Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Good horsie

Yesterday we got into the high 40's, and it was nothing short of tropical! I took the opportunity to clean Lucy's paddock, which was revolting, but it's difficult to stay on top of that horrible task when it's snowing or in the single digits more often than not, and everything freezes by the end of the day.

I will say that as a rough boarder, cleaning the paddock in the dead of winter is by far the WORST chore.

I rode last night, just for twenty minutes or so, and just at the walk. Lucy wore Maddy's side pull, which she seems to like! She was pretty tolerant of the one-ear headstall, too.

It was so nice to be in the saddle. Lucy was very sweet and behaved herself nicely.

I just love those fuzzy ears!

Friday, January 24, 2014

Lulu gets a wardrobe upgrade

Yup, kids, this is what my blog has been reduced to:

Breaking news! My horse got a new blankie.

I've had my eye on these high-neck Rambo blankets forever and I found a killer deal from Jeffers Equine for a MW Rambo for $140. Then I found a coupon for $10 off, and got free shipping, so now my horse is dressed like the diva she knows she is.

Sorry mom, I can't hear you, the angels are singing too loudly.
This killer blanket deal came just in time for her green blanket, which I've had for a few years now, to not *really* be waterproof anymore. When it rains, the water doesn't bead off of it, but the horse doesn't get wet, so it wasn't dire, but then she ripped it a little bit. I decided to replace it before it got totally destroyed. It will be my back-up blanket.

The Horseware blankets looks so good on her.

Sleepy in the sunshine. She had pretty much zero interest in running around;
she simply wanted to stand there and sunbathe, or lick me half to death.

coming in for some kisses (and a peppermint)

I think she is imaging it's July and she's on the beach here. So cute.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Jerk Face gets schooled

Lucy likes to play little mind games under saddle.

Yesterday, Maddy rode her and didn't steer at all except to change direction. The rest of the ride, the reins remained looped over the horn of her saddle and she let Lucy truck around. At first, Lucy was looking for a battle. She tried scraping Maddy off on the wall. She tried intimidating her by trotting straight toward the side of the ring and then veering off in one direction just as she was about to run into the wall (REALLY, HORSE?!). She tried speeding up and slowing down. None of it phased Maddy and after a while, Lucy was like, "Well I guess I'll just trot around, *SIGH*."

Today was round 2. I went to watch Maddy ride and wasn't sure what to expect. All I hoped is that my horse didn't kill my best friend.

I was so, SO impressed with how Maddy rode, and how Lucy responded. She tried all the same crap that she pulled yesterday, and once again, Maddy just sat there and posted along to the trot and didn't let the horse pick a fight with her. Soon, Lucy relaxed through her back, unpinned her ears from her head, and simply trotted around. I haven't seen her move like that in a long time. She gets so tense and stompy sometimes and it is almost painful to watch (and it it is not pleasant to ride!). Once she relaxes, though, she goes nicely and almost cat-like. It was great to see.

Lucy picked her own path and as long as she remained going in the same
direction at the trot, Maddy let her have total control.

This made for a pretty relaxed mare!

Between Amanda and Maddy, I am going to have a new horse in the Spring! And I couldn't be happier!

Friday, January 17, 2014

A non-horsey baby update

Someone recently commented and asked how baby stuff was coming along.

I am at 29 weeks as of yesterday and feeling pretty damn good! I finally have a good appetite. I crave fruit and breakfast food, like waffles. I LOVE WAFFLES!

I am still doing barn work and lifting 40-50 lbs regularly. Yesterday I cleaned Lucy's paddock, which was 2 very heavy 12 cubic ft wheelbarrows full of soaking wet manure and hay. Maddy has been cleaning my stall a lot for me, which is really nice! Carrying water buckets is the hardest thing for me, but I can manage fine if I need to.

Today Kenny and I had a maternity photoshoot and the photographer posted a sneak peek of the photos on Facebook, so I thought I'd share them! They came out so great.

The photos are by Dawn Temple of Bellaria Designs Photography



Yes, I was the nutter prancing around in a sleeveless lace dress in a big field,
barefoot in January in New England. Anything for a photo!

Cairo was featured in the photos, of course.

My due date is April 3, which seems both right around the corner and way too far away! We bought a crib last weekend and I scored a used dresser on Craigslist for $100 that needs to be sanded and painted, but for that price I will put in the work happily.

Things are coming together!

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Consistency is key

Maddy, Amanda, and I have all been working together to keep Lucy in consistent work so that she doesn't go through another episode like she did after Christmas. Maddy has been riding a few nights a week and trying new (and IMO insane) things like letting Lucy trot around with the reins looped over the horn of the saddle. Brave girl!! Amazingly, Lucy really responded to this and Maddy reported that she trotted around with her head down just cruising along.

Amanda has been doing a ton of GREAT groundwork with Lucy and then switching it off with under saddle work. One thing she has done that I think has helped Lucy a lot is to start off with groundwork, then ride for 20 minutes, then get off and do some more groundwork, then get back on and ride some more. Without meaning to, I had Lucy conditioned to think that 30 minutes of work was the absolute MAX she could handle, and god forbid you stood in the middle of the ring with her to let someone jump a course or something; she thought she was done and if you tried to make her go back to work, she was very unhappy about it!

All of these issues are slowly resolving themselves and Lucy is a much happier horse when she has a consistent job so I am very grateful that Amanda and Maddy are both putting in so much time and effort to keep her going.

