an awesome XC School up at Headwaters.

(This pic's from September, but its so hilarious I thought I had to include it)
October 2011
Cadence jumped her first bounce at the start of the month and was a total pro!  I went out west for my cousin's wedding, and Cadence's old owner/breeder came down for the weekend to ride her and she even took her out XC!  RFTGU got 30 followers, and other than that not too much happened.

November 2011
This was an action packed month.  Launa was put up for sale, I was essentially 'given' her to ride and maintain, and since I don't have nearly enough time for that, I pawned her off to a friend who is now part boarding/leasing her until she's sold.  Cadence went for her first 'real' trail ride, all by her self I might add.  I started and ended my acting career with a spot as an extra on Murdoch Mysteries, Cadence and I rode with Belinda Trussel, and we rocked a set of fairy wings at our friend's costume games day.  RFTGU celebrated its 1st birthday, and I SUCCESSFULLY COMPLETED NATIONAL BLOG POST MONTH!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Second Last Post of NaBloPoMo

Unless something extremely dramatic happens and I don't end up posting the post I've been working on for quite a while, tomorrow I should have successfully completed NaBloPoMo, save one day... and I think I had a pretty good excuse that day.  THat week was easily the most insane week I've ever survived.

For this post, I actually just wanted to share some NYC pics!  Here you are:

 Who you gonna call?  Ghost Busters!

Monday, November 28, 2011

Rush, Grab, Lay, Barge, Bolt

Cause that's what makes the world go round!  Oh wait, no it isn't.  That's just what makes Kate grumpy.

I had my first ride back after being on vacation (well... I consider three days away to be a vacation) and it was... enlightening.  Recently I've been ruminating over putting some scary stuff under jumps, and seeing how Cadencde ould handle it.  So today, in the absence of a lesson, I decided to try it.  I dragged out three jumps, putting two on the diagonal and one on the long wall, and added pylons under two, and upside down water buckets on the side of the remaining diagonal. 
Now, already I've made a couple of stupid mistakes.  Firstly, Cadence has had a bit of a day on, day off, day on, day off schedule over the past week.  She had just come off of three days on and three days off (with yesterday being off) so I should have flatted her.  My rationale for jumping was that I didn't want her to go too long without jumping, lest she be too crazy when we finally got back around to it.  In hindsight, I should have flatted today and jumped tomorrow.  The ONE extra day wouldn't have killed her.  But instead, I figured a brief lunge would suffice.  My second mistake was starting off with three single fences.  Whenever we canter fences, we've always done some gymnastic work first... so expecting her to jump these scarier fences with a totally different warm up was a big mistake on my part.
My third error came when I forgot to put on her martingale... whoops.  I hate artificial aids (and include martingales in that category) but when your horse will grab the bit, nose in the air,a nd run three strides out from the jump?  You're better off with the martingale.
The ride started off well enough; her warm up was adequate too.  Though she was a little hesitant to rock back in the trot.  (I later discovevered she'd lodged a massive stone in next to her frog, so perchance she didn't want to put too much weight on her hind end; though the rest of the ride indicated no such qualms) The issues came in that (even in the trot) she'd flatten out before the fences, and jump 'em flat & long.  In the canter it was even worse, as she'd grab the bit & throw her head up before running at the jump.
When she wasn't doing that, she'd be stiff, grabby, and heavy in the hand.  Not much fun.  After three or four of these jumps (for lack of a better word) I tried bringing her back to a trot right before the fence.  We hopped 'em nicely like that, but every now and again she'd just grab and run, adding a  stride or two of canter in before the fence.
On to the next trick.  I moved one of the diagonals over and made a gymnastic out of it and the fence on the long wall.  Just a simple one stride set to like an inch or two shy of 18'.  So in essence, set to 18'.  We hopped over that a few times, then trotted the diagonal off of the gymnastic.  All three fences were nice and calm, so we did the gymnastic twice more, and cantered in to the diagonal off of the second gymnastic.  She lengthened a wee bit up to the diagonal, but there was no grabbing, and no running off so we called it quits and ended on a good note.  Cadence doesn't need to be worked into the ground just because I set her up for failure instead of success.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Home We Go...

... and then straight to the barn.  Honestly, I'm flying home, maybe making a quick appearance at school for my afternoon classes, and then heading off to ride Cadence.  I've missed my mare over the past few days.  Life in the big apple's been spectacular, but I can't wait to get home.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

The Big Apple

Lots of fun touring the big city.  Oddly enough, it doesn't feel that big once you're in it.  We walked through Central Park this morning, ate lunch at a really traditional old-style diner near 5th Ave, went to Tiffany & Co.  Then, after a little afternoon nap, (toddlers are tiring...) we went shopping!  I think I could really get used to this lifestyle... if I had a couple million to spare, that is.  Otherwise, you aren't getting this lifestyle.  Its insane!  Things are just so outrageous.  I'm currently staying in an appt. on the west (I think) side of Central Park.  I can practically see the park from the window.  Well, I'm looking the wrong way; I can see the Hudson River though... does that count?  Either way, an apartment like this goes for $10 000 per month.  Per month!  Insane.  This is a ridiculously big apartment, but still.  What's even more mind boggling is the fact that the east side of the park makes this side look cheap.  Quite the life.

