Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Well that was… Eventful

This past weekend was the FENCE HT and I had entered Chimi Novice. It was supposed to be the start of the season and it ended up being… well, eventful.

Saturday started out so promising. I braided Chimi in record time, I only left my house 10 minutes late to pick up Finn and T, and on my way to FENCE I saw a white squirrel! Surely this meant today was going to be great?? Right?

hello little white squirrel!!!

As soon as we got there and I jumped out of my truck I heard the announcer say "Prelim show jumping will start at 1 today." Umm that was weird, SJ was supposed to be tomorrow? Then I ran into my friend AT who said "Have you heard the news? It's been turned into a 1 day due to really bad weather tomorrow" UMMM WHAAAATTTT??? Do I have my stuff for show jumping? Yes except for my open fronts, but whatevs. They were allowing us to jump in XC attire for SJ so I figured it'd work out somehow.

I don't have lots of media so here's jumps from XC! This was for Training and Prelim but how fun is this?

Then it was time for bit check. I hopped on Chimi and we headed over to the tent where the bit checkers were hanging out. I told the lady to be careful but she wasn't careful enough and freaked Chimi out with her more aggressive bit checking style. However she did redeem herself and he allowed her to check the bit on the 2nd attempt. No sooner had they given us the green sticker and we turned around to walk the 10 steps to the warmup ring when suddenly I felt Chimi go straight up into the air and land bucking. I was pitched forward and landed on his neck and immediately wrapped my arms around him and held on. He stopped shortly after and just calmly stood there. Everyone was like omg you stayed on?! Good job! I laughed and said I wasn't going to give my trainer her bottle of wine for falling off today! Trainer saw the whole thing and jokingly said "I'm insulted that you wouldn't do that for me!" (her rule is if you fall off in her lesson or at a show you have to buy her a bottle of Australian Red. I've given her plenty of bottles in the past 5 years!)

T and P's picture frame jump

Warm up was kinda terrible but that was to be expected. Chimi didn't try and buck but he was overly spooky. He doesn't like the horses coming straight at him so I'm constantly looking at the flow of traffic and trying my best to go with the flow instead of against it. But this time he was also spooking at the white board the warmup stewards were using to keep track of everyone. I shrugged it off and just did my best to keep Chimi well enough together and survive the test.

When it was time for our dressage test he went in and mostly behaved. We're usually pretty darn decent on our first centerlines but this time when we made the turn left he spooked hard at something by C. I think it was a puddle? Honestly have no idea. The whole test he felt tense but obedient and we ended up with a respectable 33.3 which I thought was very fair. Trainer said the test looked good and we obviously lost points that we normally don't lose them at a couple of spots in the test (like when he jigged in the free walk). I forgot to pick up my test at the end of the day with all the craziness of the 1 day going on so I'm a bit sad I don't know how we did at each movement. Oh well.

Chimi looking so innocent and adorable being tacked up for XC

Finally it was time for XC! I was pretty excited b/c the course looked easy enough but had some tricky moments that I knew I had to ride well for. Trainer warned me about jump 1 so I knew I had to come out of the start box and ride him to the jump.

The fist jump on course.

The XC course at FENCE is across the road from the main show grounds and it's a fairly easy hack up the road. They always have policemen hanging out to make sure that any driver coming by slows down so that the riders won't have any trouble getting to XC. Chimi's made this trek many times so I wasn't to worried. As we were heading up the road two riders were coming back. The first one was riding her horse back and Chimi didn't care about them. However the 2nd rider was leading her horse back and suddenly I felt Chimi spin around and take off back to the trailer. I quickly stopped him and turned him around and the rider on the ground was very polite. We easily passed them on the 2nd attempt but it was just kind of weird.

Course walking at sunset is always the best for pictures

We checked in at XC warmup and I saw that there wasn't to many riders there yet. Thankfully we were one of the first riders to head out on the Novice course b/c cross country warm up can be really scary for Chimi with so many horses galloping around. We had a terrible warmup but that's pretty normal for Chimi so after getting ourselves mostly together I felt like we were ready to go.

I watched the first couple of riders head out of the start box and they didn't seem to have any trouble with the first jump.  Now it was our turn and was as ready as we could be.

Why am I looking at Chimi's front feet?

10, 9, 8....3, 2, 1, and we were off! I thought about trotting the first jump but Chimi charged forward out of the start box so I rolled with it. I sat down closed me leg and really rode him towards the first jump and then the next thing I know Chimi slams on the brakes at the last second and I'm slammed out of the tack and onto the ground. It all happened so fast I hadn't a snowball's chance in hell of staying on Chimi. Honestly I really don't think many people could stay on Chimi when he decides to stop b/c it truly comes out of nowhere and he's suddenly not under you anymore.  I had the ground and I'm thinking WHAT THE FUCK CHIMI YOU BASTARD GOD DAMN YOU WHERE THE FUCK DID THAT COME FROM??!!?!?!?!!?!?!?!!?! My head was not a good place to be at that moment.
Why am I looking at Chimi's BACK feet?????

Luckily Chimi is not a horse  that leaves the scene of the crime and tends to stand around waiting for you to get back up. In the fall I must of slid off the front of him and taken the bridle with me b/c when I stood up I saw that it was just laying there at his feet while he was grazing on some delicious grass. The jump judge jumped up and quietly walked towards us so not to spook Chimi but I had already gotten there, picked up the bridle, and had the reins around his neck. Some other trainers came over to help and make sure I was ok because it was AT THE FIRST JUMP ON COURSE. I had just fallen off and hadn't gotten to jump a single jump on course.

