Saturday, 14 January 2017

A Big Year

As previously mentioned, I’m very hopeful that 2017 is the year I will be purchasing an acreage with my husband (and living my childhood dream-!!).  This is a two-step process:

1)      Sell condo (it will be listed in March or April)
2)      Buy acreage

I was really tempted to have “buy acreage” as my only goal for 2017.  And it’s definitely my top priority.  But there are a lot of things that I can’t control about selling/buying real estate and I don’t want to drive myself insane. 

Have not yet mentioned on the blog that I got new helmet for x-mas yay! No more bowling ball head in 2017

After I decided to expand my 2017 goals outside of “buy acreage” I thought maybe I’d make some small easy goals.  Just some easy things to keep my mind distracted from my acreage plans.

And then I thought… f* it.  I’m going big this year.  So here I present my 2017 goals. :)

Kate Goals

1)      Read 2 books a month.
2)      Ride in at least one event/horse trial.
3)      Buy a horse trailer.
4)      Run a 10K road race.
5)      Blog twice a week.
6)      Mostly tech-free Sundays (no social networking websites/blogs but ok to respond to texts).
7)      Continue to improve credit score, I would like to see a 50+ point improvement in 2017.
8)      Plan regular date nights (once a week) with my husband.
9)      Make more regular plans with friends and family (at least once every two weeks).
10)     Devote at least 30 minutes to scheduling/planning on Sundays (for the rest of the week).
11)    Walk dogs in the morning (before work during the week).
12)    Take dance lessons with my husband.
13)    Be more open to sharing my horses with other people.
14)    Commemorate 10 year horse-aversary with Apollo in a big way! 
15)    Wear my hair down at least three days a week. 
16)    Make monthly goals (except for January which is almost halfway over!).

Mystic Goals

1)      Find dressage saddle/nearby dressage coach.
2)      Continue to be the best trail pony in the world.

Stretch Goal: compete in a dressage schooling show, ie West Calgary Dressage in August 2017.

Henry Goals

1)      Find a saddle that fits.
2)      Solid W/T/C and jumping over tiny courses.

Stretch Goal: compete in Spruce Meadows Oktoberfest (in the 0.5m classes) in October 2017.

Apollo Goals

1)      Stay sound and not round (LOL).
2)      Continue lessons with Coach D, as much as budget permits (preferably once a week if possible).

Stretch Goal: become a proper husband horse!

Dryer cat says hello

As you may have noticed I didn’t specify which horse I wanted to complete my event goal with this year.  That’s because I have no idea which one – post on this to follow shortly. :)

This is going to be a great year!  I’m really excited to kick some ass in 2017!

Monday, 9 January 2017

Henry Lessons #5 & #6

I have my 2017 goals post mostly complete in my draft folder but I wanted to write my lesson recap from Saturday (and also from November 29th) before I forgot any more details.

Henry's first selfie

Henry Lesson #5 - with Coach D

I had a lesson booked with Coach D on a Monday night and planned on riding Apollo.  But Apollo had done a lesson on Saturday and then we had a long ride on Sunday, so I decided to give him the night off.  I decided she could give me a few pointers with Henry instead.

I sensed that she thought I was a bit completely nuts for riding my bouncy baby warmblood in a bareback pad since mid-October.  I was hoping Henry would be on his best behavior to show her that he is really a sensible dude.

We recently "jumped" this huge jump, serious business 

He did not disappoint!  We trotted a little course of poles and she helped us put in some really rudimentary lateral work.  It never even occurred to me to think about leg yields...I have mostly focused on not bouncing into oblivion while trotting so it gave me something else to focus on.  We also walked over the tarp a few times in a few different directions.

I had a friend have a bad wreck when taking off her coat on a young horse so Henry and I have been practicing me throwing my coat on objects from a stand still and a walk (these are the weird things you do when you have no saddle).  I was pretty proud to launch my vest at the mounting block and not have my horse blink!

Coach D loves Henry!  She was blown away by his quiet temperament and his honesty (I gave him kind of a lousy approach to our poles a few times and he didn't ditch out, when it would have been really easy to and most horses likely would have).

