Wednesday, November 23, 2011

back in the snaffle

Lu has been going pretty well in the Kimberwicke since I switched her to it earlier this year, but I knew I wanted to eventually put her back in the snaffle. Last night I tried her back in her single-jointed copper mouth D-ring snaffle. I wasn't sure what to expect, but she was actually pretty good! She was quite heavy and she tried to drag me around the ring a lot, but I didn't allow her to hang on my hands (I dropped her several times until she realized that she wasn't going to get away with hauling on me). I got some nice soft moments from her at the walk, trot, and canter. I also did a lot of lateral work with her, like asking her to step sideways off my leg. She did this willingly to the left but she was very stiff and resistant to the right, so we will work on that. We got some nice walk/canter transitions, even though she threw a little buck almost every time I asked. Gotta keep me on my toes! ;)

I started a Facebook page for my saddle pads, artwork, and Kenny's tack trunks. I was getting a lot of friend requests from people for my personal Facebook, and I don't tend to add people there whom I don't actually know. I figured starting a business FB page would be perfect because anyone can "Like" the page and then get updates about the newest pads.

So, please check Polar Square Designs out on Facebook and feel free to share the page! I will do a contest there for a free giveaway pad when it gets 100 fans.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

umm, 3'6"!

our "warm-up" jump...hahahahaha. remember the days when I was afraid
to jump a crossrail?



one very unhappy mare. she gets offended when she knocks a jump down.

yup, that right leg needs to jump too, Lucy!

some pretty atrocious riding. she saved my butt BIG TIME on the landing
as I was hanging off the right side. she moved her back end over in mid-air
as she came down from the jump and saved me. WHAT A GOOD HORSE!

and then I stopped riding like a drunk monkey and started you know, helping
her a bit.

oh Lulu, you are amazing.

"you are going to get so many cookies"

this was a pad someone ordered, but like an idiot I painted the horse on the wrong
side of the pad. the customer politely pointed my mistake out and I was like,
ohh yes I am a moron. so I painted another pad for the customer and kept this
one for myself :D. I needed a black pad, anyway.

two videos!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Lucy the beauty queen

I ran some errands the other day at WalMart. For Cairo I bought a new squeaky toy that she removed the stuffing from with surgical precision in less than 15 minutes. For Lucy I bought a hair dryer and an extension cord.

It's getting cold enough here that if she's hot and sweaty, I can't hose her off and I certainly can't leave her damp in her stall. She cools out much faster than she dries, even wearing an absorbent cooler.

Enter the hair dryer:

My friend Cinnamon rode Lu last night because I was teaching Dreamer and C a lesson and I am not very good at riding and teaching at the same time. Cinnamon had a great ride and even popped over a few jumps on Lucy.

Lucy was really hot and really sweaty after the ride because it was abnormally warm last night (in the mid 60's at 6pm) and Lu has her winter coat. The temperature started to drop as soon as the ride was finished, though, and I was nervous putting Lucy away even a bit damp.

I brought out the hair dryer and Cinnamon got to work:

Lucy says, "I'm not totally sure about this...but I will check it out."

And then Lucy started really enjoying it. Cinnamon even put the hair dryer
on Lucy's face and her bangs blew around and Lucy closed her eyes and breathed
in a deep sigh. She was loving it. She cracks me up. See, it's nice to be pampered :)
The horse was dry and cozy in no time flat, and she went in her stall to have her dinner.

Monday, November 14, 2011

less for more/dentist/saddle pads

Less grain for more money, that is.

I went to the feed store to get grain today. I usually buy in bulk to save trips because my feed store is kind of inconvenient to get to and has weird hours, so it's been a while since I last went.

I noticed the prices went up (but when don't the prices go up?). Each bag cost just under $18. Then I went out to my car where someone was loading the grain into the trunk for me. "They changed the bags, just to give you a heads up, but it's the same stuff." I looked at the bags and noticed the design was different. Ok, no biggie. "They also made them 40lbs instead of 50lbs." I scowled and thought, I may have an issue with that.

Seriously, prices go UP and quantity goes DOWN? I call bull.

And it happens just after Equine Affaire, where I spoke to Poulin and told them how happy I was with their product. If I had bought grain before going to Equine Affaire, boy would they have gotten an earful from me!

If Lu didn't do so well on this grain, I might even switch to Nutrena...oooooo.

Anyway, Lucy had a visit from the dentist today.

what a good girl
 There are a lot of times I wonder what the devil I was thinking getting an OTTB. Visits from the dentist are NOT one of these times. Bless her big TB heart; Lucy was fantastic for the visit. She just stood there and let him get right in there. I was very pleased with her and she got lots of treats when it was finished. She can be fresh to deal with on a regular basis, but for the vet, farrier, and dentist she is always well-behaved. I find that a lot of OTTB's are like this, because they are handled so much at the track. The dentist said he does a few 2 and 3yo TB's at the track every three months, so they're used to having it done.

