Rain, rain, and some more rain

Writing this blog has given me an interesting perspective on the rain, especially as I can look back and see what we were doing this time last year. Which was watching it rain. Apparently this is the monsoon season here.

The barn hasn’t been hit terribly hard, or maybe we have finally reached the critical level of improvements. The new arena sand is keeping the big arena rideable. The ponies are spread out a bit more, so there is a bit less mud. We added more sand to some paddocks and moved horses out of others. The barn is sporadically flooding, which we still haven’t figured out, but most of the horses aren’t in hock-deep mud.

There has been some sporadic riding when it dries out for a few days. Knots has gotten the most attention, and Jellybean has been ridden a few times. Hopefully the weather will be clearing soon, because its summer camp time! Kids all day! I actually have a great time with summer camps, and with the completion of my two TAMU jobs, I’m hoping to have a bit more time to get ready for some horse shows.

It looks like Jellybean isn’t going to make it to Pony Club Camp this year, Ashlynn has the opportunity to take a more seasoned horse. Tank is a pro at pony club (year 3!!) and she will be able to take the lessons learned from Jellybean, ride Tank, and then start working with Jellybean more.

I’m trying to get ready to take two (!) horses to Pine Hill in July. Vinny is a big handsome percheron/arabian who is going green-as-grass and Knots and I are going to run beginner novice again. I’m working on some major conditioning for me, two horses in 90+ heat is going to be a challenge.

Anyways, long ramble. I’m hoping the weather relaxes and we can all actually ride.

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Welcoming a new horse

Yep. Title doesn’t lie. We now own three magical money pits. Who’s the new third horse? Knots! Maggie and I worked out a deal, and now he’s mine-all-mine!

 

With that awesome news out of the way, we had a dressage lesson this morning. The sky was pretty ominous, but we went for it. Then S texted us when we were halfway there saying that we shouldn’t come if we aren’t already on the way. That’s always a good sign.

Anyways, we got there and it hadn’t started raining yet. I tacked Knots up and we got right to work, no slow-mo bs when the rains are coming. Warm-up was walk/trot transitions and working on keeping the outside rein connection. I’ve been dropping him as soon as he tries to take up the contact, and that silliness needs to stop. He warmed up really quietly. No tossing of the head and limited stumbles. Just ambling along at the same pace.

We went to the canter and mostly the same thing: balanced, even pace and accepting contact. And me not throwing away the outside rein. We cantered in the other direction and then took a mini-break while Maggie worked with Bear.

Then crazy things happened! S suggested we work on leg yields. Apparently I’ve been thinking about the leg yield wrong this entire time… we needed to be straight, not bent around the inside leg. Knots has no problem moving off the leg, but he wants to be bent. Moving off the right leg was better. To the left I wasn’t giving enough outside aids to make him stay straight, and so he was just bending and then moving. Not a leg yield. We did some circles to re-establish that he had to listen to my outside rein and that helped a lot.

About that time, the weather took a nasty turn. It started raining steadily about the time we started cantering. When we were finishing up the leg yields, the sky started throwing down lightning bolts. We got off at that point and finished up.

All in all, it was a nice morning to reflect on how far we have come. I’ve been riding Knots for three just over three years, and taking dressage lessons for two. We have learned so much, and I had a horse that was immediately relaxed and trying to figure out what I wanted, instead of our initial bracing and running. Good things ahead 🙂

 

It’s raining again

I’m planning world domination, or rambling on about things that are moderately exciting.

Also know as, what things do I need to do to take a horse to a competition? July is the next date on the calendar, and I’m brainstorming who and what.

Knots and I could run beginner novice. Jellybean could go green as grass. Or I could get us rolling to goldilocks. A could take Jellybean green as grass, although that depends on a couple of things going well. Knots and I need some more jumping experience before we start adding cross country combinations at novice. We both also need to be in better shape.

When it stops raining, I made this handy little chart that I’m going to start using:

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There should be more riding time in my [very near] future >:)

Big Changes Coming

While the monsoon is happening, I thought I would tease you about some big changes coming to the life of Amanda and Robert.

Seriously though, about the rain, Rob’s parents have gotten 16+ inches of rain. IN ONE DAY. Houston is under water. Luckily, we aren’t completely flooded here, but there are two more days of rain in the forecast. I’ll be at the barn tomorrow, and likely put some sad rain pictures on instagram (@atindalla).

So I defended my thesis in March, and I’m finishing up my teaching assignment. I’ll be completely finished working for the Biochem department May 31st. So what’s next? And what does this mean for the horses?

