Thursday, April 27, 2017

Just not the year

I haven't posted anything because I have yet to figure anything out.  Work was crazy at the beginning of the year.  Then just a bunch of stuff has kept me from actually getting to the barn or getting real consistent ride time in.  When you can only ride on the weekends, only getting in an average of 3 rides a month does not allow for even maintaining what we managed to have going before the beginning of the year.  I know Violet is in fantastic hands and will be ready for anything I want to do, and ready for anything that I can afford for her to do without me.  Unfortunately, that is yet something else that is holding us back right now.  I have a rental property that is actually costing me money that needs sold, and plenty of things that need to be taken care of at the house we live in (mostly plumbing issues, lovely), a step-daughter that is graduating from high-school and needed help buying a car, a trip to Italy for two weeks with my Dad in August, and a first anniversary trip in September.  This is all preventing me from doing something like...oh, maybe getting my boots fixed?  I have two pair of custom boots, and have grown out of both pair.  The one that mostly fit (damned bulbous calves) became traitorous and the zipper is now non-functional, so I've been riding in an old pair.  Said old pair were thrown in the trash last night due to the leather cracking and peeling off and the zippers being metal and actually scratching my saddle.  So I'm riding in my river boots.  Or half chaps, which I hate.  Anyway, new boots, a new bridle for Violet, fees for any shows by me or anyone else, all these things are on hold.  I think, as I sit here at work watching Rolex and dreaming of the day when I can actually go watch, that this is just the year that riding wasn't, you know?  And I have to figure out how to be ok with that.  Because let me tell you, the husband is really tired of seeing me be upset about not being able to get there.

On a good note, I did manage to take the dog to the barn once this month, and he wasn't too bad.  I can see other day trips in the future.  And I am making it down this weekend for both days, which will be nice.  Of course, I will die, because I live in AC and it. is.  HOT!  But at least I will die with my pony.


Monday, April 3, 2017

And BOOM, that happened!

I will not go into a whole lot of "sorry I haven't been blogging" stuff.  I haven't, but I am today.

I haven't been able to ride much this year so far, which means I was not prepared to ride in this weekend's event, as we had previously planned.  But the pony did not have such an issue, and I was more than happy to enlist Marcea's expertise to give her a good go, since it was the last show of our season.

BOOM!  I'll just leave this here.

The husband and I headed down Friday after dropping the dog off at the spa.  We were going to make this a mini vacation from everything going on at home.  And we have a blast cracking jokes while jump judging, so we were looking forward to it.

Saturday was a very early day, with jump judging debrief at 7:30.  It was actually nice to be able to sleep until 7am on a show day, at least for me.  The husband, maybe not so much, lol.

We judged until 1, Violet's dressage was at 1:12, so we got there just in time to watch the end of her warm up and get this action on video.


I think the best part of all of it was the smile on Marcea's face when she came out of the ring.  She looked like she had a good time, and she even said she loved that Violet is the one horse she knows she can work with in the ring.  As in, start the movement, push for more, maybe a little less, then move to the next movement, change it up, etc.  That is such an improvement over where we were only a couple of years ago, when she would disappear and you couldn't adjust ANYthing.  And the judge was complimentary as well.

VERY complimentary
So that 27.5 (her best score ever, btw) put her in 3rd.  And this judge is no joke.  I was trying to find my dressage test from the show last year, but I'm pretty sure it was the same judge.  As in, the judge that gave her a FOUR on the free walk last year.  This year, she got a 7, and an 8 on the medium walk before it.  Last year she got a 36 at this same show.  This year was much better, lol.

So she headed to stadium Saturday in 3rd.


A beautiful double clear kept her there, and earned Marcea some recognition from the judge, who complimented her on a very well ridden round.

After chores we headed to Marcea's for dinner with the crew and some sleep before getting up for a whole day of jump judging.

We got to see almost all of the Training Rider and Novice jumps from our vantage points.  For Beginner Novice, not so much.  I got video of Violet going over fences three and four, but the video of the rest of the course was crap, since I was running and trying to video at the same time, and it was so far away.


Let's just say the pony ran around the whole course with absolutely NO issues.  Marcea had to slow her down at the end, because she had moved out so well.  Another double clear and she finished in 2nd.

Everyone from the Market Street Team had a positive show.  Ginny and Pearl ended up in 4th in Novice with improvements across the board.  Caroline and Charlie also showed great improvements in the Novice division, ending up in 7th.  Robin and Finn won their BN division, which is quite the trend for them now, since they have won all but one this year (and they got 2nd then, and still won the TIP award at that show).  Jane and Louie also ended up in second in his first Novice appearance.  Oh, and Marcea and Riley ended up in 6th in their Training division, after neither of them showing in almost a year.

