Excessive Heat Warning

In case I needed more reason to stick to my “no horse trials in July” rule with May, basically the entire state of KY is under an extreme heat warning from 2PM today THROUGH 8PM on SUNDAY. The heat alone is one thing, but look at the right hand column of this chart:

July Weather

So much UGH. I included Tuesday so that you can see what type of weather KY is actually capable of. Beautiful, reasonable 82 degrees with 50% humidity and a light breeze.

So what’s the plan for the weekend? Most of the barn is actually going to a horse trial at the Hoosier Horse Park (part of me is actually a bit jealous). So I am probably just going to get up early and get to the barn in the coolest part of the days. If it’s too hot, then we will just have to settle for light hack days and baths. Especially with a horse like May, I really don’t believe in pushing it.

Also, in case you all were worried, May was clearly not exhausted from her pro ride on Wednesday… as I got this text yesterday afternoon.

I swear… she waits until the barn is quiet for a while and then looks for ways to sneak out. I figure she went to check on Barbie and Lady, her friends that stay out all day, got a quick lunch out, and then headed back before realizing she couldn’t get back in the way she came. Oh mares.

 

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The Media I Didn’t Want To Get

Remember when we were all talking last week about how great it is to get media?

I do! So on Tuesday, I strapped my helmet cam to my helmet and set off for my jumping lesson. With a freshly dragged ring, a new course set up, and temps in the mid 50s, it should’ve been a perfect lesson.

In a lot of ways, it was. We jumped higher. I felt more confident, and I did a lot more jumping than I had been able to handle in my last lesson. Then we had a quick conversation where my trainer said, I just want you to do the grid one last time, so you can really nail that turn.

Sure! I thought. I also thought I had already turned off my helmet cam. Turned out, I had JUST turned it on… so the below is the only helmet cam footage I have of the whole lesson (other than a lot of talking):

Sooo what happened? I never got straight coming around the turn. May has a bad habit of falling through her outside shoulder and in my desperation to get a better distance to the first jump, I sacrificed my line. By the time we were over the first fence, we were already practically outside the grid.

May, bless her heart, tried to correct it, but she realized (as did I) that there was no saving it. She scrambled right and stopped, and I just went over her shoulder.

Hey May – The grid is over there!

I ended up asking my trainer to get on. She had never jumped May and has only ridden her once, so I think it was beneficial for both of us. Her thoughts? The right shoulder issue is a lot more prominent in the saddle than it looks from the ground, and I clearly have been compensating for May just blowing off my outside leg when turning left. (PREACH!)

She sorted it out, and I got back on so that she could teach me how to manage it. Three more times through the grid with good results, and we were done.

Today, I am bruised and sore. My elbow is skinned. But honestly? I kind of feel BETTER now that the “worst” has happened. I fell off because we made a mistake. I am fine. She is fine. And overall, we had a great jumping lesson. More on that soon!

GIF Name Game

After Hillary posted this fun name game… I just couldn’t resist doing it for May. Don’t worry, 2019 goals are coming but today needed a fun break kind of post.

Let’s start with the name May had when I met her… Krimpet. To be fair, she is totally a TatyKake

Krimpet
Epic Fail

mmmmmmmk. Great start. So Then I tried her show name when I got her: Too Many Cupcakes…

There is definitely some reference here I am missing… anyone watch Adult Swim and can fill me in?

Let’s just say… May is not the kind of mare to be shining rainbows and hearts out of her hooves…

Apparently, she was once even called Delilah:

I’ve seen this face from her many times….

Delilah was of course short for “Hey There Delilah”

A fat mare named Delilah… Poor girl…

So when I got May… in May… She got the name May… Yup, Super Original.

OMG WHY ISN’T HER SHOW NAME “It’s Gunna Be May!”… Missed that opportunity

Finally, we have May’s show name “May as Well”… and I had to laugh when I saw it:

First of all, I had many people try to correct me that the phrase is “Might as well” not “May as well”… but Might would have been a terrible name for this horse.

However, my favorite part is the fact that this GIF totally encompasses May’s thought process. If you’re not going to take charge, she will totally start making decisions for you.

Hope this was fun! Serious, 2019 Goals post is in the works!

Blog Hop: 25 Questions

Not a lot going on so far this week, so Amanda’s 25 Questions blog hop came at the absolute best time. Let’s get into it!

Why horses? Why not a sane sport, like soccer or softball or curling?

I dont think there has ever been a question of me doing anything else. Sure, I played soccer until high school and then a bit for fun in college. I played softball until middle school… I am sure I played a bunch of other random sports in between. (does marching band count?) However, I have always needed horses to keep me sane. Just ask the hubs.

What was your riding “career” like as a kid?

I guess my “kid” time can be broken into my experience at two different barns. One was a small barn, under a dozen horses. I did everything there from teach at summer camp to riding potential lesson horses. All the rules were broken when we hopped on horses straight off a truck from Mexico and jumped them over barrels in a round pen. Seriously…

DarlaI showed welsh ponies and cobs as a young jr. Typically they were really young 3 – 5. I helped break one or two of them. One I have kept tabs on, and he has gone on to show 3rd level dressage. Cool dude. One day, I will get myself a cob/thoroughbred or warmblood cross. If wishes were horses.

