Tuesday, March 29, 2016

April Showers Bring Broken Ponies

Ok, so it's not April yet, but it's 3 days from April and it just rained a ton. But it never fails that roughly around April/late March, a horse breaks him(her)self right as I'm prepping for show season.

Well, this time around, it's Lexie. She got adjusted by a vet from the vet school last week, and I noticed she was more painful back in work. First ride, I assumed she was sore from the adjustment and took it easy. Second ride, I took the vet's advice and tried my Thinline on her instead of Beval wool pad to give her shoulders more clearance- still sore. Third ride, I asked Phil to film, and Lexie was at her worst. Braced against the bit, inverted, hollow, and, when I saw the video, stiff through her right hind.

So she's due to get her right stifle re-injected. My trainer thinks the adjustment may have inflamed her stifle, and we'll just avoid that area in the future. Hopefully, that's the end of it- maintenance injections.

She's 14 going on 15, and an ex-eventer so I'm not mad about Previcox and a little maintenance here and there (every 9 months or so- inject the right stifle). I am happy she "tolerates" me; I was warned she cow-kicked the vet when he tried to palpate her stifle last time; she was a little grumpy with me palpating, cold-hosing, and applying liniment, but one growl and a smack, and she put that leg back down and tolerated the rest of the "pampering" session (liniment, massage in her back and neck, various sprays and potions). COME ON, MARE, LET ME LOVE YOU.
"No.No pampering."

Candy has become a little creakier as of late, and it breaks my heart. His strides have really shortened at the walk, and he hikes his hip pretty hard trotting in his field. He's in good weight, good spirits,and happy as can be though, so I think his lameness bothers me more than him.

Overall, ponies are happy, healthy gimps, and I'm so lucky and grateful for both of them.

- K & C & L

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Lesson Recap: Let Go

Had a quick lil lesson on Ms. Lexie this morning.

I had a migraine, but was feeling brave so we had some "easy" jumps, and some "scary" jumps, and kept it simple with a few rollbacks and two lines.

We started out trotting over a cross rail- one refusal because I got her crooked and behind the vertical on the shadowy side. Then cantered the cross rail with a rollback to a small two foot vertical, which rode wonderfully. The best was a 6 stride cross rail line. A medium cross rail (3'6 on either side) to a large cross rail (3'9-4'0 on either side). I stopped forcing myself to find the distance and just made sure my eyes were up and I legged through the line. It was a perfect distance, perfect pace, and a perfect jump.

We added another roll back to a Swedish oxer bending to a vertical and an outside line to round out the course. I'm getting better at being comfortable with a forward pace; we're no longer doing the "gun it and chip" ride and she's respecting my half halts (sometimes immediately... sometimes... after a while), so I feel better letting her go forward and having a more aggressive ride to fences.

It was a fun little lesson and I hope our good rides continue! Hopefully it means moving up is in our near future!

Candy is doing well- he's begun the 3 month long process of shedding out. He's happy and healthy- loving the spring grass, and loving his every-other-day grooming sessions.

Also got permission for late night/early morning rides from the on-site assistant barn manager, so I get to keep riding on my next rotation!

- K & C & L

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Adult Amateur Dilemmas

I used to be a mildly ballsy rider jumping 3'3-3'6 on a horse I was told would never school over 2'6. I got really into the 1.0 m jumpers, purchased myself a *navy* CO AYR8, because I had the *skills* to pull off a different, fancy helmet. 3.5 years later, I love my helmet, but it's become a titch faded, and unfortunately, finally... moldy. Which is... gross.

It might be time for a new helmet- I have a job that can pay for it in no time, so the dilemma is... What helmet?

As much as I love my AYR8, I'm ready for a change of pace. I feel a bit like a goober in an expensive helmet, jumping 2'6, but I'm hoping to move up this year. Current candidates are:

GPA Evo+2x
I like that the brim is between a First Lady and Speed Air, but I just feel like GPA is way too nice for a 2'6 adult amateur.
GPA Speed Air 2x
Fits well, and I love how I look in it. But... too fancy for a 2'6 jumper?

It looks like a flying saucer landed on my head, but fits well. I feel like this is the standard fancy ammie helmet.

If I order a GPA helmet from Amira, Samshield, GPA, and Charles Owen are all about the same price range +/- $50 or so. I need something vented because Alabama heat, and need something with a removable liner because Alabama humidity.

