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Sunday, 28 June 2015

Apollocalypse

Today I did not have a good day.

I've been looking forward to a trail ride with my friend all week.  We made sure Apollo would fit and load politely into her smaller two horse straight load on Thursday (he's only been hauled in angle hauls and stock trailers).  He fit with a bit of room to spare and loaded like a gentleman.  I bought a cooler of snacks for us and our ponies.  Things have been a little stressful for me lately and I was so excited to go for an adventure with a good friend and my favorite steed.

When the trailer pulled up today at 3pm MY FUCKING HORSE WOULD NOT FUCKING LOAD.

I used every tool in my toolbox.  He didn't look afraid or defiant.  He looked eerily calm.  It's a look that I recognize from 5 years ago...when it took 7 hours to catch him.  Draft crosses can be the most calm horses ever, but there is also a stubbornness to them that trumps ponies.




It was unbelievably hot today and after about 30 minutes of trying I was covered in sweat and about to burst into tears.  I still tried for another 30 minutes with no improvement.  I sent my friend on her way.  I put my horse back in his pen.  And then I bawled my fucking eyes out.

He has always loaded well, it never even entered my mind as a possible issue.  I am so frustrated and embarrassed.  I feel like such a loser.

I sort of have a game plan (even though I am tired and very annoyed right now).  My friend left her trailer at my barn to practice with this week.  I'm also going contact the man who has done all of my barn moves for me (and I move a lot!).  His name is Greg and I feel so freaking calm about loading my horses when he is around.  I need some Greg juju to make my obnoxious hippo a well-mannered loader again.  He has always complimented me on how well my horses load.  Well... he's about to get a shock when he opens his e-mail tonight!

Thank you for making it this far into my pity party.

Monday, 22 June 2015

To Sell or Not to Sell

I’m pleased to report that I’ve been riding Apollo quite a bit!  We’ve been getting out on the trails way more than we ever have (and by trails I mean the hay field across the street and ditch riding).  He continues to love his new fugly saddle.  I don’t enjoy riding in that saddle and will eventually be looking to get another option for arena riding.  I find that I can't post the trot like a human being because that huge horn thing hitting the front of my legs.



My desire for a new saddle pales in comparison for my desire to have a horse trailer.  I had to bow out of a competitive trail ride on Saturday and a ride with friends on Sunday due to trailer coordination issues. 

Now that I’ve reduced my income (yay for only one job) it’s more challenging to save up for more expensive horse items.  I’ll be spending some time in the next few weeks going through my stuff and selling what I don’t need.  Here are a few things that will be put up for sale shortly:

1)      My Schleese Wave 17.5 dressage saddle (aka the Cloud Saddle *tears*)
2)      My wedding dresses
3)      All extraneous horse equipment that isn’t being used regularly
I have also been considering downsizing my herd - which is the part I’m struggling with the most.

Henry has the most re-sale value.   I cannot legally sell Mystic (due a contract from the horse rescue) and Apollo is a lifelong family member.  I’ve had Henry for sale briefly before and was offered $3000 and $5000 for him at different times.

I also worry the most about selling him.  It’s taken me quite a while to figure out his quirks and find a nutrition plan that works for him. 

I have tied a lot of my dreams to Henry.  I live near Spruce Meadows and I’ve been picturing Henry and I competing there (at a non-scary height) since I bought him.  Apollo and Mystic will awesome trail buddies for me and my husband - that’s mainly what I had in mind for them.  I also think Mystic will make an amazing lower level event horse (because she is so brave) but I don’t think she has Henry’s natural springs. 

Whenever money gets a bit tight I come back to the same idea of selling a horse.  I really never intended to have three but now I that I do love them all so much that my heart is going to explode.   I want them all to have the best care and the best life.  I don’t know that I can give any of them that when I have three.  Is it even remotely possible to work full-time and have three horses going under saddle?  Because that sounds slightly insane.

I hope I can clear out some gear so I can quiet my thoughts of horse-downsizing.  I feel incredibly guilty even thinking about it. 

Sunday, 14 June 2015

Visit from the Tack Fairy

My aunt visited last weekend and left me 4 boxes and 3 garbage bags of horse stuff!  Oh and an Exselle AP saddle in lovely condition!  Her lovely steed passed away last year and she decided that she likely won't be buying another horse.  I really appreciate her sharing her beloved Nick's tack with me and my herd.

The horses also enjoyed a visit from my two aunts, my mother-in-law and my mom.  My mom brought out a whole package of black licorice!

