Wednesday, November 18, 2015

That Red Mare Blog Hop- 25 Questions

Saw this over on Poor Woman Showing, & thought it looked like a lot more fun than analysing 5 different grower diets for pigs. So here we go!

1. Mares or Geldings? Why?
Mares. They're a pain in the ass at times, but just so much more fun. A good mare is worth her weight in gold, and when you actually get them working for you it's a bloody miracle  worth all the tears and tantrums it took to get there.
Cadence demonstrating the spectacularness of a mare who is willing to work for you

2. Green-broke or Fully Broke?
Green broke. It's fun to sit on nicely broke horses every now and again, but I love the process. That said, backing babies isn't my favourite thing in the whole world. I love getting to be the first person to sit on a horse- it's a very special feeling, but as for the rest of it, I really only find it fun if the horse is either an exceptionally quick learner, or really damn athletic. (and also a quick learner)

3. Would you own a "hotter" breed (ie. Arabian, Trakhener, etc).
The real question is would I own a "quieter" breed.... and I'm genuinely not sure I would. It's fun to train a dead quiet horse every now and again (like Sheldon, who was a TB), but I like my horses to have a few screws loose. Plus I'm lazy, and kicking is just not my idea of a good time.

4. What was your "dream horse" growing up?
Just about any thing on four legs that nickered. I thought (and still do) that horse owners were the luckiest people on the planet, and aspired to be worthy of joining that elite club. I would have taken a mule if offered! Probably still would.

Here we can be seen modelling a loose ring waterford, while above we're sporting a dreamcatcher-esque elevator combo thingy.

5. What kind of bit(s) do you use and why?
Just about everything under the sun. I like to change my bits up relatively frequently. Cadence's staple is a sprenger kk ultra, but we go xc in a waterford and hop around stadium in whatever I can dig up in the trailer. Often a baucher or plain old D-ring snaffle.
My friend and I share our own little tack room at the barn, and between the two of us we have enough bits to furnish a tack shop! The worst part is that it's probably only 50% of our respective collections. On the plus side, our BO puts just about anyone's tack hoarding to shame,so I feel no guilt.

6. Helmets or no helmets?
Helmets! Riding is dangerous enough- why add unnecessary risk?

7. Favorite horse color?
Probably a nice dapple grey. I'd never own one though, unless it came with its own groom.

8. Least favorite horse color?
Yucky dull brown. I'm really not too picky though, just figured I shouldn't leave a question blank!

Sheldon much prefers jumping, & has very little patience for that silly dressage stuff that makes his bum hurt

9. Dressage or Jumping?
Love 'em both. Prefer dressage to show jumping most of the time, but XC tops them all.

10. How many years have you been riding?
Maybe 8 or 9?

My "weapons"

11. Spurs/whip or no spurs/whip?
Depends on the horse, & depends on the situation. I'm a big believer in not going to war without your weapons though. Just because you're wearing/carrying it doesn't mean you have to use it!

12. Your first fall?
No idea. I fall off a lesson pony, probably because it spooked at another lesson pony's shadow.
XC pics from earlier today!

13. When was the last time you rode and what did you do?
This afternoon. Went for a xc lesson!

14. Most expensive piece of tack you own?
Jumping saddle. Costs 3x as much as just about anything else I own. That's probably not saying much though, as I think the next most expensive thing would probably be my dressage saddle which is maybe $600 CAD? (so that's like $50 USD for those of you who haven't been paying attention to the looney's abysmal performance of late)

15. How old were you when you started riding?
10,I think. But I had to stop for a while as we moved to Australia and then Nunavut, so I was 12 when I really got started.
Loving the leather

16. Leather or Nylon halters?
Leather. They look better, rub less, and are safer if your horse has to be turned out in one.

17. Leather or Synthetic saddles?
Leather, but I don't really have anyhting against synthetic saddles. They just don't tend to last as long.

18. What "grip" of reins do you like?
Anything. Prefer ones without the keeper thingies all the way up- those ones drive me crazy when your ideal rein length doesn't match up with the notch thingy.
The TB who thought he was a QH

19. English or Western?
English, cause I'll always be an eventer at heart. But I can ride a pleasure horse without looking 100% ridiculous, and I even competed in a team sorting competition once. Reining's fun too.