WHAT THE HELL CHIMI
I did my best to quickly get off the course so the next rider could go but had to wait around for the TD and EMT to check me out. I was fine, nothing more than a few bruises and didn't even hit my head in the fall. Thankfully the TD is a friend and she brought Trainer down with her in the golf cart and after being asked a few questions by the EMT, Trainer asked the most important question of all "What type of wine do you owe me?" I laughed and said "Australian Red!" Trainer said "Good! The important part of her brain is still working!"

helmet cam action of the fall

I got the clear to go back and be depressed about not getting to do SJ (though at that point I don't think I wanted to ride anymore, something was most definitely off about my horse. Not a lameness but a brainless?) This time I was that rider on the ground leading my pony. It felt like the walk of shame.

On the way back Chimi just had to have 1 more incident of course. As I was leading him down the side of the road there was a car in each lane. Of course it just happened that all 3 of us were at the same exact spot at the same exact time so the car approaching us was right next to us and Chimi leaped straight up in the air. Chimi at least has very good ground manners and never came close to touching me but it's still scary to wonder if this giant 1200lb beast is going to knock you into the road. I was so done at that point. Where the hell did my perfectly quirky but normal Chimi go?

After getting back to the trailer Chimi turned back into the perfect gentleman that he is. I stuck him on the trailer so I could eat lunch and he happily ate his hay and snoozed away. I watched some of the stadium rounds and cheered on friends. It really was a perfect day for a show and even though it didn't go the way I hoped I still had a great time. If there's one thing you can count on with horses it's that nothing goes the way you expect. I'll figure out what's going on with the Burrito but for now we'll take a couple days off and then reasses the next step!




Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Easter Treat Hunt from DIY Horse Ownership

So I was feeling a bit festive and decided to partake in Olivia's Easter Treat Hunt with the ponies. It was ummm.... mildly successful? 1.5 out of 3 horses actually found the treats and ate them without to much bribing!

2 different sized muffin pans make for different sized cookies!

First off the cookies!!! Part of the deal is the treats had to be homemade and I was excited to try this out. I hadn't made cookies since college (the equestrian club made horse treats one night, I thought they were supposed to be sold somewhere but not really sure how that turned out)

Yeah college!!! Go Equestrian Team!!! I'm the one of the middle squatting down by the black bucket filled with treat mix. Pic credit to Lauren from SMTT

Armed with Olivia's cookie recipe I was ready to conquer the kitchen! But there's a tiny snafu...my husband. We have a firm fast rule in the house in that I'm not allowed in his kitchen and he's not allowed in my barn, It makes for a very happy marriage otherwise....well lets just say I don't like him trying to help in the barn and he doesn't like me trying to help in the kitchen, so we stay away from those areas. It works until I want to make something!!!! But luckily said Husband is a pretty nice guy and I sent him the recipe to show him what I was planning to do. I had to run some errands and when I came back he had made the treats for me!!!! Don't give him to much credit, he just thought it'd be easier to cook them himself than clean up after me or listen to me constantly asking "where's this! Where's that? WTF does this do?" So yes, he made horse cookies for the Easter Hunt :)

Chimi wasn't sure what to think about his bunny ears and flowers


Now armed with cookies and bunny ears I found at CVS it was time to dress the ponies up and go on a hunt! I brought Chimi in and decided he would wear the ears first. Ummmm lets just say he was not amused. But being a good sport he kept them on. I moved some jumps around in my front pasture to the location of the "ring" (barn came with a grass ring but it floods anytime it rains so we just incorporated it into part of the front field. Grass is mostly Bermuda and is still a bit spotty b/c it's not hot enough yet for that type of grass so don't judge to harshly from the pictures!!!) I used the jumps to  "hide" the cookies and off we went!!! 


I had Chimi's halter on so I could lead him around the area b/c knowing my luck he'd take off up the hill and I'd be left with uneaten cookies. I sort of lead him to the cookie area and let him try and find them so it was still a "hunt". First egg we went looking for was on the jump standard and Chimi actually found the cookie! He knocked the cookie off the standard and then proceed to sniff it on the ground before actually eating it. After he finished cooking number 1 we headed over to the white barrel for cookie number 2! Aaaannnd that was a big fail. By this point he was done with the cookies and just wanted to eat grass. He did nose the cookie so I know he found it but it was not in his "flavor" at that moment. He walked off and started nibbling the grass shoots that are starting to come up. 

I sort of gave up on Chimi and just let him wander away to much on the grass and went over to the gate where Marley and Arrow were patiently waiting b/c they wanted to go out on the front field too! I put our a few more treats,  put some flowers in their hair, and let them just walk out to the front field and see if they'd find any of the cookies. 


I had high hopes for Arrow because he seemed to like the cookies the most when I tested them out on them earlier but he could of cared less about hunting for treats. But it ended up being Marley who was the super star and found 3 of the 4 treats I put out there! But after 2 of the treats she decided she didn't like them anymore and wandered off to eat grass. I did end up throwing the treats right in front of Arrow's nose and that was the only way I could get him to attempt to find any cookies. He just wanted to enjoy his afternoon and not worry about entertaining me...what a silly old man he can be :)

Arrow looking quite adorable with his flower accessory!

So over all it was a semi successful day with the treat hunting! I think my ponies would rather I feed them treats directly from my hand instead of making them search for them but overall they were good ponies and amused me for an afternoon!

Friday, March 30, 2018

Chimi Goes to the Vet and I Hear a Story From His Past

I mentioned briefly in my last post how on Monday for our lesson Chimi came up lame on his right hind. I was hoping it was the start of an abscess and that it would blow out and life would go on. Unfortunately not. Chimi never got worse and was pretty sound tracking to the left and on a straight line but was lame when I'd lunge him to the right. Damnit.

I'm innocent!!!