Many noms


I brought the saddle out to my barn to try it on everyone on Tuesday.  I was really hoping it would fit Apollo.  Or Henry.  Mystic has dibs on my eventing DK saddle and my Schleese dressage saddle (if they still fit as nicely as they do now once she's started in November).  So Mystic is set.  Apollo has the fugly saddle. Henry doesn't have a saddle yet.

Henry was modelling it before my phone died, but it doesn't fit him.  It kind of looks like it does in the photos but it's a bit big in the shoulder for him (which causes a lot of pressure on the wither points of the saddle).



The saddle didn't fit Apollo either.


But guess who it fit?  Mystic!  So girl has three saddles now (this is ridiculous).

Spoiled pony is spoiled


I still have more things to try on but I need to clear out my tack box first! It's so nice to have some new things for the herd :)



Thursday, 4 June 2015

Lesson Recap!

I found an ad for lessons on a local classified site a few months ago.  The instructor had recently been accepted into Philippe Karl’s Ecole de Légèreté (School of Lightness).  My mentor when I was a teenager always spoke highly of Phillipe Karl and encouraged me to follow his training system.   He rode Apollo once and it was nothing short of amazing.  I wish cellphone cameras were a thing back then! 

I am wearing a shirt here...


I was hoping to watch this instructor, SD, give a lesson but we never seemed to find a time that worked.  So bright and early last Friday morning I decided to go for it and took a lesson. 

I can’t remember the last time I was so nervous about something.  I was more relaxed at my wedding (although I’d had a few mimosas before my walk down the aisle).   I’ve had some really negative/crazy experiences with instructors in the past.  I’m not usually willing to take a lesson from someone I’ve never seen teach before.  So.... I was borderline hyperventilating as I walked Apollo in from the field.  



She arrived as I was lunging Apollo (just in a halter).  I don’t love lunging but it’s become my 3 minute pre-flight check for lameness/cheekyness.  We introduced ourselves and I tried to briefly tell her our story (but I totally rambled on out of nervousness).  Then she asked me to ride around at the walk and trot and do some circles.  Off we went.  His walk was lovely and he didn’t seem to be feeding off my nerves.  His trot was so-so.  I was super tense and he started doing his bouncy horse thing that is a pre-crowhop warning.   I tried to relax and breathe.  He was still bouncing so I pony club kicked him (not very ecole de legerete of me) and then his brain returned.  

She walked us through a few exercises and gave me some tips.  Her methods are quite different from any other instructor I’ve ridden with.  Apollo seemed to respond well.  My brain had a hard time.  She recommended I cue for halt by first asking with my seat and then if he didn’t stop to slowly raise my hands up.  She also wanted me to open up my inside rein way more than I’m used to.  

These were a few more of her thoughts/tips:

1)      She likes Apollo and likes how softly I ride (save the pony club kick, I’m sure)
2)      She recommended I circle him when he crowhops rather than getting into a fight with him
3)      She thinks he is too fat (true)
4)      She wants him to wear shoes as she thinks it will help his movement at the trot (his mom is too poor, sorry…and this was the only thing I thought was really strange)
5)      She recommended that when I first hop on I walk him for 5 minutes on a long rein
6)      She gave me some in-hand exercises to work on for his flexibility (they are mostly neck flexions)



Overall it was a positive experience.   I liked her and I would definitely take a lesson again.  She offered to help me work with my young horses too. 





I do have some reservations.  I want to do some showing in the future.  I worry that more non-traditional methods will make that more challenging.  Satin isn’t everything but I don’t want to stick out like a sore thumb.  I also have to think about re-sale with my young horses.  If they are trained with these more “classical” methods I worry that it could make them less appealing.  I feel a bit guilty asking Apollo to learn things that are somewhat contradictive to his previously training.  None of these things are major concerns but they are at the back of my mind.



I’m open to opinions if anyone would like to share their thoughts! 

Wednesday, 3 June 2015

Quick Update & June Goals

I'm happy to report that things have been going great!  Apollo is sound and we've been riding quite a bit.  :)



I haven't had energy for much else!  I assumed that once I wasn't working three jobs I would have lots of energy, a perfectly clean house and a full social calendar.  But no.  I think I'm having some sort of delayed burn out.  My brain has been too tired to read/write much lately.

Now that I'm not cramming my life into the small space between three jobs... I have lost momentum!  I'm trying to let myself relax and hopefully I will bounce back soon. 

I did have a lesson with a potential new instructor - I will do a full post on that shortly.


Here are my June goals:

1) Work on lunging Mystic and Henry
2) Develop a proper fitness plan for Apollo & myself
3) Start running again 
4) Select one horse-related book to read