Saturday, February 19, 2011

Riding Phaeton - Day 1

Hi from Kentucky! :)

My mom and I made it safe and sound to Kentucky. We rolled in at about 11 am and met Phaeton's owner at his barn around noon. I got to meet him and help her groom him and then she showed me his tricks that he does. He does kisses, smile, pound it, and hugs. It was the sweetest thing ever! I don't think I've ever met such a smart horse. We tacked him up and took him to the dressage arena because there was a lesson going on in the jumping arena. I had to take it easy on him because the girl that is leasing him right now was riding him in a clinic later today, which I got the pleasure of watching him. So at first I just got on him and got the hang of him. He was a good boy. I rode him a lot differently than I ride Millennium though and it took me a moment and some of his owner's advice to look good. Watching back on the footage, I felt like I was doing pretty good, but the footage proves otherwise. There was a huge difference after she told me what to do. Then I got to jump him, but nothing big because we didn't want to wear him out. I popped over an 'X' twice both directions at the trot, and then cantered it. After that we raised it to a vertical and jumped some more. Then I did a mini course with three jumps. After that I got to watch him in the training level clinic and I got to see him jump higher stuff. He has an adorable jump. I feel like if I end up getting him, he will teach me loads. Tomorrow I get to watch him in the XC clinic and then ride him some more, this time higher stuff and hopefully some cross country jumps! I'm about to post raw footage on my raw youtube account, mseventer4.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

You know your horse wants to be a jumper when...

...he trys to jump a set of trot poles.


I guess Millennium's tremendous behavior on Tuesday was a fluke, because today he was back to his regular old self. Not that I love him any less. I came to terms long ago that Millennium might not ever be a dressage horse if he refuses to accept the bit. He gets pissy when we do dressage, and this is a horse that loves me unconditionally. But when we jump... he's a different story. He took me over a 4 foot jump easily, and we consistently jump 3'6" courses. No. Problem. And he's happy doing it. So I'm okay with it.. I've been okay with it, but still. I'm an eventer. I just feel when I get a new horse that I'm going to be busy eventing with, that Millennium will get pushed aside. It worries me; I love this horse with every little fiber of my being. He is my heart and soul and I would hate not winning with him by side. So yeah, while I will still take Millennium to jumper shows, I'm still going to practice dressage with him because A, dressage is great for a horses fitness. And B, maybe something will click in that little man's head and he'll like dressage all of a sudden. Aw, I just heard him whinny from the barn through my open window. :) One of the many perks of having our barn on our property. I'd rather not go into detail of our grusome ride; it wasn't pretty.

But today I had a little play date with Millennium. After our hour long ride in the... 74 degree weather (I know!!!) I decided to bathe him and hang out with him. And believe me, he NEEDED some TLC.

Notice how it's still daylight.
Since it was sooo nice and warm, I brushed him down from head to hoof, removing as much as the dirt and mud as I could. I couldn't even rocognize my own horse. Then I rinsed him off, to remove any excess dirt. After that, I was going to spray some cowboy magic to make him smell nice and his coat glisten, but it ended up forming a lather of bubbles where I sprayed it. I thought, what the heck, and sprayed some onto a big sponge and SOAKED him it. I'm sure he felt a lot better. After that, he was very glisteny clean. But there was no way in Hell I was going to turn him out after spending an hour cleaning him because he was going to roll if he was still wet. And by this time, the sun was starting to go down, so Millennium got a little chilly. I put his cooler and his dress sheet on him and fed him some carrots while I was going to wait. Well, A.D.D. me can't just sit and wait, so I needed something else to torture him with. I decided that it was time I pulled his mane and cut his bridle path and trim up his face a little bit, which took me about an hour and a half because I'm a perfectionist. I even put hoof polish on his hooves. :)

His conformation looks bad here because he's standing weird.
Afterwards, he was still wet so I hopped on him bareback and took a little trail ride around the property and fed him more carrots. Then I made him sit in the cross ties while I organized my tack box, seeing what I could brush him with. At this point, it was getting late but he was still wet and I needed to pack for Kentucky, but I wasn't going to risk him rolling. So I just decided to feed him dinner in his stall and come back in an hour to turn him out.

