Monday, December 15, 2008
Even though I haven't been riding I decided I could at least go along as groom/cheering section for the rest of barn to an A Hunter/Jumper show in Tulsa this past weekend. Tulsa was the first time I've been to an A show and I had a blast. I've decided that once Coaster and I are in shape again I'm going to go to a couple. Many upper level event riders go do jumpers to keep their show jumping up to par, so I guess it is good enough for us! I may even win a little money - or at least my entry fees back!
Monday, November 17, 2008
In my eyes, rules are made to be broken and six weeks out of the saddle (especially after having the whole summer off) just doesn't seem doable, so I've come to this conclusion with my mother: I'm giving it another week off completely and then starting next weekend I'm going to just get on and walk around in the arena. Now I know that this may not be the smartest thing in the entire world, but to be honest with you, at this point my mental health is dependent upon it. Coaster has enjoyed the last two weeks off I'm sure, but I'm thinking of going out and testing my shoulder on the lunge line tomorrow so that he will at least be worked.
Monday, November 10, 2008
Well now I need to buy a new helmet, thanks to the thorn tree in Kansas, and was planning on buying another Charles Owen J3 - which I have been riding in since 2002-ish. I love this helmet, this will be my 4th one - yeah, I've fallen (hard and on my head) a lot, oh well - at least I always get back on, right?
I mainly just wanted to write about this topic for two reasons:
1.) Make sure people know you need to purchase a new helmet after ANY direct hit (this includes dropping the helmet on a hard surface, even if your head isn't in it!)! You'd be surprised how many people I've seen ride around in helmets with cracks in it! Really people?! Come on! My other fav is people riding with the harness undone - it won't work if it doesn't stay on!!!!
2.) See what other people's favorite helmets are...what do you ride in on a daily basis? For shows?
PS: Have y'all seen this new toy?! They never had anything like this when I was a kid!!!
Friday, November 7, 2008
Though something major about my riding that I would like to point out as "not pretty" is my toes. If you watch my videos or look at my pictures, my heels are not down and my toes are pointed out. However, if you have a skilled eye, you can see that my weight and balance come from my lower leg. The heel up and toes out thing comes from my own conformation. Just as some horses are built to look "pretty," some people are not put together correctly for the textbook position. My calf muscle and overall soft tissues of my lower legs are too short for my shin bone. If you saw me walking down the street, you may notice that I toe out as I walk. LoL, I've even been known to interfere and fall down on my face!
With my lower leg conformation as well as my knee problem, the result is a not-so-equitation ride from Lauren! This is why I do eventing, it's not about being pretty, and even in dressage your stirrups are too long to have your heel down. Look at the upper levels of dressage, their heels are level with the ground.
Speaking of eventing and eventful cross country runs, the shoulder is healing well and I'm hoping to at least be able to go lunge Coaster next week and start some light riding.
Tuesday, November 4, 2008
I decided to give him the day off for several reasons. 1.) I was extremely pressed for time. 2.) If I didn't give him the day off he would have had 7 straight days of working from Sunday to Sunday. 3.) I didn't want to get in a fight. 4.) He usually does well after a day off.
After hauling to the show and getting settled in we tacked up to ride. I figured out quickly that I should have screwed the four reasons listed above and worked his ass off the day before because he was a complete butthead. I was literally so upset that I was almost in tears. I know my horse is better than that and he was not giving me an inch.
Dressage: Got to the show super early so I could lunge him in side reins before a short warmup. The test was not one of our bests, but considering the schooling the day before, I was pleased. The first half went well - he was somewhat consistent, but I didnt' pick him up soon enough in our "stretchy circle" and I never really got him back - it is okay though because I know we are in the process of creating an awesome dressage horse, we just are in a transitional phase right now, so I was prepared for not a winning test.
Stadium: He was very forward in warm up - which is a great thing - and was jumping extremely well. The first fence on course he backed off a bit, but I fixed it immediately and we jumped a double clear. All in all I was happy.
Cross Country: Warmup was great. He drifted right horribly on jumps 1 -6 (they were all really close together), but I was able to get him galloping after 6 and he straightend out for the most part after that. We hit our first 3 minute markers early (my goal) and he was jumping great and responding perfectly to me. We fly through the water complex (jump 18) and over a max table (20) and pop up the bank (21). This is where it gets interesting. We were supposed to go straight across the top of the bank (no down bank though, just a hill) but Coaster decided he wanted to veer right - down the hill towards the warm up and the prelim jump B. This was going to work out okay, I was just going to go around a group of 3 intertwined trees, except there was this other big thorn tree. Long story short, Coaster wanted to go right around it and I wanted to go left. We both got our way.
