Saturday, September 16, 2017

Resting on our Laurels

My barn really looked like a scene from the Headless Horseman
Not completely because I wanted the break but we're on a bit of a reinforced break for the moment. At first it was because of Katai's hooves, then those were trimmed and right around the same time I heard back from the saddle fitter and sent my saddle in.

I am going to be spending time with Katai lunging, riding bareback, walking down the road etc. Tomorrow I'm planning to give her, probably, her last bath of the year while it's still warm out. I'm also going to lunge her and possibly take her hand grazing :)

I enjoy these times because it's always good bonding time when I can't ride but it's also tough because I was very motivated after our last show and it's been tough to have this down time. I do feel way better now that her feet are short and much prefer down time due to saddle fitting.

Last week was employee appreciation
complete with AMAZING free coffee
In between the two I did fit in a lesson but it was very meh. Unfortunately it was also when my friend from J's barn came out to watch a lesson so hopefully we didn't scare her off. We ended up with a heat wave that day and it was in the upper 80s after a couple of weeks in the 60s so neither Katai or I had much energy. She'd also just had her feet done the day before and between, probably, the different angles and the recent lack of rides she just wasn't feeling her best. We kept it pretty short and sweet and while she seemed to work out of it a bit, she just didn't have her now normal willingness.

At that lesson we did some lateral work and a bit of counter canter along with more of our most recent exercise where we combine leg yield and 10 meter circles along one long side which is really a brain teaser for me.

At any rate, we survived and then I shipped the saddle out right after. Due to having too many plans this week I haven't made it back out :( which is unusual for me but not a bad break after all of the work we've done this year. I can't wait to see her tomorrow and should have more updates soon!

Sunday, September 10, 2017

They Came! and Other Updates

I mentioned awhile back that I'd ordered a couple of Mattes pads, one for schooling and one for show, and that they hadn't shown up quite in time for my last show of the year. Then they were scheduled to arrive while I was in NY so I had to have them re-delivered when I got back. They showed up last week but I've been so distracted by farrier related things that I haven't shared yet.

I like them so much!! The dark grey one with the logo is for schooling/clinics etc. The light grey one is for shows. It honestly is a bit flashier than I expected but I think in the show ring it will be ok. I also LOVE the color of both of them :)

I'm really happy with both of them. The only thing I'm not happy about is that they're both longer from spine to girth loop than my other Mattes euro fit pad. I'm hoping that after they got washed a few times they'll shrink a bit but otherwise they'll work, they're just longer than I'd prefer.

Along with my new farrier and current (possibly past) farrier I heard back from the saddle fitter this week! He/they feel that my saddle does need to be made more narrow by 1-2 cms and just needed a few more pictures to figure out how much narrower it needed to be. I took a few pictures for them (that make Katai look really awkward) and sent those over. 

You can sort of see how horribly long her heels are in this picture
Of course the timing will probably be just wrong so that I'll finally have her hooves trimmed and be able to ride and then I'll need to send her saddle away. Oh well, at least the show season is over at this point. 
Withers and muscle have replaced the fat :)
I also found out that unfortunately I likely won't be riding in a clinical with Susanne in November. They had to do some rescheduling based on a few people's availabilities and turned two clinics into one. Because of that all the rides already filled up with people that board at my old barn. She is going to be teaching in Rochester but that's a LONG drive from my barn especially since that's prime ice season.

Oh well, I'm going to talk to Jane about other options for trailering off the property for a ride. At any rate, whether or not I can this year next year will be all about trailering places for adventures!

Random food pictures of the vegan "power bowl"
that I made for myself for lunch today. It was delicious
That's already quite a few updates but a have another! Jane's been looking for another boarder or two. During the past year there have been a couple of minor changes at the barn that involved Jane taking on some retired horses. At this point it's still just me and K that take lessons with Jane and since K's horse is semi retired she isn't even taking as many lessons. One of the few things I miss at this barn is having other people to ride and talk horses with.

About a month ago Jane let me know that she was looking to fill some stalls and on the way home from the last show I offered to post online for her. She took me up on it and I got it posted. There was quite a bit of interest but one of the people that reached out was someone that I boarded at J's barn with. She's toured Janes (last week) and now is planning to come to my lesson this week. I've got my fingers crossed that she and her friend (who also boards at J's barn) will end up moving to Jane's. It would be so great to be able to ride with them!!

Saturday, September 9, 2017

Days of Our Rasps: Season 2

Farrier Drama
Yeah, at this point I don't have much else to post about but there have been updates in the farrier saga.

