Friday, July 21, 2017

A Day All About The Ponies

    Yesterday was farrier and vet day for the ponies.  Penny and Indy both had a reset and Valley had a trim. Penny did the rare and special move of twisting her back shoe last week so I took it off when I noticed the night she came in with it.  No harm was done though, her feet are looking better than ever.  Indy's feet are looking great too.  They are massive though, for a Thoroughbred.  I swear they weigh like 15lbs each.  It's really super fun to cork this horse at events (not) LOL.  He took a bit more off the toes to hopefully help with his forging.  He pretty much always over reaches, still need to learn how to move those front legs out of the way quicker. Big ol sherman tank legs.

practicing my Breyer horse face

 Valley was of course a perfect angel to do.  Her feet which were rather flat before are now starting to grow up and gain some heel. Yay!  She is such a good girl, every day she just amazes me with how quiet and willing she is. She stood completely still for the farrier like she has done it all her life.  Good baby horse.

 After the farrier left I waited for the vet who was doing part 2 of the horses annual vaccs.  I also opted to try putting Indy on some injectable Polyglycan after discussing the benefits with my dressage coach and vet.  Although Indy is perfectly sound and comfortable, this product is said to help lubricate the joints without having to inject them.  It also has the ability to go wherever needed in the horse, so if his knees need it he will benefit there.  Indy also suffers from sleep deprivation at times, so at night he is always fully bandaged but he still sometimes falls on his knees.  He has been a lot better since being at the new place, but there are still days on end when he doesn't lay down to sleep.  I am hoping this will help keep his legs healthy and feeling good into his teen years.  After racing 77 times, I think he deserves a little lube in the joints.

mad because I wouldn't let him bite me

Miss perfect Valley Rocana

  Poor Penny was terrified to get her needle.  After being sick last year and then getting her mouth worked on a lot last month, she took one look at the vet and hid in the corner of her stall.  When we went in she tried to hide behind her haynet and got her head stuck in it LOL.  Thankfully my vet is so great with the horses.  She just gave her some soft pats and talked to her and then she stood for her needle.  After Penny was like "oh, that's it?".  It was pretty comical.  Indy and Valley were both standard track horses getting their needles, didn't even flinch.  The vet was in and out in ten minutes.

baby horse too tall to see Indy

  After the morning of pampering the ponies (or torturing depending if you are talking to me or them), we had a good rain shower so I turned them out for the day sans fly sheets.  A beautiful warm rainy day to be naked.  The rain didn't last too long though, so fly sheets were back on and then I got the text from my mom that we were in fact, doing hay tonight. OH JOYS.  The bad news is I had to do hay for the second day in a row.  The good news is my mom gave me a truck load of hay for helping her. Yay!

this is like, 1/8th of what we did

a classy bunch

  The horses have today off, tomorrow I take Penny for a jump lesson at 9 and then cross country schooling with Indy in the afternoon.  Should be a fun day with the redheads.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Jump Lesson with Indy July 18 2017

  Last night I took Indy for a jump lesson at my coach Ricks place, Winters End.   Indy has turned out to be a careful and brave jumper, but racing for 7 years has left him heavy on the forehand and not really sure how to move his front legs up and get under himself behind.  True story about Indy - when I first started riding him he wouldn`t go over a pole.  It took me, probably two or three weeks before he would go over them first time.  He literally had no clue how to LIFT his legs.  It was hilarious at the time and I was pretty sure he wouldn`t be much of a jumper.  Just shows what I know!

  I asked Rick if we could work on course work as I want to upgrade to Entry level for our next event (2`9-3`1 courses).  Indy, is the polar opposite of Penny under saddle. He`s more of a push ride and I have never, in my life had one of those.  It is an adjustment for me to learn how to ride him, and not over- or under ride him.  I also wanted to do some schooling for his ditchiness and Rick set up an awesome fake ditch for me in his home made devils dyke.

  We started the lesson working on my position.  My hands have become the bane to my existence this year.  Every single person I ride with and my regular coaches are all on the war path to fix them, and I am sooo glad they are because I obviously want to make my riding the best I possibly can.  Rick had me ride with soft, following hands, with very little contact.  Held close together and just above the pommel on the saddle.  Concentrating on keeping my neck in the back of my collar, my toes up, and being as still but following as possible.  We started through trot poles in two point and moved onto a waiting line of two cavalettis.  Indy went through beautifully, and I stayed out of his face to his enjoyment.

