Saturday, November 30, 2013

My Thanksgiving

I think that oddly enough this will be one of the first posts with pictures of me in it! Its tough when you aren't around people when you work your horse to get any pictures but today my dad came up to my new apartment for our Thanksgiving meal and I took him out to the barn to show him where Katai is now being boarded.

The meal was roast chicken, green bean casserole, and mashed potatoes and gravy. It was just right for two people and extremely tasty, I know I'm looking forward to leftovers! After dinner we had a chance to talk and then he mentioned that he wanted to get some pie so I suggested that we go check out the barn and then stop at a local diner for homemade pie, since that is one thing I have not mastered.

I so love this arena! My dad was very impressed with the whole set up and it was the first time that he had met Katai in person.

I think she won him over :-)

I had planned on riding but after the large meal I just felt more like a nap and I didn't want my dad to have to wait too long so I just lunged and fed her her grain.
Love this one!
I feel like a marshmallow in this coat but at least its warm. Katai is partial to the nice large "treat" pockets.


Thursday, November 28, 2013

Thankful

The things I am thankful for this holiday season;

First and foremost friends. Lisa, the person that I rented from for while, not only has been extremely supportive this week (and always) but also knew that my family wasn't available today on Thanksgiving so she invited me to her family's Thanksgiving meal. She also gave me two pairs of winter breeches which is soooo wonderful since I have been freezing when riding but just couldn't afford winter breeches.

Secondly I'm thankful for a good job, a clean place to live, and a working car :-)

I am also extremely thankful for a wonderful barn and boarding situation which is easily the best I have had so far. I know that my pony is being well cared for and I adore the facilities.

Finally, for now, I am thankful for my wonderful pony and buddy Katai and everything that she does for me every day.


Tuesday, November 26, 2013

My Anchor

My boyfriend broke up with me yesterday on my way home from work, the week of Thanksgiving, by text. I'd had a gut feeling for the past two weeks that something was going on but I never thought it was that. I feel completely blindsided especially because I truly loved the guy and there was no indication that he didn't love me. He was still looking at me with gooey eyes, holding me close, kissing me on the top of the head, pulling me onto his lap on the couch when we were watching a movie together and we were having fun in bed.

I really didn't see it coming.

I did get him to admit that he "bumped into someone else and just went crazy" so whether it was someone he knew from before or just someone new I'll never know. I'm completely positive that he broke up with me because the relationship wasn't new and exciting anymore.

I'd rather never pull my outside life into my horse blog but this relationship has been so important to me and such a wonderful thing that I need to address it and mostly I needed to say that Katai is truly my anchor.

Tonight it was cold and dark out and I was sad and wanted nothing more than to go home, curl up in a little ball and cry but I wanted so badly to see Katai's fluffy ears, to hear her high little whinny when she sees my car because she knows that I'm there for her, and to put on her nice warm blanket to protect her from the cold. I even missed my turn on the way home from work because I was too lost in thought so I went the long way to the barn and sure enough she greeted me with a whinny.

I love her so much and this actually came at something close to the right time, if there is such a thing, because things have been going so well with her. I have been spending so much time at the barn that when I saw the text one of my first thoughts, after how could this be happening, was that at least I would get to spend more time at the barn with my pony.

I don't really know what to do with myself right now other than spend time at the barn. I didn't just loose my boyfriend I feel like I lost my best friend, or at least my best human friend.

Tonight I had nowhere near the mental capacity to ride. I brought Katai into the arena, out of the wind, and free lunged her over some jumps. She was full of herself and snorting smoke in the cold air, doing her best to make me laugh so for a little while I forgot about stupid boys and enjoyed my girl. When she was done I fed her her grain, put on her nice fluffy blanket and cried into her mane for awhile. She was calm and patient and wise way beyond her six years and wrapped her neck around me.