The thorns grabbed me and literally ripped me off the top of him and into the trunk of the tree with my right shoulder. I hit so hard my trainer, who was about 100 yds away and out of sight, heard it and thought Coaster had flipped over a jump. I sat up, saw the big blob of gray and then laid back down. After about 10 minutes of the medics checking me over - on the ground - me crying and lying a little bit, they finally released me. My trainer took me to the ER where they doctored the cuts (it looks like I went through a pane glass window) on my left side and told me I had extensive soft tissue damage on my right shoulder. All in all this is a huge testimant to body vests and helmets. A doctor/medic who was at that jump as a spectator thought I had broken my neck. If I hadn't been wearing my helmet or vest I don't even want to think about the injuries I would have.
Coaster is fine - he galloped off a couple of yards and realized he lost something - namely me - and then stopped a little confused. I will be fine, just a week or two out of the saddle. The only part that really bugs me is that I was 2 fences away from the finish flags, it would have been a double clear and qualifying ride. Damn. At least it wasn't fence related so it goes on the record as "Retired" instead of "Eliminated."
I'll get a video up of show jumping and the water complex as soon as I can - I refuse to post the dressage video, sorry, but it isn't my proudest test!
Tuesday, October 28, 2008
When he gets all strung out (which is fairly easy for such a big horse) I feel like I need to try to pull him together with my reins instead of riding his butt up to his chest. Now I've been riding for over half my life and I definitely know better but when I'm having an off day it is just too easy to get really frustrated over it all. I actually had to gallop around the ring (in my dressage tack!) to get him going. After that he was much better - or should I say I was much better. I was just having an off day, but I'm used to him making up for it in the jump ring, but he just can't do it in the dressage.
I'm worried that he's getting a little work-sour so tomorrow I'm going to go out into the field and do a little trailride along with some galloping. That way we aren't in the arena trotting in circles, but at least I'm going to get him out in front of my leg.
Monday, October 20, 2008
Sunday, October 12, 2008
We took 2nd in the first class, fourth (I think) in the second class because we pulled a rail, first in my third class and 3rd in the last one. If you watch the video you can see where my knee buckles over the top of jump number 5. For about half a second I thought about continuing on with no stirrup, but then I realized that my knee decided to stop working all together so that's why I stopped to regroup. It was just a schooling show, so there was no need to go balls-to-the-wall.
On the critical side, I'm thinking I may need to shorten my stirrups a hole or two. My toes seem to be turned out a lot more than normal (I can't keep perfect equitation with my leg because of my own conformation) and my legs seem to be wrapping around a lot more than they should in show jumping. Let me know if you agree...
Friday, October 10, 2008
After I dismounted I had to walk past the biggest oxer in the arena and realize that it is about 3'8"ish. And the crazy thing - that was our best fence every course we did! I'm on top of the world right now - not because of the height, because I've been there done that, but I'm just so happy with how well Coaster was jumping. Obviously all that flatwork is paying off beacuse he was a lot straighter and more adjustable than he's been in a long time!
Sunday, October 5, 2008
Doing all of this we have found out that Coaster's right hind is very weak. He can barely canter on the right lead correctly and forward! The other awesome thing we have found out, is that Coaster really wants to please his rider. Everyday we work on his flatwork there is marked improvement. That coupled with gridwork once a week, his strength should be up to snuff before too long...though my left arm hardly knows what to do when I'm not holding up my 1,300 pound horse with one arm!
Monday, September 29, 2008
Now tomorrow I'm going to go ride Coaster and not touch that rein, no matter what he does to try and trick me! I'm really excited to see how he feels!
Saturday, September 20, 2008
Once we re-established a halt - it was one of those days - my trainer put us through the ringer. Coaster completely saved my butt through one combination, but other than that one time we did really well. I just wish we were both in better shape, hopefully we will be ready for the event in November.
This next week is Bike Blues and BBQ, so since I work at a BBQ place I'm not going to be able to ride at all. I'm going to have my trainer hop on him Monday, Wednesday and Friday so that at least one of us is getting worked. But starting back next Monday, it's back to work! I'm excited to see what Amy thinks after riding him - I kind of wish I could be there to watch her ride him.
Monday, September 15, 2008
At this point in the ride I'm thinking that the worse is over and nothing can get much more exciting than a ditch and a barbed wire fence on our little hack. I was wrong. About forty yards past the horse-eating cows a great dane with horns - some people would have called it a goat - comes out of the brush (through the fence that was supposedly keeping it in). At this point Coaster and I have about a half-second "WTF?!" moment until the thing lowers its head and charges us! Coaster and I must have been on the same wavelength because right about the time he rears up and spins around I "cowboy-kick" him to get the hell out of there. Neither one of us really cared to stick around to find out what was going through this large billy goat's head - all we really were paying attention to were the horns and its not-so-happy expression. We gallop down the road - right past the horse-eating cows which weren't nearly as scary when we are galloping - and don't slow down for probably 100 yards or so.
I probably should have made Coaster stick around to deal with the little monster, but personally I didn't want to have to call the insurance company and try to explain why my horse is lame because of a goat. If any of you have tried to explain anything to an equine insurance company, you know where I'm coming from on this one! Needless to say, I'm pretty sure Coaster would do Grand Prix dressage for me if it meant never going on another "trail ride"! Poor horse, bulldogging and goat tying is not in his job description!
