Monday, January 31, 2011

And the riding regimen continues ...

(Tiki boy exactly one year ago)
Today was supposed to be day 1 of "ride the snot out of him", lol. Probably will be in my huntseat tack tomorrow, then dressage Wednesday, then HS Thurs and Fri. IEA show on Sunday. I ended up again hopping over the tiny jumps set up in the ring. My friend Keri (who'd never seen my horse) came over to give Joyce a lesson on her western pleasure boy. I took him up there while people were up there so I could get some Tiki input. The ring was a *little* better today because it did rain some last night; it was still hard, but not as bad. Joyce said 2 things that made me quite happy; 1. He was tracking straighter behind. 2. His hind end was reaching further underneath his body.

The bending thing wasn't my imagination; today, he absolutely felt straight and true as he bent around my leg and did NOT swing his butt around. Again, he was a lazy slug, haha. I'd worked him for about 20 mins, and Keri said she wanted to see him jump, so I cantered into the teeny baby crossrail. He jumped it like a goob, typical! Turned around and trotted in; good. Cantered into the tiny cabinet, saw the close one, and he SAT DOWN. Awesome! Let me explain: usually when I'm cantering in, and wait for the close one, I feel that he jumps over his front end. Today, he rocked back and jumped it neatly. Came into the vertical/coop line. Got a quiet spot to the vertical, then added a stride to the coop, and jumped both perfectly. Cantered the crossrail and cabinet a few more times, then jumped the line again but did the stride.

Both Joyce and her friend Debbie said that Tiki looked SO much more comfortable jumping. They said he didn't look like he stabbed the ground coming into the final stride. So far, these injections are seeming like a good investment. I know that I'm feeling definite improvement. Don't have a "new" horse YET, but so long as I do my part, I believe that in the long run I will:) Will be dodging the rain tomorrow and Wednesday.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

First ride after the lube job;)

(above pic is a body shot from the other day. Compare to a few posts below where I re-posted my 2008 recap. BIG difference in the body!)

It was a GLORIOUS weekend in good 'ol GA. 70's and sunny!:) That is my ideal weather; I could live in this weather year round, EASY! I was told that Tiki man was QUITE the crazy man in his turnout yesterday; felt REALLY good:) Hopped on, and set to walking. Walked both directions, then cantered in 2-point. NO swappies, NO 'lightness' in the hind end, and he actually wasn't trying too hard to fall in. Once I came into the trot, I couldn't FEEL a huge difference. One BIG factor is the fact that we've finally had about a week with no rain, a few days of sun, so now the ring is back to dry and hard.

What I DID feel, is that he had a real willingness to actually BEND around my inside leg. Remember how I was saying in an earlier blog that often times, his hind end sort of trails out behind him, and he doesn't track up behind and really wrap around my leg. Today, I felt a real willingness for him to track up behind and NOT get short strided and stiff through the corners. He was on a LONG rein, and I did a handfull of transitions, but not a ton. Got his leads no problem, I was able to sit the canter and he didn't get tailswishy. I'd say day one is a success:)

Friday, January 28, 2011

It's all about the hocks, baby!

I did it. Got Tiki's hocks injected today. To quote my friend Becca, "Wow! I have sticker shock, but not in a bad way!" Vet took a look at the boy, and confirmed what Janet had said, that he had all the classic signs that maybe he'd be more comfortable if he got his hocks done. He isn't LAME, but the right hind definitely shows a bit of soreness compared to the left. When she quoted me the price, I said, "That's per leg, right?" And she goes, "NO! That's for BOTH. We do so much of these, we consider them practically routine maintenence." And she's a wonderful vet, not like she's some hack job. She did his teeth last year, and is very good at what she does. So, drugged him up, scrubbed him down, and injected the joints.

Plan of action is for him to stay in tonight, turn out tomorrow afternoon, then back on his nightly turnout, a light hack on Sunday, then put him to WORK on Monday, and work him 6 days a week for the next 2 weeks. Her explanation is that hock injections work for 2 weeks. During those 2 weeks, when your horse feels amazing, you need to get him to understand that work doesn't hurt, and basically do your best to "re-muscle" your horse in that time frame so that when the injections wear off, there is the muscle memory there to KEEP him comfortable. Makes sense to me!

REALLY looking forward to what he will feel like on Sunday. And ironically, after watching him on the longe, the vet said, "You know, with this horse, I would probably start with a lot of walk, then canter him around a little on a nice loose rein, THEN put him to work at the trot". Lol, I informed her that's EXACTLY what I did yesterday. Nice to know great minds think alike!;)

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Holy fire breathing dragon, Batman!

