Monday, August 30, 2010

Working Out Issues

I had a brilliant ride this morning. Picture me saying that with a British accent and we'll be on the same page.

Since Izzy's back at the old barn with no turnout, I lunged her for a long time. She needs it. She's a horse that really and truly needs turnout. With it, she's as calm and mellow as she could possibly be. Without, she's a nutjob. I try to compromise; I turn her out in the arena when possible (but that's only about 20-30 minutes at a time) and I lunge before every ride. My lunging is not structured; it's just for her to blow off steam.

So anyways. After lunging, I hopped on and off we went. Izzy was really quite good. We worked on maintaining a steady contact and me riding her up to it from her hind end. (Yay! She's doing really well.) She seems to be figuring out that I'm serious about it, so she's been a lot better about it.

Next we worked on a jumping exercise. It looked like this:


Yep. A single trot pole. We trotted over it both directions until we could both do it calmly and in balance without rushing off afterward. Then we cantered over it both directions. My goal was to begin to train myself to see a distance. (And since it's a pole, no one cares if I screw up.) It was a whole new experience for me, but I got Izzy to canter to it and put her front legs on one side with her hind on the other. It took a bit for me to start saying "Ok, push for this one" or "I need to hold for that" and I have a LONG way to go, but I definitely felt like it was a start.

We finished by trotting a small course of trot poles. It was a pretty illogical course, but I was more worried about rhythm, softness, and direction and less worried about the flow of the course. Izzy did quite nicely through it all.

In other news... School has started here, which means that Cathy lost two of her morning cleaners. It affects me in that she wants me to pick up the extra hours. I don't want to, but I understand she is in a genuinely tight spot. HOWEVER, the life skill I am working on right now is making good decisions to reduce stress levels in my life. It is NOT a good decision to take on more hours when I'm already irritated about working too much to board at a place with no turnout, no shelters, and no indoor. So. I thought about it. And I said this, "Well, if you're willing to ride Izzy (full training) for a month, I'll take the hours for a month. We can figure something out after that." **

I know you're all proud of me for standing up and saying what I thought, but it gets better. Cathy sort of hemmed and hawed about time and then said something like, "Well, I guess if I'm cleaning, then I'm also not riding." Notice how I did not just back down and say, "Oh. I'm so sorry that would be an inconvenience. Nevermind."

That is what insecure teenage me would have said. Starting to grow up me is thinking that it makes more financial and equine sense to move Izzy somewhere she'd be happier and just have me pick up a few more hours at a non-horsey job to pay for it. And honestly, as much as I like and respect Cathy as a trainer and a person, I'm not willing to continue this arrangement forever. Izzy needs turnout. I need a trainer who can give me lessons reliably and will say no to other people instead of just saying yes to everyone and me getting pushed aside. Insecure me would say, "Well, they're paying and I'm just a working student." Growing up me says, "I'm providing you with a valuable service and I am worth your time."

We'll see where this goes. I'm intrigued by the idea of actually just paying board every month and letting someone else muck stalls. Of course I'll still be hands-on with Izzy's care, but I'm kind of over this whole thing I'm doing now.

**If I take on the extra hours, I will be responsible for the morning cleaning (and usually feeding) of 22 horses 5x a week. That's at least 20 hours a week and it more than pays for full training every month, I'm pretty sure. Oh, and I make more at my other jobs than I do there...

Friday, August 27, 2010

Cold Front

It was 50f and windy this morning. It's also my birthday, and yes, I was cleaning. Between the cold and me being tired, I was not the most chipper person ever. Also, the person who was supposed to help didn't show up. And I wanted to jump, but I only had my dressage stuff.

So, that's a lot of excuses for me just turning Cassie and Izzy out in the arena and letting them play. They had a good old time while I worked, then I put them away and went home. Now I'm at work... I brought my needy lil' beagle with me, and he's being predictably needy.
Here's a picture of the beagle making friends with one of my husband's rabbits at home. So cute!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Dressage Lesson

After riding in the clinic over the weekend, I realized that I was getting a lot of similar comments to what I've already received. Since I'm a fairly sharp person, I figured that even if I don't fix a problem the first time, maybe by the 10th or 11th time I'm told it, I ought to figure it out, right? ;-)

So. As much work as we need jumping, yesterday I dragged out the dressage saddle to take advantage of Cathy's area of expertise. Specifically, I need to 1) ride Izzy's hind legs up to the contact 2) provide contact to ride her up to and 3) forget about messing with her face. This can be done equally well in any saddle, but the dressage is good for us.