Nom nom nom nom.
I came back two hours later, and decided to brush him some more. :) Teehee. I even put baby powder on his face on places he wouldn't let me rinse and I hoof picked him. Millennium and I had a successful date night, but I bet money that tomorrow when I go out to the barn, he'll be one filthy mess again. Oh well... the pleasures of owning a grey. I have a friend who has a bay thoroughbred with no white marks at all, and one year everyone on our rally team (USPC) had grey horses but her. She would get to sleep in and relax before formals, while we were busting our asses spot cleaning and nit-picking all our greys. We all joked that one day she was going to get a grey horse, and feel our pain... and she did. :) After I turned out Millennium, I grabbed my saddle, helmet, gloves, & boots to put into the car. Kentucky tomorrow! :)

P.S. I added a lot of pages to at the top of my blog, and am trying to make it look nice. How am I doing?

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Just real quick

Just thought I'd share with you guys real quick about my levels goal for the season. This isn't set in stone. Obviously this year, my number one goal is the AECs, but next year, my goal is to do a Training 3 Day. And luckily Heritage Park offers one & this year they're offering a Novice 3 day!

May 1 Schooling Event @ Heritage - BEGINNER NOVICE (maybe novice)
May 14-15 Mill Creek Pony Club HT & Eventing Rally - BEGINNER NOVICE
May 28-29 Briar Fox Summer HT - BEGINNER NOVICE
June 10-12 Queeny Park HT - NOVICE (if qualified for AEC at BN)
June 19 Schooling Event @ Heritage - NOVICE (maybe training)
July 18 Schooling Event @ Heritage - NOVICE (maybe training)
July 18-22 USPC Champs/Festival @ Kentucky Horse Park OR - NOVICE
July 23-24 Briar Fox Summer HT - NOVICE
July 30-31 Catalpa Corners Charity HT - NOVICE
August 27-28 Heritage Park HT - NOVICE
September 8-11 American Eventing Championships - BEGINNER NOVICE
October 29-30 Briar Fox Fall HT - TRAINING

So there we have it! For schooling shows, I usually try to do a level higher than I compete if I plan on moving up, to prepare myself. Also, Heritage's stadium jumps are pathetic height.

What? I rode?... Finally!

The snow has melted!!! I finally get to start riding again :) So last Wednesday, I went to a place about five minutes from my house to ride a B-rated pony clubbers horse for her, named Buster. Buster came from the same breeder as Inca and Flipper, and I think they're actually related, so I had a general idea of what he was going to be like. Well he was fabulous! He was extremely accepting of the bit and we had a great ride. However, due to the weather, he was a bit explosive into the canter and for a second I forgot to steer him because his leather reins kept slipping through my gloves. Whoops. :) Buster was a very good boy and I fell in love with Brandi's dressage saddle; it had big knee blocks and I felt soo secure in my seat. With that said, I'm considering selling my 11 month old Collegiate Convertible.. extremely well-maintained, only been ridden in about 20-25 times and cleaned after every single ride (hey.. I'm a pony clubber! :)) My mom said she might keep it for herself, but I still am in love with that saddle so it's on the back-burner. I have a short clip of me riding Buster, so once I feel like loading it off of my phone, I will post it here! It's only about 40 seconds.

Today all the snow was finally melted that I could ride in our arena, which is an outdoor. It is still sloppy wet so Millennium got a little cross-country practice during our flat school, I guess you could say. Last time I had a 'serious' ride on Millennium was December, not counting hopping on bareback and just riding for fun. I wasn't expecting anything out of him since he's not very good at dressage anyways, and it's been so long. Millennium was ecstatic to finally be pulled out of his paddock; he nickered and whinnied and shoved his head into his halter. I love my horse. :) I never, ever longe before riding because Millennium is never hot, so I just brought my side reins to the arena and set them on the fence if I needed them. I can honestly say that today was the best dressage ride I have ever had on Millennium in the three years I've been eventing him! :) I actually teared up due to my excitement. I started him on a long rein and focused on getting him to stretch down to the bit through his topline. He had a very marching pace and was so tuned into his job. Then I got him to move off my legs, by doing a turn on the forehand, and reinforcing my leg with my whip. After I sent him forward with both legs, he was very responsive to my aids and instantly got on the verticle. I did about 5 minutes of flat work, focusing on stretching forward and then bringing him back into a frame. Then I asked him to trot, which he immediately popped into a very floaty, slow-motion-esque, forward & engaging trot. Have I mentioned I love my horse? I did a lot of geometrical work; focusing him to stretch around his outside and keep him from getting bored. I like to change what I'm doing a lot. I switched diagonals often, never favoring one side for too long, lots of small circles and big circles. My focusing of a good ride is to always surprise my horse with something different so he doesn't get bored. Then I transitioned into the canter, which Millennium exucuted flawlessly. His canter was fantastic. Not much to say about that; it was just like his trot and I changed up what we did a lot. However, he broke from the canter 5 times during the ride. It might've been the fact that I'd forget my leg or be late with the aid or it could've been the terrible sloppyness in the arena. He never breaks from a gate, and the last time he did was at the MCPC horse trials last May, after a ton of rain and the arenas were mush. So I don't know, I wasn't too worried. His right lead could use a bit more work bending-wise. He wasn't very flexed to the right as well as he was the left, but I only noticed this in the canter. Just another thing to work on! :) His downward transition needed some work, but it was mostly my fault as I got lazy with my cues and he kind of died into the trot/tossed his head up. After my canter work, I focused on long and low at the trot, which is basically a free walk for the trot. Millennium has always been very good at long and low. My trick is I never give him the reins, I just open my fingers slightly and push him down with my leg and hand and he pulls the reins down. After that, I free-walked him for five minutes so my out-of-shape horse could catch his breath, and his out-of-shape owner could too. Then I did a mock dressage test, which I made up on the spot. My goal for dressage is to get less stressed about doing a test, so I'll always try and do one in a ride, usually just made up.