  We then moved onto a single vertical and focused on the same thing.  Rick had me get into my jumping position from the walk before my canter transition.  This is to ensure I don`t upset the balance and have to waste time rearranging things once cantering.  I use this at home and shows and I find it really helps the quality of the canter right off the bat.  Indy cantered down to the  single verticle, patted the ground and jumped nie and round and cracked his back over the fence.  We did it several times back and forth with the same feeling, working on me staying out of his way and sitting up nicely with my chest up and hands soft.  I have never felt Indy jump quite so well, so it was clear the exercise was working.

 From there we moved onto course work.  We concentrated on my position and not interfering too much with Indy, getting him to the right spot before the fence where he can best use his back.  Rick is very adamant about jumping your horse correctly, so they learn how to use their body and also to get the most out of your horses jump.  Indy was very steady, easy to ride to the fences and jumping very straight and up and over them.  I was really pleased.  The other issue we worked on was Indy pulling down onto his forehand.  He likes to grab the bit sometimes and do this as a habit from his racing days.  He finds it easier to go forward this way.  I make the issue worse by stiffening my hands and pulling.  Instead of this, Rick told me to follow his mouth with soft elastic elbows, and simply raise my hands gently.  Voila, he instantly picks his head up.  Add leg help him balance and that pretty much eliminates that as much as is possible for him at the moment.

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 To finish the lesson off, we jumped the make shift ditch on the grass of the jumping ring.  Using the same technique, he popped right over without a look.  We did this a few more times at trot and canter and called it a night.  It was a great lesson.  Indy was his usual hard trying self.  I was dripping in sweat after, and feeling confident about our upcoming upgrade.

  Next up, jumping lesson on Penny on Saturday, and cross country schooling with Indy in the afternoon.

Monday, July 17, 2017

What`s new with Indy

The last I wrote about Indy was one of my last posts before my hiatus. This post I talk about how I 
came to get Indy, and how a free horse isn't really free.  After this post, I spent a good three months battling an abscess that had encapsulated his entire hoof.  One afternoon in my daily soak, poke, and wrap, the poke led to about 3 liters of blood pouring out of the bottom of his foot.  Good times, good times.  With a lot of hard work and dedication, we got that abscess cleared up!  I gave Indy the winter off following that summer, so he didn't really do anything until the following spring (2016) aside from a little ride here and there.  He was feeling like a whole new horse after the time off and I was excited to get working with him.

 Since I haven't really blogged about Indy before, I will tell you all about him.  Indy is 11 this year (same age as Penny).  He stands a thick 16.2, and is pretty much perfectly put together.  He is not only gorgeous to look at (total horse hunk), he is probably the most amazing horse I have ever met in his mind.  He has by far, the best work ethic I have ever seen.  If you show him something once, he has it down and tries harder each time you try it again.  He is quiet as can be.  He never spooks.  He doesn't do anything wrong, ever.  Well except maybe kick his stall if you are late for breakfast.  That is pretty much the only unacceptable thing to Indy.  Also, he is obsessed with Penny. Like, stalker fan girl. But that's OK. If his only flaw is loving Penny too much, well, join the club Ind.

 Indy was the first horse I rode after breaking my leg.  In a western saddle, and a leg cast, I taught lessons on his back, and hacked around the property. He never wavered. Never a foot wrong.  Just totally taking care of me.  I have never in my life been lucky enough to own a horse that was so well minded, that I could pull him out of a field, only track broke, and ride around with a broken leg and not have a care in the world.  He is truly one of a kind.

Don't tell my DR

Western poneh

  In the fall of last year after getting my cast off, I was having major horse withdrawal.  I started riding him a bit, and also had Bri start him over some cross rails to get him going.  I decided I would take him to an event at the end of season, just starter level and see what happens.  After about 60 days training tops over the course of a year - we went - and finished on our dressage score to place 8th out a big division.   I was ecstatic!  Indy sat outside the rings, watching the other horses.  For each division, I could see him sizing up the competition.  Looking at the others, seeing what job he was supposed to be doing. He knew he was there to perform, he just didn't know WHAT he was performing yet.  I could feel his heart racing through the saddle but he never once showed any sign of excitement or stress.  I guess that's what makes the difference in a winning racehorse.