In my later teens, I rode at a hunter jumper barn. I went to exactly one A rated show, but I groomed at helped out at some of New York’s most classic h/j venues: HITS, Old Salem, etc. I still rode anything under the sun, but definitely also developed all the bad habits that come along with riding or unpredictable green horses. There was one horse that I rode on and off for almost 10 years. When I broke my hand, he was the one I got on first.

If you could go back to your past and buy ONE horse, which would it be?

Ugh Boo. Without a doubt, Boo. This is not my photo, nor me riding, so I blurred out the rider’s face. This was… many years ago, so before Facebook was a thing for high schoolers (or middle school?), no idea how old I was at the time.

Boo

Anyway, Boo was an  Irish Sport Horse. He is BY FAR the most athletic horse I have ever ridden. He was the type that, if you pointed him at the fence to stop, he would happily jump over it and just keep going. I wonder now what it would be like to ride him with all the tools I now have in my toolbox (and as an eventer).

I would love to own something like him now, but I doubt I would ever be able to afford it! I kept tabs on him for a bit after he left. He ended up owned by a vet in southern NJ.

What disciplines have you participated in?

Western Pleasure, English Pleasure, Pleasure Driving, Eventing, Hunter Jumpers, Dressage…

western

Most of my experience pre-late teens was more at generalist english barns.

What disciplines do you want to participate in some day?

Reining would be super cool. I think there is a barn around here.

Have you ever bought a horse at auction or from a rescue?

Nope. I have only ever owned 2 as an adult, and one as a kid.

What was your FIRST favorite horse breed – the one you loved most as a kid?

Welsh Cobs. Hands down.

If you could live and ride in any country in the world, where would it be?

Probably Germany. I used to speak fluent German, and I just love the country. The UK would be a close second. img_4053

Do you have any horse-related regrets?

I’ve stayed at a few barns longer than I should’ve. I also regret not being able to put as much time and training into May and myself as I have wanted to the past couple of years. We should be going Novice, but now I am not sure that we will get there together.

If you could ride with any trainer in the world, ASIDE from your current trainer, who would it be?

Right now? Mary Wanless. I think bio-mechanics would make a big difference in some challenges I have had in all three phases.

What is one item on your horse-related bucket list?

A traditional 3 day event format. Even at BN, I think it would be an incredible learning experience.

If you were never able to ride again, would you still have horses?

Honestly, I am not sure. I would probably still be involved in horses, and May wouldn’t go anywhere. But horses can be incredibly emotionally draining.

What is your “biggest fantasy” riding goal?

Right now? Training level hahahaha. Although, one day I will probably switch to pure dressage.

What horse do you feel like has taught you the most?

My horse life has always been kind of a collage of horses. I could say Sport – the broken down quarter horse who was so terrified on cross ties that he visibly shook the first time I worked with him. He turned into a very dependable 2′ horse.

Buddy3

I could say my friend’s horse Henry, who was by far the best trained horse I have ever sat on. I should probably say the horse I owned before May. He taught me a lot about myself, my passion, and how to let go of something that just isn’t working.

If you could change one thing about your current horse/riding situation, what would it be?

I would have more time and money…. Isn’t that true for everyone? hahaha

If you could compete at any horse show/venue in your home country, where would it be?

The Kentucky Horse Park is still on my wish list. Hopefully, I can make it a reality in 2019!

If you could attend any competition in the world as a spectator, what would be your top choice?

Burghley.

Have you ever thought about quitting horses?

Yes. Many times. My original plan was to sell my previous horse and take a break before going shopping again. The universe had other ideas.

If you could snap your fingers and change one thing about the horse industry, what would it be?

Everyone would be more concerned about horse welfare than money and fame.

What’s the dumbest horse-related thing you’ve done that actually turned out pretty well?

Hah… buying May. I am amazed everyday I ride her at how cool she has become.

As you get older, what are you becoming more and more afraid of?

I want to say jumping, but I am not sure that is true. I have been so out of practice with my jumping that it is not fair to say that fear is growing with age. I would have to say now that it is probably riding horses that I am unfamiliar with. I used to climb on EVERYTHING and ANYTHING. (how about some REALLY old video for fun… you probably want the sound off)

What horse-related book impacted you the most?

Go ahead and laugh, but I don’t really read/listen to horse books. And I read A LOT. So… Black Beauty?

What personality trait do you value most in a horse and which do you dislike the most?

I really like a thinking horse. I am not sure everyone does, but I want my horse to give me their opinion. It tells me they are engaged and actively thinking in their work, even if I don’t always appreciate their opinions.

I cannot stand horses that want to hurt their rider. If you have never been on one, count your lucky stars. I got on a friend’s horse one day. He was incredibly talented, but I rode him halfway around the arena and a walk and then got off.

What do you love most about your discipline?

