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Showing posts from April, 2017

Horse Expo Haul and Video

I had a great time this weekend! 
First, the horse expo on Friday was fun. Last year I had high expectations and was disappointed with how little there was to do or shop for now that I have more specialized tack and the expo is at least 80% western focused. This year I had lower expectations and therefore more fun. I also ran into a friend (my landlord from back when I first got Katai), ate some kettle corn, and bought some great stuff at the tack swap.

I believe I've mentioned that I've been trying to collect the library books that I read as a kid. Unfortunately most of them are out of print so even if I knew the names of the books or the authors it still may be tough to find them but since I don't even know that my best bet has been searching through used book stores or (especially) picking up books at this tack swap.

A few years ago at this swap I found my "holly grail".

This time I found the other book I'd been looking for. This was my other favorite when…

The Importance of a Name

Names are extremely important to me. I love picking then out and always want them to have meaning for me as well as being unique, pretty, and not too difficult to spell or say. When I first got Katai she was a project so I didn't use the names I was saving for MY horse at that point, instead I had my mom help.

I still remember sitting at the MN Renaissance Festival with my mom and having her give me the name of a character in a book by Jim Butcher that she had just read. She spelled it out for me, as Katai, on a small piece of paper and I liked the way it looked and sounded as well as the information she gave me about the character. To my mom's credit, she told me to check the spelling but I didn't and just went ahead with that name.

Awhile later when I read the book I realized that my mom had misspelled it and it was actually spelled Kitai. At that point I looked up the meaning of both words.

Well yeah, I probably would have chosen the second but at that point Katai was s…

A Rolex(ish) Weekend

I had really wanted to go to Rolex this year but when I had the opportunity to pay off some credit cards (and save some money to do some more dressage shows this year) I decided to do that instead. However, I didn't give up completely and decided to plan a fun weekend at home.

Rolex weekend happens to occur during the same weekend of our local horse expo so I'd taken Friday off at the beginning of the year and have had fun planning some other fun things over the past few weeks.

For Friday I'm planning to go to the horse expo and shop the tack swap. It may not be Rolex shopping but it is cheap! I found my Baker show sheet there for $15 and a pair of pony sized no-bows for $3. Mostly it's just sort of fun to dig through piles and piles of tack for pony sized deals. I'm also getting my tack locker dropped off here by my dad which means that I'll be able to work on that this weekend!

Some of the other things I'm planning to do are;

buy vegan versions of my favo…

More Bend: Lesson Recap 4/25

I had a GREAT lesson yesterday. It was really cool to hear Jane feels we're ready for more and that she was really putting more pressure on me to really get more, more trot, more bend, more straight etc. Just doing this stuff isn't enough anymore, now she wants us to do it better :)

The main themes were getting Katai more forward and more bent and round. We started at the walk and Jane wouldn't let us trot until we nailed the transition. Then we worked on serpentines and really focused on getting Katai more in front of my leg with bigger, more forward strides but needed to really nail the bend The. Whole. Time.

It was so tough!

After we got that Jane had me do a spiral in and out on a 20 meter circle at the trot and really focus on maintaining the bend. Katai is so quick and wiggly that it's easy for me to lose the bend at multiple points around the circle and that's not really doing anything for either of us. She told me not to let Katai "evict" my insi…

Princess and The P(olos)

Katai is most certainly a princess and most certainly very, very clear about when she doesn't like something. When she was younger I mostly just made her deal with it and she got lots of tough love. However, as she's grown and developed into a really well behaved riding pony who pretty much deals with everything I throw at her I've started to take a softer stance on the things that she still doesn't like. For fly spray I just spray it on a mitt and rub it on her (which she still objects to but not as much) and there isn't much else she doesn't like.

However, she was occasionally objecting to her PoH dressage boots. I always figured it was more due to them meaning she was going to be doing work or that she was too hormonal to handle them. When I started using the Hufglocken boots she clearly wasn't a fan and would pick up her feet or move away like she used to with the PoH boots, however she did that every time I put them on rather than more randomly like s…

Weekend Update

Well, I feel like I haven't blogged in awhile now but I don't have any good excuse. On Saturday I attended the MN March for Science.

The turnout was great, it was fun, and the weather was AMAZING!!

Unfortunately I ended up with a headache and so I didn't go to the barn that day and instead ended up laying around on the couch watching NCIS.

On Sunday I went to the barn in the morning and had a great ride. Jane had moved a couple of horses to a pen at the end of the arena and had the sliding door open so Katai was quite keyed up. I used it to my advantage to test our improved relationship and my new skills. By keeping her really bent and moving off my leg at that end I had a very ridable pony. In fact it was fun because she was more forward and up in front of me. I had memorized first level test 1 the previous evening so I played with bits of that test, cuing for the canter at C for example. Unfortunately now that we've been working so much on the canter and canter trans…

Simple: Lesson Recap 4/19

Apparently I had some sort of weird premonition about working on the simple changes through trot on the diagonal because that's one of the things that we worked on with Katai in my lesson this week.

