Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Short Walks

The mosquitoes are beginning their retreat.  I was able to stand outside for a while Monday without getting nailed.  So last night, I went outside (sprayed with bug repellant, jeans, a long sleeve shirt, and my coolvest).  Grabbed my helmet and Harley's bridle. 

Headed to the pasture.  Sprayed him down with skeeter spray, put on his bridle, and hopped on from a step stool.  No saddle, no pad, nothin'.  He waited while I wiggled into balance, and started to walk off.  We wandered the pasture for about 15 minutes.  No trot, and certainly no cantering.  Just walking, quietly, almost all on a loose rein.  I let the reins out all the way, and found him reaching for the bit, head dropping lower and lower.  he was looking for me, cute!   I shortened my reins a tiny little bit, he found the contact, and lifted his face just above it.  Nice...

After I slid off, he stood quietly by the gate waiting for a treat.  Handful of cookies later, I walked over to Romeo, and did much of the same.  A few differences, though.  Romeo bounded off at a trot, happily, just as soon as I wiggled my hiney into balance.  Booger.... Later, we were in his little pasture, CRNG off in the distance mowing on his riding mower.  CRNG's mower motor cut off, followed by a sharp backfire.  BANG!  Mo?  Flicked an ear.  and I was suddenly very grateful for the blank 0.22 revolver shots I'd been practicing with last year.  Mo was completely unbothered by the backfire, which made the ride much calmer than it might've been. 

Two short rides, no saddles, no worries.  Nothing particularly exciting happened, which is great.  Wonderful for the time they've had off without work, and a nice way to start back at an exercise plan without screaming as the mosquitoes.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

No Riding

It poured last week.  Almost 14" of rain over the full week total.  I had lake-yard all over the place.  The pond is back to full again.  And the horses were standing in sloppy mud.  That means no rides.

Saturday morning, I took Harley and his halter, and we headed down the road.  I worked him in-hand through puddles, around culvert pipes, in and out of ditches, and he was a trooper.  One ditch with a culvert pipe and water streaming out of it was a bit of a discussion.  After finding myself frustrated, I sat on the edge of the pipe, and waited.  Harley gathered up some courage, and slowly took tiny steps towards the water.  Suddenly realizing what it was, he started taking steps into the water.  I stood up quickly, and encouraged him verbally to step all the way in.

Next thing I know, he's standing front feet in the deep water, splashing me by pawing hard at the water.  I was covered from the waist down in mud splashes.  *giggle*  A few more walks through, and he was splashing happily. 

Otherwise, I haven't done more than hose and scrub the sweat off them once, and fed.  With water like that comes mosquitoes.  Sunday they weren't bad.  Last night, they were swarming by the thousands.  That means I probably won't be riding for a few more days yet, provided it stays dry.  Dry hot weather will cook them out from rebreeding, and things will be back to normal.

Until then, I'm catching up on some good Kindle time, sleeping, playing inside with Allie and MacKenzie, and tackling a few new computer games.  I do miss the rides, but we really needed the rain.  Not much sense in complaining about it.

Had a personal disaster Sunday morning - snarly nasty migraine headache with some severe nausea.  Better living through chemistry, courtesey of the local hospital.  I'm working with my doctor to combat these rotten headaches, and I'm curious if any of you deal with them as well.  Email me and share your experiences. 

Also, if you deal with mosquitoes more often than I do, how do you cope?  Do you spray yourself thick with Deep Woods OFF, and go ride anyways?  How do you keep them off the horses as they graze? 

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Did That Really just Happen?

I got a pretty cool email this afternoon.  Seems the web design bunch at Dover found my blog, and my two entries lately on their products (from the store, and my favorite things).  The fellow who emailed offered up some links to clarify exactly what I bought, and what I use.

I did it - go check out the entry from earlier today, and Tuesday.  Links to exactly what I bought.  (Roma pad in delightful purple, RI AP pad in white, splendex gloves in lime green!)

Cheers y'all!  Somebody go ride for me.  It's too wet to stay home in the tack, and with the roadside ditches full of water, no safety riding the boys down the road, either.  Time to watch the water recede.

My Favorite Things

Going through the videos and the pictures, I figured now is a great time to advertise for all the awesome products I use with Harley ..

First, on the inside..
  • SmartPak - MedVet 4-in-1 - Loves me a good SmartPak.  Reliable shipping, adjustable dates, and some of the sweetest customer service anywhere.
Now, on the outside of Harley
  • Stirlingshire Saddle Fitters - that's a Buffalo dressage saddle he's wearing.  Bought it used, had it fitted to him last November.  We're due again in late October to meet up with these awesome ladies.  If you're in the greater Houston area, and are interested in a saddle or need any kind of tack work done, look them up!
  • Roma Wick Easy pad - they really pull the sweat up off Harley's back, to the top of the pad, for easy drying.  Fluffy, soft, and I got about 3 years out of this blue one before the girth straps wore off.  Just replaced it this last weekend when I went to the Dover Saddlery shop in Dallas. 
  • Courbette Coutoured Girth - fits great, stretchy, and is ridiculously soft on the horse-side.  :) 
  • R.E.S. Spint Boots - White up front, black in back.  I LOVE my R.E.S. boots!  They have the nicest boot interior that I have ever used - more support than polos, but not that slippery neoprene cr#p on most boots.  Best, though, is the replacable velcro straps.  They've got white and black boots, and a bunch of different velcro color choices.  Splint boots, support boots, bell boots, fly masks, and a few other neat things they're working on now.  Primarily marketed to barrel racers and cow-horse events, but I'm in love!