I would love to say that I love that no one cares what horse you’re riding, that it is more about ability than aesthetics. But honestly? It’s not really true in eventing. SURE, no one cares if you are riding a thoroughbred vs. a warmblood, but I have definitely gotten some disparaging comments about May.

So I will say that I love the challenge. I love that I am competing against myself. My goals are independent of those around me and directly related to things I can control. And ride times. I LOVE ride times.

What are you focused on improving the most, at the moment?

Strength and fitness. Officially down 15.5 lbs (don’t laugh, I am proud of that .5) and definitely starting no stirrup november tonight.

Ain’t Nothin But A Barn Dog

A lot of us talk about our horses all the time, and many times, our dogs come up. I have mentioned mine here and there, but I figured it was about time to devote a whole post to her. Hold on to your hats people, because there are A LOT of pictures.

Hannah (AKA Hannah Montana) is an 8 year old, Blue Heeler mix that the husband rescued from the shelter as a puppy.

Hannah.jpg

Do not let that face fool you. Apparently, this girl was… not a good puppy. How bad was she? Well, apparently she refused to be house trained… or crate trained. She thought the best use of a crate was to contain all of your poop and pee, so you can roll in it. Fun stuff.

How did Matt house train her? He threw her out with the goats for a while. Somehow this worked, and Hannah has turned into a really wonderful dog. When she met my grandmother, she was so excited that she ran up to my grandma… She must have immediately realized that her usual exhuberant greeting wouldn’t be appropriate, and she sat down in front of my grandma. Her whole body was shaking with excitement, but she didn’t dare jump up or bump into her. She just waited patiently for her pets.

She has met May a few times, and used to come to my barn in NJ regularly. My trainer at the time brought her two dogs almost everyday, but they were older, female, and (mostly) calmer. They got along great with Hannah, and Matt was able to come with me when we brought her. While May is great with dogs and Hannah is mostly good with horses, she doesn’t really appreciate me riding. She is very concerned for my safety and will whine as I ride past, especially at the canter.

IMG_2724

The first barn I was at in KY didn’t allow outside dogs, although she came by once when I had to make an early morning run to treat May’s eye before we drove to Kansas.

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Road trip time! #kansasbound #love4oleary

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She has not been to the new barn. Although the new barn is dog friendly, Hannah is… a wimp. How much of a wimp? She has been attacked at least twice since I have known her. Why? Because if a dog comes bounding towards her, wanting to play, she will cower and roll over and tell the world that she is a wimp. Soooo she gets attacked.

Let’s face it, she was the star of our engagement pics.

While the dogs at the new barn are very sweet, I think it just would be too much for Hannah. Last night, there were 6 or 7 dogs at the barn. They ranged from a big chow mix from next door to a small pug and from basically puppies to much older dogs. Just too overwhelming for poor Hannah, who really likes being an only dog with her own yard.

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Even Hannah is excited to finally see spring! #dogsofinstagram

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What about you? Do you have a dog (or other non-horse pet), and do they make it to the barn?

The Joys of Owning a Smart Horse

I have ridden/trained/dealt with MANY fairly dumb horses in the 20+ years I have been riding. And I love dumb horses. These horses took patience and repetition to truly teach them concepts, but once learned, those lessons were set in stone. Teach a dumb horse to ground tie, and it could be scared out of its wits and wouldn’t move an inch.

Now, I do not own a dumb horse. I own a very smart mare. I didn’t really think horses could deeply reason or scheme or really PLAN until I met this mare. A mare that could learn the rules, and learn when she can break them. Case and point.

This weekend, my sister and dad were in town. My sister and I decided to take a quick trip to the barn to pet May/feed her cookies/ pick her feet. Almost the whole barn was at one of the last horse trials of the year, so I knew things would be fairly quiet.

We showed up to the barn, and we walked towards my trunk to grab some treats and a hoof pick.

What did we see? This face… looking rather put out at being caught in what is (definitely) not her stall. Fully in the stall. No food in there. No chain up. Just hanging out.

Notice – she picks the stall with pretty ribbons on it.

My sister, who has spent a lot of time around horses as a kid, immediately starts looking around for a halter. “Don’t worry about it,” I tell her. “She knows where she’s supposed to be.”

My horse loves me… right? LOL

So we start walking towards her stall and… she comes with us. Face full of all her opinions about it.

I opened the chain to her stall. The chain is still up. She doesn’t do this with brute force. She weasels her way under the chain…. and only when the barn is empty for a significant amount of time. Maybe she has figured out my trainer’s normal schedule and knows when things are “off”. I have no idea.

Either way, she was quite put off when we closed and secured her lower door. She even gave my sisters a snort when she told her to “be good”. This mare…

So… anyone have any recommendations for a stall guard? Doesn’t need to hold up to a horse leaning on it. Just needs to keep her from going under it.

Also – a friend of a barn friend is coming out tomorrow to give May a try. She just sold her horse and moved to the area, so she is looking for something to ride without taking on full horse ownership. Fingers crossed!