My farrier was coming out Wednesday to trim Chimi so I asked him if he'd hoof test him and see if he found anything (still trying to cling to hope that it was an abnormal abscess) Chimi's legs were normal as always and no matter how hard I tried I couldn't find any swelling or heat (other than his normal wind puffs on his hind legs, but they're really not that bad as far as wind puffs go)


One of the first "spring" days had the ponies feeling frisky


Meanwhile Chimi's still galloping around the field, bucking and carrying on so I don't think he hurt to much. What a dorkus. :)


WEEEEEEEEEEE

Anyways Wednesday rolls around and Farrier comes to look at Chimi and he hoof tested fine on every foot except his right front. Interesting. So I decided it was time to call the vet and see what's up. They could schedule me in for an appointment at 9:30am on Thurs and wrote down "mystery lameness" as the reason for the appointment. It was a terrible night as I kept thinking about what could possibly be wrong with my horse and how many thousands of dollars I'd be willing to put into making Chimi better. Of course when you start to panic you only think about worse case scenarios!



Thursday morning rolls around and off we go to the vet clinic. Chimi's a pretty chill guy and once we got there he hung out in a stall until Dr H could come and see him. Once Dr. H was free he came over and had a vet tech hold him so he could run his hands over Chimi and figure out things from there. As he's feeling Chimi's legs he comments "He has really mellowed out hasn't he? I remember him standing up on his back legs when they were trying to load him in the trailer after his colic surgery. That's when he stretched his surgical incision and caused that (pointing to his hernia)" I was like wait what? This is a story I've never heard!!!!! I knew he'd had colic surgery before I bought him and had a hernia as a result of the surgery (plus a hernia repair surgery and it still came through that) but I didn't know the exact story behind it. I laughed and told Dr H this and he was like "oh yeah, he was not a calm horse back then, he didn't even like being touched" and then he proceeded to compliment how good Chimi looked and he seemed pretty happy with the overall picture and knowing Chimi's history.  Which made me happy b/c I've worked really hard to keep Chimi in one piece and do right by him.

Must gallop to my friends who are 20 feet away!!!

It was a pretty busy day for Dr H b/c he was bouncing back and forth between Chimi and another horse there for "mystery lameness" plus there was a horse just chilling out in the day stalls probably waiting for a vet to be free to look at him, and all the horses that are currently waiting for/healing from various surgeries and whatever else would make them be overnight guests at the clinic. Plus there's a HJ show at TIEC and a lot of the vets were having to go over there for various reasons. Yep, spring show season is in the air!!!

 Anyways, back to Chimi. They ended up blocking his front right to see if it'd help his right hind lameness improve and luckily it did! I decided to go ahead and get X-rays of his front feet b/c it's something my farrier and I have talked about b/c we are constantly having a debate about "Shoes or No Shoes" for Chimi. Currently he's barefoot and has been for 4+ years. I've been hesitant to put shoes on him b/c 1) he's been fine and 2) he's barefoot b/c I couldn't keep shoes on him when I first got him. OMG it was almost a joke how long Chimi would keep his shoes on before ripping them off somewhere in the pasture. It came back that Chimi's soles are on the thinner side (Farrier has always said that, damn him for being so smart hahaha) and his angles in his front right aren't correct. His left front is great but his right front grows weird and it's been a constant battle for Farrier to try and get it correct. The X-rays also allow Farrier to see how much hoof he can take off his toe (b/c he needs less toe on that right front) without getting to close to important structures inside. Dr H recommended putting shoes on his front or getting boots of some kind for Chimi and seeing if that helps make him more comfortable. So sadly my amazing barefoot horse and cheap farrier bill will no longer be.


Bad long toe!!! Farrier has been working on fixing you but you choose to grow like a dish!!! None of the other hooves do this!!! Only you bad long toe!!!!!

As far as Chimi's right hind lameness (he was still a little off there, but much improved after blocking the right front) Dr H recommended putting him on a series of Adequan and seeing if that helps. He wanted to start more conservatively before going to injections b/c Chimi really wasn't that bad on the flexions. Yes he was a bit positive but considering he's 15 this year (next month!) the Adequan could be all that he needs. I did jokingly say "I don't want to do injections b/c he's to damn athletic and I don't know if I could stay on him if he was feeling that good!!!" Dr H laughed and said "Oh yes, that is a memory I will never forget of him standing straight up on his legs and basically walking around! He is a really athletic horse!"

Case in point- one of the MANY photos I have of Chimi over jumping

After paying and saying goodbye I loaded Chimi up and back home we went. As soon as I turned Chimi out he took off galloping up the hill to eat some grass and I laughed and shook my head. Damn horse might be lame but he's not sore enough to not enjoy himself. I really do love my quirky horse :)

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Let's Try That Again... FENCE Novice CT 3/24

This past Saturday was another FRC schooling show at FENCE and since I haven't ridden a dressage test since last August I figured I should get my act together and send in an entry!!!! After doing the schooling rounds at the last FRC show I felt a lot better about jumping Chimi around Novice and signed up for the Combined Test

Love that face!

There were supposed to be 5 in our division but 1 person scratched, probably b/c the weather wasn't looking to good with rain in the forecast. My ride time was set for 8:07 am which meant an early morning wakeup call at 5:30 (I am soooo not a morning person) where I quickly fed the ponies, tossed Chimi on the trailer, hoped for the best, and off we went!!!



Even though I did not enjoy the early morning wake up call I really enjoyed the small number of horses in the warmup! Chimi does not like horses approaching him straight on so warmups are usually spent trying to dodge horses instead of getting all the pieces together. At FENCE there are 2 warmup rings and they had 1 set up for the jumping later on. All the other horses at the show that early in the am were in the warmup ring w/o the jumps and I took one look at a young little app screaming it's head off and flailing about that I checked out and headed over to the jumping warmup. It was perfect b/c we had the entire ring to ourselves. Can every warmup be like this? No? Damn. 

