Monday, April 1, 2013

The End of an Era

I've reached the end of my time training my sweet and beloved Bear. It's taken a while to finally write about it, but it's time.

I sold him to a very dear friend in February. She had been struggling with her naughty thoroughbred for a while. She finally decided to throw in the towel and make a change. She found a great home for her horse, and made the decision to buy Bear from me. It is so much fun to get to see her actually enjoy her lessons, and make progress. I am super proud that my sweet boy can give her that.

Besides the fact that she'll give him a great home, it is so wonderful to still get to see him all the time. I will still get to watch him compete, and share in celebrating his success.

This means that my blog on Bear has pretty much come to an end. This was always meant to be a training journal more than anything, so I hope to go back and fill in the blanks since I missed posting video and pics of some of our summer fun.

If you're still interested in following my adventures in figuring out how to ride my self trained horse and compete in eventing and dressage, you'll still find stories on my other blog. My training project has turned into my keeper.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Blogging elsewhere

My lovely Lola is back...

I am not sure why I am feeling such a strong motivation to blog about her after so long of NOT blogging about Bear! Maybe because I'm so far behind with him that I feel its daunting? Maybe I'm its because she's then new kid on the block again? I don't know. It just is.

I am diving into training theory and loving it... just on the other blog. SO... Find me there!

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Summer is long gone and the blog has missed it all!

What a summer we had! I feel like we were in warp speed all summer prepping for the first horse trials in July (Intro) then the second one in September (BN). It was lesson after lesson, numerous cross country schoolings, running through the dressage test, fitting up, tuning up, and then finally giving up! Why? A nasty cough! Not me... I would have ridden with pneumonia. BEAR caught a cold! So irritating... Bottom line, I'm SUPER proud of our progress this summer. I think it will still be worth going back and posting the half written blogs and all the video and photos that I failed to upload. We went from zero to feeling super confident at Beginner Novice between March and September. That's something to be proud of! We even tackled a few Novice fences while schooling. I'll be sure to have some rainy days coming to get this done. Until then, I am still busy as ever! Winter might be a nice break... In other news, Lola will be coming home from her lease soon! SUPER excited to see her, and get to ride her again after a full year of maturing in her training and athleticism! She's been going well at BN all summer with her junior rider, and they'll be finishing the season at Novice! Very exciting for her. She's back on the market, and I hope to find her a forever home with another junior rider this winter.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

When life is more exciting than blogging...

Man, oh, man has life been busy!

I have been so looking forward to posting videos, pictures, and all our glorious stories of how we are progressing, and yet I haven't. Why? Because I hardly have time to keep up with all of it! I've just been having too much fun, both at the barn and with non-horsey stuff.

Since our clinic the last weekend of June, we've done several lessons, our first horse trials (only elementary level), a couple cross country schoolings, and basically all the other prep work to be ready to go BN mid September!

While this doesn't sound like much, its been a miracle that I've made it happen considering in the last month and a half I've had my first year anniversary (with trip to San Francisco), been up to Tahoe, down to the Sequoias, and out to Nebraska for a family wedding. Thank goodness I have another rider to share my horse with right now! Made a world of difference.

Many of these exciting milestones deserve their own post. So when I get around to the pictures and videos, I'll be sure to share!

I'm off to our dressage lesson. Wish I didn't have an red-hot-angry-swollen-itchy-ouchy wasp sting on my calf! But the show must go on. At least its not 110 today!

Sunday, July 8, 2012

So much fun, so little time

I have had a marvelous week off of riding after an extremely busy week of riding before that!

A few days camping, fantastic fireworks, followed by a few days up by Tahoe was all the R&R I needed after a grueling and over-booked week of riding.

It went something like this:

Friday: Jump school at home (we pulled out all the fun stuff!)
Saturday: Pick up a friend's horse for quick trail ride
Sunday: Lesson with dressage trainer
Monday: I had evening plans so he did get a day off!
Tuesday: Jump lesson with a new trainer
Wednesday: Hour and a half of hilly trails (walking)
Thursday: New half-leaser had jump lesson on him (I still had to take him there, but got a riding break)
Friday: Hauled to clinic location and just lunged a bit before he got dinner
Saturday: Cross country clinic- roads & tracks pacing practice in the morning, and cross country schooling in the afternoon
Sunday: Roads & Tracks course at 250 (got it spot on!) Followed by my elementary/bn course where I came in about 2 minutes over the time! (I did get lost, slowed up for a temper tantrum about another horse, and then had to re-approach the scary BN sized stadium oxer that was the last fence.)

By the end of it all I was beat! So I got a break, while the new half-leaser got to do what ever she wanted with Mr. Bear this week. I am so glad to have stumbled across this fantastic rider! She'll be riding him about half the time (more when I'm gone, and less if I have a competition), and since I can't afford to compete much, there will be plenty of opportunity for her to take him to a few horse trials before the end of the season too! It is TOUGH to keep an eventing horse in tip-top shape! Even tougher when you work 40+ hours a week and try to spend time with a new husband! So knowing that he is still getting out on days that I can't get out there is such a relief.

We're looking forward to some more fun later this week!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Why is this so difficult???

Man, oh, man. Why is it so hard to get lessons scheduled???

So I have been trying to set up a jumping lesson for this Saturday for a full month! Do I have one? Nope!

See, my horse show accomplice and I had this all set up. Her horse is at her house (and no trailer) and I'm at the barn with the action (and by action, I mean that I harass the two other women that are trying out eventing with my incessant planning.) So every so often, I pick her horse up for a sleepover at my barn, and we pack in as much as possible. Usually a lesson, a trail ride, and sometimes schedule the horse massage therapist so she can drive one place for both horses.