On the agenda for tomorrow is a broadway show, popping in to see Time Square, and (probably) some more shopping :)  Hope everyone enjoys their weekend, and survived Black Friday with all your appendages in-tacked.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Off to NYC

Adios, amigos.  I'm off to The Big Apple (do I have that name right?) to celebrate Thanksgiving with my family.  First though, here's a quick summary of my last two rides:
went out for a hack.  Cadence was energetic, a little spooky, and damn obstinate.  Overall it was fun though; the scenery/time of day was beautiful!

First dressage school since the clinic.  Cadence was too fresh (should have lunged her first) and was grabby and wanted to lay on me.  On a whim, I asked for a leg yield (something we first learned on Sat... this was her second try) down the long wall, and she gave me absolutely gorgeous lateral movements, both directions!  Unbelievable.  To the right, I could just ask, and leave her alone... occasionally checking her shoulder or adjusting the angle a titch.  Going to the left required a little more leg to keep that bum engaged.  Good reverse on the forehand and haunches too.  She totally understands the aids (and the differences between them) for all three now.  We even leg yielded down the wall in the trot, both ways with stunning results.  I couldn't beleive it was only her second time trying it.
The rest of the ride was good too; when she wanted to lay/grab, I was able to correct and work through it.  My coach will ride her on the weekend when I'm away.
Hope everyone enjoyed their Thanksgiving!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Games Day Pictures & Happy Thanksgiving

First off, happy Thanksgiving!  It doesn't feel like Thanksgiving yet, as I'm still in Canada and don't leave to go visit my family 'till tomorrow night.  For all you enjoying the holiday, have an extra slice of pie for me

I finally uploaded the pictures from the costume games day. Enjoy!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Monday Jumping Lessons

Monday we had a quick gymnastic school to make suree the mare didn't go too long without a jump school.  I was actually quite impressed with how well lil miss mare was with her jumping!  Warmed up over an x, then a vertical, then jumped through a bounce, then did some lower (2'3-2'6) grid work.  The final exercise was the same basic bounce to one stride that we did in the video, but set with 2'6 - 2'9 verticals.  We did it once, got it right, and moved on.  To end, we cantered an oxer both directions, and ended.  She was good cantering the oxer to the right, with only one long spot.  To the left (her grabby direction) we got two long spots and one very (on the verge of being dangerously) long spot, but for the most part I was able to correct her when she went to grab me and keep her rythm the same to the base of the jumps.  It was an improvement!
She had yesterday off, and today we'll go out for a hack... if the weather cooperates.  This morning as I was driving in to school (at about 7am) and there was snow on the ground!  It's snowed before, but never stuck.  Now that the sun's up it's all gone, but it really made it feel like winter.  Not that this is relevant...

Clinic Report: Friday

Friday, I had the wonderful opportunity to sleep in!  How odd.  I don't know how long its been since I had a whole morning and (almost) nothing to do.  However, following my usual trend of bad luck (see my list of disasters from Murdoch Mysteries) I woke up feeling sick.  At first, my sleep addled brain just plugged it down to nerves.  I thought thatwas odd, as I hadn't really been nervous.  Plus, I'd never felt that ill from nerves before.  After actually being physically sick, I realized that this must be something more than just nerves.  So the quest became finding something that would settle my stomch, and not put me to sleep.  With that settled, I made myself some breakfast (with my appetite magically restored, and my "nerves" miraculously disappeared) and sat down to waste away the next two hours.  Oh the joys of the internet!
I arrived at the barn at around noon, an hour after the clinic was supposed to start.  Belinda had been detained with an emergency phone call for a 1/2 hour, so we were actually running a 1/2 hour behind schedule. I ended up getting to watch a little bit of everyone's ride, which was an unexpected treat.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Clinic Pictures!

The title pretty much says it all...

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Happy 1 Year Anniversary!

