Monday, June 24, 2013

Thank you!

As usual, I'm a day late and a dollar short but THANK YOU so much to Kate and Niamh for nominating me for the Leibster Award!  Kate's blog is literally the first blog I ever read - pretty sure I didn't even know what a blog was until I started reading about her adventures with Dually.  And Niamh was one of my very first followers and I'm so happy that she not only had what seems to have been a pretty spectacular wedding but also has a red pony of her very own.  Thanks very much ladies!  I'm drafting up my response and promise to have it up later this week.

Not much has been going on in Charlie-land.  The farm owners have been away in Europe (pretty sure I've mentioned this before but they're originally from Belgium) and they left right as Sadie (their horse) developed a massive, and I mean MASSIVE, abscess on her face.  Since they were away, I had to take care of her which meant not much time left over for riding.  The thing finally popped and it was disgusting!  She's been a real trooper about it and has been really easy to take care of - just time consuming.  It's been hot anyway and everyone knows how much I loooovvve the heat. :/

Things should sort of be back on track now as the farm owners are back and Sadie's wound looks much better.  I did ride twice last week and one time Charlie decided to start the ride solo and took off right as I was about to put the bridle on.  He was running around with my precious saddle on and all I could think to do was take a picture.  Hmmmm...  I finally came to my senses and ran up to close the gate before he could run out in the cul-de-sac.  He actually never even came close to leaving the property and spent the majority of his freedom staring at me as I ran up the relatively long driveway in my boots and helmet to shut the gate all while holding his bridle.  He can be such a punk sometimes!

The punk in's tough to be mad when he's so stinking cute!

If you have a weak stomach, stop reading here - I've included some pics of Sadie's lovely abscess...

The start - this doesn't do it justice.  It was at least grapefruit sized if not cantaloupe...

It's blurry because she wouldn't hold still but it finally popped...

It's fully popped here and let me tell you, it smelled awful!  Poor thing - it oozed junk every time she ate something...

And finally when the dead skin came off.  Yucky!!!!!

It looks much better now but I forgot to take a picture today.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Contest update!

I'm impressed - Julie got it right off the bat.  Julie, please email me your address and I'll pop your prize in the mail (

Mom and I took the long way back to the hotel one day after leaving Rolex and just happened to drive by Reed Kessler's farm.  I was most impressed by how workmanlike it was.  Very classy and definitely not over-the-top.

Barns from a distance.  A tour would have been great - maybe next time. :)

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Losing days and a contest!!!!

This whole working at night thing has me losing track of what day it is and how many have passed.  That's my backwards way of saying sorry to have been absent for so long.  I'm going to keep this brief because I honestly can't remember all the details.

I've had a few lessons - one was bad but learned a bunch.  Basically, I kept picking for the short distance but never had Charlie in front of my leg so we crashed through one jump and then he said no thanks at the next one.  He almost got me off - I ended up in front of the saddle and smacked my chin on his poll.  I was definitely seeing stars afterwards.  Amy had me gallop around to get him in front of my leg and we tried again.  He jumped but it wasn't pretty - pretty much felt like a wild indian galloping down all the lines.  I walked away from that lesson a bit down.

Next two lessons were much better.  I focused on keeping Charlie in front of my leg and keeping my hand soft between the jumps.  Crazy how every distance just seems to work when you're going forward.  After our last lesson, I took Charlie out in Amy's jump field where we jumped the banks and the ditch on our own.  Charlie was brilliant!  Didn't hesitate over anything.  I was a bit surprised only because we haven't gone XC schooling since last fall.  Oops!

This past weekend was the schooling horse trials at the Carolina Horse Park.  I went up early on Saturday to meet Amy for some XC schooling at the park.  They've changed the format up a bit this year and have schooling on Saturday with the HT running on Sunday.  I was running a bit late due to traffic and then Charlie proceeded to pull a hind shoe in the stall being an idiot.  He's just that talented folks.  Since it was a hind foot and I didn't see any holes from him stepping on the clip, I decided to school anyway.  He was simply amazing!  We did most of the training level course and he just ate everything up.  He actually broke to the canter in the water, didn't bat an eyelash at the water-filled ditch (did I mention it's basically been a non-stop monsoon here?), aannnddd jumped the trakehner on the first go round.  He took a little peak while we were in the air but that was it!!!!  I can't believe how lucky I am to have such a wonderful pony!

After I tucked him in for the night, I spent the night with my friend Clair.  I got to the horse park bright and early on Sunday in hopes of finding the farrier.  Lucky for me he was there by 7:30 and kindly tacked Charlie's hind shoe on even though Charlie was being a total dork.  The loud speaker's must bring back memories of the track because anytime he hears them, he loses some of his marbles.

I was a little too laid back about getting on for dressage and poor Charlie literally got to trot and canter once in each direction and then we went in the ring.  Oops!  He was really good considering.  He was only slightly distracted and our bending kind of sucked but he was obedient and forward so I was basically ecstatic.  We ended up with a 34.4 and all 6s and 7s - not quite sure how that happened but I'll take it.  Judge even said we were a nicely matched pair - awww!

Show jumping was good despite my crappy riding - I kinda, sorta forgot to think while I was in the ring.  Poor Charlie probably thought I was a bit crazy because 1 second I was telling him to go right and the next, I was telling him to go left.  Oh well, he more than made up for me and we had a clear round.  We went straight to XC and to say Charlie was ready to go is a bit of an understatement.  He could see the horses leaving the start box and didn't really understand why he had to wait to join the fun.  Getting in the start box was well, interesting.  Once we got out on course, he was strong as in really strong.  I wasted a lot of time in the beginning getting him back before the fences but once we hit the halfway point, he was a little more rateable.  Even with the antics, I was still really happy with him.  He was super bold and brave to everything.  And even though it took him a bit to listen to me when I tried to half-halt, he still ultimately listened.  Because we spent so much time fighting about speed (or maybe I should say quality of gait), we had 4 time penalties.  If we hadn't had those, we would have been second but we ended up with a pretty white ribbon (seems to be a theme - last fall we were fourth as well).  All in all, an outstanding weekend!  Pics can be seen here - High Time Photography.

Picture of Charlie's new halter - unfortunately, you can't really see the chrome hardware.  But it sure looks pretty in person!

Now for the contest - first person to tell me who's farm gates the below picture is of will win a bottle of Canter Silk Mane and Tail Conditioner.  ETA - Pic was taken while I was in Lexington for Rolex...