Friday, September 12, 2008
Monday, September 8, 2008
Wednesday, September 3, 2008
My friend has to sell her horse for college/financial reasons. Bruce is a 1998 chestnut Jockey Club Registered Thoroughbred gelding (name: Lively Country). He has done some eventing (Novice), jumpers (3'-3'3"), and has the potential to go much higher. He would make a great young rider/junior/amateur horse for someone who is wanting to move up in the levels of pretty much any Olympic discipline. Bruce is one of the most honest and forgiving horses I've ever seen and has enough brain to take care of his rider and still be super brave on cross country. He has textbook feet, stands for the farrier, crossties, clips, loads, etc - a perfect gentleman! Price is $14,000 (negotiable) and he is located in Northwest Arkansas. More pictures and video to come. If you are interested contact Josie at email@example.com Visit his equine.com ad here!
Friday, August 29, 2008
Monday, August 25, 2008
After a bit I decided to work on our walk-halt transitions and our rein back. Coaster was not amused at the idea of halting and backing while staying round and soft to the bit. He threw a temper tantrum that many two year old children would envy. Front feet start flying, back feet are stomping and he is nearly sitting on his tail. Not rearing - just throwing his legs around like the equine version of pounding fists and kicking legs on the floor. By this time we have a bit of an audience of several neighboring horses in paddocks and a couple of the barn staff standing outside the barn for a cigarette break. All I could do was laugh, which seemed to piss Coaster off more. He would start striking with his front feet (this used to intimidate me, but I learned a couple years ago to just ignore it) and it's like a switch was thrown and he completely understood what I was asking. For about five seconds post-tantrum Coaster became a friggin' Grand Prix dressage horse!
I can't be upset about the tantrums he throws because I truly believe he isn't being disrespectful, he just doesn't know what I am asking. I just quietly keep applying the aids until he gets through the tantrum and becomes that wonderful inner dressage horse that is sometimes hidden. The tantrums are really funny though, just because he is large and grey and starts looking like a Lippizanner (spelling?!) doing airs above the ground.
Sunday, August 24, 2008
I guess I can't be disappointed because he was great on the front side of the fences, he just would stick his nose out and down and pull on the the backside! I set up a grid (trot in x-rail, one stride to vertical) and this helped a little bit. I also did the stop and back up about ten strides after the jumps. Other than the pulling after the jumps he was good - I was very proud of him. These are all issues we've had before and it wouldn't be fair for me to expect him to be perfect on his first day back jumping since May.
Tomorrow I will set up cavellettis (I'm thinking raised trot poles set at 9' apart) and then maybe a line of low canter bounces to get him rocked back on his hind end again. He is really coming along with his lateral movements at the walk though. On the right rein he is very good at the shoulder in, but he is so stiff on the left - he really just doesn't want to give me his left jaw/poll. Just means more strengthening and stretching work to the left I guess...and I'm going to make a huge effort not to let him train me to hang onto that rein and completely let the right rein flop - which is exactly how he would LOVE to go around. He is such a weird horse.
I'm off to look through my jumping exercise books to find some fun grids to set up over the next two weeks!
Friday, August 15, 2008
- Use a toilet wand purchased at the Dollar Store
- Use baking soda twice a week when scrubbing (it is safe if you don't rinse it all out)
- In big stock tanks scrub once a week with a capful of Clorox Bleach to prevent algae growth - make sure you rinse.
- When the horse is on a rotating schedule (in during the day/out at night or vise versa) empty the buckets while the horse isn't in the stall - this keeps scum to a minimum.
- Recycle old supplement containers (usually the larger ones work) to use for hauling feed to shows, clinics, etc.
- The large plastic cat litter pails work for the same purpose.
- Cheap toolboxes or tackle boxes purchased at Wal-Mart are great for keeping stud kits, grooming/braiding kits, fence repairing kits, first aid kits...the list can go on forever!
- For flowerbox fillers go visit the local cemetery - most of them clean up all floral decorations once a month - now I don't recommend the obvious grave markers, but as far as the plastic flowers go they work great in flower boxes and are free!
- Old Christmas trees or garland works great as well.
- Landscaping timbers work great for trot poles or ground lines - they may not be a full 12' long, but they are lighter and cheaper than purchasing or making extra poles. *They also work well when practicing narrows!*
- Buy your first aid stuff (gauze, adhesive wrap - aka VetRap, Ace Bandages, etc) from either the Dollar Store or Wal-Mart - it is much cheaper at these places than at vet supply stores!
- Triple Antibiotic Cream works just as well on cuts as the horsey dressings
- Use Desitin (baby butt cream!) for scratches/mud fever and for foal heat scours (around the foal's anus and hindquarters).
- Make your own Betadine Scrub by adding Betadine Solution and regular Dawn dish soap together.
- Feminine sanitary pads are great for wound dressings or girth galls - they are absorbent and cheap. If your horse has a girth gall or sore under the saddle/girth area apply the pad sticky side to girth/saddle pad during riding.
