Tuesday, December 24, 2019

Merry Christmas from Boss Mare Eventing

  Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! From the mares and I here at Boss Mare Eventing.

the struggle is real lol

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Hoofin' It

basically perfect angel

  With all this crazy wet spring weather it was bound to happen.  Hoof issues rearing their ugly heads.  My horses have not suffered from abscesses since I got Indy 3 years ago.  Penny rarely loses a shoe.  But here I am, Emmy with two really bad abscesses in her front feet, and Penny lost her front left and back right tonight.  Her remaining hind is hanging on by a thread.  The farrier is coming out Friday, that's the earliest he could get here.  She's only 5 weeks off her last reset.

There has just been so much rain.  Their paddock at my parents is actually pretty dry, but theres a muddy deep spot right by the shed and they like to hang out there, of course.  Her feet are growing like crazy with the good grass and wet weather.  What can you do? She's been wearing bell boots on all fours but you know, shit happens.

  Poor Emmy was so sore when I got to the barn a few days ago.  I knew right away it was an abscess.  Poor thing has them in both fronts.  Granted it was to be expected, she was so thin when I got her, the change in diet, turnout, footing, and farrier work has just created the perfect storm.  I have been soaking her, poultice, and wrapping her daily.  She has even been staying in because she was in she much pain she could hardly walk.  I gave her some bute along with the wrapping she has had a drastic improvement.  The abscesses surfaced in each fronts and now we are just in the final stages of draining and healing.  Happy to report she walking 80% sound now in a day or two she should be as good as gold.

literally stands here and still forever...still needs more weight

  I must say, Emmy has the personality we all dream of in a horse.  She does whatever I ask.  She stands tied, feet in a tub for as long as I ask.  She makes no fuss.  She was left inside alone for three days now and doesn't bother at all.  No stress, no calling, no stall walking, no nothing.  Just a happy chilled lady, always happy to do as you ask.   Eating hay, relaxing.  Wish we could all be so anxiety free. I really lucked out with this one.

  Penny on the other hand is bored.  We won't be riding until she is reset.  It is not like her to lose shoes.  I think she has lost 2 in the 6 years I have had her! I filed her feet down on the hooves where her shoes were lost to help any areas that might be rough after losing the shoes.  Here's a tip, files are SHARP.  I ripped the tips off all my fingers in the process.  I'm sure the farriers can get a laugh out of that.  I was bleeding everywhere and wondering what the hell happened.  Oops LOL.  Next time pay attention to where your hands are on the file!  Can't believe I was such an idiot.

fingerprints messed? Perfect time to commit a murder lol

2 shoes, thug life what

  I bandaided my hand and am now numbing the pain with a glass of wine.  Hoping for drier weather and less drama in the hoof department in the near future.  I really want to get working Emmy soon so hopefully she heals fully and we can start her training. Penny is patiently waiting, bored from no work and dying to do something.  Let's hope her other shoes stay on until Friday!

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

Product Review: Champion Titanium Ti22 XC/Safety Vest

PC: Ian Woodley

  You may or may not be aware that our National Governing Association for sport, Equestrian Canada implemented a rule change this year that requires riders to have a BETA 3 certified vest.  The rule is as follows;
"2. Body Protector/Inflatable Vest
2.1 A body protector vest is mandatory for the warm-up and the cross-country test. A body protector vest may also be worn for the warm up and during other tests.Body Protector vests must meet or exceed, and be appropriately labelled ASTM approved standard F1937 or BETA Level 3 body protector standard.
2.2 An inflatable vest may be worn: • Only when worn over an approved body protector vest during the warmup for and for the cross country test Page 12 2019 Rules of Equestrian Canada Section D • As a standalone item of dress for the warm-ups for and during the dressage and jumping tests only if it has been approved for use without a body protector vest by the manufacturer. The inflatable vest must always be worn on the outside of other garments.
2.3 Violation of this rule shall be penalized at the discretion of the Ground Jury, and may result in elimination.
2.4 Competitors are strongly recommended to check their body protectors on a regular basis and to replace them if damaged.
2.5 It is strongly advised that the body protector should impede neither flexibility nor balance.
2.6 Stable, team or club colors are permitted"
  There was a lot of hoopla about the vest rule and not being in notified in time, in which a lot of competitors were upset that they would now need to replace their vest before the start of show season.  Not only is it a pain in the ass but it is also a huge expense!  The new vests are almost all priced around $400-$600.  Add that to memberships, and early season costs like your trailer, shoes, etc it was a hard to pill to swallow for some (me included).