  After his first event, we did an unsanctioned event at Entry level (BN) and had another great day. We had a run out at a big brush fence that was entering the woods and I just don't think he even saw what it was.  The brush was 3'6 behind which was a bit crazy for Entry but he jumped it second attempt no problem. We finished that event in 8th also.  We did one last event, at Will O Wind farm, and we finished on our dressage score to place 3rd in a large group with all the pro riders.  I was over the moon!  This horse was showing mass potential with what little training he had and also my leg only half working.

That's right ladies...satin

  Over the winter we concentrated on dressage.  I didn't ride a whole lot this winter although I did manage to keep him going fairly consistently.  With moving farms my life was a bit hectic to say the least.  By spring we were getting a lot more consistent rides in, and we completed two horse trials this spring, both at the Pre-Entry level, where he finished on his dressage score to place 2nd, and win the last event.  Needless to say, he has caught onto this eventing thing quite well and seems to be loving it.

  We are looking toward the big upgrade to Entry level (he he) in the next few weeks.  He is still unsure of ditches, so I want to solidify that before we enter another event.  He will go over them but wants to stop and look for a bit first. No sense in wasting his legs until he is %100 confident over them.  In the meantime we are doing a lot of dressage, schooling, and jump lessons.

 It is uncertain how far Indy will be able to progress in eventing. With 77 starts he has had a long hard life already.  I will continue with him until he let's me know he is no longer happy.  He owes me nothing, I am just forever grateful to have this reliable, talented, fun, and sweet horse to wake up to every day.

2nd place at Cherrylane Horse Trials

Winner at Ottawa Horse Trials

Friday, July 14, 2017

What's new with Miss Pen

    Writing out that last post effected me more than I thought it would.  It is good to know because the rest of story of the saga of 2016 gets a lot more intense so I think it will take some time to get it all out here.  Writing is incredibly therapeutic though, it helps you work through your thoughts and emotions in a way that talking about it or thinking about it can not.  At least that is my experience.  Anywho, just thought I would give an update on what all my ponies have been up to since I was last here. 

  In 2016 as some of you know, I broke my leg very badly.  I will share that story another time I'm sure, but it left me out of the saddle for almost the entire year last year.  I was really hoping 2016 could be "our year", but you know how it goes when you make plans with horses!  It pretty much always turns to shit.  LOL.

  A few days before I broke my leg I picked up a new Thoroughbred mare who I named Veronica.  She is now living at my moms and being trained for the RRP.  I only have room for three at my new place, and I guess Ronnie hit the jack pot and got the OK to live at my moms beautiful farm.  To cut this story short Ronnie sliced her bum open very badly the first week she was at my old place and needed something like 17 stitches and a drain.  The vet was there every other day looking after the wound and since I was laid up with a busted leg - my boarders and friends also took turns cleaning it.

  The week after that, Penny got a strange virus and became very, very ill.  She was very lethargic, stiff, but still eating and no temperature.  The vet had thought Potomac but I was sure it was lymes. I have seen Potomac before and it just didn't look the same.  She was hooked up with an IV and monitored closely every day.  I was already an emotional mess from the beginning of the year, and the thought of losing Penny was devastating.  I cried so much in the spring of last year I doubt I will ever cry again lol.

cast off - being a groom and coach for Penny and Bri
  It turned out to be a tick borne virus, but not lymes.  She made a full recovery, and seemed to be feeling better than ever after.  Mid summer my boarder and sometimes student Bri started riding her to keep her going for me.  She took her to a few events at the Entry (BN) level and they had some good outings.  I thought it would be a good experience for Bri to do her first recognized event on a horse that was confident and fun.  There is nothing like eventing a horse that you never have to worry about whether they will go over the jumps or not!  Penny was unreal for Bri.  Her dressage was not great but that was to be expected as she is not the easiest ride in the first place and Bri at the time was just learning what it was to have connection with a horse.  But watching Penny show Bri the ropes of eventing while I was a gimp was what I needed that summer.  I realized just how special Penny was.  She was always amazing to me, but this just made her that much more amazing.

bit of a long one - just the way she likes it!

She's perfect

well deserved !

