I refuse to acknowledge that Summer is here until June 21st, but regardless with the warm weather and longer days (gotta love northern Alberta for that) it has opened up for endless possibilities of farm work and a little riding. The downside, of course, is that my candle, which is regularly burned at both ends, has not grown in unison with the longer days so I have been finding myself feeling run down and overwhelmed as of late.
Regardless, the show must go on and there's no rest for the wicked. We have been busy from sun up to sun down between our full time jobs and farm/yard work. Last week the earliest we got inside was 12:30 AM (and yes, it was still light out) - my life has been literal chaos. Between upgrading our arena footing to gardening, fencing, fixing equipment, and other odd jobs in between, we have managed to squeeze a little bit of time on our horses. My arena footing is currently 1/3 ripped up and naturally we decided to start on the side with better footing (cause yanno, logic) before our key piece of equipment broke down, putting the brakes on the task for upwards of 10 business days while we wait for parts. In addition, we have a very busy weekend coming up between our Sport Horse Club running a Jumper Jackpot at a large event 45 minutes away and having company coming from out of town for the weekend to visit and try out Kidd... to top all that off, we are finally seeing a lengthy downpour on the forecast - something desperately needed but coming at one of the worst times for me and my crazy schedule.
|Gosh he looks so narrow in this picture, lol|
My past few weeks have been consumed with various vet appointments that have left me emotionally and financially exhausted. On June 12 Vida was finally inseminated after half a dozen Ultrasound appointments and while I should find solace in this, I am anxious and have lost most of my hope. I am entirely comfortable with leaving her unbred this year, however the $1800+ spent in attempt to get her bred will have been thrown out the window and that is a tough pill to swallow at best. If nothing else, I appreciate the fact that Amara has been getting tonnes of trailering experience and loads/hauls like a little professional at this point.
Besides Vida's ongoing drain to my bank account, Kidd also visited the local vets last week for a Pre Purchase Exam. I had intended to pull a basic PPE on him before I officially listed him for sale or sent him to a sale barn because I wanted to be certain he would vet and was sound and comfortable before sending him on a new journey, so I had booked it for the end of June, however when a friend's client expressed interest we coordinated schedules and booked it for June 14th instead. Everything went fantastic, he passed and got a clean bill of health - now we just hope he doesn't buck her off in the test ride!
|Trying to wake the dweeb up to go to the Vet. Can you believe we bought this farm 2 years ago and NONE of this hay string is from us (we cut all our strings off our bales) - buying a farm is a lifetime of cleaning up other peoples junk, I swear.|
I have been playing around with determining what has had Sierra do a 180 from last year. Last year I had her in a paddock and even after leaving her basically untouched for upwards of 6 weeks, she was a total saint. This year, since our first show, we have battled ulcers and subsequent weight loss, minor feet issues, minor but time consuming injuries and some pretty naughty behavior under saddle that had me questioning sending her to a professional. I have never been one to tolerate the 'playful' (dangerous) behavior under saddle - I don't believe it's in good fun, but rather bad manners and a lack of respect. That being said, the shit Sierra has pulled this year really didn't strike me as the antics of an excited, happy horse - she was exhibiting poor behavior in a negative way and I have been doing a little experiment with various things including riding bareback/bridleless and playing with my saddle fit.
For those unaware, I sold my Dressage Saddle several weeks ago because it wasn't the right type of tree for Sierra. While it fit Kidd surprisingly well, the points were much too long for her and the tree was much too big - so much so that my fitter was nervous to put it in the saddle press. While my saddle fund still needed to grow some since deciding to go with a brand new custom saddle and my fitter was waiting for demo's to arrive, I have been slummin' it in my close contact saddle. Any Jumper readers are probably laughing at me while my fellow Dressage lovers are scoffing, but let me tell you this - I did not realize how much I relied on my deep seat and thigh blocks. I have always prided myself on a good leg (both positionally and in terms of it's effectiveness), but holy hannah, I felt like it was my first time posting the trot when I first got back in my jump saddle. I get fatigued much quicker, but it has been an excellent work out and has really helped isolate the problems or weaknesses in my body. It's also helped me step away from relying on that deep seat and thigh block to keep me steady and secure while remaining effective. While I kind of hate it, much like No Stirrup November it has really helped me sort some things out in my position and even when I am back to my regular Dressage work, I need to remember to make a point of riding in my CC more often. I'm still fighting my position in my CC, but it's improved in leaps and bounds. The saddles I am going to be trying are less 'closed in' than my Zaldi was as well, so that should help.
One thing I have noticed since riding in my CC is that on the days where I didn't use my half pad, Sierra was more tense - We were rarely able to establish that lovely, relaxed trot where the 'up' phase of my posting feels suspended and I feel like I'm coming back down on to a cloud of kittens. She got really hot in the Canter work, and felt generally unfocused. On the contrary, on days when I did use my half pad I noticed improvement - by no means perfect, but noticeable improvement, so the consensus? Use the half pad. I'm basically a scientist now.
|Probably our best ride sans half pad, but still not good in terms of relaxation.|
Besides Sierra being my guinea pig to sorting out what is causing her crazy, I feel like we're back on track with her feet now. I pulled her shoes for the winter and I'm not certain it was the right choice. In March I had to have the farrier come back a week or two after her trim as I wasn't liking how the outside walls of her hinds were looking, and on the following trip I had her shod in preparation of summer riding but I wasn't liking how her heels were run under and her toes were long and flared. My farrier is fantastic and he assured me it was going to take some time in shoes to get her feet back in balance and I was hesitant because Her feet are done religiously every 6-8 weeks and she had some of the best feet I had ever seen on a TB last year, but I put my trust in his expertise and I am much happier after her most recent reset. I still don't know why she's suddenly decided life in a paddock is absolutely awful, but she's a happy camper in the pasture in a small herd and as long as she stops hurting herself, I am happy to leave her there. The copious amounts of grass has done wonders for her weight and she still gets a mash and bug spray every night, although it's not her 'special' mash full of expensive goodies, but she gets those on ride days and she doesn't complain about double mashes.
Two weeks ago we ventured to a show in a nearby town. I had originally hoped to take Sierra and do some Dressage tests, however given her recent puncture that left her on paddock rest for 2 weeks, I opted to skip it. Regardless, my hubby, SIL and good friend hopped in our trailer and I won't lie - I had a ton of fun being the team mascot/photographer/cheer leader/groom/warm-up coach and snack lady. My SIL wound up Senior H/J Champion, while my hubby and good friend tied for Reserve so it was all around a great day!
|Random wife brag - my hubby and his green OTTB at the show|
This was one heck of a jumbled "update" post, but I hope to hit top gear and cruise along ticking small but meaningful boxes off the to-do list for the remainder of the summer. Re-Doing our arena footing has proved to be a huge undertaking, and with broken equipment and uncooperative weather it is looking like it's going to be lengthier than expected - though, that might be a good excuse for me to put my big girl panties on and tackle the sudden ridiculous behavior that rears its ugly head at the attempt to trail ride.