- Sterile saline solution for contact wearers are great to use for cleansing/flushing wounds - also if you have outdated lactated ringer fluid can be used to to clean/flush wounds.
- Purchase a digital thermometers from Wal-Mart -- much cheaper!
- For skin fungus or dandruff use Listerine or a similar mouth wash -- I don't recommend the Mint flavored kind b/c the flies like it as well!
- Frozen peas work great for icing legs, etc - I just don't recommend eating them after they have been thawed and refrozen several times!
- Panty hose work great on keeping bandages over eyes/legs/etc
- To kill thrush use a syringe and Clorox bleach to kill the fungus - just make sure you don't get it on the coronet band!
- For a clear hoof polish use a furniture/dust spray found at Wal-Mart - I have heard that Pam (the cooking spray) works, but I have never used it personally.
- Diapers or sanitary pads work to pack abscesses or protect a horse on turnout who lost a shoe. Just use duct tape and vet wrap to keep it in place! (funny note on this - my father just about died when I was 16 and came home from Wal-Mart with a thing of diapers b/c my horse had lost a shoe!)
- Buy human shampoo/conditioner - it works the same and is cheaper!
- Brushes and sponges can be purchased at Wal-Mart and Dollar Store for cheaper!
- Tide for whites can be used to get white markings shiny clean
- Tube socks make great tail bags
- Tampons can be inserted into horses ears for clipping - it minimizes noise and hair falling into ear canal.
- Go to the sewing section of Wal-mart or a local fabric store to stock up on braiding supplies
- Loofahs purchased at Wal-Mart/Dollar Store for bathing!
- Baby wipes for quick clean ups at shows: noses/muzzles, etc!
- Use pool noodles to cover butt chains/etc on trailers
- Use the rubber truck bed liners as floor mats for grooming areas
- Small sections of PVC pipes can be used as blanket bars when a rope or chain is run through them - same concept can be used for creep feeders (b/c they roll as the foal passes through) or stall guards.
- Homemade fly sprays (there are sooo many "recipes" I'm not even going to start naming them)
- Use febreeze in your helmet to keep it smelling nice - especially if you are in a hot/humid climate!
- If you have to take water w/ you to places (your horse is picky about drinking water) buy your water storage tanks from wal-mart
Wednesday, August 13, 2008
We are both so out of shape and it is so hot/humid here that we can only really do trot sets in five minute intervals. I'm starting him out going around the entire arena on a loose rein and then by the end of the ride he is on a light contact and working on true and counter bending at the trot. Before I let him hack down the road, I asked him for a little bit of lateral work at the walk and we are both a bit rusty to stay the least!
I must say though, he is a complete super star! For the past two days I've cooled him out by walking him down the dirt road about a 1/4 of a mile and back. I literally just kick my feet out of the stirrups and use one hand on the buckle and he neck reins like a little western pony!
Can you tell I'm happy to be back in the saddle?!
PS - VERY VERY VERY POSITIVE NOTE!!!!! No horses or riders were injured on the cross country course!!!! YaY!!!! Another interesting note - nobody made time...hmmm...does this maybe show us that optimum times aren't necessarily made to be achieved by all....? LoL! Makes me giddy that Eventing when uneventful in the injury department for the Olympics - no bad press for us!!!!
Monday, August 11, 2008
I tacked him up as fast as I could, pulled him around to the mounting block (hey, remember, he IS 17.2 hands!) and threw a leg over. Normally, if he is going to misbehave this moment and the following three are those he will choose to use. But despite the super-cool and breezy weather, he was perfect.
I was home again.
Though I am a little worried. He is a tad off at the trot - you can't see it from the ground unless you really look for it, I can only feel it slightly. But since he is due for shoes and he is even on both sides I'm guessing/hoping/crossing my fingers that it will be fixed by Wednesday - which is the soonest the farrier could come out. If not, then I guess we get to have field trip to the vet - but I'm really thinking that it is a combination of his shoes and his lack of fitness. Once it decides to dry up around here - so probably next week - we will hit the conditioning trails. Nothing like trot sets in two-point! I'm already getting my ice packs ready! I can't wait for that first gallop in a couple of weeks!
Tuesday, July 29, 2008
I'm so happy as a huge O'Connor Event Team fan, but I do feel bad for Heidi and her crew. I don't think people realize that the workers behind the scenes (ie, grooms, etc) put just as much into the Olympic journey as the riders. But on the flip side, Karen, Max, and the rest of the OCET team have put a ton of work into the Olympics this year. Not just with Mandiba, but lets not forget Theodore O'Connor, super pony! From Max's blog yesterday: "I think the chestnut pony was helping us out...miss him." We all do. He was an awesome little pony, a complete superstar.
Good luck Phillip/Connaught, Beck/Comet, Gina/McKinlaigh, Karen/Mandiba, and Amy/Poggio!!! Go TEAM USA!!!!