I have definitely been incorporating Coach D's lateral work suggestions into Henry's routine.  She also suggested I take more of a contact (I am the president of the long reins club) and start asking him to be very slightly bent to the inside, to start setting us up for being more collected at some point.

Overall it was a great lesson and I was super proud of Henry!

Henry Lesson #6 with ST

Henry and I have just started back on our once a week Saturday morning lesson schedule with ST.  I feel useful enough at the trot at we can actually do things besides me trying not to bounce off.

So as mentioned, Henry is pretty quiet and sensible... he's not a spooky dude.  But he does have one thing that he really does not like. Tractors.  Tractors are not our friends.


They have been doing some construction and putting new arena lights in so a few times in the last week the tractor has been parked in the arena.  Much to Henry's horror.  I debated not riding at all but decided it would be good for us to work on this tractor-phobia.  So we had a few rides near the tractor last week, with only one episode of flying backwards that was quickly resolved.  I mostly stayed in the other side of the arena for trot work but did a lot of walking around the tractor.  I was alone a lot so I sang along with the radio to keep my body relaxed haha!

The tractor wasn't in the arena on Friday but when I pulled up on Saturday morning, it was waiting for me in the middle of the arena.  I grumbled at first but I realized it would be nice to have some extra help with working on the tractor-phobia.

ST gave me some good cues to not stare at the tractor (hah!) and to work on bending Henry to give him something to focus on.  We ended up with some really relaxed trot around the tractor, which I was very pleased with!

We spent a fair bit of time tweaking my position too (which does weird things bareback sometimes).  We agreed that I have pretty much trained Henry to trot kind of slow... which although not ideal is helpful for bareback life.

Well-deserved post-lesson meal <3

So a few positions tweaks (like not gripping with my knees or doing weird things with my hands) and having relaxed rides near the tractor was our homework for this week :)

I'm excited to get back into a regular routine with ST again!

My husband bought a Go-Pro on Boxing Day and I'm hoping he'll get up early for one of my lessons soon and help me get some actual riding media!

Saturday, 7 January 2017

Rearview on 2016

2016 was the weirdest year of my life.  I had wonderful highs (riding my baby horses and improving my skills/confidence with Coach D) and some pretty shitty lows (having an unemployed husband for 8 months and struggling with stress/PPD stuff). 

I'm actually really proud of myself for what I accomplished in 2016. I didn't tick off all of my goals but I was a lot more brave about trying new things and more adaptable when things didn't go exactly as I planned.

My 2016 horse goals were somewhat limited by budget and lack of a horse trailer.  But through some ingenuity (and selling almost everything I own) I was able to pay for both of my baby horse’s training and some lessons for myself.  

Here's how I did on my goals:

Horse Goals

Take a horse swimming!  Nope. I had a tentative plan to take Henry (who would freakin love to swim) but then he got the mystery leg bump and so I had to cancel.

Ride with no tack (only a neck rope)! Yes!  Apollo and I did this before he went through his bolting at the mounting block phase in the summer.

Compete in as many starter level events as possible. Nope.

Compete in a dressage schooling show.  Nope.

Compete in a competitive trail event.  Nope.

*Apollo did go to a showing show, so I award one bonus point* 

Find a better situation for Henry. I don’t know if it’s a better situation or not but homeboy is stuck with me.


Kate Goals

Run a 10k race  I ran two 5ks –does that count?

Achieve magical weight Nope again.  Although I’m finally feeling like I’m on track with a better fitness and exercise routine (plus spin classes made my life).

Read more  Yes!  I definitely read more this year.  Currently reading “The Gold Finch” and would recommend it if anyone is looking for some non-horse related reading material.

Walk dogs more  Yep, the dogs had a pretty good 2016 for walking (up until recently when it's been -30)

Be more patient  Yes.  I will give myself a bit pat on the back for this because my patience has improved tremendously this last year.  

Focus on self-care  Yep! I'm really glad I actually learned to relax a bit more this year and took better care of myself.

