Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Horse Blogging Challenge #8- A little about the barn/stable you ride at

A little about a little stable. And it is little. It's pretty low-key with pretty much only recreational rider, since I'm the only one with any competitive goals. So, it's Royal, BJ (my dad's horse), GQ (the 2-year-old Royal hangs with), Gabe (who's very rude and pushy), Sassy the nervous Arabian, and Shady the pretty Arabian who's been just short of abandoned by her owner. Like I said, teeny.

I have a lot of freedom to do whatever I want, including setting up jumps in the front field. Compared to the last barn I boarded at, where individualism and riding without paying someone $40+ to scream at you were frowned up, it's quite pleasent. And Royal is the picture of health. It's very nice.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Bad Week

One I'd rather forget.

With Todd's death on Sunday, that meant a terrible end to my spring break and a worse beginning to being back at school. And the hits kept coming. I found out I flunked an O Chem test, which I partially figured. You don't bounce back from being sick for half the unit, but luckily I'll be able to drop the score. Then, in lab on Tuesday, my reagents would. Just. Not. React. For two and a half hours. Combine that with a lack of sleep and an already fragile emotional state, and I broke down in tears. Right in lab. Totally sobbing with tears and snot running down my face. The TA took pity on me and helped me do the expedited version of the reaction, but still. I got through Wednesday without too much drama, except for the BLIZZARD, but lab on Thursday was also bad. I totally forgot how to do the experiment, made a bunch of stupid mistakes, and ended up being the last one to leave. It was one of the worst weeks I've ever had. I just kept missing Todd.

And yet somehow, life goes on.

Royal, as usual, was a ray of sunshine in my life. Every time I went out to the farm, he'd just let me lean against his neck, breathing in his wonderful scent. He'd lick my gloves until they were soaking wet and move on to my coat. He can really make me smile and laugh, which is what I needed more than ever.

We even had a pretty good ride Saturday night. I usually play with him during the day, but I was busy all day and wasn't working that night. So, I went out to play. I've done some night riding before a couple of years ago, but not lately. It's really different at night, but he was okay. We mostly worked on relaxation and softness. He's starting to make a habit of it and just keeps getting better. Towards the beginning of the ride, I asks him to go a little too strongly and he trotted off. I had two cones set up in the arena, so we just did some figure-8s around them. It was just really cool, feeling him settle into a nice trot and later, some nice upward transitions.

I'm just so lucky to have such a wonderful horse.

Sunday, March 20, 2011


We euthanized Todd this evening. Will write more; too sad now.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

A Hyper Horse and a Sick Cat

Well, Spring Break hasn't turned out like I wanted, but what else is new.

The high temperatures have turned the area into a wet, muddy, wet, goopy, wet, slimy, mess. Oh, and did I mention it's wet? There's no good place to play outside and the indoor at the farm is flooding. When I was up there on Thursday, it was almost half flooded. Which just sucks, since that's the only refuge. Once all the snow cover is gone, it'll dry up, but that could take a while. And what Royal and I need are some consistent sessions. Royal tends to lose emotional as well as physical fitness in the winter and that has to be built up too. Right now I've become very focused on relaxation under saddle, but it gets hard when I can only ride twice a month. So, not lots of progress right now.

And Todd, one of my cats, is sick. He suddenly lost weight and didn't want to hang with us. Usually he's very cuddly and affectionate, but he's been very stand-offish the last three days. I took him to the vet this morning, as it's extremely likely his kidneys are failing. The prognosis is guarded and it's possible he may return to normal. Right now, we're just trying to keep him quiet and comfortable. It's touch and go.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Horse Blogging #7- Your favorite ribbon won at a show and why

I haven't done much showing with Royal apart from two schooling shows, but my favorite one earned no ribbons. It was last year's Carriage House Schooling Show and we were very well prepared. I knew exactly how to calm Royal down and we had three pretty good 2' hunter rounds. I didn't stick around to find out if I won anything, but I didn't care if we did. The experience was enough.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Horse Blogging #6- All the tack and riding clothes you have (brand/color/other details)

Oh boy. Before we start, can I just say that I sell pretty much everything I no longer wear and I see all of this stuff as necessary in some way, shape or form? That being said, it's still a lot. So, here we go.


Royal blue halter
12-foot line
22-foot line
45-foot line
2 Carrot Sticks
Savvy String (this item is the one I've had to replace the most often. Royal has a tendency to chew them and the leather poppers can become brittle and break in the cold. I think I'm on my fifth)
Black Hackamore
Country brown snaffle bridle with Horseman's reins
Confidence (French-link) snaffle
2 sets of Finesse reins (having an extra has really come in handy)
C3 Cradle bit
Cradle headstall
Theraflex pad, English
Bareback pad, black
Dark Brown Fluidity Saddle

Dark brown Crown bridle
Myler Comfort Snaffle
Royal blue polo wraps
Royal blue Davis Splint boots, med and large
Royal blue Professional's Choice Ballistic Bell Boots
Black Eskadron Open Front and Ankle boots
Roma White Dressage saddle pad
Royal blue standing wraps
White No-Bow Wraps


F.I.T.S All Season Full Seat Breeches in Black, Sahara, and Expresso
Equissentials Full Seat in black with brown leather
Equissentials Full Seat Winter Arctics in black
Ariat paddock boots in black
Ariat Cameo half chaps in black
Ariat winter paddock boots in black
Tipperary Eventer Vest in black
Charles Owens AYR8 in black/black
Various T-shirts, sweatshirts, vests, and jackets.

