Friday, September 21, 2018

WEG WEG WEG WEG!!!!! WOO!!!! But First...Endurance

It's been a whirlwind of a month with WEG, Florence, and volunteering. It's been a blast and I really will miss WEG being here!!!!!!!

Leading up to the start you could definitely feel it in the air around town. Welcome to Tryon signs were being hung up, foreigners were eating in our restaurants, and The Farm House put on a Meet and Greet with some of the competitors from Endurance, Show Jumping, and Dressage. Even if you weren't a big fan of WEG coming to Tryon and all the bad press leading up to it you couldn't help but feel a bit of giddiness with the countdown to the start fast approaching! It felt just like Christmas but with WEG spirit instead :)

Endurance was the first event to go for WEG and unless you live under a rock or have no interested in anything WEG I'm sure you've heard about the fiasco that it turned into. I'm sad that it turned into such a shit show but glad I did get to see some of it before it was canceled.

The first loop for endurance went around my mom's house so I woke up bright and early and headed over there to watch. Mom, her houseguests, and my BFF JG all jumped into mom's ATV and off we went to watch the horses blast around the trails nearby. It was so cool watching them come down a hill on a newly created trail and then take off down the road towards a pit crew point. I thought it was a vet check point but it really was just a place for the crew members to give the rider water and pour huge bottles of ice cold water onto the horses as they continued on. Some riders stopped and let their horse catch their breath while having non stop cold water poured all over them and others did the "drive by" where their crew members rain along side them pouring the liter bottles of water over the horse, handing the rider a bottle of water to drink on the move and then at the end of the lane the crew stopped and the rider tossed the water bottle onto the ground and took off. After we watched the Pit Crew action for a bit we headed off to a different section of the course where a few vets were nearby watching the horses as they made the turn. They had vets all over the place to keep an eye on the competitors for what I can assume was to be eyes on the ground to make sure the horses weren't in distress before getting to the vet check point? That I don't know and you'd have to ask someone more qualified than me!!! 

After that viewpoint we took off to the last point near mom's house hoping to get a picture of the riders with the mountains in the background but alas the clouds had rolled in and you couldn't see them in the distance. But we still got a few more awesome snapshots before headed back home. This also ended up being the point where I heard one of the road crew commenting that they had screwed up the start and sent some of the competitors the wrong direction and were talking about a restart. He was just shaking his head as he walked to his truck and I noticed a few of the other trucks left the area. After that Endurance went to hell in a hand basket and you know the rest of the story (or if you don't you can look it up!)

Anyways here a few more snapshots from the Endurance phase! I'll write about Eventing next because I had the BEST seat in the house for Eventing Dressage and was in the Judge's Box at C for two days as the Electronic Scribe!!!! That was one of the coolest experiences and I would do it again in a heartbeat!

Traffic Jam during WEG :D

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Chimi Conspires Against Me

All summer long Chimi has been enjoying the fruits of benign neglect. He has kept his shoes on and done nothing but eat and romp around the pasture.

Looking at Lake Paddock from the road in camp

The last day of camp was Fri and Thurs night he pulled his front right shoe off. Whatevs, didn’t have time to ride this weekend anyways. Farrier comes out Saturday and trims/shoes all 4 feet (he was due anyways) Life is good now, right?


Wrong. This morning the horses came in to eat and Chimi seemed fine walking into the barn. I didn’t pay a lot of attention but nothing out of the ordinary caught my eye. I went to turn him out and noticed he was acting a little funny on his back right foot. I picked up his foot and sure enough the bad pony had pulled his shoe and stepped on his clip 😭 Farrier came out and pulled the shoe bc it was so damn tight on his hoof I couldn’t do it. (He just got new shoes 3 days ago!!!) He walked off a bit sore so farrier decided not to put the shoe back on quite yet so I soaked, wrapped, and poulticed it to draw any abscess out. Hopefully he’ll be fine by Thurs bc farrier is leaving for the weekend and it’d be nice to have a shoe back on!!!