 I don't want to make this about the vest drama since I have had enough ranting about that for a long time LOL.  If I had to get a new vest, I wanted to love it.  I wanted one that fit well, wasn't heavy and didn't impede my movement.  I loved my old Tipperary but it squished my chest and I always felt restricted.  Since I knew I was going to Land Rover in the spring I decided to wait until I was there and try on all the different vests I could find and also get sized.

  I am so glad I did this, because this was where I discovered the Champion Titanium Ti22.  Having tried the Ovation ComfortFlex that was recommended to me as somewhat comfy and affordable, I was discouraged.  There was no way I could wear that XC.  It was heavy and uncomfortable to me.  I don't like wearing a lot of clothes on a good day because I get irritated and uncomfortable easily.  That vest was a hard no.  I tried the newer Tipperary Eventer Pro and thought that would be the likely winner, until I tried the Champion.

  Champion is a British brand, and not often seen in Canada.  I was familiar with it from my time spent in Scotland.  The vest was not the most attractive from first glance, and looked heavy.  The store clerk helped me get the vest on, and size it.  When I zipped it up, I realized how amazingly comfortable it was.  It flexes in each unit allowing for more freedom of movement.  It curves easily around my full chest.  It doesn't ride up above my shoulders, and it doesn't dig into my ribs, or hit the back of my pants or saddle.  The side features wrap around coverage and laces that have a tightening clasp.  I really was intrigues by the vest, but wanted to think on it more since it was a big purchase for me that had to last.

 From their website;
"Unisex flexible segmented style body protector. Heavy duty YKK zips, military grade outer mesh, ultra lightweight foam and cool feel titanium coloured inner lining. Cutting edge comfort & flexibility achieved through revolutionary SegTek construction. Channeled airflow hole heat release system. Slip it on, zip it up and fit for ease of use."
  We went back to the hotel that night and I did some googling and read reviews on the vest.  I found a video of Pippa Funnel showing how to fit the vest, and a lot of positive reviews.  The more I read the more I thought this was definitely the vest for me.  I went back to the booth the next day to try the vest on again, and I was sold.  I ordered one online when I got home to avoid the killer exchange rate and waited eagerly for it to arrive.

  When it got here I put it on immediately and confirmed it fit perfectly.  My first ride in it was in a jumping lesson with Ian at Dreamcrest.  I was interested to put it to the test and see how it felt while riding.  I will be completely honest, I forgot I even had the vest on.  I have never in my 20+ years of eventing, forgot I had my Tipperary on.  This vest was so comfortable, and unrestricting, that it was like it was non-existent.  It also has excellent airflow and kept me cool and relatively sweat free considering we rode for almost 2 hours.  I wore it again at my first event this year and I still feel the same about it.  I would recommend this vest to anyone who wants an approved vest for anything from hacking, to upper level eventing.

  The vest comes in a range of sized from XS-XL, short, regular, and tall.  The way it wraps around and the laces allow for a lot of difference in each size.  I think it would fit a wide variety of people.  They are a little on pricey side, but not much more than the Tipperary Eventer Pros, but in my opinion they are much, much nicer.  So if you are looking for a new vest, consider checking out the Champion Titanium Ti22!

Thursday, June 6, 2019

Veronica Steps Into Training Level

  I was a bit crazy, and signed up for a schooling dressage show the day after Cherrylane Horse Trials.  My moms horse Ronnie is getting ready to start her show season at the end of June, and we are stepping up to Training level in dressage.  Last year we hung out in Walk Trot because her canter was just not there.  The transitions were awful and messy and her canter unbalanced and unreliable, but we have punched out our Walk Trot card and now it's time to step into the ring like a real dressage horse and do some canter work.

