Thursday, July 30, 2015

IEA Benefit Derby

Last weekend I took Stella to a benefit for the new water jump at the Hoosier Horse Park with all proceeds going toward funding the new obstacle.

The new jump will be in addition to the current water jump and will provide many exciting options for schooling and showing, containing two peninsulas as well as simple trot ins. Due to the location of the new jump construction has been difficult and the cost has been higher than anticipated.  After completion spectators will be able to see the water jump, the Pan Am Banks, as well as both the start and finish line, a feat not achieved elsewhere on course due to the thick woods and winding cross country paths.

You can see a picture of the jump in progress at the Indiana Eventing Association webpage.

The current water jump looks like this (this picture is several years old), some of my blood and sweat is involved there as I volunteered a few times and personally dug one of the holes for the drop in!

This event drew quite the crowd with divisions from step over poles to Training.  Photo courtesy Dorie Leigh Mayfield via the  Indiana Eventing Association Facebook page.

And consisted of both XC and showjumping fences in and around the current water jump, here's a great round at BN taken from the vantage point of the Spirit's Descent.

Unfortunately Stella was a little overwhelmed with the business of the course and had a mare sized meltdown at one particularly offensive fence, I got her over it (and this fence seemed to cause problems for several people, I'm not sure if it was the color of the fence, the fact that it was going away from the crowd, or it being near the water jump) but was eliminated when we had to jump it for a second time.  On the upside she jumped most of the other fences, roamed around the dressage arenas with no problems, and hacked to and from the XC course like a pro so there's hope for her yet.  Just a few million more miles under saddle, developing a work ethic, and learning to go forward.  As well as a rider that rides more aggressively BEFORE there is a problem.

Here's a picture of Stella jumping one of the fences on course, photo taken by Lee Ann Zobbe who also organized the entire event!  Please feel free to ignore my "Urrrgghhhhhh" face.

If you are feeling generous, please feel free to journey to the IEA website and make a donation to help complete the water jump and you'll be cantering through it sometime next year!

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Patent perfection

I've been window shopping patent leather dressage bridles.  Aren't they pretty?  I thought something a little shiny might look really nice against Stella's solid black head.  Thoughts?  Is patent easy to take care of?  Does it last?  

Toulouse platinum performance dressage bridle, a padded patent leather crank style caveson and brow band, padded crown, and removable flash attachment with rolled leather cheeks and rolled leather fronts on the included rubber lined reins with hand stops.

I really like the removable flash, I don't tend to use flashes and I like the option of not having that little tabby thing leftover.  I also like the rolled cheeks, a little something different.

The Premier Athena Dressage Bridle

The Premiera Athena is a luxurious, handcrafted snaffle bridle. Stunning leather, a wide soft patent leather noseband, a dazzling curved bling browband, and near invisible closures make this your perfect competition bridle.

I like the innovative design of this bridle, notice how the cheek pieces all buckle behind the ears leaving a clean line along the horse's face?  I also like the droopy browband.

What do you think?

Any other options out there for the rider on a budget who really has enough bridles already?

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Moving forward

Today I had another lesson on Stella, I was full of anxiety and doubts as soon as I scheduled it.  I didn't want another struggle of a lesson where all I felt like I was accomplishing was ruining her for all future use over fences.  I've been working hard at home on getting her in front of my leg, getting her forward, getting her to pick up her canter. Still, when I see fences my brain tends to go on a vacation.

My trainer and I had a talk about this ahead of time and we started out working on flatwork.  How do you steer a horse?  With your reins?  With your legs?  I use my hands way too much.  I think it's because I consider Stella very green to more refined aids, and she doesn't turn very well at home.  Or pretty much anywhere.  And I think I use my legs.

Trainer had me hold my whip in my hands, about 8 inches apart.  I wasn't able to give Stella any wide opening rein like I thought was necessary.  Instead I had to use my hands for Direction and rely entirely on my legs and my seat aids for Steering.


Hardest thing ever to mentally wrap my head around.

When I get busy and frantic there go my hands.

Instead I had to think ahead of my turns and use my legs to not only control pace, but control my steering.  I even had to hold the whip this way OVER THE FENCES.  Surprisingly, I did not die.

We also worked on who was in control.  Who was in control of the pace?  Of the direction?  Over the jump?  Over the direction we took after the jump?

I also had to stay behind her.  Do you want to be driving the horse from his neck or tail or do you want to be driving the horse from his tail?

I was finally able to take a step back and realize that everytime Stella wasn't forward enough, I crawled up her neck and swung my legs back and forth.  Stella promptly stopped.  Every Time.  Stella isn't stupid. Apparently I am.

Staying behind Stella also helped me not jump ahead so much.  Here I am sort of considering folding at the waist.  Holding that whip between my hands.

Here I am thinking about keeping my lower leg in the same zipcode as my girth.  Still holding that whip between my hands.

Finally, here's a video of one of our courses, as well as some nice canter work at the end.

Friday, July 10, 2015

More Feet

More Feet Pictures!  Here are Stella's front feet after another trim.  This trim was about 4 weeks after the last one as she's growing a ton of foot and at the 4 week mark they go pancake.  You can still see the chip in her right foot, if it doesn't split again it should be gone in the next trim cycle.  Improvements? 

Left Front

Left Front

Right Front

Right Front

Sunday, July 5, 2015

A timeline of Stella

I'm trying to make a consistent habit of taking timeline photos of Stella to monitor her progress or lack there off.  I thought I had a conformation photo of her when I first got her but apparently that vanished into the ether so here are two photos of her about a month apart.  Do you notice any difference?

 Stella May 17th 2015

Stella June 29th 2015

Friday, July 3, 2015

Folding Wagon

I thought this was a pretty cool thing to store in your trailer to use at shows.  It's available at Wal-Mart for $54.97 and comes in blue and red (sadly no purple).

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Cowboy Challenge Photos

My computer was having coniptions with the size of the photos on the CD I got so I had to wait to post the rest of them.  Here are a few more!!

What do you think?  Could your horses do this?




Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Debris Field

I got my photos from the Cowboy Obstacle Challenge today!  Here's one of Stella in the "Debris Field."


 Hello all,  Life has been busy and I have not felt I've had anything worth blogging about.  Or that my blog is particularly interestin...