Off we went. Izzy was absolutely lovely--she even let me ride her forward. She was accepting the contact pretty well and I just had to focus really, really hard on engaging her hind end. When I got her stepping up behind, everything else magically went right. (Shocking, I know. I seem to have to re-learn this every couple months.)

About 2/3s of the way through my lesson, I realized that I needed to get off and take care of some, er, pressing female issues, shall we say. Thankfully, Cathy was willing to hop on and take Izzy for a spin. It warmed my lil' heart to see Izzy give Cathy the exact same act she was giving me as far as leaving her butt behind and lifting her nose to try and get her to fix that instead of ask her to work harder.

They worked through that and left me with several valuable lessons. (And oh how I wished I had my camera handy--Izzy looked great at the end of it.)

Lessons learned (hopefully)
1) I'm not riding the horse's face, so I need to leave the face alone and engage the hind end. If I engage the hind end, then Izzy is able to push forward off her haunches, round through her body, and stretch down into the contact. It feels great when done right. Someday, we'll do it right.

2) Contact buggers me more than it does her. My old mare never wanted more than an ounce of contact in each rein, and I've transferred that to Izzy. Thus, while Izzy isn't particularly bothered by a strong contact, I need to convince myself that it's ok to have some.

3) As I rider, I'm soft and quiet and tend to be somewhat ineffective. :-/ Sad, but true. I need to be willing to compromise my "pretty" position in order to use my aids more effectively. For example, in the canter, I just left my seat flow along with Izzy, which means we run downhill and almost trot uphill. When I watched Cathy ride and use her seat more definitely, I realized that Izzy is capable of a lot more than I'm asking her for. I need to use my seat in such a way as to say, "This is where I want you," and then keep her there. Once she figures it out, Izzy is pretty compliant.

Hm. Sounds like a bunch of stuff I should already know. I'll finish out the week doing dressage I guess... then I need to put together a better schedule for Izzy and I. We need to jump (well, do cavaletti mostly), work on dressage, and I want to get her out of the arena more often. It's good for us to do hard things.

Monday, August 23, 2010

WE'RE BACK!! (and we need lots of work)

We are officially back from the show. Izzy is even moved back to the barn from my friend's house. I'm not sure what I think about all that, but we'll get to it later.

First, the good news: Izzy traveled like a pro. She loaded quietly, was great on the trailer, and was a total doll at the show. I was worried about how she'd do with the stabling arrangement--12' x 12' panels with horses on three sides. I shouldn't have worried. She was great. Quiet, friendly, sweet.

I don't think I mentioned that there was a Karen O'Connor clinic on Friday and Saturday. (I'm really hitting all the big names this year... might see Ian Stark later on.) That was nothing short of incredible. She's tough but fun, fair, and incredibly knowledgeable. I'll definitely be cheering for her (from afar) at the WEG. Izzy and I didn't ride with Karen (because I'm poor and out of practice), but we did ride with Stephanie Goodman of Wasatch Sport Horses. She worked for Karen for several years, is an incredible rider, and is an awesome teacher. We are so, so lucky to have her anywhere close.

Here are some pictures:
This is Izzy in her new nylon sheet in her stall at her first-ever overnight show. She'd be looking at the camera, but supper is way more interesting.
Izzy and I having a lesson with Stephanie Goodman. I'm not quite sure what Steph is explaining, but it looks like Izzy wants me paying attention. (Notice that she's standing still. Yep, that's how relaxed the pony mare was.)
Ok, so box jump is kind of scary to me. As we discovered, it scared me a lot more than it scared her. Once I got that worked out, Izzy was totally fine jumping it.
Stephanie had us jump through this grid multiple times. It was great because it let Izzy work out her job while I figured out my position and aids. We weren't perfect at the end, but I learned a ton. (And I'm so setting a grid at home. We need practice and I'm going to learn to trot in if it kills me.)
I know. Those of you who know about jumping know this has problems. HOWEVER, I feel like I now have the tools to start making some progress. I've been realizing that as great as Cathy is for us with dressage, she's just too far away from jumping to help us with it in a substantial way. That was really disheartening until I realized that we also need oodles of dressage.

