Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Written Sat...posted Tues

Friday: The mare had yesterday off.  Nothing of consequence to report about it.

Saturday: Cadence was good this morning.  My coach is away, so no lesson :(  We flatted, and her w/t/c is coming along nicely.  Her trot work after we've cantered has gotten a lot less fussy, and while she's still struggling with working consistently over her back, she's starting to get there.  Her canter right's still stiff to bend, and her left (her good lead) is still rushy, but both are improving.  Her left feels rushier than it looks, which is good news I suppose.
I took a short vid of her free lunging herself before I hopped on.  Its far from the most interesting she's been.... mostly just galloping.  I love it when she really gets up in the air, but she just wasn't interested today.  Of course, nothing fun when I bring the camera.  I do love the fact that she totally free lunges herself.  All I do is stand in the middle with the whip and cluck when she stops.  She runs around for 5-10 minutes, and then just walks calmly up to me and follows me over to the gate, where I pop her saddle and bridle on.  We don't free lunge in tack, so that she doesn't associate the two.  I don't know if it works, but I sure hope so.  One day when she's totally bonkers, I'll hopefully have the camera.   Apologies in advance for the poor video quality, I was trying to organize her stuff while keeping the camera on her.  It's actually pretty hard to do if you're facing in the opposite direction...
Update:  I've been trying to upload the video for the past few days, but to no avail.   Instead, I'll post some snow pics from that dreaded storm.  Despite teh (slightly) above freezing temps, its still all here!  Yay! Not.

 Snow engulfing my snow boots
It reached well over the top :(
 The chickens refused to come out of their coop
 Difference between shoveled and un-shoveled

Friday, March 25, 2011

Oh the Weather Outside Is Frightful...

And the snow is not delightful.  We got over a foot of snow on Wednesday.  A foot!  In one day!  In march!  Almost in April!  Life sucks.
Cadence was good yesterday, all things considered.  We free lunged before we rode, and then spent a while working on her mounting issues.  She's fine with me mounting from the left, but she wasn't keen on me hopping on from the right.  Why does this matter?  I no longer carry a sword when I ride, so I see no reason that I shouldn't be able to mount from the right.  We expect horses to be balanced under saddle, so why shouldn't we be balanced on the ground?  That's rather poorly worded, but hopefully I've gotten my point across. 
When I go to mount from the right, she'll stand up until I begin to gather my reins.  Then she swings her butt around, backs up, goes forward, and becomes belligerent in general.  We tried sandwiching her in between the wall and the mounting block.  She then just backed up.  Progress?  Little bits... but not really.  New strategy required?  Yes!
New strategy:  put mounting block somewhere near the middle of the arena.  Make her stand there.  Jiggle reins, still keep her standing.  Put reins in stirrups, still keep her standing.  Get on the mounting block, still keep her standing.  Get off mounting block and jiggle reins, still keep her standing.  Hop on, still keep her standing. 
Did it work?
Yes.  I'm going to try it again tonight, and hope it is still working.

On the saddle saga:  The Childeric ended up working the best.  We jumped a couple of times in it, and not only was it super comfy for me, but she really seemed to like it.  Unfortunately, it's way out of the price range.  We offered the owners a (much) lower price, but haven't heard back yet.  I'm not optimistic... however, the store that it's being sold through has a couple other more used Childerics in similar models.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

In denial... And loving it!

I was, I'll admit, wholeheartedly in denial that it was going to snow again.  Unfortunately (or maybe fortunately) I finally had to accept it when another lady at the barn commented that she was worried about her commute tomorrow, due to the fact that we're supposed to get 10cm of snow!  That's 3.9 inches for you Americans out there.  That's a lot of snow to get in a couple of hours in January, and a ton of snow to get in a couple of hours in March.  After realizing that this was very real, and not some cruel early April fools joke, I put Cadence's blanket on after we rode. 

Sorry for the sulking, but seriously?  Snow after St. Patty's day?  It just shouldn't happen.  On a better note, Cadence and I jumped today, and quite successfully might I add.  We set up to cross rails with a placing pole before and after, one to the left and one to the right.  We trotted 'em both a couple of times, and then popped them up to verticals.  She did them all wonderfully and quietly, save one.  For some reason, she started to lag as we headed up to the one vertical.  We'd already jumped it, she wasn't tired, and it was exactly the same as the last time we'd done it, but apparently she wasn't interested.  I wanted to wait till we were over the placing pole before pushing her to the jump, but by then it was too late.  She stopped, I managed to land on her neck (no leaning forward, Katie!) and keep one foot in the stirrup.  I hopped back in the tack, had my ground crew set it back up, and trotted right back over it.  No issues this time.  It was odd, the rest of our ride was great (except when I attempted to stretch her @ the trot... she wasn't having any of that nonsense)  I still am at a loss as to why she stopped and am mad at myself for not pushing her earlier, especially when I could feel it coming.  All in all, totally my fault. 