One year ago today, I started Riding From The Ground Up.  In that year, so much has changed!  First for some stats (which really surprised and shocked me)
Over 4 900 page views
Multiple views from as far away as Russia, Australia, and India
Highest traffic point: August 2011 (just under 700 views)
157 Posts (inc this one)
Actually, the incredibly close eye blogger keeps on these things is creepy... you can see who's looking at your blog in this instant in time if you want to... or at least where they're from, what system they operate on (ie Windows, Mac, iPad)  and what browser they're using.
Creepiness over and done with, a lot has also happened in that year.  Most memorably, I stopped leasing Arty and got Cadence.  This was probably one of the hardest decisions I'll ever have to make.  My pony is (to steal STB Eventer's word) my heart horse.  There will never be anyone as special as him to me.  I've struggled and still continue to struggle over whether I've done right by him.  I know he has food, water, and all his basic needs met... but I also know he was better off when he was with me.  At the same time, he is physically incapable of doing what I want to do in terms of riding.  Was it right to put my needs above his?  Would I have stayed happy slogging around 2'3 and 2'6 hunter shows though?  No way.  Cadence has given me so much in terms of letting me go where I want to with my riding.  It's slow going, as I've had to show her every step of the way, but she has the talent and the intelligence to get there.  I wouldn't have been in that clinic with Belinda had I still been riding Arty.  There's so much I couldn't have done... I just struggle as to whether I've done the right thing by him.
Stopping riding Bailey was sad, but I never had the same connection with him that I have with Cadence or Arty.  He was a great teacher and a wonderful horse, he just didn't have enough... spunk? Personality?  Either way, he didn't have enough ___ for me.  So that was sad, but in a 'oh this is inconvenient' kind of way, where you sort of miss him every now and again.  I liked him a lot, I just never loved him.
Most recently in terms of horses has been lil miss Launa.  I started riding her in the summer, taught her to jump, and then she was sort of snatched out from under my nose with the news that Judy was going to sell her.  Actually, I precipitated that snatching al ittle by finding her a part boarder which turned into a semi-leaser.  I'll still ride her occasionally, but as of current its been about 2 weeks... and I have no clue when the next time will be.
In terms of competition stuff, the highlight of my year would probably be the clinic with Belinda.  I learned so much, and it was fun for a variety of different reasons.  Firstly, it was educational.  We learned stuff, and improved a fair bit (IMO).  Moving on.  The clinic was also one of the first times Cadence and I got to do something that we were really quite well prepared for.  In the past 2 weeks, her dressage has improved leaps and bounds.  During the clinic, we not only surprised my coach with how well Cadence was doing, but I think we kind of surprised ourselves.  Either way, it couldn't have come at a better time.  It was also fun since we were working at things that are above that basic level.  She can w/t/c staying on the bit through her transitions, she can jump nicely around a basic course, she can do all that baby stuff.  Now we can move on to some more exciting stuff.
Technically, we went to our first dressage show, first combined training show, and first recognized event (not that we technically completed...).  Cadence had her first off property school, first real jump school, first real course, first XC school, first time through a combination, first time through a gymnastic, first time over an oxer (under saddle that is), and a bunch of firsts I'm sure I'm forgetting.  All of that was very fun and exciting, but the clinic trumped all.

Where do we go from here?  Over the next year, I'd like to have completed a few Pre-Entry level events, a few Entry level events, and at least one Pre Training level event.  I'd also like to be successfully showing 1st level dressage, with scores in the mid 60's.  Is all this a bit much? Maybe, but if you shoot for the moon, at the very least you'll land amongst the stars.  Plus, there's nothing wrong with wishful thinking.  I won't be upset if we don't attain these goals.  They're just ideas based on our current training, how Cadence has improved over the past year (well 9 months) and where I'd like to see her go.
I'd also like to be a little more consistent with my posting.  Chronicle daily riding better, and (maybe just maybe) improve my writing a little.  I suppose that would require editing.... yuck.  Okay, no to the editing, but I would like to improve my writing.  I think I'll also try responding to comments... just for something new.
I've really enjoyed this first year, so here's to many more to come!

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Clinic: Success

In short, the Belinda Trussell Clinic was a huge success.  Most of the riders were other students of my coach's ,so it was nice since I knew almost everyone.  We had a lot of auditors though, especially since a bunch of kinds from the pony club came to audit as well.  Currently, I'm exhausted. I think I'll be eating dinner and then heading off to bed, but I'll try to write a more detailed recap of what we learned, what we worked on, and all that fun stuff.  It just won't be tonight!  Oh, and I have pictures... just not on the computer.  I'll try to upload them asap.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Bareback Video

This is my backup post in case I don't have time to post after the clinic

Bareback clips from September, I believe.  Maybe it was October... it was during one of her 'bad phases' (of which we've thankfully only had 2) and I decided that we should change things up and try her w/o a saddle.  It was one of the best rides we'd had in a while, even though (as you can see) there are still some major 'issues' going on there.  Her trot will look rather short and flat all thorough the video.  This was intentional.  Her major evasion is to go forward and run, so I'm over correcting by insisting on this slower, flatter pace.  When she's supple and relaxed (and carrying herself) then we get that nice forward elastic trot she's capable of.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Almost Missed It!

Im writing this from my iPod, while lying in bed at 11:45 pm. I have already missed one day; I won't be missing another!
Tomorrow's the first day of the Belinda Trussel clinic, and while I'm a tad nervous (there are goi g to be a lot of auditors!) i am more excited than anything else. Actually, i think im more tired than anything else.
For now, I shall bid you good night. Wish us luck tomorrow!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Jumping Video

A few clips from Monday's jump school.  I discovered that when compiling the clips, you can add effects to them!  I may have gone a little insane with it....
Also, you'll notice that Cadence makes a little stumble (see Oops...) at one point in time.  I'm not quite sure WHY it happened, but I was paranoid she'd hurt herself since she didn't have back boots on.  She was fine (I made someone trot her out for me, then I free lunged her when I was done my ride to be double sure) but I hate little things like that.
School's been a little insane lately, so since I missed my Monday lesson, my coach agreed to ride her for me today.  I think my coach has been on her 3 or 4 times before, so I'm really excited to see how she thinks Cadence is doing.  It's always a different experience riding a horse, versus seeing them go.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Murdoch Mysteries: An Extra's Tale (Part 3)

Where'd I leave off... dinner?  The torn dress?  I do believe we'd returned to Graydon Hall when we left off.