Stephanie talked about shortening my stirrups so I can actually use my body to stay with Izzy. She helped me understand my center of gravity and it's relation to my horse, so that I can raise and lower it to say in motion with her instead of getting behind and then throwing myself to keep up. I need to keep my body still to allow Izzy to use hers. I need to push my heels down and my feet ever so slightly forward to put me in a safer position over fences.

Also, I need to be more definite in telling Izzy what to do. Instead of letting her haphazardly negotiate the grid and then stretch afterwards, I need to give her directions, eg "Trot in, jump, canter ONE STRIDE, jump, canter out. I need to use my reins together to keep her from pushing out one shoulder. I need to give her a steady contact to go into and not worry about where her head is. I need to carry my hands up and my chin up to be more effective and I need to worry more about her hind legs than her nose.

See? Definitely enough to work on for at least a month.
We'll finish with a picture of Irie and his mom in their lesson. Who knew the pony could fly?

PS If you're on facebook, I have more photos here.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Time is Short

Izzy got her feet done and brand new shoes today. We used a new farrier, since I couldn't get the guy who did the first set to call me back. This was actually a team--the lady does barefoot trimming and bodywork and the guy does shoes. He's even been to school, which is REALLY unusual around here. I was really happy with them. They were great with Izzy and did quite a nice job.

Also, Ms. Pony got her tail and her white leg washed. I even rode her for like 5 minutes, but then I hopped off because it was almost time for our appointment, and I didn't want to make them wait. (It ended up not mattering. They were late.)

Good news, though. Just before I hopped off, I asked Izzy to halt on a long rein. She did, which I expected, BUT she did it without swinging her hips out to the left like she always used to do. Yay! Definitely can see a difference even since yesterday.

I'm still a little scattered because I have a massive amount of stuff to clean and organize and load in my car to leave for the show tomorrow, oh, and I'm at work til 5 and I have people coming over tonight and I work all day tomorrow--I'll have just enough time after work to throw mine and Izzy's stuff in a trailer and then we're gone. Have a great weekend!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

It's Chiro Time

Despite my scatterbrained-ness this morning, Izzy was quite sweet. I rode her early, just after both her halfie friends loaded in the trailer and left for a few hours. She whinnied when they left, but she's just not attached enough to care about them when she has a person paying attention to her. As usual (now), I just saddled her up and hopped on in the arena. No lunging. No spooking. No worrying. I really, really love her brain with turnout.

She was good, for the most part. The arena is kind of hard and while she's sound, I don't want to push, so we just did flat work. She's her usual crooked self, pushing into both shoulders, but overall not too bad. She was a little distracted by the horse next door, but I asked her to focus and she did. So far, so good.

Then I got off and realized that I totally forgot my checkbook. I don't want to be one of 'those clients' who doesn't pay in a timely fashion, so I scooted home as fast as I could and got it. (Yay 40 minutes of extra driving). Toni, the chiro was already there when I made it back.

Izzy was her usual dear self. She's apparently really easy to work with because she's always trying to see what you're doing--perfect for getting her to realign her neck and the like. Toni pointed out that even when standing square, Izzy's left hip was low and forward compared to her right. In addition, since she puts her weight on her front left when eating and napping, not only is her front right taller, her shoulder is all out of whack because her shoulder blade is rolled back and down most of the time.

These two issues together make for some serious straightness issues and Toni even thinks that Izzy's right front was bad enough that there may have been some circulation problems which could contribute to her front-end lameness. Interesting. She worked Izzy through all that, and now Izzy is the straightest she's ever been.

