Thursday, September 23, 2010

that's better!

I need to gush a bit about Lulu because she was stellar today. She was really good from the start, so good that I didn't really spend a lot of time making her go through her paces. I put down a few jumps to cross rails and off we went. She got really fast over the first line, and even though I was asking her to woah, she grabbed the bit and ran. I was like, ok, you want to play it that way? So we went through it again and she had to halt between the two jumps. After that she was much easier to get to back off, and coming across the diagonal line to a single crossrail I half halted, felt her ease up, released, and she immediately softened around my leg and it was the most perfect little jump we've ever done. We ended it at that and she got tonnes of praise and an apple :) She was so sweet, she knew she had done really well and she just wanted to be snuggled. She's awesome. This was the first time we've jumped in a while; I've been concentrating so much on the flat stuff and I could sense she was getting bored. I'm glad we switched it up a bit.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

fall freakyness

I thought Lucy might appreciate a trail ride in place of the usual 20 metre circle show that our under saddle sessions have become, so we headed out to the field. She started spooking at stuff as we were walking down the farms driveway, but we carried on. I was just hoping that she'd get acclimated, but when we got to the field and she was just starting to relax, a herd of deer went crashing through the woods/bushes right next to us and she almost lost her marbles. She has never spooked like that before.

My leg was on and locked and I grabbed some mane and somehow convinced her to keep going. She was terrible in the field, trying to bronc and get the reins out of my hand. Thank god for grippy gloves! I made her walk the entire way after she threatened to go bonkers, for both our safety ;)

On the way home she was doing well until a humongous cement truck drove toward us. She had a complete meltdown and ran backward as fast as she could along the the side of the road. I had one hand up and was yelling "STOP!!!" At the driver but it felt like an eternity before he took his foot off the gas, and even then he didn't turn the engine off. Lucy was so scared she was shaking. I jumped off and turned her to face the truck, and waved the driver on. She stared at the truck with saucer eyes as it passed us. She has never spooked at a vehicle before but I don't really blame her. That truck was huge, loud, and scary looking. I am just glad I didn't get hurt.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010


Kenny and I were married this past weekend, on 9/18/2010. It was gorgeous. Here are a few photos from guests (haven't seen the pro photos yet!):

Hair, since that's one thing that everyone seems to want to see!

Walking down the aisle with my dad.

Kiss 1 :D

Kiss 2 :D :D :D

In pony news, I rode Lucy yesterday, but just bareback. I was mighty proud of myself because I was brave enough to canter her bareback for the first time. I'm glad I waited til the canter was somewhat together before attempting it bareback. It was actually not bad at all and I will give her major props for having a surprisingly comfortable trot. She got silly a few times, throwing in a few happy hops here and there, but she was not naughty. I think she was just happy :) I snapped this (pretty awful) self-photo with my cell phone after our ride:

Thursday, September 16, 2010

hot chocolate

Lucy's winter coat is really coming in, turning her a dark chocolate brown. It's very silky and shiny but I already miss her super short no-maintenance summer coat!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

How to be a lady

Today was Earth to Lucy day.

The thing is she already knew what was expected of her, but I've just been lax and she hasn't had a refresher in a long time.

I brought her in last, and by the time I went to get her, she was running around madly in her paddock. I turned around and went back to the barn and left her there.

Ten minutes later, I went back out. Still running. Once again I went back to the barn.

Another ten minutes went by and she was standing quietly at the gate, like "what the hell is going on here?!". As I walked toward her she nickered at me but did not run around. I opened the gate and she stood as I put the chain over her nose. I also came prepared with a short jumping bat, in case she got rowdy.

She promptly tried to run me over and found her life hanging in the balance as she was being forced backward about ten steps. As soon as she dropped her head I let her stop. She looked at me like, HOLY MOLY! I said, well, try behaving and we'll see if things are any different.

We started walking again and she once again got ahead of me, though this time not nearly as bad as before. Once again she got a swift and mighty disciplining, complete with some chain action and backing up.

The next time around we walked about ten steps before she got ahead of me again, and once more she got the same punishment. By this time we were only 1/5 of the way to the barn.

It took about five minutes to walk to the barn, which normally takes a minute or so. I made it very clear what she could and could not do. By the time we got to the barn, she was stopping beside me when I stopped, backing when I backed up, and moving away from me, all on a loose leadline.

Then we walked right past her stall. She tried to duck in her stall as we went by, and found herself being shoved sideways since she had to walk right into me to try and duck in. Walking into people = unacceptable.

We moved on past the stall, around the barn, and out the other side (the barn is in a U shape). We then walked back to her paddock, where she was turned out once again and left for about ten minutes. She stood and waited quietly while I made myself busy, and let me catch her easily once a few minutes had gone by.

I opened her paddock gate and clipped her lead line over her nose, but did not step forward. Normally she'd try to get out of her paddock even if I didn't start walking, but she patiently waited.

A minute later we began walking, and we walked to the barn and right past her stall again, around the aisle and out the other side, and into the outdoor, where she found herself being put through her showmanship paces. She also found herself stepping sideways away from pressure when I felt like moving over.

After I was satisfied, she was marched into the barn where she stood quietly outside of her stall without trying to barge through me to go in her stall for three or four minutes. Then she was allowed to go in the stall, but she was not allowed to walk all over me to get to her feed bucket as fast as possible to check out the contents. Instead, she was made to relax while I fiddled with her halter for a minute or two. Then she was allowed to check out the feed bucket.