  There was a schooling show pretty close to us, and the farm owner is someone I really like and the farm is beautiful, plus I figured it would be a relaxed atmosphere to get out for the first time this year.  She hasn't really gone anywhere since her last show of last year.  Although she is amazing once you are on her, she can get a bit "up" off property when you first get off the trailer.  I figured this would be a good first outing to see where we are at with her attitude at the show and in the ring, now that we are incorporating the canter work.

  While her canter work has become quite nice, in the ring her nappiness can sometimes rear its ugly head.  She hasn't been nappy at all lately, but at a show and under pressure is another story.  The morning started off with a downpour (surprise, surprise).  The show manager messaged us all on Facebook to say the show would be delayed an hour. Woot!  I needed that extra hour sleep big time after travelling 4 hours home the night before after our event.  My mom, bless her, had lunged Ronnie, cleaned her tack and packed the trailer while I was away eventing.  My ride time was pushed to 11:30, so we had a lot of time to turn her out for the morning, then bring her in, braid, and extra time to get on the trailer.  The trailer is another place her nappiness can come out.  Although she did fuss a bit she was on in about ten minutes.

glamorous LOL
hiding from the rain, Ronnie loved the view!

  The show was only 30 minutes from us.  It rained the entire drive over but cleared once we arrived.  Ronnie was relaxed and I took her for a walk around the property to check things out.  She was totally chill and afterwards stood tied to the trailer relatively quietly while I got ready and tacked up.  We headed to the warm up with around 30 minutes until our ride.  Ronnie was very relaxed and felt amazing in the warm up.  Supple, and in front of leg, we did about 20 minutes of stretch work and ten minutes of walk and more engaged work and then waited for our turn.  Unfortunately the show was running an additional 30 minutes or so behind the already hour delay, so we ended up standing around waiting for quite some time.

  We stood in the warm up and chatted with other riders, another ten minutes passed and then we were advised the judge would be taking a 10 minute break. I wasn't sure whether to get off or stay on, but thinking just ten more minutes I stayed on.  10 minutes turned into 20 minutes, then finally we started.  There were 3 riders before me, and then when I was finally called in I went around the outside of the ring at least 10 times before the bell was rung.  I gave up and just walked her on a long rein until the bell came because I could feel poor Ronnie was getting pretty tired.

  We did CADORA Training Level Test A, and she was everything I could hope for.  She gave me everything she could, with little bobbles here and there but overall I was absolutely thrilled with her first Training Level test.  One rider scratched and so there were only two rides before my next test.  Again it took a good 10 minutes for the judge to ring the bell as I went around the ring before our test started.  It was CADORA Training Level Test B, and it started out really well.  I was enjoying myself and then we went to our canter and she picked up the wrong lead and gave a little sass.  We recovered and when we went to canter on the opposite rein she became nappy and a bit gate sour and bucked and showed me how displeased she was with how long I had been on her back.  I just took a second to regather ourselves, and she carried on nicely albeit a bit tense to end the test.

  I decided to scratch her final test as she was just exhausted by this point.  I had been on her back for almost 2 hours and I didn't want to leave her with a bad taste in her mouth about showing.  I took her to the warm up and asked her for a canter transition a few times to show her she needs to respond to the aid appropriately, and she obliged and was quite lovely in the canter then.  I hopped off and we headed back to the trailer to wait for scores, have some treats, and pack up.

  Unfortunately they scored my first test wrong as I realized in the truck on the way home when I was double checking the scores.  They had us in second with a 73% but we were actually a 75.9% to win the class.  Our second test scored just over 68%.  I was thrilled with both scores and the second test was still quite good considering we flubbed a good 3 or 4 movements.    This gave us division champion but because of the error on the first test scoring we didn't get our correct ribbons and thus, no satin ho pictures.  Not to worry though, we were really going for the experience and to see where were at in the ring.

  We couldn't have been happier with her attitude and performance on the day.  She really does have the best temperament even if shades of sass slip out here and there, keeping me on my toes!