I'm sure some of y'all looked at the picture, and the videos, and thought to yourself, "Freaking chicken.  Why on earth is she wearing an impact vest for a 20" vertical fence?  Good grief, lady, get ahold of yourself!  That's not exactly worth a cross-country safety vest."  *giggle*  Nope, not an impact vest.

That's a Texas Cool Vest and neck bandana I'm sporting there, folks.  The best thing ever for personal climate control here in the South Texas heat of summer.  When the temperatures and humidities rise around here, I don't ride without my TX Cool Vest on.  This competes for just about the most practical and most useful birthday present I've ever received.  The coolpacks freeze in about 20 minutes in an ice water bath, and about an hour in the freezer.  In heat indeces around 100F, they keep me cool for about 2 hours.  I've had my cool vest for a bit more than a year, and I wouldn't be outside in the summer without it.  A brilliant investment if you're an outdoorsie kind of person that doesn't want to overheat in the summer roast. 

So there ya have it.  Gushing on my favorite things in the saddle with Harley.  :)  GO Check 'Em out, and tell them HunterInTraining sent ya.  I haven't told any of these companies I'm advertising, so let's see what happens!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

How I Spent my Summer Vacation - The Rest

I rode
and rode some more
Then I went to Dover in Dallas
Then it rained
and it rained some more

I made it nearly the whole way to the mailbox with Harley.  We met up with some neighbor's goofy game horses.  Yeah, they're gamey-alright.  Sigh  Makes the dressage ponies look so quiet ... Anyways, they ripped around their fenceline, head-tossing and goofin', to which Harley let out a huge heavy sigh.  Gawd you goofies.  Calm Down, Will Ya?! Haven't ya ever seen a purdy dressagie horse?  At least dat's what Momma calls me.  purdy.. blech!  Ima boy, n boyz ain't purdy!  I's hansome.. or somfin' like dat.

Then, we met the neighbor's cows.  And his bull.  And his donkeys.  Little bitty donkeys, too.  *giggle*  I hopped off and hand walked him closer to the mailboxes, then we turned around, and as soon as I was back at the walk towards home.

HEEEEEEEEhaaaaaaawww... eep eep eep HeeeeeHAWWWW..
Harley didn't even flick an ear.  I laughed SO HARD I had to concentrate on my balance. 

Mo did some walking around.  We made it a bit farther away from the mailboxes, this time both of us not so spooked by the abandoned house that used to be filled with a big familiy and yappy dogs.  When we approached and passed the electric driveway gate, he didn't balk so much.  We got passed the pond, then turned back for home.  Calm back to the house too... Well, right until the fawn in the brush decided to bootscoot it without first identifying herself.  baby deers baby deers  Mo spun away from it, but quickly relaxed without much effort on my part.  I was too busy hanging myself on for dear life.

Harley's Thursday morning, as you already know, was captured on camera with a few short video clips.  I'm still working on those.  I had R out to video/photograph/babysit/pick my broke butt up if I got dumped.  We warmed up quietly, trotted and cantered over the x-rail.  R called out, "Wow, babe.  Pretty awesome."  I had to psych myself up a bit for that vertical.  I didn't really know how it was going to work out. 

First up at trot heading right, he hesitated, I smooched to him, and whee!  Sailed right over it.  A few more at trot, then two at canter.  Fantastic!  :)  He tapped the rail a few times with back toes, but never once knocked it down, nor tried to refuse.  In fact, he got more energetic the more we jumped.  :)  His first two trot rights, he landed in the wrong lead.  In his final trot approach, he landed in the correct lead.  Canters?  I truly can't remember.  I think he landed in the lead he took off on, and since it was on the diagonal .. Well, yeah.  The diagonal across my arena gives us more room to work to the jump and away from it.  I realize there won't be any on-purpose changes over the fence any time soon.  As long as he focuses on me, I'll take whatever we get.  To get his mind back on attention to me, I worked a few simple lead changes.  When he blew the second one entirely (heading for the jump), I knew we needed to walk and trot on the flat a while... get baby's mind back on Momma.

Adusted the jump to head left.  His first attempt left is in that picture.  Hysterical, my dear readers... absolutely hysterical.  He hesitated, I squeezed with both legs, and that's what I got.  A HUGE overjump.  What y'all can't see, is the horrendous landing I had after.  We both have a LOT of learning to do.  Harley's "wheeeeyaaaaaa Momma les go les go les GO!"  kicked back in.  I settled for three trot-overs and left the canter-left out of it.  He was way too energetic, and I didn't feel like fighting him on every landing and canter-off from the jump. 

I finished up the ride that day absoutely giddy.   The pictures really capture all the fun we had, and I'm anxious to share them. 

Friday/Saturday, trip to Fort Worth.  Saturday morning, I went to the Dover Saddlery store in Dallas, and drooled on the merchandise.  Walked out with two new pads (Roma Ecole Wick Easy) & (Rider's International Waffle Flo AP), practice gloves (Ovation Splendex), and a noseflash (Tory Leather Co, hinged flash attachment).  :)  Good self control..

Sunday, it rained rained.  Monday, more rain.  Yesterday, more rain.  Tomorrow, more rain predicted.  We need it, so it's a good thing.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

How I Spent my Summer Vacation, Pt 1

Harley's first jumps over a vertical rail.  Yes I am in a dressage saddle.  Yes my equitation isn't perfect.  Yes he's learning.  If you have nothing nice to say, say nothing.  I am only posting one shot today.  I will learn to water mark them before I submit anymore, so as to not find images and insults posted at various "rider attack blogs."

I'm on vacation.  All week.  Harley and I have near made the walk to the mailbox - a tiny bit short of the full trip - neighbors has cows and a grouchy bull.  Mo and I have done some walking and some arena work.

 So far, here's the highlight. :)  Enjoy!!