Finally it was time to head across the bridge to the dressage ring and attempt our first try at the new Novice A. Overall I was pretty happy with our test. Chimi was a bit peaky at things going on around the ring so we had little to no bend in a few spots but he was pretty consistent. Chimi memorizes dressage tests so I can't practice them at home so it was really nice being able to get through a test where I wasn't constantly battling Chimi going "we trot HERE! we canter HERE!" b/c in his memorization he's not the most accurate horse. We did have a small moment where we were circling at E and Chimi said "oh oh oh we canter NOW!" but we still had 1/2  a circle before the canter and I was able to get him back and since he was confused he didn't do it the other direction WINNING!


So basically Chimi can trot fancy but we need to work on walk and canter, but I'll take this!!!!!

After our test we had an hour and a halfish before stadium so I had enough time to walk the course and say hello to some friends before having to tack up and head back over to warmup. Chimi felt great in warmup so we only jumped a couple of jumps before heading over to the course.

The course was fairly straight forward but had a few tight turns to keep you on your toes. 4-5 was a loop back and then 5-6 was a loop to the long side, but from 8-9 you had a decent left roll back but at least you had enough time to reorganize if you totally botched the turn. The rider in front of me pulled the rail at jump 2 b/c it came fairly quick after the turn from the rail. I saw this and knew I needed to keep the energy going otherwise we'd make it ugly too!

Feel free to fast forward to 48 secs for the Oh Shit moment

Our round started out fairly nice, Chimi was in control and I felt like I was doing my part as his rider. But starting at jump 4 things started to unravel. Chimi started getting bolder through the course and instead of riding him like I should I started pulling and not staying supportive with my leg. So after we made it over jump 5 I really stopped riding and managed to "stuff the Burrito" into the 2 stride combination and Chimi being the amazing horse that he is somehow got us out of it! He put 3 strides into the 2 stride but didn't touch a rail (somehow). If you watch the video you can hear me shout "oh SHIT" and fall on his neck over 6A. Thankfully we had a long time before jump 7 and at this point Chimi was like "hold on bad rider! I've got this since you don't!" and almost jumped me out of the tack over jump 7. Somehow we managed to get over the last 2 jumps and I gave Chimi lots of praise for saving my ass.



Round 2

After everyone that was competing in the Novice CT went I headed back into the ring to do a schooling round. I really like that they do this b/c I really needed to go back and try to fix my shitting riding in the last round! The 2nd one was much better, except for the turn from 4-5 where Chimi flung his head straight up in the air (probably b/c I was lifting my hands and pulling and dropped my leg) but again b/c he's amazing we made it over jump 5 and had a lovely ride through the 2 stride and finished up quite nicely over the rest of the course.

After untacking I loaded Chimi on the trailer and took him home. I didn't have a lot of time before I needed to be back to the show b/c I was volunteering in the afternoon. (well at 11:15) B/c of this I didn't have a chance to look at the scores until I returned. When I got back I went up to check in at the office and find my dressage test. And what would you know, attached to my test was a BLUE RIBBON!!!! Somehow we had pranced our way fancily enough around the dressage arena to score a 28 and b/c Chimi is amazing despite my bad riding he left all the rails up in SJ and we ended the day on the 28!!! I was pretty darn excited b/c not only did we get a pretty ribbon, we also got a FRC mug, a FRC tote bag, and $10 to the Farmhouse (our local tack store) Kind of a nice little swag bag that I wasn't expecting!

The mug's cartoon might be my favorite ever :)

We still have plenty of improvements that need to happen before our next outing, and next time the competition will be a lot tougher and we won't have a warmup ring to ourselves, sadly. So forward and onward b/c FENCE HT is coming up and there will be people there that get low 20's on their dressage test that very possibly will be in our division!!!!! YIKES!!!! Oh and a small fact that my horse was LAME yesterday morning for our jump lesson!!!! Grrrrrrr..... I'm pretty sure it's just an abscess b/c there's no heat or swelling in his leg and the non stop wet weather is just asking for an abscess. So  fingers crossed it blows out in the next day or so b/c "Ain't Nobody Got Time for That"





Tuesday, March 6, 2018

XC Schooling at FENCE

After surviving 3 rounds of show jumping the day before it was time for XC!!! Trainer had a group of  6 meeting up that ranged from barely getting over starter sized fences to me running Novice (in theory) so it was a very diversified group. But the good thing about FENCE is the small jumps are next to the big jumps so each person can do what they need to do without having to move to a different location.

We started warming and practicing our "squish point". Trainer has coined that term for the spot where you say yes we are jumping that (aka where you would half halt, sit up, etc before the jump) Chimi was feeling quite dull and nonchalant so I'm not sure if he was a little tired or if he was just being his normal lazy self that he is at home (no joke he is the laziest horse at home!) But once we started jumping Chimi perked up and had plenty of energy for the day. I think he's finally maturing :)

You can kind off see the chipped pieces of the log on the left side, scary stuff I'll tell ya

First warm up fence was over a little Starter log pile and no joke this was probably the scariest jump to Chimi on course. Every single time he jumped it he cracked his back extra and twisted his front feet to the right b/c there was a chip in one of the logs that he did not like. What a weirdo :) But I'm still happy that he jumped it, even if I felt like I had to contort myself to stay in the saddle. After warming over the log pile Trainer had us start to string jumps together. First we started out with the chipped log pile then up the hill to the green coop, left turn and back around and down the little bank. Chimi was really good for all of this though he did question a stick that was off to the side of the drop and sort of glanced at it as we were dropping down. Again what a weirdo :) After that we headed over to the water and played around with the various jumps around the water, which was basically nothing. Kinda disappointing that a lot of the jumps had been moved off the XC course and it felt sort of empty. There was stuff to jump but I'd say at least half the jumps were gone from the HT. Oh well, at least we still got to play around something!