I needed my night with her tonight and I'll need my time with her this week more than every. I'm so glad that I have such a true friend.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Spoiled Pony

I had the second half of the day off today and I fully planned on riding and spending some quality time with Katai at the barn but on my way into work this morning it started raining and kept it up all day. I still thought that I would at least work with her but then on the drive to the barn the rain started to freeze on my windshield and when I got there the horses were all eating so I got the hint and decided to save the ride for a different day.

I did put Katai's blanket and, for the first time, blanket liner on so now she is nice and cozy. It is supposed to get down to the teens tonight and into the single digits tomorrow. She is still getting fed separately  since she isn't fitting in with the herd quite well enough to be comfortable eating off the round bale but hopefully soon they will all get it figured out.

I planned on giving her tomorrow and Saturday off but now that today ended up being an abbreviated visit I may try to make it out on Saturday which would work out because they will be doing poop control to send in for fecal egg count testing. It would be nice to get to hang out with more people from the barn,...

even if it is to collect poop.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Equipment Update

I just got back from the barn again tonight and talk about a great diet plan! Not only did I post for at least 15 minutes straight (yeah I realize that isn't that long but I haven't been riding much recently) but I'm used to eating at 5:00 and now I don't get to eat until after 7:00.

Katai was great even in the extremely noisy windy arena by herself. She is starting to really get this trotting thing and was more forward again tonight than on Sunday. I did carry the dressage whip again but I barely had to use it. Right now the biggest issue is that when I ask her to walk she thinks that she can stop and when I push her and make her walk she baaaaaaarely drags her feet along at the slowest snail pace possible. I've been able to push her straight from a trot into a walk now a few times but she is still dragging her feet and needs too many reminders to walk nice.

She actually spooked for almost the first time tonight at the side of the arena making a flapping noise and it was the cutest little spook. I'm so glad that she doesn't have a good spin because on small horses those can be tough.


Tonight I used a fleece halfpad for the first time.

  I have this one which is the fake fur kind and I have been concerned that it would make my saddle to unstable but it actually improved things. Katai's saddle is a little on the wide side right now partially because she was fatter but also because she liked the wider saddle vs the saddle that actually fit her a little closer. The halfpad actually filled in that extra space and although it wasn't more stable it also wasn't worse and I think that she seemed to like it. I'm going to mess around with some different pad and girth combinations the next couple of times that I ride.


In other news, Adventures with Shyloh is holding a contest to win one of those cool Horze pom pom hats and I would love one. Here is a link to the contest!

Monday, November 18, 2013

I < 3 my Barn

Really, they have a Keurig coffee maker with all kinds of free K-Cups. I brought some Mocha ones today because that's my favorite :-)
 
There is also hot water for tea and a microwave. The little lounge area and bathroom are heated too which is wonderful!
J has it decorated so cute and there is tons of seating on these cozy little couches.  The small box on the wall to the right is a sound system so you can play the radio, cds or my Iphone!!! over the sound system in the arena. Ones of my goals tonight is actually to work on a riding playlist :-)
The view into the arena is great!
There are two lines of three stalls each in the end of the arena. The lounge is just to my right in the picture. J doesn't believe in stalling horses so these are mostly storage but a couple are cleaned out and ready for horses for overnights or health reasons.

The tackroom is cozy and further to the left at the same end of the barn as the stalls and lounge. I ended up with a whole three saddle racks to myself which is awesome and probably won't last. 
When I took these pictures my saddle was home being cleaned and acting as art in my living room. 

I LOVE that saddle :-)
The best part!
Finally pony eating her grain. Normally she is tied but tonight was declared "love on pony night" by Katai and myself because she has been great and is working hard. She is still young and not very strong and I don't want to overface her and make her dislike being worked. I actually thought that she might not want to be caught tonight but she walked right up to me. She got some hay while I groomed her and then we played at liberty around the trail obstacles set up in the arena for awhile. Finally I took care of her feet, she got her grain and then I turned her out again.

Tomorrow there will be more riding and hopefully I will be able to work her more to her uncomfortable side. Soon I hope to have pictures of me actually riding her!



