Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Moving two towns down

Alas, the time has come for our temporary evacuation home to get its stalls back. Our barn is leaving on the 1st.

The vast majority of the barn is moving to a very well appointed equestrian center with lush stalls and lots of amenities. A few outliers, including myself, cannot work that option for various reasons. For me, its the price of board. Their cheapest option was a 30% increase from previous. Haggling brought it down some, but it would still be a stretch and the lady seemed rather put out by my need of affordable boarding. I'd rather go to a place that welcomes my business rather than begrudges me for it.

Spirit's owner and I are honing in on our future boarding facility. I need to stay close to my trainer, and be centrally located to where I and my close friend live. We have a few options we're looking into. Too bad we only have 3 days left to figure it out... I've been loosing sleep over it! At least I can say that it will all be said and done by the weekend.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

"A horse ain't yours till you...Fall Off!"

I don't remember who told me that "a horse ain't yours 'till ya fall off 3 times," but I always have liked the saying. Maybe thats because I've always liked spirited horses. Anyway, I had my first fall off of Spirit the other night at my first dressage lesson at our temporary new home. She was a little prancy and high strung walking to the lovely dressage court which we'd never been to before. She thought everything near the sides of the rails were spook-worthy, but she was actually settling down quite nicely when she gave a little back hump then, before I knew it, she bucked her back legs straight up into the sky (a trait she gets from her sire, I'm told) and I topple right over her face. Then I get dragged a little bit by one stirrup and get a nice sand wedgie. She ran around, gave a few snorts, then let us catch her. I put her in the round pen hoping to get a few more bucks or kicks out of her, but no, she always gets down to work when longing or free longing (which is something I really like about her actually). So I hopped back on and proceeded to have a lovely dressage lesson.

Saturday, March 19, 2011


Yesterday morning our boarding facility was struck by disaster - a landslide!
 All 63 horses were immediately evacuated as corrals were getting crumpled by the moving mountain. The entire facility is red-tagged by the Fire Department. Cause is still being investigated, though it is believed to be due to improper irrigation and planting practices by an orchard.

The horses have been moved to a neighboring barn, a very upscale facility. Spirit is enjoying her lovely diggs.
Yep. She had shavings all over her by the time I got there to check on things. Obviously she settled right in. Plus my trainer said she was a perfectly level-headed lady during all the chaos.

There's a silver lining in every raincloud, and staying at this nice facility is like an unplanned horsie vacation! Myriad arenas, perfectly groomed. Lovely huge stalls with mats and amazing views. We'll be here for at least a week or two, so hopefully I can find all of my tack in the jumble and get some good rides in!

Friday, March 11, 2011

Progress just in time for Daylight Savings

Spirit and I have been having some fantastic rides lately. We're learning new things, getting stronger, and figuring out how to multi-task better. We had an awesome lesson last night in our jump saddles (though it was a flat lesson) where we worked with and without stirrups, from two-point to light three-point to full seat transitions. I can't wait to practice, practice, practice! To top it all off, we've got Daylight Savings tomorrow! That means that I'll be able to jump during the week and won't have to tack up and ride in the dark. I love sunlight. Especially sunset sunlight.

Unfortunately, we've been backsliding in terms of etiquette in the cross ties. Spirit may have developed too much muscle in her rear end, as she is going hay-wild with rearing! Sure, she used to do some mock-rears, where she lifted both front feet up but didn't really lift her body. But the last two times I've tacked her up when she's alone in the crossties, and she's been downright dangerous! The first time was when it was raining and super dark, so I wrote it off to bad weather and didn't make a huge fuss. But the second time, it was fairly light out still. Soothing voice didn't help, small smacks with my hand didn't help. Finally I had to get out a whip and some treats and be particularly dramatic with both the negative and positive reenforcement and that definitely helped. She doesn't do it if there's horses next to her in the crossties, so my trainer hasn't really seen this behavior yet. Hopefully I'll fix it before too long.

Friday, March 4, 2011


My amateur-ness will be on full display here... I am absolutely giddy to be heading to Twin Rivers in Paso Robles tomorrow to watch some of the horse trials! I've only seen one other horse trials (Shepherd Ranch in Santa Ynez), and I can't wait to watch! We've got the best sport ever - how can baseball and basketball possibly compare? Why aren't there thousands of people showing up to horse trials to watch? 

Good luck to my barn mates and their horses Kelly & Finn, Jordan & Honor, and Ashley & Brodie! You're so inspirational. :)

Monday 3/7/11 Update:  IT WAS AWESOME!!!!!  First of all, congratulations to Kelly, Jordan, and Ashley! Not only did all three of them have amazing rides and some personal bests, but they were incredibly competitive amongst so much great competition! It was so motivating to watch you!

This weekend really made my heart flutter with excitement and anticipation to get out there and do this myself. It looked so challenging and so much fun, and I really enjoyed being part of such a fun barn. I've been dreaming about it - night and day! I kept looking around at the courses thinking "these people must be crazy!"  and I can't wait to be one of them!

Beautiful Twin Rivers! I'll ride here someday...

Nevermind on those schooling shows...

Unfortunately, both schooling shows were rained out. So much for jumping right into our competitive season! The worst part is that the venue has not yet announced replacement dates, and our other local eventing venue doesn't have anything until May! My trainer and I are trying to figure out some other options - once something is lined up I'll post it here, make some goals, and hopefully kick off 2011 officially!

Meanwhile, though, let me present to you a typical horse riding night for myself:
Yep. Darkness.
I get off of work at 5:30, and it takes 30 minutes to get to the barn, so its 6 pm by the time I show up. At this time of year, that means darkness and freezing cold. If you can see her, the grey mare is Spirit on the right, and on the left you can barely make out her paddock-mate, a chestnut and white Paint mare named Maui (also in training for eventing), who actually turns out to be Spirit's half-sister! Small world. Anyway, high-five to everyone else who braves the darkness for their riding. I am so blessed to be at a facility that has some lights, and a trainer who is willing to come back to work late.

I've had two dressage lessons this week, and I'm feeling really good. We're on a roll. Our second lesson was even in the rain, so my trainer and I get extra kudos for being hardcore. Okay, okay - it was more drizzly than raining. But it was dark!