Saturday, June 29, 2013

that's what happens to bad ponies!

Yesterday I had Lucy on the crossties to groom her and clean her mane up.

You see, I had done a horrible chop-shop job cutting her mane earlier in the week, and each day when I saw her I was like, "Yikes, I can't believe I did that to my horse", so I knew I had to clean it up.

She stood there while I combed her mane out, and then I took hold of the first section. Normally, she is excellent to get her mane pulled. She stands there and doesn't fuss at all. Yesterday, though, she was having no part of it. I pulled the first piece out, and she was fine. Then I took the second piece and went to pull it and she tossed her head a bit. I pulled the third piece and she sat back, broke the left crosstie just for the heck of it, and then got a very big surprise when the metal piece on the end of the crosstie shot across the aisle and hit her, somehow missing me even though I was standing right there. It all happened so quickly; I couldn't have punished her with timing any better than that. It was like she touched an oven and got burned. The look on her face was so funny, I cannot even tell you how much I wanted to laugh at her, but she was so stunned that she stood like a statue for the rest of the grooming session. I pulled her mane and made it look a little better, brushed her, and just fussed over her in general. She did not budge one inch!

I didn't even bother removing the broken crosstie.

Maybe she learned a lesson from this, probably not ;)

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Liebster Award

I have been given the Liebster Award by three different bloggers, and although I have over 200 followers, I will accept it graciously! Thank you! I am home sick today from work so I can catch up on all this stuff.

HOW TO ACCEPT THE AWARD: The Liebster Blog Award is a way to recognize blogs who have less than 200 followers. Liebster is a German word that means beloved and valued. Here are the rules for accepting the award:

- Thank the person who nominated you and include a link back to their blog.
- List 11 random facts about yourself.
- Answer the 11 questions given to you.
- Create 11 questions for the bloggers you nominate.
- Choose 11 bloggers with 200 or fewer followers to nominate and include links to their blogs.
- Go to each blogger’s page and let them know you have nominated them.

The bloggers who gave me this award are:

Amanda from Love Me in Focus
Amanda and I have been friends for a long time. I was so thrilled for her when she got her horse, Image, and now that they are going through some very tough times together, I just wish her the best and hope she knows she can call me anytime she needs something!

Lauren from My Life with Charlie
Lauren, as most of you know, leased Lucy for a few years before buying her first horse, Charlie. She recently moved Charlie to my barn and every day is like one big happy reunion! I love it.

Stampy and the Brain
Great photos, two beautiful ponies, and helpful tips and videos! This is a great blog.


11 Random Facts about Moi:

1) I love ketchup. LOVE.
2) I prefer to sit in silence and read than have the television or other filler noise on in the background. Kenny, on the other hand, likes to do really annoying things like "fall asleep to the TV". Marriage is all about compromise, BLAH!
3) I really need a vacation. I'd like to go to Australia, Bora Bora, or San Francisco.
4) I've only had one automatic transmission car in my life, and it was sooooo boring. I am totally a manual transmission fan.
5) The barn is 1000x more organized than my house.
6) Not gonna lie, I love getting checked out when I'm driving Kenny's truck around.
7) My American passport has my married surname on it, while my British passport still has my maiden name on it, which means I cannot use that to travel.
8) My favourite meal is anything with lobster. Lobstah!!!
9) Out of all the artsy stuff I do, I love tattoo designs the most. I mean, what could be more flattering than someone wanting your art on them permanently for the rest of their lives?!
10) A major pet peeve of mine is when someone, ahemKenny, throws his dirty laundry right NEXT to the laundry basket, but not IN the laundry basket. Drives me insane!
11) I really kind of suck at cooking, but I can usually come up with something delicious when baking.


So part of the Liebster Award is answering questions given by the person who nominated you. Here are the questions:

From Amanda:

1) Why did you start blogging?

I started blogging as a way to keep track of Lucy's training. For a long time, I had zero followers! None of my friends kept blogs, and very few people seemed to care about the minute details like, "today I didn't fall off! It was awesome!" As time went on, though, I finally got some followers. I remember the first time someone left a comment. I was SO excited!! And look at me now. I've had people come up to me on numerous occasions and introduce themselves to me because they "know" me and Lucy through this blog. I guess that means we're famous?