Sunday, November 17, 2013

Really On Our Way

The weather has been so much nicer for the past couple of days and on Thursday I had a wonderful ride on my girl. We did so much trotting that I was actually sore, of course I haven't been riding much recently so that's not saying too much, and Katai didn't put a foot wrong.

The ride started out a little rough. She was slinging her head around and not wanting to listen to my leg but was very forward compared to normal. I actually climbed off to pull the saddle and check her back and girth because I wondered if she was sore. I couldn't find anything even with fairly rough poking at her back and a thorough examination of her girth and all four legs so I decided that she must just be having a "mare day" and climbed back on. We trotted for almost 20 minutes and she was just perfect. I even had really good steering which is usually pretty tough when they first start trotting.

Today I had another great ride on her and we did more trotting. there was someone else riding in the arena which was great experience for her but honestly she didn't seem to really care at all. She still seemed a little down but again I couldn't figure anything out even with an examination from her head to her tail. Apparently she hadn't finished up her hay that morning but she was eating the hay pile where I tied her and I looked at everything from the inside of her mouth to the pulse in her feet and everything seemed normal. I'm hoping she just has a minor but from the weather changes but either way we are going to take it easy tomorrow and I'm just going to groom her, spend some time with her and look her over again.

This evening I bought a couple of dressage books on my kindle. I just started one about early classical training with young horses and I'm really enjoying it. The writer does a TON of lunging in side reins before ever riding and explains why that is preferable and I can really see the benefits. I think I will probably do a review of the book when I am finished with it.


Thursday, November 14, 2013

Why Ponies

There may be people out there that are wondering why I have a pony and not a normal sized horse or a warmblood. The reason for me isn't because it wasn't an option but because I've always, always, loved ponies. I think that Flash, the 14 hand pony that I competed in hunters and eventing when I was having early riding lessons is a big part of the reason that I have a thing for ponies but honestly I have just always felt that they are much more appealing for several reasons.

One reason is that I feel it is just a much more harmonious picture.

This vs.
This for example.





Or this vs.



I really don't know why I prefer the smaller horses but I do :)

Secondly they just have such awesome attitudes. Calm, not overly spooky, smart and I adore that they always think they know better than their rider.

Lets not forget their sense of humor.

Finally, lets face it I'm pretty short lol. It is just so much more comfortable to be able to get the saddle on and off your horse's back, to be able to get the dirt off their but without a step stool and mount without a ladder.

Not that I don't like ladders.....

I have a great time looking around YouTube for people, not kids, riding ponies well and enjoying them the way I do so I will leave you with some of my favorite recent videos.




Monday, November 11, 2013

Update

Things are going so well with Katai at the new barn. I've ridden her three times so far in the indoor and she has adjusted extremely well especially for a pony that had never been in an indoor arena before. She is also getting handled by a bunch of different people which is wonderful! They are catching her, moving her, putting her blanket on and taking it off, and handling her for the farrier. She is also getting used to working when there are other horses present which is wonderful!!

She has been slowly acclimating to the herd that she is with as well. I don't think she has ever been in a herd of more than 3-4 horses and now she is in with 6 others and a couple are extremely bossy. She leaves them alone and stays away which is nice because she's only received a few bites but currently she is receiving her own small pile of hay because she is too nervous to work her way up to the round bale. I continue to be impressed with the level of care she is receiving and I am loving the indoor since otherwise I wouldn't have a chance to spend time with her during the week since it is dark by the time I get out of work.

I'm hoping to take some pictures soon but right now in the, still dark arena, there aren't a whole of of great picture taking opportunities. I'm hoping to catch up with some people next weekend during the daylight so I may be able to get some pictures then.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

The Move

Went very well :-)

I got to the barn early so that I could get everything packed in my car and spend some time with my pony before her world changed again. She was sleepy because it was so much warmer than it has been and she had been standing in the sun.