PS - the replacements are: Bruce Davidson & BallyNoe Castle RM, Phillip (again!) & Woodburn, Bonnie Mosser and Merloch
Sunday, July 27, 2008
Fall 2005 - Heritage Park HT - horrible dressage warmup - my mom wanted me to scratch as coaster was being dumb and rearing up -- it really wasn't his fault though, the flies were TERRIBLE!! - okay test....kickin' cross country round - he was a machine! and for SJ....yeah...i kinda broke a fence #2...literally...with my face
Fall 2006 - Crosstar HT - KICK ASS dressage! 2nd going into XC, which was a great run - 1st going into stadium...coaster is perfect - I on the other hand let the pressure get to me and caused a 2 rails...on the last two fences
Fall 2007 - Meadowcreek HT - great dressage warmup - okay test....good XC...solid stadium
Spring 2008 - NWAHJA Jumper Show - for only jumping less than five times since the last show he was perfect!!! i went off course once - dumb mistake on my part - but won all the other classes i was in
I miss it...I don't know if I miss the showing exactly, but I definately miss riding my horse everyday and working towards something. I can't wait to get back to Fayetteville next week...I'm working the NWAHJA 9-10 show as paddock master on saturday for sure, possibly sunday. After that, here is what I want to do this fall...
September 7- Fayetteville - NWAHJA - Jumpers - goal is to be clean and straight
September 13 - Centerton - NWADC - Probably 1st Lvl. 3 & 4 - goal is to have consistant tests and "ride" in the arena
October 11 - TBA - NWAHJA - Jumpers - goal is to be clean and straight
November 1-2 - Augusta, KS - Briar Fox Farm HT - Training - goal is to have a solid dressage test focusing on (what else?) impulsion at the canter; a clean, forward XC run; and a clean stadium
Saturday, July 26, 2008
Okay, now that task one is completed, onto the funny thing I got in the mail. If you subscribe to the Dover Saddlery catalogs then you have seen their new Summer Sale issue. For those of you who haven't, Dover is offering a "FREE GAS" offer: $10 gas card with a purchase of $150! I find this a.) entertaining but also b.) kind of sad.
I'm a college student so I'm always strapped for cash, and driving the truck to haul my horse around doesn't help my bank account...and I've known that gas prices have been high (trust me, I almost break down into tears every week at the pump), but I never really thought I would see the day that a tack store would offer a gas card. Halter, yes. Saddle pad, yes. But gas card?!
So this brought up a question in my own head: How many people have not gone to horse shows this year because of gas prices? The main reason I've had a non-existent season is because I've been so sick and I don't have the cash for the entry fee itself! Obviously Dover is worried about gas prices affecting their sales at some point. I guess it makes sense - they have a lot of show merchandise. If people aren't showing, they aren't buying the equipment it takes to show...yadda yadda yadda.
So I'm going to try this "poll" feature on blogger - but if y'all don't answer then I'm going to be sad and never write my opinions again...lol...doubtful, but seriously, I want to know how much gas prices have affected your horsey traveling this year.
Wednesday, July 23, 2008
Let me start out by stating (once again), that I have always been a huge fan of Darren. I have seen him ride many horses, and have always been impressed by his professionalism and ability on course. Now that said, Baron Verdi - the horse Darren was riding at the time of his accident - competed in a total of 8 events PRIOR to Red Hills. This includes one Preliminary run at Rocking Horse earlier in March, two trainings (both in February of '08), then two novices in January of '08 and then handful of novices back in 2005. We are talking about a horse that less than three months prior to the accident was going novice. He fell on a Preliminary course. I'm sorry, but nobody can convince me that the horse's inexperience didn't play a role in it. I don't care how good of a rider Darren is, the horse was inexperienced. However, Darren is a big boy. He definitely has more experience riding than I do, so I am not going to point fingers and say that it is Darren's own fault. He (along with the owners) made the decision, for whatever reason, to push the horse along fairly quickly and got hurt. Shit happens, but he made the call to ride out of that start box onto the Preliminary course.
As far as other injuries and deaths in the sport, I believe that trainers play a huge role as well. Many people don't question their trainers. Perfect example: my first trainer/barn manager/horse role model didn't deworm or vaccinate their horses. My parents and I knew nothing of horses prior to what these people taught us, so we never knew enough to protest. It wasn't until I joined Pony Club that I was educated on other ways of doing things. My first horse died of colic with the most probable cause being worm infestation. That is on my parents and myself as the horse's owner. No, my trainers never told me to deworm the horse, but ignorance is no excuse. That is basically how I feel about people taking their trainers word for everything. These people are in it to make money. Yes, I know there are some honest, well doing horse trainers out there, but lets face it the horse industry is notorious for shadiness.
Say you have five trainers in one area. Four of the trainers have a moderate number of students who move up slowly, but are consistently safe. The fifth trainer has a large number of students that go from Beg. Novice to Training in one year and are competing Preliminary within two or three years of starting to compete. How is it not human nature to gravitate towards that fifth trainer, "because nothing bad has happened"...yet. The problem is, people use the excuse "well my trainer told me it was okay." So? The trainer wants to make money. Period. If that trainer doesn't have students moving up at a steady rate then people don't want to send their children to ride with them. So they are going to move people up, sometimes before they are ready. It is just by shear grace on God's part that most of the people out running around the Preliminary and above courses aren't dead.