My test was:
A - enter working trot
C - track right
B - 20m circle
F - canter right lead
E - 20m circle
In between E & Centerline - working trot
C - medium walk
MXK - free walk
A - medium walk
F - working trot
B - 20m circle
M - canter left lead
E - 20m circle
In between E & Centerline - working trot
A - down centerline
X - half salute

I'm sure it's actually a dressage test or was, but to me I just made it up on the spot to make sure I had all the movements of a beginner novice dressage test. Once again, he was fabulous and once again his right lead canter still could use some work. All in all, I was thrilled with todays ride. I couldn't be more happy with Millennium... it was very exciting. It made me feel guilty about going to Kentucky; it was almost like Millennium knew and was trying to talk me out of him. However, I've already promised myself that if I get a new horse, I will never ever let Millennium slide to the number two spot in my heart. For God sakes, I love this horse more than my boyfriend and my boyfriend knows that! :) With that said, three more days until Kentucky.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

New Horse?

The ad that I was stoked to come across.
I've been very hasty about whether or not to post this, but I've decided it's almost official that I'm going to anyways! I was scared to jinx it. As you all may or may not know, I've been looking for a new horse since about the end of June 2010. I've only tried one horse, but somebody that knew I was going to try him ended up going to buy him the day after I tried him. He was a deal of a horse, and quite good looking. 17 hands, dapple grey, 7 years old, good head on his shoulders. But he was green. Very very green. And the owner had no idea what she was doing, probably the reason he was so cheap. But I saw true potential in him as a dressage and future event horse. We almost bought him; we even went out and got a halter for him (the one that the owner had him in was way too small.) We probably would have bought him if he hadn't of gotten jipped out from underneath us by somebody else that was quick to strike. That was back in August. I had to sit and stare at that halter that hung in my room, waiting for a horse's head to fill it. The reason we almost bought Duck (that was his name, because he had to duck to get into his stall) was because the dang horse was 1,800 dollars!! EIGHTEEN HUNDRED FRIGGEN DOLLARS. That's what I call a steal, and we weren't 'seriously' looking to buy a horse, so obviously we weren't going to pay and arm and a leg for one. Thank God that Duck got jipped from underneath us, because quite frankly I wasn't too thrilled with having to work a green horse. That's what Millennium was, and my riding has suffered because of it. My dressage has lacked because I've been so focused on trying to train a horse dressage, while I'm learning it myself.. for almost 3 years now. Well now that we are no longer on a budget (my mom got a HUGE business opportunity), she said we could seriously look at horses. There was one specific horse that I had my eye on, after I stumbled across his ad last summer when I looked at ads in the weary hours of the night. He was a stunning swedish warmblood that had competed prelim. To be honest, he looked perfect. But he was in the five figures for a price, and that's a lot in this economy. Needless to say, when my mom said we can look at horses again, I ran to my computer to search for his ad to see if he was still available. And his ad was gone. Devastation.. but I didn't lose hope just yet. I googled his name and happened to find that his ad was posted on a new website. Thrilled about it, I instantly emailed his owner. That was January 8th. Over a month now. The only problem with this horse is that he's located ten hours away, in Kentucky, while I'm here in Kansas. We tried to go every weekend, but kept getting snowed in and had to reschedule. Well I've got a three day weekend coming up (8 days!!!) and we're FOR SURE going to Kentucky to see the horse! My mom said that if I like him, she wants to get him for me as a birthday present (my sixteenth birthday is in March.) So really, getting this horse all depends on me and what his vet records show. I really really hope this works out for us! Wish me luck! Also, I activated Blogger on my Verizon Smart phone, since most likely my mom will book a hotel without internet. I'll try to do my best to keep you all updated!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