And wouldn't you know, there was no grain in it! Oh the horror, Lucy.

So then she waited for about ten minutes while her alfalfa cubes soaked and I got tomorrow's grain set up and fed the other horses.

And only then did she get fed.

We'll see how much of this she retained tomorrow!

Monday, September 13, 2010


Attitude: CHECK!

Lucy has been quite the terror lately coming in from her paddock. She gets so panicky toward the end of the day, as if she's worried no one is going to come and get her. When I make my way down to her paddock, she starts running around madly, spinning on her hind end to change direction, and in general acting like a total nutter. She stands quietly for me to attach the leadline (which lately has included a chain over her nose) and then proceeds to try and drag me all the way back to the barn.

She doesn't like being slowed down and she has reared a few times, but her go-to maneuver is to try and muscle me out of the way with her shoulder. If she gets really annoyed, she spins around and stares at me.

Any thoughts on how to handle this? I have been doing some ground work with her to get her attention on me, so that her brain has thoughts other than DINNERDINNERDINNER! but I don't think she retains that very well, especially if it's someone else bringing her in.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Lovely to the left

Something has clicked in Lucy's brain over the past two weeks, and suddenly she has got it together. I can put my inside leg on her and support with the outside leg, and instead of scooting forward, she now understands this means "bend".

To the left she is so dreamy. She is supple and relaxed and her canter is so nice, I sometimes don't want to stop! To the right, however, she still needs some work. She keeps wanting to collapse her inside shoulder and fall in, instead of rounding herself around my inside leg. She'll get there, though!

We've been working mainly on 20 metre circles but on Wednesday I got the canter I wanted first while on the circle, and then gradually made it bigger and bigger until we were going around the whole ring. It was awesome :D

Some other great news is that I called her vet to schedule fall booster shots and the receptionist told me that I didn't need to have them done; I had the spring shots done in May and she will be covered until the threat of the mosquito-spread diseases she was vaccinated for were no longer pertinent.

So that's awesome :D

My wedding is in just a week's time and we are very excited. Last night I went to the feed store and bought 400 lbs of grain, so that should last for a while! I portioned out all of the grain that she'll need the weekend of the wedding and also the week we're away on our honeymoon. My wonderful barn owner is taking care of her for me and I want to make it as easy of a job as possible, and since she gets three different supplements and two different grains, I knew I'd pre-bag her meals for him.

Speaking of grain, I actually had to cut back her rations because she was getting FAT! This was seriously the greatest feeling ever. Someone even commented to me that she was looking tubby at the barn one night. I almost hugged them! Hahaha. If you've ever rehabbed an extremely underweight horse or if you have a hard keeper, I'm sure you know exactly what I mean.

She started shedding her summer coat a week or two ago, and then this week has turned into a lovely deep chocolate colour as her winter coat is starting to come in. The days are getting shorter, which triggers that coat to start growing, but it's hard to imagine winter will be here soon! The weather is still beautiful, and I look forward to some lovely fall rides.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

laundry list

First things first.

How not to get the middle finger from me if you drive past me while I'm riding on the road:

1. SLOW DOWN. 40mph is too fast. So is 35mph. You should be going 25 in my honest opinion, especially if the speed limit is only 30. If you are going 25 or under, you get a wave and a "thank you!" from me. If you are going 25-35mph, you get a steely look. If you are going faster than 35 past a horse on tiny back roads, you get yelled at and depending on how much you piss me off, possibly the middle finger.

2. MOVE OVER. Don't drive past me so close that my horse has to move over to prevent her from being hit by your car. If there is a car coming toward me that I feel is not going to move over, I will sometimes leg yield L out into the road a bit, as long as there's ample distance between the car and myself, and the car is not going too fast. That usually gets people to move over.

3. DON'T PLAY CHICKEN. If you are driving toward me and a car is coming in the opposite direction, don't speed up and try to scoot around the horse while traveling into the other lane, hoping that the other car will stop! Wait patiently in your own lane, and YES, this may require you to slow down and even stop (oh the horror!).

4. PAY ATTENTION. I don't dress myself and my horse up like a Christmas tree for my own enjoyment. Take a 30 second break from updating your Facebook status while you finish passing us.

I also hate when someone seems like they're going to be all polite and slow down and move over and share the road, and then they get halfway past the horse and gun it. Their engine roars and I hang on for dear life. It's almost like they get far enough past the horse where they personally cannot see us there on the side of the road, but there's still 6 feet or so of their car left to pass us. It's really obnoxious.

Lucy is boarded at a very down-to-Earth barn in a relatively snobby town. There are numerous fancy cars in the neighbourhoods around the barn and I've found that people driving the BMW's and Porches and Acuras tend to go faster than those driving the more mid-range cars. There are of course exceptions to every rule, as I had one nice lady driving a BMW today who followed rules 1-4, and remained at a low speed going past us until she was well ahead of Lucy.

So, that rant aside, I have a funny photo of Gunner, the handsome QH gelding whose stall is next to Lucy's:

This is how I found him today when I went to bring him inside. He is quite the little houdini! The only thing keeping him in was the single strand of electric fencing, which you can barely see in the photo. I just thought it was funny that he was standing there so patiently and politely waiting for me to get him!

Saturday, September 4, 2010

photos from our ride today

First, ringwork:

Then out to the field:

Spooking at Cairo, whom she had seen approximately 50 times already.
I guess in the field Cairo must resemble a small deer?

Getting a tad bit strong

Thanks to my wonderful fiance for coming out and being the photographer!