Tuesday, June 4, 2019

Penny at Cherrylane Horse Trials Recap - June 2019

  To say it has been a hard year to prep for show season would be an understatement.  I’m sure I don’t even need to say it but the weather has just been an absolute nightmare here and from what I gather, most places elsewhere.  I don’t think we have gone more than 2 days without rain after the snow melted, and we already had a boat load of snow.  The amount of water everywhere is indescribable.  There is flooding in even the driest areas.   My own small farm suffers from my neighbours entire property draining onto mine.  My paddocks were underwater and were becoming so saturated it was becoming unsafe in my opinion to have horses turned out who like to run around.  Not to mention with all the water and running around the grass was gone and if there was any chance of recovery I had to get my horses off the property.  I still have another large paddock and the area behind the barn to be fenced and tidied up that will help in the future, but for now I needed a solution.  I am so grateful that my parents allowed me to move my girls to their facility while my farm recovered from this insane spring.

  They have been there almost a month and I am happy to report my farm is already recovering and the grass is growing nicely.  Things are dried up and if it ever stops raining it will hopefully be the end of this nightmare of a spring.  It has been pure bliss having my horses at my parents though.  With a big outdoor and indoor with perfect footing, tones of hacking and big lush pastures, I’m not sure we want to ever leave.  This also means I can train and prepare properly for show season.  I have been secretly dying inside not being able to work regularly this spring.  Trailering out all winter was keeping me going, but I couldn’t afford to keep renting the arena as spring came around and that meant no riding.

  Since the move I have been able to get the girls going, and get Penny in condition to event and keep chipping away at our dressage.  Because of this, we were ready for our first event of the year at Cherrylane Equestrian this past Saturday.  Our goal was to go out and have a good confident day, and see where we are at in the dressage, trying for a relaxed and focused test.   My goal for this year is to be an overall better and more confident cross country rider.  With Penny fit and in her prime, we are hoping to get out and rock around some courses this year to really get comfortable at our level.

  The weather was calling for 90% of rain, and a bucketload at 20mm predicted.  I packed all my rain gear, and winter gear, and multiple pairs of socks, pants, shirts, bras…you name it.  Last time we evented in this big of a downpour we didn’t have enough back up clothing and were soaked and frozen half way through the day, and I didn’t want that to happen again.  The joke was on us though, it was a perfect gorgeous day, sunny and hot and we definitely are not acclimatized to nice weather yet this year!  I was hot and sweaty all day!  But I will take it over the torrential rain they were calling for any day.

  After walking our courses and now being drenched in sweat, it was time for dressage.  Penny warmed up nicely, and although she was a bit tense when we went to warm up outside the show ring, she settled back down to have a good start to her test.  The test we were doing has almost all the trot work at the start, then walk, then canter work at the end.  I was thrilled with her trot work, she was supple and soft, and very obedient.  We scored 6’s, 6.5s and even a few 7s.  She could still stand to be a bit more forward but honestly, the scores are a huge improvement when we would normally score 4s and 5s throughout the test.  Our walk was also decent and we scored a 6.5 on our free walk. Woot woot! No free jog this day!  When we picked up the trot again before the canter she heard a horse calling and it fell apart a bit from there.  FRAANDS!  Our left lead canter and circle 15m left didn’t happen.  She would not pick up the left lead and was kind of trantering around the circle as I tried fruitlessly to have her change her lead all the while she screamed for her imaginary friend.   This scored us a 2 which was better than the 0 I was expecting. As we came around for our lengthen canter I took my time and she picked the correct lead up and carried on down the line calling to her new friends.  Our downward transition fell apart but the right lead canter was better and actually kind of civilized.  It fell apart again down the long side in the lengthen and we scored a couple of 4s and a 5.  She did come back to me for the final trot and halt, and although the test went downhill at the end there, I was really thrilled with the quality of Pennys trot work and the first ¾ of her test.  We scored a 42, which honestly I thought was not too bad considering the 2 and 4s and 5s that were thrown in.  There is a lot of room for improvement and we just need to get more comfortable in the ring under pressure, but I am excited to work even harder on this now that I can see the improvement.