Alrighty, so whilst in hair and makeup, I was paired up with a dance partner for the evening's festivities.  However, this partnership was not to be.  Barely a minute later, we were called down to set whilst my partner was still stuck getting his mustache glued on :P  I was paired with a young girl (a family friend of the lead) and her dance partner, and we were designated 'wallflowers'.  Fine by me; I probably would have died dancing in those shoes anyway.
My situation with the young girl ended up securing me rather more camera time than I'd intended.  She had a 'special role' to make sure she made it on camera, so her and her dance partner were supposed to be followed by the camera as they walked across the room.  This meant I was in two separate shots (unfortunately)... and secured my presence in a few more.
Ironically, I have absolutely no interest in being seen on film.  I hate having my picture/video taken, unless I'm on a horse.  So why you might ask did I apply to be on a tv show?  Purely for the costumes, and the experience.  If I didn't even make it into the episode, I think I'd be just as pleased.
Anyhow, as my friend and her dance partner abandoned me to walk across the room, another gentleman (a 63 year old gentleman... we decided he was my grandfather : P ) was instructed to walk up and keep me company.  He was one of the 'regulars' on the show... one of the constables.  Back on topic.  We pretended to chat for a while (naturally, you can't actually talk during filming, you just have to mouth gibberish) and ended the scene in that matter.
During this scene, two more 'unfortunate events' occurred.  Firstly, a light I was standing next to exploded.  My ears hurt a little, but all in all it wasn't anything too disastrous.  The bigger disaster occurred when I knocked over a large pewter flower arrangement located on a pedestal near me.  I was so embarrassed!  Trust me to bring disaster in my wake.
The next one we shot was from the other side of the room (the left hand side).  My previous location was occupied by a camera, so I was placed on the other side and left to socialize/walk around.  This was the first angle of the fireworks shot.  Here, I simply walked to the back of the room, and returned to the front when we pretended to see fireworks.  Not particularly exciting.  I did have another 'unfortunate event' though, as the seam sealing the top part of my dress to the train and the skirt magically lost all of its stitching... time to head back to costumes!
After this, some more time was spent in holding, filling out forms and waiting for them to film a scene I wasn't needed in.  Then, my 'group' was called down, and we headed back.  My constable and I assumed our prior locations (where the young girl, her partner, and myself started off the evening) and spent a solid 10 minutes pretending to have a delightful conversation, while the cameras rolled some important dialogue between the leads.
Gah, WHY did I have to be in the back of THAT shot?  Do you have any idea how difficult it is to PRETEND to talk for 10 straight minutes?  You have no idea when the other person is about to stop/start, what the appropriate gestures would be, whether they're pretending to be pleased/upset/angry.  It's very frustrating.  Especially when they have to shoot the scene over and over again.  We ended up sniffing a lot of flowers, and looking around the room several times ;)
During this time (it was around 2:30am) one of the waiters complained (jokingly of course, as you aren't supposed to actually eat the props) that nobody was taking any of his truffles.  The next time he came around, my constable graciously accepted one, popped it into his mouth, and complemented the flavour... all the while with me giggling madly attempting to contain laughter.  Even better was when he did it again.  So their may be some insane giggling on camera too... Keep in mind that everything's funnier at 2am.
I had another disaster during this time, when my shoes sort of died on me.  All was fixed without another trip to costumes though.
Do not fear, the end is near.  We are now entering the final scene.
At this point in time, everyone was called back down to film the final scene.  Unfortunately, this is when my role as a constable's partner/granddaughter (no pedefiles in the Toronto Constabulary) became rather challenging.  In the final scene, everyone surrounds the doors leading out to the balcony to 'ring in the new year' by 'watching the fireworks.'  the two leads are in the center, just back from the doors, with the main supporting characters off to their left and right.  MY role was to walk past the two leads, and stand infront of the right hand door to watch the fireworks.  RIGHT IN FRONT OF THE CAMERA!  Gahh.
To make matters even better, I managed to snag my train on the door, and nearly do a face plant when I attempted to move forward and was jerked back, in turn blocking the shot.  Cue the mortification.
Overall, it was a lot of fun.  My series of unfortunate events aside, everything went quite well.  All of the people were polite, kind, and welcoming.  Though I wouldn't do it again, It was a wonderful experience.  It did affirm that I have absolutely NO desire to become an actress though ;)

Monday, November 14, 2011

Murdoch Mysteries: An Extra's Tale (Part 2)

Continuing on from where we left off:

I had quite the hairdo (or so I was told... naturally I can't see the back of my head), which was completed by a nice little feather-and-ribbon thingy which was pinned in to complete the look.  I was also accessorized with a pearl choker, and a not all that period clutch.  Everything aside from the bag was beautiful, though I could have done without the shoes.  You know how most heels have some semblance of padding in them?  These did not.  11 hours in them, and your feet REALLY start to kill.  Oh, and I kept bumping into things with my sleeves.  More on that later though.

So after having my hair done, they quickly covered up the dark shadows beneath my eyes, and putting some pink on my lips I was done.  I was actually surprised they didn't do more with my makeup, but I wasn't about to complain.  I'd have enough of a headache attempting to take out my hair (apparently they did a lot of teasing in the 1890's and early 1900's....) I didn't need to add tons of makeup removal on top of that.  Next we were off to holding to wait out the minutes until we headed off to the lunch hall to eat.

