Sunday, December 26, 2010

Happy Holidays!

I wanted to post this yesterday, but I just kinda ran out of steam and time :) Wanted to wish everyone a safe and Happy Holiday Season from me and "the boys"!

Note: this picture was taken on Christmas Eve before we were blasted with 8 inches of snow! It features the "Nice" Buddy, "Naughty" Khakie and "Bah Humbug" DJ

Thursday, December 9, 2010

First Snowfall

OK, I know I posted on here that I moved to NC and not ME! But seriously, our highs for the past couple of days have been in the mid 30's and into the teens at night...I am so not ready for that yet! It's only the beginning of December! We did get about 2 inches of snow last Saturday which marked the boys' first snow in NC. I did manage to snag a quick picture :)

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Thanksgiving and Half-halts!

Thanksgiving, oh Thanksgiving! My favorite time of year! The perfect excuse to cook an unreasonable amount of food and eat most of what you've cooked while saving the rest for endless leftovers that can be turned into new recipes along the way :) But along with the excusable gluttony, we as a society are also meant to sit back and reflect on all that we should be thankful for during this year. So, last Thursday, I did just that (eat and reflect!). In the morning, I was fortunate enough to go down to the barn and greet three shining faces that were less than thrilled with me about feeding them slightly later than usual. The first thing I was thankful for were my healthy, happy horses. Although this year has been full of many ups and downs, my horses have been troopers and stayed healthy, content and understanding beings when I myself was not always having a great day. For this I am truly thankful. My barn mate (the mother of one of those three bright shining pony faces) who came down to the farm that week to enjoy the holiday with her family, came to help me clean the barn and also to enjoy her equine companion whom she is also very thankful for! For this, I am thankful for good friends. Without them, we lose a lot of support through good and bad times. My friends have been through a lot this year with their own personal lives, my moving and just losing some of them in general but without the ones who I remain close with I would definitely be lost in this world. So thank you to those of you who choose to remain my friend! After the barn, I made it back to the house and was immediately struck with the mouth-watering aroma of my mother's hard work in the kitchen and that brings me to my last major thankful thought which is my family. We were blessed this year that every one was healthy and very positive about the move south. But we were ultimately blessed to have each other during this transitional period. Without my parents, I would be wondering aimlessly because they are my sole support and my constant reminder to aim high and follow my dreams. I hope everyone can be as lucky as I am one day :)

Now, to the not so sentimental stuff...the day after Thanksgiving! Black Friday, the start of leftovers and early shopping galore! But not for this barn girl...well, I did thoroughly enjoy my leftovers ;) The day after Turkey Day was my second lesson with Lynn Leath over at North Star Training Center. Now, I know if you read my last blog I said I would write after my first lesson...well, if you actually read my blog I don't always keep my word on when I'm going to write next (that will probably be a forerunner on my New Year's Res..."keep to my promised writing schedule :)!) You can also assume that the first lesson went well since I said this was my second lesson with Lynn...haha I know I'm tricky! Alas I digress, back to the good stuff. So, as usual anytime I try and take my horses somewhere it threatens to I rubbed Buddy down as best I good threw on his shipping boots and ThinLine horse helmet (yes, he is a head banger and this one keeps his noggin extra safe!) and off to Chapel Hill we went. Buddy warmed up quite nicely with a swinging back, soft mouth and only spooked at the new poinsettias in the flower boxes twice! Lynn had me continue my work from my first lesson which was straightness and tweaking my body position (gee, what a surprise!). Even though our lesson was three weeks before, she had noticed a considerable difference in our straightness and decided to incorporate more of my friend the "half-halt". With this work we continued straightness on the long/short sides as well as circles but then threw in some serpentines in order to bring in the half-halt which surprisingly resulted in the beginning of half-steps...Yay for piaffe! Then we did this at the canter reminding Buddy to keep his hind legs active since he tends to walk with his back legs when I don't get after him...oops! After 45 min., Buddy and me were beat but I was thrilled with the progress and it's only our second time out. Next season is going to be AWESOME if we keep this up!

Until next time or the next exciting horsey moment occurs...Happy Horsing!

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Happy Halloween

Just a short post to say Happy Halloween!! Can you tell I'm obsessed with horses?!?!? Hope everyone had a great night :D

Jumping Pumpkin

Dressage Pumpkin

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

A North Carolina Update!

Well, I promised this some time ago but alas, I was again negligent on my blogging duties :( Anyways, I have some updates on life in general!