In other good news, Izzy's saddle still seems to be working out well and Toni said her back feels great, which means that we don't seem to have any problems there. Also, the second wither rub is coming in black, which I think means I caught it in time so we don't have any follicle damage. I explained to Toni about Izzy's expressiveness as far as saddle fit and pain issues, and she complimented me for paying attention to my horse. Yay! Thanks to all of you for helping me along the way, but especially Jean and Kate who hounded me on certain things that needed hounding.

In yet more good news, my prize in the contest I won showed up yesterday. Thanks to Steph at The Aspiring Equestrian for the Dressage Today issues. She even put a pretty ribbon on them and wrote me a card. I'm having a great time reading through them already.

Monday, August 16, 2010


I didn't get to ride (or do anything with) Izzy on Sunday, due to one of the ponies tearing down a massive section of fence. Since I was house-sitting, I got to fix the entire thing, then scoot off to make it home before church. It's ok. Since we're in recovery mode, I think days off are more than ok.

So. Today. I got Izzy out, carefully wrapped her legs to make sure they all appeared the same color (easier to look for unevenness that way), and saddled up. Since Izzy gets so much turn out, I don't even have to lunge her. She just comes out totally calm and relaxed. I love it.

We did a nice long walk warm up, focusing on stretching forward and downward while moving forward and off my leg, one way or the other. She's getting better. Then, we trotted. Cathy was there to observe, so we had an experienced witness. Again, Izzy felt really good. She was nicely forward without being excited or a train wreck. I kept my reins pretty loose because I wanted Cathy to see her without me interfering.

According to Cathy, she looked totally sound. YAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Really happy day. She even gave us the ok to canter in the arena, so we did about a lap each direction. I probably had a big ridiculous grin plastered across my face, but I am just having so much fun with Izzy right now. It was great.

So. Chiro tomorrow, farrier (and any extra needed chiro) on Wednesday, and we're supposed to leave for the show/clinic on Thursday. Wish us luck.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Happy Day

No one was around today when I got Izzy out, so I really took my time with her. I gave her a thorough grooming and wrapped her legs with her special climatex bandages. It's not so much that I want the protection and support (?) as it is that I wanted all her legs to look the same so the white one didn't throw me off at all when I looked at them.

Next I put her in the round pen to trot around both directions. Honestly, she looks pretty good. Her stride looks really even--it's just that ever so slight head bob that the optimist in me wants to say is just part of how she moves. (The optimist isn't always right, unfortunately.) I decided that walking her around under saddle wouldn't hurt anything at least, so we went back to the trailer and tacked up, then headed out to the arena for the first time.

I've been riding in the round pen because the footing is softer, but it's also uneven and obviously, we do a lot of turning. Today I planned to just do some easy walk work mostly on straight lines. Izzy was great. We haven't had a lesson in ages, but I think I'm developing a feel for what she's doing so we're better able to work together. We di some leg yields and straight lines and even eventually a little trot. Here's the interesting part: Izzy is more than willing to stretch down. At the trot, she's even forward into the contact and she doesn't feel off at all.

Weird, huh? I'm hoping to have Cathy look at her Monday.

We have a trim and new shoes scheduled for this week as well as a chiro visit. I have no idea if she'll be ready to go to the show with us, but I realized that it really doesn't matter to me. As long as it's her pretty face greeting me at the barn, I guess I'm ok with just hanging out and doing this forever.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Little Update

Thanks for your feedback, everyone. I'm trying to improve my attitude and I've decided to say no to things that come up, instead of just doing them. I think that should help.

I really would like to move Izzy to somewhere more ideal, but right now, it's not a smart financial decision, since none of my jobs are all that stable. That said, I'm considering taking a lesson at the place I want to board at, just to see how I mesh with the other boarders and owner and all that. That way I wouldn't just be blindly jumping into something that I might not like.

Good news! I got a call from the local tack store and I am now the proud owner of the saddle I had on trial. Of course, it matches absolutely nothing else I own, but eventers aren't supposed to care -that- much. We'll make do for now.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Trying to De-Stress

I was really, really grumpy this morning. How honest is that? Aside from various stressors on the home front, I'm also re-employed part time, which takes about 10-20 hours a week. I also work for my grandma on hospice care about 10-15 hours a week. Toss in the 15-20 hours a week I'm working at the barn, and combine it all with trying to take care of a house and husband, while getting into shape, and you have one very cranky Aimee.