20. How many horses do you currently own/lease?
Just the one. Sold Sheldon to a lovely home in September, so it's just the Mare & I.

21. Do you board your horse? Self-care/full board? Home board?
Board. I currently live in the city, so no horses here. That said, I have had horses at my parent's place before.
The girls living at home & pretending not to hate each other

22. Have you ever had to put down a horse that you loved?
Thankfully, no.

23. How many saddlepads do you have?
Can't count. 10-15?

24. Slant-load trailer or straight haul?
Slant loads are lovely if you're only hauling one horse, but I own a straight load, & Miss Mare refuses to load onto slant loads.
Why wouldn't you ride?

25. Why do you ride?
Because few other things can bring me the kind of joy I feel when I'm working with a horse. 

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Cadence Show Season 2015 Photos

We had a strange show season. Missed our first show due to a cut that led to cellulitis. Then a strangles outbreak at our barn forced me to take her to my parents & quarantine her. After that we got 1 show in before I fall off a 3y/o and got a relatively major concussion, which had me out of commission for another month. So our show season finally got under way in late August. We had 2 runs at pre-training (novice) 2 at training, and champs before the season ended.
I haven't had the chance to upload most of my photos yet, but here are a few.
Coming out of the first water 

 Into water #2

Out of the second water/last fence on course 

Last fence on Cadence's first training! 

2nd bank combination

 Fence 1 & 2

 No idea what I'm doing here, but I put it in cause my horse looks nice!
 Le petit lengthen
Not one SJ fault all season!

Monday, April 6, 2015

Sheldon Under Saddle

I'd like to attempt to keep an accurate and detailed record of Sheldon's training, but as I'm currently in the middle of finals I'm going to have to keep this brief. Before I purchased Sheldon, he'd had maybe 10 rides post-track, most of which had been trail rides. His owner doesn't have an indoor, so if she wished to do any real work with him, she would have to ship out. As a result, before test-riding him he'd had maybe 3 actual schooling sessions since coming off the track.

His former owner was kind enough to ship Sheldon (henceforth referred to as S) to a friend's farm so that I could test ride him. I was incredibly impressed with what I saw, especially after going to look at a rather disappointing horse the previous weekend. S was calm, steered quite well dor a horse so fresh off the track, moved cute, and calmly popped over an x! When I hopped on him, I found him a little onnthe lazy side, but incredibly comfortable to ride. Though small (15.3 max)he has a comfortable, floating stride and,fresh off the track, one of the most comfortable rockinghorse canters I've ever ridden! His only vices (that I could detect) were a tendency to randomly pop into the canter for a stride or two when he felt confused, and an inability to pick up the right lead. I popped him over a few jumps, and found him brave, but rather lazy. Given how green he was though, his juumping skills were actually quite impressive!
The day he came home was quite a long one; we arrived home at about 11:30, so needless to say S was not ridden until the next day. Our first ride was pretty uneventful. He was calm & well behaved in a new arena, and we walked, trotted, and cantered left without a care in the world. As predicted, he didn't oick up his right lead canter, but coming out of a 4 year racing career that's not unexpected. We popped over a little x, and on a whim headed towards a gate which was lying on the ground. Even though we were trotting on a loose rein, S boldly stepped right over it in spite of being given every opportunity to "run out". At the end of our ride, I even hopped on bareback inna halter... Though his massive withers and protruding spine made that particular venture rather short lived ;)
The next day we started the real work. I focused on teaching S to move off my leg, and introduced the notion of bending through the ribcage. He picked up on this quickly, and after a lovely bit of trot work, I decided he was ready to start working on his leads. After one false start in which he picked uop the left lead, S picked up the right lead... twice in a row! Good pony.
Our final ride so far was a solo hack, which S did splendidly on. So far, our biggest training concerns appear to be the right lead canter, an inability to stand still, and a tendency to throw his head kn the walk. I've been incredibly impressed with hos good brain, and laid-back attitude. The plan is to solidify his flatwork over the next few weeks, and then reintroduce jumping when we can consistently pick yo the right lead, and consistently move off my outside leg. I'd expected that to take 2-3 weeks minimum, nut if he keeps going like this we may be back to jumping by the time my exams are over! Though then the bigger test will be fitness and muscle development... Right now I have to be very careful about what & how much I ask of him, as he hasn't got an ounce of muscle on his body & I'd rather not make him sore!