I found it extremely entertaining that they call a meal eaten at 9:00pm lunch.  The food was actually delicious though, much to my surprise.  I guess I got lucky in the dress department, since two of the other ladies I was sitting with had to watch their food intake, since their dresses were so tight!  I had no such qualms :)

To be transported to 'lunch' we were all loaded into vans (with the women covered in plastic wrap [i kid you not] to protect from the rain) and driven five minutes down the road to some church hall.  Unfortunately, whilst loading into the van, the trim on my skirt caught and tore out a little.  Nothing major; it was fixed by a simple safety pin.  However, it marked a bit of a trend to come.

Once arrived home, I headed over to hair & makeup to get a stray lock fixed, and mentioned the hem issue to costumes on the way.  I discovered that this dress was apparently cursed, and was always falling apart. (I should note that in the mean time, even more of the hem had managed to come loose, and more safety-pinning was required). Itherefore claim no responsibility for any of the events that followed; after all, the dress was cursed... not me.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Murdoch Mysteries: An Extra's Tale (Part 1)

Though this may not does not pertain specifically to horses, as this is more like a personal journal than a blog (though I love the comments!) I figured I may as well chronicle it anyway.
On Monday we were told that the call time and other specific instructions would be emailed to us the next morning.  At 9:30 pm on Tuesday (keep in mind we`re supposed to be filming on Wednesday) we received word that the call time would be approx. 12:30pm the next day, but they wouldn`t know till they were done filming.  It wasn`t till about 11:30 that they said (in essence) that they`d notify us of a specific time the next morning.
So Wednesday morning, they emailed to say that the call time had been pushed back 4.5hours and was now 5:00.  So I went to the barn, rode Cadence, and then decided that I might as well go into school.  (I most definitely had my priorities straight:  horse first, then school) On the way into Toronto, we got caught in some major traffic, and ended up being .5h late (5:30) but it wasn`t much of an issue, as there was a back log of people in hair and makeup anyways.
Okay, so currently we`re sitting at about 5:30pm on Wednesday the 9th of October.  We (Laura and I) arrive, check in, and while Laura gets her makeup done, the costumes people set me up with a dress!  I had this beautiful purplish-grey gown with a massive lilac-ish coloured train.  A petticoat, a butt-pillow, and a pair of turn of the century heals rounded off the ensemble.  Once dressed, I headed off to wait for hair and makeup to complete the look.
Our location:  the beautiful Graydon Hall

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Blog Post Fail

Argh!  I missed yesterday's post!  To my credit I have a fairly good reason: I had no time, and this past week has been insane.  None the less, if I REALYL REALLY wanted to, I could have done it.  Alas, I'll post the post tomorrow.

A brief summary of my insane week:
Monday: skipped classes to prepare for Tuesday's mid-terms
Tuesday: Mid-terms, and Noel Gallagher concert, get home at 12:30
Wednesday: Murdoch Mysteries, get home at 5am on Thursday
Thursday: Survive off of 3 hours of sleep
Friday: Music department's annual silent auction & dinner dance(which finishes at 11, so you don't get out of there till at least 11:30)
Saturday: Lesson, and RAWF's Big Ben Challenge

The Big Ben Challenge also doesn't finish till at least 11, 11:30's more realistic though.  So I won't be home till about 1:30am.  

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Cheater Post

Filming wrapped at 3:45am today.  I got home at 5, and slept for 3 1/2h before getting up to go into school.  I skipped physics, but who can honestly handle physics on (what would have been) 1 1/2h (atm ost) of sleep?
The whole experience was wonderful.  Everybody was so kind and helpful, in spite of the late night!  Despite all that, it did affirm one thing: I have no desire to become an actress, lead or otherwise.  I also don't think I'd extra again, unless it was on a favourite TV show kind of thing.  While it was fun, its one of those things that's a bit more of a once in a life time's experience.
I wish I'd brought a camera to take pictures!  When my brain resumes its regular functions, I'll attempt to scrounge some off of other people, and write a slightly more detailed post equipped with tales of exploding lights, cursed dresses, and a turn of the century new years eve party.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

The TV Industry

So my career as an extra has thus far proved to be... interesting?  (Much like the equine industry) everything seems to be last minute, constantly changing, and nobody's ever QUITE sure what's going on till under 24h before it happens.  My friend and I got our confirmed call time at 8:50 this morning, when the initial call time we'd received was 12 noon.  Keep in mind it takes 1 1/2h to drive to the filming location....
Anyhow, at 10:30 last night, they didn't know what today's call time would be since they hadn't finished filming.  So this morning we got our call time: 5pm.
Their estimated time for filming to be over for today?  Between 3 and 4 am.
The reason it had been bumped up by 4.5h?  They ended late last night.
Okay, if someone can help me understand why ending late last night means we should bump things back so we can end even later tonight, I'd love to know.