We started with the H/J trainer next door, but nope, off at a horse show. Now this has months of trying to schedule, or actually scheduling and having them rained, and after all that effort, we've gotten TWO lessons like four months. UGH... Plus I can't afford her private lesson rate, so I have to coordinate not only with the trainer's schedule, but jumping friends to share the lesson with as well.

SO... I decided that maybe the summer should be a little like a series of clinics. There are plenty of trainers a reasonable distance for hauling over there for lessons. Since I lost my awesome "guarantee of an evening lesson unless she's away for an event" Eventing trainer (moved to a fancy place in Kentucky), I have been reluctant to go trainer hunting, and sort resigned myself to the convenience of walking next door. (But not if I can never get a lesson!) So I made a list of jumping trainers to try over the summer, and starting emailing. Figured I'd be sure to find someone that could squeeze the two of us in on that Saturday.

Big barn eventing trainer- off at Invale

Dressage judge/eventing trainer- off schooling cross country that day, but did schedule for Th 6/28

Pony Club barn trainer- yes Saturday will work, but she's out of town, so I wait five days for the time, only to get oh, sorry, no. Turns out she's off at the same H/J show as Fancy H/J trainer next door. Also said most evenings would work. I ask for Tues or Thurs? No response. I ask about TONIGHT (now Tuesday) or Thursday. Response is offer for Wednesday. Really, if that worked for me, I think I'd have mentioned it!

Back to Dressage judge/eventing trainer- SO sorry, can't do Thursday 6/28. Now this is the first legitimate excuse that I've hear from a trainer: it is her birthday, and she forgot! I relate. And understand that she would also have plans! She suggests Sunday the 24th. That would be great, right? Horse Show Accomplice will be there still. Well, except for the fact that I already have a dressage lesson set for Sunday morning!!! At least my dressage trainer (who is absolute gold!) has been consistent in her availability and kept us progressing (even if not over fences).

Ugh. So now I am a week and a half away from the Big Eventing barn's cross country clinic, and I still don't have even one jumping lesson on the calendar. I really was hoping to have a confidence builder or two before having to display my crappy equitation on my green horse in front of the Big Eventing barn and all of its auditors!

I had such great plans for this spring! How is it that I've only gotten one jumping lesson on my horse and one cross country lesson? My, oh my this horse industry has a complicated schedule!

Sunday, June 3, 2012

One step cancelled, but another step ahead!

Well our lesson got cancelled. Or I guess I should say, never scheduled. The trainer had a clinician coming in this weekend and had too much going on for the lesson. I did get to take Bear out with a friend for a cross country lesson at Jack Rabbit Flats with a local eventing trainer. We had a blast! He was so much fun!

Our last school he was getting a little worked up, but it was VERY busy that day, and one of our stable mates was having a complete melt down. This weekend was perfect, we were the only group out there, and we had another friend audit from horseback so it made it nice to always have a horse to stand with. We also had the bonus of a horse husband to take video! I have lots of good footage!

This time around the plan was to trot into things since we’re not really cantering full courses yet, and just see if we could: 1) jump more challenging fences than last time, 2) put more together. We did both!

We started the easy stuff that we've done before:

Then moved on to the unknown:

After two wiggly refusals, we added the sort of narrow and scary ski jump to our resume.

Plus we did the "too-long-for-one-stride-but-too-short-for-two-stride in and out",

and the taller banks on both the bank section and the water.

The bonus was that he was so calm and keeping a good canter rhythm to the fences that we actually cantered most! I let him come to a trot any time we needed to rebalance or make turns, or if I thought we’d get a better approach coming in slower. All in all, we cantered far more than I expected!
At the end we put together a real course. Moral of the story, I’m out of shape! About 9 jumps in, I got tired and sloppy. Bear told me he did not approve of crappy riding when he was also getting tired! Here was our course:
Straight line through a tiny log, less tiny pile of logs, to the 2ft rail. Turn to the 18 in natural cross rail. Turn again to the 14 in hay bales, straight line to the 2ft ski ramp. We then skipped past the scary bench, and crossed over the two ditches, and straight to the 2ft wine barrels. (This was where I really felt sloppy and winded. I rested some weight on his neck cantering away, and he made sure to let me know that was not ok!) So I took a break and trotted to the next area. We went up and over the bank, then over the hedge (2ft-ish? Still growing…), and over to the in and out 2ft2. Unfortunately is so far away you just me running through the grass! From there we came back around to the water where he promptly came to a halt on the down bank in, gave it a good look, and then popped right in! So we circled back to catch it again with less hesitation. All in all it was excellent considering the limited amount of jumping we’ve done!
We still need to work on him not flinging his head in the air when he’s excited, but his canter was nice and balanced, and his rhythm was fantastic! This was a harder course than what we’ll have waiting for us for our Elementary debut, so we are more than prepared.
I love schooling at JRF because they have such a variety of little stuff! I still have another 4 or 5 jumps that are lower than 2ft6in that I can work up to next time. I am looking forward to getting another jumping lesson scheduled now that we really have a groove with cantering fences.

I have postponed the first horse trials to July. No one else from the barn could go to this June one, and if I went all alone to Camelot now, I wouldn’t have the money to go next month to Eventful Acres when I’d have friends going! So even though we are ready, I’ll be holding off for social reasons! Still hope to hit the August HT at Camelot as well. We’ll see. I may need to limit myself to either a second HT or finally getting to Training level at an end of summer dressage show. Can’t imagine I’ll have the time and money for BOTH! Oh I wish I had a money tree…

I am summer fever (too late for spring fever!) so bad right now! All I want to do is ride, think about riding, plan my next school, show, or lesson, or come up with my next goal! Wish I could work half time in the summers! But then I’d have no money for all this crazy expensive horse stuff…