I'm trying not to be, but at this point, I can't really "quit" any thing. My grandma is obviously my priority, since my time left with her is very limited. I really do enjoy my job and I really do need the income, especially with a lame pony, so I can't cut back there. Besides, it's a small company of awesome people and I like it.

At this point, it's the barn that driving me nuts, mostly because I just don't have the time to give to it that I usually would. It's one thing if I end up working there from 7.30am to noon every day and then have time off to go home and get stuff done. It's another thing entirely when I'm doing that, but then have to be either at work or with my grandma by 12.30. Since it's about a half hour to commute either way, I am left with precisely no time for Izzy or Cassie.

For example, this morning I got a call from the barn owner that she had something come up and wouldn't be able to make it, so she needed me to feed as well as clean. Oh, and I wouldn't be having a lesson. I guess that's what frustrates me. I'm working a lot of hours at the barn and in return, I'm not getting lessons and I don't even currently have a horse there... since I get paid by trading for board and lessons, it's irritating. Still, I think most of the stress is just from me being super busy right now.

And the pony mare being lame.

And the saddle quandary.

I made an offer on the trial saddle, since the owner wanted more than I want to pay. That was Monday. It's Wednesday afternoon and I haven't heard a peep. I know, I know, it's summer time, they could be on vacation, they could be thinking it through, but I need to have this figured out quickly, in case Izzy's sound for the show. That means if they won't take my offer, I need to buy something else NOW and have it express-shipped here.

So. I am trying to reduce my stress levels to make my life simpler. Thus, I have decided that even if they don't take my offer, I guess I'll just suck it up and pay the extra money. That means I can just treat the saddle in my car as mine and not worry about it.

I'm not focusing on the things at home that are bugging me (like the unwashed dishes). I'm not spending time and energy worrying about whether or not my husband will be equally stressed when he gets home tonight, so I can just deal with the situation when I get home. (And hopefully, we'll both be fine.)

I'm not sure what to do to reduce barn stress. Since we moved (we=the whole barn), the barn owner is working a lot to make money that she couldn't during the move. That means there are more horses to feed, clean up after, tack up, and ride. There are construction projects that aren't getting finished. She's gone more than ever riding other horses as well. I understand where she's coming from and that it's a difficult part of life, BUT...

I'm at odds with myself over what to do. Part of me says it isn't my problem and I should just look for a place to move as soon as I'm financially able to do so. The other part says that I've stuck with her this far and I really do like her, as well as the availability of clinics and shows and the other boarders (who are pretty low-stress). I don't know. I could offer to work even more to help get stuff done, but I don't think I have the necessary skills and I know I don't have the time.

The highlights of today:
-getting to see my lovely pony. The advantage to her lame-ness is that I'm spending quality time with her on the ground and really appreciating her personality. She's pretty awesome. She's also loving my friend's house and the corresponding large, green pasture. (This is another reason why I'd like to move her to a new barn that actually has pastures put in, not just land that's waiting to be built on.)

-My boss got me a huge chocolate bar. Yay! Nothing like free, unexpected chocolate on a depressed day to make things a little better.

-Also, I got paid (yay!) which helps offset any unexpected costs that are bound to come up. Oh, the safety net of employment. I did miss you.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Where I Recruit a Friend

Guess what? Not only did I win a contest(!!), I also have a few riding pictures(!!!). It's a banner day. I got a friend to come out with me to take some pictures this morning.

We tried the saddle on again. I still like how it sits on her and I'm getting used to it not being as pretty as my other one, that I guess now I have to sell. :-(

We're in the round pen again to take advantage of the super soft footing. Izzy is about as quiet and unbothered as can be.

She's really stretching down nicely while staying forward. It's quite relaxing to ride.
I'm trying not to do too much with her. I just want a little rhythm and regularity.
Nice trot on a loose rein. I didn't want to pick up too much contact because I want her totally free to express her opinions, both about the saddle and about how her leg is feeling. She looked almost totally sound today.
Change of direction... what a pretty pony.
Happy left lead canter.
The only time I even picked up the reins. Nice, balanced right lead canter. It felt really good.
I know, there's lots of walking pictures. Two reasons: 1) We're doing a lot of walking to keep anything from getting worse. 2) She's just so pretty that I'm putting a lot of them up.