As a side note, for Christmas I got the Cambox helmet cam and this past weekend was my first time really getting to test it out over jumps. I played around with it at home on the trails just to make sure I knew how it worked but otherwise this was the test run. Overall my only complaint was I'd forget to turn it on when I was riding so I missed most of the XC schooling, whoops!

After playing around in the water we moved up to the top of FENCE hill (which is massive, pictures do not do the hill any justice, it's something that needs to be experienced!) At the hill's peak there is a bank complex and the ditches for Beginner Novice and Novice and various jumps around it. I was getting a bit nervous about the top b/c I knew what was coming next, the dreaded Bank to Nowhere.

Pictures never do terrain justice, but this gives you kind of the idea of Jumping into Nowhere, but it's defiantly more daunting in person (if you're me at least)

The Bank to Nowhere really isn't that big but it feels big b/c you're basically jumping off a cliff and you have a huge view of the vista below. You do land on flattish ground but it does start to slope off down hill just 1 stride after you land so that also creates the feeling of dropping off to Nowhere. Plus on top of all of that Chimi would either stop and dance around at the top or leap off the bank leaving me praying to all the XC gods that my butt would somehow land back in the saddle and I'd stay on. And even add in fears of the days when Chimi was a real shit during XC schoolings and would spook at everything and freak out that there were horses somewhere else on course (schooling XC use to be scary as hell with Chimi). All of this together is probably what turned the bank into our nemesis and therefore the feeling of doom when we headed up the hill b/c I know Trainer was going to make us do it, and sure enough, she did.


The mountain views from the top of FENCE Hill never get old

Thankfully it was the last jump in our little mini course so I could get a good rhythm with Chimi leading up to the Bank to Nowhere. For the first course she had us head down one of the newer paths (they've bush hogged a few new paths to extend the cross country course. It'll be really nice once the grass finishes growing in but right now its a mix of grass and red clay) come up over the little gray roll top, over the ditch, and then loop around and up the ramp and down The Bank. I gave Trainer a look and she just said "you'll be fine, remember to look where you're going and go do it". So off we went. Chimi was feeling great and made easy work over the roll top, nice little gallop stretch to the bank, and then it was time to drop off the face of the world. I started to relax my elbows, count in rhythms of 4 (I was in band to long and can't count past 4 in a rhythm) brought Chimi down to a trot, and closed my leg, prayed to the gods of XC and banks, made sure I was looking down where I wanted to land (b/c if i look out into space Chimi leaps out into space but if I look where I want to land on drops he lands there, it's kinda cool actually!) and plop! Chimi just softly dropped off the bank. Well damn, WE DID IT ON THE FIRST TRY!!!!!!!! In the video you hear me cheer b/c I wasn't sure what to expect so when I tried to come back to the group Trainer said "Do it again!" so we did and it was another easy plop down, and then trainer yells out to us "Now canter it!" So canter it we did and another easy plop down to the ground! WOOOHOO!!!!!!! It's amazing how when you ride something correctly it can become pretty easy :)



We weren't quite done yet and had one last little course to do before calling the day over. Trainer sent us down to the far end of the field and had us come up over the little Novice house, turn right and jump the gray roll top down hill, turn left, up the ramp and off the bank, and finish up over the Novice ditch. Chimi was feeling great at this point and made easy work of the red house and roll top so when we were on the newer path I decided to add in the other rolltop b/c it just looked so nice and inviting. Trainer couldn't see it b/c it was hidden by tall grass otherwise I know she would of had us jump it too, so I just took the liberty of adding it into the course. After that we came up the hill turned left to the bank and I got a little cocky about it. Whoops. Chimi still jumped off of it but I didn't use my eye to tell him where to go and sort of stared off into the distance which made Chimi leap off of the bank and me land in a heap on the other side, sorry buddy!!! You can here me say Whoop! when I land on his neck, but thankfully I was still pretty secure in the saddle and we finished up over the novice ditch. (skip to the 3:10 mark in the video below if you want to watch the last "mini" course)

Video evidence of XC, please excuse the breathing, I probably should of muted it but I didn't. More cardio is in my near future!

Overall I was really happy with how the XC schooling went, especially b/c we successfully dropped off the Bank to Nowhere!!!! I'm not saying all down bank drama is cured but I feel much better about have the tools to successfully navigate drops, especially visually scary ones. I used to love drop banks and always found them really easy so I hope that I'll be able to get back to that feeling soon. But after this weekend I feel like it's actually a possibility in the near future!



Monday, March 5, 2018

FRC Schooling SJ Rounds for the Win!

This past weekend was a very pony filled weekend and more specifically with our local riding club FRC (Foothills Riding Club). For most of the people in the area it was the first show of the year and the weather could not of been better (or at least by the time I rode, sorry for the people that went early in the morning, that was cold!) It was a sunny, though breezy day on Saturday but there were smiles everywhere!



Saturday was the Dressage and Combined Test show with $5 schooling rounds afterwards. I didn't get my act together in time to sign up for a dressage test but overall I was ok with that. I was more worried about jumping b/c the weather has been behaving terribly since Christmas and most of my jumping lessons have been canceled or turned into flat lessons. With event season looming ahead and me wanting to blast out of the starting gate at Novice this spring I knew I needed to jump at Novice height and make sure I wasn't going to die.