Comment from yesterday's post: "I'm not saying rider responsibility isn't a good idea (everyone needs to put their ego on hold when dealing with horses), but by focusing on that to the point of ignoring other solutions is very counterproductive. Drivers have to be responsible on the road, but we also have speed limits, airbags and seatbelts."
What is that entire rulebook if not a metaphorical speed limit, airbag and seatbelt? Optimum times are pretty self explanatory to me, though most people ignore them now. What about the qualifications prior to moving up a level? My opinion is that people like this expect the organization to babysit them. They want to be able to blame someone else when something goes bad. In today's sue-happy society we think it always has to be SOMEONE's fault, though never our own. You have plenty of time to walk the course. You have infinite amount of time prior to the event to train and school at home and other venues. We already have all the tools for success that we need. However there is always somebody that is going to run 75mph down a mountainous road where the speed limit is posted 55...whose fault is that? Should the state have put in road blocks to prevent people from being stupid? No. The problem in today's society as a whole, and now it is leaking into the eventing industry, is accountability. Nobody wants to be held accountable for their actions. Grow up. I have no tolerance for this.
My final note:
People die. People get hurt. Shit happens. It is life. Whether you are driving a car, riding in a boat or walking across the street the risk is there to get hurt. We can make things as safe as possible: wear our seat belts, wear a life jacket, and look both ways before we cross, but nothing in life is for certain. Nothing in life is safe. This is life. If you don't like it, go check yourself into a padded room somewhere to rot to death. If you want to live and ride. Do it. Be safe and take the necessary precautions, but do it. If this is what you love, help it. Make suggestions. Don't proclaim that people should be doing something to stop it all and keep everyone safe when you are sitting on your ass not doing a thing.
My perfect solution to the turmoil in eventing: don't change a thing as far as the rules and such goes. Continue forward with the normal research in safety, but don't cater to these dumbasses who let their ego ride for them. Natural selection will take care of them. :)
Tuesday, July 22, 2008
They interviewed Darren, even showed his fall. Now let it be known that I have always admired Darren Chiacchia as a rider, but I am really wondering about the cuckoo factor post-accident. He started going on about how he saw his late father and how his father said it was okay to go on with him (on into an afterlife I presume...)...oh dear.
Then there was an interview of Mia Eriksson's mother. Mia died in 2006 at Galway Downs, tragically her sister died in 2003 due to a horse accident as well. Ms. Erkisson goes on national television trying to portray herself as a sound horse person by lunging a horse wearing capri pants and tennis shoes. Now I know I am old school Pony Club, but come on lady! If I knew I was going to be on television portraying horses, I would at least look a bit more professional while lunging my horse!
Now don't get me wrong, I mourn for the woman. Having watched my own parents bury my younger sister to a freak accident, a story such as this one really does tug at my heart. However, I don't think that her daughters - either one of them - would want their mother going on television calling their sport a "killer" at the upper levels. The lady is even going as far as filing charges against the USEA. Here is the rest of the story on that one...
I must say, I am very happy that HBO interviewed David O'Connor. He was very professional in his opinion (and mine at that!) that when it comes down to it, the responsibility lies with the rider. He had a great quote (this is not verbatim, but the gist is here): "When it comes down to it, it is just the horse and rider out there on the competition field and nobody else. The rider is responsible for what their horse can and can't do, and the overall horse's welfare." That is so true. I'm not saying that freak accidents don't happen, but it is obvious which rider and horse combinations get in over their head out on course. To me, a good rider can get a horse around a course, but a great rider knows when their horse has reached their limit and pulls up before a freak accident does happen...
The only real thing that got me ultra ticked off about this segment, was the lack in background information. The sport as a whole has changed greatly in the past decade. No one can tell me that these changes haven't played a part in all the recent accidents. I believe that people are getting a little too big for their britches and think that without the long format a three day event is easier. It is NOT! If anything it is harder. I just wish people would realize this before they send in the entry fee...it isn't worth a good horse and certainly not a person's life.
Monday, July 14, 2008
Becky Holder and Courageous Comet
I LOVE LOVE LOVE Becky! I've ridden with her and she is great! I also love Comet - though honestly it may just be a gray horse thing!
A really cool horse - I've been impressed with both Heidi and the horse.
Phillip Dutton and Connaught
Phillip Dutton - need I say more?! I was so excited when he became a US citizen so he could ride for us!
Wednesday, July 2, 2008
On another note, I am so happy Toddy is making an appearance on the international circuit again. I have always thought that he is a bad ass eventer and a great rider. I've seen him ride in person several times and was nothing short of amazed that a man that tall and lanky could fit around a Thoroughbred that small and make it look good! I will be rooting for the US team, of course, but at the same time Mark Todd is a favorite.
Check out the New York Times article on Mark Todd that was published June 30.
