Tuesday, January 23, 2018

What I've Been Doing

While I can't ride.

Can't ride might sound a little dramatic but it's where I'm at right now. I spent some time trying to find someone who could adjust a Prestige saddle tree in the area but wasn't able to locate anyone so I ended up mailing my saddle back to VTO which means that I won't get it back for awhile still. I have my back up saddle but it still doesn't fit, Katai still isn't happy, and because it keeps shifting around on her back it's causing me anxiety attacks. Literally, like I had to dismount and was in tears and almost threw up last time I rode. Jane even noticed how shaken I was and we've canceled lessons until my saddle gets back.

I'm dealing with my SAD which is manifesting a slightly different way this year with more anxiety. I've got the support I need but brains are funny sometimes and mine doesn't want to play along right now. The crazy winter storm that we got on Monday (12.5") didn't really help.

Yes, that snow pile is higher than the door of my car.
Thanks MN...
I'm planning lots of spa days for the pony, which are sorely needed, and I've already "pulled" her mane. I've also done some other things to prepare for having my saddle back, hopefully having decent weather, and feeling better including;

I don't know if you guys remember this little guy from last year but I didn't have him for long since he died a very crushing death by being stepped on by a horse. Pun totally intended.

Happy to have my little super hero back
I had gone back and forth about replacing it and decided to get a go pro but they're so expensive that I hadn't done it yet. In the end I got an Amazon gift card that basically covered the cost for the GenII Cube. These supposedly are better in low light so I picked up another one of these. I can't wait to use it to get more ride and lunging footage!

Like a lot of other bloggers I've been watching the USEF Network videos of the Robert Dover clinic. It's amazing how good dressage is good dressage and how despite these riders being far and away more talented and further along than me and riding really fancy horses compared to Katai, I'm learning so much that I can apply to my rides with Katai.

Spa Days:
Katai desperately needs her back legs washed, I'd really like to wash her mane, and I want to braid the top and bottom of her mane to hopefully get it back to where it stays on one side of her neck. I also want to pick through and trim her tail and potentially trim her feather a bit to prepare for the mud that's to come.

Good puppies nicely play with their toys together.
Tough to tell from this picture but he's 9 pounds and she's 2 pounds.
He plays so gently with her!
I haven't done it yet but I plan to pick up Windex this weekend and clean the arena mirrors! That way I'll be able to take way more mirror selfies ;)

Getting My Memberships:
So far I signed up for USEF and my group membership with the USDF through my GMO. I still need to get Katai registered with the USEF but I decided to wait until I get her coggins and can confirm that the vet clinic gets it right before I register her with the USEF under her show name vs. her barn name. I'm also tempted to register her with the NDPC so that I can potentially show at some NDPC qualifying shows. We have a couple in my area but they aren't shows that I can get to if I don't get a trailer so I may wait to make sure I get that accomplished this year before I register her

She did this herself while I was working from
home during the snow storm on Monday.
I'm not a huge fan of lunging but Katai needs to get some work since her turnout is slippery and she's otherwise in her stall. I'm hoping to do some free lunging and some more structured lunging.

Ground Work:
Katai is tricky since the ground work things that crop up otherwise don't tend to show themselves in her home environment. However, she has gotten a little bargy recently so I want to work with that. I can also work with the mounting block bareback and try to get her to stand nicely again. Currently we're at baby OTTB level for the mounting block and she's off to the races the moment my foot is in the stirrup.

Also making "healthy" banana bread

Bareback Rides: 
To be completely transparent I'm not sure if I'm up to this right now but I do want to try. At least walking her around bareback would be good for both of us if I can keep it together so we're going to take some baby steps and try it.

Puppy Time!
Not completely horse related but I do want Moshy to be good at the barn. With our extremely cold weather there was no way that I could take her but this next week is forecast to be much warmer. Plus I don't need her to hang out by herself while I ride so I plan to bring her to the barn most days. Tomorrow I even have a volunteer to hold her while I do spa things with Katai.

Saturday, January 13, 2018


Walking around the third floor at work since it's way too cold to walk outside
I feel like I’ve really found the right barn for me and Katai but I’ve been very transient over the past several years. In fact, with the exception of a few months here or there, I’ve moved every year since 2011. Living six different places in seven years sucks and while it’s been fun to experience different things, and I’m an expert at moving, I’m really ready to find a place to settle in for a while. 

 I’ve known that my current living space was short term. I moved in November 2016 and knew that I would need to leave by April 2018 since I’m temporarily living in my Grandma’s house while my parents clean it out (with some help from me) and get ready to sell it. I’m paying very little for rent and it’s been great to be able to help take care of some of the chores and cleaning but it’s odd living in someone else’s space with someone’s furniture and treasures.