  I didn't ride her at all in 2016 after my cast was off. I considered it but my leg was still very weak and I figured it would be better to just give her some time off to relax and be a horse, with the goal in mind of 2017 being "our year".  I am now finally strong enough to ride her, and we have been going back to work slowly.  She has had a lot of work done to her mouth, and she is a much happier horse in her flat work.  We are working away at our dressage and not planning on anything until we can improve that.  I was going to add about our trip to Little Bromont but this post is already long enough so I will save that for another day.

 So although it is half way through the season, I am hoping we can have some good outings in the fall, aiming at Training Three Day, and a Prelim upgrade next year.

schooling the Prelim out of the water with Bri

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Thursday, July 13, 2017

The Saga of 2016 - Part 1: The Seperation

  I'm not going to fluff around, I will get right into what my life has been like over the last year and a half.  I will try and split up the posts from keeping things a bit too intense here. Technically this started before 2016, but it seems that 2016 was the culmination of all things awful for me.  Kind of like hitting absolute rock bottom before you can turn around and grow.  So Part 1 really starts in 2015.  Mid to late 2015.  This is about my personal life so if that doesn't interest you then don't read any further.  Part of my blogging is for therapeutic purposes, so please don't judge me for putting it all out there open and honestly.  It's something that I need to do.  There is some uncomfortable content, so please skip this post if you have triggers about abusive relationships.  I hope to get some closure, and if it helps someone out there who needs to hear they aren't alone, even better.

   I was married in 2010.  It started out as a happy marriage, but in all honesty it wasn't happy for long.  Being a lifelong horsewoman, I was adamant about being with someone who was supportive and understanding about the horses.  I was sure to make sure that the person I married also wanted a farm, and the lifestyle along with it.  He exclaimed time and time again it was what he wanted...and so we got married, thinking we wanted the same things, but he lied.  To himself and to me.  He didn't want any part of that life, and wanted me to leave it behind too.  He underestimated what it meant to me to be immersed in my passion, and that it was really the only life I knew, and wanted. I had worked my whole life for this life. I was not about to let it go.

  We fought like crazy after the first year or two.  It was horrible.  People fight, but the fights got worse over time.  I was never a name caller.  I have always been a really positive person, always believed life was what you make it.  Being with him for so long started to suck the life right out of me.  I fell depressed.  I was lost.  Riding was the only thing that kept me going in the first few years, which of course made things worse.

  He belittled me.  He called me names.  He told me I was stupid. He told me I would never ever ride at the level I wanted.  He told me my dreams were ridiculous and unrealistic. I remember one day I asked him what he wanted in life, how he could find happiness and he asked me the same. When I told him I wanted to publish a book, he literally laughed in my face and told me that would "never happen in this life time".  I had already been published writing a few articles for horse magazines at this point. It wasn't really a far fetched idea.  It was that day I started to realize this person was never going to be my partner, nor did he believe in me whatsoever or care about my happiness.

  I kept trying to make things work.  I suggested therapy to help him find his happiness.  He blamed me and the horses.  It was all our fault. The work, the cost, the lifestlye.  Meanwhile, I did all the work.  I paid for the horses entirely myself.  He knew what he married.  It wasn't going to change. He constantly would pick apart my horses.  Ask me why I keep riding this one or that one because they are crap and never going to win.  I remember when I brought Indy home, and he was very body sore and lame and he said "should have just dropped him right off at the slaughter house. What a piece of shit that horse is.  Why wouldn't you get one that is young is sound!".  The sad thing is it never phased me.  I was so used to this verbal abuse it just slid off like butter.

  Things got worse after 3-4 years.  He was away a lot with work (Military) and I was home alone taking care of the horses, farm, and working full time.  It was lonely.  He wouldn't keep contact consistently.  He was unreliable.  When he came home he would ignore me for days and then get totally shit face drunk.  I wouldn't say he was an alcoholic but he was an absolute terrible drunk.  He would get wasted and then it would start.  Screaming at me. Following me around.  I used to lock myself in the bedroom and crank the tv up as loud as possible to block out his abusive tirades.  He would accuse me of cheating on him. Loving the horses more than him.  Tell me I was a stupid cunt, useless. That I would never have that farm if it weren't for him.  The list goes on and on.  One night I was downstairs trying to get away from him. He grabbed me by the throat and pinned me against the wall and screamed in my face.  I remember it vividly because I didn't even cry.  I remember just thinking, "at least if you hurt me, I will have a reason to end this".  