In other news, the concert was fantastic.  Noel was hilarious, and the music was superb.  Additionally, the drummer of the opening band had awesome shoes.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

A Host of Updates

First off, I'm not sure if anyone read Sad News: For Sale, but if you did then you'll remember my comments about a show called Murdoch Mysteries.  Well, last night they emailed and they have space for my friend (Laura) and I on Wednesday's show!  So it looks like we'll make it on the show after all.  They may very well cut our scene, but alas I'm in it for the Victorian era clothing, not the fame and fortune that comes with being an extra ;)

Next, Cadence and I had a wonderful jumping lesson.  We worked on getting that nice round jump, something that we tend to lose since the Mare has enough ability to easily pop over anything we present her with.  As a result, she gets long and flat, and avoids building muscle.  We also came within millimeters of squishing my coach's dog, since she ran out into the middle of the grid we were jumping.  It effectively backed Cadence off though!  Something I'd been much less successful with.

Lastly, I'm off to see Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds!  My excitement levels have sky rocketed.  Ciao!

Monday, November 7, 2011

Games Day

Cadence and I were invited to a friend's annual costume and games day (followed by a potluck for the humans)yesterday.  We attended dressed in fairy-princess style, complete with white and baby blue bows surrounding Cadence's braids, a baby blue saddle pad matched with white polos, my good white breeches (which Cadence promptly slobbered all over) a baby blue shirt, and a set of sparkly fairy wings for myself.  You may think I over did it, but let me assure you... I most definitely did not.  Out of those who dressed up (a few did not) I was probably the least imaginative, creative, and extravagant.  At least Cadence didn't spook at the wings!
As for the actual games, we played musical stalls (during which we were the first pair eliminated), a texting game (in which you must circle the barrel with your letter in sequence to spell your word), a relay race, and an obstacle course relay race.  My team one both relay races, but in the individual games... well, Cadence was the youngest horse there.  The fact that we were ALL beaten by a 37 (I kid you not) year old QH can stay under wraps for the time being ;)
Lastly we had a group game of capture the flag played out on all accessible parts of their 100 acre property. My team won due to our brilliant flag hiding location (we hid it in between two of the spooky hay bales so that it could only be seen from one side, plus the horses are not keen on going anywhere near those death-traps.  Ingenious, eh?) and our stellar flag-finding tactics.  We were done in only half the allotted time, so Cadence and I went and did some schooling in their arena.  She'd been a little hyped up with all the running and stopping and such required in the games, but we settled down enough to put in some pretty decent dressage!  I was proud.
Now I'm off for a jumping lesson.  Ciao!

Sunday, November 6, 2011

RIP Hickstead

For those who don't know, Hickstead collapsed earlier today upon completion of his grand prix round in Veronica Italy earlier today.  He died within minutes in front of hundreds of spectators, both in the ring and live streaming off of the FEI website.  Just for a minute, imagine you've just completed your stadium round/dressage test/whatever else it may be that you're doing, and as you and your horse are walking to exit the ring, he just dies out from underneath you.  I cannot put into words how this event has made me feel.
The cause of death is currently unknown, (though some suspect a burst coronary artery) as no autopsy has been completed.  Since I'd rather not post the footage of his death, I thought I'd post one of the proudest moments in both equestrian and Olympic history for us Canadians.  A much more fit way for us to remember this fantastic athlete.  RIP Hickstead, and my thoughts go out to Eric and his team during this difficult time.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Saturday Chills

The sun is shining, but there aren't many birds chirping in these sub zero temperatures.  And to think that it was 64 degrees earlier this week....  I warmed up for my lesson this morning with a long sleeved shirt, a coat, a vest, a quarter sheet, and my winter gloves on.  Brrrrrr.
The lesson itself went well though.  Cadence had fully recuperated in her day off, and was a little strong today.  It was nothing unmanageable, but its too bad I didn't get to show off how wonderful she's been this past week.  We did some basic leg-yielding stuff in the trot (yay!) and worked on moving her shoulders.  Additionally, maintaining the bend and working that right rein played key roles in the morning's activities.  my coach suggested that after she's had a day off, we lunge before riding to get some of herenergy out so that we can focus more on the work and not spend the first 20 minutes of the ride dealing with her 'silliness'.
We also had a chance to speak about the clinic.  Apparently I have to display all of Cadence and my loveliness to a group of auditors, and the local pony club!  Oh the joy.  In addition, my coach said that we may be chosen as demonstrators for a talk on contact that Belinda is giving the pony clubbers.  We also talked about food for the lunch (much more exciting, IMO) and turnout/attire.  I can't wait!  Now, if only I could fast forward to the end of mid-terms, all would be well with the world.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Another Step for Launa

Well, it appears that Launa's moving on to another stage of her life;  she now has a part-boarder.  I'm happy with how this has worked out.  Launa now has somebody (aside form myself, that is) to love her, care for her, and keep her training up to date.  Additionally, Laura now has a pony in her life again.  At the same time, I'm not sure if I'll be able to continue riding Launa, and if that's the case (not that I'd hesitate to relinquish my duties to Laura) I'm really going to miss Launa.  She's been so much fun... and I think when she goes, she'll take a little piece of my heart with her.

Cadence has been doing fantastically though.  Much lighter on the contact. more consistent through transitions and changes, and oh so much better with that right rein!  We're continuing on with the little bit of collection and extension work, as well as the beginnings of lateral movements.  Her reverse on the haunches is looking awesome, and the reverse on the forehand going to the right is good, but pushing her through to the left is still nearly impossible.  All in good time, I suppose.