I guess Chimi wasn’t ready to get back to work? 

Friday, August 3, 2018

Cuddle Bug

How is it August??????? Geez this summer has flown by!!!! But a quick update for you guys… (also side note if this post looks wonky it’s bc I’m using my phone to write and post it)

Chimi is doing quite well despite the foot explosions he had back in April/May. He technically has been cleared to ride but I haven’t had time to ride because of work. Unfortunately my summers are basically a joke bc I spend all my waking daylight hours at a summer camp running the barn and riding program and pretty much pass out as soon as I get home at night. I have a 3 day break right now and I had great plans to get back in the saddle and start prepping for the fall but the weather decided it had other plans for me! I woke up Tues morning and looked at my phone with a lovely “Flash Flood watch until Thurs 8PM” Arrrrrgggg!!!!!! I have to be back to work on Fri!!!! Oh well such is life! (Oh and it’s Friday and STILL raining!!!!!!! Like monsoon rain! Not just a lovely soft drizzle)

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Chimi has been enjoying his time off but I think he’s ready to get back to work. He’s always such a good boy but right now he’s being extra affectionate. He loves attention but with my crazy schedule (gone by 8:00am and home between 6:45 and 10:00pm Monday- Saturday) he hasn’t been getting as much. So when I do see him he genuinely looks excited to see me. Even though that’s also related to feeding he will try and get cuddles after he has finished his food instead of peacing out to the pasture to eat. When I open the gate to the big field at night he stops and waits for me to give him extra hugs and a good scratch before sauntering out to munch on the grass. I really do love this giant cuddle bug and can’t wait to get back to riding again!!!

Coming in from the endless rain…

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Damnit Chimi!

This past month has seriously been the month from hell.

Originally I had plans to go to the Heart of the Carolina 3 day but when Chimi came up lame exactly 30 days before we were supposed to trot up at the 3 day I decided to just do the Horse Trials that weekend instead. Then we had the eventful dismount at jump 1 at FENCE HT and I decided to scratch the HOTC Horse Trials because it seemed like Chimi and I needed to go back to the drawing board and get ourselves back on track before entering another show. Damn it Chimi.

Mom puts embarrassing hats on me that don't quite fit my long ears...

Since FENCE HT I've actually been enjoying just trail riding Chimi. We had 2 really nice rides with Sara and Trainer J and I had the PERFECT solo ride out on the trails by my house. Seriously. I came back from that ride with the biggest smile on my face because it was so pleasant and WONDERFUL. And the cherry on top was our pony club had scheduled a cross country schooling at FENCE with Trainer J and I was sooooo looking forward to conquering Jump 1 and playing around the rest of the course. But alas, Chimi had other plans. Damn it Chimi.

I didn't get to see my ponies in the daylight hours last Monday or Tuesday because I had to go to step daughter's makeup soccer games that had been rained out the week before. No worries, the ponies were quite happy to be out longer on the grassy front field.  Chimi was fine Monday and Tuesday morning but that evening I noticed he looked a bit sore walking in to the barn when he came in for dinner. I made note but had to finish getting everyone else fed to because it was already 9pm and we ALL wanted to eat dinner and be done with the day. From the dim lights of my barn I could tell there wasn't any blood or flapping skin so whatever was going on couldn't be that bad. I headed back up to the house to grab a flashlight but didn't feel the need to hurry.

After grabbing my flashlight from the house I headed back down to the barn to check Chimi's legs. They were nice and tight and just as normal as they always are. I looked down at his hoof and thats when I saw it. A giant crack had appeared on the inside of his left hind near the bulb of his heel. It went almost all the way up to his cornet band and was very sore when I pushed on it. Damn it Chimi.

WTF giant crack?!?!??!

There wasn't really anything I could do at that moment so just left him to eat in his pasture and texted my farrier the next morning. He made plans to come out as soon as I was off work and would trim off the hangnail. Once he got there and started trimming he looked at me and said "This goes a lot deeper than I thought. You might actually want to get a vet to look at it because I can't trim any further without cutting into the soft tissue. I'm not a vet so I don't do the blood and puss" Damn it Chimi.