2) If you could be anyone for a day, who would you be?

I would like to be George Morris for a day. I would like to adopt his strange accent and I would like to download his massive archive of horsey knowledge into my brain. All in one day. I guess I'd need some pretty fast download speeds.

3) You have just won the lottery. What is the absolute first thing you do once you find out?

Probably play hookie from work and go to the beach! I am a contractor and don't get any paid time off, so I never allow myself a day off of work! It sucks!

4) How old were you when you saw your first horse?

Probably three years old. I was born in Hong Kong and lived there until I was three. I don't think there were many horses in Hong Kong, but there were lots of them in England, which is where we moved to!

5) What is your biggest horse related fear?

I really, really hate getting stepped on. This has happened a few times in the past couple years or so. Once at my last barn, where two horses spooked from behind me and knocked me over, then ran over me. After that, I thought every horse was going to run me over. And the second time, I was riding a friends horse. He bucked me off and then stepped on my leg. I have a primary fear of being crushed and seeing a big horse doing the macarena above you is just about the worse feeling. I can feel my blood pressure rising just typing about it!

6) Do you participate in sports outside of the horse world?

Yes, drunken baking.

7) What song would be played first on the soundtrack for your life?

Probably "Born to be Wild", although that's not a great answer because I actually lead a very straight-edge life.

8) Do you consider yourself a lucky person?

Yes because my horse has not killed me yet.

9) What is one thing you'd change about your current horse?

Ermmm....I'd love her to be a gelding. And not broken.

10) What kind of car do you drive? What kind of car do you WISH you drove?

I drive a 2012 Subaru Legacy, bright fire-engine red. I have always wanted a Mini Cooper S, Chili Pepper Red with the white racing stripes. Six speed, obvs.

11) Who is your go-to person when you need horse related advice?

I have a few really knowledgeable friends who put up with my obsessive compulsive whining about random stuff. Maddy is ALWAYS there to talk me off the ledge, or take Lucy for me before I sell her to the glue factory.


From Lauren:

1) What was your favorite horsey book as a child?

Misty of Chincoteague! DUH! ;)

2) Where is the farthest away from home you've ever traveled?

I never really had a "home" base as a child because I grew up in three different countries.

3) Have you ever been on a horsey vacation? If so where? If not, where would be your #1 pick?

No, but I do try to ride whenever I go to England. I love riding over there. Here they are like, oh, jeez, I don't know if you're ready to jump 2'6" yet, you've only been jumping 2'3" for two years! There they are like, go jump that 4' brush jump! Just hang on, you'll be fine!

4) JT or JTT (and if you don't know what I'm referring to, I am very disappointed)?

JT's voice with JTT's face...but not his face now, his face like ten years ago.

5) How did you come to meet your current horse?

Ahhh this is kind of a long story, I believe I did a post about it when I first started the blog, but basically the first time I met her, she was not for sale. I was out at the farm her owners kept their other horse at to photograph him, and when we were done they said, hey do you want to meet our baby racehorse? and it was Lucy.

6) Why did you start blogging?

See answer to question 1 of Amanda's questions

7) What is your guilty pleasure TV show?


Ok now delete that info from your memory, please.

8) If you could have any superpower, what would it be?

Flying. So that I don't have to hit the ground when Lucy bucks me off. Oh, and I can catch up with her when she leaves me out in the middle of the woods. God she is a brat!

9) Favorite Queen song?

The Bicycle Song

10) Beer or wine?


11) If you could have any breed of dog what would it be?

I just love Whippets! They are so cute.

12) What was the name of the first horse/pony you ever rode?

No idea, I was three years old and too busy pulling the pony's face off to think about what its name was! Poor thing!


From Stampy and the Brain:

1) Favorite horse related memory?

I rode this awesome Appendix QH when I was a young teenager. His name was Arthur. He taught me how to have FUN on a horse. I'd take him out galloping and just feeling that wind whipping in my hair was like crack. I could not get enough and if I hadn't been hooked on horses before him, I was certainly addicted afterward!

2) If you could have a horse related job, what would it be?

Hmmm I'd love to be an exercise rider at the track. Of course I am too big, so wahh.

3) Favorite piece of tack?

