Tuesday, August 27, 2013

OTTB Adventure on the Beach

  On Saturday we hosted a little dressage show at my place.  Just a little laid back show to give people an opportunity to get out and have some fun.  We were done by 1pm and that left us with an open afternoon for some fun.

 So, what do two Thoroughbred totting friends do on a sunny afternoon in August?

 I am so thankful to live in this country and be a part of my friends lives!

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Monday, August 19, 2013

Touch A Rainbow Horse Trials #2 of the Summer

  Yesterday TTE headed back to Touch A Rainbow Horse Trials for their second event of the season.  Penny and I, Pam and Winston, and Alayne with her clients green horse Paige.  We thought we were in for a treat with a later start then normal, not pulling out with the bus until 6:45.  However, our morning was not as relaxed and care free as we would have hoped...

  Around 7am Alayne pulled into my driveway, hopped out of her truck and said to me "We have a big problem".  Just as the words came out of her mouth and she pointed to her tire, I could hear the air hissing out at an alarming rate.  "My tire is leaking air - big time".  Ok, time to call Scott.  Luckily it wasn't too early in the morning, I called my parents to no avail, hoping they would have a spare or some sort of solution for us.

  We decided to load Penny and my things up and head over to their house, thankfully they are only a short drive away.  We pulled in and my dad came out to fix us up.  The rim was bent somehow, and air was leaking out that way.  He took a sledge hammer and banged the rim back into place, told us to fill it up and we would be fine.  We got in the truck and assured ourselves that he knew what he was talking about.  He races cars, they do this sort of thing on the track all the time....don't they?

shape is improving...
  We called the event and told them we wouldn't be there in time for our first ride, they generously said that was fine and we could ride whenever we arrived and were ready.  What great hosts!  I managed to have just enough time to tack up and have a decent warm up.  Penny warmed up well.  I wasn't sure what to expect after the disastrous test last weekend but she felt good.  I went to walk around the ring before I went in and she spooked at the table cloth flapping on the judges booth.  I wanted to walk her by so I wouldn't have any issues in the ring, but the judge insisted I not make an issue with it and just head down the long side and hope she doesn't notice in the ring (ya right).  I didn't want to upset the judge so I just turned around and she blew the whistle and into the ring I went.

Im good?

  The test started off feeling fabulous and we scored a 7 for our entrance.  Unfortunately, and not shockingly, Penny spooked at the flapping cloth again and wouldn't go right to C.  The test from about M and H to A was great, anything closer to C and the flapping table cloth was not pretty.  We made up marks on the other movements and I was really happy with how she went in those areas.  When she finally got over her spookiness, I rode a nice trot into the corner from M to C.  I was concentrating so hard on getting her over there I forgot I was supposed to walk 3-7 steps in the corner - doh! -2 for a blonde moment.  Overall I was really happy with the test.  She was very soft and rideable, a polar opposite from last weekend.  The flapping table cloth we can easily work on.  We ended up with a 64.5 ( a 43 on a US score) and I was happy with that.  10 penalty point improvement in a week - whoo!

  Stadium was a fun and challenging course.  There was not a single clear round in our division of 9 riders.  Sadly, I had 2 rails - all total pilot error.  I just did too much coming into the line for fences 2 and 3 and Penny was just like -ahhh I can't jump like this!  Hearing the second jump come down I though frig, I need to let this horse do her thing...and then she jumped around beautifully while I tried my best to balance her but stay out of her way.  Hopefully I will learn this before fences start to fall next time.

  Cross country was a total blast.  Since we have jumped around that course together before I wasn't worried about any of the fences.  I wanted to use the round as a confidence builder and work on pace and control and me not interfering too much.  It was fun and easy, a great end to the day.  We jumped clear within the time...to secure a 6th place finish.  Go Penny!

one sleepy lady

 Alayne had a great day also, winning the Pre Entry Open on her clients horse Paige, and Pam was second in a big Entry division in Winstons second going Entry.  Putting the drama of the morning behind us, it was an awesome day after all.  Go TTE!

Alayne and Paige in the red!

Pam and Winston showing off their loot!

