Thursday, September 15, 2016

A timeline of Stella part II

Although I've fallen behind in keeping up with conformation photos of Stella to denote her progress or lack thereof, I have compiled these photos.  Most of the of her tied to the trailer since I have some sort of thing about taking tied to the trailer pictures.  So, any progress?

January 2015, the day I bought her

May 2015 at her first show over fences
June 2015 at home

September 2015 at her first itty bitty horse trial

November 2015

April 2016

September 2016 at her most recent slightly less itty bitty horse trial

Camping trip

Over the weekend we went on another camping trip, probably the last one of the season with the weather getting cooler, I don't want to freeze to death.

The entire trip looked a little iffy all week with more big storms and lots of rain moving in.

Originally our trip was scheduled for Whitewater State Park which was a short hour and a half east of us in Liberty, In.  They have two big lakes to fish or boat in and a nice 8 mile loop trail with a creek crossing.

Here's the horseman's campsite  Camp.

However, with all the rain moving in it looked like a solid two days of rain there and some horribly muddy trails so instead we went WAY north to Tippecanoe.  It added another 45 minutes to our very very boring drivetime but it looked like the park missed more of the heavy rain and the footing up there is all sand so it has better drainage and typically less mud.

We left Saturday morning and ended up setting up camp in the rain.

This is awning 3.0  I bought a bigger tarp and hooked the tarp on the opposite side of my trailer which provided better rain coverage.

Not shown is awning 4.0 where I used longer ropes attached to the top of the PVC poles.  This awning stood up under some gusty winds and medium heavy rain.  Still pretty good for about 40 bucks including buying the new tarp.

An unknown for me was at this camp we had two separate sites, with my friend bringing her husband horse for my boyfriend.  Stella needed to camp at her own site, next door to but not shoulder rubbing distance to her best trail buddy Twigs.  She gets a little herd bound and I wasn't sure if 40 feet would be too much for her to handle.

Thankfully, she had zero problems staying in her electric pen as long as I kept the food coming!

We went out on the trails twice, they were a little muddy and we had my boyfriend with me who hasn't totally mastered trotting so we kept it slow this trip.  As usual Stella wanted to be in the lead and she was quite confused at how slow we were going.  Our two companions ended up doing lots of trotting to keep up with her going places walk!  I did put her in back several times so my friend could get her horse moving out and so Stella could keep working on riding wherever.  She really hates it.   She wants to crowd the horse in front to push them faster, pins her ears the entire time, and constantly weaves back and forth looking for a wide enough opening to trot on out in front.  Poor mare.

She did get "stuck" in the lead 3 or 4 times but I was able to get her moving with a little persuasion and she didn't need a lead so tons and tons of progress there!  We flushed out a few deer but never ran across any turkeys although my friend saw them in camp in the AM.

I would have liked to stay camping longer but it ended up being a good time for everyone!

Friday, September 9, 2016

New Jumping saddle!

Well, not new.  Or nearly new.  But new to me!

I snapped this Stubben Artus up for a song with the idea that if it didn't fit I could easily resell it and if it did fit I could easily sell my Dover Circuit.  I like buying and reselling saddles and making a little bit of money, and I've been kicking around the idea that all my jumping problems will be solved if I bought a different saddle.

It's in pretty good condition and appears to be a 17 each seat.

It's got knee blocks on the sweat flap and is a medium wide tree.  The billet guard with the tree info and name was missing unfortunately.

Here it is sitting next to my Dover Circuit.  It makes the flaps on my Dover look almost all purpose!

Here's me in my current saddle

My naked horse 

And me in the Stubben

Thoughts on fit of me?  Seems to fit Stella pretty well, the tree is wider but not too wide so it gives her some room to muscle up more.

Monday, September 5, 2016

Dan Hobyn HT wrap up

Yesterday was the fall HT at Dan Hobyn Stables, a facility just 15 minutes from home so how could I not go?

They've been a fixture in eventing Indiana for decades and usually host two shows a year, one around Memorial day, the other around Labor day.  I like their shows because they are low key and the lower level courses tend to be simple and inviting, an excellent event for horses or riders nervous or new to the sport.