So, I'm not positive Muffin Man has been out the last 2 nights ... and I haven't ridden the goober since Friday. I could kick myself for not riding on Monday; it ended up being BEAUTIFUL. I've been in a bit of a funk this week, and have gone back to bed every morning after getting Kody off to the bus stop. When my alarm starts ringing, I keep "snoozing" it, and not getting up. Maybe it's the weather, I don't know, but I've definitely had a case of the poor poor pitiful me's. So, because of my inability to just GET OVER IT, and stay awake in the mornings, I've been getting to the barn with just enough time to clean the stalls:( I actually did arrive Tuesday morning in enough time to ride, with my paddock boots and chaps already ON, but it started to rain literally as I pulled in the driveway.

I haven't stressed about it. I have no grand plans for the immediate future, so when I get back into a routine, it will be just fine. SO, today!

Decided to ride him in the waterford today so I could take a feel of him, and put my leg on. Used the cc saddle, and hopped up. He was perfectly quiet as I walked on a loose rein until I felt him relax. Went straight into my 2-point, and cantered. He felt EXPLOSIVE, WOW! That hind end felt like it was flying out behind us! I cantered I don't know how many laps until he settled down. Walked, reversed, walked again for a bit, then cantered right lead in my 2-point. He was VERY swappy tracking right in the hind end. He kept changing leads that way! Also, he was falling in REALLY hard. I just kept going until I finally pulled him up (on the correct lead), and proceeded to trot around on a loose rein.

Gradually, I tightened the reins until he was trotting on contact. I kept my leg ON, and worked on maintaining a normal trot without him getting fast. He finally settled down, and let me put my leg on him. I did my exercise from the other day involving the 8 m circle, reverse, etc. He actually felt GREAT during that. Actually achieved a REAL collected trot to an extended trot, and it felt super. I did that for quite a few minutes both directions. Cantered and was actually able to sit, and he felt super light in the rear end still, but he'd settled in nicely.

The jumps in the ring were tiny, so I went ahead and trotted into everything. I can NOT trot jumps, AGH!!! Lol. Definitely my weakness. I managed to get myself in a rhythm, though, and we trotted over everything. The only time I cantered a jump, it was in a line; added the step. It was nice to not miss any canter distances. I kept him REALLY slow, and jumped from the base. Got jumped out of the tack one good time trotting over the coop. He left out a trot step and jumped it hard, and I flew up very high.

Overall, it was a wonderful day. Helped jar me out of my funk, for sure. Will NOT go back to bed tomorrow; planning to be at the barn by 8:30 so I can do a light hack before the vet shows up to do some stuff to other horses, and evaluate Tiki for hock injections. I just want her to flex him, give me her recommendations, and go over my options. Unless I currently have a winning lottery ticket, will probably not get them done until after spring break, because David wants us to spend as little money as possible for our little road trip we're taking ... 5600 miles, to be exact. Don't even know how many states! Lots of National parks and cool landmarks, I know. Planning to go during Kody's spring break, plus an extra week where he will just be out of school. Turning things around, I am!:)

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Ride wrap up

So, we know that Monday was a pretty good lesson day for my boy. Tuesday, I could barely make myself get to the barn to clean stalls, much less RIDE! Wednesday, I made myself get on (I was STILL sore!). Decided to ride in the dressage saddle. I FINALLY got to practice some of the exercises I've been making my kids do. One of them was working walk to SLOW sitting trot. That went ok; He hates to walk on contact, as we all know. The slow sitting trot was great; the working walk not so much. That exercise is one that will have to get progressively better. Without y'all really SEEING me ride Tiki, it's hard to explain how he gets. It's like he gets jiggy, and he avoids contact by tilting his head and opening his mouth. He doesn't stretch through his topline and really bend around my leg. That's my goal with him this year. A true topline, and coming through from behind.

The other exercise was 8 m circle at C, track on the rail to B, reverse, back to C, 8 m circle, track on rail to E, repeat. This one worked better. I concentrated on trying to keep him in front of my leg and coming softly into my hand, and really using both legs to get him to bend correctly. I repeated it probably 6 times, and by the end it felt pretty decent.

I then did a really simple exercise. Halt for 5 seconds, track once around ring at walk, halt 5 seconds; trot 2 laps, halt for 5 seconds; canter 2 20 m circles, halt. This one was just working on patience and taking my time.