Maddy has converted me to a rope halter loving girl. But I do love my saddle, too.

4) Online tack shop most frequented?

I am totally a google shopper. Whomever has it cheapest gets my money!

5) Favorite saddle brand?

Honestly I don't have a lot of experience riding in fancy saddles so I can't accurately answer this question. I do secretly lust after a French-made calf leather Antares, though. Or maybe a CWD. You know, though, I wouldn't even kick a Prestige out of the barn.

6) If money were not an issue, how many horses would you like to own?

I'd like to have three, so the hubby and I can go out together on a trail ride, and I can take my friends out too. And we'd have to have a goat or donkey or something to keep the third one company if we just take two out.

7) Discipline you would like to try?

Reining. It looks terrifying and exhilarating all in one.

8) Favorite horse movie?

Wild Hearts Can't Be Broken.

9) Favorite TV show?

I really love crime mystery dramas, like CSI and that type of thing. I also LOVE Dexter.

10) Optimum horse height?

16hh and a big barrel!

11) If you could live in any big horse city, which would it be?

Lexington, KY or anywhere in North Carolina!


Blogs I recommend and award the Liebster Award to:

Kelly at Crackerdog Farm
So Kenny and I really want chickens, but we have a confirmed chicken-killing dog, so I will have to live vicariously through Kelly and her adventures on her farm in Washington State. She has great stories about her ducks, geese, and chickens, plus she has horses, plus she has pretty flowers. Can't go wrong!

Niamh at Life of Riley
Niamh just bought Riley and is starting their adventure together. I can't wait to see what she does with him - he is super cute and seems like a good boy. She also is artsy. :)

T Meyers at A Filly's Best Friend
I love this blog because it's about eventing, and T Meyers is a great writer and usually has good photos. Yay!

Karen at Contact
Karen and her horse Hampton are living the dream life in Kentucky with all their sunshine and beautiful pasture and XC courses across the road and....wahhh I want to move to KY! :(

The girls over at Pia and Prairie's Parade
Ok, these guys have WAY TOO MUCH FUN. Prairie is taking the hunter world by storm after cleaning up in the dressage ring. Tough life!

Kirsten at The Daily Beauty Blotter
Kirsten is a real-life friend, and she has done my makeup for a few photoshoots in the past. She is so talented and I love that she takes the time to share some of her tips, tricks, and favourite products with the rest of us. She also does giveaways.

Alanna at Pony Express
Alanna is such an inspiration - she beat cancer, got right back in the saddle, and just purchased her dream horse, a beautiful Welsh Cob filly. AWW!

Katie at Thoughtful Equestrian
Katie is another Area 1 eventer and I love keeping up with how she does at events in my area. I mean that in the least creepy way possible! lol.

The Crone of Cottonmouth County over at Dreadful Acres
If you think YOU'VE had a bad day, read a few entries from Dreadful Acres. She's in Texas and has all the accompanying wildlife issues one might suspect: bugs, rattlesnakes, and the occasional sexy cowboy.

Bad Eventer from Tales from a Bad Eventer
Thank you Bad Eventer, for helping me learn to laugh at myself even as my horse makes me look like a complete and total buffoon.

Corinna at Ribbons and Red Tape
Corinna is a lawyer and most of her posts center around equine law and how it applies to you, the horse owner/rider/leaser/competitor/trail rider! Pretty cool stuff.

Aaaand finally, the questions you lucky lot get to answer:

1) If you are female, do you wear makeup to the barn?
2) Do you have "barn clothes"?
3) When updating your blog, do you usually have an agenda for your posts?
4) Favourite dessert?
5) If you were locked in a room with Brad Pitt and Robert Downey Jr, which one would you talk to?
6) Did you grow up in a small town? Big city?
7) If you had to move to another country, where would you go?
8) Do you speak any other languages?
9) How do you feel about Christmas sweaters?
10) What is the best Halloween costume you ever had?
11) What is the best power tool in your opinion?

Ok, this took FOREVER, so I hope you guys enjoyed it! Happy Wednesday!