 Knowing that rent within my budget, in the right area, and with now two dogs would be tough to find I originally started looking last year. There were lots of options but nothing I liked which is sad because I have a fairly simple list that includes

Within budget
Hardwood floors
Dog friendly for two small dogs
Area -within my “triangle” of work, relationship, barn
Decently safe

 Because I’m on a single income and have a horse (and nasty student loans) my budget isn’t that high so my list is short. I was willing to drive further for something under my budget but it needed to be worth it. I was also willing to give up the dishwasher if needed but I REALLY wanted hardwood floors.

I definitely have carpet ptsd after living at my grandma’s…

Katai was excited to see herself.
Also, it got cold again so I still haven't cleaned the mirrors
I had been looking in St. Paul , the better city #notbias, but even into the suburbs everything that was in my budget lacked almost every item on my list and with dog rent it was only JUST within my budget. We’re talking cheap looking apartments with nasty carpet, no amenities, in not-so-safe areas that were only just within my budget.

It was pretty depressing so I stopped looking for a month or so. Then I started looking again at the end of December. With a new relationship with someone (who I REALLY like) living in Minneapolis my triangle shifted a little and I was willing to check out places in that city. As soon as I started considering those apartments I knew that I was going to end up there.

There were MULTIPLE places that met everything on my list and were well enough below my budget to leave some space to still do fun things occasionally and potentially not survive on ramen (only partially kidding).

 In the end I found an AMAZING place that likely was still available because it’s a sublease for a few months. I met the owners (they’re really nice!), got the tour, applied the week of Christmas, and found out this week that I got it! The positives are that it checks everything on my list, also has a small but nice gym, and is within walking distance of a dog park. It’s also VERY close to downtown Minneapolis.

I’m sure that the traffic is going to be tough sometimes but since I was little I’ve wanted to live IN the city but haven’t had that opportunity so I’m really excited! It’s also a bit further from work (8-15 minutes depending on traffic) and a little further from the barn (6ish minutes depending on traffic) but MUCH closer (15 minutes) to the person I’m dating who I’m spending a lot of time with so it should even out. Also, for the cost, amenities, and opportunity to live in the city I’m willing to drive a bit further!

Wednesday, January 10, 2018


She rubs the snaps open on her browband :)
It has already been quite the year for me and Katai. First, because of weather I rescheduled my first lesson of the year (1/2) for Saturday (1/6). You all know how that lesson went. Then yesterday (1/9) both Jane and I had big plans.

However, I got to the arena, realized I’d planned poorly and needed to pee so I handed Katai to Jane for a minute. She held her for me while I ran to the rest room but when I got back Jane didn’t look happy. I assumed that with recent pony behavior Katai had stepped on her foot or been a pill but the first words out of Janes mouth were “your saddle doesn’t fit”.

 Damn it

 She was completely right, it was pinching worse on one side than the other but definitely pinching. I feel horrible that I didn’t catch it and saddle fit just sucks in general. I just lost a week of riding a few months ago when I needed to get it narrowed 2 cms and now I’m going to need to send it back to get it widened 1 cm.

Lazy vegan fajitas
This. Winter. Just. Sucks. Between the crazy weather and Katai’s moodiness so far I don’t feel like I’m accomplishing anything even though I’m miserably cold trying, but I’m trying to stay positive.

Positive number one: This is probably a huge part of Katai’s recent poor attitude and it’s fixable! I may still have my sweet willing pony once her saddle actually fits her

Positive number two: I have a backup saddle which I hate but at least I can ride!

Positive number three: I’ve been wanting to do more “spa” days recently so this is a good reason to do some things out of the saddle for the next week or so.

Positive number four: There are a lot of other great things going on in my life right now. More on that later

Saturday, January 6, 2018

Spinning: Lesson Recap? 1/6

Shopping for mirrors for my new apartment.
More on that soon!
Today I had a make up lessons scheduled from last Tuesday. On Tuesday I had decided to reschedule, if possible, since it was extremely cold and was snowing. In addition because of our crazy cold weather and the New Year holiday I hadn't ridden for about 5 days prior so I figured that it would be more productive if I pushed it out a bit.

I rode this week Wednesday and Thursday and then had something scheduled yesterday so I wasn't able to make it to the barn. Both Wednesdays and Thursdays rides were "energetic" but Katai was listening, I felt like I rode well, and we got some things accomplished.