I was on the fence to enter all the way up to the deadline, could I give Stella the ride she needed to make it around?  Would coming just cause issues where I let her stop?

I finally sucked it up and entered, I've had good success her in the past, I know about what the courses will be, put on your big girl pants, etc.

This is a tie to the trailer kind of place and luckily Stella ties well

She did get bored eventually and started making up things to do so I decided to get on her early and hack her around.  I did have quite a bit of horse and we did some unauthorized leaping about but she soon went to work and then all of a sudden I had too much time on my hands!  I need to figure out a better game plan for keeping Stella from getting bored and the proper amount of warm up.

As with the last show I have been getting some really solid work in the warm up, then 50 50 in the dressage ring.  There's a lot to look at here and someone on a pony was riding all the way around the ring (a no no) and when the pony screamed Stella answered.  Darn it.

We still need more work on our connection at the walk, it's coming along at home but the slower speed gives Stella more cause to gawk and it hurt our score.  It was still good enough to put us in Second so I was happy.

I ended up going directly to show jumping from dressage which worked out well.  I just wore my jumping tack in the dressage ring and literally started jumping as soon as I hit the warm up.  I had some issues with some bucking, once when Stella tried to do a lead change, only got half, and got pissed at me because it was somehow my fault.  Then when I got her in the mouth a bit.

Lesson learned, stay out of the way.

Show jumping I kept slow, focused, my speed.   The course was quite twisty and on grass, and Stella's canter isn't quite umm.... something so we did lots of trotting.  We did come to a screeching halt when Stella spied some suspicious looking XC fences and I had to work on getting her attention back and getting her to the fence, which we jumped sideways.  I know she has an issue with STUFF so I'm hoping the more STUFF we see the less it bothers her.

Then on to XC.  The course was "bigger" than I expected and took quite a trek so I was a little nervous.  Ok, a lot nervous.  Ok, like I felt like I was going to vomit.  I had a pep talk with myself and then went for it.

I kept my hands down and I put my leg on in front of each fence, and I remembered most of the time to think about my route and not just celebrate making it over each fence.  It wasn't the smoothest course but we made it around.  I was very generous about slipping my reins, especially over a few of the bigger fences.  I'd much rather lose some control at this point than get her in the face due to my lack of confidence.  I made myself keep riding, even to the fences that I didn't think were going to be a problem because I've been there at letting my guard down and having an easy stop.

In the end I was breathless but jubilant!  We made it around clean and earned ourselves a second place ribbon!  Yeah!!!!!!!

Thursday, September 1, 2016

4 X 4

Stella has been going well in her front shoes and has decided to leave them on after the first unfortunate incident.  I do confess to driving out to the barn and checking her shoes in the muddy pasture!

Yesterday was her appointment to have her shoes reset and her hind feet trimmed but we had a sudden change of plans.  I've been to some rocky trails recently at a brisk pace and that combined with a longer trim cycle that normal left her back feet in pretty rough shape.

When I rode her Monday night she felt a little unsure behind and I wouldn't have been surprised if the farrier had found an abscess.

As it turned out he actually did, but in a front foot!  She hadn't been lame at all (although she had been cranky but that's not exactly out of the ordinary for Stella!) so I was very surprised.

He ended up having to put shoes on all around, much to the disappointment of my now empty wallet.  There just wasn't enough hoof to get a good shape that wouldn't lead to more chipping and with a couple shows coming up I didn't want to chance her being off.  He had to get really creative getting the nails in, and you can see just how much foot is missing but she's sound now and the feet will grow out safely.

I will probably end up pulling her hind shoes at the end of October and seeing if she can continue to go just in fronts with a shorter trim cycle and minding our speed on rocky trails.  You can see just how much foot was missing in this picture, and how nice of a farrier I have to get shoes to stay on!

Her front feet look much better and are getting a better shape, the nail job is a little different as she does flare out naturally as she grows and he wants to make sure the shoes stay on.  She got her bell boots back on as soon as this photo was taken!


 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...