Monday, November 28, 2011


Had a lesson with Shawn on Saturday, it was decent, but the jumping part didn't start out so great.

Shawn does a fair bit of dressage and so we had more of a dressage-esq warm up which I really liked, so I'm still planning on talking to K soonish to see if it would be possible to start doing more of that. He can bridle up but it takes a fair bit of work to do it and you have to work up to it more than with Zander and Pony. But with Shawn it's actually the coolest feeling! I don't remember actually being able to feel either Pony or Zanders' whole frame adjust to the bridling up, Shawn, it actually feels like he's shrugging his shoulders. So that was interesting. I like actually being able to feel when things are right or wrong, otherwise how would I know when its a free ride? Most of the time I can feel the wrong canter lead, but the correct posting diagonal has always been a bit lost on me, even after all this time. It's a bit sad, isn't it?

We also practiced upward and downward transitions and halting square, which he mostly did quite well. Not always up into the canter, sometimes he got that really annoying rushy trot that we get in trouble for having.

Jumping: we did really well over all, but the first couple times on the circle to the white vertical he ran out. Probably because I looked at it? That and there was no distance one time. After that he was miles better! He really likes the long rein and the longer release but it's not so hard to remember on him because I really don't want to pull on his mouth when he tries so hard to be so brave. Not that I'd ever want to pull on their mouths, but you know what I mean.
Then we did the same bending and straight lines as last week with Kokanne. The first time bending away from home was really awkward because he chipped to make 8 rather than 7, but he's not a horse that likes to take off long, so it was understandable and we made it over and left the jump standing.
However, he almost had a 6 up the straight! I didn't see that distance so I'm happy he didn't take it, but it's exciting that he was going well enough and maybe almost had enough passion do actually do it. Still it I think it's better for him to add the extra strides and make it over than have him losing confidence in himself if something happened.

Another lesson on Thursday, probably Kokanne?

My French partner wanted to meet up then so we could work on our oral exam but I told him to stuff it because the last time I cancelled a lesson for him he couldn't be bothered to show up. Besides, better get it written tomorrow and Wednesday so it can just be over with. Uni is not what I thought, and at this point I feel that everyone who said it was the greatest time of their life, either lied or just had super boring lives (cause mine was sooo exciting...).

PS. Don't you like the new header and background?! I'm hoping to find a better picture of me and Pony for the background, but they are all on my computer at home,  so that won't be fixed until the weekend. But I think it's quite fitting! Would be better if I still had Pony, then we would all be mad, rather than just me! All the horse seem quiet stable so far, well Rocky had his moments I guess. Just not the same though.

Oh I got to see him on the weekend too! Only brought him in for a brush, but better than nothing. He was so cute! He's insanly fuzzy now too! When I went out to get him he did his little snort/whinny thing, but I don't know if it was because a.)he recognized me as the person who brought him food that morning b.)he recognized me not because of the food or c.) he was just happy to have someone come and give him attention...
I like to think B is the correct answer.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Kokanne Ride II

Yesterday was the second jumping lesson with Kokanne and it was very "Diesel-esq". Not that means much since there's very little about Diesel on here.

But what Diesel used to do, is he stop, just stop and stand and refuse to move no matter what you did, or how much arena dirt/rubber crumb K tossed at his bum. Eventually he would get going again and do brilliant, then it was someone elses turn and we'd have to stand and the whole thing would be repeated.

That's what Kokanne was up to yesterday. It started with asking him to pick up a left lead canter when he swung his bum in and started doing some weird side stepping action and eventually just completely stopping and refusing to move forward or sideways or anything. We couldn't figure out if there was something wrong or what because he was really gassy, so we thought maybe he wasn't feeling well, but in the end he turned out to be fine!

As for jumping, for the most part he was super good! K thought that he might not be able to get 6 strides down the straight, but we did! He can do it, you just have to set him up for it =).
The longer release is getting easier too, so that's good, and I'm sure he's pleased as well.