2011 Season Analyzation

Well.. it's already February. It's really hard to believe how quickly time goes by as I get older! February means its time to get my lazy butt back into shape, and my horses too! Which means, as soon as all this ice and 14" of snowfall we had last week melts, I'll be at the barn almost every single day. What I love about a new show season is it means that it's time to sit down with your mom and trainer and discuss goals and what you want to do that season. Obviously, the top of my list is the AEC's. That's been a huge dream of mine for two years now and I'm more than ever determined to make it happen. With all these snow days I've had, it means that I've had plenty of time to think about my season. My main goal this season is to keep it light- 5 or 6 events only. I want to do a lot of dressage shows and jumpers too. So without futher ado- the 'rough draft' of my 2011 event season.

Cross Country Schoolings:
Longview Horse Park,
March 26/27
April 9/10
April 23/24
Heritage Horse Park,
April 30
June 18
July 17

Mini Schooling Events:
Heritage Horse Park,
May 1
June 19
July 18
Queeny Park,
August 27

USEA Horse Trials:
May 14-15 Mill Creek Pony Club HT @ Longview Horse Park
May 28-29 Briar Fox Spring HT
June 10-12 Queeny Park HT
July 23-24 Briar Fox Summer HT
July 30-31 Catalpa Corners Charity HT
August 27-28 Heritage Park HT
September 8-11 American Eventing Championships
October 29-30 Briar Fox Fall HT

Pony Club Rallys:
May 14-15 Eventing Rally (in conjunction with MCPC HT @ Longview)
June 16-18(?) Mega Rally (Sj, Dressage, Tet)
July 18-22 USPC Champs/Festival @ Kentucky Horse Park

Full Schedule:
March 26/27 XC Schooling @ Longview
April 9/10 XC Schooling @ Longview
April 23/24 XC Schooling @ Longview
April 30 XC Schooling @ Heritage
May 1 Schooling Event @ Heritage
May 14-15 Mill Creek Pony Club HT & Eventing Rally
May 28-29 Briar Fox Summer HT
June 10-12 Queeny Park HT
June 16-18(?) USPC Mega Rally
June 18 XC Schooling @ Heritage
June 19 Schooling Event @ Heritage
July 17 XC Schooling @ Heritage
July 18 Schooling Event @ Heritage
July 18-22 USPC Champs/Festival @ Kentucky Horse Park
July 23-24 Briar Fox Summer HT
July 30-31 Catalpa Corners Charity HT
August 27-28 Heritage Park HT
September 8-11 American Eventing Championships
October 29-30 Briar Fox Fall HT

Now, obviously a few of the dates are conflicting, such as USPC champs and Briar Fox Summer HT. My goal is to qualify for eventing for USPC champs at the MCPC HT or qualify in show jumping at Mega Rally, and if I don't qualify for USPC champs, then I'd go to Briar Fox, etc. I'm very excited for how jam packed this summer is going to be! I'm very looking forward to how much riding I'm going to get in, expecially since I'll be riding two horses, Millennium and Inca (and hopefully a third, but we'll keep that a secret right now.) My goal is to ride beginner novice at MCPC HT and Briar Fox Summer HT, and if all goes well (meaning I get my AEC qualifications), then we'll move up to novice. After AEC's, I plan on moving up to training at Briar Fox Fall HT (it's a great move up facility.) I want to take Inca to her first beginner novice event and consistently show her all season. I have no intentions of moving her up this season unless she is fully ready. I want her to get a good mindset in eventing, because she is a fragile mare (personality-wise.) You have to take things slow with her. She learns the dressage in a heart beat but her legs are so long and she's so green that she still doesn't know how to work those crazy flailing limbs she calls legs. Well, that's all for now! I've got a very exciting surprise coming up in 15 days, but I don't want to say anything because I don't want to jinx it!