PC: Linda Shantz

 The stadium course appeared to ride nice and forward which is the best style for Penny.  She has become so much more rideable over the winter that now I am still figuring out how to ride her when she is listening and not just running through my hands.  This has also created a bigger stronger jump for her and so I struggle to stay with her over the fences as she tends to jump them about foot over.  I warmed up and then waited a few rounds to watch and I should have taken another warm up fence before going in, but alas I did not and we had a case of first fenceitis and we had the first fence down.  Lesson learned.  She felt fantastic around the course, waiting, jumping huge over the fences and really listening to me well.  Unfortunately, the farm next door had cows turned out, and what I thought was Penny spooking at the jump judge was actually her spooking at the cows LOL.  Coming into the one stride at number 7 she was spooking hard at the cows and I had to scream at her to get her to the jump (which I hate doing) and so we were sideways and had the second element down.  Not the worst thing ever since I wasn’t even sure I was going to get her near that end of the arena!  She was pretty spooky that day in general, which was strange as she isn’t usually a spooky girl.  I chalk it up to being the first event of the year and feeling a bit fresh and being in heat probably didn’t help.  We finished with 8 faults and although we can definitely do much better, I was happy because she was very rideable and was jumping amazing, probably the best I have ever felt her.  Sometimes victories come in other forms than the score on your sheet.

PC: Linda Shantz

outfit on point

I can't get enough of my custom Boogaloos!!!

  The cross country course was definitely on the harder side for Training, although the fences weren’t massive, there were a lot of combinations and early on in the course.  Combined with the terrain, it was not going to be a cakewalk.  I was excited though to see where we stand.  Hoping to upgrade later this year if we are ready, I want to see where the holes are if any so we can tackle them this summer.   Out of the box she was forward and bold as her usually self, but again like in stadium she was listening and soft in the bridle.  Not running off with me and not pulling.  After the first few fences I could just get into my 2 point and let her cruise.  She came back nicely for the first combination, a 3 stride on a turn.  Then a long gallop down a hill to a simple box type fence.  One of my most favorite things about Penny is her incredible gallop, and her ability to gallop downhill so easily.  She was getting a bit too forward and after fence 5 was a tricky coffin.  There was a ski jump that had a sloped landing, down a hill to a big black ditch then a few strides to a skinny brush where you could jump the left or right side.    After we jumped fence 5 she was very looky at the ski jump and we came to what I like to refer to as a very polite stop.  Circled her and she popped over, down the hill and she was still looking around and not quite understanding the question and came to another polite stop at the ditch.  Penny is not really ditchy so I don’t think it was the ditch so much as the change in footing and terrain along with the question that confused her.   It was also a bit wet and deep at this point in the course, which was to be expected with our wet spring.  She had a similar stop at the one event we did last year so this is obviously something she just needs a bit more experience with.  Circled again and she was off over the ditch and the skinny brush.

PC: Linda Shantz

PC: Linda Shantz (sorry its a screen shot but I LOVE this shot! lol)

  Then we had a gallop up a hill to a rather large drop, which had a very steep downhill landing and walking the course I was a bit thinking well, this is quite the drop.  She looked at it but with a kiss she just stepped off nicely and we carried on into the water.  We jumped a hanging log, left turn to a bank out to a skinny chevron no problem.  By now she was getting back into her groove and we cruised over the next fences, jumping them out of stride at a nice gallop.  Fence 15 and 16 was in the woods and it was up a grade to a skinny brush, then 3 or 4 strides on a 90 degree turn to a big airy corner.  I tried to ride this forward instead of backwards as I would have in the past and she just stormed down the line like it was nothing.  I was so thrilled with her at this point and we only had a few fences left to go.  Another 3 stride combination on an angle was next in which she actually waited and did the 3, then a viaduct and to the final fence, a big rampy table which we flew over and finished with just a few time faults.  Despite racking up 60 jumping penalties at the coffin, I was absolutely thrilled with how our round felt.      I hardly had to use the reins, we jumped many fences straight out of stride including some big combinations, and her gallop felt absolutely dreamy.