  But I didn't.  I just kept living my life.  We are told to never give up on marriage.  I wanted it to work. I believed he was depressed and needed help, but what I have learned is you can not help someone who does not want it. No matter how much you care about them or love them. Nothing you say or do will get the message across.  They need to want it on their own.  In our 5th year of marriage he was away for about 8 months.  During this time, I realized I could manage a farm on my own, and how much happier I was alone.  When he returned home, he planned a three week vacation back east with his family.  I begged him to stay with me.  I was exhausted from being alone in the worst winter ever.  I wanted to work things out, spend some time together.  I cried and cried and asked him to just please stay and spend some time with me but he just shrugged his shoulders and left.  I will never forget that moment.  It was pretty much around this time I lost all motivation to write, and I left this blog.

  Not long after, my friend gave me a ticket to see Chris Hadfield (Canadian Astronaut) with her.  He was doing a symposium on life in our town.  He was so absolutely inspiring that I couldn't get his words out of mind.  You only have one chance here.  You only get one life, after that, nothing. Don't spend your time miserable. Don't spend your time, not doing what makes you happy.  It was an epiphany for me.  As awful as it is to say, I used to think I could stay with my husband because it was easier than starting over.  I had everything else I ever wanted in life. The farm, the horses, my job, friends, etc.  I could live without love.  But I realized I couldn't live without doing what I truly deserved for myself.  I deserved to be happy. We all do. I deserved to be with someone who loved me, respected me, and treated me the way I would treat them.  No farm, no horses, nothing was worth living in the hell I was enduring.  So when he returned from work again for the last time, I told him to pack his bags, and get the fuck out.

  He begged me, cried, pleaded he would change.  He tried everything.  There was no way my mind was changing after this.  I had decided I needed a new life, without him, no matter how scary it would be starting over.  And it was scary, but it was also incredibly freeing.  Things did not get better from there.  It was the start of a massive downhill spiral in my life, but it was the journey I needed to go on, to get to here.  We separated shortly after this, and although the paperwork is not quite finalized on our divorce, it's just a few weeks off.  It will be nice to end that chapter in my life once and for all.  

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

New life, new blog name

 Hey guys.  I'm back.  Not sure if you are still here...if you are, thank you.  If you left, well you can't read this but no hard feelings.  I have written on this blog for what seems like forever.  I have left a few times and came back and I guess this is another one of those instances.  I thought about starting a whole new blog but meh - why bother.  This is my life, there is a lot of good history here and hopefully a lot of good to come in the future.  So I just wanted to say "Hey".  I'm back.

  I've changed the name of the blog to Boss Mare Eventing.  It's not my business or anything like that, just a fun brand I made for myself and the ponies because - we live in a day of social media and I also really wanted to have a reason to get personalized plates that say "BOSSMARE". hehe.   So this blog is now the home to the stories of Boss Mare Eventing.  This includes me, and my three OTTBs, and three some Guinea Pigs and a Hedgehog lol.

  There is a lot to tell about what I have been up to in the last year and a half, and some of it isn't pretty.  A lot of it is down right horrible actually, but in the end there is a lot of light, and that is what has me back wanting to write again.  I have really missed writing, and I feel really good about being able to put my thoughts down once again.

  Without getting into too much, I will say that I have moved to a new, much smaller, less fancy farm.  I am down to three horses; Penny, Indy, and Valley.  I will share more about all that later, for now I will leave you with some pics of my guys at our new place, Pretty Little Farm.

Mojo and Stevie Nicks

Miss Pen

probably my fav thing at the new farm - the big Willow tree


my new girl Valley

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Nuthin' But A Dirty ol' Snowman Happening

  You can see from the pictures...not much happening here.  It snowed today...and it stayed on the ground.  It's still cold.  The snow is melting in the slowest possible way.  I might be going a little insane if I can't get riding more soon.

  Nicoles brother took the opportunity to build a snowman here.  After Dirk had a little grooming, we went over to investigate.

that is Canadian sexy horse gear right can't find that shit at Dover..Kentucky Wildcats reppin'

you wanna piece of me?

such a suck now!

what, no nose??

  That was actually snowman #2, Ozzy saw the first one, darted out of the barn and destroyed him in about 2 seconds flat.

Winter, you can get the hell out anytime now.  Anyone down South want to get married so I can move?  Hanging on by a thread...signed frozen and alone in Canada.

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