Farrier trimmed the edge off. You can see the line goes in towards his frog and more up into his hoof.

Unfortunately it was to late to call the vet unless it was an emergency and this was not emergency status. I wrapped his foot and treated it like an abscess and planned to call the vet in the morning. The next day I called the vet, scheduled an appointment, and off we went to see what was up.

Chimi was still a bit sore on his foot but noticeably better so that was good news. Dr P. was pleased with how farrier had trimmed it so far, but he agreed that it went a lot deeper and wanted to clean it out to prevent it from abscessing and taking a lot longer to heal. Poor Chimi was NOT happy with this so they blocked his left hind and Dr. P got to cutting. Chimi was good until the vet hit the super soft tissue and he started bleeding but by that point Dr P felt like he had trimmed away enough of the hoof that had split. I asked him what he thought caused the crack and he had no real idea. Lots of possibilities, including an abscess that blew out and weakened the hoof enough to cause the crack or he just stepped on a rock at the right angle out in his pasture. Basically it was caused by Chimi being a horse. Damn it Chimi
After the vet cut down to the squishy part (oh and his abscess from the fall grew out and took a chunk out of his toe, foot looking a bit janky right now)

Overall it was a fairly simple visit to the vet. My orders were to keep it wrapped and clean and in 4-5 days he needed a bar shoe put on to stabilize the hoof so it could heal. Without a shoe every time he took a step his hoof would spread and cause the crack to get worse or prevent it from healing as quickly. Unfortunately my farrier had just left for Europe (farriers need vacations too, I guess...). Thankfully he was still in NY at that moment and was able to send me the names of 2 farriers that he recommended to put the shoes on Chimi. Woohoo. My horse who had been barefoot for 4.5 years had just gone from no shoes to 4 shoes in a month. Damn it Chimi.

rocking the gorilla tape and vetwrap look

So Friday morning I rewrapped Chimi's hoof, gave him a kiss on his nose, told him to be good, and off I went to volunteer at the Heart of the Carolina's 3 day Event and Horse Trials. I figured if Chimi couldn't go I could at least go and see what it was all about!!! There's a lot to write about it but overall I had the BEST time and OMG everyone needs to do a long format. More on this in a later post :)
The first jumps on course! Up close they are really pretty and say Southern 8's on them

After having a great weekend, Monday rolled around and Chimi got his new shoes. New farrier came out and ended up putting a bar shoe AND pour in pads. New farrier looked at the hoof and thought that it looked like he had an abscess that had blown out and caused the crack to then form so that's my new story on why this happened. It's not like I had just transitioned Chimi to barefoot, he's been fine for 4.5 years!!!! And hell probably longer for his back feet b/c when I got him he only had front shoes. So who the hell knows. It's horses.
New kicks

The good news is my horse is sound. The bad news is I can't ride him for at least a month so his hoof can grow back. It'll a lot longer than a month for the crack to completely grow out but the vet and farrier thought that enough hoof SHOULD of grown out that in about a month I could start riding. Obviously I won't know until a month has passed if enough hoof has grown to support riding, but Chimi does grow hoof fairly quickly so I'm hoping.

our crowning glory from the 1 show we went to this spring

So this is pretty much the story of how my spring season came to an end. Damn it Chimi.

In the grand scheme of things it's nothing long term and serious so we should be back at it eventually. Hopefully. After all it's horses we're dealing with here!

Thursday, May 3, 2018

Team Bay All the Way

Last week I mentioned going on a hunter pace with Sara and her Trainer J. I didn’t get a chance to blog about the actual ride but basically we all had a great time and made plans to ride in the Hunter Pace this past weekend. Unfortunately bc of a lot of rain Monday, Tues, and again on Thurs, the hunter pace was sadly cancelled :(

Team Bay all the Way!!!

