Friday, November 23, 2012

Post-Thanksgiving activities (and some pre-Thanksgiving ones too!)

I think I've gained 15 lbs in the last 2 days.  The weather has been outstanding - it hit 70 degrees today! I'm hoping this keeps up for a bit although it's supposed to be cooler this weekend.

So let's backup a week and a half.  I once again made the trek up to Amy's for another great lesson.  Focus is still on getting his hind feet to move faster while catching the extra energy in the bridle and encouraging him lift through his back and wither.  We added another component - asking Charlie to step under himself with his inside hind.  He didn't love this.  In fact, he had a couple of temper tantrums which I think are pretty funny.  You can see some of his antics here if you fast forward to about the 3 min mark (please ignore my ridiculous commentary - I'm officially a dork).  Charlie's so funny because he pitches a fit and then he does what you want - I try to tell him that it would just be easier if he did what I asked the first time around but it's almost like he feels it's his responsibility to protest.  Silly pony!

Then we moved onto jumping - our favorite!  Charlie is getting so much more rideable in between the fences - he's never been awful but he's just so much more adjustable now.  All the flat stuff is so paying off!  Yay!!!  Amy is big on related distances and this go around we played with angles.  Charlie was a little surprised the first time simply because I don't think he totally understood why we weren't perpendicular to the fence.  But by the end, he was a champ!  In this run, the first go I didn't whoa enough to the second but we were much better (I think!) the second time through.  It's kinda hard to tell but it's four strides from the wall to the gate and both fences are on an angle.  In this run, the first line is a steady 4 (not sure why I thought it was necessary wiggle through the line...) and then I had a brain fart and forgot that I was supposed to jump the gate on an angle to the wall to the liverpool but we got it right on the second try.  I still need to work on keeping my reins shorter and hands higher - story of my life.

A couple of weeks ago I talked about ordering stuff from the UK.  Megs from Natural Noshing meets Dressaging left a comment about another UK online store, Ride-Away.  Well, like a dummy, I checked it out.  They have some seriously awesome deals - I ended up getting a pair of Woof shipping boots that actually fit Charlie for $120 (that includes shipping from the UK).  That's a $70 savings when compared to Dover.  How freaking cool is that?!?!  Now the shopping is done - I'm starting to freak about finding a job as school is almost over and that means the GI Bill goes away.  I am trying to convince somebody to buy me an Ecogold half pad for my jumping saddle during their post-Thanksgiving sale - Charlie would like brown please. ;)

So I think I mentioned that my fall show season was to finish with a run at Pine Top.  Well, I scratched.  I also scratched from the last Carolina Horse Park show (it was the first weekend in Nov).  My heart just wasn't in it for any number of reasons.  I'm not entirely sure what this means - I've blogged about my quandary before but I've come up with a few plans this time around.  Basically I'm going to spend the winter playing in the jumper ring (as long as I find a job to pay for entries!).  I love show jumping - love the technicalities, love the precision, and love that it's totally objective! ;)  So that's the plan for now and as always, it's totally dependent on Charlie and finances (again, why does everything have to cost money?).

Somebody else is getting chubby besides me - 54" girth is getting a little snug.

Yup, that's right.  Had to clip the Pony AGAIN only four weeks after the first clip.  This is going to be a long winter...

Poor Pony has something on his sheath - fingers are crossed that it magically disappears as quickly as it appeared and there is no need to call the vet.  One can hope, right?

Fence judging at Pine Top on Sunday which should be fun and then a trip to the farrier on Monday.

Oops!  Forgot to say thanks to SuperMom for coming with me to my lesson and videoing - thanks SuperMom!

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving everybody!  I must say it's my favorite day of the year - SuperMom is an outstanding chef (I really, really like to eat) and while I don't have a huge family, we typically invite some family friends over and it just ends up being a really great time.

When I think back to this time last year, I was about 2 weeks away from coming home after spending 6 months in the desert, I hadn't seen Charlie since 30 April (yes, I remember the date!), and Mom was recovering from a double mastectomy while I was half a world away.  Comparatively, today is so much better.  I have so much to be thankful for - Mom is totally recovered without having to go through chemo or radiation, Charlie is back in his field 5 miles down the road, and I'm not inhaling sand on a daily basis.  Life is great!