Monday, August 12, 2013

Harmony Horse Trials Final Report

Alayne and Cayden - taking Prelim by storm!
  It was a sweet sweet victory (not quite but in our eyes) for Alayne and Cayden as she rode a beautiful clear round to hold her placing and finish second in the Open/SR Prelim division.  She won a gorgeous saddle pad and $175 - not too bad at all.  This just coming off her win at Oakhurst a few weeks ago, I must say these two are on fire right now.  The sky certainly is the limit, and I could not be a more proud friend!  They even got to do a victory gallop after the awards, what a fun show and a rare treat for us one dayers!

  Penny and I were not so lucky.  We had a good warm up but the few fences on course were a disaster and we had 2 rails at jump 2 and 3.  We were just not on the same page - still trying to figure each other out and I was certainly not riding her the best I could have.  After our second rail we became more of a team and the course flowed much better.  It will take some time and lessons for me to learn to ride Penny.  I have to put behind me all the baggage I have from being defensive with Archie and just let her do her thing - she knows what she is doing.  With the two rails we finished 15th, and I would be lying to say I wasn't disappointed.  I know we could have done so much better, our dressage score really limited how much we could improve over the two days and I am just happy that I know it was just one of those days where you have a bad test.  You have to put it behind you and move forward.

  Overall we had a great time.  The venue was excellent, the courses were lovely, the people friendly, and to be honest I can't for the life of me figure out why I never entered at Harmony before.  We will definitely be coming back next year to redeem ourselves, and enjoy a relaxing weekend eventing in Quebec.  

  Thank you so much for all the kind words of encouragement and wishes of good luck.  We both made it home safely, had fun and learned a few things along the way.  That is what it is all about, afterall ;)


Saturday, August 10, 2013

Cross Country Wrap Up

  It was a great day for the OTTBs of Team Tyendinaga!  Alayne had a fast and clean cross country round that moved her up from 7th to 2nd place going into show jumping tomorrow.

  My cross country was equally exciting.  The course was on the easy side I thought when I walked it but you can never be sure - never underestimate a course.  Alaynes course was a sleeper course too - only two of the first four people who started finished.  It looked easy but didn't ride that way.

  Here is the Pre Training Course;

  My phone died before I could get video of the last fence.

  Examining Penny after our dressage I noted the little marks she had on the inside of her mouth from having her teeth floated had opened up and I am sure that is part of the issue we had today.  In warm up for cross she was really throwing her head and that is very unlike her.  I have slathered her with coconut oil to help overnight in the meantime.

  Penny was foot perfect on course,  she was a little looky but I think more of a scoping things out then a nappy issue.  I almost screwed up and turned up the wrong hill before realizing what I was doing and corrected myself.  She jumped everything easily, went into the water, and came home with a clear round.  

  I had to really bring her back on the last portion because we were WAY ahead o the time.  We managed to do it and finished with a double clear.

  We were in last place after dressage (19th) and we moved up to 13th with that round.  The horses have been pampered, poulticed, and given many carrots.  We are now relaxing and having some beers, preparing for stadium tomorrow.  The pressure is on for Alayne to hold her placing and hopefully Penny and I can swing a clear round and move up a few more placings.

  Until then, I leave you with tired Cayden!

Dressage Complete

  Alayne had a good test on Cayden, the best she's had this year she thinks.  She is warming up for cross as we speak!


  Wish I could say the same for Penny and I lol.  We had an ok warm up but there was a horse that kept running up our ass and it unsettled her.  There were some nice moments though and I was overall pleased with my mare.  We go cross at 1:30.

 Off to watch Alayne jump ALL THE THINGS!

We've Arrived !

  We arrived safely around 9pm.  The horses have been fed and tucked in.

 We took our flashlights and a couple of beers and walked the courses in the dark.  Ok, so it took us a bit to find the start box in the dark at a new place... we had a skunk encounter but made it out stink free.

 The courses from what we could see look nice, inviting, and fun.  Will have a better idea once we walk in the daylight but it was a fun little adventure out there.

 Heading to bed now, Alayne rides just after 8 and I ride just after 9.  More updates to come!