First, the Ponies:
With this new change in lifestyle (i.e. constant love, care and seeing my shining face around the clock!) and a much smaller herd, some have blossomed and others are still working on it. Buddy is by far my biggest surprise! I swear this is not the horse I have been riding for the past 4 years. He is happy, confident, loving and overall a pleasure to be around. His work ethic has changed to being positive and willing to learn while excepting change. After a long hard decision, I have decided to keep Buddy and pursue the last third of my USDF Bronze Medal. This brings me to DJ. My poor creature of habit! This alpha gelding has had a very difficult time being happy at ASF (Albemarle Springs Farm). His herd has diminished from 40 to 3 (including himself) and now seems to take his frustration out on his paddock mates as well as his mother! He is getting better and finally starting to understand that although there is plenty of grass on the farm, he only gets to be on it for about 3 hours! I will say though that he has dropped quite a bit of weight and is starting to resemble the lean and athletic horse I was very competitive with in the early 2000's :) But, much to my disappointment, he is getting older and the demands of third level work are proving to be very strenuous on his tight little joints. So, because of this, we are going to pass the torch to his (seemingly) capable brother, Buddy! I will start searching for a place to take lessons this month and will hopefully have my first lesson since May in October! Trust me, there will definitely be an update when that happens ;)

Second, the family and home:
Mom and Dad are doing well in the new house. We have come to realize and finally accept that this is a MUCH BIGGER home than the one we left in Arlington!! Two of the rooms are still missing furniture but hopefully, one of the rooms should be filled by the end of next month (the formal dining room set is on order). Dad is much more relaxed with his commute to work. It takes a grand total of 45 seconds to walk from the master bedroom to the upstairs office. He has even become a member of a local pool hall and has competed in a few tournaments (and winning some too!). Mom is beginning to get her bearings around the area but is most enjoying picking out all of the new stuff for this new big house! Merlin is like DJ and has taken a little longer than expected on becoming comfortable in our new home. For the first month, he would only leave my room on the second floor to come eat and then it was right back to the room! Poor guy! But I will say he has made a new friend in the neighborhood, a 1 yr old beagle/hound appropriately named "Buddy". More than once, we have found Buddy bounding down the driveway to come greet Merlin, wondering in the house or sneaking into one of the cars for a quick ride!

And lastly, Me!
I have really been enjoying my time with my family and ponies since I have finished school. Time at home with my parents and pup has been relaxing and entertaining (moving furniture, buying furniture, recieving deliveries while controlling the dog, etc.). Time at the barn has helped me become reacquainted with my horses and remembering everything that I love about them :) I have a new job, well PT job and am currently looking for another that might allow me to successfully complete my master's degree later on in order to one day financially support my ponies appropriately!

Well, I guess that's it for now. Next time I update, I will have news on the ponies and hopefully some pictures to go with! Ta ta for now :)

Monday, June 7, 2010

New Beginnings...

It's been some time since my last blog, and I guess that's because so much has happened during that time. Blizzards resulting in 54 inches of snow (for Washington D.C., that is absolutely ridiculous), the last semester of school (well, almost...darn you summer session!) and change...LOTS of change! My change was not always good change. Around March, my family made the final decision to move to North Carolina after my last summer class was complete in June. Both my parents work from home and I would be a college graduate. Because of my horses and lack of employment, I also made the decision to move to NC with them, so that I could have a slightly easier (well, financially that is) way of life as well and removing myself from other toxic personal situations and trying to further my riding career with a higher education.

Unfortunately, this meant saying goodbye to some people that I loved. To make this story shorter and less tearful, I was forced to say goodbye to an equine friend and partner of 5 yrs. that I never thought would have to end. The other person was a close friend and mother figure to me that took my new exciting news rather poorly and since then we have not spoken for reasons that do not need to be explained but at the moment cannot be forgiven. This was a very upsetting and dark time (specifically the month of May). Depression set in which affected my school work, riding, social life and family life. With the help of my family and those closest to me, they helped me pull myself out of my stuper and get back on the track to moving forward.

Now, with one more week of classes until I'm an official college graduate and two weeks until I take my two handsome boys to their new beautiful home in NC, I look back on the events of the year so far and marvel at how I've grown and the lessons I have learned through these sometimes brutally painful experiences. Hopefully, I can take these lessons and use them to better my new everyday life!