Saturday, April 4, 2015

My New Man

Meet the new pony- Sheldon's Crusader! He passed his vetting Wednesday afternoon and came home late Wednesday evening. I didn't want to mention anything on the blog until all the details were confirmed, but now that the deed is done it's time to spill the beans ;)
Sheldon is a 2007 model TB that came off the track at the end of November.  He was picked up by a young lady who's putting herself theough school by flipping young horses, and she gave him some downtime at her farm before trying to find him a home. Due to the fact that we've still got snow and sub zero temperatures up here, Sheldon hasn't done a heck of a lot since he raced, as she didn't have an jndoor. He's proven himself to be a good trail horse though, and during the two rides in which she shipped him out to an indoor he behaved like a real gentleman.
I brought him home late Wednesday night, and since then he's been receiving some much needed TLC. He had his feet done today, and man oh man should I have gotten before & after pics. Unfortunately we'll have to make do with just the afters. His angles in the fronts were atrocious, and as a result there's a fair bit of bruising. The farrier thinks that given the soft ground outside right now, our best bet is to keep an eye on him, & just maintain a good trim schedule. We'll try to keep him barefoot and let his feet sort themselves out over time, rather than slapping a set of shoes on. Providing he doesn't get footnsore, that is! Here are a few pics of the fronts:
 There's a lot more to fill you in on, but I'll save that for another day. Tomorrow, I'll write an update on how he's doing under saddle

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Thank You

Thanks everyone for all your kind comments on the Hug Your Horses post. However, I've decided to take the post down. It's something that (although very pertinent to the Chronicle of Cadence) is quite personal, and after some reflection not really something I feel comfortable sharing with the world. I'm so used to just putting everything up here that it feels strange to have something I don't want to share, which is why I finally sucked it up and posted it in the first place. However I've come to the conclusion that there are some things the whole world doesn't need to know, and that doesn't make this blog any less honest. I hope you all understand, and thanks again for all the kind words. They mean a lot to me :)

Thought I would end with a few quick pics from last week's jumping lesson:
Le warm-up
Le bending line
Le oxer

Monday, March 23, 2015

Bareback Jump Day

Not sure if I got around to blogging about it, but in late Jan I was on crutches for a while & took to riding bareback as I couldn't lift a saddle by myself. Cadence was a total superstar throughout that, and we basically did most of our normal dressage & a mini-version of our normal jump work bareback. She also handled being led, groomed, & mounted by scary crutch lady, while most of the other horses shrank from me in abject terror ;)
Unfortunately I didn't get any video or photographic evidence of this. However, after our (bareback) hack on Sat, I decided to pop the mare over a few small jumps and this time I DID get evidence! Behold, the tolerant nature of my mare:

Sunday, February 8, 2015

North Carolina Countdown: T-3 Days

We had our first jumping lesson since the Hyde Moffatt clinic in November today. The moral of the story- my horse is awesome, extremely ridable, & in really great shape... but I need to raise my expectations and consistently insist on a higher quality of work. I have an awful tendency to get complacent and be like "well, that's decent..." which inevitably leads to some harrier moments, as that's when Cadence decides to take the wheel instead. Anywho, all in all Miss Mare-Face was awesome & is in a great place right now for our trip down south.

I got my saddle back from the fitter last week, and he did a minor adjustment (free of charge! Love this guy) to my jumping saddle for me too. They'll do another fitting in the first week of March to make sure the flocking's settled properly, but the saddles both feel better already. Cadence also gets a massage Tuesday afternoon before we leave, and then come Wednesday afternoon we're off.  North Carolina, here we come!
SJ & dressage at the Carolina Horse Park back in 2013