Saturday, August 12, 2017

In the intermittent rain, plus the Two Horse Tack fit update

I'm going to be on solo mom duty all day tomorrow while Eric takes the truck and trailer to help his mom move furniture.

So today was for me. In the morning I made relish (See the Firefly blog for more details on that eventually) and then once Hazel was napping it was out to the barn. 

The rain was really refreshing, light but not a mist and not constant. 

First, I was trimming some flares and what do I see but a blown abscess. This mare, I swear. I only know she gets these after the fact. Good, I guess, but she does not need to be so stoic!

When I first reviewed the breastcollar from Two Horse tack I didn't really have a good way to judge the fit because I wasn't using my saddle. But here we go! I've added SO MANY holes to the biothane. And my hole punch must suck because it was not really easy...

But I finally tried a different configuration and now it's not nearly as droopy! I'm pretty pleased with the fit at this point! There's a perfect amount of room in her shoulder, so going down a size really wasn't going to be an option. And honestly, if I didn't need the girth loop I wouldn't have needed to make such drastic adjustments.

"Stop taking pictures of me, Mom!"


So we started with lunging. She was not nearly the wild mare of last week but she still had her moments.

Because of the abscess I was studying her very closely to make sure she was sound.

Dork.

Dork x2 But nicely uphill, LOL


Then my time to get on! We worked on transitions, lots of walk trot, not anticipating. I was doing a pattern of walking the long side, trot the short and she started guessing what was going to happen so I switched it up and she started guessing again. Smart mare!

After that it was more bending and lateral work. All said I rode about 30 minutes. Probably no more than a mile of arena work.

Saffron loves the arena. That's her rolling spot.

Getting rained on and enjoying it.



Then afterwards I bathed Gwyn in this stuff! We'll see how well it works.

Then she got her dinner.

All told, it was a good day. We went over the neighbor's house after the kids were asleep to roast s'mores and look for the Perseids. I saw quite a few before the clouds rolled in!

Sunday, August 6, 2017

A sunday ride

I've been having issues with cell reception lately so no GPS tracking for me this time. I did maaaaybe a mile.

After a full day of barn chores yesterday, including getting what I needed to fix one of the dutch doors to the stalls that Gwyn broke, I decided I was going to ride today.  I had promised Kaylee a trip to the Disney store so she could use her gift card that we didn't bring with us on vacation to Disney and while we were at the mall, I grabbed some clothes for work. I left Eric with Hazel.

Unfortunately, Eric was not feeling well. I bought lunch for us and we headed home only to find that Hazel had just passed out for her nap and Eric was ready to doze off as well. Fine by me!




Kaylee and I ate lunch then headed outside to play with the horses. She helped me groom Gwyn and then I spent some time braiding Gwyn's mane. At this point Hazel woke up and Eric, still feeling awful (and not even Man-Flu(tm) but legit 100+ fever awful) went back to bed after passing me Hazel. So I took Hazel out to the barn with me and tacked up Gwyn. Then off to the arena we went for lunging!

Thank FSM she has never done this when I'm riding her. Also, no reins or line on her. I unclipped it all (love the scissor snaps on the reins!) because I intended on this free lunging and didn't want anything to catch and break.


Dork

Saffron also free lunges.



Invisible jump!

Some of this was naughtiness. She didn't want me to catch her. So we did some tough work on the actual line and I made her step under herself and really lift her back. She was working nice and round by the time Kaylee came back and wanted to ride. Our neighbor was mowing and had stopped to watch us.

As I was bringing Gwyn over to the step ladder, she swung her butt away (cause she thought we were still lunging, even though I had my whip tucked back, dunno, body language maybe confused her? I did have Hazel on my back and Kaylee next to me) and then double barrel kicked into the air! I was shocked. She has NEVER done this before. It was away from me and the kids so I wonder if she got bit by a horsefly or something. Totally weird. She was fine the whole time after that.

Only moments after the double barrel. Kaylee climbed on all by herself with the step ladder. I'm really proud of her! She tried steering but hasn't quite gotten the hang of it yet. She loves her new helmet too! Having the perfect fit has really helped her willingness to wear it.

So we did a lunge line lesson so she could just be balanced and feel the movement underneath her.

Gwyn was slow and careful. Good mare.



Then it was my turn! I put Hazel off to the side with Kaylee where they dug in the dirt a bit.