Lessons learnt:
1) Sit up!  I always tip forward when I jump.  It has now been reduced to maybe a centimeter at most, but that's all it takes to take a tumble. 
2) If she's sucking back, push.  Right away.  There's a difference between calm and sticky, and I need to get the calm but still have some horse underneath me, bottled up and ready to be released.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Spring Chicken!

Welcome to spring, everyone!  While most people make new years resolutions, I'm making a spring resolution:
No more long johns!  I'm not quite ready to give up those cozy winter boots, since it's supposed to snow Wednesday and Thursday.
I was prompted to make this decision, because last Friday I realized that I was wearing long johns when it was 55 degrees out.  Pathetic, but I'm afraid to let them go.
Speaking of last Friday, Cadence and I had a great jumping lesson.  We did some woah waits in the canter, an all new concept to her, but she handled it like a pro.  Her jumping was beautiful, and not only did we jump the barrels for the first time (sans standards too), but we popped them upright and used them as standards, heiking it up to 3'3.  Highest she's gone yet!  I was really proud of her. 
She wasn't keen on these alterations to our regular jumps, so I had to really sit up and ride.  This is something that I've been nervous to do on her, due to her sensitive and foreward nature.  It taught me that while there's a time for soft quiet riding, there's also a time to just get 'er done. 
I was down in the States Saturday, so she got the day off.  Then last night when I went to see her, she was a little wired, not to mention covered in mud.  By the time I was done grooming, I only had a 1/2 hour to ride, and it took that whole 1/2 hour to get her working over her back in the trot.  No canter for a psycho mare!  That said, it did take a while for her to stand while I was mounting.  She even took off on me once; I was not impressed. This is what happens when the mare gets a day off, everything goes out the window to be replaced by hyperactive craziness!
Cadence's getting skinny again, despite the vast amount of food she's being fed.  Any reccomendations on how to fattenher up?  I can now oficially see more than just one or two of her ribs, so its time for action... if only I knew what to do.  I swear, every time we get weight on her, she just goes and turns it into muscle or something.  How she does it, I'll never know... especially considering what a pig she is.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

I have no good title

I ought to make this quick, as I'm being eaten by a chemistry project that I've been (rather successfully) attempting to ignore, so here goes:
-Sunday we rode with the WP (Western Pleasure) people and did pole patterns!  Yay!  We tried out the sprenger, and she really liked it :O  Uh oh.... more money for the tack shop!
-Monday the mare got a day off.  I rode Majik, who was a lot better than the last time I'd ridden her.  No more sticking hewr jaw out to the right and coming behind the bit.  More (tiny) bucks though.  Ah well, can't win 'em all.
-We jumped Tuesday. She was grabbing the reins from me after the fences (yucky mare!)  and being generally rude, so we quit after we got three good ones in a row.  It took us almost 20 minutes to get those three... but pretend you didn't hear that.  She reacted well to the sprenger o/f, the rein pulliness was just attitude.
-Wednesday we flatted.  She went nicely, save a little stiffness to the left, and some haunch swinging on left circles.  Nothing overly noticeable, just details.   Her canter was also a little rushy, but she was quite good with horses entering and leaving the ring.  I also pulled and re-braided her mane in an attempt to train it over. Still no luck!
Today we had a lesson, and jumped in the Childeric.  Wow, is it ever comfy!  She was tired, as I'd had to free lunge her, tack her up, lunge her, and then ride her.  Seperation anxiety/watching the geldings galloping out in the field.  We had our first run out today, and combined it with knocking the whole jump over.  I suppose she thought we'd go out with a bang.  Thank god the standard was only a plastic barrel!  Jumped really well in the sprenger though!  (Save that one incident)  I turned her out sans blanket for the first time today, since it was 55 degrees!!! Unfortunately, it's also muddy.... The three geldings in the pasture all looked identical today: Brown balls of mud. I wish I'd had my camera for that pic!