The leg yields were a lot better as well, he still gets wiggly every once in a while but over all not bad. His other big issue yesterday was picking up the left lead, he really favours the right one, (this is before his standing still stuff) so it took several tries to convince him to pick up the correct one, so that was a pain and everyone was starting to get frustrated, but he finally picked it up, and there wasn't a whole lot of problems after that.

He got his  flying change down the six stride too, so hopefully we can start getting them more often!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Hi From Storm :)

My lovely dog making a stupid face. (She has arthritis in her hips so she gets a jacket to help the cold from bothering them.) 

Unnecessary Excitment.

Well despite all my whining about the cold, it really wasn't so bad. Except when I went to take out one of the mares from the barn and put her outside. Because of the ice and snow, one of the big barn doors makes weird squealy sounds, and when I took this mare outside and turned around to close the door, I clearly hadn't been holding on to the rope tightly enough because the door made its spooky noise, and off she went! Like actually just took off down the side of the barn between it and the mare pens, for a minute she stopped to sniff noises with a couple others and I was like oh thank god she's stopped! Not for long, she took off again down the side of this pen and up and down the track behind the pens. Eventually she settled down and K got hold of her rope and she was safely in her pen after a max. of 10 minutes.

I got to ride my friends mums horse today, Shawn. He's such a sweety, like actually he's the kindest horse you could ever imagine. He tries so hard, but at the same time he's got a few devious habites. If you have to much inside rein he will always break from a canter to a trot, and he does things to try and get you to shorten that rein too.

We did the same course as Thursday, and he did sooo well!! K was saying he wasn't taught to jump at a young age so he's not the bravest horse and if he has a lot of time to think about the jump he'll start to doubt himself and will wiggly or cheap or stop. But we only had one run out and it was the 2nd jump in the four stride because I didn't use enough outside leg he stuck to the wall so we jumped a bit weird and then when we got to the second jump the angle was just to steep for him. And we chipped to the very first jump but that had a lot to do with him getting wiggly and doubtful because of the long canter up to it. But he tries so hard, he's awesome.

Still have no idea what will be happening next week, theres a few people coming back who want to start leasing so that's probably going to change things, but K said she might want me to ride one of the new horses. His owner's super new to owning a horse and fairly new to riding and the horse is quite fat so she really wants other people riding him to make sure he gets everything he needs and he's such a cute horse! He's really obnoxious in the barn and standing at the mounting block, but once they get going he's so good! But this whole "wait and see" buissness, is getting a bit old.

Friday, November 18, 2011

But its coooooold!

Feeling very not Canadian at the moment, because I get to work tomorrow and with the wind it's going to be -34! Yay Alberta! Plus the roads will be icy and the van hasn't got snow tires, so that's sure to be a treat. And its going to be dark and cold and I don't own any snow/windproof pants and rubber boots are terrible at keeping feet warm!
Ah I'm sorry, I'm such a whiner. Especially since this is only the beginning...just wait til its -45! and school isn't ever cancelled, uni or snow days up here =(

But look what finally got here! Hopefully I can find to read and you know actually DO the workouts. For the most part they seem like strength training, which is good and then I can do my own cardio. I haven't worked out in ages so I bet I'm back at the stage where a good workout leaves your crippled the next day because of all the lactic acid in the muscle. I hope so, after a while that stopped happening and even though I give nothing more to a lot of my workouts with out dying in the gym I wasn't ever sore the next day, and that just seems to me like I didn't work hard enough, even though there was no way to have done more.
And this is the lovely collage you can see in the back of the first picture. I spent ages making it last weekend after finally deciding it was okay to cut up my Spruce Meadows year book things and the very few English photos from Horse Canada, which is regrettably mostly western oriented.


So I did get to go riding on Thursday after all! Even though there was a whole crap load of snow.

When we got to the barn there was a choice between Zander, out in the farthest pen from the barn, or Kokanee, who is in Pony's old stall... decided not to brave the cold and wind and picked Kokanee.
I rode him once before and thought he had a super smooth canter to one direction, now I have no idea what made me think that.

He has some scar tissue on one hip so his trot is super different depending on the direction, so that takes a bit used too. And the back pain! It hasn't ever been like the time with Pony that it was almost crippling but it was worse than it has been in a while. Plus it started on the right and the moved over to the left as well. But usually it starts on the left and stays there. Not sure what to do about that.