One of the many reasons I love FRC is the $5 schooling rounds. They have it set up from cross rails to usually training + and each level has a certain time slot to jump in. They go from the smallest division to the biggest so you have an opportunity to school the smaller course first and if you're feeling brave you can jump the next height up afterwards. The times were as follows:


18'' Cross Rails (Grasshopper height) Schooling Rounds 12:50-1:05
 2'-2'3'' Starter Schooling Rounds: 1:15-1:35
2'7'' BN Schooling Rounds: 1:50-2:15
2'11'' Novice Schooling Rounds: 2:25-2:50
3'3'' Training or Higher: 2:50-3:45 (must have own JUMP CREW/ GROUND PERSON) COURSE CLOSES 3:45 

 Going into the show Trainer and I decided the best course of action would be to do a BN round 1st and then jump around Novice. We'd meet there around 1:45, warmup and then head over to stadium.

Saturday arrives and I had planned to get there a bit early so I could check in and take my time tacking up so I got to FENCE a little before 1. I found the perfect parking spot right next to the warmup arena and as soon as I parked and looked over in the warmup I thought I saw a familiar Roaming Rider and her bay mare Gem heading over to the SJ arena from warmup. I had to check in first but I ran back as quickly as I could to watch Sara and Gem go. I missed the first round but was able to watch her last one. And no joke guys Sara has done such a good job with Gem and she is not the same horse as last year!!!! Gem would peak at various things but she jumped all the jumps on the first try! Way to go Sara!!!!! But even with Gem being such a good girl I have to say little Wyatt stole the show. After Sara finished her round Dusty and Wyatt came over to say hello and Wyatt so cutely asked who I was. After that he talked a mile a minute about everything and kept asking Sara if she won. It was just a schooling round so of course she won b/c she got over everything! Then Wyatt asked if I wanted to dig with him. How freaking adorable!!!!! If it was legal to steal children I would totally kidnap little Wyatt, he made me smile the whole time!!!

After hanging out a bit it was time to start tacking Chimi up and get ready to jump!!!! I met Trainer in the warmup and after warming up and popping over a couple jumps we were ready to go! I quickly memorized the course and it was our turn to jump! Aaaaaaannd it was kinda crappy. We got over all the jumps but I got really nervous right before the first jump and ended up stuffing him to the base of a lot of the jumps. It was not a smooth round. Chimi was a fire breathing dragon but I did not do my part to ride him correctly. When I got to the gate Trainer looks at me and says "that was terrible go do it again" so I turned Chimi around and headed back to the first jump and voila! Our second round was soooooo much better!!!! Amazing what happens when you actually ride instead of pulling at your horse's face!


Sara and family came over to say bye and Wyatt asked me "did you win?" Yes Wyatt, I did b/c I stayed on my horse! After they left I waited around for the Novice course and chatted with some other friends waiting around too.

Since we had been standing around a bit when I went into the SJ arena I circled Chimi around a bit and then decided he needed a warmup jump before we started the course. I pointed him at jump 6 which was just a green vertical and Chimi knocked it down. Sometimes I swear his brain needs a moment to wake up b/c after that he was like "Oh yeah! we're JUMPING!!!!!" and then proceeded to almost jump me out of the tack over the first jump. I somehow recovered and we made the roll back turn to jump 2 and Chimi was doing his typical not listening to my half halts cross cantering so we kinda got to a crappy spot but luckily he was balanced enough that we made it over. From there everything was fairly smooth sailing and I just had to keep him balanced and make sure he listened to my half halt if he didn't quite get the left lead (left lead changes are a work on progress) He tried to jump me out of the tack at one other jump but other wise he just bounced around the course and enjoyed every moment of it. I was pretty happy over all with how he did especially since we haven't jumped a course since the AEC's in August!


Next up Cross Country!!!!! But you'll have to wait until tomorrow for that recap :)






Thursday, March 1, 2018

30 Things You Might Not Know About Me

It's taken me ages but I finally finished the post and found some scary pictures of my past... so here's my contribution to the blog hop!

1) After college I lived in London, England for 5 months under a student working visa and then snagged another visa for Ireland for another 5 months. My first job in England was working for Ross Nye stables and got to ride in Hyde Park. It was awesome!!! Sadly the pay was so bad I couldn't make it work long term, plus I was there to travel and needed a different job so I ended up working for a high profile catering company and worked at various events around London. Though the coolest event I worked at was at Saddler's Hall where they had ancient saddles and tack on display for the British Horse Society. It was mostly for the people that provided the money for sending people to the Olympics that year (it was 2008) and not the riders, sadly. But still loved it!!!!!

I spent Christmas in Scotland with a bunch of crazy people! Of course I can't find the awesome group shot so you'll have to settle for me holding the Scottish flag instead

2) I love Roller Coasters. The speed. The loops. Omg they’re scary as hell and exhilarating when you’re done. Maybe that’s why I event? Same feeling on XC!!!

3) My favorite movie is The Princess Bride and I basically have the entire movie memorized. My parents must of bought the movie for me as a kid b/c I definitely owned it on VHS and watched it more times than I probably should admit ;) Westly was my first celebrity crush and Cary Elwes is coming to Greenville's Comic Con and I'm actually considering going to meet him! Though I haven't figure out tickets nor do I want to go by myself and not sure if anyone would go with me!

Princess Buttercup may of been winey and helpless but Westly was perfect

4) I love Star Wars and have made it a priority to go to the "midnight" showings (our local theater has been showing the "midnight" showing at 7:30 for the most recent movies so i don't have to stay up until 3 am!) I'm not so crazed about it that I have those nerdy details memorized, nor do I have any collectors items/toy figures, but I love the story and have watched them multiple times in my life. Plus the music. I mean come on, when you hear the opening note to the main theme it just sparks something and I love it!!!