Now on to 2017!  I have some big things planned :) 

Wednesday, 21 December 2016

Color Opinions?

I'm trying to decide on a color for Henry's new saddle.  I was totally dead set on top right for a long time (for resale and ease of finding other matching equipment).  But then I saw Coach D's new horse wearing a reddish brown saddle, similar to the bottom left.... and it looked amazing.  Coach D's new horse is almost exactly the same color as Henry.

I'm curious to see the actual leather swatches on him too (which I will be doing at my appt on Jan 18). 

Thoughts?  :)

Saturday, 17 December 2016

No News is Good News

I haven’t posted since November 21 (!).  I have lots to update on but my mental faculties are severly lacking at the moment.  I recently started a new workout routine (every time I move everything hurts) and I’m working a ton of extra hours.  My brain can barely brain at this point.  

For more fun my phone had to have a factory reset and I hadn't backed it up since June 2015.  So thanks instagram for the media on this post!

Mystic <3

I will say that, in my case, no news is good news.  I’ll just give a bare bones update on each pony and myself, and hope to write actual proper posts about them soon.

Mystic has been back to her wonderful self on the trail (yippee!).  She had a follow-up chiro visit last weekend as she was starting to feel a bit crooked again.  I used a different chiro who agreed that she likely did have a very violent slip/fall as her hips really want to twist.  I suspect pony will need monthly visits for a least another month or two to keep her feeling good.   I'm so happy to have my perfect trail pony back.


Apollo has been a bit spicy under saddle but we’ve had a few lessons with Coach D to channel his energy into productive work, rather than leaping around.  We’ve been doing lots of lateral work and Coach D was pretty excited about the quality of Apollo’s lateral work (which makes me proud as I taught him that stuff!)  He has been really wonderful about standing at the mounting block for me and for that I am grateful as I still have some weird/nervous moments about it.


Apollo and I actually had our first ever canter in the hay field two weeks ago.  I tend to mostly walk/trot outside on him as he gets a bit feisty.  I have cantered on the front lawn of the property a fair bit but in the hay field I typically just walk him.  I was feeling brave one day so he got to canter up the long sloping hill of the hay field.  He was very good and didn’t try to take off or do anything silly.  Old me would have been tense and full of fear - so I was surprised to find myself having a lot of fun galloping my big plow horse across an open field!  

I was also riding him bitless that day. #BAMF

Also made dad made me this rad saddle stand.  

Henry continues to be a complete rockstar!  He had his first lesson with Coach D two weeks ago.  She completely loves him.  When she arrived for my lesson I hopped on him in the bareback pad and then rode him across a tarp, she was like “Holy crap, I understand why you didn’t sell this horse to me.”  

He was a very good boy and we trotted a little course of poles.  I still need a lot of breaks from trot work but I don’t feel as bouncy.  I’m a little disappointed that I’m not better at/have more endurance for sitting trot but there is a substantial improvement.  I’m still riding him bareback but a new saddle is on the horizon….

Bundled pone <3

After multiple hours (maybe even days) online trying to find Henry a used saddle (from the list of suggestions the saddle fitter gave me) I have given up and decided to go custom.  So I’ve been working like a dog lately to buy Mr. Henry a fancy new saddle.   I just can’t seem to find anything that will work well for both of us that isn’t very expensive.  And honestly if I’m going to spend that much money, it might as well be custom for both of us.  

So on January 18th (my payday LOLZ) Henry and I will be fitted for our new Equipe saddle. 

Something like dis....

I am still working on an interim saddle (he is such a good boy but I am soooo sick of riding bareback).  I have my heart set on one particular used prestige dressage saddle (which looks brand new but is very fairly priced...I would even say it’s quite underpriced).  I am still waiting to hear back from the seller… cross your fingers for me!  

I’ve heard Equipe’s can take anywhere from three to six months to arrive and I do not have another six months of bareback riding in me. 

Monday, 21 November 2016

November 10 Questions!

Thanks to the lovely L. Williams of Viva Carlos for these 10 questions :)  I also included some random old pictures of me and Apollo that I found.