He can also be super wiggly and pops his shoulder out if you aren't careful, which is why we ran out to the first jump.

His canter was crazy weird, very bumpy. K said just don't even bother trying to sit it. So we ended up in some weird two pointy/standing in the stirrups position. And the stirrups on his saddle don't even enough holes for my short legs, so that was annoying, but not horrible.

Jumping was good actually. Sort of? Well, the first jump, my first thought was "crap, should have got Zander." It was just the weirdest effing jump ever and I was not prepared for how low he keeps his neck!! He's more huntery than any other horse I've ridden and he's got the same long neck as Diesel so he needs a bigger release as well. The rest of jumping got better, we were practicing jumping jumps at an angle, so the four stride was a lot of work because he likes to wiggle and wanted to drop out to the right right after the jump. He also goes super well on a longer rein, which is such a weird after Rocky and Zander. And Zander and Kokanee feel so weird because they're both such narrow bodied horses compared to the others, so it's always a strange feeling when we first start riding.
But over all I quite like him, really, it's just something different now but I think we'll get on well enough. Still don't have a lease horse, but being able to ride these 3 will be interesting and hopefully I can improve a lot by the time spring gets here and me and Rocky can start working together again.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011


It's finally snowed here, and it's supposed to be something like 15cm (if not more) on Thursday, and if the roads are super sucky I might not be able to make it to the barn, so that's disappointing, but should give lots of time to start on the Equine Science assignment. We have to make a fact sheet on one of his topics or one of our own. Mine's going to be on bit and bridle fitting for jumping and dressage. It's not due until December, but should start...

Once uni is done in April, I should be able to ride a lot more and I really want to taking dressage lessons too. So I'll have to talk to K when it gets closer, but I'm hoping to swap a jumping lesson for a dressage one. There's basically zero chance of me and Rocky placing at all let alone winning, especially at Amberlea but cross training is always good and there will inevitably be another horse after him and perhaps we will have more of a chance.
This is what I did on my long weekend rather than homework. Hooray for procrastination!

And this is what I'm hoping to buy whenever the bookstore finally orders it in!The Riders Fitness Program and with any luck it will also help with the lower back pain at the trot, although there wasn't any with Zander this week and I don't remember if there was on Thursday.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

New Horses(Thursday/Saturday)

Well Rocky is officially on winter break so on Thursday I rode Roxy. I rode her a couple times over the summer when she first got to the barn and she's really come along way from how nervous she used to be. Her canter is still weird, it really throws your leg back and when you aren't along the wall she's really wiggly. For the most part she was good, she did start to rush at the yellow jump but after a few times over the other two she was good to go. She's still new to jumping so sometimes she forgets about her back end when she really tries to jump ahead/up with her front end. So grabbing mane = important on her. Especially with being new to it, I don't want her to think jumping is painful by catching her mouth. She was more fun than I thought she would be for jumping and she wasn't the horse I wanted to ride, although other than Rocky I don't know who else there would be. And really I should be grateful just to have a horse to ride at all. Although it's been along time since I've had to look at the white board to find out who I was riding, plus it will be harder to the get the whole "team mate/bond" going on since it seems like I'll be going between horses until winters over the snows gone and who the hell knows when that will be.

Today I rode Zander and I liked him a lot more than I thought I would! I'm not sure why I thought I wouldn't like him, but he was fantastic. He has a really slow walk but once he's trotting or cantering he's got a lot of go! I was a bit worried, since he was compared to a sports car on ice as to how he would be when we got going and he was great. Sports car with snow tires.
He also bridles up really well and riding with more contact is something I really have to work and trying to "ball up" their energy rather than letting them getting long and strung out. Supposed to think of them as springs, which was the analogy with Pony. So must work on that. It seems to help that he has a German martingale, it does something different than a standing martingale I don't remember what exactly but it has something to do with flexing rather than keeping them from throwing their head around. We don't use it for jumping, just flat.
Zander is a lot of fun to jump! He does slow down abit before the jump if you don't keep leg on, but he has such a lovely jump, and no pain at the trot!! So that's exciting. He feels so different than Rocky, he's so narrow with such a long neck and he keeps he's head pretty low, some adjusting to do I think. It will be a different winter that's for sure, I guess we'll see how it pays of in the spring.