I'm just trying to decide if I would look like that goofy, timid amateur in nice, expensive gear bouncing over glorified cavalettis in a GPA or Samshield. I always told myself when I was schooling 3', I could get a Speed Air, and I'm only averaging 2'9 or so. I do see it as an investment. I want to purchase something that will still be "okay" 5 years from now- hence the nice boots, the TS breeches, etc. I'm at a point in my life where I wear breeches for years, rather than months, and wear boots until they break, and I won't be able to afford things of this price range in the near future, so I might as well buy it while I can a little before I need it.

Dilemmas. Dilemmas.

- K & C & S

*I promise I'll be back to riding posts. Just been exhausted from clinicals and riding minimally.*

Friday, March 11, 2016

Kingsland Equestrian Review: Kelly Knee Patch Breech

I hit up the Beval Saddlery Anniversary Sale over Valentine's Day and snagged some goodies for me and Candy. Candy got a new medium weight blanket, and I became the owner of a new pair of breeches for roughly 60% off normal retail. Definitely a bargain win in my books!

I have been looking for a pair of black breeches for about 6 months now- call me picky, but I wanted a Euro seat, low-rise knee patch black breech with back pockets, and minimal sparkles. I don't know why, but these were my specifications. I can't tell you how many black breeches I found that were "too fancy" for me (too embellished, too sparkly, too flashy), or just plain out of my budget. So when I saw the Kelly Breech for roughly 50% off, I jumped for it- in my budget, back pockets, minimal sparkles- perfect.

I did struggle a bit with the sizing- I am a solid 28 in Tailoreds, a snug 26 in Pipers, and a 27 in normal people pants. I winged it and went with a 36.

Onto the review:
The breeches are beautiful. They have a more normal sized waistband, rather than the 2 in. waistband seen with most breeches. They have a dust/water repellent 4-way stretch fabric that I love. They're surprisingly long enough for me, and I might wear them in "real life" as comfy dress pants. They fit more like a medium rise than a low rise, but I prefer to have all the important parts covered (and be able to bend over comfortably).

My only con is that I feel like they just don't quite fit, which is no fault of the breech specifically. I'm definitely not skinny by any means, but I'm not curvy either. I think these would fit ladies with a little more "junk in the trunk"- they fit well around my thighs, but just gap a little at the waist. These are breeches I HAVE to wear a belt with. If I were being nitpicky- I also hate that the inside of the pockets are white.

Overall- I'm really happy with these breeches, and see myself keeping them. They don't fit perfectly, but they fit well enough for me to justify keeping them.

- K & C & L

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

First Show of the Season in the Books

This Saturday, I had my first show of the season! Since I've been in clinics, I could only show Saturday (my 1 day off out of thirteen 16 hour days). Lexie and I schooled Friday morning before I went into clinics; she had just been body clipped and was cranky, but a fun ride over small fences.

H & I initially thought I should show 0.65 m Jumpers because that's what I *thought* we had schooled Tuesday in our lesson. Because of AHJA rules, I couldn't cross-enter height divisions; we didn't want me overwhelmed at the 0.75, but didn't want me bored at the 0.65 either. Since it's the first show of the season, we decided to keep it easy and show 0.65 m. The day of we found out I could school 0.75 m jumpers, so we entered one 0.65 m and one 0.75 m.

I've been focusing a lot in my lessons to keep Lexie listening, engaged, and pushing from behind, so I rode my courses less for speed/to win, and focused more on control and a positive fun experience for both of us. The 0.65 m course went well; we missed an inside turn during our jump off, and I rode too slow(!) during the actual course, so we ended up placing 4th out of 6. I'm ok with a pink ribbon ride because we really achieved what I came out to do: rode comfortably and quietly and build confidence. So much confidence in fact, that I couldn't wait to go back in and do my 0.75 m trip! The schooling trip went alright; we stalled out on a rollback where I reverted to too much hand and not enough leg, but I am so happy I'm finally developing a feel for a forward, but balanced, canter.

Overall, it was a successful first show of the season! I'm not riding for points, so I plan on just focusing on riding goals, rather than ribbons, and just enjoy my last year of showing here in Alabama.

Naked mare post-showing.

Naked mare enjoying being cozy in a cooler.

- K & C & L