How old is the youngest/greenest horse you’ve ridden?  Hmm… I remember riding this horse I think was either 2 or 3 years old at a riding camp once.  His name was Patrick and he was pretty much a unicorn (with a flaxen mane and tail).  I rode both of my young horses shortly before they turned 4.   

How old is the oldest horse you’ve ridden? My family’s first horse, Deputy, was pretty old!  We were told he was 18 when we bought him but when we had a vet do some dental work a few weeks later they said he was somewhere between 21 and 23… #firsttimehorsebuyerprobs 

My family rode him for about five years, so he was likely mid to late twenties for my last couple of rides. 

Were you scared of horses when you first started riding? Yes.  I have always been a big baby.  

Would you say you’re a more nervous rider or a confident rider?
 See previous question haha!

Biggest pet peeve about non-horse people around horses?  I really hate it when people put their hands out flat up to my horses mouths (but with no food).  So when my horses lick their hand or try to feel with their lips for a snack… the non-horses people get all put off. YEAH MAYBE DON’T PUT YOUR HAND ON HIS FUCKING MOUTH FOR NO REASON THEN.

Not that I have rage issues or anything.

A time you’ve been scared for your life?  I was very scared when I was 7/8 ish years old and the horse I was riding, Cricket, took off for home across a hay field.  I was riding with my dad and I remember reaching back towards him and screaming HEELLLLPPPP.  
Also this recent ride, where Mystic and I were pretty close to getting hit by a van doing 80 km/hr.  That was not a good time.

Have you ever fallen off at show? What happened? I have not!  Probably because I’ve done like 4 shows in my entire life.  

What’s a breed of horse you’ve never ridden but would like to ride? Lipizzaner please :)

Describe the worst behaved horse you’ve ridden?  
I don’t really enjoy riding super hot horses that are constantly jigging and can’t be still.  Any horse like that is automatically in the no pile for me. 

My draft-cross I rode in my early to mid-teens, Rusty, was a pretty big turd.  He would buck me off from a walk and jump out of the arena.  I can see a buck or crowhop during a canter transition or a moment of off-balance (he did that too) but I honestly feel like he would wait until I wasn’t paying attention and then would explode.  Very bad.  Zero fun.

The most frustrating ride you’ve ever had? 
  This one was pretty bad.  And pretty scary.

I have loved reading everyone's answers in this hop!  :)

Thursday, 17 November 2016

TRM BlogHop: Henry Edition

Thanks Cathryn for the great excuse to go through all my old pics!

Henry came to me in December 2012, as an underweight and incredibly wormy 6 month old colt.  He did not do very well for his first two winters but after finding a fabulous nutritionist in early 2014 he doesn't look like a disgusting skeleton in the winters anymore!  He's a May 2012 baby, just for age reference in these many photos I'm about to dump on you.

This bloghop is very timely as November 9, 2012 I sent an e-transfer to a stranger for this dude.  Which means I have now owned him for 4 years!

Original Lot Shot, this was all the info I had on Henry when I paid for him in November 2012

December 2012 Henry comes home and lets my husband halter break him 

This is my cell phone background <3

February/March 2013 Henry comes home to Apollo's barn

Summer 2013 

September 2013

Winter 2013 Weird fuzzball... not wintering well :(   Even after moving to a new barn to live with other babies and get lots of hay.

February 2014 I am not exaggerating when I said this horse does not winter well... This is coming out of his second winter, and he looks terrible.  Thank the lord we finally found a nutritionist to help him.  I had two vets check him for diseases/worms in the 2013/2014 winter and you can see why.

June 2014 (thanks nutritionist!)

Late summer 2014

February 2015 Henry = special

March 2015 Chillin' like a villain (and finally shedding out his winter coat like a normal horse)

March 2015 Very muddy :|

May 2015 Shed out and looking more horse-like

July & August 2015 Growing!

September 2015 Henry loves Todd

March 2016 My first ride on Henry!

Late Spring/Early Summer 2016

Fall 2016

Four years of Henry! <3  I love this weird horse so much.