So it was a really great weekend.  Violet finished cross country barely out of breath and very proud of herself.  And qualified for Zone Championships, which opens up a whole other issue.  I have to do some serious budget adjusting to see if I can't figure out a way to get them there.  We'll see.  And I'm still planning on getting back out there myself, probably in November.  Hopefully I'll figure out a way to get back on the girl on a more consistent basis.

Friday, February 3, 2017

I will ride again...some day (Sunday?)


This year has been crazy.  Work has taken over to the point that I have done nothing really, other than work.

Well, that's not exactly true.  I've spent some time watching this big goofball.
Firewood makes a much better adversary than frisbee, which is pretty useless, except to hold rainwater
 And I've done a little bit of cooking.  This was something I made up of onion, kale and butternut squash.  Super yummy, but can only be cooked on days the boy closes, 'cause he won't eat such things.

Super yummy
And there has been some house and yard work.  Like putting landscape timbers out where we want beds to be in the back.  And getting the master bedroom rearranged and curtains replaced and TV hung on the wall.  And we finished painting the master bath.  Now to get the mirror up and fix the spots where the boy hit the ceiling (oops).  And I've started the painting on what will be the office.

Sappy sentiment painted and texted to the hubby.  Now just white.
 And more watching the puppy.  We walk a mile every morning.  And he loves his blue Jolly Ball.  He chewed the handle off the first half an hour, and it now has thousands of holes, but is still the best ball ever.

No handle, no problem.  Just throw it like a bowling ball!


After an exceptionally wearing ball session.

I did get to the barn last weekend, with the hubby in tow.  It was Rocking Horse's first HT of the season, and the boy's first try at judging.  The plan was for me to work the start box and him to judge the first fence, but then the TD asked that he also time as a backup, and it was all too much for him. He had closed the night before, we had to be out of the house at 5am to get there in time for the check-in meeting, and he had 3 hours of sleep.  So I stayed with him and we did it together.  It was a very long day (8:15 - 5:30 with 2 15 minute breaks between levels), and there was no chance to ride. Marcea had 10 students riding, so there was no chance for a lesson, so I just shoved an apple at the pony and went home.

Still need serious help on the selfie action.  But we were still smiling at the end of the day, and he said he'd do it again!
 I do have a lesson Sunday.  I had hoped to go down Saturday, but the boy can't get home for lunch (he's closing) to let the dog out, and I don't like to leave him in the crate all day, so I'll just go down Sunday.  Next weekend, I have plans Saturday to take a cooking class at Roy's Steakhouse with a friend, so lesson on Sunday, and the following weekend is the Monster Truck Jam that I bought the boy tickets to for Christmas.  The weekend after that, though, he's already been warned that I'm spending all weekend.

So for now, I'm spending a lot of time watching the sun set from the office window.


I can say, it's a pretty sun set, even through the window.
And watching the big goober figure out his NEW jolly ball that dad got him last night.  

BEST. BALL. EVER.  IT GOTS A ROPE THAT WIGGLES WHEN YOU SHAKE IT!
Next week I have the appointment for my foot to start setting a surgery date.  And I'm still hoping to ride in the show at the end of March, but we'll see.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Year end shenanigans

Here's an update from what we did over the New Year.  Since this (which I have been writing for a week and a half, though you wouldn't know it), I have been to the barn once and took Violet out for a hack.  Due to work, I will not be getting down there again until probably the 28th, so there won't be much to update.  And I have no new media.

***

Saturday, we woke up to frost.  It was officially our one (last) night of winter in 2016. I had a lesson scheduled at 3, and the boy was off Saturday and Sunday, so we were making a weekend of it.  By the time we got down there at 1:30, it was short sleeve and shorts weather.  So much for winter. Violet was happy to come out of her stall.  I received a text the night before to let me know to tack up for stadium.  A little different, since we usually do dressage on the first day of the weekend, but then again, it's New Year's Eve and we'll likely be hung over Sunday, so maybe that's the plan.

We get put together, I remember to get the draw reins and hop on the pony, marching our way to the ring, with the boy following behind like our own personal accompaniment.

Marcea was in the ring with another student, so I headed to the warm-up ring to start warming up. Violet is feeling good.  As I came around one corner, she startled and spooked a little, but I have no idea what at.  Nothing major, and I just kept trotting in circles, adding a little canter to keep her moving.

The other lesson done, I moved to the ring while Marcy and Ginny adjusted fences, with Rory bouncing around in the grass after bugs.  It was gloriously sunny, with not a cloud in the sky.  And we spooked again.  And again.  Nothing major.  Just enough to make me go "whoa!"  when she went sideways and look around to find the culprit.

Ohhh, there you are!  Yes, that would be your shadow, Violet.  Yes, it is always there.  And yes, it is indeed following you.  I don't know if it's because she's so fit or bored with Mom's circles, but this is the second time she has reacted to them in the last couple of months.