On another note, check out this article about Karen O'Connor on USA Today. It talks about the tragic accident of "Theodorable" as well as her career as a whole.
Wednesday, June 25, 2008
I'm going to take a page out Fugly's book and pretty much just let it all loose on these people...
This picture was taken from Jasper, Arkansas's own Horseshoe Canyon Ranch, where you and your family can come and have the western experience!
Um...if the western experience includes three children riding one horse, none of them wearing helmets, then NO THANK YOU! Do people not even care about their children anymore? WTF?! I am not even a huge purist when it comes to helmets and safety (though I am a Pony Club Graduate thank you), I can usually turn my head and keep my mouth closed when I see questionable or semi-dumbass things. But COME ON PEOPLE! This is just begging for trouble. Or death. Or permanent brain damage. Or other horrible things...agh!!! This is NOT cute!!! The only way to make this "cute" would be to make it a fake merry-go round horse at the mall - stack your kids up on that and take a picture, that would be a cute picture!
PS - you can go on their site and check out their "great project" pony for sale for $450...oh dear...
Now these two photos are from the same site of Walk That Walk Ranch in Berryville, AR. The first photo - yes the one of the horse rearing - is the picture representing where the "Training Fees" are paid. Yes, because a rearing horse on the beach is what we all want. No thank you. By the way, do I need to remind some of you that 'aren't from around here' that there is no beach in Arkansas, none what so ever. This means that this intelligent trainer went on a freakin' vacation to show off her rearing horse.
This photo is taken from where you sign up for a kids' summer camp. I think if I were a parent I would have no problem at all letting my kid sit out on this "wonderful opportunity." If this isn't a lawsuit waiting to happen then I don't know what is! Now I'm no lawyer, but putting somebody else's kid up on a pony, without a helmet or basic instruction on how a horse balances, and then letting them leap across a pretty good size creek just doesn't sound overly liability safe to me!!! Once again, I'm sorry, I don't think this is cute! To me: A.) any camp pony should be schooled/dead headed enough to WALK through a shallow creek like this one; B.) any child/person riding a horse over something that they may potentially jump should be able to stay out of the horse's back and at least attempt to keep with it; and C.) any dumbass camp who uses this as their promotional picture for their camp deserves what is coming to them, a big fat lawsuit!
Oh, and at this ranch they must take the Scientology outlook on birth...
Tuesday, June 24, 2008
Here is a video of Coaster's sire, Arthos! It pretty much looks like Coaster!
Here is a video of Coaster and I almost two years ago doing dressage at an event in Oklahoma...he was a superstar!
Here is a video of David O'Connor riding - on the flat and jumping - bridleless!!!!
I was going to upload the video of Coaster and I jumping last fall at another event down in Texas, but it was going to take too long to upload, so I'll have to figure something out...I guess just enjoy these for now!
Aug 9/10 - NWAHJA Show - 3' Jumpers
Sept 13 - NWADC Show - Probably 1st 1 and 2 OR 3 and 4...we'll see.
*Oct 4/5 - Queeny Park HT - Training Lvl.
Oct 11/12 - NWAHJA Show - 3' and 3'3" Jumpers
*Oct 25/26 - Holly Hill HT - Training Lvl.
Nov 8/9 - NWAHJA Show - 3' and 3'3" Jumpers
Nov 21-23 - Becky Holder Clinic - if I can convince my parents to finance!
*If I can't convince my parents to sponsor one of these then it will be either one or the other, but not both!
We'll see how this all works out...I guess I have to get better before ANY of the above can happen!
Monday, June 23, 2008
So after I realized that due to my ever present tonsillitis and need to have my wisdom teeth removed this summer that my riding opportunities are pretty much non-existent. So after a few days of lounging around at my parents' house while my mom fed me soup and hot teas/ciders (yes, in the dead of Arkansas summer), I decided that even if I can't be in shape there is no reason why Coaster cannot. So I did some text messaging (I still don't have much of a voice) and did something I've never done before - I offered to pay somebody to ride my horse while I cannot.
I know that it may not seem like a big deal to some people, but riding is what I pride myself on, it is part of who I am. I guess by paying somebody to ride my horse I kind of feel like I'm selling out in a way. But I really don't like him sitting in a stall all day (at least he gets out in the pasture at night). Also, with this heat it really isn't good for him to be in as bad shape as he is now. I've cut back his grain to like a quarter of what he would normally get, but being a warmblood, he smells grain and holds/gains weight. The only way for him to have proper nutrition (aka grass hay water and some grain) and not gain weight is if he is ridden.
Krissi, the girl who will ride him, is really excited about it. She saw me compete him a couple months ago and was really impressed by him, so at least I know she will at least start out happy...lol...until she realizes what a big doofus my perfect horse can be after a couple of weeks off! I'm literally having her start out with 20 minute sessions of walk/trot for two reasons:
Reason A: It is hot, he already colicked earlier this year, and I don't want him overworked - especially when I'm out of town.