Good news is that she had a few sharp points brewing, and two of them had caused some slight ulceration on her cheeks. It's only been six months since her last visit and I am glad I am diligent about getting her done on schedule! If it had gone much longer, she would have been very sore. The dentist said she'd be feeling a lot better with everything smoothed out and filed down. When he was finished, she leaned her head into his chest as if she were saying "thank you". She's not usually snuggly but she was really sweet with him.

I have been painting lots of saddle pads! Here are a few of the ones I've finished recently:

custom pad. the design was inspired by the Rohan flag in the Lord of the Rings

One of my all-time favourite pads. This was another custom pad. The logo is
the client's family's company logo. This pad took me just under 2 hours to paint and
I am really proud of the details and how well it came out!

Another custom pad, with a barn logo.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

less attitude, more brains

Lu was much better this afternoon:

Saturday, November 12, 2011

ohhhh boy, winter horse returns

Lucy was FRESH tonight. It was cold and windy outside and a lot was going on. She was spooky and very reactive. She lost her footing just slightly at one point and threw a huge fit. She threatened to rear several times and kicked out, too. I almost want to run a one-week course of GastroGard in case her tummy is bothering her a bit. Granted, she could have just been off her rocker since it was freezing cold and windy and the 4-wheeler was zooming around...

Anyway, here's a video:

Equine Affaire 2011

I put 230 miles on my new car yesterday (yay wheels!) and spent the day in Springfield, MA at Equine Affaire. Lucy's leaser L and Dreamer's girl C came too. We had a great time but it was a very LONG day. I woke up at 5, was at the barn by 5:45 to pick up C and take care of Lucy (cleaned her stall, fed her, turned her out, got her dinner ready), picked L up at 6:30 on the way up to Springfield, and we were at Equine Affaire by 9.

We dropped some of our hay off at the Nutrena booth to have it tested before we headed over to watch Anne Kursinski's jumping clinic. My barn owner is selling the hay and Nutrena was offering free hay analysis, so I brought samples of the first and second cut that we have. Both types of hay came back with "ideal" reports, so I was happy about that. The Nutrena rep did try to convince us to switch the entire barn over to their grains even though I said I was happy with the Poulin I fed my horse, but other than that we didn't have to purchase anything to get the analysis done.

Next we went and watched the first jumping clinic, about improving equitation over fences. Anne Kursinski taught the clinic and I personally learned a lot from watching the riders. She focused a lot on automatic releases and was having the participants hold their reins upside down to encourage a following hand over fences.

Here is Anne riding one of the participants horses, a grey mare who was very
stiff and bracing against the contact. Anne got on to see if she could coax the
horse down and get her to relax. This photo was taken 30 seconds after she got
on...the horse started out very stiff and looked like a totally different animal!

bracing at the trot

and then going soft and round. Anne even got her to do some really nice
stretchy circles at the trot and canter.

you can see how she's holding the reins upside down here

and that translated into an auto release very organically. I loved this chestnut.

this horse was faaaaaancy! and the rider was very talented.

After Anne's clinic, we walked through the barns and looked at all the horses.

This foal was having a nice midday snooze!
We also did a lot of shopping. Mostly browsing, as I am slightly poor for the next 72 months, but I did get everything I needed for my secret santa for COTH. I also got a cool red half pad for $20 and some peppermint wanna-be stud muffins for Lucy. L bought some winter riding gloves and C got a nice leather halter for Dreamer. Other than that, we just browsed and had a good time trying things on and seeing everything that's available on the market.

We went back to the coliseum arena and watched a colt starting clinic. The clinician, Guy McLean, had worked with the horse the day before and ridden him for the first time, so yesterday's session was a continuation of that. He did a lot of ground work to start it off, and then got on the horse and had him going w/t/c in both directions in no time! It was amazing. Then he taught the horse to pony from another horse.

starting off cautiously

he started asking the horse for his inside hind leg ("the driving leg") and once
the horse willingly gave it to him, he drove the horse forward.


the horse was a real cutie :)

teaching the horse to work around another horse

lunging the horse while riding another horse

and finally, ponying.

the day before, the horse had been very weary of the tarp so he was showing
everyone how far he'd come.
The last thing we watched was the Versatility Challenge. It's a kind of working ranch horse meets gaming horse meets jumper competition. The course didn't look too bad but it proved to be very challenging!

I will take this major hunk any day!!

His owner had just gotten him two weeks prior to the competition!

the horses had to put their front feet in the kiddie pool and then rotate around
the pool. Some horses did it no problem, and some acted like the pool was
a 1' deep horse eating monster.

excuse me while I wipe the drool off my face...

jumping in a western saddle: OUCHIES

this horse was not a fan of the jumps

but the rider was very persuasive!

We didn't get home until 9:30pm and I was so exhausted, but it was a fun day overall!