that's what a German martingale looks like, it straps around the neck and then the other two straps loop through the bit and then clips to loops on the reins.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Saturdays Ride (and a better article about Hickstead)

Saturday was the last ride with Rocky for the rest of the winter, and I have no idea who I'll be riding next.
For the most part he was really good. He's been slacking on lead changes though, he'll pick it up on one end but not the other and then he'll break to a trot, so will have to remember that for the spring. Jumping was decent, we had a few really nice ones but also some not so great ones, which is kind of lame because we'd done the course on Thursday.

Vancouver Sun
National Post

It's kind of hard to believe he really died, that would just be the most devastating thing, having your horse just collapse from under you that way. He was such an incredible horse. I got to see him competing in person before at Spruce Meadows..I wonder if I could find the pictures.
Such a tragic loss for his owners, Eric Lamaze and show jumping the world over, not just Canada.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

RIP Hickstead

Hickstead (ridden by Eric Lamaze) collapsed during a competition in Verona, Italy on November 6th.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Not Good Bye Yet

Saturday will officially be mine and Rockys last ride until spring.
I didn't ask who I'll be riding next week, but I should know tomorrow.

Rocky was pretty good, he had some super crazy pony trotting going on at the start of the lesson but he came back really nicely.
We were practicing 20m circles around pylons and we weren't bad but when we started out they looked and felt more like diamonds because we were turning around the the pylon sharper than we should have done. But we got it later.
He was super quick at the warm up canter so going around the pylons (and between the jumps that made it harder) was harder than it probably should have been and sometimes it seemed like he was dropping his shoulder and tipping in. All good things to remember for next year to work then.

Jumping was good for the most part, I've gotten a bit better about not expecting the longs from him at the start, so that's helped, the jumps were also pretty small though.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

New Horse?

So the cold is apparently on its way (ah Canadian winters are always a treat) and because Rocky is terrified of blankets our time together will be over very soon until spring arrives. Which really sucks, I haven't talked to K today but it looks like Roxy and one other horse are in need or riders and between those two Roxy is my top pick because she's a tad bit crazy and I enjoy crazy. Although I don't think she's crazy like Pony was, she's terrified of getting booted or having her mouth yanked on and that's what makes her do weird things, she's just nervous, but once she figures out that you aren't going to do anything like that she settles right down. I so wish I had Pony back. Anyway, we'll find out if I have a horse at all tonight or if we're driving all the way to the barn for there to be no horses.

I'm rather annoyed now that I might not have Rocky because November is "challenge month" at the barn and today was going to be adding and lengthening strides but I think there's a new girl riding and for some reason this challenge is next week or something like that I don't know. Either way this would have been something me and Rocky could have owned, but now that will probably not be happening.

I guess the nice thing about getting to ride all these different horses is that you get a lot more experience and diversity will dealing with different personalities and preferences but at the same time it sucks soooo bad! One day, one day I can have my own horse and this will be a far smaller problem. But then every horse has something to teach and now it's time to find out what the next horse has to offer...until spring. Then it's back to Rocky.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

it was arson, not an accident.

Perhaps you remember this post from the summer about the fire in Slave Lake that destroyed half the town and the whole place was evacuated?
Well turns out it wasn't lightning, a campfire, a cigarette or a dumpster fire that started it. It was arson.
Yup, welcome to Alberta.
Although it's possibly they were only trying to destroy their own property and commit insurance fraud but in doing so burned down half the town.
They have forensic evidence this is arson but they aren't saying anything other than that and the RCMP still have crap do before they decide whether or not to press criminal charges...really? You need to debate that? Pretty sure if someone burns a city to the ground they should be going to prison.


And to all of you in Atlantic Canada and the north eastern USA, I hope your all okay after that ridiculous snow storm!