We started off with a slightly stiff pony so our main priority was getting her loosened up through her shoulders. We did some leg yield at the walk (I'm STILL on the struggle bus with these) and then did some work at the trot. We didn't do much before we went to canter since we're still trying to mix things up with Katai and the last couple of times we've ended with canter.

We did a lot of canter in this lesson and Katai just kept right on going! She only broke once and then when I cued for her to pick it back up she went right into it. We started with some 20 meter circles and spirals in. Then Jane had me do some simple changes (very simple ;) since we trotted almost all the way across the diagonal).

Katai did SOOO well! I was able to get her to pick up the canter at t…

Of Questionable Taste

I thought I'd share a few of the things that have caught my eye over the last couple of months including a few things that I'd actually buy ;)

I'm going to start with the things that I'll admire from afar and get to the things that I'm actually kind of interested in.

Things that would cause Jane to disown me:

Things that would only give Jane a minor heart attack:
Things that I might be able to fly under Jane's hunter ring radar : 

Weekend Update and Trailering Progress

This weekend was amazing!! Like Teresa at Journey with a Dancing Horse I used every minute and spent a lot of time outside.

Starting on Friday evening I got out to the barn and had a great ride. Katai was a little quiet and not especially forward (when I first started looking into Ulcers) which is unusual for her but she had a busy week so that's likely part of it as well. Jane also mentioned that the massage person turned up that Katai had sore hind legs/stifles and we've been working on increasing her cross over and getting her carrying in the canter so it may partially be muscle soreness too.

Then Saturday I had another great ride. Katai was right with me and we played a couple of times with simple changes across the diagonal. She nailed the transitions and I just need to work on being more organized and less flustered but it was fun to try something new.

Finally (for the weekend), Sunday was trailer training day. You've all seen the pictures from my last post but we en…

Well Now We Both Need Chiropractic...

We got to a much better place by the end where she was standing quietly with her shoulders in the trailer and she was actually giving to pressure and stepping forward when I asked but we have a long way to go.

Also, #mindyourmelon when loading a fractious beast haha


Recently Katai has been crabbier than normal. Maybe not even crabbier as much as more consistently crabby. When I was riding a lot earlier in the year I was contributing it to the increase in her workload and likely some sore muscles. Then we had #mareproblems so she had that reason and a week off, then a week off when I traveled for work, Then almost a week off when I was in Omaha, and now less work since I've been having trouble getting to the barn.

Last Saturday she got shots so I knew she wouldn't be feeling her best, then she got a massage which could have made her feel a bit tender, and finally got her hooves trimmed so that could have made her feel a bit off as well. She got a quiet week but I rode (just a nice light training ride) yesterday and today (slightly more work but still I kept it short).

I was hoping she'd feel different, and there are some differences, but she pretty much seems to be sensitive in the same places. Namely she's been crabby, not as for…

Contrary: Lesson Recap 4/11

The title doesn't have to do with Katai being contrary but with what we asked her to do.

We started counter canter!!!! The lesson was pretty short and specific. Katai hasn't been getting worked as much with all of my traveling and her soreness plus with her shots she was still pretty sore through the neck. We worked on spiraling, getting my upper leg on, a couple of leg yields and then tried some counter canter.
First, Katai was SO GOOD!! No extra tension, excitement, or sassiness. She was just calm and trying hard to understand what I was asking. I was fumbling since it's the first time I've tried shallow serpentines at the canter and she just patiently let me figure it out.

In the end she only broke once and even to the right which is her tougher canter lead she did a great job. We also had her cantering for longer than typical and she never once refused or was sassy about that. I didn't even get a head toss or pinned ears. I actually think she sort of enjoyed pl…

Making a Rider

Now that we've talked about Katai I thought it would be fun to talk a little more about me and what I'm doing outside of lessons and rides to make progress.

First, I'm a HUGE proponent of rider fitness. I truly believe that if we're going to ask our horses to be athletes we should as well. That doesn't mean that we need to be out running marathons but at a minimum I want to be able to make it through a 45-60 minute lesson without becoming a burden to my instructor, clinician or horse. Not that they may not as for something at some point that wears me out but I want it to be the exception rather than the rule.

A few years ago when I was early in my weight loss journey I started running and while I'm extremely proud of myself that I made it through I realized that running just isn't my thing. I hate it so much that I wasn't exercising at all because I felt like I needed to run and I REALLY didn't want to run.
Recently I've switched to just making …