Today though we did not. This is the first day of a nice warm up and starting tomorrow through the end of the 10 day forecast most days will been the 30s which is almost a 50* swing from where we have been. I am THRILLED and was hoping that today, since they highs were actually in the low double digits, would feel warmer. When I got in the car to head to the barn though it was only -11.

Blurry but an accurately adorable representation of their current relationship

When I got to the barn Katai was quite fresh and spooky. She was really crabby for tacking up and then had a big spook as Jane and I walked her into the arena. She was really sassy when I climbed on and kept threatening to rear or buck but after a minute or so she calmed down and just went forward.

We spent a long time at the walk and were really focused on bending. She was doing well and walking nicely so we went to trot. I got all of 6 extremely crabby, humpy, tight, angry steps before I hopped off and called out that I was going to lunge. I almost NEVER feel the need to do that since normally I can more effectively work through it under saddle but I felt like Katai was going to bolt and I am not about trying to ride her through that.

Indeed, once we got the lunge on her and I got her out on the circle she lost it. I have never seen her run so fast. I did what I could to manage it and was glad that Jane was there to help with suggestions. Mainly though we just let her run it out and I just tried to slowly get some control back. There was a lot of running before I was able to get some semblance of her listening to my cues to change gaits.

We changed to the other side and had a minor repeat performance before we found the hamsters again. At that point I was able to cue for and get the gait I wanted and have her mostly maintain it. I swapped back to the starting side just to make sure I could get the same reaction and then we went back to riding.
Old media
More new pictures soon I promise! Right now my phone's been
dying if I take it out my pocket for pictures because of the extreme cold.
Jane mainly had me work in trot and we just focused on getting her loosened up and listening. After that performance the hump in her back was gone and while she was still stressy she was at least listening to me and allowing me to help her stretch and work over her back.

We ended on that note without ever touching the canter under saddle. Honestly it wasn't even frustrating really, just telling of how much energy she has since I haven't been able to ride. I completely accept responsibility for that excess energy and I'm just glad that I'm back to my routine of rides. Jane and I also talked a bit about her current diet. We've just added some more fats and a bit of grain to her ration since she was having a tough time maintaining her weight with the cold weather and increased workload. Jane is wondering if that has something to do with her mental state today and it certainly could. I also just don't think that she's getting enough (a couple of handfuls at each meal if that) to so drastically change her attitude. At this point we're going to assume it was the weather change and the lack of rides and go from there but are ready to make adjustments if needed if this doesn't improve.

Thursday, January 4, 2018

January Goals

Since I really liked the format of having both large yearly goals and smaller monthly goals last year I'm going to do the same thing again this year! However, This year I want to do a better job of linking at least one of my monthly goals with my larger yearly goals.

Also, sorry that it's just all been recap and goals posts recently but I keep forgetting to get media and haven't had many rides recently. I've got plans to fix both but for now these are posts that I can easily get up and that I feel are important to be able to look back on.

Puppy pictures as requested ;)

January Goals:

Get back into a regular riding routine - I was doing SO WELL last year with riding at least 4-5 times a week whenever possible. The travel and some other personal things made it difficult but for most of the year I really pushed through and made it happen. I'm proud of myself for that but not as proud with with my lack of consistency this past couple of months so it's time to get back to 5-6 rides per week! I'm already going to fail this first week since I'll only have 3 rides at the most but my goal is to make it the rest of the month!

Get back into a regular grooming habit - Last year one of my goals was to groom better and I was doing pretty well at least using a couple of brushes, picking feet, and keeping her mane and tail in order. In January though I want to get back to that and increase my work on this including, if we get some temps closer to 30, giving her a spot bath with our new warm water! She DESPERATELY needs it.
Carrots are delicious

Regain/increase fitness - Riding more will help but I also need to do more workouts, especially core focused workouts, so that I can be a more supportive rider for Katai. Especially as we increase the difficulty with sitting trot and cuing things with my seat I'm finding it tougher and tougher to not feel like I'm flopping all over the place.

Work consistently on the canter - I'm really bad about feeling like Katai is stiff or muscle tired and then not asking for much especially at the canter. This then leads to her always feeling stiff or muscle tired since she's never really building strength or building it really slowly. I really need to just buck up and expect more of her. She needs to get stronger and have a cleaner canter if I want to have any chance of debuting at 2nd this year.

More updates to come soon I promise!

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

2018 Goals

Sorry mare, there needs to be way more of this!
Buy a Trailer
Yep! It's back. I went back and forth about making this a goal because whether or not I get it, this time the other goals stand. However, it's a big deal and something I've been wanting for a long time so I decided to include it.