I'm thankful for my parents who are amazingly supportive even when I do stupid things like buy a horse when I don't have a real job - they let me live with them for free so I can spend all my money on Charlie. :)  I'm thankful for Cherie who sold me said horse against her better judgement and took care of him like he was her own while I was gone.  She lets me call her and ask her all sorts of dumb questions, listens to me ramble and supports me no matter what - I'm secretly convinced she's my long, lost sister.  I'm thankful for the amazing farm owners where I keep Charlie - they even let me come ride on Thanksgiving!  I'm thankful I started this blog and got to "meet" several other bloggers who teach me something new everyday and offer all sorts of cyber support.  I'm thankful for my Rockstar dog, Lilo, who still loves me even though she rarely sees me.  And I'm thankful for the WonderPony who keeps me sane, makes me smile everyday, and makes me happier than I've been in a very long time.

This was taken probably almost to the day a year ago - Me and two of my Marine buddies right before I flew home.  They would want me to point out that they aren't that short - I'm standing on tip toe and they are squatting down. ;)

Can we say sandstorm?

Paradise - Charlie's home...just ignore the broken rail...;)

Quite possibly the best view would have been even better if the Pony put his ears forward...

The WonderPony modeling his new Rambo Helix sheet with SuperMom!

Thursday, November 8, 2012

South Carolina: A love-hate relationship...

So I think I've mentioned this before but just in case I haven't, I'm originally from Connecticut.  A lovely place to grow up for the most part; 4 distinct seasons, hockey and soccer are very popular, people are to the point, a history lesson to be had in just about every town, and everything is very close together - what's not to love? To say coming to South Carolina for college was a culture shock is an understatement.  After college, I really never expected to live in the state of South Carolina again.  Well, you know what they say about never...

So here's my little list of pros and cons about South Carolina:


1.  Home and former employer of Gov. Mark Sanford.  You know that Governor who disappeared, telling his staff he was hiking the Appalachian Trail but was really in Argentina visiting his mistress while his wife and kids were wondering where he was (along with the rest of the state)?
2.  Home of Rep Joe Wilson, the Congressional Representative who yelled "You lie!" when President Obama was giving his State of the Union a few years ago.  Ok, that was kind of funny if for no other reason than it's the truth - I don't think there is any politician alive who knows how to be honest.
3. In my lovely little town, they are suing the former city manager to get his severance package money back, money they offered him.  Amount they want him to pay back - $1.1 million, amount they've spent in legal fees to get said funds back - $2.3 million...I must be missing something here...
4.  The world revolves around Clemson or Carolina football even though 95% of the fans did not attend either school.  I cannot even begin to tell you how sick I am of orange.
5.  When I first moved back to SC, I was coming from Houston, the 5th largest city in the country.  And for the 2 years I lived there, we never had a serial killer.  Within the first 2 months of being back in SC, you guessed it, serial killer on the loose - what gives?
6.  Recycling is optional.  What?!?!  So we end up with idiots who leave things on the side of the road (or in the middle of the road) that do things like this to my trailer:



1.  This is a biggie - some of the cheapest gas in the country: currently in the neighborhood of $2.88/gal.  Now that's $2 more per gallon than I was paying while in college 10 years ago but whatever - it's still cheaper than most of the country.
2.  Seriously, some of the best sunsets I have every seen and this includes all the ones I saw while deployed on a ship (middle of the ocean = almost zero light pollution = amazing views of the sky especially sunrises, sunsets, and the stars).


3.  Plenty of horse stuff - 1.5 hours to Tryon, 2.5 hours to Aiken, 4 hours to Southern Pines, 5 hours to the Virginia Horse Trials, and 6.5 hours to Lexington, KY.
4.  Where else can you shoot an opossum at midnight in a residential neighborhood and not worry about the neighbors calling the cops?  Please note *I* would never shoot a poor, defenseless opossum so maybe this should go on the Cons side...
5.  South Carolina doesn't tax my Navy drill pay.  Now that I've mentioned that, why do I have to pay federal taxes on my drill pay?  Couldn't they just pay me $100 less and save me the trouble of having to file?  Seems logical to me...
6.  While I may complain about the heat, you really can ride all year long if you're not a baby like me.  Ground doesn't freeze like it does in New England and while we may get a few cold snaps, things warm right up, sometimes a little too much...;)

Charlie enjoying the lovely fall weather - sunny and 65.

I've got a lot more things to add to these lists so maybe I'll revisit this topic but I need to plan a little better next time as I'm a little light on photo evidence.

Charlie modeling his lovely fleece - please ignore the mess in the background.

As for the Pony, he's good.  Enjoying the weather and keeping his older girlfriend on her toes.  More on him and our plans this weekend if I manage to get all my school work done.