Friday, August 9, 2013

TTE Road Trip

  Alayne and I are hitting the road when I get home from work tonight, heading to Harmony Horse Trials in Quebec for the weekend.  I thought I would try something new and do some live blogging throughout the weekend to update everyone on our trip and how we are doing.

 Tonight we will get there, get the horses settled, maybe walk the course depending on daylight and possibly braid.  Hit the sheets after a glass or two of wine, then tomorrow we do dressage and cross, finishing with stadium on Sunday in reverse order of placings.  It isn't very often we get to do two day events so it should be a good time.

  I have to say thanks to my parents for taking care of my crew while I am away.  I couldn't do it without you!

 Wish us luck in our journey to Quebec and I will keep you posted!  Have a great weekend everyone.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013


  Just over a month ago I announced Archies retirement from eventing.  Since then I have been considering offering Archie for free lease to someone who wanted to do dressage, hacking, or even low level jumping.  At the same time my good friend Dana (who has been mentioned with Quartz on this blog plenty) was searching for a horse to lease or purchase that could help her build confidence over fences. Quartz still needing a lot more schooling and Dana is needing something to bring her confidence up.

 Enter Archie.  Dana asked me a few weeks ago if she could try Archie.  I couldn't see a reason not too and like Dana said, if it worked out both of our dilemmas would be solved.  Dana came over to ride Archie and I have to admit I was impressed with how both of them went!  Archie was quiet and responsive, Dana was soft and forgiving - just how Archie likes his riders.

 The deal was sealed, Archie would go live with Dana indefinitely, and Dana would have a safe well schooled horse to ride and learn on while she continues to work with Quartz.  Yesterday, Archie left to start his new journey.  He is still mine, and he is within a 20 minute drive from me, living with my best friend.  

  Archie and I have been together for the last 7 years.  For the last 5 years I have seen him almost every day and have been the one to feed him, brush him, put him to bed and greet him in the morning.  It is extremely difficult for me to let him go somewhere where I am not monitoring him throughout the day, but I actually feel pretty at ease knowing he is at Danas where he will receive equal care to what I would give him.

  So far he has integrated into her herd well and made himself at home in his new stall.  I am really hoping he doesn't think I have abandoned him, forgotten about him.  I hope he is happy and not mad at me.  I know he will have endless love and superb care and I hope he understands this.  I hope he takes care of Dana and they can have some good years together forming memories like we have.  Part of me feels guilty, thinking he won't understand where I have gone, but another part of me knows that with the attention and care he will be getting, he will be a very happy boy.

  Here is to a new start, for both Dana and Archie.


Sunday, August 4, 2013

Sometimes It's Hard

  When you buy a farm there are certain things that you come to terms with and accept long before you sign the agreement papers.  Holidays are rare and expensive, days off are non-existent, sickness means nothing when stalls have to be cleaned, some parties have to be passed up upon, and there is ALWAYS work to be done.

  I know these things, and I accepted them happily when we bought our farm.  There was and still is nothing more than I want in life than to have my horses home, have a little hobby horse farm, and turn it into my little slice of heaven.  This is pretty common with horse owners who want to do it themselves, and people who take pride in caring for their little piece of land.

  The wrench is my chain is that I am a Military Wife.  A MilSo if you will.  Becoming a military wife comes with it's own come to Jesus moment; where you realize that at any time and place, you can be upped and moved, left alone, or widowed in the blink of an eye.  When you marry a soldier you accept that any of these things and any other thing might come along and you have to do your best to roll with the punches.  I knew this going into things, and have found being a MilSo relatively easy so far in first 2+ years of marriage.  Having a passion like riding and a farm to look  after has obviously helped.  It keeps me busy, my mind occupied.

  For whatever reason however, this weekend is different.  It is the Civic Holiday weekend here in Canada, a long weekend.  Who doesn't love a long weekend?  I know I sure do.  This weekend has been hard though.  It's been almost a month since Jesse left and keeping things rolling at the farm has begun to take its toll.  The first week Jesse left my pool pump blew, my tractor died, and I got a flat tire.    I've gotten those things sorted and everything has been running relatively smoothly since then.