Bronze Medal Scores at First Level
Seeing as I had a bronze medal score for the opportunity class I did this past year I'm pretty comfortable with this goal. Not that it will be easy, but I'm confident that it's possible since even if they do score more critically for non-opportunity classes we won't be in the slop and we have already made significant improvement since last year :)

Debut at Second Level
I'm pretty confident that this can happen this year but we'll see. Right now I'm planning on this being an end of year at a schooling show sort of thing but who knows.

and more of this (so that there's less tension)
Attend at Least Five Clinics
Not to ride but some combination of riding and auditing. I was lucky enough to audit a couple of Janet Foy clinics this past year but I didn't do much else. Wether I ride or audit I'd really like to do better in 2018

Develop a Better Show Plan/Skills
I've been really disorganized for the past few shows and while I certainly got better as 2017 went on I still have a ways to go. I'd like to figure out how to organize me and Katai's stuff so that everything is smoother and way less messy. I'd also like to continue to develop grooming skills for myself and Katai so that we can continue to look more put together.

From back when I solo trailered Katai to the new boarding
place with a borrowed truck and trailer :)
Trailer Off Property More
Wether or not I end up getting a trailer I really want to get Katai off property more this year. It will be easy if I get a trailer (or easyish haha) but I do have a few friends with trailers and I hope to figure something out with them even if I don't get a trailer.

Way more of this needs to happen!

Go On Trail Ride(s)
Same as above. I really miss trail rides and it would be so good for Katai to get out of the arena. At some point I hope to end up in a boarding situation where there is riding on, or directly off, property but for now I need to figure out a way to trailer to some trails.

Do More Reading
I'm about 3/4 of the way through When Two Spines Align but got there awhile ago and haven't read since. I'd like to start over and really take my time to read and understand the concepts. I'd also like to pick up a couple of additional books to read!

More Blogging and More Media
This is on the list again too! I'm aiming to average 15 posts a month again which I'm completely confident I can make happen. I also want to take more pictures and videos and may be adding a nicer camera or video camera to my wish list as well.

Personal Goals:

I've got another update coming on this soon that will help me achieve this but mostly I just really need to continue to increase my fitness.

Budget Better
This one was on the list last year too and I learned a ton and have been doing so much better than I was. However, I still want to continue to improve this and will really need to if I want to make this trailer thing happen.

Monday, January 1, 2018

2017 Year in Review: Part the Second

Meeting the famous Connor at NDPC

July started with a quite week where I did some prep for Pony Cup. I complained about the heat and recapped NDPC here and here which included meeting Jen and Emilie. I posted about starting "boot camp" with a short amount of time to prep for our next show. The I rounded out the month by posting some confirmation progress photos and sharing some of the photos from my LONG, unexpected 2 week work trip and also did some more complaining about work travel.


I started August still on the West Coast but jumped right back into lessons and shared my first lesson recap in a few weeks. Then I posted a thoughtful post about the things I was spending more or less time on. Then we started talking about prep for 2nd level, posted my 500th Post, I rounded out the month by posting our first 1st level recap


September started my downward trend in motivation to blog and ride. It also marked my 1 year anniversary of riding with Jane. This was followed by a post about my trip out to see Carly and Bobby. I was so glad that I got to meet him this year but it did make it that much sadder when Carly lost him. Then I shared about my farrier drama which really started my downturn in riding. Just as Katai's feet finally got trimmed I sent out my saddle to be adjusted which I whined about. I ended the month with a trip to watch a friend's lesson and then sharing some exciting news!

5 year anniversary/birthday treats

In a lot of ways it seems like October was just yesterday. I can't believe it's already 2018! I started the month posting about my 5 year anniversary with Katai :) Then I posted another tough lesson recap,  and an exciting post about having my friends join me. Finally I ended the month with another tough lesson.


I really fell off the wagon with blogging in November with only 5 posts for the whole month. I started off by trying to diagnose what had caused her to be so difficult over the previous week or two. Then I hurt my back and shared puppy pictures, and finally shared a lesson recap.

Moshy joined the family and thought
working from home was exhausting

Was just as bad as November posting wise. I didn't even post anything until the middle of December where I started with a catchup post about where I'd been, puppy, and a second update post about black Friday shopping. Finally I shared a post recapping my lessons over the past couple of months and then posted these yearly recap posts.

Hopefully I'm back on track and will be able to make my blogging goals for 2018!


With my current decision to move I didn't have to think that long to decide which barn I would move to if I could. The barn I'm movi...