PC: Ian Woodley

Penny is beast, and so am I but in the wrong way LOL Thats what happens when you pack for winter and its desert weather and you look and probably smell like a hobo.

my lady, my heart

  We finished the day 5th out of 5.  Not a great dressage (still our 2nd best test ever though lol), 2 rails in stadium and 60+ points on cross country, but the day still felt like a huge win.  It hasn’t been easy to take a few years off eventing with Penny (minus one event a year).  To have a sound capable horse sitting in the barn, but not wanting to run the legs off her and making her better for the future, while watching all your friends out eventing was depressing at times, but the patience has paid off.  I have a rideable horse now with more potential to do well in the future, and not just worry about “getting through” the dressage.  Now that the rust is knocked off we can get back to the ring and focus on filling those final holes and building what we need to be successful.  Most of all, I feel our partnership has reached a new deeper level, where we appreciate and understand each other.  Afterall, that’s really what it is all about. Well that and the matchy matchy.


Tuesday, March 19, 2019

March Dressage Lessons on Ronnie

Chunkin up'

  I have climbed out of my hole I have been hiding in.  Winter is almost over.  At least I am telling myself that. While I actually haven't minded this winter all that much, the weather just has not been co operating.  The arena I rent has lessons Tuesday and Thursdays so I avoid riding those nights for my own sanity and just out of respect.  Of course then every Monday, Wednesday, or Friday we have been getting snow storms, ice pellets, torrential rain and if it is nice, we get 75km winds.  Oh winter in Canada is not for the faint of heart.

  I had a few weeks there where I wasn't able to ride at all, but things are turning around and riding is becoming a part of my life again. Yay for sanity!  Veronica had a few months holiday of her own.  My mom was busy with work and then went south for holidays, so we waited until all that blew over before we started to get her geared up for this season.

  She is probably about 10 rides back into the swing of things, and then last weekend my coach was down for our monthly lesson.  We took January and February off from lessons because the weather just didn't work out.  So I have been without a dressage lesson for a few months.  I always can feel myself needing a lesson at about the 3 week mark after my last one, so needless to say I was feeling pretty desperate to get some help.

this was the first day back to work

  Clearly I was needing the help too, after warming up coach Daphne left to her truck and came back with a neck strap.  She made me place the neck strap in my extra finger like you would with a curb rein, in my outside rein, and ride my entire lesson like this.  The purpose is to help train my hands, which I complain about over and over on here, but seriously have you ever worked so hard on something and still make like, little to no progress?  Thats my hands.  Always pulling in their own directions when I don't want them too. Trying to make the horse do things, when really I just want them to be soft and effective. Not to mention, pretty.

  So apparently the neck strap as a rein will stabilize my hand and make me ride from my legs and seat and also get me those Charlotte hands I want so badly.  Immediately, as I walked off I felt my outside hand swing out and pull only to get caught by the neck strap.  And again. And again and again. Oh man, it was going to be a long ride!  It was actually pretty crazy to feel how often my hand was trying to correct Ronnie instead of be the steady contact she needed.  It was pretty much every stride or every few strides.  Daphne warned me my arms would be burning in pain by the end.  As they were, and as was every other part of my body.  Ronnie of course, seemed very happy with the set up.

such a cutie!

  We spent the majority of the lesson working on my position, sitting taller, closing my ribs down with my chest up, hands quiet, and then of course with a better position, Ronnie just came into herself and carried herself better.  Daphne also pointed out that I am always demanding, or making her do things, instead of teaching her the aid.  Like flexion, if she doesn't give I just ask harder and harder until she does.  She showed me how to slow it down, explain the aid to her, then ask properly and reward when she gets it.  Of course we were doing all this while my outside rein is basically stuck to the neck strap and I feel awkward and uncomfortable, but the results shone through.

  I felt like a total numpty for both days of lessons, but watching the video I can see it looks way better than it feels.  Daphne said to me that I can train her to do what she needs to, but if we want her to continue up the levels, then I need to be much more "finer tuned" with my aids, less sloppy, and basically demand better.  Of course we want to do well at Training level this year, but the long term goal is actually training her to be the best horse she can and see how far we can go together.  I have always been a capable rider, but this journey is taking my riding to a whole new level.  It excites and motivates me to be the best I can be.

 I am supposed to ride for the next ten rides at least with the strap, but I think I will use it for at least the month and see where we are at.  There is a short video of our lesson below, see if you can notice my outside rein holding onto it.  Lots to work on before next months lessons! 

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