  The weird thing about this long weekend is that I feel really alone.  I'm tired, I've been doing all the yard work, barn work, house work, riding, exercising the dogs, and running the errands for the farm.   I usually have at least my parents nearby to visit with but they are on holiday, and all my friends seem to be partying or bbqing it up, and, since I am alone, I can't go anywhere with no one to look after the animals.  I guess I feel sort of trapped here in my lonely state.

  This is the reality of being a farm owner and MilSo.  I'm not mad or upset, I knew these days would come and thankfully this blog is here for me to let my feelings out.  I just want to show people that it's not always fun, not always easy owning a farm or being married into the military.  Sometimes, it's hard.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

William Does Cross Country

Ready to have some fun!

 William has been a busy boy this month.  I took him over to Abydos stables last night after work and met up with my friend Alayne and a few of her students and boarders.  Abydos has some awesome show jumps and they just recently started building a cross country course, with hopes of holding a mini event there.  They had a jumper show last weekend so their courses were set and we figured what a perfect time to go school some fun stuff.

 William has only ever done cross rails away from home so I was a bit nervous to see how he would react to their fences.  They have a lot of variety and bright colours, including a bright pink and white set of fences known as the "candy cane" jumps.  William was super in the jumper ring, really brave and popped over everything at about 2'3".  He is still needing work on his canter and balancing.  He has a lot of push from the hind end so his body can get very wiggly when we are jumping.  Getting a good distance tends to be hit and miss.  I chalk this up to him being young and green and hopefully our flat work will sort his canter out over time.
  Once we had a good warm up over the show jumps we headed out to the cross country field.  William popped over every single fence on first approach and was a very brave pony.  I am trying to show him he can gallop out and be nice and forward in the field but he still wants to remain a bit too collected for my liking on cross.  I know this will improve in time as his canter improves.  He took a good look at the little ditch and I had to get off to lead him over and show him there were no horse eating ogres in there.  After he walked over it in hand, I got back on and he had no problem launching himself over.  I went back and forth over the ditch until he stepped over it like it was no big deal.

  We did end up getting a good flowing strong canter going so I aimed him at some of the bigger Entry level fences and he flew over them nicely out of stride like he had been doing it his whole life!  I was so proud of my little chestnut man, he blew my expectations out of water.  He was brave, attentive, and kept his head together while there were several horses galloping around and jumping.  A mission success! 

  I can hear the start box calling our name..

Thursday, August 1, 2013

William Does Dressage Again - With Video

  The weekend before last was Williams third dressage show, a schooling show at Glamorgan Farm.  We again entered in the Walk Trot only, not feeling %100 confident in his canter right now.  Although he is going well, he is at a bit of an unbalanced stage and is cross cantering now and then on the left rein.  I think he might be growing again and as I have been working on the adjustability of the canter, I think I have thrown his legs all out of whack.

  Walk Trot is good for him, he is offended easily and it's much better to have a confidence booster for this guy then to put the pressure on away from home.  This is the part I don't like about Warmbloods.  William is 3/4 Thoroughbred but so much Trakehner comes out in him, it seems to be the really dominant breed.  The plus side is we get some fancy movement :)

dressage poneh
  I was really happy with Williams warm up, although it was short and sweet.  A horse got loose after getting away from someones poor boyfriend groom and tore around the property right before I was going to get on.  It set William off a bit but he was a really good boy and quieted right down after we continued on with our warm up.

  We did three tests each getting progressively better.  He became more relaxed, more attentive and his paces improved.   He scored a 64, 66, and a 68 on his last test! Although there is still a lot to work on in terms of connection and contact, I was really happy with how William rode that day.  He brought home three blue ribbons to add to his collection for this year.  Looking forward to doing more with him, and hopefully he will be ready to hit an event in the fall.

sausage horse

  We are going schooling at Abydos Farm tomorrow, they have their jumper ring all set and they also have a few cross country fences.  It will be our first time jumping something other than cross rails off property so I am excited to see how he handles it.  Future event horse?  I am hoping...

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