J, the barn owner, got there soon after and I got Katai out of the pasture after having to track down the property owner to unlock the gate. She oddly enough marched straight to the trailer and climbed halfway on before I had myself organized. Then she caught herself, heard the trailer making clanking noises and jumped back out. She was a little wound up then and it took another 20 minutes or so to get her on but she still did well and was listening and not getting too wound up.

I followed the trailer back to the barn and she rode very well, not bouncing around at all, and J said that she couldn't even feel her back there. She was quite sweaty and stressed when we got there and I pulled her off and turned her out into the round pen to bounce around for a little and work off some of that stress. I stayed with her for awhile and then went to unload my tack and get settled in.

I realized as I was unloading and finding places for my tack that she has never been at a normal boarding barn before. In fact, the largest herd of horses that I think she has ever been in was with 3 others. She was calling and basically pretty wound up. It didn't take her too long to calm down considerably though and after a couple good rolls she was relaxed and walking instead of running.
She was really a perfect lady despite all of the big changes and walked right over to her isolation pen nicely even past some scary things like tarp covered hay bales and a dog that is almost as large as she is. I walked her around the pasture to show her where the fence was and left her to call to the other horses and make friends.

Last night Gordan and I had been given free tickets to the Minnesota Roller Girls roller derby. It was my first time watching roller derby and it was awesome! The ending was extremely close and I almost lost my voice yelling for our friend's favorite team.
Then this morning I went to a Dressage Clinic with Amy Larson. A whole bunch of D's student's rode including Lisa and I was there mainly to help groom for Lisa and keep her nerves to a minimum. Everyone rode very well and I really enjoyed Amy's teaching style. D told me that there will be another clinic in March and I'm going to make it my goal to get Katai ready for that clinic. Amy concentrated a lot on getting things right at the walk including rider position and the getting horses moving well and using the correct muscles. She had people trot very little which was a big change compared to the other clinics I've been to where the clinician can't get the rider and horse into the trot fast enough.
 Unfortunately this is the only picture I took that turned out at all but this rider was the most advanced I saw and her horse was excellent. They were both very fun to watch!

This evening I went out to the barn to see how things were going and to start to acclimate Katai to the coverall arena. Another thing I had realized is that my little pony has never been in an indoor arena so I knew it would take a little getting used to.

When I got there I noticed that her halter and lead rope were missing and when I went out towards the pen I had left her in she wasn't there. I saw J in the distance and walked over to see what was going on. As I walked I was looking around and finally did see her out in a large pasture and guessed, correctly it turned out, that she had escaped her isolation pen. Mostly Katai isn't much of an escape artist but the huge change in her routine and all of the new horses had her pretty worked up. J told me where to find my halter and I went to catch her and check on her.

She actually walked right up to me, which is a huge change from how she used to react, and let me catch her easily. She also walked calmly with me back to the arena and even walked in pretty well. As we walked I noticed that she was pretty gouged up. I have no idea where she went or what she ran into but she has deep scrapes on both sides of her barrel up towards her back and a very deep nasty looking scratch right in her flank. I tied her and then went to get medicine to put on them and she lost it a bit. Luckily J has some of the Blocker Tie Rings and she just pulled back a ways and then stopped. I got her sorted out and got her lunging to work off some of the stress. She was obviously sore, tired and stressy and I'm sure the fact that she is in raging heat isn't helping her feel any better. Moving around a little wasn't going to hurt her at any rate and I walked around the whole arena lunging her close to all of the trail obstacles that had been set up. She didn't bat an eye at anything, not even the bridge covered in tarps. Once she started to drop her head and blow I tied her again, cleaned out her feet (which continue to look better and better) and got her all doctored up. She danced a little whenever I left her but was really a lady all things considered. By the time I had her all set she was getting herself a little worked up again so I got her out and moving again. More stress release and then she got her grain.

Finally, as it was getting dark, I put her rain sheet on since the weather is taking a turn for the worse again and put her back out in her pen. J had pulled in the herd that she is going to be a part of (and the herd she got loose to try to join) so they are right along her fence. Hopefully she will stay where she is supposed to and not be any worse for the wear tomorrow.