But the sad news did not deter the three of us from riding! Instead we rerouted to Croft State Park where Sara was very familiar with the trails. Plans were made to meet there at 11 on Sunday and have a lovely stroll through the woods.

Or at least Sara claimed to know the trails... hahahahaha!!!

Sunday rolled around and I left my house just a few minutes late but still close to being on time to get to Croft. Hahahahaha. Joke was on me bc what I thought was a 40 minute drive really took a solid hour so I was running reeeeeeeaally late… I felt pretty bad about that but Chimi already had his saddle on so it was pretty easy to just putting his bridle on and get going. 

Once I finally got on (Chimi was questioning a rock by the picnic table I used as a mounting block) we headed down the road to the backside of the park where Sara said the trails were sandy and not as many people would be there. We just had to go down the road for a bit but it wasn’t that bad. Chimi somehow ended up in the front and we attempted to lead the way.

One of the lakes we passed

I can’t help but laugh at Chimi bc he is a really lazy horse. On the way down the road he kept trying to turn around and go back to the trailer but I kept kicking him forward. He does this at home too when we first head out on the trails. HE'll protest and complain and do his best to turn around and go home, but once he gets out and we start working he enjoys himself and is happy to trot and canter around. But I totally feel it… getting motivated to work out is really hard!

We got to the part where the trail peels off from the road and meanders through the woods. The footing was hit or miss at first and it'd be dry for a bit but then we'd hit a low spot and you could tell that it had rained a lot the past week. No worries though, the horses tromped through the muck well enough (though sometimes they protested) and we had such a nice start to the ride. The 3 horses seem to be a really good match and if one protested another felt brave enough to lead the way.

On the trail we did run across various hikers with their dogs and other horses. Chimi was a bit wary about them but carried on and didn't think to much about them after we passed. We were having such a lovely time trotting along the trails and talking about nonsense and ponies. Then the Devil Train appeared.


We were about 4ish miles into our lovely ride when we ran into a train of mules heading towards us on the trail. Chimi was in the lead and when he saw those creatures he lost his shit. And when i say he lost his shit, i really do mean he LOST his shit! Chimi was in the lead so he was the first to see the mules and slammed on the brakes. He then started backing up and saying HELL NO. DO YOU SEE THEM DEVIL EARS????? Thankfully Gem and Elliot could care less about the mules so the snuck past us on the trail to hopefully lead the way. Except that Chimi was so freaked out he didn't care that his friends were ahead of him. Thankfully the trail was much wider here than the single track we had been on because I really don't think I could of gotten him past the mules if we had met anywhere else on the trail. At one point I tried to stuff Chimi in the woods and let them walk by but he was having none of that and tried to take off through the trees where there wasn't a trail. Finally when about half the mule train had passed us I was able to steer Chimi in the direction of Gem and Elliot and he took off towards his friends and we left the Devil Train behind us.

After our encounter with the mules Chimi was not the same. Every time we saw a group of horses Chimi just KNEW they were the mules in disguise and were going to torture him and probably eat his ears because that's how they get those giant ears right? Thankfully we didn't run into that many horses on the trail so for the most part we were able to have a nice ride back to the barn. We did get lost a couple of times but one of those times was on a really nice straight, wide path so we were able to have a really nice trot and canter until we realized no one had been down that trail, umm possibly ever. After consulting with the map we realized we were headed out of the park and turned around to find the actual trail back. Whoops :)

You can see where we got lost. The extra line up top was from us having to backtrack  :)

All in all we had such a nice ride! The weather was perfect and it was so fun to follow behind Gem. She is a beast on the trails and would fly down the trails while Chimi and Elliot would stumble and bumble behind her. The boys might be over 17h but little 15+h Gem left us in her dust. The past 2 rides with Sara have been so eye opening because she talked about endurance riding and the do's and don'ts and conditioning plans, and theory, and honestly I am amazed at how much thought goes into endurance riding. I honestly could listen to her talk about endurance all day because I found it so fascinating!!!!
The milage isn't correct b/c the GPS tracking wasn't working when we first got started

After we got back to the trailers, we hosed off our ponies, had a last laugh and called it a day. Even though it wasn't quite the ride we had originally planned, it ended up being just perfect!!! (except for the mules. They were not perfect. They were DEVILS in disguise if you ask Chimi!)