I tend to like black because it goes with everything and I think it looks pretty classy. I've never really liked the look of brown tall boots and I think the brown would not look as sharp next to Royal. Not that I'm a fashionista or anything like that. I would make George Morris cry for days on end.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Horse Blogging #5- Your first fall

What a lovely subject. It was within the first six months I seriously started riding. I had been taking lessons at a saddleseat facility and was riding a new lesson horse. The horse was an excitable Morgan wearing a German martingale and a twisted snaffle. We'd been wrestling all lesson and when a horse kicked its stall wall, he freaked and bolted. Somehow during the course of my lesson, the girth had gotten loose, and the saddle slipped. I fell towards the rail and landed on my head just in time to see his hind hooves flying in front of my face. It was really scary and I will never forget it.

The instructor caught the horse, I brushed myself off, and got back on. I rode that horse again many times and was never scared of him. And I got a lesson in the emergency stop. Which has come in handy more that once.


Back to the present, it's Spring Break! And the weather is halfway decent so hopefully I'll have lots of playtime with the Fuzz.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

How Organic Chemistry Makes Me Feel Stupid - A Rant

Firstly, I will admit to a certain amount of intelligence on my part, though nawt alwais wif sppellllling. But Organic Chemistry has a special way of completely destroying that.

In 90% of my life, I feel like this:

The glasses and book indicate smartness.

But in Organic Chemistry, I feel like this:

Really truly stupid.

The worst part of it... wait, scratch that. There are many bad parts, the first is that REAL Organic Chemists(tm) have no sympathy for you. You ask a question about the preference for the meta substitution of nitronium with methyl benzoate and you get the "seriously?" look

"Your ignorance makes me a special kind of sad. I must cuddle a hundred kittens before I commit suicide because of you."

And your classmates, who breeze through the lab in half the time you do and get A's on everything, whilst flipping their hair and laughingly say that they only studied for an hour.

"You actually went to lecture? I just sleep on my book and the knowledge diffuses into my brain."

I really really really would like to think they're lying. That they spend all day feverishly pouring over the texts but I don't. The effortlessness with which they breeze through it all makes me realize they have It and I Don't. I can spend hours and hours studying, only to get to the tests and find my brain just isn't helping me out.

So, here I am. Struggling to understand what the hell I am actually doing while trying not to stab myself in the throat with a piece of glassware in lab. Maybe someday it will click, until then, I wear my stupid hat in Organic Chemistry.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Horse Blogging #4- A ride that impacted your life

I'm not sure what this means. Does it mean a ride that changed the course of your life? I suppose the Confidence Shattering Fall would fall into that category. My life was definitely not the same after that.

Horses did well for the vet. Royal had to get 4x the normal amount of sedation for his power float. And he still wasn't fully out, from the way he noticed every single time someone talked or a horse moved. Figures. That's why it can be so hard to get him to pay attention: he just always has to know what's going on.

Friday, March 4, 2011


We interrupt the Horse Blogging Challenge to bring you some photos of Royal's feet. Mani-pedi day was yesterday and both Royal and BJ did very well. I hope they continue that niceness tomorrow, because tomorrow the vet is coming out. Oh yes. It's the Worst Day of the Year, a.k.a. Teeth n' Sheath day. The happy drugs will be flowing and all sort of private areas will be messed with. The price we pay for being healthy I suppose.



The hind one turned out kind wonky since I was taking it in the arena with my cell phone. It looks like there's a dish in the wall, but I swear there isn't. I think it was most likely dirt.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Horse Blogging #3 - A video of your best riding

I've posted this before, but this is my L2 Freestyle audition from 2009. I think Royal and I have improved since then, but this was pretty good.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Horse Blogging #2- The last time you rode a horse and what you did

That would be a week ago Sunday and lots of partial disengagement. I'm trying to set the baseline early, so Royal makes a habit of being relaxed while under saddle, and we can start working on other things. It's no use trying to do anything with a tense Royal, because it's a fight the whole time and nothing gets accomplished. So, it's relaxation or bust.

He's starting to get it. The previous time I did PD with him, it took 30 minutes for him to do the Big Sigh and relax. This time, only 20 minutes, although I had to do a few short repeats when he tried to do the fast tense walk again. Patience, patience.