I have a couple promises to make myself with these changes...1) I will continue to learn and absorb everything about dressage and becoming a better rider and horsewoman overall, 2) I will go into my new business profession with an open mind willing to learn and listen to others with the thought of "communication" always in the back of my mind, 3) to try and forgive those who wrong me a little quicker in order to make my life less stressful and 4) write in this darn blog a little bit more!

Until next time! (when I will hopefully be writing more about my horses than my moral lessons ;-))
Good-bye Jono. You'll always be my "Big Jo"

Saturday, January 2, 2010

2010 New Years Goals

2010 Goals for the ponies (& myself!)

  • DJ - compete and successfully achieve two 60% at 3rd level to finish off my USDF Bronze medal
  • Buddy - to continue to improve his 2nd level with sites set on 3rd and 4th level in the near future
  • Jono - to continue to be a superstar in everything he does, to qualify for both GAIG's and BLMs as a 2nd level Adult Amatuer (a bonus would be to win a Dover Medal along the way :) )
  • Me - to lose 12 more lbs (already lost 10!!); continue my education with an open mind and heart; to stay relaxed, loose and patient in all of my riding; and to be the best person I can be (on and off the ponies!)
  • Everyone - to stay safe, sound, and happy in this New Year!

Wrap-Up of 2009

Good gracious! I have not written in quite some time...and needless to say it was a good but hectic ending to 2009. Since we last left off, my "tick twins" have officially overcome their illnesses and are back into the swing of regular work. I figure since each horse has had a little change in their lives I'll address each one as we go along...

Buddy has been body clipped once (right before winter) and will most likely be clipped again in the following weeks. His hair grows amazingly fast, affectionaly called "mountain hair" since he did originate in the mountain country of Tennessee and moved to the mountains of VA before settling in the DC metropolitan area. His work on second level is steadily impoving with more balance in his gaits and confidence in himself. He did give me New Years gift...a large bloody lower eye lid resembling the size and shape of a lemon. We don't call him "BooBoo" for nothing! Luckily, it was just some superficial scrapings which should heal up in no time.

DJ is currently loving life. Since we diagnosed his cushings early in the year and started treatment, he has gotten back his zest for life and the twinkle in his eye that captured my heart at our first meeting :) DJ also has a new friend, a leasee! Granted I never expected anyone to be able to ride let alone lease my beastie until he was around the ripe old age of 25, but he surprised me by becoming the perfect schoolmaster. Coming off of a hiatus due to establishing a family, my leasee is back and ready for action. She originally owned a rather large PSG warmblood, so making the transition to the 14.3 3rd level sensitive Arabian has proved to be educating! I love watching the lessons because both rider and pony love the work. My leasee is learning again and little man is enjoying the life of a semi-retired schoolmaster!

Now, Jono being the utter superstar that he is, has had a busy end of the year. Since this was a year of education for the two of us, I enrolled him in as many clinics as I possibly could. At the beginning of the year we started with Donna Gatchell, a local professional who worked on making us lighter on the forehand with lots of second and even third level work! Next was our clinic at the beginning of November was with another local professional, frenchman Pascal Martin. After some doubtful facial expressions, he started to work with Jo and ended up pleasantly surprised by his talent and work ethic. Again, lightness was the key. But the season finale, and probably the best clinic I have ever attended, was the Lendon Gray clinic at Sprieser Sporthorse in Marshall, VA at the beginning of December. It was FANTASTIC!!! I did participate in the same event last year with Buddy which left my ego bruised and beaten but at least I came out with some positive moments and exercises. This year it was the complete opposite. She immediately expressed her love for my big fella and throughout the clinic used terms like "fantastic", "cute", "athletic" and "amazing" to describe his work. She polished up our second level and told us to "keep going and keep proving people wrong!" The unfortunate end to 2009 was the discovery of Jono's newly learned vice, cribbing. At first, the vet and I agreed that maybe he had ulcers. So, Gastro-guard was used for the first 7 days which really seemed to do the trick. This led to 28 more days of the ridiculously expensive paste. Unfortuntely, by the second week, this method was not working as well as we had hoped so we finished off the rest of the dosing and are now attempting new methods to discourage this new irritating habit...feed change, alfalfa cubes, a hay net to make him eat slower as well as occupy him, and then the dreaded Miracle Collar (duhn, duhn, duhn!). Lets hope that next time I blog, there will be some improvements!

So overall, it was a decent way to end a rather blah year. There is so much planned and anticipated in for 2010 but for right now....I'm just goin to tell you to read the next blog :)