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Happy Birthday Chimi!!!

15 Looks good on ya Chimi!

Sometime on April 24th, 2003, a little brown colt was born somewhere in Indiana. I still think his owners/breeders/barn people got drunk on margaritas the night he was born and decided to name this supposedly fancy warmblood after fried Mexican food, and thus he became Chimi Chonga (and not even the correct spelling, which I'm ok with bc visually I like how his name is spelled)

Chimi gives you wings!

Somewhere along the lines you found yourself dancing on your back legs right after colic surgery which lead to a slew of other problems that made it possible for me to afford you by the time I met you. I know your owners weren't thanking you at the time but I thank you now for making it possible (just keep your shenanigans down to a dull roar now, after all you're supposed to be a mature 15!!!)

pats for the best boy

You're a pretty spectacular horse and I'm glad to be your person even if it means I hit the ground more often than I'd like!!!! But besides that we've been through a lot and you've saved my ass more times than I can remember. Soon our 5 year anniversary will be upon us so I'll save the rehash of the early days for then but for now

I KNOW!!!!!!!!

Hold on!!!!!

Oh and if anyone wants to know Chimi is getting his 7th Adequan shot for his birthday, along with various cookies shoved down his mouth b/c he it is his special day!!!!

Monday, April 23, 2018

Weekend Fun at the WEG Test Event Combined Driving Edition

This past weekend was a much enjoyed pony filled, spring weather, couple of days! It started out with my horsie friend EG coming into town on Friday after work and ended with a hunter pace with fellow blogger Sara and her Trainer (who is also my friend). But first off SATURDAY's adventures!!!!!

The first pony on course

In all the lead up to WEG in September, TIEC has to have various test events for each discipline, hopefully to iron out any and all kinks (b/c there are a fair amount!) This weekend was the test event for Dressage, Para-Dressage, and Combined Driving. I did not venture over to TIEC proper to watch the Dressage or the conclusion of the Combined Driving b/c Sunday was RVPC's hunter pace and I was working the HP and riding in it! But for Saturday we went over to the White Oak side of TIEC for the Marathon part of Combined Driving.

go little guy go!!!

OMG Combined Driving is so cool!!!!!! The test event had more than the 4 in hand driving (which is what is shown at WEG) so we got to see Single Ponies, Pony Pair, Single Horse, Horse Pairs, and the Team Driving (4 in hand). First up on Saturday was the single ponies and they were so cute!!!! Especially the little round halflinger!!! I don't remember what the other ponies were but they were some sort of cross with Dutch Driving Horses (I think).

The Gangsta' Ponies

Then came the Pony Pairs! There was only 1 pair entered and it happened to be a pair of buckskin pinto SHETLAND PONIES. They are the smallest driving ponies in the world? Or at least the smallest in the US and these little dudes were sassy and adorable!!!! They did not look like fat hairy beasts but instead like sleek, elegant, little critters that flipped their toes and pranced around like little sassy beauty queens. They even have a nickname and are called The Gangsta' Ponies and are very well known in the driving world (I mean seriously, how could you miss these tiny little shetland ponies?) I'm a bit bummed that my pictures of them didn't quite come out b/c I was having a bit of trouble figuring out a good setting for my camera. (I need some lessons on how to work my camera better. I do not pretend to be good at using it)

I would not want to sit this horse's trot!