The only canter I did was the 2 20 m circles each direction, and it felt pretty good. It's hard for me to stay sitting in my saddle; I want to pop out and do a hunter perch. So, I feel like I did a fair job sitting down the whole time and keeping him moving with impulsion.

Thursday was a longe day; he did great until the final canter circle, and he exploded. It was pretty cute, haha:)

Friday was just a repeat of Wednesday. I did the same exercises, worked on suppleness, forwardness, and did an ok job. He still doesn't feel like he did before his break, but then, I'm not expecting him to yet. I rode with my friend Becca, and he's always a little up tight riding with another horse. We need to continue to ride with other horses as much as possible so he GETS OVER IT. Our dressage warm up will always be in a crowded schooling ring. We will NEVER have a decent test if we can't relax around other horses.

I did an exercise I've done before of 20 m circle at the canter, reverse, counter canter, reverse, 20 m circle, reverse with a flying change. The change is sticky, I was popping up out of my saddle, and he got a little heavy towards the end. He did it though! Tiki can definitely hold a counter-canter. We'll work on that one some more:)

This upcoming week, I will do some work on gymnastics. Not sure what else because I hear they're predicting more SNOW, UGH!!!!:(

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Moving forward:)

I was skimming back through some of my earliest blog posts, and stumbled across this one:

It was my wrap up of 2008, January of 2009, 2 years ago. My, how far we've come! We've achieved all of those goals. We're jumping consistently around 2'6, with aspirations to move up to a nice, consistent 3'. We have a lead change (sometimes!), and I can trail ride the Muffin on the buckle. Our flatwork has turned into dressage work, and we do a pretty decent job at it. He has turned into my heart horse, and as I look to the future, I see him happy, fit, and competing at training level. SO thankful for what I have in him; I just have to thank God for allowing me to have this wonderful animal in my life. Thanks to everyone that reads this blog; I really enjoy keeping a record of my horse's progress:)

Friday, January 21, 2011

Wow, lots to talk about:)

Hello all! I'm feeling particularly cheerful (though a little cold) since I've been able to work my boy 4 days this week, woo hoo! He has yet another booboo on his NECK. Anyone else out there in bloggerland who's horse gets nasty gashes on their neck? It's quite annoying; my theory is that since it's so cold and yucky out, that when he's turned out all he does is keep his face buried in the round bale, and the round bale is in a feeder. So I think he's catching himself on the feeder. I HATE those things, but what am I to do? I can't afford to buy the barn owners a new one, so I either deal with it, or move. I have NO desire to move, I love my barn. Sooo ... guess I deal with the nicks and cuts and quit whining about it;)

I was awarded a cool award called the "Stylish Blogger Award", which makes me laugh! These days, I am bundled up in 3 pairs of pants, warm muck boots, and as many shirts as I can stand and still move around in. Makeup, what's that? And hair? OK, let's not talk about the hair ... So, thanks to Marissa at for her nice shoutout! Let's see, I am supposed to come up with 7 facts about me, and pass on the award to 15 "new" bloggers. I don't follow a ton of blogs, so I will have to see how many I can come up with!

7 Random facts, in no particular order:

1. My favorite TV show in the entire world is "The Amazing Race". My husband and I have a closet fantasy of one day being on this show.

2. I have seriously been wanting a stick shift car again! I haven't had one in about 10 years, and I miss driving one.

3. I am SUPER excited about my 32nd birthday gift to myself ... my 6th tattoo! I will post pics once it has been applied to my skin:)

4. I am crazy, super grateful for my girlfriends. I have always been a bit of a "loner" type of girl, and it's nice to know that I have a core group of girls I know I can count on.

5. I would love to write and publish a book but I don't think I have the talent for it.

6. I REALLY hate to clean my house. Like, despise it. If I were to win the lottery, I would TOTALLY have someone else do it.

7. And finally ... I am a procrastinator. I PROMISE I will really start to work on that tomorrow ... ;)

And, a list of 15 blogs! Wow, let's see how it goes:)

And ... we stop there! These are the most recent of my blog followings ... I just don't have time to keep up with 20+ blogs ... especially if they're like me and update 2-4 times per week!

So, it always surprises me to realize that people actually actually READ my blog. I write out all these post primarily for my own amusement, so that on a day like today when I'm working a 20 m circle to a counter canter, to a flying change, I can remember the days when Tiki couldn't even maintain a TROT RHYTHM. I vividly remember my frustration when we would be trotting a million miles an hour and not going anywhere. He would shake his head, hollow his back, and scissor those hind legs! I hope that in all my ramblings, someone can glean a small tidbit of information that may help them avoid mistakes I have made with my boy; or even to "break through", and have a lightbulb moment.