See? Pretty. I'm not too worried about my riding. Yeah, it isn't fabulous in this series, but we're focused on happy and easy instead of competitive right now.
And we're done. Isn't she a good looking horse? Feel free to say nice things about her. ;-)

Sunday, August 8, 2010

A Surprising Break Through!

So. In the apparently on going saddle dilemma, I've made a few decisions. One: I don't have a lot of money. That isn't really a decision, but it's a fact of life. My total budget is less than 1k and that's assuming I sell my current saddle. Two: I'm probably not going to get the most beautiful thing on earth. I guess that's ok because my current saddle is beautiful and I love it, so I'll have to settle a little bit. Three: Horses change shape, which means if I can't afford treeless, then I need something with an adjustable gullet. I used to have a wintec AP and it worked pretty well.

All told, I'm looking for an inexpensive saddle with a changeable gullet. Those parameters lead me to scour the Dover catalog at home. From my studies, I appeared to have several options: Collegiate had a couple promising options, as did Pessoa and Wintec. The Bates (same maker as wintec but leather) also looked good, but the prices meant that even used, they were likely to be out of range.

Next, I headed to the local tack shop, hoping that they would magically have one of those options in my size. They did not. They did, however, have a 17.5 Collegiate Alumni on consignment. WIN!! I took it home on trial and spent the next couple hours doing research. It's an adjustable model designed for the higher-withered horse. Hm...

Today I finally got away to try it on Izzy. It had the wide gullet installed, which I thought might work. I threw a variety of pads into my car and figured that anything I didn't have could be borrowed from my friend when I got there. I had pretty low hopes since we went through this exact process last year and it always went poorly.

I got Izzy out, groomed her thoroughly, and put the saddle on without a pad to see what we were looking at.

(Sorry it's so dark. Bright sun out today.)

She had good spinal clearance all the way through. It sat a touch low in the front and a touch high in the back, which meant that the front was a bit too wide.

Ha! Thankfully, I brought my unused front lift foam pad (very slight lift), so I pulled the saddle off and put it back on with the pad.

The next step was to see what Izzy thought of the saddle. She's very opinionated. She's also slightly lame, so I'm trying to take it easy. I turned her out in the roundpen (nice, soft footing) and let her trot around both directions. She's actually doing much better than she was, and she showed no resistance to going forward, which is how she lets me know she doesn't approve of a saddle.

Free pony!

Hm. Interesting. I like how things are looking so far, but I know that the weight of a rider and actually riding can compress the saddle down and make a problem become obvious. I grabbed my helmet and Izzy's bridle, and got on in the round pen. (Side note: I have never ridden in a round pen before. I'm always afraid that I'll catch a foot in the panels and have a leg yanked off.)

Sadly, there are no pictures of this part because I was by myself. I didn't carry a whip and had Izzy on a very long rein. I wanted to let her tell me exactly what she thought of this process. I had some figuring to do, too. I haven't sat in a treed saddle in over a year, so it was a whole different world for me. We walked for about 15 minutes, just on a long rein going both directions. Izzy was quite responsive and even offered to stretch some. She didn't want to trot at first, but it felt more like laziness than pain, especially because she continued to carry herself long and low in the transitions and into the trot. Again, this was of her own volition. I didn't keep a contact with her at all because I wanted her to express herself.

We walked, trotted, and (barely) cantered both directions. At the end, Izzy still had sufficient wither clearance and was moving out nicely. I took the saddle off to examine the sweat marks.
It looks ok to me. The sweat is more from the heat than from doing actual work, but it's evenly distributed under the seat. There are no dry spots or funny hair marks. Both sides looked equal.

I guess my initial saddle fitter's opinion is that all is well. I'll have Cathy look at it tomorrow. Cross your fingers for us.

Friday, August 6, 2010

I'm Getting Restless

I'll admit it. I do not handle inertia well and this year has been pretty much complete inertia. First the freezing cold, then the heavy rains, then the busyness of moving, then the ulcer issue, now the soundness issue... We have made progress, but we've had to cram it in between sorting everything else out.