When we jumped on Wednesday, I was disturbed to find that my little mare could consistently bounce 24 feet, without lunging, rushing, scrambling, or awkward distances.  No idea how she managed that....  We added a pole to the center and fixed the problem though.  Well, temporarily solved the problem.  It was the same issue we had in our lesson on Sat, where she was jumping the bending lines beautifully, but chopping a full stride off the distances (even with them lengthened)  In both cases, we just worked till we could get it consistently.  How a wee* thing like her can manage that and still feel so smooth and relaxed, I may never know.

*If 16.1 can be considered wee.... keep her overall stature in mind here

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Onto the Outside Rein

Cadence has been absolutely fantastic, as of late.  Her two lunge sessions with my coach worked wonders in regards to getting her balanced, even, and giving to the right rein.  What that's meant for us is that now when we canter left, I can actually use my right rein and
A) Check her back
B) Soften her
C) Bring her underneath herself
D) All of the above
Answer: D) All of the above, although C is still more theoretical... theoretically the usage of my right rein should allow me to use that, BUT we're still working on getting the first two 100% of the time.
However, the lunge sessions have also allowed us to truly start working on some collection and extension in the trot.  In my opinion, her canter is still not balanced enough to get it there, but we've had some absolutely beautiful moments in the trot.

In Launa news: One of my good friends who is currently on a riding hiatus due to injured horses and school is looking at part-boarding Launa until she's sold.  I think it'll be good for both of them, and I hope all works out!  She's coming to try Launa out tomorrow, so cross your fingers.
Launa and I also upped the height of our jumping last night.  Now we're jumping a cross rail that's 2'3 on the sides, versus 18" :)  She's such a cutie.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Sad News: For Sale

This post should have been up last Monday, or at least last week, but I seem to have succumbed to another wave of sickness and with mid-terms next week... well, you get the point.

I think the phrase "it was the best of times, it was the worst of times" is an accurate descriptor of my Monday.  I couldn't exactly say it was a bad day.... too many good things happened; too many wonderfully fantastic things happened to call it a bad day.  At the same time I couldn't say it was a good day, effectively for the same reasons.  Here's how my Monday went:
At noon, I discovered that my regular Monday dressage lesson was cancelled and rescheduled for Wednesday.  This was disappointing, as Mondaywas a beautiful day... a lesson would have been fun.  Then however, an idea struck.  Since the weather was nice (in spite of the recent onslaught of bad weather we've been experiencing) I attempted to cajole my dad into trailering Cadence and I down to the Dundas Valley so we could go for a ride.  Surprisingly (especially considering the short notice) he agreed.
To me, the Valley is a special place.  I love trail riding, and the miles and miles of well kept paths winding themselves through the scenic Dundas Valley provide the perfect backdrop to any trail rider's wildest fantasies.  Actually, that's a lie... I think the Rockies or the Himalayas or something equally awe-enducing would probably be (just a wee bit) better.  However, in terms of local availability the Valley's the creme de la creme.  I digress. So the disappointment of the canceled lesson turned into glee as the opportunity to take my pony on a REAL trail ride for the first time appeared.  One strike for a good day, one strike for a bad day.  The score is tied at 1 - 1.
The ride itself was fantabulously amazing.  So much so, that I feel the need to make up words to describe it.  I would have taken pictures (in fact, I went to great lengths to ensure my camera was available and readyfor action) however, my BRAND NEW camera decided to up and break on me.  There goes another strike against the good day tally.  Current score: 2 - 1 for Bad Day.
Additionally, upon speaking with the BO, I discovered that Judy (Launa's owner) has decided to sell my 17 y/o baby girl.  Very disappointing, especially since she's been doing so well recently!  However, pairing really isn't a match made in heaven.  Launa requires a slightly firmer ride than Judy is capable of giving her, and while she may be an angel for the BO and I, Judy and Launa just don't have the experience to allow them to 'click'.  Aside: I've spoken with Judy since her decision to sell Launa, and she's truly done with the mare.  Launa's now free to a good home, and Judy (while dedicated to ensuring Launa gets a good home) has sort of given up.  No more rides, no more visits, etc.  I'll continue riding Launa until she's sold, and I've been asked to increase the number of times I ride her (to make up for both Judy and the BO not working her)... so we'll see what I have time for.  So that's one BIG strike against a good day.  Score: 3-1, with Bad Day maintaining their lead.
Murdoch Mysteries' Constable George Crabtree, Dr. Julia Ogden, Detective William Murdoch, and Inspector Thomas Brackenreid

When I got home, I got some news that could have erased ALL the bad stuff.  To explain, here's a little history lesson:  there's a Canadian tv show called Murdoch Mysteries.  It's a crime show set in Toronto in the 1890's.  This absolutely fantastic piece of television is currently filming it's 5th and final season, so one of my friends and I applied to be extras on the show.   After some emailing back and forth, they said that they'd let us know when they had space (they have to have x number of unionized extras on the show, so they were waiting for a day when there were lots of extras needed) and lo and behold, Monday night they emailed.  My friend replied as soon as she'd gotten the email. However, she's an infrequent email checker and by the time she'd replied to them they'd already had to fill the positions (they were for the next day).  So I got all hyped up, and finally let myself believe we might make it on the program, only to have those hopes crushed again.  It's not my friend's fault, it's not the programs fault, it's not anybody's fault.  Still disappointing though.  So there's another point for good day, and another point for bad day.  Two for the price of one, eh?
I don't know how much of this is relevant, if any.  It's just one of those things that's easier to get off your chest.  Writing it out and seeing it 'on paper' helps me work through it and figure out how I actually feel.  In this case, I'm still unsure.  Too many good things, too many bad things.  I'll just try to concentrate on the good, and hope for  the best.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween!