5) I basically grew up at summer camp. My mom was head of Riding at a camp and took me every summer she was there. I was a tiny kid (ages 1-8ish) and pretty much had free rein of the camp. I'm sure when I was really tiny there was a baby sitter watching all the tiny children (I was not the only one) but once we were old enough to be on our own it was free game! I always had supervision b/c the counselors were everywhere but for a 5-8ish year old kid it was the best feeling ever to do whatever I wanted. I went swimming, riding, hung out with my friends, caught newts, sang songs, basically it was the best childhood summer I could ever envision and really count my lucky stars that I was able to “grow up” at a summer camp. Also probably should credit my love of Star Wars to camp bc it’s where I first saw the movies. They played them on movie night every year so yeah, I was conditioned to like them right?

6) I was really into theater and acted in all the plays in middle and high school. My first roll was in 6th grade and I played Uncle the Pig in Charlotte’s Web. I still remember one of my lines too! “I’ve got this competition all sewed up but I won’t needle you about it. Get it? Haw Haw!” Yeah that’s the only line i still remember of all the plays I did (well ok, I kinda remember the to be or not to be speech when I was Hamlet in a spoof one act, but I’m not counting it bc it’s quite famous)

Awkward hair style of the 90's and rocking out my costume for The Pale Pink Dragon

7) I’m still friends with my high school friends and talk to them fairly often. We have a group chat that’s constantly being blown up. Though since most of my friends have babies it usually has something to do with that but it’s usually funny kid related stuff like when my friend’s kid drew a family portrait and everyone looked like a group of penises with faces. So it’s usually pretty entertaining and I’ll randomly send a picture of one of the animals since they’re my “children”

Senior Year of High School

8) I love to read books. I would stay up all night reading books with a flashlight so my parents would think I'd gone to bed. I love fiction and tend to gravitate towards the fantasy genre. My favorite series when I was a young teen was The Song of the Lioness quartet and I wanted to be Alanna. Or Daine in the Immortals books b/c she could talk to animals and had a pony named Cloud. Currently am obsessed with The Green Rider series and can’t wait for her to write the next book!!!! Actually obsessed with many series including Outlander.

But I love a good story that takes your mind off of everything else but the characters and what’s going on. That’s probably why I loved acting so much, it was an escape from reality where I could be someone else for a brief bit. 

9) I didn't get my ears pierced until I was 18. I was on spring break with my friends in Fla and we were at the mall (my friends loved to shop I did not) and I decided to get my ears pierced at Claire's. It wasn't completely spontaneous b/c I'd been debating it for a bit but decided I was going to do it so I could wear pretty earrings to prom. It was probably cutting it very close to take the studs out for prom but I was determined to wear pretty earrings but when I took the "pretty" earrings out after prom my ears bled like crazy and hurt like hell but I wore my pretty earrings to prom! (they weren't that pretty)

10) When I was younger I was obsessed with Native Americans. I wanted to be Native American. But I'm pale as hell and have red hair.... nothing about me is Native American. But I was really into how they respected the earth and their stories. Plus the plains Indians rode wild ponies.... ummm YES PLEASE!!!

11) I wear long sleeves year round. I used to wear t-shirts and short sleeves but in 2011 my cousin had a September wedding and the bridesmaid dress was strapless. I was getting ready for my B rating (the reason I started this blog) and was spending a lot of time outside and in the sun and did not want to show up to her fancy wedding with a farmers tan. So I stole all my dad's old button down shirts and wore them all summer. It was so nice not getting sunburned that I continued to wear long sleeves year round. Now that they make long sleeve sun shirts my life is complete and I wear them all the time!
Nice thin cotton men's dress shirt for the win!

12) I'm an only child. I love being an only child. But growing up I was not alone. There was a group of kids my ageish (give or take a year or two) and our parents would hire a babysitter for all of us and we'd rotate houses the baby sitter would watch us at. Plus I have 3 1st cousins that lived nearby and one of my cousins is 22 days older than me so we were treated as twins growing up. I loved this life b/c I had "siblings" but could go home and be alone.

13) From the time I started going to school and until I left for college I woke up every school day to the oldies station, Magic 96.1. My parents did not like the current trends of top 40 music so I wasn't allowed to listen to it when they were around. I guess it became a habit though and I never changed my radio over to 95.1 when I was older and easily could of. There was something joyful about waking up to "Shafer and the Eggman" every morning before school. Plus they had a nice balance of music to talking which Ace and TJ over at 95.1 were to busy talking all the time and would play 4 songs an hour (ok so that's probably an exaggeration but they did talk a lot and I wanted to hear music in the morning) Sadly the radio station changed music while I was away at college and I came home to my beloved oldies station playing crappy rap music. Now 96.1 in Charlotte plays more top 40 songs but during that first change over it was heavily rap based, which I'm not a fan of.
Hello old friend... you attempted to get me up in time for school for many years

14) Anytime I was in the car with my mom she would always be listening to NPR. I hated it b/c they didn't play music and always talked about the news. But I did enjoy Car Talk and Prairie Home Companion on the weekends and wouldn't complain to much then. When I was older and had come back to Charlotte after college I found myself listening to NPR and actually loving it!!!! That's when I realized people weren't kidding when they say you turn into your parents... oh damn! While I was still in Charlotte I religiously listened to Charlotte Talks every morning at 9am while I was working b/c they always had really interesting things on. It's were I found out about the Carolina Chocolate Drops and have seen them in concert twice now and they are amazing live. They're from Charlotte area which is why they got to be on Charlotte Talks :) I could ramble on about my newfound love for NPR and how I turned into my mother but I'm going to stop while I'm still ahead!!!

