Sunday, October 28, 2012

Why does everything cost money?!?!

Seriously!  This month has been a little expensive to say the least.  Where to begin (this would be why I need to update a little more often, huh ;))?

I had a new vet out about 2 weeks ago to do a meet and greet as well as a baseline lameness exam.  I wasn't really expecting her to find anything because I haven't really noticed Charlie feeling funny and the trainers certainly haven't said anything.  Well, I should have known better - ignorance is bliss, right?  She poked and prodded and when she got to the S-I joint, Charlie just about sat down.  It only got better from there  - sarcasm.  I'll spare you all the little details but suffice it to say after several digital x-rays and some joint injections, I'm considerably poorer.

Since Charlie needed a few days off to recover and I had to go to GA for my Navy stuff, he had 6 days off.  Since I'm brilliant, I thought it would be a fantastic idea to go to Pine Top to school XC for his first ride back.  And because I'm trying to be thrifty in my new found poor state, I thought it would be an even better idea to take Charlie to the farrier before going to Pine Top.  Timeline went like this:  6 days off, spend Sunday night in (because his feet have to be super dry for the glue to work), get on the trailer straight from the stall Monday morning, go to Aiken and get new kicks, get back on the trailer and go an hour south to Pine Top and school by myself (SuperMom was on the ground for obvious safety reasons).  Brilliant and thrifty, right?  Let's just say it wasn't my brightest idea but since I was bright enough to buy the Wonder Pony, I lived to tell about Monday.  Charlie was very good considering the circumstances.  My main goal was to trot through the water several times since he was a little sticky there this spring.  Mission accomplished along with a few hard core bucks which fortunately didn't result in me hitting the dirt.

The rest of the week was fairly light until Friday when we trekked up to Amy's for a lesson.  Amy got on him which was really cool.  It used to be when I was younger and dumber, I couldn't understand why someone would pay someone else to ride their horse - kinda defeats the purpose, right?  Well, I get it now.  He looked so pretty!  She had some really great insight and I left with some awesome homework.  Basically, Charlie needs to be quicker with his hind feet.  I lose him out the backend and the way I feel it is he gets a little stiff in his face.  The name of the game is he MUST be quicker off my leg and I MUST keep after him to keep his feet moving behind.  It's a lot of work.  But since he's the Wonder Pony, he's getting it!  He was quite good today and I've only been practicing for 2 days.  Yay!

So besides having Charlie, one of the ways I deal with stress is to buy stuff - back to being brilliant...  Well, I've been wanting one of those Rambo Helix sheet thingys and managed to find this one on sale no less from a shop in the UK.  Even better, unlike SmartPak (which I love!), they have it in grey!  Total score!  Total cost after shipping (which costs more than the sheet itself) is $82.  Still less than SmartPak.  I have decided I just need to move to England - everybody rides there and tack stuff is way cheaper.  What's not to like?

Random sunset photo from the barn.  You can see the mountains in the background - so pretty!

Charlie eating and looking a little chubby!  Yay for a chubby thoroughbred!

This, my friends, makes me very happy!  Never thought I'd be happy about gas being $3.06/gal...

 Guess who got a haircut just in time for the 35 degree weather?  The dopey look is courtesy of the pre-haircut cocktail Charlie consumed.

We're going back to the Carolina Horse Park next weekend as long as I survive this week.  School has been a serious drain and the main reason I haven't been posting very regularly.  It's kind of a day by day survival thing.  While I'm seriously apprehensive about facing the job market again, I cannot wait to be done with school.  Only 5 more weeks!

Monday, October 15, 2012

Pictures! Take too...

Not much has been going on so I decided to take a bunch of pictures...enjoy!

Charlie modeling his new bridle from Five Star Tack.


I spent all day yesterday jump judging at the Pine Top Horse Trials.  The weather was lovely and the owners have got to be some of the nicest people around.


Charlie's race photo!  How cool is this?  Courtesy of Equi-Photo.


What a difference 2 years makes! 


Another head shot of the bridle.  Charlie was highly unamused...


We stopped for a minute and Charlie wanted to know why.


Still not amused despite the lovely weather and view.


Now he's happy - dinner is on the way. :)

Sunday, October 7, 2012


Pics from the photographer this weekend!  They got some really good ones on XC.  SJ ones are so-so and the dressage ones are yucky but that's probably because we had a yucky test. ;)!i=2134981964&k=shwXQgP

So much to say!

Where to begin?  *Warning* this is going to be long...

Well, last weekend we went to FENCE and had a pretty good time.  The week leading up to the show went as I had planned and I was feeling pretty confident about what was supposed to be our last beginner novice HT.  I drove up Saturday morning with SuperMom - we got there about 3 hours before my dressage time as I wanted plenty of time for Charlie to be able to chill out and did not want a repeat of Pine Top.  Well, he came off the trailer a little wired and I put him right on the lunge line so he could let off a little excess energy.  It seemed to work because within 10 minutes he was perfectly happy to stand around eating grass.

I started getting ready about 45 minutes out from my dressage time and Charlie started getting a little bit more excited.  Getting on was a bit of a debacle - note to self, no more 17 hand horses.  After I got on, he was pretty good going over to the warm and proceeded to warm up splendidly.  Carolyn was kind enough to come warm us up which was very helpful.  Unfortunately, I made a huge tactical error and went over to the dressage rings about 10 minutes early.  The set-up at FENCE is kind of dumb - there's no warm-up by the rings and you can't see the rings from the warm-up.  I should have just asked the ring stewards to let me know when the rider in front of me was in the ring but I didn't.  Charlie doesn't do standing around so we walked around on a loose rein and I think he thought we were done.  Our test was a bit lack-luster and Charlie spent most of it on his forehand.  I just couldn't pick him up.  We ended up getting a 39.1 - mostly 6s and 7s with a few 5s tossed in.