I've been a bad, bad person; I've neglected my blog.  Anyhow, I've got some big and sad news that I'm ALMOST finished writing about, and will post tomorrow... I think.
There's also some good news: I have the distinct pleasure of getting to take part in a clinic with Belinda Trussell!  For those of you who don't know who that is, click the link.  I'd write out an explination, but why bother when somebody else has already done it for me?
Also, my pony's on the interweb!  He's made it onto the front cover of his barn's website.  God I miss him.
To all those who happen to read this before it's November: ejoy your Halloween, don't poison any children, and go ahead and eat that chocolate... nobody has to know ;)
Well that's different...

Friday, October 21, 2011

Lunge Work and Lessons

For the first time in forever, I've had a pretty horse-free week.  That said, this week I have been to three tack shops, ridden two horses twice each, and spent countless hours following the Pan Am's (with limited success).   Why does it feel like I've been slacking off?

 Actually, I know exactly why it feels like I've been slacking off.  I haven't been on a certain 16.2hh TB x Hanoverian mare since Tuesday.  On Monday, I had a dressage lesson during which my coach expressed her opinion that Cadence's unwillingness to give properly (to the right rein) in the canter could be more easily cured on the lunge line.  Fine by me.  Anyhow, the plan was for my coach to lunge the mare on Thursday and Saturday, so Cadence got Wednesday and Friday off in preparation for her 'training time' with the coach.

So Launa's been my only riding since Tues, & I've actually had quite a bit of fun with my 17 year old baby mare.  On Monday I jumped her for the second time, and she was a little pro!  She trots nicely up to the little x-rail, jumps, and trots calmly away.  What a cutie!  I've got to get some videos.  Yesterday we did some w/t dressage tests, backed up in a STRAIGHT line, and perfected her turn on the haunches.  Additionally, we did some stretchy stuff to get that old body to bend!  We also practiced dropping and picking up my stirrups at the trot, since last week Launa's owner took a tumble when she lost a stirrup and Launa spooked.  The whole dropping them thing wasn't such a big deal.  Oddly enough, it was picking the stirrups back up that bugged her.  Either way, we just worked on 'safety desensatization' things, and halting from the trot sans reins.  Nothing too challenging, but lots of fun.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Videos, Conclusions, and Re-Vamping

I'm sorry my blogging has been so sporadic as of late.  I've been ill (spent yesterday evening in the hospital-_-), and as a result I've fallen behind in my school work.  This (in addition to the 50 million extracurricular things I do [riding 7x/week being largely, but not completely, to blame]) has left me stressed, yet not in a position to do anything about it.   Either way, none of that's really important.  The purpose of this blurb was to apologize for not havign this up yesterday, and for being so lackluster in my blogging.

Okay, first things first.  Ladies and gentlemen, we have fall colours!  On the blog, that is.  I redecorated. (just in case this change from blue-grey to red & oranges escaped anyone's notice.)

Next, a compilation of video clips from an old cross country school:

And lastly, my conclusions from earlier musings

Musings: Part 1
When I first began riding, the phrase "Horses are herd animals...." popped up more times than I could count.  "Horses are herd animals.  Therefore, they will be more inclined to simply follow each other around the ring.  It is your job as a rider to make the horse do what YOU want, and go where YOU ask them to."  or "Horses are herd animals.  See how the horses that go out together are less likely to turn away if they're following a herd-mate?"  It was equine psychology, but as I later discovered, we weren't really 'using' it.  It was just acknowledged; a useful explanation as to why certain things happen.  However, as my riding advanced along with my knowledge of all things horse-related, things began to change. Instead of working against the horse's nature, so to speak, I began doing specific things because of the horse's psychology and physiology as well.  "A horse naturally carries 2/3 of their weight on their front end.  It is the job of the rider to balance the horse over their back."  or "Horses are like people, they're right and left handed.  They aren't born straight, they're trained straight."
 balanced back 
(Yeah yeah, I cheated.  The horse is still balanced back though)
balanced on their front end
Originally, I thought of this simply as a  continuation of the incorporation of equine behaviour into my interactions with horses.  It was only when I was prompted to (thanks to my mare's tendency to become pissy when in heat) take a closer look at my interactions with horses, and the implementation of horse psychology, that I realized this key difference.  While everyone uses psychology, HOW it is used differs greatly.  Many people just use it as an explanation; far fewer actually implement it as a training aid.  My current question is how do you use a horse's psychology to better communicate with your equine partners?

There's more, it's coming.  While I was thinking, I essentially 'took notes' to keep track of my ideas.  These 'notes' need to be put into paragraph form.  Hopefully this'll be done in a (somewhat) timely fashion.  If anyone knows how to add an extra hour (or three) into the day PLEASE TELL ME!
I'll try to post my "Musings" and their conclusions once a week.  Part 2 is already almost finished.

Cheers, and thanks for reading!