Reason B: It is all I can afford! She is even going to cut be a deal and my parents said they will help out b/c obviously, if I'm stuck in bed with a fever and no voice, I can't wait tables OR ride horses - the two things I do to make money...
I just kind of feel like a bad horse owner for having to put over my horses care and riding and training to somebody else. I know it isn't like this is what I would choose normally, but it seemed best for my horse, and for my peace of mind, while I'm stuck out of the saddle.
Friday, June 20, 2008
Click here to visit his Olympic Hall of Fame profile page, which includes a video capturing some riding highlights.
Can you imagine the honor of this induction? I am so happy for not only Michael Plumb, who has been an outstanding member of the community in the years following his riding career, but also for the equestrian community as a whole. This is so exciting to have one of our own finally honored, not by our own made trophies and prizes, but as a legend in the sporting world as a whole, as a representative of the United States of America. I cannot think of a better representative for our sport.
"Horses lend us the wings we lack." - Pam Brown
Thursday, June 19, 2008
Horses Seized from California Sanctuary
Nearly 90 horses remain under veterinarians' care at undisclosed locations after officials removed them from the Equus Sanctuary in Pearblossom, Calif.
"They were desperately in need of food and water," said Michelle Roache, deputy director of the Los Angeles County Department of Animal Care and Control. "We're still evaluating their condition."
A total of 100 horses--many of them elderly--were discovered at the ranch on June 16 when authorities arrived in response to repeated complaints that the horses were emaciated and had little access to food or water. Of those, 12 were euthanized on the scene.
"The euthanized horses suffered from open wounds almost to the point of gangrene," Roache said, "and some had hoof problems that even with farrier care would cause them constant pain."
Sanctuary manager Janis Damiani was arrested the same day.
Even so, volunteer Roland Vincent said the horses were never ill-treated. He blamed the horses' condition on their age.
"On the average, horses at the ranch are in their early to mid-30s," said Vincent. "It's hard to keep weight on them. They have teeth issues and were getting senior feed."
On Tuesday Damiani remained in the Los Angeles County Jail after failing to post a $20,000 bond. She faces at least nine counts of animal cruelty.
Meanwhile, Roache says the horses are faring better.
"The majority will be adoptable after their rehabilitation," Roache said....
I don't understand how anti-slaughter people can argue that the years of suffering these horses have had is better than the comparatively quick death in a slaughterhouse...I'm just glad that most of the horses are still savable.
And another note: JUST BECAUSE A HORSE IS OLD DOES NOT MEAN IT IS OKAY FOR THEM TO BE IN POOR CONDITION!!!! Older horses, just like other species - including humans - need a little bit more specialized care than the younger horses. Look at the pictures below of horses that are older and are (gasp!) still in good condition!!!
On June 10th, Phyllis Dawson's barn burned down. Thank God none of her horses were injured, they were able to get them all out, but all of her equipment was lost. Unfortunately, even though her barn was insured, it will not cover the expenses of everything lost in the fire. The true story here isn't in the fire itself, but in how the equestrian community surrounding Phyllis's Virginia farm, but also the eventing community as a whole has stepped in to help Phyllis, her workers and students in this time of need. Not only is Waredaca Horse Trials organizing the donations of equipment and materials at their June 29th event, but they are also having a raffle where all proceeds go to Team Windchase. Among the prizes in the raffle is an entry fee into the October 2008 Waredaca HT.
For the USEA article on the fundraiser click here.
For News regarding Team Windchase and their fight to rise out of the ashes click here.
To see more pictures of the barn fire click here.
The year of 2008 seems to have tested the eventing community's ability to stick together. Through several equine deaths that have recently happened, as well as Darren Chiacchia's accident at Red Hills in March the eventing community has stuck together through thick and thin and have proved to help their fellow eventers when needed. Please keep those who need it in your thoughts and prayers as this trying year is only half over.
Wednesday, June 18, 2008
My favorite place in the world has always been on the back of the horse. Through the past three years going to school has somewhat hindered my schedule to the point where I haven't been able to ride, much less compete, nearly enough to my liking, but this summer has really seem to have taken a toll on my riding and therefore my state of mind...
Between my horse colicking for the first time in the four years I've had him and my own health issues this summer I have not been able to ride nearly as much as I had planned this summer. I haven't been able to ride at all actually, which really sucks. I just can't wait to get back in the saddle!
Coaster's SmartPak arrived at the barn today! I've started him on Summer Games Electrolytes (made by Kentucky Performance Products), which I strongly recommend if you want to put your horse on a good, sugar free electrolyte; as well as MSM for his joints. I really worry about him, not necessarily because of the amount of workload (or lack thereof!) but because he does have such a big body and bone mass. Now that he has started the electrolytes I will feel comfortable putting him back into work as soon as I get back into town. Of course the timing really stinks with this, because now that my horse has recovered from his impromptu trip to Oklahoma State University two weeks ago I am stuck two hundred miles away sick as a dog!
How do y'all overcome the lack of riding blues? Especially when you are too far away to even go visit your buddy?