15) I'm really into music but I haven't carved out enough time recently to be in the know anymore. It's funny how my music choices have changed over the years and if you look in my library you'll find a very eclectic selection ranging from top 40, to movie soundtracks/scores, to bluegrass, broadway, alternative, oldies, lots of indie labels, and a fair amount of lesser knows. I was very much into punk rock and very bass oriented alt rock in high school (I was very into Incubus, System of a Down and Tool in my high school days, and oh and Chevelle's The Red was my JAM). Currently I'm finding myself gravitating to folk music like The Harmaleighs, Avett Brothers (just watched their documentary so they're on my mind in a big way!), Nathaniel Ratliff & the Night Sweats, oh and the Lumineers, and Mumford and Sons probably started it all! But I love all songs that give you the feels, no matter what genre they're from (though rap and pop country RARELY gives me the feels)

16) My favorite song is "All These Things That I've Done" by the Killers. OMG the feels. This song deserves to be listened to on high volume!!!! I have yet to get tired of that song and can listen to it multiple times in a row if the mood strikes me



17) My favorite Oscar host was Hugh Jackman. OMG That man is amazing. He is a triple threat!!!!! Can sing, dance, and act!!! What more do you need? I guess you could say he's my current Hollywood crush :)

18) I didn't like Totilas when he was super famous. I thought he was boring. Yeah he was flashy and whatnot but I just didn't find myself drooling over him. Valegro on the other hand, yes I can get behind Charlotte D and Valegro!!!! They deserve to be super famous!!!!

Hello most amazing Blueberry!!!!

19) I played trumpet in middle school and french horn in high school. I only joined the band to go on trips and had zero desire to practice outside of school. I'm grateful for the music appreciation it taught me and still enjoy listening to symphonic music but so glad I don't play anymore. I was not very good.

20) I have a goal of visiting all 50 states before I die and every continent except Antartica, I'm ok with not going there! I don't know what my State count is but it's probably around 25? As far as continents go I have Australia and South America left! Though I would like to go to the safari side of Africa, I was in Egypt so technically it is Africa but more of the middle eastern side of things.

First rest stop in Texas! I can't remember if we got a picture of a "Welcome to Texas" sign b/c it was night when we finally arrived there (and we left at 9pm the next day so we could stay ahead of the ice storm that was suppose to hit Dallas- yeah that was a sketchy drive to New Mexico)

21) I drove from NC to CA with my friend when she moved to San Diego in January of 2008. That was an awesome road trip! We essentially saw all weather in the 8 day drive!!! It started out with cold gross rain when we left NC, an ice storm when we left Texas, snow and 80 degrees in Arizona, and then brilliant lovely weather in San Diego. We needed t-shirts and heavy jackets for all the weather types we adventured through on that trip :) We made sure that we stopped in every state to say we'd been there and took pictures of every "Welcome to...." sign when we crossed into said state. I flew back home after dropping her off in SD and was so grateful that I was able to go on that trip with her!

22) I don't cook at all. I can cook, and in my single days I'd cook easy stuff but my husband is the cook in the family. We have a rule in our house that I'm not allowed in his kitchen and he's not allowed in my barn. It works for me b/c I don't like how he feeds the horses and he doesn't like how I feed people!! Though my grandmother can't quite wrap her brain around the fact that I don't do any of the cooking, welcome to 2018!!!!

23) I'm quite obsessed with my dog, Jello. She's been my companion for 9 years now and has been with me since I was single and living in Charlotte. I found her on Petfinder.com and it was the best decision ever getting her.

The motley crew- Jello is the dog on the far right
24) We have to many animals at our house. Besides Jello (who I brought into the relationship) we have 5 other dogs, so a total of 6, 4 cats, and 3 horses. We had 4 horses but Finn moved (I can't remember if I mentioned this before?) so we're down to 3, thank god. All the dogs and cats are rescues of various forms, and the horses all have interesting stories of how they came to live with us. I love having all of the animals but am also looking forward to less hair when they get old and pass on. But I know we'll always have animals, I'd just like it to be a smaller number the next go around!

25) Technically I don't own a horse. Husband bought Chimi for his daughter and I was suppose to "train" him until she outgrew Finn and needed her next horse. Instead she decided soccer was more fun and quit riding. So Chimi is still mine but I didn't buy him! (He bought Chimi right before we started dating so I think it was his way of making sure I stuck around hahaha, jk!)

26) I have 2 step kids, a boy and a girl. Love both of them and so grateful that Husband has great kids!

27) My 3 best friends' names start with the letter J. I met JM in 1st grade and we became friends b/c of horses, I met JAG when I was 7/8ish at a Mecklenburg Hounds meeting at her house and we instantly hit it off and still ride together (actually going XC schooling with her on Sunday if all goes to plan!) and met JG at summer camp when I was 9 and we bonded over ponies. Of the 3 only JAG still rides but I still talk about horses with JM and JG.

JM on her pony Star, Me on my horse Gypsy, and JAG on her pony Rosie (not 100% sure who the bay is) Gotta love those  old school white helmets!!!!!

28) When going somewhere/meeting up with people I am either late or super early. On time? Ha, That's a problem I have yet to solve!!! This also seems to be a curse on my mom's side of the family b/c we're always running late! It drives my dad and Husband crazy b/c they're the On Time kind of people :)

29) I'm obsessed with socks. I have to many socks to count and they all have fun patterns and designs. I recently had to prevent myself from buying more socks b/c I need to cull through my current ones and toss out the ones with to many holes in them. But no joke I LOVE fun socks!!!!

Batman socks are just one of many bright and festive socks in my drawer!

30) I'm left handed. I wish i was more ambidextrous but I'm pretty much dependent on my left hand. I tried writing with my write hand when I was in elementary school so I could teach myself to be ambidextrous but that was very short lived b/c it just took to long for me to struggle through writing anything with my right hand.


So there ya go! 30 things you never thought you'd ever care about to know about Bette :)