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

apparently, it's summertime

I have been working my heinie off at both my regular job and then a bunch of small side jobs. After starting work at 6am on Friday I went straight to Dover to work at their annual tent sale. I was there until 8:30, so that was a long day. I worked another ten hours at Dover on Saturday. It was very hot out in that tent in all its sweaty sauna glory, but I enjoyed helping customers. I always like shopping vicariously through people!

With my earnings from working the tent sale, I bought something I've been pining for for a long time: a Rambo Micklem Competition bridle. It is sooo pretty. Now, I worked at the Dover store when it first opened, and I was part of the crew that put the store together initially. I spent about a week putting bridles together, so I know how all the pieces fit! But a Micklem is a bit...erm...different, and I swear I felt like I had never put a bridle together when I first saw all the pieces of this thing. Luckily, Maddy helped me, and we got it assembled. I put it on Lucy to see how it fits her (it fits perfectly) and she was so confused. I didn't put a saddle on her, of course, and she hasn't been tacked up in a very long time, so she was like, "What the devil is going on here? I thought I was retired!" Since she's been hurt, I haven't bought anything fun, only grain and hay! It has sucked! Boy did I miss shopping for beautiful tack, although I am much less broke than I've been for a long time!

On Sunday, I helped my hay farmer bale three fields of hay. Maddy was there too, and she told me I'd appreciate the cost of hay a lot more after that. Um, YEAH....that was a lot of work!! $7 a bale doesn't sound so bad now! My responsibilities on Sunday were to throw the hay that had just come in from the field onto the hay elevator so that it could be stacked in the farmer's hay barn. Then I went out and picked weeds out from the next field that we were going to bale. There were three of us picking out weeds and we got a lot of them! Evidently, the weeds, which have a very thick stalk, do not dry out as quickly as the grass does, so one weed can cause a whole bale to go bad.

Then we went back out with the baling machine and as the machine sucked up the hay, made it into a bale, tied the twine, and spit it out the back, I stood on a trailer that was being towed by the baling machine and hooked the bale of hay to bring it onto the trailer to be stacked.

I tried to keep up with drinking enough water but I started to feel very sick after about 4 hours of working out in the sun. I have such a low tolerance for heat and sun, it's ridiculous! I had fun, though, and learned a lot. In exchange for helping out, I got a very good deal on some hay that we pulled fresh out of the fields and brought to the barn. Lucy has been pretty wasteful with her hay in her stall lately but she is cleaning up every spare morsel of this stuff. It has made our hay barn smell amazing. If I were a horse, I'd eat it all, too!

Lauren is away this week and Maddy and I are taking care of Charlie for her. She also said we could ride if we wanted to, so yesterday I rode after work. He is very different to ride compared to Lucy. He is so long and lanky, but he was a very good boy. He had one little spook and it was basically, "oo that's scary! very scary! oo I will just do a little shuffle and then stop! ok, I'm over it!" and that was it. He has had a rearing issue in the past so I was paying attention to his front end most of all, and making sure he was going forward. At one point he started flipping his head and got a little light in the front end, but his front feet never left the ground, I just turned his head toward the inside of the ring and booted him forward. He snapped right out of it, thank goodness! After that, each time he got a little sluggish and started acting distracted, I made sure to urge him forward right away.


The other thing I worked on was asking him to stand by the mounting block. Lauren had told me he likes to wander off when you're halfway on, and he tried that on me the first time I went to get on him. He found his rear end parked right back by the mounting block and we tried again. This time he just took one step sideways, so again I got off and moved him back over. The third time he was almost perfect. My mission for this week is to work on that so maybe Lauren can come home to a horse that will stand all day by the mounting block!

Lucy has been doing well. I did a horrible chop-shop job cutting her mane, and I finally mowed down the mohawk bridle path she had going on, so she looks halfway civilized. Her front feet are falling apart, probably from stomping at flies, so I will need to have her feet done already, only 4 weeks into the cycle. It's only going to get worse, too; those huge "B52" flies are starting to come out and those things are awful. They actually take chunks out of the horses. Poor things :(

Here's a photo of Lucy being super sweet with one of the neighbour's children:

Last but not least, I will leave you with a kickass video that's been circulating around over the past few days. If this isn't heart, I don't know what is:

Sunday, June 16, 2013

so many cute boys to choose from

The biggest news on the Lucy front is that I groomed her this week. I kid you not, life with a laid up horse is really, really dull. She is filthy all the time. I've given her a few baths and started out grooming her daily but she'd go back out into her paddock and roll immediately, looking at me defiantly like "you just wasted alllll that time". There's no harm in a dirty horse so that's cool, Lucy, you can just look like a ragamuffin.

all clean for .5 seconds, before going back in the dirt paddock and rolling

"I'm gonna roll in the muddiest spot I can find! :D "

Her re-scan on July 1 is getting closer and I am excited and a bit scared to see how her back looks. She usually rests her right hind leg, but as time has progressed and she's had these three-ish months off, she's been resting her left hind leg, also. I've also caught her voluntarily picking up her right lead canter in the paddock, which to me is very encouraging.

Lauren and her horse Charlie joined our little barn family yesterday, after some extensive and bizarre drama at her farm between the barn owner and the barn manager. She chose to get out before it got really messy, no doubt a very wise choice. Maddy and I went and picked Charlie up yesterday and helped Lauren get him settled in. Lucy, of course, was allllll excited about the new arrival. She is such a hussy, but I think her true love is still Brantley.

Maddy and I chose to put Lucy and Brantley out together and opened up the divider between two paddocks, so they can share the bigger space. They are so happy in there. As long as Lucy doesn't become too attached to him to leave, this can be a long-term arrangement. The last thing I want to deal with is a herd bound horse, which is dangerous and not fun for anyone.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

the dentist with the magic hands

I realized today that the day I can get Lucy's back re-ultrasounded is fast approaching! I made the appointment for July 1st. Let's think positive thoughts - I'd love to get her back in work!!

I think she was in heat last week when she was so bonkers because over the last few days, she has been very sweet and snuggly. When I am out cleaning her paddock, she's been standing with her chin on my shoulder. Too cute! I am going to accept this sweet version of Lucy as an apology for the nonsense we dealt with last week.

The dentist came out last Friday to do her teeth. Normally I have them done every six months, but she was due back in November and with all the excitement around Equine Affaire and her accident, I forgot to make the appointment. I realised that she was way overdue but thankfully, her mouth wasn't too bad, just sharp here and there. She loves her dentist and he is nothing short of super with her.

He floated her teeth and then we stood around talking for a bit, her forehead resting on his chest as she stood in a sort of trance. Then I watched him rub her ears, like really rub them, and he rested his hands on her poll, and she just stood there and let it all happen! I could not believe it! This is the most ear-shy horse I have ever met. I can hardly clip her bridle path and I have only touched her ears on a very rare occasion here and there.

I've been riding here and there. I got to ride Maddy's horse Brantley, who returned from training a few weeks ago and is now much less worried about being ridden.

 I've also been riding the chestnut QH mare, Mollie, once a week and have had some really fun rides with her.

This past weekend, I got to ride twice! Once on a special pony at my friend's wedding:

And once when I EMT'd for a horse show on Sunday and they needed someone to fill a medals class:

I had showed up to the horse show in shorts and a t-shirt, but after a community dressing effort, I had on borrowed Pikeur breeches that fit me like they were made for me (and I was very sad to give them back), tall boots that were a size small in the foot and two sizes too big in the calf (and no socks), a show shirt that billowed out and made me look like a pink marshmallow because it was so big, and a show coat that could have fit an additional human in it. It was a hot look, and after 2 months of not jumping, and a looooong time out of the hunter ring, I got on a strange horse whom I had never ridden before, jumped a few jumps to warm up and get the feel for how he went, and then jumped my course. I did pretty well, all things considered. The horse was a TB gelding, super chill and very much a "push" ride. I thought I'd be fine without spurs but 30 seconds into my warm-up cruise, I realized there was no way I was going to get through this course without some help. Between my horse being one I would NEVER think of using spurs on and me being out of shape, my legs had very little push power.

Being a filler, I did an intentional extra circle to take myself out of the top placings but other than that, the course went very well! I had a lot of fun. I'll have to thank my time showing IHSA in college for preparing me to show up and get on a strange horse and jump a course.