I had done some snooping and checked with a couple of friends who use the same farrier and as of the week prior to when he was scheduled to trim Katai he was still showing up. I did find out some other things that were going on with him in his personal life but injury or illness still wasn't completely off the table.

In the meantime I was able to talk with Jane's farrier. He was reluctant because he assumed that my farrier had stopped showing up for a reason (of course) and unfortunately because I didn't know why he'd stopped showing up I didn't have anything to say. Jane talked to him though and he agreed to come out and trim Katai on Monday as long as Jane was able to be there. I'm a very professional and reliable person and Katai's good for her feet to be trimmed so I'm confident that he'll see that but I'll do whatever I need to at this point to get Katai's feet done. Even if that means having my trainer baby sit us.

Also, I'm really glad I actually have someone scheduled to trim but disappointed that the weekend is really off the table for riding at this point. It may not be for all horses at 9 weeks between trim cycles but Katai has a foot that's slightly clubbed and she grows a ton of heel which makes her more unstable. Luckily her breakover isn't bad, but it's like she's wearing high heels. With that, there's no way I'm going to risk riding her and asking for anything athletic. The fact that I know she may be doing that in her paddock makes me nervous and I'm going to be worried until she gets trimmed.

Really no new media so you got a roany butt shot that I took for the saddle fitter
This is also a good place to say that next time (if there is ever a next time) I'm going to be more aggressive in finding a different farrier so that it doesn't go this long. It was just so tough to know when to do when my, up until three weeks ago, very reliable farrier didn't show up for an appointment and didn't let me know why.

Then, this morning I finally got a text from my farrier. I put what he said together with what I know from my friends and let's just say that he hasn't been physically ill or injured AND it also had nothing to do with me or Katai. He let me know that the last few days(!?!) had gotten away from him and that he'd be able to come out on Monday. At this point I'm extremely frustrated with him AND I already have someone coming out who will hopefully be more reliable. I wrote a very polite and pleasant message back to him that I wanted to see how it went with the new farrier and I'd let him know if I wanted him to continue to trim Katai. At this point I don't believe I do but I also haven't even met the new farrier yet so we'll see plus I don't believe in burning bridges.

Fingers crossed that everything goes well with the new farrier on Monday and that Katai's able to be back to normal after. The nice thing about this farrier is that he's already coming out to the barn to trim Jane's horses (my previous farrier was just coming out for Katai) so he's already out there on a regular basis. Hopefully that means that there's an extra layer of reliability there :)

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Days of Our Rasps

Well, we're sort of sidelined over here because Katai hasn't had her feet done over the past couple of weeks. It all started with a scheduled appointment on August 18th (a Friday). It was scheduled just like normal (over text), normal date range etc. I left a check on the bulletin for my farrier who is a very professional sort.

When I showed up at the barn the next morning I was surprised to see the check still on the bulletin board and that Katai's feet clearly hadn't been done. I figured he was running a bit behind and that he'd reschedule which I think he's done once in the past. However, after a couple of days when I still hadn't heard from him I went ahead and sent a text.

I gave that a few days and then texted and emailed. Still nothing...

I talked to Jane and tried giving him a call and leaving a message. I also checked his Facebook profile and there hasn't been any activity since the end of July.

At this point I'm still concerned that something happened to him. I would hope that at some point, if that's the case, that someone would follow up with his customers but he's such a professional that I just can't quite imagine that he just gave up on me and stopped showing up. I also just don't think anything has changed on my end. If Katai was misbehaving (he typically schedules time when I can't be there) I would hope that he would have said something so that I could work with her and/or let me know that he wants me to be there so that we could find a time when I can typically be there.

At any rate I'm really disappointed and frustrated that it's now been almost three weeks since Katai should have had her feet done. This weekend I finally called someone else, Jane's typical farrier, but he's out of town for the holiday :(

If I don't hear back from him by tomorrow I may actually try to contact another farrier. Fingers crossed that I have some luck soon because she's definitely getting long and I'm starting to worry.

Monday, September 4, 2017

Updates and Where I've Been

It's been a quiet week and a week of pre-written posts because, as I think I may have mentioned, I was out of town to see my sister in Rochester, NY during my week off. Of course while I was out there I needed to visit Bobby at Poor Woman Showing but we'll get back to that in a minute.

First, my week started out with a couple of short, easy rides for Katai. She had Sunday off after the show and I may have just lunged or given her an extra day off typically but since I was going to be gone for three full days I wanted to make sure she didn't sit for too long either. I rode on both Monday and Tuesday and for both rides she was sort of tired and stiff not so much from the act of riding the test but from dealing with all the muck and also just from being so tense while we were there. She has shown marked improvement with her stress but we've got a ways to go.