We spent the next little bit trotting into our shadow, trying to dodge the jump standard shadows, watching the pony ears follow her shadow and basically laughing at her.

Then we started jumping and she forgot about her shadow.  Because jumping is fun, yall!  We did several turning exercises, jumping on an S curve, doing rollbacks, etc, working on keeping the outside shoulder on the line and concentrating on the counter bend to get her straight to the fence.  Nothing too big.  After a successful mini course of 4 fences, Marcy was talking to me about what we did right and working on the bend/line, etc.  She paused.  I asked if we were done.  She hesitated and said "No, but we could be" and I told her let's go, what was next.

It was just a line of oxer to oxer on a bend.  Mostly just to make sure I really seemed to get the exercise, since it was fences we hadn't gone over yet that day.  We picked up the lead and did oxer to oxer with our counter bend.  Violet was fantastic.  Marcy just looked at me with a great big grin and said "Yep, that's it!"  I guess when you appear to have gotten the lesson, there is no point in beating it over and over again.  Then, as we marched out of the ring (because, you know, pony dinner time), she said something about being ready for tomorrow's cross country schooling.

We took care of the barn chores.  The boy had not packed properly, so he wandered around being bored because he didn't want to get his clothes dirty, and we get no phone service at the barn.  After chores, we headed to Marcy's to get ready for dinner.  We had a pleasant night of drinking and chatting.  It was the boy's first time really seeing how we interact at the house.  He was especially a fan of Marcy's bartending skills.  He was not aware that she is a certified mixologist.  Could be part of why I enjoy being there so much?

Anyway, none of us made it until midnight.  I knew I had to be up to do chores.  We were sleeping on the air mattress.  The boy had no problem, but I couldn't sleep because I was worried every time I turned over I was disturbing him.  After the two Old Fashions he had, I needn't have worried.

The next morning I was awakened by my favorite alarm clock, Maddie.  I stumbled out of the bed, made coffee and got ready to go, leaving the boy at the house with Marcy's husband.

We got chores done and got Charlie, Riley and Violet ready for cross country.  I could not think of a better way to start the year!

Nothing too spectacular to report on the cross country.  Violet knew where we were heading from the time I put her bell boots on.  Cross country is the only time she wears them to ride, so she knows what's going on.  We started off with a half rolltop, moved our way through the fields, and ended up with a series of 4 smaller fences, ending with the ditch, kind of derby style.  The only time she stuttered at all was heading to the ditch, because it was pretty far away from the group, but when I felt her say "no I don't really want to leave my friends", I said "yes, I think you do" and she simply said ok and kept going.

When we were done, she was barely sweating.

On our walk around the property after we all had a very fun and positive school, Ginny reminded me that she used to watch my lessons when she was deciding to take lessons with Marcy.  At the time, I was just starting to trot.  That was 6 years ago this month.  I know people go from Beginner Novice to Prelim in that amount of time, but I'm not those people, and it still surprises me that we have come so far.

So here's to 2017 and continuing on our "slow but steady" progress.


Friday, December 30, 2016

Happy New Year




No too much going on here.  Christmas has come and passed.  Work is ramping up.  I have Monday off.  Got my little house rented.  We are having our one day of winter today, and I'm missing it. Heading to the barn with the man in tow for lessons and a NYE party at Marcea's tomorrow.  We'll be doing our own good luck dinner at home Sunday night, since he opens on Monday.

Lessons are going well when I have them.  Walk/canter transitions on the flat.  Up transitions are not too bad.  Down is...interesting.  So far, I've gotten canter-trot-walk and canter-halt.  Still working on figuring out the canter-walk, but we're getting closer.  Jumping is good.  Pony loves jumping, and mom's learning to go with it.  Hopefully with boy in tow, we can actually get some video of this weekend's lessons.

I do not do resolutions.  I do have plans, though.  So far they are as follows:

1.  Rejoin Weight Watchers and lose 30 pounds.
2.  Beginner Novice in the April Fools Rocking Horse show.
3.  Pull my credit rating back to the "good" status it has always been by getting the credit card under control.
4.  Paint in the house.

That's about it.  I have a much more detailed list that I put up at home, but these are the big ones.

I hope you all have a safe, joyous, Happy New Year!