I won't go on with a bunch of details since I did the "stylish blog" shoutout; I will save that post for the weekend:) I didn't ride Tuesday because I was SO SORE from Monday, and I did a dressage school Wednesday and today, and longed him yesterday. It was so COLD today, brrr! Temp was hovering right around freezing all day. I will blog this weekend about specifics; suffice it to say, it has been a pretty decent week:)

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Maybe this one will work ...

Posted an update yesterday, but somehow, Blogger ate it! I am So Sore. Like, crazy sore:) Remember how I'd said we would probably postpone our trip to Patchwork to lesson with Janet? Yeah, well, we didn't postpone. Nicole and I shipped our fresh little ponies to the barn and had a lesson.

Tiki man hasn't jumped since December 5. Since that time, he had one hack, and one hill session. Considering these facts, the lesson went surprisingly well. We spent too much time on trying to get Tiki in front of the leg, and go big but slow. He was very much resembling a tense sewing machine, which is just what happens when he's fresh. So, I fought with that for about half an hour, and finally he did settle in ok. Jumping was exactly what I'd planned to do on Friday; gymnastics!

It was a simple 3 trot poles to a crossrail, one stride to an oxer. He did GREAT with the jumping. My timing was a little off, but even I wasn't that bad. The gymnastics were perfect, and the final time through felt REALLY good. Overall, a good day I'd say. He needs a clip job and a bath, but other than that, is in a great weight.

Janet really thinks that if I were to get his hocks injected, I would have a different horse. She is pretty sure that he would be so comfortable, he would just do an amazing job. I'm going to have him evaluated; the vet is supposed to come out and do some mainenence stuff on some of the horses, so I will have him flex and check the boy. Sigh ... why do horses have to cost so much $$???

Friday, January 14, 2011


So ... I have NOT ridden the muffin man since Friday. It snowed Monday, and we have been iced in ever since! Didn't teach lessons all week, but I will be coaching my other IEA team this weekend. Hope the roads are ok! The ones around my town are good, but I've been hearing reports that some of the roads elsewhere can be a little sketchy.

Muffin got his annual shots and his Coggins pulled today. Poor boy. At least he will have the weekend to recover. Rain is supposed to come in Monday, but at least temps are supposed to get up above 29, woo hoo! Probably won't trailer out to Patchwork Monday since I haven't done more than a light hack with Tiki in 5 weeks. Had hoped to have a nice full week this week in preparation, but that didn't happen, so will probably postpone the lesson for a few weeks.

Sorry I have nothing more to report! Hopefully I'll have a good blog post on Monday:)

Monday, January 10, 2011

Frustrated beyond belief


2011, you suck so far. Ok, that's all. And no worries, Tiki's fine.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Home before the storm ...

Well, made it home to GA just in time for snow, ice, and general mayhem. We had a LOVELY time on our trip; everything went smooth as glass. Arrived in Panama City Beach around 6ish, checked into our hotel (RIGHT on the beach:)), then went to find some food. Ended up at a Red Robin hamburger joint, and it was quite yummy:) Secured dessert from the Great American Cookie Company, then headed back. Went out for a quick walk on the beach where we acertained that it was cold when the wind blew, and neither the pool or the hottub were hot. Bummer. Went to bed, then ended up waking up an hour earlier than we intended because ... oh, that's a long story;)

Headed over to Ocala, thinking it would be around 2:30 before we arrived. GPS said it would be more like 11:48. COOL! Coordinated with the sales guy, stayed on track, arrived at 11:48 on the dot, and right away saw my trailer sitting right up front with a "sold" sticker on it. *GRIN* Took my first look at it, and impressions are that it's been sitting for awhile. Inside smelled musty, but in good shape. Paint is not chipped, but it is dull. Wheels have a little bit of rust, and the rear lug nut covers are gone. Some baked on tape residue from the for sale sign that had obviously been taped to it. But the trailer seems to be sound, pulled like a dream, and all the lights work.