After the ponies navigated the marathon part of the course, the single horses came next. A lot of the singles and the only horse pair ended up scratching so we had a long break between the final single horse and the Team. EG and I had ventured over to the 1st hazard on course and it ended up being one of the coolest spots to hang out. We got to stand on top of the bridge and look down as the horses crossed back and forth underneath us! There was also an official standing at the top that was so kind and helpful and explained the sport to all us standing there not having a clue what was going on. It's a lot to type out and explain but the general gist of it is The driver has a certain amount of time to complete the entire course, like optimum time on XC BUT at each of the hazards (there were 7 total at this event) you want to be the fastest. They have timers set up for when you start and when you finish and you have to go through a set pattern that is marked with A,B,C,D,E "flags" and you have to keep Red on the Right just like in eventing. If I understood correctly you can pick which direction you turn to them so if you have a better left turn you can turn left to some of them or right. But I don't think this works out for all of the hazards? Either way the fastest time through the hazard is the best and you incur penalty points for going to slow, knocking the ball off a cup, moving any of the obstacles, losing a person on your carriage, and not going through the flags in the correct order.

Finally it was time for the Team event and this was probably the most fascinating to watch. Honestly the skill level required to do this was completely mesmerizing and I'm in total awe of these horses, drivers, navigators, and grooms.

She's 70!!!!

The first driver of the Teams was this lady that is 70 years old and breeds her own horses. They are a cross between Russian Arabians and German Riding Ponies. She had a lovely team of all grays and I do not envy her having to keep all of them so clean!!!! Especially b/c there is a 5th horse back at the barn that is an extra in case one goes lame!!! Can you imagine keeping 5 gray horses clean??????? I can barely keep my 1 bay from looking like a mud ball!

coming to the finish of Obstacle 2

Either way she was first to the 1st hazard and it was pretty darn impressive. She messed up twice but was able to navigate her horses around and get them out of 2 pretty serious fixes. The first mess up was coming around a turn and her horses split the cement barrel thing. One of the horses bascailyl turned around in the harness and she was able to back the team up and the horse that was turned around fixed itself and off they went! Then towards the end of the 1st hazard she hooked her left wheel on the corner of D and basically spun the entire wooden triangle around and knocked it out of place. She calmly re-righted herself from the driver's seat and finished the hazard. Even though that wasn't ideal I was so impressed with how the horses just did their thing and listened to her to get out of the situation!!!!! Chimi would of freaked out a long time ago!!! HAHAAHAHA. (I don't think driving is in his future) They ended up having to get a tractor to come out to the 1st hazard and completely fix the obstacle she had moved and the team behind her ended up having an 11 minute hold.

Because of the hold we got to watch the next two teams come through pretty quickly b/c only the team of Friesians had been stopped. It was really funny b/c there were some older ladies standing on the bridge with us oohing and ahhing over these damn friesians. I hate friesians all b/c of one named G that was one of the NC State Dressage team's horses one year. I know Britt LOVED him but I thought he was an ass (even though he was kinda cool to ride. But I still thought he was an moron) So thanks G for being such a dumbass that I hate all of your kind now. HA. Anyways this one lady I thought was going to fall down in a fit of passion b/c she couldn't stop professing her love for the team of hairy black beasts coming our way. I did politely say "You know the breed is kinda stupid right?" and she laughed and said "I don't care, they are just so beautiful. It'd be like having a good looking man to look at all the time even if he's dumb as a box of rocks" I started laughing and thought touché!!!

Groom running after the carriage... Groom getting a hand back on the carriage...

After that we headed back towards Hazard 5 and 6 and watched the teams navigate through those obstacles. At the water one of the grooms (I think thats the correct term for the person on the back? I googled it so don't quote me!) fell off the back of the carriage and had to run through the water and jump on. There's definitely a reason everyone wears helmets and safety vests during the marathon phase!!!!

Finally the last driver of the day came through and we headed back. Overall it was such a cool experience and if I can score tickets to the driving at WEG I'm definitely going!!!! I highly recommend going to a driving competition if there is one in your area b/c it's quite fascinating and the amount of effort that goes into this event is insane!!!!! But honestly how many people can compete at the top of the level at 70 in their selected event of choice? I know there was a dressage person from Japan I think that was 70 at one of the Olympics but not many out there!