Other than that, life is good. Cairo is adorable as always, although she has been a bit naughty lately. I'm just glad it's summer and we can spend a lot of time outside. We are dog sitting for two dogs this week and she has been very well-behaved and generous while the dogs are chewing on her bones and playing with her toys and sleeping on her bed.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

dogs in the heat

I wanted to share a quick story about Cairo from the weekend. I took her to a charity dog walk on Sunday. It was about 95 degrees and very humid but the walk was only about a mile, and through the shady woods. I didn't have any problems doing the walk but Cairo seemed increasingly like she was shutting her brain off. She didn't want to listen to me, didn't want to walk next to me, and just wasn't herself. At times she flat out ignored me, which is really not like her. She refused to drink any water even though the dog walk organizers set up lots of different water bowls for all the dogs. They also had a little kiddie pool set up, filled with water, and I made her get in it and then splashed water all over her belly and ears, and then dried her off to try and cool her down. Toward the end she started foaming at the mouth from panting, and looked so uncomfortable that I took her straight home, leaving the event early. I was so worried about her. She got home, drank an entire bowl of water, and then spent the rest of the day in our bedroom, which is the only room in the house with A/C. She seemed mopey and lethargic for the rest of the day but perked up yesterday and was her normal zoomy self.

Clearly she was overheated and I felt badly that I even took her on the walk in the first place. I will pay better attention to her in the future. She's got such short hair and is bred to withstand high temps, but she wasn't used to weather quite like that.

Anyway, just a reminder to be careful with your pets in this weather. I am glad Cairo is ok but I read a horror story today on COTH about a young dog who died of heat stroke after playing fetch for a very short time.

Monday, June 3, 2013

90 degree meltdown

Regarding her vet-imposed time off, I've been so impressed by Lucy thus far. She's remained calm, happy, and acts as though she likes her vacation.

Yesterday, though, she was very unhappy. It was 90+ degrees all weekend, and very humid. The bugs were awful and she seemed pretty hot and miserable in her paddock, so after Maddy and I went and got hay, I took her out to hose her off and get some of the dried sweat off of her. Some other boarders had walked their horses past the barn to ride in the outdoor and that got her excited. She wanted to go with them and started pawing in the aisle as I was getting my bathing stuff together. Then I took her out to the wash stall and hooked her up to the cross ties and she continued acting like a brute, but I ignored her and started hosing her off. She did ok for the most part, and I was almost finished scraping the water off of her after her bath when she randomly had a complete meltdown, sat back on the cross ties and broke them, and whipped backward as I was walking past her front end. She caught my right inner leg with her left front foot and then stood, shaking, a few feet away. Maddy happened to be standing right there and caught her. I was honestly a bit in shock that I had just gotten kicked in the leg, and my leg was quite numb but I could tell it was going to start hurting in a few minutes. I was already annoyed about a variety of things and I quite seriously wanted to throttle the horse for acting like such a complete moron. If she hadn't had an activity restriction, I would have taken her down to the outdoor and kicked her little heinie down a notch, that's for sure.

Thank goodness for Maddy, who kind of took charge and probably saved my sanity and Lucy's horsey life. She did some basic "pay attention to me, you idiot" groundwork with her and got her brain back in her head while I stood there and pondered what just happened. It was a depressing afternoon :(

I guess, though, that this was the first truly bad day in her month and a half of rehab so far, so that's probably a fairly good record. Up until now the most she's done is walk down to the outdoor to stand around with me, but I think I need to start at least hand walking her, or something, because her brain capacity has gotten so reduced from going from stall to paddock to stall to paddock for 6 weeks that she apparently cannot handle anything!!

The acupuncture treatments are still going, and last week was better than the first session. The vet took his time with her and got one needle in, but did it without any reaction from Lucy. When he first arrived, she was immediately suspicious and didn't want anyone touching her sides or hind end, so we took it back a few notches and started very basic. He spent the first half hour just rubbing her forehead and getting her into almost a trance. She was grooming him, which I have never seen her do! That was pretty cool. He wanted to gain some of her trust first, and then after she was nice and relaxed and in this trance-like state, he put the one needle in her shoulder, then went back to rubbing her forehead and letting that needle do its thing. After another 20 minutes or so, he removed the needle and we called it a day. I really, really, really appreciate that he's willing to a) work with her at all, given that she can be such a fruitcake, and b) be so patient with her. We'll see what happens this Wednesday.