Flying in my riding boots since they wouldn't fit in my carry on
Tuesday evening I flew out and spent Wednesday and Thursday with my sister and brother in-law exploring Rochester. I really enjoyed looking around and getting to play tourist. My sister has an amazing loft apartment downtown that's really pretty and it was a nice place to get to crash for awhile. It's also funny how much more of an "adult" she is with real furniture and matching dishes and silverware.

I should have taken more photos but I'm always horrible at remembering to take pictures so I don't have any of our adventures.

Friday morning I went to meet Carly and Bobby!

I LOVED Carly's barn, it was cozy, airy, and bright. It was so much fun to meet Bobby and see how much he clearly loves Carly. I don't think he took his eyes off her the whole time I was there.

I didn't get pictures in the snaffle
Carly got him tacked up while I cuddled with him and then after Carly warmed him up a bit I got a chance to ride him.

Photos of me riding were taken from Carly's Facebook post
It was sooooo weird to ride a more normal sized horse! Everything just feels so different and so much longer. It's always weird to ride a different horse with slightly different buttons but then for that horse to be so much larger means making a big adjustment. Bobby was so patient with me figuring it out though as was Carly. I know how much it takes to let someone else ride your horse so I'm so thankful that she gave me the chance(s) to try him out! He really moves so well and it was so much fun to play around with stuff with him including his changes. I buffed them at least once but he just calmly let me go back and try again.

After I finished up with him Carly went and got the double to play with a bit. She started out riding him in it and then handed him back to me to try. I'm so horrible at remembering to take pictures and I was busy talking with Carly so I didn't get much. Sorry for being a bad photographer Carly!

Sorry I kept cutting off most of Carly! I kept forgetting to zoom out
Again, Bobby was fantastic!

I finished up and poor abused (filled with cookies and pets and not too much work) Bobby got to be done and get untacked :)

So jealous of Bobby's skills. He just stood without tack
 like this while he was groomed and doctored and didn't move a foot
After Bobby was put away we went out for lunch and then came back and I met more of the horses and got a barn tour. Unfortunately I spent so much time petting the resident ponies that Carly was still there when the grain showed up so she ended up sticking around to unload. Oops!

I had so much fun and hope to be invited out to give Bobby more pets next time I'm in Rochester to visit my sister :)

Friday, September 1, 2017

One Year With Jane

What can I say really. Jane is someone that I've learned way more from than just riding. Her way of handling things, her message about training horses (especially mares), and her support of me even with things like stressful work situations will always stick with me.

I'm so glad that I decided I couldn't afford my previous barn anymore and even more lucky that my previous BM recommended that I move to Jane's barn.

Prior to L
Jane's instruction, from a riding perspective, is something that will stick with me for my entire riding career. When I started working with Jane my position was a mess, I rode a lot with my hands, and had lots of well developed habits. Sure, I've worked hard too to overcome a lot of this but I've always worked hard to overcome those things and to learn and improve it just wasn't until I started riding with Jane that I actually started to see progress.

Really great example of how things were going before Jane.
Already much improved by L
Even more impressive to me is the subtle mental shift that's been caused by Jane and how it's also completely changed Katai's attitude about being ridden. Some of that, of course, is that I'm riding better so she can actually be more comfortable in the work but it's also the way that Jane encourages me to think about training a horse (mare) and how gentle Jane's approach is. Her message, that sometimes it's important that mares get to be right, isn't something I've ever heard from any other instructor and yet it's made a huge difference in my work with Katai.

Katai's thrived from the new work as well
I will study with Jane for as long as I can and I hope that her retirement from teaching is far out on the horizon. She has even caused me to be less enthusiastic about looking at relocating out of state because I can't quite imagine leaving her program. Right now, the thought of trying to find another instructor in a new place that can meet her ability to make changes with Katai and myself makes me feel slightly overwhelmed and ill.

I don't know what the future holds and I do still plan to relocate at some point but no matter where I end up or when, Jane's instruction has made a huge impact on me and for that I'm truly and completely thankful.

For the present I'll continue to enjoy every single lesson with her and absorb as much knowledge as I can. Here's to another fantastic year!!

Starting to look almost as good at a show as we are at home :)
Also, this sort of makes it sound like I'm planning to leave but that couldn't be further from the truth. I'm positive that I'll be working with Jane into the near future and will likely push my plans to relocate out even further so that I can continue to work with her. I'm just hoping that she doesn't have any plans to retire any time soon.