Last night Maddy organized a trail/versatility training night at the barn. She set up a whole bunch of different obstacles and everyone got to try them out. Lucy and Amanda did so well! Lucy had seen a lot of the same obstacles before, but not for a long time, so I was pleased she remembered them and behaved herself.

She even wore a hat!

Going over the tarp: no problem!

Going over the dark cloth rug caused all of the horses to take pause and
Lucy was quite scared of it at first. Once she got to sniff it all over and
look at it from every angle, she walked on it, and then Amanda was able
to ride her over it.

It was a fun night!

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Another positive (but crazy) story

It's nice to occasionally be able to tell you guys about times when Lucy is a good girl and uses her brain cells.

"I don't know what you're talking about. I always use my brain cells."

Yesterday it was really warm here, almost 50 degrees. Everything is thawing out and I decided to lunge her in the outdoor. The last time she was in the outdoor was the day we all tried to take the horses for a hand walk on the trails and Lucy ruined it for everyone by spending the entire time on her two hind legs and waving hello with her front legs. She was out of control.

So to be safe, I closed the special gate that my BO set up for us to make the outdoor, which doesn't have a fence around one half of it, as enclosed as possible. I put her on the barn's lunge line, which resides right next to the outdoor for easy access, and she was going beautifully. She had a gorgeous floaty trot, seemed happy, was stretching down through her back and neck, and I was like, wow what a fancy horse.

She had a little canter and was being polite, not pulling on me or being stupid, just going around normally. I had about the same amount of pressure on the line that you'd have if you were balancing your horse for a jump.

Well, the line suddenly snapped in half and without warning. I had a "loose" horse cantering around me with about 25' of lunge line whipping around behind her. It even smacked her in the butt. She looked very worried but did not have a tantrum, spook, or take off!

The last time this horse was loose in the outdoor, she ran herself up the road, slipped and fell, and for her efforts, won $4000 of vet bills and almost a year of rehab. Yesterday, that couldn't happen again because I had closed the gate (THANK GOD), but she didn't even flip out. She simply continued lunging herself in a perfect 20 metre circle as I stood in the middle holding the broken handle-end of the lunge line.

The aftermath.

I think she would have kept on cantering all day if I hadn't said, "Lucy, WOAH" and walked slightly toward her shoulder. She stopped and looked at me like "what the heck are you doing?"

I am not sure why the line broke like that, though I suspect since it sat outside and was subjected to the elements, the material had rotted just enough to cause a weak spot. There were several big knots in the line to make it easier to hold, and it didn't even break at one of those spots. Very strange! It was a Dover cotton line for anyone interested.

She got a lot of cookies after that :)

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Lucy behaves!

One thing that has been pretty odd as my pregnancy progresses is how little time I spend actually working with my horse. Amanda and Maddy have continued working with her, of course, but most days when I go to the barn, I just do my chores, give her a few cookies, and head home.

I really miss riding but mostly I miss spending time at the barn. Granted, it's quite chilly right now so it's not exactly weather I'd like to be hanging around in if I'm not keeping warm by riding, but some days, I still want to go and just do something with the horse.

So tonight I worked with her on the ground while Maddy rode Brantley. As we were going through the groundwork exercises, three other horses came into the ring (so there were five horses including our two) and it was a packed house! Lucy had been pretty good up until that point but also was a brat about a few things, so when all these horses came into the ring and were all zooming around her, I was waiting for an explosion.

She totally impressed me, though, and stood quietly while everyone else rode around us. Two of the horses (not Brantley) were actually pretty naughty including some spooking and some rearing, but she didn't react badly at all. She watched them carry on but stood like a rock. When I asked for her attention, she was ready to listen immediately. I was super proud of her! For once, she wasn't the bad horse!

Tomorrow we are supposed to get a bit of a break with the temperature, thank goodness!! We deserve a day above freezing.

Friday, January 3, 2014

10 degrees? Sounds tropical!

Ahh, New England in January. Yesterday: temps in the mid teens, 8" of snow. Today: Temps in the low double digits, sunshine. Tomorrow: 30 degrees, sunshine. By Monday: 50 degrees and rain.

So ridiculous.

Today I got so much baby-planning stuff done and rewarded myself with a trip to the barn, where I donned two pairs of fleece pants, two pairs of socks, and Kenny's huge thick heat-reflecting Columbia jacket, which fits my growing bump the best.

While waiting for my water heater to warm up some water so that each horse could have one warm bucket with their dinner, I tossed Lucy in one of the grass turnouts and she had a bit of a spin:

And this, my friends, is why this horse wears bell boots! 

I love her so much. Look at that face.
 She was very happy out there and got some energy out so I grabbed her rope halter and my helmet and climbed aboard :D

I haven't ridden in a while but Amanda has been doing so much work with her on the ground, and I could read her body language today and knew she was in a good place mentally. She was perfect for me. We just walked around the paddock twice and had a little trot up the long side. I hopped off and gave her a big hug after that. I love her.

good girl!

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Jockey Club Birthday

Happy Birthday to Lucy and all her JC-registered Thoroughbred friends.

Mother Nature is sending a blizzard for her present, so I spent most of the day at the barn preparing for the snow. Maddy also coordinated the delivery of 80 bales of hay for Brantley and Lucy, so they should be good for a little while!

Lucy has been doing well in Manners Boot Camp so I gave her some nice cookies, groomed her, and clipped a bridle path after finishing my chores. I hope she will be well-behaved enough for Amanda to get in a fun snow ride this weekend!

She managed to bash her face in her stall a couple days ago. She has abrasions
over both eyes, and one right in the middle of her forehead. So talented.