Monday, March 14, 2011

Ponies, Pole Patterns, and Pinched Whithers

Cadence may have today off, but I don't.  Later on today I'm off to ride Arty and Majik.  I rode Arty for the first time in forever on Saturday.  After I'd had my lesson, stopped at the tack shops, and updated the blog I was thoroughly out of things to do.  Well, I could have cleaned the house, done schoolwork, etc. but none of that really appealed to me!  So I stopped off at Brenda's to see if she'd ridden the pony yet.  Luckily, she hadn't.  Unfortunately for me, my impulse decision making meant that I'd left Arty's bridle (which I'd brought home in January) at home, so I had to ride in his old hackamore.  When I first got on him, he was terrible.  It felt like I was riding him for the first time again, except he knew how to circle.  When we trotted I was half halting every second or third stride, desperately attempting to keep him in a trot.  It took us twenty half-halts to get from trot to walk.  Impressive, eh?  He was as tense as could be, and had his nose up in the air.
After my initial assessment (which he failed) we spent a long time working on transitions.  Walk, halt, walk, halt, walk, halt (cont'd) trot, walk, halt, walk, halt, walk, halt, walk, trot, walk, halt, walk, trot, walk, trot.  I think you get the picture.  This was done on a relatively small circle, which gradually got larger.  By the end, it was four-six half halts from walk to halt, and four to twelve (depending on whether we were heading at the wall) from trot to walk.  After a little canter work, and one bolt (Galloping inour little arena? Bad idea.) he was feeling a lot better, so I took him over a teeny crossrail.  It was like a switch flipped: The pony was back!  We worked over the X a couple more times, then I set up a teeny gymnastic.   It went X (one stride) pole (bounce) Cavaletti.  We worked this a couple times both directions, and called it quits.  Arty hasn't had much work recently, (a trail ride once a week, if that) so I didn't want to push him much.  Still, I was very pleased with his jumping.  Good pony!
On Sunday, I tried both of the saddles I'd gotten for the mare, and both seemed to pinch her.  Gahh, TB shoulders.  Anyhow, we ended up riding in the dressage saddle and goofing around with the Western Pleasure people.  We rode a couple of patterns, and except for one little throw-my-outside-shoulder incident, she was fantastic!  I also put her in a Sprenger KK Ultra with an 18mm cannon.  She went fantastically in it.  Unfortunately, that bit costs about $150 :(  Expensive little mare.  I think that if I end up getting it, I'll go with a 20mm cannon instead.  She could use the extra softness!

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Jumping saddles and Jumping Lessons

Saddle fitting:  It went alright... our dressage saddle was given the OK, but will probably need to be restuffed in a few months.  That's alright, as even with the re-stuffing cost, it'll still be $800 for a $2500 saddle.  All good by me!  We have a collegiate on trial, which fits me and the mare fine, but I do worry about the leather quality a bit.  Anyone have any experience with them?  
Today we shopped around a bit, and found a used childeric (!!!) to try, but as a used saddle this one's still over $2000.  A little pricey for me.  The other one we found was a Prestige Eventer.  I really liked this one, and its not a bad price for a Prestige.  The only thing I disliked is that it had rather large blocks, which were pushing against my knee.  They have movable blocks, so this can probably be remedied.  The other one that I want to try, but the test ride was unavailable, was the prestige Meredith.  I think I'd have a hard time getting a used Meredith though, as its not only a newer saddle, but also a limited edition.  It does have its benefits, as you can get a more foreward leg flap (+2 or +4) which would suit my long legs!  The Collegiate that I currently have on trial is a 16.5, and my knee just stays on the saddle :P


The Prestige Eventer

Prestige Meredith (which apparently wants to be faded and grey...?)

Jumping lesson went well.  We did various patterns, trotting into two cross rails set up half way down the arena on either side.  We even cantered a couple!  Go mare.  Cadence felt fantastic through some of it.  Jumping up, getting good spots, etc.  Man, that mare's got scope.  We messed up two or three of them though... she kept taking really long spots(despite our nice slow trot) on this one jump going towards home, and I'd end up getting left behind and looking like a total idiot.  Oh well!  Adelways concentrate on the bright side of life!

Friday, March 11, 2011


Cadence and I had a great lesson yesterday.  My coach had us in the one-sided draw rein again, and I can definitely say that I was glad.  Cadence was fantastic last night.  She was truly working over her back, and wa sholding herself & stayed nice and supple.  She got tired quickly, but it was purely muscle fatigue.  That little mare is incredibly fit cardio wise!  Even the vet was extremely impressed with her fitness, and it has definitely improved since her vet check. I don't know how she does it... we don't have an incredibly heavy workload.  W/t/c for 45-60 minutes five days a week, occasionally jumping one of those days.  Anyhow, I wish I was as fit as she is.  Yes, I'm jealous of my horse : P
Ain't she cute?  Sorry, off topic.
I'm off to the barn (in 10 minutes now) to meet the saddle fitter.  Here's hoping all goes well!!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Humpty Dumpty Sat on a Wall...