Did I mention that Izzy's wither rub is back? If I didn't, I did now. My theory is that the wither pad I was using worked well for a while, but now has flattened/stretched to a point that it doesn't right now. It doesn't really matter right now because we're not riding due to the soundness issue, but it gives me one more thing to worry about. Besides, even if I can't ride my horse, I can saddle shop, right? Not saying it's a good idea, just that it's possible.

Anyways. I know this is going to be difficult for all the reasons I talked about last time I was in the saddle market. Izzy's still very picky, there still aren't any saddle fitters in the Boise area, our local tack shop is still hit and miss, and my budget is very small. In an ideal world, I'd buy the new version of the saddle I have now and I'm fairly sure it would work. In the world we live in, $3000 is way beyond my scope.

So anyways... I'll try to distract myself from obsessing about that by obsessing about the ponyface. I got her out and groomed her today. She was sweet and happy to see me. I took her over to the round pen (her first time venturing out of her run and pasture since she arrived Tuesday), and she was very quiet. I just let her trot around the round pen a few times each direction, which confirmed what I already knew. She's still not right. I wasn't really expecting her to be, but I was hoping... Oh well.

PS The best saddle fitter I know is actually Izzy, because she lets me know right away if she likes something or not. The problem is that I can't really test on her when she's lame. It's not fair and I'd have trouble reading her.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Pictures of the Pasture Puff

Izzy is completely settled in at the new (temporary) place. I was worried that she wouldn't want to see me this morning, since usually I take her away and make her work. Apparently, she still loves me. She was out in the pasture when I got there, but she came back into her run before I had time to go out and take pictures of her.

She remembered that I got her a scratchy brush... and she wanted it used. I gave her a good curry, then we went out to look at the pasture together. She looks sound at the walk, but she always has. It's the trot that makes her gimpy. I'm thinking that I'll just let her hang out through the weekend, then maybe lunge Monday and she where she's at.
Izzy explores the new places.
Hanging out in the run in shed. She was really funny about this. She'd get her whole body in the shade, then just peek her nose out into the sun, like she was saying, "Nope, still hot out there."
There was of course the requisite trotting around and being upset.
She had to see everything!
Here she is today, all happily settled in.
She has this whole pasture to herself, with some buddies just over the fence. At this point, she's far more interested in grass than in buddies.

On a slightly different note, I had an AMAZING jumping lesson on my old girl today. We hadn't really jumped anything more than single 2' fences in years, but today we put a 2'6" course together nicely. I'm so glad to be back!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Green Pastures

Izzy's settling in at my friend's house now. We checked fences, scrubbed out the water, and arranged for her feeding this morning, the hauled her over. She was a bit upset with her run until she found the super nice run in shed... Then she would just stand under the shade and peek her little nose out.

She was ECSTATIC about the pasture, though. We opened up the gate to let her out and she just galloped and galloped. Cathy was there and commented that she didn't look off at all. Typical. I did give her bute yesterday and today, so I'm thinking it's partly that, partly excitement.

Here's to hoping for an easy recovery.

Monday, August 2, 2010

A New Approach

So. Tried to ride the mare Sunday. She's off in her right front, still. Oh, and it's getting worse. I'll spare you the long rant on how frustrated I am with a lot of things right now and jump to the part where I have a plan.

The plan is as follows: I have a friend with a couple of horses, some green pastures, and a small arena. My friend offered a couple months ago to let Izzy come hang out for a while. I deferred before because we were going to, you know, take lessons and show. Well, my lessons keep getting canceled either because my instructor's busy or because my horse is lame and I really haven't been able to afford to show all summer anyways.

I was hoping to do a show at the end of the month, but again, Izzy's off. I can take a different horse (and I guess I will, if I enter and she isn't better), but I really want to be investing in MY horse, not someone else's. As such, I'm taking Izzy to my friend's house tomorrow. I'm hoping that the much softer footing coupled with turnout will be a big stride in the right direction as far as soundness goes. I've also got Izzy scheduled to see a chiropractor about a week before the show.

Wish us luck.
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