I missed this view. It was too long between rides. With work getting hectic I both don't have time to do this and be with kids and keep the barn/house tidy but also NEED this for mental health.

Fun perspective! 

Playing

Best donkey.




Given how my time has gotten away from me, I'm amending goals for competition this year. I'll likely just keep doing intro rides at the endurance events I want to drive to (Metropark Express in September and then Oak Leaf Run in October).  I REALLY enjoy the volunteer part of endurance rides. I get to be social with everyone while still getting a horse fix. I think my plan for Oak Leaf specifically is to volunteer both days and just ride in the afternoon unofficially. That way Gwyn goes camping with me, I get to ride and I also get to volunteer. Until I have better time management with conditioning both Gwyn and myself, it's only asking for trouble to try and even do LDs, especially with both our sizes, realistically speaking. Neither of us are fit enough.

The eventing derby I wanted to try is next weekend and the entries closed on August 1st, so I'm late for that plus the dressage test requires cantering and I'm really not confident in our ability to remain in a dressage court at a canter tracking left. That's our biggest weakness at the moment. So my plan is through the winter to get some lessons and iron that out. I DO want to do one of the local dressage shows and do some walk/trot tests. There are several more through the year. I just need to pay attention to when entries close. October, as usual, is my horse event month with a hunter pace, hunter derby and oak leaf plus the polly ann trail ride. It's positively packed.

Hopefully with a new person hired at work, things will be a touch less hectic for me and I can more easily fit riding in and some off horse exercise as well.

Friday, June 30, 2017

Initial thoughts: New Tack

So after selling some of my old tack, I finally got myself a biothane set from Two Horse tack  (so many of the blogs I follow really liked theirs... it sold me)  I got purple, because it's me. I ordered a warmblood size in everything and sent measurements in for good measure.

Also a note, I was not asked to give this review. I paid for everything, nothing was received in expectation of a review.

I got the Quick Change Halter Bridle because I liked the versatility of it. I can ride with the included halter or use a rope halter (of which I'm learning how to make) or just use the halter as a weather proof turnout halter. I like the material. It's substantial and feels durable. It's not slippery and has some grip to it. The buckles are all quite nice and you can adjust it easily. My one complaint is that despite ordering a warmblood size there I am at the very last hole on the halter. It fits her nose just fine, but it barely goes around her jowl. I could go up another hole but it would be tighter than I prefer a halter fit to be.

Additionally, when I adjust the browband snap and halter the snap on browband fits right with the buckle of the halter.  Maybe I should have gone with custom to get a bit more wiggle room there, I dunno. I am pleased over all and it's just a minor thing that I incorrectly assumed would work with the sizing. If it continues to bother me I'll probably take advantage of their alterations and have them put a new, longer piece on it.

There is plenty of adjustability in the length and in that sense, this bridle fits beautifully. The bridle by itself is right in the middle when adjusted to her head. I have room to adjust it up if I use a hackamore, or down if I use a different bit than the baucher. I did provide those measurements and boy did they deliver. So based on that, I highly recommend just picking the custom option and working with them to get the perfect fit.



Halter is on the second hole in this picture and a tad tighter than I prefer.





I also ordered an english breast collar because this tack set will be primarily used for endurance and trail riding and having places to clip things and keep a saddle in place is handy. In this case, warmblood size was HUGE!!!!!!  LOL  Guess Gwyn has a big noggin. I also ordered a girth loop because my girth does not have a d ring to put a clip.  In order to make this fit with the girth loop I'm going to need to punch a bunch of holes, but even so, the center piece was incredibly long. I added scissor snaps to the ends that attach to the saddle but they were not included so I'll be contacting them for that. Not a big deal, but I did check my order and it was listed as an option I picked. Either way, I need to fiddle with the fit a bit more before I'm satisfied completely. 


The white stitching looks awesome.

How the bridle unsnaps from the halter.


No scissor clips :( 

And to top it all off, I got matching reins! I upgraded to the scissor snaps, 10 ft length and black rubber grip. I like the weight and length of them, especially for trail riding. I might order a second girth loop to act as a rein keeper for when she's drinking or eating on the trail so I don't lose my reins. 




Kaylee points out that with how the tree is positioned behind me, it looks like I have a crown! She is incredibly observant.  Also, check out that mare-face. LOL