 Humty Dumpty had a big fall
All the king's horses and all the king's men
Couldn't put Humpty together again

Well, it wasn't Humpty Dumpty that had a great fall yesterday, it was me.  My fall wasn't that great or that spectacular.  There was just snow sliding off the arena roof, and Cadence being a wired 5 y/o who'd had the previous day off spooked.  She was actually fantastic over all.  She was a psychopath on the lunge... I wish I'd had a video of that.  Bucking, rearing, twisting, cow-hops, and bolting.  All that without ever really pulling on the edge of my line.  I remember thinking 'if she does that with me on her back, I'm off.'
Luckily for me, I have an amazing horse, and we got through w/t and canter to the left without incident.  She'd done two little tense-up and pop to the sides, but no real spooks.  Then after we came back from canter, a large piece of snow fall, enticing a true spook out of her.  It wasn't huge, and I stayed on.  Just as we were recovering from that, another piece fall.  All I remember is me starting to fall, and then being on the ground.  I sat up and saw her galloping in the opposite direction, and thought 'That's not good'  I caught her, and we were all fine.
From a riding perspective, she was amazing.  I could definitely feel the benefits of our ride on Monday.  She was soft and supple, but steadier.  Yay mare!  We have a lesson tonight, so wish us luck!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Saddles and 10 (now 11) followers

First off, thank you to everyone that follows Cadence Arty and I as we meander our way through life, and hopefully out to a couple of dressage, jumper, and eventing competitions this summer. It really means a lot to me, and I'm sure that if the ponies knew they'd be happy too. Especially Cadence!  Arty's too camera shy ;)

Anyhow, some exciting news on the saddle front.  The lady that owns Bronx (17.1 dressage horse that my mare's in love with) has a saddle that no longer fits him, as he's transformed from a medium narrow to a wide.  Talk about muscling up!  She offered to sell it to us for a really great price, so if I can get a cheap used CC, we're in business!  Luckily for us, that may just happen.  My coach has a saddle fitter coming out to fit saddles to her horse (Zeedle) and Bronx on Friday, and he's agreed to bring out a couple of used CC's for Cadence and I to try. (Cross your fingers please!)  I think the dressage saddle's an Exselle Allure.  I'm not 100% sure if its an Allure, that's just my best guess.  If it is though, we'd be getting an awesome deal; Stephanie would be selling it for less than 1/4 ofits original price, and its in perfect condition... not a scratch on it.  Even better, the saddle fits me really well.  I find it hard to find a dressage saddle that fits me well.  I'm thin with a long leg, so they either fit in the seat and are short in the leg, or are huge in the seat and fit in the leg.  This one is a lot better than most though.  I suppose we'll just have to wait till Friday to see. 

Tuesday, March 8, 2011


(slightly grumpy looking mare)

I had a little mimi-epiphany last night.  I'd been trying to get Cadence to stretch, while keeping a calm and consistent trot rhythm.  However, this required her to be able to hold a rhythm and keep a steady trot without rushing off whenever my reins were even marginally loosened... and she couldn't do that!  *Epiphany* Therefore, once we could keep a steady trot without contact, we could begin stretching.  So last night we began attempting it.  We trotted at a forward pace with a light light contact, and no frame whatsoever.  She was quick, but settle-able (even if that isn't a word).  All will come with time.

Happy shrove tuesday all!  I now feel sick, having just devoured six (I wasn't counting... so that's a guesstimate) large pancakes straight off the griddle.  What can I say?  I don't have anyone to share them with... and recepies rarely make pancakes for one.  Not  to mention they were really yummy, so really its not my fault at all.

Monday, March 7, 2011


I'm sorry I appear to have disappeared.  I'm still alive, I swear.  I've had a bit of a busy week though.  So after Cadence's window incident on Tuesday, she went and colicked on me on Friday. Oh mare!  She's never coliced before, and thankfully it wasn't anything major, but still not a pleasant end to a busy week.  Anyhow, she had Saturday off and we rode again on Sunday.  Before her colic incident, we'd had a lesson.  Lynda had us use some type of rein thingy that I can't remember the name of.  Think of a draw rein through the noseband, but only on the one side.  We used this to help her soften to the right without having to be on her mouth.  Cadence is very foreward, but very sensitive, especially when she's suppleand on the bit.  Its like having a feather in your hands.  You can feel her, but she's so light!  The rein majigger worked quite well, so hopefully we can supplement it into some of our regular rides.  I don't want to use it too often, as I hate relying on any sort of artificial aid, but I can see the benefits when used for the right reasons.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

How on Earth?