Friday, December 9, 2016

Randomness

Before I get started, I just have to say bah-humbug.  It's my blog and I need to vent.
I am not able to participate in Christmas this year, at least not the way I wanted my first married Christmas to be, with a tree and decorations and baking and cooking and coziness by the fire.  My brother is still squatting in my house, and his shit in the garage has blocked the access to the attic. What was supposed to be a short stay when he found himself without a home in April has turned into me spending all the money I have just to get him in a place to be able to share a house somewhere else.  So no presents for basically anyone this year.  No firepit in the backyard.  No Christmas trip with my man.  My candles for the windows are in the attic, as are the ribbons and bows used to make my wreath every year.  It's the first year since 1993 I haven't had my little tree on my desk, because I can't get to it. No show in January because I spent my show money putting him in a position that he would not be arrested for not having a valid drivers license once he's out of my house.  Adding insult to injury, the renter at my other house bailed on me in October, not paying rent and leaving a hell of a mess, and I'm having to spend all my spare time cleaning, painting and getting rid of all her crap. And no, I will not rent it to my brother.  If he can't be bothered to pay me anything for crashing at my house for 8 months, I cannot trust him to actually pay me rent, and I need the money.  I would sell the house, but there is no real market for an 888 square foot patio home.  And while I'm thinking about it, can anyone explain why everything in the world is due in December?  Property taxes, insurance, USEA fees, condo dues, car registrations, etc?  Ok, rant over.  Yes, I feel moderately better.

***

I have no content, since I haven't ridden in, oh, 3 weeks or something, other than a hack after working the start on cross country at the trials last weekend.  But I have some pictures.


Like this one, which shows what happens when the black tornado known as Rory gets a hold of your boots.


And of course the offending puppy.  Can't be angry, he's too cute.  And now they have more character.


Flowers from my now husband received for my birthday.  So cheery!


The strange color change that showed up on Violet's shoulders (equal on both sides) when she was first clipped.  We think maybe the dressage saddle is the culprit?  Changed that up and now they seem to be fading.


The best way to do evening chores..


A shot of Violet's home.  She's so very lucky! That's her waaay out there in the blue and red sheet.

Heading to the farm to do chores tomorrow, since Marcy had her (please god) LAST surgery on her clavicle.  I'll hopefully get in a lesson between helping in the barn and lunging a bunch of ponies.  It's going to be cold (38?) here, but only like for a day and a half.

Monday, November 28, 2016

Saturday jump lesson

I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving.  Mine was good.  A little strange, since the new husband and I did it separately, but that's how we do.  I always go home for the big family holiday, and he works retail, so he had to work.  He spent the weekend working in our rental house (cleaning up after some nasty people...ick, and thank you honey) when he wasn't dealing with everyone out shopping.  I did not get to the barn this weekend, so instead, I bring you a post about last weekend's jump lesson...

It was a beautiful day.  The boy and I drove down to the farm, since it was his weekend off.  Lesson was scheduled at 1.

Pony was happily tucked in with her hay in her back on track sheet.

Got tacked up and ready to go for a jump school.  It's not very often we have the jump ring set up with all the fancy jumps left over from the show, so we should take advantage.

The boy and I walked up to the ring, where I discovered Violet was going to be a very willing partner. She just came out ready to work.  I worked on my own a bit on the shoulder in work that we did in our last dressage lesson, while waiting for Marcy to get there.  Of course, as soon as I see the golf cart heading our way, the jump ring is overtaken by a group of four riders and their coach, who were very nice and willing to share the ring.  They just wanted to run through the course, getting ready for the schooling show in December.


We stick to one end of the ring, continuing to work on the shoulder in, and putting Violet into that outside rein.  We did quite a bit of canter circle, down the fence line to the gate, teardrop loop back to the fence and counter canter.  Violet was fantastic.  When we were done warming up, Marcy said something about this being the day we really wanted to be in the dressage ring!

So we started over a small vertical.  Now mind you, this whole time I'm dodging elementary riders that are trying to do the course, sticking to the one fence in the ring that isn't on the course.


Back and forth figure 8 over the vertical, which is going up after each pass.  Concentrating on getting the bouncy canter before the fence.  In front of the leg and maybe a longer stride, but not faster, more up and down.  Concentrating on the counterbend to the fence to keep her in the outside rein.

Because in Florida, we have bugs at the same time clipped ponies wear sheets.
As soon as the other riders each did their course and exited the ring, we moved on, starting with the little vertical bending left to another vertical.  From there we moved to the other end of the ring and did three jumps on a semi-circle, vertical-vertical-vertical, concentrating on keeping her in the outside rein, which put us on a better line.  We did this forward and backwards, then continued to add.

Going to the right, we had the three verticals to an oxer, left hand turn to a vertical.

The first time we did it, Violet about jumped me out of the tack going over the oxer.  I lost all my reins and had to get myself back together for the 6 strides to the vertical.  I managed to get over it, but I lost my line.  We had to do the end of that again,  So we rode the oxer to the vertical again and Violet was spot on.  She is just jumping out of her skin right now.  Marcy said she was really tidy, especially over the last vertical.

I was hoping to be able to see it on video, as the boy was trying, but there was a mix up with the buttons on his phone and we missed it.  So no video.  But it was a great day, and a lot of fun.

A beautiful sunrise over Violet's field.  We are so lucky to call this home.