Got to Jekyll Island right around 2:30. Stopped into the visitor's center, and spent about 20 minutes talking to the lady; got a lot of GREAT information, and decided on a hotel. Drove straight there, checked in, then took bicycles for a 10 mile trek around half the island. Kody did SO good! He has NEVER biked that far, and David and I haven't ridden bikes the entire time we've been together (14 years). It was absolutely lovely. Towards the end, we were all sort of dying, and Kody definitely needed some encouragement, but we made it back to the hotel, parked the bikes, then hoofed it next door to a local restaurant. Had a fantastic dinner, then walked back to the room (which was VERY nice and personable) and headed out to the heated pool. Um, pool was NOT heated, haha. So headed over to the heated hot tub ... and thank goodness, that WAS heated. Stayed in for about 30 minutes, then retired to our room for the night.

Got the trailer safely home and parked in the driveway, and now sitting tucked in at home awaiting the snow/ice storm about to hit GA. I think Tiki will NOT be having a dressage school tomorrow;)

Thursday, January 6, 2011

The day finally arrived!

The boy was a total ROCKSTAR today! And I'm going to take just a *smidge* of credit. I have done a pretty decent job training him. I remember vividly what he felt like this time last year. Leaning, fast, head above the bit, inconsistent ... today, he felt strong, fresh, fit, and happy.:)

As I cleaned his feet, I noticed it did not APPEAR that he went out last night. Sooo ... just to be on the safe side, I took the longe line up with me. Clipped it on, and waited patiently while he didn't do much to the left. Reversed, and he was a little more fresh to the right. My friend's horse, Captain, likes to RUN every time Tiki comes in the ring ... and he started doing that just as he started tracking right.

His eye strayed to Captain, he bowed his neck, and WHAM! HUGE buck, lol. I think Tiki has to think about how to buck. He waits, measures, holds his breath, then PUSHES off the ground. It is actually really fun to watch, haha. I patiently waited until he appeared to finally go, "OK", then swung into the saddle!

He felt so good. Did a nice long walk, then a trot on a loose rein. No butt swinging, no short choppy steps, and no head above the bit. He had a FORWARD trot, and stretched his head down, seeking contact. He felt very steady and strong. Did some working walk/super slow trot transitions, and that went ok. I have a whole list of exercises to work on Monday, and that's one of them. When I went to canter, I had to stand because his canter was massive. It almost felt like he wanted to get a little bucky, but never did. I half halted and sat tall, and he stayed on a nice rhythm. Made myself finish after about 15 minutes or so. I longed him almost 10 minutes, and I didn't want to start back too much too fast. I want to take my time and ease back into work on a reasonable time table.

Tomorrow will be hills unless something nuts happens, then next week will HOPEFULLY be a normal work load week. They're talking now about some crappy, freezing precip weather at the beginning of the week, so we'll just have to play it by ear, I guess. Got a lesson at Patchwork with Janet planned for next Monday; can't WAIT!

And don't want to jinx it, but I've paid a deposit, so it's almost a done deal! Leaving tomorrow afternoon to head south to Ocala, FL to go buy a trailer! I am SO excited!!!! It's a 2001 Horton trailer (which I had been LOOKING for, but they're HARD to find) that's a straight load with a ramp and dutch doors. So, hubby and I planned a little "getaway" with our son for the weekend. Leave tomorrow and head to Panama City. Stay there for the night, head straight to Ocala to pick up the trailer Saturday, then drive from there towards Jekyll Island, where we'll most likely stay Saturday night. Sunday, we'll take our time and meander a little then head home. Super excited!!! Can't wait!!! I have been waiting for 3 years to FINALLY have my own trailer. Happy, happy day:):)

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Month long break ... OVER!:)

Yay for the pony FINALLY being back to work today! He reacted EXACTLY how I suspected he would, lol. Got him out to remove his blanket and brush him; he was touchy and nippy, as usual. Tacked him up with the dressage bridle and the surcingle; took up the dressage whip and actually did a little bit "in hand" work for the first time. Marched forward, halt, then march back, engaging the hocks and working on promptness. TOTH, repeat. Then, I worked on bending his nose into his side; definitely more flexible on the left side. Spent about 5 minutes on that, then warmed him up. PERFECT and gentlemanly at the walk. Crack the whip, say "trot", and airs above the ground! It was so cute. After he came back to earth, he did some LOVELY w/t/w/t transitions both directions. Then the canter; as soon as I cracked the whip and uttered the words, I got the leap and SQUEAL:) He is so predictible, lol. Did some cross canter, some counter canter, some flat out running, then settled in and did some good w/t/c/t/c/t/w/c etc. transitions. He looked really good. Sound, fresh, and ready to get back to work! Tomorrow I will do a super light hack in the waterford, then hills Friday. Can't WAIT to actually RIDE him again, woo hoo!!:)