So for those of you who didn't read my last post, Cadence had a bit of an incident on Tuesday.  This incident involved her knocking the window in her stall out... using her head.  As you can see, the window in the stall is quite high.  It looks even higher in real life... but consider that its in line with the top of the stall.  She has no swelling, no heat, no bruising, no nothing save one tiny scrape (that never even bled) above her right eye.  How on earth did she manage that?

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Not What You Want to Hear

So today I get home, and there's a message on the answering machine from my coach.   I hit play, expecting a report on how her ride went, since she was supposed to ride Cadence today.  Instead , I got a message that went something like this:
"Hi Katie, sorry I missed your call the other day.  I do need to talk to you about Cadence, though.  She had a bit of an incident today.  She's totally unscathed"

Sounds ominous, right?  Just wait,  it gets better.
  The next part is somewhat paraphrased.

"I brought her and Zee (Her horse) in, and left her in her stall while I rode Zeedle.  Cadence panicked, and smashed the window out in her stall.  She's fine, but we do need to work on her seperation anxiety, and get her on a different program.  She's got too much energy."
So, apparently my horse knocked the window (Which is really freaking high up) out of her stall, using her head in a fit of panic induced psychosis.  Thank god she wasn't hurt, save a small (blood free) scrape on her head, but she managed to soak through both of her winter blankets.  I'll be heading out to the barn later on to ride (or at the very least check over and lunge) her.  I'll also bring my camera to see if I can get some pictures the damage before they repair it.
All in all, a little more excitement than I was expecting on my day off!

Oh, and she's earned a new nick name: The Juvenile Delinquent.  Fitting, unfortunately! ;)

Back from the Canter

Alright.  My goal in regards to updating is to give consistent and concise updates on what Cadence and I are working on.  For this post, I'll give a brief back log in order to get myself up to speed.  On Saturday (feb 26th) Cadence's old owner (Caitlyn) came out to pick up some of her stuff and watch me ride.  I didn't have a lesson, as per our usual arrangement because my coach was off at a clinic with Bronx.  Saturdays are Cadence's nemesis, as she has to watch all the other horses walk right past her (heading out for turnout) while I tack up, and then must behave in a calm and relaxed manner after sitting in a stall at night.  A necessary evil, as she must learn to get over things like that, but its still a pain in the ass.  Anyhow, since she'd had Friday off she was even worse, so we put on quite the show for Caitlyn.  We'd jumped friday, so we worked on w/t/c over a single pole.  Surprisingly difficult exercise for her ;)  She was throwing her head down a lot... which was odd since she's very much a nose up in the air kinda girl.

Sunday we just lunged, since I'd forgotten to bring my saddle pad.  I'd brought it home to wash... but I took it

Yesterday I decided to work a little on her canter.  She's still hanging off my right a bit, but in truth she's getting a lot more even.  Her walk was terrible.  Whenever I'd pick up any contact, she'd just get all sticky and trow her head.  Eventually, once I'd gotten one reasonably good one out of her we moved into the trot, which was beautiful.  Nice and light in my hands, remaining on the bit, and keeping a (relatively) consistent rhythm.  Yay!  Her trot to the left was wonderful.  She's getting better about not falling through her right shoulder.  However, I couldn't get her totally on that left rein when we went to the right.  We spiralled in and out on a circle in both directions, and worked on keeping her even and consistent (speed wise) down the long sides.  Her canter was nice, so after a good long canter we came back to trot.  That's when I first discovered a weakness in our ride.  Her after canter trot work sucks.  Majorly.  I think both she and I get so exhausted that we just return to walk, but she wouldn't come on the bit for more than five seconds, wouldn't soften, was strong, rushy, and her Cadence sucked.  The hardest part is how strong she gets.  She's normally so soft, I feel like I'm ruining her, and like I should be doing something differently.  Ah well, this definatley provides something for us to work on! 

I WANT SPRING TO BE HERE!  Yesterday it rained.  All morning.  Then, it was beautiful and sunny all afternoon.  By the time I made it out to the barn, it was cold and dark again, and EVERYTHING was coated in ice... just my luck.