Show jumping was a bit of a debacle and where the crappy part comes in.  I was just heading over to warm-up when a huge thunderstorm rolled in and they suspended SJ until it was over.  Charlie had to wait it out in the trailer which he was NOT happy about and proceeded to work himself into a lather, literally.  He was pretty wild coming off the trailer which made life very interesting.  Getting on was even more interesting.  Amy was there to warm us up which was good and bad.  I typically jump 4-6 jumps and head in but she had us really working on the quality of our trot and canter which was good but I think we both got tired.  And I was still a little frazzled by his behavior on the ground prior to getting on.  We ended up pulling 2 rails which is sooo out of character for me.  I can't remember the last time I pulled 2 rails - I'd have to go back to my junior novice/training days with Cowboy (and even then, I don't know that I ever pulled 2 in one round).  We pulled the 2nd and 3rd jumps and Amy said he just wasn't jumping well in the beginning.

Cross country was on Sunday and I drove up by myself - I decided I needed to be a grown-up and go by myself.  It worked out fabulously!  Charlie was quite well behaved from the get-go.  I even tied him to the trailer which is a big step for us.  I was kind of concerned about XC as there was a ditch (eek!) and the entrance to the water was kind of dumb (very short approach coming off a sharp left hand turn).  But other than that, it looked super easy.  And since I had pulled 2 rails, I figured this was just a good schooling round.  Well, I shouldn't have been worried!  Charlie was a rockstar!  He clocked around that course like it was nothing.  I was going to trot the ditch so he'd have time to see it but he didn't want to trot so I let him canter and he jumped it like it was something he does daily.  Water wasn't a problem either - I made him trot but he would have cantered.  In fact, he broke to the canter in the middle of the water jump.  Such a good pony!  Hoofclix got some great photos of us - still trying to decide if I want one.  And we came home with this:

Yay for Charlie!

This last week has been the most stressful week I've had in the last 2 years of school.  Not exactly the perfect lead up to our first Novice.  Monday was my last day in the ER (boo!), Tuesday I was so stressed out all we did was hack around the neighborhood, Wednesday was a lesson with Carolyn, Thursday was my final so I didn't ride, and Friday we left for the Carolina Horse Park stopping on the way at Amy's for a final jump school.

Friday was a bit of a debacle - I was so proud of myself for getting everything ready and leaving on-time and then when I got to Amy's, we had a bit of a trailer mishap.  I was in a bit of hurry to get him off and forgot to untie him.  He freaked out, pulled back breaking his halter, and proceeded to run all over the farm in his shipping boots for about 10 minutes.  He's none the worse for wear although I can't say the same for the shipping boots.  Good thing I always have standing wraps in the trailer...

We had a really great lesson and Amy had me focus on getting his inside hind to really step under him. Huge difference in our canter transition.  On the jumping side of things, the focus was on riding forward.  Charlie had to be forward and supple.  I sometimes get lulled into thinking he's collected when, really he's just fallen behind my leg. 

Then it was off to the horse park.  I got there about 6 (I got stuck in a bit of traffic outside Charlotte) and met Claire who helped me get Charlie settled.  We booked it around the XC before it got too dark.  I'm not going to lie - it looked huge! 3 foot never looked so big! ;)  I got Charlie tucked in for the night and went to Claire's house to crash.

Last fence in the twilight.

Tower they announce from (I'm assuming) when they run the steeplechase.

I got to the horse park the next morning by 7:30, gave Charlie his breakfast and took him for a stroll.  The first couple of minutes of the walk were, well, interesting but he calmed right down and spent 15 minutes eating grass.  I then walked XC again and called Cherie to get her advice.  She laughed when I told her it was huge.  It didn't look as big the second time but I was still pretty nervous - it had an up bank (which I hate!) and a roll top 5 strides to a ditch (eek!).

Dressage warm-up was once again awesome but unfortunately, they were running about 15 minutes behind.  Information that would have been useful before I got on.  Oh well, he was totally ridable and right now, that's all that matters.  We got a 38.1 I think, so slightly better than last weekend.

I walked SJ and thought the course was kind of tricky.  The first half of the course was very straightforward but the second half was pretty tight.  The first part was basically diagonal to diagonal to outside line then the second part was a vertical on the short-end going towards the warm-up, hard and short right hand turn to an oxer, 6/7 strides to another oxer, left roll-back to a 2 stride - oxer to vertical.  It rode much nicer than I thought it would.  I got lucky on the last fence - I should have whoa'd a bit going into the in-and-out.

On to XC.  I'm not going to lie - I felt a little sick walking over to XC.  Charlie was pretty low-key in the warm-up until he saw a horse gallop by and then he got excited.  Not crazy, but definitely a little amped.  We made our way over to the start box where he walked around calmly and we left out of the box quietly (this is kind of a big deal to me - I don't want a crazy horse at the start box!).  He took a peek at the first jump which I wasn't really expecting but gave him the benefit of the doubt (they had pumpkins under it) but when he took a look at the second (a plain brown roll-top), I smacked him one and said enough.  He was foot perfect the rest of the way!  I could have been a little bit more aggressive to the water and thank goodness he was honest at the ditch because I rode it horribly and would have ended up on the ground if he took a hard look but all in all, I was super proud of both of us.  He was awesome and I managed to not throw-up!  Yay!  Even better is the fact that we finished in fourth on our dressage score!!!

Not sure what's up next - I want to get to 2 more shows this year.  I might go back to the horse park (they have another schooling show in Nov) or I could go back to FENCE which has a schooling show on the same day as the horse park.  My last show will be Pine Top the weekend after Thanksgiving.  This next week will be light because of school - school is really starting to get in the way of having fun...  Can't wait for it to be over!