Teaser photos:

Spring Break Barn Fun

I did something wild this year. I actually took the entire week of Spring Break and didn’t head up to the lab. I didn’t even think about lab actually. I still haven’t graded my quizzes from two weeks ago… (sorry?) The weather was in the 80s for most of the week, what could be more perfect?

With all this not-in-lab time, I got to spend lots of time with the ponies. Tuesday and Thursday we had barn work days, and then Friday the farrier AND vet came out. I got lots of rides in, and Rob even got to ride. And the week isn’t quite over, we’re heading to the High Point Farm Bluebonnet Derby tomorrow with some students.

Since there were actually multiple rides, I’ll summarize a little. On the flat, Knots and I worked on being relaxed through changes of rein. Nothing too exciting, I was also teaching a lesson. During another ride, we worked on placement to the jumps a bit. We cantered into some smaller jumps and worked on a good approach. No rushing, no ducking, no letting go of the reins. The struggle is real. Anyways, we had some good jumps and ended over a 2’6″ oxer for fun.

Jellybean got a lot of attention this week. We rode in the dressage lesson Monday, on the flat in a dressage arena on Wednesday, and over fences Thursday. Whew. The flat work was ok, I was working on pushing her into the walk and trot and continuing to focus on her bending her neck. Over fences we were working on me not sucking. I needed to ride her up to and over every fence. And we didn’t need to putz. We were moderately successful at this; I did take my stirrups up more and that helped. Its really fun that she pricks her ears and looks for the jumps. She seems to enjoy going along.

There was some derp though, she stepped on the random pole in the arena that we were going over several times. And she had some weird baby moment where she lost her feet, and I thought we were going down. Not over a jump, but just cantering along. Sigh. Highs and lows.

Go_pony_go___jellybean__jumpingpony__dayfour

Finally, to end out the week, we had a party with the farrier AND the vet, ON THE SAME DAY. All the money was spent :/

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Jellybean, Gracie, and Knots all got the basic shots for the area, a coggins test, and then Knots got his business cleaned up. Jellybean, of course, got a shot of sedative as soon as the vet walked towards her with the vaccines. Sigh. The farrier enjoyed the sedate Jellybean though. When the vet comes back again this spring, we get to float Jelly’s teeth. I’m sure Rob will get lots of pictures of that level of derp.

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All in all, a well-deserved break, and a mental reset for the things coming up.

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Adventures in clipping

Knots is a fat, fuzzy, pony-like creature this time of year. It is also 75 degrees this weekend. And we are schooling cross country tomorrow…

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So fluffy!

Clearly something had to happen. I’ve been debating about clipping since last year. I thought last year was going to be the year, but it turned out to be pretty cold and we didn’t have problems cooling out. And we didn’t ride super hard either. But I digress. I’ve been shopping for some heavy duty clippers for awhile. And lusting after some Lister shears or whatever they’re called. But I don’t quite want to spend 150+ (this is a conservative estimate) on a tool I’ll use a couple times a year, if I’m not busy. Even my eBay alerts haven’t been helpful. These things just cost.

I have a pair of clippers:

wahl show pro

But I was concerned about whether they’d make it through a job. Until this weekend. I just decided it was happening. I took the precaution of buying a new set of blades (20 bucks) and went to town. Knots didn’t care one bit.

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First major pass

I cleaned the blades every little bit and stopped to chat here and there. The clippers got warm, but barely. I oiled them a few times in between and brushed the hair out, and they kept on cutting. He wasn’t particularly clean either; I wasn’t about to bathe and wait for him to dry. As you might notice, it got dark on me.

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He took a potty break, but he was still looking for cookies. 

I finished up the rough draft this morning, and then tried to kill most of the clipper marks. I think he turned out ok. I finished up by riding him, so this last picture is after the ride. Thank goodness, because he’s pretty sweaty on where the long hair still lives.

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Give me moar cookies human!

We had a nice ride. We worked in the side reins. He was actually stretching down at the canter without running off. I thought that was kind of fun. We start weekly dressage lessons this week, stay tuned for a few more rides 🙂

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Cold nights at the barn

One of the best ways to enjoy the cold at the barn is…. bareback!

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Rob and Gracie were hanging out this evening while I was teaching lessons. While it isn’t really cold, it is cold by Texas standards. It was about 48 when this photo was taken.

Gracie and Rob look majestic, although Gracie mostly looks kind of fat. She has a solid layer going into winter 😉